Bankruptcy of the ‘merchants of doubt’ meme

by Judith Curry

Naomi Oreskes’ new movie Merchants of Doubt has recently been released. Does this movie provide the seeds for ending the ‘merchants of doubt’ meme?

 The book

The movie is based on the  book Merchants of Doubt by Conway and Oreskes, which was published in 2010.  From the blurb:

Merchants of Doubt tells the story of how a loose-knit group of high-level scientists and scientific advisers, with deep connections in politics and industry, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades. Remarkably, the same individuals surface repeatedly-some of the same figures who have claimed that the science of global warming is “not settled” denied the truth of studies linking smoking to lung cancer, coal smoke to acid rain, and CFCs to the ozone hole. “Doubt is our product,” wrote one tobacco executive. These “experts” supplied it.

Dagfinn Reiersol has a 6 part series of blog posts Debunking Oreskes, which is well worth reading.

The most insightful review, IMO, has been published by Reiner Grundman [link]. Grundman’s closing paragraph:

It is disappointing to see professional historians reduce the complexity to a black and white affair where it goes without saying what the preferred colour is. The social science literature relevant to the understanding of policymaking in the face of uncertainty is largely absent. This raises the question of what epistemological status it can claim. Its authors have been critical of the scientific credentials of the contrarians, quoting the lack of peer review or selective use of information. But it is what the title and subtitle suggest: less a scholarly work than a passionate attack on a group of scientists turned lobbyists. I wonder if it does not do a disservice to the cause it is advocating.

The movie

So the book is not up to snuff academically; how effective is the movie?  Will this movie convince any of the ‘doubters’, or is it merely preaching to the converted?

The official blurb and trailer for the movie is found here [link].  I haven’t seen the movie, but I understand that it is not exactly tearing up the movie theaters [link].  LA Weekly has a good summary of the movie [link].

The motivations of the films Director, Robert Kenner, are illuminated in an email exchange with Roger Tattersall (Tallbloke), [link].  Excerpt:

People who mislead the public on climate change should not be on TV. Period.
 That’s one big reason why I produced Merchants of Doubt, a film that lays bare the greedy, shameful world of climate denial and the journalists who broadcast it. That’s also why, right now, we’re launching a people-powered national campaign that could keep climate deniers out of the news for good. Merchants of Doubt premieres in U.S. theaters today, and it will invite thousands of energized viewers to sign this petition and join our campaign. Let’s lead the charge! Join me to tell TV network and cable news directors: Stop booking “merchants of doubt” on your programs immediately.

Censorship and propaganda; lets call a spade a spade.

The National Review has an interesting review, excerpts:

At the same time that it accuses the public of falling for pseudo-scientific showmanship and believing the safe, soothing messages they want to hear, the film presents a caricature of climate science — one that comforts the choir of climate-change alarmists and ignores serious scientific concerns. The product that Merchants hawks is smear.

Kenner mashes up clips of tobacco CEOs averring that “there is no consensus” about the harms of smoking with clips of Cato Institute and Heartland Institute scholars swearing that no consensus exists on global warming. Oreskes, in an on-screen appearance, manages to cite S. Fred Singer and Frederick Seitz, two prominent climate-change skeptics who had once contended that smoking isn’t necessarily harmful, but admits that she can’t prove that they were manipulated by money.

Roger Pielke Jr has tweeted a brilliant summary in 90 characters:

Merchants of Doubt in a nutshell: How a 90 yr-old man and a few dead friends fool the stupid American public, end of civilization results.

The 20th century ‘doubters’

So, who are the ‘evil 4’ – the star doubters – that have poisoned the climate debate (after first poisoning the tobacco debate)?  Take a minute and guess.

Did you guess Robert Jastrow, Frederick Seitz, William Nierenberg, Fred Singer?  While you may have heard of Fred Singer, you might be wondering ‘Who the heck are Jastrow, Seitz, and Nierenberg, and why haven’t I ever heard of them if they are so influential?’

Well, that is a very good question.  Here is a quick summary (extensive details in this rebuttal by William O’Keefe [link]):

  • Robert Jastrow: Director of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, 1961-1981.
  • Frederick Seitz:  Former President of the National Academies of Science, former President of Rochester University,
  • William Nierenberg:  Director of Scripps Institute for Oceanography, 1965-1986.

All three are now deceased.  That leaves 90 year old Fred Singer.

A scary bunch.

The 21st century ‘doubters’

The movie interviewed the following ‘doubters’:

  • Fred Singer
  • William O’Keefe
  • Marc Morano

William O’Keefe is President of the George Marshall Institute, someone that I had never heard of until last fall when I was invited by GMI to give a seminar.  The George Marshall Institute is definitely a villain in this piece; from Sourcewatch it seems that GMI runs on a shoestring budget of less than $1M/yr.  Makes me wonder how $1M/yr, whatever its source, can have much influence on an international political debate?

Marc Morano is described in the review by LA Weekly:

Kenner finds a magnificent antihero in Marc Morano, a cheery, chatty prevaricator who has made a mint by muddying water. His job is to promote skepticism of a truth that even Skeptic magazine believes in, and since Morano’s cocksure, and good at yelling on TV, he steamrolls over climate scientists on cable despite his lack of expertise. 

I’ve met Marc Morano a number of times.  He is actually quite broadly knowledgeable about climate science and the associated politics.  He is the one ‘doubter’ in this whole piece that actually has some influence in the current climate debate.

Clearly this list of ‘doubters’ is not very impressive.  There is a hacker that has broken into an email chain, originated by Marc Morano, using the name ‘willieasoon’.   The objective of this hacker seems to be to grow the list of ‘publicly shamed’ doubters.

Inside Climate News has the story:  Leaked email reveals who’s who list of climate denialists:  A network of pundits and scientists is consulted about stopping the release of “Merchants of Doubt”,  a documentary that exposes their work.   There is a list of 30 names (that were on the email list), including my name.  Most of these people I’ve never heard of; a few I have contact with.  The blurb describing me:

Curry is a professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology. During a January 2014 hearing before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Curry said the problem of climate change has been “vastly oversimplified.” She said scientists should pay more attention to the role of natural variability in the climate system and the uncertainties in climate modeling. She also said the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is overly confident in attributing most of the warming to human activity.

Horrors.

So, apparently anyone who received this email from Fred Singer is a ‘climate denialist’.  As far as I can tell, Singer used the email addresses from an email sent previously by Marc Morano.

We have no idea who ‘willieasoon’ is, but he is displaying Gleickian cunning.  On Feb 23, he sent this email to the ‘list’:

Bad things coming for these boys and girls:

Richard Lindzen
Roger Pielke Jr.
Steven Hayward
David Legates
Judith Curry
John Christy
Robert Balling

Keep your eye on the media. Several stories.

Note, the date on the letters from Congressman Grijalvi was Feb 24 (one day later than the email).  Several people on twitter are suggesting a ‘conspiracy’ – that perhaps Grijalvi did not instigate this.  I will quote Francis UrquhartYou might very well think that. I couldn’t possibly comment.

Well, the ‘surprise’ will be that there is little to no evidence of any undeclared fossil fuel funding influence the work or testimony of these individuals.  This in itself will provide a powerful refutation of the ‘merchants of doubt’ meme.

Michael Mann imagines skeptics are financed by the “most expensive disinformation campaign in human history” [link]

Big Oil/Coal is spending their money on lobbyists, not on scientists. Misinformation/disinformation?  No, just politics.

Science:  doubt and uncertainty

So, if not motivated by $$ from Big Oil, why do these scientists doubt the IPCC consensus?  The simple answer is that they are doing their job as scientists; Richard Feynman has this to say:

“When a scientist doesn’t know the answer to a problem, he is ignorant. When he has a hunch as to what the result is, he is uncertain. And when he is pretty damn sure of what the result is going to be, he is still in some doubt. We have found it of paramount importance that in order to progress, we must recognize our ignorance and leave room for doubt. Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty — some most unsure, some nearly sure, but none absolutely certain.”   

For reference, see these previous posts:

It is fashionable in social science and journalism circles to talk about ‘motivated reasoning’ by the doubters.  Chris Mooney has an article with a slightly different twist – related to supply and demand.  Joel Achenbach has a thoughtful article Why do many reasonable people doubt science?  Motivated reasoning and bias are problems for people, including scientists, across the political spectrum.  It is the job of scientists to challenge beliefs in the face of these biases.

Science is a process, not a collection of ‘facts’.  Even the issue of second hand smoke is not ‘settled.’ The Independent reports on a new study from Stanford University: Study finds no clear link between lung cancer and second hand smoke.  Now I detest cigarette smoke as much as anyone – besides a physical aversion, my father (a smoker) died of lung cancer at the age of 50.  Am I glad that smoking is banned from many public places in the U.S.? Absolutely yes.   Do I think that scientists should continue to evaluate the link between cancer and second hand smoke?  Absolutely yes.

Other movies

So maybe you don’t think spending your $10 at the movie theatre to watch Merchants of Doubt is such a good idea.  There are other movies to consider.

Kingsman: The Secret Service is a spy action comedy film.  Starring COLIN FIRTH; the villain is a climate alarmist/eco-terrorist.  Mark Steyn has an entertaining write up on the movie.

And coming sometime next fall (I think; no release date set) is Marc Morano’s film Climate Hustle; check out the trailer.  Seems to more entertaining anyways than Merchants of Doubt.  I think I also spotted on twitter that Morano was going to interview Mann and Hayhoe (two of the stars of Merchants of Doubt) for his movie.

JC conclusions

The bottom line here is that very sloppy history and social science research (Oreskes and Conway) is being used to justify ad hominem attacks against scientists that do not support the prevailing consensus.  I find this reprehensible.

I am hoping that the ‘investigations’ of Grijalva will put to rest the idea that scientists that question aspects of AGW and the proposed policy solutions are somehow corrupted by Big Oil.  It just aint so.

It’s time for the ‘convinced’ to start beefing up their scientific arguments; they are not going to win any arguments by making ad hominem attacks on other scientists.

416 responses to “Bankruptcy of the ‘merchants of doubt’ meme

  1. I’d like to see a list of candidates for Pope of the Church of CAGW.

    James Hansen,
    Michael Mann
    Al Gore
    Obama
    John Holdren
    Naomi Oreskes

    Please and suggest who should be the Pope for this new religious following.

    • Gore definitely has the seminary training. He was a Vanderbilt divinity school dropout. But he has all the sweaty passion of a Jimmy Swaggart.

    • a poke in eye for Obama

      “THE decision by the [Australian] government to sign on for negotiations to join China’s regional bank, foreshadowed by [Prime Minister] Tony Abbott at the weekend, represents another defeat for Barack Obama’s diplomacy in Asia.

      The Abbott government is right to make this decision. It had well-founded concerns about the vague and unsatisfactory governance arrangements of the institution when Beijing first invited Canberra to join.

      Those arrangements have ­improved since then and Australia is only signing on to negotiate terms of accession.

      If the terms are no good, Australia will ultimately walk away.

      Canberra’s move follows similar decisions by Britain, Singapore, India and New Zealand.

      Make no mistake — all this represents a colossal defeat for the Obama administration’s incompetent, distracted, ham-fisted dip­lomacy in Asia.

      The Obama administration didn’t want Australia to sign up for the China Bank. The Abbott government rightly feels that it owes Obama nothing.

      Obama treats allies shabbily and as a result he loses influence with them and then seems perpetually surprised at this outcome.

      The Asian professionals in Washington regard the Obama administration as particularly ineffective in Asia.

      The consensus is that the Obama White House is insular, isolated, inward-looking, focused on the President’s personal image and ineffective in foreign policy.

      Obama went out of his way to embarrass the Prime Minister politically on climate change with a rogue speech at the G20 summit in Brisbane.

      The speech had been billed as dealing with American leadership in Asia and instead was full of ­material designed to embarrass Abbott.

      Since then, the Abbott government has felt absolutely zero subjective good will for Obama.

      This is an outlook shared by many American allies.

      It’s important to get all the distinctions right here.

      The Abbott government operates foreign policy in Australia’s national interest.

      That includes full fidelity to the American ­alliance and to supporting US strategic leadership.

      But the Obama administration has neither the continuous presence, nor the tactical wherewithal nor the store of goodwill or personal relationships to carry Canberra, or other allies, on non-essential matters.

      The Obama administration has tried to convince both its friends and ­allies not to join the China Bank.

      This was probably a bad call in itself, but, as so often with the Obama administration, it was a bad call badly implemented.

      The characteristically bad implementation has helped shred Obama’s diplomatic credibility.

      The Chinese have been the US’s best friends in Asia, diplomatically. Their territorial aggressiveness in the East and South China Seas has driven Asia to embrace America’s security role more tightly than ever.

      The American military are now the best American diplomats in Asia by far.

      Such prestige as the US enjoys in Asia these days rests disproportionately on the shoulders of the US military.

      Obama has neglected and mistreated allies and as a result Washington has much less influence than previously.

      The saga of the China Bank is almost a textbook case of the failure of Obama’s foreign policy.”
      http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/abbotts-decision-on-china-regional-bank-a-poke-in-eye-for-obama/story-e6frg76f-1227263839030

      • Like cowboy on a bucking bull we just have to hang on for a little less than two years.

      • Justin Wonder,

        I agree!

      • That’s a pretty reasonable and accurate summing up of The US position. We in the UK have been subjected to the left wing BBC (Obama friendly) castigating the Conservative chancellor for signing on too. Times have changed and Obama has blown the US goodwill big style. There’s other games in town.

      • Peter,

        I question the comment about this shredding President Obama’s credibility.

        He never had any to begin with.

    • Peter I want to submit my name as a candidate for Pope of CAGW. I can preach in several languages and invent scary stories, plus I’ll give myself a face job to look like Al Gore.

    • One of the failings of us sceptics is that we don’t spend enough time praising all the people who have worked so tirelessly and we leave it to people like Naomi to do it for us.

      Unfortunately whilst Naomi’s recognition is welcome (albeit unintended) she’s done a pretty pathetic job only giving credit to a very few.

    • “Yet the ‘other side’ appears to be winning.”

      Well, when you have superior commenters like Joshua and Mosher on your front line… lol

      Andrew

      • That you, bad? You should know, some “skeptics” think that if you write “lol,” you’re probably lying.

    • I call Al Gore the L. Ron Hubard of Climatology. Biggest difference is that Al started off rich and had Spencer Weart write his Dianetics.

  2. Wm. Gray lived long enough to see his name left off the list. I guess that means the man for whom the term ‘denier’ was originally coined is now generic for scientific skeptic.

  3. William Nierenberg (note – you called him “Robert” in one place) is well-known for chairing the 1983 NAS “Carbon Dioxide Assessment Committee” report. In comparing this report to AR5, I find very little improvement in understanding for the 30 years of invested effort. For example, referring to the 1979 Charney report’s ECS range of 1.5 to 4.5 K/doubling, they wrote: “Results of most numerical model experiments suggest that a doubling of C02, if maintained indefinitely, would cause a global surface air warming of between 1.5C and 4.5C. The climate record of the past hundred years and our estimates of C02 changes over that period suggest that values in the lower half of this range are more probable.”

    • Lots of Jews out there named ‘Oreskes’. Don’t know about Naomi herself. Of course, you could go the anti-Chomsky route, and call her a “self-hating Jew.”

      I’d say, give it a rest. Her arguments speak for themselves, and her utter lack of intellectual rigor.

      • Thanks Lichanos—agreed. The anti-Semitic vibe I get from her book is the lesser of Oreskes’ evils. The bigger story is the anti-scientific, anti-skeptic vibe of the misosophy she propagates.

  4. “Did you guess Robert Jastrow, Frederick Seitz, William Nierenberg, Fred Singer? While you may have heard of Fred Singer, you might be wondering ‘Who the heck are Jastrow, Seitz, and Nierenberg, and why haven’t I ever heard of them if they are so influential?’”

    Because they’re Jews.

    Remember, Oreskes’ alt-history novel is firmly in the paranoid style of all global-conspiracy thrillers. The villains can’t very well be Gentiles, can they?

    “Well, the ‘surprise’ will be that there is little to no evidence of any undeclared fossil fuel funding influence the work or testimony of these individuals. This in itself will provide a powerful refutation of the ‘merchants of doubt’ meme.

    I doubt it. You credit conspiracy theorists with too much intelligence, Judith. More likely they’ll earnestly respond that—au contraire!—there are 117 minutes’ and 343 pages’ worth of evidence (the cinematic adaptation and the original book, respectively). These people literally have no idea how evidence is quantified.

    With apologies to JoNova readers who’ve already seen it, here’s my review of the most-bought, least-read book ever written on the evils of uncertainty in science…

    The Merchants of Venice is a rollicking read, an imaginative tour de force in escapism. Gelbspan and Oreskes/Conway have staked their claim as the Michael Baigent and Dan Brown of climate, respectively.

    All of Oreskes’ best work (like her 2004 “Essay” in Science) defies genre, and this novel is no exception. The story ostensibly takes place in an alternate world where neutral pH is 6, “prions” are simply “folded proteins”, common words like “refute” mean something different (the reader is never told what), and humanity has lost all interest in the pursuit of knowledge, reducing science to a kind of colosseum for the acting-out of old ideological and moral vendettas.

    But every so often the authors add a little touch of realism to make the reader wonder: is this Earth really so different from our own? For example the antagonists, a tight-knit cabal of skeptical scientists who’ve been pulling the strings of international opinion from behind the curtain of history, have names like Fred Singer, Fred Seitz, Emmanuel Goldstein, William Nierenberg, Robert Jastrow. Nudge nudge, wink wink.

    The premise, as I recall, is that to understand why half the population of the developed world—muggles and scientists alike—are unable to admit the compellingly obvious future fact of catastrophic AGW, we have to go back. Way back. To a period archaeologists call the Tobacco Wars.

    According to a memo dated 1969, unearthed by top historians and immediately surrendered to Ross Gelbspan for safekeeping, a history-changing meeting took place that year. (This document, opening with the famous words Doubt is our product, is known as the Protocols of the Merchants of Doubt.)

    The major cigarette corporations are taking a hammering from the increasingly-good oncological evidence against tobacco. They need to attack lung-cancer science, but without looking like they’re attacking lung-cancer science.

    Their solution: to send an elite team of top scientists forward in time, to a point long after the Tobacco Wars are over, when everyone knows smoking causes lung cancer, the miniskirt has given way to the upskirt, Global Cooling has become Global Warming, and the last thing anybody expects is a guerrilla marketing attack from nicotine shills.

    It’s a plan so incoherent, it just might work! To carry out this suicide mission they choose 4 brilliant, easily-corrupted scientists, of whom only one is still alive today to take legal action.

    Their orders: to attack Science at its weakest point, sowing confusion and ambiguity in the public mind.

    And what point could be weaker than climatology, the unprotected groin of science?

    Once the man on the street saw that there was no connection between empirical reality and what mainstream scientists were saying, he’d start to question everything—even whether smoking was bad for you!

    “If an irretrievably-politicised, hand-waving, grey-literature-based, unfalsifiable, decline-hiding, nebulous and innumerate ‘Consensus’ about the future state of the Earth’s climate isn’t credible, then obviously neither is the redundantly-copious, endlessly-reconfirmed epidemiological evidence that smokers have a Relative Risk [RR] of 23.0 for respiratory neoplasms—or the fact that I’ve watched my own relatives die of emphysema! It’s all just speculation!

    And that, boys and girls, is why Bad People are saying we don’t need to fight ‘carbon pollution.’

    • > Because they’re Jews.

      A blast from the past:

      Regarding the charge against Oreskes of anti-Semitism, OK I’ll accept your assurance that you don’t throw such accusations around lightly, but even so the fact that the four people you mentioned who all featured prominently in MoD had Jewish sounding names is hardly enough in itself to justify such a claim. I haven’t read MoD yet but I’ve read other accounts such as “Climate Cover Up” and the same names certainly crop up frequently and their actions are well documented. So unless you can demonstrate some implicit suggestion in MoD that their Jewishness (or Jewish-soundingness) has some deeper significance then I’m not buying it, especially as as far as I can tell (and I’ve looked) you are the only person to have actually made this connection.

      https://judithcurry.com/2014/01/03/week-in-review-10/#comment-433330

      ***

      An alternative explanation is that they founded the Marshall Institute.

      The reputation of that think tank is well established.

      A think tank seems to provide some kind of personal privacy.

      • Hi Willard,

        I can’t read Oreskes’ and Conway’s minds, and unlike George W Bush I can’t look into their souls either, so admittedly it’s a motivational inference I can never prove.

        However, their founding of the George Marshall Institute doesn’t suffice to make them relevant or representative or valid proxies, exemplars or creators of climate skepticism, does it? It’s a rather bizarre choice of analysands, isn’t it?

        AFAICT they’re just ‘a 90 yr-old man and a few dead friends’ [h/t Roger Pielke Jr].

        Who happen to have a certain type of surname.

        PS Thanks for the link Willard. I vaguely remembered having an argument like this in the past, but had no idea it was on this blog.

      • as far as I can tell (and I’ve looked) you are the only person to have actually made this connection

        But it’s hardly unknown for me to be the only (or first) person to work something out.

        As far as I can tell I was the first person to call BS on the urban lie about Gleick denying his forgery.

        As far as I can tell I was the first person to point out that climate “science” fails the most obvious criterion of science, which is to continually add to human knowledge about nature.

        Just today I was the first person to point out that the National Review critique of MoD had fallen for an urban lie about Singer and Seitz.

        NB I was remiss to forget, as Willard once pointed out (in that 2014 thread), that the Seitzes are not one of Germany’s Jewish dynasties after all! (Willard rightly rebuked me for judging things “by ear,” rather than by research.)

      • Here’s William in action:

        The introduction seems to go a bit against Judy’s narrative. The word “prominent” appears quite a lot. Via ThingsBreak, with this money quote:

        In actual fact- the actual fact is, that calmer [vs. the scientific consensus] analysis has restricted the maximum likely CO2 to- the concentration- to slightly less than double and extended the time for the effects to the year 2150- that’s quite an increase. The global temperature change would be at most 1°[C], and the sea level rise would be barely one foot (or 30cm). The Western Antarctic Ice Sheet is now believed to be stable for the foreseeable future. Despite this great relaxation in extremes, the dire predictions remain. [8:15-8:52]

        https://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/2010/08/26/william-nierenberg-merchant-of-doubt/

        Not sure that ignoring Nierenberg’s prominence does much more than to argue from ignorance, an ignorance which would be hard to excuse in the case of Judy.

        At best it’s an argument from incredulity.

      • You say the reputation of the Marshall Institute is ‘well-established.’

        I’m sorry. What is the reputation of the Marshall Institute? How was it established?

      • Don’t be sorry, sea lion. Here’s for nostalgia:

        On a minor personal note, I have been criticized for presenting a speech sponsored by the George Marshall Institute; given my admiration and respect for George Marshall, I was flattered by the invitation and the opportunity for even a minor association with the institute bearing the name of such a great man.

        http://climateaudit.org/2005/09/01/new-orleans-and-george-marshall/

        Alternatively, here’s a glimpse of William O’Keefe’s social network:

        In 1998 Jeffrey Salmon, then executive director of GMI, helped develop the American Petroleum Institute‘s strategy of stressing the uncertainty of climate science. William O’Keefe, the Institute’s current CEO, was previously Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the American Petroleum Institute, and has also been on the Board of Directors of the U.S. Energy Association and Chairman of the Global Climate Coalition, a business-led anti-climate change action group active between 1989 and 2002.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_C._Marshall_Institute

        ***

        There’s also an interesting bits in how O’Keefe tried to get Bob Watson fired:

        http://www.nrdc.org/media/docs/020403.pdf

        This operation has been mentioned in CG 1999, which our sea lion may or may have not read.

    • Speaking of conspiracy theories, I too noticed that 3/4 of the bad guys had Jewish sounding names. Hatred of Jews and embracing of wild variant theories of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are rampant in the left, especially the far left associated with any proPalestinian groups. In the Muslim world Jews are accused of all manner of super powers including the ability to send sharks to eat Muslims and destroy local tourist economies. Mein Kampf and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are best sellers in they world. There is an irrational belief in the corruption of the world by big money headed by a shadowy cabal of Jews, or at least some big money bankers with hooked noses if you can’t quite bring yourself to attack Jews. Therefore if you are going to create a group of dark villains for a drama, it is requirement that you simple MUST have a majority of evil Jews stand ins. You just can’t have a good conspiracy of evil in the world without Jews at the heart of it.

    • David L. Hagen

      Such anti-semetic conspiracies will be exposed and set right when A Jew rules the world

  5. “I am hoping that the ‘investigations’ of Grijalvi will put to rest the idea that scientists that question aspects of AGW and the proposed policy solutions are somehow corrupted by Big Oil. It just aint so.”

    Ahhh, there it is. There is nothing to be afraid of from the congressman’s letter requesting funding sources. His intent surely included hopes of intimidating skeptics of the consensus, but if responded to properly, with confidence and openness, it will backfire.

  6. In short, Oreskes (who is not a scientist, of climate or of any other kind) appears to have unilaterally (albeit with, perhaps a little help from her ideological friends) determined that there can be only one side to a “scientific” debate: That which she – in her willful ignorance – has chosen to conjure up and propagate.

    Truth, facts, nuance and respect be damned! How very enlightening and enlightened. Not!

    I’ve no idea how much money was spent on this flick; but surely such funds could have been put to far better use by donating them to a (non-UN-affiliated and/or tainted) NGO which could actually provide some much needed assistance to, for example, Syrian refugees.

    • Hilary, isn’t Oreskes a half-scientist half-historian half-novelist?

      She did spend a bit of time underground in Australia using her geological competence to exploit our mineral wealth, IIRC. In fact it was only because she’d been away from the atmosphere for so long that she was appalled, on returning to the surface, by how much the climate had changed during her absence—a shock that sparked her passionate interest in the political race to save humanity’s breathable commons.

  7. I wonder if these “Merchant” writers have any idea how George Orwell would write about them in his movie?

  8. Morano’s Climate Hustle looks like a hoot. Gore as the villain – red meat to the skeptics. I wonder if there is any mention of actual science or is it just going to just vilify people?

    • JimD “…Gore as villain…”

      I just hope they leave out the sordid massage parlor scenes – I just couldn’t handle that. Imagine if not for the efforts of the Supreme Court, this man could have been king, I mean president. If not for the efforts of the fearless court the country would be lost, the country would be lost…

  9. Anyone with a little common sense and some critical thinking skills can find holes galore in the settled science. The problem is that most of the public who want to believe in AGW are predisposed to do so and don’t take the time to challenge the orthodoxy. This movie just reinforces their evidence free convictions.

    • Where’s this “most”. I’m having problems finding any sites online where there are alarmists left. Or if there are, they are usually in such a minority that I start feeling sorry for one poor deluded individual against a load of savy sceptics.

  10. Poor Naomi,
    Sad Naomi,
    Invited them all to her doomsday party
    But none of ’em come.

  11. It annoys me so much that there are these merchants of doubt. I do it for bloody free!

    • You could still make a few bucks by selling the “Doubt Merchant” t-shirts and polos. I would buy one!

    • Be of good cheer, moso. these doomsayers’ predictions
      ain’t so food, from the Reverend Mister Thomas Malthus
      et Al they persist in underestimating human technical
      ingenuity, in fact, don’t seem ter like it.

      http://www.wired.com/2012/08/ff_apocalypsenot/

      • Yes, but this time it’s serious. Panama disease is into Cavendish bananas in Qld. All future smoothies will have to be made with those stupid Lady Fingers. We really have to ask ourselves what sort of smoothies we want to leave to our grandchildren.

        Of course, one doesn’t need to enquire if Cavendishageddon is connected with the climate change thingy. It has to be! And I’d point out that since 1980 St George has only won one Rugby League premiership, while scummy clubs have been cleaning up. 1980 ring a bell? Coincidence? I don’t think so.

      • And Scotland went down in One Day Cricket and …

  12. Pingback: Bankruptcy of the ‘merchants of doubt’ meme | Enjeux énergies et environnement

  13. I know I shouldn’t feed the troll, but Joshie, if there are other significant health impacts, why doesn’t the American Cancer Society recognise them as definitive?
    http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/tobaccocancer/secondhand-smoke
    They are covered by the weasel words “there is some evidence”. And there is ongoing research, so the science isn’t settled. Even Richard Doll wasn’t convinced by the evidence. So ACS is a Merchant of Doubt – maybe they have been subverted by the evil 4. Even Richard Doll wasn’t convinced by the evidence. Does Naomi know? Or more to the point, should the rest of us care?

  14. @Joshua

    I think this comment highlights your continual misapprecaition of Judith’s position. She highlighted her own distaste for tobacco smoke and yet remarked that the evidence linking second hand smoke and cancer was weak.

    You seem to interpret that as some how advocating it, by implication of omission of not discussing in detail other detrimental effects that you happen to know about. But it is entirely beside the point, what Dr Curry is interested is the evidence that supports an assertion or theory, and what as a scientist you can and can’t say about it.

    In the case of second hand tobacco smoke, the evidence is actually very weak. That does not mean it does not exist, but scientists can and should object when poor evidence is used to support a policy decision. It’s fair enough to say smoking in public places should be banned because it is essentially offensive – it subjects people to odours they may find distasteful without their consent. What you can’t say, based on the evidence that has been collected is that it will cause cancer, or any link to it, as much as we might wish it to be true in order to further justify a ban.

    The same principle exists for man made climate change. Based on the evidence as it currently exists, it just is not a valid scientific position to assert with certainty that human emissions have caused recent changes to the climate, and therefore the policy implications that stem from that.

    • > The same principle exists for man made climate change. Based on the evidence as it currently exists, it just is not a valid scientific position to assert with certainty that human emissions have caused recent changes to the climate, and therefore the policy implications that stem from that.

      There never will be any such evidence. That libertarian think tanks require such certainty only reveals that there can’t be any scientific position whatsoever. Perfect to manufacture controversy. Pure agnosticism can’t be a scientific position.

      Mr. T cuts both ways.

      • There never will be any such evidence. That libertarian think tanks require such certainty only reveals that there can’t be any scientific position whatsoever.

        You are characterizing them as requiring a degree of certainty demanded in no other area. Do you believe that they know very well that an unreasonable danger exists but that they consciously choose to ignore this in the service of their short term monetary gain? Do you think that the more drastic and expensive the proposed action, the greater certainty is appropriate?

      • > You are characterizing them as requiring a degree of certainty demanded in no other area.

        Not at all. Think tanks do it for all kinds of stuff:

        When a scientist offers data that bears on some question of public policy – the health hazard of toxic wastes, for example, or pinpointing a cause for acid rain – how reliable should the data be? Should such data and their interpretation be called upon when they achieve the level demanded within science itself? Or are lower levels of certainty significant when the issue is one of protecting public health?

        http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/action/document/page?tid=vbl05b00

        Was Grobstein just asking quesrions just like Swood does yet again?

      • Or are lower levels of certainty significant when the issue is one of protecting public health?

        Lower levels of certainty are appropriate, but there has to be a weighing of the likelihood of harm, the magnitude of the harm, and the cost proposed in order to avoid the harm. Some people see alarmist theory as a kind of Rube Goldberg Machine, that, no matter how carefully thought out, is just too weak at too many points to rely on.

      • > Lower levels of certainty are appropriate, but there has to be a weighing of the likelihood of harm, the magnitude of the harm, and the cost proposed in order to avoid the harm.

        This is consistent with think tanks always requiring a little something more:

        Suggested looking at several criteria:

        – severity of harm

        – number of people suffering harm

        […]

        – likelihood of ban going into effect

        http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/action/document/page?tid=ynm85e00

        Bans, Warnings, and Laissez-Faire: Choosing the Right Response.

        We have yet to reach that last level in this thread.

        ***

        The bottom line is that manufacturing doubt us structurally similar to what Denizens do day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute.

    • Here’s a very neat example of what the Benshi alludes to as a “rapid random” factoid technique, coming from Duane Gish. Global Warming: Consensus in Freefall | Marc Morano :

      Marc Morano worked for James Inhofe. He does not take any responsibility for the 2006 loss at 2:45. Talks about tree huggers as “psychologically deranged.” He calls his 2009 report as “earth shattering.” He also predicted the end if the AGW movement, again in 2009.

      The bottom line is that Morano used “the bottom line” line at around 2:25.

      • David Springer

        From the “I Kid You Not” department. According to Gallup poll of most important problems twice as many people (2%) think “lack of respect for each other” is a worse problem than “environment/pollution” (1%).

        Speaking for America-only Morano was evidently right on the money. No wonder Obummer is pounding the table about it. Fat lot of good it’s doing too.

      • Is consensus in free fall?

        Source: http://www.gallup.com/poll/153608/global-warming-views-steady-despite-warm-winter.aspx

        (Hamilton 2015 is even clearer on this.)

        The bottom line is that consensus perception is not consensus, that neither are in free fall, and that Morano’s prediction has yet to obtain.

      • Willard –

        Is consensus in free fall?

        Your graph of the Gallup Poll question as to when the effects of global warming will happen is consistent with the belief that the effects of global warming will not be significant.

      • Here’s Gallup’s bottom line:

        Bottom Line

        The slight majority of Americans support global warming as valid on a number of measures. And after peaking in 2010, public skepticism about global warming softened slightly in 2011, and remains at the lower level this year. Nevertheless, Americans remain less certain about the accuracy of global warming news coverage, about humankind’s role in causing global warming, and about the scientific consensus on the issue than they were last decade.

        Some shift in Americans’ global warming views might have been expected this year, given the near-record warm temperatures experienced this winter across much of the country — Gallup finds 79% of Americans reporting that the weather in their area was warmer than usual, though less than half of these attributed this to global warming.

        However, the fact that belief in global warming did not increase markedly suggests Americans are basing their perceptions more on the debates over scientific evidence than on the weather outside their front door.

        http://www.gallup.com/poll/153608/global-warming-views-steady-despite-warm-winter.aspx

        This bottom line may or may not be consistent with Hamilton’s 2015 results.

        That was Dave’s source, BTW.

      • David Springer

        Twice as many people (2%) think lack of respect is a more serious problem facing the US than all environmental/pollution issues combined. You may rest assured with concern like that there’s a consensus that environmental pollution problems are relatively unimportant. If you don’t believe me then find someone you trust who understands fractions and ask them

      • Marc Morano …. Talks about tree huggers as “psychologically deranged.

        Robert Kenner saying something this stupid:

        People who mislead the public on climate change should not be on TV. Period.

        is a prime example.

    • “it just is not a valid scientific position to assert with certainty that human emissions have caused recent changes to the climate, and therefore the policy implications that stem from that”

      Math offers certainty (via proof); science can only give us confidence (via evidence).

      What we know (or think) about nature doesn’t need to be certain in order to have “policy implications.”

      • True, but the problem is that policy is a function of politics – and politics is a function of achieving the possible.
        If the science isn’t definitive, there is no rationale for advocating totalitarian political action either.

    • “The same principle exists for man made climate change. Based on the evidence as it currently exists, it just is not a valid scientific position to assert with certainty that human emissions have caused recent changes to the climate, and therefore the policy implications that stem from that.”
      ————————————
      It’s worse because the is little evidence of catastrophe at all.
      Even if man caused 3C warming, what is the problem?
      The C of CAGW.

  15. Naomi Oreskes once held doubts about modeling climate science, the main source of alarmism about climate change. I wonder if she still believes what she published in 1994 (see reference below( and if not, why not.

    I believe Dr. Oreskes ought still to believe what she wrote in 1994, for the reason stated in AR4 by WG1 but not followed by the IPCC,

    “…we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled nonlinear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.” – IPCC AR4 WG1

    Chris Essex, a professor of applied mathematics, explained this in his lecture on Youtube, a lecture which is understandable by non-mathematicians. URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19q1i-wAUpY

    Chris Essex and Ross McKitrick, professor of economics have a book which explains more fully these ideas. (Taken By Storm: The Troubled Science, Policy and Politics of Global Warming.) The book has a fuller explanation of the problems with models.

    http://www.amazon.com/Taken-Storm-Troubled-Science-Politics/dp/1552632121/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1424578417&sr=8-13&keywords=taken+by+storm

    Paper by Naomi Oreskes:

    Verification, Validation, and Confirmation of Numerical Models in the Earth Sciences. Naomi Oreskes; Kristin Shrader-Frechette; Kenneth Belitz
    Science, New Series, Vol. 263, No. 5147. (Feb. 4, 1994), pp. 641-646.

    URL: http://courses.washington.edu/ess408/OreskesetalModels.pdf

    Quotation from the concluding sections:

    “A model, like a novel, may resonate with nature, but it is not a “real” thing. Like a novel, a model may be convincing–it may “ring true” if it is consistent with our experience of the natural world. But just as we may wonder how much the characters in a novel are drawn from real life and how much is artifice, we might ask the same of a model: How fiuch is based on observation and measurement of accessible phenomena, how much is based on informed judgment, and how much is convenience? Fundamentally, the reason for modeling is a lack of full access, either in time or space, to the phenomena of interest. In areas where public policy and public safety are at stake, the burden is on the modeler to demonstrate the degree of correspondence between the model and the material world it seeks to represent and to delineate the limits of that correspondence.”

    “Finally, we must admit that a model may confirm our biases and support incorrect intuitions. Therefore, models are most useful when they are used to challenge existing formulations, rather than to validate or verify them. Any scientist who is asked to use a model to verify or validate a predetermined result should be suspicious.”

    • I spent a few hours last night learning about the Antarctic Larson Glacier complex, and the modeling efforts by glaciologists. Infinite outcomes kept coming to mind just on these dynamics. And then I thought of the interrelationships and interdependencies in the other 99.999% of the globe. And we are to be impressed by it all.

      No way, Jose.

  16. The fairy story that climate scepticism is largely the creation of Jastrow, Nierenberg and Seitz originates from a 2008 paper by Myanna Lahsen called
    Experiences of modernity in the greenhouse: A cultural analysis of a
    physicist ‘‘trio’’ supporting the backlash against global warming.

    This has since been unquestioningly regurgitated by Oreskes and others within the social science echo chamber like Riley Dunlap. I was greatly amused by this when I came across it since I hadn’t heard of any of them.

    Dunlap is co-author of one of my favourite social science papers, “Leading voices in the denier choir”, in which there is a section on the “the denial machine and its echo chamber”. In support of his thesis that climate deniers live in an echo chamber, Dunlap cites papers by Dunlap, Oreskes, Dunlap, Lahsen, Oreskes, Dunlap and Dunlap.

    • Paul

      I once came across a paper by Michael Mann whereby he quoted himself for around 4 of the 6 references. So it must be right

      tonyb

      • Tony , have you gone through the 1500 page AR5 WGI document in any detail? I ask because for the first time I went through it vs just the SPM, and noticed more than a fee sentences, especially in the Paleo chapter, that admit we are not in unprecedented territory. I thought it confirmed what you have been saying, in several aspects.

      • cerescokid

        I have been through all the AR documents over the years. There is undoubtedly scepticism and doubt in there tucked away, but the important document is the Summary for policy makers which tends to the certain.

        You can see from comments on this blog that paleo records from millions of years ago are more valued than our recent experiences during the Holocene.

        We are by no means in uncharted territory. When we are is the time I will start to get worried

        tonyb

      • I don’t think that the advocates and journalists who cite the IPCC read the SPM, not to mention the technical papers, or even their abstracts. It’s like a huge game of telephone.

        Sometimes, by following a link in a news piece, I have found that the article cited contradicts the claims made on it’s authority.

      • When Obama, Al Gore et al act like they are truly concerned about catastrophic man made global warming I will certainly fear for my life.

      • ==> “mikerestin | March 17, 2015 at 2:02 pm |”

        Is that miker?

      • Lichanos, +

        I think that might be a bit of an understatement, often it’s the case that research doesn’t support claims made in article. Not only that, I’ve found that research sometimes doesn’t support the statements of the authors.

        Methane bomb, ocean acidification, unprecedented… it’s almost always the case with phrases like these.

  17. I get annoyed at the suggestion that public skepticism of AGW exists largely because of the manufactured doubt by big oil and others with vested interests. This is about as sensible as saying that more people would be Christians if it weren’t for Islamic propaganda against Christianity.

    • I’m getting confused. For a moment there I was convinced that Climate Denial was funded by the tobacco lobby. It’s beginning to make my head spin.

      • It’s obvious we must be. Tobacco is a plant, plants love CO2, so plants are deniers and therefore the tobacco lobby will be funding us.
        …. or something like that.

  18. That is rather an interesting idea I think, from the film’s producer – that doubt is bad. Sounds rather religious: doubt (or enquiry) are bad, belief is good.
    Ought one, I wonder to simply believe that hypothesis, or doubt it?

  19. Some nonsense is undoubtedly spotted by sceptics and by those who have not looked closely at the subject.

    From the LA Review

    ‘Gallo is as unchangeable as the ice caps used to be, and he blinks at Inglis in confusion while booming nonsense to his listeners with the voice of God: “We’ve got more polar bears than we’ve ever had before!”

    The ice caps are not unchangeable. We can see through history the fluctuations of the arctic and that in the early 1900’s the antarctic began a retreat which was reversed some decades ago.

    Susan Crockford of Polar Bear science is continually fighting against the idea that the bears are on their last legs because of climate change.

    tonyb

    • I personally saw this polar bear thing in action. The original article was a CBC article on how the polar bears of a tiny and specific population around Hudson Bay were having troubles because of a late winter freeze. Somehow this morphed into all polar bears about to go extinct due to polar ice melting. It struck me as totally insane since according to historical accounts of Canada polar bears used to regularly live in the Gulf of St Lawrence and in southern Manitoba. They were extirpated from these regions by the arrival of Europeans, and therefore the idea that losing ice would make them go extinct was just plain crazy. Furthermore, while this was going the press was also reporting how increasing number of polar bears were becoming a real hazard in Nunavat due to to “Nanuk’s” propensity for hunting and eating people. Yes, one small group in Hudson Bay area had some trouble but how that got conflated into all polar bears world wide about to go extinct I have never been able to figure out.

  20. “Inglis pipes in, wanly, with facts, but he’s like a third-chair flautist competing against a first-rate guitar shredder. Who’s even listening?”

    The LA Times reviewer needs to lay off the florid language and precious figures of speech and “wanly” check the odd fact or two himself. Through its long history this particular silly rag has engaged in quite a lot of climate alarmism, none sillier than this comment about ice caps.

    Unchangeable ice caps! When a bloke says that, you are bound to ask what else he doesn’t know or can’t be bothered knowing.

    Still, as long as climate “science” is based on sluggish indifference to observation and the physical world there will be a market for the LA Times’ pretentious slop.

    • “Unchangeable ice caps!” Totally daft, I only wear mine in the hottest weather, I have a woollen beanie for mid-year.

      • Inner-Sydney coffee shops are full of these types who wear woollen scarves and hats through the summer. No wonder hipsters think the planet is warming.

      • Actually, “skeptics” tell me that hardly any “skeptics” doubt that the planet is warming (and that ACO2 emissions contribute to that warming).

        I get that it’s hard to see how that’s consistent with what you see in these threads, but “skeptics” use that rock-solid “anecdotal evidence” to back that scientific claim.

      • Joshua,

        ‘Actually, “skeptics” tell me that hardly any “skeptics” doubt that the planet is warming (and that ACO2 emissions contribute to that warming).’

        Strange. I don’t see many commenters in this thread telling you that hardly any “skeptics” doubt that the planet is warming (and that ACO2 emissions contribute to that warming).

        How many “skeptics” told you that? When you say “skeptics,” what percentage of “skeptics” do you mean?

        (Since you’re not a “skeptic,” I assume you have the figures handy. You would never use “anecdotal evidence” to back your scientific claim, would you?)

    • mosomoso

      The Met Office was a chief proponent of the inherent ‘stability’ of the climate
      This from one of my articles;

      “This long slow thaw is clearly at odds with the current view of climate history, best described by the UK Met office-a prime contributor through the Hadley centre to the IPCC assessments, who assert:

      Extract “Before the twentieth century, when man-made greenhouse gas emissions really took off, there was an underlying stability to global climate. The temperature varied from year to year, or decade to decade, but stayed within a certain range and averaged out to an approximately steady level.”

      The Met office took this nonsense off their web site a couple of years ago and now believe in greater variability, as does Phil Jones from closely associated CRU.

      tonyb..

      • Under Thatcher the Met office had a double whammy of both becoming semi-privatised and looking for other funding streams and also becoming dominated by the new breed of numerical computing modellers.

        Out went the old breed of “sceptic” forecasters. In came marketeer and “if we can model it, we can predict it” people.

        Then along came a man who turned up the heating in the Senate hearing, claimed 0.3rise was “99% certain unnatural”, the Marketeers in the Met Office saw a great new way to make money, the computer modellers saw it as a great way to justify ever large computers for their ever growing empire.

        And the old sceptical, scientific based forecasters got left on the shelf.

  21. It takes a serious lack of class and a serious lack of confidence in one’s position to attack dead men who can no longer defend themselves.

  22. “Censorship and propaganda; lets call a spade a spade.” – JC

    Maybe it’s reasonable to not want fr@udsters involved in scientific debate…..some people don’t want to have commenters fr@udulently assume others peoples names on their blog…….

  23. If anybody here has mistakenly received my huge skeptical pay cheque from Big Oil, please contact me immediately.

    I urgently need the money to pay my hugely inflated energy bill. Paying rich UK landowners and subsideers for entirely useless windmills ain’t cheap.

    Thanks.

  24. “The George Marshall Institute is definitely a villain in this piece; from Sourcewatch it seems that GMI runs on a shoestring budget of less than $1M/yr.
    Makes me wonder how $1M/yr, whatever its source, can have much influence on an international political debate?” – JC

    Stunning niaviety probably helps Judith.

    Perahps you could take a peek out from under your blanket of all-consuming confirmation bias and tell us what the IPCC’s budget is this year??

    • [an you] ‘tell us what the IPCC’s budget is this year??’

      I’d hazard a guess that its more than a million bucks just on air fares.

      Burning lots and lots and lots high-altitude kerosene for climos and their hangers-on to go on jollies to ‘Save the Planet’ has always struck me as not only rampant hypocrisy, but also as a metaphorical two fingers to the rest of us.

      • Lati,

        From all the ‘skeptic’ blather, you’d think it was a squillionty dollars.

        But seeing that the IPCC budget isn’t hugely greater than GMI’s, we’d have to consider the meme of the all-powerful IPCC cabal, enforcing concensus and destroying the very INTEGRITY of science, to be bankrupt.

      • @michael

        I was under the impression that the actual guys doing the work for the IPCC were ‘volunteers’ and therefore their pay, rations, welfare and pensions were paid by their home institutions, not by the IPCC itself.

        So a direct comparison between $1M for *all* costs of some institute I’ve never heard of and the IPCC’s budget for just secretarial support and admin is invalid.

      • Not only that, but consider the very large computer resources used to run the climate models that are used in, and motivated, but the IPCC. And then there are the government research budgets, funding proposals that are motivated by the IPCC.

      • Not only that, but consider the very large computer resources used to run the climate models that are used in, and motivated, but the IPCC.

        And I suppose we don’t need those large resources because the IPCC is motivating it? I thought everything was so uncertain and therefore it would seem we need a lot more resources in invested to tackle such a wicked, but very important problem, right?

      • No Joseph, it’s all a conspiracy by the mighty IPCC!

      • Judith,

        You’ve forgotten your own narrative;
        “…influence on an international political debate?”

        Unless, you think the supercomputers are directly involved in the debate….

    • David Springer

      IPCC funding = $137 million to date.

      Thanks for asking.

      To be fair it dropped from $7M in 2013 to $1M in 2014 almost half of the decline due to major 2013 contributors USA ($2M), EU ($1M), and Denmark ($1M) making no contribution in 2014.

      Who knew Obummer was simultaneously upping his propaganda campaign at home while bailing out of IPCC like a rat from a sinking ship.

      source:
      http://www.ipcc.ch/apps/eventmanager/documents/19/270820141026-p40_doc2_trust_fund_programme_Budget.pdf

      • David,

        2015 IPCC budget – $5 million.

        Let’s compare that to GMI’s.

        Now let’s re-visit Judith’s narrative of;
        “Makes me wonder how $1M/yr, whatever its source, can have much influence on an international political debate?”

      • David Springer

        I guess you don’t want to acknowledge cumulative funding of $137M for IPCC. I don’t blame you for the dodge of course except in the sense of intellectual honesty or lack thereof.

        Speaking of intellectual honesty what would you estimate free labor from contributing authors and free media coverage is worth IPCC vis Marshall Institute? Hazard a guess. My guess is two orders of magnitude judging by how often each organization is mentioned on the intertubes:

        http://www.googlefight.com/index.php?word1=ipcc&word2=%22marshall+institute%22

      • Steven Mosher

        David you have to price the donated hours of all the scientists.
        as an organization the IPCC is mousenuts.

      • Michael, the Geneva based IPCC has about 20 employees. They are basically the travel bureau for all the ‘volunteer’ ‘free’ ‘scientists’ who not only do the work, but also provide their own travel expenses. For AR5 WG2 (excluding sub group sessions) see essay cAGw. There were 8, in tough places like Venice, Boulder, and Tsukuba.

        For reference, the 2014 US budget for climate research funding was $2.66 billion. By comparison, the US 2014 budget for weather research (things like improved hurricane track/intensity prediction) was $82 million.
        FUBAR.

      • Rud,

        I’ve seen people say what a smart guy who are, but you really do make silly blunders.

        Go back to Judith’s narrative about the GMI’s paltry $1mill/yr budget and the influence of this advocacy. The IPCC is a reasoable comprison in terms of objectives (at least as claimed by GMI, reality is another story).

        But you throw up the US climate research budget as a point of comparison.

        Remind me how much climate research GMI does??

        It’s a patently absurd point.

        That’s the power of disconfirmation bias. Judith also has a severe case..

      • Michael, FYI only a fraction of GMI budget goes to climate.

      • Michael

        Surely the question is how much would it cost to put together the ipcc reports if the scientists were paid for the work that goes into it?

        The second question is then whether scientists ARE being paid to do the work, albeit indirectly, as govts provide rsearch money for reports that are intended for use by the ipcc.

        http://tomnelson.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/email-3539-july-2008-phil-jones-on.html

        The met office for example get paid expenses for their attendance At ipcc meetings from the uk govt and uk govt research money for ipcc bound reports and get funding from organisations such as BP .

        Whilst he ipcc secretariat is therefore relatively modest there are hundreds of people behind the scenes all making a contribution which, sooner or later, is funded by a govt or corporation of some kind.

        Researching material for a report takes hundreds of hours and few scientists will be in a position to do this for nothing.

        Tonyb

      • David Springer

        $137 million is mouse nuts? Must be a very rare breed.

        From the quality of the work I don’t see a real generous outpouring of effort from scientists. It’s simply a canvas of opinion and only done once every five years.
        .

      • Judith,

        And not a cent is spent on research, or even assessment.

        It is however, a good deal of political advocacy, dishonestly dressed up as objective analysis.

        Let’s not forget that, despite your selective reading, Reiner Grundman stated that the ‘Merchants of Doubt’ do exist, and at least in the case of acid rain, were quite effective in achieving their goals.

        Your point regarding the apparent paltry budget of GMI, is very weak tea.

      • ” climatereason | March 16, 2015 at 6:53 pm |
        Michael
        Surely the question is how much would it cost to put together the ipcc reports if the scientists were paid for the work that goes into it?”

        No.

        Judith dismissed any political influence of GMI simply based on a budget.
        The IPCC budget for this year is a paltry $5million, yet it controls all science,enforcing its iron clad dogma and destroying the very integrity of science, all via the bloated and legendary inefficient bureaucracy of the UN.

        Imagine what the lean, super-efficient, market-driven, innovative GMI could do with a few hundred thousand bucks!

    • Michael:

      I am sorry, but perhaps I missed something. Are you saying that the IPCC directly funds climate research? Because AFAIK they do not.

      In other words, your apparent argument here is not just fallacious, but it’s also dishonest. Stunningly so.

      Are you interested in the science or in winning?

      • No, do you think GMI does??

      • Your arguments change so rapidly it’s hard to keep up. Last week it was all the evil oil money corrupting science and now it’s some podunk research institute. It would help if you could get your story straight.

        I asked you a question, which you neglected to answer: are you interested in the science or in winning?

      • “Your arguments change so rapidly it’s hard to keep up. Last week it was all the evil oil money corrupting science and now it’s some podunk research institute.”

        What?

  25. I find it interesting that Judith finds no errors in the movie. I found a couple pretty obvious ones. surprised no one here mentioned them. 0f course they didn’t detract from the narrative.
    Naomi was quite clear in the movie that the real driving force in climate change denial is not fossil fuel money but ideology. That oil companies don’t have to fund attacks on climate science very much because there is a ideologically motivated base of people willing to do it for free.
    that belief seems well supported on this blog.

    • David Springer

      “the real driving force in climate change denial is not fossil fuel money but ideology”.

      As well, the real driving force behind climate change alarmism isn’t science but ideology.

    • I haven’t seen the movie

    • And there isn’t a lot of science being done on their side so they rely on ideological think tanks and journalists to promote and spread various messages about climate science.

    • That oil companies don’t have to fund attacks on climate science very much because there is a ideologically motivated base of people willing to do it for free.

      How would you characterize this ideology?

      • Steven Mosher

        How would you characterize this ideology?.

        Do your own homework. It’s pretty clear.

  26. Propaganda? Isn’t this a matter of the pot calling the kettle black?

    Oreskes rose to fame with a study showing that professional journals only print the dogma of the day, and thereby claiming a consensus. And all the time presuming the consensus forming, Popper’s intersubjectivity, a major of tenet of Post Modern Science (PMS) was a valid replacement for Modern Science, as it has been practiced since Bacon introduced Cause & Effect to replace Aristotle’s childish induction.

    What needs to be deconstructed is not skepticism, the virtue among the scientifically literate, but PMS among the academic physical sciences.

    • Interesting – I had never heard of the realist vs PMS controversy until now. The material is complicated and dense.

    • Steven Mosher

      you dont understand PMS

      • Does anyone understand PMS? If you mention realism, Joshua and the minions will descend upon you. Scientific objectivity gets you a denier/delayer pigeonhole. Instead of post modern, an oxymoron to begin with, why not just stick to soft science versus hard science.

      • Steven Mosher

        Does anyone understand PMS?

        Five dollars please. That is my going rate for dumb questions.

      • t/here are minions here?

        ===> “Scientific objectivity gets you a denier/delayer pigeonhole.”

        See. This is why I lurve Climate Etc. ‘Cause when I read the comments I get to find out what “scientific objectivity” is – in this case, whatever it is that Cap’n believes to be true (while Mr. T is unavailable by phone).

      • Mosher, put it on my account. Personally I prefer post-normal science, at least there you know you are entering the abnormal zone.

        Joshua, you will of course never get it but part of the uncertainty monster is the confounding factors. Mosher has climbed on the kill coal because of pm25 and even may a ludicrous proposal or two. Bjorn Lomborg has an excellent article in Forbes on what is a major confounding factor and most likely the larger of the particulate matter problems, indoor air pollution.

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/bjornlomborg/2014/05/12/the-worlds-biggest-environmental-killer/

        Post modern Mosher uses his dulled occams razor to determine his latest world saving plan without considering that humans spend a fairly substantial amount of time indoors. This is similar to the grand plans to improve southern health care when distance from first responders accounts for most of the small difference longevity in the redneck states.

        Remember that passive smoking study I mentioned a few years back that didn’t consider indoor air quality?

      • davideisenstadt

        Dude I lived with women a good part of my life…i dont really understand PMS…..

      • davide, “Dude I lived with women a good part of my life…i dont really understand PMS…..”

        Nice to see at least someone has a sense of humor

      • Joshua:

        See. This is why I lurve Climate Etc. ‘Cause when I read the comments I get to find out what “scientific objectivity” is – in this case, whatever it is that Cap’n believes to be true (while Mr. T is unavailable by phone).

        So are you claiming that so-called skeptics are united and that comments on this board represents what they all believe?

        Seems like you love to create strawmen by finding the dumbest anti-AGW comments here and then attributing those arguments to Dr. Curry unless she specifically rejects them. Are you willing to be attributed Al Gore’s AGW claims unless you specifically reject them in writing?

        There are a lot of bad arguments from anti-AGW folk in these comments. Their existence, however, has no bearing on the serious scientific discussion, and you ought to know it.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Post modern Mosher uses his dulled occams razor to determine his latest world saving plan without considering that humans spend a fairly substantial amount of time indoors.”

        huh. coal is not a beauty product. whether burned inside for heating or for electricity. In China over 40% of households use coal for heating or cooking. dipshit… here http://www.who.int/indoorair/guidelines/hhfc/Review_8.pdf

  27. Can I also add a great thanks to all the other sceptics who have helped put the nails in the coffin of this non-science global warming scare.

    We can’t all be named individually but we all played our parts.

    Well done!

    This is my contribution:

    Campaign to save the Climate Alarmist

    • A personal message for Naomi. Next time you do a film could you please include more sceptics. In particular I want to have a part! There’s far more who deserve your recognition than appeared in the film so please be fairer next time.

  28. I see no lack of skepticism among physical sciences.
    I see a lack of skepticism among people who have an ideological desire to undermine science.
    I know Schermer and Swiss, both professional skeptics, who are in the movie, they are quite consistent in their approaches to all the various skeptic issues they address, including climate change

    • What’s your point? As a physicist I think we both agree that sceptical physical scientists are a good idea. What’s wrong with being consistent sceptical if you are a scientist? Surely it’s the ones who aren’t who are alarmists that are the problem?

  29. So, what exactly do the terms “climate denier (denialist)” and “climate change denier” mean? Do they deny that there is a climate or that climate changes? Or do they deny that man completely controls the climate and there is some knob we can turn to turn climate change into climate stasis? They seem to use pretty sloppy, ill-defined terms. The whole thing reeks of 13th century thought processes or less refined cultures making sacrifices to appease the weather (climate) gods.

    • Denier is a measure of the grade of yarn used for stockings and tights. A shear denier is a fine grade. So Judith is a shear denier. Coarse or perhaps vulgar deniers are those horrible leg warmer type things – those are probably what they mean by “climate change deniers” – because you’d not want bare legs in an ice-age.

    • They seem to be denying that the IPCC middle estimates of warming rates have any significant chance of being right. This is not just skepticism of the IPCC estimates, because skepticism allows for something being correct. It clearly requires a different term.

  30. I’m able to enjoy films with the usual leftist-designated villains. You just look past it. The dramatic structure is the point.

  31. > So, who are the ‘evil 4′ – the star doubters – that have poisoned the climate debate (after first poisoning the tobacco debate)?

    A rhetorical question that funxtions as an ad hominem in reverse.

    About the George C. Marshall Institute:

    “History of the George C. Marshall Institute”

    The George C. Marshall Institute was established in 1984 as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation to conduct technical assessments of scientific issues with an impact on public policy.

    In every area of public policy, from national defense, to the environment, to the economy, decisions are shaped by developments in and arguments about science and technology. The need for accurate and impartial technical assessments has never been greater. However, even purely scientific appraisals are often politicized and misused by interest groups.

    The Marshall Institute seeks to counter this trend by providing policymakers with rigorous, clearly written and unbiased technical analyses on a range of public policy issues. Through briefings to the press, publication programs, speaking tours and public forums, the Institute seeks to preserve the integrity of science and promote scientific literacy.

    We publish reports, host roundtables, workshops and collaborate with institutions that share our interest in basing public policy on scientific facts.

    http://marshall.org/about/

    INTEGRITY (TM) – Impartial. Unbiased.

    • This is interesting:

      The Institute’s primary aim, initially, was to play a role in defense policy debates, defending Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI, or “Star Wars”). In particular, it sought to defend SDI “from attack by the Union of Concerned Scientists, and in particular by the equally prominent physicists Hans Bethe, Richard Garwin, and astronomer Carl Sagan.”[2] The Institute argued that the Soviet Union was a military threat.[2] A 1987 article by Jastrow[3] argued that in five years the Soviet Union would be so powerful that it would be able to achieve world domination without firing a shot.[2]

      • Steven Mosher

        SDI is a good historical case for looking at positions on advocacy.
        also a good case for looking at how some scientists used doubt to thwart policy.

      • Our adversary had created a great force for the destruction of the military power of the United States, and in the ABM Treaty we had signed away the right to defend ourselves.

        Robert Jastrow & James Frelk, WHY PRESIDENT REAGAN IS RIGHT ABOUT MISSILE DEFENSE.

    • – Impartial. Unbiased.

      Exactly that’s why they call them conservative think tanks. because “conservative” really does mean “unbiased.” in the modern world.

  32. After 10 days in market, MoD has grossed a whopping $54,200. That’s $54K.That wouldn’t even cover the costs of Craft Services and taxis. To paraphrase Monty Python in its reviews of Python’s Big Red Book, Merchants of Doubt makes Ben Hur look like an epic. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=merchantsofdoubt.htm

    • Steven Mosher

      crap I got monkey points.

    • Don’t worry. In fullness of time it will attain the same cult classic status as Reefer Madness and for the same reason.

    • I still enjoy watching Leonard Nimoy’s “In Search of Episode” on the coming ice age. It’s on Youtube. A timeless classic. :)

      As an aside, a little over a week ago I was sleeping in an igloo warmed by a three-wick candle while the outside air temperature was -2 F, and I thought “Spock told us this would happen!” When I originally built the igloo, two weeks earlier, it was so cold that if I owned a penguin I would’ve kept it inside. I wasn’t on an arctic adventure, I was in my yard’s new igloo outbuilding (which was probably violation of neighborhood zoning), in March, in Kentucky, near Rupp Arena.

      Side note: When occupied, the igloo stayed in the mid to high 30’s inside, sometimes hitting the low 40’s. They really work! If global warming gets worse next year I’m going to build an igloo on the back of a trailer so I have a proper mobile home. Maybe I’ll drive it down to Florida. Take that, neighborhood association!

    • They’ll use it in the Education promoting fear system. Compulsory viewing.

  33. Dr. Curry, you conclude “So the book [Merchant of Doubt] is not up to snuff academically,” after quoting what you claim to be “the most insightful review” that calls the book “less a scholarly work than a passionate attack on a group of scientists turned lobbyists.”

    Yeah right. There’s no academic importance drawing attention to the problem of lobbyists posing as independent scientists. So move along now. Nothin’ to see here — hear here — or speak here. But before we move along, take a look at what many other important reviewers have to say about Oreskes and Conway’s book. Copied from Wikipedia:

    “Philip Kitcher in Science says that Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway are ‘two outstanding historians”. He calls Merchants of Doubt a ‘fascinating and important study’. Kitcher says that the apparently harsh claims against Nierenberg, Seitz, and Singer are ‘justified through a powerful dissection of the ways in which prominent climate scientists, such as Roger Revelle and Ben Santer, were exploited or viciously attacked in the press’.

    “In The Christian Science Monitor, Will Buchanan says that Merchants of Doubt is exhaustively researched and documented, and may be one of the most important books of 2010. Oreskes and Conway are seen to demonstrate that the doubt merchants are not ‘objective scientists’ as the term is popularly understood. Instead, they are ‘science-speaking mercenaries’ hired by corporations to process numbers to prove that the corporations’ products are safe and useful. Buchanan says they are salesmen, not scientists.

    “Bud Ward published a review of the book in The Yale Forum on Climate and the Media. He wrote that Oreskes and Conway use a combination of thorough scholarly research combined with writing reminiscent of the best investigative journalism, to ‘unravel deep common links to past environmental and public health controversies’. In terms of climate science, the authors’ leave ‘little doubt about their disdain for what they regard as the misuse and abuse of science by a small cabal of scientists they see as largely lacking in requisite climate science expertise’.

    “Phil England writes in The Ecologist that the strength of the book is the rigour of the research and the detailed focus on key incidents. He said, however, that the climate change chapter is only 50 pages long, and recommends several other books for readers who want to get a broader picture of this aspect: Jim Hoggan’s Climate Cover-Up, George Monbiot’s Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning and Ross Gelbspan’s The Heat is On and Boiling Point. England also said that there is little coverage about the millions of dollars which Exxon Mobil has put into funding groups actively involved in promoting climate change denial and doubt.

    “A review in The Economist calls this a powerful book which articulates the politics involved and the degree to which scientists have sometimes manufactured and exaggerated environmental uncertainties, but opines that the authors fail to fully explain how environmental action has still often proved possible despite countervailing factors.

    “Robert N. Proctor, who coined the term ‘agnotology’ to describe the study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt, wrote in American Scientist that Merchants of Doubt is a detailed and artfully written book. He set it in the context of other books which cover the ‘history of manufactured ignorance’: David Michaels’s Doubt is their Product (2008), Chris Mooney’s The Republican War on Science (2009), David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz’s Deceit and Denial (2002), and his own book Cancer Wars (1995).

    “Robin McKie in The Guardian states that Oreskes and Conway deserve considerable praise for exposing the influence of a small group of Cold War ideologues. Their tactic of spreading doubt has confused the public about a series of key scientific issues such as global warming, even though scientists have actually become more certain about their research results. McKie says that Merchants of Doubt includes detailed notes on all sources used, is carefully paced, and is “my runaway contender for best science book of the year”.

    “Sociologist Reiner Grundmann’s review in BioSocieties journal, is rather critical. He raises doubts about the beliefs of the authors that science serves as a factual basis of regulation. Grundmann assumes a lack of basic understanding of the political process and the mechanisms of knowledge policy. While the book provides all the (formal) hallmarks of science, Grundmann sees it less as a scholarly work than a passionate attack with a biased perspective. He doubts whether it helps the causes it advocates.

    “William O’Keefe and Jeff Kueter from the George C. Marshall Institute, an American politically conservative think tank founded by Seitz provide negative commentary on Merchants of Doubt. They say that although it has the appearance of a scholarly work, it discredits and undermines the reputations of people who in their lifetime contributed greatly to the American nation. They say that it does this by questioning their integrity, impugning their character, and questioning their judgement.”

    Oh, my! Even this last reviewer wound up praising the book: Questioning the judgment and integrity and impugning the character of lobbyists who pose as scientists is a vital service needed to prevent the ongoing corruption of science.

    • David Springer

      All those sterling reviews yet it flopped flat on its face at the box office.

      Non sequitur.

    • Andrew

      The pair are not ‘historians’ in the sense it would be commonly understood. They are ‘historians of science’ which is a quite different thing surely?

      http://www.merchantsofdoubt.org/authors.html

      If you want to obtain a view of the climate of the past you either seek someone experienced in paleo studies for the distant past, or a historical climatologist for more recent stuff, say the last few thousands of years.

      There is a blurring of the time lines of course, but either of these last two categories are quite different to what Conway and Oreskes practice.

      tonyb

      • “Historian noun — an expert in or student of history, especially that of a particular period, geographical region, or social phenomenon.”

        Hey Tonyb, I surely don’t know what “common” people understand — but people who go by the dictionary definition would say that a historian is a historian whether they are a historian of science, a sports historian, a military historian, or expert in any other field of history.

        Based on the rest of your comment, it appears you don’t know what Oreskes and Conway’s book is about. It’s NOT an analysis of climate in the distant past or the past few thousand years. It’s an analysis of the current climate of disinformation created by lobbyists posing as scientists.

        Naomi Oreske is Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego, and Eric Conway is the historian at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

      • Andrew:

        “Naomi Oreske [sic] is Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego”

        No, it’s much worse than that. Harvard.

        For shame.

    • AndrewS, I don’t rely on reviews in the Guardian as you apparently do. In fact I rely on no one including the Royal Society; Nullius in Verba. (See the new GWPF paper on RS climate half truths for a good reason why not.)
      I rely on my own judgement after having read whatever is in question, and after having looked into the asserted facts and background context. Slow, but sure. Oreske’s book is so bad it should not have gotten published. Failing to distinguish between the consequences of smoking and second hand smoke (Singer criticized the statistics showing the latter hazard was clear–when it isn’t, as epidemiological studies of the children of heavy smokers now show–) is just intellectually dishonest. For that reason, my alma mater will not receive another dime from me until Oreskes is removed from the faculty.

      • Rud, you’re too lenient:

        “Failing to distinguish between the consequences of smoking and second hand smoke … is just intellectually dishonest.”

        I’d call it a premeditated elision, not a failure to distinguish.

        And it’s an act of plausibly deniable defamation, not “just” intellectual dishonesty.

        I had to badger the Guardian for weeks to get them to retract the claim in one of Dana’s hit pieces that Richard Lindzen “denies [cigarettes] cause cancer.” It was lonely work, presumably because Goreskes’ implicit lie has infiltrated the public imagination as explicit fact.

        This week the Guardian regular “semyorka” is saying the same thing about Fred Singer, and the cycle of badgerization begins again…

      • Ristvan, please pay attention to what is actually written instead of “relying on your own [flawed] judgment.” I didn’t express any opinion about the Guardian’s review of Merchant of Doubt. I copied and pasted the entire review section in Wikipedia’s article, including the negative review Dr. Curry quoted.

    • Andrew, You have done an excellent job at appealing to authority. The question is what’s the evidence in science, not who can be smeared by nebulous associations with “communists”, “tobacco companies”, or “fossil fuel companies”, or “right wingers” or “socialists.” The political smear is as old as politics (and biased historians) and is simply evidence of exactly nothing.

      • David, there is a reason most of the world’s major science journals require authors to submit a signed form listing all financial or other conflicts of interest. The reason is to prevent salesmen and flacks posing as independent researchers in order to publish seriously biased, inaccurate, and in some cases fraudulent studies.

        I’m afraid your argument reads much like the one we hear from the anti-vaccine advocates who defend Andrew Wakefield — the disgraced physician who published that shamelessly fraudulent study supposedly linking the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine to childhood autism. Wakefield had been secretly working for lawyers, who were recruiting parents of autistic children to sue the vaccine manufacturer. Wakefield had also patented his own, alternative vaccine, which he was planning to market once the cost of the lawsuits caused the drug company to withdraw its approved vaccine. It took more than a decade to finally expose Wakefield’s chicanery. In 2010, the British General Medical Council appointed a tribunal to carefully review Wakefield’s study. They found him guilty on dozens of counts of dishonesty and medical abuse of developmentally challenged children and barred him from practicing medicine in the UK. He moved to the United States where he has loyal support from the anti-vaccine community. And the editor of Lancet, which published Wakefield’s fraudulent study 12 years before, finally retracted the study that has caused so much fear, suffering, and death. He denounced the study as “utterly false” and said the journal had been “deceived.”

        So David, I’ve read your argument many times before from Wakefield’s “anti-vaxxer” supporters, who rant against “government-pharmaceutical industry conspiracy” and their “political smears.”
        A prime example: http://www.skyhorsepublishing.com/book/?GCOI=60239104128420

    • Andrew, your comment fails in the most elemental way. It assumes skeptics can’t think for themselves. It also implies that skeptics even know about these vile conspirators. You must believe the science is sound.

      None of the above is true. I heard of none of these individuals when I started investigating this issue 5 years ago. A couple of the names were new to me even today.

      The holes in the certainty appeared immediately. Is the warming unprecedented? Apparently not. Are arctic and global warming rates of the late 20th century similar to those earlier in the century? Apparently so. Are recent sea level rise rates similar to those 80 years ago? It appears so.

      Do NOAA data depict an increase in hurricane or tornadic activity? Nope. Does the IPCC forecast imminent collapse of Antarctic glaciers? Not at all. Antarctic contribution to sea level rise by 2100 is a couple of inches.

      Skeptics as a group seem to be adept at critical thinking, something warmists have failed at in epic proportions.

      It takes a rocket scientist to build a rocket. But it doesn’t take one to observe a rocket explode and fall to the sea. That is all skeptics are doing. They are just observing the most basic signs of what the climate is doing.

      What the climate is doing is what it has been doing for a very, very long time.

      • Cerescokid, you began this argument with three falsehoods. You assert my comment “assumes skeptics can’t think for themselves.” It does no such thing. I did not make any comment about the thinking ability of “skeptics.” And you claim I implied that “skeptics even know about these vile conspirators,” which is just as false. You then say I “must believe the science is sound.” I’m not sure what science you’re referring to, since the global warming debate involves bogus science as well as sound science.

        The rest of your argument is just as baseless. Take, for an example, your unsupported assertion that the melting ice sheets of Antarctica will raise sea level “a couple of inches” by 2100. Clearly, you missed yesterday’s Washington Post report on the findings of a major international study of Antarctica’s humongous Totten Glacier ice sheet, which is melting at an alarmingly accelerated rate. If this acceleration continues, it could raise sea level in the northern hemisphere by more than 10 FEET by 2115. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/03/16/the-melting-of-antarctica-was-already-really-bad-it-just-got-worse/

    • Andrew, that was an impressive litany of appeals to non-authority.

      Bob Ward, who has no relevant qualifications in climate, science, climate change, climate science or climate change science, really?

      Chris Mooney, the scientific illiterate who thinks skeptics should spend more time “affirming” and “upholding” science, and less time “debunking” it, really?

      Wikipedia, also known as WilConPedia, really?

      • “Scientific illiterate”? Really? Chris Mooney Chris Mooney is an award winning author, science and political journalist who currently covers energy and the environment for The Washington Post — which the last time I checked is one of the nation’s most prestigious newspapers.

        Mooney is also author of four books on science and politics that have won a great deal of critical acclaim. His latest, “The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science — and Reality,” was selected as an “Editors’ Choice” by the NY Times and was featured on the cover of the New York Times Book Review. Mooney was also a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — which is one of the most prestigious fellowships in science journalism.

        But you say he is a “scientific illiterate. So I took a brief look to see what acclaimed science books you may have published. I couldn’t find any. Have I missed any? Or articles you’ve written other than these sneering snipes on Climate etc. or other chat groups?

      • Andrew:

        ““Scientific illiterate”? Really? Chris Mooney?”

        Really.

        “But you say he is a “scientific illiterate.”

        Not only that, I even explained why! You seem, however, to have ignored that part. So I shall reiterate it more slowly for you. Chris Mooney—whose only major is in English—deemed this a coherent and blogworthy sequence of words (emphasis added):

        In my experience, climate skeptics are nothing if not confident in their ability to challenge the science of climate change–and even to competently recalculate (and scientifically and mathematically refute) various published results. It’s funny how this high-level intellectual firepower is always used in service of debunking—rather than affirming or improving—mainstream science.

        So there you have it. Debunking is the opposite, in Mooney’s imagination, not only of “affirming [whatever that means] mainstream [whatever that means] science,” but of “improving” it!

        Scientific illiteracy writ large.

        I’m touched that you

        took a brief look to see what acclaimed science books you may have published.

        However, and without meaning to sound ungrateful: that was rather silly of you. The question is whether I understand science, not whether I’ve inflicted my own misunderstanding on hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting readers. Think for a second, Andrew. If I were writing from a position of ignorance (which I’m not), then I could write as many books as I liked—but it wouldn’t make me knowledgeable, it would just make me a tedious poseur.

        A poseur like Mooney.

        The guy who wasted hundreds of pages—as you remind us, without a hint of irony!—on what scientists say the science tells us about the science of why we don’t believe the science.

        Scientific illiteracy writ l—no, you know what? Just forget it.

        If you don’t grasp this by now, there’s very little I can do.

      • Brad, thank you for elaborating and making the problem clearer. You appear to be right, there is a scientific illiterate here. He’s the one who wrote:

        “So there you have it. Debunking is the opposite, in Mooney’s imagination, not only of “affirming [whatever that means] mainstream [whatever that means] science,” but of “improving” it!”

        Mooney did NOT say or even imply that “debunking” is the “opposite” of anything. Saying skeptics should spend more time doing X RATHER than Y is NOT the same as saying X is the OPPOSITE of Y. Telling a cab driver to take Lincoln Ave, instead of Bishop St. or Myrtle Blvd. is not saying Lincoln Ave. is the “opposite” of the other routes. It is an alternative.

        “Illiteracy writ large,” indeed. Not on Chris Mooney’s part, but yours. Although I think illiteracy may not be the cause of your confusion. I suspect you thought by confusing these two words, you could take a cheap shot at the distinguished science writer.

        The evidence of Mooney’s reputation as a science journalist is overwhelming, as I previously pointed out:

        * Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
        * Washington Post’s reporter covering energy and the environment
        * Author of four critically acclaimed books on science
        * His most recent book was elected as an “Editors’ Choice” by the New York Times
        * and was featured on the cover of the New York Times Book Review

        And yours? Not so much. Reiterate such cheap shots as much as you like, you’ll never be able to hold a candle — let alone a correction pencil — next to what the acclaimed science writer does.

      • Let me offer you a little help. You say,

        ” not only of “affirming [whatever that means] mainstream [whatever that means] science,” but of “improving” it!”

        These links can help you better understand what the two words mean:

        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/affirm
        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mainstream

      • Brad Keyes @ 3-17-15 10:19pm, This quote by Mooney is stunning:

        In my experience, climate skeptics are nothing if not confident in their ability to challenge the science of climate change–and even to competently recalculate (and scientifically and mathematically refute) various published results. It’s funny how this high-level intellectual firepower is always used in service of debunking—rather than affirming or improving—mainstream science.

        Do you have a source link or did it get lysenkoized?

        Do you know if articles can disappear and take comments with them from Disqus?

        I once commented on a really stupid statement he made (something like “Why don’t we just trust the climate scientists?”) and I can’t seem to find it.

      • Canman,

        How remiss of me. You can see Mooney flunk the aforementioned shibboleth of scientific [il]literacy in this post.

        Below the line, I drew attention to Mooney’s blunder. To their credit, someone appears to have noticed, read, parsed and comprehended my comment—before deleting it.

      • Andrew,

        you’re still struggling. Let me be even more explicit.

        1. Science has only one “stream.”

        2. Science cannot be debunked.

        3. If you debunk a study or hypothesis that happens to be bunk you are not choosing an “alternative” to improving science. You are improving science.

        4. I didn’t accuse Mooney of having a reputation for scientific illiteracy, I accused him of scientific illiteracy. Your argument from reputation is therefore impotent (besides being nicely illustrative of pre-scientific thought).

        5. It’s always possible that I’m the one who’s in fulminant denial of how science works, in which case I can only beg your forgiveness, Andrew. Unlike you, I wasn’t born with a Democrat brain. :-(

      • Brad says:
        1. Science has only one “stream.”
        2. Science cannot be debunked.

        Sayz who? Before pontificating on the meaning of words, spare yourself further embarrassment by first looking up the meaning:

        science n. the intellectual and practical activity
        encompassing the systematic study of the
        structure and behavior of the physical and
        natural world through observation and experiment.

        debunk v. to show that something (such as a
        belief or theory) is not true : to show the falseness
        of (a story, idea, statement, etc.)

        Most fields of science have competitive “streams.” For 50 years, Alfred Wegener’s theory of Continental Drift was considered “moonshine” by the great majority of geologists and other scientists. Now of course scientists are able to accurately measure the movement of continents and the tectonic plates they ride on. Today plate tectonics and continental drift are a critically important part of mainstream science.

        The history of science is full of wrong theories widely held as true until they were debunked. Geocentrism, Lysenkoism, the Steady-State theory of cosmology are a few examples of widely believed science that were shown to be false and discarded.

        3. If you debunk a study or hypothesis that happens to be bunk you are not choosing an “alternative” to improving science. You are improving science.

        You sure do get a kick playing your little word games. Mooney was NOT discussing debunking BOGUS science. He was talking about right-wingers attacking the findings of climate scientists by parroting falsehoods,

        4. I didn’t accuse Mooney of having a reputation for scientific illiteracy, I accused him of scientific illiteracy.

        I didn’t say you accused Mooney “of having a reputation for scientific illiteracy. I can understand why you prefer to erect straw-men to knock down — rather than dealing honestly with what Mooney or I actually said. I’m just not going to let you get away it.

      • Andrew,

        you’ve already taxed my generosity more than enough so this will be the last correction of your ongoing mistakes.

        “You sure do get a kick playing your little word games.”

        The only word game I know is “Let’s Use The Right Word!”. I don’t exactly get a kick out of it—I’d prefer to live in a world where others used the right word without being reminded—but I’m quite willing to play it when I see criminals against the English lexicon getting away with their infractions.

        “Mooney was NOT discussing debunking BOGUS science.”

        Sigh. The only thing anyone can possibly debunk is BUNK. If you debunk something, it’s bunk. By definition. I’m sure Mooney knows that, even if you don’t. He’s an English major if nothing else, after all.

        “He was talking about right-wingers attacking the findings of climate scientists by parroting falsehoods,”

        You feel no shame in trepanning your partisan calvaria to expose the political chauvinism that dwells within your anti-Republican brain for all to see, do you, Andrew?

        Which is fine, of course—I admire people who are open books, or in some cases, open sewers—except that Mooney was saying nothing like what you project onto him. He was talking about “mathematical sophisticates blowing holes in the latest findings of climate science.” Again, the tacit premise is that said findings must have been BUNK to begin with. “Right wingers” can’t “blow holes” in valid papers just by “parroting falsehoods.”

        This stuff is so obvious I’ve never met anyone who needed it to be spelled out to them. Until I met you, Andrew. Goodbye.

  34. > The bottom line here is that

    That rings a bell:

    3) ENCAPSULATING STATEMENTS – “The bottom line is …”

    In his discussion with Dr. Olson, Mr. Morano hit double figures in the number of times he said, “The bottom line is …” This allows him to seal off a string of inaccuracies, as if the topic is finished, and move on to the next topic, making it difficult for his opponent to be able to “reopen” that last topic to correct things.

    http://thebenshi.com/?p=664

    INTEGRITY ™ – Seal Off Strings

  35. I agree with the linked article Why do many reasonable people doubt science?

    Americans fall into two basic camps, Kahan says. Those with a more “egalitarian” and “communitarian” mind-set are generally suspicious of industry and apt to think it’s up to something dangerous that calls for government regulation; they’re likely to see the risks of climate change. In contrast, people with a “hierarchical” and “individualistic” mind-set respect leaders of industry and don’t like government interfering in their affairs; they’re apt to reject warnings about climate change, because they know what accepting them could lead to-some kind of tax or regulation to limit emissions.

    In the U.S., climate change somehow has become a litmus test that identifies you as belonging to one or the other of these two antagonistic tribes.

    The really fascinating thing is the absolute confidence of both sides. A person inside either camp does not encounter any doubt whatsoever from those around him.

    Would it be possible for a situation like this to arise if the underlying science really were definitive? The problem seems to be the introduction of “post normal science,” which tries to make up for scientific inadequacy with the specter of climate catastrophe. It would seem that messages such as Merchants of Doubt are the expected consequence when so much depends on fostering a spirit of fear.

    • Would it be possible for a situation like this to arise if the underlying science really were definitive?

      Well since it is about accepting a very complex subject that is not always amenable to discussing various issues in sound bites and because the worst impacts occur in the future I don’t think it can be definitive in the minds of many people. I certainly am not capable of thoroughly understanding the science behind the claims made. So this subject is ripe for misunderstanding based on competing claims.

      • Well since it is about accepting a very complex subject that is not always amenable to discussing various issues in sound bites and because the worst impacts occur in the future I don’t think it can be definitive in the minds of many people. I certainly am not capable of thoroughly understanding the science behind the claims made.

        But complexity is true of most science today – it is so arcane and specialized that few outside of a limited group understand it. But that doesn’t make it the subject of disagreement. Neither is the fact that the worst impacts occur in the future a good explanation for skepticism. It is the likelihood of the impacts that is the problem.

        So this subject is ripe for misunderstanding based on competing claims.

        Can a subject be ripe for misunderstanding in the absence of true uncertainty in the underlying science?

      • But people don’t even pay attention to most areas of science and most don’t have the same policy ramifications. That’s the difference.

    • “The really fascinating thing is the absolute confidence of both sides. ”

      Yeah. I call it a bistable percept, analogous to the #Dressgate optical illusion.

      (You have to go several layers down before the analogy between climate change and the color of the dress stops working. It’s a damn good one if I may say so myself.)

      “A person inside either camp does not encounter any doubt whatsoever from those around him.”

      Echo chambers don’t have to be a fact of life. There’s nothing stopping anybody here from wandering outside to surround oneself with members of the other camp. It’s easy AND stimulating.

    • agreed, i thought this was insightful also

    • the echo chamber effect is real but not particularly explanatory. once the polarized instinct exists it doesn’t really matter whether new information comes from within or from outsidethe echo chamber. If you get information from outside the echo chamber you will just interpret that information in such a way as to confirm biases.the cultural cognition project provides plenty of supporting evidence of this. People will look at information from “experts” and assess the veracity of that information based on how they orient that “expert” based on pre-existing ideological taxonomies. people are certain because whatever information they receive only confirms there biases no matter what the information says

      • in other words the echo chamber effect is more a byproduct of the mechanism rather than an explanation of the mechanism itself

      • People will look at information from “experts” and assess the veracity of that information based on how they orient that “expert” based on pre-existing ideological taxonomies. people are certain because whatever information they receive only confirms there biases no matter what the information says

        But what makes people doubt the bona fides of the expert? In the case of Darwinism people did not doubt that the scientific facts pointed to evolution but they thought that this was inconsistent with the truth that they got from their religion. In the case of climate change, people are doubting that the alarmist position is supported by the science, and tending to believe that the experts are exaggerating the risk. And they are not without reason to think so, beginning with the hiatus and the machinations disclosed in the climategate emails.

      • ==> ” But what makes people doubt the bona fides of the expert?”

        I’m not sure why you asked the question. I already explain the theory. People trust or don’t trust experts on the basis of how they align those experts into a pre existing ideological taxonomy. this happens when issues are polarized. It doesn’t happen with scientific issues that are in polarized. The interesting question is why are some scientific issues polarized while others aren’t. With issues that are not polarized, people in general trust expert opinion -such as with GMOs and vaccines.

        ==> “In the case of Darwinism people did not doubt that the scientific facts pointed to evolution ”

        to start with I don’t know why you say that. there are plenty of people who doubt the scientific evidence on evolution. they think that carbon dating is not reliable. they think there’s no evidence to support evolution across species. They think the science does not point to evolution. This is not everyone of course. So my point is that your characterization is too broad to be useful.

        ==> “In the case of climate change, people are doubting that the alarmist position is supported by the science, ”

        your terminology is too broad in many levels. first what do you mean by people? Second what do you mean by alarmism? Do you mean the science that says within certain range is a probability climate change is a potential problem? Is that your alarm is in that you speak of?

        =>> “. And they are not without reason to think so, beginning with the hiatus and the machinations disclosed in the climategate emails.”

        you are arguing a tautology. . And they are not without reason to think so, beginning with the hiatus and the machinations disclosed in the climategate emails.

        certainty amongst “skeptics” must valid because uncertainty exists.

      • I’m not sure why you asked the question. I already explain the theory.

        This would probably be a good time to tell you that I do not always accept your theory.

        People trust or don’t trust experts on the basis of how they align those experts into a pre existing ideological taxonomy. this happens when issues are polarized. …The interesting question is why are some scientific issues polarized while others aren’t. With issues that are not polarized, people in general trust expert opinion -such as with GMOs and vaccines.

        My argument is that, with respect to Climate Change, people would not align experts into a pre-existing ideological taxonomy if (a) the underlying science were more clear, or (b) the remedy demanded were not so drastic.

      • ==> “This would probably be a good time to tell you that I do not always accept your theory.”

        It isn’t my theory.

        Still doesn’t explain why you’d ask the question. Nit accepting the theory would engender a counter argument, not along a question that suggests you don’t understand the theory.

        ==> “My argument is that, with respect to Climate Change, people would not align experts into a pre-existing ideological taxonomy if (a) the underlying science were more clear, or (b) the remedy demanded were not so drastic.”

        Feel free to argue whatever you want without evidence to support. That doesn’t seem, however, to justify a rejection of an evidence-based argument. Perhaps, instead, you might consider presenting an argument for why the evidence-based theory is wrong.

        As with many other polarized and politicized issues, scientific or otherwise, many people formulate opinions without really knowing it understanding the evidence related to climate change. Happens with the majority of “skeptics s well as “realists.” the cultural cognition project does controlled experiments to test the effect of ideology on how people evaluate “expert” opinions. Argue with their research findings, or instead, make arguments by assertion. Your choice. Arguing by assertion is nothing new in these threads. You have a lot of company.

      • Still doesn’t explain why you’d ask the question. Nit accepting the theory would engender a counter argument, not along a question that suggests you don’t understand the theory.

        Perhaps I misunderstood. Could you restate the theory?

      • why don’t you just try restating the theory that you were responding to with your question about bona fides?

      • Perhaps, instead, you might consider presenting an argument for why the evidence-based theory is wrong.

        Perhaps I misunderstood. Could you restate the theory?

        why don’t you just try restating the theory that you were responding to with your question about bona fides?

        Well, that one wasn’t evidence-based, so it couldn’t be the one you are referring to.

      • whether you consider the theory evidence based or not should not determine whether or not you can state the theory you were addressing when you asked the question about bona fidess
        fides.

      • Joshua –
        Your comment that I was referring to was this:

        People trust or don’t trust experts on the basis of how they align those experts into a pre existing ideological taxonomy. this happens when issues are polarized. It doesn’t happen with scientific issues that are in polarized. The interesting question is why are some scientific issues polarized while others aren’t.

        My thought when I read this was that it appears to assume that the lack of trust flows from the polarized issue and leaves open the question as to what causes the polarization. However, it seems to me that the issue becomes polarized as a result of a lack of trust. That is, a person takes a position far from the position of the other side only by deciding that he doesn’t trust the arguments made by the other side.

      • 1000 –

        ==> “My thought when I read this was that it appears to assume that the lack of trust flows from the polarized issue and leaves open the question as to what causes the polarization. However, it seems to me that the issue becomes polarized as a result of a lack of trust. That is, a person takes a position far from the position of the other side only by deciding that he doesn’t trust the arguments made by the other side.”

        I don’t think that the word “only” applies well here (the causality is multifactorial, IMO), but w/r/t the general point you made: Why doesn’t she trust the arguments made from the “other side” – when she can’t actually evaluate the merits of those arguments based on understanding or knowledge of the science?

        People are quite selective in how they “trust” expertise.

        The point is that people choose “sides” based on ideological constellation, and then filter “expert” information so as to align with their identifications.

        Your logic doesn’t address the very creation of “the other side.” Where does it come from?

        The association between ideology and views on climate change mirror an assortment of views on a number of other topics – very closely. Spend some time at the cultural cognition blog – there’s a great deal of evidence that shows that pattern. Is it possible that the issue of climate change stands apart from the similar pattern that plays out with so many other issues? Theoretically possible, I guess, but I’d say pretty unlikely.

        ==> “My thought when I read this was that it appears to assume that the lack of trust flows from the polarized issue and leaves open the question as to what causes the polarization.”

        Not in how I read the theory. The polarization flows from the lack of trust. The lack of trust flows as a manifestation ideological orientation.

        It’s necessarily difficult to discuss the merits and implications of cultural cognition if you aren’t familiar with the theory, of if you don’t engage with the theory itself (not the least because your understanding may be incomplete). My suggestion is that if you’re interested in the theory and testing what it does and doesn’t explain, engage with Kahan at his blog. A few “skeptics” do so, on a regular basis. For the most part, IMO, they don’t disagree with much except (perhaps crucially), the degree to which climate scientists are affected by motivated reasoning.

      • 1000 –

        The reason I was being cagey was because I felt I had already answered your question. Twice. Your question, it seemed to me, to exist largely independently of what I had said previously.

        ==> ” But what makes people doubt the bona fides of the expert?”

        The context of the ideological constellation. The very existence of “sides.” The fact that they are trying to formulate opinions w/o actually knowing or understanding the merits of the scientific evidence.

        Is the magnitude of uncertainty intrinsic to the scientific questions relevant – thus suggesting a greater likelihood of polarization in more “wicked” topics than in less “wicked” topics? Maybe. But the very notion of what is or isn’t “wicked” is inherently subjective. Is evolution a “wicked” topic? What about the risks of nuclear energy? GMOs? Gun Control? HPV vaccines? Fracking? Radio Waves from Cell Phones?

        http://www.culturalcognition.net/storage/thumbnails/4177295-26041578?
        http://www.culturalcognition.net/storage/pathvnormal.bmp?

      • Joshua –

        Why doesn’t she trust the arguments made from the “other side” – when she can’t actually evaluate the merits of those arguments based on understanding or knowledge of the science?

        Of course the average person has to rely on secondary ways of determining the truth. But secondary ways have value. For example, if a scientist says that according to his theory X will happen and X does not happen, a person can be justified in losing faith in the theory.

        People are quite selective in how they “trust” expertise.

        Looking at the two camps that Kahan describes are you suggesting that one of the sides has a greater tendency to mistrust scientific expertise?

        The point is that people choose “sides” based on ideological constellation, and then filter “expert” information so as to align with their identifications.

        Yes, but if the experts are not divided the average person is typically not going to say he doesn’t believe the findings, though he might say that he would rather risk the danger than pay the price to avoid the danger.

        Your logic doesn’t address the very creation of “the other side.” Where does it come from?

        The existence of “the other side” doesn’t by itself introduce mistrust. A basketball game has two sides but that doesn’t make it more likely that there will be mistrust of the referee.

        The association between ideology and views on climate change mirror an assortment of views on a number of other topics – very closely.

        Yes, that was the observation made by Kahan that I quoted.

        Not in how I read the theory. The polarization flows from the lack of trust.

        Yes, that is what I was saying. I had interpreted your comments as saying the opposite.

        The lack of trust flows as a manifestation ideological orientation.

        As I said above, it seems to me that if the experts were not divided there would typically be no mistrust of what the experts said. Nor would there be mistrust just because the experts are divided. Nor is either side inherently mistrustful of scientific findings. In my view, mistrust results when people begin to believe that the referee has a personal stake in the outcome or for some other reason the referee’s objectivity is brought into question.

      • Joshua,

        the cultural cognition theory is falsified by the fact that there are communitarians who reject climate alarmist messaging (and individualists who believe it)—among other disproofs.

        Falsified.

        False.

        Kaputt.

        Finito.

      • Dan’s hypothesis is not a natural law whereby all libertarians should be contrarians, Brad. Relax your quantifiers. It’s not even a causal relationship per se anyway.

        Falsificationism applies to universal laws. Wrong paradigm. Ask AK.

      • Willard,

        thanks, point taken. (Do you mean AK or DK?)

        My comment really applies only to Joshua’s formulation of the hypothesis:

        People trust or don’t trust experts on the basis of how they align those experts into a pre existing ideological taxonomy… &c.”

        As you suggest, the hypothesis can indeed be rescued from the jaws of falsification by qualifying it appropriately, e.g. Some people, gullible people, incurious people, low-information people, people who don’t frequent climate blogs, etc.

        But since I couldn’t recall whether, or how, Dan Kahan limits the scope of the hypothesis, I just commented on Joshua’s implicitly universal variant as expressed here.

      • First two lines of the website:

        The Cultural Cognition Project is a group of scholars interested in studying how cultural values shape public risk perceptions and related policy beliefs. Cultural cognition refers to the tendency of individuals to conform their beliefs about disputed matters of fact (e.g., whether global warming is a serious threat; whether the death penalty deters murder; whether gun control makes society more safe or less) to values that define their cultural identities.

        http://www.culturalcognition.net

        It’s a tendency, so the way to invalidate this would be to find no obvious trace of a tendency between values and beliefs. The hypothesis is quite trivial, if you ask me. The experiments are still interesting, as they substantiate the claim in a neat way.

        The model of rationality it attacks is so implausible as to still be worth pursuing. OTOH, it’s easy to go too far, like Kahan does with his “my competitors are polluting” crap.

      • Brad –

        Yes, I meant people in general, and thus “some” should have been included.as a qualifier.

      • willard –

        I agree that Kahan is overzealous in his defense.

        On the other hand (not as an excuse) he does have to deal with rather inane criticisms from both sides of the great climate divide.

        Which is quite remarkable given that the basic thesis he works with really is rather trivially obvious.

        Which is quite remarkable in that it’s so beautifully (unintentionally) ironic – if you get my drift.

      • Perhaps those who should worry most about Kahan’s findings are libertarians, Joshua, since his work exposes their rationalistic posturing.

      • I’ve often wondered why so many “skeptics” are wannabe Somalians.

        ‘Prolly just coincidence, of course.

      • Or should that be wannabe Somalians.

        I’ve pondered that a bit, and really can’t decide which it should be. Any grammarians about?

      • Ooop.

        Or should that be Somalian wannabes. Now that I think about it – maybe it makes sense to attach the “s” to wannabe not Somalian? It’s the wannabes that should plural, not the Somalians?.

      • 1000 –

        ==> “Of course the average person has to rely on secondary ways of determining the truth.”

        FWIW – many “skeptics” claim that mechanism doesn’t explain how most “skeptics” formulate their views on climate change – but they think other mechanisms are explanatory, such as a common sense insight that climate scientists are trying to bamboozle them.

        ==> ” But secondary ways have value. ”

        Of course they do. We use heuristics to get through life. They have value in the long run as a general approach.

        ==> “For example, if a scientist says that according to his theory X will happen and X does not happen, a person can be justified in losing faith in the theory.”

        But most people don’t really know what most climate scientists are saying will or won’t happen. And people on different sides have different opinions about what they are saying.

        And you’re basically ignoring the mechanism as described. People will not necessarily loose faith in scientist X who says that Y will happen, or won’t happen based on actual events because people have heuristics for discounting disconfirming evidence.

        ==> “Looking at the two camps that Kahan describes are you suggesting that one of the sides has a greater tendency to mistrust scientific expertise?”

        No. Not at all. The basic foundation of the theory is that these are characteristics that apply to humans as a species. IMO, they are the product of human psychology (identity affirming mechanisms which can take the form of identity defense and identity aggression) and cognition (the heuristic of reasoning through pattern-finding). What’s amusing is that both sides are quite willing to attribute these tendencies to the “other side,” but not their own. It’s amusing because it’s so ironic – because such behavior is exactly what the theory predicts.

        ==> “Yes, but if the experts are not divided the average person is typically not going to say he doesn’t believe the findings, though he might say that he would rather risk the danger than pay the price to avoid the danger.”

        You seem to be identifying a flow of disagreement among “experts” to disagreement among non-experts. I don’t think that it works that way, although I’d be open to evidence otherwise. But consider evolution – where for the most part there is little disagreement among “experts.” That doesn’t prevent some people from selectively trusting those few “experts” who fall outside of the mainstream.

        ==> “The existence of “the other side” doesn’t by itself introduce mistrust.”

        No. Mistrust stems from the same root as the notion that there’s an “other side” – the root is identification.

        ==> “A basketball game has two sides but that doesn’t make it more likely that there will be mistrust of the referee.”

        I hope that you’re not serious with that. Of course identification of “sides” is associated with trust/distrust in referees. In fact, if you search the Cultural Cognition website you will see where they have a paper that uses that very context as a experimental condition for pointing out the influence of motivated reasoning.

        The association between ideology and views on climate change mirror an assortment of views on a number of other topics – very closely.

        ==> “As I said above, it seems to me that if the experts were not divided there would typically be no mistrust of what the experts said.”

        You are suggesting a causality attribution (or lack thereof) but not taking an evidence-based approach for explaining your observations. IMO, you are breaking out a distinction that does not exist. No matter how you quantify the division w/r/t climate science, there are contexts where their is disagreement about “expert” opinion that is associated with ideological orientation with issues where there is relatively little disagreement among “experts.” – like evolution. There are other situations, like GMOs or vaccines, where there isn’t a widespread division in public opinion in alignment with political ideology, but there are still people who seek out the relatively few “experts” who hold outlying positions to support the “scientific” basis for their viewpoint. No one claims to be “anti-science.” If you want to say that the amount of disagreement about science-related issues is a direct function of, and proportional to, the amount of disagreement in “expert” opinion, it might be a conjecture that could be tested, but perhaps prior to doing that you should look at applying that viewpoint to the findings of existing research. How would you expect that type of causality, and importantly direction of causality to play out in related empirical research?

        The evidence presented by an empirical approach are not consistent with your ad hoc explanations. Not sure what else to say about that. Again, I suggest that you engage with Kahan as to your criticisms of the empirical research he has conducted.

        ==> ” Nor would there be mistrust just because the experts are divided.”

        Good. Glad to read that.

        ==> “Nor is either side inherently mistrustful of scientific findings.”

        Right. And if you go to different domains of the “climate-o-sphere” you’ll find climate change combatants absolutely convinced that the folks on the other side are “anti-science.”

        ==> “In my view, mistrust results when people begin to believe that the referee has a personal stake in the outcome or for some other reason the referee’s objectivity is brought into question.”

        Perhaps I’m misreading, but IMO the problem there is largely with the word “begins.” It suggests a particular direction of causality. It suggests that the person loses trust because of something that originates in what the referee says or does, as opposed to how the person orients the referee within an ideological constellation. What is the direction of causality behind why the referees objectivity is brought into question – particularly with issues where people absolutely certain about the referees objectivity don’t actually even know that the referee has said or understand how the science relates to what the referee said?

        One of my favorite examples of this comes from growing up in Philly – where people are obsessed with sports and sports talk radio. After a nationally televised game, callers inevitably call in to talk about how, with absolute certainty, the announcers and referees were biased against the Philly team. No doubt, if you go to the city of the Philly team’s opponents, you’ll have callers calling in who are absolutely certain that the announcers and refs were biased against their team.

        I think that at this point, because of the medium if not necessarily differences in perspective, the discussion is likely to be too fractured to bear much more fruit. This one side at a time kind of interaction is not terribly useful when the discussion gets complex.

      • Willard –

        Perhaps those who should worry most about Kahan’s findings are libertarians, Joshua, since his work exposes their rationalistic posturing.

        What do you mean by the rationalistic posturing of libertarians? Do you have an example?

      • Joshua,
        to my knowledge no skeptics wanna be Somalians. Who (or what) are you going on about?

    • Steven Mosher

      more stupid questions

      “Would it be possible for a situation like this to arise if the underlying science really were definitive? ”

      1.Yes. Science is about evidence, not proof. There will always
      be doubt.
      2. The existence of doubt tells you nothing about the truth status of a proposition.

      “The problem seems to be the introduction of “post normal science,” which tries to make up for scientific inadequacy with the specter of climate catastrophe.”

      1. You don’t know what post normal science is.
      2. It is principally a DESCRIPTIVE term.

      read more.
      comment less.
      and dont ask dumb questions.

      • Mosher,

        What do you get out of interactions like this?

      • Steven Mosher

        “What do you get out of interactions like this?”

        I’m now charging 5 dollars per stupid question.

      • more stupid questions
        read more.
        comment less.
        and dont ask dumb questions.

        I’m sorry, but that about throttles any chance you had of receiving my vote for Mr. Congeniality. Why don’t you try with someone else.

      • David Springer

        Mosher is his own best customer.

  36. Naomi Oreskes ‘Objectivity or Heoism’

    “Feminist scholars in particular have focused attention on the ideal of objectivity, and some have argued that scientific objectivity, with its emphasis on the detachment of the observer from the natural world, is a gender-linked ideal, reified by the image of the male scientist scrutinizing and even oppressing female nature”

    why am i not surprised that it didn’t take much digging at all to get to this kind of drivel from this proponent of the grand ‘jury of PhD’s’ theory of science?

    http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/301928?sid=21105664498151&uid=2&uid=3739256&uid=4

    • “The feminist critique of objectivity rests heavily on the psychoanalytical perspective of Nancy Chodorow, who has argued that female and male children articulate their adolescent identity through fundamentally divergent responses to the maternal bond:To forge their identity as men, male children must detach themselves from their primary love-object, whereas female children forge their identitites as women in continuing identification with the mothers…….
      To the degree that primary gender identification resonates throughout other aspects of cognitive and emotional life, men may be more likely to view the world from the perspective of detachment….
      …then the articulation of nature through the lens of a fully detached observer is a gender-laden condept, at odds with the understanding of the world that females develop through their primary affective experience.”

      Thanks Naomi. Good on ye for perpetuating gender stereotypes and attempting to dismantle centuries of scientific discovery through claims of sexism!!!

    • That is really classic. Men are objective therefore being objective is sexist. Why not just say “men present logical arguments therefore feminists are dumb”.
      (However just to be clear in case my wife might read this I’m in no way suggesting that all women are illogical, stupid or that they can’t present an argument.)

      • I’m certainly not meaning to be sexist either. Its just to get to know some people you really have to dig down. There are some really strong forces at work in this society attempting to redefine almost every aspect of our western culture, science and objectivity apparently being one of these….

    • Craig Loehle

      I have seen claims that math & physics are the ultimate sexist sciences (most “objective”) and a call to create “feminist” math & physics….but nothing and I mean nothing ever came of it because it is so easy to call BS on politicized math. It just comes out gibberish when someone in sociology starts throwing in catastrophe theory & bifurcation or such.

    • Oreskes appears to be a sort of anti-west opportunistic nihilist.

    • That quote is a description. It’s not clear from it what her evaluation is or if she endorses it.

      • Yes, true Canman. However, she repeats the ideas multiple times in her paper, showing that she obviously takes this sort of cesspit of ideals quite seriously.
        And as the paper evolves her bigotry only grows. In the end the male scientist is the ‘hero’ and the woman scientists do not get credit because of their ‘wholistic’ views on science.
        “By emphasizing attributes associated with masculinity, heoric ideology relegates women’s work to the realm of the inconsequential.”

        “The struggle with inward temptation–to see the world as one wanted it to be, rather than as it was–required ‘heroic self-discipline.” Perhaps the problem of objectivity in science should be reinter[preted as a subset of a larger and more embracing problem of scientific heroism.”

        Whatever Namoi. Some scientists are bada@@es, men and women alike. They work many years, often pursuing something unlikely. They subject their data to tests, attempt to falsify it.
        Or maybe they just stumble on something…. Who cares.
        They test. Objectivity is not open to interpretation. They don’t need your attempts to deconstruct everything into a post modern delusional feministic rheotoric.

      • What I see is a person who want to desconstruct the great works of scientists in history, discredit the idea of objectivity as a male heroic effort. Instead, objectivity is obtain by sitting around and talking, batting your ideas with the community, voting.
        Consensus.

      • Because she has no credentials of her own, but she want to play too.

  37. Thanks so much, Judith, for your intelligent, informed and articulate take on this very contentious and widely misunderstood issue. I too was shocked by the high level of bias and misinformation evident in so many reviews of this unfortunate film (and book) and have commented accordingly online, trying in my own small way to bring people to their senses.

    I’ve been posting on the climate issue myself lately and am hoping you can take the time to read what I have to say. I’m not a climate scientist, but, as a social scientist, anthropologist and semiotician, I do have many years of experience with colleagues making unwarranted assumptions based on ignorance of certain fundamental scientific principles.

    I’m currently posting on the relation between the “climate change” paradigm and Occam’s Razor, a principle that imo goes to the heart of the issue. If you’re interested, I invite you (and anyone else reading here) to begin with the first post in the (three part) series and move on from there (http://amoleintheground.blogspot.com/2015/03/climate-change-and-occams-razor.html). You’ll find many other posts on the follies of the climate change hysteria, as well as other posts, reflecting my decidedly left-wing views. I am definitely NOT a supporter of big oil, or any other oversized capitalist enterprise, as a cursory exploration of my blog will make evident. Merchants of Doubt does us all a disservice in its crude attempts to politicize this issue even more than it already is. You don’t need to be a conservative to be a critical thinker and see through the hype.

  38. That the CAGW crowd felt the need to turn a bad book into a worse movie indicates to me that they know they are losing/have lost the ‘science is settled’ narrative. Mother Nature disagreed with them. Mechandising doubt about those who have pointed out such really inconvenient truths only reveals their growing desperation.

  39. Wow.

    My local football club, who are about the 100th best supported professional club and play in the fifth division of English football, have probably grossed about the same amount of gate money in their two matches this week as the film has taken in cinemas.

    And much though I love my team, I gotta say that this really isn’t much of a recommendation for the movie.

  40. David L. Hagen

    The Real Cause of Air Pollution Deaths – Indoor Cooking Smoke
    Naomi Oreskes wasted a major opportunity to highlight the real global environmental problem of indoor smoke. Bjorn Lomborg writes:

    Air pollution is the world’s deadliest environmental problem. It kills 7 million people each year, or one in eight deaths globally. 4.3 million of these deaths are due to 2.8 billion people in the developing world who cook and keep warm inside their homes, by burning dung, firewood and coal – filling their living spaces with smoke and pollutants. Indoor air pollution from cooking and heating with open fires is equivalent to smoking two packets of cigarettes a day.
    How do we best address this problem?
    Providing 50% of these 2.8 billion people with improved cooking stoves – which dispels smoke outside through chimneys and vents, is one effective solution. The stoves are cheap and provide numerous benefits in terms of time, fuel and importantly health. It will save almost half a million lives each year, and avoid 2.5 billion disease days. For every dollar spent we do $10 worth of good.

    See the Air Pollution Assessment Copenhagen Consensus

    With Lomborg’s article being reprinted in the China Daily, it probably had more readers than Orsenke’s screed.

    It also had more action: Subsequently Lomborg posted:

    This could be the biggest public health break-through of the year.
    Last century, 100 million people died because of smoking. But this century, if China, India and the rest of the developing world doesn’t change the consumption patterns, we could see 1 billion people die from smoking.
    That is why, a Chinese public indoor smoking ban could be a very good sign.

  41. Craig Loehle

    One could not make up a better underdog story: in spite of having captured most governments, academia, all of the media except Fox, and with rich NGO allies like Greenpeace, the good guys are brought down in ignominious defeat by the 90 yr old Fred Singer, Judith Curry, a handful of assistants, and some dead guys (time travel?).
    A key human skill is knowing when you are being scammed. Even people who are not so clever or educated are pretty good (not perfect of course) at this. Thus the failure to carry them along on the disaster movie script and the listing of climate change dead last in recent US polls.

    • Craig, I agree. One of the most fascinating things about CAGW is it seems to be the first major science/social policy/decisional question/movement (not being a political scientist, I don’t know and have not bothered to research the whatever academic terms) to be decided in the internet era.
      On the one side, the UNFCC, IPCC, vast government funding for the climate science establishment, BarackObama.com, MSM (NYT, Guardian, Sci Am, BBC, ABC,…), NGO’s like Greenpeace, WWF, UCS, …. and even scientific organizations like WMO, RS, APS. Plus all the renewable industry vested corporate interests deperate to keep their massive subsidies (wind, solar, ethanol in the US,…). Plus the developing world hoping for ‘climate aid’. Tuvalu and Vanuatu come to mind.
      On the other side, a few courageous scientists like Freeman Dyson, Richard Lindzen, yourself, Jim Steele, Susan Crockford, and Judith— plus a ragtag band of ‘civilian’ guerrillas like Steve McIntyre, Anthony Watts, Jo Nova, and a few hundred others… All with no funding and precious little free time. Yet the ‘other side’ appears to be winning. Of course with a little help from Mother Nature.
      There will be important history of science, and political science, books written after the outcome is clearer and the dust has settled a bit. No wonder China wants to control its internet.

    • eddieturbulence

      A key human skill is knowing when you are being scammed.

      Which is why the creation of the IPCC was so insidious.
      It shouldn’t be a surprise that a UN based organization is ( gasp! ) political.
      But whether we are aware of it or not, we give credence to the IPCC because of a presumed authority ( and consensus ) of the nations of the world.
      Understanding the politics and history of the Maurice Strong and Club of Rome in creating the IPCC, however, leaves little doubt about how we’ve been played.
      Global warming may be real but very much a hoax of exaggeration for a political end.

    • David Springer

      https://judithcurry.com/2011/07/25/loehle-and-scafetta-on-climate-change-attribution/

      Keep up the good work, Craig. The above still stands out as the best attribution study I’ve seen. Going on five years of perfect prediction while the mainstream GCMs continued to get it more and more wrong.

  42. Beta Blocker

    So far, here in the United States, public debate over climate change has been little more than an endless series of arcane scientific and political talking points tossed back and forth on the Internet between those who believe AGW will destroy the planet and those who believe the whole thing is a massive hoax.

    A truly serious public policy debate over what to do about GHG-driven global warming has not yet occurred in this country. The average voter pays little or no attention to any of these arcane debates, simply for the fact that nothing in the way of serious economic and personal sacrifice is being asked of the American people in the fight against global warming.

    However, this circumstance would change dramatically if the American people were ever asked to make serious personal lifestyle changes, and to accept serious economic hardships, in a nationally-coordinated effort to sharply reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions.

    A constant theme of the Progressive Left is that the fundamental reason why America is not taking effective action on climate change is that action is being blocked by right-wing politicians in the US Congress and in numerous state governments who are being funded by fossil fuel interests to oppose anti-carbon legislation.

    As this narrative goes, right-wing politicians and their fellow travelers among the ranks of denialist political conservatives are conspiring with the oil companies to keep America from playing its proper role in the worldwide fight against climate change.

    If it were indeed true, this might be a powerfully-damning narrative, except for one thing. There remains the fact that the EPA’s 2009 Endangerment Finding for carbon pollution, written under the authority of the Clean Air Act, has been upheld by the US Supreme Court. The 2009 finding enables the EPA to pursue exceptionally aggressive action against carbon emissions, if the EPA chose to do so.

    So far, the EPA has chosen not to do so.

    The Executive Branch and the EPA now have full and unquestioned legal authority to regulate carbon emissions to the maximum extent possible under the Clean Air Act, and to do so without needing another word of new legislation from the US Congress.

    President Obama has said that climate change represents a greater threat to America’s national security than does terrorism. And yet, the Obama Administration has not gone nearly as far as it legally could go in taking strong regulatory action against carbon emissions.

    The Obama Administration’s existing climate action plan greatly favors natural gas at the expense of alternative energy resources such as wind, solar, and nuclear. Obama’s current plan guarantees that America will eventually be covered with fracking wells from one end of the country to the other.

    The only practical way to reduce America’s carbon emissions to the extent that the Progressive Left claims is necessary is to artificially raise the price of all carbon fuels to levels which will make them uncompetitive in the energy marketplace.

    Here in America, this can be done without a legislated carbon tax through an integrated combination of two major anti-carbon measures administered by the EPA. The first measure would be to directly constrain emissions of carbon pollution through a specified series of local, state, regional, and national emission limits. The second measure would be to impose a corresponding framework of stiff carbon pollution fines which is the functional equivalent of a legislated carbon tax.

    As long as the EPA properly follows its existing and well-tested regulatory rule-making processes and procedures; and as long as the anti-carbon regulations are themselves fair and impartial in their application, then this two-prong regulatory attack on carbon emissions can be made bulletproof against the threat of lawsuits.

    What it all boils down to is this: there exists today a clear and unambiguous public policy pathway towards decarbonizing America’s economy, if the Progressive Left wants to pursue it.

    Nothing that right-wing politicians could do short of repealing the Clean Air Act could stop the EPA from legally decarbonizing America’s economy, if the EPA were to be given instructions by the Obama Administration to use its full legal authority in pursuing that goal.

    So the question naturally arises, why aren’t the most prominent leaders of America’s progressive left — Robert Kennedy Jr., Al Gore, Elizabeth Warren, Edward Markey, Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi, etc. etc. etc. — why aren’t they all publicly demanding that President Obama and the EPA use the full legal authority the Executive Branch already has in its hands to largely decarbonize America’s economy?

    • Beta, a couple of addenda.
      First, SCOTUS has no remit to review findings of fact by lower courts. Only matters of law. So there is no direct legal attack on the EPA endangerment finding beyond bad process. Don’t blame SCOTUS, as they could not address the real issue. The Constitution is (IMO) more important in more ways than ‘climate wars’. Congress can change this ruling in a blink. The first skirmish is the ‘replicable science’ bill now in front of Congress.
      Second, the rad libs won’t dare advance Obama’s climate agenda agressively. Union supporters know jobs will just go to China, to whom Obama’s ‘deal’ just gave a free pass. And they have other issues worthy (in their view) of more political capital expenditure. Immigration reform being particularly noteworthy.
      You are watching a failing presidency flailing on foreign policy, stymied on domestic policy, now openly espousing constitutional ends around. Should be quite an interesting couple of years coming up.

      • Beta Blocker

        Rud, when I talk to those of the Progressive Left who are most concerned about climate change, and who want the United States to become the leader in finding ways to reduce carbon emissions, they pretty much go silent when I inform them that the EPA has legal authority under the Clean Air Act and the 2009 Endangerment Finding to do much more in placing limits on carbon emissions than the agency is actually doing.

        The process used by the EPA to reach its 2009 Endanger Finding has been upheld by the US Supreme Court, and the finding itself is the instrument which allows the EPA to move forward to the next series of logical steps in following the intent of the Clean Air Act.

        Once the endangerment finding for carbon pollution had been published, the EPA was assigned by law to become the central coordinating agency of government in crafting a regulatory pathway which mitigates the dangers of carbon pollution, as those dangers are described in the finding; and further, to do so to an extent which is commensurate with the stated dangers.

        This is the EPA’s role under current law, but the EPA is not fulfilling its assigned mission nearly to the extent that current law not only allows, but also expects, given the stated dangers as listed in the endangerment finding. As far as I can observe, no one in the Progressive Left is placing pressure on the Obama Administration to make full use of the EPA in reducing America’s carbon emissions.

      • What do you mean? Is this not enough for you? This is receiving Republican pushback, so they have noticed it.
        http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards/what-epa-doing

      • Beta Blocker

        Jim D March 16, 2015 at 11:05 pm

        What do you mean? Is this not enough for you? This is receiving Republican pushback, so they have noticed it.

        http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards/what-epa-doing

        Jim D, the Obama Administration’s Climate Action Plan, of which the Clean Power Plan is one part, is not in any way indicative of what a truly aggressive approach to reducing America’s carbon emissions should look like, if the goal is to reduce America’s GHG emissions to the extent that the Progressive Left believes is necessary.

        Obama’s plan doesn’t go anywhere nearly as far as it might go in reducing America’s carbon emissions, if the full authority of the EPA under the Clean Air Act were to be vigorously applied.

        The Clean Power Plan is a Potemkin Village plan which simply encourages an already-existing trend towards using natural gas as the primary fuel for powering America’s electric grid. Moreover, the existing plan guarantees that America will be covered with fracking wells from one end of the country to the other.

        As I remarked to Rud and to David, now that the endangerment finding for carbon pollution has been published and has been successfully defended in the courts, the EPA is assigned by law to act as the central coordinating agency of government in crafting a regulatory pathway which mitigates the dangers of carbon pollution, as those dangers are described in the finding.

        Moreover, under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is charged with mitigating those dangers to an extent which is commensurate with the stated gravity of those dangers, as they are described in the endangerment finding.

        The only practical means for reducing America’s carbon emissions to the extent that the Progressive Left believes is necessary is to use the EPA, acting in its lawfully assigned role as lead agency for achieving substantial carbon pollution reductions, as the primary enforcement tool for constraining America’s GHG emissions.

        The ball is now in the Obama Administration’s court to move smartly forward with enforcing truly effective anti-carbon measures. If you as a Progressive Liberal are not putting heavy-duty pressure on the Obama Administration to use the EPA to its greatest possible effectiveness in legally and constitutionally reducing America’s GHG emissions, then it is easy to believe that your true agenda is something other than fighting climate change.

    • David Springer

      The Equal Protection Clause, part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which took effect in 1868, provides that no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction “the equal protection of the laws.” The Equal Protection Clause itself applies only to state governments. However, the Supreme Court held in Bolling v. Sharpe (1954) that equal protection requirements apply to the federal government through the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

      So EPA is stuck between a rock and hard place. Not enough money to provide equal treatment under the law to all emitters and not much chance of winning the inevitable 14th amendment lawsuits if they don’t.

      Congress controls the purse strings. President can’t give EPA the funding it needs to get the job done. This isn’t particularly unusual. It’s one of the checks and balances built into our tri-cameral form of gov’t.

      • Beta Blocker

        David, a reality which is central to the question of how one can go about significantly reducing America’s carbon emissions is that there is no other practical approach which can work except to artificially raise the price of all carbon fuels, and to artificially restrict their availability, thus making them uncompetitive with alternative sources of energy — wind, solar, and nuclear.

        Even a Congress controlled by Liberal Democrats will not place a legislated tax on carbon fuels, nor will they act to directly restrict the supply of carbon fuels. It would be political suicide for them to do so. The only public policy pathway which could possibly be effective in greatly reducing America’s carbon emissions passes directly through the Executive Branch and the Environmental Protection Agency.

        Now that the endangerment finding for carbon pollution has been published and has been successfully defended in the courts, the EPA is assigned by law to act as the central coordinating agency of government in crafting a regulatory pathway which mitigates the dangers of carbon pollution, as those dangers are described in the finding. Moreover, under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is charged with mitigating those dangers to an extent which is commensurate with the stated gravity of those dangers, as they are described in the endangerment finding.

        If one accepts that there is no other practical means of accomplishing this objective but to raise the price of carbon and to restrict its availability, the reality here is that one has to figure out how to do this without the use of a Congressionally-legislated carbon tax, and to do it without violating the Constitution.

        In theory, it can be done legally and constitutionally through an integrated combination of two major anti-carbon measures written by the Executive Branch under the authority of the Clean Air Act and administered by the EPA. The first measure would be to directly constrain emissions of carbon pollution through a specified series of local, state, regional, and national emission limits. The second measure would be to impose a corresponding framework of stiff carbon pollution fines which is the functional equivalent of a legislated carbon tax.

        If one thinks a little bit about how this might work in practice, the two critical objectives one has to achieve in designing an effective regulatory framework for enforcing major carbon reductions is to ensure that the framework is implemented strictly according to existing regulatory review processes and procedures; and that it fairly distributes the burden of compliance equally among all carbon emitters — which includes of course most all of America’s adult population.

        The use of a framework of stiff carbon pollution fines which is the functional equivalent of a legislated carbon tax is actually the most simple, straightforward, and least costly to administer approach to achieving an equitable distribution of these burdens. If the EPA’s two-prong regulatory framework were to be properly designed and implemented strictly according existing rules, it could be operated at a fairly modest administrative cost and be made virtually bulletproof against lawsuits.

        As long as a liberal Democrat occupies the White House, any laws the Congress might pass which are intended to circumvent this much-expanded anti-carbon program could be vetoed, and there would be nothing a Republican Congress could do about it but to loudly scream and shout.

  43. What’s doubtful (to me) is that we need anything beyond BAU for solving the fossil carbon problem.

    Room-Temperature Crystallization of Hybrid-Perovskite Thin Films via Solvent-Solvent Extraction for High-Performance Solar Cells

    The room-temperature solvent-solvent extraction (SSE) concept is used for the deposition of hybrid-perovskite thin films over large areas. In this simple process, perovskite precursor solution is spin-coated onto a substrate, and instead of the conventional thermal annealing treatment, the coated substrate is immediately immersed in a bath of another solvent at room temperature. This results in efficient extraction of the precursor-solvent and induces rapid crystallization of uniform, ultra-smooth perovskite thin films. The mechanisms involved in the SSE process are elucidated, and its versatility in depositing high quality thin films of controlled thicknesses (20 to 700 nm) and various compositions (CH3NH3PbI(3-x)Brx; x = 0, 1, 2, or 3) is demonstrated. Planar perovskite solar cells (PSCs) based on SSE-deposited CH3NH3PbI3 perovskite thin films deliver power conversion efficiency (PCE) up to 15.2%, and most notably an average PCE of 10.1% for PSCs with sub-100 nm semi-transparent perovskite thin films. The SSE method has generic appeal, and its key attributes — room-temperature process, rapid crystallization, large-area uniform deposition, film-thickness control, ultra-smoothness, and compositional versatility — make the SSE method potentially suitable for roll-to-roll scalable processing of hybrid-perovskite thin films for future multifunctional PSCs.

    Add another almost certain 5 years to the exponential decrease in PV costs/price. As well as demonstrating the high probability of further advances.

  44. I really can’t divine other’s motivations when encountering people’s bad behavior. Instead I have to rely upon my experiences discussing someone’s bad behavior with them and generalizing from those conversations. Does the behavior emanate from a sense of entitlement?; i.e., you owe me and/or the world owes me etc.; essentially, a sense of victimization. Bad behavior from one’s perception of power: “I can do this and you can’t stop me” or a sense of powerlessness, “things are happening around me that I can’t control.” Or bad behavior from the habit of externalizing perceptions of self onto others; i.e., and reacting to such threatening demons.

    It seems to me that those who embrace the message of Merchants of Doubt exhibit bad behavior as in name calling; an organized means of squashing free speech and obscuring dissenting opinions, or actually saying mean spirited and untrue statement to marginalize people with ideas contrary to their own.

    If I had to choose, I would guess that the motivation for many who exhibit such bad behavior is out of a sense of powerlessness, i.e., they themselves and the world around them are out of control.

    • It seems to me that those who embrace the message of Merchants of Doubt exhibit bad behavior as in name calling; an organized means of squashing free speech and obscuring dissenting opinions, or actually saying mean spirited and untrue statement to marginalize people with ideas contrary to their own.

      I think that they see it as extreme actions justified by impending disaster.

      • swood1000

        “Extremism is the coin of conviction, whether virtuous or malign.”

        The Catastrophic’s conviction are what is at play; ingle-minded and single purposed. These people are the coin of the manipulators as in “useful idiots.” And the manipulators are very dark indeed; as in evil. I have no inkling of manipulator’s motives.

  45. eddieturbulence

    I’m not sure there’s due appreciation of the irony here.

    Monied interests misleading the public for political purposes?

    Isn’t that Maurice Strong, the Club of Rome, the UNEP and IPCC?

  46. Has anyone ever asked Oreskes, as a historian of science, if she has read or has any comment on The Hockey Stick Illusion?

  47. Dr Curry,

    As I am in moderation in the new Blogger era, what is it that I am suppose to think?

  48. It was five years ago that Oreskes smeared Freeman Dyson during her original Merchants dog and pony show at the LA Times Festival of Books, claiming his climate apostasy was the work of an old man, used to the limelight, just wanting attention.
    It’s at about the 49 minute mark, and don’t bother with the transcript shown… it doesn’t match her dialog.
    http://www.c-span.org/video/?299192-3/inconvenient-truths-panel

    Oreskes’ only ‘scientific’ degree is in mining geology, which as far as I can tell is akin to prospecting for oil or other minerals, about as far from atmospheric physics as is sanitation engineering.

  49. $23k box office and 314th best ever opening weekend evah!

    So much hype, so little outcome.

    http://news.heartland.org/editorial/2015/03/12/merchants-doubt-huge-flop-box-office

  50. “they are not going to win any arguments by making ad hominem attacks on other scientists.”

    Good luck there.

    They have the media on side. Editing and emphasis are powerful when the medium is video.

    They aren’t trying to convince the knowledgeable. Those they just need to silence, which is what peer review and self censorship are for.

    Truth needs no law. But that fact seems to escape most people.

  51. I am hoping that the ‘investigations’ of Grijalva will put to rest the idea that scientists that question aspects of AGW and the proposed policy solutions are somehow corrupted by Big Oil. It just aint so.

    The other side of the coin is that the merchants of doom are somehow corrupted by tenure, no?

  52. From the article:

    “We need to put a price on carbon to accelerate these market trends,” said Gore. “And in order to do that, we need to put a price on denial in politics.”

    For the third time in the last few years, Al Gore, founder and chairman of the Climate Reality Project, spoke at the festival on Friday. Naturally, his interactive discussion focused on addressing the climate crisis. The former vice president focused on the need to “punish climate-change deniers, saying politicians should pay a price for rejecting ‘accepted science,’” said the Chicago Tribune.

    Gore said forward-thinking investors are moving away from companies that invest in fossil fuels and towards companies investing in renewable energy. “We need to put a price on carbon to accelerate these market trends,” Gore told the Chicago Tribune, referring to a proposed federal cap-and-trade system that would penalize companies that exceeded their carbon-emission limits. “And in order to do that, we need to put a price on denial in politics.”

    He called on the tech-minded SXSW crowd, which is dominated by Millenials, to harness technology to launch a grassroots movement to tackle climate change and call out climate deniers. “We have this denial industry cranked up constantly,” Gore said. “In addition to 99 percent of the scientists and all the professional scientific organizations, now Mother Nature is weighing in.”

    Years from now, Gore said the next generation will look back at us and ask: “How did you change?,” according to Macworld. “Part of the answer may well be that a group of people came to South by Southwest in Austin, Texas in 2015 and helped to make a revolution,” Gore said.

    Gore wanted these young, tech-savvy attendees to start a grassroots movement using social media like they did when “net neutrality was threatened or when the Stop Online Piracy Act threatened to blacklist websites that offered so-called illegal content,” said Macworld. That means signing petitions to fight climate change, utilizing social media to call out climate deniers in Congress and streaming the Live Earth Road to Paris concert on June 18, an event designed to draw attention to the climate talks in Paris this December.

    http://ecowatch.com/2015/03/16/al-gore-sxsw-punish-climate-deniers/

  53. Curry has spent quite a few words describing a “bankrupt” film she says she has never seen… Is that because she knows so much about the film that she doesn’t need to? That approach to critique can hardly be considered as rational, in the field of film criticism such public statements are viewed as lazy and lacking credibility.

    Criticizing the film for preaching to the converted is stated as if it’s a flaw of the film. That fact is irrelevant to whether or not the film is good or accurate, and whether or not the film makes more people believe in the cause of climate change remains to be seen.

    • I read the book. No need to see the film. Based on the book, it is crap. Get over it. And, since no one is going to see it, voters are voting their dollars the same way.

      • David Springer

        Based on the author the book is crap. No need to read it.

      • The flimflam of the merchants is probably more evident on film than on a written page. Documentaries don’t often do well at the box office, but I think Michael Moore could give this subject more popular appeal. It is perhaps surprising that he hasn’t tackled it yet.

      • Yep, Michael Moore. He’ll turn it around alright.

    • > That approach to critique can hardly be considered as rational, in the field of film criticism such public statements are viewed as lazy and lacking credibility.

      Do you think Judy read the relevant chapter in O&C, emcooly? All we have is a blurb and a fall from a wishy-washy critique by Grundmann. Not much evidence substantiates her “a scary bunch” caricature and her “horrors” appeal to ridicule.

    • Judith’s statement that the film is ‘bankrupt’ is borne out by the box office. It is taking almost no money. More people paid to Aldershot Town play football last week than to see this movie.

      So whatever the refined sensibilities of ‘the field of film criticism’ may think, it is clear that Joe Public has no desire to spend their dollars being lectured at about a subject they show no signs of caring about.

      It’s a flop.

      • > Judith’s statement that the film is ‘bankrupt’ is borne out by the box office.

        Here’s Judy’s bottom line:

        The bottom line here is that very sloppy history and social science research (Oreskes and Conway) is being used to justify ad hominem attacks against scientists that do not support the prevailing consensus. I find this reprehensible.

        The bottom line is that the “bankruptcy” meme has little to do with the box office.

      • Hmmm Latimer. We must question the judgement of both groups.

        tonyb

    • I am describing a bankrupt ‘meme’, which exists independently of the film

      • > I am describing a bankrupt ‘meme’,

        One does not simply hide one’s judgment behind “I am decribing,” Judy. “Bankrupt” is more than a description here, and begs to be justified by something more than handwaving to your social network. You counter what you call an ad hominem by “who are the evil 4” which is itself an ad hominem that mixes victimization and ridicule.

        The bottom line is that the meme you dismiss is more than a meme, and goes beyond O&C, which you dared not even touch.

        How something can be more than the thing is left as an exercise to Inhife cheeseburgers lovers.

      • David Springer

        I don’t suppose you could possibly spare us the useless unwelcome largely insensible semantic nitpickery could you, Willard?

      • The difference between an evaluative and a descriptive claim might be more important than your rhetorical request presumes, Big Dave.

        The bottom line is that the whole “honest broker” meme rests on it.

    • David Springer

      emcooly | March 16, 2015 at 8:33 pm | Reply

      “Criticizing the film for preaching to the converted is stated as if it’s a flaw of the film.”

      Judging by the box office returns it’s less preaching to the converted than it is selling two hours of air conditioned privacy to ladies of ill repute and their clients at a fraction of the rate a cheap motel charges.

    • David Springer

      emcooly

      You give away the debate when you call climate change a cause rather than a science. It’s in the same class of things as g a y marriage, teenage pregnancy, and gun control.

      Just sayin’.

    • davideisenstadt

      yeah…maybe its time to acknowledge the positive effects of climate change…less death in the winter, longer growing seasons…increased vegetative cover for this good green earth, and stronger, healthier more productive plants.
      BTW: no rational person denies that climate changes…the only people who believe in climate stasis are members of the team.

    • Alex, apparently you have not read the 1500 page IPCC AR5 WGI document. Is it too much trouble? Or is it easier just to accept this kind of hysterical, misinformation propaganda piece? Let me tell you what the IPCC says in their 1500 page AR5 WGI document. They say the Antarctic is contributing .27mm/yr to GMSLI. In case you don’t know, that is 20% of the thickness of a dime. By 2100 they forecast Antarctica will add .05 meters to Global Sea Level. In case you don’t know, that is a couple of inches. They make NO forecast of imminent collapse of any glaciers in the Antarctic.

      Skeptics have learned to use their critical thinking skills. The problem with Merchants of Doom is they have apparently lost those skills and would rather be told not only what to think, but also how to think.

      Thinking for oneself is an incredibly liberating feeling.

    • I’ve never denied the WaPo is a silly rag.

      Glaciers, being the active things they are, are no doubt worthy of much more study. But in these post-Enlightenment times one can’t help but suspect that the fuss over Antarctic glaciers (by silly rags like WaPo) is to obscure a very large and awkward fact of recent years:

  54. U.S. National Academy of Sciences
    “The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify taking steps to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    “The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society.”

    American Chemical Society
    “Comprehensive scientific assessments of our current and potential future climates clearly indicate that climate change is real, largely attributable to emissions from human activities, and potentially a very serious problem.”

    American Geophysical Union
    “Human-induced climate change requires urgent action. Humanity is the major influence on the global climate change observed over the past 50 years. Rapid societal responses can significantly lessen negative outcomes.”

    American Meteorological Society
    “It is clear from extensive scientific evidence that the dominant cause of the rapid change in climate of the past half century is human-induced increases in the amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), chlorofluorocarbons, methane, and nitrous oxide.”

    American Physical Society
    “The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.”

    The Geological Society of America
    “The Geological Society of America (GSA) concurs with assessments by the National Academies of Science (2005), the National Research Council (2006), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) that global climate has warmed and that human activities (mainly greenhouse gas emissions) account for most of the warming since the middle 1900s.”

    • gotta love all that groupthink. I have a pretty good idea of the process involved in AMS, AGU and APS statements. there was no serious assessment done, just a parroting of the IPCC assessment. The APS shows some signs of undertaking an independent assessment https://judithcurry.com/2014/02/19/aps-reviews-its-climate-change-statement/ I have no idea of the current status of the new APS statement.

    • That’s one extra large tub of Kool-Aid you’ve got there.

      • So who am I going to trust? The entire scientific authority or you?

      • The job of a scientist is to be skeptical not trusting, which is why those outside Western academia likens global warming to the ancient science of astrology.

      • davideisenstadt

        Alex writes:
        “So who am I going to trust? The entire scientific authority or you?”
        You do know that “The entire scientific authority” doesn’t really believe what you do, dont you?
        When it is pointed out to people like you that many climate scientists, nobel prize winners in physics,and thousands of PhDs dont agree with your party line, the response is typically bluster and obsfucation.
        The appeal to authority is a logical fallacy identified by the greeks thousands of years ago…

      • Alex — Judith Curry is part of the consensus that believes CO2 emissions are contributing to global warming. There is no consensus as to the magnitude of CO2’s contribution. The IPCC gives a wide range of uncertainty, without any guaranty that the true value lies within this range. There is also no consensus as to what actions are necessary and what actions would be sufficient.

    • bedeverethewise

      U.S. NAS wants us to start “taking steps”? What steps? Billions of people have access to all the cheap energy they want and they don’t seem too eager to give it up. Billions more don’t have it and they desperately want it. What Steps?

      AAAS says “it is a growing threat to society.” There are lots of threats to society, but how we rank this one with all the others is a political question and cannot be answered with science.

      ACS “largely attributable” how largely? “potentially a very serious problem” very serious compared to what, and what do they suggest we do about it.

      AGU “requires urgent action” What urgent action?? Oh I see it’s right there “Rapid societal responses” What does that mean, are we supposed to pass laws that require someone else to invent more efficient cars? We’ll pass laws that require utilities to implement levels of wind and solar that can’t possibly work with our current infrastructure or any infrastructure for that matter. And a better idea, we pass some extra taxes, redistribute the money and I’ll just sit and watch all that money trickle through the fingers of the correct political players.

      AMS “of the past half century” What caused the rapid rise in the first half of the last century? not CO2.

      APS “incontrovertible” If they are smart, they will fix that along with the psychic gobbledygook that follows. Then “We must reduce emissions of GHG beginning now” How?

      GSA This is getting boring

    • What is so dumb about all these is the idea that a society or organisation has an opinion that all members agree on and that can be expressed in a a 2-sentence soundbite. I wonder how many of these statements were put to members for discussion? And how many were simply cobbled together by one or two politically minded administrators who had worked their way up the greasy pole to the top of their organisation?

  55. Al Gore, the gift that keeps on giving.

    “The former vice president focused on the need to ‘punish climate-change deniers…'”

    “In addition to 99 percent of the scientists and all the professional scientific organizations, now Mother Nature is weighing in.”

    “’Part of the answer may well be that a group of people came to South by Southwest in Austin, Texas in 2015 and helped to make a revolution,’ Gore said.”

    http://ecowatch.com/2015/03/16/al-gore-sxsw-punish-climate-deniers/

    Punishment, claims of 99% consensus and revolution.

    Hey, how do I get to put together a failed cable network, and sell it to Islamist middle eastern oil barons for a hundred million so I can keep on being a man of the people?

  56. In case someone wishes to read the relevant chapter before commenting:

    http://ncse.com/files/pub/evolution/Excerpt–merchants.pdf

    Less than 50 pages.

  57. By what logic is a 0.3% increase in solar activity irrelevant (p. 187, ibid), whereas an increase of 100 ppm of CO2 to the atmosphere is the sole or major or even a minor cause of global warming?

  58. The Merchants of Ad-Hominem (ibid) didn’t mention Al Gore said his mentor, Roger Revelle, was suffering from Alzheimer’s.

  59. Oreskes and Conway have taken the global warming debate (ibid) from political drama to the realm of the penny dreadful. As a cheap, sensational comic, AGW science and global warming alarmism would be the PULP FICTION storybook of our times, except that, it isn’t cheap: this pot-boiler is costing us a billion a day.

  60. I am a Jew and I created the CLI FI REPORT to fight against the ignorance of climate denlalists and climate skeptics and the anti-Jewish comments on this thread above are a shame and discredit to Professor Curry’s fine work. Shame on all your Jew haters! CLI FI REPORT: http://cli-fi.net

    • Hehehe… you almost had me there Dan!

      (And I’m an old hand at the irony game.)

      Took me a few seconds to put my finger on the contradiction between your Steve-Bloomesque execrations of “the ignorance of climate denlalists and climate skeptics” and your parting nod to the excellence of Judith’s work.

      Your site is a great resource for cli-fi enthusiasts by the way; I for one have bookmarked it!

      +1

    • I’m recommending a “Cliffie” for, Killer Truffle, a movie about global fungi gone amok, essentially turning the world into a steamy frat house shower from pole to pole.

  61. American Physical Society
    “The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.”

    • The Royal Society
      “…a considerable change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been during the last two years, greatly abated….this affords ample proof that new sources of warmth have been opened and give us leave to hope that the Arctic Seas may at this time be more accessible than they have been for centuries past…”
      (President of the Royal Society, London, to the Admiralty, 20th November, 1817)

      It’s okay. It all froze up again.

  62. Merchant of Doom versus the Skeptics

    For me Naomi Oreskes has been especially disappointing because one of my best projects for the M.S. in Earth Science was inspired by her book, The Rejection of Continental Drift, a superb study in the history of science.

    In Rejection of Continental Drift, Dr Oreskes applied the work of Thomas Kuhn, which to me revealed the “herd mentality” of scientists, first in defending a theory long past its sell-by-date and second in moving en masse to a new theory,

    In the concluding section, Dr Oreskes expressed dismay that scientists should act in irrational ways, “And we are placing responsibility for making new knowledge in the hands of those who have the most old knowledge to unmake. The recognition of scientific expertise — the very stuff that enables scientists to build on prior results — at the same time makes scientific judgments inescapably personal and historical, undermining our deepest wishes for knowledge that might somehow be transcendent.”

    Naomi Oreskes, The Rejection of Continental Drift, Oxford U Press,1999, p. 318.

    For me that was as powerful as Richard Feyman’s statement that no matter how beautiful a theory is, if the real world does not match the theory, then it is the theory that must go, not the observations.

    Quoting several paragraphs by Frederick Colbourne,

    “There exists a perverse interpretation of Kukn’s historical analysis of paradigm change in science. While Kuhn himself regarded his work as founded in the empirical analysis of the history of science, others have taken his theories as normative. Kuhn prescribed how science should be done.

    This perverse interpretation of Kuhn holds that science does not discover the real world and how it works. Science is merely a social construct. The proper role of scientists is to maintain “normal science” by enforcing the prevailing paradigms. Since scientific theories are not “real” the public must rely on the judgment of the experts in deciding public policy.

    Most philosophers regard Kuhn as historian who had pretensions as a philosopher, although some have recognized his claim as philosopher because he changed the debate about scientific realism..

    Ian Hacking and Nancy Cartwright are among those who regard Kuhn highly. But Cartwright and Hacking do not go so far as to support the perverse interpretation of Kuhn as set out above.

    The most potent critique of Kuhn is by Steve Fuller, an American philosopher-sociologist in the field of science and technology studies. Fuller’s book, Thomas Kuhn: A Philosophical History for Our Times, was reviewed by Turner, a professor of philosophy.

    Stephen, P. Turner. A Parting Shot at Misunderstanding: Fuller vs. Kuhn
    http://faculty.cas.usf.edu/sturner5/Papers/ExpertsPapers/7WebFullerVsKuhn.pdf

    In my opinion, Dr. Oreskes has departed from her role as historian by her active promotion of the “post-modern” philosophical view that science is merely a social construct. By attempting to influence history based on her philosophical convictions, she makes the same error as Karl Marx.

    I do not refer to her political views, but her activism, which is to me a perverse role for a historian.”

    End of quote from Frederick Colbourne

    My interpretation of Kuhn is that for skeptics “normal science” becomes a struggle of the fittest scientists to survive in the face of limited funding. In climate science “normal science” has been flooded with billions of taxpayers dollars that have removed constraints to entry in the field. In climate science the mediocre and downright incompetent can prosper.

    And since AGW has become the state religion, the climate preachers have become rich and famous, based not on their science, but on prophets of a doomsday cult centered on the Gaia myth. The public sector recruits members of the cult for high administrative office. Academic promotion depends on publishing and academic journals do their part to assist the cultists to gain promotion.

    • Steven Weinberg is critical of Thomas Kuhn ‘s claim that
      a shift from one ‘paradigm’ to another is like a religious
      conversion in which not only our scientific theories that
      change but the very standards by which scientific theories
      are judged change and so competing theories are
      incommensurable. Only within the context of a paradigm
      can we speak of one theory being true or false. ‘ We may,
      to be more precise, have to relinquish the notion explicit
      or implicit, that changes of paradigm carry scientists or
      those who learn from them, closer to the truth.’ ( Kuhn.
      ‘Structure’ )

      Later in his Rothschild Lecture, 1992, Kuhn remarked
      that it is hard to know what can be meant by the phrase
      that a scientific theory takes us ‘closer to the truth.’

      W/out the regulatory idea of truth to date, and comparing
      competing theories through tests they meet, how can one
      theory be any better than other?

      What drives us onward in the the work of science, as
      Weinberg argues, is the sense that there are truths out
      there to be discovered.’

      http://www.physics.utah.edu/~detar/phys4910/readings/fundamentals/weinberg.html

  63. Reblogged this on I Didn't Ask To Be a Blog and commented:
    How a 90 yr-old man and a few dead friends fool the stupid American public, end of civilization results.

  64. Judy, it’s Grijalva, not Grijalvi.

  65. Ask yourselves why ya’ll hell bent on being climate change deniers. You just don’t want to give up your posh western lifestyle. You’re scared to death of living simply like people do in India or Africa.

    Scared.To.Death.

    • I live in the scrub with pythons and goannas fighting over my roofspace. Still manage to be a skep.

      I flush the toilet from the bathtub…but I’m definitely scared to death of living simply like people in Africa and India. And I flush from the bathtub!

      Flush. From. Bathtub.

    • What would be your plan Alex? Should we become subsistence farmers? Or nomadic herders? Maybe hunter gatherers? Just imagine 7000 million people out and about trying to catch dinner. Do you have an idea how to make that work? Let us know.

    • Alex

      We have lived for thousands of years like people in Africa. For the last 500 years we in Britain have striven to live much better.

      tonyb

    • Alex

      Given the absence of a coherent denial of my comments above about Antarctica, you have reinforced the widely held view that alarmists are not only uninformed but they are also misinformed. If you want the world to be hand wringing obsessed, then you will have to produce facts.

      The public is catching on. They notice that out of the last 75 years, only 25 years have shown a strong correlation between CO2 and warming. In baseball, . 333 might get you a batting title, but in science it gets you a lot of raspberries.

      We don’t need to watch Netflix to see “House of Cards “. It is playing out before our eyes. Over/Under bets are being taken on how many years before it all collapses.

    • @alex

      Yep.

      I like having a life expectancy of 70+, not 30.

      I like that its very unlikely my wife will die in childbirth nor our babies die before they are 5.

      I like that I can have my teeth fixed when they hurt and that I probably won’t lose my nose or worse to leprosy. That I can have cataracts removed to stop me going blind. And that I have clean water and sanitation, not cholera.

      I like that I can read a book on a winter’s night in a warm and safe house. And I like that I’m pretty unlikely to go to bed hungry or die of famine.

      I like that my children will get some sort of education and will have the opportunity to see more of the world than they can do within a day’s walk of their home village.

      If you don’t want to join me in liking those things, you’re extremely welcome to go over and join those who don’t yet share the advantages that plentiful reliable energy has brought us over the last 200 years.

      But until you’ve done so, I suggest that you keep your sanctimonious posturing to yourself.

      • + 7 billion!

      • What living in a state with regulations and taxes can do for you.

      • Willard says

        ‘What living in a state with regulations and taxes can do for you.’

        Maybe so.

        Though I don’t see a proven link between the benefits and the regulations/taxes. There were plenty of regulations and taxes in the Middle Ages. And yet, despite the benign climate of that time, the vast majority of the population of England lived in abject poverty. Regulation and taxes do not, of themselves, bring prosperity

        What is undoubtedly true is that all those benefits depend on regular, reliable, dispatchable, plentiful energy. As soon as the power of steam (=coal) was really harnessed by James Watt, much of the world embarked on a journey of ever-increasing longevity and prosperity.

        And in a few years time, who knows, maybe even the climate will be back to those happy halcyon days of the Medieval Warm Period. Bring it on!

      • > Though I don’t see a proven link between the benefits and the regulations/taxes.

        Find a civilized society without them and report.

      • ==> “Though I don’t see a proven link between the benefits and the regulations/taxes.”

        It’s good to see a “skeptic” think like a skeptic and identify that correlation does not equal causation.

        —> “What is undoubtedly true is that all those benefits depend on regular, reliable, dispatchable, plentiful energy”‘

        Oh. Wait. Nevermind!

      • David Springer

        “What living in a state with regulations and taxes can do for you.”

        Kuwait has zero personal income taxes, the highest degree of personal freedoms in the Arab world, and the highest living standard of any Arab state.

        Report back.

      • @joshua

        Perhaps you would care to explain to us all exactly how the benefits I describe (and I note you don’t dispute) could have been achieved in the absence of abundant, cheap, reliable dispatchable energy.

        Please don’t hesitate to pay particular attention to discussing why they didn’t happen before the steam engine came into widespread use.

        The floor is yours.

      • @willard

        Please see Joshua’s discussion of the difference between correlation and causation. Then report back. Cheers

      • Latimer –

        ==> “Perhaps you would care to explain to us all exactly how the benefits I describe (and I note you don’t dispute) could have been achieved in the absence of abundant, cheap, reliable dispatchable energy.”

        You apparently missed my point – which was about the assignation of causation.

        Here, Sen explains it much better than I ever could.

        http://www.amazon.com/Development-as-Freedom-Amartya-Sen/dp/0385720270/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1426599638&sr=1-1&keywords=sen%2C+amartya

      • @joshua

        Since you didn’t bother to explain your point clearly, it is indeed possible that I missed it.

        But the moment has passed. We all have crosses to bear and that’ll just have to be one of mine. Life is but a Vale of Tears ain’t it?

      • Happy to report, Dave:

        For the regulations part:

        Kuwait follows the “civil law system” modeled after the French legal system, Kuwait’s legal system is largely secular. Sharia law governs only family law for Muslim residents, non-Muslims in Kuwait have a secular family law. For the application of family law, there are three separate court sections: Sunni, Shia and non-Muslim. According to the United Nations, Kuwait’s legal system is a mix of British common law, French civil law, Egyptian civil law and Islamic law.

        The court system in Kuwait is secular. Unlike other Gulf states, Kuwait does not have Sharia courts. Sections of the civil court system administer family law. Kuwait has the most secular commercial law in the Gulf.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuwait

        For the taxation part:

        Since the government of Kuwait owns the oil industry, it controls a lot of the country’s economy; in all, about 43 percent of the GDP. Kuwait’s oil exports vary depending on internal needs – almost all of Kuwait’s energy is derived from oil – and on international demand and prices and production quotas fixed by the OPEC, of which Kuwait is a member. OPEC’s quotas, however, are difficult to enforce, and Kuwait and other countries have been accused of violating them. In 2005, oil production was 2.418 million bbl/day (2005 est).

        http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroleum_industry_in_Kuwait

        The Marxist dream come true.

      • Perhaps I wasn’t clear, Latimer, but you needn’t bear that cross. Just ask for further clarification. If you just leave, some might think that you’re ducking and we wouldn’t want them to think that.

        On this issue, the assignation of causation is quite complicated. You seem to be arguing or a very simplistic mechanism of causation. In actually, the causality is multifactorial. Have you read Sen? He really does a nice job of laying it all out – and reading him might help you to prevent future unskeptical conflation of correlation and causation.

        I’m just trying to help out, dude.

      • @joshua

        If you’ve substantive points to make about the role of energy in bringing us prosperity and longevity, I’m happy to discuss.

        But if your intention is merely to play a game of academic oneupmanship or hide and seek, then life’s far too short for me to bother.

        I have real work to do and need also to cover for an absent colleague..

        Let me know which you choose.

      • Latimer –

        ==> “Let me know which you choose.”

        What I was choosing was to discuss your facile assignation of causality. I thought I was clear about that all along.

        It’s ok – you engaged in “skepticism” and wanted to simplify a complicated issue so as to fit with you biases. No biggie. Happens here a lot. And I don’t expect it to change because I pointed it out. Carry on as you were. I wouldn’t want to cause you any consternation.

      • @joshua

        I refer you to the remark I made to Willard some moments ago.

    • Alex,

      I’ll award you 3% for your comment for being 97% a gullible fool (like Lewandowski and Cook).

    • David Springer

      “Ask yourselves why ya’ll hell bent on being climate change deniers. You just don’t want to give up your posh western lifestyle. You’re scared to death of living simply like people do in India or Africa.”

      Envy.or.guilt

      Which of those drives you more, Alex?

    • davideisenstadt

      A thought from someone posting via a computer, plugged into a highly condoned electrical grid, using technology that represents the zenith of post industrial societies, advising others to sacrifice modern life, all the while enjoying there very things he derides.
      In short, the musings of a hypocrite, one who is so ignorant that he isn’t even aware of his bankrupt morals.

      • Let’s not forget all the freedom warriors screaming “but deaths and taxes!” using a tool invented by federally funded computer science laboratories.

        Moral horrors.

      • davideisenstadt

        eh…Hewlett and Packard invented the lithographed chips in their garage, and the good people at intel did a lot of work without the government funding them.
        The Us government was heavily invested in companies like Cray, at the very time the entire industry was moving away from large centralized computing schemes.
        Kinda like what the government did for society with interstate highways….
        anyway, its clear that Alex doesn’t now his …from his elbow, and is proud of it.
        not to mention “ya’ll”…its like hillary speaking in some bogus southern drawl when she talks to a black audience…galling.

      • David makes a great point. Somalians have computers too.

        ==> ““ya’ll”…its like hillary speaking in some bogus southern drawl when she talks to a black audience…galling.”

        Now here David points out a very interesting association. Perhaps, though, he doesn’t realize how unintentionally ironic it is that he points it out.

      • davideisenstadt

        Joshua doesn’t grasp the irony of his polluting thread after thread… attacking pollution and the squandering of natural resources…all the while wasting innumerable electrons pushing his excreta on us all, and fouling our environment.
        deal with it.

      • I was talking about the Internet, DavidE, co-invented by military programs around the world and Al Gore.

        Computers have been invented by Zuse and Turing, the first co-financed by family money and the Ns, the latter exclusively working for government. Shannon, Hopper, and von Neumann mainly worked for the government.

        Start here:

        http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_computing_hardware

      • davideisenstadt

        Joshua:
        Frankly your posts are those of a putz.
        Arguing over the value of anecdotal evidence…willfully ignoring examples of the utility of that type of evidence…arguing that anecdotal evidence might be fabricated, as if other results and evidence are never fabricated as well.
        Now, I suppose we will be treated to more effluvia from you regarding affordable energy, scientific consensus and the like.
        As for my political leanings, since you really have no idea what youre talking about, I will leave you to your speculations.
        I’m tired of the game you run…you pollute this site enough, Im no longer going to feed you.
        good day.

      • @ Willard

        Tommy Flowers designed and built the first computer, not Turing. Turing contributed some of the theory, but it was Flowers who brought it to practical life.

        Ref: Bletchley Park (qv)

      • David –

        ==> “arguing that anecdotal evidence might be fabricated,”

        That wasn’t my argument. My argument was that with “anecdotal evidence” you have no way of distinguishing “evidence” from lies or from mistaken observations.

        ==> “as if other results and evidence are never fabricated as well.”

        Despite your interest in putting words in my mouth, that isn’t what I said.

        What I said is that the distinction with scientific evidence is that it is subjected to controls for the influence of various biases – whereas citing anecdotes as evidence has no such controls.

        That’s why, you would engage in the problematic travel from Alex’s use of “y’all” to Hillary’s – as if there is a somehow meaningful association there. You are merely stringing together largely unassociated anecdotal observations. You haven’t controlled your citation of “anecdotal evidence.” Scientific use of evidence would expose the flimsy nature of your association; for example, that to draw some line of association between Alex and Hillary is best explained by your own ideological orientation rather than anything inherent in who says “y’all”

        Anyway, thanks for the engagement, David I appreciate your reversal in your opinion that I was beneath your attention – no matter how fleeting it was. I consider it an honor to have had even a brief opportunity to exchange views with someone who write comments so non-effluvial as yours.

      • Here, Latimer:

        Flowers’s first contact with the wartime codebreaking effort came in February 1941[2] when his director, W Gordon Radley was asked for help by Alan Turing, who was then working at the government’s Bletchley Park codebreaking establishment 50 miles north west of London in Buckinghamshire. Turing wanted Flowers to build a decoder for the relay-based Bombe machine, which Turing had developed to help decrypt the Germans’ Enigma codes. Although the decoder project was abandoned, Turing was impressed with Flowers’s work, and in February 1943 introduced him to Max Newman who was leading the effort to automate part of the cryptanalysis of the Lorenz cipher. This was a high-level German cipher generated by a teletypewriter in-line cipher machine, the SZ40/42, one of their “Geheimschreiber” (secret writer) systems, that was called “Tunny” by the British. It was a much more complex system than Enigma; the decoding procedure involved trying so many possibilities that it was impractical to do by hand. Flowers and Frank Morrell (also at Dollis Hill) designed the Heath Robinson, the first machine designed to decrypt the Lorenz or “Fish” machine cyphers.

        http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Flowers

        Colossus postdates the Z3 and the Atanassov-Berry.

        ***

        In any case, Bletchley Park wasn’t an industrialist hub:

        http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bletchley_Park

      • @willard

        I fail to see your point. Turing’s Bombe was not a computer, but a decoding device. Flowers designed and built Colossus, rightly considered to be the world’s first programmable computer.

        I had the happy chance to spend the day at Bletchley Park last week where these two different machines are discussed (and demonstrated using modern replicas) in some detail. Should your path ever take you that way, I thoroughly recommend a visit.

        As to your observation ‘In any case, Bletchley Park wasn’t an industrialist hub’, I’m baffled as to its significance. It was an industrial scale codebreaking campus, employing 10,000 people in shifts 24/7/365. Don’t be fooled by the picture of the manor house…that’s just a small part of the complex.

        FWIW my overriding impression, having toured the site, is that the real achievements of BP were not breaking the German codes – though that was a fine intellectual challenge in itself. But that they could do it consistently, quickly and reliably…day after day, week after week, year after year. To be able to read one message form Hitler is great. But to be able to read all of his stuff over a year gives a far greater perspective and context.

      • Latimer,

        My point is that both the Internet and computers were developed by state governments. R&D is not done by private ventures alone. The biggest risks have always been the public’s burden. Oftentimes, the biggest profits get privatized.

        Interestingly, this ain’t the case in countries with high standards of living like Norway or Kuwait.

        ***

        The bottom line is that the hypocrisy card may not the best trick for over rationalizing libertarians.

      • @willard

        ‘The internet and computers were *developed* by state goverments’

        It maybe the case that some early one-off examples of some were produced in state facilities. But *developed* is wrong. The IBM S/360, for example, which brought computing from academia to commerce was an entirely privately financed venture. As was the IBM PC – which laid the ground for all of today’s personal devices. NASA came to IBM to buy their computing expertise and products for the space race, not vice versa.

        AFAIK the world’s largest IT company, Apple Corp has been entirely privately financed, as have Microsoft, SAP, H-P and Google.

        I spent 30 years in commercial IT in Europe and (thankfully) never heard a whisper of any government intervention or finance in the industry. Your impression that they are moving forces is entirely mistaken

      • Dear Latimer,

        Nothing you say contradicts what I said and your anecdata are duly noted, although you must have told me your life story about ten times already. I’d rather have Judy’s story about how and where her company gets computation done, and if you’re OK with this kind of modeling.

        The bottom line is that privatizing profits requires freedom fighters like you and merchants of doubt like the Marshall Institute. I say doubt, but I could as well say uncertainty and fear. There’s even an acronym for the triumvirate.

      • @willard

        If you discount the contributions to the IT industry from all the companies I mentioned .. plus a galaxy of other smaller private companies, then there really isn’t anything left to argue about. Maybe the teensy bit that’s left did indeed benefit from state intervention. But its so weeny as to be almost undetectable.

        As to

        ‘The bottom line is that privatizing profits requires freedom fighters like you and merchants of doubt like the Marshall Institute. I say doubt, but I could as well say uncertainty and fear. There’s even an acronym for the triumvirate.’

        I guess I’d better wait until Big Government produces a translation algorithm that can turn you remark into understandable English. Sadly, I can think of at least two reasons why it may be a long wait.

      • Dear Latimer,

        Even if we discount your straw men beating their straw wives, you’re still returning to your good old stance:

        Quite frankly, I do not know what you did understand from Judith’s post from your previous interactions, most of which were “yes, but Joe Sixpack”, “yes, but I was IT specialist for 30 years”, “speak louder I can’t hear you” and “whatever”.

        https://judithcurry.com/2011/02/06/lisbon-workshop-on-reconciliation-part-v-the-science-is-not-settled/#comment-39330

        Ah, the good old days when you used the “but Joe Sixpack” gambit.

        ***

        The bottom line is that using the Nuremberg defense to excuse climate scientists like Roy Spencer to participate in think tanks like the Marshall Institute [1] is suboptimal to say the least.

        I’ll return to that Nuremberg defense later on, since Brad Keyes may be interested in that one.

        Unless we’re due for another post?

        [1]: http://marshall.org/board-members/

      • @willard

        Delighted that my remarks from years back were so memorable. But I do wish you’d not only remember my wise advice about clarity of writing, but take it too.

      • The Nuremberg defense is “they’re doing their jobs,” Latimer.

        A new post is already up.

        Thanks for playing,

        W

      • Willard,
        “A new post is already up.”

        Cool. Link?

    • who don’t yet share the advantages that plentiful reliable energy has brought us over the last 200 years.

      I am not sure why transitioning to lower carbon sources will necessarily mean we won’t have access to plentiful or reliable energy sources. Renewables are plentiful and the technology, price, and adoption is improving every year. I expect that will continue into the future, especially when you have countries like China and the US signaling to the markets that they are taking carbon emissions reductions seriously. Why be so alarmist?

      • I think this graph illustrates my point and I believe improvements in the next decade will only accelerate the trend.

      • You know if you included nuclear in the renewables that chart would look even better. Most though don’t include hydro because of environmental impacts, but whatever floats your boat.

      • ‘Renewables are plentiful and the technology, price, and adoption is improving every year.’

        Hmm

        Wind and solar…the two main ‘renewables’ still contribute less than 1% of the earth’s energy consumption. And, because they are both low density energy sources, phenomenal amounts of land are needed to produce the amounts of power we require. Maybe its different in some countries, but in Europe that land is simply not available with our current population.

        And, of course, wind is unpredictable, and solar doesn’t work at all at night or in the winter. Either some form of (yet to be produced) large-scale storage is needed, or all the existing infrastructure needs to be retained in addition to the new sources to cover those long cold still winter nights when the power demand is highest and renewables are at their most useless.

        Of course, we already have excellent ways of storing sunlight. They are called fossil fuels. A power station with a pile of coal beside it is reliable, controllable, predictable and disptachable.

        One day maybe the price of renewables will be comparable with fossil fuels and maybe somebody will invent large-scale storage.

        But until then, renewables ain’t in the game.

      • @joseph1002000

        Take care how you interpret your graph. ‘Capacity’ means different things in different power modes. So you may be being misled about the actual penetration of ‘renewables’

        So, for example, unlike conventionally fuelled stations where a nominal 100MW installation should be consistently providing 90%+ of that to the grid, a 100MW wind farm will only achieve that on those very few times when the windspeed is just right. Over a year its unusual for them to get above 25% of their nameplate capacity. So the comparison of ‘capacities’ can be misleading in terms of power supplied.

        And, of course, your graph refers only to electricity. There are plenty of other uses of energy – heating, industry, transport, where electricity (and renewables) barely feature at all.

      • Latimer, did you miss the part about the trend and the agreements made by China and the US which should accelerate the trend (because of increased demand). The transition isn’t going to happen over night. I don’t see any indication we can’t do it.

      • I also will throw energy efficiency in to the mix because because we should see increased improvement there as well.

      • ‘The transition isn’t going to happen over night. I don’t see any indication we can’t do it.’

        H’mm.

        After 30 years of pro-renewable policies and high-level political pressure and all, renewables still make up only about 1% of the world’s energy mix. And many of those years were when Joe Public had been persuaded that The Science Was Settled and Global Warming was a major problem that we needed to fix. Governments threw taxpayers money at it willy nilly in huge subsidies. And still achieved a pretty pathetic 1%

        To even get to 50% by the end of the century the rate of adoption will need to increase 20 times from where it is today. Do you really think that is financially achievable? Do you think people will stand for the despoilment of their countryside with wind farms and solar panels in countries where population is dense, demand for energy is high and land is expensive and rare?

        Maybe the vast rolling plains of the Midwest are suitable. But there are no equivalent open spaces left in Europe.

        I read about the China US ‘deal’. Seemed to me it was a commitment for the US to cut its emissions and for China to look again at theirs in 15 or so years. A pretty one-sided agreement that will be quietly forgotten as soon as possible.

        The basic problem remains. By comparison with fossil fuels, renewables have lots of practical disadvantages. And the only thing they have going for them ‘fewer emissions’ is no longer a politically winning argument. People just don’t care.

    • Alex – You just have no idea, do you? Do you really want MILLIONS of people a year to die in squalor, cooking over dung fires in their homes (equivalent of smoking 2 packs a day) without access to modern medicine and basic hygiene? Reverting to a subsistence living like those 1.3 BILLION people currently without electricity in 3rd world countries might sound wonderful to you, but I really do want my children and grandchildren to have a life-expectancy of greater than 45 or 50 years old.
      No thanks.
      You live in a mud-hut with no car and no electricity. Take one for the team!

    • Ask yourselves why ya’ll hell bent on being climate change deniers. You just don’t want to give up your posh western lifestyle. You’re scared to death of living simply like people do in India or Africa.

      Alex, Are you saying that accepting climate change will require us to revert to a primitive existence? Please do elaborate!

      • Yes I accept that climate change will lead to 20-30 foot rise in sea levels in the next 50 years. 100s of millions if not billions will die.

      • @alex

        ‘Yes I accept that climate change will lead to 20-30 foot rise in sea levels in the next 50 years. 100s of millions if not billions will die.’

        1. When will we start to see these sea level rises?

        They have been threatened for the last 30 years and haven’t materialised. It needs to be rising at 150mm per annum to hit your ‘target’. But is currently moseying along at about 2% of that rate.

        2. What, specifically, will kill these 100 of millions? Remember that sea level rise is not like a tsunami. There is plenty of time to flee a rise of 1/2 inch per month.

      • Latimer

        I dont think Alex is being serious. He can not believe that sea levels will suddenly start to rise by 7 and a half inches per year, year in, year out.

        The increased rises have just not materialised and our levels remain below that of the roman era and the high level stand of around1580 .

        Alex, this is a spoof isn’t it?

        Tonyb

    • John Carpenter

      CO2 concentrations are going to go aver 500 ppm. Its gonna happen. The earth will continue to have an energy imbalance. Its gonna continue to happen for centuries (even if we stop cold turkey today). All your worst nightmares are gonna come true in the future, though you may gone, so think twice about propagating your family line. How are you getting ready for the inevitable?

      Scared.To.Death.

      • “All your worst nightmares are gonna come true in the future”

        Seriously, John. Do you realize how silly you are?

        Andrew

      • @john carpenter

        ‘CO2 concentrations are going to go aver 500 ppm’

        And I should worry because why exactly?

      • John –

        Just in case you were tempted to generalize about the insightful reasoning of “skeptical” denizens….

        Looks like your reverse Poe has backfired.

      • John Carpenter

        Latimer, there is no reason for you to worry, only reason for Alex.

      • So, Joshua,

        I take it you’re scared.to.death too? Yawn.

        Andrew

      • John Carpenter

        “Seriously, John. Do you realize how silly you are?”

        andrew, this is no laughing matter for Alex, the world is at stake.

      • Bad, is that you, bro?

      • John Carpenter

        “Looks like your reverse Poe has backfired.”

        Johsua, *sigh* what is one to do? You can only lead them to water.

      • Joshua,

        Yes it’s me. Climate Etc. won’t let me change my handle now. I’m hoping my Badness still comes through, though.. ;)

        Andrew

      • @john carpenter

        Thank the deity for your reassurance.

        I was having palpitations at the mere thought of it being half a degree warmer in December 2075. The idea that the snowdrops might come out a week early was quite terrifying.

        And it is such a shame that homo sapiens is completely incapable of adapting to changed environments. Its a real wonder we ever ventured down from the trees.

      • Bad –

        You can change your “public display name” by clicking on your profile link in the upper right hand corner.

  66. Jim Lakely’s bio from Inside Climate News is pithy: ” In a December 2014 blog post, Lakely wrote, ‘The reason why the United Nations and the world’s governments focus on fighting climate change is because that mission gives them license to control everything about the economy of every state in the world.” ‘
    Incidentally, Inside Climate News justly won a Pulitzer Prize for a 10-part series on a pipeline leak in Michigan. Not exactly objective throughout but the reporting is impressive.
    http://www.pulitzer.org/works/2013-National-Reporting

  67. Pingback: IPCC chief wannabe van Ypersele’s communication record | The View From Here

  68. Brad Keyes et all, here is the blog post on this antisemitiic uglly comments going viral now Morano has it too: http://pcillu101.blogspot.tw/2015/03/judith-currys-climate-etc-blog-meets.html

    • Dan,
      thanks for alerting us to that weird blog post! How on earth does anyone read Judenhass into the comments in this thread? Perhaps the sarcasm oozing out of such sentences as “The villains can’t very well be Gentiles, can they?” was too subtle. That’s always been my Achilles’ heel as a writer: not sarcastic enough. Must try harder.

      Could you please link us to what Marc Morano has to say about this? I couldn’t find anything. I’d be rather surprised if he made the mistake of thinking anybody here was antisemitic.

  69. That’s also why, right now, we’re launching a people-powered national campaign that could keep climate deniers out of the news for good. Merchants of Doubt premieres in U.S. theaters today, and it will invite thousands of energized viewers to sign this petition and join our campaign. Let’s lead the charge! Join me to tell TV network and cable news directors: Stop booking “merchants of doubt” on your programs immediately.

    I think you’re wrong about motivation. This is likely just a standard Buzzfeed like marketing tactic to get clickthrough and generate ad revenue through a superficial feeling participation.

  70. We now have time to investigate the investigators. In his article about lifetime Leftist politician Al Gore and global warming (‘Let Us Prey,’ Fall 2007 Range Magazine), author Tim Findley talks about UCSD professor Roger Revelle, the first global warming heretic. “Before he died in 1991,” reports Findley, “Revelle produced a paper with [former NASA climate scientist Frederick] Singer suggesting that people should not be made to become alarmed over the greenhouse effect and global warming.” Their article (subtitled, “Look before you leap”) said as follows:

    Drastic, precipitous and, especially, unilateral steps to delay the putative greenhouse impacts can cost jobs and prosperity and increase the human costs of global poverty, without being effective.

    Findley says Revelle’s article, “was a Judas kiss to [future ecomessiah] Gore, who was already conducting congressional hearings meant to produce just the sort of alarm his former mentor [Revelle] was saying was unnecessary.” In what may have been the first official government act of Leftist McCarthyism in the sordid history of CAGW alarmism, “Gore suggested” says Findley, “that the professor had become the victim of Alzheimer’s disease.” This was the birth of runaway global warming alarmism–i.e., all emotional appeals, connotative analogies, theoretical concepts, lacking in disciplined thinking and without benefit of the scientific method. This is how the liberal fascists of the Left, who first took over the environmental movement, then began to use global warming to take over the civil discourse, even if it meant destroying science.

    Some activists simply couldn’t make the transition from confrontation to consensus; it was as if they needed a common enemy. When a majority of people decide they agree with all your reasonable ideas the only way you can remain confrontational and antiestablishment is to adopt ever more extreme positions, eventually abandoning science and logic altogether in favor of zero-tolerance policies. ~Patrick Moore (Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout…)

  71. > Am I glad that smoking is banned from many public places in the U.S.? Absolutely yes. Do I think that scientists should continue to evaluate the link between cancer and second hand smoke? Absolutely yes.

    This leaves us what’s in between, i.e. those who use

    OBJECTIVE:
    To describe how the tobacco industry attempted to trivialise the health risks of second hand smoke (SHS) by both questioning the science of risk assessment of low dose exposure to other environmental toxins, and by comparing SHS to such substances about which debate might still exist.

    METHODS:
    Analysis of tobacco industry documents made public as part of the settlement of litigation in the USA (Minnesota trial and the Master Settlement Agreement) and available on the internet. Search terms included: risk assessment, low dose exposure, and the names of key players and organisations.

    RESULTS/CONCLUSION:
    The tobacco industry developed a well coordinated, multi-pronged strategy to create doubt about research on exposure to SHS by trying to link it to the broader discussion of risk assessment of low doses of a number of toxins whose disease burden may still be a matter of scientific debate, thus trying to make SHS their equivalent; and by attempting, through third party organisations and persons, to impugn the agencies using risk assessment to establish SHS as a hazard.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11740031

    The fight by the tobacco industry doesn’t stop because Americans regulated their industry. John Oliver has an interesting story about how Philip Morris threatened to sue Togo by appealing against the Australian government they in fact lost:

    Tobacco is still the agricultural equivalent of U2.

    #JeffWeCan

  72. Some words got cut in the copy paste:

    This leaves us what’s in between, i.e. those who use scientific research to argue against regulation.

    John Oliver has an interesting story about how Philip Morris threatened to sue Togo by appealing to a case against the Australian government they in fact lost:

  73. I just spotted this from Newsmax http://www.newsmax.com/t/newsmax/article/630631

    A documentary exploring the other side of the climate-change debate and its ever-changing, but often-flawed science, “An Inconsistent Truth,” will air on Newsmax TV on Sunday at 10 p.m. ET.

  74. Reviewing a book without reading it, and reviewing a movie without seeing it. Noted.

    • So David what are your reactions to article such as the one linked by Alex above discussing fears about Antarctica glaciers adding 10 feet to the Global Sea Level when the IPCC AR5 WGI states explicitly that the current annual increase in GMSL from Antarctica is 20% of the thickness of a dime and that the IPCC forecast for 2100 is to have the Antarctic glaciers adding only .05 Meter to Global Mean Sea Level. Why have the MSM thrown the IPCC under the bus? Why are the MSM such deniers of the science in the IPCC?

      • So kid have you noticed that “they’re doing their jobs” is structurally similar to the Nuremberg defense?

        Many thanks!

      • Willard

        So inventing science, not reporting science, is their job. Got it. If I was unable to do critical thinking that would make all the sense in the world. Therein lies the bifurcation separating the cognitive crowd from the emotive crowd.

      • Kid,

        Here’s an example of reporting:

        For more than a decade the Global Climate Coalition, a group representing industries with profits tied to fossil fuels, led an aggressive lobbying and public relations campaign against the idea that emissions of heat-trapping gases could lead to global warming.

        “The role of greenhouse gases in climate change is not well understood,” the coalition said in a scientific “backgrounder” provided to lawmakers and journalists through the early 1990s, adding that “scientists differ” on the issue.

        Here’s the inventing science:

        But a document filed in a federal lawsuit demonstrates that even as the coalition worked to sway opinion, its own scientific and technical experts were advising that the science backing the role of greenhouse gases in global warming could not be refuted.

        Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/24/science/earth/24deny.html

        Among the theories promoted by the Coalition there was Jastrow’s favorite, i.e. it’s the Sun stupid.

        How does “joing my job” justify any of this exactly?

        Many thanks!

      • There’s really no point in engaging the trolls.
        I have yet to see a substantive response to the core of the issue: that the models have been uniformly wrong for nearly 2 decades now. The entire CO2 catastrophe meme is the tip of an entire pyramid of assumptions (as in the ass of u and me type); the failure of said pyramid to be validated by real world data is all that really matters.
        Ocean heat, aerosols, blah blah are just bullshit ways to deflect the core issue.
        Politically, there are plenty of ways by which a happy medium could at least be contemplated: funding research of alternative energy such that a truly competitive alternate to fossil fuels would be created. However, the uniform response has been “act now or we’re all doomed” – pushed in no small part by the industries and segments of society which benefit.
        The good news is that the crap like Merchants of Doubt is proof that the cause if failing – especially when it bombs so dismally at its exact goal of public outreach.

    • David,

      This is an odd remark…

      “Reviewing a book without reading it”

      …unless of course you’re taking a rather off-topic dig at Dana Nuccitelli for his transparent attempt to review Montford’s Hockey Stick Illusion by clairvoyance:

      If you’re looking for a work of science fiction detailing a vast conspiracy similar to Michael Crichton’s ‘State of Fear’, this may be the book for you.
      The only problem is that this book claims to be non-fiction. Montford weaves a crazy tale of data manipulation and vast conspiracies which have very little semblance to what actually happened with regards to the infamous ‘hockey stick’. A good summary of fact vs. fiction can be found here:
      […]
      As long as you don’t take the book seriously it makes for an entertaining read. Just think of the book as another Crichton story, sit back, and enjoy a fun conspiracy theory. The only problem is that the story claims to be true, but is filled with misinformation, lies, and nonsense. And for that, I can only give it 1 star.

      …in which case, simply out of fairness, perhaps you also should have quoted Dana’s alibis—to wit:

      James, I don’t need to read the book, I’ve already read McIntyre’s case against the ‘hockey stick’. I’m not going to reward the author for peddling misinformation by buying his book just like I’m not going to buy Ian Pilmer or Glenn Beck’s books. The facts are what they are. If the book makes false statements, buying it and reading it doesn’t make them any less false. You seem to think that because you read the book, that makes the statements it contains true”.

      and:

      I never said I read the book, I merely criticized the factually inaccurate claims it makes. I suggest you get over yourself.

      Thank you, though, for your concerns.

  75. I propose for Earthday that fellow doubt merchants tweet and make their facebook status’s “I believe global warming will prevent catastrophe and benefit humanity.”

    #GWIG

  76. Institutionalized fear of global warming may cause more harm to humanity than cigarettes ever did.

  77. Great post! I think you are right that not just this movie but the generalized stridency, desire to censor, and ad hom attacks are doing great harm to the alarmists’ cause. I began to have some doubt about climate science after climategate, but I didn’t become a full fledged skeptic until I saw how the climate science community defended the indefensible revelations from climategate. I heard Oreskes on NPR not long ago, and her smug certainty and disdain for those who disagree is the polar opposite of what I learned science is supposed to be all about.

    • Fortunately, Oreskes is not a scientist. She is an historian. I think her fame is based on her support for the alarmist cause. One of my anthropology professors used to call history “myths with dates”. Perhaps she is a writer of myths. In time we will know.

  78. I do the doggone full log in and ffft.(

  79. Last attempt…. Leaving out me elegant comment ter Justin.
    https://beththeserf.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/268/

  80. “Doubters” commenting on doubt. What a concept
    Am I hearing hysterical chickens as the fox, entrusted by the powerful, raids the chicken house???

    Professional bullshit is professional bullshit.
    What ‘doubters, aka ‘skeptics’ , better understood as vicious propagandists need to know for sure…When sea levels rise,
    millions die, and civilization as we know it ceased to exist, your names will be entered alongside Goebels, Stalin, et al as monsters of history. Of course you and most of us will be dead, so you have to ask yourself if the lavish lifestyle, and your milllions in “consulting” fees, are worth being considered scum for all time.

  81. Dr. Curry, the National Review article is excellent, except that on one of the points which you quoted its author was deceived by the merchants of smear.

    Dr. Fred Singer and the late Dr. Frederick Seitz (former President of the National Academy of Sciences) never “contended that smoking isn’t necessarily harmful.” Rather, they doubted that secondhand smoke causes cancer in non-smokers.

    That’s a huge difference. It’s the difference between being right and being wrong.

    The most fundamental principle of toxicology is, “the dose makes the poison.” That’s true for everything. It’s even true for water: Drinking an extra pint of water every few hours is probably good for you, but if you drink 10x that much it’ll certainly kill you:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-drinking-too-much-water-can-kill/

    Smokers inhale orders of magnitude more smoke than non-smokers, even non-smokers who are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke, so there’s good reason to doubt that secondhand smoke (though obnoxious and unpleasant) actually causes cancer. Indeed, research indicates that:

    The incidence of lung cancer was 13 times higher in current smokers and four times higher in former smokers than in never-smokers, and the relationship for both current and former smokers depended on level of exposure. However, among women who had never smoked, exposure to passive smoking overall, and to most categories of passive smoking, did not statistically significantly increase lung cancer risk.

    http://junkscience.com/2013/12/16/second-hand-smoke-may-stink-but-yet-another-study-debunks-the-cancer-issue/

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielfisher/2013/12/12/study-finds-no-link-between-secondhand-smoke-and-cancer/

    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2554/does-second-hand-smoke-really-cause-cancer

  82. greymouser70

    The signature of my gmail account reads:”Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.—Voltaire ” I think that it is a very appropriate attitude to take.

  83. I always find these movies a let down as I write to those they say have the money and there’s none available.

    I once tried writing to all the big oil companies asking for donations. Not one replied. And of course I know why: they are all making money hand over fist from wind. They all have wind divisions, they all profit from rising energy prices.

    But when there’s absolutely no money and people tell you there’s a magic pot at the end of the rainbow funding all us sceptics – I’d have been daft not to ask.

    As for the Greenblob – if I were in the greenblob there’d be no problem with money as they are rolling in it as all these films and videos amply demonstrate.

  84. “People who mislead the public on climate change should not be on TV. Period.”

    Immediately ruling out Merchants of Doubt. And much of the government-funded ‘consensus’ too.

  85. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #173 | Watts Up With That?

  86. Brain Age: Train Yourr mind in A feew minutes a Day showcased several short games that deeigner Dr .

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  87. I got started at this issue in 2008/2009, when Obama proposed taxing energy because of “AGW”, I decided to investigate the various schemes and their downsides. Bottom line: Apart from raising revenue, it gave Government control over our economy. By raising cost, it could limit demand. By limiting demand, it can control supply. By controlling supply, it limits Liberty (and Lifetimes in the U.K.).

    The Politics of “AGW”, begun Oct 28, 2008
    http://solarcycle24com.proboards.com/thread/192/politics-agw?page=1
    Governmental solutions defined:
    http://solarcycle24com.proboards.com/post/3866
    Governmental solutions compared:
    http://solarcycle24com.proboards.com/post/3867/thread

    I got started at this in 2008 when claims were made that the sun’s output (TSI) was constant, and therefore was immaterial. So I looked at it; thanks to Dr. Lean on solar variability: (below), found it might not be insignificant. UV and EUV are highly variable; what are the effects?

    Lean, Dr. Judith. “Solar Spectrum, Variability, and Atmospheric Absorption.” Scientific. NASA – Science@NASA, April 6, 2011. http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/images/sunbathing/sunspectrum.htm

    If UV and EUV are absorbed by atmosphere, what happens to their energy?
    This image, courtesy of Dr. Judith Lean at the US Naval Research Laboratory, shows the spectrum of solar radiation from 10 to 100,000 nm (dark blue), its variability between Solar Maximum and Solar Minimum (green) and the relative transparency of Earth’s atmosphere at sea level (light blue). At wavelengths shorter than about 300 nm, there is a relatively large variation in the Sun’s extreme UV and x-ray output (greater than 1%), but the Earth’s atmosphere is nearly opaque at those wavelengths. For Earth-dwelling beach-goers there is no significant difference between Solar Maximum and Minimum.
    Note definition as integral over entire spectrum.
    Note concession that extreme UV and x-ray variation > 1%.
    Note step-wise spectral irradiance below 10^2 nm. Sparse data?

  88. I do not claim that CO2 has no effect. Rather, I am reluctant to concede “CAGW” is a problem given the lack of alternative explanations of observations, use of scareware, consequences of “Climate Change” policy, denigration of and retaliation on skeptics, and so on and so forth.

    • This question has been framed from the gitgo in a manner which maximizes confusion. It would be luxurious to consider that framing deliberate, but it suffers more from the poverty of ignorance.
      ===================