Against ‘consensus’ messaging

by Judith Curry

A decades’ experience shows that “Consensus messaging” doesn’t work. – Dan Kahan

Two weeks ago, Bristol University hosted a debate between Stefan Lewandowsky and Dan Kahan [link].

What is the best way to communicate the risks from climate change to the public? Dan Kahan has been championing the idea that risk perception depends on one’s culture or “worldview”, with people on the political right being more likely to downplay the risks from climate change than people on the political left. Stephan Lewandowsky has also found support for this notion in his own research, but he additionally finds that knowledge of the pervasive scientific consensus about global warming is a “gateway belief” that shapes people’s acceptance of the science and their willingness to support mitigation policies. So what are the implications of those two positions? Do they permit synergy or are they locked in opposition? Is there a third way to communicate science?

Dan Kahan has a blog post with his remarks [link (including link to Kahan’s slides], excerpts:

First, I’m not against the proposition that there is a scientific consensus that human activity is causing climate change. Second, I am by no means against communicating scientific consensus on climate change.

The proposition I am against is that the way to dispel polarization over global warming in the U.S. is to continue a decade’s long “social marketing campaign”—one on which literally hundreds of millions of dollars have already been spent—that features the claim that “97% [or 98% or 100% etc] of scientists accept human caused climate change.”

I am against that this “communication strategy”–

  • first, because it misunderstands the nature of the problem;
  • second, because it diverts resources from alternative approaches that have a much better prospect for success; and
  • third, because it predictably reinforces the toxicity of the climate change debate for our science communication environment.

But both “liberals” and “conservatives” have “gotten the memo” that scientists think human activity is causing climate change and that we are in deep shit as a result. So why should we expect that telling them what they already know will dispel the controversy reflected in persisting poll results showing that they are polarized on global warming?

You see, there are really two “climate changes” in America.

There’s the one people “believe in” or “disbelieve in” solely for the purpose of expressing their allegiance in a mean, ugly, illiberal status competition between opposing cultural groups.

Then there’s the one that people “believe in” in order to do things—like being a farmer—that depend on the best available scientific evidence.

As you can imagine, it’s a challenge for a legislator to keep all this straight.

JC comment:  Kahan gets it partly right – there are indeed two climate changes.  But IMO he misunderstand what they are.  There is human caused climate change, and then there is natural climate variability.  Farmers don’t care so much about what is causing climate variability change; rather their job is to continually assess weather/climate risks to their crops and then adapt.  This split is discussed in my previous post Nonsensus about the Senate’s non consensus on climate change.

The only way to promote constructive collective decsionmaking on the climate change that ordinary people, left and right, are worried about,and that farmers and other practical individuals are taking steps to protect themselves from, is to protect our science communication enviornment from the toxic effects of the other climate change change—the one that people believe or disbelieve in to express their tribal loyalties.

Public opinion on climate change—whether it is “happening,” is “human caused,” etc.—didn’t move an inch at all during that time.

But we are supposed to think that that’s irrelevant because immediately after experimenters told them “97% of scientists accept climate change,” a group of study subjects, while not changing their own positions on whether climate change is happening, increased by a very small amount their expressed estimate of the percentage of scientists who believe in climate change? Seriously?

Perpetuating a toxic discourse. No doubt part of the appeal of “consensus messaging” is how well suited it is as an idiom for expressing contempt. The kinds of real-world “messaging campaigns” that feature the “97% agree” slogan all say “you are an idiot” to those for whom not believing climate change has become identity defining. It is exactly that social meaning that must be removed from the climate change question before people can answer it with what they know: that their well-being and the well-being of others they actually care about requires doing sensible things with the best available current evidence.

JC comment:  I think that the above paragraph is spot on.  Not only is it toxic to the public debate on climate change, but its toxicity also extends to the scientific debate

A decades’ experience shows that “Consensus messaging” doesn’t work. Our best lab and field studies, as well as a wealth of relevant experience by people who are doing meaningful communciation and not just fielding surveys, tell us why: it is unresponsive to the actual dynamics driving the climate change controversy.

Time to give alternative approaches–ones that reflect rather than ignore evidence of the mechanisms of cultural conflict over societal risks–a fair trial, during which we can observe and measure their effects, and after which we can revise our understandings once more, incorporate what we have learned into refined approaches, and repeat the process yet again.

Otherwise the “science of science communication” isn’t scientific at all.

JC reflections

While I find Dan Kahan’s research and perspectives to be very interesting, all of this science of science communication strategy for climate messaging runs dangerously close to propaganda techniques.

Consensus ‘messaging’ has been pernicious to the science, as well as to public perception of science, which is discussed in my paper No consensus on consensus.

My long standing recommendation has been to drop the consensus messaging.  Scientists should make a clear statement about what we understand with confidence, what we think might happen, and what the major uncertainties are.  This is generally what the IPCC First Assessment Report did.  The ‘consensus’ strategy was put into play for subsequent reports.

After reading Kahan’s stuff, I wish he would apply his methods to understanding people who believe the scientific consensus on climate change (both scientists and the public).

366 responses to “Against ‘consensus’ messaging

  1. daveandrews723

    Consensus is for politics and should have no relevance in science. The scientific method should be all that matters. But unfortunately a lot of scientists who are leading the cause to fight CAGW are perverting science. They are now activists in calling for social and economic change (and perhaps to feather their own nests). It is a dark period in the field of science. The “97% consensus” claim is meant to stifle debate… and nothing could be more unscientific than that.

    • David Wojick

      Actually, consensus is an important part of the scientific method. It is how we build the body of scientific knowledge. Of course there is no consensus in the climate science debate, so the term is indeed political, in effect a one word slogan.

      • daveandrews723

        Point taken… but prevailing opinions (consensus) have often been wrong in science historically.

      • “consensus is an important part of the scientific method”

        David,

        It’s not. Valid science continues because it produces valid results, not because a group of people agree with it. Consensus is something that happens after the science, and it may or may not be based on valid science.

        Andrew

      • David Wojick

        BA, I do not know what you mean by after the science. The research that is done at any given time is based on what is believed to be known at that time. Thus consensus guides science at all times. This is the central feature of the Kuhnian model of science. In fact every scientific journal article begins with a summary of what is thought to be known, so as to explain why the research being reported was done.

        Research is individual but science is social. Progress would be impossible if nothing were ever accepted as known.

      • “Thus consensus guides science at all times.”

        It doesn’t. Like you said, research is individual. That’s what I consider to be the science. Consensus may not be affecting it at all. I think you are using too broad a definition of consensus and/or science.

        Andrew

      • David Wojick

        My definition of science is what scientists actually do. That was the Kuhnian breakthrough. Science is a complex social system, so important parts of the scientific method are social.

      • “My definition of science is what scientists actually do.”

        Sometimes scientists don’t really do science, as we’ve all seen in the case of AGW.

        Andrew

      • “Actually, consensus is an important part of the scientific method. ”
        In the context of the comments by Kahan and Curry, this seems egregiously constructed. Consensus in science comes about from scientists being persuaded by the evidence. The evidence and predictions are the engine, consensus is what follows. It does not lead! In the mouths of the CAGW True Believers, ‘consensus’ is used to motivate or force belief. This is the problem that BA is pointing out to you which you seem to studiously ignore.
        Does one believe there is a consensus of scientists on the Special Theory of Relativity? Yes. Does one believe (or accept the truth value) the Special Theory of Relativity BECAUSE of a consensus? Those who do should have their PhD’s revoked.
        But this is exactly what those who spout consensus nonsense are asking for, whether it’s Michael Mann, Obama, NOAA, Schmidt, Greenpeace or Cook. The position is utter rubbish and should be an embarrassment to anyone who uses that argument, notwithstanding that the means used to establish this consensus, were in themselves ‘junk’ science.

      • David Wojick

        Daniel, I have explicitly pointed out that the use of the consensus argument in the climate case is false, bogus even. But the fact is that consensus plays an important role in science. Progress would be impossible without it.

      • The scientific method only encompasses the discovery and objective verification of truth–a true understanding of a thing, a system or a process. Consensus is just a collective opinion about a thing, and has only a potential, tangential relation to the scientific method, a potential that is not realized unless the consensus opinion reflects the objective truth discovered and verified by the scientific method. Consensus is not “an important part of the scientific method”, it does not in fact have any value in and of itself; it is, at best, only worthwhile to the extent it reflects the truth. That is why, as we now see everyday, even a consensus of authoritative experts, even of “97% of everybody”, is worthless today–because the experts are all incompetent, before definitive evidence against their supposed understanding.

        And blogs like this, addicted to sociological misdirections, away from the objective truth into the mire of mere opinion (collective or otherwise), merely thrash around in the mire, going nowhere and helping not at all (or only to the extent that they show just how incompetent the experts, like Dr. Curry, all are now).

        Or to put it bluntly, sociology and psychology cannot enlighten physics, or any physical science. Dr. Curry needs to learn that her pursuit of good climate policy marks her as fundamentally deluded, because there is no such thing. “You can’t get there from here”, because there is no “here” here, where you continue vainly to focus your attention on opinion-making.

      • Agreed David. Your critics do not appear to have read Karl Popper.

      • Cultural marxism.
        Consensus is not science. All things are not relative. Reason exists.

      • “Laboratory tests, in situ tests, and the
        analysis of natural analogs are all forms of
        model confirmation. But no matter how
        many confirming observations we have, any
        conclusion drawn from them is still an
        example of the fallacy of affirming the
        consequent. Therefore, no general empirical
        proposition about the natural world can
        ever be certain. No matter how much data
        we have, there will always be the possibility
        that more than one theory can explain the
        available observations (41) .And there will
        always remain the prospect that future observations
        may call the theory into question
        (42). We are left with the conclusion that
        we can never verify a scientific hypothesis
        of any kind.”

        Strawberry fields forever. Nothing is real.
        The empire does not exist.

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

      • “fallacy of affirming the
        consequent.”

        Really, dear, I wasn’t with anyone.

      • I’m definitely in over my head here, but it doesn’t take a lot of brains to see that the method is:

        reason is subjective
        therefore consensus is reason
        Therefore do what I say.

      • “The scientific consensus might, of
        course, be wrong. If the history of science
        teaches anything, it is humility, and no one
        can be faulted for failing to act on what is
        not known. But our grandchildren will
        surely blame us if they find that we understood
        the reality of anthropogenic climate
        change and failed to do anything about it”

        https://www.sciencemag.org/content/306/5702/1686.full.pdf

        I challenge anyone to name a proponent of the consensus for whom social justice is not inextricably tied to their conclusions.

      • “My definition of science is what scientists actually do. That was the Kuhnian breakthrough.”

        Sounds like a Mosherism to me. And that ain’t a compliment.

        Andrew

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        Science is research and observation, experimentation AND then there is the compilation of the knowlede gained, the storing of the knowledge, the symbolification of the knowledeg. All are science.
        Mosher is nuts. Steer clear of the nutjjobs and their mantras, David.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        ” ‘Science’ is what scientists do”
        ” “Scientist” is someone who does science.”
        Circular definition = nonsense.

      • Curious George

        Consensus did not drive the relativity theory – or quantum mechanics. Quite the opposite. “Ask Mother Nature” is what drives science, not “Ask your peers”.

      • @Bad Andrew: research is individual.

        Would you agree that a great many individuals conduct research, and that they frequently arrive at contradictory conclusions?

        If you agree, what is your proposal for how to choose between the many resulting contradictory conclusions?

    • And politics is all about redistribution of resources – who gives, who takes, and how much. Everyone in the messaging business has a financial interest, whether as allocators or recipients of cash and/or career advancement. Indeed, messaging is propaganda in the sense that it provides only one side of the story, like all advertising campaigns. The only question is the degree of harm that it does. You don’t suffer much from incessant car commercials on television; you suffer more the waste of billions of tax dollars on inefficient energy capture from a diffuse source such as wind power. The poor denied electricity because of unproven doom-mongering suffer much.

    • Agree, but I also see this as the evitable result of an ever narrowing field of those who are fortunate enough to get funding in grant competitions, particularly national level funding. When grants funding levels drop down to 10%-30% of applicants, with a huge percentage of those who are qualified simply giving up and no longer even bothering to apply, we have long since gone past the point where a grant competition is about keeping money with the good productive scientists and not wasting it on unproductive ones. Instead we are dividing grants between the excellent and the excellent. Decisions are then made not on who is more excellent, because you can’t possibly determine that, but rather on who is doing the politically correct thing or who has the correct friends or who writes the best grant or publishes in the perceived best journal. In such an environment, it is inevitable that ordinary human nature takes over and the scientists getting the grants are the ones who are doing only politically correct things, the ones who spend 80% of their time writing grants instead of doing science, and the ones who are just plain lying about their accomplishments. It was inevitable that we would reach a point in science where playing the consensus card and using propaganda to pick our scientific winners and losers would happen, given the current funding system. Worst than that, we are spending far more for government to administer this toxic system than we would spend if we simply gave all qualified scientists base line funding. (see http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08989620802689821) Base line funding for all qualified scientists would not only result in a lot more good science and a lot less chasing only politically correct themes and outright lying, it would actually cost us less as a society.

    • If you try doing cutting-edge research funds without federal research funds, you will soon realize, the 97% consensus scientists are all following the same trail of federal research grant funds!

  2. ” all of this science of science communication strategy for climate messaging runs dangerously close to propaganda techniques.”

    It was merely a debate over the best means of propagandizing AGW.

    An important feature of the 97% meme is that it is simply wrong. But arguments from authority and peer pressure are often effective.

    • ” all of this science of science communication strategy for climate messaging is much worse than just running dangerously close to propaganda techniques.”

      It is brainwashing and propaganda of the worst kind, they try to teach it to my grandchildren.

  3. David Wojick

    In some respects the consensus argument works well. It is not designed to convert the skeptics, but rather to support the convictions of the warmers, and this it does. It all makes sense if one accepts that this is fundamentally a political debate.

    • It all makes sense if one accepts that this is fundamentally a political debate.

      Bingo. And this is the fundamental issue, is it not?! As the now disgraced Pachauri had even once, albeit probably inadvertently, acknowledged [reference available on request!], ‘If it weren’t for the IPCC, who would even be concerned about climate change?’

    • David –

      That is a good point. And the anti-consensus messaging argument works for “skeptics” as it reinforces their convictions, sense of group identity, sense of victimhood, etc.

      sameolsameol.

      • “In some respects the consensus argument works well.” In the same sense that the propaganda of the Nazi’s worked well to motivate the people, or that Soviet Social Realism was a motivator? Well, yes. Designed to support ‘the convictions of the warmers’ which are based on consensus? This is at best a dubious enterprise. But are you encouraging lying, distortion and junk science, as long as it’s used to support ‘convictions’ whilst ignoring that it doesn’t really support ‘conviction’ but simple political/world view bias? “It all makes sense if one accepts that this is fundamentally a political debate.”
        Only if one is a nihilistic misanthrope. Or an anthropological psychologist studying the madness of crowds or how much ‘ape’ there is in the human psyche.
        This is rich, fertile ground for a PhD candidate in social psychology.

      • ” And the anti-consensus messaging argument works for “skeptics” as it reinforces their convictions, sense of group identity, sense of [sic] victimhood, etc.”
        Really? So the fact that the ‘consensus’ is based on lies and junk science is irrelevant to you?
        If truth is merely consensus what do you do when truth resides with those who have no consensus?
        Or has truth been neutered in the new political speak?

    • That it is political cannot be denied. Kahan’s concern is how best to frame propaganda to win the political battle. It’s quite funny that he focuses on “motivated reasoning”, but utterly fails to even consider the fact that it is his own motivated reasoning which makes it impossible for him to grasp what is really happening in the climate debate and people’s attitudes thereto.

    • I think you are right. This is a propagandist acknowledging they have reached “peak alarmist”; 97% is singing to the choir, meant to motivate and reinforce the meme. It is a tactic that is builds resilience, not growth. I think this means that

      I think they’ve realized they’ve peaked and are “cashing out”. They won’t get the extensive regulation they want and are trying to move on to seeing what they can get.

    • patmcguinness

      ‘consensus’ is simply an argument for authority. This is a political argument, using political methods and designed for a political result. It has nothing to do with science, but is political PR. It doesn’t work on scientific sceptics because its so clearly a fallacy, but IMHO it does work to politicize the debate further. The ‘consensus’ argument further polarizes things, because any time a liberal accuses a conservative politician that he’s not following the ‘consensus’, we get a) liberals believing the ‘frame’ of ‘republicans are anti-science’ and b) conservatives believing the ‘frame’ of ‘this so-called ‘science’ is corrupt and therefore wrong’. In politics, its really about which authority you will believe or follow, so ‘consensus’ argument drives polarization – confirming belief for followers, but unconvincing to others.
      The UN IPCC and the governmental bodies pushing for CO2 regulations are simply using argument-by-repetition. So little has actually been learned in the last 10 years compared with what was claimed then and now. they use the consensus argument … because they don’t have a better one at hand.

    • So, we have even more CO2 in the atmosphere than 2011. Where’s the dreaded Texas drought now?

      From the article:

      “The year 2011 continues the recent trend of being much warmer than the historical precipitation-temperature relationship would indicate, although with no previous points so dry it’s hard to say exactly what history would say about a summer such as this one. Except that this summer is way beyond the previous envelope of summer temperature and precipitation,” Nielson-Gammon wrote.

      According to climate scientist Richard Seager of Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, it’s very hard to say how much human-induced climate change has contributed to this year’s scorching temperatures, drought, and related wildfires in Texas. But Seager says that, while La Niña, as well as warm waters in the tropical North Atlantic Ocean, have been the main causes of the extreme drought, there is also evidence that the region is drying as a consequence of manmade global warming.

      Texas is in the midst of its worst recorded one-year drought. Scientists say that climate change may have amplified the drought, which was otherwise caused by natural climate variability. Credit: MyEyeSees/flickr.
      “The human-induced components of this [ongoing drought] so far are pretty weak, but I think it’s there,” Seager says. Even in the absence of La Niña’s natural effects, he explains that global warming is making areas like Texas drier than they were for much of the last century. “What you have is background drying, and then the natural variability superimposed on it.”

      Moreover, average temperatures in Texas are on the rise. Over the entire year, Texas has been about 1.5°F warmer than it was in the 1980s and 1990s. That doesn’t sound like a big difference, but over several years, the warmer temperatures exacerbate the increasing aridity. And that’s not all.

      http://www.climatecentral.org/news/record-breaking-texas-drought-and-heat

      • Nielson-Gammon has also written, even during our drought, the rain in Texas has increased during the past hundred years while we were warming. There is more rain and snow during warmer times and less during colder times. You don’t get lake effect snow from a frozen lake. You don’t get ocean effect snow from a frozen ocean.

        Warm times with open oceans is when the ice on earth is rebuilt.
        Cold times with frozen oceans is when the ice on earth is removed.

        This is what does bound the temperature of earth. Look at the actual data.

      • The blog would be more readable if completely off-topic comments like this, and responses, were deleted.

      • This is an example of consensus messaging. Sorry if it offends you.

      • That drought in 2011 killed the two biggest trees on my land. One was over 70 years old and over 80′ tall and had a 5′ diameter trunk. It didn’t actually die in 2011 but 2 years later which is typical according to my local arborist. All across my city there were hundreds of old growth trees that suffered the same fate. Cost me almost $1600 to have it removed. Now in 2015 we are enduring the wettest spring/summer season since records began and the flood damages are running well north of 14 million dollars in my county just for the month of May. Only thing I can say is the extreme swings of our local weather has been really expensive for me personally.

      • jack – sorry to hear about your old tree.

        When you “extreme swings,” what is your comparison? Your memory? Some sort of record? Just curious.

      • Jim

        From the original copy of the US weather review that I researched in the Met Offi9ce library

        ‘Considerable droughts in the period 1876 Jan. whilst the average temp has been slightly below normal values on the pacific coast it appears in all other sections of the country to have been decidedly above , the excess amounting to 9f for Tennessee and the Ohio valley , 7.7 for the upper Mississippi, 6.9 for the lower Mississippi ranging down ( through a variety of values) to at its least to 1.5f for Minnesota.

        it should be stated however that although above the average and amongst the warmest month yet, the past January was, except perhaps in Kansas, by no means the warmest January, in which we have recorded that January 1828 appears to have been as warm in Tennessee and throughout the Atlantic and gulf states, the January of 1843 was warmer for new jersey and Maine, 1855 was warmer in the west and southwest, 1853 was warmer on the pacific coast.’

        Averages are made of extremes. We tend to forget that when people quote differences from some non existent (or pointless) average

        tonyb

      • Hey jim2,
        Born in 53′ and I can remember 3 multi-year droughts and two years that were really wet so the balance is tipped to longer and deeper drying spells. The 1949 Trinity river flood was the worst when 11″ was dumped on the water shed in 24 hours. While the current wet spell has not produced as much rain in a single day as it did in 1949 the weekly and monthly totals so far are several inches above all historic records according to our local TV weather people (can you trust your local TV weather man?). To me, any weather event that costs me several thousand dollars is extreme. Extreme local weather is not climate change but if it starts costing me a lot of money every other year then on balance a it’s a negative.

      • jack – I do believe the climate is warming. The warming does seem to have paused lately, despite rising CO2. Those statements are tempered by the quality of the data. It’s likely been warming since the Little Ice Age. The entirety of the warming could be due to a multi-century natural cycle.

        The question is how much of the warming is natural and how much due to ACO2. It is a stretch to say ACO2 is involved because Texas or California have droughts or heavy rains. It’s even difficult to say if any of those are extremes given the short weather records and in some cases very poor quality.

        Certainly no one likes to lose money due to weather events, but that’s a horse of a different color.

      • Paul Matthews: The blog would be more readable if completely off-topic comments like this, and responses, were deleted.

        I thought that jim2’s post about the droughts was the best today.

        Sooner or later these “consensus” folks who worry about “communication” are going to have to face up to the fact, illustrated by jim2’s post on drought, that the biggest problem the “communicators” face is that the rest of us have caught on the the fact that they don’t understand what’s happening or how it’s happening or what’s going to happen next.

        Here is a recent review of some dam removal projects in California:
        http://www.sciencemag.org/content/348/6234/496.full.pdf

        Unfortunately it is behind a paywall. I exhausted my privilege by sending copies to some friends.

        Imagine everyone’s surprise when the unpredicted rains cause great flows of water through those opened gorges, and everyone wonders: Why were we not prepared to store all of that water? Why did we believe the prognostications that drought would be a permanent consequence of “global warming” caused by anthropogenic CO2? Probably some “science communicators” will write some more essays like today’s about why the 97% consensus is really correct despite a completely disastrous record of false predictions, a record that everyone by now knows about.

      • PBS News Hour had a segment on aquifer depletion today.

  4. Lewandowsky is clueless about sceptics.

    I can’t see he has anything at all to contribute.

    • Two weeks ago, Bristol University hosted a debate between Stefan Lewandowsky and Dan Kahan

      Skeptics: Are they crazy or just ignorant

      Next months debate
      Republicans: Stupid or Evil (why not both)

    • Lewandowsky, Cook, Oreskes, Mann,,.
      They represent all of Climate Science.
      What more could we want?

    • Kahan said: …part of the appeal of “consensus messaging” is how well suited it is as an idiom for expressing contempt. The kinds of real-world “messaging campaigns” that feature the “97% agree” slogan all say “you are an idiot” to those for whom not believing climate change has become identity defining.

      My impression is that Lewandowsky does not see this feature as a problem. Expressing contempt for those who disagree with the consensus seems (to me, anyway) to be his main priority. Thus the paper claiming that “skeptics” believe in conspiracy theories, etc.

      Marginalizing disagreement is a tried-and-true propaganda technique that has been used to great effect by autocracies and tyrants for a long, long time. Why should now be any different?

  5. Pingback: Against ‘consensus’ messaging | Enjeux énergies et environnement

  6. From the post:
    But both “liberals” and “conservatives” have “gotten the memo” that scientists think human activity is causing climate change and that we are in deep shit as a result.
    *****

    This hasn’t been demonstrated. We know that most plants do better with more CO2. And we recently read an article about a reef living in less alkaline waters that was doing much better than lab experiments suggest.

    The data simply does not support the hype.

  7. From the post:
    But both “liberals” and “conservatives” have “gotten the memo” that scientists think human activity is causing climate change and that we are in deep s*** as a result.
    *****

    This hasn’t been demonstrated. We know that most plants do better with more CO2. And we recently read an article about a reef living in less alkaline waters that was doing much better than lab experiments suggest.

    The data simply does not support the hype.

    • I think the other word for excrement was putting my comment in the black hole.

    • Huh? What data?

      The only study of empirically measured forcing came out in February 2015.

      Before that there was zero (0) actual data on GHG forcing.

      The global warmers deliberately avoided measuring the effect for 35 years. The effect is 1/3 of what was expected.

      35 years ago if Hanson’s model hadn’t been available – CO2 forcing would have been estimated at 2°C +/- 0.5°C (1.33°C TCR) and much of the global warming scare would have been averted. Catastrophic global warming is the bastard step-child of bad climate modeling.

    • both “liberals” and “conservatives” have “gotten the memo” that scientists think human activity is causing climate change and that we are in deep s*** as a result.

      Jim2 > This hasn’t been demonstrated.

      Who exactly are these people that haven’t gotten the memo ? Some lost Amazonian tribe ?

    • We know that most plants do better with more CO2.

      Do what better?

      Will wheat grown in an atmosphere of higher CO2 make better bread, or merely behave like it’s on steroids?

      Increasing temperature raises water vapor content. Will wheat do better or worse with more water vapor in the atmosphere?

  8. “A decades’ experience shows that “Consensus messaging” doesn’t work.” – Dan Kahan

    The far left….including the environmental/global warming movement… is incapable of learning from its mistakes.I suppose that’s the case for all ideologues. It seems a long time ago that Obama was successfully passing himself off as a moderate and a builder of bridges. What a catastrophe.

    (aka pokerguy)

  9. One part of the consensus message is that there is a problem. The other part of the consensus is that mitigation (through treaties or carbon-pricing or regulation) is the solution.

    But the solution part is also questionable. Matt Ridley recently took this on in the runup to the encyclical, a seriously conflicted statement. In fact, with the planet’s population as it is, using fossil fuels is not only good for us and for the planet, it is the only sustainable way forward.

    https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2015/06/16/mitigation-is-bad-for-us-and-the-planet/

  10. One part of the consensus message is that there is a problem. The other part of the consensus is that mitigation (through treaties or carbon-pricing or regulation) is the solution.

    But the solution part is also questionable. Matt Ridley recently took this on in the runup to the encyclical, a seriously conflicted statement. In fact, with the planet’s population as it is, using fossil fuels is not only good for us and for the planet, it is the only sustainable way forward.

    https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2015/06/16/mitigation-is-bad-for-us-and-the-planet/

  11. … that their well-being and the well-being of others they actually care about requires doing sensible things with the best available current evidence.

    This has been always the problem because it is not true. As simple as that. The “best available current evidence” may perfectly be not good enough to make a decision. And, unless you have a way to measure or to judge the current knowledge, you can never know what you are doing.

    The “best available evidence” (economic models) produced a hell of financial disaster. And so on. There are dozens of examples.

    • Pooh, Dixie

      Re: “The ‘best available current evidence’ may perfectly be not good enough to make a decision. And, unless you have a way to measure or to judge the current knowledge, you can never know what you are doing.”

      The “best available current evidence” is not about future climate. It is evidence about the model – its theory, assumptions, parameters, implementation, input data and its predictions/projections.

      If the model’s predictions/projections are confirmed by future unadjusted observations, then the observations are evidence. Unfortunately, that might require ~70 years of unadjusted observations (more if you want to catch grand minimums like the Maunder).

  12. Mike Hulme will be giving a talk along similar lines at the meeting in Nottingham next Tuesday.
    His title is “Scientists speaking with one voice: panacea or pathology?” which sounds interesting…

  13. For us lay people, the seemingly hopeless conundrum that Scientists place us “Average Joe’s” in is in making the AGW debate binary.

    For those of us “sitting on the fence”, we put a lot of stock in trust of the Messenger — where you have to earn your stripes. We don’t spend much effort reading reports from either Anti-Groups (e.g, Cato, Heritage, Heartland) or Pro-Groups (e.g., Think Progress, Greenpeace) — where you know what the conclusion will be even before one reads the report.

    Dr. Curry has earned (and is earning) her stripes as someone we can trust. But so has Nobel Prize winning Scientists like Dr. Molina.

    A major problem is that Scientists rarely spend any time on what they can agree on. For example, Dr. Curry is on record as saying that she believes that human influence on recent GW is probably about 50%. Dr. Schmidt says its +100%.

    If we combine these two statements we could say, Both Dr. Curry and Dr. Schmidt believe human influence on GW is probably at least around 50%.

    What does this mean? Is Dr. Curry’s and Dr. Schmidt’s agreement have any “Big Picture” significance?

    From a layman’s perspective, it would seem that Dr. Curry’s and Dr. Schmidt’s agreement does have significance — that eventually Mankind must address AGW. Its a matter of timing (how much and how fast debate rather than the binary paradigm).

    Combining Dr. Curry’s and Dr. Schmidt’s statements would seem to “cry out” for universal agreement that dramatic increases in technology research needs to be made (e.g., nuclear power, battery storage).

    • More examples of needed technology research:

      •   Power→Fuel: The cost of solar PV, cells or panels, at the factory gate is continuing to decrease exponentially (per watt). Electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen (H2) is a reasonably efficient way to convert the rapidly cheapening energy from solar power to fuel.

      Given ways to store and/or convert the H2 to more transportable fuels (methane, oil), the intermittency of solar power can be pretty much neutralized as a problem. All it does is add to the capitalization cost for storage or (intermittent) conversion.

      Thus, a dramatic increase in R&D towards cheap efficient electrolysis is indicated.

      •   Conversion of H2 to methane or oil requires carbon for the backbone, ideally extracted from the atmosphere or ocean surface (which is in equilibrium with the atmosphere, with a settling time around 1 year).

      Thus, a dramatic increase in R&D towards cheap efficient CO2 extraction is indicated. This could build on the reasonably energy-efficient methods developed by the USNavy and others.

      •   Sea-Floor methane-hydrate extraction using CO2: Experiments are under way involving the use of CO2 to replace methane in the clathrate structure of methane hydrate. Such methods are probably applicable to the massive deposits of sea-floor methane hydrate around the world.

      By adjusting the process to actually sequester more carbon as CO2 than is recovered as methane, such a process could actually go beyond carbon-neutral to carbon-negative. Assuming progress in cheap efficient CO2 extraction from the ocean surface.

      Thus, a dramatic increase in R&D towards improved, carbon-negative, sea-floor methane hydrate extraction is indicated.

    • Lots of luck with that, AK. I’m not so optimistic.

  14. “…knowledge of the pervasive scientific consensus about global warming is a “gateway belief” that shapes people’s acceptance of the science and their willingness to support mitigation policies.”

    Not entirely accurate relative to AGW science; consensus only partly leads to a “gateway belief” that shapes acceptance. The global synergy of science, politics and media works together more like an intellectually cloaked strong armed thug, forcefully and subliminally directing the masses towards this “gateway” of acceptance; rather than supporting debate and funding alternative or unique science for explanations that leads society down a path of eloquent discovery and deduction.

    Is willingness to support mitigation policies really willingness?

    What is more powerful, science, politics or the message carrier? I say they’re equally synergistic and unfortunately near omnipotent in todays environment of monolithic group think.

    Science=Politics=Media=Outcome/Result

  15. stevefitzpatrick

    Kahan would be wise to step back and look at the bigger picture. That bigger picture includes the reality that climate scientists bring their own set of preferences and biases, and these are pretty consistently “green” and “left”. He should recognize that ‘the science’ has been and continues to be tilted as the late Stephen Schneider suggested: exaggeration of risks, scary hypotheticals, etc. to frighten the public… all in the name of ‘making the world a better place’. That has been the consistent approach of climate scientists, and continues unchanged today.

    Everyone involved should try to separate personal policy preferences from science, because science is incapable of sorting out differences in values, priorities, obligations, and morality. The insistence of climate scientists that science serve as a moral imperative is the fundamental problem; skeptics most object not to ‘the science’ but rather to its corruption by policy advocates. It seems clear Kahan does not at all appreciate this. He is just as lost as the scientists.

    • You and he are still stuck in the belief that scientists are only motivated by a pure and good pursuit of truth in the face of nature. Scientists are human beings. They can only live by pure and good pursuit of truth in the face of nature when they don’t have to worry about where their next scientific meal is going to come from. You simply can’t get a grant these days if you can’t show how you are ‘making the world a better place’.

  16. Gotta say, Judith –

    It’s rather noteworthy that you would read Dan’s stuff, and then say the following:

    I wish he would apply his methods to understanding people who believe the scientific consensus on climate change (both scientists and the public).

    He does apply his methods to those people. What could explain why you don’t know that?

    Fascinating.

    • What could possibly explain why you imagine he does apply his methods as Judith asks?
      Fascinating.

      • Because I read what he posts on his blog.

      • As predicted, you can supply no evidence at all for your assertion. We can but conclude there is none.

      • johnfpittman

        Actually he did Punksta provide evidence.

        “”It’s rather noteworthy that you would read Dan’s stuff.”” From this article, it appears that Dr. Curry does not understand what the two camps about CC or vaccinations have to do with Kahan, because she missed on his definitions.

        Dr. Kahan believes that IPCC or close there to is real science. From that perspective it is not natural versus human induced, but how do we convince persons of the science. Not propaganda, but getting persons to overcome bias for rationality. Note that this bias affects both sides.

        One really needs to read abit of his blog to understand what he is doing. In that Joshua not only provided the data, it was good advice for understanding. Your conclusion is based on faulty assumptions or recognition.

        http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/ Dr. Curry has posted it before.

      • Your conclusion is based on faulty assumptions or recognition.

        Welcome to Climate Etc.

  17. Why am I in moderation again?

  18. How many times have we heard it said that, “97% of scientists believe that gravity is what causes loose apples to fall to the ground?”

    The idea that an appeal to authority is sufficient to prove the existence of gravity is as crazy as the idea that an appeal to authority is sufficient to prove the existence of dangerous man-made climate change. And repeating it over and over and over is no different than a child saying, “Mommy please … please … please.”

    • “mommy…please…”

      Except that depending on the mother, it’s often quite effective. Someone upstream opined that the consensus argument works: i couldn’t agree more. Sure, the consensus is sometimes shown to be wrong, even frequently, but it’s one helluva convincing starting point for a layman to hear and believe that 97 percent of scientists, blah, blah….

      Skeptics do themselves no favors when they tacitly compare themselves to Galileo.

      (aka pokerguy)

    • And how much did we hear that gravity is a dangerous problem and we must prevent it by destroying apples.

    • @rovingbroker: The idea that an appeal to authority is sufficient to prove the existence of gravity is as crazy as

      Substitute black holes for gravity and you’ve got what’s happening today.

      Einstein rejected black holes as being crazy. Then in 1939 Oppenheimer defended them. But just then WW2 broke out and Oppenheimer’s paper was forgotten. In the 1950s black holes were just unwanted singularities resulting from an overly naive theory. But then pulsars and quasars and so on were discovered, and black holes were found at centers of galaxies, and scientists came to accept black holes.

      But then Hawking persuaded the scientific community that black holes could leak via quantum tunneling, just like a tunnel diode, and hence were really gray rather than black.

      So what’s crazy here? The existence of black holes, their non-existence, their revived existence, their actual grayness, or what?

      And where does “consensus” enter into all this?

      If the scientific consensus is that black holes exist, but the actual truth is that they don’t, as Einstein claimed, then what is the status of a book that tells the actual truth about black holes?

      It is surely true, right? But who besides its author, along with his devoted followers who can’t imagine any alternative and Einstein who’s been dead for half a century, knows this?

    • Incidentally I left out that, on the basis of his theory of gravity, Newton predicted black holes, characterized at the time as invisible objects. The possibility of invisible objects was taken as absurd and hence proof that Newton’s theory was ridiculous.

      Theories that we accept today as obvious weren’t always so. As a sage once wrote, “The self-evident is merely a hypothesis that is so convenient, and that has been assumed for so long, that we can no longer imagine it false.”

  19. David L. Hagen

    The waste of diverted resources
    Kahan’s key observation:
    “Consensus” messaging diverts resources from alternative approaches that have a much better prospect for success
    “Mitigation” is the greatest waste of resources ever imagined, even if human’s were causing most of global warming – (for which there is little concrete evidence). Mitigation is far more expensive than the costs of warming or of adaptation as so eloquently described by Christopher Lord Monckton in his Keynote speech June 12th.
    Strategically we need plan how to ADD global warming to prevent us descending into the next glaciation and ice age.
    Our immediate task is NOT how to divert most of our resources for negligible temperature change
    BUT to provide transport fuels to replace depleting oil.

  20. Judith, I read the “reader’s digest” version of your article. It’s very well written, and I agree. But your admirable decision to take the high ground and write about this problem in the abstract, as though it were fundamentally a philosophical issue, does not strike me as the most effective way of getting the message across to those who most need to hear it. I fear most people reading even your digested version will tune out after the first two paragraphs, because the reasoning is too abstract and the argument overly academic. That’s how it strikes me, at least.

    As I see it, the most effective point to make is not that there is a problem with “consensus science” in principle, but that the consensus claim in itself is inaccurate and in fact dishonest. As I put it very bluntly in my book, The Unsettled Science of Climate Change,

    “the so-called “97% consensus” is an outright sham. Outside the realm of Stalin era election results, I defy anyone to come up with a consensus even close to 97% on any topic whatever, even in the most clearly established realms. And if you doubt my word, I invite you to skip directly to the last segment of Chapter Eight, where this extremely misleading claim is thoroughly debunked.”

    Indeed, if you happen to have the book, and skip to that last segment of Chapter Eight, you will learn precisely what is wrong with the “97% consensus” claim and how dishonest it is. I see no point in arguing this issue in the abstract when in fact there is really no issue to argue. The consensus claim is clearly false and that’s all one really needs to demonstrate. By taking it seriously, you confer a status it doesn’t deserve.

  21. Consensus science has several problems.

    First – consensus science often wrong. Eugenics was wrong. Blaming fats for making people fat, was wrong. It’s too many sugars and complex carbs. Newton was wrong – enter relativity.

    Second – Americans think for themselves. They do not respond well to arguments that amount to “because I say so.”

    Third – Americans believe in Freedom of Speech. Tell an American to sit down and shut up and you will insult them, and you will lose them. Immediately. This is what Obama does every time he says “The science is settled.” He’s telling people to “sit down and shut up.” This is not how you treat people. Especially when the evidence is so shaky. Which brings us to my last point.

    Last – people want solid evidence of something when their precious tax money is spent. People don’t believe models that don’t agree with data. People don’t want to see bad crony deals like Solyndra, and deals that produce nothing for the consumer like failed solar and wind projects, but that generate lots of money for political pals. Use “consensus science” as a transparent means of shuffling billions of dollars to to political contributors and you’re likely to be seen as not spending their hard earned tax money in the best interests of the people.

    • Consensus science has several problems

      Yesss!!! So does democracy.

      1, consensus science often wrong.

      Yesss!!! So is democracy.

      2. Americans think for themselves.

      We wish. :( Clearly you are special.

      3. [Obama] is telling people to “sit down and shut up.”

      You have vital information our secret society is lacking. Please forward it to us.

      4. deals that produce nothing for the consumer like failed solar and wind projects

      Our society is on the same wavelength as you. In 1908 we protested that aviation was a failed project. Your are no less justified in your position today than we were back then.

      Congratulations, you’ve made it to the second level of the process for joining our secret society RLF, Reactionary Libertarians for Freedom. You are hereby encouraged to apply for the next level.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        I wonder if you could give me an example of democracy? Not the U.S. system of government, nor any of the Western supposed democracies, I suggest.

        You seem to be conflating “consensus science” with “democracy”. You are right in one sense, consensus science is to science what US democracy is to democracy.

        Typically Warmist distraction. Comparing one style of ill defined rubbish with another. Science by consensus makes about as much sense as science by committee. Warm and fuzzy nonsense, put about by second raters, who are gullible and easily lead.

        Ulcers caused by spicy food, anyone? Immovable continents or indivisible atoms? How about warming the Earth by surrounding it with an atmosphere? Bah, humbug!

        The Earth has refused to warm for four and a half billion years, consensus on whether it should, or no. Maybe upping the CO2 and H2O levels could make the place a bit greener. Burning vast amounts of fossil fuel might help to achieve this benefit. Or don’t you think so? Do you really prefer cold and thirst?

        Do let me know.

      • Vaughan

        Try to be honest and not misleading in your points.

        There is no consensus that additional CO2 is or will lead to a worsening of climatic conditions. There is no consensus that CO2 mitigation actions will lead to any improvement in the weather.

        You attempting to claim a consensus does not make it true

      • > Try to be honest and not misleading in your points.

        If Vaughan could stop beating his wife, that would be nice too.

        To repeat the points:

        1. There’s no such thing as “consensus science” — that’s just another contrarian strawman, like CAGW.

        2. That you can be wrong is the hallmark of empirical sciences. Rejecting something because it can be true not affect contrarian armchair theorists, but would change empirical sciences forever.

        3. Americans are not all individualists. Individualists who are not hierarchical are not all right-wing freaks. Americans are conformist, like everyone else on the planet.

        4. That Americans have the right to say stupid things does not imply they should.

      • > Rejecting something because it can be true

        Rejecting something because it can be false, that is.

        Rejecting something because it can be true is the contrarian way to deal with inconvenient results.

        Go Denizens!

      • Willard

        Try writing something meaningful. Vaughan claimed a consensus where it does not exist and tried to claim it was meaningful

      • > Vaughan claimed a consensus

        Where, Rob?

      • Pooh, Dixie

        “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”
        Winston Churchill

  22. I think I prefer an old-style ranting climate mullah to a slip-it-in slickster like Kahan. He should stick to glorified push-polling.

    Good try, warmie.

  23. Judith writes:

    all of this science of science communication strategy for climate messaging runs dangerously close to propaganda techniques.

    I cannot disagree. Perhaps one should give some credit to Kahan for his (IMHO) far too belated acknowledgement that “97% agree” is a “slogan” – ergo, not science – contra that which he had previously appeared to claim. See my: Response to Dan – the “best available evidence” man – Kahan.

    Nonetheless, Kahan’s (IMHO) knee-jerk repetition of the “best available current evidence” mantra strikes me as being a somewhat baroque repetition of his very own un-informed “best available evidence” claim of almost two years ago. [See above Response to Dan …].

    Why is it that some people are just such sloooooow learners, eh?!

    • Wow. Followed that link and a few more down the line to a thread on WUWT from 2013 that I had missed at the time. I didn’t know Willis had caught him sock puppeting his own blog to troll skeptics.

      • This is beautiful:

        ==> “I didn’t know Willis had caught him sock puppeting his own blog to troll skeptics.

        I’m not sure that there is better evidence of what comprises “skepticism.”

      • And Joshua is of course the perfect example of a climate faithful, willing to give pardon to anyone on his ‘side’ for any act they might committe. Hide the decline? Destroy evidence? Forge opponent memos? Make ‘humorous’ videos about blowing up children who don’t agree with you? Make fun of and insult visitors to your blog for not knowing you post there using two completely different handles? All is forgiven to those that carry the sword of climate jihad.

        And when called on it what will be Joshua’s defense? Probably demand I define some common word or try to change the subject.

        Because at the end of the day Joshua knows just as well as the rest of us that when confronted with a Skeptic that was confused by his bizarre posting habits, this self declared expert in communication chose to mock rather then enlighten.

      • johnfpittman

        You need only read the whole link to realize that Willis did not understand that Kahan was using 2 accounts. Regulars knew this. But Willis went flaming without asking. He and Kahan disagreed, but it is his blog.

  24. It is exactly that social meaning that must be removed from the climate change question before people can answer it with what they know: that their well-being and the well-being of others they actually care about requires doing sensible things with the best available current evidence.

    It isn’t the social meaning that needs removed, it actual science, not cheerleading science that needs to be added.

  25. Judith: Your point that Kahan should look at why people believe in the consensus is well-taken and deserves to be highlighted. It ties in with my view that Lewandowsky and Kahan (along with numerous social scientists) both commit the same epistemological error by focusing on the wrong unit of analysis. They fail to detail why it is that person A believes Y. Instead they seem to focus on variables that support a particular worldview – which is ironic because that is what they generally are trying to prove.

    • johnfpittman

      Bernie, if you read his blog, you will find several discussions of this. That Kahan accepts the mainstream IPCC version does not make him wrong or unscientific. Does not make him “right” either. the range of IPCC just on ECS is quite large.

    • @bernie: Judith: Your point that Kahan should look at why people believe in the consensus is well-taken and deserves to be highlight

      Ok. So should people believe in the consensus of the skeptics or the warmists?

      Are you offering a basis for choosing?

  26. Re: Against ‘consensus’ messaging, 5/17/2015

    You see, there are really two “climate changes” in America.. … believers v. disbelievers … left v. right …

    Kahan gets it partly right – there are indeed two climate changes. … human caused climate change, and then there is natural climate variability.

    Stepping back to see the bigger picture, the cause of this duality comes into plain view. Two sciences are in play, and it is far from a US phenomenon. First is the science where models are required to work, i.e., to predict something significant. Second is where models instead have to be supported by peer-review, publication (in approved journals), and consensus. The public, not being steeped in academic science, has an instinct for the first, and intuitively rejects the second, notwithstanding the noise of protests, accusations, and claims. Scientists in industry work with the first, and shun the second. It’s vice versa for academics. The first is strictly objective: models map facts onto facts using causation. It has zero tolerance for anything subjective. By contrast, the three criteria of the second are what Karl Popper called intersubjectivity tests, and are strictly subjective. At this top-most, defining level, the two forms of science are mutually exclusive.

    Popper is the creator of the second, and in philosophical terms, it is a deconstruction of the first. The first is called Modern Science, and the second is known variously as Post Modern Science, postmodern science, or postnormal science.

    The bigger problem is epistemological. It trumps climate, and needs to be handled first.

    • “Popper is the creator of the second, and in philosophical terms, it is a deconstruction of the first. The first is called Modern Science, and the second is known variously as Post Modern Science, postmodern science, or postnormal science.”

      wrong

      • Can you be specific?

      • Re: Steven Mosher @ 12:07 pm; Willard @ 12:25 pm.

        The justification for my claims about Popper and Post Modern Science, brief but complete with recent US Supreme Court authority and categorical citations to Popper, is on Climate Etc. here continued here.

        Any rational rebuttals?

      • Re: Steven Mosher @ 12:07 pm; Willard @ 12:25 pm.

        Links don’t work, of course, and there is no preview function here. See if these work:

        https://judithcurry.com/2015/01/22/nonsensus-about-the-senates-non-consensus-on-climate-change/ – comment-667321 and 667842.

      • 404 and 404, Jeff.

        Why would I waste my time refuting something that has not been substantiated, say by quoting Popper himself? Start here if you need other pointers:

        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/popper/

        ***

        But since you ask, the post-normal stuff alludes to the Kuhnian framework:

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

        It has very little to do with Popper.

      • wrong

        I’m sympathetic to your busy schedule, and needing to be pithy. So I’ve taken the initiative to write out a couple of responses that you can save and use as needed:

        You’re a mutton head, read the blog harder.

        You’re a mutton head, read the linked paper/article harder.

        You’re a mutton head, BEST has posted that years ago, you need to read harder

        You’re a mutton head, BEST doesn’t do any such thing, go read our doc’s harder

        You’re a mutton head, you can’t average temperatures

        You’re a mutton head, you can’t just average surface station data

        You’re a mutton head, Satellites don’t measure temperature.

        You’re a mutton head, all measurements are estimates.

        To everyone else, in case referring to this guide is still to time consuming, you can treat it as a Moshism translation guide.

        :)

      • Jeff you don’t know every much about PNS.
        I had a wonderful week of discussions with Ravetz in Lisbon a while back
        discussing the common misconceptions folks have.

        Let me suggest that you read some fundamental texts.
        Then write the author.
        Then bounce your ideas of people who have studied this.
        Then after you’ve done your homework.
        Pause.
        read some more.
        Then write.

      • Jeff the links works fine and demonstrate why you are wrong.
        thanks.

      • Steven Mosher: I had a wonderful week of discussions with Ravetz in Lisbon a while back
        discussing the common misconceptions folks have.

        PNS is the sort of junk that sounds good in conversation, but falls apart when written and analyzed. The terms of reference are so poorly defined that you can’t tell from reading whether it says anything in particular about anything in particular.

      • mathew

        “PNS is the sort of junk that sounds good in conversation, but falls apart when written and analyzed. The terms of reference are so poorly defined that you can’t tell from reading whether it says anything in particular about anything in particular.”

        without looking at any links. without reading anything outside this page.

        please describe in a couple paragraphs what PNS is and cite an example.

        Then demonstrate that the terms of reference are poorly defined.
        include and example of good terms of reference as an example of how to do things.

      • Steven Mosher: without looking at any links. without reading anything outside this page.

        please describe in a couple paragraphs what PNS is and cite an example.

        Why without reading anything outside this page or looking at any links? We have had plenty of discussions of PNS before.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Why without reading anything outside this page or looking at any links? We have had plenty of discussions of PNS before.”

        Because I doubt that you have a command of the material.
        IF you did you would simply answer.

        When you have a command of material, when you understand the arguments, you really dont need reference to the source material because the argument exists indpendent of who said it.

        That is why references to “what popper said ” or similar attempts to inject
        philosophical authority into these debates is pathetic.

        So.. quickly son.. write that paragraph..

      • When you have a command of material, when you understand the arguments, you really dont need reference to the source material because the argument exists indpendent of who said it

        That is exactly what turns me off to so many warmie commenters. “Tamino has shown that that is BS.” or whatever. All the while never explaining how or why, nor does the response take the current context of the conversation into account. In my experience arguments on the side of warmies amount to “Reject first, ask rhetorical questions later.”

        I don’t know anything about “Post Normal Science” but I do know that pretending that model runs are on a par with observations in terms of experimental science, when the models seem to have very little skill, is some kind of BS.

        Sure, models of systems where the physical laws involved and all the aspects of the system are very well known can produce surprising and valid scientific results. I am thinking of the time that a mathematical model found a new property of mirrors, for one example. GCMs do not qualify.

      • > Reject first, ask rhetorical questions later.

        For instance:

        PNS is the sort of junk that sounds good in conversation, but falls apart when written and analyzed.

        followed by

        Why without reading anything outside this page or looking at any links?

      • PNS primer, from the article:

        We can understand ‘Post-Normal Science’ by means of a diagram, where the axes are ‘systems uncertainties’ and ‘decision stakes’. When both are low, we have ‘applied science’, the routine puzzle-solving like the ‘normal science’ described by Thomas Samuel Kuhn in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. When either is medium, we have ‘professional consultancy’ for which the examples are the surgeon or the senior engineer. Although their work is based on science, they must always cope with uncertainties, and their mistakes can be costly or lethal. It had once been believed that environmental and general policy problems could be managed at this level, but the great issues of global warming and diverse forms of pollution show that framing and implementing policies must frequently be done before all the facts are in. Thus many problems occur in the high-stakes, high-uncertainty region of the diagram, a condition referred to as ‘post-normal.’

        But wait. Weren’t we told that Global Warming was established scientific fact? That the world’s experts agreed on its existence? If so how can Global Warming be in the “high-stakes, high-uncertainty region” where post-normal and not normal science rules? In this special Twilight Zone where all the rules are suspended? The only way it can inhabit this region is if there is a high degree of uncertainty associated with it; in other words if “Global Warming” were only a theory and very iffy one at that.

        What is is this “extended peer community” and what is an “extended fact”? Is it extended like saltwater taffy or extended as in hamburger helper? Like the “values” which drive policy, who chooses these extended peers? What are their qualifications? Can anybody be a peer? All in all, the notion of “post-normal science” seems like a complete contradiction in terms or a perversion of the standard definition of science as commonly understood. It appears to be an elaborate and dishonest attempt to pass off the preferences of a single group as some kind of pseudo-science. There’s a much simpler term for this dishonest phrase: politics. Post-normal science is nothing but a cheap and lying term for a political diktat; for the rule of the self-appointed over everyone else. Whatever truth “Global Warming” may contain it has surely been damaged by its association with this disreputable and vile concept which brazenly casts aside the need for any factual basis and declares in the most unambiguous terms that whatever values it chooses to promote constitutes a truth unimpeachable by reality and a set of values that none dare challenge. Until “post-normal science” is repudiated as a method of proving “global warming” then both must share the same reputation.

        http://www.principia-scientific.org/what-is-post-normal-science.html

      • http://www.jerryravetz.co.uk/work.html

        With Silvio Funtowicz, I have developed a notational system, ‘NUSAP’, for the representation of uncertainty in quantitative information; and we have also developed the concept of ‘Post-Normal Science’, a mode of scientific problem-solving appropriate to policy issues where facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent.

        The focus of my endeavours is science. This is partly an accident, in that I never had the opportunity to cultivate my skills and sensitivities in other academic directions or cultural forms. But from my earliest years I combined my concerns for science with an awareness and commitment to politics, which on various occasions was realised as activism, but for most of the time in reflection.

        As I became aware of science as an intellectual and social phenomenon, I was impressed by certain similarities to what I had been told about dogmatic religion. In that other case, truth was proclaimed as an exclusive possession by each established authority, in spite of the evidence of permanent and re-occurring splits and debates within each group. Also, religion claimed exclusive access to the good in personal and social life, in spite of the historic evidence of great evils perpetrated in the name of God. But I discovered that in science, teaching was (and mainly still is) dogmatic, and individual initiative is stifled up to the very highest levels of learning. Also, the progress of science reminds us that yesterday’s examination truths are today’s outmoded opinions. And while science has, through its applications, been responsible for great benefits, during my lifetime, starting with The Bomb and then environmental degradation, the applications of science have been shown to be double-edged.

        This is reasonable.

        I was far from alone in sensing such contradictions; but I was unusual in my approach to their resolution. I combined a variety of elements of my own experience, among them: the craft character of scholarly work; the possibility of science (including published research) of having all degrees of quality down to the vacuous; the very exceptional character, in world cultural history, of our reductionist scientific metaphysics; the narrow-mindedness of many teachers and researchers; the deployment of science in an amoral or immoral way; and my own political campaigning on science-related issues (first nuclear weapons, and then the supersonic transport Concorde). Also, in my philosophical formation I had developed an instinctive sense both for history and for dialectics; and this is the way that I have always tried to explain things.

        Starts off okay, but head into activism. But am I not using my work with surface data (and decades of experience in data and simulation technology) to influence the course of action taken as well?

        I returned to systematic philosophical study when I met Silvio Funtowicz in 1981, and we embarked on a project that combined practical application with a fundamental analysis of mathematics. This culminated in our joint book “Uncertainty and Quality in Science for Policy”. There we developed a notational scheme which encompasses the different sorts of uncertainties, social determinations and implicit value-loadings in quantitative expressions. Of course, a statement like the above might seem outlandish to many readers, who have never had occasion to question the faith that numbers are not merely necessary for scientific truth, but also sufficient. Silvio and I share the conviction that so long as people are deluded about the information conveyed in numbers, there can never be an effective management of the the scientific and practical problems where uncertainty and value-loading are significant. We are pleased that, largely through the inspired efforts of Jeroen van der Sluijs, a system of quality-assurance for scientific information has recently been adopted by the Dutch Environment Agency.

        As we were developing our ‘NUSAP’ notational system in the 1980’s, a more general critique of scientific practice began to emerge. For in the major science-related problems of our day, the traditional faith in the essential objectivity and value-neutrality of science has become a mockery. Wherever we turn, be it in global climate change, new-variant CJD, weakening of male sperm in many species, or the rising incidence of asthma, we find serious, perhaps very threatening problems, for which science provides no easy answers. The situation might be summed up in two epigrams. One, from Robert Sinsheimer, is that formerly we asked what science is doing for us, while now we ask what science is doing to us. The other, from myself and Silvio, is that formerly science was considered as having ‘hard facts’ in contrast to the soft, subjective humanities, while now we confront hard policy issues for which the scientific inputs are frequently irremediably soft.

        Out of such insights we developed the scheme of Post-Normal Science, with its characteristic quadrant-rainbow diagram. This has been developing and maturing for nearly two decades; the community of adherents is still small but is growing satisfactorily. We find that for many people it functions as an illumination and a liberation. It shows scientists that their private concerns, however different from the official public discourse of their field, are quite real and valid. And non-scientists are given confidence to join in the debate on matters which until recently had been the exclusive domain of accredited experts. The basis we chose for Post-Normal Science is in methodology. We argue that the quality-assurance of scientific inputs into policy processes requires an ‘extended peer community’, including all the stakeholders in an issue. This new peer community can also deploy ‘extended facts’, including local and personal experience, as well as investigative journalism and leaked sources.

        While I’m not a “scientist”, I’m highly regarded by my professional peers in directly applicable fields (data and simulators), and many of my peers would probably identify me as a “scientist”, many of them in fact have in conversation. I think this makes me more qualified than say someone who just adopts a position, and then just repeats talking points, I suspect Mosh would disagree.

        So Post-Normal Science is inevitably political, and involves a new extension of legitimacy and power; but we felt it appropriate to launch it on this philosophical foundation.

        Here’s my first impression
        “A thinly veiled attempt to evoke (sometimes society altering) change, without evidence by a group of self appointed “experts”, who can’t get the change done based on scientific evidence.”
        I wrote this prior to reading Dr Ravetz web page, If PNS wasn’t so soft on evidence, or didn’t want to allow “the general public” to weigh in on society changing topics. Should we allow children in the third world to go blind because celebrity activists don’t like GMO foods and prevents Golden Rice from being made available to them? Or Darryl Hannah protesting fossil fuels, where she doesn’t have to worry about high energy costs, but forcing millions of other into energy poverty? Or Leo DiCaprio flying all over the world in his private jet to lecture world leaders on how we should replace oil for windmills and solar panels, even though they are high cost, and not very reliable, no better example is Germany, who’s now building coal power plants because wind and solar isn’t working. Leo has the money to not care about the costs, but does he have the background, me I’ve been involved in the manufacturing, design and management of high tech products since 1976, I think my opinion is far more valuable than Leo’s, but does PNS give us each the same weight?

        That’s the question I’m left with, PNS breaks the wall between scientists and non-scientist, but does it also give an equal voice to the clueless?

      • Yes, what jim2 says. Either 97% of scientist agree, in which case its just applied science or 97% of scientists dont have a clue, in which case marx….er sorry, PNS applies.

      • jim2

        Stupid questions. try again.

      • Raising insipidity to a whole new level.

      • Oreskes does exactly the same two sided game. She claims one cannot know anything about reality and then turns around to claim consensus as a way of knowing something.
        I had a weird affliction in college where I was excellent at logic, math, language and history but absolutely couldn’t process humanities theory. I thought I had autism of some kind but I now realize I was being fed such irrational lies that my brain literally rejected it. Pseudo logic, designed to sell an ideology. Wow.

      • Steven Mosher,

        Stupid, dumb comment, try again

      • From the article:

        For Ravetz, science in the post-normal condition is no longer about establishing truth, as this is impossible due to ‘irreducible uncertainties.’ In the post-normal condition these ‘high level uncertainties‘ sometimes approach ‘shear ignorance.‘ And yet, in this new method, positive claims can still be made. The quality of this science can be assured by involving what he calls ‘the extended peer community‘, which includes all stakeholders and interest groups. And the involvement of this community in the science is not limited to the normal-science process of peer review. They participate in the very problem-solving strategies of the science, and in the scientific decision-making. This ‘democratisation of science‘ is also a politicisation such that political interactions are used to generate the knowledge and to develop the decisive conclusions upon which government policy can subsequently be based.

        Some of the dangers that our blogger SFT sees in this methodology are that it could easily be interpreted as encouraging or legitimizing such corruptions as: science practiced as activism; activist groups (such as Greenpeace and WWF) injecting advocacy into the scientific process; and the use of unscientific sources to establish scientific conclusions. Here is how Funtowicz and Ravetz, themselves, explain it in one of their landmark publication, Science for the post-normal age (1993):

        https://enthusiasmscepticismscience.wordpress.com/2010/02/28/post-normal-science-and-the-corruption-of-climate-science/

      • Steven Mosher

        Peter

        Doesn’t get much more silly than this “But wait. Weren’t we told that Global Warming was established scientific fact?”

      • Steven Mosher: So.. quickly son.. write that paragraph..

        I noticed that you did not dispute what I wrote.

        When you have a command of material, when you understand the arguments, you really dont need reference to the source material because the argument exists indpendent of who said it.

        Exactly so. That’s why my comment was sufficient as I wrote it. You would want me to start with well-defined concepts like “operational definition” and “hypothetico-deductive method”, and Piaget’s stages of cognitive development; contrast them with poorly defined concepts like Freud’s “Oedipal stage” of psychosexual “development”; and then show with examples that nothing in PNS is more like the former than the latter? Notice that, as Kuhn wrote them, “paradigm” and “normal science” are more like “Oedipal stage” than like “operational definition”, so PNS starts already ill-defined as “after” “normal” science.

        Would you care to nominate a clear and unambiguous example of PNS, based perhaps on your discussions of what the many misinterpretations are?

      • Don Monfort

        I don’t think I have seen a more useless or duller discussion than this little sub-thread about Popper or whatever, for the thousandth time. Who is this guy?

        “I had a wonderful week of discussions with Ravetz in Lisbon a while back discussing the common misconceptions folks have.”

        OMG! Just spending a week in Lisbon is bad enough.

      • “As many saw it, the inherited philosophy of science as Truth could no longer be sustained. Indeed, once Einstein had (in the general interpretation) shown that Newton was wrong about space, no scientific statement could be assumed to be free of error.”

        Balderdash. Einstein showed there is small correction to Newtonian theory in extreme cases. He did not show that Newtonian physics was invalid.
        PNS and Oreskes, others I am sure, take the concept of reality become more complex than our senses and instruments and blow it totally out of proportion, stating everything is possible. Not so.

        PNS is not science. It is just yet another attempt to skirt around the Enlightenment and drag philosophy into science, not the other way around.

      • David Springer

        @Mosher. Go back to school. Science this time not english. Study harder. Post normal science is pop philosophy that productive scientists and engineers eschew. Of course that means you would embrace it. Your talents are better suited for writing pop-sci for a rag like Discover Magazine. Maybe get David Appell for a mentor. Right now you make him look good.

      • David Springer

        @Mosher. Go back to school. Science this time not english. Study harder. Post normal science is pop philosophy that productive scientists and engineers eschew. Of course that means you would embrace it. Your talents are better suited for writing pop-sci for a rag like Discover Magazine. Maybe get David Appe11 for a mentor. Right now you make him look good.

      • David Springer

        Don Monfort | June 18, 2015 at 2:26 am |

        “OMG! Just spending a week in Lisbon is bad enough.”

        It’s not that bad. All a matter of blood-alcohol level. After about 0.10% I’m ready to discuss anything anywhere. Judging by his output here Mosher is seldom below that mark.

      • PNS
        “creates a bridge between modern physics and the realm of subtle energies…it opens the way to an expansion of our scientific conceptions to include those other energies that are increasingly important for our comprehension of the world around us.”

        https://buythetruth.wordpress.com/2009/10/31/climate-change-and-the-death-of-science/

        Just say no.

      • Steven Mosher

        Matthew

        You are so far off it’s kind silly to to on.

        Springer as well.

        Let Me make it easy for you.

        PNS is a DESCRIPTIVE term first and foremost.

        What does it describe? In it’s most general terms.. applied science under a deadline.

        That’s it.

        Start here
        https://judithcurry.com/2013/05/15/pasteurs-quadrant/#more-11619

        And consider

        “But there certainly is “Pasteur’s Quadrant,” for work that is directly influenced in its course both by the quest of fundamental understanding and the quest of applied use – the sort of quadrant that supplies a home for what Gerald Holton has called, “work that locates the center of research in an area of basic scientific ignorance that lies at the heart of a social problem.”

        I think the fundamental problem ravetz had ( and he admits it ) was using the term Post – Normal. The allusions to Kuhn’s work are most unfortunate. Rather, what Ravetz describes is a ‘situation’ that occurs
        within Pasteurs Quadrant.

        Consider the defining attributes of a PNS situation.

        1, Facts are uncertain.
        2. Values are in conflict
        3. The stakes are high
        4. Immediate action is required.

        Essentially ravetz is point at a subset of Pasteurs Quadrant. Those working in applied areas are often under time pressure to provide an answer. This is science under a deadline. In Bohr’s Quadrant there is no deadline. There is no deadline because there is no perceived use and hence no perception that an answer is needed imediately. You’ll also note that PNS situations always involve policy of some sorts: For example, deciding what to do about “ebola screening” people coming back from infected countries. “Post normal” was admittedly a bad moniker for the phenomena. But clearly these situations exist.
        in Pasteurs quadrant there is deep uncertainty. And there typically are clear uses in mind: somebody wants to use the science to do something.
        And this quandrant tends to focus on social problems and conflicts in values. The best description of PNS situations is simply applied science under deadline.

        It doesnt do any good to deny that these situations exist because they do.

      • Mosher is correct; post normal science is relevant only for applied/regulatory science.

      • Steven Mosher,

        What you describe is just a fancy way rationalizing doing what you want.

        We can justify action – because we just know it needs to be done (even though we don’t know really). Opposition be d*mned.

        Combine PNS with the Precautionary Principle and you can justify absolutely anything that serves your purpose. An activist’s dream.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Steven Mosher | June 19, 2015 at 1:14 am |

        Matthew

        You are so far off it’s kind silly to to on.

        Springer as well.

        Let Me make it easy for you.

        PNS is a DESCRIPTIVE term first and foremost.

        Mosh, you are correct that Post-Normal Science (PNS) is a descriptive term. Let me see if I can use a story to describe what I see as the problem with the description. Here’s the story:

        An acorn falls on Chicken Little’s head, and he squawks and runs.

        The animals are all kicking it inside the barn when Chicken Little comes running in all out of breath and says “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” As proof of his statement, he points to a lump on his head and says the sky fell on it. “We have to do something about this right now, or we’ll all be killed! I say we should all leave the farm at once and go somewhere that the sky is not falling.”

        So a couple of the animals stick their heads out of the barn door, and there’s no sky falling that they can see. But by the time that they get back to the others, Chicken Little has convinced half of the animals that any delay in leaving would be fatal.

        Of course, the more reasonable animals don’t want to totally leave everything they’ve ever known behind and venture out where anything might happen. So they argue with Chicken Little, saying they should study the question some more.

        But Chicken Little has painted such scary pictures that many animals argue that an immediate decision on leaving is required. Plus he has the proof, he’s got the mark of the falling sky right there on his head.

        At this point let me stop and quote what you said above regarding PNS:

        Consider the defining attributes of a PNS situation.

        1, Facts are uncertain.
        2. Values are in conflict
        3. The stakes are high
        4. Immediate action is required.

        Now, here’s my question. Given that the animals’ situation is so exactly described by your words and fits all four of your attributes as to facts and values and stakes and action, do the animals have a “PNS situation” that requires some new “Post-Normal Science” kind of philosophical approach to solve?

        … or do the animals merely have one batsh*t crazy chicken who is good at causing trouble, and the whole PNS analysis is just an attempt by Chicken Little to justify his chosen path of action?

        The problem that I have with the PNS definition is that it is infinitely elastic. Because of that it can easily be, in Kipling’s words,

        Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools.

        Anyone can claim that immediate action is required. The false urgency of those predicting various climate catastrophes in 10 years or 20 years is a perfect example. “We have only 5 years to solve this!” has been their rallying cry … for three decades now.

        So “PNS situation” can be stretched to describe a large percentage of what we usually just call “life”. At that point it’s not “Post-Normal”, it is what we’ve always had. When were the facts ever certain, or the stakes low?

        And most importantly, PNS is not a science in any normal sense of the word. That’s my main beef about it, it’s not a science, it has nothing to do with science, and Ravetz has admitted as much.

        w.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Action has been taken. A decision has been made to do nothing. It has been made several times.


      • curryja | June 19, 2015 at 5:11 am |

        Mosher is correct; post normal science is relevant only for applied/regulatory science.

        A real challenge in the regulatory arena is is doing good science free as possible of biases, in particular institutional and political influences. I chafe at the parsing that lead to the perception that such a special term as post normal science is needed. Decisions and policy are fundamental in the regulatory sphere–the bread and butter. The science is just one input where uncertainties important to decision-making arise. At the overarching decision level there are a myriad of ways to accommodate uncertainties–including those from science. There is no need to conflate the science with characteristics from a higher (meta-) level. Do that and the information flow and influence is in the wrong direction.

        Also, it is interesting and good that Dr. Curry uses the term regulatory science. To me it seems that one of the unfortunate aspects of the climate debate is people failing to distinguish between climate change as a science problem and climate change as a regulatory problem at anything other than a superficial level in prefacing remarks. A lot of useless back-and-forth on blogs results from not keeping the two perspectives straight.

      • Mosher: Consider the defining attributes of a PNS situation.

        1, Facts are uncertain.
        2. Values are in conflict
        3. The stakes are high
        4. Immediate action is required.

        With those “defining” characteristics, is it distinguishable from “insurance”, or “war”? Is it distinguishable from a Cargo Cult, or a town hall debate about the proper pricing of water and sewage? This is an example of a “definition” where the terms in the definition are not defined (e.g. “immediate”, “high”, “values”[note on this that Mosher has frequently declined to evaluate whether the effects of warming to date have been “good” or “bad”]). When Lisa Jackson testified about the dangers of CO2 by dipping chalk into vinegar, was that “post normal science”? When Steven Schneider advocated that each scientist to decide for himself or herself how much lying to include in public presentations of knowledge, was that “post normal science”? Was the construction of the atom bomb at Los Alamos an example of “post normal science”; was dropping such bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki an example (or two examples) of “post normal science”? How about the construction and deployment and regular upgrading of the GPS system, or America’s phalanx of nuclear power plants?

        Don’t characteristics 1 – 4 “characterize” everything?

      • mwgrant | June 19, 2015 at 10:54 am |

        Also, it is interesting and good that Dr. Curry uses the term regulatory science.

        It would be better to write regulatory context when a point is that science should be science in any context and without accommodation. In particular in the regulatory context where science is but a part of the puzzle.

      • Willis

        ‘Of course, the more reasonable animals don’t want to totally leave everything they’ve ever known behind and venture out where anything might happen. So they argue with Chicken Little, saying they should study the question some more.

        But Chicken Little has painted such scary pictures that many animals argue that an immediate decision on leaving is required. Plus he has the proof, he’s got the mark of the falling sky right there on his head.”

        Yes in applied science people often demand an immediate decison NOW.
        And other people demand more study Now.

        There is no point in denying that in applied science there are deadlines
        ‘real’ deadlines and false deadlines.

        There is no point in denying that while some demand immediate action on the science, other demand immediate appeals to the supreme court.

        In applied sciences there is always the possibility that some party may claim a need for immediate action.

        These situations exist. you might wish that they dont. But life is not burger king and you dont get things your way.

        You might think you can just order people to study more BUT applied science always take place in the context of power: you are not the power. you have no voice. When my boss says the regression must be done by 5pm.. He decides. When a politician funds science to find an answer.. he decides whether action is needed immediately..

        So we circle back to the pragmatic question> How does one do science
        under pressure. You cant wish the pressure away willis. you cant say “there should be no pressure” The question is how do you “do science” and do it under a deadline?. Guess what. The answer is not found in popper or kuhn or Willis..
        So, you can either live in the real world and make an intellegent suggestion as to how to do science better under unreasonable time pressure or you can rant that it cant be done.

        while you rant decisions are being made.

      • You might think you can just order people to study more BUT applied science always take place in the context of power: you are not the power. you have no voice.

        In the early 2000’s when Hansen was out giving speeches on the evils of Co2 and fossil fuels, while at the same time complaining the Administration was trying to silence him, who was pressuring him?

      • How does one do science under pressure.

        Well, the IMO one good first step would be to look at the pressure, and the politics. For example, for “global warming”, most of the yelling about urgency has referenced the “fact” that fossil carbon, once put into the atmosphere, will take many centuries to go away. So if we don’t start “drastic” measures immediately, the future “will be horrible”. (Or may be.)

        So go after the urgency: why should we assume that if mankind put extra CO2 into the atmosphere, mankind can’t take it out again? This turns it into an economic problem with a much longer time-scale. An immediate solution that leads to robust carbon-capture technology solves the urgency problem, allowing time for more “normal” science.

        And the politics? Let me quote the inimitable Steven Mosher:

        Direct air capture is several hundred dollars per ton. Get that below 100 per ton, and game changed instantly. Lastly, Suggest carbon capture and folks who dont dare cross the thin greenline will flip out. That signals something about their real agenda. Its not about carbon.

      • Mosher: You cant wish the pressure away willis. you cant say “there should be no pressure”

        He did not do so. He wrote that the “definition” of PNS does not distinguish between PNS and anything else. As to time pressure in the CO2-Climate debate, the existence of “time pressure” is asserted by the advocates of reducing CO2, but the scientific support for the claim that urgency is required is “slim to none”. Is it “definitional” of PNS that “urgency” is asserted by a small vocal lobby? If the majority are unpersuaded that there is “urgency” (as seems to be the case with CO2 reduction), does that mean that the case is not a situation of PNS?

        Is the case of Chicken Little a situation of PNS?

      • Steven Mosher

        AK

        “Well, the IMO one good first step would be to look at the pressure, and the politics. ”

        1. That move is not always allowed.
        2. As an example see my post on deadlines (here at Judiths)
        Where Anthony Watts and Steve McIntyre both fell prey to
        a deadline to get things done.
        Now of course you can resist the pressure but it can take you out of the game. Anyone who works in an applied area knows this. The job must be done by date X. you can walk away from that, But that is just surrender.

        Next: your next part is better:
        Note that to fight against the urgency or to tamp it down the best strategy is to work from WITHIN the science. So you might focus on residency time, you might fight on emissions projections, you might fight on discount rates, you might fight on sensitivity.

        You write

        “For example, for “global warming”, most of the yelling about urgency has referenced the “fact” that fossil carbon, once put into the atmosphere, will take many centuries to go away. So if we don’t start “drastic” measures immediately, the future “will be horrible”. (Or may be.)

        So go after the urgency: why should we assume that if mankind put extra CO2 into the atmosphere, mankind can’t take it out again? This turns it into an economic problem with a much longer time-scale. An immediate solution that leads to robust carbon-capture technology solves the urgency problem, allowing time for more “normal” science.”

        Yes, so we argue for bridging solutions argue for no regrets actions..
        and that fight takes place on science grounds. AK is a pragmaticist.

    • I would say you are mostly right but I am also old enough to recall when academia was the purer of the two because everyone had enough baseline funding to do pure curiosity driven science whereas the ones in industry had to answer to a boss and so could do little that was curiosity driven. Today with the system the way it is, a lot of academics look at industrial scientists with envy. A young women scientist I met last winter told me she is facing 52% of her grant money being taken from her in university administrative overhead charges but the grant agencies she applies to don’t allow that so she has to “pad” her grants to cover the administration’s 52% and still have enough to do her science. We have created an entire generation of scientists who are skilled liars.

    • “Stepping back to see the bigger picture, the cause of this duality comes into plain view.”

      go play popper with your theory about the “causes” of the “duality”

      come back when you —-

      1. Understand Popper and why he is not an authority regardless of who cites him.
      2. Understand PNS.

      Here is another clue. start with ontology.

      • David Springer

        Steven Mosher | June 17, 2015 at 3:57 pm | Reply

        “Here is another clue. start with ontology.”

        I think, therefore I am.

        Now that we’ve completely covered ontology to all the degree it deserves in consideration of practical science and engineering, can we move along?

      • Springer writes:

        ‘I think, therefore I am.

        Now that we’ve completely covered ontology to all the degree it deserves in consideration of practical science and engineering, can we move along?”
        ###############################################
        This is starting with Epistemology , U dope.
        Descartes started the epistemological turn.. thats why we call it the……

        CARTESIAN TURN

    • Say, what made Copernicus ask why the dawn
      comes up down under?

      – Curiosity.

      And what made Newton seek answers regardin’
      the fixed stars?

      – Curiosity.

      ( H/t Lion in Wizard of Oz.)

      Fer post modernists, science ain’t guided by curiosity
      and the regulatory idea of truth, they view science serving
      or even seeking power. The rational skepticism of Popper,
      regarding science, that it ‘s theories need ter be testable
      and held provisionally, is not relativism. Fer Popper truth
      te real world phenomena is still the regulatory idea, we
      just can’t be too dogmatic that have it. Einstein shared
      this view re his Theory of Relativity even sought to falsify
      it himself. Shouldn’t confuse skepticism with relativism.

      Hey, ain’t Feyerband and Kuhn yer smokin’ gun
      relativists?

      Jest a serf.

  27. “No doubt part of the appeal of “consensus messaging” is how well suited it is as an idiom for expressing contempt.”

    The Climate Communication 97% Consensus as articulated by a paltry few has devolved into a mechanism of shame; shaming others into silence. It is working. From a moralistic high ground, those controlling the Consensus meme are preaching to the public at large to enforce a set of standards of behavior for scientists as well as prescribe rules on what to do and not do by policy makers.

    The Consensus Makers are the high priests of this global religion. Adherents, that is, strong adherents to CAGW are the foot soldiers in the conflict, galvanized by an ideology that appears larger than themselves, an ideology that gives meaning to their lives. These adherents are comfortable in their consensus surroundings to hurl insults at those who deviate. The messaging is to shame the non-adherents into confessing their sins of disbelief, atone for such denial by performing penance to be prescribed by these priests, so that one can be welcomed back into the loving arms of the multitude.

    The communication messaging has been clear for a very long time: in Climategate emails the threat by one adherent scientist of beating up a non-enthusiastic climate scientists; exploding children in a classroom; coal trains as boxcars on their way to death camps; Senators and Representatives alike advocating punitive action on perceived deniers of their particular brand of religion.

    Consensus Messaging has become the mechanism to shame, and, maybe encourage adherents to instigating something more drastic.

    The 100 Years War is a case study for what is happening currently in climate science messaging. Study the messaging of the various pontifical churches at the time. It is hardly difficult to not draw parallels. The outcomes are the only question, and, of course, the cost in public and human treasure.

  28. Willis Eschenbach

    Dan Kahan? That guy is a piece of work. I went to his website to comment once upon a time. Unknown to me, he had his own identity on the website, but he also ran a sock puppet identity on his own website that had me totally spun out for a while. He finally confessed that it was just him, screwing with my head.

    And now, the man whose idea of ethical communication is to hide behind a sock puppet on his own website just to screw with the visitors gets to parade his expertise in communication? Pathetic, but apparently good enough to fool our hostess …

    Sorry, Judith, but Dan Kahan is making the same mistake you are. You both seem to think that what is going on is a communications issue. It is not. It is a trust issue, because WE’VE BEEN LIED TO AND DECEIVED, like for example Dan Kahan lying to people and deceiving them with his sock puppet.

    Judith, I gotta say it—promoting and highlighting Dan Kahan’s ideas makes you part of the problem, not part of the solution. Kahan is a sneaky, lying, deceptive man. When you start publicizing the ideas of Kahan and Lewandowsky without noting in passing that they both have the morals of pond scum, you’re touching the tar-baby … and you are wildly deceiving the uninformed who do not know the back-story of either man.

    w.

    • trust is fundamental to communications. However, it’s not necessary.

      There is nothing wrong with Judith highlighting Dan.
      That’s your problem.
      Hell, she highlights the crazy stuff Anthony says.

      • davideisenstadt

        mosh:
        Does Anthony use a sick puppet on his own website?
        Can’t you distinguish between , or contrast, if you will, the two people?

    • “for example Dan Kahan lying to people and deceiving them with his sock puppet.”

      huh, only an idiot would have been fooled.
      second, that he fooled you in the comments says NOTHING about the data he collected and the methods he applied.
      It would be like discounting YOUR WORK because you post on a site that
      hosted Ball’s fake letter from karl.

      Its a form of ad hom.

      • davideisenstadt

        Mosh: i read your posts daily, because they remind me of what is wrong with the world.
        full of snark, contempt, pissy, replete with inexact wordsmithing, your posts are train wrecks that keep giving.
        You dont even have the integrity to explicitly say what you think of Willis, and now, you give us the argument of a coward.

      • > You dont even have the integrity to explicitly say what you think of Willis, and now, you give us the argument of a coward.

        Yet Willis is wrong about his sock puppet theory.

        The universe conspires to give ad homs a bad name.

        Badhominems.

      • ==> “huh, only an idiot would have been fooled.”

        Your argument is as bad as Willis’

        The issue isn’t whether Willis was confused. The issue is how is lack of due skeptical diligence led him to go from his confused to making ridiculous claims and attack Dan.

        The issue is why do smart and knowledgeable people put such crummy reasoning up on display, and then double down on it as Willis has continued to do.

        The issue is why do other “skeptics” dishonor true skepticism by supporting Willis’ foolishness? Is it merely that they took his arguments at face value (unskeptically)? Or did they actually look into it and were so biased by their confirmation bias that they couldn’t see how absurd Willis arguments were?

    • Dan Kahan? That guy is a piece of work.

      What does that have to do with the merits of his argument? Or in fact, with whether these ideas should or should not be discussed?

      • it has zero to do with his argument.

      • It has everything to do with it. Once you’ve caught the used car salesman lying about the car he’s trying to sell you, why would you trust him to sell you a good car.

      • I guess that is true if you are incapable of evaluating the car yourself. So you don’t evaluate ideas on their own? You wait to hear who said them first?

        BTW, I think his arguments are laughably wrong in ways that take too long to explain, but still I can figure that out by reading them. I don’t care who said them.

      • Well no, it’s especially true if you can evaluate the car (or argument) yourself. Let me try to make the example more clear.

        Suppose you head on over to ‘Honest’ Dan’s used car emporium to buy a car. Dan shows you one he say he’s practically giving away, and claims it runs great and gets good gas mileage. He even has the carfax for it printed up already that shows it was previously owned by a little old lady who used it once a week to drive to church. So, sounds good, let’s take it for a test drive.

        But once you get it on the road, you find the engine ticks, the transmission won’t sift into 4th gear, and you almost get rear ended because the brake lights only work half the time. Then, your curiosity aroused, you check the carfax yourself on your phone and find the car was owned by a little old lady from Pasadena and has been in more wrecks then Tony Stewart, info that somehow got left out of the printout you were given.

        Now, sure you could go back and let ‘Honest’ Dan try to sell you a different car, but why would you? Why give him another chance to try to slip something else by you that you might not catch this time? You already know he’s a crook, and your time is better spent checking out somebody else.

      • Steven Mosher

        “It has everything to do with it. Once you’ve caught the used car salesman lying about the car he’s trying to sell you, why would you trust him to sell you a good car.”

        Simple:

        Dan isnt selling cars.

        he is selling arguments. Test drive it. You dont have to buy it.

        here is an example

        schitzree? you there? good. I want to tell you something…
        I’m 100 feet tall. Really, trust me.

        Now: please consider my argument 2+2=4

        What say you? I clearly lied to you about being 100 feet tall.
        Will you reject my argument?

        Now, In a court of law attacking the character of a witness sometimes works. Out side of the law attacking someone’s character as a means to discredit their argument is a fallacy of sorts.

        dan may have been a jerk to Willis. Willis himself is a jerk at times.

        But if either tried to sell me a car, i’d test drive the damn car and not rely on their character.

        Dan has an argument: test drive it. tell us how it handles.
        or forget that dan made the argument. The argument exists outside of his personal details. At some point you have to deal with the argument because ANYBODY can remake his argument.. thats the cool thing about arguments.. they dont belong to people.

    • Williis Eschenbach: And now, the man whose idea of ethical communication is to hide behind a sock puppet on his own website just to screw with the visitors gets to parade his expertise in communication?

      That’s funny. But it only shows that the man is flawed, perhaps the dreaded “hypocrite”, but not that his ideas are not worth discussing.

    • Thanks for this perspective Willis. The Post set off my BS detector……..seems like for good reason based on your experience.

      • Just curious, Mark. Did you investigate Willis’ claims? Or just accept them at face value?

    • What a classic post from Willis.

      Because, unlike most folks who visit Dan’s site, Willis failed to realize that someone who signed his comments with “dmk38” was actually Dan Kahan…..he therefore determined, with complete certainty, that Dan was using a “sockpuppet” to confuse Willis until he “confessed.” Apparently Willis, in his brilliance, has figured out that it isn’t possible that Dan wasn’t intending to “fool” Willis, and to “con” Willis. I mean what better way for Dao to “fool” and “con” Willis than to use a “sockpuppet” with his own initials?

      Take a look at the thread to see if there is any such “confession” as Willis describes. One would think that Willis would practice as he preaches and quote the claims he is referencing.

      @Willis:

      Sorry for failing to introduce myself properly. I am dmk38. I operate the site and sometimes hop into the discussions. As you can see, I’m not so good at expressing myself. I am hoping another discussant who does — or thinks he or she does — understand what I was trying to say will reformulate my queries.

      Thanks, & carry on!

      August 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdmk38

      Please, don’t ever change, Willis.

    • Be aware that Dan had, for months, been posting under both his full name and under “dmk38,” with many commenters interacting with him with full recognition that in responding to the one they were responding to the same person who was using the other username.

      But yet, Willis, determined with complete certainty that Dan was using both usernames to “con” and “fool” him.

    • _As he explained at the time_, he was writing some of his answers from a different computer and as a result it ended up with a different name. The second name was recognizably his. Not a sock puppet, as was clear at the time. You are still going around saying this?

      • It had a number of people fooled. More importantly it was a confusion Dan actively promoted. Maybe he didn’t intend for it at the beginning but it sure looked like he was using that way in the end.

        Now Me, I don’t care for him because he come across as the same kind of condescending phony intellectual as Lew boy. He’s just a bit better at hiding his disdain for his inferiors. Read enough of his post though and the ugly truth peaks out, usually when he’s using his ‘not a sockpuppet’ dmk63 handle.

      • I don’t agree with Willis Escehnbach’s comment as a whole, but he is right to say Dan Kahan intentionally deceived him regarding his identity.

        I understand how people inadvertently wind up commenting under more than one name. It happens, and it can cause some confusion. It’s not a big deal though. It’s not something which means a person is intentionally lying or anything like that.

        But when a person who has commented under more than one name sees people are unaware of that fact and then intentionally encourages their confusion, they are intentionally being deceptive. That’s what Kahan did. He knew Eschenbach hadn’t realized the two second account belonged to him, and rather than clarify the situation, he intentionally encouraged Eschenbach’s ignorance by making deceptive remarks.

        I don’t think the issue is anywhere near as significant as Eschenbach makes it out to be, and I can think of people he happily tolerates/promotes who have behaved as bad or worse, but I definitely agree with Eschenbach when he says Kahan intentionally deceived him regarding the identity of his two accounts.

      • Steven Mosher

        ya Miker. It was obvious that it was the same name. Only a dope couldnt see that.

        also for it to be a sock puppet in the traditional sense of the word more is needed than merely two identities,

      • Don Monfort

        Was Willis a sock puppet when he deceived those U.S. Army psychiatrists? Is Branadoon a prancing parody of himself? Is Mosher longing for Lisbon? Shouldn’t we consider resurrecting that Polish Pope?

      • The hilarious thing is this.

        I read dmk38’s first response to Willis and reasoned.
        ‘this comment only makes sense if the writer is Dan”
        That is called using the principle of charity.. where we try to make SENSE of a text before we criticize it.

        Then I looked at the commenter name, clicked, read some other comments and concluded this comment makes sense if this is Dan’s admin name.

        Willis’ reaction was just the opposite.. he responded to criticize and
        contradict first.. ”

        read harder comment less.

        usually works

    • Check out this thread, only few days prior to when Willis accused Dan of using a “sockpuppet” to “fool” and “con” Willis:

      http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/2013/8/6/homework-assignment-whats-the-relationship-between-science-l.html

      You will see Dan interacting with commenters, posting both under “Dan Kahan” and “dmk38” with both he and his interlocutors moving back and forth between both usernames with no problem.

      Now let’s look at this again, this theory that very prominent “skeptics” who are highly respected by many “skeptics” for their analytical skills (Willis, Brandon, Mathew Marler) have put forth and/or accept.

      1. Dan posts under two usernames and interacts with people where he is using both names interchangably. One of those names, “dmk38” is based on the initials of his name.

      2. Dan exchanges comments with Willis in a later thread, using “dmk38”

      3. Willis concludes, with complete certainty, that Dan used “dmk38” to “fool” and “con” him – even though Dan has made it obvious that he uses both usernames in previous threads, and even though “dmk38” is hardly a “sockpuppet” someone named Dan Kahan would use to fool people.

      4. Willis comes onto this thread to repeat his insults, and incorrectly state that Dan “confessed” to “screw with [his] head.”

      5. Skeptics sign on to support Willlis’ laughable assertions and/or accept them at face value.

      A modicum of due skeptical diligence should make it clear that Willis’ claims are in error, and his personal attack against Dan unsupported.

      What does it mean that self-described “skeptics,” who put on themselves a mantle of scientific and analytical purity, display such unskeptical behavior?

      • I agree; this is like someone at CE getting thrown by a comment from curryja

      • It is entirely understandable that Willis might have been confused by Dan using two usernames (perhaps not quite as obvious as you using “curryja”), but his reaction – complete certainty that Dan was using “dmk38” to “fool’ or “con” him, and that it is evidence of Dan having poor character, are a text book case of unskeptical analysis.

      • Notice that further down in the thread, Willis goes on to:

        Is he your sock-puppet or something, is that why you’re defending him?

        You just can’t get anything by Willis, now can you?

      • Willis is the victim of a lot of self-inflicted wounds that he blames on others.

      • Yes, I have to say that the indignation over multiple user names looks like a gotcha. I find Kahan too silly to even be wrong, but if the guy is writing in from two computers and is using either his name or initials I can see no cause for all this heavy moralising. Enough gotchas.

      • I agree; this is like someone at CE getting thrown by a comment from curryja

        Actually, when I first started coming here I was ‘thrown’ by the curryja comments. :( The tone and writing in them seemed different enough from Judith’s (entered by phone?) That I at first thought they were someone else, either a different Curry or maybe a site moderator. But after a few days it became clear. And Joshua’s right that someone who had been on Dan’s blog a few days would probably likewise realize dmk38 is Dan.

        But Willis clearly HADN’T been there a few days, and nothing in that thread made it clear that Dan was posting under two handles. Also Willis clearly stated in a post that he didn’t understand what dmk38 was referring to.

        Which brings us to the real difference between Judith using curryja and Dan using dmk38. If Judith saw a poster who was confused by her posts under cuurja, how would she respond? I’d like to believe (cause I’m a Curry fan ^_^) that she would explain what was going on. But what Dan did was make a bunch of jokes at Willis’s expense that he and his good buddy Joshua could laugh about, and then insults Willis (again, in an aside to his bestest buddy josh) when someone else on the thread spills the beans.

        Now, did Willis take the whole thing to personally? Maybe. But I’d have been a bit miffed if it had been done to me too. And is he holding a grudge against Dan? Oh HELL yes. Willis can hold a grudge like nobody since Stalin, especially if he thinks he’s being made fun of by someone who thinks they’re smarter then him. (Sorry W, gotta call’em like I see’em) But that doesn’t change the fact that Dan the ‘communication’ expert decided that mocking skeptics was more important to him then communicating with them.

        Now, I will say that Joshua has convinced me that Dan didn’t intentionally use dmk38 as a sockpuppet. Willis is clearly wrong there, though at the time that wasn’t obvious. Still, Dans way of handling it was both childish and unprofessional.

        Frankly, I think ‘Climate Science’ needs a communicator like Dan about as much as it needs an ethicist like Gleick.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        curryja | June 18, 2015 at 8:55 am |

        I agree; this is like someone at CE getting thrown by a comment from curryja

        Judith, what Dan did is the same as if you were posting both as curryja and jc31415 in the very same thread, and then when I asked who jc31415 was (as I asked dmk38 who the heck he was) you did not immediately point out that you were the blog host posting under two names, but instead lied about who jc31415 was.

        Did you do that? If so your analogy is correct. If not, you didn’t do your homework about Dan Kahan.

        Look, posting under two names is one thing, and you can even do it accidentally. But I asked him directly who he was, and all he did was point me to his “picture”, which was of some alien being, and continue hiding behind the alias.

        Judith, how you and Joshua have twisted this to claim that it is all normal that a man posts both under his own name and again under a totally unrelated name on his own website is beyond me. You talk about a communication problem …

        Or as Brandon put it above (emphasis mine):

        I don’t agree with Willis Escehnbach’s comment as a whole, but he is right to say Dan Kahan intentionally deceived him regarding his identity.

        I understand how people inadvertently wind up commenting under more than one name. It happens, and it can cause some confusion. It’s not a big deal though. It’s not something which means a person is intentionally lying or anything like that.

        But when a person who has commented under more than one name sees people are unaware of that fact and then intentionally encourages their confusion, they are intentionally being deceptive. That’s what Kahan did. He knew Eschenbach hadn’t realized the two second account belonged to him, and rather than clarify the situation, he intentionally encouraged Eschenbach’s ignorance by making deceptive remarks.

        Now Judith, I know for a fact that Joshua is either too foolish or too determined to oppose me to notice that that is exactly what Dan did, intentionally encourage my mistake by making deceptive remarks. And Mosh, well, despite being brilliant, sometimes he lets his mouth get ahead of his mind because he likes to stir the pot.

        But for you to jump on that bandwagon? Sorry, but you haven’t done your homework on this one. It is NOT like you signing your posts “curryja”, not in the slightest. Kahan used a sock puppet and went out of his way to fool me as to its identity, something that as far as I know you haven’t done and wouldn’t dream of doing.

        And yes, Dan was remarkably successful at fooling me … and your and Joshua’s response seems to be well, I shouldn’t have been fooled.

        Which may indeed be true … but which ignores the fact that your pet “communicator” went a long ways out of his way specifically to fool me.

        And somehow, bizarrely, you seem to think that’s the same as you signing a comment “curryja” … how about you focus on that for just a few moments?

        w.

      • Joshua: What does it mean that self-described “skeptics,” who put on themselves a mantle of scientific and analytical purity, display such unskeptical behavior?

        My comment on the story by Willis Eschenbach was that it was funny and irrelevant. Even if the story is true (instead of Willis being confused), it only shows that Kahan undermined his goal of clarity of communication.

        As I wrote elsewhere, I think Kahan is confused. The biggest problem with the writing on “the science of climate change and CO2” is that too much of the writing on CO2 and climate is sloppy; the only cure is to write carefully with attention to details and unvoiced (and sometimes voiced) assumptions.

        Am I a “self-described “skeptic” “? No. I am a self-described luke warmer. There is substantial evidence supporting the conjecture that a doubling of CO2 concentration might, in the next 100 or more years, raise the global mean temperature by as much as 1C; evidence for a stronger effect or the 700+ other disasters and problems that will arise from more CO2 is piss-poor; on present evidence, the possibility of future global cooling can not be ruled out.

      • I apologize: “****-poor” should be simply “poor”.

      • funny how willis mistells the story.

        It was my first time reading all the comments at dans blog.
        I read willis’s first comment
        I read dmk38 response.
        The ONLY way that response made sense was if dmk38 was Dan.

        Now, I wasnt primed to reject what dmk38 said. So first I try to figure out HOW does this make sense. It only makes sense if dmk38 is Dan.
        So check that.. click the link.. oh.. the site admin.. cute.

        But willis didnt read dmk38 response in order to understand it. he read it to criticize it or to criticize the person. Hence he had to ask
        “who is this” but he didnt merely do that.. he went on..

        personally I viewed it as a funny object lesson that Dan was teaching

      • Mosher: The ONLY way that response made sense was if dmk38 was Dan.

        As an experienced blog reader, you ought to have considered some alternative ways that it made sense (“the only one I can think of” is seldom an informative claim); as well as the possibility that it did not make sense. You read it after the “answer” had already been disclosed.

      • Here’s the first sentence dmk38 wrote in it:

        @Paul:

        I think there’s a difference between what you have in mind & what I’m asking about.

        http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/2013/8/11/what-climate-skeptics-have-in-common-with-believers-a-stubbo.html#comment20261590

        Willis’ confusion lasted two comments, the time Dan realized he had to face the parsomatics’ crowd:

        @Wilis:

        “dmk38” is my site administrator username. I speak in the 1st person w/ that username all the time.

        In sum, it’s as clear to anyone w/ a brain it is me. But as you say, it “fooled” you.

        http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/2013/8/11/what-climate-skeptics-have-in-common-with-believers-a-stubbo.html#comment20261590#comment20295188

        Willis’ theory of sockpuppetry has no merit.

    • Here’s the first sentence dmk38 wrote in the thread that fooled Willis:

      @Paul:

      I think there’s a difference between what you have in mind & what I’m asking about.

      http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/2013/8/11/what-climate-skeptics-have-in-common-with-believers-a-stubbo.html#comment20261590

      Two good hints right there.

    • Willis’ confusion lasted two comments, the time Dan realized he had to face adepts of parsomatics:

      @Wilis:

      “dmk38″ is my site administrator username. I speak in the 1st person w/ that username all the time.

      In sum, it’s as clear to anyone w/ a brain it is me. But as you say, it “fooled” you.

      http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/2013/8/11/what-climate-skeptics-have-in-common-with-believers-a-stubbo.html#comment20261590#comment20295188

      The last paragraph may explain Willis’ outrage better than his suck puppet theory.

      • Willard,

        Eventually, I found out what a sock puppet was.

        I don’t think I’ll bother looking for the definition of a “suck puppet”. The mind boggles!

      • Don Monfort

        It’s very clear from reading those comments that Kahan had no intention of fooling poor Wittle Willis. Kahan replied to Willis’ first comment to himself, and to a comment from Shub to himself, using his admin ID. As soon as he saw that Willis was confused and throwing a hissy fit, Kahan explained about the admin ID. There is absolutely no indication that Kahan had tried to sock puppet poor Wittle Willis. And years later Wittle Willis is still whining about it. Pathetic and childish.

      • Don Monfort

        However, Wittle Willis’ comment was pretty much spot on:

        “…Regarding climate, the problem is not communication, but science and honesty. The science has been anything but “valid, compelling, [and] widely available” as you put it. It has been hidden, obscured, and kept even from Freedom of Information requests. Phil Jones flat out lied to my face, Dan … is that a “scientific communications problem”?

        The scientific claims have been vastly overblown. Many of the “scientific studies” of the climate have turned out to be simplistic, incorrect, or “models all the way down”. Hardly a week goes by without some new joke paper being quickly eviscerated shortly after publication. See Steig, Nature, and the Antarctic for one of dozens and dozens of examples.

        And a quarter century on from Hansen’s duplicitous 1988 testimony where he secretly turned off the air conditioning to exaggerate the threat, the predictions of doom and disaster have simply not come true. We didn’t have 50 million climate refugees by 2010. Coral atolls are not disappearing. Sea level rise isn’t accelerating. Extreme weather is not increasing.

        Finally, the leading lights of the climate science world were condemned by their own words in the Climategate emails of being liars, cheats, and thieves who destroyed evidence against them. They convicted themselves of a variety of episodes of scientific malfeasance, they destroyed evidence sought under a Freedom of Information Act, and criminal charges against them were only ruled out because the statute of limitations had expired.

        In short, Dan … the leading lights of the climate science world lied to us, and lied to us big time. They packed the peer-reviews, and hid their data, and fudged the figures, and then lied again and destroyed the evidence when they were caught …

        And you think this is a “communication problem”?? Really? You think that climate scientists lying to the public, and the public subsequently not trusting them, can be resolved by improving “scientific communication”? A recent poll found that about 60% of the American public believes that climate scientists sometimes fake it … bad news, my friend, better scientific communication doesn’t help when people think the communicators are faking it.

        I had actually (and naively) hoped that Climategate would allow a cleansing of the Augean Climate Stables, that it could be a turning point in the debate … but far from suffering even the slightest approbation for their actions, they didn’t even bother to apologize.

        You seem puzzled by “the failure of valid, compelling, widely available science to quiet public controversy” …

        The obvious answer is, far too often it has not been valid science, and it’s not compelling at all. Far too often, it has been hidden and distorted and lied about And more to the point, it is being pushed, and pushed maniacally hard, despite repeated failed doomcasting, by people who we know for a fact have lied to us and cheated us repeatedly, and who didn’t even apologize when they were caught red-handed, but to the contrary were lauded by their “peers”. In addition to the Climategate crowd, see the criminal acts (wire fraud) of Peter Gleick as one of the many other examples of Noble Cause Corruption.

        If you think that problem is solvable by improving scientific communication … then you don’t understand the problem.

        w.”

        You go, Wittle Willis! Watch out for sock puppets! They are out to get you.

      • > Regarding climate, the problem is not communication, but […]

        I agree that the problem is not communication. Communication is only one problem. There is no such thing as ze problem.

        Willis is mostly wrong on just about all the talking points he furiously recurses, but perhaps the horse should lay still while the stick is dropped and people move away slowly.

  29. Fifth and last attempt to escape moderation!
    “After reading Kahan’s stuff, I wish he would apply his methods to understanding people who believe the scientific consensus on climate change (both scientists and the public).”

    Absolutely. He is yet another who believes CAGW is a certainty as delivered by the physical sciences, so seems utterly blind to the fact that most of the psychological effects he talks about are rampant in Consensus believers.

    He is laudably honest enough to reveal survey results that challenge his preconceptions, such as the more science knowledgeable becoming *more* polarized, but then his blindness causes him to invent highly implausible theories to explain these results. Such as that many millions of US non-consensus believers are suffering from a rare behavioral condition: ‘knowing disbelief’. In truth much simpler bias effects in *favor of the Consensus* explain his results far better.

    The main paper he references to support his oft-used ‘Kentucky Farmer’ example of ‘knowing disbelief’, doesn’t in fact support this at all. See my comment at Kahan’s blog here (at Feb 6th):
    [link deleted to try and escape moderation]

    Plus the discussion in this thread too:
    [link deleted to try and escape moderation]

    Kahan fails to explain Kentucky Farmer’s cousin Jacob, and so far has failed to demonstrate that knowing disbelief (a valid condition), could possibly affect a large swath of the population (requires very specific conditions to develop and maintain).

    In the changing landscape since the whole pause saga, Kahan will soon risk irrelevance if he continues steadfastly to *not* examine the psychology of the Consensus and its public adherents, and only the psychology of skeptics. Lewandowsky is beyond the pale and already being rejected by mainstream Consensus dudes. Kahan much more reasonable.

    Judith, hope to submit a post on memetics and ‘the pause’ in a week or so.

  30. After 5 attempts at removing links / changing words, I can’t get my comment past the WordPress filter. Must have something in there that triggers it. But much more briefly, I very much agree with below:

    “After reading Kahan’s stuff, I wish he would apply his methods to understanding people who believe the scientific consensus on climate change (both scientists and the public).”

  31. your problem is ontology. think about it.

    • Steven Mosher: your problem is ontology. think about it.

      You mean like: I wonder if Steven Mosher even exists? Or did you mean odontology, like: Bite me?

      Boy, talk about an obscure science communicator!

      • Or did you mean odontology, like: Bite me?

        snorting out loud

      • Steven Mosher

        It’s not science communication.
        My goal is not to convince you of anything.
        My goal is to invite you to think…
        Sorry you didn’t rsvp

      • Maybe he meant oncology, like: Subverting cells to destroy the organism.

      • Steven Mosher: My goal is to invite you to think…

        Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha.

      • Steven Mosher: My goal is to invite you to think…

        Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

      • mathew Now you see why Andy is published and you are not.

        think harder son.

      • Mosher: Now you see why Andy is published and you are not.

        What makes you think I am not published?

      • Mosher: think harder son.

        Maybe you prefer W. V. O. Quine’s joke to mine: “Ontology recapitulates philology.”

      • Steven Mosher

        “What makes you think I am not published?”

        this question.

      • Mosher: this question.

        That’s a good one. The question (there is perhaps some ambiguity about exactly which question is “this” question) came after the assertion. Is this another example from “the physics” of an effect occurring before its cause?

      • “That’s a good one. The question (there is perhaps some ambiguity about exactly which question is “this” question) came after the assertion. Is this another example from “the physics” of an effect occurring before its cause?”

        not ambiguous at all.

        your question was what makes you think.

        think harder.

        if your question had been what made you think, the answer may have different.

        as it stands andywest who accepted the invitation, looks to be having an intelligent conversation. You me not so much.. I blame no one for this.
        it’s along different lines than I imagined.. but that’s what happens when you invite strangers to a party.

      • Mosher: as it stands andywest who accepted the invitation, looks to be having an intelligent conversation.

        I thought that the three jokes you missed were intelligent. You don’t, maybe because you did not understand them.

    • I think Kahan’s problem is ontology. He arbitrarily *defines* the Consensus and its adherents to be completely correct. This robs the analysis of his (well gathered) survey results of all objectivity and a proper logical train of observation to conclusion. One should not define *any* side (there may be more than two) to be wholly correct. Notwithstanding no one can be fully objective, a good analysis should allow the potential truth to ‘float’, and just construct a picture of what social structures and behaviors best fit the data. Then, one can attempt to draw conclusions about which of the sides may better represent reality, which seem more culturally biased, and which are in the strongest alliances. See:
      https://judithcurry.com/2015/01/30/climate-psychologys-consensus-bias/

      Judith’s words about Kahan and consensus believers do not say this so formally. But they amount to the same thing, because Kahan rules out any effects for one whole subset of his population from the *beginning* of his analysis, not as a conclusion at the end.

      Essentially working backwards from the fixed point of an assumed absolute truth, will very likely bring one to a strange conclusion. Kahan’s is indeed strange; that many millions of US citizens have a rare condition: ‘knowing disbelief’. While this can occur, it requires highly specific development and maintenance. Kahan has not demonstrated this could ever be a mass effect. Allowing the truth to ‘float’, opens the way for an explanation more fitted to the data, which need only invoke good old vanilla cultural and emotional biases; known effects that can influence whole populations.

      • Steven Mosher

        Yup
        Thanks for accepting my invitation to think

      • > He arbitrarily *defines* the Consensus and its adherents to be completely correct.

        Where?

      • Willard | June 18, 2015 at 1:37 am

        See the analysis at the above Climate Etc link, which in turn calls up Kahan’s analysis from key pages at his cultural cognition blog.

      • Willard | June 18, 2015 at 8:11 am

        If he was able to consciously make a succinct quote of this, then he most likely wouldn’t. That’s the whole point about bias. He’s not following this course deceitfully; if he knew what he was doing, he’d likely stop. It’s much more basic than that. The assumption is utterly baked into his priors, as can very clearly be seen by following the comparative analyses at the Climate Etc and Cultural Cognition links above.

      • David Springer

        Steven Mosher | June 17, 2015 at 9:45 pm |

        “Thanks for accepting my invitation to think”

        Now if you’d only reciprocate in kind…

      • > If he was able to consciously make a succinct quote of this, then he most likely wouldn’t.

        How can you claim that Dan defined the consensus (or anything, for that matter) if you can’t quote a definition, Andy?

        I blame mimetics.

      • Willard | June 18, 2015 at 4:37 pm

        Read it for yourself. If you don’t agree, you’ll be able to say why.
        https://judithcurry.com/2015/01/30/climate-psychologys-consensus-bias/

      • > If you don’t agree […]

        How to reverse the burden of proof in one step.

        Still no definition.

        I blame memetics.

      • Willard | June 18, 2015 at 5:57 pm

        It’s challengable of course, but my proof is on the table. If you don’t choose to read it, fine, but you don’t get a ticket to say it is wrong.

      • > you don’t get a ticket to say it is wrong.

        Look, Andy. You got no quote from Dan. You have no business telling that he defined consensus in any way. It’s quite simple, really.

        Here would be the memetic way to use your trick: say that Chuck Norris defined himself as truth, point to the Internet as proof, and keep telling this as long as nobody can disprove it.

      • Willard | June 18, 2015 at 7:19 pm
        “Look, Andy. You got no quote from Dan…”

        The post has quotes from Dan, and material from his analyses and survey data, and mention of his good work as well as flaws due to bias, and all in context. It does not simply point to the Internet; it lays out very clearly indeed the case. While silver bullet quotes can seem desirable, even where you can snip one out they rarely make a case and often spawn more argument because someone can find a counter quote, or question all sorts of contextual conditions, as both quotes will likely be shawn of proper context.

        It’s not war and peace, it’s a blog post. If without a silver bullet you don’t want to read an actual case, then fine. But I guess that means you aren’t particularly interested in the case against Kahan’s position after all, you’re more interested in the argument for its own sake.

      • johnfpittman

        It seems persons don’t realize that Kahan’s work is correct even if somehow Kahan himself is wrong about CC or even GMO. What he is measuring is not “correctness” but bias. They are not the same, nor are they opposites. If you wish, you can take his methodology, come up with the questions you want to use to examine bias, and get your own results. If Kahan is correct, your results will be similar to his.

        It is strange to read the comments. One could take the opposite opinion that skeptics have the sound scientific basis and come up with the same bias orientation, if the science is good.

      • johnfpittman | June 19, 2015 at 12:10 pm

        I’m afraid this is not at all a good summary of what (I at least) am critical of in Kahan’s work, *some* of which is not damaged by his own bias, and *some* of which is. I think a tiny summation might be ‘inconsistency’. Principles he finds in some domains (e.g. creationism), he misinterprets in others, due to own heavy bias baked into his priors. Should be *same* rules for all domains. But bias itself is domain orientated, can be zero in one domain and heavy in another, which is what causes his different analysis. He has clues which should tell him, not least his own surprise for some results in the climate domain, which would *not* be surprising if he was truly taking an objective approach. See a full comparative analysis here:
        https://judithcurry.com/2015/01/30/climate-psychologys-consensus-bias/

        To measure bias you need a clean tool-kit. If your tools are biased, you will not be measuring (mainly) the bias of the domain, but (mainly) your own bias. His tools are clean in some domains, but not in CC; hence attempting to follow the same algorithm / analysis, falls into deep trouble.

      • > The post has quotes from Dan […]

        None of which can be taken as evidence that Dan aribitrarily defines the Consensus and its adherents to be completely correct. Why do you think I would not check first? To borrow an important result from memetics, you must be new here [1]:

        http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/you-must-be-new-here

        You’re just fulling Dan’s mouth with home made straw, AndyW.

      • > But I guess that means you aren’t particularly interested in the case against Kahan’s position after all, you’re more interested in the argument for its own sake.

        And I guess you’ll just double down your burden of proof reversal with an appeal to emotion instead of just acknowledging that you may be strawmaning Dan, AndyW.

      • Willard | June 19, 2015 at 12:56 pm

        The post, in which some of Dan’s quotes, survey data and analysis are embedded, clearly demonstrates that he *does* have baked into his priors an assumption of complete correctness for the consensus. Well of course that is challengable, so feel free to challenge it. I have put my argument on the table, and it stands. What have you put down?

      • johnfpittman

        Andywest2012: First, his “bias” is representative of science in CC. In this respect, he is not wrong. My or your scientific opinion as to most likely may or may not agree with Dan’s. However, none of us may be right. That is the nature of CC science at this point.

        You state “Principles he finds in some domains (e.g. creationism), he misinterprets in others, due to own heavy bias baked into his priors.” What is his heavy bias? This is similar to Willard’s request. I know he has a bias or opinion as to where in the broad range of scientific thought on CC he thinks is best. It is still in the range of most likely.

      • johnfpittman | June 19, 2015 at 1:18 pm

        If you argue that bias is a position, not ‘wrong’, this is fine. If you argue that Dan, or anyone, can *without question* still measure the bias in a domain where they (and their tools therefore) are biased, then we will have to disagree. He may be able to, and he may not. There are ways of identifying, and therefore attempting to subtract, cultural bias about theoretically any topic. But can still be v hard if one is heavily biased in that domain, whether or not (e.g. in the CC case) this is simply inherited from the state of the science.

        Distancing from ‘the most likely’ in CC (this is just a position like any other, as skeptic ‘very unlikely’ is just a position too), one *should* be able to tell from cultural structures *unrelated* to the topic domain, which ‘side’ most reflects cultural bias in a culture versus reality (e.g. science) conflict. Dan successfully does this in some domains. One *should* be able to do it no matter how biased one is, because the structures are the same. However, that’s different to saying this is easy for emotive beings, which we all are. Dan’s bias unfortunately sabotages his analysis in the CC domain.

        If you read the post, this would be much clearer :)

      • johnfpittman

        Andywest2012 I read the post when it came out. What you are highlighting is what certain persons are trying to do with bias or cultural cognition. I am looking at the science of it. I don’t disagree with your conclusions, necessarily.

        “”Paul says (among other things): ‘The puzzle — if there is one– is a consequence of the thing to be explained being the opposite of what one would have expected.’ But what one expects depends upon one’s biases and assumptions.””

        Where I disagree is not that Dan can be surprised, but that cognitive bias can explain. In this context, I understand Dan’s bias, as well as my own. The power of his work lies in recognition of different acceptance of risks or consequences of risk, IMO. To me, the big difference between the environmental activists and their opposites is not the CC science as much as the risk to different items/freedoms upon choosing a policy.

      • johnfpittman | June 19, 2015 at 3:01 pm

        Okay. And for my part, I have no problem at all with Kahan’s or anyone’s ‘recognition of different acceptance of risks or consequences of risk’; indeed balancing risks and consequences is key. And avid advocates of CC tend to ignore that balance, as you imply. BUT… this is essentially second stage in Kahan’s considerations. Necessarily so, because you can’t perform that consideration adequately without some idea first of the relative cultural bias that may be in play, to use as a weighting. And it is this part which goes wrong.

      • johnfpittman

        It may have been addressed before as part of uncertainty or wickedness, but I think just as in ecology or environmental one should trace the money before deciding if the issue is actually environmental, one should trace the moral acceptance of risk, before one decides if the issue is the science where in lies a wicked problem. IMO, the moral beliefs on the risk presented by such uncertainty and wickedness in science underlies both the problems with communication and the cognitive bias that inflates polarization.

      • ==> “But can still be v hard if one is heavily biased in that domain, whether or not (e.g. in the CC case) this is simply inherited from the state of the science.”

        And, indeed, more irony.

        At least Dan uses the tools of empirical methodology to serve as a control for his “domain”-related biases.

      • johnfpittman | June 19, 2015 at 3:45 pm
        ‘IMO, the moral beliefs…’

        Yes. But remember it’s also a feedback system. Moral beliefs can cause bias, but bias can also reinforce (or erode) moral beliefs. This is why it is so easy to get cause and effect mixed up. One good way to perceive the system more objectively, is to abstract the agents of bias: memes.

      • > The post, in which some of Dan’s quotes, survey data and analysis are embedded, clearly demonstrates that he *does* have baked into his priors an assumption of complete correctness for the consensus.

        So now we go from “He arbitrarily *defines* the Consensus and its adherents to be completely correct” to “he *does* have baked into his priors an assumption of complete correctness for the consensus.”

        Even that other goalpost is false. Dan’s conclusions are independent from the correctness for the consensus. Whether the consensus is correct or not, his results stand alone. Dan’s work has nothing to do with the consensus, let alone its correctness. He’s studying the public’s perception of it, that’s all.

        Not only that, but Dan keeps repeating his same master argument in just about every single post he writes. He then he keeps correcting contrarians about its implications in most comment threads where they pay him a visit.

        So no wonder you can’t find any quote where Dan defines the consensus, AndyW.

        ***

        > Well of course that is challengable, so feel free to challenge it.

        It’s tough to prove an absence of evidence, and challenging a good cop bad cop story that rests on a strawman would be silly.

        No wonder Judy lets you post these stories too.

      • johnfpittman

        Willard, your comment is the one that is difficult for me to understand why readers do not recognize what Dan is doing.

        In fact, his being surprised should be accepted for the good faith it represents. Which I see as support for Joshua’s comment that Dan uses the tools of empirical methodology to serve as a control for his “domain”-related biases. Somewhere there is a comment where Dan indicates that cognitive bias is normal. Probably several mentions. But a lot of his comments do not fare well when taken away from the article and the following discussion of the article.

        One of the misunderstandings, IMO, that Willard’s comment has bearing on is this quote from the andywest2012 linked article “”Dan’s appropriate response is ‘true’, but this response is really only true if human caused global warming is sufficient of a problem, which is what the entire debate and the entire scientific effort is still engaged upon finding out.”” Dan’s debate is not about the entire scientific effort of CC, he is looking as Willard stated “”He’s studying the public’s perception of it.””

        I find both being reasonable lines of research; just different. I don’t see a reason to mix them or confuse them.

      • Willard | June 19, 2015 at 5:01 pm

        Yes, he arbitrarily defines the Consensus and its adherents to be completely correct… due to his baked in bias.

        “He’s studying the public’s perception of it, that’s all”

        He’s analyzing public perceptions, and drawing conclusions from his analysis. If his analysis of those perceptions is wrong, due to bias, then his conclusions will be wrong too. And despite some bias in instruments he has gathered some great survey material to input to the analysis too. But then his bias during analysis proves too much, and produces results surprising even to him. Well much kudos for expressing that, but not for a little sober reassessment. The conclusion he draws, that many millions of US citizens must be suffering from a rare condition, ‘knowing disbelief’, is a direct result of the biased analysis.

        This condition exists, but requires very specific development conditions and maintenance of those conditions. To date, he has no evidence that this could be a mass effect. He uses the ‘Kentucky Farmer’ example to try and demonstrate it might be, but the main paper quoted in this model does not support his position. I (and others) have pointed this out many times, and after much to and fro he finally replied to me:

        “I would not expect anyone to treat the evidence I have adverted to as reason to adjust their priors if they have different ones from mine. If I have am able to attain evidence of that sort, I will make it known.”

        Well, I guess that’s progress. And reasonable conduct too. So he’s still looking. Nothing wrong with that either. But… by *not* building in early in the analysis that the consensus position is completely right, which assumption distorts the map of cultural influence (of 3 not 2 cultures also) out drops an explanation that does *not* result in the necessity of a strange condition, but requires only vanilla cultural and emotional bias effects, which are known to sway populations.

      • > Yes, he arbitrarily defines the Consensus and its adherents to be completely correct… due to his baked in bias.

        Then quote where he defines the Consensus as completely correct.

        Unless it’s too baked in?

        If you could give me any example of how we can define something as completely correct, that would help too.

        ***

        The idea that an author’s bias can viciates an analysis is interesting, AndyW. Does it mean that I can disregard your own conclusions because they are produced by someone with an obvious contrarian bias?

      • Essentially ‘I’m Walking Backwards for Consensus.’

        ..theBBC has continued ter do so.

      • Willard | June 19, 2015 at 7:59 pm |

        >Unless it’s too baked in?

        Yes, very baked in. At one point he has to attribute to everyone (Rep / Con and Lib / Dem) a ‘latent (unobserved) disposition’, essentially a disposition of latent fear about climate change, because that’s the only way he can get the survey data to conform to his expectation of widespread support for the consensus. He discards a much more mundane explanation that does not invoke latent fear or similar, because this does not conform to his biased expectations. This essentially defines everyone to have the latent fear (there is no independent support for it later, it’s an arbitrary assumption).

        When faced with the greater polarization of the science and climate science aware (which is a classic sign of cultural bias), and without cross-checking this against other data or further consideration of the players and possibilities, he simply assigns all the bias to the Rep / Cons. This is identical to defining the Dem / Libs at the opposite pole, whom he believes fully represent the consensus, to be wholly correct. However, without that assignation and looking more carefully, including the use of independent data, ones sees 3 players not 2, with a more complex cultural bias map. Also that many Lib / Dems do not wholly back the consensus, and various other results that conform to vanilla cultural / emotional bias, and do not need the highly unusual ‘knowing disbelief’ effect as a means of trying to square the observations with his biased assumptions.

        “The idea that an author’s bias…”
        It doesn’t mean you should automatically disregard the conclusions of authors, whichever way they lean. But it certainly does mean you should always be on guard for systemic bias in any and all authors, most certainly including me. However, stating they have bias (where you think you have spotted it), isn’t enough to make the assertion stick. One has to demonstrate where in their logical train the breaks or bends due to bias occurred. Like I did above for DK (although extremely slim version, the post does it properly). Which means one has also to understand their logical train. Otherwise, who is to say that it is not your own bias causing the distance between you and the author in question? My own logical train in that post and others is available to you for any search of systemic bias – have at it.

  32. When referring to the 97%, is that referring to the Doran study?

    I couldn’t be Cook’s contrived work.

    Doran is not exactly global consensus by any measure. And the questions asked? Well, read them yourselves and see the results.

    http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf

    I have yet to find any recent or legitimate measurements of climate scientist consensus on CAGW. CO2 a greenhouse gas, yes. CO2 going to destroy humanity, no.

    Considering how much we don’t know about our changing climate, there can be no real consensus.

  33. My long standing recommendation has been to drop the consensus messaging. Scientists should make a clear statement about what we understand with confidence, what we think might happen, and what the major uncertainties are. This is generally what the IPCC First Assessment Report did. The ‘consensus’ strategy was put into play for subsequent reports.

    That would take all of the air out of the skeptical blogosphere. The whole edifice lives on saying out loud stuff that is clearly in the science, and that the media mostly won’t say.

  34. “Considering how much we don’t know about our changing climate, there can be no real consensus.”
    The concensus argument is used because no one really knows sufficiently about the climate and how, why and where it changes or not.
    It could be interesting to ask the “believers” in detail and facts what the concensus is about.

  35. Maybe the messaging should be something like: “it’s getting warmer and we need to raise diesel prices to $15 per gallon”??? Or “we perceive more extreme weather and we need to charge you $0.40 per kWh”??? That ought to get people’s attention.

  36. Perpetuating a toxic discourse. No doubt part of the appeal of “consensus messaging” is how well suited it is as an idiom for expressing contempt. The kinds of real-world “messaging campaigns” that feature the “97% agree” slogan all say “you are an idiot” to those for whom not believing climate change has become identity defining. It is exactly that social meaning that must be removed from the climate change question before people can answer it with what they know: that their well-being and the well-being of others they actually care about requires doing sensible things with the best available current evidence.

    I think the author is thoroughly confused. After 30+ years of strident predictions of disasters and changes of all sorts ([every year a Katrina], the end of snow as we know it, etc), and events that were not predicted (killing frosts in CA and TX, floods in Texas and Queensland), it’s obvious that the confidence of the “advocates of the consensus” is without a solid foundation in science, and there is no scientific basis for their policy recommendations.

  37. Might apply to the subject:

    A top down messaging from the consensus is subject to a number of failures. They bring up separation which would be the skeptics breaking off from a top down hierarchy. The consensus is not purely top down as it also has attributes of a network. What form does the consensus which to assume? Some of it sounds like rigidity. Like one way communication. Questions can be met with assertions of the way it is. Disorganized as the skeptics are, we hope they are more flexible and willing to try lateral communications as opposed to top down ones and to have the more functional network. As an aside, a CO2 controlled system seems similar to the top down hierarchy while a flattened network seems more natural and closer to the answer. The skeptics seem closer to understanding how nature works. That it adapts in many ways to a change of one variable. If CO2 is dominant, then nature has assumed command and control. How likely is that?

    • I am not sure I understand your post completely, but one thing occurs to me. The “consensus” messaging is top down, and they can’t conceive of a network opposing them successfully that is not top down. So they just assume that there must be a central messaging source at war with their own. That’s where all of the “Koch Bros” stuff comes from, I assume. If you don’t want to accuse them of complete dishonesty.

      They are a herd fighting a pack. Herds don’t understand how packs think, packs understand herds very well though.

      • In fact, it makes complete sense that they would postulate hidden networks of dark money that they can’t see, but the ‘know’ must exist, according to their way of thinking.

      • Looking at some of the diagrams in the above video, I’ll suggest a history. Nice network before, mostly not top down communication. A problem is found. Old network found to be less than ideal to solve it. Hierarchical form appears that still has some network attributes. Some people think a more hierarchical structure would help. IPCC and professional organizations make statements. Some scientists then separate from the old network that has become more rigid. They collaborate with each other. Generalizing liberally, we have a laterally communicating skeptical network and a consensus hierarchy. The two will merge and hopefully we’ll get a functioning network. Looking at nature, I think the hierarchical form of one way communication is not predominate. But when we see it in nature it might be something like a hurricane that can overwhelm most everything else for a short amount of time. Then the hurricane collapses, the network reassembles, and things get better, efficient.

  38. Kahan is right that asserting 97% consensus implies the 3% are idiots, an intentionalmnot so subliminal insult of the political form practiced by Obama. He is wrong on two further counts. 1. There is no 97% consensus except on trivial stuff like climate changes, for example warming since the LIA proben by the fact that Thames ice fairs are no more. 2. That a scientific consensus is likely right, is a wrong presumption. Copernicus and Galileo (heliocentricity), Lavoisier (oxidation disproving phlogiston), Michelson and Morely (EMR in vacuum disproving luminiferous ether), Koch (germ theory of disease), Wegener (continental drift) are examples. See Kuhn’s masterpiece on the history of science for an ever readible elucidation.

    And Kahan is wrong that changing the form of the dialog might change the outcome. Mother Nature is not cooperating with past warmunist predictions. National economic suicide is not a viable mitigation plan (other than for clinically depressed Greens, apparently UK and German politicians, and possibly Obama) since China, India, and Russia refuse to go along. The hypocracy and mendacity of ‘scientists’ espousing their warmunist religion grows every more apparent, Karl et. al. being a marvelous own goal new example.
    Prof. Kahan, changing the nature of the climate dialog does not change the reality of the slow motion train wreck you and yours are experiencing. You are debating rearrangement of deck chairs on the Titanic after it struck the iceberg.

  39. Kahan is apparently much less concerned about a very vague consensus about the scientific evidence and and the repercussions of that evidence for climate change for public consumption and its use as political propaganda than he is with the perceived failure of that approach – and thus his call for a different approach. He says nothing in the JC quotes about the uncertainty of the science evidence or about point and counter point on its validity. .

    The skeptically inclined in the climate debate should be able to see that Kahan is not a serious or deep thinker on this subject and let it go at that. I think we would do better to react to those who might present thoughtful arguments.

  40. “After reading Kahan’s stuff, I wish he would apply his methods to understanding people who believe the scientific consensus on climate change (both scientists and the public).”

    Not gonna happen. Here is a good explanation of why.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/419871/there-are-two-americas-and-only-one-truly-free-david-french

    “Even the conservative churches I’ve attended have been more ideologically diverse than the two major liberal campuses where I either attended (Harvard Law School) or taught (Cornell Law School). Indeed, the numbers demonstrate the truth of my anecdotal experience, with self-professed Evangelicals more politically diverse than not only Ivy League faculties but entire, allegedly “diverse” Northeastern cities. In other words, you’re more likely to hear a meaningful debate between people of fundamentally different political opinions in a church pew than in New York City.”

    As I have written here any times, progressives are incapable of critical thought with respect to their own beliefs,because they have been taught since preschool to never think critically about any politically correct ‘consensus’.

  41. “While I find Dan Kahan’s research and perspectives to be very interesting, all of this science of science communication strategy for climate messaging runs dangerously close to propaganda techniques.”

    Dangerously close? They are nothing but propaganda techniques. But that is because any communication effected with the intent to influence public opinion and policy is a form of propaganda.

    noun pro·pa·gan·da \ˌprä-pə-ˈgan-də: the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person

    Properly understood the word is value neutral.

    It is the combination of propaganda with dishonesty, or sometimes just with rank incompetence, that is the real problem with climate ‘consensus’ propaganda.

  42. Let the feeding frenzy commence:

    http://www.ipr.northwestern.edu/publications/docs/workingpapers/2014/IPR-WP-14-17.pdf

    Abstract

    Few political debates have attracted as much attention as the ones surrounding global warming. Extant work has identified numerous factors that shape citizens’ beliefs on this issue, yet few studies compare the views of the public with other key actors in the policymaking process. The researchers draw on data from simultaneous and parallel surveys of (1) the U.S. public, (2) scientists who actively publish research on energy technologies in the U.S. and (3) Congressional policy advisors. They find that beliefs about global warming diverge markedly in comparing the views of the public, scientists, and policy advisors. Scientists and policy advisors are more likely than the public to express a belief in the existence and anthropogenic nature of global warming; however, similar to the public, policy advisors – and to a lesser degree scientists – are ideologically polarized over global warming.

    […]

    Nearly one in five energy scientists (19%), and about one in three policy advisors (30%), in our sample express doubt or uncertainty about whether global warming is human induced (see Figure 1).</blockquote?

    • David Springer

      “Let the feeding frenzy commence”

      Looks like the denizens have lost their appetite. That’s gotta hurt.

  43. There are often adverts that address the public by using consensus among experts. “Nine out of ten doctors say…”, “nine out of ten dentists recommend…”, “nine out of ten car mechanics use…”, etc. This works on non-politicized members of the public, and those independents base their thinking on such consensuses. Here we can say that nine out of ten climate scientists say the the world is warming and humans are the dominant cause. This doesn’t work on people who mistrust science and academia in general who will refuse to think that this is even possibly true due to their own prejudices which are very internal to them. Others in political positions may believe it is possibly true but can’t say it owing to their loyalties and commitments.
    Kahan is right that everyone by now knows what nine out of ten experts think, so that piece of information is irrelevant to the debate going forwards. The remaining ones who give no weight to this information are not listening to the scientific majority anyway, so other ideas are needed for them.

    • It’s 6.6 out of 10, JimD. Don’t go dragging Cook et al into this. Pielke 2009: 66%.von Storch Bray et al 2008: 66%. Verheggen et al 2012: 66%.

      • You can draw the line on “expert” in different places. From what I remember, Verheggen showed that those publishing most on climate science (in the upper quartile) also were almost all at the upper end on percentage manmade influence somewhat where Gavin is on the issue.

      • > Verheggen et al 2012: 66%.

        It’s nearer 97% than 66%:

        In our study, among respondents with more than 10 peer-reviewed publications (half of total respondents), 90% agree that greenhouse gases are the largest – or tied for largest – contributor – or tied for largest – contributor to recent warming. The level of agreement is ~85% for all respondents.

        https://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/faq-for-the-article-scientists-views-about-attribution-of-global-warming/

        The closest is Jim D’s 9/10.

      • I am aware of a major critique of verheggan study: apparently he neglected to count the people that said they didn’t know. Once you count those, the consensus is about 10% lower. Stay tuned.

      • Don Monfort

        Poor willy. The alarmist activistas who believe in the CAGW dogma can be expected to publish more. They also do the pal reviewing so it’s no surprise that they publish a lot of papers.

        “90% agree that greenhouse gases are the largest – or tied for largest – contributor – or tied for largest – contributor to recent warming.”

        However, “the largest – or tied for largest – contributor” could be very reasonably interpreted as meaning that greenhouse gases can account for as little as 50% of recent warm

      • Right on, Don Don. Please, do continue to prove how unimportant consensus studies are.

        Stay tuned — the audit never ends.

      • I think the precise figure of the Consensus is the wrong thing to be the most concerned about. I would guess all surveys show a majority of the relevant scientists and most a very substantial majority.

        I think the right thing to be concerned about is whether that consensus is underpinned by the processes of science, or classic social processes.

        a) In science, a consensus is only needed as a parking place for the most likely theories and direction of effort at any one time, in an area that we cannot understand as yet. Such a consensus is loose, possibly a largest minority of many rather than a majority. Plus challengable and frequently challenged with minimal stigma, yet nevertheless useful as the framework which defines the engagement unless and until scientists come up with something that appears to fit reality much better, and ultimately fit reality in such an obvious way that no consensus is needed anymore.

        b) In Society, cultural entities create socially enforced consensuses in order that civilization can operate in the face of the unknowable (all singing off the same hymn-sheet :) It is part of the ‘job’, if you will, of culture to do this. While practically everything was unknowable to our ancestors, this is still a powerful effect because of evolutionary inertia and because a lot of stuff is still unknowable. For instance there are still no absolute truths in political philosophies; without arbitrary consensus there would be no political co-ordination. These kind of consensuses (religions are usually cited as the most classic case), are tight, dominant, creating stigma for disagreement and resisting challenges even from within (heresies) plus demonizing challengers from without.

        Which *kind* of consensus looks like it is operating in the climate domain, a) or b) ?

        A consensus is measure of agreement, not a measure of reality. If the CAGW one is formed from classic social process, it says not a thing about whether man-made CO2 is good, bad, or indifferent. Anymore than the consensus about how to worship within a particular religious system, says anything whatsoever about whether a god exists or not. If the CAGW consensus can be shown to be a scientific one, it would only be needed because the science is still very uncertain. But anyhow it looks much more like b) to me.

      • > A consensus is measure of agreement, not a measure of reality.

        Now agreements do not belong to reality. Are Denizens dualists?

        ***

        Also, a consensus is not a measure of an agreement, but a result from collective decision making:

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consensus_decision-making

        Note the “HTTPS” – well played, thy Wiki!

      • the distinction between scientific consensus and consensus decision making was discussed in my No consensus on consensus paper

      • Your distinction has already been addressed on this blog.

        That distinction has been shovelled under a note, btw. To a whole book. Without any analysis whatsoever. This is not the first time you’re handwaving like that, Judy.

        But yeah, you did quote Galileo. Oh, and there’s Feynman too!

        Surely you must be joking, Judy.

      • Willard | June 18, 2015 at 9:06 am

        I think you’re just fiddling with semantics here, and the fuller quote would have been better; my asterisks added:

        “Consensus decision-making is a group decision-making process in which group members develop, and *agree* to support, a decision in the best interest of the whole. Consensus may be defined professionally as an acceptable resolution, one that can be supported, even if not the “favourite” of each individual. Consensus is defined by Merriam-Webster as, first, *general agreement*, and second, group solidarity of belief or sentiment.”

        The original point stands.

      • > The original point stands.

        Which one, Andy? You quote one definition which agrees with thy Wiki page for consensus decision-making, and distinguish this concept from a favorite contrarian strawman, and then accuse me of playing semantics. That’s just great.

        A consensus claim, even when made by scientific institutions, is a political speech act. Only scientific institutions can make such claim. I think this observation is rather mundane, and recalling it suffices to see that the claim that “physics is not about consensus” is irrelevant, as is the contrarian battle cry that “science ain’t about consensus.”

        ***

        Not only is this claim irrelevant, but it’s mostly false. To take Judy’s own authority:

        A. The Janus-like two faces of science: at any moment in history we observe that

        1. scientists agree about a lot – consensus
        2. scientists disagree over a lot- dissensus
        3. an adequate account of scientific rationality must account for both

        http://www.loyno.edu/~folse/Laudanoutline.html

        (This stuff is older than Lady Gaga, BTW.)

        Laudan may not be the proper guy to exploit in one’s crusade against consensus. His work extends Kuhn’s, and is perfectly compatible with consensus messaging.

      • Willard | June 19, 2015 at 12:50 pm

        This one:
        ‘A consensus is measure of agreement, not a measure of reality’.

        You’re still just playing semantics with the first half.

      • Come on, AndyW. That can’t be the proper referent to your:

        The original point stands.

        And this:

        I think the right thing to be concerned about is whether that consensus is underpinned by the processes of science, or classic social processes.

        is a false dichotomy to inject the usual “science ain’t about consensus,” which we could memetically render as:

      • Jim D wins the thread

        As I said. ontology

        “You can draw the line on “expert” in different places. From what I remember, Verheggen showed that those publishing most on climate science (in the upper quartile) also were almost all at the upper end on percentage manmade influence somewhat where Gavin is on the issue.”

        You can draw different lines on ‘Expert”
        You can draw different lines on ‘Consensus’

        So, depending on your classification scheme you will come up with different answers:

        Define the consensus broadly: C02 warms the planet, and draw your
        expert class tightly ( top 10% of published scientists ) and you get 100%

        An interesting approach would be to vary both..

        In the end, it would still be a lousy communication strategy because climate science itself stands on firmer ground than squishy science about experts and their views.

        Weaker science doesnt make stronger science look any better.
        Weaker evidence ( everyone agrees ) doesnt make stronger science (the physics) look any better.

      • Willard | June 19, 2015 at 1:56 pm

        Seem to have mis-threaded. See below, unless this also ends up below if the threading is broken ):

    • Jim D — The “key” word here is dominant, or significant, or largely, or . . . .

      How I’ve “framed this” — Dr. Curry has said that human influence in recent decades is probably about 50%. Dr. Schmidt has said +100%. So, I’ve framed this as somewhere between 50% and 100%.

      • Judith’s position is that it very unlikely above 50% and almost impossible to be 100%, while Gavin has 100% near the middle of his probabilities and likely more. These are almost non-overlapping views.

    • “nine out of ten dentists recommend…”

      Advertising is to manipulate suckers into buying things.

      Climate science is….

      Oh yeah, I guess you’re right.

    • Here we can say that nine out of ten climate scientists say the the world is warming and humans are the dominant cause. This doesn’t work on people who mistrust science and academia in general who will refuse to think that this is even possibly true due to their own prejudices which are very internal to them.

      It also doesn’t work on anybody smart enough to know the whole “nine out of ten” thing is being manipulated. Which is just about anybody with any brains at all, considering what advertisers do.

      Others in political positions may believe it is possibly true but can’t say it owing to their loyalties and commitments.

      Being semantic manipulators themselves, they know perfectly well somebody’s pulling the wool somewhere.

      Kahan is right that everyone by now knows what nine out of ten experts think, so that piece of information is irrelevant to the debate going forwards.

      What “everyone by now knows” is what the MSM saysnine out of ten experts think,” they’re just smart enough not to trust the conclusions drawn from it.

      The remaining ones who give no weight to this information are not listening to the scientific majority anyway, so other ideas are needed for them.

      Sort of hard to “listen[…] to the scientific majority” when all you have is a few slanted misinterpretations of what the “scientific majority” think.

    • Willard | June 19, 2015 at 1:56 pm |
      Come on, AndyW

      You seemed to be focusing at the last few passes in this sub-thread on my small sentence:
      ‘A consensus is measure of agreement, not a measure of reality.’

      So I merely meant the original point wrt this focus.

      But yes, the wider points stand too. A social consensus is a specific characteristic of cultural entities, and from an evolutionary perspective, it provides the advantage of common action, through belief, in the face of the unknowable. Social consensus is tied into gene-culture co-evolution, and has particular characteristics, b) above, and these are different to a more reasoned, less emotive, consensus about for instance, a science topic encompassing uncertainty, per a) above.

      The Kahan point stands too, while you insist that a reasoned argument supporting the point will not do, but apparently an isolated silver bullet quote will, and hence don’t challenge the point.

  44. Jim D — Has Dr. Curry given a “detailed” list of probabilities? I’m just unaware that she has. In numerous public venues, I’ve heard her say that her “best guess” is probably around 50%.

    • OK, looking back, I don’t think she has committed to either side of 50%, but has denied the possibility of 100%, while Lewis and Curry assume 100% a priori, so it is hard to nail down.

  45. I completely agree with JC’s “…drop the consensus messaging …scientists should make a clear statement about what we understand (know) with confidence, what we think might happen (conjecture, what imperfect models produce), and what the major uncertainties are.” It’s called dealing honestly.

  46. Reconstituted from comments up-thread:

    How many times have we heard it said that, “97% of scientists believe that gravity is what causes loose apples to fall to the ground?”

    And how much did we hear that “gravity is a dangerous problem and we must prevent it by destroying apples”?

    But both “liberals” and “conservatives” have “gotten the memo” that scientists think human activity is causing climate change and that we are in deep $#!+i as a result.

    Part of the problem is the is the assumption that and observation is a problem. There is only two concensuses 1) GHG released from fossil fuels warm the planet and 2) Human activity causes climates to change. The rest is a broad leap into a compost heap.

    • patmcguinness

      Having just read EPA regulations on power plants recently, I found it remarkable the number of referenced governmental reports they used to justify their position and claims. IPCC reports, governmental reports, and even NAS reports. All of these are layers upon layers of verbiage. Yet equally remarkable is how lacking in solidity their justifications are.
      They all hide the truth and the underlying shakiness of the science under pages and pages of ‘we have stong confidence in X’ (where X is based on flawed models with overstated sensitivities, based on emissions projections that will never occur, estimates of CO2 uptake that are plainly at odds with reality, etc.). There’s a sea of verbiage to justify what they are doing, but deep down there is no ‘there’ there.
      The recent Obama administration’s interagency report on claimed harms from CO2 is an egregious example:
      http://www.globalchange.gov/health-assessment
      It’s thick with charlatanism and junk science. Using bad models and flawed projections, adding junk statistics on top, they end up claiming large numbers of excess heat deaths, claiming food production problems (despite record high crop yields, the co2 fertilizer effect and benefits of genetic engineering making things better, we are told things are going badly wrong); beyond that are bogus claims regarding lyme disease or other disease vectors that are results of things far removed from a 0.1C rise in average temps over each decades.

      One example is the assertion in the USGCR: “Future climate warming could lead to tens of thousands of additional deaths from heat in the summer when not considering potential adaptation.” They define harm based on a fantasy that human beings will not adapt to a 0.11C/decade change in average temperature, but in what world do we not see exactly these adaptations? Most of the claimed harms in this long document are based on such equally trivially wrong assumption. A house of cards.
      These exaggerated claims of harm are junk science in service to an agenda, used to generate spurious social cost estimates for carbon, feeding into a regulatory regime. Observers (including Dr Curry) have pointed out, those regulations manage to do very little in terms of actual real climate impact, at a cost that is very large.
      If there was a real significant serious harm, it would expressible in less than 200 pages. If the science were real solid, they wouldnt need the quantities of drivel. I’m reminded of people who try to win arguments or present papers that overcomplicate their results, as a way of hiding and not clarifying what they are saying. Obfuscation is one compensatory way incompetents hide their actual lack of knowledge. The obfuscation and ‘conensus’ of climate change alarmism is hiding a house of cards.

  47. Process/method is the important and only part of science that is relevant, consensus reflects the political part of science and has no standing the scientific method !!

  48. Consensus is simply illegitinate. I am simply against it because it can be carried on in the absence of data or observations. To me what counts is science and you cant do science if you have no data. And you can’t even get data if you depend on that 97 percent to finance your work. That is how science loses and billions are spent on ass-backwards mitigation.

  49. Kahan strikes me as yet another person who accepts the consensus, but is unable to believe anyone could disagree on purely scientific grounds, and therefore casts around for other reasons.

    He also comes across as an Alarmist pretending to be a moderate open to compromise, similar to Ken Rice.

    That might be unfair – because they are unable to grasp that anyone else might sincerely hold ‘sceptic/denier’ beliefs based on actual science, I don’t think they’re pretending to be moderates, they think they really are.

    • In the same way that you aren’t pretending to be a skeptic, you think you really are being skeptical?

      • Yes Ken, although in my case you’re just guessing while for you there’s plenty of evidence.

      • JA,
        That wasn’t my point, although I suspect explaining it would now be pointless. A hint, though: surmising about people’s motive is probably sub-optimal. The advantage, though, is that it can help others to decide whether or not the person doing the surmising is worth interacting with further. The answer to that should be obvious.

      • Ken,

        Yes, I accept your point. Note I phrased everything as solely my opinion. Of course we can never truly know what goes on inside anyone’s head, but their words and actions can suggest clues. I’m sure there are people on the opposite ‘side’ to you that you consider beyond the pale and wouldn’t trust them if they told you the time of day.
        Note that I don’t think that of you.

    • surmising about people’s motive is probably sub-optimal.

      But blindly assuming the best is far worse of course – just plain stupid. Especially when there is obvious vested interest. And a history of unrepentant cheating. Which is exactly the case with government climate science.

  50. The underlying problem is the head-in-the-sand insistance that, given the lack of any repentance or even surprise at the Climategate revalations, climate science today is a field with integrity and credibility in the public eye.

    What is the point of banging on and on about what 97% of a group are saying, when the group is observed to be charlatans ?

    What really needs to happen, instead, is a back-to-basics cleanup of the profession. Sack ‘scientists’ who say things like “Why should I show you my data when I know you’ll try and find something wring with it”, and thinking people will start to heed what you have to say.

  51. One of the historic parts of the climate change debate has been the influence of the internet and how a group of bloggers have been able to upset an entire academic field.

    The response from the academics and from the activists has been surprisingly poor – amateur student politics type responses. Instead of simply standing up for the quality of the academic work and letting the data talk for itself, there have been continual mis-steps in the name of ‘communication’. From 10:10, the name-calling, the initial refusal to share data, attempts to manage the message, and the collection of awful low-grade research papers trying to sell a pre-determined result (Cook and Lewandosky are particularly prominent). By promoting low-quality papers as important, the whole field becomes tainted as accepting of or relying on poor-quality results, and by using childish name-calling the whole field looks childish and immature. The angry-teenager cheap-stunt type approach is a huge fail because it makes the scientists look no better than their detractors and makes it seem that they have something to hide.

    The net result is that high quality research (eg the 20th century temperature record, GRACE, ARGO, improvements to forecasting) gets pushed to the back or ignored or marginalised within the mass of caterwauling about the dross. The lesson from the last ten years should be that the field needs to focus on quality, delivered transparently and with civility despite the brickbats – Richard Betts sets an example of this and there are a handful of others.

  52. This government-funded consensus on climate strongly resembles the tobacco-funded consensus on smoking : both outcomes being predetermined by the overriding vested interest of the funder.

    • I just read it, rather mind numbing. Then I read the excerpts from Carbon Brief, still mind numbing. I wonder if anyone can distill this into something that is impactful to read

      • richardswarthout

        Dr Curry,

        The encyclical is much more than climate change. It is about the human responsibility to care for all of creation; the planet, the poor and sick, and the young. It is a document about morality and moral standards, stuff that liberals usually do not agree with. On climate change it was obviously not fact checked. On this subject it starts with widely accepted notions of pollution and our responsibility to protect the planet, but leaves the track regarding global warming; AGW is a small part of the encyclical, but there is enough ammunition for the cherry-pickers, and it also appears to be a document ripe for equivocaters.

        Richard

    • Message to pope : On Yer Cycle, you oxygen thief.

    • I got about half way through it and gave up. It is a confused attempt to marry Catholic dogma with progressive political and economic theory, particularly a variation on South American liberation theology. There is something for everyone in the parts that I read, but with an overwhelming emphasis on disdain for free market capitalism combined with democratic republican form of government. (His answer to politicians whose constituents don’t favor decarbonization? Ignore them and do it anyway.)

      I read this as Francis’ “Theory of Everything” because he tries to lay out his own arguments regarding not just environmentalism, but labor, business regulation, redistribution of wealth, genetically modified organisms, peak oil, etc., etc.

      One humorous note, progressives who awaited this encyclical with bated breath will be disappointed at the Pope’s argument that environmentalism necessitates opposition to abortion. Not that he makes a good argument for this proposition, but the encyclical does not contain much in the way of good arguments – at least not in the half that I read.

      My church has gone from the brilliance and humility of John Paul II and Benedict XVI to the mundane mediocrity and vanity of Francis I.

    • Re: curryja, 6/18/15 @ 8:56 am:

      I just read it [the Encyclical], rather mind numbing. … I wonder if anyone can distill this into something that is impactful to read.

      The Encyclical seeks

      an integral ecology [which] calls for openness to categories which transcend the language of mathematics and biology, and take[] us to the heart of what it is to be human. P. 3/69

      Immanuel Kant teaches transcendence in the context of knowledge, faith, and morality. He is famous for his Critique of Pure Reason, “Kritik der reinen Vernunft”, which might have been better translated into a Criticism of Metaphysics, applying Kant’s use of pure to mean free from the taint of anything empirical. He explined:

      I have therefore found it necessary to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith. The dogmatism of metaphysics, that is, the preconception that it is possible to make headway in metaphysics without a previous criticism of pure reason, is the source of all that unbelief, always very dogmatic, which wars against morality. Footnotes deleted, Kant CritPurReas (1787) p. 29.

      Kant did not dismiss metaphysics altogether, but reserved it exclusively to ideas beyond any reach of empirical evidence:

      Finally, we also discern that a certain connection and unity is evident among the transcendental ideas themselves, and that by means of them pure reason combines all its modes of knowledge into a system. The advance from the knowledge of oneself (the soul) to the knowledge of the world, and by means of this to the original being, is so natural that it seems to resemble the logical advance of reason from premises to conclusion. Fn. a.

      Fn. a. Metaphysics has as the proper object of its enquiries three ideas only: God, freedom, and immortality … . Kant CritPurReas (1787), fn. a, p. 325

      The Encyclical widens AGW climatology into its greater context inside its parent, environmentalism, not as facts (i.e., science), but as articles of faith, as isms. The document is an article of metaphysics, not just requiring no empirical evidence, but prohibiting it. And true to that mission, it has none.

      The Encyclical teaches morality. To do what it claims is being or has been done to Earth and life would be immoral to anyone without much of an ethical stretch. What it claims is being done, however, including AGW, is imaginary, full of wide-eyed naivety and devoid of the necessary global evidence, confusing camp fires with holocausts. The Encyclical goes further, seeking to remedy Global Inequality, as if poverty were a disorder on a relative scale. Inequality does not measure the state of poverty, but its variability; it is not an absolute, but a teaching moment. Fortunately for the modern victimology curriculum, AGW and integral ecology are metaphysical, two schools of Post Modern Science, and, in Kant’s doubly hypothecated words, seem[] to resemble the logical advance of science into moral teachings and reason. Remember, PMS doesn’t require its scientific models actually to work. AGW is valid even when its predictions fail.

      Now Kant credits his philosophy to three things: the ancient arts of mathematics and logic, and the intellectual revolution brought by Francis Bacon, whose Novum Organum Scientiarum introduced Modern Science. However, the intersection of the worlds of Modern Science and metaphysics is the empty set, the real and the spiritual. The document is, to use Dr. Curry’s word, conditionally impactful, but scientifically and logically meaningless. In reality, no bridge crosses the gulf.

    • A few of my favorites:

      “This implies a relationship of mutual responsibility between human beings and nature.”

      Yeah…uh…nature isn’t responsible to me for anything.

      “Some circles maintain that current economics and technology will solve all environmental problems, and argue, in popular and non-technical terms, that the problems of global hunger and poverty will be resolved simply by market growth.”

      Francis clearly went to the Skeptical Science School of Straw Man Arguments. I don’t know of anyone who has made either of those arguments…anywhere…ever.

      “If architecture reflects the spirit of an age, our megastructures and drab apartment blocks express the spirit of globalized technology, where a constant flood of new products coexists with a tedious monotony.”

      It’s too bad John Paul II never gave Francis a tour of the architectural wonderlands of eastern Europe before the Berlin Wall fell.

      “Economies of scale, especially in the agricultural sector, end up forcing smallholders to sell their land or to abandon their traditional crops. Their attempts to move to other, more diversified, means of production prove fruitless because of the difficulty of linkage with regional and global markets, or because the infrastructure for sales and transport is geared to larger businesses. Civil authorities have the right and duty to adopt clear and firm measures in support of small producers and differentiated production. ”

      But for modern agribusiness, many more millions of people on this planet would have starved to death, including in the defunct Soviet Union whose enlightened central planning would have collapsed even earlier without regular massive shipments of grain from the horrible capitalist west.

  53. Nature doesn’t appear to be concerned with consensus.

    You may be skeptical about continents moving. You may not believe in gravity. You may be part of a group which believes the Earth is not cooling.

    Facts don’t care what the consensus thinks. They don’t care how elegant or seductive your hypothesis is. Fervent conviction or unshakeable religious belief change facts not one iota.

    If you choose to live a contented life, and accept the vagaries of Nature, it doesn’t really matter whether the Sun is a type G star, with certain properties, or not.

    If it concerns you, by all means feel free to find out more. The Sun won’t mind, I’m sure. Whether people agree with you or not, is not going to change the Sun’s properties, is it?

    Consensus science is generally non science (commonly spelled and pronounced “nonsense”).

  54. if you want sustainable biomass to burn, I would suggest bamboo. There’s no native European species, but it happily grows in the UK and it grows so fast that on a good day you can actually hear it growing. Less of a growth rate, more of a speed….

    If you’re that was inclined, you could also pyrolyse it, to turn it into carbon that you could both bury to sequester and improve soil quality/productivity…

    Almost a win/win kind of situation. It’s not even fussy about the soil that you plant it in.. So it would grow on rough/poor quality ground….

    It is a little invasive, so a little care would need to be taken, but other than that I think it fits the bill. Must be better than shipping pellets of wood around the world.

  55. Oops – Mea Clupa – Posted on the wrong thread – Please Ignore previous comment

  56. or even Mea Clupa – Really not having a good day

  57. Okay – I give up – “Mea Culpa” that’ll teach me to apologise in Latin

  58. David Springer

    Monfort asks who is Popper.

    O M G. Popper is the most recognizable name there is in philosophy of science. You can’t graduate fifth grade without learning about him.

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/popper/

    So what was the highest grade you completed?

  59. “JC comment: Kahan gets it partly right – there are indeed two climate changes. But IMO he misunderstand what they are. There is human caused climate change, and then there is natural climate variability. Farmers don’t care so much about what is causing climate variability change; rather their job is to continually assess weather/climate risks to their crops and then adapt.”

    I don’t think he misunderstood what the two are; it’s just that there is more than one way to divide climate change into two halves. Anthropogenic/non-anthropogenic is a fine distinction, but the one he is drawing is, I think, an important one, and one I have not seen explicitly called out before now. I’m inclined to think he’s right, but consider whether you agree.

    Taken seriously, Kahan is asserting that people purport to believe things that they really do not believe, because purporting to believe in these things places one in a particular in-group. So, for example, some people might profess religious faith, and even go to church on Sunday, yet still not pray. The belief is an affectation, adopted because it defines a social group, but when push comes to shove, this person doesn’t really expect the real world to work the way they say it does.

    This might explain why, for example, famous men can purport to believe they are women. That would appear to be a sufficiently verifiable fact that no one could really be confused about it, yet the phenomenon exists. Or, for those offended by my example, consider the epidemic of men in Africa purporting to have had their genitalia stolen by a witch. Obviously, scientific proof cannot change these people’s minds, BECAUSE THEY ALREADY KNOW THEY ARE WRONG. Likewise, Kahan says, a bunch of people who purport to believe in anthropogenic global warming don’t REALLY believe it–as for example, is revealed by the fact that they do not advocate for many policies that would make sense if they really did believe it. The opposite phenomenon–people who purport not to believe in global warming but actually secretly do–certainly exists, too, though it would be harder to detect, since the free-rider problem and other such market failures would conceal their private doubts about their professed position.

  60. Ravetz conflates science and politics. There is no need by science to make policy decisions, that’s in the political realm. Just because policy decisions have to be made in the absence of solid science doesn’t mean science has changed one whit. It doesn’t need to change.

    If Ravetz would have just stated some guidelines for making policy decisions in the face of uncertainty, there wouldn’t be a problem. But the problem with his “Post-Normal “Science”” is that he put the “Science” there where it doesn’t belong.

  61. Danny Thomas

    Simple question. Exactly, and succinctly, in what does the “consensus” agree?

    Then anything outside that which is defined, is obviously not in consensus and therefore subject to debate is it not?

    “Climate” and it’s components is much too broad of a topic for all to agree about all. Application of the concept of “consensus” is simply a misuse.

    • Danny Thomas,

      The consensus agrees that they are all wonderful, marvellous, magnificent . . .

      You get the idea?

      • Danny Thomas

        Mike,

        My understanding is “consensus” is an indication that global warming is occurring and man is the cause. However, “consensus” is being used as a tool (weapon?) against any who question any portion. Clearly “the consensus” wasn’t even a gleam in it’s daddy’s eye (H/t to Father’s Day) when today’s science is taking place and yet “the consensus” is purported to include that also.

        Science guys should not be considered for most sales positions.

  62. The very fact that we are discussing a “consensus” means that nobody really knows. Could you imagine the discussion of a “consensus” of how much the sun would bend the light of a star during a solar eclipse rather than asking any given one of them and they refer to General Relativity and the answer is the same regardless of whom you ask?

    This is about “gut feelings” and “scientists” game their answers based on political effects they want to achieve.

    • The very use of the “consensus” argument communicates to me that they’re trying to hide something.

      maybe it’s just the way i tick.

    • The very fact that we’re discussing if vaccines cause autism means that nobody really knows.

      The very fact that we’re discussing if homeopathy works is that nobody really knows.

      Etc.

      • So if I am plotting a course to Mars, do I take a “consensus” or do a calculation?

      • > So if I am plotting a course to Mars […]

        If you are plotting a course to Mars, either you’re an engineer or a robot that just woke up.

        If your calculations can’t be shared corroborated by others and nobody gets the same ballpark as yours, either this means there’s a problem with your calcs or you’re the new Ethon Musk.

        In any case, you’re not doing science. Science is about understanding life, the universe and everything, not conspiring a semester on Mars.

    • The very fact that we point out that only a minority of scientists doubt that HIV causes AIDS means that nobody really knows

      • Are there in fact, any scientist who doubt that HIV causes aids? Can you find one for me on scholar.google.com?

        Besides, it is beside the point. Which model is right? Which model uses correct physics? Why do they all disagree if they are all in fact correct? Guesses about how much of the recent warming is natural are nothing but hunches.

      • Here you go:

        Since 1984, when the hypothesis that HIV-causes-AIDS was announced, many scholars have questioned the premise and offered alternative explanations. Thirty years later, competing propositions as well as questioning of the mainstream hypothesis persist, often supported by prominent scientists. This article synthesizes the most salient questions raised, alongside theories proposing non-viral causes for AIDS. The synthesis is organized according to four categories of data believed to support the HIV-AIDS hypothesis: retroviral molecular markers; transmission electron microscopy (EM) images of retroviral particles; efficacy of anti-retroviral drugs; and epidemiological data. Despite three decades of concerted investments in the mainstream hypothesis, the lingering questions and challenges synthesized herein offer public health professionals an opportunity to reflect on their assumptions and practices regarding HIV/AIDS.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4172096/

        You’re welcome.

      • “If your calculations can’t be shared corroborated by others and nobody gets the same ballpark as yours,”

        You mean kind of like climate models? What do I do in that case? Average all the results and climb in the rocketship?

      • “far from being condemned to extinction, competing explanations for, and thorough questioning of the mainstream premise persist. Perhaps better known by the lay public than by health professionals, many explanations are, in fact, attracting a growing number of sympathizers. ”

        I had no idea that people were still publishing this kind of stuff. I stand corrected.

  63. I think that the HIV-causes-AIDS-believing-scientists are trying to hide something.

    • Joshua

      What are you trying to imply?

      a. That only a small minority of scientists doubt that CO2 is a GHG that will impact temperature if the balance of the climate system remain unchanged?

      b. That only a small minority of scientists doubt that CO2 is a GHG that is the primary cause of the climate change.

      Imo, it seems that many that fear the risks of more atmospheric CO2 are claiming that point “b” is true when is isn’t. Point “a” is basically meaningless in regards to the impact on government policy

    • Going for the cheap thrills again, joshie? Just when I was beginning to think that you had been rehabilitated. Pitiful.

  64. why did my comment get sent to moderation???

  65. Mosher: “Facts are uncertain.”

    Sounds like you don’t understand what a ‘fact’ is.

    Andrew

  66. It has probably been mentioned innumerable times before but the argument that there is a Consensus of Climate Scientists who agree with a particular or general aspect of the debate is a form of the “no true Scotsman” fallacy.

    * No true Climate Scientist would disagree with my interpretation of the Summary for Policy Makers.

    * No true Climate Scientist would disagree with the prognostications of the GCMs.

    * No true Climate Scientist would agree there has been a pause.

    * etc.

    * Ad nauseam

  67. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #184 | Watts Up With That?