Windschuttle hoaxed

Keith Windschuttle has just published a hoax article full of pseudo-science in Quadrant. And it wasn’t this article by Tim Curtin which contains such gems as the claim that Arrhenius borrowed his formulation of the enhanced greenhouse effect from Malthus (he didn’t), that the water vapour from burning fossil fuels is a more important greenhouse gas that CO2 (ignoring the fact that the CO2 stays in the atmosphere 10,000 times as long) and attributing all of the increase in food production in the last thirty years to the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere (I swear that I am not making this up).

By comparison, the hoax article seems almost reasonable, though the proposal to use genetically modified mosquitoes to deliver drugs seems a bit of a give away:

A trawl through two of CSIRO’s annual reports reveals that the organisation had previously abandoned plans to commercialise two other projects which involved modifying organisms with an array of human gene sequences. … Another was modification of malaria mosquitoes so they carry genes which produce human antibodies in their gut; thus rendering their bite less dangerous.

And the very first sentence of the hoax is good:

Quadrant readers will remember America’s “science wars”, spearheaded by the masterful Sokal hoax, a “hodgepodge of unsupported arguments, outright mistakes, and impenetrable jargon” designed to challenge standards of logic, truth and intellectual enquiry in scientific debate.

Windschuttle’s response is priceless. He denies that the piece is a hoax:

Rather than a hoax, her article is simply a piece of fraudulent journalism submitted to Quadrant under false pretences.

There is lots of discussion of this matter: Margaret Simons, Larvatus Prodeo, Harry Clark, Andrew Norton and David Marr:

After a terrible two hours, Keith Windschuttle convinced himself he hadn’t been hoaxed at all. He was greatly relieved. How embarrassing such a stumble could have been for this fierce nitpicker, scourge of sloppy academics and current editor of the conservative Quadrant magazine.

Comments

  1. #1 Tim Curtin
    February 23, 2009

    Bernard. I am flattered by the attention you give to my thoughts. More briefly, let me respond as follows.
    You said I “did not in any way refute the enormous bodies of data, whether at global or local levels, that indicate that warming has been definitively observed over the last century, whatever baseline is considered. Just how is it that countless scientifically acquired datasets are all incorrect in showing the warming trend, when based on consistently stable ‘baselines’?”

    Well, just go to GISS, and you will find that from 1900 to 2000, despite all Jim Belsen’s tinkering to make recent years seem hotter, and earlier years colder, all he can come up with is that in 1900 the Global mean temp was 13.9 oC and in 2000 just 14.33 oC, a staggering increase of 0.43 oC. To achieve that he had to use New York temps in 1900 as proxies for Khartoum, Kinshasha, Kampala, Nairobi, Harare, Lusaka etc etc. while in 2000 he probably used all the latter as proxies for Vladivostock etc in 2000, following the collapse of the USSR’s met stations after 1990. Adding insult to injury, Belsen then multiplies all deviations from the average GISS global mean for 1950-1980 by 100 to make them seem much bigger than they are.

    To your question #2: “Do you accept that evapotranspiration changes with warming?” I replied:
    “I accept that this increases with warming if any – and the result is higher precipitation. Even the cretinous IPCC admits that water vapour resides in the atmosphere for at most 10 days”.
    You say that “my observation about ‘higher precipitation’ is an obfuscation, because it implies that evapotranspirative water loss is returned in short order at the place where it originated.” But I never said that, evaporation here means rain there as often as not.

    Bernard asked at question 3: “Where evapotranspiration changes will occur around the planet, have you determined how they impact upon the locations of future arable agricultural land, and how they will impact upon the health of the planet’s ecosystems?”
    to which I replied:
    Yes, all over the place, as now, floods in Queensland, droughts in SE Australia. NET effect = positive.
    To which you Bernard have no answer.

    Thirdly, Bernard says I “made no comment about the impact of ET shifts on global ecosystems, beyond a vague hand-waving “NET effect = positive” with absolutely no evidence provided!” Well, just check out IPCC 2007 which shows regional distirubutions quite well (for once).

    Bernard’s fourth question was : “Do you understand that altering the input of substrates and nutrients into a biological system alters the trophic dynamics of the system?” I replied:
    ‘Yep, but so what, again, probably no NET or only positive changes globally”; in other words, I consider his proposition has no substance. What on earth does it mean? I am sure Bernard himsself cannot explain it.

    Bernard rants on, with question 5: “How do the alterations inherent in the scenario in question 4 interact with the impacts in question 3?” Goodness knows, what on earth does he mean?

    For his question 6 he asked:
    “Have [I] quantified the pre-industrial productivity of the world’s various ecosystems, and compared the data with your projections of productivity for the very same ecosystems under the CO2 concentrations anticipated for the future?” I replied “YES. But see Maddison, I rely on his data to 1750 and my own as well as his since then”. I just received today Maddison’s article in World Economics Jan 2009 which answers this question for me.

    Bernards’s seventh question:
    “Have you qualified the pre-industrial trophic fluxes of the world’s various ecosystems, and compared the data with your projections of flux for the very same ecosystems under the CO2 concentrations anticipated for the future?”
    I said “Yep, watch this space!”. That still holds, but pro tem check out Colin Prentice et al for an account that matches my own, Ecological Applications, 10(6), 2000.

    For question 8 Bernard asked “Who, if indeed any, has reviewed and confirmed and/or corrected your work?” and I replied:
    “My Quadrant piece had 3 peer reviewers, albeit for another journal, but that could not find space until about June, and has little impact in Australia, so given that Garnaut is already dead and buried here, I opted for bigger and more immediate impact.”

    Bernard; “First, your Quadrant piece (Jan-Feb 2009) does not provide any evidence to refute any of the science that you have been critical of on this thread. It does not provide any evidence to support the ‘answers’ that you provided to my questions as discussed in this post. Your ‘work’ is not supported by whatever review occurred of your Quadrant article.” Bernard, please check the full online version at either Quadrant Online itself or (updated) at http://www.lavoiser.com.au.

    “Furthermore, and as an aside, it is poor practice to submit for review to one journal, and then to withdraw and publish in another (rarely reviewed) journal – unless the first journal rejected the piece…” It did not reject, I retained copyright.

    Arriving at question 9:

    No further comment from me.

  2. #2 Jeff Harvey
    February 23, 2009

    TimC,

    None of the studies you have cited have incorporated trophic interrelationships at smaller scales into their work. They have looked at some large scale emergent processes, but they have not worked at smaller scales and thus far few studies have explored the effects of enhanced atmospheric C02 concentrations and attendant climate change on complex interrelationships involving invertebrtate and vertebrate fauna in the above-ground and soil communities and how this correlates with emergent properties. You clearly cannot see the wood from the trees, and just do not understand the concept of scale. At least that is the way I see it. Ian and Bernard have nailed you. Again, you do not understand important ecological concepts. You rely on cutting and pasting abstracts from a few systemic studies that do not explicitly examine trophic interrelationships. I have science to do, not wasting my precious time on this pedantic discussion.

  3. #3 Bernard J.
    February 23, 2009

    Tim Curtin.

    I was not referring to the periods on which they base their “anomalies’ with the sole aim of deriving graphs appearing to show incredible increases in warmth, when the actual increase from 1900 to 2000 is barely discerible on graph plotting the global meana [sic] on the vertical axis with that starting at 0oC [sic] (not 14 as you would have it) (my emphasis)

    It seems that your grasp of significant figures, and of graph scales/ranges is sorely lacking. As an apparently professional economist you should be ashamed of this chicanery in the application of data presentation and analysis – it is of a level of non-understanding typical of the worst drudges of Bolt’s and Marohasy’s uneducated masses.

    Do you have any understanding of statistical practice?

    Seriously, the logical extention of your ‘thought process’ would be to graph from around -80C to about +60C, as these are close to the extremes of temperature on Earth. And why stop there – the origin should obviously start at 0 Kelvin.

    You are surely Marohasy’s darling in your manipulation of graphical representations.

    On a different note, you seem to be able to dismiss just about all science that disagrees with your view of the world, and to do so with a cursory word or two about how the authors are fraudulent, incompetent, or both. Given your incisive and encompassing insight into matters biological and climatological, perhaps you would care demonstrate just how penetrating your understanding is, by providing a critical analysis of a paper that spans both climatological matters, and the sensitivity of organisms to changes in their environment as described by Jeff Harvey, myself and others on this and on other threads.

    I am interested in reading such a critique from you of “Climate change, coral bleaching and the future of the world’s coral reefs” by Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, published in Marine and Freshwater Research: 50(8) pp839-66. One page would do, and following the usual scientific conventions for review. You must surely have the capacity to do this easily, given the manner in which you are able to lambast so many other prominent scientists.

    Perhaps Jeff and some of the others here will add a paper or two of their choice to help you to demonstrate just how you are able to dissect so much of the science that you have been so ignominiously not recognised as having expertise in.

  4. #4 Tim Curtin
    February 23, 2009

    Jeff: you said – “None of the studies you have cited have incorporated trophic interrelationships at smaller scales into their work. They have looked at some large scale emergent processes, but they have not worked at smaller scales and thus far few studies have explored the effects of enhanced atmospheric C02 concentrations and attendant climate change on complex interrelationships involving invertebrtate and vertebrate fauna in the above-ground and soil communities and how this correlates with emergent properties.” Is that my problem, yours, or theirs? I suggest the latter, write them! Once again, I rely on Graham Farquhar, when you have refuted all he has written, get back to me. Strangely, I never find you referenced in ANY of this debate. Waarom?

  5. #5 Nathan
    February 23, 2009

    Tim,
    basically your argument is that if you change the scale so it looks like a small increase, it is. That’s moronic.
    You may think that a global temp increase of 0.43 is tiny, but frankly who cares what you think? Despite your amazing ability at understanding complex phenomena, it is a relevant increase. Why don;t you check what sort of global temp existed the last time there was no ice at the poles. Still not going to look like a lot… If this is the best argument you have, then you have no argument. All you have is a misunderstanding.

  6. #6 Tim Curtin
    February 23, 2009

    Bernard said I “seem to be able to dismiss just about all science that disagrees with your view of the world, and to do so with a cursory word or two about how the authors are fraudulent, incompetent, or both. Given your incisive and encompassing insight into matters biological and climatological, perhaps you would care [to] demonstrate just how penetrating your understanding is, by providing a critical analysis of a paper that spans both climatological matters, and the sensitivity of organisms to changes in their environment as described by Jeff Harvey, myself and others on this and on other threads. I am interested in reading such a critique of “Climate change, coral bleaching and the future of the world’s coral reefs” by Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, published in Marine and Freshwater Research: 50(8) pp839-66. One page would do, and following the usual scientific conventions for review. You must surely have the capacity to do this easily, given the manner in which you are able to lambast so many other prominent scientists.
    Perhaps Jeff and some of the others here will add a paper or two of their choice to help you to demonstrate just how you are able to dissect so much of the science that you have been so ignominiously not recognised as having expertise in”.

    Sadly, Guldberg is a serial liar. He may have heard of Darwin on the subject of formation of coral reefs, but is so stupid he has never grasped anything of Darwin’s amazing intuition. Guldberg like De’ath and the lovely Janice Lough of AIMS at Townsville, the Mata Hari of coral reef science, are serial liars. De’ath and Lough are so stoopid they do not realise that if they are right that coral growth rates are declining, that means sealevels are falling not rising per IPCC (Darwin, 1859).

  7. #7 Tim Curtin
    February 23, 2009

    Bernard said I “seem to be able to dismiss just about all science that disagrees with your view of the world, and to do so with a cursory word or two about how the authors are fraudulent, incompetent, or both. Given your incisive and encompassing insight into matters biological and climatological, perhaps you would care [to] demonstrate just how penetrating your understanding is, by providing a critical analysis of a paper that spans both climatological matters, and the sensitivity of organisms to changes in their environment as described by Jeff Harvey, myself and others on this and on other threads. I am interested in reading such a critique of “Climate change, coral bleaching and the future of the world’s coral reefs” by Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, published in Marine and Freshwater Research: 50(8) pp839-66. One page would do, and following the usual scientific conventions for review. You must surely have the capacity to do this easily, given the manner in which you are able to lambast so many other prominent scientists.
    Perhaps Jeff and some of the others here will add a paper or two of their choice to help you to demonstrate just how you are able to dissect so much of the science that you have been so ignominiously not recognised as having expertise in”.

    Sadly, Guldberg is a serial liar. He may have heard of Darwin on the subject of formation of coral reefs, but is so stupid he has never grasped anything of Darwin’s amazing intuition. Guldberg like De’ath and the lovely Janice Lough of AIMS at Townsville, the Mata Hari of coral reef science, are serial liars. De’ath and Lough are so stoopid they do not realise that if they are right that coral growth rates are declining, that means sealevels are falling not rising per IPCC (Darwin, 1859).

  8. #8 Tim Curtin
    February 23, 2009

    Bernard said I “seem to be able to dismiss just about all science that disagrees with your view of the world, and to do so with a cursory word or two about how the authors are fraudulent, incompetent, or both. Given your incisive and encompassing insight into matters biological and climatological, perhaps you would care [to] demonstrate just how penetrating your understanding is, by providing a critical analysis of a paper that spans both climatological matters, and the sensitivity of organisms to changes in their environment as described by Jeff Harvey, myself and others on this and on other threads. I am interested in reading such a critique of “Climate change, coral bleaching and the future of the world’s coral reefs” by Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, published in Marine and Freshwater Research: 50(8) pp839-66. One page would do, and following the usual scientific conventions for review. You must surely have the capacity to do this easily, given the manner in which you are able to lambast so many other prominent scientists.
    Perhaps Jeff and some of the others here will add a paper or two of their choice to help you to demonstrate just how you are able to dissect so much of the science that you have been so ignominiously not recognised as having expertise in”.

    Sadly, Guldberg is a serial liar. He may have heard of Darwin on the subject of formation of coral reefs, but is so stupid he has never grasped anything of Darwin’s amazing intuition. Guldberg like De’ath and the lovely Janice Lough of AIMS at Townsville, the Mata Hari of coral reef science, are serial liars. De’ath and Lough are so stoopid they do not realise that if they are right that coral growth rates are declining, that means sealevels are falling not rising per IPCC (Darwin, 1859).

  9. #9 Tim Curtin
    February 23, 2009

    Bernard said I “seem to be able to dismiss just about all science that disagrees with your view of the world, and to do so with a cursory word or two about how the authors are fraudulent, incompetent, or both. Given your incisive and encompassing insight into matters biological and climatological, perhaps you would care [to] demonstrate just how penetrating your understanding is, by providing a critical analysis of a paper that spans both climatological matters, and the sensitivity of organisms to changes in their environment as described by Jeff Harvey, myself and others on this and on other threads. I am interested in reading such a critique of “Climate change, coral bleaching and the future of the world’s coral reefs” by Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, published in Marine and Freshwater Research: 50(8) pp839-66. One page would do, and following the usual scientific conventions for review. You must surely have the capacity to do this easily, given the manner in which you are able to lambast so many other prominent scientists.
    Perhaps Jeff and some of the others here will add a paper or two of their choice to help you to demonstrate just how you are able to dissect so much of the science that you have been so ignominiously not recognised as having expertise in”.

    Sadly, Guldberg is a serial liar. He may have heard of Darwin on the subject of formation of coral reefs, but is so stupid he has never grasped anything of Darwin’s amazing intuition. Guldberg like De’ath and the lovely Janice Lough of AIMS at Townsville, the Mata Hari of coral reef science, are serial liars. De’ath and Lough are so stoopid they do not realise that if they are right that coral growth rates are declining, that means sealevels are falling not rising per IPCC (Darwin, 1859).

  10. #10 Tim Curtin
    February 23, 2009

    Nathan @#202Tim, said ‘basically your argument is that if you change the scale so it looks like a small increase, it is. That’s moronic. You may think that a global temp increase of 0.43 is tiny, [YES I DO] but frankly who cares what you think? Despite your amazing ability at understanding complex phenomena, it is a relevant increase. Why don;t you check what sort of global temp existed the last time there was no ice at the poles. Still not going to look like a lot… If this is the best argument you have, then you have no argument. All you have is a misunderstanding. Posted by: Nathan | February 23, 2009 7:11 AM
    Oh dear, anyone know of any asylum for Nathan?

  11. #11 Jeff Harvey
    February 23, 2009

    Tim, I have perused ome of their articles. I think their research is excellent, but it is still inconclusive. I will write to them both and ask their opinions on our discussions. Professors Farquhar is a plant scientist and Professor Prentice is a paloecologist. They are esteemed researchers, and I like their research articles very much, but, as I said, we need to also examine the effects of anthropogenic processes at smaller, stochastic scales in order to generate any kinds of conclusions about short-medium term prospects. As I have said countless times before, different species will respond differently to changes in abiotic and biotic conditions. Given that humans are imposing a myriad of stresses simultaneously on natural systems, there is no guarantee that vital ecosystem services will be maintained. Most indicators of the helath and vitality of natural systems are in repaid decline – this suggests that a ‘business-as-usual’ ethic is misguided. Moreover, you erroeneously argued yesterday that humans are not ‘managing’ nature – but of course we are, or are attempting to. Considering that our species consumes more than 40% of the planet’s net primary production, and > 50% of net freshwater flows (leaving less and less for the rest of nature), what else can this be called? If not a benign term like ‘management’, then how about ‘domination’? Humans are dominating nature and are attempting to take over more and more of it. The consequences are likely to be disastrous, given that we are utterly dependent on a range of services and conditions that emerge from variable spatial and temporal scales.

    As I said, according to the UN-World Bank Living Planet Index, humans have consumed more than 35% of the capital from the planet’s three most important natural ecosystems (coastal green seas, freshwater and forest) since 1970 (and even by 1970 we had greatly simplified the planet). This simply cannot continue. Your remedy appears to be to say, “Increase consumption and waste production, because primary productivity can be offset by putting more carbon into the atmsophere”. This is just plain crazy talk. We must take stock of our actions now if future generations are to inherit a planet that is worth inhabiting.

    Two weeks ago, we had our annual Dutch ecological meeting, and one of the keynote speakers argued that the main nutrient limiting the productivity of the global ecological commons was not carbon but phosphorus. He presented all kinds of evidence to this effect. Many of his arguments counter the notion that carbon is the major limiting nutrient. Again, it shows that many very senior scientists have very different views as the the nature of the current predicament – and it is exactly that, a predicament.

    Lastly, anthropogenic climate change, which as far as I am concerned is happening, is occurring disproportionately over various parts of the planet. As predicted by circulation models, higher latitudes are experieincing much more profound changes than lower latitudes (many of these predictions go back to the 1950s). Thus, parts of the tundra, boreal and even temperate regions have seen mean annual temperature of > 5 C over the past century. This is not trivial, but dramatic warming within the framework of a largely deterministic system. There will also be signifciant effects on communities and ecosystems. These are currently being investigated, and the prognosis for many species is not a good one.

  12. #12 Bernard J.
    February 23, 2009

    At #201, in response to the fact that he doesn’t address profoundly important aspects of trophic inter-relationships, Tim Curtin says:

    Is that my problem, yours, or theirs? I suggest the latter

    No Tim Curtin, it is your problem because it indicates that you are not familiar with the science.

    As to your use of Farquhar, you do the man a disservice with your misinterpretations and inappropriate extrapolations of his work. Have you thought to actually write to him and ask if he supports your interpretations of his work?

    Then at #203, after I asked you to constructively critique a paper by another eminent scientist, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, in order that you might demonstrate your capacity for scientific understanding, review and synthesis, you come up with:

    Sadly, Guldberg is a serial liar. He may have heard of Darwin on the subject of formation of coral reefs, but is so stupid he has never grasped anything of Darwin’s amazing intuition. Guldberg like De’ath and the lovely Janice Lough of AIMS at Townsville, the Mata Hari of coral reef science, are serial liars.

    So, yet again, a slander against an expert, his colleagues, and their intitution. I presume that you will be writing to them, and to CSIRO publishing (and to Nature and other journals) to demand apologies for their collective scientific misbehaviour? I assume that they will be included in your Slater and Gordon malpractice suit.

    And then:

    De’ath and Lough are so stoopid they do not realise that if they are right that coral growth rates are declining, that means sealevels are falling not rising per IPCC (Darwin, 1859).

    Have you completely and utterly taken leave of any tenuous semblance of sense that you might ever have possessed?! Do you even understand that there is more than one mechanism for impact upon a species’ growth rates, and especially that not all mechanisms in the coral example are related to ‘falling sealevels’?

    At #204, it is not Nathan who requires an asylum. Nathan asked a very straighforward question, which you actually chose to answer, even though your response demonstrates astonishing ignorance of the issues that Nathan and I pressed you upon. In no way did Nathan’s challenge of you warrant the unseemly reference to an asylum.

    All you seem use for ‘evidence’ to support your outrageous claims is venom and ignorance – no science.

    I ask you yet again – where is your science?

  13. #13 bernard J.
    February 23, 2009

    (Dang. I hate it when I don’t preview, and there’s a markdown typo)

    …evaporation here means rain there as often as not.

    And, Tim Curtin, and…?

    Bernard asked at question 3: “Where evapotranspiration changes will occur around the planet, have you determined how they impact upon the locations of future arable agricultural land, and how they will impact upon the health of the planet’s ecosystems?” to which I replied: Yes, all over the place, as now, floods in Queensland, droughts in SE Australia. NET effect = positive. To which you Bernard have no answer.

    “…all over the place…” in no reasonable way explains how the locations of arable land will shift with changes in evapotranspiration (and with changes in rainfall regimes). And your reply addresses absolutely nothing about the impacts upon planetary ecosystems.

    Oh, and I do have an answer Tim Curtin, but it is rather less rosy than the non-scientific one that you are so infatuated with. But that is a distraction – we are discussing the evidence for your disputation of the body of scientific evidence that provides me with my ‘answer’, and you persist in demonstrating no familiarity at all with this science.

    Thirdly, Bernard says I “made no comment about the impact of ET shifts on global ecosystems, beyond a vague hand-waving “NET effect = positive” with absolutely no evidence provided!” Well, just check out IPCC 2007 which shows regional distirubutions [sic] quite well (for once).

    Come on, are you joking?! Describe the impacts Curtin!

    Bernard’s fourth question was : “Do you understand that altering the input of substrates and nutrients into a biological system alters the trophic dynamics of the system?” I replied: ‘Yep, but so what, again, probably no NET or only positive changes globally”; in other words, I consider his proposition has no substance. What on earth does it mean? I am sure Bernard himsself cannot explain it.

    No: “in other words” you do not understand the question. And I can ‘explain it’, but considering your incapacity to grasp even the most basic of ecological principles, I know that neither I nor anyone else could ever ‘learn’ you about a subject that requires a far greater ability to understand sophisticated system processes than is required for even the simple ones that you are showing yourself to be flummoxed by.

    Bernard rants on, with question 5: “How do the alterations inherent in the scenario in question 4 interact with the impacts in question 3?” Goodness knows, what on earth does he mean?

    Quad erat demonstrandum.

    For his question 6 he asked: “Have [I] quantified the pre-industrial productivity of the world’s various ecosystems, and compared the data with your projections of productivity for the very same ecosystems under the CO2 concentrations anticipated for the future?” I replied “YES. But see Maddison, I rely on his data to 1750 and my own as well as his since then”. I just received today Maddison’s article in World Economics Jan 2009 which answers this question for me.

    Your analyses, Tim Curtin? Your data?

    Updating at the Lav, huh? I can only say “surely you jest?”

    Crikey. The difference between pinning down Tim Curtin on fundamental science and squeezing pimples is that at least one can gain some satisfaction from squeezing pimples…

  14. #14 Tim Curtin
    February 24, 2009

    Jeff. That really is progress, I am so glad you like the work of Graham F and Colin P. But then you get it wrong by saying: “Considering that our species consumes more than 40% of the planet’s net primary production, and > 50% of net freshwater flows (leaving less and less for the rest of nature), what else can this be called?” These are flows both of which are growing – the net primary production grows every year rather faster than the growth rates of both [CO2](0.4% p.a.) and world population (<2% p.a.), and global precipitation is also growing, most spectacularly across northern Australia over the last 100 years, but elsewhere as well. True there are droughts, as in the latte-chardonay belt of Victoria, but I am inclined to believe that is divine retribution for their adherence to the likes of Karoly and Enting. You added: “Humans are dominating nature and are attempting to take over more and more of it” – we always have sought to and will increasingly succeed (read Darwin again). You keep citing the Living Planet Index, but its authors do not know the difference between income and capital. What have been the changes in mean temp in The Netherlands since 1900 to date? My home village near Bristol has recorded no change over the last 30 years.

  15. #15 Tim Curtin
    February 24, 2009

    Bernard, you said: “As to your use of Farquhar, you do the man a disservice with your misinterpretations and inappropriate extrapolations of his work. Have you thought to actually write to him and ask if he supports your interpretations of his work?”

    Yes, actually I know him and he helped me get it right.

    Then I said “De’ath and the lovely Janice Lough of AIMS at Townsville, the Mata Hari of coral reef science, are serial liars…. De’ath and Lough are so stoopid they do not realise that if they are right that coral growth rates are declining, that means sealevels are falling not rising [as] per IPCC (Darwin, 1859).
    ” You responded: “ yet again, a slander against an expert, his colleagues, and their institution. I presume that you will be writing to them, and to CSIRO publishing (and to Nature and other journals) to demand apologies for their collective scientific misbehaviour? I assume that they will be included in your Slater and Gordon malpractice suit.” Actually their fatuous paper in Science does not even mention sea levels.

    Yes indeed, I have written to both of them, most recently to Janice: “Dear Janice, Thanks for those papers, you have been busy, though I would not want to keep company with some of your co-authors! [P.D. Jones, K.R. Briffa, T.J. Osborn, M.E. Mann, G.A. Schmidt, C.M. Ammann, all known dissemblers specializing in economy with the truth] Here’s your (with De’ath) Abstract in Science:
    “…We investigated 328 colonies of massive Porites corals from 69 reefs of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in Australia. Their [sic, as only data from 12 reefs extending beyond 1990 are archived] skeletal records show that throughout the GBR [not true, as the only 12 reefs with post-1990 data are all between 18 and 22oS.], calcification has declined by 14.2% since 1990 [not true for the 69 reefs, because [data for] only 12 reefs extend beyond 1990, predominantly because extension (linear growth) has declined by 13.3%. The data [sic] suggest that such a severe and sudden decline in calcification is unprecedented [sic] in at least the past 400 years [not true, as only one of the 12 archived reefs with post-1990 data has a life extending for 400 years].”
    “So yes, your joint paper does state in its Abstract that its results come from 400-year data for 328 colonies in 69 reefs, and it repeats this claim in the text, p.119, final para: “..our data [sic] show that growth and calcification of massive Porites in the GBR are already declining and are doing so at a rate unprecedented in coral records reaching back 400 years”. When only one of the archived data sets with data post-1990 does reach back 400 years this is a gross exaggeration.

    I really do wonder if scientists now have any basis for being considered to have greater integrity than one finds amongst investment bankers, but I do know from experience that your paper would not pass muster with the ASX as a prospectus for a share issue. That is why I hope you and your co-authors will write to Science correcting these misleading statements, as I would prefer not to.”

    Some hope! Has there EVER been a case where AGW pundits admit to an error? No, and none ever will, least of all Lough, De’ath, Jones, Briffa, Osborn, Mann, Schmidt, Ammann. Dear Bernard, keep on squeezing your pimples if that gives you such intellectual satisfaction.

  16. #16 Bernard J.
    February 24, 2009

    Tim Curtin.

    Your attacks on so many eminent scientists staggers me even now, when I had thought that my estimation of your extremeness could not be heightened.

    I am curious – in all of the thousands of papers that support the evidence for AGW, for ocean acidification, for habitat loss, alteration and simplification, for ecosystem damage through the introduction of feral/weed species and of pollution, for exaggerated species decline and extinction resulting from human impact, for trophic dynamics that are described in a very different fashion to the extraordinary ignorance of thermodynamics and of closed-system limits that you posted at #298, and for many other scientifically documented phenomena – do you give credence for professional competence and integrity to any of the scientists who have performed these investigations and have written the papers?

    If so, can you give examples of these studies, and explain why they are credibile in your opinion, and the papers mentioned above are not?

    I will be very interested to hear of Jeff’s correspondence with Farquhar, and to learn exactly how it is that he believes that your interpretations of his and other people’s work contradicts the accepted wisdom of tens of thousands of the world’s best.

    In a way it is a shame that you do not have the capacity to write letters, to those with whom you claim to have corresponded, that are sufficiently adult and dispassionate that they are not caught by the nutcase filters that most academics are forced to use. It would truly be entertaining to see how they would respond to your claims and accusations should they actually find your nuttery worth replying to.

  17. #17 P. Lewis
    February 24, 2009

    I am certainly not qualified to pronounce medically, but it seems increasingly likely to me that there is a new candidate with credentials for Emperor of Antarctica.

  18. #18 Jeff Harvey
    February 24, 2009

    “Yes, actually I know him and he helped me get it right”.

    You, TimC it get it right? Ha! Has Professor Farquhar been reading this thread? I can’t believe that your bellicose assertions wouldn’t have him scrambling for cover.

    “P.D. Jones, K.R. Briffa, T.J. Osborn, M.E. Mann, G.A. Schmidt, C.M. Ammann, all known dissemblers specializing in economy with the truth”. So says Tim Curtin, renowned scientist and assembler of facts. NOT.

    Lastly, Tim, its a bit rich from you arguing that AGW pundits never admit to error. You do not understand basic ecology and you have the gall to say this; since when have you ever admitted to error? Or is this an impossibility in your view?

    Bernard, the most important thing I can say in response to Tim’s histrionics is this: science has already vanquished most of his pedantic arguments. The vast majority of the scientific community realize that humans are simplifying complex natural systems at an astounding rate and that, as a consequence, their ability to generate a range of critical services that sustein us is being impeded. Page after page of journals like Global Change Biology, Ecosystems, Ecology, Oikos, Journal of Animal Ecology, Ecology Letters, Trend in Ecology and Evolution, Oecologia, Journal of Ecology, Biological Conservation, Conservation Biology, Functional Ecology, Basic and Applied Ecology, not to mention Nature, Science, PNAS and many others are filled with articles showing that a range of human activities are having profoundly deleterious effects on the health and vitality of natural systems and the species and genetically distinct populations that make them up. The fact that between 10 and 40 per cent of well-studied species are currently threatened with extinction or endangered, is unequivocal proof that we are headed in the wrong direction. The fact that this list grows year by year is even more worrying. Songbird declines in North America, where the status of most species is known, are pandemic. Given that extinctions can lag behind habitat loss by decades or even centuries, as discussed by Tilman and May in their seminal 1994 Nature paper, makes one realize that the worst is probably yet to come.

    If Tim bothered to get off of his butt and attend some of the major conferences and workshops where these issues are discussed and argued, I would give his arguments more creedence. But I would like to know the last major ecological conference or workshop Tim attended. I won’t hold my breath waiting for an answer. It seems to me that, with respect to issues like climate or ecology, everyone thinks that they are an expert. No university study is required, just a good knowledge of satatistics or economics and one can become an ‘armchair expert’. Even this isn’t always necessary. I’ve argued global change with people before like junior high school students on blog sites whose comments were actually at grade school level. But they had a lot of sympathizers if their views resonated with the orthodoxical views of those on the libertarian wing of the political right who don’t actually give a s@(# about the science, but were using and abusing science to promote their own personal political agendas.

    Note that yesterday Tim resorted to the usual smear to dismiss Paul Ehrlich, one of the most esteemed ecologists in the world, winner of the Craaford Prize (given in lieu of the Nobel Prize to fields such as ecology) and the author of more than 300 papers and 30 books. Paul’s early work on plant-insect co-evolution with Peter Raven is amongst the most important in our understanding of dietary breath in insects and in driving selection for allelochemical defenses in plants. Paul has been an inspiration to em for many years, and his courage to cross the threshold between academia and the public domain was a very risky venture in the 1960s, when it was not considered proper. Nowadays, it is wonderful to see so many scientists entering the public domain to discuss important and relevant environmental issues. Many of these men and women have invested their careers in unraveling ecological complexity and are the most qualified in being able to argue about the seriousness of the current bottleneck that our species has created for itself. As I said earlier, humans are living off of a one-time in heritance of natural capital and are spending it like there is no tomorrow. As a result, natural systems are in decline. There is very broad consensus on this point. The coencern is, given how little we know about the functioning of natural systems, is how far we can push them before they are unable to sustain themselves, and, ultimately, us. Irrespective of Tim’s rants, most ecologists agree on this point: humans are reducing the capacity of the plant to support much of the world’s biodiversity. Because biodiversity constitutes the working parts of our planetary life-support systems, there is widespread concern that continued simplification will undermine many critical ecosystem services. This is where we stand at present. There may be a few scientific ‘outliers’ with respect to this point, but they are very, very few of them; they are a very small minority of the opinion of the community of population ecologists and environmental scientists. This closes the debate, as far as I am concerned.

  19. #19 Tim Curtin
    February 25, 2009

    #219 Bernard. Please explain to me why you think reducing [CO2] from today’s 385 ppm to Hansen’s 350 ppm would have no negative effects on world food production, or in other words, why reducing last year’s gross emissions of about 10 GtC to say 2 GtC (the 80% that Garnaut hoped for) would have ZERO effects on the net primary productivity of the globe’s oceanic and terrestrial biospheres, given their net increases in CO2 absorption last year of nearly 6 GtC??? Hint: the formula is in Farquhar 1980, and in Prentice et al 2000 (Ecological Applications, 1553-1573; the simplified form in the latter is the same as that in my Quadrant article). Here it is: dC/dt = Qt – (So + Sb) where C is the atmosheric concentration [CO2], Q is the flux to the atmosphere from fossil fuel burning, So is the oceanic uptake, and Sb is the net C balance (uptake minus release) of the terrestrial biosphere. Now we know that last year [CO2] increased by 1.7 ppm or 3.61 GtC, so that given emissions of c. 10 GtC, the combined oceanic and terrestrial uptake (So + Sb) had to be 6.39 GtC. How does that combined NET new uptake manifest itself other than by increased plant growth and thereby food for all the species including us that should be our primary concern? If Qt is reduced to 2 GtC by 2050, what will then be these net new uptakes? Certainly not 6.39 GtC if the Farquhar-Prentice equation is correct. All I am saying is that a proper cost-benefit analysis should take into account the planned reduction in annual increases of (So + Sb) as well as those in Qt and Ct. Hansen, Gore, Stern Garnaut, the IPCC et all your als have NEVER considered this. You tell me why they do not, and explain why you think they are right not to give a toss about their planned reduction in growth of food supply for all species.

  20. #20 sod
    February 25, 2009

    Please explain to me why you think reducing [CO2] from today’s 385 ppm to Hansen’s 350 ppm would have no negative effects on world food production, or in other words, why reducing last year’s gross emissions of about 10 GtC to say 2 GtC (the 80% that Garnaut hoped for) would have ZERO effects on the net primary productivity of the globe’s oceanic and terrestrial biospheres, given their net increases in CO2 absorption last year of nearly 6 GtC???

    again:

    the effect of elevated CO2 on food production is tiny.

    other effects on food production are huge.

    “food production” is at best (similar to biomass) 2-3% of CO2 uptake.

    increased CO2 will increase food production by 20-30% (i am taking the words of those selling CO2 to greenhouses here!!!!) over a century. just look at what food production did over the last century…

  21. #21 Jeff Harvey
    February 25, 2009

    Sod, Excellent. You’ve nailed it. There are mahy other constraints on plant growth besides the levels of C02 Tim is talking about. Many of these are biotic, based on microbial activity in the soil, other soil-borne interactions (e.g. plant-parasitic nematodes, omnivores), and also involve interactions with above-ground antagonists (pathogens and herbivores) and mutualists (pollinators, perdators and parasitoids). Humans are disrupting these interactions through altering abiotic processes (soil chemistry, edaphic factors etc.) and by unraveling food webs that ultimately affect plant growth and fitness. We know that above and below ground interactions can have profound effects upon the production of plant biomass, and that these may dwarf any effects of changes in atmospheric C02 within the range that Tim harps on about.

    As I also said yesterday, we had a researcher give a gest lecture at the institute a few weeks ago (he is one of the world’s foremost experts on interactions between soil and aboveground subsystems) and he argued that phosporous is probably the most limiting terrestrial nutrient. Humans are disrupting all kinds of nutrient cycles anyway, and we are also interfering in trophic relationships through the intensive use of pesticides and in eliminating habitats. All of these factors will rain on the parade of those who think somehow that plant growth is independent of other factors with the exception of atmospheric C02. Most of Tim’s references singularly fail to account for this array of complexity. That’s why it’s utterly useless to think that an increase in atmospheric C02 is needed to eliminate hunger. It’s bad science.

  22. #22 Tim Curtin
    February 25, 2009

    Sod: you used to be more cogent. When you say “the effect of elevated CO2 on food production is tiny”, that is nonsense. What is food if not CO2 mixed with H2O and N to produce carbohydrates and protein? I have NEVER said CO2 is the only input. The facts remain that rising [CO2] is associated with rising food production above and beyond what would be expected given new varieties (for which rising [CO2] is a necessary condition) and actual fertilizer consumption. You added: “’food production’ is at best (similar to biomass) 2-3% of CO2 uptake” So what embodies the 98% of uptake? I use the term “food” to encompass the feedstock for all living creatures. Trees in my garden produce feed for some 60 bird species, according to Rosemary, our local birdwatcher.
    Finally, you said: “increased CO2 will increase food production by 20-30% (i am taking the words of those selling CO2 to greenhouses here!!!!) over a century. just look at what food production did over the last century…” That is a falsification: adding CO2 in a greenhouse up to 1000 ppm produces an instantaneous increase of 30%+ in yield which over 100 years adds up to a lot of guilders.

    Jeff at #215. You just don’t get it and never will. Just produce stats to substantiate your claim that e.g. “We know that above and below ground interactions can have profound effects upon the production of plant biomass, and that these may dwarf any effects of changes in atmospheric C02 within the range that Tim harps on about”. Data, refs, or just your usual armwaving?. Have you ever produced a verifiable statement of fact at Deltoid? Not to my knowledge. Thus your final comment is simply absurd: “That’s why it’s utterly useless to think that an increase in atmospheric C02 is needed to eliminate hunger”. I never said that, what I do say is that rising uptakes of [CO2] MUST manifest in increased food for somebody somehere, if only for the zillions of termites in Africa and Australia, and that REDUCING [CO2] will be bad for us and for said termites, et al. Prove me wrong with evidence and citations. You will have a problem, because nobody on the Stern-Garnaut-Solomon-IPCC gravy train has ever or will ever even contemplate this issue.

  23. #23 Tim Curtin
    February 25, 2009

    Further to my last, I notice that neither sod nor Jeff Harvey criticize the Farquhar-Prentice equation that underlies my own work. Using the actuals for 2008, with CO2 emissions of 10 GtC (billion tonnes of carbon) and an increase in the [CO2] of 3.61 GtC, “uptakes” by global biospheres accounted for 6.39 GtC. Given the Stern-Garnaut reduction target of 80% from 2000, but let’s say from only the 2008 level, we have emissions of just 2 GtC by 2050. Given the equation, that means “uptakes” cannot exceed 2GtC, but as since 1958 they have averaged 57% of emissions, new NET uptakes from 2050 would probably not exceed 1.14 GtC, as against 6.39 GtC in 2008 (that is because plants, even trees, cannot access [CO2] that is thousands of metres above their maximum height). So what does a reduction in annual increases of uptakes from 6.39 to 1.14 GtC mean for Jeff Harvey’s beloved termites? Will their – and their cognates’ – numbers expand or decline? Never mind us, as we are expendable to Jeff, Stern, Garnaut, Solomon, and the rest of all those eugenicists in WWF et al.

  24. #24 Jeff Harvey
    February 25, 2009

    Tim, there are a number of studies which conclusively show that plant growth and survival, as well as dominance, is affected by the accumulation of soil pathogens. Work by David Wardle, John Klironomos, as well as our recent paper in Nature (Engelkes et al., in which I am a co-author) reveal that invasive and native plants differ in their responses to soil history – meaning that there soil-plant feedbacks are important. A study by Packer and Clay (Nature, 2000) similarly found that the survival of seedlings of Prunus serotina is affected by the proximity of the seedlings to the parent plant, which has accrued high levels of pathogens in its rhizosphere.

    So what will enahnced atmospheric C02 levels mean for these kinds of soil-plant feedbacks? And for the status of dominant versus interstitial plants? It is hard to know. But sticking your head in the sand and saying, “Well, we haven’t studied this yet, so therefore it isn’t a problem”, as you appear to be doing, is just pathetic. What we know is that plant growth, survival, and fitness depends on innumerable biotic and abiotic processes in the soil and above-ground domains that you habitually ignore. We know that for insects carbon is not a limiting nutrient but that nitrogen is. Reducing C02 is not necessarily bad for insect herbivores because it means that they have more access to nitrogen in plant tissues. In an increased C02 environment, it is likely that nitrogen and phosphorus will be shunted out of plant tissues to accomodate the increased C02. We can therefore expect insects to compensate by feeding more to accrue the necessary nitrogen to optimize their own growth and fitness. This means more damage to plants growing under higher C02 regimes. Moreover, as I have said many times, increased atmospheric C02 will lead to competitive assymetries amongst soil and above-ground consumers over several trophic levels. Drigo et al. showed in her recent PhD thesis here that in elevated C02 regimes there is increased competitiona amongst soil microbes and mycorrhiza that lead to the exclusion of some species and the dominance of others. This reduces functional redundancy by reducing species diversity – redundancy is important in maintaining the integrity of ecological systems by enabling multiple species to fill similar ecological roles (or functions). By reducing redundancy, a system is pushed closer to its edge.

    Basically, its clear to me that you do not understand any of this, so you ignore or downplay it. You focus on simple linear correlations which exclude a wide array of other processes. How many articles do you read in which trophic interactions are explored in plant communities? Again, your pontifications assume that plant growth is free of biotic constraints, and only respond to cycles of carbon. This, of course, is a grade school level of understanding of the ways in which natural systems function. You wrongly correlate increased C02 with increased biomass (which is not a givemn as Sod showed) and assume that increased biomass = increased food, while ignoring qualitiative aspects of this biomass. Even if there were biomass produced under increased C02 regimes, this in no way guarantees that the extra biomass is of the same quality (in terms of multiple nutrient acquisition) as plants with slightly lower levels of biomass. And, as I have said, it ignores effects on plant antagonists and mutualists that are a vital component of terrestrial systems and the way they function. Primary productivity is therefore affected by much, much more than carbon sequestration. Your view of the world is strictly ‘bottom-up’. What about trophic cascades, or have you never heard of them?

    Its clear that you cannot come up with something better than simple linear correlations which expunge a range of other vitally important parameters. Again, all of your posts reveal an exceedingly poor and simplified view of the natural world.

  25. #25 Jeff Harvey
    February 25, 2009

    In post # 186, Tim wrote, regarding the costs of invasive species:

    “Just yesterday it was reported (The Australian) that the township worst affected by the Victoria fires, Marysville, (over 100 dead), has just 3 houses still standing, all of which had English (deciduous) trees, and on its oak lined main street just 3 succumbed. Here in Canberra my house is in the direct line of fire, and we have got rid of our native eucalypts, replacing them with oaks and maples etc”.

    How to dismantle such simplfieid gobbledegook? It is estimated that exotic species cost the global economy perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars per year (Pimentel et al., 2000; Simpson, 2004). It is probably the second biggest driver of species extinction after habitat loss. So what does Tim do? Cite one pithy example where he sees invasives as being beneficial. Unbelieveable.

    His example is akin to someone saying that smoking does not harm one’s health because they personally know a regular smoker who has lived to 90. Therefore, smoking isn’t bad for you. How can I take Tim or his arguments seriously when he cites these kinds of examples?

  26. #26 sod
    February 25, 2009

    What is food if not CO2 mixed with H2O and N to produce carbohydrates and protein?

    as always Curtin, you are talking about complicated stuff, without understanding the basics. here is a simple experiment for you:

    get some orchids. beautiful flowers. they need water. actually we can show, that they prosper better, with more water. so keep adding water. lots of water. after a few days, they will die. but who want orchids anyway. some other plants will take their place. algae, fungi, LOTS of plants. and one day, there will be some orchids again…

    So what embodies the 98% of uptake? I use the term “food” to encompass the feedstock for all living creatures. Trees in my garden produce feed for some 60 bird species, according to Rosemary, our local birdwatcher.

    you might want to google the term ["algae pest"](http://www.pestalert.org/Detail.CFM?recordID=13).

    you are living in a dreamland. changes in the environment benefit certain species more than others. the best thing about nature is variety. many changes made by mankind, remove variety. our livestock and crops don t grow in ADDITION to orchids and wolfs. they live INSTEAD.

    the trees in the gardens of many people don t feed any birds at all. because they are foreign plants, that aren t eaten by local birds. or that a prefered by ONE very common bird, and replace trees that were the food of very rare birds.

    That is a falsification: adding CO2 in a greenhouse up to 1000 ppm produces an instantaneous increase of 30%+ in yield which over 100 years adds up to a lot of guilders.

    i know that you would like to increase CO2 in our atmosphere to 1000 ppm immediately. thank god, this wont happen. instead, it will take about a century (if we don t change things) to levels that are similar to greenhouse environments. that is the century, i was talking about.
    using the last century as a guideline, we would do things significantly wrong, if an increase by 30% would be very significant over such a time. and again, this are maximum effects for plants that profit, taking from advertisement. and it is ignoring all other effects that CO” and global warming will have…

  27. #27 sod
    February 25, 2009

    Further to my last, I notice that neither sod nor Jeff Harvey criticize the Farquhar-Prentice equation that underlies my own work.

    it looks as if i hadn t made a major point clear enough:

    i consider EVERYTHING that you ever wrote to be utterly FALSE.

    it is so much rubbish, i just can t contradict it all. heavens, obviously the whole Deltoid crowed can t keep up with the nonsense you are writing!

    i would kindly ask you to NEVER EVER assume that i agree with you on any point, just because i don t contradict it. i simply most likely don t.

  28. #28 Bernard J.
    February 25, 2009

    Tim Curtin.

    There is unfortunately a bit of a crisis in my family at the moment, so for the foreseeable future I won’t have the luxury for taking time to address the perpetual and prodigious stream of nonsense that you manifest on this and on other threads. As much as trying to ensure that your pseudoscience does not gain credibility anywhere at all is a worthy endevour in my eyes, looking out for those dear to me wins hands down.

    However, whilst I am away I would like you to consider sloths and koalas, and to tell us why their biology makes a lie of your claims of trophic Eutopia.

    And as you gagged at the thought of reviewing Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, perhaps your can review some of the seminal works of Edward O. Wilson, Sylvia Earl, Tom Lovejoy, and Stephen Schneider and explain why you think their conclusions are incorrect, fraudulent, and/or incompetent. These eminent biologists certainly contradict everything you say.

    I am sure that Jeff, sod, Ian and others will be on the ball to scrutinise your answer and to keep you on the straight and narrow if I am unable to check in for the next few days.

    Happy sciencing.

    Oh, and please be sure to keep us all appraised of your correspondence. Given the rate at which you contradict or refute everything that Jeff, sod, Ian and I try to educate you about, you must be busy indeed seeking out the authors of the many thousands of papers, and the dozens of journals that published them, in order to demand retractions and apologies.

    And how’s the paradigm-busting monograph coming along? It must be a bushel-hidden nut indeed, because nothing that you have produced thus far has anything like the form of a scientific argument about it. Hint: random formulæ and quantities are meaningless without a discussion or their context, of their derivations, of their relationships to relevant information, and a provision of sufficient supporting references that are not misinterpreted. Yes, I know that it takes time, and indeed that a thread such as this might not be the best forum for such detail, but if you have properly worked on the phenomena that you espouse you surely have the material documented in workbooks, in spreadsheets, and in manuscript drafts.

    For the umpteenth time, show us your science.

  29. #29 Tim Curtin
    February 26, 2009

    Jeff: To cut your long stories short, please give examples of food for any plant or animal species that is not CO2 dependent (in the form of that being a necessary albeit not sufficient condition). Then show with you own evidence that numbers of any species you care to name will not decrease if first the rate of growth, and then the actual quantum, of its own specialized food source diminishes as proposed by IPCC, Stern et al et al.

    Sod. The native birds in my garden, that at times mimic Hitchcock and treat me as a tenant on notice to quit, just love our non-native grapes, and the pods of our japanese elms, etc etc. That is because they have not joined WWF and like all non-human species are opportunist, eating whatever is around and tastes good. Grow up! My point is that it is the IPCC et al. who refuse to admit any countervailing benefits from [CO2}, and the et al include the serially dishonest Stern & Garnaut reports which both claim to do cost-benefit analysis but exclude all benefits of [CO2]. I note that none of Team Garnaut has challenged my critique in Quadrant. They do not because they cannot, I sat next to his lead co-author at an ANU seminar on Tuesday, and he had nothing to say before scuttling off. He like Chris Field and Sue Solomon is on record as claiming that it is emissions of CO2 that determine climate, not [CO2]. So much for science. [CO2] may have side efects, but its costs need to be quantified and set against its benefits. That is beyond you, not to mention Stern and Garnaut, so you are in the good company of those charlatans. Finally, I take it that you consider the Farquhar-Prentice equation that I use is invalid? Do tell saucy Sue, and you could get a job on the next IPCC ramp.

    Bernard: sorry about your family crisis. When you have time do let me have the material of your own stellar research “as documented in workbooks, in spreadsheets, and in manuscript drafts”, you know my address, I will reciprocate when I have yours.

  30. #30 Jeff Harvey
    February 26, 2009

    Tim, I asked you: have you heard of trophic cascades? Have you ever heard of the green world hypothesis? This stipulates that top-down (natural enemy control) may be an important determinant of plant biomass, and not only bottom-up (plant- or nutrient-mediated) factors. Recent meta analyses by the likes of Halaj, Wise, Schmitz, Hamback etc. examined the potential for trophic cascades in terrestrial habitats (we know already they are well defined in aquatic habitats) but found evidence for them in terrestrial habitats as well, PARTICULARLY IN SIMPLE HABITATS OR IN PLANT MONOCULTURES. This means that agricultural systems and habitats dominated by one or only a few species are characterized by strong top-down as well as bottom-up pressures. The entire basis of classical biological control hinges on the existence of trophic cascades.

    The conclusion is that the production of plant biomass and plant fitness can often depend strongly on the role of natural enemies in suppressing herbivore and pathogen populations. This is very relevant for this discussion, because you totally exempt the second trophic level and higher from your equations. You act as if herbivores and their natural enemies don’t exist, and that plant growth and biomass production are not at all affected by more complex biotic processes. Moreover, you also ignore interactions with soil-borne organisms, such as nematodes, earthworms, mites and bacteria, which are vitally important. Some years ago there was an attempt to re-grow confierous trees in a habitat that had been clear cut several months earlier in the US Rocky Mountains. Seedlings were carefully plated, but within a few weeks to months they all began to die. The US forest service and biologists were mystified, but on closer examination it was found that the constant movement of heavy logging eqipment – trucks, bulldozers etc. – had compressed the soil and had seriously harmed the biotic soil community which was essential for the plants. Many mutualists were destroyed.

    In all of your posts, you habitually exclude trophic interrelationships. Most of those promulgating the same story as you do so as well. I have yet to see an article expounding the benefits of increasing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide on plant growth and food productivity take any of these complex biotic interactions into account (please send me any that do). As I have said a million times, Tim, your thinking on this is strictly and simply linear. Thus: Increase parameter ‘A’ (C02) and this benefits agent ‘B’ (plant growth). But along the way you completely ignore biotic agents ‘C’ through ‘Z’ which play a vital role in system productivity. Without a better understanding of these effects, we are groping blindly in the dark. One cannot extrapolate as you do on the basis of simple permutations.

    I am frankly getting tired of having to repeat this refrain. Whether you like it or not, Tim, the vast majority of the scientific community would agree with me on this. They know well enough that such linear extrapolations on complex adaptive systems are not viable, espeically given the fact that humans are dominating and altering vast swathes of the biosphere. You and a few others are very much out on a limb, and, as a consequence your views do not hold much water.

    What it all comes down to is the applicability of the precautionary principle. This is the crux. You believe that we need 100% evidence that current human activities are pushing our ecological life-support systems towards the edge, and, lacking that, we ought to do nothing or very little to alter our current course. More importantly, you believe that the current global experiment – for it is precisely that – in which we continue to pump out vast amounts of greenhouse gases, and alter natural systems in a myriad of other ways, should be continued on the basis of very, very fragmentary evidence of either no deleterious consequences or even of benefits. Again, in my view as a scientist, this is utter folly. The broad view amongst environmental scientists is that the consequences of continuing along the same path could be very grave. I therefore believe that there is enough evidence on the declining quality of natural systems as a result of various human activities to take remedial action.

  31. #31 Tim Curtin
    February 26, 2009

    Jeff: you said – “Thus: Increase parameter ‘A’ (C02) and this benefits agent ‘B’ (plant growth). But along the way you completely ignore biotic agents ‘C’ through ‘Z’ which play a vital role in system productivity”. No I do not, I just await your quantifications of C thru Z relative to my A. If the increase of [CO2] by c. 10% since 1980 is associated with increased world food production of 60% after taking into account fertilization usage, temperature, rainfall, and new varieties, DESPITE the negatives of your C thru Z, where are you? Just produce counter-regressions of your variables along with mine against population growth rates of whatever your favourite species is; I suggest termites, as they are doing just fine everywhere. Then get back to me, and not until then.

    You then claimed that I “believe that the current global experiment – for it is precisely that – in which we continue to pump out vast amounts of greenhouse gases [actually just increasing at only 2 p.a. since 1997, while the [CO2] grows at only at most 0.5% p.a.], and alter natural systems in a myriad of other ways, should be continued on the basis of very, very fragmentary evidence of either no deleterious consequences or even of benefits.” Exactly, until proven otherwise, which you have yet to do.

  32. #32 Hugh
    February 26, 2009

    If the increase of [CO2] by c. 10% since 1980 is associated with increased world food production of 60% after taking into account fertilization usage, temperature, rainfall, and new varieties

    Have we missed a cite that corroborates this [qualified I notice] statement?

  33. #33 Jeff Harvey
    February 26, 2009

    Tim Curtin, Read the last two paragraphs of my last post again. Most scientists would think your position to be untenable at best, and loony at worst.

    Hugh nailed it too – the increase in world food production has nix to do with increases in atmospheric C02. You are drawing linear correlations on the basis of a few lab experiments that have left out all or most of the parameters I have discussed ad nauseum in previous posts. The green revolution had everything to do with increases in technology that have not yet been offset by the destruction humans have wrought on nature. The fact that desert expansion is expected to gobble up much of the world’s most productive agricultural land by 2050 is alarming. We are draining groundwater supplies at clearly unsustainable levels – the aquifers underlying the China Plain and Oglalla aquifer underlying the US midwest are drying up because we are overusing them. These are vital sources for agriculture. Most of the world’s bread baskets are on drylands anyway. Tim, its also time you learned a bit about stoichiometry. Your termite comment is kindergraten level science. You do not understand the concept of trophic cascades. Again, you ignore all of the research showing that natural systems are declining qualitatively and quantitatively. Look beyond the end of your nose, man: the data isn’t hard to find. The IUCN is one place; there are many other sources. Get off your butt and do some perusing through the journals I mentioned the other day. Their pages are filled with empirical evidence in support of my perspective, which is broadly the scientific consensus anyway (thank God for that). Since your position is a very small minority, other than to draw frankly absurd correlations, it is up to you to show that (1) plant biomass is unaffected by top-down processes, and (2) that the current human global experiment is having and will continue to have benign consequences on compelx systems. Given that the evidence is that every natural system is in decline, from forests to coastal marine ecosystems to freshwater systems, then it is you who are out on a limb. If your position were more widely ackowledged, then I would be much more on the defensive. But it is not. Most scientists are well aware that humanity is on the wrong path and that we (primarily in the developed world) are gobbling up natural capital at an alarming rate. The solutions to hunger are political and not scientific. We need more social justice and equity in the world, and not frankly absurd notions that the use of fossil fuels has benefits that we never considered before. The global economies are sturctured to look after the privilweged few. Unless this changes I believe there will be a slow road to catastrophe, as pointed out by economist Tom Athanasiou. Meddling with complex natural systems we barely understand as a quick ‘fix’ in illogical and absurd. There are too many unknowns. You are saying that, because we barely ld on ignorance to get us through the bottleneck we have created for ourselves. Business-as-usual, because the tooth fairy will save us.

    I just don’t have the time to continue with this frankly absurd debate, as I actually do science and have been trained as a scientist (you have not, and as I’ve said time and time again, do not understand basic ecology, let alone the complex stuff). Why I am wasting my breath on your absurd views is beyond me, anyway.

  34. #34 Bernard J.
    February 26, 2009

    As I have a quiet minute from the current turmoil at home…

    Tim: how are the reviews and the letters coming along? Have you sorted out those abominable wrinkles in ecology yet?

    And have you learned the lesson that koalas and sloths (amongst many others) offer?

    Jeff (at the end of #227): I have thought on this myself this frequently over the months, and especially over the life of this thread. The thing that keeps me plugging away is that it appears that folk such as Tim actually believe in their own genius, a la Messrs Dunning and Kruger, and rattle their pots and pans sufficiently loudly that other Denialists, and those predisposed to the Denialist message, take up the false memes.

    And it is memes such as these that percolate into the wider community and into the policy frays that cause sufficient inaction to result in significant additional damage over and above what might occur if action was prompt. Even though Quadrant is a sorry rag of a publication these days, it has credibility amongst some and Tim is spinning his appearance there for all he is worth. I shudder to think that he might slip something else out somewhere unchallenged.

    Emperor Tim is wearing no clothes. He refuses to look into the mirror, and he refuses to demonstrate that his invisible and diaphenous garments actually have any substance. Nevertheless he insists that he is handsomely and magically attired, and his courtiers are all too ready to agree.

    However the rumour of his magnificent wardrobe is hurting the planet, and for this reason I’ll keep kicking at his carcass until it pops.

    It is interesting (to any critically observant reader) to note that, after more than 200 posts in this thread, he still hasn’t responded to my goading, nor to your patient, detailed and referenced explanations, by demonstrating that he has even a rudimentary capacity to incorporate a basic ecophysiological architecture to support his claims and to account for our challenges to the innumerable shortcomings in his (mis)conceptions.

    I am reminded of Frank’s ironic wont to exhort the “Galileo!” defence. In Tim Curtin’s case though, Galileo would be orbiting in his grave.

  35. #35 Bernard J.
    February 26, 2009

    Tim Curtin.

    I have a challenge for you: contact the ecology/ecophysiology department at ANU, and offer to present your CO2 theory in one of the lunchtime (or similar) seminars.

    You will have 50 minutes with which to carefully detail your analyses, and I am sure that you will receive constructive feedback, which will probably even be reviewed here.

    There is absolutely no reason for you not wanting to spread your message in this manner.

  36. #36 Jeff Harvey
    February 26, 2009

    Hi Bernard,

    I really appreciate all of your thoughtful posts. I also hope things aren’t too tough for you on the home front at the moment. I always look forward to your comments.

    As far as Tim is concerned, you’ve pretty well summed it up perfectly. As I said before, it gets exasperating because it seems like I am speaking to a wall. There’s too much simplistic nonsense, in my view, for me to accurately get to all of it. Frankly, I don’t have the time. I have a pile of manuscripts to review right now, a few more to write up, a PhD thesis to go through and a grant pre-proposal to get done. The only reason I respond to Tim’s musings is because I fear that others who don’t know any better might stumble onto this thread, read his posts and somehow derive the opinion that they make sense and are enlightened. Scientists should expend more time crossing the boundry into the public arena and Tim L’s excellent site is a good venue for it; hence why I put aside a few minutes each day if I think its worth the trouble.

    I have to admit that this thread is wearing a bit thin for me; it might be because there is really nothing more to say. The simple, linear extrapolations that Tim concocts from a few primarily lab-based studies or models just don’t give much of a clue how complex adaptive natural systems will respond to the continual human assault, especially as there are so many dimensions on which it is happening. Climate change might just be the final nail in the coffin, particularly since nature has been stressed by man in a multitude of other ways, and that we know that the genetic variability of animal and plant populations, which has already been greatly reduced for many species, is a necessary pre-requisite for their adaptation to further change.

    The thrust of my arguments is that humans are tinkering with immensely complex systems and yet, in spite of the efforts expended by countless numbers of ecologists and environmental scientists beavering away all over the world, working at different levels of organization, we still barely understand the rule governing the assembly and function of these systems. In the background we have the pundits telling us that there’s nothing to fear, and that the current human experiment is actually likely to produce net benefits for society as opposed to costs. Of course this is madness, given what we do know, and it is in this capacity that I feel that it is imperative to counter the kinds of arguments being produced by Tim Curtin and his ilk. At least I have the practice; I do have to deal with these arguments quite often, usually from lay people and the public, less often from students. But I feel that it is vitally important that scientists expned at least some efforts to counter the Dr. Panglosses of this world.

  37. #37 Dano
    February 26, 2009

    Hugh,

    although I can’t read Curtin’s dissembling because he is [killfile]d,

    looking at your response reminds me that numerous times useful idiots underinformed or willfully misleading ideologues have attempted to assert that world food production has increased as CO2 increased, therefore CO2 is yummy for plants!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! heart!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

    Arguments like this are only worth ridicule. Of course there is no reference, but one should acknowledge your politeness in the face of such a clown-like assertion.

    Jus’ sayin’.

    Best,

    D

  38. #38 sod
    February 26, 2009

    If the increase of [CO2] by c. 10% since 1980 is associated with increased world food production of 60% after taking into account fertilization usage, temperature, rainfall, and new varieties, DESPITE the negatives of your C thru Z, where are you?

    Tim, please stop making up those numbers.

    here are those from advertisements of the ["greenhouse CO2 enrichment industry":](http://www.homeharvest.com/carbondioxideenrichment.htm)

    BIBB LETTUCE By adding CO2 to the atmosphere around the plant, a 40% crop increase was achieved. Whereas previous crops averaged 22 heads per basket, lettuce grown in the increased CO2 atmosphere (550 ppm) averaged 16 heads of better quality per basket.

    less increase with much more CO2. again: please stop making up numbers!!!

    The native birds in my garden, that at times mimic Hitchcock and treat me as a tenant on notice to quit, just love our non-native grapes, and the pods of our japanese elms, etc etc. That is because they have not joined WWF and like all non-human species are opportunist, eating whatever is around and tastes good.

    look, i thought your knowledge and understanding of climate related stuff is basically one of the lowest level that can be achieved. now you demonstrated, that you know even less about zoology.

    not all species are generalists. one of the best know examples is the [koala](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koala#Diet_and_behaviour).

    those generalists are most often very common animals already. but yes, cockroach, rat and pigeon are very nice animals as well.

    the claim that all non-human species are opportunist, eating whatever is around is simply FALSE.

  39. #39 Tim Curtin
    February 26, 2009

    Bernard said #229: “I have a challenge for you: contact the ecology/ecophysiology department at ANU, and offer to present your CO2 theory in one of the lunchtime (or similar) seminars.

    You will have 50 minutes with which to carefully detail your analyses, and I am sure that you will receive constructive feedback, which will probably even be reviewed here.”

    Well I cannot speak for all departments at ANU, but jost over a year ago I gave a presentation to the Emeritus Faculty of the ANU, whose memberships largely comprises distinguished retired professors like Frank Fenner et al (The Fenner School of Environment & Society is named after him, and he is a frequent attender). With my habitual modesty I mention that my lecture was packed, with both Faculty members and research students there. The slide show is at my website: CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION
    - AND MASS STARVATION BY 2050?. Then in October I gave a presentation to the RMAP seminar series at ANU’s Research School Asia & Pacific Studies, again packed, and covered by WIN TV, which featured my presentation on that evening’s news bulletin, the presentation is at my website: “Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant”.

    I think the time is not quite ripe for yet another, I’ll wait till my “CO2 as fertilizer” appears

    Good to have fans like you!

  40. #40 Jeff Harvey
    February 27, 2009

    “With my habitual modesty I mention that my lecture was packed, with both Faculty members and research students there”.

    Says nothing. I gave lectures in Denmark following the Lomborg saga in 2002 and I was told by staff that both lectures at Aarhus and Copenhagen Universities attracted some of the biggest audiences they had ever seen. Theproof of the pudding is one’s standing on the international scientific arena. You are firmly at the very back of the queue.

    In your case, methinks you overestimate your standing in the field. Where are your peer-reviewed publications? How many times have you been invited to give lectures at Princeton, Stanford, and other US universities? How many reviews have you made for scientific journals on this and related topics? A bit of humility would go a long way, Tim. As it stand, your views are somewhere way out in the distant mists. Given that you ignore ecological realities, and the fact that solving world hunger is a political, not a scientific problem, you are whistling in the wind. I do not place much stock in people arguing that humans should continue conducting a single non-replicatable global experiment on immensely complex systems with all kinds of possible outcomes, because they think they have found what they think is a simple linear positive correlation in one variable (and this is certainly not proven). The worst thing is to exclude all other possible outcomes because they are poorly understood due to the infancy of the field. Yet that is what you are saying.

    I would take your message to the developing world. I find it hard to envisage the desperate populations in the developing world begging the west to pump more C02 into the atmosphere to enable them to increase their crop production. The elites in the north and their counterparts in the south know all-too-well what underlies the current predicament. And it ain’t a shortage of C02. Its equity and social justice.

  41. #41 P. Lewis
    February 27, 2009

    I refer the honourable gentlemen to the answer I gave previously.

  42. #42 Tim Curtin
    February 27, 2009

    Jeff: You say your lectures attacking Lomborg were well attended. What happened to your follow up publications, with such an eager audience? I have yet to see in print any coherent and sustained refutation of Lomborg, who has however attracted the participation of some very eminent Nobel winners in his Copenhagen series. I did see the serially dishonest attack on Lomborg by none other than Obama’s John Holdren, by Ehrlich our of Schneider, congenitally economical like them with the truth as they admit themselves. Lomborg’s books are outstanding and have more common sense economics and ecology than any of the ramblings of Stern the IPCC and Garnaut or dare I say it Jeff. You have never on this blog offered any evdience of anything at all. I like to deal in facts and regressions thereof. Where are yours?

    You then said “I find it hard to envisage the desperate populations in the developing world begging the west to pump more C02 into the atmosphere to enable them to increase their crop production.” Well let’s see. Crops will be withering by 2020 if not before if you have your way. [CO2] is scarce, as Freeman Dyson has repeatedly pointed out, and today’s annual food output is not sustainable FOR ANY SPECIES at less than 385 ppm. Hugh, for refs, see my submissions to Garnaut at his website and the papers I have posted on the web at my site, see also, for the fully footnoted version of my Quadrant paper, http://www.lavoisier.com.au

  43. #43 Jeff Harvey
    February 27, 2009

    Tim Curtin,

    I debated Lomborg here in 2002, in Holland, and from most of the feedback I got I demolished him. I focused on 3 aspects of his book: his misunderstanding of basic concepts such as ‘ecosystem services’, his flawed interpretation of extinction rates and models of exponential decay to predict them, and his misquoting of scientists to change the meaning of what they said. The problem was, in my Bjorn didn’t appear to understand very well the gist of some of his conclusions. He was given 15 minutes to refute me and did not even try. He could only tell the audience that he would ‘look into what I said’ – his usual response, giving the audience the idea that he was interested in getting at the facts, which is clear to me he doesn’t.

    In a subsequent venue, Lomborg withdrew when I was named as joint keynote speaker (2002, Copenhagen) and he later declined a debate with me (Amsterdam, 2002). I have no fear of him or of his alleged ‘facts’. I will debate him anywhere, anyplace, if he has the guts.

    Lomborg assembled a bunch of neoclassical economists for his Copenhagen shindig. The meeting and the conference flopped, based on follow up comments. That wasn’t hard to imagine, given that not a single ecologically minded economist was invited.

    As for Freeman Dyson, he can have his views. But he is not an ecologist, but a mathematician and physicist. This does not qualify him as I see it to comment on areas outside of his fields of expertise with any great authority. Read what one blogger had to say about Dyson’s views on climate change, and Dyson’s response:

    http://recursed.blogspot.com/2009/01/blowhard-of-month-freeman-dyson.html

    And therefore in my opinion its just completely illogical to claim that plants need 385ppm to sustain food production. Most environmental scientists would break out in laughter at this notion – again, its all guesswork, expunging effects of this on a complex array of natural systems. I’ll be kind here Tim: you don’t have a clue what you are talking about – at least that is the way I see it. Most scientists would agree with me, I am sure.

    Speaking of blowhards of the month, Tim, are you putting your name forward for Shallit’s award? Here’s his definition of the qualifications necessary:

    “The hallmark of the blowhard is to spout off in areas outside his competence”.

    Well?

  44. #44 Tim Curtin
    February 27, 2009

    Jeff: Take it easy, Freeman Dyson is spot on, and it will take more than that idiotic blog to debunk one of the finest minds of the last 60 years. You also said: “therefore in my opinion it’s just completely illogical to claim that plants need 385ppm to sustain food production”. That encapsulates all that lies between us: you think isues of fact (such as, are there black swans?) are matters for logic, whereas I ask you to prove there are no black swans (as was believed before Cap’n Cook). In my example, let’s place bets. How much are you willing to pay if global food production as measured by the FAO is less in say 2015 than now if Bali & Copenhagen targets are achieved? Or in whatever year such targets for absolute reduction in emissions to below the present NET absorption rate of 6 GtC p.a. are achieved? Or just show me your regressions for global food output vis a vis [CO2] when the latter is forced from 385 to 350 ppm as demanded by Hansen.

  45. #45 Jeff Harvey
    February 27, 2009

    Tim,

    Debate is closed. You lose. Get over it.

    Me, I think I’ll bask inb the glow and install a killfile for you, as Dano has suggested.

  46. #46 sod
    February 27, 2009

    The slide show is at my website: CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION – AND MASS STARVATION BY 2050?.

    there are several explanations. did you only invite denialists? did you hide your plainly false thesis behind your usual scientific confusion speeeches?

    why don t you start your next slide show (and the invitaion to your speech) with your claim, that coalas will change their diet to what ever grows in your garden?

    I have yet to see in print any coherent and sustained refutation of Lomborg,

    you don t read a lot, do you? obviously you missed (for a start) the discussion in [scientific american](http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=a-response-to-lomborgs-re)

    today’s annual food output is not sustainable FOR ANY SPECIES at less than 385 ppm.

    as the advertisement of the CO2 SELLING industry says, an increase to 550ppm would give only 30% extra growth. the effect of 385ppm on growth is TINY. fact.

    Curtin, this would be the right moment, to ask yourself how did all that Coal and Oil get under the soil?

    an increased uptake does NOT directly transfer into an ever growing LIVING biomass. the “C” out of CO2 can also be moved back into coil and to the bottom of oceans…

  47. #47 Tim Curtin
    February 27, 2009

    Jeff: if you are so sure are right why not take me on in a bet of our own wording but to same effect, that reducing [CO2] to 350 ppm or less will have NO effect on world food production? You seem to be runnign scared?
    Sod: I was generalising, Koalas are clearly an exception and certainly are in danger of exticntion, not least because of removal of their habitat in Victoria by Green-instigated fires. Let me “many” species are opportunists and adapt to changed diet availabilities. Bet offer stands re reduction to 350 ppm if secured at Copenhagen and implemented in our respective lifetimes.
    BTW, what have you say about Chris Field’repeated stament that it is emissions not [CO2] that determine climate:

    JUAN GONZALEZ: A leading member of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is warning the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is rising more rapidly than expected in recent years. The scientist, Chris Field, says the current trajectory of climate change is now much worse than the IPCC had originally projected in part due to China and India’s increasing reliance on coal power.
    The research shows carbon emissions have grown sharply since 2000, despite growing concerns about global warming. During the 1990s, carbon emissions grew by less than one percent per year. Since 2000, emissions have grown at a rate of 3.5 percent per year. No part of the world had a decline in emissions from 2000 to 2008″. [But the whole world did between 1997 and 1999, see Global Carbon Project, and I bet this year will be similar]

    Field again: “If we look since 2000, we’ve seen a rapid acceleration in CO2 emissions, so that the actual trajectory of emissions has grown more rapidly than in any of the scenarios that were characterized in detail. The reason I say we’re on a trajectory of climate change that we haven’t explored is that we have only looked at scenarios where the growth of CO2 was limited to in the range of two to 2.5 percent per year. We genuinely don’t know what a climate will look like with the more rapid rate of increase that we’re actually seeing”

    Field is the man just appointed to be in charge of the WG2 of next IPCC (AR5) – and doesn’t know that there is no one-for-one link between rising emissions and rising [CO2]. Last year (jan 08-Jan 09) the latter went up by just 1.5 ppm or just 0.39%, much less both proportionately and in absolute terms than the emissions.

  48. #48 sod
    February 27, 2009

    Sod: I was generalising, Koalas are clearly an exception and certainly are in danger of exticntion,

    WRONG. generalists are the exception. Curtin, you know absolutely nothing about biology.

    not least because of removal of their habitat in Victoria by Green-instigated fires.

    WRONG. please educate us: for how long were GREENS dominating the political scene of the region?

    Let me “many” species are opportunists and adapt to changed diet availabilities.

    a weak claim. what is “many”? 50? out of millions?

    you would obviously want to give a percentage number. so how many species are you wiling to give up? keep 90%? or will 50% do?

    and even with this massive change to your moronic claim about “all non-human species are opportunist, eating whatever is around” it would still be false in context.

    “MANY native birds will switch from local plants/trees to whatever people grow in their gardens” (again) is simply a false claim. sparrows and pigeons are the birds that you will keep.

  49. #49 Tim Curtin
    February 28, 2009

    Sod: more than your economics. So wattle birds are sparrows are they? According to the latest in PNAS (Smith et al including yet again that inveterate self-confessed liar Steve Schneider) “20-30% of of known plant and animal species are already on their way out”, so only 70% left to get rid of, to these authors’ and your unbounded joy.

    As for the victorian fires, see Rick Houlihan’s prophetic paper of July 2008 over at Jen’s:

    “Over the years since 1997 the Shire [of Upper Yarra] has gradually moved its position on Fire
    Prevention Work to its current position where residents can only ‘Mow lawns, clean gutters and remove fallen branches and twigs from around their houses’. For all other works, Planning permits are required for any native vegetation
    removal or pruning, including native grasses and ground covers.Threats of high fines and criminal charges resulting in court action now apply where permits are not issued to cover the removal of any native vegetation in areas other
    than those exempted under clause 22.1. [Residential 1 Zone - metropolitan.]

    However if a schedule 15 notice has been issued, then the removal of native vegetation is permitted. Where property owners in bushland areas were previously allowed and encouraged by the Shire, to slash 10 & 20 metre fire breaks around their properties, these activities are now illegal without a Planning permit if any native vegetation or grasses are required to be slashed, unless they are located in a Residential 1 Zone in the metropolitan areas of the Shire. In areas such as Hazeldene, Reefton, East Warburton, Noddles Creek etc, Slashing
    of perimeter firebreaks largely consist of slashing native vegetation and regrowth. Other areas in Healesville and the Dandenongs would be similar. For residents in all areas contained within the Rural and Foothill Areas of the Shire,
    which includes the Dandenongs, the Upper Yarra Area and Healesville, residents cannot carry out any Fire Prevention works involving the removal or destruction of
    native vegetation, native grasses etc, without a Planning permit, which incidentally will cost them at least $96.00,or risk a fine of $550 plus….
    What needs to occur: [but did not]
    The Shire needs to prepare a detailed and definitive schedule to outline to ratepayers and contractors what Fire Prevention activities can legally be carried out on Private
    Property…Firebreaks used to be recomemnded by the Shire, now they are not mentioned…This matter must be resolved as both the Shire and the Councillors run the risk of serious litigation if a serious bushfire were to occur and lives were lost as result of poor Fire preparation within the Shire of Yarra Ranges, which remains one of the most fire prone areas of the world.” And the rest as they say is history, with the Shire’s remarkable contribution to species elimination within its boundaries. J’accuse.

    Back to Smith & Schneider in PNAS 27 Feb 09. Like Field at the US Senate on 25th feb., these authors are of the view that it is emissions and not [CO2] which determines climate, even though absorptions by the global biospheres have kept up with more rapid growth of emissions such that the latest annual growth of [CO2] is exactly the average since 1958, 0.4% p.a. Thus pace Smith et al, the rapid growth of emissions that is the sole occasion of their paper has NOT led to an acceleration in the growth of [CO2]. As there is not a single valid new piece of information in the whole paper, one can only conclude that they are putting their hands up for the next IPCC, AR5 by hoovering up to Solomon and Field.

  50. #50 Bernard J.
    February 28, 2009

    Tim Curtin.

    You are surely at the extreme end of the branch of recalcitrant scientific ignorance.

    Yet again I will draw attention to the fact that you demonstrate no understanding of basic ecological concepts, nor are you able to describe any mechanism that supports any of the theories that you espouse and that simultaneously refutes the enormous mass of scientific understanding that puts falsity your ideas.

    Seriously – how often have you cracked any of the journals Jeff mentioned above? How many papers from those journals have you reviewed and filed in your library?

    You pick a few arbitrary datasets and apply regressions to them, and from this you extrapolate an interpretation of global-scale systems of incomprehensible complexity. This is not how a scientist or a statistician uses a regression.

    Regression analyses demonstrate correlation, and not causation, and most especially they do not do so in the case of system-decoupled data. To demonstrate causation one must apply experimental methodology to a system, with a priori hypotheses and analytical methodologies already established. Where empirical experimentation is not possible, one can apply more pure statistical methodologies, that incorporate extensive recursive/back-testing procedures, although these are never as ‘good’ as real-system experimentation.

    You have done neither. You could have easily pulled a other hundred parameters out of your arse, as you have already done, and come up with the correlations you present, but that have no relationship to ‘productivity’. And r2 values are not ‘proof’ – they merely identify how a ‘change’ in x relates to a change in ‘y’ – this does not mean that x actually changed y.

    You have no science.

    You make claims with no backing; you refute whole disciplines of knowledge with no supporting material. You refuse to address fundamental questions repeatedly put to you, that would scupper your claims if you actually considered them.

    You say that pre-industrial biospheric productivity was significantly lower than that post-industrialisation. In one to several paragraphs, can you provide a precise that explains the methodology, the data sources and the references to support this claim?

    You say that there is are no increased rates of species extinction, counter to thousands of papers that say otherwise. In one to several paragraphs, can you provide a precise that explains the methodology, the data sources and the references to support your claim?

    You say that there is no crisis of habitat loss/fragmentation. In one to several paragraphs, can you provide a precise that explains the methodology, the data sources and the references to support this claim, and that refutes the thousands of papers that recognise the dangers of habitat destruction and fragmentation for biodiversity?

    You say that growth of human society is not resource-constrained. In one to several paragraphs, can you provide a precise that explains the methodology, the data sources and the references to support this claim, and that refutes the thousands of papers that recognise the constraint, limitations and asymptotes to growth?

    Have you submitted yet your critical correspondence to the authors and the journals mentioned repeated in earlier posts?

    You have not yet demonstrated that you understood my reference to koalas and to sloths. I notice that you have gone off on an irrelevant tangent about koalas, so I will provide you with a hint: what is particular about the metabolism of these two taxa (and to many besides) that puts paid to your fantasy about a carbon dioxide-driven Utopia? You may have to learn some real physiology to answer this, so perhaps it is beyond you to address.

    Can you describe in one to several paragraphs the scientific methodology that supports the empirical basis for being able to propose the bet with Jeff that you did?

    Your reference to an emeritus ‘seminar’ is a red-herring. I have attended such, and the audience is usually silently po-faced when an emeritus has gone ‘emeritus’. The classic example I use is one where two Australian chemists claimed that there was actually a solid basis for cold-fusion. At the end of their presentation, there were many cutting questions that were left unanswered, and the audience politely left it unsaid that there had been no answers.

    Again, if you are able to defend your claims, you will do so in detail in front of a forum of experts in the fields that you are refuting. Let us see you do this.

    I seriously doubt that Frank Fenner would have condoned the nonsense that you spout. I myself met Frank a number of years ago, and his scientific understandings are aligned with Jeff’s, and not with yours. Of course, if I am wrong, I would invite you to seek confirmation of his concurrence with you – it should be easy if, as you say, he supports your ideas.

    And then there is:

    …today’s annual food output is not sustainable FOR ANY SPECIES at less than 385 ppm

    Empirical evidence? References?

    And what of the fact that EVERY SPECIES, including humans, did just fine and dandy at ~280ppm for millenia? How does that work?

    And we’ve discussed Freeman Dyson several times before. Sadly, he is a not-uncommon example of someone who, although emminent in his own field (or in ‘his/her ‘time’), can be quite bonkers about matters in which they are not trained, or which they promote in their autumn years. Nobel laureate Cary Mullis of PCR fame is another example, with his increasingly unsupportable notion of the non-HIV model of AIDS.

    The only people who might listen to you are those ignorant of the science. If you are trying to attain credibility in the real scientific arena you are failing, simply because you ignore every process, every tenet and just about every fact of science that any half-compenent person is well-aware of.

    You might be living happily in the puffed-up belief that you are a hard-hitting player in science, but to anyone who has half a clue you are a sad old troll who is just gumming up the works.

    Ad hominem? No, because this is simple fact.

    If you disagree, address my points above.

  51. #51 Tim Curtin
    February 28, 2009

    Dear Bernard: once again I am flattered that for every 100 words I offer you respond with about 500. Many thanks.
    It is late, I have been watching the cricket at the Wanderers (where I played for my prep. school Pridwin back in 1950 or so, and golf later, beyond the golf course end of the ground).

    So I won’t respond to all of your diatribe just now. You said “I seriously doubt that Frank Fenner would have condoned the nonsense that you spout… Of course, if I am wrong, I would invite you to seek confirmation of his concurrence with you – it should be easy if, as you say, he supports your ideas.” I NEVER said that he did.

    You added: “And then there is: [quoting me]‘today’s annual food output is not sustainable FOR ANY SPECIES at less than 385 ppm’ Empirical evidence? References?” Watch this space, but see refs in my Quadrant article for a trailer!

    You again: “And what of the fact that EVERY SPECIES, including humans, did just fine and dandy at ~280ppm for millenia?” Really? prove it. Maddison shows GDP per capita in 1750 for <1 billion way below now for >6.5 billion people.

    I note that you ignore the systemic dishonesty I noted above of all at IPCC, especially Schneider, Field, Solomon, Joel Smith, Schellnhuber et al et al in asserting over just the last 2 weeks that CO2 emissions equal increase in [CO2]. When you tacitly endorse them I have no problem in discounting everything you say, as I judge people by the company they keep. Those I have just named are no better than the Madoffs of this world, charlatans all, including you unless and until you explicitly admit here and now that a change in emissions does not equal the change in [CO2]. When you admit that, then we can discuss again what form the lower increase in [CO2] vis a vis emissions (measured in GtC) means for ecology.

  52. #52 Bernard J.
    February 28, 2009

    You said “I seriously doubt that Frank Fenner would have condoned the nonsense that you spout… Of course, if I am wrong, I would invite you to seek confirmation of his concurrence with you – it should be easy if, as you say, he supports your ideas.” I NEVER said that he did.

    So are you then saying that you brought up the emeritus seminar, and its distinguished audience, as an implied testing of your ideas, but a testing that did not actually occur after all?

    That sounds like unsupportable name-dropping to me. To impute that someone of Fenner’s reputation might agree with you, without his actual doing so, is despicable.

    You again: “And what of the fact that EVERY SPECIES, including humans, did just fine and dandy at ~280ppm for millenia?” Really? prove it.

    Erm, the fact that biodiversity was greater prior to industrialisation, than in any epoch previously, says a lot. As does the fact that the rates of extinction were lower then than when humans started with their profound impacts upon the biosphere.

    I note too that you didn’t actually rise to the challenge and attempt to prove the converse…

    Maddison shows GDP per capita in 1750 for <1 billion way below now for >6.5 billion people.

    Do you think that using fossil fuels at approximately two hundred thousand times the rate at which they formed might have something to do with this?

    As to the last paragraph of your post at #245…

    1. It is such staggeringly large strawman that the term ‘wickerman’ is more appropriate. Asking me to dissociate myself from an argument that was not active until you brought it up, and refusing to speak to me based upon an answer that you know a priori I would respond with, is a childish ploy indeed
    2. Irrespective of point (1), judging a person by (imputed, no less!) company that they might keep does not constitute an argument to the earlier substance of this thread.
    3. You still don’t get the bath and water analogy, do you?
    4. You are conspicuously avoiding substantively answering any of my, or other people’s, challenges to you, and you appear to be desperately fishing now for a reason to permanently run from your inability to answer these many challenges and from justification of your claims.

    I’m tempted to [killfile] you as many of the emminently more sensible folk here already have, but I am still waiting for you to start justifying to the long list of scientific balderdash that you manufacture. The company that you keep (I note your comfortable habitation Marohasy’s) does not deter me: the only thing that might is the ever-growing extraordinarily long time it is taking you to either present some evidence of scientific understanding, or to concede your ignarance and bugger off back to the shade of the rock from which you crawled in the first place (with apologies to all respectable under-rock dwellers of the non-human biosphere).

  53. #53 Tim Curtin
    February 28, 2009

    Bernard: you challenged me to offer a seminar at ANU, I replied that I gave two there last year, one to the Emeritus Faculty; I mentioned that Fenner is a member to indicate that it has some standing. Whether he attended mine or not is immaterial, but in any case I know his views diverge from mine. The main thrust of my Quadrant article was that CO2 is not a pollutant, and I used the carbon budget equation and associated data to show that more than half of all CO2 emissions are absorbed by the biosphere and that this is not harmful – indeed biospheric sequestration is widely applauded as a positive step, except by Smith, Schneider, Field Solomon, et al, who deny it exists, and it seems yourself. Thus it is not off thread for me to point out their dishonesty in suppressing any mention of biospheric absorption in their efforts over the last few weeks to stir up alarmism despite failing to produce any evidence of negative effects of the actual very slow build-up of [CO2] – other than to claim as Smith Schneider et al do in this week’s PNAS that Katrina and the Paris heatwave of 2003 are proof of damaging climate change, but that itself is utterly unscientific. Their dishonesty knows no bounds. I am sorry to see you supporting it.

  54. #54 Dano
    February 28, 2009

    I’m tempted to [killfile] you as many of the emminently more sensible folk here already have, but I am still waiting for you to start justifying to the long list of scientific balderdash that you manufacture.

    pppppPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPHHhhhhhhhffffffffffffffttttt! HahahahahahaHAHAHAHA!!!!!

    Oh, man, Bernard. I spit out my drinkie on the monitor! You vewy funny guy!

    Best,

    D

  55. #55 Tim Curtin
    February 28, 2009

    Thanks Dano, I estimate that is the 1,000th time you have made that comment, it is so erudite I wish I could cite you.
    Finally, here’s a challenge to Jeff, Bernard, sod, et al: how many of the species collected and enumerated by Darwin are no longer at the locations he found them? Not even 70% according to Schneider. Is he right?

  56. #56 Lee
    February 28, 2009

    It is good to occasionally give Tim Curtin a stage upon which to post. It allows so many of us to take a look, remind ourselves that yep, he really is just as batshit as we remember, and then go on ignoring his ass.

    At 249, is Curtin really asserting that “not even” 70% of Darwin’s enumerated species are locally extinct, as if that allegation is some kind of support for something he is saying?

  57. #57 Tim Curtin
    March 1, 2009

    Lee, Jeff, Bernard & co: ever read Darwin?

    “(iii) Species extinction is usually, though not always, caused by the failure of a species in competition with other species. That is, causes of extinction are generally biological, not physical.

    The inhabitants of each successive period in the world’s history have beaten their predecessors in the race for life, and are, insofar, higher in the scale of nature…. (p. 345)

    … each new variety, and ultimately each new species, is produced and maintained by having some advantage over those with which it comes into competition; and the consequent extinction of the less-favoured forms almost inevitably follows. (p. 320)

    (iv) The extinction of species (and larger groups) is closely tied to the process of natural selection and is thus a major component of progressive evolution. (p. 172)

    The extinction of species and of whole groups of species, which has played so conspicuous a part in the history of the organic world, almost inevitably follows on the principle of natural selection; for old forms will be supplanted by new and improved forms. (p. 475)

    Thus, as it seems to me, the manner in which single species and whole groups of species become extinct accords well with the theory of natural selection. (p. 322)’

    What is absolutely certain is that none of Smith, Schneider et al PNAS 27 Feb 09 ever did read Darwin – “That is, causes of extinction are generally biological, not physical”. I suspect they are closet creationists. The challenge stands, how many of the species listed by Darwin are no longer with us? The best estimate I have seen is 0.2%.

  58. #58 sod
    March 1, 2009

    Sod: more than your economics. So wattle birds are sparrows are they?

    wattle birds actually seem to be rather generalist, and still are pretty rare.

    garden plants don t make good food for animals, because you can NOT rely on any plant to be there. FACT.

    According to the latest in PNAS (Smith et al including yet again that inveterate self-confessed liar Steve Schneider) “20-30% of of known plant and animal species are already on their way out”, so only 70% left to get rid of, to these authors’ and your unbounded joy.

    Curtin, every time you get into a new subject, you expose even more lack of knowledge. please stop doing it.

    As for the victorian fires, see Rick Houlihan’s prophetic paper of July 2008 over at Jen’s:

    some how your long answer didn t contain a single word, about the “greens” dominating any governmental body. your claims are simply false.

    but let us apply the “Tim Curtin” theory to bushfires:

    according to Tim, a significant amount of biomass is a product of the increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere. if we follow this theory, a significant amount of the deal leaves and branches feeding the recent bush fires, are CAUSED by that CO2 increase. just by chance, Tim is blaming the greens anyway….

  59. #59 Tim Curtin
    March 1, 2009

    Sod. You said quoting me “As for the Victorian fires, see Rick Houlihan’s prophetic paper of July 2008 over at Jen’s:”

    The South Yarra Shire Council is dominated by Greens or their fellow travellers, just as the Victoria ALP government is beholden to Green prefs for even being in power. The Greens are to a man/woman eugenicists, indeed, some of my very best friends and tennis partners are fully paid up members, and all without exception think there are too many of us, so for them the bushfire death toll is a wholly welcome culling. Lovelock, Enting, Karoly, Brook, and the whole Stanford gang from Ehrlich to his clones Solomon, Smith, Schneider, Hansen, Chu and Holdren have the same mindset.

    So sod, your claim that “the greens [do not] dominate any governmental body” is indeed simply false.

    Then you added: “a significant amount of biomass is a product of the increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere. If we follow this theory, a significant amount of the deal [sic] leaves and branches feeding the recent bush fires, are CAUSED by that CO2 increase”. Yes, forsooth. That is why establishing in depth firebreaks is more than ever necessary, but is opposed by the cretins of South Yarra. Properly managed, forests create wealth for all species.

    The BBC (unusually) yesterday had a report describing how Green-instigated legislation in India has since about 1998 prevented grazing of livestock in forest reserves: result, impoverishment of pastoralists, massive fires, incineration of tigers etc, to the huge delight of Australia’s Don and Ken Henry, who will not rest until we are all gone.

    I still hope you will admit to resiling from the exceptionally dishonest paper by Smith et al (PNAS, 27 Feb 2009) with its claim that 100% of CO2 emissions add to the atmospheric concentration [CO2].

    But I have always been aware that when policy advocates have a particular goal in view, they will not allow truth to stand in their way. That is why Bernard, Jeff, you, et all al here are not prepared to admit that [CO2] grows at only 0.4% pa even when CO2 emissions have grown recently (but not since 2007) by over 3% pa (or in absolute terms, emissions 10 GtC, absorption by biospheres c6 GtC).

    Sod, I will gladly give you star billing in my upcoming CO2 as fertilizer paper (my co-author and I hope to send it off next week) if you can show ANY case where elevated [CO2] has detrimental effects. Jeff and Bernard never could or did, that is why they have given up.

  60. #60 sod
    March 1, 2009

    So sod, your claim that “the greens [do not] dominate any governmental body” is indeed simply false.

    minorities tend not to dominate anything. you are not blaming the mayor of Yarra for all the bush fires in Victoria?

    (as all so often, you seem to use a non-standard definition of the term “dominance”)

    Yes, forsooth. That is why establishing in depth firebreaks is more than ever necessary, but is opposed by the cretins of South Yarra. Properly managed, forests create wealth for all species.

    slow again: what species live of those dead branches? (the ones, which according to you, were the reasons for these fires!)

    your wild ideas fall apart. even an example that you brought up (australian trees) clearly demonstrates the problem with your with your “more CO2, more biomass, better world” theory.

  61. #61 Tim Curtin
    March 1, 2009

    sod; you said – “the problem with your ‘more CO2, more biomass, better world theory’…”.

    That reminds me of Einstein’s riposte to the 100 jerks like Smith, Solomon, Schneider, Schellnhuber, et al ad nauseam, that Hitler lined up against him, “just one fact would have been enough”. You, Bernard, Jeff, et all those other als. have yet to produce that single fact. And you never will, any more than dear Adolf and his 100 jerks. More [CO2] is good for you.

  62. #62 Bernard J.
    March 1, 2009

    At #249.

    Ah, another attempt to divert the discussion from the pertinent points.

    We’re still waiting for your science, Tim Curtin.

    Nevertheless… Schneider’s claim, as you relate it, is quite plausible at first consideration. I know off the bat that 4 of 15 tortoise species that Darwin ‘discovered’ are extinct, and when one considers that many of the animals that he identified are restricted, island species; or are tropical forest species from human-impacted areas, it is easy to see that many may have become extinct. Certainly many more are critically endangered – the Galapagos are a basket-case of threatened biodiversity.

    Without having a complete list immediately at hand the 70% figure is not something I would give completely unqualified support to, but whether it’s 70%, 80%, 90% or 95% of listed species that remain, the difference is still a figure that is far above the natural rate of extinction.

    This hardly supports your claim that there is no biodiversity crisis. I’m sure though that this is only tangential to whatever point you were trying to twist from Schneider’s statement.

    Then, further along at #251, you quote-mine Darwin as if you actually have a clue about ecology and evolution, when you patently don’t. Darwin’s theories and conclusions themselves evolved in a milieu where human impact had not yet become obvious at many levels. If Darwin lived today he would recognise, as does any competent biologist, that humans are having an impact upon species extinction that goes far beyond the ‘typical’ natural processes to which he referred.

    Volcano, asteroid, Homo sapiens – each can have a catastrophic impact upon species that no amount of evolutionary ‘fitness’ for the average rough-and-tumble of the biosphere might counter. Your effort is simply ignorance, or mendacity.

    Really, what is your point about Schneider’s figure? That Schneider is lying? If you bother to re-read this thread you will (perhaps) notice that Jeff, I and others have been speaking of the general depauperisation of taxa across the biosphere – a list of one person’s taxonomic discoveries, and what has been lost from this, does not in any way address the fundamental truth of the current global extinction crisis. If you think that it does, then you are even nuttier than you have already presented yourself to be.

    Nevertheless, if we use the 0.2% figure that you favour (without substantiation either, I note), this would give, in very crude terms, an extinction rate of 0.1%/century. Assuming a linear loss (which is unlikely – some geometric function is more likely under the current trajectory of environmental degradation) all species on Darwin’s ‘list’ would be extinct within one thousand years. This is very alarming in itself, given that the average ‘lifetime’ of a species is often quoted to be in the order of two million years.

    Really, what point are you trying to prove Curtin?

    Nothing, I suspect, because you use the Victorian wildfires as a distraction from the fact that you are still, unsurprisingly, not bringing any real science to the table.

    (As an aside, I note that a post I spent two hours typing about a fortnight ago, in response to NaGS’ comments on the bushfires, has not appeared on the Open thread where the matter is being discussed. Thinking back, this is probably the fault of an automatic shutdown by Vista on the computer I was using at the time… thank you M$oft. Anyway, I am exceedingly frustrated about this, as I spent considerable time putting paid to the sort of tripe that you posted about the fires above. Perhaps if you ask Tim Lambert nicely he will let you continue comment about the fires on that thread, because I want to keep this thread on its tangential focus of your theories of productivity and ecosystem health as they pertain to the Quadrant article referred in the subject of the thread.)

    So, Tim Curtin, when are you going to bring real science to the table? Dano’s monitor can probably not tolerate much more of my optimistic appeals for you to demonstrate whatever competence you have in science.

    Oh, and

    Sod, I will gladly give you star billing in my upcoming CO2 as fertilizer paper (my co-author and I hope to send it off next week) if you can show ANY case where elevated [CO2] has detrimental effects. Jeff and Bernard never could or did, that is why they have given up.

    It appears that your faculties for memory have gone emeritus also, because Jeff, I and others have provided numerous references over the last several years that discuss competitive and physiological disadvantages associated with elevated atmospheric CO, and competitive and physiological suboptima that accompany the warming associated with elevated atmospheric CO, to say nothing of the serious damage from ocean acidification that accompanies elevated atmospheric CO.

    And we have not ‘given up’. I think that we have all given up though on any hope that you might ever, ever support your nonsense with a coherent scientific argument.

  63. #63 Bernard J.
    March 1, 2009

    Tim Curtin.

    As you are being either tardy or unable to inform us of your progress in:

    1. your correspondence with the scientists and scientific bodies whom you consider to be misbehaving,
    2. your assessment of the experts, and their bodies of literature, in ecology and in ecophysiology,
    3. my challenge to present a seminar to a group of the same experts as in (2) above
    4. a general provision of scientific support for your wild theories

    perhaps you would instead (or ‘as well’?) care to send copies of your previous and pending material to the relevant departments of every Australian university with a request for critical assessment. Let’s find out just what the experts really do think of your work, and also whom amongst them might be a part of the Great Scientific Conspiracy which you have revealed to the world.

    Heck, why not go international and pick the world’s ten foremost experts in the areas of biology that you are challenging?

    If you are being genuinely scientific in your methodology, and if your theories are as groud-breaking as you claim, most of those so approached should jump at the chance to comment. I’m sure that Tim Lambert would be happy to be included as a co-recipient of any reviews supplied, and he could post summaries here to support your case – or perhaps, heaven forefend, the converse…

    Show us exactly the colour of your bottle. Show us exactly how your ‘science’ stands expert scrutiny.

    Show us what you really have.

  64. #64 Eli Rabett
    March 1, 2009

    Science had an interesting article about what drives species diversity. There are two models, the Red Queen and the Court Jester. Now some will say that Tim Curtin is the Queen of cross-dressing Court Jesters, but there is a point here.

    Oh yes, where did Eli put it. Ah. The Red Queen model refers to her opinion that “it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place” or in other words, it drives marginal physical adaptations such as changing body size, requiring less water, etc. The Court Jester is unpredictable, and the changes are physical sudden global ones that wipe out most of what existed previously.

    Our technical civilization is in the latter category.

  65. #65 sod
    March 1, 2009

    That reminds me of Einstein’s riposte to the 100 jerks like Smith, Solomon, Schneider, Schellnhuber, et al ad nauseam, that Hitler lined up against him, “just one fact would have been enough”. You, Bernard, Jeff, et all those other als. have yet to produce that single fact. And you never will, any more than dear Adolf and his 100 jerks. More [CO2] is good for you.

    some pretty brilliant people spend their whole life, without ever comparing themselves to Einstein. Curtin constantly does.

    Curtin alos constantly assumes, that when he is not getting a reply, it is a sign that everybody agrees with him, or that it is a sign of defeat of those who disagree with him.

    pretty wild ego, methinks.

    in reality of course, he is using his ignorance in some topics, to cover his false claims under other topics.

    people with some knowledge of Bushfires, [disagree](http://www.triplehelix.com.au/documents/ThoughtsontheVictorianBushfires_000.pdf) with his argument about the causes.

    but even following his claims, we get weird results: more plant growth (according to Curtin, mainly caused by increased CO2) don t benefit the environment. they fuel bushfires, that kill species. the CO2 isn t feeding species, feeding another species and so on. it causes trouble while in the air, on the ground, and is back into the air pretty fast. (fire..)

  66. #66 Tim Curtin
    March 1, 2009

    Bernard, for starters in response to your #256 (more later), please recall that “over the last 350 million years CO2 has varied by 10 fold, approximately 250 ppm to 2,500 ppm with an average level of 1,500 ppm. This average level happens to be the optimum level for plants, it seems by
    evolutionary design, and is the reason that this level of CO2 is used in greenhouses Since plants and
    animals evolved together it’s likely that humans also evolved to function best at some higher level.
    However, at 380 ppm we are not far from the lower end of that 10-fold range. Because so many people
    benefit from enhanced levels of CO2 [eg those with breathing problems use medical gas in which not only oxygen but also CO2 are present at much larger than ambient proportions], it appears that our present atmosphere is already lower than the minimum to which some people can adapt. Scientific studies and established medical practices leave no doubt that increased levels of CO2 help people with respiratory problems and, some time in our lives, that
    will include nearly every one of us”. Source: Robert Chouinard http://www.nzcpr.com/soapbox.htm#RobertC
    13, see also CDIAC, http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/pns/faq_othr.html:
    “The average carbon dioxide content of the 500 ml of exhaled air is thus:
    [(150 ml)/(500 ml) x 0.04% CO2] + [(350 ml)/(500 ml) x 5.3% CO2] = 3.7% CO2 by volume, which is equivalent to 5.7% CO2 by weight.

    22.4 L of air at standard temperature and pressure has a mass of about 28.5 g (the difference in the average molecular weight of atmospheric and alveolar air is trivial, despite the differences in percent nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor), so 500 ml of air has a mass of about 0.636 g. The 5.7% of this mass that is carbon dioxide would therefore would weigh about 0.037 g (equivalent to about 0.010 g of carbon).” Given the much higher proportion of CO2 in human exhalation than in the atmosphere, it follows that Obama’s Carol Browne’s directive to the EPA to ban all emissions of CO2 will have to extend to us, in line with demands of Ehrlich-Holdren-Schneider.

  67. #67 sneezy
    March 1, 2009

    … another drive-by science mangling brought to you by TC the polymath trollbot. Brilliant stuff!

  68. #68 Jeff Harvey
    March 2, 2009

    I couldn’t resist one reture at the know-nothing.

    Darwin: “Species extinction is usually, though not always, caused by the failure of a species in competition with other species. That is, causes of extinction are generally biological, not physical”.

    That was more than 150 years ago. In case you haven’t noticed, Timmy old chap, things have changed a lot since then. Humans have transformed the planet by many factors since Darwin wrote those words. Moreover, I doubt that even Darwin was aware of the mass extinction of flightless birds across the Pacific that occurred as a result of Polynesian colonisation of islands across vast swathes of that ocean. Finally, the science of ecology has advanced by a quantum leap since 1850 – in fact, since the 1970s alone. It was hardly a recognized science before 1960.

    Its also certain that species diversity peaked on the planet in recent millenia, before humans started our massive global assault. Note that this occurred with atmospheric levels of C02 at levels well below 300 ppm. Shorter response to Tim: you are speaking utter bollocks, as usual.

    Bottom line: I warn you Tim: I will annihalate your arguments in the area of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. You are better off sticking to some of the other areas that you know nothing about, like climate science. At least those areas fall outside of my own area of expertise.

  69. #69 Gaz
    March 2, 2009

    Jeff Harvey – please stick around.

    I’m not usually a fan of blood sports but I have so enjoyed watching you skewer Tim.

    And Tim – with the final sentence of your last comment here you ascended to a level of inanity rarely seen, even among the transcendentally boneheaded of the denialosphere.

    We may never see the likes of you again.

    Fingers crossed.

  70. #70 Dano
    March 2, 2009

    Gaz, the problem is the anti-intellectual crowd see the talking point as trumping Jeff Harvey.

    Nonetheless, one of the joys of Deltoid is that some of the commenters know what they are talking about. And we have the visitations from the denialosphere to entertain us.

    Best,

    D

  71. #71 Tim Curtin
    March 2, 2009

    Hi Jeff, welcome back! You said “It’s also certain that species diversity peaked on the planet in recent millenia, before humans started our massive global assault.” How recent? How many species were there in say 5000 BP, as against in 1859 and now? I like stats. Where are yours? The answers I heard from Lord May last Pres. of Royal Soc. (at UNSW) were that he had no idea how many species there were in 5000 BP or in 1859 or now. So you could be in line for an IgNobel.

    Bernard: I’m glad you have resolved computer and family crises, as I welcome your more measured responses. BUT, your comment re the Darwin listing of taxa is no more than casual empiricism. Tortoises come and go, some that Darwin saw at Galapagos are probably still there, and National Geographic (latest issue) could discern no systemic decline (despite its no doubt best efforts), despite your unsourced claim “that the Galapagos are a basket-case of threatened biodiversity”. A friend of mine was there last month and has so far claimed no such thing.
    Then you say “If Darwin lived today he would recognise, as does any competent biologist, that humans are having an impact upon species extinction that goes far beyond the ‘typical’ natural processes to which he referred” So now you like Wallace are in touch with Darwin’s spirit, who is your medium? Do tell. The truth is that much of Darwin’s (and Wallace’s) inspiration came from T.R. Malthus, who posited species’ survival on availability of food relative to population growth. You and other denizens of the Deltoid and NAS and AAAS Underworlds deny any connection between [CO2] and food supply. Truly you and all CC authors at NAS and AAAS are at one with Bishop Usher, not merely ignorant but in a state of denial about the availability of [CO2] relative to food supply. Unlike Arrhenius who certainly knew of Malthus, few of Susie Solomon and her 2500 acolytes ever heard of him, and of those few, none understood anything he said. Their serial dishonesty defies belief were it not that between them they control the editorial boards of every single journal in the field, eg Schellnhuber who controls six.
    Actually my 0.2% was for 1600 to 1990, from a reputable source in Google. Applying that rate to Darwin was in your favour, so your extrapolation is out by thousand years or so. What is that between friends like us?
    Then you said “Really, what is your point about Schneider’s figure? That Schneider is lying?” Yes, yet again. Whatever the impact of CO2 is on climate, it is from [CO2], not the absolute level of emssions,as he keeps on saying, most recently in PNAS 27 Feb 09. I realise that very few on this Blog are capable of basic arithmetic, so none of them can grasp that if 100% of emissions of CO2 are absorbed by the global biospheres, there will then be NO impact on global mean temperature, even the so-called science of the IPCC reluctantly admits that, albeit nobody else here, and especially not you, sod, and Jeff. But that does not deter Schneider and his pals from claiming again and again as in their PNAS 27 Feb 2009 that biospheric absorptions of CO2 emissions are NIL. When you guys tacitly endorse such liars, what can one charitably say of you (sod, Bernard, BPL, Jeff, TL, et al.)?

    Then you said: “We’re still waiting for your science, Tim Curtin”. That is my science. Refute it.

    Life is short, and the cricket at my old ground The Wanderers beckons so no more for now except that re your claim that I said “nothing of the serious damage from ocean acidification that accompanies elevated atmospheric CO2”’ Even the IPCC (AR4, WG1, can find no evidence for any global change in pH, despite its best efforts. I used mine to find such evidence, to no avail. There is none – some regional variations, but NIL overall.

    Best to you all

    Tim

  72. #72 Bernard J.
    March 2, 2009

    Tim Curtin.

    You only open your mouth to change feet, don’t you?

    I’ve worked with medical gas during my biomedical research years. The high levels of CO2 are there to induce heightened breathing in people who have breathing/gas exchange pathologies, and to assist in oxygen-unloading in the tissues. Even a cursory dip into that infamous know-it-all would give you a precise of the [Bohr effect](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bohr_effect).

    Concentrations at this level are used medically, and like any medical substance it is not to be administered with abandon. Contrary to your wrong-headed notions, 5% CO2 is not a physiologically benign concentration, and it certainly is not one to which humans are adapted, nor is it a concentration in which they have evolved. Oh, and for many patients receiving 5% CO2, the concentration entering the lungs is less than the nominal 5%, because the face masks that patients wear are not designed to be completely air-tight.

    I was so flabbergasted that you believe in the benefits of grossly elevated CO2 that I checked to see how easily one might determine exactly what its effects are. Once again, the obvious place to look quickly points the junior literature reviewer to a summary of [CO2 toxicity](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide#Toxicity).

    1. 1%, as can occur in a crowded auditorium with poor ventilation, can cause drowsiness with prolonged exposure.
    2. At 2% it is mildly narcotic and causes increased blood pressure and pulse rate, and causes reduced hearing.
    3. At about 5% it causes stimulation of the respiratory centre, dizziness, confusion and difficulty in breathing accompanied by headache and shortness of breath.
    4. At about 8% it causes headache, sweating, dim vision, tremor and loss of consciousness after exposure for between five and ten minutes.

    You said:

    Because so many people benefit from enhanced levels of CO2 [eg those with breathing problems use medical gas in which not only oxygen but also CO2 are present at much larger than ambient proportions], it appears that our present atmosphere is already lower than the minimum to which some people can adapt.

    Your illogic is spectacular – not even a first-year philosophy student would say that just because people with respiratory pathologies benefit from manipulation of respiratory gas concentrations, it follows that medical concentrations are appropriate in an every-day context. This fallacious thinking is topologically akin to saying that we should all be continuously dosed on a wide range of pharmaceuticals, or on doses of radiotherapy.

    Ironically, this is what was pushed by snake-oil salesmen a century and more ago. Tim Curtin, carbon dioxide is surely your radium water.

    Context has never been your thing, has it? As many other nuances of critical thinking have not been, either…

    I would address the mangled interpretation of Darwin in your latest post also, except that I have a Clydsedale with colic that needs careful attention. I am sure that Jeff will careful dismantle your crap, and I will leave with the observation that once more you provide no science, but rather an accusation of scientific collusion and conspiracy of gargantuan proportions.

    It comes to the choice that either tens of thousands of scientists in several completely separate disciplines are all liars, conspirators and incompetents, or you are yourself a liar, a conspiracist, and/or incompetent.

    William of Ockham’s lex parsimoniae informs my own conclusion on this matter.

  73. #73 Tim Curtin
    March 2, 2009

    Bernard: all very fascinating and I am sorry about your Clydesdales. Re Medical gas, you are decades out of touch when you say “…because the face masks that patients wear are not designed to be completely air-tight”. These days emphysema sufferers just like pilots in small planes flying high just have a couple of thingies up their noses in order to breathe in 5% CO2 instead of the normal atmospheric 0.0385%.

    And yes, “tens of thousands of scientists in several completely separate disciplines are all liars, conspirators and incompetents” when like you they refuse to accept that on average 57% of CO2 emissions are absorbed by the global biospheres. Name one with the integrity and honesty to issue a press release stating that Smith, Schneider, Field and Solomon and their myriad et als spread deceit when they claim in PNAS and at AAAS that 100% of CO2 emissions remain airborne. You cannot, as there is not a single IPCC AR4 scientist with enough of a shred of integrity to disown those I have named. You yourself think it is immaterial whether 0% or 100% of CO2 emissions remain airborn. Name the Climate journal that is not edited by one of the above or their co-authors that would ever publish a rebuttal of the Smith, Schneider et al claim in PNAS only 3 days ago that 100% of CO2 emssions remain airborne. I tried with PNAS, at your prompting – deathly hush for 2 weeks now. Not a single IPCC AR4 lead or other author has any vestige of truthfulness, and especially not the Australians amongst them like Nicholls and Wigley. Please feel free to pass on these comments to them, I have already published my allegations against them in my Quadrant piece, which is in the public domain. Their lawyers know where to find me. The truth is that truth is at a discount in the great game of climate change activism, as Schneider confessed over 20 years ago.

  74. #74 Jeff Harvey
    March 2, 2009

    Tim, the facts are these: there’s no doubt that the biological diversity of major vertebrate groups on the planet, such as passerines, for example, are, or were probably higher within the past 5000 years than at any time in the planet’s long history. It is difficult to make exact predictions from the fossil record, but it certainly appears that diversity recently peaked before humans commenced the 6th great extinction event (which proably began in earnest about 100 years ago).

    For an example of a basket case of annihalated biodiversity, Tim, check out Hawaii: all but 5 of the island’s 135 native birds probably won’t survive the next 50 years. Many (I think around 30) are already extinct. Most of the others are hanging on by the end of their beaks.

    http://www.birdinghawaii.co.uk/AnnotatedListExtinct2.htm

    There is no doubt that the situation in the Galapagos is similar; I was there in 2006 and saw for myself the pressures bearing on the island fauna; the Galapagos hawk, for instance, has already been extirpated from a number of islands where it was formerly found, and several island populations of the Galapagos Tortoises are gone. It is simply not true to argue that conditions on the islands are the same as they were before humans arrived there.

    Check out also the number of extinct critically endangered species in such places at the Mata Atlantica forests in Brazil: it is exccedingly high, due to the massive clearing of these forests (see Brooks and Balmford, 1997, Nature).

    The bottom line is that habitat simplification via fragmentation and loss is by far the biggest driver of the current extinction spasm. There’s little empirical evidence that competition drives extinctions at the global scale, except for processes where humans are concerned. This is because competition rapidly leads via frequency dependent selection to co-evolutionary processes and adaptive radiaiton which drives niche specialisation and utlimately co-existence. The exceptions occur when an exotic species is introduced suddenly into a non-native ecosystem. Under these conditions, the plant may leave behind co-evolved enemies (such as herbivores or pathogens) and is able to reallocate limited metabolic energy to functions, such as growth, other than defence (see Keane and Crawly, and the ‘enemy-release hypothesis’). Moreover, many exotic plants posses novel secondary metabolities that are toxic to non-adapted herbivores or which are alleopathic (the ‘novel weapons hypothesis’) and which enable these plants again to become dominant in their new range, excluding other plants leading to associational susceptibility of organisms dependent on the native and a rapid decline in biodiversity, at least locally. By biologically homogenising the biosphere, humans are simplifying complex food webs, a process which makes them more likely to collapse as functional redundancy is reduced.

    So the facts are these: humans are the main current drivers of mass extinction. There is virtually 100% consensus on that point amongst scientists. This is because of a suite of anthropogenic procesess: habitat destruction, various types of pollution, invasive species, etc.

    An atmospheric concentration of C02 of 385 ppm will not creat a green utopia because it will profoundly interfere with the stoichiometry of plant-consumer interactions. Its utter crap to espouse such complete nonsense given our rudimentary understanding of the way complex adaptive systems assemble and function. Note that Tim has to rely on a few studies mostly by lab-jocks who do not work on natural systems. Find me and ecologist who works on trophic webs and ecosystem functioning who supports this utter drivel. I get sick of reiterating this, but here we go again: carbon, like any nutrient, becoems a pollutant when concentrations become excessively high. Plant stoichiometry studies suggest that there are optimal concentrations of different nutrients in tissues, such as carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus etc. Current evidence suggests that it it phosphorus, in fact, that may the big limit to primary terrestrial productivity, and not carbon. Again, as carbon increases in plant tissues other nutrients are shunted out. Consumers (e.g. herbivores) will respond. So will their natural enemies. Now, scale up these complex trophic interactions to the level of communities, ecosystems and biomes. We have no idea what the temporal lag effects will be across variable spatial scales, but it is sure to induce constraints that will shake food webs up very profoundly, given such a short evolutionary time frame.

    Tim’s pedantic arguments also remind me of what someone might have said a hundred years ago when they began putting heavy amounts of fertilizer onto agrcultural lands bordering wetlands and lakes. Many lakes were oligotrophic (with low levels of nutrients), but person living near the lake might have expressed concern at the effects of high nitrogen inputs on the lake ecosystem. The farmer might have replied, “Don’t worry, nitrogen is a nutrient, not a pollutant!”. This is Tim’s silly refrain isn’t it? Of course, we know what happens when too much nitrogenous material is pumped into a lake or a wetland: it becomes hypereutrophic, algal mats form and the benthic plants die off, followed by invertebrates and fish up the food chain. As I said above, any element can become a pollutant when concentrations of it become too high.

    Tim doesn’t get it. He believes that humans have infinite wisdom to tinker with systems of immense compexity we barely understand but which sustain us. He’s like someone driving faster and faster with a blindfold on promising the occupants of the car that he knows the road well and that we’ll get to the destination faster if we just let him get on with it. How many of us out there would be willing to take this kind of chance? Its essentially a roll of the dice, given our ignorance. An experiment in which the outcome migth be profoundly deleterious for nature and, ultimately, us.

  75. #75 Bernard J.
    March 2, 2009

    Curtin.

    So there is no extinction crisis?

    In addition to Jeff’s telling detail above, attention should be drawn to Australia’s abysmal record in this regard with respect to its own [natives](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fauna_of_Australia). A comprehensive listing of [extinct](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_extinct_animals_of_Australia) and [threatened](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Threatened_fauna_of_Australia) Australian natives would be too long to repeat here, but consider a couple of figures…

    There are 357 Australian native mammals identified, and 27 have become extinct since the European invasion. There are around 350 endemic birds (ie, not counting about another 450 non-endemics), and of these endemic avians, at least 23 became extinct after European settlement.

    There are scores more of these two classes on the threatened list. Of note, Professor Harry Recher, a well-recognised ornithologist, considers that about half of Australia’s endemic land bird species will be extinct by the end of the century if urgent action is not taken to curb the habitat destruction that is the main driver of this loss.

    Of the slightly more than 200 species of frogs at least 4 are extinct, and these extinctions all occurred in the last two or three decades. The list of threatened amphibians (linked above) is too short by at least a dozen species – the crisis in native anurans is occurring so rapidly that many are disappearing faster than can be documented. Note too that these figures exclude cryptic species: given that some of the extinctions and critical endangerments probably include such taxa, the proportion of Australian frogs lost or on the way out is bound to be greater than is reported.

    It goes on and on as one considers the other classes of fauna, and then there are the native plants.

    Don’t talk to me about the ‘naturalness’ of extinction – humans, as I have said before and as Jeff also points out, are damned well as catastrophic for biodiversity as are major volcanic events, asteroids, and precipitous changes of climate.

    There are no ifs, buts, or maybes.

  76. #76 Jeff Harvey
    March 2, 2009

    Bernard,

    Another great post. Many thanks. Like I said last week, I have to contend with crappy arguments like ‘extinction is natural’ all of the time. Sure, it is. But since Tim doesn’t apparently read anything relevant on the subject, and what we say bounces off of him like water off a duck’s back, its hardly surprising that the real facts don’t ‘sink in’.

    As I said earlier, current extinction rates are at least 100 to 1,000 times higher than the natural ‘background’ rate. This is a conservative estimate; it may be as high as 10,000 times. This means that species are disappearing at hundreds or thousands of times the rate that new species are evolving to replace them. The reason? Human activities. There is absolutely no disagreement amongst environmental scientists as to this fact. There’s thousands of articles published on page after page of the journals I mentioned last week on this thread to back it up. There is no disagreement at all on this, except for a few lay people like Tim and some business economists. That is about it.

    Other facts that Tim does not respond to. 1. The loss of genetically distinct populations, estimated to be up to 30,000 per day (Hughes et al., Science, 1997). 2. The number of species on CITES 1, 2 or 3: higher now than ever and rising. This includes 11% of birds, 25% of mammals and as much as 33% of vascular plants. There has been a massive global pandemic of amphibian declines over the past 20 years. Amphibians are excellent examples of the ‘miner’s canary’ because they have semi-permeable membranes and thus are very sensitive to chemical changes in the environment, as well as to other factors like climate change, habitat loss etc.

    Basically, Tim is crawling farther and farther out onto a limb if he sticks on this issue. I found it quite funny that he had to cite arguments posed by Charles Darwin when the human impact on the biosphere was < 1% of what it is now to account for changes in the population demographics and decline of species. Were Darwin or Wallace alive today, they would firmly and resolutely agree with my arguments. No exception. The world in 1850 was a very, very different place from what it is today.

  77. #77 Gza
    March 2, 2009

    The extinction crisis according to Tim Curtin:

    “Tortoises come and go…”

  78. #78 sod
    March 2, 2009

    Name one with the integrity and honesty to issue a press release stating that Smith, Schneider, Field and Solomon and their myriad et als spread deceit when they claim in PNAS and at AAAS that 100% of CO2 emissions remain airborne. You cannot, as there is not a single IPCC AR4 scientist with enough of a shred of integrity to disown those I have named. You yourself think it is immaterial whether 0% or 100% of CO2 emissions remain airborn. Name the Climate journal that is not edited by one of the above or their co-authors that would ever publish a rebuttal of the Smith, Schneider et al claim in PNAS only 3 days ago that 100% of CO2 emssions remain airborne.

    Tim Curtin, just because you keep bringing it up, and to prevent you from any further claim that you are right on a topic once i decided to take a short look at the Soloman paper.

    here is what they write:

    The rate of global fossil fuel CO2 emission grew at
    1%/year from 1980 to 2000 and 3%/year in the period from 2000 to 2005
    (page 2, Fig 1)

    and

    Fig. 1 illustrates how the concentrations of carbon dioxide would be expected to fall off through the coming millennium if manmade emissions were to cease immediately following an illustrative future rate of emission increase of 2% per year [comparable to observations over the past decade (ref. 13)] up

    why use 2%, when we know that it was 3% lately? hint hint?!?

    This is not intended to be a realistic scenario but rather to represent a test case whose purpose is to probe physical climate system changes. A more gradual reduction of carbon dioxide emission (as is more likely), or a faster or slower adopted rate of emissions in the growth period, would lead to long-term behavior qualitatively similar to that illustrated in Fig. 1

    some more hints, about the way this is to be understood.

    but perhaps the authors are completely out of touch, and don t know about any uptakes?

    Additional carbon cycle feedbacks could reduce the efficiency of the ocean and biosphere to remove the anthropogenic CO2 and thereby increase these CO2 values.

    ooops, no they aren t.

    ps: Curtin s short trip into medicine was another disaster. i support some treatment with medicine and treatment, at the highest level found to be tolerable for humans. and all at once, please. start the x-ray!

  79. #79 Gaz
    March 2, 2009

    That last post was from me, not the non-existent Gza.

  80. #80 Tim Curtin
    March 2, 2009

    Jeff: “It is simply not true to argue that conditions on the Galapagos islands are the same as they were before humans arrived there.” Solution? Ban you and the rest of us from living/visiting there? What evidence do you have that the sad loss of some hawks and tortioses in the Galapagos, or of bird species in Hawaii, is due to elevated [CO2], and not to said residents and visitors?
    Jeff again: “humans are the main current drivers of mass extinction”. Your preference, us or them? Your solution, back to the caves as GM neanderthals?
    Jeff again: “carbon, like any nutrient, becoems a pollutant when concentrations become excessively high”. What is excessive, the 1500 ppm in Dutch greenhouses? The present level and growth of [CO2] will take at least 300 years to get to that, if ever.

    Bernard: you say: “There are 357 Australian native mammals identified, and 27 have become extinct since the European invasion. There are around 350 endemic birds (ie, not counting about another 450 non-endemics), and of these endemic avians, at least 23 became extinct after European settlement.” So it was CO2 that caused the European settlement? You went on “…about half of Australia’s endemic land bird species will be extinct by the end of the century if urgent action is not taken to curb the habitat destruction that is the main driver of this loss”. So [CO2] is the driver of the habitat destruction, and rewinding it to 1750’s 280 ppm will reverse the habitat destruction? All the evidence from the links I gave yesterday is that rising [CO2] strengthens the habitat for all of us, except where your fellow lattes prevent proper tree management.

    Sod: The fact is that Fig.1 in Solomon et all shows a one-to-one relationship between growth of emissions and increase in [CO2]. CO2 absorption is absent, that Fig.1 (LHS top panel) is a big lie. Yes you are right that at least Solomon admit in their text the existence of absorption only to claim in the face of all contrary evidence that the biospheric capacity to absorb [CO2] is declining when they say “Additional carbon cycle feedbacks could reduce the efficiency of the ocean and biosphere to remove the anthropogenic CO2 and thereby increase these CO2 values.”. When the actual data available from CDIAC and the GCP show huge and ongoing increases in CO2 absorption since 1958, that weasel word “could” is the sole scientific underpinning for the outrageous deception of the whole Solomon article. If there were a professional body I could lodge a complaint with I would, having predictably failed with NAS itself. The truth is that climate scientists are answerable to none except themselves, and like their close cousins the well-named Weathermen in more ways than one, both having nobbled Obama, are on track thru the EPA to implementing Jeff’s claim that “humans are the main current drivers of mass extinction” – of themselves. See Bendle in this month’s Quadrant for the still extant ambitions of the Weathermen in this regard.

  81. #81 Gaz
    March 2, 2009

    Tim,

    Your first paragraph above is riddled with non sequiturs and false dichotomies. Do you do that consciously, or do you genuinely think you’re being rational?

    This is a serious question. I find it hard to believe someone could consistently present such unsound arguments without being either deliberately dishonest or just plain thick.

  82. #82 Lee
    March 2, 2009

    Shorter TC:

    Bats\*\*t then, bats\*\*t now, bats\*\*t forever.

  83. #83 sod
    March 3, 2009

    Curtin is a master in moving the goal post.

    notice how he shifted the goal from human starvation and the agriculture increase

    Will agricultural production at today’s level and growth be sustainable with 60% cuts in emissions from the 1990 level by 2050? … They will not be sustainable if emissions are cut by that amount, and starvation resulting from the ever rising food prices we are already witnessing will soon be the lot of all our grandchildren. (page 29 of his “emeritus” presentation)

    to a talk about “general” benefits of the CO2 increase (or problems with a lack there of) to all species.

    now he is doing the same, accepting only CO2 increase as a cause for extinction, when before his claim was, that it is a phenomenon that basically doesn t exist.
    his own “CO2 benefits all species” theory would of course predict a completely different effect on extinctions. (basically most species should prosper. extinction would be linked to the few species, with some lower CO2 level preferance)

  84. #84 Tim Curtin
    March 3, 2009

    Gaz; what’s your problem? This thread began with TL’s attack on my article in Quadrant which argues that CO2 is not a pollutant, and that its huge benefits in terms of enhanced productivity of the global biospheres far outweigh any of the yet to be demonstrated costs of enhanced [CO2]. Jeff in particular believes that elevated [CO2] will lead to mass extinctions, eg. in that para. of mine you have difficulty with, I quote Jeff as saying “carbon, like any nutrient, becomes a pollutant when concentrations become excessively high”. I asked, “What is excessive, the 1500 ppm in Dutch greenhouses? The present level and growth of [CO2] will take at least 300 years to get to that [very likely still-sub optimal level], if ever” – and I take the opportunity to add again as I did yesterday that those with emphysema inhale medical gas (95% oxygen, 5% CO2) which contains CO2 at 127 times the present atmospheric level of 0.0385%. It is for you Gaz to explain why that statement of fact is incorrect and does not support Jeff’s view that [CO2] is responsible for species extinction rates.

  85. #85 Bernard J.
    March 3, 2009

    Tim Curtin.

    I think that you will find those nasal ‘thingies’ allow atmospheric air to be respired along with bottled gas, just as a ventilated mask does. This allows the bottled gas to be delivered with negligible loss, and with estimable dilution with atmospheric air.

    Where doctors and airforce personnel seek to supply only bottled gas, a fitted mask is used, and mixes other than 5%CO2 in oxygen would be used except in very particular respiratory circumstances. A perusal of a material safety data sheet is revealing:

    USES

    Carbon dioxide is an essential constituent of tissue fluids and as such should be maintained at an optimum level in the blood. The gas therefore is needed to supplement various anaesthetic and oxygenation mixtures for use under special conditions such as cardio-pulmonary by-pass surgery and the management of renal dialysis. It has a limited place as a respiratory stimulant and is also used in the investigation and assessment of chronic respiratory disease. [my emphasis]

    The main use of 95% oxygen/5% carbon dioxide medical gas mixture is to stimulate respiration after a period of apnoea and in the management of chronic respiratory obstruction after the obstruction has been relieved.

    CONTRA-INDICATIONS, WARNINGS ETC

    The administration of 95% oxygen /5% carbon dioxide medical gas mixture to patients with chronic respiratory disease or drug induced respiratory depression is potentially dangerous. It should not be given to acidotic patients.

    Interactions with other medicaments and other forms of interaction

    95% oxygen/5% carbon dioxide medical gas mixture will interact with anaesthetic agents when the concentration is raised and may give rise to cardiac dysrhythmias. The threshold for dysrhythmias varies with different anaesthetic agents.

    By altering pH, the use of 95% oxygen /5% carbon dioxide medical gas mixture, influences the uptake, distribution and action of many drugs, including neuromuscular blocking agents and hypotensive agents.

    95% oxygen /5% carbon dioxide medical gas mixture will interact with adrenergic substances such as adrenaline. They should not be used together.

    Effects on ability to drive and to use machines

    The inhalation of 95% oxygen /5% carbon dioxide medical gas mixture should be directly supervised by a clinician so that the question of driving or controlling machinery should not arise.

    Whilst is has important (indeed, critical) biological functions and applications, carbon dioxide is not the gaseous manna-from-heaven that you imagine it to be. The extreme levels that you promote from your wagon’s tailgate have nothing to do with the concentrations that organisms throughout the biosphere are currently adapted to.

    You still haven’t gripped the concepts of context and of dose, have you? Nor have you understood the (scientific) importance of gathering real, basic facts.

    On the matter of basic science, I note that in your Quadrant piece and in post #274, you use the designation [CO2] to mean atmospheric CO2 (as in “…net absorption of atmospheric CO2, (hereafter [CO2])…” on page 4 of your Garnaut ‘review’). Your use of this interpretation is apparent in #274 also, and in both cases it is incorrect. The square brackets are a shorthand for “the concentration of”, and not for “atmospheric”.

    Even if your confabulation is not consistent in all instances wherever you employ the square brackets, it is nevertheless another reflection of your extremely weak grasp on the basics of science.

  86. #86 Jeff Harvey
    March 3, 2009

    Tim, I think you must be from another planet. You said, “Jeff in particular believes that elevated [CO2] will lead to mass extinctions”.

    Where the hell did I say that? You are really beginning to annoy me, you know that? I said that your projected 385 ppm C02 will not help feed the world, and that the resultant climate change associated with such a dramtic increase in C02, in combination with many other anthropogenic factors, will lead to the unraveling of food webs and further exacerbate the loss of biodiversity. W#hen you write such gobbledegook as “What evidence do you have that the sad loss of some hawks and tortioses in the Galapagos, or of bird species in Hawaii, is due to elevated [CO2], and not to said residents and visitors?”

    I wonder what is going through your head sometimes. Yesterday you were claiming that the current extinction was mostly generated by competition amongst species, citing Darwin (!!!), which of course is balderdash; its clearly anthropogenic, with habitat loss the main culprit. The somehow you attribute me saying it was due to increased atmospheric C02. I never said that at all!

    I think the readers now get a gist of Tim’s tactics. This is why I want out of this thread.

  87. #87 Gaz
    March 3, 2009

    Tim, my problem is with the disingenuous and illogical mode of argument you employ.

    Let’s take as an example the first paragraph of your post #274.

    Your first point concerns this comment from Jeff:

    “It is simply not true to argue that conditions on the Galapagos islands are the same as they were before humans arrived there.”

    You respond with:

    “Solution? Ban you and the rest of us from living/visiting there?”

    My problem: This distracts from the point Jeff was making, which was that (from #268) it appears that “diversity recently peaked before humans commenced the 6th great extinction event (which proably began in earnest about 100 years ago).”

    This line about banning vists to Galapagos is nothing but a red herring that tries to drag the reader away from what Jeff said.

    Whether or not banning people from visiting the Galapagos Islands will help the problem of diversity on the islands is irrelevant to whether diversity there has or has not declined. The pleasantness or otherwise of a solution to a problem does not tell us whether the problem exists. However it is obviously is a big motivating factor when it comes to denying the problem exists, which is proesumably why denialists so often concoct these non-existent choices.

    Next point.

    You wrote:

    “What evidence do you have that the sad loss of some hawks and tortioses in the Galapagos, or of bird species in Hawaii, is due to elevated [CO2], and not to said residents and visitors?”

    But here is what Jeff said (at #274). “The bottom line is that habitat simplification via fragmentation and loss is by far the biggest driver of the current extinction spasm.”

    You misstate Jeff’s argument, then ask him to provide evidence to support something he didn’t say.

    Next point.

    You say:

    “Jeff again: ‘humans are the main current drivers of mass extinction’. Your preference, us or them? Your solution, back to the caves as GM neanderthals?”

    Another false dichotomy. You implictly claim that the survival of our civilisation depends on mass extinctions of other species, with the only alternative a return to the stone age. What a crock of baloney that argument is.

    Another point. You say: “Jeff again: ‘carbon, like any nutrient, becoems a pollutant when concentrations become excessively high’. What is excessive, the 1500 ppm in Dutch greenhouses?”

    You are implying that what’s right for Dutch greenhouses is also right for the Earth’s atmosphere. Where’s the logic, Tim?

    Again: “The present level and growth of [CO2] will take at least 300 years to get to that, if ever.”

    At this point you have assumed the answer to your preceding rhetorical question is “yes” and that a Dutch greenhouse is indeed the yardstick by which we should measure atmospheric contrations of CO2. Again, no logic.

    This was just the first paragraph.

    And you wonder why people get annoyed with you.

    Oh, and if I could work out which “statement of fact” you were referring to in #278 I’d tell you why it was wrong. Or misleading. Or irrelevant. Or illogical. Or all of the above.

  88. #88 Bernard J.
    March 3, 2009

    Tim Curtin.

    My detailing of the extinction crisis was in reponse to your dismissal of the very fact of the existence of an extinction crisis at all. I did not at any point in my post at #269 claim that human CO2 emissions were responsible for these extinctions, and I did explicitly state that the large number of threatened Australian birds were thus so, as a result of human habitat modification/damage. You are wrong and/or mendacious to claim that I imputed CO2 involvement to date.

    It is well-known that the mammal extinctions are predominantly a result of the introduction of feral species, and that the amphibian extinctions result largely from the introduction of chytrid fungus, although in both classes habitat dstruction also plays a role.

    However, I emphatically agree with Jeff that the projected increase in global temperature, that is predicted by the best science and that shows signs of having commenced over the last century, will have a profound effect upon species already endangered for other reasons, or which are currently secure but vulnerable to alterations in their climatic milieux.

    Your ignorance of ecology and evolution does not change the fact of the current great extinction event, and you have still presented no credible science to contradict the consensus on the reality of AGW.

    As sod notes, you persist in moving the goal posts, and in twisting interpretations, in order to shirk any justification of the manifold errors of fact that you put forward.

    Which reminds me – are you able to address even a single one of the challenges that I put to you at #244? Have you gathered Marohasy to coauthor your biological claims? Just which authors and organisations have you approached for a response to your interpretations of their work?

    And if you truly cannot get a reply from these stuck-up scientists and their old-boys’ clubs, how come you haven’t approached Today Tonight, A Current Affair, or Sixty Minutes to prepare a piece on the lies, conspiracies and incompetence of the scientific practicioners in ecology and in climate science?

    Surely, if you believe your own words, you would be running yourself ragged to reveal to the world what a dreadful conspiracy is being perpetrated? It is no wonder that you might choose to watch cricket instead – watching your own escalating humiliation on this thread must be growing unbearably painful.

    Of course, if you should be brave enough to make a public declaration of your insights, complete with all of your analyses, evidence and references, there will be many scientists ready to have their say in reply.

    I can’t wait for the day where you face the attentions of the public, and the scientific world in general, and justify yourself. When will this day come?

  89. #89 Jeff Harvey
    March 3, 2009

    Gaz,

    Fantastic! Excellent riposte. I guess I lose my cool when I read Tim’s jibberish. You’ve sensibly dismantled his arguments using his own words. I appreciate your thoughtful reply; let’s wait for Tim to wade back in with a torrent of illogic.

  90. #90 P. Lewis
    March 3, 2009

    My new daughter was born on the weekend, and it is obvious from the replies of BJ, JH and Gaz to TC that my newborn has as much (if not more) grasp on reality/science fundamentals as TC, the new Emperor of Antarctica, does!

  91. #91 Bernard J.
    March 3, 2009

    Congratulations P!

    I empathise with the lack of sleep that you are probably enduring, as our twins were born mid-January. They are a large part of the reason why I am awake late at night responding to Tim Curtin’s latest howlers – I’m cradling my daughter even as I type.

    If only Curtin’s wind problem was as easily solved as theirs.

  92. #92 Tim Curtin
    March 3, 2009

    Bernard said “I note that in your Quadrant piece and in post #274, you use the designation [CO2] to mean atmospheric CO2 (as in “…net absorption of atmospheric CO2, (hereafter [CO2])…” on page 4 of your Garnaut ‘review’). Your use of this interpretation is apparent in #274 also, and in both cases it is incorrect. The square brackets are a shorthand for “the concentration of”, and not for “atmospheric”.

    I may have been careless: [CO2] refers to the atmospheric concentration of CO2, and changes in that are the so-called “Airborne Fraction of emissions of CO2”. This is what my paper actually said (in the online versions, “Arrhenius took over this formulation in his celebrated paper of 1896 that remains the cornerstone of the anthropogenic global warming (or climate change) movement, by asserting that while atmospheric carbon dioxide (hereafter written [CO2]) “increases in geometric progression, augmentation of the temperature will increase in nearly arithmetic progression”. Clearly “concentration” is to be understood. What is your problem? I see none except hairsplitting. Bernard, you really are getting desperate, and ever more paranoid.

    Jeff said: “Then somehow you attribute me saying it was due to increased atmospheric C02. I never said that at all!” So what were you saying? This debate is about the role or not of rising [CO2] in promoting extinctions. You have yet to provide any verifiable data linking rising [CO2] to extinctions. Extinctions happen, as they have done over multiple millennia, and CO2 has risen marginally (just over 37% since 1750). What is dX/dC?

    Gaz: at #281 said: “Tim, my problem is with the disingenuous and illogical mode of argument you employ.
    Let’s take as an example the first paragraph of your post #274. Your first point concerns this comment from Jeff:
    ‘It is simply not true to argue that conditions on the Galapagos islands are the same as they were before humans arrived there.’
    You respond with:
    ‘Solution? Ban you and the rest of us from living/visiting there?’
    My problem: This distracts from the point Jeff was making, which was that (from #268) it appears that “diversity recently peaked before humans commenced the 6th great extinction event (which proably began in earnest about 100 years ago).”
    This line about banning vists to Galapagos is nothing but a red herring that tries to drag the reader away from what Jeff said.”

    I can’t see that Jeff’s no doubt erudite comments about the “6th great extinction event” have anything to do with whether or not elevated [CO2] has promoted enhanced extinction rates. This is what has to be proved by him and you. Only then can you say QED.

    Then you say that I asked
    “What evidence do you [i.e. Jeff] have that the sad loss of some hawks and tortioses in the Galapagos, or of bird species in Hawaii, is due to elevated [CO2], and not to said residents and visitors?”
    But here is what Jeff said (at #274). “The bottom line is that habitat simplification via fragmentation and loss is by far the biggest driver of the current extinction spasm.”
    Excellent, so at last we are in agreement: elevated [CO2] is not the villain!

    You then quote me as saying “Jeff again: ‘humans are the main current drivers of mass extinction’. Your preference, us or them? Your solution, back to the caves as GM neanderthals?”
    You added; “Another false dichotomy”. Yeah? So what is the true dichotomy? In my world view, let us all enjoy the benefits of rising absorption of CO2 emissions by the biospheres without worrying about the witches of Salem propagated by the idiocies of Susan Solomon, who lacks any wisdom on any topic.

    You go on: “Another point when I said quoting Jeff again: ‘carbon, like any nutrient, becomes a pollutant when concentrations become excessively high’. What is excessive, the 1500 ppm in Dutch greenhouses?”
    You are implying that what’s right for Dutch greenhouses is also right for the Earth’s atmosphere. Where’s the logic, Tim?”

    Well, if the Dutch are canny enough to pipe in extra CO2, there’s a lesson for all of us, in the form of enhanced yields of ALL cultivated and non-cultivated food crops for all of us including the termites if enhanced [CO2] continues despite the best efforts of Obama, EU, and Rudd.

    You ended: “Oh, and if I could work out which “statement of fact” you were referring to in #278 I’d tell you why it was wrong.” Back to square 1: my fact is that those with emphysema inhale medical gas (95% oxygen, 5% CO2) which contains CO2 at 127 times the present atmospheric level of 0.038%. True or false? That the patient also inhales some ambient air is immaterial when he mainly inhales a mix with 5% CO2.

    On a lighter note, I see that the Greens at South Yarra Council have banned any use of fires extinguishers that contain CO2 (FACT: there has been not a single mention in the media here that such extinguishers are a zillion times more effective at putting out burning embers and worse than buckets and garden hoses), and that nationally they are about to demand reinstatement of CFCs in our refrigerators as these now use CO2 as refrigerant, at the behest of Penny Carbon-is-a-Pollutant Wong (all such use of CO2 will be penalised by her ETS) and Obama’s Carol Browner. Wong and Browner are also hell bent on banning – or at last taxing – use of CO2 in medical gas. O, brave new world. Huxley and Orwell, we need you.

    Bernard: so here we go again!

    You claim that my detailing of the extinction crisis was in reponse to my [alleged] dismissal of the very fact of the existence of an extinction crisis at all, and that you did not at any point in your post at #269 claim that human CO2 emissions were responsible for these extinctions, and that you did explicitly state that the large number of threatened Australian birds were thus so, as a result of human habitat modification/damage… “You [TC] are wrong and/or mendacious to claim that I imputed CO2 involvement to date.” But this thread is about the villainy or otherwise of [CO2]. What proportion of the extinctions you enumerate is due to elevated [CO2]?

    You added: “However, I emphatically agree with Jeff that the projected increase in global temperature, that is predicted by the best science and that shows signs of having commenced over the last century, will have a profound effect upon species already endangered for other reasons, or which are currently secure but vulnerable to alterations in their climatic milieux.” That is what has yet to be proven. For all practical purposes GISS has yet to demonstrate ANY increase in GMST since 1900, since their base line 1900 excludes hot tropical Africa and much of SE Asia, while their 2008 endline excludes much of cold Siberia Scandinavia and northern Canada. Only by those subterfuges can they come up with a measly 0.7oC since 1900, and that is within their measurement errors.There is and has been NO measurable global warming since 1900.

  93. #93 Jeff Harvey
    March 3, 2009

    Tim continues with his grade school histrionics. He now apparently assumes that a transfer of 1500 ppm of C02 into the natural world (akin to Dutch greenhouse conditions) wouldn’t be a problem at all. No evidence need be procured, because our Tim doesn’t have any. The thrust of his view is to take some simple linear extrpolations from primarily lab based research where other factors (e.g. soil and above ground biota, spatial and ecological parameters) are ignored. Then we apply them to complex adaptive systems and from there we cross our fingers, say a prayer to the tooth fairy and hope that it all works out. This seems to be the human malaise – tinker around with systems we understand in only a rudimentary way and hope that all turns out for the best. This isn’t science, it’s voodoo.

    Moreover, Tim argues that its up to the scientific community to prove him wrong. Bullshit. It is up to the reckless sponsers of denial and destruction to prove that their single experiment on the biosphere will not generate potentially catastrophic effects. But they cannot do that. And they do not want to do that. The reason is that the science is against them. That is why Tim has to resort to smears where scientists who are very critical of this approach are deemed ‘idiots’. This by Tim who has no formal training in the life sciences. Do you Tim? Please put up your scientific credentials for all of us to see.

    In my opinion, underlying all of this apparent concern for the world’s starving is an altogether different agenda. That agenda is to maintain business-as-usual and to ensure the maximization of short-term corporate profit. I see it much like I see the so-called “War on Terror”, which I also believe does not exist but is being used as a political and economic tool by the rich and powerful states. I have said it before and I will say it again: the major problem in the world today is equity. That is the dilemma. We need to address the political problems underlying the social injustices that plague and divide our world. This is what the starving and destitute of the world need, not more C02 in the atmosphere.

    Finally, how is one supposed to provde that dramatic increases in atmospheric C02 and its attendant climate change generat mass extinctions? We know that the latter is true, and that it is correlated with the former. Chris Thomas’ Nature (2004) paper addressed this issue comtemporarily. It is a great study. Moreover, to reiterate, given our ignorance of the ways ecosystems and biomes function, combined with the fact that they sustain us, it is up to the Tim’s of this world to prove that the experiment they wish to conduct will not have serious environmental consequences. The ball is in their court, and they cannot prove it because they know its a bloody experiment that cannot be replicated.

    Again, debate over. You lose, Tim.

  94. #94 Jeff Harvey
    March 3, 2009

    [Bernard: will have a profound effect upon species already endangered for other reasons, or which are currently secure but vulnerable to alterations in their climatic milieux] Tim :”That is what has yet to be proven”.

    Incorrect. The evidence is proven and growing. There are a number of passerines – for instance the Pied Flycatcher – which are declining as a result of climate change and its affects on their primary food supply (caterpillars) due to phenological asynchronies generated by rapidly increasing spring temperatures over much of central Europe. The birds use non-temperature related cues to initiate migration from their African wintering grounds and arrive in Europe when the peak abundance of their food supply has passed. Colleagues in the Netherlands (Both, Visser etc in Nature, Proc. B) have written up some quite elegant papers on the topic.

    Post and collegaues have also shown that climate change is affecting interactions between caribou and their food plants in Greenland. A similar story with respect to the flycatchers. He spoke about this part of his research when he visited us last year.

    North American passerines such as the Summer Tanager and Yellow-Billed Cuckoo are also showing worrying responses to climate change related parameters. There’s no doubt that I can find many more studies to support them in the empirical literature. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, given that the demographics of so few species have been studied. Because Tim doesn’t read the journals I mentioned before, his argument that there is ‘No proof” hinges on this simple fact. He expects all of us to spend weeks researching the topic, during which I could come up with hundreds of articles. He knows that many of us are very busy and relies on us not spending the time required leafing through the journals to make a complete summary of the volumes of evidence. This is his strategy.

    Given that climate change and atmospheric C02 levels are correlated, andf that the link is virtually beyond doubt, its clear that a continuation of the current experiment humanity is conducting on natural systems in various ways will almost certainly have very serious consequences.

  95. #95 Bernard J.
    March 3, 2009

    [...where we came in...]

    Tim Curtin.

    Upon what evidence and upon which references did you base your comment at #134:

    Jeff: you have NO evidence for the mass extinctions you mention, unlike Darwin.

    Similarly, at #252:

    Thus, as it seems to me, the manner in which single species and whole groups of species become extinct accords well with the theory of natural selection. (p. 322)’
    What is absolutely certain is that none of Smith, Schneider et al PNAS 27 Feb 09 ever did read Darwin – “That is, causes of extinction are generally biological, not physical”. I suspect they are closet creationists.

    upon what evidence and upon which references did you extrapolate Darwin’s words from the 19th century to imply that it is only natural selection that is driving current extinction rates?

    What do you understand the current rate of species extinction to be? No dissembling.

    What do you accept the causes of the current elevated rate of extinction to be, assuming that you accept that the rate is elevated?

    If you accept an elevated current extinction rate, how do you reconcile this with the the statements above, and with others not quoted here, that there is no extinction concern?

    As to your comment:

    But this thread is about the villainy or otherwise of [CO2]. What proportion of the extinctions you enumerate is due to elevated [CO2]?

    This thread is partly about Windshuttle’s inability to check facts, and partly about your inability to report real science. You have attempted to play down current rates of extinction, and to imply that there is no extinction crisis, so the challenges to you are entirely legitimate. My Australian examples did not impute the involvement of CO2, and Jeff’s examples were similarly explicitly attributed to habitat damage and to feral species. Your attempt to tie these examples to CO2 is a red herring.

    Jeff’s references to the phenological problem is quite pertinent though, and even if there are no confirmed extinctions attributed to phenological asynchronies (a little difficult yet, what with the 50-year definition), it is (sadly) only a matter of time. At that point, Tim Curtin, what will your response be? Please enlighten us – you could well be the first AGW denialist to comment on this particular phenomenon. And have no doubt: if it has not already happened, there will soon be phenologic asynchrony extinctions.

    There is and has been NO measurable global warming since 1900.

    Millions of scientists, statisticians, politicians and heck, even those bastions of free-market capitalism, insurance companies, see rather a different interpretation to the data. Just what is it that so many, from so many corners of the politico-economic spectrum, do not see that you do? Or to put it another way, how does this disparate body of people read the evidence so differntly to you? What is it that you understand/are trained in that so many better trained/experienced people are missing?

    On the matter of [CO2] I call balderdash. Reading your Quadrant piece there are numerous occasions when the appropriate meaning (CO2 concentration) jars syntactically, tautologises, or simply doesn’t make sense. Replace it with atmospheric CO2 and the parsing makes grammatical (if not scientific) sense.

    So I am inclined to believe your page 4 assignation as it was originally given. If I am splitting hairs, well and good. It has nothing to do with “getting desperate”, and absolutely nothing to do with paranoia.

    Still waiting for your responses to the questions and challenges at #172, #244 et cetera, et cetera, et cetera,

  96. #96 Bernard J.
    March 3, 2009

    Well there’s something I didn’t expect to see… at the time of posting my last comment, every post in the ‘Recent Posts’ panel is from this thread.

    Makes me wonder – how many of the >1000 readers of Deltoid who have managed to labour this far are persuaded by Curtin’s theories, over the understanding of tens of thousands of scientists who are vastly better trained and experienced in their disciplines, than is Curtin?

    Anyone?

  97. #97 Lee
    March 3, 2009

    Re Bernard’s question at 290:

    I have recently been engaged in argument with one who engages in Christian apologetics. Briefly, the strategy of apologetics begins right after the assumption that a G_d exists, that this G_d has the characteristics he assigns to G_d, and that the bible is the inerrant revealed world of G_d and contains all truth. Apologetics puts faith belief on a rigorous logical footing, by bringing logic to bear on these simple obviously true assumptions, and from them rigorously proving that G_d exists, that He has the characteristics assigned to him, and that the bible is the inerrant revealed word of G_d and contains all truth.

    TC’s posts so far have convinced me only that he is inventing – or appropriating from the arena of faith belief – the apologetics of denialism.

  98. #98 Dano
    March 3, 2009

    Congratulations, P.

    If I may correct you, IME your daughter has a BETTER grasp of natural sciences than Curtin.

    Bernard, I’m not persuaded by Curtin because he is on [killfile]. But that is because he is a prolix fool purveying FUD.

    Best,

    D

  99. #99 Eli Rabett
    March 3, 2009

    Bernard (and Jeff), it’s because you folk, with assists from P. Gaz and Sod are writing interesting stuff. As on the Lancet threads when Dsquared and Robert post.

  100. #100 Gaz
    March 3, 2009

    Congratulations P. on the birth of your daughter. I hope she brings you as much joy as my daughters have brought me.

    And I’m sure she’ll be a constant reminder of why we have to continue to resist the boneheads, to expose their sleight-of-hand, no matter how tedious.

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