The Denialism Frame

by Andy West

An inadequately testable and inappropriate framing.

 1. Introduction

Geoff Chambers commenting recently in a Cliscep Post reminded me of the paper ‘Denialism: what is it and how should scientists respond?’ by Diethelm and McKee (D&M2009). Chambers calls this paper ‘the standard scientific work on Denialism’, and rightly so I think. Certainly the paper is quoted or referenced in support of many works1. Its principles also form the core of the wiki page for Denialism. Though the word ‘denialism’ existed prior to D&M2009, the paper appears to have contributed to increasing usage4 along with academic legitimization. I found no in-depth analysis of the popular framing of ‘denialism’ as promoted by D&M2009, despite its impact on several domains and not least that of climate change. So my own analysis follows.

2.  Criteria for recognizing ‘denialism’

As noted the wiki page for Denialism references D&M2009, in support of the assertion that denialism presents common features across topic domains via which denialist behavior can be recognized. Wiki summarizes the same five characteristics proposed by the paper thusly5:

  1. Conspiracy theories — Dismissing the data or observation by suggesting opponents are involved in “a conspiracy to suppress the truth”.
  2. Cherry picking — Selecting an anomalous critical paper supporting their idea, or using outdated, flawed, and discredited papers in order to make their opponents look as though they base their ideas on weak research. [This is number 3 in D&M2009, and some sources point to cherry picking of data too].
  3. False experts — Paying an expert in the field, or another field, to lend supporting evidence or credibility. [This is number 2 in D&M2009].
  4. Moving the goalpost — Dismissing evidence presented in response to a specific claim by continually demanding some other (often unfulfillable) piece of evidence.[In D&M2009 this is framed more as an impossible standard of proof rather than a moving target, yet the essence is the same].
  5. Other logical fallacies — Usually one or more of false analogy, appeal to consequences, straw man, or red herring.

So identifying denialism is apparently as straightforward as testing the target individual or social group for the above characteristics. Yet D&M2009 provides no methodology for achieving this objectively, and there are major problems with simply attempting a direct assessment.

3.  Problem: direct assessment cannot reliably distinguish ‘realists’ from ‘denialists’

Conspiracy theories and logical fallacies often abound on both sides of a long contested domain that has major social significance. So bullets 1 and 5 are unreliable criteria for who, overall, is ‘denying’ reality. This is because major social conflicts attract individuals with all sorts of beliefs and motivations; some of these people will generally back the evidential side, i.e. the ‘right’ side, yet for the wrong reasons and / or deploying the wrong arguments. Their impacts on the contest may be modest, e.g. as is often the case regarding folks with theoretical rather than emotively driven motivations2, or strong, e.g. typically from folks who’ve slipped into noble cause corruption3. In some cases a much more systemic promotion of the ‘right’ side yet via culturally driven and not evidentially driven arguments, will also occur because of cultural alliance effects.

So, consider a contested issue which features a largely evidential position, E, opposed mainly by religious believers. The religious side has a strong cultural alliance with a political party, X, which hence is pulled in for that side. This sparks a reaction whereby X’s political opponent, Z, weighs in on the evidential side, yet by default not with evidential arguments but instead deploying their regular range of cultural weapons, such as ‘folks who support the X party (or via association oppose E) have inferior brains’, which range will typically include some conspiracy theory, logical fallacies and so on. Hence the ‘right’ side ends up inextricably tangled with various cultural promotion and defensive behaviors (footnote 6 illustrates this for the climate domain).

Due to these various effects (plus another immediately below) not only will conspiracy theories and logical fallacies arise on both sides of a socially contested domain, it is likewise for cherry picking and false experts too. The only underlying criteria that D&M2009 recommends to which we might turn for some guidance regarding who is who within a contest featuring such mirrored behaviors, is that of a ‘dominant’ scientific consensus. The paper claims that the ‘right’ side must be the consensus side. Yet there is no acknowledgement of the difference between a scientific consensus and a social consensus, or that the latter can pose as the former7. Influence from an enforced social consensus increases the chances that scientists too will straddle the rift between sides, or maybe even end up mostly on the ‘wrong’ side. Authoritative, apparently settled science has been overturned many times8; scientists and policy makers are not magically separate from society and like everyone else they are subject to dynamic bias patterns that evolve across their society, for instance emotional bias regarding climate issues.

4.  Problem: direct assessment cannot escape domain bias

Considering the above effects one would expect most cherry picking to be the inadvertent result of bias, and probably subtle in nature. Yet even for more blatant cases, in a complex domain mired in claims and counter claims to the nth degree, it can be difficult to correctly identify cherry-picked data without fairly extensive domain knowledge. And likewise the picking of ‘discredited papers’ is a subjective criteria. It depends upon believing those who did the discrediting and their reasons for doing so, which implies a prior judgment that can only be based upon reasonable domain knowledge (and/or bias). Indeed the very allegation of cherry picking could itself be a cherry pick, if for instance this only presents an unfavorable part of the original case. So the criteria that reveal evidence choices as cherry picks are in themselves domain dependent, which tends to thwart objectivity.

It is likewise regarding experts. To reliably know whether an expert is ‘false’ or not requires domain knowledge. What they are paid and by whom is not on its own a definitive criteria (or even major criteria; ideological bias often motivates more than money, though the two can also be aligned). Navigating the often labyrinthine funding paths within a contested domain can be almost as complex as evaluating direct domain evidence; the public certainly don’t have time for this, and interpretation of funding network influences is itself subject to bias and polarization. For a major contested domain one expects opposing networks, nor is there a simple rule of thumb to interpret them, such as: ‘scientists paid by industry are less reliable’. Via the grant funding circus, government scientists or university employees have just as much skin in the game as industry has via market influence. It’s also the case that where strong culture is present in a contested domain (absent this there wouldn’t likely be ‘denialism’ anyhow), individuals who are most domain knowledgeable, i.e. ‘experts’, are in any case even more polarized than the rest of us9. Hence the advice of these experts on say cherry picking, or anything else, is potentially a slave to that polarization.

So absent some novel methodology (D&M2009 does not suggest any) we have fatal recursion: correctly identifying cherry picking and false experts implies a reasonably deep and yet also unbiased domain knowledge. In turn this means already knowing, despite the confounding factor of a highly polarized environment, which side is in fact ‘speaking to truth’ and which is ‘denying’; yet this is essentially what we were meant to be finding out in the first place. Or in other words, the domain knowledge needed to investigate these characteristics brings with it domain bias, which bias may lead to erroneous judgment.

5.  The standard of proof: a more useful criteria?

So confirming some of the bullet points in section 2 cannot be done objectively, and even if it could this does not reliably confirm which side is overall a denialist side, because behaviors are frequently mirrored. Yet I haven’t thus far included bullet 4 in the discussion. Is not a stable and realistic threshold of proof, and so a ‘right’ side that promotes this threshold, objectively recognizable?

Well D&M2009 cites four domains: HIV/AIDS, creationism, smoking/cancer, and climate change. The first seems to have a very definitive threshold; if one can independently replicate the development of AIDs from HIV, then bingo, proof achieved. And unfortunately there have been far too many inadvertent and tragic replications10. Yet for a wicked system like climate, how can a clear threshold of proof for imminent (before 2100) calamity, which is the key contested issue11a, even be established? Scientists and economists still range over either more, or less, global danger than an IPCC impact assessment that after decades of effort, seems vague at best. Neither calamity or net benefit is ruled out. A threshold of proof for the much contested ‘second hand smoke’ issue (properly a sub-domain, yet one cited by the authors) is dependent upon social and medical statistics. Hence this isn’t just a matter of simple replication and bias might afflict any threshold determination. This subject is home turf for the authors, they’re acknowledged experts; yet in eletter replies to D&M2009 and elsewhere there is not only robust criticism of the paper, but specific criticism of the authors’ stance on second hand smoke, from other experts. As a novice in this domain, how do I know which experts are false, or if neither are false yet the science is simply immature? There’s also complaint about the authors’ selection bias, rhetoric devices and use of defamation11b, so as usual there is defensive behavior on both sides; who is who?

Like the HIV case, proof of evolution over creationism seems like a very safe bet; familiar issues such as the increasing resistance of diseases to antibiotics allow us to actually perceive evolution in action. Yet what would this contested domain look like just 10 years, say, after Darwin’s publication of The Origin of Species? And what supporting evidence was available then?12 I submit that while the relevant criteria for proof may be obvious now, even to the educated elite they were not at all obvious then12a. So if the correct evidential goalpost and hence the ‘right’ side can only be confirmed for cases which are obvious long in retrospect, an assessment of the goalpost criteria is not particularly useful or reliable either. In the generic case, we cannot be certain of where on the timeline of science emergence we actually stand12b.

This all suggests that objective recognition of a stable and achievable standard of proof is not so simple a matter. The only definitive case (HIV) requires no consensus, being manifest via replication10. For many domains, a stable standard of proof simply reflects the maturity of the relevant science, and if the science isn’t mature (the long time to iteratively collect and analyze social trend or medical or climate data can impede that maturation), then standards of proof will be contested just like everything else, and could legitimately move, and will not be easily and objectively pinned own.

So even the most hopeful criteria in D&M2009 fails to provide us with a reliable means of identifying an overall ‘denialist’ side. And considering that similar rhetoric and behaviors typically appear on opposing sides, do these criteria truly define ‘denialist’ activity anyhow? Can both sides be ‘denialist’? Assuming one side is indeed ‘denialist’ overall, surely many folks therein are legitimately motivated? At this point one has to question not just the D&M2009 criteria, but whether ‘denialism’ is an appropriate framing and what principles this framing is based upon.

6.  D&M2009 does not establish cause

D&M2009 has only a single short paragraph dealing with the underlying reasons for denialism. The rest of the text explores the example four domains w.r.t. the cited main behaviors, supplying references. This is disappointing; in order to deal properly with a phenomenon, one first has to understand its cause(s). And when boldly stating that we are indeed seeing a well-defined phenomenon in the first place, one should surely have a reasonable grasp (or theory) of cause. Yet the relevant paragraph simply states denialist motivations as: eccentricity, idiosyncrasy (apparently with both these sometimes encouraged by maverick celebrity status), greed (corporate largesse from oil and tobacco is cited), and ideology13 or faith.

A major problem from a social psychology point of view is that these are very different motivators with very different power, scope, and resultant behaviors13a, which suggests the authors have barely considered cause at all, despite this is crucial. However D&M2009 cites Mark Hoofnagle’s blog (2007) as a primary source, wherein there is certainly more about cause. At this point it’s worth noting that D&M2009 is a close replication of Hoofnagle’s ideas (which already included the five main characteristics listed in section 2), merely distilling his concept of denialism and adding in the references from example domains, plus some extra nuance14 (Hoofnagle is properly cited, so nothing wrong with this). Yet Hoofnagle claims15 a very clear cause, dishonesty, which D&M2009 conspicuously drops. Hoofnagle also hints at mental illness16.

Diethelm and McKee are very wise to drop ‘dishonesty’ as a motivator17. Dishonesty is not a prime social driver and could not seriously power the behavior of, for instance, the 45% of Americans that D&M2009 cites as rejecting the evidence of evolution, or consistently produce significant minorities who exhibit similarly strong resistance in very different domains. For this, a potent universal social driver is needed, which also rules out eccentricity, idiosyncrasy and celebrity status (can be secondary / tertiary effects, as may dishonesty), and to a large extent greed too13a (its role is domain dependent yet not usually primary). While this leaves two that happen to fall on the target, we literally have only the single words for them, i.e. ideology and faith, but nothing whatsoever regarding some profound implications.

With D&M2009 shorn of Hoofnagle’s almost passionate fingering of dishonesty, a casual list of assumed causes seems to have been substituted, which means that ‘denialism’ is not based on principles and isn’t a characterized phenomenon, about which for instance one could make predictions. ‘Denialism’ is merely a set of observed rhetoric responses, which in the tremendously complex world of human sociality could occur for all sorts of reasons, only some being that people are inappropriately opposing known, genuine and proven scientific facts (while indeed some people theoretically championing the evidence will employ such rhetoric too).

7.  D&M2009 has little utility

A lack of underlying principles results in the fatal flaws outlined in sections 3 to 6. There is no solid phenomenon to actually test for. One cannot objectively identify all the D&M2009 criteria in a contest, and even if one could, this still cannot reliably tell us who is who. The five D&M2009 criteria are a subset from a long since categorized and much larger list of rhetoric devices18, some noted way back in Classical times. These can be deployed subconsciously (especially when passion and deep bias dominate) and if used systemically or excessively even the uninitiated can often detect their use. D&M2009 neither adds to this list, adds to our psychological understanding of specific devices, or provides a new means (or any means) of objectively discerning motivation behind device deployment.

  1. So does ‘denialism’ actually exist?

In attempting to answer this, we need to look at cause. ‘Ideology’13 and ‘faith’ both reflect strong cultural influence, albeit the latter word is usually used in a religious context and the former in a secular context. Of a large behavior spectrum for the culturally influenced, much is well-researched, for instance the fact that when an individual’s culture is threatened, they will defend it, and the mechanisms invoked include subconscious (and often potent) bias19. If a universal phenomenon of ‘denialism’ actually exists then we should look for it in cultural defense, to which one can add that the best form of defense is attack. When a new consensus (scientific or otherwise) threatens existing cultural values, it will be fought. (See footnote 20 for alignment to Michael Specter’s approach).

So cultural defense is a plausible candidate, yet this leads to a framing which is very different to the one that Diethelm and McKee (and Hoofnagle) arrived at. Speculating on possible denialism from this cause (we’ll call it ‘proto-denialism’) we can note that:

  1. One reason cultures are so powerful is that they are not driven primarily by dishonesty; overall, belief is both passionate and honest. Hence most ‘proto-denialists’ would be truthful, defending the truth as they see it (likewise they are not mentally ill).
  2. Cultural defense is not black-and-white, exhibiting various strengths and compromises. Hence there will not only be ‘proto-denialists’ and angels, but many folks who seem to be some of both.
  3. Just as with the defense of nations, cultural defense calls upon alliances. Hence powerful and complicating alliance effects will be in play, such as described in section 3.
  4. No one is free of cultural influence, hence in theory we’ll all be ‘proto-denialists’ of something.
  5. Cultural defense is domain orientated. Folks can be hugely biased in one domain, yet perfectly objective in another. One cannot assume similar behavior over domain boundaries.
  6. Innate or instinctive skepticism is a defense against cultural overdosing i.e. misinformation in a strong cultural context (e.g. propaganda, or systemic fear memes). Because unaided our instincts can’t detect whether an invader is cultural or evidential, especially if the latter is inappropriately promoted (plus, either one may threaten existing culture), we’d expect a strong overlap between genuine skeptic behavior and our ‘proto-denialist’ behavior.
  7. A (major) enforced social consensus will trigger a skeptic response, i.e. resistance to cultural encroachment. So how do we tell this from a scientific consensus triggering our ‘proto-denialist’ behavior, rooted in cultural defense?
  8. Cultural effects are many and varied.

Plus rhetoric is an indelible part of our expression, subconsciously working for us and making it virtually impossible to avoid all persuasive devices even when attempting to be as objective as we can. We applaud excitement about scientific findings despite this may compromise objectivity; none of us are Vulcans.

It’s possible that with a lot of work, some extreme corner of the behavior spectrum could be isolated via specific criteria, which then merits labeling as ‘denialist’. But in truth the characteristics of our ‘proto-denialists’ above are radically different to expectations from the current framing, a framing which may have tainted the term beyond redemption. Nor is this approach a great plan even without that taint, because it tends to mask uncomfortable yet crucial truths, especially those in f) and g). So along with other errors we may end up fooling ourselves that there’s a nice clinical division between skeptics and ‘denialists’27. Via naïve assumption of cause from a basic categorization of rhetoric, this is exactly the trap I believe Diethelm and McKee have fallen into. Hoofnagle goes further, dishing out labels of ‘dishonest’ and ‘crank’ yet without proper theoretical grounds; despite his noble motives many of these are bound to stick onto the wrong people. Some dishonesty and crankiness will ride any cultural wave, or backlash to such a wave, or backlash to an evidential cause that is perceived as cultural encroachment. But this does not mean that cranks and liars drive the main action; they do not. Nor can the touted methods reliably distinguish crankiness from cultural influence, or skepticism from either21.

It’s possible that ‘denialism’ could never be isolated out of cultural defense, i.e. our ‘proto-denialism’ may never be meaningfully distilled into a ‘denialism’ that’s worth the name. More constructive routes should anyhow be pursued for detecting who is who in a contested domain22.

  1. ‘Denialism’ achieves the opposite of the authors’ intent

So major failings in the concept of ‘denialism’ due to a lack of theoretical grounding, expose the authors to error and also let slip the bridle on their own bias23 as they apply their criteria to the example domains. Yet this is the least of the problems that Diethelm, McKee and Hoofnagle have created.

The three have laudably fought long against anti-science factions. Alas due to the failings above some of this fight defends dogma not science, and I fear all that will anyhow be hugely outweighed by unintended negative consequences. Hoofnagle stresses personal psychology not social psychology, and D&M2009’s vague, ill considered causes also allow this angle to prosper, diverting attention from cultural causation. Coupled with an inability to determine who is who, this means they’ve effectively supplied academic legitimacy for any side to call out any and all opponents as psychologically flawed; either systemic liars or cranks, or almost any deficiency. Memes prosper dramatically from vagueness, evolving to the worst implications without constraint because no reality-check back to an original tight definition is possible; there is no proper definition. And ‘denialism’ has indeed become a strong and negative emotive meme24, whose influence the authors have amplified.

Using ‘denialism’ to morally equate legitimate questioners with racially motivated folks who deny the holocaust, has maybe hit ‘worst’ already. Latterly Hoofnagle partially acknowledges this problem even while rehearsing his criteria again. Even the wiki page has some balance27 and notes this major issue with the framing. As far back as 2010, another Diethelm and McKee paper25 largely overlapping D&M2009 content, briefly complains that denialism is used by a ‘wrong’ side. Yet I doubt these authors or anyone else will get the detrimental ‘denialist’ genie back into a bottle anytime soon26. Any otherwise good work quoting them, will be devalued.

Diethelm and McKee wanted to provide health professionals with tools to fight harmful anti-science. Hoofnagle wanted a means to combat invalid emotional arguments. Yet their tools are fundamentally flawed, and promote a framing of ‘denialism’ that I believe amplifies misunderstanding, stigmatization, fear and other emotive reactions, at the expense of reason and scientific advance. Tools to do what they actually wanted, must have objective and cause-based methodology.

Link for Footnotes: footnotes

JC note:  As with all guest posts, please keep your comments relevant and civil.

641 responses to “The Denialism Frame

  1. Pingback: The Denialism Frame – Enjeux énergies et environnement

  2. Denialism is contradiction of so-called “scientific evidence.”

  3. When I see the term “false experts” Al Gore comes to mind… “the center of the earth is millions and millions of degrees.” Maybe it’s just me.

    • I don’t think it’s just you.

      This, for example, from the article JC linked on the last thread:

      The tone taken by these attorneys general at their March 29th press conference with Al Gore reveals all. The calculated hysteria whipped up by Gore’s linkage of natural disasters and the spread of the Zika virus to climate change, was followed by the state AGs startling descriptors of their quarry—“morally vacant forces,” destroyers of this earth, planet destroyers, existential threats, deceivers! ….

      Into the chaos of this orchestrated apocalypse, the Green 20 propose to save the day by correcting what they deem to be a legislative failure created by gridlock in Washington. Gore asserted “our democracy’s been hacked … but if the Congress really would allow the executive branch of the federal government to work, then maybe this would be taken care of at the federal level.”

      The profound constitutional illiteracy demonstrated in that confused utterance by private citizen and non-lawyer Gore is in fact a bold confession that this minority coalition of state attorneys general is engaged in a coordinated and lawless assault on state and federal constitutional separation of powers. Gore is tragically, ironically correct—our democracy is being hacked—by Gore and the Green 20.

      http://www.fed-soc.org/blog/detail/?dbid=428

    • Al Gore is not and never has been a scientist. Attempts to discredit Gore have nothing to do with published science. Gore got a few things right and a few things wrong.

      https://www.skepticalscience.com/al-gore-inconvenient-truth-errors-intermediate.htm

      But that is irrelevant to the science argument, which is contained in peer-reviewed literature and a few science-based blogs, in which realclimate and skepticalscience are included.

  4. So identifying warmerism is apparently as straightforward as testing the target individual or social group for the above characteristics.
    Conspiracy theories — Dismissing the data or observation by suggesting opponents are involved in “a conspiracy to suppress the truth”.
    Lewindowsky.
    Cherry picking — Selecting an anomalous critical paper supporting their idea, or using outdated, flawed, and discredited papers in order to make their opponents look as though they base their ideas on weak research. [This is number 3 in D&M2009, and some sources point to cherry picking of data too].
    Tamino.
    False experts — Paying an expert in the field, or another field, to lend supporting evidence or credibility. [This is number 2 in D&M2009].
    [ NB this criterion is either misquoted or absolutely wrong. The term false expert should always refer to someone posing as an expert outside or beyond the area of their expertise, not to being paid in any way shape or form for their expert opinion]
    Michael Mann fits the description perfectly of a false expert as someone posing as an expert outside or beyond the area of their expertise.
    Moving the goalpost — Dismissing evidence presented in response to a specific claim by continually demanding some other (often unfulfillable) piece of evidence.[In D&M2009 this is framed more as an impossible standard of proof rather than a moving target, yet the essence is the same].
    Nick Stokes by the length of the strait [honorable mentions to many others]
    Other logical fallacies — Usually one or more of false analogy, appeal to consequences, straw man, or red herring.
    The social group here would be Skeptical science
    That was easy!

  5. Responsible people should recognize “Denialism” as what it is–a bullying technique intended to shame or ridicule an opposing position. Attempting to define it as in D&M2009 is only an attempt to legitimize intellectual intimidation. As scientists, we should let the evidence speak for itself–if our evidence is sound and based on proper scientific procedure, it should be sufficient. Silencing opposing positions, however we may feel about their validity, is not responsible. What if they might turn out to be right?

    • When you look at the broad brush strokes of climate history and CO2…

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/print.php?r=77

      how can AGW be right? Ask yourself.

    • Evidence, you mean like the hockey stick graph?

    • mikoleman said:

      Responsible people should recognize “Denialism” as what it is–a bullying technique intended to shame or ridicule an opposing position. Attempting to define it as in D&M2009 is only an attempt to legitimize intellectual intimidation.

      Yep.

      And we’ve been at this game for a long time. So long, in fact, that we’ve become quite expert at it.

      As Jonathan Haidt concludes:

      https://www.edge.org/conversation/moral-psychology-and-the-misunderstanding-of-religion
      http://i.imgur.com/xvx9Vc9.png

      • Jonathan seems to forget that truth can be quite useful.

      • Sleep better too.

      • Willard,

        Well I suppose that depends on how we define “truth.”

        Every group has a unifying belief system which serves as the glue that holds it together.

        These “truths” can, and frequently are, more fiction than fact. As the evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson notes:

        Even massively ficticious beliefs can be adaptive, as long as they motivate behaviors that are adaptive in the real world.

        — DAVID SLOAN WILSON, Darwin’s Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society

        Sloan Wilson thereafter speaks of two types of “truths”: factual reality and practical reality.

        And yes, “truth,” and especially truth of the practical variety, “can be quite useful.” Because when these “truths” hit the wall — when they are challenged by events to the point where they are no longer believable — then all hell breaks loose. This is how Michael Allen Gillespie describes it in The Theological Origins of Modernity:

        Nietzsche believed that while the death of God and the consequent collapse of European values would throw humanity into an abyss of war and destruction, this event would open up the world in a way unknown since the tragic age of the Greeks.

        While he recognized that God’s death would produce “a monstrous logic of terror,” he also believed that “at long last, the horizon appears free to us again.”

        If God is dead and nothing is true, then, he concluded, “everything is permitted.” The abyss of nihilism is thus intimately connected with a radical, eipochal openness.

        Can you imagine the “abyss of war and destruction” that would accompany the death of science?

      • David L. Hagen

        Jonathan Haidt commits the logical fallacy of presuming evolution and excluding or ignoring the possibility of man being created with language and reasoning. e.g., Isaac Newton said: “In absence of any other proof, the thumb along would convince me of God’s existence.”

      • David L. Hagen,

        But not all Christians buy into the Enlightenment theology.

        Take the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., for instance:

        I also came to see that liberalism’s superficial optimism concerning human nature caused it to overlook the fact that reason is darkened by sin. The more I thought about human nature the more I saw how our tragic inclination for sin causes us to use our minds to rationalize our actions.

        Liberalism failed to see that reason by itself is little more than an instrument to justify man’s defensive ways of thinking. Reason, devoid of purifying power of faith, can never free itself from distortions and rationalizations.

        — REV. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., “Pilgrimage to Nonviolence,” Christian Century, 13 April, 1960

      • > Well I suppose that depends on how we define “truth.”

        This in turn depends on how we define “define.”

      • Willard;

        And?

        What different meanings can be attributed to the word “define”?

        Where’s your argument?

      • > Where’s your argument?

        In my first sentence, Glenn – truth can be useful.

        If truth is useful, Jonathan’s idea that we haven’t evolve reasoning to preserve (or “find” as he himself put it) truth but to reputation management and reputation falters.

        It’s a knock-out argument. The most beautiful aspect is that this argument works however you define truth and utility. All the argument posits is that both concept, however defined, are not independent.

        So your claim that it depends on how you defend the terms at best begs the question asked. The only relevant case would be a conception of truth which is not useful.

        I’d rather consider truth as something useful, if you don’t mind.

        ***

        Since you like citations, here’s one:

        [T]he emergence in the latter quarter of the twentieth century of serious efforts to provide an evolutionary account of human understanding has potentially radical consequences. The application of selectionist models to the development of human knowledge, for example, creates an immediate tension. Standard traditional accounts of the emergence and growth of scientific knowledge see science as a progressive enterprise which, under the appropriate conditions of rational and free inquiry, generates a body of knowledge which progressively converges on the truth. Selectionist models of biological evolution, on the other hand, are generally construed to be non-progressive or, at most, locally so. Rather than generating convergence, biological evolution produces diversity. Popper’s evolutionary epistemology attempts to embrace both but does so uneasily. Kuhn’s “scientific revolutions” account draws tentatively upon a Darwinian model, but when criticized, Kuhn retreated (cf. Kuhn 1972, pp. 172f with Lakatos and Musgrave 1970, p. 264). Toulmin (1972) is a noteworthy exception. On his account, concepts of rationality are purely “local” and are themselves subject to evolution. This, in turn, seems to entail the need to abandon any sense of “goal directedness” in scientific inquiry. This is a radical consequence which few have embraced. Pursuing an evolutionary approach to epistemology raises fundamental questions about the concepts of knowledge, truth, realism, justification and rationality.

        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/epistemology-evolutionary/

        I love Jonathan’s work, Glenn. He’s just using a strawman to make a point. Take it with a grain of salt, please.

      • Glenn and Willard: I am so glad you two wordies have found each other: the ding and dong halves of theoretical bumbling. I’ve finally figured it out, neither of you two has a deterministic bone in your bodies. If you want to get a picture of actual human evolutionary biology and the utility of language, reasoning and truth, try going free-dive spear-fishing in the red triangle. I actually feel sorry for you two because you can’t transcend the fall of man in your bones and return to a time when 1 + 1 = 4

      • > If you want to get a picture of actual human evolutionary biology and the utility of language, reasoning and truth, try going free-dive spear-fishing in the red triangle.

        That’s where inferential reasoning matters most, no doubt.

        Not that movements aren’t irrelevant for representation:

        Embodiment effects on memory have been also found in accomplishing particular tasks, including reasoning and language understanding, and several recent works suggest that memory reflects different bodily capacities (M. Wilson 2001; Glenberg 1997; Carlson 1997). For instance, hand-arm movements, that often accompany speech, do not play a mere communicative role but facilitate the maintenance of spatial representations in working memory (Wesp et alia 2001) and recalling enacted action-phrases is significantly easier with respect to purely verbal encoding (see Engelkamp, 1998 for a review). This effect suggests that motor information may have become part of the memory trace, thus indicating that action-phrases merely heard do not produce the same effective encoding of real enacted action-sentences.

        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/embodied-cognition/

        Please, Geo, do continue.

      • Words fail us all Willard, more words just gets us further from reality. Good Night and Have a Pleasant Tomorrow.

      • willard,

        Thanks for the link to the article on evolutionary epistemology from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. It provides a great summary of traditional epistemology, which folks like you and Horst Graben prefer, and explains how it differs from the naturalistic epistemology that folks like Haidt and I prefer.

        And yes, evolutionary epistemology is not transcendental as you point out. To the contrary, it suggests an “alternative approach,” as the authors explain, which is “question begging.”

        The authors also explain that traditional epistemology is prescriptive, or normative, whereas evolutionary epistemology is descriptive.

        As a result, evolutionary epistemology makes no moral or value judgments (e.g., usefulness or utility) in the way traditional epistemology does. The usefulness of knowledge and/or beliefs (truth) is evaluated solely on whether it was adaptive — whether it enhanced fitness in our evolutionary past. For as Nietzsche argued in Nachgelassene Werke, “there is no certainty about even the pragmatic value of our beliefs; there is merely the fact that we have survived so far. Beliefs not immediately harmful may yet be fatal in the long run.”

        Evolutionary epistemology thus seeks only to describe what human nature is, and not to prescribe what it ought to be in the future.

        If one looks at Jonathan Haidt’s article I linked, one can see this is exactly what he does. His interests lie solely in using the observational techniques of neuroscience, psychology and other fields in order to discover the reality of the human animal, not to prescribe some idealized version of what the animal ought to be.

        I certainly can understand how this ammoral and unjudgmental approach would not be acceptable for humanists and some religionists, why you balk at Haidt’s evolutionary epistemology, and why you would “rather consider truth as something useful.” That is certainly a tenet of traditional epistemology

      • Horst Graben,

        Well no, it does not look like Willard and I “have found each other.”

        You mistake form for content, and it is Willard who shares your epistemology. Willard of course zeroed in on this immediately, but you are so unaware of your own assumptions that you missed it.

        “Please, Geo, do continue,” Willard prods you on.

        How befitting! You have found a soul mate with whom you can share the cult of science.

      • > It provides a great summary of traditional epistemology, which folks like you and Horst Graben prefer, and explains how it differs from the naturalistic epistemology that folks like Haidt and I prefer.

        You’re welcome, Glen, and thank you divining my preferences.

        Anyone who prefers naturalistic epistemology should have no difficulty accepting that truth can be useful.

        Please read harder.

      • Willard,

        Two questions:

        1) Can you show me where Haidt or I ever said that truth cannot be useful? Or are you trotting out a straw man?

        2) Do you believe that nature cares one way or the other about the human enterprise?

      • Read the quote again, Glenn. Slowly this time. Truth has an evolution “fit,” like everything else that survived so far.

        You can think this through all by yourself.

        If you can’t do that, you’re just proving Jonathan right – your reasoning skillz would only serve to manage your reputation and manipulate others.

        You’re new here. You’re using half-baked readings to reinforce your libertarian identity. Not the best bart of Judy to emulate.

        I hope you can do better than that, or you might soon consider ignoring my comments.

      • Willard,

        So you can’t show me where Haidt or I ever said that truth cannot be useful?

        That’s what I thought. Pure straw manning.

        Is that what passes for argumentation on Planet Green these days?

      • Thank you for your appeal to pride, Glenn. It means a lot to me.

        First, there’s no need to quote you saying what you quote Jonathan to say for you. You might have quoted someone quoting Nietzsche and saying something related to fiction, but that’s irrelevant.

        Second, there’s no need to quote Jonathan saying what his quote implies.

        So your challenge is bogus.

        Since you’re new here, I’ll unpack it for you. Here are the claims:

        (1) We evolved language and reasoning for their utility.

        (2) We did not evolve language and reasoning to find truth.

        Let us assume that truth as an evolution fit:

        (3) Finding truth is useful.

        Now, let us show that we can’t hold these three together. Assume (1) and (3): (2) is false. Assume (1) and (2): (3) is false. Assume (2) and (3): (1) is false.

        So either finding truth is useful, or we did not evolve language and reasoning to find truth.

        Which is it, Glenn?

        Next time, beware your wishes.

      • Pride is the result of the fall of man that was precipitated by a warming and greening climate, the development of the Clovis point and the slaughter of the giant mammals. These idiots you two quote are applying “civilized” psychology to hunter-gatherers.

      • Willard,

        Well one more time, can you show me where Haidt or I ever said that truth cannot be useful?

        I’m waiting.

        And that little bit of wordsmithery about “what his quote implies” doesn’t cut it. Far from it.

        Just to show you how badly that missed, here’s another quote from the same paper:

        http://i.imgur.com/lm2glH0.png

        So make no mistake about it. Haidt is drawing a bead on your traditional, value-based epistemology. And that’s why you take such umbrage.

      • > And that little bit of wordsmithery about “what his quote implies” doesn’t cut it.

        That’s called an argument, Glenn. Something that you should be able to distinguish from your “doesn’t cut it” proof by assertion.

        If finding truth is useful and we evolved useful things like language and reasoning, there’s no reason to conclude that we did not evolved language and reasoning to find truth.

        Here’s how BrandonG would respond to your bogus challenge:

        This “I didn’t say what is clearly implied” crap is getting tiresome.

        http://rankexploits.com/musings/2016/banning-bing-this-is-a-test/#comment-146323

        I, on the other hand, am always thankful for that kind of crap.

        Please, do continue.

      • Willard,

        And here’s how Nietzsche put it in Der Wille zur Macht:

        http://i.imgur.com/9Zjub9H.png

      • Willard,

        I’m still waiting for you to show me where Haidt or I ever said that truth cannot be useful.

        Your claiming Haidt implied it said it

      • Glenn: You got it all wrong. Both you and Willard are stereotypical desk-jockey’s relying on the twisting of words and hiding behind the philosophical nostrums of long dead or brain dead white men to win an “argument”. Some of us prefer using the experience of others before, during and after direct interaction with the world and machinery to solve problems. There is a whole world of intuitive experimentalists whom have learned more about fluid mechanics by swimming 200 continuous yards of butterfly, body surfing in double overhead waves and landing a C-172 beyond the maximum demonstrated cross-wind than all the non-linear partial diff EQ’s professors teach in college. Nature doesn’t bat last, nature bats. Unless you get into the arena, you two will remain mutual wonkers.

      • Horst,

        Here we have the intersection of uninformeditarianism and futilitarianism where people say and do stew pit or, worse, harmful things because they don’t know nothing.

        Now, consider a fatally flawed elevated biketrack failing catastrophically in Rio. Did sea rise due to global warming cause that problem or shoddy construction or design by a firm owned by a relative of a politician? I learned first hand, the hard way, that you gotta watch out for sneaker waves when you’re fishing on the rock ledges across the street from my former home in Davenport.

        I did a lot of skin-diving and spear-fishing in the red triangle and lived to tell about it, but I don’t do that anymore. I don’t want to push my luck. Swimming, usually alone (very stew pit), from the beach to the kelp bed in that zero-visibility water (due to some geologic thingy) was way too spooky. No mas! Gimme a fish taco!

      • > Your claiming Haidt implied it ≠ said it

        Assuming that you can’t imply something unless you say it would be a good way to manipulate others’ beliefs and manage one’s reputation, Glenn.

        While you illustrate Jonathan’s point, I can illustrate mine:

        (1) “We did not evolve language and reasoning because they helped us find truth” is a quote.

        (2) “we evolved these skills because they were useful to their bearers” is another quote.

        Here’s the argument: if finding truth is useful, we can say (2), but we can’t say (1). What I did is called an inference. One does not need to state every step of the deduction. As long as you can follow it.

        You have nothing against that argument.

        An inference is part of reasoning. Reasoning helps us preserve truths. In our case, reasoning helps me show that you’re using language for reputation management and manipulation.

        It hasn’t helped me show you’re using reasoning.

        ***

        > Unless you get into the arena […]

        I am in my arena, Geo. You’re just throwing popcorn while you dry your tremendous hair in-between your surf bumming.

      • I misjudged you Willard. I never pictured you with bloody knuckles and a crooked nose. I viddy you more of a Ruddy type gentleman farmer where the working men laugh behind your back.

      • Horst Graben and Willard,

        Decadence is the word that comes to mind when I look at the antics of you two soul mates.

        Horst, for his part, believes he can glean great knowledge from his diving expeditions, and resorts to constant macho chest thumping and putting others down to prop up his insipid ego.

        Willard, for his part, is a virtuoso at using rhetological fallacies and hides his dishonest argumetation behind the sort of faulty logic that competent parents require their children to outgrow by the time they’re six or seven years old.

        The two of you are made for each other. But because the human intellect is imperialist, you insist upon inflicting your mediocrity upon the rest of us, and we must suffer through this nonsense.

      • Willard,

        Your arguments remind me of those articulated by this 3 year-old boy:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiumS2UZtvM

        Willard, “you can’t imply something unless you say it” is not the same as “you did imply something you didn’t say.” You made the case for the first, which is not at all difficult, but not the second. Haidt never said “truth cannot be useful.”

        We see the faulty logic in action again when you argue:

        (1) “We did not evolve language and reasoning because they helped us find truth” is a quote.

        (2) “we evolved these skills because they were useful to their bearers” is another quote.

        Here’s the argument: if finding truth is useful, we can say (2), but we can’t say (1). What I did is called an inference. One does not need to state every step of the deduction. As long as you can follow it.

        To see the fault in your logic, all we have to do is insert “manual dexterity and eye-hand coordinaton” where you say “language and reasoning”:

        (1) “We did not evolve language and reasoning manual dexterity and eye-hand coordination because they helped us find truth” is a quote.

        (2) “we evolved these skills because they were useful to their bearers” is another quote.

        Here’s the argument: if finding truth is useful, we can say (2), but we can’t say (1). What I did is called an inference. One does not need to state every step of the deduction. As long as you can follow it.

        If “finding truth is useful,” we certaintly can say (1).

        Haidt makes no claim as to whether finding truth is useful or not. These are words that you, with your logical gymnastics, put in his mouth.

      • David Springer

        Get a room, girls.

      • Glenn: Exactly. Mediocrity is where it’s at. Unless you embrace your inner moron, you will never figure out how to get a stalled lawn mower started.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AynXoLjYrKc

        Accomplishment in the physical world is about doing the stupid, mundane tasks of life. Truth cannot be intellectualized, it must be experienced directly. You presume too much because you forget we are the untermensch. Your major malfunction is your head is stuck in the clouds while your ass is hanging out in the breeze.

      • Glenn Stehle,

        To see the fault in your logic, all we have to do is insert “manual dexterity and eye-hand coordinaton” where you say “language and reasoning”:

        (1) “We did not evolve language and reasoning manual dexterity and eye-hand coordination because they helped us find truth” is a quote.

        (2) “we evolved these skills because they were useful to their bearers” is another quote.

        Here’s the argument: if finding truth is useful, we can say (2), but we can’t say (1). What I did is called an inference. One does not need to state every step of the deduction. As long as you can follow it.

        If “finding truth is useful,” we certaintly can say (1).

        Not without violating (2).

        Haidt makes no claim as to whether finding truth is useful or not.

        As stated, his exact statements *logically* rule out truth being useful.

        These are words that you, with your logical gymnastics, put in his mouth.

        The addition of a single word to (1) would allow the balance to follow unchanged without wholly denying truth any putative utility.

      • > “you can’t imply something unless you say it” is not the same as “you did imply something you didn’t say.” You made the case for the first, which is not at all difficult, but not the second. Haidt never said “truth cannot be useful.”

        I don’t recall where I made any case about the first, Glenn. I simply assumed it as obvious.

        I do recall however where I showed you the two claims in Jonathan’s quote, and provided an argument that Jonathan indeed implied that the truth he had in mind is not one that can be useful.

        Let’s spell out the argument again, since you still have nothing against it:

        If we evolved language and reasoning because they were useful and not because they helped us find truth, it follows that truth can’t be useful.

        See? You just have to read the two claims in reverse to see that they’re absurd. People do that all the time, including researchers who should know better. OTOH, these researchers may have the INTEGRITY ™ to admit that they had a specific kind of truth in mind, say the platonic one, since you’re into pop-philosophy crap these days.

        Please, do continue, Glenn. In a few comments, you might wish to reconsider the suggestion I made earlier.

    • Steven Mosher

      “Silencing opposing positions, however we may feel about their validity, is not responsible. What if they might turn out to be right?”

      here eat this cyanide. It will do wonders for your complexion. who knows we might be right?

      The point isnt silencing skeptics.
      the point is alerting people that certain beliefs may be harmful.

      • “The point isnt silencing skeptics.
        the point is alerting people that certain beliefs may be harmful.”

        Which specific beliefs “may be harmful”? Can you point to much of anything that can be clearly ruled out? Maybe, or might happen is the key to unsupported fears.

      • Agenda 21, managed by the UN, who recently voted themselves the oceans of the world. Here the smartest people in the world argue about GMT (or something), out one-hundred years pictured by man made models that don’t reflect accurately the future weather or past. Who is really passing out the cyanide to get the natural look? It does not make others blind to other sources and facts. Where is the real risk, Steven?

      • Rob Starkey wrote:
        “Which specific beliefs “may be harmful”?”

        Beliefs that do not accord with the facts and our understanding of the physical laws of nature.

      • Appell first defends the hockey stick and now also equates CAGW with “the physical laws of nature”.

        What a guy.

      • “Beliefs that do not accord with the facts and our understanding of the physical laws of nature.” (may be harmful per David Appell)

        1. If someone believes that additional GHGs can have no impact on warming the planet they are incorrect.

        2. If someone believes that additional GHG may have no impact on warming the planet over the next 50 years they are most likely incorrect, but the system may surprise us. We do not know enough to predict TCR accurately

        3. If someone believes that reducing the rate of CO2 emissions increases will result in a better climate for humans- they base those beliefs on no creditable information. The climate may be better with CO2 at 500 ppm

      • “the point is alerting people that certain beliefs may be harmful.”

        Indeed – such as believing that poorly understood, incompletely defined, coupled non-linear systems exhibiting chaotic behaviour can be skillfully predictively modelled deterministically, or that the average of many bad predictions is a better indicator than any individual prediction, or that… Nah, that’s enough for now.

      • Steven Mosher: The point isnt silencing skeptics.

        Fining them, suing them, and jailing them are included in the aims.

      • Kneel63,

        Well put. You’ll certainly get no dissent from me. Ah well, there’s two of us. It’s a start.

        Cheers.

    • bigterguy | April 21, 2016 at 10:20 am |

      ” this minority coalition of state attorneys general is engaged in a coordinated and lawless assault on state and federal constitutional separation of powers.”
      This ‘coalition’ is a criminal conspiracy, according to some sources, to deny the rights of people to speak freely.”
      ________

      Well, that’s baloney. This is about privacy, not freedom of speech. Compelling someone to speak by using a subpoena isn’t denying him the right to speak freely. It’s denying him the right to not speak, unless he takes the 5th (good as admitting you know something you don’t want known). Sure, subpoenas can have a chilling effect on speech, but frequently it’s the kind people shouldn’t be engaging in anyway. The same can be said for FOIA request.
      ___________

      mikoleman | April 21, 2016 at 9:25 am

      “Responsible people should recognize “Denialism” as what it is–a bullying technique intended to shame or ridicule an opposing position.”
      ___________

      I don’t know about everyone else, but I don’t call people “deniers” as a bullying technique. If a person denies, it’s accurate to say he’s a denier. It’s not accurate to say he’s a skeptic, even though that’s what he may want to be called.

      I have used “contrarian” and“naysayer,” but some objected to those terms too.

      It’s hard to please people.

      What would you like to be called?
      ____________

      Jean Paul Zodeaux (@JeanPaulZodeaux) | April 21, 2016 at 9:55 pm |

      “It was, in fact, Marx with some nudging from the writings of Lenin that convinced me to become a free market advocate, so dangerous and harmful ideas are only so among the ill equipped.”
      ______

      Good thing you don’t watch porn. You would become a celibate.

      I like free markets as buyer, but not as seller. Competition from other sellers sucks. I’m more of a capitalist than a free market advocate. It’s doubtful reading Marx would change me. But anyway, we may be about one-half alike on the free market.

      Please don’t take offense if you are a celibate. I hear good things about celibacy.

  6. The real climate change denialism is found in those who make deliberate detours around the critical subject of radical and rapid climate shifts throughout our geological epoch, of which the cooling events (YD, 2200BC, Migration Period, LIA etc) have been the most damaging to humans. (Not that I’m talking down the briefer events like the El Nino/monsoon failures of, say, the 1770-80s or 1870s.)

    The stable climate implied by the Hockey Stick and by various intellectual stunts – such as using comparatives like “more extreme”, “more frequent” etc, knowing that modern-standard reference info for the past is necessarily scarce – has never existed.

    Yep. That slyly implied (though never declared) stable climate. It never ever was.

    • One problem is the CAGW crowd continually predicts gloom and doom, but it’s always in the future. The predictions of 20 years ago are ignored by them. The application of common sense makes it harder and harder to believe them. From the article:

      It’s hard to complain about sunny days, but the researchers foresee a problem. If Americans think climate change has benefited their lives so far, they’ll have little motivation to demand action or overcome apathy in responding to global warming, the scientists write.

      See the most-read stories in Science this hour >>
      By the end of the century, however, the study predicts the pleasant weather trend to reverse as summers heat up to uncomfortable temperatures.

      If greenhouse gas emissions continue unchecked, 88% of the current population will live in areas where the weather is less pleasant than it was before. The paper does not predict how changing weather patterns will influence migration patterns over the coming century.

      “We’ve received warmer winters without paying the price for hotter summers,” Mullin said in an interview. “But when you look forward… that’s going to shift, and Americans will experience weather, by their current preferences, they’re going to think of as worse.”

      http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-climate-change-weather-america-20160420-story.html

      • jim2 wrote:
        “One problem is the CAGW crowd continually predicts gloom and doom, but it’s always in the future.”

        Wrong — almost all of the Great Barrier Reef has just died.

        Do you even give a damn? Does anyone here?

      • “Wrong — almost all of the Great Barrier Reef has just died.”

        Wow man, irking me three times in five minutes is truly an achievement!

        References that human CO2 emissions are the cause of this this sad news please.

      • David Appell: Wrong — almost all of the Great Barrier Reef has just died.

        You made that up.

      • David Appell, this is more illuminating:

        29
        REPORT
        Climate change disables coral bleaching protection on the Great Barrier Reef
        Tracy D. Ainsworth1,*,†, Scott F. Heron2,3,*, Juan Carlos Ortiz4,5,*, Peter J. Mumby4,5, Alana Grech6, Daisie Ogawa1,7, C. Mark Eakin2, William Leggat1,7,*
        + Author Affiliations
        ↵†Corresponding author. E-mail: tracy.ainsworth@jcu.edu.au
        ↵* These authors contributed equally to this work.
        Science 15 Apr 2016:
        Vol. 352, Issue 6283, pp. 338-342
        DOI: 10.1126/science.aac7125

        Abstract

        Coral bleaching events threaten the sustainability of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Here we show that bleaching events of the past three decades have been mitigated by induced thermal tolerance of reef-building corals, and this protective mechanism is likely to be lost under near-future climate change scenarios. We show that 75% of past thermal stress events have been characterized by a temperature trajectory that subjects corals to a protective, sub-bleaching stress, before reaching temperatures that cause bleaching. Such conditions confer thermal tolerance, decreasing coral cell mortality and symbiont loss during bleaching by over 50%. We find that near-future increases in local temperature of as little as 0.5°C result in this protective mechanism being lost, which may increase the rate of degradation of the GBR.
        View Full Text
        Science: 352 (6283)

      • I live well south of the reef, but am in touch with Queenslanders. The many tourist and commercial operators, the divers and fishermen, tend to be bewildered by the regular alarms about the reef (which have been going on at least since the 1960s, when reef scares sold Sunday papers and went to sleep the rest of the week). While there’s been lots of serious bleaching damage lately, it’s interesting that most of the popular sites have little coral death.

        When and wherever there’s pollution, bleaching or COTS attacks, there seems to be a whole industry of experts to generate doom stories of one sort or another. If someone trails an anchor or scrapes a bit of coral you’d think, from the reporting, the whole 2300 kilometres had been bombed. And you’d think the bloody stuff never re-grew.

        Lately there’s been bleaching on most of the reefs, with very severe bleaching to the northern half. This will happen as long as there are strong El Nino events, cyclones and the like. It would be nice to sort out the semi-controllables like COTS and agricultural runoff (not that COTS is easy), but these days the solution to some reef damage in Qld is likely to be more solar panels in Germany’s gloomy north, or more whirlygigs along the ridges of Spain. Or maybe tossing Aussie dollars into the laps of villains we neglected to lock up after ’08.

    • Mosomoso

      You know the rules by now, they are pre 1950 events so are automatically disqualified. Anyway, they didn’t happen. Get with the programme. Judith will need to put you into moderation for stable climate denialism

      tonyb

    • Steven Mosher

      “The real climate change denialism is found in those who make deliberate detours around the critical subject of radical and rapid climate shifts throughout our geological epoch, of which the cooling events (YD, 2200BC, Migration Period, LIA etc) have been the most damaging to humans.”

      So you disagree with the author who argues that you cant determine what denialism is?

      • Steven Mosher

        good for you.
        Now show exactly where he gets it wrong.
        use two examples:
        one example of clear denialism on the skeptic side and one on the CAGW side.

        establish your criteria for denialist detection.

        go.

      • “USGS Geologists estimate that the cycle of flooding and reformation of the lake lasted an average of 55 years and that the floods occurred approximately 40 times over the 2,000 year period between 15,000 and 13,000 years ago.[33] Glacial lake outburst floods such as these are not uncommon today in Iceland and other places.”

        Boom to Bust on average every 55 years for two millennia, why?

      • Steven Mosher

        “Boom to Bust on average every 55 years for two millennia, why?”

        why not?

      • Steven, I said it above about the CAGW side,and you quoted it.

        On the skep side, people for some reason go out of their way to deny the possibility of recent warming. Questioning is one thing, but denying, as if they were certain and some recent warming mattered, is adding dogma to triviality.

        Since temps are mostly a boring two-horse race, except perhaps for the plunges in and out of the YD (especially) and Bond Events, I totally don’t get any of that. Nor do I get that reactive need to predict a New Dalton etc on the basis of sunspots. The sun was quiet a hundred years ago, then it wasn’t. Like Arctic ice: it was thin in the 1810s and 1920s…then it wasn’t.

        Dunno means dunno.

    • mosomoso wrote:
      “The real climate change denialism is found in those who make deliberate detours around the critical subject of radical and rapid climate shifts throughout our geological epoch, of which the cooling events (YD, 2200BC, Migration Period, LIA etc) have been the most damaging to humans. (Not that I’m talking down the briefer events like the El Nino/monsoon failures of, say, the 1770-80s or 1870s.)”

      If you think we’re in a Younger Dryas moment, then prove it.

      Energy conservation would be a good place to start. The Earth’s ocean — it’s largest sink of heat by far — keeps gaining heat.

      Did the entire planetary climate system cool with the Younger Dryas cooling?

      • Someone called mosomoso says we’re in a Younger Dryas moment? Did he say that somewhere else? I ask because I too am called mosomoso, and no such idea has been conceived let alone expressed by me – ever.

        David, as you listlessly go down the columns shooting off responses to comments you have probably not even read, could you either make some sense or leave my comments alone?

  7. After five centuries, Descartes’ and Hobbes’ apodictic science is as much of a utopian vision as ever.

  8. I see both sides in climate science doing these features of “denialism” _constantly_. It would be nice if the good actors on both sides would slap down their own supporters when they say nonsense. (McIntyre on his own blog is the one I see doing this consistently; as a matter of course he disagrees in comments with any comments that take some piece of “skeptical” folklore for granted.)
    It seems to me that I can usually identify the players who do this stuff – and who as a result can’t be trusted. Unfortunately, they represent most of the public face of both AGW and AGW skeptics. I wish they would all retire and let the real climate scientists, and Steve McIntyre, and Nic Lewis, do their jobs.
    Steve Mosher of late has been calling out skeptics on this stuff a lot. Unfortunately, he talks about the skeptical bad actors as if that’s all there is (he generally exempts Nic Lewis).

    • RE: Jonathan Haidt’s book The Happiness Hypothesis and the chapter titled “The Faults of Others.”

      Haidt begins the chapter “The Faults of Others” with this quote:

      Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?… You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.

      — MATTHEW 7:3-5

      and this one:

      It is easy to see the faults of others, but difficult to see one’s own faults. One shows the faults of others like chaff winnowed in the wind, but one conceals one’s own faults as a cunning gambler conceals his dice.

      — BUDDHA

    • Steven Mosher

      “Unfortunately, he talks about the skeptical bad actors as if that’s all there is (he generally exempts Nic Lewis).”

      I have praised anthony watts for his publish work, Steve McIntyre, Nic Lewis, JeffId, Ryan Odonnel, Troy Masters, any number of ‘skeptics” who actually try to explain things, publish their data and code. Even Willis gets good marks, especially for his work on Solar.

      The list of skeptics who actually try to do science is short.
      Most try to fight understanding.. does a global temperature exist?

      • “Most try to fight understanding”

        A generalization unsupported but indicative of the writer’s perceived self importance.

      • Steven Mosher

        Rob most do try to fight understanding.
        lets look at the record.

        First the basics

        1. c02 is a GHG. How many skeptics do you see fighting the sky dragons like Tim Ball? few if any.
        2. Man is the source of the increase in c02. How many skeptics do you see working on the problem of detailing sinks and sources? ZIP.
        if they do anything here , they promote the Salby nonsense.
        3. C02 will warm the planet. How many skeptics do you see arguing against this? many if not all.

        How many skeptics do you see working to produce

        A) a better temperature record
        B) a better paleo record?
        C) a better inventory of carbon sinks and sources
        d) a better understanding of aerosols
        e) a better understanding of clouds
        f) better GCMS?

        better ANYTHING?

      • davideisenstadt

        geez mosh…
        is work slow around your parts?

      • Steve
        You are making an unsupported and very silly comment when you writing “most do try to fight understanding.” People (skeptics) are not reacting as you believe they should based on your values.

        I have no “duty” to attack those with views similar to those of the Sky Dragons. I may or may not point out where I think their position is scientifically inaccurate. They are not doing anything to threaten “my environment”.

        “How many skeptics do you see working on the problem of detailing sinks and sources? ZIP.”

        You believe there is a “problem” of detailing sinks and sources. In fact you do not know there is any problem. There is a system not fully understood. You believe there is an urgent need to better understand the system. I am far less concerned and as a result feel far less urgency. I’d like to fully understand the system so as to stop people from pushing actions that are economically wasteful.

        “. C02 will warm the planet. How many skeptics do you see arguing against this? many if not all.”

        Steve—as you know, the issue is not whether more CO2 will warm the planet. The issue is how much over what time period and how the climate will change in different areas as a result. Currently there seems to be no reliable evidence of net negative changes to the climate or that there will be in the future (imo).

      • You don’t think the Vostok Ice Cores, are pristine? You don’t think they are a consistently good proxy of Earth’s climate for over 420K years? You gave the specs, they fit the bill. Now what more do you want?

      • > Currently there seems to be no reliable evidence of net negative changes to the climate or that there will be in the future (imo).

        Evidence humans produce comes from the past, Rob. If you want evidence for the future, ask Dr. Who.

      • Willard writes- “Evidence humans produce comes from the past, Rob. If you want evidence for the future, ask Dr. Who.”

        Willard–another of your silly comments. Try to think. There is not evidence of any significant change in the rate of sea level rise associated with increased CO2 levels. (the largest potential risk) There are no measures depicting that the overall climate is worse for humans now than it has been in the past.

      • > There is not evidence of any significant change in the rate of sea level rise associated with increased CO2 levels.

        There is evidence of change in the rate of sea level rise, Rob.

        This may explain why you injected “significant” in your claim.

        Unless you can specify (preferably in advance [1]) what would constitute a significant change, you’re just special pleading. More specifically, you’re throwing in a True Scotsman.

        At least you identified what would move you: sea level rise. I hope you won’t retract it before you specify what would be significant to you.

        [1]: When I say “in advance,” I mean before looking for instance here –

        http://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/sea-level/

      • Willard writes- “There is evidence of change in the rate of sea level rise, Rob. This may explain why you injected “significant” in your claim.”

        WRONG

        Willard—Obviously, there have been changes in the rate of rise from year to year as conditions change. There has been no long term change in the rate of sea level rise since the start of the satellite era. (as your chart shows). Prior to the satellite era it appears the rate of rise has been close to the same for several hundred years.

      • “geez mosh…
        is work slow around your parts?”

        long compiles.

        This is funny

        Post short posts– ban the drive by
        Post long posts– ban him Judith

        Goal posts for my comments.

        Me? my goal posts are the same for everyone.
        read more.comment less. post your data and code.be more skeptical.

      • “Steve—as you know, the issue is not whether more CO2 will warm the planet. The issue is how much over what time period and how the climate will change in different areas as a result.”

        How many skeptics will sign up to

        The following science is settled ( not worthy of debate)

        1. C02 is a GHG
        2. The rise in c02 is due to man
        3. More c02 will warm the planet.
        4. That warming will not be uniform
        5. The increase in warming will not be monotonic
        6. The Best estimates for warming are
        1.5C to 4.5C of doubling

        How many? How many skeptics will defend this as the settled
        science? How many will point to number 6 and say
        “This is where things are interesting?
        Not many. How many will point to 6 and say.. “its settled that there is this big uncertainty?’ Few. Instead, they will argue that something LOWER than 1.5C is settled or clearly true.

        “Currently there seems to be no reliable evidence of net negative changes to the climate or that there will be in the future (imo).”

        Huh? You know there is no credible evidence that ISIS is sneaking
        fighters into the US, but I still think its wise to take reasonable precautions. The notion of “reliable” evidence is so fuzzy that you could
        warp it to any purpose you want. Climate change poses a risk.
        I’m not sure that any “reliable” or universally agreed upon assesment
        of the risk can be made. Nevertheless, it still makes sense to push for less coal and more nuclear. In short there are things we should be doing anyway that also protect against the hard to quantify risks of climate change.

      • > Obviously, there have been changes in the rate of rise from year to year as conditions change. There has been no long term change in the rate of sea level rise since the start of the satellite era. (as your chart shows).

        Not my chart, Rob, and there were two.

        How you connected “long term change” and “since the start satellite data” is intriguing.

        But let me get this straight: you’d be convinced that there’s “evidence” if and only if and when and only when the satellite data would indicate a “significant” change in the rate of sea level rise, right?

        If that’s correct, would you please clarify what you mean by significant change in the rate of sea level rise?

        If you could find a citation for that argument, that’d be great for my Contrarian Matrix.

      • “How many skeptics do you see working to produce

        better ANYTHING?”

        Lots.
        Pointing out errors of math, detailing the effects of adjustments to data in ways that the originators either didn’t do or didn’t show, pointing out errors of logic, pointing out that predictions don’t match reality – these are things that you can see many “denialists” regularly do. Such work is typically denigrated by consensus types, despite the fact that this is what science is all about.
        Most especially for things like climate, we can never hope to prove anything true, but we can and should attempt to prove things false, because when that is done enough, we have pared down our speculations to what we can’t prove wrong, which is our best guess at what is right. It may still be wrong and/or incomplete, but at least we don’t already know its wrong.
        The social, imposed consensus in climate science is toxic precisely because it is used to “debunk” anything that challenges its primacy in the field, based not on data or repeatable real-world experiment, but instead because so-called experts have built speculation upon speculation in the published literature, and they are the experts, and they are scientists, so if you don’t want to play in their sandpit, by their rules, then you must have an unstated agenda, you must be in the pay of someone making money from the misery of others, etc.

        What ever happened to judging the work on its merits?
        What ever happened to accepting demonstrable facts as true, regardless of what that does to your pet theory?
        What ever happened to chasing the anomalies and outliers?
        In climate science, this is left to the “deniers”, to the 3%, to the unfunded. In any other area of science, this is where the exciting research gets done, this is where the money is spent once you can show there really is a problem. In climate science, it seems they’d rather ignore the anomalies, rather look the other way, or spend the money on yet another study showing how right they were all along, or on meetings in exotic locations where they can pat themselves on the back for being so clever as to agree with the people who provide them with research grants.
        And if, like Judy, you dare to take the high road and judge the work of some Big Oil funded denier like McIntyre on it’s merits, if you actually take the time to investigate what he says, if you actually say loudly in public that this guy has a point, you too can be tarred with the same brush as a flat-earther and you too can be ostracised and denigrated for upholding the values you hold dear, the values that generations before you used to help provide the lifestyle you now enjoy.
        But what the hell, you’re obviously anti-science, right?

      • perceived self importance.

        Steven Mosher | April 21, 2016 at 3:10 pm |

        How many skeptics do you see working to produce

        A) a better temperature record
        B) a better paleo record?
        C) a better inventory of carbon sinks and sources
        d) a better understanding of aerosols
        e) a better understanding of clouds
        f) better GCMS?

        better ANYTHING?

        At least deniers aren’t putting as much effort into making it worse as global warmers.

      • Steve
        Your 6 points are a combination of facts and your conclusions.

        “The rise in c02 is due to man”-It is true that humans started the process but it is also true that additional CO2 is released naturally when temps start to rise.

        “The Best estimates for warming are 1.5C to 4.5C of doubling – If you wrote “Best” as associated with “Berkeley Earth” that may be factually correct but fairly meaningless. I disagree that 1.5 is the appropriate lower range for the estimate.

        Your comment seemed to consider that the probability of more CO2 leading to a worse climate to be similar to that of an ISIS terrorist causing harm. I do not.

        The overwhelming percentage of “net harm” predicted to result from warmer conditions comes about due to the predicted very significant increase in the rate of rise in sea level. There is no reliable evidence that this feared change is occurring. If the current rate of rise does not more than double it is hard to build a credible case that AGW is harmful.

        “. Climate change poses a risk.”—I agree. Imo the best, most cost effective action is the construction and maintenance of robust infrastructure appropriate for the location.

        “it still makes sense to push for less coal and more nuclear.” – Generally I agree, but would put a higher priority on energy independence than CO2 reduction.

        “ In short there are things we should be doing anyway that also protect against the hard to quantify risks of climate change.” – Agreed again generally. Generally, spending much to mitigate CO2 emissions is a poor use of limited resources.

    • jimeichstedt

      Why is it that I agree with most of what Steve Mosher says, but I still want to argue with him? Is it just the way he says it?

  9. I think calling someone a “denier” is basically being dishonest simply because you can’t really tell if a person is “in denial”. If the person believes they are right then they are not in denial; they are simply mistaken (if they are in fact wrong). And if they are denying the truth knowingly, then they are not denying, they are lying. Denialism is not wanting to accept the truth despite the strength of the evidence, aka delusion.
    So, just because a person objects to a truth it doesn’t make them a denier, because you do not know why they object. If faced with an unwanted truth, it is quite reasonable to make sure it is the truth by wanting to see the evidence for yourself, or at least, if you lack the expertise to judge the truth, to have your doubts quelled in a more reassuring way, for example by getting a second opinion. It is reasonable to be guarded and suspicious of someone who is being belittling and belligerent in their truthtelling.

  10. “The Denialism Frame”

    Sigh. This news is at least 10 years old.

    We’re still going nowhere and it’s not about to stop.

    Next post.

    Andrew

  11. As my first ever comment on this blog, I am really hesitant to sound critical, but is this piece unnecessarily convoluted or is it just me? There are some good insights, but digging them out was a serious chore. It reminds me of what I used to do on a final exam in a Political Science course decades ago – fill up blue books with complex prose in search of a possibly undeserved A. It often worked, but that was as an undergraduate. I certainly don’t mean to disrespect an author who is doubtless way smarter than I am at my advanced age, but I’ve read a number of posts from Dr., Curry and found them much more comprehensible,while still academically precise. Forgive me.

    I’ll make an amateurish stab at this, though, and summarize, at serious risk of oversimplification, what Mr. West appears to be saying as this – denialism is not really an objective condition, but subjective, and it’s assignment to any particular viewpoint depends on whose ox is being gored. Correct me if I’m wrong .

    Crossing my fingers that this isn’t my first AND last comment on Dr. Curry’s blog.

    • Ken,

      Sometimes Dr. Curry posts convoluted stuff, yes. So I think your observations are spot on.

      And keep commenting, please. We need fresh material!

      Andrew

    • I think denialism has more to do with ideology than science –e.g., more like scientology. For example, how can so many not see that socialism has been tried many times and always ends in failure? Even the great mind of Christopher Hitchens could not extricate itself from the grasp of denialism when he stated, “I am no longer a socialist, but I still am a Marxist.” It will take a new enlightenment to put an end to dhimmitude in Western academia and its forced conversions of scientific skeptics to the pagan god of global warming alarmism.

    • Exactly Ken. 99.9% of what is written on blogs is sawdust and hot air. The trick is to skim and pick out the wrong bits suitable for mocking and to praise the random nuggets of wisdom.

    • Ken Loffer said:

      Denialism is not really an objective condition, but subjective, and it’s assignment to any particular viewpoint depends on whose ox is being gored.

      Plus, the 24 ct subjectivism is dressed up in scientific drag.

    • Welcome Ken. I agree that this post overstates what is to me a simple human condition which arises from our natural tendency to suffer from cognititive bias and overconfidence in the face of uncertainty. Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow is highly recommended reading for all bloggers.

    • KL, I encourage you to keep commenting. Your point is not wrong. Andy West maybe went to academic on us. But we all learn from the dialectic here. Please continue adding your voice to it.

    • When a denialist tries to explain denialism as a category that doesn’t include himself, it will sound convoluted.

      • Indeed – if you can’t admit the possibility that it is you who are wrong, you will go to great lengths to show that the “other” is sick, deranged, whatever…
        Of course, I may be wrong :-)

      • I think that is what he was trying to do – but unsuccessfully, and it came out convoluted because he didn’t first establish what the science says that he is denying. I posted more at length below. Defining terms is important.

      • Jim D: ‘When a denialist tries to explain denialism as a category that doesn’t include himself, it will sound convoluted.’
        ‘I think that is what he was trying to do…’

        Well it’s a good job that’s not what I’m doing then (assuming ‘he’ means me). D & M are attempting to explain ‘denialism’. I’m deconstructing their framing to demonstrate serious flaws, and suggesting more constructive approaches to achieve what they originally wanted from their effort.

        Note that it is Diethelm and McKee who associate ‘denialism’ specifically with those who oppose “dominant” consensuses, or at least those such consensuses from their example domains and with further domains implied. Hence it is they who are excluding folks supporting such consensuses from ‘denialism’, and so handily excluding themselves too. However, in contrast I point out that the most likely common cause of resistance to evidence across domains, i.e. cultural defence, is something that none of us (so including me) can be free of across all topic domains, and furthermore that supporting a dominant consensus is by no means a guarantee of the absence of cultural defense.

        So I think you pretty much have this backwards.

        ‘…it came out convoluted because he didn’t first establish what the science says that he is denying.’

        I don’t recall denying anything in my post. It is up to D & M (and Hoofnagle) to define what their concept of ‘denialism’ is in opposition to. They concentrate most on identification of it via use of the 5 rhetoric criteria (which I guess is independent of what is being opposed). But as noted above they do also cite an underlying criteria, i.e. denialism is in opposition to a ‘dominant’ scientific consensus. That seems to be about as far as it goes regarding relationship to the science, at least generically; there are details for particular domains. I happen to agree with your sentiments to the extent that their concept is extremely loose, not least they have established no cause. Hence the likely effects and when or when not their ‘denialism’ will occur, and opposing precisely what when it does, is somewhat difficult to guess if we are using their framing as our guide.

      • One form of denialism is framing scientific fact as just an opinion. This appears to be what you are doing regarding AGW. If you are not doing this, it is how your post came off.

      • JimD I believe that you have it back to front. What seems to be the case is that global warmers are attempting to frame an opinion as scientific fact.

      • A denialist would say that they are certain that CO2 emissions can’t explain all or even most of the warming. Is that you?

      • Jim D-enier,

        A denialist would say that they are certain that CO2 emissions can’t explain all or even most of the warming. Is that you?

        A denialist would say that they are certain that CO2 emissions is the cause of all the warming – i.e. denying the weight of the relevant evidence. THAT IS YOU! You said it here: https://judithcurry.com/2016/04/21/the-denialism-frame/#comment-780161

        I accept the science that all of the warming is GHGs.

        You’ve just proved you are a denialsit Thanks for playing.

      • It’s the forcing dominance of GHGs and the positive imbalance that are proof enough. If GHGs are anything less than 100%, you need to find a forcing that accounts for the rest of the warming. None have been proposed.

      • Jim D-enier,

        It’s the forcing dominance of GHGs and the positive imbalance that are proof enough.

        Forcing says nothing about the costs and benefits of mitigation polices. You are showing your compete ignorance. You haven’t a clue what you are talking about.

        And clearly a denier and intellectually dishonest – see No4 nd No 5 of “10 signs of intellectual dishonesty” : https://judithcurry.com/2013/04/20/10-signs-of-intellectual-honesty/

      • That wasn’t your question. Check what you asked.

      • It is the question. Asking for benefits – costs is just another way of asking the same question, as you well know. You really are an example of the most disreputable sort of person with your dishonest, slimy, slithering avoidance tactics.

        You are clearly a Denier of the worst type.

      • Thanks.

      • Your welcome. Go away now, think about it, think about your moral values and intellectual dishonesty, and demonstrate your improvement when you return.

      • Meanwhile, you can check above what your question was.

      • You know the question. Answer it.

      • 10:34pm was responding to 10:26pm which is just above it. You ask things in a barrage, and complain when I answer.

      • Jim D,

        You wrote –

        “It’s the forcing dominance of GHGs and the positive imbalance that are proof enough. If GHGs are anything less than 100%, you need to find a forcing that accounts for the rest of the warming. None have been proposed.”

        I may be wrong, but it appears the word forcing is a climatological construct, of fairly recent origin, not much before 1990. Just another sciencey, but ultimately meaningless Warmist addition to the Warmist dictionary. I am sure you will provide facts to the contrary if you disagree.

        It would appear to be used in realclimate physics, not so much in real physics. So one does not need an unnecessary and pointless alternative forcing. If you are talking about reasons for thermometers indicating higher temperatures in response to higher levels of radiation, ordinary physics provides many.

        Cheers.

      • Forcing has a very specific quantitative meaning in climate science. Many laymen don’t understand it, which is a big part of the problem.

      • Jim D | April 22, 2016 at 11:18 pm |
        Forcing has a very specific quantitative meaning in climate science. Many laymen don’t understand it, which is a big part of the problem.

        When global warmers use the term “forcing” it is used in the sense of “Forcing the data to meet our global warmer preconceptions”, like forcing historic temperature reconstructions to look like a Hockey Stick.

      • “radiative forcing is the rate of energy change per unit area of the globe as measured at the top of the atmosphere”

        Basically you have a system ( the earth ) that is ideally “in balance”.
        Simple physical property we all understand.
        When the system goes out of balance we actually get to define, by CONSTRUCTION, a metric for that. And we get to name it!!!

        we could have picked something cool like quark!

        But The analogy is pretty clear. You have a system in balance what drives it our of balance is a force. hence forcing.

        All that said, you dont need words to describe what is happening.
        The math is good enough.

      • Steven Mosher,

        You wrote –

        “Basically you have a system ( the earth ) that is ideally “in balance”.
        Simple physical property we all understand.
        When the system goes out of balance we actually get to define, by CONSTRUCTION, a metric for that. And we get to name it!!!”

        Basically? Ideally? “In balance”? What tosh. I don’t blame you for putting “in balance” in quotation marks!

        You didn’t get to name anything that actually existed You got to make something up, because it didn’t actually exist – before Warmism, of course! You forcing apparently only exists when the Sun is shining. A cylinder of CO2, compressed or otherwise, exhibits no forcing, as you call it. A room or other inclosed space filled with CO2 exhibits no CO2 forcing.

        Maybe CO2 forcing goes negative when the Sun isn’t shining, or when it’s very cold. Warmist forcing is complete rubbish – the miraculously sciencey property of GHG forcing is an example of Cargo Cult Science at its finest! It can’t be demonstrated by repeatable experiment, so you claim it can’t be rebutted!

        Where’s your science, Steven? Interminably averaging the same numbers, or creating new ones when you get sick of the old ones, is not exactly science – at least, not in my book. Try some real physics – CO2, H2O, and other gases have been known for quite some time. Quantum electrodynamics sets out the theoretical basis for understanding the interaction between light (EMR) and matter. No prediction of QED able to be tested has been shown to be in error so far.

        This is physics. Not mindless sciencey assertions, backed up by strident shouts of “denialist” at anyone who wants a repeatable experiment.

        Cheers.

      • Jim D | April 22, 2016 at 9:09 pm
        “One form of denialism is framing scientific fact as just an opinion. This appears to be what you are doing regarding AGW. If you are not doing this, it is how your post came off.”

        Where in the post is there anything that supports your impression? I say the criteria for proof of calamity (by 2100) are challenged. Are you saying they are not challenged? You spend a huge amount of time here on the site of an atmospheric physicist frequented by various climate domain experts, defending consensus criteria against challenge. So I presume you mean something else; what?

      • Sticking to the science, the denialist view is that it is very unlikely that most of the warming so far is due to the increase in GHGs. As I keep saying, denialism is relative to science and facts as they stand, not policy. By not even accepting the likelihood of the basic science, the denialists move on to flawed policy thinking, so science is at the root of it.

      • The flawed thinking that 1/10th of 1% is in a positive feedback that will cause a run away green house effect? In atmospheric science, that just hasn’t happened. The basic science on that is rapidly proving that AGW needs a make over. It may be true that temperatures have risen, however they are so far below the models to render the concept of CAGW false. That’s in spite of enormous quantity of co2 emitted during the last 15 years.

        A note on hottest ever. The temperature record has been adjusted twice. Additionally, they’ve changed the method of collecting the temperature in order to cool the past. There is no continuity in the record to say what the differences are. And a great deal of the temperatures are guessed at. The one way of knowing that was by satellite. That was discard in favor of land based stations. And finally, the rise is so small, which warmest make a very big thing out of , is that it falls within the range of error.

        All that being said, the narrow scope of defining a skeptic isn’t just on the problematic of whether or how much of the heat is being retain, it also has to do with 2 events in the last 500 years that remain unexplained in relation to this topic. The science of AGW doesn’t support the rise in temperature during the MWP, nor does it support the decline.

        Finally, even if I wasn’t looking at this scientificly, not one prediction from CAGW has happened. Predictions is the hallmark of sciece. Mixing these chemicals in this quality under these conditions will always result in a given conculsion.

        The list is rather lengthy of what’s wrong with CAGW. This is a very short version.

      • It is not a “runaway” effect, but an amplified one. Transient rates of 2 C per doubling explains the warming we have seen, and is well within what basic science would have predicted. If you know the global rise in temperature during the MWP, you know more than anyone else. Science accepts rises and falls due to the sun and volcanoes and ice melts and ocean changes. Between them they can affect the global temperature by a couple of tenths of a degree, and that is in extreme cases.

      • Have you done the math personally? It’s wrong. The numbers go the wrong way. Put in a different number for retained heat.

        And yes there is good evidence of both the LIA and the MWP temperatures. Shortly after this became an issue, a world wide drilling project got under way. Confirming the 2 events were world wide and temperature exceed current day projections of what temperature might be. Most of the conversations here are redundant.
        The bode formula for amplified energy isn’t applicable in climate science. They neglected any and all negative feedback loops. It’s an electrical formula. Not only that, it doesn’t even begin to explain the warming which is way under any model. You need to keep up. Your arguments are so 2006.

      • The LIA is better supported. It is the end of the slightly downward part of the hockey stick. The upward century-scale trend after that is 20 times faster, and coincides with a strong forcing change from added GHGs. The MWP was not much compared to prior warm periods as part of the Milankovitch cycle.

      • It’s just more spin. First, it didn’t exist. Then when it was proven that there wasn’t any way out of recognizing the 2 events, they’ve downplayed played it. The record for both events are a lot more dramatic than the current official record. It is just a matter of time before they have to acknowledge that the MWP was much warmer than now. And with that there will have to be a comparison and contrast between what happened then and what’s happening now. It’s an issue that’s not going away by slight of hand. There is substantial scientific evidence on these issues.
        I see AGW and the proponents of CAGW as standing in the way of discovering exactly what took place. Raising legitimate scientific questions has been meet with minimize the question, derision, discrediting the person asking it, and focusing on narrow research that attempts tof negate the seriousness of the question.

      • Jim D | April 23, 2016 at 10:00 am

        If this comment is aimed at me, whether it’s true or not, what has that got to do with your assertion that I am a denialist myself by virtue of this post?

      • Andy, yes, you frame basic science conclusions as just another opinion that you think is wrong, which is a denialist tendency. There is no equivalence between the two sides when one side has the science.

      • Jim D, What you say makes perfect sense, you just bow to the unknown god.

      • Jim D | April 23, 2016 at 10:14 am

        As noted, I say that the criteria for proof of calamity (by 2100) are challenged. I point out they are challenged in both directions (both more or less global danger than the IPCC). Are you saying that there is no such challenge in either direction? Or are you saying that the mere observation of such challenge is an act of denial regarding the IPCC’s assessment? What ‘basic science conclusions’ do you believe that I’m framing as wrong with my statement?

      • You can take this statement of yours as a complete dismissal of a scientific consensus.
        “Yet there is no acknowledgement of the difference between a scientific consensus and a social consensus, or that the latter can pose as the former.”
        If that is not what you meant, you need to make it clear. But you go on by just treating it as a “social consensus” which you fail to separate from those who follow actual scientific evidence. This failure to separate scientific consensus from “social consensus” comes across as a dismissal of scientific consensus, aka denialism by definition.

      • But you go on by just treating it as a “social consensus” which you fail to separate from those who follow actual scientific evidence.

        It is just a social consensus: on how to interpret that “actual scientific evidence”.

        Claims like yours remind me of the fundamentalists (both Christian and Muslim) who claim their Scripture is the “word of God” which their opponents enemies are “interpreting”, while they just “follow actual scientific evidence Word of God”.

      • That is just the way a denialist frames it. Evidence is science. Complete dismissal of the evidence is denialism. There is a middle road that allows for the truth of the evidence which is skepticism, but we are not talking about that here.

      • Evidence is science.

        No. It isn’t.

        Only a religious fanatic could believe that it is.

      • OK, if you want to be picky, maybe I can say science is based on evidence.

      • Faith in God, is based on the fulfillment of prophecy & promises.

      • OK, if you want to be picky, maybe I can say science is based on evidence.

        But that invalidates your whole argument:

        Complete dismissal of the evidence is denialism.

        Mostly they’re not dismissing the evidence. They’re dismissing your interpretation of the evidence.

        Take Steven’s favorite temperature records. Few of the “skeptics” are really dismissing those old records of thermometer readings, or even tree-ring measurements.

        When they deny the scientific merit of the “adjusted” temperature records, that’s not evidence they’re denying, it’s a revisionist interpretation of the evidence.

        Same goes for the hokey stick.

        Point is, the interpretation you favor of the evidence is invisible to you, because you accept it. You don’t see the difference. You deny there is a difference.

        It’s called denial.

      • It’s fairly easy. There are observations. Science explains the observations. Denialists deny the explanation, or deny the evidence in the first place. Whether it is a consensus on the evidence or on the explanation, the denialists are saying not just that it could be wrong, but, they say, as you do, that it is most likely wrong. That’s the key distinction between a denialist and a skeptic.

      • Whether it is a consensus on the evidence or on the explanation, the denialists are saying not just that it could be wrong, but, they say, as you do, that it is most likely wrong. That’s the key distinction between a denialist and a skeptic

        Nope. The key distinction is whether they are responding to skeptical reactions to the consensus (skeptic) or rationalizing their preference for a specific outcome.

        I’m saying the climate “consensus” is most likely wrong because:

        •       It’s based on an obsolete paradigm,

        •       Its defenders are using the typical methods of people in denial over their own knowledge that their paradigm is headed for the trash heap, and

        •       a growing number of real scientists are backing off earlier “certainties”.

        Contrast that with deniers, who usually say there is little or no chance that digging up and burning all that fossil carbon will have any negative consequences.

        I’m not saying that, what I’m saying is that if negative consequences arise, they probably won’t happen the way the consensus is describing. They may not even have anything to do with climate (eco-destabilization), and if they do they’ll probably amount to some sort of sudden reorganization of the weather systems rather than just getting warmer, or increased “natural disasters”.

      • Oh yes, I forgot the most important point:

        •       The whole consensus was built using social consensus rules rather than those of science. Thus, it was flawed from the start.

      • You can rationalize it any way you like, but that puts you firmly in the denialist category. Very few denialists own it because of the stigma attached and prefer to redefine what the consensus science means as with Andy West. Science is not just a “social” opinion, much as the denialists want it to be.

      • You can rationalize it any way you like, but that puts you firmly in the denialist category.

        Nope.

        You’re just rationalizing your denial of what I say by projecting it onto me.

        Science is not just a “social” opinion, much as the denialists want it to be.

        Absolutely! Which is why IPCC “climate science”, which is nothing but ‘a “social” opinion,’, is NOT a science.

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

        Ring any bells?

      • It is a fascinating window into the denialist mindset here. Usually they deny being denialists too, but some like Mike F dare to own it. Saying that GHGs account for less than half the observed warming is equivalent to denying any positive feedback at all when you look at actual numbers. They are effectively saying that the rest of the warming just looks like a positive feedback, but is some other as yet unidentified thing that is in phase with the GHG rise. It is a view completely devoid of logic.

      • Jim D | April 23, 2016 at 10:48 am |
        It is not a “runaway” effect, but an amplified one. Transient rates of 2 C per doubling explains the warming we have seen, and is well within what basic science would have predicted.

        http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2015/02/25/co2-greenhouse-effect-increase/

        0.2 W/m2 for 22 PPM is within predictions? Really?

        What will toast the global warming movement is the post 2021 version of this study.

        A 0.4 W/m2 or less 20 year result with no acceleration in the last 10 years would be bad news for the warmunist cause. 2 W/m2/century isn’t a serious concern. That would be a TSR of less than 1°C.

      • Actually there is a 1 C increase from a 2 W/m2 forcing. It is on pace when you look at the numbers on climate timescales.

      • Jim D | April 23, 2016 at 5:01 pm |
        Actually there is a 1 C increase from a 2 W/m2 forcing. It is on pace when you look at the numbers on climate timescales.

        This would seem to be one of those “pulled from the air” claims. Do you have a link?

      • Which one, 1 C or 2 W/m2? These are recent numbers. 400 ppm gives 1.9 W/m2 for CO2 alone. 1 C is the threshold recently crossed according to the Hadley Center.

      • Jim D | April 23, 2016 at 5:10 pm |
        Which one, 1 C or 2 W/m2? These are recent numbers. 400 ppm gives 1.9 W/m2 for CO2 alone. 1 C is the threshold recently crossed according to the Hadley Center.

        “Sigh”. No, 400 PPM doesn’t give 1.9 W/m2 for CO2 alone.

        If the forcing is 0.2 W/m2 for 22 PPM the warming is roughly 0.0543245251 °C or about 0.05°C. Warming since 1900 is about 1.0478457229 W/m2 or 0.283°C assuming the 104 PPM increase was measured correctly.

        The remaining 2/3rds of post 1900 warming is due to non-CO2 causes and you can mix and match any ones you like. 1/4 of post 1900 warming is CGAGW (computer generated anthropogenic global warming) or “virtual” warming, and should be ignored.

        I’ve have searched the literature and to this point have not found any scientist stupid enough to claim virtual warming affects the real world.

        This is in the same class as the “the ocean is warming 0.3 W/m2” “the TOA imbalance is 0.5 W/m2” situation. Either the ocean temperature is being measured wrong or irradiance is being measured wrong, or both. The claim they are both right is wrong.

      • Oops, you are again using the surface locally measured forcing of 0.2 W/m2 instead of the top-of-atmosphere global one which is the relevant one. Do you want to try again? I will save you the trouble. It is the number I gave you for 400 ppm. You also disagree with everyone including Lewis and Curry on the observed imbalance, which puts you in your own, let’s say special, class.

      • Jim D | April 23, 2016 at 11:22 am

        The fuller quote is this: “The paper claims that the ‘right’ side must be the consensus side. Yet there is no acknowledgement of the difference between a scientific consensus and a social consensus, or that the latter can pose as the former. Influence from an enforced social consensus increases the chances that scientists too will straddle the rift between sides, or maybe even end up mostly on the ‘wrong’ side. Authoritative, apparently settled science has been overturned many times”.

        Which makes it very clear I do not dismiss scientific consensuses. I say the one *can* pose as the other and scientists *may* end up on the wrong side (or straddled). The footnote gives examples of various consensuses where this has actually happened, hence it has to be acknowledged as a possibility (which the paper doesn’t do). However at no point do I here or elsewhere dismiss scientific consensuses, nor do I ‘go on by just treating’ a scientific consensus as a social consensus, or make any impression of doing so. You seem to be trying to scrape some faint hint or possibility of denialism from the bottom of the barrel here. Given that you appear to support D&M2009, maybe you should run the criteria on my post and see what you get.

      • Andy, it is good that you don’t dismiss the scientific consensus, because that is a critical part of defining denialism, which is the act of saying that the scientific consensus is unlikely to be true.

      • Yawn…

      • The initial post was very confusing on whether the scientific consensus was just “social”, but Andy says that is not what he meant, so we’re good.

      • stevenreincarnated

        When a 6%er tries to explain denialism as a category that doesn’t include himself, it will sound convoluted.

  12. Contradiction: denialism versus 97% consensus – can’t be both

    Consensus should welcome denialism because it’s an opportunity to present clear evidence to make the consensus case.

    Problem: climate evidence is not clear, nor direct, nor controlled, nor single factor.

    There are those that deny that temperatures are rising, anthropogenically or not.

    But there are those who deny enhanced photosynthesis from increased CO2.
    There are those who deny the lack of significant change in ACE
    There are those who deny the lack of significant change in US drought.
    There are those who deny the lack of change in global vegetative stress.
    There are those who deny that forest fires, by tree scar evidence, were more prevalent a thousand years ago than today.
    There are those deny that significantly more people die during the cold season and significantly fewer people die during the warm season.
    etc. etc.

    Denialism wears many hats.

    • There are those deny that significantly more people die during the cold season and significantly fewer people die during the warm season.

      Like so much of the drivel you sell, this is simplistic nonsense.

      Some of the US states with the longest lifespans are adjacent to the Canadian border: Minnesota, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont. Some of the US states with the lowest lifespans are on the Gulf of Mexico: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama.

      Some of the states with the highest winter death rates are in the deep South. They have warmer winters. Some of the states with the lowest winter death rates are adjacent to the Canadian border. They have very cold winters.

      And then there’s Canada.

      Will warming the United States increase US lifespans? Not likely.

      • Fighting idiocy with stupidity. Is this to signal to your detractors on ATTP that you are a bonafide consensus cheerleader?

      • 1) Span of life is primarily due to genetics.

        2) Residents of cold weather states have both better infrastructure and greater experience dealing with cold weather than residents of warm weather states.

        Warming (or cooling) is unlikely to have any discernible impact on lifespans in the US. Which is sort of the point for those of us who have a hard time accepting the doomsday predictions used to push current climate change actions.

      • TE, it looks like mortality rates in your chart are related to changes in seasons. I’m not sure what that has to do with global warming. Perhaps it would be more relevant to compare age-specific mortality rates in countries with warm climates and cold climates if you can find any that have similar socio-economic characteristics.

        Here is some good news if you were born in Oct-Dec rather than Apr-Jun.

        “Month of birth influences adult life expectancy at ages 50+. Why? In two countries of the Northern Hemisphere–Austria and Denmark–people born in autumn (October–December) live longer than those born in spring (April–June).”

        http://www.pnas.org/content/98/5/2934.full

      • JCH:

        Will warming the United States increase US lifespans? Not likely.

        The age-adjusted death rate by state shows Hawaii is number one (i.e., lowest rate). Perhaps global warming should become mandatory in all health care plans?

        http://www.ecology.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/db115_fig3b-524.jpg

      • max, TE, it looks like mortality rates in your chart are related to changes in seasons. I’m not sure what that has to do with global warming.

        Yes.

        Two major things change with the seasons:
        1.) sunshine ( both intensity and duration ) and
        2.) temperature

        It’s possible that the changes are due to sunshine alone, both, or temperature alone ( or some other factor not nearly so prominent as sunshine and temperature ).

        It turns out a seasonal variation in genetic expression makes us much more likely to die ( from all causes: heart disease, cancer, et. al. ) during winter than summer. It’s theorized that this response has evolved to combat the respiratory and digestive viruses that humans encountered since migrating out of Africa long ago.

        In any event, there is a strong anti-correlation of mortality and temperature.

      • The heat must be really awful in New Zealand in July for the deaths to increase like that.

    • Steven Mosher

      So you disagree with the Author who argues there is no such thing as
      Denialism

      • The author argues that there *may* be no such isolatable phenomenon as ‘denialism’, it would need much more work to figure out. But if it exists, it will have a very different framing to that promoted by D&M2009 (and Hoofnagle). See section 8.

    • > Contradiction: denialism versus 97% consensus – can’t be both Consensus should welcome denialism because it’s an opportunity to present clear evidence to make the consensus case.

      Or how to derive an is from an ought.

  13. What could be a better example of denialism than the mindset of politicians who lack enough votes win a party’s nomination but are so certain their view is correct and deserving to prevail merely because they feel other side should never win (despite the observable facts) that they purposefully set out to play with the rules to achieve victory by cajoling, threatening and bribing others?

  14. Pingback: “Denialism” | Transterrestrial Musings

  15. Common features by which the term (epithet) ‘denialist
    behavior can be recognized, as Andy West argues,
    are problematic and found on both sides in a hotly
    contested debate absent clearly demonstrated evidence.

    The WIKI page on Denialism is a case in point regarding
    the contested issue of C/AGW as game over. No WIKI
    mention of MBH98 , central icon of IPCC TAR, and its
    tree-ring cherry picking clearly demonstrated, arbitrary
    Sheep Mountain 390x weighting versus Mayberry Slough,
    and the one-tree Gaspe Cedar extrapolations to get that
    hockey stick.

    http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/McKitrick-hockeystick.pdf

  16. Judith,

    I’ve just read an interesting article about bias in science. It would be great if you could do a post applying climate science to these ideas:

    Cognitive Fallacies

    – Hypothesis Myopia: Collecting evidence to support a hypothesis, not looking for evidence against it, and ignoring other explanations.
    – Texas Sharpshooter: Seizing on random patterns in the data and mistaking them for interesting findings.
    – Asymmetric Attention: Rigorously checking unexpected results, but giving expected results a free pass.
    -Just-So Storytelling: Finding stories after the fact to rationalize whatever the results turn out to be.

    Debiasing Techniques

    – Devil’s Advocacy: Explicitly consider alternative hypotheses – then test them out head-to-head.
    – Pre-Commitment: Publicly declare a data collection and analysis plan before starting the study.
    – Team of Rivals: Invite your academic adversaries to collaborate with you on a study.
    – Blind Data Analysis: Analyse data that look real but are not exactly what you collected – and then lift the blind.

    • This is a great post. It is about all of us. I am very interested in why us homosapiens think the way way do. I am most troubled as to how we reach our initial conclusion/inclination regarding a topic. It seems to be “emergent”. From there we seem to adopt a level of certainty to attach to the conclusion/inclination, which varies from individual to individual and subject to subject, and that level of certainty also seems to be “emergent”. From there we appear to apply our individual cognitive dissidence. Our conclusion seems to be a result of whether we recognize and have a process to deal with our “emergent” level of certainty and our cognitive dissidence.

    • mpcraig have you a link for the article about bias in science please?

  17. Social psychology itself is “immature science”, at best. Never believe a social psychologist.

  18. AW, thanks for this dissection. Was unaware of the literature behind the namecalling. You offer much food for thought.
    In my The Arts of Truth, the first chapter explored various ideas about truth itself (the remainder of the book explored generic issues in approaching ‘truth’, like perspective or selection bias). Your essay weaves many of those threads into a larger ‘cultural’ context. In a sense, denialism is Steven Colbert’s ‘truthiness’–the topic of chapter 2.

    • Thanks. I ought to take a look at this. Your name link doesn’t work?

      • It isn’t my name. Its a foreshortened version of a find me/follow me email address trying to curb junk email. Go to Amazon Kindle under Rud Istvan. All three books are there for sure. Second of the three is The Arts of Truth. Took only 6 months to write, but another 6 months to fact check the culminating climate chapter including a day’s face to face with Prof. Lindzen.
        Truthiness chapter 2 was easy to write. Just three of the about 100 specific concrete illustrated examples of truth ‘failure’. A creationist billboard riff on fetal heartbeat, two teachers union positions on class room size (no bias there…), and a summarized reference book on Madoff’s ‘truthy’ Ponzi scheme.
        Highest Regards to you, AW. You have opened my eyes.

    • Seriously, Judith?

      Rud fills comment after comment with “name-calling” and you won’t allow the following to pass moderation?

      http://lmgtfy.com/?q=site%3Ajudithcurry.com+%22ristvan%22%2B%22warmunist%22

      Don’t you ever have to hold yourself accountable for your blatant favoritism? How do you maintain your stance of moral indignation when you act like that?

  19. Nice post. Quite a conundrum. There are “mechanisms” of fuzzy thinking that allow people to maintain false convictions in the face of logic and evidence. No doubt it happens across partisan divides.

    The work on defining and describing “denialism” is an attempt to attack and limit the mechanisms of fuzzy thinking. But as identified by the author of this post the criteria for defining denialism are subjective. Therefore the very criteria can serve as a way for people to validate their own fuzzy thinking and disregard the logic and evidence of others.

  20. Conspiracy theories — Dismissing the data or observation by suggesting opponents are involved in “a conspiracy to suppress the truth”.

    I think most “skeptics” would say that to some degree there is a conspiracy to suppress the truth or that scientists are not being truthful. Take the NOAA adjustments to surface dataset as a prime example.

    • Steven Mosher

      Yes.
      Watching them move the goalposts after we finished our work at berkley earth was truly eye opening.

      There is a great essay to write there.

      I would add this to the diagnosis of denialism.

      They refuse to apply the same skepticism to their cherished beliefs.

      best example: They will assert that the LIA was real ( based on scant data and proxy data ) and then deny that the record showing warming since the LIA is good. In short they want to argue that it was colder in the past, but deny that it is warmer today.

      • How do you explain the last 420,000 history of the past ice ages and CO2? Mankind is no more than a hair on the tail of this dog.

      • Steven Mosher

        “How do you explain the last 420,000 history of the past ice ages and CO2? Mankind is no more than a hair on the tail of this dog.”

        Non sequitor is your fallacy

      • Even JCH knows the answer to this question…

      • Steven Mosher

        Arch

        1. Yes we can explain the past.
        2. EVEN IF WE COULD NOT EXPLAIN THE PAST, the LACK of understanding says NOTHING about the role of man. That is why your argument is a non sequitor. You cannot move logical from ‘We dont understand the past” to THEREFORE man plays no role.
        That is basic logic..

      • There is no reason to believe your side anymore, logically. You may look good when you show up in the corner office but you numbers still suck. You work has not been going too well, so we are going to have to let you go.

      • I am sure you could also explain how your friend got his DUI. Pluto Is A Planet, bumper stickers should be issued.

      • Eye opening in what way. Just how do all those researchers that depended on the government agencies to publish the truth and stick with it feel about the data manipulation? Doesn’t it bring into question the validity of the work that was done based on their original data?

      • There are some of us who do no such thing Steven.

  21. Steven Mosher

    “So confirming some of the bullet points in section 2 cannot be done objectively, and even if it could this does not reliably confirm which side is overall a denialist side, because behaviors are frequently mirrored.”

    You have not established that.
    you asserted that it wasnt objective.
    Second, you assumed that unless it was objective ( you provided no defensible criteria about what counts as objective) that it could not be useful.

    • Hi Mosh,

      >’You have not established that. you asserted that it wasnt objective.’

      I did not merely assert. I point out regarding the relevant bullet points as detailed, that they cannot be confirmed without domain knowledge. And domain knowledge brings with it domain bias, hence lack of objectivity. See below for the evidence that was provided.

      >’…you provided no defensible criteria about what counts as objective…’

      Throughout the post I make clear that the criteria for objectivity is distancing from domain knowledge. This is certainly defensible. In a highly polarized domain, the more domain knowledgeable will be even more polarized. See footnote 9 which provides evidence of this.

      >’Second, you assumed that unless it was objective… …it could not be useful.’

      The essence of D&M2009 is a claim that their list of rhetoric devices are sufficient to identify a phenomenon ‘denialism’, if occurring within any majorly contested topic domain. Notwithstanding that the paper provides no theoretical backup for what ‘denialism’ might actually be in terms of social or psychological causation, despite acknowledging universal occurrence, I think the spirit of the paper is that its criteria should always distinguish between who is siding with the evidence, and who is not, within any majorly contested domain.

      If particular criteria cannot be confirmed objectively, hence reliably in all cases, then yes I have assumed these are not useful to the paper’s main purpose. Did you have usefulness for some other purpose in mind?

  22. I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description denialism, and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it….

    • Sounds like Justice Potter Stewart’s concurring opinion in Jacobellis v. Ohio, holding that the Constitution protected all obscenity except “hard-core pornography”:

      I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobellis_v._Ohio

      The phrase would later be invoked by Senator Jesse Helms in his battles with the NEA.

      But, as Greg Easterbrook argued in the the LA Times, the real question for the NEA is not whether it should fund “hard-core pornography” or not, but whether it should fund “bad art.” And the parallels to science are striking:

      That government underwrites bad art is not the indictment.

      Art is fundamentally experimental, and a percentage of experiments fail–as science-funding agencies know.

      Conservatives sometimes argue that public funds should support only art widely agreed to be of abiding merit, coded as “the best.”

      But consensus about excellence applies only to past eras whose bad art has been sifted out. If “the best” were the guiding principle of cultural investment, all art would be like opera: endless restagings of the classics, with new works on rare occasion.

      The existence of bad art is a natural and even healthy sign of a vibrant, risk-taking cultural scene. The problem is the NEA has enormous difficulty coming to grips with this harmless fact.

      http://articles.latimes.com/1992-04-05/opinion/op-759_1_bad-art

      Now let’s rewrite that for science:

      That government underwrites bad science is not the indictment.

      Science is fundamentally experimental, and a percentage of experiments fail–as art-funding agencies know.

      Liberals sometimes argue that public funds should support only science widely agreed to be of abiding merit, coded as “the best.”

      But consensus about excellence applies only to past eras whose bad science has been sifted out. If “the best” were the guiding principle of scientific investment, all science would be like religion: endless restagings of the religious tradition, with new advancements on rare occasion.

      The existence of bad science is a natural and even healthy sign of a vibrant, risk-taking scientific scene. The problem is the NSF has enormous difficulty coming to grips with this harmless fact.

    • Glenn: I specifically quoted that phrase hoping you would riff on it. I, of course didn’t read a word you wrote.

      • Horst,

        Of course you “specifically” plagiarized Justice Stewart on purpose, “hoping” I would “riff on it.”

        You just keep telling yourself that, although I doubt anyone else will believe it.

        And as to your claim that you “didn’t read a word I wrote,” I’m not surprised.

        I must admit that the first time I encountered your anti-intellectualism and lack of curosity I was a bit taken aback. But now I’ve learned what to expect.

  23. Steven Mosher

    “Conspiracy theories and logical fallacies often abound on both sides of a long contested domain that has major social significance. So bullets 1 and 5 are unreliable criteria for who, overall, is ‘denying’ reality.”

    The test need not decide “Overall” who is a denialist. The test is best applied to an individual case.

    For example:

    1. Does the person claim conspiracy about the scientific finding?
    This is objectively determinable. The test is simple. Do they make claims
    of conspiracy or not. If you ask them “is this a conspiracy” they answer yes.

    Lets take the temperature record as an example. How many folks believe there is a worldwide conspiracy to “fiddle with” the data. Quite a few.

    So, if a person claims there is a conspiracy, that counts TOWARD them being a denialist. It doesnt count AGAINST them being a denialist.
    The same goes for logical fallacies. The point there is one doesnt count
    logical fallacies and come up with a logical fallacy count. Its rather hard to avoid them altogether. But the presence of logical fallacies counts TOWARD the diagnosis of being a denialist. It does not count against
    the diagnosis.

    You can see that the diagnosis of denialist need not be black and white.
    The basic point is this. Does it serve a useful purpose? Yes. In any exchange with people you have to decide ‘is this dialog going anywhere?
    Can we reach a meeting of the minds?
    Well, do you think you can reach a meeting of the minds with someone
    who exhibits these two traits.
    A) they assert the existence of a conspiracy.. basically they say you are lying.
    B) they engage in logical fallacies.

    Faced with that you have a PRAGMATIC decision to make. is this dialog worth the effort?

    Of course when you tell a person they are a denialist ( talking to you is not worth the effort ) they will respond

    “you havent proved objectively that its not worth the effort”

    • I am able to point out the fact of the Vast-Left-Wing-Conspiracy, aren’t I?

      • Steven Mosher

        in 1896?

      • “Does the person claim conspiracy about the scientific finding?”

        What if there is a conspiracy?

        Andrew

      • Steven Mosher

        What if there are unicorns?

      • “What if there are unicorns?”

        Well, conspiracies actually happen. Do you think unicorns actually happen?

        Andrew

      • Unicorns do exist, it’s just that nowadays we call them Rhinocerus.

      • Steven Mosher

        Its pretty simple Andrew.
        If there is a conspiracy then I have to be a part in it.
        here is what I know.
        And I know it better than you can ever know it.
        I am not part of a conspiracy.
        Since I know that.
        Since I know that better than you could ever know that.
        I also know that you are unable to detect conspiracies accurately.
        you effectively DISCREDIT yourself in my eyes.

        You of course must believe that I am lying about being part of conspiracy.
        And there is no evidence that could convince you otherwise.
        That is what is unscientific about the tendency to believe in conspiracies.
        Once you catch the conspiracy virus you are stuck with it

      • You would not feel good about yourself if you were, self image would suffer too.

      • “I also know that you are unable to detect conspiracies accurately”

        I know you don’t know that.

        Andrew

      • If there were unicorns little girls (and perhaps FOMD) would be very happy. WWF and Greenpeace would then adopt them as their corporate logo.

        Then they’d become extinct:

        Due to climate change

        Due to corporate exploitation

        Due to indigenous poor hunting them for their meat and horn

        Due to people consuming less drugs and realizing there are no unicorns.

    • Is the Roman Catholic Church (or any other religion) a “conspiracy?”

      • Yes IMHO
        Like minded groups employing conscious and subconscious strategic use of facts and social memes to achieve a shared conscious or subconscious goal.
        Happens all the time.
        Started with tribes.
        Or maybe in families. (at least where I come from)
        If one doesn’t recognize conspiracies they’re probably uninformed.

  24. Definition of “to believe”: to accept (something) as true (OED); examples:
    a) to feel certain of the truth of…;
    b) to accept a statement, of someone or about something, as being true …;
    c) to have faith, especially regarding religious faith …:
    d) to feel certain that someone or something is capable of a causing a particular outcome …;
    e) to “feel certain” that a particular result or outcome will occur, regardless of the cause of the outcome is known with certainty
    .
    Climate change –> always happening. What is the cause? Causality – Late 15th century: from French causalité or medieval Latin causalitas, from Latin causa ’cause’: a) the relationship between cause and effect; b) the concept that everything has a cause. Attribution is the act of identifying “cause” based on observed effects.

    The climate advocacy “claim” that it is known with “95% certainty” that mankind is the “main cause.” The “95% certainty” figure is not a measure of statistical significance but comes from a Delphi poll of hands of the lead authors of the IPCC reports and bureaucrats from the nations who have final editorial say on content of IPCC reports. If you don’t agree, you are a “denier.” End of story. Opinion surveys are then produced to determine how many others believe that climate change is “real,” answer: “97% of scientists” agree that climate change is “real and is happening.” Of course many of those types are not qualified to have opinions on the critical questions on climate change including attribution of cause (for ex. one of the survey respondents is the world’s expert on mating characteristics of the black-tailed jack rabbit in the Southwest United States). And many have conflict of interest bias from receiving benefits, funding etc. Such surveys, of course, do not address detailed critical questions on attribution / causality, climate modeling, climate sensitivity, uncertainties in the (modeled) future projections of global temperature (dependent variable) or for that matter uncertainties in the independent variables on which the models depend, e.g., .in the measurements and characterization of greenhouse gases, solar incidence, moisture, sulfates, particulates – uncertainties in the “independent variables” which affects the model output and stability. As time passes and climate outcomes become known (such as global temperature) and these diverge from the “official projections, AR4, AR5, ARxyz) they would also look to redefine the period for the baseline in the historical analysis and even restate the historical data.

    It is a faux game and a trap and a sneaky one at that, to get you to engage in debates on “whether or not you are a denier.” The next question might be “are you still beating your wife.” The only response is to focus on the issues and facts of the matter.

    • Excellent!
      And for converts to warmism (or denialism, or to any ideology, “When did you stop beating your wife?”

    • A belief is an opinion one has based on insufficient information.
      We know precious little for sure.
      Maybe nothing.

      OTOH
      If my wife is a Navy SEAL
      and she hits me
      and I hit her back
      am I a wife beater?

      I’m confused by this whole equality thing.

  25. All 5 are used in CAGW daily. Can we add senility alism to that list. They can’t remember an argument that supports their cause, then issues a contradictory paper 2 weeks later.
    1. Conspiracy. . I’m being paid by big oil. … I wish
    2. Cherry picking. .. the MWP and the LIA never happened
    3. False experts.. using tree rings as a proxy for temperature. Your not a biologist are you.
    4. Moving the goal posts… children just won’t know what snow is, stronger more frequent hurricanes, the Arctic will be completely ice free by 2013, the Himalayan glaciers will be all gone, and rounding out number
    5. Other logical fallacies.. let’s adjust the temperatures, or we’ll make a guess in CAGW favor when we don’t know

    • Steven Mosher

      “2. Cherry picking. .. the MWP and the LIA never happened”

      cherry picking was defined as refering to discredited research.
      also, the science says the MWP and LIA were real.

      nice straw man

      • Of course they happened. That’s why I put them there. There has been no explanation as to what was happening then that isn’t happening now. Certainly co2 was not a factor in either of those events. If AGW is to make a case it has to explain those 2 events, and why they aren’t happening now to allow for co2 to become the dominant factor in controlling climate.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Of course they happened. That’s why I put them there.”

        that was you mistake.
        Cherry picking In this document refers to picking literature that is
        discredited. the science of the IPCC says the MWP happened.
        Denialists try to say the opposite. you try to say that the IPCC is disappearing the MWP. It doesnt.

        “There has been no explanation as to what was happening then that isn’t happening now. ”

        1. Again wrong. read the science.

        Certainly co2 was not a factor in either of those events.

        1. is that your settled science? certainly? what goal post
        did you set to determine that with CERTAINTY?

        If AGW is to make a case it has to explain those 2 events, and why they aren’t happening now to allow for co2 to become the dominant factor in controlling climate.

        Ah no. you dont need to explain the past to understand the physics
        that will govern the future.

        This is a pretty basic logical flaw on your part. You can explain all the warming since 1750 using c02 and volcanic forcing. That makes it a SUFFICIENT explanation. you dont need to add anymore variables to explain the vast major of warming. Now, It is not a necessary condition
        That is you can get warming without c02.

  26. Steven Mosher

    “Cherry picking — Selecting an anomalous critical paper supporting their idea, or using outdated, flawed, and discredited papers in order to make their opponents look as though they base their ideas on weak research.”

    This is objectively determinable. Not in all cases of course. I will give you
    some relevant examples.

    Again, a test does not need to provide an answer in all cases to be objective. It can still be useful for a diagnosis.
    Denialism is a tricky disease.

    lets take the temperature record.

    Long ago NOAA published a graphic of the adjustments made to version 1 of GHCN. That approach has been superceded. Its no longer valid.
    NOAA no longer adjust data the way that graph depicts.
    Yet
    You will see folks using that graph over an over again.

    So guess what? you get to decide.

    1. the person says “I believe data adjustments are a conspiracy”
    2. the person used outdated graphs to prove their point.
    3. they engage in fallacies, like ad hominum

    So, each of these is objectively determinable.
    You get to ask yourself.. Is a dialog with such a person fruitful?
    They call you a liar. They use data that is not correct. They accuse you
    of being on the take.

    Chances are talking to such a person will get you no where.
    you can TEST that definition of denialism by trying to talk to them.
    Guess what? Its not worth it.

    So, we get to label this type of person.

    Will the label be perfect? Nope. Does it have to be? Nope.

    • >’This is objectively determinable. Not in all cases of course.’

      Well that’s the rub, isn’t it.

      >’Again, a test does not need to provide an answer in all cases to be objective.’

      D&M2009 and Hoofnagle too, are claiming that this criteria (with the other similar devices) *is* sufficient to detect a phenomenon ‘denialism’ in any topic domain. This is tantamount to saying it does have to be reliable for all cases, the variety across domains is huge. So imagine looking into a deep and complex contested domain of which you have little prior knowledge. As is typical, the accusations of cherry picking and of all the other behaviors / criteria are flying waist deep across the divide from both sides. How will you proceed?

    • Direct quote ” the MWP and the LIA were local, not world wide” . In context as to why co2 and temperature during this time were flat. First, the official temperatures from the IPCC showed no change during those 2 events. And 2nd, even now, there is no explanation, only brick throwing that now the IPCC says there is. And the MWP and the LIA were both world wide, not local.
      If you can’t explain it, AGW is rock bottom invalid.
      I’ve been to see Oz. Let’s see maybe I’m delusional, or sick, have a problem with authority, or lacking in intelligence. Strawman? Because I have a real bases for questioning CAGW? I know, when it’s all said and done, you’ll have to write a confession that you have a little denial in your heart. (In case you don’t understand that’s what Mao had his party people do except for being a capitailist) psst.. the 1st party members are always the ones to get shot first. I, on the otherhand, can be reeducated.

      • The IPCC sure does show a little ice age as well as a medieval warm period, the problem being the change involved with those two periods being a bit smaller than the current up change.

        https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch6s6-6.html

      • And there explanation is? And the MWP most certainly was warmer, a lot warmer. Grapes were grown in England. It was such a concern that the French took action on the importation of wine. Further there is very good information in long lived trees in the isotopic bonds that correlate very well with temperature that is outlined in 1976 paper. I have to wonder who thought the width of tree rings indicated temperatures. Maybe there was some ideal tree growing somewhere against which they could measure changes in regards to sunlight, other competing trees, soil conditions, accessibility to water, latitude and altitude. You do have to wonder if tobacco enemas really work.
        The IPCC only included that in their work without addressing the issue after the fact. And much like cooling the past and warming the present through adjustements, they’ve downplayed the significance of those 2 events. They were both warmer and colder than they are saying. I do understand the science, that’s why I am a skeptic, not the other way around. CAGW has always been less than honest and upfront. Web sites disappear, information changes, contradicting research papers, spin, back dating, conviently forgetting important predictions that didn’t happen, pushing dates out, and all the while maintaining the math is correct. The math wasn’t, which has been borne out. Which leads, how accurate are they in providing catastrophic predictions, and what validity do the have on future events. My answer is none.

    • Well, the problem is there are two groups of deniers.

      1. People who deny it is warming
      2. People who deny more CO2 is good.

      Since all we care about (and the only real harm mentioned from more CO2) is the impact on plant growth I am amazed there isn’t more attention paid to this. If more warming and more CO2 increase yield we want more CO2 and more warmth.

      This is easy to test. A network of several hundred garden plots in protected areas (so urbanization doesn’t skew the results).

      Every year the soil is brought up to the same analysis and the same seeds planted. The same treatments would be followed every year.

      The aggregate data would tell us if plants are growing better or worse.

      Preferably the plots would be run by Deniers since that is more likely to give honest results.

      Fair unbiased research should replace the guessing and mismodeling.

  27. The term denier is nothing more than name calling. A pejorative term had to be devised because the concerted refusal to debate the inconsistencies of the climate science didn’t convince the disbelievers of the wisdom of the consensus. Debating the meaning of denialism is a silly sideshow when the real issue is the inappropriateness and ineffectiveness of the refusal to debate strategy adopted by consensus climate scientists.

  28. Wiki summarizes the same five characteristics proposed by the paper thusly

    Claims of “denialism” ought to be clear about what exactly is claimed to be “denied”. Nobody denies “climate”; nobody denies “climate change”; very few people deny that “humans have had an impact on (or contributed to) climate change”.

    As to “cherry picking”, the most common cherry picking is the avoidance of evidence for which there is no or limited understanding. Why, for example, if the mechanism for most of the observed warming (and heat lost in the deep ocean) is atmospheric CO2, why is the atmosphere not warming faster than the surface? Have they decided to pretend (as with the previous global cooling) that it was never part of the consensus?

  29. Andy West, thank you for a good essay.

  30. Steven Mosher

    “False experts — Paying an expert in the field, or another field, to lend supporting evidence or credibility. ”

    ‘It is likewise regarding experts. To reliably know whether an expert is ‘false’ or not requires domain knowledge. ”

    Number 3 is Also Objectively determinable and you dont need domain knowledge to decide who is an expert.
    .
    The key in criteria #3 is the PAY. Further the claim of expertise is enough.

    The claim of expertise is made by the denialist. There is no need to question it or verify it. Its the denialist who is paying someone they believe to be an expert.

    Again, if I am having a dialog with someone and they

    A) accuse me of being involved in a conspiracy
    B) Use papers or evidence that has been superceded
    C) PAY a person THEY THINK is an expert to support their position

    Then Those elements are clearly objectively determinable and I can fruitfully use those features to evaluate their behavior and decide that its not worth talking to them. There can be no meeting of the minds with someone who exhibits those traits. Will this diagnostic test work in every case? Nope. Does it have to? Nope.

    • And are you confident that whenever you see A) aimed at someone, you will know this definitely indicates that the accuser belongs to the side which is *not* aligned to the evidence?

      And are you confident that you will recognize B) within any topic domain? Especially when both sides are accusing their opponents of this.

      And are you confident that in any contested domain no matter how deep and complex, you will understand the labyrinthine maps of funding, so which connections are propaganda props and which are perfectly genuine, and this despite what each side is *saying* about the funding of the other side that may not be true? Not to mention confidence in whether you know an expert is indeed false or not before you worry about who is paying him?

      Bear in mind that the essence of D&M2009 is that these criteria alone *can* distinguish the individuals or groups who are ‘denialists’ in any domain. And will produce the same answer no matter by whom applied, whether in domain or out, and for the former on any side. If they do not produce the same answer, they are not useful. Hence they do have to be right in every case, or at least very close to that, whereas these criteria are prone to major error.

      What this framing of ‘denialism’ actually results in for various highly polarized domains, is polarized folks using their own biased interpretations all over the place to assume who is cherry picking or who is a false expert or whatever, in contested environments where there is pretty much always strong cultural behavior on *both* sides. Hence they justify stigmatizing their opposition with the ‘denialist’ label, at the expense of reason.

  31. Steven Mosher

    Its funny.
    Arguing that you cant define goalposts, is the quintessential goalpost moving game.

    Its fun to see the denialism at work in the denial of denialism.

    • >’Arguing that you cant define goalposts, is the quintessential goalpost moving game’

      I am not arguing that you can’t define goalposts. I clearly argue that you can’t yet define stable goalposts for immature science. So in the generic case, how do we tell whether a science is immature or not, Do you have any suggestions that are robust to different domains?

      >Its fun to see the denialism at work in the denial of denialism.

      D&M2009 have legitimized anyone to amplify emotion at the expense of reason, by stigmatizing with ‘denialism’ anyone they choose to disagree with. You have a strange sense of humor; I think this is most unfortunate.

    • NASA GISStemp is the mascot of goalpost moving.

      https://i.imgur.com/sQq6c4I.gif

  32. From nearly a year ago:

    Updated NASA Data: Global Warming Not Causing Any Polar Ice Retreat

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2015/05/19/updated-nasa-data-polar-ice-not-receding-after-all/#413428ef32da

  33. David L. Hagen

    Andy West
    Thanks for exploring the issue. It appears “denialism” is primarily being used as a logical fallacy to denigrate opponents / skeptics rather than address or even recognize failures of climate models.
    Re: “Like the HIV case, proof of evolution over creationism seems like a very safe bet; familiar issues such as the increasing resistance of diseases to antibiotics allow us to actually perceive evolution in action.”
    “evolution in action” appears to be a logical fallacy of equivocation. Yes mutations result in increasing resistance to antibiotics – by “changing the goal posts” that the antibiotics were identified/designed to do.
    However, that does not evidence “evolution” as creative, developing new functions. See Evolutionary Informatics at EvoInfo.org for papers with quantitative math invalidating the evolutionary creative hypothesis.

  34. David L. Hagen

    Contrast Holocaust Denial
    See the Holocaust Museum for “WHAT IS HOLOCAUST DENIAL AND DISTORTION?”

    Holocaust denial is an attempt to negate the established facts of the Nazi genocide of European Jewry. Key denial assertions are: that the murder of approximately six million Jews during World War II never occurred; that the Nazis had no official policy or intention to exterminate the Jews; and that the poison gas chambers in Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp never existed.

    A newer trend is the distortion of the facts of the Holocaust. Common distortions include, for example, assertions that: the figure of six million Jewish deaths is an exaggeration; the deaths in the concentration camps were the results of disease or starvation but not policy; and that the diary of Anne Frank is a forgery.

  35. The article is a political response to a political issue. I think this site has done a great job of exposing politics over science, but is quite nuanced with it.

    From the article:

    “Yet for a wicked system like climate, how can a clear threshold of proof for imminent (before 2100) calamity, which is the key contested issue, even be established? Scientists and economists still range over either more, or less, global danger than an IPCC impact assessment that after decades of effort, seems vague at best. Neither calamity or net benefit is ruled out.”

    Note the amount of subjective terms. “Clear threshold” – might already be clear for some. Subjective interpretation rules.
    “Imminent calamity” – what is “calamity” is up to an individual.
    “More, or less, global danger.” – which is more dangerous? Skydiving or cheerleading? Arguments can be made on both sides, including the metric used to make that determination.
    “Net benefit” – to whom? What are the metrics for this assessment? Can we even agree on the metrics without cherry picking?

    This isn’t about science. This is politics. It’s about competing rhetoric. It’s why we see reports about future storms being “worse” or “more destructive.” There is pretty much a deliberate effort to put out unqualified predictions with objectively testable results (i.e., “We will see three or more years of accumulated cyclone energy in excess of 2,400 10^4 knots^2 between 2016 and 2025.” This would be testable and observable. Science would put that out there.

    Politics/rhetoric would say, “Storms will be more powerful and dangerous.”

    I think the debate should be called what it is: political posturing for political aims using political techniques that are correlated with observable science. No matter how it is framed, take a look at what it is.

    Are the statements qualified? Are they per se opinions? Science doesn’t offer opinions. Philosophy offers opinions. It’s unfortunate that science and politics have become adjuncts for each other in the climate field.

    • “Yet for a wicked system like climate, how can a clear threshold of proof for imminent (before 2100) calamity, which is the key contested issue, even be established? Scientists and economists still range over either more, or less, global danger than an IPCC impact assessment that after decades of effort, seems vague at best. Neither calamity or net benefit is ruled out.”

      Such a procedure was recommended in 2007 by the National Research Council and is addressed by the CLARREO mission plan. It defines a system of satellites with full band sensors which are calibrated to SI-traceable standards. The fundamental mission objective is to detect decadal temperature signals at minimal levels to a 95% statistical confidence level. It assumes currently observed levels of data ‘noise’ of both the natural/physical system, the referenced climatology model, and specified levels of sensor accuracy & precision.

      It is highly instructive to grasp the implied data requirements of such a mission. The collection requirements are derived from a theoretically perfect sensor observation package and then extended for real world sensor performance which will yield the 95% confidence level. Assuming perfect measurements the sample size required to detect a small temperature trend buried within natural noise will demand twenty years of data collection – the implemented sensor suite will require an extension of 13% for a total mission time of twenty three years.

      It should give great pause when considering the current absolutist CAGW claims knowing they are sired with the pedigree of existing data.

      • I forgot to mention that it will take the necessary measurements to establish CO2 forcing levels assuming the baseline climate model.

        BTW, the initial launch is scheduled for 2021. The mission package has been de-scoped due to budget cuts. On the bright side, this is all redundant because the science is already settled.

      • I find CLARREO interesting, but mainly because it seeks to trend IR spectra. I had long ago suggested to an AGW advocate that the holy grail would be IR emission trends over time.

        But I find the important inference to be, “We need more data.”

  36. This is an interesting analysis. But this academic thinking has little or no relation to how activists apply the label of denier. It is “how many angels can dance on a pin” scholarship.

    Modern political discourse in America applies labels — such as commie, fascist, or denier — to delegitimize one’s foes. Not to debate them.

    • Steven Mosher

      Fabius

      You cannot debate a person who does all of the following

      A) claims you are engaged in a conspiracy
      B) refers to evidence that has been superceeded or withdrawn
      C) PAYS people to create evidence and then relies on them as experts
      D) Changes standards of evidence
      E) Routinely engages in fallacies.

      Now I object to labelling these folks denialists.. even though that is what they are doing. The label doesnt matter. I like Willards contrarian.

      nevertheless, if you want to argue that it IS worthwhile having a dialog with people suffering from this malady, go ahead and make the argument

      • David L. Hagen

        Steven Mosher
        Your list appears to be a good summary of today’s climate “consensus”!
        e.g. Liberals/government: C) PAYS people to create evidence and then relies on them as experts
        D) Changes standards of evidence –
        by relying on models rather than observations.

        For the other side of the evidence, see Climate Change Reconsidered. and TheRealClimateStuff

      • Steven,

        As I said above, I don’t do any of those things. Yet I’m a denier. The closest I get is being open to the possibility that some people may be essentially conspiring. But I generally put little credit in conspiracy theories. Namely because it is difficult to keep any sort of secrecy. As evidence – the AG’s behind the Exxon Mobil subpoena, pretty sure that fits the description of conspiring. The Climategate emails have many elements of conspiring. The Karl paper – not sure that rises to conspiracy level.

      • Mosher –

        You are a bit lacking in self-awareness:

        A) claims you are engaged in a conspiracy
        Skeptics don’t publish papers in journals accusing warmists of conspiracy. That is what Lew, Naomi and Co do.

        B) refers to evidence that has been superceeded or withdrawn
        18 years on the warmists still appeal to Mann’s 1998 work and every subsequent recycling of it

        C) PAYS people to create evidence and then relies on them as experts
        Are you for real? What on the skeptic side compares even remotely to Shukla?

        D) Changes standards of evidence
        1999 – Air temps only! Pielke Sr. is a fool! 2015 – You have to consider ocean heat content!

        E) Routinely engages in fallacies
        “warming in the pipeline” anyone?

      • Mosher is a series of trying different marketing strategies.

        No so long ago, it was The Debate Is Over And You Missed It.

        Today it’s How To Call People Deniers in 100 Words Or More.

        What will it be tomorrow?

        Andrew

      • “You cannot debate a person who does all of the following


        Yah.
        I have seen what appears to be this complete list engaged by the folks at RC.
        It certainly explains why you can’t debate @ RC, doesn’t it?

    • jimeichstedt

      Stop! Analyzing why some people are called “deniers” by applying a definition of denial or a test misses the point. We should be looking at why members of one group call members of another group by a pejorative.

      If a group called another group’s members “creepy,” for instance, would we look for a definition of creepy to gain insight? Or would we examine how the make-up of each group differs? Members of group B might be creepy to group A because many of them have red hair, play the accordion, or are members of a witch’s covenant.

      I accept that the earth has warmed recently, that the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is at least partially responsible and that this may lead to dislocations and adaptation in the future. Further, I assert (yes, Mosher!) that I’m open-minded and can be persuaded by facts and arguments, that I am somewhat better informed than most and capable of understanding the issues (I have an undergraduate degree in meteorology and a fifty-year interest in paleoclimatology) – and yet, for all that, because I stand with Judith and Roy Spencer and John Christy, I will be called a denier.

      The name calling has nothing to do with the science. It is how social and political groups seek to marginalize others that they don’t like, people from whom they wish to steal power.

      • If one side is engaged in a political debate and the other side thinks it is a scientific debate those employing political rhetoric will nearly always win.

    • Editor of the Fabius Maximus said:

      It is “how many angels can dance on a pin” scholarship.

      Is it “‘how many angels can dance on a pin’ scholarship”?

      Or is it the antidote to “‘how many angels can dance on a pin’ scholarship”?

      Painting Andy West with the brush of scholasticism seems a little far fetched. He puts entirely too much emphasis on “a largely evidential position” for that portrayal to fit.

      But granted, the arguments over truth — what it is and how to determine it — have been going on for a long time, and with no resolution. We can trace them back to at least Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato and the early Aristotle when they mounted their attack on ancient evidentiary science. As Carroll Quigley explains in The Evolution of Civilizaitons:

      They insisted that knowledge could be obtained not by approaching the material world through the senses but by turning away from the material world (which was unknowable illusion) to reality (which was rational and knowlable). Reality was to be found by the use of reason and logic alone, because it was rational and logical.

      Scholasticism, however, would collapse during the second half of the 14th century and the early fifteenth century, destroying the ontological ground for medieval science. In its place would rise nominalism, from which modern science developed.

    • What do you think about “alarmist” or “warmunist” or “green blob” or “eco-Nazi” or….?

      Do see some reason why “Denier” and “commie” and “fascist” are any different than those?

      The point is not to say “they do it toooooo” as a matter of justification, but to point out that this obsessive focus on “political correctness” from climate change “skeptics” is so lacking in a serious approach to the problem as represented by the use of “denier.”

    • Editor of the Fabius Maximus website said:

      Modern political discourse in America applies labels — such as commie, fascist, or denier — to delegitimize one’s foes. Not to debate them.

      True.

      But since when did this become the job of scientists?

  37. As I pointed out earlier there is a common thread in that their scholarship is built on adjusted data.

    “how many angels can dance on a pin”

    It is not even in the scriptures.

  38. Reblogged this on Taking Sides.

  39. Because, Godwin.

  40. Steven Mosher

    Lets see if we can work through an example.
    I will Use the MWP as an example.

    lets start with the science
    “Continental-scale surface temperature reconstructions show,
    with high confidence, multi-decadal periods during the Medieval
    Climate Anomaly (950 to 1250) that were in some regions as
    warm as in the mid-20th century and in others as warm as in the late 20th century. With high confidence, these regional warm periods
    were not as synchronous across regions as the warming since the
    mid-20th century. Based on the comparison between reconstructions
    and simulations, there is high confidence that not only external orbital,
    solar and volcanic forcing, but also internal variability, contributed
    substantially to the spatial pattern and timing of surface temperature
    changes between the Medieval Climate Anomaly and the Little Ice Age ”

    The high points
    1. There is HIGH confidence. Not certainty.
    2. The MWP was real.
    3. The MWP warming was not as synchronous as the modern period

    In short, during the MWP you had some regions that were as warm as mid 20th century and some regions that were as warm as the late century.
    The science doesnt claim certainty that the MWP was warmer or certainty that it was cooler. the science doesnt claim that the MWP was entirely global.

    Now for the Denialism

    A) conspiracy. There are folks who will claim the scientists “disappeared” the MWP. There is scant evidence of this conspiracy. But hey, a good
    conspiracy leaves no trail. hehe. A trail of evidence would count toward the conspiracy and a LACK of a trail would count. its self sealing. Forget the fact that the science actually says there was a MWP, forget the fact that the science tries to make qualified supportable statements about the MWP,
    to the conspiratorial types, this is just a sneaky conspiracy..

    B) Cherry picking Discredited research. The best example here is the denialist use of Lamb’s diagram. Lamb’s diagram was place in the IPCC report by Folland. It was a mistake. The chart has no traceability to data
    and it had been superceded. The funny thing is CRU tried to hide their
    critique of Lamb’s diagram in an obscure journal. In any case, you have a diagram. That diagram has no traceability to data. Its origin was murky.
    The team that put it in the document agreed in private emails that this
    was a huge mistake.

    C) Hiring “Experts” Need I say Willie Soon? The point here is the denialist will point to Soon as an expert. We dont really need to decide if he is, the fact that a denialist wants to CLAIM he is an expert is enough. In short,
    Its hard to decide who is an expert, but in the case of denialism they are the ones pointing to soon as an expert ( Note the lack of skepticism)
    And yes, Soon was paid. That doesnt make him wrong. but the point is simple. Paying a person to function as an expert, claiming he is an expert
    and then relying on HIS results is a sign that you might have denialism.

    D) Moving the goal posts. The key here is seeing if a person has a CONSISTENT standard of proof. With the MWP that is easy.
    the data for the MWP is pretty sparse. We have proxies. Proxies for a relatively few places on the planet. Here is what you need to watch.
    1. The denialist will Accept that proxies for temperature are good evidence
    2. the denialist will accept that a few places can represent the globe.
    On the basis of this evidence they will argue that the consensus is wrong.
    They will argue that the MWP was Warmer than today ( not as warm as ) and they will argue that it was GLOBAL. recall, they are denying what the science says.. ‘ as warm in some places” Now look at that standard of proof? They trust proxies. And they trust sparsely sampled data and extrapolate to the full globe. To see the denialism in action, all you have to do is ask them about the modern record. They will argue
    1. Thermometers are somehow not as good as proxies
    2. Thermometers placed as 10X as many locations as proxies
    cannot represent the full globe.
    In short, they change their standard of evidence. When it comes to establishing the warmth of the MWP they trust a PROXY of temperature
    When it comes to the MWP they trust a sparse network, BUT when you ask them about the modern period which has better instruments and wider coverage, then they put on a skeptical hat. in short, they believe the MWP was warmer than a period where they dont have data to trust?
    One dosent need to define an exact standard for moving goal posts to see the goal post shift WITHIN their own position. The goal posts for their evidence is at the 20 yard line. When it comes to evaluating contrary evidence they shift the goal posts. In short. they say 1000 proxies is good enough to represent the whole globe, but 40,000 thermometers are not.

    E) Fallacies.. I will wait for the denialist to pile on and demonstrate fallacies in repsonse to this comment

    • You must love fishing.

    • He is either fishing or in bad need of therapy.

    • Anyone who read’s Mosher’s comment all the way through is committing the fallacy of wasting their time.

      I certainly didn’t fall for it.

      Andrew

    • 1. Mann removed MWP using bad proxies and worse PCA methods not to mention Mike’s Nature trick. This was picked as the iconic chart for TAR. He and colleagues have continued to do so for 15 years now despite the thrashing McIntrye gives them. Marcotts dreck in Science 2013 was clear academic misconduct (just compare thesis to paper as my post here then did). Ecidence was presented to McNutt at Science ans nothing was done. That is real conspiracy, not the Lew sort.
      2. Mann used stripbark bristlecones. And Briffa’ Yamal larch. He cherry picked known bad proxies. And continued to do so in 2008 and 2009.
      3. Mann claims to be a paleoclimate stats expert and Nobel Prize winner (in his complaint against Steyn). McIntrye disproved the stats expertise. The Nobel Committee refuted the prize claim.
      4. MWP.It wasn’t just Vikings in Greenland although their barley shows it was much warmer there then. It wasn’t just Europe, as NA glaciers and written Chinese records show. And it wasn’t just NH, as the ikaite mineral proxies from the Antarctic penninsula show.
      5. Your post itself provides plenty of fallacious examples. Plus logical fallacies like ignoring the difference between imaged things and actual factual things.

      SM, except for a strong 2015 El Nino, it hasn’t statistically warmed in this century except when records are Karlized. And that spike is already cooling, as after the 1998 El Nino. SLR has not accelerated either in geostationary tide gauge records or in sat altimetry (the two should not be spliced as they estimate different things and there is sat instrument drift). Polar bears are fine. Planet is greening from CO2 fertilization. No tropical troposphere hot spot as C!IP5 predicts, which shows something wrong with those climate models. Observational ECS maybe 1.5-1.8, essentially half CMIP5; the reason AR5 did not provide a central estimate like AR4. It is amazing you can ignore all those facts and still believe CAGW is inevitable.
      As Andy West pointed out, there is denialism in his broad sense on both sides of this great debate. Thank you for providing such a concise example.

    • David L. Hagen

      “Evidence” for Mosher’s assertions are sadly examined in excruciating detail at ClimateAudit.org Note particularly the Hockey Stick Studies by McIntyre and McKitrick
      e.g. McIntyre, S. 2008b. How do we “know” that 1998 was the warmest year of the millennium?. Ohio State University Seminar, mAy 16, 2008. low-res

    • Mosher says: “And they trust sparsely sampled data and extrapolate to the full globe.”

      That description patently fits BEST’s methodology to a tee.

      One can usually spot tendentious polemics by their hiding one’s own malfeasance under accusations that the opponents are doing it.

      • Steven Mosher

        No .
        Skeptics accept extrapolation of proxies but not thermometers.
        Me.? You can extrapolate both ..and both will be uncertain

    • It isn’t a conspiracy per se. ,although climategate with the discussions of the various “tricks”, loading peer review panels, firing dissident editors, decredentialing dissident scientists, etc. etc. does indicate there is some conspiring.

      It mostly careerism. Strong parallels can be draw to the “big bang” theory which has about 30 holes you can drive a truck through. Senior scientists who published on topics like red shift quantization and were not true believers had their telescope time yanked and were shown the door. When you attack dissenting senior scientists you scare the grad students and guarantee a generation of compliance.

      The solution is a careerism punishment panel. A scientist who has evidence that he was denied resources or had a paper rejected because he didn’t agree with the “in” crowd could appeal to the panel.

      Scientists found to be practicing raw careerism would have their access to federal resources (grants, satellite or other instrument time, etc.) denied for a period of not less than five years. Government scientists would be put on unpaid furlough and when/if they return would be off the management track. It would be suggested to the disciplined .scientists that they not engage in peer review.

      The main areas that would be affected are climate change and cosmology.

      This would not overturn the “consensus” view but would simply guarantee that dissenting views and studies got some daylight.

  41. Steven Mosher

    ‘So does ‘denialism’ actually exist?”
    does a global temperature exist?

    this is too funny

    • global temperature does not exist. A whole lot of people are getting the joke and they don’t appreciate being played for a sap. Can you understand the situation? I can only hope.

      • Mosher knows a global temperature doesn’t exist. He’s melting down and can’t think of what other poo he can fling agin the wall.

        Andrew

      • Steven Mosher

        Yes the global temperature that was lower in the LIA doesn’t exist.
        You just denied the past you want explained

      • Well. SM since you did not rise to the logic bait above, here is some more chum of a different nature.
        Justify the warming corrections to BEST station 166900 (Amundsen Scott south pole research station, arguably the most precise/expensive on the planet) where BEST dropped 26 months of recorded record colds based on “regional expectations QC” based on nearest coastal station McMurdo, which is 1300 km away on the coast and 2700 meters lower. Your previous ‘regional expectations’ excuse expectation ‘BEST stat model’ is obviously flawed. Not my job to say how or why. Your job is how to fix your BS, based on such examples. And this is just one of many more to come.

      • ristvan: Justify the warming corrections to BEST station 166900 (Amundsen Scott south pole research station, arguably the most precise/expensive on the planet) where BEST dropped 26 months of recorded record colds based on “regional expectations QC” based on nearest coastal station McMurdo, which is 1300 km away on the coast and 2700 meters lower.

        I don’t think he understands how the algorithm works. People have posed problems like that to him for years, and his answer is always some variation of “that’s how the computations work out”.

      • blueice2hotsea

        Last evening I attended a lecture by Adam Reiss (who by-the-way shared the 2011 Nobel prize in astrophysics with BEST team member Saul Perlmutter).

        Reiss shared his opinions on science:
        1) All scientists are skeptics.
        2) Science is a method for acquiring testable knowledge.

        Note that commenter SM incessantly uses the word skeptic as an epithet. More, SM seems openly contemptuous of the Popperian ‘testability’ maxim.

        Guess what? Reiss is emphatically not a science denialist. Yet, were Reiss to comment here anonymously and express views 1) & 2), and perhaps he has, I suppose he would be subjected to a pricklish, insulting experience.

        Does this mean that SM is a science denier? Nope.

      • If my ‘denier’ test is valid I think you will see skeptics of all stripes will answer the question with a ratio of 50:50, something like that anyway. Among the AGW supporters the ‘deniers’ will answer in the negative (if they are unbiased answers) at about 97%. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

      • blueice2hotsea

        Arch Stanton –

        Yes. The question is ambiguous, People are not really answering the same question.

        Ragnaar asks an analogous question, “Does the S & P 500 index exist?” which I will reply to.

    • Steven Mosher,

      You wrote –

      “Yes the global temperature that was lower in the LIA doesn’t exist.”

      I assume this is is an attempt at sarcasm, but correct me if I’m wrong.

      With regard to an average global temperature, such a thing does exist, by definition. Trying to define it is difficult. Is it the average temperature of the Earth system? Or maybe the surface temperature? What about a motley, more or less random collection of above surface thermometers which may or may not be recording the ambient air temperature with any reasonable accuracy and precision?

      Given that such a temperature, however obtained, varies from millisecond to millisecond, it would seem quite pointless to use it in any scientific endeavour. Interesting, no doubt, but expensive, and utterly useless. Even if you have it, it has no utility at all.

      The mad Warmist preoccupation with the alleged global temperature seems at best an attempt at sympathetic magic, and a weird faith that the future reflects the past. Temperatures on the Earth’s surface have been recorded between the extremes of 54 C, and -90 C, at least.

      Your much vaunted average is pointless – a complete waste of time, effort, and no doubt someone else’s money.

      Your reference to the LIA, like temperatures in general, is pointless without further definition. It is quite possible, even likely, that meteorological conditions in a particular location are subject to change. Glaciers have been known to advance, engulfing villages. Glaciers have been known to recede, exposing villages, bodies, and all manner of other things.

      Ice fairs, recorded by a wide range contemporary commentators and artists, might indicate freezing temperatures in the area of the Thames. In any case, what difference does it make? Even your rather imprecise and unreliable temperature records might show hot spells, cold snaps, and so on.

      Temperatures as recorded by thermometers may well have risen since 1880, particularly in the vicinity of human habitation or industry. It would be rather surprising if they hadn’t, but I can think of at least four other reasons supported by observations and theory, which may result in significant temperature variations over wide areas, possibly affecting the global temperature, however defined.

      Warmists blame all man’s present and future ills on mining and burning coal, if Jim “Death Trains” Hansen is any guide. No mention is made of NASAs “most important greenhouse gas” – H2O – water!

      A clear case of denial?

      Maybe you could state your proposition in testable terms. Present your supporting facts, bearing in mind that opinion and assertion about the past, present, or future are not facts.

      The we might discuss the reasons for temperature changes affecting humans, and action, if any that might ensue.

      Cheers.

      • “With regard to an average global temperature, such a thing does exist, by definition.”

        I beg to differ, Mike Flynn. By definition, an average doesn’t physically exist. It’s an abstraction. It cannot be measured or even detected anywhere. It’s strictly a construction of the human mind and manifests nowhere else.

        Andrew

      • Bad Andrew,

        You are correct, of course.

        I should have given the definition, to which I referred, of the derived variable which is commonly referred to as average global temperature. I was imprecise. Sorry.

        Cheers.

      • David Springer

        If one side of a rock is 20C and the other side 30C won’t there be a point between the two sides where the temperature is the average of both?

        Averages have physical manifestations. Your assertion that averages are soley abstractions is wrong.

      • Mark me up with Arch Stanton on this one.

        But granted, the evangelists of the cult of science, like Mosher, will never get it.

        Here’s how the historian Carroll Quigley explains it in The Evolution of Civilizations:

        Much, if not all, of the physical world consists of continua. To say this is equivalent to saying that much of the physical world is irrational. It exists and it operates, but it does these things in ways that cannot be grasped by our conscious rational mental processes. This can be seen most easily if we consider first a few examples of continua in the physical world.

        How many colors are there in a rainbow?….

        [T]here is, in the rainbow, no real line of division between any two colors….

        Moreover, any line that we draw is arbitrary, in the sense that it could have been drawn with just as much justification somewhere else, perhaps a hairbreadth away….

        As is well known, the gamut of radiations of visible light that we call the rainbow is not an entity in itself but is an arbitrary and imaginary portion cut out of a much wider gamut of electromagnetic radiations….

        Quigley then goes on to elaborate a number of other continua which exist in nature: time, space, mankind (and the “races” we divide it up into). He then concludes:

        We deal with continua rationally either by dividing them into arbitrary intervals to which we give names, or by giving names to the two ends of the continuum and using these terms as if the middle groud did not exist at all. This last method is called “polarizing a continuum.”…

        Such polarization of continua is so common and so familiar that we come, frequently, to accept our categories as real instead of being arbitrary and imaginary, as they usually are….

        This practice of slicing continua into parts or even into dual poles and giving names to these artificial categories is necessary if we are to think about the world or to talk about it. But we must always remain alert to the danger of believing that our terms are real or refer to reality except by rough approximation. Only by making such divisions can we deal in a rational way the many nonrational aspects of the world.

        But of course we do not “always remain alert to the danger of believing that our terms are real or refer to reality by rough approximation.” And this led

        to theories which held that, for example, “species distincitons are real or, as the philosophers put it, universals are real. This is known as philosophic realism….

        For reasons that should be evident, the absolute point of view based on philosophic realism had considerable appeal to the conservatives and the defenders of the oligarcy.

        But as Quigley goes on to explain:

        The point of view opposed to this absolute thinking was more relativist….

        Nominalism, which recognized the existence of individuals, denied the existence of groups….

        This point of view justified individualism as the only reality, insisting that groups or universals were merely conventional collections of individuals to which a common name was given. Such a name was arbitrary and temporary, capable of change and even of complete reversal.

        “The continued adherence by the rationalist school to beliefs they knew were false can only be explained on the ground that they had an interest in these beliefs beyond their devotion to truth,” Quigley adds.

        Rationalsm and philosophical realism “operated in support of the oligarchic states and in opposition to the democratic states” and were used to attack “Ionian Science, the sophists, the pilosophic nominalists, and the upholders of democracy and human equality.”

      • Temperature at one location is already an average, as an average of the kinetic energy of the molecules of the sample.

        So its just a difference in scale

      • David Springer

        So in Andrewland does that make temperature an abstract that doesn’t exist in nature either.

        No wait, because any particle that has no temperature (absolute zero) ceases to exist in nature.

        Now I’m really confused. Is nature an abstract too?

      • David, Maybe if we are all very small, the entire universe may be able to fit on God’s Hollow Deck 2.01?

    • Does the S & P 500 index exist?
      It’s a weighted average of the largest 500 publicly traded companies. To point to it, you could point to the closing value of those companies. You can buy a mutual fund that will make you a shareholder in those companies and later sell the fund shares for dollars. Those dollars exist as paper and ink, but do they exist enough to carry you through World War III? The index is certainly used even if it’s not understood enough what real thing it is? The index may exist and be useful in normal times yet be almost worthless in extraordinary times.
      Does a global temperature exist?
      Various indexes exist. These indexes might seek to capture a measure of energy, or call it warmth. Like the S & P they might take 500 data points and say, here it is. Value it as you wish. How would we critique the 500 data points of the S & P index? It’s just one country. While the companies exist, their valuation relies on markets and some subjective valuations. The current value says little about the future value. The index captures only the largest 500 publicly traded companies. It omits large amounts of business and real estate valuations. Yet these 500 data points still are a useful index. The well being of our economy is almost always reflected by the index, though not perfectly. While a global temperature does exist, it’s too expensive to figure out what exactly it is? We are left with sampling. Say a company pays 100,000 bills a year. Time to audit those. One approach would be to look at the largest 2,000 bills and 5% of the remaining ones, use some statistics on what you find and figure out what that means? Are we close enough to what the company said it was? There’s more. You talk to the chief bill payer and also those underneath them who actually pay the bills and see if they know what they are doing? You talk to some of the people they claimed to have paid and verify that, one reason being you’re looking for internal theft as well. My point being sometimes it’s not perfect information that we’re after as that’s often too expensive, it’s reasonably accurate information that’s on the menu. What would an auditor say about infilling for missing data? How much money do we expect to be somewhere we can’t look at it? Like not looking at a bank statement. More sampling. 1000 missing bank balances. Go out and look at the biggest 20, and 5% of the rest. However since bank balances are most important, perhaps we need to look at more. This infilling is really dropping the confidence level of what we are willing to say. We could simply say the bank balances are all zero. It’s less accurate but more conservative. We could say money(warmth) goes to a far away place and usually never comes back. While technically it belongs to the company, we feel most of it’s not coming back and seems to disappear. Though we can’t say that will continue in the future. Money(warmth) may start to come back in the future or that may already be happening as the nearby bank balances we do have access to seem to be gaining ground.
      One the question of does a global temperature exist, there’s perhaps this paradox:
      https://rjlipton.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/simpson1.png
      The two blue trendline are less alarming, until you combine them.

      • blueice2hotsea

        The S & P 500 index analogy is interesting. A Global Anomaly Index is often misrepresented as Globally Averaged Temperature. Still, might the index be used as a rough proxy for global energy accumulation? If so, is it good for projecting future regional temperatures (or climate!) without also accounting for humidity and precipitation, ice mass, ocean salinity and circulation velocity, wind velocity, etc?

      • blueice2hotsea

        The trend ‘paradox’ was pointed out by Phil Jones – that average temperature is increasing, yet average temperature range is decreasing. This is not an expected response to added GHG.

        However an important question is whether temperature range restriction is occurring due to a reduction in maximum average temperatures or because average maximum temperatures are increasing slower than average minimum temperatures.

      • blueice2hotsea

        opps – temperature range reduction is not unexpected

      • David Springer

        “The trend ‘paradox’ was pointed out by Phil Jones – that average temperature is increasing, yet average temperature range is decreasing. This is not an expected response to added GHG.”

        Higher humidity decreases the range. This is expected. Where’s the paradox?

    • Denialism does exist, what infuriates global warmers is that the deniers are twice as right as they are.

      The global warmers overestimate the warming effect by a factor of 3 (300%). 300%-100% is a net error of 200%.

      The deniers underestimate the effect by 100%.

      On balance the deniers are twice as right as the global warmers.

  42. Mosher is commenting too much.

    Dr. Curry, put him in Time Out. ;)

    Andrew

    • Nah. He is easily rebuttable but does not recognize it. Lets have some more sport. As in my long rebuttal to his long ‘example’ just above. Why ruin the fun?

      • too funny.

        I am always amused by people who try to referee their own fights.

        we all do it of course, but Rud , you have raised it to an art form.

        Personally, I will wait for nature to decide, since she is the final judge.

        I think there might be an inverse disease to denialism

        Triumphalism.

        1. The denialist explains his defeat by appealing to a conspiracy.
        The triumphalist claims victory merely by competing
        2. The denialist points to deprecated science.
        The Triumphalist points to his own unreviewed science
        3. The denialist pays experts for opinions
        The Triumphalist tries to get you to pay for his self proclaimed
        expertise
        4. The denialist moves the goal posts.
        The Trimphalist claims patents on goal posts
        5. We all do the fallacy thing

    • He’s attempting Victory by Volume. Which is a trollish maneuver. It just obscures people from real discussions.

      Andrew

    • Mother can hold off an entire tribe of contrarians and make it look easy. I feel sorry for the contrarians and embarrassed for them too.

      • Darn computer changed mosher’s name to Mother. This happened with Waggy too. The computer insisted on calling him Laggy.

      • David Springer

        There is only a very small difference between “mosher” and “mother”. An “s” changes to a “t”. That’s in addition to the other tiny thing of course which propriety prohibits me from mentioning that rhymes with Venus.

  43. I would define denialism as refusing to accept good evidence because that evidence is contrary to what you want to believe.

    It’s not something specific to the climate debate, it happens often (“he’s in denial, about his cancer being terminal”) it’s just been more apparent in that debate and easily labeled because it’s a battle of words fought between big numbers of people within societies over complex evidence that’s not easily analyzed by laymen, so it’s not as quickly resolved as most politicized debates.

    The reason people do it is because they instinctively want the evidence not to be correct, so they hunt for reasons to believe it’s not correct.

    And as I like to say, it’s all down to humans being rationalizing rather than rational creatures, which is itself is often a survival tool, being objective and fair was often not useful to us evolutionarily when it comes down to survival.

    • I deny that Mankind is some sort unprecedented blight on the biosphere.
      I deny the billions of years of evolution produced perfect harmony until an error resulted in us.
      The whole premise is just false.
      Religious.
      If it is a sin to doubt that the biosphere produced us as an act of suicide, then I am a sinner.
      It is ludicrous to argue over whether our existence and activity affects the planet.
      Of course it does.
      Objectivity is luxurious creation of our own minds.

      • rebelronin,

        I agree. I also deny the existence of phlogiston, the luminiferous ether, or the usefulness to date of climatology.

        I deny the ability of CO2 or H2O (the most important greenhouse gas, of course), to warm anything at all beyond ambient temperature, merely by surrounding an object.

        I deny that climate is anything other than the average of weather, in terms of the present discussion,

        I deny that any Warmist can state an optimal level of CO2 in the atmosphere, and support the their statement with facts.

        I deny that any Warmist can say what the effects of stopping the climate from changing will be.

        And so on. I’m obviously a died-in-the-wool denier of sciencey nonsense.

        Warmists are in denial of fact, logic, and physics. Not necessarily unintelligent or stupid, just deluded, gullible, ignorant, fraudulent and so on. Their ever more shrill and strident calls to have anyone who disagrees with them subject to criminal penalties, or other sanctions, merely indicate the intellectual paucity of their arguments.

        Denial, scepticism, or flat out disbelief of anything at all, changes fact not one whit. The universe continues to unfold as it should.

        Cheers.

      • I’ve got no idea why you feel the need to unburden yourself as a reply to my comment, I guess maybe you’re just looking for a shoulder to cry on, if that’s the case, please find someone you actually know.

      • Amber I agree that rebelronin’s comment had little to do with yours, with which BTW I completely agree. Perhaps he (or she) had inadvertently placed it in the wrong thread but it doesn’t matter in any case.

        We are all strangers here and do not know anything much about each other but what is written here often comes from the heart IMO and this may be easier to do in front of strangers than our family and friends.

        Not having seen your name before – welcome!

      • Mike Flynn | April 21, 2016 at 7:00 pm |

        I deny the ability of CO2 or H2O (the most important greenhouse gas, of course), to warm anything at all beyond ambient temperature, merely by surrounding an object.

        I believe you are incorrect.

        But only half as wrong as a global warmer.

        Underestimating by 100% is 200% better than overestimating by 300%.

      • “I deny the ability of CO2 or H2O (the most important greenhouse gas, of course), to warm anything at all beyond ambient temperature, merely by surrounding an object.”

        Then you deny basic science. You can deny that 2 + 2 = 4 also, but it won’t change the facts.

        A warmer climate does not mean a worse climate overall.

      • Rob Starkey,

        You wrote (quoting me) –

        “”I deny the ability of CO2 or H2O (the most important greenhouse gas, of course), to warm anything at all beyond ambient temperature, merely by surrounding an object.”

        Then you deny basic science. You can deny that 2 + 2 = 4 also, but it won’t change the facts.”

        Unfortunately, you cannot show any repeatable scientific experiment to back up your unsubstantiated assertion. This is probably because my statement is correct. It might sound a little harsh, but climatologists have to persist in asserting the physically impossible, to avoid appearing gullible, fraudulent or just plain ignorant.

        I’ll leave you to your denial of fact.

        Cheers.

    • Amber Worth,

      That’s a very good comment. Thanks. I’d lie to suggest an improved wording for your first sentence.

      You said:

      I would define denialism as refusing to accept good evidence because that evidence is contrary to what you want to believe.

      I’d suggest change “good” to “relevant” so it reads:

      I would define denialism as refusing to accept relevant evidence because that evidence is contrary to what you want to believe.

      I make this point because a tactic commonly used by “deniers” is to change the subject, dodge the key points raised, ignore the relevant evidence and instead attempt to divert the discussion to some irrelevant factoid.

    • Steven Mosher

      The piece being criticized attempts to define the telltale signs of denialism.
      1. Appeals to conspiracy
      2. Referencing deprecated literature.
      3. Paying for expert opinion that supports your position.
      4. Shifting or inconsistent standards of proof.
      5. Use of logical fallacies.

      When it walks and talks like a duck it’s not a swan

      • It also seems to me to be pejorative, rather than starting of by acknowledging that this is all down to human nature “denialists” in the context of the climate debate are maligned by the piece, an example of the scientists who wrote it losing objectivity.

      • Mosh,

        Some people in a contested domain will fulfill 1 to 5, more will fulfill subsets. Typically for a long-standing major contested domain, such folks will appear on both sides of the conflict.

        From what I can gather of your comments, I think maybe that your own understanding of denialism is that if an individual fulfills the list, he is individually a ‘denialist’. No doubt you’ll correct me if I’m wrong on that, and maybe I am because not too many individuals will pay for expert opinion, I guess. However, this applicability is very different to D&M plus Hoofnagle’s and Wiki’s position, which are all built on similar principles (apart from ditching dishonesty, D&M is almost a Hoofnagle clone).

        They are saying that if these 5 principles are fulfilled for one side in the contest, this is ‘denialism’, and so that side is not aligned to the evidence. Their only backup criteria is that of an ‘overwhelming’ or ‘dominant’ consensus, which presumably can be referred to if there is any doubt whether an expert is false or genuine, or whether posited cherry picks really are or aren’t, etc. Given that the behaviors 1 to 5 typically happen on both sides, for the reasons stated in the head post, this ‘ultimate reference’ becomes pretty much the only criteria that matters in their determination of which side is which.

        So are you signing up to this methodology for determining which side is which? That is what this paper is about.

        Their ‘ultimate criteria’ of consensus has failed many times, even recently, see footnote 8. It is possible for science to be immature yet have a strong consensus, because a social consensus hi-jacks it. Humans do social consensus incessantly and have forever so far as we know. This has nothing to do with a scientific consensus. So do you have a suggested method in such cases for determining whether the science is mature or immature, a method that is robust to all domains?

        When you look into an unfamiliar contested domain where the accusations of cherry picking and inconsistent proofs and funding irregularities and all the rest are flying waist deep from *both* sides, do you think that using D&M2009’s criteria, you will be confident of figuring out who is who?

        On top of this they provide no objective methodology to know whether, say, an expert *is* false or true, or a particular paper is good or bad, or whether a funding path is legit or suspect. This is entirely subjective. In a polarized domain, the more knowledgeable are still more polarized (see footnote 9) so attempting to dig deeper will only lead along one pole or the opposite, vectored by initial leaning. I.e. domain knowledge brings domain bias.

        On top of this they provide no social or psychological cause or characterization of their phenomenon, ‘denialism’. Which means that whoever is deploying the term gets to pick their interpretation and maximize emotive impact.

        If you find some poor sod (from any side of any debate) who fulfills 1 to 5, then as you’ve said many times, it isn’t worth even thinking about debating him / her. Yet this does not validate D&M2009 in any way. It does not give us any means to determine sides. It does not give any means to assess the maturity of science. Nor does it tell us anything about what the real motivators are that produce resistance to evidence in similar ways within very different domains. Meanwhile, legitimized by D&M, any side can stigmatize any other individual or side by calling them denialists, even though they they may have scraped through the criteria by virtue of their own bias, there being no objective means to apply them.

        When there are a thousand ducks each side constantly pecking at each other, how are you going to spot which side the cygnets and the science are on behind the lines?

      • Steven Mosher

        “It also seems to me to be pejorative, rather than starting of by acknowledging that this is all down to human nature “denialists” in the context of the climate debate are maligned by the piece, an example of the scientists who wrote it losing objectivity.”

        Yes it is pejorative. I have never argued otherwise.
        In fact, I have argued that the term DOESNT WORK very well
        because it focuses the discussion on the TERM rather than the DISEASE.

        That said, the question before us is the following:

        1. Are there a set of behaviors that can give GOOD INDICATION
        that your partner in dialog is suffering from this disease?

        The answer to that is YES. After all, we all recognize holocaust denial.
        It is more than just the denial of a historical fact. it is a Pattern of BEHAVIOR. If you want to pick another word to use, then do it.
        but denying that this behavior exists, denying that there is an objective set of facts that SUPPORT the diagnosis, is just silly.

      • “It is more than just the denial of a historical fact. it is a Pattern of BEHAVIOR. ”

        There are those that deny facts and those that attempt to claim their beliefs to be facts. Both behaviors are common in humans. Both can negatively impact others.

      • https://climateaudit.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/figure-11-25a.png

        The IPCC AR5 figure 11-25a is pretty definitive.

        The global emissions are close to RCP8.5
        The global CO2 level is below RCP4.5
        The actual warming is below all the RCPs.(as shown).

        The Deniers are more accurate than the global warmers, even though the Deniers are in fact incorrect.

      • “The Deniers are more accurate than the global warmers, even though the Deniers are in fact incorrect.”

        Imo- The “deniers” (those who believe GHGs can not impact the climate)are simply wrong. “Global Warmers” may or may not be wrong depending on the specifics of their beliefs.

      • “The “deniers” (those who believe GHGs can not impact the climate)are simply wrong.”

        Rob Starkey,

        Well, this is simply an assertion. How do you propose to demonstrate they are wrong?

        Andrew

      • Rob Starkey (@Robbuffy) | April 22, 2016 at 3:54 pm |

        Imo- The “deniers” (those who believe GHGs can not impact the climate)are simply wrong. “Global Warmers” may or may not be wrong depending on the specifics of their beliefs.

        Global Warmers are more wronger than deniers.

        Anyone who isn’t more than twice as wrong as a denier is a skeptic.

      • Steven Mosher

        Andy

        “Mosh,

        “Some people in a contested domain will fulfill 1 to 5, more will fulfill subsets. Typically for a long-standing major contested domain, such folks will appear on both sides of the conflict.”

        1. The “both sides do it” is immaterial to the key question.
        2. WRT both sides doing it, I have yet to see a CAGW type
        of person persist in referencing deprecated science.

        “From what I can gather of your comments, I think maybe that your own understanding of denialism is that if an individual fulfills the list, he is individually a ‘denialist’. No doubt you’ll correct me if I’m wrong on that, and maybe I am because not too many individuals will pay for expert opinion, I guess. However, this applicability is very different to D&M plus Hoofnagle’s and Wiki’s position, which are all built on similar principles (apart from ditching dishonesty, D&M is almost a Hoofnagle clone).”

        The problem is you have defined denialism out of existence.
        Fine. What do you want to call someone who denies the holocaust?
        We do have the right to name things. And naming is not neat or logical
        ( see Labov on cups and glasses) Given that language is a tool
        What exactly do you want to call individuals or groups who do
        some or all of the following?

        1. Appeals to conspiracy
        2. Referencing deprecated literature.
        3. Paying for expert opinion that supports your position.
        4. Shifting or inconsistent standards of proof.
        5. Use of logical fallacies.

        Finally, one need not engage in all 5. As you note individuals typically dont do 3

        “They are saying that if these 5 principles are fulfilled for one side in the contest, this is ‘denialism’, and so that side is not aligned to the evidence. Their only backup criteria is that of an ‘overwhelming’ or ‘dominant’ consensus, which presumably can be referred to if there is any doubt whether an expert is false or genuine, or whether posited cherry picks really are or aren’t, etc. Given that the behaviors 1 to 5 typically happen on both sides, for the reasons stated in the head post, this ‘ultimate reference’ becomes pretty much the only criteria that matters in their determination of which side is which.”

        1. You are still missing the point on expert. you dont need to decide
        objectively if someone is an expert. All you need to do is observe
        that they paid someone THEY consider to be an expert to support
        their position.
        2. The backup criteria is not related to experts as you suppose.
        3. Cherry picking LITERATURE is the issue. For example.
        You DONT have to be an expert to recognize that skeptics
        who refer to VERSION ONE of GHCN, when the current version
        is 3.1 are engaged in refering to DEPRECATED literature.
        You don’t have to be an expert to understand this. In 1909 woods did
        a flawed greenhouse experiment. A century of science has proved him wrong. When I see someone refer to that single paper ( an experiment with virtually No data reported), I know WITHOUT being
        and expert in radiative theory, that they are referring to discredited science.

        “So are you signing up to this methodology for determining which side is which? That is what this paper is about.”

        Within my own field i will GLADLY sign up to the test.

        1. Which side claims there is a conspiracy to fiddle temperatures?
        Not my side.
        Do we claim that critics of the temperature series are engaged in
        a conspiracy?
        2. Which side refers to deprecated literature or anomalous papers?
        Not my side. On the other side you have folks refering to blog
        posts! or unpublished stuff or stuff that has superceded. The funniest example I can think of is the skeptics who still refer to Oke 73, when the
        author himself gave up on that approach.
        3. Pay for Experts. There is probably Pay on both sides. Funnily we
        got funded by the Koch brothers.
        4. Moving goal posts? This is pretty clear. On our side we are not
        moving the goal posts. The other side? Take a look. Skeptics
        asked us to do certain things to settle the question.
        a) use all the data. we did
        b) use krigging. we did
        c) hire real statisticians. we did
        d) bring on critics. we did
        e) dont stitch stations together using adjustments. we did
        f) Dont manually adjust. we didnt
        g) publish code and data. we did
        h) look at UHI. we used several approaches.
        i) look at station quality– we used skeptics own data.

        In the end, what happened? Well since skeptics believe that NOAA is a fraud and since we match NOAA, you have people saying we must
        be frauds.

        5. Fallacies? Both sides use them

        So Ya.. I would gladly submit to the “test”.

        “Their ‘ultimate criteria’ of consensus has failed many times, even recently, see footnote 8. It is possible for science to be immature yet have a strong consensus, because a social consensus hi-jacks it. Humans do social consensus incessantly and have forever so far as we know. This has nothing to do with a scientific consensus. So do you have a suggested method in such cases for determining whether the science is mature or immature, a method that is robust to all domains?”

        The maturity of the science doesnt need to even be determined.
        Let’s take LENR. a few decades old. Lots of controversy.
        IF I see that an opponent of LENR is claiming a conspiracy between
        all the LENR researchers that is a good clue. If that same person
        constantly refers to old literature that has been superceded, that too
        is a clue. If that same person or group pays a expert to debunk LENR
        that is also a clue. If they move the goal posts.. same thing.
        The bottom line is the behavior is observable without much if any
        regard for the status of the science.

        “When you look into an unfamiliar contested domain where the accusations of cherry picking and inconsistent proofs and funding irregularities and all the rest are flying waist deep from *both* sides, do you think that using D&M2009’s criteria, you will be confident of figuring out who is who?”

        Yes. Although the question is really beside the POINT.
        The point is this. In my own domain I am able to spot people who
        A) accuse me of being part of a leftist conspiracy
        B) throw outdated and deprecated literature at me.
        C) get funding from think tanks.
        D) change their standard or proof OR MORE IMPORTANTLY
        1. REFUSE to state a standard of proof
        2. REFUSE to apply that SAME STANDARD to data they “like”
        the best example of this is people who demand
        only “raw” thermometer data be used, and then who also
        argue that adjusted satellite data is superior.
        E) Use fallacies

        So in areas where the domain is unknown to me, I think folks have a better than 50/50 chance of picking out the denier. in my field, i’m 99% certain of my diagnosis.
        The point is the USE of the diagnosis. Every day I get questions from people. demands for data, challenges, emails etc. I have to decide
        who to engage. in many cases by the second mail people are starting
        with the conspiracy crap, then the old paper crap, then a few fallacies
        are thrown in, and then they move the goal posts. That’s when the diagnosis comes in handy. Its very useful.

        “On top of this they provide no objective methodology to know whether, say, an expert *is* false or true, or a particular paper is good or bad, or whether a funding path is legit or suspect. This is entirely subjective. In a polarized domain, the more knowledgeable are still more polarized (see footnote 9) so attempting to dig deeper will only lead along one pole or the opposite, vectored by initial leaning. I.e. domain knowledge brings domain bias.”

        1. you still miss the point on experts. you dont need an objective
        criteria about experts to objectively determine that THEY hired someone THEY CONSIDER to be an expert. That’s the behavior.
        Further, you dont neeed to have ALL FIVE symptoms to have the disease. Again, if you accuse me of being in a conspiracy, I KNOW OBJECTIVELY whether I am in one or not. IF you refer to old anomalous papers, or papers that have been dismissed or single studies I can objectively see that. If you Hire someone and tell me “our paid expert says you are WRONG” I can objectively determine that. if you move the goal posts. That is easy to see. And we can all spot fallacies.

        “On top of this they provide no social or psychological cause or characterization of their phenomenon, ‘denialism’. Which means that whoever is deploying the term gets to pick their interpretation and maximize emotive impact.”

        Again. I dont NEED to find a cause for your behavior.
        The diagnosis is enough.
        If you come into my house with blood pouring out of your orifi
        I dont need to know what contagious disease you have.
        I dont need to know its cause.
        Its enough to know, you got something bad, and I should not
        be swapping bodily fluids with you.

        :If you find some poor sod (from any side of any debate) who fulfills 1 to 5, then as you’ve said many times, it isn’t worth even thinking about debating him / her. Yet this does not validate D&M2009 in any way. ”

        Sure it does. You argued that the definition was useless.
        its not. I use it all the time. You use it TOO.
        you might not label the person a denialist, but you use the
        definition all the time.

        “It does not give us any means to determine sides.”

        Sure it does. you might not like being lumped in with crazies,
        but tough luck. Your best bet is to take care of the crazies
        on your own side. When you see them move the goal posts..
        call them on it.

        “It does not give any means to assess the maturity of science. ”

        The notion of mature science is a diversion. we dont actually need it.
        You basically have one thing and one thing only. The best available
        explanation. Trying to say that more mature means more certain
        doesnt really follow.

        “Nor does it tell us anything about what the real motivators are that produce resistance to evidence in similar ways within very different domains. ”

        Motivations are unimportant to the use of the diagnostic tool.
        Nothing can tell you motivations.
        look at all the impossible goal posts you created for this diagnostic tool.

        1. it has to be perfect.
        2. it has to meet some undefined definition of objectivity
        3. it has to identify which science is mature
        4. It has to read minds

        “Meanwhile, legitimized by D&M, any side can stigmatize any other individual or side by calling them denialists, even though they they may have scraped through the criteria by virtue of their own bias, there being no objective means to apply them.”

        If the tool is MISAPPLIED then it backfires.
        Its very simple to fight the charge of denialism.

        1. Dont ASSERT conspiracies.
        2. Dont rest your whole case on single papers, old papers, or data
        and science that has been deprecated.
        3. Dont Pay people to prove you are right, pay people to prove you are wrong.
        4. State your GOAL POSTS clearly and up front. Dont move them.
        5. Avoid fallacies.

        “When there are a thousand ducks each side constantly pecking at each other, how are you going to spot which side the cygnets and the science are on behind the lines?”

        Spotting ducks is pretty easy.

        Here lets go.

        Andy: do you believe that the temperature series are fraudulant?
        or the result of a conspiracy?

      • So, that’s a compile.

      • Andy: do you believe that the temperature series are fraudulant?
        or the result of a conspiracy?

        The temperature series are more or less real. There is no compensation for UHI or instrument aging so they “read” high from trend standpoint.

        The “adjustments” are the problem. Any science that happens on political boundaries isn’t science but politics.

        https://i.imgur.com/sQq6c4I.gif

        NOAA started adjusting in February 2009 with the new presidents hand just leaving the Bible. They just rolled over.

        NASA had to be bribed, mostly through pork rolled into the Stimulus package. Once their equipment and funding arrived in 2010 they rolled over.

        Why wasn’t the temperature adjusted during the Bush Administration? I guess if the president wants change the temperature changes.

        If we have no adjustment or negative adjustment during the Trump administration that will indicate it wasn’t science, just politics.

      • Mosh,

        >>1. The “both sides do it” is immaterial to the key question.

        Both sides are indeed doing it, so D&M’s methodology cannot possibly be robust. Yet their paper is being called up by all sorts of other authorities to back their cases in the climate domain and other domains, regarding which side is wrong and which is right. What could be more key than this?

        >>2. WRT both sides doing it, I have yet to see a CAGW type of person persist in referencing deprecated science.

        So you say. And I believe you’re a man of Integrity too. But I believe the social data. The more domain knowledgeable folks are within a contested domain, the more polarized they are too i.e. subject to subconscious mechanisms that color vision. I know that tons of accusations of cherry picking fly both ways, of which deprecated papers are just one piece. And even in the comments to this post someone’s mentioned that the orthodox side does use such papers. I prefer to believe neither side (in the sense of not judging). The only way to get some decent measure of objectivity is to be domain independent. Ok very hard to get close to 100%, but you get the concept. For major contested domains that are big enough, there are ways of figuring which side is which that do *not* depend upon domain knowledge. So I don’t have to try and navigate to an ultimate answer on this issue based on some kind of average of you and a 1000 others who conflict or align with your story in various ways. I doubt I live long enough, for starters.

        >>The problem is you have defined denialism out of existence.

        The problem is that folks like D&M and Hoofnagle have tainted the word beyond proper use for a properly characterized behavior. It’s a big language, once we know what’s really going on I’m sure we can apply the appropriate terms. Maybe even denialism would survive for one corner of the spectrum, as long as we have a much better means of measuring it.

        >>Fine. What do you want to call someone who denies the holocaust?

        I think I’d stick with Holocaust denier, because this still has some traditional meaning that’s less tangled with an apparent sciency psychological phenomenon that in fact has no theoretical backing whatsoever, but is projected falsely via denialism and denialist. No it’s not ideal, but it wasn’t me who ruined the denialism term (and in part denier with it), and started applying it to all sorts of people *inappropriately*. It would matter much less what we called folks who were following the strongest behavior, if we didn’t apply the same or similar terms to folks who didn’t behave this way at all, or have weaker or different flavor behavior styles. Yet to know about that we need the proper causes, not the D&M assumptions!

        >>We do have the right to name things.

        Absolutely.

        >>And naming is not neat or logical.

        Of course not. But when you start stigmatizing folks, in some cases whole sections of society, simply because you’ve let your terms get completely out of control, then it is time to rethink. It’s traditional to find out how something works first, if one can, and then name things appropriately. Pretending we know how it works while letting the name dictate via emotional selection what we think the behavior is, cannot be the right way to go. Yet this is what has happened.

        >>Given that language is a tool What exactly do you want to call individuals or groups who do some or all of the following?

        >>1. Appeals to conspiracy
        >>2. Referencing deprecated literature.
        >>3. Paying for expert opinion that supports your position.
        >>4. Shifting or inconsistent standards of proof.
        >>5. Use of logical fallacies.

        What’s wrong with the names they already have, per above? These devices are a small subset of a huge list of similar devices, many of them known since classical times (2 is a subset of cherry picking and 3 is false authority). See footnote 18. Why group just these 5? What if folks use 3 of these and 3 others not on your list? Before D&M you’d just say they were using inappropriate rhetoric and underhand methods. You haven’t included propagandizing on your list, or other things. Do you want those in your blunt tool also? If you leave them out, why? Given that the plausible cause of cultural defence (which D&M don’t explore) imply that most of the time most of this will not be a function of deliberate intent but deep bias, shouldn’t we take care to describe things without the use of yet more blunt and abused verbal weaponry.

        >>1. You are still missing the point on expert. you dont need to decide objectively if someone is an expert. All you need to do is observe that they paid someone THEY consider to be an expert to support their position.

        But that happens all the time on both sides. As someone noted in these comments, are all government scientists false experts because they are serving the message that their government wants? I don’t think so. But is it an issue? Well maybe in some cases. Which cases? I dunno. How do I find out? Get domain knowledge. But domain knowledge has domain bias! Ditto say another side in another dispute that may be served by market message and industry. Meanwhile everyone is accusing everyone else of taking the money inappropriately anyhow. This is usually biased interpretation not lying, but how do I know who is right and wrong? Look at the examples in the ETS debate. D&M defame folks and accuse them of taking money, other experts (even ETS advocates!) accuse D&M of being false experts. Do you know who is right? A method has to work for every domain, and not take 100 years to navigate. I think you are missing the point. We are not omnicsient and cannot knwo the truth. If I take that stance that I cannot know who is or isn’t false and use domain independent criteria instead, I sure know

        >>2. The backup criteria is not related to experts as you suppose.
        >>3. Cherry picking LITERATURE is the issue. For example.

        It is related equally to both afaics. You are going through specific examples again, but both sides (not just in climate debate, but all polarized debates) do this. I’m sure your examples are right. There are skeptic folks with integrity that say the same about examples on the orthodox side. No-one can navigate this stuff in a highly polarized environment. Just too much bias and flak and counter flak. And you have to do this for a whole bunch of domains too.

        >>>“So are you signing up to this methodology for determining which side is which? That is what this paper is about.”

        >>Within my own field i will GLADLY sign up to the test.

        You seem to be looking at a small slice of the climate debate, not specifically related to calamity, which surely concerning the public is the key issue. No matter. Maybe you will pass. However, a lot of this is technical (arguments about goalposts for instance) and your expertise is challenged not only by out and out skeptics, but on occasion by others positions in the debate too I should imagine. There’s endless debate on all these issues. If the other guys fill in the table too and that also looks like a pass, then D&M has done nothing for us except allow each side to call the other denialists. That’s why it’s important to have tools that will actually do something for us, not simply confirm that there is massive polarization on everything you can think of inside the domain, even the very morals and values that our assessments rely upon. So… I’ll stick in this debate (fortunately it’s big enough) to tools that don’t need significant domain knowledge, and hence I won’t need to navigate any of this temperature and sea ice and glaciers and sea level and heat content and stadium wave and… well you get the picture.

        >>The maturity of the science doesnt need to even be determined.

        What???

        >> Let’s take LENR.

        I know nothing about that domain. But if a major social consensus has not hi-jacked it, then relative reason will prevail. From the things you say, it looks like some social behavior is taking place…

        >>The bottom line is the behavior is observable without much if any regard for the status of the science.

        …and that is exactly what I advocate. BUT… the measure of the behavior must be domain independent. Maybe this is easy with LENR, it’s hardly a world shaker on the scale of CAGW or Eugenics or even some medical consensuses. Small domain, no major social polarization surely, not major fear and anxiety memes on a global scale I think. The D&M criteria don’t work where stymied by domain polarization and behavior on both sides.

        “When you look into an unfamiliar contested domain where the accusations of cherry picking and inconsistent proofs and funding irregularities and all the rest are flying waist deep from *both* sides, do you think that using D&M2009’s criteria, you will be confident of figuring out who is who?”

        >>Yes. Although the question is really beside the POINT. The point is this. In my own domain I am able to spot people who [the 5 behaviors]

        I think it is exactly the point. If a method is robust to domains it can be trusted. Your method rests utterly on domain knowledge, and cannot be free of domain bias. D&M don’t mean just for you to pick which side is right or wrong via these criteria, they mean it to work for anyone, indeed if it doesn’t it is useless. Everyone will just claim their own result, which is in fact a result of biased filling in of the list.

        So in areas where the domain is unknown to me, I think folks have a better than 50/50 chance of picking out the denier. in my field, i’m 99% certain of my diagnosis.
        The point is the USE of the diagnosis. Every day I get questions from people. demands for data, challenges, emails etc. I have to decide
        who to engage. in many cases by the second mail people are starting
        with the conspiracy crap, then the old paper crap, then a few fallacies
        are thrown in, and then they move the goal posts. That’s when the diagnosis comes in handy. Its very useful.

        >>1. you still miss the point on experts. you dont need an objective criteria about experts…

        I think you miss the point. Per above, that type of thing occurs regularly on both sides. Does it mean the whole side should be discarded as wrong because this happened. No. Does it tell us the other side is right? No. Can we believe what in labyrinthine funding and relationships on both sides, and accusations about who is and isn’t hiring inappropriately, even our own eyes and ears anyhow? No. Interpretation of the funding networks are subject to as much bias as the other contested issues in the domain. You may see with clarity one small corner of your chosen domain. Can you honestly swear to seeing the rest and *knowing* who is and isn’t across the whole domain appropriately or inappropriately enabled and to what extent if this is a net effect of pluses and minuses. Surely not? The *only* way to be sure is to distance from this and like all other domain knowledge, and use domain independent criteria.

        >>Again. I dont NEED to find a cause for your behavior.

        If you don’t identify the cause for resistance to evidence, you won’t know what the behavior entails. And your diagnosis will sometimes be wrong.

        >>Its enough to know, you got something bad…

        So are you assuming ‘denialism’ is a disease ;)

        >>You argued that the definition was useless. its not. I use it all the time.

        I argue that it’s useless for the purpose of figuring out which side is which in a contested domain. The authors wanted to combat anti-science and it is critical to know which side is therefore which to this end. I have not seen any evidence that you have have used it successfully in this regard.

        If you are merely measuring the use of rhetoric devices (of which there are more than this list) to individuals to asses how much you can trust them as individuals, or whether their passion (of whatever kind) has tainted their narrative too much, or even way way too much, then folks have been doing that literally for millennia and this is good purpose. No pejorative new terms with their implications of psychological flaws, are required. You say you don’t need to know about cause, but a cause of cultural defense, a highly plausible candidate, will mean we will *all* have some behavior of this kind. When we discover yours, and mine, will we be deniers too?

        >>You use it TOO. you might not label the person a denialist, but you use the definition all the time.

        I most certainly don’t not use it for the purpose of figuring out which side is which. I’ve looked out for rhetoric devices long before D&M, and it was much easier to figure things out before everyone started branding everyone else as doing denialism and the whole emotional atmosphere hotted up.

        >>>“It does not give us any means to determine sides.”

        >>Sure it does. you might not like being lumped in with crazies, but tough luck. Your best bet is to take care of the crazies on your own side. When you see them move the goal posts..call them on it.

        hmmm… crazies. Nice balanced objective view then. And you are telling me I can rely on you to do the test of which side is which? Forgive me but you only convince me that domain independent tools are the only way to go.

        >>The notion of mature science is a diversion. we dont actually need it. You basically have one thing and one thing only. The best available explanation. Trying to say that more mature means more certain doesnt really follow.

        Of course the best available evidence / explanation should prevail. But if for an immature science there is much uncertainty, and also social impact (or perceived social impact), then there is great danger that a social consensus will hi-jack the science and present a certainty that is completely unfounded in science. From that point on dogma will reign and the science will be repressed. The best explanation *will not* prevail. Happened many times in history. Hence it is extremely important to assess whether a science is immature or not. If it is immature yet there is a powerful and policed consensus, oh dear, hi-jacked! If it is and there is a loose and evolving consensus that does not resist change, all good. If there is a strong consensus in a mature field, it may be fine and genuine too.

        >>Motivations are unimportant to the use of the diagnostic tool.

        Motivations are extremely important to the use of diagnostic tools, *if* the tools are vulnerable to the bias from those motivations. End up with very bent tools. no good. Like the D&M2009 ones.

        >>If the tool is MISAPPLIED then it backfires.

        Yes. And it’s very easy for folks in a polarized domain to misapply it. Per above the tool may not be proof against bias in the first place.

        >>Its very simple to fight the charge of denialism. [same 5 points].

        I think it is much much harder than you think once that branding is applied. It biases what everyone thinks of your defense. They start from the premise that you’re probably lying. Hoofnagle cites lying as his main bugbear and cause regarding ‘denialists’. And how (for someone on an arbitrary side of a dispute) are honest folks with real evidence yet who are tainted by the whole side being cast as denialists, a) going to be able to get their evidence through, and b) get everyone else on their side to pull in the rhetoric and behavior. This is completely independent whether in the larger picture their side happens to be right or wrong. Rhetoric saturates both sides in climate and in other domains too. You should take a trip into rape denialism and 2nd hand smoke denialism and such. Nasty stuff.

        >>Andy: do you believe that the temperature series are fraudulant? or the result of a conspiracy?

        As I’ve said many times in my writings, I do not think hoax or conspiracy are prime drivers of CAGW, nor do I think in the main that its proponents are dishonest or deranged or suffering from any other mental debility. CAGW is an emergent cultural phenomenon, and has clear characteristics of such. Such phenomena occur endlessly in history. Some have even been climate orientated. In fact CAGW’s biggest strength is the *passionate* honesty of it’s adherents. There will be a few dishonest folks and others on the make in any sufficiently large human enterprise (and lets face it, CAGW is pretty big now), plus when subject to heavy moral pressure a few folks will cross the line. But again this is not prime drive and will happen in any strong clash of cultures. The domain details are argued over endlessly and intensely by all and sundry within the domain, but my default position on sub-topics takes its lead from the position on the whole culture, i.e. not conspiracy or fraud. Obviously temperature is the sub-domain with the longest history of argument. Some confirmation bias and other bias mechanisms? Likely. A bit of thumb on the scale? Possibly. I can’t really tell. Will this make any difference? The thing about the whole temperature argument that gets me is that the entire range of argued figures seems tiny, I think the whole thing is in fact an icon, can’t actually make much difference who is right regarding adjustments or whatever you want to call them. BUT… just in case, like all other in-domain items, I figure I’m not going to rely on any of it anyhow. Far too complex, far too argued, far too much passion and complexity on both sides. Far too difficult to navigate what’s really going on with so much domain polarization. Cultures have domain independent features. I’ll stick with those.

      • In hard science, to avoid those soft tools of social
        consensus that bend requires framing your theory
        as a refutable statement as per Karl Popper on the
        scientific method and Einstein re one inconvenient
        counter-example.

        The theory of AGW greenhouse accelerated warming
        predicted the presence of a hot-spot signature in the
        troposphere and temperatures rising in sync with CO2.
        Neither of these have happened Applying bent tools then,
        like shifting standards of proof is inconsistent with the
        scientific method.

      • blueice2hotsea

        Steven Mosher – <iI have yet to see a CAGW type of person persist in referencing deprecated science.

        Does referencing and defending MBH98 qualify?

        Climate Skepticism and the Manufacture of Doubt: Can Dissent in Science be Epistemically Detrimental?

    • blueice2hotsea

      Amber Worth-
      I would define denialism as refusing to accept good evidence because that evidence is contrary to what you want to believe

      Your denialism definition does not include the rejection of evidence from odious sources – good/bad, contrary/consistent is not much of a factor.

      It is the messenger which is being rejected; the message is an incidental casualty.

      • blueice2hotsea

        That means, if I understand it correctly, rebelronin is not a denialist per your definition. Yet she wears the label as if a badge of honor, and I suppose the label is also quick to be applied. Can the definition be useful?

  44. Denial is often thought of in terms of absolutes; like something first has to be 100% likely to be true and then to be in denial of it a person has to insist that thing is 0% likely to be true. That would be a very brazen form of denial, but it’s not the only form.

    The more subtle form of denial is insisting that something that is 90% likely to be true is no more or less likely than a coin toss. Denial like this takes the form of an unreasonable assessment of evidence in favor of something not being true, without outright rejecting it. It’s nudging the likelihood towards 0 without insisting it’s at 0.

  45. There is another form of Denialism, i.e., the opportunity lost cost. When the calculation for one behavior or investment results in such costs which prohibit resources to be involved in another enterprise. I refer to the economics of Renewable Energy costs which deny attention and resources focused on energy that is Sustainable.

    “As recently as last July, SunEdison was still flying high, with its shares trading above $33. They began to collapse soon after and are today worth just 34 cents.”

    Poof. 10 Billion investor dollars gone. And now SunEdison has filed for bankruptcy protection today. Creditors, banks, venture capital, their invested money all gone, more likely than not, receiving pennies on their dollars. And who are these investors? many are pension funds, in one investing form or another.

    Where will new money for investing in nuclear, coal, gas come from? Scared away from energy investing, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System appears to be in hoc for part of this loss. Will California teachers receive their full pension now? Will investing in new energy projects come to fruition?

    The money lost in Renewable Energy denies the money for new, and more importantly, likely successful energy projects.

    • RiHo08, I’m afraid you may underestimate the intelligence of pension fund managers.
      It’s very unlikely a manager would invest enough in any one stock to put the fund at risk. Funds are diversified for safety.

      Energy stocks in general have taken a beating in the past year. I don’t know whether renewable energy stocks in general have fared any worse than fossil fuel stocks. I think there’s upside potential in both.

      • max10k

        “Funds are diversified for safety.”

        Agreed. I didn’t mean to imply that CSTRS held the whole pot, now empty. Rather, renewables have been sold by Venture Capital, Banks, as well as Fund managers being direct purchasers of stock. And pension funds tend to dip their toes into various pools, but, as the Derivatives debacle showed, there are interlocking risks that were not really appreciated.

        A portion of many retirement funds have VC invest for them to juice the returns knowing full well that there is a much higher risk for the higher return. When the high risk is in a category, like renewables such as wind and solar, when the subsidies are frozen or withdrawn altogether, the Raison d’être for these kinds of renewables vanishes along with the investment.

        BTW, I received an email with a uTube attached showing a local wind turbine beginning to fall over and lines were being attached to keep the whole structure from crashing, destroying the blades, turbine and electrical equipment as well as nearby barn.

        As an investment, wind and solar make no sense until there is a very inexpensive storage system that will reduce the intermittency of the systems. Even then, in the Northern Hemisphere above 25 degrees North, solar is even less sensible and wind seem to be able to provide only 24 to 25% of nameplate power for a host of unforeseen complications.

        My point about opportunity lost cost is that the money invested and subsequently lost in today’s renewables, means that that money isn’t available to invest in future energy ideas, such as 4th Generation nuclear for instance.

        If I were a much much younger man, I would invest in coal as an energy play. Again, lost opportunity cost is a risk.

      • max1ok,

        You wrote –

        “Funds are diversified for safety.”

        This is a reasonable clue that supposed financial experts are so unsure of their ability to pick winners, that they back as much of the field as they can.

        Looking into the future is fraught with difficulties. If the best and the brightest can’t do it, why do climatologists believe they can?

        You might notice SunEdison filed for bankruptcy. I’m sure some pension fund managers put their money there. Oh well, I’m sure their other decisions will be better. Or maybe not? You hope they pick more winners than losers? Good luck with that!

        Cheers.

      • Mike, you may understand why I prefer index funds.

      • max1ok,

        From Bloomberg today, referring to overpriced index funds –

        “The most egregious example cited in his list: the $275 million Rydex S&P 500 fund, with annual expenses for the C class shares at a whopping 2.32 percent. Compare that with the Fidelity Spartan 500 Index Advantage fund and Vanguard 500 Index Admiral fund, both of which charge 0.05 percent. “

        A moments reflection shows that investing in an index fund must inevitably result in losses over the long term, even without charges, if the fund purchases the stocks upon which the index is based.

        Index funds must compete for stocks to reweight their holdings, driving the price above their normal level, and must compete to lower their holdings by offering to sell at lower prices, when necessary.

        I’ll leave it to you to discover the other ways to lose money by investing in index funds. I don’t share the touching belief that someone would willingly give you money for sitting on your backside. You obviously do. Good luck with that!

        Cheers.

      • On experts and certainty, that PhilipTetlock, in a 20
        year study, showed the average expert was little
        better than anyone else in predicting the fuchur
        and what’s more, the more famous the forecaster,
        the more over-blown the forecast. Says Tetlock ,
        ‘experts in demand were more overconfident than
        less famous colleagues.’ (Oh ye hubris!)

        Tetlock’s ‘experts’ were different from the rest of us,
        though, when it came to learning from their mistakes.
        Tetlock says that his experts used a double standard ,
        much tougher in assessing the validity of information
        that under-cut their theory than in crediting information
        that supported it.( Oh ye confirmation bias!)

        – Guess there’s a critical difference betwixt experts who
        ‘know what’ and experts who ‘know how.’ -the latter the
        builders of bridges and dams and build, or fly, aircraft.
        These latter experts are subject to Hammurabi tests, where-
        as yr Stiglitzs’ and yr Ehrlichs’ …

      • Correction; 3rd paragraph, ‘builders and pilots of aircraft’
        and ‘ ye Stiglitzs’ ‘ and ‘ye Ehrlichs’…’

      • Mike, Vanguard’s S&P 500 index fund has returned me about 7% annually over the past 10 years. I am satisfied enough with the fund’s performance to stay in it. Of course it’s only one of my many investments.

        What you said about the turnover in index funds shows you are thinking, but not very far. More important than the purchase price of the stock is what happens to the price after you buy it. So the question is do the stocks of the new firms in the index appreciate after being purchased by the fund. And do the stocks of firms leaving the index subsequently perform better or worse than those of the entrants?

        By the way, in case you are thinking of asking me for investment advice, don’t.
        I won’t tell you anything.

      • beththeserf | April 23, 2016 at 3:09 am |
        On experts and certainty, that PhilipTetlock, in a 20
        year study, showed the average expert was little
        better than anyone else in predicting the fuchur
        and what’s more, the more famous the forecaster,
        the more over-blown the forecast.

        Climate Science is a weird profession I’ll never understand.

        If I modeled a logic circuit with propagation delays that were 3 times too long my boss would cuff the back of my head and tell me to fix it.

        Climate modelers (except for the Russians who are smarter) use 3 times the CO2 forcing that they should. And we are a told the model is right and the weather is wrong…

        We need to appoint a climate czar to cuff these people.

      • max1ok,

        I am pleased for your investment success.

        As for myself, I won’t be asking you for investment advice. I have no investments whatsoever, and few assets.

        I manage to live reasonably well, in spite of my nominal poverty. I’m sure you could buy and sell me several times over. My care factor still remains at zero.

        Cheers.

      • PA The ‘safe places’ of Academia. Eventually
        a collision with what’s out there …

      • max1ok,

        “If it were forced to pay taxes, Vanguard–if it is truly offering its services at cost–would have to raise its fees to cover the taxes it is now avoiding. The suit has been around for two years, but it has recently gotten some notice because Vanguard last month agreed to pay millions of back taxes in Texas. That state awarded the former Vanguard tax attorney David Danon a $117,000 whistleblower . . .”

        More –

        “But if this scenario came to pass, Vanguard would need to pay out about 1% of its AUM to the government and there would be no way to avoid raising fees significantly. Using simple arithmetic based on Vanguard’s current fees, a 10-year payback window might raise fees by about 50%, while paying this sum over 30 years would boost fees by about 16%.”

        I’m sure you wouldn’t want to continue your participation in what could be considered to be a taxpayer funded tax avoidance scheme – at the cost of about a billion dollars a year to the taxpayer I believe. It wouldn’t be ethical, would it?

        On the other (Warmist) hand . . .

        Cheers.

      • beththeserf,

        Nassim Nicholas Taleb in The Black Swan came to similar conclusions:

        We produce thirty-year projecitons of social security deficits and oil prices without realizing that we cannot even predict these for next summer….

        Our inability to predict…means that certain professonals, while believing they are experts, are in fact not. Based on their empirical record, they do not know more about their subject than the general population, but they are much better at narrating — or, worse, at smoking you with complicated mathematical models….

        Platonicity is what makes us think that we understand more than we actually do…..

        Categorizing always produces reduction in true complexity. It is a manifestation of the Black Swan generator, that unshakable Platonicity that I defined in the Prologue. Any reduction of the world around us can have explosive consequences since it rules out some sources of uncertainty; it drives us to a misunderstanding of the fabric of the world….

        The Platonic fold is the explosive boundary where the Platonic mindset enters in contact with messy reality, where the gap between what you know and what you think you know becomes dangersouly wide….

        I noticed that very intelligent and informed people were at no advantage over cabdrivers in their predictions, but there was a crucial difference. Cabdrivers did not believe that they understood as much as learned people — really, they were not the experts and they knew it. Nobody knew anything, but elite thinkers thought that they knew more than the rest because they were elite thinkers, and if you’re a member of the elite, you automatically know more than the nonelite.

      • > The Platonic fold is the explosive boundary where the Platonic mindset enters in contact with messy reality,

        So before reinventing linear logic, Nassim had to reconstruct Heidegger all by himself.

        The latter has an interesting take on Nietzche, for those who are into this crap.

      • Mike, I doubt that’s ever going to amount to much. If Vanguards fees are no longer competitive, investors will switch to Fidelity or some other fund family. What Danon did is one of the reasons lawyers are so disliked.

        There’s nothing wrong with avoiding income taxes as long as it’s legal. Taxes are too complicated. I used to do my own returns, but now must use a CPA. I wish the federal government could replace most of the federal income tax and all state income and sales tax with a VAT, use an income tax credit to compensate the poor for the regressive nature of the VAT, and give part of the revenue back to the States based on their populations. States could make up any shortfall with property tax. This scheme would encourage people to save rather than spend and would eliminate the problem States are having with collecting sales tax on internet sales.
        But it will never happen.

  46. Denialism can only be defined in the context of established science, so first you have to define established science. Established science has explanatory power, and sometime predictive power. It can explain observations using theories. In climate, explanations, which have to be quantitative in the physical sciences, include why the earth’s surface is 33 C warmer than earth’s radiative temperature, why temperatures varied so much in paleoclimate, and why it has warmed by 1 C in the last century or so as GHGs have increased, and these come from radiative properties of GHGs, which in turn comes from basic physics. Denialism is not defined by those who offer an alternative, but by those who say that even though the established science has explanations, it is most likely wrong, not just could be wrong (which is skepticism), but almost certainly wrong which is denialism. It dismisses the explanatory power on no scientific basis. Only a denialist can explain why they think this way, but several options were offered. Another way to evaluate an established piece science is when people from other related sciences recognize it.

    • Denialism can only be defined in the context of established science, so first you have to define established science.

      No, Jim D. The practice commonly used by you and other CAGW believers are to avoid the relevant points and divert to some irrelevant factoid. You do frequently. You are clearly a denier of the relevant facts. You’ve demonstrated this repeatedly and almost continuously.

      • You have to define what you are denying first, and that has to be science. Without science, you don’t get denialism. It is a relative term. If you have a different explanation, go for it. The main post only seems to have said what it isn’t, which is not very helpful.

      • You have to define what you are denying first, and that has to be science.

        Well why do you keep denying the relevant science, if that’s what you think it is.

        What is relevant is that there is no persuasive evidence that GHG emissions are doing more harm than good. You and your ilk want to talk only about CO2 (not dangerous), temperatures, (not dangerous), and other irrelevancies. You have never managed to present a persuasive case that GHG emissions are dangerous, let alone catastrophic. That’s why you have failed.

        You haven’t provided persuasive evidence demonstrating that GHG emissions:

        1. are doing more harm than good,

        2. are increasing risk of catastrophic climate change for future generations more than they are reducing the risks,

        3. that the mitigation policies you advocate would do more good than harm

        4. that the mitigation policies you advocate would deliver any significant climate benefits at all.

        If this is what you call science, then where is the scientific evidence? After 30 years’ of climate science research, the important questions have not been seriously addressed, let alone answered.

        Recognising that you are a denier, I fully expect your response will be: bait & switch, “Hey, look over here”, dodge, avoid, divert to irrelevancies, and the rest of your well worn denier tactics.

      • This is the kind of confusion that Andy West’s post leads to. It is just whole grocery list of imprecise things that are being denied. No, what is being denied is that the greenhouse effect is understood in a quantitative way and that the theory has a lot of explanatory power. A denialist would say it is likely wrong even though it explains the effects observed.

      • Jim D,

        That’s your problem. You continually divert to irrelevancies. If that’s what you want to argue about, then the only relevance of it is for text books with about as much relevance to policy as Big Bang and evolution. It’s science, but irrelevant for policy. it is no basis for arguing for catastrophism or for any policy response whatsoever. That’s what you don’t get. What you want to keep discussion is not relevant!

      • It is not a diversion, I am trying to be precise. If someone denies a basic piece of science, even just one fact of it, they are a denialist relative to that fact. I think everyone would agree with that, but it was not stated clearly in the main post, and on the contrary, it was rather muddied.

      • Your are trying to be precise about irrelevancies. That’s a diversion. Your purpose is, presumably, to avoid admitting what is relevant. You are a denier of the relevant facts. the relevant facts do not support mitigation policies which is essentially what you are advocating for.

        Do you accept or deny that the relevant facts do not justify GHG mitigation policies?

      • I accept the science that all of the warming is GHGs. Beyond that we are dealing with opinion, and yes I have opinions, but it makes no sense in the context of denialism to deny someone’s opinion. Denialism pertains to denying actual facts like where all the warming is coming from. Denialism obviously doesn’t pertain to proposed policies, which are opinions and not facts. How many other ways are there to make this clear?

      • Jim D said:

        I accept the science that all of the warming is GHGs.

        That’s not science, that’s your belief. But it is irrelevant anyway. If that’s all you’ve got you have no basis for advocating for mitigation policies.

        I’ll ask you a second time. See if you can answer the question, with either “I accept” or “I deny”:

        the relevant facts do not justify GHG mitigation policies?

      • They certainly do justify mitigation policies. What are you talking about?

      • Jim D,

        They certainly do justify mitigation policies.

        That’s an unsupported assertion – not supported by the relevant facts.

        Who is “they”?

        Provide the evidence that the mitigation policies will do more harm than good.

      • “They” being the facts. Policies aren’t facts, but opinions. You don’t want my opinion, but I just gave it.

      • “They” being the facts.

        What facts? Provide the relevant facts you are basing you opinion on and demonstrate that the benefits exceed the costs of mitigation.

      • A good starting point would be WG1 for the science, WG2 for the impacts of no mitigation, and WG3 for the economics of mitigation.

      • WG3 is where the evidence, if it existed, would be but isn’t, as you well know. You’ve tried this like of avoidance and denial before and were shown to be an ignorant fool. And a Denier. Do you want to try it again? if so, show the relevant evidence that the benefits of the advocated mitigation policies would exceed the costs.

      • You don’t accept the costs estimated by the economists which lead to the social cost of carbon being near $40 per tonne, and without that piece you won’t accept that mitigation is ten times cheaper. We went there before.

      • Yes we went there before and you were shown to be ignorant of the relevant facts, as you’ve shown again here. You haven’t any clue.

        Answer the question, not with factoids.

      • I answered with the question of whether you accept the economic consensus cost of carbon to be $40 per tonne or even $10, or indeed what? If you don’t, it is not worth going any further. I just go by widely accepted numbers, but if you don’t accept them, it is just a dead-end.

      • That’s not an answer to the question:

        I’ll ask you for an nth time. See if you can answer the question, with either “I accept” or “I deny”:

        the relevant facts do not justify GHG mitigation policies?

        Asked another way: Do you accept or deny:
        The weight of evidence shows that the cost of mitigation policies would exceed the benefits (of avoided climate damages).

      • The accepted numbers don’t point in that direction at all.

      • Jim Denier,

        What do you believe are the accepted numbers in answer to my question? Why don’t you answer the question instead of continually dodging and weaving and avoiding it?

      • Your question is a diversion. I am not following you down your rabbit holes. Just answer the question.

      • That was the answer. To be clear, I accept the accepted numbers.

      • Jim Denier,

        Another unsupported assertion.

        What do you believe are the accepted numbers for the costs of the mitigation policies and the benefits of climate damages avoided?

        Or, put another way, show the accepted numbers that demonstrate mitigation policies will do more harm than good.

      • I gave you $40 per tonne.

      • are doing more harm than good,

        Well if you dismiss or deny all of the research that indicates that AGW may cause dangerous impacts in the future, I can see why you would believe that.

      • Joseph,

        That comment is an example of denial of the relevant facts. Perhaps you don’t understand what’s relevant.

        “may cause dangerous impacts in the future”.

        All sorts of things cause “dangerous impacts”. Car crashes have dangerous impacts all the time. However, the benefit of having cars is orders of magnitude greater than the consequences of the accidents. The fact is that there is no persuasive evidence showing the the mitigation policies the alarmists advocate will deliver more good than harm. If you could have shown the evidence, you and your ilk would have long ago, instead of slithering, sliding, dodging, weaving, diverting, avoiding and denying the relevant facts. But you can’t. And IPCC doesn’t either.

        You squirm and slither and dodge the relevant facts with stupid comments like this and meaningless assertions like “may cause dangerous impacts in the future”.

      • “However, the benefit of having cars is orders of magnitude greater than the consequences of the accidents. ”

        You haven’t me told whether or not you dismiss the research that finds that climate has a number of potential harmful consequences. Do you dismiss this research for whatever reason or not? Because it’s difficult to do a cost benefit analysis if you can’t agree on the impacts (costs), right?

        Peter, I think the first thing that need to accept that climate change is a problem and that requires looking at the scientific research on the potential impacts of climate change and not dismissing without careful consideration. When I see the IPCC conclusion as well other research that I have seen on blogs and in the media, the only conclusion I can draw is that there are numerous potential harmful impacts.

      • that climate has a number of potential harmful consequences.

        The question is so stupid it doesn’t warrant a response, as is the case with most of your comments and questions.

      • Jim D:

        > ’Denialism can only be defined in the context of established science, so first you have to define established science. Established science has explanatory power, and sometime predictive power. It can explain observations using theories.’

        If you mean the particular science within each domain, the Diethelm and McKee’s criteria don’t reference this. They are claiming that their criteria are robust to detecting ‘denialism’ and so who is on the ‘ wrong’ side, in any domain * whatever* the particular science (with 4 very different domain examples). While I believe their method is seriously flawed (which flaws my post addresses) and cannot in fact achieve this, that doesn’t mean one can’ t have methods of detecting ‘resistance to evidence’ which are domain (and hence science detail) independent. In fact, if resistance to evidence does indeed largely stem from cultural defense, you most certainly can do this.

        > ’Denialism is not defined by those who offer an alternative, but by those who say that even though the established science has explanations, it is most likely wrong, not just could be wrong (which is skepticism), but almost certainly wrong which is denialism.’

        Well your definition of ‘denialism’ technically disagrees with D& M2009 despite it might be more useful, because their criteria make no mention of whether alternative explanations are offered or not. They say that if the 5 criteria are satisfied, it’s denialism. This is only one (and not the worst) of many problems that stem from attempting to define ‘denialism’ purely in terms of (a subset of possible) rhetoric devices.

        > ’The main post only seems to have said what it isn’t, which is not very helpful.’

        I think it’ s extremely helpful to point out that a concept has major flaws and is being inappropriately applied, to the detriment of the various different debates where this framing appears. Often it is deduced that something is wrong, without yet knowing what the replacement explanation is. This is perfectly legit, and meanwhile if “what it isn’t” is being assumed as true and thereby is causing harm, we ought to suspend the concept and suspend our judgement on what’ s happening, until folks figure it out. I provide helpful pointers, such as recommendation of * domain independent * methods (with an example) of telling who is who, and the recommendation of looking to ‘cultural defense’ for the origins of resistance to evidence.

        > ’This is the kind of confusion that Andy West’ s post leads to.’

        So you don’ t think that the huge confusion is caused by the extremely loose concept that D&M propose? which does not even have an established cause, and has no *objective* methodology for bringing their suggested criteria to bear on the problem of ‘ who is who’ in a contested domain. And pretty much allows anyone to take away whatever meaning they like (which is usually emotive and often pejorative). You don’t think that pointing out these flaws helps to *reduce* the confusion?

        > ’It is just whole grocery list of imprecise things that are being denied.’

        Where have I ‘ denied’ anything?? Show me. I have sound logical train why D&M’s framing is flawed, backed up by evidence (mainly in the footnotes). With reference to your own criteria above, I also provide a plausible causation for ‘resistance to evidence’ (they don’t really address causation, so one can’t rightly call mine an alternative), plus alternative suggestions for determining more objectively ‘who is who’ in contested domains, with an actual example.

        > ‘ I am trying to be precise.’

        I suggest that you could more productively start by being precise about what you do and don’ t support regarding D&M2009. Then lead into what you therefore do or don’t agree with in my analysis of their framing. Right now it rather oddly seems as though you are starting from the position that you ought to disagree with the whole post (for some unfathomable reason), and then are working backwards to try and justify said disagreement.

      • “Denialism obviously doesn’t pertain to proposed policies, which are opinions and not facts. How many other ways are there to make this clear?”

        Oh, but it does, brother. There very well may be scientist out there who call advocates of Velikovsky “universe denialists”, but I’ve never heard anyone call a steady state advocate a “universe denialist”. Einstein has had detractors since he first published his work, but who goes around calling them “relativity denialists”. Nobody seems to be calling Mitchell Feigenbaum a relativity denialist, and if they are, for some reason Wikipedia doesn’t care enough about that to cite it, and Wikipedia seems to find it a duty to make an inventory of denialists.

        Why is it some scientists can get away with challenging established science and not be demonized for it? I would suggest it has something to do with the amount of skin in the game.

      • JPZ, if anyone still denies relativity after all this evidence for it, I would call them a denier. At some point, the evidence is overwhelming, and there is so much of it to deny that it becomes as ridiculous as flat-earthers.

      • Joseph: Well if you dismiss or deny all of the research that indicates that AGW may cause dangerous impacts in the future, I can see why you would believe that.

        Where is the evidence that increasing CO2 does more harm than good? There is research that “AGW” may cause dangerous impacts in the future; there is also research that increased CO2 will make crop species more resistant to drought. Where is the evidence that the net is actually bad?

        That was the question, well it was one of the questions, that Jim D declined to answer in his self-described attempt to be more precise. The GWPF published a report supporting the hypothesis that the net effects of increased CO2 are beneficial. Is there a corresponding review showing that actual effects (not hypothetical future effects) have been harmful? I grant you that coccolithophores have not been the most heralded species up til now, but as a methphorical “canary in the mine” they comprise at least as much mass as all the corals; imagine how important they would be if their growth had declined 20% instead of increasing 20% in recent decades.

        None of the reviews of research on actual changes has been able to show net negative biological outcomes consequent to CO2 increase since 1880. It is hardly “denying” science to point out that lack.

      • Jim,

        It might behoove you to read more carefully the comments being made. Pay close attention to how the sentences are structured, as that gives you better clue as the meaning of those sentences. What I actually said was that “Einstein has his detractors”. It is not like you actually think that Einstein is relativity, right?

        You had further clue from my naming Mitchell Feigenbaum as one of Einstein’s detractors, and only just a minimal amount of research could have saved you this embarrassment:

        “Mitchell Feigenbaum, a physicist at The Rockefeller University in New York, begs to differ. He’s the latest and most prominent in a line of researchers insisting that Einstein’s theory has nothing to do with light – whatever history and the textbooks might say. “Not only is it not necessary,” he says, “but there’s absolutely no room in the theory for it.”

        And this:

        “This “second postulate” is the source of all Einstein’s eccentric physics of shrinking space and haywire clocks. And with a little further thought, it leads to the equivalence of mass and energy embodied in the iconic equation E = mc2. The argument is not about the physics, which countless experiments have confirmed. It is about whether we can reach the same conclusions without hoisting light onto its highly irregular pedestal.”

        And, just in case you can’t or won’t go past the paywall, this:

        “The idea that Einstein’s relativity has nothing to do with light could actually come in rather handy. For one thing, it rules out a nasty shock if anyone were ever to prove that photons, the particles of light, have mass. We know that the photon’s mass is very small – less than 10-49 grams. A photon with any mass at all would imply that our understanding of electricity and magnetism is wrong, and that electric charge might not be conserved. That would be problem enough, but a massive photon would also spell deep trouble for the second postulate, as a photon with mass would not necessarily always travel at the same speed. Feigenbaum’s work shows how, contrary to many physicists’ beliefs, this need not be a problem for relativity.

        “Feigenbaum’s ideas could be very helpful in correcting this misconception,” says physicist Sergio Cacciatori of the University of Insubria in Como, Italy. He suggests that further thinking along similar lines could reveal much more about the universe. Together with his colleague Vittorio Gorini, and Alexander Kamenshchik of the Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics in Moscow, Russia, he has explored what would happen if you took Feigenbaum’s conclusions about adding motions and applied them to changes in position (www.arxiv.org/abs/0807.3009). What if where you ended up after two consecutive displacements depended on the order of their occurrence?”

        Is this really a guy you want to call a denialist? How would such a label benefit science?

      • JPZ, you attached a label “relativity denialist” to a person that has a specific meaning of denying the truth of relativity. Now you are saying he didn’t deny the truth of relativity. What am I to think? Maybe you shouldn’t have attached that name to him? Where does that get us?

    • Jim D,

      I suppose I have to give you a chance to deny, divert, and confuse in relation to the Warmist “33 C warmer” fallacy. So here we go –

      Do you deny that the amount of heat necessary to raise the temperature of a body from 33 K to 288 K is the same in principle as that required to raise the the temperature of the same body from 0 K to 255 K?

      Do you deny that the Earth, with a diameter of some 12,500 km has a solid crust of say, 30 km thickness, an extremely hot (and not very solid) slowly cooling interior, and measurements and calculations indicate a skin temperature of between 30 K and 45K approximately, in the absence of an external heat source like the Sun, as the Earth cools?

      Do you deny that the hottest places on Earth – arid tropical deserts – have the least amount of the most important greenhouse gas, ie H2O, in their atmospheres, which demonstrates decreased levels of GHGs can be associated with increased temperatures?

      Rev yourself up, and fly off at a tangent if you wish. If you wish to deny the facts, feel free, using real physics (rather than realclimate or Warmist) physics, if you wouldn’t mind. Pointless and irrelevant analogies, or unsubstantiated assertions about the future aren’t science. 97% consensus is not science. Ad hom attacks are not science. Good luck.

      Cheers.

      • Mike Flynn:
        “Do you deny that the hottest places on Earth – arid tropical deserts – have the least amount of the most important greenhouse gas, ie H2O, in their atmospheres, which demonstrates decreased levels of GHGs can be associated with increased temperatures?”

        The oh so pleasant but ignorant displaying his wares again I see.
        Different thing.
        Look up the hydrological cycle.
        Clue – it cools the Earth’s surface, when in liquid form.

        “Rev yourself up, and fly off at a tangent if you wish. If you wish to deny the facts, feel free, using real physics (rather than realclimate or Warmist) physics, if you wouldn’t mind. ”

        My friend you would not know a physics fact if it got up and hit you in your “tax dollars”.

        Real physics are available via Google scholar and not WUWT Notricks Zone or even CE.
        Oh, and you could pull a Meteorology textbook off the shelf of you local library

        But in order to see them it requires a mind that does not have ideological – not to mention logical, blinkers.

        Tis a marvellous thing, ignorance, and the ability to parade it like a badge of honour.

        Oh, and get back to me when you have the evidence.

        As you say…
        Cheers

      • blueice2hotsea

        Do you deny that the amount of heat necessary to raise the temperature of a body from 33 K to 288 K is the same in principle as that required to raise the the temperature of the same body from 0 K to 255 K?

        (288/255)^4 => 63% more energy.

      • blueice2hotsea,

        I think you might be describing the energy radiated by an object, which follows the r^4 law, from memory.

        The specific heat of water is 1 kcal/gm, or 4.187 kJ/kgK. So much per (degree) Kelvin.

        I think I’m right, but correct me if I’m wrong. If I AM right, 33 K increase due to CO2 is complete nonsense. Ignorant climatologists forgot Earth’s skin was warm to start with.

        Cheers.

      • Tony Banton,

        I offered you the opportunity to fly off at a tangent, and you did, thereby denying that you possess the ability to deny the truth of a simple statement. Denial, much?

        Or maybe, just like the Completely Inept Agency (CIA), you neither confirm nor deny because you still haven’t found your clue and are still clueless.

        When I worked for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, they seemed happy enough with my knowledge of things meteorological, and in one or two other areas as well. But thanks for your suggestion that I waste my time and effort carrying out your pointless suggestion.

        I trust you don’t mind if I ignore it totally.

        Keep denying facts. The facts don’t care, do they? When I’m apprised of new facts, I change my mind. What about you?

        Cheers – and thanks for the sincerest form of flattery. Keep it up!

      • Mike Flynn | April 22, 2016 at 6:26 pm |

        I think I’m right, but correct me if I’m wrong. If I AM right, 33 K increase due to CO2 is complete nonsense. Ignorant climatologists forgot Earth’s skin was warm to start with.

        Well, I found this by Roger Pielke Sr. (he is a “real” climate scientist, not a “global warming” climate scientist).

        https://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/the-radiative-forcing-of-co2-as-a-function-of-its-atmospheric-concentration/

        https://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/co21.jpg

        The arctic winter, arctic summer, tropics regimes perform differently.

        But the aggregate total CO2 forcing contribution to the greenhouse effect is a little over 8 K not 33 K. So no, it is not 33 K.

        From a second site
        https://pronkpops.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/09-percentage.gif

        26% * 33K = 8.58K.

      • PA,

        Thanks for the link.

        However –

        “In climate science, radiative forcing or climate forcing is defined as the difference of insolation (sunlight) absorbed by the Earth and energy radiated back to space.” – Wikipedia.

        Two things.

        Radiative forcing seems to be climatological jargon. It doesn’t seem to appear in the field of physics otherwise.

        Second, it only occurs when the Sun is shining.

        As best I can tell, according to Warmists, some of the Sun’s radiation is retained within the system, resulting in an increase in the total energy content, and this is evidenced by rising temperatures, over time. Very sciencey, and also physically impossible. Fourier had it right, I think. At night, the Earth loses the heat it absorbed during the day, plus a little bit of its own.

        This accounts for the Earth cooling over the last four and a half billion years, I suppose.

        With great respect to Dr Pielke, maybe he has been carried away by the wave of hubris created by his erstwhile peers. There is no radiative forcing outside climatology.

        At least you agree that 33 C warming due to the supposed greenhouse effect is incorrect. Once you get down to a figure of slightly less than zero, you will have seen the logic of my position.

        I might appear to be insufferable (at the very least), but facts seem to support my contention. Find the radiative forcing of GHGs at night, and you’ll see what I mean, I hope.

        Thanks again.

        Cheers.

      • Mike, OK, so that is where you went wrong. 33 C is not due to CO2, but due to all the GHGs together, H2O being an important part. Glad to help.

      • Jim D,

        You wrote –

        “Mike, OK, so that is where you went wrong. 33 C is not due to CO2, but due to all the GHGs together, H2O being an important part. Glad to help.”

        You may be imagining things. In respect to the non existent 33 C warming due to the non existent greenhouse effect, I wrote as follows –

        At least you agree that 33 C warming due to the supposed greenhouse effect is incorrect.”

        No reference to CO2, you’ll note. I am aware that NASA claims that H2O is the most important greenhouse gas, but James “Death Trains” Hansen and his followers seem preoccupied with carbon because it is black, and therefore evil, or at least extremely dirty. Transparent and clean H2 gets a pass, although it can be positively fatal. The Hindenburg disaster shows how dangerous H2 can be. Even H2O is pretty dangerous, if you drown in it, or get tipped over Niagra Falls by it.

        Sorry, but no 33 C increase due to any combination of greenhouse gases. Not even 1 C. Nothing. In regard to to your assumption that your unsupported assertions have helped, you are quite right. They have helped to reinforce my inclination to think that Warmists in general are quite deluded.

        Cheers.

      • Mike, and that is what makes you a denialist. Crikey.

    • The problem of course is that people like Jim D routinely and deliberately mislabel skeptics as deniers.

      • There are some skeptics here, but the denialists also use that as a cover word. There is a difference between allowing for the truth of the consensus, but being less sure about it, and dismissing it as very unlikely, being very sure. People usually know which camp they are in, and it helps to make that distinction.

      • “There are some skeptics” makes my point exactly.
        As you well know, there are no more than a handful of deniers. Yet you repeat the lie ad nauseam.

      • Adn truebelievers use the word “science” as a cover. But you don’t care about that, since it advances political correctness.

      • Sure scientists use science. There are more denialists than you would care to admit. Use the consensus that it is very likely that most or all of the warming is from GHGs as a litmus test. A skeptic would say it is possible that most of the warming is from GHGs or that they don’t know the odds but it could be true or false, while a denialist would say it is unlikely to impossible, and most likely false.

      • Use the consensus that it is very likely that most or all of the warming is from GHGs as a litmus test.

        In this case, a well-informed skeptic would say the consensus is highly likely to be wrong.

        A skeptic would say it is possible that most of the warming is from GHGs or that they don’t know the odds but it could be true or false, […]

        Yup. But a well-informed skeptic would also realize that cause-and-effect is a simplistic myth.

        But there’s a problem here. There are many religious fanatics in the fray, black-and-white types who don’t understand uncertainty. They know CO2 is the main “cause” of the warming, or they know CO2 is not the main “cause” of the warming. They only use the language of uncertainty as a hand-wave to the rituals of science.

        When somebody tells an alarmist

        CO2 is not certainly responsible for the warming.

        … What they hear is

        CO2 is certainly not responsible for the warming.

        That’s because their ritual hand-waves to uncertainty are completely insincere. So they judge others by themselves.

      • AK, someone who says the consensus in your words is “highly likely to be wrong”, is someone I would define as a denialist. That is a very clear-cut statement. No grey area there. It’s what creationists say about evolution, and I would put them in the denialist class, almost as a definition of it.

      • AK, someone who says the consensus in your words is “highly likely to be wrong”, is someone I would define as a denialist.

        That’s because you don’t understand science.

        I don’t have to know anything about the subject to see that the defenders of the paradigm are frantically trying to suppress alternative paradigms, using highly unscientific methods against widely recognized experts.

        As I’m also familiar with the field, I can add strong parallels to the widespread denial among the self-appointed “consensus” in anthro/primate palaeontology (over whether the homonid ancestors were standing upright all the way back to the Miocene).

        Same goes for Mediterranean Archaeology regarding the chronology of the LBA/Early Iron transition. In both cases, the “consensus” defenders of the prior paradigm are slooooowly, reluctantly backing off.

        It’s what creationists say about evolution, and I would put them in the denialist class, almost as a definition of it.

        Funny you should mention that. Evolutionary theory has gone through several paradigm shifts:  Darwinism, mutationism, neo-Darwinism/Adaptationism, whatever Gould’s spandrel notions is called, and most recently Evo-Devo.

        All of the previous “consensus” positions were wrong. Not the way Creationists meant it, but while they had pieces of the puzzle, they denied other pieces, and were wrong.

  47. “You have to define what you are denying first, and that has to be science. Without science, you don’t get denialism.”

    Are you suggesting deniers have to define what it is they are denying? The denier movement is much more imaginary than you imagine it is, I think. It is not as if a movement of deniers sprung up in the face of CAGW advocates. Resistance to oppressive and painful policies, resistance to questionable studies, and resistance to hyperbolic scare tactics, are just some of the forms of resistance to CAGW that wind up being labeled as “denialism”. Judith Curry has been called a “denialist”, I have seen Senator Markey do it!

    Further, I don’t think holocaust denialism has much to do with a denial of science. The word is “denialism” is a poorly defined word for good reason, that reason is the word is used as a pejorative, and the more ill defined that word remains the broader its application.

    • What do you mean imaginary? You just had a whole post here about it. There are denialists, and yes you can generalize it to denial of facts, not just science, to include holocaust deniers. Cases include flat-earthers, evolution-deniers, earth-age deniers, and in the modern age smoking-cancer-link deniers, lead-health-risk deniers, CO2-warming-cause deniers, etc. In each case there are facts or science, and people who think those facts are wrong, not maybe wrong, but just wrong.

      • “What do you mean imaginary? You just had a whole post here about it. ”

        There has been quite a bit written on Batman, it doesn’t make him real.

      • OK, don’t blame me then. If we are going to have posts about imaginary things, blame the authors of those posts.

      • Jim D,

        You haven’t been paying attention. Much of what gets passed off as “facts” these days is anything but. Informed speculation maybe.

        If an experiment is not reproducible, has it provided us with any facts?

      • Denialism is not believing the facts. You don’t. Own it.

      • Let’s see if my test works at defining deniers. Jim D, you believe the views of AGW by and large. Do you believe God? I hope to see a pattern emerge.

      • Jim D: Cases include

        people who deny the evidence that the climate is more favorable to biota now than it was in 1880;

        people who deny that that the net effects of increased water vapor, including clouds, are not known;

        people who deny that the change in energy fluxes at the Earth surface are as important to humans and other life as the change in energy fluxes at the top of the atmosphere;

        people who deny that the forecasts have been “running hot” or that this matters;

        people who deny that scientists have been wrong on other important matters of science and public policy, or that the previous mistakes are relevant to present discussion;

        the list can be extended. “Denialism” exists wherever you look for it.

      • Your list includes either things that the scientists don’t deny, or that are opinions under dispute and not open to plain denial. The article on denialism lists plain facts and hard science as things people deny.

      • Blame is irrelevant, Jim. Blame does little to nothing towards identifying the problem and fixing it. My point on the imaginary thing is that there is no denier movement, and yes this post only contributes to that false narrative, and the more contributions are made to it, the more mythological the narrative becomes, and mythology requires its heroes and villains.

      • Flat-earthers are deniers. They do exist. There are people who deny that there were Moon landings, or that the Holocaust happened, or that evolution happens, or that the earth is billions of years old. It is not an imaginary concept.

      • “Flat-earthers are deniers. They do exist. There are people who deny that there were Moon landings, or that the Holocaust happened, or that evolution happens, or that the earth is billions of years old. It is not an imaginary concept.”

        Denialism exists, denialist movements not so often. In regards to a so called denialist movement in regards to CAGW, that’s in your imagination. Consider, just as one example, the mission statement for the modern Flat Earth Society:

        “The mission of the Flat Earth Society is to promote and initiate discussion of Flat Earth theory as well as archive Flat Earth literature. Our forums act as a venue to encourage free thinking and debate.”

        Denialism? You tell me. Are they simple cloaking themselves with notions of free thinking and debate?

        As far as the holocaust denialism goes, it makes sense that this exist, doesn’t it? Or, do you actually believe that Turkey had nothing to do with the Armenian genocide? Ever wonder why the United States has no intention on acknowledging the Armenian genocide? Denialism? You tell me.

      • Denialists are those who are certain that emissions can’t even account for most of the warming. It is their level of certainty that defines them as such. You can classify yourself accordingly.

      • Facts Jim?

        Like this fact of yours: “The established science is that most or all of the warming is very likely from GHGs. ” ?

        Isn’t the real fact (from IPCC AR5) something closer to “95% certainty that more than 50% of warming is from human activities” ?

        You conveniently change what the “gold standard” science says to fit your own belief system.

      • Yes, this is the IPCC view in a picture.
        http://www.realclimate.org/images/attribution.jpg
        It is useful to know where the center is. Denialists would have a curve that almost has no overlap with this, not scientifically derived of course but just made up.

    • Steven Mosher

      The piece being criticized attempts to define the telltale signs of denialism.
      1. Appeals to conspiracy
      2. Referencing deprecated literature.
      3. Paying for expert opinion that supports your position.
      4. Shifting or inconsistent standards of proof.
      5. Use of logical fallacies.

      When it walks and talks like a duck it’s not a swan

      • David Springer

        telltale signs of denialism.

        1. Appeals to conspiracy (Big Oil, check)
        2. Referencing deprecated literature. (Hockey Stick, check)
        3. Paying for expert opinion that supports your position. (The Academy, check)
        4. Shifting or inconsistent standards of proof. (Surface Air Temp shifts to OHC, check)
        5. Use of logical fallacies. (Correlation is Causation, check)

        “When it walks and talks like a duck it’s not a swan”

        Correct. Denialism is a projection by warmunists whom everyone knows are the real deniers.

    • “Denialists are those who are certain that emissions can’t even account for most of the warming. It is their level of certainty that defines them as such. You can classify yourself accordingly.”

      Are you talking to me? Why would I count myself accordingly? You infer where nothing has been implied, you imagine that what you imagine is real.

      • I gave you my definition. Maybe you fit it and maybe you don’t. I don’t know, and I can’t guess from anything you have said. Some here fit it for sure.

      • “I gave you my definition. Maybe you fit it and maybe you don’t. I don’t know, and I can’t guess from anything you have said. Some here fit it for sure.”

        Then why did you tell me to count myself among them? Slow down and let your rational side take charge, brother. It is hard to come off as scientific when you make too many bold assumptions with no evidence to support the assumptions.

      • “Accordingly” is used as a conditional.

    • Jim, I’m sorry buddy, I forgot to link that article:

      https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20026801-500-why-einstein-was-wrong-about-relativity/

      I also found a version not behind a paywall:

      http://www.tenthdimension.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1535

      I don’t think you have any idea what “this person” has said about the matter, but if I’m wrong, then please tell me how “this person” has “denied the truth of relativity”?

      • I should clarify something here. Jim, you said:

        “JPZ, you attached a label “relativity denialist” to a person that has a specific meaning of denying the truth of relativity.”

        The truth of the matter is that I did no such thing. I did not attach that term, and I in fact said that no one was calling him a “relativity denialist”, then, of course, you called him one.

        The term “relativity denialist”, as far as I know, was coined by me. I have never, ever seen or heard anyone ever called a “relativity denialist”. Am I just too ignorant to know better? Is there actually a movement of “relativity deniers” out there? Have you had experience with these deniers?

      • JPZ, you raised the issue of Einstein detractors as relativity deniers, not me, and it was not clear why. If they are not detractors of relativity itself, they would not be relativity deniers. You named someone in the context, but now I think you are saying he did not actually deny relativity, so it was all very confusing.

    • “JPZ, you raised the issue of Einstein detractors as relativity deniers, not me, and it was not clear why. If they are not detractors of relativity itself, they would not be relativity deniers. ”

      And if they’re not detractors of the science on warming itself then they wouldn’t be climate change deniers. This is why I raised it as I did. Some one comes along and challenges the Big Bang theory and establishment types declare him a “universe denialist”, because.

      Look at how the term is used for the people who have challenged the HIV theory of AIDS. Peter Duesberg comes along and argues that HIV couldn’t be the cause of AIDS and is quickly branded a heretic, then a dissident and finally a denialist. It took that establisment some time experimenting with the best word to demonize Duesberg and others who challenged the HIV orthodoxy, but they were branded “AIDS denialists” despite the fact they were denying the role of HIV in AIDS.

      It was brilliant propaganda.

      • The established science is that most or all of the warming is very likely from GHGs. The denialists say that is very unlikely to be true. This is all I am saying. It is a definition of a denialist.

      • Paper denying HIV–AIDS link secures publication.

        Work by infamous AIDS contrarian [Peter Duesberg] passes peer review.

        From Nature, 05 January 2012.

        A controversial research paper that argued “there is as yet no proof that HIV causes AIDS” and met with a storm of protest when it was published in 2009, leading to its withdrawal, has been republished in a revised form, this time in the peer-reviewed literature. [my bold]

        […]

        The manuscript was examined by two peer reviewers, one of them the journal’s editor-in-chief, Paolo Romagnoli, an expert in cell anatomy at the University of Florence, Italy. But leading AIDS researchers and campaigners question how the paper could have passed peer review, and say that publishing it in a minor journal known to few does not give it scientific credibility or legitimacy.

        “In my view this paper is scientific nonsense and should not have passed peer review. The thesis that HIV does not cause AIDS has no scientific credibility,” says Nathan Geffen of the South Africa-based Treatment Action Campaign, who previously raised concerns about the article.

        Romagnoli says he decided to review the revised paper because the original was withdrawn by Medical Hypotheses not for “flawed or falsified data” but for “highly controversial opinions” — which the IJAE’s readers can make up their own minds about.

  48. The word “denialism” appears to Dysphemistic:

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

  49. ‘Climate Science: Is it currently designed to answer
    questions?’
    Richard S. Lindzen

    (Submitted on 22 Sep 2008 (v1), last revised 8 Oct,
    2012 (this version, v4))

    ‘For a variety of inter-related cultural, organizational, and
    political reasons, progress in climate science and the actual
    solution of scientific problems in this field have moved at
    a much slower rate than would normally be possible. Not
    all these factors are unique to climate science, but the
    heavy influence of politics has served to amplify the role
    of the other factors. Such factors as the change in the
    scientific paradigm from a dialectic opposition between
    theory and observation to an emphasis on simulation and
    observational programs, the inordinate growth of
    administration in universities and the consequent increase
    in importance of grant overhead, and the hierarchical
    nature of formal scientific organizations are considered.
    This paper will deal with the origin of the cultural changes
    and with specific examples of the operation and interaction
    of these factors. In particular, we will show how political
    bodies act to control scientific institutions, how scientists
    adjust both data and even theory to accommodate
    politically correct positions, and how opposition to these
    positions is disposed of. ‘

    This massive growth in guvuh-mint control of science
    required more administrative costs to universities for
    larger grants … heh, what’s the most effective appeal?
    Why its ‘fear’, and fear-engendered natural disaster
    claims are just the thing for a small weak field like
    climatology, a mere sub-field of other immature
    disciplines like meteorology. Keep those research
    dollars coming!

    • beththeserf ,

      Hear! Hear!

      Interesting to note the subject of the paper.

      Cheers.

    • It seems like the cult of science will stop at nothing short of the death of science. From the article:

      For purposes of this paper, however, I simply want to briefly note the specific implications for science and its interaction with society.

      Although society is undoubtedly aware of the imperfections of science, it has rarely encountered a situation such as the current global warming hysteria where institutional science has so thoroughly committed itself to policies which call for massive sacrifices in well being world wide.

      Past scientific errors did not lead the public to discard the view that science on the whole was a valuable effort.

      However, the extraordinarily shallow basis for the commitment to climate catastrophe, and the widespread tendency of scientists to use unscientific means to arouse the public’s concerns, is becoming increasingly evident, and the result could be a reversal of the trust that arose from the triumphs of science and technology during the World War II period.

      • The cult of science gets you the water treatment, antibiotics and cheap energy. The cult of intellectuals gets you Stalin, Mao and Hitler.

      • “The cult of science gets you the water treatment, antibiotics and cheap energy. The cult of intellectuals gets you Stalin, Mao and Hitler.”

        Advances in science and technology gets you water treatment (2000 years old at least), antibiotics (natural antibiotics in use for thousands of years), and with cheap energy, well, this goes beyond science and technology to include economics, the cult of science had nothing to do with it.

  50. Andy’s discussion reveals a curious reciprocity theorem. Exchanging the word denialism with credualism can equally well summarize a skeptic’s view. One observes that the writeup makes no mention of technical terms, e.g. temperature, let alone abstractions such as convection and dissipation which distract the poor physical scientist’s attention from applying well-established theorems of psychological truthiness.

  51. Can there really be denialism in regard to CAGW?

    I doubt it but there are problems with it.

    First the word “catastrophic”. It can’t really be measured scientifically. It is inevitably a value judgment. Even if we try to reduce it to something measurable it still gets into value judgments. Let’s say a one meter sea level rise is our definition. How would we weigh the “catastrophe” of a one meter sea level rise against whatever measures we would need to take to prevent it?

    Second, it involves the future so it can’t be definitively disproved. We might have good reason to think a sea level rise of one meter by the end of the century is likely given certain scenarios of GHG increase but we can’t be equally sure about the likelihood of those scenarios.

    The concept of “denialism” if it has any validity probably needs to be reserved for denial of past events (Holocaust or moon landing) or phenomenon that can be clearly replicated (HIV cause ) or proven with little uncertainty (smoking and cancer).

    So asserting humans have no effect on climate or there was no warming in the 20th century would fall into denialism. Although there certainly are some people who do assert these things, many who are branded with the denialist tag would not.

    At any rate, the public (not the scientific) debate is about the future and about value judgments and about what if anything we should do. So the term “denialism” is mostly useless for that.

  52. At least one author sees an end to denialism in the future:

    ​This, I suspect, will one day become the Republican Party’s rationale for addressing climate change: Look, we don’t know how the dead hooker wound up in the hotel room. But she’s here now, that’s undeniable, so we’ve gotta get rid of the body.​

    http://www.vox.com/2016/4/21/11451378/smug-american-liberalism

  53. More on cloud uncertainties:
    94

    Observational constraints on mixed-phase clouds imply higher climate sensitivity
    Ivy Tan1,*, Trude Storelvmo1, Mark D. Zelinka2
    + Author Affiliations
    ↵*Corresponding author. E-mail: ivy.tan@yale.edu
    Science 08 Apr 2016:
    Vol. 352, Issue 6282, pp. 224-227
    DOI: 10.1126/science.aad5300

    Science, this issue p. 224
    Abstract

    Global climate model (GCM) estimates of the equilibrium global mean surface temperature response to a doubling of atmospheric CO2, measured by the equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS), range from 2.0° to 4.6°C. Clouds are among the leading causes of this uncertainty. Here we show that the ECS can be up to 1.3°C higher in simulations where mixed-phase clouds consisting of ice crystals and supercooled liquid droplets are constrained by global satellite observations. The higher ECS estimates are directly linked to a weakened cloud-phase feedback arising from a decreased cloud glaciation rate in a warmer climate. We point out the need for realistic representations of the supercooled liquid fraction in mixed-phase clouds in GCMs, given the sensitivity of the ECS to the cloud-phase feedback.

  54.  

    “Denier” We are all aware of the particular meaning that word has acquired in contemporary parlance. It has been employed in this [the climate] debate with some malice aforethought. ~John Howard

    • It has been, in fact, used throughout history with malice.
      Christians were mutilated and tortured if they ‘denied’ the Pagan Gods and refused to bow to them.
      Christians burned heretics who ‘denied’ God.
      Germany and France have sent hundreds to Jail for ‘denying’ deigned to study the Holocaust.
      If many had their way Americans would go to jail for ‘denying’ Climate Orthodoxy.

      Old song, always the same beat.

  55. Its kind of weird, I would think the term ‘Denier’ or ‘Denialism’ would be treated a little more sacredly. I mean, considering how, (as most of us here realize) irresponsibly this term is used in the Climate Arena, and the basic fact that it obviously being attempted to equate climate ‘deniers’ with holocaust ‘deniers’, you would think one might worry that such an obvious Stalinesque tactic might backfire and make people wonder what the story and validity behind other uses of ‘denier’ are.

  56. Frankfurt school influence on America is a great example of how the Conspiracy theory slur works:

    Oooooh SPLC says its a horrible horrible antisemitic conspiracy:
    https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2003/%E2%80%98cultural-marxism%E2%80%99-catching

    Yet, Jewish author Murray freely discusses the strong influence on the Frankfurt school on the American psyche:
    http://www.amazon.com/Neoconservative-Revolution-Jewish-Intellectuals-Shaping/dp/0521836565/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1461356935&sr=8-2&keywords=neoconservative+revolution

    As does Paul Gottfried, Paleoconservative:
    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/misadventuring-on-wikipedia/

    The basic fact is that A Conspiracy Theory is defined as ANYTHING THOSE WITH INTELLECTUAL/MEDIA POWER DON’T WANT TO BE A LEGITIMATE OPINION, for whatever reason.

    This is the number 1 vector used to try and eliminate the First Amendment, by Sunstein and his Thug Crew:
    http://www.amazon.com/Conspiracy-Theories-Other-Dangerous-Ideas/dp/1476726620/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461357119&sr=8-1&keywords=conspiracy+theories+sunstein

    People have hopefully been paying attention to the media this year and have seen what an outright lie the whole thing is. This does not stop at the media. Our entire intellectual sphere in this country is chocked full of half truths as well as outright lies.

    Take the red pill.

  57. Relevant post from Richard Muller

    Richard Muller: The classifications of climate change thinkers http://www.huffingtonpost.com/quora/the-classifications-of-cl_b_9729598.html

    • Steven Mosher

      yup

      • Deniers.They pay little attention to the details of the science. They are “unconvincibles.” They consider the alarmists’ proposals dangerous threats to our economy, so exaggerations are both necessary and appropriate to counter them.

        Mike Flynn is the Type Locality.

      • Geoff Sherrington

        Nope.

        There are many known examples of hypotheses that have done the Grand Tour, including the formation of high-spending government agencies a la IPCC, the emergence of consensus, the conventional wisdom … then the gradual realisation that it was all wrong. Dismantled at huge cost. Red faces. Though, seldom an apology.
        One good example is the non-appearance of a forecast epidemic of cancers caused by increased use of chemicals in the USA. See ‘The Apocalyptics’ Edith Efron.
        I find it amusing that these many failures get so little attention when climate is discussed. Some of these parallels to the global warming scare are pretty close in fit, I’d estimate r*2 > 0.98, but their consequences are seldom spoken of. One nasty consequence is that special Acts and Regulations created for the false scares tend to stay on the books to haunt the next generation.
        If then, I am sceptical of climate ‘science’ for not learning from the mistakes of the past, how do I get classified by Richard’s scheme, or by classifications from other authors?
        Oh, BTW, events like the cancer scare that never was have a characteristic that large numbers of papers are published, sometimes with less and less justification, a role that now seems to be getting taken over partly by excellent blogs like Judith’s. Do keep in mind that little bit about less and less justification for comment.
        Geoff.

      • Geoff Sherrington | April 23, 2016 at 7:42 am

        Indeed. I list some dominant consensuses that later collapsed in footnote 8. One major one which has harmed the health of hundreds of millions of people is still in the process of collapsing.

      • Gee, I’m agreeing with Mosher and Muller…

        [Looks both ways] Is the world coming an end???

      • Horst gets it badly wrong. The biggest category of all is of course credulous
        Truebelievers They pay lip service to the official alarmist propaganda, try to imagine that models trump data, that fiddling data to fir models is ok, etc etc, all part of climate ‘science’. They consider alarmist exaggerations are necessary to sway people to political correctness, and simply ignore the implications of vastly more expensive and unreliable energy. They are “unconvincibles.”

    • Many, many problems with Muller’s taxonomy. For one example;

      Lukewarmists. They, too, stick to the science. They recognize there is a danger but feel it is uncertain.

      This applies to the vast majority that he is calling “warmist.”

      • John Carpenter

        Joshu-a, you are using a skeptical trick by not including the whole definition. Miller further defines ‘Lukewarmer’ with “We should do something, but it can be measured. We have time.” Which differentiates it from ‘warmist’ where Muller includes “They are convinced the danger is serious and imminent.”… I.e. We don’t have time or are quickly running out of time. This clearly differentiates the two.

        It appears there is not a problem with his taxonomy for these two terms when the full definitions are considered. Which leads me to ask what the other ‘many, many problems’ are with the rest of his taxonomy?

      • John Carpenter

        Muller… Not Miller. Dang autocorrect

      • > M[u]ller further defines ‘Lukewarmer’ with “We should do something, but it can be measured. We have time.” Which differentiates it from ‘warmist’ where Muller includes “They are convinced the danger is serious and imminent.”… I.e. We don’t have time or are quickly running out of time. This clearly differentiates the two.

        Unless you can give a ballpark about the time the difference is pure marketing fluff. If you accept all this as marketing fluff, the need to pick a side falls apart, because the marketing niches feed on one another. Ask your psychometrist.

        Getting a ballpark of the time usually relies on sensitivity issues, where you see people arguing we bet under, which is barely rational. Hence Goldilocks stories instead.

        It’s not that complex.

      • John Carpenter

        Willard, agreed. Lukewarmist vs warmist will pick different sensitivities. They may overlap some but they are not the same. They are different. Call it marketing if you like but for me it’s not about picking a side.

      • Unless you can give a ballpark about the time the difference is pure marketing fluff.

        T