Pharyngula

Idiot America, new and expanded

Charles Pierce has expanded an essay into a full blown book on Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll), soon available in fine bookstores everywhere, and I recommend it highly. You might be wondering what Idiot America is, and he explains it well.

The rise of Idiot America, though, is essentially a war on expertise. It’s not so much antimodernism or the distrust of the intellectual elites that Richard Hofstader teased out of the national DNA, although both of these things are part of it. The rise of Idiot America today reflects — for profit, mainly, but also and more cynically, for political advantage and in the pursuit of power — the breakdown of the consensus that the pursuit of knowledge is a good. It also represents the ascendancy of the notion that the people we should trust the least are the people who know the best what they’re talking about. In the new media age, everybody is a historian, or a scientist, or a preacher, or a sage. And if everyone is an expert, then nobody is, and the worst thing you can be in a society where everybody is an expert is, well, an actual expert.

This is how Idiot America engages itself. It decides, en masse, with a million keystrokes and clicks of the remote control, that because there are two sides to every question, they both must be right, or at least not wrong. And the words of an obscure biologist carry no more weight on the subject of biology than do the thunderations of some turkeyneck preacher out of Christ’s Own Parking Structure in DeLand, Florida. Less weight, in fact, because our scientist is an “expert” and therefore, an “elitist.” Nobody buys his books. Nobody puts him on cable. He’s brilliant, surely, but no different from the rest of us, poor fool.

Pierce then goes through several sublime instances of American Idiocy: the Creation “Museum”, the Terry Schiavo case, the Dover creationism trial, the War on Terror, right-wing talk radio, climate change denialists, the Republican roster of candidates in the last presidential election…it’s terrifying and humbling that this country has so excelled at churning out such appalling stupidity. And, of course, he points out everywhere how our journalists simply gaze on approvingly, churning the chum and making money out of mindlessness. He uses one of my favorite (for a version of “favorite” flavored with schadenfreude) examples, the way the NY Times covered creationism and evolution, and especially that willing palimpsest, Jodi Wilgoren. Wilgoren, by the way, has since been promoted at the Times — I think for vacuity above and beyond the call of duty.

Lest you think Pierce is doing nothing but delivering a thunderation of his own, he also often reveals a fondness for the quirkiness of cranks and kooks — he clearly thinks they spice up American intellectual life. He even starts his book with the tale of a famous local kook, Ignatius Donnelly, a 19th century visionary who founded a utopian city on the banks of the Mississippi…a dream that failed dismally, after which he turned to writing bestsellers about Atlantis and Velikovskian (although he long preceded that crank) cometary catastrophes. He was a crank, but he was an entertaining crank, and most importantly, there was little risk that he could rise to run the country as president.

That’s the heart of the problem. Wild, loony ideas aren’t dangerous in themselves — what’s dangerous is when criticism is set aside and wacky ideas are given unquestioning acceptance and allowed to set the national agenda. It changes the dynamic: no longer do kooks have to work to get their voices heard, but the more insane their claims, the more likely they will be given media attention, promoted and passed around, given the imprimatur of authenticity because, well, Larry King featured them on his show.

What has America become? America has become an episode of The Office, where lovable assholes are put in charge to fumble their way along incompetently, coasting on the slack, disinterested efforts of their underlings. The show is a comedy, and it can be hilarious, in part because there is some stinging truth to it.

You won’t laugh very much at Idiot America, though. It’s too real.

Comments

  1. #1 Krystalline Apostate
    May 11, 2009

    Land of the Free, Home of the Brain Dead.

  2. #2 the pro from dover
    May 11, 2009

    I love the smell of postmodernism in the morning. Didn’t noted American philosopher Billie Joe Armstrong already have something to say along this line?

  3. #3 Glen Davidson
    May 11, 2009

    I always like watching the IDiots tie themselves up in knots, both telling us that experts are wrong because they’re hopelessly committed to “Darwinism,” and that their “experts” prove that ID happens to be science.

    So I’m not quite sure that Pierce has it exactly right in the excerpt, at least. Experts are still trusted to some extent, but it’s a consumer’s market out there.

    Pick and choose your “experts,” then, and close your eyes to the fact that anyone who is not committed to a theology/ideology ends up on the evolution side, while pretending that creationism is just another “viewpoint” from which equally sound science can be done.

    Trouble is, an anti-science viewpoint is not an equally sound position from which to do science.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  4. #4 Benjamin Geiger
    May 11, 2009

    Don’t wanna be an American idiot
    Don’t want a nation under the new media
    And can you hear the sound of hysteria?
    The subliminal mindfuck, America

    Well, maybe I’m the faggot America
    I’m not a part of a redneck agenda
    Now everybody do the propaganda
    And sing along to the age of paranoia

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Idiot_(song)

  5. #5 Geds
    May 11, 2009

    Didn’t noted American philosopher Billie Joe Armstrong already have something to say along this line?

    It is a little sad that one of the catchiest and most accurate critiques of modern American culture came from Green Day. I remember when they sang primarily about beating off.

    Although, I suppose, it’s a short trip from one to the other…

  6. #6 Alex
    May 11, 2009

    Sounds like a great book. I think I’ll wait for someone to read it first. That way they can tell me if it’s good or not. Reading is hard. So is thinking. And learning. Maybe Oprah can do a segment on it and tell us all if it’s good or not. I like Oprah. She seems nice. She’s important. I think I’ll do what she says. Yeah.

  7. #7 k-dub
    May 11, 2009

    I thought the essay fantastic and spot on when it first came out, and have read it several times since. It should have been chosen for the annual Best Essays anthology. It wasn’t (that I know of). I will happily buy and read it again in book form, while lamenting that nothing has changed for the better between then and now.

  8. #8 Cappy
    May 11, 2009

    It’s like that JayWalking feature on Leno’s Tonight Show. I thought it was pretty funny at first, then it just got vaguely scary. Now we’re down to “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?”

  9. #9 Umkomasia
    May 11, 2009

    Plus Mr. Pierce is brilliant as a panelist on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.

  10. #10 rodge
    May 11, 2009

    Don’t mean to poop on what otherwise promises to be a good book, but this has been done before a lot – Counterknowledge, MumboJumbo, and other such books were part of a fad recently that pretty much covered the problem. I’d prefer a book that had more focus on actually tackling all this madness, beyond making fun of it on the internet.

  11. #11 Lepton Grizhnakh
    May 11, 2009

    Stirring up mistrust of pointy-headed intellectuals
    has always been a good way to garner a following here
    in the U.S. of A. But mistrust of everyone with
    a claim to expertise is fairly recent. I’m inclined
    to blame the internet.

  12. #12 Qwerty
    May 11, 2009

    Yikes, I was halfway through this posting and I thought of “The Office” which gets mentioned at the end. I remember buying the first season of the British version and thought it was extremely NOT funny as it reminded me too (way too) much of the office where I worked.

    So, I doubt I’ll buy this book. I’d much rather read a good history book in a period when we had more intelligence involved in our day to day existence.

    Sad to say – this also reminds me of my creationist sister who is currently on an anti Pastuerization kick and only wants to buy and use raw milk. Oh, well, she’d rather believe woo than the experts.

  13. #13 JBlilie
    May 11, 2009

    He’s great on Wait Wait.

    I’ll be getting this.

    Susan Jacoby’s The Age of American Unreason is in a similar vein and very good: http://www.amazon.com/Age-American-Unreason-Susan-Jacoby/dp/1905847823/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1242069039&sr=8-1

  14. #14 Peterd102
    May 11, 2009

    Ill see if I can get it, I think ill manage to find it funny as im British, and theres Russia and a great big ocean between us, so the Idiocy is a safe distance from us.

  15. #15 Marc Abian
    May 11, 2009

    I’ll see if I can get it, I think I’ll manage to find it funny as I’m British, and there’s Russia and a great big ocean between us, so the Idiocy is a safe distance from us.

    Don’t be so blasé. Did you know they can see Russia from America?

  16. #16 Brownian, OM
    May 11, 2009

    I thought the essay fantastic and spot on when it first came out, and have read it several times since. It should have been chosen for the annual Best Essays anthology. It wasn’t (that I know of). I will happily buy and read it again in book form, while lamenting that nothing has changed for the better between then and now.

    I still love the piece, not just for the message but because it’s just a brilliant piece of writing.

    I can’t wait to buy this book, in addition to listening to Green Day and masturbating–thanks, meandering thread–but I’m pretty sure I can only get away with two of those while at work.

  17. #17 Mike in Ontario, NY
    May 11, 2009

    Just to chime in, I read Jacoby’s book and thought it excellent. Angering, but excellent. I will read Charlie’s book when I get around to it.

    @12: Raw milk is yummy yum yum! Goes good with bacon. I just hope your sister doesn’t die from a milk-borne pathogen.

  18. #18 Troglodyte
    May 11, 2009

    Anyone know if this is coming out on Kindle? I just received one for my birthday and I’d love to pick this up for it.

  19. #19 PlaydoPlato
    May 11, 2009

    Qwerty:

    Sad to say – this also reminds me of my creationist sister who is currently on an anti Pastuerization kick and only wants to buy and use raw milk.

    As someone who’s lactose intolerant, raw milk is the only milk I can drink. If acquired from a known and trusted source, it’s actually quite good and safe.

    Can’t say the same for creationism though.

  20. #20 Geds
    May 11, 2009

    but I’m pretty sure I can only get away with two of those while at work.

    So you’re saying you get to masturbate at work? Damn. I wish I was that lucky…

  21. #21 Merkin Muffley
    May 11, 2009

    The public embrace of simple forms of idiocy is just the tip of the iceberg. We have passed through a period of thirty years where our so called best and brightest students passed on useful, productive professions to dream up new diveratives or other hedge fund financial instruments because these are our society’s most rewarding professions. And look at the payback for all of this effort and intellectual investment, the largest resession in nearly eighty years. Suicidal idiocy.

  22. #22 Lynna
    May 11, 2009

    We could run a contest to see which segment of which society was the most anti-intellectual. Is it Jehovah’s Witnesses? Mormons? Baptists? Joe Six-Pack? the Taliban? Rush Limbaugh? The USA can proudly claim to be home to most of the contestants. And if they’re not homegrown, we will import them from Australia.

  23. #23 Pali
    May 11, 2009

    There’s a common confusion amongst people that because everyone is to be equal under the law must mean that they are also equal in every other way, or at least must be treated as if they are. And as others have mentioned, this is not a new phenomenon, but it’s even older than many realize… for example, in Democracy in America (published 1835), Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about how America’s love of equality had caused a rise of mediocrity. Because I’m tired and not explaining things well at the moment, I’ll be lazy and just post a little relevant part of the Wikipedia article: “More than just imploding any traces of old-world aristocracy, ordinary Americans also refused to defer to those possessing, as Tocqueville put it, superior talent and intelligence. These natural elites, who Tocqueville asserted were the lone virtuous members of American society, could not enjoy much share in the political sphere as a result. Ordinary Americans enjoyed too much power, claimed too great a voice in the public sphere, to defer to intellectual superiors. This culture promoted a relatively pronounced equality, Tocqueville argued, but the same mores and opinions that ensured such equality also promoted, as he put it, a middling mediocrity.

    Those who possessed true virtue and talent would be left with limited choices. Those with the most education and intelligence would either, Tocqueville prognosticated, join limited intellectual circles to explore the weighty and complex problems facing society which have today become the academic or contemplative realms, or use their superior talents to take advantage of America’s growing obsession with money-making and amass vast fortunes in the private sector.”

    Read the book a couple of years ago and found it very chillingly accurate in this regard.

  24. #24 me
    May 11, 2009
  25. #25 bunnycatch3r
    May 11, 2009

    @Qwerty
    Same here. I couldn’t make it through a single episode because it was too realistic.

  26. #26 Brownian, OM
    May 11, 2009

    Not to be a pedant Peterd102, but there’s no Russia between you and the US, only Canada and–depending on from where in the UK to where in the US–Greenland.

    In any case I do recommend you avoid having anything to do with those filthy snow-encrusted Canucks.

  27. #27 amphiox
    May 11, 2009

    It must be karmic payback for how America stole all of the rest of the world’s intellectuals between 1910 and 1960.

    That is, if you believe in karma.

  28. #28 Holbach
    May 11, 2009

    I think intelligence will eventually morph into a situation of Axe Men versus Ice Road Truckers. Idiots and morons calling ech other imbeciles. Let’s hope we here on Pharyngula will stem the tide and maintain a semblance of reasonableness. The rapture of dead brains is upon us. Time for widespread lobotomies.

  29. #29 Brownian, OM
    May 11, 2009

    So you’re saying you get to masturbate at work?

    As with my other vices, I try to be discreet.

    If there isn’t an old saying that goes something like Drink vodka so you do not smell/and a soft grip so you do not yell there should be.

  30. #30 Carlie
    May 11, 2009

    Not to be a pedant Peterd102, but there’s no Russia between you and the US, only Canada and–depending on from where in the UK to where in the US–Greenland.

    Depends on which way you turn after leaving the house.

  31. #31 Eronarn
    May 11, 2009

    Sounds like shades of Fahrenheit 451, as described. So many conflicting opinions to avoid embracing outright!

  32. #32 Interrobang
    May 11, 2009

    As someone who’s lactose intolerant, raw milk is the only milk I can drink.

    Care to explain how that works? I’m not seeing how pasteurization (or the lack thereof) has anything to do with lactose content.

  33. #33 John Pieret
    May 11, 2009

    Incidently, the original article is no longer behind a paywall:

    http://www.esquire.com/features/ESQ0207GREETINGS

  34. #34 Ricky Gremlin
    May 11, 2009

    re comment #5

    Green Day has one song (Longview) that had masturbation in it.

    Their new album is great. East Jesus Nowhere attacks religion.

  35. #35 Null Hypothesis
    May 11, 2009

    Sad to say – this also reminds me of my creationist sister who is currently on an anti Pastuerization kick and only wants to buy and use raw milk. Oh, well, she’d rather believe woo than the experts.

    Reminds me of my sister who married the ultimate conspiracy theorist and they’ve gone off the deep end that soon we will all be put into concentration camps, and in this funny “chemtrail” hypothesis that when you see hazy clouds in the sky it is because “they” are spraying heavy metals on us from jets for the purpose of experimenting on us and controlling our minds. She actually truly believes this.

  36. #36 Peter Ashby
    May 11, 2009

    I’ll second Interrobang and wonder exactly how raw milk contains less lactose than pasteurised. Unless . . . when I was 17 and running 100miles/week (don’t ask), I was lactose intolerant, ice cream would go through me in 30min and I would feel the whole passage. Only dairy products that didn’t were cheese and yoghurt whose commonality is bacterial/yeast fermentation. So perhaps raw milk works because by the time PlaydoPlato gets around to drinking it, it has fermented and is a cross between yoghurt and buttermilk.

    Hint PlaydoPlato: milk is not supposed to be lumpy . . .

  37. #37 'Tis Himself
    May 11, 2009

    Glen Davidson #3

    I always like watching the IDiots tie themselves up in knots, both telling us that experts are wrong because they’re hopelessly committed to “Darwinism,” and that their “experts” prove that ID happens to be science.

    “Experts” who contradict the elitist line are trustworthy. We all know that they* lie to us all the time. Hence the rise of the conspiracy theorists. An Obama birther dismissed the fact that the Republican governor of Hawaii had publicly authenticated Obama’s birth certificate with a snide comment: “Of course she’d say his birth certificate was legitimate, what else do you expect a politician to say?”

    *They being them.

  38. #38 JD
    May 11, 2009

    Sounds like Susan Jacoby on steroids. A must read!

  39. #39 Barry
    May 11, 2009

    That’s better.

  40. #40 Brent McLarty
    May 11, 2009

    Hey, I live in DeLand, Florida and I think that Colorado Springs would be a better place to look for “Christ’s Own Parking Structure”.

  41. #41 Benjamin Geiger
    May 11, 2009

    I like raw-milk cheese, but I’ll take pasteurized over raw for drinking any day.

  42. #42 Kevpod
    May 11, 2009

    “And, of course, he points out everywhere how our journalists simply gaze on approvingly, churning the chum and making money out of mindlessness.”

    Objection.

    Skeptics Guide to the Universe does this, too ? paints all journalists as scientific ignoroids and slackers. PZ, I’d ask that you apply some scientific method to this and acknowledge those of us who do attempt due diligence.

    Even at my tiny, 3,000-circulation newspaper I regularly act as gatekeeper/traffic cop for all manner of bafflegab woo. We have done everything from deconstructed the sensationalist claims of anti-fluoridationists to the conspiracy-mongering chemtrail conjurers. We don’t run press releases about “detoxification” workshops, and are appropriately wary of multi-level marketing schemes. This is crap that I do see in most of the other area papers.

    Further, to highlight the fanciful nature of alternative therapies, we ran a story in our April Fools’ edition about a new alternative medicine ambulance.

    http://arcataeye.com/index.php?module=Pagesetter&tid=2&topic=3&func=viewpub&pid=1185&format=full

    My point with that was to show that when one really needs urgent medical assistance, the alternative approaches are an obvious waste of time.

    Anyway, I don’t expect a medal for this, because it’s a simple matter of doing my job. But since I and lots of other working journalists do try and champion genuine science and medicine over made-up nonsense, it would be nice if PZ, SGU and other opinionizers would just once in a while acknowledge that not all reporters and editor are asleep at the wheel with regard to science. Or at least qualify their contempt for us.

  43. #43 Akiko
    May 11, 2009

    Marketers have carefuly crafted the image of the Idiot and they make a lot of money off it. The slobby duded with the 5 o-clock shadow, open plaid shirt, remote in hand while sitting in a recliner watching chicks in bikinis wrestle. The slave housewife, making out with her Betty Crocker instant desert while running after her wordly wise children as they roll their eyes at her stupidity. You see these images hundreds of times a week on television and movies. This is what we strive to be in the country ladies and gentlemen. Those morons spend a lot of money on junk food, porn, cars that look cool, spa days and medications for everything from hair loss to depression. These images are shown to us to make us feel superior but also to feel we are okay if we are a bit slack or stupid. It is okay to be a moron. Heck, I am proud of it! The bible says you are not to be proud or smart, right? Our government uses the same Madison Ave firms to hone their images, too. The Repubs pushed the “Every Day Moron” image for years. Regular Guys dont trust no fancy pants scientists. Besides, the bible dont say nuthin about science.

  44. #44 JD
    May 11, 2009

    You know, Joseph Smith ran for president. Just think, no tea, coffee, alcohol or cigars. There can exist no better reason to embrace reason.

  45. #45 Qwerty
    May 11, 2009

    bunnycatch3r @ 26 – Yea, I got though two episodes and didn’t laugh at all. In fact, it depressed me. It was British and should say much about us, but I am sure the American version is just as unfunny.

    My actual office was funnier. As one example, a manager had her daughter glue some red paper to the bottom of several boxes as part of a promotion. When our clients received these boxes, they could read “fuck you” in dried glue after taking out what was in the box. Brilliant!

  46. #46 Akiko
    May 11, 2009

    As for Raw milk it has the same amout of lactose as regular milk. Here read for yourself. It also contains lots of other natural delights such as E Coli, Brucilla, pus, blood, salmonella and feces. Hmmm, healthy, eh?

    http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/rawmilqa.html

  47. #47 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 11, 2009

    Bye-Bye Charlie. You never post anything cogent, and anyway the posts disapppear like those of a banned troll should. Do the intelligent thing and not post here anymore.

  48. #48 blf
    May 11, 2009

    [The] funny “chemtrail” hypothesis that when you see hazy clouds in the sky it is because “they” are spraying heavy metals on us from jets for the purpose of experimenting on us and controlling our minds.

    That’s absurd. The jets leaving trails behind them are the decoys. It’s the jets which don’t leave (visible) trails behind which are doing the spraying. They’re using the same technology to hide the trails they used to fly a hologram into the twin towers in a failed attempt to disguse that the buildings were actually blown up by explosives planted by Mossad super-ninjas on secondment to the CIA. The five airplanes allegedly highjacked by the terrorists?it wasn’t four, it was five, but they only managed to destroy the records of one of the flights (not all conspiracies work correctly)?had passengers on them who were about to blow the whistle on the real causes of so-called global warming and thus endanger the chemtrail spraying program.

    And it’s not heavy metals they are spraying, it’s vaccines.

  49. #49 Bostonian
    May 11, 2009

    @amphiox #28

    It must be karmic payback for how America stole all of the rest of the world’s intellectuals between 1910 and 1960.

    That is, if you believe in karma.

    I don’t believe in karma. I think this is all because of the curse of Tutankhamen. Also, the alignment of several important stars.

  50. #50 Richard Harris
    May 11, 2009

    I thought that the reason for the stupid was this: Jebus only mixed with men (disciples) who were pretty thick, & women who weren’t much better than slaves.

    The Catholic Church tried to make something intellectual out of this unlikely source material. Later, Protestantism was a reaction against Papist sophistry, making a virtue out of banality. In the USA, where freedom is paramount, the power of the people to exercise banality is greater than elsewhere in mainly Protestant nations.

    So, the stupid has more traction in the USA.

  51. #51 Brownian, OM
    May 11, 2009

    Anyway, I don’t expect a medal for this, because it’s a simple matter of doing my job. But since I and lots of other working journalists do try and champion genuine science and medicine over made-up nonsense, it would be nice if PZ, SGU and other opinionizers would just once in a while acknowledge that not all reporters and editor are asleep at the wheel with regard to science. Or at least qualify their contempt for us.

    But even you mention the woo you see in most of the other papers, Kevpod, so you must acknowledge it happens more than it should.

    Nonetheless, I’ll give you a hearty Hip-hip-hooray! for doing your job well, since there seem to be darn few of you out there.

  52. #52 Jim
    May 11, 2009

    Any chance the author, to at least give the appearance of non-partisanship, called out some of the more common nutjobs who tend to congregate on the Democrat side of the political aisle?

    (anti-vacc-ers, I’m lookin’ at you)

    If he didn’t, Mr. Pierce’s efforts will just be more white noise in the political ranting so prevalent today.

  53. #53 RamblinDude
    May 11, 2009

    Marketers have carefuly crafted the image of the Idiot and they make a lot of money off it.

    Yes, excellent point. It?s one of my pet peeves. Does every beer commercial have to reinforce the image of the American male as a dopey, sex starved, half-ape who?s incapable of focusing his attention on little more than football?

  54. #54 eric
    May 11, 2009

    I don’t think I’m such an “idiot american” ( I’m atheist, I do trust darwin’s theory, Einstein’s, Quantum physics etc…) but there is something that’s still puzzling me: you talk about climate change denialists.

    There is nothing like a clear, old good consensus on anthopogenic climat changes. Back in the seventies, the “self called” consensus was to predict a new glaciation era.. then it moves on the ozone hole, and the same group (just after renaming itself), start a war on “antrophogenic climate heat”.

    IPCC does not follow usual (peer reviewed) scientific protocols for publications, worst, they have published really bad science documents (the famous hockey stick), and did not even published an erratum ( they were forced to do it by Nature, instead).

    So far, climate “experts” have been caught in the wild, faking data, to meet their purpose. Sounds bad science, isn’t it?

    So, let me be as clear as possible: when so called experts ask me to change my way of live, I’ll will always ask for “strong” proofs. When strong consequences are involved, strong proofs are required.

    The “good” relationship between expert and policy should remain that :

    the expert MUST HELP the politician, so that the politician will make a free and rational policy. The expert must NOT make the decision himself.

    I’m, myself a left winger, but I believe that “climate change” is a kind of ID for left wingers… catastrophism dressed in a science-like suit. Let’s stick to the facts, would you ?

  55. #55 Holbach
    May 11, 2009

    JD @ 39

    Yeah, that book should be good. I have her AGE OF AMERICAN UNREASON and FREETHINKERS. Read “Unreason” twice and it not doubt gives credence to our eventual state of unreason.

  56. #56 MAJeff, OM
    May 11, 2009

    There is nothing like a clear, old good consensus on anthopogenic climat changes. Back in the seventies, the “self called” consensus was to predict a new glaciation era..

    George Will, is that you?

  57. #57 Kevpod
    May 11, 2009

    “But even you mention the woo you see in most of the other papers, Kevpod, so you must acknowledge it happens more than it should.”

    It does and I do.

    My point was simply that journalists aren’t a mindless monoculture of gullibility. I’d just like to see some acknowledgement of occasional journalistic responsibility in the near-incessant stream of scorn coming from the science community.

  58. #58 Walton
    May 11, 2009

    Eric @55: Well said, and I completely agree. (having listened to an illuminating talk on the topic recently by Viscount Monckton)

  59. #59 ChrisKG
    May 11, 2009

    “Sounds like Susan Jacoby on steroids. A must read!”

    I was thinking the same thing.

  60. #60 shonny
    May 11, 2009

    The article in Esquire is here: http://www.esquire.com/features/ESQ0207GREETINGS

    So if you don’t need titties and stuff . . . and it’s not pirated.

  61. #61 frog
    May 11, 2009

    The self-image of the American is as Consumer. A consumer in essence is a vastly expanded infant, constantly crying for satisfaction from an exterior source, to be fed, diapered and cared for, with no personal responsibility and no desire for responsibility.

    So what do you expect from people who’ve been reduced to children? It’s not about the woo primarily. It’s about an economic process that produces a nation of babies, lacking real ambition.

    As soon as I hear “That’s just your opinion,” I know I’m talking to a large, hairy toddler.

  62. #62 Glen Davidson
    May 11, 2009

    OT, but definitely related (ignorant “expert” and all). Stein as commencement speaker at Liberty U, speaking about his experience with Expelled:

    Ben Stein, Commencement Speaker – “The name calling was beyond anything I had ever seen. And I worked for Richard Nixon. I have been called a lot of names.”

    Stein has become a hero of the intelligent design movement, arguing for divine creation of life and against people who refuse to consider it.

    Yeah, wow, I mean how could people compared to Nazis by Stein ever think to call the ignorant blowhard bad names?

    Who are these people who are unwilling to consider the divine creation of life? Not, of course, the many bloggers and speakers such as Ken Miller who considered it well, thereby being able to demonstrate that it was so much dishonest anti-science rot.

    Stein – “But why were these people so angry. We basically wanted to have a dialogue.”

    A dialogue not only about life’s creation but also people’s moral responsibility to each other.

    http://www.wset.com/news/stories/0509/621280.html

    Uh, yeah, except for the fact that the claim is a lie. The money behind that pack of lies:

    In Expelled, Stein, with his trademark monotone, takes on the role of a Michael-Moore-like muckraker bent on exposing the allegedly closed minds of scientists who champion Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

    The documentary links such scientists to Nazis. The reaction was what one would expect.

    “We wanted to generate anger,” Ruloff said.

    tinyurl.com/7ov34b

    Sure, Stein, you wanted to have a dialog with the people you deliberately pissed off. That’s bullshit, and if you have any morals remaining at all, you know it is, and are simply lying. The most likely alternative is that you’re so used to lying that you no longer know the difference between that and truth-telling.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  63. #63 lordshipmayhem
    May 11, 2009

    #54:

    Does every beer commercial have to reinforce the image of the American male as a dopey, sex starved, half-ape who?s incapable of focusing his attention on little more than football?

    Well, there ARE rules about truth in advertising, so I’d say the answer is likely, “yes”.

  64. #64 Brian X
    May 11, 2009

    Eric:

    The ozone hole was real, and may have actually been solved by aggressive reduction of CFC emissions. The global cooling matter was wrong, but I don’t know the details; all things considered, since we are known to be in an interglacial period, the idea of a new ice age may have made sense without further climate knowledge (i.e. new data). In any case, your assertion that there is no consensus is in direct opposition to what the scientific community actually says.

  65. #65 Facehammer
    May 11, 2009

    Eric, you need to read this:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/105/36/13252

    Whether the original paper was statistically dodgy or not, the “hockey stick” conclusion still comes out the same even when a much wider and more diverse data set is used.

    So much for “junk science.”

  66. #66 Blake Stacey
    May 11, 2009

    Back in the seventies, the “self called” consensus was to predict a new glaciation era.

    Wrong. Really, thoroughly wrong.

  67. #67 brian smith
    May 11, 2009

    One very minor and belated point as I got round to reading this post and related comments, one that I didn’t see mentioned as I scrolled through the comments.

    It’s about the ‘interesting’ crank, Ignatius Donnelly mentioned in the extract. I’m not so sure that he was totally harmless: as I recall vaguely from long-ago reading of US history, Ignatius was a speechwriter for the ‘boy orator of the Platte’, William Jennings Bryan. I think that the admonition that “you shalt not crucify America on a cross of gold,” the showstopper of Bryan’s most famous speech, is attributed to Donnelly.

    [Of course, I haven't bothered to check this out rigorously since that would accessing expertise!]

    I don’t think that helping Bryan can be classed as harmless: apart from the economically illiterate bimetallism of the agrarian lobby in 1896, the Scopes nonsense is with us yet. Ultimately, believing ridiculous things for ridiculous reasons will always rot your judgment and lead to swallowing tripe like creationism and (un)Intelligent Design.

  68. #68 Knockgoats
    May 11, 2009

    Back in the seventies, the “self called” consensus was to predict a new glaciation era.. then it moves on the ozone hole, and the same group (just after renaming itself), start a war on “antrophogenic climate heat”. – eric

    eric, you have just proved yourself an American idiot. There was no such consensus in the 1970s, see The Global Cooling Mole . The ozone hole is still there. It has stopped getting bigger because the Montreal Protocol slashed the production of ozone-destroying chemicals. The basic physics of anthropogenic global warming is well-understood. The vast majority of relevant scientific experts accept that AGW is a real and urgent problem.

    Eric @55: Well said, and I completely agree. (having listened to an illuminating talk on the topic recently by Viscount Monckton) – Walton

    Walton, you confirm your status as the prime British idiot posting here. Monckton is a liar (he pretends to be a member of the ?a member of the Upper House of the United Kingdom legislature? which he is not), and like you he has no credentials with regard to climate science, yet has the overweening arrogance to believe he knows better than those who have spent decades studying the issue. Climate change denialism is just as irrational (full of cherry-pickers, conspiracy theorists etc.) as creationism. Grow up.

  69. #69 David Marjanovi?, OM
    May 11, 2009

    because there are two sides to every question, they both must be right, or at least not wrong.

    It starts with the very assumption that every question must have exactly two sides! This assumption is usually wrong.

    Christ’s Own Parking Structure

    :-D :-D :-D

    But mistrust of everyone with a claim to expertise is fairly recent. I’m inclined to blame the internet.

    Then why hasn’t the Internet had the same effect elsewhere?

    Even at my tiny, 3,000-circulation newspaper I regularly act as gatekeeper/traffic cop for all manner of bafflegab woo.

    Let me echo comment 52: thumbs up, but there are damn few journalists in the world (!) who write about anything touching science and know what they’re writing about.

    There is nothing like a clear, old good consensus on anthopogenic climat changes. Back in the seventies, the “self called” consensus was to predict a new glaciation era.

    Both wrong. Your entire comment is nothing but a list of arguments from ignorance.

    You’ve been had. Start here and spend a few hours there nonstop.

    Eric @55: Well said, and I completely agree. (having listened to an illuminating talk on the topic recently by Viscount Monckton)

    Jesus Hussein Christ!!!

    Monckton is a liar. As in: he knowingly makes stuff up.

    (Oh, and, read the rest of that blog, too, once you’re done with the other one… may take a couple of weeks.)

    Really, eric and Walton, where are you getting your information from? Are you getting information from anywhere?

  70. #70 Jadehawk
    May 11, 2009

    Back in the seventies, the “self called” consensus was to predict a new glaciation era..

    oy. one completely overblown, sensationalized Newsweek article, and the idiots think it was a “scientific consensus”

    then it moves on the ozone hole,

    are you seriously saying you don’t believe there is an ozone hole? or that the idea was just randomly dropped again?

  71. #71 Olorin
    May 11, 2009

    PZ, don’t forget that Ignatius Donnelly was once the governor of your fair State. In fact, the youngest governor.

  72. #72 RamblinDude
    May 11, 2009

    Well, there ARE rules about truth in advertising, so I’d say the answer is likely, “yes”.
    :-)

  73. #73 Anonymous
    May 11, 2009

    The rise of Idiot America, though, is essentially a war on expertise… Nobody buys his books. Nobody puts him on cable. He’s brilliant, surely, but no different from the rest of us, poor fool.

    …the Republican roster of candidates in the last presidential election?it’s terrifying and humbling that this country has so excelled at churning out such appalling stupidity

    While I agree with the central thesis here, I would point out that solely blaming right-wing politics ignores the fact that CAM lobbists, animal rights fruits, and antivaxxers, all people who fit squarely under this thesis too, swing predominantly from the Left. Do you think Jenny McCarthy voted Republican in the last election? Using this thesis exclusively to blast the Right is twisting the reality. No side is blameless and anyone who claims otherwise is selling something.

  74. #74 David Marjanovi?, OM
    May 11, 2009

    The global cooling matter was wrong, but I don’t know the details; all things considered, since we are known to be in an interglacial period, the idea of a new ice age may have made sense without further climate knowledge (i.e. new data).

    That’s why some people jumped on the fact that the global average temperature really did decline during that period (very slightly, more slowly than it increased before and after, but still). Turns out it was caused by sulfate aerosols; when the Western world installed filters in its factory chimneys, this effect vanished along with the acid rain.

    The majority of climatologists didn’t get on that bandwagon, though; see comments 67 and 69.

    ========================

    I overlooked one thing:

    then it moves on the ozone hole, and the same group (just after renaming itself), start a war on “antrophogenic climate heat”.

    Stratosphere chemists and climatologists are, for the most part, not the same people.

    I mean, please. I do hope you know what ozone is, at least.

  75. #75 David Marjanovi?, OM
    May 11, 2009

    oy. one completely overblown, sensationalized Newsweek article, and the idiots think it was a “scientific consensus”

    Of course. After all, if it weren’t true, they couldn’t print it.

    See comment 43 again. Kevpod didn’t work for Newsweek.

  76. #76 Null Hypothesis
    May 11, 2009

    Back in the seventies, the “self called” consensus was to predict a new glaciation era.. then it moves on the ozone hole, and the same group (just after renaming itself), start a war on “antrophogenic climate heat”. – eric

    Well I was too young back then to remember any climate cooling consensus but I believe that computers hadn’t even been invented at that time. Climate science was in its infancy. I think the concern about global cooling may have arisen from the realization of how quickly and frequently climate patterns shift in history. But they didn’t have any kind of sophisticated models to understand how the climate did change.

  77. #77 Ichthyic
    May 11, 2009

    IPCC does not follow usual (peer reviewed) scientific protocols for publications, worst, they have published really bad science documents (the famous hockey stick), and did not even published an erratum ( they were forced to do it by Nature, instead).

    one, the IPCC publishes summary articles, not primary science.

    what they summarize IS the primary literature.

    “the famous hockey stick” has been fucking done to overdeath, and you’re totally incorrect as to its overall significance wrt to the issue of climate change.

    that “they were forced to correct an erratum” by Nature suggests you at some level understand that peer-review actually works, and climate change within the primary literature isn’t just a political football.

    neither was Ozone research, btw.

    so, yes, you ARE exactly the kind of idiot Pierce is talking about, but rather than being of the ignorant variety, you’re an active denialist.

    congratulations.

  78. #78 MrProsser
    May 11, 2009

    Null Hypothesis, computers were invented long before the 1970′s. PC’s were quite new at the time but electronic computers have been around since the 1940′s.

  79. #79 12th Monkey
    May 11, 2009

    #33: Care to explain how that works? I’m not seeing how pasteurization (or the lack thereof) has anything to do with lactose content.

    The only thing that comes to mind is that heat denatures proteins. Lactose, however is a sugar, not a protein but the poster may actually be having trouble with the denatured form of one of the milk proteins. No way to know for sure unless you give them pure lactose without the associated proteins.

  80. #80 The Sanity Inspector
    May 11, 2009

    Is Dr. Pierce as witty as H. L. Mencken? You can keep your Paul Fussells et al, the original skewerer of the booboisie is still the best, imho.

  81. #81 Marc Abian
    May 11, 2009

    Can we get back to question of how raw milk is suitable for lactose intolerant people, as we’ve rather destroyed the global warming denier?

  82. #82 Longtime Lurker
    May 11, 2009

    “Experts” who contradict the elitist line are trustworthy. We all know that they* lie to us all the time.

    Thus was born the colloidal silver habitue.

    [The] funny “chemtrail” hypothesis that when you see hazy clouds in the sky it is because “they” are spraying heavy metals on us from jets for the purpose of experimenting on us and controlling our minds.

    Coal, on the other hand, is acceptable as the one true ‘Murkin energy source.

    Do you think Jenny McCarthy voted Republican in the last election?

    Yeah, it’s all about the editing.

  83. #83 Ichthyic
    May 11, 2009

    Can we get back to question of how raw milk is suitable for lactose intolerant people, as we’ve rather destroyed the global warming denier?

    i rather think the first premise was also destroyed, completely, with the link to the FDA article.

    http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/rawmilqa.html

    Yes, I know you’re probably really wondering what logic the person who mentioned it originally was using.

    just wanted to clarify that the idea of raw milk being useful for the lactose intolerant had already been shredded.

  84. #84 Ichthyic
    May 11, 2009

    …oh, and thanks to whoever mentioned that the new Green Day album is out.

    I’m listening to it right now. Not bad at all.

  85. #85 Lost Hussar
    May 11, 2009

    This is typical of the liberal christ hating faggots who come out to bat for the ACLU. You are only too happy to foist your commie insistence of the constitution on us, but the moment we point out the G-D fearing men who made this great nation said ‘All men are are born equal’ you throw away what the majoprity wants, and insist only on some dead Brit who never won the nobel prize.

    See my URL for the full details

  86. #86 llewelly
    May 11, 2009

    rodge | May 11, 2009 3:09 PM

    Don’t mean to poop on what otherwise promises to be a good book, but this has been done before a lot – Counterknowledge, MumboJumbo, and other such books were part of a fad recently that pretty much covered the problem. I’d prefer a book that had more focus on actually tackling all this madness, beyond making fun of it on the internet.

    Right here.

  87. #87 S. pneumo
    May 11, 2009

    Great Poe, Lost Hussar.

    Then again, I am a liberal christ hater. Two out of three isn’t bad.

  88. #88 ngong
    May 11, 2009

    As an expat, I tire of critiques of the USA that could apply to a good percentage of well-off countries around the globe. This isn’t one of them, however.

    Are there any other countries to which Pierce’s essay might remotely apply? Australia?

  89. #89 Carla Casilli
    May 11, 2009

    Hysterical and pathetic. You may also like the book, “True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society” by Farhad Manjoo. It addresses some of the same issues.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=VdDykSc7sbcC&dq=true+enough+farhad+manjoo&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=ZK0ISvIshvyzA7qv4N8I&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4#PPP1,M1

    I am doing some serious thinking about this issue and what roles exclusive reliance on quantitative data, rational-actor theory, religion and politics play in its growth/persistence.

    I am heartened that so many people are thinking about it. All we have to do now is figure out a way to act on it.

  90. #90 llewelly
    May 11, 2009

    Kevpod | May 11, 2009 4:11 PM:

    Objection.
    Skeptics Guide to the Universe does this, too ? paints all journalists as scientific ignoroids and slackers. PZ, I’d ask that you apply some scientific method to this and acknowledge those of us who do attempt due diligence.

    Uh, SGU, PZ, and other skeptics have often expressed their gratitude for the 9 or so journalists who aren’t ignoroids and slackers.

  91. #91 truthspeaker
    May 11, 2009

    Like Donald McLeroy says, somebody has to stand up to these experts!

  92. #92 echidna
    May 11, 2009

    The lactose intolerance/ raw milk thing doesn’t make any sense.
    Giving the benefit of the doubt, lets say that PlaydoPlato has noticed that milk generally makes him/her feel ill. However, drinking raw milk from a known source seems to be ok.

    It is plausible, on the information given, that PlaydoPlato has an intolerance to a protein generally found in cows milk, but not all cows milk. The raw milk may be sourced from cows which do not affect PlaydoPlato. If this hypothesis is correct, goat’s milk would work too.

    The research isn’t in on the A1/A2 proteins yet, it’s still largely anecdotal, but definitely observable and testable.

  93. #93 'Tis Himself
    May 11, 2009

    Ignatius was a speechwriter for the ‘boy orator of the Platte’, William Jennings Bryan. I think that the admonition that “you shalt not crucify America on a cross of gold,” the showstopper of Bryan’s most famous speech, is attributed to Donnelly…I don’t think that helping Bryan can be classed as harmless: apart from the economically illiterate bimetallism of the agrarian lobby in 1896, the Scopes nonsense is with us yet.

    While bimetallism had a serious problem, it was a not-unreasonable attempt to change the monetary policy that was unfavorable to cash-poor, debtor farmers and small merchants.

    After the Civil War newly discovered silver mines, primarily in Nevada, threatened to cause inflation, i.e., an effective decrease in the value of money. In 1873 the Fourth Coinage Act was passed, requiring strict adherence to the gold standard. Every dollar issued by the government was either gold or backed by gold. Instead of inflation, deflation resulted, causing problems for farmers with large mortgages who found they could sell their goods for only a fraction of their post-Civil War price. In addition, improvements in transport meant it was cheaper for farmers to ship their grain to Europe, and they over-expanded production until there was a glut on the market. The Panic of 1893 was a severe nationwide depression that brought the money issue to the fore.

    The “silverites” argued that using silver would inflate the money supply and mean more cash for everyone, which they equated with prosperity. The gold advocates said silver would permanently depress the economy, but that sound money produced by a gold standard would restore prosperity.

    Bimetallism and “Free Silver” were demanded by William Jennings Bryan who took over leadership of the Democratic Party in 1896, as well as the Populist and Silver Republican Parties. The Republican Party nominated William McKinley on a platform supporting the gold standard which was favored by financial interests on the East Coast. A faction of Republicans from silver mining regions in the West known as the Silver Republicans endorsed Bryan.

    Bryan’s presidential campaign was ultimately unsuccessful; this can be partially attributed to an economic upturn caused in part by the failure of Russian harvests and the resultant increase in commodity prices. The Republican McKinley campaign was effective at persuading voters that poor economic progress and unemployment would be exacerbated by adoption of bimetallism. The gold standard remained policy until it was abandoned in 1934 in FDR?s New Deal program.

    The historical development of coinage in modern nations has been from silver monometallism through a more or less unsatisfactory experience with bimetallism, to the single gold standard. Still, in the twentieth century, both metals lost their former importance within monetary systems. Now, monometallism in the form of the gold standard has been abandoned by all nations.

    The major problem with bimetallism is due to the fluctuation of the commercial value of the metals, the metal with a commercial value higher than the currency value tends to be used as metal and is withdrawn from circulation as money in accordance with Gresham’s law.*

    *Gresham’s law is commonly stated: “Bad money drives out good.” Gresham’s law applies specifically when there are two forms of commodity money in circulation which are forced, by the application of legal-tender laws, to be respected as having face values in a fixed-ratio for marketplace transactions.

    Good money is money that shows little difference between its nominal value (i.e., the face value of the coin) and its commodity value (i.e., the actual rate at which the coins are exchanged for bullion versions of the commodity). In the original discussions of Gresham’s law, money was conceived of entirely as metallic coins, so the commodity value was the market value of the coined bullion of which the coins were made. Bad money is money that has a substantial difference between its commodity value and its market value, where market value is lower than exchange value, or the actual value is lower than the market value.

    Is everyone asleep now?

  94. #94 llewelly
    May 11, 2009

    While I agree with the central thesis here, I would point out that solely blaming right-wing politics ignores the fact that CAM lobbists, animal rights fruits, and antivaxxers, all people who fit squarely under this thesis too, swing predominantly from the Left.

    The biggest supporters of CAM in congress include Hatch, Inhofe, and Ron Paul (who is also rabidly antivax). CAM and antivaxxers do not swing predominately to the left; those are equal opportunity stupidities.

    Do you think Jenny McCarthy voted Republican in the last election?

    I doubt it. But see this:
    http://washingtonindependent.mypublicsquare.com/view/mccain-joins

    John McCain has jumped into the vaccines-cause-autism fray on the side of those who blame vaccines for the “epidemic” of autism.

  95. #95 Last Hussar
    May 11, 2009

    Damn- I was hoping to at least get some knee jerk reactions
    ;-)

  96. #96 eric
    May 11, 2009

    I don’t deny that there is a “hole” in the ozone layer.

    “Stratosphere chemists and climatologists are, for the most part, not the same people.”
    OK, what about their chairmans ?

    http://www.earthinstitute.columbia.edu/sop2004/dkv/signs_politics.html

    the same man, chairs the Ozone Trends Panel, and the IPCC.

    I really don’t know what’s happening out there, if there is an anthopogenic climat change or not, but what I know for sure, is that the question is no longer scientific and it has become more politics.
    No one can trust science when it comes too close to politics ( it has been wrong so many times…). I’ll have to wait for the buzz to go down, before I can build my own opinion.

  97. #97 Qwerty
    May 11, 2009

    The biggest problem with this book will be that those most needing to be informed about their idiocy won’t be reading this book.

  98. #98 Kevpod
    May 11, 2009

    “Uh, SGU, PZ, and other skeptics have often expressed their gratitude for the 9 or so journalists who aren’t ignoroids and slackers.”

    The other skeptics may have, but I read Pharyngula daily and listen to SGU weekly, and my non-scientific perception is that journalism is most frequently mentioned in the context of some skeptical lapse.

  99. #100 Patricia, OM
    May 11, 2009

    Seconding Knockgoats suggestion to Walton in #69.

  100. #101 PlaydoPlato
    May 11, 2009

    Care to explain how that works? I’m not seeing how pasteurization (or the lack thereof) has anything to do with lactose content.

    I guess it might be more accurate to say that I’m pasteurized milk intolerant. I’m not sure why, just assumed that it had something to do with the lactose. Pasteurized milk makes me sick. Ultra-pasteurized milk leaves me blowing out both ends. Sorry for the image that conjures.

    Raw milk, on the the other hand, doesn’t bother me at all.

    I attended a government hearing in Richmond, VA a while back, where a state health official stated that this observed phenomenon had to do with the fact that people who grow up on farms, drinking raw milk, build some kind of natural immunity to raw milk.

    Sounds sensible, except for the fact that I grew up in Detroit and Phoenix. Not exactly farm country, and I drank pasteurized milk until, for some reason, I was no longer able to tolerate it.

    I work on a farm and know how to milk a cow. Believe me, there’s a BIG difference between the pasteurized milk that comes out of an industrial dairy, and the milk that comes from a properly cared for grass-fed cow. The former definitely needs to be pasteurized. The latter doesn’t.

    It’s not woo, just old-school agricultural science.

  101. #102 Ichthyic
    May 11, 2009

    but what I know for sure, is that the question is no longer scientific and it has become more politics.

    *yawn*

    stop reading the popular media and read the fucking primary literature then.

    because you might be “sure”… until you find out that you’re so wrong it’s laughable.

  102. #103 JM
    May 11, 2009

    This reminded me of a move called Idiocracy. A little vulgar but right along the same lines.

    Also, everytime I read the youTube comments, I think we are doomed for the same reason.

  103. #104 Yellow Dog
    May 11, 2009

    Just finished Susan Jacoby’s Age of American Unreason, and can’t recommend it highly enough.

    Haven’t read Pierce, but from PZ’s description, it sounds like Jacoby is by far the more scholarly, though eminently readable.

    Full Disclosure: I have a soft spot for Jacoby, because her brilliant American Freethinkers introduced me to the long and honorable history of secularism in American history.

  104. #105 bobxxxx
    May 11, 2009

    And, of course, he points out everywhere how our journalists simply gaze on approvingly, churning the chum and making money out of mindlessness.

    Here in Idiot South Florida the front page news is about some worthless shit-for-brains Catholic priest seen with a young woman on a beach, as if that’s more important than anything else going on in the world right now.

  105. #106 Rorschach
    May 11, 2009

    *PZ Meyers,you and your bunch of America-hating,commie fagot libruls are a shame to the US of A !! *

    Seriously though,
    I think were it not for PZ and other US bloggers,their good work and their agreement with books like Pierce’s and despair over the fact,the temptation to just call “Idiocracy” and declare the US a lost cause is great,especially from the other side of the pond,or the world.
    It is completely unfathomable to me how Americans can call people “elitists” that invent the new flu vaccine every year,say,and at the same time glorify someone like Joe the(not)Plumber.Most people dont know shit about making vaccines or plumbing,but one is an elitist,the other is everybody’s working class hero.
    Something is seriously askew.

  106. #107 Anonymous
    May 11, 2009

    The Sanity Inspector @ 81:

    Don’t know if you’d consider Pierce much any better than Mencken, but unlike Mencken, Pierce doesn’t hate Jews.

  107. #108 Jadehawk
    May 11, 2009

    Just finished Susan Jacoby’s Age of American Unreason, and can’t recommend it highly enough.

    I’m still trying to get through that, but between two joba and SIWOTI, I don’t think I’ll get through before the library will demand it back :-p

  108. #109 Citizen Z
    May 11, 2009

    Also, everytime I read the youTube comments, I think we are doomed for the same reason.

    No kidding.

    Also, the video here pretty well sums up this problem with society. Particularly from 3:00 onwards, where the probability of the LHC destroying Earth is discussed.

  109. #110 Rorschach
    May 11, 2009

    From the Esquire article:

    “There is an entire network [the Fox News Channel] that bills itself as news that is devoted to reinforcing people’s fears and saying to them, ‘This is what you should be scared of, and here’s whose fault it is,’” Olbermann says. “And that’s what they get — two or three million frustrated paranoids who sit in front of the TV and go, ‘Damn right, it’s those liberals’ fault.’ Or, ‘It’s those — what’s the word for it? — college graduates’ fault.’ “

    Nuff said.

  110. #111 kamaka
    May 11, 2009

    Damn- I was hoping to at least get some knee jerk reactions

    “Commie” was a dead giveaway.

    You’re playing to a savvy audience.

    Next time try “communist revision of the constitution”

    And caps, you NEED some caps…

  111. #112 skyotter
    May 11, 2009

    yeah, kinda obvious, Hussar, no offense =)

    i thought Walton @59 was joking, too, but it seems i’m the only one. maybe i’m reading too much Fark =/

  112. #113 kamaka
    May 11, 2009

    skyotter

    Viscount Mockton??

  113. #114 rick
    May 11, 2009

    This book sounds like the Idiot’s version of

    The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby

    which discusses the subject in an intellectual way.

  114. #115 Janine, OMnivore
    May 11, 2009

    Skyotter, Walton lacks a sense of humor. He is dead serious about it.

  115. #117 MadScientist
    May 11, 2009

    I wonder if he considered the title “Bigger Idiot America”. OK, I’ll put that book on my list of “must read”.

    Incidentally while looking for John Paulos’ latest book (Irreligion), I saw a lot of books with titles like “Idiot’s Guide to Christianity”, “Religion for Dummies” and so on; are these rebrands of the xian bible? (By the way I still can’t get “Irreligion” – grrrr.)

  116. #118 ObnoxiousBitch (Rox)
    May 11, 2009

    This book sounds like the Idiot’s version of The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby which discusses the subject in an intellectual way.

    Which might be a good thing, if it’ll get read by some of the people who so desperately need the wakeup call. I literally BEGGED a fundy friend to read “Unreason” or “Freethinkers” and he wouldn’t touch it.

    Anti-intellectualism is a plague upon this country. Anything we can do to educate Idiot America is fair play, including ridiculing and shaming them into it by pointing out just how fucking ignorant they truly are.

  117. #119 Patricia, OM
    May 11, 2009

    Skyotter, Walton has a number nine scoop shovel shoved so far up his frigid ass that not even the skills of the Lady Chablis can dislodge it.

    Sad state to be in, for someone so young.

  118. #120 Ichthyic
    May 11, 2009

    Also, the video here pretty well sums up this problem with society. Particularly from 3:00 onwards, where the probability of the LHC destroying Earth is discussed.

    holy fuck.

    so that’s how binary thinking becomes probability.

    wow.

    Not sure, but that certainly a challenge to another stupid fuck, Patricia Weeks, who stated last month that we had proven we could go faster than the speed of light, and this is why NASA was able to send spacecraft to other planets.

    For those that missed THAT wonderful tidbit, it’s in this PBS forum:

    First Coast Forum -
    Schools, Science, and the State

    (it’s the middle vid, and she says it a little over halfway through, and then again, insisting on it, about 3/4 of the way through after being told she is incorrect)

    note the reaction from the biologist sitting next to her.

    too funny.

  119. #121 Evolouie
    May 11, 2009

    It’s Idiocracy.
    Watch the movie and you’ll see.
    It’s actually one of the scariest movies I have ever watched.
    Idiocracy the movie, (frightening)

  120. #122 kamaka
    May 11, 2009

    Walton @ 59

    What??

    Janine, Patricia, are you saying that was not a funny by Walton?

    I must need correcting.

  121. #123 skyotter
    May 11, 2009

    but … life on the internet is so much more pleasant when you imagine that all trolls are named Poe

    *hangs head in shame*

  122. #124 'Tis Himself
    May 11, 2009

    From Rorschach’s link in #117:

    Viscount Monckton GCVO, KCMG, MC, PC

    First, the font of all knowledge, wikipedia, doesn’t show any of the honours listed. Certainly one of them is suspect, since the MC (Military Cross) is awarded to soldiers and Monckton never served in the military. His father, who had been a major general, had the MC (won in WW2) and his grandfather, the first Viscount Monckton of Brenchley had all those honours. But Walton’s hero is sadly lacking in knighthoods and military decorations.

  123. #125 adela
    May 11, 2009

    For some people’s milk digestion issues it’s the homogenization not the pasteurization that is the culprit.

  124. #126 Patricia, OM
    May 12, 2009

    kamaka, No, Walton is not trying to be funny. He is sadly exactly as he sounds. He has rejected wonderful and powerful advise by many excellent posters here, and continues to bawl and blat about his privileged life at Oxford. Then to compound his sins he spouts the L word bullshit.

  125. #127 Patricia, OM
    May 12, 2009

    HAW! Now skyotter that IS a funny.

    poe Walton, poe ol’ walton, poewalton, poeolwalton…

    Oh brother, I need to go to bed.

  126. #128 nothing's sacred
    May 12, 2009

    @eric
    No one can trust science when it comes too close to politics ( it has been wrong so many times…)

    And you say you don’t think you’re such an idiot American? This is the very definition of it Pierce gave:

    The rise of Idiot America today reflects ? for profit, mainly, but also and more cynically, for political advantage and in the pursuit of power ? the breakdown of the consensus that the pursuit of knowledge is a good. It also represents the ascendancy of the notion that the people we should trust the least are the people who know the best what they’re talking about.

    Those who have politicized climate change are those who profit (or rather, minimize their short-term loss of profit)from having scientific expertise denigrated. So now we have idiots saying no one can trust science, and telling outrageous lies like “There is nothing like a clear, old good consensus on anthopogenic climat changes” and “Back in the seventies, the ‘self called’ consensus was to predict a new glaciation era”. These lies have been refuted here, so where’s your admission that you’re a liar and an idiot? Acknowledging that there’s an ozone hole is not enough.

  127. #129 kamaka
    May 12, 2009

    Patricia

    No way! The Viscount thing was serious? Hahaha, that is SO hard to believe. What a Maroon!

    Oh Noes, Iz bin trolled!!

    Hahaha! On an Idiot thread, no less!

    Like skyotter, I must *hang head in shame*

  128. #130 skyotter
    May 12, 2009

    Patricia @128/129

    you think you’re tired? i’m seeing double!

  129. #131 teammarty
    May 12, 2009

    Akiko @#44
    The Betty Crocker wife reminded me of this Zappa classic.

    http://www.mp3lyrics.org/f/frank-zappa/flakes/

  130. #132 skyotter
    May 12, 2009

    kamaka, wasn’t it just like someone saying, “i agree with you; in fact, David Icke just wrote …”?

    i didn’t click his link

    i just lol’d at the sarcasm, then. now i’m lol’n at us

  131. #133 Thomas
    May 12, 2009

    So idiot America is only those crazy Conservative’s eh? Hmm. Let me know how that idiotic line of thinking works out for you.

  132. #134 kamaka
    May 12, 2009

    well, skyotter, I hadn’t heard of icky Icke until you brought it up.

    Thanks for the brain static…

  133. #135 kamaka
    May 12, 2009

    So idiot America is only those crazy Conservative’s eh?

    Ummm, you need some work on your reading comprehension.

    Let me know how that idiotic line of thinking works out for you.

  134. #136 Anonymous
    May 12, 2009

    Military do spray metal particles (barium) in the air for communications and sigint purposes so spraying metals high in the atmosphere so it isn’t as far fetched as you might think. Check the USPTO or FAS, I think you might find references there.

    Anyway back to topic. Since everything you see in the media, specially advertising, is targetted to viewer emotional response then what you will end up with is a whole lot of people who, by habit, operate on an emotional basis.

    Obviously at that level expertise or any other qualification is moot because you are communicating with them at the wrong level.

    It will take either at least a generation to reverse this crap, or a Major Shift of some kind. Not counting on seeing it.

  135. #137 skyotter
    May 12, 2009

    sorry about that, k

    it’s the little things that bug me, the small, simple pieces of cherished ignorance. like apostrophe abuse …

    (anyone want to bet its misuse is defended as a typo?)

  136. #138 matt
    May 12, 2009

    I love when like 134 out of 137 comments all agree how stupid the US is – this is called a “circle jerk”.

    OK, conservative presidential candidates (Mitt Romney JD/MBA Harvard, Ron Paul MD, John McCain 136 IQ) are representative of “Idiot America” right? Remember that Barack Obama regularly attends church and is against gay marriage.

    But millions of poor and inner-city minorities (along with their appalachian white cousins) who run an IQ about 87 and breed incessantly and at a rate far more than intellectuals are not? Idiocracy indeed.

    Right-wing radio are idiots but not left-wing gaia loving, pagan-ritual having, celestine prophecy, colon-cleansing, aura-treatment, VHEMT freaks?

    Thousands of scientists are skeptical of global warming now, just as many were skeptical of global cooling in the 60′s and are skeptical again when the term becomes “global climate change” but let’s just silence the debate, crush our economy on a hunch and make sure we install mufflers on cow-anuses. Who’s the idiot here?

    I think I’ll pass.

    Remember, to convert the right wing to your point of view, you have to stop calling them idiots. This will only cause further “blowback” – a term the left wing loves.

  137. #139 Jadehawk
    May 12, 2009

    matt at #140 wins an award for “post most obviously resulting from not actually reading the thread”

    1) note that no one here claimed that Idiot America is limited to the Right; also, note te several comments making fun of New Age woo

    2)the “global cooling” BS has already been dealt with

    3)your racism has been duly noted; and if you cared to pay attention, you’d know that most people blame inner city and rural backwater uneducated-ness on the same lack of education and respect for it.

  138. #140 skyotter
    May 12, 2009

    *wipes tear* gods, Matt, stop. you’re killing me here *giggle*

    (i’m conservative, but you’d probably cry RINO)

  139. #141 Ichthyic
    May 12, 2009

    Right-wing radio are idiots but not left-wing gaia loving, pagan-ritual having, celestine prophecy, colon-cleansing, aura-treatment, VHEMT freaks?

    there’s a big radio market for a talk show host who is a gaia loving, pagan-ritual having, celestine prophecy, colon-cleansing, aura-treatment, VHEMT freak?

    who knew.

    don’t stop on our account; tell us more. You’re a poster child for exactly the kind of american Pierce is talking about, and having more case examples in the thread might illuminate his point even more clearly.

  140. #142 Ichthyic
    May 12, 2009

    Remember, to convert the right wing to your point of view, you have to stop calling them idiots.

    you’re a dying breed.

    why would anyone want to “convert” you?

  141. #143 Kseniya
    May 12, 2009

    matt:

    Thousands of scientists are skeptical of global warming now, just as many were skeptical of global cooling in the 60′s and are skeptical again when the term becomes “global climate change” but let’s just silence the debate, crush our economy on a hunch and make sure we install mufflers on cow-anuses. Who’s the idiot here?

    At this very moment, for this paragraph alone, matt – it’s you.

  142. #144 JeffS
    May 12, 2009

    Personally, I’ve given up. The Human species has never shown any inclination towards sanity.

  143. #145 Blue Fielder
    May 12, 2009

    Once again, I call for an insta-ban on common-name trolls.

  144. #146 Jadehawk
    May 12, 2009

    I actually wonder if this is the same matt-troll who was claiming there was some quantifiable genetic difference between a “self-identified white person” and a “self-identified black person”, way back when we were being trolled by Stormfront…

  145. #147 Kseniya
    May 12, 2009

    I was wondering the same thing, Jadehawk. Similar matt-vibe.

  146. #148 Sherry
    May 12, 2009

    Stop the idiocy of Don’t Ask Dont Tell!
    Support our military!

    TAKE ACTION TUESDAY: Tomorrow ? Tuesday, May 12 – call the White House switchboard at 202-456-1111.

    Go to http://knightsout.org/
    An Organization of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender US Military Academy Alumni and their Supporters

  147. #149 skyotter
    May 12, 2009

    re-reading, i’m starting to think that matt might be right. yup, i was reading David Icke, who ag-

    *ducks thrown boot*

  148. #150 Bob Dobbs
    May 12, 2009

    I wonder if he talks about the idiots who push the “I believe” button concerning global warming causes. I certainly hope so..but predictably probably not….

    oh well…could have been a good book…

  149. #151 Bob Dobbs
    May 12, 2009

    “..the Creation “Museum”, the Terry Schiavo case, the Dover creationism trial, the War on Terror, right-wing talk radio, climate change denialists, the Republican roster of candidates in the last presidential election…”

    WOW! That’s amazing! There are only idiotic “conservatives”..no idiotic “liberals”. How very brave and unbiased of you sir to publish this objective look at the topic?

    What a hack..give me a break…

  150. #152 nothing's sacred
    May 12, 2009

    I love when like 134 out of 137 comments all agree how stupid the US is – this is called a “circle jerk”.

    Counting is clearly not your strength.

    OK, conservative presidential candidates (Mitt Romney JD/MBA Harvard, Ron Paul MD, John McCain 136 IQ) are representative of “Idiot America” right?

    If you insist. But I don’t think Romney was mentioned, and anti-vac is certainly in that category.

    Remember that Barack Obama regularly attends church and is against gay marriage.

    Oh, gee, we forgot … since the last time he was dinged here for his godbotting. And just for the sake of accuracy, while Obama has said something stupid about a personal belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, he wants DOMA repealed and opposed Prop 8 and has repeatedly spoken against other institutionalization of discrimination.

    But millions of poor and inner-city minorities (along with their appalachian white cousins) who run an IQ about 87 and breed incessantly and at a rate far more than intellectuals are not? Idiocracy indeed.

    You just told us that we all agree that the US is stupid … did inner cities and Appalachia secede while I wasn’t looking? Since you’re telling us (through these clever rhetorical questions) what our views are, perhaps you could try just a little to be consistent about it.

    Right-wing radio are idiots but not left-wing gaia loving, pagan-ritual having, celestine prophecy, colon-cleansing, aura-treatment, VHEMT freaks?

    Use false dichotomies to attack strawmen much?

    Thousands of scientists are skeptical of global warming now

    None of them climate scientists. Actually, in regard to GW as opposed to AGW, you would have trouble finding any at all.

    just as many were skeptical of global cooling in the 60′s and are skeptical again when the term becomes “global climate change”

    You’re having that problem with counting again.

    but let’s just silence the debate

    Yes, of course, presenting evidence silences debate.

    crush our economy on a hunch and make sure we install mufflers on cow-anuses.
    Who’s the idiot here?

    Ooh, that’s a tough one.

    I think I’ll pass.

    On what, exactly?

    Remember, to convert the right wing to your point of view, you have to stop calling them idiots.

    We do that when we’re actually trying to change their views, but it rarely helps.

    This will only cause further “blowback” – a term the left wing loves.

    And yet you’re the one using it here to further your argument, so perhaps they’re not wrong to love it.

    Here’s a clue: in order to convert the right wing to our point of view, they have to stop being idiots.

  151. #153 JeffreyD
    May 12, 2009

    Oh wow, matt morphed into Bob Dodds right in front of my eyes. Actually probably not, just appears that way. After all I am an idiotic liberal.

    Ciao

  152. #154 ali
    May 12, 2009

    Greetings from Idiot Switzerland. You are not alone. Over here in Switzerland we are going to vote this weekend on including alternative medicine into our constitution (evidence based medicine is not mentioned there by the way) so it is covered by the health insurance.

    There was no real debate, there wasn’t even a committee formed against the proposal. According to the polls is very likely that the proposal will pass with around 70% Yes votes. Discussions are frustrating with all these dilution-delusionists and anthroposophic Voodoo disciples.

    The pro committee has numerologist as members and one of the leading figures lobbies against vaccines, doubts HIV and thinks measles are a ‘spiritual experience’ for children.

    You have no monopoly on Idiocy.

  153. #155 T
    May 12, 2009

    I got off a water taxi in the Abel Tasman in New Zealand, not long after we’d seen a couple of amazing killer whales chasing fur seals onto the rocks.
    The ‘larger’ American lady and her family (who’d provided a definite lean to the left on our boat journey), sitting on the port side of the boat, asked the following question, ‘where’s sea level round here?’, the family all looked expectantly at the driver who pronounced that it was round the bay, just past where we saw the killer whales. It was this one exchange that confirmed every fear I’d ever had about the US education system and predominant (main stream media brainwashed) culture.
    I sincerely wish the US the best over this coming year. The good news is though, that the family I mentioned above were big republican christians who liked guns :) And for the record, no one on the boat even remotely asked questions around either of those topics, however it was ‘required’ that we were all told these amazing facts. Thank you.

  154. #156 eric
    May 12, 2009

    stop reading the popular media and read the fucking primary literature then
    That’s what I try to do, most of the time, and I must admit that climate studies are a bit far from my specialty.

    And, BTW everyone that call me idiot, are, of course, real climate expert (no one here, in the comments on “idiot america”, would dare talking like an expert without having the due qualifications !)

    So what can I do, in that case ?
    On one hand there are climate change evangelist that call me “Idiot”, on the other hand skeptics with who I share a lot of thought (on religion, magic, paranormal etc.) that claims that their is something wrong with the IPCC.

    In the meanwhile I’ll wait for the climat alarmist to prove they are right (the proof burden etc. ), not just make predictions, and digest for politician (this is not Science).

    nothing sacred@130

    Why the hell, should I be called an idiot, just because I’m skeptical, and just because, in the science history, science, under political pressure, has not always been very accurate ?

    I do trust Science, when it follows some rules. One of them is to wait for a clear consensus (strong proofs) before moving into politics. (Lyssenko, morphopsychology, racism ).

    These lies have been refuted here, so where’s your admission that you’re a liar and an idiot? Acknowledging that there’s an ozone hole is not enough.

    what I was saying about calling me an idiot ?

    where is “here” ? the realclimat.org article ? Then there is a 40-50 year old consensus on climat warming. And in 50 f* years, there must have been a HUGE amount of actual measures, that fits the previously published prediction, isn’t it ?

    As I guess you are a due expert on climate (to call me liar or idiot, you must have authority for that), can you just send me some references of confirmation papers ?
    In the last 50 years there have been major changes (not just year to year variations), this should help having a very strong confirmations.

    I can wait for it.

  155. #157 Rorschach
    May 12, 2009

    Gave up on logging into typekey…

    matt @ 140,

    OK, conservative presidential candidates (Mitt Romney JD/MBA Harvard, Ron Paul MD, John McCain 136 IQ) are representative of “Idiot America” right?

    If you had bothered to read the article linked in the thread,you would have known that this is not about IQ,its about “gut”,emotion vs rationality,about the way news get reported,about what bits of news and information count,as in,are important,are reported in the MSM.The appeal to emotion,warm fuzzy and impulse trumps science,reason and intellect in the US today,noone cares for the IQ of John McCain or Romney.

  156. #158 marshall
    May 12, 2009

    So true. SO TRUE!!! I’m sick and tired of media covering many scientific issues; and ask celebrities and actors on what they think of them. Why do they insist on asking actors who know nothing on the issues their comment?

  157. #159 matt
    May 12, 2009

    heh. all expected responses. :)

    unconvincing because:

    1. any discussion or book that talks about “idiots” and doesn’t address the current racial divide isn’t being honest – it’s much easier to attack the right wing. i know you don’t believe that i’m not a racist in the slightest, but it doesn’t matter if you believe me or not, you know my point is true. when you admit something it makes it easier to solve the problem. the recent harlem study will be debunked in under a year.

    2. the global warming stuff will be so passe’ in about a decade or two that you or i probably won’t care, but you guys keep working hard on that! Nassim Taleb and i will be laughing at those crazies from the early 2000′s. i sometimes wonder if it’s a right wing plot to discredit the biased left(as i suspect the bush memo’s were in 2004).

    3. there are millions of left-wing anti-science loons (probably not as many as right-wing loons but they exist) though they may not get their source material from the radio. the comments prior to mine only minorly addressed this with the vac issue.

    4. the slant in the article and the comments was against the right-wing and the republican presidential candidates. i simply pointed this out and that freaked many of you out. you sciency nerdbots should be the first to know of humans ingrained biases. i’m aware of mine, many simply mask theirs in whatever science confirms their politics.

    5. Some pretty smart people on this thread. I may grab the RSS feed and start commenting more! Come on, who’s with me?

    .. I was checking the a … specs on the end line, for the rotary, girder.

  158. #160 Walton
    May 12, 2009

    OK guys, forget I said anything about Viscount Monckton or global warming. I don’t really know a hell of a lot about it, and I appreciate that – while the figures he quoted sounded convincing – I don’t have the knowledge and expertise to fact-check his claims.

    And I don’t want to be arguing on the same side as “matt” (not to be confused with the several other Matts who comment here). That comment about “minorities” made it clear that he’s a racist asshole.

  159. #161 Capt. Kirk
    May 12, 2009

    Message acknowledged Mr. Spock. Please return to your science station.

  160. #162 Cosmic Teapot
    May 12, 2009

    For those of you who found the english version of the office unfunny, I give you Ricky Gervaise, one of the writers doing one of his stand up shows.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_EXqdJ4L7I

  161. #163 ColonelFazackerly
    May 12, 2009

    When I (englishman) started reading pharyngula a few years back, it was a revelation: not all americans are so stupid. if it is any consolation, the thinkers of the UK are similarly embattled.

  162. #164 Rorschach
    May 12, 2009

    @ 163,

    find another nick,will ya.
    I saw that movie today,and it was…..good.Plenty that could have gone wrong with it,that didnt.
    Had me tear up when the vulcan kids do the math and logic problems,in that society it is a virtue to master logic and science,in the US,it is some elitist deviance,goes against the “gut” warm fuzzies.

  163. #165 Pete Dooley
    May 12, 2009

    How odd, I just finished reading how a bunch of Harvard educated geniuses F-d up the entire world economy. Their “mantra”, to get the yokels in line, was they were “modernizing” the economy. Thus they got rid of that old 1933 regulatory The Glass-Steagall Act. I dropped my pipe and pissed my gaberdines. Damn those idiots! Get over yourselves.I want to puke and I haven’t even had my milk yet.

  164. #166 Kim
    May 12, 2009

    Crystal ball gaze : The fall of the USA has been likened to the fall of the Ottoman Empire – all that is left is a sofa and the country of Turkey – impoverished and strife ridden . However I strongly suspect that it’s going to be a lot worse . The USA is being destroyed by fundamentalism – religious , political etc. . It’s had a president and staff who were the epitome of ‘you can win the prize without running the race’ . As a society it’s very dysfunctional There is certainly massive illogicality and massive bubble thinking . Things are bad at the moment and I think it’s going to get a lot worse . I only hope that you guys contain it all and leave the rest of the World to get on with our lives .

  165. #167 Wow.
    May 12, 2009

    Hook, line, and sinker! The lot of ya!

  166. #168 Kari
    May 12, 2009

    @ Eric

    Well, let me just say up front that I am no climate change scientist. I have however studied some international environmental law. One of the principles they talk about in that area is the precautionary principle. In short, even though there may or may not be (I think there IS, but that’s not necessary for the argument I’m making) an overwhelming consensus for AGW, we do not know the exact consequences of not taking action and they might very well be severe. Thus, one should take action. Because, if we don’t it might very well be too late once we actually have such an overwhelming consensus. To argue that the scientific consensus (in your view) is not big enough to take action is stupid, either way. If it were 50/50, we should still take action against AGW.

  167. #169 Josh Woods
    May 12, 2009

    Wow, you hit that nail on the head!

    RT
    http://www.privacy-resources.us.tc

  168. #170 africangenesis
    May 12, 2009

    Kari#170,

    Shouldn’t you be a little precautionary about sacrificing trillions of dollars in economic growth in a world with plenty of other problems?

    The problem with trusting the experts is that is argument from authority, so even the experts are naturally skeptical of them until they review the evidence.

    Only a small minority of the scientists that are part of the AGW consensus are climate modelers, and but all are relying upon the model results to attribute anything more than a third of the recent warming to greenhouse gasses. The AGW is plausible, but human emissions may also be swamped by natural variation as has been the case for the last 10 years.

    The most familiar experts routinely give the public reason to be skeptical of the argument from authority. Economists, educators, nutritionists and medical doctors are routinely making fools of themselves by claiming more knowledge than they actually have, and it is there for everybody to see. Feynman was so right about social “scientists”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EZcpTTjjXY

    After over 100 years of factory model schools we still don’t have scientific proof of the best way to learn to read. Low carb diets help people lose weight and lower fasting blood TG levels. Ulcers aren’t due to type A personalities, and calcium in the diet actually reduces not increases the risk of kidney stones. Perhaps if the “experts” were a little more humble in extrapolating from inconclusive evidence without proper controls, they would have more credibility. A “show me” culture, distrustful of authority isn’t all bad. It may have saved the world from considerable unnecessary sacrifice combatting global warming.

  169. #171 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 12, 2009

    Eric @55 & suite,
    I am just curious as to where you are getting your information on climate science. Fully 90% of the scientists who are actively publishing on climate agree with the statements that 1)Earth is warming and 2)Humans are the primary cause. If you look at the scientific professional organizations that have reviewed the science, not one dissents from the consensus view that we are warming the climate. (BTW, this includes the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.) If you look at the National Academies they, too have endorsed the conclusions.
    As to “global cooling” in the ’70s, there was indeed a hiatus in warming from the mid ’40s through the mid ’70s. The suspected cause even at the time was sulfate aerosols from the burning of fossil fuels during the post-war recovery. A few climate scientists did express concern about this bringing about a new ice age. The reason they were wrong is because they were assuming a CO2 sensitivity that was too low. So rather than undermining the consensus, the whole “global cooling” argument actually strengthens it!

    I urge you to look at Spenccer Weart’s excellent history:
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/

    While it is tempting to dismiss Americans as ignorant fools, I think what is really missing is the ability to distinguish between the true experts and those passing themselves off as experts. There’s very good money to be made as a false expert these days, and the Intertubes have made it that much easier for them to spread their lies.

  170. #172 'Tis Himself
    May 12, 2009

    the slant in the article and the comments was against the right-wing and the republican presidential candidates.

    Matt, John McCain was (notice I use the past tense) an intellectual. He wasn’t afraid to show this trait during the 2000 Republican primaries. But after he got kicked in the teeth by Karl Rove, he dropped his intellectualism. Why do you think he picked (or had thrust upon him) Sarah Palin as a running mate? Especially considering Palin’s “fruit fly” speech, her anti-intellectualism is well shown.

    Earlier, George W. Bush (with degrees from Yale and Harvard) pushed himself as the anti-intellectual candidate you could have a beer with, acting like a good ol? boy country bumpkin. Through calculated self-deprecation, Bush bizarrely transformed his incredible inarticulacy and poor academic record into an electoral asset.

    Ron Paul, in spite of having a medical degree from a respected university, is a creationist and believes in various types of woo. Remember the first Republican primary debate back in March 2007? Huckabee, Brownback and Tancredo all raised their hands to signal that they did not believe in evolution.

    The Republicans have established themselves as the anti-intellectual party. Sure, there are cases of anti-intellectualism in the Democratic Party, but nothing like the rampant hatred of intellect in the GOP.

  171. #173 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 12, 2009

    Africangenesis,
    The fact that the globe is warming is in no way contingent upon global climate models. Arrhenius predicted warming over a century and even got in the ball park for CO2 sensitivity estimates with pencil and paper.
    A true skeptic’s skepticism radiated through 4-pi steradians. He or she will also look at the evidence, and the fact of the matter is that you simply cannot explain the evidence (paleoclimate as well as current climate) without our activities resulting in a warming globe. Read Weart’s history, cited above.

  172. #174 John
    May 12, 2009

    There seems to be just a bit of a mixed message here. At first, its asserted that the rise of the idiot (hats off to the fine documentary “Idiocracy”) is about a dislike of the pursuit of knowledge and not so much a dislike of intellectual elite. Then, the weight of the genuine informed are discounted: “Less weight, in fact, because our scientist is an “expert” and therefore, an “elitist.” Also, while it’s claimed that pursuit of knowledge is frowned upon, in the same paragraph everyone is trying to act as though they are pursuing knowledge as amateur historians or scientists. Those two don’t get along together either.

    I think its true that the pursuit of knowledge is on the decline. Chiefly, though, its from the invasion into politics by the fundamentalist movement, for whom knowledge is a nemesis. There is a reason that this particular movement is so effective at promoting ignorance, and that is that it has mastered the art of appearing to advocate the pursuit of knowledge and advancement of the human condition while simultaneously doing just the opposite.

    Just look at their footprints: they create their own versions of scientific theories which they don’t like, trying very hard to *look* scientific. They create their versions of educational institutions, trying very hard to look just like real educational institutions. In fact, they create their own versions of nearly everything – music, art, literature, entertainment – all trying very hard to look, sound, or even taste like the real thing. Its as if they have taken passive-aggressive behaviour to extreme lengths.

    All a façade, however, and a saddening one to watch at that. This is perhaps a sign of a societal change, wherein the astute must be more so, and the funny taste in that bite of apple is more suspect than before, for the worm is ever better at hiding.

  173. #175 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 12, 2009

    Africangenesis,
    The fact that the globe is warming is in no way contingent upon global climate models. Arrhenius predicted warming over a century and even got in the ball park for CO2 sensitivity estimates with pencil and paper.
    A true skeptic’s skepticism radiated through 4-pi steradians. He or she will also look at the evidence, and the fact of the matter is that you simply cannot explain the evidence (paleoclimate as well as current climate) without our activities resulting in a warming globe. Read Weart’s history, cited above.

  174. #176 Stargazer
    May 12, 2009

    Ah, the climate change deniers pointing out how a new ice age was predicted, etc. Reminds me of the “sceptics” Penn and Teller, who said the same on their show. I suspect that show was made to seem like a sceptic show only to introduce libertarian “ideas” and anti-environmentalism.

  175. #177 John
    May 12, 2009

    There seems to be just a bit of a mixed message here. At first, its asserted that the rise of the idiot (hats off to the fine documentary “Idiocracy”) is about a dislike of the pursuit of knowledge and not so much a dislike of intellectual elite. Then, the weight of the genuine informed are discounted: “Less weight, in fact, because our scientist is an “expert” and therefore, an “elitist.” Also, while it’s claimed that pursuit of knowledge is frowned upon, in the same paragraph everyone is trying to act as though they are pursuing knowledge as amateur historians or scientists. Those two don’t get along together either.

    I think its true that the pursuit of knowledge is on the decline. Chiefly, though, its from the invasion into politics by the fundamentalist movement, for whom knowledge is a nemesis. There is a reason that this particular movement is so effective at promoting ignorance, and that is that it has mastered the art of appearing to advocate the pursuit of knowledge and advancement of the human condition while simultaneously doing just the opposite.

    Just look at their footprints: they create their own versions of scientific theories which they don’t like, trying very hard to *look* scientific. They create their versions of educational institutions, trying very hard to look just like real educational institutions. In fact, they create their own versions of nearly everything – music, art, literature, entertainment – all trying very hard to look, sound, or even taste like the real thing. Its as if they have taken passive-aggressive behaviour to extreme lengths.

    All a façade, however, and a saddening one to watch at that. This is perhaps a sign of a societal change, wherein the astute must be more so, and the funny taste in that bite of apple is more suspect than before, for the worm is ever better at hiding.

  176. #178 africangenesis
    May 12, 2009

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space,

    I don’t doubt a warming impact from human GHG emissions, but if they are only responsible for less than a third of the recent warming, the next Dalton minimum may well be warmer than the last, but still cooler than the current climate, and when solar activity returns to more usual levels, the next century may do well to be as warm as the last. If natural variation is two thirds or even 40% of what we have been seeing, there is no reason to leave oil wealth in the ground, while its gradually increasing scarcity and prices transition us to alternative technologies. IT is not reasonable yet, to leap ahead of the evidence. Let’s wait for models with the skill to attribute the recent warming and project the climate.

  177. #179 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 12, 2009

    AG, Where on Earth are you getting the idea that natural variation could account for even 40% of the change–certainly not from the peer-reviewed literature. What is more, if you look at Usoskin’s work on Grand Solar Minima, they last at most a few decades, while the effects of CO2 persist for centuries if not millennia.

    Every year this decade has been among the 10 warmest since they started keeping records–even 2008, which had a significant La Nina event. The evidence that we are changing the climate is overwhelming–a true skeptic would be trying to familiarize himself with it.

    I ask again, where are you getting your information?

  178. #180 Kevin
    May 12, 2009

    So a biologist talking about global warming is an expert on what? The scientist have done it to themselves by making statements that can’t be supported and by doing everything in pursuit of continued funding regardless of the need or science.

    The global warming people did not predict the last 10 years of cooling so how impressive can their science really be and what are they really experts on?

    The democrats and republicans tend to be lawyers so acting like only one side is science ignorant is a farce. They both are. That’s why we will spend billions on energy solution that do nothing.

    Finally Mr. Biologist, what is temperature a measurement of and how does that work out is a variably mixed fluid of o, n, co2, and water vapor. The fact is, without humidity, you only have half the answer.

  179. #181 africangenesis
    May 12, 2009

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space,

    The recent warming is within the margin of error of our understanding of the Medieval Warm Period and less than they Holocen optimum. The peer review supports the characteriztion of the solar activity as a Grand Maximum. Correlation isn’t causation, but combined with a poor understanding of solar variation and coupling to the climate, it is suggestive. Nearly all estimates of climate sensitivity are based upon aerosols and poorly understood solar variation, and not sensitivity to CO2.

    You should read the peer review literature and the IPCC reports, and see what evidence there is for attributing more than 30% of the recent warming to CO2 other than models. The is plenty of diagnostic evidence that the models are not up to the task of attributing the warming yet.

    Show me models that are able to reproduce the solar signature found the climate observations, that don’t have a positive surface albedo bias, that reproduce the amount of precipitation associated with the recent warming (instead of just one-third to one-half), that can reproduce PDO and el nino behavior, that implement the difference in solar and CO2 coupling to the ocean and that can match better tropical cloud feedback observtions than currently exist.

  180. #182 john
    May 12, 2009

    There seems to be just a bit of a mixed message here. At first, its asserted that the rise of the idiot (hats off to the fine documentary “Idiocracy”) is about a dislike of the pursuit of knowledge and not so much a dislike of intellectual elite. Then, the weight of the genuine informed are discounted: “Less weight, in fact, because our scientist is an “expert” and therefore, an “elitist.” Also, while it’s claimed that pursuit of knowledge is frowned upon, in the same paragraph everyone is trying to act as though they are pursuing knowledge as amateur historians or scientists. Those two don’t get along together either.

    I think its true that the pursuit of knowledge is on the decline. Chiefly, though, its from the invasion into politics by the fundamentalist movement, for whom knowledge is a nemesis. There is a reason that this particular movement is so effective at promoting ignorance, and that is that it has mastered the art of appearing to advocate the pursuit of knowledge and advancement of the human condition while simultaneously doing just the opposite.

    Just look at their footprints: they create their own versions of scientific theories which they don’t like, trying very hard to *look* scientific. They create their versions of educational institutions, trying very hard to look just like real educational institutions. In fact, they create their own versions of nearly everything – music, art, literature, entertainment – all trying very hard to look, sound, or even taste like the real thing. Its as if they have taken passive-aggressive behaviour to extreme lengths.

    All a façade, however, and a saddening one to watch at that. This is perhaps a sign of a societal change, wherein the astute must be more so, and the funny taste in that bite of apple is more suspect than before, for the worm is ever better at hiding.

  181. #183 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 12, 2009

    Yawn, some people don’t understand the differnce between weather and climate. Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get. Climate is changing, with temperatures headed slowly upwards. Weather causing what appears to be a minor cooling trend? Just a blip in the climate data.

  182. #184 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 12, 2009

    AG, Your characterization of climate science is quite simply wrong. What solar signature? The effect of total solar irradiance is already in the models. The rest of your post reads like a mish-mash of denialist talking points. In particular, CO2 sensitivity being based on aerosols–that doesn’t even make sense. CO2 sensitivity is mainly determined by 1)Paleoclimate, 2)overall 20th century response and 3)resporse of the climate to short-term perturbations like large volcanic eruptions.

    As to the rest, ENSO does indeed show up as an emergent phemomenon in climate models. As to the precipitation, much of the difference seen is due to the large grid size. It is clear, your grasp of the science is not just tenuous. It’s non existent.

  183. #185 Marc Abian
    May 12, 2009

    The global warming people did not predict the last 10 years of cooling so how impressive can their science really be and what are they really experts on?

    Go find the earth’s annual temperature for each of the last 20 years. Then come back and say sorry for not checking up on what you are talking about.

  184. #186 africangenesis
    May 12, 2009

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space,

    None of what I said about the models is controversial. You are obviously unfamiliar with the literature. But I’ve referenced most of what I relied upon elsewhere on this blog.

    The model independent estimates of climate sensitivity are based upon aerosol events like volcanic eruptions and assumptions about the levels of solar forcing in the paleo-record of past extremes in solar activity. Then based upon the questionable assumption that the climte response to “equivilent” levels of CO2 forcing will be the same, they extrapoolate to CO2.

  185. #187 AJS
    May 12, 2009

    I have drunk raw milk and lived to tell the tale.

    You can get it in Somerset. I drank the stuff all the time when we used to go on holiday to Weston-Super-Mare, when I was but a wee nipper; and again, more recently, at the Glastonbury festival.

    As to whether it tastes any better, I’m afraid I don’t know. One time I was too young to remember, the other time I was off my tits on magic mushrooms.

  186. #188 Stephen Wells
    May 12, 2009

    africangenesis routinely uses that “30% of the warming is due to anthropogenic GHGs” line; it’s misleading because it ignores feedback, e.g. he’s tacitly taking the extra water vapour in a warmer atmosphere as _not_ an anthropogenic GHG, so the positive feedbacks in the system apparently don’t count. Cue more whining any second now. I will continue to put more trust in actual climatology than in ag’s version of it.

  187. #189 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 12, 2009

    AG, you haven’t given a single specific reference to support your contentions–just vague handwaves to “the IPCC” and the literature. I am quite familiar with the literature, thank you. There are no “model independent” estimates of climate sensitivity–all of science is based on models. There are in fact 3 sources of the estimate, as I said–paleoclimate, 20th century observations and response to short-term variations–all three favor 3 degrees per doubling. Remove any one of them, and the 90% confidence upper limit goes above 5 degrees per doubling. None of them favor a sensitivity less than 2 degrees per doubling.

    Again, where are you getting this crap?

  188. #190 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 12, 2009

    Cue more whining any second now. I will continue to put more trust in actual climatology than in ag’s version of it.

    Right, I’ll believe real working scientists over libertarian ideologues any day of the week. The libertarians always lie if their ideology is theatened. The scientists go with the evidence.

  189. #191 embertine
    May 12, 2009

    Sadly, the distrust of knowledge is not exclusive to the US. Here in the UK, we are seeing the same thing, and I think many factors are to blame for it.

    Ill-educated parents who bully their children if they do well at school, tabloid journalists shrieking nonsense about every scientific discovery, political spin… the list goes on.

  190. #192 dogmeatib
    May 12, 2009

    Yes, excellent point. It?s one of my pet peeves. Does every beer commercial have to reinforce the image of the American male as a dopey, sex starved, half-ape who?s incapable of focusing his attention on little more than football?

    But umm… sorry, game is starting…

  191. #193 Moo
    May 12, 2009

    Sadly, the distrust of knowledge is not exclusive to the US.

    Blasphemy! The USA is the ONLY place where Bad Things happen and Stupid People live. Every other square inch of the Earth is a noble utopia populated by super geniuses and magic unicorns. How dare you!!!

    Anyway, has anyone considered the simpler explanation that decades of bashing and belittling people in certain parts of the country (or with certain accents) as being automatically stupid finally created a massive backlash? That too many in academia have presented itself as arrogant assholes so proud of their assholeness that it drives people away? And when someone raises the concern they are simply dismissed as concern trolls?

    Some people live in a bubble, spend their days excoriating anyone who doesn’t align with their views 100% (and I don’t even mean religion here), and then wonder why people don’t like them?

  192. #194 dogmeatib
    May 12, 2009

    Sad thing is, I had a student come to me yesterday to ask me if I had seen Expelled. When I informed him that I had not he was shocked and asked me why. I explained that I had read a number of reviews and plot synopsis of the movie and felt it was a waste of my time. He then argued that Stein is “an expert” and does a “great job” addressing the “problems” in science.

    I honestly didn’t know whether to laugh in his face or weep.

  193. #195 africangenesis
    May 12, 2009

    Stephen Wells,

    “it’s misleading because it ignores feedback, e.g. he’s tacitly taking the extra water vapour in a warmer atmosphere as _not_ an anthropogenic GHG, so the positive feedbacks in the system apparently don’t count.”

    You should know better. It is interesting that you don’t mention the negative feedbacks, evidently they don’t count. It is the “net” feedback that counts and we don’t know yet whether that is positive or negative. All we really know is that the models get it wrong. The direct effects only explain about 30% of the recent warming. Do you know who this a_ray_in_dilbert_space is? Should I take him/her seriously. He/she hasn’t even searched the blog for my references, or provided any references of his/her own. I invited Knockgoats over to the Texas state climatologist blog, but I’m not sure if this one will actually go to the literature or has just been to one of Gore’s little training sessions.

  194. #196 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 12, 2009

    AG, I have yet to see any credible reference that argues for a CO2 sensitivity less than 2 degrees per doubling. I certainly haven’t seen any convincing evidence that “the models get it wrong”. Over 90% of those actively publishing support the consensus model of Earth’s climate.

    If you have credible references, I’d think it would not be much trouble to supply them again. Meantime, you can look for your favorite denialist “scientists” on this list of the most cited authors.
    http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/~prall/climate/climate_authors_table.html
    Here’s a hint: Look way down the list.

  195. #197 africangenesis
    May 12, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    The under representation of the negative feedback from precipitation:

    How Much More Rain Will Global Warming Bring? Frank J. Wentz,* Lucrezia Ricciardulli, Kyle Hilburn, Carl Mears
    Published online 31 May 2007; 10.1126/science.1140746

    “Climate models and satellite observations both indicate that the total amount of water in the
    atmosphere will increase at a rate of 7% per kelvin of surface warming. However, the climate
    models predict that global precipitation will increase at a much slower rate of 1 to 3% per kelvin. A
    recent analysis of satellite observations does not support this prediction of a muted response of
    precipitation to global warming. Rather, the observations suggest that precipitation and total
    atmospheric water have increased at about the same rate over the past two decades.”

    “There is a pronounced difference between the precipitation time series from the
    climate models and that from the satellite observations.
    The amplitude of the interannual variability,
    the response to the El Niños, and the decadal trends
    are all smaller by a factor of 2 to 3 in the climatemodel
    results, as compared with the observations.”

    “The difference between a subdued increase in
    rainfall and a C-C increase has enormous impact,
    with respect to the consequences of global
    warming. Can the total water in the atmosphere
    increase by 15% with CO2 doubling but precipitation
    only increase by 4% (1)?Will warming
    really bring a decrease in global winds? The observations
    reported here suggest otherwise, but
    clearly these questions are far from being settled.”

  196. #198 africangenesis
    May 12, 2009

    some comments on the missing precipitation from other scientists. let’s here some fearmongering about droughts.

    Lambert of the Hadley Center and Stine, Krakauer and Chiang of UC Berkely write:
    “Thus if GCMs do underestimate global precipitation changes, the simulation of
    other climate variables will be effected.” Eos Vol 28 No. 21

    In the same issue of Eos, Previdi and Liepert explain: “This non-radiative energy
    transfer takes primarily the form of latent and sensible heat fluxes with the latent
    heat flux being about 5 times larger than the sensible heat flux in the global mean.
    The latent heat flux from the surface to the troposphere is associated mainly with
    the evaporation of surface water. When this water condenses in the troposphere to
    form clouds and eventually precipitation, the troposphere heats up and then radiates
    this energy gain out to space. The radiative energy loss from the troposhere is equal
    to the energy heat gain at the surface. The global water cycle is therefore
    fundamentally a part of the global energy cycle and any changes in global mean
    precipitation and evaporation are consequently constrained by the energy budgets
    of the troposhere and surface.”

  197. #199 africangenesis
    May 12, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    Here is the positive surface albedo bias reference. Note that the globally and annually averaged error is correlated and amounts to around 3 to 4 watts/m^2, which is greater than the less than 0.8 watts/m^2 total energy imbalance for the year 1998 per James Hansen. Hopefully you understand the implications of correlated error for hopes that the errors will cancel out when combining ensembles.

    Roesch, A. (2006).
    “Evaluation of surface albedo and snow cover in AR4 coupled climate models”.
    J. Geophys. Res.. DOI:10.1029/2005JD006473.

    “The mean annual surface albedo of the 15 AR4 models amounts to 0.140 with a standard deviation of 0.013. All AR4 models are slightly above the mean of PINKER (0.124) and ISCCP-FD (0.121).”

    “The annual mean surface albedo of the AR4 models is 0.140 with a standard deviation of 0.013. All climate models are slightly above the average derived from the PINKER and ISCCP climatology. The participating models all capture the large-scale seasonal cycle of the surface albedo quite well. However, pronounced systematic biases are predicted in some areas. Highest differences between the models are found over snow-covered forested regions. The winter surface albedo of CNRM-CM3, averaged over the latitude zone from 50N-70N, is nearly 0.3 lower than in MIROC3.2 and INM-CM3.0. Comparisons with ground-based and remote-sensed data reveal that most AR4 models predict positive biases over primarily forested areas during the snow period. These substantial deviations are still far too high to meet the required accuracy of surface albedos in GCMs.”

    “These substantial deviations are still far too high to meet the required accuracy of surface albedos in GCMs.”

  198. #200 africangenesis
    May 12, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    The models also have correlated error in representing the arctic ice cap melt and presumably this contributes to a positive albedo bias as well. Should I pause and let you absorb this stuff?

    “Arctic Sea Ice Decline: Faster Than Forecast?”
    Stroeve, J., M. M. Holland, W. Meier, T. Scambos, and M. Serreze,
    Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L09501, doi:10.1029/2007GL029703

    Quote from Scambos in associated press interview:
    “Because of this disparity, the shrinking of summertime ice is about thirty years ahead of the climate model projections,”

    Quote from Stroeve in associated press release:

    “The actual rate of sea ice loss in March, about ?1.8 percent per decade in the 1953 to 2006 period, was three times larger than the mean from the computer models,”

  199. #201 Dan L.
    May 12, 2009

    @eric:

    You’ve been had, buddy. You spot off three or four denialist talking points and laud yourself for being a “skeptic.” Yeah right.

    I don’t have the expertise to judge myself and I haven’t read all the material out there, but purely based on the mode of discourse from each side, I have to say that it’s the “skeptics” that come out looking like they don’t have an argument.

    Every list of “experts” who deny AGW looks the same: meteorologists and engineers, a few petrogeologists, and a couple actual climate scientists who weren’t asked if they would like to be on the list, asked to be removed when they found out, and actually do believe in AGW. Conservative think tanks and oil companies have spent millions of dollars suppressing the work of climate scientists that actually suggested that yes, fossil fuel use is contributed to a global warming effect.

    And then there’s the talking points. “In the 70′s they predicted cooling!” “It’s obviously the sun!” “There’s been a cooling trend the last 10 years!”

    The cooling prediction has been dealt with upthread, but just to reiterate: there was no widespread consensus among climate scientists on global cooling. There was no global cooling scare. If it was the sun causing the 100 year warming trend, presumably those rascally astronomers might have told us about a slow, gradual increase in solar irradiance. And the 10 year cooling trend was caused by 1998 being considerably warmer than the other recent years; drop that point from the data set, and the trend goes back to warming. All this is irrelevant, because 10 year trends pick up the 11-year solar cycles, so 10 year trends are pretty much useless in climate science.

    africagenesis comes the closest of anyone I’ve seen yet to actually presenting skeptical arguments with some validity. Most “skeptics” seem to just lie through their teeth.

  200. #202 hiphopten.com
    May 12, 2009

    Reads like most of the comments are coming from “experts”.

  201. #203 Dan L.
    May 12, 2009

    @eric:

    You’ve been had, buddy. You spot off three or four denialist talking points and laud yourself for being a “skeptic.” Yeah right.

    I don’t have the expertise to judge myself and I haven’t read all the material out there, but purely based on the mode of discourse from each side, I have to say that it’s the “skeptics” that come out looking like they don’t have an argument.

    Every list of “experts” who deny AGW looks the same: meteorologists and engineers, a few petrogeologists, and a couple actual climate scientists who weren’t asked if they would like to be on the list, asked to be removed when they found out, and actually do believe in AGW. Conservative think tanks and oil companies have spent millions of dollars suppressing the work of climate scientists that actually suggested that yes, fossil fuel use is contributed to a global warming effect.

    And then there’s the talking points. “In the 70′s they predicted cooling!” “It’s obviously the sun!” “There’s been a cooling trend the last 10 years!”

    The cooling prediction has been dealt with upthread, but just to reiterate: there was no widespread consensus among climate scientists on global cooling. There was no global cooling scare. If it was the sun causing the 100 year warming trend, presumably those rascally astronomers might have told us about a slow, gradual increase in solar irradiance. And the 10 year cooling trend was caused by 1998 being considerably warmer than the other recent years; drop that point from the data set, and the trend goes back to warming. All this is irrelevant, because 10 year trends pick up the 11-year solar cycles, so 10 year trends are pretty much useless in climate science.

    africagenesis comes the closest of anyone I’ve seen yet to actually presenting skeptical arguments with some validity. Most “skeptics” seem to just lie through their teeth.

  202. #204 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 12, 2009

    AG, Do you even bother to read the references you cite. First, yes, the models underpredict sea ice melt–as well as glacial melt. This suggests that if anything the physics in the models is too conservative, and that warming is actually happening faster. The problem is not, predominantly in the radiative forcing, but rather in the ice dynamics–and that’s not in the models.
    Albedo–also a known problem. However, where does most of the sun’s energy fall? Near the equators. It is then spread out by atmospheric and oceanic circulation toward the poles. Thei doesn’t seriously undermine the conclusions of the models. Again, note the cause–the models show snow melting later in the year than it is. This again, suggests that the models are too conservative.

    As to precipitation and humidity, a more recent survey paints a more complicated picture:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2008GL035333.shtml

    Some places RH goes up; some places down. Overall, it’s mostly constant. As to radiation from water condensation in the troposphere–note that CO2 is a well mixed greenhouse even into the lower stratosphere. It decreases outgoing IR from cloudtops as well as the surface.

    I would note also that radio occultation measurements are consistent with model results (short dataset, though).

    Isn’t it interesting that everything you chose is either insignificant, sugests that the models are conservative or is contradicted by other studies?

    The moral of the story, AG, is that any fool can cherrypick a couple of results that claim to show discrepancies and say “the models suck”. What I want to know is how what you are doing is different from the creationist attacks on evolution. Anti-science is Anti-science.

  203. #205 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 12, 2009

    AG, Do you even bother to read the references you cite. First, yes, the models underpredict sea ice melt–as well as glacial melt. This suggests that if anything the physics in the models is too conservative, and that warming is actually happening faster. The problem is not, predominantly in the radiative forcing, but rather in the ice dynamics–and that’s not in the models.
    Albedo–also a known problem. However, where does most of the sun’s energy fall? Near the equators. It is then spread out by atmospheric and oceanic circulation toward the poles. Thei doesn’t seriously undermine the conclusions of the models. Again, note the cause–the models show snow melting later in the year than it is. This again, suggests that the models are too conservative.

    As to precipitation and humidity, a more recent survey paints a more complicated picture:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2008GL035333.shtml

    Some places RH goes up; some places down. Overall, it’s mostly constant. As to radiation from water condensation in the troposphere–note that CO2 is a well mixed greenhouse even into the lower stratosphere. It decreases outgoing IR from cloudtops as well as the surface.

    I would note also that radio occultation measurements are consistent with model results (short dataset, though).

    Isn’t it interesting that everything you chose is either insignificant, sugests that the models are conservative or is contradicted by other studies?

    The moral of the story, AG, is that any fool can cherrypick a couple of results that claim to show discrepancies and say “the models suck”. What I want to know is how what you are doing is different from the creationist attacks on evolution. Anti-science is Anti-science.

  204. #206 Andrew @ EC
    May 12, 2009

    Even the right-wingers have started to figure this out; arch-conservative jurist Richard Posner just suggested that excessive use of religious criteria for hiring in the Bush administration (Monica Goodling, anyone?) is responsible for the death of conservatism in America.

  205. #207 africangenesis
    May 12, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    “However, where does most of the sun’s energy fall? Near the equators. It is then spread out by atmospheric and oceanic circulation toward the poles.”

    Evidently you didn’t notice that the large temperate zone errors were reported globally and annually averaged. So the distribution of solar energy was already factored in, and is on the order of 4 times larger than the energy imbalance. Your response is nothing but hand waving and a personal attack.

    Arguing that the models are conservative doesn’t help. Yes, the positive albedo bias is a missing positive feedback far larger than the phenomenon we are trying to attribute. So the models found some incorrect way to “match” the recent warming. Furthermore, with this albedo error, the models don’t remain conservative in their future projections, because they eventually catch up with the spring snow and ice cap melts. Then they will be adding the energy that should have already been represented in the climate simulation. This probabaly contributes to the temperature excursions they take after 2050, and to the high climate sensitivities.

  206. #208 Anonymous
    May 12, 2009

    @Kari#170
    If you don’t mind, I’d rather let a democratic decision process rather than a “precaution principe” that, in fact, is an “do-nothing” principle.

    @Dan.L
    Well… what can I say ? I’m a skeptics, I participate in many skeptics forums, most of the time, we fight against delusion, believers, myths (sasquatch, UFO, psychoanalysis etc.). But, when it comes to IPCC, it is suddenly forbidden to ask for a proof ?

    You are right, I’ve read climat-change deniers, and some of the question they arose still puzzling me. The IPCC is NOT a scientific structure, and thus, I must question their conclusions. Is it forbidden ?

    I am currently investigating the “case” (for my self made opinion). And here are the main two points :
    1/ they hockey stick is a shame. Even, in the mild hypothesis as described by realclimate.org

    2/ the IPCC is a political structure, and I’m still looking for an once of “facts” in all the climate change stuff. There is nothing but predictions, proxies, … Popper criterium is not enough to define a science, but it is required. I didn’t found yet a strong refutable argument in all the GWA theory.

    sorry, I might be an idiot, but, I am currently investigating, and I came here with the actual question I had in mind, and because, it was the second time PZ took side, talking about climate-change deniers, in the same level as creationists, IDiots, and so on.

  207. #209 eric
    May 12, 2009

    sorry, #210 is mine.

  208. #210 Dan L.
    May 12, 2009

    2/ the IPCC is a political structure, and I’m still looking for an once of “facts” in all the climate change stuff. There is nothing but predictions, proxies, … Popper criterium is not enough to define a science, but it is required. I didn’t found yet a strong refutable argument in all the GWA theory.

    Here’s a few:

    1) Is the earth warming? That’s certainly falsifiable. Data seems to suggest, however, that it is warming.

    2) Is the observed warming the result of CO2 forcing? Certainly falsifiable. Based on physical properties of CO2, we expect it to force global temperature upwards with increased concentrations. We see increased concentrations of CO2, we see higher temperatures…and we don’t know of any other phenomenon that might cause those higher temperatures. While some degree of skepticism is warranted, the science seems pretty sound to me.

    3) Is the increase in CO2 caused by burning fossil fuels? It’s falsifiable, but the evidence is so overwhelming that it’s a little silly to even call oneself a skeptic on this point.

    If you don’t mind, I’d rather let a democratic decision process rather than a “precaution principe” that, in fact, is an “do-nothing” principle.

    Remind me not to hire you as an accountant, investment banker, or any kind of engineer. If the U.S.A. were a corporation, Kari’s approach is exactly the one they would take. They would do a cost-benefit analysis. They would look at the cost of doing nothing in the worst case, the best case, and some cases in between and compare those to the costs of mitigation proposals. They wouldn’t just throw their hands in the air because there’s no smoking gun proof of AGW yet.

    sorry, I might be an idiot, but, I am currently investigating, and I came here with the actual question I had in mind, and because, it was the second time PZ took side, talking about climate-change deniers, in the same level as creationists, IDiots, and so on.

    I don’t think you’re an idiot, and I certainly didn’t want to give that impression. However, there’s a big difference between questioning the IPCC reports and parroting denialist talking points that have been refuted hundreds of times. Not to mention that you impugn the veracity of the IPCC reports maintaining that it’s a political body without bothering to question the veracity of the denialist talking points I mentioned. In other words, you’re not an idiot: you’re a dupe.

  209. #211 Dan L.
    May 12, 2009

    @eric:

    Also, why would you accept a solution produced by a political process (as you say to Kari above) but reject the IPCC reports, which are created by…a political process? I’m not seeing a lot of consistency in your particular brand of skepticism.

  210. #212 eric
    May 12, 2009

    1) Is the earth warming? That’s certainly falsifiable. Data seems to suggest, however, that it is warming.

    All right, I used to believe it, but the last 10 years decrease is rejected as a “so 10 year trends are pretty much useless in climate science.”. So to be “falsifiable”, how long do we have to wait ? No proof will come from that point to help in the decision.

    2) Is the observed warming the result of CO2 forcing? Certainly falsifiable. Based on physical properties of CO2, we expect it to force global temperature upwards with increased concentrations. We see increased concentrations of CO2, we see higher temperatures…and we don’t know of any other phenomenon that might cause those higher temperatures. While some degree of skepticism is warranted, the science seems pretty sound to me.

    All right, that’s falsifiable, and that is a proof that CO2 is a GHG. I don’t know yet if deniers accept this point. But I do.

    3) Is the increase in CO2 caused by burning fossil fuels? It’s falsifiable, but the evidence is so overwhelming that it’s a little silly to even call oneself a skeptic on this point.

    ok too for the 3), it is hard, but possible to estimate how many CO2 is rejected.

    4/ about politics/science. I don’t expect political process to tell me the “truth”, that the science’s job. I don’t expect science to tell me what to do, that the politics’ job. IPCC is a kind of weird hybrid of both.

    5/
    If the U.S.A. were a corporation, Kari’s approach is exactly the one they would take. They would do a cost-benefit analysis. They would look at the cost of doing nothing in the worst case, the best case, and some cases in between and compare those to the costs of mitigation proposals.

    No comments. The question is not about cost/benefit analysis (in which case you are never too precautionous) , but rather budget arbitrage …

    In the world, there are kids that still don’t know how to read, or dying of f*k curable diseases.

    You don’t mind, though, if I need a doublecheck before letting this kind of problem aside ?

    Maybe we could let the scientifics looking for evidence for another 10 years or less, before taking a decision ?
    that sounds reasonable to me. Evidence-based decisions rather than FUD-based decision ?

  211. #213 Dan L.
    May 12, 2009

    All right, I used to believe it, but the last 10 years decrease is rejected as a “so 10 year trends are pretty much useless in climate science.”. So to be “falsifiable”, how long do we have to wait ? No proof will come from that point to help in the decision.

    Again, it’s not a 10 year decrease. It’s a 10 year downward trend. Caused by 1998 being WAY above the trendline, not by recent years being cold (they’re actually some of the warmest on record despite la nina and a long-lived solar minimum). If you ignore 1998, the other 9 years show a definite upward trend. This talking point is a lie. I find it telling that you’re “skeptical” of the IPCC, but not “skeptical” of whoever is feeding you this hogwash.

    Climate scientists look at 30 year trends, and there is about 100 years of data. That’s 70 years of 30 year trendlines — more than enough to see a clear upward trend from the beginning of the data until 20 years ago. If this data did not demonstrate warming, AGW would be falsified. But it does. The only reason the AGW hypothesis wasn’t falsified is because the data supports it.

    You can’t look at 30 year trends in a period of 10 years, so we can never know how the last 10 years are going to look when trended. I’m not sure why you’re complaining about this simple fact.

    In the world, there are kids that still don’t know how to read, or dying of f*k curable diseases.

    Your point being?

  212. #214 eric
    May 12, 2009

    You can’t look at 30 year trends in a period of 10 years, so we can never know how the last 10 years are going to look when trended. I’m not sure why you’re complaining about this simple fact.

    Simply because, I’m actually looking for evidence of AGW. And the trend-based predictions won’t appear until at least 30 years (I just asked for how long, you said 30 years). There is no hope there for a short term evidence.
    This argument makes the AGW theoretically refutable, for sure, but it can be used to build an actual evidence for short term decision.

    Your point being?

    budget arbitrage vs cost/benefits analysis.
    Budget arbitrage is about selecting where do we port our efforts: actual kids health/literacy/etc. (pick your choice), or AGW ? that’s the real dilemma, not choosing between precautions or nothing.

    I find it telling that you’re “skeptical” of the IPCC, but not “skeptical” of whoever is feeding you this hogwash.

    I’m skeptical of both don’t worry, but would you answer my questions if I were saying that IPCC is all right, and that there is a AGW ?

    Despite beeing a big PZ fan, I do post in other forums, or blogs, and then ask skeptics about their evidences.

    btw, thanks for your time

  213. #215 dogmeatib
    May 12, 2009

    Personally I’ve never understood the whole AGW denial position. Really the intelligent, and responsible position to take would be to plan for and prepare for a changing climate, take steps to make our industry and transportation systems more efficient and environmentally friendly regardless of the cause of climate change. If we determine later we aren’t causing it then great, we created new industries, developed new technologies, and sparked economic growth … awww shucks, what a terrible thing to do.

    On the other hand if we ignore it and it is caused by human activity and we did nothing, we would then face a critical situation that we have to deal with (if we even can) at great expense and, in a sense, in a panic, knee-jerk fashion.

  214. #216 eric
    May 12, 2009

    You can’t look at 30 year trends in a period of 10 years, so we can never know how the last 10 years are going to look when trended. I’m not sure why you’re complaining about this simple fact.

    Simply because, I’m actually looking for evidence of AGW. And the trend-based predictions won’t appear until at least 30 years (I just asked for how long, you said 30 years). There is no hope there for a short term evidence.
    This argument makes the AGW theoretically refutable, for sure, but it can be used to build an actual evidence for short term decision.

    Your point being?

    budget arbitrage vs cost/benefits analysis.
    Budget arbitrage is about selecting where do we port our efforts: actual kids health/literacy/etc. (pick your choice), or AGW ? that’s the real dilemma, not choosing between precautions or nothing.

    I find it telling that you’re “skeptical” of the IPCC, but not “skeptical” of whoever is feeding you this hogwash.

    I’m skeptical of both don’t worry, but would you answer my questions if I were saying that IPCC is all right, and that there is a AGW ?

    Despite beeing a big PZ fan, I do post in other forums, or blogs, and then ask skeptics about their evidences.

    btw, thanks for your time

  215. #217 eric
    May 12, 2009

    You can’t look at 30 year trends in a period of 10 years, so we can never know how the last 10 years are going to look when trended. I’m not sure why you’re complaining about this simple fact.

    Simply because, I’m actually looking for evidence of AGW. And the trend-based predictions won’t appear until at least 30 years (I just asked for how long, you said 30 years). There is no hope there for a short term evidence.
    This argument makes the AGW theoretically refutable, for sure, but it can be used to build an actual evidence for short term decision.

    Your point being?

    budget arbitrage vs cost/benefits analysis.
    Budget arbitrage is about selecting where do we port our efforts: actual kids health/literacy/etc. (pick your choice), or AGW ? that’s the real dilemma, not choosing between precautions or nothing.

    I find it telling that you’re “skeptical” of the IPCC, but not “skeptical” of whoever is feeding you this hogwash.

    I’m skeptical of both don’t worry, but would you answer my questions if I were saying that IPCC is all right, and that there is a AGW ?

    Despite beeing a big PZ fan, I do post in other forums, or blogs, and then ask skeptics about their evidences.

    btw, thanks for your time

  216. #218 Moe
    May 12, 2009

    Very apt analogy, comparing America to the Office.

  217. #219 David Marjanovi?, OM
    May 12, 2009

    I actually wonder if this is the same matt-troll who was claiming there was some quantifiable genetic difference between a “self-identified white person” and a “self-identified black person”, way back when we were being trolled by Stormfront…

    Heeeeey! In that case he owes me “a handful” of old silver dollars! My institutional address can be found in Google Scholar.

    Why the hell, should I be called an idiot, just because I’m skeptical, and just because, in the science history, science, under political pressure, has not always been very accurate ?

    Because you’re making arguments from ignorance. You are supposed to be smart enough to recognize your own ignorance. Hey, Walton did it in comment 162.

    For example, AGW is not a political issue except in the USA where it’s almost an article of faith that the right wing has to deny it and the left wing has to accept it. That divide simply doesn’t exist elsewhere.

    Shouldn’t you be a little precautionary about sacrificing trillions of dollars in economic growth in a world with plenty of other problems?

    How did you calculate that number?

    <crickets>

    Perhaps if the “experts” were a little more humble in extrapolating from inconclusive evidence without proper controls, they would have more credibility.

    And what makes you think the evidence is inconclusive?

    The fact is, without humidity, you only have half the answer.

    And what on the planet makes you think that water vapor is being ignored!?!

    The under[...]representation of the negative feedback from precipitation:

    Feedback? Isn’t evaporation + precipitation just supposed to transport the heat toward the poles?

    That’s what happens when it gets warmer: the tropics stay pretty much as they are, and the poles heat up. For example, there was no ice in Greenland before the late Miocene.

    Is the increase in CO2 caused by burning fossil fuels? It’s falsifiable, but the evidence is so overwhelming that it’s a little silly to even call oneself a skeptic on this point.

    You overlooked one test: Fossil fuels lack 14C. And indeed, the 14C content of atmospheric CO2 has been decreasing ever since the mid-late 19th century, when the burning of fossil fuels reached serious proportions. It wouldn’t just be “a little silly” to doubt that.

    Budget arbitrage is about selecting where do we port our efforts: actual kids health/literacy/etc. (pick your choice), or AGW ?

    Why do you ask about such pittances? The three-trillion-dollar war is supposed to be over soon.

    Regarding the alleged cooling of the last 10 years, read more Deltoid. Random search result.

  218. #220 africangenesis
    May 12, 2009

    Dogmeatib,

    “Personally I’ve never understood the whole AGW denial position. Really the intelligent, and responsible position to take would be to plan for and prepare for a changing climate, take steps to make our industry and transportation systems more efficient and environmentally friendly regardless of the cause of climate change. If we determine later we aren’t causing it then great, we created new industries, developed new technologies, and sparked economic growth … awww shucks, what a terrible thing to do.”

    You’ve just described the climate skeptic position. Do the things that make economic sense. Increase efficiency, if the alternative technologies aren’t cost effective yet, fund the research to try to accelerate their development. If the evidence eventually shows further action is necessary, use market signals, like carbon taxes, so that the most cost effective solutions are found. Measures that would reduce current economic growth would only make us less capable of dealing with problems in the future.

  219. #221 Anonymous
    May 12, 2009

    AG, YOU are missing the point–the albedo effect is LOCAL, not GLOBAL. And it matters quite a bit that the models are conservative–the 90% CL is 2.5-4.5 degrees per doubling. If it’s closer to the upper end of that range, we’re pretty well screwed. What is more, there’s pretty much a hard cutoff at 2 degrees per doubling–that is you can’t get an Earth-like climate with a lower value.

    Now here’s something I’ve never understood: The reality of warming is pretty much indisputable. The causation is us at the 90% CL. So why are denialists so hot for the models not to work. That won’t make the problem go away. As I said, Arrhenius derived the rough magnitude of warming with pencil and paper. and all subsequent analysis has done is refine the error bars. So if warming is happening, and the models aren’t working, that means we are flying blind with a system where warming could be as high as 6 degrees per doubling and where we have lots of unknown tipping points (e.g. release of CO2 and CH4 from permafrost and shallow clathrates). The models are the best tools we have for bounding the risk. If the models don’t work, the only viable strategy would be be to avoid future warming at all cost, however draconian. I would assume a devotee of the L-word political persuasion would want to avoid that.

  220. #222 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 12, 2009

    Yawn, looks like AG is lying again with his anti-AGW position. He doesn’t grasp the concept that we consider him a ideologue who is not to be believed on any topic, much less one where real working scientists disagree with him. Boring idiot.

  221. #223 Anonymous
    May 12, 2009

    Eric, When I hear the “cooling for 10 years” meme, I know that the writer is either a liar or gullible. The year 1998 was one of the largest El Nino years in recent memory, while 2008 was a fairly deep La Nina. A cherry-picked starting and ending date do not an honest analysis make.

    You say you are looking for “short-term evidence”. Interesting that you seem more than willing to toss out the long-term evidence–namely ~30 years of warming since the mid ’70s, a cooling stratosphere in addition to a warming troposphere, last frost dates moving earlier and earlier (now 3 weeks or so). Why don’t you want to consider these?

    And then, of course, there’s the fact that your “10-year trend” hasn’t really started. The past 10 years have been warmer on average than the decade before and the last warmer than the decade before that. What is more every year this decade has been among the 10 warmest years since records were started. That doesn’t sound like much of a cooling trend to me.

    You seem awfully concerned about the costs of avoiding or mitigating climate change. Have you considered the costs if we don’t? Have you considered the fact that much of what will be needed to battle climate change will also be needed simply because we’re running out of oil? and coal?
    Have you considered the fact that if we develop strategies to cope that those very technologies will generate growth? I don’t pretend this will be easy. It is the only way I see, though, to ensure that we pass civilization on to our progeny.

  222. #224 Rorschach
    May 12, 2009

    I see this thread has been successfully hijacked by the AGW bullshit mafia.
    Was a good one,until then.
    And I wish posts under “Anonymous” would be ignored,or made impossible by the SB software.
    I wont be responding to any.

  223. #225 africangenesis
    May 12, 2009

    YOU are missing the point–the albedo effect is LOCAL, not GLOBAL.

    What is your point?  The “global” warming is local.  Haven’t you
    heard of polar amplification?  The energy is in the climate but not in the
    models, and if you want to hand wave it away, you are waving away something 4
    times the size of the energy imbalance responsible for the warming, you might as
    well say the warming is insignificant.

    And it matters quite a bit that the models are conservative–the 90% CL is 2.5-4.5 degrees per doubling. If it’s closer to the upper end of that range, we’re pretty well screwed. What is more, there’s pretty much a hard cutoff at 2 degrees per doubling–that is you can’t get an Earth-like climate with a lower value.

    That is not the sense in which the models are “conservative”.  They were
    conservative in being slow to melt the arctic ice caps and the temperate zone
    snow.   That is “conservative” in the sense of being “wrong”. 
    The climate sensitivity to CO2 doubling is most likely to be too high from these
    errors.   Yes, you can get an earth like climate with a lower
    sensitivity to CO2 doubling.  It is the climate sensitivity to solar
    forcing that is important to the Earth-like climate.  In the nonlinear
    climate system they are unlikely to be equal.  Not only are they coupled
    more strongly to different parts of the climate system, solar has dimensions in
    addition to its direct radiative forcing.  For instance its UV component
    increases by 7 or 8% during the more active parts of its cycle, and this has a
    nonlinear effect through photochemistry, increasing the levels of ozone in the
    stratosphere and troposphere.   Ozone is another greenhouse gas.

    Now here’s something I’ve never understood: The reality of warming is pretty much indisputable. The causation is us at the 90% CL.

    The 90% “confidence level” is a political figure, not one supported by any
    peer review literature.   Note that it was purposely compromised at
    less than the usualy 95% level for statistical significance, and only attributes
    “most” of the warming to AGW. 

    So why are denialists so hot for the models not to work. That won’t make the problem go away.

    I don’t know, I am hot for the models to work.  I’d love it.  I can
    hardly wait.   But realistically the development cycle is on the order
    of 3 years or more, and it is likely to take more than one cycle to get the
    models where they are capable of credibly attributing the recent warming.

    As I said, Arrhenius derived the rough magnitude of warming with pencil and paper. and all subsequent analysis has done is refine the error bars.

    It was very “rough”, it didn’t include things like clouds for instance. 
    The model projections don’t have error bars in the sense of exploring the full
    range of uncertainty in the estimates of their inputs.  The correlated
    errors in albedo, precipitation, and under representation of solar call into
    question their quantitative credibility for a phenomenon this small.  
    The do exhibit climate-like behaviors, and provide qualitative insight that has
    been helpful in many areas of the science.

    So if warming is happening, and the models aren’t working, that means we are flying blind with a system where warming could be as high as 6 degrees per doubling and where we have lots of unknown tipping points (e.g. release of CO2 and CH4 from permafrost and shallow clathrates). The models are the best tools we have for bounding the risk. If the models don’t work, the only viable strategy would be be to avoid future warming at all cost, however draconian. I would assume a devotee of the L-word political persuasion would want to avoid that.

    No, we aren’t flying totally blind, we’ve got a viable alternative hypothesis
    for some of the attribution, namely the solar Grand Maximum, that would seem
    unlikely to be just a coincidence.   Furthermore, the models aren’t
    totally worthless, the errors would seem to be on the side of making their
    projections too high.   Their under-representation of solar argues
    that too much of the warming was being attributed to GHGs and thus their
    sensitivity is to GHGs is too high.  When the models catch up with the snow
    and arctic cap melts, more solar energy will be absorbed and temperatures will
    be biased higher.   The tropical cloud feedback is positive in all the
    models, and there is evidence suggesting that it should be negative instead. 
    Most of the model uncertainty is in the cloud models.  Precipitation is
    another large area of uncertainty.   In a world of growing population
    and increasing concerns about the scarcity of fresh water, the warming could
    well be beneficial.

    Since the models are so far away from have the skill needed for the task, our
    best hope for earlier resolution will be if the Sun is entering a Dalton type
    minimum.  This would greatly increase our understanding of solar
    variability and its coupling to the climate.  Solarcycle 24 currently looks
    promising.

  224. #226 Anonymous
    May 12, 2009

    Rorschach#226,

    Actually the AGW controversy is on-topic for this post. It was cited as evidence for the “idiot” or “stupidity” thesis of the book.

  225. #227 Rorschach
    May 12, 2009

    It was cited as evidence for the “idiot” or “stupidity” thesis of the book.

    And now it has taken over.
    It’s not my blog,so I will just choose to read something else.

    “Anonymous” killfiled.That should clear up a few threads.

  226. #228 africangenesis
    May 12, 2009

    Rorschach,

    “And now it has taken over.”

    An alternative interpretation is that interest in the other discussions has petered out and but may yet revive. The author should not have included climate change in support of his thesis. He evidently wasn’t familiar with the evidence. I doubt it is a fatal flaw in his book, if the other threads hold up.

  227. #229 Ichthyic
    May 12, 2009

    holy crap, as if AG couldn’t get even MORE irritating, he now has figured out how to use a yellow highlighter.

    *sigh*

    I think I even know how he came to his moniker. He wanted to post as “AGW”, but that was already taken by another troll, so he basically thought to use “AG” instead, but then figured he’d just use two words that start with those letters to avoid any confusion.

    do you ever get tired of pumping out the same, tired, oft refuted, lame-ass arguments here?

    do you really think you’re impressing anyone?

    or are you still “studying us”, you wanna-be pretentious git?

    Are you being paid by someone to say the same shit over and over again? It would explain a lot.

  228. #230 Ichthyic
    May 12, 2009

    example of a pretense to knowledge that is so commonly exhibited by AG:

    Note that it was purposely compromised at
    less than the usualy 95% level for statistical significance, and only attributes
    “most” of the warming to AGW.

    this statement is not only imagined, but entirely meaningless.

  229. #231 kamaka
    May 12, 2009

    figured out how to use a yellow highlighter

    ty/dr

  230. #232 africangenesis
    May 12, 2009

    Ichthyic,

    “do you ever get tired of pumping out the same, tired, oft refuted, lame-ass arguments here? … Are you being paid by someone to say the same shit over and over again? It would explain a lot.”

    You didn’t review the thread did you? I tried to get the others to search the blog for the references. Others may just be more interested in the evidence than you are.

    BTW, I don’t want to use the yellow highlight, but I can’t seem to find a button in frontpage that the others are using for their quoting. Can you advise?

  231. #233 kamaka
    May 12, 2009

    Oh, shit, you can highlight, but can’t blockquote?

    < blockquo > text < / blockquo >

  232. #234 kamaka
    May 12, 2009

    Less than blockquote greater than- text – less than, foreslash blockquote greater than.

    Lose the highlighting, please.

  233. #235 nothing's sacred
    May 13, 2009

    ty/dr

    Two yellers don red?

  234. #236 nothing's sacred
    May 13, 2009

    Less than blockquote greater than- text – less than, foreslash blockquote greater than.

    <blockquote>
    text
    </blockquote>

  235. #237 africangenesis
    May 13, 2009

    Thanx to those with the blockquote advice. I’ve discovered that the “increase indent” button puts in the blockquote in frontpage. But it looks like what y’all do when I post it.

    Ichthyic,

    The 90% “confidence level” is a political figure, not one supported by
    any peer review literature.   Note that it was purposely compromised at less
    than the usualy 95% level for statistical significance, and only attributes
    “most” of the warming to AGW

    Apologies if the meaning of this second sentence wasn’t clear.  The 90%
    figure was assumed to be a reference to this IPCC statement:

    Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the
    mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in
    anthropogenic GHG concentrations.

    The “very likely” is equated to 90% as explained in this IPCC statement:

    Where uncertainty in specific outcomes is assessed using expert judgment
    and statistical analysis of a body of evidence (e.g. observations or model
    results), then the following likelihood ranges are used to express the
    assessed probability of occurrence: virtually certain >99%;extremely likely
    >95%; very likely >90%; likely >66%; more likely than not > 50%; about as
    likely as not 33% to 66%; unlikely <33%; very unlikely <10%; extremely
    unlikely <5%; exceptionally unlikely <1%

    There were reports at the time of the IPCC report of the haggling and word
    smithing of the statement.  The models usually attribute nearly all of the
    warming in the 2nd half of the century to GHGs, but the results are usually
    divided into an anthropogenic component and a natural component.  The
    anthropogenic component includes aerosol forcings as well.  However, note
    how much weaker the statement is than would have been justified if the model
    evidence were taken at face value.  The statement only says “most”, when
    the models were saying “nearly all”.  “Most” might be as little as 50+%  
    Note also, that even this weaker “most” statement is only given 90% likelyhood. 
    In my statement, I was pointing out that having to compromise at less than the
    standard 95% figure was also a political weakening of the statement.  
    So the statement was allowed to appear strong to the layman and certainly has
    been spun as strong by proponents of AGW, but these compromises what had to be
    done to produce a consensus statement.   Note that the 90% is not a
    calculated statistical result.  It is a subjective assessment.  They
    weren’t able to more rigorously support it at the time, and there has been
    plenty of evidence since then to cast further doubt upon the models.  In
    fact, one of the major scientific advances of the IPCC FAR was the
    standardization of the generation of the diagnostic data that would allow the
    models to be better assessed.  There was much less information at the time
    of the Third Assessment Report about the deficiencies of the models.

  236. #238 eric
    May 13, 2009

    Eric, When I hear the “cooling for 10 years” meme, I know that the writer is either a liar or gullible.

    OK. So when this meme has come to one’s ear, if he dares asking about it, is going to be called a liar or a gullible ? Come one, have you really read about how memes propagate ?

    You say you are looking for “short-term evidence”. Interesting that you seem more than willing to toss out the long-term evidence–namely ~30 years of warming since the mid ’70s, a cooling stratosphere in addition to a warming troposphere, last frost dates moving earlier and earlier (now 3 weeks or so). Why don’t you want to consider these?

    First, my “strong” position is to make evidence-based decisions. I’m looking for AGW evidences, any of them. I was objecting that the 30-year trend wouldn’t prove anything before 30 years (and will never, in fact)

    The 30 years of global warming since the 70s, does not prove anthropogenic GW. Neither does it prove a GW trend for the future (I hope you don’t buy your stock using this kind of rules).

    I don’t know what to think about the cooling stratosphere. I’ll have to dig in.

    “last frost dates moving earlier and earlier (now 3 weeks or so)” how is it related to a anthropogenic GW ? 30 years of GW isn’t enough to explain it ?

    You seem awfully concerned about the costs of avoiding or mitigating climate change. Have you considered the costs if we don’t? Have you considered the fact that much of what will be needed to battle climate change will also be needed simply because we’re running out of oil? and coal?
    Have you considered the fact that if we develop strategies to cope that those very technologies will generate growth? I don’t pretend this will be easy. It is the only way I see, though, to ensure that we pass civilization on to our progeny.

    I must admit, that I am a bit touchy when big decision are made without any evidence: that scares me. I don’t trust what I ear in the news about those “evidence” (too many mistakes), I’m actually digging in, looking for them. So far, nothing I can rely on.

    If there is no catastrophic GW we would have lost a lot of time and money and sacrificed a lot of people and kids to this cause. (You can make everything 10% more expensive, and at the same time take care of the same amount of people in the hospital)

    If there is a significant GW, but not AGW, then all this energy lost in reducing CO2, forbidding CFC instead of… getting ready for inevitable heat, or maybe start climate engineering ?

    If there is AGW, we are quite fucked-up. As Diamond shows in his book, it’s already hard to adapt to climate change (not even talking about preventing them). I can’t see no way of how we are gonna reduce our productivity without starting riots …

    developing a new technology, that do not increase global productivity does NOT produce any growth.

  237. #239 Kel
    May 13, 2009

    Yep, all the climatologists who spend decades researching the matter can be undone by laymen who don’t feel the case has been properly made to them…

  238. #240 Walton
    May 13, 2009

    Viscount Monckton’s article on AGW for Physics and Society can be found here:

    http://www.aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/200807/upload/july08.pdf

  239. #241 eric
    May 13, 2009

    Yep, all the climatologists who spend decades researching the matter can be undone by laymen who don’t feel the case has been properly made to them…


    Yep, all the astrologists who spend centuries researching the matter can be undone by laymen who don’t feel the case has been properly made to them…

    What do you expect us to do ? stand on our knee, and say “they are right, because they have the scientific essence” ?

    There are tools for that, and this is called an argument from authority
    I’ve seen quite a lot of ad hominen (calling others idiots …)
    and some strawman too.

    If you want to fight for science (and everything that is evidence-based) you can, and you should avoid logical fallacies

  240. #242 Rorschach
    May 13, 2009

    I’ve seen quite a lot of ad hominen (calling others idiots …)

    No eric,that is not what that term means.

  241. #243 Kel
    May 13, 2009

    Yep, all the astrologists who spend centuries researching the matter can be undone by laymen who don’t feel the case has been properly made to them…

    Yes, because the science of climate change has as much evidential support as the science of astrology…

    Climate Change is a science and is filled with empirical research on the matter. And like all science, the place to fight for ideas is in academia. But like evolution, the layman thinks that they somehow know better than those who actually study it and thus the science is brought into disrepute. The arguments against AWG mirror the creationist arguments against evolution, it’s a denial of evidence without properly understanding the science behind it. I’m not a climatologist, so I’m not going to think I know better than those who are. But if you do know better, please demonstrate this by arguing it in academic circles instead of on a biology blog. Otherwise it comes off as the arrogance of ignorance.

  242. #244 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 13, 2009

    Eric, who do you think I will believe, a working climatologist who follows scientific principles, or a lying sophist wankers like yourself or AG? I have far more trust in the scientists, as they need to to be honest in their professional work. Also the totality of the data I have looked at on a long term basis agrees with the scientists. Denialists aren’t honest as their whole stock in trade is to cast doubt, which can be done with lies and distortions.

  243. #245 matt
    May 13, 2009

    so, post #’s 140 through 243 have yet to address the racial and corresponging economic issue.

    this is why the science community is a bunch of cowards and why acceptable professor types will spend the next few decades wasting talent apologizing for being smart, or being related to somebody who did something, somewhere and that should be looked down upon.

    the truth: inner city minorities and appalachian type whites have an IQ of around 87 – this is the main issue. Again, why attack the right-wing and Republican presidential candidates amongst millions of morons. If given the chance, would you want the DNA of Mitt Romney or Random Inner City guy for your next child? If your daughter was going to be impregnated by someone who would it be: random inner city dude or rudy guiliani?

    This is what people will talk about in the future: the cowardice and PC crew that refused to talk about real problems and issues because they are terrified of the truth and were neutered by the PC movement.

    If you are constantly worried about whom you are offending, then you are part of the problem. Universities should, at the minimum, be challenging the current power structure. Who’s doing that now? What % of college students are democrat? 90%? Who are the most activist groups on campus? The chess club or th LGBT org?

    Next come the death camps – first come uniformity backed by government. I’m not kidding. You’re laughing now, but not when your skin is crisping and searing your eyelids.

  244. #246 Kel
    May 13, 2009

    There are tools for that, and this is called an argument from authority

    Congratulations you know logical fallacies. And you are right, it shouldn’t be that “science man says this, therefore this.” Rather my argument is that the scientific method works by scientific consensus, so for matters of science it has to be fought out in academia. If you think you know better than the scientists involved, go ahead and demonstrate it. Otherwise, what separates you from the creationist who says “there are no transitional forms” or “evolution violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics”? The question was why do you know better than the scientists who study it, not that you are wrong because you don’t tow the scientific line. So if you are going to whip out logical fallacies, please learn to apply them properly.

  245. #247 nothing's sacred
    May 13, 2009

    If your daughter was going to be impregnated by someone who would it be: random inner city dude or rudy guiliani?

    Is that a trick question? Like that “inner city” is a synonym for “Dick Cheney’s secret bunker”? Because that’s about the only circumstance in which I would prefer Guiliani.

  246. #248 Kel
    May 13, 2009

    Oh, and learn the difference please between an argument from an authority and arguing through expertise. Do you think that if we pulled someone off the street that they could do particle physics and operate the machinery at CERN? If not, then what makes the study in climatology any different? Climatologists spend their lives studying the matter, it doesn’t mean they are right but it does mean that they should be well versed in the kinds of trappings the uneducated layman falls into.

    We recognise the importance of expertise, but that is different from an argument to authority. Any scientist is fallible so the argument is not that a climatologist said it therefore it’s true. But that they have the expertise and experience to know how to interpret data and properly monitor trends. It may be as a layman you know how to do it too, if so then great. But please recognise that science is done in academia so arguing on the street (which is essentially what this is) does not show anything other than your contempt for authorities. It’s borderlining on the Jenny McCarthy argument.

  247. #249 nothing's sacred
    May 13, 2009

    Congratulations you know logical fallacies.

    Argument from authority is not always a logical fallacy. From
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_authority

    Argument from authority or appeal to authority is a logical fallacy, where it is argued that a statement is correct because the statement is made by a person or source that is commonly regarded as authoritative….
    On the other hand, arguments from authority are an important part of informal logic. Since we cannot have expert knowledge of many subjects, we often rely on the judgments of those who do. There is no fallacy involved in simply arguing that the assertion made by an authority is true, the fallacy only arises when it is claimed or implied that the authority is infallible in principle and can hence be exempted from criticism: It can be true, the truth can merely not be proven, or made probable by attributing it to the authority, and the assumption that the assertion was true might be subject to criticism and turn out to have actually been wrong. If a criticism appears that contradicts the authority’s statement, then merely the fact that the statement originated from the authority is not an argument for ignoring the criticism.

  248. #250 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 13, 2009

    Next come the death camps – first come uniformity backed by government. I’m not kidding. You’re laughing now, but not when your skin is crisping and searing your eyelids.

    Don’t forget forced negro impregnation of lilly white daughters to try and speed up the blending of the races.

  249. #251 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 13, 2009

    AG, A few really big problems with your plan to pin warming on the Sun. First, total solar irradiance hasn’t changed in ~60 years. Kind of hard for a forcing that isn’t changing to cause CLIMATE CHANGE. Second, a solar mechanism cannot explain simultaneous tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling–that’s pretty much a signature of a greenhouse mechanism. Third, we know CO2 is a greenhouse gas. We know that it is responsible for about 7 degrees of the 33 degrees of added temperatur attributable to the greenhouse effect–without which, we’d be living (or not) on a snowball. We know we’ve increased CO2 in the atmosphere by about 40% and that CO2 forcing increases roughly logarithmically. That by itself gives abut 2.35 degrees of warming–unless you know of some negative feedback that applies at the current temparature range that doesn’t apply at all other temperature ranges. As you might expect, the paleoclimate doesn’t support such a feedback.
    Now as to the 90% likelihood of anthropogenic causation, that is really a confidence level, and there are many ways of measuring it. You could poll scientists–yup, 90% of those publishing on climate support the consensus model, of which anthropogenic causation is a prediction. You can look at the climate models–not one of the >24 models currently in use gives any support to a CO2 sensitivity less than one. Now leave aside the fact that there is strong motivation to discover such a model on political and scientific grounds (It would make the developer famous.), assuming binomial statistics, this suggests that the probability such a model could exist is less than 10% with 90% confidence. You can look at what is being published and cited in the literature–oops, woeful failure by the denialists. And then you have the unprecedented assessment of the science by just about every related professional body of scientists who’d have any sciences with not one dissent. Kind of hard to make the case that there’s any compelling science to justify your skepticism.

  250. #252 Tom Morris
    May 13, 2009

    Sounds like another valuable contribution to the “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life” genre along with Susan Jacoby and Robert Hughes. My university’s library has a whole shelf of books on the subject of intellectuals and the public attitude to them in the United States. My recommendation from it is “Culture of Complaint: The Fraying of America” by Robert Hughes. A very good little book on the same topic minus about 15 years.

  251. #253 Knockgoats
    May 13, 2009

    “No, we aren’t flying totally blind, we’ve got a viable alternative hypothesis
    for some of the attribution, namely the solar Grand Maximum, that would seem
    unlikely to be just a coincidence.” – africangenesis

    Total denialist garbage from AG as usual. It is of course part of the consensus view that solar change accounts for most of the temperature rise in the first half of the 20th century, but no coherent model has ever been presented showing that we can account for temperature change since 1970 without a large contribution from increased concentrations of greenhouse gases. The claim that we are at a “solar grand maximum” is itself based on inferences from proxies that do not tell a consistent story – see for example Quaternary Science Reviews 26 (2007) 82?97
    “Solar activity during the last 1000 yr inferred from radionuclide records”
    Raimund Muscheler, Fortunat Joos, Jürg Beer, Simon A. Müller, Maura Vonmoos, Ian Snowball. To present the “grand maximum” claim as established fact is plain dishonest. In contrast, there is no doubt whatever that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are higher than they have been for hundreds of thousands of years, and have increased by about 30% since pre-industrial times.

  252. #254 Knockgoats
    May 13, 2009

    “Only a small minority of the scientists that are part of the AGW consensus are climate modelers, and but all are relying upon the model results to attribute anything more than a third of the recent warming to greenhouse gasses.” – africangenesis

    More denialist garbage. Climate modellers work closely and constantly with other climate scientists, basing their models on the known physics and on processes discovered by the empirical scientists. Moreover, the case for the AGW consensus by no means depends only on the models: paleoclimatic evidence cannot be accounted for without a climate sensitivity of around 3C (i.e. a doubling of cabon dioxide would cause about 3C of warming).

  253. #255 Knockgoats
    May 13, 2009

    “I really don’t know what’s happening out there” – eric@97

    Wow! Eric gets something right.

  254. #256 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 13, 2009

    A particularly good refutation of the “It’s Mr. Sun” argument:

    http://www.mps.mpg.de/dokumente/publikationen/solanki/c153.pdf

  255. #257 Knockgoats
    May 13, 2009

    “I really don’t know what’s happening out there” – eric@97

    Wow! Eric gets something right.

    “I’ll have to wait for the buzz to go down, before I can build my own opinion.”

    You do that. The rest of us (“libertarian” halfwits such as AG and Walton always excepted of course) will go with the evidence as assessed by the relevant experts.

  256. #258 eric
    May 13, 2009

    wahou! I’m completely amazed …

    This is a purely religious position defending the “holy” academia.

    That’s incredible. With such an arrogant way of defending your scientific position, there is obviously a huge room for idiot america !

    All the contrary, science should always accept the controversy (when there is one), and should always, repeat thousands of time the same strong arguments, that are called “evidences”. That’s its strength, man !

    It’s incredible to have to explain such a low level democracy principles:
    Citizen, laymen, MUST be enlightened to make a free, enlightened decision.
    They must not be ORDERED to believe ! (or be called idiot, if they don’t).

    But please recognise that science is done in academia so arguing on the street (which is essentially what this is) does not show anything other than your contempt for authorities.

    Yes, I agree, science progress mainly in academia.

    But do you think that AGW is just about doing science ?
    In case, you didn’t notice, there is a lot of changes, and important decision at stake.
    When you build a bridge, you stress-test it before letting the public goes through it.

    There is a gap between the strength of a theory usually admitted, and the strength of a proof to put ones live at stake.

    And, sorry to tell you, but this process goes out the academia and passes through the laymen. (either several layers of engineers, or lawyers, or in that case citizens).

    If the strategy is to call wanker, or idiot, everyone that question the theory, there is something wrong with you.

    I’m really disgusted by this kind of reaction. There is a full army of bigot defending the climate change (not saying all are bigot, neither that AGW is false ’cause of the bigot). It won’t be easy to find the path to the actual evidences, and build up my own enlightened decision.

    What a pity.

  257. #259 Kel
    May 13, 2009

    This is a purely religious position defending the “holy” academia.

    Yes, defending standards, it’s a real crime…

    What is wrong with wanting trained people to take on matters that requires training? Methinks you just want to engage in lounge-chair science and then claim you know better than the scientific community. If you don’t realise, the scientific method is something that can be participated in by anyone regardless of qualification. It’s the data that matters, not so much the individual. Honestly, if you have knowledge that climatologists don’t then please fight for it in academia. That’s where it matters what you say. Otherwise all you are doing is engaging in evangelising without having proper checks and balances. Opinions are like arseholes, but if you have something that truly matters then you should be willing to fight for it with people who are in the know as opposed to arguing with the ignorant / semi-literate. If you think your own ideas have merit, then what are you afraid of?

    But do you think that AGW is just about doing science ?

    The science of AGW is about science, yes I do think that. That’s what the argument is here, not how governments react, not how businesses behave, but where there is scientific support for the claims. If there is scientific support for the claims as the current consensus among climatologists suggests, then that plays a part in the political process. But if the science is not good, then it should not play a part. My argument is that if you don’t think the science is good, then you should be arguing with scientists about it. You should be submitting your own papers to Science or Nature, writing climatologists at universities worldwide and showing that the scientific basis is wrong. If you are not going to argue on the scientific basis then what the fuck are you complaining about?

  258. #260 Knockgoats
    May 13, 2009

    “Thousands of scientists are skeptical of global warming now, just as many were skeptical of global cooling in the 60′s and are skeptical again when the term becomes “global climate change” but let’s just silence the debate, crush our economy on a hunch and make sure we install mufflers on cow-anuses. Who’s the idiot here?” – matt

    That would be you, matt, as you repeatedly prove here. Who are these alleged “thousands of scientists”, and why, unless they have specific expertise in climate science, should we take any notice of them? There was, as has been pointed out, no consensus among relevant experts in the 70′s (you might at least make the effort to get your denialist talking points right!).

  259. #261 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 13, 2009

    But do you think that AGW is just about doing science ?

    Yes, it is just about doing the science to show it is happening. There is no other way to demonstrate AGW than science. And science is the only way to show that any actions taken by politicians are having an effect.

    Political ramifications of AGW are not science. The politics and politicians need good science in order to make educated decisions. Which is where the need to for good models come into play. And scientists are constantly refining their models. Denialists just muddy the waters for political reasons of their own, which have nothing to do with the science. That is our point.

  260. #262 Knockgoats
    May 13, 2009

    eric@260,
    You started out by demonstrating your complete ignorance, now you give us an extended content-free whinge. Sure I get angry with denialist idiots like you, and call you what you are – your stupidity threatens our future. The “religion” here, as in the case of creationism, is found among those who deny the expert assessment of the scientific evidence, based on their ideology.

  261. #263 africangenesis
    May 13, 2009

    A ray in dilbert space,

    AG, A few really big problems with your plan to pin warming on the Sun. First, total solar irradiance hasn’t changed in ~60 years. Kind of hard for a forcing that isn’t changing to cause CLIMATE CHANGE.

    When I hear that pot of water can boil because the flame hasn’t been turned
    up in the last 60 seconds meme,  I know we have someone ignorant of
    physics.  You should read the “climate commitment” studies of Wigley, et
    al, and Meehl, et al.  There is considerable thermal inertia in the oceans. 
    The shape of the temperature curve doesn’t match CO2 either.  You need to
    consider aerosols and internal climate modes as well.

    Second, a solar mechanism cannot explain simultaneous tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling–that’s pretty much a signature of a greenhouse mechanism.

    Hmmm, I thought we’d pretty much agreed that CO2 was responsible for part of
    the warming.

    Third, we know CO2 is a greenhouse gas. We know that it is responsible for about 7 degrees of the 33 degrees of added temperatur attributable to the greenhouse effect–without which, we’d be living (or not) on a snowball. We know we’ve increased CO2 in the atmosphere by about 40% and that CO2 forcing increases roughly logarithmically. That by itself gives abut 2.35 degrees of warming–unless you know of some negative feedback that applies at the current temparature range that doesn’t apply at all other temperature ranges.

    Yes, the vapor pressure of water increases pretty rapidly in this part of the
    temperature range, so the water cycle has a larger volume.

    As you might expect, the paleoclimate doesn’t support such a feedback.
    Now as to the 90% likelihood of anthropogenic causation, that is really a confidence level, and there are many ways of measuring it. You could poll scientists–yup, 90% of those publishing on climate support the consensus model, of which anthropogenic causation is a prediction. You can look at the climate models–not one of the >24 models currently in use gives any support to a CO2 sensitivity less than one.

    Yes, correlated error as an argument.  Not one of the models matched the
    precipitation increase, the surface albedo, or the solar signature either.

    Now leave aside the fact that there is strong motivation to discover such a model on political and scientific grounds (It would make the developer famous.), assuming binomial statistics, this suggests that the probability such a model could exist is less than 10% with 90% confidence. You can look at what is being published and cited in the literature–oops, woeful failure by the denialists. And then you have the unprecedented assessment of the science by just about every related professional body of scientists who’d have any sciences with not one dissent. Kind of hard to make the case that there’s any compelling science to justify your skepticism.

    You must publish this one.  I assume the repair to the hubble telescope
    will allow to “discover” such a model.  Let’s discover a model with a few
    of watts/m^2 less error first.

  262. #264 Stephen Wells
    May 13, 2009

    Wake me when any of our tame “climate skeptics” achieves one of the following:

    Actually publishing a paper in a climatology journal critiquing and improving a climate model.

    Proving that increasing atmospheric CO2 should not be expected to warm the planet.

    Proving that humans are not increasing atmospheric CO2.

    Until then they have nothing to contribute.

  263. #265 Krystalline Apostate
    May 13, 2009

    @ 247:

    the truth: inner city minorities and appalachian type whites have an IQ of around 87 – this is the main issue.

    Uh-oh, somebody’s been reading that piece of garbage, the Bell Curve.

    If given the chance, would you want the DNA of Mitt Romney or Random Inner City guy for your next child? If your daughter was going to be impregnated by someone who would it be: random inner city dude or rudy guiliani?

    Oh yes, because the purity of the Aryan race is paramount, isn’t it?

  264. #266 Voting Present
    May 13, 2009

    The popular debunking of claims to authority is necessary because of the way authority has been used to control people. Get comfortable engaging people with facts and arguments that are accessible to them, because they’re going to reject the authority angle out of hand. That’s just how it is.

    Some people won’t have the educational equipment to understand a rational argument, and you are not going to be able to reach those people easily. But that doesn’t mean they’re better off in the hands of the first person who appears to them to be a credible authority. They understand that. They know when they’re being used. They are NOT idiots. Even undereducated people are still better off automatically rejecting all appeals to authority. That includes your appeal to authority.

    Asking people to believe you on the strength of your claimed authority is a non-starter. They’re getting rid of authority. Science is going to have attempt persuasion, just like everybody else. Luckily, science is well-prepared for this task.
    .

  265. #267 otogaz
    May 13, 2009

    tHANK yOU..

  266. #268 Watchman
    May 13, 2009

    random inner city dude or rudy guiliani?

    There’s a difference?

  267. #269 Knockgoats
    May 13, 2009

    “There is considerable thermal inertia in the oceans. The shape of the temperature curve doesn’t match CO2 either. You need to consider aerosols and internal climate modes as well.” – AG

    Which, of course, the consensus position does. Including a large component of CO2-induced warming – based, of course, on known physics, along with the other known influences, including solar models give a good match for the 20th century – and for the paleoclimatic evidence, which you consistently ignore. Without such a strong component, no-one has been able to come up with such a match.

    Your reference to the thermal inertia of the oceans ignores the fact that the ocean has shown a similar time course to the surface temperature: warming accelerating since 1970. There is no way the increase in insolation before 1950 could produce this pattern.

    Good grief, I get sick of refuting the same crap from you time after time after time.

  268. #270 Janine, OMnivore
    May 13, 2009

    Is anyone going to change Matt’s diaper? The pathetic creature has shit his pants again.

  269. #271 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 13, 2009

    Gee, AG, sorry to disappoing, but I do understand the physics–in fact I’ve been doing physics research for more than 20 years. And it’s kind of interesting that the oceans should be doing the warming when they’re warmint at the same time, isn’t it?

    Here’s the deal. Yes, climate models are imperfect. There’s a lot we do not understand–mainly related to clouds and aerosols. However, what we do not understand does not invalidate what we know–and what we know is TSI, greenhouse forcing and the related feedbacks. If we did not understand those aspects, the climate models would not work at all. They do. In fact they work quite well, as evidenced by the success with nailing the effects of Pinatubo, accounting for the hiatus in warming from 1944-1974, the emergence of ENSO-like behavior, and so on. The thing is that CO2 as a well mixed, long-loved greenhouse gas sticks out like a sore thumb–it’s not a subtle effect.
    And whether you like the models or not, climate change is occuring and there simply is no plausible alternative ezplanation other than ourselves being the cause. The consensus on climate change is not an argument from authority so much as it is an argument from success. The standard model of Earth’s climate successfully ezplains the vast majority of paleoclimate and current climate. Predictions of the theory–including recent warming–have been verified dramaticaly. The dissenters form the consensus… not so much. Few publications and very few subsequent citations. This is not because folks like Lindzen, Spencer and Christy aren’t bright. It’s because their ideas lack explanatory and predictive power. That is what matters in science.

  270. #272 africangenesis
    May 13, 2009

    Knockgoats,

    “Which, of course, the consensus position does. Including a large component of CO2-induced warming – based, of course, on known physics, along with the other known influences, including solar models give a good match for the 20th century – and for the paleoclimatic evidence, which you consistently ignore.”

    Matching a temperature trend is simple curve fitting and not matching the climate. I’ve never ignored the curve fit, just not considered it significant based upon the poor model diagnostics. The included “solar models” are either poor or the models use of them are poor because they don’t match the signature of the solar cycle seen in the observations.

    “Without such a strong component, no-one has been able to come up with such a match.”

    Of course not, when the competing solar component is underrepresented, more will like be attributed to what warming forcing is well represented.

    “Your reference to the thermal inertia of the oceans ignores the fact that the ocean has shown a similar time course to the surface temperature: warming accelerating since 1970. There is no way the increase in insolation before 1950 could produce this pattern.”

    Yes there is a way. The increase before 1950 can produce the pattern, if the plateau is sustained after 1950. A higher level of energy is still being input into the system, the temperature will rise.

    “Good grief, I get sick of refuting the same crap from you time after time after time.”

    Try refuting it once.

    “The claim that we are at a “solar grand maximum” is itself based on inferences from proxies that do not tell a consistent story – see for example Quaternary Science Reviews 26 (2007) 82?97″

    Agreed. But even your reference shows that solar activity was high. Some works argue for a Grand Maximum, some that solar activity was high. The latest word may be from Usoskin. The Be and C isotope series have good agreement on identifying Grand Minima and agree in general on time scales of a century or more, but the Be series in particular seems prone to noise at shorter time scales that is interpreted as local climate variation.

    http://cc.oulu.fi/~usoskin/personal/2008JA013888.pdf

    I think what you forget is that the solar hypothesis is not on any firmer footing than the AGW hypothesis. However, given the current state of the evidence and models, it is as plausible a candidate for a significant part of the attribution. It is not unusual in science to have to wait. I see two paths to near term resolution, perhaps within a decade, a couple cycles of model improvement, and/or and the prospects of an extreme solar minimum.

  271. #273 africangenesis
    May 13, 2009

    A ray in dilbert space,

    “Gee, AG, sorry to disappoing, but I do understand the physics–in fact I’ve been doing physics research for more than 20 years. And it’s kind of interesting that the oceans should be doing the warming when they’re warmint at the same time, isn’t it? ”

    No you don’t understand it. Nearly all the thermal capacity in the climate system is in the oceans. They are not doing the warming but are moderating it and extending the time to reach equilibrium to the millenia scale. Of course, that equilibrium is never reached because the forcings are not maintained long enough. Due to different time scales for response from the mixing layer and the slow circulation to the deep ocean, and the closer coupling of the mixing layer to the atmosphere, most of the land temperature response is within the first few decades. But energy is stored into the oceans and sea level rises for millenia.

  272. #274 Watchman
    May 13, 2009

    matt:

    What % of college students are democrat? 90%? Who are the most activist groups on campus? The chess club or th LGBT org?

    Why, the chess club, of course! They have so much more at stake.

    You really are content in your fiery ignorance, aren’t you, Matt. It allows you to get your rage on and spit your venom… toothlessly.

    The Spring, 2007 survey conducted by the Harvard University Institute of Politics (IOP) returned the following results, among others:

    Interviews were conducted with 1,289 18 to 24 year-old who were current undergrads enrolled at 4-year colleges, and 1,237 were not. Out of the total (2526), 35% (884) considered themselves Democrats.

    What does this tell us? Let’s find out. Even if we assume that every single one of those Democrats belong to the 4-year college group (the likelihood of which I will leave as an exercise for the reader) the percentage of 4-year students who are Democrats is still only 65%.

    If we expand the student population to include those surveyed who attend vocational schools, junior colleges and high school, and continue to assume that of the remaining 42% of the total population surveyed, every single person who was not enrolled in any school was not a Democrat (which may not be all that unlikely, now that I think about it) the percentage of all students who identify themselves as Democrats is only 60%.

    So where did you get that 90% figure, Matt? Did you pull it out of your caudal fountain of flaming methane?

    By the way, according to the IOP, the percentages of college students who self-identified as Democrats on surveys reported on the dates listed below were:

    Apr 2000: 34%
    Oct 2001: 29%
    Oct 2002: 29%
    Apt 2003: 29%

    I’ll leave it for you to ponder why the there’s been a gradual, slight, but significant swing towards the Democratic Party since 2004.

    Next come the death camps – first come uniformity backed by government. I’m not kidding. You’re laughing now, but not when your skin is crisping and searing your eyelids.

    Stupid fuck. You call that an argument? Or is it a fantasy of what you’d like to see done to those who don’t conform to your distorted, paranoid world-view? Thanks for showing us how your mind works. Well done!

    Stick around, Matt. Between your ranting about the liberal takeover, and your foaming at the mouth about the climate change conspiracy, you’re providing us with some primo entertainment. I admire your willingness to make a complete ass of yourself for our benefit. Again, I thank you.

  273. #275 Watchman
    May 13, 2009

    (Correction: Numbers taken from the Fall 2007 Survey, not the Spring 2007 survey. My mistake.)

  274. #276 africangenesis
    May 13, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    “The standard model of Earth’s climate successfully ezplains the vast majority of paleoclimate and current climate. Predictions of the theory–including recent warming–have been verified dramaticaly.”

    I agree that the “standard model” has done well on gross climate changes, and even on some fine details of ocean circulation. However, this warming is a minor phenomonon, a fraction of a degree over the course of a century, and an energy imbalance of less than a watt/m^2 globally and annually averaged, even at its peak, in the decade of the 90s. If you are familiar with physics at all, you know it is questionalble whether a simulation of nonlinear dynamic system with incomplete date of the level of accuracy that we have could ever being meaningful to this required level of accuracy and skill at projection. We are talking about more than physics here, the very mathmatics present a burden that the AGW believers must overcome. How do you argue for insight into the attribution and projection of this phenomenon with models with errors many times the size of the phenomena and documented biases against the chief competing hypothesis?

    Sorry “consensus” doesn’t trump mathmatics.

  275. #277 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 13, 2009

    AG, I think it is YOU who does not understand. Most of the warming )by far) occurred after 1974 when the TSI was not changing AND the oceans were warming too. So where did the energy come from? And for bonus points, how does it cool the stratosphere at the same time.

  276. #278 africangenesis
    May 13, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    “AG, I think it is YOU who does not understand. Most of the warming )by far) occurred after 1974 when the TSI was not changing AND the oceans were warming too. So where did the energy come from? And for bonus points, how does it cool the stratosphere at the same time. ”

    Apologies, you just haven’t thought this through. Can you think of a situation in which water temperature can increase in response to a constant source of energy? If there is a LOT of water, mightn’t the temperature increase continue for a LONG time?

    Does solar have to cool the stratosphere too? Surely some of the warming can be attributed to CO2. Frankly there is a lot of controversy in this area, about both the models and the observations and whether they are in agreement. Do you have a recent citation that you think is definitive? I’ll give it a look.

  277. #279 africangenesis
    May 13, 2009

    voting present#268,

    “Asking people to believe you on the strength of your claimed authority is a non-starter. They’re getting rid of authority. Science is going to have attempt persuasion, just like everybody else. Luckily, science is well-prepared for this task.”

    I heartily agree. It is a strange contrast to see the same people complaining about the authoritarian follower tendences of the right, turning around and whining about their lack of respect for “experts”. I suspect there is a good measure of authoritarian following on the left.

  278. #280 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 13, 2009

    AG, not only have you not thought this through, you also are not paying attention. Let’s step through it. First, you are evidently claiming that somehow the energy got into the oceans at some time earlier than 1960, when TSI pretty much plateaued. First, how does the energy get into the oceans without also warming the land and atmosphere? Second, where does the energy hide for 20 years so we don’t see it? OK, you presumably now posit that the energy comes out of its hiding place and starts warming the atmosphere. Problem: The oceans are warming at the same time as the atmosphere, so where is the energy coming from. The oceans cannot simultaneously be losing heat to the atmosphere AND warming up unless you are willing to throw our most of thermo. If you want a paper on solar influence, the one by Sami Solanki is a good one (cited above). It clearly states that solar mechanisms can’t explain the last 30 years of warming.

    As to seeing the signature of CO2 in the climate record. What does CO2 do? It places a steady upward pressure on global temperatures. That is, regardless of the noise in the system, temperatures are warmer than they would have been otherwise. What does noise do? It goes up and down and up and down. CO2 stands out from the noise on long timescales (>30 years) like a sore thumb. That is why this decade is warmer than last which is warmer than the last…

    Also, if you read the JGR reference I cited yesterday, you will see that ON AVERAGE RH observations agree with the models–and that is sufficient for drawing global conclusions. Locally, some areas get wetter, some drier. This, like your albedo effects is important for local predictions–not for global analyses.

    Do you really think that climate scientists can’t do math? If so, how about physicists? Chemists? Geophysicists? How about the National Academy of Sciences? They’ve all looked at the science and said it’s sound. I’ve looked at it, too. Do you understand it? Do you understand why increasing greenhouse gasses means it has to warm?

  279. #281 africangenesis
    May 13, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    “First, you are evidently claiming that somehow the energy got into the oceans at some time earlier than 1960, when TSI pretty much plateaued.”

    No, never claimed that, it isn’t how it works. Solar insolation continued at high levels after it reached the plateaued. The oceans then as before were a net sink for solar energy not a source. It is the same for a higher level of CO2 forcing than the oceans had adjusted to as well. If you read the climate commitment studies you will note that even if the CO2 forcing were to remain constant at current levels, the oceans would warm and expand for centuries with most of the adjustment occurring in the next century.

    Similarly, if this next solar cycle were a sustained maunder type minimum, the oceans would then become a source of heat, moderating the climate cooling as they slowly cooled. It is the same moderating of change that occurs seasonally in a marine climate, but it is global and on the scale of decades and centuries. The top 5 feet of the oceans has about the same thermal capacity as the whole atmosphere.

  280. #282 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 13, 2009

    Sorry, AG, but you don’t get an upturn in warming if the forcing doesn’t change, and you admit TSI hasn’t changed. So I ask again: Where did the energy come from. You can tapdance around all you want, but until you answer that question you have zero credibility. Here’s a hint: Nobody’s answered it assuming a CO2 sensitivity less than about 2.5 detrees per doubling.

  281. #283 Krystalline Apostate
    May 13, 2009

    Watchman @ 270:

    There’s a difference?

    Oh sure. The random inner city guy might actually be honest. I’d rather my sister married someone who was decent, regardless of color.
    Matt’s little preamble to his negative-eugenics rhetoric is pretty reminiscent of most racist horseshit. Claiming I.Q is directly related to skin color is standard for his type. They tend to ignore environmental impacts on IQ like education & malnutrition, because otherwise there’s responsibility down that path, & most conservatives don’t like to take responsibility.

  282. #284 David Marjanovi?, OM
    May 13, 2009

    BTW, I don’t want to use the yellow highlight, but I can’t seem to find a button in frontpage that the others are using for their quoting. Can you advise?

    WTF.

    You mean, you open Frontpage, type your comment, switch to source-text view, copy, and then paste it into the comment window here??? Doesn’t that take several extra minutes?

    Just type the HTML in the comment window. Don’t worry, the ScienceBorg software understands line breaks, <p> and <br> are almost never needed.

    Citizen, laymen, MUST be enlightened to make a free, enlightened decision.

    They must not be ORDERED to believe ! (or be called idiot, if they don’t).

    There are three defensible possibilities for you. From worst to best:

    1) You apply the principle of parsimony and (inevitably) reach the conclusion that tens of thousands of climatologists worldwide can’t be stupid, let alone ignorant, enough to overlook something africangenesis only just noticed, and therefore simply accept the consensus of those climatologists.

    2) You acknowledge your lack of knowledge and stop having an opinion on the entire subject.

    3) You sit down in front of your computer for several entire workdays and try to learn enough climatology to actually understand the subject in detail, so that you will become capable of forming an opinion on it.

    I can’t see any other.

    It doesn’t seem to have occurred to you yet, but number 2 really is a possibility. I use it a lot. For example, take the simple question of what we should do to mitigate the effects of global warming. I have no idea and therefore no opinion! I’m not qualified to have an opinion on it. I don’t have the knowledge on which I could build an opinion. Getting that knowledge is not an option for me because I already treat the day as if it had 30 hours, so I just shut up.

    (Yeah, OK. Being an ignorant-and-therefore-paranoid right-wing American, you probably fear that I might secretly advocate a global planned economy. Rest assured, I don’t. Planned economies only work when the planning committee has infinite wisdom, so I really doubt planning the economy would help at all… So I do have an opinion on a very small part of what not to do.)

    If your daughter was going to be impregnated by someone who would it be: random inner city dude or rudy guiliani?

    If my hypothetical halfway adult and otherwise sane daughter really is into 9iu11ani, that’s her problem. She’s got to live with the blowhard, not me. :-|

    (And yes, he’s spelled with -iu-, not with -ui-, because his first syllable is roughly pronounced “joo”, not “ghee”. Italian spelling, you see, has rules and actually follows them.)

    Now, seriously. How is any gene vaguely related to intelligence supposed to be strictly inherited together with any of the 6 genes that determine skin color? Those genes aren’t even strictly inherited with each other. I think it’s you who’s got the IQ of 87, because you’re not even noticing that you’re making an argument from enormous ignorance.

    Have you sent the silver dollars yet? Remember, it was your idea.

  283. #285 eric
    May 13, 2009

    @Voting Present#268

    thank you !

  284. #286 Watchman
    May 13, 2009

    Krys:

    Oh sure. The random inner city guy might actually be honest. I’d rather my sister married someone who was decent, regardless of color.

    You’re quite right.

    Matt’s little preamble to his negative-eugenics rhetoric is pretty reminiscent of most racist horseshit. Claiming I.Q is directly related to skin color is standard for his type. They tend to ignore environmental impacts on IQ like education & malnutrition, because otherwise there’s responsibility down that path, & most conservatives don’t like to take responsibility.

    Indeed.

  285. #287 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 13, 2009

    BTW, I don’t want to use the yellow highlight, but I can’t seem to find a button in frontpage that the others are using for their quoting. Can you advise?

    Wait, you use Frontpage? For anything?

    Yikes.

    But back to formatting. If typing out the code is too much of a pain for you (it is for me) use firefox and download the “Text Formating Toolbar” (yes spelled that way) add-on.

    bah, here’s the link.

  286. #288 Lynna
    May 13, 2009

    In “Atheism: The Case Against God,” George H. Smith wrote: “To be moral, according to Jesus, man must shackle his reason. He must force himself to believe that which he cannot understand. He must suppress, in the name of morality, any doubts that surface in his mind. He must regard as a mark of excellence an unwillingness to subject religious beliefs to critical examination. Less criticism leads to more faith ? and faith, Jesus declares, is the hallmark of virtue… The psychological impact of this doctrine is devastating. To divorce morality from truth is to turn man’s reason against himself… To the extent that a man believes that his mind is a potential enemy, that it may lead to the ‘evils’ of question-asking and criticism, he will feel the need for intellectual passivity ? to deliberately sabotage his mind in the name of virtue. Reason becomes a vice, something to be feared, and man finds that his worst enemy is his own capacity to think and question. One can scarcely imagine a more effective way to introduce perpetual conflict into man’s consciousness and thereby produce a host of neurotic symptoms.”

  287. #289 africangenesis
    May 13, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    “Sorry, AG, but you don’t get an upturn in warming if the forcing doesn’t change, and you admit TSI hasn’t changed. So I ask again: Where did the energy come from.”

    It comes from the Sun, just like the energy that CO2 uses to warm the planet.

    Lets say you encounter a pot of water on a flame at time t3. You take its temperature and it is 80 degrees. So you decide to monitor it. At time t4 its temperature is 90 degrees, but the flame hasn’t changed at all, the you measur it at time t5, and the temperature is 95 degrees, and the flame hasn’t changed at all. The “insolation” has remained constant but the temperature is rising. Is it really a mystery where the energy came from?

  288. #290 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 13, 2009

    AG, nice try, but: 1)If the energy is coming from the Sun, why isn’t it heating the stratosphere on its way through? 2)Why is the warming not accelerating when the Sun is getting warmer, and it suddenly shoots up in the ’70s when insolation has leveled out?
    Did you read the Usoskin and Solanki reference? Here’s another
    http://www.mps.mpg.de/homes/natalie/PAPERS/warming.pdf

    They conclude: “In particular, the Sun cannot have contributed more than 30% to the steep temperature increase that has taken place since then, irrespective of which of he three considered channels is the dominant one determining Sun-climate interactions: tropospheric heating
    caused by changes in total solar irradiance, stratospheric chemistry influenced by changes in the solar UV spectrum, or cloud coverage affected by the cosmic ray flux.”

    BTW, that is an absolute upper limit, derived by assuming all previous warming was solar.

    So, why do you presume that the 90% of scientists who agree with the consensus model are incompetent–particularly when they account for the overwhelming majority of the actual science produced. I’d think that would be kind of hard to square for a true skeptic.

    So, we have a choice: We can do what the science says we should, or we can turn 180 degrees away from the science.

    Science or anti-science AG. There’s no middle ground.

  289. #291 africangenesis
    May 13, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    “AG, nice try, but:
    1)If the energy is coming from the Sun, why isn’t it heating the stratosphere on its way through?”

    It is heating the stratosphere on its way, the a significant portion of the UV energy is deposited in the stratosphere, and the temperature varies greatly over the course of the solar cycle. You might be thinking about the temperature “trend” in the stratosphere which is negative. We would not expect ANY temperature trend from the plateau in solar insolation. Keep in mind that any warming in the stratosphere from increased solar activity would have occurred before the time of modern measurements. Energy is not accumulated there as it is in the oceans because the thermal capacity of that rarified layer is miniscule and it radiates efficiently.

    “2)Why is the warming not accelerating when the Sun is getting warmer, and it suddenly shoots up in the ’70s when insolation has leveled out?”

    For the same reason it doesn’t for CO2 either. There is a mid-century cooling event, thought to be due to aerosols. Consider the pot thought experiment again. At time t3 we measure 80 degrees, but there is ice in the pot (our cooling event), at time t4 we measure 81 degrees, but the ice has just completed melting, at time t5 we measure 90 degrees. The temperature rise has accelerated, but the flame has remained constant. Guess where the heat came from. Now in the aerosol case the missing heat was reflected into space, so the heat absorbed during phase change is not a good analogy, except for how there can be a delayed and accelerated temperature increase from a constant source.

    “BTW, that is an absolute upper limit, derived by assuming all previous warming was solar. ”

    I’m quite familiar with the Solanki paper. That is a pure correlation study, published in 2003 before the climate commitment studies I’ve already referred you to. It doesn’t factor in the type of lags that occur due to the cooling event and the thermal inertia of the oceans. If correlation studies were enough, we wouldn’t need models would we.

    “So, why do you presume that the 90% of scientists who agree with the consensus model are incompetent–particularly when they account for the overwhelming majority of the actual science produced. I’d think that would be kind of hard to square for a true skeptic.”

    Most of the scientists are in specialized fields far removed from the synthesis of the attribution conclusions. There is a hostile atmosphere for those who speak up and besides the funding is great. So I don’t assume they are incompetent. The modelers are hyping their science far beyond the skill of the models. A true skeptic is more concerned with the evidence than the consensus.

    “Science or anti-science AG. There’s no middle ground.”

    I am very pro-science, and am looking forward to further developments in the field.

  290. #292 Andrew
    May 14, 2009

    And you guys wonder why more and more people are questioning the legititimacy of your so called “scientific consensus” on global warming…

    http://climatesci.org/2009/05/04/is-the-us-surface-temperature-record-reliable-by-anthony-watts/

  291. #293 Knockgoats
    May 14, 2009

    “I think what you forget is that the solar hypothesis is not on any firmer footing than the AGW hypothesis. However, given the current state of the evidence and models, it is as plausible a candidate for a significant part of the attribution. It is not unusual in science to have to wait.” – adfricangenesis

    Your usual dishonesty and distortion. I have asked you repeatedly for a source for a coherent alternative to the consensus view. You have never provided one – because there isn’t one. The only aim of the denialists is to sow doubt in any way possible, and so block any action to deal with what is, on the consensus view, an urgent problem.

    “There is a mid-century cooling event, thought to be due to aerosols.”

    Indeed, but as I have noted, there have probably been more cooling aerosols in the atmosphere in the ’90s and ’00s than in the ’70s – or do you think the atmosphere doesn’t count them if they come from Asia?

    “Most of the scientists are in specialized fields far removed from the synthesis of the attribution conclusions.”

    More typical AG arrogance. How is it you, without any relevant scientific expertise, are able to see what none of those who work with the modellers on a daily basis can? One more time: the modellers base their models on the best physics and empirical climate science available. You have repeatedly shown your total ignorance of modelling (not knowing what a “physically-based model” is, thinking that a GCM run necessarily requires years of CPU time on a supercomputer, when they are available for download, with source code, for anyone to modify as they please, and run on normal desktop machine).

    “There is a hostile atmosphere for those who speak up and besides the funding is great. So I don’t assume they are incompetent.”

    So you’re not accusing them of incompetence, but of cowardice and dishonesty. Nice. The denialists have of course got their own “house journal”: Energy and Environment. However, that has never published a coherent alternative to the consensus position – because there isn’t one.

  292. #294 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 14, 2009

    Ah, yes. Anthony Watts’ long awaited report on weather station siting. A little background. Nearly 2 years ago, Watts started raising a ruckus about siting of the weather stations used to construct global temperature. It seems they didn’t conform to the best practices. This is unfortunately inevitable, since climate is interested in long-term trends, and the environments around weather stations that have been there a long time are bound to change. So the data are imperfect. Watts solution is to take a bunch of photos and run screaming from the room saying,”There are cows near the stations!!! The data is worthless.”

    Real scientists had a different reaction. First, they noted that there were about 4 times as many stations as were needed to get a reliable estimate of global temperature. “Great,” they thought, “I can detect, estimate and correct for any errors in the time series and for individual stations that are poorly sited.”

    So, we wait for Anthony’s analysis. And we wait. And we wait. Finally, one of Ol’ Anthony’s slightly less fawning toadies (John V.) decides to take the data for only the stations Anthony had determined met standards. Guess what. Matched the reconstruction for the network as a whole nearly exactly. Now this really pissed Watts off. The lackey should have waited for the full analysis. So now we’ve got the “analysis,” and guess what. No analysis. Just pictures and propaganda. No analysis of what it would mean if passed through the algorithms used to reconstruct global temperature. Well we already knew that, didn’t we?

  293. #295 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 14, 2009

    AG, I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of commitment studies. First–they depend on the fricking models! You know, the ones you say don’t work! Second, the coupling between the upper ocean, land and atmosphere is rather weak, so the warming profile you tend to get is relatively rapid warming of the atmosphere and upper ocean followed by a slower warming as you start to heat the deep oceans. Third, most of the increase in solar irradiance happened before 1920, so you are claiming that the most rapid warming was delayed by over 50 years!?! Sorry, that doesn’t even pass the straight face test.
    Finally, there’s a big problem in magnitude. The increase in solar irradiance since late in the last century amounted to only about 2 watts/m^2. Now remember that this is divided by 4, since the surface of the sphere is 4{pi)r^2, so we’re talking only about roughly 0.5 watts per square meter of Earth’s surface–roughly 28% of the amount due to increased CO2 forcing (most of which happened in the last 50 years. Now if you are going to attribute any significant portion of the warming to the Sun (>30% say), you need some really big feedbacks. Unfortunately, the atmosphere doesn’t give a rat’s tuckus where a watt comes from, so the same feedbacks (and presumably the same delays)must apply to CO2 forcing. What this means is that if most of current warming is mainly due to the sun, we’re about to get hit with a really huge warming trend due to greenhouse forcing.
    The problem is that you can’t explain current rise via TSI without arguing for a high sensitivity to increased TSI (and a very long delay); and you can’t argue for a high sensitivity to increased TSI without also arguing for a high sensitivity due to CO2.

    Fortunately for life on Earth, the paleoclimate argues for a much lower sensitivity–3 degrees per doubling for CO2, and it’s constrained 6 ways to Sunday by multiple lines of evidence.

    As to your contention that the climate modelers are narrow specialists–have you ever met any of these guys? Narrow is not a word I’d use to describe them. And even if it were true, are you going to make the same argument for the American Geophysical Union, the American Physical Society, the National Academies, Department of Defense…

    Sorry, dude, but it’s clear you haven’t thought this through, ’cause you are firmly on the anti-science side here.

  294. #296 africangenesis
    May 14, 2009

    Knockgoats,

    “I have asked you repeatedly for a source for a coherent alternative to the consensus view”

    The coherent alternative is natural variation, in fact it is the null hypothesis. Most of the variation in past climate is explained by solar and aerosols and the view was pretty coherent. Surely you’ve heard of volcanic eruptions, gleisberg cycles, the Maunder and Dalton minimums, the Medeval warm period, Malankovic cycles, etc. You should keep in mind that I am a skeptic familiar with the literature. The so called “consensus” haven’t been able to put together a coherent view. Knowing the state of the science, I don’t think the solar hypothesis can put together a coherent view of the recent warming either, we may never have good enough aerosol data and solar activity data to attribute it. Because of this I haven’t seen a need to monitory the heartland events or the Singer efforts, but I assume they have attempted some coherency if you are interested.

    “Indeed, but as I have noted, there have probably been more cooling aerosols in the atmosphere in the ’90s and ’00s than in the ’70s – or do you think the atmosphere doesn’t count them if they come from Asia?”

    I believe you had one new citation, so it may not have been confirmed yet, and may not be up to the level of “probably”. Without a major aerosol cooling event, there is no way to explain the recent warming using CO2. The temperature rise is way too steep. You forget that all the AR4 WG1 climate models were run using data before the study you cited.

    “How is it you, without any relevant scientific expertise, are able to see what none of those who work with the modellers on a daily basis can?”

    Because they’ve had opportunities to show it to us, and they haven’t and based upon a review and continued monitoring of the literature, they can’t show us.

  295. #297 Infinite Love
    May 14, 2009

    Can I have a side of Fluoride to go with my ‘super-size me’ dumb ass, please???

  296. #298 Knockgoats
    May 14, 2009

    “The coherent alternative is natural variation, in fact it is the null hypothesis.” – africangenesis

    You clearly don’t know what “null hypothesis” means. Look it up.

    “The so called “consensus” haven’t been able to put together a coherent view.”

    Of course the consensus view is that almost all warming and cooling before the 20th century was non-anthropogenic (Ruddiman disagrees) – so it includes Milancovitch cycles, volcanic eruptions, etc. However, the paleoclimatic data cannot be explained without a sensitivity to doubling of CO2 of around 3C. Contrary to your repeated falsehoods, the consilience of evidence from multiple sources establishes the coherence of the consensus view, reflected in numerous books as well as the IPCC reports.

    I haven’t seen a need to monitory the heartland events or the Singer efforts, but I assume they have attempted some coherency if you are interested.

    No, they haven’t.

    I believe you had one new citation, so it may not have been confirmed yet, and may not be up to the level of “probably”.

    My “probably” was based on the fact that we know there has been a rapid rise in aerosol production in Asia, because of the rise in industrial activity there, without pollution controls.

    Without a major aerosol cooling event, there is no way to explain the recent warming using CO2. The temperature rise is way too steep. You forget that all the AR4 WG1 climate models were run using data before the study you cited.

    *Sigh*. You do know that aerosols don’t accumulate in the atmosphere the way CO2 does, no? Suppose emission of sulphate aerosols and CO2 had risen at the same speed. We would expect a shift from a situation where the cooling effect of the former outweighs the warming effect of the latter, to the opposite. In fact, there probably would have been a dip in aerosol emissions in the 1980s, as clean air regulations came in in North America and Europe, but before the take-off of Asian industrial production. The effect of underestimating sulphate aerosol levels in the last two decades would, of course, be an underestimate of the climate sensitivity to doubling CO2 – though I doubt it would be very large.

    “How is it you, without any relevant scientific expertise, are able to see what none of those who work with the modellers on a daily basis can?”

    Because they’ve had opportunities to show it to us, and they haven’t and based upon a review and continued monitoring of the literature, they can’t show us.

    Did you notice that you didn’t answer the question I asked?

  297. #299 africangenesis
    May 14, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    “AG, I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of commitment studies. First–they depend on the fricking models! You know, the ones you say don’t work!”

    Yes, I’ve said they don’t have the accuracy down to the less than 1W/m^2 needed to attribute and project the recent warming. But you only need to get the upper mixing layer and deeper ocean circulation roughly right to get idea of what the time scales are to reach theoretical equilibrium. They can’t get multi-decadal internal climate modes right. They don’t have to be getting the attribution right, just match the energy storage into the ocean. In recent years it appears that the oceans are cooling. Hmmm.

    “Second, the coupling between the upper ocean, land and atmosphere is rather weak, so the warming profile you tend to get is relatively rapid warming of the atmosphere and upper ocean followed by a slower warming as you start to heat the deep oceans.”

    “weak” is a relative term. Yes the diurnal and seasonal variation is more rapid than the response of the ocean. Most of the land response is within a decade or two. The upper ocean mixed layer response is on the order of decades and the deeper ocean response is centuries to millenia. However a shift of a few percent in the upper and deep ocean circulation may end up being the deciding factor. The dog wags the tail, the tail doesn’t wag the dog.

    “The increase in solar irradiance since late in the last century amounted to only about 2 watts/m^2. Now remember that this is divided by 4, since the surface of the sphere is 4{pi)r^2, so we’re talking only about roughly 0.5 watts per square meter of Earth’s surface–roughly 28% of the amount due to increased CO2 forcing (most of which happened in the last 50 years. Now if you are going to attribute any significant portion of the warming to the Sun (>30% say), you need some really big feedbacks. ”

    Yes, you need really big feedbacks, or the solar irradiance and coupling to the climate are even more poorly understood than they even admit. High climate sensitivities to solar forcing are needed based on past estimates of the level of forcing changes. We don’t know what the irradiance variation actually was. We only have good data for the recent period of arguably unusually high activity. A dalton minimum would be really valuable right now. Also better quantitative data and understanding of tropical cloud feedbacks would be valuable, but that is very hard data to tease out. The unexplainably high levels of sensitivity to estimated levels of solar forcing are why hypotheses are being generated for magnetic coupling through cosmic ray flux, or a stronger influence through stratospheric coupling and ozone generation in the stratosphere and troposphere, or cyclic resonance in the ocean system.

    In a nonlinear dynamic system, there is no reason to assume that climate sensitivity to greenhouse gasses will be as high or the same as to solar. Yet that is the assumption and the supposed model independent check on their sensitivity. The models do not yet reproduce the sensitivy to solar. Either the irradiance changes are higher than have been estimated or the nonlinear ozone generation, through larger spectral variation seen in the UV, or through magnetic modulation of a cosmic ray flux/cloud axis are needed.

    “The problem is that you can’t explain current rise via TSI without arguing for a high sensitivity to increased TSI (and a very long delay); and you can’t argue for a high sensitivity to increased TSI without also arguing for a high sensitivity due to CO2. ”

    Wait a second. I just did.

    “As to your contention that the climate modelers are narrow specialists–have you ever met any of these guys? ”

    No, I was arguing that many of the other specialties are narrow. Some are limited to ground or satellite instrumentation, some to glaciers and ice caps, some to radiative transfer, etc. As to whether I’ve met any, I am an avatar. The modelers come from a hodgepodge of backgrounds, some are just computer scientists, but there are physicists, geophysicists, geologists, that have to try to bridge the specialties, and to come up with parameterizations to approximate much of the physics they can’t directly solve.

    “And even if it were true, are you going to make the same argument for the American Geophysical Union, the American Physical Society, the National Academies, Department of Defense… ”

    I’ll make the same argument for Texas A&M University. They parroted the IPCC conclusions like a pledge of allegiance. I couldn’t even get them to date the pledge to so they could cover their asses a bit. The IPCC comes out with a new report every few years, but the tamu faculty is pledged for life.

    http://atmo.tamu.edu/Climate-Change-Statement.html

  298. #300 Infinite Love
    May 14, 2009

    Can I have a side of Fluoride to go with my ‘super-size me’ dumb ass, please???

  299. #301 Infinite Love
    May 14, 2009

    Can I have a side of Fluoride to go with my ‘super-size me’ dumb ass, please???

  300. #302 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 14, 2009

    AG, you have grossly mischaracterized the science. Actually, the consensus model of climate does an excellent job of explaining Earth’s climate. It explains at least the majority of what we see in the paleoclimate–including the duration of ice ages and interglacials. It explains the response of the climate to perturbations like volcanic eruptions. It explains why we’ve had 30 years of warming, and why every year this decade has been among the 10 warmest on record. At the same time, you admit that you can’t explain any of this in the absence of the consensus model. That is precisely the problem: if you reject the consensus model so that you don’t have to worry about anthropogenic effects, you can’t explain anything about the climate. At least you’ve gone from “It’s all the Sun!!!” to admitting that you don’t have a coherent picture. That’s progress. Take a minute and feel the pain and let it go.
    Despite the mountain of evidence, you say you aren’t convinced. OK, I ask you: What would it take–specifically–to convince you?
    And don’t give me some bullshit answer about “evidence”. There’s tons of evidence–what specific piece of evidence would it take for you? If you can’t answer that, you ain’t a skeptic.

  301. #303 africangenesis
    May 14, 2009

    Knockgoats,

    “How is it you, without any relevant scientific expertise, are able to see what none of those who work with the modellers on a daily basis can?”

    It is not what I can see. It is what I can’t “see”. I can’t see with inadequate models. They need the models to get beyond the 30% direct contribution of the well mixed greenhouse gasses. Now if those who “work with the modelers” can see it, then why can’t they show us? All it takes is a little nonlinear dynamics mathmatics to show us why documented errors far larger than the recent warming can be ignored with a simple wave of the hand. I’m perfectly capable of “see”ing for myself on anything short of string theory. If they can “see” it, but can’t show it, it is spiritualism, not science.

  302. #304 africangenesis
    May 14, 2009

    A ray in dilbert space,

    “It explains at least the majority of what we see in the paleoclimate–including the duration of ice ages and interglacials. It explains the response of the climate to perturbations like volcanic eruptions. It explains why we’ve had 30 years of warming, and why every year this decade has been among the 10 warmest on record.”

    Boy, you tried to slip in a fast one, with that last one, I’ll grant the first two. BTW, have you done your checking, are you sure there isn’t a year or two from the 1930s among the 10 warmest?

  303. #305 Knockgoats
    May 14, 2009

    In recent years it appears that the oceans are cooling. – africangensis

    Yet another denialist factoid. Do try to keep up. See Correcting Ocean Cooling.

    Wait a second. I just did.

    No, you didn’t. You threw a lot of words around, but you didn’t come close to a coherent explanation. At least according to Tung and Camp, there is no need to posit exotic mechanisms to account for the magnitude of the solar cycle response:

    “There have been many puzzling statements in the
    literature about the difficulty of explaining the solar cycle response at the surface given the magnitude of the solar forcing. Although the GCM simulation of a surface solar cycle response remains a challenge, we show here that
    given the magnitude of the measured amplitudes of forcing
    and response, the observed 0.2 K of warming is explainable
    assuming direct radiative forcing and the commonly accepted
    climate gain factor of f ~ 2?3, due to ice albedo, cloud
    and water vapor/lapse rate feedbacks.”
    (Tung, K.K. and Camp, C.D. (2008) Solar cycle warming at the Earth?s surface in NCEP and ERA-40 data: A linear discriminant analysis, Journal of Geophysical Research VOL. 113, D05114).
    In another recent paper, they and a colleague say:
    “It is seen that most of the current generation of general circulation models assessed by IPCC, AR4, are found to have too low a transient climate response as compared with the observed transient climate sensitivity obtained by our method. This is consistent with the independent finding by Forest et al. [2006] that models simulate too large an ocean heat uptake as compared to observations of ocean temperature changes during the period 1961-2003. This excessive heat into the oceans tends to reduce the transient climate response for the atmosphere, but does not affect the modeled equilibrium climate sensitivity, which was calculated with a slab ocean in thermal equilibrium with the atmosphere.” [My emphasis]
    Ka Kit Tung, Jiansong Zhou and Charles D. Camp (2008). Constraining Model Transient Climate Response Using Independent Observations of Solar-Cycle Forcing and Response. Geophys. Res. Lett. 35,
    L17707.

    And as a_ray_in_dilbert_space notes, climate sensitivity to CO2 doubling is constrained by multiple lines of paleoclimatic evidence.

  304. #306 Xray
    May 14, 2009

    I for one appreciate some of the above comments from AG, even though he is getting a hard time here. I appreciate some of his references to scientific literature and his overall thoughtful replies. He agrees (apparently) there is global warming and he agrees that CO2 is an important contributor. It is certainly valid to look for other sources and to examine feedbacks. AG is probably wrong on the role of the sun, but it’s surely not trivial and warrants more study.

    A lot of commenters here seem to lump anti-AGW arguments into the same boat as anti-evolution arguments. There is no comparison. The difference is like night and day — even if in the end both are wrong. Creationists are simply fools who routinely say or do anything to salvage their religious creation myths. They’re not remotely interested in the science. Anti-AGW folks (SOME of them anyway)keep us on our toes, e.g. as when they point out poorly sited met stations.

    OTOH, I won’t deny that anti-AGW and anti-evolution camps have significant overlap. In fact, isn’t Roy Spencer a creationist? Hmmph!!

  305. #307 Knockgoats
    May 14, 2009

    Boy, you tried to slip in a fast one, with that last one, I’ll grant the first two. BTW, have you done your checking, are you sure there isn’t a year or two from the 1930s among the 10 warmest?

    Erm, that would be in the contiguous USA. There’s a big world out there, AG, and in that world there is no doubt whatever that a_ray_in_dilbert_space is right. As for the accusation of dishonesty – pure projection.

  306. #308 Anonymous
    May 14, 2009

    Knockgoats,

    “Yet another denialist factoid. Do try to keep up. See Correcting Ocean Cooling.”

    Try to keep even more up:

    Loehle, Craig. 2009. Cooling of the global ocean since 2003. Energy & Environment 20(1&2): 99-102.

    Ocean heat content data from 2003 to 2008 (4.5 years) were evaluated for trend. A trend plus periodic (annual cycle) model fit with R2 = 0.85. The linear component of the model showed a trend of -0.35 (±0.2) x 1022 Joules per year. The result is consistent with other data showing a lack of warming over the past few years.

    “At least according to Tung and Camp, there is no need to posit exotic mechanisms to account for the magnitude of the solar cycle response”

    BTW this is the same Tung and Camp, that don’t think the models are ready yet for multidecadal projections. Have they ever said the models are ready for attribution either? Camp and tung didn’t evaluate the mechanims behind the climate sensitivity. They just repeated “the commonly accepted climate gain factor of f ~ 2?3, due to ice albedo, cloud and water vapor/lapse rate feedbacks.”

    Their own calculations based upon the signature of the solar cycle confirm the climate sensitivity to solar, NOT greenhouse gasses, while simultaneously reporting that the climate models did not reproduce that sensitivity seen in the observations. There is a simple mathmatical equation to sensitivity to CO2 doubling based upon the ASSUMPTION that the climate sensitivities are the same. So the fact that they reported the sensitivity as a CO2 doubling figure, has nothing to do with CO2.

    It is plausible that the modelers could eventually produce models with the sensitivity to solar forcing seen in the climate using only the direct radiative coupling, they have a number of degrees of freedom to manipulate. But what is important is to couple solar in the models in the same way and magnitude it is coupled in the climate itself. That is why we do the diagnostic studies to see if the model climates match the observed climate.

  307. #309 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 14, 2009

    Xray says, “Creationists are simply fools who routinely say or do anything to salvage their religious creation myths. They’re not remotely interested in the science.”

    And this is different from saying or doing anything to salvage one’s political, economic or ideoligical myths exactly…how? Anti-science is anti-science.

  308. #310 africangenesis
    May 14, 2009

    Whoops, that last anon was me.

  309. #311 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 14, 2009

    AG says, “In a nonlinear dynamic system, there is no reason to assume that climate sensitivity to greenhouse gasses will be as high or the same as to solar.”

    Wow, AG, those molecules must be a whole lot smarter than I thought if they can figure out where a watt of energy comes from. Come on, dude. Now you are just pounding your pudendum. Tapdance all you want, AG. The fact is that you don’t have a theory. You can’t explain bupkis. Meanwhile the consensus theory does an excellent job of explaining the data–tropospheric warming, stratospheric cooling, melting ice caps and glaciers. You have to remember that we aren’t trying to understand things down to the micron level. We’re looking at a well mixed greenhouse gas that produces a long-term upward push on temperatures. It predicted long before it was observed that warming should occur. It did.

    Here, AG, let me help. Positing that it’s all the sun–that’s not going to work. The forcing due to change in TSI is less than 30% of direct forcing due to CO2–and it all occurs at the wrong time to explain observed warming–and it can’t explain stratospheric cooling. There is only one way out of this: There would have to be a negative feedback that magically kicks in right at our current temperature range that negates the added warming, AND this feedback would have to persist all the way up to CO2 concentrations of 1000 ppmv. Then all we’d have to worry about is ocean acidification–you know when the oceans become acidic and the balance shifts from oxygen producing bacteria to H2S procucing bacteria and we have a mass extinction event like the PETM.

  310. #312 africangenesis
    May 14, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    “And this is different from saying or doing anything to salvage one’s political, economic or ideoligical myths exactly…how? Anti-science is anti-science.”

    This from someone who just figured out climate commitment last night.

    I’ve no doubt that market oriented and tax neutral solutions could handle any reasonable AGW scenerio, so it doesn’t conflict with my economic philosophy. The extreme proposals being made by those anxious to believe in AGW do call into question their objectivity. “Consensus”, “no further debate”, “denialists” … Science … really? Perhaps if you are a Kuhn post-modernist.

  311. #313 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 14, 2009

    AG, Climate trends are 30 years or more. Loehle uses 4.5 years of data–and during a protracted solar minimum to boot. Good lord, man, can you even post this stuff with a stright face. And, uh, Dude, I think it’s you who still needs to work on your grasp of climate commitment. It, like most of the arguments you’ve made so far, favors a higher CO2 sensitivity, rather than a lower one.

    AG says, “I’ve no doubt that market oriented and tax neutral solutions could handle any reasonable AGW scenerio, so it doesn’t conflict with my economic philosophy.”

    Great. I’d like to hear some, because free market types have sure been silent. I’d love to hear some real free market proposals so that we could offset the rightwing loons against the leftwing loons and make some progress in the middle. First, though, you would have to accept the science–which has been pretty much the same (in outline, though with tightening error bars) since the 50s.

  312. #314 africangenesis
    May 14, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    “There is only one way out of this: There would have to be a negative feedback that magically kicks in right at our current temperature range that negates the added warming, AND this feedback would have to persist all the way up to CO2 concentrations of 1000 ppmv.”

    And there is, it is the water cycle and we are right in its sweet spot, between 0 and 100 degrees C. There are 10s of watts of errors in the clouds.

    “Wow, AG, those molecules must be a whole lot smarter than I thought if they can figure out where a watt of energy comes from.”

    In a nonlinear dynamic system, it matters not only where the watts come from, but what form they are in (spectral and chemical effects) and where they go to. CO2 couples chiefly to the troposphere. Solar to the stratosphere (US absorption by and creation of ozone), land (modulated by spectrally and angle dependent surface albedo including albedo feedback, and cloud albedo) and 10s of meters of ocean. Most of the solar energy is deposited in the tropics. CO2 radiative interaction with the land also is modulated by spectrally dependent albedo, but its radiation bare penetrates the surface of the ocean, it is mainly a skin effect. We currently don’t under stand any solar activity/cosmic ray/cloud interaction well enough to incorporate it into the models, and we really don’t understand the level of variation in TSI between active periods and more quiet periods. We’ve only experienced solar cycle minima in the modern era and don’t know if we can extrapolate that to less active solar modes.

  313. #315 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 14, 2009

    AG says, “In a nonlinear dynamic system, it matters not only where the watts come from, but what form they are in (spectral and chemical effects) and where they go to.”

    Bzzzzt!! Oh, but thank you for playing. The vast majority of excited CO2 molecules relax collisionally, not radiatively, so it doesn’t matter where the energy comes from. A watt is a watt is a watt.

    As to being rescued by water vapor. Not bloody likely. You would have to explain why our current temperature range (not 0-100 degrees C), but ~25-35 C is much more stable. Of course there’s that nasty ol’ paleoclimate data that shows we’ve gone much higher in the dark and distant past, so you have to explain why it applies NOW snd not then. And remember clouds warm as well as cool, and there are many, many constraints on CO2 sensitivity–there’s virtually no probability below 2 degrees per doubling. Check out:
    http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frcgc/research/d5/jdannan/prob.pdf

    Ah, yes, the cosmic ray stuff. I wondered when you’d get that desperate. Two big problems: 1)there’s no real mechanism–just a bunch handwaving; and 2)GCR haven’t changed much in about 50 years–based on both terrestrial neutron and satellite data. Them GCR can mess up a satellite’s memory. We watch them pretty closely.

    Got any other straws to grasp?

  314. #316 africangenesis
    May 14, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    “a watt is a watt”

    Some watts make ozone. Some watts can be used for photosynthesis. Some watts have different albedos than others. Substances are transparent or opague to some watts and not others.

    ” However, where does most of the sun’s energy fall? Near the equators”

    And yes, you are right, some watts are geographically and vertically distributed differently that others. Combine that with we don’t know how much the watts varied in the past, or how what the energy state of the ocean was earlier in 20th century or even now for sure. “a watt is a watt”. You have no respect for the science or the nature of the problems.

  315. #317 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 14, 2009

    Some Watts say stupid things

    ?My responsibility is to follow the Scriptures which call upon us to occupy the land until Jesus returns?

    I Like this quote I dislike this quote?We don’t have to protect the environment, the Second Coming is at hand?

  316. #318 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 14, 2009

    AG, You keep saying “We don’t know this!!” “We don’t know that!!” It doesn’t invalidate what we do know. You can tapdance and handwave ’til you levitate. The fact of the matter is that you are employing the same tactics as the YECs. One of which is–you dodge my question of what specifically it would take to convince you.

  317. #319 africangenesis
    May 14, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    “It doesn’t invalidate what we do know.”

    Of course not, is there anything we do know that I haven’t embraced?

  318. #320 africangenesis
    May 14, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    “One of which is–you dodge my question of what specifically it would take to convince you.”

    Whoops, sorry I didn’t read all the way to this. I’ve answered this before, so I’ll repost it here. As of right now it would take one of these two things, but I am open to less if a convincing case can be made. But if the cooling ocean data gets confirmed AGW as a candidate for the majority of the attribution may be disproven before it can be confirmed. Now to quote me:

    “Show me continued warming through at least a Dalton type solar minimum and I will believe it.”

    “Show me models that are able to reproduce the solar signature found the climate observations, that don’t have a positive surface albedo bias, that reproduce the amount of precipitation associated with the recent warming (instead of just one-third to one-half), that can reproduce PDO and el nino behavior, that implement the difference in solar and CO2 coupling to the ocean and that can match better tropical cloud feedback observtions than currently exist. Since these model improvements will take time, any improvements in our understanding of the solar/cosmic ray/cloud axis should also be incorporated into the models when it becames available.”

  319. #321 africangenesis
    May 14, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    My second attempt, the first got lost in cyberspace.

    “you dodge my question of what specifically it would take to convince you. ”

    Whoops, apologies for not reading all the way to this the first time. I’ve answered it previously on this blog and another forum. I’m happy to answer it here and separate myself from YECs. We wouldn’t want them to get a good name. Here is my answer from another forum:

    Show me continued warming through at least a Dalton type solar minimum and I will believe it.

    Show me models that are able to reproduce the solar signature found the climate observations, that don’t have a positive surface albedo bias, that reproduce the amount of precipitation associated with the recent warming (instead of just one-third to one-half), that can reproduce PDO and el nino behavior, the implement the difference in solar and CO2 coupling to the ocean and that can match better tropical cloud feedback observtions than currently exist. Since these model improvements will take time, any improvements in our understanding of the solar/cosmic ray/cloud axis should also be incorporated into the models when it becames available.

    Fortunately, there may be a dalton minimum on the way, and we can get this issue out of the hands of the Political Correctness nazis and back into the hands of the scientists.

    A good case with something less might do, I’ll have to see it and evaluate it. However, if the data on the ocean cooling keeps firming up, any case for attributing a majority of the recent warming to AGW may refuted. That doesn’t mean that AGW couldn’t increase in future to be a problem.

    Note, in some ways the AGW believers, are just like the religious right, who assume that once they’ve convinced you of the existance of God, that you automatically accept some connection to Christ and accept the existance of Satan along with it. There is still the issue of whether AGW would be at net benefit or detriment. Better models will help here also, so we should keep on investing.

  320. #322 africangenesis
    May 14, 2009

    Apologies for the semi-double post. The first one reappeared from the cyber ether.

  321. #323 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 14, 2009

    Hmm, It looks like you are trying to move the goalpoasts as far back as you can and still be on the same planet. I’m not sure how we can bring about a “Dalton-type” minimum. That’s up to Mr. Sun, isn’t it. I mean, we’ve already kept warming through nearly 3 solar cycles.

    Another thing that I find interesting, the deficiencies you find in the climate models are mostly important at the regional level rather than the global level. Personally, I think that when you start to worry about details at the level of how rapidly snow melts in Spring, you’re doing pretty well. What’s more, that particular issue results in a larger positive feedback (since it is temp. driven), and so is likely to accelerate rather than decelerate warming. It seems that you are more eager to collect errors than analyze their significance. It would seem you are playing the “God of the Gaps” game, but your deity is uncertainty.

    As to the consequences of climate change–rising sea levels are a given–and that is not a good thing where the world will have to support 9 billion people. Loss of glaciers will deprive more than 2.6 billion people of their main source of water. Again hard to see how it will be a good thing. Winter wheat probably will not germinate south of the Minnesota (note that Canada already sent us much of their topsoil during the last ice age). Then there’s the matter of ocean acidification, which could be the most serious consequence. There are many more potential consequences. These are just the ones that will happen with near certainty. It would appear that you haven’t thought about this much. DOD has. They’ve written papers on the subject of coping with massive influxes of refugees. You should read them.

    You act as if inaction has no consequences. It does. What is more, much of what needs to happen to address climate change needs to happen anyway to adjust to a post-oil world. Again we can act in accord with the counsels of science or against them. There’s no middle ground.

  322. #324 africangenesis
    May 14, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    “I’m not sure how we can bring about a “Dalton-type” minimum. That’s up to Mr. Sun, isn’t it. I mean, we’ve already kept warming through nearly 3 solar cycles.”

    I wouldn’t have mentioned it if the current solar minimum wasn’t one of the weakest since early in the 20th century. Some predictions for solar cycle 24 look pretty week. Even if this doesn’t quite live up to a Dalton minimum, it may be weak enough to advance the science.

    “Another thing that I find interesting, the deficiencies you find in the climate models are mostly important at the regional level rather than the global level”

    All of the model issues I raised are large enough to be globally significant. It is difficult to know how much the models have to get right to attribute a 0.75W/m^2 energy imbalance in the 90s. Presumably the energy imbalance has been smaller and even negative since then.

    The models have already been a disappointment. Despite the albedo bias of between 3 and 4 watts/m^2 (globally and annually averaged) I thought there would be some benefit from the models at least getting the energy imbalance right, even if they got it “right” the wrong way. The energy imbalance would continue and the climate commitment would guarantee a rising temperature pretty much on track for another decade. Instead they didn’t even get that right, natural variation overwelmed the energy imbalance. There was one study that suggested that the ocean state was wrong in the models, and when it was corrected with the actual observed state, the warming was projected to be on hold until 2015.

    I mention the climate modes, because if the modelers just plug the diagnostic holes, it will feel kind of empty, unless we gain some insight into the climate modes that tells us were really beginning to understand the climate.

  323. #325 Anonymous
    May 15, 2009

    AG, Your characterization of the significance of the Roesch paper is misleading. To say it could make a 2-4 watt difference in forcing means you are basing your estimate on total solar irradiance and not on the change thereof. Since the climate models start at equilibrium (and imposed boundary condition) at t=0, all this is going to do is rearrange the initial forcings a little bit. Moreover, the change is about 5-10 times smaller than the uncertainty on TSI in any case. That will have negligible effect on the results. Moreover, it will have no effect on attribution, because a change in climate requires a change in forcing, and the 2% error applied to the 0.5 W change in forcing over the 20th century certainly pales in comparison to the ghg forcing and to the energy imbalance (which again has to do with changes in forcing).
    I am sure the improved albedo models will be in the next incarnation of the models. However, if you think it will change the outcome–again, you are grasping at straws.

  324. #326 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 15, 2009

    I’m a-ray_in_dilbert_space, and I approve the previous anonymous message, which I posted before noticing my login had expired.

  325. #327 Charlie the Brit
    May 15, 2009

    I’m almost with you on all these, only the mention of Terri Schiavo stopped me – there is no ethical reason to dehydrate to death a brain damaged human, no matter what both sides claimed her capabilities and possibilities were. Straight forward gas chamber would have been more humane – but then, that would raise real questions about how we treat our broken members of society that i don’t think many nations are ready to answer.

    As a qualifier, I’m all for right to die, but that case was just a disgusting fudge, and it upsets me that it’s frequently lumped in with creationists et al.

  326. #328 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 15, 2009

    AG has been refuted on AGW time and time again. His stupid stubornness doesn’t allow him to just shut up like he should. I think AGW and potential limits on emissions impinges upon his ideology, which means he might be legitametely compelled by the government to take action. That has to be avoided at all costs.

  327. #329 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 15, 2009

    N of R,
    I am acutally sympathetic to anyone who is concerned about what government might compel them to do. However, the responsible response to such concerns is to accept the relevant science and come up with solutions that do not compromise one’s principles. This is where the political right has failed conspicuously–with the rather comical consequence that their bete noire Al Gore has gotten an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize.
    I would love to hear some creative ideas from the political right–they might tend to drown out some of the loonier ideas from the political left and then the adults could make progress in the center.

  328. #330 africangenesis
    May 15, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    “To say it could make a 2-4 watt difference in forcing means you are basing your estimate on total solar irradiance and not on the change thereof. Since the climate models start at equilibrium (and imposed boundary condition) at t=0, all this is going to do is rearrange the initial forcings a little bit.”

    You are correct that this particular error will make little difference in the attribution of the recent warming, since there is only a small solar variation for it to diminish. However, this does not dimininish its import for projection and climate sensitivity, since over the course of the 21st century or a CO2 doubling, the disappearance of this error BECOMES a variation adding 3 to 4 watts to model climates that started at equilibrium. The t0 of the models is usually back in the latter half of the 19th century. This error was measured in the 1990s. Essentially any projection into the future or CO2 doubling runs are being measured across the nolinearity if the reduction of the contribution of this error. 3 to 4 watts globally and annual aeveraged are being added to climate. Also, for the purpose of attribution, while the error only modulates a small solar variation, so isn’t much of a bias, the energy is distributed quite differently so the climate is altered. It is difficult to say what this change in the distribution of the energy contributes to the problems the models have reproducing the amplitude of the solar cycle seen in the observations. I suspect the major part of the bias against solar must elsewhere in the model climates, as usual, probably clouds.

  329. #331 africangenesis
    May 15, 2009

    Whoops, “the to of the models” should read “the t=0 of the models”. Apologies.

  330. #332 africangenesis
    May 15, 2009

    Nerd of Redhead,

    “AG has been refuted on AGW time and time again”

    Refresh my memory please.

  331. #333 africangenesis
    May 15, 2009

    One thought I’ve had in the past, is that it would be interesting to check the model climate sensitivities by making CO2 halving (instead of doubling) runs. The idea would be to avoid measuring sensitivity across the nonlinearity of the removal of this albedo error. The problem is, the error was measured in the 1990s climates, we don’t know how much larger it gets as we move towaards t=0. Of course a CO2 halving would take us beyond t=0 levels and we may encounter nonlinearites there. It is really better if the model climates match the observed climate for the investigation of a phenomena this small.

  332. #334 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 15, 2009

    AG, you are missing the point–the error you are talking about is less than the uncertainty on the TSI reconstruction in any case. Thus, when added in quadrature to the error bars already in place, it has negligible effect. It changes nothing because it is not itself changing. The error due to the increase in solar flux is less than a percent of the increased forcing due to CO2. No it is not difficult to say what effect this will have. Repeat after me “Bupkis.” Try again. “Bupkis.”

    The point is that is isn’t enough to just look for errors. A real scientist knows to assess their significance for the results under discussion. The conclusion that we are warming the planet is robust. Your position simply isn’t backed by the science.

  333. #335 Knockgoats
    May 15, 2009

    It is certainly valid to look for other sources and to examine feedbacks. AG is probably wrong on the role of the sun, but it’s surely not trivial and warrants more study. – Xray

    Which, of course, climate scientists within the consensus have done and are doing.

    AG, it really is laughable that you think 4.5 years of data is sufficient to cast any doubt on AGW, particularly as it is common ground that the solar cycle does have an effect.

    I notice you still have nothing whatever to say about the empirically-derived constraints on climate sensitivity to CO2 doubling; nor on the effects of ocean acidification, which alone would mandate urgent action.

  334. #336 africangenesis
    May 15, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    “AG, you are missing the point–the error you are talking about is less than the uncertainty on the TSI reconstruction in any case.”

    You are comparing the error the the TSI. Keep in mind the models start at equilibrium. (Actually they start in energy balance and with the oceans spun up to something close to equilibrium). That 3-4 watts of error is comparable to size of the forcings CO2 and solar variation, and significantly alters the geographical distribution of energy in the climate. This is the proper comparison of the scale. Yes, the perturbation of the albedo error on the amount of solar variation is small.

    Perhaps you are not understanding that this error largely in the temperate zone snow melt is not only on the scale of the variation of the forcings globally, it is on the order of 100 watts/m^2 locally over large amounts of land area. The models are known to have problems matching the climate at high lattitudes (where of course the polar amplification occurs) and this provides at least part of the explanation.

    Perhaps you are also not understanding, that in the climate projections and CO2 sensitivity runs, this albedo error will diminish. As the model climates warm, the spring snow melt occurs earlier in the year, when the sun in lower in the sky reducing its magnitude. The edge of the snow cover is also moving to higher lattitudes where the sun is also lower in the sky. So not only is the albedo error being reduced, it is having less solar energy to act upon. So effectively it is asymtopically disappearing. You are adding 3 to 4 watts/m^2 to a model climate that was supposedly “matching” the energy imbalance of the recent warming. So not only were the models originally NOT “matching” the energy distribution in the existing climate, while “catching up” with the snow melt and eventually “matching” the surface albedo of the observed climate, it is artificially introducing a forcing or perturbation several times larger than the recent energy imbalance that we are so concerned about.

    If errors on the order of 3 or 4 watts/m^2 globally and annually averaged, are not significant, then neither is the recent warming or the prospect of CO2 doubling. You can’t have it both ways.

  335. #337 africangenesis
    May 15, 2009

    Knockgoats,

    AG, it really is laughable that you think 4.5 years of data is sufficient to cast any doubt on AGW, particularly as it is common ground that the solar cycle does have an effect.

    Yes, it does cast doubt if it continues, because solar activity is unlikely to return to the latter 20th century levels during the next century. I don’t know if it is laughable or not.

    I notice you still have nothing whatever to say about the empirically-derived constraints on climate sensitivity to CO2 doubling; nor on the effects of ocean acidification, which alone would mandate urgent action.

    I assume you are referring to estimates from different geological eras when the climate was different and the error bars are larger than our phenomenon of interest. If you are referring to something more recent, it is all sensitivity to either solar or aerosols, not CO2, and some of it is further complicated by the use of these models.

    Ocean acidification is a concern I haven’t investigated, since the temperature and sea level have far more implications for humans. I would be interested in definitive projections based taking into account not just the increase in atmospheric CO2, but also the decrease in soluability of CO2 in warmer water. How much will the pH decrease? There are also indications that corals and other calcifying organisms have survived higher CO2 levels before, and may be robust to this change. Perhaps the species composition will change some, or there will be some selection within the coral communities. We aren’t going to sacrifice trillions of dollars for this issue however.

  336. #338 africangenesis
    May 15, 2009

    Boy did I just screw up the blockquotes there. How do you youngsters do it. I think you can figure out who is who, but apologies if someone gets confused.

  337. #339 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 15, 2009

    AG. Elementary error analysis: If you have several independent errors, E1, E2, E3, E4.., the best estimate of the errors will be SQRT(E1^2+E2^2..En^2). If E1 is the largest error, the contribution of any of the other errors will be negligible. Reconstructed TSI uncertainty~10%. Albedo error~2%. Any questions? The error you are talking about is present in the initial conditions–all it can change is the initial conditions. In contrast, the added greenhouse forcing of CO2 is applied over time to the system, and we observe how it changes. Since the system is in equilibrium to begin with, moving the energy around in that equilibrium system will not significantly affect how it changes. The change in insolation will give rise to an error due to albedo effect, but that is on the order of 0.04 W/m^2–a tiny, tiny fraction of the CO2 forcing. It could play a role in regional effects. It won’t affect GCM studies of GLOBAL climate CHANGE.
    You are utterly ignoring the insignificance of the error to the conclusion that we are the ones warming the planet. At this point YOU are fooling YOURSELF. What is more, by rejecting the established science, you are depriving yourself of any voice in developing strategies to address it.

  338. #340 africangenesis
    May 15, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    ” Reconstructed TSI uncertainty~10%. Albedo error~2%. Any questions?”

    The TSI uncertainty is not incorporated into the simulations, so why are you comparing against it at all.

    We don’t know if the albedo error was present in the inditial condiditions, in fact, it almost certainly is NOT included, since it is a feedback and it was analyzed over the 1990s, and the earlier spring snow melt was a specifically notable feature of the recent warming. The model surface albedo error was likely far less earlier and then became exagerated as the observed climate spring melt advanced more that the model climate melt advanced. The observed earlier spring snow melt was contributing far more to the recent warming than the modeled snow melt.

  339. #341 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 15, 2009

    Ah, so you say it’s a feedback–in which case it argues for a higher CO2 sensitivity than the 3 degrees per doubling. I’m not seeing how this is helping your case.

  340. #342 africangenesis
    May 15, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    “Ah, so you say it’s a feedback–in which case it argues for a higher CO2 sensitivity than the 3 degrees per doubling. I’m not seeing how this is helping your case.”

    No this surface albedo argues for a lower senstivity in two ways.

    Consider a model simulation of the 20th century climate started circa 1870, with the oceans already spun up, so it is in energy balance and there is no unrealized climate commitment at that time. Now that model is forced with the variations in solar, GHGs and aerosols that are thought to have occurred since that time. Over the whole course of the 20th century the model temperature tracks the “observed” global average temperature statistic, and over the decade of the 1990s matches the energy imbalance of 0.75 w/m^2 (per Hansen) and correctly reproducing the energy stored into the oceans and inferred from the observed sea level rise.

    Now lets consider the surface albedo error, which was particularly studied because during the late 1980s and 1990s the advance in the spring snow melt was significant, but while the model snow melts also advanced, in response to the warming, their advance fell short of the observations. This spring snow melt advance is a positive feedback, since snow free ground absorbs more heat from the sun and reflects less sun. This error as measured in the 1990s is on the order 3 to 4 watts/m^2 globally and annually averaged. It is several times larger than the energy stored into the oceans.

    So here is the first way in which this error increases model sensitivity to CO2: the models “matched” the 1990s warming WITHOUT this positive feedback. They must have gotten the energy for the warming from somplace else, since the timing has to somewhat match, it is probably another feedback which is oversensitive to CO2 or warming in general. But we don’t know how the models matched the warming without including the scale of this positive feedback present in the climate.

    The second way this error increases model sensitivity to CO2 is during the CO2 doubling sensitivity runs themselves, when the positive feedback from the spring snow melt asymptopically catches up with the observations. We start with a model climate nearly in balance (an imbalance of only 0.75W/m*2) and add another 3 to 4 W/m^2 to it. Presumably we still have the original erroneous feedback tha allowed the models to match the warming in the observations, and to it we add the surface albedo feedback that was missing in the 20th century model runs. I’ve described it as “Models Gone Wild”. The model temperatures do take an excursion circal 2050.

    The models can’t have any credibility for a phenomena of this small a magnitude.

  341. #343 africangenesis
    May 15, 2009

    Since those of you here are fond of linear assumptions, such as radiative forcings being equivilent, despite being differently distributed and differently coupled to the climate, lets do so linear analysis of the climate model sensitivities to CO2.

    We start off with models that per Camp and Tung that under-represent sensitivity to the chief competing candidate forcing:

    “Solar-Cycle Warming at the Earth?s Surface and an Observational Determination of Climate Sensitivity.” By Ka-Kit Tung and Charles D. Camp
    Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Washington, Seattle Washington,

    Camp and Tung’s statement:

    Currently no GCM has succeeded in simulating a solar-cycle response of the observed amplitude near the surface. Clearly a correct simulation of a global-scale warming on decadal time scale is needed before predictions into the future on multi-decadal scale can be accepted with confidence.

    Under-representing the sun can be argued to already bias the models to over-representing their sensitivity to CO2 in order to match the warming somehow.

    Next the models somehow achieve a “match” of the observed warming without the positive surface albedo feedback that is on the order of the CO2 forcing itself. This is done with our hypothesized wrong positive feedback from somplace else.

    Next we consider the CO2 doubling climate sensitivity runs. We still have the wrong positive feedback that presumably will continue to respond to the increasing CO2 or the warming from it. We add to it the correct positive surface albedo feedback that was missing and was of the same magnitude of the CO2 forcing itself. So thinking linearly, which is stupid in a nonlinear system, we have a CO2 doubling, we have the incorrect positive feedback, and then the formerly missing but now included equivilent of another CO2 doubling, plus the original bias against solar that may have biased the models towards CO2. We may be double counting some hear, but thinking linearly, the reported model climate sensitivities may be about 2.x to 3.x times higher than the actual climate.

  342. #344 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 15, 2009

    AG, You seem to be having some trouble keeping the concepts of feedback and forcing straight. Either your albedo error is present from the beginning–and thus is a fairly insignificant error on forcint–or it has come about as a response to warming, and thus is a rather large positive feedback that would increase CO2 sensitivity substantially. The CO2 sensitivity is constrained by multiple lines of evidence. It really can’t be less than 2 degrees per doubling unless our understanding of climate is completely wrong (not likely). When you have several contributing factors in a model and some are well constrained and others not, which ones change in response to a change in understanding? So, your albedo effect turned out to be a feedback, the change would likely affect aerosols or clouds, where uncertainties are larger.

    GCM are not a “fit” to the observed warming. Rather, they are dynamical models, where the physics is determined independently and put into the model–the validation is whether it reproduces, the general trends seen in the real world.

    As to your argument about Camp and Tung, you might have a semblance of a case if TSI were increasing. It ain’t.

    Again, we are talking about climate CHANGE. In order to be a candidate to explain it, the forcing has to CHANGE. What is so difficult about that?

    Again, AG, anti-science is anti-science. You are doing exactly the same thing as the YECs–cherrypicking one or two papers, misinterpreting the results and saying you’ve overturned the work of thousands of scientists, which work has in turn been reviewed and found cogent by tens of thousands of of scientists in related fields. If the YECs were making similar noises, how much credence would you give it.

  343. #345 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 15, 2009

    Yawn, AG still thinks he is smarter than the experts who publish in the literature. AG, cite your peer reviewed papers in the primary scientific peer reviewed literature to establish your credentials, or just STFU.

  344. #346 africangenesis
    May 15, 2009

    Nerd of Redhead,

    “Yawn, AG still thinks he is smarter than the experts who publish in the literature. AG, cite your peer reviewed papers in the primary scientific peer reviewed literature to establish your credentials, or just STFU.”

    It just seems like I’m smarter than the experts, I’m sure they can explain how errors larger than the energy imbalance and of the same magnitude of the forcings in a nonlinear dynamic system can be dismissed out of hand. It seems that it is done by mere raising of the hands.

  345. #347 africangenesis
    May 15, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    “It really can’t be less than 2 degrees per doubling unless our understanding of climate is completely wrong (not likely).”

    Can you provide a citation for that?

  346. #348 africangenesis
    May 15, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    “Either your albedo error is present from the beginning–and thus is a fairly insignificant error on forcint–or it has come about as a response to warming, and thus is a rather large positive feedback that would increase CO2 sensitivity substantially. ”

    Yes, the surface albedo response is a positive feedback that would substantially increase the sensitivity over the direct effects of the warming forcing alone. And I am claiming that is exactly what happened in the model CO2 doubling sensitivity runs, so their reported sensitivities are substantially higher than was required to match the recent warming, since this feedback added to the erroneous sensitivity used to “match” the recent warming without this positive feedback.

  347. #349 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 15, 2009

    Except that CO2 forcing is an input to the models, not an output. And it is an input that is determined independently of the model runs. Do you really not understand how GCMs work? Do you understand the difference between dynamical and statistical modeling?

  348. #350 africangenesis
    May 15, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    “Except that CO2 forcing is an input to the models, not an output”

    And that is news?

  349. #351 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 15, 2009

    On constraining climate sensitivity: I strongly recommend a visit to Julia Hargreave’s website:

    http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frcgc/research/d3/jules/

    In particular:

    http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frcgc/research/d3/jules/GRL_sensitivity.pdf

    and

    http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frcgc/research/d3/jules/SOLA.

  350. #352 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 15, 2009

    AG says, “And that is news?”

    Well, to you, evidently. Otherwise, you would understand sensitivity won’t change in response to model runs. It is pretty tightly constrained–and with even a few constraints, there’s almost no probability below 2 degrees per doubling. In fact, anything you do to raise the probability at the low end raises the upper end even more.

  351. #353 africangenesis
    May 15, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    Neither paper supports your contention. Surely you had a specific one in mind that reports that the lower bound on on climate sensitivity to CO2 can’t be less that 2 degrees C?

    “Otherwise, you would understand sensitivity won’t change in response to model runs.”

    I won’t if properly done, but you can think of the error in surface albedo feedback as a tipping point. The 20th century model runs are on one side of it, and the runs forced by different CO2 scenerios or CO2 doubling cross that tipping point.

  352. #354 africangenesis
    May 16, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    This recent review paper:

    http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/knuttir/papers/knutti08natgeo.pdf

    does not support a statement that the sensitivity “can’t” be less than 2 degreesC or our climate understanding is wrong:

    “In summary, most studies find a lower 5% limit between 1 and 2 °C”

    I suspect that if we looked into the supporting papers, most would be estimating climate sensitivity to solar under two assumptions that are questionable. One, that we have the solar radiative forcing change right despite even the IPCC admitting that solar variation is poorly understood, and two, that the solar coupling to the climate is well characterized by its radiative forcing, even though we know there are nonlinear chemical components.

    Shaviv puts it at 1.3 +- 0.4 degreesK.

    http://www.phys.huji.ac.il/~shaviv/articles/2004JA010866.pdf

    he walks through it better here:

    http://www.sciencebits.com/OnClimateSensitivity

  353. #355 africangenesis
    May 16, 2009

    Knockgoats#295,

    “You have repeatedly shown your total ignorance of modelling (not knowing what a “physically-based model” is, thinking that a GCM run necessarily requires years of CPU time on a supercomputer, when they are available for download, with source code, for anyone to modify as they please, and run on normal desktop machine).”

    You are naive. At moderate resolution a GCM can only simulate a few years per day on a cluster of 64 processors. Real work at state of the art resolutions, requires much larger clusters, and produces terabytes of data.

  354. #356 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 16, 2009

    AG, a couple of interesting things I pick out of your posts. First, you seem to be willing to bet the future of human civilization on a worse-than-20:1 longshot that climate sensitivity is less than 2 degrees per doubling. Moreover, the distribution there is really one of confidence more than probability. Now, I ask you, when you have had multiple lines of scientific evidence backing the same best-fit value of a quantity, and it has stayed that way for nearly 50 years, have you ever known the actual value to fall outside the 90% CL? There is zero evidence favoring a lower value of sensitivity over the 3 degree value.

    Let’s put it this way: Let’s say we have an opaque jar of marbles that we are told are all either black or white, but we know nothing about proportions. I draw a marble from the jar: It’s white. I repeat 44 more times and I have 45 straight draws yielding a white marble. Now we pause and I offer a $1000 bet–you get $20000 if the next marble is black, but you give me $1000 if it’s white. Do you take the bet? If you said yes, we really should play poker some time.

    The other thing I notice is that your “skepticism” only seems directed at the anthropogenic argument. You’re willing to swallow anything Shaviv puts out hook, line and sinker. Shaviv achieves his extraordinarily low value by ignoring most of the paleoclimate evidence and assuming a physically unrealistic (and grossly oversimplified) model of the climate system–just as Richard Lindzen, Schwartz, Spencer and Christy… all did. There is a reason why these estimates all lie there like a dog turd on a New York sidewalk–they don’t explain the evidence.

    You also shift your position at will–appealing to “commitment” in one post, while ignoring it in another; saying CO2 forcing is negligible in one post while appealing to it to cool the stratosphere in another; and on and on. I am reminded of the Andrew Lang quote: “He uses statistics as a drunkard uses a lamppost–for support rather than illumination.” You seem to be interested in the science only in so far as you can twist it to fit your preconceived conclusion. That is anti-science, AG, indistinguishable from the tactics of the creationists.

  355. #357 africangenesis
    May 16, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    I see rather than admit you were wrong, you shift ground to personal attacks, and mischaracterizations. I never said CO2 forcing was negligible.

    I’m not willing to bet the future of human civilization on a 20 to 1 shot. In fact availability of fresh water is one of the chief needs of human civilization and warming may ease that considerably. You forget that the model independent climate sensitivity evidence is largely based upon solar and aerosol forcings. Aerosol forcings may well increase with economic growth in the third world and solar is unlikely to be as high as it was in the 20th century, so the 95% works as well against your fearmongering with sensitivity as it does with it. There are also trends in the peer review scientific evidence such as recent work reducing the extremes possibilities of sea level rise by more than a factor of two from both greenland and antarctica. The peer review results that the climate sensitivity review paper attempts to dismiss, are surprisingly robust in their responses, and those possibilities are firming up. The oceans continue to arguably lose heat, even when solar cycle 23 still had some residual activity, all the while the models projected continued warming through 2005, yet even those that used cyclical instead of smoothed solar forcing. Of the multiple estimates of climate sensitivity, the one with the most uncertainty at the low end of the range was with one with the most accurate data, the modern instrumental record. So the evidence was never good enough to support the extreme concerns of the fearmongering, and the trends in the evidence seem to be correcting the extremes and gaining a greater appreciation for natural variability.

    “You seem to be interested in the science only in so far as you can twist it to fit your preconceived conclusion.”

    It doesn’t take much twisting to remain an agnostic on the attribution. I know, how little we know, too well.

    Shaviv represents some of the fun in science, the maverick theory that they can’t close the door on. It still has legs. It fits neatly into gaps in the evidence, the highly uncertain and pooly constrained role of clouds and the lack of enough variability in the strength of solar forcing to explain its strong correlation with variation in the reconstructions of the past climate. These gaps have been as persistent as the range of climate sensitivity in remaining open. Eventually something has to fill the gaps or close them.

    I finish in the money in poker more than half the time.

  356. #358 Xray
    May 16, 2009

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Again, AG, anti-science is anti-science. You are doing exactly the same thing as the YECs–cherrypicking one or two papers, misinterpreting the results and saying you’ve overturned the work of thousands of scientists,

    Sorry, but I just can’t agree. Let’s keep a little perspective here. For YECs to be right it requires overturning much of physics, geology, astronomy, and biology. It’s crazy. There’s not a chance in the world that the YECs are correct. AG may be wrong, but he is simply pointing out possible oversights in some toy computer models of the climate. Remember AG has granted GW, he has granted GHG-caused GW, he just argues that the role of solar variability *might be* underestimated. He’s not requiring an overthrow of all of atmospheric physics and chemistry, let alone the rest of science.

    A few lone wolves pointing out less-than-perfect computer models might be annoying to some. It might even be politically unfortunate when know-nothings like Rep Barton get involved. But it’s not in the same class as Young Earth Creationism. Give me a break.

  357. #359 africangenesis
    May 16, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    I have what should be an easy intellectual honesty test for you to pass. Now that you are familiar with some of the climate model diagnostic literature, if you were an editor or peer reviewer on a climate related journal, would you let a model based regional study conclude that global warming may increase the frequency and risks of droughts without requiring that they also mention or discuss the diagnositic literature showing that the models do poorly at representing the increase in precipitation seen in the observations?

    When the regional studies are in the higher lattitude states or countries, do you think the diagnostics about how poorly the models do at higher lattitudes should be mentioned?

    I’ve seen more that a dozen of these studies and there may be more than a hundred. They utilize the AOGCM results as a starting point for higher resolution regional modeling. I have yet to see one mention or discuss the diagnostic issues with the models. If the readers and those funding the studies knew the truth, do you think the funding stream for these regional studies would continue? Do you think the authors, peer reviewers and editors that let these studies through are being intellectually honest? Where would you stand?

    None of this affects my support for funding for model development and diagnostic studies, but I don’t think the public is being well served by these “me too” fearmongering regional studies.

    Another example of what I consider bad science are some of these peer review articles that are little more than press releases for a new generation of models, reporting its projections. The models aren’t completely new, they are enhanced versions of models on which we have previous diagnostic literature. Yet, even though they were one of the models with the surface albedo error and that under represented precipitation and solar, the peer reviewers and editors let the paper through without requiring any discussion of whether and how they addressed the diagnositic issues. I for one, would like to know, wouldn’t you? If they don’t discuss it, and it was an issue where every previous model had the same issue, I think we are entitle to assume the error is still present unless it is demonstrated otherwise. Where do you stand?

  358. #360 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 16, 2009

    x-ray says: “But it’s [climate denialism] not in the same class as Young Earth Creationism. Give me a break.”

    So, what you’re saying is that it’s OK to be a little woo–that science is like a buffet line where we can help ourselves to what we like and reject what we don’t? That about got your position?

    Here’s a news flash. Science is not about subject matter, but about method–the method where evidence trumps ideology–be it political, religious, social or philosophical. The evidence that we are significantly changing the climate is overwhelming. The potential consequences are catastrophic. Yet you are saying that it’s OK to trash the planet as long as we don’t say some sky pixie created it? It’s OK to tell ourselves comforting lies as long as those lies aren’t religious?

    You either accept that evidence trumps ideology–in which case you embrace science–or you reject it–in which case you are antiscience. Am I missing a middle ground somewhere?

  359. #361 africangenesis
    May 16, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    Are you sure you are evidence based? A consensus of methods agree on the range of climate sensitivity. One of those “methods” is a consensus of experts, another is a “consensus” of models. Another is a consensus of paleo studies with large error bars. Three or four contrary studies are dismissed. The final result is a consensus that the consensuses are likely to be right. They are not truly independent methods, all are problematic. Even the “catastrophic” possibilities are cheaper to mitigate than to prevent, and may be a net benefit, and it would take several CO2 doublings before we reached a global tropical paradise like we had in past geological ages, not runaway warming, and in the mean time oil is going to become prohibitive expensive and run out anyway within a few decades. We have only coal to worry about.

    “The evidence that we are significantly changing the climate is overwhelming. The potential consequences are catastrophic.”

    Polly want a cracker? Do you have a thought of your own?

  360. #362 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 16, 2009

    AG, Sorry, dude, I seem to have missed where I was wrong. What the hell is a model-independent climate sensitivity estimate. Dude, it all assumes a model–whether that model is running on a supercomputer or a sheet of paper. And I still see no basis for your hypothesis that molecules are smart enough to know whether energy is coming from the sun, from absorbed IR or from latent heat. As far as I know, the contention that a watt is a watt is not controversial. Again, you make some vague references to “the peer review results” but no references and zero evidence presented favoring low CO2 sensitivity.
    Your claim that the oceans have been losing heat can only be based on Loehle’s risible effort published in the shill journal Energy and Environment since no respectable journal would call a study of 4.5 years of data (during Solar Min and including a La Nina, no less) a climatic trend. The fact that you even bring it up raises questions about whether you understand what is meant by climate.

    And as to Shaviv, his ideas might be interesting if 1)he had a physical mechanism for turning a flux of 6 particles per square cm into a global effect–he doesn’t; and 2)if GCR were decreasing from 1950 onwards–they showed no systematic trend. Again, your utter gullibility here and with respect to Loehle raises questioons about your claims to skepticism.

    You hold out hope that aerosol forcings will save us–uh uh, aerosols last a few weeks, while CO2 persists for centuries. Or you say future solar radiation might dim–dude, what main sequence, plain-vanilla star do you know of that dims in mid life?

    As to what disclaimers model-based studies should come with, I would say that it depends on the audience. Climate scientists are quite familiar with the limitations of climate models, especially as you go to regional effects where processes smaller than a grid square become important. The reason such studies are being done at all is that there is a demand from those trying to develop mitigation schemes. Climate scientists are also well aware of the strengths–and despite your characterization, those strengths are considerable. GCM have correctly predicted many trends we observe–drought in the western US and western Australia, general trends in the Mediteranean and so on. Such studies are useful and interesting, but they in no way affect the global results. I am all for educating people about the true strengths and weaknesses of the models–if only to counter propaganda from shysters like you.

    Finally, ah, yes, water quality. How do you think 2.6 billion people in India and China will be affected when the Himmalayan glaciers melt. Do you even think about this stuff before you make it up?

    Finally, you claim that GCM predicted continued warming:
    1)First, GCM do not make predictions based on individual runs.
    2)I believe roughly 30-40 % of GCM runs may show some degree of cooling over short periods.
    3)The current decade is considerably warmer than the last. Indeed the past 5 years were warmer on average than the 5 before that. That doesn’t sound like much of a cooling trend.

    So, in sum: You’ve presented no evidence that favors your position. You’ve presented no consistent position or alternative theories. You’ve demonstrated a weak grasp even of fundamental issues in climate science (e.g. like the fact tha climate represents trends lasting >30 years). All you’ve done is make a bunch of vague assertions (unreferenced) cite a few cherry-picked studies that really don’t support your position and completely ignore the overwhelming weight of evidence and expert opinion against your position. Now explain to me again how your tactics differ from those of the Discovery Institute?

  361. #363 africangenesis
    May 16, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    “How do you think 2.6 billion people in India and China will be affected when the Himmalayan glaciers melt. Do you even think about this stuff before you make it up?”

    Sure, I thought of dams.

    “GCM have correctly predicted many trends we observe–drought in the western US and western Australia, general trends in the Mediteranean and so on.”

    Excuse me, I presented plenty of evidence that they have “incorrectly” predicted them. How much faith should you have in models that you know are wrong?

    “And I still see no basis for your hypothesis that molecules are smart enough to know whether energy is coming from the sun, from absorbed IR or from latent heat”

    The molecules are smarter than you evidently, they “care” about whether they are hit by UV or infrared, and they “care” about where they are, in the stratosphere or 10 meters down in the ocean. You didn’t read the review article very carefully did you? You obviously didn’t notice this:

    “The concept of radiative forcing is of rather limited use for forcings with strongly varying vertical or spatial distributions.”

    or this:

    “There is a difference in the sensitivity to radiative forcing for different forcing mechanisms, which has been phrased as their ?efficacy’”

    Now that efficacy paper by James Hansen is a piece of crap, based upon a slab ocean, you should read it and his follow-on paper. But he at least got the concept that there are differences right.

    Now are you just picking a choosing like some kind of YEC?

  362. #364 Anonymous
    May 16, 2009

    AG, We can play dueling papers ’til hell freezes over, and since your interpretation of some of the papers is “creative” to say the least, it won’t get us anywhere. So let’s try this.

    Do you know of any evidence that the efficacy of CO2 is less than that for solar or sulfate aerosols?

    Do you know of any evidence that favors a CO2 sensitivity less than 2 degrees per doublint? By favors, I mean that the mode for the PDF peaks below 2. In phrasing the question, I am actually doing you a favor, since the distributions tend to be skewed right so mean is greater than mode. The thing is that there is a lot of evidence that favors 3 degrees per doubling–nearly every distribution peaks within 0.2 degrees of that value.

    What do you personally think the probability (Bayesian) is that sensitivity is greater than 2 degrees per doubling?

  363. #365 africangenesis
    May 16, 2009

    anonymous,

    “Do you know of any evidence that favors a CO2 sensitivity less than 2 degrees per doublint? By favors, I mean that the mode for the PDF peaks below 2. In phrasing the question, I am actually doing you a favor, since the distributions tend to be skewed right so mean is greater than mode.”

    If you read the review paper that “a ray in dilbert space” and I have been discussing and look at the figure 3, the modern intrumental section. You will see that two of the pdf’s peak at less than two and a third at two degreesC and I see a total of 7 less than 3 degrees C. Thanx for the favor on the mean BTW, the mathmatics of the formulation is difficult to overcome, as explained in the same paper, although I’ve seen a paper specifically on this issue in the past. Mighty fair of you.

    “Do you know of any evidence that the efficacy of CO2 is less than that for solar or sulfate aerosols?”

    I haven’t seen such evidence for aerosols but for solar, there are lots of papers that find correlation for solar that can’t be explained by the estimates of the range of solar variation. Keep in mind that there isn’t very much pure CO2 analyses around without huge error bars, most of the model independent work is aerosol or solar based. But also see my last note to “a ray in dilbert space”, noting how limited the concept of radiative forcing is. My point all along has been that in a nonlinear dynamic system, such differently distributed and coupled forcings are not entitled to an assumption of linear equivilence.

  364. #366 africangenesis
    May 16, 2009

    anonymous,

    “What do you personally think the probability (Bayesian) is that sensitivity is greater than 2 degrees per doubling?”

    Most of my thinking has been in terms of attribution of the recent warming. I think that AGW will end up with 40 to 60% of the attribution and solar plus natural variation will end up with 40 to 60% of the attribution as well, with the understanding that the natural variation will ultimately be understood in terms of some kind of solar cyclic pumping resonance with the ocean basins.

    I expect that solar will come in with a climate sensitivity greater than 2 and CO2 will come in with less than 2. Aerosols are the outlier for me, their sensitivity seems too high, but if I recall correctly the data was interpeted via the models. I’d have to review them again, because we have some in the modern instrument period, and in light of the known deficiencies of the models.

  365. #367 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 16, 2009

    AG, anon was me. I am not sure how you draw any comfort from Knutti and Hegerl. The only studies that have any appreciable probability under two also have very long taile out to high sensitivity. It would seem unscientific to embrace one without acknowledging the other. Indeed, much of the emphasis on sensitivity estimation has been on trying to tame those high-end tails, which still dominate any risk estimate.

    The distributions that peak below 2 degrees per doubling are quite different from the others and provide very poor constraints at high sensitivity. Are you really pinning your hopes on a couple of outliers that actually have just about as much probability of high sensitivity as they do of low sensitivity?

    What is the basis for your low CO2 sensitivity, since it is not evidence based–or at least based on any evidence you’ve shown?

    And just in case you weren’t being obtuse: I am talking about energy absorbed in the climate system. Now, CO2 is a well mixed, long-lived ghg. It relaxes from its excited state within a ms overwhelmingly via collisional relaxation, rather than reradiation. On what basis would you conclude that a watt absorbed by CO2 is less effective than a watt of sunlight absorbed? It seems to me that the caveats on radiative forcing do not apply when we’re talking about CO2.

  366. #368 africangenesis
    May 17, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space,

    “Now, CO2 is a well mixed, long-lived ghg. It relaxes from its excited state within a ms overwhelmingly via collisional relaxation, rather than reradiation. On what basis would you conclude that a watt absorbed by CO2 is less effective than a watt of sunlight absorbed? ”

    Because the UV part of the solar spectrum varies by about 8%, and UV helps create ozone in both the stratosphere and the troposphere and ozone is a greenhouse gas. So, not only is the head deposited, there is the nonlinearity of the GHG that is created. Similarly, solar energy is deposited over 10s of meters of the ocean depth, while CO2 radiation barely penetrates. Efficiency of ocean heat uptake is associted with greater climate sensitivity.

    “I am not sure how you draw any comfort from Knutti and Hegerl.”

    I don’t draw comfort from it, I merely found it convenient. You asked for some evidence, and some evidence was easily found in a document we had already referenced for a different reason.

    “The only studies that have any appreciable probability under two also have very long taile out to high sensitivity.”

    A tail out to high sensitivity is a property of the statistics of the way the problem is formulated no matter what the senstivity. There have been attempts to find other methods to constrain it. You might want to read the references that apply to the discussions of the tail in that article.

    “It would seem unscientific to embrace one without acknowledging the other.”

    I acknowledge the other.

    “Are you really pinning your hopes on a couple of outliers that actually have just about as much probability of high sensitivity as they do of low sensitivity?”

    My hopes that the science improves doesn’t rely upon that. The disagreement among the various methods and models are evidence that the science needs more time. You were the one that said “What is more, there’s pretty much a hard cutoff at 2 degrees per doubling–that is you can’t get an Earth-like climate with a lower value.” and “there’s almost no probability below 2 degrees per doubling.”

    “What is the basis for your low CO2 sensitivity, since it is not evidence based–or at least based on any evidence you’ve shown? ”

    It is those characteristics of the climate that seem to indicate the sensitivity to solar is higher than to CO2, and the errors in the models that seem to bias them towards higher sensitivities to CO2. The sensitivity could turn out to be the same or higher, but that would be a surprise. Even at a 3.0 sensitivity, keep in mind that the IPCC AR4 model projections are based upon scenerios where the sun was constant at unually high levels, and were based upon models with the errors we have discussed. I think you need sensitivity higher than 3 for any sense of alarm. Lack of heat storage into the oceans would seem to argue against higher sensitivities.

    I haven’t seen convincing evidence that sensitivity to CO2 in the current climate regime is that high.

  367. #369 Knockgoats
    May 17, 2009

    “You are naive. At moderate resolution a GCM can only simulate a few years per day on a cluster of 64 processors. Real work at state of the art resolutions, requires much larger clusters, and produces terabytes of data.”- africangenesis

    Which completely ignores the context: I pointed out that the denialists have been completely unable to produce a model that reproduces the course of 20th century temperature change without including responses to CO2. bEcause, of course, they can’t and they know it, and so do you.

    “Sure, I thought of dams.” – africangenesis

    And I asked you (on “How did we get to this point”) for the engineering studies showing that it is feasible to build dams to retain water for a couple of billion people in a remote, mountainous earthquake zone. No response.

    “Do you [africangenesis] understand the difference between dynamical and statistical modeling? ” -a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    Well, he certainly didn’t a few months ago, when he thought that a “physically-based model” meant a physical model – and he was pontificating just as arrogantly then as he is now.

    “Yes, it does cast doubt if it continues, because solar activity is unlikely to return to the latter 20th century levels during the next century.” – africangenesis

    I say 4.5 years’ data doesn’t cast doubt on AGW and you say it would if it continues. So, you agree 4.5 years data doesn’t. We have very little idea what solar activity is likely to do over the next century, because there is no good physically-based model of what causes variation over
    periods longer than the solar cycle – and we don’t even know how unusual the levels of the second half of the last century are.

    “Ocean acidification is a concern I haven’t investigated, since the temperature and sea level have far more implications for humans. I would be interested in definitive projections based taking into account not just the increase in atmospheric CO2, but also the decrease in soluability of CO2 in warmer water. How much will the pH decrease? There are also indications that corals and other calcifying organisms have survived higher CO2 levels before, and may be robust to this change. Perhaps the species composition will change some, or there will be some selection within the coral communities. We aren’t going to sacrifice trillions of dollars for this issue however.”

    It is amazing how much garbage you can pack into one paragraph. For a summary (a few years old now) on ocean acidification, see Ocean acidification due to increasing
    atmospheric carbon dioxide
    which explains, among other things, that the effect of reduced solubility (and increased ocean stratification, which is more important) at warmer temperatures cut the acidification by less than 10%. We simply do not know the likely ecosystem effects of acidification at a rate vastly exceeding anything known within many millions of years. As always, you will take uncertainty as a justification for inaction; it isn’t. By the way, how do you know the cost would be “trillions of dollars”? You’re always rabbiting on about how complex systems are unpredictable (ignoring the differences between those aspects that can and those that cannot be predicted), yet when it comes to the far more complex socio-economic systems, suddenly you know that the effects of government intervention in the economy are always bad. Of course, what you have actually been doing all along is to start with this conclusion, and work backwards.

    “Even the “catastrophic” possibilities are cheaper to mitigate than to prevent, and may be a net benefit” – africangenesis

    Sometimes the depths of your ignorance show clearly. “Mitigation” means, precisely, measures to limit climate change. The catastrophic possibilities include large anoxic areas in the ocean, with anaerobes producing vast quantities of hydrogen sulphide. They may (though I think it unlikely) even include runaway warming – as the sun is stronger now than at any of those geological periods when CO2 was above 1000ppm.

    Ah, global warming “may be a net benefit”. No arguments, no references, just the favourite denialist fall-back position. Is it really too difficult for you to appreciate that both existing species and human activities are adapted to current conditions. Rapid change to those conditions – in whatever direction – is going to cause big problems. To take your favourite example of water; yes, precipitation will increase but it won’t be occurring where and when it does now. Specifically, the
    Mediterranean, southern Africa and much of the southern US are expected to become arid as climate belts shift. Increased precipitation will mostly be in places where it isn’t needed: the moist tropics, and at high latitudes.

  368. #370 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 17, 2009

    AG, Huh? That argument about UV and ozone doesn’t even make sense. Most of the UV doesn’t even make it into the troposphere. I think you misunderstand the meaning of efficacy. It has to do with how well the energy couples to the system–no worries there for CO2 greenhouse forcing.
    IR radiation does heat the ocean by decreasing the temperature gradient across the surface skin. Penetration deep into the ocean is not necessary.

    I do understand the reason for the high-end thick tail on the sensitivity distribution. Do you? It is a direct consequence of the uncertainties in aerosols and clouds. It basically says that you can get an Earthlike climate if CO2 sensitivity is high (>3) much more easily than you can if it is low. Another thing you seem not to comprehend is the consequence of that high-end tail. If CO2 sensitivity is low, we still have some pretty significant consequences once we reach about 600 ppmv–which we will easily reach this century of we continue business as usual. Mitigation will be needed even in this case. If sensitivity is ~3, mitigation is more urgent as the effects come earlier. If sensitivity is ~4.5-5, we are f*cked, and only the most draconian measures would be sufficient to postpone catastrophe. If you preclude the vast majority of evidence favoring sensitivity higher than 2, you also have to allow the equally high probability that sensitivity is more than 4. Now given that you are the one harping on the nonlinearities in the system and that you are the one who rejects the research that brings down the high-end tail to manageable levels, how wise do you think it is to keep perturbing such an uncertain, nonlinear system upon which human civilization depends for its sustenance?

    The other issue is this: We’ve reached the end of Oil. We’ll see the end of Coal this century and will eventually exhaust oil shale, tar sands, etc. in a century and a half or so. We are going to have to make massive changes to our energy infrastructure independent of climate considerations in the very near future. The only difference if we take climate into account is that we leave the carbon sequestered in the ground as coal, tar sands and oil shale. In the bargain, we get a clean, sustainable energy infrastructure that we don’t have to change again in 50-100 years when the coal runs out. We get advanced technology for energy storage, etc. that will be needed. We get a more energy-efficient economy less dependent on energy resources from hostile regions of the world. Now I ask you: How is this a bad thing?

    Hell, it’s not even bad for the oil companies. Oil is simply too valuable to burn anymore.

  369. #371 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 17, 2009

    AG hopes the Sun will get dimmer in the future. Stellar physics says he’s wrong:
    “As non-fusing helium ash accumulates in the core of a main sequence star, the reduction in the abundance of hydrogen per unit mass results in a gradual lowering of the fusion rate within that mass. To compensate, the core temperature and pressure slowly increase, which causes a net increase in the overall fusion rate (to support the greater density of the inner star). This produces a steady increase in the luminosity and radius of the star over time.[14] Thus, for example, the luminosity of the early Sun was only about 70% of its current value.[37]”

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

  370. #372 Knockgoats
    May 17, 2009

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space,
    For his belief that the sun will get dimmer, AG is relying on Solanki and colleagues. They claim that not only is the current TSI very high (at one stage they were claiming higher than at any time in the past 8,000 years, but they’ve rowed back from that somewhat), but also, based solely on a statistical model, that it is almost bound to fall over the next few decades. Of course, as you and I know, even if it does fall there are no grounds to expect the effect on temperature to be much more than the difference between the peak and trough of the solar cycle. Of course, even such a small amount would be welcome, as it would give us another few years.

    As for the possibility of climate sensitivity above 4.5, don’t worry. AG will just pray to the great god Market to solve the problem.

  371. #373 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 17, 2009

    Knockgoats, Actually, I’d welcome a market-based solution or two from the right, but it appears their faith in the market does not run so far as to propose actual solutions for the most vexing problems currently facing human civilization.
    The really puzzling thing about AG is that it is not as if he has totally rejected the literature–he’s got a better grasp of it than the typical denialosphere denizen. However, he insists on looking only at the left portion of the risk curve and utterly ignores the implications of his views that actually ought to cause him concern. Proof, I guess that denial ain’t just a river.

  372. #374 africangenesis
    May 17, 2009

    knockgoats,

    “We have very little idea what solar activity is likely to do over the next century, because there is no good physically-based model of what causes variation over
    periods longer than the solar cycle – and we don’t even know how unusual the levels of the second half of the last century are.”

    We don’t know what solar activity is going to be over the next century, but we do know what it is likely to be, based upon the proxies, but then again we have really experienced “normal” solar activity during the modern instrumentation period, so we don’t know what the level of forcing will be. The assumption is it will be less based upon past correlations.

    “Ah, global warming “may be a net benefit”. No arguments, no references, just the favourite denialist fall-back position.”

    Now Knockgoats, you are lying. I provided references on increased precipitation associated with the warming, even the models which under-represent the increase in precipitation by a factor of two or three show some increase in precipitation. If you are aware that this is the favorite denialist fall-back position then you are disengenuous is asking for references that have already been provided elsewhere.

    “To take your favourite example of water; yes, precipitation will increase but it won’t be occurring where and when it does now.”

    Evidence you knew your statement was a lie. Do you have any evidence for this statement? You are implying that the precipitation will occur in deserts or formerly dry seasons. Even the models generally show that the climate zone maps are pretty much the same as they were in 1960 geography texts. Or are you perhaps referring just to the precipitation that the models fail to represent?

    I’ll look over the acidification site.

  373. #375 Knockgoats
    May 17, 2009

    “We don’t know what solar activity is going to be over the next century, but we do know what it is likely to be, based upon the proxies” – africangenesis

    No, without even a good hypothesis (AFAIK) about what causes changes in TSI over longer periods than the solar cycle, we simply don’t know what it is likely to be.

    “Now Knockgoats, you are lying. I provided references on increased precipitation associated with the warming”

    No, as usual it is you who are lying. You provided neither evidence nor argument that increased total precipitation would give a net benefit, let alone that this would outweigh other disbenefits.

    “Even the models generally show that the climate zone maps are pretty much the same as they were in 1960 geography texts.”

    No, they don’t:
    Climate Change and Water: IPCC Technical Paper VI – especially Ch.3.

    “You are implying that the precipitation will occur in deserts or formerly dry seasons.”

    I don’t know where you got that from. Rather, as I said, it is expected that large areas that are now dryish (Mediterranean, southern Africa, much of southern USA) will become drier, while currently adequately wet areas (moist tropics, high latitudes) will become wetter. You surely know that the equator-to-pole temperature difference is expected to reduce? Well, this will shift climatic zones towards the poles. Some areas (e.g. the Sahel) will get more useful rain – but:

    “Globally, the negative impacts of future climate change on
    freshwater systems are expected to outweigh the benefits
    (high confidence). By the 2050s, the area of land subject to
    increasing water stress due to climate change is projected to
    be more than double that with decreasing water stress. Areas
    in which runoff is projected to decline face a clear reduction in
    the value of the services provided by water resources. Increased
    annual runoff in some areas is projected to lead to increased
    total water supply. However, in many regions, this benefit is
    likely to be counterbalanced by the negative effects of increased
    precipitation variability and seasonal runoff shifts in water
    supply, water quality and flood risks (high confidence).”
    (From the “Executive Summary” of the report I cited.)

    I’m still waiting for the references to engineering studies of constructing dams holding water for those dependent on Himalayan (and Andean) glaciers. Are you going to provide them, or are you going to admit that this is just a stupid fantasy?

  374. #376 africangenesis
    May 18, 2009

    Knockgoats,

    “I’m still waiting for the references to engineering studies of constructing dams holding water for those dependent on Himalayan (and Andean) glaciers. Are you going to provide them, or are you going to admit that this is just a stupid fantasy?”

    Fantasy or not, it should have been done already, an earthquake could cut loose one of those glaciers or the side of a mountain at any time. The dams should definitely over engineered for every possibility, including being able to survivie overtopping by debris flows!

    Do you really think dams haven’t been built in earthquake zones before? Are you going to wax hyperbolic about about every possibility? Are you anti-nuclear energy too? I wonder that even venture out of your bunker.

  375. #377 blahblah
    May 18, 2009

    I like how you throw in “the War on Terror, right-wing talk radio, climate change denialists”…

    As if a war on terror isn’t necessary, and that a large portion of islamic terrorist organizations haven’t declared war on the west and it’s ideals… yep, they’re just stupid for that right??

    As if “right-wing” talk radio was totally wrong on everything they say, or even on most of their opinions… Which, of course, they’re not, in fact, there are a giant majority of facts based discussion going on every single day, they just don’t fit your ‘idea’ of the world…

    As if “Climate Change Denialists” actually equates to “Global Warming Denialists”… Which, makes you so slippery doesn’t it… of course your an idiot if you deny our climate is changing… It’s been changing regularly over billions of years…. You’re blaming humans for the change of the earth, which, most science is still not even close to conclusive on that…

    You’re an idiot…

    And you’re following the “Idiot American” mindset just like the redneck YEC idiots…

  376. #378 Anonymous
    May 18, 2009

    “You are implying that the precipitation will occur in deserts or formerly dry seasons.” — ag
    “I don’t know where you got that from.” — knockgoats

    Hmmm, you stated this:

    “To take your favourite example of water; yes, precipitation will increase but it won’t be occurring where and when it does now.”

    Presumably you mean that the precipitation will increase where and when it doesn’t occur now, deserts and dry seasons are good candidates. But instead you go on to fearmonger about increasing desertification.

    The observations show that precipitation increased during the recent warming and that the models were wrong. I note that you cite what the IPCC “expects” from the negative impacts of future climate change for the fresh water systems. Do you have any evidence to support their expectations other than the models? Do you have any evidence that they considered that the positive impacts of future climate change might balance those negative impacts.

  377. #379 Knockgoats
    May 18, 2009

    Africangenesis@378,
    Right, so you have absolutely nothing to back your claim that dams can be built to provide the services glaciers and snowpack do now.
    Africangenesis@380,
    “To take your favourite example of water; yes, precipitation will increase but it won’t be occurring where and when it does now.”
    By this I meant that the spatial and temporal distribution will change, so more total precipitation does not necessarily mean more useful precipitation. simple, really, unless one is determined to misunderstand.

    Previously, you claimed that the models did not show a shift in where precipitation would occur. As the report I cite shows, they do. So now you’ve shifted your ground. Since no precedent for the speed of change we are inducing exists, we are indeed largely dependent on models; and of course, the more the uncertainty of the models, the worse our situation – if we know what to expect, we can plan for it. As it is, we can take action to reduce the speed of climatic change and thus give ourselves a better chance of dealing with it; or we can just pray to the great god Market to make it all come out all right. I know which I prefer; and which you do.

  378. #380 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 18, 2009

    Gee, AG, you must have missed my more recent reference that said that in some places there was more moisture, some less, but on average consistent with the models. Here it is again:
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2008GL035333.shtml

    Actually, one of the effects of climate change is increase in severe weather events and impulsive precipitation–not exactly ideal for farming–nor for dams.

    Analyses of both positive and negative effects of climate change have been done–not surprisingly the positive effects occur mostly at high latitude. However, the negative effects far outweigh the positive–as would be expected for a civilization that thas had 10000 years to adapt to a fairly consistent climate.

    AG, this has been looked at by thousands of scientists–real ones. Do you really think you’re smarter than all of them?

  379. #381 africangenesis
    May 18, 2009

    Knockgoats,

    ” Since no precedent for the speed of change we are inducing exists, we are indeed largely dependent on models; and of course, the more the uncertainty of the models, the worse our situation – if we know what to expect, we can plan for it.”

    Sorry but there is precedent for the speed of change, in fact for much more rapid change, consider “The Year without a Summer”. The onset of the Younger Dryas is thought to have occurred over the course of a decade. The current fraction of a degree is a century is far from unprecedented. Since only the models are projecting more dramatic change, their uncertainty and lack of credibiity leave us without any cause for concern yet. This is not the first time humanity has not known what to expect.

    “I’m still waiting for the references to engineering studies of constructing dams holding water for those dependent on Himalayan (and Andean) glaciers. Are you going to provide them, or are you going to admit that this is just a stupid fantasy?”

    I am forced to admit that I don’t have the plans for any dams. Since there are already dams in the area, perhaps those plans can serve as a starting point. Otherwise, someone must come up with new plans from scratch sometime in the next 50 to 100 years, if it starts to look like CO2 warming it going to be strong enough to continue to warm the climate in a period of more normal, less active solar activity.

  380. #382 africangenesis
    May 19, 2009

    a ray in dilbert space#382,

    That reference is in relation to relative humidity and water vapor, not precipitation. The constant relative humity hypothesis had already been confirmed in the observations and is reproduced in the models. Has anyone here said that the models under represent water vapor feedback?

    “Actually, one of the effects of climate change is increase in severe weather events and impulsive precipitation–”

    Was that seen in the observations or in the models?

    “However, the negative effects far outweigh the positive–as would be expected for a civilization that thas had 10000 years to adapt to a fairly consistent climate. AG, this has been looked at by thousands of scientists–real ones. Do you really think you’re smarter than all of them?”

    I don’t think I ever said that. I rely upon the peer review literature. That literature indicates that the models are not yet ready for multidecadal projections or in agreement on regional patterns, so what negative effects could the thousands of scientists be aware of? How could they be assigning probabilities to them?

  381. #383 Anonymous
    May 19, 2009

    AG says, “I rely upon the peer review literature.”

    Except the peer-reviewed literature says exactly the opposite of what you conclude. Take Knutti and Hegerl, cited by you above, as an example. They show that the evidence overwhelmingly support a climate sensitivity of ~3 degrees per doubling. You conclude the value is less than half of that–based on…, well, nothing in particular that I can see. They conclude that we face some pretty severe consequences for CO2 concentrations as low as 450 ppmv. You conclude the opposite.

    You assume that uncertainty favors your arguments, when in reality, increased uncertainty always increses probability on the high side of the sensitivity distribution more than it does on the low side.

    Your mitigation policy can best be summarized as “And then a bunch of miracles happen…”

    Do you really think that you are better qualified to draw conclusions from scientific studies than the authors who wrote the frigging studies?

  382. #384 niuzai033
    December 23, 2009

    Lrg prdcts whlsl sl, prvds cstmrs dmnd

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