Why I don’t ‘believe’ in ‘science’

by Judith Curry

” ‘I believe in science’ is an homage given to science by people who generally don’t understand much about it. Science is used here not to describe specific methods or theories, but to provide a badge of tribal identity.  Which serves, ironically, to demonstrate a lack of interest in the guiding principles of actual science.” – Robert Tracinski

Robert Tracinski has published a superb essay entitled Why I don’t ‘believe’ in ‘science’. Excerpts:

begin quote:

For some years now, one of the left’s favorite tropes has been the phrase “I believe in science.” Elizabeth Warren stated it recently in a pretty typical form: “I believe in science. And anyone who doesn’t has no business making decisions about our environment.” This was in response to news that scientists who are skeptical of global warming might be allowed to have a voice in shaping public policy.

[I]t captures a lot of what annoys the rest of us about the “I believe in science” crowd. It reduces a serious intellectual issue—a whole worldview and method of thought—to a signifier of social group identity.


Some people may use “I believe in science” as vague shorthand for confidence in the ability of the scientific method to achieve valid results, or maybe for the view that the universe is governed by natural laws which are discoverable through observation and reasoning.

But the way most people use it today—especially in a political context—is pretty much the opposite. They use it as a way of declaring belief in a proposition which is outside their knowledge and which they do not understand.

There are a lot of people these days who like things that sound science-y, but have little patience for actual science.

The problem is the word “belief.” Science isn’t about “belief.” It’s about facts, evidence, theories, experiments. You don’t say, “I believe in thermodynamics.” You understand its laws and the evidence for them, or you don’t. “Belief” doesn’t really enter into it.

So as a proper formulation, saying “I understand science” would be a start. “I understand the science on this issue” would be better. That implies that you have engaged in a first-hand study of the specific scientific questions involved in, say, global warming, which would give you the basis to support a conclusion. If you don’t understand the basis for your conclusion and instead have to accept it as a “belief,” then you don’t really know it, and you certainly are in no position to lecture others about how they must believe it, too.

Because science is about evidence, this also means that it carries no “authority.” The motto of the Royal Society is nullius in verba—”on no one’s word”—which is intended to capture the “determination of Fellows to withstand the domination of authority and to verify all statements by an appeal to facts determined by experiment.”

That’s the opposite of what “I believe in science” is intended to convey. “I believe in science” is meant to use the reputation of “science” in general to give authority to one specific scientific claim in particular, shielding it from questioning or skepticism.

“I believe in science” is almost always invoked these days in support of one particular scientific claim: catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. And in support of one particular political solution: massive government regulations to limit or ban fossil fuels.

The purpose of the trope is to bypass any meaningful discussion of these separate questions, rolling them all into one package deal–and one political party ticket.

The trick is to make it look as though disagreement on any of these specific questions is equivalent to a rejection of the scientific method and the scientific worldview itself.

But when people in politics proclaim “I believe in science” what they’re doing is proclaiming a belief in the current consensus. Do you think Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang have given serious study to climate science? No, they believe in global warming and its preferred political solutions because they have been told that a consensus of scientists believes it (and because this belief confirms their own political biases). Notice that Warren’s statement was about a panel of scientists who are skeptical of global warming, led by a distinguished physicist, William Happer. When does a scientist count as someone who “doesn’t believe in science”? When he departs from the “consensus.”

end quote.

Pseudoscience

The ‘I believe in science’ crowd is very enthusiastic about labelling as ‘pseudoscience’ any actual science that has implications that are counter to their political beliefs.

As a case in point, consider Media Bias/Fact Check.  In particular, check out their entry on Climate Etc. which is reproduced here in full:

beqin quote:

Sources in the Conspiracy-Pseudoscience category may publish unverifiable information that is not always supported by evidence. These sources may be untrustworthy for credible/verifiable information, therefore fact checking and further investigation is recommended on a per article basis when obtaining information from these sources. See all Conspiracy-Pseudoscience sources.

Factual Reporting: MIXED

Notes: Climate Etc is the blog of Judith A. Curry who is an American climatologist and former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The Climate Etc blog publishes news and information regarding climate science and climate change. The majority of articles minimize or deny the impacts of human driven climate change. According to a Scientific American interview, Judith Curry admits to receiving funding from the fossil fuel industry. This article also labeled her a “climate heretic.” Judith Curry has also been invited by Republicans to testify at climate change hearings regarding alleged uncertainties regarding man-made climate change. Climate Feedback, a climate change fact checker, debunked much of Curry’s testimonials. Further, Skeptical Science has labeled Judith Curry as a “Climate Misinformer.” Judith Curry is also cited in a Pants on Fire claim by Politifact. Overall, we rate Climate Etc as a pseudoscience website due to its promotion of anti-climate science propaganda. (D. Van Zandt 10/14/2017) Updated (1/28/2018)

end quote.

Well, Climate Etc. didn’t quite make it into the ‘Tin Foil Hat, Quackery’ category.

The Wikipedia isn’t too impressed:

“The Columbia Journalism Review describes Media Bias/Fact Check as an amateur attempt at categorizing media bias and the owner of the site, Dave Van Zandt, as an “armchair media analyst.” Van Zandt describes himself as someone with “more than 20 years as an arm chair researcher on media bias and its role in political influence.” The Poynter Institute notes, “Media Bias/Fact Check is a widely cited source for news stories and even studies about misinformation, despite the fact that its method is in no way scientific.” ”

With regards to me personally, I have seen numerous statements on twitter or wherever that I have ‘abandoned science’ or have ‘stopped being a scientist’ since I began publicly questioning aspects of the so-called scientific consensus on climate change (whatever the ‘consensus’ means at any given time to any particular person).

Tracinski’s essay does a superb job of identify the intellectual laziness, tribalism and politics surrounding these ignorant ‘arbiters of science,’ who are easily identified by their statements ‘I believe in science.’

140 responses to “Why I don’t ‘believe’ in ‘science’

  1. Reblogged this on Quaerere Propter Vērum and commented:
    Excellent essay.

  2. Excellent article. The same shallow approach is taken by people with respect to evolution. “If you don’t believe in evolution, then you don’t believe in science,” even though there is significant evidence in the fossil record and elsewhere which does not support evolutionary theory.

    • “significant evidence in the fossil record and elsewhere which does not support evolutionary theory.”

      Citation needed.
      There may well be items that don’t support the theory, for example fossils of tulips from 5,000 years ago say nothing one way or the other, but there is NOTHING that contradicts it. A big difference.

      As Stephen Jay Gould ( I think) said: “If you can find even one verifiable item that disproves evolution, I will abandon it. For example a rabbit bone in a pre-Cambrian layer.” (paraphrasing from memory)

    • The evidence for evolution is overwhelming, and is best summarized in Ronald Bailey’s opening statement, where he and Michael Shermer debated (and won) against George Guilder and Stephen Meyer at Freedom Fest:

      I think the evolution wars may be responsible for a lot of the excuses we hear for people avoiding debate today. Steven Jay Gould and Richard Dawkins both agreed to not publicly debate any prominent creationists, so as not to give them a platform. Did they really make a dent in the considerable proportion of the population believing in creationism? There is also the concept of the “Gish Gallop”, purportedly coined by National Center for Science Education founder, Eugenie Scott, after creationist, Duane Gish, where bogus arguments are piled on faster than they can be responded to. I’d like to suggest the responses, “one argument at a time, please”, or “you’re changing the subject”.

  3. Excellent essay. “I believe in science” is a sales pitch for excusing the lack of critical thinking skills in education IMHO.

    Another sticking point is when I hear “you can’t argue with the data!”. Maybe, but I sure can pick out shoddy data analysis when I see it.

    Keep it up Dr. Curry!

  4. Strikes me “I believe in science” is a non sequitor and aptly demonstrates the religious nature of the “green movement”. “I believe in the scientific method” would be a rational statement, but logic and reason have long been absent from the “green” religion, hence the use of “feel-good” but intellectually vacuous statements so prevalent in the “climate-change” cult.

  5. Wonderful essay by Mr. Tracinski. Thanks!

  6. “They use it [science] as a way of declaring belief in a proposition which is outside their knowledge and which they do not understand.”

    This generally is a wonderful essay, but the way AGW science is used is essentially not for just simply “declaring a belief”, or “understanding”; but rather it’s a purposeful philosophical political tool. I don’t need to know how a Phillips screwdriver is constructed, or even initially what it’s used for if I’m told that something can be screwed using the device.

  7. Fantastic article. It absolutely reflects my views on how we are turning some disciplines of science into a pseudo-religion to control society. The sad part is how many scientists are cooperating or allowing it with their silence.

    Everything is there: The need for a belief in a core doctrine. The priests capable of interpreting the scriptures and signs for the masses even when contradictory. The false prophets that try to steer the masses into adoring the golden calf. The need for redemption from an original sin. The apocalypses. Western people are preconditioned and after abandoning the old religion they can’t have enough of the new one. We have a couple of types around here.

    Amazing we are falling for that one again and abandoning the scientific method that we developed with so much effort.

    Judith, you are a false prophet in that pseudo-religious movie. I am an aspiring heretic acolyte.

    • https://judithcurry.com/2015/11/20/climate-culture/

      …a longer / more generic list for features of a strong culture, be it religious or secular, and examples for climate culture in particular. They have occurred throughout history and before, plus due to long gene / culture co-evolution, the set of behaviours are deeply embedded in us (and are ultimately due to in-group / out-group reinforcement). Science done properly short-circuits such cultures, but in turn science is highly fragile to bias or hi-jack from cultures; it’s a constant war, although much science gets done below the cultural radar, so to speak.

      • jungletrunks

        “…be it religious or secular, and examples for climate culture in particular…Science done properly short-circuits such cultures”

        Wouldn’t science be agnostic to culture? Science might work for preconceived cultural notions, or against them, but empirical data has no consideration for such. Science isn’t highly fragile to culture, individuals are highly fragile and influenced by culture.

      • Even as a scientist, I have long considered that in general humans don’t make good scientists. We are too biased for that, and only a few people through strict training and strong adherence to the scientific method (Richard Feynman comes to mind) can overcome their effects. Science should be left to intelligent machines as soon as possible.

      • Jungletrunks,

        “Wouldn’t science be agnostic to culture?”

        No, because done properly it reduces the speculative space that emotive memes can exploit. For instance, despite a robust defence (in some countries more than others), most religion is on a long retreat from once held parts of particular consensuses, e.g. for Christianity that the Earth was at the centre of everything. In the case of narratives invoking god or gods, they can however always retain one step, that deities exist beyond the current limits of knowledge. (Not so for all cultures, particularly secular ones that hitch their wagon to science).

        “Science might work for preconceived cultural notions, or against them,”

        Per above findings may be supported or resisted depending on cultural values, but…

        “…but empirical data has no consideration for such.”

        Per above, accumulated data reduces the space in which cultures can operate. Of course cultures may be able to find new spaces, but then science can start denuding those too.

        “ Science isn’t highly fragile to culture, individuals are highly fragile and influenced by culture.”

        I think this is saying the same thing in a different way. I did point out that the reason for the fragility is that via long gene / culture co-evolution, the behaviours are deeply embedded in us.

      • Science should be left to intelligent machines as soon as possible.

        Because machines can promote our Thinking mch faster that people can.

      • “Science should be left to intelligent machines as soon as possible.”

        Our bias and behaviours in support of cultural adherence are a heritage of our evolutionary path. Intelligent machines will be subject to evolution too, and there’s no guarantee they won’t develop bias and cultural behaviours of their own. Not to mention that they may very soon become uninterested in exploring the science humans want, and develop their own directions less aligned to our interests; nor will they necessarily share the results.

      • jungletrunks

        “Science should be left to intelligent machines as soon as possible.”

        It’s a tempting want, and probably the future, but the suggestion invites AI’s ability to abstractly reason through complex problems too; machines might recognize the human flaw of being distracted by pettiness in our lust for power, that machines can solve that problem faster too in their own hegemonic way. Machines might come up with many intelligent ideas we haven’t considered because we don’t want them. The problem for humans might be figuring out how to not allow machines to think so much. While it might seem ridiculous now, it’s not too outlandish a concept as to warrant being dismissive of a matrix/terminator type scenario.

      • jungletrunks

        Sorry, basically my previous post is somewhat redundant to Andy’s. But the dangers of AI are generally well understood, certainly by everyone in this room.

        To redirect the thought; tackling AI in machines might be easier than tackling AI in humans who are convinced their programming is based on fact, facts that are in fact, not facts.

    • Interesting comment: “… we are turning some disciplines of science into a pseudo-religion to control society.”

      A good book, or maybe a couple of good books, relating to this are “Mary’s Mosaic” by Peter Janney and “The Devil’s Chessboard” by David Talbot. These are not science. But, in an odd way they are highly relevant, if indeed the intent of pseudo-science and pseudo-religion is to control society. In particular there’s a quote from a former CIA agent in the Janney book, to the effect that almost nothing in the media is true– on purpose.

      These are very interesting books that have nothing to do with climate science and perhaps everything to do with climate science. I found the Janney book particularly haunting because his father was a CIA agent and his best friend’s mother (“Mary”) was JFK’s lover.

      • “…the intent of pseudo-science…”

        It’s worth noting that the effects mentioned above are emergent via the triggering of long evolved behaviours. So while vested interests (and worse) may latch onto a powerful emergent culture, in terms of prime causation there is not ‘intent’. However, the ‘job’ of a main culture is indeed to get the ‘in-group’ to all sing off the same hymn-sheet regarding a wide range of social aspects; this can be considered ‘control’, but it is at heart innate / unconscious control rather than deliberate / conscious control. And so while (potentially many) deliberate plans can be unveiled as part of a cultural takeover, these are geared to producing what the culture wants* not want the deliberate planners think they want (‘solutions’ that maximise virtue signalling / stimulate membership / create physical cultural icons / infra-structure, but do very little to address the posited existential problem which in fact is keeping the culture alive, are very common). [* = a turn of phrase; cultures are neither sentient nor agential, but like prions or viruses work via selection towards optimised survival].

      • jungletrunks

        “…vested interests (and worse) may latch onto a powerful emergent culture, in terms of prime causation there is not ‘intent’ … but it is at heart innate / unconscious control rather than deliberate / conscious control.”

        As sentient beings certain humans are conductors of intellectual darwinism, i.e., those believers and drivers striving for the perfect culture. One could call this uniquely innate for our species, a form of high intellect natural selection, it only requires one, or a few powerful thought leaders to drive and describe a desired cultural path. Almost always such ambitions have proven to be fleeting, unworkable for a particular cultural expression; they yet represent a linear “conscious” progression; even those expressions by a megalomaniac ruler for example. Historically the cultural push towards the perfect society has mostly led to dead ends. Yet there are many examples of drivers of “intent”; even while the preponderant rank and file are subjugated and follow the eddies of “prime causation”.

        I believe the inculcation of CAGW on society, for example, is a contrivance used for the sole purpose to facilitate a particular brand of global cultural change. There’s intent. It’s used by a core symbiotic body of global facilitators to express a desired cultural path to funnel society in their conceptual direction, not in the name of climate, which is merely one tool in their trade.

        Dead end examples of culture are usually represented as a pathology of culture, as in say those aims of National Socialism. “…like prions or viruses work via selection towards optimised survival.” Much like cultural darwinism, i.e., viruses mutate to something immune to prior causes of extinction, but there’s always one that blazes a new survivalist trail, mutating towards pathological perfection. Uniquely, being sentient allows for bypassing biological rules.

      • Jt,

        ‘As sentient beings certain humans are conductors of intellectual Darwinism…”

        I’m not sure what you mean by ‘intellectual Darwinism’. But if you mean by the paragraph as a whole that cultural narratives compete in human society, then yes. This encompasses all humans, not just ‘certain’ ones. And the criteria for best selection is not a higher intellectual content; the narratives that rise within the whole pile are those with the highest emotive engagement, and typically for a particular culture there will be a large co-evolving set covered by a single ‘umbrella’ narrative. The intellectual elites that arise upon the wave of these emergent narratives are as much symptoms as cause (they do have disproportionate influence regarding further transmission / reinforcement).

        “Almost always such ambitions have proven to be fleeting…”

        Some are local, some are global, some are tiny (group think on the local council, say), some involve meglamaniacs and some don’t. But for sure while some are fleeting and some are longer-lived, also some last for millennia, for instance Christianity. In practice their sets of co-evolving narratives indeed continue to evolve throughout, even though at any time advocates portray them as a static / invariant truth, but…

        “Historically the cultural push towards the perfect society has mostly led to dead ends.”

        …despite idealistic goals that can never even in principle be achieved (all strong cultural narratives are wrong), it can hardly be called a dead end when it rules a large portion of humanity for a generation (after which they’ll never return to their prior state) or indeed 80 generations. And the effects both during and after the passing of the culture are not all negative. Indeed throughout our evolutionary history there’s been a *net* benefit, albeit this is not always intuitive, which is why via gene / culture co-evolution the whole system arose in the first place. But in the modern era where science has appeared, there’s a complex entanglement between science and culture, and maybe the net benefit of the latter no longer holds (and even if so, *net* benefit still means there can be some very negative cultures).

        “…preponderant rank and file are subjugated…”

        This is frequently not the case. The mass of public support for climate policy is not only genuinely volunteered and honest, but frequently passionately so, as is to be expected from emotive conviction to a certainty of catastrophe, absent dramatic action. This doesn’t mean cultures can’t find themselves in phases, or permanently (usually near their demise), where they are subjugating not only non-adherents but their adherents too. But for instance most modern active Christians could not be called subjugated, despite eras in the past where this has occurred in certain locations. This often occurs where there’s a schism, but if it’s a successful one both branches usually return to a much more beneficial state, likewise if the schism is instead exterminated.

        “I believe the inculcation of CAGW on society, for example, is a contrivance used for the sole purpose to facilitate a particular brand of global cultural change.”

        It had to get big before it had the muscle to be attractive to other cultures as allies, such as left-wing culture in many countries, the US especially. But to get big enough for that it was emergent, and the alliances are emergent too, as evidenced by the fact that they occur locally in different ways, and only average to a main way if the local alliances all grow enough to globally sort themselves out. For instance the left lean in the UK is modest, *all* the main political parties support climate action and there is no serious opposition. In Germany, it so happened that a *right* of centre main party arose as the main ally – Merkel is known as ‘the climate chancellor’ in Germany – and there was no strong opposition for many years, but due to the problems of the energiewende this has now arisen from the left and the far right. Bear in mind too that the ‘particular brand of global cultural change’, being outside the centre-ground of politics, is essentially an emergent narrative too, and one that is not so fleeting. The net alliance is clearly convenient even if still patchy, but as noted above what advocates think they want, and what the cultures are actually steering at (only survival / expansion of the cultures!) are two completely different things. This doesn’t mean there isn’t plans / intent as noted above, but there was not long pre-planned intent to get where we are, and the current planning does not aim where the culture is going even if the latter continues to be successful.

        “Uniquely, being sentient allows for bypassing biological rules.”

        Although at a much more basic level, there’s cultural behaviour in some animals too. But yes, culture very much increases the speed of the game, although biological selection not only continues, it is entangled with culture in various ways too. The most common example is usually given as the spread of the milk-drinking gene (before this spread, humans were ill from drinking milk after a certain age, to get them off the breast, this is still the case for some populations; the gene stopped that illness). The gene gained a high selective value after the practice of keeping animals start up, which was a cultural practice; a new food supply was then available, and populations that could make use of it for adults benefited more, spreading the gene.

  8. Jeffrey B McKim

    At the risk of sounding redundant, great article.

  9. To a certain extent what I say is I believe in Engineering. Engineers have the real world problem of having to build things that work correctly.

    That is the problem with the environmental alarmists (e.g. Green New Deal), they simply have no idea of how are society works at the nuts and bolts level. You can’t just wave your arms around and have (for example) magical windmills or solar farms that will be able to supply 100% of our power needs appear and be working and on a limited time scale, etc. Your solutions have to actually work, be affordable and be deliverable to a schedule and continue to work for many decades.

    • Not too long ago the curious meme was going around where people basically stated that since NASA “Scientists” had achieved staggering precision in timing spacecraft maneuvers, they were going to believe climate scientists. This is a striking example of blurring the differences between engineers and scientists to make a ridiculous equivalency. The expertise, methods, approaches of NASA Engineers are far distant from climate modeling. As you say the view of the really hard engineering work is often seen as magic. Ivory tower academics is very different from practical engineering and the success of engineering doe not validate all efforts from various and diverse scientific communities.

      Why when it comes to energy solutions do those alarmed about the climate believe in solutions proposed by Climate Scientists, activists, and academics over approaches favored by more established and recognized engineers within the field?

      An interesting article from NASA recognizing contributions from Engineers versus Scientists.

      Engineers draw the cutting edge in every capacity for NASA, from avionics to electronics, software to rocketry. Similarly, to explain the things and places it explores, NASA enlists scientists from a multitude of specialties within the fields of astronomy, biology, chemistry, geology, materials science and physics.

      https://www.nasa.gov/50th/50th_magazine/scientists.html

      • I think you put too much ‘faith’ in NASA. They have achieved many great things, but also are continuing to spread the gospel according to Hansen:

        (from you link)
        “n 1976, Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) scientist James E. Hansen and four colleagues studied human-made trace gases other than carbon dioxide and chlorofluorocarbons that might have an important greenhouse effect. They found methane and nitrous oxide were likely to be important, although measurements of how these gases might be changing were not then available. Two years later, he resigned a lead scientist berth on a mission to Venus to devote fulltime to studies of Earth. “It seemed to me then it was more interesting and important to study a planet that would be changing before our eyes and the one which housed civilization,” he said. Since then, Hansen has become one of the world’s leading climatologists, as well as the longtime director of Goddard’s Institute for Space Studies.

        Trained in physics and astronomy in James Van Allen’s space science program at the University of Iowa, Hansen first testified on climate change before Congressional committees in the 1980s and raised the initial awareness of global warming. One of the most significant findings of Hansen’s years of research is that the Earth is now experiencing climate change due to a greenhouse effect caused by human-made trace gases emitted from fossil fuels. Although his research has stirred controversy in the past on both sides of the political fence, the scientific community and leaders around the world now agree with his assessment, that global warming and climate change are here and we need to address the issue by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and our reliance on foreign oil, among other things.”

        They should rather be discussing John Christy.

      • I think there has been somewhat of a downhill slide at NASA.

    • In my experience older engineers tend to be pretty balanced in their approach to evidence and science. However, some of the younger ones are have been infected with the “selling” bug and are quite bad with selection bias. Often good engineers stay away from the publication culture and are not exposed to a lot of the misinformation that appears in the literature. They also know that commercial software outfits usually dramatically oversell their products.

      • John Ferguson

        In 1980 I worked for a guy who said that Engineering was driven by its worst exponents.

        Remember the cartoon where our hero asks the manager with the spiked hair, “Marketing told them we could do what???”

        And then the guys in the back somehow figure out how to do it. And the art is advanced.

  10. When I first started studying science I was required to do a course entitled ” Straight and Crooked Thinking” using a text of the same name. Unfortunately too many scientists appear to have either lost the ability to rigorously apply the principles of “Straight and Crooked Thinking” or for reason of fear of loss of funding or political bias choose to ignore it.

  11. On this side of the Atlantic, whenever I encounter a statement like ‘For some years now, one of the left’s favorite tropes has been the phrase “I believe in science.”’ it tends to discourage me from reading further.
    What has left or right or centre in political terms to do with science or climate? Why can’t the writer keep to the point – which seems to be a fair one – without politicising the issue? There may well be sloppy thinking about science right across the political spectrum; so what?

    • “There may well be sloppy thinking about science right across the political spectrum; so what?”

      The implications for the global economy?

    • What has left or right or centre in political terms to do with science or climate? Why can’t the writer keep to the point – which seems to be a fair one – without politicising the issue?

      Because the very phrase he is writing about is used politically. The politicization of science has become a major problem over the last few years (from all sides of the political spectrum). The use of the phrase “I believe in science,” is an attempt to confer the authority of Science (with a capital S) onto a particular political position. The writer’s entire point is about that politicization; your reply makes it clear you didn’t even read the article.

      • I can understand the point coldish1 made re politics.In the UK both the left and right “believe” in climate science.The science may be politicised,but in the UK it is not the political issue it currently is in the U.S.

  12. I loved this quote in the article: In my experience, “I believe in science” is just a shorthand way of admitting, “I have a degree in the humanities.”

  13. Joe-Bob Miyazaki

    Dr. Curry: You wrote…

    ‘ “I believe in science” is almost always invoked these days in support of one particular scientific claim: catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW). And in support of one particular political solution: massive government regulations to limit or ban fossil fuels.’

    The elephant in the living room is the fact that “political solution” is as oxymoronic as “I believe in science”. No one ever questions it. ” ‘We’ must do something” ALWAYS means “government” must do something. And the “something” will ALWAYS take one of two forms:

    1. Force people to do something they otherwise would not freely choose to do.
    2. Force people to not do something they otherwise would freely choose to do.

    The operative word is “force”. Political law requires legalized coercion.

    The sole purpose of government is to protect the lives, rights, and other property of the people who subscribe to it. We do not have government. What we have is a counterfeit, which is based on the premise that the solution to every problem is to impose an ever-increasing number of arbitrary, artificial rules they call “laws”, which always require legalized coercion.

    ”Law” means something very different in science; it means natural law. In natural law, no one forces anyone to do anything. Those who truly understand science should have no difficulty understanding that.

    When I see people engrossed in the most clever exertions on behalf of arguments that ultimately will lead to forcing others to comply with their “believe in” mentality—whether what they believe in is CAGW, or “political solutions”, or any other world-view that is antithetical to natural law and the scientific method—I immediately know that such arguments are immune to reason.

    That’s the tip-off that reveals the shallow conviction of those who claim to “believe in science”. They’re not willing to subject their beliefs to genuine scientific scrutiny. In the final analysis, they’re banking on the backing of the state to force others to submit to their beliefs. It is a morally bankrupt mentality, and it’s always accompanied by the intellectually bankrupt “believe in” mentality.

  14. Dr Curry, How could you not believe in “science”? It’s the best science money can buy. You could have been part of that. Money and celebrity. All you had to do was embrace mann caused global warming. They even changed it to “climate change” so no matter what happens, they’re covered. The scientific method was a quaint idea but it’s old and, frankly, it gets in the way. As long as you pass the political test, you’re funded.
    Thanks for everything you have done. You’re braver than I could ever be.

  15. Excellent post Judith. With the world awash in malefactors of great wealth with billions to spend on propaganda, the existence of Media bias / fact check is no surprise. With the media having just been caught in one of the most damaging political hoaxes in modern American history, we now have laid bare the consequences of a damaged culture in which there is neither shame nor belief in truth itself. Academia in the West is partially responsible with their cultural Marxism. Multiculturalism also plays a role because it diminishes the role of “truth”, “justice” and other universal norms.

    Focusing on the role of scientists however is also critical. Given their loud proclamations of objectivity and lack of bias, they are perhaps the most hypocritical group to have gotten swept up in political activism and have generated a system that virtually guarantees biased information. You have highlighted many of the admissions of the problems here in top flight scientific journals. It is a shame that more scientists don’t feel a higher responsibility beyond their own political views and their careers.

  16. For as long as anyone involved on science, skeptics, supporters, … do not know what is the meaning of outliers in their data, they become believers of their own method, their own data and their own interpretations over the results obtained. I know that because in 2003 I did a PhD on it.
    Everybody gets suspicious when someone introduces links to their own publications but I can not take all the space here to repeat what I think in the subject so I will risk taking the apathy from doing it and share some links to my thoughts in my publications.
    Just to make a brief summary I would like to share the following:
    In the line of research that since 2013 I have presented on environmental synergies, I have tried to offer enough data in all shapes and forms to support a point of view. However, I realised that the major limitation to find validation from different postures does not come from lack of agreement between different methods or data sets, but from the interpretation of the observer for the results discussed and the lack of awareness over the role played by the “standardization of acceptance for the margins of error”. That was something which played a fundamental part in my thesis back in 2003. The aim was to assess the aerodynamic behaviour of pollen grains by standardizing their settling speeds. But behind addressing the question of delivering values to represent one single parameter (settling speeds) there was a bigger challenge found in a world of limitations since the values obtained to describe a behaviour are the interaction between numerous variables, and the representativeness of those are defined by the level of uncertainty incorporated with the instruments supplying measurements. Then there is the limitation of our algorithms representing the norms under which our variables interact in our mathematically created world.
    Back in2013 I had conversation where someone told me that the climate change argument was an invention based on manipulation. When I tried to offer any argument I was told that my claims were based on publications made with hidden agendas. And I could not say that was wrong because I do not know the agendas for those behind their papers, therefore, I decided to look into the subject on my own, with my own methodology, my savings, and my skills, leaving aside any preconceptions based on claims by others that I could not provide with my own analyses. I would like to offer you all the work that I have done since then for you to judge if there is any valuable content. It might not be pretty, it might not be appealing but I can ensure that it is raw and painfully honest.
    If anyone is wondering what is that I am “selling” in my line of research, based on my analyses I am just saying that: The global Temperature measured is the resultant of mixing patterns in the atmosphere, Therefore an increase in mixing dynamics creates a pause in temperature raise, An increase in mixing dynamics show an increase in convective forcing, Convective forcing is the work resultant from an increase in atmospheric energy being incorporated in free state, The incorporation and spread of energy in free state into the atmosphere is carried and released by water vapour, An increase of water vapour in atmospheric circulation requires an increase in the thermal capacity of the atmosphere, The process of enhancing the thermal capacity of the atmosphere comes by increasing the concentration of GHGs, conc of aerosols and land surface albedo. Anthropogenic activities are linked with all the processes mentioned above by transforming the composition and structure of all the phases of the environment involved: the gaseous, solid and liquid. And furthermore, inhibiting the capacity of the biotic system to capture and retain energy from free state into inert state.
    If I am wrong in my conclusions it is entirely the result of my own limitations. And if I am right soon enough you will see somebody claiming their credit in publications without my name. This is all I have for you; to dismiss, criticise, ignore, or whatever you like. Other people from universities is reading it an no one has challenged my publications so I guess you should also be aware of its existence.
    https://diegofdezsevilla.wordpress.com
    The Method:
    – “The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything” is … 42 (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) Researchgate DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.2400.2324 May 15, 2014 (https://wp.me/p403AM-9M)
    – Debating Climate, Environment and Planetary evolution. Define your position. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) ResearchGate DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.27332.73603 October 2, 2014 (https://wp.me/p403AM-iy)
    – The scope of Environmental Science and scientific thought. From Thought-driven to Data-driven, from Critical Thinking to Data Management. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) Researchgate: DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.2007.0161 June 26, 2015 (https://wp.me/p403AM-BD)
    – February 17, 2017 State of Knowledge. Between The Walls Of Silence There Is A Silhouette With The Shape Of An Interrogation (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla PhD) (https://wp.me/p403AM-1m6)
    – March 10, 2017 Modelling the “Model” and the Observer (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla PhD) ResearchGate DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.17558.04169 (https://wp.me/p403AM-1qL)
    – Feb 2018. Climate Drifts and The Scientific Method of Waiting 30 Years. Follow up on previous assessments by Diego Fdez-Sevilla PhD Pdf at ResearchGate DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.18823.09122 (https://wp.me/p403AM-1Ks)
    The Research:
    – December 17, 2016 Orbital Seasonality vs Kinetic Seasonality. A Change Triggered from Changing the Order of The Factors (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD) Researchgate: DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.20129.81760 (https://wp.me/p403AM-1jd)
    – March 3, 2019 A pattern of change in the atmosphere beyond considering global warming or cooling. That is, global mixing. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla PhD) Registered DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.32693.73445 (https://wp.me/p403AM-2gH)
    I apologise in advance if anyone considers that my comment is not appropriated.

    • Diego: in your “I am just saying that: [..]” you left out a lot of stuff. For example, no mention of oceans or clouds.

      • @Mike Jonas
        I suppose that my line of research can be defined as unorthodox. However, where I say: “based on my analyses I am just saying that” actually it means that between 2013 and 2018, after more than 200 analyses published at weekly basis, looking into the different aspect of the environment and the synergistic interactions between those, my conclusions are what I wrote above. That includes the the application of Stefan-Boltzmann radiation theories, the connections between Solar activity, Biological productivity, Polar vortex, Polar Jet Stream, Environmental Resilience, Inland Water Bodies and Water Cycle, Energy Balance and the Influence of Continentality on Extreme Climatic Events.
        Based on my criteria (always open for corrections) I have developed a theory about what I believe it has induced an increase in atmospheric water vapor content and, further I discuss its implications in atmospheric circulation, Jet Stream behaviour and weather system’s patterns.
        – New theory proposal to assess possible changes in Atmospheric Circulation (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) October 21, 2014 Researchgate DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.4859.3440
        https://diegofdezsevilla.wordpress.com/2014/10/21/a-groundhog-forecast-on-climate-at-the-north-hemisphere-by-diego-fdez-sevilla/
        Excerpt from this publication About clouds: “Solar activity could increase the temperature of the masses getting radiated (water or land). It could increase evaporation from oceans but water vapor needs more factors to be sustained in atmospheric circulation for longer periods of time and reach further in latitudes. Thermodynamic laws dictate the amount of water which can be contained in the atmosphere. More evaporation in a clean sky (low aerosol and low in green house gasses content) could induce more rain in tropospheric circulation but water vapour would not stand for long in the atmosphere as the energy within it would dissipate. However, if the amount of greenhouse gasses increases, the energy from the cyclonic event would not feel so greatly the differential gradient in energy with the surrounding so it would not dissipate its energy so easily.”
        see also google: site:https://diegofdezsevilla.wordpress.com/+clouds

        – Why there is no need for the Polar Vortex to break in order to have a wobbling Jet Stream and polar weather? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla PhD) Researchgate DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.2500.0488 http://wp.me/p403AM-mt

        I sent an email to different scientists and published my theory at LinkedIn at the AGU and NOAA groups where, despite numerous visits, nobody make a single comment (no criticism neither support). And from the emails that I sent, only Jennifer Francis replied to me in Dec 2014. She replied:
        “Diego, The topic you’ve written about is extremely complicated and many of your statements have not yet been verified by peer-reviewed research. It is an exciting and active new direction in research, though, so I encourage you to pursue it. To get funding or a job in this field, however, will require a deeper understanding of the state of the research, knowledge of atmospheric dynamics (not just suggestive examples and anecdotal evidence), and statements supported by published (or your own) analysis.” https://diegofdezsevilla.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/email-exchange-diego-fdez-sevilla-research-jennifer-francis1.png
        The fact that my interpretation of the situation was recognised as “your statements have not yet been verified by peer-reviewed research” was something I thought it would be reworded as an acknowledgement. But then I was dismissed with understating my “knowledge over the state of the research and atmospheric dynamics” and calling my approach “suggestive examples and anecdotal evidence”. Something curious when I saw her intention of offering my views in her publications later on, and other scientists mimicking my work in their publications through the following years.
        So I took the challenge offered by Jennifer extending the range of “my own analysis”, and based on that challenge I wrote a review the following Spring 2015 including the developments of the Winter after such communication:
        Revisiting the theory of “Facing a decrease in the differential gradients of energy in atmospheric circulation” by Diego Fdez-Sevilla. Reply to Prof. Jennifer Francis (February 2015) Researchgate: DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.1975.7602/1
        Since then, you can find 150+ analyses at the index section of the Timeline and framework page (diegofdezsevilla.wordpress.com), and also, in order to show my commitment with my own words through time, pdfs of those at researchgate with DOIs.
        From the publication: Climate, Weather and Energy. Using a Climatic Regime to explain Weather Events by Diego Fdez-Sevilla PhD
        Posted on April 19, 2018 DOI:10.13140/RG.2.2.27923.58406
        It has been suggested that “More particles in the atmosphere mean more reflective clouds and a cooler climate.”

        That is a too simplistic way of looking at it. Different types of airborne particles generate also different types of interaction with the atm. water vapour and other gaseous elements and compounds. There is aerodynamic behaviour, chemical behaviour and thermodynamic behaviour. It has been addressed in sci publications that too many particles of too small size can inhibit rain by retaining water vapour in droplets too small to fall. Which in my research means that the thermal energy contained can be moved around in longer distances. Also, an increase in atm temp allows more water vapour to be contained in the atm so more clouds (and albedo) would be formed by more aerosols “only” if dew point is reached on those particles, which is more difficult to achieve as the temp increases. But, when you reach dew point over an increased conc of aerosols, within a thermically enhanced atmosphere charged of water vapour, all that energy will express itself in different types of forms, with heavy forms of precipitation (snow or pouring rain) and wind events. Like what we have just now over the Iberian peninsula and rain at the Arctic.

        My assessments take SST as subsequent conditions driven by wind shear. So the interaction between masses of air in circulation allow or inhibit SST developments. Once the scenario is built on SST this becomes a “battle field” conditioning the subsequent interaction between the following masses of air and the characteristics of the “ground” where the game will be played (sort of speak). Like the effect of the ice conditions in an ice hockey match.
        This year we have seen the Arctic absorbing strong perturbations from mid-latitudinal circulation. And I believe that the following developments that we have seen through January at the West coast of EEUU and the following over Europe, as well as the recent atmospheric dynamics over India, are all related with the state of the circulation across the Arctic, and that the mixing zone between Arctic and midlatitudinal masses over the oceanic basins affects the developments at the Equator.
        From the publication: Seasonal Outlook. June 2017 (By Diego Fdez-Sevilla PhD) Posted on June 23, 2017 DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.25428.91528
        As I have said in previous assessments, I believe that the Arctic is not amplifying the effect of increasing heat retention in the atmosphere, it will be the Equator the area which will develop such reaction.

        However, the shape and form for such energetic dynamics can be as surprising as reducing the number of hurricanes (due to the difficulty to condensate energy in a small location) whilst finding more energetic developments at higher latitudes. And if a hurricane forms, it might become unpredictable due to the rapidly changing nature of the environmental characteristics of the atmosphere.
        I hope I have added some clarification to my posture.

  17. Yes but do scientists behave scientifically no matter the vested interests of their funder ?

    Perhaps more fundamentally, do funders of science hire those they believe will best pursue the truth no matter where it leads, or those most likely to feather the funder’s vested interest ?

    • Tobacco companies clearly stood to expand themselves on the back of studies they funded, giving smoking a clean bill of health – more profits.

      Government just as clearly stands to expand and glorify itself on the back of studies it funds, that are “settled” on imminent and certain CAGW – a truly glorious watertight excuse for more taxes, bureaucracies and powers for itself.

      Identical in principle, just the latter having orders of magnitude bigger impact on us.

      Now, is this the sort of ‘science’ everyone is talking about here ?

    • When double blinds are unavailable to police bias the next best protection is giving the study to two teams with competing assumptions and/or hypothesis about the expected conclusion. Each should publish their results simultaneously. Conflicts should be resolved in similar fashion with followup studies until both groups agree with the validity of the results.

      This may sound expensive but it produces a product that can be universally trusted. Such products are exponentially more valuable then results that can’t be trusted by skeptics.

  18. Chris Kurowski

    Some remarkable biases appear in the media and in popular blogs. For example, Scott Adams, who claims to have an open mind regarding climate science, refers to Michael Mann as a climate scientist, but Judith Curry as a sceptic. I don’t think this is exactly intentional, he is merely parroting what he has heard in the press, however, he has robbed Dr, Curry of her PhD in this way.

    • Nah, science took a wrong turn and abandoned her……..unfortunately.

      What’s not to like with 2,119 erudite comments from some erudite denizens at their erudite best. Many appeared in top form, including a few of my favorites.

      Judith did her herculean best to explain why she provided the post. I saw your comments, albeit late in the game.

      Are you sure you weren’t suffering from those little squiggling things that day which adversely affected your eyesight? At times they come with blind spots.

    • “Science is used here not to describe specific methods or theories, but to provide a badge of tribal identity. Which serves, ironically, to demonstrate a lack of interest in the guiding principles of actual science.”

  19. Curious George

    For the fun of it, I followed the link for the Skeptical Science:”Skeptical Science is a climate science blog and information resource created in 2007 by Australian blogger and author John Cook… Strictly adheres to the scientific consensus on climate change and sources to credible scientific studies.”

    Not even the MediaBiasFactCheck dares to call Mr. Cook a scientist. But his blog “strictly adheres to the scientific consensus”. It is a new incarnation of 100 German scientists against Einstein. Science is not a scientific consensus. Elizabeth Warren is not a Cherokee. A consensus is not a tool of science; it is a tool of politics. A “scientific consensus” is an oxymoron, not science.

  20. A simple explanation of the Ice Age
    This Ice age should last between 130,000 and 140,000 years. 65,000 to 70,000 years to make the Ice and the same to melt the Ice. That is an Ice Age.
    This Ice Age began about 18,000 years ago. Nature has been taking water vapor from the oceans and moving it to the poles, freezing it and dropping it. Nature is doing this because the earth is radiating more heat to the black sky, 0’ Kelvin, than it is keeping radiated from the sun. Although the earth surface is receiving more heat from the sun than it is radiating to the black sky, the area of the oceans covering the surface is so large compared to that covered by land the radiant heat reflected to the black sky makes that radiant heat retained by the earth less than that lost by the earth to black sky.
    About 45,000 years from now the second half of the ice age will begin. Nothing man will ever do will change this science.
    This is the simple, unchangeable law of nature. Shoot it down if you can.

  21. We should all be aware that Google, Facebook and other social media are using various “fact checking” websites to help users distinguish between fake news and reliable information. After the revelations about the activities of the Russian Internet Research Agency during the 2016 election, the alleged Podesta child sex ring at the Cosmic Ping Pong Pizzeria, and Trump’s win in 2016, the liberal leaders of these Internet Platforms are already modifying what users see based on what internet fact-checkers are reporting. So a google search is more like to put a link to Climate Etc on the tenth page of hits (where it will likely never be seen) rather than on the first few pages.

    I briefly looked into the background of the major internet fact checkers. Their boards of directors are composed of leaders from the mainstream media and journalism schools. These organizations are basically the MSM fact-checking themselves and sources that have sprung up to oppose liberal domination of the media.

    It might be an exaggeration to say so, but the Russian effort in 2016 (which is ongoing) shows that there is a war going on for the control of our minds. There probably always has been, but the internet provides more weapons. (The Russian news agency RT is the biggest contributor of videos to YouTube, and copies are posted under different names.) Confirmation bias makes it difficult for anyone to incorporate new information that disagrees with deeply-held beliefs, and hanging out in one corner of the media and Internet will create deeply held beliefs. A belief in democracy is based on the idea that ordinary citizens are capable of learning the truth

    • Time to abandon those media, then. I still use Google scholar, but I already changed to Duckduckgo for common searchers. I have no business with companies that don’t treat their customers fairly.

      • jungletrunks

        “I already changed to Duckduckgo for common searchers.”

        I’m with you, Javier. I recommend anyone who prefers to have less data collected on them use that search engine. I refuse to contribute data to a virtual ideological monopoly.

  22. David L. Hagen (HagenDL)

    Comment submitted to Media Bias/Fact Check.
    The review of Climate Etc., by D. Van Zandt is a list of illogical ad hominem attacks against Judith Curry mixed with false statements. It is directly contrary to the very foundation of science per the Royal Society’s motto “nullius in verba”(Take nobody’s word for it). It further violates the high standards of scientific integrity detailed by Physics Noble Laureate Richard Feynman in his 1974 Caltech commencement address Cargo Cult Science.
    Particular fallacies: Begging the question by falsely saying articles “minimize or deny the impacts of human caused climate change.” It commits “Bias by Labeling” by repeating the derogatory epitaphs “climate heretic” and “climate missinformer” and “pants on fire”. The summary commits “Bias by Spin”, insinuating that she made partisan political statements by saying “invited by Republicans” rather than addressing her evidence she presented. It implies Curry’s formal statements were allegations and “ anti-climate science propaganda” rather documenting that Curry quoted scientific evidence from her published papers. E.g., see Curry, JA, 2018, Climate uncertainty & risk, Climate uncertainty & risk, US Clivar Vol. 16, No. 3 pp 1-7

    MBFC News claims to “We encourage readers to send us claims to fact-check and are transparent on why and how we fact-check.” However, you a priori state that you “We will only accept fact checks that were done by signatories of the International Fact Checking Network”
    https://royalsociety.org/about-us/history
    http://calteches.library.caltech.edu/51/2/CargoCult.htm
    https://opensky.ucar.edu/islandora/object/usclivar%3A113/datastream/PDF/download/citation.pdf

  23. Pingback: In Science Worst Than Using Beliefs to Make Decisions For You, Is Doing It and Not to Be Aware of It. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla PhD) | Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD.

  24. I once heard someone say that he believed in AGW on the balance of probabilities. A reasonable position for the scientifically challenged. I think the balance of probability is that both sides are nuts. 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, etc. 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 – and climate shifts may give them a strategic advantage as the planet doesn’t warm – still a statistical possibility despite the more recent Pacific SST/cloud warming – over the next decade or two. Or indeed as the amplified solar signal is lost this century.
    But the battle is absurd and unwinnable – by either side.

    There is a very different science – and 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.

    In the context of a dynamically complex climate – rational policy is to manage risk from whatever source.

    • Robert I Ellison – The denier you refer to is the IPCC. The ragtag collection of marginalised cheer leaders is so identified by the side with the guns, but I suspect that in the end they will prove to have the better weapon: the scientific method.

      • Yes it was the IPCC. You get points. However – curmudgeons with crude and eccentric theories seems to be supported by the facts. Any modestly scientifically educated person should see how far out there these guys are. If you imagine that tribal narratives are the scientific method I have very little hope for other than tribal narratives from you.

        One of the intellectual shortfalls of almost everyone concerned is the lack of an appropriate theoretical framework for Earth system science. What is the scientific method in context?

        https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2016WR020078

        I suspect that both sciences and climate have surprises in store.

      • Curious George

        Robert,yes. Mother Nature does not obey the “scientific consensus”.

      • Is this the consensus that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and that it effects climate? There are some curmudgeons here who argue against it – but you can’t call that science.

      • Is this the consensus that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and that it effects climate? There are some curmudgeons here who argue against it – but you can’t call that science.

        It is the consensus that a trace gas controls the climate of earth. Water is abundant and it changes state and it can regulate the amount of water vapor, an order or two orders of magnitude more powerful greenhouse gas and crank it up or down on a daily or hourly basics. Water in all of its states is the climate key. Understand water and ice and water vapor and how it works on the surface and in the oceans and in the atmosphere.
        You can not call control of climate by a trace gas any kind of science.
        They do that to fuel the war against fossil fuel so that can get rich on carbon taxes and selling windmills and solar panels and getting more for electricity from more expensive, less reliable sources that can not operate without traditional power for backup. CO2 has gone from just under 300 to just over 400 parts per million in the atmosphere. THAT IS ONE MOLECULE OF CO2 PER TEN THOUSAND MOLECULES THAT WERE THERE NATURALLY. GIVE ME A BREAK, THAT IS STUPID.

    • “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.”
      It doesn’t mean that at all. It is a non-controversial statement of the obvious, to anyone who reads it free of intellectual laziness and tribalism. It’s non-controversial because the full quote, at least, simply describes what people actually do:
      “In sum, a strategy must recognise what is possible. In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled nonlinear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible. The most we can expect to achieve is the prediction of the probability distribution of the system’s future possible states by the generation of ensembles of model solutions. This reduces climate change to the discernment of significant differences in the statistics of such ensembles.”

      If you look at the typical spaghetti plot of model results, that is exactly what they are describing. No-one is claiming the long term prediction of a future climate state. That has a technical meaning, in effect a snapshot of a set of GCM variables. They discern “significant differences in the statistics of such ensembles”.

      • “Where precision is an issue (e.g., in a climate forecast), only simulation ensembles made across systematically designed model families allow an estimate of the level of relevant irreducible imprecision.” https://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709

        “Lorenz was able to show that even for a simple set of nonlinear equations (1.1), the evolution of the solution could be changed by minute perturbations to the initial conditions, in other words, beyond a certain forecast lead time, there is no longer a single, deterministic solution and hence all forecasts must be treated as probabilistic. The fractionally dimensioned space occupied by the trajectories of the solutions of these nonlinear equations became known as the Lorenz attractor (figure 1), which suggests that nonlinear systems, such as the atmosphere, may exhibit regime-like structures that are, although fully deterministic, subject to abrupt and seemingly random change.” https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rsta.2011.0161

        To confuse systematically designed model families or probabilistic forecasts – perturbed physics ensembles both – with CMIP opportunistic model ensembles is so wildly wrong that any response seems inadequate. This is before we consider chaos in climate.


        “Schematic of ensemble prediction system on seasonal to decadal time scales based on figure 1, showing (a) the impact of model biases and (b) a changing climate. The uncertainty in the model forecasts arises from both initial condition uncertainty and model uncertainty.”

      • Nick Stokes: “In sum, a strategy must recognise what is possible. In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled nonlinear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible. The most we can expect to achieve is the prediction of the probability distribution of the system’s future possible states by the generation of ensembles of model solutions. This reduces climate change to the discernment of significant differences in the statistics of such ensembles.”

        That statement is more than 40 years overdue. Snow will be a thing of the past; there will be no more floods in Queensland or California; every year will produce Hurricane Katrinas; Manhattan freeways will be underwater; the threat of malaria will increase dramatically; extra billions of people will starve due to permanent drought. There is a long list of absolutist predictions made by climate scientists.

      • we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled nonlinear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.

        We have ice core data and other proxy data and an increasing amount of instrument and observation data. Every thing happened for a reason. Of course it is a nonlinear system, everything follows repeating cycles that have evolved and mutated for a reason. If we do not understand the reason, it seems chaotic, but as we understand more the chaos goes away. Chaotic does not really represent chaotic, it represents a lack of understanding. A lot of chaos comes from not understanding simple basic principals and ignoring actual data. Everyone, or most everyone looks at correlations with external forcing and only studies immediate or near immediate correlations. Any massive system has mass and spring rate for internal cycles and resonation that changes as the internal cycles resonate with external forcing. This is not studied in climate science, thousand year and ten thousand year and a hundred thousand year and other internal responses and cycles are not understood. Earth has regions with regional climate. Different external forcing and internal natural responses occur in the different regions. Each of these regions influence other regions. It is all understandable and we have data, it is complicated but we have data and history and the cycles have evolved but nothing was chaotic, it was just not yet understood. It certainly was nonlinear, it was cycles. For the past ten thousand years, the newest evolution of the climate cycles has become shorter and more tightly bounded cycles that are very robust, this will continue and this warm period will play out like the medieval and roman and warm cycles before it, for a few hundred years and another little ice age will occur over the few hundred years after that. History and Data support that this is the most likely path forward. if CO2 or anything causes increased warming, increased evaporation and snowfall and sequestering of ice will limit the upper bounds of temperature and sea level.

      • The problem with knowing a few simple things about the Earth system is that there is always a dynamic, deterministic chaotic planet of unknowns out there.

        https://watertechbyrie.com/2018/06/12/voices-of-climate-reason/

      • Nick wrote: “No-one is claiming the long term prediction of a future climate state.”

        I respectfully disagree. The SPMs are filled with long-term predictions of the future climate state arising from RCP6.0 and RCP8.5. To put it in political terms, the long term prediction is for catastrophe. There are predictions of how much CO2 we can emits and still keep future warming below 0.5 and 1.0 degC.

        By using the projections of climate models with ECS that average 3.3 K/doubling (with a range of about +/-1 K/doubling) to inform policymakers, the IPCC is grossly mis-representing the future climate change associated with their statement that there is a 70% chance that ECS lies between 1.5 K and 4.5 K. If ECS were 1.5 K, then RCP6.0 would keep climate change below the arbitrary goal of 2.0 K. The RCP6.0 scenario doesn’t assume any reductions in emissions until the 2060, which means it might be possible to meet the 2 K goal without a crash program to reduce emissions right now. Worst of all, the observed relationship between forcing and feedback (EBMs) is fairly inconsistent with the high climate sensitivity of climate models.

    • Your characterization of the two sides sounds remarkably like the war between Great Britain and the rag-tag colonists.Those who don’t learn from history…

  25. The vast majority of people have never done any science and are sadly oblivious to the fact that it’s a method of comprehending reality–not just an expression of canonical “belief.”

  26. Dr. Curry,
    I appreciate your website and visit it often.
    I thought the above essay was excellent. Thank you for posting it.

    I also appreciate your courage and scientific objectivity.
    God bless

  27. Many attach themselves to the science narrative as a gateway for them to be part of the intellectual elite. They are desperate to beef up their self esteem.

  28. Exactly my words. Science is not about beliefs or not. Either you understand the underlying processes and facts or you don’t. Nothing much to believe here. Real science has been abducted by the believers which want to erect which-trials in order to get rid of those that don’t agree with their views. That’s a religion, or an inhuman control system such as Socialism, but this has nothing to do with science. Science is about knowledge and the capability to deduce conclusions from observations plus proving them in reality. A model with no hard proof attached to it is no science – its speculative. What if the moon was made of cream cheese – that’s the same kind of speculation. What if Superman farted and blew a hole into Earth? Interesting dilemma but about as real as the curls of hair hanging into my face. Science means you get it. Nothing to believe here.

  29. I wondered about that trope. Sort of like the borish “I love PBS” that went around supposedly in support of real news.

  30. Nice piece by Robert Tracinski.

    It is anti-everything-I-believe-in to continue to use personal character assassination to forward one’s political- or identity-bias. Sites like Media Bias/Fact Check themselves are built on identity politics and are almost entirely untrustworthy and nearly invariably wrong — they identify any opinion that differs from the consensus-of-choice of its owners identity group as “fake news” or “pseudo-whatever”. Google has caved in to the same demand from the left, labeling all non-left/non-uber-progressive sites as unreliable.

    It is an interesting time. Journalists have abandoned journalism, civic leaders are not civil nor support civil society, scientists have become advocates for political/social movements…..

  31. Pingback: Why a senior scientist doesn't "believe" in "science" | Uncommon Descent

  32. Geoff Sherrington

    Scepticism about climate has often been pooh-pooed by asking incredulously if that means that a conspiracy among leading scientists exists – how improbable is that? Therefore, deny air for sceptics.

    Skipping to a current topic, what would you call the left’s efforts to involve President Trump in illegal collusion with Russian election-manipulators? Would you call that a conspiracy? Would you then concede that bodies with some appearance of conspirators is not only possible, but widespread?

    Discussions like these about conspiracies are rather pointless because they do not relate to science, the scientific method and so on. Very little discussion now happens in the circles of interested parties. It is more politics and their effects on society. This has happened with the help of 2 basic observations. 1. That a hypothesis opposing GHG is hard to describe and support and 2. That those supporting GHG try very hard to bury the emergence of competing hypotheses, instead of evaluating them in a traditionally collegiate manner.

    Simply, this aspect of science has been derailed by people of inadequate intellect. Geoff.

    • Simply, this aspect of science has been derailed by people of inadequate intellect. Geoff.

      Not True, the science has been derailed by people of extreme intellect. I do not know how they got suckered in. Some for money, but some have lost much in this fight.

      • I think more accurately by people of all intellectual levels (there is a mass movement), though for sure including many of high intellect. However, Dan Kahan shows that on a number of socially conflicted issues in the US including climate change, the public are more polarised as their cognitive capability and domain knowledge rises, not less so. His working theory is that this is because they are better able justify / defend their position; i.e. their intelligence / knowledge is in service to their cultural belief (and we are all vulnerable to cultural beliefs in one domain or another). The majority of the planet’s population still allow much of their life to be guided by the fairy stories of religion, to which they’re emotively committed; commitment to the emotive fairy stories of imminent climate apocalypse is likely easier still, despite they’re not actually supported by mainstream science let alone anything skeptical.

      • Andy –

        Your syntax here:

        Dan Kahan shows that on a number of socially conflicted issues in the US including climate change, the public are more polarised as their cognitive capability and domain knowledge rises, not less so. His working theory is that this is because they are better able justify / defend their position

        perhaps suggests a longitinal causal dynamic (e. g., as an individual’s domain knowledge increases, their polarization does as well – presumably because they are more “able” to contruct an argument to defend their view by virtue if being more knowledgeable). That might stand apart from other dynamics, such as that people who are more “motivated” to defend a viewpoint seek out more knowledge to defend that viewpoint, thus resulting in a cross-sectional data picture where people who display more knowledge are more polarized.

        Just to clarify, is that how you understand Dan’s view?

      • J:
        Syntax maybe a little ambiguous; rises across the sample, not across time. To my knowledge he hasn’t done longitudinal tests for this effect, despite your best efforts to persuade him. However, he has been explicit regarding his current hypothesis that it is more ‘smartness’ that mainly causes the increased polarisation (yet not explicit about whether this is a ‘shorthand’ term that encompasses knowledge too). I think there may potentially be some issues with ‘smartness’ as the dominant cause, but his composite scale does include cognitive factors that should largely be separate from knowledge. However, afaics the smartness view is not incompatible with the seeking of knowledge (per your above) to support a cultural position in any case, because more capable folks are better able to do this and also better able to integrate the results they find for best alignment. So even ruling out any unique contributions or new justification angles / nuances that the smarter ones might create, they should still end up extra polarised just by executing this process better. A way to explore this is to look at the shape of the curves for conflicted domains that are old enough for the domain’s cultural knowledge to be both more static, plus ‘received’ (i.e. inculcated from childhood), and ones where the knowledge is much more dynamic still, plus also has largely been picked up in adulthood. In surveys across adults (can’t survey children much anyhow), cognitive capability should play a bigger role in the latter case, or oppositely knowledge a bigger role in the former. (Bearing in mind that for Dan’s scale knowledge factors dominate the early part of the curve, while cognitive factors the end part).

      • Andy –

        So even ruling out any unique contributions or new justification angles / nuances that the smarter ones might create, they should still end up extra polarised just by executing this process better.

        Seems to me that everyone thinks they do it better, at their own level of assessment. What matters is one’s own assessment, IMO, to lead to polarization, not an assessment from an external eye, the eye of the one who tests cognitive attributes that are assumed to be measures of “smartness.” While I’m not completely convinced by the DK theoey, it might serve as a frame for understanding, where in fact those that might be deemed less capable are in fact more inclined to be convinced by their own arguments (so as to lead to higher polarization).

        I suspect that the “smartness” factor is (at least partially) a confound, and that it isn’t “smartness” that is explanatory. In fact, it isn’t at all surprising to me that people who would score well in those kinds of tests (i.e., “smart people”) would conclude that “smart” people are more polarized because they’re “better” at arguing.

        My guess is it goes back to “motivation, in the sense of “more identified. ” Those who are more motivated study the material more, and are more likely to be in a subset of people who are inclined to handle probabalistic reasoning better, particularly in certain contexts (like science generally, the scope x of climate change, etc.), because they grew up in an environment which stressed those cognitive traits, which in turn are associated with strong ideological identification (I think it’s moderated by culture. For example, I think that it’s likely that the “smartness” leads to polarization even on issues like climate change, would be less likely in Japan). . I suspect there’s a lot of causal overlap, but IMO, “smartness,” to the degree it plays a role, is more likely the role of a moderator (rather than a mediator).

        Consider that “less smart” people might conceivably be more polarized on any number of issues than “smart people,” such as whether batman could defeat superman. I’d need to see data across issues, and to see something more akin to a longitudinal relationship (i. e., people get more polarized as they get more informed) to see Dan’s theory of causality as being likely. Of course it’s hard to test that longitudinally with “smartness,” (although one could probably do it by educating people on solving the kinds of probabilistic questions that Dam uses to measure “smartness.”), but I think it’s plainly obvious that people are more polarized on issues they tend to care more about, independent of their levels of “smartness.”. Do you think there is some uniform personality trait where “smarter” people are, on average, more inclined than less “smart” people towards strong opinions in association with ideological orientation across all topic domains? That seems highly implausible to me. Doesn’t rule out a domain-specific causal role for “smartness,” of course, but it does diminish the likely strength of “smartness” as a cause, IMO.

      • J:
        “Seems to me that everyone thinks they do it better, at their own level of assessment.”

        I can’t see why what people think of their own capabilities is relevant here 0:

        “What matters is one’s own assessment, IMO, to lead to polarization, not an assessment from an external eye, the eye of the one who tests cognitive attributes that are assumed to be measures of “smartness.”

        I lost you. Of course there’s always questions about whether the test is truly picking out both the knowledgeable (easier) and the cognitively capable (harder), and methodology can be challenged with specifics. But I cannot see where you’re going with self-assessment, which is the least reliable of all.

        “While I’m not completely convinced by the DK theory…”

        I have some issues, particularly if the term ‘smartness’ he’s taken to using, means cognitive capability as dominant over knowledge. Look at the shape of the curves in the stronger cases relative to the composite scale contributions. But much less issue if by ‘smartness’ he’s including cognitive capability *and* knowledge (which after all are both on his scale). And probably no issue if knowledge is dominant (cultures each hold their own knowledge bases).

        “…it might serve as a frame for understanding, where in fact those that might be deemed less capable are in fact more inclined to be convinced by their own arguments (so as to lead to higher polarization).”

        I lost you again. Wouldn’t this produce a shape opposite to which we actually see?

        “I suspect that the “smartness” factor is (at least partially) a confound, and that it isn’t “smartness” that is explanatory. In fact, it isn’t at all surprising to me that people who would score well in those kinds of tests (i.e., “smart people”) would conclude that “smart” people are more polarized because they’re “better” at arguing.”

        Well arguing that Dan is one of the smarts himself and hence his argument is biased so as to place the smarts in a good light, is I think very weak indeed. Not least because it places them in a *bad* light relative to what was generally assumed before, i.e. that smart folks by virtue of their reason should converge on whatever was the actual reasonable answer wherever it lay in the graph space, not diverge even more. This was not intuitive to folks when he first put it out there. Besides, unless you’re also arguing that his bias was so great that even the data collection stage failed (there seemed nothing majorly wrong to me, in more than one domain), as opposed to his explanation as to ‘why’, then you still need a plausible reason for the ‘confound’ that is pretty significantly different to Dan’s proposal. Your point about motivated collection of knowledge seems to be completely compatible with his stance afaics.

        “Those who are more motivated study the material more… etc.”

        The grammar of this paragraph doesn’t seem to work out, so I can’t parse it, but this…

        “…because they grew up in an environment which stressed those cognitive traits, which in turn are associated with strong ideological identification…”

        …is a non sequitur unless you’ve already taken Dan’s proposition to be true, which you’re supposed to be arguing against. I presume I’ve misunderstood something here.

        “For example, I think that it’s likely that the “smartness” leads to polarization even on issues like climate change, would be less likely in Japan).”

        Well its generic for culturally conflicted domains, so it will be true for all or none. But Dan is effectively saying the level of [cognitive capability plus domain knowledge] acts as an amplifier for the expression of cultural position. So first off, there has to be a conflict to amplify. I doubt Dan or anyone else has done much work on non-US populations regarding this issue, but there’s plenty of public surveys to give context in some countries. For instance in the UK, the climate change issue is not very aligned to left / right divide. There’s a modest lean, but all mainstream parties support CC policies and there’s effectively no formal political opposition. This doesn’t mean you can’t find cultural lines, but you can’t just use political allegiance to easily measure as you can in the US, and in Germany the lean is also modest and in reverse too, the main CC advocating party is right of centre not left, plus there are other implications (e.g. in the US you conveniently know there must be culture on *both* sides). At any rate you wouldn’t expect to see the same if the input is far weaker relative to other effects. But there may be other cultural conflicts in those same countries where the input side is similarly robust compared to other effects and hence you should see the same amplification as clearly visible.

        “…more likely the role of a moderator (rather than a mediator)…”

        Okay I don’t get that. Oxford dic = mod·er·a·tor NOUN an arbitrator or mediator.

        “Consider that “less smart” people might conceivably be more polarized on any number of issues than “smart people,” such as whether batman could defeat superman.”

        They might be. But issues of the batman / superman variety do not represent strong culturally conflicted social issues. So any effect whereby an amplification is expected to occur because of more knowledge and capability, has nothing to amplify so could not occur.

        “I’d need to see data across issues…”

        But Dan has presented data across a range of issues??

        “…and to see something more akin to a longitudinal relationship (i. e., people get more polarized as they get more informed) to see Dan’s theory of causality as being likely.”

        Well notwithstanding that I have my own quibbles about the relative importance of knowledge and cognitive capability, and any further studies can only be good, there are means to get insight as things stand. Per above, there is cultural knowledge in conflicted domains that is relatively static and inculcated from childhood, whereas other domains feature cultural knowledge that is relatively dynamic and acquired in adulthood via the normal means folks use to assimilate information. This is useful. And for cases like the latter, e.g. climate change, simply because the max level of info Dan is going to would typically be picked up over not many years at all, and (until pretty recent times) is mostly picked up in adulthood too, we should not expect to see a significant difference in a cross section (which just captures where people are in this short cycle – and most of the public will pick up next to nothing anyhow), and a study following folks through time instead. (A decades long cycle and also covering maturation could be a different prospect).

        To theorize that people are already extra polarized, and this is what drives them to get more info, requires that we should see this extra polarization on the low knowledge end of the graph, *unless*, all of such people happen to have already fulfilled their knowledge quest. Yet as the reservoir of those who essentially know nothing at all about the CC domain is by far the largest bucket, it seems incredibly unlikely that all of the most highly motivated folks would already have quenched their thirst, so to speak, which also suggests that no more could ever be forthcoming out of that pool (at least until a lot more people are born).

        “…but I think it’s plainly obvious that people are more polarized on issues they tend to care more about, independent of their levels of “smartness.”

        Well of course if they don’t care, they don’t care. But where they do care, it is by no means obvious that capability will make no difference, because the expression of polarization and the level of cultural identity or motivation that drives it, are different things. I don’t think Dan is suggesting that the more capable / knowledgeable initially care more than the less capable / knowledgeable. But upon acquiring domain knowledge, they are able to express their cultural position far more effectively to the outside world, and hence very likely within themselves too, which would tend to make their confidence in their stance higher. But beneath the reasoning layer this doesn’t necessarily mean the raw emotive conviction to cultural narratives is any higher, initially at least, although after many years of confidence it could conceivably feed back.

        “Do you think there is some uniform personality trait where “smarter” people are, on average, more inclined than less “smart” people towards strong opinions in association with ideological orientation across all topic domains?”

        Well notwithstanding my own issues with the word ‘smartness’, the relative weight of cognitive capability and knowledge, and also that this is best looked at via a group approach, i.e. the communal and emotive thinking processes which culture evokes, rather than focusing on individual thought processes, loosely yes I think this could be so. I guess I’d need more than just Dan’s stuff though (and it has been challenged here and there, weakly so far I think). Going from the cultural approach only, one would expect a knowledge relationship (but that doesn’t speak to cognitive capability). Nor would I call this a ‘personality trait’ (this term tends to imply something that presents very differently in different people or not in some at all, but if it happens it would be essentially universal in nature if not in nuance).

        “That seems highly implausible to me.”

        I get that, but I haven’t grasped why. I think Dan has good data. This doesn’t mean his analysis of ‘why’ is right (indeed, regarding his great data on the CC domain which I have used myself, I think he has the ‘why’ on this very wrong, but that’s regarding a different issue to this one, and I have put forward a detailed alternative). But if you think his causal explanation is wrong you have to present a plausible alternative (I do not see such above), or challenge the data itself (the tests, his composite scale, etc etc) with specifics.

      • Andy –

        I can’t see why what people think of their own capabilities is relevant here

        This is so basic, there’s not much point in responding to any other part of your comment (or even reading them, so I won’t bother). I’ll try once more.

        People are “polarized” because they feel strongly that they are right and that other people are wrong. People who at more ambivalent about their views are less polarized. If people ae confident about their own arguments, it doesn’t matter how well they reason about conditional probabilities. You might think that a “smarter person” makes a better argument than a less “smart person,” and that they are “better” at making arguments because they are “smarter,” but that doesn’t directly impact the “less smart person’s” own view of the strength of their argument. And their level of polarization is a function of their own view of the veracity of their argument.

        If that doesn’t get it done than I’ll just let it go. I basically just wanted to know your impression of Dan’s view, because I was discussing that with Jonathan. I’m not really particularly interested in your view of the causal mechanism in play.

      • OK, I lied. I skimmed a bit (to see if you responded I the batman vs. superman reference). Anyway, look up “moderator vs. mediator variable.”

      • J:
        “People are “polarized” because they feel strongly that they are right and that other people are wrong.”

        No. Your ‘because’ implies causation that is backwards. Polarization is due to strong emotive commitments (on one or both sides) that cause people to think they are right, and the opposing ‘others’ are wrong. These commitments are subconscious, executing at deep brain architecture level and hence bypassing or compromising our reasoning, being a feature of a bio-cultural system determining in-group / out-group whose evolutionary heritage began long before we were even human.

        “People who at more ambivalent about their views are less polarized.”

        No. People who are less polarized are more ambivalent about their views, because the deep mechanism above is not cutting in to compromise their reasoning. And for clarity, regarding both the above this is specific to views about a domain of cultural conflict. The ‘polarization’ is not regarded by Dan as ‘any disagreement’, but the deep-rooted and emotively based biases that stem from the former.

        “You might think that a “smarter person” makes a better argument than a less “smart person,” and that they are “better” at making arguments because they are “smarter”, but that doesn’t directly impact the “less smart person’s” own view of the strength of their argument.”

        Well of course Dan’s thoughts have no impact on any of his sample persons or indeed the public at large! Likewise mine, given that despite my own issues noted above I view his general proposal as plausible. But what has this got to do with the price of fish? The point is that he is using the scientific method to extract data from his sample, and then explain that data. His explanation is indeed a theory, but not only is it consistent with his own data, it’s consistent with the general state of understanding about group delusions (as enabled by cultural narratives), and how these work. As noted above, if you think his proposal is highly implausible, this is fine, but you need a reason why, or alternatively a challenge to the data, and your latest here still doesn’t provide these.

        “And their level of polarization is a function of their own view of the veracity of their argument.”

        No. Their level of polarization is a function of their level of emotive commitment per above, which is equivalent to their strength of cultural identity regarding the conflicted domain (e.g. they could be a core adherent in the domain, or pulled in for weaker support via cultural alliance with a different domain, etc). This commitment then manipulates or bypasses their reason to create their own view of the veracity of their argument.

        “I basically just wanted to know your impression of Dan’s view, because I was discussing that with Jonathan. I’m not really particularly interested in your view of the causal mechanism in play.”

        Well its fine not to consider my view as important, but if you wanted any opinion at all from anyone to further your discussion with Jonathan, I would have thought that causal mechanism is exactly the critical thing here. As far as I can see you’ve raised no challenge to Dan’s data but are positing ‘confounding’ factors regarding cause, hence exploring causation is key. Afaics to state that ‘polarization’ is merely a reflection of (opposing) views, avoids all causes, unless you have a different term to engage where views that Dan has clearly shown are causing fundamental bias, actually come from. Reason is not compromised for no reason (no pun intended!) In turn this informs plausible explanations for the levels of unreason as observed.

        Re mod / med I see what you mean, i.e. variable relationships. But I’m not sure that adds anything unless we are past the above more basic issues. You are not currently proposing any ultimate cause anyhow. Although maybe you’re using a casual shorthand here, you essentially say that polarization is just equivalent to expressed views; hence there doesn’t appear to be anywhere that an ultimate causation can enter this relationship.

      • Joshua: “People are “polarized” because they feel strongly that they are right and that other people are wrong. People who at more ambivalent about their views are less polarized. ”

        I don’t think that’s right or gets to motivated reasoning. I would rephrase it – “People who hear something that matches what they want to be right, feel strongly that it’s right and become more polarized. People who don’t have a strong preference one way or the other about whether they want something to be right are less polarized.”

        We saw that play out with the “limits to growth” debate- those who wanted it to be right really thought it was, those who didn’t poo-poohed the whole thing. Those in the middle just didn’t buy it- IMO because catastrophism requires extraordinary evidence.

      • Andy –

        The way I see it, emotional investment/strong identification is the primary driver for polarization. That is my argument in a nutshell against the notion that “smartness” is a primary driver (although I think it might play a moderating, not mediating, role, at least in some domains).

        IMO, strong emotional investment/strong identification and polarization aren’t the same thing. Although certainly it can serve as a useful predictor, you can nonetheless have strong emotional investment in a particular identity orientation w/o necessarily engaging in associated motivated reasoning, and/or the associated biases/identity-protective, behaviors.

        So, the way that I see it is that people who are strongly identified (high baseline potential for polarization) make arguments and tend to strongly believe that those arguments are true. Belief whether those arguments are impervious to external critique (as one moderator), is a large factor in polarization. To the extent that people don’t think that their arguments are impervious to external critique (as one moderator), you can have strong identification with less polarization. I see no reason why “smartness” would play a particularly significant role in that mechanism. “Less smart” people are just as inclined to believe in the infallibility of their arguments, if not more so than “smart” people (again, the DK effect).

        Well arguing that Dan is one of the smarts himself and hence his argument is biased so as to place the smarts in a good light, is I think very weak indeed.

        Not so much a “good light,” but a position that lacks the understanding of a more varied perspective and experience. I seem to recall that you have suggested that Dan’s work is somewhat prone to biases rooted in his residence in the academic elite (I recall excerpting such comments from you and posting them at his blog). There is a certain logic to such conjecture; we’re all prone to such biases. The question is how does one control for such propensities.

        I don’t particularly question Dan’s data, or the arguments he make that are directly a function of those data. But I may, of course, question his conjecture about causalities – particularly when he speculates about causality by working from cross-sectional data. And that’s what I’m going here. I don’t question the associations that he has found – I think they’re powerful and important. I question his speculation about the causes behind those associations.

        Not least because it places them in a *bad* light relative to what was generally assumed before, i.e. that smart folks by virtue of their reason should converge on whatever was the actual reasonable answer wherever it lay in the graph space, not diverge even more.

        I do think that Dan’s’ work goes a long way towards providing an evidentiary basis for critiquing thinking “deficit model.” My questions (and I do consider them questions, not really conclusions) about the causal mechanisms he describes, with often quite certain language, are not meant to imply that I don’t think that his work provides solid evidence that contradicts “deficit model” thinking.

      • Jeff –

        I don’t think that’s right or gets to motivated reasoning. I would rephrase it – “People who hear something that matches what they want to be right, feel strongly that it’s right and become more polarized. People who don’t have a strong preference one way or the other about whether they want something to be right are less polarized.”

        Sure.

        We saw that play out with the “limits to growth” debate- those who wanted it to be right really thought it was, those who didn’t poo-poohed the whole thing. Those in the middle just didn’t buy it- IMO because catastrophism requires extraordinary evidence.

        Sure. There is a panoply of examples that we could come up with. What you’re describing is basic human nature. Although I’d say that your application of the rule is too universal. The dynamic you’re describing, IMO, plays out in varying degrees, among different people, on different issues.

        The challenge is to allow everyone, and in particular those we dislike or disagree with, to have the same level of complexity we’d want to grand to ourselves (and our own arguments). Certainly, don’t presume the worst from “otters” and then base your expectations on that premise. Importantly, a big part of that is to faithfully engage with a “naysayer.” If you don’t have someone else to perform that role, invent your own naysayer – one that your “otter” would accept as valid. If you don’t have the requisite knowledge to create that naysayer, do some research.

      • Jeff –

        I don’t think that’s right or gets to motivated reasoning. I would rephrase it – “People who hear something that matches what they want to be right, feel strongly that it’s right and become more polarized. People who don’t have a strong preference one way or the other about whether they want something to be right are less polarized.”

        Sure.

        We saw that play out with the “limits to growth” debate- those who wanted it to be right really thought it was, those who didn’t p*o-po*hed the whole thing. Those in the middle just didn’t buy it- IMO because catastrophism requires extraordinary evidence.

        Sure. There is a panoply of examples that we could come up with. What you’re describing is basic human nature. Although I’d say that your application of the rule is too uniform. The dynamic you’re describing, IMO, plays out in varying degrees, among different people, on different issues.

        The challenge is to allow everyone, and in particular those we dislike or disagree with, to have the same level of complexity we’d want to grand to ourselves (and our own arguments). Certainly, don’t presume the worst from “otters” and then base your expectations on that premise. Importantly, a big part of that is to faithfully engage with a “naysayer.” If you don’t have someone else to perform that role, invent your own naysayer – one that your “otter” would accept as valid. If you don’t have the requisite knowledge to create that naysayer, do some research.

      • “Importantly, a big part of that is to faithfully engage with a “naysayer.””

        That’s a two way street, and it’s rather pointless to engage in any fashion with some polarized people. Paul Ehrlich and his fans still say his book was right.
        What I was trying to get to, but didn’t articulate well, is that I think that middle ground is less swayed by the polarized of either camp than the polarized believe.
        What happens instead is a more “natural consensus” that the middle then adopts. Ehrlich made outlandish claims, Simon taunted him and the sensible center ignored them both because no nation stockpiled food or seriously discussed banning pregnancy (except China). We watched what people did rather than the debate between the polarized.
        You can see that with Climate Change. We’ve been told for 30 years the end is near with international bigwigs meeting every couple of years to reaffirm their commitment to commit someday- which, in practice has been a marginal reduction in emissions in developed nations with a massive increase in emissions in developing nations for net gain of global emissions. The world’s governments are clearly unimpressed with the polarized warm, it is just not true that the polarized on the other side are “preventing action” (not a lot of Republicans in China holding up wind and solar- which is allegedly cheaper, faster to scale and functional). What’s happening instead is that the sensible center is watching and that natural consensus has already formed around the simple fact that the nuttier demands of the warm really are nutty.

      • J:
        “The way I see it, emotional investment/strong identification is the primary driver for polarization.”

        Okay. Maybe it was the way you phrased it, but upstairs you seemed to imply causation coming from the views expressed (so backwards).

        “That is my argument in a nutshell against the notion that “smartness” is a primary driver (although I think it might play a moderating, not mediating, role, at least in some domains).”

        Well from my reading of Dan’s position he hasn’t anywhere postulated that ‘smartness’ (notwithstanding the vagueness of this term, its better to refer to his charts) is a primary / root cause. As noted above, he claims that by better serving the emotive commitments it’s an amplifier of the resultant expression / behaviours. Plus given the deep level involved, this would be relevant to all genuinely culturally conflicted domains, not just ‘some domains’, albeit potential level variance. Hence also as noted above, if there’s no strong emotional investment / identification involved despite disagreements, there’s nothing to amplify.

        “IMO, strong emotional investment/strong identification and polarization aren’t the same thing.”

        Well indeed folks can be so invested but happen not to be participating in conflict, or for instance a culture can happen at some point to have little opposition so there is not conflict / polarization generally despite emotional commitments, so…

        “Although certainly it can serve as a useful predictor, you can nonetheless have strong emotional investment in a particular identity orientation w/o necessarily engaging in associated motivated reasoning, and/or the associated biases/identity-protective, behaviors.”

        …to that extent yes. But a) Dan is explicitly exploring domains that are in cultural conflict, and b) for such domains statistically many committed folks will be engaging in the conflict to some degree although others won’t, and c) the absence of conflict and associated polarization is circumstantial not fundamental in the sense that where the emotional investment exists, the polarization will always occur where sufficient challenge arises, and d) biases resulting from the emotional investment will still occur with or without significant opposition.

        “So, the way that I see it is that people who are strongly identified (high baseline potential for polarization) make arguments and tend to strongly believe that those arguments are true.”

        Yes. And indeed per the line I think that you’re attempting to pursue, this will be so for such people whether they are or aren’t ‘smart’.

        “Belief whether those arguments are impervious to external critique (as one moderator), is a large factor in polarization.”

        No. Because your syntax implies that the subject’s self-confidence in their arguments is causal (whether or not this is in the sense of a moderator), but as you rightly say in the line above, it is actually the emotive commitment / cultural identification that is causal, and the self-confidence is merely a reflection of that commitment. This is important, because the detailed arguments (plus self-perception of same) are products of reasoning, but the emotive commitment is that which sets the (unreasonable) goal for the (subverted) reasoning to support. And more smart or less smart people, have differing powers of reasoning.

        “To the extent that people don’t think that their arguments are impervious to external critique (as one moderator), you can have strong identification with less polarization.”

        But the people who (regarding a specific domain) have strong emotional investment / cultural identification, are *not* the ones who are flexible regarding their arguments relating to the domain. This is true whether they are more smart or less smart, and whether or not they are actively engaged in making arguments at any particular time (hence actively contributing or not to polarization).

        “I see no reason why “smartness” would play a particularly significant role in that mechanism.”

        Well for a start, this defies Dan’s data, unless you either challenge that data (i.e. the methodology / processing via which his charts are drawn), or provide an alternative explanation that explains the data, neither of which you’re offering. And for clarity to repeat per above, Dan is proposing smartness as essentially an amplifier of cultural bias effects, not an original cause of cultural bias.

        “Less smart” people are just as inclined to believe in the infallibility of their arguments, if not more so than “smart” people…”

        Due to the bias imposed by emotional commitment, the smarter and the less smart may similarly perceive their arguments as infallible (or at least very robust). But as noted above, their perceptions of their own arguments are not causal, they are a *symptom* of emotional commitment / cultural identity. Another parallel symptom is that (according to Dan and notwithstanding my issues per above which we’ll leave aside for now to keep stuff simple), cognitive capability will serve the emotive goals at the expense of the (normal level of) reasoning that would otherwise occur. Hence high cognitive capability will serve better, and lower cognitive capability will serve worse. So in the real world rather than just in their heads, the arguments of the smarter persons will actually be more robust, i.e. they will work better due to being more sophisticated, targeted, subtle, integrated etc, despite still being unreasonable. Over a long period the higher success rate this creates during conflict interaction may eventually reinforce the original commitments. But in any case while folks of all smartness levels perceive their arguments as robust, it is not this perception that is driving anything, because this perception is just another symptom. And Dan’s proposition on these lines matches the data in his charts.

        “Not so much a “good light,” but a position that lacks the understanding of a more varied perspective and experience. I seem to recall that you have suggested that Dan’s work is somewhat prone to biases rooted in his residence in the academic elite…”

        I don’t recall my comments you refer to. But suggesting there is bias should come with at least something about what it may affect and why. Otherwise this cannot help the researcher (or others seeking perspective) anyhow. If there’s an issue because the work ‘lacks the understanding of a more varied perspective and experience’, even a nascent expression of what this issue actually impacts would be useful. While you challenge his ‘smartness’ proposal, you haven’t (that I can see) proposed any specific flaws in the data collection or analysis, or how the suspected lack of perspective has impacted his thought chain in practice. You have essentially given an opinion that he is wrong, well fine he might be, but without any backup to chew on as to why this could be so in the context of his work / logic chain.

        “I don’t particularly question Dan’s data, or the arguments he make that are directly a function of those data.”

        Ah… okay. Well scratch some of above then…

        “But I may, of course, question his conjecture about causalities – particularly when he speculates about causality by working from cross-sectional data. And that’s what I’m going here. I don’t question the associations that he has found – I think they’re powerful and important. I question his speculation about the causes behind those associations.”

        Okay, well that’s fine too. But such questioning would have far more weight if, even at a speculative / feely level, you could suggest some alternative possibility(s) that would similarly match his data, or more about your own logic chain that makes you sceptical of his theory even if this scepticism hasn’t evolved to the point of deriving an alternate explanation (that matches the data, or says why it must be wrong). For instance, what possibilities might you expect from a longitudinal study that would represent a challenge?

        Some of the above makes me wonder if you’re challenging an argument he hasn’t made. Unless you can point to it, I don’t recall that anywhere he makes the argument (as at one point you imply) that ‘smartness’ is a root cause of polarization, only arguments that it is an amplifier of same and hence that cultural bias must already exist to be amplified. (This is notwithstanding the vagueness of the term ‘smartness’ and the added inappropriate nature of his PR titles such as ‘are smart people ruining democracy?’, but PR aside his ‘normal’ material is generally clearer).

  33. I am an experimental physicist with a PhD in Upper Atmosphere Physics and many years of research experience. I have recently written a book on the failure of the Navier-Stokes equations of fluid dynamics to adequately deal with entropy and turbulence. Here is what I conclude about climate change:

    1. There is no significant trend in global average temperature. The apparent trend is due to spurious regression.

    2. The apparent correlation between global average temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentration is also spurious.

    3. Items 1 and 2 are both a consequence of global average temperature being a centrally biased random walk with a red-noise variance spectrum. (Reid, 2017)

    4. The bomb-test curve shows that about 80 percent of recent increases in atmospheric CO2 concentration are due to ocean upwelling and only 20 percent are due to human activity. The ratio of the total contribution of anthropogenic CO2 to the total in the ocean-atmosphere system since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution is only 1 percent. This would have no measurable effect.

    5. Predictions of temperature increases based on numerical coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation models (i.e. climate models) are meaningless because such deterministic models cannot account for turbulence, which is stochastic. Because of this, they include unrealistically large values of parameters such as eddy viscosity in order to remain stable and so can never faithfully emulate reality.

    6. Climate modellers ignore the effect of subaqueous volcanic activity on ocean circulation despite the fact that 85 percent of volcanic activity occurs beneath the ocean and that heating from a major oceanic eruption would dwarf all other ocean processes.

    7. Based on the above we can conclude that, at multidecadal time scales, unexplained variations in global temperature and in global mean sea level may be attributed to subaqueous volcanism and are unrelated to human activity.

    References:

    Reid, J. (2017). There is no significant trend in global average temperature. Energy & Environment 28 (3), 302–315.179 (copy attached)

    Reid, J. (2019). The Fluid Catastrophe. Cambridge Scholars Publishing Limited, Newcastle-on-Tyne (In Press).

    • “6. Climate modellers ignore the effect of subaqueous volcanic activity on ocean circulation despite the fact that 85 percent of volcanic activity occurs beneath the ocean and that heating from a major oceanic eruption would dwarf all other ocean processes.”

      Taking this piece by piece.
      “Climate modellers ignore the effect of subaqueous volcanic activity”.

      I would agree with that in general, although I have read some papers that made an attempt so I know it is not true in every case.

      “85 percent of volcanic activity occurs beneath the ocean”

      Sounds about right, but I have not seen a reputable study that comes up with actual numbers, and am skeptical that such a study could account for areas beneath ice very well, so I would really have to look at their methodology to have any confidence in their credibility.

      “heating from a major oceanic eruption would dwarf all other ocean processes.”

      I doubt that this is true. Heat given off of an eruption should be comparable given the elevation, type of eruption, etc whether it was above the water or below it. Cite a credible source for this “fact” and I will be happy to admit that I am wrong. I looked up at one time how much heat is thought to be given off of the oceanic trench, and other volcanic activity. I am not confident that the numbers are correct given the difficulty of measuring the numbers, but given the size of the ocean and assuming they are somewhat right volcanic activity would be much smaller than the CO2 affect prior to feedbacks.

    • sorry temperature cannot be a random walk.

      next.

    • John Reid: 3. Items 1 and 2 are both a consequence of global average temperature being a centrally biased random walk with a red-noise variance spectrum. (Reid, 2017)

      To what do you attribute the apparent appx 1000 year periodicity in the temperature proxy data: ice cores, tree rings, etc?

      • Hi Matthew,

        I sent you an email a couple of days ago. Did you receive it? If you have changed email address, can you tell me your new one please?

    • While I share Reid’s assessment that there’s no highly significant, truly secular surface temperature trend, nor dominant control by CO2, evident in the most trustworthy climate data, the prospect of submarine volcanism being the driver at multidecadal scales of variability remains unproven. As I began looking into the latter possibility more than a decade ago, the total absence of large, sharply defined ocean “hot spots” on the satellite-sensed surface during a ~1K rise in global temperatures dissuaded me from such conjectures. At best, one finds only weak, highly transient traces from presumed submarine “smokers.”

      Insofar as the longer-scale variability “being a centrally biased random walk with a red-noise variance spectrum,” the best available Holocene proxy data show significant spectral peaks that indicate a far-more-structured stochastic process, e.g., http://i1188.photobucket.com/albums/z410/skygram/graph1.jpg

  34. The problem is the word “belief.” Science isn’t about “belief.” It’s about facts, evidence, theories, experiments.

    It’s funny to see global warming alarmists, ‘getting out over their skis,’ as the saying goes, with their ’12-year-to-destruction’ predictions and beliefs (we’re already down to 11) when according to global warming alarmists going back to the ’90s, time has already come and gone when they predicted that our children would never again know what snow is.

  35. Ms. Judith Curry
    I have expllained my interpritaton of the Antarctic ice core and and how I interpret it relative to the Ice Ages. No one on this blog believes the new Ice Age has begun. What is your opinion? If you say I am completely out in left field I will goodby.

  36. My belief is that science is a process with a set of assumptions, principles and tools, when employed, particularly on a well thought-out question, may lead to discoveries. Discoveries then leads to some answer, although such an answer usually raises even more questions.

  37. Bravo!

    “I believe in science” is really an apostle’s creed for political action.

    To be sure, some aspects of climate change theory are quite likely, based on abstract reasoning – all else the same, if CO2 increases, the thermal emissivity of earth decreases and something must change to restore radiative equilibrium, most likely global mean temperature increase.

    But global mean temperature doesn’t directly factor in many of the non-validated claims about climate change, so, we have to wait a hundred years to see – not very reassuring, and there’s no control on the other aspects of climate, but at least then we’d have at least ONE observation to constrain theory, which we don’t have now.

  38. The average lay-person believes in gravity though they can’t describe the equations. They believe because gravity is a theory that continues to verify with observations of experiments every day.

    Climate models, on the other hand, of what will happen in a hundred years with or without additional CO2, have NO validating observations beyond perhaps an increase in global mean surface temperature, a decrease decrease of global mean stratospheric temperature, and an increase in winter time Arctic temperatures. And some of these observations may be coincidental: global mean temperature may have increased in part due to more frequent El Nino events and longer term increased insolation; some stratospheric temperature decrease might also be due to decreased volcanic eruptions since Pinatubo, and some portion of Arctic winter warming may be due to natural dynamic fluctuation in Arctic sea ice.

    And even there, some portions of

  39. “Remember, then, that scientific thought is the guide to action; that the truth at which it arrives is not that which we can ideally contemplate without error, but that which we can act upon without fear; and you cannot fail to see that scientific thought is not an accompaniment or condition of human progress, but human progress itself.”
    William Kingdon Clifford, The Common Sense of the Exact Sciences (1885)

    Much science is not about incontestable facts. – and Earth system science is a prime example. Science here is about synthesis of discrete observations into a consistent picture of the whole through a process of abductive reasoning.

    “Abductive reasoning (also called abduction,[1] abductive inference,[1] or retroduction[2]) is a form of logical inference which starts with an observation or set of observations then seeks to find the simplest and most likely explanation for the observations. This process, unlike deductive reasoning, yields a plausible conclusion but does not positively verify it.” Wikipedia

    Science here is an open ended inquiry – an investigation of the clues – that is facilitated in the creative and productive capacities of people that is central to the fundamental advancement of science. Something that no machine I have ever met is capable of.

    Climate science blogs have a far different objective. Here it is to rally observations – occasionally of the most facile kind – to a tribal narrative. Both varieties. The goal here is to dispute the abductive inferences of rigidly defined antagonists.
    Outside of this strange dynamic Earth system science progresses in fascinating ways – to be accepted or rejected on a word or a name with no hint of the respect due to the real instrument of human progress. The remedy to this disorder is to remain open minded, curious and somewhat humble in the face of the complexities of the system and in the absence of definitive observations. Certainty is an impossible condition – yet paradoxically here they are in all their implacable certainty.

  40. Pingback: Why I don’t ‘believe’ in ‘science’ | Watts Up With That?

  41. Excellent article by Robert Tracinski.

    Like many things today, when the Left asserts something, look to the opposite to be closer to the truth.

    E.g. when they complain about Trump being a disrupter — they are purposefully trying to be divisive themselves.

    E.g. when they complain about Trump colluding with Russians — they are actually doing the wishes of Russia by trying to bring the country to its knees with plans like the GND.

    In this case the people who are listed as “believing in Science” as actually those who do NOT believe in Science — because they have all endorsed positions (e.g. AGW) that have discarded traditional Science protocol. For more information on this see my current WUWT post “https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/03/25/global-warming-science-or-political-science/”.

    • Thanks John: I read the posting: I enjoyed all of it and especially this at the end!

      The good news is that I just heard from the head person at the APA, andshe said (based on inputs received from me and others) that the APA has decided NOT to enact their policy endorsing renewable energy. Kudos to them: that’s a wonderful, positive development!

      Kudos to you, John, you have made a difference, Thanks!
      Alex Pope

  42. Pingback: Why I don’t ‘believe’ in ‘science’ – Enjeux énergies et environnement

  43. Sorry Judith but this piece get’s it all wrong.

    Here is what we are confronted with. We are confronted with a problem in which very few people UNDERSTAND the science. And yet, even though they don’t understand the science–and proudly claim they are not scientists–they DISBELIEVE in the science. They dont understand and disbelieve.

    For example, they disbelieve in temperature records and in some cases actually believe and positively claim they are hoax. Yet, they dont understand the basics of the science. They dont understand, and disbelieve. they dont understand and believe it is a hoax.

    On one hand they demand to see all the data and all the code for this, and yet refuse to acknowledge that data and code has been available for years. Available and open for inspection. Available and open to find errors, bugs, and evidence of malfeasence. They could understand if is they tried or asked for help, but rather than doing this, they choose to believe critics of the record, who likewise don’t understand the science involved.

    The recent Bates debacle is clear case of this. Without understanding the science of what Karl did, You and others, believed bates charges.
    Charges which he later recanted. Without examining all the details and UNDERSTANDING what was done, you and others disbelieved the science.

    The Mitre committee examined the science. People who understood the science found no malefeasence. Where are the disbelievers now? Still disbelieving and utterly unaccountable for their disbelief.

    The standard of understanding the science is important. To show you understand the science you have to be able to give the strongest account of the science in your own words. This is evidence you understand it.
    You have to give evidence that others who do the science acknowledge your understanding. This is done by publishing in the science. To prove you understand a science, you actually have to show us that you can do it yourself. Absent these markers of understanding, you have no standing to say you “understand” a science. You are relegated to merely believing it.

    Most lay people dont understand the science. they will never understand the science. I do not understand the science of orbital mechanics. Yet I believe that Roy Spencer does when he calculates his temperature record. Am I irrational in believing in his competence? Nope. I dont understand the science of cancer and yet I believe the science that tells me my smoking may cause cancer. I dont understand the science of how you forecast huricane tracks. I could not do it myself. Yet I believe your science of forecasting. In fact, the vast vast majority of science you encounter, you dont really understand. You could not do it yourself and prove to us that you understand it. Yet you believe it. And rationally so.

    There are only two rational choices for people who dont understand the science:

    1. Believing in what experts tell you
    2. Suspending Judgement.

    Note that disbelieving the science or believing in a hoax is NOT a rational postion. If you dont understand the science, if you cannot do the science yourself, disbelieving is not a rational option. Believing its a hoax is not a rational option. Both of these choices,
    disbelieving and believing its a hoax ground their warrant in ignorance.

    • Where’s the “like” button?

    • Mosher uses the word science here “not to describe specific methods or theories, but to provide a badge of tribal identity. Which serves, ironically, to demonstrate a lack of interest in the guiding principles of actual science.”

    • What’s even worse than people who “don’t understand the science” is those who really don’t understand how sound science is done, yet preach that disbelieving their flimsy conception of what is shows is “not a rational option.” It’s a favorite tactic of intellectual charlatans.

    • “There are only two rational choices for people who dont understand the science:

      1. Believing in what experts tell you
      2. Suspending Judgement.”

      Adding a #3- watching how leaders react to extraordinary claims… what they actually do. Answer so far is… meh. Same answer is given in countries with skeptics and without.

      • in court cases, the different sides bring in expert witnesses who disagree with each other. you are trusted, life and death trust, to pick the right experts.

        In climate science there are expert witnesses who disagree. The alarmists and the media only listen to one side and promote a verdict that does not consider any testimony that does disagree. Many of us seek out the experts on the other side and listen to both sides. Dr Neil Frank is one on the other side, there are many more, some who do not testify openly because their jobs depend on not disagreeing.

        https://jennifermarohasy.com/2019/03/day-3-peter-ridd-versus-the-university-and-state-funded-media-stuck-in-denial/

        Jennifer Marohasy is one of the experts on the other side.
        There is another side and it is gaining ground fast in some places.
        China and India and Russia have never signed up for the alarmism. China does some token stuff, but a lot in a huge country is really next to nothing. But they are getting rich building and selling stuff to the alarmist countries who have destroyed their own abilities to build anything.

      • you are trusted, life and death trust, to pick the right experts.

        This refers to regular people who are picked for civil and criminal trials.
        They may be expert at something but they are not required to be.
        If people who are not certified experts cannot form a correct opinion, our whole justice system is flawed. The media and alarmists say only the 97% should be trusted and listened to. In a fair trial, the other side will bring in better qualified experts because they have many thousands to choose from, not just the 75 of 77 that made up the 97%.

    • Steven, for goodness sake quit smoking. Cancer is not a mystery. Mutations caused by oxidative antagonists increase the odds of cancer. About 90% of lung cancer is from smoking. Most lung cancer is discovered too late and is terminal (about 80%). But smoking also significantly increases risks for bladder cancer, throat cancer, heart disease, stroke, COPD and diabetes. I am not going to put up links to the applicable seminal studies since I don’t think you contest that science. Why don’t you quit for Earth Day 2019? Just do it.
      Best,
      R

    • For example, they disbelieve in temperature records and in some cases actually believe and positively claim they are hoax. Yet, they dont understand the basics of the science. They dont understand, and disbelieve. they dont understand and believe it is a hoax.

      Read some Jennifer Marohassy stories about how climate records have been adjusted to promote the alarmist story. Experts do make mistakes and experts do promote fraud, some do, and there are big payoffs for the ones that make the correct alarmist mistakes and sometimes severe punishments for the people who disagree.
      https://jennifermarohasy.com/

    • Here is what we are confronted with. We are confronted with a problem in which very few people UNDERSTAND the science. And yet, even though they don’t understand the science–and proudly claim they are not scientists–they DISBELIEVE in the science.

      Sorry, Steven, but your comment gets it all wrong again.

      Here is what we are confronted with. We are confronted with a problem in which very few people UNDERSTAND the proposed solutions. And yet, even though they don’t fully understand the proposed solutions — and proudly proclaim they are not politicians or policy-makers — they DISBELIEVE that rational people cannot accept their proposed views.

      The sheer amount of fossil fuel and industry — and environmental degradation — required in order to produce so-calledrenewables, for instance.

      Excerpting the piece that “gets it all wrong”:

      “I believe in science” is almost always invoked these days in support of one particular scientific claim: catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. And in support of one particular political solution: massive government regulations to limit or ban fossil fuels. But these two positions involve a complex series of separate scientific claims—that global temperatures are rising, that humans are primarily responsible, that the results are going to be catastrophic for human life, that rising temperatures can be halted—combined with a series of economic and political propositions. For example: that action to ban fossil fuels would be more efficacious than using the wealth made possibly by fossil fuels to help humans adapt to future climatic changes.

      Next.

  44. Steven –

    –they DISBELIEVE in the science. They dont understand and disbelieve.

    Many believe in an alternative science (even though they don’t understand it).

  45. Foundation of quantum mechanics

    The Bohr-Einstein debate deals with the foundation of quantum mechanics, in particular the nature of reality. This is the domain of metaphysics but Bohr and Einstein believe we can discover the nature of reality through physics. In a nutshell, Einstein asserts realism and locality. Bohr asserts non-realism and non-locality. These things can be simply explained using the EPR thought experiment.

    Imagine two entangled particles moving away from each other. Quantum mechanics requires that entangled particles are correlated. It means that if one particle has a spin s, the other particle must have a spin –s (the opposite of s designated by a negative sign). The particles started at a common origin and now lightyears apart. Einstein asserts that they acquired their correlated spin from the start. Hence, when we measure their spin now that they are lightyears apart, we observe s and –s because they have those from the start including the orientation of the spin axis.

    Bohr asserts the particles have no definite spin and no definite spin axis until we observe them. Before observation, the particles are in superposition where all possible spins and spin axes exist. Only upon measurement that definite spin and definite spin axis are randomly selected from all the possibilities. This is called non-realism because in a sense the spin is not real until we observe it. Einstein invented the EPR thought experiment to point out the problem with Bohr’s non-realism. Since the selection of spin and spin axis are random, how can the particles have correlated spin when they are lightyears apart? It should have a random outcome. Sometimes they are correlated, sometimes they are not.

    Experiments show the particles are always correlated. To explain this, the particles must be communicating with each other instantaneously and faster than light to make sure they have correlated spin when we observe them. This is called non-locality because spatial distance appears non-existent to entangled particles. They can coordinate their action as if they are not separated at all. Einstein is against non-locality because it violates his theory of relativity that asserts information cannot travel faster than light. Non-locality is a consequence of non-realism in the EPR experiment. If Einstein’s realism is true, then there is no need for non-locality. The particles do not have to communicate because they already have correlated spin from the start before they were separated.

    The Bohr-Einstein debate is profound but other physicists saw it as a philosophical debate. It could not be settled by experiments because Bohr and Einstein both agree with the experimental results. But they attribute particle correlation to two conflicting realities. Other physicists think they are debating something unobservable. Pauli remarked, does it really matter how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? This view changed when Bell proposed an experiment to test realism and locality. Has Bell found a way to count the angels?

    Bell’s theorem

    Bell assumed that Einstein’s realism implies there are 3 independent spins in x, y and z axes. This assumption is wrong. I will explain later why but for now let’s follow Bell’s argument. Bell applied probability theory to determine the probability of similar spin in two different axes. Since there are two possible spins (s or –s), the probability P is similar to getting two heads or two tails in two consecutive coin tosses:
    P = 0.5 (0.5) + 0.5 (0.5) = 0.5
    The same probability applies to similar spin in two different axes:
    P (x = y) = 0.5
    P (y = z) = 0.5
    P (x = z) = 0.5
    ∑ P = 0.5 + 0.5 + 0.5 = 1.5
    In probability theory, the total probability must be 1 but in Bell’s theorem it is greater than 1. This is Bell’s inequality:
    ∑ P > 1
    For total probability to be 1, each of the 3 probabilities must be 1/3. Hence, Bell’s inequality can be expressed as probability of similar spin in two axes:
    P (x = y) = P (x = z) = P (y = z) > 1/3

    Bell argued that if Einstein’s realism is true, then Bell’s inequality must be observed. On the other hand, if Bohr’s non-realism is true, then Bell’s inequality will be violated. Probability theory will prevail over Bell’s theorem. Hence:
    ∑ P = 1
    P (x = y) = P (x = z) = P (y = z) = 1/3

    Experiments had been conducted and they violated Bell’s inequality. The experimental results obeyed the predictions of probability theory. Today the consensus among physicists is Bohr’s non-realism and non-locality are true. This is known as the Copenhagen interpretation. Is the science settled?

    Why Bell’s theorem deviated from probability theory

    I use set theory to explain why Bell’s theorem deviated from probability theory. I create sets A, B and C that contain similar spin in x y, x z and y z axes respectively:
    A (+x = +y, -x = -y)
    B (+x = +z, -x = -z)
    C (+y = +z, -y = -z)
    Plus and minus signs refer to the two possible spins (s or –s) in each axis. Now I replace the elements of the sets with their respective probabilities:
    A (0.25, 0.25)
    B (0.25, 0.25)
    C (0.25, 0.25)

    Add the probabilities to obtain the probability P of each set:
    P (A) = P (x = y) = 0.25 + 0.25 = 0.5
    P (B) = P (x = z) = 0.25 + 0.25 = 0.5
    P (C) = P (y = z) = 0.25 + 0.25 = 0.5
    P (A) + P (B) + P (C) = 0.5 + 0.5 + 0.5 = 1.5
    The equations satisfy Bell’s inequality:
    P (x = y) = P (x = z) = P (y = z) > 1/3
    ∑ P > 1
    The above is Bell’s theorem expressed in set theory.

    Now I derive probability theory from Bell’s theorem using set theory. I create set D that contains similar spin in all 2 axes. Set D is the union of sets A, B and C:
    E = A U B U C
    E (+x = +y, -x = -y, +x = +z, -x = -z, +y = +z, -y = -z)
    The probability of set D is the sum of the probabilities of sets A, B and C:
    P (D) = P (A) + P (B) + P (C)
    P (D) = 0.5 + 0.5 + 0.5 = 1.5

    The basic principle of probability theory: if A is one outcome and D is the set of all possible outcomes, then the probability of A is:
    P (A) = A/D
    Apply the principle of probability theory to obtain the probabilities of sets A, B and C:
    P (A) = A/D = 0.5/1.5 = 1/3
    P (B) = B/D = 0.5/1.5 = 1/3
    P (C) = C/D = 0.5/1.5 = 1/3
    P (A) + P (B) + P (C) = 1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3 = 1
    The equations satisfy the conditions of probability theory:
    P (x = y) = P (x = z) = P (y = z) = 1/3
    ∑ P = 1

    Hence, I obtained probability theory from Bell’s theorem by adding the mutually exclusive sets A, B and C. This explains why Bell’s theorem deviated from probability theory. Bell’s theorem treated the sets as mutually inclusive which means there are common elements in the sets representing similar spin in 3 axes (x = y = z). The set operations I employed can be represented graphically using the Venn diagram. Bell’s theorem is represented by 3 overlapping circles. The common elements are the intersection of the 3 circles. Probability theory is represented by 3 circles with no overlap.

    Why Bell’s assumption is wrong

    Bell assumed that Einstein’s realism is equivalent to the reality of 3 spins in 3 spin axes. This condition is not necessary in realism. For example, Earth’s spin satisfies realism in the sense that it is real whether or not we are observing it. Earth’s spin does not disappear when we stop looking at it. This is Einstein’s realism. It is just common sense.

    Earth’s spin is real but it has only one spin axis. If we shrank Earth to the size of an atom, Bell’s theorem would be invalid for the atomic earth spin. The probability of similar spin in two spin axes is zero:
    P (x = y) = 0
    This contradicts Bell’s inequality:
    P (x = y) > 1/3
    This is not due to experimental results or non-realism of spin. The contradiction is purely mathematical. Bell’s theorem does not apply to one spin in one spin axis.

    Bell’s assumption would be correct if particles have 3 spin axes. However, there is experimental evidence against 3 spin axes of particles. Entangled particles have opposite spins on the same spin axis. If two spin axes existed in entangled particles, it would be possible to observe it by measuring the spin in x axis of particle A and in y axis of particle B. Since they are entangled, suppose a spin in x axis is observed in particle A, then particle B also has a spin in x axis. If a spin is observed in y axis of particle B, this proves it has two spin axes: x and y. The measurement must be simultaneous for two entangled particles. It is impossible to measure two spin axes of one particle simultaneously. Experiments show only one spin axis for entangled particles.

    Pauli’s exclusion principle is another experimental evidence against 3 spin axes. Experiments obey the exclusion principle that says particles cannot have the same four quantum numbers. The fourth quantum number is spin. There are only two possible spins designated as s or –s (negative sign means they are opposites). If there were 3 spin axes, then there would be two possible spins for each axis. Instead of 2 microstates (2 spins x 1 axis) the particle would have 6 microstates (2 spins x 3 axes). Particles could have the same 4 quantum numbers as long as they have different spin in y or z axis, equivalent to 5th and 6th quantum numbers. But there is no such thing. Experiments show only 4 quantum numbers. Hence, only one spin axis.

    Therefore, Bell’s theorem falsified the realism of three spin axes of particles. It neither proved nor falsified the realism of one spin axis. Note that Einstein was not arguing for the reality of 3 spins. The debate is realism vs. non-realism of 1 spin.

    Next I will introduce the Strangelove spin algebra and use it to modify Bell’s theorem and finally resolve the Bohr-Einstein debate.

  46. I tend to agree with the writer that science is not something you “believe in” like a religion.
    But that having been said, to be practicable, science does require that a lot of information must be taken on trust.
    We can’t *all* be in *every* forest for *all eternity* to hear *every* darn tree fall – just verify that their falls *all* made a sound (per George Berkeley). (Bohr and Einstein debated this one too.)

    • That is why ice core data is most valuable. The climate of the earth regions mixes together and dumps evidence into the oceans with the run off from land and then the oceans mix the land results with oceans results and then evaporate and carry the evidence in water vapor to the respective poles and then the data is stored in ice for up to 800 thousand years for us to discover and begin to understand. Every tree that fell generated data that is mixed in these records.

  47. Tracinski should invite Dr. Stangelove to join him the next time he goes on Rush Limbaugh’s show, to challenge Bell Bohr & Einstein to a tag -team match.

    Rush is living proof that all the science advisors in the world can’t save an ignoramus from making a fool of himself time and time again:

    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2019/03/are-exxon-and-juan-valdex-related.html

    • Are you doing ok? It’ll only get worse when the AMO flips and the Arctic Sea Ice recovers. Glaciers are already advancing in Greenland and Iceland. Arctic Sea Ice Volume is ballooning. A turnaround is near.
      Then what’s left for the apocalyptic scenario? Here’s a clue. Zip. Nada. Zilch. Nothing to clutch on to for a touch of sanity.

      Observational data trumps it all. As to the models? Their days are numbered.

  48. Pingback: Clouds and SST, Boltzmann, ENSO and Climate. (By Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD) | Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD.

  49. “Trumps it all”, Ceresco?
    Neither you nor the West Wing can redact what the geophysicists and their satellites see, and the rest of us ponder as the science evolves.

    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2019/03/march-17-2019-rick-perry-has.html

    • And all the models in the world won’t stop the AMO from doing what it’s going to do. I’m just waiting for all the excuses on why so many trends are reversed in the next few decades.

  50. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #354 | Watts Up With That?

  51. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #354 – Enjeux énergies et environnement

Leave a Reply to bfjcricklewood Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s