On distinguishing disbelief and nonbelief

by Judith Curry

It is important to distinguish between disbelief and nonbelief– between believing a sentence is false and merely not believing it true. 

At FabiusMaxiums, Larry Kummer has an excellent post Learning skepticism: an essential skill for citizenship in 21st century America.  The meat of the post is an essay by Marcello Truzzi published in 1987:  Zetetic Ruminations on Skepticism and Anomalies in Science.  Excerpt:

Regretfully, the term “skeptic” today is being used by many who adopt that label for themselves in a misleading way. To many, it is falsely equated with the term “rationalist.” The dictionary meaning of the term indicates that a skeptic is one who raises doubts. Thus the word is meant to reflect nonbelief rather than disbelief. But when we look at those who trumpet that they are skeptics towards claims of anomalies, we find disbelievers and debunkers rather than those who express uncertainty or doubt. The public “skeptics” of today present us with answers rather than questions. As philosopher W.V. Quine (himself, ironically, one among such modern public “skeptics”) neatly made the distinction:

It is important to distinguish between disbelief and nonbelief– between believing a sentence is false and merely not believing it true. Disbelief is a case of belief; to believe a sentence false is to believe the negation of the sentence true. We disbelieve that there are ghosts; we believe that there are none. Nonbelief is a state of suspended judgement; neither believing the sentence true nor believing it false. [The Web of Belief, W.V.O. Quine & J.S. Ullian, 1978, p12]

Of course, none of this is to suggest that disbelief is always in error or that there is not bunk that needs to be debunked. I only point out that disbelief should not be confused with skepticism and nonbelief. This confusion is far from a new problem, and James H. Hyslop — who would probably disagree with Quine about ghosts– noted the confusion when he wrote:

The average man today thinks he is a sceptic because he does not believe in a given allegation. The fact is that scepticism is not unbelief in the sense of denial nor in the sense of being opposed to a given belief, but it is critical ignorance.

Few men show this characteristic. They are too much ashamed of denying what they do not know something about. The public has gotten into the attitude of mind which it likes to call scepticism, but which is nothing more or less than dogmatism hiding under false colors. It thinks that belief is the only thing that can be biased and does not dream that denial can be biased, and in fact that the bias of denial is not only less justifiable but far worse than the bias of belief. It has not basis upon which to rest at all except belief.

But people have come to think that denial or doubt is the mark of intelligence, when in fact true scepticism is much nearer being a mark of ignorance. True scepticism means that we do not know, not that such a thing is not true. To know that a thing is not true is knowledge, not doubt, and hence is subject to bias. It is all the worse when it parades itself as a trustworthy student of truth and in fact is only trying to deny it.

The average mind assumes that belief disqualifies a man from studying a problem and that the only person who can investigate it is the man who does not believe anything about it. If the doubter has no opinions and is not biased by preconceptions of his own, and if he does not have an interest in an opposing theory, it is true that he may be better qualified than the believer to investigate, but the majority of those who parade as sceptics in the matter usually have some theory of their own to sustain against that which they claim not to believe, and hence are as much biased as the despised believer…. Open-mindedness is the only scepticism that can claim immunity from prejudice.

— “The Bias of Skepticism”, James H. Hyslop, Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 3 1909, pp 29-35

… In his now classic discussion of the normative structure of science, Robert K. Merton included organized skepticism along with universalism, communism and disinterestedness among the institutional imperatives of science (The Sociology of Science: Theoretical and Empirical Investigations, Robert K. Merton, 1973, p270). He referred to this as the “temporary suspension of judgement and the detached scrutiny of beliefs in terms of empirical and logical criteria,” and then pointed out that this practice “may come into conflict with other attitudes toward the same data which have been crystallized and often ritualized by other institutions” (Merton, p277).

I would suggest to you that this conflict also occurs between one part of the scientific community and another. As our scientific institutions have developed, this becomes an internal as well as an external problem. And as these institutions have become integrated into other institutions, vested interests and non-scientific concerns (such as the control of economic resources) develop. And I suggest that as science grows into so called “Big Science,” the norm of organized skepticism begins to conflict frequently with the norm of disinterestedness. This can lead to attempts by defenders of the majority of “orthodox” viewpoint to attempt to merely discredit rather than disprove competitive minority views (especially maverick claims), and this results in what Ray Wyman (1980) has pointed out is a form of “pathological science.”

As Thomas S. Kuhn (The Essential Tension: Selected Studies in Scientific Tradition and Change, 1977) has termed it, there is an “essential tension” within science since it must on the one hand preserve its accumulated knowledge by acting cautiously and conservatively while on the other hand remain an open system ready to take in new and potentially revolutionary data and concepts. This balance is maintained through a number of methodological prescriptions which make it difficult but not impossible for the claimant of an anomaly to obtain acceptance of the claim.

First, science places the burden of proof on the claimant. Second, the proof for a claim must in some sense be commensurate with the character of the claim. Thus, an extraordinary claim requires “extraordinary” (meaning stronger than usual) proof. This latter prescription seems related to the rule of parsimony in science that states that the simpler adequate explanation is the one to accept. {a variant of Occam’s Razor; see Wikipedia}

Now I would call your attention to the fact that these rather conservative rules for evidence of extraordinary claims mean that a claim that is inadequately supported results in a simple nonacceptance of the claim. Evidence is, then, a matter of degree, and not having enough results in a claimant’s not satisfying the burden of proof. It does not mean disconfirmation of the claim. The proof is insubstantial, and the claim is unaccepted rather than refuted. The claimant is, in effect, told either to give up or go back to find stronger evidence and arguments for a possible later day in the court of science.

Science can speak of the highly improbable; it can not properly speak of the impossible. But as a practical matter, the highly improbable is treated as though it were impossible. Working on a perpetual motion machine is almost certainly a waste of time, but once we deem it absolutely a waste of time, we close the door on such research and violate the equilibrium of the “essential tension” and disobey Peirce’s injunction by blocking inquiry. The scientist who works on a perpetual motion machine may be playing the longest shot of all, and he may be conducting stupid science, but it is not necessarily false or pseudoscience.

JC reflections

What a nice surprise to spot this essay on twitter on a Saturday morning.  This is the best article I’ve seen sorting out the uses and misuses of skepticism.

In context of the climate debate, many scientists and members of the public simply find that the claim for dangerous anthropogenic climate change is inadequately supported.  Further, the most objective skeptics of this claim are those that do not have their own theory to push.

The conflict between the norm of organized skepticism with disinterestedness is severe in the case of climate science. This can lead to attempts by defenders of the majority of “orthodox” viewpoint to attempt to merely discredit rather than disprove competitive minority views (especially maverick claims), and this results in a form of “pathological science.”

In the common parlance of the climate debate, it seems that ‘deniers’ are ‘disbelievers.’  Their disbelief is fueled the perception of pathological science that is fueled by political beliefs.

I have no idea how to untangle the mess that climate science has become, but scientists and institutions advocating for policies, without carefully describing the uncertainties and areas of ignorance, seems to be at the root of the problem.

 

401 responses to “On distinguishing disbelief and nonbelief

  1. Pingback: On distinguishing disbelief and nonbelief | Enjeux énergies et environnement

  2. For scientists who are not climate scientists, the problem is that there appears to be no adult peer review in climate science.

    They know stuff about things climate science uses and they know it’s being used carelessly.

    So they know that climate science doesn’t know that it claims to know.

    The right course of action is to ignore the whole thing. Someday maybe somebody will make a real science if climate science, but that’s not today.

    • Tend to disagree in part. It is still possible to falsify, or move from truer to dunno, many of the CAGW assertions. Steve McIntyre on paleoclimate is an example. That is also what Blowing Smoke was about.

    • David Wojick

      Your “no adult peer review” crack is not helpful. It suggests that you cannot give a coherent account of the situation so you must resort to insults. Also, your “climate science doesn’t know that it claims to know” is misstated because science is not a person. Science makes no claims to know, only scientists do that, and the claims vary widely from person to person.

      Climate science is basically focused on the world’s largest environmental impact analysis. We have been doing EIA’s for about 65 years and they are about as far from bench physics as you can get. It would be amusing to see a physicist try to do one. The system under study is intractably complex and the data always sparse at best. But it is still (adult) science.

      The other problem is that the situation is hopelessly politicized, as many EIA’s are. This is as much a policy analysis as physical science.

      • Curious George

        Did the Team redefine the peer review?

      • David Springer

        pedant

      • David: You make a good point, however, you fail to point out that EIA’s are not developed by research academics in peer reviewed literature. One problem is specialists research scientists thinking they are also expert in the broad aspects of engineering, applied science and economics in a policy environment. Then, when confronted, them employ stereotypical academic petty politics attacking peoples intelligence and discrediting scientists for standing outside the herd.

        Peer reviewed papers are necessarily brief and frequently lack supporting documentation. When they do have supporting documentation, the review does not involve a comprehensive error check of models and complex calculations. As ATTP points out*: “Auditing isn’t really part of the standard scientific method”. In other words, don’t look at the man behind the curtain. This arrogance smacks of the smoke filled room that runs a sausage factory.

        The other problem is that peer reviewed literature is unprofessional, ie: not subject to licensure, auditing and civil and/or criminal liability. If you are familiar with EIA’s, you know that these documents are subject to extensive public comment periods and stakeholder reviews.

        I read rhhardin’s “adult supervision” as shorthand for these points.

        * (Hat Tip to Richard Drake commenting at ClimateAudit)
        https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2016/01/09/what-a-surprise-not/

      • David Springer

        Good response, Horst. +1

        The problem with academic practitioners in soft sciences like climate is that the data is so unreliable they can easily pencil whip it to support desirable conclusions. There is no real empirical confirmation to serve as a check on this behavior. Results are pencil whipped to support whatever causes the most public angst which in turn results in more funding.

        I read “responsible adults” as those who are held responsible for being loose with the facts in such a way as it causes financial and physical harm to others. Stakeholders are more than just academics, environmentalist hangers-on, and empire-building politicians wanting greater control over private industry and personal choices.

        Academics are stereotypical spoiled children never held accountable for what they say and do. “Adult supervision” is a perfectly apt concise phrase for what is needed to correct the situation.

        +1

    • Your “no adult peer review” crack is not helpful. It suggests that you cannot give a coherent account of the situation so you must resort to insults.

      My two, from fields in my checkered career, are:

      1. You can’t solve the Navier Stokes equaltions. In 3D, flows go to shorter and shorter scales, so no grid resolution is adequate to represent the flow. You need the short flows however because they serve as a sort of ersatz viscosity that acts back on larger flows. Climate science substitutes a different equation, one that isn’t physics. Look for various knobs like “effective viscosity” used to tune the thing acting as a curve-fitter on past data. Not only isn’t it physics, it isn’t interesting. It doesn’t mean anything.

      2. You can’t distinguish what you want to distinguish, trends from long cycles, with data short compared to the cycle to be distinguished. The eigenvalues of the distinguishing matrix explode. Equivalently, the trend and the cycle have the same probability of producing the random process in your data window, so information doesn’t make it out of the window far enough to be used. Everybody but climate science seems to know this.

      Any paper that came to me with these mistakes would be bounced.

      This is just stuff that I know that happens to intersect with climate science. Other non-climate scientists will have other points of intersection.

      Think back to the early 70s JGR, when it wasn’t called climate science. Various odd papers would come up that came from curiosity. No field tied them together. They were just items of curiosity. That’s what it should look like today, if you wanted it to be science.

      • This is terrific nonsense. I wonder if it’s worth taking the trouble to explain why, given that most people who read it will already have their minds made up one way or the other.

      • This is terrific nonsense. I wonder if it’s worth taking the trouble to explain why

        Absolutely. Why is it nonsense?

      • I wonder if it’s worth taking the trouble to explain why, given that most people who read it will already have their minds made up one way or the other.

        Well, my mind’s pretty much made up that you don’t understand word one of how complex non-linear systems work. Despite your enormously valuable help in understanding the “greenhouse effectcontra the simplistic, and wrong, cartoons then being promulgated.

        But I try to keep an open mind, and if you can convince me without resorting to arm-waving, I’m open to it.

        Please start at the bottom of the thread with a high-level comment rather than nested here (or even provide a new lead post), so there’ll be plenty of levels for people to discuss.

        Oh, and if you use your fish-tank analogy, be prepared to defend it, on both scientific and semantic grounds.

  3. …but scientists and institutions advocating for policies, without carefully describing the uncertainties and areas of ignorance, seems to be at the root of the problem.

    Do you mean like:

    (1) writing Op-eds and testifying before Congress where scientist conflate “pauses” in “global warming,” with short-term leveling off of surface temperatures only in the context of longer term positive trends, and

    (2) not discussing the uncertainties associated with important components such as OHC, and

    (3) declaring mitigation to be damaging without quantifying (positive and) negative externalities or discussing the uncertainties of economic modeling?

  4. > Now I would call your attention to the fact that these rather conservative rules for evidence of extraordinary claims mean that a claim that is inadequately supported results in a simple nonacceptance of the claim.

    How an agnostic can know that a claim is extraordinary or inadequately supported is left as an exercise to the reader.

    The existence of the word “agnosticism” makes the Editor’s rebranding of scepticism moot at best.

    If memory serves me well, Pyrrhonism leads to a dead end, or at least a dull life. If not, there’s always Judy’s fallen angel:

    Nassim seems to rediscover courage, which is a precondition to all the virtues. Wisdom comes in all sizes and forms.

    • Willard,

      “The existence of the word “agnosticism” makes the Editor’s rebranding of scepticism moot at best.”

      That’s false on several levels. First, I’m not “rebranding” skepticism. Second, Curry quotes Marcello Truzzi, not me. Third, agnosticism in science and public policy is operationally identical to skepticism: requiring evidence/validation.

      Agnosticism: the view that the truth of certain claims, especially metaphysical or religious claims, are unknown or unknowable.

      Skepticism: a questioning attitude, or the belief that truths in some domains are unknowable.

      • > First, I’m not “rebranding” skepticism.

        Of course you do, Editor:

        In the New America we’re controlled by skillful propaganda. To regain our freedom we must develop greater skepticism.

        I have no idea why you’d contradict the first sentences of your lede, but please continue showing us how skepticism works.

        ***

        > Second, Curry quotes Marcello Truzzi, not me.

        First, she actually quotes you quoting Truzzi, including your own chopping, in a new kind of quote practice that reblogging might have reinforced.

        Second, Truzzi talks about zeticism for a reason, reason which his concept of “organized skepticism” should make obvious.

        ***

        > gnosticism in science and public policy is operationally identical to skepticism: requiring evidence/validation.

        I disagree. Agnosticism is mere suspension of belief, while all forms of scepticism imply a form of active doubt, which is not only related to belief, but to questioning. Merton was hinting at that concept, to be contrasted with the “organized skepticism” that we can see everyday in the contrarian network.

        If you want a technical word for agnosticism, look for epochè. It did not lead Husserl very far, but at least he could reconstruct Descartes somewhat properly.

        From an operational standpoint, anything that serves to hammer nails is a hammer.

      • I like to call myself a Gnostic, rather than an Agnostic.

        An Agnostic does not know, but a Gnostic knows. And I am certain in my unbelief.

        R

      • These posts that are mostly about semantic quibbling always bring little willy out of the woodwork. I will go with hillarity, on this one:

      • Don,

        Please explain why you consider this post to be about “semantic quibbling”.

        The extraordinary claims => extraordinary proofs standard of proof is widely considered a useful guide (like any standard, not everybody agrees).

        Also, what standard would you suggest be used instead to guide the public policy debate?

      • David Springer

        Shut up Willard. No one wants to hear it.

      • I suggest you go out into the street and see how many of the folks will be willing to stand around and discuss alleged distinctions between disbelief and non-belief. While you have their attention ask them if they are aware of the important difference between unconvinced and not convinced, disheveled and non-sheveled. You are off into the philosophical weeds. You’ll probably run into Mosher in there.

        The public policy debate is what it is. The ‘debate is over’ crowd has the upper hand. The extraordinary claims => extraordinary proofs standard is fine with me. Convince the climate scare fanatics. I don’t think they will listen.

        We need to elect people who are committed to open science and open debate. Everything open, except our borders. Go Trump!

      • Don,

        Thank you for the explanation. I somewhat agree, but we’re looking at this with different perspectives and different goals — so probably not worth discussing.

        “The public policy debate is what it is. The ‘debate is over’ crowd has the upper hand.”

        I agree with what you say, but have the opposite meaning to the words. The public policy debate in the US (and emerging nations is over) — for now; few things are every really over — with a clear victory for those opposing large-scale policy measures to fight climate change. Obama’s clean power plan is a tiny step for climate policy, largely justified on the standard policy goals of reducing pollutants (other than CO2) from the burning of coal.

        The odds of Congress approving stronger measures is small, even if the Democrats take control of the Senate, because public support is so small.

      • > I suggest you go out into the street and see how many of the folks will be willing to stand around and discuss alleged distinctions between disbelief and non-belief.

        Never misunderestimate the Editor’s operational powers, Don Don:

        [A]gnosticism in science and public policy is operationally identical to skepticism […]

        It would be incorrect to attribute to the Editor Truzzi’s, Quine’s, and Merton’s semantic quibbling. Disregard that the bunch seems quoted approvingly.

        Nevermind Judy’s title.

        ***

        Your suggestion is a good one, BTW:

        http://philosophycommons.typepad.com/xphi/

        You might be suprised where it leads.

      • Editor, I didn’t mean that the ‘debate is over crowd’ had won the debate. They obviously have not. You asked me about the standard. That they control. They run the scientific societies, the journals, the mass media, a gaggle of hysterical greenie NGOs, governments, the main bully pulpit and they make the rules for the discussion. It’s settled science and we are only going to talk about taking action that will allegedly save the planet. Still, they can’t get anything meaningful done.

      • Don,

        Thanks for the correction. I was discussing the public policy debate. I agree with you about the science debate!

      • Willard:”You might be surprised where it leads.”
        Chasing your tail until you end up with anal-cranial inversion.

      • David Springer

        “You’ll probably run into Mosher in there.”

        Good one.

      • Editor,

        The fact that the scientific “learned” societies all opine that the science is basically settled has tremendous influence on passes for a policy debate. I watched Democratic Senators through this out repeatedly during the last Senate hearings that Judith testified at. My own moronic senator from New Mexico, Tom Udall, repeated this several times. He uses it every time he supposedly responds to my emails jabbing him for his positions.

        Since most, if not all, of the policy makers don’t have the time, desire or skills to understand the science they will revert to what the societies tell them. Therefore as long as these societies, and the journals they control, are committed to the CAGW meme there is virtually no chance of having a meaningful policy debate.

      • You are a stubborn Editor. They have framed the public policy debate with the same frame. Settled science. Debate over. We have to get on with the drastic mitigation schemes, or we are going to burn up. Polar bears. Penguins. The kids. Yatta yatta yatta. Try to sneak a dissenting word in somewhere. Newspapers have closed comments to deniers. They took Judith’s chair, fer chrissake. Trump will get it back for her. He’ll get her a bigger chair. Maybe make her head of the EPA.

      • Don,

        I agree on all points. Which is why I am astonished at their failure to gain support from a majority of Americans for massive policy efforts to fight climate change.

        There are many reasons. Inevitable opposition by fossil fuel interests and conservatives played a significant role, although these have been exaggerated into boogeyman (look at climate-related websites: which side has the professionally design and pro writers?)

        I believe strategic and tactical errors — “own goals” — played a large role.

        Once the dust settles and it becomes boring history, there will be fascinating marketing studies done of our time.

      • I posted this several hours ago and have been in moderation, probably because of the adjective I used to describe my senator.

        Editor,

        The fact that the scientific “learned” societies all opine that the science is basically settled has tremendous influence on what passes for a policy debate. I watched Democratic Senators throw this out repeatedly during the last Senate hearings that Judith testified at. My own mo–nic senator from New Mexico, Tom Udall, repeated this several times. He uses it every time he supposedly responds to my emails jabbing him for his positions.

        Since most, if not all, of the policy makers don’t have the time, desire or skills to understand the science they will revert to what the societies tell them. Therefore as long as these societies, and the journals they control, are committed to the CAGW meme there is virtually no chance of having a meaningful policy debate.

      • Mark,

        I agree on all points. As I said above to Don, these things make their failure to gain public support for large-scale public policy action quite astonishing.

      • Congress isn’t representative of the majority of Americans. More than half the Republican voters want a emissions reductions and coal policies, but that translates to 0% of Republicans in Congress for reasons that only they know for sure. The Democratic side is more representative of their voters on this issue.

      • You are in deenial, yimmy dee. Climate change is about the last issue the folks have on their minds when they vote. You are not doing the cause any good with your incessant preaching. It’s not even funny anymore.

      • Editor,

        It is indeed astonishing that they have been unable to enact even more destructive policies given the almost unanimous complicity of the elites.

        The lack of accountability of the societies is likewise pretty astonishing. Marcia McNutt being crowned as head of the Academy of Science, Kooning giving up on bringing sanity to APS. A few like Giaever and Lewis have resigned, some others complain but do nothing. Pretty sad if you ask me. Whatever happened to Judith’s thread of APS members letters of protest?

      • Mark,

        It is, as Kuhn described, the logical operation of a paradigm coordinating the community of scientists. It gives science — as an institution — much of its power. Like all social dynamics, sometimes it makes mistakes.

        Science is self-correcting. Hence my concern is with the public policy debate. We are poorly prepared, to give one example, for the repeat of much past weather. The gridlock prevents us for taking action. The cost of inaction might be high (e.g., from a major hurricane hitting an East coast city).

      • David Springer

        Write this down all of you who are mystified why America is not in a panic about so-called climate change.

        The reason congress isn’t acting is CLIMATE CHANGE IS NOT A VITAL ISSUE to their constituents. It’s an issue. They know how their constituents stand on it. But the thing of it is that spending on climate change can be off indefinitely while action is taken on problems that more people care more about. Climate change gets paid in cost-free lip service. When it comes to how the people’s hard-earned tax dollars get spent there are far more pressing concerns. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. The following list of issues is ordered by how much squeaking there is about each. Read it. Heed it. It explains all.

      • Editor,

        What leads you to believe that science is self correcting in this day and age. Scientists are trained at universities by progressive professors funded by government agencies managed by progressives appointed by progressive politicians. Most jobs (certainly in climate related science) are university or government jobs. It’s a closed loop.

        I just don’t see it self correcting. Where is Generalissimo Mosomoso when we need him to lead the revolution?

      • Mark,

        That is a valid question. My confidence that science is self-correcting comes from history. The history of science is a march of folly, yet somehow over time it advances.

        Stephen Jay Gould’s books document this well.

        More recently. Barry Marshall discovered the infectious agent causing many forms of ulcers — allowing easy effective treatment. Despite his conclusive evidence, he was reviled for decades (he ruined a profitable rice bowl for healthcare) — but received the Nobel in 2005.

      • Editor,

        I hope you are right.

        Thanks for the pointer to Stephen Jay Gould!

      • David Springer

        Stephen J. Gould was most famous for the Punctuated Equlibrium hypothesis in the “science” of evolution often called punk-eek for short. He was perhaps the greatest paleontologist of the 20th century and dared to expose the fact that the fossil record doesn’t support the theory of gradual evolution of life over deep time. Gould wrote:

        “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils.”

        “Paleontologists have paid an exorbitant price for Darwin’s argument. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life’s history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study.”

        “But our ways of learning about the world are strongly influenced by the social preconceptions and biased modes of thinking that each scientist must apply to any problem. The stereotype of a fully rational and objective ‘scientific method,’ with individual scientists as logical (and interchangeable) robots, is self-serving mythology.”

        The parallels between evolutionary science and climate science are legion. Soft science, bad data, motivated reasoning by progressives hostile to the religious right and conservatives in general, censorship, hand-waving, and the inevitable pseudo-scientific dogma supported not by demonstration but by consensus. Spare me. Post-modern science as exemplified in these two fields is nauseating.

      • David Springer,

        “Stephen J. Gould was most famous for the Punctuated Equlibrium hypothesis.”

        That is false. He’s most famous for his ~18 books about the history of science. Millions have read those. i doubt a fraction of that number know that he was a scientists, only some of those know in what field, and only some of those know about his theory of p-e.

        “Spare me. Post-modern science as exemplified in these two fields is nauseating.”

        Perhaps so, but that’s irrelevant to what I said. I referred to Gould as a popular historian of science: “Stephen Jay Gould’s books document this well.”

      • More recently. Barry Marshall discovered the infectious agent causing many forms of ulcers — allowing easy effective treatment. Despite his conclusive evidence, he was reviled for decades (he ruined a profitable rice bowl for healthcare) — but received the Nobel in 2005. – eitdor

        Basically what will be the history of James E. Hansen. Thanks for writing the rough draft.

      • JCH,

        I agree. If we do get extreme climate shifts then Hansen will deserve a Nobel — and get it if he is still alive (he is 74 years old).

  5. Something that I’ve noticed (along with many others) about science over the last few decades is that it’s becoming far more integrated, with research in one field having much more frequent implications in other fields. This means that “conservative rules for evidence” can vary between fields, and research that meets those rules in one field can have implications that practitioners in another field find insufficient.

    An important example would involve the behavior of complex non-linear systems. In fields where such systems are studied, AFAIK, internal unforced variation on many scales is so common that it could should be considered the default.

    OTOH many practitioners of Climate Science, based in a tradition of linear assumptions going back to Arrhenius, etc., insist that climate should be considered “stable” in the absence of external “forcing” unless and until somebody’s proven otherwise.

    The progressive integration among various fields of science has led, then, to real conflicts of scientfic values WRT “conservative rules for evidence”.

    And the political implications just tend to confuse the issue further.

    • Well, one of the big issues in the climate science field is that is that “conservative rules for evidence” should apply to eco/liberal/regressives and not just conservatives.

      We have solid evidence that more CO2 is making the planet better, and roughly 60% more growth, on less water is by any definition better. Given that greenhouses have used 1200-1500 PPM of CO2 for over 35 years there is no doubt CO2 increases plant growth.

      The warmists should have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they are right before we endanger future food supplies.
      1. They have to prove strong forcing.(current empirical evidence is forcing is below their low end estimate).
      2. They have to prove high levels of CO2 on the current emissions track. No luck there since common supply based estimates predict 460 PPM peak CO2 not 940 PPM.
      3. They have to prove more warmth (at least within the range of the data from 1&2) is bad. Given the Eemian was roughly 3 °C warmer I wish them luck with that.

      They might be right – but the warmists have done little or nothing to support their case besides show that CO2 at least has some effect that we can measure.

  6. Professor Curry goes to the heart of the public policy debate: “The conflict between the norm of organized skepticism with disinterestedness is severe in the case of climate science. This can lead to attempts by defenders of the majority of “orthodox” viewpoint to attempt to merely discredit rather than disprove competitive minority views…”

    I believe “delegitimization” is a more precise and applicable term than “discredit”. It was a logical strategy for a policy initiative supported by so many powerful institutions, but failed due to its inherent conflict with the norms of science and the public’s expectations for scientists warning of an existential threat.

    The other consequence of this strategy was little attention to the standards of proof required for a public policy issue for which the solutions range from trillions of dollars to revising our economic system. There is a large literature on such things, which climate scientists have mostly ignored. How can the current climate theory be tested — and possibly falsified? What specific outcomes would falsify its predictions? If correct do these predictions provide sufficient proof (e.g., are they what Karl Popper called “risky predictions”)?

    These issues probably play a large role explaining the lack of global public policy action to deal with climate change, despite the massive effort expended during the past 27 years (from Hansen’s famous Senate testimony).

  7. Judith Curry:

    ”I have no idea how to untangle the mess that climate science has become, but scientists and institutions advocating for policies, without carefully describing the uncertainties and areas of ignorance, seems to be at the root of the problem.”

    I regard this debate as very useful, since it opens different potential views on climate to be scrutinised by everyone oneself. However, the task is difficult, not only because of different views available, but even because of differences on both empiric and disciplinary backgrounds of debaters. Climate change is wicked as you say. My question is, can we make it be simple enough that one can focus only on solving the most essential part of the climate change?

    UN politicians, who seem one-sidedly to believe in climate warming assumed to be caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions, have tried to solve this problem by setting up the international panel on climate change IPCC in order to explain scientific background of the believed anthropogenic warming. However, IPCC has not managed to prove that the recent climate warming would have been caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions: there is no empiric evidence according to which the recent warming could have been caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions; and the climate warmings simulated by climate models, adopted by IPCC, remain only futile hypotheses without any verification in reality.

    Instead there are lot of evidences against the assumed domination of anthropogenic emissions on the recent warming of climate as I have already for instance in my comment https://judithcurry.com/2015/12/27/year-in-review-top-science-stories/#comment-754581 stated:

    ” – – –

    1. There is known only natural global warming

    2. Historically increasing trends of CO2 content in atmosphere have always followed warming and not vice versa.

    3. During the recent nearly two decades the climate temperature has not increased even though the CO2 content in atmosphere has mildly accelerating increased.

    4. All CO2 emissions from sources to atmosphere and all CO2 absorptions from atmosphere to sinks together determine the CO2 content in atmosphere. Recently CO2 content in atmosphere has increased about 2 ppm a year. The anthropogenic share in this total increase is only about 4 % i.e. minimal, which means that anthropogenic CO2 emissions do not dominate the increase of CO2 content in atmosphere.”

    • You are four for four,

      Or all wrong

      You need to research #2 because you haven’t yet found examples of CO2 rising before temperature, although there are several examples in the literature.

      #3 is wrong as well, the climate has warmed in the last two decades, the pause is seriously busted, if it ever was a valid argument. It wasn’t.

      For number 4, it’s us burning fossil fuels, due to the isotope changes that are observed as well as the drop in O2 concentration. Number 1 follows from these facts.

      • BD, on number 2 you must not read the literature skepically. The Shakun statistical mess, and several other likeminded papers, were shredded in essay Cause and Effect. Papers in Nature and Science that should never have gotten through peer review.
        On number 3, not in the satellite records. Only in Karlized surface records. And you overlook the more important point that whether Karlized or not, the models are running seriously hot compared to observation, , so are seriously deficient.
        And on number 1, it is probably incorrect to say there is only natural warming. Dunno. But it is almost certainly false to say there was no natural warming in the 1975-2000 period.

      • David Springer

        Bob, we all know you drank the cool-aid. Lauri was right on all counts. Your hand waving doesn’t change that.

      • David Springer

        Bob, we know you drank the cool-aid. Lauri was right on all counts. Your hand waving doesn’t change that.

      • “…due to the isotope changes that are observed…”

        Well, I know Salby is regularly dismissed, however one point he makes is I feel quite valid – the isotope data doesn’t actually show what you claim. You are claiming (I won’t distinguish between “you claiming” and “you citing claims”) that it’s the changing source of the isotopes, but when you look at the residuals, the opposite appears to be true – the residuals show variance more closely matched by sinks than sources. I don’t know what this means – anyone care to explain this apparent discrepancy?

      • ristvan, you really need to keep up, not all surface records are Karlized.

        It is about pause enthusiasts failing to recognize that their analysis fails to reject both the hypothesis that warming is continuing and the null hypothesis that warming has stopped. The ref can’t make the call.

        You only get a pause if you pick a small subset of starting points in your analysis, we call that cherry picking.

        And current GISS numbers look smack dab in the middle of the spaghetti graphs, just have to wait for the lag in satellite figures, but we just had three consecutive warmest months ever from that source that still won’t reveal their method and codes. Isn’t that one of your skeptical holy grails?

        Kneel63, what about the drop in O2 concentration indicating the large amount of fossil fuels being burnt.

        And in fact the amount of CO2 rise correlates very well with the amount we have burned.

  8. “The scientist who works on a perpetual motion machine may be playing the longest shot of all, and he may be conducting stupid science, but it is not necessarily false or pseudoscience.”

    This was clearly written by a nonscientist, unacquainted with energy, entropy, and the laws of thermodynamics. Yes it IS “necessarily false” and yes it IS pseudoscience, and “closing the door on such research” is not “blocking inquiry” , it is directing us away from wasting our time.

    • This was clearly written by a nonscientist, unacquainted with energy, entropy, and the laws of thermodynamics.

      Those “laws of thermodynamics” are in fact just theories. Theories that haven’t been observed to be wrong, but could easily be limited, special, cases of how reality works, just as Newton’s “laws of motion” turned out (apparently) to be.

      Yes it IS “necessarily false” and yes it IS pseudoscience, and “closing the door on such research” is not “blocking inquiry” , it is directing us away from wasting our time.

      Anybody who could write the above is the realnonscientist”.

      • AK, I beg to differ. Familiarize yourself with the consequences of Emily Noether’s famous 1915 theorem. Mathematically shuts the door on perpetual motion—unless you believe the laws of physics are not the same everywhere in this universe. The theorem is inapplicable to multiverses.
        You can read about this and some less than amusing modern such energy schemes in the Details chapter of The Arts of Truth.

      • Curious George

        An excerpt from a lab notebook of a “scientist” working on a perpetual motion machine:

        Monday. Water does not flow uphill. Adjusted valve #1.
        Tuesday: Water does not flow uphill. Maybe tomorrow.
        Wednesday: Water does not flow uphill. Changed the profile of the pipe.
        Thursday: Water does not flow uphill.

        Is he a pseudo-scientist? As long as he reports true observed phenomena, he is a scientist – probably not spending his time wisely. To become a pseudo-scientist, he must report incorrectly.

      • Curious George

        Arch,thanks. “The experiment would require major resources.”

      • Familiarize yourself with the consequences of Emily Noether’s famous 1915 theorem. Mathematically shuts the door on perpetual motion—unless you believe the laws of physics are not the same everywhere in this universe.

        Rud, I once defined science as a massive effort to rationalize observations with the belief that the (behavior of the) universe can be described by a set of invariant, predictive “laws”.

        Quoting from Wiki:

        As another example, if a physical process exhibits the same outcomes regardless of place or time, then its Lagrangian is symmetric under continuous translations in space and time: by Noether’s theorem, these symmetries account for the conservation laws of linear momentum and energy within this system, respectively.

        Leaving aside the 2nd law, which doesn’t seem applicable to Noether’s (first) theorem but is involved in “prohibiting” perpetual motion machines of the 2nd type, the issue is in defining “physical process” and “the same outcomes”.

        For instance (to use a transparent example), releasing a heavy object at one time causes it to accelerate towards the center of the Earth. Releasing the same object at the same place (according to galactic coordinates) a few hours later causes it to essentially drift, with perhaps a tiny acceleration towards the Sun, which is much farther away.

        It’s only be narrowly defining place, time, and conditions, in terms of moving heavy objects, etc., that the behavior can be described as “the same outcomes”.

        Now, suppose the behavior we call “conservation of energy” is actually the result of simplifying a much more complex behavior in terms of influences that are not observed in our part of the universe. And suppose those influences do not show a “Lagrangian [that] is symmetric under continuous translations in space and time”.

        In that case, “the conservation laws of linear momentum and energy” turn out to be a local condition, subject to change under certain conditions.

        Obviously, since nobody has reported, in a reliable and scientific context, such altered conditions, the notion that they exist becomes an extraordinary claim, requiring extraordinary evidence. But looking for that evidence, as long as it’s done within the evidential constraints of science, does not constitute “pseudoscience”.

      • David Springer

        @AK

        The laws of thermodynamics aren’t theories. They’re laws or sometimes referred to as axioms or first principles. If they were theory they would be call the theories of thermodynamics!

        http://www.differencebetween.net/science/difference-between-axiom-and-theorem/

        http://www.differencebetween.net/science/difference-between-scientific-laws-and-scientific-theories/

        These are critical distinctions. Theories are derived from first principles. First principles have no derivation hence the qualifier “first” in the name.

      • @David Springer…

        The theories are that the so-called “laws” actually apply to the real universe.

    • David L. Hagen

      2nd law vs New physics
      Usually its backyard inventors working on “perpetual motion machines” not “scientists” familiar with the laws of thermodynamics. Because of the first and second laws of thermodynamics, the US Patent office requires experimental proof of a “perpetual motion machine”.
      The challenge comes when new physics is discovered that is deemed “impossible” by orthodox physics. e.g., the current developments in Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR).
      Such reactions are not just “perpetual motion machines”, but strongly energy “producing” machines, where nuclear reactions apparently release more heat than the electricity input. e.g. 3 to 80 times or more.
      The USPTO had adamantly refused to grant LENR patents, appealing to US Dept. of Energy reviews that “cold fusion” was contrary to known physics and the experiments were invalid. The USPTO and other patent offices are now allowing LENR patents (at least when they make no mention of “cold fusion” or “lenr”).

    • David Springer

      Not possible under classical physics. Instantaneous movement from point A to point B was once thought impossible too. Not so.

      http://phys.org/news/2015-05-physicists-quantum-tunneling-mystery.html

      Never say never.

      • Sorry David, this is getting of topic, but you misunderstand what quantum tunneling means. It does not imply instantaneous movement from point A to point B, which is still pretty much known to be impossible.

      • For a change I’m on Springer’s side. My honours physics thesis in 1966 at Sydney University was on tunnel diodes, which Japanese physicist Leo Esaki had invented 9 years earlier. My two oral examiners were Bob May and the late Chris Wallace.

        At one point in my presentation to them, my account of tunnel diodes had assumed that tunnelling was instantaneous. Chris stopped me at that point to ask, given the finite speed of light, how that could possibly be.

        Since the junction width of tunnel diodes was on the order of 10 nm, which light could traverse in 3.3 femtoseconds or one cycle of a 300 gigahertz oscillation, I was stumped. To contradict Einstein on the speed of light would of course be heresy. But as a ham radio operator myself (VK2AUA) with no experience beyond 144 megahertz, I didn’t feel comfortable conjecturing about what could happen at 2000 times that frequency.

        I’m therefore somewhat chuffed that half a century later Chris’s question at my oral exam is still up for grabs, and (perhaps more importantly) that David Springer didn’t directly contradict me.

      • David Springer

        @tyy

        I didn’t say tunneling implies instantaneous transport. I deduced it from first principles in quantum mechanics. Specifically there being no defined time-lapse in wave-particle duality. A particle either does or does not behave as a wave or particle in any particular situation with no transition time between the two. An international team of scientists doing experimental work in ultra-fast physics found both empirical and mathematical support for the deduction. I believe it is you who doesn’t understand quantum tunneling. Read the article again. Harder this time.

        http://phys.org/news/2015-05-physicists-quantum-tunneling-mystery.html

      • David Springer

        @Pratt

        Finding ourselves not in disagreement over this has a probability not unlike that of our low entropy universe just popping into existence in a single quantum fluctuation 14 billion years ago.

        Odder things may have happened but we’d be hard pressed to find an example.

      • David Springer

        Speaking of the 1960’s, by the way, I was not ten years old in the early 1960’s and had by that time already tentatively concluded, from what I knew of quantum mechanics, that our universe was the result of a quantum fluctuation. My thinking then (and now) is that in most time frames this would be an exceedingly low probability event but in an infinite time frame it’s an infinitely high probability event. In the complete absence of matter and energy time means nothing; it is undefined and its passage is immeasurable.

        According to the physicists who concluded that quantum tunneling is instantaneous the time it takes is not undefined (like division by zero) but is rather an imaginary number. I need to ponder on the difference between imaginary numbers and infinity a bit more. I’ve never really considered the two in contrast before.

      • David Springer

        further @Pratt

        After reflecting long enough to eat a breakfast burrito the rebuttal to Wallace would be that the speed of light is a classical law but in the quantum universe there is a small but finite probability of it being broken. The probability increases as mass and distance decreases such that when we get to the mass of a single electron and a distance of a few nanometers the probability has increased to the point where we can observe it happening and employ it in practical application.

      • David Springer

        @Pratt

        Even more support and perhaps a better rebuttal for Wallace at the time:

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

        John Wheeler in 1955 described the quantum foam where on small scales other axiomatic laws of physics are broken with regularity. In the case of quantum foam conservation of energy is broken. If conservation can be broken why not speed of light?

        Not that I’d have necessarily reacted differently than you and bit my tongue as well. Discretion is the better part of valor. But I’d have given him a piece of my mind after getting the passing grade. Institutional learning is like that. You have to provide answers that comport with the beliefs of the test givers despite any doubts you may harbor about its veracity.

      • @spooky-action-at-a-distance. There may still be loopholes but it is narrowing. Alain Aspect gives a very nice discussion of recent experiments i at

        http://physics.aps.org/articles/v8/123

        The real fun comes in at the end when he brings up the “free-will” loophole. It links a bit to work exploiting the hologoraphic principle.

      • Aaggh. Where is spellcheck when it is really needed.

      • Currently Spellcheck, is located on Hollow Deck Two.

      • David L. Hagen

        Springer
        Fascinating trying to explore/understand the limits/possibilities of classical vs quantum mechanics.
        Yet even if we granted “low entropy universe just popping into existence”, neither the 4 forces (EM, strong, weak, & gravity), nor quantum mechanics explain the origin of information such as DNA and the origin of life. See Werner Gitt on five levels of information in “In the Beginning was Information”

      • Actually, tunneling occurs when a virtual electron-positron pair is created on the “empty” side of the potential barrier and the positron, attracted to the electron, crossed the barrier and annihilates the electron, leaving the electron from the pair behind. The photon then crosses the barrier to be absorbed by the lone electron.

      • How do you describe love, Jim D?

      • I think that is the think checker you were looking for.

      • I am sorry for my mistake, jim2.

      • Dualities are like that.

      • Newton’s health, and confusion to mathematics.

      • David Springer

        fahutex

        Thanks for the link: http://physics.aps.org/articles/v8/123

        I hadn’t read anything relavent to Bell’s Theorum in at least several years. That’s a large step forward in experimental confirmation of Bohr v. Einstein.

  9. Inadequately supported (claim) results in non acceptance of the claim.

    In a politican’s mind there can be settled science. In the lay public’s mind, disinterest prevails.

    In scientists minds the knowledge of science and the topic describes their level of acceptance.

    What has happened is the climate scientists have strayed from what they know. This leaves the quasi observer wondering whom to believe.

    Not a very happy place.

  10. Whether “skeptics” want to classify themselves as nonbelievers or disbelievers the Hyslop article has no good things to say about these groups. For nonbelievers “But people have come to think that denial or doubt is the mark of intelligence, when in fact true scepticism is much nearer being a mark of ignorance. ”
    For disbelievers “it is nothing more or less than dogmatism hiding under false colors.” Read the Hyslop excerpt. It is very direct.

    • But Hyslop is not talking about climate skeptics, quite the contrary.

      • You can try to untangle climate skeptics from his skeptics. I don’t see a distinction.

      • David Wojick

        The post here begins with this: “But when we look at those who trumpet that they are skeptics towards claims of anomalies, we find disbelievers and debunkers rather than those who express uncertainty or doubt.”

        The key concept here is anomaly, which was introduced by Kuhn in 1962. Anomalies are doubts raised about a core scientific position (or paradigm) toward the end of its life. The sentence refers to “skeptics towards claims of anomalies”. In the climate case the climate skeptics are the ones making the claims of anomalies in AGW. It is the AGW defenders who are the skeptics toward the claims of anomalies (made by the climate skeptics). Note that these defenders frequently claim to debunk the climate skeptics (not that they actually do so).

        The problem here is that this essay is highly technical philosophically. If one does not have philosophical training it is easy to misunderstand the technical language.

      • DW, not a philospher, but a big fan of Kuhn’s book. By anomaly he meant an observation that did not fit the prevailing scientific paradigm. One might be a fluke, or a bad observation. It was the accumularion of anomalous observations that shows the prevailing paradigm is flawed or incomplete. Which leads to the scientific revolution that introduces a new or modified paradigm.

      • ristvan,

        “Which leads to the scientific revolution that introduces a new or modified paradigm.”

        Kuhn said that scientific theories can be replaced, not disproven. That is the accumulation of anomalies is somewhat irrelevant to the development of a new paradigm.

        We see that in climate science. Lots of anomalies, which scientists (rightly, per Kuhn) ignore — but a replacement paradigm has not appeared. There are many theories which might evolve to become alt paradigms (Kuhn is vague on the difference between individual theories an a paradigm) – but none yet.

        This is why it is appropriate that the public policy debate move on a separate (but related) track. Different stakes, different standards, different players, different time horizons.

      • Kuhn said that scientific theories can be replaced, not disproven.

        This is something of a semantic quibble. As “anomalies” accumulate, and especially multiple replications of serious anomalies, it becomes more and more accepted that the “theory” is false, at least in important detail.

        We see that in climate science. Lots of anomalies, which scientists (rightly, per Kuhn) ignore — but a replacement paradigm has not appeared.

        The “replacement paradigm” is already there, in another field.

        The problem is that it currently doesn’t offer enough predictability to be of any use.

        There are many theories which might evolve to become alt paradigms […]

        The paradigm is the general idea that the mathematics of complex non-linear systems can be used to describe the behavior of the climate system. There are many theories (e.g. Stadium Wave) regarding what kind of phenomena can be defined and plugged into the paradigm, and how. Once a system of symbolic representation is developed that can be used predictively, the paradigm will likely be accepted in place of the current one.

        […] (Kuhn is vague on the difference between individual theories an a paradigm)

        I disagree. You are vague on what he means by “the difference between individual theories an[d] a paradigm”. His description seem quite precise to me.

        This is why it is appropriate that the public policy debate move on a separate (but related) track.

        One reason why. Another would be the various other risks associated with digging up massive amounts of fossil carbon and dumping it into the system besides those mediated by climate change.

      • AK,

        “As “anomalies” accumulate, and especially multiple replications of serious anomalies, it becomes more and more accepted that the “theory” is false, at least in important detail.”

        Yes, but — as I said — Kuhn clearly states that the accumulation of anomalies does not overthrow a paradigm. Only a new one can do that, and can do so even without massive anomalies in the old one.

        “The “replacement paradigm” is already there, in another field. The problem is that it currently doesn’t offer enough predictability to be of any use.”

        Then it is not yet suitable to be a replacement paradigm, as it is not operationally useful for scientists in that field.

        “You are vague on what he means by “the difference between individual theories an[d] a paradigm”. His description seem quite precise to me.”

        I wasn’t clear. Kuhn’s description does not allow us to a priori identify a replacement paradigm. It allows us to clearly see that a replacement has occurred in the past.

      • @Editor…

        Yes, but — as I said — Kuhn clearly states that the accumulation of anomalies does not overthrow a paradigm. Only a new one can do that, and can do so even without massive anomalies in the old one.

        I was responding to your statement that “Kuhn said that scientific theories can be replaced, not disproven.” One of his examples (Special Relativity) involves a prior paradigm that was essentially disproven, although “disproof” is an analog, not binary, condition. Real scientists assume their working models are false, it’s just a matter of how likely, and relevant, the falsity is to their specific research.

        You’re right that “accumulation of anomalies”isn’t necessary in his model, as the replacement of Ptolemaic astronomy (cycles and epicycles) demonstrates. (Another of Kuhn’s examples.) Clumsiness vs. elegance is also an important criterion.

        The “replacement paradigm” is already there, in another field. The problem is that it currently doesn’t offer enough predictability to be of any use.

        Then it is not yet suitable to be a replacement paradigm, as it is not operationally useful for scientists in that field.

        Well, I suppose that would depend on each scientist’s use. Anastasios Tsonis seems to do OK, IMO.

        I wasn’t clear. Kuhn’s description does not allow us to a priori identify a replacement paradigm. It allows us to clearly see that a replacement has occurred in the past.

        Well, I guess I mixed opinion and accepted fact without distinguishing. Obviously, IMO “[t]he “replacement paradigm” is already there, in another field.

    • stevenreincarnated

      Jim D, are you a disbeliever or a nonbeliever that natural variation caused most of the warming since 1950?

      • The evidence says very likely most is CO2, so that is where the science stands on this. It is the “skeptics” who are divided into the disbelief and nonbelief camps, and most fail to realize which one they are until they read these types of articles, and even then they are not sure.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Since you said very likely instead of without doubt, you must be admitting to a certain level of ignorance. Ignorance isn’t always an insult.

      • I also think it is very likely more than 100% because there is still an imbalance, but people who are still not sure which side of 50% it is are appealing to a higher level of ignorance than is merited by the evidence.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Yes, I know you do. You are a skeptic from the other side of the spectrum.

      • When you have the evidence on your side, you are not a skeptic. The skeptics are skeptics of the evidence. There is no evidence for < 50% attribution, so it makes sense not to believe in it, just like you may not believe in unicorns. Is everyone a unicorn skeptic, or is that an unhelpful stretch in the definition?

      • stevenreincarnated

        You said greater than 100%. Go look for yourself.

      • Positive imbalance = greater than 100%. It follows. The climate scientists who are aware of the imbalance estimates from measurements know this, and this is why there are a lot of them in that category in polls.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Jim, it only follows because you say it follows. As far as I’m concerned the evidence clearly shows that the majority of the warming was from a change in ocean heat transport. So can I now state that my position isn’t skeptical because it happens to be what I think is most likely? Wear your skeptical badge proudly. You have earned it. Or perhaps you can show in some way your position isn’t a skeptical position? I mean besides because you said so of course.

      • Little yimmy skips over the skeptical stage and goes straight to disbeliever, on any evidence that contradicts the AGW dogma. He has never and will never admit to any possibility that the dogma has any flaws or even small blemishes. That is why serious discussion with the little rascal is a complete waste of time. Unless you are just trying to expose his ironclad bias. But that has been done so many times it could also be said to be a yuuuge waste of time.

      • steven, if there is any evidence that natural variation exceeds GHG forcing since 1950, it is well hidden and not published even on this blog. You can believe in it, but it is in the unicorns category for me because I just have not seen it. You cannot blame me for not believing in something I have not seen any evidence for at all. The observations point to warming in the pipeline, i.e. positive imbalance, i.e. > 100% from GHGs.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Jim, your lack of a response to my point indicates you have accepted the fact that you also are a skeptic. Welcome to the club.

        Don, I understand that. I find it amusing and often find myself humming The Sidestep song from Best Little WH in Texas as I read Jim’s responses. I wonder if he laughs as much as he types as I do when I read what he’s typed.

      • steven, like I said, a person can’t be a skeptic unless there is specific evidence being cited. You are not going to show evidence of < 50% because there isn't any, so it is a pause on this issue until you can find some. However, if you manage to find something specific that you are not skeptical of yourself, then I will tell you whether I am skeptical of it.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Jim you say I am a skeptic and I say I am a skeptic. We aren’t disagreeing about me. We are disagreeing about you. Now since you have gone to look at the polls of which I was already aware you may either agree with me that you are a skeptic or use the data to show why you aren’t. Just reiterating over and over that you aren’t a skeptic because I am doesn’t properly respond to the issue. We can both be skeptics and I say we are. I can also support my argument that you say has no evidence but changing the subject to that isn’t going to be as amusing as this conversation is.

      • steven, skeptical of what exactly? If you are going to say the 100%. In the absence of evidence, I tend towards skeptical. Some people like you just believe < 50% in the absence of evidence, but that is not a scientific way of thinking, more religious, let's say.

      • The first 100% should have read less than 50%.

      • In fact several words were missing after the less than symbol , but you get the drift.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Jim, how could you check support for your position in the polls if you didn’t even know what position we were talking about? (cue sidestep music)

      • There are polls of climate scientists, and the median position turns out to be very likely mostly anthropogenic, if that is what you are asking about.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Jim, I was asking you to support your notion that your position isn’t a skeptical one but it seems you can’t remember what your position is despite it being written above where you claim >100%. Looks like neither of us are skeptics since my position that it is likely <50% is strongly supported by the majority thinking it is less than 100% (using the current form of Jim D logic).

      • The point I am trying to make is skepticism is relative to some evidence. You have no evidence of your view, and therefore I can’t be skeptical of it. See point about unicorns. I tend to deny things that have no evidence, and that is a more normal default position. Are you skeptical of unicorns?

      • stevenreincarnated

        Jim, you are starting a new conversation but ok, since you refuse to engage in the last one:

        Besides literature showing that observations indicate ocean warming caused land warming, literature indicating that you had to have a change in ocean heat transport to get the warming pattern observed, literature showing that all the observations are consistent with a change in ocean heat transport, and models that indicate the change in ocean heat transport could have caused all the warming since 1750, what evidence are you looking for?

      • The land is warming twice as fast as the ocean, and has been for 30 years, and the Arctic even faster. Cause and effect do not fit your assertion. The ocean is significantly and measurably net warming globally, which it can’t do unless it is driven by something that has a forcing. We know what that forcing is, don’t we? The forcing quantitatively accounts for the warming seen, and there is no mystery about that either. I really don’t know how you can hold on to your view in the light of actual numerical facts and physics.

      • stevenreincarnated

        My assertion, Jim? You have forgotten the literature you were shown? You have forgotten my request that you supply literature showing they are wrong? Have you considered eating more fish?

      • Even the literature you showed did not counter that forcing is the main warming mechanism globally. It’s your interpretation that is awry.

      • stevenreincarnated

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

        .” 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.”

        So everything from snowball earth to an ice free earth with today’s forcings. I do believe that qualifies ocean heat transport as the climate control knob.

      • So you are invoking continental drift for the 1 C warming since pre-industrial, or is there a more obvious cause that comes to mind?

      • stevenreincarnated

        You think that continental drift caused the measured drop in the AMOC over the last decade or so? That’s interesting. What gives you that idea?

      • Perhaps you can explain how your linked paper says that or something of relevance to the last 150 years of warming. It’s no good putting a random link up if you don’t join the dots you have in your own mind about it. Continental drift was just my guess at your dot-joining process, but perhaps that was off and it has nothing to do with it.

      • stevenreincarnated

        No, continental drift was the only cause you could think of or you wouldn’t have tried to pin such a moronic idea on me.

      • stevenreincarnated

        While I’m waiting for that to get out of moderation perhaps you remember this graph:

        http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v3/n6/fig_tab/ncomms1901_F5.html

        What do you think? continental drift cause the decline in the AMOC there?

      • So, how does all this lead to the whole ocean warming by an amount consistent with the CO2 forcing? Yes, ocean circulations do and will change. Look at the cold patch off Greenland that has defied global warming. Is it from increased melting of Greenland. Will it expand and cause Hansen’s meltwater pulse scenario for Europe? These are the questions as we drive the forcing up.

      • stevenreincarnated

        It’s only consistent with CO2 forcing because the models have been tuned to make it that way. That is why it is getting less and less consistent with models and as the Arctic recovers the CO2 centric models will be completely out of the ballpark.

      • JimD, I’m interested in your views about the Arctic. Are you unaware of the warm period in the Arctic 80-100 years ago? Or are you aware and attribute it to CO2? Or if you believe there was a warm period do you think we lack quantifiable data to establish a baseline? What probability do you give to the Arctic recovering to temperatures and sea ice 40-60 years ago?

      • “are you a disbeliever or a nonbeliever that natural variation caused most of the warming since 1950?”

        There’s a little board somewhere with people’s prediction for the current UAH/RSS data showing the first ‘half’ of a 60 years cycle. Want to place a stake in the ground? Hurry up, only two years left before the answer.

      • On the Arctic, I am aware of some individual low-ice years in the 30’s, but in the next year or two it bounced back to normal, so we can attribute that to weather. What we have now is a downward trend in summer ice since at least the 90’s with little chance of a returning trend, but maybe some individual high-ice years because individual years are very volatile due to weather. The trend is more like a climate change. It is very important to distinguish climate from weather when looking at anecdotal evidence.

      • Jim D | January 11, 2016 at 2:03 pm |
        On the Arctic, I am aware of some individual low-ice years in the 30’s, but in the next year or two it bounced back to normal, so we can attribute that to weather. What we have now is a downward trend in summer ice since at least the 90’s with little chance of a returning trend, but maybe some individual high-ice years because individual years are very volatile due to weather. The trend is more like a climate change. It is very important to distinguish climate from weather when looking at anecdotal evidence.

        This statement is indefensible.

        Since the volume is increasing the trend of the sea ice extent is going to be on average increasing.

      • Jim D:

        What about the Northwest passage of 1903-1906:

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

        It might have been pretty warm then also.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Jim, energy melts ice, not faith. Check the 0-700 m OHC for the north Atlantic and note the trend. The big storm in 2012 bought you some time but it didn’t buy you the prize. The basket of eggs you guys have put up there is as good as broken unless that OHT picks back up. That should happen in about 30 years.

      • I like anecdotes as much as the next person, but I also realize that they talk about weather and not climate. The picture displayed above shows climate change as we expect to see it. You would not be able to see a trend like this even if you were able string all your anecdotes together somehow. Proxy studies are better than anecdotes, and there have been proxy studies by e.g., Kinnard that show no long-term decline before recently.

      • As to Arctic ice.

        Me I would ask any 70 year old Eskimo, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eskimo,
        about what they remember of their childhood. May not be as accurate as tree rings but it is still evidence/data.

      • Jim D

        Here is a NASA graph showing the warming period for the Arctic during the last century. Note the warming trend for the period 1920-40. Quite a rate of warming. My point is not to compare current rates of warming, but simply to establish that NASA depicts a warming period longer than a couple of sporadic years. At a minimum, this should give pause to believing that the Arctic temperatures are unprecedented. I also believe it adds to the argument that some recovery will occur due to the apparent cyclical warming in that region.
        I am not sure why NASA has not seen fit to spend another $19.95 of our money to update the chart to at least 2014.
        http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/ArcticIce/arctic_ice3.php

  11. Perhaps it is my philosophical training, but I find this all rather confused and hard to follow. To begin with they are stringing together quotes from various heavy duty philosophers, as though they were all talking about the same thing, which they are not. There is also a complete lack of examples. Then too they seem to be using the term “skeptic” in a strange way. Beyond that, I am not a big fan of philosophers telling science how it should be. I thought that went out 50 years ago, but maybe it is back.

    In contrast, the JC Reflections are clear, simple and good.

    • David,

      ” I find this all rather confused and hard to follow. To begin with they are stringing together quotes from various heavy duty philosophers,”

      Perhaps you should click thru and read the actual essay. You’ll learn, among other things, that Curry has quoted no “they” — but one author: Marcello Truzzi.

      You might find Truzzi’s essay “confusing and hard to follow”, but his major conclusion has become quite famous — and is widely considered self-evident: “Thus an extraordinary claim requires “extraordinary” (meaning stronger than usual) proof.”

      • David Wojick

        That supposedly self-evident claim in no way follows from the various meandering quotes. In fact I do not think it is related to them.

        As for the supposedly self-evident claim, I think it is probably generally false. For example, if the extraordinary claim is one that precipitates a scientific revolution, as many are, then its strength is that it resolves the anomalies. There is no proof at all. It is essentially a coherence test not an evidentiary one. Special relativity is a glaring example.

        In other cases, such as discoveries based on simple observation, all that is required is replicability. The discovery of radiation for example.

      • For example, if the extraordinary claim is one that precipitates a scientific revolution, as many are, then its strength is that it resolves the anomalies. There is no proof at all. It is essentially a coherence test not an evidentiary one. Special relativity is a glaring example.

        Actually, the “extraordinary claim” was the Michelson–Morley experiment. It was repeatedly replicated. Special Relativity as an “extraordinary claim” had the “extraordinary evidence” already on the table as a serious anomaly with Newtonian physics.

  12. Science is the temporary suspension of all sorts of belief. It is probably impossible to even formulate a hypothesis without some basis of belief.Yet in the exercise of collecting evidence, even evidence contradictory to the hypothesis must be noted in a temporary suspension belief. It could just be called honesty.

  13. I think climate science is either suffering from or enjoying (you may choose) the siren call of addressing an existential threat to humanity. Anyone engaged in science must deal with the availability of funds to do research, attract and support graduate students, and bask in whatever public attention and fame is accorded one’s research. Fields such as basic physics, astronomy, chemistry or biology enjoy a fair amount of support, but nowhere near the level of support accorded climate science right now. There are few direct analogs to the current state of climate science funding. One possible analog is research and development of nuclear weapons from about 1950 through the early 1980’s. During that time the U.S. perceived an immediate existential threat from the Soviet Union and China and budgets for research into nuclear weapon design, use, defense etc. were extremely large, sustained and generally approved without serious question. Many of the brightest minds were attracted to the area. Now the area is relatively moribund. The excitement of designing, building, and executing explosive nuclear tests and analyzing the results is gone, perhaps rightly so. Other existential threats may exist, for example antibiotic resistance may qualify soon if the impact becomes widespread and unavoidable for large parts of the patient population. From time to time something pops up like a possible Ebola epidemic and there is a short blip in which obtaining funding for work on Ebola becomes easy. Researchers in most fields have learned to repackage their research so as to appeal to whatever becomes popular and enjoys an uptick in funding. A variety of natural catastrophes such as epochal volcanic events or asteroid impacts may occur, but the statistics of such events is not perceived as likely as the current perception of catastrophic global warming and policy choices seem few in those cases.

    There is a tremendous stake for climate scientists to maintain the certitude (the belief) as much as possible for a certain existential threat and that is a very difficult Siren call to shut out. Think for a moment how the practice of climate science would differ if it was established that the climate varies essentially due to natural causes, for example if it begins to slide into another relative ice age. If it were established that human policy choices had little or no impact on the climate, what would be the appropriate level of funding for climate science? Likely it would be the same as that for study of astronomy and cosmology, the geology of the earth, moon, and mars, mapping the ocean fauna and floor, etc. All engaging and important studies, but not saving the world from an immediate threat. The minds attracted to it would be attracted because they loved the subject matter, not because they dreamed of being David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum’s character in Independence Day) who was the key smart mind who solved the problem essential to earth’s survival and became the hero of the world.

    This is not to accuse any in climate science of deliberate falsification to allege an existential threat. There is enough uncertainty involved that it is possible, given an unbiased mind. But the difference is that large parts of the public perceives a relatively certain existential threat, and that is reflected in funding priorities. I see no correction possible to this situation short of the passage of time, probably a few decades at least. The threat will either prove real or not. Possibly the worst case would be that the threat simply slides into the future, always a few decades away, but still certain. In any event, those of us in fields without existential threats will continue to just muddle along doing what we enjoy without the adoring public and high funding levels.

    • David Wojick

      Your first sentence is correct, but beyond that funding for climate science is not huge. US Government wide it is about $2.5 billion a year or just 4% of the basic research budget. Moreover, about $1.5 of that is for rockets and satellites, leaving about $1 billion for actual research, much of which is data collection and modeling.

      • $2.5 B compares to the total FY16 requested budget of the NSF, which is about $6.2 B. The largest area components within the request are Geosciences and Mathematical and Physical sciences, each with about $1.3 B each and these allocations cover a wide range of areas, including major experimental activities. Biological science is allocated $0.7 B. Within the NIH of about $30 B, the research areas are again widely varying, with none enjoying a level of 2.5 B, regardless of the experimental facilities required. The point is not that climate science is unprecedented in its funding level on the general scale of research funding, but that as a narrow focus area, it receives far more than other narrow focus areas of research.

  14. Simply put, there are three general states of objective knowlege: truer, false, dunno. Only truer in many cases because absolute certainty is usually difficult to impossible. False, because an appropriately framed hypothesis (precise definitions, logic hypothesis derivation) can be tested against observation (scientific method being the most rigorous test). Dunno unfortunately involves subjective values about what constitutes observational sufficiency. So there can never be some sort of ‘consensus’ about dunno. Although ‘democracy’ might develop a majority view about what we dunno.
    With respect to CAGW, all three knowledge states pose problems. For example, one might think that the drastic consequences of decarbonization would require a higher standard of truer C observational support; it would be unwise if we dunno C. But nope, warmunists rely only on models which have probably been falsified by the pause using their own previous criteria. But dunno, because the observations (surface temp history) has been Karlized. And then warmunists trot out the precautionary principle against dunno. See the Taleb thread for the illogic of that (opportunity cost, …).
    All we can know for sure is that some climate hypotheses have probably been falsified. Mann’s hockey stick, for example. Yet even there the disagreement continues, because it less about the ‘climate science’ than about the warmunist religion.
    Bottom line, the damage already done to scientific credibility may be irreparable, at least in the climate arena. Eisenhower’s concern and warning now realized.

  15. In context of the climate debate, many scientists and members of the public simply find that the claim for dangerous anthropogenic climate change is inadequately supported.

    On one side we have almost every major scientific organization, the comprehensive IPCC reviews, and almost every government in the world. On the other side we a have few public “skeptics” like yourself, a few ideological think tanks, along with some usually conservative “skeptics” who deny the risks and are opposed to any action to deal with the risks from climate change.

    • Joseph,

      “On the other side we a have few public “skeptics” like yourself, a few ideological think tanks, along with some usually conservative “skeptics” who deny the risks ”

      Curry’s statement is factually correct and yours is wrong. For years polls have showed that climate change ranks near or at the bottom of American’s public policy priorities.

      http://www.gallup.com/poll/182018/worries-terrorism-race-relations-sharply.aspx

      • stevefitzpatrick

        Editor,
        Those alarmed about and committed to reducing CO2 emissions don’t give a hoot about what the public thinks, believes, or wants. In democracies, what the public thinks matters, of course, which is why you so often see the alarmed, like Mr Obama, supporting very non-democratic ‘solutions’ for CO2 emissions. In the long run, the voters priorities will likely prevail.

      • Every person has their own priorities and with a complex issue like climate change it’s difficult to have a good grasp of the problem so that one can sift through the various view points. And priorities also vary by country with some countries seeing climate change as a more serious threat than others. But having said that all the polls I have seen in the US indicate that most Americans are not opposed to action to mitigate Co2 emissions So if it were up to the public we would be acting. See below for an example:

      • The public is apathetic regarding climate change. They are willing to take action as long as costs are negligible. Be careful assuming democracy will win the day though, prohibitionists realized they only needed 10 percent to vote solely on one issue to win the day.

      • Joseph,

        “I have seen in the US indicate that most Americans are not opposed to action to mitigate Co2 emissions>”

        “Not opposed”? That’s not the basis public policy is made.

        “So if it were up to the public we would be acting.”

        That’s quite false. Let’s look at your evidence…

        “See below for an example”

        Yes, people are in favor of limits on coal. It’s not a popular fuel, for obvious reasons (e.g., really dirty from mining it to disposing of the resulting solid waste). But nor is it a major source of US CO2 emissions. Generalizing from a poll about coal to limits on burning natural gas or gasoline is unwarranted. Hence the findings of polls asking broader questions are more useful.

        Source of that graph: http://environment.yale.edu/climate-communication/article/not-all-republicans-think-alike-about-global-warming/

        Note that this was from a complex reanalysis of multiple surveys, most of which had small samples. Which might explain why some of the questions had results substantially different from that of other polls. In public polling more reliable pictures usually come from looking at multiple polls. For example, look at the varying results RealClearPolitics finds from Presidential candidate polls run on the same dates.

      • That poll also asked about CO2 and more fuel efficiency, and those numbers were even higher than for coal. The public gets it on the science, even the Republicans.

      • Joesph,

        I see that you have a poll that says what you like, and are sticking with it. Time will show if your view is correct.

      • Yes, people are in favor of limits on coal. It’s not a popular fuel, for obvious reasons (e.g., really dirty from mining it to disposing of the resulting solid waste). But nor is it a major source of US CO2 emissions. Generalizing from a poll about coal to limits on burning natural gas or gasoline is unwarranted. Hence the findings of polls asking broader questions are more useful.

        I didn’t see coal mentioned, Fabius. And like I said all the ones I have seen related to reducing CO2 emissions find a significant majority supporting the policy.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        Joseph,
        Yes, and everyone supports motherhood, apple pie, and wants to reduce their carbon footprint. But they jet off for exotic vacations with their families (or maybe climate conferences in exotic places) if they can afford to. It’s particularly nice, when you are trying to force others to reduce their carbon footprints, if you have a personal 747 always available and fueled up.

        The public support for CO2 reduction evaporates when the personal cost for that reduction becomes significant. Closing down coal plants is (at least at present) painless for most people, because cheaper natural gas fired plants can replace them. Ask people if they are OK with paying 50% or 100% more for electricity from solar and wind, or if they would mind no longer being allowed to travel by air, (or even by an internal combustion powered car!) and the level of support for CO2 reduction is lower. There is no way draconian reductions in fossil fuel use are going to happen any time soon if it means voters think the cost will be too high, and my bet is they will.
        .
        Besides, India and China (and eventually most of Africa), will continue to thumb their noses at reducing CO2 emissions for the next 2 or 3 decades. You are tilting at windmills. The only routes to significant reductions in CO2, within the voters’ cost tolerance, are nuclear power and development of dramatically cheaper electrical storage.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        So long as the cost is not defined, there will always be lots of support for reducing.

      • Show us the polls that indicate that 7 billion people in the world are not losing any sleep over CO freaking two. You know, where global warming or whatever you want to call it doesn’t register on the list of the important stuff that people are worried about.

      • Joseph,

        Thanks for the links! Apparently there is a cottage industry of relatively small polls (1005, 860, 1006) to show that the public supports climate change policy.

        Time will tell who is correct.

      • They are willing to take action as long as costs are negligible.

        What do you mean by “negligible”? If a 3% tax on fossil fuels turned out to reduce the increase in emitted CO2 to zero within three decades, would you consider such a tax negligible or punitive?

      • VP “They are willing to take action as long as costs are negligible.

        What do you mean by “negligible”? If a 3% tax on fossil fuels turned out to reduce the increase in emitted CO2 to zero within three decades, would you consider such a tax negligible or punitive?”

        I couldn’t find where you read that but as far as costs being negligible it would mean it doesn’t effect that market or persons using it. It is not describing the affect on CO2 emissions only the effect on the market itself.

    • David Springer

      “On one side we have almost every major scientific organization, the comprehensive IPCC reviews, and almost every government in the world. On the other side we a have few public “skeptics” like yourself, a few ideological think tanks, along with some usually conservative “skeptics” who deny the risks and are opposed to any action to deal with the risks from climate change.”

      Vested interests support action. Unvested don’t. Shocking.

    • You know, where global warming or whatever you want to call it doesn’t register

      So where can I find that global poll, Don?

      • Jim D.

        How accurate are these global polls? Doing a telephone poll with reliable results is expensive in the US (the polls that fill the news are often too small — hence their often varying results — plus the problem of increasing numbers of people refusing to answer).

        Doing so, for example, in Brazil — with its high poverty rates and low telephone penetration rates — must be more difficult. Pew does these global polls frequently. Are they that well funded? Color me skeptical.

        Esp when the polls show that people in nations with high rates of poverty (e.g., lack of access to clean water and sewage systems) have policy preferences so much like that of upper middle class Americans.

      • The UN poll, yoey. Don’t pretend you haven’t seen it. But yimmy has found a better one for you. It shows that you all got nothing to worry about. The world is with you. Paris is going to work out great, despite what Dr. Death Train Hansen says. You can stop haranguing us now. Find a new cause. How about protesting the refugee sexual assaults going on all over Europa:

        http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=c7c_1452259390

      • An online poll, Don? Seriously?? But looking at the options I wouldn’t put climate change at the top of my six choices.

      • Polling is yet another area where skeptics have fallen far behind. You need to get your “thinktanks” to do some polling your way. The mainstream pollsters are killing you. It’s the same kind of failure as with the science, scientific societies, industry, and the media. The skeptical showing has been pitiful on every front. What value do you get from your thinktanks? Push them harder by showing them that they are failing with public opinion. The only ones listening to them are the “well-oiled” politicians.

      • You are a little phony pony, yimmy. Public support for significant CO2 mitigation is real thin. The polls indicate that CAGW, climate change, global warming, or whatever you are calling it today is not among the problems/policy issues that the folks are most concerned about. It’s way way down the list, if it appears at all. Google it, yimster. Get back to us. Hey, there’s always Paree.

        You are really sunk, when the Donald takes over the bully pulpit. And the pen and phone;

        Dr. Judith Curry Appointed New EPA Boss

      • Don, I guess to you the fact all of those nations signed on to the Paris agreement is an indication that globally the public doesn’t support action on climate change.

      • DM, out in the real world you would be shocked that people do get the link between emissions and real and ongoing climate change. This is what the polls show. Take a room full of randomly chosen people, and your own views, if you preach them, would appear somewhat crazy to the majority there.

      • John Carpenter

        … “I guess to you the fact all of those nations signed on to the Paris agreement is an indication that globally the public doesn’t support action on climate change.”

        I would bet that globally more than 90% of the public probably had no idea there was even a climate agreement going on in Paris. It’s not like delegates came home to ticker tape parades. The general public is not overly concerned with the climate from my experience.

      • Yoey and yimmy will not admit to what everybody knows. The Paris agreement is what Dr. Death Train Hansen says it is. That’s the best they could get with little public support for drastically curtailing use of the fuels that power modern civilization. End of story.

  16. David L. Hagen

    Prove it!

    First, science places the burden of proof on the claimant. Second, the proof for a claim must in some sense be commensurate with the character of the claim.

    By these foundational principles of science, proponents of “catastrophic majority anthroprogenic global warming” (aka “climate change”) bear the burden of proof that:
    1) The anthroprogenic contributions to global warming (e.g. since 1950) are unambiguously quantifiably distinguished from natural causes.
    2) The anthroprogenic contributions are unambiguously greater than natural causes.
    3) That physical climate models have been validated, verified, and accurately predict past “climate” (at least > 30 years preferably > 60 years).
    4) That physical climate models can accurately predict climate at least 100 years into the future.
    5) That economic models accurately predict the consequences of those climate predictions.
    6) That “mitigation” of those economic predictions is more cost effective than “adaptation.”
    7) Considering the tens of trillions of dollars at stake, these predictions must be proven with a very high degree of confidence.
    Despite a much bluster and lot of hand waving, to date, NONE of these has been unambiguously quantified – let alone to a very high degree of confidence. e.g., There has been NO global warming for 18 years 9 months. Surface measured temperatures are diverging from satellite measurements. and models are predicting much hotter temperatures than reality. The deviation of climate models for the most sensitive tropical tropospheric temperatures is “only” 400% greater than reality over the satellite era!
    See presentations at Senate Hearing: Data or Dogma, Climate Change Reconsidered, by the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), and The Right Climate Stuff. etc.

    As a scientist and engineer, I remain a “sceptic”. With 400% errors over >30 year “climate” long predictions, I find I further “disbelieve” that the climate models accurately portray reality.

    Thus, the case for massive forced expenditures of tax payer’s funds is “Not Proven” per Scottish legal standards.

  17. Judith….

    Slightly O.T. — I have finally answered your question to me on the Warwick Hughes site – about the dust-albedo regulation of ice ages and interglacials. (Although I did not realise it was your question.)

    http://www.warwickhughes.com/blog/?p=4179&cpage=1#comment-1139751

    My answer comes from my new and greatly revised paper, which explains every detail of the glacial cycle, with the novel assertion that low CO2 causes warming, not high Co2. But the concept is simple, rational and logical, and has not been refuted thus far. The paper has now been submitted for peer review.

    Modulation of Ice Ages via Precession and Dust-Albedo Feedbacks.

    https://www.academia.edu/20051643/Modulation_of_Ice_Ages_via_Precession_and_Dust-Albedo_Feedbacks

    Cheers,
    Ralph

  18. Oh, man. This is a problem that the British philosopher Joad and the author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (and personal experience) talked about – that the more you analyse what you say or think, the more the essence of it slips away, so you conclude you know nothing, say nothing, comprehend nothing.

    IMO, the problem we are dealing with here – disbelief, no belief, skepticism, denial – is a problem of us thinking words properly and fully encapsulate ideas or concepts. They don’t. Words are a fuzzy substitute for both things and what we grasp within our minds (including cultural associations, not just physical attributes) as the things. If, for example, you decide that something is a table, and then you modify it slowly, at some point it can become a stool or a shelf or a chair. Or even a platform on the floor. A “table” is neither a structure nor a structure used for a purpose but a combination of both – it could also be an art piece without the ability to be used as a table. But we know what a “table” is and what it is not (even though there will be room for argument).

    In our lives it is important to understand that our grasp of what is and what is not is limited. Words are a decent substitute for direct experience in everyday life, but they are not a direct substitute, not an exact replica of the phenomenon. This is obviously why there are so many variations on simple ones as (commonly quoted) snow in the the Inuit language.

    If we wished to clarify or solidify it, we would have to have a conference. We’d have to say, “this set of parameters defines ‘denial’, and this set, ‘disbelief'”, and do this all the way to a Tuesday moon. And yet it wouldn’t be enough because belief shifts constantly. There is no scientific way to say you belief 50%. And if you tried to, it would be only about certain aspects on a certain day.

    Arguing about the number of angels who could dance on the head of a pin is what trying to nail down a denial/skepticism term means. By usage we know what it means – and yet we also know that the meaning of words change with time (something that the literal readers of the Quoran would not agree with, but even Arabic does shift in the common language, and so we would expect nuances in the Quoran to be lost to the ordinary person). I am a fan of 19th century English literature, and I see it all the time. One of my favourite words is “perverse”, meaning to do things just to be difficult or contrary; but don’t call some one that today. Instant moral decay is the image you get. Another is “patriotism”: Nietzsche said, “Patriotism is a silly cock crowing on his own dung hill.” Rude! But what he meant in today’s vocabulary, was “nationalism”, I.e. Saying your country is the best of all possible bests etc., and that everyone else’s was crap. We wouldn’t disagree with the statement with the word change.

    What am I? More CO2 raises temperatures. Warmer world’s should – not shall – raise humidity levels, but counter-effects like more rain might bring the humidity level down to a planetary average – I don’t know. The effect of fossil fuel CO2 will change some things, but how much, where and to what negative outcome, I don’t know. Sea levels are rising, but I can’t see they are either accelerating – yet – or, by historical reference, a problem we can’t deal with. The decarbonization politics are expensive and economically disruptive; what they achieve I suspect is less than promised, very hurtful in the shorter term for the developing world, and probably unachievable due to the self-interest and different interests of large CO2 emitting groups. So what does that mean I am? What would you like to call me?

    This is my point. Any term we use is inadequate by its nature. Only some attributes are captured, and cultural usage and association largely determine what attributes those will be. Words are like nails, useful for holding things together but some more appropriate than others, and some no longer considered useful for tasks they formerly dominated (think of the flat headed, rectangular nails in very old buildings).

    I say I’m a skeptic. My associates say I’m rude questioner of things because I don’t respect authority figures. My enemies say I’m a shill for big business. Strangers say I’m a denialist, ignorant and hateful. All for the same way of looking at things and practical positions I have taken on things of current, social significance.

    Words have power. We can’t ignore that. But we can consistently challenge our detractors to define what it is they find objectionable. Which blogs like this do. The power of words disappears in the clear understanding of what we disagree about (which is why Al Gore et al refuse to debate in public).

    Call me what you will, but explain what you mean and one of us will probably change his tune. Or at least the word.

  19. It is perfectly logical for climate scientists to accept the orthodoxy of the establishment. Why not. The outcomes of not accepting it are all to the downside. There are many risks to challenging the popular view and few risks to not. It is the uncommon person to put career and reputation on the line for something having this level of uncertainty, knowing you are going against a popular and eloquent theory as well as the social sanctions of your colleagues. I might be disinterested in everything except the prevalent view, as well, knowing the discomfort I would face. I suspect a kind of rationalization is commonplace in the community for the above reasons. How many scientists fall back on the accepted science to justify not pushing into uncomfortable territory? That is much easier. How many of these same scientists are going to look foolish in 100 years given the certainty of new discoveries?

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” Upton Sinclair.

    Every week I read some study or some historical account that puts the current level of certainty into doubt. All news organizations should ban using the word “unprecedented” when describing anything in conjunction with climate events. Whether it is Greenland, the Arctic, the Antarctic, Sea Level rise, Global Temperatures, Droughts, Cyclonic Events or Trends, OHC, Forest Fires, Floods, Historical Global Temperatures, Heat Waves, Glaciers Melting, Polar Bears or anything else that is characterized as being attributed to AGW, one need do only a little research to find there is reasonable doubt in believing any of this is new. This is not an argument for disproving the current accepted theory. But, given what should be known by every climate researcher, they should be more aware of what has happened before and be less willing to accept the current level of knowledge in climate science.

  20. Some background to my post: it was part of an ongoing series seeking new perspectives that might help break the gridlocked public policy debate — focusing on the question of proof (or its cousin, validation).

    Later posts made specific proposals — such as rerunning models used in earlier IPCC reports with updated data (making them predictions instead of projections, hindcasting with out-of-sample data), an approach recommended by Roger Pielke Jr. and and Then There’s Physics.

    The next few look at the theoretical basis for validating climate models.

    This threat echoes the others at the various sites discussing the question: disinterest by both sides in the debates. Each side’s knows they are right. Neither side has much interest in finding tests that a broad range of scientists (or policy makers, depending on the debate addressed) will consider fair.

    Here we see the commonplace anti-intellectualism — anti-science — of American culture expressed yet again. Like Professor Curry, I have no idea how to overcome this. Eventually the weather will answer all our questions, perhaps at great cost to us.

    • David Wojick

      I think you are mis-describing both science and the climate situation. There is no proof in science, only in math. In science we have the weight of evidence, which is relative to the observer. This is inductive logic.

      Disinterest is neither possible nor desirable. What we have here is a scientific debate. Moreover, the kind of tests you call for do not exist. This is not experimental science, itis environmental impact assessment of the global system,

      I do not believe American culture is anti-science. Quite the contrary.

      • David,

        My posts are describing the public policy debate, not exercises in trigonometry. Hence the title of the list Curry quotes from: “an essential skill for citizenship” — and my repeated mention of public policy on my comments.

        In that context “proof” is used as meaning providing sufficient evidence to convince people to act. Much like the proof given to a jury.

        As for anti-science attitudes America — you must be kidding. Talk to your local school board about teaching evolution. Or to legislators about what constituents tell them about the effects of cell phone radiation and genetically-modified food. Or you can make your own list — a few minutes thought and it will become quite long.

        Climate science has added much to the list, as one side considers the IPCC daft (e.g., no such thing as GHGs) and the other believes it’s wrong (“too conservative”, radically disagreeing with its findings on extreme weather and many other things).

        That is no to say they are equivalently anti-science (that would require quite a study to measure), just they are often similar in nature.

        These anti-science crusades of Left and Right have long played a big role is US politics. Science has become like patriotism, a flag extremists wrap themselves in to conceal beliefs quite different.

        The result is that vital policy issues such as climate policy become gridlocked. We can change this. It needs our will to do so, however.

      • David Springer

        “The result is that vital policy issues such as climate policy become gridlocked.”

        It’s NOT vital to the vast majority. Not even close to vital.

      • David,

        “It’s NOT vital to the vast majority. Not even close to vital.”

        I have made that exact same point several times in this thread. That is hardly a rebuttal to my comment that climate policy has become gridlocked. For example, even policies to mitigate almost inevitable extreme weather — repeat of past events — cannot get approved, let alone policies to prepare for likely future events (e.g., rising sea levels, continuing the millennia-long trend).

      • David Springer

        @editor

        I made no rebuttal about policy gridlock. I took issue with you characterizing climate policy as vital. Your words:

        “vital policy issues such as climate policy”

        Is it vital in your opinion or not? If not then why did you write what I quoted?

      • David Springer,

        You are correct. I lost the thread, and replied incorrectly. Let me restate this more clearly.

        I believe that climate policy (broadly defined) is vital. That includes preparing for almost inevitable changes — such as rising seas (they’ve been rising for millennia). I believe most people agree with this, although polls don’t ask. Such policies are gridlocked because conflated with global warming (and its resulting climate change).

        The poll you cited asked people about their top concern. That is too narrow a definition of “vital” imo. More useful are polls asking people to rank their concerns. These show “global warming or climate change” at the bottom, but with a large number worried a great deal (32% in the March Gallup poll) or a fair deal.

      • David Springer

        @Fabius

        I disagree. Most important issue is a very good indicator of vitality.

        3% of respondents said environment/pollution was the top issue for them.

        Consider for a moment that includes actual toxic substances like lead, mercury, and arsenic. Pharmaceuticals that aren’t filtered out in municipal water reclamation plants. Particulates, nitrogen and sulfur compounds from coal plants. Ozone. Chemicals in aquifers from fracking. Radioactive junk from Fukushima washing up on California beaches. I could go on.

        Twice as many people said decline in morals, ethics, and religion was the top issue.

        So let’s put that in perspective, shall we? There is twice as much support for stopping decline of national morals and religion as there is for EVERY environmental concern put together. Declining morals are at least twice as “vital” as climate change.

        Should we consider trillion dollar programs to stop the decline in morals and religion since twice as many people consider that the biggest problem the U.S. faces?

        That’s a rhetorical question. Thanks for playing. Better luck next time.

      • David Springer

        @Fabius

        I’m curious what Gallup poll you’re talking about. Here’s another nice one:

        A super-majority believe climate change won’t be serious threat in their lifetimes and a plurality believe it’s exaggerated.

        It’s not a “vital” issue in any reasonable interpretation when a super-majority don’t think it’s going to have any serious effect within their lifetimes. This is why there’s gridlock on it. The definition of vital is:

        “1.absolutely necessary or important; essential”

        This issue can put off until we have more solid information of any net negative effect vs. restricting affordable, abundant energy. We have bigger fish to fry. That’s the long and the short of it. At least for the vast majority and I’m one of that vast majority.

    • Yes Editor, both sides seem disinterested in validation of climate models and in a healthy debate free from the political claptrap. My sense is that particularly government employed climate scientists bear a share of the blame because part of their job description is to pursue the facts free of political bias.

      I don’t think American culture is anti-science. It is deeply skeptical based on the sad track record in such public policy relevant fields as nutrition, where it appears that 50 years of government recommendations on fat consumption may be simply wrong.

    • Curious George

      “Each side’s knows they are right.” I disagree. Modelers know that they are not right; they just don’t care. 2.5% error means nothing.
      https://judithcurry.com/2012/08/30/activate-your-science/#comment-234131

    • Fabius,
      It would be really nice if you didn’t put words in my mouth, or – in some cases – conveniently leave them out.

      such as rerunning models used in earlier IPCC reports with updated data (making them predictions instead of projections, hindcasting with out-of-sample data), an approach recommended by Roger Pielke Jr. and and Then There’s Physics.

      I’ve never suggested this. The only relevant thing I’ve said is that climate models almost always combine “known” concentration/forcing pathways with estimates for what they will be for periods that have not yet happened, or for which we don’t yet have information. If what actually happens differs from what was assumed, then the models should be rerun with the updated information. Climate models are being used to project how our climate will change given a certain concentration/forcing pathway. They’re not being used to guess what concentration pathway we will actually follow.

      I also largely disagree with the idea of running older models. Climate models are scientific tools. Newer ones are probably just modified, and updated, versions of older ones. What’s the point of running an older model that you know doesn’t include all relevant physics, or is inferior in some other way to the newer models? Why not run the newer ones with the updated forcings to see how they do, and which has indeed been done?

      • ATTP,

        I will let others read what you said at Climate Audit and draw their own conclusions, since I’ve found that discussions with you about the simplest things have proven unfruitful in the past. However, here is a brief response.

        2 “If what actually happens differs from what was assumed, then the models should be rerun with the updated information. Climate models are being used to project how our climate will change given a certain concentration/forcing pathway. They’re not being used to guess what concentration pathway we will actually follow.”

        Yes, that’s exactly what I and Pielke Jr suggested, as did you in the Climate Audit thread on “Update of Model-Observation Comparisons”, For example…

        “Have the models in the comparison been redone with the updated forcings …?
        http://climateaudit.org/2016/01/05/update-of-model-observation-comparisons/#comment-765723

        “Given that the goal of the models is not to predict what the change in forcings will be, but what the response will be to the change in forcings, updating the forcings seems like an important thing to do if you want to do a proper comparison between the models and the observations.”
        http://climateaudit.org/2016/01/05/update-of-model-observation-comparisons/#comment-765732

        “Hence if the concentration/forcing pathway turns out to be different, doing the comparison without updating the forcings is not a like-for-like comparison.”
        http://climateaudit.org/2016/01/05/update-of-model-observation-comparisons/#comment-765749

        (2) “I also largely disagree with the idea of running older models.”

        Which is why I said “earlier” climate models — meaning AR5 and before. If that was unclear, your clarification is noted.

      • Fabius,

        I will let others read what you said at Climate Audit and draw their own conclusions

        I have never suggested rerunning older models. Suggesting that I have done so is simply untrue. Leaving it for others to draw their own conclusions is simply an indication that you’re unwilling to own what you’ve said.

        since I’ve found that discussions with you about the simplest things have proven unfruitful in the past.

        You might want to bear in mind that it is you who did this last time we had a discussion. Am I noticing a pattern?

      • Thanks for making my point, Mr Physics

      • David Springer

        Looks like Fabius was right. You said what he claimed, ATTP. Own it.

      • ATTP,

        “I have never suggested rerunning older models.”

        Since I never said “older climate models”, we agree. I will explain it yet again for you, although I’m sure this is quite clear to everybody else.

        I referred to what three people said, a clause in one sentence about their points of commonality: “such as rerunning models used in earlier IPCC reports with updated data”. AR5 is an earlier IPCC report.

        In reply to your comment I agreed that you meant only AR5: “If that was unclear, your clarification is noted.”

        I did not say “older models”, which would have been unambiguously wrong. it’s a flourish you made up to strengthen your comment — and mask your far more important agreement with what I said about rerunning the models with “updated forcings”..

        Throwing chaff in the discussion — business as usual for ATTP.

        “Am I noticing a pattern?”

        Yes. I believe discussing anything with you is a waste of time, done only to the extent necessary. Life is too short.

      • One of the problems for ATTP I think is that his voluminous postings and comments are beyond the rather poor memory of a reader of astronomy and director of public relations. A good hypothesis, Editor, is that Ken simply forgets some of the things he says. That would be OK, but to continue to stridently insist otherwise is culpable and not conducive to productive discussions. Owning your mistakes or mis-statements is helpful.

      • In fact updating the forcing from AR5’s would be a good idea, because we know the sun declined a little, and there may well have been more negative aerosol forcing from China’s rapid growth, so some aspects of the pause could be better represented. Then the skeptics who asked for the reruns would complain that the forcing was tuned to fit the data, of course, so that is not going to be a solution to the argument.

      • Jim D: China pollution also lands on and melts arctic sea ice, which lowers albedo and increases temperatures that Curds and Whey spotted by kriging. This is why the Great Ramanathan proposes a no regrets policy of attacking traditional air pollution first. Do you even know who Ramanathan is and why he is great?

      • Weak though your argument is, this is exactly the kind of thing the skeptics will bring up with revised forcing, so it is not a solution, as I said. We need satellites that can do albedo measurements, and Congress should not be defunding earth-pointing satellites in favor of the Mars missions that the Republicans want instead for some reason. I think we can agree on this.

      • JimD, so would it be fair for a committee to ask what’s the point of satellites such as UAH and RSS if they just get ignored such as when Gavin Schmidt Ignored them for determining hottest year or month?

      • I wonder if the Science Committee have made that connection yet, that they are throwing Spencer and Christy’s babies out with the bathwater. However, having said that, why these satellites continue to fail to show the El Nino that is currently the most active hot-spot should be a focus of active discussion in those circles, as well as the fact that they don’t even agree with each other, so there are things that make them seem unreliable for this particular purpose.

      • JimD Coal burning melted most of the alpine glaciers starting in the early 19th century and is a big-time factor in Greenland melt ass-swell. Of course, these local effects are not impacting Antarctic ice because it is only radiated by CO2, the well mixed GHG that you and your simpleton warmistas think is a control knob. Your views are anti-zen, anti-Gaia and anti-newtonian physics. It must be nice to be a regressive and think of oneself as a progressive. You people have more in common with The Donald and less in common with The Bern than you imagine.

      • So if the measurements don’t agree with their bias they should just ignore them?

      • ordvic, Spencer doesn’t even agree with Christy and they keep making adjustments towards and away from each other. It is not easy to trust these types of data that are strung together from something like a series of ten satellites and instruments in varying orbits. Plus, for the energy budget, it is the surface temperature that is needed, and it is hard to know what to do with a temperature at some indeterminate layer above the ground, but apart from that, it is fine.

      • Not sure what you are talking about, Horst, but OK, take it easy.

      • NOAA PDO index is up in December. ACO2 can take the week off.

      • Even with Dec at 0.57, the PDO has not exactly been a “stairway to heaven” for the past half year as you would have us believe, has it, JCH (https://judithcurry.com/2016/01/02/week-in-review-52/#comment-757049)?
        Looks to me like the general trend is in the other direction.

      • dhttps://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/teleconnections/pdo/ata source:

      • The index has been going down for much of the year, as did the temperature… until the EL Nino kicked in at the end of the year. If the PDO starts going back up now… stairway.

      • Fabius,
        In what way is rerunning models used in earlier IPCC report, any different from rerunning older models? I’ll repeat, I’ve never suggested that we should rerun models used in earlier IPCC reports. Are you so desperate to get people to agree with you that you take what they say out of context and insist that they agree with you? If I agree with you, I will tell you if I agree with you. You don’t get to decide if I agree with you. This is obvious, right?

        AR5 is an earlier IPCC report.

        AR5 is technically only earlier in the sense that it has been published. There are certainly no newer ones.

        Since you seem incapable of getting this, I will explain it again. The comment I made on climate etc. referred to the model being used in the comparison being made in the post. If you’re going to compare models and observations, then one should ensure – whether it is an earlier model or not – that the inputs to the model are as accurate as possible. If the concentration/forcing pathway has been updated since the model was last run, then the model should be redone with the updated concentration/forcing pathway. This isn’t a suggestion that we rerun earlier models; it is the trivial suggestion that we should be aiming to compare, as much as possible, like with like.

        Yes. I believe discussing anything with you is a waste of time, done only to the extent necessary. Life is too short.

        Discussing things with you runs the very likely risk of being misrepresented. You could try to stop doing that. My guess is that you can’t help yourself.

  21. Being a retired high school teacher with degrees in math, chem and physics, I have been able to move from the infant stage of understanding climate science, with intermittent study over a six year period, to the toddler stage.

    I find several things surprising and sometimes disheartening.

    —The majority of scientists involved in climate science are in an ancillary subfield, and have not expertise beyond their narrow area of study. When discussing a topic, they often do not know even the language let alone the concepts involved the mechanisms of warming

    —-The entire climate science world agreed in the 1970’s that the next ice age was coming. There were even suggestions of putting carbon on the ice in the North Polar Region to melt the ice. During the time from the end of world war 11 to the middle 70’s there must have some cooling or at the least a long pause when CO2 emissions should have increased by larger amounts.
    Now, there obviously has been a pause of nearly two decades or a least much less warming than predicted by models. Can it be challenged then that in the last 75 years, the time when arguably the most CO2 emissions have occurred, two-thirds of it showed no warming and perhaps some cooling. In light of this

    —-So many scientists have built a career around events over a 25 year period; however,—

    —-this all seems meaningless, because in the larger scheme of things, and that which I rarely read in abstracts, is that predominate cycles are over centuries. Remember, what the entire science world postulated until the recent disgusting divergence from scientific methodology A Roman Warm Period, The Dark Ages, A Medieval Warm Period, A Little Ice Age and Warming since. Humanity flourished during the warm periods and often perished in between. A shortcoming of the teaching of historical events is that climate was a major cause of events. Then again we have a preposition that Climate Change is the cause of Terrorism. Seriously?!
    That shows that politics has been playing an ever increasing role in climate science, and that is the problem about which Ike warned. Governments controlling financing, and therefore the science itself. He also was about to warn of Governments, and very much so the United States, controlling the media, but his advisers advised against it

    • David Springer

      +1

    • – 6.02 e26
      You need to get off blogs and read actual climate papers. Not the tripe hyped by Mr Physics and his RealKlimate pals. Start by reading science of doom from the start, then download all of the papers he cites and read them. Start here:

      http://scienceofdoom.com/2009/11/

      • Cute Horst, are you sneakily suggesting that I might be a mole???
        I trust that most contributors here do read the papers, and sometimes I have to labor through them,
        But what I have to recommend to everybody that reads anything in the main stream media, is follow it back to the source, and are there many papers contributing to the conclusion or only one, and is data available to redo the study or whatever is in the paper
        Secondly, it is an absolute tenant of science that every bit of pertinent historical information must be presented, and that is what I was in part suggesting above.
        Papers, and ancillary material dating back to turn of the 19th century rarely get mentioned.
        How can one suggest a change when very little information is given as to from what a change is being shown.
        Having said that, I find myself quite in the skeptical crowd, but suggesting that there are many unknowns, and also disgusted with the attitude of narcissism among too many scientists
        and yep I have glanced over and will read the science of doom you suggested above, but as always with a skeptical (challenging mind)

      • Actually, that should be kilo mole instead of mole

      • OK Horst et al I read, actually glanced over the science of doom that you indicated. Nothing new for me there, at least not in my cursory skimming it. So I will pose a question for you or anyone else here. Much of that info I actually taught in Advanced Placement physics.

        It was known over a century ago that CO2 was saturated with respect to the IR frequencies it could absorb being emitted from the earth. Therefore, it was first thought that adding more CO2 would make no difference. That was before there was an understanding of quantum mechanics and heat transfer in gases.

        With the additional CO2 in the atmosphere, a change came in that the saturation point was closer to the earths surface, and with that a whole gamut of arguments about the back radiation being on a flat or a curved surface. Actually in terms of significance of the math and the reality of the situation I believe that fact is inconsequential.

        What is of consequence is the time between collisions of gas particles in the pressurized lower atmosphere. From what I have read and also calculated (and challenge me here if you have information to the contrary,) The mean time between collisions is at least one and perhaps several orders of magnitude less than the time it takes for an excited atom to re-emit a photon. Also, by far the majority of the gas particles which have absorbed KE energy by collision are not photon emitters.

        Therefore, the extra CO2 would have little or no effect in those conditions , so no increase in downwelling radiation. The main point of the whole situation is the feedback in water vapor which has an absorption spectra which overlaps that of CO2 H20 is of course a much greater so called greenhouse gas. With that in mind, certain observations should be occurring. Things which I am sure have been highly scrutinized here. Increased humidity, The so called warm spot in mid latitudes due to there being more surface water there.and more.

        Also, Will Happer sent me a copy of a paper that he and Freeman Dyson are working on regarding the edges (wings) of the CO2 absorption spectra. Freeman wants a longer paper than what Will sent me, but the general conclusion will be, it appears, that with respect to the wings of the absorption spectra there will be little or not effect with increased CO2

        Does anyone have a comment on this?

    • > The entire climate science world agreed in the 1970’s that the next ice age was coming.

      You’ve come to the right place.

      Welcome aboard, Denizen!

      Go team!

      • Perhaps I should add that according to over 50 articles I have collected from several science magazines, major newspapers, and the covers of magazines such as Time and Newsweek with articles such as “A gathering of 28 of the worlds most prominent scientists Agree”

        What is a young teacher at the time suppose to think, and present to his classes? And why might the same teacher decades later become more skeptical and a bit jaded?

      • Darryl: Don’t sweat it. Read popular media and be fooled. Those who can’t do, teach. Glad to see you fiercely stay within your comfort zone.

      • > Perhaps I should add that according to over 50 articles I have collected from several science magazines, major newspapers, and the covers of magazines such as Time and Newsweek with articles such as “A gathering of 28 of the worlds most prominent scientists Agree”

        Indeed, Darryl, that would indeed substantiate your claim that the entire climate science world agreed in the 1970’s that the next ice age was coming.

        You’re a perfect fit. Please stay.

      • There was actually no consensus over warming/cooling, either from scientists or journalists in the ’70’s. However “Ice Age cometh” makes a great headline, eh?
        Read:
        file:///C:/Users/Tony/Downloads/131047%20(4).pdf
        See Fig 2.

      • On the other hand, perhaps there were articles (in the literature) stating that no it has not been cooling from the 40’s to the 70’s. and I just did not come across any. To be sure, Hansen wrote at that time that the world was cooling, so did Schneider.
        Perhaps someone can present something from somewhere written at that time to the contrary, Anyone?
        However, the cause of cooling stated at the time, in much of the writing was the increase in CO2 due to the emissions of the burning of fossil fuel.

      • The cooling at that time was mostly attributed to the increasing aerosols and haziness caused by unclean burning of fossil fuels, especially producing sulfates. This realization led to clean-air acts that have improved the situation. Another popular fad at that time was about nuclear winter, which was also a particulate-based idea. So it was a competition between the particles cooling and the gases warming for a while, but things have changed, and the main particle risk now is volcanoes, not man. Now we have to do something about the gases that operate in the other direction.

      • Tony Banton, thank you for the articles.
        Noting that authors wrote the papers in 2008, I have to spend some time referring back to various items.
        At the time, really, the main stream media, as well as the journals I was reading went only one way.
        As to aerosols, from volcanoes and emissions, I think they were given as causes of either a lack or warming of cooling later. Also, the quantification of the amount of aerosols has been, as far as I can determine, suspect.

        A central theme I still would like to be at the fore front of discussion is that there are so many variables, the science is in its infancy, and there needs to be more honesty in all of it.

        The fact that antithetical to the green movement, satellite pictures show that the earth has become 15 to 20% greener, particularly in the semi-arid regions should at least be a consideration. That is because C3 type plants, over 95% including all trees, have to leave their stoma open for shorter periods of time in order to take in the CO2 needed.
        Secondly, the fact that societies, according to most all records, flourished during the warm periods should also at least be a consideration

    • David Springer

      Score: Biehn 1, Graben 0

  22. Complements to Dr. Curry and these competent commentators who bravely gaze upon this most demanding conceptional Gordian knot of disbelief/nonbelief and contemplate its reduction into rational submission.

    It puts me in mind of a Biblical text in Mark, which describes the healing of an afflicted child. The grateful father is told, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes.” Then we are told, “Immediately the father of the boy cried out—I do believe! Help my unbelief.”

    During my technical education, we ‘nerds’ would often scorn the gadfly ‘polysci’ majors with but a minor bit of respect. Now we find ourselves faced with real political scientists contaminating the serious environment of climate science. These people are apparently captivated by ideological, feel good motivation similar to that causing the rather grim condition of our government. But the operating norms of real science should apply negative feedback through real peer review. Pity the reality, the divisiveness and deceptions.

    Having gotten that off my octogenarian chest, I would like to recommend a great post by Willis Eschenbach over at WUWT which analyzes TRMM (rainfall) satellite data using mass, heat transfer and a little P Chem. Nothing earth shattering, mind you, but a little demonstration that the ever growing mass of physical data might just one day rid us of these meddling polysci’s.

    How Thunderstorms Beat The Heat
    Willis Eschenbach / 23 hours ago January 8, 2016

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/01/08/how-thunderstorms-beat-the-heat/

  23. David Springer

    “It is important to distinguish between disbelief and nonbelief– between believing a sentence is false and merely not believing it true.”

    I’m unsure if that’s true. :-)

    No, wait. I’m sure it’s not true. Disbelief and non-belief are synonyms.

    Duh.

    • Yeah. And we are in for about 300 comments that will feature some form of semantic quibbling, unless they are completely off-topic.

      • David Wojick

        Clarifying a confused concept is not semantic quibbling.

      • If you are confused over a simple concept, go ahead. I wonder how many people involved in the climate debate, which is almost entirely political, are worried about this little concept. And what difference would clarifying it make? In 500 words words or less, please.

    • David Wojick

      Not true. It is the difference between saying “that is true” versus “that is false” versus “I do not know.” In fact one of the weaknesses in most polls on climate is not including the option “we do not know.” There is a lot of “we do not know” in climate science.

      • It’s a political debate. If you want action you need people to believe. If they don’t believe, you don’t support for the action. Degrees of concern over the alleged problem also determine the ability to get action. This is not hard.

      • Cro-Magnon worked it out as Risk/Reward, until now.

      • In the same vein, there is no “neither” when the populous votes for a Representative, whether local, state, national, or presidential. Only one or the other, or not voting for either (not the same as a registered “neither”).
        “Skeptics” might vote “neither” based on “hype”, if nothing else. I suspect this is the trend in the “street” without “brain-washing”.

      • In the same vein, there is no “neither” when the populous votes for a Representative, whether local, state, national, or presidential.

        Yeah. I support a Constitutional Amendment requiring that all elections for people to elected posts include a “none of the above” category: if “none of the above” wins there’s got to be a new election, and nobody who ran in the first one is allowed to run in the next.

      • David Springer

        I’m sorry David Wojick. I didn’t know you were a distinguished linguist too.

        Will Merriam-Webster be publishing a correction soon based upon your expertise in determining that nonbelief, disbelief, and unbelief are not synonyms?

        http://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/nonbelief

  24. Complements to Dr. Curry and these competent commentators who bravely gaze upon this most demanding conceptional Gordian knot of disbelief/nonbelief and contemplate its reduction into rational submission.

    It puts me in mind of a Biblical text in Mark, which describes the healing of an afflicted child. The grateful father is told, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes.” Then we are told, “Immediately the father of the boy cried out—I do believe! Help my unbelief.”

    During my technical education, we ‘nerds’ would often scorn the gadfly ‘polysci’ majors with but a minor bit of respect. Now we find ourselves faced with real political scientists contaminating the serious environment of climate science. These people are apparently captivated by ideological, feel good motivation similar to that causing the rather grim condition of our government. But the operating norms of real science should apply negative feedback through real peer review. Pity the reality – the divisiveness and deceptions.

    Having gotten that off my octogenarian chest, I would like to recommend a great post by Willis Eschenbach over at WUWT which analyzes TRMM (rainfall) satellite data using mass, heat transfer and a little P Chem. Nothing earth shattering, mind you, but a little demonstration that the ever growing mass of physical data might just one day rid us of these meddling polysci’s.

    How Thunderstorms Beat The Heat
    Willis Eschenbach / 23 hours ago January 8, 2016

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/01/08/how-thunderstorms-beat-the-heat/

  25. “Unconvinced” — the largest category in my mental filing system are ideas that are branded “maybe so” and “unconvinced by current evidence”, followed by “probably not, but we’ll see”.

  26. People often liken not “believing” CAGW as similar to not “believing” gravity. They claim that if CAGW is only a theory, well gravity is also “only a theory.” I maintain there is a large difference between the two. It is true that not many decades ago there was a fairly large component of workers within physics who doubted that Einstein’s basic theories of special and general relativity would agree with experiments. Astronomers in particular were reluctant to accept the notion of black holes as anything other than a mathematical oddity, one which would not occur in reality. There were a variety of other candidate theories that predicted different results.

    However, over the past few decades a variety of terrestrial, satellite, and observational astronomy experiments have been performed specifically testing Einstein’s theories. In each case, the Einstein versions of special and general relativity have been confirmed to ever greater precision, so that all but only very slightly modified alternative theories are ruled out. The predictions of special relativity have been confirmed in experiments to better than a part in 10^10 in general, almost 10^20 in some experiments. Experiments confirming Einstein’s GR are more difficult but nevertheless are approaching confirmation to parts in 10^10.

    So there is no comparison between the rationales for CAGW and gravity. One predicts the outcomes of controlled experiments to many decimal places, the other is still struggling with the sign and cannot construct a controlled experiment.

    • a belief is an opinion based on insufficient information
      our entire conscious existence is based on constructs built with insufficient information
      science is doomed to live as the current fashionable construct

      gravity is a construct with which we describe what appears to us to be an effect in our physical environment
      there is nothing to believe in
      the fact of the matter is that “gravity” may not exist as some separate thing outside our observation
      (with apologies to Higgs)

      we seem to believe that we exist because there was a climate that allowed our existence
      entirely possible that it’s the other way ’round

      we or not evolution’s first and only mistake
      we should celebrate
      the universe is infallible
      :)

  27. I wrote about this excellent Truzzi essay last August, and as here, there were excellent comments. I am surprised that Steven Mosher hasn’t arrived to point out that no one will take any notice of sceptics until they have a decent rival theory.

  28. For some reason, my name here doesn’t lead directly to my website, which is http://www.donaitkin.com

  29. I usually stop reading when a writer uses the word “debunk”.

  30. More definitions:

    When you don’t know because you can’t take a look, that is called “hapless ignorance”. When you don’t want to take a look, that is called “wilful ignorance”.

    Example: we live on a hot mushy ball called Earth, and anyone purporting to be a “climate scientist” should be burning with curiosity about that hot ball and its deep hydrosphere, just for starters. This is the natural scholar’s urge to cure his “haplesss ignorance”.

    Instead, inquiry is limited to some aspects of the surface of the ball and some aspects of its atmosphere. What is unseen and/or inaccessible is simply left out of the equation. Best available knowledge is deliberately confounded with adequate knowledge, so the game will not be shut down.

    I’m actually not a judgement-suspending skep but a visceral enemy of the climatariat, one of those “disbelievers and debunkers”.

    Because nothing this silly has ever been this expensive.

    Because you do not want to be under-powered and under-resourced in an increasingly naughty world.

    Because while we politely cultivate “non-belief” others are wrecking and wasting in the name of a peculiar belief-set they impudently call their “science”.

    Don’t want to be given a nice name to reflect a better attitude. I’m happy to be made of snips ‘n ‘snails ‘n puppy dog tails.

  31. Thankyou Judith. The message is clear. This helps me understand the issue I have with “disbelievers” who are, naturally, “believers”. Keep them coming!

  32. Reblogged this on Climate Collections and commented:
    Outstanding discussion courtesy of Dr. Judith Curry.

  33. Judith wrote: “I have no idea how to untangle the mess that climate science has become, but scientists and institutions advocating for policies, without carefully describing the uncertainties and areas of ignorance, seems to be at the root of the problem.”

    I’ve always thought Steven Schneider had exactly the right words for resolving this mess, but those word were put together in the wrong context.

    “On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.”

    Policymakers, readers of IPCC reports and scientific journals have no special interest in the OPINIONS of climate scientists about what will make “the world a better place”. (Policy advocacy.) Most climate scientists work in isolated ivory towers dominated by left-wing ideology. They have expertise in only a tiny fraction of what makes the world a better place. They certainly aren’t elected or awarded grants to make the world a better place. By “offer[ing] up scary scenarios, mak[ing] simplified, dramatic statements, and mak[ing] little mention of any doubts, climate scientists WILL reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change – but only at the risk of wasting massive amounts of money on mitigation and neglecting more pressing problems. Balancing these costs and risks is not the job of a climate scientist called to testify in front of Congress or write reports for the IPCC. Policymakers need factual information including uncertainty about potential climate change, not opinions about making the world a better place. Climate scientists advising policymakers should be there to simply “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that [they] must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts.” And if a climate scientist is so worried about the possibility of disastrous climate change that he can’t behave like an ethical scientist, he should admit that he is or will be speaking or writing as a policy advocate. Unwillingness to behave as an “ethical scientist” should disqualify that scientist from writing reports for the IPCC. Congress may or may not wish to hear from a scientist who is speaking as a policy advocate, but they certainly are entitled to be informed whether testimony will be confined to the “whole truth … with doubts and caveats” or will include “scary scenarios” and “simplified, dramatic, [over-confident] statements. If I were a Congressman, I’d read Schneider’s statement and ask: “Are you speaking here today as an ethical scientist or a policy advocate? Did the written testimony you submitted include all of the doubts and caveats?” Do you believe that a “double ethical bind” will prevents you from being fully candid in your testimony?

    I’d also consider asking authors of IPCC reports to sign a similar statement. However, before doing so, it would make sense to ask the lead authors whether their writing teams are capable of properly discussing “all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts” without at least some scientists on their team who are skeptical of the consensus position.

    Consider the scientists who worked on the atomic bomb: Their expert opinion about the damage atomic weapons could cause was certainly relevant. Would it be appropriate for one of them solve their ethical double bind by sabotaging the project to prevent a bomb from being dropped on a Japanese city and risk causing the deaths of thousands of American soldiers in an invasion of Japan? If they thought a US monopoly on atomic weapons would be immoral, should they give the technology to the USSR.

    • I was very disappointed with Steven Schneider with the fact that his name was attached along with his grad students in a blacklisting of 496 scientists.
      (Anderleg et al) sp? The list was generated on who to not believe based on their conclusions using the amount of publications they have produced
      as a a metric.
      The very nature of it illustrates circular thinking, because funds and peer review procedures favor those who suggest significant AGW.
      The deeper one digs, it seems that corruption feeds itself

      Not to be trite, but the Hockey Stick, using a statistical method of Principal Components was obviously extremely flawed, but at the same time, data was not made available, nor was methodology, and it was accepted with grand applause by the IPCC .with very little review. The 2009 release of emails illustrated the corruption and the circled wagons.

  34. Compelling evidence CO2 has no effect on climate is presented in a peer reviewed paper at http://eae.sagepub.com/content/26/5/841.full.pdf+html

    What does cause average global temperature change (97% match since before 1900) is identified at http://agwunveiled.blogspot.com

  35. The public has gotten into the attitude of mind which it likes to call scepticism, but which is nothing more or less than dogmatism hiding under false colors.

    I call bull on this as nothing but nitpic condescension. You have a duty as a scientist to be skeptical when you witness diviner pointing down while waving his dousing rod and proclaiming, “there’s water right here.” There may well be water there if you dig deep enough and knowledge of the surrounding area may lead you to believe finding water in that very spot is likely but a healthy suspicion of witchcraft, superstition, feelings, moods political correctness, fear, mental disorder, religion or naked flimflammery is not dogmatism, it’s science.

  36. What do I ‘know?’
    Not much.

    Like Descartes I know that I exist. Say, but do I know
    that Descartes existed? I know that there’s the famous
    ‘Discourse on Method’ out there, written testimony,
    along with other publications, that someone purporting
    to be Descartes existed. I can follow a trail of data in
    the 1600s from town to town and country to country to
    the record of his death in Sweden at the court of Queen
    Christina, verifying that Descartes existed. Did Queen
    Christina exist? The data’s out there, but some claims
    to ‘knowledge’ involving fuzzy multi- interactions are
    more hubris than knowledge.

  37. Further, the most objective skeptics of this claim are those that do not have their own theory to push.

    Did Mosher read that/

    Did Mosher comprehend that?

    Will Mosher now acknowledge his oft repeated comment about sceptics is wrong, dead wrong?

    waiting …

  38. One important thing to remember about skepticism is that for some people in some situations, it is a luxury that they cannot afford. At those times, the calculus for the listener is along the lines of an Expected Value calculation, in which probability-weighted pros and cons of each course of action are weighed.
    In that environment, which includes many of us who don’t even know it, we are most easily influenced by people who succeed in making us afraid or angry.

  39. Related to Dr. Curry’s observation about the defensiveness and tribalism of the climate “establishment”, Tamsin Edwards had a wonderful thread on a somewhat pertinent topic: can scientists be advocates? More than a few scientists claimed they could be both, and that they should not be considered less objective for doing so.

    This seems to me to be the biggest blind-spot of the AGW supporters who are in the public eye trying to raise awareness of the dangers posed by climate change and/or stumping for particular public policies. They don’t seem to have a clue that their role as advocates drastically reduces people’s assessment of their objectivity when it comes to the science. We as a culture are constantly being bombarded by the messages of various advocates which are more or less intentionally manipulative and misleading. As a result, for a scientist to become known as an advocate fighting AGW is an instant disqualifier for a lot of people.

    • As a result, for a scientist to become known as an advocate fighting AGW is an instant disqualifier for a lot of people.

      I’m a logician. How in the world does that make the slightest logical sense?

      How about those scientists encouraging AGW as a way of damaging the biosphere? Would you also disqualify them?

      I have no idea how your logic makes the slightest sense.

      • I’m a logician.

        Hi, me too

      • Vaughan: I hope you approve of your inter stage multiplier for the data analysis filters I run on UAH and others.

        https://climatedatablog.wordpress.com/2015/12/21/moved-to-dropbox/

        The R there references you as a contributing maths advisor along with Greg Goodman. You might like to take a look.

      • Vaughan: If you have a chance then some of the other logic and scientific question over on my blog might interest you. We appear to talk similar languages.

      • Vaughan: You might also like to weigh in on

        https://climatedatablog.wordpress.com/2015/12/26/nyquist-doesnt-apply/

        My understanding of his work is that it applies in both Time and Space.
        To any data series, paper or mechanical.

        I would welcome your input.

      • David Springer

        Vaughn and Richard interacting promises to be very entertaining!

        Let the show begin!

      • “Let the show begin!”

        And you still think I am here by accident? My whole methodology id based on an implementation of his and Nyquist’s work.

        I even credit him so on my blog. Google will find me on this site and others (you do know I published there what I learned here?).

        All of that was and is available if you just take the time to click the link.

        If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. If I’m right……

      • Mods only: I wish you has said that earlier. Would have been quicker all round.

      • Damn – please take that out

      • Some times I think that we are asking Nate Silver to predict who will win 10 election cycles into the future. And pay the big Research War Chest up front now in a non trivial way. Very big hammer, very small nail with Science’s finger holding it. This is a genuine ‘right first time or else’ moment IMHO

      • From a purely logical point of view, it doesn’t.
        However, speaking statistically, psychologically, and/or cynically, it is easy to *imagine* and/or *assume* that the scientist advocate is under confirmation bias.

        And yes, if there were an opposing scientist/advocate trying to “damage the biosphere”, the pseudo-logic of the “tool of big oil” will rear its ugly head.

      • Unfortunately computing and hence science is blind to the importance and structure of the data you feed it or how you interpret the outputs. Those are your decisions way about ‘bit’ which all it really knows.

      • It can’t see your assumptions. It has none.

      • You do get that Newton’s work said that = is a Relative statement?

      • “Let the show begin!”
        OK. So want to pick ahead of time which bits he agrees with and which he says I an wrong in then? Shortest race in Climate history, but then again you already know all the answers don’t you?

      • Newton’s health, and confusion to mathematics.

      • David Springer

        I’m not sure if Vaughn will take the bait, Richard. In the end he’s going to blow you off as too far below his pay grade to engage in any meaningful discourse. The entertaining bit will be the form and duration of his patience with you provided there’s enough for him to begin responding.

      • You do realise that he is the tutor to the work I did afterwards. All I am asking is if I got what he said right. Always wise to check.

  40. Well, it is true “disbelievers” should in many cases be pronounced “deniers”, as is the case with climate change denial, but I am not a fan of Marcello Truzzi or Thomas Kunh for that matter,

    Marcello Truzzi wanted to believe in paranormal. That’s why he launched the term pseudoskeptisism.

    I fear he might have done it for purely objective reasons and that is a crying shame.

    Anyways, I don’t find it surprising, that the term become fashionable amongst promoters of woo, who nowadays use is systematically to dismiss any critical skepticism.

    Together with Kuhnian delusion about scientific revolutions, the legacy of Truzzi surely facilitates the trait of believing in miracles.

    Whatever, I don’t find philosophy a lot of help in understanding reality, though pondering philosophical questions can be very entertaining indeed. We just need to remember, that mother nature could not care less what we think is entertaining.

  41. I think that this parallel observation is relevant here

    COULD SCIENCE AND RESEARCH NOW BE DYING?

    “Other science writers have concluded that science is undergoing decay and degeneration despite its celebrated progress [e.g., 6,7]. I agree with these perceptions. The nature and goals of modern scientific research at universities have changed so much that I am sadly convinced that modern science is withering from its former vigorous state. Since there presently is almost no push against the causes of this very undesirable situation, and since there are no easy means to accomplish all the reforms and rescue efforts needed to reverse the current very negative trends, I do indeed believe that modern science actually could be dying. Although science still is quite alive, to me it obviously is not well.”

    They Just Don’t Realize What Happens if Science Dies!! (http://dr-monsrs.net)

    I have to say I agree.

  42. There is no legitimate confusion regarding what the term “skeptic” means. I don’t believe the standard dictionary definition has changed significantly in my lifetime.

    From Merreiam-Webster:
    Full Definition of skepticism
    1: an attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or toward a particular object
    2 a: the doctrine that true knowledge or knowledge in a particular area is uncertain
    b: the method of suspended judgment, systematic doubt, or criticism characteristic of skeptics

    The “confusion” regarding the term is entirely the product of the Orwellian obscurantism practiced by progressives in general and warmists in particular.

    Here’s the above article in Cliff’s Notes form:

    Skepticism = acknowledged uncertainty

    My own formulation would be:

    Warmism = theological certainty (aka vanity)
    Denailsim = a figment of progressives’ imagination
    Skepticism = acknowledgement of uncertainty (aka humility)

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  44. Yet more thick the plot becomes – where an individual or group invent arguments which not only do not exist in the real world but are fleeting notions merely concocted to discredit unfavourable information. Thus the sceptic or doubter is one that has to question and postulate arguments to counter fiction produced by the scientific fraudster. It remains true that AR4 had concluded that
    1 90% of global warming happens in the ocean
    2 the Atlantic represents near 50% of this warming despite being 23% of the oceans volume
    yet even sceptics remain sceptic when it is demonstrated that the sun is providing additional heat to this ocean – that scepticism is a discipline as deep rooted and guarded as that religious fervour of the anti emissions franchise. Where sceptics, by their very nature are as adverse to facts placed in front of them as the luvies with their inconvenient truths…….

  45. I have no idea how to untangle the mess that climate science has become.

    Multiple, unofficial, self-started, college-based, competing Science Courts.

  46. “This threat (sic) echoes the others at the various sites discussing the question: disinterest by both sides in the debates. Each side’s knows they are right. Neither side has much interest in finding tests that a broad range of scientists (or policy makers, depending on the debate addressed) will consider fair.

    Here we see the commonplace anti-intellectualism — anti-science — of American culture expressed yet again.”

    I find this comment above curious, given the substance of the article itself.

    This moral equivalence (actually intellectual equivalence?) between skeptics and warmists is nonsense. It is fair to say that both sides feel a sense of certainty. But the nature of that of which they are certain is vastly different in kind.

    Warmists are certain that they understand the Earth’s climate sufficiently to model it with sufficient accuracy to predict global average temperature to within tenths of a degree over the next 100 years. The science is settled. Not only is there no reason for debate, but those who attempt to debate should be prosecuted.

    Skeptics’ only certainty is that the claims of certainty by warmists in their models, their paleo-climate and the precision of their manipulated data, are false. I know of no prominent skeptic who claims that they know the Earth will not warm by 2 degrees centigrade over the next 90 years. Until I read the above comment in this thread, I thought this was in fact the author’s point.

    So there is “certainty” on both sides, but there is no equivalence here.

    As for we stupid, anti-intellectual – anti-science Americans, we were admittedly dumb enough to elect Obama (well, not me, but the rest of you…), but perhaps you might notice we are not quite as far over the edge of the economic “green” abyss as you more sophisticated Europeans. Why are the Americans, at least some of whom embrace genuine skepticism, to be considered anti-science, while the dogmatic, lock step Euros are enlightened intellectuals? (That’s a rhetorical question, just in case you were wondering.)

    Where are the skeptical politicians of Europe? Do you really think their ideological uniformity on all things climate is a sign of their being pro-intellectual – pro-science? Are you kidding me?

    Look, climate science stopped being about science in 1988. It is politics pure and simple now. Until very recently, all the major European parties have been progressive, and thus have had no real differences on the “science” of climate change. But we still have some genuine conservatives in the US, so our debate is, to use a term I am beginning to hate, robust.

    I am simply astounded that this is seen as being anti-science, by an author who trumpets the virtue of “critical ignorance”.

    • GaryM,

      Good point re. the “debate” in the U.S. vs. Europe. We haven’t gone over the Green Abyss yet, but this next election is crucial in stepping back from it.

      However, as long as American Progressives control acceptable thought and behavior in the Universities, the Societies and the Journals, policy makers who do not accept their manufactured consensus will be cast as anti science, illiterate or corrupt..

  47. This is kinda fun, true, false, FIIK. It is more like true?(FIIK), false?(FIIK) and FIIK. Only 9 days into the New Year and FIIK gets its shot.

    If AGW is the worst problem ever faced by mankind it is CAGW, but FIIK. Pretty much every action depends on this first FIIK. For most individuals, death is the most pressing concern but for AGW the death of x numbers of individuals is part of the solution.

    Starvation is a pretty big concern for larger groups of individuals but burning calories to combat AGW is part of the solution.

    Affordability of basic needs is a huge concern of huge portions of all populations but to combat AGW limiting access through increased cost of energy to product and deliver those basic needs is a huge part of the solution.

    If you base your truth on a FIIK things can get weird in a hurry :)

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  49. “On distinguishing disbelief and non-belief”

    I thought Science had evolved away from a belief system into a more disinterested conversation

    • https://climatedatablog.wordpress.com/2016/01/10/twitter/

      #AnEnergyChallenge2016

      (this was for fun – strange how few people look beyond the words)

      #richardthelionheart2016

    • The meeting I would pay to see

      I think that the greatest meeting I could ever wish to script would be one where Archimedes, Newton, Maxwell, Tutte, Turing, Einstein, Pratt & Hawkins sat, round table, to discuss how their viewpoint might inform the others.

      I’ll just sit with Flowers and make sure the water glasses are filled, if I may.

    • Reply to your 1/10, 3:45pm comment, above: belief remains a crucial part of the social milieu of us technical folk (scientists, mathematicians, engineers, technicians). Perhaps you’ve seen this:

      https://www.cs.columbia.edu/~angelos/Misc/p271-de_millo.pdf

      • Well I have spent my working lifetime making those little virtual clockwork engines running on those electric clockwork engines you call applications and computers work as expected.

        Most of the time it is just a miss-understanding. Telling someone something and they hearing something different to what you thought you had said.

      • “Well I have spent my working lifetime making those little virtual clockwork engines running on those electric clockwork engines you call applications and computers work as expected.”

        If you mean software, then so have I (11 years in infusion pumps, 13 years with flight controls). My experience with delivering any system with significant safety implications is my bosses and customers evaluated my work by gut-feel.

        I can do proofs of correctness. I can run “exhaustive” automated tests. My work went through review at each developments stage and has passed audit. Yet still, before delivering complex systems where a failure means a Really Bad Day for A Lot of People, I have had to resort to the “grandma argument”, which is as simple as this: “look I would let them hook this thing up to my grandma (and yes, I do love her)”.

        Scientists, mathematicians, and engineers do a fair amount of (a) trusting and (b) persuading people to trust them, and in this process people often don’t have the time, energy, or interest in slogging through all the details.

        In short, we are bound to be disappointed if we regard “belief” as having no part of technical work.

      • P.S. That not believe at work. That’s physics.

      • Me, I tend to ask for the documentation and test data myself. I do so try not to make assumptions anymore. Too many rabbit holes, too little time.

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  53. The temper tantrum that climate scientists are collectively throwing, demanding that people accept their proclamations, because, you know, “it’s science,” is demonstrably not. In the real world, people simply do not have the time or energy to empirically prove to themselves any but a vanishingly small fraction of the propositions that they need to live their lives. As a practical matter, other epistemologies must be employed most of the time. And, having chosen not to employ reductionist methodology to a given proposition, it is not “denying science” to decline to accept the authority of someone else who purports to have done it for them. It is, rather, the application of a completely different, and necessary, epistemology.

    The strength of the scientific method is that permits the transmission of certainty in the minds of anyone who (1) subscribes to the epistemology of the method, and (2) who applies the method for themselves. The famous story about Hobbes, proving to himself the accuracy of a geometry theorum that, upon first inspection, he was certain was untrue, illustrates the second point. Something is only proved by reductionism once you actually do the analysis, for yourself. As soon as one resorts to a short-cut–e.g., accepting ideas on the authority of others–then it’s not the scientific method any more. At that point, you might as well be accepting the authority of a Catholic priest, from the epistemological perspective of the scientific method.

    One can debate the wisdom of who we choose as our authorities, too, but never mistake that debate for science.

  54. In climate discussions, wielding of the term “denier” is invariably prima facie evidence that the writer or speaker is intent on misleading his audience. The basic tactic being obfuscation and deliberate misbranding of sceptics as deniers.
    The essential difference is nicely stated in the cited essay as

    scepticism is not unbelief in the sense of denial

    Scepticism is not denial. Scepticism is not denial. How many more times will this still need to be repeated to quell alarmist charlatanism?

    • Re: “how many more times …”

      I don’t think that will quell anything soon, for two reasons:
      1) using “denier” is an effective tactic for swaying public opinion and intimidating “deniers”, and
      2) some people with paranoid/conspiracy-theorist leanings will identify themselves as skeptics when what they are really doing is stopping their ears and saying “blah blah blah I can’t hear you”.

      What real skeptics need to do is start by sincerely acknowledging any points of agreement they have with the warmists, and by acknowledging that there really are “deniers”. That will go a long way.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Horizontal heat transport does not average out. You know that. You’ve seen tons of literature, from me, that shows you it doesn’t and haven’t produced anything that shows it does. Shame on you for propagating myths.

      • Your reply seems like it is to some message other than mine. Or we’re talking past each other… :-)

      • stevenreincarnated

        Sorry, this was meant for Jim D.

      • steevn, in a global average you deal with heat in and heat out, not heat sideways. Check out, even, Monckton or Lewis and Curry and Lindzen for how they do global energy budgets like the mainstream and they don’t complain about the method. You need to complain to them first and see how far you get.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Jim, in the real world changing heat sideways also changes albedo and water vapor. Unless the models are even worse than we thought!

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

        You know I have a bunch of references just like that one. Why do you continue to argue by assertion? It isn’t an appealing attribute.

      • Jim D
        the majority of scientists, funded by many countries, have a view echoed by the IPCC. You distrust this view, but say that it is not a conspiracy driven by either ideology or funding.

        You’ve been trying to sidestep this blatantly obvious point for years. So unless dementia has got to you, you well know that I say virtually the opposite :
        It is of course driven by funding and ideology; even you know that. With no conspiracy explanation needed, since clearly climate alarmism is very much in the funder’s interests. And obviously you don’t need a conspiracy to explain an organisation working to further it’s own interests. The conspiracy notion you keep trying to inject, is just a strawman, ie an act of blatant dishonesty, putting political correctness above science.

        The only actual conspiracy theorists here are those who claim government climate science is NOT biased. And it is on them that the burden of proof rests.

        Note that your answer will have to include actual science to get any points.

        Note that it doesn’t, since this about the PROCESS of science : who and what the funder chooses to fund, hiding and fiddling of data etc attracting no real censure in government climate ‘science’).

    • What they are denying is that most of the warming is very likely anthropogenic. They are not just skeptical of this statement, but they think it is almost certainly false, aka denial of this statement. It is disbelief, not nonbelief.

      • Jim D
        All you do knowingly repeat the falsehood that skeptics are deniers.

      • I am not saying all skeptics are deniers. Some really are only skeptical of the IPCC’s “very likely most” statement, but there are some who are convinced that it is unlikely “most”, and won’t be persuaded, so those are the ones I would call “deniers”. There is a clear separation on this question, and only the ones who allow for its truth but are so far unconvinced either way are the skeptics.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Jim, are the 17% of climate scientists that think it is more than 100% also deniers or just the 12% that thinks it is less?

      • Interesting interpretation. Those saying more than 100% are included as signing up to the most idea. They could have phrased it as most or all, but they didn’t, so most includes all as a subset. Even most of that 12% who don’t sign up to more than 50% aren’t very sure of it (usually just saying likely instead of very likely, or just saying they don’t know), so they are not full-on deniers. It’s mainly on these blogs that you get the full-on denier type with few (but not zero) in the actual scientific community.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Only 33.6% of the over 50% crowd were virtually certain. 14.3% of the less than 50% crowd were virtually certain. They don’t show how many of the over 100% crowd were virtually certain. So 33.6% of 65.9% are virtually certain it is over 50%. Call that 22%. Now you are part of the group that is virtually certain that it is over 100%. Even if you get as high a percentage for the over 100% being virtually certain as for the over 50% claiming virtual certainty (which isn’t likely), you are part of a 6% crowd. Do you prefer the label skeptic or denier?

      • steven, we went through this before. Asking my position on less than 50% is like asking me if I am skeptical or deny unicorns. Not a useful question for me. There is zero evidence, so nothing to be skeptical of in the first place. I tend to deny things with zero evidence.

      • stevenreincarnated

        You are part of the 22% that says it is virtually impossible it can’t be below 50% and part of the ~6% that thinks it is virtually impossible it is less than 100%. All I want to know now if what you prefer to be called.

      • …with respect to what precise statement? You make a statement that you think is true and I will state my position on it.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Do you think it is virtually certain that over 50% of the warming since 1950 was anthropogenic?

        Do you think it is virtually certain that over 100% of the warming since 1950 was anthropogenic?

      • Yes to both.

      • stevenreincarnated

        You are every bit as radical from that end of the spectrum as most of the skeptic/deniers are that comment here. Now all I want to know is would you prefer to be called a skeptic or a denier?

      • You haven’t stated a position to be skeptical of yet. You only said something I am more likely to agree with. On my yes answer, it is the same as the answer to whether the imbalance is positive, which according to Lewis and Curry (for one) it is by four to seven standard deviations, so my position logically follows that with similar probabilities.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Jim, if you are virtually certain that something is above a particular level you are also virtually certain it isn’t below that level. You haven’t picked your label yet.

      • My label is consensus.

      • Jim D | January 16, 2016 at 1:21 pm | Reply
        What they are denying is that most of the warming is very likely anthropogenic.

        Well, saying most of the warming is anthropogenic doesn’t mean much. I believe that most of the warming is anthropogenic.

        The warming is about 1/3 natural, 1/3 ALW, and 1/3 AGW.

      • PA, no, it isn’t saying much, but many here can’t even bring themselves to say that much.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Since when does having the same view as approximately 6% of the experts considered part of a consensus? Are you in denial?

      • I don’t deny the IPCC consensus view. My view falls within it. That’s the good thing about a consensus view that is only defined as very likely most. I agree with the people who say very likely. I would disagree with someone who says it absolutely can’t be more than 100%, if you are looking for a statement I would deny.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Sounds like they skewed the acceptable views in the IPCC to include the fringe elements of one side and not the other. Perhaps that should clue us in as to what bias we are dealing with when we read it.

      • Very likely most is the median view. You can look at Verheggen’s poll. That’s the way to represent a spectrum of views. Some say that this view of “most” is likely false, rather than true to various extents, and those would be a special class with regard to the consensus position. The dividing line is 50% which is probably a useful one. You can put it elsewhere for sure, but that is not where the IPCC put it.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Jim, that’s the poll I’ve been pulling the numbers from.

      • Yes, you can see from that, if the poll had been centered on 75%, there would have been a lot more “don’t knows” unless you just look at the attribution expert subclass who seem weighted more towards 100%. With 50%, you get very few don’t knows because that catches a polarization gap between the majority and minority views.

      • stevenreincarnated

        By that line of logic why stop with over 100%? People that thought over 1000% would be included as part of the consensus also. I think I’ll just call you a 6%er until you pick a label for yourself.

      • The question asked was about 50%. Relative to that I am in the consensus. You can subdivide the consensus into as many minorities as you like, e.g. 50-60%, 60-70%, etc. Most can’t answer with that level of precision, so it ends up being meaningless to try to do that.

      • stevenreincarnated

        The question was about 50%? I thought we were talking about how to place your views on the spectrum.

      • I would say virtually certain > 100% and I also gave reasons for this. This is especially since Vergheggen’s question only asked about GHGs. If you add aerosols and landuse for total anthropogenic, it brings it down a hair.

      • stevenreincarnated

        I don’t really feel like starting the conversation from scratch, again. It’s perfectly clear you don’t wish to have a label that an objective look at the numbers would bring you and it is also perfectly clear you will extend the conversation indefinitely rather than just admit you have an outlying view every bit as far away from the consensus view as most skeptics.

      • If you look at the poll, it is the most popular view among the attribution and aerosol experts. I think also that nearly everyone agrees that there is warming in the pipeline that logically leads to that >100% view if people would just think more the way the attribution experts already clearly are. Most people just aren’t thinking it through what a positive imbalance today means for forcing and attribution.

      • The problem with statements attributing a certain amount of the warming to mankind is that the percentage of warming is based on mathematical modeling, I believe. Since the accurate modeling of anthropogenic effects has so far eluded us, it is a problematic thing to quantify. Add to that the uncertainties in the various data sources, and you’re not talking about a computed number any more, you’re talking about a guess. An educated guess, but still a guess.

      • In this case, such questions can be settled by measurements. The rising OHC over the past few decades says there is a positive imbalance. Why is there a positive imbalance? Because the forcing has increased significantly and rapidly? Why has the forcing increased significantly and rapidly? Because we are adding GHGs. It is a straight line. There is no guessing involved.

      • You make it sound simple–can you provide a reference as to how this “straight line” (based on measurements) is inferred or computed?

        And can you explain why, if it is so simple, why AR5 says this:
        “It is extremely likely [95 percent confidence] more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together.” “More than half” does not sound anywhere near as precise as you make it seem.

      • The positive imbalance means that all the warming so far has not been enough to catch up with the forcing, which is itself still rising. You can refer to AR5 for the forcing attribution, which is pretty much all anthropogenic with aerosols partially offsetting GHGs, and with solar and volcanoes not amounting to much. Logic dictates warming is >100% anthro. Skeptics have not yet figured out that a positive imbalance means >100% because they have not denied this fact yet. Perhaps they did not see the slippery slope, and straight line argument.

      • Thanks for the response. However, I don’t see how it addresses my question. Where AR5 says “more than half”, JimD seems to be saying, “pretty much all”. I look at AR5 and see these big error bars (TS.3, p. 66), which are reflected in their language. (Also, the contributions don’t add up to the observations, if I read the chart right. but that’s another matter.)

        Thanks again for helping me understand this.

      • It says very likely more than half because they have people who would still say 5% chance less than half. It’s a way of expressing consensus, and it is fine to do it that way. The IPCC are very conservative in their statements. Sea level rise is another issue where they understated it by assuming no major increase in the glacier loss rate because they did not know whether it would or wouldn’t. Their conservatism does take criticism, but it gets the job done because more sign up to their statements, so it is fine for policymaking.

      • “It says very likely more than half because they have people who would still say 5% chance less than half. It’s a way of expressing consensus, and it is fine to do it that way.” …

        “Their conservatism does take criticism, but it gets the job done because more sign up to their statements, so it is fine for policymaking.”

        I see your point, but IMO that sort of vagueness is what the Summary for Policymakers is for. On the other hand, the Technical Summary could just as easily say, “65%, normal distribution, sigma is 7.5%”. That still puts 5% below the halfway mark (as you suggest, above), and supplies much more information. My gripe is that this number was supposedly calculated, but the presentation–even in the TS– looks like a spitball estimate.

        I deal with statistical data all the time in my work, and–not to put to fine a point on it–the “very likely more than half” language is not at all the language a technical person speaks unless they are blowing smoke. Can’t you point me to anything that “looks like math”?

      • The consensus is the kind of math you have to do for a poll. Polls are used to evaluate and summarize a range of views. It turns out that the median view falls into the category very likely more than half when you arrange somewhat qualified people on a spectrum from virtually certain more than half, through don’t know, through to extremely likely less than half. As you increase the level of qualification it goes towards even more certainty, and that is because these people have more quantified evidence that they understand the meaning of, e.g. the imbalance I mentioned. (Verheggen poll).

      • Thanks for the Verheggen reference. I can see how it relates to your answer, but I’m afraid it’s rather unsatisfying. Because even if I accept the proxies for expertise, and like Verheggen I poll those who are “the most qualified” (a rather strange concept, no?) I still have a large group of reputed *experts* who have not come to complete agreement on how to do the math (what data to use, how to compensate for its errors, how to weight it against contradictory data, etc).. Not to mention the fact that among those polled, I suspect that you’d find some interesting opinions about who rates as most qualified. From my perspective, it looks a little like the story of the blind men describing the elephant.

        Don’t get me wrong–I do not question anyone’s integrity or intelligence, and I realize it’s a politically sensitive area of research, but it’s a little disturbing to me that the IPCC reports, which are supposed to be kind of a gold-standard, would have such a weak, vague statement in the tech. summary.

        Perhaps I expect too much–climate science is still in its infancy, and overcaution may be the better part of valor. But it’s very frustrating to somebody who wants to “look under the hood”.

      • As I mentioned, a lot of the scientists think the statements are weak too. They can be a lot more solid, especially with attribution, but things like imbalance are a little too esoteric, so it gets diluted by maybe volcano, solar and ice experts who don’t study attribution or the ocean heat content. It’s meant to be an open input system, but dilution is what you get from that, and that dilution is a lot of times from the less expert people in the subject areas, who understand it less and so want to add more doubt, not because of the science, but because of themselves.

      • Fair enough, JimD. I guess what I’m seeing is the limitations imposed by the situation. It’s not much different where I work–you get a range of opinions from different perspectives, and things get murky when including the perspectives of people who have to not only get a good technical answer but have to sell it to people who aren’t that trusting, won’t like your advice, and are not all that knowledgeable.

        Thanks for your patience in this discussion. I appreciate the chance to discuss this with someone who (a) who seems well-read on the science, (b) shows respect for those he disagrees with, and (c) has the time to hang out with them on a blog where he’s going to face a not-entirely-friendly treatment.

        If I were hosting a “beer summit” to discuss environmental issues, I’d make sure you were invited. :-)

      • Thanks for the compliment. It should be realized that for every person who thinks that the IPCC is too certain, there is an equal number who thinks it is too uncertain. This follows from that poll of scientists. That shows that they have successfully taken a central position, but it is unfortunate that the more expert people tend to reside on the more certain side, and that is not accounted for.

      • If Peter Minnett is right about how the enhanced greenhouse effect causes the oceans to warm, it would look exactly like this graph: unrelenting, La Nina or EL Nino, all arrows are up:

        And it will not stop until all warming is drained out of the pipeline and into the earth system. Start polishing James E. Hansen’s Nobel Prize.

      • stevenreincarnated

        I don’t see changes in ocean heat transport in the AR5 attribution and yet they know their climate models indicate it not only can change the energy budget but can change it in dramatic ways. The uncertainties on that missing bar would be huge.

      • That is because it is a response, not a forcing. You have the ocean heat uptake and the Planck response. Those are the two parts that respond to the forcing.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Jim, if the world were 2 dimensions I might agree with you. Since it is 3 they need to include horizontal heat transport. They know that or at least they should. If a person didn’t know that they’d probably be a 6%er.

      • These are global averages.

      • It should be realized that for every person who thinks that the IPCC is too certain, there is an equal number who thinks it is too uncertain. This follows from that poll of scientists. That shows that they have successfully taken a central position,

        Since these scientists are selected and paid by government, and since government has such a huge vested interest in alarmism, what this ‘central’ position is centered on, is a bias towards alarmism. Certainly not any interest in the truth.

        ( This should surprise noone. The inner workings of government climate ‘science’ were and remain starkly illustrated by the continuing deafening silence, official coverups, and utter lack of repentance and rebuke over the science fraud revealed by Climategate ).

      • Punksta, I believe that every human institution goes through times of scandal–ugly behavior which though dismaying, rarely reflects the character of the enterprise as a whole or on a permanent basis. I.e., we need to have some perspective on Climategate.

      • Like I said, some people distrust all scientists, not just those in the US but globally. It makes no sense to believe in a worldwide conspiracy, but sense doesn’t stop some people.

      • wrecktafire > .. every human institution goes through times of scandal … rarely reflects the character of the enterprise as a whole or on a permanent basis … need to have some perspective on Climategate.n Climategate.

        And the perspective is the ongoing lack of any repentance and criticism whatsoever. There in bright lights is the flawed character of the enterprise as a whole for you.

      • Punksta: you of course have a point about repentance and self-criticism–it does seem remarkably absent WRT the UEA misbehavior, for example.

        However, although I can’t point you to specific examples, I think we are seeing a consensus build within the climate research establishment that all data and computer code must be made available to “the outside”. I think I am also seeing a widening of the peer-review pools.

        If true, this is repentance of a different kind and perhaps more important kind–the quiet improvement of behavior that one often sees in people/organizations who have “gotten away with something”. They are embarrassed, and don’t want to be embarrassed again. I don’t think any climate scientist wants to be in the position of Michael Mann, having his/her math paraded before the US Congress, or being known for producing a “Hide the Decline”-type temperature graph.

        Perhaps JimD has more insight into this…

        Cheers, etc,

      • Jim D
        some people distrust all scientists, not just those in the US but globally.
        Disingenuous. As you well know, this isn’t about distrusting all scientists, its about distrusting government-funded climate scientists.

        It makes no sense to believe in a worldwide conspiracy
        That’s why noone does. It makes no sense for you to keep bringing out this pathetic strawman. (Mmm perhaps it does, you may dupe a few people I suppose).

      • Jim D’s “conspiracy” strawman, contd.

        With an obvious and huge vested interest in play here, there is plainly no need to posit a conspiracy to explain institutional bias.

        And to say there’s a “conspiracy” in government to foment climate alarmism, makes no more sense than saying corporations have a “conspiracy” to make profits.

        That’s why noone does. And only the deeply dishonest try and put such foolish words in the mouths of others.

      • Punksta, the majority of scientists, funded by many countries, have a view echoed by the IPCC. You distrust this view, but say that it is not a conspiracy driven by either ideology or funding. So maybe you can explain a non-conspiracy reason for your level of distrust of the actual science. Note that your answer will have to include actual science to get any points.

      • wrecefire

        Yes it is possible that some rehabilitation of government climate science is happening, more openness etc. Mosher seems to think so.

        So blatant cheating may well be reduced. But nothing can be done to reduce the bias the funder retains.

    • Yes, there are such people as deniers – people who think we know CAGW is false. Together with alarmists they form a group, having in common a belief that although we lack the technology to measure/test for AGW, we know it is false/true.
      Skeptics – the overwhelming majority here – are people who say we can’t say. Yet, in any case.
      But those like Jim D seeking to muddy the waters, will doubtless persist trying to conflate skeptics and deniers.

    • But … golly gosh … just realised – since I deny we know CAGW is true, I am a denier. Jim D is right after all.

      But … then .. I also deny we know it is false. So I’m a denier twice over. My mistake is even worse than I thought.

      • Denier squared,heh, that’s bad!!!!

      • Q: Say what side are you on in the global warming
        debate?

        A: I’m on the southern- eastern side, that’s if you’re
        starting point is Greenwich,G.B. Staring points can be so
        confusingly cherry picking, can’t they, A?

        A: You are not the questioner here, den-eye-err. I get
        to ask the questions, not you.

      • Ja, vee argst ze kveschins.
        Und for you, ze climate vorr iss oafer, denierschweinhund.

      • Und vee order you, morgan, to be prezent at ze
        Paul Ehrlich Schadenfreude Earth Day Celebration,
        capitalizt shvein.

      • Punksta, nope, that just makes you a skeptic. To qualify as a denier you would have to have some degree of certainty in the opposite view, which is for you to say very unlikely mostly anthropogenic. You don’t qualify as a denier if you are just saying you don’t know. Sorry to disappoint.

      • Yes, exactly – a skeptic. The category so often misrepresented as a denier by yourself and others.

      • I don’t know about others, but I always make a distinction. Don’t blame me.

      • Punksta,

        Did you see Warwick Hughes’ reply to your comment here: https://judithcurry.com/2016/01/13/on-the-status-of-scientists-emails/#comment-758786

        He sent it to me to post for him because he got blocked by the password. He’s posted a history of the events on his web site and the comment includes a link to it.

      • Jim D,

        Do you acknowledge you are a denier, since your deny the relevant facts?

      • Oh thanks Peter.
        Climate ‘scientist’ Phil Jones:

        This guy pesters me from time to time … He wants to find fault with some of our station data and by default that the world isn’t warming … He wants to discredit what I’ve done.

        Yes, one can understand poor Phil. If there is one thing that science has no place for at all , it’s pestering.
        And checking data too. Yuk! So okay, yes … two things.
        Oh – and discrediting. Now that really is the pits. Below the belt. Traitorous. Yeah, okay okay – three things.

        Thank heavens then his university and the climate hierarchy took such swift, public and stern disciplinary action against him eh? Then and after Climategate too. Or cynics might think the whole climate establishment was similarly up to its eyeballs in sabotaging the scientific process.

  55. Judith : In the common parlance of the climate debate, it seems that ‘deniers’ are ‘disbelievers.’ Their disbelief is fueled the perception of pathological science that is fueled by political beliefs.

    Not only disbelief (denial), but also unbelief (scepticism) too is prompted by the perception of pathological science that is fuelled by both totalitarian-leaning political beliefs, and the cold fact of political funding.

  56. I’m distressed that no-one has taken up Jim D’s challenge – do you believe in unicorns?

    I do – on first-hand evidence. I’ve seen one – in the wild. I even took a photograph of it – which sadly was accidentally deleted shortly afterwards, in an incompetent effort to make space for new shots. You may feel that being unable to produce the alleged photograph weakens my case. If so, I shall have to fall back on scientific consensus – the unicorn is well recognised by zoologists, and has even been given an official binomial – Rhinoceros unicornis .

    Of course, the real unicorn does not conform to the numerous myths about it. It is not like a white horse with a long delicate fluted horn in its forehead – nor does it show any special affinity for sexually inexperienced human females.

    Likewise I believe in ‘global warming’. There have been several periods in the recent past where temperatures have gone up – in the 1930’s and in the last two decades of the 20th century. It seems likely that CO2 played a part in the second of those, at least. But (or so I believe) how great a part is not clear. And no-one seems to contend that human emissions of CO2 had effects on global temperatures before the latter half of the 19th century. So my position here parallels my view on unicorns. Following the distinctions that this thread is about – I believe that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. I do not believe – or disbelieve – that climate change may be a serious potential threat to the human race. I disbelieve – as a myth – that we are justified in spending trillions now for fear of what may (or may not) happen by the end of this century. So – it’s climate change, Jim, but not as you know it!

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  58. What I’d like to see is the histogram of the spread an individual would give to the decile that the true anthropogenic number (i.e., percentage of mankind’s contribution in the last hundred years) lies in. For completeness we allow a “zero %” contribution bucket for the “deniers” to rate their estimate, and a “100%” bucket for those who do not recognize any natural variability.

    Mine would be:
    5% in 30-40%
    20% in 40-50%
    35% in 50-60%
    20% in 60-70%
    5% in 70-80%

    Then we could get away from this kind of language used by AR5:

    “It is *extremely likely* [95 percent confidence] *more than half* of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together.”

    Surely scientists can do better than the AR5 example!
    And as long as I’m wishing, I wish this “95% confidence” language were explained better (because I’m pretty sure they don’t mean what those words normally mean.)

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