Warmists And Heresy

….and does Professor Judith Curry read Winds??

Over at Climate Progress, Professor Judith Curry, Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech, is getting slagged because she won’t tow the line.

Now there are about five different arguments that are made in this piece, and as I note below I’m just giving up on dealing with this issue any more.

But note this; my biggest problem with the warmists has been and continues to be three things:

1) they take a potentially (possibly even probably) real problem and act like it’s an absolute truth;
2) they generate that claim of absolute truth is ways that I find conceptually unsound;
3) at a root level, where there should be open discourse and what I believe ‘true scientific process’ to be, they act like cranks.

Let’s talk about 3) for a moment and then about 2).

Here’s someone (Curry) with pretty robust credentials in the discipline.

She steps off the reservation a year ago with her eminently reasonable “Manifesto” – published at Climate Progress. And now here’s Climate Progress talking about her yesterday:

Confusionist Judith Curry goes ‘wicked’ and mangles the work of Martin Weitzman
November 17, 2010

Climate change can be categorized as a “wicked problem.”[Note] Wicked problems are difficult or impossible to solve, there is no opportunity to devise an overall solution by trial and error, and there is no real test of the efficacy of a solution to the wicked problem. Efforts to solve the wicked problem may reveal or create other problems….

Xu, Crittenden et al. [Note] argue that “gigaton problems require gigaton solutions.” The wickedness of the climate problem precludes a gigaton solution (either technological or political).

Judith Curry abandoned science this year. She asserted I was “directly involved in Climategate”; James Annan explained “(S)He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense“; William Connolley eviscerated a recent paper on Antarctic sea ice (here), which notes, “The main problem with the paper is the uncritical use of invalid data”; and Bart Verheggen explained, “Her unfounded allegations are insulting for the whole profession.

One way humans make decisions, when there’s insufficient data, is by looking at the behavior of those who hold different positions. When I look at this kind of behavior – which isn’t designed to engage, advance human knowledge, or do anything except drive a heretic out into the darkness, it really doesn’t do a lot to improve my confidence in the people who are engaging in that kind of behavior.

In otherwards, warmists need to start acting more like Galileo and less like Urban VIII.

Finally, there’s my discomfort conceptually with the ways that they are attempting to drive “certainty” into climate arguments. Complex modeling tools are very useful in Mediocrestan, but – as the folks who brought us the recent financial Troubles have shown – not all that useful outside of it.

Things that happen inside “bounded reality” can be readily modeled and duplicated in a lab setting. Things outside simply can’t.

That’s the essence of Rittel and Webber’s claim, and that’s the perfect definition of a “wicked problem”. We’ve been saying AGW is a ‘wicked problem’ here for a long time.

Now because the models are weak, the problem is wicked, and the warmists are jerks, does that mean we just shrug? No, I think certainly not.

I can think of a bunch of sound reasons to minimize your emissions and to make that an area of emphasis – reduced dependence on ME oil, more secure infrastructure, local air pollution, etc. etc. Even just plain saving money.

Here’s Taleb on the issue:

1) Climate Change. I am hyper-conservative ecologically (meaning super-Green). My position on the climate is to avoid releasing pollutants in the atmosphere, on the basis of ignorance, regardless of current expert opinion (climate experts, like banking risk managers, have failed us in the past in foreseeing long term damages and I cannot accept certainty in a certain class of nonlinear models). This is an extension of my general idea that one does not need rationalization with the use of complicated models (by fallible experts) to the edict: “do not disturb a complex system” since we do not know the consequences of our actions owing to complicated causal webs. (Incidentally, this ideas also makes me anti-war). I explicitly explained the need to “leave the planet the way we got it”

.
Instead, I was presented as a “climate-change denier” (Lucy Mangan), and my environmental views summarized by “Climate change is not man-made” (Nicholas Watts).
A minimum of homework on the part of your staff would have revealed that I am one of the authors of the recent King of Sweden’s Bonham declaration on attitude to climate change.

I agree both when he says “climate experts, like banking risk managers, have failed us in the past in foreseeing long term damages and I cannot accept certainty in a certain class of nonlinear models” and that it’s a good idea to “leave the planet the way we got it.”

I’m going to resolve to stop kicking at the anthill that makes up the Warmist controversy and start focusing on interesting policy and technology options.

Meanwhile, I’ll suggest that others do what we’ve managed to do with some success – buy a NGV car if your commute permits it, and get PV solar for your house; with light subsidies it a break-even today, and as I think energy costs are headed up, it’ll be very valuable later on.
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26 thoughts on “Warmists And Heresy”

  1. bq. Finally, there’s my discomfort conceptually with the ways that they are attempting to drive “certainty” into climate arguments. Complex modeling tools are very useful in Mediocrestan, but – as the folks who brought us the recent financial Troubles have shown – not all that useful outside of it.

    AL, it has been, and continues to be, the case that you don’t know what you’re talking about w/r/t what proof there actually is and isn’t in climate science. Until you remedy that, it seems silly for anyone to take your pronouncements on the subject at all seriously.

    That said, this post just piles nonsense on top of more nonsense. You critique the Climate Progress post as merely an attempt to “drive a heretic out into the darkness”… but they’ve made several links in there specifically stating _why_ they believe Curry’s behavior and reasoning to be flawed. Surely you need to evaluate the correctness – or lack thereof – of those attacks before you dismiss their attack as being more dogma-driven than reason-driven?

    But, of course, you haven’t argued against (or likely, even read) the anti-Curry links that CP presents; otherwise, you wouldn’t dismiss it as something that’s not “designed to advance human knowledge.” This link in particular (from the CP paragraph you quoted) is a fairly detailed critique of the technical details of Curry’s paper – they go over the data and the modeling and specifically discuss the problems and limitations therein.

    Now, those critiques may themselves be flawed – I haven’t read enough and likely lack the technical expertise to say. But that link, is, unquestionably, the scientific process in action. Data and analysis are presented, and a discussion about the technical merits of that work occurs. Rinse and repeat. The blog format is relatively new, and the critique is a little on the informal side, but fundamentally this is the scientific process that Feynman would be familiar with, or SJ Gould, or any other number of working scientists from the past several hundred years.

    And, AL, you are, typically, castigating the AGW proponents for not engaging in it, while apparently not even being aware that it exists.

    bq. I’m going to resolve to stop kicking at the anthill that makes up the Warmist controversy and start focusing on interesting policy and technology options.

    I’m skeptical of this, but will wait to see if you actually follow through on it.

  2. Actually, let me make this even simpler: you critique the Climate Progress post by quoting the introductory paragraphs and then basically dismissing it as an attempt to “drive a heretic out into the darkness”.

    In doing so you completely gloss over the substance of that post, which is basically a critique of her testimony to the US House based on what Curry claims Weitzman said, and what CP actually quotes him as saying. At its core, it appears to me to be a genuine disagreement over the current state and ramifications of climate science and their implications for policy.

    Now, that being the case, it would seem incumbent upon you – if you’re basically just trying to cast the CP post as a witch hunt – to demonstrate that the argument is somehow deeply flawed; that it’s not actually a rational argument, or that the reasoning behind it is somehow obviously flawed, or that the facts behind the argument are somehow fake.

    So, my simple request to you, AL, is to do just that: actually make a strong counter-argument to the CP post showing WHY that post is an unjustified attack, rather than a reasoned critique.

    I’m very much interested to see your response to this.

  3. AL,

    I guess I am missing something here. I read the Climate Progress posting that you linked to several times. Nowhere do I see any evidence of anyone acting like anything is the “absolute truth.” In fact, it seems quite the opposite. It seems rather to examine and highlight a series of probabilities, likelihoods and uncertainties.

    I am not sure who you mean by “warmists.” Are these non-scientists who promote the theory of global warming without evidence, or beyond what the evidence suggests? Are they scientists who exaggerate evidence of global warming for political purposes? Or are they the scientists who believe the preponderance of evidence indicates global warming is occurring and will continue to occur at a more rapid pace if emissions are not reduced?

    I think this last group is a group worth listening to. Paying attention to either of the other two, much smaller groups, or letting those two groups stand in for or represent the 3rd, seems to be a complete waste of time and to be utterly beside any meaningful point.

  4. Unlike commenter Chris, I am not sufficiently knowledgeable to have read and understood the various research papers involved. So I am unable to judge the relative scientific merits of Curry’s positions versus those of her (presumably) equally prestigious scientific critics. I am, however, familiar with the behavior of many of those critics, and that behavior does not cause me to have great confidence in them. And I can evaluate much of their logic (e.g. “we must completely overturn the economy of the entire world, just to play it safe”) and I find it wanting.

    Speaking of behavior, if I had the training and knowledge of climate science that Chris obviously does, I would know that since respected scientists disagree on these matters, it would be ridiculous to try to convince the untutored laymen reading this of the correctness of one particular side merely by telling them to read the latest salvo by that side.

  5. LTEC-

    First, if you’re going to reply to me, do so directly instead of this 3rd person crap.

    Second, reread what AL is saying, and what I’m saying. I’m not trying to convince anybody about the factual correctness of any given AGW argument; I am trying to point out that there is not anywhere near the paucity of data, research, and honest argumentation that AL says there is. You don’t necessarily have to understand the content of an argument to spot a logical fallacy, or the lack thereof.

    Third, I’d love to see you back up the claim that a substantial number of climate scientists are actually running around saying “we must completely overturn the economy of the entire world, just to play it safe.” Hell, I’d love to see an argument that rises above the level of dogmatic assertion that cap and trade (not exactly the same thing as submitting every economic transaction to the Politburo for approval) would actually do substantive damage to the economy, rather than _maybe_ slowing the rate of economic growth in the future, and that said loss of growth would be much worse than, say, the loss of economic growth caused by water wars between India, Pakistan, and/or China.

    Think you’re up to that, LTEC?

  6. Continuing with the 3rd person crap …

    The game Chris is playing is called “bait and switch”. Sure a little “cap and trade” will only do a little bit of economic harm. But then we’ll be told we have to go to the next step; we’ll be told, as we were told about Kyoto, that it was just a start or a framework, and that more change is needed, and it’s needed NOW in order to save the world.

    Is there anybody reading this who does not recall all the talk around the time of the Copenhagen conference about how the economic basis of the world must be changed, about the coming global governance, about how wealth only makes people unhappy? Do I really have to search for all these links? Don’t people recall all the threats about how, if we didn’t buy into every single environmentalist demand we would be causing wars in the third world?

    Weren’t we told about 5 years ago that we only had 5 years left to make drastic changes or we were all doomed?

    Will some environmentalist please tell us in clear terms what _exactly_ we have to do to save the planet and make them leave us alone?

  7. LTEC, just to be clear – you really _can’t_ find original links to back up the stuff you’re saying, can you?

    You’re repeating a lot of angry assertions that I’m sure you’ve read on a dozen right-wing blogs, but you seem to have no understanding of what climate scientists and environmentalists have _actually said_, let alone coherent rebuttals to their arguments.

    Or maybe I’m wrong… but until you actually provide links, I’ll continue to assume otherwise.

  8. Although I refused, on principle, to search for evidence that is overwhelmingly present in just about _every_ climate alarmist site, I couldn’t help coming across “this”:http://thegwpf.org/ipcc-news/1877-ipcc-official-climate-policy-is-redistributing-the-worlds-wealth.html from IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer:

    bq. Basically it’s a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization. The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War.

    This quote is actually much milder than many that we — that is, almost all of us — see all the time. And I saw this one, by accident, yesterday.

  9. _” James Hansen, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.”_

    “The Guardian”:http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/jun/23/fossilfuels.climatechange

    For those keeping score, Hansen is the neutral, level headed scientist running one of the 3 major climate datasets in the world, GISS.

  10. _…King of Sweden’s Bonham declaration on attitude to climate change._

    King of SWEDEN??? Please, tell me that is a joke…

    There are also good reasons for wanting the climate change.

  11. LTEC-

    Reading through the entire interview, it’s pretty clear that Edenhofer is basically talking about the balancing act between reducing carbon emissions and economic development in places like China and India… which is to say, basically the same point that gets made on this board by AGW skeptics every time this topic comes up.

    I’m still not seeing this grand plan to make owning a pickup truck a capital crime, or similar stuff, but you refuse “on principle”, to point me towards links which would prove as much, so I guess I’ll just chalk this up to AGW skeptic dogma – that thing AL was decrying above – and leave it at that.

  12. Mark B-

    I see, so James Hansen can be used as a stand-in for all AGW scientists… does this mean that James Inhofe is a stand-in for all AGW skeptics? In which case I guess I can just claim victory now in the form of a Godwin’s Law violation and leave it at that:

    bq. In a 2006 interview with the Tulsa World newspaper, Inhofe said regarding the environmentalist movement, “It kind of reminds… I could use the Third Reich, the Big Lie… You say something over and over and over and over again, and people will believe it, and that’s their [the environmentalists’] strategy… A hot summer has nothing to do with global warming. Let’s keep in mind it was just three weeks ago that people were saying, ‘Wait a minute; it is unusually cool….Everything on which they [the environmentalists] based their story, in terms of the facts, has been refuted scientifically.” Inhofe had previously compared the United States Environmental Protection Agency to the Gestapo and he compared EPA Administrator Carol Browner to Tokyo Rose.

    Let’s cut to the chase: Hansen’s arguing some pretty strong stuff, but he’s _not_ representative of what the IPCC says, or the majority of climate scientists, or even what _actual policy_ looks like – that’s more like the (very watered down) cap and trade bill that passed the house this summer. We can play the game of “your excesses are worse than our excesses!”, or we can try to accurately characterize what the current state of AGW science is.

    That said, you and I can’t even agree on the basic science, last I checked – did you ever bother to read any of the relevant papers on the surface station analysis, or are you still insisting that air conditioning exhaust makes temp readings cooler, and that Watt’s work is only discredited if the data is homogenized?

  13. And as you’ve made clear before, Glen, there’s no difference in your mind between having any kind of liberal beliefs and being a full-on totalitarianist, right? There’s a clear and direct line between communism and the modern Democratic party; subtlety, nuance, and actual history be damned.

    So, yeah, I’ll stand behind that post Glen, comfortable in the knowledge that those who don’t share your peculiar views – that is, nearly everybody – won’t see it as an endorsement of Leninism.

    And hey, while I’m at it, I should point out that although you’re quite certain von Storch was horribly persecuted, he himself doesn’t see it that way:

    bq. And what of the alarmists’ kin, the skeptics? They say these words show that everything was a hoax—not just the historical temperature results in question, but also the warming documented by different groups using thermometer data. They conclude I must have been forced out of my position as chief editor of the journal Climate Research back in 2003 for my allegiance to science over politics. In fact, I left this post on my own, with no outside pressure, because of insufficient quality control on a bad paper—a skeptic’s paper, at that.

    Not that you’d want to let the facts stand in the way of your righteous anger at the left, or anything…

  14. Chris –

    I’m glad Von Storch feels that way. It doesn’t change the fact that the conniving little creeps were prepared to scare his publisher into firing him, without regard to the truth, instead of opening stating their objections in academic discourse. And you rationalized every inch of it.

    I don’t object to your liberal beliefs, because as far as I can tell you haven’t got any.

  15. Glen-

    Seriously, _do_ you have the ability to actually _reason_, instead of just spitting bile and venom?

    The Soon and Baliunas paper at the core of the von Storch controversy didn’t pass peer review – four different reviews recommended rejecting it, and it was published regardless. That in and of itself is a major, legitimate strike against the paper, and definitely a reason for _real_ climate scientists to have a problem with the journal, its editors and the publisher who oversees them.

    Beyond that, academics have the right to refuse to publish in journals that they do not believe are acting in a professional manner and publishing crap research. Biologists would likely have a similar problem publishing in a journal that trafficked in Intelligent Design, or HIV-does-not-cause-AIDS theories. And, in climate science, the kind of stuff Soon and Baliunas paper was seen as being equally egregious.

    _You_ may not agree with their assessment, but unless you’re prepared to say that everybody, everywhere, at all times should act in accordance with _your_ perception of what is and isn’t good science, then you don’t seem to have much of a leg to stand on when it comes to critiquing their actions. In the business world, I doubt you’d have a problem with people organizing against a firm that was seen as doing unprofessional, incompetent work – how is this any different?

    And look, here’s the thing, Glen: you can certainly argue against the above line of reasoning. You can suggest that the facts as I’ve laid them out are incorrect, or that there are other facts that I’m not showing, or that my reasoning is flawed. But to do any of that, you’d have to actually _engage_ with the argument, and _that_ is what you – and, from what I can tell, the _vast_ majority of the AGW skeptic community – is largely incapable of doing, beyond surface condemnations of anything they can spin as evil on the pro-AGW side. You see it in LTEC’s refusal to provide links to back up any of the conspiracy he’s painting; you see it in AL’s inability to actually deal with the argument in the Climate Progress post he quotes. And we see it in your ability to do anything but rage in disgust over what you _know_ (but can’t actually _explain_) is wrong.

    Not that you’ll listen to me – I’m (apparently) a Leninist who’ll rationalize anything and lacks any actual liberal beliefs – but I figured it was laying out.

  16. Chris, you are still rationalizing it. The proper way to respond to a faulty publication is to publish an answer to it. This requires a small degree of faith in the idea that truth is best served by academic freedom.

    What they proposed to do instead was to destroy the editor who allowed that paper into print, by smearing him with his publisher.

    PS Re CR, I do not know the best way to handle the specifics of the editoring. Hans von Storch is partly to blame — he encourages the publication of crap science ‘in order to stimulate debate’. One approach is to go direct to the publishers and point out the fact that their journal is perceived as being a medium for disseminating misinformation under the guise of refereed work. I use the word ‘perceived’ here, since whether it is true or not is not what the publishers care about – it is how the journal is seen by the community that counts. I think we could get a large group of highly credentialed scientists to sign such a letter — 50+ people. Note that I am copying this view only to Mike Hulme and Phil Jones. Mike’s idea to get editorial board members to resign will probably not work — must get rid of von Storch too, otherwise holes will eventually fill up with people like Legates, Balling, Lindzen, Michaels, Singer, etc. I have heard that the publishers are not happy with von Storch, so the above approach might remove that hurdle too.

    If you don’t see what’s wrong with that – and obviously you don’t – then it’s not my business to argue with you about it.

    Whether they’re assessment of the paper was correct or not is a hundred million light years beside the point. One of them said that he “personally” regarded it as “junk science”, as if that were a matter of personal opinion. Personally, I don’t think the rotten bastards even care.

    It’s interesting that you lump AL, LTEC, and I together, as if our comments all amounted to the same thing – to wit, an inability to reason and understand arguments. That kind of arrogant “us against them” attitude is very typical of those “real scientists” like Phil Jones that you admire so much.

  17. Columbus did not pass peer review either from his Portuguese colleagues, the top experts in the matter those years.

    Peer review works for what it works: incremental research. Expecting that someone would allow a full blow to his field of research, or to cut off his source of cash is unrealistic, a denial of human nature. In fact, too often the best papers are published by or with collaboration of researchers from other fields in other field’s magazines.

    AGW theory is not science. For doing science you have to follow the “scientific method”:http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_scientific_method.shtml, since for AGW you cannot confront your hypothesis with reality in a fair experiment, you are not doing science.

    However, you can still apply scientific methods, tools developed for doing science in other areas, that is true, but not science. I think Mises called them lesser sciences, since their conclusions are not binding, but a guess.

    That distinction is often erased in order to implement someone vision grounded in the “inevitability of the consequencies” obtained from the conclusions of applying the “scientific method” (which has not been fully applied, but only some tools).

    Among the first who simply erased this distinction was Karl Marx. Marx applied some scientific tools to study the society of his time, called it science, and concluded that capitalism had such internal unbalances that was going to implode in a few decades. Although the scientific tools he used could be correct, the non-binding nature of his conclusions are evident.

    The core of the AGW research is a gross correlation, that is, the application of a statistical tool to doubtful data. And it has to be so, since the more absurd a theory is, the less the possibility to critize it: you cannot point out the flaws of something absurd.

    Plainly talking, AGW was born when a weather observer got a computer powerful enough to apply the Singular Value Decomposition method to a set of derived data that was told to represent the “climate” some years ago. Then he did a regression and extrapolated into the future, obtaining, well, what Malthus got two centuries ago: “a catastrophe”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malthusian_catastrophe.

    I am not sure even if you can apply SVD to a non-linear system’s variables.

    It is an insult to call it science, and yes, it is very close to Marxism, therefore I think it is fair to call it neo-Marxism, or to link it to Socialism. Doing so is not radicalism, but a more rigorous application of scientific tools (in this case, to history) than the AGW enlightened do in their works

  18. bq. Chris, you are still rationalizing it. The proper way to respond to a faulty publication is to publish an answer to it. This requires a small degree of faith in the idea that truth is best served by academic freedom.

    First off, Glen, the SB03 paper _was_ rebutted in a public paper.

    Second, you’re still dancing around the idea that there is some min-bar of basic competence that scientific journals should be expected to follow. If an editor in a math journal decided to publish – against the recommendation of the peer review process – a paper stating that Pi really is a rational number, and the circle could thus be squared, I doubt you’d have a problem with other mathematicians pointing out that the editor in question was acting unprofessionally, and endangering the reputation of the journal. If such action _wasn’t_ taken, then rather than discussing the most state-of-the-art research with their peers, scientists would have to spend all their time rebutting questions that had been decided years ago, or dealing with obviously faulty research. The peer review process (which again, _wasn’t_ followed in this instance) acts as a form of quality control, without which the scientific process could fall victim to, essentially, a denial-of-service attack.

    And lastly, before you wrap your attack in the concept of academic freedom, it’s worth pointing out that the concept is a lot closer to freedom of the press than it is to “free-like-the-air”. People _can_ research and write about whatever they like, but they have no right to get it published and discussed anywhere they want, just like I _can_ write whatever I want but I have no right to have the National Review publish it.

    bq. If you don’t see what’s wrong with that – and obviously you don’t – then it’s not my business to argue with you about it.

    bq. Whether they’re assessment of the paper was correct or not is a hundred million light years beside the point.

    Well, no, it’s not even remotely beside the point – the _whole point_ of the scientific process is to establish what is and isn’t good research. You’re repeatedly _asserting_ that the quality of the paper doesn’t matter, but you don’t seem able to explain _why_ that’s the case – it’s basically just dogma that you either won’t – or can’t – examine.

    Which is to say, it’s nothing like science.

    bq. It’s interesting that you lump AL, LTEC, and I together, as if our comments all amounted to the same thing – to wit, an inability to reason and understand arguments.

    “As if…?” Dude, I’m not implying it, I’m outright _stating_ it. In great detail, over and over, giving you plenty of opportunity to disprove my thesis, and not seeing anything other than “well, I _could_ back up what I’m saying, but I won’t out of principle, because, y’know, it’s just obvious!”

    bq. That kind of arrogant “us against them” attitude is very typical of those “real scientists” like Phil Jones that you admire so much.

    I don’t know where the “admire so much” came from – climate scientists are as human as the next person, with all the flaws that implies – but yeah, *real scientists* _do_ have the “arrogance” to divide arguments into two groups – rational, fact-based argumentation (i.e. *real science*), and everything else (e.g. the anti-AGW dogma on display in this thread.)

    It’s outright bizarre that you guys can try to lay claim to being the ones who _really_ understand science without understanding that.

  19. J Aguilar-

    Er, wow, that was actually a far more impressive freestyle rant combining AGW with communism than anything I’ve seen from Glen. So kudos for that – if there was a competition for smashing everything conservatives don’t like into one giant conspiracy narrative, you’d make a great showing, I’m sure.

    That said, it’s worth pointing out that, according to the definition you’re proposing, _lots_ of stuff isn’t “science”: not just climate science, but astrophysics, astronomy, geology, big chunks of biology, just off the top of my head. Most actual scientists – even those in disciplines that do live and die by lab work, such as particle physics and chemistry – wouldn’t agree that those other disciplines aren’t science, but if it makes you feel better to think that’s the case, go for it.

    As for your Just So story on the true origins of AGW theory:

    bq. Plainly talking, AGW was born when a weather observer got a computer powerful enough to apply the Singular Value Decomposition method to a set of derived data that was told to represent the “climate” some years ago. Then he did a regression and extrapolated into the future, obtaining, well, what Malthus got two centuries ago: a catastrophe.

    Actually, the Greenhouse Effect was studied centuries ago by guys like Fourier and Arrhenius. You _can_, in a lab setting, easily prove that a gas mixture with an increased proportion of carbon dioxide will retain more heat than one with less CO2. And there’s little question that fossil fuel combustion and other industrial activity is increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere; the questions that the most prominent skeptics seem to be clinging to right now are 1) how much will global temperatures rise due to the increased CO2 in our atmosphere, and 2) what is the role of feedback loops and other factors (e.g. solar radiation changes) in increasing or decreasing the temperature rise.

    But those are merely the tedious, troublesome facts, Aguilar – they’re not nearly as satisfying as your universal dismissal of all of climate science as a neo-Marxist plot, so I suggest you leave them be and go on playing in your safe, comfortable world of denial. Cheers!

  20. AL-

    Wow, you don’t even pretend to read opposing arguments, do you? You grab whatever fragments of text strike your ire and go off an a rant, completely independent of whatever the original context was.

    Case in point:

    bq. You’re saying that the folks who argued against continental drift, to name a dozen other ‘heresie’ were the real scientists and everyone else should have just STFU.

    Actually, no, AL. I specifically addressed this not that long ago:

    bq. That said, let’s cut to the chase here: is every scientific study ever made unimpeachably true, accurate and unbiased? Of course not. Can significant branches of science go off on wild goose chases that take years or even decades to correct? Sure. It’s rare – far rarer than your insipid “Look, if it can happen in medicine it can happen anywhere, including AGW!” argument would suggest – but it does happen. I dunno who’s been claiming otherwise – I know hasn’t been me.

    bq. But, see, here’s the thing, AL: when it’s discovered that studies are biased, that broad theories are incorrect and research has been headed in the wrong direction, you know who’ve been the people responsible for figuring that out?

    bq. *Scientists.*

    bq. In fact, not just scientists, but the same scientists who’re conducting research in that area, who work with the data and the logical ramifications of a given theory day in and day out, and who’re the first people to run across the fact that something’s just not working, and that base assumptions need to be rethought from scratch. (You’re fond of quoting Feynman, I suggest you go back and revisit Feynman’s own description of how this kind of thing happens: “The Seven Percent Solution” chapter from “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”)

    Continuing…

    bq. In this case, the claim by folks like me (and now, amusingly, ‘fake scientists’ like Judith Curry) is that “this is an interesting theory with a bunch of suggestive research, but the research looks like it’s been tainted a bit by the policy passions of many of those doing it. And it’d be nice to take a breath, go over the science in a systematic, public, reproducable way.”

    Except you’d have to explain how what’s already available _isn’t_ “systematic, public, and reproducible.” You clearly have no idea what’s available and what’s not as far as data, and yet you’re certain that it hasn’t been done to the right standards. In short, your opinion on this is pretty worthless, not because you’re a “heretic” but because you’re _flat-out ignorant on the subject_. (As for Curry, still waiting for you to produce any substantive disagreement with the meat of the CP post above.)

    bq. But we’re disbelievers, and hence non-scientists. That’s bullshit, pure and simple.

    That is not even _remotely_ what I’ve argued here, AL. If someone would present a coherent, fact-based attack on AGW science, I’d be happy to follow along, and respect that as a rational argument. But what Glen (and you, and LTEC, etc.) are saying is not science because you *don’t* engage with the facts, you *don’t* engage with the arguments, you present dogma as unquestioned truth and refuse to defend or explain it when challenged.

    Rebut the Climate Progress post, AL. Tell us why the Scienceblogs post quoted in the CP post isn’t “real science”, as you claimed above. Tell me why Watt’s temp station work hasn’t been discredited, or why Briffa’s work has been, _engaging with the latest work on the subject_, rather than something you read on some skeptic blog and took as the final word on the subject.

    Until then, claiming that you’ve been unfairly painted as un-scientific is what’s bullshit, AL.

  21. Roland’s post is largely sane and reasonable. I don’t agree with all of it, but it’s one of the sanest things I’ve seen thus far on this thread. Kudos.

  22. Chris,

    Please, could you answer a question? Do warmologist fully follow the “scientific method”:http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_scientific_method.shtml?

    What you can prove in a lab means little when you proclaim to know what is going to happen to the world climate in 50 years time. If science was so easy, no full size tests flights (in planes, rockets) would be needed, would they?

    From the point of view of science, AGW _conclusions_ are derived from a extrapolation, a extrapolation made from a fit, obtained by statistics, statistics from indirect (to say the least) data.

    “Extrapolation”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extrapolation _In mathematics, extrapolation is the process of constructing new data points outside a discrete set of known data points_

    Statistics is a science, which provides tools to study sets of data, preferably that come from a fair experiment. When such fair experiment cannot be carried out, the output of the statistical tools are not a natural law.

    In such cases, as for instance, when you study human beings, you cannot reach a fundamental conclusion, but, at best, if the control has been enough for the matter under study, a trend.

    As in the study linking “chocolate to depression”:http://www.examiner.com/healthy-trends-in-dallas/new-study-links-depression-to-too-much-chocolate, the scientists (yes, here scientists) were unable to establish what came before, chocolate eating or depression. They just concluded that there is some link, but they could not determine what was the cause, and what was the effect.

    What would be needed? Medical studies establishing the underlying chemistry in which the human body processes the components of chocolate and equivalent studies on depression.

    However, what is needed for scientists studying people and chocolate, is not needed for warmologists. They know it all and we have to spend billions on it.

    Come on, AGW is not a conspiracy, it does not even deserve such name. It is just profitable, a swindle.

    And yes, in their ranks have been enlisted many “Greens” that became green when the Berlin wall fell and they follow the same Marxist inspiration that allows them to establish natural laws without fully applying the scientific method and then trying to change society on such grounds.

  23. Chris (#22)

    Could you please answer a question? Do warmologist fully follow the “scientific method”:http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_scientific_method.shtml?

    Statistics is a science, a science that provides tools to study sets of data, preferably coming from a fair experiment.

    If the sets of data are estimated, taken in an indirect way, that is not coming from a fair experiment, the conclusions cannot be considered a natural law, but, in the best of cases, a trend, a guess.

    As in the case of the “study linking chocolate and depression”:http://articles.latimes.com/2010/apr/27/science/la-sci-chocolate-20100427, scientists (yes, in this case, scientists) have identified a trend (for a given population) between chocolate consumption and such mental state, but they could not separate the cause from the effect, that is, if it was depression which triggered chocolate consumption or it was the contrary, even having studies that link some components of chocolate with the increasing of levels of dopamine and the counteracting of Omega-3 acids in the brain, since these truly scientists lack the knowledge to understand the entire brain chemistry and its effect in mood.

    Warmologist do not understand the entire Earth chemistry, but the state what is going to happen in decades if not centuries… from a gross statistic.

    And as I wrote in my previous post, there are more objective reasons to say that warmology is inspired by Marxism, than the Earth is warming. First of all, when the Berlin wall fell, many Communist enlisted in the new Green parties, greens that today support warmology on the same grounds (economic development is evil), secondly, as I told, Marxism applied some scientific tools in the study and modelling of the society of the middle 19th century, extrapolated the results and concluded that Capitalism was about to collapse, and that was unavoidable, a natural law (not a guess) and that, therefore, their new order had to be accepted, exactly what warmologist do now.

    Warmology a plot? It is simply profitable, a swindle.

    —————

    For those who think there are reasons to act against warmer climate, even if it is not proven that it is happening, just to point out that there might be reasons as good for not acting.

    “Lives Saved per Life Lost Due to Global Warming”:http://www.co2science.org/articles/V13/N46/B1.php

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  24. Chris, I just can’t let this crap go unanswered.

    When you say

    I don’t know where the “admire so much” came from – climate scientists are as human as the next person, with all the flaws that implies – but yeah, real scientists do have the “arrogance” to divide arguments into two groups – rational, fact-based argumentation (i.e. real science), and everything else (e.g. the anti-AGW dogma on display in this thread.)

    You’re saying that the folks who argued _against_ continental drift, to name a dozen other ‘heresie’ were the real scientists and everyone else should have just STFU.

    Kuhn might be enlightening reading here, as the notion of ‘normal science’ would be familiar to every reader of his. Science – like any human activity – moves in fits and starts, and the ‘settled truths’ of the past are constantly subject to revision.

    In this case, the claim by folks like me (and now, amusingly, ‘fake scientists’ like Judith Curry) is that “this is an interesting theory with a bunch of suggestive research, but the research looks like it’s been tainted a bit by the policy passions of many of those doing it. And it’d be nice to take a breath, go over the science in a systematic, public, reproducable way.”

    But we’re disbelievers, and hence non-scientists. That’s bullshit, pure and simple.

    Right now climate science is an anthill, and when it settles down, we’ll talk policy.

    Marc

  25. I agree with most of what AL says here. But isn’t it also true that reasearch and scientific debate has always been “tainted” by the passions of those doing the research, and it always will be: passion about defending orthodoxy, passion on behalf of a new idea, and (certainly in this case) passions on behalf of vested economic interests. Therefore, I don’t think that the anthill AL refers to is ever going to “settle down” in time for us to anything about AGW if it’s real.

    In the meantime, AL advocates that everyone take small personal steps. We can call this the 1000 points of light approach. But if those things are good(buying a new Chevy Volt, switching lightbulbs, adding solar to our roof, and generally doing our small parts to be good eco-citizens), then why not consider policy changes to help implement some of those steps with wider participation (you know, tax breaks, cap and trade, and the like). Modest legislation to raise fuel efficiency and to regulate carbon emissions in sensible incremental steps is not going to bring us to ruin.

    It seems there is sufficient scientific consensus to take incremental steps to fight global warming, especially if these steps can help conserve energy, make us more self-sufficient, create some jobs, and make us more competitive on alternate energy fronts. Nothing drastic–the kinds of things AL is advocating. I think that is the kind of thing that Tea Partiers, Republicans and Democrats should all be able to talk about. I think the fact that they are not is a sign of deep disfunction.

    By all means, everyone should be asking hard questions about the science. But I think one of Chris’s points is that truly questioning the science does require actually getting into the science–which most of us are not qualified to do. The kinds of questions that AL is raising, which are good questions, should make us very cautious about a gadarene rush to implement large changes. But it should not keep us from engaging in policy discussions about small incremental changes coordinated to help on the issue of AGW and on the development and innovation fronts.

    Although lay people are not capable to truly evaluate the science and forming sound opinions, they are, of course, perfectly capable of attacking the scientists in mob fashion. Indeed our popular media are expert at it. But I see no reason why we should join in that fun.

    I say: question the science as you are able, leave the scientists alone, indeed fund the Universities to keep on developing the science, and in the meantime, support a legislative program for positive incremental changes of the sort that AL would have us adopt spontaneously.

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