May 2012 Open thread


  1. #1 Mack
    May 5, 2012

    Sorry I was new here Bernerd and didn’t know the “rules”

  2. #2 MikeH
    May 5, 2012

    Is that supposed to be insightful Duff? You just posted what hundreds of denier trolls dutifully post in climate change threads every day – that because we do not know everything about climate change we should do nothing. Where is the shock? – the fact that you are a silly old fool is already well known.

  3. #3 Jeff Harvey
    May 5, 2012

    Mike, To be honest, this is what those who deny a range of human effects on the biosphere have been doing for years. And, yes, in contrast with Jonas’ willful ignorance, many of them are part of a broader anti-environment movement (one which has been well studied over the past 20 years and on which I often present public and university lectures).

    About ten years ago I had on-line exchanges with a Canadian libertarian who argued that human effects on the biosphere were minimal (he was a Lomborg supporter, although, like Lomborg, he had no expertise in any of the fields Lomborg superficially covers in his book, TSE). Like other contrarians, he appeared to argue that without 100% proof, nothing should be done to deal with acid rain and other anthropogenic environmental problems. Duff’s tactic is therefore not new. Its part of the A-E arsenal. Of course, there never will be 100% proof of complex processes, so the result will be to do nothing.

  4. #4 David Duff
    May 5, 2012

    “Acid Rain”! Golly-gosh, I’d forgotten that one! That must have been back in the ’70s, along with ‘global cooling’, when sundry ‘experts’ insisted that acid rain was on its way from Europe and would wipe out all British woods and forests. And you’ll never guess what happened … oh, you have! Quite right, nothing much happened.

  5. #5 chek
    May 5, 2012

    Duffer, the phrase ‘dangerously uninformed’ might have been invented just for you. Like your fellow knuckleheads who also believe the C2K or ‘Millennium Bug’ was also a myth (news to those of us who spent months in 1999 checkng RTCs), your ignorance is similarly astounding.

    The connection between the two is that [taking action in time]( to prevent the worst manifestations of the problems went a long way to reducing their impacts. The lessons for dealing with climate change are exactly the same.

    For God’s sake Duffer what do you imagine the point of your publicly pontificating about that of which you know nothing or less is? Not that it’s really possible for you to appear any more foolish than you already do.

  6. #6 luminous beauty
    May 5, 2012

    >And you’ll never guess what happened … oh, you have! Quite right, nothing much happened.

    Thanks to governmental emission regulations, catalytic converters and smokestack scrubbers, yes.

    Oh, and much of the warming from anthropogenic greenhouse gases that had been repressed by anthropogenic nitrate aerosols became expressed. Oops!

  7. #7 Bernard J.
    May 5, 2012

    [David Duff(

    Seriously, go get thee to a medical practitioner, and have an examination to exclude the high likelihood that you are non compos mentis.

    If testing determines that you do still retain a resonable degree of faculty, then the only alternatives are ignorance, stupidity, or ideology – or the usual possibility of a combination thereof.

    Here’s a clue. What do acid rain, ozone depletion, and Y2K have in common? And don’t be obvious with the denialist version of what constitutes an answer.

  8. #8 Bernard J.
    May 5, 2012

    Chek and LB.


  9. #9 Jeff Harvey
    May 5, 2012

    Duff, you stupid uneducated old coot,

    First, read Bernard’s response. The read mine. And let the facts sink in.

    Nothing much MORE happened because of Clean Air Acts that were passed across much of the world which reduced the amount of sulphates being emitted from coal-fired plants. Acid rain is still a significant threat to many temperate forests – check out the Appalachians especially at higher altitudes and you’ll see exactly what damage it has wrought. The point being that if measures are taken, then systems can and do recover. Acid rain also decimated lakes in boreal forests of the north temperate zone, and many are still recovering.

  10. #10 David Duff
    May 5, 2012

    “Thanks to governmental emission regulations, catalytic converters and smokestack scrubbers, yes.”

    I do realise that most of you weren’t born in the 1970s but I don’t think the satellite states of the Soviet Union gave a Marxist fig for ‘Greenery’, least of all if the result of all their pollution was damage to neighbouring democratic states.

  11. #11 chek
    May 5, 2012

    [Bernard @ 106]( Actually, I am grateful for your contribution as it corrected a silly error of mine. I too of course meant Y2K bug.

    I hope the very fine fellows and outstanding partners in our local education authorities at C2K took no offence, nor was any connection with havoc and devastation being wrought on computer systems meant or implied subconsciously or otherwise.

  12. #12 chek
    May 5, 2012

    Duffer @108 – stop blathering and digging yourself deeper into your pit of ignorance. As far as I know the direction of the prevailing winds are still west to east at European latitudes, just as they have been since the 1970s and indeed centuries prior.

    Quite what your ranting about ex-communist regimes causing environmental damage which you denied occurring just over an hour beforehand has to do with anything (apart from your mental condition) I’m not sure.

  13. #13 Betula
    May 5, 2012

    Anyone see this brief article about Jeff Harvey’s Algonquin trip awhile back?

    A few of the lines in this article caught my attention:

    Jeff: “On our trip we experienced climate change at first hand”

    Jeff: “In my work as an ecologist I work on shifting zones, and here I could see it in real.”

    I was curious. Why didn’t Jeff mention the climate change he saw or experienced first hand? Was he misleading the reader? Was he exaggerating? Can someone actually see climate change first hand and realize it’s climate change and not weather?

    I had to know, so I asked on the April thread and then again here:

    @66…”Jeff, I don’t doubt that plant zones are constantly shifting to some degree, but could you share some, if any, of the ecological consequences you experienced first hand?”

    After some back and forth which included displays of Jeff’s past uncivil behaviour, I finally received a response @78 stating:

    “I haven’t answered your question because I think you may be too stupid to understand it.” Of course, I forgave him for this because, as we all know, he has a superiority complex.

    This was followed by a 370 word rambling @78 that didn’t answer the question. Of course, I forgave him for that because I realize he can’t help himself and he thinks I’m too stupid to realize he didn’t answer the question.

    After his usual rambling, Jeff seemed to have an afterthought and realized he didn’t answer the question…so he answers it @79:

    “As far as first hand goes, I’d need to look into the soil. But given I was there in winter (a warm winter at that), of course I can’t describe things first hand.”

    Just as I suspected.

  14. #14 adelady
    May 5, 2012

    “The problem, it seems to me, is that we are not dealing with classical physics in the sense of a force acting on an object.”

    Gott in Himmel!! There’s more to physics than the inertia experiments we did in yr 9 50 years ago. Repeat after me …. radiative transfer equations. That’s physics too you know.

    “…a plethora of physical interactions taking place in a huge variety of times and places.” For pity’s sake. These are mere details in the planetary scheme of things. For global warming it really is quite straightforward. Solar radiation keeps energy coming in just as it always does. The earth’s ‘skin’ at the top of the atmosphere radiates energy away. If _something_ makes that skin thicker or less efficient, it can’t radiate as much energy out of the system as it would otherwise. More energy retained in the oceans, ice and atmosphere changes how all those things behave.

    The fact that we have some problems knowing in advance where to look and what to look for as examples of where that energy is and what it is doing doesn’t alter the big picture. Your ‘plethora’ of ‘interactions’ sounds an awful lot like someone focusing on ferns and leaf mould and peeling tree trunks and chirping insects and fungi on fallen branches so much they fail to notice that it all adds up to … a forest.

    And it’s the forest, or the physics, as a system that matters. Details are very interesting and may be important in various ways. But they are details.

  15. #15 Jeff Harvey
    May 5, 2012


    The article was written for the NIOO web page. One of your aims in doing the trek was to bring attention to the potential effects of climate change on biomes bordering other biomes, where biotic and abiotic factors determining community structure and function become more complex. Its an area that is currently receiving some attention amongst systems ecologists.

    Given your kindergarten-level understanding of ecology, its not that I have a superiority complex (in spite of the fact that my expertise in said field blows yours away), but that, like other deniers, you have a one-dimensional view of the field and expect absolute answers. Sorry I cannot oblige, but there are examples of shifting biomes in Canada that were presented by a colleague at the University of Toronto in a seminar at NIOO three years ago. He showed how temperatures in central Ontario were approaching values experienced in the south of the province 40+ years ago, and how the life zones would have to track this. This winter was extremely warm – 10 C above normal during our expedition – and the longer trend is also significant. Just because I didn’t do a comprehensive study whilst plodding over 170 km does not mean that nothing is happening. If the area is warming as fast as records indicate, then something will *have to happen*. Your response is exactly the same kind of thing I was saying in response to a posting by Mike H above (in response to a post by Duffer). You and your equally daft deniers use the strategy or arguing that, without 100% proof of a process, then the problem does not exist. This tactic has been used by the deniers to downplay a wide range of human-mediated environmental problems. The tragedy from your perspective is that the processes I describe are found in the empirical literature. Of course transition zones will suffer more than areas at the heart of biomes as things change. No news there. Except for idiots like you. You posted a bunch of stuff I’d said about you above, and I stand by all it it. You belong back in grade school if you think you can make hay of the NIOO web page article.

  16. #16 Jeff Harvey
    May 5, 2012

    More details on what I wrote about above:

    Betula, READ and DIGEST.

  17. #17 bill
    May 5, 2012


    You really are that monumentally ignorant, aren’t you? Don’t let mere historical events and facts stand in the way of your loudly-broadcast, made-up-as-I-go-along opinions, will you?


  18. #19 Richard Simons
    May 5, 2012

    As an indication of what might happen to the Appalachians, it is my understanding that acid rain from Manchester in the 19th century (together with over-grazing) was a major factor in the conversion of oak forest into cottongrass moorland. Duff probably thinks that moorland is 100% natural.

  19. #20 Betula
    May 5, 2012

    Jeff Harvey…
    Apparently you’re having a hard time reading what I actually write, because you’re arguing some point I never made.

    To be honest, I’m not sure what your point is. Is it that parts of Canada are predicted to see major shifts northward of plant and animal species?

    Okay, it’s a prediction.

    My question wasn’t about a prediction, it was about the climate change you saw first hand…your words on the NIOO web page, not mine. You then admitted you can’t describe things first hand. So you were caught in a LIE.

    Meanwhile, you say you “stand by” all the uncivil things you said, so you admit you are UNCIVIL.

    In addition, you denied having a superiority complex in a fashion that only someone with a superiority complex could do. In one sentence, you make an insult to make yourself feel superior, then you deny you have a complex, only to follow it with a statement about how superior you are.

    Honestly, I can’t make this up, here it is:

    “Given your kindergarten-level understanding of ecology, its not that I have a superiority complex (in spite of the fact that my expertise in said field blows yours away)”

    So to sum up, you’re an uncivil liar with a superiority complex who is arguing a point never made.

    You’re on a roll Jeff, keep it up!

  20. #21 bill
    May 6, 2012

    We really have reached an low ebb Troll-wise.

    Betty, I suspect there are, indeed, many children in pre-school who already have a better grasp on the concept of ecology than you do, as one has to really actively resist any organic and intuitive understanding of the natural order and work at it – probably over many years – to achieve such a very-nearly pristine level of ignorance.

    Honestly, we couldn’t make you up. Well, if we did, we’d be accused of laying it on waaaay too thick…

    Which brings us to the old Duffer, wheezing around like some heavy-handed caricature of his old occupation, right down to the faux bonhomie. Would you buy a used Ideology from this man? –

    Of course, I could do the decent, principled thing and send the money back* but alas, dear reader, that would break an even higher duty to which I needs must bow the knee; it is enshrined in The Honourable Company of Second-hand Car Dealers: ‘Never Give a Sucker an Even Break!’ Perhaps one of my many well-educated readers could translate that into Latin, give it more of ring, ‘know wot I mean, John?’

    Caveat emptor, indeed!

    *A pension, we’re told – what would Hayek say? But then again, as always, Ayn Rand led the way

  21. #22 Mercurius
    May 6, 2012

    Duffer gibbered re; acid rain…”And you’ll never guess what happened … oh, you have! Quite right, nothing much happened.”

    Gee, I don’t know why I bothered to apply the brakes and stop before the railway crossing as the express train approached. Nothing much happened. I should’ve just kept going.

    Duffer, you’re not still permitted a driver’s license, are you? There’s something about your posts that conjures to mind those terrible news stories one occasionally hears of an addled senior driver careening through a crowded market…

  22. #23 Dibble
    May 6, 2012

    Interestingly, it’s my understanding that the Betula pollen season has already been responding to climate change with implications for hay fever sufferers.

  23. #24 Bernard J.
    May 6, 2012

    >Duff probably thinks that moorland is 100% natural.

    Moorland is [grouse](

  24. #25 John
    May 6, 2012

    GSW wondered

    >What happened to the “peer reviewed studies” you’re always crowing about, I thought everything else was just malicious gossip!

    Oh, what’s this then?

    All that global cooling is causing the West Antarctic ice shelf to tear apart:

    >A new study examining nearly 40 years of satellite imagery has revealed that the floating ice shelves of a critical portion of West Antarctica are steadily losing their grip on adjacent bay walls, potentially amplifying an already accelerating loss of ice to the sea.

    What happened is GSW ignores them.

  25. #26 Jeff Harvey
    May 6, 2012


    Your posts are annoying more than anything else. Simply because of the profound ignorance you embrace. Nothing I wrote is in any way ‘controversial’ in spite of what you are trying to make out of it. There’s a lot of evidence of ecological stresses induced by climate change and other anthropogenic factors at biomes transition zones. And of course what the NASA report even failed to say was how species adapted to alkaline soils will be able to adapt to biomes with acid soils. Shifts like this normally take thousands of years to occur, giving the above and below-ground biota a chance to more realistically adapt as well as to manipulate their new local environments to create alternate ones. We know that there is a strong feedback between processes in the soil and the plants that grow in them, as mediated by a stupendous array of biotic and abiotic processes. Its certain that soil communities in boreal forests are adapted to these conditions and actually regulate them in this way, whereas soil communities in alkaline soils are very different. Expecting shifts from one biome to another in the space of 100 years is perhaps an unprecedented challenge for many ecosystems in transition zones and will certainly cause major ecological upheaval in these zones if – and I emphasize this – if AGW proceeds along some of the predicted trajectories. You and your denier brethren better hope that it many millions of years. I’d also like to point out that if I were to be doing research in these zones I would find a lot of evidence to support what I say, so its no use burying your head in the sand and saying that as long as nobody studies it all is OK. If we did not study extinction rates, you’d deny that there was any concern over this, either. I could cite a lot of articles in the literature providing evidence for what I said, but I should not always have to do your homework for you. Jonas uses the same strategy over on his own thread: that is, he demands that I and other list studies for him, and when we do, he ignores most of them and cursorily reads a few others and dismisses them with a wave of his hand. The GSW and his other clan members swoon at his omniscience.

  26. #27 Mack
    May 6, 2012

    “but I should not always have to do your homework for you”
    So there Betula…listen to what teacher Jeff tells you. But hang on, he says it may be many millions of years, so I wouldn’t be too much of a hurry to get your homework in.

  27. #28 John
    May 6, 2012

    Karenmackspot, nice to see you back.

  28. #29 GSW
    May 6, 2012

    “I’d also like to point out that if I were to be doing research in these zones I would find a lot of evidence to support what I say, so its no use burying your head in the sand and saying that as long as nobody studies it all is OK.”

    A classic Jeff.

  29. #30 John
    May 6, 2012

    “What happened to the “peer reviewed studies” you’re always crowing about, I thought everything else was just malicious gossip!”

    A classic GSW.

  30. #31 Lionel A
    May 6, 2012

    It is way past time to quit arguing with the wilfully ignorant, those who are so ignorant that they cannot appreciate how ignorant they are as Jeff Harvey’s exchange with Betula demonstrates.

    Duff of course is another of similar ilk, he thinks that it is fun to behave like Dana Rohrabacher throwing out what he perceives as crippling points accompanied by the written equivalent of the ‘look how clever I am’ smirk displayed by Rohrabacher during his exchange with Richard Alley at that 2010 Science & Technology Committee hearing – see Brain v Blowhard on YouTube or at Climate Crocks.

    Duff always avoids answering direct questions so why bother to reply to this prime example of bad behaviour?

    The pair of them deserve a Wendy Wright award . Note how strident Dawkins is, NOT. I cannot understand how the likes of Madelaine Bunting can keep accusing Dawkins of being strident. To be sure the opening paragraph of Chapter 2 of ‘The God Delusion’ was rather accurate, using the Bible for guidance, but to confuse accuracy of description for stridency is to lose sense of proportion.

    It is said that the reason we continue to debate these ‘spoilers’ is so that casual visitors can grasp the sheer desperation of their tactics and perhaps take away a realisation that AGW is real and a big problem. Unfortunately these recent open threads, and the continuing blog bog role that is Jonas, are now of little real value IMHO and serve only to stroke the egos of these scientifically illiterate and rude time wasters.

  31. #32 bill
    May 6, 2012

    Rohrabacher is amazing in that video – you can really see in the gleam of those shiny, tiny eyes that somewhere in the shiny, tiny brain that rattles around behind them he really, really imagines he’s on to something! One almost feels sorry for him, except that he’s incapable of realising he deserves our pity.

    Dunning and Kruger, look no further: you have your poster boy!

    Of course, his fellow afflictees just love him to bits…

  32. #33 Betula
    May 6, 2012

    If I were Jeff.

    If I were like Jeff Harvey, I would be walking around my house claiming to have seen my son’s State Cup soccer trophy “first hand”

    Let me explain:

    My sons team has a very good chance of winning the Connecticut State Cup Soccer Tournament. The Tournament is single elimination and has just started, though it will take many weeks to complete.

    All the statistics lead to a consensus among soccer experts that his team will “very likely” win. Let’s review the data:

    The following peer reviewed data shows that his team is already ranked #1 in the State, they win over 82% of their games and have a goal ratio of 5.07.

    Now, if I were Jeff Harvey, not only would I have already built a shelf in my son’s room for the trophy, I would be claiming that I’ve seen the trophy in the house “first hand”. If someone were to ask me to describe the trophy I’ve seen in the house “first hand”, I would tell him “of course I can’t describe the details (of the trophy) first hand” and then proceed to tell him he is “too stupid” to understand my son may win a trophy.

    I would then label him a State Cup Soccer Champion Denier and go on (and on) to explain about the history, rules and nuances of soccer, expounding on my knowledge about each teams strengths and weaknesses based on the current coaching staff, each individuals strengths and weaknesses, how they match up to other teams, the quality of practice time and the current injury list. I would finish by calling him a soccer player in diapers and ask him to go away.

  33. #34 Lotharsson
    May 6, 2012

    Speaking of [Heartland’s in-case-you-weren’t-quite-sure-completely-jumped-the-shark-now billboards](…

    And the comments include:

    > If they want to point out the Unabomber is more sane than they are, I am not sure we should stop them.

  34. #35 Jeff Harvey
    May 6, 2012


    If I were you I’d be worried about my son’s future, and especially the future for his children if he is to have any. I’d be concerned that the planet our generation is going to leave his will be a lot more impoverished than the one we inherited from our parents. I would be worried that the damage we have wrought and continue to inflict on complex adaptive systems will rebound on his and later generations, and that the conditions emerging from these systems that we habitually take for granted that permit our species to exist, persist and thrive will no longer be a ‘given’.

    Your post above, as expected, is gobbeldegook. The kind of stuff I hate to have to respond to here, because it is beneath contempt in its rank stupidity. Essentially, you are saying that its perfectly fine to drive at high speeds along a road while blindfolded because ‘nothing bad has happened yet’. That, until all the evidence is in that driving this way will eventually lead to disaster, that there’s nothing wrong whatsoever with continuing as you are. The truth is that humans are headed for a massive abyss of our own making, not just with relation to climate change but in the other myriad of ways that we are assaulting systems across the biosphere. Ed Wilson, promoting his new book, last week said quite correctly that humans are an enigma: a species with a Paleolithic brain but with immense technology that is being used to drive natural systems to hell in a hand basket. Against this background we have those like you desperately clinging to the notion that somehow our species will muddle its way through the bottleneck we have created and emerge unscathed out the other side. You probably don’t even think there is a bottleneck at all, in spite of all the evidence that says *au contraire*. Every natural system across the planet is in decline. Every one. Qualitatively and quantitatively. Essentially, it appears that humans want to drive systems towards a point where they will only support micro-organisms, cockroaches and a few weeds. The Biosphere II experiment flopped because humans cannot replicate self-sustaining biome or ecosystem, and thus we rely utterly on nature to sustain us. No amount of technology can replicate most critical services. And, as I said, our species does not seem to have evolved in some ways very much in 30,000 years. We are still in many ways a rapacious bipedal organism with highly tribal tendencies. If we are to make it through the bottleneck we are in we are going to have to change our ways as a species, socially and politically. To be honest, I am not that optimistic. if your views, Betula, represent those of ‘Joe Public’ in the west, then I think that pessimism is not misplaced.

    The only reason I write into Deltoid is to counter disinformation from the likes of people like you who clearly think they know a lot about environmental science when it is obvious to me that they don’t. I certainly know where my professional strengths and weaknesses are, but that does not stop the pretenders on this and other threads who have no background in any relevant fields trying to give the impression that they are self-trained ‘experts’ in many different fields of endeavor. Like you, Betula, they come into these debates armed with their idealogical blinkers which explains their vehement denial. I am wasting my time on them and on you; my aim is to reach out to those who want to know more and who are not clouded by their own political agendas.

  35. #36 Lionel A
    May 6, 2012

    I agree with everything you wrote there in #132 Jeff.

    I will suggest that Betula, and Duff and the rest of The Bash Street Kids, find copies of E.O. Wilson’s ‘The Future of Life’ and for more context ‘The Diversity of Life’ and read them.

    They may then, just, grasp what a knife edge the biosphere that sustains us is poised on and also the value of the services which it provides.

    They should also grasp that even at our current level of ‘mining’ such resources (they should read Jared Diamond too) we are consuming the capital and not surviving on the interest. Why is it that most economists cannot see this?

    But of course they won’t. They will continue to stand in the corner with hands over ears and eyes and stamp their little feet whilst uttering, ‘It isn’t and anyway I cannot hear you’. They are behaving like children at the moment will they mature? That is the question.

  36. #37 David Duff
    May 6, 2012

    Lionel, would that be the same E. O. Wilson who published a paper in NATURE in 2010, along with two mathematicians, which blows kin selection, so beloved of ‘Archbishop’ Dawkins and his ‘Darwinista Sect’ out of the water and replaces it with group selection?

    And would it be the same E. O. Wilson who in July last year expressed great confidence in the future of Africa as agricultural methods improved and more and more people moved to the cities; and who joyfully pointed out that Africa was “the fastest urbanising continent in the world“?

    Is it that E. O. Wilson?

  37. #38 David Duff
    May 6, 2012

    You see, I always fall for a pretty lady! (Er, I am assuming here that Adelady is indeed pretty.) She tells me that when it comes to radiative transfer models (regretably they are not pretty ladies!) it is all easy-peasy: “For global warming it really is quite straightforward“.

    Well, of course, being a gent of the old school I took her word for it but just by accident I was skimming through Wiki, as you do, and I came across this:

    The radiative transfer equation is a monochromatic equation to calculate radiance in a single layer of the Earth’s atmosphere. To calculate the radiance for a spectral region with a finite width (e.g., to estimate the Earth’s energy budget or simulate an instrument response), one has to integrate this over a band of frequencies (or wavelengths). The most exact way to do this is to loop through the frequencies of interest, and for each frequency, calculate the radiance at this frequency. For this, one needs to calculate the contribution of each spectral line for all molecules in the atmospheric layer; this is called a line-by-line calculation. For an instrument response, this is then convolved with the spectral response of the instrument. A faster but more approximate method is a band transmission. Here, the transmission in a region in a band is characterised by a set of pre-calculated coefficients (depending on temperature and other parameters). In addition, models may consider scattering from molecules or particles, as well as polarisation; however, not all models do so.“.

    I thought I had summed all that up with my usual elegance and wit, thus: “Instead we are trying to cope with a plethora of physical interactions taking place in a huge variety of times and places. The word ‘chaos’ hardly describes it.” But alas, the stern disciplinarian, Adelady, still lashed into me although, for the life of me, I can’t see why?

    That’s the trouble with you lot, even when I agree with you you disagree with me! What’s a chap to do?

  38. #39 Jeff Harvey
    May 6, 2012

    Yes, Duffer, this is the same E.O. Wilson, who said in an interview last week:

    *We’re destroying the rest of life in one century. We’ll be down to half the species of plants and animals by the end of the century if we keep at this rate. Very few people are paying any attention, just dedicated groups. The only way we’ve been able to get people’s attention is through big issues like pollution and climate change. They can’t deny pollution because you can give them the taste test. You can say, “We just took this out of the Charles River. Here, drink.” But they can deny climate change. We’re in a state of cosmic or global denial. However, there are changes. The general direction is going up the right way. The only question is how much damage are we going to do to biodiversity before we catch on. Right now I’m going to national parks around the world — I’ve been to Ecuador, Mozambique, the southwest Pacific, all of Western Europe. I’m going to write a series on national parks — what the basic philosophy of national parks and reserves should be, and how it relates to our own self-image and our own hopes for immortality as a species*.

    Kind of blows your attempt to downplay what he says about human impact on the environment out of the water, doesn’t it? As for ‘blowing kin selection out of the water’, all his paper did was present one perspective. As a scientist, it always amuses me when the scientific illiterati (you being one example) take single studies they like and make big noises about them, whilst ignoring many more that they don’t. As if you can interpret the science in the first place. Group selection is still very controversial, especially if there is a low coefficient of relatedness amongst different genotypes in a population. It is very likely that kin selection still has a major place in evolutionary biology, as many scientists have already weighed in critiquing both the Nature paper and Wilson’s ideas in his latest book. But that is what good science is all about.

  39. #40 David Duff
    May 6, 2012

    I love you, Jeff Harvey! Of course, I love Adelady, too, but then I have always been generous in my affections. Why do I love thee? Let me count the ways?

    Well, only one reason, actually. You wrote this and I treasure it: “many scientists have already weighed in critiquing both the Nature paper and Wilson’s ideas in his latest book. But that is what good science is all about.

    Consider yourself covered in kisses – oh brace up, man, it’s not that bad! I truly never, ever expected to see your last sentence on this blog.

  40. #41 Dave H
    May 6, 2012

    Part of me wonders what David Duff thinks of Heartland’s latest massive embarrassment, and just what knots he’d tie himself in while trying to direct attention elsewhere.

    Thankfully, since I block all his comments, I never have to worry about finding out.

  41. #42 bill
    May 6, 2012

    I think you’ve made the right move there, Dave H. Duff’s latest stuff is just embarrassing (and tipsy, perhaps?). Like Rohrabacher, in his mind he clearly imagines he has some kind of point, and is so pleased with himself he even manages to drip condescension.

    Heartland just had another major sponsor pull out, incidentally.

    Duff’s every bit as extreme as HI – as the most cursory skimming of his blog (even that’s more than is recommended!) will reveal.

    Remembering Singer’s recent efforts as well as this latest HI fiasco I reckon we’ll be seeing the ‘respectable’ faction of Denial attempt to further distance themselves from the extremist nutters, at least as an exercise in public perception; the problem for them being that the extremist nutters are Denial, in a very real sense, constituting the majority of what passes for their ‘intelligentsia’ and the overwhelming majority of their foot-soldiers.

  42. #43 Bernard J.
    May 6, 2012

    [Dave H](

    The short of it is that Duff is egregiously cherry picking and confabulating*, and has no clue how he is doing so.

    And at his age, there’s probably not enough time left to teach him where his gaping holes of ignorance are. The only consolation is that his grandchildren will one day remember how he was an obstacle on the road to attempt to make theirs a less worse world than it otherwise will be.

    [* He also seems to be hankering after the sexual shennanigans of a public school dormitory past, hey what, but best to leave that one alone…]

  43. #44 adelady
    May 6, 2012

    Since when did ‘straightforward’ become ‘easy-peasy’.

    The physics of sport are pretty straightforward – lots of that ‘classical physics’ of inertia and the like. But just try playing tennis against Federer or Nadal or Djokovic, easy it ain’t. Or even stringing their rackets – straightforward issues of materials science, probably backed up by lots of arcane physical equations about tensions and resistances and elasticity. Once again, easy it ain’t.

    When it comes to science, duff, you and I are like the audience at musical performances – and so are all the rest of the world’s citizens who aren’t musicians, composers or musicologists. Our singing in the shower or plinking on a guitar or a piano are not equivalent to the expertise of those who perform professionally, let alone to designing and building musical instruments.

    We can appreciate the elegance of various flawless interpretations of a Bach cantata, or the consummate skill of a tennis player or a soccer goal shooter in the same way as we can look at science or scientists as a more-or-less informed observer. How do they _do_ that! is a legitimate expression of admiration.

    The fact that looking more closely makes you realise just how much hard work – physical or intellectual – is required to perform at that level makes no difference. It really is quite straightforward to understand and appreciate as a non-participant. Seeing what’s really required to qualify as a participant should enhance, not detract from, our appreciation.

  44. #45 adelady
    May 6, 2012

    Speaking of participants, here’s a really neat demonstration of what Jeff keeps on reminding us about, the importance of maintaining diversity in various ecologies.

    And what I talk about in actually doing science. 14 uninterrupted years of mainly routine, often tedious, concentrated work in establishing and maintaining experimental plots. Observing and recording minute details not obvious to the uninitiated eye. Analysing those records and producing a paper showing what most of us – but clearly not all of us – expected to see anyway. More variety and more complexity in plant communities produces measurably more plant biomass and associated living material than simpler communities with less variety of plants.

  45. #46
    May 6, 2012

    Lionel, would that be the same E. O. Wilson who published a paper in NATURE in 2010, along with two mathematicians, which blows kin selection, so beloved of ‘Archbishop’ Dawkins and his ‘Darwinista Sect’ out of the water and replaces it with group selection?

    It’s “beloved” because they think the evidence supports it. But E.O. Wilson et. al. may well be right about inclusive fitness and Dawkins may well be wrong … which has none of the implications that an scientifically illiterate illogical imbecile like you seems to think it does. (Among other things, Dawkins’ anecdote about the scientific ethic, about an old professor who thanked the young scientist for showing that the position he had held for many years was mistaken, comes to mind.)

    Meanwhile, E.O. Wilson — that E.O. Wilson — blows you and all other faux-skeptics out of the water over global warming.

  46. #47
    May 6, 2012

    Since when did ‘straightforward’ become ‘easy-peasy’.

    Beyond this switcheroo, Mr. Duff completely changed the subject, like if you had pointed out that heating a pot of water causes it to boil, and he then quoted a text on turbulence. That turbulence is chaotic has no bearing on whether it’s straightforward that heating a pot of water causes it to boil … it is. And that’s the kind of thing we’re talking about when we say that weather isn’t climate — the pot will boil, even though we can’t make predictions about the location or size of the bubbles.

  47. #48
    May 6, 2012

    a paper in NATURE in 2010, along with two mathematicians, which blows kin selection […]out of the water and replaces it with group selection

    Actually, it seems that its the paper that was blown out of the water:

    But for an intellectually dishonest scientific illiterate like Duff, “argument A blows argument B out of the water” simply means that he would prefer the conclusion of argument A to be true.

  48. #49 John
    May 6, 2012

    The Climate Comission have published a rebuttal to Plimer’s creationist-inspired tome “How To Get Expelled From School”.

    I haven’t read the book, and upon reading Plimer’s “questions” I am frankly shocked at how far he is willing to go in order to mislead children for political motives.

  49. #50 bill
    May 7, 2012

    DCCEE intro:

    Many of the questions and answers in Professor Plimer’s book are misleading and are based on inaccurate or selective interpretation of the science.

    Plimer question 99:

    Why do those advocating human-induced global warming vilify scientists who disagree rather than addressing genuine scientific questions?

    DCCEE answer:

    Genuine scientific disputes are normally addressed through publication of alternative theories in peer-reviewed scientific journals. However, the scientists and others disagreeing with the consensus on human-induced climate change have rarely published in such journals, therefore avoiding critical scientific assessment of their work. There is no single paper, or set of papers, that provides a plausible alternative explanation of recent warming. The few papers that do exist have been demonstrated to be flawed by the weight of peer-reviewed literature. There is now a vast body of literature supporting the mainstream understanding of climate change.


  50. #51 MikeH
    May 7, 2012

    @136 Duff “argument from personal incredulity” only works with people who are thicker than you. In your case we are talking about a group that would fit into a phone box.

    Dr David Archer teaches the [basics]( to non-science majors. As adelady says the theory is straightforward, just not to you.

  51. #52 David Duff
    May 7, 2012

    Gosh,you science swots certainly confuse an old chap like me. First one of you quotes E. O. Wilson with warm approval, then another of you leaps with joy because Wilson’s paper is “blown out of the water”! Well, I’ll leave you to fight that one out but I’m happy to hold your coats.

    As for the HI poster campaign I can describe it in one 4-letter word – crap! (See, toujours la politesse, that’s my message.) It goes alongside all those ridiculous pictures of polar bears floating on tiny lumps of ice and similar examples of agit-prop.

    Having just embarked on a love-in with Adelady I have no wish to spoil it with a minor spat before even the honeymoon is over! “Straightforward” and “easy-peasy” are more or less the same adjective, that is, any subject to which they are attached can be easily understood. Thus, even I could (just about) understand the law of levers. I can even understand radiation. But when you have different types of radiation coming at different levels at different times and re-acting differently, not only with the same recipients at different times and in different circumstances, but also differently with different recipients which are themselves being subjected to different influences as well as interacting with each other, and all thes einteractions are virtually impossible to forecast with any degree of accuracy, then I would say that you have a chaotic system. Whilst I salute efforts to get to grips with it and to attempt to forecast future events, you will foregive my doubts as to the likely success.

    Anyway, it’s Bank Holiday Monday so I’m off to put my wellies and raincoat on and go out to enjoy the drought which yet another bunch of ‘scientists’ forecast!

  52. #53 Chris O'Neill
    May 7, 2012

    duff duff has a remarkable ability to turn the straightforward into gibberish.

  53. #54 bill
    May 7, 2012

    Duff does not understand the difference between weather and climate. Shocked, we are, shocked.

    I also find it amusing that record rainfall – as, um, predicted by the whole AGW thing – is now being used by Deniers to discredit the Met Ofice, and this somehow discredits AGW, because the Met accepts the reality of that, so, that proves that… well, um, Deniers in general don’t get the difference between weather and climate.

    What we’re really in danger of drowning in is The Stupid…

  54. #55 Bernard J.
    May 7, 2012


    The study is certainly a neat exercise, but sadly the underlying premise has been understood for decades.

    That we have to keep repeating the message to the deaf, denying ignorati such as David Duff is a damning indictement on our society.

  55. #56 Bernard J.
    May 7, 2012

    David Duff.

    Do your grandchildren know that you’re doing your denialist damnest to destroy their futures?


  56. #57 adelady
    May 7, 2012

    “…all these interactions are virtually impossible to forecast with any degree of accuracy, then I would say that you have a chaotic system.”

    Clearly you’ve never been inside a commercial kitchen at 7.45 pm. The people seem chaotic and any physical or chemical description of the actions and interactions going on in all the pans and pots and flames and ovens at any one instant would be completely impossible. Funnily enough, half an hour later the diners are all served, there’s still some frenetic activity in the dessert and pastry preparation area but it’s all apparently under control.

    But, even now, anyone’d be hard pressed to list all the chemical interactions and physical processes during the previous hours that led to smooth sauces or aromatic casseroles or perfectly shaped dinner rolls. Do you really want to have a go at detailing the chemistry, biology and physics involved in producing perfect creme brulée – or fish’n’chips?

    All science is hard. We _think_ we understand a lot of things we’re familiar with in daily life, like cooking and laundry. But the underlying science is not so simple, it’s only familiarity that makes it seem so.

    Unfamiliar concepts like very large numbers or very long time spans or remote regions like ice caps or the deep oceans or the stratosphere are even harder to deal with because we don’t have familiarity to give us the security of feeling that we know what we’re dealing with.

  57. #58 David Duff
    May 7, 2012

    I have saved you all in the nick of time! As you know I have been tireless in my efforts to offer you an alternative “End of the world is nigh” scenario as your global warming ‘Shlock-Horror’ slowly sinks into the history of utterly useless predictions. But now I bring you a super-swot, Mike Hapgood, a space weather scientist at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford, no less. He is already making for the hills because anytime now, according to him, there is a really, really, big chance of a scary solar storm that will blow away civilisation as we know it! Asked what the chances were he said:

    A recent paper [published in February in the journal Space Weather] tried to estimate the chance of having a repeat of 1859 and came up with a value of a 12% chance of it happening in the next 10 years. That’s quite a high risk.

    There you are, you see, I always deliver on my promises.

  58. #59 David Duff
    May 7, 2012

    Sorry, in my eagerness to please and thus win plaudits from Adelady I failed to provide thelink:,0,5374082,full.story

    Incidentally, my dear (if I may be permitted that very respectful endearment), may I remind you that the results emenating from kitchens are not always what is forecast and thus expected by either chef or consumer!

  59. #60 adelady
    May 7, 2012

    A competent chef, food scientist, chemist or physicist is perfectly capable of explaining what went wrong with ‘unexpected’ results from a kitchen.

    Just as physicists and the armies of scientists in other disciplines give perfectly adequate explanations for what happens in climate.

  60. #61 Jeff Harvey
    May 7, 2012

    *Incidentally, my dear (if I may be permitted that very respectful endearment)*

    From you, Duff, its an insult. The sad thing is that you think you’re having fun here with the crapola you are writing. But you are the only one laughing. Why Tim hasn’t banned you is anyone’s guess. You deserve your own little myopic corner of the blogosphere, but just expect most others not to want to be a part of it. You remind me of someone who would be cracking jokes to the passengers of the Titanic soon after it struck the iceberg. Your premise would be that its unsinkable, even as the mighty liner began to list. As the concern and panic grew, you’d be fiddling away on the upper deck in sheer delight even as the predicament became more and more apparent.

    To be honest, you are, in my honest opinion, warped. I am sure that most of us here wish you’d take your stupidity elsewhere.

  61. #62 adelady
    May 7, 2012

    “From you, Duff, its an insult.”

    From my perspective, it’s almost funny – despite the somewhat weird apparent intention. Addressing remarks in a tone much like someone indulging a teenage niece or neighbour looks downright absurd on this side of the screen.

    To put duff straight – you’ve been addressing your remarks to someone who’s likely more of an old fart than you are. Not just that, an old fart who’s actually a bad-tempered cow spending a lot of time at a keyboard because pain prevents more productive activity – and provokes the aforementioned bad temper.

    It’s entirely possible that I’m older than you. In my case, it doesn’t stop me from respecting the work of people half my age or twice my education or both.

  62. #63 Bernard J.
    May 7, 2012
  63. #64 Jeff Harvey
    May 7, 2012


    Great post @160. Outstanding.

  64. #65 GSW
    May 7, 2012

    @David Duff,

    Don’t them let you put you off David, I’m enjoying it.

    Maybe in a different part of the country to you, but it’s been droughting down here for the last few hours. For all the ‘Global Weirding’ going on elsewhere, it’s a fairly normal Bank Holiday Monday weatherwise. Good excuse for staying in to watch the snooker.


  65. #66 Betula
    May 7, 2012

    Jeff Harvey

    You lied about experiencing climate change first hand, I call you out on it, and as a result, you accuse me of denying climate predictions…

    C’mon Jeff, you need to question your assumptions. Try reading between your own lines, afterall, you’re an honest scientist without biases “clouding” your vision, aren’t you?

  66. #67 GSW
    May 7, 2012


    Jeff is definitely not “an honest scientist without biases “clouding” your[his] vision”, stop taking the p–s.

  67. #68 David Duff
    May 7, 2012

    But Jeff . . . Jeff, baby . . . I thought we had just become engaged, er, with each other’s opinions, that is:

    You wrote this and I treasure it: “many scientists have already weighed in critiquing both the Nature paper and Wilson’s ideas in his latest book. But that is what good science is all about.”

    And I agreed with you! And together we walked off into the sunset (which, as I warned you above @156 is a terrible, frightening threat to all mankind) but now you have turned against me. Does that mean “critiquing” (or ‘criticisng’ as normal English-speakers put it) is now off your agenda? Tell me it ain’t so!

  68. #69 Jeff Harvey
    May 7, 2012


    Go away. You write an utter piffle of an analogy which, frankly, I found even to be idiotic for you, in spite of the crap you normally contribute here. IMHO you appear to be fairly stupid. Get over it. A lot of deniers are.

    The article in question was written by a colleague for the NIOO web site. There’s no way in a million years that one could say that they experienced climate change first hand and not expect the deniers to scream foul, but there are a lot of ways in which patterns can be seen in th ecophysiology of plants and animals over time. Many of these changes are occurring at biome boundaries. And the empirical literature is full of similar examples. Get off you backside and look for some of them. Its not my job here to do that for you. But don’t play the denier game: that its up to me to prove to you than warming is having ecological effects. IT IS. Find out how for yourself.

    But OK, I will play your stupid game. I saw little evidence of snowshoe hares which should have been abundant in the park. Lynx are virtually gone. These are species at the southern edges of their ranges. Its certainly possible that these species are moving north in response to the warmer climate. Many Carolinian species are certainly advancing northwards. Virginia Oppossums are found in areas they were absent from 30 years ago. Red-Bellied Woodpeckers are moving northwards. Many other species of birds are in population freefall. Warming in Europe is haveing all kinds of disruptive effects on species phenologies. African crop pests like Spodoptera littoralis are now overwintering in Europe. Plutella xyslostella, the diamondback moth, a south temperate and tropical species now thrives over much of central Europe. Plants are expanding their ranges from the south.

    As for GSW, what an utter hypocrite. He once wrote, “Polar Bears, frogs and coral reefs are doing fine”. Wrong. Try again. When called out on it, he then claimed that they aren’t necessarily doing fine at all, but that climate change is not a factor in negatively affecting their status. For instance, he then tries to pawn off global amphibian declines as being exclusively due to a pathogen. Wrong again. Many factors are involved, and some secondary stressors facilitate primary stressors that manifest themselves in increased mortality. Direct and indirect effects are abundant in natural systems, so that cause-and-effect relationships are not black and white. But why expect GSW to understand this any more than Betula or Duff? The three of them belong together in their pit of ignornace.

    Then GSW claims to enjoy Duff making an arse of himself. Or should I have said, ‘classic GSW’.

  69. #70 David Duff
    May 7, 2012

    Oh, my God, you may be right after all!

    I have just read in The Telegraph that it was ‘the dinosaurs wot dunnit’! And this is from a pair of real scientific swots of the kind that are so admired on this site. Apparently:

    ”A simple mathematical model suggests that the microbes living in sauropod dinosaurs may have produced enough methane to have an important effect on the Mesozoic climate,” said study leader Dr Dave Wilkinson, from Liverpool John Moores University.

    I mentioned this outstanding discovery to the ‘Memsahib’ but she reckoned dinosaurs had absolutely nothing on me! What can she mean? Anyway:

    ”Indeed, our calculations suggest that these dinosaurs could have produced more methane than all modern sources – both natural and man-made – put together.”

    Cor, who’da thunk it?

  70. #71 Bernard J.
    May 7, 2012


    I can claim to have first-hand experience of the effects of climate change in my own region.

    Over the last few years some of the orchardists in the district have started to replace various pome and stone fruit because the number of chill hours that were experienced several decades ago has been decreasing, and they are being forced to change to varieties that require less chilling.

    The salmon farms where one of my in-laws worked is looking at diversifying to (or possibly completely moving to) other species in the next decade or so, because the darned salmon are starting to suffer ever more heat stress in summer, when water temperatures reach almost to the species’ thermal limits. In the past they could shoulder the small amount of heat death; now it’s becoming a real concern.

    Thirty years ago the roads in the valley over the hill, inland, were blocked by snow almost every year for three or four days, at least. It stopped my kids’ mother from going to school. There hasn’t been snow on these roads for at least a decade, and there haven’t been blockages for at least double that length of time. And a couple of generations ago the village where I live used to get a foot or more of snow at least once a decade – that hasn’t happened for at least fourty years, going on fifty.

    Talk to the old horticultural neighbours here and they’ll tell you that temperature-sensitive spring flowering over the last three or four decades has been steadily occurring earlier, by two or three weeks now compared to then. And many old timers will point to trees that used to turn red or red-purple in autumn, that now manage only orange or orange-red at best. Chinese pistachios are a good example – a relative of mine has one in the garden, and for years it hasn’t managed to come up with the red I was once shown when a preserved leaf was sent to me in my interstate days.

    Don’t tell me that there’s no climate change.

  71. #72 Bernard J.
    May 7, 2012

    David Duff.

    I’ll ask again – do your grandchildren know that you’re a recalcitrant and active denier of human-caused global warming?

  72. #73 David Duff
    May 7, 2012

    Bernard, I am not “an active denier of human-caused global warming”, it’s just that I have been reading the arguments of ‘warmers’ for years whilst also reading those of ‘deniers’ and all I can say is that you have failed to convince me. But I have changed my mind, or even made up my mind, on different subjects over the years, so all you have to do is convince me.

    I should add, that actually given that the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere has never ceased to change then, all things being equal, I would much rather have warming than cooling. Warming brings huge benefits where-as I cannot think, off hand, of any benefits from cooling.

  73. #74
    May 7, 2012

    Gosh,you science swots certainly confuse an old chap like me.

    That’s because you’re an imbecile.

    First one of you quotes E. O. Wilson with warm approval, then another of you leaps with joy because Wilson’s paper is “blown out of the water”!

    An imbecile who doesn’t understand the scientific enterprise and how it differs from argument from authority. Also a liar who blatantly misrepresents the discussion. And a pathetic hypocrite who himself offers E.O. Wilson approvingly (with the lie that his paper blew kin selection out of the water) while at the same time completely discounts what Wilson says about global warming.

    You’ll never convince us of your position, Duff, for the same reason we can’t convince you of ours: you’re stupid, ignorant, and thoroughly dishonest.

  74. #75 Ian Forrester
    May 7, 2012

    Duffer the puffer whined:

    Warming brings huge benefits where-as I cannot think, off hand, of any benefits from cooling.

    If that is your position then I take it you do not like eating and think that you can live on sunshine and water just like the green slime you resemble?

    Food production will be seriously affected by global warming. Food shortages due to climate change are already occurring in certain parts of the globe.

    You are one pathetic and despicable person but you already know that.

  75. #76 Jeff Harvey
    May 7, 2012

    This paper by Walther et al. – which is now 10 years old – won’t stop the armchair denial experts from claiming how much they know more than the scientists, but it puts into perspective what we knew about the biological effects of climate change even by 2002. Fig. 1 is illuminating: it shows the heterogeneous distribution of temperature changes that had occurred in only just over 20 years, and highlights Canada as an area that has experienced rapid warming. It also supports the temperature trends in the transition zones I alluded to earlier which by definition must be having ecological effects. Furthermore, many more studies have been published since this seminal paper came out in 2002 that provide irrefutable proof of biotic responses to warming, as well as how warming is increasing the stress on species interactions and phenology. We can attribute, for example, the decline of the Pied Flycatcher in much of central Europe to changes in spring temperatures as these affect bud burst in oak, emergence of oak-feeding caterpillars, peak food abundance for the flycatchers and reproductive success. This study alone (conducted by colleagues here at the NIOO) shows how climate change is affecting trophic interactions negatively with consequences for the survival of the flycatchers in much of their breeding range. This study is certainly the tip of an iceberg. For instance, climate warming has been implicated in the declining body sizes of North American passerines, as recent articles in Nature and TREE attest. Eric Post gave a seminar at our institute 2 years ago and he showed how warming in Greenland was affecting reproductive cycles and optimal browsing vegetation quality in Reindeer. He also showed how the increased intensity of NAO events is strongly correlated with poor reproductive out put in some North American passerines, especially at the heart of the range of these species (e.g. Summer tanager, Yellow-Billed Cuckoo). This research alone counters the pseudoscientific babble being spewed out by Mr. Know-it-all next door. The Walther article is here:

    As an aside, note how hypocritical Mr. Know-it-all claims that his opponents are ‘asinine’ here, then attacks me for my insults. Talks about asinine! I was willing to give the twit the benefit of the doubt, but he muffed it, and couldn’t keep his massive, bloated patronizing ego in check. And he still hasn’t answered the one question he’s been asked a million times: what is his profession? Since he uses a pseudonym, its not like he will give his identity away. The reason Jonas doesn’t answer this is because he is afraid of being humiliated when he tells us all the truth. That we’ll laugh (we probably will). Any guesses from people here what out resident egotist does for a living? All answers welcome.

  76. #77 adelady
    May 7, 2012

    “Warming brings huge benefits where-as I cannot think, off hand, of any benefits from cooling.”

    So don’t _think_, use your imagination.

    Where I live, we’re fully aware that shopping centres are not really commercial enterprises, they’re temples dedicated to the worship of summer air conditioning.

    When summer temperatures can exceed 40C without breaking any records, you’re not really interested in it getting any “warmer”. And watching 15% of our trees dead and dying over the final couple of years of a drought in a city famed for its parkland setting was particularly galling. In my own garden at the time we lost half a dozen fruit trees, not happy at all. No ‘benefits’ that I could see.

    And around here? The wine growers are picking earlier and earlier and starting to get worried about quality. And grape picking during the middle of the night? Unheard of a few years ago. Not this wet year though, it’s green everywhere and winter hasn’t even started. Feels quite odd.

  77. #78 David Duff
    May 7, 2012

    But my dear Adelady, your shit is my manure, so to speak! If indeed you warmers are right then those viniculturalists of yours will simply have to up sticks, I mean up vines, and move back to southern England where they used to be a few centuries ago. However, I should point out that there is absolutely no sign of global warming here, quite the contrary. However, we can boast of the wettest official drought – anywhere! Some scientific swots have insisted it’s a drought and who am I to argue as I wrestle with my brollie in gusting gales! They may, or may not, be the same sort of scientific swots who for the last three summers have been forecasting non-stop heatwaves, and needless to say my BBQ, which I haven’t used in three years, is getting rustier and rustier. I cannot stress to you strongly enough that I really do wish that global warming was happening – but it ain’t! And were you to tempt me, you naughty Adelady, you, I might have a small wager that global cooling is more likely over the next few years not warming.

  78. #79 GSW
    May 7, 2012

    @Duff @adelady

    You sound like an old married couple!


  79. #80 MikeH
    May 7, 2012

    @Duff and GSW. Take your creepy, patronising and sexist posts elsewhere.

  80. #81 Chris O'Neill
    May 7, 2012

    there is a really, really, big chance of a scary solar storm that will blow away civilisation as we know it!

    So civilization ended in 1859. Interesting.

  81. #82 Chris O'Neill
    May 7, 2012

    duff duff:

    science swots

    Swotting has nothing to do with it. People with low scientific IQs like duff duff can swot all they like, they’ll never understand enough to pass the exam.

  82. #83 adelady
    May 7, 2012

    I realise that some people don’t much care about droughts or flooding on the other side of the world, but surely most of us care what’s happening a couple of hours’ drive away.

    From page 6 of

    For the past 17 months there has been extremely low rainfall across a large area of England … It has been the driest six months on record for eastern England. ….rain received in the first part of March … has not reversed the impact of two consecutive dry winters. In central, eastern, south east and parts of south west England … we will start spring 2012 in a worse water resources position than spring 2011. In contrast northern England and Wales will start the spring with resources in a normal position.

    A more recent update at shows

    Despite the amount of rain received throughout April, East Anglia, the south east of England, south and east Yorkshire, the south west of England and the Midlands remain in drought..

    Don’t know how many of your not-quite-neighbours would agree with your casual sneer about wanting more warming.

  83. #84
    May 7, 2012

    Here’s definition of “swot” from the Urban Dictionary that fits Duff well:

    A word used by morons to insult a person of superior academic abilities.

    Said morons believe to have such intelligence and excelling at education and gaining qualifications is laughable and therefore to be called a ‘swot’ is a horrible, undesirable humiliation for the victim.

  84. #85 Bernard J.
    May 7, 2012

    Heh, if David Duff the denialist doesn’t like the cold, he should ponder on the likely eventual effect of global warming on the Altlantic thermohaline circulation.

    Of course, he’ll be pushing up daisies before that time comes, but if he’s going to try to be objective about it he should be acknowledging the science and promoting the opposite of what he does.

    But then, it’s never about the science with Duff…

    Hey Davie, you still haven’t answered the question – have you told your grandchildren yet that you want to FUBAR their world and their lives, by actively promoting inaction as a response to the conclusions of objective science and empirical evidence?

  85. #86
    May 7, 2012

    there is absolutely no sign of global warming here


  86. #87
    May 7, 2012

    “Warming brings huge benefits where-as I cannot think, off hand, of any benefits from cooling.”

    So don’t think, use your imagination.

    Don’t get sucked into Duff’s idiocy, Adelady. Benefits of cooling are irrelevant; the issue is that we’re facing an increase of global temperature of several degrees, and there’s a rather large benefit to not having that happen.

  87. #88
    May 7, 2012

    there is absolutely no sign of global warming here

    It should have been called planetary warming, rather than global warming, to head off at least one common misunderstanding.

  88. #89 Betula
    May 7, 2012

    Bernard @169..

    “Don’t tell me that there’s no climate change”

    I don’t believe I did tell you that. I also never told you that you had a superiority complex or that you were a liar.

    I did, however, ask Jeff to give details of his first hand experience with climate change in Algonquin and he replied he couldn’t. Of course, he just recently contradicted his contradiction @167, saying that the little evidence of Snowshoe Hares and a lack of Lynx are signs of climate change:

    “I saw little evidence of snowshoe hares which should have been abundant in the park. Lynx are virtually gone. These are species at the southern edges of their ranges. Its certainly possible that these species are moving north in response to the warmer climate”

    It’s possible, yes, if that’s what you want to believe to fit your message while leaving other information out:

    Bernard, now wouldn’t you think that someone as superior as Jeff would know better?

  89. #90 Betula
    May 7, 2012

    “Bernard @169…

    “I can claim to have first-hand experience of the effects of climate change in my own region”

    You list 4 examples, all of which may or may not have to do with climate change. For the sake of argument, let’s say they all do. Is it all detrimental?

    1.Orchardists are planting new varieties.

    2.Salmon Farms are adapting:
    “The Tasmanian salmonid farming industry is well placed to adapt to the challenges of climate change.”

    3.Roads are no longer blocked so kids can go to school

    4.In some cases, early spring flowering may increase and lengthen plant productivity, assuming the pollinators also emerge early.

    So are there positive and negative predicted effects, or only negative predicted effects? Is there a negative to positive predicted ratio? Does the predicted ratio change by region and species? Is the predicted ratio weighed against other predictions?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not denying predictions based on other predictions, I’m questioning if these predictions are currently facts (experienced first hand), in which case, they are no longer predictions. And if the predictions are currently facts, are the predicted effects all negative.

  90. #91 adelady
    May 7, 2012

    “…assuming the pollinators also emerge early.”

    Pot luck really. If the required pollinators emergence relies on day length rather than seasonal warmth it’s all a bit sad.

    “Orchardists are planting new varieties.” and later …
    “…are the predicted effects all negative.”

    I’d say losing your investment in a few thousand trees and having to purchase replacements long before their anticipated end of productive life counts as negative.

  91. #92 Lotharsson
    May 8, 2012

    Speaking of recent [news coverage of dinosaur farts](…your source of reportage may not be particularly accurate.

  92. #93
    May 8, 2012

    Hmm, what is the ratio of positive to negative effects of raising the global temperature by, say, 4 degrees Centigrade? 6 degress Centigrade? This may help:

  93. #94 Jeff Harvey
    May 8, 2012

    Betula’s response @ 188 reveals in detail why its a waste of time responding to him.

    Dozens of times I have explained that species and especially local populations are adapted to cope wtih certain biotic and abiotic conditions. Dozens of times I have explained that species do not exist as isolated entitites but depend on an array of interactions with other species in food webs: mutulaists as well as antagonists. Numerous studies have shown that the strenght and resilience of food webs is determined by feedback loops within these food webs, and recent theory predicts that more species-rich food webs are more stable because they offer more alternate pathways for the circulation of resources through the system. We also know that there is inbulit redundancy into most systems, so that when a key driver of ecosystem processes delcines, other species within the same functional guild fill in for them and sustain the role the declining species filled. But some systems have a lot less in-built redundancy: for instance, ecosystems in higher latitudes with, because of thermal contraints, are less species-rich. But these species are well adapted to thrive under such conditions as a result of millions of years of evolution via frequency-dependent selection. Enthothermic species exhibit thermoneutral zones: this is where the organisms must invest variable amounts of energy in response to temepratures that fall within or outside the range of normal temepratures they would generally experience in their habitats. A rapid shift in temperature will likely shift temperature regimes outside of the normal range, meaning the organisms must expend more energy to regulate their internal body temperatures.Invertebrates are also adapted to certain temeprature regimes. The distribtion of a species represents its optimal habitat window as determined by intrinsic (physiological) and extrinsic (ecological) constraints. Innumerable paramters are involved, but when constraints fall outside of the norm, then we can expect the predictions of the Thomas et al. (2004) article to manifest themselves: local declines of species followed by the extinction of genotypes, populations and eventually the species as a whole.

    Putting this all together, climate change represents a profound challenge to biodiversity. And I mean the kind of changes that are occurring now, well outside of normal boundries for a largely deterministic system. The Walther et al. paper already gave plenty of examples where climate warming was either shown to be or implicated in the declines of species and food webs. Since it was published, many hundreds more have appeared in the empirical literature. Essentially, Betula, like GSW and the other deniers here, wants us to cross our fingers and hope all turns out hunky-dory. Duff hasn’t got a clue either and can also be excused for his ignorance. Jonas is a waste of time: he is too wrapped up in his own bloated ego and the reverential praise he receives from GSW to understand the basics of environmental science. Heck, he’s afraid to tell us what his day job is, instead giving us cryptic clues that it is ‘relevant’ to the discussion. Well, one thing is for certain: he and his acolytes do not understand basic environmental science. We get fatuous remarks from Duff calling it ‘soft science’, when I am sure Duff could not analyse the illustration below showing a ‘simple’ aphid-parasitoid-hyperparasitoid food web (courtesy of the van Veen lab):

    To reiterate, this is a simple food web. Throw in thousands of other biotic interactions – intraguild predation, associational resistance and susceptibility, and then try to analyze the chemical and physical factors in the environment that account for the structire of this food web. Go ahead David D. Perhaps you’d like to use our HPLC and analyze the secondary chemistry of the plants at the basal end of the food chain or use an HPMS to analyze the plant volatiles while you are at it? And then write up your results using PCA?

    This is where the effects of warming will and are being borne out. On food webs and species interactions. And the prognosis is not good. Certainly warming and other stressors are simplifying food webs through differentiual effects on various species in them. So when I see people arguing that warmer is better because it means the kids will have more snow-free days to get to school, or because farmers can plant more thermophilic fruit trees, I cringe. If this is what the public’s attitutide is towards climate change and its possible effects, then we are in deep, deep trouble. A PhD student here recently showed here that the soil microbial community can be hammered by even short bursts of extremely host conditions. Soil-plant feedbacks mediate many key ecosystem properties, as described in the Janzen-Connell hypothesis. Uncoupling of soil- and above-ground processes will certainly affect ecosystems and their productivity. And, as I have also said dozens of times, warmer conditions will not be accompanied a simple shift of biomes to the north, at least not at the temporal scale being envisaged. Moreover, the landscape has been greatly altered across most of the biosphere by man. We are certainly living in the Anthropocene. Adaptation is challenging enough, given that we are talking about a century. But juxtapose that with the fact that species will have to cross vast expanses of agricultural and urban landscapes that create artificial barriers to dispersal. Habitat and dietary specialist herbivores are already showing signs of being negatively affected by warming.

    In summary, the Betula’s of this world are those who desperately cling to the notion that humans will ‘muddle through’. It doesn’t matter that the evidence is all around us that we are pushing systems towards a point beyond which they will be unable to sustain life in a manner that we know. And the evidnece is large and growing. GSW belittles the ‘Planet under Pressure’ document without really having a clue what it is about. He then runs off to his hero and mentor, desperate for reassurance that all if well with the world. Much of what the deniers understand comes from appalling anti-environmental sites like BH and WUWT. Not from the primary literature. The studies (or people) who are not liked are routinely ridiculed by people who are afraid to write up rebuttals for science journals, knowing they would be shredded. So they bang the drum and pound their chests on the blogs, while in real life they are a bunch of cowards.

    I’ve been repeatedly called a liar by the lay-deniers on Deltoid and I have learned that one has to have a thick skin to deal with these people. My colleagues are forever telling me that I am wasting my valuable time responding to them. And they are probably correct. But what has kept me here are the voices of reason and not the right-wing nuts who are living out their D-K fantasies.

  94. #95 StevoR
    May 8, 2012

    Some folks here might want to look at [this item]( via the ABC’s Drum website.

    On the bright side the Inst.-o’-Pub.-Affairs is acknowledging there’s a problem I guess.

  95. #96 StevoR
    May 8, 2012

    @ 192. Jeff Harvey | May 8, 2012 3:50 AM :

    Thankyou. Your effeorts here are much appreciated – by some of us anyhow.

    If we ever get to meet in person I’ll be honoured to shout you a beer – or other poison of your choice.

    @1. Harald Korneliussen | May 1, 2012 1:48 PM

    There haven’t been too many threads lately, only the monthly open threads (which I believe are posted automatically), and Tim Lambert doesn’t participate in them. What’s up?

    Well, it certainly ain’t a lack of material!

    Plenty of possible columns for The Australians War on Science and the whole brief facepalm worthy [Heartland What the .. Unabomber posters really!?]( deal and so much more.

    Been wondering that myself.

    @ Tim Lambert – Hope you are well and happy. Please sir, can we have some more {/Oliver twist voice.) Any chance you can let us know what’s going on here, please?

  96. #97 Bernard J.
    May 8, 2012


    Adelady’s already pointed you in the right direction, but let me add to her comments.

    1) Local orchardists are already running close to the break-even margin, and having to remove mature trees is a huge financial burden. To say nothing of the more general cultural and biodiversity significance of losing to extinction (often valuable) varieties because there’s simply nowhere to grow them successfully.

    2) Salmon are much better adapted to aquaculture than are local species. And believe me, I know – I have had the privilege of maintaining some of our local species in capitivity, and they are a completely different kettle to salmonids, which I have also husbanded. One big issue is that indigenous species simply don’t grow as rapidly as do salmon and trout, so they offer no profit after housing and feeding – and that’s aside from their less forgiving response to captivity.

    3) The loss of (the very limited) snow cover in Australia will have profound consequences for a number of species, and indeed for (the Australian version of) alpine ecosystems. You might not give a shit, but those of us who understand think rather differently.

    4) Phenological dissociation… well, that’s a whole discipline unto itself. If you don’t appreciate the significance, you probably aren’t competent to operate machinery or to hold sharp implements.

    As others have repeatedly pointed out, you’re simply a waste of space.

  97. #98 David Duff
    May 8, 2012

    So UEA are now proven liars thanks to FoI disclosures.

    Oh dear, what a pity, never mind!

  98. #99 Bernard J.
    May 8, 2012


    Chris Berg rooting for adaptation as a response policy is like the fox begging to be put in charge of hen house security.

    However, if things have reached to point where the Productivity Commission has concluded that adaptation is actually a front-line strategy, then the fight is already lost.

    Which, when all is said and done, I suspect is indeed the fact of the matter…

  99. #100 Jeff Harvey
    May 8, 2012

    Where did Duff glean his latest information?… from WUWT, that’s where. A weblog that routinely spews lies and disinformation.

    Please Duff, leave.

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