“Those who know that the consensus of many centuries has sanctioned the conception that the earth remains at rest in the middle of the heavens as its center, would, I reflected, regard it as an insane pronouncement if I made the opposite assertion that the earth moves.” –Nicolaus Copernicus

There are certain words that simply get people’s hackles raised, shutting off the part of their brain that normally responds to reason and instead results in an emotional response taking over. For some, that word is “theory,” one of the words with the biggest gap between its colloquial and scientific uses.

Image credit: cartoonist Ramirez of the Weekly Standard, via http://www.ibdeditorials.com/cartoons.

Image credit: cartoonist Ramirez of the Weekly Standard, via http://www.ibdeditorials.com/cartoons.

But another such term is “consensus.” You might have grown up — like me — believing that doing something yourself is the only way to ensure it gets done correctly. But when it comes to science, not only is that not the case at all, but a scientific consensus isn’t the conclusion, but rather the starting point.

Image credit: MacLeod / Union of Concerned Scientists.

Image credit: MacLeod / Union of Concerned Scientists.

Come find out what it’s all about, and learn what the term you’ve probably even used before — scientific consensus — actually means!

Comments

  1. #1 psikeyhackr
    Sol III
    April 29, 2015

    The scientific consensus on the 9/11 Affair is so interesting.

    The distribution of mass in tall man-made structures is so irrelevant to the discussion. The did not need electronic computers to figure out that the Eiffel Tower had to be bottom heavy. Funny how computers can simulate climate but not the north tower collapse.

  2. #2 Russell
    April 29, 2015
  3. #3 Denier
    United States
    April 29, 2015

    OK, I’ll take the bait.

    The problem with requiring pertinent Ph.D. degrees to censor or discredit dissenting opinions is in the inability for humans to be a foremost expert on everything. There are people without Ph.D. degrees that are quite expert in their fields.

    One example I can think of is Steve McIntyre. He has a BSc in Mathematics, an MA in Economics, and he’s published. He was offered graduate scholarship to study Mathematical Economics at MIT but the oil and gas industry offered him a lot of money so he took the money and doesn’t have a Ph.D. The guy knows statistics and he knows computer models.

    Much of climate science is based on computer models and statistics. Many climate scientists with bona fide Ph.D. Climate Science degrees simply don’t have McIntyre’s chops in mathematics, and he routinely rips apart their work. A good number of the “Climategate” emails were exchanges between scientists on how to hide their work or refuse to release source material to Steve McIntyre.

    The climate scientists trying to hide from having their math checked used the same excuse you just did. I’m not saying all opinions carry weight and fess up to being a complete lose canon myself, but to invalidate intelligent discussion because of a piece of paper is weak sauce.

  4. #4 David Helson
    April 29, 2015

    What sort of degree do you need to understand what it means when ‘scientists’ are caught rigging the peer review process? What does it suggest when a ‘scientist’ refuses to share his data and refuses to obey legal FOI requests? What sort of degree does it take to recognize that the mathematical weather models have all been wrong for several decades? Is it really uneducated to recognize which side of the grant process is unfairly weighted? Does human nature count for nothing? How much power is in it for the UN, and how much profit? What kind of scientist isn’t disturbed by a rigged peer review process and what kind of scientist leaves that out of his discussion?

  5. #5 PJ
    Perth, west Oz
    April 29, 2015

    So SM was more into the money rather than using his time to learn about the state of the environment. I see ‘ a piece of paper ‘ as being an appropriate validation of ones dedication to their particular field of expertise. Most are capable of thinking along certain lines of interest, yet, not so many know ‘ how ‘ to think so that they may arrive at a more rational conclusion.

  6. #6 Denier
    United States
    April 30, 2015

    @PJ #2

    When it comes to math, the correct answer doesn’t depend on the political leanings or the certifications of the mathematician. When Steve McIntyre noticed where the Ph.D. Climate Scientists at NASA GISS had botched the way the temperature record was mathematically constructed, he sent the proof over in an email.

    Steve McIntyre was right. The Ph.D. Climate Scientists were wrong. NASA corrected the dataset and issued a press release.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/updates/200708.html

    It would have been wrong to have received the mathematical proof, realize the data was wrong, and knowingly keep it wrong simply because the person who discovered the error didn’t have a Ph.D., yet that seems to be the idea conveyed in this piece and I don’t agree with it.

  7. #7 david hurn
    United Kingdom
    April 30, 2015

    Hi Ethan,
    I thought that some models of a bouncing/cyclical universe could give similar answers to what we observe with the big bang?

  8. #8 David Taylor, MD
    April 30, 2015

    Denier:The correction you cite also concludes that “The effect on global temperature (the left side of the figure; see larger GIF) was of order one-thousandth of a degree, so the corrected and uncorrected curves are indistinguishable.

    Contrary to some statements flying around the internet, there is no effect on the rankings of global temperature.”

    Your comment reminds me that most sciences work at 3 levels, at least: data, theories, and models. Most climate change skeptics focus on imprecise models, but models are always the least robust feature of any science that is grappling with data. In my field, cardiology, models of cardiac function are equally problematic, but that doesn’t mean that people do not really have heart attacks; it simply means that we haven’t developed models of this complex phenomena that are sufficiently accurate. My concerns about the climate change issue are similar: lots of data — lots of facts — appear to indicate that global climate is rising (especially if ocean temps are included); hypotheses and theories to account for this are reasonably good, but not perfect; the models of past climate and future climate will inevitably be approximations at best, and since we are dealing with phenomena that are massively complex, and effects that are frustratingly small (a change in climate of a fraction of a degree seems to raise sea levels, tree lines shift, habitats are altered), it seems that we set standards of precision for our models that are unreasonable. Kinda like asking me to predict, on the basis of our current models, the precise hour of the precise date on which you will experience your second MI — I can say with some certainty, given your medical history, that you will have a second MI, but if I am not correct to the minute it doesn’t mean that you can ignore all of those warnings about diet, exercise, etc.

  9. #9 eric
    April 30, 2015

    Off topic but the “heavier bodies fall faster than light ones” example (of a mistake) bugs the hell out of me. Early intuitions turned out to be right that the mass of the falling object matters. Galileo’s experiments dropping/rolling objects yielded an approximately accurate estimation of acceleration, but also yielded a fundamentally wrong hypothesis about the relationship between mass and gravity. On the scale of mass1 Earth and mass2 cannonball vs mass2 wooden ball the acceleration difference is negligible, but guys, Newton figure out that mass2 mattered back in the 1700s. Can we stop with implying to kids through the story that (this one of) Galileo’s experiments revealed the truth? It didn’t; it confounded it.

  10. #10 CapitalistRoader
    US
    April 30, 2015

    “To make it as a scientist, you have to be passionate about relentlessly pursuing the truth the Universe tells us about itself, no matter where it leads you.”

    Incentives matter. When you’re on the hook to pay for the mortgage on the semi-detached in a nice part of Norwich, UK, when you’re paying in private elementary school tuition for two kids in NW Philadelphia, PA, then a climate scientist’s gotta’ do what a climate scientist’s gotta’ do. Grant money is the number one priority.

    Why do people think that scientists are somehow better than the rest of humanity, that scientists are more noble and less selfish than everyone else? After all, they’re just human.

  11. #11 Wow
    April 30, 2015

    When Steve McIntyre noticed where the Ph.D. Climate Scientists at NASA GISS had botched the way the temperature record was mathematically constructed, he sent the proof over in an email.

    Weird. The man who fucked up a PCA so badly that he ended up with three numbers to denote the entire trend, and you cite him as having found an error is hi-larious!

    Please also note the number of times the UAH and RSS temperature records needs to be corrected, all proffered by the same scientists that McI thinks incompetents, all ignored for years because they “looked better” to deniers.

    As others showed, the difference is in the thousandths of a degree.

    Given how you keep bleating on about how the record CANNOT know the temperature to the tenth of a degree, your insistence of some importance to a difference lost in even that level of accuracy shows your other proclamations were fake concern.

  12. #12 Wow
    April 30, 2015

    The problem with requiring pertinent Ph.D. degrees to censor or discredit dissenting opinions

    Telling idiots and quacks they’re wrong isn’t censoring dissenting opinions. There are many flat earthers who insist the same garbage.

    Dissenting isn’t science. It’s denial.

    And the quacks discredit themselves with their idiotic claims. See Jo Nova as a prime example for the modern times. Fred Seis for an old hand.

  13. #13 Wow
    April 30, 2015

    Much of climate science is based on computer models and statistics.

    So?

    Most of science and even more nearly all engineering is too.

    What the hell do you think you’re supposed to do instead?

    Arrhenius back in the 1890’s did a calculation on paper with a pencil and worked out something like a 3degree celsius temperature change would result from a doubling of CO2. A little over, in fact, but very close to the IPCC best guess estimate.

    Since Arrhenius didn’t use computers since they weren’t invented, will you accept his result?

    No, of course not. You’ll say “what about…” and “how about..” and insist that thousands more variables be included until it is done by computer through necessity because of the number of sums needing to be done, so that you can then preen yourself and think yourself a very smart fellow by saying “But those are computer models” but have NO BLOODY CLUE as to why that’s a problem.

    Hint: it isn’t.

  14. #14 Denier
    United States
    April 30, 2015

    @David Taylor, MD #5

    In the interests of not derailing the topic and losing the point at hand I’m going try to avoid a larger discussion on Global Warming and the merits of Climate Change models here in this thread. I have given my take on the issue in other threads, including recently in a thread where Ethan argues against the value of Consensus.

    http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2015/01/21/science-by-democracy-doesnt-work-synopsis/

    If Steve McIntyre were just a guy who one time found a single error that only amounted to one-thousandth of a degree difference, he wouldn’t be as feared by Climate Scientists as he is. There is a veritable graveyard of papers that have been retracted or discredited by Steve McIntyre. The work of McIntyre carries weight because it is science. Unlike much of the work he examines, all of his methods are open for inspection by anyone and his results are reproducible.

    The point I am trying to make here is that the science itself is the import part. The idea that regardless of anything else individuals without a Ph.D. degree should be ignored is ridiculous, unsupportable, and in fact anti-science.

  15. #15 Michael Kelsey
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    April 30, 2015

    Ethan, excellent job sounding the crank alarm! We’re missing representatives from the YECs and AVs, but you got still some great conspiracy mongers.

    In other news, did you see Greg Laden’s take on this? http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2015/04/28/what-is-scientific-consensus/

  16. #16 eric
    April 30, 2015

    @10:

    Why do people think that scientists are somehow better than the rest of humanity,

    The community certainly has its frauds, both the greedy “I’m lying explicitly for the money” type and the hubris-driven “I know the way reality is going to work out, this one experiment is just in error, so I’m going to fudge the results” type.
    But both types are as rare in science as they are in other disciplines. I would guess that we’re probably talking a rate of 1 per 1,000 or 10,000 practitioners. The problem is not that the scientific community claims to be better than humanity, the problem is science detractors are in essence claiming that the scientific community is orders of magnitude worse than the rest of humanity. That’s just absurd. Creationism and AGW denial are great examples: yes there are frauds in science. No they do not amount to 50-90% of the working scientific population. Any claim that implies or requires that 50-90% of practicing scientists in a discipline be lying to the public to be true should be rejected out of hand; such a conspiracy theory is as absurd as chemtrails, faked moon landings, and fluoridation as a communist plot.

  17. #17 David Taylor, MD
    April 30, 2015

    #14 Denier: I agree that a PhD is not necessary, nor is it sufficient, for doing good science. On the other hand, I also agree with Ethan that full-time immersion in specific scientific problems yields insights, understandings, and perspectives that are not available to journalists, lay people, etc. It’s a point that has been developed at more length in the recent book by Harry Collins “Are We All Scientific Experts Now?” which I recommend. I’m sure you’re familiar with Collins’s work as a historian of science, and his experience with high energy particle physics is instructive. It’s one reason that I go out on a limb and offer a kind of meta-narrative about a subject such as global climate, but would never presume to have the first inkling about climate science. In my experience, the same is true for my own scientific research — apart from my clinical work as a cardiologist, I run a physiology lab — in which the deeper we go, the harder it is for non-experts to follow.

  18. #18 dean
    April 30, 2015

    “f Steve McIntyre were just a guy who one time found a single error that only amounted to one-thousandth of a degree difference, he wouldn’t be as feared by Climate Scientists as he is.”

    Feared? You have the incorrect spelling of laughed at, as his punting to asserting conspiracy rather than doing any real analysis for the draft versions of the AR5 report (his flogging of the “models aren’t accurate” line has grown old too).

    At the end of the day, he’s just another climate change denier.

  19. #19 Phil Shaw
    Las Vegas
    April 30, 2015

    Accounts of the studies of the Higgs Boson were full of the measures taken to guard against confirmation bias. Accounts of global warming studies show no concern for confirmation bias. In fact, anyone who doeesn’t have a confirmation bias gets labelled a “denier”—a brass-knuckle polemic term that groups global warrming skeptics with Holocaust deniers.

    The “climate summit” cartoon shows the need for caution about confirmation bias: it implies that anyone skeptical about global warming is therefore against livable cities, clean water, and healthy children.

  20. #20 eric
    April 30, 2015

    Denier @3: McIntyre is a bad counter-example but I agree with you that Ethan’s first bullet is more a general guideline rather than an ironclad rule. My own counter-example would be Al Ghiorso.

    Much like the business world, in the scientific world you can gain professional credibility in a field through years of constructive production/contribution. “A masters or five years of experience,” “a PhD or ten years of experience” is the way many businesses phrase it. However in the science world the number of serious heavyweights who took the “or” route is extremely small (even compared to the business world, where the number is small too) and probably decreasing with each generation. They are outliers, not the regulars. In some ways, they are the exception that proves the rule. (Actually in some ways, both paths are identical: a PhD shows that 4-5 experienced working scientists agreed you had chops to be part of the community. A solid publication record – even without letters next to your name – also shows that many experienced working scientists agreed you had the chops to be part of the community)

    I would also add that Ethan’s criteria are in some ways de minimis/too loose. I have a PhD and had a fairly productive research career, but I would not consider myself a ‘scientist’ in terms of ‘does the consensus count my opinion as one among scientists’ because I haven’t worked as a scientist for over a decade.

    So, its a little more complicated than Ethan makes out. However, he’s telling you the 95% right answer. If you want your opinion on a highly technical academic subject to matter, you’re going to have to first demonstrate to the people working in that field that you’ve mastered that highly technical academic subject, which for the physical and life sciences typically means a Ph.D.*

    [*Digression: for other academic fields, it can be different. As examples: for engineers, lawyers, and teachers, the Master’s-level degree is generally considered the degree of the professional worker. Though the law field complicates things by perversely calling their two-year masters equivalent degree a Juris Doctor (JD) and their follow-on finishing degree PhD-equivalent a Master of Laws (LLM). So for lawyers, you’re a Doctor before you’re a Master.]

  21. #21 Denier
    United States
    April 30, 2015

    @eric #16

    Speaking only for myself, I see Climate Scientists as a distinct from scientists in other disciplines and hold them to different standards. There is simply too much money and power in climate science. Unlike in other disciplines where the most correct, most provable answer usually has the advantage, in climate science often the most marketable answer carries the day.

    Climate is a ridiculous complex subject and despite many claims of the science being settled, there are big important areas that have yet to be fully worked out. In addition to financial motive, Climate Scientists also have opportunity. I don’t believe the skepticism of the “Climate Change Denialists” is in any way misplaced.

    It doesn’t help at all that so many Climate Scientists hide their source data and methods, especially when previous Climate Scientists who have done that had later been found out as using methods bordering on fraud as happened with Briffa (2000), Briffa and Osborne (2002), and Briffa et al. 2008.

    Here again the bad behavior was discovered by someone without a Ph.D.

  22. #22 Ragtag Media
    April 30, 2015

    Now were are to perceive we live in a flat 3 dimensional universe but information available causes us to reason that it may in fact be a hologram and we actually live in a flat 2 dimensional universe.

    So the “flat earthers” could have been correct all along.
    To Funny
    http://www.iflscience.com/physics/2d-people-looking-out-3d-world

  23. #23 Kuldebar
    April 30, 2015

    I think more scientists and people interested in science should become familiar with Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions:

    “Men whose research is based on shared paradigms are committed to the same rules and standards for scientific practice. That commitment and the apparent consensus it produces are prerequisites for normal science, i.e., for the genesis and continuation of a particular research tradition.”

    “History suggests that the road to a firm research consensus is extraordinarily arduous. History also suggests, however, some reasons for the difficulties encountered on that road. In the absence of a paradigm or some candidate for paradigm, all of the facts that could possibly pertain to the development of a given science are likely to seem equally relevant.”

    ——————————-

    Consensus is part of the process, but not THE defining part of the process by any means.

    Consensus is a necessary part of the environment, often heavily influenced by religious, political and other social pressures. This can not be avoided, only mitigated or recognized for what it is by those willing to embrace intellectually honest positions.

    Consensus is a throttle, a limiter, a counter; necessary but subject to influences that run counter to sound scientific inquiry.

  24. #24 Denier
    April 30, 2015

    I get the value those with PhD’s put on those degrees. While I am not a scientist and don’t have a PhD (shocking I know), it may surprise to know that I am married to a scientist. One of the best ways I know to get her to lose her cool is to tell her that you can now get a PhD at National University.

    I know PhD’s with uninspiring intelligence and one of the most brilliant people I have ever met had nothing more than a BA. To flatly dismiss an idea based only on an accreditation is not something I support. Of course I am biased just as everyone else is.

  25. #25 eric
    April 30, 2015

    There is simply too much money and power in climate science.

    Bwa ha hah ha! What, oh, you’re serious? There is little to no power in climate science. In science in general, to be frank. Politicians wield the power. They make the laws and even organizations like the EPA are headed by political appointees. Yes, you must typically be a good scientist to become the head of the EPA, but it doesn’t matter how good you are, its not a job you can earn on merit or through publication record. Its a political job.

    You are also woefully, egregiously, laughably wrong about the money. Look closely at the table. In FY14, the funding for EPA and NOAA (which includes things like building maintenance, its not all R&D) combined for $1.1 billion out of $135 billion. Heck, the Veterans Affairs administration spends as much money on research (on what, I have no clue: aren’t they supposed to be hospitals and such for injured vets?) as the entire nation spends on climate research. Defense spends 66 times as much on R&D.

    I really have no idea where you deniers (writ large; not referring specifically to your alias) get these crazily wrong ideas about the climate science community. Thinking that there is “too much power and money” in a field that comprises less than 1% of the nation’s actual research money – and in the meanwhile, you’re ignoring another organization that comprises fully half of our R&D spending – is right up there with thinking there’s a global conspiracy among scientists. Its communist fluoridation absurd.

  26. #26 eric
    April 30, 2015

    I know PhD’s with uninspiring intelligence and one of the most brilliant people I have ever met had nothing more than a BA.

    Well this is a common fallacy so we might as well address it here: getting a Ph.D has little to do with IQ or other measures of native or raw brainpower. A Ph.D. is an indication of education, i.e., subject mastery. In the hard sciences it also represents your willingness and dedication to tackling long (multi-year) complex problems without giving up. Now for both, you hypothetically can accomplish them through sheer braininess, but most people (including most Ph.D.’s) don’t. They get that educational mastery and they solve that research problem through sheer hard work. Blood, sweat, and tears. When a job puts “Ph.D.” in the requirements description, they are hoping for smart but they are demanding subject matter knowledge coupled with a demonstrated ability to work on hard, tough problems.

    Which goes right back into Ethan’s point about consensus. You do not get to be part of the scientific community consensus just by being smart, because that’s not what “Ph.D. scientist” represents, that’s not what its all about. Its about expert subject knowledge.

  27. #27 eric
    April 30, 2015

    Off topic but as a continuation to my last message, I think its very important for anyone thinking about getting a Ph.D. to consider these things. To the undergrad students who really want it but don’t consider themselves smart/brainy: don’t discount yourself. You can do it. Research professors put a high value hard working individuals who like what they do. If you are willing to put in the work, learn the material, and you like doing the research, then you can do it. Believe in yourself.

    Now to those undergrads who plan on sailing through a Ph.D program because they aced everything without trying as freshmen/sophomores: be very careful. Develop good work habits now. Learn how to solve problems even if you can usually intuit the answers. You’re going to need those skills. And be sure you at least somewhat like doing science before going into it as a grad student, because you’re going to be doing a lot of it to get your Ph.D. no matter how smart you think you are.

  28. #28 Denier
    United States
    April 30, 2015

    @eric #25

    Yes. There is money and power in climate science. I am not talking about the power of climate scientists themselves. I fully agree with your statement of politicians wielding the power. The money and power I am talking about is in potential lawsuits against carbon producers, environmental compensation from industrialized nations to poor nations, forced infrastructure upgrades to lower carbon alternatives, carbon credits, and taxes. The numbers tied to those initiatives are massive and those forwarding those measures are building their cases on the foundation of the cherry-picked work of climate scientists.

    I seriously doubt that even at the peak of your career, you were ever making more than $1 million a year in speaking fees and bonuses from third parties having no relationship with your employer. I know my government employed scientist wife sure doesn’t, but government employed Climate Scientist James Hansen does. There is a market for material that can be used by powerful people and it is naive to think otherwise.

  29. #29 Denier
    April 30, 2015

    Off topic but on the same topic of eric #27

    If you are thinking about that level of education, go to a real university. Those employing PhD’s either want them on staff for prestige or want them on staff because of their demonstrated ability to see projects through. Schools offering condensed programs or convenient online study shortchange both, and they are looked down on by those who did get their PhD from a traditional brick and mortar university.

    While it is never the official reason, I know of people who make employment decisions, and applicants with those credentials somehow never get offered the open position.

    If you are going to do it then do it right.

  30. #30 eric
    April 30, 2015

    James Hansen is not illustrative of climate scientists. You are making an argument about climate science writ large, and your argument is a failure because you are again, just as you did with Ethan’s first bullet, picking out a rare outlier and implying its representative. “James Hanson!” no more demonstrates there is power and money to be had being a climate scientist than “Ronald Reagan!” demonstrates there is power and money to be had making chimp movies.

  31. #31 dean
    April 30, 2015

    “There is simply too much money and power in climate science”

    And you expect to be taken seriously because?

    “One of the best ways I know to get her to lose her cool is to tell her that you can now get a PhD at National University.”

    She should be upset at that implied comparison.

  32. #32 Denier
    United States
    April 30, 2015

    The marketplace value of the greatest president any country ever had was not because of his knowledge, experience, or position sharing a stage with a chimp. James Hanson’s marketplace value is precisely because of his knowledge, experience, and position as a climate scientist.

  33. #33 PBEv
    York PA
    April 30, 2015

    Unless I missed something, since Ethan is not a PhD in climate science, he has no standing to assess the validity of either side of the climate argument.

    I do agree that we should ignore any politician or talking head on this topic, as they only read talking points.

  34. #34 eric
    April 30, 2015

    @32: So, basically you didn’t get the meaning of my analogy at all. As few climate scientists earn millions and sway national policy as chimp-movie actors. Heck, Hanson doesn’t even sway policy at that level. But in any event, let’s look at your contention:

    I am talking about is in potential lawsuits against carbon producers,

    Lawyers are the prime players there; the scientist is at best an expert witness for one side. Moreover, private corporations such as Exxon and such employ them too, and pay more than environmental groups, so this is actually an argument against the anti-AGW side being corrupt, not the pro- side.

    … environmental compensation from industrialized nations to poor nations,

    Politicians do that, not scientists.

    …forced infrastructure upgrades to lower carbon alternatives, carbon credits, and taxes.

    Politicians, politicians, politicians. You really have yet to name one thing that climate scientists do in their professional capacity which grants them significant (on a national scale) power and wealth.

  35. #35 Denier
    United States
    April 30, 2015

    @eric #34

    I think we agree completely that it is politicians, lawyers, and business interests who stand to make fortunes from policy changes motivated by climate change arguments. Ignoring motivations for a moment, those moneyed interests want evidence to help bring about change. As stated earlier, with climate science it is often the most marketable answer that carries the day. I am not saying climate science is the only discipline for which there may be outside influence, but in that aspect climate science is in a class by itself.

    I never intended to imply climate scientists stood to make the fortunes being gamed for or that they themselves were at the reigns of power. My contention is that some very deep pockets with not so secret agendas need these climate reports to further their cause and have grant money to spend. I don’t find it wrong the products stemming from that grant money should be subject to a higher level of skepticism.

  36. #36 Wow
    May 1, 2015

    When reality is looked at, there will be a consensus that arises inevitably as to what is going on.

    Bottles fall down when let go.

    Everyone agrees. A consensus. Driven by reality.

    That is what a scientific consensus is.

  37. #37 Wow
    May 1, 2015

    Unless I missed something, since Ethan is not a PhD in climate science, he has no standing to assess the validity of either side of the climate argument.

    EVERYONE has standing to assess the validity of either side of the climate argument.

    Look at the evidence and science.

    You’ll find the anti side have liars and conmen and paid representatives and when you look at their science, there’s nothing or even less to see. When you look at the other side, you see almost the entirety of the facts support them and their claims are supported both by positive direct proofs and by their caveats covering the counterevidence.

    You’re missing something indeed: any desire to check the science yourself because that could only lead to you changing your mind on AGW.

    And you don’t like finding out you’re wrong on something you profit from.

  38. #38 Wow
    May 1, 2015

    There is simply too much money and power in climate science.

    Indeed. Singer, Monckton, McI, Heartland Institute and all the PR flacks besides have massive power. They’re listened to because trillion-dollar industry gets listened to merely from the fact that they have a trillion dollar industry, not that they’re smart or intelligent or even right.

  39. #39 Wow
    May 1, 2015

    I am talking about is in potential lawsuits against carbon producers,

    What about the 12 witchhunts against Michael Mann alone?

    Lawsuits and congressional hearings being told he’s a fraud and liar to the people who run the damn country doesn’t count for you because they’re on your side and you want them to do it.

  40. #40 Wow
    May 1, 2015

    Consensus is part of the process, but not THE defining part of the process by any means.

    Consensus is the result, not the cause.

    But deniers can’t argue the process or the science so they misrepresent the results, including the consensus that is the inevitable consequence of reality being looked at by many people.

    So they pretend as if consensus is causing reality, not reality causing consensus.

    The fact that it’s complete bollocks doesn’t matter. Soundbytes to people who are motivated not to think about this will want to comfort themselves with the consensus that AGW is a fraud. Despite never looking back at that sentence there. Because delusion allows multiple statements to stand, even when evidently self-contradictory.

    Because the result is what’s important, not the means.

    Which is why the project that onto others. Otherwise they’d have to think that they could do differently, if others can. If they pretend everyone else does it, then there’s “no way to change that”. And no pain trying.

  41. #41 Wow
    May 1, 2015

    What sort of degree do you need to understand what it means when ‘scientists’ are caught rigging the peer review process?

    I call it bollocks. Not the rigging. The call that it’s being rigged.

    Dumb shit is not to be posted in a science journal. That’s because dumb shit shouldn’t be in there. That isn’t rigging the peer review process. That’s called quality control.

  42. #42 Wow
    May 1, 2015

    CapitalistRoader
    US
    April 30, 2015

    Incentives matter.

    Such as a trillion dollar business to run on fossil fuels.

  43. #43 Wow
    May 1, 2015

    Accounts of global warming studies show no concern for confirmation bias.

    well, that was one. And from a denier, which is where they practically all are.

    Read the ipcc report. They have plenty of concern there for confirmation bias and how they counteracted it where they could or note where they could not.

    http:/www.ipcc.ch

    The fact that you “couldn’t see” what was there is indication of a classic confirmation bias. You didn’t even look. Because you “already knew” what it would say.

  44. #44 Denier
    May 1, 2015

    @Wow #39

    The only lawsuits involving Michael Mann that I am aware of have him as the plaintiff.

    While I find very little to like about Michael Mann, the biggest professional shortcoming was in defending Keith Briffa after it became clear what Briffa had done. Mann’s work was built largely on the Briffa temperature reconstructions.

    I honestly don’t think Mann knew what Briffa was doing. I don’t think Briffa told anybody. It sucks to have your work invalidated because you trusted some data that was validated by pier review, but was later found to be bad.

    Yes there was the whole “nature trick” CRU email, but if there was one thing that really showed the character of Michael Mann, it was defending the indefensible methods of Keith Briffa in an effort to keep his own work from being trashed. Micheal Mann chose to be dishonest in service of his own ego rather than admit what everyone knew to be true. Although I don’t entirely agree, I can’t exactly fault those who believe that behavior is consistent with being a fraud and liar.

  45. #45 David Taylor, MD
    May 1, 2015

    @Denier #44: Was this the Briffa controversy you are alluding to?:

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Yamal_controversy

  46. #46 eric
    May 1, 2015

    My contention is that some very deep pockets with not so secret agendas need these climate reports to further their cause and have grant money to spend. I don’t find it wrong the products stemming from that grant money should be subject to a higher level of skepticism.

    Perhaps, but I think as with tobacco and lung cancer, if there’s ‘bad science’ being done then it is almost certainly on the side of the business sector, not the public health sector. So far you have given no evidence or even motive for climate scientists to invent AGW or skew data in favor of AGW. You’ve agreed they don’t profit by it (though others might). You’ve agreed they don’t gain power through it (though others might). As far as I can tell, you’ve basically got nothing but innuendo, veiled conspiracy theories, and one dude whose career we both agree is an outlier to support your point.

  47. #47 dean
    May 1, 2015

    My contention is that some very deep pockets with not so secret agendas need these climate reports to further their cause and have grant money to spend.

    Do you have a lot of contentions that don’t have any basis in reality?

  48. #48 dean
    May 1, 2015

    Reagan was the greatest president? The man who tried to destroy the economy with trickle-down economics? The man who left a couple hundred Marines in the lurch to be killed, then started a fake war in Grenada to save face? The guy who was “hard on terrorists” but not so hard that he objected to running a White House basement operation to sell them weapons?
    You are in denial of reality.

  49. #49 Denier
    United States
    May 1, 2015

    @David Taylor, MD #45

    It is the Yamal temperature reconstruction that is in question, but it is unclear if the author of your linked Yamal defense page is addressing the omission of KHAD trees, the over reliance on YAD06, or the improper truncation of YAD06 data at 1960 as they have completely omitted what Keith Briffa actually did. As stated earlier, it is indefensible and the CRU has since withdrawn the original reconstruction.

    If seems the authors are addressing the omission of the KHAD trees from the dataset, and I agree that is largely irrelevant. The only part that really matters is the handling of YAD06. The rest is just noise from people who take things too far.

    If you really want to dig in to the issue, you can search for the terms ‘YAD06’, ‘YAD061’, or ‘the most influential tree in the world’.

  50. #50 Denier
    May 1, 2015

    @dean #48

    Didn’t you see the computer model linked in post #32 proving my assertion? You can’t just stick your head in the sand and deny evidence. Computer model reconstructions don’t lie.

  51. #51 Wow
    May 1, 2015

    The only lawsuits involving Michael Mann that I am aware of have him as the plaintiff.

    Bollocks.

  52. #52 Wow
    May 1, 2015

    Didn’t you see the computer model linked in post #32 proving my assertion?

    Nobody saw a computer model linked to in #32 that proves your assertion, denier.

  53. #53 Wow
    May 1, 2015

    Yes there was the whole “nature trick” CRU email,

    Yes, the CRU email. Which was about a very high profile and visible Nature article, so not really from CRU email, more from the published science.

    But you’ve been told that there’s something nefarious and that the magic words “CRU emails” worked for you, so you must believe they work on anyone.

    It doesn’t.

    Because nobody is as dumb as a denier.

  54. #54 David Taylor, MD
    May 1, 2015

    @denier #49 — I’ll take your word for it. This may be a good example of the point that a level of expertise is needed to evaluate these issues, and I would never claim to have anything like that!

  55. #55 Denier
    United States
    May 1, 2015

    @David Taylor, MD #54

    In that, I am going to admit Ethan just might have a point in all of this although I still don’t like the PhD litmus test. To be completely honest I can put up a good argument so long as the issues are from a few years ago, but I would be lost on anything current. I simply don’t have the time anymore to keep up on it. There is so much distortion offered by both sides of the debate that you really need to take the time to dig into the core issue to the point that it is truly understood or run the risk of parroting some indefensibly wrong tidbit from someone who probably misunderstood information from who knows where.

  56. #56 dean
    May 1, 2015

    Didn’t you see the computer model linked in post #32 proving my assertion? You can’t just stick your head in the sand and deny evidence. Computer model reconstructions don’t lie.

    Oh, so you weren’t simply showing the typical reagan picture that gives tea baggers wet dreams and spouting nonsense about his presidency, you were further demonstrating your lack of knowledge and understanding by trying to make equate outright falsehoods with computer models.

    The problems are that:
    * it isn’t reasonable to compare a picture to a computer model and hint at a valid comparison in terms of predictive ability, no matter how snarky the intent
    * the computer models are not as bad as you dishonestly imply they are
    * there is ample real world evidence that supports the models and the descriptions of climate change

  57. #57 eric
    May 1, 2015

    There is so much distortion offered by both sides of the debate….

    There is only one side forbidding its political appointees from even saying the words climate change. There is only one side that passed a law preventing state scientists from using climate modeling. Geez, what’s a political party gotta do to get a conspiracy theorist’s attention? They’re practically jumping up and down waving their arms at you about how they’re trying to manipulate public perception, but you still don’t see it.

  58. #58 Denier
    United States
    May 1, 2015

    @dean #56

    While he is certainly no Ronald Reagan, I have to say the computer model reconstruction of the Clinton Presidency largely paints that President in a decidedly favorable light as well.

  59. #59 Denier
    May 1, 2015

    @eric #57

    I think we all need to take a step back before we say something that will haunt us on the internet forever. While I likes me a good conspiracy theory, even I have a hard time believing claims of politicians and political parties trying to sway public opinion. That is just crazy talk.

  60. #60 T Clark
    USA
    May 1, 2015

    In a sense, scientific consensus is the only truth. At least it’s the only practical truth we can use to make effective decisions based on scientific data. If you have the luxury of hanging around to see what the future will show, fine. But if you need to do something now, consensus is the only tool we have.

  61. #61 Wow
    May 2, 2015

    The alternative is to go with whatever view is least supported, T.

    Deniers love this, but will always and automatically appeal to authority to support their case.

  62. #62 Wow
    May 2, 2015

    Geez, what’s a political party gotta do to get a conspiracy theorist’s attention?

    Out group mentality. If the “wrong” political party supports an idea, then the idea must be wrong, else the “right” political party would support it.

    It’s a politics version of Reducto Ad Hitlerum. You are agreeing with a democrat, therefore you’re wrong, I have no need to explain why, it’s obvious.

  63. #63 Wow
    May 2, 2015

    “but I would be lost on anything current.”

    You’re lost on anything 120 years ago if it doesn’t disclaim AGW, denier.

  64. #64 David Taylor, MD
    May 2, 2015

    @Denier #55

    I hope everyone here admires your willingness to support your convictions on the subject in a reasonable manner, and I hope the rest of us can also approach these contentious issues with rational and considered responses.

  65. #65 Ragtag Media
    May 2, 2015

    Radon Discussion Anyone? (snark)

  66. #66 Les.B.
    SoCal
    May 2, 2015

    Science NEVER said:
    The earth is flat
    Earth is the center of the universe
    Heavier bodies fall faster than light ones
    The atom is the smallest particle in the universe

    There was never scientific proof of any of these.
    These were proffered by non-scientists, such as religion

  67. #67 juris imprudent
    May 2, 2015

    Consensus arrives from validity of the underlying science, you don’t argue the science based on consensus (which is exactly how climate catastrophists do it). Not to mention there is really no political/activist dimension to astro-physics (who really cares if the Big Bang is disproven as there is no every day consequences to that) as there is in that other arena where “consensus” is supposed to stifle dissent.

  68. #68 dean
    May 2, 2015

    I hope everyone here admires your willingness to support your convictions on the subject in a reasonable manner, and I hope the rest of us can also approach these contentious issues with rational and considered responses.

    You are not familiar with most of his comments. Reasonableness has nothing to do with his opinions.

  69. #69 Wow
    May 2, 2015

    “(which is exactly how climate catastrophists do it).”

    Which would be the likes of you with your chicken little screams about how the end of the world will occur and we’d all be living in caves if we did anything about AGW.

    Right?

    “Consensus arrives from validity of the underlying science”

    Yup, which is why you can point to the scientific consensus to those who do not have the time or wherewithal to investigate the underlying science.

    You can go and investigate yourself, but most don’t. You never have, for instance.

    “that other arena where “consensus” is supposed to stifle dissent.”

    Nope, nobody here is using “consensus” to stifle dissent. Stop playing the martyr, all angsty that you’re not actually being victimised.

  70. #70 David Taylor, MD
    May 2, 2015

    @Dean

    I was placing Denier’s comments in the context of other, more unpleasant discussions I have read on this topic. I may be wrong, but I had the impression that we could disagree about a subject and still be relatively cordial — none of our lives depends on it.

  71. #71 dean
    May 2, 2015

    I was placing Denier’s comments in the context of other, more unpleasant discussions I have read on this topic. I may be wrong, but I had the impression that we could disagree about a subject and still be relatively cordial — none of our lives depends on it.

    My wording may have seemed a little harsh toward you, so I apologize for that. But whatever veneer of reasonableness there has been in his comments will soon bubble away.

  72. #72 juris imprudent
    May 3, 2015

    wow sez “You never have, for instance.”

    I’ve read the IPCC reports, boring as they are, have you?

    As for the other points, please engage with what I say not what the voices in your head are saying.

  73. #73 Wow
    May 3, 2015

    “I’ve read the IPCC reports”

    No you haven’t. otherwise you would not have claimed “Consensus arrives from validity of the underlying science” supported your denial of AGW.

    I have.

  74. #74 groovimus
    May 4, 2015

    ” you need this incredible set of scientific knowledge and experience that is”

    Well we engineers favor a credible set of scientific knowledge, and verbal ability.

    “The skills you develop as a scientist are unique to scientists, and the ability to interpret results in the context of your sub-field and what’s known ”

    Patently false. The mathematical skills of scientists are shared with mathematicians and engineers. I’m skilled in complex variables, schooled in vector calculus and Diff E, and have backed PhD life scientists into a corner numerous times discussing probabilistic impossibilities in random mutation ‘theory’. A very shaky theory put forth by a non-scientist with no advanced degree in the 19th century. In fact, since one of these PhD’s exhibited a gross inability to treat exponents in scientific notation, this whole argument falls apart. I have skills pertinent to the problem that this PhD lacked.

  75. #75 dean
    May 4, 2015

    ” I’m skilled in complex variables, schooled in vector calculus and Diff E, and have backed PhD life scientists into a corner numerous times discussing probabilistic impossibilities in random mutation ‘theory’. ”

    Sure you have, unless by life scientist you mean something other than an evolutionary biologist. Of the “skills” you claim to have complex variables and vector calculus have little, if anything, to do with the required probability arguments. Your comment

    A very shaky theory put forth by a non-scientist with no advanced degree in the 19thcentury.

    is a little puzzling: it implies that there has been no advancement or study for the scientific basis for evolution since then.

    In fact, since one of these PhD’s exhibited a gross inability to treat exponents in scientific notation, this whole argument falls apart. I have skills pertinent to the problem that this PhD lacked.

    Again, the first part of this statement is simply not believable.

    Why is it so often engineers who imagine they have a greater understanding of science and the universe than actual scientists. The fact that you build things doesn’t automatically mean everything around us was built. Quite a limited “intellectual” take.

  76. #76 Wallace
    San Anselmo
    May 4, 2015

    I liked the article a lot. But I also like turning the argument on it’s head. It’s extremely common for brilliant scientists to make grand statements about the validity or non-validity of god, spirits, healing, telepathy, etc. But I would make the case that unless a person has spent decades sitting very quietly plumbing the depths of his or her inner psyche, calmly faced the mortal terror of an evaporating egoic sense of self and had direct experience of states of consciousness that melt reality as we imagine it, then that person is equally bereft of qualifications to understand the nuances. I think it cuts both ways.

  77. #77 Wow
    May 5, 2015

    “But I also like turning the argument on it’s head”

    Yes, being negative is a lot easier than building an idea for yourself. You should not LIKE doing it, any more than you should like killing animals just because you eat them.

    “validity or non-validity of god, spirits, healing, telepathy”

    God? Doesn’t exist. Not under any description made of it at the very least.
    Spirits? Doesn’t exist. Nothing described has every had any shred of evidence or even necessity to it.
    Healing? We heal. All biologic organisms regenerate damaged or dead matter. Definitely exists. Miracles you mean? Watch Penn and Teller. That’s how miracles happen.
    Telepathy? Could happen, but it would be rooted in the physicall domain. It would be discernable as some sort of EM radiation from an emitter to a receptor in the brain. There’s nothing banning it, just no reason for it to evolve.
    Etc.

    “I think it cuts both ways.”

    It doesn’t. Hope doesn’t substitute for reality. Insistence doesn’t take the place of veracity. Ignorance doesn’t replace knowledge.

  78. #78 Wow
    May 5, 2015

    “Well we engineers favor a credible set of scientific knowledge, and verbal ability.”

    You also have to have the desire to use it.

    It’s why religion is such a roadblock to science. It’s why Kepler took decades longer to get to his result. He didn’t want to give up the role of a perfect god.

    You don’t want to question your faith because you’ve been terrorised for all your life, from a toddling infant upward, about how if you don’t believe in your parents god, you will be tortured in the worst place ever possible for all time.

    So in the case of god, you cannot use your reasoning. Because doing so leads to questioning the evidence for it. And your brain has been wired by programming from your parents indoctrination to NEVER question god.

    Because you’re terrified of him.

  79. #79 eric
    May 5, 2015

    I’m skilled in complex variables, schooled in vector calculus and Diff E, and have backed PhD life scientists into a corner numerous times discussing probabilistic impossibilities in random mutation ‘theory’

    Translation: “I can calculate the (im)probability of a 100-base pair DNA string to be 1/4^100, and I [mistakenly] think this says something valid about the (im)probability of it evolving.”

  80. #80 groovimus
    May 5, 2015

    Dean: ” you claim to have complex variables and vector calculus have little, if anything, to do with the required probability arguments.”

    But having been schooled in the Walpole and Myers text which I have on hand does.

    “is a little puzzling: it implies that there has been no advancement or study for the scientific basis for evolution since then.”

    Oh did I say that? No I didn’t. RM/NS is what I’m talking about. You guys cannot describe for me how the RM/NS paradigm can account for the advent of interconnected billions of cilia in the vertebrate respiratory tracts. You will not be able to account for a gradually built system from nothing where each stage of adding to the numbers of these interconnected structures for moving out of mucus appeared and provided selective advantage. You will not be able to account for the addition wiring in of each stage in increase of these numbers of structures and how each stage provides selective advantage. the reason you guys will not be able to do it is because I have been on the blogs for a decade and numerous PhD’s obfuscate on this one and NONE have answered.

    “Why is it so often engineers who imagine they have a greater understanding of science and the universe than actual scientists. ”

    Well someone should have asked that one of Claude Shannon, engineer. Someone should have asked that one
    of Harry Nyquist, engineer, or Oliver Heaviside. You have a stunted idea of what engineers who deal with complexity, signals and systems do. What my current project is has nothing to do with “building”

    And so far as engineers having an understanding of the universe and its origin omg what a hoot huh? Such naivete on our part. And what engineers think of physicists determined to avoid the obvious with fantastical non-falisifiable ideas on that? Such arrogant engineers.

    Now take a crack on the scores of billions of wired together cilia and how they are a part of your body, due to Darwinian evolution.

  81. #81 Wow
    May 5, 2015

    But having been schooled in the Walpole and Myers text which I have on hand does.

    No, that’s not what that does. It doesn’t MAKE your arguments sound. The arguments have to be sound.

    You guys cannot describe for me …

    That doesn’t mean it’s magic.

    Well someone should have asked that one of Claude Shannon, engineer.

    He didn’t go pissing about with rubbish, though, and rely on his engineering qualifications to make him assert his correctness.

    And he’s not you. So it’s not really relevant when you’re being called out on BS.

    Now take a crack on the scores of billions of wired together cilia and how they are a part of your body, due to Darwinian evolution.

    Yup. It builds up from simple chemical pathway systems carrying messages, such as with Amoeba. Then as the organism builds more complexity to compete better or exist in a changing world, the pathways become more single purposed. As with some multi-celular creatures. And then the nervous system begins to create complexes where some processing is done.

    Taking billions of years, this is no problem. An eye can form with a compound lens and iris and all that in only 30,000 generations, less than a ten-millionth of that time.

  82. #82 Wow
    May 5, 2015

    …can form from a light-sensitive skin cell to one with a compound lens…

  83. #83 dean
    May 5, 2015

    “But having been schooled in the Walpole and Myers text which I have on hand does.”

    A senior level text in applied probability and statistics? (If it is their text for Engineers, which I am assuming, possibly incorrectly). That is hardly an advanced text – it wouldn’t pass, for example, for a senior level text for students in a statistics major. It certainly is not broad enough for anything past basic work.

    Oh did I say that? No I didn’t. RM/NS is what I’m talking about. You guys cannot describe for me how the RM/NS paradigm can account for the advent of interconnected billions of cilia in the vertebrate respiratory tracts. You will not be able to account for a gradually built system from nothing where each stage of adding to the numbers of these interconnected structures for moving out of mucus appeared and provided selective advantage. You will not be able to account for the addition wiring in of each stage in increase of these numbers of structures and how each stage provides selective advantage. the reason you guys will not be able to do it is because I have been on the blogs for a decade and numerous PhD’s obfuscate on this one and NONE have answered.

    I have a very good feeling that one of two things is true: just as with the other folks who deny science, your assertion is due to you listening with a mind already made up, or you are simply lying.

    Well someone should have asked that one of Claude Shannon, engineer. Someone should have asked that one of Harry Nyquist, engineer, or Oliver Heaviside. You have a stunted idea of what engineers who deal with complexity, signals and systems do.

    Look at my comment again: do you see the phrase “all engineers”? No you don’t. Once again either your comprehension or your honesty fails.

    What my current project is has nothing to do with “building”

    Yes, I’m sure you are working on some world famous application. It just isn’t one that involves an understanding of science.

  84. #84 groovimus
    May 5, 2015

    Wow: Yup. It builds up from simple chemical pathway systems carrying messages, such as with Amoeba. Then as the organism builds more complexity to compete better or exist in a changing world, the pathways become more single purposed. As with some multi-celular creatures.

    See, thing is, you can’t do it. The above is hand waving.

    I asked you specifically to describe the selective advantage of each stage of the buildup of the system, and you did not do it, you wave your hands about pathways. What happened when only 5% of the system was in place? Did the mucus get expelled with that extent of the system complexity? You did not answer the challenge because you can’t.

    And btw when I say I had skills the guy in the life sciences did not have, it is because he summed 10^4 and 10^7 as 10^11. It may have been a mistake BUT something was really wrong about such a gross error coming from this person.

    Curious are you working in the life sciences yourself? And do you doubt that a highly trained engineer such as yours truly can make original contributions to the knowledge of a basic characteristic of nature? And the “pissing about rubbish” comment makes you look none for the bigger of us. I see this insulting tone every day, you guys seem to really need it to keep the faith.

  85. #85 Wow
    May 6, 2015

    “See, thing is, you can’t do it. The above is hand waving.”

    Well your claim is not even hand waving. It’s saying “I can’t wave my hands” and then not waving your hands to “prove” it.

    Sorry, you’re a nutter. And it’s really not worth working on your insanity.

    Please leave this place, we like reality here.

  86. #86 Dean
    May 6, 2015

    And do you doubt that a highly trained engineer such as yours truly can make original contributions to the knowledge of a basic characteristic of nature”

    Doubt about every engineer? No, that would be as foolish as saying, as you do, that personal incredulity tells me that evolution is not supported. The reason your comments are incredibly wrong is that you have no training in biology and limited training in the appropriate mathematical foundations. I took senior/beginning graduate level courses in physics, but that hardly gives my the background to comment on what researchers in the area do. Close to my degree area, I had to take courses in measure theory, complex analysis, and functional analysis as support for the statistical theory work. Even though they are related areas, the depth of coverage from those wasn’t sufficient to make me a researcher in measure theory or the areas of analysis.

    The reason your comments about evolution aren’t taken seriously, and shouldn’t be, is because they aren’t based on a critique or understanding of the science, but on simple disbelief and over confidenxe in your ability.

  87. #87 eric
    May 6, 2015

    Groovimus:

    I asked you specifically to describe the selective advantage of each stage of the buildup of the system, and you did not do it

    So, your logic is: unless evolutionary theory can describe the selective advantage of each stage of a complex system, evolution is not supported and we must infer design? Even though design theorists don’t describe anything about the who, what, where, when, and how? What lousy reasoning. That sort of logic would’ve had us believing in angels pushing Mercury for the entire time period between Newton and Einstein.

  88. #88 Wow
    May 6, 2015

    “Even though design theorists don’t describe anything about the who, what, where, when, and how?”

    Hell, engineers can’t say precisely how at each stage their engines work. Alloys are damn near a complete mystery. There’s some rules of thumb and a few empirical guidelnes, but nobody can tell why a particular alloy should have supercomdictivity at that temperature, for example.

    Does his mean that engineers are frauds and it must be some sky fairy doing all the work?

  89. #89 dean
    May 6, 2015

    Over “confidenxe”? Thanks fat thumbs on phone keyboard. Apologies for the screwed up spelling.

  90. #90 groovimus
    May 6, 2015

    Dean: The reason your comments are incredibly wrong is that you have no training in biology and limited training in the appropriate mathematical foundations.

    So here we go again you guys are so tiresome with this argument from authority. You insist that the Darwinian story gets taught in schools and public post-secondary. Then you get the chance, invited by me, to describe exactly the RANDOMNESS of the the RM/NS paradigm and you have no way to prove what went on in the buildup of the respiratory cilia system discussed as a series of statistically independent mutations. And then the next part is for you to describe for me the selective advantage of a NASCENT system of the kind we discuss and you can’t do it and additionally you can’t describe incremental selective advantage during the advent of more complexity. You can’t even speculate on it because logic would have to be very twisted in your speculation to make it work. You can’t have it both ways, the teaching of the basic theory of Darwin, and then not indicate those aspects of the Darwinian proposition of “randomness” together with selection pressure at work when a system is not complete enough to confer selective advantage. Any attempt to invoke “science” or “authority” on your part here cannot pass the logic test. You can’t have it both ways in the long run, insisting on the teaching of the Darwinian paradigm to us and then when we ask questions about it, tell us that we aren’t qualified to ask questions because we don’t understand Darwin. You might as well get that we’re not fools and that there are plenty of PhD’s out here agreeing with me on this scam, many of them in the life sciences, and they get hated for it. But yeah there is no controversy here move along you little dogies:https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/james-shapiro-goes-after-natural-selection-again-twice-on-huffpo/

  91. #91 dean
    May 6, 2015

    If you were really ready to learn something you’d be asking biologists – but learning is never the intent with folks like you.

    The fact is that since you are untrained in biology, chemistry, and the requisite math, you don’t have the ability to understand the concepts. The fact that you don’t understand the principles doesn’t mean those principles are wrong: years of studies, hypotheses – rejected and confirmed – and most importantly, data, combine to show that the theory of evolution, even incomplete, is the best explanation for how the diversity of life that exists came to be. Your comments at 90 are as foolish as mine would be if I were to say that since I don’t understand the relevant mathematics, general relativity is a hoax.

    You might as well get that we’re not fools

    Well yes, yes you are. You and your imaginary host of scientists in the life sciences who know evolution is a scam.

  92. #92 Wow
    May 7, 2015

    “If you were really ready to learn something you’d be asking biologists”

    Probably has.

    But didn’t understand (or want to) the answer, therefore insisted it must be the biologists who are wrong, not him who is dumb.

    Because he’s an *engineer*.

  93. #93 Wow
    May 7, 2015

    “So here we go again you guys are so tiresome with this argument from authority”

    ROFLCOPTER ALERT! DEF-CON 5 ROFLCOPTER ALERT!

    Really, dipshit? You come and say that after YOU turned up and claimed:

    “I’m skilled in complex variables, schooled in vector calculus and Diff E”

    That’s a claim to your rightness by your self-asserted authority.

    Oh, by the way, the fallacy isn’t appeal to authority.

    It’s appeal to false authority.

  94. #94 eric
    May 7, 2015

    Then you get the chance, invited by me, to describe exactly the RANDOMNESS of the the RM/NS paradigm and you have no way to prove what went on in the buildup of the respiratory cilia system discussed as a series of statistically independent mutations.

    The “RANDOMNESS of the the RM/NS paradigm” refers to the fact that a chemical reaction mutating the genome will not and physically cannot be influenced by whatever developmental change that mutation will create in the phenotype. It does not imply that every/any mutation is equiprobable, or that the laws of physics and chemistry are somehow suspended for mutational events: those chemical reactions are decidedly non-random.

    This makes perfect sense, because how could it really be otherwise? The photon or chemical inducing the mutation would have to somehow “know” what the future developmental result would be. This also helps us understand why ID’s claim that only negative-adaptational-value mutations happen is complete bunkum: because there is simply no physical way for the chemicals or photons causing the mutational event to take into account any future phenotypic impact that DNA change will have on the organism.

  95. #95 Ragtag Media
    May 7, 2015

    groovimus, what are your thoughts on irreducible complexity of the flagellum?

  96. #96 groovimus
    May 8, 2015

    Dean: f you were really ready to learn something you’d be asking biologists – but learning is never the intent with folks like you.

    Do it Dean. Do what I ask, don’t insult. I intend to learn with your Darwinan explanation in waiting. Pretend I am Charles Darwin and I want your take on the Darwinian description of the advent of the respiratory endothelium. Your invoking the “folks like you” meme is exactly what people always do with their sociopolitical stance, turning science into something that backfires and pisses them off, so stop it and teach me. It doesn’t work otherwise. All you other pissed off people responding, note that you haven’t described the incremental fitness advantage of a nascent system-in-progress. Pretend I have the scientific credentials and mathematical ability of Charles Darwin, which wasn’t much, and explain Darwinism as it ‘generates’ the respiratory endothelium. Indeed I am Charles Darwin. Then resist your own personality issues instead of falling back on the old tired insults like “dipshit” and “but learning is never [your] intent”, and tell Charles the story.

    BTW “wow’ you seem like a real reasonable kind of person, why not turn your reason towards self control. Turn your reason to thinking about the appearance of your radical scatological (would be) insult and ask yourself why Darwinists always go down this road when their explanatory talents fail, and think about how it advances your science, this extreme hatred-for-no-reason-but-irrationality.

    And dean: how about I link you to my current project where I uncovered an aspect of nature that could be considered fundamental or maybe not, you tell me. Equations 95~98 and Eq (114). I could use a little critical help here, not criticism of my learning ability: http://posterwall.com/blog_attachment.php?attachmentid=5729&d=1430941975

    This is one thread I’m going to have to bookmark because the behavior of you guys is something to see and indicates what is behind this ironclad system with gatling guns you defend, and it ain’t science, it ‘s a personality crutch and it ain’t pretty and nice as Darwin would have it be.

    “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” I am Charles. Describe the slight modifications to the respiratory endothelium guys, and the incremental selective advantage of slight modifications.

  97. #97 dean
    May 8, 2015

    Your invoking the “folks like you” meme is exactly what people always do with their sociopolitical stance,

    It isn’t a meme, it is an unfortunate fact: people who lack the proper education (like you in relation to biology) believe that there is no substance to it. There is no more reason to believe you have disproved this than to there is to believe any of the relativity deniers have disproved relativity.
    I will point out that I have never claimed to be a biologist: I am a statistician. I’ve worked with biologists, and none of them met the descriptions you constantly put out. My suggestion to you was to try to actually learn something rather than continue to argue from your current position: ignorance fed by disbelief.

  98. #98 eric
    May 8, 2015

    I am Charles. Describe the slight modifications to the respiratory endothelium guys, and the incremental selective advantage of slight modifications.

    Hi Charles. Since you died, we have discovered that the cells that line the lung walls are slight variations of the cells that line blood vessel walls. In fact there are many many slight variations used throughout the body, generally called endothelial or ‘protective lining’ types of cells. Such ‘lining’ cells are one of the four most common cell types to make up the mammalian body, and pretty much all mammals use the same types of lining cells. The observed variety of slightly different types of cells and the fact that widely varying organisms use variations on the same basic types is fully consistent with the hypothesis of descent with modification, and not at all consistent with design. After all, what sort of screwed up, idiot designer would take a barrier intended to selectively allow white blood cells through capillary walls, and jury rig it to protect lung cells from dust? The intelligent thing to have done would’ve been to design a separate, specific sort of lung protective lining cell. But that’s not what we see; what we see is that the lining cells of the lung are variations on the sorts of lining cells used in other parts of the body, variations of similar cells used in other species.

    Its worth noting, Charles, that we don’t have all the answers. I am not sure, for example, which ‘protective lining’ cell might have originated first or when. Real biologists continue to work on this problem – doing genetic research, studying the commonalities and differences between organisms. They use your theory to help guide their research. At the same time, design proponents (intellectual descendants of Paley) do no such research. Instead, they continue to use the argument from incredulity – I don’t know how it could have happened, so it didn’t happen. Their “research” has turned up nothing of value, nothing to help humanity understand our own bodies or the workings of other animal and plant species. One hundred and fifty years after you published OOS, their protestations that such a structure could not evolve have not advanced the understanding of respiratory endothelial cells one whit.

  99. #99 Wow
    May 8, 2015

    Well put, eric.

    However, the over-qualified idiot won’t understand, will you, groovy.

  100. #100 Wow
    May 8, 2015

    “and ask yourself why Darwinists always go down this road”

    Why do you morons always go dowm the road of “I don’t understand, therefore it isn’t happening”?

    Why do you always go down the road of “Your relgion!!!!”?

    Why, in short, do you fail to think?

    Because thought of your death terrifies you. And your teddy bear comforter you name “God” is being clung to desperately, like a drowning man clings to their saviour, drowning both.

    Talking to or about atheists/atheism brings up your thoughts and fears about your death, and that terrifies you.

    So atheists must be wrong, every where, every how, every time, so that you can cling to your teddy bear and pretend you will never die.

    Meanwhile wasting the only actual life you’ll ever have, sp terrified of dying that you won’t actually live.

  101. #101 groovimus
    May 8, 2015

    So Dean, so down about this, I asked you to teach me in terms Charles Darwin would understand, the answers to the questions I asked. What more can a poor guy do other than ask a question? Do you think it logical when one asks for an answer, that the best answer is that the person asking doesn’t deserve an answer? Because they don’t want to learn or something? Is that the tact of a good teacher/expert? Or is it logical? What exactly is the logic behind that: “I’m not gonna teach you because you don’t want to learn”. Trust me I learned a lot writing the paper to which I linked you so my learning credentials should be seen as impeccable. What really is the hold up Dean? BTW do you think I uncovered a basic property of nature in the work?

    And really dean, between you and me, why do you think that people like “wow” likes to spew forth insane invective when they don’t get their way in a discussion when I haven’t done a damn thing to them? Why is it that Darwinists more often than not do this? Is this not interesting to you, the psychology of these people? And look at how he invokes religion into the discussion, as if that were relevant. On the other hand it seems to always be brought up by the Darwinists; I kinda think they are obsessed with religion of some kind or other.

    So lets have a pow wow dean, a Charles Darwin colloquium, him thought of as back on earth to see how his theory worked on the discussion of the respiratory endothelium. We could make a radio show out of this and maybe pick up a little coin. Even more if we could discuss the psychology of the situation especially as manifested by “wow” poor angry soul that he/she is.

  102. #102 groovimus
    May 8, 2015

    eric:

    Thank you for your answer and the thoughtful, reasonable effort. I use the term “respiratory endothelium” for brevity, it is a little erroneous because really endothelium is as you say it refers to the inner linings of blood vessels.

    However the questions I ask refer to the linings of the respiratory passages including trachea. There is signalling between these tens of billions of cilia. Each cell of the lining has many cilia and signals them to move paralle to airflow in concert in wave fashion with all of the other hundreds of millions of cells doing the same thing. In a Darwinian scenario this system of mind boggling complexity came to be by as he wrote “formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications” so that means it started out slight and got bodaceous. Now the real explanation should include how well did the system work when not big, meaning slight. And how well did it work when it was smaller than slight? What if the first few were just waving stochastically? What was the selective advantage of that? What “slight modification” connected these cells together to wave in concert and why would they do that if there were way to few to be effective? What “slight modification” told the cells to wave their cilia parallel to the airflow, say before they all got wired together for the signalling? Seems like all of this mind boggling coordination depending on “slight modification” somehow caused giant convenient function at the end. Which would have what selective advantage BEFORE it all came together at the end point?

  103. #103 groovimus
    May 8, 2015

    “wow”:

    You are your brain. Your brain turns to goo at the end. Or maybe ashes after that. Therefore, your destiny is that you turn to stinking goo and everything you ever did, thought or said was for nothing since there is no purpose for the goo. Or purpose for the progenitor to goo, the brain, or you. So relax and enjoy. Don’t let delusions of meaning for your actions or your life disturb your peace.

  104. #104 Wow
    May 9, 2015

    Fuck off to the dump thread for your nutcase ravings or fuck off entirely.

    Those are your two choices, dumbass.

    http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2012/09/23/weekend-diversion-you-are-responsible-for-what-you-say/

    or /dev/null

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