Matt Ridley’s first response to my post about his failed prediction was denial:

I did not write for the Globe and Mail in 1993 let alone about climate!

Then he moved onto stage 3, bargaining:

global av temp (ignoring pinatubo drop) is about 0.2C above 1991 level after 22 yrs – so I was spot on so far!

UAH_LT_1979_thru_Dec_2012_v5.51

As you can see, the graph he cites shows 0.5 degrees of warming since he made his prediction, so it seems that he is applying a 0.3 degree correction for Pinatubo.   Which brings us to Ridley’s next column, published in The Sunday Telegraph on 30 Jan 1994 (one month after his column with the failed prediction):

The satellites, however, tell a very different story about the 1980s (their data do not go further back). Orbiting the planet from north to south as the Earth turns beneath them, they take the temperature of the lower atmosphere using microwave sensors. By the end of 1993 the temperature was trending downwards by 0.04 of a degree per decade.

The satellite’s masters explain away this awkward fact by subtracting two volcanic eruptions (Mount Pinatubo in 1991 and El Chichon in 1982) and four El Ninos (sudden changes in the circulation of the water in the Pacific).  Since they assume that all these would have cooled the atmosphere, they conclude that the 1980s did see a gradual warming of the air by 0.09 degrees: still less than a third of that recorded by the old method.

Even with this sleight of hand (and when I was a scientist I was trained not to correct my data according my preconceptions of the result), the startling truth remains that the best measure yet taken of the atmosphere has found virtually no evidence of global warming.

So according to Matt Ridley in 1994, Matt Ridley in 2013 used a “sleight of hand”, something that he was trained not to do.   If we hold Matt Ridley to the standard he declared at the time of his prediction there has been 0.5 degrees of warming since he predicted that there would be just one degree by 2100.

But if we do want to know what the long term warming trend is, it is not a “sleight of hand” to remove the short term effects of volcanoes and El Nino/La Nina. It is, however, a sleight of hand for Ridley to just correct for Pinatubo and not El Nino/La Nina.  Here is the graph from Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) that shows what temperature records look like if the short term effects are removed:

figure05

Using Ridley’s preferred UAH data set we see that there has been 0.4 degrees of warming since he made his prediction.

Any way you slice it, there has been much more warming that Ridley predicted.  I hope this information will help him reach stage 5, acceptance.

Comments

  1. #1 Lotharsson
    January 16, 2013

    You cannot measure radiative forcing because in order to do it, you would have to hold certain parts of the climate system in a “fixed” state.

    True, I was hasty and expressed it sloppily. Wow’s succinct summary was pretty good.

    What I meant was we have directly observed things like TOA spectra and downward directed longwave radiation spectra changing over time in ways that are pretty consistent with the basic understanding of changing atmospheric CO2’s effect on longwave IR.

    Rog is ignoring these obvious signs of increasing CO2 having a forcing effect and trying to infer from far more indirect methods (apparently trying to infer that it either does not have the effect scientists say it does – based on those measurements, amongst other things – or maybe just that something else has an even bigger effect on OLR).

    And he still hasn’t explained why he claimed 2.5 W/m^2 when the graph clearly shows a lot less – and when the “linear trend” appears to be wrongly calculated.

    (That, and his graph has no data source and no confidence intervals.)

  2. #2 Lotharsson
    January 16, 2013

    Jeff, if I’m not mistaken lumpus is one of Eli Rabbett’s trolls. Funny how the reinforcements turned up here after Ridley chickened out ;-)

  3. #3 drlumpusspookytoothphd
    January 16, 2013

    @lotharsson

    that was a decent response

    @WOW and Jeff Harvey

    so WOW is going to take the creationist perspective and pretend the world began 5,000 years ago.

    Jeff Harvey claims the only that is important is how long it takes co2 to accumulate in the atmosphere. I am not going to respond to WOW, he clearly bested me in this debate.

    @Jeff Harvey

    I suggest you take a look at geologic history, you will find that co2 levels have almost always been higher, so that is proof that we can let additional co2 accumulate. Understand that does not mean I am saying we can add co2 forever. I am simply of the opinion that the earth can manage exponentially higher values of co2.

    And I saw the comment on the next page, yes I do comment at Eli Rabetts, I would not say I am the cavalry for Matt Ridley, as I’m not defending him.

  4. #4 chek
    January 16, 2013

    ” I am simply of the opinion that the earth can manage exponentially higher values of co2″.

    Well I’m sure you and your idealised version of Earth will remain very happy together.

    In the meantime human civilisation will be coping with a rapidly changing climate disrupting weather patterns and wreaking havoc with agriculture, ocean acidification punching holes in ocean food chains and sea level rise affecting that proportion of humanity that lives in coastal regions and all in the geological blink of an eye.

    The Earth will manage just fine. The rest of us … not so well.

  5. #5 Vince Whirlwind
    January 16, 2013

    Lumpus, you are the one who made an incorrect statement about the historical record.
    (Apparently without knowing what “historical” means. Oh, the joys of post-modernist thinking!).
    Not only is the current concentration of CO2 higher than at any time in the historical record, it is at its highest for not far off 1 million years.

  6. #6 Jeff Harvey
    January 16, 2013

    Drlumpy,

    Re-read my post. It is NOT the concentration of C02 that matters for the biosphere but the RATE at which concentrations change. Of course concentrations of this gas have been higher in the geological record but to get where they were took many millions of years; humans are rapidly altering this composition in the blink of an evolutionary and geological eye.

    Humans are altering other natural processes that normally play themselves out over immense periods of time in a century or even less. We are stressing systems to the breaking point and are expecting them to respond adaptively.

    Vince also sums it up above.

  7. #7 Jeff Harvey
    January 16, 2013

    “I am simply of the opinion that the earth can manage exponentially higher values of co2.”

    On what empirical evidence do you base this flippant remark? Do you even remotely understand how complex adaptive systems evolve, assemble and function? Clearly not, and you will be hard pressed to find any qualified scientist make such an absurd ‘guess’. I am certainly not one of them.

  8. #8 Vince Whirlwind
    January 16, 2013

    Jeff could also add that spectacularly fast increases in atmospoheric CO2 levels, similar to the one that is currently in progress, can be detected in the geological record.

    Want to guess what kind of ecological events accompany these fast increases of CO2?

  9. #9 Richard Simons
    January 16, 2013

    I am simply of the opinion that the earth can manage exponentially higher values of co2.

    What do you mean by ‘exponentially’? You really should not use words that you don’t understand – it makes you look foolish. People have assumed you just meant ‘very much higher’. If so, you should have written that instead of trying to appear ‘scientific’.

  10. #10 Vince Whirlwind
    January 16, 2013

    Tallbloke:

    Your green trend line goes from the trough of a la nina at the start of 2008 to just past the peak of the 2010 el nino

    Don’t you just hate it when people do that?

    Have you figured out why real scientists disagree with virtually everything you say yet?

  11. #11 Vince Whirlwind
    January 16, 2013

    Lumpus:

    I am simply of the opinion that the earth can manage exponentially higher values of co2.

    You demonstrate with that simple sentence that you are far too ignorant to have an opinion worth listening to.

    That’s what you get for hanging out at crank-blogs instead of getting your information from honest and trustworthy sources.

  12. #12 Wow
    January 17, 2013

    “so WOW is going to take the creationist perspective and pretend the world began 5,000 years ago. ”

    History started 5000 years ago.

    That you don’t know what words means is merely because you’re an idiot.

    Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there we go.

  13. #13 Vince Whirlwind
    January 17, 2013

    It’s true, Lumpus just doesn’t know what words mean.

    Lucky he’s a scientific genius, though, or you might be excused for thinking he’s a semi-educated halfwit devoted to an uninformed contrarian position on a subject he knows nothing about.

  14. #14 Vince Whirlwind
    January 17, 2013

    ***
    Wow, wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that *Ancient* History began about 5,000 years ago (I’d have said closer to 6,000, but whatever).
    And *History* started around 2,500 years ago?

    I’d always thought Homer sat roughly on the cusp of the two?

  15. #15 Vince Whirlwind
    January 17, 2013

    Either way, those Greeks kept immaculate CO2 data.

  16. #16 Wow
    January 17, 2013

    Aye, though in potentia, you COULD have history going back 5000 years.

    IIRC the only history we have going that far is “How much tax was collected”.

  17. #17 Wow
    January 17, 2013

    spunkytooth also thinks history == existence.

    Dinosaurs didn’t teach or read about history. They still existed.

  18. #18 Lotharsson
    January 17, 2013

    Either way, those Greeks kept immaculate CO2 data.

    FTW!

  19. #19 Lotharsson
    January 17, 2013

    I am simply of the opinion that the earth can manage exponentially higher values of co2.

    Ignoring the stupidities in this statement pointed out by others above…

    …the earth has also “managed” sea levels something like 120m higher than the present day’s, courtesy of warming in large part due to higher CO2 levels.

    Then there’s the research suggesting that in the 4-6 C warming range the earth may no longer be able to sustain a global civilisation – or a population of more than about a billion humans.

    The woolly concept of “the earth can manage it”, if we interpret it quite charitably, does not seem to be closely aligned in the real world with “most of humanity can manage it”.

  20. #20 Chris O'Neill
    January 17, 2013

    It looks like Roger is quite comfortable with his theory of the conspiracy to manipulate ocean heat content data.

  21. #21 Lotharsson
    January 17, 2013

    Roger seems quite comfortable with the oddities on his OLR graph too.

  22. #22 MapleLeaf
    January 17, 2013

    So, rather than engage in rigorous scientific debate here with Tim, Ridley has taken the coward’s way out and written a nonsensical post on a fake skeptic site known for promoting BS and for censoring commentators who have the temerity to challenge the nonsensical opinions put forward by Ridley et al..

    A desperate play by Ridley. It also shows that he is more interested in “messaging” than getting his facts right on a subject that he is not qualified to speak to.

  23. #23 Vince Whirlwind
    January 17, 2013

    Ridley’s choice of venue reflects his own assessment of his content.

  24. #24 John
    January 17, 2013

    That was a very limp defense. Rog doesn’t seem very convinced by his own argument.

  25. #25 adelady
    city of wine and roses
    January 17, 2013

    Not again.

    How many times do we have to go through this – the planet can tolerate lots of CO2, being covered in ice, big hits from space debris, anything anyone like to think of? Nobody cares!!

    We know the rock we live on will last as long as its solar system allows it to. We know the planet’s survived being covered in ice and having no ice, being covered in forests and having little to no living organisms. It doesn’t matter.

    What does matter is that this thin film of liquid water, accumulated ice and widespread plants and animals on the surface of the planet has only ever supported a large population of humans in one particular, quite narrow, range of all the climate options available. (Anybody who protests the description of “thin” to describe the surface living material and water should check the numbers. What proportion of the planet’s surface is covered by water? What proportion of the planet’s mass consists of water? Play with those numbers however you like.)

    We’re perfectly capable of gradually acclimatising to geological time-scale changes. We should be very cautious about getting the rates of geological carbon release/sequestration so far out of whack that we’re messing with the onset and duration of ice ages.

  26. #26 Olaus Petri
    January 17, 2013

    Rose and Hansen seem to be on the same page:

    “The five-year mean global temperature has been flat for the last decade, which we interpret as a combination of natural variability and a slow down in the growth rate of net climate forcing. – James Hansen et al.”

    ;-)

  27. #27 John
    January 17, 2013

    Olaus left this bit out.

    We conclude that background global warming is continuing, consistent with the known planetary energy imbalance, even though it is likely that the slowdown in climate forcing growth rate contributed to the recent apparent standstill in global temperature.

    ;)

  28. […] Tim Lambert eviscerates failed banker Matt Ridley, not once but twice. […]

  29. #29 Lotharsson
    January 17, 2013

    So, John, Olaus was lying when he said Rose was on the same page as Hansen?

    Say it ain’t so?!

  30. #30 MikeH
    January 17, 2013

    Graham Lloyd, the climate science misrepresenter who wrote the story on sea level in The Australian now admits he got it wrong. The online version of the article has been pulled and the usual small apology buried in an inside page has been printed.

    http://www.readfearn.com/2013/01/the-australian-admits-it-misinterpreted-research-on-sea-level-rise-linked-to-climate-change/

  31. #31 MikeH
    January 17, 2013

    James Hansen “Global Temperature Update Through 2012″

    O’laugh also left out

    …our interpretation of the larger role of unforced variability in temperature change of the past decade, suggests that global temperature will rise significantly in the next few years as the tropics moves inevitably into the next El Nino phase.

    Leaving the moron to one side, the paper is worth a read as he discusses how aerosols (think Beijing smog) continue to be a source of uncertainty in determining climate forcing.

  32. #32 bill
    January 17, 2013

    A report in the Australian on Tuesday (Sea rise ‘not linked to warming’, page 1) said a paper by JM Gregory with a contribution from John Church had “found no link to global warming and no increase in the rate of glacier melt over the past 100 years”. In fact, the paper found the effect of anthropogenic global warming on the rate of sea level rise would have been greater in the 20th century but for volcanic activity. It found that in the past two decades the rate of sea level rise had been larger than in the 20th century.

    In the voice of the yoof: Epic Fail!

    Any minute now we’ll see a similar retraction from our local Deniers…

    (Ha Ha!)

  33. #33 bill
    January 17, 2013

    One media regulation I really would like to see is that retractions should receive identical billing to the initial erroneous article. Particularly in circumstances like these.

  34. #34 Vince Whirlwind
    January 17, 2013

    The uncertainties are the most important part for anybody truly interested in risk management….

  35. #35 Vince Whirlwind
    January 17, 2013

    Bill,
    +1

  36. #36 Vince Whirlwind
    January 17, 2013

    Canada has a law about truth in publishing.

    We should get the same, and that is something Gillard should have been driving at as a consequence of the exposure of News’ flagrantly lawless behaviour during the year that was.

  37. #37 Vince Whirlwind
    January 17, 2013

    Mike provides a link to Graham Redfearn’s article on this event.

    Below Graham’s article appears a comment which is one of the most apt observations I have read for a long time.

    While we carry on here playing whack-a-mole, the Australian is engaged on a very serious and well-considered campaign of disinformation and lies.

    They don’t even care about their credibility any more – their only worth is their worth as an organ of political disinformation.

    Utterly disgraceful, and the government should fuck them up as soon as possible.

  38. #38 Rog Tallbloke
    January 17, 2013

    Lotharsson
    January 16, 2013
    Rog is ignoring these obvious signs of increasing CO2 having a forcing effect and trying to infer from far more indirect methods (apparently trying to infer that it either does not have the effect scientists say it does – based on those measurements, amongst other things – or maybe just that something else has an even bigger effect on OLR).

    Clearly, If OLR has been increasing when additional co2 is supposed to have the opposite effect on it, then something else is involved in forcing the climate system. That’s just elementary logic.

    (That, and his graph has no data source and no confidence intervals.)

    Which is why I came and asked, respectfully at first, if anyone had a link to another OLR dataset.

  39. #39 Latimer Alder
    January 17, 2013

    OK

    Perhaps it will be easier all round if you could all make a selection of writers whose qualifications are not to your satisfaction and who do not write about ‘mainstream science’

    Then I will know to shun them in the future.

    The old Roman Catholic idea of the ‘Index Librorum Prohibitorum’ (qv) cans serve as your model. Here, to get you started, are some of the names already there:

    Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Victor Hugo, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, André Gide, Immanuel Kant, David Hume, René Descartes, Francis Bacon, John Milton, John Locke, Galileo Galilei, Blaise Pascal.

    To which we can now add

    Matt Ridley, Anthony Watts, Steve McIntyre, Andrew Montford, Donna LaFramboise, Roger Peilke, Roger Longstaff, David Holland, Richard Betts, Bjorn Lomborg, Richard Lindzen, Chris Monckton, Chris Booker, Mark Lynas………….

    Feel free to keep adding, mes braves!

    My brief experience of working with military types taught me that the surefire way to get something read is to slap ‘Banned’ and/or ‘Top Secret’ on it.

  40. #40 Wow
    January 17, 2013

    Still failing to understand that which you do not wish to understand latte.

    I realise that if thinking doesn’t give you the answer you want to hear you don’t want to think, but try to overcome that prejudice.

  41. #41 Wow
    January 17, 2013

    “If OLR has been increasing when additional co2 is supposed to have the opposite effect on it”

    Do you have ANY idea what “Warming” means?

  42. #42 Wow
    January 17, 2013

    Wodger, here’s some clue for you. Feel free to take as much as you can handle.

    When CO2 is introduced, it traps heat, cooling the TOA and reducing the Eout.

    If Ein remains the same, or at least higher than Eout, then the planet will warm.

    Which warms the TOA eventually. Even though CO2 cools it, the response is to balance out by warming up.

    This warming will increase Eout until it is the same as Ein, at which point the global balance is now reattained AT A HIGHER TEMPERATURE.

    This is why humans don’t spontaneously combust when putting a TOG13 duvet on the bed.

  43. #43 Rog Tallbloke
    January 17, 2013

    Do you have ANY idea what “Warming” means?

    Sure. Do you understand that I was responding to Toby’s assertion that:
    the earth’s climate system is not in thermal equilibrium and energy in > energy out. ?

  44. #44 Rog Tallbloke
    January 17, 2013

    “When CO2 is introduced, it traps heat, cooling the TOA and reducing the Eout.

    If Ein remains the same, or at least higher than Eout, then the planet will warm.

    Which warms the TOA eventually. Even though CO2 cools it, the response is to balance out by warming up.”

    Oh my, this is going to take a while to unravel.
    You are aware the MET Office dataset for the stratosphere has recently been falsified – Yes?

  45. #45 Lotharsson
    January 17, 2013

    Clearly, If OLR has been increasing when additional co2 is supposed to have the opposite effect on it, then something else is involved in forcing the climate system.

    First we need to find out if OLR is actually increasing. So far you’ve provided an unsourced graph with dubious curve fits and you’ve verbally overstated the rise over 30 years in whatever quantity the graph actually shows by a factor of 3.

    Not a good start for your argument.

    (I also have a vague memory that some data sources for OLR may not be suitable for trend analysis, so you’ve first got to ensure that yours is.)

  46. #46 Jeff Harvey
    January 17, 2013

    Latimer, There’s a difference between ‘banning’ something and taking what is written as ‘gospel’.

    Perhaps you don’t know it, but pretty well everyone you listed in the science section above has little or no pedigree in environmental science. Lindzen certainly does in climate science, but he was once on the corporate payroll and his views fall well outside those of most of his peers. The rest are a hodge-poidge mixture of pseudos, and on that basis the question must be asked – what do these untrained greenhorns know that has miraculously escaped the scientific community writ large? What is their connection?

    I certainly think there is one, although some of them are more strongly associated with an idealogical (= political, economic) bias (e.g. Lindzen, McIntyre, LaFramboise, Montford, Ridley), whereas others just like to be in the limelight and find that going against the current enables them to bypass the normally long slog to academic proiminence and gives them their 15 minutes of fame (e.g. Lomborg, Lynas).

    I do find you rather flippant remark of qualifications to undermine the obvious thrust of your post. I know what you are trying to say – that these writers are only criticized because of what they say and not on their lack of qualifications – but as a well published scientist I can assure you that you are wrong. If the vast majority of statured scientists are on one side of a debate and a much smaller number of less qualified others are on the other side of the debate, you need to ask yourself why? The most common yet feeble explanation coming from the denial camp is that scientists depend on grants for their research, and that to land these grants they need to conjure up scary scenarios to get funded. A few others have come to the equally absurd conclusion that we’re mostly a bunch of far left ex-communists who want to push for global government. What else cab they say? But one thing is for sure – climate change deniers and other anti-environmental groups wear their idealogical hearts on their sleeves a lot more than their supposed opponents do. Thanks to the internet and the corporate media they’ve been able to camouflage it better. You’ll rarely read an article in the media which the funding or affiliations of a deniers are mentioned, although many of them are linked with strongly free-market corporate funded think tanks. Moreover, in these articles you’ll often see a lone but qualified scientist interviewed on one side and a much less qualified person interviewed on the other, misleadingly called an ‘expert’. The media gives the impression of the issue being divided down the middle, which in the case of the mainstream opinion on AGW it most certainly is not.

  47. #47 Wow
    January 17, 2013

    “You are aware the MET Office dataset for the stratosphere has recently been falsified – Yes?”

    I am unsurprised you claim this.

    And I am unsurprised that you decided to drop this non sequitur in here. Nothing I said has ANYTHING to do with a dataset by ANYONE.

  48. #48 Wow
    January 17, 2013

    “Do you understand that I was responding to Toby’s assertion that:
    the earth’s climate system is not in thermal equilibrium and energy in > energy out. ?”

    Yes. And another non sequitur.

    That you don’t understand the physics is entirely obvious.

    Tim: Ein > Eout.
    Monkey Boy: Eout is increasing! CO2 is suppsoed to reduce Eout.
    Me: CO2 reduces Eout and that causes warming which then increases Eout until it equals Ein.
    Monkey Boy: Burble hurble vurple.

    The extent of your lack of grasp of not only English but science is staggering.

  49. #49 Rog Tallbloke
    January 17, 2013

    Lotharsson
    January 17, 2013
    First we need to find out if OLR is actually increasing. So far you’ve provided an unsourced graph with dubious curve fits

    Agreed. Which is your preferred dataset?

  50. #50 Lotharsson
    January 17, 2013

    Latimer, you’re indulging in yet another strawman.

    No-one is saying ban those authors.

    No-one is even saying to shun them – except perhaps if you’re in the business of hiring science journalists, and you actually expect them to fairly represent the science, or if you’re looking for someone not likely to misrepresent the science to you and you don’t have the scientific skills to figure out their misrepresentations yourself.

    The latter was the point.

    Are you recommending those without scientific skills read journalists with a history of misrepresentation? If so, why?

  51. #51 Lotharsson
    January 17, 2013

    Agreed. Which is your preferred dataset?

    I’m confused.

    I thought you were making a case here?

    Please proceed.

  52. #52 Wow
    January 17, 2013

    ” “First we need to find out if OLR is actually increasing. So far you’ve provided an unsourced graph with dubious curve fits”

    Agreed”

    So when you complained that nobody here was giving data, you were including yourself, right?

  53. #53 Wow
    January 17, 2013

    “No-one is even saying to shun them”

    Although if your time is not available, a bollocks detector to delegate the “likely bollocks” stuff to a “some other time” queue is helpful.

    And that is something that is built up from experience with previous claims that have been examined and found far too often for mere mistake, to be a load of crap.

    WUWT links would be a good indicator. Own-blog sourcing of all stuff stated another.

    Linking to reputable-seeming locations that, upon further investigation turn out to countermand the claim made by the person saying it supports them is a common one too.

  54. #54 Lotharsson
    January 17, 2013

    Although if your time is not available, a bollocks detector to delegate the “likely bollocks” stuff to a “some other time” queue is helpful.

    Yep, and this applies even if you have the skills to wade through it and do the background checking to figure out if it’s bollocks or not.

    Pre-publication peer review serves much the same function – a communally distributed bollocks detector so researchers can spend less time on bollocks, and hopefully more time on the good stuff.

  55. #55 Wow
    January 17, 2013

    Toby not Tim.

  56. #56 Rog Tallbloke
    January 17, 2013

    Lotharsson
    January 17, 2013
    I’m confused.

    I know.
    I’ll try to help.

    You complain about the data I have, pointing out some deficiencies. Fair enough.

    But you seem to be bare arsed, no data of your own at all.

    Wow linked to a paper with a figure for OLR but no time series.

    So it seems the data I offered, warts and all, is the only show in town. So if you don’t like my data, but won’t provide your own, we have nothing to discuss, and you can stop wasting my time.

  57. #57 Wow
    January 17, 2013

    You seem to have nothing at all, Wodger.

    Why did you come here claiming stuff when you had nothing at all to back it up, Wodge?

  58. #58 Chris O'Neill
    January 17, 2013

    RT:

    Which is why I came and asked, respectfully at first, if anyone had a link to another OLR dataset.

    Energy imbalance, which is the bottom line regarding OLR, can be derived using ocean heat content. A citation for this has already been supplied.

  59. #59 Latimer Alder
    January 17, 2013

    @jeff harvey

    Forgive me if I’ve misunderstood, but the whole thrust of your argument seems to be about the attributes of the people proposing the arguments, not about the arguments themselves..

    ..’no pedigree in environmental science…’
    ‘…on the corporate payroll…’
    ‘….a hodge-podge mixture of pseudos’
    ‘…untrained greenhorns.’
    ‘…linked with strongly free-market corporate funded think tanks..;

    which you contrast unfavourably with

    ‘…the long slog to academic prominence….’ and
    ‘…the vast majority of statured scientists…’
    ‘…a lone but qualified scientist…’

    Now its quite a long time since I worked as a proper scientist, but in our well-respected university chemistry research lab at least we learnt pretty quickly that Mother Mature or Gaia or The Universe – or whatever you want to call it – was absolutely no respecter of persons. He /she/it showed him/her/it self via experiment and observation, not by the seniority or reputation of the person reporting it. That was the old Aristotlean notion…and it started to go out of the window in the time of Bacon ..if not before.

    So sorry, Jeff, I just don’t buy the ‘these are important qualified people so they must always be right’ argument one little bit. The founders of the oldest scientific society in the world..The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, gave it the motto

    ‘Nullius in Verba’ – Take Nobody’s Word for It.

    It was good advice then, it’s still good advice now.

    (And if you are the Jeff Harvey from the Fermi Institute I think you need to go back to your Feynman for a refresher. If you’re not you need to go there for an introduction)

  60. #60 Wow
    January 17, 2013

    Latte, the entirety of YOUR arguments are identical with the added “Please explain my reasoning” begging.

    “Now its quite a long time since I worked as a proper scientist”

    Of course.

    “I just don’t buy the ‘these are important qualified people so they must always be right’ argument one little bit.”

    That isn’t being said.

    But then again, you are substituting your imagination for reality.

  61. #61 Wow
    January 17, 2013

    Lets have a look at what Jeff says:

    I also found that you spend a lot of your time writing pure drivel. Lots of it is here:

    http://beforeitsnews.com/contributor/pages/48/432/stories.html

    This piffle was particularly egregious:

    http://beforeitsnews.com/science-and-technology/2012/10/first-uk-snowfall-as-the-clocks-go-back-here-comes-winter-2487020.html

    You write this kindeergarten level stuff and expect to be taken seriously? By who? Smurfs?

    Yup asking for evidence, getting none and then from the evidence that IS there, drawing a conclusion.

    Latte doesn’t seem to understand what you’re supposed to do with evidence.

  62. #62 Jeff Harvey
    January 17, 2013

    Latimer,

    I see you are a refugee from Judith Curry’s site. Methinks you belong here with your pontificating piffle.

    As Lotharsson and I said, nobody has said that those authors should be banned. What we are saying is that their views are shoddy and are not supported empirically. I recently attended the annual meeting of the British Ecological Society in Birmingham, and the effects of climate change on species, communities and ecosystems was a prominent theme. Certainly I saw no evidence of the speakers coming out and claiming that AGW is based on bad science or is fraudulent, something a good number of the people you linked above do. If these people have never studied the area in their lives, what special wisdom imbues them with the ability to understand the proper science that has eluded people with many years of pedigree in the field? Certainly there are those, like Bjorn Lomborg, who have argued that estimates of extinction rates are exaggerations. Where is his proof? On cherry-picking a single model from 12 (the one with the lowest estimates) based on UK insect extinction rates and then extrapolating this across the entire animal and plant kingdoms across the biosphere? To come up with an estimate that goes to about 7 decimal points when there is so much uncertainty based on our poor knowledge of the number of extant species and populations? Is this good science? No. Its garbage. But when this message is promoted heavily by those pushing certain interests, then of course the public, who often cannot separate good from bad science are easily misled.

    Again you are creating a strawman when you say that you don’t believe that scientists are always correct. But I think one must think seriously when siding in a scientific debate with a small group of people, most of whom either lack the necessary professional training or who openly affiliate themselves with think tanks and other groups who have a vested interested in denial.

    You also write, “Now its quite a long time since I worked as a proper scientist”.

    That’s pretty obvious for your posting. If your views concur with those of the people you listed in your earlier post, then it strongly suggests you’ve either been away from the lab for a long time or else that your scientific views have been clouded by ideology.

  63. #63 Latimer Alder
    January 17, 2013

    @wow

    I’m still unable to distinguish the substance of your replies to me from ‘You’re wrong,,nananana…because I said so’

    But maybe that is because I’m not familiar with the discussion technique of ‘wowspeak’. Which seems to be to make random assertions about nothing very much, presenting no evidence for them, then skipping off onto something else entirely. All wrapped up in supposedly mysterious non sequiturs. Perhaps you hope that they will convey an idea of deep thought and hidden depths?

    Not forgetting the unconvincing restatements that anybody who disagrees with you is an idiot.

    Suggestion: don’t bring the word ‘idiot’ unprompted to the forefront of your readers’ minds. It may backfire.

    Still its good that us venturers from the mainstream of the climate blogosphere at WUWT have had the opportunity to view the level of discussion that goes on here. It has been very instructive.

  64. #64 Wow
    January 17, 2013

    “I’m still unable to distinguish the substance of your replies to me from ‘You’re wrong,,nananana…because I said so’”

    Yup, that’s your problem all right.

    At least you recognise it, even if you think that that is outside your own head.

    You’re wrong because you’re saying things that are wrong.

    ‘these are important qualified people so they must always be right’ argument one little bit.’

    NEVER SAID.

    NEVER.

    WOULD NEVER.

    Especially the “must always be right”. That is the mindset of the DK PhDs. “I have a PhD in vetinary studies, therefore I must be right about climatology”.

  65. #65 Wow
    January 17, 2013

    “Which seems to be to make random assertions about nothing very much”

    Yea, another problem of yours.

    What you do you claim everyone else is doing.

  66. #66 Wow
    January 17, 2013

    “Not forgetting the unconvincing restatements that anybody who disagrees with you is an idiot. ”

    These statements of self evident fact are often unconvincing to an idiot.

  67. #67 Wow
    January 17, 2013

    With yet another problem that you’re projecting AND lying again.

    Really, where have I said you’re an idiot because you don’t agree with me?

  68. #68 luminous beauty
    January 17, 2013
  69. #69 Latimer Alder
    January 17, 2013

    @jeff harvey

    Thanks for you further reply which I have read carefully.

    Leaving aside the ‘argumenta ad hominem’ and the ‘argumenta ad verecundiam’, the only bit of substance seems to be about an argument you have had with Lomborg about extinction rates. This may have been very important to you at the time, but is of only very limited consequence to the discussion of th effect of AGW – which was the starting topic presented by Ridley.

    I’ll own that I’m surprised that an experienced scientist such as yourself seems to have great difficulty in distinguishing between the individuals concerned and the science they present. Rereading your posts I get a definite flavour that it is your disapproval of the scientists personal lives and putative beliefs, rather than any deep study of their science that colours your views.

    And it is the ‘throwaway’ remarks like

    ‘with think tanks and other groups who have a vested interested in denial’ that are the ‘tell’ here. They are completely unnecessary to the scientific argument, and are a complete turnoff to the neutral observer.

    ‘I must be right because my opponent is a VERY BAD PERSON’ is neither scientific nor persuasive.

    Isaac Newton was by all accounts an extremely unlikable man. If he was judged on his personality or beliefs he’d have been rightly forgotten centuries ago. But it wasn’t his personality that counted – it was the science he discovered that mattered.

  70. #70 Jeff Harvey
    January 17, 2013

    Latimer,

    Either those receiving financial support from think tanks or PR groups are patently dumb or they just can’t help but wear their ideological hearts on their sleeves. Take your pick. If I am a lawyer and you pay me big dollars am working for you. It should be obvious why the George Marshall Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundation etc. invest huge sums in denial. So if my name is linked with one of them then it should indicate that I share their views. These views are rarely based on science but on reducing the role of public constraints in the pursuit of private profit. If you think otherwise then that’s your problem.

    As for the science presented, then its a slam dunk. Go to the primary peer-reviewed literature and see what that says. Hint: it doesn’t support the Lomborgs, Ridleys, Montfords, McIntyres et al.

  71. #71 Latimer Alder
    January 17, 2013

    I think that your academic seclusion has given you a very strange view of the world outside – which is not so riven with ideology as you seem to think.

    I can’t speak directly for lawyers, but I worked for some time as an IT consultant. I made my living from fixing the IT and was interested in getting the IT side of the house right. In that role I worked with charities, defence contractors, the National Health service,, retailers, Big Pharma, … a whole gamut of different things over 15 years. Some big multi-year contracts and many short sharp wham bam ones.

    But the fact that I once did a contract for the NHS tells you no more about my political views than does the defence contractor episode. They were just clients. Their political orientation played no part in my accepting work with them- ability, availability and geography were the determinants. So if you were to examine my work history you;d find I was ‘linked to’ the NHS and to a defence contractor (*)

    The argument

    ‘if my name is linked with one of them then it should indicate that I share their views’ is pretty weak, especially if the only linkage is that somebody once did business with them. And weak though it is it seems to equally apply to people who work on the other side of the debate.

    (*) Forgot to say that one of my more interesting contracts was with a casino chain.

    And if it is easy to show from the literature that Ridley is wrong – then this whole discussion has been a waste of time. It could have been settled in minutes. But instead all his opponents here have concentrated on ad hom attacks rather than on the simple scientific rebuttal that would have been so much more convincing.

    That they didn’t is rather interesting.

    But maybe that’s what people with only First Class Honours in Zoology should expect when they meddle in the dark matters of climatology ;-)

  72. #72 Vince Whirlwind
    January 17, 2013

    But the fact that I once did a contract for the NHS tells you no more about my political views than does the defence contractor episode.

    The NHS’s purpose is to heal people, not to misinform them about science.
    Take money from an organisation whose purpose is to peddle lies about science and it can safely be assumed that your credibililty on matters of science is now nil.

    You’ve share reams of irrelevance with us now, Latimer, all because you were caught making a false statement about George Monbiot.

    It is a characteristic of anti-science kooks that they cannot help but make misstatements.

    As for the projection you indulge in, accusing Wow…

    make random assertions about nothing very much, presenting no evidence for them, then skipping off onto something else entirely. All wrapped up in supposedly mysterious non sequiturs.

    Absolutely classic. Just can’t help yourselves, can you?

  73. #73 chek
    January 17, 2013

    Lati will now be more engaged with what part is being played here in The Grand Conspiracy, his preferred pseudo-science venues being Watts, Montford and Curry. Proabaly the auditor too, with the Bish being such an idiot slavish fan.

    But with the comprehension skills he’s displayed here, I’d suggest he’s no loss at all to the rational world.

  74. #74 chameleon
    January 17, 2013

    No Chek,
    Latimer’s comprehension skills are exemplary.
    Obviously you need it simplified for you.
    Latimer is a ‘scientist’ but he also works in the ‘real world’ where he is ‘accountable’ for his work.
    However because he is a ‘scientist’ he respects the work of ALL scientists and he respects SCIENCE regardless of where they’re employed.
    Jeff H is behaving like an insufferable, egostistical, cloistered, academic, snob.
    He is employed by an ‘academic’ institution which still means that he is an employee.
    He somehow believes that because he lives in the ‘publish or perish’ fraternity, his opinions should therefore hold more weight than other well qualified scientists who happen to have chosen different career paths.
    Latimer doesn’t believe that’s a sane argument and he offers reasons for that belief from personal and practical experience outside of academia land.
    Does that help clear it up for you chek?

  75. #75 bill
    January 17, 2013

    And if it is easy to show from the literature that Ridley is wrong – then this whole discussion has been a waste of time. It could have been settled in minutes. But instead all his opponents here have concentrated on ad hom attacks rather than on the simple scientific rebuttal that would have been so much more convincing.

    This kind of bullshit just irritates me. The globe has already warmed substantially more then could ever have been anticipated had Ridley’s speculation – and that’s what it is – been correct.

    However, you are a component of a reactionary enterprise that will never accept such a simple fact. For ideological reasons. It really is that simple.

    You arrived with an absurdity, made ludicrous insinuations that a moments’ checking could have corrected, and then deliberately chose to misunderstand the corrections that were presented to you. You’ll doubtlessly take a self-serving, gibberish version of what has happened here, where you showed those bolshy anarchists a thing or two, my word you did, to your grave.

    Even though it’s written down.

    Because this is how Denial works. Just as The Australian has been forced to publish a correction to the latest in a series of front-page misinformations, but their loyal readers will – I guarantee you – remember the paper’s absurdities as the ‘facts’ of the matter, and believe fervently that the attempts of the scientists involved to rebut this tendentious misinterpretation are the problematic and suspicious behaviours in the whole affair! Chebbie and The Drongo do already…

    Ridiculous people.

    And now here you are, pontificating and giving us snatches of your life story, for no apparent reason, claiming that all you want from us are the very ‘facts’ that you will never allow to penetrate your consciousness.

    You’re hardly alone, sadly. What are we going to do with you all?

  76. #76 chek
    January 18, 2013

    Not at all Camo. Ol’ Lati blew his worthless wad here with this classic piece of denier rhetoric elevating his pseudo-science preference to fuck knows what futile end:
    “Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Victor Hugo, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, André Gide, Immanuel Kant, David Hume, René Descartes, Francis Bacon, John Milton, John Locke, Galileo Galilei, Blaise Pascal.

    To which we can now add

    Matt Ridley, Anthony Watts, Steve McIntyre, Andrew Montford, Donna LaFramboise, Roger Peilke, Roger Longstaff, David Holland, Richard Betts, Bjorn Lomborg, Richard Lindzen, Chris Monckton, Chris Booker, Mark Lynas”

    What a secondary list of nonentities! And what a dick for even suggesting them! I expect he’s just showing off for all the Wattbots he announced his visit over here to, but nevertheless …. what a fucking brainless dick.

  77. #77 chameleon
    January 18, 2013

    Bill,
    You really need to take a chill pill.
    The media (including those insufferable snobs at the ABC and the sensationalist hyperbole from the OZ) are all guilty of misrepresentation.
    You need to stop sooking about them. None of them are doing any of us any favours but they absolutely love the ‘fact’ that people like you are forever referring to them.
    The ‘facts’ are many and varied Bill.
    Neither the climate or the ocean is a human invented machine which we can tinker with or top up with oil or turbo charge or undeniably trend or artificially balance or tune up.
    Humanity has made some grave errors but in general we are all becoming more responsible.
    There is also no question that at the moment we are amongst the most successful species on the planet, despite all our ugly bits.
    We can’t ‘fix’ the past or change the past but we CAN learn from it.
    You are confusing politics and political PR with science Bill.

  78. #78 chameleon
    January 18, 2013

    Chek,
    Please define ‘secondary list’.
    To have a ‘secondary list’ there must be a ‘firstly list’ I assume?
    What are the ‘qualifications’ to be on your ‘firstly list’?

  79. #79 bill
    January 18, 2013

    You do not have even the most basic grasp of this debate, Chebbie, and therefore lack even the slightest capacity to assess the reliability of reported accounts of it.

    The dismal ‘luke-warmist’ strategy of claiming to stand in some imagined Solomonic middle apart form the ‘extremists’ on both sides, while acting, in fact, as a blatant partisan of convenient falsehood, could scarcely be more transparent than in your own case.

  80. #80 guthrie
    January 18, 2013

    Hmm, denialist meltdowns – so far we’ve had Tallbloke unable to provide any evidence for anything except his own stupidity; Latimer Alder prove that he’s a know nothing blowhard and chameleon, well, prove exactly the same.

  81. #81 Vince Whirlwind
    January 18, 2013

    Chek,
    Please define ‘secondary list’.
    To have a ‘secondary list’ there must be a ‘firstly list’ I assume?
    What are the ‘qualifications’ to be on your ‘firstly list’?

    Chameleon demonstrates every time it posts that it is completely incapable of even the most basic reading comprehension.

  82. #82 chameleon
    January 18, 2013

    No seriously Folks!
    Chek needs to define what he meant by ‘secondary list’.
    Otherwise we are just left with his hyperbolic expletives.
    Did you notice that JeffH and Latimer don’t seem to need to resort to expletives to make their point?
    And Bill
    You really need to take a chill pill.
    You are still arguing about sides and politics by invoking a ‘middle ground’.
    I am spectacularly uninterested in what most of the media or the political PR has to say.
    It is quite obviously NOT achieving anything worthwhile!

  83. #83 Lotharsson
    January 18, 2013

    I’ll try to help.

    That would be almost amusing if you weren’t so clearly incompetent – and apparently unaware of it.

    You complain about the data I have, pointing out some deficiencies. Fair enough.

    Epic
    Point-Missing
    Fail.

    Let’s recap.

    You rock in with “hey, look, OLR has increased by 2.5W/m^2 over 30 years, therefore the earth can’t be accumulating heat”.

    Us: err, haven’t you noticed that your logic is fallacious?

    Us: and by the way, your data doesn’t say that.

    Us: and by the way, there’s no indication your data is even valid. But let’s start with the fact that your logic is so bad that brighter primary school students could dismantle it.

    You: but my logic is correct!

    Us: [sigh] No it’s not. Here’s why. Again.

    You: Look, show me your data.

    Us: Not the point. You’re making a particular case that appears to go against mainstream science. It’s your job to support it with data – and to demonstrate why their argument and evidence don’t hold. (And don’t forget logic – remember yours is fallacious?)

    You: No, really, show me a better data set.

    Us: see previous comment.

    You: OK, that’s the only data we have then.

    Us: [sigh] do we REALLY have to point out the fallacy in THAT lame argument? You haven’t even met the requirements for presenting an argument worthy of consideration yet.

    You: Well then, you have no data and no argument. Stop wasting my time.

    Us: ROFL! FINALLY! You have realised what you’ve been doing here! Wasting your time and hours with an “argument” that doesn’t even meet the lowest bar of either evidence or logic required in order to even begin to receive consideration. Maybe there is a god after all.

  84. #84 Lotharsson
    January 18, 2013

    Latimer, you didn’t answer my question which I will ask again so we can be clear on your views:

    Are you recommending scientifically unskilled people read journalists who have a history of misrepresenting science?

  85. #85 chek
    January 18, 2013

    “Chek needs to define…”!

    No Camo. you need to comprehend plain English. Although I suspect it’s a little late in life for you to change now.

  86. #86 Lotharsson
    January 18, 2013

    Latimer’s comprehension skills are exemplary.

    Someone needs to watch John Cleese explain the Dunning-Kruger Effect again.

    And again.

    And again.

  87. #87 Lotharsson
    January 18, 2013

    Neither the climate or the ocean is a human invented machine which we can … undeniably trend …

    Ah, so the hidden layers of denial are slowly coming to light. I see we’ve reached the “humans can’t possibly cause the planet to warm” level.

    And what bill said.

  88. #88 chameleon
    January 18, 2013

    Humans can’t possibly cause the planet to warm level?
    And what Bill said?
    :-) chuckle
    I just love the way you do that Lotharsson.
    I think you folks like calling that a ‘strawman’.
    And those hidden layers of denial are slowly coming to light!
    Simply priceless.
    What specifically do you think I am in ‘denial’ about Lotharsson?
    And how has it been hidden in layers?
    I’m absolutely fascinated with your continuing psycho analysis of my persona.
    I’m also fascinated with the amount of ‘nuancing’ that you go through to reach those conclusions.
    BTW, I have no idea why it seems so important to you or Bill.
    I don’t need a psycho analysis from you and I am spectacularly uninterested in your opinions of me. You are not proving or achieving anything by your personal attacks.
    If I decide I need psychological assisstance (or one of my family or close friends think I have a problem), I will go to a well recommended professional.
    At the moment Lotharsson, it’s all hunky dory and ridgee didge!

  89. #89 Vince Whirlwind
    January 18, 2013

    Chek needs to define what he meant by ‘secondary list’.

    Struth, Chameleon, surely what we’ve already said should be enough of a hint that you should stop posting here, go back and read it, concentrate on its meaning and/or get an adult to explain it to you?

  90. #90 chameleon
    January 18, 2013

    BTW Lotharsson,
    Your question to Latimer is a RHETORICAL QUESTION!
    I seem to remember you lecturing me that it isn’t necessary for people to answer them.

  91. #91 Vince Whirlwind
    January 18, 2013

    It’s not a strawman if it is your argumenht.
    This is what you said:

    Neither the climate or the ocean is a human invented machine which we can tinker with

    Although I’m willing to believe you don’t understand the argument you just made but have simply acquired those words from reading a nutter crank blog somewhere.

  92. #92 Vince Whirlwind
    January 18, 2013

    Are you recommending scientifically unskilled people read journalists who have a history of misrepresenting science?

    How is that rhetorical?
    Please explain.

  93. #94 bill
    January 18, 2013

    Yes, Chebbie, plise expline, oh do!

  94. #95 chameleon
    January 18, 2013

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhetorical_question
    here you go deltoids!
    Totally googleable!

  95. #96 Lotharsson
    January 18, 2013

    Humans can’t possibly cause the planet to warm level?

    If you claim it is a strawman then you’re quite welcome to clarify exactly which bits of what you appeared to mean are not what you mean, and clarify exactly what you do mean.

    On the other hand that has proven very difficult for you on other matters throughout your time here so I’m not holding my breath.

    Your question to Latimer is a RHETORICAL QUESTION!

    No, you fool.

    Your incomprehension is almost boundless.

    It is most certainly not a rhetorical question. It is question probing Latimer as to whether I have understood him correctly, and offering him a chance to clarify if I haven’t in his answer. It’s not rhetorical because I want him to answer it.

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

    Good grief! You even misunderstood Vince’s simple question.

    He did not ask “what is the definition of ‘rhetorical question'”, he asked “how is that specific example a rhetorical question”.

  96. #97 bill
    January 18, 2013

    here you go deltoids!
    Totally googleable!

    Ah, the triumphalism of fools!

  97. #98 Chris O'Neill
    January 18, 2013

    Er, I think we already know what a rhetorical question is.

    But what do we expect from an illiterate who doesn’t even know how to write paragraphs.

  98. #99 Richard Simons
    January 18, 2013

    the mainstream of the climate blogosphere at WUWT

    WUWT is indeed (or at least, was) a very popular site. However, from what I have seen of it, it has very little to do with science. I once spent an unprofitable few weeks there with someone who had written a piece about how global warming is nonsense because it violates the second law of thermodynamics. He finished by just repeating bluster with increasing volume, but interestingly none of the supposed ‘science experts’ who inhabit the pit were able to either support him or correct his misunderstandings. They seem to prefer to shout abuse at ‘warmists’.

    However because he is a ‘scientist’ he respects the work of ALL scientists and he respects SCIENCE regardless of where they’re employed.

    Then why does he apparently feel comfortable at WUWT? Any competent scientist (without the quote marks) who spent just a few minutes looking at a typical post there and the following comments would recognize that it is junk through and through.

    here you go deltoids!
    Totally googleable!

    I see you are still maintaining your track record for missing the point. He knows what it means. He (and many others) do not see how it applies to what he wrote.

  99. #100 chameleon
    January 18, 2013

    Really Richard?
    You can’t see why this question:
    Are you recommending scientifically unskilled people read journalists who have a history of misrepresenting science?”

    is a rhetorical question?
    Maybe you need to go back here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhetorical_question
    and read the definition.
    Just because you say you WANT him to answer doesn’t mean you haven’t asked a rhetorical question Lotharsson.
    That is uncharacteristically literal of you!
    But anyway;
    here is the particular type of rhetorical question you have asked:
    “They suggest dialogue, especially when the speaker both asks and answers them himself, as if he were playing two parts on the stage. They are not always impassioned; they may be mildly ironical or merely argumentative: but they are always to some extent dramatic, and, if used to excess, they tend to give one’s style a theatrical air.” [11]
    And BTW, this has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the ACTUAL POINT of Latimer’s comment.
    Your question was moot as well as rhetorical.

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