On the social contract between science and society

by Judith Curry

Our geosciences community too often gives the impression that we care primarily about more funding for our research. Such overt self-interest poses risks to our community and to society. – Bill Hooke

A provocative essay has been published in EOS:  Reaffirming the Social Contract Between Science and Society.  The author of the essay is William Hooke.  From his biosketch:

Bill Hooke is Associate Executive Director of the American Meteorological Society, based in Washington, DC. Dr Hooke is the author of the AMS blog, Living on the Real World  as well as the AMS book of the same name, Living on the Real World. His policy research interests include: natural disaster reduction; historical precedents as they illuminate present-day policy; and the nature and implications of changing national requirements for weather and climate science and services. From 1973 to 2000, he held various administrative positions in NOAA, including Chief of the Atmospheric Studies Branch of NOAA’s Wave Propagation Laboratory, Director of NOAA’s Environmental Sciences Group, Deputy Chief Scientist and Acting Chief Scientist of NOAA, Director of the United States Weather Research Program Office, and Chair of the interagency Subcommittee for Natural Disaster Reduction of the National Science and Technology Council Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. 

I have known Bill Hooke for decades. I am a big fan of his, and have often (although not recently) linked to articles at his blog.  He is one of the most thoughtful and wise voices in the atmospheric sciences community.

Here are some excerpts from his EOS essay:

The world’s 7 billion people currently struggle to solve a high-stakes, threefold problem: satisfy a growing appetite for food, energy, water, and other resources; protect the environment; and build resilience to natural extremes. In the face of this defining challenge, our geosciences community, although well-meaning and with much to offer, too often gives the impression that we care primarily about more funding for our research. Such overt self-interest is not merely unseemly. It poses risks to our community and to society writ large.

[Several centuries ago], natural philosophers  usually enjoyed independent means. By today’s standards, we might imagine that self-funded scientists should not have to defend to anyone their interests or preferences for doing science.

Today, by contrast, our (substantially more expensive) scientific research is funded largely by governments and therefore, indirectly, by taxpayer dollars. Much of the support comes from people far more strained financially than we are. This raises questions: Why should they pay us? Isn’t it because they hope that our labors will improve their lot in life? Don’t we owe them something? What would a fair return on society’s investment look like?

And, finally, what has been our response?

Modern Understanding Between Scientists and Society

With considerable oversimplification, the current social contract between scientists and society dates back to Vannevar Bush and the conclusion of World War II. To address the emerging Soviet threat that would eventually lead to the Cold War, U.S. leaders demanded a broad, robust, concerted, and sustained program of research and development. They set up the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1950; investments in atomic energy and in space technology followed.

Working through Congress, the public has been both generous and constant with its funding, and scientists in turn have delivered a cornucopia of benefits in agriculture, energy, human health, information technology, transportation, and much more—including Earth observations, science, and services. These advances have fueled economic growth, national security, and quality of life, as well as a place for the United States as the “indispensable nation” in world affairs.

Recent Stresses to the Social Contract

Stresses over the past decade or so have frayed the fabric of the social contract between scientists and society. The complexity and costs of science have been growing. Urgent societal challenges (in education, environmental protection, foreign relations, maintenance of aging critical infrastructure, national security, public health, and more) demand quick fixes even as they compete with the funding for science. Society has asked scientists for more help, even as research budgets have remained relatively constant. Relations have been strained on both sides.

How have we faced these new stresses? Unfortunately, many scientists have responded by resorting to advocacy. Worse, we’ve too often dumbed down our lobbying until it’s little more than simplistic, orchestrated, self-serving pleas for increased research funding, accompanied at times by the merest smidgen of supporting argument.

At the same time,  as we’ve observed and studied emerging natural resource shortages, environmental degradation, and vulnerability to hazards, we’ve allowed ourselves to turn into scolds. Worse, we’ve chosen sides politically, largely abandoning any pretense at nonpartisanship.

In Earth sciences, our proposed social contract sounds dangerously close to this: “We’re in the business of documenting human failure. But lately, the speed, complexity, and magnitude of that failure has picked up—with respect to management of natural resources, environmental stewardship, and hazard risk. If our documentation is to keep pace, we need more funding.” To a beset, struggling general public this can easily look unhelpful, even arrogant. 

JC reflections

I was stunned by the following statements in Hooke’s essay:

How have we faced these new stresses? Unfortunately, many scientists have responded by resorting to advocacy. Worse, we’ve too often dumbed down our lobbying until it’s little more than simplistic, orchestrated, self-serving pleas for increased research funding, accompanied at times by the merest smidgen of supporting argument.

At the same time, as we’ve observed and studied emerging natural resource shortages, environmental degradation, and vulnerability to hazards, we’ve allowed ourselves to turn into scolds. Worse, we’ve chosen sides politically, largely abandoning any pretense at nonpartisanship.

I have made similar statements, frequently if not as eloquently.  How refreshing to see them published in EOS! For making similar statements, I have  been accused of ‘smearing’ climate scientists.   It’s not the scientists that I have been criticizing, but rather the ‘system’.

Successfully ‘chasing research $$’ has become synonymous with academic leadership success.  And towards what end, exactly?  Government research funding is increasingly targeted at societally and/or politically relevant topics (see my previous post Pasteur’s Quadrant).  In the area of climate science, I have argued that this funding is not motivating fundamental research that is needed to improve understanding and modeling of climate dynamics. Rather, this funding is largely motivating what I have referred to as ‘climate taxonomy’ (see the Pasteur’s Quadrant article).

Independent scientists (of independent, or no, means) are increasingly asking important questions that aren’t ‘relevant’ to government research funding priorities.  This raises the issue of non-governmental funding of climate science research (from industry, NGOs, private individuals), which has been discussed at length here in recent weeks (e.g. Conflicts of interest in climate science).

In the 1990’s while I was at the University of Colorado, I was running fast on the treadmill of trying to get more and more research funding, so I could pay students and research scientists to do research, which I no longer had time to do personally, since I was too busy writing research proposals, managing my research group, and traveling endlessly to develop programs at the international and national levels that could justify more funding. ‘Success’ was defined by research funding $$, number of publications, and leadership in national/international programs.

At Georgia Tech, there were more internal resources available, so that I didn’t need to chase federal research dollars so hard (plus I was busy doing administration).  I deliberately scaled back the size of my research group, and my research increasingly became independent of government research funding.  My company Climate Forecast Applications Network has provided the impetus and funding for some of my research.   And much of my research is now done by myself, or in collaboration with others, without requiring any substantial funding.

Ironically, because there is now a faint ‘whiff’ of Big Oil funding, my objectivity is being questioned by Congressman Grijalva [link].  In fact my objectivity has climbed several notches the past 10 years, as I have weaned myself from government funding and have been following my own  interests and preferences for doing science, rather than working on what I can get approved by a government funding agency. Further, I have been developing an awareness of the problems of groupthink and the biases that can occur through institutional ‘leadership’, and I am working to fight against these.   Also ironically, my recent research (combined with my outreach engagement) is more societally relevant than my previous government funded research.  My own (rather unusual) experiences are anecdotal, but they do provide food for thought.

While Bill Hooke rightfully raises concerns about the behaviors and motives of scientists, I think the other side of the social contract is at least equally problematical. Obama’s administration is ‘using’ climate science to support his political agenda, and is actively discouraging disagreement through consensus enforcement Call Out The Climate Deniers.  So the social contract for climate science seems to be:  support the consensus and promote alarmism, and you will receive plenty of research funding.

I don’t know what the optimal social contract between climate science and society should be, but something is really wrong with the current system that is breeding advocates, partisans and alarmists, and is damaging to the science.  And the taxpayer foots the bill.

Kudos to Bill Hooke for opening this discussion in the AGU EOS.

 

309 responses to “On the social contract between science and society

  1. I suspect the post-WWII “social contract” was primarily beneficial in the Cold War. With the end of that, we see aberrations like the IPCC.

  2. Hello Judith, we should not be surprised that an administration that lies about health care would also lie about climate change. There are many Dr. Grubers inside and outside the government.

  3. daveandrews723

    That is a well stated and very important piece by you, Dr. Curry. As a layperson it has struck me that science was not even actively measuring CO2 levels in the atmosphere until the mid-1950’s. And the theory of CO2-caused dangerous warming of the atmosphere is even much more recent than that. Now it is one of the “hottest” topics in science (pardon the pun). This, in my opinion has led to some fast and loose “science” by a few scientists who seem as motivated by social, funding, and political concerns as they are by an honest investigation of the matters at hand. May scientists now aregue that the “science is settled” on the CO2 as climate driver question, when in my opinion, science has barely scratched the surface. I think the field of climatology has a lot of soule searching to do.

    • khal spencer

      There are a lot of things we barely measured before the sixties. Heck, we didn’t even teach plate tectonics in the fifties and now it is settled science although there is more to learn. The role of CO2 in being a “greenhouse” gas because of its ability to absorb and re-radiate in the infrared has been known since the 1800’s. Our ability to confidently measure global variables (as well as ancient proxies) as earth scientists, and model them using high speed computers, is relatively recent. Not to mention, models are just that: models.

      So sure, one would expect a bit of a frantic pace to understand human impact on climate if we are in fact an important climate forcing agent and one only knows that through study. There is also a strong public desire that we understand earthquake mechanisms better because the public is at risk of their natural disaster potential. Doing science that impacts the public always has a political dimension. Some Italian scientists were recently exonerated of manslaughter convictions brought because they did not accurately predict earthquakes. Sheesh….
      http://www.theverge.com/2014/11/11/7193391/italy-judges-clear-geologists-manslaughter-laquila-earthquake-fear

      What we need to be honest about is that there is a lot left to understand before we can put tight bounds on cause and effect. What we also need to understand is there will always be a political dimension, and political pressure, on topics that directly impact the public. If we can’t take the heat, so to speak, we should get outa the kitchen.

  4. daveandrews723

    Sorry for the typos.

  5. “Call Out The Climate Deniers” is a great campaign. Its totally something I would have pulled when I was president of my high school student body. I guess some people never mature even once they’re prez of the most powerful country in the world.

    • Speaking of Presidents, seems there’s a draft Al Gore movement afoot, given Hillary’s troubles. I think he’d be a dream candidate for us climate change deniers. The debate would be front and center, and Gore couldn’t run from questions.

      http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/why-is-al-gore-warming-up-20150318

      • Try to get an honest open debate all you want, but if history is any guide the Main Stream Media would give Gore a pass.

      • I think you’re not giving the ferocity of a presidential campaign its due. If the opposition vigorously attacks Gore’s climate change ideas, he has to respond. And the media has to cover it. It’s an opening. It won’t happen, as Hillary’s going to run unopposed, and I doubt Gores interested, but it would be a break for skeptics if it did.

      • Yes saw the Gore thing.
        Why don’t we just go dig up Jesus….
        Sign of a party with complete intellectual and creative shutdown…..
        (unlike the repubs ha!)

      • If I was a working comedian I would certainly love a Gore/Biden ticket.

      • Or perhaps a Palin/Paul and/or Cruz and/or Perry and/or Santorum and/or Gingrich and/or Bachmann and/or Cain and/or Christie ticket?

      • “Or perhaps a Palin/Paul and/or Cruz and/or Perry and/or Santorum and/or Gingrich and/or Bachmann and/or Cain and/or Christie ticket?”

        The Republicans have been almost as pathetic as the Dems. Bob Dole? John McCain? George W. Bush? But then again how do they compare with John Kerry and algore. Maybe not so badly. In any case, what’s happened to our country? Where’s the Abraham Lincoln of our age? The Thomas Jefferson? I could go on and on. Likely it’s no accident we’ve got Barak Obama and G.W.B. before him.. I think we manifest out leaders out of our own raw materials as a people.

      • I voted for Obama, and I’ve come to believe he’s the most dangerous President we’ve ever had. George Bush was bad, very bad, but Obama’s got him beat. Of course he wants mandatory voting. It would effectively neuter the opposition.

        I have an idea. How about we make it mandatory that President resign after lying to the American people. 3 lies and you’re out…

        !: If you like your doctor…
        2: We’ve had more warming in the past decade than even the most pessimistic models predicted…
        3: There’s not a smidgen of corruption…

        S’long Barak. We hardly knew ye…

      • Yep, voting for O also. Climate, but also title IX facism did him in for me.

        good ol’ two party system, choose your radical!!

      • PG

        W/r/t the comedic angle – at least McCain, Bush, and to a lesser extent Dole, were viable candidates and not as extreme (and thus ripe for ridicule) as the Cruz, Palin, Santorum, Bachmann, etc. types.

        I’m don’t particularly by into the “Things ain’t like they used to be” brand of hand-wringing. That said, I don’t think that it’s so much a matter of different leaders as it is a government system that has gotten older and as a consequence, is less responsive.

        If you’ve got some time…related:

        http://www.intelligencesquared.com/events/democracy-even-the-best-ideas-can-fail-francis-fukuyama-david-runciman/

      • richardswarthout

        Joshua

        “…not as extreme (and thus ripe for ridicule) as the Cruz, Palin, Santorum, Bachmann, etc. types.”

        Regarding the upcoming presidential elections, there may be some surprises. Personally, I’m in a wait-and-see mode and have no favorites. The debates will probably weed out the top few Republican contenders, and in those debates don’t rule out Cruz. He was a top national debater, on the debate team at Princeton. Just saying. Don’t place your bets yet.

        Richard

      • Richard –

        It’s a matter of policy stance, and I think that the outlines are pretty clear. I’m not sure how it would be disputable. Republicans have a problem because they have a powerful segment with fairly extreme views. The representatives who are embedded in that segment will have a very hard time getting the nomination, let alone fairing well in a national election. Even the more mainstream (and thus less vulnerable to ridicule) candidates get pulled to the right to appease the extremist segment of the party – which in the end undermines their chances in a national election also. It’s not like we haven’t seen this pattern in the past, and the demographic patterns of increasing %’s of the electorate being minorities makes more problems still for the Republicans. Republicans have successfully bucked the demographic patterns in Congressional elections through gerrymandering – but you can’t gerrymander the national electorate. The best chance that they have is if young people and minorities stay home. The more extreme the Republican candidate, the less likely that is to happen.

      • richardswarthout

        Joshua

        You may be a bit overconfident. Any Democrat running for president will be tagged by the electorate as another Obama. It will be unfair, but past election statistics are undeniable; unsuccessful candidates follow unpopular presidents of the same party.

        Also, voters follow their hearts. The best speakers/debaters have an advantage. If Cruze or Rubio get the Republican nod and Clinton the Democrat, she will be destroyed in the Debates.

        We’ll See

        Richard

  6. Danny Thomas

    ” Let’s thread ourselves through the whole of society, where the pressing problems are close at hand, and collaborate in their practical solution versus studying the problems at some distance and earning the derisive ivory-tower label”

    In other words, put yourself in the shoes of others and try to see things from an alternative perspective.

    From this observers view, there is middle ground and that ground needs to be put in to production.

    For Mr. Bill Hooke so very many thanks for thinking this way as it’s so needed in the climate conversation (et al)!

  7. Perhaps an unexplored aspect of the problem is the alignment of the political biases of most academics with the current administration’s policies. As an example, participants at Resilience 2011 in Tempe were asked whether enough had been done to reduce the wage/wealth disparities of the world. Over 80% of the participants (almost all academics) voted that much more needed to be done. And this, after the largest wealth transfer in the history of the world – from the US to China and other developing countries, equivalent to the value of all of the gold ever mined in recorded history (~$8 trillion).

  8. Outstanding post!

    It can’t be stated any better than this:

    “So the social contract for climate science seems to be:  support the consensus and promote alarmism, and you will receive plenty of research funding.”

    The politicians have commandeered climate science to serve their own purpose – to stay in power.

    • Yes, this is how Graeme Stephens gets all that money.

      • JCH: Yes, this is how Graeme Stephens gets all that money.

        I think that is a good, well-chosen example. My reading suggests to me that we shall be getting more “contrarian” stuff published as more and more details are studied more and more thoroughly. I won’t be labelled as “contrarian” however, at least not for a while. The recent papers by Romps et al and Laliberte et al have within them the basis for lower estimates of climate sensitivity, though that is not how they are labeled. The intellectual/scientific challenge of figuring out how the non-radiative cooling of the Earth surface (what I have called a “known unknown”) will soon be seen as a more significant challenge to the “consensus” than it has been heretofore.

      • “it” won’t be labeled as contrarian.

        Further, the research proposals will highlight the importance of the problem for understanding “global climate change”, but the accumulation of results will make a difference.

        Details of how the Earth “has warmed” (summer Arctic Ice will diminish, perhaps even Antarctic ice as well) will always be taken by some as supporting the CO2 theory, but the trend of recent years has been to lower the estimates of climate sensitivity, and I expect more in that direction.

      • Matthew – I largely agree, though I do not think Stephens would like one of the papers you mentioned.

        My personal opinion is climate sensitivity is about to get an upward correction, but who knows.

  9. khal spencer

    In the present funding climate, it is difficult to separate self interest from economic survival or as we say, “publish or perish”. Those in the climate science field are aware of the political pressures to prove or disprove climate change rather than to understand climate, which is a prerequisite to confidently knowing what our influence actually is on climate. My old political science professor, John Mueller, now at Ohio State, has published extensively on the over-inflation of threat in the national security field (my area) order to justify military and DHS budgets. In the engineering field, an iconoclastic civil engineer and planner, Chuck Marohn (Strong Towns), was recently hauled before his licensing board in Minnesota because he published a strong condemnation of the way traffic engineering and traffic planning is done, i.e., that it is a money-generating process that serves the interests of planners and engineers rather than being economically sustainable or wise planning in the context of future societal needs.

    As scientists, we really do need to print out and post Dr. Hooke’s letter and post it above our desks. Thanks, Judy. I would have missed this if not for your blog updates being emailed to me, as I have a bunch of deadlines staring me in the face.

  10. Normally one should not deduce much from anecdotal evidence. But when that kind of evidence begins to build up to critical mass, I may be acceptable to put some credence to those anecdotes. Your personal story is an example, which I am sure anyone who has worked in similar circumstances can relate to. Having worked in a large organization, i have observed others in the same situation.

    Just understanding how incentives modify behavior makes all such stories very believable. And then all of it is cemented if you have ever been involved with the US Federal Government in any kind of capacity.

    Judith’s story at Colorado made me think of innumerable stories from Senators and Congressmen who bemoan all their time devoted, not to the issues of the day, but rather to chasing the money. Always thinking of the next campaign and fund raising efforts. The core mission takes a backseat to the costs of the next election.

    A friend from another country, on the edge of retirement, brought this research funding issue home to me. He candidly admitted the proposal he was sending in to a US university and partly funded by a US agency, was not really breaking new ground and he had done some of the same types of research before, but his paramount concern was the money he needed after retirement since his pension was not going to be adequate.

    I am not critical of him. But it shows another dimension that I am sure exists everywhere in many forms.

    • Lots of researchers claim to put things they’ve already mostly done in their grant proposals (because the panels don’t like to give money to risky stuff that might not work) and then spend some of the money raised that way on actual new experiments. So long as a) the new experiments actually turn up something to put in the next grant and b) the funding panels don’t police spending too closely as regards what was promised versus what was done with that specific grant, a lab can stay on a roll indefinitely. And if all that’s happening is that the actual research is getting front-dated by being falsely attributed to a grant that is one generation newer than the actual one that paid for it, then the social harm is small. But it is at best a kind of petty corruption that we ought not to impose on researchers. At worst it’s going to squeeze out new lines of inquiry if these require more money than can be bootlegged off the side of doing what was promised.

  11. Fine article by Bill Hooke. Lets not forget too that universities are quite willing to throw their academics under the bus to make sure that are not seen as bucking the system. I am referring here to the acquiescence to the Grijalva letter. So much for the support of academic freedom, so much for support of your colleagues! So I think yoiu can add University administrators to Bill’s list.

    Bill Hooke quoted Bacon. I have an additional quote by Von Rumfeld that I cam across and it seems to fit as well:

    “…The first step in science is to observe facts attentively, and in their proper connection; the second is to learn to doubt. The sublime in science consists in employing it to extend the power and increase the innocent enjoyments of the human race…”
    Von Rumford (1800)

    PW

  12. David L. Hagen

    Reprioritize the Public Good
    Excellent essay. We need to reprioritize public scientific funding to objectively so “effect their Safety and Happiness”, “promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our prosterity”, (and not to perpetuate chicken little lemmings.) By the USA’s organic law:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    The Declaration of Independence-1776

    We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    US Constitution

    We the People need to restore these foundations.

  13. This is a wicked problem. The question is, what if anything can be done? That may depend on whether things like the stadium wave are correct. Because if they are, then the disconnect between modelled predictions and observed reality will become so great younger climate scientists will be able to make their careers on it. It also depends to a certain extent which way the political winds blow. Senator Cruz has already questioned NASA’s budget request priorities on space exploration versus climate research. 27 states have challenged the EPA generating emissions rules. None of the candidates Steyr backed won. Any thinking adult would find the BarackObama.com thing reprehensible ‘Chicago style’ politics by an increasingly isolated (and flailing on several fronts) presidency. Merchants of Doubt bombed.
    The mere fact that this important paper got published is itself indicative of the hopeful shift in momentum.

    • I think Federal money needs to be doled out by committees of scientists in the respective fields. Let Congress decide the allocation to each field, then the committees would decide what projects are best to fund. The committees should be rotated every year to avoid “pal” funding. Selection should be done by random drawing.

      • Jim2, interesting suggestion. Not sure it would work. I have experience with federal funding in energy storage materials. A sufficiently small field (batteries, capacitors) that the fix is almost always in, no matter how outlandish or improbable the proposal requesting funding. At the front of the line stand the national labs. Next the ‘revolving door’ universities like MIT, Harvard (Holdren at present, formerly Larry Summers), Stanford… Next up the startups spun out of the first two groups. And so on down the pecking order. Just look at any list of ARPA-E or DoE research grants for verification.
        A personal anecdote. Kentucky’s CAER (Center for Applied Energy Research, where I funded materials development in ultracapacitor carbons) cut a complicated deal with Argonne National Lab blessed by the governor, to move to the head of the battery materials research fed funding gravy four years ago. New federally funded building, even. Brought Ralph Broad out of retirement from NREL to start the thing up. Totally incestuous.
        Judith would know for sure, but I cannot imagine climate research being much different. One has to go along to get along in the fed funding world, and the list of US climate researchers is not that large or diverse. That is, IMO, why you see ‘youngsters’ like Shakun and Marcott from U Oregon perverting science in order to join the ‘in’ fraternity. UO is hitched to NOAA PMEL (essay Shell Games), the ocean acidification hotbed. U Colorado is hitched to NCAR (modelling), something Judith undoubtedly understands better than any of us. Columbia is hitched to NASA GISS. Faustian bargains all.

      • > Judith would know for sure, but I cannot imagine climate research being much different.

        Are you suggesting, Sir, that Judy had to lobby to get research grants?

        This would mean climate scientists such as Judy would have to register as a lobbyist?

        Many thanks!

    • I hope Ted Cruz can do some good in his oversight of NASA.

      Barack Obama is an embarrassment. He has done more to foment the nastiness than anyone.

      If there was a scientific corollary to disbarment, it should be applied to John Holdren for being a big part of the Obama nonsense.

  14. There’s no such thing as a natural resource shortage, unless there are price controls. But that’s economics.

    Science should stick to curiosity and forget funding. The social contract will take care of itself then.

    Curiosity breeds honesty. Its absence breeds the opposite.

  15. It wouldn’t be so bad if we weren’t talking about scientists who are paid with the public’s money and in whom the futures of the nations’ youth have been entrusted. Global warming alarmism is not the problem, it’s the symptom of a problem: we’re witnessing the fall of Western civilization.

    • You might like this book – it ends with a quote from our favorite president. :)

      http://www.amazon.com/The-Great-Degeneration-Institutions-Economies/dp/0143125524

      • I seems pretty clear that the sacrifice of the scientific method on the altar of politically-correct consensus is evidence of the deterioration science — Western scientists have been set free to believe whatever they wish — so long as their beliefs are ideologically acceptable.

    • ==> “…”we’re witnessing the fall of Western civilization.”

      Wags makes an excellent point.

      Those alarmists are clearly causing the fall of Western Civilization!

      • They’re just a symptom not the cause. The founders got it — they were right about something we’ve lost. There’s much more to the story of human civilization built upon a unified code of moral and spiritual precepts than the names of ancestors long dead like Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. Dostoevsky probably said it best: “The West has lost Christ and that is why it is dying; that is the only reason.”

  16. Let’s be honest… the current crop of leadership is only interested in the pretense of contracts.

    Andrew

  17. Policy relevant has morphed into policy prescriptive. Which applies to work funded by Greenpeace as equally as the Heartland, not just the government. The nuances have been lost all around as each fights the extreme positions of the other with their own extremes.

    There is a winner takes all attitude in the climate war. It is a superbowl view: one winner, all others are losers. Win-lose. We are victims of our own culture.

    An engineering principle has wormed itd way into how are lives are managed. I call it the Unique Solution: there is only one correct or best solution to any problem. Once you find a solution – carbon taxes, a ban on fracking, suppression of interfering opinion – all other positions on what might be done are BY DEFINITION wrong or inferior. No further discussion is warranted and is, in fact, not desirable as it slows down production. If the future shows the “best” wasn’t the best – the bridge falls down or the subsidy failed to work as expected – we will deal with it later, citing new information to avoid having to admit error. In the meantime we move ahead because speed, not direction is what we respect in leadership as we as business.

    The Unique Solution Principle (or Syndrome) has brought us to many of our current dilemmas. It does not explain why the volume of the controversy has risen so high lately. For that I invoke what I identify as a Principle of Acceleration. All biological systems show this. Both success and failure occur faster with time as the results feed upon themselves, but the end is always a crisis and collapse. The population of hares rises more quickly as more hares add to the breeding population. The easy supply of food leads to more coyotes which eat disproportionately more hares than are being born. Hare numbers collapse and then so do those of the coyotes. In social issues like the climate wars, the prevailing anti-skeptic rhetoric ratchets up as the social leaders – Obama, for one – reward the shouting. The crisis occurs when all the visible skeptics – you, Lindzen etc. – have been consumed. But the problem identified as the skeptic, but actually the failure of IPPC model predictions, remains. The warmists fall apart.

    (In the hare-coyote analogy, the perceived problem is not enough hares, while the real problem is too many coyotes.)

    The uniqueness of solutions to complex (and wicked) problems and the stability of social organizations are two major fasfalsehoods that drive public activities and lead us into trouble. We rush into war and bankruptcy for the same reasons. Our leaders are supposed to suppress this in their population but it appears they are still subject to those influences also. Or they use them to manipulate us for their own purposes.

    I’m not sure which is worse: ignorance or guile. But I’m sure that is what is going on.

    • good points, thx

    • “The nuances have been lost all around as each fights the extreme positions of the other with their own extremes.

      There is a winner takes all attitude in the climate war.”

      This “a pox on both their houses” argument is as tired as it is absolute nonsense. The reason their are extremes in the climate debate is that the progressive CAGW activists revealed their hand in the run up to Copenhagen – when the world learned that their planned response to “global warming” was decarbonization of the global energy economy.

      This is the ultimate extreme position. The response, we should not decarbonize the global economy, is not an extreme response.

      Can you name any skeptics trying to silence the CAGW progressives?

      What pray tell are the extremist positions of Heartland?

      For all you lukewarmers out there, the goal of the the progressives running the governments, who are funding the progressives in the ‘climate science’ community, was and is decarbonization. There is no middle ground on decarbonization. Doing it halfway would give you much of the damage predicted by skeptics, and none of the benefits predicted by progressives.

      So that, the central question in the climate debate, is a yes or no answer. If, and only if, we get to the ‘no’ answer, do all the arguments and policy prescriptions of the middle of the roaders even come into play.

      • Danny Thomas

        GaryM,
        If you’re defining decarbonization narrowly to doing in the evil demon FF industry.
        I’m a middle grounder for several reasons, but as an enjoyer of the great outdoors and at the risk of being labeled (gasp) green it appears there is much we can do which have stand alone benefits and side benefits of addressing CO2 (making it politically doable). You likely know better than I, but increasing biomass, improved farming techniques, reforestation, recycling and the like are doable. FF will not last forever so alternatives research just makes sense. We’re making baking soda at cement plants.
        So, “There is no middle ground on decarbonization.”, depending on how you define it I disagree.

      • Gary,

        I think you are correct that decarbonization is the goal for the true believers. I have friends who are absolutely convinced that a solar panel on every rooftop would power the world as we know it today. None of them have STEM backgrounds – no appeal to mathematics will do as the narrative is deeply embedded and has become part of their value system. Others think we can give up many aspects of modernity but do not understand how much we rely on technology and power to provide food and clean water, treat sewage, and provide medical care. Modern medicine and it’s associated technology depends on abundant, inexpensive power. One dear friend is being kept alive by Kaytruda and Zelboraf. Those drugs represent the tip of a modern technological spear.

      • The Heartland billboards are the easiest example of extreme propaganda against the warmist group. Inhofe is regularly extreme in his pronouncements. Various articles on fraud in GISS temperature adjustments are extreme. Hansen, Gore, McKibben and Obama make extreme statements, yes. But they are not alone. The nuclear option is a favored tactic by the top levels of both sides.

        BTW, I’m a skeptic. Unless by your definition someone who thinks CO2 has some incremental warming of perhaps 1.5C/doubling, and believes fossil fuel and nuclear energy are a reasonable part of the longterm energy mix, and that economic health is a higher moral goal than a return to a Rousseauian fantasy is a “lukewarmer”. In which case I defer to your choice of label.

      • Let’s try it again:

        The reason their are extremes in the climate debate is that the progressive CAGW activists revealed their hand in the run up to Copenhagen – when the world learned that their planned response to “global warming” was decarbonization of the global energy economy.

        This is the ultimate extreme position. The response, we should not decarbonize the global economy, is not an extreme response.

        Not true. As has been obvious (to me, anyway) since 1998 is that the “planned response to ‘global warming’” of many of the “progressive CAGW activists” is “decarbonization of the global energy economyon a schedule and in such a way as to promote their socialist agenda. Raising the price of energy very high, so they could control an “energy welfare” for the poor, and establishing a large world-wide regulatory bureaucracy to oversee their carbon solutions.

        This is the ultimate extreme position. The response, we should not decarbonize the global economy, is not an extreme response.

        Of course it is! A more rational response would be to temper the schedule and approach to decarbonize without impacting energy prices, or requiring any sort of massive regulatory bureaucracy.

        For all you lukewarmers out there, the goal of the the progressives running the governments, who are funding the progressives in the ‘climate science’ community, was and is decarbonization. There is no middle ground on decarbonization. Doing it halfway would give you much of the damage predicted by skeptics, and none of the benefits predicted by progressives.

        So that, the central question in the climate debate, is a yes or no answer. If, and only if, we get to the ‘no’ answer, do all the arguments and policy prescriptions of the middle of the roaders even come into play.

        Of course there’s a middle ground. No decarbonization is an extremely extreme position.

    • Your comparison to biology is apt. Your ‘unique solution’ theory is an aspect of evolutionary processes in society that operate with similar rules to biology. Narrative success is rewarded more than veracity, and thus communicated solutions (whether or not based upon some original workable principle) soon become narratives in competition, in which they get shaped to be better adapted (by both chance and intelligence) for success. For example a higher emotive content will aid success. So will multiple emotions (e.g. fear and hope). So will simplicity (even if that detracts from the real-world solution). These are familiar concepts in the domain of cultural evolution.

      It is neither guile nor ignorance, the latter in the sense that no-one can possibly know everything, so evolution has bequeathed to us a truly enormous computer called ‘society’ in order to solve the wicked problems that we have encountered thus far. A consequence of this bequethal is that solutions can only be arrived at via the coordinated contribution of many. Yet the very mechanisms which underpin that co-ordination (social consensus, ‘singing off the same hymsheet’), are subject to narrative take-over by winners of the above competition. History suggests that true knowledge will eventually triumph, in the long-term real-world constraints still trump arbitrary narrative. But it may be via a society less afflicted by the negative narrative that has taken hold (China?)

      • Andy,

        Yours is another excellent post – content rich. I think the notion of society as a computer, a store of information and responses – is apt. Culture can be seen as a cybernetic system, as per Roy Rappaport (Pigs for the Ancestors). I think STEM people have an additional – to narrative – method to interpret experience via numbers, systems, experiment, and skepticism all combined with a tendency to challenge and debunk. The rest of humanity uses primarily narrative and has a preference for consensus. In general, people don’t like those that challenge the consensus. I had to learn, the hard way, to pick my battles in a business context staffed largely by non-STEM peers.

        As for China, that is a nation with it’s own pathologies that have yet to play out.

      • Thanks Justin. And yes indeed society has a strong preference for consensus and dislikes those who challenge the dominant model. But STEM is not generally a ticket out of that system. It may work to some extent in limited environments more connected to reality (e.g. business, as you have found), and also depending on the emotive potency of the particular consensus. But bear in mind that as psychologist Dan Kahan has found, science-aware CAGW supporters believe *more emphatically*, not less. Science-aware CAGW skeptics are also more emphatically skeptical. In the latter case, loose skeptics set off on a trail that leads them to the more sophisticated arguments of skepticism (not all of which are likely correct), but along the way many will see more of the true uncertainties, as these are part of the fabric of the skeptic position. In the former case, loose believers set off on a trail that leads them to the more sophisticated arguments of orthodoxy, and their support for the climate Consensus increases. For now at least, the dominant CAGW narrative still holds sway despite the Consensus contains legions of professors and engineers and probably STEM majors measured in the many millions.

        A similar *increase* in the polarity across other narrative rifts occurs as people become more literate and domain knowledgeable, e.g. for religions. If the narratives press hard enough on the right psychological hot-buttons, we cannot count on our education to protect us, but perhaps only our dispassion and prior inoculation by counter narratives. Which means we are all vulnerable to one narrative or other, just like some of us are more vulnerable to say, the measles. None of this btw denigrates the intelligence or individuality of anyone on either side. We just happen to be very social animals with parts of our brain, even though we are also deep thinkers and creators with other parts. And being vulnerable to a narrative version of the measles (or whatever) certainly doesn’t mean we are vulnerable to everything else that comes in narrative form.

        Maybe the narrative of the certainty of climate catastrophe will burn itself out; maybe it will morph to something else.

    • Douglas,

      The more I read this the more I like it. I think, for the politicians,it is guile, but for much of the populace it is a combination of ignorance and gullibility. The political left uses the CAGW meme to hammer the opposition, reward friends and fundraisers, and to keep their supporters animated and motivated to show up on election day. Interesting post.

    • Douglasroctor-I like what you are saying though I would not call your Unique Solution Principle an “engineering principle”. Engineers of all people should recognize that there are typically pros and cons inherent in all options and that you are just doing a balancing act that will at best hold for a given time and place. (Though maybe some do get caught up with particular solutions as being near optimal and some times there are no-brainers). Some environmentally inclined come in and see a black and white world where more renewables are good no matter what (and maybe there is a side who is down on renewables no matter what). I see the FaceBook pictures of a parking lot with solar saying “Don’t you wish ALL parking lots where like this?” Obviously all parking lots should not be solar facilities, but maybe many more should be. It’s all so oversimplistic once you have the Unique solution, use it everywhere. But that only works when you are standing back as a critic. When environmentalists push offshore wind programs that might actually get adopted they run into other environmentalists who oppose them. Wind turbines are great in the abstract and damn the utilities for not doing more, until they come to your community. Stopping pipelines and fracking are great unique solutions until someone worries about fuel costs. You have to be at least blind in one eye to love today’s unique solutions. Economic growth of China-blind to environment. All clean energy-blind to economic realities. It’s great to know it all and have a unique solution if you are not responsible for the bottom line.

      • The only thing to add is that I agree there are opposing camps with competing Unique solutions, but there are also “balances” who,though they might need some guidance and re-weighing of factors, have been giving careful consideration to the tradeoffs among alternatives for a long time, . It’s not fair to contrast those who have been sincerely trying to balance tradeoffs with those who show up with the new unique solution and are not able to comprehend why they can not be universally adopted in the near term. We need to give some credit to those working for the best balance of imperfect solutions although they may not spak with the fervor and confidence of the true believers.

  18. “Further, I have been developing an awareness of the problems of groupthink and the biases that can occur through institutional ‘leadership’, and I am working to fight against these.”

    My Nottingham colleague Phil Moriarty has just written a blog Follow the leader? criticising the growing use of the concept of ‘leadership’ in academia, where it is completely inappropriate – academics ought to be thinking for themselves and challenging anyone who is described as a ‘leader’, rather than following them.

    • Wonderful post by Moriarty, I was thinking of tying that one into this post, but I have an idea for another post related to this.

    • Steven Mosher

      “I didn’t become an academic in order to be led. Nor did I become an academic to lead others. I’m an academic because I want to contest, argue, debate, explore, and challenge the received wisdom. ”

      I always had these kids in my class who wore T-shirts that said
      “Question Authority”

      They always had trouble with the following questions.

      1. How do respond to stop signs and red lights when you drive?
      2. What would you do if there was no authority to define your behavior?

      telling people that they ought to follow your advice and think for themselves, is kinda funny.

      willard might enjoy this…

      • davideisenstadt

        Geez Steve that was an informative, illuminating post.
        I guess one should never question authority…the point is to question authority, not to obey authority without thinking.
        really?
        For a guy with a degree in english, you seem to have trouble parsing relatively simple sentiences.
        Most wouldn’t infer from the quote “question authority” that one should never obey any law…
        Off your game today, you are.

      • > I guess one should never question authority…

        That’s not a valid way to counter the basic observation that there are norms to regulate civilized behavior, DavidE.

        Look up for “caricature” in the critical thinking book you suggest to your students. Don’t forget to get its authors right, or else your students might start to question not your authority, but your competence as a teacher.

      • I always had these kids in my class who wore T-shirts that said “Question Authority”

        Kids don’t need to be told that (post adolescence, anyway), their hormones make them do it automatically.

        1. How do respond to stop signs and red lights when you drive?

        “Question” doesn’t automatically mean “reject”. What if the light’s broken?

      • Steven Mosher

        david

        Geez Steve that was an informative, illuminating post.
        I guess one should never question authority…the point is to question authority, not to obey authority without thinking.
        really?
        ####################
        stupid questions show you why a prescription to question authority cannot be universally applied. My observation was the people have a hard time defining a systematic method for when to question authority and when to accept authority.

        “For a guy with a degree in english, you seem to have trouble parsing relatively simple sentiences.”

        Question Authority looks like a simple command. I questioned that
        command. That’s what an academic is supposed to do.

        “Most wouldn’t infer from the quote “question authority” that one should never obey any law…”

        Note I inferred nothing. I was just asking a question. You command that I question authority. I question that command. Can I question the law that says “stop”? How about the law that says blacks sit in the back of busses?
        Further, I had a second question which you avoid. When you command me to question authority, as an acedemic committed to challenging these types of authoritative prescriptions, what is the academic to do?

        just asking questions.

      • davideisenstadt

        willard:
        what paulsen didn’t coauthor the book?
        and since when is it proper to infer from the Statement “question authority” anymore than that?
        Didn’t they have a whole bunch of trials at nuremberg to establish that concept?
        like reasonable people drive on the wrong side of the road, because they “question authority”?
        yours is the post of an asshat.
        Note: Im referring to you post, not you.

      • Steven Mosher

        AK

        there were two questions

        2. What would you do if there was no authority to define your behavior?

        again it seems odd to tell people that the only way they can think for themselves is to say ‘no’ to the other or question the other.
        question all orders except the order to question all orders.

      • Steven Mosher

        ““Question” doesn’t automatically mean “reject”. What if the light’s broken?”

        my question was

        1. How do respond to stop signs and red lights when you drive?

        do you question the stop sign and wait for an answer?
        do you wonder of the light is broken?

        of course kids tried the arguments you are trying. None worked.
        At the bottom was the insight that one can’t live if all you do is question.
        At the bottom is the recognition that every day we accept ‘authority” without question. We accept the authority of laws, accept the authority of our past experience, accept the authority of people who tell us to question authority.
        So comes the question, when is it ok to question. Are all questions acceptable? do I always have a right to question?

        Now typically we let academics get away with questioning everything because they have no power and they need some compensation for their pitiful existence.

      • > and since when is it proper to infer from the Statement “question authority” anymore than that?

        Marriage?

        Am I kidding?

        Where was this inference made?

        What kind of inference was that?

        Aren’t there many kinds of inference?

        Aren’t there many more things one can do facing a Statement?

        What about a statement with a little S?

        Why should we infer anyway?

        What compels us to infer?

        How does that inferring work exactly?

        If we must question everything, shouldn’t we question the injunction to question everything?

        Many thanks!

      • David Springer

        Mosher proves false the old saw “There’s no such thing as a dumb question”.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Wouldn’t it have been easier just to ask them if their shirt was authoritative?

      • Steven Mosher

        Springer

        ‘Mosher has either never been to Taiwan or didn’t pay attention to how they drive. Traffic signals and signs are just suggestions over there. You need to get out more Steve.”

        Hmm. My first trip to Taiwan was to visit Taichung where I taught air combat modelling for a couple weeks.
        As My boss explained “the only rule in driving in Taiwan is that nose position is everything” look up fighter tactics if that is obscure to you.

        hmm I did spend a bunch of time there from 2007-2009

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Openmoko

        the phone wasnt what I hoped for, but the coolest thing was naming the Free Runner. William Gibson thought it was cool. Thats pretty cool when your favorite author puts a phone you named in his novel.

        cool.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo_FreeRunner

        the other cool thing was ‘inventing’ a early form of group purchasing on the internet.

        ya.. english major.. impossible.. but then YOU bought my products..
        I never bought dell crap.

      • @Steven Mosher…

        1. How do respond to stop signs and red lights when you drive?

        do you question the stop sign and wait for an answer?
        do you wonder of the light is broken?

        My personal approach? I start by assuming that “authority” was right in their decision (to place signal or stop sign in that spot). Obviously, they might be “wrong”, but since other drivers will probably be expecting me to honor the stop sign or signal, the most civilized approach is to do so.

        I’ve seen many other drivers who “question the authority” of stop signs, for instance by ignoring them when they can clearly see (in their opinion) that there’s nobody to stop for. Big opportunity for accidents/injury due to m0tivated thinking.

        My question about the signal being broken wasn’t about wondering at every signal, it was about how to respond when it actually is broken. How long do you wait for it to change before deciding to ignore it? How do you interact with other drivers at the same broken signal?

        IMO these points were pretty clear in my response, and you’d have at least hypothesized them if you were reading with sympathy.

        there were two questions

        2. What would you do if there was no authority to define your behavior?

        Let me know when you start doing that (reading with sympathy), and perhaps I’ll discuss your other question.

      • David Springer

        If your response had a title an apt one might be: “Mosher Questions Authority in Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar”

        Nice one. I don’t know about your record in imaginary air combat but here you’re a laugh maker and rule breaker.

      • When we question authority do we question [the] authority or question [an] authority? [That is not always clear and there are likely different motivations.] {HTH the moderator}

      • richardswarthout

        mwgrant

        “When we question authority do we question [the] authority or question [an] authority?”

        Interesting question. It seems that when we accept authority it is often the broader authority that is being accepted, if the authority is large and influential fewer questions are asked of it. However, it seems, if we question authority, the questions must be specific, and the authority being questioned will be more likely [an] authority.

        Richard

    • Another blast from the past:

      (Judith, I know I already told you, but if you like this interview by Foucault, you’ll like Robert Brandom.)

      https://judithcurry.com/2011/06/06/polemics-politics-and-problemizations/

      Perhaps I need an arbitrary W robot.

      One can find Making It Explicit online.

      • Steven Mosher

        nice.

        I was going to go back and discuss hegel on the master/slave
        and perhaps lacan on four types of discourse and then I found the Brandom youtube.

        Looks like I missed something after Rorty. I’ll read more and comment less.

      • Steven Mosher

        ha.. I missed that comment of yours willard.

      • davideisenstadt

        its fun tor read you and mosh enjoy a mutual reach around.

      • ==> “its fun tor read you and mosh enjoy a mutual reach around.”.

        Stay classy, David. Stay classy.

      • davideisenstadt

        go eff your self joshua. go eff yourself
        2 can play ron burgundy games.

      • lol!

        ==> “go eff your self joshua. go eff yourself”

        Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the argument of a proud climate “skeptic.”

      • davideisenstadt

        josh your excretia is on display for all to read.
        I let your body of “work” speak for itself.

      • Thank you for teaching me a new word, Sensei.

      • David Springer

        Joshua is Queen of the Climate Badger, Bother, and Annoy School of Thought. I’m sure his mother would be very proud.

      • ==> ” I’m sure his mother would be very proud.”

        Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the argument of a proud climate “skeptic.”

    • One of my colleagues used to say “If two academics agree, one is redundant.” On the other hand, it would be impossible to accomplish projects like the LHC at CERN without an authority and leadership structure that can create closure and alignment so that tasks can be parceled out, resources can be allocated, and the parts have a chance of working together when the whole thing is assembled and turned on.

  19. This self-reinforcing interplay between climate scientists, politicians, a compliant press and your money is all well documented in “The Skeptic’s Handbook II – Global Bullies Want Your Money” by Jo Nova.

    see: http://jonova.s3.amazonaws.com/sh2/the_skeptics_handbook_IIj-sml.pdf

  20. Science is broken! Much like the low fat dietary charade, climate science is based on an unproven pretext intent on driving the public toward a goal thought as a public good. Those that question it must be ostrisized. In the case of dietary science the mistake ended with serious ramifications including obesity, diabetes and other health problems that harmed the public instead of serving it. Climate Science should stand on its own and not feel threatened by the normal science process testing the validity of claims. The 97% should have been a red flag rather than a presidential talking point. To have a paper published or research funded that require speaking to consensus thwarts the science process of testing hypothesis.

    • Who is being prevented from challenging the claims made in climate science? Explain to me how that works.

      • Your obviously not paying attention. I could write a lengthy dissertation starting with climategate, peer review, consensus and deniers but it would probably be lost on you. Oh they could certainly challenge but will pilloried for their trouble. It’s rigged game.

      • So be specific. Who exactly has been prevented from challenging claims due to peer review or from what was revealed in climategate . That shouldn’t be hard to answer.

      • but will pilloried for their trouble

        What does that even mean??

  21. stevefitzpatrick

    Hi Judith…
    Just lost a long (and I think wonderfully insightful!) comment when I tried to post…. even though I was already logged into my WordPress account and my avatar was being displayed.. There seen to be some issues with your new set-up.

    • oh dear! apologies. particularly surprised that a problem occurred while logged into wordpress?

      • That’s happened to me a couple of times too.

      • One solution for this is to (a) type your comment into Word, then (b) select and copy from Word and paste into a text editor. You can use the one that comes with Windows: Notepad. (Click Start and in the Search box type Notepad). Then (c) copy the text from Notepad and paste it into the Climate, etc. box. This will avoid the problem of fragmented paragraphs that happens when you paste directly from Word.

  22. The behavior we see in the climate sciences would not be tolerated anywhere else in society. When the POTUS blatantly discriminates against, and persecutes, a given group of people, we have reached a new low.

    • How does this sit with you?

      • bedeverethewise

        Who are you voting for? Who is denying reality the most? Hansen? Gore? Mann? Other suggestions?

      • bedeverethewise

        Sorry, i didn’t realize the game was rigged. I’m starting to think this is nothing but a cheap political propaganda stunt

      • On social contracts, societies, and Obama:

        Journalists could not refrain to lulz.

      • Obama’s Twitter account is run by unelected tweenage activists, and he expressly denies responsibility for any Tweets not ending in his initials. Yep, Twitter’s plain-English Terms of Service are apparently too complicated for a Harvard Law graduate to follow:

        Tip What you say on Twitter may be viewed all around the world instantly. You are what you Tweet!
        You are responsible for safeguarding the password that you use to access the Services and for any activities or actions under your password.
        Complain about POTUS’ abuse of today’s most important social messaging technology. Together, we can get the Violator-in-Chief suspended!

      • Oops, tag FAIL on my part.

      • Bedevere,

        great minds think alike. I was also hoping to nominate the denier of 900 years of climate change, from the apogee of Teotihuacan civilization to the death of Queen Victoria, including such undeniable excursions as the MWP and the LIA, until I made the same all-too-predictable discovery: the tournament is about as authentic as pro wrestling.

      • “I’m starting to think this is nothing but a cheap political propaganda stunt”

        Haha. Very droll.

      • I vote for he who stopped the seas from rising.

  23. What a childish embarrassment.

  24. Willis Eschenbach

    Aaaand once again, we have someone talking about the relationship between science and society who doesn’t mention that the leading lights of the climate alarmist movement were exposed in Climategate by their own words to be liars, cheaters, and lawbreakers … I grow bored, Judith, with your endless attempts to minimize the dishonesty and claim that instead it is a structural problem.

    Folks, its not all complex like Judith keeps arguing. It’s not about Eisenhower and the change in funding. It’s not about structure. It’s not about communication.

    It’s bozo-simple. People don’t trust mainstream climate scientists because according to their own words their leaders lied to us, suborned perjury, subverted the IPCC, distorted the results, packed the pal-review panels, pressured the scientific journals, and then lied about it when they were caught.

    It’s not a mystery requiring deep thought. When renowned climate scientists get caught with their hands in the cookie jar, people don’t like it one bit … and when they deny it despite their own emails confirming it, people get very suspicious.

    And when the mass of other climate scientists either say nothing, or else celebrate and fete and offer support to the scientists who stole from the cookie jar, people will likely never trust any of them again.

    Like I said … it’s not complex. When scientists lie, cheat, and steal, and other scientists either say nothing or approve of the actions, it ruptures the “social contract between science and society” … d’oh.

    w.

    • How much poorer off we’d all be w/o Willis to speak for the people.

    • I think Willis is hitting much closer to the truth. I have been discussing AGW with a group of my normal associates and friends for a decade. This includes doctors, lawyers, teachers, professors, researchers, engineers, architects, oil workers, politicians (from local level to provincial premiers), waiters, retail workers, businessmen, bankers, farmers and mechanics. Within that group they cover a lot of positions on AGW, but in the last 5 years I have seen many people who fully supported CAGW, move into much more sceptical positions to downright deniers. I have not seen one single person move from a sceptical position to a position of greater support for CAGW. Not one. By far the most prevalent position now is that we are probably having some effect, but it is likely small, and that the climate science is being oversold and/or exaggerated. The most often sited reason for a shift to sceptical, is noticing the changing positions over time of climate scientists and the alarmist media. People don’t forget the past predictions and alarmism, they recognize even small shifts on the “settled science” position. They are not stupid and if you lie/mislead/exaggerate to them, they are less likely to believe you in the future.

      There is a moral in there.

      • Well, on the one hand we have “anecdotal evidence.”

        And on the other we have many scientifically conducted polls (that “skeptics” refer to when they find it convenient to do so)…

        And on the third hand, we have people who generalize from their own experiences, obviously possibly influenced by many forms of observer bias, to speculate about trends among the larger public.

        And on the fourth hand, we have people who after deciding what trends exist on the basis of their own experiences, go on to speculate about causality for those trends without any attempt to control for other possibly influencing variables.

        And on the fifth hand, we have many studies that speak to how in polarized contexts like climate change, ideological orientation can be highly correlated with views on the evidence, views on how the public formulates their views, etc.

        But yeah. Let’s stick with that ol’ “anecdotal evidence.” It’s the “skeptical” thing to do.

      • Joshua, There is a fairly detailed post at WUWT about a paradigm shift occuring within science complete with the polling of scientists. Not sure if I’d come to the same conclusion but I am less informed. Worth reading though anyway if you want less anecdote.

      • thanks Ordvic, I’ll take a look.

      • We were talking about why people were becoming sceptical and showing less trust in climate scientists. I would think my personal experience, very clearly identified as such and not misrepresented as anything else than, would be a relevant comment. I did not realize that it was not allowed under the “Joshua” rules for commenting.

        But yes I should completely ignore what people tell me and blindly follow what someone else says. But I would rather get as much information as possible, but still maintain the right to notice what I experience that does or doesn’t match the expectations of what I read. And sorry, but the “thought police” appeal to authority, will not change that my own sphere of observation do not conform to your position. You don’t live where I live. You do not know the people I talk to. You don’t know their opinions. So don’t tell me that their own words are not admissible because you read something different. If you applied even half as much actual scientific scepticism to climate science as you brought to a clearly labeled personal opinion comment, you would be a lot closer to a proper unbiased scientist.

      • To start with. Really Joshua?

        Willis expressed and opinion and I responded to say my personal experience most closely matched his opinion. That is my experience, not yours. You don’t need to offer a condescending treatise on how someone saying “I think” isn’t a scientific paper. News flash everyone on this site already knows. Perhaps, that is why I bothered to clearly spell out the nature of my anecdote ahead of time, so that captain obvious didn’t have to jump in stating what I already said. I am still unsure why you felt so personally threatened by my clearly labeled personal experience, that you had to jump up and down saying that isn’t science. Since you assumed endless things about me and my experiences, I will just assume that my comment was so contrary your opinion that you had to try and marginalize it. Of course since you did that by pretending I had not clearly described it’s anecdotal nature already, your criticism falls pretty flat. Just because it didn’t require you to restate that it was opinion, wasn’t going to stop you from jumping in to do just that again.

        You call my personal experience “anecdotal evidence”, which I would not argue since I clearly describe the source so nobody would think for a second I was presenting anything other than just that, and then you follow with nothing but anecdotal evidence since nobody knows what solid science you are referencing. To be clear you offered your opinion, not any facts contrary. An opinion just as open to “possibly influenced by many forms of observer bias”. To say there is solid science backing this opinion, is an “opinion” unless you present the science for scrutiny by others. You did not actually present a single “actual fact” to offset my personal anecdote, just your personal anecdotal take on the subject. So get down off your pedestal about how scientific you are acting.

        You assumed that I have not read the evidence of which you speak. How do you know I have not read the evidence? Are you grounding your position and accepting that you may be making assumptions based on personal bias? Sloppy methodology, I only point that out since you feel that personal opinion needs to be compared to scientific practice at every juncture. How do you know that I am not simply struck by how little what I observe, matches the presented evidence? That does not say I am not aware of the evidence, don’t jump to conclusions. Of course this is only my personal experience, again something I never once tried to hide or misrepresent.

        So again, thanks for trying to marginalize my comment by pointing out over and over what I already clearly said. But in my province, not Alberta before you ask, the opinions of the educated and powerful people I talk to on a regular basis do not match the “polls” or “consensus” papers. Since I talk to them and they have openly expressed their opinions, I will use that as a metric for informing opinions from my area. The fact that our weather is not following the climate change predictions for our area isn’t helping either. Yes I know that the GCM’s are not meant to predict regional weather, but they still issued scary regional predictions anyway, claiming that their advanced models were that good. They have been 100% wrong. Another reason for mistrust now as they have backed away and said they didn’t predict that but instead said it was a possibility. Nobody is falling for it because they are not idiots and remember their warnings quite well.

      • Brandon –

        Consider that broadly speaking, in the U.S., the same demographic group (sorted by political ideology) that is “skeptical” about climate change is also “skeptical” as to whether the Earth is more than a few thousands of years old.

        Now is that group “skeptical” of the view of the vast majority of scientists w/r/t the age of the Earth because they have reviewed the evidence offered by those scientists in depth and find their evidence lacking? Or is that group “skeptical” of the views of the vast majority of scientists w/r/t the age of the Earth because of their ideological orientation that they bring with them when they look at debates about scientific evidence on the age of the Earth?

        Obviously, the causality behind public views on scientific issues is multifactorial. But yet you want to boil the causality to one simplistic mechanism, based on your own anecdotal experiences. And you seem to fail to note that the mechanism of causality you conclude is in play, just happens to conform with your own biases.

        The problem with your argument, and that of Willis, has been the same all along. The problem isn’t that you noted your anecdotal experiences of what some folks told you about your beliefs. It is that you used your anecdotal experience as the basis for generalizing about a trend, and the causality behind that trend, for a group far beyond that which you have direct experience with.

        Of course, the strong correlation between how views on climate change break out and how views on a host of political and religious issues break out does not explain the views of particular individuals or even particular sub-groups. But if you’re going to speculate about what drives public opinions on climate change then you need to deal with how the evidence speaks to your speculation.

        ==> “You assumed that I have not read the evidence of which you speak.”

        I haven’t made that assumption. I pointed out that your arguments about the causality behind the public’s views on climate change do not comport with that evidence.

      • Joshua,

        when you make the following hand-waving sideswipe at an entire “side” of the debate…

        But yeah. Let’s stick with that ol’ “anecdotal evidence.” It’s the “skeptical” thing to do.

        …are you doing so in an ironic way that acknowledges the purely anecdotal nature of your judgement? Or do you have a peer-reviewed study to justify it? Or do you simply fail to notice the double standard?

      • Brad –

        It’s hard to find the right terminology, but…

        I use “skeptics” to refer to an entire side of the debate, but within that group, actually, there are “skeptics” and skeptics.

        Some “skeptics” are “skeptics” and not all “skeptics” are skeptics (in other words, some “skeptics” are skeptics).

        “Skeptics” utilize the type of scientific method that relies on “anecdotal evidence.”

        And then some “skeptics” are skeptics some of the time (but not all of the time).

        So it’s still fine to say that Brandon’s “anecdotal evidence”-based reasoning (I’m not quoting him, btw, buy my friend David E.) is the “skeptical” thing to do – although I can understand that in doing so it would be hard to see your point which is valid.

        Anyway, lest there be any confusion, I think the tendency to reason in that fashion is not proportionally greater based on how people view the evidence on climate change, IMO. The tendency to reason like that is based on cognitive (pattern finding) and psychological (identity affirmation) attributes of the species.

      • Joshua

        I am perfectly happy to discuss the scientific evidence to detail my view of “climate change”, not just anecdotal evidence. But Since this post and 99% of the comments, including all of yours, are not presenting any evidence. Only opinions and anecdotes, I think your shouting down of anecdotes is disingenuous.

        You talk about consensus, but you don’t clarify what 97% believe. You throw around that statement, but you should clarify, what exactly they believe and what your “scientific studies and polls” have agreed on. Without that, or links to your much discussed but never given studies, you are giving nothing more factual than an anecdote.

        My personal opinion would be such:
        – man has contributed to shifts in regional weather and overall climate through CO2, land use changes and water/particulate distribution in the atmosphere. The extent of that human impact is still unknown because we do not fully understand the natural cycles and non-human forcing outside of the cycles. The current GCM models are not adequate to predict climate, because they are incomplete and do not have a good enough grasp of the natural changes inherent in the system. The assumption of positive feedbacks and the purely negative outlook of warming effects, have not been proven scientifically and are therefore not settled science. Overall we should expect around 1 degree forcing from a doubling of CO2, which could be increased or decreased depending on the feedbacks in the system. feedbacks we don’t understand or even understand in some cases. The models have failed at predictions on all scales, and we are now locked on a PR campaign to defend them, rather than an honest attempt to improve them. I also don’t believe we have even remotely accurate enough data, and we don’t have the proper knowledge of the errors to adjust them. And both sides of this debate need to stop pointing to weather events as proof of their position.

        Yes there are lots of ignorant people in the world. I agree the young earth people are stupid, but then again so are The “earth is a living organism” crowd. I have seen just as much stupidity on environmental sites as I have on religious sites. So do recognize that a portion of your support of “climate science”, is also happy to support homeopathy, anti-vaccine, anti-gmo, ghosts, alien visitations, 9/11 truthers,, anti-frakking, anti-nuclear power, etc…. so don’t feel too superior in your side. Every one of those issues has reams of solid science and experimentation backing them up, does it matter?

        Remember that Bill Nye, just finally accepted GMO. Very scientific of him to change his mind after being shown all the evidence by an industry spokesman. But not very scientific of him to be spouting his anti-GMO up to this point, wouldn’t you say? Was he advocating without knowing the scientific facts up till now or just ignoring the science? kind of anti-science. You should lecture him on grounding his statements in scientific process.

        What I find funny is that you probably imagine me as some right wing anti-science religious nutjob, but you would very much enjoy talking to me in person. You would find I am as big a science supporter as you could ever hope to meet. I am just sceptical of areas where science outruns its uncertainties and becomes activists. I am sceptical in some other areas? Two are salt and fat, but science is finally casting off the advocacy scientists control in those areas. Don’t assume the sceptics are all nutcases because of some paper written by advocate.

      • Brandon –

        ==> “… I think your shouting down of anecdotes is disingenuous…”

        I’m not shouting down anecdotes. I’m speaking to their limitations. I’ve been quite clear about that. I freakin’ love anecdotes. But I try not to use them as a basis for generalizing. I try to use empirical evidence for generalizing. I will note, however, that humans are basically “generalizing from anecdotes” machines. It’s a basic feature in how we reason. It’s a hueristic that works in some ways as a baseline way to approach life. But it only works to the extent that there aren’t better alternatives.

        ==> “You talk about consensus, but you don’t clarify what 97% believe. ”

        I don’t have any particular belief about what 97%, or any other particular percentage believe. Although I’m not certain, I do tend to agree with Richard Tol when he says:

        ““Published papers that seek to test what caused the climate change over the last century and half, almost unanimously find that humans played a dominant role.”

        At any rate, I’m not sure what any of that has to do with your using “anecdotal evidence” to characterize views of the broader public, or the causality behind how they develop those views.

        ==> “Yes there are lots of ignorant people in the world. I agree the young earth people are stupid, ….”

        Actually, you’re not agreeing with me there, because I don’t think that YECs are “stupid people.”

        ==> ” I have seen just as much stupidity on environmental sites as I have on religious sites. ”

        I don’t doubt it in the slightest. I don’t think that views on issues like religion or the environment are well correlated with intelligence.

        ==> “So do recognize that a portion of your support of “climate science”, is also happy to support homeopathy, anti-vaccine, anti-gmo, ghosts, alien visitations, 9/11 truthers,, anti-frakking, anti-nuclear power, etc…. so don’t feel too superior in your side.”

        I’m not claiming any sort of “superiority” on “my side.” I think that the tendency towards biased reasoning is not likely disproportionately associated with any particular view on climate change.

        ==> “Remember that Bill Nye, just finally accepted GMO. ”

        Now there you go again!!!

        ==> “What I find funny is that you probably imagine me as some right wing anti-science religious nutjob, but you would very much enjoy talking to me in person.”

        I don’t imagine you as some right-wing anti-science nutjob. Wrong on both counts. I’m sure that sharing a beer with you would be fun.

        ==> “You would find I am as big a science supporter as you could ever hope to meet. I am just sceptical of areas where science outruns its uncertainties and becomes activists. I am sceptical in some other areas? Two are salt and fat, but science is finally casting off the advocacy scientists control in those areas. Don’t assume the sceptics are all nutcases because of some paper written by advocate.”

        I don’t think that “skeptics” are nutcases. But I do think that it is “skeptical” to try to generalize from anecdotes. You are making my arguments much more complicated than they are, and in so doing you keep making mischaracerizations of what my arguments are. I will note that despite having done so numerous times, you have yet to acknowedge that you have done so.

      • “I’m not shouting down anecdotes. I’m speaking to their limitations. I’ve been quite clear about that. I freakin’ love anecdotes. But I try not to use them as a basis for generalizing. I try to use empirical evidence for generalizing. I will note, however, that humans are basically “generalizing from anecdotes” machines. It’s a basic feature in how we reason. It’s a hueristic that works in some ways as a baseline way to approach life. But it only works to the extent that there aren’t better alternatives.”

        I agree fully, but you have not actually given anything better, only assured us that better things exist on this topic, in your own anecdote. There are enough shoddy “consensus” papers around that assuring people they read solid science about this topic requires references to be believed. And frankly my careful attention to what people tell me, is not completely to be discounted. But I already recognize and characterized it as being from my personal experience. I have also not seen anything from watching comments for years on dozens of sites, to make me challenge my personal opinions on how and why people are acting the way they do.

        I could characterize it as such, with a lot of artistic license:
        alarmist- look at this new paper its a smoking gun/slam dunk/sceptical destroyer
        Sceptic- But why did they need to do step 3, doesn’t that bias the results?
        Alarmist- comment deleted.
        alarmist- why don’t they trust us? Is it fossil fuel money? Is it cause they are crazy, biased from politics? Look at this paper where we asked sceptics and alarmists questions, it proves they are all crackpots.
        sceptic – you asked different questions to each group and…..
        alarmist – comment deleted
        Alarmist – I just don’t get why they won’t let us change everything based on our peer reviewed science.

        meanwhile on another site:

        sceptic- I just don’t think people trust the scientists anymore.
        sceptic 2- agree that is what people are telling me.
        alarmist- that is anecdotal, who should I trust you or all this beautiful science I have read on what people think?
        Sceptic 2- yes it is an anecdote agreed, so is your comment, what science?
        alarmist- I am just defending scientific method, anecdotes are not that, you only gave an anecdote.
        sceptic 2- yes it is an anecdote agreed, anecdotes are not science, but unless you link any science, your an anecdote too.
        Alarmist- there are a lot of people who believe stuff because of their biases, young earth. its very complex. your is an anecdote. I trust science.
        sceptic 2- yes it is an anecdote, yours is too. Everyone has biases, homeopathy, anti-vaxx. Your in a nut house. Even science defenders have stupid beliefs sometimes. Any science yet? I’m not a nutjob, I love science, just want to hear some facts since you hate anecdotes.
        Alarmist- I love freakin’ anecdotes :) , “science defender hated GMO”, here we go again. (It was valid point about not trusting people who say I follow science without providing links to back up their actual anecdotal position). Young earths aren’t stupid, they just believe stupid things because of bias. I agree there are biased people everywhere. But sceptics are buds, people just need to recognize anecdotes and not generalize. It’s complicated and dammit your not being drawn away from your main point that we both gave anecdotes and I have not given anything to back up that I am actually presenting anything but anecdotes and nothing to dispute it’s a trust issue based on to much BS in the past. Apologize.
        sceptic- what science?

        Rinse and repeat.

        I have simply given up trying to get anything useful out of you, So now I am having fun. No amount of saying anecdotes are not science in 100 different ways will change anything if you don’t present the science for discussion. We all know it is complicated, and every person has issues of their own as biases.

        But Me and Willis have both gave our personal accounts based on experience that the general trend is loss of trust due to being caught in too many half truths, misrepresentations, questionable stat choices, predictions that became projections and they are totally not the same thing, models that are clearly diverging while being told they are not, pauses that are don’t exist until they write a paper saying why the pause doesn’t matter, changes of past predictions, revisions of history, adjustments greater than trends, defending obvious errors until they can no longer deny and then say see science in action but it would be better is we didn’t listen to people trying to find errors, screaming oil shill and after every contrary paper or comment, personal attacks instead of science debate, it just goes on and on. You may be willing to pretend these things are not happening, but the general population is catching enough to lose trust. It’s not rocket surgery.

      • Brandon –

        I an only assume that since you’ve been reading a number of climate change-related blogs for a number of years, then you must have some awareness of the empirical study of what public opinions are w/r/t climate change, what the likely causal mechanisms behind those opinions might be, and how that dynamic fits into the larger question of how people formulate opinion in polarized contexts and how people approach risk assessment in the face of uncertainty.

        Again, what I have been saying all along is not that you or anyone else should dismiss their personal experiences, but that they should ground those experiences within a context that includes that empirical study. I’m not suggesting, by any means, that the empirical analyses are conclusive (indeed, how could they be since they return some contradictory conclusions), but that if you’re going to argue for the wisdom of your own observations, then you should present an argument for why they are superior to the findings of empirical study.

        Anyway, on the off chance that despite your experience in the climate-o-sphere you are not familiar with any of the related empirical literature, I would recommend the Cultural Cognition website as a place to start. They have a fairly good index of articles, and if you go over to the blog, Dan Kahan is always willing to engage in good faith criticism of his work.

    • David Springer

      @willis

      +1

      @joshua

      efsad

    • Percentagewise, I think Merchants of Doubt, and a host of other documentaries before it, casts suspicion on the motives of a much larger fraction of the skeptical team’s leading lights, if you want to go there.

      • Remember money, power, special interest groups and fame only influence scientists sceptical of CAGW. None of these things could possibly corrupt anyone else. It doesn’t matter that the first person to put forth intention for the open IPCC job has worked for Greenpeace. It is of no importance. But holy cow did you hear a sceptic once gave a talk at a heartland gathering by invitation? Shocking. The fact that there are billions available to scientists to prove AGW, even from the oil companies, is nothing. Not when there was a few million circulating amongst sceptics, and gasp some of it from the same oil companies that have been funding alarmists too. If you want to go there. Although I have never once judged a scientific fact on it’s funding. I mean really what actual scientists would do that? Really convincing stuff.

        Maybe someday they will be able to show these dirty climate merchants in action instead of just hearsay…..and not like Gleick having to manufacture the only bad document he presented from his illegal foray into the heartland camp. Don’t get me wrong I think all NGO’s, think tanks and special interest groups should be eliminated. They all exists to push agendas, even the IPCC. But that would see the end of a lot more bucks on the green/alarmist side than the capitalist/ sceptic side.

        I cannot speak for anyone else, but my scepticism of climate science is based on the peer reviewed science and IPCC reports. A slow conversion over about 16 years, starting with the original hockey stick. Since it completely rewrote the proxy history that existed at the time. I didn’t buy all the other proxies were that wrong and was proven correct over time. I guess also based on what those same climate scientists actually said about their work in the press as well. I cannot think of a single “sceptical” scientist that actually contributed to my scepticism. But the many problems I spotted in the “official” positions and press releases over the years have certainly made so that I don’t write them off simply because they are sceptical.

      • ‘The fact that there are billions available to scientists to
        prove AGW …’ Guvuhmints’ great carrot for consensus
        science and consensus politics.

    • Willis, please be fair to Judith. She has not in any way minimised climategate. She writes about it regularly (most recently in ‘the legacy of climategate’ in December) and has said several times that it was a significant factor influencing her changing views. She also says that “Climate Etc. was triggered largely by Climategate”.

      • Steven Mosher

        willis will not be satisfied until Judith “calls out” specific wrong doers.

        Of course other people demand that skeptics ‘call out’ Tim ball for some of his lunatic comments.

        Now of course, when you DO call out the “evil ones” from climategate, the reaction is priceless.

        I called out Jones and others, by name.
        What do skeptics say? well the criticize my work ( fair enough) and they express wonder at “what happened to me” As if the mails changed anything in science results. They expected a critic of climategate would ALSO be a critic of the science.

        In this regard they are as stupid as the people who think that my views on science should control my views on climategate. WTF? they are two separate utterly unrelated things.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Steven Mosher | March 19, 2015 at 4:31 pm |

        willis will not be satisfied until Judith “calls out” specific wrong doers.

        People who try to guess what I think or what my objectives might be are often unsuccessful, and you are no exception. In fact, I’d be satisfied if Judith just stopped posting an endless stream of attempts to explain our justifiable distrust of the people who have lied to us as being nothing more than a communications problem …

        Nice try at mind reading, Mosh, but don’t quit your day job quite yet.

        w.

      • People who try to guess what I think or what my objectives might be are often unsuccessful, and you are no exception.

        Ah, gee w. He’s not super concerned with what you think or your objectives…he’s just poking you with a stick. Relax.

        I am certainly relieved that “[you’d] be satisfied if Judith just stopped posting an endless stream of etc., etc., etc.”. No, wait. Maybe I am not relieved.

      • Steven Mosher

        ah yes,, I forgot he has irrational unspecified demands.
        he cant state them.

        your constant attempts to downgrade those to trivial actions are getting old and more importantly, they are damaging your credibility.

        As long as she is claiming that all Climategate revealed was “blundering self-protection, to that extent she is posing as a scientist.

        I’m telling Judith I think she should do something

        basically Willis demands that Judith accept his interpretation of the climategate affair

        It looks like– he wants her to admit

        Lying and cheating and hiding data and subverting the IPCC and destroying evidence and packing the peer-review panels and attempting to get editors of scientific journals fired are not “blundering self-protection” to anyone but a college professor or a philosopher, Judith.

        Well, they are blundering self protection.
        what does he want? does he want her to say lying is wrong? cheating is wrong? packing journals?. She’s pretty much said that.

        There is a lot of bluster about what willis wants. he cant state it directly.
        otherwise you’d see how silly it is.

    • Willis Eschenbach schooling us in scientific ethics. Well, that’s my laugh for the day.

      Like I said…it’s not complex.

      Sometimes it is!

      • Please, AT. Just be thankful for Big Dave’s concerns, or else he’ll break the threading again.

      • I will take Willis’s ethics over the the “scientific ethics” of the Warmists you defend, ATTP? Those ethics as exemplified by:

        FTP directories labeled “CENSORED”
        short-centered principle components analysis
        Sheep Mountain
        Yamal
        Upside-Down Tijlander
        Hide the Decline
        Climategate
        Gleickgate
        28Gate
        Glaciergate
        “Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.”

        “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is !”

        “The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I?ll delete the file rather than send to anyone.”

        “Mike, Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis. Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address. We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.”
        ——————————–

      • “I will take Willis’s ethics over the the “scientific ethics” of the Warmists you defend, ATTP?”

        Hmmm…I am leery of the [in context] ethics of zealots of all stripes. We all get blinded by the fever.

      • ==> “Hmmm…I am leery of the [in context] ethics of zealots of all stripes. We all get blinded by the fever.”

        +1

        Leeriness of zealotry tends to be very selective in the climate wars.

    • @willis

      +1000

      Joe Public’s trust and respect have to be earned. They don’t come just because somebody has attained a junior post in the rarified world of academic pole climbing.

      And if climatologists stopped behaving like shysters, maybe Joe’d be inclined to trust and respect them a bit more.

      Until then, not so much.

      • If you think that you could trust science more if scientists behaved in a way that you regarded as trustworthy and called out people who you regard as having broken that trust, then I have a car to sell you. Trust me, it’s a good car, low mileage, one careful owner.

      • @Ken Rice (ATTP/Wottsie/whatever)

        Do I trust in science and the scientific method? Sure I do.

        But that’s not at all the same as trusting all those who happen to have found employment in the business of churning out academic papers in the ‘scientific literature’ for a career

        And too often – especially in climatology – we find that the latter crew have forgotten the principles of the former ideal. See Climategate, (the gift that goes on giving) for many vibrant real-world examples of such amnesia.

        Gotta say that I’m not at all surprised you want to sell me a dodgy second-hand car. You make my point for me.

      • Latimer,

        Gotta say that I’m not at all surprised you want to sell me a dodgy second-hand car. You make my point for me.

        Okay, I’ll explain my point, since you clearly didn’t get it. Scientists aren’t politicians or car salespeople. They’re don’t care if you trust them or not – or, at least, they shouldn’t care. Science/physical reality doesn’t care if you trust the scientists or not. Why would we want scientists to learn how to seem more trustworthy? Why would we want scientists to avoid saying things that you think would damage your trust in them? It would be easy enough to do. If politicians and car salespeople can do it, I’m sure scientists could learn to behave in a more trustworthy way. Of course, the reality is that we wouldn’t suddenly trust them more, because it would be obvious that they were doing so in order to gain your trust, not because they are intrinsically trustworthy. We trust the method not the peolpe.

        Now, given that you will almost certainly misinterpret what I’m saying, let me make clear that I’m not arguing that scientists should not behave in a suitable manner, or that we shouldn’t discourage bad behaviour. I’m also not excusing bad behaviour or those who have behaved unethically. I’m simply making the very obvious point that just because you trust/distrust some individuals is not a particularly good reason to trust/distrust a scientific result. In fact, it’s a very poor reason to do so.

        And too often – especially in climatology – we find that the latter crew have forgotten the principles of the former ideal. See Climategate, (the gift that goes on giving) for many vibrant real-world examples of such amnesia.

        No, what we really find (and this seems self-evidently true) are a tiny minority of vocal people with little actual experience in scientific research claiming that – especially in climatology – scientists have forgotten these ideals, and harping back to email exchanges that go back almost 20 years and which involve a tiny number of scientists. If this really is the best you can do, you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel. Also, if this is one of your main reasons for distrusting the results of climate science then you really should not call yourself a skeptic. That has a very specific scientific meaning. A better word would be “dubious” (actually there’s an even better word, but we’re not meant to use it, because then people like you get all upset about name calling and things).

      • @Ken Rice/attp/wottsie

        Let me begin by remarking that if you’re going to call me a ‘denier’ (even by a roundabout route), please have the scientific courtesy to explain exactly what I am supposed to be ‘denying’. We can then discuss the specific points. I’m pretty unmoved by insults from the walls of academe nowadays, so feel free.

        There is, of course, a very simple Feynmanian reason not to take ‘climate science’ too seriously. The observations of the real world do not match the predictions that it makes. Feynman would have called it ‘wrong’. I’ll be a bit more charitable and call it, at best, as ‘incomplete’.

        And this fatal predictive failure would still be there even if every climate scientist since Arrhenius and Lamb had been fearless in their pursuit only of objective truth, men and women of unchallengeable integrity and the finest examples of the scientific mind the world has ever seen. It wouldn’t matter…if theory doesn’t match observation, the theory is ‘incomplete’. And that’s where we are today.

        Maybe one day a better climate science will emerge..where Mother Gaia is persuaded not to deviate from the script. And where we can all have confidence that the problem has indeed been well and fully understood. But until then not so much. That’s the main reason I’m sceptical of the actual science.

        But matters are made so much more complex (and amusing) when the climatologists have not been those paragons of virtue, but many patently have feet of clay and demonstrate the ethical grasp of the used car lot.

        For, despite your attempts to minimise their involvement, the Climategateers were the leading lights of the ‘science’ in their day. Their work was the mainstay of the reports that gained worldwide attention both in scientific and political circles. They were the deliberate ‘thought leaders’ in frightening Joe Public into believing that ‘global warming’ was ‘the most serious problem facing mankind’ (Tony Blair) and that vast amounts of financial, political and intellectual capital needed to be spent upon it. And yet it is clear when you read their internal discussions that ‘winning’ and being ‘onside’ were far more important to them than anything to do with objective science. They found/manoeuvred themselves in[to] a position to game the academic ‘scientific’ system and did so with dedication, persistence and gusto over a long period.

        I must give you some credit for being one of the few academics to even admit that their behaviour was wrong. From far too many others there has been a studied and deliberate silence. No condemnation. No attempt to clean up the collective act. No contrition. Just business as usual.

        Joe Public, seeing this, begins to wonder if the truth is that all academics or all climatologists behave in such a way and that the silence betokens nothing more than a failure to see any unusual or extraordinary behaviour. Because it isn’t either.

        And then he might wonder how much of the received ‘science’ he should believe at all. Because most of it is interpreted for his ears and eyes by the ‘scientists’ themselves. And they are unlikely (and indeed don’t) point out the flaws in their work. The whole IPCC undertaking is a vast undertaking with all the critical review you might expect of a schoolboy awarding himself top marks when checking hos own homework.

        So it really – from Joe’s perspective – comes back to the proposition ‘We’re Scientists, Trust Us’. Which works only until the first time that trust is seen to have broken. Climategate was that time. And scientists’ behaviour is a huge factor in shaping the public’s belief (or otherwise) in ‘climate science’.

        While things are as they are, it is prudent for the layman to adopt the mindset of the feared British political interviewer, Jeremy Paxman ‘what is this lying b****d lying to me about this time’

      • I wonder what Feynman would have said about all these people who claim to know with great certainty what Feynman would say, and that just by coincidence I guess, what he would have said would just happen to be in agreement with what they believe about everything.

      • “Scientists aren’t politicians or car salespeople”

        Why are feeling confident to say that? There are lots of scientists that are both, scientists and politicians at the same time. You can be a research scientists and the politician running a research department at the same time, or any other example right up to say Holdren, who is very much now a politician but still expecting everyone to respect him as a scientist. Not sure about car salesman, but it has probably happened. My point is that it is wrong to separate scientists from politicians since the jobs intersect and many junctures today. You can be both. And there is a certain amount of political self promotion and funding politics in science now as well.

        “Why would we want scientists to learn how to seem more trustworthy?”

        That was not the point, the point is we want scientists to act more trustworthy. Silencing sceptics, avoiding giving data for replication, attacking scientists instead of their work are all good examples of them not acting scientifically in a trustworthy manner.

        ” We trust the method not the people.”

        Exactly, a method based on replication, debate and defense of papers. Not on consensus, advocacy, hiding or ignoring uncertainties, labeling deniers, attacking funding instead of science, ignoring conflicts of interest in panels and groups, etc…

        “..go back almost 20 years and which involve a tiny number of scientists”

        On the surface I agree it was a long time ago, but the underlying tone is disturbing, and most of the names are still extremely active and influential. The worst part if the sheer disdain for open honest peer review and the clear attempts to control the tone by controlling who could publish. There was no excuse for that and it is obvious that it has not stopped. Look at the latest Soon example, there was far more effort put into attacks on the journal and his workplace, than on the actual paper. A few blogs eventually did comment on the paper, but this is the scientific debate that should be the happening to all papers. The online community is a positive addition to science. But when people like ATTP are as outraged by papers like Marcott, as much as Soon, then people will start being a little more trustful. Do you think the poor statistical methodology that cause the final spike, should have passed review? When Marcott did it properly when it was his Thesis paper, then it was changed when he republished with a few coathors (some names pertinent to the emails) and now done improperly, do you think that is just stuff happening 20 years ago? Why was the admission that the spike was not statistically robust, done in comments on realclimate, rather than added in the paper? Why did all the PR promote the spike in temps that they knew was just junk? This is just one example yes, but there are lots and it is “reasons for distrusting the results of climate science”. Act like trustworthy scientists or lose trust, it’s that simple.

      • Brandon,

        Why are feeling confident to say that? There are lots of scientists that are both, scientists and politicians at the same time.

        Yes, I phrased that badly. I was simply pointing out that, in general, scientists are not trying to sell you something. Some may well have moved into roles where that does become something they may essentially be doing. Some may do it anyway. However, in general scientists do research, publish papers, go to conferences (where they may try to convince their peers that their work hss value) but their job isn’t fundamentally to sell some kind of product (be it a political manifesto or as car).

        That was not the point, the point is we want scientists to act more trustworthy.

        How is that not the point? My point is that the behaviour of some individuals is highly unlikely to influence our scientific understanding. If you’re using the possible bad behaviour of a few to influence how you perceive a scientific discipline, then you’re doing it wrong.

        On the surface I agree it was a long time ago, but the underlying tone is disturbing, and most of the names are still extremely active and influential.

        Maybe just get over it?

        ATTP are as outraged by papers like Marcott

        Well, thats’ because there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with Marcott, Stop being mislead by blog posts!

        Jeepers, the end of your comment is just conspiratorial nonsense. I’m rather disappointed I hadn’t read your whole comment before I started responding.

      • “I was simply pointing out that, in general, scientists are not trying to sell you something.”

        In general yes, but too many climate scientists are doing exactly that. They are selling policy, and themselves, more than providing solid reviews of the underlying science.

        “How is that not the point? My point is that the behaviour of some individuals is highly unlikely to influence our scientific understanding. If you’re using the possible bad behaviour of a few to influence how you perceive a scientific discipline, then you’re doing it wrong.”

        Since you initially said “Why would we want scientists to learn how to seem more trustworthy?”, SEEM, is the key word there. Nobody wants climate scientists to seem to act trustworthy, we want them to ACTUALLY act trust worthy. That was my point. Questioning the presented science is the right way to do it, with any science, every time. Being a fawning cheerleader telling people to shut-up and trust them , is the wrong way to do it. Maybe it is a communication problem…..

        “Maybe just get over it?”

        Is it still happening? I can see a lot more examples of people trying to silence dissenting opinion today than I could back then, why get over something that is still happening? See my above comment about the fawning cheerleader telling people to shut up.

        “Well, thats’ because there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with Marcott, Stop being mislead by blog posts!”

        I did not say the paper in general was improper except changing the way it dealt with the recent statistical anomaly spike. Do you feel he did a good job of indicating that the spike at the end was simply a statistical anomaly? Show me that in the paper please. Did he quickly jump up to correct the press releases and news stories that misrepresented the papers defendable conclusions about the recent spike? Do you feel a quiet comment on realscience was the proper venue for that after the media realease campaign that was organized? Can you provide a good scientific reason to roll back the proper treatment of the recent spike in his thesis for the wider release? That paper was released with huge PR campaign to promote the newest “hockey stick”, that wasn’t real. Was all this a blogpost or real world? If you can’t provide anything better than “mislead by blog post”, then please provide the solid reasons why it was presented as such. Or is this another shutup and don’t ask questions?

        “Jeepers, the end of your comment is just conspiratorial nonsense. I’m rather disappointed I hadn’t read your whole comment before I started responding”

        Yes perhaps you should have just not commented and wasting my time with shameless cheerleading.

      • Brandon,

        Do you feel he did a good job of indicating that the spike at the end was simply a statistical anomaly? Show me that in the paper please.

        Yes, from the paper:

        Without filling data gaps, our Standard5×5 reconstruction (Fig. 1A) exhibits 0.6°C greater warming over the past ~60 yr B.P. (1890 to 1950 CE) than our equivalent infilled 5° × 5° area-weighted mean stack (Fig. 1, C and D). However, considering the temporal resolution of our data set and the small number of records that cover this interval (Fig. 1G), this difference is probably not robust.

        Did he quickly jump up to correct the press releases and news stories that misrepresented the papers defendable conclusions about the recent spike?

        We know there is a recent spike. We have the instrumental temperature record. The problem in their paper was that their representation of the recent warming was not statistically robust, not that it doesn’t exist.

        Yes perhaps you should have just not commented and wasting my time with shameless cheerleading.

        I wasn’t actually cheerleading. I just find the typical attempts to discredit anything that’s inconvenient to the narrative that some would like to promote rather tedious.

      • @joshua

        You say

        ‘I wonder what Feynman would have said about all these people who claim to know with great certainty what Feynman would say’

        Help is at hand! By the miracle of technology we can see exactly what he said:

        ‘If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it’

      • Necromancy!

      • Feynman? He’s on – the – record – no need ter – drop – it
        – down – the – memery – whole, – what – he – said – was
        – if – it – goddam – disagrees – with – experiment – it’s –
        goddam- wrong.- Oh – Socrates – Oh- Vienna!

      • … and Then There’s Physics: I was simply pointing out that, in general, scientists are not trying to sell you something. Some may well have moved into roles where that does become something they may essentially be doing. Some may do it anyway. However, in general scientists do research, publish papers, go to conferences (where they may try to convince their peers that their work hss value) but their job isn’t fundamentally to sell some kind of product (be it a political manifesto or as car).

        I think that you underestimate the amount of self-promotion and salesmanship that goes into the writing of grant proposals. I think you also underestimate the amount of effort that goes into selling the idea that what they are doing is of great importance.

      • “We know there is a recent spike. We have the instrumental temperature record. The problem in their paper was that their representation of the recent warming was not statistically robust, not that it doesn’t exist.”

        Yes, we know there has been warming in the last 60 years on the reconstruction, but the methodology of the paper could not possibly have measured it. Period. The spike is an artifact of the smoothing, and not real from the data. Regardless of if it was seen in other data not used in the paper. Re-adding in something that doesn’t exists in your data, is not good practice. Don’t you agree? Something Marcott understood when he originally did the paper and left it out. If he had left it as he originally done it, it would not have been an issue. It was only added to give people who did not pay close attention another “hockey stick”, something brutally obvious based on the media campaign that accompanied it’s second release. If your media campaign states something your paper does not support, your acting like political shills, not scientists. You can defend it, but only look silly.

        ” However, considering the temporal resolution of our data set and the small number of records that cover this interval (Fig. 1G), this difference is probably not robust.”

        Probably not robust? Something that your methodology could not possibly have measured, is only “probably” not robust? Give me a break, it was 100% not robust, something he admitted later. But again, why add it back in when you didn’t have it the first time? Unless you are acting politically and want something convienient to the narrative.

        “I just find the typical attempts to discredit anything that’s inconvenient to the narrative that some would like to promote rather tedious.”

        The Marcott paper was presented as a new “hockey stick”, in the PR and interviews. Something it was not true, in reality. All it showed was that there was a general large scale cooling trend, but had no data to inform anything about the recent temps. The simple fact is that the resolution could not have possibly shown historical temp variations on the scale we are talking for AGW in the past either, only a very general century scale trend at best. It was used for a “narrative” that it was not suited for. It was misrepresented to the public, often by the scientists in interviews. Acting like the political shills you claim isn’t happening. You did not get annoyed, instead you defend such “narrative” inspired misrepresentations by saying “there was nothing wrong in the paper”.

        It is a clear example of scientists acting exactly like the political creatures they are largely becoming. So if you are concerned about “attempts to discredit anything that’s inconvenient to the narrative”, why do you not get annoyed when people attack papers that go against the AGW narrative, with big oil slurs? You have a blog, can you post a link to a post where you were tediously annoyed with the alarmists flailing attempts to discredit anything they don’t like? I can find many comments I have made over the years pointing out errors and flaws in sceptical opinions and alarmist ones, can you do the same? I am curious, and I think it would go for everyone on both sides. How many people can claim the have gone out of their way to correct someone who made a error that supported your “narrative”?

    • On the one hand, we have this:

      ==> “The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Dec. 6-7 among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.”

      On the other hand…

      http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/2014/4/28/science-and-public-policy-who-distrusts-whom-about-what.html

      • So you can post links when you want. ;)

        I would argue that scientists does not gain or lose respect as a whole from scandals in individual disciplines. I would be interested to see breakouts by science sectors and engineering sectors. Are those in the source reports? Showing how strongly science and engineering as a whole, is trusted, does not say anything about how small groups within respond to various events. trust in one sector could easily offset a fall in others. I have great trust in science and engineering but am extremely suspicious of some small areas of science. Pick out sections of the science community and you will see trust rising and falling independently of the whole. And even within those communities there are sub groups going up and down, such as medical scientists can enjoy good trust and the same time pharmaceutical science can take hits of trust based on scandals, frauds and fashionable scares.

        I am not saying that cultural/political can’t influence, but those numbers will stay fairly static within a society. Underlying republican trust on climate science will be a fairly constant percentage. Since the base of “devout” republicans will vary very little. Same as the “devout” democrat support for scientists. But the observed trends in science trust will be mostly decided by the middle ground, and the republicans/democrats that are more likely to make up their minds independent of the party positions. Groups less likely to be as committed to the strong sources of bias. They are most likely to see scandals/frauds/disasters and change their opinions. So the biases in cultural/political groups will not be the main causes of trust changes in science. Or any other issue as far as that goes. But again, the middle ground will see the greatest swings, not the believers, or cultural biases.

        What I found disturbing in the follow-up graph is that the military enjoys the highest trust of all.

    • Willis Eschenbach: It’s bozo-simple. People don’t trust mainstream climate scientists because according to their own words their leaders lied to us, suborned perjury, subverted the IPCC, distorted the results, packed the pal-review panels, pressured the scientific journals, and then lied about it when they were caught.

      I think it is hard to tell how many people had their opinions and judgments affected by the purloined emails. In looking at changes in opinion polls before and after the incident and discussions, it seems any effect is smaller than the margins of error in estimates of the opinions.

      • I think it is hard to tell how many people had their opinions and judgments affected by the purloined emails. In looking at changes in opinion polls before and after the incident and discussions, it seems any effect is smaller than the margins of error in estimates of the opinions.

        On the other hand, loss of trust can be an insidious thing. People might have many reasons for believing that climate change is alarming, and so losing one does not necessarily result in a dramatic immediate shift. But one can see how it might start a process whereby the person’s skepticism gradually begins to grow. And then little by little other things happen. Shortly after that the IPCC announced that

        “a paragraph in the 938-page Working Group II contribution to the underlying assessment refers to poorly substantiated estimates of rate of recession and date for the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers.”

        and the whole structure starts to be undermined, a process not impeded by the lengthening of the hiatus. It has also been suggested that evidence of trust issues can have a greater effect the higher the level of trust originally held.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        matthewrmarler | March 20, 2015 at 3:53 pm

        Willis Eschenbach: It’s bozo-simple. People don’t trust mainstream climate scientists because according to their own words their leaders lied to us, suborned perjury, subverted the IPCC, distorted the results, packed the pal-review panels, pressured the scientific journals, and then lied about it when they were caught.

        I think it is hard to tell how many people had their opinions and judgments affected by the purloined emails. In looking at changes in opinion polls before and after the incident and discussions, it seems any effect is smaller than the margins of error in estimates of the opinions.

        Thanks, Matt. You are right in the sense that Climategate, while large, is only a part of the slowly unfolding catastrophe. Peter Gleick comes to mind, as does the Hockeystick. Then there is the endless parade of failed predictions—of 50 million climate refugees, of accelerating sea level rise, of unending temperature rises.

        It is the combination of all of these which have led to things like the Rasmussen poll showing that 69% of those polled thought that some climate scientists are faking the data. The question was:

        In order to support their own theories and beliefs, how likely is it that some scientists have falsified research data?

        I find that poll quite saddening.

        So you are correct, it’s not just Climategate … and my point remains. It’s not a communication problem—it’s a trust problem.

        And would you trust Peter Gleick?

        w.

  25. bedeverethewise

    Every acedemic should spend some time working in the real world. They can easily go back to academia after they get fired.

    • Pray, tell me about this “real world” of which you speak. All I know is the “magical world” where academics live.

      • There has been a great deal written about this so-called “real world.” You might consider going to a library and reading about it instead of asking others to do your research for you.

        Actually, though, I’ve seen that there are really 3 worlds out there: academia, government, and business. They operate in very different ways, and those who work in each field seem to believe that the others are filled with second-rate scientists. My experience is that one can find excellent scientists in each of the three worlds, and that each of the worlds has its own strengths and weaknesses.

        One of the main weaknesses of the academic world is an inability to see the strengths of the other two.

      • One of the main weaknesses of the academic world is an inability to see the strengths of the other two.

        Oh, very funny. You are joking, right?

      • It is funny you should say that because I got this email last week:

        “well I have finally decided to leave this sheltered oasis of calm we call academia, and try my talents in the real world”

        Although I would not say that academia has “the inability to see the strengths in the other two”, I might argue they have a distinct disdain for the other two. Well really just the business one…..well until they have a patent and a startup anyway.

      • Oh, very funny. You are joking, right?

        I am confused. Why do you think that is funny?

      • I am confused. Why do you think that is funny?

        I didn’t think it was funny, I was asking if you were joking. I asked, because I’ve never encountered an academic who is unable to see the strengths of the other 2. I’ve met plenty of arrogant academics and I’ve met plenty who have no desire to work in another area, but I’ve never met one who can’t see the strengths of the other two.

        On the other hand, I reguarly encounter people (here, for example) who make remarks about academics not living in the real world, etc.

      • I’ve never met one who can’t see the strengths of the other two.

        I guess our experiences are different, then.

  26. David L. Hagen

    House votes guidelines for EPA Science Advisory Board
    Congratulations are due Judith Curry. Her public testimony before Congress on “uncertainty” is bearing formal legislative fruit. The House just acted to improve the objectivity of science, requiring public nominations to the EPA’s Board, and explicitly requiring that the Board “(2)communicate uncertainties“. Skeptics being hassled over alleged Conflicts of Interest financing has resulted in ALL Board nominees being required to declare funding – including EPA grants!
    See: EPA
    Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2015

    This bill amends the Environmental Research, Development,
    and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1978 to revise the process of
    selecting members of the Science Advisory Board, guidelines for
    participation in Board advisory activities, and terms of office. The
    Board provides scientific advice to the Environmental Protection Agency
    (EPA). This bill requires the Board to independently provide that
    advice.
    Federally registered lobbyists may not be appointed to the
    Board.

    The EPA must provide draft risk or hazard assessments in its
    regulatory proposals and documents to the Board. The Board’s advice and
    comments must be included in the record regarding any such proposal and
    published in the Federal Register.

    The Board’s member committees and investigative panels must operate in
    accordance with the membership, participation, and policy requirements
    contained in this Act, including new requirements for public
    participation
    in advisory activities of the Board. The member
    committees and investigative panels do not have the authority to make
    decisions on behalf of the Board and may not report directly to the EPA.

    The Board must: (1) strive to avoid making policy
    determinations or recommendations, (2) communicate
    uncertainties
    , (3) encourage dissenting members to make their
    views known, (4) conduct periodic reviews to ensure that
    its activities address the most important scientific issues
    affecting the EPA, and (5) respond to Congress fully and in a
    timely manner.

    This Act may not be construed as supplanting the requirements of the
    Federal Advisory Committee Act or the Ethics in Government Act of
    1978.

    Full
    Text HR1029

    Extracts:

    The Administrator shall–
    “(A) solicit public nominations for the Board by
    publishing a notification in the Federal Register; . . .
    “(C) make public the list of nominees, including the
    identity of the entities that nominated each, and shall accept
    public comment on the nominees;
    “(D) require that, upon their provisional nomination,
    nominees shall file a written report disclosing financial
    relationships and interests, including Environmental Protection
    Agency grants,
    contracts, cooperative agreements, or other
    financial assistance, that are relevant to the Board’s advisory
    activities for the three-year period prior to the date of their
    nomination, and relevant professional activities and public
    statements
    for the five-year period prior to the date of their
    nomination; and
    “(E) make such reports public, with the exception of
    specific dollar amounts, for each member of the Board upon such
    member’s selection. . . .
    “(2) The Board shall clearly communicate uncertainties associated
    with the scientific advice
    provided to the Administrator or Congress.
    “(3) The Board shall ensure that advice and comments reflect the
    views of the members and shall encourage dissenting members to make
    their views known
    to the public, the Administrator, and Congress.

    ACT: US readers please CALL and WRITE your Senators to Co-Sponsor or endorse a Senate bill corresponding to HR1029 for an objective EPA Science Advisory Board.

  27. “….many scientists have responded by resorting to advocacy. Worse, we’ve too often dumbed down our lobbying until it’s little more than simplistic, orchestrated, self-serving pleas for increased research funding, accompanied at times by the merest smidgen of supporting argument.”

    I am sorry Dr. Curry: the cat is out of the bag; the milk is spilt; etc etc etc. Science, as you have remarked, is a process and a striking number of the people doing this process, at least for the climate area, have been behaving badly. The politicization of science and in this case climate science has already been identified back when Ike was leaving office. Obama continues the righteous drumbeat.

    What has happened further, is that isolated incidents of bad behavior in other sciences, medicine, and the so called soft sciences have been merged in the public’s collective mindset with the advocacy and visibly bad behavior of climate scientists. Truth telling, i.e., the rewriting of nutritional standards, at least as regards to cholesterol consumption, has further distant applicable science with the public. The public has become “tuned out” to the “messages of science” and are relying upon their own observations and experiences. I have learned all this while getting my hair cut.

    What all this has to do with funding it seems to me, is there will be less. The pot of gold at the end of Finnian’s rainbow will be a bit lighter, held to be more dear by academic institutions that depend upon such government research funding to keep the light’s on and the students churning through, and there will be fewer research scientists who will do with less so that they have to do more of the research themselves, and, have less time for talk-show hosts’ questions.

    What is a bit interesting as well, will be the role of China and their developing research establishment as they allocate funding to projects for basic as well as applied science needs. Russia, at one time an aspiring research power fell silent with the top down Communist meddling. Obama, unfortunately has taken a page from the Russian playbook and not Chinese and has set the declining course of American science with his progressive agenda. Too bad.

    The only socially redeeming factor that I can see for the resurrection of science, is the mandatory retirement age. Retirement will move more science capable people scurrying around for something to do, and these retirees will have the time and inclination to critique not only their career work, but of science in general. With age comes frailty true, yet there are still some who retain the quickness to go along with experience to yet make a meaningful contribution and altering the course of American science history.

    We can hope.

  28. An interesting notion:

    To begin with…

    …although well-meaning and with much to offer, too often gives the impression that we care primarily about more funding for our research.

    But what is left unsaid is how [they] “give[s] the impression.”

    How does one judge “their” motives, or what “they” primarily care about? By fact- and evidence-based reasoning? By viewing what they do through an ideological filter?

    How does one avoid giving such an impression to those who are inclined and predisposed to being given such an impression?

    What’s always interesting to me is how smart and knowledgeable scientists can take possibilities that are trivially true (in this case that what “they” care primarily about can be deemed by others to be more funding for research) and fail to subject those trivially true realities to scientific analysis.

    In fact, what we know is that in general, scientists are trusted by the public.

    We also know that trust in scientists is filtered through ideological lenses – particularly true within politically polarized contexts.

    We know that the ideology of some people predisposes them to state distrust of any type of government funding (even if that distrust does not necessarily disincline the from enjoying the fruits of government funding).

    The basic points of Bill’s thesis are meaningful, and I believe, interesting and important. What is a shame is that he takes such an unscientific approach to examining those points (and that instead of furthering a scientific discussion of those points, climate change combatants will polemicize the meaningful issues underlying this essay).

    • So – to be a bit more specific:

      Stresses over the past decade or so have frayed the fabric of the social contract between scientists and society.

      Hmmm.

      I would expect a careful scientist to back such a statement with empirical evidence. This statement describes a change over time. By what metric has Bill quantified this change? How has he subjected his measures to careful scrutiny, to identify the important variables, to control for causality, for mediating or moderating variables? Where are the pre- and post-tests?

      In fact, there is some substantive research that shows the fabric of the social contract between scientists and society has not frayed over time. Perhaps that evidence is wrong. But why would Bill be making this argument, and founding further conjecture on this argument, without presenting his data?

      • With formatting (hopefully) fixed, if not the poor logic…

        To be more specific:

        How have we faced these new stresses? Unfortunately, many scientists have responded by resorting to advocacy. Worse, we’ve too often dumbed down our lobbying until it’s little more than simplistic, orchestrated,…

        How has Bill determined that these stresses are “new?” To what extent are they new?

        Has there been some measurable increase in “advocacy?” How has that been identified?

        Has there been some measurable increase in “dumb[ing down]” lobbying? How has that been identified?

        But here we get to something interesting…

        …self-serving pleas for increased research funding,

        So here we see, perhaps, why Bill has decided that scientists are giving impressions as opposed to being judged by those who are inclined towards reaching certain impressions. But still there’s a problem. By what measure is “pleas” for increased funding determined to be “self-serving.” How does one, for example, determine how much of a “plea” for funding of research into pediatric cancer “self-serving?” By what measure does increasingly higher bars on research funding explain those “pleas” as opposed to self-interest?

        And please note, the connotation of “pleas” for funding. Why doesn’t Bill call them funding proposals, or funding applications?

        …accompanied at times by the merest smidgen of supporting argument.

        Hmmm. “At times.” Well, that is qualified, at least. Qualification is good. But it isn’t particularly well qualified. How should we judge a phenomenon that happens “at times?” Is it a lot of “at times.” A little? A high percentage? A low percentage? And how is the magnitude of “supporting argument” being measured? Should we just go with Bill’s determination of what = a “smidgen?”

      • Here’s an interesting one:

        At the same time, as we’ve observed and studied emerging natural resource shortages, environmental degradation, and vulnerability to hazards, we’ve allowed ourselves to turn into scolds. Worse, we’ve chosen sides politically, largely abandoning any pretense at nonpartisanship

        Leaving aside the same basic problem that runs through the whole essay – an identification of trends without any presentation of longitudinal data – we can look here at what it means to “allow [oneself] to turn into scolds.” Does strongly advocating for policy-development that is in line with one’s interpretation of scientific evidence mean that one has allowed herself to be turned into a “scold?”

        Here’s an example. A scientist researches and develops an HPV vaccine, which can prevent many unnecessary deaths inf young women. The vaccines get met with opposition that is associated with political ideology. If the scientist aligns herself along political lines, correspondingly, because of what she sees as clearly important policy development being blocked, based on political ideology and not science, does she become a “scold” if she strongly advocates with a political orientation? Has she “abandon[ed] any pretense at nonpartisanship?”

        So maybe you don’t think that would = being a “scold” who as “abandon[ed] any pretense at nonpartisanship,” but you think that example is a bad one – in that it may not be applicable to other issues, say climate science. Well, OK. In what ways and by how much would there be differences?

    • Danny Thomas

      Joshua,
      “What is a shame is that he takes such an unscientific approach to examining those points”
      Or could he just be practicing what he’s preaching.
      ” So how about this? As individuals and as a community, let’s listen more to the people and the political leaders who support us and spend less time up front telling them what we know. Relaying our knowledge can come later; we first need to build a bridge of trust that can carry the weight of truth.”

      • Danny –

        ==> “Or could he just be practicing what he’s preaching.”

        In a sense I agree. Asking the questions is practicing what he is preaching. It’s good. I applaud it, actually. There are many important questions to be asked about the cost and benefits in how our society supports and conducts scientific research.

        However, taking an unscientific approach to asking those questions is not equal to practicing what he is preaching, IMO.

      • Danny Thomas

        Joshua,

        It is if he’s not “telling what he knows” and is instead “listening”. In other words, what is a “scientific” approach to listening if others have questions? He states telling what he knows (is known) can come later. I’m not clear on your beef after the last couple of para of the offering.

      • Danny –

        As for this:

        ==> “As individuals and as a community, let’s listen more to the people and the political leaders who support us and spend less time up front telling them what we know. Relaying our knowledge can come later; we first need to build a bridge of trust that can carry the weight of truth.”

        I am an advocate for stakeholder dialog and participatory democracy. Within those paradigms, “expert” information is used in much the way that you described. The structure for dialog is not hierarchical, and flow of information is multi-lateral.

        But because I can envision what might work better than what we have now, does not, IMO, support an unscientific approach to examining the pros and cons of the existing paradigm – to the extent that it can even be comprehensively characterized. At any rate, the first step should be to make a comprehensive characterization, not polemicize.

        People have been saying “Things ain’t like they used to be” since the dawn of time. And yet, could we argue that on the whole we have progressed?

      • Danny Thomas

        Joshua,

        I fear you’re making an assumption here that this hasn’t been done:”But because I can envision what might work better than what we have now, does not, IMO, support an unscientific approach to examining the pros and cons of the existing paradigm – to the extent that it can even be comprehensively characterized.”
        Are you aware that he’s not done a truely scientific exam and this offering is a response to those efforts? Just because it’s not a part of this offering doesn’t mean it’s not been done. Sometimes, it’s just possibly one practicing what one is preaching.

      • Joshua, the guy is a meteorologist, not a professor specializing in the Sociology of Science. He is not equipped to do the kind of research that you carp about, nor are the issues you want studied in depth something that could be investigated by a single individual, certainly not in any reasonable time frame. He would need a staff and several grad students to do the grunt work. Then of course there is the question of funding. These things are not cheap. So yeah you can run on about how these ideas are unfounded and his ideas are silly to propose, unless he is willing to do a set of full on scientific studies. So it may be more an opinion piece, than a peer reviewed article. That does not make it useless or without value. If his ideas resonate with others who work in the same milieu, if it seems to jibe with their experience, if it helps sensitize them to the problems he has seen and/or faced, then it is worthwhile. Somehow I think that while he is obviously speaking from experience, you are more interested in making irrelevant debating points precisely because you don’t have the experience to judge the issues.
        Moreover, you fault him for not providing the evidence for his assertions, and yet you do exactly the same, for example,
        “In fact, there is some substantive research that shows the fabric of the social contract between scientists and society has not frayed over time” No citation, no link just a flat assertion. This amounts to a debating technique which allows you to question any thesis that is promulgated that you find objectionable. You assert that questions like these fail for lack of scientific proof, but there is no such thing. Science is a process, not a set of incontrovertible facts that can be played as trumps in your arguments. There is always more to study. If you always suggest that it hasn’t been “proven” scientifically you will always be right, as I think you probably already know.

    • This utterly fantastic comment and his self-replies also reinforce the perception (and reality) that Joshua can’t distinguish a scientific paper published in a journal from expert opinion.

  29. I have long thought the Hartwell Paper was insightful on this point.

    “Climate change was brought to the attention of policy-makers by scientists. From the outset, these scientists also brought their preferred solutions to the table in US Congressional hearings and other policy forums, all bundled. The proposition that ‘science’ somehow dictated particular policy responses, encouraged –indeed instructed – those who found those particular strategies unattractive to argue about the science.

    So, a distinctive characteristic of the climate change debate has been of scientists claiming with the authority of their position that their results dictated particular policies; of policy makers claiming that their preferred choices were dictated by science, and both acting as if ‘science’ and ‘policy’ were simply and rigidly linked as if it were a matter of escaping from the path of an oncoming tornado.

    In the case of climate modelling, which has been prominent in the public debate, the many and varied ‘projective’ scenarios (that is, explorations of plausible futures using computer models conditioned on a large number of assumptions and simplifications) are sufficient to undergird just about any view of the future that one prefers. But the ‘projective’ models they produce have frequently been conflated implicitly and sometimes wilfully with what politicians really want, namely ‘predictive’ scenarios: that is, precise forecasts of the future.”

    Page 18, the Hartwell Paper, 2010

    http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/27939/

  30. Part of the social contract is that the work is quality work. At present, we have no way to know if the work is quality. No one ever checks.

    Science is failing because science, as an institution, has no quality control process. Ridiculous crap like the hockey stick and the polar bear study continue to be cited to the public long after they were finally exposed (and only exposed because of the work of amateurs). A science establishment that routinely produces incompetent crap and has no interest in cleaning up is one that has broken the social contract.

  31. The UN is a political body.
    The IPCC is a function of the UN.
    Therefore…

  32. This is interesting:

    ==> “While Bill Hooke rightfully raises concerns about the behaviors and motives of scientists, ”

    Hmmm. Concerns about the behaviors and motives of scientists.

    Interesting to note, Judith, that you are a scientist.

    Also interesting to note that when concerns are raised about your behaviors and motives, or those of Fred Singer or other “skeptics,” you exploit McCarthyism and Islamic terrorism to complain about being a victim.

    What, I wonder, might explain when concern about scientists’ behaviors and motives is done “rightfully” and when it is done wrongfully?

    Geez. I just can’t imagine what might be the explanation. :-)

    • Apparently Joshua can’t distinguish a scientific paper published in a journal from expert opinion. Maybe someday.

  33. Steven Mosher

    a nice little explanation of the responsibility of scholars to those that feed them and an explanation that one should both ask questions and find answers to the questions you ask.

    questioning is half the job.

    • davideisenstadt

      if questioning visa half the job, I suppose that not questioning is none of the job.

      • Steven Mosher

        That is why nobody suggested you should “never” questioning authority.
        that’s as silly as defining the academic’s job as always questioning authority.
        As for contrarians….
        Some scientists, for example, think the situation is a lot more dire than the ‘authoritative’ text suggests. Looks like they are questioning authority.

      • davideisenstadt

        So the purpose of citing examples when one shouldn’t really be questioning authority, like driving on the correct side of the street for the jurisdiction youre in, or running red lights was…..sophistry at its lowest.
        Dude, we have come to expect a certain level of insight and wisdom from you, not a trip down the argument clinic via monty python.
        its your own fault that you’ve raised peoples’ expectations of you mosh, no one else’s.
        Now, you can feel free to go back to your mutual pleasure fest with willard

      • > So the purpose of citing examples when one shouldn’t really be questioning authority, like driving on the correct side of the street for the jurisdiction youre in, or running red lights was…..sophistry at its lowest.

        Don’t assume Denizens need to trust your authority, DavidE. You’re just using a proof by assertion. Describe the sophistry, then explain it.

        Show me, teacher

      • Willard, ” So the purpose of citing examples when one shouldn’t really be questioning authority, like driving on the correct side of the street for the jurisdiction youre in, or running red lights was”

        It is a poor example. If you has a green light but see a drive approaching a red, do you blindly drive on because the authority of the green is on your side or do you drive defensively?

        If you see someone installing a stop light in your neighborhood where there is no through traffic, do you ask why?

        If the USDA “recommends” cooking Turkey to 190 F so that your chance of salmonella poisoning drops from 0.0001 percent to 0.00001 percent do you question their authority?

        If you take every “scientific” study on health and nutrition published in the past 30 years you will find contradictions. There are climate science contradictions that instead of being questioned are averaged That is the no climate scientist left behind, short bus method of building a consensus. When some are right and some are wrong, the average will always be wrong.

      • > It is a poor example. If you has a green light but see a drive approaching a red, do you blindly drive on because the authority of the green is on your side or do you drive defensively?

        What do you think it’s an example of, Cap’n, and what kind of example would suit what exactly? Have you even tried to get what Moshpit, and why? Do you get how ridiculous chasing ghosts like that sounds?

        My own example is usually the law of non-contradiction. It’s not impossible to go against it (search for paraconsistent logics) but there’s a big price tag to the endeavor. Which gets us to what I believe is Moshpit’s point: you can’t question everything all the time forever and ever. Scepticism is mostly academic, which may be why we call it “academic skepticism” after all.

        ***

        Besides, do you think you’re playing home?

        How do you know what you do when you follow a rule [1]?

        Do you really think that questioning does not follow up any rule [2]?

        (Take note that last ref, AK!)

        Do you know think nobody can through the “nullius non verba” charade Denizens self-servingly promote [3]?

        In the last few days, we’ve seen leading questions, Inhofe cheeseburgers, lip service to a disciple if Heidegger, for whim the concept of Frage matters much [4], and then a non-review begging a question that was ill-posed.

        Please tell me more about questioning.

        ***

        [1]: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wittgenstein_on_Rules_and_Private_Language

        [2]: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._West_Churchman

        [3]: http://foucault.info/foucault/interview.html

        [4]: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Question_Concerning_Technology

      • Willard, Paraconsitent logic, ” There are climate science contradictions that instead of being questioned are averaged That is the no climate scientist left behind, short bus method of building a consensus. When some are right and some are wrong, the average will always be wrong.”

        That was in reference to the Charney compromise. Hansen should have his estimate with uncertainty, Manabe his. By averaging Charney created a para-consistency. Unless both are equally incompetent, the average will be wrong.

        That was the beginning of “socialized” science. You have a norm to adhere to, you just need to make sure you are “average”. Science wasn’t intended to be average. It is supposed to be well above average, the cutting edge.

        Annan and Hargreaves did a “sensitivity” study based on the average of guesses. That is assuming not only equal incompetent but equal deceptiveness. On his blog he has a note about “scientists” that would intentionally high ball estimates to skew the mean.

        You are right though, there’s a big price tag to the endeavor of challenging the average. You are branded with some BS name. When Mosher, yourself or any of the other faithful forget the drive for climate science mediocrity, the consensus to not rock the boat, y’all are making wonderfully intelligent sounding arguments that have nothing to do with the reality. There are supposed to be winners and losers.

      • > That was the beginning of “socialized” science.

        Try a few centuries earlier, Cap’n. To take an example of a Foucaldian that inspected the notion of probability:

        In the ground-breaking The Emergence of Probability (1975) Hacking sparked off a broad interest in the history of probability. Here, he started by asking the traditional question: Why was there no probability theory in the West before Pascal in the seventeenth century? If the question is put this way – as it traditionally has been – it is tacitly assumed that there is an intellectual object, probability, which has not been discovered or adequately thought about until Pascal. And this “non-discovery” needs an explanation, which would include missing factors or factors that prevented the discovery. Hacking rejected this assumption, and argued: “We should not ask ‘Why did people fail to study these objects?’ We should ask instead, how did these objects of thought come into being?” Accordingly, to understand the very concept of probability, it is imperative to understand how it emerged. But it is not just a question of giving a historical explanation of the concept. More important is the very preconditions for the emergence of the concept. And Hacking shows that to understand the concept of probability, it is important to understand that it has from its beginning a dual nature and an inherent tension: On the one hand it is connected with degree of belief, and on the other hand it connected with tendencies, as measured by relative frequencies. Probability theory and statistics did not only change science, but dispersed to all parts of our daily lives. This dispersion is the topic of The Taming of Chance (1990). Hacking describes how probability theory influences debates about free will, and changes our view of crime, suicide, and is applied in the fields of sociology, medicine and the writing of history. The book was on The Modern Library’s 100 Best Non-Fiction Book in English in the twentieth century.

        http://www.holbergprisen.no/en/ian-hacking/about-ian-hacking.html

        ***

        > You are branded with some BS name.

        This “poor me” act is getting tired, Cap’n.

        If I had a quarter for every insult I read by Denizens (e.g. there are at least 10 in the comment Judy just thanked), I could leave my day job, Cap’n. If I got a dollar for every dollar I received, I’d become a vulture capitalist and invest in Ukraine. The Denizens’ act is polemical all the way down:

        We’ve just seen a geologist refusing to acknowledge that there was raw data in Iceland: instead he pulls a Cartman. However hard I try to be thankful for all these concerns, I must admit that sometimes, like tonight, I find it quite hard.

      • > If I got a dollar for every dollar I received.

        … I’d still be rich if the former is in USD and the latter in CAD, but what I meant is if I got a dollar for every ad hom I received [&c].

        ***

        By some kind of serendipity, our sensei prodigated more wisdom of that kind.

      • Sure, sure, the taxpayer foots the bill for the care and feeding of all the global warming advocates, partisans and alarmists and job-killing pseudo science and it’s not just tax dollars from the rest of us who cannot afford to live in ivory towers. There are $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loans and 7 million borrowers are in default to the tune of $100 billion; and, for what? To be schooled on the idea that we live to well, take too many hot showers and should all live above a deli and walk to work, sewing flags on the bottoms of recycled trousers?

      • I like the slogan: “no climate model left behind.” It fits Moratzke and Forster to a T. No pun.

      • davideisenstadt

        willard: you would have belonged on the wrong side of the court at nuremberg.

      • Football.

      • > To challenge the statement “challenge authority” with examples of when it might be wise to first question authority, and then to understand that in some cases, authority has a (good) point, in no way addresses the aphorism presented.

        I don’t think we can reduce this quote to “challenge authority,” sensei:

        I didn’t become an academic in order to be led. Nor did I become an academic to lead others. I’m an academic because I want to contest, argue, debate, explore, and challenge the received wisdom.

        for the simple reason that it’s the received wisdom that is being questioned by Morhiarty , who also abstracts away any notion of authority. For him, the very idea to “question authority” becomes quite moot. To question authority is a political move, and Morhiarty does as academics do: shy away from it.

        They don’t know how much fun they miss by not interacting with Denizens like you, sensei.

        ***

        So Moshpit’s comment was tengential to Morhiarty’s point. It was still relevant to point out that academic freedom did not imply anarchism, symbolized in his storytelling by what you call “the aphorism presented”:

        I always had these kids in my class who wore T-shirts that said
        “Question Authority”

        You now claim (again with a proof by assertion) that Moshpit’s thought experiments “addressed” it. The problem with your claim (besides that it is void of argument) is that Moshpit’s point is that “[t]hey always had trouble with the following questions:”

        1. How do respond to stop signs and red lights when you drive?
        2. What would you do if there was no authority to define your behavior?

        In other words, Moshpit’s point is not to “address” the aphorism: it is to question those who endorse (and even wear) it.

        Now, there’s a possibility that the response he received is caused by the questioning itself. Thought experiments are notoriously tough. Since you like anecdotal evidence, I recall one with Lucia that went on a train wreck, even after having validated it with a small sample size (about 20 persons, most untrained in philosophy). Hence my preference for his fall instead: telling people that they ought to follow your advice and think for themselves, is kinda funny.

        Whatever the merits of Moshpit’s questions, your arguments, if we can call them so, are invalid.

        Thank you for your kind words,

        W

      • Steven Mosher, “Some scientists, for example, think the situation is a lot more dire than the ‘authoritative’ text suggests. Looks like they are questioning authority.”

        Then that would make most of the mitigation proposals about worthless. The eat, drink and be merry policy initiative should get more attention.

      • Some scientists, for example, think the situation is a lot more dire than the ‘authoritative’ text suggests.

        Which objective measure is there for ‘direness’ to test their ideas?

    • +1
      Who was it said: “A problem properly posed is half-way solved.”

  34. Well, now, here’s a fantastic and amusingly timely quote from Judith’s Twitter link at the top o’ the page:

    Climate expert John Christy on funding: ‘No one is paying me to have my view’. Pay attn, Congressman Grijalva

    OK. So the essay at the top o’ this post is basically an argument about how a vast amount of scientists are effectively being paid to have a view, and Judith thinks it’s only Grijalva that should pay attention.

    The irony-a-palooza at Climate Etc.continues apace.

  35. “I think the other side of the social contract is at least equally problematical. Obama’s administration is ‘using’ climate science to support his political agenda….”

    The Obama administration is not “the other side of the social contract,” they are on the same side, The “social contract” is between the people on one side, and the government and its various retainers on the other.

    “Worse, we’ve chosen sides politically, largely abandoning any pretense at nonpartisanship.”

    This is not a problem of science, it is a symptom of progressivism. A progressive is a progressive first and everything else, including scientist, second.

    If you are a member of the self appointed elite, and your fellow elitists control government, any tax payer money they funnel to you is really for the benefit of the stupid tax payers/voters both you and your political patrons hold in such contempt. This is true in ‘climate science’, as well as education, ‘green energy’, etc.

  36. The BoM was bedevilled by farmers from its inception, while the Met was under pressure from insurers and the like from its inception. With climate, there has always been a rush to be in-the-know.

    Climate is not unknowable. It’s just not known. So much climate science is just people selling “system” like they do with horse racing.

    A good example of system-first is dwelling on numbers of degrees, while ignoring presence or absence of cloud, in determining that fetishistic “past temp”. Clouds may be critical but there’s a reason “nebulous” was named after them. A thousand times easier to just grab a simple number, adjusted or raw, and feed it into the works.

    Bristlecones? Just let dry stand for cool, sort of…Who’s gonna check? (Whoops, they checked.)

    Earth mostly hot mush? Can’t get in there, so forget the great bulk of the planet. Talk about ocean surface temps, or something you can get at. If you can’t get somewhere, it’s a nowhere.

    Ignore what spoils your system, however vast or critical. Having to know just slows down being in-the-know. So skip knowing.

  37. If the science was settled, there would be no need for more research into how much climate change we will get, but unfortunately, as the skeptics keep saying, there is a lot of uncertainty remaining, even more than the scientists admit to, and more work also needs to be done on the basic points about how much manmade climate change we have had so far, and to improve the models so that more people can trust them. These are fundamental points that affect our future, and, given the uncertainty and importance of the subject, are ideal for getting funding by any measure of priority. The skeptics with their persistent uncertainty are the ones indirectly making the case for more funding, not less. People may still get funded to study attribution despite the 95% certainty, and this is all down to the loud skeptical interests who keep saying to the scientists that they don’t know what they claim to know.

  38. Curious George

    I perceive an underlying feeling that science is a zero sum game.

  39. Climate scientists have lost control of climate science by allowing the definitions of global warming and climate change to be made by the politicians of the IPCC who write the Summary for Policymakers and by others in intergovernmental and governmental positions. The world’s science academies have enabled this loss of control by valuing funding more than integrity. This is not mainly a partisan, but a philosophic rejection of enlightenment values by a world culture traumatized by the 20th century horrific wars, concentration camps and depression which destroyed first the optimism and then the organizing and foundational principles of science, government, and philosophy. True, the enlightenment values and optimism didn’t safe us from the horrors of the 20th century; postmodernism including post modern science (which includes hostility to scientific method) has seduced so many. Are the fantasies we read about as youth, Brave New World and 1984 to follow? I am hoping that the APS breaks with the world’s postmodernist science academies and has the courage to be smeared as they certainly would be. We need something like that to break the cycle of pessimism, fear, and intellectual (or real) violence which characterize so much of modern society- both the self-identified conservatives and liberals, the self-identified religionists and secularists, and the self-identified modernists and postmodernists who so clearly see the bad in the other side and are blind to any of its good.

    • thx for this comment!

    • => “Are the fantasies we read about as youth, Brave New World and 1984 to follow?”

      Not if we can wrest control away from the alarmists.

      ==> “We need something like that to break the cycle of pessimism, fear, and intellectual (or real) violence which characterize so much of modern society”

      Yes, there’s so much more pessimism, fear, and intellectual (or real) violence now than in the past, such as during slavery, extermination of the native Americans, before same sex marriage was legalized, before women got the vote, when countries were colonized with impunity, before blacks could eat at lunch counters, when Russia was communist, or tsarist, when South Africa was an apartheid, etc.

      I think that the accelerating downward trajectory towards unseen fear, pessimism, and violence, is mostly due to the alarmists.

      • Many people now realize they shouldn’t have voted for Obumbles simply because he is black. Hopefully, they will sober up enough to realize they shouldn’t vote for Hillary just because she is a woman. That (race) worked for Obumbles and that’s (gender) Hillary’s strategy now.
        From the article:

        “This is the most closed, control freak administration I’ve ever covered,” said David E. Sanger, veteran chief Washington correspondent of The New York Times. Washington Post national security reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran, a member of CPJ’s board of directors, told me that “one of the most pernicious effects is the chilling effect created across government on matters that are less sensitive but certainly in the public interest as a check on government and elected officials. It serves to shield and obscure the business of government from necessary accountability.” Washington Post national security reporter Dana Priest told me: “People think they’re looking at reporters’ records. I’m writing fewer things in e-mail. I’m even afraid to tell officials what I want to talk about because it’s all going into one giant computer.” “In the Obama administration, there is across-the-board hostility to the media,” said veteran Washington correspondent and author Josh Meyer, who reports for the Atlantic Media national news website Quartz. “They don’t return repeated phone calls and e-mails. They feel entitled to and expect supportive media coverage.”

        http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/360895/nyt-reporter-obama-administration-most-closed-control-freak-administration-ive-ever

      • Danny Thomas

        Jim2,

        I’d guess that even you’d agree it’s relatively easy in hindsight to say who should be (or should have been) voted against. The question is who should be voted for? That’s not quite as simple, I’d say.

      • jim2, some of the Republicans are pretty upset at their leadership. Santorum takes one for the team.
        http://www.mediaite.com/online/watch-santorum-painfully-react-to-totally-batty-question-about-communist-dictator-obama/

      • I would point out that alarmism is nothing new and was not invented with climate science. In fact in many of those examples you give I can think of cases of alarmists trying to scare people to promote their side. In a historical context it could be easily argued that alarmists have always existed and exploited events happening to push and agenda. For example, do you feel the eugenics scientists around the world intended for the “final solution” to happen or did they lose control of the science by allowing the politicians in Germany to set the definitions and tones? History has shown that intelligent people are not above getting caught up in an extreme group or agenda. I doubt everyone involved approved of wiping out native Americans, but it is hard to speak out once you have created a group mentality that has gotten to the extreme of punishing contrary opinions. Most important is replacing those in a leadership role with the most devout. It is food for thought.

      • Danny, yep. I think that unless Romney can be convinced to run again (and make it clear that he won’t be stopping gay marriage or abortion), the democrats will be able to put whomever they want into office. They could probably put Harry Reid or Barbara Boxer in.

      • Danny Thomas

        Aaron,
        Mitt, I fear, is cut from the same cloth as most politicians.
        Had he made it far enough, my vote last term likely would have gone this way:”I will not be attending this year’s convention, nor any Republican convention in the future until the party focuses on a bigger, bolder, more confident future for the United States — a future based on problem solving, inclusiveness, and a willingness to address the trust deficit, which is every bit as corrosive as our fiscal and economic deficits.” (Says he’s not running in 2016) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Huntsman,_Jr.
        And to be clear, from this observers view the above quote applies both (existing) directions.

  40. So, is the pause a polemic?

  41. Judith Curry wrote: “I don’t know what the optimal social contract between climate science and society should be, but something is really wrong with the current system that is breeding advocates, partisans and alarmists, and is damaging to the science. And the taxpayer foots the bill.”

    The idea of a social contract has always been a myth, invented to justify forcing taxpayers to pay for what the rulers want. There is nothing new in the climate wars, just new players playing an old game.

    The state is that great fiction by which everyone
    tries to live at the expense of everyone else.
    — Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850)

    The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and thus clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

    — H.L. Mencken

    • More from Mencken:

      The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination — “that government of the people, by the people, for the people,” should not perish from the earth. It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in that battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves.

      and there’s this:

      Mencken always considered himself a Southerner and from his father he had inherited a strong sympathy for the Confederacy. The Old Confederacy, Mencken felt, was a land “with men of delicate fancy, urbane instinct and aristocratic manner — in brief, superior men. It was there, above all, that some attention was given to the art of living — a certain noble spaciousness was in the ancient southern scheme of things.” …In his words, the Union victory was “a victory of what we now call Babbitts over what used to be called gentlemen.” But Mencken makes this caveat; “I am not arguing here, of course, that the whole Confederate army was composed of gentlemen; on the contrary, it was chiefly made up, like the Federal army, of innocent and unwashed peasants, and not a few of them got into its corps of officers. But the impulse behind it, as everyone knows, was essentially aristocratic, and that aristocratic impulse would have fashioned the Confederacy if the fortunes of war had run the other way.”

      Ya’ gotta love Mencken. That “certain noble spaciousness” and “delicate, fancy urbane instinct,” and “superiority” of men who beat children, rape women, and enslave people by virtue of their skin color.

  42. Didn’t we all just promise to play nice?

    • Sorry, I meant my above comment for the brawl taking place at the bottom. I guess after clinking on Don’s Obama campaigning in Cleveland the WordPress thought I was interested.

  43. I used to have good exchanges with Bill on a range of topics, he is someone of great integrity, moral purpose and concern for others; I’ll take this post as a reminder to resume checking his blog. It will be hard for anyone to “play the man” on the EOS essay, given Bill’s standing and personal qualities.

    Faustino

  44. Steven Mosher

    willard let me know when any denizen comes up with a response that rises above the level of a freshman in college.

    • stevenreincarnated

      What is there to respond to? Of course there is authority. It is part of the survival of the species. To get to the point of no authority you’d have to be about on the communicative level of a jellyfish.

      • Steven Mosher

        Who said anything about no authority.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Unless you can find someone that thinks there should be no authority, you aren’t going to find someone that questions all authority. The person in the question authority t-shirt is asking why should I stop at this stop sign. It’s out here in the middle of nowhere on a dirt road and not even at an intersection. That doesn’t mean they are questioning stopping at every stop sign. It doesn’t mean they are refering to all authority.

      • Who said anything about no authority.

        You did

  45. Steven Mosher

    “Which gets us to what I believe is Moshpit’s point: you can’t question everything all the time forever and ever. Scepticism is mostly academic, which may be why we call it “academic skepticism” after all.”

    At Northwestern at a frat party. This funny guy named Peter Suber, schooled me on doubt cause I was like a freshman and all about acedemic skeptics. ya that thing called living gets in the way of total doubt.

  46. Steven Mosher

    davidE
    “So the purpose of citing examples when one shouldn’t really be questioning authority, like driving on the correct side of the street for the jurisdiction youre in, or running red lights was…..sophistry at its lowest.”

    yes it was sophistry. teaching excellence.

    A typical exchange might go like this

    Student A: well you dont question laws, you obey them
    Student B: what about unjust laws?
    Student C: you obey them and work to change them
    Student D: what about civil disobedience , you should challenge authority in that case.

    And so they would just debate amongst themselves. Which was the purpose of picking on the poor kid who wore the T shirt.

    The one that was harder was the question you are all avoiding.

  47. ” It’s not the scientists that I have been criticizing, but rather the ‘system’.” – JC

    “cadre of scientists….These scientists have used the IPCC to jump the normal meritocracy process….and legitimizes playing power politics with their expertise….. to obtain personal publicity, and to advance their careers” – JC

    Hmmm.

    • John Carpenter

      Micheal, I think she meant not criticizing scientists by name. Even so, there still may be statements she made of certain scientists that could fit your Hmmm. I will take a charitable position and say that the instances are likely few. If you produce one where she calls someone out by name, how does it improve the discussion?

  48. ”Working through Congress, the public has been both generous and constant with its funding, and scientists in turn have delivered a cornucopia of benefits in agriculture, energy, human health, information technology, transportation, and much more—including Earth observations, science, and services. These advances have fueled economic growth, national security, and quality of life, as well as a place for the United States as the “indispensable nation” in world affairs.”

    I agree.

    Government support for science over the last 70 years has certainly produced a lot of good science that has improved our lives. The down side is that science has become inexorably entwined with the federal bureaucracy.

    Any bureaucracy, left to itself, will grow forever. The only check on our federal bureaucracy is that the purse strings are controlled by the People (through Congress). Spending tax money is a political act.

    The confluence of climate science with environmental and energy policy makes for a wicked mess indeed. We can see this here at ClimateEtc. Heated debates over arcane subjects such as “Temperature adjustments in Australia” would be ludicrous without the political context.

    This is the price we pay for federal support of science – and having a democratic system. As messy as it is, I prefer it very much over the Chinese way of doing things.

  49. Is it logical to go beyond this a bit to examine the underlying assumption that ‘science’ can be shaped socially (or is it an unemotional, hermetically sealed endeavour sifted thru pure scientific method) Funding source or social contracts are not relevant if the latter is believed.

    If an interested observer was more aware that science can be strongly influenced by beliefs (your work will save mankind for example) they may question leaps in public discourse more … Catastrophic to Alarming to Hiatis to Deep Ocean to EXTREME Weather etc with a more critical eye?

    Perhaps the funding source should be more critical on the publics behalf, the contract between the public and the funding body becomes the area that needs scrutiny rather than between scientist and public.

  50. The social contract is now undergoing serious examination on Tony Heller’s blog:

    https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/has-the-coup-already-happened/

  51. And for a perfect example of this in Arctic biology, SCIENCE magazine published a “breaking news” story two days ago promoting a recently published paper that is both a policy prescription AND a plea for cash:

    http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2015/03/first-comprehensive-review-arctic-s-marine-mammals-highlights-policy-challenges

    Many of the co-authors of the Conservation Biology paper are polar bear researchers belonging to to the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group, including the lead author.

    [background on that group’s history http://polarbearscience.com/2015/01/01/iucn-polar-bear-specialist-group-out-lived-its-usefulness-20-years-ago/ ]

    In the CB paper, virtually all of the blame for changes in Arctic marine mammal populations is placed on global-warming-caused sea ice declines: there is no mention at all of natural sea ice variability.

    Arctic biologists have put all of their funding eggs in the global warming basket, to the point where they have indeed:

    “…dumbed down [their] lobbying until it’s little more than simplistic, orchestrated, self-serving pleas for increased research funding, accompanied at times by the merest smidgen of supporting argument.”

    Susan Crockford, independent zoologist

  52. annceelyanng

    This sort of approach is just skirting round the outside. Scientists are called in by powerful members of the elite to support their latest political ideas. Just as after the economic crash in 2008, the rest of us then find ‘the emperor has no clothes’. And it costs us a lot of money. The climate political shenanigans will also cost the Earth lots of biological diversity, and remove opportunity from poor people.

    Human arrogance is at the root of it. Thinking you know it all.

    Unfortunately the UN decided to go with the one’s that raised it (the folk that Dr Tim Ball complains about?) probably bargaining to get their own way on something else under the impression that it would be another ‘quick win’ like the Ozone hole CFCs. No such luck. It’s now a monster under it’s own steam.

    Now all the climate scientists’ are struggling to know how to ensure they and their families will survive.

    Other scientific pronouncements like ‘Fat makes you Fat’, ‘Vaccines are safe (and no, I’m not going to give you the stats for the probability of side-effects, and don’t tell me your child is one in a million, ‘cos I don’t care)’ etc are easier for little folk to cope with; but they do make us sceptical of all science.

  53. johnvonderlin

    Question authority is a quest for authority. Another test for my non-posted comments.

  54. rogerknights

    Here’s a relevant book, Science, Money, and Politics: Political Triumph and Ethical Erosion (2001), by Daniel Greenberg:
    http://www.amazon.com/Science-Money-Politics-Political-Triumph/dp/0226306356

  55. Pingback: Global Warming a Liberal Prejudice | evilincandescentbulb

  56. Pingback: Blogging by the numbers: 5-0-247. | Living on the Real World

  57. Danny –

    I mistakenly posted this on the other thread…. Re-posting here: Judith, if you read this please delete the other comment:

    ==> “Curious of your defintion of “activist” and if there are those on the AGW side who might fit the bill?

    I think that an activist is someone who is “active” on one side or the other of an issue, in particular a controversial issue, and in particular a controversial issue that has significant societal implications.

    As such, most scientists are “activists” in support of the hypotheses they are trying to prove. Further, scientists who are heavily engaged in the public sphere w/r/t the science of climate change are activists.

    One of my main beefs with Judith’s argument and that of many others w/r/t the question of activism and science is that the way that “activist” is defined is usually arbitrarily determined (arbitrary in the sense of objectively, not in the sense of randomly). Thus, we get often get is functionally “They are activists (and thus can be discounted) and we are not.”

    IIRC, you mentioned something about RPJr. recently? I think that he has a much less arbitrary view of the nexus between “activism” and science than we see with Judith’s approach – which seems to me to largely employ a circular, double-standard in a self-serving manner.

    I also think that in balance, activism is a positive force in our society. I look at our history of social change, and while there has certainly been much activism that I would not support or that I think was counterproductive in effect, I think that we all have benefited from living in a society were activism on social issues was a protected right. I look at the work of someone like Amartya Sen, and I think that the combination of civil society activism along with governmental infrastructure that supports that kind of activism is the single most important influence on enhancing standards of living for a broad cross-section of society.

    I don’t think that all activism is alike. The temptation is to judge “our” activism as good and “their” activism as bad – but as someone who recognizes the importance of activism, I try to avoid such a subjective calculus. I try to use other measures to evaluate the value of activism – primarily, the integrity of the reasoning behind the activism. In that sense, I agree with the piece of Judith’s “activism” w/r/t prioritizing the engagement with uncertainty – even as I strongly disagree with what I see as her double-standards w/r/t how she engages uncertainty related to climate change:

    I think, however, that the very existence of activism tells us nothing definitive about the quality of reasoning that underlies that activism. For example, MLK Jr. was an activist, who relied on the highest quality of reasoning. Thus, I view his activism in a positive light. Of course, it gets tricky because poor quality activism (based on unsound reasoning) can have, IMO, beneficial societal influences and good quality activism (based on sound reasoning) can have, IMO, destructive societal influences.

    At any rate – from what I’ve seen Nic is an activist. As such, I note that the value of his work cannot be reverse engineered on the basis of him being an activist. We might try to evaluate probabilities related to the quality of his work on the basis of the quality of his activism (which I think is not based on particularly good reasoning), but always with the knowledge that doing so is based in an intrinsically flawed model (his work on climate change does not necessarily reflect the quality of his activism). What I find unfortunate is that while Nic apparently thinks that his work should not be judged on the simple fact of whether or not he is an activist, he doesn’t extend that same logic when he evaluates the work of others (which is one of the reasons why I don’t think his activism is of a high quality).

    ==> “It seems that a label (Name + activist = skepticism) yet I see nothing w/r/t quality of “merits of work”.

    I couldn’t follow that.

    • Danny Thomas

      Originally posted on the Lewis post, but will respond again here and hope Dr. C will delete over there.

      Joshua,

      Sorry this wasn’t clear. It applies to both sides. ““It seems that a label (Name + activist = skepticism) yet I see nothing w/r/t quality of “merits of work”.

      I couldn’t follow that.”

      Michael Mann (name) + activist (considered as such) = no consideration of the work (just the labels). And I fear you’ve done much the same by
      Nic Lewis + activist (your labelling) = led to no evaluation of this work.

      • Danny –

        It looks like Judith Zambonied my previous response?

        I’ll try again…

        Michael Mann (name) + activist (considered as such) = no consideration of the work (just the labels). And I fear you’ve done much the same by
        Nic Lewis + activist (your labelling) = led to no evaluation of this work.

        That seems to be a misunderstanding of my view.

        Most people seem to follow the following path: “I don’t like that scientists conclusions, and so I’ll deem him/her an “activist” (arbitrarily) and as such, dismiss his/her scientific conclusions”

        I can’t evaluate Nic’s science. I don’t have the intelligence, and accordingly the technical background, to do so.

        But I can evaluate Nic’s activism – which is poor quality, IMO (it is based on flawed reasoning). The poor reasoning associated with his activism can help inform me about some probabilities with respect to the technical merits of his work (if he allows his activism to bias his reasoning in one context, he might be more likely to do so in other areas as well). But that is a flawed/limited model. The fact of him being an activist, per se, tells me nothing about his work.

      • Danny Thomas

        Joshua,

        Steven made the point at the other thread:”What Nic thinks of other peoples work is a NO OP when it comes to evaluating his work.”

        I frankly care not if Nic is an “activist” or if M. Mann is or whomever as long as they provide good science and show their work. I’ve made the point before that in complete opposition to what Willis E. suggests where he believes that one should “sign their work”. I’m not adverse to that in and of itself, but what I find at least in formats such as this one is that “label” (name) leads to a bias and closed minded (or at least biased) perspectives. For example, if Willis found a “smoking gun” and tried to post such on RC who would take him seriously as a known skeptic? For the work that Nic put forth although I cannot handle the physics I can grasp the conclusions which are fairly profound in lowering the estimates of sensitivity. This coupled with my own lying eyes in the APS presentation where the indications were that aerosols were used in hindcasting but removed (due to uncertainties) in the forecast leaves even one with my limited level of understanding to expect that the projected temps. were too high. Follow that with a pause of “substantial” length and I am led to question why draconian (in my view) measures are being suggested w/r/t policy.
        Now I don’t have the time invested only having looked in to this topic as deeply as I have for just a few months, but I have found enough issues especially with IPCC (about as activist as it gets) to know that I need to evaluate the nuts and bolts and not accept the entirety of that which they offer. But I don’t in turn toss out the IPCC entirety.
        You’d mentioned the M & F “embarassment” specifically. Was Nic’s approach activism, an honest disagreement, or even an error? Being relatively new, I don’t have the ingrained labels for folks that many do and I think it allows for me to have “fresh eyes” (at least so far). And frankly, to move the conversation forward as the author of this post suggests, we should listen as “telling what we know” can wait till later. Can only suggest you listen to what Nic is offering and that telling that you “know” he’s an activist is unhelpful at this time.

      • ???

        ==> “I REALLY DONT WANT A DISCUSSION OF ACTIVISTS TO CONTINUE ON THIS TECHNICAL THREAD!

        Did you post that comment on the wrong thread?

        If not, please specify what comprises a technical thread.

      • yes i posted on wrong thread, don’t want it on the nic lewis thread, thx

    • To what “clear indications” of Nic’s do you refer?

  58. steven –

    “weird definition. How would someone be inactive?
    a) they are dead.
    b) they never speak.”

    It’s a fairly low bar. I see no reason why it shouldn’t be. I agree with RPJr. to some degree in this respect. Of course, there can be degrees of activism. A scientist who is not engaged at all in the public sphere w/r/t climate change would be, relatively speaking, not much of an activist on the social issues – even if she is actively engaged in advocating on behalf of her own science.

    ==> “If I say “we have a race problem in america” I am engaged in a verbal
    action. By your definition I would be an activist.”

    Sure, a relatively inactive activist.

    ==> “I would say that to be an activist one has to go beyond this “being active””

    You’re applying the term as a binary condition. As a prescriptivist, I point out how useless that is in the real world. The real world is not binary. The binary condition of “activism” is part of what allows for Judith’s: “They” are activists but “we” are not.”

    ==> “So to get at a good operational definition you might consider some clear exemplars: What is CLEARLY being an activist. What is CLEARLY being an in-activist”

    So here you are arguing against a binary standard. I agree.

    Your definittion comes close to making everyone an activist which empties the term of its differential meaning.

    • Joshua

      In what respect do you consider nic to be an activist?

      I would consider Hansen and Mann to be activists with a clear cut determination to prove humanity causes warming. Judith is perhaps an activist but is in an odd position as she is trying to prove there is uncertainty rather than taking an unequivocal position as a warmist or sceptic.

      But Nic? Where does he fit into this category?

      Tonyb

      • > In what respect do you consider nic to be an activist?

        I hope this is a technical comment about the notion of activism, TonyB. Also, beware that sea lioning may be suboptimal in this specific instance. In any case, we could start with Nic’s implication in the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s deliverables:

        http://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2014/02/A-Sensitive-Matter-Foreword-inc.pdf

        There are other tidbits, for example Nic’s own dismissiveness toward someone else’s work as activism.

        At this moment of the discussion, contrarians usually crank their special pleading by talking about “environmental” activists instead of activists simpliciter.

        Due diligence,

        W

      • Willard

        I was making a query not a statement.

        My interEst was that I met Nic and his wife in Bristol before the Mann lecture. Anthony watts was there as well and they were both genuinely enthused about the dinner the previous evening with Richard Betts and tamsin Edwards.

        He certainly didn’t come over as an activist, unlike several of the others present, but I think the examples you gave are good ones.

        I steer clear of the GWPF and heartland and a variety of other organisations who promote an agenda and am uncomfortable with strident viewpoints from either ‘side’

        However when does activism become merely putting over a scientific viewpoint? I go to the Met office fairly frequently primarily for the library but also for meetings. Are they activists? Examining man made climate change is an integral element of their existence and they actively promote their findings

        Again a query not a statement as I am not sure what the term means in the context it is being used.

        Tonyb

      • Danny Thomas

        TonyB,
        Even I get this one:”However when does activism become merely putting over a scientific viewpoint?”
        Maybe when one’s “scientific viewpoint” is in contrast to the receiver’s views.
        Labels, labels, everywhere. Content matters not just ask the sea lions. Sheesh.

      • > I was making a query not a statement.

        This is why I was talking about sea lioning, TonyB:

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/107315199074

        That Nic just published his piece at Judy’s and the Auditor’s should also have provided you a hint, with the pinged back breadcrumbs to follow soon in the contrarian social network.

      • Danny

        It seems to be unfashionable to ask questions or make a small query here. As you say, labels everywhere.

        Am I an activist? I don’t know, I don’t try to promote a particular view but to chronicle what i find, but our bias forged through experience is bound to show. I don’t know if that constitutes an activist though.

        Willard made a good but not conclusive case with his examples. It would be interesting if anyone has ever compiled a 10 point check list as to what makes someone an activist rather than an enquirer a scientist an auditor or a chronicler.

        Tonyb

      • Danny Thomas

        TonyB,
        Activist, no. One with a point of view, sure. Makes you human. Think we all have those and they are based on our personal experiences or self interests.
        I fear more the projections on to others of labels which is why I wish there were fewer. Personally, there has been something gained from interactions with all here.
        Willard seems quite intelligent, likely much more so than I, but even he (assuming I understood him accurately) was “labeling” by the comments on Nic comments:”There are other tidbits, for example Nic’s own dismissiveness toward someone else’s work as activism.” I guess that makes Willard an activist. So in turn, I suppose I “labeled” the perception I presume he has. And I guess that makes me an activist. Labels everywhere.

      • This would be my understanding of an activist

        http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/activist

        I don’t think I fall into this definition. Does Nic? I don ‘t know. Does writing for the GWPF automatically put you into that category?

        Tonyb

      • Once upon a time, Ross McKitrick exclaimed:

        [T]his is about the discrepancy between the IPCC’s claims that its authors are the world’s top scientists, yet many of them on inspection turn out to be underqualified activists[.]

        http://climateaudit.org/2011/10/16/the-spoiled-child/#comment-307613

        taking for granted the concept of “activist”. If we accept that describing what is to be an activist deserves due diligence, the best place to start would be the Wiki, not a random online dictionary:

        Activism consists of efforts to promote, impede, or direct social, political, economic, or environmental change, or stasis.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Activism

        we clearly see that Ross himself may be the most activist scientist known to mankind.

        Most of what we read at Judy’s fits under political campaining, since it targets IPCC politically using all kinds of memes surrounding the INTEGRITY ™ framing.

        ***

        Most of what the GWPF does goes beyond activism and is pure lobbying:

        Lobbying (also lobby) is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies. Lobbying is done by many types of people, associations and organized groups, including individuals in the private sector, corporations, fellow legislators or government officials, or advocacy groups (interest groups).

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobbying

        That lobbying implies activism should be a no brainer, even if the two Wiki descriptions do not cohere very well. There are still enough gap to argue that “it’s just advocacy.” Judy tried that one in the beginning. We could revisit that line of argument if you want, but again I really think this would be suboptimal for you to ask.

        ***

        Now, my turn.

        Would you say that Judy had to lobby to get research grants?

        This would mean climate scientists such as Judy would have to register as a lobbyist?

        Many thanks!

      • Danny,

        Here are my seven strictures on labeling.

        (1) Label specific claims. Provide a quote and a citation if you can. In doubt, describe what you’re talking about. Don’t just say “realism”, say it’s the belief in abstract objects. One can entertain scepticism regarding many things.

        (2) Identify the claim, not who holds it. Labels are neither nicknames nor proper names. Using the objective form and singular may help. Compare pragmatism, socialism and activism with pragmatists, socialists, and activists.

        (3) Use labels sparingly. Following discussions peppered with “realism”, “socialism”, and “activism” can become cumbersome, even when (1) and (2) are fulfilled.

        (4) Tolerate labels in play. If you chose to inhabit a community that liberally dispense “DK”, “cargo-cult,” “Kool-aid,” and “watermelons,” own it. Disregard labels otters give you. Don’t whine, play the ref, or go all butt hurt.

        (5) Use labels proponents themselves, more so if they don’t abide by (4). Pay due diligence to the labels they use. A label never stands alone: see (1).

        (6) Don’t label your own claims. Don’t label yourself unless you’re into branding. Promote your claims instead, rinse and repeat them.

        (7) if you can forego of labels, do so. If you need to use them, use those with which you’d feel OK the next day. Try to smile, be creative.

        ***

        Note that (3) and (4) leads to Postel Law

        Finally, I do not believe that labels are derogatory in themselves. It is possible that catastrophism becomes accepted by catastrophists themselves, like Solomon did with his book **The Deniers**.

        As you may have noticed, I prefer nicknames.

      • Danny Thomas

        Willard,

        Will look at your offering in more depth, but wanted to respond to this: “Finally, I do not believe that labels are derogatory in themselves.”
        I perceive that they are………..to the labeler.
        When I see Joshua’s comments on Nic Lewis as an activist, and skeptics towards M. Mann there is an inherent bias applied.
        My point to TonyB was you labeled Nic, then in fact I labeled you, leading to my self labeling as an “activist” based on the quote of yours I posed to Tony. It’s not an attempt to quantify right or wrong on specific instances, but in the more general sense. It goes on often and everywhere and is counter to consideration of content. Even you’d (I’d assume) have to state seeing that. You spar more with “skeptics” and lovefest more with AGW’ers do you not? You can’t exhibit tribalism w/o knowing who’s in your tribe via labels.

        If science owes us a “social contract” and a contract requires a “meeting of the minds” of parties, do we not each and everyone owe reciprication to science (yep, my “independent” confirmational bias is showing). (Drat, more labels). Labels deter evaluation of content. (You may be sighing right now reading further response from one labeled as Danny Thomas while others may not be reading it at all).

      • Willard

        Rather than wiki why not use the Cambridge definition of activist.

        http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/activist

        What is described here as an activist seems rather stronger than what I have seen from Nic.

        Tonyb

      • > Rather than wiki why not use the Cambridge definition of activist.

        Was that a question, TonyB? I’ll assume it is.

        Because a dictionary definition is basically useless with “ism” words in general.

        Because a dictionary definition does not elucidate to actual usage of the term.

        Because a dictionary definition does not provide any interesting description of what the term implies.

        Because in this case it gets the definition too restrictive by focusing on the beliefs instead of the actions, which is kinda silly in the case of activism.

        Because a dictionary definition is mostly a way to play parsomatics:

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/tagged/parsomatics

        Because in this case it would just be a way to play dumb.

        Because you’re a master for this kind of trick.

        ***

        If you have more questions, feel free to ask.

      • Danny,

        This is ClimateBall. Everything you say or do in ClimateBall will be used or done against you. What you perceive as being a bug of labels is in fact a feature of using nouns and playing ClimateBall.

        If Nic uses the “activist” label to denigrate an opponent, then he must deal with his double standards, since he’s quite obviously an activist, or rather an inactivist.

        That TonyB tries to play dumb about that fact tells you that he gets that part of ClimateBall quite naturally. OTOH, he’s playing parsomatics against someone who’s been trained in philosophy of language. Either this means all he has is a dictionary to defend his case, or that he has a thing or two to learn about ClimateBall.

        I predict TonyB to play “who me?” and refuses to admit that he plays ClimateBall. Please don’t tell him. That will void my prediction.

      • Danny Thomas

        Willard,
        LOL! I get that it’s “climateball” but it doesn’t have to be (interesting that you chose to label it though).
        I was responding to your:”There are other tidbits, for example Nic’s own dismissiveness toward someone else’s work as activism.”
        Which came across as you being a bit dismissive about Nic’s activisim, whereby I labeled you and realizing same self labeled………..all as activists.

        And all this started on the other thread with Joshua’s comment and is nothing but a distraction leading to NOT evaluating Nic’s offering (my initial concern expressed to Joshua). And that, I find to be of interest but less than rewarding.

      • Danny,

        What Joshua was underlying was the double standard, not labeling. Usage makes labels derogatory. Take “environmentalist,” “Green,” “leftist” or “statist.” While “leftist” and “statist” are tough to be a meliorative terms, “green” and “environmentalist” can be positive. As you may have noticed, the Denizens’ dominant usage signals they’re talking about the baddies.

        Even the term “IPCC” has become derogatory.

        ***

        To use “activist” as a derogatory term in a ClimateBall episode, like Nic did, is (almost) self-defeating. It leads to a double standard. I think it’s quite obvious that Joshua’s chasing double standards.

        Personally, I don’t mind much activism, advocacy. As far as lobbying is concerned, I’d rather wait until TonyB answers my questions before telling you what you already know. It might void my questioning.

      • Danny Thomas

        Willard,

        That’s part of the problem with the “climateball” label and how the game is played. I’m (relatively) new to this. Approx. 5 months now and do not have the history. So if Joshua’s intent was to refer to something of which an observer is unaware only Joshua would be in a postion to know that. (And I just don’t see how it adds value, which is why I asked him to respond only if he could critique the Lewis offering). One can only read so much history while staying current in the topic of CC.
        It’s entertaining to watch so many who know so much about everything while I’d venture to say so many more (like me) know so little about so little and wish to learn. And we do, while filtering through the “climateball”. And, yes, we also get caught up at times in the game at times.
        So to this observer, it seems more important for (some) folks to make some obscure “climateball point” (like maybe you’re in process of attempting to do w/TonyB) in the game than to evaluate what if it turns out to be accurate is fairly “globe” shattering in the conclusions of the Nic Lewis offering. And I’m too dumb or non-thin skinned to not jump in with both feet and ask questions and seek guidance. And from many, many, here that guidance has been offered w/o a bias. Point being, I find the labels to be less than helpful.

      • ‘Activists,
        contrarians,
        well,
        I’ll be
        judge,
        I’ll be
        jury,’
        says
        cunning
        old
        Fury.

      • > I find the labels to be less than helpful.

        Yet they’re pervasive, Danny. Their pervasiness argues in favor of social function:

        In sociology and social psychology, an ingroup is a social group to which a person psychologically identifies as being a member. By contrast, an outgroup is a social group with which an individual does not identify. For example, people may find it psychologically meaningful to view themselves according to their race, culture, gender, age, or religion. It has been found that the psychological membership of social groups and categories is associated with a wide variety of phenomena.

        http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingroups_and_outgroups

        When Nic Lewis dismisses Robert Way’s work as being tainted by “activism,” he identifies activists as the outgroup. The opposite of an activist would be a neutral, objective, rational party. The usual libertarian framing.

        Incidentally, it is Nic’s own criteria that would matter to settle TonyB’s concern, not my definition or a random online dictionary. Since for nic what SkS does it activism, I don’t think he can escape a double standard.

        We need an Artful Dodger to escape that conclusion. Will TonyB up to the task?

        Tune in tomorrow for the continuation of this ClimateBall episode!

      • Danny Thomas

        Willard,
        “Yet they’re pervasive, Danny. Their pervasiness argues in favor of social function:”
        Yes they are. They persuade closed minded folks (outgroups?) to not evaluate content due to bias. They persuade “ingroups” to accept that which should be evaluated potentially with a jaundiced eye. And the wiki doesn’t describe “Dannygroups” to which he’s doing his best to not partition and learn from the two alternatives. And wishing others would join.
        In this format, and I’d be amazed if you’d not agree, the label is often the first filter in vetting (and often the last). I think that speaks to my point.

      • Danny –

        ==> ” So if Joshua’s intent was to refer to something of which an observer is unaware only Joshua would be in a postion to know that. ”

        My “intent” was to argue that criteria should be applied consistently.

        Along those lines…do you think that if in a technical thread you saw a comment from a “skeptic” about how a “realist” climate scientist’s work could be dismissed because said climate scientist was an “activist,” that you’d take much notice?

      • Danny Thomas

        Joshua,
        “My “intent” was to argue that criteria should be applied consistently”. Was it? Really? Or, as Willard likes to put it, an attempt to spin up a new round in the game of “climateball”? I don’t know. What I do see is a bit of a track record where (in your words) you aren’t in position to discuss the science but you wanted to partake in the game.
        Don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned from you but at times, especially when specifically asked by the “denizens” giving it a rest is okay. As I suggested to Willard (and it may not be as entertaining), it doesn’t always have to be climateball. Obscure, esoteric points? Who cares?

        To answer your question, it depends on the “skeptic” and the “activist”. If the skeptic is after me due to their labeling of whom/what they presume about me I’ll usually address it once and move on (I’ve learned from when I started). If the “skeptic” had a tendency to comment politically only w/o scientific substance I usually don’t mess with it (I don’t like to argue politics or religion much). And if the “skeptic” has a science orientation, then I usually listen intently. Same goes on the other side. Folks have tendencies, which lead to labels ya know.

      • Danny –

        My “intent” was also to argue that activism, as a valuable force in our society, should not be demeaned and then exploited by partisans via an application of double-standards..

        I don’t consider “activist” to be a pejorative label. Not in the least. I offer no criticism of Nic and Judith for the mere fact of being activists, although I do criticize the quality of their activism.

      • Danny,

        I don’t think the pervasiveness of labeling argues in favor if its uselessness. That ClimateBall episodes turn around esoteric points is exemplified by the latest threads that have been labeled “technical”.

        Labeling can be subtle:

        The terminology was made popular by Henri Tajfel and colleagues during his work in formulating social identity theory. The significance of ingroup and outgroup categorization was identified using a method called the minimal group paradigm. Tajfel and colleagues found that people can form self-preferencing ingroups within a matter of minutes and that such groups can form even on the basis of seemingly trivial characteristics, such as preferences for certain paintings.

        http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingroups_and_outgroups

        Are you a Klee or a Kandinsky kind of guy?

        I’m definitely a Klee.

      • Danny Thomas

        Willard,

        Are you referring to painters? I’ve not studied either, so cannot say.

        I also don’t wish to presume your in/outgroup “self labeling”. I could see several. Those who enjoy blogging, those who enjoy climate discussion, those who enjoy “climateball”, those who don’t care that much about climateball, those who are catastrophists; alarmist; skeptics; warmers; lukewarmers; etc. And the minute varations in between (which I don’t find very helpful even when I self label as they’re not encompasing).

        w/r/t:”I agree. I have thought from the start that the Mannian AMO approach in Steinman, Mann and MIller (2015) would fall apart if models with realistically-low total aerosol forcing were used. I was going to check this, but Mann hadn’t posted his data at that point.
        The 2014 Mann AMO paper is all smoke-and-mirrors, as I showed in my post at Climate Audit soon after it cameout.”

        With which part do you have issue?

      • Serendipity strikes again:

        I have thought from the start that the Mannian AMO approach […]

        https://judithcurry.com/2015/03/19/implications-of-lower-aerosol-forcing-for-climate-sensitivity/#comment-685494

        In a technical thread. Fancy that.

      • Danny –

        ==>.”Was it? Really? Or, as Willard likes to put it, an attempt to spin up a new round in the game of “climateball”? I don’t know.”

        Not sure what to say about that. You’re obviously free to interpret my intent as different than what I say that it is. You certainly wouldn’t be the first at Climate Etc. to do so.

        ==> ” What I do see is a bit of a track record where (in your words) you aren’t in position to discuss the science but you wanted to partake in the game.”

        Not sure what you mean there by “partake in the game.” I participate in the discussion about the discussion.

        ==> “Don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned from you but at times, especially when specifically asked by the “denizens” giving it a rest is okay.”

        Part of a sentence missing there? Can I assume something like “…especially when specifically asked by the “denizens” to give it a rest, [I wish you would do so]”..

        Have you noticed, Danny, that “denizens” are particularly prone to ask “realists” to give it a rest even as they don’t have the same standard with “skeptics” when they’re discussing the same topics as I discuss? My suggestion to anyone that doesn’t want to read my comments is that they don’t. I feel no sense of obligation to people who write off-topic comments to complain about my off-topic comments even as they pass right over or at least have no problem with other off-topic comments from a long like of “skeptics.” My impression is that the determination of what is or isn’t off topic is almost always reflective of partisan orientation.

        ==> “As I suggested to Willard (and it may not be as entertaining), it doesn’t always have to be climateball. Obscure, esoteric points? Who cares?”

        I don’t know who cares, Danny. I don’t particularly care who cares. I also don’t think that the points that I make are particularly obscure or esoteric. If they were, IMO, then “skeptics” wouldn’t respond as regularly and forcefully as they do. Any time that you don’t understand a point that I make, please feel free to ask.

        ==> “To answer your question, it depends on the “skeptic” and the “activist”. If the skeptic is after me due to their labeling of whom/what they presume about me I’ll usually address it once and move on (I’ve learned from when I started). If the “skeptic” had a tendency to comment politically only w/o scientific substance I usually don’t mess with it (I don’t like to argue politics or religion much). And if the “skeptic” has a science orientation, then I usually listen intently. Same goes on the other side.”

        But Danny, whether or not someone has a scientific orientation shouldn’t have relevance if they’re making an argument about whether activism speaks to the merits of scientific arguments. And I’m not asking if you would comment, I was asking whether you would take notice.

        Here’s my speculation… you wouldn’t take particular notice of a “skeptic” dismissing the work of a climate scientist on a technical thread because they deem that the scientist is an “activist”…. because it is commonplace in such threads and thus not notable.

        You take note when I do it, however. And that is my point about double-standards. My point is about why people apply double standards within discussions related to the science.

      • Danny Thomas

        Joshua,
        “Not sure what to say about that. You’re obviously free to interpret my intent as different than what I say that it is. You certainly wouldn’t be the first at Climate Etc. to do so.”
        I did say, I don’t know because I don’t. But there was in impression that when you were asked specifically to not generate the very type of discussion we’re having here over there as often occurs it happened anyhow. Dr. C put at the bottom of that technical thread that request, and this is her sandbox. So yes, in that case in that location I wished you’d not had chosen to interject a non-technical response counter to that request. But of note, I’m happy to interact here in a non-technical thread.
        Joshua, when I started here, and I state it again, if/when I wear out my welcome in the blog entirety or within a specific thread all that is required is that someone tell me so. I will respectfully defer. I find it a privilege to be allowed to interact in this format. In fact, Jim2 flagged a comment of mine (and yours) that in hindsight I agreed didn’t belong and I asked mods to remove out of respect.
        We each bring different things to this table, but location (topic) should be considered. If Dr. Curry invited us over to dinner but asked us not to comment about religion (as example) is that the first thing you’d chose to offer up for discussion? Especially after another guest reminded you of our hosts preference?
        I self censor, some don’t comment at all, but if/when asked I will dilligently try to chose a respectful approach. That is my standard and if you chose differently that’s fine, but don’t be surprised at being challenged. It seems to me it would be more of a “double standard” if you’d not been addressed.

        I’m guessing you determine this:”My impression is that the determination of what is or isn’t off topic is almost always reflective of partisan orientation.” by label and not by content.

        I’ll remind of the comment when you and I started this thread:”Joshua,

        Curious of your defintion of “activist” and if there are those on the AGW side who might fit the bill? It seems that a label (Name + activist = skepticism) yet I see nothing w/r/t quality of “merits of work”. If you chose to answer, can you offer criticism of the work? If not, no answer needed. Thanks,” (The one JIM2 rightly flagged and where I’d asked specifically for criticism of the work as a gentle reminder of our host’s request). See this as you chose.

        Discussion appreciated and respectful tone is also. I’ll leave it to you and see you at WIR.

      • Danny –

        ==> “But there was in impression that when you were asked specifically to not generate the very type of discussion we’re having here over there as often occurs it happened anyhow. ”

        If you remember, the comment of mine that you responded to was in response to another comment. What was the nature of the comment I was responding to? Why did you pass right over the other comment to take note of mine? Was it because the non-technical nature of my comment was unique?

        You will also notice that as soon as you wrote your non-technical comment to me asking for a response on the non-technical subject, I told you that I would move the discussion over to this thread.

        ==> “That is my standard and if you chose differently that’s fine, but don’t be surprised at being challenged.

        I’m not the slightest bit “surprised” to be challenged.

        ==> “It seems to me it would be more of a “double standard” if you’d not been addressed.”

        I’m glad that your standard is not double, and that you ask “skeptics” to stop making non-technical comments on technical threads. I guess I must missed it when you did so.

        I will also point out again, however, that each time you make a non-technical comment on a technical thread to note my non-technical comments, you are employing a double standard.

        I gotta say, Danny, it looks to me like you’re not addressing the larger points that I’m making – that I’m challenging you to address. Your choice, obviously.

      • Danny Thomas

        Joshua,
        I have to believe you understood my points of “gentle reminder” and I did ask for your critique of the work w/r/t:”You will also notice that as soon as you wrote your non-technical comment to me asking for a response on the non-technical subject, I told you that I would move the discussion over to this thread.” So I tried to honor the request of a technical orientation. I guess you don’t see that I asked if you had no comment on the work, please don’t bother to respond. Since you chose to move over here to a non technical thread interaction seemed more appropriate. And, as I stated, in hindsight I agreed w/JIM2’s flag and asked my comment be deleted. Have you done so, or are you wishing to double down on a double standard yourself? Who’s “right”? Who “wins”. Neither, I’d say, added value over there.
        What I’m not saying well, I guess, is that the label of “activist” doesn’t matter. The work does. Steven Mosher has indicated that dating back to “Climategate” (way before my time) that those events in no way impact the work going forward. This, I percieve, is a reasonable approach. This is the “larger” point I’m trying to make and that (once again) I don’t have the history (nor desire to) consider the “activist” labels for the participants. It adds no value.
        I told you how I address the “skeptics” (I’m partially one) when it comes to my perception of where there is value to addressing. If politically oriented, I don’t use my energy there and I don’t argue just to argue or spin them up. But I do listen. (I actually read pretty much every comment but some are well above my pay grade). If you have a specific question that I’ve not addressed clearly state it and I’ll do my best.
        I’ll state you were wrong to have posted that activist comment there, and I was equally wrong to have addressed it and should have only stated “do you have an issue with the work?”. That would have been more appropriate. Once again, your commentary makes me evaluate myself and state the error of my ways. But I can’t recall seeing you do anything except defend your position and not accept some responsibility, even if responding to another.
        That, is your choice.

      • > With which part do you have issue?

        I would have more issue with “which part do you have issue?” than what Nic says, Danny. Opining on Nic’s sideswipe is irrelevant to my point. What may be more relevant to my point is the exchange between Nic and Robert on the “Smoke and Mirror” thread:

        http://climateaudit.org/2014/05/19/manns-new-paper-recharacterizing-the-atlantic-multidecadal-oscillation/#comment-611649

        Have you noticed that Nic plugged in his post at the Auditor’s without linking to it?

        Notice what is being said and what is left unsaid. How nothing Robert says gets acknowledged, except the only thing that helps Nic’s case. How we get distracted by a question that contains the “smoke and mirrors” remark.

        ClimateBall at its finest.

      • Danny Thomas

        Willard,

        And yet you come at this with a history much longer than mine. Which is why I asked what part with which you had issue. How is one to know if one doesn’t ask? I don’t wish to presume what you intended any more than I do about “smoke and mirrors”. So if it were me, I’d ask.
        M.Mann and Nic Lewis are peer reviewed authors so I give them both creedence. Giving that standing, I making a self “appeal to authority” (label?) that a comment along the lines of Nic’s was made for good reason, likely one I could not fully grasp at my level of understanding.
        I see where you link to this as evidentiary but not where you asked him. So why don’t you? Climateball at it’s finest?

      • Danny –

        I think this discussion is becoming too unwieldy – too many irons in the fire so to speak… so I’ll keep this relatively brief (for me, at least) and move on:

        => “What I’m not saying well, I guess, is that the label of “activist” doesn’t matter. ”

        I agree. That was my point. And my point was also that worse yet, double-standards in the application of the label in order to advance a partisan agenda is counter-productive.

        ==> “I’ll state you were wrong to have posted that activist comment there,”

        Fine, you’re entitled – and I’ll note that you don’t address what I said about the full context and the question of double-standards w/r/t the “wrongness” of non-technical statements on technical threads, as employed by “denizens” generally, Judith herself, and I would also argue you.

      • Danny Thomas

        Joshua,

        Fair point:” and I would also argue you”. I usually ask, because I don’t know. So if/when I do it (again) please call me on it. My hope is to add value, not detract. I’m human and admit to many failings. Your issue w/Dr. C is independent of our discussion but I must point out you’re a bit of an “activist” when it comes to your interactions with her. See you at WIR, where most everything is fair game, eh?

    • Steven Mosher

      weirdly my response to this got misplaced.

      In a nutshell Joshua is wrong about my position.

  59. I’d say the politicians are listening to scientist, who seem to have acquired a new found status, and not engineers, who understand practical realities and are thought of as drones to be ordered to do stuff.

  60. Adaptation – progressive style.

    Pass a tax on rain, use it for general revenue purposes, and when the local communities inform the stupid voters on their tax bills where the idiotic tax came from, pass a new law telling the locals to stop telling the truth and instead blame it on the locals themselves and the federal government.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/maryland-senate-unanimously-approves-changing-rain-tax-terms/2015/03/20/46783bb2-cf16-11e4-8a46-b1dc9be5a8ff_story.html

    Oh and market it as an (optional) “repeal” of the hated tax, while requiring the locals to raise other taxes to replace the rain tax. And the feckless Republicans in Maryland? They think it’s just peachy now.

    You can’t fix stupid.

  61. It really isn’t complicated.
    – Government funds close to 100% of climate science.
    – Government stands to expand itself if the public believes in CAGW.
    – Therefore, by means of its funding decisions, government manages climate science so as ‘conclude’ that there is CAGW.

  62. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #173 | Watts Up With That?

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