How scientists fool themselves – and how they can stop

“Science is an ongoing race between our inventing ways to fool ourselves, and our inventing ways to avoid fooling ourselves.” – Saul Perlmutter

Nature has published an interesting article:  How scientists fool themselves, and how they can stop, by Regina Nuzzio.  Excerpts:

This is the big problem in science that no one is talking about: even an honest person is a master of self-deception. Our brains evolved long ago on the African savannah, where jumping to plausible conclusions about the location of ripe fruit or the presence of a predator was a matter of survival. But a smart strategy for evading lions does not necessarily translate well to a modern laboratory, where tenure may be riding on the analysis of terabytes of multidimensional data. In today’s environment, our talent for jumping to conclusions makes it all too easy to find false patterns in randomness, to ignore alternative explanations for a result or to accept ‘reasonable’ outcomes without question — that is, to ceaselessly lead ourselves astray without realizing it.

“People forget that when we talk about the scientific method, we don’t mean a finished product,” says Saul Perlmutter, an astrophysicist at the University of California, Berkeley. “Science is an ongoing race between our inventing ways to fool ourselves, and our inventing ways to avoid fooling ourselves.” So researchers are trying a variety of creative ways to debias data analysis — strategies that involve collaborating with academic rivals, getting papers accepted before the study has even been started and working with strategically faked data.

The problem

“As a researcher, I’m not trying to produce misleading results,” says Nosek. “But I do have a stake in the outcome.” And that gives the mind excellent motivation to find what it is primed to find.

Hypothesis myopia

One trap that awaits during the early stages of research is what might be called hypothesis myopia: investigators fixate on collecting evidence to support just one hypothesis; neglect to look for evidence against it; and fail to consider other explanations. “People tend to ask questions that give ‘yes’ answers if their favoured hypothesis is true,” says Jonathan Baron, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. By focusing on one hypothesis, researchers might be missing the real story entirely.

The Texas sharpshooter

A cognitive trap that awaits during data analysis is illustrated by the fable of the Texas sharpshooter: an inept marksman who fires a random pattern of bullets at the side of a barn, draws a target around the biggest clump of bullet holes, and points proudly at his success.

“You just get some encouragement from the data and then think, well, this is the path to go down,” says Pashler. “You don’t realize you had 27 different options and you picked the one that gave you the most agreeable or interesting results, and now you’re engaged in something that’s not at all an unbiased representation of the data.”

Asymmetric attention

The data-checking phase holds another trap: asymmetric attention to detail. Sometimes known as disconfirmation bias, this happens when we give expected results a relatively free pass, but we rigorously check non-intuitive results. “When the data don’t seem to match previous estimates, you think, ‘Oh, boy! Did I make a mistake?’” MacCoun says. “We don’t realize that probably we would have needed corrections in the other situation as well.”

Just-so storytelling

As data-analysis results are being compiled and interpreted, researchers often fall prey to just-so storytelling — a fallacy named after the Rudyard Kipling tales that give whimsical explanations for things such as how the leopard got its spots. The problem is that post-hoc stories can be concocted to justify anything and everything — and so end up truly explaining nothing. 

Another temptation is to rationalize why results should have come up a certain way but did not — what might be called JARKing, or justifying after results are known. 

The solutions

In every one of these traps, cognitive biases are hitting the accelerator of science: the process of spotting potentially important scientific relationships. Countering those biases comes down to strengthening the ‘brake’: the ability to slow down, be sceptical of findings and eliminate false positives and dead ends.

One solution that is piquing interest revives an old tradition: explicitly considering competing hypotheses, and if possible working to develop experiments that can distinguish between them. This approach, called strong inference, attacks hypothesis myopia head on. Furthermore, when scientists make themselves explicitly list alternative explanations for their observations, they can reduce their tendency to tell just-so stories.

Transparency

Another solution that has been gaining traction is open science. Under this philosophy, researchers share their methods, data, computer code and results in central repositories, such as the Center for Open Science’s Open Science Framework, where they can choose to make various parts of the project subject to outside scrutiny. Normally, explains Nosek, “I have enormous flexibility in how I analyse my data and what I choose to report. This creates a conflict of interest. The only way to avoid this is for me to tie my hands in advance. Precommitment to my analysis and reporting plan mitigates the influence of these cognitive biases.”

Team of rivals

When it comes to replications and controversial topics, a good debiasing approach is to bypass the typical academic back-and-forth and instead invite your academic rivals to work with you. An adversarial collaboration has many advantages over a conventional one, says Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist at Princeton University in New Jersey. “You need to assume you’re not going to change anyone’s mind completely,” he says. “But you can turn that into an interesting argument and intelligent conversation that people can listen to and evaluate.” With competing hypotheses and theories in play, he says, the rivals will quickly spot flaws such as hypothesis myopia, asymmetric attention or just-so storytelling, and cancel them out with similar slants favouring the other side.

It is often difficult to get researchers whose original work is under scrutiny to agree to this kind of adversarial collaboration, he says. The invitation is “about as attractive as putting one’s head on a guillotine — there is everything to lose and not much to gain”. But the group that he worked with was eager to get to the truth, he says. In the end, the results were not replicated. The sceptics remained sceptical, and the proponents were not convinced by a single failure to replicate. Yet this was no stalemate. “Although our adversarial collaboration has not resolved the debate,” the researchers wrote, “it has generated new testable ideas and has brought the two parties slightly closer.”

Blind data analysis

One debiasing procedure has a solid history in physics but is little known in other fields: blind data analysis. The idea is that researchers who do not know how close they are to desired results will be less likely to find what they are unconsciously looking for.

One way to do this is to write a program that creates alternative data sets by, for example, adding random noise or a hidden offset, moving participants to different experimental groups or hiding demographic categories. Researchers handle the fake data set as usual — cleaning the data, handling outliers, running analyses — while the computer faithfully applies all of their actions to the real data. They might even write up the results. But at no point do the researchers know whether their results are scientific treasures or detritus. Only at the end do they lift the blind and see their true results — after which, any further fiddling with the analysis would be obvious cheating.

Nature has another article Blind analysis: hide results to seek the truth that provides discussion about this.

JC reflections

This general topic is one that has been a frequent topic of discussion at CE:

The climate science field is frequently guilty especially of

  • hypothesis myopia
  • just-so storytelling

My favorite ways of trying to avoid such biases is multiple working hypotheses, and the related teams of rivals.  These strategies are antithetical to manufacturing consensus and attempting to marginalize (or RICO-ize) those that disagree with you.

259 responses to “How scientists fool themselves – and how they can stop

  1. The simple fact of the matter is, like gravity, climate change will always be there whether humans are around to theorize about it or not. Theorize all you want but no one is so stupid as to step out off of a 10-story building. You can’t stop gravity nor warm the oceans. The oceans will continue to warm and cool without and despite human intervention just like they always have. The Sun will continue to heat the oceans or not, without our help, and there’s nothing humans can do about it and that’s not a theory: it is a fact, even if we eagerly sacrifice the constitution, the country, capitalism, liberty and the scientific method on the altar of global warming alarmism because we read in the NYT that humanity’s CO2 is a dangerous pollutant that causes global warming [i.e., AGW theory].

    • Did you even read the post as you have fallen afoul of just about every point in the article.

      Just because climate has always changed, does not mean humans can’t change it.
      Just because jumping off of a 10 story building sounds stupid, doesn’t mean it is.
      You may be skeptical of what’s printed in the New York Times, but that is not the best place for climate news, The Rolling Stone is better. A decent textbook would be better, Physical Chemistry, Atmospheric Physics or something along those lines.

      It is after all, applied science, we don’t need no stinkin hypothesis or theory, there are already pretty solid ones available.

      • As Marcia Wyatt correctly observed that we do not understand what the climate is doing or will do next. We can never know anything unless we accept the rules of science. A belief that climate will change is a testable and falsifiable hypothesis that is consistent with years to decades to centuries of observation. More striking, says Wyatt, is that the [AGW] hypothesis is not testable. It cannot be falsified. Everything else is dogma.

      • There are more clever people about.

        This is a testable and falsifiable hypothesis.

        Due to the increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere of about 2 ppm per year, the average global temperature as measured by GISS will increase about 0.2 per decade for the first three decades of the 21st century. note: about means to one significant figure.

        We do understand the climate to a certain degree, in that there is a certain amount of natural variability, but changes to our atmosphere like increasing CO2 does have effects that are measureable and predictable.

        We may never be able to predict the changes in ENSO and AMO etc, but certain properties of certain substances can be predicted.

      • Reasonable people don’t turn the scientific method on its head by adopting the null hypotheses of AGW as proof of global warming. “GISS will increase about 0.2 per decade for the first three decades of the 21st century.” Really? Prediction as proof? 2030 hasn’t happened yet, right? What about warming before first hour of the 21st century and after the LIA? All natural? What part isn’t natural? If global warming alarmists wish to theorize that most or all of global warming during the last half of the 20th century is man-made (AGW theory), then the null hypothesis has been rejected by centuries of observation: AGW theory has been falsified.

      • Why change the subject?

        I wasn’t offering a proof of global warming, only a testable and falsifiable prediction.

        If the warming of the 20th century was all natural, then we should see events of that magnitude in the proxy record, but we don’t. See Mann! and others.

        If the 20th century was like the past centuries, we should have seen 20th century temperatures flat with slight variation, like the proxies show for the past 20 centuries, but we don’t, we see a spike like we haven’t seen in the last 20 centuries. Thus the null is falsified.

        The null being CO2 causes no warming. Which is the part you got correct.

        well done

      • bobdroege

        Come off it Bob. The 1000 year old British record I am privileged to be able to read, courtesy of the Met Office archives and other sources, demonstrate that the weather of the past 50 to 100 years have been generally benign.

        The historic record is full of ‘unprecedented’ events of which the most frequently occurring are huge and violent storms and periods of rain so intense and long lasting that they change the course of rivers and sweep away villages and more importantly, destroy crops, causing famine. Perhaps the tree ring proxies don’t record this as the most vulnerable ones were swept away….

        tonyb

      • If the warming of the 20th century was all natural, then we should see events of that magnitude in the proxy record, but we don’t. See Mann! and others.

        The proxy record’s been smoothed. If you don’t even understand this much perhaps you should read more, comment less.

        If the 20th century was like the past centuries, we should have seen 20th century temperatures flat with slight variation, like the proxies show for the past 20 centuries, but we don’t, we see a spike like we haven’t seen in the last 20 centuries. Thus the null is falsified.

        St00pid!

      • The null is not, ‘CO2 causes no warming.’ Being skeptical of the Left’s theory that humanity’s CO2 is dooming the globe is what being a scientist is all about and it’s no different from being skeptical of claims that aliens cause global warming. In both instances, the null hypothesis of ‘AGW’ theory — that all observed global warming can be explained by natural causes — cannot be rejected.

        Historians, long hence, will surely have a fascinating time analyzing the rise and fall of the cult of catastrophic ‘global warming’. Even now it is possible to detect close parallels with the pattern of many traditional doomsday cults. And, it is particularly interesting to note that scientists are just as susceptible to such cults as nonscientists. (Dr. Philip Stott)

        With all we know about Michael Mann, how can he still have a job at Penn State?

      • RE: “Just because jumping off of a 10 story building sounds stupid, doesn’t mean it is.”

        OK. How about you go first Bob.

        and “The Rolling Stone is better”. (as a source of climate change news)

        Bob, did you start your drinking early?

        BTW – I took grad level courses in Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry. I also recognize crap science when I see it. For example Tom Karl’s latest work on SST’s. Or the regular production of papers based almost entirely on model results. If you think this is valid you really need to check yourself.

      • So they have no mitigation infrastructure in England in the last 150 years?

      • Jch

        Our mitigation measures are ancient and incremental

        Remember the floods a couple of years ago in the county of somerset? People said it was unprecedented, but it was just the land returning to marsh which it frequently does, to the apparent surprise of inhabitants and the media.

        King Alfred the great during the 10 th century hid amongst the islands and reed beds of this area.

        http://www.steveroberts.org.uk/mediapool/139/1397887/data/King_Alfred.pdf

        Since then, over hudreds of years, various dykes, river widening, pumps, causeways etc have been put in place to keep the water at bay but it keeps coming back.

        Would you like to know something of roman mitigation infrastructure?

        Tonyb

      • Perhaps the coming ICE AGE is nature’s plan — trying to fool us humans into releasing more CO2 because nature likes trees. Damn that Gaia is a bitch.

      • Yeah AK, did you think I wasn’t comparing 20th smoothed to the last 20 centuries smoothed.

        Your mistake.

        Wagathon, you don’t understand the scientific method, one hypothesis is that CO2 causes warming and the null of that is that CO2 does not cause warming.

        Your null that all warming can be explained by natural causes is also acceptable as a null, however the relevant natural causes are not up to the task during the last century. The sun hasn’t changed enough and other forcing are too weak. And the stadium wave as a cause really violates the first law of thermodynamics, and can’t be a source of more warming.

        Mann still has a job because he does good science.

        Coming Ice Age, really?

        Tony, you know your met records are what they are, not representative of the globe as a whole. 0.04 % of the world doesn’t impress me as particularly useful, especially since your part of the world enjoys mild climate due to the gulf stream.

        Timg56, well I haven’t jumped off of 10 story buildings, but I have jumped off of higher cliffs. And there are better sources than either the NYTs or the Rolling Stone for climate information, but you all won’t go there. Your opinion that Karl’s work is crap is not good enough, you need to actually do the work to refute it, but I believe that is above your weight class.

      • Karl’s work is out there for anybody to shred. Nobody has. Why? They actually believe that can just assert it away with their insipid nastiness.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Bob, the idea that changes in heat transport can change the energy budget is fairly straight forward. Nothing about that violates any of the laws of physics. I like this model because of this:

        “A coupled atmosphere-ocean-sea ice general circulation model (GCM) has four stable equilibria ranging from 0% to 100% ice cover, including a “Waterbelt” state with tropical sea ice. All four states are found at present-day insolation and greenhouse gas levels and with two idealized ocean basin configurations.”

        pretty cool, huh? Or pretty warm and both with today’s forcings.

        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014JD022659/abstract

        And it isn’t the only one that claims a change in ocean heat transport changes the energy budget. How about the GISS model? Perhaps not as large a difference but they certainly didn’t toss the model away due to it violating the laws of thermodynamics:

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

      • stevenreincarnated

        JCH, what she believes regarding the current climate change isn’t material to whether or not her work argues that ocean heat transport can warm the world without violating physics laws.

      • Gee Bob, you bring up jumping off 10 story buildings and recommending Rolling Stone as a good source then throw up some BS when called on it. Speaking of which, I find your claim of jumping off cliffs taller than 10 story buildings to be rather suspect. As a salior you should have been taught just how high above the water you can jump safely.

        As for your claim that I have to do the work to refute Karl’s latest paper – more BS. All I have to do is point out the fallicies in his choices and assumptions. You are aware that to get the results he wanted required making certain assumptions, correct? Like assuming the historic record derived from wooden bucket samples and engine cooling intakes was the more accurate data compared to the Argo data and therefore justifying his adjustment of the Argo data. That alone is very questionable. That he then gives the now adjusted Argo data greater weighting because it is considered to be more accurate is mind blowing. I’d like to see you justify adjusting data which is later claimed to be the most reliable. If you can do that, I would suggest you are missing your calling. You should be in sales because science it is not.

  2. Agreed: Team of rivals.

    • Just like Dr Phil “Why should I share my data with you?” Jones.

      • I see you have a new box of crayons and are happily drawing squiggly lines.

        Well, so long as you don’t scribble on the walls enjoy yourself.

      • You’re inept.

      • At what JCH?

        Or are you utilizing the Lewandowski – Cook method of general mud throwing?

      • You throw plenty of mud. When I read your mud, I see, well, mud.

      • When the GMST is flat, the AMO will likely be flat. When the GMST goes up, the AMO will most likely go up.

        When the GMST goes down… hahahaha, let’s not be silly.

        The AMO is the GMST’s biatch.

      • That’s not mud JCH. It’s the donkey droppings you and your buddies are constantly laying whenever you stop in. Just returning it to where it belongs.

      • sea level – spiking
        OHC – spiking
        GMST – spiking
        PDO – clearly solidly positive
        AMO – spiking up
        SST, lol.

        I would tell you to stick your head into the sand, but it is so far up your butt it’s not going to easy to get it out. So its present position will have to suffice.

      • JCH tries to scare us with his graph – oh so sciency.

        How about the same graph only with 15 years of data, not 9 months?

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-amo/from:2000

        Like I said – he likes playing with crayons.

      • Why the crickets JCH?

        Still stumped by the failure of your squiggly line argument? I have to wonder if you start out every day looking at the thermometer, watching with growing worry as it climbs higher each hour. You think that at this rate it will be well over 100 degrees F by the end of the week and that the planet will be a burnt out cinder by the end of the month.

        Actually, I don’t think that. I think you are fully aware of cycles, both in weather and climate and are simply dishonest.

    • The team of rivals approach reminds me of how the Wright brothers collaborated in their development of the airplane. Each man was intelligent and had strong opinions. They would argue for hours over the issues and challenges they encountered. Sometimes, by the end of an argument, each had reversed his previous opinion. In one biography of the Wright brothers, I read an interesting statement: “No one man could’ve invented the airplane. But two men did.” Wilbur Wright died of typhus in 1912. Orville lived until shortly after WWII. In all that time, he really didn’t contribute much of anything to aviation. Without his brother to collaborate with, Orville lost his spark.

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  4. David Norcross

    Joel,

    This may help understand how some “scientists” focus on dreams of Nobels rather than scientific objectivity. Key point:

    =============================

    The Texas sharpshooter

    A cognitive trap that awaits during data analysis is illustrated by the fable of the Texas sharpshooter: an inept marksman who fires a random pattern of bullets at the side of a barn, draws a target around the biggest clump of bullet holes, and points proudly at his success.

    “You just get some encouragement from the data and then think, well, this is the path to go down,” says Pashler. “You don’t realize you had 27 different options and you picked the one that gave you the most agreeable or interesting results, and now you’re engaged in something that’s not at all an unbiased representation of the data.”

    ==============================

    Cheers,

    David

  5. “a good debiasing approach is to bypass the typical academic back-and-forth and instead invite your academic rivals to work with you”

    No kidding. But of course it ain’t going to happen in the climate realm. These guys have grants to protect, and a new found status as saviors of the planet to cultivate.

    (aka pokerguy)

    • Protecting grants – i.e. because science is done as piecework.
      What if there were large funding pools for each problem area, and every investigator were paid out of it regardless of immediately publishable results? (more like a salary model). Those who, long term, get lazy and contribute nothing would have to be disciplined another way – perhaps not invited to join the next research pool – but for the duration of a larger pooled investigation, collaboration and mutual testing would be easier to encourage.

  6. “Bias” is an intrinsic human behavioral characteristic. It will never change
    nor will the attempt by people with a specific viewpoint to suppress those
    with materially different viewpoints. These realities are particularly dangerous when “science” is involved since it has been anointed with the
    aura of indisputability, despite it’s long record of mistakes. Never trust
    your own conclusions, especially when you are certain they are correct!

  7. That’s why hard-nosed skepticism is so valued in science…well, excuse me, uh…not climate science. Not yet, anyway. http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/Infiltration2015.pdf

  8. Then there’s the neurosis of intellectuals.

    For example, if an “expert” in climate were to sit and think about how Earth is mostly hot and mushy, and how all that heat and mush is in upheaval and flux, he will naturally want to retreat back to “data” on something he knows better and which he can control. Maybe some old min/max records made to look less shabby by lots of fancy maths? Because in an unquestioning age people can be persuaded that min/max is a record of temps rather than of cloud and wind action on temps? Just like a tree-ring is a record of temp if you shut your eyes and forget clouds and their burden of water?

    This neurosis is deepened by a kind of tic or reaction called Publication.

    The cure for this neurosis, as for others, is deep acceptance of flux and complexity – from the asthenosphere below to the clouds above. Complexity is here to stay, so why not deal with it? Don’t try and math it away. I’ll still know it’s there, you’ll still know it’s there. It’s big.

    • mosomoso,

      It might be worse than mere neurosis. Have a look at the diagnostic symptoms for delusional disorder, (a psychosis), and see if they apply to any Warmists you might be aware of.

      They might, for example, be convinced that they won a Nobel Prize, or believe that the seas will boil due to a runaway greenhouse effect.

      Can’t be all bad – look at the power they wield. Politicians at their feet, hanging on their every word. “Snow will be but a distant memory . . .”, “The dams will never fill again . . .”, and so on.

      Ah well, I suppose people need something to worry about!

      Pardon my cynicism, but that’s how I feel.

      Cheers.

  9. Our brains are superstition machines. Our brains are social machines. It is as much getting along because being ostracized was a bad way to pass on your genes historically.

    Been interested in JC’s take on institutional science as at heart a way to take back science for everyman. It is certainly true that since the enlightenment science has been carried by aristocrats, the only segment of society separated enough from hand to mouth existence to have the time for it. Pretty much true today except for institutional funding. But public funding always comes at a political cost. You gain everyman as a scientist, but lose his science to political manipulation.

  10. Not going to change a freakin’ thing… they’re largely correct; you’ve fooled yourselves.

  11. Willis Eschenbach

    Thanks for another interesting article, Judith. For me, the solution to all of this is simple—faster feedback and more transparency. It is for this reason that I write mostly for the web, and why I publish my data and code when I publish my work.

    The combination of these two virtually assures me that any mistakes that I’ve made will be found in short order. I have a lot of people out there who would love to find errors in my work … and I’m overjoyed that they are looking at my work as hard and as critically as they are.

    As a result, I don’t have to worry all that much about all of the pitfalls your reference has discussed in detail. Whenever I’ve fallen in one, there’ve been plenty of people who are more than happy to point that out, so the mistake doesn’t last long …

    You are correct that climate science is badly infected with a number of those pitfalls. The best disinfectant is sunshine. I look forward to the time when much more of the scientific discussions move to the web … and to a time when the alarmists start publishing their data and their code when they publish their findings. It’s not hard. Steve McIntyre does it, Steven Mosher does it, I do it, Craig Loehle does it, there are lots of others. Such transparency is not some onerous requirement … it is the very heart of science.

    My best to you as always,

    w.

    • Virtuallynothing

      Amen. (Especially now that Playboy has ceased full transparency.)

    • David Springer

      “The combination of these two virtually assures me that any mistakes that I’ve made will be found in short order.”

      Mistakes in your work is what we call a “target rich environment”.

    • Curious George

      You did not redefine a peer review. The Team did.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      David Springer | October 15, 2015 at 8:00 am |

      “The combination of these two virtually assures me that any mistakes that I’ve made will be found in short order.”

      Mistakes in your work is what we call a “target rich environment”.

      Instead of commenting on the ideas I presented, you’ve gone for the lowest level of responses with another one of your fact-free, citation-free attacks … why am I not surprised?

      w.

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  13. Self-delusion was one of Richard Feynman’s themes in relation to physics.

    Feynman promoted a modified version of Popper’s test for scientific verification. His solution for the transition from empirical work to theory was wonderfully American: Use the data to guess the theory and then test the theory against the real world. If the theory doesn’t fit, reject the theory. Don’t force the data to fit the theory.

    “Just-so stories” were the basis of S. J. Gould’s rants in relation to evolutionary theory. A just-so story is a theory that cannot be falsified and would therefore fail Popper’s test.

    Multiple-working hypotheses was for a few generations the basis for all American physical geography (Earth science). Now Earth science seems dominated by efforts to achieve consensus on a singe hypothesis about climate change.

    But consensus was always a problem in Earth science. The hypothesis that continents are mobile was once anathema at American universities: “Teutonic pseudo-science”.

    I like Feyman’s approach because it is not necessary to test a hypothesis to determine if it is “true” in the philosophical sense. Feyman’s Nobel Prize was for solving problems in quantum physics by using diagrams that did not purport to reveal the underlying truth of quantum physics. The diagrams were adopted because they had predictive power.

    Feynman takes us beyond Popper. A theory that explains the world in a way that allows us to make reliable predictions may not be falsifiable in a strict sense. But if a theory can make reliable predictions, we can accept the theory as a scientific theory.

    Thanks to Feynman’s insight we can extend the application of the term “science” to fields of study such as evolution, economics and medicine.

    Some day we may even be able to regard climate as a scientific field. At the moment it seem more like theology mixed with politics.

    • ” Use the data to guess the theory and then test the theory against the real world. If the theory doesn’t fit, reject the theory. Don’t force the data to fit the theory.”

      except Feynman didnt practice what he preached.

      “Well, right from the beginning it was apparent that Ray was measuring fewer neutrinos events than I had predicted. He came to Caltech in early 1968 to spend a week with me while he and I wrote our papers up describing for me a refined calculation, for him the first measurement of the rate in his tank. It was clear that the rate that he was getting was a factor of three smaller than I was predicting, and that was a very serious problem.
      There was a famous meeting at Caltech, just a few physicists—Dick Feynman, Murray Gell-Mann, Willie Fowler, Bob Christie, and a couple of others—in a small meeting room, where Ray presented his results and I presented my calculations of what he should have measured. There was some discussion of it afterwards, and it was pretty inconclusive. There was a discrepancy; it looked like one of us was wrong.
      I was very visibly depressed, I guess, and Dick Feynman asked me after the meeting if I would like to go for a walk. We just went for a walk, and he talked to me about inconsequential things, personal things, which was very unusual for him, to spend his time in quite idle conversation; it never happened to me in the many years that I knew him that he did that before or afterwards. And only toward the end of the walk, which lasted over an hour, he told me, “Look, I saw that after this talk you were depressed, and I just wanted to tell you that I don’t think you have any reason to be depressed. We’ve heard what you did, and nobody’s found anything wrong with your calculations. I don’t know why Davis’s result doesn’t agree with your calculations, but you shouldn’t be discouraged, because maybe you’ve done something important, we don’t know. I don’t know what the explanation is, but you shouldn’t feel discouraged.”

      “Well, initially very few people paid any attention to this discrepancy, but the discrepancy persisted. … And every year for 30 years I had to look at different processes that people would imaginatively suggest that might play a role in the sun, and it didn’t matter how convinced I was that they were wrong. I had to demonstrate scientifically that these processes were not important in order to convince people [that] yes, the expectation from the sun was robust and therefore you should take the discrepancy seriously. It took I would guess three and a half decades before I convinced everybody.”

      Yes, when their first results came out, I was absolutely thrilled, because they got a result which showed that the flux was definitely less than what I had predicted and that was a confirmation of Ray’s result. My feeling was aha, we’ve eliminated the possibility of experimental results being wrong, and I’m confident in my theory. I think we’re onto something good.
      In fact, two years later one of my idols and heroes Hans Bethe and I used the first results from the Kamiokande experiment together with Ray’s results and a very, very basic result from our solar models to argue very strongly that either one of the two experiments was wrong or we needed new physics, that it couldn’t be something wrong with my solar models. Hans and I (Hans is the guy who first worked out, in 1939, the nuclear reactions that we think make the stars shine) compared the results from the chlorine experiment and the Kamiokande experiment and showed that on very general grounds either one of the experiments had to be wrong, which didn’t seem likely by that time, or there had to be some new physics, and that took me off the hook. I was no longer the person who had done the wrong calculation.”

      • davideisenstadt

        Mosh:
        first of all…why not source the quote?
        secondly….Did “dicky” promote the idea that the calculations should be adjusted, or Krigged?
        so…just what do you think your quote proves?
        that feyman cared about his colleagues?
        In the end, the guy’s calculations were correct, and new physics were developed, partially as a result of the discrepancy between his calculations and the experimental results.
        Feynman didn’t attempt to disappear anything, or anyone…he didn’t persecute those whose experimental data contradicted his colleagues’ calculations.
        geez mosh.

      • “Mosh:
        first of all…why not source the quote?
        1. because I knew you would be to lazy to check it.

        secondly….Did “dicky” promote the idea that the calculations should be adjusted, or Krigged?
        1. We only have evidence of what he did not do.
        2. he did NOT, reject the theory mereley because the data said so.
        3. Kriiged calculations? You mean re normalization?
        “The shell game that we play … is technically called ‘renormalization’. But no matter how clever the word, it is still what I would call a dippy process! Having to resort to such hocus-pocus has prevented us from proving that the theory of quantum electrodynamics is mathematically self-consistent. It’s surprising that the theory still hasn’t been proved self-consistent one way or the other by now; I suspect that renormalization is not mathematically legitimate.”
        4. Kriging is BLUE.. you krig data not calculations.

        “so…just what do you think your quote proves?”
        1. Just what I said it does.
        2. in PRACTICE scientists, even feynman, do NOT simply
        compare data with theory and throw theory out.
        3. feynman drew a “cartoon” version of science for his students
        in PRACTICE in his PRACTICE, he did not follow the rules
        you all like to quote. he fooled you. and you are easy to fool.

        “that feyman cared about his colleagues?”

        1. No Feelings like “care” are not observable.
        2. His Actions— refusing to throw out the theory— is my point

        “In the end, the guy’s calculations were correct, and new physics were developed, partially as a result of the discrepancy between his calculations and the experimental results.
        Feynman didn’t attempt to disappear anything, or anyone…he didn’t persecute those whose experimental data contradicted his colleagues’ calculations.”

        1. never claimed he did any of that.
        2. the claim is simple.
        a) people quote silly feynman lectures
        b) in those lectures he painted a cartoon version of science
        c) in that cartoon version when data and theory collide, theory loses.
        d) In PRACTICE in feynmans own practice, he didnt do this.
        e. its GOOD he didnt practice cartoon science

      • when will silly david learn that you cannot argue with me by using questions… especially rhetorical questions.

      • What Feynman said here was:
        “We’ve heard what you did, and nobody’s found anything wrong with your calculations. I don’t know why Davis’s result doesn’t agree with your calculations, but you shouldn’t be discouraged, because maybe you’ve done something important, we don’t know. I don’t know what the explanation is, but you shouldn’t feel discouraged.”

        If the theory is neither corroborated nor falsified, you should keep your theory, but you should also suspend judgement about it. Which is, I think, exactly what Feynman seems to have told John Bacall, the man who was quoted in this interview.

      • David L. Hagen

        Steven
        Is that difference between experiment and models now solved, and awarded a Nobel Prize for their resolution of experiment and models?
        The chameleons of space

        They solved the neutrino puzzle and opened a new realm in particle physics. Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald were key scientists of two large research groups, Super-Kamiokande and Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, which discovered the neutrinos mid-flight metamorphosis. . . .
        Out of the over 60 billion neutrinos per square centimetre that every second reach the Earth on their way from the Sun, the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory captured only three per day during its first two years of operation. This corresponded to a third of the expected number of electron-neutrinos that should have been caught in the detector. Two thirds had disappeared.The sum however, if counting all three types together, corresponded to the expected number of neutrinos. The conclusion was that the electron-neutrinos must have changed identities on the way.

      • “c) in that cartoon version when data and theory collide, theory loses.
        d) In PRACTICE in feynmans own practice, he didnt do this.
        e. its GOOD he didnt practice cartoon science”

        C) – this is what happened – they “created new physics”, which overturned and “threw out” the old theory.
        D) That he didn’t immediately throw out the old theory is true – but no-one does that UNTIL you have a new one. Just because you don’t HAVE a new one, doesn’t mean you can’t know the old one is broken!
        E) – “in theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are different” might shed some light on what you appear to see as a discrepancy that frankly just isn’t there.

      • davideisenstadt

        Mosh:
        If youre too lazy to cite that which you quote…why should anyone else bother to check your “work”?
        For a guy with a degree in english, you seem quite blasé about providing the most elementary bits of information regarding those you “quote”
        BTW…I never read anyone but you refer to feynman as “Dicky”
        Mosh you do know thats the technique of a 12 year old.
        Now really, you provide a unsourced block of quoted material regarding Feynman, which does nothing to bolster the point you attempted to make.
        Then when you are called on providing sourceless quotations you attempt to shift lalme to…who?
        those who read your stuff.
        Is this really what BEST pays you to do?
        This is the public face of the group that stole berkley’s name and reputation?
        Sad mosh, really sad.

    • “Feynman promoted a modified version of Popper’s test for scientific verification…….”

      I can´t see that Richard Feynman view or method differs from Popper´s view or method. Here is a quote from Feynman which seems to fit perfectly with Poppers view:

      “In general, we look for a new law by the following process: First we guess it; then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what would be implied if this law that we guessed is right; then we compare the result of the computation to nature, with experiment or experience, compare it directly with observation, to see if it works. If it disagrees with experiment, it is wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It does not make any difference how beautiful your guess is, it does not make any difference how smart you are, who made the guess, or what his name is — if it disagrees with experiment, it is wrong.”
      – Richard Feyman

      Do you happen to have a description of Feynman´s method which might pinpoint any difference from Poppers empirical method?

      • Feynman and Popper are both wildly wrong. They have taken the simple case of bench physics and overextended it to science in general. In most modern science a single experiment cannot falsify a hypothesis. Ironically because there are too many alternative explanations. Science itself is very complex.

      • David Wojick
        “In most modern science a single experiment cannot falsify a hypothesis. Ironically because there are too many alternative explanations. Science itself is very complex.”

        The result of a test isn´t necessarily that a hypothesis is either right or wrong. It might be that the test isn´t conclusive about the hypothesis. It is also worth remembering that a test is only valid for a particular set of conditions, hence there might be a large range of conditions the test does not provide any information about. Even if nature is complex, Popper and Feynman provided and promoted a valuable method – valuable principles. The problem of induction persists. The method they promoted is a barrier against that problem.

    • Where’s the ‘theory’ in climate science as regards global warming? The Feynmann episode discussed isn’t very applicable imo. High level stuff, lots of confusion.

  14. But it only takes a good experiment to reveal the truth. If anybody would bother in climate science. N=1 experiments are deemed impossible, so there can be no possible experiment to verify if the CO2 warming dogma is true or not.

    Can any GHG trap heat when irradiated by IR? How much?
    Why can’t we use something so simple to improve thermal efficiency of buildings?

    Can changing the surface properties of anything alter its radiative thermal equilibrium temperature in space?
    We can keep a Greek house cooler in the sun in the daytime with white walls. Will it be warmer or cooler at night?
    If we change the color of everything in the sun that’s black/dark into white/light, can we stop the earth warming?
    Is a white/shiny/reflective sphere in the space lit by the sun cooler warmer or no different from a black/dark/matt one?

    Is a selective surface still selective at radiative thermal equilibrium?
    Why aren’t space vehicles coated uniformly all over for thermal control using selective surfaces?

    After years of looking and chatting on blogs, I have not managed to find any simple experimental evidence in favour of the CO2 warming dogma. No real world applications of CO2 warming either. Some dumb simple experiments would not cost much, apart from the high risk of a lot of egg on face for warmists.

    • Bravo!

      But they do need to be stopped.

    • “Why can’t we use something so simple to improve thermal efficiency of buildings?”

      because c02 doesnt trap heat. you are talking about a theory nobody actually has.

      c02 slows the rate of radiation to space.

    • “Can any GHG trap heat when irradiated by IR? How much?
      Why can’t we use something so simple to improve thermal efficiency of buildings?”

      Because it’s not a very good insulator unless the heat sink is at vacuum.

      A better understanding is achieved by realizing that CO2 cools by radiation, and since it is in the atmosphere, half of that goes down, and the surface is opaque to the wavelengths of CO2.

      Also the CO2 in the atmosphere can be warmed by convection so the absorption part does not explain all of the behavior.

      • bobdroege,

        You wrote “Because it’s not a very good insulator unless the heat sink is at vacuum.”

        A vacuum (Dewar) flask is about the best insulator in terms of R value (in practical terms) that I can think of. No CO2 involved, and the insulating properties of CO2 pale into insignificance compared with nothing at all (a vacuum) in these circumstances.

        I suspect you don’t understand what it is you are talking about, or, in simple terms, you appear to me to be singularly clueless and floundering.

        Might I suggest you direct your obvious passion to blogs concerned with psychology, or perpetual motion. You understanding of science appears tenuous, at best.

        Maybe English is not your first language, in which case I apologise unreservedly for any offence you may have taken.

        Cheers.

      • A better understanding is achieved by realizing that CO2 cools by radiation, and since it is in the atmosphere, half of that goes down, and the surface is opaque to the wavelengths of CO2.

        CO2 does not generally cool by radiation. See this quote from rgbatduke

        “The lifetime of the excited state(s) is much longer than the mean free time between molecular collisions between the CO_2 molecule and the (usually nitrogen or oxygen or argon) other molecules in the surrounding gas. That means that the radiative energy absorbed by the molecule is almost never resonantly re-emitted, it is transferred to the surrounding gas, warming not just the CO_2 but the oxygen, nitrogen, water vapor, argon as well as the other CO_2 molecules around”

        The whole issue is misunderstood by many scientists as well.

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/05/26/quote-of-the-week-howler-from-the-world-meteorological-organization-what-warming/#comment-1648000

      • “CO2 does not generally cool by radiation. See this quote from rgbatduke”

        Which would seem to indicate:
        1) that the “back radiation” argument is fallacious – if the majority of CO2 thermalises IR, rather than re-radiating it…
        2) that the atmosphere itself should warm first and then warm other things like the ocean. Which would appear to debunk the “90% going into the oceans” excuse for no atmospheric warming of late.

        “[…] half of that goes down, and the surface is opaque to the wavelengths of CO2.”
        I thought the OLWR that CO2 captures originated at the surface? Surely something that radiates at a particular frequency also absorbs that frequency? Isn’t that basic radiation physics? Isn’t the assumption that this is true “built into” the models?

        Of course, “it’s complicated” and perhaps there are reasons why I’m wrong, but you WERE trying to be accurate, weren’t you? Get rid of the “dumb down” and all that? So please explain why I’m wrong.

        These are not “gotchas” – I’ve learnt a lot about climate and related things over the last 15 years or so, and I’d really like to keep that going. So if you feel the answers are too complicated for a blog comment, a reference would be nice, rather than the somewhat ubiquitous and rather unhelpful “do your own homework”, “you’re wrong”, “you have an agenda” etc.

    • I suggest that you read the articles at this site to understand the science.
      http://joannenova.com.au/tag/climate-research-2015/

      • I suggest that you read the articles at this site to understand the science.
        http://joannenova.com.au/tag/climate-research-2015/

        WRONG! I suggest you read this book and do the exercises to understand the science.

        Once you understand how it works in terms of the actual (partial) differential equations, you’ll see how laughable almost all the “plain English” discussions are.

      • Matthew R Marler

        CCReader and AK : http://joannenova.com.au/tag/climate-research-2015/

        WRONG! I suggest you read this book and do the exercises to understand the science. (the book being Murry Salby’s textbook)

        One might read the essays at JoanneNova and then read more in Salby’s text.

      • One might read the essays at JoanneNova and then read more in Salby’s text.

        Nope. Read and understand the textbook first, then look at the laughable nonsense at sites that try to explain it without differential equations.

        Don’t understand differential equations? Then you’re SOL.

    • To the question of “Can changing the surface properties of anything alter its radiative thermal equilibrium temperature in space?”, the answer is “it depends”. If the thermal radiation is uniform in all directions (very deep space), then the answer is “no”. If a good fraction of the thermal radiation is coming from a source with a higher termperature than ambient, then the answer is “yes”.

      The white walls on a Greek house lowers the absorption of energy from visible light, but maintains a high emissivity in the far IR, thus keeping the house cooler. Solar thermal absorbers are designed to have high absorbtivity at visual light energies and low emissivity at IR to improve heat collection.

      Some Stanford researchers have developed a material with high emissivity at the wavelengths corresponding to the atmospheric IR windows and are able to cool surfaces to below what achieved with a non-selective surface. This by itself is essentially proof that GHG’s (which includes water vapor) do reduce radiant heat transfer to space.

      The question about whether there are positive feedback mechanisms that will exacerbate the ~1.1K increase in temperature has yet to have been answered fully.

      • That answer makes no sense. Any object in space emits in all directions to space. Being heated by effectively a pinpoint star at 93 million miles or so is nearly all the thermal radiation causing warming.

        A selective surface might absorb faster in the sun and emit slower in the sun, but can it actually change the steady state radiative thermal equilibrium temperature? (HINT: At radiative thermal equilibrium abosrption = emission by definition.) A simple question which can be proven by a simple experiment.

        On the CO2 mostly losing heat not by radiation – that is a sad misconception when applied to the problem of radiative thermal equilibrium. Anyone can demonstrate that conduction transfers more thermal energy than radiation – hold you hand over or beside a naked flame at the same distance – see which feels hotter. But when talking about heat transfer between objects in a vacuum, there is no conduction and no convection. ALL heat is transferred by radiation. Non-IR active gases don’t partake much compared to IR-active gases. So if there is radiative cooling of a gas, the IR-active gases are doing it ALL. CO2 and other GHGs are resonsible for IR heat loss from the atmosphere to space. If you disagree, find experimental proof.

      • erikemagnuson,

        Gee. A material that emits more energy than it absorbs.

        Yet another perpetual motion machine providing free energy to the world, brought to you by same crew that designed the magical CO2 warming machine, no doubt.

        This is not proof that GHGs do anything at all unusual. It is an example of smart people leaping to incorrect conclusions. I could be wrong of course, but at this stage I think I know what they overlooked. Somebody has probably pointed it out to them by now, and avoided wasting any more money.

        If it seems to be too to be true, it probably isn’t, there’s no such thing as a free lunch or free energy, and the devil is in the details.

        Cheers.

      • Mike Flynn – The Stanford IR “coating” is emphatically not a perpetual motion machine. Key to the way it works is that the effective sky temperature varies as a function of wavelength/frequency. Maximum sky temperature is 40 to 80 dB over 300K below 1 MHz (very low power density due to long wavelength), minimum is 3K just above 1 GHz. For IR, sky temperature at a water vapor or CO2 line will be darn close to ambient, but much lower in the IR windows. By tuning the surface o reflect IR in the water vapor or CO2 region and have a high emissivity at the “window” region, the surface will be cooler than one with constant emissivity over the IR region.

        It’s not all that different why a white surface can be cooler than a black surface or shiny metal surface.

      • erikemagnuson,

        Just one minor detail.

        The device “works” in full sunlight. Maximum temperature in the direction of the Sun (and I’m assuming you read the paper), is a little more (well, rather a lot more), than the figures you quote.

        Once again, commonsense and fact overwhelmed by enthusiasm and incorrect assumptions.

        Don’t be surprised if it turns out that “just a bit more research is needed before it can go commercial”. If it turns out that I’m wrong, I will be the first to offer a grovelling, humble apology, and beg a thousand pardons for my foolishness.

        I haven’t had to grovel for a fair while. I don’t feel that an attack of the grovels is going to happen any time soon, but I can’t look into the future, unlike the foolish Warmists.

        Cheers.

      • Mike,

        The device will work at night as well, presumably the major requirement is that the sky is clear enough so clouds (water, smoke, dust) don’t block off the IR bands that constitute the atmosphere’s IR window. The physics of the surface treatment is really nothing more than what’s been done for frequency selective surfaces in microwaves for decades. They are just making the surface be a good absorber/emitter at one portion of the IR spectrum and a good reflector (poor absorber) at other portions of the IR spectrum. Dealing with atmospheric windows has also been part of working above 10 GHz.

        Manufacturing the surface should not be a problem, this isn’t too far removed from making CD’s, DVD’s and other optical ROMs. Getting the surfaces to maintain their performance is likely another issue, I’m not making bets on longevity. I do see a lot of uses if it can be made to last, making it part of the glazing for PV is one.

        FWIW, I am not a CAGW adherent, being very skeptical of the claims for strong positive feedback from CO2 forcing.

  15. From the paper:
    “the widespread use of point-and- click data-analysis software has made it easy for researchers to sift through massive data sets without fully understanding the methods, and to find small p-values that may not actually mean anything”

    I lately tried to replicate the models in an economics book and a paper about EROEI and economic issues with Mathematica. The authors both used some special commercial software for modeling. Turned out both had “issues”. No game changer but significant stuff.

    Using software you don’t really know about how it works seems to be another possible issue.

    • Agree krmmtoday. Computers can dazzle you with speed but if you can’t understand exactly what they’re calculating they can also be powerful tools of delusion. To be sure of anything you need to run on at least two different machines using completely different code.

      I wonder how much published work is nothing but artifacts of improperly used, or just plain buggy software.

  16. Most people can perform their jobs without extracting themselves from their cultural norms and spending time observing from a distance what they are doing and why they are doing it. When scientists stop, they stop doing their jobs. They don’t have the luxury of being like everybody else. That is why society has such high expectations of them.

  17. “Science is an ongoing race between our inventing ways to fool ourselves, and our inventing ways to avoid fooling ourselves.” – Saul Perlmutter

    Well, he fooled himself if he joined Berkley Earth to produce a graph that was any different:

  18. This post leaves out one of the key ways scientists fool themselves. If the results are susceptible to alternative interpretations, you simply declare that your results are “not inconsistent with” your preferred hypothesis and move on.

    Oh, wait. That’s how they fool the public, not themselves…

  19. “The problem is that post-hoc stories can be concocted to justify anything and everything — and so end up truly explaining nothing. ”

    Example: “Our brains evolved long ago on the African savannah, where jumping to plausible conclusions about the location of ripe fruit or the presence of a predator was a matter of survival. But a smart strategy for evading lions does not necessarily translate well to a modern laboratory, where tenure may be riding on the analysis of terabytes of multidimensional data.”

    Why, exactly, our brains evolved to their present state of ready self-deception is… a matter for ongoing study, surely?

    • “To date it has been thought that melting of Antarctic ice sheet would contribute very little to future sea-level rise — just 4 to 5 centimetres at most.”

      But with the Big Paris Soirres coming up, somebody had to come up with the ‘It’s way worse than we thought!’ scenario. Nobody but the Chicken Littles is going to pay attention to this crap.

      • Yes, do keep coming up with ways to fool yourself.

      • The science is settled! The science is settled! No, wait! It’s way worse than we thought, again!

        And you clowns don’t understand why you aren’t able to scare folks.

      • Don, who says the science is settled? And if the science is settled why are they doing more research that could potentially “unsettle” the science?

      • The Leader of the Free World From Behind says it’s settled, joey. Like gravity. Try to catch up.

        They are doing more research to get paid and to come up with scarier scenarios. If it doesn’t get a lot warmer soon, discredited redundant climate scientists will be waiting tables and Ubering.

      • They are doing more research to get paid and to come up with scarier scenarios.

        That’s funny, Don. So they (the scientisits) know “scary scenarios” are baloney, but they are doing it anyway because they are getting paid to do it. So how do you know this?

      • I don’t have any more time for you, joey.

      • From Joseph: “Don, who says the science is settled? And if the science is settled why are they doing more research that could potentially “unsettle” the science?”

        Gee Joseph, don’t you pay attention or is it an issue with retention? Try reading Michelle Stirling’s paper above.

    • By 2100 this would add up to 40 centimetres to sea levels, melt rate would continue to accelerate until 2300, and sea levels would continue to rise after that for thousands of years.

      For those who are metric-challenged: “40 centimetres” is 16 inches. In 85 years. Giving our civilization no time to adapt.

      • This math is just too hard for me, which is why I’m constantly getting fooled.

        100 centimeters minus 4 equals 96 centimeters.

        Now this the part that was hard for me:

        96 centimeters plus 40 centimeters equals an easily adaptable 15 inches.

        Got it. That’s amazing. I have unfooled myself. Thanks AK.

    • “The good news, said the scientists, is that their research suggests it’s not too late to stop this, if we’re prepared to take tough action to reduce greenhouse emissions.”

      Who’s fooling who?

      • The one thing I know is denizens cannot be fooled and Professor Curry cannot be fooled. Only Gavin can fool himself. This makes it very easy to keep track of fools.

      • You just keep telling yourself that

      • Anyone find it ironic for a clown to be discussing fools.

      • There are only two options:
        * Either the seas are not going to rise fast
        * Or they are going to do it, and we have no freaking possibility to conserve energy / set up joky wind mills to come near to a solution that would stop the rise.

        Talking about mitigation is fooling oneself. Or fooling others.

      • Well, at least I don’t think I know more about swans than Taleb does. That one was a true three-ring circus.

  20. And make sure you put all your retirement savings into last year’s best performing mutual fund — the management team is obviously brilliant.

  21. Might I suggest a concrete example of hypothesis myopia endemic to those professing to climate science? A certain function, say OLR, is presumed to be an analytic function of some temperature, say, To. We then proceed to analyze this relationship. But why only To? One might instead have presumed a function of T(x,y,z). Until one has shown that, if To is given, the entire thermal profile is also determined, the two hypotheses will lead to different results.

  22. Steve Fitzpatrick

    Nature could have just reprinted Feynmans Cargo Cult Science address and covered the same ground… and more. But it is good Nature is willing to address the problem.

    In the specific case of climate science, there are all the “usual” problems of potential bias, as in any scientific field, but there is more: climate science has a strong history of public advocacy (eg, the 1989 Schneiderian suggestion to make “the world a better place” through scary stories and green politics) which only magnifies the psychological reward for advocate/scientists finding ‘desirable’ results, those consistent with alarming climate predictions, and for discounting or ignoring ‘undesirable results’ (Gee, it’s not as bad as we thought).

    The sad part is that while the problem of bias is clear to many outside the field, few participants in the field appear willing to even acknowledge the possibility of bias. Myopic is the most generous description I can think of. “There are none so blind as those who will not see” may be more accurate.

  23. Re: fooled scientists 10/14/2015

    (1) This problem doesn’t exist in industry where erroneous scientific models are stillborn.

    (2) Q. If one wanted to fool an academic scientist, how might he proceed?

    A. Tell one of these falsehoods about his work: (a) it was peer-reviewed when it wasn’t or (b) it was published in a certified journal when it wasn’t. The third way would be to lie about having the support of a certified consensus, but there’s no real way to do that, is there?

    (3) What is fooling whole schools of academics is the acceptance of Post Modern Science as science. They missed that one-day seminar on epistemology. In Modern Science, models must have predictive power. And never mind peer-review, publication, or consensus claiming. No fooling.

  24. Hank Zentgraf

    “explicitly considering competing hypotheses, and if possible working to develop experiments that can distinguish between them. This approach, called strong inference, attacks hypothesis myopia head on.”

    What heresy! We got our marching orders in 1988 from the UN: our climate is dominated by recent anthropogenic emissions. Now damn you, go out and prove it!
    Until the funding and review bias in our government agencies is eliminated, this post is just an academic exercise.
    Just last week I asked the moderator of a small group climate discussion centered around A Gore’s Ted talk on climate science here in Ft Collins if I could show a chart showing the “pause” in relation to the IPCC model results. I was told emphatically, NO. The bias has infected average citizens.

  25. This all seems like a prescription for endless doubt, which would be the end of science. Science produces a growing body of knowledge, which requires that new ideas be accepted at some point. There is thus a time for doubt and a time for acceptance, but the latter is not addressed here.

    In climate science it is clearly a time for doubt, but this an unusual case, to say the least.

  26. Our so called Scientists have all fallen for the leftist inspired “White swan hypothesis” trap. If your hypothesis is that only white swans exist then you go out and find a black swan then your hypothesis has failed scientifically. If you go out and purposefully ignore that black swan then you don’t have science in any way shape or form. Modern Progressive Liberals all ignore the black swan on purpose so they can implement Socialism (and its force of power) upon us all.

  27. Pingback: You’re just fooling | Because, Science!

  28. Let’s also acknowledge that all these cognitive biases and conflicts of interest are at play in the grant review process at NIH and other agencies. I hope that someday the agencies will take steps to increase objectivity in evaluating grant applications, but I fear it’s more likely that generations of good scientists will be lost before that ever happens.

  29. The hypothesis myopia is really just the legal approach taking over from the scientific – something which is being seen throughout society. Instead of falsifying hypothesis, data are collected which support the theory and doubt is cast onany confounding data.

    This is exactly how a court case is argued between two lawyers and represents the real problem we are faced with in today’s society – everything is being considered from legalistic point of view and represents the “post-normal” thinking that things are true if people believe them (or rather, if you have convinced a “jury” about them).

  30. Climate change being a notable example, extremism has come to distinguish Left-right politics vis-a-vis science.

  31. On the one hand, everyone has a favorite theory which motivates a particular study. They want to test existing theory, try a new technique/instrument, use a bigger dataset than has been used before, develop their own theory, etc. I have no problem with this. The problem comes when desperation for success, sloppiness, or unwillingness to take no for an answer leads to data dredging, cherry picking, or failure to cite contrary data/literature.
    Personally, I try to imagine how someone might make me look foolish, and make sure my work could withstand such an attempt. This is a good way to bring in the contrary points of view.

  32. An additional source of problems is the positive results bias. If an experiment doesn’t turn out, there is no relationship between the expected variables, results don’t make sense, or they contradict the expected relationship, it is too easy to simply drop the project and not publish it. Furthermore, journals don’t like to see that the data is a cloud of points rather than a nice straight line, and thus it may get rejected. Yet a truly invalid theory will give exactly that type of result–no result, and such a result does provide information.

  33. Spikes abound:

    sea level – satellites!

    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/files/2015_rel3/sl_ns_global.eps

    This Samurai sword has a hook:

    OHC: with the oceans, GHGs never let up:

    • JCH,
      Caution is needed in claims since we have a trend of adjustments in temperature anomaly data. Post hoc increased is SST in 2015 from measurements in 1940 ship intakes should include error bars to demonstrate what we have measured and the changes suggested.

      Same for heat content of 0-2000 m in global ocean. Really, Anything prior to ARGO is inaccurate and now even ARGO is undergoing adjustments to measurements from thermocouples. The entire field is complex and with the ocean not much data exists before ARGO deployment.

      I don’t see how you got your numbers.
      Scott

      • Juts curious, do you have any caution about your caution?

      • JCH,
        Don’t get your point. Caution of my Caution?

        Look at ARGO Projects from US CLIVAR at
        http://usclivar.org/meetings/2015-us-clivar-summit-agenda

        Lots of presentations with facts and observations.

        Room for discussion and most participants strongly support concern about greenhouse gas impacts but then limit discussions to realistic evaluations.

        Now we have large assumptions of historical ocean temps when one has very little data. Then assumptions and baseline changes muddy the debate. My caution to you was simply good faith request to not go too far.

        see tonyb on sea level for long periods. with subsistence, glacial rebound and satellite adjustments something as simple as 1.5 to 3.1 mm /year becomes subject to technical debate.

        What is your thoughts of roman warm period sea level in harbors now flooded in Italy and sea level terraces in San Diego.

        Scott

      • Don’t waste your time Scott. JCH is all about dueling graphs (his are good and those he disagrees with are bad) and telling us what fools we are.

      • See, you went and did it again. By and large, skeptics are not skeptical, just disagreeable.

      • Room for discussion and most participants strongly support concern about greenhouse gas impacts but then limit discussions to realistic evaluations.

        Lol, the first one I read:

        cautions about the pause, Tamino!

      • i will say I am very skeptical of this thing they call the IPO. The IPO, imo, is a trick meant to imbue the AMO with a Pacific swagger. The IPO could walk into a biker bar and come out alive. The AMO would never make it out that biker bar alive. They’re just determined to fit it into a 60-year cycle, and there is no 60-year cycle, just fragments of other cycles that appear at just the right moment to make people think it’s 60 years.

  34. I am sure there has to be a great cartoon to go with this post :)

  35. Science now fills the vacuum left by the Church as the secular Western societies have progressed
    power breeds corruption
    the High Priests begin to believe in the institution more than it’s purpose
    making such arguments as 97% declare truth
    and those that don’t believe are deniers that require excommunication

    I was promised a jet pack and a moon vacation
    not much different than a promise of paradise

    • Thanks for the link. :)
      He´s really brilliant! So clear, here is a few of my favorites quotes by Dyson Freeman in this interview:

      Question: Are climate models getting better? You wrote how they have the most awful fudges, and they only really impress people who don’t know about them.
      Answer by Dyson Freeman: “… .What has happened in the past 10 years is that the discrepancies between what’s observed and what’s predicted have become much stronger. It’s clear now the models are wrong, but it wasn’t so clear 10 years ago. …”

      “China and India rely on coal to keep growing, so they’ll clearly be burning coal in huge amounts. They need that to get rich. Whatever the rest of the world agrees to, China and India will continue to burn coal, so the discussion is quite pointless.”

      “Pollution is quite separate to the climate problem: one can be solved, and the other cannot, and the public doesn’t understand that.”

      • Whatever the rest of the world agrees to, China and India will continue to burn coal, so the discussion is quite pointless.

        Bingo!

  36. Not mentioned may be the most potent weapon in rectifying this sad situation – social shaming for the ones who won’t behave. For example, if a scientist won’t share his data or methods or stonewalls FOIA or …, shun him.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      I would be the most effective method, if the mainstream scientists would only wield it. Instead, they fete and pet people like Michael Mann and Peter Gleick, invite them to conferences, ask them to chair sessions …

      After Climategate I thought “Now we’ll get some action!. When the rank-and-file climate scientists see what the unindicted co-conspsirators have been up to, those dawgs will be held to account for their misdeeds” …

      Sigh … sometimes it’s like the song says—”Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then” …

      w.

    • Curious George

      Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. W. Shakespeare, Hamlet.

      The situation is nothing short of a tragedy.

  37. “we give expected results a relatively free pass, but we rigorously check non-intuitive results.”
    * There wasn’t less sea ice during period X, so let’s study why it’s not behaving as expected — and warn for what reasons it will soon be reduced as expected.
    * Temperatures did not go up as expected, so let’s figure out why the Pause happened, but not study the period when temperatures rose as expected.

  38. You mean that the science never is settled? who would have thought?

  39. “One way to do this is to write a program that creates alternative data sets by, for example, adding random noise or a hidden offset, moving participants to different experimental groups or hiding demographic categories. Researchers handle the fake data set as usual — cleaning the data, handling outliers, running analyses — while the computer faithfully applies all of their actions to the real data. They might even write up the results. But at no point do the researchers know whether their results are scientific treasures or detritus. Only at the end do they lift the blind and see their true results — after which, any further fiddling with the analysis would be obvious cheating.”

    Yup.

    That was the approach taken with the temperature adjustment code.

    Now ask yourself.

    Do you ignore these results, because you dont like the answer?

    In short skeptics suggested that people in climate science should do these kinds of tests. In some cases I am sure they expected the test to show that homogenization is biased.

    Well, been there, done that test.

    What is the response?

    crickets or more climateball.

  40. I wonder how many of the above apply to the ‘science’ of Climate Change?

  41. A peer reviewed paper published in Energy & Environment, Volume 26, No. 5, 2015, 841-845 demonstrates CO2 has no effect on climate. The most convincing evidence is that there has been no sustained temperature change during the last 500 million years in spite of the CO2 level being always at least 150 ppmv as required for life as we know it to have evolved.

    Following is the abstract to the paper
    :
    Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) has had no significant effect on average global temperature. This deduction employs existing data and the computational mandate that temperature change is in response to the time-integral of the net forcing; not proportionately to the instantaneous value of the net forcing itself. This finding also strongly suggests that Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is flawed and climate sensitivity (the increase in average global temperature (AGT) due to doubling of CO2) is not significantly different from zero.

    These findings are also documented in the section headed “Demonstration that CO2 has no significant effect on AGT” of the analysis at http://agwunveiled.blogspot.com The AGWunveiled analysis also identifies (near perfect R^2=0.97 since before 1900) the two factors that do cause reported average global temperature change (sunspot number is the only independent variable).

    • A peer reviewed paper published in Energy & Environment, Volume 26, No. 5, 2015, 841-845 demonstrates CO2 has no effect on climate.

      No, it doesn’t, and – yes – I did look at it.

      • That suggests deficiency in your engineering science skill. Can you be more specific about what you take issue with?

      • The first paragraph in section 3 is simply wrong. You don’t simply integrate the CO2 forcing time series. You need to consider all external forcings and, to determine the temperature evolution, you need integrate the net flux and take into account the heat capacity of the system. Not only are you ignoring the uncertainties in that figure, you’re also ignoring that solar forcing was not constant.

      • …and then… – Of course the time-integral of the NET forcing is needed to calculate AGT. But that is not the objective. The objective is only to see if CO2 has an effect on AGT. If CO2 had an effect, its effect on AGT would be according to the time-integral of the CO2 level (or the time-integral of a math function of the CO2 level). Consider that the AGT has gone up and DOWN over the eon. That could not occur with the time-integral of a CO2 level known to always have been above 150ppmv.

        This is from the published paper:
        “Granted that if the math function of the forcing consists of an anomaly with respect to a ‘break-even’ CO2 level, a ‘break-even’ level could be determined to make the beginning and ending temperatures equal (A ‘break even’ level is defined as that level with as much below the ‘break even’ level as above it so the end temperature is the same as the starting temperature. Do not confuse a ‘break even’ CO2 level, so defined, with reaching a steady-state temperature). Pick another time period with equal beginning and ending temperatures, but different from the first pick, and a different ‘break-even’ level might be calculated. Since the possibility of many different ‘breakeven’ levels is ludicrous, the conclusion that CO2 has no significant effect on AGT prevails, and something else is causing the temperature change.”

        Considering uncertainties does not change the conclusion nor does considering solar forcing or variation of solar forcing.

        The analysis at http://agwunveiled.blogspot.com which identifies the two factors which caused the AGT change of the last few centuries (R^2=0.97 since before 1900) does include calculating AGT and as appropriate, uses the effective thermal capacitance of the planet. Realize that all factors not explicitly considered must find room in the unexplained 3% or so. CO2 was explicitly considered in an earlier analysis (Reference 2 in the AGWunveiled paper) and found to have no significant effect on AGT.

    • Can we get a free link to the paper?

      And would you take my one question survey?

      Which statement best describes your position on ice ages.

      1. Glaciations and Deglaciations occur at semi-regular intervals due to changes in the earth’s orbit.

      2. There have been no ice ages, glaciations etc, because earth’s average temperature does not change.

      3. A glaciation is eminent and likely to occur if we stop burning fossil fuels.

      4. I don’t know nothing and neither do scientists.

      thanks

      • I love multiple choice exams.

        Answer: 1

      • bobdroege,

        I need more clarification. Do you mean before or after the coldest point on the Earths surface dropped below 273K?
        Define “ice age”.
        Define “glaciation”.
        Is an “eminent” glaciation different from an “unimportant” glaciation?

        Did you leave out :

        5. I believe this question to be irrelevant, ill-conceived, pointless, and poorly thought out.

        What is the point of such silliness?

        Did you study at the Lewandowsky Academy of Witlessness?

        As AFOMD would have said “The world wonders!”

        Cheers.

      • Which statement best describes your position on ice ages.

        None of them.

      • Mike, there is no evidence that supports your claims, however,

        As far as I know, there has always been regions on earth where the temperature is below 273K, but you may provide evidence to the contrary.

        An ice age is a period where there are large areas of solid ice that persist through the seasons.

        A glaciation is a period where these large areas of ice expand.

        You would need to ask Kim what an eminent glaciation is, or one of the other ice age comethers that inhabit this blog.

        The point of this is that there are people who say there is no climate change and there are people who say climate always changes, and then there are those of us who are trying to understand what is going on.

        AK, what do you think causes the ice ages?

      • bobdroege,

        Although I wasn’t there at the time, I’m told told the Earth was created in a molten state, and is still more than 99% molten, or hot enough to be fluid to a greater or lesser degree.

        You may have alternate evidence based on religion, but things like volcanoes, thermal vents, boreholes, mines, tectonic plate movements and so on, tend to induce me to believe that I am right, and you are wrong.

        Molten rock or even rock at a depth of a few meters, is above 273K, or the freezing point of water.

        Until the crust cooled to the point where liquid water could be formed and subsequently able to freeze due to losing energy to its environment to a sufficient degree, ice formation of any sort was physically impossible.

        I can lend you a clue, if you find you haven’t got one. Just let me know. Always glad to help.

        Cheers.

      • The section titled “Demonstration that CO2 has no effect on AGT” of the paper at http://agwunveiled.blogspot.com covers the same stuff and also identifies the two factors that did cause the average global temperature (AGT) change since the depths of the LIA (R^2=0.97 since before 1900). About 37% of the calculated temperature change 1909-2005 was due to ocean oscillations and 63% correlates with the time-integral of sunspot numbers. The mechanism appears to be the effect that sunspots have on clouds and that AGT is very sensitive to cloud extent and average altitude as shown at http://lowaltitudeclouds.blogspot.com.

        As to your survey: Ice ages or near ice ages have occurred about every 150 million years. Ice cores show that, during the current ice age, glaciations and interglacials correlate with the Milankovtich cycles. The ice core data from the current and two previous interglacials show increasing resistance to decline into glaciation. Given all that, statement 1 is least wrong.

      • Mike Flynn says:

        “I can lend you a clue, if you find you haven’t got one. Just let me know. Always glad to help.”

        Best laugh of the day. Thanks.

  42. Isn’t myopia sometimes the reason for success ? The experimental verification or falsification should correct for bias. I don’t think Einstein would have had the energy to pursue 27 blind alleys that he had little enthusiasm(bias) for. It doesn’t seem to me that data, in itself, often acts as the creative cognitive spark of creative scientific insight.

  43. Ironic “just-so story telling” in the article:

    “Our brains evolved long ago on the African savannah, where jumping to plausible conclusions about the location of ripe fruit or the presence of a predator was a matter of survival. But a smart strategy for evading lions does not necessarily translate well to a modern laboratory, . . .”

    I find these “I’ll just make up an evolutionary story to explain why humans now act the way they do” to be intellectually disingenuous.

    Climate science is really rejecting the team of rivals approach with their strong tactics to push climate consensus. I think this is very anti-scientific.

  44. Ironic “just-so story telling” in the article:

    Only by implication. It says the process is “a matter of survival”, but doesn’t actually propose that this was the adaptive advantage behind unsuitable laboratory behavior. It certainly makes the inference easy, though.

  45. The Climate Etc pattern:

    A: Research from the social sciences provides evidence that individuals are prone to cognitive bias under a variety of circumstances.

    B: Any given climate scientist is an individual.

    C: Therefore the research of any given climate scientist is tainted by cognitive bias and by implication invalid.

    Does anyone see any problems with this progression?

  46. Climate science is not a model of science. If anything it is the opposite. Let us not confuse the two.

  47. The “team of rivals” have their work cut out for them. It’s not the scientists they have to compete with, but the data itself. Like this.
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1950/mean:12/plot/esrl-co2/scale:0.01/offset:-3.25
    The scientists have an explanation, and the “team of rivals” have to come up with something else to deserve their name. This is what science is about: alternative explanations, also based in science, of the data. Note that the “alternative” also has to say why it can’t be CO2, so it is really two problems, and probably why no one is stepping up.

    • Jim D,

      As much as I love a good graph nearly as much as I love a good laugh, might I politely point out the Earth’s surface cooled for four and a half billion years or so.

      In did this in spite of far higher levels of CO2 in the past. Luckily, mankind is replacing the CO2 that Nature sequestered as “fossil fuel” before all plant life, closely followed by all animal life, perishes due to a lack of CO2.

      Are you dim, Jim, or merely pretending? Do you really advocate the extermination of the human race by removing all CO2 from the atmosphere, or do just want to remove enough enough CO2 that we live in a state of starvation forever?

      What is the Warmist dogma on the ultimate genocide they seek so passionately? It’s definitely the “final solution”, I suppose – wipe out humanity in order to save it from non existent global warming.

      Cheers. Keep at those graphs.

      • Some, including Hansen, say 350 ppm is the ideal level. Do you disagree with them?

      • Jim D,

        You wrote “Some, including Hansen, say 350 ppm is the ideal level. Do you disagree with them?”

        Of course I disagree. The man, and others like him, are quite delusional. They have said all sorts of stupid things. They even created a faux science, examining the average of historical weather events, and claiming to the being able to divine the future. Examining the entrails of a chicken is just as effective, a lot cheaper, and has a longer pedigree!

        This sort of nonsense related to divining the future is not restricted to the feeble minded. Even Presidents of powerful countries – nudge, nudge! wink, wink! – have consulted astrologers and psychics. Consulting climatologists materially benefits the climatologist – nobody else.

        Why is 350 ppm so perfect? Where was the climate perfect when there were 350 ppm of CO2? If CO2 is so wonderfully “well mixed”, was the world’s climate better or worse when CO2 levels were higher or lower in the past?

        What about H2O? After all, that’s the other main result of burning hydrocarbons. It’s supposedly a greenhouse gas too, is it not? The population of California might think more H2O desirable. Obviously, Hansen and his ilk either don’t know or don’t care about improving humanity’s lot.

        Bah! Humbug!

        You’ve got nothing because you understand nothing – feel free to correct any factual errors I have made. Prognostications about the future are assumptions, not facts.

        Remember the only factual part of a graph is the bit you can see, at best – although in the case of BEST, I wouldn’t even be too confident of the past, let alone the future.

        Cheers.

      • Yes jimd, like virtually everything else in cli-sci, no one really knows what the optimal level is. People who own greenhouses have found levels exceeding 1000 ppm work quite well for the green things they like to grow, so maybe 1000 ppm or a little higher would be good.

      • Jim D, there can be no “ideal level” in an ever-changing system. If Hansen doesn’t know that, he should take a Trappist vow: “I will keep my trap shut rather than speak of that which I do not know.”

      • Are you dim, Jim, or merely pretending? Do you really advocate the extermination of the human race by removing all CO2 from the atmosphere, or do just want to remove enough enough CO2 that we live in a state of starvation forever? …

        All would be good. All things being equal, the earth would get a little cold, but all things aren’t equal, so nobody knows what might happen in our happy, zero CO2 future.

      • Michael Flynn

        JCH,

        I hate to interfere with your fantasy, but plants cannot survive without CO2, any more than you can survive without oxygen.

        Zero CO2 in the atmosphere means the end of the human race. Are you really as dim as Jim?

        I’m really starting to doubt the rationality of the average Warmist. Even Skeptical Science acknowledges plants need CO2 to survive, but attempt to divert and confuse by pointing out that plants need more than just CO2 – perfectly true and perfectly stupid.

        It’s about as stupid as saying that removing all oxygen from the atmosphere would be good, because breathing 100% pure oxygen will lead to death. Must surely be a deadly poison, what?

        Maybe you should concentrate on Jim’s graphs.

      • The earth would keep spinning and the climate would continue changing. I’ve learned so much on Climate Etc.

      • I hope to god we can keep concentrations above 350ppm.

      • Mike Flynn,

        JCH probably is a believer in the concept of the planet having a fixed carrying capacity. Therefore people in general are the ultimate form of carbon pollution.

        Of course if JCH does believe this, the question becomes “Why is he not a man of his convictions?”

      • No, I just think there is no way to predict what will happen in a zero-CO2 future. They can rig the models, I’ve heard.

      • Some, including Hansen, say 350 ppm is the ideal level. Do you disagree with them?

        Hansen’s choice is primarily influenced by his predictions of rapid sea level rise. If you find his work on polar ice melt unconvincing (as many climate scientists do) then 350 ppm is probably not your theoretical optimum.

      • JCH,

        When you have solved the problem of growing plants without CO2, the world will fall at your feet!

        I’m sure it won’t take you long – right after you manage to stop the world from cooling, the climate from changing, and peace prevails throughout the Universe.

        Get to it! Let not the forces of doubt and denial impede your progress! I wish you every success.

        Cheers.

  48. I do not think the issue in climate science is that this or that study is biased or incorrect – although some surely are as in any field. The issue is grappling with a vast amount of research from several different fields and then balancing risk and uncertainty. But everyone (but the fringes) agrees there is uncertainty in climate projections and that there is a risk if climate sensitivity is within the IPCC range. It seems some people are uncomfortable with uncertainty (is it really a monster?) but are OK risking future generations well being.

    • Hank Zentgraf

      Are we risking future generation’s wellbeing? Not if we are convinced there is a small anthropogenic affect but the political elite are exaggerating the consequences. Even influential climate scientists claim that every extreme weather event is caused by man’s emissions with absolutely no evidence. That tells me that the process is corrupted. Recent studies are clearing things up quite rapidly. Since we are in an 18 year pause, we have 18 more years to study the issue before we need to worry about future generations.
      The models that produce the “projections” are pathetic. The fact that they are still used to drive public policy is a scandal IMHO.

  49. If climate science could really predict the climate, the climate would be in every long term business calculation.

    And all of their predictions would have been correct by now.

    The real proof of science is in the actual functioning products used by consumers.

    The only functioning products made by climate science are political policy.

    Lying makes those too.

    • +100

      There would be a huge market for regional weather forecasts that were functionally accurate just a few months out. Yet what we get are 40+ different models which proportedly tell us what the climate will be in 100 years.

  50. If you google “climate-research-2015 Evans” you will be able to learn what the basic climate models do right and wrong.

  51. What is the point here? Is there a condition here that can be corrected? No, humans fixing human folly is a self-referential sort of thing. We goes with what we gots. Play with our imperfect science, embrace it , enjoy it, and move on…or forget it. I’ll always chose the former.

  52. How to settle science: just remove what is unsettling.

    Don’t know if it’s been mentioned yet in these parts, but the French government has found a new way of sheltering its flock before COP 21. The nation’s top weatherman, Philippe Verdier on France 2, has been sent on an indefinite “forced holiday” for publishing a book not liked by the Republic or the IPCC.

    If you are wondering what unions are for, unions at France Television called for Verdier to be fired. (His boss decided a suspension would be more just – “in the name of freedom of expression”. The guy is hardly Genghis Khan, he is in a gay marriage and has a masters in sustainable development…maybe that’s what has saved his job for now.) So I guess you are still wondering what unions are for.)

    According to the UK Telegraph:
    ‘He said he decided to write the book in June 2014 when Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, summoned the country’s main weather presenters and urged them to mention “climate chaos” in their forecasts.

    ‘“I was horrified by this discourse,” Mr Verdier told Les Inrockuptibles magazine. Eight days later, Mr Fabius appeared on the front cover of a magazine posing as a weatherman above the headline: “500 days to save the planet.”’

    For francophones, this just in:

    • mosomoso

      Yes, it has been briefly mentioned here but I hadn’t seen the detail about Fabius exhorting his troops to mention climate chaos at every opportunity. I expect this has no connection at all with the forthcoming jamboree in France whereby the French would love to be associated with a deal that would change the world.

      tonyb

    • ‘How to settle science: jest remove what is unsettling.’

      Mais oui, bien sur …nous ne regrettons rien … mon dieu
      et sacre bleu!

  53. Willis Eschenbach

    Breaking news … uncertainty make action more necessary, not less, because fear …

    Latest of the Lewpapers

    w.

    • Similarly, potential surprises are more likely to be calamitous than benign, because the probability of extreme climate events (such as ice sheet collapse) increases with increasing uncertainty, all other factors being equal.

      And this guy’s a professor of what, exactly?

      • Milking the public purse: realising that the academic sector is out of control and there’s good money to be made while not only serving no useful purpose, but actually being harmful. Many on the bandwagon, Lew’s making better use of it.

      • So what is wrong with him making money? We make money; we spend money. The more the better. But I agree on the potential benefits of warming deserving more attention. I think it’s just going to be wonderful to have deeper oceans. I’ve always been bothered by how shallow the current oceans are. And I was thinking, our national parks are just too crowded. We need new ones. An inundated Miami Beach would make a great new national park. And I bet they could sell tickets to watch all those rich people lose their Malibu homes.

      • Michael Flynn

        JCH,

        I’m not sure if you understand that the interior of the Earth appears to be fluid enough for the crust to be in constant motion. Tectonic plate movement appears to factual and measurable, whether you think it is voodoo science or not.

        Sea beds rise and fall, as do the continents. The amount of heat released into the oceans from thermal vents is completely unknown. I assumed you knew this, but I now assume your knowledge of geophysics is far less than mine. In any case, nobody can predict what relative sea levels will occur at any particular location, at any particular time. Good luck with trying.

        Maybe you should apply your enthusiasm to building perpetual motion machines, or discovering z rays. I with you well.

        Cheers.

      • The very idea that the probability of some physical events can in any way be influenced by human uncertainty, is nothing short of ridiculous.

        Shame on the Royal Society for associating their name with such unmitigated nonsense.

      • And I bet they could sell tickets to watch all those rich people lose their Malibu homes.

        Over the space of 85 years? They could be born, grow old, and die watching the sea level rise what: four freaking feet?

      • Nothing can stop the people who are far dumber than the denizens on Climate Etc. from raising taxes and trying to do the impossible. You brainiacs might as well just lay back and figure out a way to enjoy your misery.

      • So I went looking for pages containing the picture you posted, and found several, including:

        Storm devastating to Plum Island

        NEWBURY — They expect big storms to do big damage on Plum Island, where beach erosion has long threatened oceanfront homes. They just weren’t expecting this storm to be that bad; ultimately, it was the most damaging to hit the island in recent memory.

        As high tide arrived Friday morning, an $800,000 house was ripped from its foundation by the crashing surf and toppled onto the beach. Two others were so damaged that they were expected to be a total loss. And another two could end up condemned. All told, 12 homes are in jeopardy on this small barrier island, according to Newbury building inspector Sam Joslin.

        […]

        “There should have been steps allowed to protect these properties,” Bandoian said, echoing a complaint from many neighbors, who say that environmental red tape has prohibited them from protecting their own homes with their own money. “We’ve been trying since December to get approval to rebuild the sea wall that was damaged in a storm. The house had no protection.” [my bold]

        […]

        “The fact of the matter is the environment is changing, but these homes weren’t in any danger when they were built,” Tarr said. “These are folks who aren’t asking for public money; they’re asking for public regulation to allow them to protect their homes. The problem is that because of environmental regulations, there are some tools that are off the table that we need to look at seriously. People have to come first, and these are people’s homes.” [my bold]

        […]

        The Great Marsh: Nature’s Flood Insurance

        The Great Marsh project aims to identify and combat growing threats to what is still a healthy, intact ecosystem. One of these threats is beach erosion. The marsh endures only because it is protected by barrier islands, notably Plum Island, an 8.5-mile-long sweep of dunes, marsh and scrub forest and site of the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. On the island’s built-up, northern tip, storms have collapsed dunes and sometimes toppled houses into the surf (above). A short-term fix—here and on other barrier islands—is to pile more sand on the dunes. It would be wiser to limit or ban new construction on barrier beaches, but such efforts are inevitably a tough sell politically. [my bold]

        An exemplary case of deception by taking a picture out of context.

      • You pick a geologically stable spot with a long, reliable record – no up or down due to post glacial rebound – and…behold the terror!
        http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_global_station.htm?stnid=680-140

        That’s not gonna make a Guardian front page, is it?

      • Beach destroyers are great blamers of coal and of the life styles of vulgar aspirationals who can’t afford to park a house where a dune should be. If you ask the people who build on-coast for their thoughts on life they’ll mostly be deeply green and oh-so passionate about the planet thingy and the climate thingy. It’s just that their posh real estate preferences don’t match their posh HuffPo opinions.

      • peter3172, The quote is a gem. I can say no more in polite company.

      • JCH

        If you want to pick a poster child, there might be better places than Miami Beach. NOAA shows a rise of only 2.33mm/yr and 2.39mm/yr for Key West and Miami Beach respectively, which are rates significantly below GMSL rise.

        If you want to be taken seriously, you could always ring up Tiger on how to bring your A game. How does it feel to be a tool in the obvious full court press leading up to Paris?

      • mosomoso,

        Only a climatologist could give an average sea level to 0.01 mm – that’s a
        little less than half of one thousandth of an inch – with a straight face! One could be excused for raising an eyebrow and enquiring “Really?”

        Given the Australian continent was recently recorded as rocketing roughly Northeast at around 7 cm per annum, one might reasonably expect sea levels to change here or there as the crust presumably heaves and buckles as the Australian continent sails on majestically.

        Maybe reducing CO2 will stop the continent dead in its tracks. I believe I’m suffering from motion sickness, as the continent pitches, rolls and yaws in its headlong rush.

        Adopting the precautionary principle, I wear a life jacket at all times, in case the continent should suddenly lose control and plunge beneath the waves, (all measured to within a half thousandth of an inch, of course)!

        I’m trying to corner the market in life jackets and arks, but I could let you have one at a fair price (cash in a brown paper bag) before the Warmists wake up to the imminent danger of drowning, and prices go through the roof.

        Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

    • First he should convince the traffic safety and the autotive industry of his “Veer for Deer” campaign.

    • JCH’s what’s wrong with people making money?

      Tell you what, how about you pay my income taxes this year? No? Of course not. Hypocrites don’t step up.

  54. Do you wonder if members of savak, still pick up their pension checks?

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

    History does not say.

  55. I am seeing more stories lately, even from warmist sites, saying that we may be approaching another Maunder Minimum. The general opinion from these warmists is that such a minimum would not (of course) have any effect on global warming/climate change, but it might well cause significantly colder winters in Europe and parts of the US.

    I’m just wondering how the precautionary principle plays in all this?

    How precisely are we supposed to prepare for both warming and cooling at the same time? Neither is really certain to occur, but both are of sufficient risk that under the PP we should prepare for both. But how precisely do we do that? Other than giving ever more control over the economy to our progressive betters, obviously.

    • It doesn’t. The precautionary principle only applies if you ask if you should curl up in a ball and die. Of course, it says you should, and you first.

    • “I’m just wondering how the precautionary principle plays in all this?”

      The precautionary principles should tell governments to suspend actions:
      “The precautionary principle or precautionary approach to risk management states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public …. , in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is not harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an action.” Ref. Wikipedia.

      The precautionary principle should also tell the United Nations to pay close attention to The Purposes of the United Nations – and nothing else:
      “To maintain international peace and security…
      To develop friendly relations among nations…
      To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character …
      To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.

    • Well, as I’ve said many times, the future will always surprise us, and the best policies are those which increase our capacity to deal with whatever future befalls. That means policies diametrically opposed to warmist prescriptions, policies which foster self-reliance, small government, innovation, entrepreneurialism, markets and free trade etc.

    • Well, as I’ve said many times, the future will always surprise us, we need policies which increase our capacity to deal with whatever future befalls. This means policies diametrically opposed to those favoured by warmists, policies which foster self-reliance, small government, innovation, enterprise, markets and free trade, etc. Such policies would also, of course, increase people’s well-being while we wait to see if the sky will really fall on us.

      • I’ve never lived in a house or driven a car intended for a certain set of conditions. The idea would have seemed bizarre not long ago, but I actually know educated, well-off people who under-heat their homes in the belief that the climate will only get warmer.

        Even many warmists don’t take things that literally, but the people I’m talking about aren’t silly. They tend to take their cues from a narrow band of what they regard as “intelligent” media, and in Oz that means ABC, SBS, Fairfax, the Guardian etc. Of course, the net makes HuffPo and NYT available just as easily, so there are now no limits or borders for Big Smug. In fact, apart from one radio station and the odd (too rare!) outburst from a Murdoch paper, even our commercial media has gone uniformly green and “intelligent”.

        It’s often expensive new planet-saving homes – the ones with dangerously cool hot water systems and hazardous under-flushing cisterns – which can be chilliest, though I know one old feller who has stopped getting firewood for his shack near here because he keeps expecting winters to get milder.

        Like you, Great Cunn, I’m content to be surprised. Already this El Nino has no resemblance in effect to that of 2009, which did not resemble that of 2002-3 which did not resemble those of the mid-90s. (The super-whopper of ’97-8 was a fizzer in Oz.) No doubt if I spent more time indoors my understanding of climate could be corrected.

  56. I haven’t scoured the blog to see if this has been noted somewhere. If so, apologies.

    From the article:

    Anthropogenic climate change is a very topical issue. We consider climate sensitivity as an indicator and apply mixed-effects multilevel meta-regression to estimate potential publication selection bias and the underlying mean effect. The results confirm that publication bias is strong in this literature. After correction for the bias, the estimated true effect of climate sensitivity
    is approximately one half of the simple mean of all the estimates in the collected sample of

    literature. If the simple mean reflects climate scientists’ impression of the magnitude of climate sensitivity, that impression exaggerates the true climate sensitivity two times.

    http://meta-analysis.cz/climate/climate_sensitivity.pdf

  57. I think that the biggest way that scientists fool themselves (and each other) is in thinking that the present paradigm of how science is done has any value. Scientists treat peer-reviewed, published studies as if they represent good quality work. That’s just stupid.

    Take the example of Phil Jones and his use of bogus temp data from China. Somebody published it. He didn’t question it. It was published, therefore it must be good. If you point out to scientists that perhaps he has an obligation to do some due diligence regarding the data quality before using it in work which he intended to influence public policy, the scientists will tell you that science isn’t done that way.

    And that’s the problem. The way science is done is a disaster for society.

    • “Scientists treat peer-reviewed, published studies as if they represent good quality work. That’s just stupid.”
      Agree, even IPCC agree to that – here is an example from the Working Group 1 Contribution to Assessment Report nr. 5 by IPCC:

      “1.4.2 Characterizing Uncertainty
      In a subject as complex and diverse as climate change, the information available as well as the way it is expressed, and often the interpretation of that material, varies considerably with the scientific context. In some cases, two studies examining similar material may take different approaches even to the quantification of uncertainty. The interpretation of similar numerical ranges for similar variables can differ from study to study. Readers are advised to pay close attention to the caveats and conditions that surround the results presented in peer-reviewed studies, as well as those presented in this assessment.”

      Working Group I of IPCC has a few moments of realism. However, these glimpses of realism doesn´t make its way through to the summary, and these glimpses of realism certainly does´t make it´s way through to the summary for policy makers. United Nations is fouling policy makers.

  58. “By focusing on one hypothesis, researchers might be missing the real story entirely.”

    Yes totally, that hypothesis is internal natural variability.

  59. Geoff Sherrington

    The comments quoted in the introduction would seem to apply to an immature type of science, or more particularly, a type of science in which it is known to be near impossible to identify the correct answer.
    Again, the sorry state of climate work seems to have led to the examples. Mature scientists should be aware of the folly of venturing into studies while knowing that there are significant known unknowns or worse. One marvels at the funding being thrown at studies that have no objective test of success, so by default, are failures before they start.
    Probably a majority of current science deals with accountable work. For example, if you use a complex geophysical algorithm to model the shape, size and attitude of a discrete buried magnetic body, then test it by drilling, you can get a most successful result. This helps when one of the consequences of accountability is that your future income depends on getting it right.
    Another amazement is that funding bodies like NSF happily dispense billions for play-work, where the lack of accountability and lack of a path to an answer make so much climate work pointless and zero value for money. It is worse than zero when the public equates poor climate science with poor all science.

  60. ResearchGate has already taken several steps to help scientist avoid self-deception:

    1. Open reviews reduced the evils of secret, pal-reviews
    2. Publishing opposing views and inviting comments does too
    3. Publishing figures of research data at the start of the research article keeps comments focused on the experimental data and observations.

    For an example, see the ResearchGate manuscript on “Solar energy”
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280133563

  61. mcmenemieconor

    Woohoo – another neurologist that can apply their understanding of brain function to climate scientists. Now i dont feel so lonley. The human brain is an organ that ‘moderates’ the stress response system. Thinking or guessing your way around a problem will “probably” give you a response that might be useful. All human technical development has come about when we stopped thinking or guessing and started to use a far more simple process – experimentation and refining data (information). Applying this to the climate arena – if we end up with warmer equatorial oceans and the sun has been the principal means of warming the equatorial oceans for the pastime 3 billion years, this data would suggest that we examine if it has become sunnier at the equator. Has it became less cloudy at the equator allowing more sunnyness to make the ocean warmer? Ignore me, l’m just a neuro-psychologist. …. doh!

  62. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #201 | Watts Up With That?

  63. “When it comes to replications and controversial topics, a good debiasing approach is to bypass the typical academic back-and-forth and instead invite your academic rivals to work with you.”

    Has Judy considered spending a semester at East Anglia or Penn St? Could be enlightening for all involved.

  64. The graphs that show 20-odd models of climate over the next 100 years and use the range of the model results to indicate range of expected outcomes are classic Assymetric Attention to Detail.

  65. All warmista explanations of the pause = Just So Stories

  66. Re: Scientists fool themselves 10/14/2015

    Once upon a time I was privileged to have a most special high school physics teacher, Ray B. Potter, a lifetime influence. He had aphorisms posted all around the classroom. His memory needs to be honored by posting a couple on the ‘net. One was this:

    You Do to What You Have To Do to What You Have To Get to What You Want.

    Translated, that was how to do dimensional analysis, which has served me and my students well for over half a century, and second it was how to take exams.

    That sets the stage for this one on target for the topic of scientist fools:

    There Are Very Few Who Really Think Among the Thinking Few. The Others Don’t Think at All, They Only Think They Do.

    A couple of other background stories: the US Army Signal Corps used to teach its teachers that you could not teach something that you could not define. A few years back at a university conference on science education, I told a gathering of professors that story for my claim that one could not teach science if one could not define it. A most senior professor nixed that conversation with this retort:

    Science is like love. I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.

    The problem Nuzzio addresses is simply that absence of scientific literacy, which is so widespread, beginning in K-12, that it infects practicing scientists. Analogy: one doesn’t have to know anything about medicine to treat patients. In too many professions, people are trained as scientists but left to themselves to define science by mental osmosis. That ignorance is made indelible in universities where the criteria for science is simply stated:

    Publish or Perish

    Nuzzio has a crazy quilt of patches which just won’t fix the chronic problem of low science literacy. The complete answer requires several hours to teach, but it’s too much for posting as a comment. At least, here’s half a score of bottom lines:

    (1) Science is a branch of knowledge; (2) It is the objective branch; (3) Science is contained in models of the Real World, which exists according to one of about eight axioms, and has two forms, the natural world and the manmade world; (4) Scientific models are mappings from existing facts, their domain, to fresh or future facts, their range, where facts are observations reduced by measurements and compared to standards; (5) Scientific propositions are not truth-valued, a property reserved for metaphysical propositions, but instead define experiments; (6) Models must agree with all the facts in their domain; (7) Prediction is the product of Cause & Effect propositions (Bacon (1620)); (8) Models are graded according to their predictive power, from Conjectures and Hypotheses to Theories and Laws; (9) Scientific models of the natural world require validation, and those of the manmade world require closure; (10) the Scientific Method exists as a logical ordering of I: Language, II: Measurements, III: Predictions, and IV: Validation/Closure); it is not a recipe with ordered steps.

    Peer-review, publication, and consensus can provide either quality control or conformity, a consensus option. They are irrelevant to knowledge, however, and hence to science.

    A footnote about uncertainty: it is uncertain. Uncertainty has two meanings, doubt and noise (probability). Doubt, along with explanation and description, are not directly measurable, hence subjective, outside science, and shunned by science. Noise, though, is an axiomatic element of every fact, even counting. Science advances by improved predictions, progressively accounting for more and more of the residual power in the noise.

    With that, you might be able to solve the problem of the climate. At least, go forth and teach.

  67. Too bad evolutionists aren’t willing to admit to the logical possibility that they’ve fooled themselves about *that* issue.