Ins and outs of the ivory tower

by Judith Curry

This is the strongest, and most cogently made, argument that I’ve seen against political advocacy by academics related to their subject of expertise.

In defense of the ivory tower: why philosophers should stay out of politics

Bas van der Voosen

Abstract. Many political theorists, philosophers, social scientists, and other academics engage in political activism. And many think this is how things ought to be. In this essay, I challenge the ideal of the politically engaged academic. I argue that, quite to the contrary, political theorists, philosophers, and other political thinkers have a prima facie duty to refrain from political activism. This argument is based on a commonsense moral principle, a claim about the point of political thought, and findings in cognitive psychology.

[link] to abstract (behind paywall)

Excerpts:

As I will argue, it is morally wrong for certain academics to be politically active or engaged. In fact, it is wrong for precisely those academics that work on politically relevant topics, most prominently among them political philosophers. For them, the university should become more like an ivory tower, not less.

My aim is to convince you that there are real problems with a number of standard political activities in which many academics do, and think they ought to, engage. Thus, when speaking of political activism, I have in mind things like being a member of a political party, campaigning during elections, making political donations, volunteering in advocacy groups, political community organizing, putting up yard signs or bumper stickers, promoting a political party at dinner parties, generally rooting for one side or another, and so on. As will become clear, the problem with these activities is that they encourage us to think about ourselves in partisan terms. And this is incompatible with our academic professional responsibilities.

I focus on academic political philosophers because they represent the archetype of the case with which I am concerned: those who are serious about thinking through political issues. That being said, my conclusions are not limited to political philosophers. Those who do not get paid to think about politics, and those who are engaged in other disciplines (sociology, political science, economics, gender studies, psychology, and so on), are subject to the same ethical demands.

Academics and thinkers are in the business of finding out the truth about their subject matter. The search for the truth requires that researchers do their best to honestly assess and evaluate all the relevant available evidence. This is true of political philosophy as much as it is true of chemistry, physics, or any other discipline. Thus, Phoebe ought to be open-minded, consider all relevant sides of the debate, and carefully weigh the arguments, pro and con. She should honestly try to find out which normative political principles are true, and which are false. She should not settle for reaffirming how she was right all along.

Political activism violates the professional duty of political philosophers not to impair their ability to seek the truth because it biases their thinking about politics in important ways. Over the past decades psychologists have uncovered many biases shared by people like you and me. These biases commonly lead us to adopt beliefs and commitments on grounds that have less to do with an honest and rational assessment of the available evidence, and more with things such as how well they fit with what we like, already believe, or the framework in which they are presented.

The bias at work here is in-group bias. Instead of thinking for ourselves about the issues, we adopt the beliefs that we think others in the relevantly same group hold. That is, instead of doing the hard work of thinking about a welfare policy ourselves, we use the group’s beliefs as a substitute.

These findings are not just the result of in-group bias. Other political biases strengthen these effects. One is called the affect heuristic or motivated reasoning. This bias occurs when people substitute what they like and dislike for what they believe is true. In these cases, our “judgments and decisions are guided directly by feelings of liking and disliking, with little deliberation or reasoning” . Another example is the halo-effect, which leads us  to interpret facts in ways that make them cohere with other parts of the context in which we are invested.The availability heuristic, third, makes things with which we are familiar seem more plausible. Politically active people tend to have fresh in their minds the solutions proposed by those from “their” side, and this by itself makes those proposals seem better.

The biasing effects of political activism have an important implication for political thinking. Once we view ourselves as having a certain political bend or affiliation, we become invested in that self-image. We come to like the views that we hold, we come to like the people who hold similar views to ours, and these likings negatively affect our ability to honestly and impartially weigh the evidence. Instead of rationally evaluating the case for or against a certain position, we base our views in part on how “our” group thinks, how it makes us feel about ourselves as partisans, and other biasing grounds. Political activism, in other words, biases our thinking about political issues.

The views we adopt in these ways function as starting points for our thought. We attribute some initial plausibility to them and, as such, these views affect our future thinking about this issue. Moreover, because these views are now part of how we see the political or moral universe, they affect our thinking about other issues as well. They become part of the larger context in which we try to fit our theories.

For philosophers, biasing our thinking about such issues on the basis of mere political affiliation violates the demands of professional responsibility. It interferes with our ability to honestly seek the truth about politics. Activism risks polluting our thought and corrupting our findings. Perhaps you think a milder stance is called for. Perhaps philosophers simply have a duty to try their best to avoid or undo their biases. It is certainly true that our biases are not inescapable. We can fight them by actively seeking out dissenting views and opinions, by forcing ourselves to put opposing positions in their strongest light, by actively engaging and talking to those who disagree with us, and by focusing on the strengths of their views rather than their weaknesses.

Certainly philosophers have a duty to try to correct their biases. But it would be a serious mistake to stop here. Avoiding bias is not impossible, but it is really difficult.We are typically biased without noticing it, and we tend to fall back into bias even when we are aware of it. Correcting bias requires active vigilance on an ongoing basis, and this is hard work indeed. Being politically active thus involves seriously exacerbating the risk of becoming biased about political issues. This is the sense in which activist philosophers violate their professional duties. They make seeking the truth about political issues needlessly difficult.

Does not the method of philosophy prevent biased thinking? After all, philosophers have to formulate logically valid arguments and spell out the premises on which their conclusions depend. Unfortunately not. Bias does not just affect the conclusions we are likely to accept. It also affects our assessment of the evidence, and thus the premises we are likely to accept. We evaluate the importance, credibility, and relevance of evidence for and against a certain view depending on whether it supports or contradicts the views we already hold. You are more likely to positively judge evidence that supports views you hold, and negatively judge evidence against it.

For philosophers, therefore, even provisionally adopting biased beliefs is dangerous. Once those beliefs are in place, they become difficult to dislodge. When we (tentatively) take a stand on certain conclusions, we also take a stand on what premises we are willing to endorse as true. Kahneman uses a telling term for this—he calls it the “primacy of conclusions.” For political philosophers, primacy should lie with the arguments. The correct response to this problem, then, is not to invite these biases in the first place. If we have no party or movement that is “ours,” we cannot be biased on the basis of our allegiances. We should replace the ideal of the political philosopher as socially engaged and politically active with another ideal: that of the political philosopher as the disinterested seeker of the truth.

I am urging, then, for a division of labor. It is the job of political philosophers to find out the correct principles for politics. It is the job of activists to implement these. The focus of each should be firmly on their respective tasks. Activists should not produce political philosophy but consume it. Philosophers should produce political philosophy worth consuming.

Engagement

So, does advocacy imply that scientists should not engage with the public and policy makers on issues related to their expertise?  I don’t think that it does.  Engagement without partisanship is the key IMO.

The American Physical Society has a 2008 policy statement Civic Engagement of Scientists.  It is mostly about increasing the number of scientists in public office.  The APS has a new draft statement on Civic Engagement, excerpts:

The American Physical Society applauds its members who have helped to ensure that public policy decisions are informed by sound scientific analysis. APS encourages its members to take advantage of opportunities for civic engagement, whether through public or government service, by providing advice and information to government officials, or by contributing to public debate. APS urges institutions that employ its members to support such opportunities, and underscores the importance of programs that facilitate civic engagement by scientists and engineers, including the fellowship programs of APS, other professional societies, and government agencies.

Scientists and engineers have numerous opportunities to engage at the local, state, and federal levels to help ensure that policy decisions are informed by sound scientific and technical problem-solving, analysis, and advice. Scientists and engineers have already made significant contributions to improving public policy making by serving as school board members, mayors, and legislators; by providing information and advice to public officials and government agencies; by pursuing careers that include government service; and by contributing to public debate and understanding. Most have found that civic engagement has contributed to their professional development, exposed them to the broader implications of their scientific work, and provided satisfaction in their contribution to important policy decisions that shape our society.
Many institutions and organizations value participation by scientists and engineers in the review, analysis, and implementation of public policy. In recognition of this value, these organizations, including the American Physical Society, have created formal opportunities for them to do so.

I find the APS argument for civic engagement by scientists to be compelling.  The honest broker role seems to avoid the concerns raised by Vossen, whereas the advocate role does not.

Wyoweeds

Ok . . . civic engagement.  But what about engagement with industry?  Forbes has an article that makes a strong case for academic engagement with industry  An important public-private partnership is under attack (pursuant to the Kevin Folta saga), raising an important point about the mission of Land Grant universities in the U.S.:

There is a network of “Land Grant” colleges and Universities throughout the US that was first set up in the late 1800s through the Morrill Acts. Their purpose was to focus on agriculture, science, military science and engineering. They became important centers of applied research which has been of great benefit for the global food supply. These institutions have traditionally been part of a synergistic, public/private partnership for the discovery, testing and commercialization of innovations of value to the farming community. They also educate future farmers, the specialized scientists and engineers who become the employees of ag-related businesses, and the future faculty.

The issues surrounding academic/industry interactions are discussed in a remarkable series of posts by Andrew Kniss @wyoweeds:

Excerpts from the third essay:

In my last post, I noted that I regularly collaborate with my colleagues in industry. I don’t think it will surprise anyone that this research is often favorable to the industry. But, in spite of periodic accusations, it isn’t because these companies are bribing me or twisting my arm to get ‘good’ data. There certainly could be some selection bias at work here; funding organizations that share my particular set of ideas and goals will probably be more likely to provide funding for my research program. And I personally can’t rule out some unconscious bias as a result of these relationships.

When an industry source contributes funding to my program, it is because we share a common interest or goal. Therefore, there is typically a two-way flow of information as the study is designed and conducted

Funding dictates which research actually gets done. As a scientist, this is the type of bias that concerns me most; great research ideas regularly go unfunded, while at the same time research with relatively less potential impact is being done. This is not a direct influence of industry funding, but rather a lack of funding (public or private) for potentially interesting work. There is simply not enough money available to fund all of the interesting research ideas in agriculture. No funding, no research.

If I were to shun industry funding in an attempt to become “pure” from an ideological standpoint, it wouldn’t change the fact that there isn’t enough public funding to support all of the work I want to do. So I’d just end up doing less research. And I, personally, don’t see how that would help the stakeholders I’m trying to serve.

The original working title of this post was “Does my funding influence me?” But I didn’t get too far into writing before I changed it to the current title. Because let’s be honest: everyone has biases. That is simply part of being human. The important thing, in my opinion, is not to eliminate all sources of potential bias; that would be impossible. But we can make an effort to acknowledge and regularly examine potential biases, especially our own. It would be naive of me to claim that my funding has no influence over me whatsoever. The scientific literature on funding bias is pretty clear. Medical studies are more likely to find favorable results for a new treatment if the research is funded by industry. Although I’m not aware of any similar analyses of agriculture research, I’d be surprised if there weren’t a similar trend.

So I’ll end this series of posts with a request: please scrutinize my work. I fully expect that people will be more skeptical of my research if it is funded by Monsanto than if it were funded by the USDA. In the minds of some people, the very fact that I receive any funding from Monsanto and BASF and DuPont will make my opinions and my research questionable. And on the other side, there are many folks who become immediately skeptical of any work funded by the Organic Center or Environmental Working Group. But here’s the thing: opinions and research should be scrutinized, regardless of the funding source. Viewing claims and opinions and data with a skeptical eye is what makes science better. If you don’t believe what I say, ask for evidence. Perhaps even more importantly, if you do believe what I say, ask for evidence. Check to see if what I say conflicts with the majority of experts in my field. It doesn’t matter whether I’m funded by Greenpeace or Monsanto, if I make a claim that isn’t supported by evidence, then you should call me out. And this should be done for all experts, not just those you disagree with.

JC reflections

I particularly liked Vossen’s statement:

I am urging, then, for a division of labor. It is the job of political philosophers to find out the correct principles for politics. It is the job of activists to implement these. The focus of each should be firmly on their respective tasks. Activists should not produce political philosophy but consume it. Philosophers should produce political philosophy worth consuming.

In context of the climate debate, this would imply a clear division of labor between advocacy groups (on both sides) and actual climate science.  Instead, we see many climate scientists behaving as policy advocates, with all the attendant biases.

I would like to argue here that we need a division of labor on climate science, along the lines of what was discussed in  Pasteur’s Quadrant.

pasteurIf a scientist is in Bohr’s quadrant (e.g. philosophers, physics doing discovery research), industry funding is unlikely and advocacy/political activism is likely to be a far stretch from being directly related to your expertise.  For example, there is a core group of environmental activists in the American Physical Society, although it does not seem that any of these individuals does research that is directly relevant to environmental issues.

If a scientist is in Edison’s quadrant, their research is defined in context of there being a stakeholder on the other end of their research (e.g. industry or government).  Industry funding makes total sense here, and applied research in this quadrant is evaluated and filtered with this in mind.  We should stop giving grief about this to scientists like Kevin Folta and Andrew Kniss.

Pasteur’s quadrant is the most complex, and this is the one most relevant to much of climate science.  Broad government priorities supply nearly all of the funding, and the government has specific policy priorities behind much of this funding.  There is no clear imperative for either industry funding or stakeholder engagement in this quadrant, and it is rather surprising when there is industry funding in this quadrant (e.g. Willie Soon).  The issue then becomes policy advocacy by scientists working in this quadrant, and I would say that all of the concerns raised by Vossen are very valid concerns for climate scientists working in Pasteur’s quadrant.

In my own case, I have ‘feet’ in all three quadrants:  my textbook Thermodynamics, Kinetics and Microphysics of Clouds sits squarely in Bohr’s quadrant; most of my climate research in Pasteur’s quadrant; and my forecasting work for CFAN is in Edison’s quadrant.  I suspect in the climate field this is not common for individual scientists.  Inferring that industry funding that I receive for applied work in Edison’s quadrant influences my more fundamental research in the other quadrants is just a really invalid inference.

All scientists, as human beings, have biases.  It is our job as scientists (working in Bohr and Pasteur quadrants) to minimize our biases and avoid overt partisanship related to our area of expertise.  The ‘in group’ bias is a very serious one; this is reinforced by the advocacy positions taken by professional societies and the notable advocacy statements by Marcia McNutt (Chief Editor of Science and soon to be President of the National Academy of Sciences).

 

 

440 responses to “Ins and outs of the ivory tower

  1. ResearchGate allows us to confront consensus scientists in ivory towers and controlling mainstream research journals today and most federal research grants:

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281017812_STALIN'S_SCIENCE

    ResearchGate also allows them to publicly respond, if they choose.

    I encourage others to join the effort to expose flaws in science – flaws that may threaten mankind’s very survival if incorporated into public policy.

    • CERN & SCARY APOCALYPTIC EVENTS

      This web site and CERN video show the physics of scare propaganda:

      http://wchildblog.com/2015/09/03/cern-scary-apocalyptic-events-september-2015-high/

    • Since Latour maintains that to make ecological discussions meaningful, nonhumans have to be considered equally with humans will omanuel be demanding theat Researchgate open its coverage to primates, or should it encompass inveribrate bibliographies as well?

      Oreskes contended in Science in 2004 that ;

      ” We must extend Kant’s categorical imperative—to treat humans as ends, rather than means—to the nonhuman world as well. This means taking seriously the interests, needs, and even desires of nonhumans…Who hasn’t heard scientists talk about the crust wanting to move, viruses needing to replicate, and trees striving to reach the forest canopy? So it is not so great a stretch to consciously consider the interests of plants and animals, of the oceans and atmosphere, as well as (not incidentally) the interests of future generations of humans. Indeed, this may well be the only way to counter the ubiquitous tendency of currently living humans to act as if only they existed, or in any case as if only they mattered.”

  2. You just can’t make this up:

    I am an Assistant Professor in the Philosophy Department at UNC Greensboro. My work focuses on questions of political philosophy, primarily about the ethical dimensions of international affairs and the justification of property rights. This coming year, I will spend most of my time writing a co-authored book on humanitarian intervention for Oxford University Press. I am also co-editing the Routledge Handbook of Libertarianism.

    http://www.basvandervossen.com/

    • It looks like both Dr. Curry and van der Vossen, like to engage in a bit of projection and hypocrisy.

    • His C.V., willy willy:

      http://www.basvandervossen.com/cv.html

      What have you got? Sal Alinky U., class of 1967, with BA and BS, in BS?

    • I will say that co-editing a handbook of libertarianism doesn’t necessarily imply advocacy.

      Also, however, that Judith has yet (IMO) to adequately address the subjectivity (and self-serving nature) in how she defines advocacy. Hopefully, I’ll get some time to look at Bas’s definition, and whether or not it would exclude Judith’s advocacy.

      • I’ve defined advocacy many times: Using your expertise as part of forceful persuasion regarding a public policy.

      • Here, Joshua:

        Marcus ends with a good question. What the hell am I doing on a blog with the word libertarians in its name? If political affiliations harm our ability to seek the truth, and seek the truth we must, then am I not being irresponsible as well? And he is right, there is a real risk in this. By self-labeling as a libertarian, I risk becoming biased in favor of certain arguments, premises, and conclusions, and against others. And that, to be sure, is something I want to avoid.

        The honest answer is that I thought hard about it when I was asked to join the blog. (My wife asked the same question as Marcus did when I told her I was thinking of joining.) I decided that there was little additional risk to joining. For one, I have always seen myself as a reluctant libertarian. I grew up a Rawlsian and slowly moved away from those views toward more libertarian views. But I never became an “in the fold” kind of guy. So I apply the label only partially to myself. On the other hand, I am pretty deeply convinced of a number of things that will inevitably put me in a libertarian (or libertarian-like) camp. And this is something I know. So insofar as I do apply the label “libertarian” to myself, joining the blog didn’t add much to it.

        Or so I told myself. But that is, of course, exactly the sort of things that a biased person will tell himself. I am aware of that.

        http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2014/07/why-philosophers-should-stay-out-of-politics/

        Therefore one should stay out of politics unless one advocates for liberty, autonomy, and overall individualism. Paraphrasing, of course.

      • willard –

        ==> “Therefore one should stay out of politics unless one advocates for liberty, autonomy, and overall individualism. Paraphrasing, of course.”

        lol! Thanks.

      • You are publicly trying to shape opinion on both the science and policy with your blog, public speaking, and Congressional testimony. And it is all one sided. You are no honest broker. I would call that advocacy and I think most people would see it as advocacy too.

      • A common mistake is to imagine that if each of us employed perfect reason, we would all agree on every question. Extremely few people are able to accept the idea of a dilemma, what Dr. Curry calls a wicked problem, one that has no right solution. Two perfect thinking machines might very well find themselves in opposite corners of the political spectrum. The real world is a messy, chaotic place.

        Perhaps judges have a duty to lead exemplary lives (although they often don’t); judges have human biases and should recuse themselves when their biases will influence their judgment (although they often don’t).

        Philosophers occupy a special place in the thinking industry. Their job is not to find answers (although they often pretend that they can). Their job is to ask questions. Their job is to deconstruct the arguments of others to examine their validity. Philosophers are allowed to be as political as they like and to examine a question from any viewpoint they may choose. Philosophers have no duty to lead exemplary lives or to recuse themselves on the grounds of personal bias. The validity or not of the philosopher’s argument will soon be made apparent by other philosophers. Philosophers love nothing better than to prove each other wrong.

        Van der Vossen defines the search for knowledge as a Kantian endeavor of pure reason. He thinks that scientists should be more like judges than like philosophers.

        He argues that scientists have a duty to keep themselves clean. (Straw man alert:) They should never smoke dope, have affairs, drive over the speed limit, watch adult movies. Ideally they should have colostomies and urostomies as well so they never have to do anything as unclean as go to the toilet.

        One axis of Dr Curry’s quadrant divides scientists into applied science and pure science. A better watershed in this case might be between those sciences involving ethics and those that don’t. And now we come full circle back to the dilemma. Van der Vossen says that the ethical thing to do is to avoid ethical decisions. This requires scientists to abandon their other duty, as humans, to pursue what they see as the greater good. Which is the definition of morality.

        An ethical argument simply cannot be used to advocate an ivory tower policy.

    • As terrifying as it is, I have to agree with you, Willard. I’d vastly prefer someone admit they’re biased – duh – and tell me which way. I know you are biased, you person-you, so which way? I’d also like to know funding sources rather than be told it doesn’t matter when one is a pure spirit. In a naughty world, I can live with some tilting of the pinball, but I prefer it to be undisguised and without pieties.

      People need to get on with the jobs they’re paid to do…and a political philosopher needs to get on with the sorta-job he probably shouldn’t be paid to do. (Look, he’s not so bad. Didn’t say “epistemic” even once.) I’d rather see them handing out pamphlets at an election than burying their inevitable bias in a cloak of scholarly impartiality. If I know I’m biased and adversarial and admit it frankly I’ve got a better chance of moderating it. And I am biased and adversarial. And I do need to constantly moderate it.

      • Mosomoso,
        ” (Look, he’s not so bad. Didn’t say “epistemic” even once.) ”

        The use of the word “epistemic” is an epidemic endemic to the mileu of the academic. I do not like to use that word, to be member of the herd …

      • Thanks, mosomoso. Bas may have a point, if only as some kind of Jacob’s ladder, by which he would bootstrap himself into his own thoughts and out of the practical world. I just don’t think his empirical evidence leads where he claims they lead. Since I’m reticent to invisible shows of hands, I might be biased.

        You can replace “epistemic” with “knowledge-based” or “knowledge-oriented” at no real cost, JustinW.

  3. Even better:

    http://www.theadvocates.org/tag/bas-van-der-vossen/

    The Internet is making fiction useless.

  4. I’m doing some research on what highly educated, established and qualified professionals in the climate debate have said about Judith Curry. Where does this fall in the quadrant system?

    https://tonyhellerakastevengoddardisnotasociopath.wordpress.com/judith-curry-creating-a-false-narrative-of-the-climate-debate/

    • This falls into the quadrant of taxonomy – partisans in the climate debate getting upset by others scoring points in the climate debate, so they respond by making nasty comments.

    • The most practical kind of politics is the politics of decency.
      – Theodore Roosevelt

    • I love this

      “Unable to debate the actual science behind Mann’s hockey stick graph which is supported by no less than three dozen papers, Steyn-Curry is forced to ride the coattails of third rate showmen like Steyn engaging in cheap publicity stunts to further his career as a polemicist.”

      What “actual science”

      Here is the problem with tonyheller and folks like him.

      1. There are many versions of mann’s Hockey Stick. which one’s is he talking about.
      2. What actual science claims are being made by the various “sticks”
      3. What sticks are they actually talking about?

      Lets take an example following tonyhellers link we get here:

      “Milks has links to three dozen studies that find a hockey stick, as of 2013. Three dozen. (For links to each specific study, see Milks’ post.)”

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

      Three dozen that find a stick. Not mann’s Stick mind you, but ‘a’ stick

      So, read the list Example:

      http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2015/08/36-hockey-sticks-and-counting.html?spref=tw

      vRhodes et al. 2013: Used proxy and instrumental records to reconstruct global temperatures from AD 1753 to AD 2011.

      YUP, that’s write this GENUIS that tontheller cites has mistaken our paper on surface temperatures as a study on proxies and temperature.

      why would tonyheller cite the Appell? and what was appell thnking?
      his list too funny

      • SM, it is not Tony Heller you are replying to. It is to some unknown warmunist that wants to ‘expose’ him. Who only shows up here recently as an evident thread hijacking troll. Probably because a portion (but only a portion) of what Heller posts exposes some big issues the government has to answer for, which warmunists do not want exposed.

      • Judith usually censors my comments anymore, but I’ll try: another hockey stick that just came out yesterday:

        http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2015/09/another-hockey-stick-just-showed-up.html

      • rist.
        i know.

      • David,

        Can you take Rohde off your list, its not a paleo study. it doesnt use
        proxies. and the error bars of thermometers exceeds the error bars of Mann’s tree rings.. fancy that.. ya Osborne complained to Mann about that as well.

      • Steven: I have been looking at Rhode for the last hour. Its Figure 1 (top) clearly shows a hockey stick blade.

      • So does Figure 5, top and bottom.

      • David

        You link to yet another pay walled study. It appears to have been funded to the tune of $368,000 by the NSF which I take to be a govt body which appears to have an annual budget of 7.3$ billion.Is that correct?

        http://grantome.com/grant/NSF/AGS-1304309

        If so, should publicly funded material be available to the public without them having to pay for it again? I have no problems with publicly funded material, just that it is only accessible to a small group of people.

        What proxies were used?

        tonyb

      • Tony: I link to the science that is I know of.

        It’s not my problem if you can’t access it. I don’t like paywalls anymore than you do, but I understand why they exist. I find other ways to get the papers, like writing to an author. In this case, the paper’s PDF was easily found via Google.

      • Three dozen that find a hockey stick. How many that haven’t been refuted?
        This is a serious question. As new hockey stick studies come out, generally McIntyre and company publish detailed critiques on how the new study uses the same data as the old studies, that the statistics are no better, that data was selectively left out that would have led to a different conclusion, that some of the data that was kept has been used upside down… Generally these critiques are not answered. The critique on PAGES2K was answered – by a correction to the paper that disappeared the hockey stick. The correction was not referred to at the site of the original paper, nor did it acknowledge that the hockey stick is now gone.
        So I’m asking a serious question. My impression from the field is that most of the work that has been done is wrong. How much of it actually stands? Three dozen of nothing is still nothing, if not.

      • David read your description of our paper. It’s false. It is not based on proxies. Stop it.

      • Probably trying to boost his site metrics for who ever is paying him. ;)

      • Same flawed methodology to imply same flawed conclusions.

      • David

        In that case you might like to be helpful and tell us what you googled in order to find the pdf?

        thanks

        tonyb

      • “Steven: I have been looking at Rhode for the last hour. Its Figure 1 (top) clearly shows a hockey stick blade.”

        Wake me up once some intelligence creeps into this particular debate.

      • Steven: I have been looking at Rhode for the last hour. Its Figure 1 (top) clearly shows a hockey stick blade.

        Are you being deliberately deceptive or just ign0rant?

        The whole “hockey stick” controversy involves the “Medieval optimum”, between (roughly) 1000 CE and 1400 CE. Rhode et al. just goes back to 1750.

      • M&M shouldn’t have revealed the mendacious mannian method for producing pretend hockeysticks. Since then, every little wannabe climate scientist looking for a rep is doing it.

      • AK,

        “The whole “hockey stick” controversy involves the “Medieval optimum”, between (roughly) 1000 CE and 1400 CE. Rhode et al. just goes back to 1750.”

        Actually it revolves around accurate representation of uncertainty. I don’t think Steve Mc gives a rats arse if there was a medieval whatever.

      • I don’t think Steve Mc gives a rats arse if there was a medieval whatever.

        More ign0rance.

      • The Ocean2K “Hockey Stick” Sep 4, 2015 at 10:57 AM:

        The long-awaited (and long overdue) PAGES2K synthesis of 57 high-resolution ocean sediment series (OCEAN2K) was published a couple of weeks ago (see here here). Co-author Michael Evans’ announcement made the results sound like the latest and perhaps most dramatic Hockey Stick yet:

        Today, the Earth is warming about 20 times faster than it cooled during the past 1,800 years,” said Michael Evans, second author of the study and an associate professor in the University of Maryland’s Department of Geology and Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC). “This study truly highlights the profound effects we are having on our climate today.”

        A couple of news outlets announced its release with headlines like “1,800 years of global ocean cooling halted by global warming”, but the the event passed unnoticed at realclimate and the newest “Hockey Stick” was somehow omitted from David Appell’s list of bladed objects.

      • In making this criticism, I am influenced by my knowledge of the mining business, where promoters are strongly tempted to delay bad drilling results of a program in progress in the hopes that the program gets salvaged by a later hole. For investors and speculators, delayed publication of exploration results are generally a sign of bad results. Influenced by this perspective, I predicted (somewhat acidly) in 2006 that Lonnie Thompson’s delay in publishing Bona-Churchill results indicated that they would not have the Hockey Stick shape of “Dr Thompson’s Thermometer”. They remain unpublished to this day. At the AGU conference last year, Mosley-Thompson’s abstract stated “The δ18O records from the Bona-Churchill and Mount Logan ice cores from southeast Alaska and southwest Yukon Territory, respectively, do not record this strong warming”, confirming my surmise of many years ago.

      • AK,

        “Thompson and Moseley-Thompson say of this data:

        Decadally averaged δ18O histories demonstrate that the current warming at high elevations in mid- to low-latitudes is unprecedented for at least the last two millennia.

        The U-word again. But is there any evidence of this from the Bona-Churchill δ18O history showing unprecedented warming? I can’t see any. Maybe you need to be a dendrochronologist to see it. Again, please note that the question here is not whether there is or isn’t “unprecedented” warming, but whether the Bona-Churchill δ18O history provides any evidence of unprecedented warming? I think not.”

      • @captdallas2 0.8 +/- 0.3…

        I don’t understand the thrust of your quotes. My point (addressed to David Appell) was that using Rhode et al. in any argument about the “hockey stick” was either deceptive or ign0rant, because it goes back only to ~1750, while the major points of contention involve the “Little Ice Age” and the “Medieval Optimum”, much farther back. This was at the core of the original “hockey stick” controversy.

        No matter how much the record of the recovery from the LIA looks like the blade of a hockey stick, if the previous thousand years or so aren’t flat, it isn’t a “hockey stick”.

        My responses to you were addressed to your lack of knowledge of the part played by the “Medieval Optimum” in the whole “hockey stick” debate.

      • Wow – Steve McIntyre on Appell’s 36 Hockey Sticks – devastating:
        http://climateaudit.org/2015/09/04/the-ocean2k-hockey-stick/

      • From David Appell,

        “Steven I have been looking at Rhodes for the last hour. It clearly shows a hockey stick.”

        David better hope his religion has a savior capable of placing scales in everyone’s eyes so they become as blind as the true believers.

        David try reading what Mosher said.

    • tonyhellerexposed | September 3, 2015 at 3:39 pm |

      I was thinking about the lack of decency from your side – the lack of relevant and proper argument combined with attempts to manipulate emotions.

    • It is very telling that when you ask a global warmer “What the difference is between a global warmer and an honest man?”, they tend to respond with a “deer in the headlights” look.

      This is either because of the well documented problem global warmers have with inductive/deductive reasoning or the fact there isn’t an honest man in their circle of acquaintances. Not knowing any honest men they are unfamiliar with their characteristics.

    • Do not leave home w/out
      yr schadenfreude shewing.
      don it like a comfortable
      coat, that schadenfreude
      that keeps on keeping on.

    • tonyhellerexposed is a liar. He makes things up. I wouldn’t trust a thing he has to say, if I were you.

    • As most of what you post fake Tony it falls somewhere between the garbage pail and the toilet.

  5. In context of the climate debate, this would imply a clear division of labor between advocacy groups (on both sides) and actual climate science.

    Ah well, no more WSJ op-eds then I guess, Prof Curry?

    Still, it was fun while it lasted.

    • There are big differences between op-eds like , a take on how settled the science is, and activities like those of Hansen, Holdren, Schmidt and the like concerning consequenl energy policy. The world is greyscale, not black and white. It is a big error to lump all public commentary by scientists into one bucket.

      • Sorry to hear there’s no color in your world, Sir Rud.

        How about Congress testimonies?

      • Willard, you evidence ignorance of the greyscale concept in electronic displays. It applies equally to all colored pixels, governing their relative brightness compared to the ‘black’ matrix background. Max white is produced by max RGB (red, green, blue, those three individual subpixels comprising one ‘viewed’ pixel). As any TV or flat panel engineer/business person knows instinctively. You really should know the common meanings of words before commenting on them and further displaying general ignorance, as well as your extreme topical biases. You would do well to mind Churchill’s dictum that it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than speak and remove all doubt.
        And, as before, a ‘knighthood’ from you is a dishonor to be rejected.

      • David Springer

        It’s spelled grayscale, not greyscale. And it’s exactly that – shades of GRAY ranging from black to white. No color. Amazing.

      • David Springer

        And I have a patent for a power management scheme using cold cathode electron beam flat panels too with 24 references by IBM, Intel, Google, Sun, Sony and Microsoft among others.

        http://www.google.com/patents/US5936608

        So I guess that makes me an expert in the field.

      • I don’t think we should seriously consider that the world is an electronic display or that you see it through one, Sir Rud. You’re not an artificial commenter like the ones Vladimir launches over the Internet to spew his propaganda. Freedom still needs fighters like you. It’s a matter of time, though.

        Meanwhile, let’s add electronic engineer to the self-aggrandizing list of titles. Let’s also add professional karaoke singer, since you piggy-back so well on borrowed talking points to sell your crap,

        So, how about Congress testimonies?

      • @ristvan: You really should know the common meanings of words before commenting on them and further displaying general ignorance, as well as your extreme topical biases.

        Human-perceived colour is three-dimensional, greyscale is one-dimensional. Identifying the latter with the former is the same as being unable to tell the difference between a one-dimensional line and a three-dimensional volume. Who exactly is the ignorant party here?

      • Willard, I was responsible for an over $200 million capital, $50 m per year op cost, over two hundred person Motorola flat panel display intitiative. Drafted, not volunteered. We chose FED because could not come to terms with Kodak on OLED, given the patent situation at that time. Despite a year of futile corp jet trips to Rochester, trying, with gaggles of lawyers, finance types, and deal makers under my supervision. Self aggrandizement? Heck no. Been there, done that. At great ultimate failure cost. That failure was not deemed my responsibility, since ‘volunteered’ to lead a radical corporate initiative. So what? Nobody bats .400 any more. Foregiven by BoD and CEO as a valiant failed effort. And you?
        BTW, I do not do Congress, so am at a loss to respond to your last toss.

      • David Springer

        And today Motorola is a powerhouse in the flat panel industry!

        Oh wait… no it isn’t. Not even listed.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_liquid-crystal-display_manufacturers

        ROFL

      • Rud,

        u done good at moto. just sayin.

        I always just say,, black and white and every color in between.

      • Your credentials don’t help Denizens see your obduracy regarding a simple question in a good light, Sir Rud, whether we’re talking full colors or more than thirty two shades of grey.

        Is testifying to Congress a form of advocacy?

      • Willard: Congressional testimony to explain the science isn’t settled isn’t advocacy. But if you are an extremist using a Gengis Khanid approach to debates, then I suppose any expressions of disagreement with your position is a form of resistance you can’t abide, and you must act to make sure this perceived resistance is futile.

        I see this Gengis Khanid approach being used by types such as the guy who wrote the hatchet job on Lomborg (forgot his name), and etc etc and so on and so forth.

      • > Congressional testimony to explain the science isn’t settled isn’t advocacy.

        Then you should go and correct thy Wiki, Fernando:

        Advocacy is a political process by an individual or group which aims to influence decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions. Advocacy can include many activities that a person or organization undertakes including media campaigns, public speaking, commissioning and publishing research or conducting exit poll or the filing of an amicus brief.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advocacy

        They’re a bunch of watermelons, so good luck with that.

        ***

        Speaking of the Gengis Khanid approach to debate, you might like:

        [T]hose with no special knowledge on the subjects, this amount of rebuttal must seem impressive, just as the lists of notes and references in Lomborg´s books seem impressive to those who do not check the sources. It may be astonishing to some, however, that Lomborg has never ever commented on the most extensive, concrete and precise criticism raised against him, namely that here on Lomborg-errors.

        http://www.lomborg-errors.dk/Lomborgsresponsetocriticism.htm

        The Lomborg Collective’s think tank advocates like any other else, sometimes on the cheaper side.

      • Willard continues his idiocy.
        Why would anyone think that Congressional testimony is in any way objective? The purpose of Congressional testimony is no different than that of witnesses at a trial. The witnesses are legally obligated not to lie, but they are in no way obligated to objective truth.
        All they are required to do is to tell the truth of what they perceive. That is why Congressional testimony, also like witnesses in a trial, are supposed to compose of testimony from all sides so that the jury and/or Congressional committee members may judge for themselves, from the testimony, what the truth is.
        Your one dimensional, ham handed, pseudo lawyer tactics are simply sad.

      • Congressional testimony is invited – I have been requested by decision makers to respond to different issues by providing scientific evidence, arguments and my own assessment. This is a different situation than “a person or organization undertakes including media campaigns, public speaking, commissioning and publishing research or conducting exit poll or the filing of an amicus brief.”

      • > Why would anyone think that Congressional testimony is in any way objective?

        Why would anyone think that this is of any relevance with the issue of advocacy, ticket? Congressional hearings are created for policy purposes. As hard as participants might plead that their own case is special, they ought to know what they’re doing there.

        Judy switched from “advocacy, bad” to “irresponsible advocacy, bad” years ago. We ought to expect Denizens to own Judy’s advocacy. Since Judy only abides by liberty, autonomy, and overall individualism, she can do as she pleases, as always.

        Why settle for coherence when you’re on the ultimate fight for freedom?

      • Willard, you clearly have an opinion that Professor Curry’s views are irresponsible.
        That’s your personal prerogative.
        It is also my personal prerogative to call your actions and behavior reprehensible and wrong.
        I do not consider Dr. Curry’s views that the “science is not settled” to be irresponsible. To me, Dr. Curry’s attitude is far more objective than the attitudes of those who seek to manufacture consent towards a program of massive expenditures which – by the instigators’ own views – won’t do much good.
        The behavior of such agitators as yourself played no small part in my switch from being benignly complacent to the consensus to being a firm doubter of it. That, and actually looking closely at the information at hand as opposed to blindly spouting what others say.

      • > you clearly have an opinion that Professor Curry’s views are irresponsible

        A quote might be nice, ticket. I don’t recall having opined on Judy’s responsibility, except perhaps when she ghostwrited her Russian colleague’s editorial. Even then, it had nothing to do with her views.

        Advocating against advocacy is suboptimal. Try to get away from that predicament by advocating for an Humpty Dumpty definition (an act that goes against Judy’s own concept of responsible advocacy) is even more suboptimal. Handwaving to an argument against advocacy after having “stepped up” one’s activism is more suboptimal still.

        TL;DR —

        ***

        > To me, Dr. Curry’s attitude is far more objective than the attitudes of those who seek to manufacture consent towards a program of massive expenditures which – by the instigators’ own views – won’t do much good.

        Praising the objectivity of an authority whom you agree with is your prerogative, ticket. It’s also cheap and dull.

        More importantly for could follow, you’re handing me the C-l-i-m-a-t-b-a-l-l right in front of your net, for I could dispute that claim. All I would need is to provide evidence that what Judge Judy did on her blog over the years is quite far from being impartial or neutral.

        Hope this helps,

        W

      • > you clearly have an opinion that Professor Curry’s views are irresponsible

        A quote might be nice, ticket. I don’t recall having opined on Judy’s responsibility, except perhaps when she ghostwrited her Russian colleague’s editorial. Even then, it had nothing to do with her views.

        Advocating against advocacy is suboptimal. Try to get away from that predicament by advocating for an Humpty Dumpty definition (an act that goes against Judy’s own concept of responsible advocacy) is even more suboptimal. Handwaving to an argument against advocacy after having “stepped up” one’s activism is more suboptimal still.

        TL;DR —

        twitter.com/nevaudit/status/639892920607342592

        (The “http” has been omitted to appease the “C-l-i-m-a-t-e-b-a-l-l” filter.)

        ***

        > To me, Dr. Curry’s attitude is far more objective than the attitudes of those who seek to manufacture consent towards a program of massive expenditures which – by the instigators’ own views – won’t do much good.

        Praising the objectivity of an authority whom you agree with is your prerogative, ticket. It’s also cheap and dull.

        More importantly for could follow, you’re handing me the C-l-i-m-a-t-b-a-l-l right in front of your net, for I could dispute that claim. All I would need is to provide evidence that what Judge Judy did on her blog over the years is quite far from being impartial or neutral.

        Hope this helps,

        W

      • The primary source of cheap and dull on Climate Etc is your neverending parade of thinly disguised attacks on Professor Curry.
        I do give you props to accusing me of what you do with practically every post: use someone’s pseudo-scientific opinion to justify your own beliefs and actions.
        The sad fact is: you spend ridiculous amounts of time posting thousands of comments in an attempt to discredit.

      • I don’t think partiality ipso facto implies a lacks of credibility, ticket. (For instance, reality has a well-known liberal bias.) Thank you nevertheless for your concerns.

        This rationalist presumption about credibility touches the nexus of this CB episode.

      • Your comments are literally everywhere, it is thoroughly unnecessary for me to quote when so many examples abound.
        And furthermore – I don’t have any issue with people commenting who have different views. Mosher is clearly of a different view, yet the vast majority of his comments seek to inject information into a conversation as oppose to attack.
        You, on the other hand, no such distinction.

      • Rud,

        “nobody bats .400 anymore.”

        I batted over .600 in Bible baseball one year in Sunday school. With a little practice I am sure I can do it again.

      • Willard

        For instance, reality has a well-known liberal bias.

        One-way. Interesting. Liberals don’t have a reality bias.

      • It’s a old joke, mwg:

        If you pick Reason, I pick Reality. Reality’s my personal God.

      • Willard,

        I’d forgotten about that. That whole situation was awkward. But in DC…

      • Is it a Freudian slip that you chose Colbert as an example?
        An individual who purports to be objective, but in reality is clearly biased in a specific direction?
        Whose far more successful counterpart, Stewart, is also has a clear tilt in views yet who has done a very good job of actually picking on the silliness on all sides?

    • richardswarthout

      VTG

      Have you suspended thought? The WSJ article was a discussion of the paper by Judith Curry and Vic Lewis on the transient climate response. It is absent advocacy.

      Richard

      • Research to develop low-emission energy technologies and energy efficiency measures are examples of ‘robust’ policies that have little downside, while at the same time have ancillary benefits beyond reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, attempts to modify the climate through reducing CO2 emissions may turn out to be futile.

        Nope, not even a hint of advocacy. How could I have been so stupid?

      • VTG, the answer to your posted question is you.

      • bedeverethewise

        “How could I have been so stupid?”
        Practice makes perfect and you’ve been working very hard.

    • Willard, I really tried to understand your point. But Failed.
      You want me to comment on others Congressional testimonies? Talk to them, or to their respective Congresspersons. Do your own homework.

      • > I really tried to understand your point.

        It’s a question, Sir Rud. You claim that

        There are big differences between op-eds […] and activities like those of […]

        Under these “activities,” I want to know if you include testimonies to Congress. So writing op-eds is one thing. What about Congress testimonies?

        It is exactly because concepts are not crisp (cf. fuzzy logic, shades of grey, etc) that I’m asking that question.

  6. “Many political theorists, philosophers, social scientists, and other academics engage in political activism. And many think this is how things ought to be”

    many think it ought to be because of the long-standing tradition in the West of politically engaged philosophers and social scientists (going back long before there were academics or social scientists in the modern senses). Niccolò Machiavelli was, in many ways. the model of a politically active philosopher.

    The Enlightenment resulted in part from the work of politically engaged philosophers and social scientists (esp those studying the political economy).

  7. Wyoweeds makes a good point. As a corporate somebody who has sponsored academic research in several fields (semiconductor memory, medical, energy storage) the key thing is high quality. And that is ultimately judged independent of sponsorship, by others. Like users.

    Much (not all) federal research funding carries large bias risks because of imbedded underlying political agendas, independent of advocacy by the researchers. Karl et. al. don’t have to advocate like Hansen did to distort science and policy making.
    Eternal vigilence is the price of liberty. Truer today than when first spoken by Wendell Phillips in 1852. Because there is so much more to be vigilent about, and so many more ways to communicate distortions and half truths. Wrote ebook The Arts of Truth to explore this in some depth, using real examples from medicine and epidemiology, education, energy, climate, nutrition, and similar ‘science fact’ areas with policy implications. What. Has changed in the internet era (Google) is a faster, easier way to fact check. For example, what Breitbart did to easily expose all the misinformation released by Obama’s Alaska trip coverage.

  8. Fabius Maximus : “Niccolò Machiavelli was, in many ways. the model of a politically active philosopher. ”
    Niccolò Machiavelli was, in many ways politically active. But he was after his own goals only. Nothing to do with philosophy, even if he wrote a book.

  9. I don’t think we’re gonna get folk to play their proscribed or prescribed roles
    that would be boring
    the problem in my small mind, is not the scientist who becomes an activist
    but the activist who becomes a scientist
    gets the official stamp of approval
    (self proclaimed experts lack official academic recognition and are therefore sometimes more interesting, trustworthy, and honest IMHO … one of the things I love about the climate blogosphere)
    since we’ve abandoned the teaching of humility, so many educated people seem to think they are obligated to save the world
    these people used to go into the church where someone was keeping an eye on them
    religion is now unfashionable among the elite
    academia provides the new fortified monastery, so that’s where the world savers end up
    science and academia has assumed the social role that religion used to play and that’s why the climate debate so often comes down to a food fight over basic philosophical values
    fact is, some of the worst crimes in history have been committed by those who were sure the were doing Gaia’s work and saving the world
    bring back humility

    for all except me :)

  10. As I have said many times before, the supposed biases that form the basis of this argument simply do not exist. Strong belief is not bias. The weight of evidence is relative to what one believes, not an independent fact about the evidence. Reasonable people can look at the same evidence and come to opposite conclusions. So neither politics nor advocacy are inherently biased. The real problem is an ancient theory of rationality that refuses to accept this reality, which I call the Lockean fallacy.

    • Michael, I’m afraid von Storch lost me at “Scientists are social actors embedded in their cultural environment; they have values and preferences, some have well-meant agendas. They are led by these preferences when choosing their field of interest and formulating their hypotheses, and when deciding if evidence is sufficient for accepting or rejecting their hypotheses.”

      This sweeping generalization of what a scientist is seems to be implying (a) that von Storch would like them to be something else, and (b) that to date scientists meeting his criteria don’t exist.

      While I’m fine with (a), his implication of (b) would seem to suggest that von Storch is guilty of what he accuses his fellow scientists of: his own values and preferences are in conflict with those of some number (a majority?) of his fellow scientists.

      Personally I find von Storch’s generalization insulting. The scientists I take seriously evaluate the data for what it is, not for how well it matches their expectations. I like to think this is how I work myself. Those who judge me otherwise are in my experience those whose expectations disagree with my findings and who are unable to change their expectations in the face of evidence to the contrary.

      The world at large, not just scientists but everyone, divides at the root into two kinds: those that fit their models to the data, and those that fit the data to their models. The difference is that the former base their reality on the data while the latter base it on their preferred understanding of how the world works and interpret the data accordingly no matter what that requires.

      • Hans is speaking in a lingo you dont get.

        translation: scientists are human beings.

      • Hi Vaughn

        Scientists are human is one of the points I make and with which I agree. We can not escape that condition. Also I do not read accusations or insults in Hans’ remarks, but instead read an acknowledgement of what we are. In that light I then I take his suggestions as a effective standard we should strive to meet in our interactions:

        A good step forward would be if we could agree on a norm according to which scientists do not say “based on my science, policy must decide so-and-so” and policy makers do not say “I am deciding in this way because science tells me”. What they should say is “the political decision option so-and-so will go with this-and-that in my field of competence” and “balancing the expected overall consequences with the values of my constituency, I favor option so-and-so”.

        I suggest that the scientific community is trying to follow a sustainable communication between science, public, and decision-makers. That is, that we consider our knowledge as a significant constraint for decision-making and not as the conclusive source for societal decisions. Our knowledge is informing decision-makers about the scientifically expected consequences of certain decisions for some components of the real world. Different scientific quarters provide constraints for different components of the real world. Eventually, however, political decisions are balancing societal preferences and values, and the role of science is and must be limited.

        Regards, Michael

      • Vaughan,

        You might appreciate this counterpoint:

        [S]hould we really adopt what we say if that is useful for the policy process? Is that what you expect from science? If we give advice, that we first think is it useful for something. I think that is not the way we should operate, or if we do that, you should not listen to us.

        http://gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-109hhrg31362/html/CHRG-109hhrg31362.htm

        The problem, of course, is that concerns can be manufactured to exploit that trait.

        To make it into an emotive conjugation:

        I am neutral and non-committing
        You are biased, right?
        He is an irresponsible advocate.

      • That is, to conclude this, climate change science has suffered from limiting action of gatekeepers and the public preference for interesting results. Climate change science should provide stakeholders with a broad range of options and not narrow this range to reduce numbers of options preferred for certain world use.

        I was a bit disappointed about the comment from the lady from Illinois who said aren’t you afraid if you say this that this would have negative implications for the policy process. I mean, is that really–I mean, I was kind of shocked. I mean, should we really adopt what we say if that is useful for the policy process? Is that what you expect from science? If we give advice, that we first think is it useful for something. I think that is not the way we should operate, or if we do that, you should not listen to us.

        ibid.

      • > climate change science has suffered from limiting action of gatekeepers

        Hans must have had Soon & Baliunas in mind when he was saying that, no doubt:

        When von Storch found that some of the other editors thought the Soon and Baliunas paper was acceptable, he “concluded that we have different standards”, and suspected that “some of the skeptics had identified Climate Research as a journal where some editors were not as rigorous in the review process as is otherwise common.”. He felt that “editors used different scales for judging the validity of an article. Some editors considered the problem of the Soon & Baliunas paper as merely a problem of ‘opinion’, while it was really a problem of severe methodological flaws. Thus, I decided that I had to disconnect from that journal, which I had served proudly for about 10 years.”

        Hans von Storch resigned on the same day, 28 July, and condemned the journal’s review process in his resignation letter: “The review process had utterly failed; important questions have not been asked … the methodological basis for such a conclusion (that the 20th century is probably not the warmest nor a uniquely extreme climate period of the last millennium) was simply not given.” Clare Goodess also resigned later that day.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soon_and_Baliunas_controversy

        Denizens may insert their favorite post-normal epilogue.

      • So you drift a little further,Willard. I imagine a number of folks here are aware of a number of stories from that time. My point is I wrote regarding a particular current post by Hans but originally and when replying to Vaughn. You had to go elsewhere and even then provide a less than complete quote–for the sake of your beloved and worthless climatebrawl, obtuse . I simply show the context of your partial quote–concluding remarks on one the presentation slides. Next you go elsewhere and start on a Soon story.

        Here is my quote from your Wikipedia article:

        This page was last modified on 2 September 2015, at 13:54.

        Oh, well at least the approach is predictable. Guess I’ll use my predictable response…zzzz

      • post by Hans but originally and when replying to Vaughn

        ->

        post by Hans both originally and when replying to Vaughn

      • Vaughan

        ““Scientists are social actors embedded in their cultural environment; they have values and preferences, some have well-meant agendas. They are led by these preferences when choosing their field of interest and formulating their hypotheses, and when deciding if evidence is sufficient for accepting or rejecting their hypotheses.”

        Scientists are social actors Embedded. In-der- welt-sein. What’s that mean? It means, that the Ivory tower is an illusion. The idea that you
        can somehow separate yourself or divide yourself from being a social animal who is embedded in the world, is misguided.

        Some kids wanted to be Spock. But even spock has Pon Far

        and well, there is this

        and the ladies man

        Still the ivory tower is a nice ideal. Comes the question, which is more valuable, your humanity or the truth? There is a funny notion that the truth is something a deep thinker finds after a long period of isolation.
        You know the stories. You also know guys still in their mom’s basement.

        The other key element is the decision over whether there is enough evidence. “They are led by these preferences when choosing their field of interest and formulating their hypotheses, and when deciding if evidence is sufficient for accepting or rejecting their hypotheses.”

        You take some data. You fit a curve. The data is explained. Of course it could be something else. Your critics will always point out that it could be something else. Logic tells you it could be something else. So when and how do decide that enough evidence is enough.. the cultural norm of 95%?

        Having observed that the ivory tower is just a metaphor, just an ideal that can’t be achieved, what next? I’m not sure what follows, a descent into raw politics where anything goes? Politics is like wrestling pigs in the mud. Does it follow that I should wrestle pigs merely because the ivory tower is an illusion? Sorry for speaking in metaphors, If scientists should avoid the pig wresting that is poltics can they at least enjoy watching the fights and cheering for their side?

        These are real questions, not arguments disguised as questions.

      • > You had to go elsewhere […]

        I already did when I quoted Hans from his guest appearance during the Barton Hearings, mwg. Only now you seem to have a problem with that.
        Incidentally, the Soon & Baliunas incident supports Vaughan’s criticism of Hans’ socio-pop comment:

        This sweeping generalization of what a scientist is seems to be implying (a) that von Storch would like them to be something else, and (b) that to date scientists meeting his criteria don’t exist.

        While I’m fine with (a), his implication of (b) would seem to suggest that von Storch is guilty of what he accuses his fellow scientists of: his own values and preferences are in conflict with those of some number (a majority?) of his fellow scientists..

        In any case, I quote something that agrees with Vaughan; you quote a bit that echoes “but ClimateGate”. I’m not sure who tried to go elsewhere first.

        Hans’ grandstanding looks less impressive post-CG I-II-III (III is forthcoming), and Denizens need to play his CG performance both ways. A simple consequence of their daily hero worshipping and scapegoating, if you ask me.

        Go team!

      • > You had to go elsewhere […]

        I already did when I quoted Hans from his guest appearance during the Barton Hearings, mwg.

        Precisely. First Willard drift at | September 3, 2015 at 10:57 pm | (Also see below.)

        Only now you seem to have a problem with that.

        ‘Only now’, no. Problem, no. Curiosity, yes. That is why my response was minimal—simply the slightly larger quote from the hearings. I wanted to see (and yes, I admit, try to anticipate) where you might run when you were let out of the house and allowed to play in the yard. That is, I respond if and when I choose. Patience is a virtue. :O)

        Incidentally, the Soon & Baliunas incident supports Vaughan’s criticism of Hans’ socio-pop comment

        The reply from me to Vaughn is essentially that Hans acknowledges the influence of human nature and not expectations of human behavior. It was and is tended as an alternative point-of-view*—something that can be considered. (Steven expressed something similar in four words.) IMO if one accepts this read of Hans’ current post then Soon and Baliunas is not relevant to the post. If one does not accept the read, well sure you or anyone can go anywhere.
        —————–
        * I respect Vaughn’s position. It is read of and reaction to Hans’ comment. Mine is different. I consider neither as Climatebrawl.

        In any case, I quote something that agrees with Vaughan; you quote a bit that echoes “but ClimateGate”. I’m not sure who tried to go elsewhere first.

        LMAO. Such feigned innocence, Willard. You are ever running your fog machine. Let me help. The determination is not difficult. As noted above, you did. I simply used the material to which you linked. Pretty simple, huh? Fog.

        Hans’ grandstanding looks less impressive post-CG I-II-III (III is forthcoming), and Denizens need to play his CG performance both ways. A simple consequence of their daily hero worshipping and scapegoating, if you ask me.

        Shots fired into the fog. [Hmmm, five words.]

        Later.

        mw

      • > Curiosity, yes.

        Somehow, mgw, your

        So you drift a little further,Willard. I imagine a number of folks here are aware of a number of stories from that time. My point is I wrote regarding a particular current post by Hans but originally and when replying to Vaughn. […] You had to go elsewhere and even then provide a less than complete quote–for the sake of your beloved and worthless climatebrawl, obtuse

        does not sound like curiosity to me at all. I also think that my quote was more relevant to Vaughan’s point than your expansion of it. For the purpose of showing Hans entertaining scientific objectivity, my quote was more than enough.

        ***

        > I wanted to see (and yes, I admit, try to anticipate) where you might run when you were let out of the house and allowed to play in the yard.

        Strategical thinking is required to play C-l-i-m-a-t-e-b-a-l-l.

        Now you know that one does not simply whine about lichurchur gatekeeping and praise von Storch in the same Mordorian sentence.

        ***

        > Such feigned innocence.

        Were I to feign innocence, I’d talk about curiosity and try to distance myself from “climatebrawl,” mgw.

      • @several: …scientists are human beings…

        This point is just as true when they graduated from their doctoral program as when they graduated from high school. What I find insulting about this point is its implication that between those two events scientists learned nothing about critical evaluation of scientific claims, and that they cannot be trusted to perform such evaluations any better than the average person in the street.

        I am not claiming that scientists are perfect, only that they have been trained to think like scientists. This ability is not acquired overnight. Moreover they may get better at it over the years, or worse at it, and some may never be much good at it. One cannot generalize to all scientists as being equally competent at evaluating scientific claims.

      • David Springer

        http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/stories/2006-09-19/scientists-are-born-not-madebusinessweek-business-news-stock-market-and-financial-advice

        Can you recall a time when you didn’t think like a scientist? Scientists are born not made.

      • Willard

        I also think that my quote was more relevant to Vaughan’s point than your expansion of it.

        I expect that you do. Our reads are different and so I do not. That will not change.

        > I wanted to see (and yes, I admit, try to anticipate) where you might run when you were let out of the house and allowed to play in the yard.
        Strategical thinking is required to play C-l-i-m-a-t-e-b-a-l-l.

        Climatebrawl? Na-a-aw, not interested. I don’t play that game and I have need to keep any scores. My anticipating where you might go does not mean that I am concerned about where you go; it means I am interested in seeing how well I can predict where you go. I consider interaction with you to have a certain Markov flavoring. Then again maybe I am just collecting more observations for a WILLARD BEHAVIOR MATRIX™.

        > Such feigned innocence.

        Were I to feign innocence, I’d talk about curiosity and try to distance myself from “climatebrawl,” mgw.

        Well…

        I’m not sure who tried to go elsewhere first. …IMO feigned innocence. There ain’t no flies on you Willard.

      • > I don’t play that game

        Of course not:

        Curiosity, yes. […] I wanted to see (and yes, I admit, try to anticipate) where you might run when you were let out of the house and allowed to play in the yard.

        https://judithcurry.com/2015/09/03/ins-and-outs-of-the-ivory-tower/#comment-729112

        Doubling down after playing many C-l-i-m-a-t-e-B-a-l-l moves may not be the best way to show a disinterest in C-l-i-m-a-t-e-B-a-l-l, mgw.

        ***

        > and I have [no?] need to keep any scores.

        Of course not:

        It [The link, Willard’s, climbitbull contrarian matrix has nothing to do with any thing either the GCMs or decision making aspects touched on] actually had something with when you tried to make it about me, mwg. Do you want me to trace back how the ClimateBall exchange evolve or are you able to recall the concerns you’re raising from one comment to the next?

        It would be suboptimal to conflate ClimateBall and the Contrarian Matrix in the middle of clarity testing, BTW.

        https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/08/05/its-more-difficult-with-physical-models/#comment-60509

        Making physical plays may not be the best way to show a disinterest in C-l-i-m-a-t-e-B-a-l-l, mgw.

      • > I don’t play that game

        Of course not:

        Curiosity, yes. […] I wanted to see (and yes, I admit, try to anticipate) where you might run when you were let out of the house and allowed to play in the yard.

        https://judithcurry.com/2015/09/03/ins-and-outs-of-the-ivory-tower/#comment-729112

        Doubling down after hammering many C-l-i-m-a-t-e-B-a-l-l moves may not be the best way to show a disinterest in C-l-i-m-a-t-e-B-a-l-l, mgw.

        ***

        > and I have [no?] need to keep any scores.

        Of course not:

        It [The link, Willard’s, climbitbull contrarian matrix has nothing to do with any thing either the GCMs or decision making aspects touched on] actually had something with when you tried to make it about me, mwg. Do you want me to trace back how the [C-l-i-m-a-t-e-B-a-l-l]exchange evolve or are you able to recall the concerns you’re raising from one comment to the next?

        It would be suboptimal to conflate [C-l-i-m-a-t-e-B-a-l-l] and the Contrarian Matrix in the middle of clarity testing, BTW.

        https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/08/05/its-more-difficult-with-physical-models/#comment-60509

        Making physical plays may not be the best way to show a disinterest in C-l-i-m-a-t-e-B-a-l-l, mgw.

      • Climatebrawl is not the only game that employs a hammer. You really should sit out a little…a pyramid hat is not a helmut.

      • Response within expectations–there ain’t no flies on me either, Willard. But you know, there is no traction for either of us. I’ve figured out the matrix. It is a null matrix. Thanks, for the electrons, Judith.

      • Every time I look at this post there is a new bunch of boring silly-willy comments. What are you trying to do, willy? It’s the same old predictable, overwrought claptrap. You are the only one keeping score in the little game you play. Why not just declare yourself the winner and give us all a break?

      • Don Monfort,

        Sorry to facilitate, Don. That I expect is my last experiment. I am now going to work within a ‘Willy rule’: a maximum of two responses. Thank you for your patience as I worked through it.

      • Willard, perhaps you could say a little about how you see climateball differing from tobaccoball, or evolutionball, or heliocentrismball.

        When played on ATTP’s blog while you were filling in as moderator when ATTP was away briefly, climateball quickly grew tiresome. That Judy and Ken are on opposite sides of the climate debate seemed to make no difference in that respect.

      • I have yet to figure out what the heck ClimateBall is; all I know is that talking about it seems incomprehensible nonsense. Which is why I have been deleting ClimateBall references.

      • ClimateBall ™ simply refers to the way people argue in climate blogs.

        the moves are simple and predictable

      • > I have yet to figure out what the heck [C-l-i-m-a-t-e-B-a-l-l] is.

        A blast from the past:

        Willard, thanks for this, until now i’ve had no idea what the heck you were talking about re ‘[C-l-i-m-a-t-e-B-a-l-l]’

        https://judithcurry.com/2015/03/29/blog-topics-discussion-thread/#comment-688618

        Cf.

      • It’s just willyball. It’s not a new dance step that’s sweeping the nation. It’s just silly-willyball. Ignore it and it will go away.

      • It’s just willyball.

        It’s a straw squirrel.

        Played, and pointed to, for the benefit of casual visitors, hoping to convince them that the entire debate over climate change, and policy pertaining thereto, is nothing more than:

        an highly adversarial and competitive kind of conversation where each party tries to create the impression on the part of an attending audience that it is he who is the most clever and skilful discussant, in a shared attempt to settle upon an appropriate intellectual hierarchy between the participants.

      • Judith,

        Some people asked me what was ClimateBall ™. The simple answer is the same as CalvinBall:

        People have asked how to play Calvinball. It’s pretty simple: you make up the rules as you go.

        https://climateball.wordpress.com/about/

        In a practical, functional sense it is a means of disrupting threads and blogs. A commenter does not have to play CB but [s]he does need to deal with it. That aspect makes AK’s definition superficial. (No offense to AK intended.) Don says ignore it and it will disappear. Ignoring it handicaps any commenter. Responding in any form deteriorates the blog post–after all ‘the only losing move is not to move*’, i.e., the ‘game’ and disruption continues. In that respect CB is an insidious concept. Pick you poison or even use a mix.
        ————-
        There is no winning move in the ‘game’, only continuation.

        It reminds me of this well known variant of the laws of thermodynamics:

        There is a game.
        You can’t win.
        You cant break even.
        You can’t get out of the game.

        Of course you can get out of or even avoid the ‘game’ but at a cost in the bigger (comment) game. Interesting.

      • > In a practical, functional sense it is a means of disrupting threads and blogs.

        This presumes that threads and blogs don’t play C-l-i-m-a-t-e-B-a-l-l, which is far from being obvious in principle, and falsified by this very post and this very comment thread.

      • Why do you keep harping on this foolishness, willy? You know that Judith doesn’t like it. You are very deliberately disrespecting her attempts to clean up her house. That is insulting to your gracious hostess, willy.
        did you put up with this kind of crap when you were moderating kenny’s lonely blog? Can you tell us why you shouldn’t be put in the moderation cage here, willy?

      • That aspect makes AK’s definition superficial. (No offense to AK intended.)

        None taken. But whether it’s “superficial” depends on your perspective towards motivation. It isn’t just about “disrupting threads and blogs.” It’s specifically about “disrupting threads and blogs” where casual visitors might otherwise learn something useful about the climate “debate”.

        Consider, Willie-poo comes in with a l1e:

        This presumes that threads and blogs don’t play C-l-i-m-a-t-e-B-a-l-l, which is […] falsified by this very post and this very comment thread.

        “You’re playing CB, so can I.” Followed by disruption intended to lose any casual visitor in a tangle of incomprehensible dialectic, rather than actual discussion of the point being raised.

        Of course, real discussion about relationships between “advocacy”, however defined, and unintended bias aren’t “ C-l-i-m-a-t-e-B-a-l-l,” but the vast majority (AFAICT) of commenting by CAGW/Alarmists here appears to be nothing but intended to pollute real discussion with noise. Noise that will drive away casual visitors. Because when casual visitors actually see valid discussion of relevant points, they might learn something contrary to the warmunist agenda.

        C-l-i-m-a-t-e-B-a-l-l,” is just their rationalization (one of them) for “disrupting threads and blogs” while claiming they’re not.

      • > real discussion about relationships between “advocacy”

        AK doesn’t always rely on true Scotsmen, but when he does it’s to beg the question.

        ***

        > Can you tell us why you shouldn’t be put in the moderation cage here,

        Don Don plays the ref yet again.

      • AK doesn’t always rely on true Scotsmen, but when he does it’s to beg the question.

        Look! A squirrel! A true straw squirrel!

      • AK. I appreciate the additional remarks. It filled in some of my omissions /brevity very nicely. Thanks.

        Don. It was not the most pleasant exercise but IMO needed and worth it.

        Judith. Quite simply, the picture has been painted.

      • The picture would not be complete without this fascinating bind:

        (B1) It’s the same old predictable, overwrought claptrap.

        (B2) I consider interaction with you to have a certain Markov flavoring.

        Considering that Markov processes are hard to predict, this leads to an interesting tactic:

        A double bind is an emotionally distressing dilemma in communication in which an individual (or group) receives two or more conflicting messages, and one message negates the other. This creates a situation in which a successful response to one message results in a failed response to the other (and vice versa), so that the person will automatically be wrong regardless of response. The double bind occurs when the person cannot confront the inherent dilemma, and therefore can neither resolve it nor opt out of the situation.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_bind

        This tactic is quite common in CB.

      • The sound of one hand clapping:

      • Dr. Pratt started this thread and you mucked it up, willy. Did you notice that Dr Pratt observed:

        “When played on ATTP’s blog while you were filling in as moderator when ATTP was away briefly, climateball quickly grew tiresome.”

        There you have it from one eminent emeritus Prof., who doesn’t have an ace to grind with you. Dr. Judith Curry has made it plain she doesn’t like your game. She runs this blog. Yet you persist with your disrespectful self-gratifying foolishness. Grow TF up, willy.

      • Michael, I found von Storch’s premise that scientists formulate their hypotheses based on their “values, preferences and well-meant agendas” patronizing, and stopped at that point. But since you had no problem with it I’ve since read further in case the rest was better.

        Unfortunately it only gets worse. His polarization of society into the scientists and the policy makers is a simplistic caricature of reality. Although he does not mention the IPCC by name, he would have you believe that their periodically released reports constitute scientists trying to impose policy where they’re not wanted. This misrepresents three things.

        1. The IPCC reports were commissioned in 1988 not by scientists but by the member countries of the UN concerned about climate. For the relevant scientific expertise the governments turned to the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme. In December 1988 the General Assembly of the UN endorsed the IPCC in Resolution 45/53, whose text (about 40% longer than von Storch’s statement) can be seen at

        http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/43/a43r053.htm

        2. The reports address not one but three questions about climate. what is happening (the physical basis), how will it affect society and nature (impacts), and what can or should be done about it (mitigation). These questions are addressed separately by three working groups, respectively WG1, WG2, and WG3, directly involving over 2,000 scientists from over 150 countries, with a great many more contributing indirectly by their comments or by their research cited by the reports.

        3. The IPCC neither carries out research nor monitors climate data. What it does is to summarize the huge body of relevant published scientific and engineering research in a form usable by the governments who commissioned it. By ignoring the distinction between the reports and the research on which it is based von Storch subscribes to the fiction of scientists gratuitously meddling in policy.

        I agree with von Storch’s point that scientists may not always live up to the ideals he would like to see. What I don’t agree with is his implication that the many thousands of scientists working in geophysics, biology, engineering, and other subjects on whose research the IPCC report is based are worse in that regard than scientists in other fields. This low opinion of them appears to be largely confined to those seeking for whatever reason to dispute the IPCC’s summarized answers to the three questions, who as far as I’m aware are the only ones claiming to have evidence for that opinion.

        As I said, von Storch does not specifically name the IPCC. However if his criticism was not directed to it then it is misplaced, since the commissioning governments have their hands full reading and understanding the IPCC reports they requested and do not have the resources to be influenced by whatever contributions to policy he has in mind if not those of the IPCC.

        If he has in mind the mainstream media then his quarrel is with it, not with the scientists cherry-picked by the MSM to make whatever policy point their editors want the public to accept.

      • Vaughan’s interests are different than mine, everybody’s free to wear sunscreen, and you’re not the sheriff in this town, Don Don.

        SInce you defer to Vaughan’s opinion, perhaps you ought to address a point that pertains to at least 97% of your comments:

        [H]ave you considered making your arguments more convincing by omitting the insults?

        If your strongest argument is an insult, you don’t really have much to go on, do you.

        https://judithcurry.com/2015/09/03/ins-and-outs-of-the-ivory-tower/#comment-729227

        Not only AK externalizes a sublime slap, you follow up with the manipulative control that merited your title. Can you imagine a more fascinating way to deflect any CB responsibility?

      • I am growing very tired of the bickering about personalities. I will start deleting comments that don’t make some sort of substantive comment on the news items.

      • I never intend insults to be arguments, willy. Now let’s move on. Judith is tired of this foolishness. Please respect her wishes and don’t talk about your game, anymore. It just causes distraction and disruption.

      • Hi Vaughn,

        Regarding:

        His [von Storch’s] polarization of society into the scientists and the policy makers is a simplistic caricature of reality.

        The word ‘polarize’ does not appear in the text. But certainly there are other ways to express the same idea, so does the author caricature reality as you state? In my opinion the answer is no. Here is why. In the text von Storch states

        For improving the relationship between science and policy, it is needed that science is re-scientized and policy is re-politicized. The specific characters of the two societal actors, science and policy, need to be determined and agreed upon – in a societal decision process.

        Here he identifies the two societal actors science and policy as being in a relationship that needs improvement. These are abstract entities, fields of endeavor. There is no indication that there is polarization between science and policy–improvement is relationship can mean a lot of things. There is not any indication of scientists against policy-makers in his discussion and his problem statement admits individual composites of all flavors of science views and policy views. Finally, it is important to note that this problem statement in no way restricts the society to two groups, scientists and policy-makers. To me this is evident for example in the discussion on the capital of science which in fact acknowledges public participation.

        Given this and the fact the IPCC is not mentioned, for now I will not consider IPCC, i.e., there are no see-able constraints placed on the IPCC or any other body. This of course includes the commissioning governments and the mainstream media.

        So Vaughn that is my perspective. Have a good holiday.

        Michael

      • @mwg: Here he identifies the two societal actors science and policy as being in a relationship that needs improvement

        His proposed improvement to that relationship is to “re-scientize science and re-polticize politics”. By ignoring the IPCC you are both pretending that the IPCC wasn’t structured in 1988 to accomplish just that.

        If you know of a better way to “re-scientize science and re-polticize politics” I for one am all ears. If you don’t want to do it at the level of the UN General Assembly, at what level would you prefer?

      • Further to the above, the IPCC creates an arms-length relationship between science and policy. In that relationship scientists are free to publish their results without pressure from the policy makers, while the policy makers are free to interpret those results compatibly with economic feasibility etc.

        Now it is often argued that the policy-makers pressure the scientists. Without entering into that debate, what would you do to reduce that pressure, while still permitting the original goals of the IPCC to be met?

      • His proposed improvement to that relationship is to “re-scientize science and re-polticize politics”. By ignoring the IPCC you are both pretending that the IPCC wasn’t structured in 1988 to accomplish just that.

        Actually, the IPCC was structured specifically to “polticize” science. It’s an open secret, especially given the wording of its charter. AFAIK, it’s also intended to “scientize” politics.

        Thus, getting rid of the IPCC would be a very good step towards “re-scientiz[ing] science and re-polticiz[ing] politics”.

        If you know of a better way to “re-scientize science and re-polticize politics” I for one am all ears.

        You want answers? Well, it’s a hard problem to solve, but basically politics should rely on the best approximation of facts that science can supply, while relying on advice from both within and outside of science in what questions to pose to “science”.

        The big problem with the IPCC is that the question posed was ill-framed: “how (and how much) are humans damaging the climate and what can we do about it?” It began with the assumption that the “climate” was reasonably optimal absent human “damage”, didn’t actually define the word “damage” (or equivalent, I’m paraphrasing here), and began with the assumption that the “answer” involved changing “human behavior” to mitigate the “damage”.

        In fact, the whole thing is completely consistent with a socialist/watermelon conspiracy to use “climate change” as a stalking horse to end the Industrial Revolution. Which is why so many people see such a conspiracy.

        Of course, “completely consistent” isn’t proof, no matter how often CAGW “climate science” tries to use it as such. But the shoe kicks a different rump when it’s on the other foot, doesn’t it?

      • Interestingly, given the subject of Hans’ post:

        “In environmental sciences, exploiting scientific understanding as key argument for specific decisions is common in recent decades, with the effect that the public is getting “resistant” to the cacophony of newest scientific claims that this-or-that catastrophic development if this-and-that is not done. In effect this is the expected result of an unsustainable use of the capital of science.”

        So we see his acceptance of a cause and effect as proven, yet no evidence provided. Where is his evidence of this longitudinal effect that Hans speaks of (as indicated by the verb tense of “is getting…”)?

        Perhaps, just perhaps, as a careful scientist who thinks that scientists should be careful about allowing partisan biases to influence their public engagement on topics beyond their direct area of expertise, Hans has made a rather ironic error. He sees an effect, doesn’t empirically show that the effect exists, and then allows opinion to be confused for fact as to what the cause of this putative effect is. In fact, since the effect (an increase of “resistance”) is, in his logic, the only form of proof of the cause provided…I would even wonder if he can show an increase in the cause…let alone an increased effect as the result of the increased cause.

      • Another slice – for the UK:

        https://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/3357/Public-Attitudes-to-Science-2014.aspx#gallery%5Bm%5D/0/

        “The study shows that the UK public are as enthusiastic about science as they ever have been, with attitudes to science having come a long way over the past 25 years:
        More now agree that “it is important to know about science in my daily life” (72% agree, versus 57% in 1988).
        People are now more comfortable about the pace of change – just a third (34%, versus 49% in 1988) now agree that “science makes people’s lives change too fast”.”

      • BTW –

        Interestingly, given Hans’ assumptions about the cause of “resistence”: From the UK study:

        “I would like scientists to spend more time discussing the social and ethical importance of their work with the general public [agree].”

        =

        68%

        ——————

        Scientists spend too little effort into informing the public about their work [agree]”

        =

        58%

      • So we see his acceptance of a cause and effect as proven, yet no evidence provided. Where is his evidence of this longitudinal effect that Hans speaks of (as indicated by the verb tense of “is getting…”)?

        I’d call it “nitpicking” except it’s not. It’s actually a form of straw man argument.

        In fact, what “Hans” is doing is a standard form of rhetoric, often found in Aristotle: he’s stating a premise that he expects his audience to agree with, then using it as input to a logical development.

        This is a standard form or real communication. (I use it frequently here.) As long as my audience agrees with the premises they will likely follow to, and agree with, the conclusions.

        Of course, an opponent can question those supposedly shared premises. That’s a valid question. But when you try to demonstrate that they haven’t been “proven”, you’re just setting up a straw man. Or, really, a “straw squirrel” (as in “look! A squirrel!”) That is, you’re just wasting people’s time and attention with a worthless diversion.

        So isexploiting scientific understanding as key argument for specific decisions” “common in recent decades, with the effect that the public is getting “resistant” to the cacophony of newest scientific claims that this-or-that catastrophic development if this-and-that is not done”? Judge for yourself. The audience is invited to. If so, does it follow that “[I]n effect this is the expected result of an unsustainable use of the capital of science”? Judge for yourself. The audience is invited to. If so, you are then invited to follow the remainder of the logical argument based on these premises.

      • @AK: It began with the assumption that the “climate” was reasonably optimal absent human “damage”

        Quite right. During the past million years CO2 fluctuated between 180 ppmv and 300 ppmv, with the former figure associated with glaciations and the latter with deglaciations. The last time CO2 hit 400 ppmv was during the mid-Pliocene several million years ago, when sea levels were some 10-20 m higher than presently (20 m is the prevailing estimate, 10 m is a very recent 2015 estimate by two Stanford Ph.D. students in our Earth Sciences school). Currently the atmosphere is going past that benchmark at a rate of 260 ppmv/century, with RCP8.5 (“business as usual” as some like to call it) forecasting a rate of increase of over 900 ppmv/century within the next 60 years.

        Based on the existing understanding of the impact of CO2 on surface temperature, the United Nations were rightly concerned that such an unprecedented rate of increase of CO2 might pose a threat to both society and nature.

        You appear to be proposing to ignore this threat as nonexistent. In my eyes that makes you irresponsible regarding the fate of the planet. You and I won’t be around to see how that turns out, so you can afford your complacency. I don’t see it that way.

      • The last time CO2 hit 400 ppmv was during the mid-Pliocene several million years ago, […]

        Maybe. Given that Salby’s effort to challenge the consensus on this point was sabotaged using bureaucratic hooliganism, I’m somewhat skeptical. But let’s assume you’re right, just for the sake of argument.

        Based on the existing understanding of the impact of CO2 on surface temperature, the United Nations were rightly concerned that such an unprecedented rate of increase of CO2 might pose a threat to both society and nature.

        They then elaborated that “concern” into a massive (attempted) power grab based on dodgy “science”.

        You appear to be proposing to ignore this threat as nonexistent.

        Indeed not! In fact, the latest IPCC “projections” suggest there’s plenty of time for BAU technological development to come up with good solutions to the problems.

        However, I’m actually worried about the risk of sudden, “non-linear” changes, so I support any action that can be taken without creating a worse risk from:

        •       some sort of world-spanning bureaucracy with significant enforcement powers, or

        •       any significant increase in the cost/price of energy or other development that threatens the progress of the Industrial Revolution.

        In my eyes that makes you irresponsible regarding the fate of the planet.

        And in my eyes, your refusal to acknowledge any solution to the fossil carbon problem that doesn’t advance the Socialist agenda as “doing anything” makes you a worse threat to humanity than anything the climate could do.

      • Thanks for your assurance, doc:

        “Further to the above, the IPCC creates an arms-length relationship between science and policy. In that relationship scientists are free to publish their results without pressure from the policy makers, while the policy makers are free to interpret those results compatibly with economic feasibility etc.”

        We don’t have to worry about that anymore.

      • @DM: We don’t have to worry about that anymore.

        Lifting quotes out of context (my second paragraph) again, Don?

        How about addressing my second paragraph?

      • @DM: I never intend insults to be arguments

        Outstanding, Don. :) Anyone else? Peter Lang?

      • stevenreincarnated

        VP says: “The last time CO2 hit 400 ppmv was during the mid-Pliocene several million years ago, when sea levels were some 10-20 m higher than presently…”

        Climate scientists say: :”

        “In addition to the above experiment, several simulations were conducted using increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide; higher CO2 amounts have also been proposed as a potential cause of the warmer Pliocene climates (Crowley, 1991). Rind and Chandler, (1991) pointed out that SST patterns such as the one seen in the Pliocene are inconsistent with CO2 generated warming, however, it is possible that some combination of CO2 increase and ocean heat transport change could have resulted in the warmer Pliocene surface temperatures.”

        I especially like the part about the warming being inconsistent with CO2 generated warming.
        http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/1994/of94-023/16_Chandler.html

      • Your second paragraph wasn’t interesting, doc. But I will apologize for whatever it is you are complaining about, because I like you.

      • @stevenreincarnated: I especially like the part about the warming being inconsistent with CO2 generated warming.

        Quite right, SRI. The idea that a mere 400 ppmv of CO2 could explain a sea level rise of 20 m back in the Pliocene several million years ago is a very tall order. 10 m is a lot more plausible.

        What would you expect when CO2 hits 1000 ppmv in 2100?

      • David Springer

        Vaughn Pratt writes about sea level being 10-20 meters higher a few million year ago when CO2 level was 400ppm.

        Well Vaughn, in the Eemian interglacial just 130,000 years ago sea level was 10-20 meters higher with CO2 level at 280ppm.

        The two observations taken together would seem to indicate no connection between elevated sea level and elevated CO2 level.

        But you knew that already didn’t you?

      • David Springer

        Vaughn Pratt writes about sea level being 10-20 meters higher a few million year ago when CO2 level was 400ppm.

        Well Vaughn, in the Eemian interglacial just 130,000 years ago sea level was 10-20 meters higher with CO2 level at 280ppm.

        The two observations taken together would seem to indicate no connection between elevated sea level and elevated CO2 level.

        But you knew that already, right?

      • stevenreincarnated

        VP, good question. Since we have ocean heat transport and solar going in a different direction then CO2 now, perhaps a better attribution will be possible in a decade or two.

      • @DM: Your second paragraph wasn’t interesting, doc.

        Yes, it was pretty obscure, Don. But let me repeat it here anyway.

        Now it is often argued that the policy-makers pressure the scientists. Without entering into that debate, what would you [MGW] do to reduce that pressure, while still permitting the original goals of the IPCC to be met?

        I’m hoping that at least Michael Grant won’t find it too obscure to address.

      • @SRI: Since we have ocean heat transport and solar going in a different direction then CO2 now,

        Averaged over five minutes or five weeks?

        It can make quite a difference.

      • ==> “Judge for yourself. ”

        My point, AK, is that the way to judge is by collecting and evaluating evidence, not from feelings and confirmation bias. But if it works for you, or it works for Hans, have at it.

      • stevenreincarnated

        VP, averaging over either will give you the same answer. Perhaps you should think about expanding your horizens instead of waking up each morning, plugging the same numbers into your calculator that you did the day before and determining that you must surely be correct or you would have gotten a different answer.

      • @Vaughn

        Now it is often argued that the policy-makers pressure the scientists. Without entering into that debate, what would you [MGW] do to reduce that pressure, while still permitting the original goals of the IPCC to be met?

        Vaughn, I did not respond to that comment because its premise is debatable and because I am not comfortable with the topic. My interests are parochial and I have usually avoided IPCC matters.

        I do not mean debatable in that I contest the premise, but instead ask myself why initiate a string of comments where inevitably someone will contest that premise—in earnest or for sport? I am tired of that and so I will comment more generally.

        Pressures are a fact of life and would exist regardless of how things are shuffled. It is important to note that pressures in various forms also may go the other way—-from the scientists directed at the policy makers. There has been plenty of discussion on aspects of that, e.g., advocacy. It might be of value to address the pressures from both sides at the same time. I also would be a good idea to revisit the role of the IPCC. More people are aware of issues than 20 or 30 years ago [assumption]. Besides any long term program should be periodically thoroughly re-assessed.

        From my point-of view handling pressures begins to get at the extent of and how one might perceive science being re-scientized and policy being re-politicized. Further I think that the norm suggested by von Storch is a starting point. The details there are reasonable to me but paramount is the idea of agreement on a norm of interaction including agreement on handling disputes before the public. All of this would be in light of what has been learned—if anything—over the past couple of decades.

        But all of this is opinion intended for the sake of discussion and it will not buy a can of beans. Also the reality is that in the bigger decision-making realm time is a factor.

      • @mwg: It is important to note that pressures in various forms also may go the other way—-from the scientists directed at the policy makers.

        Given that the UN set up the IPCC in 1988, the pressure you’re claiming from scientists would need to be earlier. Can you point to specific examples of such pressure? (I’m not saying there was none, I’m merely asking what there was at the time.)

        I[t] also would be a good idea to revisit the role of the IPCC.

        Yes, that was my question to you, which instead of answering you’ve simply re-asked. I was hoping for something more constructive.

        Please say what you think the UN could or should have done in 1988 that would have addressed its concern about future climate in a better way than convoking the IPCC?

        Please.

      • @ape: I don’t think we will ever agree on everything

        Aren’t you being a little pessimistic there, ape? After all, what’s to disagree on besides ideology?

        If either of us is an ideologue in any respect, couldn’t the other point out exactly where our ideology is clouding our understanding of the current situation with regard to climate?

        I understood you to say “only” climate scientists less credentialed than Mr Gore shared his dire view, which was the sweeping misstatement I was referring to.

        Gore’s “dire view” is that if the Greenland ice sheet and half Antarctica melts, the sea will inundate Central Park in NYC, or at least Ground Zero.

        This puts me in mind of the following exchange.

        Professor Q: We expect that in 1.7 billion years the Sun will supernova and wipe out all life on Earth.

        Audience member: Oh no, that’s terrible!

        Professor Q: Why the concern? 1.7 billion years is far into the future.

        Audience member: Oh, sorry, I thought you said 1.7 million years.

        Seems to me we shouldn’t be forecasting the impact on Central Park before we see some impact on Battery Park.

        Main point is that I’m all for understanding why you would think it’s inevitable that we’ll never agree on everything, as least as it bears on climate. (We may well not agree on whether to eat fish on Friday, but that’s not so obviously relevant to Climate Etc.)

      • @ape: if I were an academic -I think I’d want my students to have the tools to surpass me.

        Fully agree. Famous academics at the pinnacle of their career are seriously handicapped in that respect. Where should they look for their superiors?

        What would Newton do?

        What would Jesus do?

        What would Muhammad do?

      • VP – Thread drift!

        I thought that was a positive statement. Changing “everything” to “anything” would be pessimistic. I didn’t mean to be pessimistic. When everyone agrees it is usually at best boring or worse dangerous. I still think there are good sub controversies in most all fields of science. I don’t really agree or disagree with ideologies. They all seem to maximize some benefits at the expense of others. I might disagree on how effective they are in practice at achieving benefits, or the weighting of costs and benefits.

        I don’t think climate will be resolved in my lifetime. But you may be picking up that I may be a little pessimistic that evidence will bring us all together as it emerges. I haven’t seen a lot of cases where that can be don in a short time. Do we agree now on the predictions made in Erlich’s 1968 book “The Population Bomb”?

        Shifting gears, my trouble with the academic piece was that the Academic seemed almost like a religious zealot – concerned with passing on the “truth” rather than teaching the next generation to build upon and better uncover truth. You commented:
        and then asked WW Newton, Jesus and Mohammad do.
        Surely you’re not suggesting that the referenced author or the current crop of Climate Scientists are on par with the reputations of Newton et al, such that it will be difficult to find successors?

        Tying to this who topic. When Academics have the “truth” there is not need for science – we can turn it over to a priesthood and a police force to handle heresy.

      • In the above I tried a method to indentify quotes, which led to them being left out.

        Here are the parts from VP I was referencing above.

        @ape: I don’t think we will ever agree on everything

        Aren’t you being a little pessimistic there, ape? After all, what’s to disagree on besides ideology?

        And then

        Fully agree. Famous academics at the pinnacle of their career are seriously handicapped in that respect. Where should they look for their superiors?

      • What would Chuck Norris do?

        What would John Galt do?

      • Please say what you think the UN could or should have done in 1988 that would have addressed its concern about future climate in a better way than convoking the IPCC?

        They could have stayed home.

      • @mwg: They could have stayed home.

        Not even the George C. Marshall Institute was advocating that at the time. Its 1990 book Scientific Perspectives on the Greenhouse Problem by Jastrow, Nierenberg and Seitz emphasizes the great uncertainty about the impact of increasing CO2 and the need to understand not only the risks but the costs of overly drastic action that might or might not turn out to be a big waste of money. The book presents arguments for both sides, with five chapters overviewing the issues, five on the technical background, and three on economic and energy use assessments.

        The White House under G.H.W. Bush acknowledged this uncertainty in a section in the Annual Report of the Council of Economic Advisers for 1990 titled “The Economy and the Environment—Report by the President” and reprinted as Chapter 11 of the above book (the lead chapter of the third section, pages 163-188). Quoting from it, “The President’s 1991 budget proposal includes $1.03 billion in funding for global climate change research. This figure reflects an increase of 57% over the current funding levels and a 100% increase over 1989 expenditures. The United States has also taken a leadership role in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the primary international forum for consideration of the scientific, socioeconomic, and policy issues concerning global climate change.”

        (For context the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) was established by Presidential Initiative in 1989 and mandated by Congress in the Global Change Research Act (GCRA) of 1990 to “assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.” See here for its ten-year plan for 2012-2021.)

        And a few paragraphs further on in that report, “Even though scientists may yet learn that no significant warming is likely, it is nonetheless worthwhile to address two distinct policy questions. First, what actions could be taken now to limit emissions of greenhouse gases and what are the likely costs of those actions? Second, what are the possible economic and other effects of warming that, if these scientists are correct, will occur in any event?”

        Given that the USGCRP was the initiative of a Republican president, and is predicated on the great uncertainty at the time about what might or might not prove to be disastrous consequences of rising CO2, which even the George C. Marshall Institute acknowledged, your alternative of the UN governments simply “staying home” on the matter of climate change only seems justifiable on the ground that the science is settled and has shown that climate change is not a sufficiently serious problem for the UN to pay it any attention.

      • Interesting perspective. Nierenberg, Jastrow and Seitz hardly seem to be the villains portrayed by Oreskes in Merchants of Doubt.

      • Vaughan

        I really would not advocate it either. I had indicated earlier that I try to avoid the topic, but you pressed. No offense taken and none intended. I just do not go there. It is not a topic that interests me unless there is an opportunity for a quip.

      • @DS: in the Eemian interglacial just 130,000 years ago sea level was 10-20 meters higher with CO2 level at 280ppm. The two observations taken together would seem to indicate no connection between elevated sea level and elevated CO2 level.

        Given that sea levels fluctuated by 130 m during the Eemian, the range “10-20 m” is meaningless. In order to tell whether there is any connection between sea level and CO2 you need a more detailed graph with a lot more data points such as

        this one adapted from Hansen and Sato.

        Comparing the green (CO2) and blue (sea level) curves makes it clear that picking a single point in the Eemian while ignoring all the other data is not a reliable way of deciding whether there exists a correlation.

        Another point to note about the Eemian is that when CO2 peaked at 300 ppmv in 129 kya, the sea level at that time was about 60 m below the present level. Over the next 5,000 years CO2 hovered at around 280 ppmv while the sea level rose at about 3 mm/yr (sound familiar?) until reaching 45 m below the present level in 124 kya. Over the next 3,000 years, while CO2 continued to hover at around 280 ppmv, SLR accelerated to 17 mm/yr, nearly 6 times faster, reaching about 13 m above today’s sea level in 121 kya.

        Also worth noting is that in 140 kya, 11,000 years before peak Eemian CO2, CO2 was at 200 ppmv and starting to rise. Almost simultaneously sea level started to rise, starting from 113 m below present.

        The Holocene shows a similar pattern except that CO2 started its rise from 180 ppmv instead of 200, namely in 16 kya. As with the Eemian, CO2 and sea level started to rise simultaneously, but because CO2 was not as high as in the Eemian, neither was sea level.

        Eventually the Holocene did reach 300 ppmv, namely around 1950. If it had then dropped back to 280 and stayed there for 10,000 years like the Eemian, we might reasonably expect 13 m above present by about 12000 AD.

        If however CO2 races up to 1000 ppmv by 2100, then the Eemian is not a great predictor of this part of the Holocene, which some have suggested calling the Anthropocene because of its CO2. Higher temperatures are likely to melt ice faster, and that point where 3 mm/yr suddenly becomes 17 mm/yr may be only a few hundred years away, or 50, or … who can say?

        And with higher temperatures, why just 17 mm/yr, instead of 25 mm/yr or more?

        Despite the outstanding correlation between CO2 and sea level, paleoclimate doesn’t paint a terribly clear picture of what we should be expecting in the near future because we have no records anywhere in the past 4.5 billion years of the planet correlating sea level with a rise of several hundred ppmv in a single century.

        Nor does the work of Winnick and Caves which just last month argued that the Pliocene’s 400 ppmv might have only raised sea level to 10 m above present. That would be reassuring if CO2 stayed at 400 ppmv, but not if it goes above 1000 ppmv during this century.

      • Vaughan Pratt | September 7, 2015 at 8:25 pm |
        @DS: in the Eemian interglacial just 130,000 years ago sea level was 10-20 meters higher with CO2 level at 280ppm. The two observations taken together would seem to indicate no connection between elevated sea level and elevated CO2 level.

        Given that sea levels fluctuated by 130 m during the Eemian, the range “10-20 m” is meaningless. In order to tell whether there is any connection between sea level and CO2 you need a more detailed graph with a lot more data points such as

        this one adapted from Hansen and Sato.>/i>

        The Eemian had much higher sea levels and temperature, with much lower CO2.

        Obviously CO2 has little or no influence on sea level or temperature.

      • stevenreincarnated

        The Pliocene again I see. So what do the deniers at NASA have to say about the Pliocene?

        “The plot reveals that CO2 levels must be four times current values, and perhaps higher, before ocean heat transports could be reduced to modern levels.”

        It’s ok if people think that CO2 did most or all of the warming of the Pliocene, but they should at least understand that they hold the skeptical position and those arguing ocean heat transport are mainstream.

        http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/features/199704_pliocene/page3.html

      • @jc: Nierenberg, Jastrow and Seitz hardly seem to be the villains portrayed by Oreskes in Merchants of Doubt.

        I was surprised too, Judy. What I was expecting was science-is-settled type arguments that climate change is not a problem. But the book is much more nuanced than that.

        Had it not been it would have been easy for Washington to dismiss as just more of the same sort of denial as with heliocentrism, evolution, etc. back in the day.

        The overview section (five chapters) is authored jointly by the three editors (J, N, S), and concludes with the estimate that if no action is taken before 1995 while the uncertainties are being narrowed, the cost of the delay in terms of temperature by 2100 will be at most 0.1 C.

        (Who in Washington would worry about 0.1 C? A frog in a warming pot won’t care about 0.1 C, or even 0.2 C. If you can repeat that argument every five years for a century, which seems to be what’s happening today, when will the frog notice?)

        Brilliantly the opening chapter of the technical background section, “The Great Climate Debate” (Chapter 6, pages 71-93), was solicited from Robert M. White, a meteorologist who headed NOAA during 1970-1977, was president of the National Academy of Engineering during 1983-1995 (Seitz was president of the National Academy of Sciences during 1962-1969), and was first chairman of the World Climate Conference in 1978. Consistent with the rest of the book, White emphasized the great uncertainty and concluded with “the effects of a global climate warming are likely to take 30-50 years to become serious, and that is a long enough span in which actions to adapt to these changes should be possible”, adding that “what would be unwise would be to lapse into apocalyptic thinking or ostrich-like denial”.

        White presents what on the face of it comes across as a very balanced view throughout, even if your average climate scientist in 1990 might protest strongly, as did Stephen Schneider, that the arguments against are ridiculous. However one obvious complaint about White’s reasoning that requires no knowledge of climate science is his assumption at the very end that no action is needed until the effects have become serious. How is this different from arguing that no action against a gunman is needed until the effects of his gun have become serious?

        White is now 92, it would be interesting to know if his position on global warming is any different today. Anyone here in contact with him?

        Chaper 7 is by Roy Spencer and John Christy on satellite measurements made over the decade 1979-1989. I would think one decade is far too little to go on compared with many times as much lower-tech data, not to mention the egregious errors Spencer and Christy made that others pointed out during that period.

        Chapter 8 by Plantico, Karl, Kukla, and Gavin (Joyce Gavin, not to be confused with Gavin Schmidt) asks “Are recent climate changes in the US related to rising levels in greenhouse gases?” Since it was only 1990, and they were only looking at 8% of the planet, no one should be surprised that they found no statistically significant difference between CO2 warming and natural warming.

        Chapter 9 by Mitchell, Senior and Ingram argues that clouds give a negative feedback offsetting global warming. Ferenc Miskolczi has updated this theory in considerably more detail, which David Wojick could defend far better than I.

        Chapter 10 by Mark Meier is a three-page demonstration that global warming will lower sea levels, thereby contradicting David Springer’s claim above that there is no connection, to say nothing of the obvious positive correlations between CO2, temperature, and sea level in the Hansen-Sato-Englander graph that I reproduced above.

        I’ve already discussed the first chapter of the economics section, namely the report of G.H.W. Bush announcing the dramatic ramping up of the US global climate research budget. The other two chapters are well above my pay grade and I’d be happy to defer to others on them—everything I know about economics I learned from J.P. Morgan: “the market will fluctuate”. ;)

        In summary, Judy, I would judge the book as a brilliantly nuanced undermining of the 1990 understanding of global warming to which Oreskes has failed to do justice.

      • @PA: The Eemian had much higher sea levels and temperature, with much lower CO2. Obviously CO2 has little or no influence on sea level or temperature.

        Et tu, PA?

        Prior to 1800 I believe you have the CO2 entirely backwards. It was 20 ppmv higher than in the Holocene, not lower.

        1800 was only two centuries ago. Those graphs tell nothing whatsoever about changes in a mere 200 years, which at their scale is only a hundred micrometers or so, less than the thickness of the curves.

        And how you can claim CO2 is uncorrelated with sea level is completely beyond me when it there is a very obvious correlation. The instant CO2 starts to rise, so does sea level. How is that not a correlation?

    • As you note we are not perfect. Of course critical analysis has been learned and refined. That is part of the value brought to the table. I take Hans’ comments as suggesting that the imperfection does not take care of itself and we need to continually to tend to it. If I interpreted the matter as you do I would be bothered too. But we both and others here have undergone that training and subsequently walked very different paths. So, what is disturbing to you is obvious to me. It never occurred to me to take umbrage at Hans’ comment. Also I never inferred from the remarks that the competence of all scientists is equal.

      Thank you for commenting further. Again I respect your position.

      Best regards,
      Michael

      • Oops! Response to Vaughn.

      • @mwg: I never inferred from [von Storch’s] remarks that the competence of all scientists is equal.

        It would help if von Storch would clarify his remarks in a way that the scientists he’s talking about would find less insulting.

      • Vaughn,

        His remarks were perfectly clear to me on the first read. Indeed I was thinking how succinct the text is. That said, I think you still have a valid point. If Hans or anyone recognizes these problems then that insight by its very nature should influence how they might best raise the issues in their community. Hans’ comment made sense to me because I had already arrived at that point–or if it makes you more comfortable, my biases rooted in my experiences had already made me disposed toward that point of view. Communication is a bear.

    • I like Hans idea of the ‘capital of science’. Perhaps this was at its all time peak after the invention of nukes. It has flailed since then, with the wacky turnabouts of the nutritionists, the farce of the social sciences, psychological pseudo science, etc….

      I also like this:
      “Eventually, however, political decisions are balancing societal preferences and values, and the role of science is and must be limited.”
      which shows that Hans understands science does not answer the most important questions and having a ‘human in the loop’ is all important.

      And, of course, I have harped and railed against the environmentalists and the progressives for their misuse of science as exactly a wild spending spree on the ‘capital of science’. Science suffers from this misuse and its capital will have to be rebuilt.

    • @Joshua

      At the top of the page with Professor von Storch’s statement:

      On 22-23 June 2015 the Symposium Circling the Square was organized at the University of Nottingham. I was asked to comment on my view of the role of science in society.

      He responded to a request to comment on his view. We clearly are not talking about publication of a scientific study.

      Regards,
      ‘m-dub’

      • m-dub –

        ==> “We clearly are not talking about publication of a scientific study.”

        Hans” speculation (stated as fact) doesn’t seem to have evidence in support. It’s a nice theory, but the evidence I’ve seen shows that the speculation is pretty idle. In fact, the evidence seems to show that trends in public opinion run contrary to his speculation. As nice as his theory is, it seems to reduce a complex phenomenon that involves many variables to a simplistic causal mechanism that suspiciously falls in line with Hans’ partisan agenda within the climate wars.

        The problem whereby scientists reduce complex phenomena to identify causal mechanisms that fall in line with their partisan orientation is problematic, I’m sure you’ll agree.

        Even speculation should fall in line with the available evidence.

      • Writing of patterns from our past there is…

        http://ldolphin.org/magi.html

        the tangled ancient roots of the ivory towers.

      • The problem whereby scientists reduce complex phenomena to identify causal mechanisms that fall in line with their partisan orientation is problematic, I’m sure you’ll agree.

        The problem whereby J-person reduces complex phenomena to identify causal mechanisms that fall in line with his partisan orientation is problematic, I’m sure you’ll agree. [Note: 2nd response]

    • I’m a little astonished at Vaughan Pratt’s disagreement with von Storch’s excellent presentation. It seems to me that his main point is absolutely powerful: science has “capital”, and it can be used up.
      We the people are willing to give credence to scientists because we know that science has a devotion to truth and an ability to (sometimes) achieve truth. That’s the capital. How do scientists use it up? By giving the public the impression that they care more about the politics than the truth. We don’t trust politicians worth a darn. “After you have convinced people that you fervently believe your cause to be more important than telling the truth, you’ve lost the power to convince them of anything else.”
      Everyone involved in scientific activism should take this into account: there is a cost involved in activism. You may think you’re gaining something in furthering your goals, but you are losing credibility at the same time. It may turn out to be a tremendous net loss.
      This is something that pro-AGW people never understood about Climategate. It wasn’t the “fraud” or “academic malfeasance”. What it did was show people that climate scientists are partisans, politicians. We don’t trust politicians.
      I am heartened that I see some pro-AGW climate scientists show scorn toward people like Dana and John Cook and their work. I am disheartened that so many think that they’re on their side. They are killing you. Their opponents don’t even really need to refute your work anymore, they just need to point to these PR guys. Listeners will say – Oh, who cares what politicians say, and you’ve lost.

      • miker613

        Excellent comment on science capital and the costs of activism.

      • Excellent comment mike.

      • @miker613: That’s the capital. How do scientists use it up? By giving the public the impression that they care more about the politics than the truth.

        Miker, it is not the scientists that give the public this impression but those who communicate with the public.

        Scientists publish in scientific journals. They have no interest in communicating with the public, only with their fellow scientists. If they cared about the public you wouldn’t be encountering paywalls when you try to read the actual science.

        When you talk about “scientists” you are clueless about exactly who you are accusing of “giving up capital”. You know know less than nothing about them.

  11. The majority of social sciences exist only to attack and try to bring down the status-quo, the famed Patriarchy Christian Bourgeois society. Their morality, their passion and their concept of objectivity (revolutionary objectivity) is all based on the notion of ‘oppression’. So certainly these departments are not going to buy into this concept. I would (and have) argued that many in climate science have this same motivation.
    I’m for keeping science pure, I say we raze them all.

    “The stuff we’ve been hearing about this morning the radical feminism, the women’s studies departments, the gay studies departments, the black studies departments all these things are branches of Critical Theory. What the Frankfurt School essentially does is draw on both Marx and Freud in the 1930s to create this theory called Critical Theory. The term is ingenious because you’re tempted to ask, “What is the theory?” The theory is to criticize.”

    http://www.academia.org/the-origins-of-political-correctness/

  12. Judith almost always writes great and informative posts. I enjoy reading them, thinking about the points made and following the links for more info. But, my God, the comments so many of you make – trying to one-up one another and scoring points. None of which furthers the conversation or adds insight. Give us a break!

  13. The juvenile behaviour of certain commenters here is what caused me a number of months ago to abandon much of the climate change debate. The us-them, angels-demons binary nature is appalling regardless of which “side” you are on.

    Steyn is a provocateur. Personally, I tolerate his style as I do and did the college-level rants of my university days; there is a certain amount of truth in what he says, and he IS open to disagreement. (Full disclosure: I have a signed book of his and a t-shirt and mug. The mug is ugly but useful and the t-shirt was donated to charity. I like the book.) A Steyn is better than a Suzuki as a Steyn says you are wrong (or full of it) while Suzuki won’t even recognize your right to exist, let alone have an opinion he thinks is incorrect.

    This post is very pertinent to the CAGW/Climate Change non-debate debate. Political action is not philosophy in isolation, but philosophy applied selectively and with recognition of marketing needs, pragmatic compromises and obtaining the support of not-necessarily similarly minded forces while defeating the opposing but not-necessarily dissimilarly minded forces. Those who promote solar power for its long-term potential, for example, must, if in an advocate position, dismiss or diminish its current non-economic and possibly non-CO2 neutral status and support those who might be into solar power more for the subsidy profits than the People, as well as fighting the locals who don’t want to harm desert tortoises when you blanket their sunny lands with solar panels.

    You can’t be clean philosophically while also pushing back against what you perceive as irrelevant but awkward truths. Getting something done is messy.
    As long as the academics wish to use their lab coats as evidence of pious impartiality and moral righteousness, they will NECESSARILY become corrupted as they enter the arena of the advocate.

    • Great comment, DP. Please do so more often; adults appear to be in short supply.

    • Douglas, I have a book signed by Suzuki (in the 1980s). I did begin to initiate an argument with him on some things at the time, but he was totally exhausted from his schedule and there were many pressing behind me, so I let it go.

    • As long as the academics wish to use their lab coats as evidence of pious impartiality and moral righteousness

      Do you have evidence that academics do this? Have you considered the possibility that this isn’t typical and that what actually happens is that some (yourself, for example) accuse them of behaving in this way, and then go on to criticise them for not maintaining a standard was never their’s to maintain.

      • bedeverethewise

        I’m a climate scientist, i create computer models and i wear a lab coat and safety glasses just in case i spill my coffee.

      • Very amusing, but I don’t get your point.

      • I do like the meme, though: “Climate change is real”

        Because most of the time when the question is asked:
        Do you believe XXX is real?,
        the subject XXX is mythical.

        Do you believe Santa Clause is real?,
        Do you believe the Tooth Fairy is real?,
        Do you believe Astrology is real?

        That doesn’t mean global warming is not real,
        just that it is not significant enough for individuals to observe.

        Detectable, by an array of instruments, but not significant.

      • Evidence? Suzuki continues to proclaim his special knowledge as a scientist even when the subject is outside of his (former) study. Gavin and Mann do as well, and they use their Phd history to demonstrate their opinion is not just opinion but factual, non-arguable. Ed Begley referred to this when he said that we should trust the guys with the doctorates.

        I don’t know why you find this position questionable. Long before doctors promoted smoking in ads on TV, the social paradigm has been that those in white coats, doctors of medicine or not, are more trustworthy, knowledgeable and a better source of opinion than the regular Joe. It used to be the same for government officials: “They know more that we do!” right through to the ’60s. The idea was that scientists wouldn’t lie and had our “better” interests in mind goes far back to the late 19th century when many learned people hoped that scientists would take over world government and bring in a time of peace and prosperity because they were not emotionally, financially or power-wise corrupted or corruptible.

        The lab coat has an immediate social impact to validate whatever the lab coat wearer says. Linus Pauling lead peace marchers because of his “lab coat”, not for his work on Vitamin C. Carson is getting extra credit in his presidential aspirations for his lab coat also, not for his ability with a scalpel.

      • Okay, so mainly anecdotal. Fair enough. Plus, the second half of your comment is largely what I was getting at. There’s a difference between how scientists are perceived (the caricature of a scientist) and how they are in reality. You seem to be rather fixated on your perception of a scientist, than on how scientists behave in reality. Fewer cartoons, maybe?

      • Because most of the time when the question is asked:
        Do you believe XXX is real?,
        the subject XXX is mythical.

        Well of course. When he wasn’t flat out denying quasicrystals, Linus Pauling would ask sarcastically, “Do you believe quasicrystals are real? What, you believe in cwazy crystals?”

        Dan Schectman’s path from the discovery of quasicrystals in 1984 to his 2011 Nobel Prize 27 years later for their discovery was beset by idiots like you and Pauling.

      • @TE: Because most of the time when the question is asked:
        Do you believe XXX is real?,
        the subject XXX is mythical.

        Well of course. When he wasn’t flat out denying quasicrystals, Linus Pauling would ask sarcastically, “Do you believe quasicrystals are real? What, you believe in cwazy crystals?”

        Dan Schectman’s path from the discovery of quasicrystals in 1984 to his 2011 Nobel Prize 27 years later for their discovery was beset by the likes of you and Pauling.

      • Only the first of these two almost identical comments went into (temporary) moderation. The only difference is in the last line (I was experimenting). Draw your own conclusions.

  14. Here’s the problem as I see it (and I base this having taught in a Land Grant Institution and serving for three years as a state Sea Grant Director). The American University system, as codified by the Morrill Act and reaffirmed with the establishment of NSF, NIH, NASA, Sea Grant, etc, is be AN HONEST BROKER IN PUBLIC AFFAIRS. That role is incumbent on those affiliated with academe and funded by these agencies.

    Here’s how it works If one wants to advocate, one can AS A PRIVATE CITIZEN, without acknowledging one’s academic affiliation (If one does, one is perceived to be a spokesperson). Keep the university and field of research separate. Only call on one’s expertise when invited by the “body politic.” As a private citizen call on your expertise if appropriate but keep the university affiliation out of it.

    It’s not that hard.

    George Devries Klein, PhD, PG, FGSA

    • What about ‘government scientists’ like Hansen?

      • It should apply to him because he also has an affiliation with Columbia University, and before that, New York University. That said, as I understand it, the same protocol applies to government scientists, although some seem to have been remiss in their advocacy (Not naming no names but you know who I mean).

        George Devries Klein, PhD, PG, FGSA

      • Same protocol, and then some. It’s actual against the law to allow your government work/title/organization be tied to such work, IIRC.

  15. The hypersensitivity of some to your work on sensitivity, is amusing. Considering how press releases pushing alarmist papers to mobilize the activists masquerading as science writers, the offense taken at your op ed in The Journal is ludicrous and hypocritical.

  16. Simone Weil takes it one step further. To embrace an ideology is to abandon rational thought.
    https://books.google.it/books?id=-CXdJmswenYC&pg=PA0&hl=it#v=onepage&q&f=false

  17. I don’t care if Western school teachers decide to produce propaganda for the government establishment, so long as I am not being forced to pay their wages.

  18. I think of two people when discussing bias: Nick Stokes and Gavin Schmidt.
    Nick Stokes applies his statistical assessments as if the data were correct. Gavin Schmidt formulates his models in spite of what the data says.

    The academics I know, go with the flow, providing data and impressions for opinions that the funder wants. Nothing like being 49 years old in an academic institution and not having funding for what you want to research. As they say in the card game Bridge: “jump shift” to survive. When the POTUS says carbon is bad, and EPA says atmospheric carbon is bad, and Department of Defense says: we’re going to have to deal with the fact that politicians believe atmospheric carbon is bad, then the combined funding agencies want research from academics that state: atmospheric carbon is bad; and, they get the research answers they want. No mysteries here.

    From what I read from Nick Stokes, academics is not the source of pressure, rather, the pressure comes from the paradigm: CO2 is the bad actor in climate change.

    As for Gavin Schmidt, verbal gland-handing the message: CO2 is a mankind killer leaves no margin of doubt: we are all going to hell in a hand basket with business as usual. Such a stance has gotten him far I might say.

    • RiH008,

      “… we are all going to hell in a hand basket…”

      Yes, but on the way down we can make some serious money.

      From the movie “The Graduate”:

      “Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word. 
      Benjamin: Yes, sir. 
      Mr. McGuire: Are you listening? 
      Benjamin: Yes, I am. 
      Mr. McGuire: …”  Renewables.

      • @justinwonder: Yes, but on the way down we can make some serious money. … Renewables.

        The economists at NYU beg to differ. Take a look at the second last column of the table at

        http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~adamodar/New_Home_Page/datafile/pedata.html

        This column gives expected growth over the next five years for each of the following sectors in the US:

        Coal & Related Energy: 30.50%
        Green & Renewable Energy: 20.53%

        Why do you believe that more serious money can be made in renewables than in coal?

        The PEG ratio in the last column is even more extreme!

        (Disclaimer: While I would prefer not to see atmospheric CO2 continuing to rise, I’m also opposed to misrepresentation of the economic realities.)

      • Growth doesn’t equal profit.
        More directly, Coal and related industry is mature with a small number of large established players while renewables are a young industry with many small players (just look at the top 10 now vs. 5 year ago, or the sheer numbers of started/failed/existing businesses).
        Unless you’re already in the Coal industry, there’s no question whatsoever that there’s more economic opportunity in renewables.

      • See e.g. Al Gore school of marketing.

  19. then the combined funding agencies want research from academics that state: atmospheric carbon is bad; and, they get the research answers they want. No mysteries here.

    How can researchers give the answers that you say they want without committing fraud? Where’s the evidence for all of this fraud?

    • Surely you jest. Social cost of carbon. Crop yields, SLR tipping points, ocean acidification, pestilence spread. Marcotts hockey stick. All proven wrong in Blowing Smoke essays.
      Newsflash– there is no bogeyman under the bed, no closet monster.

      • Name one paper retracted for fraud, Rud.

      • You’re missing the point, Joseph. The studies that ask the questions that support your paradigm get funded and praised. The ones that don’t ask the “right” questions get shunted off to the side. It’s the sin of omission, not the sin of commission. As Feynman said when you present a theory, you should detail everything that supports it and everything that argues against it. The truth is somewhere in the balance. But if you only seek half the evidence, it’s not really surprising you only get a half-right answer. And you don’t have to commit overt fraud to do it.

      • Kcom1, if you, for example, ask the question what will be the impact of climate change on variable y. The answer will either support will either be it does or it doesn’t and by how much. I don’t see how this can be an example of asking the wrong questions or why this shouldn’t be funded.

      • I didn’t say it shouldn’t be funded. What I’m saying is it’s one contribution to the question. By itself it doesn’t prove anything. How was the experiment done? What data was used? How was it processed? What statistical methods were employed? What was the relative importance assigned to the different parts? Are there other interpretations of the situation possible?

        If all your studies come from the same narrow groupthink and funding source that’s not an ideal situation. What questions weren’t asked? What assumptions weren’t challenged? What other possible interpretations are there? Was there other data that could have and should have been included? What other experiments/analyses contradict this one? None of that involves fraud, But it does limit the usefulness of your conclusions when you don’t have input from a broad range of sources. Remember when a lot of people were screaming that all the polar bears are going die. Because science. And then polar bear researchers came along and said that polar bear numbers were increasing in the last few decades. A broad perspective with multiple inputs is more likely to discover the truth than a narrow one that doesn’t cover all parts of the picture.

      • See below for my response, kcom.

      • Beth, the Glencairn “Over Fork Over” motto is our family’s. I never knew whether it was an exhortation to hard work on the land or because they were Border bandits. My gran’s family, the Halls, were Border reivers, I don’t know if that supports the banditry option.

    • If all your studies come from the same narrow groupthink and funding source that’s not an ideal situation. What questions weren’t asked? What assumptions weren’t challenged? What other possible interpretations are there? Was there other data that could have and should have been included? What other experiments/analyses contradict this one?

      I don’t any see evidence for “groupthink” among scientists only speculation by others. And I don’t see any evidence that research exploring alternate assumptions, interpretations, and methods can’t get funding or aren’t being funded.

      • “There’s none so blind as those who will not see.”

      • +1E8

        Put differently, those who fit the data to their model are more blind than those who fit their model to the data.

      • Joseph,
        I’d like to refer you back to our earlier conversation where there are clear indications of ‘groupthink’: “An increase in extreme weather is expected with global warming because rising temperatures affect weather parameters in several ways.”. http://www.skepticalscience.com/extreme-weather-global-warming.htm

        Since they “expect” to find weather extremes could it be they aren’t looking for more moderation and therefore there are no papers to satisfy your concern?

        Just askin’.

      • Since they “expect” to find weather extremes could it be they aren’t looking for more moderation and therefore there are no papers to satisfy your concern?

        The data don’t support moderation and there is no theoretical explanation for why there would be moderation. But anyway, those sorts of questions are better posed to those to actual scientists..

      • Joseph,
        “The data don’t support moderation and there is no theoretical explanation for why there would be moderation. But anyway, those sorts of questions are better posed to those to actual scientists.”

        While I agree that this is a question of actual scientists, you (and I) are not finding that it’s being addressed in papers. Observation is that in some areas ‘weather’ does appear to be moderating and unfortunately the way our system is set you nor I can’t even know if anyone is looking. We do know they expect different (that has been stated), they are looking at areas where ‘weather’ does not seem to be moderating, but where it is moderating(as we’ve discussed in observation…….THAT data does show some moderation)…………who knows?

        As far as theories as to why? Well if they’re not looking, would one expect them to put forth a theory?

      • Well if they’re not looking, would one expect them to put forth a theory?

        Why is expecting climate chance to enhance extreme weather based on science, groupthin?. It could be wrong, yes, but wouldn’t that make every current accepted theory, groupthink?

        How do you know they aren’t looking? Why don’t you ask the people who actually doing research in these areas and not me?

      • Joseph,
        Those are your thoughts? Appear like more questions to me, yet whenever I respond to your questions you appear unsatisfied with my answers.

        Out of good faith. When ‘science’ expects to find more extreme weather and states so, then has not addressed or even expressed even the possibility of alternative tracks then yes, that IMO is groupthink (Defined as: “DEFINITION of ‘Groupthink’ A phenomenon developed in groups and marked by the consensus of opinion without critical reasoning or evaluation of consequences or alternatives. . You and I both have stated we’ve looked for ‘papers’ (I showed you NASA and another, maybe SKS, as I recall) and have found none regarding the observable nature of the frequency of hurricanes and tornados.

        Based on the definition above, then I think you’ve answered your own question in the second line. IMO that answer is ‘yes’.

        And the third, I’m only connected with so many. It seems the theory of AGW is a pushed theory, the IPCC is the ‘consensus’ of the greatest minds and conservative in nature (except when predicting extreme weather). Were they ‘pushing’ evidence of more moderate weather being ‘expected’ wouldn’t one expect they would have published same?

      • You and I both have stated we’ve looked for ‘papers’ (I showed you NASA and another, maybe SKS, as I recall) and have found none regarding the observable nature of the frequency of hurricanes and tornados.

        Have we established there aren’t any papers? Why don’t you ask someone working in the field and find out?

      • could it be.. Just askin..

        And, btw, you are asking me to speculate on your speculation. Which I would prefer not to do so when you know I am not a big fan of speculation.

        But you skeptics seem to love to speculate all of the time about this and that, especially when questioning the motives or mindset.of climate scientists as a group.

      • Joseph,
        You are correct. I worded poorly. Will try to do better.

        Since it’s stated that scientists ‘expect’ (an indication to me of ‘groupthink’……stated for clarity) weather events to become more extreme and frequent, yet observational evidence indicates (at least in the hurricane and tornado discussion you and I have had) indicates that may not be the case fully, why are we not finding papers evaluating the science nor even theories being put forth?
        Your thoughts?

      • why are we not finding papers evaluating the science nor even theories being put forth?

        How do you know they aren’t?

      • Joseph,
        I do not know that they aren’t, but I have looked (and you said you have too) for papers and have found none.
        How do you know they are? Are you taking that on faith?

      • What good is speculation?

      • More questions and no thoughts. Guess we’ve done all we can do here.

        At least there was no further challenge to the ‘groupthink’ application.

      • I don’t engage in speculation. That’s all it would be for me, Danny. What about that do you not understand?

      • Joseph,
        That’s certainly your choice, but I’m not wired that way. I question, offer supposition (helps me think things through), what/if scenarios. I’m not much of a sheeple, I guess. Too much life experience has taught me that that’s not the best approach for me. I don’t trust mouthpieces. C’est la vie!

      • Joseph,
        “What good is speculation?”
        Well. It’s the very basis for all discovery.

      • Well get to back to me when your “groupthink” thesis has some empirical evidence. You can’t know how a particular person makes decisions without knowing something about that person. So to say a particular decision is based on “groupthink” is only speculation.

      • I would also add that there I don’t believe there is a consensus opinion on what climate change will do to hurricanes

      • Say, Joseph, everyone speculates, can’t help it. No such
        thing as passive ‘bucket theory ‘ learning, it’s searchlight
        learning all the way down … Is this good to eat? Yes or
        no? Can I cross here? Yes or no? Who is this coming
        out of the darkness? Friend or foe? bts

      • Beth, even when you know someone pretty well it is still often very difficult to understand how or on what basis a particular person make decisions unless they explicitly tell you. Or put another way mind reading is not possible.

        So to say any particular climate scientist is suffering from “groupthink” is very difficult and to ascribe it climate scientists as a cohesive group is virtually impossible. It would require rigorous in depth interviewing from a broad sample to get any evidence and even then it would still be difficult to draw any definitive conclusions.

      • Joseph,

        Please re-read this defintion:”group·think ˈɡro͞opˌTHiNGk/nounNORTH AMERICAN
        the practice of thinking or making decisions as a group in a way that discourages creativity or individual responsibility.”

        It was suggested that the lack of science publications stating even a thought/supposition/theory/cursory glance toward moderation in (some) weather events could be a result of ‘groupthink’.

        ‘Science’ has made the statement that they ‘expect’ more frequent and severe weather and you clearly are willing to suppose that ‘science’ is looking in to it but are not equally willing to consider that ‘science’ didn’t even consider moderation a possibility?

        Sit back and think about the second paragraph.

      • but are not equally willing to consider that ‘science’ didn’t even consider moderation a possibility?

        Again how would you or I know they haven’t looked into whether climate change can moderate extreme weather. I do know they looked at the data. Why do you want me to speculate on that? The only thing I can say is I don’t know. What else can I say?

      • I will put it another way. What would you call the acceptance of evolution as the means of species differentiation and that scientists base their work on that theory. Is that an indication of “groupthink?”

        You could also use any other theory that guides research.

      • Joseph,

        Getting the impression you thinking that ‘groupthink’ is always associated with a negative connotation. IMO that is not the case. One big example is the discussion that CO2 leads to global warming (refer once again to the definition).
        Now it can have negative consequences should it lead to not looking ‘outside the box’. Jim2 provides a novel example of possibilities if one doesn’t suppose that GW will lead to ONLY extreme weather and not in some cases more moderate weather (Link here: https://judithcurry.com/2015/08/30/hurricanes-and-global-warming-10-years-post-katrina/#comment-729681)

        My entire point in this discussion is that supposition is a wonderful device and in lieu of railing against same, maybe one should be open to supposition leading to answers to question one has posted. You did, after all, ask for papers which indicate weather may moderate under GW. Jim2 has supplied one paper as example and I gave you one source at SKS and one from a gov’t agency.

        So maybe it’s more appropriate to ask you once again. What do YOU think?

        You also asked “What else can I say?”, well you could say that maybe (just maybe) science was inaccurate in it’s expectation that more extreme weather would be the result of GW. But that’s up to you.

        Out of fairness, I think this is evidence that Dr. Curry has good reason, as an actual climate scientist we’re fortunate to be able to communicate with here, to state that there are ‘uncertainties’ involving in the study of climate. Recognition of that fact will not taint one as a skeptic, but (again IMO) as a rational thinker.

        Recognizing you have difficulty accepting the positions of ‘skeptics’/’lukewarmers’ as being (please insert your description of choice here) but Jim2’s link indicates at least in one respect that the lukewarmers (unsure of level of GW associated harms). Food for thought and for your consideration.

      • Mebbe, Faustino. Heh, are you relater ter the Cunningham’s
        of Glencairn?

      • Beth, very likely, my paternal grandfather’s family were from that area, then he, or perhaps he and his parents, moved across the border to Northumberland, where he met my grandmother. Because my father took off in 1944, I know very little of his family.

      • Beth, the Glencairn “Over Fork Over” motto is our family’s. I never knew whether it was an exhortation to hard work on the land or because they were Border bandits. My gran’s family, the Halls, were Border reivers, I don’t know if that supports the banditry option. [Wrongly posted on the other sub-thread.]

      • Discomposing ter a serf
        that those she comes in
        contact with tend ter
        be connected with the
        gentry or nobility. :(

      • Edit 1st line. ‘Disconcerting’ ter a serf …

    • “How can researchers give the answers that you say they want without committing fraud? ”

      Seriously? You might start by reading this post above the comments. Read some of Kahneman’s stuff.

  20. Outstanding post! Even Kahneman writes that his knowledge of bias does not make him any more aware of his own bias.

    • I trust only those who admit to being aware of their own bias. Only when we have some sort of generally-agreed-on ranking of pundits according to their awareness of their own bias will we have any basis for knowing whom to believe.

      • stevenreincarnated

        “some sort of generally-agreed-on ranking of pundits”

        I wish you the best of luck.

      • huh?
        how does a simple admission… “ya Im biased” make anyone more or less trustworthy?
        are they magic fairy dust words? They are just just words. They tell me nothing about whether a person is trustworthy.

        Now I trust you. why? you showed your work and I could check it.

        if u said that you had no bias I would just ignore that statement.
        its just words

      • Say who are the scientist yr can trust?
        Do they …
        *Present a testable hypothesis?
        * Show their werk?
        * Avoid gate-keeping other arguments?
        *Refrain from arguing consensus ‘ nine
        outa’ ten say’ or ‘no true Scotsman
        would,’ as confirmation in place of
        correlation ter data ?

      • We all have biases.

        Awareness of biases is a pre-condition for controlling for biases.

        Acknowledging one’s biases is not a precondition for being aware of biases, but everything else being equal it’s better a failure to acknowledge biases.

        ==> “Now I trust you. why? you showed your work and I could check it.”

        So, in other words, you trust him because his work aligned with your biases.

    • Vaughn,

      How can one admit to bias of which [s]he is unaware? By way way of an external agent? or super agent? Can any of us be aware of all of our own biases that may be influencing your decisions on whom to trust? Do we have an untapped ‘Vulcan’ mode?

      Over the years some of the potentially most ‘difficult’ people with respect to biases and preconceptions whom I’ve interacted have been scientists and engineers–particularly in the management or senior consultant ranks. They seem to think that they can turn on their own inner-Spock at will. Or at least they trust their own judgement. (After all that is part of why they are paid–that along with responsibilities.) So what does one do? You play their biases.

      • How can one admit to bias of which [s]he is unaware?

        Indeed. Are you suggesting that we should trust those who are clearly unaware of their biases? They’re the last people I’d be willing to trust.

      • Are you suggesting that we should trust those who are clearly unaware of their biases?

        No. I have not made any suggestion who we should trust. I have simply touched on the difficulty of seeing bias in ourselves as well as others. Perhaps one the most troublesome biases is over-confidence.

        BTW are you suggesting that there is a way to cull out the ‘clearly unaware’?

      • BTW are you suggesting that there is a way to cull out the ‘clearly unaware’?

        Among those who are clearly capable of reasoning logically, no.

        But that still allows culling out around 90% based on the quality of reasoning and insight into evaluation of scientific claims that I’ve seen on blogs over the past several years.

  21. stevefitzpatrick

    Hi Judith,
    Seems to me tilting at windmills to suggest that those active in fields of research with high policy or social impact should not be policy advocates; they will ignore that suggestion. Consider the reaction of climate scientists to you and the Pielkes: any discussion of ‘honest brokerage’ leads to relentless attacks, because advocate climate scientists honestly do believe that drastic policy change MUST be implemented NOW, and anyone, no matter how well intentioned, who stands in the way will be attacked.

    Fields with policy impact mostly attract people who share the dominant philosophical paradigms of the field, and enter with the expectation of implementing those paradigms through public policy…. and that means political advocacy. Successful participation in those fields depends on agreement with the dominant paradigms. “Social science” and “political science” are dominated by people with strong left views (I used “scare quotes” around these fields because it is difficult for me to see how they are even remotely connected to science). Climate science is dominated by people with strong green views; the field attracts them… CAGW and the advocated solutions to CAGW attract them. Advocate climate scientists will never change how they behave; theirs is a near-religious conviction, and not subject to revision.

    Only the passage of time, and the relentless authority of physical reality (it is not going to warm at ~0.25C per decade as the CMIP projections say), can influence (and temper!) public policy in the face of policy advocacy by climate scientists. I think the best we can hope for is delay of foolish/damaging policies, and implementation of sensible policies consistent with more realistic climate sensitivity levels (eg Lewis and Curry), until projections of catastrophic warming are no longer credible.

  22. No such thing as
    the innocent eye,
    but if like Socrates
    yer can say ‘ I
    do not know,’
    or like Feynman
    try bending
    backwards ter
    control yer bias
    by review of
    evidence, yr’ll
    likely act less
    like an activist
    -ends-justify-the
    -means-axx-hole.

  23. Willard,
    Steven cautions that asking you a question is a better way to go. So will do so here: How about Congress testimonies?

    http://www.nytimes.com/1988/06/24/us/global-warming-has-begun-expert-tells-senate.html
    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/04/16/judith-currys-testimony/

    JC: “I’ve defined advocacy many times: Using your expertise as part of forceful persuasion regarding a public policy.”

    judithcurry.com/2015/09/03/ins-and-outs-of-the-ivory-tower/#comment-728927

  24. Pingback: Absolving Judith Curry from Her Political Sins | Tony Heller (aka Steven Goddard), Exposed

  25. JC says yes scientists should offer their expertise, but “Engagement without partisanship is the key IMO.”
    What do they do when one whole political party seems to be against believing their science? It may look like partisanship, but it is actually still promoting the science. The partisanship is not on their part, and the public needs to be able to separate out that situation. Sometimes when someone warns of coastal flooding or heatwaves increasing in frequency, it is just presenting the science, but is bitterly resented by some partisans, just like with past battles on tobacco, CFCs, sulfates, lead, particulates, pesticides, etc. Drawing attention to risks based on scientific studies is not a partisan act, but it may attract political opponents.

    • You know that the so-called climate science has been co-opted by the radical left-loon greenies, yimmy. Do you seriously expect the rest of us, the 7 billion, to just roll over? Try to think of something other than that Big Tobacco BS, yimmy. It ain’t working for you. Tell us about the polar bears, again.

      • You know that the so-called climate science has been co-opted by the radical left-loon greenies

        Sorry to interrupt here, Don, but have you considered making your arguments more convincing by omitting the insults?

        If your strongest argument is an insult, you don’t really have much to go on, do you.

    • “Engagement without partisanship” is challenging to say the least. But that does not make it a worthy goal and doesn’t mean we can’t talk about it. and try to engage while at the same time calling out partisanship.

      There is nuance. For sure “partisans” are going to see others “neutral” engagement as “partisan” activity. I doubt it will ever be clear and there are probably shades of “partisanship” in the best of “neutral” engagement. Similarly some “partisans” will see their “partisanship” as neutral engagement. I(For the same piece here I’ve been accused by some of being a denier and others of being a warmist.)

      When I was in school it was generally the case that the professors would present different perspectives on issues (pros and cons) and you could not tell what their personal perspective was. In some instances I later learned that some were on the “other side” of issues then I would have expected from their classroom lectures (perhaps because they overcompensated for their biases). I don’t think it was problematic that the professors might “engage” or even be “partisans” on the side on their own time, because they supported open inquiry. Those who argue the issue clearly has been settled or those who argue it is clearly imaginary and can’t tolerate dissent are the problem. I haven’t sat in a class of Judith’s but I suspect she is an academic of integrity. I expect there are some among various perspectives, but the advocacy role is decreasing their numbers.

      • A short way to say this is that a “true” academic makes the “best” case for every perspective and is not shy about calling out the faults of any perspective.

      • Those who argue the issue clearly has been settled

        Engineer, What exactly are they saying is clearly settled?”

      • Joseph – I can’t say I know exactly or for that matter specifically who “they” is. But you might find some clues here: http://www.thescienceisstillsettled.com/

        It was general language and you could also take issue with the characterization of “those who argue it is clearly imaginary”. Both just rough, crude characterizations of a mindset.

      • Dr. Curry is referring to advocacy.by scientists and scientific organizations. Not public figures like, Al Gore. If you want to include public figures then you would find such hyperbole on almost every political topic.

      • Dr. Curry is referring to advocacy.by scientists and scientific organizations. Not public figures like, Al Gore. If you want to include public figures then you would find such hyperbole on almost every political topic.

        Problem: The IPCC is a public, political institution, established with ulterior motives, so, unless you exclude the IPCC…

      • Joseph, I have no doubt (though I don’t know many of their names) that at many colleges and probably many universities “academics” are echoing what Mr. Gore said and giving tacit approval to it. Do you doubt that?
        This discussion is not limited to the “cream” of academia as far as I can tell, nor any specific disciplines.

      • I have no doubt (though I don’t know many of their names) that at many colleges and probably many universities “academics” are echoing what Mr. Gore said and giving tacit approval to it. Do you doubt that?

        Why would I think that? What good is speculation?

      • I don’t know what you are up to or about Joseph. I posited two types of mindsets that would be problematic. You seemed to take issue that there were no such “problematic” mindset on one side (or that they were not sufficiently documented). You challenged me to provide names., even though I did not speculate as to the magnitude or degree as to which either existed. I merely offered a description of the mindset. If it’s uncommon it’s not much of a problem. This is background for a discussion, not a judgement or a promise from me to judge others. I offered an idea of what the mindset might look like. You quibbled that it was not taken from an academic. I contend that many academics share it. You refuse to confirm or doubt that possibility.

        If you want to say that you don’t think many “academics” share Al Gores view or merely that you have no idea as to whether many academics share Al Gores view/midnset, then I (and likely others) will conclude that you are not being honest and straightforward or or not very connected to the world we live in. If it’s either of those cases, you are not a good person to have a discussion with.

      • @ape: I have no doubt that at many colleges and probably many universities “academics” are echoing what Mr. Gore said and giving tacit approval to it.

        Only those academics less qualified in climate science than Mr. Gore.

        Whose main qualification is having taken a course from Roger Revelle as a young student.

        Those academics that base their evaluations on the data pay no attention to what Mr. Gore says. Unlike you they are able to tell truth from the sort of fiction you keep propagating here.

      • VP-what fiction have/am I propagating. Certainly many academics have less climate qualifications than Al Gore. (I’m thinking of a particular Philosophy Professor at a nearbye community college). But they may share and “teach” an understanding more dire and certain than Al Gore. It’s a big country, you seem to state uneqivably that no academics with more qualifications than Al Gore echo Mr. Gore.

        I don’t see what you and Joseph are fighting here. Again I’ve made no specific claims to magnitude or degree. Certainly no statements on par with your sweeping one in any case.

      • Vaughan Pratt is unaware of his biasses.

      • Here’s one academics self description of their own impact. I suspect this is a well meaning, responsible, capable person whose activist inclinations resulted in a skewed perspective being taught to her students. Judge for yourself whether the current perspective offered her students is more balanced.

        … I’ve been teaching college undergraduates about the environment for 20 years. Like many others, I focus on how humans are changing the earth system through pollution, deforestation, resource exploitation and climate change. I school them on the inadequacies of environmental policy and try to shock them out of complacency and into action.

        Problem was, it wasn’t working. Many students left my class feeling despondent and powerless. As one wrote to me, “what you have taught me makes me desperately sad, clinging to the last memories we will have of the planet as the world chooses material comfort over breathing fresh air.”…

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/08/20/how-to-teach-about-climate-without-making-your-students-feel-hopeless/

      • “many” = 1 ?

      • Well in all fairness Michael, she said she changed her ways. I’m down to 0. If we’re going to be obnoxiously pedantic, let’s be good at it.

      • what fiction have/am I propagating.

        Apologies, I retract my last sentence (“Unlike you …”) which was unkind. I’m not sure which of the other three sentences in my comment might be in dispute, though the immediately preceding “Those academics that base their evaluations on the data pay no attention to what Mr. Gore says” might have been better worded as “Those academics that base their evaluations on the data do not base them on what Mr. Gore says.” (Academics interested in whether Gore’s critics are right certainly need to pay attention to what Gore says.)

        Certainly many academics have less climate qualifications than Al Gore.

        Granted, in fact probably most academics given that Gore at least took Revelle’s course, but then you followed that up with

        Here’s one academics self description of their own impact. I suspect this is a well meaning, responsible, capable person whose activist inclinations resulted in a skewed perspective being taught to her students.

        Maybe you didn’t mean to imply that she had fewer climate qualifications than Gore but it came across that way. In any event her BS (UC London), MS (Toronto), and PhD (UCLA) are all in geography, she’s a coauthor of seven books on climate change and world regions, is co-director of the Institute of the Environment at the University of Arizona where she is a Regents Professor in the School of Geography & Development, has previously taught at Oxford, Penn State, and Wisconsin-Madison, and has worked at the National Center for Atmospheric Research where she worked with Stephen Schneider. Her honours include the Mitchell Prize for Sustainable Development, the 2010 Founders Gold Medal of the Royal Geographic Society, Distinguished Scholarship Honors from the Association of American Geographers, and most recently a Guggenheim Fellowship, all for her work on WG2 and WG3 topics. In particular the Gold Medal (which has only been awarded to one other woman since this annual award resumed after World War II) was for her research demonstrating that climate vulnerability was as a big a factor in climate impacts (WG2) as physical climate change (WG1). She has served as Chair of the US National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change, and of the Global Environmental Change and Food Systems Scientific Advisory Committee, and has been a member of advisory committees for NOAA and for the InterAmerican Institute for Global Environmental Change. More about her here.

        Judge for yourself whether the current perspective offered her students is more balanced.

        I don’t know about “balanced”, but your characterization of her as “a well meaning, responsible, capable person whose activist inclinations have resulted in a skewed perspective being taught to her students” is hardly how the session chair would be likely to introduce her if she’d been the invited speaker at a Global Environmental Change conference. While I can understand your not seeing it that way, the audience would likely take it as prima facie evidence of bias on the part of the chair.

      • VP – Thanks I appreciate your last response. I don’t think we will ever agree on everything but the confusion between us is reduced. Personally I don’t think the change in her teaching is the needed improvement. To me she seems to be about telling students what to think, not how to think. To me she seems more concerned with them choosing to be active, rather than their expanding their knowledge and skill sets. But I understand others may find her inspiring and making a valuable contribution. She wants to impart her knowledge and perspectives to her students, if I were an academic -I think I’d want my students to have the tools to surpass me. I suspect reading about her goals and methods might serve as a litmus test.

        I did not mean to suggest that she had less credentials than Al Gore. She seems well credentialed and I expect she is a respected part of mainstream climate science. I expect others share her perspectives and approaches. I understood you to say “only” climate scientists less credentialed than Mr Gore shared his dire view, which was the sweeping misstatement I was referring to. But hey this is a blog -people make sweeping statements so no big deal. Your clarification makes more sense and I don’t disagree with that and I wouldn’t suggest that they did.

    • What do they do when one whole political party seems to be against believing their science?

      Politicians of all stripes are fairly ignorant of science.

      But left leaners are just as ignorant of science as the right, or they wouldn’t spread such exaggerations.

      Here is some other science which doesn’t get much attention, and that
      most politicians are too busy to learn or understand:

      Agriculture: crop yields increase with increased CO2.
      Botany: greater and faster plant growth with increased CO2.
      Agronomy: plants lose less water with increased CO2.
      Physiology: human mortality peaks in cold, troughs in warm seasons.
      Economics: human fuel use increases well being and development.
      Astronomy: Holocene Optimum produced colder Northern winters.
      Astronomy: Holocene Optimum produced hotter Northern summers.
      Anthropology: human civilization advanced during Holocene Optimum
      Anthropology: broad increases in human well being with recent warming.
      Biology: nearly all species evolved in and out of climatic variation.
      Climatology: many extreme events of varying durations have been natural.
      Forestry: tree scar and ash sediment studies indicate decrease in fires
      Demography: falling fertility rates worldwide
      Climatology: no correlation of global tropical cyclone energy with warming
      Climatology: no correlation of global drought with warming.
      Climatology: decline in kinetic energy available to storms.
      Climatology: possibly reduced temperature variability.
      Oceanography: slow sea level rise with global warming.
      Oceanography: high uptake of CO2 into the ocean depths.

      • There may actually be some scientists who think a warmer world is some kind of nirvana like this, and the warmer the better, and they need to be more outspoken. So far, they don’t seem to have been saying anything publicly, possibly because they are afraid of being just laughed at. Let’s have that debate.

      • If a climate scientist is honest he/she gets verbally attacked and their carer threatened by the progressive/green elements.

        The progressive/green elements do this because they are not honest and the facts are not on their side. If the Progressive/green elements were honest, if they were correct on the facts and not clueless, they could “win” by simply letting the facts speak for themselves.

        Obviously the facts aren’t on their side. The truth isn’t good enough and needs be enhanced. This leads to other arguments such as a bogus consensus that does not speak for the facts.

        Progressives/greens believe that this is a win at all costs political debate and not a simple investigation of the facts. They don’t appear to be capable of conducting objective unbiased science.

        Progressive/Greens should be debarred by law from receiving government grants, excluded from peer review, and denied any participation in the climate science arena so climate science can regain some integrity.

        There is a $1.5 Trillion dollar/year global warming juggernaut that can fund green research if it wants to. Federal dollars should not be wasted on green propaganda.

      • If a climate scientist is honest he/she gets verbally attacked and their carer threatened by the progressive/green elements.

        Or dishonest.

        There are two sides to a debate, in case you hadn’t noticed.

  26. Why do reply buttons appear on some comments and not others. Is it by design or is it fixable?

    • Daniel, there’s a two-three-tier system, adopted after infinite sub-threads made comments sections unreadable. Much better with the constraint. Just identify the post to which you wish to reply if it doesn’t have its own Reply button.

      • There are ways to get around the limit, if you think you need to. I usually use one of them when the thread is so long I’m afraid my reply would accidentally end up on a previous thread.

        Usually.

      • David Springer

        Only an idi0t couldn’t figure out that trick, AK. Let’s see who needs to ask…

      • And the trick is…?

        For Windoz based browsers:

        Pick any comment in the same thread that does have a “Reply” link.

        Right click on the “Reply” link and select “Open Link in New Tab” (Or “New Window” if you prefer.)

        Click on the date/time of the comment you want to reply to, so that its URL comes up in your current browser tab. It should end with “/#comment-nnnnnn” where “nnnnnn” is the 6-digit number of the comment (used by WordPress, unique to the entire blog). You might not need this step, if you already clicked on a link to this comment (the one you want to reply to).

        Highlight the “nnnnnn” of the comment you want to reply to (without any quote marks, those are mine) and press ctrl/c to copy it to your clipboard.

        Now go to the tab (or window) you opened at the beginning by right-clicking on a “Reply” link.

        Its URL will end with “?replytocom=nnnnnn#respond” where “nnnnnn” is the 6-digit number of the comment you right-clicked the “Reply” link to. (Note that to get a URL like this you have to use the right-click method. Just clicking on it will bring up a slightly different type of reply box in the same tab without the “?replytocom=nnnnnn#respond“.)

        Highlight the “nnnnnn” in this URL and press ctrl/v to replace it with the number of the comment you want to respond to.

        Hit “enter”.

        This will bring up a page whose URL ends with “?replytocom=nnnnnn#respond” where “nnnnnn” is the 6-digit number of the comment you want to reply to. It’s a good idea at this point to verify that the number in this URL matches that of the comment you want to reply to, and that the name matches. If you didn’t hit “enter” it will still be the old number and name.

        Now you can enter your response and click the “Post Comment” button. It will end up in a chain immediately under the comment you were replying to. Usually it will be at the top of that chain, above later comments entered the usual way. But other responses to the same comment entered with this method will be above yours.

        Bozo’s comment above yours is an example. It was entered in response to my comment, so it ended above yours. If you now enter a response to my comment above, yours will be right below it. (Unless another got entered this way in-between.) But above this comment that I’m responding to.

        It can get confusing since most people assume that comments will show up in the order they were entered, so I normally just do it when the thread’s so long I’m afraid I’ll miss the start and post my comment on an earlier thread. But it can be used for clowning, or other mischief.

      • I think Vaughan meant what was the SIMPLE trick.

        Can you do a cut out and keep version? :)

        tonyb

      • There’s supposed to be a way if you’re signed up for emails of all comments, but since I’m not I’ve never dug into it. This method seems pretty simple to me, but that may be because I’m so familiar with how URL’s and databases work.

        And I’ve heard there’s a method using the WordPress admin console, if you have a WordPress blog. But my main blog(s) are on Blogger, and I’m too lazy right now to change over, and don’t like creating empty stubs that just sit there.

        It’s not really that big a deal, but it needs practice before you’re going to be able to just flip through it. How much practice? I guess that depends. I guess it also depends on how much you use certain features of HTML. I usually open a link in a new tab (or window), because I often end up wanting to compare whatever’s in the linked page with the linking one.

        I also routinely use internal named anchors (the ones you reference with a “#” after the base URL) in creating links, so that part of the process has a ready pigeon-hole in my mind.

        But like any form of hacking (and that’s what it is), it involves playing around with system internals. “SIMPLE” is something you shouldn’t expect.

      • I’m just trying it now – it seems to be easy enough
        If it’s come out just below Tony’s comment then it works.

      • No, evidently not. It must be different for non-windoze – I use the chrome browser under linux and I only see a “REPLY TO NAME” where NAME is the name of the commenter the reply is to. It doesn’t work to paste the number into the URL bar

      • If it’s come out just below Tony’s comment then it works.

        Actually, IIRC I replied to Tony’s comment, so yours may have worked. It came out right under mine.

      • It might just work now – I missed out the “Hit Enter” bit earlier – go figure!

      • YESSS!!!

        That’ll teach me to RTFI properly.

        Thanks, AK

      • Why not try replying to Bozo’s comment? Since it’s later than the one beneath it, you know there’s nothing already chained to it.

      • I couldn’t find Bozo’s comment so I’m trying to reply to your 10:00 one

      • evidently not :-(

      • That one should have worked. The comment I was referring to was the one right above Vaughan Pratt’s asking:

        And the trick is…?

        Since using that commenter’s name often lands one in moderation, and he was clowning around, I called him Bozo.

        Was your response window at the bottom of the comments?

      • It all works now – see a bit higher up.

        Thanks again

      • Good. You’re welcome.

        Now please remember that if you do it a lot, you’ll just turn a thread into a confusing mess for readers.

      • I know – I’m already aware of the bit of a mess I’ve created in this subthread.

  27. Mike Mellor…”This requires scientists to abandon their other duty, as humans, to pursue what they see as the greater good. Which is the definition of morality.”
    Pure bias.

    • Yes. In my view it is important that each one of us seeks to understand the world as it really is (and as it manifest in our own minds and bodies, which is all we can directly experience), to develop a capacity to see things clearly, and not to force our views or perspective on others..Morality is developed through understanding.

    • “This requires scientists to abandon their other duty, as humans, to pursue what they see as the greater good. Which is the definition of morality.”

      Re-reading this several times, I can see it mean the opposite of itself depending on how I read it.

      What is the “greater good” as referred to here? The human part or the science part? Which is closer to the meaning of this sentence as you see it:

      1. “This requires scientists to abandon their other duty, as humans, in order to focus exclusively on science which they see as the greater good.”

      2. “This would require scientists to unnecessarily abandon their other duty, to pursue as a human being what they see as the greater good.”

      What I’m referring to in 1 is the idea that society needs unbiased advice and it’s to the greater good of society that some people give up normal partisan activities (their human duty in some sense) to serve in this role. It’s a contribution to the greater organism, and therefore the greater good even though they have to make some personal sacrifices. In a highly differentiated organization/society there are numerous niche roles to fill and the organization will only be healthy overall when that’s done well. Having everyone shout their biases at each other with no honest brokers available might not be the best organizing principle.

      In number 2, obviously, is the idea that humanity trumps everything and no human being should put that below any other role, even temporarily.

      These two arguments are the same thing you hear in the news industry. Some reporters say they don’t vote because it’s incompatible with their role of bringing unbiased information to other human beings. Other reporters are of course highly partisan and there’s no doubt who they vote for.

  28. Willard. “Therefore one should stay out of politics unless one advocates for liberty, autonomy, and overall individualism. ”

    That is exactly right. Though I’m sure you don’t see it. My bias is not to use you as a means to my ends. For this you think I should apologize? My bias is to respect your autonomy. For this I should apologize? My bias is to grant every human being equal status before the law and to recognize every individual as the owner of his own life and having the right to make decisions in how his life is to be used and spent. That his life is for his ends and no one else’s. For this I should apologize?
    If you tell me that you believe in and pursue a policy of liberty, autonomy, and overall individualism, you have told me that I am safe from your machinations, that you are not a threat to my life and well being. This worries you? You would be very fortunate to run into a lot of people with this bias.
    Liberty, autonomy and overall individualism are truths I hold to be self- evident. That is, these are axiomatic to everything that follows. They are the foundation upon which my morality is built. They declare who I am.
    In mathematics we can offer proofs for what we claim. In science we can offer data and reasoning.
    The only thing we can do as humans is declare our biases, our axioms, our foundational principles.
    I’m happy to expose my bias that those who advocate liberty, autonomy and overall individualism hold the least threat to the lives of their neighbors. Or to anyone.
    What are the axioms, the self-evident truths that a Progressive, a Socialist, an authoritarian or collectivist would posit? An environmentalist? What is the threat level to their neighbors?
    Whose biases do you think you have to be most worried about?

    • My bias is not to use you as a means to my ends. For this you think I should apologize? My bias is to respect your autonomy. For this I should apologize? My bias is to grant every human being equal status before the law and to recognize every individual as the owner of his own life and having the right to make decisions in how his life is to be used and spent. That his life is for his ends and no one else’s. For this I should apologize?

      +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

      • You left out a +. Typical serf carelessness.

      • Look. how can a serf, livin’ as she does,
        outside the ivy walls of ivory towers, out
        in all whethers, dwellin’ in in turnip fields
        become adept in mathematics, can count
        ter ten and then again, downhill from then.
        But a serf knows what she likes and like
        Socrates said, ‘Even a serf can learn.’

        turnip

    • > That is exactly right. Though I’m sure you don’t see it. My bias is not to use you as a means to my ends.

      Your second sentence contradicts your third, Daniel, and your overall comment doesn’t warrant the first.

      There’s nothing special about libertarian claptraps.

      • “There’s nothing special about libertarian claptraps.”
        Then there’s nothing special about a non-aggression stance when compared to one of aggression. We are unable to place a higher value on either choice. Was your first comment on this article much more than saying, this guy is a libertarian?

      • Willard:
        “Judy found yet another rationalizing libertarian.”
        She could’ve found a rationalizing Republican or Democrat. Another choice would’ve been a stricter uncompromising person of any party. How do rationalizing libertarians stack up against others? What would you have her be? A capitalist or a socialist? These two choices would seem to me to be polarizing ones. Van der Voosen defines what advocacy he finds objectionable early in the article. We can call his line arbitrary in a field of gray and he warns those on the other side of the line. Without a line, everything is equally acceptable or not acceptable. All advocacy might be acceptable or not acceptable then. We have a choice of a black and white rule, all or nothing, or a nuanced approach where some things are acceptable and some are not. Black and white rules agree with my idea of libertarianism, forming the foundation of it. However, that approach is uncompromising. Meaningful participation by libertarians requires rationalization in my opinion.

      • > How do rationalizing libertarians stack up against others?

      • Reactance: “When something is prohibited, I usually think, “That’s exactly what I’m going to do”

      • :How do rationalizing libertarians stack up against others?”

        Didnt see anything to disagree with. Im pissed

      • Didnt see anything to disagree with. Im pissed

        Really? I found what seemed to be a disapproving manner somewhat off-putting.

        Given that science requires putting rationality ahead of emotionally driven decisions, much less tribal/in-group driven decisions, the conclusion would be that Libertarians, on average, would make better scientists.

        And that Libertarian ideals, generally, would make a better bias for a scientists than either “liberal”, or “conservative”.

        Somehow, I doubt that was the intent of including that talk in this thread.

      • > Libertarian ideals, generally, would make a better bias for a scientists than either “liberal”, or “conservative”.

        The main ideal libertarians sell is liberty. Their main weakness is a lack of empathy. Many sciences might profit from more empathy than liberty.

        Ideals ain’t biases and branding an universal principle (e.g. Reason) does not imply libertarians own rationality. More so that the very concept of reason is expanding:

        A few years ago, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio made a groundbreaking discovery. He studied people with damage in the part of the brain where emotions are generated. He found that they seemed normal, except that they were not able to feel emotions. But they all had something peculiar in common: they couldn’t make decisions. They could describe what they should be doing in logical terms, yet they found it very difficult to make even simple decisions, such as what to eat. Many decisions have pros and cons on both sides—shall I have the chicken or the turkey? With no rational way to decide, these test subjects were unable to arrive at a decision.

        http://bigthink.com/experts-corner/decisions-are-emotional-not-logical-the-neuroscience-behind-decision-making

      • Many sciences might profit from more empathy than liberty.

        Nope. Liberty implies thinking for oneself. Empathy implies not thinking something that would bother some stick-in-the-mud co-worker.

        Ideals ain’t biases and branding an universal principle (e.g. Reason) does not imply libertarians own rationality.

        But Haidt said “libertarians” scored higher on “rationality”. So, other things being equal, a libertarian might have a better chance of doing rational work within science than somebody more “empathic” but less rational.

        With no rational way to decide, these test subjects were unable to arrive at a decision.

        So you’re suggesting that Libertarians are “brain-damaged”?

      • > [Y]ou’re suggesting that Libertarians are “brain-damaged”?

        Only that reason ain’t the logical calculus we once thought it was, and that decision-making is powered by an emotional component. Even if there was a correlation between libertarianism and the autistic spectrum, autism is not a psychopathology, but the manifestation of a non-neurotypical brain. I don’t need to delve into this kind of question to point out that just like there’s no dichotomy between facts and values, there might not be a dichotomy between reason and emotion either.

        ***

        > Liberty implies thinking for oneself. Empathy implies not thinking something that would bother some stick-in-the-mud co-worker.

        I don’t see why liberty should imply anything about agency, and the claim about empathy seems to contain more emotional than rational content.

      • [… A]nd the claim about empathy seems to contain more emotional than rational content.

      • Willard

        “The main ideal libertarians sell is liberty. Their main weakness is a lack of empathy. Many sciences might profit from more empathy than liberty.”

        huh?

        1. today sciences are dominated by liberals.
        2. liberals ooze empathy.

        whatever makes you think that “many sciences” would profit from more empathy. We’ve done the experiment with more empathy.

        on the other hand the main ideal liberal sell is empathy. Their main weakness is rationality. Many sciences…

      • Compare and contrast:

        (AK1) You have a nail in your forehead.

        (AK2) Empathy implies not thinking something that would bother some stick-in-the-mud co-worker.

        This kind of argument may illustrate the limitations of self-reports.

      • > huh?

        Libertarianism (Latin: liber, “free”) is a political philosophy that upholds liberty as its principal objective.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarianism

        That’s why it’s called libertarianism, after all.

      • (AK1) You have a nail in your forehead.

        Oh no! Empathy would mandate saying nothing about the nail in the forehead. Just sympathize (empathize) and leave the problem unsolved. As at the end of the clip. (Except for the bump.)

      • > whatever makes you think that “many sciences” would profit from more empathy

        Kurt Vonnegut Jr’s Cat’s Craddle:

        Felix Hoenikker is the “Father of the Atom Bomb.” Felix Hoenikker was proclaimed one of the smartest scientists on Earth. An eccentric and emotionless man, he is depicted as amoral and apathetic towards anything other than his research. He needed only something to keep him busy, such as in his role as one of the “Fathers of the Atomic Bomb”, and in his creation of “ice-nine,” a potentially catastrophic substance with the capability to destroy all life on Earth, but which he saw merely as a mental puzzle (a Marine general suggested developing a substance that could solidify mud so soldiers could run across it more easily). During experiments with “ice nine”, Felix takes a nap in his rocking chair and dies. It is the narrator’s quest for biographical details about Hoenikker that provides both the background and the connecting thread between the various subsections of the story.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat%27s_Cradle#Characters

        ***

        Admittedly, this is just an appetizer. I hope this conveys enough for the moment. I’ve got other things to do right now, and I think it’s time to move away from this thread.

        Until later,

        W

      • This is too good to resist, though:

        > Empathy would mandate […]

        Surely you must be joking, AK. Or is it showing reactance?

        Ask someone who has more empathy than you, then report.

      • blueice2hotsea

        willard – That’s why it’s called libertarianism, after all.

        No. Libertarianism was coined as an epithet label for the antithesis of Necessarianism. Neccessarians abhor self-determination. Instead, people’s lives are to be determined for them by force, in accordance with the will of God, government and by the duly appointed.

    • What nation is your favorite example of a libertarian society? Does it work, or is it just a theory?

      • Ever heard of the Bill of Rights?

      • 18th century US, then? What about now? Weren’t most of those types of societies replaced by more collectivism as a simple result of broader voting rights?

      • Free Market Fairness or Freed Market Anti-Capitalism?

        The libertarian, qua libertarian, has reason to be concerned not only that a society is governed by the appropriate libertarian rules, but that the conditions upon which these rules are imposed, themselves be structured by libertarian principles. [10] In order to clarify this difference, consider the following, from Rothbard:

        Suppose that somehow government becomes persuaded of the necessity to yield to a clamor for free-market, laissez-faire society. Before dissolving itself, however, it redistributes property titles, granting the ownership of the entire territory of New York to the Rockefeller family, of Massachusetts to the Kennedy family, etc. It then dissolves, ending taxation and all other forms of government intervention in the economy. However, while taxation has been abolished, the Rockefeller, Kennedy, etc., families proceed to dictate to all the residents in what is now “their” territory, exacting what are now called “rents” over all the inhabitants.

        Rothbard’s point here is that the deontological libertarian is in a particularly good position to condemn this regime. [12] Regardless of whether or not there is a free market in goods, and prices are determined by supply and demand, and contracts are voluntarily agreed to according to mutual benefit, etc., as per the various libertarian mantras, what is of equal important is from whence these commercial engagements arose. The state of affairs described in the passage in[s] one entirely governed by libertarian rules, but it is nonetheless deeply unjust from a libertarian perspective, because of the unjust conditions upon which the libertarian rules were imposed.

  29. Geoff Sherrington

    The main part of my science career in Australia was in the mineral exploration, mining, forestry and large manufacturing sectors, all at once, on world scale projects. I was in industry.
    From time to time we found a need for a number of like companies to club with us to buy expensive equipment and sponsor academia and CSIRO, by grants, to use and develop further applications for the equipment. That way, we had access to a number of equipment items with dedicated operators.
    Soon, this was formalised by AMIRA, for Australian Mining Industry Research Association. AMIRA was supported by a dozen or so major industry players who were in deadly competition with each other but able to work cooperatively when it was obviously common sense to so do.
    In situations like this, bias does not really enter the equation.
    It is unfortunate that academia has turned its back on many funding opportunities like this. It is appalling that there is now this poisonous attitude of “being tainted by the dirty hand of industry”. That thought process is so alien to real life that I am surprised that it exists.
    Time for ivory tower to clean its dusty cupboards, I suspect.
    Some of us in industry are really nice people.

    • It is appalling that there is now this poisonous attitude of “being tainted by the dirty hand of industry”.

      If the hand of industry is poisonous, as it all too often is, how is it “poisonous” to complain about being poisoned by it?

      • If the hand of industry is poisonous, […]

        It’s not.

      • Wow, Vaughan. It’s amazing the Earth is still here, isn’t it?

      • Earth contamination of Earth, oh the tragedy!

      • Seriously?

        First of all, you’re mixing metaphors. While arguing from analogy. Stop it. The analogy doesn’t hold. “Poisoning” the earth is different from “poisoning” science. Unless you can show some legal or ethical parallels, you have no argument.

        But where the analogy does hold is in your generalization from anecdotal to typical culpability: just because some instances of some industries are bad actors doesn’t make the whole of all industries bad actors.

        Further, as long as there are provable instances of “science” being perverted for the sake of political or “environmental” agendas, it’s sort of hypocritical to point fingers at those who might be perverting “science” for the sake of their financial agendas.

        Much better to simply develop and apply quality assurance (QA) filters to all science so the bad stuff gets discovered and its influence removed.

        One important point to remember is that large industrial corporations have a long history of relying on good science for their profits. Drill too often in the wrong places, dig too often in the wrong places, build too many prototypes that don’t work, and you’re BANKRUPT. So don’t be too sure that “industry” isn’t more likely to come up with good “science” than universities full of starry-eyed idealists.

      • jim2, here’s a recent aerial photo of the Animas River.

        Are your comments intended to imply that no one should complain about toxicity even on this scale?

      • David Springer

        The Animas River Spill? Seriously?

        The EPA caused the spill, not industry. Nice own goal.

        http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/12/opinions/pagel-animas-river-pollution/

      • AK, those who take an active interest in the reports of the Blacksmith Institute are almost certainly going to interpret “the dirty hand of industry” in terms of toxic industrial pollution. It that wasn’t Geoff’s intended interpretation then clearly I owe him an apology for my misinterpretation.

        Geoff, what were you referring to as “the dirty hand of industry”?

      • @Vaughan Pratt…

        I’ll let Geoff answer for himself, but I will point out that if the “Blacksmith Institute” (now calling itself Pure Earth) actually doesn’t decry that phrase when it hears it, it needs to clean up its own act.

        A google search of their site for the phrase didn’t turn up any hits, so they don’t seem to be pushing it.

      • Vaughan, the Animus river perfectly illustrates my point. Yes, there was a spill. But the long term effects will be very minimal. The color you see is from iron oxide, used as a pigment throughout the ages and now due to its strong color. Otherwise, it’s mostly harmless.

        Accidents like this have and will continue to happen, and it’s a small price to pay for the great life industry, technology, and science has laid at our feet.

    • Industry funding cannot be as tainted as government funding. Government operates by coercion and the threat of violence. Industry operates by free exchange. The moral distinction is enormous.

      • And, of course, beginning with Adam Smith, it should (but sadly, appears not to be) be clear that the worst of all possible situations is when the government gets in bed with industry to the detriment of the ordinary citizen/consumer/taxpayer. Obviously, if there is a clear detriment, then most people will say they are against it. But, many can not see that their pet policies will cause more of the same.

  30. Geoff Sherrington

    Here is a letter published by the main national newspaper here in Australia in February, 2006. I wrote it after listening to matters that were supposed to be scientific, as delivered by a couple of CSIRO people.

    In retrospect, it sent a shock through the readership. Even sceptics were frightened by it. Then many of them became overt sceptics.
    The letter might have been a step in the evolution of public scepticism here. I stand by every word of it, nearly a decade later.

    “THERE is an excellent argument for curbing the public statements of scientists like those from CSIRO, a former employer of mine. Scientists, like the public, cover a spectrum of beliefs, some of which are based on emotion rather than science. There are greenie scientists in CSIRO and there are honest ones. Human nature being what it is, there are private agendas pushed by CSIRO people that would make your jaw drop. An example is the selection of Australian weather recording sites used to construct the temperature measurements of the continent, which play a big part in southern hemisphere weather models. From the beginning, most sites that showed little or no temperature rise or a fall from, say, the 1880s to now were rejected. The few sites selected to represent Australia were mainly from capital cities and under suspicion for “heat island” effects. I could give example after example as it was one of my employment functions to distil the best results from the bogus on many matters related to energy/greenhouse/nuclear etc. I found few truly objective submissions among those masquerading as science.”

    • “An example is the selection of Australian weather recording sites used to construct the temperature measurements of the continent, which play a big part in southern hemisphere weather models. “

      I don’t believe CSIRO had anything to do with that.

      • Geoff Sherrington

        On reflection, Nick, I should not involve CSIRO so deeply in that action at that time. Thank you for the correction. Geoff.

  31. As an economic policy adviser to heads of government in the UK and Australia, I was at the coalface as regards issues of impartial or politically-biased advice. Like most others I’ve known in that field, I agreed with van der Voosen’s maxim that “The search for the truth requires that researchers do their best to honestly assess and evaluate all the relevant available evidence.” My role was to sufficiently research an issue so as to give well-based advice, consider what options were available to deal with the issue, and present advice in such a way as to facilitate a decision. I often had a preferred option, but I don’t think that would ever have been apparent from my papers and briefs, unless I was specifically asked for a recommendation. The politics of the government I advised were irrelevant to my advice.

    One of my first roles in Canberra in 1985 was as part of a Ministerial Taskforce on Longer-Term Economic Growth, chaired by Industry Minister Senator John Button. One of the first things that Button said to the group of economists and other specialists was that we should forget ALP policy and ACTU policy, what the government wanted to know was what policies were best for the people of Australia as a whole. That attitude helped to underpin the success of the Hawke government.

    (It has not, unfortunately, been present in recent Australian governments, and I was mocked in Queensland for not joining the (Labor) party, where partisanship and biased advice was essential for career advancement.)

    For the record, I joined the UK Labour Party in 1965. At the time I was in the central office of the UK energy utility, the Central Electricity Generating Board, a GOE rather than a political entity. About 2-3 weeks later, before I had been active, I was near-fatally injured when run down by a car. That was the end of my political involvement.

    Judith, like you, “I find the APS argument for civic engagement by scientists to be compelling.” Such engagement does not a priori involve any element of advocacy or bias. And I applaud Kniss’s good sense.

    If as an adviser to Prime Ministers in the crucial field of economics, I could avoid partisanship and advocacy, surely those in academia should be able to do the same?

    • An old friend of mine is an assistant teacher of Vipassana meditation, committed to honesty, integrity and the well-being of all. (He also runs a highly–successful landscape business in Dubai.) We have many exchanges on Facebook. He responded recently: “Always on seeing it as it is Mike. That’s why I value reading your comments.” I replied: “Thanks, Laith, though I warn that I do not always see things with clarity and without bias.” To avoid falling into the trap of advocacy requires self-awareness and eternal vigilance.

      • @Faustino: I replied: “Thanks, Laith, though I warn that I do not always see things with clarity and without bias.” To avoid falling into the trap of advocacy requires self-awareness and eternal vigilance.

        I share Mike’s handicap. Regarding “self-awareness and eternal vigilance” I would not want to claim the former at more than 50%, and the latter only until when dementia sets in. (I’m 71, younger than Mike I think.)

  32. He’s overestimating the esteem in which scientists are held.

  33. If you’re just an old fashioned scientist, you’re working on curiosity, not a quest for truth. You want an explanation for what’s going on. It drives you.

    In the case of climate, that’s pretty much out of the question.

    So it turns into bureaucracy and hierarchy.

    There’s no room for a simple explanation or therefore for curiosity.

    So they add “science” to the name, so that the bureaucracy can claim it.

    In real sciences, this is unnecessary. Curiosity makes the claim by itself.

    It’s certainly true that bureaucrats shouldn’t polically advocate for the bureaucracy, but that’s what always happens.

  34. The problem isn’t advocacy among scientists in itself – particularly if one uses subjective/self-serving definitions of advocacy.

    The problem is the quality of one’s advocacy: is it consistent with the practice of sound science? Is it deceptive or misleading? Is it consistent with the full range of evidence?

  35. How many seconds did the collapse of Building 7 take, take your time now.

  36. Can a scientist, say me, say that there are an infinite number of imaginary disasters, so you have to set the false alarm rate to zero to counter the infinity.

    And, here’s the scientist part, there appears to be no adult peer review in climate science, based on intersections of my scientific expertise with bits of climate science. They don’t know what they claim to know, it’s not physics, and everything is imaginary after that point.

    Advocacy based on scientific expertise : ignore climate science.

  37. This article is irrelevant to climate science.

    It’s like preaching the merits of virginity to Warren Beatty.
    (OK, Paris Hilton for those under 50.)

    That ship sailed, hit the ice berg, and sank long ago.

  38. I find BvdV problematic. Its fine to identify the sources of bias just as many others have but to think the solution has to be individuals attempting to attain some sort of pure state free from such biases seems impossible. To deny ones political being seems as ludicrous as the priesthood denying its sexual being or for politicians to be expected to be less flawed as anybody else.

    The agro-scientists you mention seem to have a far better strategy, full disclosure and an honest debate. A difficult task given our cynical times but at least a process that can be verified.

  39. In recent years, much has been said about the post-modernist claims about science to the effect that science is just another form of raw power, tricked out in special claims for truth-seeking and objectivity that really have no basis in fact. Science, we are told, is no better than any other undertaking. These ideas anger many scientists, and they anger me. But recent events have made me wonder if they are correct. ~Michael Crichton

  40. The establishment of an enforceable code of ethics like that of Professional Engineers would go a long way towards restoring trust in science.

    Excerpts from Engineering Code of Ethics:[bold mine]

    Engineers shall issue public statements only in an objective and
    truthful manner.

    a. Engineers shall be objective and truthful in professional reports,
    statements, or testimony. They shall include all relevant and
    pertinent information
    in such reports, statements, or testimony,
    which should bear the date indicating when it was current.
    b. Engineers may express publicly technical opinions that are founded
    upon knowledge of the facts and competence in the subject matter.
    c. Engineers shall issue no statements, criticisms, or arguments on
    technical matters that are inspired or paid for by interested parties,
    unless they have prefaced their comments by explicitly identifying
    the interested parties on whose behalf they are speaking, and by
    revealing the existence of any interest the engineers may have in the
    matters.

    Engineers shall avoid all conduct or practice that deceives the public.
    a. Engineers shall avoid the use of statements containing a material
    misrepresentation of fact or omitting a material fact.

    http://www.nspe.org/sites/default/files/resources/pdfs/Ethics/CodeofEthics/Code-2007-July.pdf

    As one can plainly see, the use of Zohnerism such as is common in climate science is completely incompatible with such a code of ethics.

  41. Those who wish to live in Ivory Towers shouldn’t play the Glass Bead Game unless they know their limitations.

  42. Inspired from above.

    In the tall tower
    a small figure
    in pointed hat ‘s
    cranking the handle
    of a machine.What’s
    he doing? Fog is
    wreathing from
    the battlements,
    creeping down
    the fire escape,
    seeping beneath
    the drawbridge
    into the forest …
    Run, run or we’ll
    be lost! Soon
    we won’t see
    the woods for
    the fog.

  43. Being politically active also creates a temptation to demonize one’s opponents rather than listen to them.
    An academic post is a very convenient power base for political activity. One can indoctrinate students, maybe thousands of them over time. One can train grad students to go out and fight on your behalf. One can consult for government. and so on.
    I had a high school history teacher who refused to tell us her political affiliation or who she favored in elections. The class loved her and really wanted to be just like her. I admired her stance a lot.

  44. At the risk of getting deleted:

    Willard: “Go team.”

    Me: Willard, do you want those pom poms back that you sent me? They’ve done nothing but collect dust since they arrived.

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