Shorter Clive James

Shorter Clive James on Queensland floods:

I get my climate science from poems.

‘Shorter’ concept created by Daniel Davies and perfected by Elton Beard. We are aware of all Internet traditions.â„¢ Acknowledgement copied from Sadly, No!.

Comments

  1. #1 Robert Murphy
    June 10, 2011

    “We and our hominid ancestors, going back to the time we diverged from the apes, have been here about 6 million years.”

    That’s still wrong. Our hominid ancestors are all dead. They are most definitely *not* doing quite well.

    “So Robert Murphy is approximately correct that Homo Sapiens has been around for only 200,000 years, although to be more technically correct there is a distinction to be made between Homo Sapiens and Homo Sapiens Sapiens.
    Homo Sapiens (archaic) first appeared about 500,000 years ago, although I confess I wasn’t there at the time to verify this.”

    Even by that standard you were off by 5.5 million years. The fact is our species is a pretty new addition. We were almost wiped out about 70K years ago. All of our ancestors after the break with the other great apes are extinct.

    I notice that instead of responding to my post about the crappiness of the lists of so-called skeptical scientists, you went back and gave a reply to my post pointing out your mistake about human evolution, which I fully admit is tangential to the main discussion here. You could have answered my points about how you mistakenly think that we need to know all of the possible forcings that can and have ever occurred in the recent and distant past before we can say anything about the forcings at play now. You built a strawman when you claimed that climate scientists insist that the MWP and RWP were definitely not global, when in reality they say explicitly that the evidence so far says they were more regional but there is clear uncertainty. You claimed that climate scientists are going on faith because they insist that the MWP was definitely not global even though we don’t have much info on the SH, when in fact they claim it is not known if it was global, but the data says probably not. The so-called skeptics like you are the ones going on faith by insisting that the MWP and RWP were global and warmer than now despite the fact that all the evidence we have so far says otherwise. You never replied to those points. Instead, you focussed on a minor point about human evolution, where you grudgingly conceded an error.

    Your evasiveness is getting really tiresome.

  2. #2 FrankD
    June 10, 2011

    >The answer to 2 will be ‘NONE’.

    Come on, Jeff, that’s a bit mean. Credit where it’s due: He took O-Level Physics (don’t know if he passed) and he can Google (or claims he can).

    That’s ranks him comfortably above average for science literacy amongst rejectionists.

  3. #3 VincentR
    June 17, 2011

    313
    And just for a bit more joy on the acidifying oceans front – Clownfish (Finding Nemo) appear to lose their hearing in water slightly more acidic than normal.
    When we follow the link within the article, we find an earlier study shows that the same kind of fish raised in acidified water find the scents of predators attractive rather than being repelled. Not the best population maintenance strategy.
    Posted by: adelady | June 1, 2011 9:33 PM

    It’s difficult to respond to people who who are so resolutely negative, insulting and obdurate in their views. However, I find that your posts, adelady, seem to be based upon a reasonable concern.

    You are not only concerned about the welfare of your grandchildren, but even the survival of the Clownfish.

    I’d like you to know that I have read the link you provided, and to prove it, below is a relevant extract summarizing the problem.

    “At levels of acidity that may be common by the end of the century, the fish did not respond to the sounds of predators.
    The oceans are becoming more acidic because they absorb much of the CO2 that humanity puts into the atmosphere.
    Scientists write in the journal Biology Letters that failing to move away from danger would hurt the fish’s survival.”

    My first reaction on reading this was that you had a valid point and that as a result of so-called acidification there would be a number of extinctions that might take place which would result in a diminishing of biodiversity in the sense that the total number of plant and animal species in the oceans would be reduced.

    However, on reflection, I saw some time ago that this particular research is deeply flawed.

    In view of the totally biased and unscientific attitude of most of the posters in this thread, I thought it was probably a waste of time mentioning it. But again, my deep compassion for the confused has got the better of me, so despite exposing myself to another barrage of personal insults and ad hominem attacks, I’m prepared to express my views for the benefit of the reasonable amongst us, who might read this post.

    The essential flaw in the research is that Darwin’s principles of evolution have been completely ignored.

    This is a good example of what can happen when many different disciplines are involved in a complex issue.

    Someone has taken some clown fish, which have a life span of about 3 years, and changed their environment suddenly from the current pH of the oceans to a projected increase in acidity in 90 years time, or 30 generations.

    With such a sudden increase in acidification, the Clown fish’s hearing is impaired and it’s more vulnerable to predator attack.

    However, according to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, species adapt to changing environmental conditions through their inherent genetic variability, which in some individuals will favour the change resulting in their proliferation, and in other individuals will do the opposite, resulting in their non-survival.

    In the case of the Clown Fish, a sudden change in acidity over a 30 generation life-span, which was the basis of this experiment, does not represent reality.

    Surely everyone reading this can appreciate if they were suddenly transported to a time 90 years into the future, they would be in deep trouble, just as the Clown Fish are in this research.

    In practice, or in reality, what happens when the oceans very gradually become more acidic (or less alkaline) is that those Clown Fish which are more resistant to those slight changes in pH survive and produce offspring, and those Clown Fish that are less resistant to such changes, lose their ability to escape predators and die.

    There’s a natural adaption that takes place, which this experiment has completley ignored.

    Here’s the relevant extract.

    “One resembled the seawater of today, with the atmosphere containing about 390 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide.
    The other tanks were set at levels that could be reached later this century – 600, 700 and 900 ppm.”

  4. #4 Jeff Harvey
    June 17, 2011

    Vincent,

    Your feeble grade-school level attempt to dismiss the results of a paper in Biology Letters – quite an outstanding journal if I may say so – can not go unchallenged.

    Like most armchair pundits, you do not understand the process of scale. The rate of oceanic acidification is only gradual within the context of a human life span. Within a broader largely determinisitic geological (and evolutionary framework), the current changes represent the blink of an eye. One century is certainly a very, very short period of time in which a slowly reproducing species – such as many fish – can be expected to repond to abiotic changes that would normally take many centuries or thousands of years to be expressed. The end of the Cretaceous period at the Cretaceous-Teritary boundary was very rapid – it probably lasted about 15-20 centuries. Thus, when we think of the extinction of the dinosaurs as a rapid event, we are talking about a time span covering twice the duration of human civilization (e.g. 8,000 years or so). And this was rapid.

    The you write this gobbledegook: *However, according to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, species adapt to changing environmental conditions through their inherent genetic variability, which in some individuals will favour the change resulting in their proliferation, and in other individuals will do the opposite, resulting in their non-survival*.

    Genetic variability is vital to the survival and persistence of a species because different genotypes may be favored under certain biotic and abiotic conditions. This is where we might find differences in evolutionarily stable strategies or in balancing selection. But to say that ‘genetic variability will do the opposite, resulting in their non-survival’ is comic-book level discourse. And of course genetic variability operates with constraints imposed by extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Humans are inflicting changes to the biotic, physical and chemical characteristics of complex adaptive systems that are probably more challenging than many, perhaps most species have had to deal with in their evolutionary history. Against this background, many species across a broad phylogenetic spectrum have also seen their numbers greatly reduced by a suite of human actions, thereby reducing their genetic variability which is a pre-requisite to their ability to adapt in the first place. For anyone to claim, as you apparently do, that the current changes occurring as a result of increased atmospheric C02 (one of just many stresses imposed on nature by humanity) are trivial, clearly is writing on topics well beyond their competence and comprehension.

    The icing on the cake is when you write this vacuous quip: *You are not only concerned about the welfare of your grandchildren, but even the survival of the Clownfish*. This kind of dumbass argument is used by contrarian pundits all of the time. It aims to create the impression that biodiversity, here represented by a token species (the clownfish) is of no importance in terms of human survival; that humans have evolved above and beyond any constraints imposed by nature. It also stupidly assumes that we have to make trade-offs between what is good for nature and what is good for human welfare, as if the two are mutually exclusive. I’ve got news for you pal: they aren’t.

    I can conclude nothing else but to say that the clown in your discussion has little to do with the fish but with yourself.

  5. #5 Bernard J.
    June 17, 2011

    VincentR.

    Just to keep you appraised, [the score](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment-4102831) is now Science 3, you and your mate James 0. And I will take the time to note that you have, by posting again without addressing the substance of the questions in the contract that I opened at #386, accepted that contract and explicitly acknowledged that you are wrong in everything that you have said and that the scientific consensus presented by the rest of us is correct.

    Jeff’s already smacked you around a bit about your ‘Darwin’/evolution nonsense, but if you don’t agree you’ll no doubt have an explanation for why so much loss of biodiversity occurred during the 1970s when acid rain scoured the lakes of Europe and North America.

    After all, shouldn’t everything just have evolved to cope?

    And if you really, really need a lesson or twenty about pH and ecophysiological thresholds, I’m happy to give you a few pointers about where you can start…

  6. #6 Lotharsson
    June 17, 2011

    Say, Vincent, you’ve got time to pontificate about your lack of understanding about Darwin.

    How about [Bernard's questions](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment-3987781)? There have been 140 comments since, and you still show no sign of answering these *most basic* indicators of an understanding of climate science.

    And no sign of even [answering why you can't/won't answer them](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment-4102421)?

    I’ll help you out and give you a few options I provided back then, seeing as you conveniently forget so quickly:

    > Are you chicken? Don’t know? Don’t understand the question? Can’t face the implications of an honest answer? Can’t find the answers at your denialist sources? Don’t know how to read the IPCC reports? Don’t know how to find references in the literature? All of the above?

    I reckon the weight of evidence leans to all of the above. Feel free to demonstrate how I am wrong on that.

  7. #7 VincentR
    June 17, 2011

    “But to say that ‘genetic variability will do the opposite, resulting in their non-survival’ is comic-book level discourse
    Posted by: Jeff Harvey | June 17, 2011 7:48 AM”

    Thanks Jeff for another typical response consisting of another failure in English Comprehension. You’ve done this before, accusing me of recommending deforestation to provide more agricultural land, when in fact I’ve never, ever made any such remark.

    It’s as though you guys are all geared up with a number of stock, anti-denialist responses in your brains, and whenever I write anything which remotely resembles what you perceive as a typical denialist remark, you trot out the standard, well-rehearsed response.

    The following is what I wrote. Read it carefully. I’ve enlarged key words for you.

    “However, according to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, species adapt to changing environmental conditions through their inherent genetic variability, which in SOME INDIVIDUALS will favour the change resulting in their proliferation, and in OTHER INDIVIDUALS will do the opposite, resulting in their non-survival.”

    Now surely it’s apparent I’m referring to the non-survival of individual fish in that last clause. Genetic variability can result in the non-survival of any individual, irrespective of whether or not the environment has changed.

    Following is another example where you have trotted out the usual response. I make a perfectly complimentary remark implying that it is quite natural and ‘unselfish’ for people to extend the concern they may have for their grandchildren to other smaller and less significant critters, and you trot out a stock response, which is also a very confused response, based upon a misconstrued implication of what I wrote.

    “The icing on the cake is when you write this vacuous quip: You are not only concerned about the welfare of your grandchildren, but even the survival of the Clownfish. This kind of dumbass argument is used by contrarian pundits all of the time. It aims to create the impression that biodiversity, here represented by a token species (the clownfish) is of no importance in terms of human survival; that humans have evolved above and beyond any constraints imposed by nature. It also stupidly assumes that we have to make trade-offs between what is good for nature and what is good for human welfare, as if the two are mutually exclusive. I’ve got news for you pal: they aren’t.

    Posted by: Jeff Harvey | June 17, 2011 7:48 AM”

    If there is a hidden implication contained in my comment (You are not only concerned about the welfare of your grandchildren, but even the survival of the Clownfish), that implication is quite different from what you have imagined above. It is as follows:

    Humanity has evolved to an extent where it is capable of surviving in almost totally artificial environments. Many of us live in little boxes in a concrete jungle, eat processed foods with a use-by date in mind, spray our rooms with toxic chemicals to kill any bacteria or insects we imagine might be harmful, and sometimes disinfect our environments so fanatically that our children grow up with asthma complaints because their immune system has had such little opportunity to develop.

    If a new-born infant has a genetic variation or weakness which would result in its death in any natural environment outside of a hospital, we will do our best to save its life, sometimes at great expense involving the latest technology. We do this because we can, and because we value the sacredness of human life and the individual and understand that even genetically impaired individuals can still make a great contribution to society and our knowledge.

    Now, I don’t wish to get into moral issues relating to the amount of care and medical expense that may be justified in keeping any individual alive, whether a new-born infant or an elderly person nearing the end of his natural life. That’s a different issue.

    My point is, there is an understandable tendency to transfer our excessive concern for our own species, a concern which has been engendered in our artificial and over-protected environments, to the situation of natural environments where nature is unbelievably cruel by our own moral standards.

    In fact, I have some reason to suspect that many religious people cling to their belief in a personal, all-loving, caring God, because the alternative explanation to creation, as embodied in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, is just too cruel and impersonal to contemplate.

    In short, nature is much more resilient than some of you give it credit for, from the perspective of your molly-coddled environment.

  8. #8 VincentR
    June 17, 2011

    By the way, in connection with the theme of my last post, I have an amusing anecdote which I should have added.

    Whilst shopping in a vegetable store yesterday for the best-value fruit, which turned out to be oranges, I noticed an elderly lady inspecting bananas priced at $12 a kilo. I commented, with a smile, ‘I’m surprised that anyone would buy banas at that price’.

    She laughed, and replied that she would never buy bananas at that price for herself. She was buying them for her grandchildren.

  9. #9 VincentR
    June 17, 2011

    “402
    Say, Vincent, you’ve got time to pontificate about your lack of understanding about Darwin.
    How about Bernard’s questions? There have been 140 comments since, and you still show no sign of answering these most basic indicators of an understanding of climate science.
    And no sign of even answering why you can’t/won’t answer them?
    I’ll help you out and give you a few options I provided back then, seeing as you conveniently forget so quickly:
    Are you chicken? Don’t know? Don’t understand the question? Can’t face the implications of an honest answer? Can’t find the answers at your denialist sources? Don’t know how to read the IPCC reports? Don’t know how to find references in the literature? All of the above?
    I reckon the weight of evidence leans to all of the above. Feel free to demonstrate how I am wrong on that.
    Posted by: Lotharsson | June 17, 2011 12:09 PM”

    Please feel free to address any misunderstandings you think I may have. I do not consider ad hominem attacks, insults and simple statements that I am wrong as being at all useful or informative.

    I notice that you keep repeating your request that I answer Bernard’s questions, yet you have never repeated what those questions are. Do you think I am a mind reader?

    Bernard has made a number of unreasonable requests for information on studies that are possibly not available, or information on economic estimates that have possibly never been made, or, if they have been made are just as available to him as they are to me.

    I’m just a humble layperson who gets most of his information on this issue of AGW from Google (including Google Scholar and Google Scholar Advanced).

    I’m often frustrated in not being able to get the information I request, despite rephrasing the question in many ways. Sometimes the information requested might appear to be contained within a pdf of research that one has to pay to read. However, I’m not prepared to pay in order to find out whether or not such research really does contain the information I’m seeking.

    If the reason you people are so certain about the harmful effects of our CO2 emissions, is because you have access to certain research that is not generally available to the public, then please don’t be shy. Provide a link to such research and/or a summary.

  10. #10 adelady
    June 18, 2011

    VincentR “Humanity has evolved to an extent where it is capable of surviving in almost totally artificial environments.”

    Evolved? Humanity has **not** evolved in any such manner. A small fraction of humanity has managed to exploit and sequester for its own use resources which are unavailable to the great majority of humanity. The rich inhabitants of some cities survive by using food and other facilities available to them only by virtue of farms, quarries, mines, factories and transport arrangements which are entirely or largely outside the city in question.

    The only way we could say people have ‘evolved’ to live in cities would be if they were living off rats, pigeons, cockroaches and weedy plants which find their way into these environments. Maybe the slum dwellers in the shanty towns would be a better example for this point – if anyone wished to make it.

    As for clownfish – I have no special feelings one way or the other. The important thing is that they are part of the ecosystem. If scientists can detect such radical effects in this single animal – what about the hundreds of others, and the myriad plants and algae, who live or breed or feed in that same environment? Do we wait for many hundreds of similar investigations before we conclude that this planet-wide experiment we’re conducting is too risky?

    For me, we have more than enough evidence already. Just watch Arctic sea ice for a few weeks and tell us that nothing remarkable is happening.

  11. #11 VincentR
    June 18, 2011

    “406
    VincentR “Humanity has evolved to an extent where it is capable of surviving in almost totally artificial environments.”
    Evolved? Humanity has not evolved in any such manner. A small fraction of humanity has managed to exploit and sequester for its own use resources which are unavailable to the great majority of humanity. The rich inhabitants of some cities survive by using food and other facilities available to them only by virtue of farms, quarries, mines, factories and transport arrangements which are entirely or largely outside the city in question.
    The only way we could say people have ‘evolved’ to live in cities would be if they were living off rats, pigeons, cockroaches and weedy plants which find their way into these environments. Maybe the slum dwellers in the shanty towns would be a better example for this point – if anyone wished to make it.
    As for clownfish – I have no special feelings one way or the other. The important thing is that they are part of the ecosystem. If scientists can detect such radical effects in this single animal – what about the hundreds of others, and the myriad plants and algae, who live or breed or feed in that same environment? Do we wait for many hundreds of similar investigations before we conclude that this planet-wide experiment we’re conducting is too risky?
    For me, we have more than enough evidence already. Just watch Arctic sea ice for a few weeks and tell us that nothing remarkable is happening.
    Posted by: adelady | June 18, 2011 1:23 AM”

    Sorry! I disagree. By humanity, I mean the Homo Sapien Sapien species. The fact that we have allowed many members of our species to dwell in poverty, despite the teachings of renouned religious leaders such as Jesus Christ, Buddha and Mohammed, and despite our obvious technological prowess which has allowed us to travel to the moon, simply points to the fact that we are motivated by animal instincts. We are essentially animals with all the survival motivation of animals.

    We can preach love to all mankind, but when it comes to the crunch, that is, our personal survival, we’re totally animal, in accordance with Darwin’s Theory.

  12. #12 VincentR
    June 18, 2011

    By the way, I should have added that the examples of those who would appear to have sacrificed themselves for a greater cause, such as Jesus Christ who refused to save himself (according to the story which is always suspect), and Moslem terrorists who are prepared to blow themselves into oblivion, does not detract from my previous statement.

    Jesus Christ believed in God and an afterlife. It is reasonable to suppose that his losing his life on earth was clearly perceived, in his own mind, as a necessary stage before joining his Father in Heaven.

    Likewise, Moslem terrorists who are prepared to commit suicide, do so because they believe in an ‘afterlife’ reward, such as many virgins to play with in heaven.

  13. #13 Jeff Harvey
    June 18, 2011

    *Humanity has evolved to an extent where it is capable of surviving in almost totally artificial environments*

    Wrong. Completely wrong. Whereas our species can survive in very small numbers for short periods of time in artificial environments, the dependence of large populations on conditions an services emerging freely from nature is absolute.

    The problem is that, thanks to technology and apparent isolation from nature, we *think* that we live in totally artificial environments. But the reality is that our existence is totally dependent on conditions that are generated from nature that work in often intricate and little explored ways. These conditions are based on interactions involving millions of species, billions of populations and trillions of interactions that are continually played out in natural systems across the biosphere. Thanks to research carried out since the 1980s (and certainly understood to some extent before then), the vast majority of the scientific community, myself included, realize that nature is replete with an array of ecological subsidies that permit humans to exist and to persist. Most of these subsidies, in the form of supporting ecological services, have few if any technological substitutes, and even where they exist, they are often prohibitively expensive.

    These services include the purification of land and water ecosystems, pollination, seed dispersal, nutrient cycling, maintenance and renewal of soil fertility, mitigation of floods and droughts, climate control, and a vast genetic library. The 2006 Millenium Ecosystem Assessment – in which scientists from all over the world contributed – was aimed at explicitly determining howe much damage humans had done to ecosystems across the biosphere and how this had impacted critical ecosystem services. The picture was not a good one; human activities to present have certainly reduced the ability of nature to sustain man and life in a manner that we take for granted. If the value of ecosystem services was to be captured in full-cost pricing, they would be worth many trillions of dollars, and certainly far more than the sum of GDP of all nations on Earth combined (see discussion by Costanza et al., 1997, in Nature). Many economists now recognize the importance of nature’s services in sustaining human civilization – Geoffrey Heal even wrote a book about it (Nature and the Marketplace, 2000). Many other economists are coming around to the same realization, even if the neo-classical dinosaurs do not.

    The bottom line once again, Vincent, is that you are well out of your depth of any discussions pertaining to evolutionary biology, population ecology and systems ecology (and the inexorable links amongst these disciplines). I literally cringe when I read some of your posts when you recklessly wade into these areas. I have been a senior research ecologist for the past 12 years, I did my PhD in the field in 1995, and I was briefly an Associate Editor at the journal Nature, and I cannot let some of your uni-dimensional arguments pass without a riposte. I present lectures every year to undergraduate students on the importance of ecosystem services, with several examples where full-cost pricing has been estimated. I also lecture students on the ways in which human actions are threatening the free delivery of these services, and most importantly I show how the welfare of nature and of humanity are not mutually exclusive. Few statured scientists would deny a word of what I have written here, with the possible exception of a few reductionists, and even these are small in number.

    So my advice to you before you wade in here again with some of your gibberish you should read up on some of the areas you treat with profound superficiality. My suggestion is books by Gretchen Daily (Nature’s Services), Yvonne Baskin (The Work of Nature) or Simon Levin (Fragile Dominion: Complexity and the Commons, which I reviewed for Nature in 2000). There are also numerous articles in the peer-reviewed literature, but these books are a useful starting point.

  14. #14 VincentR
    June 18, 2011

    I have to tell you Jeff, I’m not intimidated nor unduly impressed by PhD qualifications. Ultimately, what actually works always transcends any hypothesis from a PhD graduate.

    I appreciate your long response, but it is clear to me that most of it is directed towards mankind’s destruction of the environment in ways that are unrelated to CO2 emissions.

    This is another criticism I have of the AGW believers. They are so ready to confuse the issue of environmental damage in general with the specific issue of CO2 emissions.

    You’ve done exactly that in your post above. Don’t you see this?

    Pollution is pollution. Untreated sewage and plastic bags poured into the sea. Fertile farm land used as though it’s just a hydroponic medium for various fertilisers. Sulphour dioxide and particulate carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. Disposal of dangerous chemicals in a haphazard way. Dumping of waste into creeks and rivers. Inadequate emission controls on vehicles, etc etc are all things that all reasonable people abhor.

    OF COURSE we should take care of our environment and try not to pollute it.

    The problem I have is in understanding how plain old CO2 which is absolutely essential for life is a pollutant.

    What disturbs me in particular is that any campaign to reduce CO2 emissions will divert attention away from the real problems of deforestation, land and soil degradation, inefficient use of our food production capacity, and the necessity to protect ourselves against recurrent natural disasters because of false claims that reduction in CO2 emissions will do that job.

    Surely this is not beyond your comprehension.

  15. #15 Lotharsson
    June 18, 2011

    > I notice that you keep repeating your request that I answer Bernard’s questions, yet you have never repeated what those questions are.

    ROFL!

    I linked back to them each time – just like [this is another link to them](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment-3987781). You do know what a link is and how to click on it, don’t you? You can’t possibly be *that* incompetent, surely?

    > If the reason you people are so certain about the harmful effects of our CO2 emissions, is because you have access to certain research that is not generally available to the public, then please don’t be shy.

    Good grief! You’ve endlessly pontificated and you still don’t know why people are reasonably worried about anthropogenic effects on climate?

    (You have heard of [the IPCC](http://ipcc.ch), right? You know it publishes a large report, which surveys the science, makes a case, and substantiates it with numerous references to papers in the literature, right?)

  16. #16 Lotharsson
    June 18, 2011

    > I have to tell you Jeff, I’m not intimidated nor unduly impressed by PhD qualifications.

    You are also unimpressed by most scientific evidence (so that reflects more on your judgement than anything else). What *does* impress you is your own judgement on science, and anyone who supports you, regardless of the quality of their case.

    Jeff named some papers and books supporting his argument – so your comment about his PhD is irrelevant waffle. I’m betting you haven’t read them, and if and when you do you will misunderstand and/or misrepresent them.

    > I appreciate your long response, but it is clear to me that most of it is directed towards mankind’s destruction of the environment in ways that are unrelated to CO2 emissions.

    So…Jeff just eviscerated your “humans have evolved to live in artificial environments” argument, and pointed out that humans have badly damaged the environment which they depend upon when they choose to live in that artificial environment – and your response is to redirect to “but that’s not damage due to CO2″. Accordingly you have effectively conceded that humans *have not* evolved to live in artificial environments. Fine. (Now go back and work out what that concession means to your earlier argument – which parts are now unsupported and/or need to be restated and/or withdrawn?)

    And from your comment redirecting to CO2, I take it that now your only objection now is that the impact of CO2 (and other anthropogenic influences) *might* not be as bad as scientists are worried it could be? Well, that’s a limited kind of progress, I guess.

  17. #17 VincentR
    June 18, 2011

    “ROFL!I linked back to them each time – just like this is another link to them. You do know what a link is and how to click on it, don’t you? You can’t possibly be that incompetent, surely?
    If the reason you people are so certain about the harmful effects of our CO2 emissions, is because you have access to certain research that is not generally available to the public, then please don’t be shy.
    Good grief! You’ve endlessly pontificated and you still don’t know why people are reasonably worried about anthropogenic effects on climate?
    (You have heard of the IPCC, right? You know it publishes a large report, which surveys the science, makes a case, and substantiates it with numerous references to papers in the literature, right?)
    Posted by: Lotharsson | June 18, 2011 6:52 AM”

    Well, I’m seriously embarrassed that I didn’t notice the links in your recent posts to Bernard’s questions. So apologies to you. You score over me in that respect. But some of your earlier posts did not have such links. I’ve just checked.

    However, I really do think that I’ve already answered those questions many posts ago.

    The problem is not so much in the accuracy of modern temperature readings with the numerous temperature guages around the planet, as well as satelite readings, but the temperature readings of the past which rely upon proxy readings from tree rings and bubbles of carbon trapped in ice etc, which of course do not cover the whole planet.

    I’ve often thought it very strange that AGW believers can make statements that the current rate of warming, and the current rate of increased CO2 in the atmosphere is unprecedented, when prior to the industrial revolution we didn’t have any thermometers or CO2 detectors.

    This is an area that needs some very thorough explanation. We have a situation where AGW believers tend to assert, for example, that the MWP was not necessarily a global phenomenon because we don’t have proxy temperature readings for many parts of the globe, yet we have statements from so-called climate scientists (I heard one today on the ABC) that the current rate of increase in CO2 is more rapid than at any period in the past 20 million years.

    Such statements are really not credible.

    We seem to be in a situation where scientists are comparing the results from very precise, modern instruments, placed all over the globe, with rather dubious and approximate guesses of temperatures in the distant past from a few selected areas.

    It’s clear to me there can be no certainty in such comparisons.

    And of course I’ve heard of the IPCC and its 400 references to uncertainty. I’ve also heard Dr Stephen Scheider explain how the 90% and later 93% certainty figure for AGW was derived.

    It’s not a scientifically and mathematically derived percentage, but a percentage designed to alarm. The true percentage is unknown. It could be as low as 10%.

  18. #18 Lotharsson
    June 18, 2011

    > However, I really do think that I’ve already answered those questions many posts ago.

    How hilarious! Seriously? You’re not *deeply embarrassed* to make that claim? When anyone can check for themselves? Your self-delusion is impressively deep.

    For example:

    > 1) Tell us what you believe is the best scientifically-derived temperature sensitivity of the global climate, in response to a doubling of pre-Industrial atmospheric CO2 concentration.

    Please quote or link to your answer. I bet you can’t.

    Note that your latest ramble **does not answer the question**.

    (Your use of “can be no certainty” is a dead giveaway that you don’t understand science – or pretend that you don’t when it suits you. Let me spell it out since you’re unwilling to comprehend it. Bernard wasn’t asking for *certainty* – nor would anyone who understands science! He was asking for the best scientific value derived from the current evidence – which **implies and expects** some uncertainty surrounding that value! Feel free to add an uncertainty estimate to your best value when you finally answer the question – if you ever do.)

    > 2) Tell us what you believe is the best scientifically-derived understanding of the biotic and abiotic responses to such temperature sensitivity of the global climate, in response to a doubling of pre-Industrial atmospheric CO2 concentration.

    **Please link to or quote your answer.** I bet you can’t.

    Do you see why I keep asking you to **answer the questions** yet?

  19. #19 Lotharsson
    June 18, 2011

    > But some of your earlier posts did not have such links. I’ve just checked.

    Once again, even your trivial claims are at least somewhat disingenuous.

    My first comment satirising your non-answers was a mere 5 comments after Bernard’s questions. It did not seem to me that you needed me to remind you of questions so recently asked since I named them as Bernard’s, but perhaps I was overestimating your cognitive abilities.

    My [next comment](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment-4025595) was 38 comments later. You are correct that I did not link to Bernard’s questions. Instead I went one better and **quoted them**.

    My next comment was a mere 6 comments later. Since I naively assumed that you would not have forgotten them in the span of 5 intervening comments, I neither quoted nor linked to those questions. Mea culpa. Obviously my oversight is completely responsible for your totally understandable failure to provide answers to Bernard for all of this time.

    The next time was [50+ comments later](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment-4080635) and I linked to the questions.

    You are correct that I must apologise for the [next time I asked](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment-4102421). I must have seriously overestimated your attention span and your ability to use the “Find” function in your browser, which led me to falsely presume that you were ignoring Bernard’s questions, rather than merely forgetting them as soon as any mention scrolled off the page.

    Actually, since you just checked my earlier comments, you now know how to use the “Find” function, so scratch that…

  20. #20 VincentR
    June 18, 2011

    “How hilarious! Seriously? You’re not deeply embarrassed to make that claim? When anyone can check for themselves? Your self-delusion is impressively deep.
    For example:
    1) Tell us what you believe is the best scientifically-derived temperature sensitivity of the global climate, in response to a doubling of pre-Industrial atmospheric CO2 concentration.
    Posted by: Lotharsson | June 18, 2011 10:13 AM”

    I’ve already told you. The best scientifically derived temperature sensitivity of the global climate is inadequate and not precisely known.

    What more can I say. If it’s not known, how do you expect me to put a figure to it?

    You are not making much sense.

  21. #21 VincentR
    June 18, 2011

    Let me be quite clear on this. I consider any scientific theory which is unverifiable and unfalsifiable to be unsound.

    If someone were to produce an aeroplane manufactured on the basis of computer projections, which had never been tested in reality, I would defintely not agree to fly in such a plane.

    My faith in plane travel is based upon an understanding that such devices, or vehicles, have been tested ad nauseum in real situations, and as a consequence there’s a very small risk of failure.

    Climate science lacks certainty. That seems obvious to me. How anyone could deny that fact seems quite bizarre.

  22. #22 Dave R
    June 18, 2011

    >>(__Your use of “can be no certainty” is a dead giveaway that you don’t understand science__ – or pretend that you don’t when it suits you. Let me spell it out since you’re unwilling to comprehend it. __Bernard wasn’t asking for certainty – nor would anyone who understands science!__ He was asking for the best scientific value derived from the current evidence – which implies and expects some uncertainty surrounding that value! Feel free to add an uncertainty estimate to your best value when you finally answer the question – if you ever do.)

    >Climate science lacks certainty. That seems obvious to me. How anyone could deny that fact seems quite bizarre.

    Surely it’s time this troll was either banned or confined to his own thread?

  23. #23 VincentR
    June 19, 2011

    (Your use of “can be no certainty” is a dead giveaway that you don’t understand science – or pretend that you don’t when it suits you. Let me spell it out since you’re unwilling to comprehend it. Bernard wasn’t asking for certainty – nor would anyone who understands science! He was asking for the best scientific value derived from the current evidence – which implies and expects some uncertainty surrounding that value! Feel free to add an uncertainty estimate to your best value when you finally answer the question – if you ever do.)

    Posted by: Dave R | June 18, 2011 1:22 PM

    Surely it must be obvious that I don’t consider myself qualified to pass an opinion on what is the best scientifically derived value of any of the many thousands of effects and causes in our climate.

    For anyone to even ask me such a question implies a gross ignorance. I’m a layperson with a particular understanding of the way science works, and that understanding and general knowledge of the history and philosophy of science, leads me to simply distrust hypotheses and theories which cannot be verified and which are the subject of continual dispute amongst the experts.

    Only in situations where I would have no choice but to act would I consider doing time-consuming and serious research into the best interpretations of the available evidence, and then keep my fingers crossed in the hope I had made the right choice in the absence of verification and certainty, knowing that without such verification even the best interpretations can be wrong.

    I don’t consider that humanity in general is in a position with regard to AGW where it has to act now in order to avert climatic catastrophe. I consider such a view of impending catastrophe to be alarmist.

    However, I can easily imagine scenarious where immediate action would be essential, such as the case of a large asteroid hurtling towards our planet.

    In such a situation there be many uncertainties, such as its precise trajectory. How likely is it to hit the Earth? How much time have we got before needing to take action? What is the best way of stopping it? For example, blowing it to smithereens or nudging it with an atomic blast to change its course?

    On all such issues one would seek the best scientific advice. If there were differences of opinions amongst the experts, there would be a problem and one would try to find out if there were biases built into some of the advice, such as the fact that a particular company offering advice already had the rockets and technology ready to sell.

    When I used to accept the so-called consensus view on AGW, I found James Lovelock to be one of the more interesting spokesmen for action on CO2 reduction. He seemed to have greater honesty than others. Following is a recent interview by the Guardian and an extract which is quite typical of his honesty.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/mar/29/james-lovelock

    “The great climate science centres around the world are more than well aware how weak their science is. If you talk to them privately they’re scared stiff of the fact that they don’t really know what the clouds and the aerosols are doing. They could be absolutely running the show. We haven’t got the physics worked out yet.”

  24. #24 Lotharsson
    June 19, 2011

    > The best scientifically derived temperature sensitivity of the global climate is inadequate and not precisely known.

    ROFL! That’s a hilariously bad attempt to pass off a non-answer as an answer. Which is why I keep asking you to actually answer!

    You appear to be too dumb to realise that you are in outright denial, even when your nose is rubbed in it.

    > If it’s not known, how do you expect me to put a figure to it?

    It’s immensely amusing that you are so certain about the (lack of) certain outcomes, yet the instant someone asks you to front up with an estimate for a value you retreat to being too uncertain to answer. You’re too dumb – or too desperate – to realise you’re arguing against yourself.

    So here, I’m generally quite helpful, so let me help you out of your dilemma by allowing you to respond by incorporating some uncertainty in your answer – **just like real scientists do all the time**.

    What is a reasonable **range** for the scientifically derived temperature sensitivity of the global climate?

    Bet you still don’t answer.

  25. #25 Lotharsson
    June 19, 2011

    > I’m a layperson with a particular understanding of the way science works, …

    ROFL! You got that right. And a very limited understanding it is too.

    >Surely it must be obvious that I don’t consider myself qualified to pass an opinion on what is the best scientifically derived value of any of the many thousands of effects and causes in our climate.

    Au contraire – you consider yourself eminently qualified to go **much further than that** and proclaim that the risks of the impacts of AGW are much less than the risks of various other events such as natural disasters.

    And you’re apparently too dumb to understand – even after you’ve had your nose rubbed in it – that such a proclamation **relies on** making rather detailed judgements about how the climate and ecosystem will respond to anthropogenic influences.

  26. #26 Bernard J.
    June 19, 2011

    >I’m a layperson with a particular [no] understanding of the way science works, and that [lack of] understanding and [lack of] general knowledge of the history and philosophy of science, leads me to simply distrust hypotheses and theories which cannot be verified and which are [not] the subject of continual dispute amongst [the vast majority of] the experts.

    Fixed it for you.

    And VincentR, your lack of understanding of evolution and adaptive capacity, of physiological tolerance and plasticity, of rates of environmental change and rate limits of genetic response – amongst so many other lackings, is so laughably poor that I really don’t know where to start.

    And I mean laughably – I lol’d at your last several posts. You’re deluded old boy – you’re an admitted lay person who so completely misapprehends his own Dunning-Kruger incompetence that you can’t see the ludicrous illogicality of your repeated non-scientific pronoucements. I’ve been watching with keen interest as you skirt around Lotharsson’s persistent pressing of you to answer my questions, and the Gordian knot of cognitive dissonance in which you are tying yourself is a sight to behold.

    Stop for a moment and look at yourself. Seriously. By your own words…

    >Surely it must be obvious that I don’t consider myself qualified to pass an opinion on what is the best scientifically derived value of any of the many thousands of effects and causes in our climate.

    And yet you consider yourself far better able, than tens of thousands of professional scientists, to discern that they are wrong and you are correct.

    Astonishing.

    Simply. Astonishing. Delusion.

    VincentR, to those questions that are still awaiting a proper response from you, I will add these:

    1. what effect will current CO2 emissions have on ocean acidity by the end of the century, and beyond
    2. what physiological plasticity to changing pH does Amphiprion percula have, in order to adapt successfully in a natural environment
    3. what genetic plasticity to changing pH does A. percula have, in order to adapt successfully in a natural environment, given the rate of change that the best science estimates for the rest of this century, and beyond
    4. what relevance do the perceding questions have for the rest of the species in the oceans of the world?

    You must surely know the answers to these questions, or else you would not be so cavalier about the threat that ocean acidification presents to the marine environment.

    And note, once you’ve answered these questions I would like to press you on hydronium chemiosmosis and energy production, on enzyme conformation in response to pH, on membrane receptor avidity in a variable pH milieu, and on a host of other pH-dependent cellular processes which are all somehow (according to you) simultaneously malleable to century-scale evolution, and especially so in what is probably the most chemical stable environment in the world, where such stability tends to profoundly attenuate the alleles required for variability in non-plastic adaptive capacity.

    Just so that you know in advance…

  27. #27 Bernard J.
    June 19, 2011

    Heh. I see that Lotharsson picked the same quotes as I.

    VincentR’s howlers obviously stick out like the dog’s proverbials.

  28. #28 luminous beauty
    June 19, 2011

    Surely Vincent will, now that his nose has been rubbed in it, recognize and confess to the blatant non sequitur that follows from these statements?

    >The best scientifically derived temperature sensitivity of the global climate is inadequate and not precisely known.

    >Surely it must be obvious that I don’t consider myself qualified to pass an opinion on what is the best scientifically derived value of any of the many thousands of effects and causes in our climate.

    I’m betting against.

  29. #29 Robert Murphy
    June 19, 2011

    “Surely it must be obvious that I don’t consider myself qualified to pass an opinion on…the best scientifically derived temperature sensitivity of the global climate.”

    And there ya have it. :)

  30. #30 VincentR
    June 20, 2011

    You guys also astonish me. This is supposed to be a scientific forum yet the attitudes and responses you’ve expressed to me in this thread could be considered as the antithesis of the scientific spirit and method.

    There are those who know when they don’t know, and those who try to kid themselves and others that they do know when in reality they don’t know.

    I obviously belong to the first group. It’s sometimes called wisdom. You lot appear to belong to the latter group. It’s sometimes called the foolishness of youth.

    Perhaps you missed the final paragraph in my last post. Perhaps you never read that far because you were so eager to trot out your usual ad hominem insults.

    I’ll repeat the salient extract from the Guardian Newspaper interview of James Lovelock in March 2010. I’ll even put the key words in capitals so it’s less easy for you to miss them.

    “The GREAT CLIMATE CENTRES around the world are MORE THAN WELL AWARE how WEAK their science is. If you talk to them privately THEY’RE SCARED STIFF THAT THEY DON’T REALLY KNOW WHAT THE CLOUDS AND THE AEROSOLS ARE DOING. They could be absolutely running the show. We haven’t got the physics worked out yet.”

    Now, for the benefit of those whose English Comprehension is poor, the word ‘They’ in the second last sentence, as in ‘They could be absolutely running the show’, refers to the clouds and the aerosols, not the scientists.

    The reason I’m quoting James Lovelock is not because he’s an AGW skeptic (which he obviously isn’t), but because he appears to be a ‘real’ scientist, and absolutely honest.

    The first requirement to be a good scientist is absolute honesty; something which seems to have escaped most of you lot posting in this thread.

    Why don’t you try reading the whole interview. It’s very interesting. However, I can’t gurantee that no changes will be made to the synaptic connections between those few neurons you possess. I guess that’s the risk you’ll have to take.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/mar/29/james-lovelock

  31. #31 adelady
    June 20, 2011

    “It’s sometimes called wisdom. You lot appear to belong to the latter group. It’s sometimes called the foolishness of youth.”

    Hah! If only …. it’s my birthday this week … not my 21st or even my 61st.

    I also know that I don’t know. What I do know is that many thousands of people have put in decades of hard work to produce scientific results.

    Most importantly, I accept what they tell us. Being a fully paid up member of the skip-the-equations club, meaning exactly like 95+% of the population – this is neither an exclusive nor an elite association, I have to choose who to trust on these matters.

    My options range from uncritical to grudging acceptance, through withheld judgement to constant doubt, and at the other end, complete refusal to consider scientific evidence. (I don’t include suspicion of malfeasance by scientists or belief in shady deals in smoke-filled rooms to carve up control of the world’s population. Those are not among my options.)

    I simply cannot understand anyone who says that they don’t understand the science and in the next breath that they are certain that scientific conclusions in this area are completely wrong. How does that work?

  32. #32 John
    June 20, 2011

    He sounds like an alarmist to me:

    >There has been a lot of speculation that a very large glacier [Pine Island glacier] in Antarctica is unstable. If there’s much more melting, it may break off and slip into the ocean. It would be enough to produce an immediate sea-level rise of two metres, something huge, and tsunamis.

    I am touched, however, that you are so keen to quote the originator of the Gaia theory who also thinks 80% of the human race will be dead by 2100. Do you also believe this? Or do you only quote people when they confirm your biases?

    And Vince, you’re right, clouds and aerosols aren’t as well understood as they should be. Scientists all over the world are currently studying them to rectify this. Congratulations for catching up with the science.

  33. #33 Lotharsson
    June 20, 2011

    > This is supposed to be a scientific forum yet the attitudes and responses you’ve expressed to me in this thread could be considered as the antithesis of the scientific spirit and method.

    No, Vincent. Attitudes in science matter little; **results that can be substantiated** matter. And the responses have engaged directly with your claims that abuse the latter. It is your own dodging and weaving and refusing to substantiate your claims that is the antithesis of the scientific method.

    > I obviously belong to the first group.

    Given that you are too stupid to understand that some of your claims **rely** on the kind of certainty you *claim you don’t have* – even after your nose has been rubbed in that linkage, you most clearly do not belong to the first group!

    **So…how about Bernard’s [old](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment-4171360) and [new](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment-4178727) questions?**

    Note that one can still answer them regardless of whether one believes everything Lovelock says or not. Yes, I saw your quote. No, it wasn’t science, it was appeal to authority and hearsay. In contrast, IIRC a paper came out not long after that interview which suggested that cloud feedbacks were distinctly positive…so “running the whole show” might mean “amplifies GHG warming leading to climate sensitivity on the worryingly high side” – an interpretation that I’m *sure* you did not consider possible.

    Oh, and Lovelock also says (but you failed to cherry-pick this bit and call it out as “honest” for some inexplicable reason):

    > I think the sceptic bloggers should worry. It’s almost certain that you can’t put a trillion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere without something nasty happening.

    And yet you pretty much assert that if we do so, the results will be relatively benign compared to other natural disasters.

  34. #34 FrankD
    June 20, 2011

    No doubt Vincent also shares Lovelock’s beliefs that people don’t take the threat seriously enough, that human inertia is the greatest obstacle to making the necessary changes and that the threat is so serious that we should consider suspending some freedoms we currently take for granted in order to meet the threat.

    “We need a more authoritative world. We’ve become a sort of cheeky, egalitarian world where everyone can have their say. It’s all very well, but there are certain circumstances – a war is a typical example – where you can’t do that. You’ve got to have a few people with authority who you trust who are running it. And they should be very accountable too, of course…I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while.”

    Vincent has had his shot at “cheeky egalitarianism” but since, by his own admission, he is not an authority, he would surely agree that it is time for him to shut up and make way for those who are, so they can start delivering the changes we need. That would be the absolutely honest thing to do, wouldn’t it?

  35. #35 VincentR
    June 21, 2011

    “I also know that I don’t know. What I do know is that many thousands of people have put in decades of hard work to produce scientific results.
    Posted by: adelady | June 20, 2011 2:14 AM”

    Quite so. Just as many thousands have put in decades of hard work trying to provide a vaccine or effective cure for cancer and AIDS. Some problems seem intractable because of their enormous complexity.

    However, the difference between these two lines of research, the long term effects of increased CO2 in our atmosphere, and the effectiveness of a particular drug or vaccine against cancer or AIDS, is that we can clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of the drug or vaccine. Not only that, we are legally bound to demonstrate the effectiveness and safety of any drug or vaccine before making it available to the public.

    We even, where possible, test the drug for any placebo effect by providing one group with the real drug, another group with an inert substitute, (whilst telling the members of that group they are receiving the real drug), and providing a third group with nothing at all.

    We do this because it is understood that most people are influenced to some extent by the authority of a specialist. If someone who has the flu is offered a trial drug that is claimed to cure the flu, the ‘faith’ that person holds in the medical research system may be sufficient to at least partially speed his/her recovery and cloud any conclusions about the efficacy of the drug.

    In fact, I would say it is generally accepted by most medical experts that there is usually some placebo component in the efficacy of any established drug. I’ve seen figures of around 30% for that placebo component, although that would have to be a very approximate estimate.

    A similar principle is being used to convince the public that 4,000 scientists can’t be wrong, as Kevin Rudd put it during a Q&A program an AGW; or that it must be true that AGW is a serious threat to our well-being because there’s a consensus of opinion from climate scientists on the matter.

    The public in general has a high confidence in the effectiveness, reliability and accuracy of the products of science because it is surrounded by them, and uses them every day, such as the computer, the car, the aeroplane, the TV, satellites, antibiotics, vaccines and drugs etc, etc.

    The very existence of such devices is an expression of the soundness and accuracy of the scientific theories at the basis of the technology that has allowed their creation. Such theories have been tested and verified countless times.

    But there’s always a caveat. The theories are only true to the extent that they ‘work’. There’s always the possibility that one day a particular theory that was thought to be absolutely sound and correct will prove to be wrong in some respect, or not sufficiently accurate for a particular purpose.

    The great weakness of the climate science theories that attempt to predict the effects of our CO2 emissions on future climatic conditions, biodiversity and sea levels, is that there’s no way of veryfying them. The final product is just a computer projection which may, or may not, be found to be accurate, or be found to even approximately correspond with actual climate changes that we may observe in the future, as time progresses.

    However, that is NOT to say that many of the scientific process that are a part of the 30-odd disciplines involved with climate science are not sound and well-tried.

    We can bubble CO2 through a vat of sea water in the laboratory and declare with certainty that the water becomes less alkaline as a consequence.

    But we cannot predict as a result of this information what the balance of biodiversity in the sea will be as a consequence of very small, incremental changes in alkalinity over say a hundred year period, bearing in mind that it is estimated that the alkalinity of the sea surface has changed from 8.25 to 8.14 during the past 250 years which represent the full extent of our CO2-emitting period of industrialisation.

    Predicting the over-all effects of this slight degree of acidification is a vastly more complicated matter involving processes which are simply not fully understood. The issue is further complicated by fact that the pH of the oceans cannot be a single, uniform reading. It varies significantly with sea depth, the season of the year, changes in sea current and temperature, and changes in general location within the ocean.

    For example, in areas where the sea floor (with its cliffs and mountains) contains significant amounts of calcite, dolomite and marble, one would expect the the sea water to be significantly more alkaline than the average pH. On the other hand, in the vicinity of volcanic fissures on the ocean floor, where CO, CO2, SO2 and methane are constantly bubbling, the water is likely to be significantly more acidic than average.

    “I simply cannot understand anyone who says that they don’t understand the science and in the next breath that they are certain that scientific conclusions in this area are completely wrong. How does that work?
    Posted by: adelady | June 20, 2011 2:14 AM”

    That’s an excellent question that also applies to climate scientists, and applies particularly to many posters in this thread.

    There’s some truth in the adage that those who know a little tend to delude themselves they know more than they actually do, whereas those who know a lot, relatively speaking, are more aware of how ignorant they really are and more aware of the fact that so many questions remain unanswered and more aware of the uncertainty of any ‘so-called’ consensus of scientific opinion.

    I’ll refer you again to that revealing quote from the celebrated scientist, James Lovelock, during a recent interview by the Guardian

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/mar/29/james-lovelock

    “The great climate science centres around the world are more than well aware how weak their science is. If you talk to them privately they’re scared stiff of the fact that they don’t really know what the clouds and the aerosols are doing. They could be absolutely running the show. We haven’t got the physics worked out yet.”

    Now Sir James Lovelock is an extreme AGW alarmist, but he at least has the honesty to report the real situation as he sees it, which is the reason I quote him.

    To me it is credible that, as a result of his fame and stature in climate science, he would frequently get to talk informally with many climatologists working in their various disciplines in their Government sponsored Climate Centres, so his report that many of these scientists are scared stiff of the fact they don’t really know what is going on, has a ring of truth about it. Why would he lie about such a matter?

    However, if James Lovelock had a reputation for debunking the dire warnings of AGW alarmists, one might view the above quote with some suspicion.

    Of course this raises the interesting question as to why James Lovelock, despite his firm views that AGW is a very serious threat to our future survival on the planet, would admit that the climatologists in these research centres really are very uncertain about even basic suff such as the role of clouds and aerosols.

    For the benefit of those who struggle with English Comprehension, this statement from James Lovelock does not imply that the role of clouds and aerosols are the only issues that are not fully understood, but rather they are just a couple of obvious examples.

    Could it be that these climatologists that James Lovelock has been talking to are just scared stiff about losing their jobs as a result of statements from President Obama and others, “The science is settled”, and that James has agreed to put in a ‘plug’ for them in the media?

    If the science really is settled, then anyone might wonder why any government continues to use the tax payers’ money to support ongoing research into a matter which is settled.

    Or, could it be these scientists are scared stiff because they hear and see in the media, statements of certainty from the ‘authoritative’ spokesmen promulgating the case for AGW, when these scientists at the coal face (so to speak) realise that no such certainty exists. They are thus understandably concerned about their reputations should further research prove such statement to be wrong.

    In general, if the evidence is lacking, and unverified, and doesn’t lend itself to a process of falsification, then there is inevitable uncertainty.

    In the face of such uncertainty one cannot be sure either way. This is my position. The only thing I’m certain about is the uncertainty on this issue.

    But this is not a case for inaction. I may be uncertain that it will rain when I walk in the countryside, but that doesn’t mean I will therefore not carry a raincoat or umbrella.

    I think James Lovelock has covered himself very well, morally as a scientist, should he eventually be proved wrong regarding his dire predictions about AGW.

    He’s a true scientist and HE knows that the trillion tonnes of CO2 we may eventually pour into the atmosphere may not be as nasty as he predicts.

    What’s his solution? To use a ‘clean’ form of power that is not going to economically disadvantage anyone. That is, nuclear power.

    The principle here is, if there’s a great deal of uncertainty about the appropriate measures to take in order to avoid a risk of calamity, one should strive to take measures which will not prove to be a total waste of time and money should such dire predictions prove to be wrong.

    The nuclear option appears to be the best (or fittest) option that fits the bill. The cost is roughly on a par with coal-fired power stations and the relative freedom of its electricty from CO2 associations provides a big incentive for the electric car to become widespread.

    There are other options that partially fit the bill, that will still leave us with some worthwhile environmental asset for our grandchildren should the AGW scare prove to be largely unfounded.

    They would include such measures as using all the sewage from our cities to irrigate new forest growth (sucking CO2 from the atmosphere). Reforming our agricultural practices in the direction of a more organic type of farming which sequesters more carbon in the soil, and of course prohibiting the clearance of existing ‘natural’ forests whilst also encouraging the planting of new forests wherever practicable.

    However, the nuclear option seems more economically sound to me. I see no possibility of successfully tackling the AGW problem (assuming it is a problem) if the measures we take economically disadvantage large sections of the global population. No chance at all. It would be like pissing in the wind.

  36. #36 Lotharsson
    June 22, 2011

    > The principle here is, if there’s a great deal of uncertainty about the appropriate measures to take in order to avoid a risk of calamity, one should strive to take measures which will not prove to be a total waste of time and money should such dire predictions prove to be wrong.

    I don’t know how one can pack so much wrong into one sentence without *trying*.

    > The great weakness of the climate science theories that attempt to predict the effects of our CO2 emissions on future climatic conditions, biodiversity and sea levels, is that there’s no way of veryfying them. The final product is just a computer projection which may, or may not, be found to be accurate, or be found to even approximately correspond with actual climate changes that we may observe in the future, as time progresses.

    Your great weakness is that you apparently have a read-only brain connected to write-lots-of-shit fingers that you use to pat yourself on the back afterwards.

  37. #37 Wow
    June 22, 2011

    > is that we can clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of the drug or vaccine.

    If this is true, why can’t we demonstrate the effectiveness of tobacco smoke at producing lung cancer?

    We can clearly demonstrate the link between them. We can clearly demonstrate the causation of lung cancer from carcinogens like tobacco smoke.

    Just like we can demonstrate the link between CO2 and temperature and the causation of temperature changes from changes in the GHG concentrations.

    > The great weakness of the climate science theories that attempt to predict the effects of our CO2 emissions on future climatic conditions, biodiversity and sea levels, is that there’s no way of veryfying them.

    a) It’s trivial to verify. The temperature record currently verifies it.

    b) Why do all those need verifying anyway? All we have to verify is if AGW caused by CO2 from human production will cause warming that needs addressing.

    > There’s some truth in the adage that those who know a little tend to delude themselves they know more than they actually do

    You to a T. Except that you don’t even know a little.

    > In general, if the evidence is lacking, and unverified, and doesn’t lend itself to a process of falsification, then there is inevitable uncertainty.

    There is plenty of evidence. The evidence is verified and if the variations stop being explicable by the state of climate science, then the state of climate science has to be changed (current knowledge having been falsified).

    HOWEVER

    Just like the orbit of Mercury falsified Newtonian gravity and verified General Relativity, that Newtonian gravity was falsified didn’t mean we all shot off into space from the coriolis force of the spinning earth.

  38. #38 VincentR
    June 22, 2011

    “I don’t know how one can pack so much wrong into one sentence without trying.

    Posted by: Lotharsson | June 22, 2011 11:03 AM”

    Of course you don’t. How could you? All your posts in this thread tend to indicate you have great difficulty in distinguishing between right and wrong, and between fact and fiction.

    I understand and I’m truly sorry. At least you have the comfort that you are not alone in this deficiency.

  39. #39 Wow
    June 22, 2011

    Vinny, you’re still not getting a pony.

    Your claims are remarkably ridiculous as I’ve pointed out above.

    Your extreme verbiage ensures that the maximum amount of obscuring text with the minimum amount of actual content.

    ALL your post boiled down to:

    I believe that medicine works but not climate science.

    I want a pony before anything else gets done.

    If you want to substantiate your fact-free post, you’ll need to point out the right and the fact behind the bit Lotharsson quoted.

    Just stick to that bit and show where you see fact, where you see rectitude.

  40. #40 VincentR
    June 22, 2011

    I have no problem at all with facts. I accept that it is a fact that CO2 is a GHG. I accept the fact the oceans are becoming slightly less alkaline as a result of their absorbtion of a portion of our CO2 emissions.

    I accept that climate change is real.

    I accept the truth (provisionally) of any theory that can be verified by the production of real products that work, based upon the application of such theory.

    What I don’t accept as facts are suggestions and probabilities derived from evidence which can have alternative interpretations, or derived from evidence that is insufficient for any definite conclusion to be drawn.

  41. #41 Vince whirlwind
    June 22, 2011

    It’s wonderful that proponents of nuclear power and defenders of the coal industry are so concerned about economic disadvantage in large sections of the global population.

    I wonder what comment they have on the economic disadvantages that are ensuing from global warming as outlined in IPCC AR4 WGII?

  42. #42 Lotharsson
    June 22, 2011

    > All your posts in this thread tend to indicate you have great difficulty in distinguishing between right and wrong, and between fact and fiction.

    ROFLMAO slapping my thighs!

    Thanks for the wonderful laughs, Vincent :-) You are several sigma out on the Dunning Kruger bell curve.

  43. #43 Wow
    June 23, 2011

    > I have no problem at all with facts.

    Never said you did.

    What I said was that the section Lotharsson picked out and the factless and incorrect statements I picked out were not facts.

    > I accept the truth (provisionally) of any theory that can be verified by the production of real products that work, based upon the application of such theory.

    Not what you said earlier. Flip flopping again, changing the argument to suit the moment:

    > > The great weakness of the climate science theories that attempt to predict the effects of our CO2 emissions on future climatic conditions, biodiversity and sea levels, is that there’s no way of veryfying them.

    > What I don’t accept as facts are suggestions and probabilities derived from evidence which can have alternative interpretations

    But there is ALWAYS an alternative interpretation. E.g. “God did it”. You conflate alternative interpretations with alternate theories. And you haven’t got a damn one that works.

    > or derived from evidence that is insufficient

    It isn’t insufficient. 30 years temperature data will give you a climate trend. We have over 100.

    You also show no compunction about denialist screed that states that it’s been cooling since 1998, even though that is FAR LESS than 100 years of data.

    Your insistence on sufficient data seems to be based on what conclusion is being made from it. If it denies AGW, then your “problem” with data volume disappears.

    It is also noted that you still haven’t been able to display what Lotharsson “got wrong” in his description of the quote of yours he took.

  44. #44 VincentR
    June 24, 2011

    “I accept the truth (provisionally) of any theory that can be verified by the production of real products that work, based upon the application of such theory.”

    “Not what you said earlier. Flip flopping again, changing the argument to suit the moment:

    Posted by: Wow | June 23, 2011 4:55 AM”

    Then you should point out precisely what I wrote earlier which you find inconsistent with my above statement.

    I assure you that I have a great interest in learning of any inconsistencies in my points of view. It could be the case that what you imagine to be a ‘flip-flop’ or an inconsistency is just a failure on your part to understand what I meant, or a failure on my part to be crystal clear.

    For example, your response to my comment:
    “The great weakness of the climate science theories that attempt to predict the effects of our CO2 emissions on future climatic conditions, biodiversity and sea levels, is that there’s no way of veryfying them.

    What I don’t accept as facts are suggestions and probabilities derived from evidence which can have alternative interpretations.”

    is as follows:

    “But there is ALWAYS an alternative interpretation. E.g. “God did it”. You conflate alternative interpretations with alternate theories. And you haven’t got a damn one that works.

    Posted by: Wow | June 23, 2011 4:55 AM”

    Now I would have reasonably thought, in a context discussing verification of scientific theories, on a scientific site such as this, it would have been obvious that the phrase, ‘alternative interpretations’ refers to ‘alternative scientific interpretations’.

    I’m amazed that anyone could get the impression reading this thread that I’m the sort of person who could think that any scientfic theory whatsoever, based upon observation and the gathering of data and evidence, could be verified by a religious interpretation or indeed any non-scientific interpretation.

    “You also show no compunction about denialist screed that states that it’s been cooling since 1998, even though that is FAR LESS than 100 years of data.
    Your insistence on sufficient data seems to be based on what conclusion is being made from it. If it denies AGW, then your “problem” with data volume disappears.

    Posted by: Wow | June 23, 2011 4:55 AM”

    I’ve never, ever used the argument that because some statistics seem to suggest that cooling may have taken place recently instead of warming, that therefore global warming of the climate is not happening. I understand perfectly that global temperatures can fluctuate from year to year and from decade to decade, and that it is the longer term trend that counts.

    I understand also that any such fluctuations do not necessarily have any direct bearing on whether or not the cooling or warming is related to CO2 emissions. When cooling has taken place, one could argue that the cooling would have been more severe without CO2 emissions, just as one can argue than any natural warming will possibly be exacerbated as a result of CO2 emissions.

    In both situations, a temporary cooling which is not as severe as it otherwise would be without our CO2 emissions, can be considered a good thing for some people in some parts of the world, and a warming which is slightly enhanced through our CO2 emissions could also be considered a good thing for others living in colder climates.

    “It is also noted that you still haven’t been able to display what Lotharsson “got wrong” in his description of the quote of yours he took.
    Posted by: Wow | June 23, 2011 4:55 AM”

    Which quote are you referring to? Be more specific? I’m sorry I don’t have the time to address every fallacy I see in this thread.

  45. #45 Wow
    June 24, 2011

    > Then you should point out precisely what I wrote earlier which you find inconsistent with my above statement.

    Okey dokey:

    > The great weakness of the climate science theories that attempt to predict the effects of our CO2 emissions on future climatic conditions, biodiversity and sea levels, is that there’s no way of veryfying them.

    There you go, princess.

    > it would have been obvious that the phrase, ‘alternative interpretations’ refers to ‘alternative scientific interpretations’.

    Well, that would be the case if you had EVER ONCE come up with an alternative SCIENTIFIC interpretation.

    Problem is, see, you haven’t got one.

    > I’ve never, ever used the argument that because some statistics seem to suggest that cooling may have taken place recently instead of warming, that therefore global warming of the climate is not happening.

    However, you will use such things to say that it’s impossible to verify climate change because it goes up: global warming, goes down: global warming therefore not falsifiable.

    An old denialist canard. And easy to spot miles off.

    > > It is also noted that you still haven’t been able to display what Lotharsson “got wrong” in his description of the quote of yours he took

    > Which quote are you referring to?

    Well someone who WASN’T dumber than a sump-rotted tree-stump would have, for example, looked for Lotharsson’s message that they’d responded to without responding to the question within.

    But since you ARE apparently dumber than a sack full of gophers on draino:

    > 432
    > > The principle here is, if there’s a great deal of uncertainty about the appropriate measures to take in order to avoid a risk of calamity, one should strive to take measures which will not prove to be a total waste of time and money should such dire predictions prove to be wrong.

    > I don’t know how one can pack so much wrong into one sentence without trying.

    To which you notresponded (so therefore apparently immediately forgot) with:

    > Of course you don’t. How could you?

    > Posted by: VincentR | June 22, 2011 11:31 AM

    So your attention span is definitely sub-MTV generation.

    > I’m sorry I don’t have the time to address every fallacy I see in this thread.

    Yes, since most of them are YOUR fallacies, you would be hard-put to keep up since all your responses to queries or comments on your fallacies themselves deal only fallaciously with a response.

    An infinite loop would be the inevitable consequence for an intellect such as yours.

  46. #46 VincentR
    June 26, 2011

    Well, I think it must now be apparent to all who have been reading this thread why there’s no chance whatsoever of any effective action on reduction of CO2 emissions.

    (1) The scientists working in the various disciplines know that their understanding of the issues are very uncertain and incomplete, according to James Lovelock.

    (2) The IPCC and spokesmen for the AGW case have been found to have been covering up such uncertainty for the sake of political action, and inventing figures such as 90% or 93% certainty, which have no sound scientific basis.

    (3) Current alternative renewable energy sources are clearly very significantly more expensive than coal, gas and oil. As a consequence, there is no way that the replacement of fossil fuels will not significantly impact on the cost of living of everyone on the planet.

    (4) Since the majority of the population on the planet lives at or near a subsistence level and clearly cannot absorb any increase in living costs, such increased costs that will inevitably flow on from the implementation of ‘effective’ alternative energy policies, with the emphasis on effective, must be borne by the developed nations.

    The labour party’s policy of taxing the efficient producers of energy and returning at least a portion of such taxes to lower income families to help them pay for the increase in their electricity bills, is largely a political move to disguise the fact that expensive energy means lower living standards.

    For such low-income families to be fully compensated, they would need also need to be compensated for all the price rises of normal stuff they buy every day, that become more expensive to produce as a result of increased electricity and fossil fuel costs which have to be passed on by the manufacturers and producers in order for them to stay in business.

    However, I don’t wish to be completely negative. Any such pressure of increased taxes, and the resulting flow-on of increased energy costs, should promote at least some reduction in wastage. But I suspect such increases in efficient practices will do no more than pay for the employment of an expanded taxation system needed to collect and redistribute the new carbon tax.

    (5) Lastly, judging by many of the responses in this thread, many of those who believe in the threat of AGW seem to be the crudest and rudest bunch of louts that I’ve ever come across. There’s absolutely no chance of such people ever persuading any skeptic to change his/her mind.

  47. #47 SteveC
    June 26, 2011

    Well, I think it must now be apparent to all who have been reading this thread why there’s no chance whatsoever of any effective action on reduction of CO2 emissions.

    (1) The scientists working in the various disciplines know that there are some uncertainties (as regards certain feedbacks for example); however, these uncertainties are not sufficient to undermine the agreement across all disciplines within climate science that the planet is warming and that anthropogenic emissions of certain gases are largely to blame. The “sceptics” on the other hand, along with the delayers and rejectionists, insist on making more of the uncertainties than there is and (without any scientific or logical basis, assume that these uncertainties will reduce the threats from climate change.

    (2) The IPCC and spokesmen for the AGW case have been found to clearly state such uncertainties and their ranges in any publications aimed at instigating effective political action. Conversely, “sceptics” impute intentions on the part of climate scientists which do not exist and invent “significant errors” in the data which THEIR OWN RESEARCH (see Watts et al 2011) proves have no sound scientific basis.

    (3) Current alternative renewable energy sources are more expensive than coal, gas and oil in certain arenas. As a consequence, there is no way that the replacement of fossil fuels will not significantly impact on the cost of living of everyone on the planet until either the significant GLOBAL levels of government subsidies for fossil fuel extraction cease OR the subsidies for reneable energy development match those of fossil fuels.

    (4) Since the majority of the population on the planet lives at or near a subsistence level and clearly cannot absorb any increase in living costs, such increased costs that will inevitably flow on from the implementation of ‘effective’ alternative energy policies with the emphasis on effective, must be borne by the developed nations. Since the majority of the GHG emissions arise from the developed world’s consumptive, wasteful and inefficient “lifestyle”, this is entirely appropriate. “Sceptics” conveniently ignore this fact, while at the same time crying that increased efficiency and investment in renewables will disadvantage developing nations, as if Bhopal, Ok Tedi and chronic poverty in the Niger Delta were things to look forward to.

    “Sceptics” insist that policies that tax INefficient producers and consumers of energy and returning at least a portion of such taxes to lower income families to help them pay for the increase in their electricity bills is “largely a political move to disguise the fact that expensive energy means lower living standards”. That the increases in energy bills are likely to be trivial either escapes them or is something they ignore, and their claims are thus exposed for the political nimbyism that they are.

    (5) Lastly, judging by many of the responses in this thread, those who believe that the threat of AGW is false or overblown seem to be fatally attracted to any fantastic, unscientific, dubious or plain dishonest notion that blows through their heads. In a reasonable world, there would be absolutely no chance of such people ever persuading anyone even vaguely familiar with the science, with scientific principles or with the process and strictures of logic to change their mind. That these “sceptics” still clog blogs and infest media articles is largely due to the abject failure of journalism to live up to its oft-professed ideals and a concerted, global and well-funded propaganda campaign.

  48. #48 Lotharsson
    June 26, 2011

    > Lastly, judging by many of the responses in this thread, many of those who believe in the threat of AGW seem to be the crudest and rudest bunch of louts that I’ve ever come across.

    [How](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/06/monckton_says_that_if_you_acce.php) … [ironically](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/06/australian_climate_scientists.php) … [naive](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/06/correction_andrew_bolt_likely.php).

    And what SteveC said.

  49. #49 VincentR
    June 29, 2011

    “(1) The scientists working in the various disciplines know that there are some uncertainties (as regards certain feedbacks for example); however, these uncertainties are not sufficient to undermine the agreement across all disciplines within climate science that the planet is warming and that anthropogenic emissions of certain gases are largely to blame. The “sceptics” on the other hand, along with the delayers and rejectionists, insist on making more of the uncertainties than there is and (without any scientific or logical basis, assume that these uncertainties will reduce the threats from climate change.

    Posted by: SteveC | June 26, 2011 11:04 PM”

    Well, at least you have made a reasonably polite response which deserves a reply.

    The scientists working in the various disciplines certainly do know there are some uncertainties. Even the IPCC in the main body of its 2007 report mention such uncertainties. I recall that some poster on some forum once counted the references to uncertainty in the report. The number as I recall was well over 400.

    I’ll repeat, the only certain thing is that there is uncertainty. If we could measure the precise degree of uncertainty, as we can when tossing a coin, then we could determine who is correct with regard to the degree of exaggeration of certainty or uncertainty, the promoters of AGW or the skeptics.

    In the absence of scientific verification, it’s not possible to determine whether or not the skeptics are exaggerating the degree of uncertainty to a greater extent than the promoters of AGW are exaggerating the certainty.

    However, those of us who have a bit of nous, who are widely-read and who are not extreme specialists suffering from Aspergers Syndrome, understand that the capacity of the human species to lie is quite phenomenal.

    The consequences of having a larger brain than other mammals, and a very large social network, is not only our capability to travel to the moon, but our superb talent for lying.

    Our nearest cousins, the Apes, also have an ability to lie or deceive, but OUR ability to lie puts them to shame. It’s many orders of magnitude greater. It’s supreme amongst the whole animal kingdom.

    This is one reason why I’m so impressed with the scientific method of verification and falsifiability. It’s the one sure method of uncovering all the lies, deceptions and myths that have plagued (and continue to plague) humanity.

    It’s unfortunate that the science of climatology does not lend itself to such verification. As a consequence, the interpretations of the evidence and data are wide open to lies and deception that may advantage any particular group or individual, or may simply be a reflection of a religious heredity, such as the Christian heredity that man is born sinful.

    (3) Current alternative renewable energy sources are more expensive than coal, gas and oil in certain arenas. As a consequence, there is no way that the replacement of fossil fuels will not significantly impact on the cost of living of everyone on the planet……………..” until either the significant GLOBAL levels of government subsidies for fossil fuel extraction cease OR the subsidies for reneable energy development match those of fossil fuels.”

    Posted by: SteveC | June 26, 2011 11:04 PM”

    What an excellent example of biased and unthinking confusion. If anyone can demonstrate that renewable energy is even NEARLY as efficient as coal, gas and oil when all subsidies of any nature have been removed, then there’s no problem. We’ve solved the AGW threat.

    I’ve never met or spoken to anyone who is against the substitution of fossil energy with renewable energy which is just as efficient when all subsidies have been removed.

    What planet have you descended from?

    “(4)Since the majority of the GHG emissions arise from the developed world’s consumptive, wasteful and inefficient “lifestyle”, this is entirely appropriate.

    “Sceptics” conveniently ignore this fact, while at the same time crying that increased efficiency and investment in renewables will disadvantage developing nations, as if Bhopal, Ok Tedi and chronic poverty in the Niger Delta were things to look forward to.
    Posted by: SteveC | June 26, 2011 11:04 PM”

    Dear me! You are confused, aren’t you! Bhopal was a chemical plant disaster which had nothing to do with the method of producing the power which the chemical plant consumed.

    Nevertheless, full marks for highlighting another area of great confusion.

    I get a clear sense that many folks, particularly environmentalists, are under the impression that simply reducing CO2 emissions from our energy sources will solve all or most of our environmental problems.

    This is a complete lie. But a clever lie. At least as clever as a young ape running from the older apes who are out to give him a good thrashing for his misbehaviour, who suddenly stops in his tracks and points to some imaginary threat on the horizon, causing his chasers to stop and look.

    By the way, you’re also deluded if you think skeptics ignore the fact that much of the world’s CO2 emissions originate from developed nations. You don’t need to be a skeptic nor an AGW advocate to realise that. You just need a bit of intelligence and nous.

    The problem arises because of the great inequality of living standards that exist on our planet.

    At the current level of technological development, the only way we can replace fossil fuels with non-CO2 emitting fuels, without reducing our material standard of living, is to wholly support nuclear power and convert to it with the utmost possible speed if we are convinced that AGW is a real threat.

    On this point, both James Lovelock and I are in complete agreement. Where we possibly disagree is regarding human competence to use the best technology and the best safety measures without being compromised by marginal economic considerations.

    It should now be apparent to all, that the disasters at Fukushima occurred because the parent company TEPCO was unduly influenced by the costs of their nuclear power plant’s construction in relation to the real risks of an earthquake and tsunami.

    People build houses on flood plains then express surprise when their house gets flooded? Other people build nuclear reactors on a fault line near the coast then express surprise when a category 9 quake hits them and the resulting tsunami?

    This is nothing to do with CO2. Just human incomptence.

    I sympathise with any anti-nuclear argument along the lines that we cannot take the risk because of human incompetence. The technology is safe in relation to best practices. It’s not necessarily safe in relation to the average standard of human competence, influenced by economic considerations, poor workmanship, corner-cutting, general sloppiness, and plain lies.

    As I see it (and I’m open to all reasoned corrections devoid of blatant insults), we have basically 3 options to tackle AGW, on the basis that it is a real threat, which of course I’m doubtful about.

    (1) Convert to nuclear power as quickly as possible.

    (2) Develop a really efficent solar voltaic power system, such as a solar voltaic wallpaper that can be pasted over large areas as well as all vehicles, and/or develop any other ‘clean’ technology that can compete with coal.

    (3) Develop a very efficient, low-cost, lightweight and durable type of battery that can be used in all vehicles without disadvantage compared with the internal combustion engine, and can be effectively and efficiently used for storage in the solar voltaic situation.

    (4) Persuade the public in developed nations to accept a very drastic cut in their living standards, not only to pay for increased energy costs in their own countries but to pay for the aspirations of increased living standards that most developing countries have, based upon fossil fuels.

    I urge people reading this thread to use their grey matter. Don’t trot out the usual counter-arguments, or resort to blatant insults which serve no purpose. Exercise a bit of thought before replying.

  50. #50 VincentR
    June 29, 2011

    Here’s my recipe for a successful and effective tackling of the AGW issue, assuming it is an issue, which is doubtful.

    (1) All those on an income of $10 million a year or more, should be prepared to live on $1 million. No-one will shed tears for them.

    (2) All those on an income of $1 million a year, should be prepared to live on $300,000. Again, no-one should shed tears for them.

    (3) All those on $200,000 should be prepared to to live on $100,000. Tough maybe, but nothing compared to the struggles of really poor people.

    (4) All those on a basic and minimum Australian wage of $30,000 a year should sacrifice at least a little in the interests of AGW. Say $28,000 per year. They may have to cut out all alcoholic beverages.

    (5) All those below $28,000 a year, including all those in underdeveloped countries, should sacrifice nothing.

    Are we all in agreement?

  51. #51 SteveC
    June 29, 2011

    tl;dr

  52. #52 Wow
    June 29, 2011

    #146 That doesn’t change the carbon content of the atmosphere, Vincent.

    And please explain your doubt about whether it’s an issue or not.

    That those opposed to the idea that A has anything to do with GW have to resort to death threats shows how little they believe they have it right.

  53. #53 Wow
    June 29, 2011

    Note, that despite having written a damn near homeric-scale set of prose since then, he’s still

    > I’m sorry I don’t have the time to address every fallacy I see in this thread.

    when it comes to explaining Lotharsson’s quote of vinny’s work and the facts he believes blindly live therein.

  54. #54 FrankD
    June 29, 2011

    >On this point, both James Lovelock and I are in complete agreement.

    Vincent has so far declined to mention whether he and Lovelock are also in complete agreement on this point:
    “We need a more authoritative world. We’ve become a sort of cheeky, egalitarian world where everyone can have their say. It’s all very well, but there are certain circumstances – a war is a typical example – where you can’t do that. You’ve got to have a few people with authority who you trust who are running it. And they should be very accountable too, of course…I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while.”

    30 words or less will do – brevity is the soul of wit, and all that.

  55. #55 Lotharsson
    June 29, 2011

    Vincent might also explain whether he is complete agreement with [these Lovelock pronouncements](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Lovelock#Climate_and_mass_human_mortality):

    > Writing in the British newspaper The Independent in January 2006, Lovelock argues that, as a result of global warming, “billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable” by the end of the 21st century.[24]

    > He has been quoted in The Guardian that 80% of humans will perish by 2100 AD, and this climate change will last 100,000 years. According to James Lovelock, by 2040, the world population of more than six billion will have been culled by floods, drought and famine.

    > Indeed “[t]he people of Southern Europe, as well as South-East Asia, will be fighting their way into countries such as Canada, Australia and Britain”.[25]

    > “By 2040, parts of the Sahara desert will have moved into middle Europe. We are talking about Paris – as far north as Berlin. In Britain we will escape because of our oceanic position.”[25]

    And if not, Vincent should explain how wrong Lovelock’s claims were in Vincent’s view, and why Vincent believes someone who makes such wrong claims is some sort of authority on climate science (especially since his postgrad research degree is in medicine, which is not normally considered part of climate science.)

    I predict that Vincent will instead merely pontificate some more on a different topic whilst patting himself on the back for being the only one who can think clearly about these things.

  56. #56 SteveC
    June 30, 2011

    VincentR

    Well, at least you have made a reasonably polite response which deserves a reply… [blah blah]…IPCC [blah] uncertainties [blah] well over 400 [blah] the only certain thing is that there is uncertainty [blah something something] Aspergers Syndrome [blah] lie [something something] Apes [blah blah] lies, deceptions and myths [blither] It’s unfortunate that the science of climatology does not lend itself to such verification…[blah]

    [snip]

    What an excellent example of biased and unthinking confusion. If anyone can demonstrate that renewable energy is even NEARLY as efficient as coal, gas and oil when all subsidies of any nature have been removed, then there’s no problem. We’ve solved the AGW threat. I’ve never met or spoken to anyone who is against the substitution of fossil energy with renewable energy which is just as efficient when all subsidies have been removed.

    You blathered bollocks about how expensive renewables were cf fossil fuels, I replied, you falsely equate $$$ with efficency and you call me biased and confused.

    What planet have you descended from?

    And polite with it as well.

    “(4)Since the majority of the GHG emissions arise from the developed world’s consumptive, wasteful and inefficient “lifestyle”, this is entirely appropriate. “Sceptics” conveniently ignore this fact, while at the same time crying that increased efficiency and investment in renewables will disadvantage developing nations, as if Bhopal, Ok Tedi and chronic poverty in the Niger Delta were things to look forward to.

    Dear me! You are confused, aren’t you! Bhopal was a chemical plant disaster which had nothing to do with the method of producing the power which the chemical plant consumed. Nevertheless, full marks for highlighting another area of great confusion.

    Did I say Bhopal had anything to do with power? Climate change? No.

    I get a clear sense that many folks, particularly environmentalists, are under the impression that simply reducing CO2 emissions from our energy sources will solve all or most of our environmental problems. This is a complete lie. But a clever lie… [blah] apes… deluded [blah blither] …nuclear power and convert to it with the utmost possible speed [!]

    With your head that far up your arse I know what you get a clear sense of. Yes, that’s an insult.

    On this point, both James Lovelock and I are in complete agreement

    Mr Lovelock must be thrilled to know he has your assent.

    … [blah] Fukushima [something something] As I see it (and I’m open to all reasoned corrections devoid of blatant insults), we have basically 3 options to tackle AGW on the basis that it is a real threat, which of course I’m doubtful about.

    Gosh, do tell…

    (1) Convert to nuclear power as quickly as possible.

    (2) Develop a really efficent solar voltaic power system [blah blah] that can compete with coal.

    (3) Develop a very efficient, low-cost, lightweight and durable type of battery that can be used in all vehicles without disadvantage compared with the internal combustion engine [blah blah].

    (4) Persuade the public in developed nations to accept a very drastic cut in their living standards [blah something blither]

    So that’s three options, as in the sense of four. 3!=4, even for large values of 3.

    I urge people reading this thread to use their grey matter. Don’t trot out the usual counter-arguments, or resort to blatant insults which serve no purpose. Exercise a bit of thought before replying.

    (sigh) You know, you are so right.

  57. #57 VincentR
    June 30, 2011

    Let’s be clear on this. Because I agree with many points made by James Lovelock, it does not follow that I agree with all his points or recommendations. How could I? I’m a skeptic, whereas he is at the extreme end of alarmism.

    What I admire is his no-nonsense and pragmatic approach to solving an extremely urgent problem as he perceives it. We disagree on the nature and severity of the problem rather than the methods of tackling the problem, from the perspective that the problem is real and potentially catastrophic.

    I often get a sense of economic ‘denialism’ when I listen to the various methods of tackling AGW through carbon taxes and emission trading schemes, as proposed by politicians.

    There seems to me to be a fundamental reality of economic life that is so often ignored when politicians promote such schemes, and that is, increased energy costs inevitably result in lower living standards, allowing for a certain degree of wiggle room whereby a proportion of such increased costs can sometimes be offset by an increase in efficiency due to better work practices and more efficient machines.

    Claims that renewable energy schemes will create new jobs are misleading. In a sense of course, it is true that all new activities will create new jobs. However, when the new activity is a substitution of cheap energy sources with expensive energy sources, then for every new job created there is likely to be 2 (or more) old jobs lost.

    The only ways one can increase or even maintain employment whilst increasing energy costs, are (a) to lower real wages, (b) to increase efficiency of work practices and/or reduce waste in proportion to the increase in energy costs.

    In the absence of the development of ‘killer’ applications such as totally safe and efficient fusion reactors; earthquake-proof fission nuclear power plants; cheap, efficient and durable solar voltaic wallpaper that can be plastered over any surface; cheap, durable and lightweight batteries that can be fully recharged in 30 minutes and propel a low-cost family car for at least 200Km before needing a recharge, I see no possibility of our successfully tackling AGW without the draconian change to an authoritarian government, simply because people will not vote for a reduction in living standards.

    Such a reduction in living standards would have to be forced upon world populations. That’s a very dismal scenario that James Lovelock is painting. Virtual extinction of the human race or a life under Maoist or Stalinist conditions. This would be the last resort.

    Fortunately, we don’t have to get too depressed about this scenario. James Lovelock has given us plenty of clues that his predictions of doom are just ‘feelings’.

    Here’s a quote from the Guardian interview of James Lovelock, to which I referred earlier.

    “I have a FEELING that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while.”

    I also have a FEELING that in 20 years’ time students will be doing PhDs on the subject of why climate scientists got things so wrong.

  58. #58 Wow
    June 30, 2011

    And you’re willing to bet the lives of those students that you’re right, princess?

    This is called misanthropy, if not genocide.

    No pink unicorn for YOU.

  59. #59 Lotharsson
    June 30, 2011

    > Because I agree with many points made by James Lovelock, it does not follow that I agree with all his points or recommendations.

    Ah, so we can now take it as read that you don’t cite him as an AUTHORITY; merely someone occasionally stating your own opinion in different ways. Good to know next time you try to use someone as some kind of authority when they happen to agree with you. You know, you could just cut out the middleman and say “here’s what I reckon”…

    > …cheap, efficient and durable solar voltaic wallpaper that can be plastered over any surface.

    Already [working on it](http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/06/30/3257341.htm) – and have been for some time. The financial motivation for industry to support this kind of research would be *even higher* if carbon were priced to capture its externalities.

    > However, when the new activity is a substitution of cheap energy sources with expensive energy sources, then for every new job created there is likely to be 2 (or more) old jobs lost.

    Funny, we [don't seem to have lost a lot of jobs lately](http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6202.0), and if I’m not mistaken, energy prices are significantly higher than they were last year and even more so compared to several years ago.

    Energy prices in the UK are WAY higher than here and have been for at least several decades – ever seen what they pay for petrol? Has their unemployment rate way worse than ours for those decades?

    Energy prices in the US are SIGNIFICANTLY lower than here – they’re complaining because petrol is closer to $1/litre than $1.50+. Their unemployment rate is more than twice ours.

    Your claims appear to be pulled out of your fundament – AGAIN.

    (Oh, and your assessment of existing sources as “cheap” ONLY works when you allow externalities to be passed on to society in other ways. You have been taken to task on this false accounting before.)

    > …people will not vote for a reduction in living standards.

    It is said that most people won’t pay more than they do now under the government’s current thinking – which, if it turns out to be accurate, makes your argument moot. And for quite some time on and off polls have shown that people ARE willing to vote for action on greenhouse gas emissions, which DIRECTLY refutes your implied claim that they simply won’t consider voting for mitigation.

    > Such a reduction in living standards would have to be forced upon world populations.

    Significant climate change will do that – and more, an issue that you stubbornly stick your head in the sand to avoid acknowledging, whilst simultaneously claiming that mitigation actions will have a far more severe economic impact than any serious study of the issue. Hmmmmmmm, seems like your argument is almost entirely arse-backwards – AGAIN.

    > I also have a FEELING that in 20 years’ time students will be doing PhDs on the subject of why climate scientists got things so wrong.

    Well, you have no data demonstrating that they “got it wrong”, so you fall back to feelings to justify your position. Speaking of which, unless I missed it **you still haven’t answered Bernard’s [old](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment-4171360) and [new](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment-4178727) questions**. No surprises there – if you did, you’d run the risk of noticing how much of your argument depends on either not answering or providing unsupportable answers for them – and that would never do.

    So until you seriously engage with the science, including Bernard’s questions, I’ll take it as read that your views are substantiated by nothing more scientific than your vague feelings on the matter. Wake me up when you stop wishing wishing wishing that someone would bring you a pink pony and start engaging with the real world.

  60. #60 Jeff Harvey
    June 30, 2011

    Vincent’s latest pointless musings had me yawning. I had to correct one of his self-righteous statements, however:

    *I’m a skeptic, whereas he is at the extreme end of alarmism* should instead read,*I’m a scientifically uneducated and illiterate denialist, whereas he is a well-respected scientist who, like the vast majority of his peers in the Earth and environmental sciences, is profoundly concerned over the anthropogenic build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and its attendant effect on climate*.

    It should be clear to all here now that Vincent is a big-time bluff artist. He huffs and puffs and tries to give the impression that he is up on the topics he superficially discusses, whereas, as most of his posts have demonstrated, his depth of understanding is that of a puddle. Examples? They are legion. His discussion of oceanic acidification and its effects on biodiversity. His take on anything climate-related. The fact that his constant mention of ‘enquiries’ refers exclusively to blogs, many of them run by deniers who lack any relevant expertise, whilst scarcely (if ever) making any mention of the primary literature. This is because old Vince does not appear to like to consult this source.

    Therein lies the rub. I check in here from time to time (I am very busy these days with several experiments on the go and two conferences to attend in which I will present lectures) and between them GSW and Vince spew out a vast sea of illogical ramblings. Its good to see them being vaqnquished by most of the posters on the various threads.

  61. #61 FrankD
    June 30, 2011

    [Vincent, then](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment-3838369)
    >James Lovelock in particular, think[s] it’s already too late and that nothing short of … switching to Nuclear Power as quickly as possible, will serve any useful purpose to avert catastrophe. So let’s analyse the consequences of this extreme view. James Lovelock might be right for all I know. Probably not, but one can’t be sure.

    [Vincent, now](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment-4261122)
    >At the current level of technological development, the only way we can replace fossil fuels with non-CO2 emitting fuels, without reducing our material standard of living, is to wholly support nuclear power and convert to it with the utmost possible speed if we are convinced that AGW is a real threat. On this point, both James Lovelock and I are in complete agreement.

    Premise 1: James Lovelock says “If AGW is real, we need to switch to nuclear asap.”

    Premise 2: Vincent thinks this statement is alarmist.

    Premise 3: Vincent says “If AGW is real, we need to switch to nuclear asap.”

    Conclusion: Vincent thinks Vincent is alarmist.

    Observation 1: Vincent’s belief that he is making rational arguments is on a par with Clive James’ (remember him?) belief that you can learn about climate from poems: self-delusion on a scale comparable with TVMOB’s attempt to prove that that climate sensitivity is low by showing that climate sensitivity is high.

    Observation 2: Vincent knows nothing useful to the discussion about our “current level of technological development”, as ably demonstrated by Lotharsson’s pwnage (although the article gets the company name wrong – it’s “Dyesol”).

    >Exercise a bit of thought before replying.

    Γνῶθι σεαυτόν, Vincent.

  62. #62 luminous beauty
    June 30, 2011

    >I’ll repeat, the only certain thing is that there is uncertainty. If we could measure the precise degree of uncertainty, as we can when tossing a coin, then we could determine who is correct with regard to the degree of exaggeration of certainty or uncertainty, the promoters of AGW or the skeptics.

    Vince doesn’t have a clue about statistics and has the typical Dunning-Kruger confusion about precision and accuracy. There is something called the central limit theorem which combined with Bayesian inference from multiple independent lines of evidence does accurately measure the distribution of uncertainties.

    What distinguishes ‘promoters of AGW’ from the ‘skeptics’ is the former generally agree the central values of the distributions thus derived are more likely than the lower or higher ranges, whereas the latter cling with largely unsubstantiated certainty that only the lowest or highest values, often outside the 3 sigma range, depending on whether such values affirm their a priori beliefs, have a chance of being true.

  63. #63 Wow
    June 30, 2011

    Or to put it another way, vinny, if I tell you I’m a fully grown male human, are you CERTAIN I’m not 2 inches tall? Or do you think it is possible?

  64. #64 Bernard J.
    July 1, 2011

    VincentR is back? Flying Spaghetti Monster preserve us…

    Trying to educate denialist trolls is about [as productive as doing this](http://i54.tinypic.com/2w374tg.jpg), and with the same final result.

    Most here would know that I love a good wings-from-flies-pulling as much as the next person, but [at some point one has to acknowledge the obvious](http://i52.tinypic.com/25u6yko.jpg).

    VincentR, GWS, mike, and the other current idiots are just that, and that should always be remembered…

  65. #65 VincentR
    July 5, 2011

    Interesting how naive you people seem to be, thinking that the price of energy is independent of living standards. You remind me of a survey on American youths I once read, where it was noted that a significant proportion of them were not aware that the refrigerated milk they bought in the supermarket actually originated in cows. Some of them though it was manufactured at the back of the supermarket.

    Imagine two individuals, or two families, perhaps living on different sides of a border between two States. Imagine they both earn exactly the same wage, live in exactly the same type and value of house, buying exactly the same products at the same price, having exactly the same tastes and eating the same quantity and type of food.

    Imagine their expenses are identical in all respects, except for the price they pay for their petrol and electricity bills.

    One family lives in a State which has decided to tackle AGW and has increased the cost of both electricity and petrol by a significant amount, through taxation.

    Now you don’t have to be Einstein to figure out which family is materially better off.

    Of course, in pratice, we should all realise that the higher taxes can be spent on some useful social program, like returning some of the money to the poorer people to help them pay for their increased bills. In the U.K. the excessive tax on petrol goes towards paying for the National Health scheme.

    However, those who have a little intelligence will realise there is a distinction to be made between retail prices which include taxes, and wholsale, cost-of-production prices.

    It is the wholsale, cost-of-production price of energy which inevitably affects our living standards.

    Any move to tax out of existence efficient producers of energy, in favour of more inefficent (read more expensive) forms of energy, must inevitably result in a lowering of our living standards, in the absence of compensating increases in the efficiency of our uses of such energy.

    There’s always room for some increase in efficiency and reduction in waste, sometimes simply through changing our habits. For example, I understand that America uses about 40 million barrels of oil each year just to produce the plastic bottles need for drinking water which is claimed to be superior to tap water but which, tests have shown, often isn’t.

    However, one should also bear in mind that simply cutting down on unnecessary expenditure, such as bottled drinking water, or reducing one’s electricity bill by switching off all unnecessary lights, or buying a smaller car which is cheaper and more fuel efficient, will not necessarily help the climate one bit unless there is a corresponding reduction in income.

    Wise people have always known that part of the way to wealth is to ‘save the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves’. Waste is abhorrent.

    However, the new paradigm for ‘effective’ control of CO2 emissions, must be ‘save the pennies so the pounds can pay for expensive, ineficient BUT CLEAN energy power plants’.

    Of course, for a large proportion of the global population which lives at a subsistence level, a penny pays for a bowl of rice, so there’s no option of saving the pennies so that the pounds can buy CO2-free energy supplies. It’s no wonder that the Copenahagen summit failed.

    What just might work, if the elctorates in the developed countries were to agree, which is extremely doubtful, is a heavy tax on CO2-emitting energy supplies, with a guarantee that the proceeds from such a tax would be spent on alternative energy supplies in underdeveloped countries to help them improve their living standards in a way that does not add to the global CO2 emission problem.

    We have no right to deny progress to the undeveloped countries on the basis that CO2 emissions from cheap fossil fuel sources, the only sources they can afford, is on the nose.

    In developed countries, we have achieved our prosperity by exploiting the cheapest energy resources without regard to CO2 emissions.

    It is clearly unethical, unworkable and impractical, for developed countries to now insist that undeveloped countries put on hold their aspirations for a better standard of living, in the interests of the AGW scare.

    Now, I’m not sure if you guys are able to appreciate such concepts, and that presents an interesting conundrum for me.

    I tend to agree with James Lovelock’s pronouncement that humanity as a whole does not have the intelligence to solve the AGW problem (assuming of course that it is a problem in the first instance, about which I am skeptical).

    It has for a long time seemed axiomatic to me that a society which has been painfully and obviously unsuccessful in solving world poverty problems, cannot possibly hope to solve a problem of CO2 emissions on a gloabal scale.

    I have to inform you, in case you didn’t know, that Julia Guillard and most political leaders as far as I know, are completely out of their depth on this issue. There’s absolutely no way a few carbon taxes and/or an ETS will have any significant impact on reduction of CO2 emissions.

    It’s all grandsatnding and politics for the purpose of deceiving the public and putting up a pretense that responsible action is being taken to reduce CO2 emissions.

    However, I cannot agree with James Lovelock’s alternative of a dictatorial, fascist world government as the only solution. Here, James Lovelock is being quite silly.

    There has never been a global dictatorship in the history of mankind, although there have been several attempts to achieve it through terrible wars which I certainly hope we’ll never see again.
    As I’ve mentioned before, the responses in this thread to my posts tend to confirm in my mind that James Lovelock is right when he claims that humanity as a whole, with its democaratic processes, does not have the intelligence or capability to successfully tackle the threat of AGW.

    However, applying some basic reasoning which one might associate with Bayesian Reference techniques, I can deduce that James Lovelock is right if I were to assume that the intelligence of the respondents in this thread were average or above averaqge.

    If this were the case, one could assert quite definitely that James Lovelock is right. We simply don’t have the intelligence to tackle this problem of AGW (assuming it is a problem, about which I’m skeptical).

    But supposing we presume that most respondents in this thread are way below average intelligence, a position for which there is good evidence. Then that gives me hope. It means that large numbers of people in the world at large are more intelligent than the average responder in this thread, and therefore, James Lovelock may be wrong in his claim that the population at large does not have sufficient intelligence to solve the AGW problem.

    Get my point? Or is this a bit too difficult for you?

    I hope no-one thinks this is an ad hominem attack. It’s not. It’s just an exercise in reasoned deduction.

  66. #66 adelady
    July 5, 2011

    For anyone who worries that vincentr may be right about renewable energy being prohibitively expensive ….

    scroll down to the last graph on [this item](http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/06/09/241120/solar-is-ready-now-%e2%80%9cferocious-cost-reductions-make-solar-pv-competitive/). Note that installing PV between now and 5 years time will be producing power more cheaply than a coal power plant on the plans today. By the time the coal plant is built and begins to deliver power, practically any solar PV installation will be cheaper.

    It really won’t be very long before domestic PV will have the same cost and ‘ordinariness’ as a hot water service.

  67. #67 Lotharsson
    July 5, 2011

    > It’s no wonder that the Copenahagen summit failed.

    Yep, on that we can agree. The rich developed countries really weren’t keen to pay their share for the damage their atmospheric emissions made – which you rightly pointed out allowed them to develop cheaply in the past – just as you pretty much aren’t willing that *anyone* should pay for their emissions. What, that *wasn’t* your point?

    I guess that makes you a pathetic concern troll, Vincent. As does:

    > It is clearly unethical, unworkable and impractical, for developed countries to now insist that undeveloped countries put on hold their aspirations for a better standard of living, in the interests of the AGW scare.

    …without acknowledging that AGW is going to thoroughly fuck a large number of those poor people over – and you are advocating that developed countries keep causing it because otherwise “standards of living will drop”. (And the remedy is simple and fairly obvious to anyone of moderate intelligence and honest good will.)

    And never mind that you’re grossly exaggerating the financial impact of proposed measures.

    You’re like the guy who’s been fiddling his income taxes for years complaining that his living standards will drop if he’s forced to pay from now on which would be *so unfair*, whilst simultaneously charging that robust income tax enforcement will put the poor neighbours – who don’t earn enough to pay income tax in the first place and qualify for government subsidies – into poverty, so it would only be moral and ethical to allow everyone to continue cheating just like he has.

    No pink unicorn for you.

  68. #68 Wow
    July 5, 2011

    > Interesting how naive you people seem to be, thinking that the price of energy is independent of living standards

    Interesting that you think that when you have no causal relation.

    Most of the money spent by the majority of people is spent on rent, food and clothing.

    Interesting that you think that making energy cheaper will make energy prices soar if that cheapness is made through making energy by renewable processes.

    Interesting that you never answer a substantive question.

  69. #69 Lotharsson
    July 5, 2011

    > Interesting that you never answer a substantive question.

    That’s been really fascinating.

    Especially [Bernard's questions](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment-4271005). I’ve lost track of how many times he’s ignored the opportunity to answer them – or to go the next step and determine how much of his set of confident assertions are unjustified because he can’t or won’t answer them…

  70. #70 Wow
    July 5, 2011

    What old princess here hasn’t really realised too is that there is an example of leapfrogging beyond 19th century technology to 20th/21st century technology in the developing world: telephones.

    Since they don’t have all that invested infrastructure and a low population density, the expensive copper wire method we in the west used in the 19th century to communicate was bypassed for the mobile phone network that is much cheaper.

    We in the west still have a terrible penetration of this modern technology into our lives.

    The developing world bypassed us and cheaper.

    Likewise, then, why would the developing world WANT to produce energy from a 19th century technology of burning rocks and liquid? Why not bypass all that expensive stuff and go with solar or wind, which is cheaper to produce and, unlike fossil fuels, actually has a future?

    Isn’t one of princess’s problems that if we change but, say, china doesn’t, then our actions will be useless, but here he is demanding that china and the rest of the world produce more CO2.

  71. #71 Bernard J.
    July 5, 2011

    VincentR.

    >Interesting how naive you people seem to be, thinking that the price of energy is independent of living standards. [Blah, blah, blah...]

    You are, as ever, very wrong, and also [late to the party](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/07/ray_thread.php#comment-1790500).

  72. #72 zoot
    July 5, 2011

    @461 – tl;dr

  73. #73 Wow
    July 5, 2011

    > One family lives in a State which has decided to tackle AGW and has increased the cost of both electricity and petrol by a significant amount, through taxation.

    > Now you don’t have to be Einstein to figure out which family is materially better off.

    You need to be Mystic Meg. You have to give more information. After all, if it’s taxation to combat AGW, then if that’s a tax on fossil fuels, then they can move to reduce their energy waste. Materially, no different, maybe better, maybe worse.

    If the combating of AGW is successful, then there will be fewer deaths. Materially, MUCH better off than the dead ones with an extra TV in the kids bedroom.

  74. #74 Richard Simons
    July 5, 2011

    One family lives in a State which has decided to tackle AGW and has increased the cost of both electricity and petrol by a significant amount, through taxation.

    Now you don’t have to be Einstein to figure out which family is materially better off.

    What happens to the extra money collected in taxes? It does not just fall into a black hole but is likely used
    to reduce other taxes or to provide extra services to the population.

  75. #75 Gaz
    July 5, 2011

    One family lives in a State which has decided to tackle AGW and has increased the cost of both electricity and petrol by a significant amount, through taxation.

    Now you don’t have to be Einstein to figure out which family is materially better off.

    If I throw my garbage over the fence into my neighbour’s back yard, you don’t have to be Einstein to figure out which family is materially better off.

    Nor do you have to be Einstein to figure out who is a total knob.

  76. #76 Bernard J.
    July 5, 2011

    [Gaz](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment-4330940).

    Nor do you have to be Einstein to figure out who probably has to pay for the clean-up bill.

  77. #77 VincentR
    July 6, 2011

    “If I throw my garbage over the fence into my neighbour’s back yard, you don’t have to be Einstein to figure out which family is materially better off.
    Nor do you have to be Einstein to figure out who is a total knob.
    Posted by: Gaz | July 5, 2011 7:22 PM
    472
    Gaz.”

    “Nor do you have to be Einstein to figure out who probably has to pay for the clean-up bill.
    Posted by: Bernard J. | July 5, 2011 10:55 PM”

    What excellent examples of extreme misinformation only accepted and believed by those with below-average intelligence, I hope.

    The possibility that many intelligent people might believe that CO2 is garbage, causes me to think that James Lovelock is dead right when he claims that humanity hasn’t the intelligence to solve the AGW problem.

    C02 is absolutely essential for all life as we know it. Most plants absolutely love CO2. The more the better.

    Following are extracts from Wikipedia. If anyone disagrees with the figures, point me towards more reliable information. I have an open mind. I’m not dogmatic like some posters in this thread.

    “Plants require carbon dioxide to conduct photosynthesis. Greenhouses may (if of large size, MUST) enrich their atmospheres with additional CO2 to sustain and increase plant growth. A photosynthesis-related drop (by a factor less than two) in carbon dioxide concentration in a greenhouse compartment would KILL green plants, or, at least, completely stop their growth.

    At very high concentrations (a factor of 100 or more higher than its atmospheric concentration), carbon dioxide can be toxic to animal life, so raising the concentration to 10,000 ppm (1%) or higher for several hours will eliminate pests such as whiteflies and spider mites in a greenhouse.

    1% can cause drowsiness with prolonged exposure. At 2% it is mildly narcotic and causes increased blood pressure and pulse rate, and causes reduced hearing. At about 5% it causes stimulation of the respiratory center, dizziness, confusion and difficulty in breathing accompanied by headache and shortness of breath. Panic attacks may also occur at this concentration. At about 8% it causes headache, sweating, dim vision, tremor and loss of consciousness after exposure for between five and ten minutes.

    Due to the health risks associated with carbon dioxide exposure, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that average exposure for healthy adults during an eight-hour work day should not exceed 5,000 ppm (0.5%).

    ADAPTION TO INCREASED LEVELS OF C02 OCCURS IN HUMANS. Continuous inhalation of CO2 can be tolerated at THREE PERCENT inspired concentrations for at least one month and four percent inspired concentrations for over a week. It was suggested that 2.0 percent inspired concentrations could be used for closed air spaces (e.g. a submarine) since the adaptation is physiological and reversible. Decrement in performance or in normal physical activity does not happen at this level.

    Now to summarise and get the above comments into perspective, the current concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is 388 ppm. The danger point for humans after long term exposure WITHOUT adaption is ABOVE 0.5%, or over 5,000 ppm.

    At 1% concentration of CO2, or 10,000 ppm, whiteflies and spider mites begin to die.

    However, after some time for adaption, humans can tolerate as high as 2% concentrations, or 20,000 ppm, as in submarines, for at least a week.

    When I learned what the initials CPRS stood for, in Labour’s scheme to reduce CO2 emissions, I was flabbergasted.

    How could anyone consider carbon, THE STUFF OF LIFE, a pollutant? Are these politicians stark, raving, bonkers?

    Okay! After simmering down, I thought maybe this is just a clever ploy. They realise that much of their political base consists of under-educated labourers, housewives, accountants, tradesmen etc who probably know little about science and have poor general knowledge.

    However, such people do know that pollution is a bad thing. So let’s call our scheme the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme to get them on board, so to speak.

    Okay! Perhaps this is just normal politics. I’m not happy about such deception, but there’s at least some merit in the adage, ‘The end justifies the means’.

    However, when I later witnessed the debacles regarding home insulation schemes, the clear lie from Julia Gillard regarding the introduction of a carbon tax during the election campaign, and the more recent debacle regarding cattle exports, the failure to address the problem BEFORE 4 Corners brought it to a head, and the failure to immediately address the problem with high level negotions with Indonesia immediately after the 4 Corners’program, leaves me flabbergasted again.

    Let’s not even mention the refugee problem. This thread is about climate change. My point is, if AGW actually is a real threat (about which I’m skeptical) we certainly need competent governments to make the right decisions. It seems we don’t have them.

  78. #78 Lotharsson
    July 6, 2011

    > C02 is absolutely essential for all life as we know it. Most plants absolutely love CO2. The more the better.

    Vincent, you are becoming even more of a self-parody.

    You must be deeply ignorant to make this argument (i.e. by implication that CO2 is good for the ecosystem and in particular humanity).

    Tim Curtin tried to argue this kind of claim. Go read his most recent thread on Deltoid and see how well he fared. Then come back and try again.

    **I bet you don’t though.**

    Because it’s not that hard to find out that this kind of claim doesn’t hold up.

    And because you incompetently spend a hundred lines writing about a massive red herring – toxicity to humans – when NO-ONE, but no-one, says that is the problem that will arise from emissions, which means you WON’T or CAN’T engage with the actual issues.

    And because you didn’t educate yourself and modify your thinking all of those previous times.

  79. #79 FrankD
    July 6, 2011

    CO2 is bad because of its toxicity. Yep, that’s what we’ve been arguing all this time. Nothing to do with its effectiveness as a greenhouse gas.

    One short question, which might (but wont) beget one short answer – is CO2 the only chemical required for plants to grow? I can answer that in one question. Can Vincent?

    I’d write more but I have to wipe the brain-splatter from my monitor. Should have known better than to revist this thread without my head-vise firmly in place…

  80. #80 FrankD
    July 6, 2011

    Doop! Answer that in one word.

    Did I mention the brain-splatter thing?

  81. #81 VincentR
    July 6, 2011

    “474
    C02 is absolutely essential for all life as we know it. Most plants absolutely love CO2. The more the better.
    Vincent, you are becoming even more of a self-parody.
    You must be deeply ignorant to make this argument (i.e. by implication that CO2 is good for the ecosystem and in particular humanity).
    Tim Curtin tried to argue this kind of claim. Go read his most recent thread on Deltoid and see how well he fared. Then come back and try again.
    I bet you don’t though.
    Because it’s not that hard to find out that this kind of claim doesn’t hold up.
    And because you incompetently spend a hundred lines writing about a massive red herring – toxicity to humans – when NO-ONE, but no-one, says that is the problem that will arise from emissions, which means you WON’T or CAN’T engage with the actual issues.
    And because you didn’t educate yourself and modify your thinking all of those previous times.
    Posted by: Lotharsson | July 6, 2011 2:11 AM”

    Look, Lotharson. Try to desist from the mumbo jumbo innuendo and ad hominem attack.

    I’ve given you what I understand (provisionally at least) to be facts. If you can provide a reasonable and convincing refutation of such facts, then at least I might learn something.

    That most plants thrive in increased CO2 levels is a fact, as I understand. It can be demonstrated and verified again and again. There’s no cause for doubt.

    That increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere will cause catastrophic climate change is not a fact. It cannot be demonstrated or verified even once. It is merely an implied conclusion dependent upon a particular interpretation of the evidence and data available.

  82. #82 bill
    July 6, 2011

    This guy’s posts need to be archived in the PMWWWUA : The Permanent Museum of What We Were Up Against! After all, future generations will doubtlessly wonder how we can have been so blindingly stupid… well…

  83. #83 Gaz
    July 6, 2011

    Hi Vincent.

    Rising levels of CO2 will have bad effects. That makes it pollution. Is that so hard to comprehend?

    By the way, what happens when you put plants in a greenhouse with high concentrations of CO2 but don’t water them?

    Or, to simulate the case of the Bangla Deshi rice growing area, flood it with salt water?

    And forgive me if I am not reassured by your speculations about what CO2 concentrations can be tolerated by healthy military personnel for brief periods. Even as a clumsy red herring your argument fails.

    How does elevated CO2 affect people over a lifetime with no periods for recovery at normal CO2 levels? Including in utero? What about people with respiratory problems, or high blood pressure?

    What about people who won’t have enough to eat because drought ruined their crops?

    Or whose land is now under the sea?

    Maybe one day you will have something sensible to say.

    Unfortunately, this is not the day.

  84. #84 Michael
    July 6, 2011

    “That most plants thrive in increased CO2 levels is a fact, as I understand” – VincentR

    Well, which is it?

    You can put as much CO2 as you like into the Sahara and it will make no difference.

  85. #85 VincentR
    July 6, 2011

    462
    For anyone who worries that vincentr may be right about renewable energy being prohibitively expensive ….

    scroll down to the last graph on this item. Note that installing PV between now and 5 years time will be producing power more cheaply than a coal power plant on the plans today. By the time the coal plant is built and begins to deliver power, practically any solar PV installation will be cheaper.

    It really won’t be very long before domestic PV will have the same cost and ‘ordinariness’ as a hot water service.

    Posted by: adelady | July 5, 2011 2:56 AM

    Well, that is certainly good news, Adelady. I’ve always considered solar voltaic technology to be the most promising of all the alternative energy methods. Perhaps it’s because I’m an avid photographer and appreciate that a decent electric charge can be generated from just a few photons impingeing upon a digital camera’s sensor. No bright sunlight required.

    Perhaps it’s also because I’m aware how ridiculously expensive digital cameras were just 15 years ago, and how relatively cheap they are nowadays.

    I think I mentioned a couple of hundred posts ago that I have a 1.5kW PVP on the roof of my house, together with solar panels for hot water. I have failed to find out what the unsubsidised price of this item would be. The reason I have it, is because it was heavily subsidised and because the surplus electricity that it feeds into the grid is worth 44 cents per kWh, as opposed to the average rate that is charged to me (including peak and off-peak) of 26 cents.

    My last quarterly bill was around $160. After the solar rebate (about $95) and the QLD Gov. electricity rebate because I’m old and wise, the net amount due was a mere $22. Can’t complain about that.

    I suspect the unsubsidised cost of my 1.5kW PVP would have been around $16,000 when it was installed a couple of years ago, perhaps more including installation.

    Again, you don’t have to be Einstein to work out that the annual interest on $16,000 at a modest 5% is $800, and that 4x $160 (my average quarterly bill without any discounts) is only $640.

    However, I’m not only a skeptic but a realist, as well as a great admirer of the scientific method and the great benefits for humanity it achieves.

    If the cost of PVP manufacture can come down significantly, as it’s predicted to come down, this may be the solution to all our AGW fears.

    You can put aside fears for your grandchildren, adelady, and perhaps we should also contact James Lovelock, who’s probably languishing in a chair with tears rolling down his cheeks whilst he contemplates the future of humanity, and tell him we’ve cracked the problem. Wipe your tears.

    However, (sorry to be a spoil-sport) there’s one small problem. The sun don’t shine 24 hours a day.

    Solar power is great when the sun shines, but absolutely hopeless when it doesn’t.

    As a consequence, any solar voltaic system needs an auxilliary, back-up, usually conventional, power plant on stand-by for rainy days and night-time usage. It adds to the cost, ya know!

  86. #86 Wow
    July 6, 2011

    > Most plants absolutely love CO2. The more the better.

    And most people absolutely love money. The more the better.

    However, this would make Vinny think that money is human-food.

  87. #87 Lotharsson
    July 6, 2011

    > I’ve given you what I understand (provisionally at least) to be facts. If you can provide a reasonable and convincing refutation of such facts, then at least I might learn something.

    And I’ve given you quite sufficient information to go find out where that particular bogus claim has been utterly thrashed to death on this very forum, covering several pertinent aspects that you are apparently blissfully unaware of yet. The thread on which it was made hit a quadruple figure comment count. Go find it. Search for Tim Curtin.

    Heck, you could merely consult skepticalscience.com if you wanted to do a quick check to see if there are any obvious and significant counter-arguments to your claim. Or you could read the IPCC summaries for policy makers which are intended for non-scientists to see what you might have missed. But you haven’t even tried that hard – instead you have the chutzpah to complain about mumbo-jumbo whilst spreading bucketfuls of it yourself!

    As I said **bet you don’t bother** – but happy to be surprised.

  88. #88 VincentR
    July 6, 2011

    482
    I’ve given you what I understand (provisionally at least) to be facts. If you can provide a reasonable and convincing refutation of such facts, then at least I might learn something.
    And I’ve given you quite sufficient information to go find out where that particular bogus claim has been utterly thrashed to death on this very forum, covering several pertinent aspects that you are apparently blissfully unaware of yet. The thread on which it was made hit a quadruple figure comment count. Go find it. Search for Tim Curtin.
    Heck, you could merely consult skepticalscience.com if you wanted to do a quick check to see if there are any obvious and significant counter-arguments to your claim. Or you could read the IPCC summaries for policy makers which are intended for non-scientists to see what you might have missed. But you haven’t even tried that hard – instead you have the chutzpah to complain about mumbo-jumbo whilst spreading bucketfuls of it yourself!
    As I said bet you don’t bother – but happy to be surprised.
    Posted by: Lotharsson | July 6, 2011 5:30 AM

    I’m not playing games. I don’t live in an Alice-In-Wonderland scenario. Whenever (or at least usually) I make a claim, I provide the link for the evidence. I’m interested in facts, and I’m interested in learning if, what I consider are facts, may be dubious or not confirmed.

    I’m not interested in a merry-go-round of searching for links. If you have some useful information that’s relevant, post the link.

    My life is based upon facts. I make a distinction between facts and probabilities. You apparently don’t.

    Incidentally, my previous post has been held for approval, even though it contained no insults, no ad hominem attacks, and no particularly negative comments about AGW. Rather strange I think.

  89. #89 Gaz
    July 6, 2011

    Sigh.

    Time to step down to Vincent’s level.

    Hey Vince, CO2 isn’t plant food because they don’t eat it.

    Ha!

  90. #90 Wow
    July 6, 2011

    > I don’t live in an Alice-In-Wonderland scenario.

    That’s EXACTLY what the Walrus said.

    > Whenever (or at least usually) I make a claim, I provide the link for the evidence

    However, you make up a claim based on personal belief and try inferring that it’s fact. E.g.:

    > I’ve given you what I understand (provisionally at least) to be facts.

    and your posts lack any links (gone back to 445 and no links whatsoever).

    You seem to be lying.

    Again.

  91. #91 VincentR
    July 6, 2011

    479
    Hi Vincent.
    Rising levels of CO2 will have bad effects. That makes it pollution. Is that so hard to comprehend?
    By the way, what happens when you put plants in a greenhouse with high concentrations of CO2 but don’t water them?
    Or, to simulate the case of the Bangla Deshi rice growing area, flood it with salt water?
    And forgive me if I am not reassured by your speculations about what CO2 concentrations can be tolerated by healthy military personnel for brief periods. Even as a clumsy red herring your argument fails.
    How does elevated CO2 affect people over a lifetime with no periods for recovery at normal CO2 levels? Including in utero? What about people with respiratory problems, or high blood pressure?
    What about people who won’t have enough to eat because drought ruined their crops?
    Or whose land is now under the sea?
    Maybe one day you will have something sensible to say.
    Unfortunately, this is not the day.
    Posted by: Gaz | July 6, 2011 3:54 AM

    I hope you understand that I’m replying because of a sense of responsibility to help the confused.

    Those who have an abundance of anything should share it. I admire Bill Gates for using the bulk of his wealth to help the poor and underprivileged.

    Your very first statement, “Rising levels of CO2 will have bad effects. That makes it pollution. Is that so hard to comprehend?”, is simply not a fact.

    You have fallen into the same trap as Lotharsson; failing to distinguish between fact and probability.

    A rephrasing of your statement along lines that I would consider to be closer to the truth, would be:

    “Rising levels of CO2 may have bad effects on the climate, but the issue is so complex, and we have so little accurate information on the climate of previous periods, it’s impossible to put any precise percentage on the probability.

    However, there is a risk of bad effects, however small.

    In order to get political action to tackle such unquantifiable risks, we’re going to pretend there’s a 90% chance of harmful climatic effects.

    This percentage has no relation to any scientific principle or theory, whether Bayesian Inference or other, but is a pure concoction for the purposes of political action.”

    Got it?

    As for your other concerns about plants needing water. Of course. Let’s be sensible. Why would anyone think that plants can grow without water? All plants need sunlight for photosythesis, CO2, water and various nutrients. Deprive them of any of these factors and they will die. Give them an increase in any of these factors, including CO2, and they will thrive more abundantly.

    This entire thread is about Clive James’ comment that, when we had a drought a few years ago it was blamed on climate change. When weather patterns changed and we experienced a few floods, that was also blamed on climate change.

    Clive’s point is that weather patterns have been oscillating between droughts and floods in Australia for centuries, and that fact is even expressed in poetry.

  92. #92 Wow
    July 6, 2011

    “Your very first statement, “Rising levels of CO2 will have bad effects. That makes it pollution. Is that so hard to comprehend?”, is simply not a fact.”

    Sorry, you’re wrong. It IS a fact.

    “You have fallen into the same trap as Lotharsson; failing to distinguish between fact and probability.”

    Nope, you’re wrong again. The probabilities are whether we’ve not collected enough data to ascertain the precise level of sensitivity. That CO2 is having deleterious effects is a fact. Whether climate sensitivity is really between 2.5 and 4.5 C per doubling of CO2 is a probability. The rise is fact.

    “As for your other concerns about plants needing water. Of course.”

    So you now agree that CO2 isn’t plant food. Good.

    “All plants need sunlight for photosythesis, CO2, water and various nutrients.”

    So explain how increased CO2 causes more sunlight, more water in the right proportions (you can’t grow wheat in a rice paddy) and makes more “various nutrients” (which may be washed away, cf the rainforest) available.

    “This entire thread is about Clive James’ comment that, when we had a drought a few years ago it was blamed on climate change.”

    Except it wasn’t blamed on climate change.

    The SEVERITY being much much higher was blamed on climate change.

    Not the drought itself.

    “When weather patterns changed and we experienced a few floods, that was also blamed on climate change.”

    Nope, the floods weren’t blamed on climate change.

    However, explain why droughts aren’t affected by temperature and that floods aren’t affected by temperature and this time with facts links and proof of your assertion.

    “Clive’s point is that weather patterns have been oscillating between droughts and floods in Australia for centuries”

    And the bush has been oscillating between growth and firestorm.

    Yet you still prosecute people who start fires in the outback.

    Why?

    (PS: Note still no links for his “facts”)

  93. #93 Lotharsson
    July 6, 2011

    > I’m not playing games. I don’t live in an Alice-In-Wonderland scenario. Whenever (or at least usually) I make a claim, I provide the link for the evidence.

    Not so, but let’s let that slide for now.

    > I’m not interested in a merry-go-round of searching for links. If you have some useful information that’s relevant, post the link.

    As per usual, you want to have your nose rubbed in basic easily accessible information, just like most deniers who will claim such information does not exist until it is handed to them on a platter, at which point they will ignore it and raise some other non-valid objection.

    I’ve given you enough pointers to find **THREE DIFFERENT SOURCES** that refute your claims – and you could find each one in under 60 seconds *if you actually wanted to*. If you can’t or won’t do this, you have very little commitment to truth – because you clearly *put at least as much effort in to find sources that support your preconceptions.

    > My life is based upon facts. I make a distinction between facts and probabilities. You apparently don’t.

    Now you’re *trying* to come across as an idiot. At least I hope you are.

  94. #94 VincentR
    July 6, 2011

    I’m still wondering what happened to my post in response to adelady.

    It wasn’t offensive. I was actually positive about the future prospects for solar power. Yet it seems to have been censored.

  95. #95 Bernard J.
    July 6, 2011

    >Yet it seems to have been censored.

    FFS, just get over yourself VincentR.

    I’ve had three posts irretrievably swallowed in the last month, simply because they included trigger words or too many links. And do I think for a second that there’s censorship? Not on your nelly.

    And mate, you’re completely clueless about CO2 photobiochemistry. You assiduously avoid the fact of Sprengel’s principle, and of the point that it is largely irrelevant to the positive health of the planet’s vegetation (and just as largely to agriculture) whether or not atmospheric CO2 concentration increases.

    You also ignore the issue of the negative ecological consequences of shifting the CO2 concentration to which the phytosphere is evolutionarily adapted. Do you understand sequelæ such as:

    1. shifts in the nutritional profiles of plants (and their dependent higher trophic levels)
    2. the photosynthetic equilibrium readjustments that plants naturally make when a substrate suddenly becomes excessively abundant
    3. the alterations and unbalancings in ecological interactions that result from differential competitiveness in different milieu
    4. the manner in which the straightforward physical effects of CO2 on climate feed back to the phytosphere?

    I know that you don’t.

    And what’s with your completely bogus comment about halving the concentration of CO2? In what world could that happen on scales of time that are not staggeringly geological in nature? It’s a completely irrelevant and mendaciously obfuscating proposition for any context that relates to the planetary phytosphere.

    If it weren’t for the facts that your science is so completely nonsensical, and that you still haven’t been able to learn how to do a simple quote after repeatedly having your nose rubbed in the shit of your own incapacity for even basic formatting, I’d suspect that you were actually a paid shill.

    As it stands, to anyone with a greater-than-room-temperature IQ, it is patently obvious that you’re a delusional Dunning-Kruger afflictee of the highest order.

    [Disclaimer: the above commentary is made with no expectation that it will make the slightest difference to VincentR. I post it simply to indicate, to lurking third parties with a modicum of capacity for learning, that VincentR is a raving lunatic.]

  96. #96 Gaz
    July 6, 2011

    Longer Vince:

    I hope you understand that I’m replying because of a sense of responsibility to help the confused.

    Shorter Vince:

    … I’m … confused.

    There, that’s better.

  97. #97 VincentR
    July 6, 2011

    Yet it seems to have been censored.

    “FFS, just get over yourself VincentR.
    I’ve had three posts irretrievably swallowed in the last month, simply because they included trigger words or too many links. And do I think for a second that there’s censorship? Not on your nelly.
    Posted by: Bernard J. | July 6, 2011 9:51 AM”

    I completely understand why your posts may have been swallowed, Bernard, because you’re often quite abusive and insulting.

    If I were running a forum, I would make it clear that blatant ad hominem attacks and crude insults are not allowed.

    This is supposed to be a scientific forum. My post which was ‘swallowed’ contained nothing abusive, although it might have contained a bit of irony and satire.

    I get very suspicious when stuff is censored. It goes completely against the scientific spirit.

  98. #98 Wow
    July 6, 2011

    > Yet it seems to have been censored.

    You don’t get irony do you?

    > I would make it clear that blatant ad hominem attacks and crude insults are not allowed.

    What? So absolute whopping lies are fine with you? And would you care to point out the ad homs?

    > This is supposed to be a scientific forum.

    Yes, so we want truth, not lies. Facts, not beliefs.

    > I get very suspicious when stuff is censored. It goes completely against the scientific spirit.

    Flat-earthism is censored. Cold fusion is (now) censored. Why? Because they’re cuckoo lies from cranks.

    Every time you remove a lie, you’re censoring.

    I guess that’s why you have such a hate-on for censorship: it’s devastating your lies.

  99. #99 Lotharsson
    July 6, 2011

    > I completely understand why your posts may have been swallowed, Bernard, because you’re often quite abusive and insulting.

    Ah, the patented VincentR strategy for not answering reasonable questions and ignoring inconvenient information!

    Speaking of which, how about [Bernard's questions](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment-4324891), Vincent? You seem to be expending an awful lot of reading and typing energy and yet none of it is directed to his simple queries. Ever wondered why that is?

  100. #100 Bernard J.
    July 7, 2011

    VincentR.

    >I completely understand why your posts may have been swallowed, Bernard, because you’re often quite abusive and insulting. [Followed by more blah, blah, blah...]

    You obviously do NOT understand why posts here are “swallowed”, or you’d know that I generally try to stay well within Tim Lambert’s tolerance for rudeness. And you’d also understand that he tolerates, more than most have the patience for, idiocy and garbage from people such as yourself, and that he’s highly unlikely to censor you either, unless it is for extremely inapproporiate commenting or for complete scientific bogosity.

    Further, when Tim censors, it is with disemvowelling, unless he is removing spam or a banned troll. You have major tickets on yourself if you believe that you are producing anything remotely resembling science that Tim Lambert feels a need to “censor”.

    I’ve already indicated to you that you likely tripped one of the automated screens for undesirable posts. I did so on the occasions that my posts were swallowed, and I did so knowing that they’d be queued to moderation, but it seems that Tim’s other engagements meant that they wandered into a black hole.

    So you can pack up your paranoia, as well as your glass jaw and your scientific and your html formatting ignorance, and work on addressing some of the manifold substantive points that you avoid so consistently.