This is something I’ve been meaning to say for some time, but Gareth has said it instead. I agree with Gareth, but it goes a little further: it isn’t just the interface to policy, it is that a whole group of people (possibly large) are being actively encouraged to undermine science, to fail to understand how it works; to think that their own opinions really are as valid as published research; and so on. Science is a whole thing, a state of mind; you can’t just cut off one area of “climate science”; everything links together.

This is beginning to sound like the traditional complaint about modern-day parents: they don’t back up respect-for-teachers, and as a consequence the teachers can’t teach, and so the children can’t learn.

[Update: As Eli says Looking back at many of the attacks on science from our dear friends, they are wails that climate, and tobacco, and ozone scientists are not doing textbook science, and, of course, since most people only have learned textbook science, this can look like a pretty convincing argument. It is also why demands for regulatory science can be deadly to real science and why “auditing” is a distraction and a fraud. “>Looking back at many of the attacks on science from our dear friends, they are wails that climate, and tobacco, and ozone scientists are not doing textbook science, and, of course, since most people only have learned textbook science, this can look like a pretty convincing argument. It is also why demands for regulatory science can be deadly to real science and why “auditing” is a distraction and a fraud. ]

Comments

  1. #1 Alex Harvey
    2010/06/11

    Hi William,

    And I am sure it goes without saying that those who feel the whole thing has been oversold and is based crucially on uncertainties that have been carefully and deliberately hidden from the public believe that these climate change advocate-scientists are in fact the ones who have done and, in so far as they either won’t stop advocating policy or refuse or cannot adapt their rhetoric to the new reality, continue to do lasting damage to the entire science system.

    I trust you have read the U. Penn. cross examination of the climate science from their Law faculty, by a distinguished professor Johnson et al. He has found the whole of the literature to be filled with rhetorical tricks, and lawyers are pretty good at spotting rhetorical tricks, even if they’re not scientists.

    [Err yes, you’ve fallen for it. You mean http://www.probeinternational.org/UPennCross.pdf. Just because it has the word “cross examination” in it is no reason to believe that it *is* a cross examination. And indeed, it isn’t. This got discussed on wki – did you miss it? See [1].

    by a distinguished professor Johnson et al. – do you see how you’re doing the fallacious appeal-to-authority thing? Who says he is dsitinguished? Why do we care he is a professor? Who are “et al.”?

    Johnston has been fed a line by misc “skeptics”. He has not done any investigation of his own; you ought to be able to read it well enough to tell that. Can’t you see that this is *not* a cross-examination at all? A cross examination allows the witness to reply; this is merely a prosecutors statement -W]

    I am a layperson and I was able to see through Gavin Schmidt’s recent nonsense as he tried to oversell the Lyman et al. paper. One of my comments was quoted verbatim by Pielke Sr. (yes, mistakes and all). But obviously, the point I made was valid: Gavin can disagree with Pielke Sr., and he can disagree with Trenberth that there is “missing heat” (yes, it’s Trenberth he’s disagreeing with there, not Pielke, we can see that too), and Trenberth can disagree with Willis and Pielke. This is all fine, and science could be alive and well. But the moment you start pretending none of this is happening, put your thumbs in your ears and sing “la la la, I can’t hear you Roger, la la la”, you do great damage to science.

    [But obviously, the point I made was valid - it must feel good to be so obviously right. Alas, I haven't any idea which comment you're talking about so will have to reserve judgement for the moment -W]

    Meanwhile, presuming a parent/child relationship with nonscientists just compounds the damage that is done to the science system. It plays right into the hands of those real scientists — Lindzen, Spencer, Christy, Pielke — with whom you disagree. The more of these rhetorical tricks we can spot — the argumentum ad nauseum, the red herrings, the evasion of inconvenient issues like the refusal of OHC to go up recently — the stronger their cases become and the less credible is the whole of science.

    One solution to this dilemma would be: STOP ADVOCATING because it can only cause further harm. (I think that’s what Pielke Jr was trying to say yesterday…) The other solution might be, engage in constructive dialogue with the critics.

    [You've fallen for the usual. If you can't see that Johnston is just the same old tripe, you're lost -W]

    Best
    Alex

  2. #2 P. Lewis
    2010/06/11

    Quick Google suggests that the valid(?) point referred to is here.

  3. #3 _Arthur
    2010/06/11

    It’s a vast international conspiracy. Obviously.
    Even the polar bears are in it.

  4. #4 Paul Kelly
    2010/06/11

    I’m going to read the Gareth post and the Gluckman pdf, but just beginning:

    Gluckman’s thesis is that the tactics of those who deny climate change — for whatever reason (he defines three) — are undermining all science:

    …in an electronically connected world the tactics of those who reject the consensus(my bold), whatever their motives, can undermine confidence in the entire science system.

    It would help to know what the consensus is beyond that CO2 in the atmosphere has measurable radiative properties which are enhanced by various feedbacks of undetermined sign and influence. The average person’s view of the consensus comes from the exaggerations and misrepresentations of people like Al Gore and Joe Romm and thus their skepticism is unremarkable.

    [As always, RC has the answer -W]

  5. #5 frank
    2010/06/11

    Paul Kelly, are you saying that the average person trusts what Al Gore says, therefore the average person doesn’t trust what Al Gore says?

    I don’t trust authority, but neither do I trust people who tell me not to trust authority. The problem isn’t disrespect for scientists; it’s disrespect for the method of science itself. When libertarians abandon the gruntwork of collecting data and verifying facts, in favour of flag-waving, “FREEDOM FREEDOM FREEDOM!!!”, conspiracy theories, and general illogic, that’s clearly no less than an attack on all of science.

  6. #6 J
    2010/06/11

    Alex Harvey, I looked at the document you cite (a review by a law professor at UPenn). On the substance, it’s thoroughly unconvincing, if you actually pick one particular area and examine it closely, paying attention to the references that are cited and those that are not cited.

    Why on earth would you suggest that document as something that’s a point in favor of your argument? It’s much more appropriate to cite it here as an example of the kind of problems that William is referring to in the original post.

    If a law professor claimed to have overturned plate tectonics, or evolutionary biology, or the well-established fundamental tenets of some other field, one would expect his claims to be subjected to a highly skeptical scrutiny. So where’s your skepticism now? Is the fact that it gets turned off so promptly (when the subject matter happens to coincide with your previous biases) perhaps an indication of a problem here? Perhaps William’s concerns about science being undermined might have some validity?

  7. #7 Slowjoe
    2010/06/11

    William, I find alternately, that this is funny bordering on the hilarious and then tragic to the point of tears.

    We have from the Climategate emails prima facie evidence of subversion of peer-review and the IPCC process. Through this process, coverage of Climate Scepticism was kept out of the media.

    [Sorry - you've been had. No-one involved in the CRU emails had much influence over the meeja. Nor is there prima facie evidence of anything in there, unless you're a "black helicopters" guy and believe that the three inquires were part of the vast global conspiracy -W]

    Similarly, we have allegations of a group (centred on your good self) controlling AGQ coverage on Wikipedia. No doubt , there is much that you keep out that should definitely not get in. But clearly, you guys are going too far on occasion. An example of this would be the refusal to allow any article or heading in Wiki to use the word “Climategate”. But at least your name will attract a footnote in books on the History of Science.

    [Again, you haven’t done your basic homework. See [[Climatic Research Unit email controversy]] which begins The Climatic Research Unit email controversy (dubbed “Climategate” in the media) began in November 2009… (bold in the original). There is also a “Climategate” page that redirects there -W]

    Now, the whole official science establishment is in danger. Look at the way the Royal Society has lied about the compilation of papers for the Oxburgh report. The list is not important, but Rees has managed to damage the giants on whose shoulders he stands.

    [Lied? That is a strong word to throw around without even pretending to quote any evidence -W]

    But the scientific method (which is the important thing) will survive. It’s just the scientific establishment which will be destroyed.

    [I doubt it. Would you put money on it? -W]

  8. #8 J
    2010/06/11

    slowjoe writes: We have from the Climategate emails prima facie evidence of subversion of peer-review and the IPCC process.

    Such big words to describe so little substance.

  9. #9 Paul Kelly
    2010/06/11

    Frank,

    I’m saying that the average person is unfamiliar with people like William or JA, and that the lessening public acceptance of AGW is due as much, if not more, to the excesses of some advocates as to the cogency of the deniers. It is news to me that libertarians are anti science.

  10. #10 Slowjoe
    2010/06/11

    J writes: Such big words to describe so little substance.

    Yes, indeed. The tragedy of it is how small the issues of debate started out. We know that the world is warmer than it was. We know that CO2 has risen. We know the models point to a link.

    All that the misconduct did was close down debate for a time on some of the science. Now, to cover up the problems with the tree ring data and UHI analysis, the whole worldwide science establishment is being deployed, for a fight that can’t be won.

    We know that Wang was dodgy, and that the Hockey stick has a divergence problem which was covered up in IPCC reports and the peer reviewed literature. Those problems CANNOT go away. So why is Rees lying about cherry-picking the papers?
    Why won’t the new inquiry even talk to McIntyre and McKitrick?

    It seems that, to protect Jones and the Hockey stic, the whole of the Scientific establishment is expendable, for no gain.

  11. #11 Amoeba
    2010/06/11

    Slowjoe, or should it be Slow-Joe?
    Clearly, you inhabit an alternate universe, where good=bad; up=down; and lies=truth.

    Did you compose this yourself? Did you read it?

    I’m not a scientist, but I know a pack of falsehoods when I happen across them. Your post is such a pack.

    Please point to this:

    We have from the Climategate emails prima facie evidence of subversion of peer-review and the IPCC process.

    It doesn’t exist, but I will grant you that there were numerous claims that there was such evidence. The only trouble was thatr these claims were made by McIntyre and other cogs in the Denial Industry propaganda machine. McIntyre is former mining engineer and an accomplished expert in quote mining.

    As Cardinal Richlieu once apparently said:

    If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.

    Likewise your opinions are based upon ignorance transmuted into pseudo-fact. Perhaps you have never heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect, but you seem to be a classic case.
    http://tinyurl.com/2ds6out
    Try: Illusion of superiority

  12. #12 linzel
    2010/06/11

    “It seems that, to protect Jones and the Hockey stic, the whole of the Scientific establishment is expendable, for no gain.”

    I don’t see this. I see those who THINK they know how science works because they know or can find knowledge. The majority of the population have been taught that knowledge is power. They grew up in an educational system that rewarded(s) this view. Hence any joeshmo or slowjoe can find knowledge and think they know it all. Science is not being spent to protect anything. Science is being attacked for not providing the nice tidy answers everyone expects like they were taught in school.
    As undemocratic as this sounds, because it is, those who don’t understand the problems should not get to decide the course of action. I don’t take medical advice from homeopaths or astrologists.
    Is their debate? Yes. I have always seen ‘skeptics’ positions addressed with science. Maybe not nicely, but at least explained. For me, the problem is too many people have opinion based on knowledge [incorrect much of the time] but no comprehension.
    The dicking around pisses me off. We just need to get off th e pot and protect Earth’s systems. Taking the path we are on is a dead end.

  13. #13 Amoeba
    2010/06/11

    Slow-Joe is a perfect example of ignorance personified. Either that or he is successfully imitating an ignorant person.

    He fails to realise that almost everything we take for granted in today’s society is due to science.

    As for his truly idiotic claims about UHI and the divergence problem, this has all been explored in the literature.

    Ultimate stupid

    …divergence problem which was covered up in IPCC reports and the peer reviewed literature

    Precisely, how does one cover something up in the ‘peer reviewed literature’, by discussing it openly in the peer reviewed literature?

    Slow-Joe, you should be embarrassed and ashamed.

  14. #14 Slowjoe
    2010/06/11

    Linzel: Is their debate? Yes. I have always seen ‘skeptics’ positions addressed with science. Maybe not nicely, but at least explained.

    Fine. Can you point to the explanation of the divergence between tree rings and temperature since 1960?

  15. #15 Slowjoe
    2010/06/11

    [I doubt it. Would you put money on it? -W]

    I would place a wager that Rees wouldn’t remain President of the Royal Society for long. Unfortunately, it appears that he’s been in office for 5 years, and average tenure is 5 years, so there is nothing to bet on.

    [That seems to be a rather large step down from the scientific establishment collapsing. You seem to have set yourself rather small, and rather vague, goals. How long do you give him, exactly? -W]

    In a larger sense, the establishment will continue, in the same way that the office of the Holy Roman Empirer long survived the Roman Empire.

  16. #16 Slowjoe
    2010/06/11

    Linzel, try to read for comprehension.

    There are a number of distinct issues at play.

    1. The scientific method
    2. Current scientific knowledge
    3. The scientific establishment
    4. Trust in Science.
    Up to now, I’ve been combining 3+4 together.

    The method is FINE.

    Current scientific knowledge is FINE.

    The scientific establishment (universities, professors, peer reviewed journals, Royal Society, NSF, IPCC) are facing a challenge, but in general will survive, one Professor Jones more or less. Their reputation less so.

    Trust in science in general is going to be challenged, and that’s what the article in the original post discussed.

    You can use your ad-hominem against me. You can make up-your-own-arse accusation of the incompentence (Dunning-Kruger effect).

    You can’t explain away quotes like “even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is” or “delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4″. Statements like these demonstrate unethical behaviour. They damage the trust in peer review, another artifact of the scientific establishment. And the cover-up inquiries like Lord Oxburgh’s simply extend the taint and amplify the distrust.

    [No. They don't -W]

    They don’t disprove any science, and don’t subvert the scientific method.

  17. #17 dhogaza
    2010/06/11

    If a law professor claimed to have overturned plate tectonics, or evolutionary biology

    Been there, done that – “Darwin on Trial” which “disproves evolution”.

    The professor at Penn is just borrowing the same technique of “cross examination” (without any chance for rebuttal by scientists) as was done in that book.

  18. #18 dhogaza
    2010/06/11

    Slow Joe says:

    Fine. Can you point to the explanation of the divergence between tree rings and temperature since 1960?

    Here’s a review paper summing up the state of knowledge regarding the divergence problem as of 2007.

    There’s is no “the explanation”, if there were, the divergence problem wouldn’t be a *problem*, but rather an understood anomaly.

    But the claim on the table is that there is:

    a divergence problem which was covered up in IPCC reports and the peer reviewed literature

    a statement that is untrue.

  19. #19 dhogaza
    2010/06/11

    You can’t explain away quotes like “even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is” or “delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4″.

    The request to delete emails has been condemned by many, including folks like Gavin Schmidt. It was unethical. The only unethical thing found in the selected small sample of close on two decades of e-mail.

    The first – “even if we have to redefine what peer-review literature is” – well, if too much crap is leaking through due to people gaming the system in order to try to make such crap look credible, then yes, things should be changed. Science isn’t helped when papers that claim, for instance, that the notion that CO2 leads to warming violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics, make it into the professional literature. Any more than it is helped when papers declaring that evolution violates the 2nd law makes it into the professional press.

    Same flap happened in biology when an creationist editor of a small, but respected, biology journal published a paper “disproving evolution”, as his term came to an end. Creationists have a “peer reviewed” paper to point to, the editor has become a martyr, and every argument ever made about the climate science literature has been made about evolutionary biology journals. In fact, I think these arguments have been largely *copied* from creationists – the convergence is remarkable.

    You know … “the team/mainstream biology keeps out skeptic/creationist articles that show that AGW/evolution has been falsified”. You can literally do word substitution and fling the argument at either field.

    They damage the trust in peer review, another artifact of the scientific establishment.

    Not by people who understand how science works.

    And the cover-up inquiries like Lord Oxburgh’s simply extend the taint and amplify the distrust.

    Pffft. “cover-up inquiries” indeed. *any* inquiry that doesn’t pillory Jones, regardless of evidence, will be called a “cover-up” by the likes of you.

  20. #20 Luke Silburn
    2010/06/11

    You can’t explain away quotes like “even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is” or “delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4″. Statements like these demonstrate unethical behaviour.

    I’ll give you the second (although none of the recipients appear to have acted on such a foolish, possibly illegal, request) but how does the first quote demonstrate unethical behaviour exactly?

    The papers being disparaged in the email that quote is from ended up being referenced in the IPCC AR4. So what was the unethical act here? Failing to put sarcasm markups in the text for the hard-of-understanding?

    Regards
    Luke

  21. #21 J Bowers
    2010/06/11

    19 dhogaza: “The request to delete emails has been condemned by many, including folks like Gavin Schmidt. It was unethical. The only unethical thing found in the selected small sample of close on two decades of e-mail.”

    You know, I’m still not convinced it’s as clear cut as that simply because we don’t have all of the data, meaning all of the emails. Here’s a scenario: Jones sends the email, others reply “You can’t do that!”, Jones responds, “Oh, right. Don’t delete any emails!” Therefore, Osborn then tries to find out if the emails are deemed confidential instead (which is fine as far as I’m concerned).

    Sure, I’m filling in gaps, but who the hell isn’t?

  22. #22 dhogaza
    2010/06/11

    Jones, as head of CRU, should have some understanding of FOI rules, IMO. Should be part of the job description, I should think.

    But if that’s the worse that can be found when poring over nearly two decades of e-mail, I’d say that’s not bad. Who here has a two-decadish record of correspondence 100% free of evidence of at least one screw-up?

  23. #23 frank
    2010/06/11

    Paul Kelly:

    > It would help to know what the consensus is beyond that CO2 in the atmosphere has measurable radiative properties which are enhanced by various feedbacks of undetermined sign and influence. The average person’s view of the consensus comes from the exaggerations and misrepresentations of people like Al Gore and Joe Romm and thus their skepticism is unremarkable.

    I replied:

    > Paul Kelly, are you saying that the average person trusts what Al Gore says, therefore the average person doesn’t trust what Al Gore says?

    Paul Kelly:

    > I’m saying that the average person is unfamiliar with people like William or JA, and that the lessening public acceptance of AGW is due as much, if not more, to the excesses of some advocates as to the cogency of the deniers.

    So now you’re saying that the “average person” doesn’t know what the actual science is, and yet can they tell whether the actual science is being exaggerated?

    It’s only because of inactivists such as yourself that the public is getting the impression that Al Gore is ‘exaggerating’. Oh, and don’t try to pretend you’re not part of the inactivist noise machine, because you are quite clearly trying to push the idea that ‘the science is being exaggerated’.

    > It is news to me that libertarians are anti science.

    Are you referring to yourself in the third person?

  24. #24 Amoeba
    2010/06/11

    Don’t feed the trolls.
    Sloe-Joe is evidently a troll. It isn’t interested in the answers, it’s here to be obnoxious by asking questions that have been answered numerous times before and that it could perfectly easily find-out for itself. But that wouldn’t fit its mind-set.

  25. #25 Steve Bloom
    2010/06/11

    Slow-joe: “the office of the Holy Roman Empirer (sic) long survived the Roman Empire”

    Well, and isn’t that completely wrong too. D-K indeed.

  26. #26 Chris Winter
    2010/06/11

    Alex Harvey wrote: “And I am sure it goes without saying that those who feel the whole thing has been oversold and is based crucially on uncertainties that have been carefully and deliberately hidden from the public believe that these climate change advocate-scientists are in fact the ones who have done and, in so far as they either won’t stop advocating policy or refuse or cannot adapt their rhetoric to the new reality, continue to do lasting damage to the entire science system.”

    In some alternate universe, I suppose those alleged uncertainties might have been pointed out to the public by Richard Lindzen in op-ed pieces in the Wall Street Journal, or by George Will’s columns in the Washington Post. There might be Web sites by Roger Christy and a host of others presenting divergent interpretations of climate change. Advocacy groups like the Heartland Institute might be organizing conferences to challenge the mainstream view. Members of Congress might be inviting Michael Crichton and Christopher Walter to present skeptical testimony. Large corporations might even be supporting the dissemination of these contrarian views with millions of dollars in clandestine funding.

    How unfortunate it is that in our universe these contrarian views are so completely hidden from the public.

    /sarcasm

  27. #27 Paul Kelly
    2010/06/11

    Frank,

    Don’t know if the problem is my writing or your reading, but I’ll have another go.

    The public is getting the impression that Al Gore is ‘exaggerating’ because he is. You know it and the scientists know it, but they give him a pass because “his heart is in the right place”.

    [Hey, you ned to read Stoat -W]

    Calling me an inactivist is laughable. For the last year or so, I’ve been promoting an alternative deployment club. We’ve held a couple of 21st century energy forums, had a bunch of meet ups and an organizing fundraiser.

    I have not said the science is exaggerated, but that catastrophists like Gore and Romm claim to represent the consensus when they clearly do not. The science is what it is.

    What I do say is that whatever your view of the science, you should agree on the necessity to as quickly as possible undergo an energy transformation. Read this twice, Frank. Whether the consensus is 100% correct or 100% wrong, there are environmental, economic and strategic concerns that are as or even more compelling reasons to replace fossil fuel.

    I am much more interested in policy than science. My starting point is that climate is a poor basis for or measurement of the success of policy; and, that placing
    a punitive price on carbon/CO2 will not achieve its intended goal.

    Am I a libertarian? I am not now nor have I ever been a member of the Libertarian Party. As of last January I’m a registered Democrat. If you mean, do I think the true revolution was against colonialism and mercantilism and that Marxism, Fascism and other statist philosophies are counterrevolutionary, sure.

  28. #28 dhogaza
    2010/06/11

    The public is getting the impression that Al Gore is ‘exaggerating’ because he is. You know it and the scientists know it, but they give him a pass because “his heart is in the right place”.

    Please give an example of where he is exaggerating, and where scientists have been made aware and have given him a pass.

    When AIT, real climate vetted it and pointed out some minor issues (which is “not giving him a pass”), but over all gave it a high grade. Say B+ or A-. That’s pretty damned good for a non-scientist, who can be expected to make a few goofs.

    When you say “exaggerate”, I assume you mean he’s doing so intentionally, rather than making a blunder, which is almost inevitable.

  29. #29 dhogaza
    2010/06/11

    Stoat fully or partially agrees with several of the points raised by the judge in the well-known suit tried in the UK.

    I mostly agree with his analysis. I’d say the polar bear case is stronger than he might think – the Bush administration would not have caved in and declared polar bears in the US threatened otherwise (I’ve been involved in endangered species politics/litigation in the past, and if the Bush administration felt that they had a scientific case that would stand scrutiny in Federal Court, they would’ve let the suit go forward). I can discuss USF&W process and the ESA if someone wants.

    I’d say that Gore’s statement of concerns regarding coral reef bleaching is a fair representation of a large segment of coral reef specialists (stoat simply says “not my thing”).

    Stoat goes in for a bit of mind reading, i.e. by stating in a couple of cases that he feels Gore meant to mislead (exaggerate) by not being explicit about timeframes. I won’t play that game. IIRC whoever wrote the RC piece focused on whether or not the various statements were defensible as stated, without trying to decide if Gore made a defensible statement in a way that was intentionally meant to mislead.

  30. #30 Mal Adapted
    2010/06/11

    Paul Kelly:

    The average person’s view of the consensus comes from the exaggerations and misrepresentations of people like Al Gore and Joe Romm and thus their skepticism is unremarkable.

    IMO, the issue is, how can we get the average person to understand that Christopher Monckton and Tom Fuller don’t speak for science, any more than Al Gore and Joe Romm do. Which is the whole point of WC’s post:

    … a whole group of people (possibly large) are being actively encouraged to undermine science, to fail to understand how it works; to think that their own opinions really are as valid as published research; and so on. Science is a whole thing, a state of mind; you can’t just cut off one area of “climate science”; everything links together.

    In other words, the public needs to learn enough about science to know whom to trust, and when they’re being manipulated by self-interested parties with profits to protect.

  31. #31 Alex Harvey
    2010/06/12

    William,

    A couple of points:

    –) on the Johnson, it appears that he has a distinguished career as a Professor behind him at U.Penn and this can be easily verified. I find it extremely difficult to believe that he would do anything to jeopardise his good reputation lightly. Yes, it was pointed out by Lawrence Solomon, as well as by Pielke Sr., Anthony Watts and the Australian statistician, David Stockwell (see http://landshape.org/enm/species-extinction-by-johnston/).

    –) more on Johnson. However, on closer reading I can agree that he has been fed some material specifically by Lindzen & Pielke Sr. That said, he is making a number of original points that only a lawyer would be making, so it is interesting. A footnote reads, “I am grateful to Cary Coglianese for extensive conversations and comments on an early draft, and to the participants in the September, 2008 Penn Law Faculty Retreat for very helpful discussion about this project. Especially helpful comments from David Henderson, Julia Mahoney, Ross McKitrick, Richard Lindzen, and Roger Pielke, Sr. have allowed me to correct errors in earlier drafts, but it is important to stress that no one except myself has any responsibility for the views expressed herein.”

    [he is making a number of original points. I suppose he might be. I didn't see any, and you don't quote any. Please qute the first three original points that you consider might be valid -W]

    –) on why ‘et al’? My bad, I saw “A Joint Research Center of the Law School, the Wharton School, and the Department of Economics in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania” and as usual I am in too much of a hurry. Agreed, there is only one author.

    –) Have I made an appeal to authority? No, not really. I mention Johnson in passing. The main point is that *I Can See The Rhetorical Tricks Myself*, e.g. in the OHC post I referenced, and also, e.g. when I recently at Wiki read right through the paleoclimate chapter of AR4 and started actually comparing the IPCC document with the cited literature. Thus, it came as no surprise to me to find a Professor of Law from Mike Mann’s campus come out and point to rhetorical tricks.

    [Errm, again, what do you mean? Please be more precise -W]

    –) As for Wiki, I am not following any disputes/discussions at the moment.

    –) on you not knowing what “valid point” it was that I may have made. I think you’re not trying to get the point I am making. You could have quickly found my reference on google, but you didn’t need to. Because I have made the same point again, in my post above, and you still have ignored it, i.e. the actual, non technical, point I am making.

    Here it is again: advocates are trying not to hear what the other side is saying. E.g., it is evident that you are only reading RealClimate and similar blogs, and perhaps communicating with the IPCC folk in other ways offline; I know you occasionally read Pielke Jr., but probably only when Joe Romm is having a go at him. And of course the Wiki discussions, but that is an even crazier little echo chamber than the climate science debate proper is.

    But how can you possibly justify not even reading Pielke Sr? His blog is frequently visited by numerous invited, real scientists, on important environmental matters. Much of it, presumably, you still would agree with. So why is it you don’t want to know what he’s saying? And what about Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts? You may think they’re dishonest, or crazy, or nasty, or who knows what, but how can you be prepared to answer public opinion if the public knows more about what’s actually going on in the debate than you do? Do you trust second hand accounts of what they’re saying filtered through Wiki or other blogs on this stuff? Heavens, I don’t.

    [RP SR: I got bored with him. Far too much broken-record stuff about how wonderful the ocean heat record is. And far too many whiney posts about how the cards are stacked against him because his proposals get rejected; I see the lead one now is NSF Decision On Our Request For Reconsideration Of A Rejected NSF Proposal On The Role Of Land Use Change In The Climate System. Post 2 in the chain says The growing certainty in the four IPCC reports that CO2 is the main culprit reflects more the demand for a clear answer from policy makers than the advancement of the scientific evidence for the role of CO2, in my opinion. is just stupid.

    Watts is a joke. I really don't need to bother read stuff like Third Climategate report ‘imminent’ – expect a shortage of whitewash in stores this weekend.

    And McI seems to spend all his time nowadays whining about Oxburgh.

    Do you trust second hand accounts of what they're saying - no. What makes you think I do? But I really don't have much interest in what they are saying. If you think there are any interesting insightful posts from these people, could you take the time to actually bother with real links instead of just generalities, please? -W]

    Best,
    Alex

  32. #32 Slowjoe
    2010/06/12

    I’m going to wrap up here and relurk. It can’t be fun to you to be debating an incompetent troll :)

    First, my thanks to William for letting my comments through. I’m hoping that Climate blogs are starting to turn down the heat a little (see McIntyre and other flaming the mad State Attorney General who is witch-hunting Michael Mann, and Tamino stating publicly that he disapproves of the woman who visiting Watts’ office this week.) The alternative paradigm of debate is the spectacle of Monckton using ad-hominem against someone he accuses of ad-hominem. That paradigm isn’t appealing or likely to be productive.

    Regarding AIT, I would say that when you are making a science film, you should get the science right. That all the errors are consistently in the direction of exagerating the threat is telling.

    The Climategate emails are an inkblot. If someone is sceptical, typically s/he’ll think there is a problem. If someone isn’t, then typically s/he’ll think there isn’t.

    The point about the peer-review literature being redefined is, that the paper was good enough to make the report. To me, that means it was of a reasonable standard, attempt to block was partisan. But again, I’m looking at my inkblot.

    Regarding the divergence problem, thank you for the paper. My understanding is that similar coverage in an IPCC publication is lacking. Am I correct?

    Regarding the Holy Roman Emperor/Roman Empire, Wiki has the Empire being over around 500AD, and the office of Holy Roman Emperor existing from around 950AD to 1806AD.

  33. #33 gravityloss
    2010/06/12

    Then again, aren’t a large portion of reviewed publications just redundant, even wrong nowadays? People just need to write a few papers so they can get their degree… What’s the amount of PhD:s as a function of time? Time spent studying and working on the actual subjects? Motivation? Talent? (Can we even speak about the latter?)
    This doesn’t dismiss all science but it is being made irrelevant or blended down into nonsense from the inside as well. Though of course, it’s always been in this way.

  34. #34 Josie
    2010/06/12

    Slowjoe: “Regarding the divergence problem, thank you for the paper. My understanding is that similar coverage in an IPCC publication is lacking. Am I correct?”

    Err, I’m no climate expert and usually just lurk here occasionally, but I know how to use google. Try this:

    divergence “tree rings” site:http://www.ipcc.ch/

    At least the second link discusses the divergence problem. The others you will have to look yourself. That took all of about 30 seconds.

  35. #35 PeteB
    2010/06/12

    “We know that Wang was dodgy, and that the Hockey stick has a divergence problem which was covered up in IPCC reports and the peer reviewed literature”

    I thought the IPCC report was fair on that point

    (from AR4)

    In their large-scale reconstructions based on tree ring density data,
    Briffa et al. (2001) specifically excluded the post-1960 data in
    their calibration against instrumental records, to avoid biasing
    the estimation of the earlier reconstructions (hence they are not
    shown in Figure 6.10), implicitly assuming that the ‘divergence’
    was a uniquely recent phenomenon
    , as has also been argued by
    Cook et al. (2004a). Others, however, argue for a breakdown
    in the assumed linear tree growth response to continued
    warming, invoking a possible threshold exceedance beyond
    which moisture stress now limits further growth (D’Arrigo
    et al., 2004). If true, this would imply a similar limit on the
    potential to reconstruct possible warm periods in earlier times
    at such sites. At this time there is no consensus on these issues

    (for further references see NRC, 2006) and the possibility of
    investigating them further is restricted by the lack of recent tree
    ring data at most of the sites from which tree ring data discussed
    in this chapter were acquired.

  36. #36 Paul Kelly
    2010/06/13

    [Hey, you need to read Stoat -W] Yeah, I know.

    We’re all missing the point. The question isn’t whether any particular criticism of climatology is correct. The question is does all the criticism of climatology impact other sciences. Well, Gareth and Gluckman aren’t worried about astrophysics or anthropology. Their concern is only about science that is used as the basis of policy.

  37. #37 Phil.
    2010/06/13

    According to Alex Harvey:“Thus, it came as no surprise to me to find a Professor of Law from Mike Mann’s campus come out and point to rhetorical tricks.”

    Perhaps Alex would be surprised to learn that it wasn’t a Professor of Law from Mike Mann’s campus but one from a completely unrelated Ivy League University? It was a Prof from the same university’s business school who claimed a few years ago that forecasts were only valid if they followed the rules he’d compiled for financial forecasting. There must be something in the water in Philadelphia.

  38. #38 Marion Delgado
    2010/06/17

    Paul Kelly:

    Libertarians are not against all science, but, frankly, yes, most science. One of their role models was Ayn Rand, who claimed you could not do “real” science as part of a team, or do science if the government funded you.

    I have seen libertarians in their role as market fundies deny evolution repeatedly (in almost every discussion involving pesticides, the use of antibiotics to fatten livestock and raise them in unsanitary conditions, etc. etc.), deny epidemiology, ecology, toxicology, every law of physics you can think of (between their insane maze of BS on climate physics and the arguments their military wing made for “star wars” and for various nuclear and space and cryonics and replacing humanity with robots schemes).

    The fundamental flaw in the circular reasoning that is libertarian thinking is the idea that moneymaking is the only real field of learning. They actually believe a market – a bunch of people buying and selling products – can calculate faster and better than a supercomputer – or even a large institute with hundreds of employees and tens of thousands of contacts and years of sampling research AND supercomputers.

  39. #39 Marion Delgado
    2010/06/17

    Stoat:

    Isn’t virtually all AGW science textbook science? Most of the substantive disputes seem to have been over data, and I haven’t seen anything new and weird come up that wasn’t literally in my textbooks. There are theoretical disputes, yes, but the denialists are the ones saying we’re breezing through the spiral arm or cosmic rays have stronger effects via clouds (pure speculation), etc. etc.

    Who’s making the claim that this is not textbook science?

    [When I started, this certainly wasn't textbook science, but that was years ago. I have n't really looked at a textbook since. Would you find, e.g., moderately up to date discussions of likely ranges of climate sensitivity in a text book? -W]

  40. #40 Tony Sidaway
    2010/06/17

    I can’t say you don’t get your money’s worth on this blog, and this thread is a corker! Thanks to the denialist posters for trotting out some entertaining lies and to everybody else for debunking them. Wile E. Coyote tries and tries, but he’ll never catch that road runner!

  41. #41 Marion Delgado
    2010/06/17

    Wm:

    Sorry, that was unclear, and also responding to Eli’s statement that you were quoting. To clarify, I do not see climate sensitivity – a number range arrived at through multivariate analysis and as much derived from records and data as models – as being novel theoretically. If I have to build a bridge but I don’t know the typical maximum tonnage of trucks that drive over it or the traffic volume, I may have to gather data – but that won’t involve a new theory of gravity, or anything novel in materials science, probably. Even if I have to deal with something new to me, like frost heaves, and I don’t know what numbers to plug in without research, modeling, and analysis, it’s still textbook stuff fundamentally, right?

    That’s what I mean by saying it’s all textbook science. Is that wrong?

    [Ah, well I would call textbook science "science that is in textbooks". Saying "it is all theoretically well underpinned" would be a somewhat different meaning, to me. And I'm not even sure that climate sensitivity would fit into that category; there is still funcdamental work being done on it. My TS means that the science has been around long enough that it has made it into books, and a generation has grown up being taught it. My guess is that we're not there yet, but soon will be -W]

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.