Innate Skepticism

by Andy West

On the origin of public skepticism and its entanglement with science.

Introduction

Lewandowsky has a habit of raising fundamental truths1 and asking pertinent questions, yet then for the climate change domain turning psychology (and according to analyses his data and ethics too) on its head in order to ensure an agreement with his über-orthodox viewpoint on risk2, rather than embrace outcomes that the fundamentals and questions actually point to. This involves accepting questionable conclusions as valid for other domains too, if these reinforce his climate change position. So for instance from Science and the Public: Debate, Denial, and Skepticism by Lewandowsky et al (L2016), here is a useful question:

What characterizes the public response to scientific discoveries that are “inconvenient”, or threatening to one’s lifestyle, livelihood, or deeply-held beliefs? Is it debate, denial, or skepticism?

In answering this Lewandowsky et al3 adopt a particular notion, which in the climate change domain minimizes the scope for any serious questioning of their particular (calamitous) orthodox view. This notion is that in regard to testing for a dividing line between ‘denial’ and skepticism, ‘existing research permits its identification with relative ease’. They refer to three papers4 immediately after this quoted text as their first line of support (hereafter ‘3P’), which cover various disputed domains yet unfortunately provide neither an objective test nor one based upon any theory of causation regarding these reactive behaviors5. So inevitably, they will sometimes fail.

However the very need for such a distinguishing test acknowledges a crucial truth: the reactive behaviors skepticism and so called ‘denial’, are fundamentally related. And while the authors frame science as only ‘discoveries’ (so implying factual) rather than the wider set ‘theories plus discoveries’ (so not all factual), their line of inquiry is nevertheless appropriate. As we shall see cultural resistance is indeed important where the related reactions of skepticism and ‘denial’ are aroused in the public by science issues29a, such resistance being tied to lifestyle, livelihood and especially deeply-held beliefs.

L2016 doesn’t pursue these valid clues about the nature of public skepticism6 (and incidentally features significant hypocrisy7), while the claimed ‘dividing line’ is certainly not easy to identify reliably in the generic case. Yet notwithstanding the above difficulties, and also that the role of cultural support as well as resistance needs consideration (hence: what characterizes the public response to scientific theories or discoveries that are “convenient”, or encouraging to one’s lifestyle, livelihood, or deeply-held beliefs?), Lewandowsky et al’s question and concept of testing raises deep and pertinent issues regarding the nature of public skepticism. These are briefly explored below.

The two faces of skepticism

Barry Marshall, the doctor who discovered the role of Helicobacter pylori in causing gastritis, which precursors ulcers and stomach cancer, said in an interview with Discover Magazine: “I presented that work at the annual meeting of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in Perth. That was my first experience of people being totally skeptical. To gastroenterologists, the concept of a germ causing ulcers was like saying that the Earth is flat.” [emphasis mine].

To the detriment of patients it took some years for his theory to be accepted8. Yet the essential issue is that highly plausible historic evidence, didn’t prevent skepticism of bacterial causation from growing to widespread dominance before Marshall.

So why does skepticism appear to have two faces; often healthy and indeed crucial to scientific inquiry and progress, yet at other times an unhealthy impediment? To get a better understanding we should go back to the beginning and ask, along with the implication of cultural resistance from L2016 as a clue, how old is skepticism and where does it come from? What actually is skepticism?

How old is skepticism?

The quote from L2016 in section 1 refers to the ‘public response’. Initially I will strictly adhere to this, i.e. in answering my questions above this is in regard to folks who overall are not deeply informed about the disputed issues. So for now we’ll leave behind gastroenterologists and climate scientists along with other experts. This should furnish us with the most straightforward case.

When members of the public respond in a skeptical manner to a promoted narrative, be this religious or political or scientific in origin, their response is not typically shaped by knowledge of philosophical skeptics such as Socrates or Pyrrho or Descartes or Hume. While philosophical skepticism as founded by the ancient Greeks has, in addition to its role within the theory of knowledge, contributed to a wider and more practical skepticism over the millennia, this is not the main font of reactive public behavior. Indeed there was skeptical behavior long before even the pre-cursors of formal philosophical skepticism, which arose with the 5th century BC Sophists9.

It is strongly argued that there is skepticism in the works of poets like Homer10 (if he was even real he lived centuries before the Sophists), and likely most of his content was inherited from oral traditions stretching back much further. There is certainly skepticism in some of the Harper’s songs originally from the Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, which goes back to ~2000BC. Mainly with respect to serious doubt about life after death and in direct contradiction to the dominant religion11. Even more emphatic on this issue is the Immortality of Writers (end of the 19th dynasty, ~1190BC). These examples don’t prove that considerable skepticism resided in the public consciousness, yet none are exclusive to intellectual elites11a. And the personal art and graffiti of ordinary folks provide a more direct seam of skepticism. I particularly like the private drawing of an Egyptian tomb-painter, who humorously12 depicts his god-pharaoh as a dog driving a chariot pulled by a rabbit13.

Detecting skepticism this far back depends upon the evidence from written records14. However, Homeric works are not the only indicator that prior oral societies also foster skepticism15. Given too that where records exist skepticism seems to stalk every religion (indeed every social consensus15a), and also that religious behavioral practices of one form or another have been around for a very long time, a plausible hypothesis is that this pattern always held and so skepticism is very old indeed. Old enough to be part of evolutionary processes16, maybe as old as our species.

Of course there was no formal science to be skeptical about in such early times. Yet public reactions to promoted narratives about how the world works or how we should best act to prosper within it, which per our scope above springs from people possessing only shallow domain knowledge at best, aren’t different in nature if such narratives happen to be religious or scientific or philosophical in origin. Not being priests or theologians or scientists or philosophers, the public is largely uninformed. Hence necessarily, their reaction must arise from factors largely independent of detailed domain knowledge.

Where does skepticism come from?

The oxford online dictionary defines scepticism / skepticism as: ‘A sceptical attitude; doubt as to the truth of something.’ This straightforward definition hides an apparently fiendish complication regarding public skepticism. Lacking domain knowledge, how do the uninitiated know whether their doubts are well or ill founded? What framework are they even using to judge?

A long evolved framework, says evolutionary theory. Deception and the ability to detect deception have evolved in many species including our own17, an arms race17a producing complex strategies and balances, especially in humans17b. Indeed the same pressures selecting for group co-operation, a key characteristic of humans, appear to have selected for deception too17c.

The simpler end of this arms race is driven by individual deception, the complex end by group deception. In each is a balance point of withheld judgment18, i.e. where the detection is sufficient to uncover issues, yet not sufficient to prove deception. Thus a suspicion of deception arising from skills long honed by the evolutionary arms race, doubt as to the truth of something, is skepticism. An underlying manifestation from evolutionary processes fits well with the evidential long timescales noted in section 3.

So when by virtue of evolved abilities (maybe at times aided by conscious application), someone detects or at least suspects deceit in an individual, it’s not too hard to see how this suspicion can be independent of any knowledge related to the concept the individual is conveying. Michael Shermer lists a subset of clues19 such as nervousness, excess control20, apparent rehearsal, consistency of a story over time, plus the increased likelihood of such clues manifesting when the subject is under cognitive load. Added to which can be weightings derived from the level of intimacy and trust. Hence to assess doubts about the veracity of the concept, domain knowledge is not required.

Yet what if the concept in question isn’t presented to us by an individual, but by an entire social group? What then does the arms race look like?

Group deception and skepticism

Ultimately a product of group selection21 and gene-culture co-evolution21a, the social groups caught up in the deception versus detection arms race are cultural, i.e. they feature an emergent socially enforced consensus, a cultural consensus21b. Despite underlying social truths, a cultural consensus is in itself a collective deception22a,b that provides major advantages including: a coalition system for combating individual dominance, an underwriting of altruism within group, and mechanisms to achieve common action in the face of the unknown. The fairy-tales put out by religions, such dominant cultural narratives throughout history, are examples of powerful collective deceptions.

Just as in the case for individual deception, there are various domain independent clues available for instinct to exploit in detecting the typical deceptions of a whole group (advocating a cultural consensus). All told these can invoke sufficient doubt, at least, for folks to withhold judgment regarding the truth of a promoted concept. Typically most adherents of a culture are honestly motivated, so the clues in section 4 aren’t useful. Relevant signs include that the group’s overall expression is: too coherent and coordinated (policing naturally occurs within emergent cultural consensuses), too certain (that which challenges a cultural consensus, including uncertainty, is belittled or bypassed), too forceful (e.g. suppressing other views), too emotive (positive passions as well as say fear and worry, these are how the cultural narrative gets iteratively selected in the first place), too arrogant (e.g. demeaning and / or demonizing dissenters), too universal (applicability of the concept across society, via tenuous connections, is exaggerated), too existential (potential threats exaggerated; becomes the bogeyman), and too associated with convenient belief23. Similarly to the individual case, familiarity and trust in the messaging sources will also weight the assessment.

While not all examples are so blunt and many would be considered part of normal social messaging, an obvious case typically revealing itself via most of these clues is state propaganda especially as put out by an extremist regime. Expressed via several papers24 (2005 to 2012 and not focused on climate change) Lewandowsky and co-authors confirm that a ‘stable personality trait’ of skepticism boosts our resistance to this type of misinformation, i.e. deceptions resulting from cultural / worldview biased transmission.

So public skepticism arises from an evolved instinct that detects collective deception and doesn’t need detailed domain knowledge in order to operate. To distinguish this from ‘philosophical skepticism’ (PSk) or ‘scientific skepticism’ (SSk), we can call this ‘innate skepticism’ (ISk).

The limits of Innate Skepticism

ISk works independently of detailed domain knowledge, but not independently of pre-existing social values and aspirations. So for example if the expression of a rising cultural consensus aligns well to an individual’s pre-existing values: universality will seem quite ‘natural’, emotions will resonate and hence thwart the objectivity in sensing that these may be inappropriate, coherence and certainty will confirm the comforting value framework upon which social identity is based, convenient belief will be overlooked, the demonizing of others may seem justified considering the stakes, or at least a blind eye will be turned, plus the existential narrative will confirm (once emotions are engaged) those high stakes are valid, especially if the information sources are largely trusted (which may simply mean they are sympathetically biased). Yet if the individual’s existing values are unaligned to the rising cultural consensus, clues to collective deceit will seem much more obvious, meaning skepticism is likely, and will be particularly sharp in those with opposed values.

Some of the pre-existing values will themselves derive from collective deceptions, so across a population ISk would be modulated depending on the rival or ally status of the newer culture25. Section 7 includes the context for individuals regarding this concept.

So ISk can be undermined, as the powerful sway of many cultures makes clear. Yet never wholly within a population26. In modern times and also evidenced by the historic references above, significant skepticism always seems to persist in association with cultural beliefs (footnote 15 is also relevant here). And given the typically low profile of historic skepticism relative to consensus messaging (i.e. veiled or relegated to unofficial channels or graffiti etc.) this may have been stronger than its surviving footprint suggests. Note: the balance between ISk and belief is dynamic rather than static27.

Innate Skepticism as Cultural Resistance

Notwithstanding specific co-evolutionary linkages, the selection pressure upon biology is not for cultures per se but for social thinking28; the way we think, hence also our identity, is bound up with the values of our social groups. In complex modern societies we can both buy into and repudiate various social groups at various levels, simultaneously. So per section 6 each of these relationships attenuates or sharpens ISk, which protects our precious identity and aspirations. This is consistent with the measured effect Dan Kahan calls identity protective cognition29. We’re all genetically and culturally unique so our modulation profiles are likewise individual, yet major statistical assemblies are readily identifiable in the supportive or skeptical responses that reflect our lifestyle, livelihood, and deeply-held beliefs29a.

So ISk can be thought of as cultural resistance to that which threatens our identity; a useful model (per section 1 invoked by L2016) although it tends to make us think more about those with opposed rather than merely unaligned values. (Equivalently, cultural beliefs are conceptually an emotive part of identity that restrains the ISk against them30). This defensive role31 of ISk provides some guard against local decadence as well as alien culture31a.

The link to identity and values means an individual’s ISk in one domain (say GMO), says nothing about their ISk in another (say climate change) that invokes different value challenges (but see 12/8a below).

Innate Skepticism and truth

Discovering truth isn’t needed to fulfill the above role. Indeed on some cultural consensus issues, e.g. human origins, historically the truth simply wasn’t available. Withheld judgment can be sufficient. Or bounded skepticism, e.g. not a disbelief in God but a disbelief in his current agents upon Earth (which is equivalently, a modified belief). And in a cultural competition occurring within domain overlap, one cultural ‘truth’ can form the focal point for skeptical resistance to another. Or sustained strong skepticism of an established culture (maybe due to decadence) can create conditions in which a breakaway culture eventually arises32. Yet in a literal sense all competing cultures are just as untrue, they’re all collective deceptions.

The entanglement of Science

Science with social impact, or perceived impact, is tangled in the group deception / detection arms race because (at least):

1) Correct science may be associated with or promoted or transmitted by, specific culture.

2) Correct science may challenge values and contradict knowledge established by a culture.

3) Scientific theories often have genuine and significant uncertainty, opening a window to cultural judgments and bias.

4) Via a raft of bias mechanisms, culture can divert or hi-jack science in a particular domain33.

5) Science as an enterprise has picked up cultural characteristics33a, 22a.

6) Strong ISk about a promoted theory may motivate a pursuit of truth via science (SSk)43.

As noted in section 3 ISk is the only framework via which the uninitiated public can interpret and judge the many competing claims and alleged uncertainties, the often obscured loyalties of information and funding sources, plus all the other domain complexities associated with a scientific theory or discovery that becomes socially contentious.

So regarding 1) correct science may be rejected because the cultural package it comes in is rejected by innate skepticism correctly detecting clues of collective deception33b.

Regarding 2), science faces a long-evolved system not looking for truth but for specific clues. Some of these clues will incorrectly be detected by individuals with unaligned values. For instance the absolute certainty granted by straightforward replication, ironically looks just like the unwarranted certainty that cultural consensuses enforce. Scientific zeal may trigger the detection of emotive content as would occur in a cultural narrative (and if the zeal for a particular theory is way OTT, this detection isn’t really wrong). A kind of convenient belief is exhibited by those who don’t understand the theory, yet simply believe ‘because it is science’. The authority science projects, maybe too arrogantly by some scientists, can trigger within some of the public a detection of the demeaning function that cultures employ.

3) means that not only will ISk and cultural beliefs get much more freedom to operate in members of the public regarding the concept at issue, but also in scientists embedded within that public. Even scientists are not Vulcans or able to rise above all long-evolved behaviors. So this may sometimes lead to 4), the worst case of which is a cultural consensus hi-jacking science, hence posing as a scientific consensus33. Such a consensus will correctly trigger the detection mechanisms of ISk, yet not in individuals having closely allied value systems. And ISk may also correctly detect 5).

Hence in resisting that which is bannered as science, ISk will sometimes be apt, and sometimes inapt.

Innate Skepticism and ‘denialism’

So ISk in members of the public will be undermined, maybe overridden by belief and support, regarding promoted scientific theories or discoveries that are “convenient” or encouraging to one’s lifestyle, livelihood, or deeply-held beliefs. And returning to L2016’s pertinent question from section 1, ISk will indeed be strongly aroused by scientific theories or discoveries that are “inconvenient” or threatening to one’s lifestyle, livelihood, or deeply-held beliefs. No one group will be anti-science generally, but anti the science that challenges their values, and pro the science that aligns with their values34. So where does so-called ‘denialism’ fit in? Well most likely, it doesn’t; certainly if we assume the context of the ‘denialism’ meme’s vague and falsely negative implications, i.e. of a pathological condition or systemic individual lying or both34a.

We need to confront a much more challenging reality. ISk isn’t a different reaction depending on whether history eventually proves it right or wrong. Public reaction to a scientific theory that turns out to be apt, sometimes forming a groundswell that helps overturn dogma and aid progress, and public reaction that turns out to be inapt, sometimes forming a groundswell that resists progress, both spring from the same cause; despite in the latter case resistance may continue after clear-cut scientific replication is available. These are the two faces of innate skepticism.

Distinguishing Apt and Inapt ISk

Because of cultural alliances and other effects35, there is typically cultural behavior on both sides of an entrenched and polarized socially contentious issue (likewise rhetoric and poor behavior governed mainly by individual factors). So when suspecting that science faces inapt ISk (‘denial’ is only this, once the section 10 negativities are discounted), observing such behavior does not confirm which side is which.

The 3P tests4 for a dividing line between skepticism (aka apt ISk) and ‘denial’ (really, inapt ISk), which evaluate rhetoric and source authorities, amount to little more than justifications for the authors’ own biases35a. Providing no theoretical basis for either skepticism or ‘denialism’, these papers also fail to mark the critical difference between sides and groups. Further, as the ‘fundamental relationship’ from section 1 is essentially equivalence (the same mechanisms drive apt and inapt ISk), we can’t reliably distinguish them by this means.

Fortunately, when there is social data, social analysis can tell us which issues are essentially cultural, i.e. promoted by a group with a cultural consensus, against which ISk is most certainly apt. Yet such a group is usually only part of a side. Where two groups occupy a side, only one owns the issue, so perceiving the allied group as the cultural source of the issue is inappropriate, albeit easily done if the allied group has a higher profile than the owning group. Likewise where a group occupies the same side as an evidential position, this side cannot be viewed as monolithic; the cultural behavior stemming from the former does not invalidate the latter, plus the ISk from the side is still apt. In both cases the allied groups are along for the ride, reaping some benefit from their relationships40.

E.g.Who is who identifies the three main groups in each of the US climate and creationism domains (which feature opposite asymmetrical alliances40a).

NOTE: Social analysis cannot say what science is true; only what narratives are cultural collective deceptions, which are never true22a,b,42 para4. An evidential position is no guarantor of truth41, yet it is not a collective deception. Apt ISk is no guarantor of good behavior! (Incidentally having acquired sufficient terminology now, footnote 42 translates the cultural view into Kip Hansen’s MSC view).

Recap

This theory of Innate Skepticism (ISk) as relevant to a non-expert public, says:

1)   ISk works independently of detailed knowledge of a contested domain.

2) ISk attempts to detect collective deception, not pursue truth.

3) ISk leads to doubt, withheld judgment, and sometimes modified beliefs.

4)   Acquired beliefs suppress ISk, yet never wholly within a population.

5)   Apt and inapt ISk are fundamentally the same reactive behavior.

6)   ISk not pitched against a cultural consensus36 (collective deception), is inapt.

7)   Apt ISk points to falsity (collective deception), not what alternatives are true.

8)   Individual ISk cannot be assumed to cross domain boundaries, though…

8a) If domains have strong cultural alliance, ISk will more likely be aligned.

9)   The capability for ISk arises from evolutionary processes.

10) ISk is entangled with the enterprise of science.

These characteristics have fundamental implications for all socially contentious science issues; just one example is the likely failure of ‘climate change education’37.

The ISk of experts

And expanding our scope from the public back to experts, what about their innate skepticism? I used the Helicobacter reference above as it seems the hardest kind of case for out-of-domain tests, perhaps never determinable39, yet also because it raises critical questions.

The 1980s strong consensus view said gastric disorders had a physiological basis and weren’t due to infection, a dogma dominating since the 1950s despite significant historic evidence. Given this almost exclusive focus for decades, gastroenterologists didn’t have expertise regarding bacterial possibilities. So was their assessment framework largely reduced to that used by the public? Did they judge Marshall’s and prior theories via ISk, attuned to their peer group? If so this ISk proved inapt. These are fundamental questions, because if most scientists who lack expertise typically fall to ISk:

1) Any sufficiently left-field concept challenging an established view will always face (if socially contentious, strong) ISk, even from scientists and despite plausible evidence.

2) In fields incorporating many disciplines, most scientists will lack expertise in most of the disciplines. So the process of building the big picture is very vulnerable to warring beliefs and ISk. Culture / identity could outbid truth; an observational match with CAGW.

Conflation of ISk and SSk.

ISk is very different to SSk. Unless the former is characterized and distinguished38, considering the deep entanglements of science with powerful cultural mechanics (of which ISk is a part), we’ll never be certain in contentious debates which is which, which is dominant where, and if SSk is operating objectively as it should or is mixed with lesser or greater ISk.

Where ISk (or similar identity related accounts like Kahan’s) isn’t even acknowledged, debate about the nature of skepticism will be confused. For instance Michael Shermer comments: ‘science and skepticism are synonymous’. Yet this ignores innate skepticism and its entanglement with science, making conflation of ISk and SSk inevitable. Indeed Shermer’s recommendation to investigate the sources of claims to help establish truth / untruth, is a slip into ISk. Sources and their authority are about identity, not argument; they’re irrelevant for objective in-domain SSk. They are relevant to out-of-domain social analysis (also a scientific inquiry yet topic independent), though only to the extent of establishing ownership or not by a cultural consensus, a procedure neither Shermer or the 3P tests address.

Further conflation is apparent in the same article (discussed at Climate Etc.) and even phrased using terms of (religious) culture: ‘It is to find the essential balance between orthodoxy and heresy, between a total commitment to the status quo and the blind pursuit of new ideas, between being open-minded enough to accept radical new ideas and so open-minded that your brains fall out. Skepticism is about finding that balance.

In the sense of social conformance to particular views, science should have no need of orthodoxy and no commitment to a status quo (a social device). Hence there’s no need for heresy either, and no balance between these culturally defined poles; just alternate propositions that like the challenged ideas should stand or fall purely on their merits. So ultimately upon evidence. And exercising withheld judgment, a principle common to all skepticisms, means our brains are unlikely to ‘fall out’ should distinguishing evidence not yet be obtainable; note also: no alternate theory is necessary for validly withheld judgment. Nor would a blind (to domain conventions) pursuit of new ideas typically represent a critical science-related danger to society44. A much greater danger is that institutional SSk doesn’t keep objectivity and drifts into ISk modes, at which point a whole scientific mainstream, often pushing widely applied policy, may owe a lot more to a collective deception than to science.

The Ancient Greeks attempted to formalize instinctive skepticism and make it independent of values; a strong linkage to cultural values still challenges scientific skepticism where science has social impact.

End-note.

Social psychology asks pertinent questions about skepticism in the public. Yet it seems, especially for those practitioners covering the domain of climate change (who in the great majority of cases assume the orthodoxy of certain calamity as a hard-baked prior), the field not only avoids the answers it doesn’t like, but typically avoids investigating the actual root causes of public skepticism. Maybe because that activity could lead away from a comfort zone of ‘approved’ consensuses, with ‘denialists’ firmly in the naughty box. This post may not provide the best and certainly not the fullest answers, but at the least it highlights a productive area needing much more attention.

[skepticism-ce-footnotes]

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

 

363 responses to “Innate Skepticism

  1. “Contrary to the progressive hysteria, the fact that President Trump’s Cabinet nominees take a skeptical stance toward what science knows and how to apply it is probably the best reason to have some confidence in them.” ~American Spectator (Ibid.)

    • That is why many of enough of us voted for him!

      • True, true… when the news talks about a SNL ratings growth due to Trump-bashing skits– that perhaps reflects a dent in video game binging but, we’re not talking about an audience of those who get up at 5:30 to get ready for work nor anyone who, for example, is going to show up in the afternoon to snake the crud from a shower drain in Hollywood.

  2. To quote a leading American representative of “innate skepticism.”

    Better to get your news directly from the president,” Smith said. “In fact, it might be the only way to get the unvarnished truth.”

    Lamar Smith, head of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

    And then there is the head American” innate skeptic” himself:

    Something very important, and indeed society changing, may come out of the Ebola epidemic that will be a very good thing: NO SHAKING HANDS!

    And:

    Autism rates through the roof–why doesn’t the Obama administration do something about doctor-inflicted autism. We lose nothing to try.

    Teh Donald

    • A difficulty with the Ebola thing is that issues with potentially immediate and horrific personal consequences (at least within the imagination) can invoke multiple effects, not least fear. Don’t have links, but I think such issues can compromise the logic of even some who are disposed to believe all the relevant science. Muddies the waters. Yet there is no such complicating issue for the Autism example. This seems to be a clear case of innate skepticism inaptly triggering against correct science.

      • The examples of Trump’s faux skepticism are bounteous. Indeed, so are they among “skeptics” in general. And they certainly aren’t restricted to conditions where there are immediate and horrific personal consequences (although they are probably more prevalent in such circumstances).

        Seems to me, Andy, that you are always working backwards to elevate the traits of the group to which you belong. I would say that there is no group of people who are “innate skeptics,” and there is no issue where “innate skepticism” delineates groups across ideological or opinion or cultural boundaries.

        There may be some individuals who possess the quality of “innate skepticism” more uniformly than others, but even they are more than likely to drop adopt one form of skepticism or another depending on context.

        I would be very interested to see some kind of RCT where you design a test for innate skepticism and present your results of how that trait might be associated with various groups, individuals, issues, or circumstances.

      • J:

        >>’Seems to me, Andy, that you are always working backwards to elevate the traits of the group to which you belong’

        What group is that??

        >>’I would say that there is no group of people who are “innate skeptics,” and there is no issue where “innate skepticism” delineates groups across ideological or opinion or cultural boundaries.’

        I would agree. You did read the head post, right?

        >>’There may be some individuals who possess the quality of “innate skepticism” more uniformly than others, but even they are more than likely to drop adopt one form of skepticism or another depending on context.’

        Not sure what you mean by the second part of that sentence. But we all have similar capacity for innate skepticism (I only presume not identically simply because no individuals are identical), and indeed it is *not* a function of any particular group of culture.

        It will be expressed where collective deception is correctly detected, or where the instincts looking for clues to collective deception incorrectly trigger on things that have similar surface characteristics as collective deception, hence sometimes this can be correct science. Innate skepticism will be modulated depending upon alignment, or not, of value systems (e.g. desensitized or disabled for those things where an individual is value aligned). So a particular individual may indeed express ISk in one domain yet not another, but this is a function of his / her values, not the lack of capability for innate skepticism generally. The system is symmetrical across all domains; it favors none.

        This is all described much better in the post. You seem to have somehow gotten the wrong end of the stick.

      • correction to above:

        not ‘group of culture’

        ‘group OR culture’

      • =={ What group is that?? }==

        Climate skeptics.

        =={ I would agree. You did read the head post, right? }==

        Well, I tried – but admittedly, much of it went over my head…

        That said, I think that there is much implied in your arguments along the lines that I’ve described. Although you don’t state it explicitly, and so I could well be wrong, but it seems clear to me that you find all kinds of comparatively positive attributes to “skeptics” as a group – including that their opinions re: climate change reflect some kind of “innate” characteristic that distinguishes them from those who have different opinions.

        See my comment in response to David Young below.

        =={ But we all have similar capacity for innate skepticism (I only presume not identically simply because no individuals are identical), and indeed it is *not* a function of any particular group of culture. }==

        Not only capacity, but also manifestation.

        =={ It will be expressed where collective deception is correctly detected,… {==

        Ah, but but the determination that the detection of a “correct” form of “collective deception” is in the eye of the beholders – in contrast to your view that it disproportionatel “correct[ly]” detecting among those who agree with you on a particular topic.

        =={ but this is a function of his / her values, not the lack of capability for innate skepticism generally. }==

        I disagree. That looks entirely self-serving to me. It isn’t dependent on “values.” It is dependent on how a given individual is aligned ideologically in relation to a particular topic/issue. Those “values” that you describe are not uniform, but shape-shift as suited, in order to protect a sense of identity. Thus, we have Republicans shifting vis a vis, their “values” w/r/t “leaks” or the “insurance mandate” or any number of issues depending on context, and Democrats doing likewise.

      • Andy –

        Consider an alternative to your theory about why (“skeptics”) views on climate change reflect “innate” attributes to “correctly” perceive “collective deception”:

        Reason is an adaptation to the hypersocial niche humans have evolved for themselves,” Mercier and Sperber write. Habits of mind that seem weird or goofy or just plain dumb from an “intellectualist” point of view prove shrewd when seen from a social “interactionist” perspective.

      • J:
        >>Climate skeptics.

        My view of the climate domain is not reached by skepticism of climate science or physical climate data. (Nor, for the sake of clarity, any political stance). Nevertheless, how are you defining this group? I do not have a definition; to be a group in a cultural sense they would have to have a policed consensus. Have you detected such?

        >>Well, I tried – but admittedly, much of it went over my head…

        >>That said, I think that there is much implied in your arguments along the lines that I’ve described. Although you don’t state it explicitly, and so I could well be wrong, but it seems clear to me that you find all kinds of comparatively positive attributes to “skeptics” as a group – including that their opinions re: climate change reflect some kind of “innate” characteristic that distinguishes them from those who have different opinions.

        Hmmm… So having failed to read much of the post, you simply invent stuff, which despite you say may be wrong is nevertheless ‘clear to you’, whereas none of this invention exists, implicitly or explicitly. If you maintain still that it does, quote it, with support as to your interpretation if this is necessary too. Otherwise do not throw out misleading statements about the post’s content.

        >>Not only capacity, but also manifestation.

        Indeed. How it manifests also being explained in detail in the post.

        >>Ah, but but the determination that the detection of a “correct” form of “collective deception” is in the eye of the beholders – in contrast to your view that it disproportionatel “correct[ly]” detecting among those who agree with you on a particular topic.

        Not so. If you had taken the trouble to read the all the post, you would see that the mechanisms of how innate skepticism detects collective deception, or incorrectly triggers on characteristics that are not indicative of collective deception, are completely independent of what the topics at issue are (i.e. work the same for any), and indeed these detection mechanisms are framed using principles that themselves stem from evolution / cultural evolution (so not from contested topic domains such as CC etc. that I or anyone else agrees or disagrees with). What is the point saying things that are manifestly not in the post? If you think you have found some support for your statement above somewhere within the post – Quote it.

        >>It isn’t dependent on “values.”

        *Cultural values* and beliefs (as noted in the post!), so…

        >>It is dependent on how a given individual is aligned ideologically in relation to a particular topic/issue.

        Indeed! So absolutely the detection conditions noted above are modulated by (cultural / ideological) values.

        >>Those “values” that you describe are not uniform, but shape-shift as suited, in order to protect a sense of identity.

        Absolutely! Which is why in the post and footnotes this is emphasized (including specifically, ‘identity protection’) as part of how innate skepticism operates. And had you bothered to actually read it all, you would know this.

        Your response appears to be relevant to fiction that you maybe would have liked me to post, to save you the trouble of thinking. If you are going to comment further, it’s only reasonable considering your above complete lack of rigor that I hold you to specifics. Quote passages. With developed arguments as to why you disagree, which stem directly from the content of said passages.

      • J: February 22, 2017 at 3:46 pm

        Nice article. Some of these bias / misinformation / cognitive effects have been studied for quite a while now. Some such effects occur prolifically associated with belief in the certainty of climate calamity (a cultural narrative). Hence the advancing explanations for them are very useful in demonstrating that the mainstream CC position is indeed a socially enforced consensus. I use a set of about 5 biasing mechanisms including the Continued Influence Effect, citing a set of papers by Lewandowsky and co-authors that explore / measure the same, in a series at WUWT that does just this. The CIE is briefly mentioned in footnote 24 to this post in fact, and is to do with the persistence of impressions formed even when later told they are wrong, and even if warned beforehand they may be wrong, which is very similar to one of the examples in the article you link. Mechanisms like CIE are part of the nitty gritty details of the innate skepticism and identity protective story, because ISk protects against CIE, yet ISk is modulated by cultural values. Hence, generally speaking at least, these types of effects are already incorporated into my thinking as expressed via posts here and at WUWT.

        Before you go around suggesting alternatives, perhaps you should take the trouble to read and properly consider what’s in the current post, rather than inventing what you think must be in it per above. And likewise read through the other posts (some of which you claim to have read), which would alert you to the presence of an existing consideration of the areas discussed in your link.

    • There is a new website for you to hang out in Josh. Posts video and “news” stories based on Hillary actually having won and now President.

      Who needs reality when fantasy is so much more to your liking.

    • Joshua

      Are you confident that AGW will result in worse rather than better overall climate for the USA? What data leads to your conclusion? Do you believe that if it gets warmer it must mean a negative change in the climate?

      • Hey Rob-

        =={ Are you confident that AGW will result in worse rather than better overall climate for the USA? }==

        I’m pretty sure that we’ve talked about this before….but what the hey.

        Confident? No, not really. I’m not “confident” either way. Uncertainties abound. But I think that the risk is real, risk of materially negative impact and also of low-probability risk of “high damage function.”

        In the very least, I see the following as being a useful yardstick:

        With this kind of fundamental non-robustness, the outcomes of CBAs or IAMs are held hostage by core structural uncertainties about how high temperature change and high productive capacity should be combined to yield utility. Such a dismal message is not intended to bring despair to the economics of climate change, nor to negate the need for further study and numerical simulations to guide policy. Instead, this message is just another warning, in a growing series of cautionary tales, that the particular application of CBAs or IAMs to climate change seems more inherently prone to being dependent on subjective judgments about structural uncertainties than most other, more ordinary, applications of CBAs or IAMs.

        But I think that yardstick measures two ways. Just as it applies to CBAs or IAMs, it applies to the economic modeling that many “skeptics” express complete certainty in…w/r/t the “cost” of mitigation.

        Like my grandmother always said…”Little Joshie, don’t throw low-probability high damage function to the winds.”

    • Are you confident that AGW will result in worse rather than better overall climate for the USA? What data leads to your conclusion? Do you believe that if it gets warmer it must mean a negative change in the climate?

  3. David L. Hagen

    Another expression of such skepticisim is that the model predictions must be validated against the null hypothesis of known natural variations.
    Richard Feynman summarized:

    If (the model) 

If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong.

    Tom Trinko Global Warming and the Feynman test
    Similarly, Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 admonished:

    “but test everything; hold fast what is good.”

    Moses in Deuteronomy 18:22 directed:

    when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.

    PS Re

    9) The capability for ISk arises from evolutionary processes.

    Re:

    the process of building the big picture is very vulnerable to warring beliefs and ISk. Culture / identity could outbid truth

    How do you show that you yourself are not caught up in that “cultural identity”? In particular, What if macroscopic evolution is not just another “a cultural consensus” imposed by like minded atheists/materialists who by definition preclude open science of testing it against the null hypothesis of known stochastic and chemical processes (as distinct from mutations causing microevolution)? e.g. test it by evidence in papers on Evolutionary Informatics

    • David H:
      >>How do you show that you yourself are not caught up in that “cultural identity”

      No-one is completely free of cultural identity, so including me of course. Fortunately as we can observe from the modern world, this doesn’t prevent science progressing and theories being established, albeit it makes for many serious diversions, as noted in the post. I doubt one could prove indisputably that macro evolutionary theories are not a product of consensus (not enough associated social data). However, the domain is very diverse so this tends to point away from social policing, and in the long run (can be a very long run for some domains) explanatory power will say one way or the other. For instance, explanatory power regarding emergent cultures such as religions and CAGW.

      >>…when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD…

      Indeed religions do have plenty of associated social data, which does point to cultural consensus. E.g. see the ‘who is who’ file linked in the post.

      Justifiably or not, I’m rather put off Evolutionary Informatics by the link to intelligent design. It’s not an area I know.

    • David L Hagan: What if macroscopic evolution is not just another “a cultural consensus” imposed by like minded atheists/materialists who by definition preclude open science of testing it against the null hypothesis of known stochastic and chemical processes (as distinct from mutations causing microevolution)? e.g. test it by evidence in papers on Evolutionary Informatics

      What we have to try to do is impossible: examine all of the evidence all of the time. What we are able to do is examine a lot (or as much as we can) of the evidence recurrently.

      As to “random variation” and “natural selection”, it is regularly observed that the variation in traits among offspring is independent of eventual survivability; and that the extremely few of the offspring in each generation that manage to survive to reproduce in their turn are those with the fewest and least severe imperfections. The “information” that is “communicated” to the survivors is “communicated” by the mechanism of killing off all of the others.

      There isn’t a biological mechanism that has been investigated yet that is passed without some random variation from the parents to their progeny; the seemingly excellent fitness of some adults to their environment comes from the fact that many brothers, sisters, cousins etc in the same cohort have been killed by that environment; the environment rarely can kill a whole lineage all off, and when it does we call that “extinction”. The vast slaughter of the young by a harsh or indifferent Mother Nature was one of the facts of biology that struck Charles Darwin as important. Too many people ignore it yet.

      That’s obviously an aside to the main essay.

      • David L. Hagen

        matthewrmaller Thanks. Our challenge is how to leverage innate skepticism (as well as seeking the highest scientific integrity) to “test all things”, find objective facts, and understand the truth.
        Re: “survive to reproduce in their turn are those with the fewest and least severe imperfections”. The brutal facts are that in every generation, each person’s genome experiences further mutations, passing on a further reduction in “fitness”. The Mendel’s Accountant population model clearly shows these trends. These mutations are documented in: OMIM.org: Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM®), an online catalog of human genes and genetic disorders We see this around by the growing incidence of cancer and inherited diseases.
        Yet we see the appeal that “science” predicts the opposite of creative new functions with elimination of the harmful by that same mechanism. Why should we not be skeptical of that cognitive dissonance between that model and the facts?

      • David L. Hagen: The brutal facts are that in every generation, each person’s genome experiences further mutations, passing on a further reduction in “fitness”.

        What makes you think that each mutation reduces fitness? In bacteria and insects, some of the mutations in each generation increase the fitness in the against human chemical agents?

  4. I would say that scientific skepticism is born from every piece of evidence having multiple possible explanations. This multiplicity of possible explanations, that can be considered for all purposes infinite, means that any one explanation has a very high probability of being wrong. Therefore it doesn’t matter how much we like a particular explanation or how good it is at explaining the evidence, we must assume the skeptical position that it is likely wrong until the hypothesis can survive everything that can be thrown at it in a systematic an extensive manner. A process that can take decades. We must not forget that the immense majority of hypothesis have been proven wrong and we only keep the few that we still don’t know to be wrong.

    When science is done the opposite way we run into serious problems each and every time.

    • “A process that can take decades.”

      Indeed so. But during which for a strongly disputed domain with social impact, scientific skepticism will only be one element of a multi-way conflict involving cultural beliefs and value-linked innate skepticism, and potentially not the dominant element for much of this time. Hence any clues that help to sort out which elements are acting where, is useful. Especially for instance when folks can write off any position they don’t like as ‘denialism,’ with the backing of academia, though in reality there is no meaningful test for this apparent condition. Figuring out what innate skepticism is, and hence for instance how this reacts to science issues and how ‘denialism’ is not as advertised, provides very useful clues.

      • This strongly disputed domain with social impact is just the fashion “du jour.” It will come to pass as every other one before. Once the climate fails to worsen as predicted, or people simply get bored, they will just move to the next fashion item. Meanwhile science will have to sort out the mess. Lessons will be learned and in a few decades forgotten again. Skepticism will recover its good name.

      • Javier | February 21, 2017 at 4:51 pm

        >>’It will come to pass as every other one before’

        Indeed that is the highly likely outcome. But meanwhile at what very heavy costs, and not just to science and credibility – which as you note can recover – but to societies, people, and indeed the environment itself. As society becomes more connected, cultural ‘fashions’ like this can grow swiftly, and even in prior generations their passing waves could do a huge amount of damage within a short time (significant factor in WW2).

        Understanding the elements involved, which we are not that far away from doing albeit it is still a cross disciplinary thing, will be a crucial step in growing beyond the grip of these downside cultural phenomena. Cultures established in our evolutionary trajectory because they were such a selective advantage, and indeed still provide many benefits. This means moderating and mitigating, attempting to take the good but not the bad, none of which can happen without understanding. We don’t have to forget and let it all happen again.

  5. Pingback: Innate Skepticism – Enjeux énergies et environnement

  6. > The oxford online dictionary

    As a great man perhaps born in Kenya and who may be at the center of a child trafficking sex ring once said:

    Come on, man.

  7. I’ve just witnessed two decades of so-called experts moving the goalposts on the point-of-no-return for saving life on earth, telling us snow and ice in temperate climes would only be seen in history books, and fudging the data to make the past cooler and the present warmer.

    To be a skeptic is to be thinking and breathing.

    • This is a critical point. The alarmist predictions of global warming to me appear very similar to the predictions of peak oil. It’s always just around the corner but never seems to happen.

      I think the idea of fudging data is a little over done. Yes it happens but the data itself isn’t great.

      The issue is that we can’t trust the so called experts who tell us the world is ending. The problem is they can’t sell a more realistic thesis of maybe temperatures will increase a little bit all other things being equal but all other things won’t be equal.

      • Sorry. I do not think the two are at all related. Read my three ebooks books for details. That said, I also do not think peak oil is an existential immediate crisis. Sort of a lukewarmer view not simply argued in a blog comment.

  8. The End-note sums it up:

    Yet it seems, especially for those practitioners covering the domain of climate change (who in the great majority of cases assume the orthodoxy of certain calamity as a hard-baked prior), the field not only avoids the answers it doesn’t like, but typically avoids investigating the actual root causes of public skepticism.

    The public skepticism is based on an ability of enough voters to recognize and reject BS, or, we just got lucky.

    • Public innate skepticism can indeed be regarded as a BS meter, which successfully detects collective deceptions, at least to the point of folks withholding judgement. However, it is unfortunately a fallible device. Where cultural values align to those associated with the issue being assessed, the meter will be desensitized or disabled. And the meter can also register false positives, where correct science is mistaken for a collective deception due to a similar look and feel plus science / cultural entanglements (described in detail above), and where values are unaligned.

  9. “So public skepticism arises from an evolved instinct that detects collective deception and doesn’t need detailed domain knowledge in order to operate. To distinguish this from ‘philosophical skepticism’ (PSk) or ‘scientific skepticism’ (SSk), we can call this ‘innate skepticism’ (ISk).”

    For me the most important takeaway. You also used the term “instinctive skepticism” without defining how that differs from these three. Or should we conflate PSk and SSk, i.e. regard PSk as having no relationship to the ancient Greek skeptics?

    And where would we place Nancy Cartwright and Ian Hacking, entity realists whose philosophy did not accept theories as real. e.g. photons exist but theories about photons are not real. The theories, no matter how good they are merely express current understanding of photon behaviour.

    Richard Lindzen expressed skepticism about the reality of average global temperature change based on empirical data compiled by Budyko and Izrael at 22:14 in the Youtube video: https://tinyurl.com/zz268hz

    When I viewed this video I came to the conclusion that philosophers of science have a lot to say about how scientists deal with entities they measure and theories that explain them.

    Which strikes me as a good reason for joining PSk and SSk.

    • >>For me the most important takeaway. You also used the term “instinctive skepticism” without defining how that differs from these three.

      Apologies, my end note there was just trying to remind / re-emphasize the instinctive nature of innate skepticism. Probably should have just expanded the sentence instead, as I agree that leaving my established terminology behind introduces ambiguity. I mean them as one and the same.

      >> Which strikes me as a good reason for joining PSk and SSk.

      Maybe. I’m not sure whether PSk and SSk can be joined or not. As my post is about the nature of ISk and its entanglement with science, I simply went with convention on this point. While PSk / SSk are both objective (in theory, so if for instance ISk doesn’t intrude), it seems to me that the latter works more with real world issues and experimental methodology, whereas the former is more in the domain of isolated reason, often dealing with issues about which experiments cannot even be currently formed. Whether this is a proper basis for maintaining a valid distinction is not something I’ve thought about too much. However innate skepticism is certainly different to them both, and not objective but value linked, the understanding of which is much more critical I think.

  10. Quote: On the origin of public skepticism and its entanglement with science.

    Some serious thinking went into this article. I still have trouble with the idea that scepticism is now such a dirty word. It used to be the core attribute of scientific study.

    • I guess it’s a dirty word in some contexts (the worst case being the context of so called ‘denialism’), and still a very valued word in other contexts, such as the core of scientific study as you mention. This curious conflict is I think mainly because the nature of innate skepticism (i.e. not objective scientific skepticism), is not understood. So there is great confusion about which is operating where. Our aspiration should certainly be that science proceeds by objective skepticism, which is why I feel it is so critical to disentangle value related innate skepticism (and cultural beliefs). Hence the post!

      • > I think mainly because the nature of innate skepticism (i.e. not objective scientific skepticism), is not understood.

        Good grief.

        Here’s a simpler explanation.

        Contrarians used he S word as a cheap branding slogan.

        The S word lost its INTEGRITY market share.

        This is as old as the world.

        Cf. school yards.

        You’re welcome.

      • Andy, the key is when you refer to scepticism as a very valued word.

        Was it Trenberth who wanted to reverse the null hypothesis? Unscience at its worst. And what about all of those pseudo scientific reports which do no more than collect material which support the authors’ argument?

        That is the long term damage that climate alarmism has done to the good name of science. It will take a generation or two before the scientific method is restored to its proper place.

      • You’re supposed to issue a trigger warning about Forrest’s blatant attempt to induce value laden conflict into the discussion, Andy.

        I’m waiting.

      • Willard, do you actually have anything to say about what I wrote?

      • Willard | February 22, 2017 at 12:25 am

        Forrest is saying what he believes, whereas you used what you don’t believe to try and provoke people. And Trenberth is recorded in the literature as proposing to change the null hypothesis regarding CC, i.e. shifting the burden of proof to research which seeks to disprove the human role. So love it or hate it, this is not opinion or speculation.

      • Andy,

        Quoting an online dictionary was silly. Undergraduates all around the world are being told not to quote dictionary definitions. That definition does not belong to your wordology. Your wordology would have been more interesting with a list if references.

        Reminding you that many contrarians believe the darnednest things was my way to hint at the self-serving nature of your quest to own the S brand. Just look at how jim2 still clings at the belief that teh Donald was right about his Sweden remark. How does IS can be consistent with that?

        (As an aside, you forgot to substantiate the innate part.)

        Trenberth’s proposal was made in a speech. The statistical hypothesis testing framework to which he alludes cannot be taken literally outside controlled experiment settings. Even if you take it seriously, it still is symmetrical – you *can* contrapose it without any problem in consistency. That contrarians frown upon that reversal tells more about the nature of their contrarianism than anything. There *are* times when scientists need to drop the stick and move away from the horse, and AGW might very well be one of them.

        If you want to talk about burden of proof reversal, let’s take Forrester’s mention of “alarmism” – that meme can’t stand on incredulity alone, can’t it? No wonder you don’t bat an eye on that meme – it is one about which I have *never* seen you apply any kind of scepticism.

        We all were Terrible Twos. Most grow out of it. Then comes the Why phase.

        Hope this helps,

        W

      • “We all were Terrible Twos. Most grow out of it.”

        Most of us did indeed.

        You clearly failed.

      • Res ipsa loquitur.

      • Willie – there are multiple sources that document Sweden’s immigrant problem, including criminal behavior. Just because the super-PC Swedish government denies it does not make it so. We have seen the same scenario in, of all places, Paris.

        Get over it Willie. You are wrong.

      • Willie – there are multiple sources that document Sweden’s immigrant problem, including krem-i-naal behavior. Just because the super-PC Swedish government denies it does not make it so. We have seen the same scenario in, of all places, Paris.

      • I leave jim2’s comment to your consideration, Andy.

        If special pleading does not work with him, don’t hesitate to issue another trigger warning.

      • Willard:
        Re dictionary: Not unreasonable advice if one is seeking to make a point that relies upon subtle philosophical or lexical shading. But this is not the case for this simple baseline notion to intro the section. MW would do ‘attitude of doubt or disposition to incredulity’, or Wiki, ‘generally any questioning attitude or doubt towards one or more items of putative knowledge or belief’, or yourdictionary.com, ‘a general attitude of distrusting or doubting’, or finedictionary.com, ‘doubt about the truth of something’, or thefreedictionary.com, ‘A doubting or questioning attitude or state of mind’, or Macmillan, ‘doubts that someone has about something that other people think is true or right’, or Cambridge (sceptic), ‘a person who doubts the truth or value of an idea or belief’. I guess I didn’t really need a link anyhow, but it seemed an economic way to intro the notion of doubt.

        Re Trenberth: A speech?? This was in his article in Wiley’s reviews / Climate Change:
        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wcc.142/abstract

      • Willard:

        >’…your quest to own the S brand…’

        What quest? Have you read the head post? This is mainly about innate skepticism, the capability for which exists in all of us, and there are no domain distinctions in its operation.

      • Andy,

        Presenting multiple definitions of the S word would actually be better than to quote one single instance – it would to show a variety of meanings. That kind of presentation would make sense for someone’s who’s doing some kind of linguistic work, e.g. when documenting how online dictionaries mistreat philosophical notions. That kind of conceptual analysis is far from being required to posit an innate module in the human mind.

        As far as usage is concerned, it could suffice to look at how contrarians use the S word. The many usages on this very page reinforce my suggestion that the S word is a brand. The S word is obviously value laden: the label that signals a virtue that contrarians try to own. It’s an epistemic extension of INTEGRITY.

        I could inspect a few of the 180 occurences of “skept” on this very page, but I doubt you want that. Search for truly skeptical to find my favorite one. You’ll see a nice mishmash of notions all wrapped up into a self-serving storification.

        If your post was only about the innateness of an S module, you would not be pushing Lew, C13, CAGW, and other contrarian memes. You’d be talking about innateness, something you do not seem to have investigated much. Do you realize the difference of scale between innate processes and online definitions?

        If you want something psychological to justify your dubitations, look for conscientiousness and neuroticism.

        ***

        Trentberth’s opinion piece opinion is an “article” in a very loose sense. Its first appearance was over there:

        https://ams.confex.com/ams/91Annual/webprogram/Paper180230.html

        Here was a discussion a few years ago:

        https://judithcurry.com/2011/05/16/null-hypothesis-discussion-thread/

        You’re welcome.

        ***

        When will you find the time to create a list of references?

      • Willard:
        Whether or not skepticism is a brand in the CC domain as you believe, this is not relevant to the way innate skepticism works (because of course this is the same in any contested domain, and far older than any existing such domains today). Hence in order to explore and explain the generic mechanisms I need only to invoke the (original and brandless) notion of doubt. If what you believe is true, and further, some take their own meaning of skepticism into the post (whether that you imply, or another different meaning), it soon becomes clear reading through the whole post that the very specific inducement of doubt via evolved trigger mechanisms (which may work as intended, or mal-trigger), is what I am talking about. Of course if folks only read the title and the last paragraph, they may retain their meaning; nothing to be done about that (and they wouldn’t see the dictionary link then anyhow).

        For references there’s about 75 or so, mostly in the footnotes and a few in the main post. While these include articles and popular science books, and for simple history or whatever Britannica / Stanford web and similar, there’s also a raft of academic papers and some academic books.

      • > For references there’s about 75 or so, mostly in the footnotes and a few in the main post.

        You should check back that document, Andy.

        Your links don’t work.

        Hence a list of references would help.

        As for the “inducement of doubt via evolved trigger mechanisms”:

        There must be something innate to teh Internet memes.

      • Willard:

        I checked all the links in the footnotes file pre-publication. I see you are right that post publication they don’t work. Thanks for the notification.

        Judith, any chance that you can fix this? Will email also.

        What on Earth is making an meme picture all about?

      • Andy West ==> The footnotes file is a .pdf file and the don’t work, even when downloaded and opened in Adobe. The linked text appears like a link, but there is no href.

        If you have it in html format or Word (.doc) email it to Judith again and maybe she can post it.

      • > What on Earth is making an meme picture all about?

        Here, Andy:

        https://memegenerator.net/Skeptical-African-Kid

        As a memetics fan, you should learn your memes. They’re great. Just look at the kid’s face. It shows all you need to recognize suspiciousness as a shared trait among human beings. At least that’s how I explain the success of these memes.

        As for the development of dubitation, here’s how to turn believers into skeptics:

        Under most circumstances, children (and adults) can safely assume that the testimony they hear is true. In two studies, we investigated whether 3-year-olds (N = 100) would continue to hold this assumption even if the person who provided the testimony behaved in an uncertain, ignorant, and/or distracted manner. In Study 1, children were less likely to trust that, for example, a key-like object was a spoon if the speaker indicated uncertainty about her testimony (e.g., “I think this is a spoon”) than if she simply labeled the object ostensively (e.g., “This is a spoon”). In Study 2, 3-year-olds were also more skeptical about a speaker’s testimony when she had earlier made an obvious naming error and seemed distracted, but not when she either made an error or seemed distracted. These results indicate that 3-year-olds can respond differently to the same testimony, depending on the speaker’s behavior.

        http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15248370701446392

      • Thanks Kip, I originally emailed as Word, and have re-emailed as same.

      • Links in footnotes now working :)
        Thanks Judith.

    • Forrest Gardener | February 21, 2017 at 2:16 pm

      Well fortunately there is a lot more science than the climate domain, and while there are difficulties elsewhere too, most is not in such a dire condition.

      >>That is the long term damage that climate alarmism has done to the good name of science.

      But I certainly agree regarding a great deal of damage done, and likely more to come.

  11. ” the wider set ‘theories plus discoveries’ (so not all factual)”

    There’s also unchecked convention, like fitting a trend line.

    The trend line is an input, not an output.

    A long cycle almost always would fit better, but nobody fits long cycles.

  12. Thanks for taking on a difficult topic. I think you’re close but I don’t come to exactly the same conclusion as you do about inherent skepticism. I think we both agree that skepticism arises from our atavistic past. Personally I don’t think it arises from a perception of deceit but rather a perception of something different. In that sense it has the same genesis as racism – a perception of “Other” – something that is not in the pattern of what we’re used to.

    Prehistoric man had to be wary of things that didn’t fit his pattern – it might hurt him or kill him or make him sick. Group world views arose as formalizations of known patterns – and since they were accepted by the group they became part of the pattern of the group’s lives. Thus, religions and miracle stories and such – they provided frameworks for the patterns. If an idea was proposed that didn’t fit the group’s framework the group was skeptical. If a fact didn’t fit the group’s framework it was ignored or the observer derided.

    This remains true to this day. However, our much more complex world throws a major league curve ball at this picture. Now, many of us are members of many groups each with its own framework. Some of us can reconcile those frameworks when they conflict – climate change zealots, for example, tend to belong to the political Left, deniers to the Right. It appears that their framework – the pattern they expect – for climate change matches their political framework.

    Those of us who muddle through in the middle generally have difficulty in reconciling all of the frameworks of all of the groups we belong to. We stretch them, we distort them, to try to reconcile them so that we can make sense of the world around us. We are still skeptical of new ideas – we come from the same atavistic ancestors as everyone else. But when faced with a new or different idea our skepticism takes the form of “Maybe yes, maybe no.” If we perceive that the idea will impact us, we will test its truth. If not, we will ignore it.

    This, too, I think harkens back to primitive man – if hungry, the more daring might experiment by tasting a small amount of a previously unseen root or fruit. A stranger from another group might be welcomed warily if he brought food or other necessities for the tribe. The stranger would not be accepted immediately – sometimes not at all – but the experiment was made. In effect, testing the group’s framework.

    This implies that Science came from both skepticism and necessity. As the world became more complex, so too did the perception that more things could impact our lives. In that sense, the resegregation of our society – where many of us only interact with those like ourselves – may be leading us to a much less scientific future.

    • I would add that while science to some extent came from necessity, much of it sprang from the curiosity of highly intelligent individuals who were materially well off.

    • Thanks plodinec.

      >>Thus, religions and miracle stories and such – they provided frameworks for the patterns.

      Indeed.

      >>If an idea was proposed that didn’t fit the group’s framework the group was skeptical. If a fact didn’t fit the group’s framework it was ignored or the observer derided.

      Yet per the post and the relevant footnotes / references, significant skepticism, for simpler past societies very likely the most skepticism, has always existed in conjunction with and faced *against* these established patterns. So, not against the ‘other’, but in fact against the familiar and dominant. This is because these ‘patterns’ are collective deceptions, which to some extent are held in check by skeptical balance (albeit per the post this is often a ‘veiled’ effect seen in history, as one needs unofficial not official messaging to uncover it). The ISk of ardent believers will be disabled (within domain), though indeed via the social policing that cultures support they will deride challengers, as you note.

  13. As Charles MacKay observed more than a century ago, men “go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

    • The Mutter Museum in Philly is fascinating. They have a large collection of the skulls of convicts and prostitutes from the days when phrenology was science.
      Science is how we keep people from causing harm and skepticism is how we limit the harm scientists can do. Beware anyone who thinks skepticism is bad.

  14. Regarding the thought that skepticism is part of the evolutionary process, surely curiosity connotes a degree of skepticism. If you don’t believe other peoples’ explanations there is no reason to test out your observations of the world yourself.

  15. Andy West ==> My Modern Scientific Controversies (MSC) series does indeed limit itself to a narrow band of science related controversies running wild today. They are, in your terms, a broad intentional science-based cultural deception.

    The deception stems not from a lack of belief in the “correctness” of their Cause, but from the weakness in their scientific positions and the weakness of the links between their Truth-Problem-Solution constructs. In order to shore up the weaknesses, non-true elements are injected into the argument — these can be exaggerations, excess emotion, heightened threat, etc.

    Your Innate Skepticism (BS detectors) helps some to identify the falsity of the Advocacy Construct (Turth-Problem-Solution) and push back. When sufficient push-back develops, we get a MSC.

    OFF TOPIC: By the way, the Evolution vs. Creationism fight is NOT a modern scientific controversy (in terms of my series). It is, at best, a manufactured controversy, kept alive by advocates from two extremes but fought mostly by moderates who do not actually understand the underlying deep issues. The real scientific fight is between strict Darwin-ism (incorrectly named as Darwin old have repudiated it) and some vague version of Intelligent Design.

    They fight Creationism as strawman for the much stronger ID position.

    • > They fight Creationism as strawman for the much stronger ID position.

      A strong ID position would be nice.

      • Willard ==> Not really my issue, but I know that there are sites that are rather especially focused on ID and its supporting arguments. Since it is not a particular interest of mine, I don’t know what sites to recommend if you wanted to follow up.

      • > Not really my issue […]

        Accusing strawmen of strawmanning might very well be suboptimal, Kip.

        The least you can do is to coatrack the usual contrarian talking points, like Andy did with Lew and C13, or handwave to footnotes with most formal references missing.

      • Willard ==> Sorry, thought you were serious, not just trolling. won’t make the mistake again.

      • > Sorry

        You’re all forgiven, Kip. And I mean all. Strawmanning a debate you cannot even bother to cite. Victim playing along the way. Impersonating seriousness while dancing around empty arguments.

        Without any real argument hitting the table, Kip, there’s very little to forgive.

    • Thanks Kip.

      >>They are, in your terms, a broad intentional science-based cultural deception.

      We may have to part company slightly. I don’t believe the deception is ‘intentional’, if that’s the sense you really meant to convey here. Cultural collective deceptions are emergent rather than intentional. Mass adherents of collective deceptions are typically passionate and honest, and while more intense and biassed at the deeper end, are still not employing intentional deceit in the vast majority of cases.

      >>The deception stems not from a lack of belief in the “correctness” of their Cause, but from the weakness in their scientific positions and the weakness of the links between their Truth-Problem-Solution constructs. In order to shore up the weaknesses, non-true elements are injected into the argument — these can be exaggerations, excess emotion, heightened threat, etc.

      In line with cultural evolutionary principles per the post, I believe it’s pretty much the other way around. In an emergent phenomenon such as CAGW or religion (exactly the same mechanisms beneath) there is co-evolutionary narrative selection, in which emotion trumps veracity. That is, in uncertain contested domains emotively exaggerated narratives have a higher selection value than more realistic ones, a well known effect. Hence the elements you mention in the last line above emerge via this selection, with the certainty of calamity as the top / umbrella narrative. So then the science becomes weak because it is constantly constrained to steer towards an impossible position (the story formed by the core narratives). However, this steerage is achieved by a raft of bias and social enforcement mechanisms – group think / peer-pressure / confirmation bias / noble cause corruption etc. so is not a hoax or conspiracy.

      • Andy ==> I should have avoided using your terms — there is never a one-to-one fit.

        I only mean to say that in Modern Scientific Controversies (under my definitions) the deception is intentional in that the Advocates do know, in their more reflective, contemplative moments, that they are exaggerating the threat of the Problem, exaggerating the benefit(s) of the Solution, or have used the Truth (the science bit) in a non-scientific way, in a way or with a significance that is not actually true. The individual Advocates are aware of the flaws in their cause. Oh, the Advocates loose sight of their own deception when speaking and writing rhetorically, when authoring propaganda, when lobbying….but when pinned down by serious trusted journalists, for example, they often admit that they “may have intentionally stretched a point or too, but it was necessary if they are to convince the public of the importance of their message” — reference Schneider or Hansen. Not a single Advocate in the War on Obesity actually, in his heart, believes that campaigning for “Eat Less – Exercise More” will really resolve the Obesity Epidemic — they just think it is a good and sound idea — none the less, their Advocacy Cause contains a plank to solve the Obesity Epidemic by such a campaign.

        None of this adds up to Conspiracy or Hoax — it adds up to what passes for modern Advocacy in general.

        I do maintain that in Modern Scientific Controversies, the Advocacy Cause always contains non-true components, flaws, which have been injected intentionally in order to advance the CAUSE. They may be added for all the “RIGHT REASONS” — white hat, noble cause, saving the world from itself, etc — but they are intentional at the expert/leadership/zealot level.

      • Unintentional deceit is an oxymoron.

      • Kip: Well we can agree there is noble cause corruption as part of the equation.

        Also, it is noted in the literature that cultural collective deceptions could not occur without the development of self-deception. Plus there is also a lot of discussion as to what extent and in which circumstances self deception can be regarded as an intentional lie that is also intended to eventually deceive ones-self, or is alternatively a fully unconscious act. A difficult and recursive area.

        However, using the familiar cultures of religions as a guide, I’m not of the view that adherents are liars, including even most of the elite for most of the time. There will always be some, as indeed there will always be a proportion of liars in any sufficiently large human enterprise. Plus if cultures enter a decadent phase there may be many more in the elite (e.g. the Borgias). But going the extra mile is usually done for ‘a higher truth’, hence while this may be an intentional stretch it is in service to a powerful belief that is honestly believed, so in that sense is not primarily a lie. And for CAGW or religion or any strong culture, the dominant belief still got there by iterative selection of emotive narratives, which once again emphasizes an emergent process across very many individuals, that none of them own as such.

        However, how to perceive the heart of collective deception (and hence self deception too) is certainly a challenging area!

      • Andy ==> We’ll have to leave out the classification of religion in with such things as CAGW or HPV vaccination advocacy or opposition or other emergent cultural phenomena. You might get away with “religious groups” or “churches” or “cultural religious identification” (as opposed to personal religious belief) as cultural phenomena.

        Personal religious beliefs stem from personal spiritual experiences and can not be explained away — either by the person himself or others. Personal religious beliefs are hard won, wrung from our mortal experience and are never ever trivial enough to be bantered about.

        Religion without Personal Spiritual Experience is an empty cultural phenomena, and you may have at it all you wish.

        Churches

        This is my topic — and what I studied at university and practiced for many many years. Not proper fare for discussion at a Climate Science blog however.

      • oops — posted too soon —

        Churches are groups of like minded persons organized for the purpose of mutual support while the members seek Person Spiritual Experiences (PRE), which will then form the basis of their Personal Religious Beliefs. It sometimes (many times) happens that a person in one religious group (church), through following the precepts of the group, has a PRE that causes him to leave that group and join another, more in line with his new found understanding. Of course, many ‘churches’ become culturally powerful and insist on enforcing an orthodoxy (as opposed to spiritual truth). Reference — all the leaders of the christian Reformation, Gautama Buddha (also known as Siddhārtha Gautama) and many many others.

      • Kip Hansen | February 21, 2017 at 7:29 pm

        Indeed not all cultural manifestations are the same. But the important thing is that the same mechanisms underlie all of them, in the same way that there is a vast array of biological manifestations, yet the underlying rules that produced this spectrum are much simpler in form, and simpler still in concept (‘natural selection’ still being the critical 2 words).

        Nor does this mean that any of it is not felt at the personal level, the very point of cultural beliefs are that they reach deep down into our pysche. In a sense we believe these narratives because we are these narratives (for the core beliefs at least, not so much the alliances or ‘convenient beliefs’), And by no means are all these narratives wrong or negative; in fact we couldn’t ‘be’ without them.

      • Kip Hansen | February 21, 2017 at 7:38 pm

        Your ‘churches’ sound overall like a beneficial cultural phenomena, of which humans have very many, and indeed culture is still a big net benefit despite the downsides such as CAGW that can live off the same mechanisms. While per previous text above, cultures reach down into the psyche, I should have caveated that of course we all still have our own intelligence and uniqueness. The way I look at it is often like the wave-particle phenomena: you can analyze from a social perspective or a personal perspective and both these provide good insights, yet they are nevertheless the same thing in reality.

      • Andy ==> It seems that churches and religion are not subjects with which you have a lot of first hand/hands on experience — more like something you have always “studied about’ from some perspective outside of the field itself — viewed always through the lens of cultural psychology or cultural evolution. Like friends of mine that have read hunting magazines like Field and Stream for years and years, but never actually hunted down, killed, field dressed, and packed out a large animal. At least, this is the impression you give here — I may be entirely wrong.

        I am the practical opposite — always having been hands on, deeply involved, as well as widely studied but from the perspective of the field itself — Religious Studies, Comparative Religions, History of Religions, World Religions, etc. .

        An interesting difference in approach and thus understandings.

  16. Funny that nobody seems skeptical of technology. What about genetic engineering with CRISPR/Cas9 or Computer artificial intelligence? Can’t do science without technology but what really controls the future of technology? It seems it’s a self perpetuating phenomenon, almost like it’s in our DNA. I’m not skeptical of technology but I am fearful of what it can do.

  17. Climate skepticism is a cargo cult… a group of smart people who have completely fooled themselves. Enjoy waiting for your AMO cargo plane. It ain’t coming.

    • Not even a nice try. Climate is a nonlinear dynamic system, mathematically chaotic. AR3 explicity said climate therefore cannot be reliably modeled. Faith in CMIP5 projections to 2100 is true cargo cult. Christy’s Feb 2016 congressional testimony chart showing the divergence between CMIP5 and both radiosonde and satellite observations for the tropical troposphere is but one example of the models going astray and running hot. The most important is observational ECS about half of the CMIP5 median, and less than half of the average. Removes the C from CAGW. And the attribution problem means we also do not know how much A in whatever GW exists. And we cannot be certain about GW other than generally it has been happening since the LIA, for reasons that until about 1975 had little to do with A. The warming from ~1920-1945 wasnt A according to AR4 WG1 SPM figure 8.2. And it cooled slightly from ~1945-1975. No GW.

    • JCH, let’s try a few small changes.

      Climate alarmism is a cargo cult… a group of smart people who have completely fooled themselves. Enjoy waiting for your apocalyptic cargo plane. It ain’t coming.

      If you are not convinced by my version then you may be able to imagine why others are not convinced by yours.

  18. Healthy skepticism allows a skeptical individual to entertain an idea as being true or false without it ever actually believing it is true or false. It is a way of testing the claims through a filter of “believing” or “unbelieving” because both lines of questioning pos\neg toward the claim that is not nailed down to empirical or logical facts, can reveal things to a skeptical position about what claims are wrong, science is often about elimination of all the wrongs until the right is all that is left.

    You can tell if belief or unbelief is right or wrong by entertaining an idea as wright or wrong and following the line of questioning, devils advocate.

    We see a distinct lack of this on both sides in public debate by non scientists.

    My stance has always been “you can’t say it is true because we cant show that and I will admit we cant say it is not true either”. The null hypothesis doesn’t come into play here, that is a scientific stance not a public debate one.

    Lewandowski has shown without doubt Lewandowski is not skeptical at all in any way shape or form because Lewandowski is not entertaining an uncertain as true, Lewandowski is stating unequivocally that it is true without the actual basis for such a position.

    So I find it very amusing this psychologist falls foul of his own ramblings

  19. A science dedicated to having squiggly lines match each other will bring out the skeptic in any reasonable person.

    Andrew

  20. Those that demand faith birth the unfaithful.

  21. Interesting post. A bit complicated for my tastes, but lots of food for thought. Wrote a how to manual on general ‘inate skepticism’ using over a hundred concrete examples from a variety of fields including education, energy, health care, and other fields. Final tie it all together chapter focused exclusively on climate. Ebook The Arts of Truth.

    • Rud, in other words, although we may not be able to define ‘BS’, we know it when we see it.

      • Well, I hope to have gone a bit further. Defined degrees of BS, explained at least some of the BS manufacturing methods, what to look for (red flags), how to fast ‘fact check’, and such. Truth is almost never absolute or certain, but equally it should never only be in the eye of the beholder. Been ragging on this since the god awful critical legal studies movment at Harvard Law while I was there.

      • Yep, you don’t need to be a cowboy to recognise the smell of bullsh1t.

    • ristvan ==> This is not the usual fare here — this is deep philosophy and social psychology. It relates to CliSci as the Lewandowsky crowd and the Kahan crowd of social psychologists have been trying to explain away Climate skepticism as a cognitive or cultural or cultural-cognitive pathology. Kahan applies it to any situation in which individuals or groups do not conform to Consensus Thought — failing to see that Consensus Thought itself is a product of cultural-bias-generated pathology. [ see mine “Perversions of open-minded thinking on climate change” ].

      I do not agree with Andy on all of the above — I don’t think one ought to, or can validly, apply Darwinian evolutionary theory to Culture, Thought, or Human cognition/understanding — to me that is a gross misapplication of a simplistic understanding of Darwin.

      Nonetheless, a rather brilliant overview.

    • Kip, agree with you on general brilliance. My problem is that I am less equipped by training and experience to critically evaluate this kind of thinking. So naturally just more skeptical. Said it would take more digestion. That has only just begun. And will now take days as I follow up his unfamiliar references, and their subreferences. Well, a project more worthy than critiquing Judiths new GWPF essay, with which I concur.

      • Thanks Rud (and Kip), I think this area will be a useful to addition to your already wide array of knowledge (which deeply impresses me). It’s not as complex as it seems once you get your eye in, so to speak. We are less used to analyzing ourselves than external phenomena, so sometimes that can make it seem rather daunting.

  22. Scepticism is probably a deeply ingrained and archaic defence mechanism that protects us from adopting new things without probing them.
    It has absolutely nothing to do with denial. A sceptic is open to arguments and proofs, not a denier.
    The opposite of scepticism would be gullibility: quite a risky proposition!

    • Skepticism is born of a lack of being convinced sufficiently by evidence.

      Lewandowski lacks any quantum of skepticism.

    • M, to summarize via Reagan,’ Trust but verify’ . If cannot verify, a skeptic loses the trust. That is what has happened to CAGW amongst skeptics.

      • Literature from the git-go, Homer, Chaucer, Shakespeare,
        Tolstoy and Mantel, a guided index, adultery, ambition, angst,
        and the human tendency ter tricky behavior…eschew gullibility
        ‘n obedience, if you want ter stay alive.

      • ‘Only humans laugh’ says Henri Bergson in his essay on
        laughter. http://www.authorama.com/laughter-1.html *

        And what humans laugh at is perceived mechanical
        inelasticity in human behavior, an absentmindedness
        where we would expect to find wide-awake adaptability
        to situations, ‘where we should be shaping our conduct
        in accordance with the reality which is present.’
        Rigidity is the comic,’ argues Bergson, ‘and laughter is
        its corrective.’

        *If yer look at the article you might smile at the photograph,
        Bergon’s expression kind of contrary to his theme.

      • beththeserf | February 21, 2017 at 7:57 pm

        Humor is an age-old device for transmitting / inducing skepticism. See footnote 12 in the footnotes file Judith links above. Had to admit I did find the German youtube linked from footnote 12, about their Green and Pension policies, to be pretty funny.

      • Beth, said better and more poetically than I.
        Some truths are truly enduring.
        Highest regards from up over to down under.

      • Yes, as I said a few posts above, skepticism allows you to entertain an idea as true (trust, in a way) and then the skeptic examines the evidence (verify).

      • Rud, likewise regards from The Antipodes.
        bts.

  23. Call me a skeptic but fake news is just one of the many natural outcomes of fake public education.

    • The lefties started the fake news thing. Now it’s being applied to them in spades. I love it! (They, OTOH, hate it with a passion.) Can you say ‘hoisted by his own petard??!!’

      • Yes Jim, it was a ploy that backfired. Sort of. They only care about the effect within their own echo chamber, keeping the idiots subscribing to their nonsense = existence. They are not concerned about those that know they are full of lies.

        The left has gone insane.

        Correctness = Right or wrong, you are correct, or incorrect.
        Political Correctness = Not about what is right or wrong. It is about upsetting a political regime, which in some places get you shot.

  24. It goes well beyond scepticism to a cold anger. Tony Banton’s denunciation of Ole Humlum here yesterday is just another in a long list of deplorable behaviours over decades. It was because he didn’t like an Argo plot for reasons known only to Banton. It happens because some blogospheric nitwit adds the name of a respected scientist to a list which then empowers peasants with pitchforks. The denier hunt is all over the internet. It is morally vacuous and repugnant. It is an offence against both science and democracy. -. https://denierlist.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/anastasios-tsonis/

    The bottom line on climate is impressively simple. There is an instantaneous rate of increase (nominally) in greenhouse gas forcing of 1E-9 W/m2 – set against a background of immense natural variability. The 97% consensus on the first point is a misdirection intended to deceive the public that 97% of climate deniers don’t believe this. Not remotely true. Yet any deviation from the official line on anything at all is greeted with accusations, denunciations and declarations that there is 97% support for anything that captures their febrile imaginations.

    The disagreement was always about the scope and depth of natural variability, on the point where data adjustments become statistical manipulations, on gaps and uncertainties in data, on the proper use and limitations of climate models and on chaos in climate and models. But far and away – disagreement was always about energy and development. In every instance we have been on the right side of science and policy.

    Underlying the politics of global warming is the big lie – the fabrication of the narrative as a stalking horse for ambitions to transform economies and society.

    Dateline “3 February 2015 – The Top UN Climate Change Official is optimistic that a new international treaty will be adopted at Paris Climate Change conference at the end of the year. However, the official, Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, warns that the fight against climate change is a process and that the necessary transformation of the world economy will not be decided at one conference or in one agreement.

    This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history”, Ms Figueres stated at a press conference in Brussels.

    This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution. That will not happen overnight and it will not happen at a single conference on climate change, be it COP 15, 21, 40 – you choose the number. It just does not occur like that. It is a process, because of the depth of the transformation.” UNRIC The reality of COP21 was that the world definitively chose a high growth, high energy future.

    The world of modelling is an obvious and blatant fabrication of science.
    Below is a perturbed physics ensemble (PPE) from a single model using a mid-range no mitigation emissions scenario. It shows thousands of diverging solutions that is the defining property of these chaotic models – that have at their core nonlinear equations of fluid transport. The thick black line is temperature observations. The thick blue lines are the one standard deviation limits. The red lines are the IPCC range derived by an entirely different method. The range of the perturbed physics ensemble (PPE) is even greater than the IPCC range.

    The IPPC opportunistic ensemble uses a single solution from 50 odd models – a solution arbitrarily chosen from 1000’s of plausible solutions, graphed together and a fake statistics fabricated over the top. They have known this (e.g, IPCC TAR 2001, McWilliams 2007, Slingo and Palmer 2011) since Lorenz in the 1960’s. It is as crude as that. The use of this method is at core a scientific fraud.

    So let’s go with the PPE that has an even broader range – and a complete absence of a way to calculate a probability density function over the range. There is no way of telling a priori the solution that is most likely. The other problems are that there is no way to model chaotic shifts in the Earth system and that actual emissions are overwhelmingly likely to diverge from IPCC emission scenarios. Climate will continue to diverge from models – almost certainly cooler. If only half the warming of the 20th century was natural – that energy will be lost this century.

    I have moved well beyond scepticism to contemptuous and dismissal. No rational discussion with global warming peasants is possible. They are capable only of wielding pitchforks fabricated in collective workshops. Their gatekeepers are self-confessed liars and cheats. They have rigged the science game from the IPCC to science journals to career paths – and left a paper trail. They have systematically closed down broad scientific discourse, undermined the objectivity of science and diminished the regard in which it is held.

    • This is a really good post. This is also basically my opinion on the topic. I don’t think the fraudulent behaviour is that bad. I think that this is simply because of the nature of extremely poor data. The problem is that no one comes out and states the data isn’t perfect.

      I’ve gone from healthily skeptical to now thinking that AGW is simply a massive scam. Scientifically there could be a small issue. The problem is that the arrogance and unbridled certainty that the scientific community has in relation to AGW doesn’t conform to the reality of the situation at all. There are so many holes in the whole picture it isn’t funny.

      • The IPCC opportunistic ensembles are a fabrication intended to create a false impression for the impressionable. It is literally true that they arbitrarily pick one solution from 1000’s of plausible solutions. This is then graphed with 50 other arbitrary solutions from other models and a fabricated statistics of the arbitrary is overlaid. The math is so well understood that it qualifies as scientific fraud in my opinion.

        And yes there are so many holes in the science that it is sinking without any possibility of rescue. But even that doesn’t matter.

        https://watertechbyrie.com/2017/02/15/the-climate-problem-and-the-solution/

      • ” There are so many holes…”

        I understand the public not being able to identify those holes and accepting the MSM and consensus narrative. But why are the scientists on the periphery of AGW so silent or so incurious that they let it pass without challenge.

        Every time I dig a little deeper on any issue, “natural variability” keeps turning up. Whether it is Greenland or Antarctica or SLR or tornadic activity or droughts or historical temperatures or MWP, a reasonable person, at a minimum should be troubled by the certainty that is so pervasive.

        It takes very little effort to look up dozens and dozens of peer reviewed studies that poke major holes in the facade. Aren’t climate scientists motivated enough to investigate these findings beyond their own expertise? I think I know the answer.

  25. Andy West, thank you for an enjoyable and well-written article.

    One complaint: you referred to such entities as “section 3”, but your sections are not numbered.

    • Indeed!

      Will Janoschka, thank you for the link.

      • Matthew

        I have just noticed Judith’s new gwpf briefing is the latest story on wuwt.

        Reading the credits it seems she has written several papers for the gwpf, which I had not realised.

        Tonyb

      • Actually this was “climate models for lawyers’ written for a different purpose. GWPF wanted to publish it. Josh did the editing/formatting

      • It is an excellent document and a very easy read, even for a finance guy.

      • I read it and think its pretty good. It is clearly an introduction so technical details are missing which is needed for laymen to understand it. The part about nonlinear systems is I think defensible. We simply are pretty ignorant about long term stability and predictability of these systems and our numerical methods are inadequate. It’s an area of active mathematical research by Wang at MIT among others.

        The Consensus Enforcement Team is out in force trying to find things that are wrong with it. I must say they are unconvincing in their efforts to discredit. As we have come to expect, Ken Rice fails to discuss the specifics for example that Nic Lewis has in his writeup concerning tropical convection, clouds, etc. and also how parameters that cannot be well constrained by data can be used to tune ECS within a broad range.

      • “AOS models are therefore to be judged by their degree of plausibility, not whether they are correct or best. This perspective extends to the component discrete algorithms, parameterizations, and coupling breadth: There are better or worse choices (some seemingly satisfactory for their purpose or others needing repair) but not correct or best ones. The bases for judging are a priori formulation, representing the relevant natural processes and choosing the discrete algorithms, and a posteriori solution behavior.” http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709.full

        I think you are misleading these good people Judy. Plausibility is certainly a problem – but picking one solution from thousands of diverging solutions on the basis of a posteriori solution behavior – and emailing it to the IPCC – crosses over into high mathematical farce.

    • Josh did a great edit job. I just posted on WUWT re the origins of it. Great contribution. Kufos to all– which includes many denizens. THAT is real peer review.

    • Legal review (closing paren added– bottom of pg. 16…

      The 21st century climate model projections do not include:

      • a range of scenarios for volcanic eruptions (the models assume that the volcanic activity will be comparable to the 20th century, which had much lower volcanic activity than the 19th century)

  26. ‘It is to find the essential balance between orthodoxy and heresy, between a total commitment to the status quo and the blind pursuit of new ideas, between being open-minded enough to accept radical new ideas and so open-minded that your brains fall out. Skepticism is about finding that balance.’

    Surely you mean “NOT so open-minded that your brains fall out”?

    • This is Shermer’s direct quote that I cut-and-pasted. There does seem to be a ‘not’ missing, will have to check back to the source. Thanks.

    • Matthew ==> “It is to find the essential balance…between being open-minded enough to accept radical new ideas and so open-minded that your brains fall out”. As an occasional author myself, this reads correctly. It is the balance between the two states of open-mindedness that is being sought.

      Certainly, none of us want to be classified as “so open-minded that your brains fall out” so we must find the balance between that and “eing open-minded enough to accept radical new ideas”.

      Not your English for Young Readers, but correct.

      • hmmm… I see. I can read it both ways now!

        If we adopt the concept of ‘withheld judgement’, as the head post notes, which is common to all skepticism types, our brains won’t fall out. And as also noted, there should be no place for orthodoxy and heresy (cultural positions!) in science, and hence no status quo or balance (a social device!) between these either. Shermer essentially sets up a false dichotomy here, because he’s conflated innate skepticism with scientific skepticism.

      • Kip Hansen: It is the balance between the two states of open-mindedness that is being sought.

        I believe that you are correct. I reread the sentence several times, and each time it now seems that I got lost. Good catch.

  27. Not all creationist stance is ID-based, Don Don, and unless we look at specifics, Kip may have a point. It’d be like burdening you to defend teh Donald’s Swedish blunder just because you helped him save America. When are you replacing teh Sean, BTW?

    The same argument applies to Andy’s point. Not all contrarians show scepticism. OTOH, every contrarian once was Terrible Two. No need for any wordology to understand the roots of it all.

  28. It is interesting that so much thought energy goes into why folk are skeptical of climate science.
    Believing or not is not relevant.
    Science predicts and something happens or does not.
    If a scientist tells me there are radio waves and gives me a box that plays music from Mexico, I’m inclined to believe in radio waves.
    This isn’t hard.

  29. Will Janoschka

    http://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2017/02/Curry-2017.pdf
    Indeed, read the whole thing! In her summary Judith points many things that do affect Earth’s surface temperature. She fails to point out is that there is no physical evidence that atmospheric CO2 levels above 180ppmv affects surface temperature at all. We can all observe the greening that more atmospheric CO2 brings, but this greening is unlikely to result in measurable surface temperature change.
    The CAGW scam is perpetuated on two deliberate falsehoods:
    1) A statistical spatial\temporal aggregate of surface temperature has some physical meaning!
    2) The post normal physics teaching that mass emits EMR flux, proportional to the fourth power of its absolute temperature, but independent of the temperature of surrounding mass.
    Both of these falsehoods are easily dispatched through careful, but not expensive measurement.
    Inquiries welcome!

  30. Pingback: Innate Skepticism | privateclientweb

  31. Andy,

    Your posts never cease to amaze me.

    As a retired 70 yr. old engineer trying to keep up to date on issues that interest me, I simultaneously cringe and exult when I see you posting.

    I cringe because I know that I need to spend a lot of time trying to decipher what you are saying. I exult because I know that I will be rewarded for the effort. This post is no exception.

    I linked to your blog and discovered that your first love appears to be writing science fiction. I hate hate hate science fiction, but my wife has an insatiable appetite for it. I will ask her to read your work and give me feedback.

    Thanks for your interest in climate.

    • Many thanks Mark, you interest is much appreciated. In recent times the day job allows little time for SF writing or indeed blog posts either, but I try to keep both ticking along to some extent. My SF has mainly been at the philosophical end of the spectrum, but I am trying to hammer out some more commercially orientated stuff at my writing group (though sadly – very slowly) Hope your wife enjoys (but if not you can compensate her by saying you’ll complain to the author on her behalf!)

      • Will Janoschka

        Ian W February 21, 2017 at 4:34 pm
        “Even a dry surface if it rises in temperature will increase its heat radiation by the fourth power, a significant negative feedback. It seems that only short wave radiation penetrating into water will actually result in a rise in temperature of the water volume.”

        The whole T^4 thingy is part of the deliberate scam. Only in a narrow waveband, near the peak of the Plank specific intensity curve , now called, ‘spectral radiance’ can be thermal radiance\flux be anywhere close to proportional to T^4. All thermal flux\exitance remains strictly limited by any opposing ‘radiance’ at each and every frequency! For liquid water (ocean) almost no insolation is absorbed at (latitude)\(angle from normal) greater than 55 degrees.

  32. “Hence there’s no need for heresy either,”

    I would argue that there is a need for heresy only from the standpoint of people who view one perspective as heretical. For the argument and people in the “right”, there needs to be people on the outside, the wrong, those who state views that are heretical. Only within this duality can those in the “right” view others as wrong, demonize them, and escape temporarily the scrutiny that eventually arises, and find, they are wanting. The argument then becomes one of outside perspective: whom do you believe? those awaiting alien space ships? The catastrophists want us to believe their view, that the world will become uninhabitable in 90 years, and, they await a coming of the apocalypse, prophesied by model gurus, whose main credence lies in numbers, generated by will-of-the-wisp fantasy exaggerations. Science plays no role in these computations, only echoes of a dying breed of climate warriors, gasping, choking on their own words, eyes strained for a vision of death and destruction, not evident.

    There is no need to worry. Words of alarm are…much exaggerated.

  33. There is an element of thought control in this people. We think in language, our thoughts are in language form.

    So use language, control it and you control thoughts.

    This has been the Cook Lewandowski et al psychological ploy. This is also how the progressive left have made millions of non racist people feel like racists.

  34. Geoff Sherrington

    Andy,
    Thank you for this careful reasoning. I’ll not write much because I’m not a typical informed public, being a retired scientist used to dealing with large numbers of earth science observations.
    1. Apart from the helicobacter story, there is a complete capsule exercise from Edith Efron, a book “The Apocalyptics”. Topic is a theory in the USA starting in the 1970s that there would be an epidemic of cancers from increased production of man-made chemicals. The non-fiction narrative is presented by Efron is exquisite detail, supported by the original quotes of players in most cases. Deep research. The parallels to the global warming scare scenario are so close that I found I understood science skepticism much better after reading her 800 pages.. There is interesting inferential information on scepticism, which was shouted down in much the same way as global warming scepticism.
    2. Skepticism about global warming comes in many forms so I hesitate to generalise and tag people with certain responses. Much of the reading I do on climate scepticism is dead in the water before the authors get going, because they use a model skeptic that is unlike any I have met. Happy to be referred to papers that do match my model skeptic, whose main objections are about poor quality science.
    3. In terms of remediation of the friction of scepticism in science, in recent years I have been stressing the proper, classic use of estimates of uncertainty in data, particularly one-sided bias mechanisms. The concept of confidence limits was always supposed to be as an early, rapid aid to assess the quality of the data and after its main calculations and steps were error propagated. It is this lack of a formal, certified approach to error estimation rampant in climate research that has led to a good deal of scepticism. Experienced people might be saying “They reckon they can measure ocean surface temperatures absolutely to 0.001 C but that is bollocks”. Unless people like this are part of the defined model skeptic, then papers about scepticism will miss the mark.
    Geoff

    • Geoff, in case you haven’t seen it, this paper by Kesten Green assembles a gallery of catastrophes that were predicted but never showed up. It includes eugenics, and a delightfully quaint 19th century scare about the exhaustion of the world’s supply of ship spar timber.

      http://kestencgreen.com/green%26armstrong-agw-analogies.pdf

    • “Experienced people might be saying “They reckon they can measure ocean surface temperatures absolutely to 0.001 C but that is bollocks”. Unless people like this are part of the defined model skeptic, then papers about scepticism will miss the mark.”

      This here is I think one of the big problems when it comes to climate science. If there was an honest assessment of the data and the problems with it and it was clearly stated this is how we are handling this problem then at least it would be build on a more open and honest foundation.

      There are so many other holes in the picture where the same approach should be taken as well.

      • Curious George

        A creative accounting has many uses in climate “science”. Take 1,000 temperature readings, take an average, and you have a precision of 0.001 C. Never mind that each reading is only accurate to 0.5 C.

  35. … testing for a dividing line between ‘denial’ and skepticism …

    What we really need is a dividing line between gullibility and acceptance, two closely related conditions.

    My guess is CAGW gullibles are the far greater majority.

  36. Andy, There is another view here that is more philosophical. It is expressed in Bertrand Russells History of Western Philosophy. Basically, Russell argues that starting with Rousseau and the romantics, the devaluation of reason and the elevation of feelings led to the disasters of the 20th Century, Fascism and Communism. It is impossible to be truly skeptical if you don’t recognize a concept of reality and truth independent of human ‘feelings.” There is a case to be made that this is really what is behind our current political divisions. Even though, this is an over generalization, conservatism tends to elevate reason and argumentation, while Leftist ideology elevates feelings and “safe spaces” which simply shut down argumentation.

    • Andy –

      =={ … conservatism tends to elevate reason and argumentation, while Leftist ideology elevates feelings and “safe spaces” which simply shut down argumentation. }==

      There you go. Another subject for you RCT I suggested above. Of course, we all know that David’s own political ideology is purely coincidental to his assertion, but even still it wouldn’t hurt to show how the data show that he’s overwhelming correct about his corollary to your ideas about innate skepticism.

      • Let us not forget that David’s “values” are aligned with his innate skepticism so that he can “correctly” identify any “collective deceptions” about the attributes of liberals and conservatives, respectively. Thus, his conclusions are not driven by his own ideological beliefs, but by the manifestation of his innate skepticism with regard to the characteristics of liberals. That doesn’t mean that his degree “innate skepticism” might not vary in application across all domains (as you describe above), only that this is one of those domains where his “innate skepticism” explains his conclusions.

      • J: February 22, 2017 at 3:22 pm

        This is gobbledegook. Considering that per above most of the post ‘went over your head’ and so you substituted your own fictional version, one presumes you are continuing in this fictional tradition. See responses above.

    • One might ask whether any of it is true Joshua. Contextual analysis is just another form of subjective deflection. Oh but I forgot, to evaluate that you would have to read Russell. The sections on the Romantics are the relevant ones.

    • dpy6629:

      I would argue that disasters, cultural and physical, are not unique to the twentieth century and in fact form an endless sequence throughout history, fortunately offset by still more success, for a net gain. Hence any common mechanisms relating to the cultural disaster side, if such exist, should be sought in roots far older than twentieth century romanticism or whatever. And while particular social / philosophical movements no doubt can form proximate influence, to lay the ills of the twentieth century at this door is imo very excessively OTT.

      Innate skepticism stems from deep evolutionary roots, and is not a product of any of the very many ideologies humans have had (most are forgotten). Isk is modulated by ideology, but no more or less overall by left or right (or religion, or whatever other culture or ideology). While scientific skepticism is a product of reason that struggles to keep clear of cultural beliefs and ISk, likewise it does not in the long-term accrue more to either the left or to the right (notwithstanding it may in some eras tilt a tiny bit one way, and at others a tiny bit the other, depending upon who happens to be in the ascendant or whose party is in confusion for a while, etc, at the time, but this is pretty much in the noise).

      • My comment above about not continuing with extended give an take not withstanding…two questions (where I am quoting you):

        =={ likewise it does not in the long-term accrue more to either the left or to the right }==

        Does it accrue more or less to those who are more or less concerned, respectively, about the risk from ACO2 emissions? And if so, then what scientific method do you use to tease out a moderating or mediating effect of the ideological associations with views on the risks posed by ACO2 emissions? Can you point to a study that collects and analyzes data to establish the explanatory causal mechanisms?

        =={ (notwithstanding it may in some eras tilt a tiny bit one way, and at others a tiny bit the other, depending upon who happens to be in the ascendant }==

        So has there been some shift in the manifestation of “innate” and “scientific” skepticism since the recent U.S. election or Brexit? If not, I’m guessing we can expect on soon. How long do you suppose it will take?

      • J:
        Considering your misrepresentation above, no more answers for you until you tell me upon your honor that you have read the whole post. If you do, this will much better inform you for the answers that will then be forthcoming.

    • Andy, You may be right that skepticism has evolutionary roots. However, it does seem to me that rationality has always hung on by a thread in human society. In the modern world, we tend to downplay ideologies and their importance and like to focus on biology, economics, or sociology as explanations. Russell does I think make a case that rationality itself had its heyday in the Enlightenment and has been on the ropes since Rousseau. Rousseau was I believe pre French revolution by the way. He even says he prefers the Church fathers to Rousseau because they at least valued the contribution that reason could make to faith.

      It will amply reward your time to read Russell’s sections on Rousseau and Romanticism as they are elegant and politically incorrect and so far as I know deeply scholarly.

      • And I would certainly agree that rationality has always struggled against cultural forces, and still does. And that indeed we downplay cultural / ideological explanations. Ironically though, we still need culture, as quite apart from the fact that we do not know enough to be able to steer society on objective acquired knowledge alone, imagine getting 350 million folks to agree on every part of that steerage by purely rational convincing of each and every one, and integrating / iterating all the responses. Part of culture’s job is to achieve common action without having to do all that, which it does very efficiently and indeed in the face of the unknown. Unfortunately, there are significant downsides from the emergent fictions via which it operates. However, I guess I’m optimistic at heart so I’d say we’re progressing in a two steps forward, one step back, kind of way. The schools thing you mention may indeed be a step back, but in 1930s Europe for instance I guess similar or worse influence levels were imposed by the right and with their (different kind of) irrationality.

    • Yes Andy, I basically agree that the left and right historically have had no obvious and distinctive association with rationality or skepticism. However, in the last 20 years, I would argue that the left fringes have become deeply irrational and deeply embedded in our Universities and schools. in my view ideological intolerance has definitely shifted to the left. I’ve seen its influence on my nieces who are privileged by any standard but also emotional in their embrace of the white privilidge doctrine. So far they haven’t volunteered to donate their wealth however indicating a lack of real depth to their convictions. And that’s virtually always the case. Those who really selflessly help other people generally don’t do virtue signaling about it or cloak it in ideologies of oppression and resentment.

  37. Joshua got me thinking – and that’s something you don’t hear every day. Progressives have their agenda – of which we are immensely sceptical. I won’t call them liberals – it’s a travesty. A usurpation and trashing of the principles on which the US was founded – and of our common western heritage. It is not theirs and they can’t have it. Progressives assume an intellectual and moral superiority while indulging in schoolyard mockery. This is not a schoolyard – no one cares to indulge childish antics. Underlying it all are ambitions by people like Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, to re-engineer economies and society. They have failed – at COP21 the world definitively went down a high energy and high growth path – progressive cant notwithstanding. Climate is just one subject on which there is a complete disconnect from reality.

    “Snowstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes have been around since the beginning of time, but now they want us to accept that all of it is the result of climate change,” Perdue… wrote in a 2014 National Review column. “It’s become a running joke among the public, and (progressives) have lost all credibility when it comes to climate science because their arguments have become so ridiculous and so obviously disconnected from reality.”

    Perdue is right without a doubt. Reconstruction of Holocene climate shows that the 20th century was remarkably balmy for the US in particular. Warm, less stormy, good rainfall. If only half of last century’s warming was natural – that energy will be lost this century. Ideas – new this century – of top down modulation of climate by UV/ozone interactions adds a new dimension to climate science. The details of the future evolution of climate are absolutely uncertain- but the science is as certain as it can be. All that remains is prediction. The next climate shift – due in a 2018 to 2028 window – will be to cooler, stormier and drier conditions in the continental US. America – like the rest of the world – needs to be prepared for anything to come with a secure economy and a resilient agriculture.

    To make America great again requires great technical innovation. There will be a transition to 21st century energy within decades. In my opinion the most likely technology is high-temperature, fast-neutron, modular nuclear engines. There are some 50 designs under development globally. Several of these will be cost competitive – due to high fuel utilisation, heat conversion efficiency, small modular design and factory fabrication. The leading contender, in my opinion, is the General Atomics modified version of its gas turbine modular helium reactor (GT-MHR) as a fast neutron reactor – the Energy Multiplier Module (EM2). Modern materials science and nuclear fuel cycles brings decades old nuclear technology into the 21st century. The new designs are cheap, safe, reduce enormously both the volume and half-life of waste and considerably reduce the potential for weapons proliferation.

    A great America requires a great agriculture with increased productivity through science and technology. Precision agriculture to reduce input costs and reduce environmental impacts, conservation and restoration of soils to build productivity, hold more water, reduce soil erosion and mitigate downstream flooding and modified grazing systems that mimic natural patterns and rebuild soil organic content that was lost under 20th century practices. This is the way the world is rapidly moving – and America led the way from the 1930’s on. The rewilding of the Earth has commenced. There are inspiring projects underway such as reintroducing bison to large areas of the Great Plains. Here is an astonishing example of trophic cascade.

    The irony of it all is that agriculture and the wilds are the only opportunities to make substantial inroads into the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

    As an environmental scientist (come sanitary engineer) I tend to cross boundaries of science, technology, economics and society. For decades I thought I was a great dilettante. Now I may have some little depth in specific topics. The point is that environmental science shows that it is necessary to find cross-disciplinary synergy to address wicked problems of the environment and society. Progressives show little inclination or capacity for this. Instead, they mock and jeer any perceived divergence from a narrow narrative and chatter endlessly about far too simplistic a solution – the latter I suspect has ulterior motives. A solution, moreover, that has never shown any sign of succeeding even in their limited objectives. At the same time – it has proved to be a tragic diversion from the great tasks of humanity this century. To build prosperous and resilient communities in vibrant landscapes – and Trump may just be the man for this time.

  38. I will not claim to understand all the concept laid out here, but I will offer what I believe is a “tell” that someone is making an argument in bad faith. That is when an assertion or argument I have made is mischaracterized repeatedly by the person trying to refute it. It is perfectly acceptable to misunderstand someone’s point – I do it all the time. But when I see someone repeatedly refuse to accurately reflect my argument, I can only conclude they are doing so as a way to avoid addressing it head on. The only alternative is that they are not capable of understanding my argument, in which case I am wasting my time anyway.

  39. Thanks God,

    We can see that, just as has been predicted here at CE, the Trump administration is doing a good job of excising politics from climate and energy-related policy:

    Emails reveal Pruitt’s behind-the-scenes collaboration with oil and natural gas giant

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/22/politics/scott-pruitt-epa-oklahoma/index.html

    • Yep. One of the many reasons Trump was elected was to DRILL, BABY, DRILL!!

      It’s a good thing and your are right to be thankful.

    • The key problem with top-down command and control style environmental regulation is that it fails. A new approach is needed – but it is one that is anathema to the left who view farmers and business with entrenched enmity. Dismantling a regulatory superstructure that add costs and restrictions at every step – with little to no environmental gain – is a necessary first step. For both economic and environmental reasons. Trump has of course not proven himself yet – but Clinton has. As a mostly disinterested observer – a little hope is better than a certainty of a slow-motion train wreck.

      Meanwhile, the Sierra Club and WWF America lobbies against energy development in Africa, an American foundation with ties to Hilary Clinton funds serial, frivolous legal actions against an Indian power company in Australian courts and the World Bank is in a ‘race against time to stop construction of new coal-fired power plants across the globe’. Oil companies can’t be trusted, of course, because they make a profit.

      “Today, India finds itself going through a phase of rapid ascent in economic empowerment. Industries are evolving at a significantly higher rate since liberalization. Our focus for this decade will be on the development of key infrastructure and the uplifting of the 600,000 villages where 750 million people live, as vibrant engines of the economy. In 2008, we crossed the trillion-dollar mark, and it took more than six decades for us to reach that milestone. However, it is predicted that the Indian economy will double again, to reach the $2-trillion mark by 2016, and then again redouble, to reach the $4 trillion milestone by 2025. All this economic growth will need massive energy. It is predicted that the total electricity demand will grow from the current 150,000 MW to at least over 950,000 MW by the year 2030 — which will still be less than one-fourth of the current U.S. per capita energy need. In fact, by 2050, in all likelihood the demand could go even higher, and the per capita energy demand would be equal to the current French or Russian figure of about 6000 W per capita.” Next Big Future

      A transition to 21st century energy will occur within decades – but development won’t wait for that. In the meantime – by all means excise politics from energy and development.

  40. Crisis? What crisis?

    Science is facing a “reproducibility crisis” where more than two-thirds of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist’s experiments, research suggests.
    This is frustrating clinicians and drug developers who want solid foundations of pre-clinical research to build upon.
    From his lab at the University of Virginia’s Centre for Open Science, immunologist Dr Tim Errington runs The Reproducibility Project, which attempted to repeat the findings reported in five landmark cancer studies.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39054778

  41. The most obvious reason for skepticism is initial trust in handed-down wisdom being trumped by repeated evidence of its limitations.

    As an example, I took up ski-ing aged 16 in 1980 and found information promulgated by the Ski Club of GB that traditional winters saw snow in mid to late November set the base, January would be particularly snowy and stormy and March and April would be increasingly warm and sunny.

    When you know you are ignorant and naive, you trust respected sources because you have nothing else to go on.

    Thing was, from 1982/3 onwards for the rest of the 1980s and some of the 1990s, data disagreed. Early snow was limited, Januaries were often cold and sunny and March and April often saw heavy precipitation down to valley levels. To put it mildly, basing your holiday choices on traditional advice saw you skiing on stony icy pistes at Christmas and in Janusry (when powder was supposed to abound), whereas spring holidays were less for sun lovers and more for early risers seeking the short windows of light powder before the spring sun mushed it.

    So after five or so years of advice being wrong, you become a skeptic and start doing your own research. My best powder in the 1980s was in Kitzbuehel, Tignes and Verbier in mid to late March, then in 1990, powder down to resort level continued until late April after a washout first half pre 10th February.

    No being a climatologist, I simply started framing my own hypotheses as to when and where I thought it would snow and booked holidays accordingly. Powder was abundant for seven years. I was not looking at mechanism, I was focussing on experience.

    Things started reverting a bit in the new Millennium and the concepts of the AMO, the PDO, Gleissberg cycles etc came into my lexicon. A greater understanding starts to emerge of the effects of La Nina and el Nino in different ski geographies.

    But my skeptical interest in climate started from skiing on stony pistes when the powers that be said lots of snow should have made that unlikely.

    You do not need science to produce skepticism. You just need evidence conflicting repeatedly with traditional mores.

  42. Geoff Sherrington

    Scepticism in the general public is almost absent.
    A continuous barrage of advertising for many decades has number the senses so that people will believe almost anything they are told.
    Where science is involved, there are a few people like bloggers here who examine the advertising claims. Most others are fooled by common assertions like “Independent tests show this product to be effective up to 80% of the time.” How many times a day do you hear that?
    We hear it regarding many products, a few being alternative medicines, seaweed extracts to enhance plant growth, organic gardening, anti- oxidants in food, healthy diets, poisoning by trace elements, nuclear radiation fears, chemophobia in general, cholesterol, many others culminating in the bigvone, religion.
    We allow ourselves to be fooled on a grand scaleby concepts and products that fail even the simplest of scientific tests. Like “Life after death” which is a wicked problem, some are hard to test, as is the reality of global warming.
    In the presence of such a large public acceptance of multiple dubious claims, I wonder if this noise makes it impossible to split out categories of scepticism. Is the signal lost in the noise?
    Geoff

    • Hi Geoff. I have to disagree. Far from being lost in the noise or almost absent, general skepticism in the public is a huge signal that couldn’t possibly be missed in many domains (perhaps all domains in which it is actually measured).

      For instance after many years of heavy promotion of calamitous climate orthodoxy from world leaders (see footnote 2a for some snippets), governments, NGOs and businesses, local councils and celebrities and so on, climate skepticism remains stubbornly high. Whether one believes in the orthodoxy or not, one has to acknowledge this (for instance Kahan, who does, acknowledges that about half the US is skeptical). In other countries, e.g. the UK, there are less academic and public surveys from which to make a bulk combined assessment, but the situation seems similar despite the fact that all the main UK political parties support climate orthodox policies and have done so for a long time. I’d say that it’s hard to view this as anything other than very tenacious and widespread skepticism of the authority position on this topic. Considering too that all the main UK political parties also opposed Brexit, and campaigned with a big majority of the authorities on economics and trade and such behind them, then the final vote demonstrated that there was clearly, once again, widespread and strongly felt skepticism in the public about what all these authorities were telling them. Again, whether one is a Remainer or not, this skepticism had to be acknowledged, which many ex-remainers have done even if some have not.

      This story is similar in many domains. Clearly skepticism of religion (and hence related concepts) is much higher in the West in modern times. To the extent that atheism is a majority thing in many countries (e.g. the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Sweden, Australia, especially China, and others). And even in a majority religious country like the US, skepticsm of Creationism runs at about 55% for instance. Over half the population is not a signal lost in the noise. And indeed skepticism of every religion has always existed, though from the footprint it leaves behind this can be hard to quantitavely assess from long ago. Yet there’s enough data to say it was not a rarity and indeed is built with the religions it opposes into societal traditions (all noted in the post plus references). The fact that we can still detect such skepticism thousands of years after the cultural authority it opposed has died out, certainly emphasizes that the signal is not lost in the noise even now, let alone at the time, and hence it was likely robust.

      As to brands of public skepticism, as noted in the post the vast majority of the public are not philosophers or theologians or scientists or political analysts, so for the big socially contentious issues like above and others there is only one skepticism they rely on, which is that their instincts granted them via the arms race of deceit and detection, i.e. innate skepticism. However as ISk is modulated by cultural alignment, we are always going to see a varied topography of warring cultural beliefs and ISk, into which science issues are entangled per the list in the main post.

      I’m not sure that the same principles as above can be applied to the more mundane area of product advertising. However some years back as part of training on marketing I had some insights into advertising, and was very surprised at how low response rates were. Though I’m working from memory and I’m afraid you’d have to verify, even direct TV or targeted Internet advertising (considered the most useful), was about in the 1 to 2% bracket as far as I recall. And mailshots / magazines / radio / etc etc ranged from sub 0.05% to breaking 1% maybe at best. On top of that if there was a number to call or whatever, by no means would all responders end up buying product (I don’t recall the fraction), and there didn’t seem to be an assumption from promoters that literal belief in the message would get through to most of the target segment. It was more a case of trying to form a subconscious general association, and by much repetition simply getting the brand name drilled in, with hopefully some of that association still attached. The fact that there is saturation coverage on TV of product brands and their ‘science’ or other backing, is not a sign of their strength, but a sign of their limited ability to make a dint on human skepticism without saturation coverage. However, as mentioned in the footnotes to this post, attempted constant leveraging of the authority of science for highly dubious product claims, will in the long run erode that authority.

  43. This is OT for this post, but certainly fits in the ETC. This is an interesting and unexpected consequence of electric vehicles manufacture. Of course, Tesla is also selling batteries for other purposes. From the article:

    Suppliers to Tesla and different electrical carmakers are scrambling to safe shipments of the important thing battery materials cobalt after a gaggle of hedge funds amassed a big stockpile of the scarce steel.

    In a daring wager on larger costs, half a dozen funds, together with Swiss-based Pala Investments and China’s Shanghai Chaos, have bought and saved an estimated 6,000 tonnes of cobalt, value as a lot as $280m, based on the traders, merchants and analysts.

    http://newsonahand.com/electric-carmakers-on-battery-alert-after-funds-stockpile-cobalt/

  44. whew! I must try to remember that. My short version; “You cannot be a real scientist without being a skeptic.”
    I seems on most questions the uninformed public forms up on both sides of any question whatsoever about 50-50 .

    • Ronald Chappell: ‘“You cannot be a real scientist without being a skeptic.”

      Indeed nice and easy to remember. It probably won’t stretch the memory cells too far to add “scientific skepticism is very different to innate skepticism”, or indeed use it instead (less words!) This will actually help communicate what being a scientist is about, compared to what the skepticism of everyone else on the planet is about.

  45. This was linked from Judith’s Twitter. Roughly on topic.
    It looks like Tucker Carlson got taken to the cleaners by Bill Nye in this one.

    • Well no – the key question is unanswerable by Bill Nye. How much 20th century warming was quite natural? Available data suggests most of it through a very specific terrestrial amplifier of solar variability.

      But we will find out in the next global climate shift – due in a 2018-2028 window.

      Missed it? I’m not surprised.

      • The imbalance suggests that all the warming we have had has not been enough to catch up to the forcing, which is itself anthropogenically dominated. Therefore the effect is >100% with more in the pipeline even if emissions stop now, as they have been saying since the beginning.

      • The climate seems clearly driven by a top down solar mechanism involving UV/ozone interactions causing changing sea level pressure at the poles. Low solar activity pushes wind and storms into lower latitudes. In the Atlantic this modulates AMOC – and decfadal to millennial changes in upwelling in the Pacific. The latter changes the Earths energy budget.

        Cloud changes caused by high Pacific surface temperatures late last century seem – as I have shown you before – seem the better part of warming in both ERBS and ISCCP records.

        There are 20 to 30 year regimes evident over a thousand years at least that are changes in the mean and variance of these systems that over time add up to millennial modulation of temperature, hydrology and biology. The next climate shift is due sometime between 2018 to 2028. To cooler conditions given the cooling Sun.

        The planet is constantly hearing and cooling from other sources – there is really no room for thermal inertia of any significance when the planet is cooling down quite frequently. The most precise and comprehensive shows little to no for an additional energy imbalance at toa to that of natural variability. Parsimony rules.

      • Robert:

        “The climate seems clearly driven by a top down solar mechanism involving UV/ozone interactions causing changing sea level pressure at the poles. Low solar activity pushes wind and storms into lower latitudes. In the Atlantic this modulates AMOC – and decfadal to millennial changes in upwelling in the Pacific. The latter changes the Earths energy budget.”

        No, not “driven”.
        Rather “influenced”.

        There are no stratospherically driven SL pressure changes in the Arctic Summer, due to there being no PV in the summer, in fact the flow there reverses to an easterly (warmer arctic strat vs cooler equ due 24hr daylight).
        There is an effect of a Stratospheric feed-back in winter whereby weaker UV levels during low solar cause less warming of the Strat in low latitudes and thereby weaken the Strat deltaT, and giving a nudge to displacement/disruption of the PV. Downwelling easterly winds then initiating a -ve AO.
        However there are other influences involved and despite this winter displaying a weak PV, it did not couple with the troposphere, and the meridional patterns were tropospherically driven.

        Also:
        “Global insolation changes are very minor.
        What changes is the potential for ice sheet feedbacks at high latitudes. There may have been albedo feedbacks in the Holocene but it is not something on which there is fine scaled data.”

        Dont you think that this graph gives us a fair stab at knowing the strength of the albedo feed-backs at high latitudes?

        That is ~45 W/m2 more being available at 65N than at present
        IE: very little chance of any Eurasian snowfield persisting during the HCO, and rapid melting of residual ones before the HCO.

        Apart from albedo the extra 45 W/m2 over high latitude (ice/snow free) landmass in summer would have a considerable effect in warming the climate .

      • “A number of studies have indicated that the decreases in global mean temperature associated with a future decline in solar activity are likely to be relatively small3,4,5,6,7. However, variability in ultraviolet solar irradiance has been linked to changes in surface pressure that resemble the Arctic and North Atlantic Oscillations (AO/NAO)8,9,10 and studies of both the 11-year solar cycle11,12 and centennial timescales13 suggest the potential for larger regional effects. The mechanism for these changes is via a stratospheric pathway, a so-called ‘top-down’ mechanism, and involves altered heating of the stratosphere by solar ultraviolet irradiance.” http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms8535

        So the suggestion – quite broadly addressed in actual literature – is that solar UV modulates both the southern and northern annular modes driving both AMOC and surface wind in the Pacific. The latter driving Pacific upwelling.

        As for 65N insolation – it is irrelevant – not part of this mechanism and likely not relevant to Holocene changes in temperature.

      • Thank you Robert.
        That Nature paper is just exactly what I said, or at least what I meant to to convey.

        As for:
        “As for 65N insolation – it is irrelevant – not part of this mechanism and likely not relevant to Holocene changes in temperature.”

        I strongly disagree – it is highly relevant re the NH HCO, via albedo and sensible/LH considerations alone – never mind the speculative nature of a link between the a UV affected AMOC. BTW a similar effect has (AFAIK) not been been observed for the SH. Even tropospheric wave induced SSW’s are rare. The Strat PV is far to strong there.

        Also the effect of an induced -AO has been correlated to more open Kara and Laptev Seas.
        This because of greater moisture being present in the late Autumn and giving rise to a quicker/greater westward advance of the Eurasian snowfield. In turn leading to the formation of an early and more intense Siberian High. This induces a hemispheric pattern response and upwelling waves into the Strat. In turn disrupting the PV. So yes there are UV responses but they are not dominant through a length solar min such as a Grand minima. The LIA, apart from having several volcanic aerosol events, did have a low solar effect both via reduced TSI and also regionally (Europe and the E Continental US). Conversely how much less cold was the Arctic at this time?
        As what goes up must come down, so meteorologically, what comes south will cause some to go north, so averaging out hemispheric ave temp.

        Anyway interesting topic, though I must note that *evidence* only lies in the minds of models ATM.
        This paper: http://www.earth-syst-dynam.net/7/877/2016/esd-7-877-2016.pdf

        Says….
        “Abstract. The influence of reduced solar forcing (grand solar minimum or geoengineering scenarios like solar radiation management) on the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is assessed in an ensemble of atmosphere–ocean–chemistry–climate model simulations. Ensemble sensitivity simulations are performed with and without interactive chemistry. In both experiments the AMOC is intensified in the course of the solar radiation reduction, which is attributed to the thermal effect of the solar forcing: reduced sea surface temperatures and enhanced sea ice formation increase the density of the upper ocean in the North Atlantic and intensify the deepwater formation. Furthermore, a second, dynamical effect on the AMOC is identified driven by the stratospheric cooling in response to the reduced solar forcing. The cooling is strongest in the tropics and leads to a weakening of the northern polar vortex. By stratosphere–troposphere interactions, the stratospheric circulation anomalies induce a negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation in the troposphere which is found to weaken the AMOC through wind stress and heat flux anomalies in the North Atlantic. The dynamic mechanism is present in both ensemble experiments. In the experiment with interactive chemistry, however, it is strongly amplified by stratospheric ozone changes. In the coupled system, both effects counteract and weaken the response of the AMOC to the solar forcing reduction. Neglecting chemistry–climate interactions in model simulations may therefore lead to an overestimation of the AMOC response to solar forcing.

    • It’s amazing how people can watch the same video and come to completely different conclusions.
      Bill Nye….
      Condescending….check
      Continued use of staw men…check
      Appeal to authority…….check
      No proof of cause and effect….check
      Most importantly… unwillingness or inability to answer the central question Tucker asked….over and over again….check

    • He answered the question. With no manmade climate, it would be like 1750. Carlson kept saying he had not answered even after he did, and did again after even repeating the question back to Carlson. How do you argue with someone who doesn’t even hear the answer to proceed to the next question? It was hopeless. I don’t always agree with how Bill Nye phrases the consensus, but in this case he stuck with the most straightforward argument.

      • The temperature trend for the last 7000 years was downwards, consistent with the Milankovitch cycles, which have been the main driver until recently. The upward trend in the last 200 years has now reached twenty times that downward trend. I think you know this.

      • BOM just upped the odds of a 2017 El Niño to 50%.

      • This is an ENSO proxy from a Law Dome ice core.

        More salt is La Nina – and more rainfall in Australia.

        Compare that to the 1000 year cosmic ray intensity above. I suppose it could be wrong but the evidence is growing.

        The Sun is cooling leading to more negative SAM and NAM driving strom fronts into lower latitudes, a decline in AMOC and a cooler Pacific. The next shift is due soon as I said.

      • Looks like cosmic rays are the wrong sign for the Holocene Optimum, but I guess that a sign error won’t stop you.

      • Of course it could be that cosmic ray intensity is high with low solar activity. Didn’t even slow me down.

      • This doesn’t look like you’re trying very hard to make facts fit. Just throwing stuff up and hoping it sticks. Not good.

      • Apart from cosmic ray intensity – which bit is giving you trouble Jim?

      • 7000 years ago was warm. At what point did cosmic rays take over from Milankovitch in your mind? You’re not even trying to understand this, are you?

      • Global insolation changes are very minor.

        What changes is the potential for ice sheet feedbacks at high latitudes. There may have been albedo feedbacks in the Holocene but it is not something on which there is fine scaled data.

        It is moreover – not relevant to the next climate shift. Short term albedo changes are mostly cloud and negatively correlated to sea surface temperature.

        You missed that one didn’t you?

      • Indeed it is not relevant for the next and current climate change which is driven by several W/m2 of changing GHG concentrations. This is comparable with some of the largest paleoclimate changes that took millions of years to happen, but you don’t expect this to have as much effect this time for some reason possibly related to cosmic rays. Interesting.

      • February 2017, you may remember it as last month, had low solar and very ENSO neutral… and was the 2nd warmest February in the instrument record. The climate shifted to a cool phase in 1983. Some call it a stadium wave. It masked anthropogenic warming for 30 years… until 2013.

        And now it is unmasked:

        In short, if CM3’s internal variability is realistic, there is some chance that a rapid underlying warming rate of 0.2 K decade−1 could be ongoing as of 2015, but that this warming signal has been substantially masked (and may continue to be masked for even another decade or more) by an internal variability cooling episode.

        Nobody gets it all right. The cooling episode he mentions ended in 2013. The Eastern Pacific has shifted to a warming regime. One clue, the recent La Niña, which was supposed to clobber warming like the lengthy 98-01 did, ended up being the Twiggy La Niña… anorexic.

      • Nye said it would be like 1750:

        In the NH, about the coldest time period of the last 2000 years. It would have been colder. Seems that he thinks the GMST should not vary when the NCDC plot suggests it does vary.

      • Yes, it could have been very slightly colder. The multi-millennial trend was downwards, but at less than 0.1 C per thousand years, so saying it would be like 1750 is not far off from that extrapolation.

      • “What happened in the years 1976/77 and 1998/99 in the Pacific was so unusual that scientists spoke of abrupt climate changes. They referred to a sudden warming of the tropical Pacific in the mid-1970s and rapid cooling in the late 1990s. Both events turned the world’s climate topsy-turvy and are clearly reflected in the average temperature of the Earth. Today we know that the cause is the interaction between ocean and atmosphere.” http://www.geomar.de/en/news/article/klimavorhersagen-ueber-mehrere-jahre-moeglich/

        The next ‘event’ is due in a 2018-2028 windows. Which is what JCH’s reference said in fact – before he reinterpreted the world in the light of his own peculiar monomania.

      • Indeed it is not relevant for the next and current climate change which is driven by several W/m2 of changing GHG concentrations. This is comparable with some of the largest paleoclimate changes that took millions of years to happen, but you don’t expect this to have as much effect this time for some reason possibly related to cosmic rays. Interesting.

        Your nonsense is breathtaking. Insolation changes from orbital eccentricities in the Holocene is responsible for SFA. Even if it were possible for greenhouse gases to increase that much – it pales in comparison to albedo changes. Cosmic ray intensity reconstructed from cosmogenic isotopes is a proxy for solar activity in the search for a terrestrial amplifier. Simple? Or have you missed it yet again?

      • Your sign is wrong for the Holocene Optimum, and your theory goes to pot because of just that. You’re trying very hard to fit a square peg into a round hole. Next you’ll say that GHGs had nothing to do with the Permian-Triassic warming or the Eocene warming and cooling even as GHGs varied with them, and as geological processes explain the timing of those GHG changes. You have to first throw away the whole of paleoclimate to get your unsupportable theory to have any effect at all. Your fallacy is argument from ignorance.

    • Jim D: ‘Roughly on topic’

      Hmmm. Very rough, and not at all on topic for yet another ping-pong of physical climate measurements / theories. However…

      If I attempt to put myself in the position of a robot from Mars who doesn’t know anything about the climate change debate except that it seems important to humans, I don’t believe I could conclude that anyone was ‘taken to the cleaners’ in this exchange (assuming a robot from Mars knows what that expression means :) I think I’d have to conclude that both participants were framing the issue in different ways and so there wasn’t a meeting of minds, nor any change of the needle by either one on the attitudes of the other, nor likely much to help inform locals who were just as mystified by the debate as I was.

      If however I move nearer to Earth and allow my domain knowledge more freedom to assist, which of course risks bias because all knowledge about a conflicted domain comes with potential and in fact (on aggregate) likely biases from both sides, my opinion is different. Although in the end Nye provided an answer, it seemed weak and partial. Physical climate is not my bag, but both the Grapes and Pests points surely rely upon regional outcomes for a different global scenario which (if I recall IPCC correctly) is not currently knowable. And further the Pests example relies on separating out the variable nature of population dynamics for pests too. Plus Nye seemed to say that all the climate change (so one presumes, surface temperature rise) since 1750 is anthropogenic in nature, whereas the orthodox consensus position expressed with confidence is that ‘more than half’ is anthropogenic, is it not? So in this sense Carlson didn’t get an answer from the Science Guy that reflected the consensus, whether or not that consensus is right. Plus diverting to anecdotal bad outcomes attempts to answer a different question, albeit one Carlson could maybe have asked. These downside outcomes were presumably expressed as an implied early start to more calamitous scenarios, yet neglects potential good outcomes for other regions, or even the same regions regarding other issues (or indeed more globally, regarding CO2 fertilization). Hence this raises the question of *net* good or *net* bad, which was not addressed (not to mention that some folks would consider the loss of the UK wine industry a good thing on its own ;)

      My own view of the climate domain doesn’t stem from the consideration of climate science or climate data, hence I’d not place any weight on my above speculative near Earth opinion anyhow. Too much at risk from all the biases flying about on both sides. Yet I notice in recent times that public questioning of the consensus is getting more canny. The core narrative of the socially enforced consensus on CC is the certainty of near term (decades) calamity. The questioning is getting more general in nature, so probing nearer to this core by avoiding the vast labyrinth of detail that surrounds it, and in which previous questioning has gotten lost or bogged down in minutia. The questions now are more akin to Carlson’s, i.e. how much is anthropogenic and how much natural, and what’s our confidence in that? Up next will be the last step, what is the *net* effect on humans (and other life) within those decades, and what is our confidence in that? While such questions have been asked behind the scenes for a long while now, they are still emerging in the eye of the public (in part thanks to Judith and others who have stressed the need to realistically consider uncertainties and to get a grip on natural variability). If we consider the IPCC technical papers as the gold standard of science (and certainly the IPCC cannot be considered as skeptic biased), then it would appear that science can’t answer these questions to the extent of demonstrating that calamity is certain. Hence the gap between the narrative the public has been fed by its leaders and governments for years (see footnote 2a), and the reality, will get more and more exposed.

      • Common misperception. The midpoint is 100%, but the tail extends to 50%. 95+% of the area is to the right of 50% and 50% of the area is to the right of 100%. He is expressing the median scientific view which is 100%, slightly more if you just take GHGs and exclude aerosols.

      • Although it has failed to produce its intended impact nevertheless the Kyoto
        Protocol has performed an important role. That role has been allegorical. Kyoto has permitted different groups to tell different stories about themselves to themselves and to others, often in superficially scientific language. But, as we are increasingly coming to understand, it is often not questions about science that are at stake in these discussions. The culturally potent idiom of the dispassionate scientific narrative is being employed to fight culture wars over competing social and ethical values.49 Nor is that to be seen as a defect. Of course choices between competing values are not made by relying upon scientific knowledge alone. What is wrong is to pretend that they are.’ http://www.lse.ac.uk/researchAndExpertise/units/mackinder/pdf/mackinder_Wrong%20Trousers.pdf

        I will give you a clue about how to distinguish informed discussion from narratives superficially in the objective idiom of science. The latter is data free and relies only on spurious physical reasoning.

        In experimental philosophy, propositions gathered from phenomena by induction should be considered either exactly or very nearly true notwithstanding any contrary hypotheses, until yet other phenomena make such propositions either more exact or liable to exceptions.

        This rule should be followed so that arguments based on induction be not be nullified by hypotheses. Newton’s 4th Rule for Natural Philosophy

        Your topic was dead and buried far up the thread and it does little good to complain about ping pong opinions at this late stage. Although I’ll commiserate with feeling that we have forgotten the point and have gone off discovering – some of us at any rate – new and more interesting things.

        My original quite obvious statement was that Bill Nye failed to answer the natural component question. Then they try to sink the purity of science in bad faith climate warrior noise. I always object and that should be relevant to skepticism.

        I note that you reached the same idea. I recognise that it is in the nature of a writer to over elaborate – but suggest that your missive is far too ponderous to be supported by such a flimsy foundation. And you may blather all you like but a 2 degree C warming is where the calamity bar has been set and your canny response is uncertainty and natural variability. Both of which involve undefined arm waving.

        The last assessment report i read was the fourth. The idea there was that warming since 1950 was overwhelmingly anthropogenic. That seems clearly wrong. The IPCC assessments – btw – are a grey literature produced by like minded individuals who – at this stage – have committed far too much professional credibility on a simple climate warming narrative.
        Bill Nye’s claim – on the other hand – is just so much fantasy seemingly invented on the spot.

        To see why the IPCC is incorrect – it might help to go back 15 steps.


        http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8703

        We know this system warmed the atmosphere to 1944, cooled it to 1976, warmed it again to 1998 and warming has at least plateaued since. There are two questions.

        What it does to the energy budget of the planet?

        ” Furthermore, the observed interannual variability of near-global ERBS WFOV Edition3_Rev1 net radiation is found to be remarkably conhas sistent with the latest ocean heat storage record for the overlapping time period of 1993 to 1999. Both datasets show variations of roughly 1.5 W m2 in planetary net heat balance during the 1990s.” http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/JCLI3838.1

        We may delve deeper into the minutiae to observe that cloud in the Pacific is inversely related to sea surface temperature.

        The corollary to this is that more precise, purpose designed instruments deployed this century will tell a more definitive tale.

        Where does it go next?

        Global temperature at all scales has long been seen to be correlated with solar variability, What has been lacking is a terrestrial amplifier to explain large climate changes from small changes in solar forcing.

        The next global climate shift is due in a window of 2018-2028 – and a cooling Sun suggests a decline in AMOC and a cooler Pacific. For me it seems purely a question of natural philosophy – one which has engaged me for decades.

        The so-called science is moot in terms of policy. With COP21 the world definitively chose a high growth, high energy future with an increase in energy emission of 3.7 billion tonnes of CO2/year by 2040. It is most unlikely that any of that will add to atmospheric loads.

        It seems fairly clear that we can sequester 350 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide as 100 billion tonnes of carbon in soils and ecosystems – for reasons unrelated to climate. As well as transition to 21st century energy within decades. Only the lost battalions of climate warriors are still fighting over this hugely irrelevant territory. The world has moved on.

      • Jim D: ‘Common misconception’

        Rather I think just another way in which sides frame the argument, i.e. this is into the territory of ‘probabilistic versus possibilistic’ (briefly touched on in footnote 2 of this post) and Judith’s ‘tall tales and fat tails’ post, plus the follow-up linked below. However, I agree that this interpretation may make Nye’s position closer to orthodoxy, but only if most of the orthodox have that same interpretation (and I don’t know whether this is so – I recall argument against the ‘more than 100%’ framing even from non-skeptics). Either way, as noted above the gap between the core narrative and the reality beneath will become more and more exposed by questions like Carlson’s.

        https://judithcurry.com/2015/03/23/climate-sensitivity-lopping-off-the-fat-tail/

      • Robert:

        Hmmm… somewhat verbose and doesn’t seem particularly relevant to my comment.

        “And you may blather all you like but a 2 degree C warming is where the calamity bar has been set and your canny response is uncertainty and natural variability.”

        This is not my response. I was pointing out that this is increasingly the challenge to the climate consensus that is voiced in public, per Carlson in the video, and that this approach will increasingly help expose the gap between the narrative of certain calamity (whatever its touted threshold du jour, which has changed over the years and may continue to do so) and the reality of what is knowable even in the way that the IPCC defines this knowability (let alone what is knowable when taking approaches to uncertainty such as that of our host here).

      • But I cover such a lot of ground – I would posit rather that every word was required given the extent of your technical misunderstanding. It is simple enough – the IPCC’s best estimate is that warming since 1951 is overwhelmingly anthropogenic and 2 degrees C is where the calamity bar has been set. Which state of the art models show happening within decades. There is always uncertainty but the best climate science is that climate change is very real, poses a danger to communities and environments and is caused by people. If Bill Nye had any real climate smarts he would of wiped the floor with Carlson. It is wrong science for many reasons and I think you will find that Judith argues uncertainty for cause – not just as a talisman to wave around.

        It is also completely irrelevant to the wider world. At COP21 the world committed to a high energy, high growth path – an increase in energy emissions of 3.7 billion tonnes a year of CO2 in 2030. At the same time both the transition to 21st century energy and carbon sequestration in soils and ecosystems became the primary focus.

        It seems fairly clear that we can sequester 350 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide as 100 billion tonnes of carbon in soils and ecosystems – for reasons that have value well beyond global warming. As well as transition to 21st century energy within decades. Only the lost battalions of climate warriors are still fighting over hugely irrelevant pop-sci – uncertain or not in one narrative or the other – territory. The world has moved on.

      • Robert:

        I’m not arguing any climate science. I’m pointing out that the kind of question that Carlson raises is increasingly emerging as a public challenge to the orthodox narrative of calamity. This is the case whatever you think about the efficacy or otherwise of those questions, or whatever is your personal opinion of who ought to have won in the Carlson versus Nye tiff. I never implied that Judith was waving talismans. Questioning of this kind does touch the heart of the issue, i.e. that the *certainty* of near-term calamity (decades) is a cultural truth not based in science, in a way the public can grasp, and whether or not the the physical climate is actually responding to ACO2 in a good, bad, or indifferent manner.

      • I suggested that you were waving talismans rather than Judith. You were arguing that the IPCC claimed that half the warming since 1750 was anthropogenic – and that calamity was a little vague. Neither is true. According to the IPCC – all warming since 1951 is anthropogenic and a 2 degree C calamity is decades away. This is not a matter of science but of accurate reporting.

        It is all cultural narratives as the McKinder report suggested – including yours – and it is far more likely that the public has stopped listening to either side.

        And none of the skeptic narratives – inevitably not science at all – make any inroads into the cultural narrative of global warming. A dad’s army of climate warriors spouting confabulations superficially in the objective idiom of science notwithstanding.

        Either you recognise that another narrative is needed – one not based on questioning the nitty-gritty of climate science with vague arm waving – or you don’t. Either way the real world has moved on.

        Meanwhile – I like science and will continue to read about the things that have interested me for decades. Purely in the spirit of natural philosophy.

      • Robert:

        >>I suggested that you were waving talismans rather than Judith.

        Then you are mistaken. I am pointing out an emerging argument in the public domain, of which the video is a sample.

        >>You were arguing that the IPCC claimed that half the warming since 1750 was anthropogenic

        No. Having clearly set the context with ‘Physical climate is not my bag’, and that any venture into domain knowledge risks domain biases, I nevertheless ventured a domain dependent opinion of the strength or otherwise of Nye’s argument, as a part of which I raised this:

        “Plus Nye seemed to say that all the climate change (so one presumes, surface temperature rise) since 1750 is anthropogenic in nature, whereas the orthodox consensus position expressed with confidence is that ‘more than half’ is anthropogenic, is it not?”

        Trailing as a question because I wasn’t wholly certain that this is so. To which Jim D later countered with the actual IPCC framing, which you then challenged as ‘incoherent nonsense’, while I said that this is one framing among several, but if indeed if it does represent the majority orthodox position then on this point at least Nye was not really off message as I had assumed.

        I also followed up with this sentence in the original comment: “My own view of the climate domain doesn’t stem from the consideration of climate science or climate data, hence I’d not place any weight on my above speculative near Earth opinion anyhow”, to make it clear I was neither advocating nor defending any premise of climate science or data from any side, or relying on these for my own position.

        If you think that the climate debate is dominated by arguments related to cultural values and not science, indeed you seem to imply this, then it seems you’re broadly in agreement with all my posts including this one, none of which advocate or defend any physical climate science or data from any side in the debate. They all challenge directly or indirectly the certainty of calamity, because true to it’s name the climate change consensus is detectable as cultural, i.e. it is a socially enforced consensus, with the certainty of calamity as it’s core narrative.

        My speculation about ‘what is needed’ has been limited. I can’t recall in which post, but somewhere I am on record as noting that another cultural narrative to fight the existing one is probably not a good plan; these things tend not to be controllable. Considering they’re also emergent, it may not be possible to craft one as such anyhow, it won’t grow in the way desired. At the moment skepticism is not a culture in any case, it lacks the most basic requirement, a socially enforced consensus (which for different reasons some on both sides have actually complained about, but this seems like a great thing to me). However as noted in the post climate skepticism has cultures that are weighted to its side, hence cultural narratives too, in the US most notably from Rep / Con culture. But that is hardly a solution and with US Dem / Libs allied to climate culture on the opposite side, this just makes any climate discussion a political one.

        >>Meanwhile – I like science

        Well great, so do I. As it happens this liking led me to a degree in physics, although I don’t for a moment think that this grants me knowledge on climate science. It’s a massively broad field encompassing many disciplines, and appreciation of the IR characteristics of CO2 for instance, does not grant any insight into the big picture. However I think all things can *eventually* be understood by science, including what we are and how we think, on conflicted issues like climate change for instance, or more generically innate skepticism, the topic of this post.

        >>Either you recognise that another narrative is needed – one not based on questioning the nitty-gritty of climate science with vague arm waving – or you don’t. Either way the real world has moved on.

        I neither recognize that or unrecognize that. I reserve judgment. There may be no such narrative available, or an advocated narrative may do more harm than good, e.g. if it picks up too much cultural baggage. Nor even if one recognizes such a need, does this mean that the current questions in the public domain as exampled by the video, are somehow expunged, whether you like them or not (and they are less about the nitty-gritty than previous generations of questions). However, I’m open to all ideas. What is your narrative that will supply ‘what is needed’?

      • “Common misperception. The midpoint is 100%, but the tail extends to 50%. 95+% of the area is to the right of 50% and 50% of the area is to the right of 100%. He is expressing the median scientific view which is 100%, slightly more if you just take GHGs and exclude aerosols.”

        It is an invented explanation. He assumes a normal distribution – and applies numbers to it. It is not test results – it is not skewed flood heights – it is not a random variable. Greenhouse gases can cause up to 100% of warming – leaving aside trivial quibbling – and there is nothing to the right. It can’t cause 125% of warming – or any figure higher than 100%. ‘Extremely likely’ more than 50% is an expert judgement which doesn’t mean much at all.

        The IPCC ‘best estimate’ based on forcings is almost all of the warming from 1951 was anthropogenic. Certainly nothing to do with 1750 either.

        So it is gobblegook. And I can’t be bothered with the rest of your long winded and rambling post hoc rationalizations.

      • Robert:

        >>”post hoc” ??

        The strong caveats were made *at the time*. If you read fast and they didn’t sink in, well fine, but how is your rude approach going to help with a meeting of minds and a productive exchange here. Or encourage the many readers who don’t comment to digest your many threads instead of simply scrolling past?

  46. David Springer

    Sea level indicates it wasn’t that warm 7000 years ago and it’s right on the cusp of earlier rapid sea level rise, a tipping point, during which all external forcing bets are off because the climate system is hopping between two quasi-stable states driven by strong albedo feedback in the transition period.

  47. David Springer

    C’mon how obvious does it have to be, Jimmy D?

    • Exactly. Tell this to Ellison. It is obviously Milankovitch cycles.

      • David Springer

        Jimmy D this negates your attempt at arguing that 7000 years ago has any relevance to climate change caused by cosmic rays as follows.

        You said it was warm 7000 years ago but because cosmic rays were high it should have been cold.

        1) It actually wasn’t warm 7000 years ago.

        2) Warm or cold is irrelevant because it was during a transition between two quasi-stable climate regimes (glacial:interglacial) where all forcings (including Milankovitch and cosmic rays) were made irrelevant by strong positive albedo feedback .

        So pick another line of attack against Ellison’s position because that one fails.

      • 7000-10000 years ago was the Holocene Optimum, a warm period, so I don’t know what you are referring to here. Not only that, but from Milankovitch cycles it was expected to be warmer than now because the precession phase did not favor Arctic sea ice.

  48. Another long thread I get bored navigating.

    Thank you Robert.
    That Nature paper is just exactly what I said, or at least what I meant to to convey.” It is exactly what I said.

    As for:
    “As for 65N insolation – it is irrelevant – not part of this mechanism and likely not relevant to Holocene changes in temperature.”

    I strongly disagree – it is highly relevant re the NH HCO, via albedo and sensible/LH considerations alone – never mind the speculative nature of a link between the a UV affected AMOC.

    Tony assumes that changes in 65N insolation over the Holocene are sufficient to result in ice sheet feedbacks. Much higher above I mentioned the possibility – but again the change in insolation over the Holocene (even at 65N) is very small. Much more interesting is the link between cosmogenic isotope production and ice rafting events.

    BTW a similar effect has (AFAIK) not been been observed for the SH. Even tropospheric wave induced SSW’s are rare. The Strat PV is far to strong there.

    Changes in pressure fields at the South Pole are clearly responsible for changing storm tracks in the Southern Hemisphere. It is the wind driven currents that drive ocean currents – and therefore upwelling in the Pacific. Sudden Stratosperhic Warming (SSW) is clearly irrelevant. BTW it is polite to define your acronyms.

    Also the effect of an induced -AO has been correlated to more open Kara and Laptev Seas.
    This because of greater moisture being present in the late Autumn and giving rise to a quicker/greater westward advance of the Eurasian snowfield. In turn leading to the formation of an early and more intense Siberian High. This induces a hemispheric pattern response and upwelling waves into the Strat. In turn disrupting the PV. So yes there are UV responses but they are not dominant through a length solar min such as a Grand minima. The LIA, apart from having several volcanic aerosol events, did have a low solar effect both via reduced TSI and also regionally (Europe and the E Continental US). Conversely how much less cold was the Arctic at this time?

    As modeled I suppose? These global regime shifts occurred over the Holocene at least.

    As what goes up must come down, so meteorologically, what comes south will cause some to go north, so averaging out hemispheric ave temp.

    The 20-30 year regime shifts result in changes in means and variance in global systems adding up to variability over millennia. It involves changes in the global energy budget – in the short tern as changes in cloud radiative effects.

    Anyway interesting topic, though I must note that *evidence* only lies in the minds of models ATM.
    This paper: …..

    Says….
    “Abstract. The influence of reduced solar forcing (grand solar minimum or geoengineering scenarios like solar radiation management) on the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is assessed in an ensemble of atmosphere–ocean–chemistry–climate model simulations. Ensemble sensitivity simulations are performed with and without interactive chemistry. In both experiments the AMOC is intensified in the course of the solar radiation reduction, which is attributed to the thermal effect of the solar forcing: reduced sea surface temperatures and enhanced sea ice formation increase the density of the upper ocean in the North Atlantic and intensify the deepwater formation. Furthermore, a second, dynamical effect on the AMOC is identified driven by the stratospheric cooling in response to the reduced solar forcing. The cooling is strongest in the tropics and leads to a weakening of the northern polar vortex. By stratosphere–troposphere interactions, the stratospheric circulation anomalies induce a negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation in the troposphere which is found to weaken the AMOC through wind stress and heat flux anomalies in the North Atlantic. The dynamic mechanism is present in both ensemble experiments. In the experiment with interactive chemistry, however, it is strongly amplified by stratospheric ozone changes. In the coupled system, both effects counteract and weaken the response of the AMOC to the solar forcing reduction. Neglecting chemistry–climate interactions in model simulations may therefore lead to an overestimation of the AMOC response to solar forcing.

    I have read this – and models are suddenly not good enough? It suggests that low(high) UV/ozone/ interactions weaken(strengthen) AMOC through wind induced stresses.

    But yes data trumps models.

    Tony’s long spiel is less than half understood information gleamed from the internet in quick google searches. The 10 minute internet expert syndrome. What is relevant he misunderstands and the irrelevant is what it is. In the gaps between are narratives that are data free zones in which words like speculative feature prominently. This is usually the way it works with these people.

    He ignores the pertinent of course. What we are looking for are triggers for global climate shifts. Firstly at the 20 to 30 year scale – and then over millennia. We know that these 20-30 year regimes have added to and countered global warming.

    I have posted this graph many times.

    Christopher Moy and colleagues examined a sediment core from Laguna Pallcacocha in southern Ecuador. More rainfall and runoff In El Niño conditions wash more red sediment into the lake. So we know it was pretty rainy in South America a 1000 years ago. Some 5,000 years ago there was a change from dominant La Niña anomalies to dominant El Niño – that dried the Sahel. Just 3,500 years ago there were a long series of El Niño with red intensity greater than 200 and civilisations fell. For comparison – red intensity in the ‘monster’ 1997/1998 El Niño event was 99. The 20th century saw a 1000 El Nino activity high that was not at the extremes possible – but which caused the planet to warm

    The mid Holocene transition is especially intriguing given the transition in the isotope record. Coincidence or part of the accumulating evidence? It is predictive as I said. The next global climate shift – due in a 2018-2028 window – will be to yet cooler conditions.

  49. That Nature paper is just exactly what I said, or at least what I meant to to convey. TB

    “A number of studies have indicated that the decreases in global mean temperature associated with a future decline in solar activity are likely to be relatively small3,4,5,6,7. However, variability in ultraviolet solar irradiance has been linked to changes in surface pressure that resemble the Arctic and North Atlantic Oscillations (AO/NAO)8,9,10 and studies of both the 11-year solar cycle11,12 and centennial timescales13 suggest the potential for larger regional effects. The mechanism for these changes is via a stratospheric pathway, a so-called ‘top-down’ mechanism, and involves altered heating of the stratosphere by solar ultraviolet irradiance.” http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms8535

    Oddly enough – it is exactly what I did state. Which is why I quoted it. I’m pretty sure that TB said it didn’t happen. It is not a difficult idea – just another example of bad faith from global warming zealots who have invested far too much of their ego into being righteous on climate science. Unfortunately for them – it is so not true.

    There is an alternate name for the AO – the Northern Annular Mode (NAM). There is a similar pattern in the south – the Southern Annulat Mode (SAM). It is the tropospheric expression of the polar vortices. High pressure at the poles pushes wind and storms into lower latitudes. Wind stresses modulate AMOC and Pacific upwelling.

    Consensus science is that it’s the penguins wot dun it.

    • “Oddly enough – it is exactly what I did state. Which is why I quoted it. I’m pretty sure that TB said it didn’t happen.”

      No:
      My OP:
      “There are no stratospherically driven SL pressure changes in the Arctic Summer, due to there being no PV in the summer, in fact the flow there reverses to an easterly (warmer arctic strat vs cooler equ due 24hr daylight).
      There is an effect of a Stratospheric feed-back in winter whereby weaker UV levels during low solar cause less warming of the Strat in low latitudes and thereby weaken the Strat deltaT, and giving a nudge to displacement/disruption of the PV. Downwelling easterly winds then initiating a -ve AO.
      However there are other influences involved and despite this winter displaying a weak PV, it did not couple with the troposphere, and the meridional patterns were tropospherically driven.”

      Is there anything there that “disagrees” with the Nature paper?

      “Tony assumes that changes in 65N insolation over the Holocene are sufficient to result in ice sheet feedbacks. Much higher above I mentioned the possibility – but again the change in insolation over the Holocene (even at 65N) is very small. Much more interesting is the link between cosmogenic isotope production and ice rafting events.”

      No it’s NOT small.
      45 W/m2 is very far from small FFS !
      It’s a 9% variation.

      “Much more interesting is the link between cosmogenic isotope production and ice rafting events.”

      It *might* be “interesting” but it pales in in insignificance along side.

      “Changes in pressure fields at the South Pole are clearly responsible for changing storm tracks in the Southern Hemisphere. It is the wind driven currents that drive ocean currents – and therefore upwelling in the Pacific. Sudden Stratosperhic Warming (SSW) is clearly irrelevant. BTW it is polite to define your acronyms.”

      Err, excuse me – but aren’t we talking of SSW events influenceing the AMOC?
      In which case it is highly relevant.

      Robert you should know what a SSW event is at the heart of your mechanistic AMOC coupling.
      You clearly have not done enough reading.
      Sorry, I was assuming you had.

      “As modeled I suppose? These global regime shifts occurred over the Holocene at least.”

      Yes, but more importantly correlated, as I said.

      “The 20-30 year regime shifts result in changes in means and variance in global systems adding up to variability over millennia. It involves changes in the global energy budget – in the short tern as changes in cloud radiative effects”

      Robert:
      The physics briving meteorology of Earth’s atmosphere have not changed over “millenia”.
      My OP was re a link between low solar and the AMOC.
      Clouds not required – indeed none in the Stratosphere (of any consequence).

      “I have read this – and models are suddenly not good enough? It suggests that low(high) UV/ozone/ interactions weaken(strengthen) AMOC through wind induced stresses.”

      They ARE good enough (when combined with observational correlation).

      There is one glaring flaw in your argument.
      It is that Low solar induced SSW’s are rare on an annual basis.
      Even in a good year they are unlikely to initiate more than 1 or 2 events.
      Which are relatively short-lived (less than a month).

      SO you have 11 months of no UV/O3/AO coupling and then the majority of the solar cycle is dominated by normal UV levels.

      “Tony’s long spiel is less than half understood information gleamed from the internet in quick google searches. The 10 minute internet expert syndrome. What is relevant he misunderstands and the irrelevant is what it is. In the gaps between are narratives that are data free zones in which words like speculative feature prominently. This is usually the way it works with these people.”

      Robert:
      There you go again with you arrogant “I know better than anyone on the entire planet” attitude.
      It’s not big or clever my friend.
      Give it a rest.
      You are not and do not know more than me as regards meteorology.
      As it happens SSW’s are a particular interest of mine.

      “The 10 minute internet expert syndrome.”

      This particularly insulting.
      So my 32 years in the UKMO means so little that I need to resort to “10 minutes on the internet” to deconstruct your arrogance??

      Do you think throwing Ad Homs at people who counter your *arguments*
      *wins* that *argument*?
      Seems that you do.
      In that case you will always win my friend.
      It is the tactic of the arrogant bully, whether an intellectual one or not.
      You, of course revealed this to me in a prior discussion, and you are doing it again now, and also to Jim.
      Give it a rest.
      As I said it is not big orclever.
      It is the mark of the man.
      Or not in your case.

      Oh, BTW:
      Was this “spiel” long enough for you?

      • TL:DR – at least after the first sentences.

        “There are no stratospherically driven SL pressure changes in the Arctic Summer, due to there being no PV in the summer…”

        http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/cold/polar_vortex.shtml

        It is not even strictly the polar vortices I am talking about but surface pressures. And certainly not any sudden stratospheric warming (SSW).

      • “It is not even strictly the polar vortices I am talking about but surface pressures. And certainly not any sudden stratospheric warming (SSW).”

        OK:
        So we’ve moved away from the UV/O3/AMOC link have we?

        Yes, the PV can be weakened by many things.
        That is what I am trying to convey – that there are MANY influences on it and not (as you said up-thread) ….

        “clearly driven by a top down solar mechanism involving UV/ozone interactions causing changing sea level pressure at the poles. ”

        There is NO one single driver.
        Certainly not just low solar.
        An SSW is the biggest driver of PV disruption and therefore of Arctic plunges.

        Aside of a Low solar influence (top down), in order to weaken/disrupt the PV, warm tropospheric air (bottom up) has to be pumped northward by planetary waves.
        One teleconnection (amongst others I mentioned up-thread) is the MJO (Madden Julian Oscillation). This is an enhancement of tropical convection that cyclically rotates around the globe on timescales of 30-60 days….
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madden%E2%80%93Julian_oscillation
        When this is in the Pacific a planetary wave is propagated into the stratospheric Arctic. This would lead to a displacement. For the PV to be disrupted (most effective -AO driver), there needs to be a second wave at the other side of the pole. This is most effectively achieved via and extension of the Siberian high into Europe (hence a link to open Arctic waters/greater WV/greater/earlier Eurasian snowfield advance in October and hence a stronger SH).
        The most recent severe European cold spells were caused by this (Vis Dec ’10) and Mar ’13.
        There is a lag of 2-3 weeks after such an event before the surface responds generally but there *can* be a quick response within a week.

        This is an excellent Blog listing teleconnections and forecast prospects…..

        https://www.aer.com/science-research/climate-weather/arctic-oscillation

        It is thought that this last Boreal winter the QBO (Quasi-biennial oscillation) being westerly scuppered a full blown disruption, the displacement soon reforming over the pole.
        A westerly QBO deflects planetary waves further south.
        AN E’ly has greatest correlation with disrupted PV/SSW events.

        There are other influences I have not touched upon.

      • Polar vortices are technically in the upper atmosphere – but there are related circumpolar winds at the surface that are more to the point. They are called the Southern and Northern Annular Modes – and no one has moved away from surface pressure at the poles influencing storm tracks and ocean currents in both Hemispheres.

        What we are looking for is the solar connection to ocean/atmospheric regimes – not some vague arm waving at multiple causes of what you assume wrongly to be the mechanisms.

  50. “Common misperception. The midpoint is 100%, but the tail extends to 50%. 95+% of the area is to the right of 50% and 50% of the area is to the right of 100%. He is expressing the median scientific view which is 100%, slightly more if you just take GHGs and exclude aerosols.” Jimmy D

    Rarely do you see such incoherent nonsense even from Jimmy D.

    The evidence for human influence on the climate system has grown since the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). It is extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in GHG concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together. The best estimate of the human-induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period

    Extremely likely is qualitative – and I assume this takes into account error bars. Best estimate is based on IPCC forcing.

    A 2 degree calamity is almost certain.

    • They say that the best estimate is similar to the observed warming. That is what I mean about the middle of the distribution being at 100%. Your diagram shows why. Natural effects don’t even register when averaged over 60 years, as you see. We only need another 100 ppm to reach 2 C and are on pace to do that by 2060.

      • The observed warming since 1951. And you presume that the next 60 years will be like the period since 1945. It won’t – and that is the entire point of my discussion.

      • It depends what the forcing does. The warming rate doubled as the forcing rate doubled. These grow together. If we can hold forcing from doubling again, perhaps we can also slow down the warming, but the last 200 years support the idea that these are growing together, and especially the last 60 years where both 3/4 of the forcing change and 3/4 of the warming have taken place.

      • Most of the warming since 1944 was entirely natural. And it is –

      • The positive imbalance says you are wrong. It says that the warming rate can’t even keep up with the forcing change.

      • There is no ‘positive imbalance’ from greenhouse gases.

      • A counterfactual statement.

      • I keep giving you data – but it is a pointless exercise. You keep going around in the same circles.

        In a planet that overheats from large natural variability – thermal inertia is moot.

        There is no need for an energy imbalance from greenhouse gases to explain ocean cooling and heating.

      • Your own plots show how the forcing is anthropogenically dominated. That plus a positive imbalance gives you that the warming is anthropogenically led.

      • That took you all of 4 minutes to decide? Amazin’.

      • Fairly obvious from this plot of yours. Do you disagree with it now?

      • Again – it is the IPCC plot that I referenced in explaining the problem with your misguided statistical reasoning.

        CERES variability is dominated by cloud radiative effects. It is entirely consistent with the energy losses and gains in oceans.


        .
        “The top-of-atmosphere (TOA) Earth radiation budget (ERB) is determined from the difference between how much energy is absorbed and emitted by the planet. Climate forcing results in an imbalance in the TOA radiation budget that has direct implications for global climate, but the large natural variability in the Earth’s radiation budget due to fluctuations in atmospheric and ocean dynamics complicates this picture. ” https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10712-012-9175-1

        What is needed is a far more sophisticated grasp of the issues than you are capable of. You are wasting everyone’s time. Especially mine recently.

      • The ocean heat content is rising and this tells you that the imbalance is positive, i.e. warming is trailing forcing. You have not yet shown a forcing plot that says that anthropogenic effects are not far larger than natural ones, and keep showing one that says the opposite to what you are claiming.

      • maksimovich1

        ohc has actually decreased over the last 1/4

      • …and it should decrease after an El Nino, but for climate I would look at the decade on decade change which has been rising since the 1980’s.

      • Oh but I have Jim. You just going around in circles.

        http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/JCLI3838.1

        “In summary, although there is independent evidence for decadal changes in TOA radiative fluxes over the last two decades, the evidence is equivocal. Changes in the planetary and tropical TOA radiative fluxes are consistent with independent global ocean heat-storage data, and are expected to be dominated by changes in cloud radiative forcing. To the extent that they are real, they may simply reflect natural low-frequency variability of the climate system.” AR4 3.4.4.1

        But Argo and CERES are much more precise.

      • I did Jim.

        http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/JCLI3838.1

        “In summary, although there is independent evidence for decadal changes in TOA radiative fluxes over the last two decades, the evidence is equivocal. Changes in the planetary and tropical TOA radiative fluxes are consistent with independent global ocean heat-storage data, and are expected to be dominated by changes in cloud radiative forcing. To the extent that they are real, they may simply reflect natural low-frequency variability of the climate system.” AR4 3.4.4.1

        But Argo and CERES are much more precise. There is both cooling and warming – and it is fully accounted for by TOA radiant flux.

      • Why do you want it to end in 2003?

      • Not sure why this is ending up in moderation. The second comment has a working link to the graphic – the AMS link is not working.

        Both the ocean and atmosphere lose IR in El Nino but gain SW energy through reduced cloud cover.

      • You need to check my plot for what happened in the last 15 years. Lots of heat storage going on the whole time.

      • This is the Argo plot again.

        There is cooling in the early record and warming in the last few years. There is lots of warming and cooling that has nothing to do with forcing. They call it unforced variability. Big and fast changes to the system.

      • Unforced variability does not lead to net warming. Forcing is needed for that. This is a common skeptic error. Other skeptics won’t correct you here either. Glad to help.

      • OHC decreased in the last 1/4, but OHC also started going back up in the last 1/4.

        Getting ready for the 2017 El Niño… and then the 2018 El Niño. Of course, there will be an occasional “warmest evah” La Niña. So what? It’s a heat wave. The cold phase of the stadium wave took place from 1983 to 2013, and now we’re in an Eastern Pacific sourced warm phase… it’s going to get a lot hotter fast… so laugh at the folks selling low climate sensitivity because it never made a lick of sense in the first place.

      • The plot was only down to 700 m. The 2000 m plot I showed barely had it. It was a surface effect from El Nino.

      • ERBS was replaced with CERES early this century. The Wong et al plot shows the best data available on ocean heat storage and toa radiant flux pre 2000.

        The Argo plot shows annual variation due to north-south asymmetry with a 12 month running mean. To close the energy budget needs data on toa radiant flux.

        Natural variability does not cancel out over any relevant time scake.

        https://judithcurry.com/2017/02/20/innate-skepticism/#comment-840553

      • The OHC rise rate and satellites give independent measures of the imbalance. The OHC rise rate looks more certain in terms of error bars, so I go with that.

      • You need both to balance the energy budget. CERES and Argo provide unprecedented precision.

      • CERES, not so much. Argo, by measuring an integrated quantity, aggregate temperature change, is far less prone to bias or noise.

      • Utter nonsense based entirely on the need to maintain your global warming narrative.

      • It is about 15 steps behind and if you actually were able to process anything I say – this would be obvious.

        The global energy equation is very simple.

        Δ(H&W) ≈ Ein – Eout

        The change in heat energy content of the planet – and the work done in melting ice or vaporising water – is approximately equal to energy in less energy out. There are minor contributions with heat from inside the planet and the heat of combustion of fossil fuels that make it approximate but still precise enough to use. Energy imbalances – the difference between energy in and energy out – result in ocean warming or cooling. The oceans are by far the greatest part of Earth’s energy storage – and the Argo record gives us a real sense of whether the planet is warming or cooling – or both at different times.

        The key parameter missing from the Nature article and your story is reflected shortwave. This changes in coherent ways with changing patterns of ocean/atmosphere circulation. Precise imbalances from satellites is impossible due to the difficulties in determining absolute values. But anomalies are very precise – and stable in CERES – and they allow us to distinguish between IR and SW emissions. Ocean temps vary in ARGO with Net toa flux and in the order of magnitude – and most of this is changes in reflected SW.

        The place to follow global warming and cooling is the Argo record – and I am expecting oceans to cool with quasi-predictable patterns of ocean/atmosphere regimes.

      • … same order of magnitude…

      • Jim’s contribution is in fact an obvious example of biased science. What is missing from this picture?

        The big changes in toa radiant flux is reflected shortwave.

        It is not difficult science or math at all.

      • What do you mean? The positive cloud feedback operates by less reflected shortwave, as does the sea-ice albedo feedback. It is an important amplifier of forcing changes that is central to the climate system sensitivity.

      • Loss of sea ice is compensated for by an increase in arctic cloud.

        “The team emphasized that clouds are particularly sensitive to subtle differences in surface warming patterns, and researchers must carefully account for such pattern effects when making inferences about cloud feedback and climate sensitivity from observations over short time periods.”

        Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2016-10-cloudy-feedback-global.html#jCp

        Cloud is more obviously influenced by sea surface temperature in the tropics. You are foolish to ignore it.

      • Clearly those clouds aren’t doing much because the Arctic is warming faster than anywhere.

      • First you say they ignore reflection, then you refer to papers where they clearly don’t. This was a waste of time.

      • What I said was that your cartoon ignored albedo – not that all science was biased crap.

      • It wasn’t my cartoon. It was something you found on the internet. Just get that straight. This would be a cartoon I would say is somewhat accurate.

      • The cartoon was in an article you suggested would add to my understanding. It comes from the original Nature study.

        Now you point me to another cartoon? LOL.

      • OK, I was reading the words in that article, like where it said “the sunlight absorbed by the planet”, but maybe you missed that while just looking at the pictures. Try reading it this time, and you will find they did not ignore what you said they ignored.

      • “All the energy that enters or leaves the Earth system does so via radiation at the top of the atmosphere. For a stable climate, the sunlight absorbed by the planet must be balanced by thermal infra-red radiation emitted to space.”

        True as far as it goes – but the amount of solar energy absorbed varies considerably.

      • …which is where the positive albedo feedbacks come in.

      • Go on – show me an observational study or two.

      • You were showing them, remember? Clouds were decreasing as forcing was increasing. It explains how the warming exceeds the feedback you can get from the water increase alone, and why we are at 2.3 C per doubling.

      • There is not a chance in hell that cloud feedbacks from global warming amounted to an increase of 1.5W/m2 in the 90’s – or anything much at all since. Cloud feedbacks are at most a fraction of a W/m2/degree C.

        http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/JCLI3838.1

        This is just one of the many papers I have referenced. None of them have the slightest maerk on Jimmy.

        It is mostly cloud feedback from sea surface temps in the Pacific.

        As I have said more than once recently.

      • What you call shortwave reflection is actually a combination of effects including also aerosols and volcanoes. It is not simply clouds as you try to make it. Lately global albedo has seemed to be increasing, possibly due to regional aerosol issues. You keep pointing to a 10-year old paper that misses any recent developments in the shortwave observations.

      • “Clouds can act as a greenhouse ingredient to warm the Earth by trapping outgoing longwave (LW) infrared radiative flux at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) . Clouds can also enhance the planetary albedo by reflecting shortwave (SW) solar radiative flux back to space to cool the Earth. The net effect of the two competing processes depends on the height, type, and the optical properties of the clouds. The cloud radiative effect (CRE) on the Earth’s present-day radiation budget can be inferred from satellite data by comparing upwelling radiation in cloudy and non-cloudy regions. The figure at right shows that cloud conditions exert a global and annual SW CRE of approximately -50 W/m2 and a mean LW CRE of approximate 30 W/m2. The net global mean CRE is approximately -20 W/m2 implying a strong net cooling effect of clouds on the current climate. Given the large magnitude of SW and LW CRE, clouds have the potential to cause significant climate feedback. However, the sign of the feedback on climate change cannot be determined from the sign of CRE in the current climate, but depends instead on how sensitive the properties are that govern the LW and SW CRE. Thus, estimates of cloud feedback require process-level understanding and modeling of the nontrivial factors on which clouds depend. Moreover, since clouds modify the general circulation and hydrologic cycle through their interactions with the atmosphere, ocean, and land, comprehensive global climate models are seen as a crucial tool in our quest for an adequate understanding of the interactions between clouds and climate.” https://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/cloud-radiative-effect/

        The important metric for ocean warming and cooling is net TOA flux – in which in the medium term cloud variability is overwhelmingly the significant factor. The significance of the Amy Clement et al paper is the ICOADS observations – but I reference many papers as well as primary data sources.

        All you have is a line in trivial climate narrative which is meant to – I suppose – divert from a consideration of broader climate processes. Your type of global warming zealot typically gleams a few factoids from online global warming enclaves and thus armed goes forth to do battle with non-believers. It is all immensely pathetic.

      • We have had a sustained CO2 forcing growing from 0.5 W/m2 60 years ago to 2 W /m2 currently. What we have had is ten times the size of the 11-year solar cycle of forcing that itself is seen in the temperature record. You are saying this is not the dominant effect in the warming so far, and that even growing this forcing to 5-7 W/m2 is not going to have much effect, right? I think you have not really dismissed the effect this sustained 2 W/m2, but are just saying so for an argument.

      • No – I am saying that natural variability was the dominant cause of warming last century – as the satellite evidence since 1990 shows.

        Feel free to address the real questions with some actual science sometime.

        https://judithcurry.com/2017/02/20/innate-skepticism/#comment-840553

      • Yes, I am saying you have dismissed the known sustained forcing that has risen to 2 W/m2, and replaced it in your mind with something all existing data shows to be far smaller.

      • They include direct forcing from the Sun – negligible – but not ‘unforced variability’. Which you insist cancel out because you say so.

        By all means address the comment below if you can.
        https://judithcurry.com/2017/02/20/innate-skepticism/#comment-840553

      • Climate doesn’t change without forcing. Where’s your forcing? What’s the dominant difference between now and 1750 in your mind?

      • “In summary, although there is independent evidence for decadal changes in TOA radiative fluxes over the last two decades, the evidence is equivocal. Changes in the planetary and tropical TOA radiative fluxes are consistent with independent global ocean heat-storage data, and are expected to be dominated by changes in cloud radiative forcing. To the extent that they are real, they may simply reflect natural low-frequency variability of the climate system.” IPCC AR4 3.4.4.1

        Oh – it’s very real – and these low-frequency variabilities occur at every scale. They are also far in excess of any possible global warming cloud feedback in the 1990’s – or indeed today. It is natural variability. I have shown this to you – and quoted the IPCC many times. Why do you insist on going around in circles like this?

      • I am not talking about two decades which is a sub-climate time scale. I am talking about two centuries. What, according to you, caused this difference to grow at an increasing rate for two centuries?

      • It is mostly in the comment below which you refuse to acknowledge – but the data we have on quantitative changes to the global energy budget is only available in the satellite era. If ‘real’ – it shows that the major cause of late century warming was not carbon dioxide.

        The next global climate shift is due in a 2018-2028 window and the solar/terrestrial amplifier link suggests it will be to cooler conditions. There was obvious solar connections to terrestrial temperature as shown in the millennial isotope record I linked to much earlier.

      • For cloud feedbacks based on processes tabled in AR5? Seriously?

      • Huh? You see these are models, don’t you?

      • I have been a hydrodynamic modeller for decades – all uses for models are not the same.

      • This looks like a deflection from the question I asked you about the dominant process for the temperature change since 1750 in your mind. First you said something about two decades, then something about IPCC models, but nothing coherent yet that would be an answer.

      • Looks like more silly word games to me – but let’s continue down low.

        https://judithcurry.com/2017/02/20/innate-skepticism/#comment-840769

    • How long can you keep spinning? Work it out for yourself if you can – but somehow I doubt it.

  51. Jim D | March 2, 2017 at 8:41 pm |
    Yes, it could have been very slightly colder. The multi-millennial trend was downwards, but at less than 0.1 C per thousand years, so saying it would be like 1750 is not far off from that extrapolation.

    The only causes of climate change in the Holocene are orbital eccentricities and anthropogenic carbon dioxide. Not far off being ludicrous. In fact… his peculiar monomania seems to be getting worse.

    • The rate of temperature change now is a hundred times faster than the rise out of the last Ice Age, and it is not surprising because the forcing rate of change from GHGs alone is that much faster too. Quantities matter.

    • And then there are models. Below is a perturbed physics model using a mid-range no mitigation emissions scenario. It shows thousands of diverging solutions that is the defining property of these chaotic models that have at their core nonlinear equations of fluid transport. The thick black line is temperature observations. The thick blue lines are the one standard deviation limits. The red lines are the IPCC range derived by an entirely different method. The range of the perturbed physics ensemble (PPE) is even greater than the IPCC range.

      The IPPC opportunistic ensemble uses a single solution from 50 odd models – a solution arbitrarily chosen from 1000’s of plausible solutions, graphed together and a fake statistics fabricated over the top. They have known this (e.g, IPCC TAR 2001, McWilliams 2007, Slingo and Palmer 2011) since Lorenz in the 1960’s. It is as crude as that. The use of this method strongly suggests incompetence or fraud.

  52. Jim D | March 2, 2017 at 11:16 pm |
    Your sign is wrong for the Holocene Optimum, and your theory goes to pot because of just that. You’re trying very hard to fit a square peg into a round hole. Next you’ll say that GHGs had nothing to do with the Permian-Triassic warming or the Eocene warming and cooling even as GHGs varied with them, and as geological processes explain the timing of those GHG changes. You have to first throw away the whole of paleoclimate to get your unsupportable theory to have any effect at all. Your fallacy is argument from ignorance.

    So we had low solar activity and and a cool Pacific. That is quite obviously the case.

    And we don’t have to go back all that far to get changes in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and quite unknowable albedo effects. An increase in carbon flux to the atmosphere always accompanies warmth.


    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8703

    We know that this system added to warming to 1944, cooled the atmosphere to 1976, warmed it again to 1998 and has seen temps at least plateau since.

    We have also noted over a long time the correspondence of solar activity proxies to global temp changes.

    All that is needed is a mechanism to connect the two and mak it somewgat predictable.

  53. Jim D | March 3, 2017 at 12:42 am |
    The difference is that natural effects average out to zero (as you showed earlier) over longer time periods. The forcing doesn’t, and neither does the temperature change. I am not sure you understand, though it looks like you are trying very hard to.

    The IPCC suggested that natural variability cancelled out – as I was trying to explain to you their reasoning for suggesting that all post 1951 warming was anthropogenic. Nowhere did I suggest that I believed them. I just found your circuitous logic too tortuous.

    There was natural warming to 1944, cooling to 1976 and some natural warming again to 1998. Starting their account from 1951 is a nonsense that includes substantial natural cooling from the mid 1940’s peak. It is just indefensibly wrong.

    Do you deny these regimes? Can you possibly believe the 20th century pattern will persist into the 21st?

    • You can see that the natural variability on decadal scales is +/-0.1 C, and this accounts for what we see as perturbations around the background warming. You see it more when the warming is only at 0.3 C before 1950, but by the time the warming passes 1 C on the way to 3-4 C, that +/-0.1 C doesn’t show up much, so that’s where we are headed.

      • JImD

        Temperatures have been generally rising for some 300 years.

        CET is a useful if not perfect proxy. Of course, being an individual country at a high latitude, temperature it will vary more than an averaged out global temperature.

        I posted this graph as part of one of my recent articles a couple of years ago

        Bringing it up to date there has been an overall 0.31c decline this century (but still remaining at a high level) . This overall decline is unevenly spread amongst the seasons.

        Its the reason I don’t like global averages as we are missing interesting nuances by lumping everything together. Some places are warming, some static, some declining. Some must be very sharply warming. Why?Where? How have the seasons varied in individual regions over the decades in order to produce this mixed picture?.

        Surely a far more interesting question than pointing to an averaged figure which doesn’t reflect what any country is actually experiencing

        tonyb.

  54. HadCRUT4 – degrees C

    Feb 1911 -0.736
    Jan 1944 0.643
    Mar 1976 -0.560
    Feb 1998 0.927

    We can identify the inflection points in these ocean/atmosphere regimes with some precision. Should we assume that all warming between 1944 and 1998 was anthropogenic?

    The proximate cause of the natural regimes is the sea surface temp of the Pacific Ocean.

    Blue to 1976 – red to 1998 and something seemingly quite balanced since but time will tell.

    The 20-30 year regimes are characterised by a cold PDO and more frequent and intense La Nina and vice versa. The decadal patterns add up to variability on a millennial scale. If you can’t recognise this you are off to a very bad start.

    ENSO causes climate extremes across and beyond the Pacific basin; however, evidence of ENSO at high southern latitudes is generally restricted to the South Pacific and West Antarctica. Here, the authors report a statistically significant link between ENSO and sea salt deposition during summer from the Law Dome (LD) ice core in East Antarctica. ENSO-related atmospheric anomalies from the central-western equatorial Pacific (CWEP) propagate to the South Pacific and the circumpolar high latitudes. These anomalies modulate high-latitude zonal winds, with El Niño (La Niña) conditions causing reduced (enhanced) zonal wind speeds and subsequent reduced (enhanced) summer sea salt deposition at LD. Over the last 1010 yr, the LD summer sea salt (LDSSS) record has exhibited two below-average (El Niño–like) epochs, 1000–1260 ad and 1920–2009 ad, and a longer above-average (La Niña–like) epoch from 1260 to 1860 ad. Spectral analysis shows the below-average epochs are associated with enhanced ENSO-like variability around 2–5 yr, while the above-average epoch is associated more with variability around 6–7 yr. The LDSSS record is also significantly correlated with annual rainfall in eastern mainland Australia. While the correlation displays decadal-scale variability similar to changes in the interdecadal Pacific oscillation (IPO), the LDSSS record suggests rainfall in the modern instrumental era (1910–2009 ad) is below the long-term average. In addition, recent rainfall declines in some regions of eastern and southeastern Australia appear to be mirrored by a downward trend in the LDSSS record, suggesting current rainfall regimes are unusual though not unknown over the last millennium. http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00003.1

    The extra-tropical ENSO teleconnections are evident – as is the solar dimension to polar pressure fields and storm tracks. Putting them together provides the long suspected solar amplifier.

    What satellite data there is suggests a dominant role for cloud radiative effects – associated with the Pacific state – in late 20th century warming. This is not news.

    In summary, although there is independent evidence for decadal changes in TOA radiative fluxes over the last two decades, the evidence is equivocal. Changes in the planetary and tropical TOA radiative fluxes are consistent with independent global ocean heat-storage data, and are expected to be dominated by changes in cloud radiative forcing. To the extent that they are real, they may simply reflect natural low-frequency variability of the climate system. AR4 3.4.4.1

    As the Sun cools and El Nino activity nosedives off a 1000 year high – the warming in the 20th century from this source will be lost in the 21st. The next global climate shift is due in a 2018-2028 window – I predict it will be to a yet cooler state.

  55. Andy West is blind to his own assumption – that a science free claim of uncertainty is an effective – or recent – response to the forces of institutional, scientific and global warming zealotry arraigned against him. As a last ditch defense – rarely have we seen such a pitiful effort. It is tantamount to surrender. Uncertainty there is – but it has been far from persuasive.

    You get points for guessing which denier said this. “In sum, a strategy must recognise what is possible. In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.” It means that most of “the science” — the data interpretation, the methods and the theories are utterly inadequate to the task of explaining climate for us. Unless you bow to chaos. Something far from the minds of either side.

    Both sides of the climate battle continue to insist on a certainty that is impossible – and continue a battle in which one side is heavily outgunned. The climate change battalion is all of the global scientific institutions, the liberal press, governments, major scientific journals and the aforementioned global warming zealots. Opposed is a ragtag collection of a few marginalized cheer leaders for curmudgeons with crude and eccentric theories they insist is the true science. The curmudgeons are remarkably persistent but the battle is absurd and unwinnable – by either side. They all marshal arguments superficially in the objective idiom of science – except for Andy – and take deep umbrage when challenged. Any challenge is evidently a challenge to tribal values that have a profound personal significance.

    The rest of us are concerned that the real objectives of humanity are not lost sight of. It is simple in principle to take the initiative on the broad front of population, development, energy technology, multiple gases and aerosols across sectors, land use change, conservation and restoration of agricultural lands and ecosystems and building resilient communities. What we really want is much more clarity on effective policy responses – a focus on the real issues of global economic progress and environmental protection. Emissions of greenhouse gases or loss of biodiversity are far from intractable problems — but economic growth is the foundation of any practical measures.

    • I find it encouraging that your view of the climate domain aligns to that which is directly or indirectly included in all my posts here, i.e. it is dominated by cultural values rather than science. However, it is unfortunate that you nevertheless seem to have taken umbrage at me in what seems like a tribal manner. I’m inclined to agree with Tony B regarding your arrogance, which perhaps is cause; it appears to undermine an objective approach and hence calls into question in reader’s minds the validity of what might well be useful contributions. You appear to be well motivated, but verbally cudgeling folks with your views is not a way to succeed in getting them accepted.

      • I’d find it more encouraging if you agreed that it applied to you. I see my characterization of you as dispassionately objective. It is what I think and you may take umbrage but it is of little account.

        And just which tribe do you think I belong to? Tony has the view that I am a right wing Trump acolyte without a shred of morality and with a great, swinging dick syndrome. Perhaps you mistake me more for a global warming zealot? Both of you seem to differing sets of values of profound personal significance and tend to marshal facts in the light of this – and to deal in bad faith with any objections.

        Persuading people like you, Tony or indeed – Jimmy D – is a hopeless task. Not one that I intend to to undertake in the slightest. These are intransigently held views that are deeply psychologically rooted and being accused of arrogance is the least of my challenges.

        What I keep saying is that there is a third way. At this stage it is a global movement involving many millions of people – and whether you are persuaded or not is of little account. Increasing awareness more generally – in my little way – seems more the point.

        https://concilium.digital/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/1_4p1000_decl.-intention_Consortium_ENG.pdf

        https://watertechbyrie.com/

      • Possibly a tribe of 1, which can occur if a person is sufficiently convinced of their own authority. You talk of bad faith, yet frequently berate the knowledge and skills of others relative to your own, and rather than seeking clarifications or common ground to work from, you stretch your interpretation to the furthest distance away and fire accordingly. To the extent for instance of completely ignoring the strong caveats around a speculation I made above, which were there precisely to avoid any such effect. If your arguments are strong enough to stand on their own, then why not leave this behavior behind, and let them?

      • P.S. Your soils angle is interesting imho. I remember being impressed by the videos of Allan Savory btw, though I never followed it up. I hope this practice was proven out and accepted. Maybe it is time for an update guest post on this area after your 2013 one, perhaps in the context of the infra-structure you believe the initiatives should be set within?

      • Your reaction to a little mild satire on your ‘canny’ uncertainty strategy is a little too sour – but I don’t to labour the point.

        When dealing with aggressive, hyper-opinionated people – I try to keep it light and science rich. Some of these simply descend into a seething rage at having their narratives challenged. You can tell it’s narrative because it is data free. This is of course something deeply psychologically rooted. They change their narrative seemingly without conscious awareness – or as deliberate misdirection. Bad faith is endemic in the climate blogosphere. At the end of the day – it is not my problem.

        And I generally ignore people so intent on expressing their opinion of my personal shortcomings that they fail to review the links I provide – and then ask for further explication.

        The top video is particularly relevant to soils and ecologies – but the solutions are far broader.

        https://watertechbyrie.com/

      • ps – A tribe of one is surely an oxymoron.

      • Re rage, that tactic seems sensible. However you still berate folks, which I think subtracts from your points.

        Re the uncertainty issue, I don’t recognize this as a ‘strategy’ of mine, nor anyhow that it is mutually exclusive with other ideas (e.g. your ‘third way’), nor indeed that I have *any* ‘strategy’ related to in-domain info in the climate domain (i.e. climate science or climate data), nor come to that I am combating the ‘global warming zealotry’ using any such strategy or magic formula anyhow. I came to this domain not through any climate route but from the observation that cultural mechanisms dominate, and my aim is to make these mechanisms clearer as they occur in many domains (with CC as a great example, because most of it’s life is played out in modern times and latterly on the Internet), for those who want to pursue this. This aim doesn’t mean that I’m not concerned about the downsides of the climate calamitous culture, I certainly am. But I am not engaged in a war as it were (you seem to imply), though of course my view of CAGW as a culture will automatically make me not neutral in this conflicted domain, especially from those who in part or in whole don’t admit of cultural dominance (understandably mostly on the orthodox side but some from skeptic side too). While that’s an expectation, I’m completely mystified by your so very emphatic critique of my above comment, which appears to imply some major fundamental position that is a bedrock of my thinking, which further you seem to think is some sink or swim proposal in a war, plus you also imply is exclusive in the sense that support of this position excludes other helpful concepts. I’m guessing here, because you haven’t made these assumptions explicit. But none of these things are so, and further are not at all implied by my comment. I tried to point out that this question in the public domain is what it is and that despite approval my hat is not hung upon it, nor on any in-domain concept; this is not sour, it is just attempted clarification, in which clearly I failed.

        To reiterate: with mitigation of those above cultural downsides in mind, I think the uncertainty argument in the public is very useful. Better than typical prior stuff that was too buried in the ‘nitty gritty’, and probing nearer to the heart of the issue, i.e. that the certainty of calamity is a cultural consensus not a scientifically supported fact. Hence my comment, which finished on: ‘Hence the gap between the narrative the public has been fed by its leaders and governments for years (see footnote 2a), and the reality, will get more and more exposed’. Added to which, just because the question is expressed in public by non-scientists doesn’t mean that it is unrelated to the scientific exploration of uncertainty issues going on here and elsewhere (e.g. the ‘tall tales and fat tails’ plus the ‘lopping off the fat tails’ posts). This is ultimately where its message comes from, albeit through the inevitable simplification that results from being used as a hammer, but that is different to ‘science free’.

        This I stand by. However, where do all the other assumptions above come from? I really don’t get why you didn’t just disagree, state why, state also alternatives that you wish to air if so, and if not sure about the context in which I had stated my approval of this happening within the public domain, just ask.

        I watched your video. Very interesting, and not an angle I’m familiar with. From my non-domain expertise perspective I’d say it has good legs, but it seems to have a long way to go too. This opinion does not constitute a major theoretical position of mine!! 0:

      • I think you mistake berate for the habitual bluntness of Australians.

  56. “This looks like a deflection from the question I asked you about the dominant process for the temperature change since 1750 in your mind. First you said something about two decades, then something about IPCC models, but nothing coherent yet that would be an answer.”

    Let’s continue here Jim. Warming from 1750 to 1944 was overwhelmingly natural – obvious to everyone but you and Bill Nye.

    First I gave you data – and a quote from the IPCC – to the effect that natural variability in the late 20th century dominated warming.

    Then you complained vaguely about models for some reason.

    Get your act together – and for God’s sake stop misrepresenting.

    • Once again, you can’t apply two decades of natural variability to century scale warming. Next you will be saying this is just 60 years of coincidence that works out perfectly for AGW in a way that is really unlucky for the skeptics.
      http://woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1950/mean:12/plot/esrl-co2/scale:0.01/offset:-3.2

      • Nor did I – just that the net anthropogenic forcing prior to 1944 was negligible.

        And it is equally obvious – from the millennial graph in a comment just above – that the solar terrestrial amplifier was in full swing in the 20th century. A comment btw that you still refuse to address.

        It is also equally obvious from the data supplied that warm Pacific cloud feedbacks dominated warming in the late 20th century. And we all know that the only late century warming was between 1976 and 1998. For obvious reasons. There are multiple legs – it is called conscienceless.

        You have nothing but a woodfordimwits graph that you imagine implies a one to one correspondence with surface temperature. It is clear that there are other factors that you reject on the most spurious grounds imaginable.

        All warming after 1944 occurred between 1976 and 1998. It is known that the Pacific system countered warming between 1944 and 1976 and added to it between 1976 and 1998.

        http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8703

        It is not clear how long and by what games you can continue to evade reality. But I am very interested to find out.

      • Perhaps you said that it is the sun that did it. The sun is weaker now than at any time since 1910, so how is it over a degree warmer now than in 1910? The IPCC graph that you sometimes refer to quantified the solar forcing and it isn’t much, and is even negative since 1950, so that isn’t working for you. Want to try something else?

      • No Jim – I don’t get my memes from global warming zealot enclaves. Solar activity stayed high until the end of the 20th century.

        During the descent into the recent ‘exceptionally’ low solar minimum, observations have revealed a larger change in solar UV emissions than seen at the same phase of previous solar cycles. This is particularly true at wavelengths responsible for stratospheric ozone production and heating. This implies that ‘top-down’ solar modulation could be a larger factor in long-term tropospheric change than previously believed, many climate models allowing only for the ‘bottom-up’ effect of the less-variable visible and infrared solar emissions. We present evidence for long-term drift in solar UV irradiance, which is not found in its commonly used proxies. In addition, we find that both stratospheric and tropospheric winds and temperatures show stronger regional variations with those solar indices that do show long-term trends. A top-down climate effect that shows long-term drift (and may also be out of phase with the bottom-up solar forcing) would change the spatial response patterns and would mean that climate-chemistry models that have sufficient resolution in the stratosphere would become very important for making accurate regional/seasonal climate predictions. Our results also provide a potential explanation of persistent palaeoclimate results showing solar influence on regional or local climate indicators. http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/5/3/034008/meta

        Evidence shows irreconcilable disparities with global warming theory – and the solar disparity has been recognised for a long time. Science resolves the disparity by modifying the paradigm.

        Science is not the word salad you indulge in for your own cultural imperative.

      • And how much of the 20th century global change do they attribute to this? Probably none, but you haven’t read that far. Does the fact that the stratosphere is cooling come into this in any way? Have you thought this through, or are you just flinging your stuff around hoping something will stick? Your ideas look very random and incoherent at the moment because you keep pointing to completely unrelated papers. Stick with one and argue it, preferably one that says something about century-scale warming and why GHGs aren’t it.

      • This is just the mechanics of the Sun wot dun it. The attribution of most climate variability to the solar/terrestrial amplifier has been addressed elsewhere. Do you need me to repeat it?

      • I don’t need you to fling more stuff. Thanks. You are probably in this camp then, and I certainly don’t have time for that.
        http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-sun-explains-95-of-climate-change.html

      • I showed real science – multiple studies – on the mechanics of a solar influence on SAM and NAM. I showed in the isotope record direct evidence of a solar influence on terrestrial climate. I linked studies showing a link of SAM and NAM to AMOC and the IPO and thus to a decadal to millennial scale climate variability. I linked to NASA on how the IPO added to warming between 1976 and 1998 – the period during which late century warming actually occurred. I linked to science on how energy flux at toa caused most of the late century warming. I showed by reference to AR5 models how this could not be global warming cloud feedback. I referenced real science establishing through surface and satellite observation the source of cloud feedbacks.

        What else did I fling about? And I can assure you that I read Lockwood et al (2010) years ago.

        And of course it all provides some basis for prediction. The next global climate shift is due in a 2018-2028 window. A rapidly cooling Sun suggests a nosedive off a 1000 year high of positive IPO activity to cooler conditions. At the same time the Northern Hemisphere will rapidly cool as a result of more frequent cold front excursions into lower latitudes.

        Disparage and deny all you like – there is science and your narrative and the two radically diverge.

      • I rate your ideas about equal to the one I linked for you. The difference is that they can quantify their effect with equations while you can’t. You have in common with them that the main contributors to the energy balance are ignored completely, and that you give no rationale why the 2 W/m2 from the CO2 increase can be just ignored when much smaller solar forcing variations contributed to things like the Maunder Minimum, and short volcanic variations of this magnitude are seen in the climate record. It really doesn’t look like you have checked the evidence for forcing terms before dismissing them all.

      • I gave you data. I put your ideas somewhere between a cargo cult and a vaudeville act.

        A i.4 to 1.8 W/m2 forcing in the in the late century – just in the period we are most interested in. Net anthropogenic forcing was close enough to zero prior to 1944. Just when emissions started taking off the planet cooled for 30 years – despite net anthropogenic forcing being positive. The anthropogenic forcing in the late late century was 0.6W/m2. Water vapour feedback wass negligible and cloud feedback at most 0.25W/m2. I didn’t neglect it – I just said it was about half the cloud radiative effect from low frequency climate variability.

        You may deny natural variability – but you are not at all credible.

        More importantly I gave you 21st century data.

      • The CO2 forcing is currently 2 W/m2 and growing possibly through 6-8 W/m2 by 2100 unless we do something. Still want to ignore it? This is the point. Whatever up and down thing you have going is nothing in the long term, whereas 6-8 W/m2 is. Not sure you get the big picture.

      • CO2 forcing translates into warming. The warming has been –

        HadCRUT4 – degrees C

        Feb 1911 -0.736
        Jan 1944 0.643
        Mar 1976 -0.560
        Feb 1998 0.927

        1911 to 1944 was the first natural warming period – associated with a positive IPO. A negative IPO occurred from 1944 to 1976 and a positive IPO again to 1998. Averaging over this period gives a 0.284 degree C increase. Pretty much nothing in the scheme of things. The linear regression is 0.087 degrees C/decade. This at least partially accounts for the regimes of natural variability – which will radically turn down this century. Most 20th century warming was quite natural and that energy will be lost this century. The evidence for the latter is provided above.

        Turning to less archaic and inconsistent records – there is no noticeable increase in tropospheric temp this century. .

        Within decades we will be well on the way to sequestering 350 billion tonnes of CO2 as 100 billion tonnes of carbon – for reason other than climate. And will have begun transitioning to 21st century energy – for economic reasons.

        I am sure you don’t get the big picture. You don’t even get the little picture right.

      • How much warming does 2 W/m2 translate to? What about 8 W/m2? The 30-year temperature has been rising steadily with the forcing. 75% of the CO2 addition has been since 1950, so that is where you see the effect most.
        http://woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/mean:240/mean:120/plot/gistemp/from:1985/trend:-3.2

      • And let me save you the bother of your next comment. There is no accumulated radiant imbalance from greenhouse gases.

        The world overheats and cools down on an annual – the small increase in annual GHG forcing (0.032W/m2) is subsumed in that, .

      • The imbalance is 0.5 W/m2. This comes from the decadal OHC rise rate as the oceans gain ~1e22 J per year from excess radiation.

      • I get about 1.7W/m2 increase in GHG forcing between 1944 and 1998 – remember the regime of natural warming and cooling and you wouldn’t want to include natural cooling in your start point – for at most a 0.5 degree C warming. So bugger all really = and there is not a chance in hell of getting to 8W/m2. As I have explained many times.

        The oceans cooled in the early Argo record and warmed in the past few years with less reflected SW. It seems pretty much accounted for by a combination of solar cycle and net toa radiant flux changes. For about the 50th time.

        “The top-of-atmosphere (TOA) Earth radiation budget (ERB) is determined from the difference between how much energy is absorbed and emitted by the planet. Climate forcing results in an imbalance in the TOA radiation budget that has direct implications for global climate, but the large natural variability in the Earth’s radiation budget due to fluctuations in atmospheric and ocean dynamics complicates this picture. “https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10712-012-9175-1

        But you are not really one for complications.

      • 1.7 W/m2 compared with what from your other processes such as the cloud feedback, which is actually just a positive feedback to the CO2 forcing like the water vapor feedback. This is the way feedbacks operate. It amplifies the forcing, has the same timing and growth rate, and this has that appearance, which maybe you regard as pure coincidence, but haven’t yet said that.

      • And yet again – the data seems to show that the late century ocean heating was mostly SW.

        But you are not exactly bog on data either.

      • The oceans always heat by SW and cool by LW. A reduction in net LW also has a warming effect, even though LW still cools. Just a subtlety you may be missing. The bottom line is both SW through positive albedo feedback, and LW through extra insulation, contribute to the ocean warming we have had for the past century or so.

      • I didn’t think it needed explaining that all feedback are included in the observed temperature increase between 1944 and 1998. A temperature increase of 0.4 degrees C. There was a cool regime (1944-1976) and a warm one (1976-1998) – but the next century will see much more in the way of cooler regimes. With its own cloud feedbacks.

        The energy equations say that energy in and out includes SW and IR – Jimmy’s immaterial unquantified baby physics notwithstanding.

      • As I said, the regimes you refer to have an amplitude of +/- 0.1 C, and correspond to the stadium wave. You think we should be in a cooling regime, but it just keeps warming. Where did you go wrong?

      • Well no.

        HadCRUT4 – degrees C

        Feb 1911 -0.736
        Jan 1944 0.643
        Mar 1976 -0.560
        Feb 1998 0.927

        The past is in evidence.

        We have both a correlation of solar activity, temperature and the state of the Pacific – as well as a top down mechanism. Cooling in the next global climate shift – due in a 2018-2028 window – is a prediction.

      • Your peak was in 1998, but now you probably are revising it to 2016, and so on. At what point do you give up on it?

      • The peak of the late century natural warming event was 1998 and the global climate shift was 1998/2001. It resulted in a smaller trend increase since – but the regime is not over yet.

        The use of surface records for climate monitoring going forward – btw – is ultimately very silly.

      • The OHC trend and surface temperature trend have been robust since 1998. You need to revise your “peak” at some point, otherwise it will just start to look silly against the data.

      • There is no point to any of your nonsense.

        More salt is La Nina – and it suggests centennial cooling starting with the next global climate shift.

      • It all seems word games, would be denier gotchas and internet memes anyway.

  57. There is certainly a top down soils program involving many countries, institutions and organisations. But the real work is a bottom up, decades long project.

  58. Hello everyone!
    I need to interview someone who is a self identified climate skeptic or skeptical of the role that humans play in earth’s climate.
    This is for a Master’s program assignment, and the intention isn’t to change someone’s attitude or thoughts about the matter, but to LISTEN and explore different viewpoints. This interview must be done in real time (over the phone, or through lie chat).
    Any chance any of you can point me to someone that would be enjoy having their thoughts heard?
    Thank you!!