Monckton flunks Latin

This is the very first paragraph of Monckton’s response to Gavin Schmidt’s demolition of Monckton’s paper on climate sensitivity.

For the second time, the FalseClimate propaganda blog, founded by two co-authors of
the now-discredited “hockey-stick” graph by which the UN’s climate panel tried
unsuccessfully to abolish the mediaeval warm period, has launched a malevolent,
scientifically-illiterate, and unscientifically-ad-hominem attack on a publication by me.

Monckton goes on to make many more ad hominem attacks on Schmidt. And what are the ad hominem attacks that Monckton alleges that Schmidt makes?

I shall replace all comments by him that are
purely ad hominem with “+++”. I shall refrain from any ad-hominem remarks of my
own, and shall answer what little science there is in his blog ad rem. Schmidt’s text is in bold face: my response is in Roman face.

Schmidt: “+++ … the most egregious error is a completely arbitrary reduction by 66% of the radiative forcing due to CO2. He +++ justifies this with reference to tropical troposphere temperatures …”

M of B: Schmidt somehow fails to point out that my division of climate sensitivity by three to take
account of the failure of observed tropical mid-troposphere temperatures to increase at thrice the
surface rate as predicted by all of the models relied upon by the UN, far from being “completely
arbitrary”, was taken from a paper by Lindzen (2001), read together with the lecture-notes and drafts
that preceded the paper. Here are two quotations from Professor Lindzen, …

… we can reasonably bound the anthropogenic contributions to surface warming since 1979 to a third of the observed warming, leading to a climate sensitivity too small to offer any significant measure of alarm …

Let’s see what the “purely ad hominem” bits were:

As Deltoid quickly noticed the most egregious error is a completely arbitrary reduction (by 66%) of the radiative forcing due to CO2. He amusingly justifies this with reference to tropical troposphere temperatures

So it was “purely ad hominem” to link to my post where I wrote:

But Lindzen (2007) (which was published in Energy and Environment rather than in a proper journal) does not say that CO2 radiative forcing is too high by a factor of three. In fact, he specifically says that ΔF2x “is about 3.5 watts per square meter”. As far as I can tell, Monckton has misunderstood this statement from Lindzen:

we can reasonably bound the anthropogenic contributions to surface warming since 1979 to a third of the observed warming, leading to a climate sensitivity too small to offer any significant measure of alarm

This is a statement about sensitivity not CO2 forcing.

So far from failing to point out that the alleged source of the 66% reduction in forcing was Lindzen (2007) (not Lindzen (2001) as Monckton now claims), Schmidt did so and Monckton deleted it from his quote of Schmidt on the grounds that it was “purely ad hominem”. And note that Monckton seems to have conceded my point that Lindzen was arguing for a lower sensitivity, not for a lower forcing. Of course, he hasn’t admitted that his paper was wrong to use Lindzen to justify dividing the forcing by three.

Monckton continues with more confused arguments:

The evaluation of final climate sensitivity is of course left entirely unaffected whether one chooses to divide the forcing, the feedbacks, or the no-feedbacks climate sensitivity by three, since climate sensitivity is the product of these three parameters.

But you can’t just arbitrarily choose one of them to divided by three and then go on to reduce the others. From a premise that sensitivity is too high by a factor of three, Monckton manages to conclude that sensitivity is too high by a factor of six, thus contradicting his premise.

Anyway, Monckton goes on in this vein for a while, with lots of bluster and failing to prove Schmidt wrong.

So, Monckton felt that an argument that proved him wrong was an ad hominem, and says that he himself refrained from any ad hominem remarks. I can only conclude that Monckton thinks “ad hominem” means “an argument that proves your opponent wrong”. He is mistaken. Ad hominem, from the Latin “to the man”, refers to an argument that attacks the opponent personally rather than addressing that person’s arguments. You’d think that someone who read classics at Cambridge would be a bit better with Latin.

There is more on Monckton’s latest efforts from Daniel Rothenberg, Richard Littlemore, Atmoz and Eli Rabett.

And Arthur Smith is putting together a thorough list of all the mistakes in Monckton’s paper.

Comments

  1. #1 sod
    July 31, 2008

    Lord Monckton is +++add random insult here+++.

    just trying to educate him on “ad hom” attacks..

  2. #2 Notsniw
    July 31, 2008

    Is it just me or is the Eli Rabett link (to SPPI) is the victim of a 404?

  3. #3 John Mashey
    July 31, 2008

    404: that’s a link to the Viscount’s rebuttal to Arthur Smith, which SPPI took down, due to Arthur’s strong complaint.

    See Rabett on Lord Voldemort bleats for the history of the takedown.

    Of course, I’m sure some people kept copies of the SPPI PDF, given that it seemed likely to disappear, and it seemed to be a useful item.

  4. #4 counters
    July 31, 2008

    Much thanks for the plug!

    -Daniel Rothenberg

  5. #5 coby
    July 31, 2008

    No, Mockton’s got it right. “Ad Hominem” is latin for “nahnahnahnah I’m not listening!” (links to liberal facts at sites like wikipedia notwithstanding)

  6. #6 Dano
    July 31, 2008

    Ad hom is sooooo 2006.

    Dano’s brief reminder of the meading of ad hom:

    ad hom: You are wrong because you are an idiot.

    NOT ad hom: You are wrong because of A, B, and C. And, BTW, you are an idiot.

    Does the denialosphere – half of whom having this explained to them – now stop using ad hom? Gee, let’s think…

    Best,

    D

  7. #7 spangled drongo
    July 31, 2008

    It sort of comes across more like, “you are wrong because my withering sarc beats yours any day”
    Do you think we should all re-read Robbie Burns?
    Or only some of us?

  8. #8 JB
    July 31, 2008

    Monckton is indicative of how absurd the whole debate on climate science has become.

    He has no formal training in science and his stuff (drivel) has been debunked time and again by real scientists.

    His antics are somewhat amusing (and quite frankly bizarre), but he has gotten far more attention than he deserves.

  9. #9 Eli Rabett
    July 31, 2008

    Act two. Methinks it would be a very good thing to protect Arthurs back on this one, which means scouring the net and replying to all provocations from M.

  10. #10 JB
    July 31, 2008

    I disagree.

    Monckton is like a little kid who craves attention.

    Give him attention and he will keep doing what he has been doing.

    Ignore him and (like the little kid), he will eventually realize that the approach is not working.

    The best approach is to debunk and then proceed to ignore all of his complaints about “ad hom attacks” and other nonsense.

    These do not deserve a response.

  11. #11 Notsniw
    July 31, 2008

    #10 JB:

    I don’t think ignoring Monckton will work. Rather than acting like a small child, i.e. when realising he/she is wrong and will shown signs of contrition for his/her actions, Monckton has not displayed no such remorse. Rather, responses are more akin to delusion.

  12. #12 John Mashey
    July 31, 2008

    JB:
    I’m with Eli: help Arthur out.
    One never knows what silly things will happy, and sometimes it is well worth gathering details, from past experience. In particular, as occurred last year, useful pieces were scattered around, although there were more here than anywhere else.

  13. #13 Lank
    July 31, 2008

    Despite the errors in M’s Latin, he makes some very good points in the ’causes of global warming’ debate. I suggest you read his recent letter to Ms Wong which I hope she will consider very carefully.

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/monckton_warns_wong_youre_steering_labor_to_doom/

  14. #14 wmanny
    July 31, 2008

    Monckton is an ass. That, however, does not obviate the need to explore the many holes in AGW theory, now beginning to rise to the surface even in the Chicken Little media. Stick to the science and the scientists, even if the ad hominems on both sides are more entertaining.

  15. #15 Mark C
    August 1, 2008

    Now let’s give Monckton credit for trying and coming close. “Amusingly” is an adverb not an ad hominem. It’s the closest he got to getting anything right.

  16. #16 James Haughton
    August 1, 2008

    the thought of Vis-can’t-count being sued for copyright violation and defamation is just too delicious (momentary blogasm).

  17. #17 bi -- IJI
    August 1, 2008

    Shorter wmanny: The Alarmists Are Just As Bad… The Alarmists Are Just As Bad… The Alarmists Are Just As Bad… Om… Om… Om…

    Anyway, Monckton should follow the example of a certain mail order fraud known as Neo-Tech, and simply call everything he doesn’t like as a non sequitur.

  18. #18 John Mashey
    August 1, 2008

    wmanny #14

    “Stick to the science and scientists” is excellent advice.

    What do *you* do to do that?

    How about helping us out and posting *your* list of:
    - main sources for climate science
    - real scientists who you know personally and with whom you interact on this issue
    - top holes in AGW theory [which any classic skeptic would have]

    I have a hobby of trying to understand where people get their information. Oddly, many people simply won’t answer such simple questions…

  19. #19 jodyaberdein
    August 1, 2008

    Re:14

    Yeah that is a real issue. Fortunately much more of science publishing is now in the pubic domain, although by no means all.

    I’m a medic and so have access to certain academic databases: ISI for example. Google scholar is pretty good though, but of course still lets in the woo occasionally. I still don’t get to see geophysical research letters though. Fortunately if a paper is controversial or important you’ll usually find someone has a pdf of it up somewhere.

  20. #20 JB
    August 1, 2008

    Help Arthur out?

    Why does Arthur Smith need anyone’s help?

    He has threatened copyright infringement which should be enough to make even the “Lord” sit up and take note.

    Tit for tat in the ad hom department will not accomplish anything except get Monckton more attention.

    Unfortunately, Monckton is merely representative of a certain “class” of people who (for whatever reason) choose to “publish” their “science” on web sites, in magazines and forums for PUP (pure unadulterated opinion) like that of the APS instead of in peer reviewed journals.

    It’s sometimes entertaining, but it has little if anything to do with science.

    In pre-internet days, these people would not have received the time of day from anyone — least of all from the scientists.

  21. #21 Bunty
    August 1, 2008

    “the FalseClimate propaganda blog” — Presumably he meant he isn’t going to use any ad hominems /after/ the text stating he won’t; so that one, five words in, doesn’t count.

  22. #22 wmanny
    August 1, 2008

    #18, long story short, I have settled these days for reading realclimate and climateaudit side-by-side between publications of the IPCC reports (the meat, not the policy “90%” stuff) whence my own skepticism was born. Granted those two sites preach to their choirs, in the main they offer a good quantity of links and allow readers to form their own opinions over the long haul. I am especially interested in McIntyre’s efforts to get actual data into the public domain. I have interacted with a few of the players privately, which is surprisingly easy to do, and I am naturally loath to mention them here since I plan to keep doing so.

  23. #23 dhogaza
    August 1, 2008

    Presumably he meant he isn’t going to use any ad hominems

    I’m sure he’ll claim it’s an ad bloginem so it’s cool :)

    Wmanny:

    I am especially interested in McIntyre’s efforts to get actual data into the public domain.

    I do hope you realize that he really has zero impact in this area, despite his hyperventilating pompous self-aggrandizing posts on the matter?

    The internet and cheap connectivity has scientists, publishers, grant agencies, everyone thinking hard about how best to get data out there. Of course, they’re focused on getting it out to scientists, since scientists are those doing science. McIntyre’s a gnat on the elephant’s ass, at best.

    You’ve noticed, I’m sure, that McIntyre’s attacks on the likes of Thompson have gotten him absolutely nowhere, despite his bold claims of having various journals, PNAS, etc dead to rights?

  24. #24 John Mashey
    August 1, 2008

    re: #14 #22 wmanny
    That you study the IPCC is good.
    The following is not being contentious: you made strong statements, I’m just trying to understand how people reach their opinions.

    “That, however, does not obviate the need to explore the many holes in AGW theory, now beginning to rise to the surface even in the Chicken Little media.”

    0) When you say “AGW theory”, what’s your definition? Do you mean what the IPCC AR4 says, or something else?

    1) “many holes” is a bit vague, so can you perhaps list the top (5-10?) holes you find in the AR4? I.e., which section #s / page #s do you find wrong or unconvincing? Since this is about science and scientists, the “Chicken Little press” is irrelevant.

    2) Just to make sure, since you gave excellent advice “stick to the science and scientists”, I didn’t see some things listed, but I don’t want to make assumptions about what you do/don’t do, so I’ll ask more specifically:

    a) Do you attend lectures by real climate scientists?
    (I know this is not easy everywhere). If so, surely it can do no harm to name people whose talks you’ve heard? Maybe we’ve heard some in common, so can have a rational discussion about what they say.

    If none, have you found useful videos on the Web by scientists?

    b) Do you have (or have had) personal contact & discussion of this topic with real scientists?
    (I.e., like Nobel physicists, in US, members of National Academy of Scientists, in UK, Royal Society; Presidents, Deans of Science, Department heads, professors in relevant areas in strong research universities?
    Senior researchers at national research labs (in US, like NCAR, NOAA, GISS, GFDL, in UK Hadley, in Oz CSIRO, etc.
    Editors of peer-reviewed scientific journals?)

    c) Are you a member of any relevant scientific societies?

    d) Do you subscribe to any scientific journals?

    e) Do you read any primary research literature in the field?

    f) Have you read any books on this besides the IPCC AR4? [Certainly if one only reads one, that's the one.]

    g) Do you (or have you) participated in peer-review as an author, reviewer, or editor?

    h) Can you say anything about your background in physics and statistics?

    3) Back to 1), is there some modest set of “worrisome issues about AGW”, which if laid to rest, would convince you that AGW (as defined by the IPCC) is real and a problem? Can you list them?

  25. #25 Eli Rabett
    August 1, 2008

    Monckton and his ilk are victim bullies

    ‘victim bullies,’ who use claims of having been wronged to gain leverage over others.(pp. 123-4) Unlike simple passive-aggression, victim bullies use accusations as weapons, and ramp up the accusations over time. Unlike a normal person, who would slink away in shame as the initial accusations are discredited, a victim bully lacks either guilt or shame, honestly believing that s/he has been so egregiously wronged in some cosmic way that anything s/he does or says is justified in the larger scheme of things. So when the initial accusations are dismissed, the victim bully’s first move is a sort of double-or-nothing, raising the absurdity and the stakes even more.

  26. #26 Dano
    August 1, 2008

    The heat and drought haven’t addled Eli’s brain*. ‘Victim bully’ is better than ‘have-nothing little man’.

    Best,

    D

    * they’ve caused Dano to get up earlier to get a ride in, however.

  27. #27 wmanny
    August 1, 2008

    #24
    John,

    Don’t worry about me and how I form my opinions — I do it in my own opinion-forming way, and I don’t need your disingenuous laundry list to help me know how we little people think. I’ll leave the “Who You Know” game to your own self (and the word you are searching for is not “contentious” but “pompous”) I am a small-fry BSEE high school teacher, but I have read and heard extensively enough about the various issues, from proxies to politics, to know that the debate is evidently not over, and I am not imbecile enough to believe that anyone who dissents is ‘ipso facto’ in cahoots with Big Oil, at least not moreso than we all are.

    That there have been predictive problems in trying to model an almost infinitely chaotic climate system should not come as a surprise to anybody who reflects that we have been studying it for about three seconds in geological time. That is not to say we give up — far from it, and improving the models is a good idea. Nor is it to impose draconian solutions because a group of scientists signed off on its superiors’ policy-making report stating we are 90% certain, whatever the hell that means.

    Climate science is in its infancy, and the history of science, for those of us who have read even a page or two, shows that scientific infants have no problem pronouncing their correctness before they reach adolescence. Heaven forbid a scientist dies before she has gotten the world to act on her theory.

    In any event, my influence is very small and you have little to worry about unless I teach your children or grandchildren. I’ll keep reading the blogs and journals and attending lectures, with or without your guidance.

  28. #28 dhogaza
    August 2, 2008

    Climate science is in its infancy, and the history of science, for those of us who have read even a page or two, shows that scientific infants have no problem pronouncing their correctness before they reach adolescence.

    It’s older than quantum mechanics and relativity, and about the same age as evolutionary biology.

    Are those so young as to be useless as well?

    Sheesh, it’s about 2/3 as old as the Linnean system of taxonomy …

    And climate isn’t “infinitely chaotic”, it’s a much easier problem than predicting the local weather. Which is why Hansen was able to do such a reasonable job of predicting future temperature trends back in 1988 with what is, by today’s standards, a simple model.

    Can you try to find some denialist talking points that are a bit more recent? Infinite repetition of the old ones is really boring. Clogs the intertubes unnecessarily and all that.

    we have been studying it for about three seconds in geological time.

    This is true of all of science. So by your standard, all of science is useless. Is this what you teach your high school students?

    Nor is it to impose draconian solutions …

    He’s a libertarian. No bout adoubt it.

  29. #29 sod
    August 2, 2008

    That there have been predictive problems in trying to model an almost infinitely chaotic climate system should not come as a surprise to anybody who reflects that we have been studying it for about three seconds in geological time.

    all of this, of course, is false.

    the 1988 predictions were pretty good. remember, denialists have been telling us that temperature would be going down for quite some time now. but temperature, at best, has stayed flat for a minor time period…

    the climate system isn t very chaotic. i hereby predict, that there will be a summer again next year!

    hm, dhogaza already took apart the “young” thingy..

  30. #30 Barton Paul Levenson
    August 2, 2008

    wmanny writes:

    Climate science is in its infancy,

    Jean-Joseph Fourier deduced the existence of the greenhouse effect in 1824. Louis Agassiz proved there had been ice ages in the 1850s. John Tyndal showed that the major greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere were water vapor and carbon dioxide in 1859. The first quantitative estimate of global warming under doubled carbon dioxide was made by Svante Arrhenius in 1896.

    Are you using “infancy” in relation to geological time, or something?

  31. #31 dhogaza
    August 2, 2008

    Are you using “infancy” in relation to geological time, or something?

    Hopefully by now he realizes it best describes HIS state of knowledge.

  32. #32 Eli Rabett
    August 2, 2008

    For some odd reason your link to Rabett Run goes to SPPI. . .

    Mortifying;).

    Anyhow links for those who are not playing the bumps

  33. #33 Tim Lambert
    August 3, 2008

    Oops, sorry. It now points to your new post.

  34. #34 John Mashey
    August 3, 2008

    #28 dhogaza

    “He’s a Libertarian. No doubt about it.”

    While it seems plausible, there is still some room for doubt, as Libertarians do not have an exclusive.

    appeared there in May with firm ideas and and more.

    It’s too bad: I asked my usual questions to try to understand his experience, sources, and approach to learning … and the response was insults and evasion of straightforward questions, and a very big chip on the shoulder, plus non sequitur comments about oil people.

    Whether Libertarian or not, I would suggest a very strong case of Dunning_kurger Effect, which fortunately is curable, if so derired. Sadly, in my experience, most afflictees do not want to be cured because:

    “I’m not an expert, but I know more than the people thought to be experts, like scientists who spend their lives studying it; I’ve gained this knowledge by following a few websites who have the truth not understood by most.”

    is much more comforting than:

    “Some people know much lot more than I do on this topic, and it will take serious hard work to learn enough to have a useful opinion, especially since at least some of these people are smarter than I am.”

    Oil folks:

    As best as I can tell, only a relatively small handful of anti-AGW folks are paid directly from oil companies, or indirectly via thinktanks or related family foundations. Far more people are anti-AGW for other extra-science reasons, which I could summarize as:
    “If you jump out of a skyscraper, the laws of physics could care less about your politics.”

  35. #35 wmanny
    August 3, 2008

    John, to:

    “It’s too bad: I asked my usual questions to try to understand his experience, sources, and approach to learning … and the response was insults and evasion of straightforward questions, and a very big chip on the shoulder, plus non sequitur comments about oil people.”

    Your usual questions? You treat others in that sort of high-handed manner? That you react to my pointing out your pompous behavior by shifting it to a chip on my shoulder is not surprising. Pompous folks by definition are unable to see themsleves in that light.

    I am (obviously) new to this crowd and (also obviously) will not be reading any further, so you all can have a high old waste of time labelling me — sorry, “him” — a Libertarian(!), pretending you don’t understand what I mean by the infancy of climate science, imagining what sort of [poor] teacher I must be, and the like.

    I don’t doubt the sincerity of your beliefs, even as you so keenly doubt mine, but as I am primarilty interested in the conflict of ideas since I left the reservation — I used to be a true believer — there is clearly none of that encouraged here. And “denialist”? How grade-school is that? That you folks have yet to mature past the point of implying those who dissent are akin to Holocaust deniers is an insult to so many people it’s hard to know where to begin.

    Elsewhere for me. It has not been fun.

  36. #36 elspi
    August 3, 2008

    “Elsewhere for me”

    Do we have your word on that?

    “It has not been fun.”

    indeed not

    For any concerned trolls waiting in the wings to take up where George Michael
    left off, I’ll give you a few pointers.

    Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.
    If you want to claim that 95+% of the people working in a hard science are wrong, that is EXTRAORDINARY. You are going to need some SHOCKING SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE.

    And by this, I don’t mean shockingly bad, shockingly cherry picked or shockingly ignorant, I mean something along the lines of what the orbit of mercury was to the theory of general relativity. You need an alternate theory which explains reality vastly better than the one we have now.
    Good luck with that by the way.

  37. #37 John Mashey
    August 3, 2008

    Hmmm, “true believer”.
    That sheds potential light on this case.

    In trying to understand why people believe what they believe, I’ve discussed this with several friends who are psychology professors. Specifically, I asked about the observed behavior when someone:

    A) Has a very strong belief in one direction.

    B) For one reason or another flips to the other extreme, without being in the middle.

    They said, look up “ambiguity tolerance” and “all-or-none personality”. People vary strongly in their tolerance for ambiguity.

    Some people are perfectly happy with:
    .5 +/.2, or normal distribution around .6, with SD = .1.
    error bars
    statistical signifcance tests

    Others need 0 or 1.

    My friends say they’ve seen a few, rare cases where people oscillate between the two extreme views.

    Someone new to a scientific topic outside their own expertise:

    A. Can find out if there is a consensus among the relevant scientists, and just simply accept it, either out of faith in authority or simply by knowing that with modern science, whether it’s right or wrong, it’s usually our best approximation.

    If accepted on faith, and that faith gets punctured, a person who leans towards all-or-none can easily switch to ardent anti-AGW. I’ve seen several like that.

    B. Can recognize the consensus, but accept it only conditionally as very likely, and then spend a lot of time studying the topic, keeping a list of arguments and seeing how evidence arrives, and watching this over years to see whose arguments stand up or not.

    For instance, after reading Fred Singer’s books and watching his SEPP website over the years, and hearing Naomi Oreskes’ discussions, I’d have no trouble labeling him a denialist. Likewise, anyone who keeps claiming that AGW isn’t real because (Mars or Jupiter, or whatever) is getting warmer is a denialist.

    I tend to only use the term “denialist” for:

    - real people with real names
    - who actively produce and disseminate disinformation on AGW
    - whether they actually believe it not (because, there are some people who *have* to know better. For instance, if an ocean meteorologist says {sea level isn’t rising – just look at the longest record, from Stockholm, which proves otherwise}, he has to know better (i.e., Fennoscandian Post-Glacial Rebound), and putting in an OpEd just means he’s tryingto fool people. Denialist.

    I personally prefer the term “denier” for someone who uses such arguments but is not actively involved, or is anonymous anyway (IUOUI). As best as I can tell, many such do not really know the science very well.

    C. Of course, someone may harbor a general disbelief of science and scientists, or may have other non-science reasons for distrusting the scientific consensus here, or not being willing to actually study the science enough or listen to people who have. For some reason I don’t quite understand, some people can look at the Great Wall and think that if one brick at the top jiggles, the whole thing falls down.

    Obviously, this discussion can’t go to any rational place with wmanny (especially as it confirms his style from RC), but I since I actually do ask people the sort of questions I listed, and sometimes have productive discussions, I’ll try to summarize those in a later post.

  38. #38 z
    August 3, 2008

    “I am (obviously) new to this crowd and (also obviously) will not be reading any further, ”

    this is, of course, the first step in finding the weak spots in the arguments of those with whom one disagrees.

  39. #39 bi -- IJI
    August 4, 2008

    As always, AGW proponents have “beliefs”, AGW doubters have “opinions”. Yeah.

    This is worth pointing out every time some wag uses the word “belief” to describe AGW.

  40. #40 Bernard J.
    August 4, 2008

    Wmanny.

    I know that you’ll continue reading for at least a little while, so…

    John once asked a similar question of me, and I was happy to supply the background to the subject (why I bother engaging trolls at all). If his questions confront you perhaps it is an indication of the state of your internal equilibrium on the subject, rather than of any pomposity on John’s part. I find that John has a great deal of both knowledge and wisdom to offer on both the science of AGW, and the motivations of those who deny it, and your posts are as validly inspected as any others on Deltoid.

    And I too use the term ‘Denialist’, because that is what these people are. The fundamental science behind green-house gas physics is indisputable: the only ‘out’ is sensitivity, and that is being more securely nailed all the time. I think that if you bothered to seriously enquire you’d find the AGW proponents here would welcome true dissent if it were based upon defensible science, but the amount of such endeavour is miniscule compared to the bulk of Denialist tripe that is paraded. Just bring the scientific and the statistical evidence to the table. It doesn’t have to rely on the sincerity of anyone’s beliefs; just on the science. Just as you said yourself a while back.

    It simple, really.

    And this is why you are having (at least, in your perception of it) a rough time. Elspi said it well – if you’re going to make extraordinary claims, you need to bring extraordinary counters to the consensus. In spite of repeated Denialist attempts, this has yet to be done, and believe me that if it were the consensus would rapidly change – real scientists know how to assess the evidence, and (paranoid Denialist conspiracies aside) no scientist worth his salt is going to continue riding a bus if the wheels are falling off. Thus far attempts at a refutation of the AGW science have all come to grief.

    If climate science is in its infancy, then so are many disciplines of biology. Genetics has been around for roughly the same period of time, but it grows in leaps and bounds with improved understanding and technology. Climate science is no different, and it is mendacious to claim otherwise.

    You’re obviously critical of the AGW case, and you recognise Monckton for the prating knave that he is. If you apply this scrutiny to the Denialist case as well then you may actually find yourself behaving more like a real sceptic, and then perhaps the truth will become more easily apparent…

    And finally, as someone who has teaching qualifications and has taught at secondary school, in addition to two and a half decades working in several scientific disciplines and teaching at a tertiary level, I would ask you to be careful in how you engage your students in the science of AGW. I have a number of relatives and friends who are career science teachers, and whilst some of them are very good, not a one is actually a ‘scientist’, in spite of several genuinely thinking that they are, and telling folk as much.

    I myself am especially careful in how I teach material outside of my disciplines of expertise: I can only say that it must be that much more difficult for someone who has no professional (or at least good practicing amateur) experience in scientific endeavour outside of a school. It is not really a circumstance where personal feelings or intuitions have a valid place – if you want to share these with your students you should predicate them with the observation that you are not actually qualified (academically or experientially) to dispute the science.

    Or better still, don’t say anything at all.

    I am not saying that science teachers do not understand the basis of the sciences that they teach, but rather that to challenge the body of understanding requires a deeper experience of the scientific process than can be easily acquired by working as a teacher.

    It is for this reason that I believe that just about all science teachers would be much better for the experience of having worked as ‘true’ scientists for at least five years before they teach.

    I know that it made an enormous difference to my capacity to do so.

  41. #41 dhogaza
    August 4, 2008

    I am primarilty interested in the conflict of ideas since I left the reservation — I used to be a true believer…

    Straight out of the traditional science denialism playbook, used by creationists, HIV deniers, etc as well as our climate science ones.

    And no matter what is being denied, when I see a statement such as this, one word immediately leaps to my mind:

    “liar”.

    Oh, and we knew *exactly* what you were saying when you described climate science as being in its infancy, and we know *exactly* why it’s a bullshit claim.

    Just to set the record straight.

  42. #42 John Mashey
    August 4, 2008

    re: #40 Bernard J

    Thanks for the kind words, and nice commentary on teaching.

    1) Needless to say, the questions I asked didn’t just originate with me. They come from:

    a) Long history of having to calibrate audiences to use appropriate level of discussions of technical issues, going back ~30 years to university teaching.

    b) Being asked similar questions myself by climate scientists.

    c) Watching them respond to post-lecture questions, often of the form: “I hear you, but I’m still confused or have reservations. What should I do to learn more and be able to sort out the confusion?”

    d) And of course, from personal experience in calibrating how much someone knows, someone jumped on a casual comment about Tahoe ski seasons & global warming with “There’s no evidence whatsoever of global warming – it’s all a hoax.”

    I asked how she knew, and got back
    A: “I’ve studied it thoroughly.”

    I asked her if she could name her sources?
    A: “I’ve studied it thoroughly.”

    I asked if she read science journals, talked to scientists, or attended lectures at Stanford [~30 minutes' drive].
    A: “I’ve studied it thoroughly.”

    I asked if there were any particular pieces of evidence that would change her mind?
    A: “She’d know them when she saw them, but they weren’t there, because she’d studied the topic thoroughly.”

  43. #43 John Mashey
    August 4, 2008

    re: #40 Bernard J

    You might want to review Walter Manny’s comments (and replies from other people) over at Real Climate. Perhaps this can be called “Victim bully” behavior or maybe it’s something else that deserves a new term. I’ve given a few excerpts for flavor, but of course, one should read the whole sequences for context.

    Searching RC for wmanny yields 4 threads:

    A: May 08, Global Cooling-Wanna Bet?

    B: May 13, The Global Cooling Bet – Part 2.

    C: May 18, Climate Change and Tropical Cyclones (Yet Again).

    D: May 21, How to cook a graph in three easy lessons.

    Posts from wmanny include:

    A:
    May 9, #101, #109
    May 10, #142, #144
    May 11, #152, #177
    May 12, #190, #193
    May 13, #194, #208
    Excerpts:
    #101
    “On the off chance, then, an observation: why would an escape clause be needed in the event of a volcanic eruption? Aren’t all natural and anthropogenic projections, in the aggregate, included in models that purport to be good predictors?”
    #109
    “That’s my point — are the predictive models complete? And if not, what’s the utility of any model that needs to be excused when natural events occur?”
    #142
    “Until we understand how all the various and chaotic climate forcings work, I am afraid we are mere climate alchemists. That greenhouse gas emissions are predictable is not a good excuse for making those emissions the overriding factor in models.”
    #144
    “The Hansen piece, which predictions didn’t pan out in any of the famous scenarios, demonstrates the difficulty of getting all the contributions right, though he would argue, and rightly so, that the science was in its infancy in ’88. I would argue that it still is.”
    #152
    “…once AGW is shown to be a trivial factor in the geological swing of things, the backlash will be strong. Were I a cynic, then, I might pretend to be a believer, but I prefer to shoot straight with my students and try to educate them about the myriad other reasons to behave in more sustainable ways. Most of them have been indoctrinated in AGW, but a minority could use some other incentives.”
    #177
    “When Gore overstates the case in Myanmar, as another example, he does a huge disservice to the AGW cause, and those of us seeking cleaner energy for reasons aside from AGW can be heard gnashing our teeth in unison.”
    #190
    “Gavin, I can understand why you might not decide to publish this first paragraph — it would be embarrassing for you — but for you to accuse me of taking my cues from a BMI “hatchet job” (I don’t know what BMI is, by the way) is so unfair I almost don’t know how to respond. I’m not sure what you think is to be gained by laying the “nonsense” bit on me. If you don’t print the next part, though, I will know you are not sincere in what you say, and move on. I am sure NPR has the audio transcript if you want to listen yourself.”
    #193
    “To Gore’s statement, what can I say? You obviously did not listen to the audio transcript, and it appears you have no intention to do so and are relying on others to tell you what he said.”
    #194
    “Neutral listeners! Well, you have the religion, and you can’t talk someone out of that.”
    #208 THE PAYOFF
    “Hmmm. I will say I am enjoying the process of letting my science colleagues in on this site’s true colors regarding dissent! They have been telling me for years about RC’s supposedly disinterested stance, and they have been surprised to learn otherwise.”

    B:
    May 13, #13
    May 17, #89
    May 18, #105

    #13
    “I see the media in comfortable lockstep with AGW proponents”

    #105
    “103. Careful. Paradigm shifting. Dichlorine peroxide break-down rates not as previously understood. Science consensus being called into question, as invariably happens throughout the history of science. TBD whether Montreal has proven to have changed much.”

    C:
    May 19, #37

    #37 (about Miskolczi article mentioned in comments)
    “To those of you interested in seeing the actual 43-page, peer-reviewed article and its citations, over and above the curt dismissals of gavin, “raypierre”, and Nick Stokes, here is the link to the work itself:”

    D:
    May 22, #16, #59

    #16
    “Pierrehumbert unwittingly makes the point, I believe, that disagreement about what goes into the models (e.g. arguably unrealistic radiative forcing in Spencer’s) is precisely why there is no consensus on the subject of AGW, media repetition of that insistence notwithstanding.”

    #59 THE PAYOFF REAFFIRMED
    “Badly done, RayPierre, on the censorship, and once again I get to demonstrate to my AGW colleagues, who led me to your site to begin with, exactly how tolerant you are of dissent. You are evangelicals all, at this place, and I will miss some of it, but there are clearly more useful places to go to seek genuine disinterest, debate and actual conflict of ideas. I have learned what RC’s true colors are, and it did not take as long as I thought it would.”

    ====

    If there’s any doubt, one should go back and review these threads in context, including the (generally-patient) comments by RC editors.

  44. #44 John Mashey
    August 5, 2008

    Oops, note of course that Walter must have been listening to one of the BMI-hacked audios, as far as I can tell.

    Google: bmi gore

    would have quickly found the story.

  45. #45 Anthony Brookes
    August 5, 2008

    Even if some think Monckton is wrong – or rather they think the scientists who support his views are wrong – the planet has been cooling for the last ten years. At last we are realising that anthropogenic CO2 is not the cause of recent global warming. That is a step in the right direction.

  46. #46 bi -- IJI
    August 5, 2008

    Correction…

    Even if some think Monckton is wrong – or rather they think the scientists who support his views are wrong – we think the planet has been cooling for the last ten years. At last we are realising For decades we have been thinking that anthropogenic CO2 is not the cause of recent global warming which of course does not exist since it’s recently cooling. That we think is a step in what we think is the right direction.

  47. #47 Anthony Brookes
    August 5, 2008

    The person who added a “correction” to my comment refuses to identify himself but Lawrence Sterne had a profound response to him – “There is a worth in thy honest ignorance – t’were almost a pity to exchange it for knowledge”

  48. #48 Barton Paul Levenson
    August 5, 2008

    Anthony Brookes writes:

    the planet has been cooling for the last ten years.

    No, it hasn’t:

    Tim Ball’s errors

    Tilo Reber’s errors

    At last we are realising that anthropogenic CO2 is not the cause of recent global warming.

    What you are realizing and what people familiar with the real world are realizing appear to be two different things.

  49. #49 Bernard J.
    August 5, 2008

    If the trolls do not tire of telling their lies, then it behoves us to not tire in refuting them…

    Seriously, Anthony Brookes, if you think that the planet has been “cooling for the last ten years”, please show your calculations demonstrating this.

    You see, all of the statistical analyses that any competent person might complete show no cooling. Unless you have some magical database that has escaped the notice of the world’s climate scientists you are going to have your nose rubbed in any number of analyses that contradict your claim.

    Oh, and just out of curiosity, when you do your calculations, ask yourself also what trends emerge if you interrogate the last eleven years, or the last nine years, or the last thirty years, or fifty.

    And ask yourself why you chose to mention “the last ten years” in the first place.

  50. #51 Dano
    August 5, 2008

    Oops.

    Better link. And a closed tag.

  51. #52 Anthony Brookes
    August 5, 2008

    Since 1998 – That’s ten years in my simple maths. I see other contributors are wanting to close this blog down which is usually the sign of having lost the argument. But there isn’t much of an argument anymore. Most people are already downgrading from the expression ‘global warming’ to ‘climate change’ which gives them an honourable escape route. When politics takes hold of science it always leaves a nasty taste. Let’s hope the changeover is gradual as no animosity is intended and there have been some quite eminent scientists on the pro-global warming track. The planet istself is now saying ‘cool it’.

  52. #53 Bernard J.
    August 5, 2008

    …my simple maths

    ‘Simple’ being the operative word.

    An important word in this context would be ‘valid’, but unfortunately it is not applicable…

    Most people are already downgrading from the expression ‘global warming’ to ‘climate change’ which gives them an honourable escape route. When politics takes hold of science it always leaves a nasty taste.

    It was only in the last twenty-four hours that I visited this exercise in spin.

    Anthony, do yourself a favour, go here, and then follow Hank’s links in the #8 post that follows. Read, and learn about the nasty politics of semantics, and learn just who the team was that promulgated this tawdry effort.

    And since you are hung up on the whole cooling thing and the refutation of AGW, perhaps you would be kind enough to visit three questions that Barton likes to ask of your team:

    1) is CO2 a greenhouse gas?

    2) is the concentration of atmospheric CO2 increasing?

    3) are humans responsible for any increase in atmospheric CO2?

    Let’s answer these questions first and then we’ll see where it takes us…

  53. #54 bi -- IJI
    August 5, 2008

    Another correction…

    Since 1998 – That’s ten years in my simple maths. I see think other contributors are wanting to close this blog down which I think is usually the sign of having that I think they have lost what I think is the argument. But I think there isn’t much of what I think is an argument anymore. Most people, I think, are already downgrading from what I think is the expression ‘global warming’ to what I think is ‘climate change’ which I think gives them what I think is an honourable escape route. When I think politics takes hold of science I think it always leaves what I think is a nasty taste. Let’s I think we should hope that what I think will be the changeover is gradual as far as I think, as no animosity is intended and I think there have been some quite eminent scientists on the pro-global warming climate science track. The planet istself, the way I think about it, is now saying ‘cool it’. Or so I think.

  54. #55 dhogaza
    August 5, 2008

    I see other contributors are wanting to close this blog down which is usually the sign of having lost the argument.

    Poof! Tony Brooksie posts, climate science disappears into the trash.

    Nobel prize in the mail!

  55. #56 Anthony Brookes
    August 5, 2008

    Well there are certainly some alarmists on this site. Like many, I first thought the concept of global warming from anthropogenic CO2 was a tenable hypothesis, but after reviewing so, so many, papers – I’m almost punch drunk from the volume of documents I have read – I have come down on the side of the realists. Also I have checked the credentials as far as possible of the scientists who have persuaded me, and more importantly have found that the pro-global warming scientists are heavily, one could almost say, totally funded by vested interests. That sets alarm bells ringing even before investigating the facts. I found so many errors were highlighted by the ‘experts’ and such a frequency of hyperbole that many ostensibly sensible people became convinced that anthropogenic CO2 was not only a certainty but confirmed to a scientific level of proof. Such is politics and it is great pity that so many have failed to see the political motives behind this movement. In due course the alarmists or the realists will be accepted as right. It is just that having spent so long investigating all the theories, their protagonists and their opponents, I have come down firmly that CO2 is irrelvant as a substantial global warming contributor. It will no doubt take a lot to convince the alarmists that they are mistaken – some may never accept this position. I though am happy that I have done all the homework necessary and have reached a logical and justifiable stance.

  56. #57 Ian Forrester
    August 5, 2008

    Anthony Brookes said: “I though am happy that I have done all the homework necessary and have reached a logical and justifiable stance”.

    Do you wear a clown suit all the time or only when discussing AGW?

  57. #58 elspi
    August 5, 2008

    Me (ok, I wasn’t the first to say this): “Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.”

    Anthony Brooks: “but after reviewing so, so many, papers – I’m almost punch drunk from the volume of documents I have read -”

    Could you be a little more specific about all the papers you have read that those stupid climate scientists have missed/misunderstood. ’cause you are about one post from an
    EPIC FAIL.

    It’s not that you haven’t given us extraordinary evidence, you haven’t given us ANY EVIDENCE AT ALL.

  58. #59 Former Skeptic
    August 5, 2008

    Anthony Brooks:

    Here’s a classical analogy of your previous three posts:

    Lord Polonius: What do you read, my lord?

    Hamlet: Words, words, words.

    Lord Polonius: What is the matter, my lord?

    Hamlet: Between who?

    Lord Polonius: I mean, the matter that you read, my lord.

    (Hamlet, II, ii, 191-195)

    Or, if you prefer the modern version – in 4 words…

    Where is your proof?

  59. #60 dhogaza
    August 5, 2008

    Like many, I first thought the concept of global warming from anthropogenic CO2 was a tenable hypothesis, but after reviewing so, so many, papers – I’m almost punch drunk from the volume of documents I have read – I have come down on the side of the realists

    Wow, they’re out in force recently.

    Hey, Brooksie, don’t you realize that science denialists of every subgenre uses EXACTLY THIS SAME ARGUMENT. It’s a dead-giveaway that you’re lying, know nothing of the science, and haven’t studied shit.

    We hear it from creationists … “I used to believe in evolution until I started studying the science…”

    We hear it from HIV denialists … “I used to believe HIV causes AIDS until I started studying the science…”

    And we JUST HEARD IT FROM YOU.

    Please, trolls, brush up your act, find new material, you’re as entertaining as the 100th showing of a Perry Mason episode on KPTV.

  60. #61 Dano
    August 5, 2008

    Bernard J in 53 refers to a link that has rotted.

    The point is that Dano enjoys when the ignorant assert

    Most people are already downgrading from the expression ‘global warming’ to ‘climate change’ which gives them an honourable escape route. When politics takes hold of science it always leaves a nasty taste.

    when it was the head propagandist of the right, Frank Luntz, who suggested the phrase.

    So Brookes has been duped and looks foolish. Don’t feel bad, lad, you’re at the end of a long, long line. I use this as an indicator for dupedness and credulity, as it never fails.

    Best,

    D

  61. #62 Anthony Brookes
    August 5, 2008

    Why are so many Global warming alarmists foul-mouthed ? Is it a substitute for intellect ?

  62. #63 Hugh
    August 5, 2008

    Why are so many Global warming alarmists foul-mouthed ? Is it a substitute for intellect ?

    Anthony…you’ve just been challenged with prose from the bard. Please don’t hide behind behind faux indignation, just answer the question

    Where is your proof?

  63. #64 elspi
    August 5, 2008

    “Why are so many Global warming alarmists foul-mouthed?”

    This is what passes for evidence? (Never mind that I cannot see a swear word on the screen) This is not even a red herring as there isn’t even a fish here.

    Can you or can you not provide ANY EVIDENCE of your claims?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence

  64. #65 nothisrealname
    August 5, 2008

    (With apologies to whom I have ripped off)

    D = “Denialist”
    R= Receptionist
    DH= Dhogaza
    M= Mashey

    D: Ah. I’d like to have an AGW debate, please.
    R: Certainly sir. Have you been here before?
    D: No, I haven’t, this is my first time.
    R: I see. Well, do you want to have just one debate, or were you thinking of taking a course?
    D: Well, what is the cost?
    R: You have no idea.
    D: Well, I think it would be best if I perhaps started off with just the one and then see how it goes.
    R: Fine. Well, I’ll see who’s free at the moment.
    Pause
    R: Mr. DeBakey’s free, but he’s a little bit conciliatory. Ahh yes, Try Mr. Dhogaza; Room 12.
    D: Thank you.
    (Walks down the hall. Opens door.)
    DH: WHAT DO YOU WANT?
    D: Well, I was told outside that…
    M: Don’t give me that, you snotty-faced heap of parrot droppings!
    D: What?
    M: Shut your festering gob, you tit! Your type really makes me puke, you vacuous, denialist, maloderous, LIAR!!!
    D: Look, I CAME HERE FOR AN DEBATE, I’m not going to just stand…!!
    M: OH, oh I’m sorry, but this is abuse.
    D: Oh, I see, well, that explains it.
    M: Ah yes, you want room 12A, Just along the corridor.
    D: Oh, Thank you very much. Sorry.
    M: Not at all.
    D: Thank You.
    (Under his breath) Stupid git.
    (Walk down the corridor)
    D: (Knock)
    M: Come in.
    D: Ah, Is this the right room for a debate?
    M: There isn’t one.
    D: Yes there is.
    M: No there isn’t.
    D: Yes there is.
    M: No there isn’t.
    D: Is!
    M: Isn’t!
    D: Is!
    M: Oh, I’m sorry, just one moment. Is this a five minute debate or the full half hour?
    D: Oh, just the five minutes.
    M: Ah, thank you. Anyway, the debate is over.
    D: It most certainly is not.
    M: Look, let’s get this thing clear; it quite definitely is.
    D: No it isn’t.
    M: Yes it is.
    D: Isn’t.
    M: Is.
    D: Isn’t.
    M: Is.
    D: Oh look, this isn’t a debate.
    M: Yes it is.
    D: No it isn’t. It’s just contradiction.
    M: No it isn’t.
    D: It is!
    M: It is not.
    D: Look, you just contradicted me.
    M: I did not.
    D: Oh you did!!
    M: No, no, no.
    D: You did just then.
    M: Nonsense!
    D: Oh, this is futile!
    M: No it isn’t.
    D: I came here for a good AGW debate.
    M: No you didn’t; no, there IS no debate.
    D: A debate isn’t just contradiction.
    M: Can be.
    D: No it can’t. A debate involves arguments connecting a series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
    M: No it doesn’t.
    D: Yes it does! It’s not just contradiction.
    M: Look, if I were to debate you, I would have to take up a contrary position.
    D: Yes, but that’s not just saying ‘No it isn’t.’
    M: Yes it is!
    D: No it isn’t!
    M: Yes it is!
    D: Debate is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.

    M: No it isn’t.
    D: It is.
    M: Not at all.
    D: Now look.
    M: (Rings bell) Good Morning.
    D: What?
    M: That’s it. Good morning.
    D: I was just getting interested.
    M: Sorry, the five minutes is up.
    D: That was never five minutes!
    M: I’m afraid it was.
    D: It wasn’t.

    M: I’m sorry, but I’m not allowed to debate any more. The debate is over.
    D: What?!
    M: If you want me to go on debating, you’ll have to tell me what Nobel Prize winning scientists you know.
    D: Yes, but that was never five minutes, just now. Oh, come on!
    M: (Hums)
    D: Look, this is ridiculous.
    M: I’m sorry, but I’m not allowed to argue unless you’re properly credentialed.
    D: Oh, all right.

    M: Thank you.

    D: Well?
    M: Well what?
    D: AGW theory has a hole or two in it, eh?.
    M: I told you, I’m not allowed to debate unless you tell me where you get your ideas.
    D: I just said!
    M: No you didn’t.
    D: I DID!
    M: No you didn’t.
    D: Look, I don’t want to debate that.
    M: Well, you didn’t.
    D: Aha. If there’s no debate, why are you debating? I’ve got you!
    M: No you haven’t.
    D: Yes I have. If you’re debating, there must be one.
    M: Not necessarily. I could be debating in my spare time.
    D: Oh I’ve had enough of this.
    M: No you haven’t.

  65. #66 nothisrealname
    August 5, 2008

    apologies again. M needs to be DH in the appropriate section.

  66. #67 Former Skeptic
    August 5, 2008

    nothisrealname:

    And your point is…?

  67. #68 dhogaza
    August 5, 2008

    Shorter version appears to be that if one is rude, the earth is flat.

  68. #69 nothisrealname
    August 5, 2008

    Hey, dhgouza, what for are you making so nice with “Former Skeptic”, who by your tight logic must be a liar — “I used to be a skeptic, until I started studying the science.”

  69. #70 elspi
    August 5, 2008

    nothisrealname:: Misapplying Monty python is a hanging offence.

    The correct reference is the dead parrot sketch. You get to play the pet store owner. The reality based community get to play the John Clease character. You talk about the plumage and they RUDELY insist that the parrot is no more.

    So once more with feeling:

    Me: Can you or can you not provide ANY EVIDENCE of your claims?
    (THIS IS AN EX-PARROT…. IF YOU HADN’T NAILED HIM TO THE PERCH, HE WOULD BE PUSHING UP THE DASIES….)

    nothisrealname:: Why are you so rude
    (You stunned him… He likes resting on his back…He is just pining for the fords)

    Maybe from there you can segue into the black knight (trust me, you were born to play that roll).

  70. #71 z
    August 5, 2008

    “pro-global warming scientists are heavily, one could almost say, totally funded by vested interests.”

    and yet, once again, we see that the huge glaring and powerful fact(s) which has convinced the loyal opposition beyond all power to budge, is withheld from we poor suffering few; yet we are berated for our failure to see the light, at the same time as the existence of these giant uber-convincing facts is emphasized, but they are dangled just beyond our reach. oh, will the punishment never end!! i humbly hope someday to have earned the right to be considered worthy enough that i may also be shown the actual truth which has convinced those who have seen the light. someday, the truth of which climate scientists are bought and paid for by which vested interests will be mine I vow it!!

  71. #72 nothisrealname
    August 6, 2008

    elspi, you’re right. Dead Parrot more a propos. And, psst: Mine’s better.

    Cast: D: Denialist, PC: Correct Person

    D: ‘Ello, I wish to register an AGW complaint.

    PC: We’re closin’ for lunch.
    D: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this AGW theory what I purchased mere years ago from this very boutique.
    PC: Oh yes, the, uh, the ever-rising, anthropogenically induced temperature…What’s,uh…What’s wrong with it?
    D: I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, my lad. It’re flat, that’s what’s wrong with it!
    PC: No, no, ‘it’s uh,…it’s resting.
    D: Look, matey, I know a flat HadCRUT when I see one, and I’m looking at one right now.
    PC: No no it’s not flat, it’s, it’s restin’! Remarkable theory, the AGW, idn’it, ay? Beautiful HOCKEY STICK shape!
    D: The hockey stick don’t enter into it. It’s stone flat.
    PC: Nononono, no, no! ‘It’s resting!
    D: All right then, if it’s restin’, I’ll wake it up! (shouting at the graph) ‘Ello, Mister HadCRUT! I’ve got a lovely fresh denialist for you if you show…
    (owner splices the graph)
    PC: There, it moved!
    D: No, it didn’t, that was you splicing the proxy!
    PC: I never!!
    D: Yes, you did!
    PC: I never, never did anything…
    D: (yelling and testing the graph repeatedly) ‘ELLO GRAPH!!!!! Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is your skeptic testing!
    (Takes graph out of the notebook and does statistical analysis.)
    D: Now that’s what I call a flat temperature.
    PC: No, no…..No, ‘it’s stunned!
    D: STUNNED?!?
    PC: Yeah! You stunned it, just as it was warmin’ up! Climates stun easily, major.
    D: Um…now look…now look, mate, I’ve definitely ‘ad enough of this. That temperature has definitely pancaked, and when I bought into it a mere decade ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it bein’ tired and shagged out following a prolonged AGW rise.
    PC: Well, it’s…it’s, ah…probably pining for the bristlecones.
    D: PININ’ for the BRISTLECONES?!?!?!? What kind of talk is that?, look, why did it fall flat on its back the moment I got bought it?
    PC: The climate prefers kippin’ on its back! Remarkable climate, id’nit, squire? Lovely hockey stick!
    D: Look, I took the liberty of examining that hockey stick when I got it home, and I discovered the only reason that it had been turning so abruptly in the first place was that it had been NAILED there.

    PC: Well, o’course it was nailed there! If I hadn’t nailed that graph down, the tempurature would have risen even more sharply, and VOOM! Feeweeweewee!
    D: “VOOM”?!? Mate, this graph wouldn’t “voom” if you put a hundred billon tons of CO2 in the air! Your theory is bleedin’ demised!
    PC: No no! It’s pining!
    D: It’s not pinin’! ‘Its passed on! This theory is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet its maker! It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed that graph down, AGW’d be be pushing up the daisies! Its metabolic processes are now ‘istory! It’s off the twig! It’s kicked the bucket, it’s shuffled off it’s mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-THEORY!!
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  72. #73 bi -- IJI
    August 6, 2008

    If it’s so blatantly obvious that the climate scientists are backing the global warming theory due to vested interests, then why haven’t Monckton et al. sued Gore and Hansen yet?

    All the ‘skeptics’ here should petition them to go ahead and sue, just like they kept saying they would!
    :) </plug>

  73. #74 Bernard J.
    August 6, 2008

    Anthony Brookes.

    You have, according to your own admission, “done your homework”.

    You will therefore be able to supply, off the cuff, the references (and whatever other sources you used) to do your homework. Go on, please substantiate your claim that:

    Also I have checked the credentials as far as possible of the scientists who have persuaded me, and more importantly have found that the pro-global warming scientists are heavily, one could almost say, totally funded by vested interests.

    Now, little troll, Not later… now.

  74. #75 Barton Paul Levenson
    August 6, 2008

    Anthony Brookes writes:

    I have come down firmly that CO2 is irrelvant [sic] as a substantial global warming contributor.

    And your qualifications to do so are what? You’ve taken courses in radiation physics and atmosphere physics, have you? Tell me, when did carbon dioxide cease to be a greenhouse gas?

  75. #76 nothisrealname
    August 6, 2008

    “Why are so many Global warming alarmists foul-mouthed ? Is it a substitute for intellect?”

    Easily answered. One’s vituperative, humorless aspects rise to the surface when a cherished belief begins to be challenged, or worse, refuted by evidence. How DARE you disagree with that which I hold so sacred? Sure, science is skepticism, not belief, but too many insistists are naturally reluctant, because they are human, to examine for even a moment the inking of a thought that their cherished theory, which in many cases supports their careers, may be…. wrong. I do sympathize.

    Here’s one to watch: Wait until the next uptick in global temperatures arrives, as it must, and you will find that all the indignance concerning the insignificance of recent flattening, will dissipate into thin – excuse me – thick air. Only upward trends count, but on the off chance that temperatures keep trending marginally down for another decade or more, then we will discover that – surprise – AGW has caused AGC. I’m sure the groundwork is already being laid for that switcheroo. Probably why, among other reasons, we are instructed to refer to Climate Change rather than Global Warming.

    AGW, like all theories-become-religions, is here to stay.
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  76. #77 dhogaza
    August 6, 2008

    One’s vituperative, humorless aspects rise to the surface when a cherished belief begins to be challenged, or worse, refuted by evidence. How DARE you disagree with that which I hold so sacred?

    Ahhh, this explains the hatred spewed forth on denialist sites by libertarians and other right-wingers whose cherished belief in the free market and individualism is threatened by scientific understanding of the costs of unfettered destruction of our planet’s resources.

    Thanks you so much for clearing this up.

  77. #78 dhogaza
    August 6, 2008

    Probably why, among other reasons, we are instructed to refer to Climate Change rather than Global Warming.

    “Climate Change” was coined by conservative Republicans who wanted a less threatening spin phrase to replace Global Warming.

    It’s classic that not only do you not know the science, you don’t even know who coins denialist phraseology.

  78. #79 nothisrealname
    August 6, 2008

    Oh, hi, dhogaza, lovely to see you. I thought you had disappeared when I called you out on your unidirectional mind-reading of who is a ‘liar’. No matter. I notice you are still like a dog on a bone with ‘denialist’, too. Temper, temper. So angry, so threatened. So… humorless.

    In any event, those IPCC types (nee IPGW, right?) must truly be cowed by those nasty right-wingers insisting they use proper terminology. Right-wingers like Tom Friedman, say. (Today: “Remember: climate change means ‘global weirding,’ not just global warming.” 8/4: “…climate change deniers…”) Please. Anyway, relax, your side is winning big. We skeptics – damn it, forgot myself – we denialist loonies are mere voices in the wilderness.
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  79. #80 bernard J.
    August 6, 2008

    nothisrealname.

    My acceptance of AGW is most definitely not cherished, and I eagerly await a challenge or a refutation with evidence. The thing is, you and your ilk do not come up with scientifically credible evidence – it’s as simple as that.

    And if you expect to be showered in cherry-blossom petals and rose-water for the kindergarten ideas that most denialists proffer, well, you can hardly expect to be treated with kid-gloves.

    Oh, and as I have said numerous times before, nothing beats a rabid, extreme-conservative denialist for potty-mouthing. Anyone who has half a clue about the blogosphere would know this.

    Wait until the next uptick in global temperatures arrives, as it must, and you will find that all the indignance concerning the insignificance of recent flattening, will dissipate into thin – excuse me – thick air. Only upward trends count, but on the off chance that temperatures keep trending marginally down for another decade or more, then we will discover that – surprise – AGW has caused AGC. I’m sure the groundwork is already being laid for that switcheroo.

    Crikey, another who subscribes to a Great Scientific Conspiracy. You really have no idea how science is conducted, do you?

    Or are you actually just covering your own bum for when the thermometer goes north?

    And I presume that you have conducted the survey that shows how many scientists hold on to their ‘cherished beliefs’ for career reasons? Or perhaps you have references to such?

    Any yet you wonder why folk such as yourself often have invective directed at them…

  80. #81 nothisrealname
    August 6, 2008

    “Any yet you wonder why folk such as yourself often have invective directed at them…”

    Precisely wrong. I know wherefore the invective flies, as I have pointed out, and I find it both predictable and amusing. As to your dreamy observation, “it’s as simple as that,” well, wouldn’t that be nice! It would be as though the debate were over. Oh, swearword, I forgot – the debate IS over!

    And to the potty-mouths on this site, or is there only one: please mark Bernard and stop mimicking those “rabid, extreme-conservative denialists”. I mean, really, to stoop to their level. Tch, tch.
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  81. #82 dhogaza
    August 6, 2008

    No matter. I notice you are still like a dog on a bone with ‘denialist’, too.

    If the truth hurts, perhaps you should reconsider your science denialist, ideologically driven, refusal to face reality, point of view.

  82. #83 nothisrealname
    August 6, 2008

    Oh, and as to my kindergarten ideas, you forgot, “Nyah, nyah.” Or, perhaps, “I know you are, but what am I.” But who am I to advise you on which name-calling you prefer.
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  83. #84 dhogaza
    August 6, 2008

    It’s interesting that our troll hasn’t actually brought any *facts* to the table …

    Only upward trends count, but on the off chance that temperatures keep trending marginally down for another decade

    Well, the very term “trend” implies “statistically significant” in science, so there’s actually only one trend over the last 150 years, and that trend happens to be upwards.

    The trend – as the word is used in science – isn’t down over the past decade, and sure, when La NiƱa’s effect comes to an end, the resulting uptick will fit the long-term trend.

    If you have a problem with that, you have a problem with statistics, which means you have a probability, which means …

    I’d dearly love to play poker with you.

  84. #85 elspi
    August 6, 2008

    Good God man get back on your meds.

  85. #86 bernard J.
    August 6, 2008

    Oh, I see. Bog the thread down in mock-indignation and petulance.

    At the risk of an “oo-er” in response (since apparently our language has to decend to that level, on the heels of the denialist capacity for science)… I smell trollshit. John and Marion will be shaking their heads in chagrin that we’ve ever given your trolling the time of day.

    How about you get back to the science, and exactly where it is wrong, or to stay on-topic, where Monckton is right and where climate scientists are wrong.

    You’ve danced, pranced and prattled around here a lot nameless troll, but your science has been underwhelming.

  86. #87 luminous beauty
    August 6, 2008

    nothisrealname seems to think his lame and snarky bit of plagiarism is smart and funny.

    It’s not.

  87. #88 Paul H
    August 6, 2008

    To nothisrealname,

    “Precisely wrong. I know wherefore the invective flies, as I have pointed out, and I find it both predictable and amusing.”

    No, you asserted that Bernard gets uppity when his cherished ideas are challenged. He provided you with an explanation for the real cause of his annoyance, yet you still seem to want to talk about what you think is really going on in his head, so much for the heartfelt condemnation of “uni-directional mind reading”.

    So far you’ve made one clear assertion that has no basis: that AGW is an ex-theory.

    Besides the statistically insignificant 10 year temperature trend do you have any evidence to show? You’ve been asked plainly for evidence and have responded by changing the subject.

  88. #89 nothisrealname
    August 6, 2008

    Dear Gang:

    Sorry for the delay – I was catching up on some greenhouse footprint reading and making myself even stupider. Thanks, though, while I was away, for making my points for me ad nauseum re. humorlessness and name-calling. I especially enjoyed Luminous’ parody of herself or himself: “It’s not.” Oh. Shoot, and all my friends thought I WAS smart and funny, but I guess they’re not terribly bright themselves. And the plagiarism! I can’t believe I sunk so low as to try to pass the Pythons’ work off as my own. I am ashamed. I knew I shouldn’t have tried to match wits with youse guys. Soon, one of you sleuths will make another discovery about me.

    Notice, however, for all that you disapprove of my prattling attempts at irony, you just can’t leave it alone. Try it. Just ignore me. Don’t respond. If I’m the moron (or troll) you pretend to think I am, why lower yourselves? John and Marion seem to be able to remain elevated. Nevertheless, I’m just as entitled to my opinions as you are, and I am no more obliged to lay out chapter and verse of where my reading has led me than you are to name yours, especially in an advocacy blog such as this one. Please, ignore me. I have nothing to say.
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  89. #90 z
    August 6, 2008

    “One’s vituperative, humorless aspects rise to the surface when a cherished belief begins to be challenged, or worse, refuted by evidence. ”

    alternately, the hundred and third time somebody smugly enlightens you that “in countries other than the US, what the US calls soccer is called football” or something equally profound and novel, the basc evolutionary urge to improve the species’ gene pool by removing these defective specimens rises to such a peak that it cannot be ignored without sublimating it into some verbal form.

  90. #91 Bernard J.
    August 6, 2008

    Blah, blah, blah… I am no more obliged to lay out chapter and verse of where my reading has led me than you are to name yours…blah, blah, blah.

    You see, the thing is, when I read the threads on deltoid I see repeated examples of extensive references and links to properly peer-reviewed science, provided by those ‘advocates’ that you seem to so despise.

    We’re still waiting for your science though…

  91. #92 nothisrealname
    August 6, 2008

    Well, Bernard, you made it until 11:15 anyway, before you couldn’t resist the urge to throw in another frustrated response to some idiot who has no idea what he is talking about. For what it’s worth, I do not ‘despise’ the advocates – I disagree with them, nay, party with them. Funny how disagreement and disrespect are so often conflated. I do hope you are reading threads other than this one; there are blogs out there which manage to adhere to a far more civil and inviting tone. Rightly or wrongly, probably the latter, I have not adhered to that tone here. Respectful discourse seems somehow out of place. Anyway, must go – gotta get back on my meds.

    Z, sorry I could not follow your soccer/football analogy, though it would appear you are manfully fighting the urge to kill me, so as to upgrade our gene pool. Soldier on, but probably best for you to ignore me as well, much though I admire your intellect.
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  92. #93 elspi
    August 7, 2008

    Wow, nothisrealname is so much clearer without the vowels. Maybe if we remove the consonants too, and just leave the punctuation, he will be coherent.

  93. #94 nothisrealname
    August 7, 2008

    “Personal atttacks on other commenters will be disemvowelled.”

    You mean, of course, personal attacks directed in a particular direction, right? It’s OK to attack denialists and trolls, in other words.
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  94. #95 nothisrealname
    August 7, 2008

    Also, you forgot to retro-censor #65, #66, and #69. Get on it before I begin to suspect you are tolerant of dissent!
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  95. #96 nothisrealname
    August 7, 2008

    s clvr!

  96. #97 John Mashey
    August 7, 2008

    re: #24, #42 [I said I'd explain more, it got long, sorry]

    I often ask the sorts of questions in #24 and I gave some more background on where they came from in #40, i.e., synthesized from watching experts try to help people (like me) learn.

    This puts the questions back in one place, with some plausible Replies, further Answers, and side Comments.

    WHAT SOURCES DO YOU USE FOR LEARNING ABOUT AGW? WHICH DO YOU TRUST?

    R1: I read websites and blogs.

    A1: Can you say which ones?

    C: As in #42, if someone won’t even answer this, it’s a Very Bad Sign that they are mostly reading and trusting non-science blogs.

    R2: Newspapers, and popular press. What else should I read?

    A2: Unfortunately, these often get it wrong, either in over-interpreting or exaggerating the science or in denying it, depending on the paper and the editor/reporter. A few, like Andy Revkin of the NYTimes, are pretty good.

    For more depth see
    RealClimate’s Start Here. Read the science websites RC lists especially, which will give you the mainstream science view supported by almost all climate scientists and scientific societies.

    You can use RC to keep up with current discussions, and you might sample the blogs mentioned. At some point, you should canvas the opposing views (see end), but get a good grounding on the scientific consensus first. You might watch Naomi Oreskes’ video American Denial of Global Warming as background both for the science and then the earliest attempts against it.

    As in RC, at some point, you will want to go look at the IPCC, if only the 20-page Summary for Policymakers, but for more depth, the Technical Summary, and then the full report. It’s all online, although if you really want to get serious, at some point, buy at least the first volume of AR4, and then if really, really serious, the other volumes.

    R3: How about Wikipedia?

    A3: Wikipedia actually has some good articles, but as usual, it’s not a definitive reference, but a quick way to get started. I’d certainly prefer the various science organization’s websites.

    a) DO YOU ATTEND LECTURES BY REAL CLIMATE SCIENTISTS?

    R1: no, how would I do that? And why?

    A1: It depends on where you live.

    If you’re *really, really* lucky, you live near enough a university or institute that has active research in climate (& energy). Such places frequently offer public talks by local faculty and expert visitors.

    If you’re lucky, you live near enough a good college that at least has visiting speakers.
    At the least, after a bit of rummaging on their website, you can usually find someone to email:

    “I’m trying to learn more about climate change. Does the university have any public talks on such?”
    Quite often, even if a talk isn’t advertised as public, you can ask someone if it’s OK to come.

    (Sometimes, if somebody says where they live, I may know a specific relevant school. Of course, if they’re near my part of the SF Bay Area, it’s trivial, since Stanford has so many events on environment & energy by world-class speakers they sometimes get in each other’s way.)

    Some {universities, institutes, scientific societies} offer outreach programs and will send speakers for local schools or civic groups.

    Live talks are really valuable, even if you don’t ask questions yourself. Hearing others’ questions and speakers’ answers can be very instructive.

    However, if you live too far away, at least the Web can bring you videos and podcasts.

    b) Do you have (or have had) personal contact & discussion of this topic with {top-notch real scientists; I gave some labels one might expect of such}?

    b) DO YOU HAVE (OR HAVE HAD) PERSONAL CONTACT & DISCUSSION OF THIS TOPIC WITH {TOP-NOTCH REAL SCIENTISTS}?

    I mentioned some helpful labels one might see.

    R1: no, how would I do that? and why?

    A1: see a) above, but you can add other meetings or lectures where climate is not the primary topic. This is obviously easier in some places that others, but for understanding how scientists work, and who is competent, it really helps to meet some.

    Given a sometimes-contentious topic, it is valuable to figure out:

    a) how much *you* actually know so far and

    b) who the real experts are. This is not always trivial, as even fine scientists (including a few Nobel winners) can go off the rails into topics where they don’t know much. This occasionally happens around retirement time, although many scientists keep doing good work for many years after. I.e., scientists are human.

    Ideally, you want people who have a research publication track record in climate science, in peer-reviewed journals (see later), or some demonstration beyond their own claims that real science recognizes them.

    C: Exposure to top people makes it much harder to be afflicted by Dunning-Kruger, i.e., in which less competent people overrate their own competence and have difficulties rating others’ competence. It is always easy for people to think they know more they do, but any contact with top people helps one calibrate better. [For instance, once upon a time I thought I was a pretty good programmer, until I started working with some incredible ones :-)]

    c) ARE YOU A MEMBER OF ANY RELEVANT SCIENTIFIC SOCIETIES?

    R1: No, how would I do that? and why?

    (US answer):

    A1: Join AAAS, if only for a year. You do *not* have to be a scientist to be a member.

    A professional membership costs $146; K-12 teacher gets it for $99.

    You can see what they think is important and how they work. You get 51 issues of Science magazine per year.
    Even joining AAAS for one year may be useful. You can see what’s going on and how things work.

    d) DO YOU SUBSCRIBE TO ANY SCIENTIFIC JOURNALS?

    (US answer):

    One might start with Scientific American, SciAm, not a peer-reviewed *journal*, but written for an educated general audience.

    If that’s OK for you, then try c) above, joining AAAS and getting Science. The first half of each issue has news, editorials, perspectives, reviews that are accessible to someone who reads SciAm.. Also, you get access to the website, so you can look at past articles.

    The second half has primary research reports written by scientists for other scientists in their field … but quite likely almost incomprehensible to anyone else. I see many articles in which I give up after one sentence. Don’t worry about it.

    Nature is the other primo science journal. It costs $199/year.

    Many local libraries carry Science and Nature.

    e) DO YOU READ ANY PRIMARY RESEARCH LITERATURE IN THE FIELD?

    R1: What’s that?

    A1: That’s the Real Stuff, i.e., peer-reviewed research in credible journals. Journals vary in their credibility and “impact factor” – getting an important article in Science, Nature, or the key journals of major professional societies is a big win for a researcher. Getting one in Energy&Environment or Journal for Scientific Exploration isn’t … which shows that journal titles can be quite confusing.

    Obviously, you have to be getting serious to be doing this very often, but sometimes it can really help understand how science is done, how scientists write, and how the work builds. Also, it is instructive to compare actual research papers with press releases and comments on blogs, as all too often, the paper is filled with caveats and restrictions that get lost. Fortunately, you need not subscribe to everything in sight, as people do often have copies up on their websites.

    Most people will not go this deep, but anyone who wants to seriously challenge {almost all climate scientists and scientific societies, US National Academy, Royal Society, AAAS, etc} should be doing this regularly, which means not only reading Science/Nature, but likely joining the AGU and reading journals there, at least.

    f) HAVE YOU READ ANY BOOKS ON THIS?

    R1: No, where do I start?

    A1: Sooner or later, if you really want to get deply into this, you’ll want to read the IPCC’s AR4, which is not primary research, but is a compendium and analysis of the large body of primary research.

    There are many good books, but my favorite starting point is by Bill Ruddiman, who I’d call “a scholar and a gentleman”:

    William F. Ruddiman, “Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum”, ~$12 at Amazon, including review of mine.

    It is very clearly-written and easily accessible to non-experts, pulls together many different factors. it carefully delineates between hypotheses and theories (in the way scientists use the terms), and shows how the first starts to become the second, or disappears.

    Chapter 18 on “Global-Change Science and Politics” is a calm, insightful discussion of the issues, one of the best I’ve seen.

    I’ve given away half a dozen of these to help people get started.

    g) HAVE YOU EVER PARTICIPATED IN PEER-REVIEW AS AN AUTHOR, REVIEWER, OR EDITOR?

    R1: No, why? and what’s this Peer Review stuff anyway?

    A1: Peer Review is one hurdle a paper must pass before it gets printed in a credible journal. The author submits the paper, and if it gets past the editor, is sent to a few (anonymous) referees, relevant experts. Each sends in a verdict ranging from Accept to Reject, with various intermediates possible. They can suggest changes. They can be scathing. Stronger journals accept only a small fraction of submitted papers.

    This is necessary, but not sufficient – think of an acceptance as saying:

    “We think this is worth looking at, and it might be important, and it’s not obviously wrong”

    rather than

    “We’re sure this is right.”

    The real worth of research only shows up over years. Good work tends to get referenced often, and later papers build on or modify earlier results. Other work may never get referenced, or may propose something that gets refuted quickly, and then drops from sight.

    As Stephen Schneider says (paraphrased):

    There is 1) well-established science, 2) there are things for which there are still competing explanations, and 3) there is speculation.

    Scientists spend a lot of time arguing about the third, and especially the second category. They don’t argue much about the first, they just assume it. Real scientific controversies are clear, for instance, during the decades-long fight over the existence of continental drift.

    If a new paper claims to demolish anything important in the first well-established category:

    that could be a scientist’s (Nobel?) dream!

    but usually, the new paper is wrong. It may take a while to figure out why.

    A more likely event is that a scientist generates a new explanation for existing data. Quite often the explanation may be wrong, gets refuted, or fails to get enough confirmation to turn a hypothesis into a well-accepted theory. But sometimes, it’s good enough to get serious study, and perhaps with modifications, gains support. For example, Ruddiman’s several hypotheses are in that process, i.e., you can watch science in progress there. With enough data, people often discover mysterious new cyclic explanations … that fall apart when the next period’s data arrives. Occasionally, real cycles appear, as via Milankovitch.

    Science is like the Great Wall of China, built brick-by-brick, and sometimes brickwork at the top turns out to be bad, and is torn down, but that lower down gets like steal I-beams. Even if one brick gets wobbly or appears not to fit, the whole Wall doesn’t suddenly fall down.

    [Fortunately, science is unlike software, where some one-line change in source code may cause an OS to crash and lose everything :-)]

    Peer-review doesn’t guarantee correctness or importance, although strong journals try very hard, as their reputation depends on minimizing bad mistakes and providing important results.

    Be careful of non-peer-reviewed material that contradicts the body of per-reviewed work. It’s OK to write OpEds, whitepapers, letters to editors, but if that material contradicts the peer-reviewed literature, it’s a potential red flag, especially when produced by a scientist writing outside their own domain. If a scientist could write a good paper disproving a major consensus, it would go to Science or Nature, not as an OpEd in a newspaper or a whitepaper on some thinktanks’ website.

    h) CAN YOU SAY ANYTHING ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND IN PHYSICS AND STATISTICS?

    This question is intended to guide the level of further discussion. A typical answer might be:

    R1: Not much, rusty high school physics, no formal statistics.

    A1: High school physics (and chemistry) are just fine.

    On statistics, it’s more important to be able to defend yourself from bad statistics than to be a statistics expert.
    Read the classic little book by Darrell Huff, “How to Lie with Statistics”, and maybe add Gerald Everett Jones’ “How to Lie with Charts”. Learning to quickly recognize “cherry-picking” is worth a lot.

    However, just knowing a few things will help a lot in avoiding confusion on AGW, especially the endless arguments about whether the Earth is warming/cooling this week, this year, the last 10 years, whatever.

    While we have reasonable measurements of the Earth’s surface temperatures, most of the extra heat from the Greenhouse Effect is actually in the oceans, where it’s harder to measure. See the bathtub analogy.

    The Earth’s surface temperatures form a *very noisy time series*. The variation from {night-to-day, day-to-day, month to month, year-to-year, and even decade-long periods} is greater than the overall trend, and it takes 20-30 years to get statistical significance. RC has some good analyses, but tamino’s “Open Mind” blog has many fine examples of good statistical analyses of climate data. It’s really important to know that real trends aren’t obtained by drawing a line between the first point and the last point, which human eyes do naturally. One has to do *regression analysis* and with non-cherry-picked data.

    It makes very little sense for the general public to get excited about short-term jiggles. Scientists don’t, unless something happens that looks like it might be the start of a departure from an existing trend, not just noise. For instance, the large Summer 2007 Arctic ice melt might have been a random jiggle, or it might be the start of a new trend. It’s to know for sure yet.

    Day-traders may spend their lives watching minute-by-minute jiggles in stock prices. Warren Buffet doesn’t.

    R: BUT WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER SIDE?

    A: The Oreskes and Ruddiman pieces give some background. But, you can go to ClimateAudit, check the blogs under BlogRoll, or

    Google: global warming hoax

    For sure, try Kristen Byrne’s ponderthemaunder, a 15-year-old’s proof that AGW is all wrong, and often refrenced by some people.

    After you have some grounding in mainstream climate science, to be sure, spend some time looking at {skeptics, contrarians, denialists, whatever term is appropriate}.

    It takes some experience to sort out science from non-science, especially when faced with nice-looking graphs and equations. I used to have fun reading (now-deceased) John daly’s “Still Waiting for Greenhouse”, as he had panache and nice pictures, at least.

    It is especially valuable to pick a few sites or authors and see how their views change over time (years). Real scientists normally provide measures of uncertainty that tend to get refined (narrowed) over time with new data, and to be cautious.

    But, some people keep the same bottom line (“No regulation of CO2″ or “No regulation of anything”), but the reasons keep changing, or new data is simply ignored. It is very easy for a first encounter to look reasonable, and credible, until you see it in sequence. Over years, a common sequence is:

    There is no global warming

    Well, maybe there is, but it’s not caused by humans

    Well, even if it’s caused by humans, it’s good for us

    It would cost too much to fix

    And it’s too late anyway

    For example, check out Fred Singer’s website, http://www.sepp.org, and read his two books (“Hot Talk Cold Science, and “Unstoppable Global Warming – every 1500 years.” The most sophisticated anti-AGWer is probably political scientist Bjorn Lomborg, so you might try “Cool It!”, but then read Things Break comments.

    Finally, I find John Cook’s website Skeptical Science invaluable. It list frequently-reused, but long-debunked wrong arguments, each with a clear webpage explaining the argument, the errors, examples of usage, and pointers to backup in the scientific literature. It can be a good exercise to go through some article with this available. I’ve found short articles that managed to cram in a dozen errors. The list is not exhaustive, but certainly covers the most common wrong arguments.

    R: I’M STILL SKEPTICAL
    A: OK, classical skepticism is good. But (classic) skeptics, as most scientists are, commonly evaluate a proposition by weighing the evidence for and against it, and offer measures of uncertainty. They also look hard at data that seems to be contradictory, as that data may either reveal something really new or it may be in error. A good discipline is to say:

    Proposition X is the consensus position of the people who spend their lives doing it. I don’t take that on faith, because they could be wrong, but of course, in modern science, if there’s anything even close to a consensus, it’s likely the best bet, and if disproved, will likely be done by a professional, not an amateur.

    Still, here is my working list of things that cause doubts. I’ll add to the list as new ones arise, I’ll study ones I don’t understand to see if there’s an explanation already there, and I’ll see if new data, or new explanations arise, and see what happens.

    So for instance: a few years back, #1 on the list (it was, for me) might have been:

    Satellites and balloons don’t seem to agree close enough with surface stations

    And then errors were identified in the satellite computations.

    If someone cannot identify their top 5-10 concerns specifically, but just knows AGW is wrong, and cannot identify what would change their minds, that’s not classic skepticism, it’s something else.

    NOW, THAT BRINGS US BACK TO VISCOUNT MONCKTON

    As an exercise for the reader, which of Cook’s list of wrong arguments does he manage to get into the second paragraph after “The Context”, i.e., the one starting “The models…”?

  97. #98 wmanny
    August 8, 2008

    John, graciously offered, and I’ll give it another shot now that I know more about where you are coming from.

    WHAT SOURCES DO YOU USE FOR LEARNING ABOUT AGW? WHICH DO YOU TRUST?

    R1: I read websites and blogs.
    These days, RC and CA, primarily, though I follow threads around like any other surfer. You have explored my rookie attempts to engage on RC, out of context to be sure, but I admit I was not prepared for the animosity and censorship I encountered there, was baited, responded badly, and I now simply read. Both sites preach to their own choirs, and I don’t trust either one per se. I also admit I admire the tone of CA more – RC positively snarls – but my evolving bias informs that comfort level, to be sure.

    R2: Newspapers, and popular press. What else should I read?

    I don’t believe much that I read in papers, for obvious reasons.

    [your section about using RC and Wikipedia]

    I would say RC is a terrible place to go for someone who wants to learn. It is Mann’s and Schmidt’s advocacy site, and while admire the courage of their convictions, you need to share those convictions to participate. That said, it is a vital piece of the puzzle.
    I don’t allow my students to use Wikipedia, and would never consult it myself. Its shortcomings are notorious.
    To the IPCC report, I would recommend reading the summary last, not first – the summary is politicized. Granted, it’s heavy sledding, though more so for lay readers such as myself.

    a) DO YOU ATTEND LECTURES BY REAL CLIMATE SCIENTISTS?

    In addition to attending lectures, while I have been able to hear visitors to my school (Holdren most recently), and I can get to the Cary Institute every so often, it is possible to listen and read on-line as well as see the videos and pods you mention.

    b) DO YOU HAVE (OR HAVE HAD) PERSONAL CONTACT & DISCUSSION OF THIS TOPIC WITH {TOP-NOTCH REAL SCIENTISTS}?

    I have answered this, not to your satisfaction, in the affirmative. Personal contact is personal, and I will not share it on this or any other site, especially insofar as it is ongoing. I agree that such contact is very useful indeed, though it should not be a requirement for anyone who wants to learn.

    c) ARE YOU A MEMBER OF ANY RELEVANT SCIENTIFIC SOCIETIES?

    No. I am a calculus and English teacher. I am a relatively intense and skeptical reader on AGW, but it is an avocation only. Were I still a physics teacher, that would change.

    e) DO YOU READ ANY PRIMARY RESEARCH LITERATURE IN THE FIELD?

    As much as I can, but I am lucky to have free access through my library and science colleagues. Again, heavy sledding for the untrained eye, or partially-trained eye such as mine.

    f) HAVE YOU READ ANY BOOKS ON THIS?
    IPCC reports only.

    g) HAVE YOU EVER PARTICIPATED IN PEER-REVIEW AS AN AUTHOR, REVIEWER, OR EDITOR?
    No.

    h) CAN YOU SAY ANYTHING ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND IN PHYSICS AND STATISTICS?
    BSEE, high school physics teacher for three years. BC Calc. teacher. Weak on stats.

    R: BUT WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER SIDE?…
    i) [my suggestion] DO YOU ACTIVELY SEEK OUT OPPOSING POINTS OF VIEW AND KEEP AN OPEN MIND?

    Here, I would suggest avoiding strawmen such as Byrne and Monckton. Most of your suggestions are clearly geared towards making sure a novice reader does not take skeptics too seriously. I would make a different suggestion, somewhat analogous to the one I make to my students: do your own reading, don’t accept at face value anything that I tell you, that dad and mom tell you, that your bio teacher tells you… Take over the process of your own education. Trust your instincts and then dig hard to discover what is informing those instincts and let the evidence take you where it will.

    NOW, THAT BRINGS US BACK TO VISCOUNT MONCKTON

    Monckton’s an ass. Oops, after all that, an ad hominem!

    John, thank you, and if you have the time, can you lay out your answers to the above questions or refer me to where you have already done so?

  98. #99 dhogaza
    August 8, 2008

    I also admit I admire the tone of CA more – RC positively snarls – but my evolving bias informs that comfort level, to be sure.

    It’s revealing that wmanny prefers the tone of a site in which an entire field of science is routinely accused of fraud and dishonesty. Apparently he thinks it is civil and well-mannered to do so.

  99. #100 dhogaza
    August 8, 2008

    I would say RC is a terrible place to go for someone who wants to learn. It is Mann’s and Schmidt’s advocacy site, and while admire the courage of their convictions, you need to share those convictions to participate.

    Pffft. Obviously any science site is going to advocate science. Are you saying you don’t share that conviction, truth over dishonesty? I can’t take anyone seriously who proposes CA as a source of objective information. McIntyre’s dishonesty ought to be visible to anyone with a junior high school introduction to science.

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