To whom it may appall

UPDATE: G’day, AndThenTheresPhysics readers!

Now that your fearless bleader, a practitioner of what the sages call the Fourth Way (flee first, then whine) has sent you flocking/trouping here, perhaps you can help us with a mystery that’s got Anders himself stumped:

what was the scientific, academic or scholarly purpose of the Consensus on Consensus paper—a paper you [Ken Rice] condoned by attaching your name as a coauthor?

I know what its political/demagogic function was; Cook, Oreskes and others have been making no secret of it.

What I’m asking is its *scholarly* purpose.

WordPress is thoughtful enough to tell us exactly how many of you are reading this, so every time we get a referral without an answer to the above question, I think we can count it as confirmation of the (so to speak) null hypothesis: that Ken and the other fifteen authors owe their respective governments a refund.


Not unforeseeably, a CliScep post I wrote last week caused some umbrage. But truth is an absolute defence to charges of umbrage, so the purpose of this followup is to assure anybody whose feelings may have been hurt that their grievance is indeed with reality, not me.

Reader, unless you’ve been living under a rock—or living, truly living—I’m sure you’ve heard by now about the latest stool of a paper to come out of the climate-consensus cargo cult of Oreskes et epigones. But since I have no life, I thought I’d read it so you wouldn’t have to.

That’s just a figure of speech: you were never obliged to read it. Nobody was.

weakening consensus.jpg

Our Strengthening Consensus: From 100% to 97%, The Science™ just gets more and more convincing.

But then, the publicity blitz surrounding the paper had already given me a pretty good idea how  execrable the contents were, so I decided to watch a moth die instead.

The paper is advertised as discovering a “consensus on consensus,” which, if true, would settle once and for all the Medieval scholastic riddle of whether a vacuum can contain a vacuum. For readers who prefer their references a bit more ’90s, let’s call it a Seinfeld paper about Seinfeld papers.

[Scientific epistemology in 10 seconds: opinion is not evidence; expert opinion is not evidence; majority opinion is not evidence; consensus is not evidence; unanimous opinion is not evidence. What Scientists Think™ means literally nothing, to 2000 decimal places, in science. Papers on said question are scientifically worthless, by definition, and the act of writing such papers can only be motivated by an intention to glamor the gullible with baubles. Nobody has ever offered an innocent explanation for such papers (a challenge from which even the culprits are smart enough to silently back away every single time), because there is none.]

The authors have described themselves, not dishonestly, as an “all-star cast of consensus experts.” (Like many Climate English idioms, this has no exact translation; but it would be something close to “the cream of the crap of academia.”) They even amended “all-star cast” to “all-star lineup” in later statements, demonstrating proper use of the collective noun for petty criminals. I’m guessing they had adult help with their word choice.

But one of the authors, a Dr Ken Rice, belongs to a more redeemable species of hominid than the rest—he’s a CliScep reader, no less!*

So I had some constructive notes for Ken, better known as AndThenTheresPhysics, who shares a sixteenth of the blame for the stercoraceous pseudostudy that is Cook’s CoC. A fellow sixteenther—one Sarah Green—was peddling misinformation about science on Reddit, and I wanted to know (among other things) what Ken intended to do about it. In closing, I reminded would-be commenters to make allowances for Ken’s deep scientific illiteracy.

Reactions to my post were mixed.

I thought it was “great,” whereas readers used words like “appalling,” “nasty piece of writing” and “is everyone who associates with this site happy to be associated with this post?

OK, that was all the one reader: Ken Rice. Nobody else seemed to have a problem with it. Even Green didn’t object to my harsh description of her remarks, nor dispute my corrections of her science.

But it does raise the question: was I being unfair to Ken? Is it possible that he has a tighter grip on the logic of science than I gave him credit for? Have I finally fallen into the trap that’s claimed the credibility of so many other climate commentators: have I allowed myself to get carried away in my own rhetoric?

No. I was reminded of the accuracy and justice of my criticisms the other day, while revisiting Ken’s accidental debut on the climate-comedy stage: an old blog he named (with commendable candor) To The Left Of Centre. 

Honestly, I wasn’t even looking for material to embarrass Ken with. But I may have hit the mother lode.

Reader, check it. Try to get past the first paragraph below, in which Ken declares his unfamiliarity with the concept of quoting. Indulge his clumsy substitution of ‘prove’ for ‘show evidence for; confirm.’† That’s just the beginning of this encyclopedia of ignorance. It gets stupider (my emphasis) and stupidererer.

I also came across a comment on another article that may also indicate an issue related to how some interpret the scientific method. I’ll paraphrase as I don’t want to plagiarise what someone else has said, but it was essentially

As far as climate models are concerned, it’s up to scientists to prove [sic] their hypothesis, rather than for us to disprove it.

I think this completely mis-represents the scientific method. In an area like climate science … 

[Special pleading special pleading special pleading. The point of this paragraph, if there is one, seems to be that we can’t possibly expect climate science to meet the same standards as every other science. But don’t hold your breath waiting for the corollary to occur to Ken: that if he’s right, climate science has no right to demand the same respect as a proper science. Pennies don’t really drop for Ken; they just tend to float away to the Antarctic, like so many chlorofluorocarbons.] 

He keeps digging (my emphasis):

We are not obliged to act just because scientists present their results to us, but our decisions should be informed by this information. The scientists are also not obliged to prove [sic] their hypothesis. In fact, I would argue that in the case of climate science, it’s not a hypothesis. It is what the science is indicating.

Read that paragraph again, if you dare. 

Sentence 1 is a flaccid platitude. 

Sentence 2 is a point-blank contradiction of the scientific method—a denial, in other words, of science.

(Hey Ken, you know all that contempt you feel for ‘science deniers’? Right back at ya, sport.)

Sentence 3 is a cognitive dog’s breakfast. Either Ken thinks it’s a profound revelation that fields and hypotheses are two different things, or he’s made the Freudian slip of metonymizing ‘AGW’ to ‘climate science.’ It’s hard to believe anyone could be so uneducated as to actually identify an entire multidisciplinary field, in his brain, with a single hypothesis therein—but what’s more disturbing is that he then proceeds to “argue” that said hypothesis is not really a hypothesis at all, crossing the line from low IQ to florid psychosis. 

Sentence 4—a raging, throbbing non sequitur—ratifies the latter diagnosis, I’m afraid. (Weep. Weep for Scotland.)

Remember those (premeditatedly) hilarious YouTube clips in which a girl who hadn’t seen a Star Wars movie in her life would take her best shot at reconstructing the plot of the three good ones by piecing together overheard fanversations and clues gleaned from her boyfriend’s action figures?

I can’t help thinking of that short-lived virus with a grin every time some Dunning-Krugmanned schlemiel, who’s never been told the first thing about the scientific method, subjects the rest of us to his imaginative mental model thereof—reverse-engineered, presumably, from 97% of movies and TV series that feature scientific protagonists. Rice’s forays into the genre, I think you’ll agree, are every bit as laughable as those of Chris Mooney, world’s leading scientifically-illiterate science communicator.

Marvel, reader, as I spend this thread opening Ken’s mind to the novel idea that maybe scientists should try not to conceal things from the public.

Incidentally, I remember wasting hours on Twitter one day striving to infiltrate the very same dead-simple ethical precepts through the calvaria of a twit called WottsUpWithThat [sic]. What I didn’t know at the time—nobody did—was that that Lefty, Wotty and Andy were all aliases of the same Edinburgh astronomy lecturer, our friend Kenneth. Like any good science communicator, Ken is intensely shy and made every effort to keep his secret identity that way; he was what Churchill might have called an anonymous blogger with much to be anonymous about. So I can only imagine his chagrin when skeptical sleuth Poptech outed him last year. The personal embarrassment must have been second only to the institutional embarrassment felt at the University of Edinburgh, where someone  had seen fit not only to allow but to pay LeftyWottyAndersKen to teach his unique brand of “science” to impressionable teenagers and 20-somethings.

First there’s politics, and then there’s physics. In this post Rice makes little secret of the fact that he gives the claims of fraudulent quack Stephan Lewandowsky the benefit of the doubt because… wait for it… they have a common antipathy to libertarianism!

The post that I’m reblogging is reporting on a couple of his papers and suggesting that there is a link between having a libertarian (free-market) ideology and rejecting climate science. If you’ve read any of my other posts, you’ll know I have real issues with the basic tenets of free-market thinking and with those who reject climate science, so this post certainly gels with my thinking and it is interesting that it is based on published work in cognitive science. Doesn’t make it right, I guess, but I would recommend giving it a read. 

(I wouldn’t.)

But don’t fear, Edinburgh U. students: that’s an ancient blog post. Ken Rice, “science” lecturer, was 3 years younger when he made the foregoing unguarded admission. I’m sure evidence takes priority over ideology in his chain of reasoning these days. You’re probably at very little risk of being fed scientized politics in Ken’s lectures any more, so there’s no need to complain to University management about their academic hiring practices. And the last thing I’m suggesting is that you should transfer en masse to a different class!

***

I hope the coda to this story amuses you, Ken. Yesterday my sweet old nan took one look at your CoC Abstract and declared it “a complete wank.” Now, as much as I respect my elders, I couldn’t agree with this kind of language. Completion suggests some sort of payoff. Whereas your paper, like its convict ancestors, lacks all redeeming value, doesn’t it? It’s irredeemable. I wish I could sugarcoat this, Ken, but I can’t. Nobody can, because it’s a straightforward, syllogistic consequence of the laws of science: consensus surveys tell us bugger-all about climate change. Your paper is a worthless addition to a worthless genre. 

Every cent of public money that went into writing it was—ipso facto—embezzled. 

Even you ought to have begun to grasp this, Ken, however dimly. If you’re still confused, go find a scientist. Ask her to explain slowly, using short words, the nature of the crime against human knowledge to which you became an accessory when you appended your John Hancock to this quote-unquote study.

The metaphor my nan was looking for, I suspect, was masturbatio interrupta. Your paper is half a wank, Ken. And not the good half. 


* This sentence was edited to reflect reports that Ken has a PhD and is no longer a Mister. Thanks to reader JustAnotherPerson for the correction.

† Mathematicians prove things; the most a scientist can normally hope to achieve is to find evidence for, or confirm, something. (They usually do so by trying to disprove it and failing. That’s the logic of scientific discovery in one sentence. And I didn’t charge you a cent.) So the verb prove doesn’t really belong in a scientific discussion, or at any rate not in the one Ken is trying to have. One can only assume it was introduced in his attempt to put the unnamed source’s statement in his own words lest he be sued for “plagiarism” (or whatever he fears would happen if he did the proper thing and quoted his antagonist). In order to make any sense at all of Ken’s “argument” with the mystery person, it’s necessary to undo the paraphrase. Finally, the “something” in question is called a hypothesis—another word Ken doesn’t seem to like, accept or understand.

130 thoughts on “To whom it may appall

  1. Here’s the TL;DR for those short of time. Brad Keyes bears a deep and lasting grudge against ATTP for blocking him on his blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brad Keyes bears a deep and lasting grudge against ATTP for blocking him on his blog.

    Certainly seems that way. I shall comment here if only to annoy him further (I would add a smiley face, but that would be disingenuous).

    Nobody else seemed to have a problem with it.

    Yes, this surprised me somewhat. I had thought that even though we might disagree about many things, that there were some decent people associated with this site.

    Like

  3. Raff,

    Yawn. You must have missed my comment in another thread disagreeing with Barry’s scheme to get back onto ATTP’s whitelist. I closed by asking who cares? Does anyone miss the place?

    No, I’m afraid you’re going to have to do a better job of psychologizing me than that, Raff. I’ve got something against ATTP, that’s for sure, but it’s for reasons that you’d understand had you read the post.

    Lazy, lazy stuff dude.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ATTP,

    I assure you it’s nothing personal.

    I’ve got a thing against ALL pseudoscientists—you know, people like you who claim to be scientists despite a risibly inchoate understanding of the scientific method, which they then foist upon others with all the confidence of the truly incompetent—so you’re not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ATTP,

    Just for the sake of your students, can you list the errors you made in the text I’ve quoted from you?

    I’m sure the people of Edinburgh would be reassured to know that, however deep your ignorance was 3 years ago, you’ve learned something about science in the intervening period.

    They’d be particularly relieved to get some confirmation that you’re no longer a science denier, I dare say.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ATTP, I assure you it’s nothing personal.

    You are delusional. If there is any single thing one can read from that pile of twaddle, it is that your grudge against ATTP is very personal. Whatever happened to attacking the argument not the man?

    By the way, are you scientifically trained or knowledgeable? You expound so often on the scientific method, a reader might assume you know something of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Raff, 4:44pm:

    “I’ve not seen you commenting on scientific issues.”

    Raff, 6:57pm:

    “By the way, are you scientifically trained or knowledgeable? You expound so often on the scientific method, a reader might assume you know something of it.”

    I’m confused. No, wait, you are.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Well to be pedantic, the scientific method has never been an “issue”. Again, probably too subtle. But come on, what is your level of scientific training?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Raff, 6:57pm:

    “Whatever happened to attacking the argument not the man? ”

    Raff, 7:14pm:

    ” But come on, what is your level of scientific training?”

    Liked by 4 people

  10. I thought it hilarious throughout, but I grew uncomfortable when you started attacking Dr. (not Mr.) Rice the way you did starting in paragraph 15. I do think it’s important not to attack the people we disagree with, but their arguments. Otherwise we just end up doing the thing we criticize the others for doing (not to discount the attacks that have been performed on skeptics.)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. “Whatever happened to attacking the argument not the man?”

    The climate debate happened.

    Anyway, I doubt you’ve read the post. It explicitly laughs at Ken’s arguments, then laughs at Ken for being the kind of man who would make such laughable arguments, but I don’t think that’s unduly ad hominem.

    In fact it’s not ad hom at all.

    If I’d said “Ken is scientifically illiterate, ergo what he writes is twaddle” it would be one thing. That is the logical structure of an ad hom.

    Instead I say “look at this twaddle—how scientifically illiterate is Ken?” That is the logical structure of a valid point followed by a valid insult, just for fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. JustAnotherPerson, thanks. It was a balancing act; I may have got the balance wrong. In a different mood, I may have reined in the rhetoric more. On the other hand I do think the saboteurs of science (Oreskes and her anti-epistemology accomplices) are ipso facto scumbags, and therefore fair game. Whereas when skeptics are attacked, it’s never for being scumbags, it’s for the crime of having accepted a chicken dinner once in the 1990s to speak at a 1% oil-funded thinktank. So in that sense I feel safe from the suspicion of symmetry.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I can understand your feelings. I, too, bristle at some of the stuff I see, and it makes me want to respond in turn, as well. The consensus on climate change (that humans are partly responsible) gives indication that the science points to a human impact on climate, but it’s not evidence. If you look at the scientific literature, you find much less agreement than you would suspect from such “studies” like CoC.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It’s getting boring bantering with Raff and Ken. None of the other AGW consensus types seem to be inclined to venture on here to challenge the denial of science herein. Either they consider us unworthy/unimportant, they haven’t heard of Cliscep, or they don’t like the idea of the intellectual challenge.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Brad, I’m not above being hypocritical, doubtless one of many faults. But I’m interested all the same in your level of scientific knowledge that allows you so confidently to contradict a scientist. You quote ATTP saying,

    The scientists are also not obliged to prove [sic] their hypothesis.

    You say of this:

    Sentence 2 is a point-blank denial of the scientific method—a denial, in other words, of science.

    Can you point to where in your scientific training you have ever heard of a scientist being required to prove a hypothesis? Doubtless there are hypotheses that are considered ‘proven’ but as I understand the scientific method (although I would bow to your greater knowledge if you could show any) it is more normal (in fact I’d say almost universal as risk of generalizing too far) for a hypothesis to be disproved rather than proven?

    This makes your pathetic little character assassination of ATTP rather comical, as it is you who seems to be the scientific ignoramus. But I’m sure that won’t stop your attacks.

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  16. Justanotherperson, following on from our discussion on the other thread (I couldn’t post to it earlier – maybe its comment period has expired), I have read around a bit regarding the Shaviv hypothesis of GCR flux coinciding with spiral arm crossings (a hypothesis that Brad would doubtless expect Shaviv to ‘prove’) and it seems the periodicity he claims isn’t at all certain or indeed likely. It wasn’t at the time of his papers and indeed results from the Spitzer telescope in 2008 seem to have challenged the existing understanding of the galactic structure. This is ATTP’s are of expertise, so maybe he could help.

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  17. Sigh.

    Raff Raff Raff,

    as I explain in my post, the verb ‘prove’ is ATTP’s invention. Didn’t you notice the ‘[sic]’ I put after it, to reassure readers that yes, I know better than to be caught dead using that word in that context?

    Ken apparently meant to say something like ‘show evidence for; confirm.’

    (All this and more is explained in the post, which you clearly didn’t bother reading.)

    And no matter how desperately Ken might wish to rewrite the rules of science, I’m afraid the burden of showing evidence very much DOES rest on the shoulders of the proponents of the hypothesis. Mind you, Ken doesn’t even grasp/accept that there IS a hypothesis in play, so I wouldn’t really expect him to be able to follow our present discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. JustAnotherPerson,

    ‘The consensus on climate change … gives indication that the science points to a human impact on climate, but it’s not evidence. ‘

    At the risk of inviting ridicule on Our Cause’s head (“haha! the so-called skeptics don’t even agree with each other!”), I don’t agree with you on this.

    If it’s an indication, it’s evidence. Unless I’m missing something, one implies the other.

    But it’s not evidence (because opinion is never a form of evidence in science), so it can’t be an indication.

    Did the consensus against quasicrystals that prevailed for decades in chemistry “indicate” that the science pointed to their impossibility? No, it indicated that chemists were still unwilling to look down the [electron] microscope, preferring to ridicule Danny Schechtmann even as he tried to lay out the evidence for them on a silver platter (or a slide plate, as the case may be). You can lead a whore to culture but you can’t make her think.

    Did the consensus on the psychogenic etiology of gastropyloric ulcers “indicate” that the science pointed to stress being the cause of ulcers?

    (Etc. etc. etc. You get my point, even if They won’t.)

    I prefer Jo Nova’s formulation: consensus is a proxy for funding, not for nature.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Hi Ken, nice to see you.

    Now that we’ve got you here, please remind us (that is, reveal to us for the first time ever):

    what was the scientific, academic or scholarly purpose of the Consensus on Consensus paper—a paper you condoned by attaching your name as a coauthor?

    I know what its political/demagogic function was; Cook, Oreskes and others have been making no secret of it.

    What I want to know is its *legitimate* purpose.

    I’m assuming there was one. Or were you planning to reimburse the British taxpayer for the time you wasted on this dreck?

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Ken apparently meant to say something like ‘show evidence for; confirm.’

    (All this and more is explained in the post, which you clearly didn’t bother reading.)

    Is that so? Did he say so somewhere? All I see is your:

    Indulge his clumsy substitution of ‘prove’ for ‘show evidence for; confirm.’

    and that by changing ‘prove’ to ‘show evidence for’ you change the meaning to something stupid that you can then attack for being stupid. Does that prove something beyond the pointless nature of the article?

    As for scientists having to show evidence for AGW, there is an abundance of such evidence.

    Justanotherperson, it is all very well quoting papers, I could have done so too. Indeed you can search for spiral arm crossing intervals as well as I can and you might find papers that say it is 100Myr (or some other number) not Shaviv’s 140Myr. How do you judge between the claimed intervals? Shaviv’s hypothesis rests on this claim; if you cannot assess that claim you cannot assess his hypothesis.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Raff,

    again I’m forced to doubt you read the post. You certainly read one part of it, but did you understand it?

    “by changing ‘prove’ to ‘show evidence for’ you change the meaning to something stupid that you can then attack for being stupid.”

    NO, Raff.

    By changing ‘prove’ to ‘show evidence for’ we promote Ken’s words from not-even-wrong nonsense to not-even-close rubbish.

    The change is required, in other words, just to make enough sense of his assertions to grapple with his… er… ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Raff,

    “As for scientists having to show evidence for AGW, there is an abundance of such evidence. ”

    And yet the most-downloaded paper in the entire IOP publishing empire is a pseudo-evidentiary turd [Cook13] that uses opinion as a counterfeit substitute for data supporting AGW.

    You don’t even have to be a trained skeptic to wonder: if the evidence is so abundant, why do they have to stoop to such used snake-oil salesmanship?

    Liked by 3 people

  23. I think that American warmists think that they’re in the vanguard of climate campaigning where in fact they’re following more sophisticated and determined efforts in Europe. Instead of using us as an example, they’re convinced that it just needs the Americn touch. If you believe that your message isn’t getting through, you can maintain the hope that it will be successful. Far harder if you realise that it’s got through and been rejected. A better message would involve a lot more proof and of a higher quality. The consensus obsession is them trying to take a shortcut.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. On that ‘abundance of evidence for AGW’, it was precisely the non-demonstration of this claimed ‘abundance’ of empirical data which hastened the sad departure of our only other voice of dissent, Geoff price, from this blog.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. Raff,

    does the second footnote (see †) help clear things up on the “prove vs show evidence” front?

      Note to readers:

    I just added that footnote a minute ago, i.e. after Raff raised the objections in his last message.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. So let me check if I understand. You don’t like ATTP, you are obsessed with him, you want to ‘get’ him. You were searching his articles from years back, articles in which you had engaged in conversation with him and received very polite replies. In one article in which you had a nice conversation he criticized the desire of an unnamed person (or persons) for scientists to ‘prove’ AGW hypothesis. You re-read that and decided that although it hadn’t occurred to you 3 years ago when you discussed it, this unnamed person could not be stupid enough to expect scientists to ‘prove’ a hypothesis because you (now) know that this isn’t how science works. You therefore reinterpreted the sentence to make it look as if the original unnamed person is wise and it is ATTP who is stupid instead, despite knowing that he almost certainly knows far more about any relevant science and the “scientific method” than you. You then have fun saying stupid, stupid, stupid, probably pulling funny faces and screaming at the computer as you write.

    Okay, so I exaggerate; maybe you weren’t screaming. But that is the gist of it as far as I can see.

    Like

  27. Brad,
    what I meant is that the consensus that there is a human impact on climate gives indication that there is evidence in support of the hypothesis, which there is. The physics of the greenhouse effect are well-established (not settled), and unless there is a negative feedback so great it cancels out the warming or results in cooling, we’ll see warming due to CO2 increase. But the magnitude of this depends on feedbacks, and that is one of the key issues in climate science.
    Raff,
    if you are going to argue for your position please, cite your sources. I found another paper supporting Shaviv’s position here.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. j.a.p,

    “Brad,
    what I meant is that the consensus that there is a human impact on climate gives indication that there is evidence in support of the hypothesis, which there is.”

    Sorry to harp on about this, but it’s important. Could you tell us precisely what empirical evidence there is for an anthropogenic fingerprint on recent (post 1950) global warming?

    Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Pingback: The calibre of climate “skepticism” | …and Then There's Physics

  30. I would say that Feldman et al. 2015 is a good example, though I don’t agree with everything they have to say. They actually measured the increasing capacity of CO2 to absorb radiation, and attribute this to increasing CO2. So while it isn’t a direct link, it is a good indicator (see the Google definition: the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid) that anthropogenic CO2 is warming the planet.

    Like

  31. Justanotherperson,

    if you are going to argue for your position please, cite your sources. I found another paper supporting Shaviv’s position here.

    Like I said, just quoting papers is of little use unless you have some way of assessing their quality and relevance. The new one you quote might be right. Or it might not. Here’s a quote from your paper that makes it plane that you can get whatever result you like by picking your preferred “pattern speed”. How do you assess that?

    “The placement of the Sun’s trajectory in this diagram de- pends critically on the relative angular pattern speeds of the Sun and the spiral arms. The mean advance in azimuth in our model of the Sun’s motion corresponds to a solar angular motion of 1⁄4 26:3 km s 1 kpc 1. If the difference in the solar and spiral arm pattern speeds, p, is greater than zero, then the Sun over- takes the spiral pattern and progresses in a clockwise direction in our depiction of the Galactic plane. Unfortunately, the spiral pat- tern speed is not well established and may in fact be different in the inner and outer parts of the Galaxy (Shaviv 2003). Several recent studies (Amaral & Lepine 1997; Bissantz et al. 2003; Martos et al. 2004) advocate a spiral pattern speed of p 1⁄4 20 5 km s 1 kpc 1, and we show in Figure 2 the Sun’s trajectory projected onto the plane for this value ( p 1⁄4 6:3 km s 1 kpc 1).

    Diamonds along the Sun’s track indicate its placement at inter- vals of 100 Myr. We see that for this assumed pattern speed, the Sun has passed through only two arms over the last 500 Myr. However, if we assume a lower but still acceptable pattern speed of p 1⁄414:4 km s 1 kpc 1 (shown in Fig. 3 for p 1⁄4 11:9 km s 1 kpc 1), then the Sun has crossed four spiral arms in the past 500 Myr and has nearly completed a full rotation ahead of the spiral pattern. Thus, the choice of the spiral pattern speed dramatically influences any conclusions about the number and timing of the Sun’s passages through the spiral arms over this time interval.”

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  32. Nice one, Brad. It’s very decent of you to read aTTP’s blogscrement so I don’t have to. I started trying to actively avoid reading most of his comments on skeptical blogs a while ago, but still enjoy reading the replies.

    More importantly, do you have a link for those Star Wars interpretations you mentioned?

    Liked by 3 people

  33. Raff,
    this conversation is becoming pointless, though it is true what you say, and to be honest, this isn’t an area that I have studied very much (as opposed to other aspects of the cosmic ray debate). Until I do study it more, I can’t honestly do much other than to point you to papers saying that there is a possible link. As of now, I am not quite sure what I think on this issue, but think it does deserve some more of my attention. So, I also do not know quite how to answer your question (though it seems to be a good one), though I may be able to later. I appreciate you engaging with me and not resorting to attacks, and I hope I’ve done the same.

    Like

  34. Michael,

    you’re very welcome.

    Chris Baker kindly remembered this example of the genre. It’s not the video I was thinking of (which I can’t seem to locate), and this girl, ShoeOnHead, seems to know much more about Star Wars than our friend does about the scientific method. But I hope it amuses you anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Leftywotty batty?

    Wotts’ now claiming on his blog that his entire schtick was an ‘attempt at engaging publicly’ – him being a scientist and all.

    That’s a touch revisionist.

    As pointed above – Wotts was drawn to the climate issue *because* he was anti-libertarian.
    He got stuck in, as recounted by none less than himself as the source, because he went to WUWT and got his internet commenter ass handed to him, so to speak, with all the wanting to get back that a wet towel whip elicits.
    He got sucked in, again in his own words, as he found the audience reaction that came with trolling skeptics far more addictive, than rambling away endlessly as a leftie academic astrobiologist.
    Now that he’s snuggled in as one more pea in the sks pod, with peer-reviewed consensus papers, he feels the back-story needs to be bit sexed-up, elevated.

    So now, Wotts did not get drawn into the climate debate because it’s an interesting issue with its own world, sub-culture. He didn’t get hooked to discussing science and scientific things with clever people – like all of us here. He’s flipped the whole story around. Instead, now, he tells us he came with knowledge and wisdom on the climate fully loaded, to ‘engage’. And he tried to communicate (with post after post as ‘wotts’). Like a male version of Katherine Hayhoe, he tried spread his message but the heathen wouldn’t bow. He retreated, wounded, like a scientific Squidward, blocking and banning as he pulled back.

    Let his story be a signpost to scientists who try to engage the public on anthropogenic global warming.

    Liked by 4 people

  36. Justanotherperson, the idea sounds plausible. But there are many parts to it, each of which needs a leap of faith to accept: can we really correlate temperature and GCRs back hundreds of millions of years, can we extract a reliable GCR history from just 20 or so fragments, can nano-meter-scale particles grow into CCNs in sufficient numbers to make a difference, can GCRs have such an effect and yet not leave a visible trace from the Laschamp event, and more. If we generously give each step a 50% probability and assume they are independent, just these 4 doubtful links (among others) in the chain combine to a probability of just 6% (0.5^4).

    Maybe that is not a fair way to judge, I’m not a statistician. But the fact that the hypothesis is not taken seriously more widely make me think that people who are equipped to assess it don’t regard it highly. I don’t have a good reason to reject that apparent judgement. Some here will doubtless use ad-hom attacks on non-believing scientists as a reason for rejection (they’re corrupt, grant-seeking, etc), but only those who have no better option and no idea what they are talking about.

    I appreciate you engaging with me and not resorting to attacks, and I hope I’ve done the same.

    I have no reason to attack you or be impolite. You discuss the subject honestly and openly.

    Like

  37. Semantics – prove derives from the idea of testing (the proof of the pudding is in the eating makes no sense with your definition, Brad) and no one is obliged to test any hypothesis they come up with. Peter Higgs got a Nobel for something he didn’t prove.

    Tone trolling – beware any utterance of the phrase “the scientific method”. Is the method used by theoretical physicists the same as used by analytical chemists?

    Like

  38. “no one is obliged to test any hypothesis they come up with” fragmeister12

    Absolutely true. It just affects who does or doesn’t believe you.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. “Is the method used by theoretical physicists the same as used by analytical chemists?”
    I should hope so. Otherwise one of them isn’t doing science.

    (Edit: To be clear, we’re not using “method” in the sense of “what equipment to use.” We’re using “method” in the sense of “underlying rationale/imperative/logic.” I’ve heard, from opponents of the scientific-method theory, that there is no single rationale/imperative/logic that all scientists have to follow, but I’m yet to hear an example of anyone doing science without obeying the same rationale/imperative/logic as all the other examples of anyone doing science I’ve heard of. Am I saying all swans are white? Admittedly. And I can’t imagine how a non-white swan would work.)

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Fragmeister,

    Semantics: “proof of the pudding” is a historical set piece, an idiom that doesn’t generalize. Have you ever proven a pudding?

    Tone: If you believe in plural scientific methods, fine, but please tell us: is there one that makes ATTP’s remarks defensible? Is there a scientific method according to which AGW is “not a hypothesis, it’s what the science is indicating,” wottever the hell that means?

    If not, then your quibble is not so much semantic as pedantic. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I suppose. I’m the king of pedantry. I once corrected someone’s pronunciation of an ancient Hindu scripture, only to be told, “you’re just being Vedantic!”

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Gmeister:

    “no one is obliged to test any hypothesis they come up with.”

    Right, in so far as no one is obliged to be a scientist. There’s a whole spectrum of rewarding careers in the Arts, for example.

    “Peter Higgs got a Nobel for something he didn’t prove.”

    Right again, because science isn’t about proof, it’s about evidence.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Raff,

    notwithstanding your incorrect failure to enjoy my post, your complaints about it have not been devoid of true statements, e.g.:

    ‘… it is more normal (in fact I’d say almost universal as risk of generalizing too far) for a hypothesis to be disproved rather than proven?’

    Entirely agreed. But (as I hope I made clear enough in my edit to the post) it’s obvious—to me at least—that Ken was talking about finding/showing evidence, not proof. If he meant exactly what he said, in the exact words that he chose (“…prove…disprove…”), then his post makes even less sense. There is no burden of proof in science, for the trivial reason that it would be impossible to meet it.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. An example of the quality of comments on aTTP’s blog:

    “I am not even in the slightest bit tempted to comment on that [Cliscep.com] blog. It’s tone explains all, really – their common argument against the science of global warming is if you believe in the science of global warming you are an idiot, dishonest or whatever.

    What strikes me about climate change deniers is their cowardice. They are too frightened to discuss facts, so they resort to a set of grubby little rhetorical tricks.”

    LOL, I know now why Ken IS tempted to comment on this blog rather than spend too much time on his own!

    Liked by 3 people

  44. Curiosity killed the Curies, Kit, but is still a generally laudable trait. I’m glad I elicited yours. And all I had to do was not answer Raff’s pointless question!

    Liked by 2 people

  45. but is still a generally laudable trait

    It is what drives science, and so not just laudable but essential to the scientific method. But then you knew that, right, with your scientific background!

    Like

  46. Kit’s scientific background allows him/her to come up with insightful comments like this, so in the climate debate, it would seem scientific qualifications aren’t all that, especially among those ‘curious’ to know the scientific credentials of the opposition climate change deniers:

    “Going back to Karl et al 2015, the response by climate change deniers (or ‘sceptics’, if you wish) has been predictable. I have commented little, if at all, on this blog about climate change denial. It’s a phenomenon which is interesting to observe, but also immensely frustrating. The cognitive dissonance, conspiracy theorising, and lack of genuine sceptical and unbiased thinking amongst those who deny [carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas; the Earth is rapidly warming; ice sheets are melting; extreme weather is increasing] and that humans are to blame is similar to young Earth creationists, anti-vaxxers and so on.”

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Oh I did enjoy it, Brad, but perhaps not in the way you intended.

    it’s obvious—to me at least—that Ken was talking about finding/showing evidence, not proof.

    Well you’ve had three years to think about it. Maybe when you discussed it with ATTP over 2 days 3 years ago it wasn’t so obvious. Or maybe you recently learned about proof and the scientific method and that conversation rung a bell. Only you can know these things.

    I’ll admit that if proof was meant (and I really don’t care if it was or not), ATTP had an obvious put-down available of the form: “that is not the scientific method”. But I think maybe that line of criticism is the domain of non-scientist pseuds who frequent skeptic blogs, not scientists. Pseuds like to show off their science chops to each other and can often be recognized because they are apt to spout things like “climate is a coupled chaotic non-linear system” to each-other or to scientists as if they understand it.

    Have you ever proven a pudding?

    That made me laugh. Thanks, you are not entirely useless after all 😉

    Like

  48. Frag,

    I’m well aware of that older sense of ‘prove,’ and if I were you I’d have used the phrase ‘proving range’ as my killer example.

    But wait a minute. If, as you suggest, what Ken meant was that it’s not “the scientists'” responsibility to test their own hypotheses, then that’s [possibly] even more laughable. That’s practically their job description, FFS! The immersion of hypotheses in the acid of truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. Raff,

    “Maybe when you discussed it with ATTP over 2 days 3 years ago it wasn’t so obvious. Or maybe you recently learned about proof and the scientific method and that conversation rung a bell. Only you can know these things.”

    Huh? I didn’t discuss it with ATTP 3 years ago. Probably because I didn’t even read it. When I came across those mother-lode lines this weekend they had a shock-of-the-new, nasal-coffee-ejection effect on me.

    Read the discussion. It’s not even about the OP.

    “I’ll admit that if proof was meant (and I really don’t care if it was or not),”

    Yeah, your incuriosity is pretty obvious.

    “ATTP had an obvious put-down available of the form: “that is not the scientific method”. But I think maybe that line of criticism is the domain of non-scientist pseuds”

    Interestingly, his reply to Fragmeister beneath his new jeremiad implicitly acknowledges that there is a scientific method, which is a start. Maybe he’ll learn it one day.

    What’s a “pseud,” by the way, in your mental dictionary? I use the word to refer to pseudoscientists—you know, people who profess to do science for a living but don’t know the first thing about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  50. Kit’s scientific background allows him/her to come up with insightful comments like this, so in the climate debate, it would seem scientific qualifications aren’t all that, especially among those ‘curious’ to know the scientific credentials of the opposition climate change deniers:

    At least I have a scientific background and scientific credentials, unlike Bad Keyes. I wonder who’s the more insightful, though 😉

    Like

  51. Kit,

    “I have a scientific background and scientific credentials, unlike Bad Keyes”

    So I (or my evil twin brother) don’t have a scientific background or credentials, you’ve decided? High certitude, low information: a sciency combination, if ever there was one! Your alma mater must be as proudhumbled as the Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Musical.

    Liked by 1 person

  52. Barry,
    Why would you possibly think I’d want this? That’s bizarre. The origin of this post is me pointing out that an earlier one was in my view appalling. If you choose to double down and get even more so, have the decency to not imply that that is what I wanted. The people associated with this site, and them alone, are responsible for what is promoted here.

    Like

  53. Like most AGW fanatics, absence of evidence is evidence of absence – except of course where there is absence of evidence of AGW, which is always interpreted as evidence of AGW.

    Liked by 1 person

  54. It’s always instructive to read the quotes from the climate cultists, huddling together in the igloo of climate alarm:

    “The cognitive dissonance, conspiracy theorising, and lack of genuine sceptical and unbiased thinking amongst those who deny [carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas; the Earth is rapidly warming; ice sheets are melting; extreme weather is increasing] and that humans are to blame is similar to young Earth creationists, anti-vaxxers and so on”

    Let’s take a quick look at this pile of wibble:

    Cognitive dissonance…does this mean that we want to see evidence and a detailed explanation of what happens when a pulse of CO2 enters the atmosphere and how that necessarily leads to an increase in temperature?

    Conspiracy theorising…I own some shares in Shell and I once went to an exhibition at the Tate funded by BP. Let’s talk conspiracy.

    Lack of genuine sceptical and unbiased thinking….I cannot believe anyone sentient could have typed that.

    Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas…I have heard that mentioned and it seems to be accepted even by serious scientists.

    the Earth is rapidly warming….not according to the temperature indices.

    Ice sheets are melting….at an infinitesimal rate if at all. Even the official measurers do not really know, in that the uncertainty bounds are way larger than the extent of the meaurements. So the cultist is resorting to the usual tactic of just making up shit.

    extreme weather is increasing…where would that be happening? Certainly not on this planet, according to official records.

    Humans are to blame…along with cows, bacteria, Al Gore, Leonardo di Caprio and everyone with bloated lifestyles

    young Earth creationists… I chatted to one last weekend. She thought the world was doomed because of CO2. I am not sure how this helps the argument. No doubt it is an example of this thing called consilience. If creationists believe in CAGW, then we must really be doomed.

    anti-vaxxers… the only anti-vaxxer I have ever spoken to was committed to the viewpoint that docors were evil. She expressed no viewpoint on CO2. Again, I am not sure how this helps the argument, unless it is another example of consilience.

    Liked by 3 people

  55. So I (or my evil twin brother) don’t have a scientific background or credentials, you’ve decided?

    I had a hypothesis, ran an experiment, collected data, analysed them, drew a conclusion and published it for discussion. What could be more scientific than that? When I observe something which contradicts my conclusions then I’ll amend accordingly 🙂

    Like

  56. ATTP:

    “The people associated with this site, and them alone, are responsible for what is promoted here.”

    I am responsible for it. Not Barry. Not anyone else “associated with this site.” Most of my co-bloggers are polite to a fault and would never have written what I wrote.

    Kindly stop blaming “the people associated with this site.”

    Liked by 1 person

  57. Kit:

    “I had a hypothesis, ran an experiment, collected data, analysed them, drew a conclusion and published it for discussion. What could be more scientific than that? When I observe something which contradicts my conclusions then I’ll amend accordingly:)”

    How can I stay mad at someone who gives such a good description of the Method That Must Not Be Named?

    +1

    Like

  58. Barry,

    yes, that last line of mine was in bad taste and went too far.

    ATTP, I’m sorry for calling you what I called you.

    Offensive question deleted.

    Like

  59. Needs to be a bigger more prominent apology. Also ‘wank’does not travelwell. if you can’t talk nicely about someone, as if you were on the BBC don’t bother. And blog to blog fights are really pointless and boring.
    I can’t edit anything at this blog,I can’t moderate anything, Nor can I read any draft blog posts.
    The tone of this whole article is dumb so if everyone does not agree with me,please take my name off this website. Not that I have ever contributed an article to it.
    To be clear. Whilst I may have called ATTP many rude names in the privacy of my own head, a civil discussion with opponents is not ever possible if they are written down anywhere. Not that the public care about sceptical or climate concerned blogs anyway.

    Like

  60. Just to confirm what Barry says:

    “I can’t edit anything at this blog,I can’t moderate anything, Nor can I read any draft blog posts.”

    He had nothing to do with my post.

    Like

  61. I missed Brad’s key insult, now expunged. I disagree with Barry that the post is dumb; however, Barry’s intervention at this point says to me this: Brad, AndThenThere’sKenRice, let’s leave that there for now and move on. We can come back to the insults later, perhaps, when we’ve had a few drinks?

    Liked by 2 people

  62. Raff,

    and you link us to a comment about… wait for it… Climategate.

    Thanks for confirming (albeit not proving!) my point.

    Like

  63. As Ian says, let’s leave it here. Brad has apologised to Ken for insulting him, and has deleted the offending comments, Barry’s none too happy and the post is going nowhere fast. The only good thing to come of all this is that Paul probably need no longer be concerned about losing his status as the nastiest person on the internet.

    Liked by 1 person

  64. To be honest, I think your statistical assessment is interesting, but as you admit, it may not be the best way to judge the hypothesis. But, I agree there is a lot that needs to be verified for this to be true, and I think Svensmark would agree.

    Maybe that is not a fair way to judge, I’m not a statistician. But the fact that the hypothesis is not taken seriously more widely make me think that people who are equipped to assess it don’t regard it highly. I don’t have a good reason to reject that apparent judgement. Some here will doubtless use ad-hom attacks on non-believing scientists as a reason for rejection (they’re corrupt, grant-seeking, etc), but only those who have no better option and no idea what they are talking about.

    I think that some very prominent and credentialed people in this area (e.g., Sloan and Wolfendale) don’t agree with the hypothesis, and many others may also be skeptical. But from what I’ve seen of the scientific literature, there is evidence to support it, at least to some degree, and I agree with what many such papers have said: more work is needed on this. And remember, clear-sky ion-induced nucleation is not the only possible mechanism for GCR-cloud connection. See also Brian Tinsley’s electric circuit modulation theory.

    I really appreciate your assessment of how I discuss this subject. I really do try to be reasonable and polite about it, as you say, and I am glad that it shows.

    Like

  65. The post was never going to go anywhere; well nowhere worthwhile. Here’s the key point, IMO. A group of vocal skeptics have started a new skeptical climate blog and have largely published garbage. This isn’t even the worst. Calling Katharine Hayhoe a dishonest, hypocritical, liar for something she didn’t even say probably takes the prize. The post about Sarah Green was pretty unpleasant. As much as you might dislike Stephan Lewandowsky and John Cook, photoshopping them with their pants on fire isn’t particularly classy (the irony of photoshopping an image of John Cook is probably beyond you). And apart from Barry – who is at least trying to inject some reason – virtually noone has seen a problem with these. Maybe you should consider that the reason you get blocked on Twitter and banned/moderated on other sites is simply because you are simply incapable of holding a reasonable discussion with people who would quite like to take this seriously.

    Liked by 1 person

  66. Of course, if you give Ken the teensiest opportunity to express a genuine grievance, he’ll turn it into an out and out free for all against all sceptics in firing range. Barry was right; you got exactly what you wanted.

    Liked by 1 person

  67. There’s two types of mean people in this world; those who will spit in your face and those who will stab you in the back. I’m appalled.

    Like

  68. Ken,

    “the irony of photoshopping an image of John Cook is probably beyond you”

    Wait, I think I know this one!

    Is it…

    because Cook’s already uploaded a ‘shop of himself in flaming pants, just waiting for someone to guess the secret URL?

    “Maybe [whine whine whine] you are simply incapable of holding a reasonable discussion with people who would quite like to take this seriously”

    Oh, so now you’d LIKE to have a serious discussion, would you?

    You’d *like* to answer a serious question, like:

    what was the scientific, academic or scholarly purpose of the Consensus on Consensus paper—a paper you condoned by attaching your name as a coauthor?

    I know what its political/demagogic function was; Cook, Oreskes and others have been making no secret of it.

    What I’m asking about is its *scholarly* purpose.

    …would you?

    Then go ahead. Nobody’s stopping you.

    Or you can keep gasping about a few swear words. Whatever. Saul Good, man.

    Like

  69. and you link us to a comment about… wait for it… Climategate.

    What you said doesn’t matter (ever, probably). It was a link to a comment from 2013 by you underneath the article you linked to above as “the mother lode” which you say you didn’t read until recently. If I were a CliScep.com author I’d probably call you a “barefaced liar” or “pants on fire”, but since I’m not I’ll just point out that you are mistaken.

    Like

  70. Strange, one moment Raff thinks that you are being over particular in terms of words, and then he says that anything goes where words are concerned, as long as hero Ken ATTP says them.

    Liked by 1 person

  71. Barry, I don’t know what happened in the interim but ATTP is a guy who’s friends with Lewandowsky and Cook, and trying to get in your good books.

    I think there is something off, about what he does. A light is off somewhere upstairs.

    Liked by 1 person

  72. Raff,

    Backpedalling noted.

    As your new, weaker position correctly puts it, I wrote that comment “underneath”, not “about,” the ‘mother lode’ article.

    Which, as far I can tell, I didn’t read until recently.

    Are you going to keep pretending that concept is alien to you? Are you going to tell us you’ve never jumped in to a comments thread without reading the original post?

    Really?

    LOL. Idiot.

    “If I were a CliScep.com author I’d probably call you a “barefaced liar” or “pants on fire””

    If you were a CliScep.com author you’d have half a brain, so no.

    “but since I’m not I’ll just point out that you are mistaken.”

    I don’t know if “mistaken” quite does the trick either. The epithet you’re looking for is “correct.”

    Liked by 1 person

  73. Did you know? Hurricanes make no difference to the climate!

    Not according to one MikeH, anyway, who makes the Carruthers Conjecture on the basis that I suggested that a butterfly flapping its wings could alter the course of the climate!

    Mind you, I can’t entirely rule out that MikeH is right and that I just exposed myself as some sort of Arts graduate. But that’s mainly because I’m not sure what “climate” means this week.

    Like

  74. Not according to one MikeH, anyway, who makes the Carruthers Conjecture on the basis that I suggested that a butterfly flapping its wings could alter the course of the climate!

    They’re all data, baby!

    Like

  75. Brad, there’s a good and relevant guest post by a guy call Daniel Stone at Dan Kahan’s blog.
    He says (ironically of course) about one of his papers “Read this! Or you are just a jerk, like all the other members of your stupid political party!”

    Liked by 1 person

  76. Hayhoe thinks people who disagree with her are jerks. Not the Christian thing to say, is it? Jesus always sought out the downtrodden and the outcast. He hung out with the lepers and the prostitutes.

    It is natural to think people you disagree with are bad, or evil. It is Christian to see beyond.

    Secondively,
    If I were to be ‘confronted’ by ‘angels from God with tablets of stone stating “global warming is real” in flaming letters of fire’, I would laugh.

    Is this how low your conception of a God is? A personal wish fulfilling agent?

    Liked by 2 people

  77. I don’t think Katie, or any other Christian would ever claim to be perfect, (that is a really dumb argument, whenever it is used) give her a break. Twitter is ‘social’ media – fun, chatty, news. etc. Delingpole blocked me once. I probably deserved it

    Liked by 1 person

  78. It’s not Hayhoe’s qualities as a Christian that are really relevant here; it’s her honesty and integrity as a scientist shamelessly advocating for action on a ‘problem’ which in not scientifically proven to be a problem. It’s her response to those people who question the validity of her claims on the science that is the issue. Sadly, however affable a person she may be, her behaviour in this regard leaves her wide open to criticism.

    Liked by 1 person

  79. No one forced Hayhoe to use religion to push her global warming agenda, she did it of her own accord. With that being the case, there is no problem holding people like her to their own standard. Her own standards ought to inform her to reach out to outsiders, not feel comfortable bamboozling true believers into accepting her proxy agenda.

    I could be cozy all day interacting with skeptics alone. What we have instead are alarmists like ATTP who prevent interaction. ATTP has no real response to being ripped a new one, about his own admitted affinity to the climate issue due to the politics involved, and about why he would build connections with people who use fellow commenters’ blog output as fodder for scientific publications. No response at all, only silence. But as soon as Barry protested, he slithers back in waving his finger.

    Liked by 2 people

  80. it’s her honesty and integrity as a scientist shamelessly advocating for action on a ‘problem’ which in not scientifically proven to be a problem.

    Jaime,
    this will never be “proved” to be a problem, but there will be (and is) evidence that it could be. Don’t get me wrong, I disagree with Hayhoe on a ton of what she says, but you can’t act like this is a “prove” issue, because if it is and/or will be a problem, we can’t just sit and do absolutely nothing while saying, “Oh, well, it’s not proven, so we shouldn’t do anything at all!”

    Liked by 1 person

  81. OK j.a.p, I shouldn’t have used the word ‘proven’, because proof seems to be out of vogue in science nowadays and is more usually reserved for the arena of pure mathematics. So I’ll say ‘satisfactorily demonstrated’ to be a problem – which it has not been, in my humble opinion.

    ” . . . but there will be (and is) evidence that it could be.”

    You know that there will be evidence in the future which demonstrates that it could be a problem?
    You say there is evidence now which demonstrates it is a problem. What evidence might that be? (Note: i get the Feldman et al paper, but this doesn’t really qualify in my opinion. What empirical evidence is there out there, in the real world, of our destructive impact upon global climate?

    Liked by 1 person

  82. Ken,

    what was the *scholarly* purpose of the Cook et al. CoC paper of which you are a coathor? Not the rhetorical, demagogic, political, social-engineering purpose but the scholarly purpose?

    I needn’t point out how chutzpacious it is to refuse to answer this simple question—for 10 days and counting!—while simultaneously ragging on Richard Tol (chez vous) every time he fails to answer your question[s], usually plural.

    Let’s just say: very.

    Liked by 1 person

  83. For those keeping score at home:

    More than 50 visitors from Ken’s blog have seen this post since it was updated to include the question above. As I explained in black and white, every failure to answer it will be counted as further evidence for the hypothesis that there is no answer. Or rather, that the answer is “none.”

    And so far, not one of Ken’s followers has even tried to claim otherwise.

    Seems nobody believes in you, Ken.

    Liked by 1 person

  84. I read the first line (only) of his linked post:
    “I’ve been largely staying out of the blog wars, ”

    According to our blog stats he is currently 5th on the list of top recent commentators. In total he’s put 198 comments on our blog.

    At the latest post at Bishop Hill, he has 15 comments.

    He’s also got recent comments at Brandon’s blog, though has failed to address the issue of the fabricated graph, on which Brandon now has 4 blog posts.

    He really does not seem to be able to distinguish fact from his own invented fiction.

    Liked by 4 people

  85. A quote from the great scientist himself, from his very own blog (bo doubt he will say I am quoting him out of context or some other obfuscatory wibble)

    “I think that maybe we really are screwed. Being measured, not over-reacting, sticking to the evidence, is all good and well, but is going to count for very little if – in 20 or 30 years time – we go “shit, why didn’t we do more? Why weren’t we more forceful and insistent?”.

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2016/05/01/maybe-we-really-are-screwed/

    Just as long as we know that he doesn’t do catastrophy or anything….

    Liked by 1 person

  86. The comments on the post on the calibre of climate scepticism are truly hilarious. Ms Hayhoe herself pontificates like a good’un

    “My mission is to change minds by connecting our values with the impacts of climate change”…a content-free sentence if ever I saw one.

    Someone who calls himself anoilman does his bit at amateur psychoanalysis and makes Lew seem like an Einstein:

    “Usually, it’s someone who has never actually participated in useful competitive free markets and who claims that all problems are solved by the market, and there should never be government rules for anything. Many are employed by think tanks funded by industries that privatize profits and socialize the losses.”

    He must know since he is “anoilman”…presumably the sort of oil guy who greases you up in preparation for a colonoscopy rather than a person with knowledge or learning or notable educational achievement.

    Final quote, a certain Harry Twinotter (an assumed name?):

    “What strikes me about climate change deniers is their cowardice. They are too frightened to discuss facts, so they resort to a set of grubby little rhetorical tricks.”

    The facts would be good. Where are they? Hurry up Harry, come on….I’m going down the pub.

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2016/05/02/the-calibre-of-climate-skepticism/#comments

    Liked by 2 people

  87. ATTP writes: “I had thought that even though we might disagree about many things, that there were some decent people associated with this site.”

    I am not that easily manipulated by attempts to induce guilt; “do X or you are not decent”. That might actually work if you were a Source of Moral Authority (a church, for instance) or if you knew more about my SMA and its rules.

    Decent: (of a person) Having a suitable conformity to basic moral standards; showing integrity, fairness, or other characteristics associated with moral uprightness.

    Liked by 1 person

  88. I didn’t say destructive, I said problem. So, I think that that thermal expansion of the oceans, at least partially driven by humans, and thus sea level rise caused by humans, could pose a threat to low-lying countries. So, I recommend their governments take action to adapt, because countries are not going to reduce CO2 emissions yet. Humanity will figure out how to deal with such problems.

    Like

  89. MIB,

    “Any signs of the scientific purpose behind the paper?”

    Nary a sign nor symptom yet, I’m afraid. It may be time to pull the plug on the fantasy that it had a legitimate purpose at all.

    Like

  90. MIB,

    speaking of the crock of pointless crap that is Cook’s CoC paper, did you notice how Ken’s complaint about my (long retracted) insult manages to get the reason for the insult totally wrong? It wasn’t because of Ken’s mangling of the way science works 3 years ago, it was for his complicity in an act of pseudoscholarly…. misappropriation, as Weyland Smithers would put it.

    Liked by 1 person

  91. Sea level has been rising incrementally since the end of the LIA and has been rising and falling in concert with natural fluctuations in global mean temperature – of similar amplitude to the current fluctuation – throughout the Holocene. Given that the human population has vastly increased in the last 150 years and given that much development is coastal, any sustained rise in sea level during this century will inevitably be destructive to a certain degree, dependent upon adaptation measures.

    “So, I think that that thermal expansion of the oceans, at least partially driven by humans, and thus sea level rise caused by humans, could pose a threat to low-lying countries.”

    It could, it might, but you can’t even quantify the contribution to current sea level rise from human CO2 emissions and predictions of future significant sea level rise depend upon climate models and ice sheet models. So, if sea level continues to rise inexorably over the next century, we have a problem and it will be destructive, but it’s crystal ball gazing with the aid of climate models which attribute most or all of future sea level rise to anthropogenic emissions. As for the current empirical evidence of anthropogenic sea level rise being a ‘problem’:

    “Global sea level has been rising for the past several thousand years, owing to the retreat of glaciers from the last ice age. The key issue is whether the rate of sea level rise is accelerating owing to anthropogenic global warming. It is seen from the figure above that the rate of sea level rise during 1930-1950 was comparable to, if not larger than, the value in recent years. . . .
    At a presentation that I made earlier this year to CEOs of small electric cooperatives, one participant was surprised by what I had to say about sea level rise – he hadn’t realized that there had been sea level rise prior to 1950. I.e., like ‘climate change’, all sea level rise has been sold as caused by humans. . . . .
    The key issue is whether the sea level rise during the past 50 years reflect an acceleration in sea level rise. The IPCC figure 3.14 suggests that there is no acceleration, given the large rates of sea level rise in the first half of the 20th century. Until we have an understanding of variations in decadal and multi-decadal sea level rise, we can’t make a convincing argument as to acceleration.”
    https://judithcurry.com/2016/02/23/is-sea-level-rise-accelerating/

    Like the rest of the ’empirical’ evidence for man-made global warming and its ‘problematic’ impact upon global climate, hydrological, weather and ecosystems, etc., the ‘evidence’ for an anthropogenic fingerprint is either absent, highly debatable, or indistinguishable from natural variability. All the AGW doom mongers have really is a logical fallacy based upon the premise that increasing atmospheric CO2 causes a large radiative imbalance, CO2 ppm has risen from 270ppm to 405ppm today, coincident with rising anthropogenic emissions, there is no other satisfactory natural explanation for the current modest rise in global temperature, therefore man-made climate change is real and significant and will probably be dangerous in future generations.

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  92. The basis for AGW is not just a logical fallacy. It is based on well-established physics. However, I don’t think sea level rise will destroy our planet unless we reduce emissions now. In fact, I don’t even want to reduce emissions. I say let the people innovate and go to renewables when they are economically viable. I also believe, as does Dr. Curry, we need to know more about natural sea level rise, and natural climate variability. I am just trying to explain how sea level rise could pose a problem in the future. That’s all.

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  93. I didn’t say the basis for AGW is a logical fallacy; I said all the AGW doom mongers have is a logical fallacy based upon what you call “well established physics”, which I am not contesting.
    To be honest, I don’t really know what you are saying. First you say that sea level could rise at least partly due to man-made climate change (for which there is evidence now and the premise of which is based upon well established physics) and that this could be a problem in the future. Then you say you agree with Prof Curry that we need to know more about natural climate variability and sea rise. What we need to know is whether anthropogenic climate variability and sea level rise can be empirically distinguished from natural variability (and thus quantified – at least relative to natural fluctuations). The simple answer is – it cannot. Therefore, we cannot say that we have a ‘problem’ with man-made climate change, now or in the future.

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  94. Ok, I’m sorry I misunderstood you. Let me tell you what I mean. For starters on detecting an anthropogenic fingerprint in sea level, see here. I don’t think my two points of view that you point out are contradictory, and I don’t think either is unreasonable. I agree we need to know that, but I think that we can probably attribute at least some small part of sea level rise to humans, because if the OHC rise is at least partly anthropogenic, then the thermal expansion of the ocenas will raise sea level.

    The simple answer is – it cannot. Therefore, we cannot say that we have a ‘problem’ with man-made climate change, now or in the future.

    Like I said before, more work needs to be done on natural variability, but I don’t think it’s premature to do attribution if you follow my logic above. Also remember, sea level rise wouldn’t be the only possible problem presented by rising temperatures, but it would be the most significant.

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  95. Thanks for the link to the Dangendorf et al paper which is not too dissimilar from Kopp et al which purported to show that the 20th century rise in sea level was the fastest in 2700 years, thereby implying that a significant anthropogenic component was at work. But it’s all based on statistical analysis and the assumption that a significant proportion of the 20th century rise in global mean surface temperatures can also be attributed to anthropogenic causes. As such, the significance of the modern trend is derived via comparison with modeled natural vs. observed trends and the anthropogenic fingerprint emerges from that, but to be sure, it is not an empirical anthropogenic fingerprint. On the Kopp et al paper, one reviewer writes:

    “To clarify: the study by Kopp et al uses hypothetical temperature scenarios to show that if temperatures in the 20th century had been similar to the average temperature of the years 500-1800, sea-level rise would have been less rapid or even falling.”
    http://climatefeedback.org/evaluation/sea-level-rise-global-warming-climate-change/

    In the paper you linked to:

    “Comparing our model-based estimate of natural GMSL variability with the observed twentieth- century GMSL rise of 1.33–1.98 mm per year therefore
    suggests that it is virtually certain (P=0.99) that at least 45% (1.33–0.73 mm per year) of the observed twentieth-century GMSL rise is of anthropogenic origin . . . ”

    So the statistical certainty does not include the structural uncertainty associated with the lack of understanding of the drivers of long term naturally forced trends in GMSL or GMST or the uncertainty associated with reconstructing past global mean sea level.

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  96. Thanks for the link to the Dangendorf et al paper which is not too dissimilar from Kopp et al which purported to show that the 20th century rise in sea level was the fastest in 2700 years, thereby implying that a significant anthropogenic component was at work. But it’s all based on statistical analysis and the assumption that a significant proportion of the 20th century rise in global mean surface temperatures can also be attributed to anthropogenic causes. As such, the significance of the modern trend is derived via comparison with modeled natural vs. observed trends and the anthropogenic fingerprint emerges from that, but to be sure, it is not an empirical anthropogenic fingerprint.</blockquote. Absolutely correct, and you're welcome. It's evidence, since it indicates that a conclusion may be correct, but it's not empirical evidence linking the two. If those models are wrong (see Ziskin and Shaviv 2012 here for a great discussion on that) and a significant portion of 20th century warming is natural, than the anthropogenic portion of global sea level rise increase is diminished significantly as well.

    So the statistical certainty does not include the structural uncertainty associated with the lack of understanding of the drivers of long term naturally forced trends in GMSL or GMST or the uncertainty associated with reconstructing past global mean sea level.

    I agree that they should’ve included that uncertainty, but I still think it’s ok and not misleading to do attribution studies like this one.

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  97. Thanks for the Star Wars link, Brad. Loved the bit where she identified Emperor Palpatine as “Obama without his mask”.

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