CO2 Scaremongering – Harder Now, and Riskier?

Two posts at quite different locations caught my attention recently, and led me to the headline:

(1) Jo Nova has a post up on the puzzlement of some people suffering from CO2 Alarmism who cannot comprehend why the American public is not falling in line behind them in droves, and why there is such political polarisation in the States on this issue between Democrats and Republicans.  She refers to a recent essay which points to 3 strategies which seem to have failed to make much impact on either ‘puzzle’:

‘The first is education — better informing the public about climate science. The much-derided “information deficit model” has proven a failure in practice.’

The second is better “framing,” pitching climate to conservatives in terms more likely to appeal to their values — climate as a national security threat, or an economic opportunity, or a threat to God’s covenant. However, dozens of studies have found small or negligible effects from these strategies.’

The third is personal experiences with extreme weather events, which, it is often hoped, will drive home the reality of climate change. But what evidence exists shows that such experiences have little-to-no effect on climate beliefs, especially among committed partisans.’

Jo pithily notes in response to such efforts: Lipstick on a pig. The problem is the pig, not the lipstick.’ 

She concludes her post thusly:

They simply cannot process the possibility that the groupthink is wrong. It mars all their research, stopping them from even considering the possibility that the “motivated” reasoning is a bigger badder problem on the side driven by irrational fear and herd behaviour and backed by gazillions of dollars.

As a former Green my motivated reasoning was to find evidence to support the theory of a man-made crisis, but the harder I looked the less I found. Some of us can overcome that confirmation bias. Why won’t psychologists research that?

(2) Meanwhile, a few days ago at Science Mag , a post notes the huge financial risks faced by universities in the States if their employees engage in scientific deceptions to obtain federal funding:

The Duke case “should scare all [academic] institutions around the country,” says attorney Joel Androphy of Berg & Androphy in Houston, Texas, who specializes in false claims litigation. It appears to be one of the largest FCA suits ever to focus on research misconduct in academia, he says, and, if successful, could “open the floodgates” to other whistleblowing cases.

Here, FCA denotes the ‘False Claims Act’, a piece of legislation that can require repayment of of up to three times the amount of any grant awarded by the government, and ‘produce a multimillion dollar payout to the whisteblower’:

False claims lawsuits, also known as qui tam suits, are a growing part of the U.S. legal landscape. Under an 1863 law, citizen whistleblowers can go to court on behalf of the government to try to recoup federal funds that were fraudulently obtained. Winners can earn big payoffs, getting up to 30% of any award, with the rest going to the government. Whistleblowers filed a record 754 FCA cases in 2013, and last year alone won nearly $600 million. The U.S. government, meanwhile, has recouped more than $3.5 billion annually from FCA cases in recent years.

Several comments below this Science piece suggest that academic climate campaigners may be in danger of costing their employers a fortune. The Climategate Revelations are cited as general evidence of deviousness in climate science circles – a position also taken by some climate research insiders such as Garth Paltridge in Australia who recently wrote this:

The general public learnt from the Climategate and “hockey-stick” scandals that activist climate scientists are quite willing to cherry-pick and manipulate real world data in support of their efforts to save the world. The scientists on their part have learnt that they can get away with it. Their cause is politically correct, and is shaping up well to be the basis for a trillion-dollar industry. That sort of backing automatically provides plenty of protection.

There is little doubt that vast sums of government money in the US have been disbursed for climate studies. There is little doubt that at least some of the associated research is of low quality. But have federal funds ever been ‘fraudulently obtained’? That would be for the courts to decide, if and when climate whistle-blowers emerge to make prosecutions. Has this now very broad field (including economics, politics, and many areas of science) become that corrupt? I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the answer turns out to be yes. But, at this point, given the low quality and occasional turpitude of the ‘climate movement’, and its astonishing and saddening political success, would it have much of an impact?

96 thoughts on “CO2 Scaremongering – Harder Now, and Riskier?

  1. ‘climate as a national security threat,’ – It isn’t.

    ‘or an economic opportunity,’ – Joe Bastardi and a host of others are already on top of that! 😀

    ‘or a threat to God’s covenant.’ – Well I know some will not like this but Hey! God designed the physics that govern the climate (as well as the rest of the workings of the Multiverse). I don’t begin to see how His own efforts would threaten His covenant. (Insert screams from both sides of the issue here). Sorry, that’s just this science-educated Roman Catholics’ take on it.

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  2. All popular rejection (skepticism) of the 97% CAGW/GHE is only due to the “Magnificent/Grand/Blatent Incompetence” of self appointed academic Skyintists! No conspiracy need apply!

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  3. Research (and specifically academic research) is a very, very broad field and for too long has not had to justify itself. There is much weeping and wailing in academic circles over Brexit because they believe it may limit funding. And it should.

    Since a lot of research has no stated credible goal or method, it would be hard to condemn it for having not achieved one. A lot of research is brazenly vague and pointless. It’s the research equivalent of gossip. I expect ‘allegedly’ to start appearing in journal papers any day, just as HIGNFY commedians add it to claims they know will get them into legal deep water.

    How can science be found wanting if there are no fundamental rules? The hockey stick trick might be a no no in other fields but if it is standard practice in climate science, is the researcher legally wrong to use it? Where are the stated rules about how data is kept and what the researchers can do with it? Dr Jones might have been too embarassed to admit that they’d lost the temperature data but he’d have been in the clear if he’d just said so. Scientifically the shocker was losing the data, not lying about it. Not to mention the decades of research built upon data without ever referring back to the raw material.

    Scientists have proudly held onto the idea that it is enough that clever people spend their time thinking. Being accurate and demonstrably so, is an afterthought. They are measured by how many papers they produce, they don’t have to be right, although that helps. Climate science was tasked with finding CO2 guilty and to be fair, they’d tried their hardest. Was Dr Lew trying to find out about sceptics or was he trying to discredit them? How would you judge his work on that? What is the practical value of the work he does anyway?

    Until society defines what being a scientist should be, it would be hard to prosecute them for anything other than crudely fabricating data. Computer manipulating them into nonsense doesn’t fall under that heading.

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  4. Tiny,

    How can science be found wanting if there are no fundamental rules?

    David Appell once objected to my use of the phrase “the rules of science” at his blog (in the brief honeymoon phase, i.e. non-banned phase, of my commenting there). He retorted:

    What rules of science?

    No Mike Hulme book could descibe the narcotic, necrotic anomie at the heart of postnormalism better than those four words.

    Indeed, with apologies to Ben, if we ever do discover what the “object” of the objectless consensus is, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s “What rules of science?”

    Near as I can tell, the only common belief that distinguishes the Other Side of this debate is, “there are none.”

    EDIT: In case you ever come across a real-live person who denies that science has any rules, I find it useful to ask them:

    “So, Feynman was wrong when he said

    The first rule is that you must try not to fool yourself.

    That’s NOT a rule of science, you’re telling me?”

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  5. Accusations are easy. You need no evidence, just throw some mud and hope that some sticks. But in my time as a climate obsessive, I remember only Salby and Gleik – the latter having done a favour to all by exposing the activities of Heartland. Salby was dismissed twice but I don’t remember if fraud was involved. So does Salby’s behaviour reflect on “skeptics* in general? Is it part of the fraud you expect to discover?

    As for rules, not fooling one self seems to be a good rule for any occupation. I doubt that there are any ‘rules’ that apply only to science, but I have never given it any thought, so maybe you can think of some.

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  6. Accusations are indeed easy, raff, as are insinuations. You have no evidence of fraud against Selby yet you ask if his “behaviour” reflects on “skeptics in general” so ensuring that the insinuation is carefully planted.

    Gleick failed miserably in his attempt to discredit the Heartland Institute and in the end only discredited himself or would have done in any other field. (If you want a “rule” you can start with not lying and cheating to bring discredit on someone just because they happen to disagree with you. And the second rule is don’t be stupid enough to get caught.)

    The fact that Gleick is still in post and that his behaviour was condoned or, in your case at least, applauded says all that needs to be said about the ethics of climate science and its hangers on.

    So you throw mud at Salby and hope it sticks and try to wash the mud off Gleick that he chose to wallow in. Nice.

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  7. Salby apparently displayed “a pattern of deception, a lack of integrity, and a persistent and intentional disregard of NSF and University rules and policies” and a “consistent willingness to violate rules and regulations, whether federal or local, for his personal benefit.” Quite apart from the failure to teach that got him expelled from Macquarie. But this does not have any bearing on other climate “skeptics”, just as whatever Gleick did doesn’t reflect on other scientists.

    Whether Gleick “failed” or not, he did reveal some things about Heartland and the people they sponsor that we didn’t know before. I’m glad he did it, just as I imagine you are glad that someone published the UEA emails. Maybe you think it is good in a democracy to have organisations like Heartland secretly paying people to support their position; I don’t.

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  8. “Maybe you think it is good in a democracy to have organisations like Heartland secretly paying people to support their position; I don’t.” Raff

    OK, say I agree with that statement. Let’s ban all organisations of a similar nature – like Greenpeace, WWF, Plain Stupid, the National Trust, Age UK…. etc. All those NGOs who pay people who then spout the same message. Anyone taking a side in a political debate should do so for free. So we should probably ban politicians, their paid party members and unions too. Or is it the secrecy that’s the problem? So every person should log how much money they get, from where and what for? OK. Do the consensus scientists tell us all about their funding? Do they trumpet it when they get paid by green organisations? And what about treats and gifts? Have they ever had lunch or a flight paid for by an institution with green leanings? And since most Universities are now pretty political can we assume that any payments by them and to them should be a matter of public transparency? I have to say that I was quite interested to hear that the head of Black Lives Matter UK couldn’t attend their runway protest because she was on a plane to Brazil to talk about feminist issues funded by the UK government. From that we can deduce that the government didn’t pay for her stated opinions on air travel but she was prepared to suppress them for £50,000 and take a long haul flight.

    Or do you just mean any person or issue right of centre and specifically sceptics? It’s not unreasonable that people get paid for their time, so long as that money doesn’t buy their opinion. You have no proof that anyone Heartland paid didn’t hold those views already. What you really want to do is stitch up the other side so that there are no views other than yours.

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  9. We can debate the rights and wrongs of Salby’s behaviour and his dismissal until the cows come home and be no nearer either a conclusion or an agreement. I’m not about to defend his actions if they were as MacQuarrie claims though there are probably two sides to the story.

    Just as there are probably two sides to the story of his being “abandoned” in Europe and unable to get home while his university happily held a disciplinary hearing in his absence.

    And there is no way to prove my contention (and not just mine) that had he been touring Europe avidly propagating the climate change meme instead of finding holes in it, all other peccadiloes would have been forgiven. Which of course brings us back to Gleick. Switch sides between the two and Gleick would have been out in hs ear and Salby lauded for spreading the word on behalf of “the cause”.

    The idea that Heartland should not be allowed to spend its money how it likes, provided it is not breaking the law, is a bit totalitarian and, as TinyCO2 argues above, if we want to go down that route than there are numerous organisations that ought to have their finances investigated. You would want a level playing field, raff, would you not?

    But it isn’t about that, is it? It’s all about finding a stick to beat your opponents with. If you happened to be in the same city as one of the Koch brothers 20 years ago then you are immediately suspect if you make the mildest criticism about global warming. There are organisations that take a sceptical view about some of the more extreme (and increasingly laughable — the name Wadhams comes to mind) claims so we must find out who funds them or who they give money to so that we can tar them with the “denier” brush.

    And if we are really lucky and can dig deep enough we can get a few names and we can send the Greenpeace (“we know where you live”) enforcers round to “explain” the facts of life. It doesn’t change the science; it doesn’t change the facts; it doesn’t make global warming any more or less likely; it just makes sure that these pesky sceptics can’t derail the gravy train or the much more important World Government Project!

    Now I have no evidence that there is actually a World Government Project, at least not one directly linked to the global warming project, but I do have the words of Ottmar Edenhofer, in 2010 co-chair of IPCC WG3, who said:
    “Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection The next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated.”

    There you have it in a nutshell, raff. Six years ago he said that and you still believe this is all about stopping the world overheating!

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  10. Pingback: CO2 Scaremongering – Harder Now, and Riskier? | The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

  11. Talking of which – where is the Shukla thing got up to? The question wasn’t so much who was paying him, as how many, for what and for how many relatives were ‘working’ on the same band wagon?

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  12. Brad — ‘ Indeed, with apologies to Ben, if we ever do discover what the “object” of the objectless consensus is, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s “What rules of science?”‘ —

    I think we have some clues:

    “I am the President of the Royal Society, and I am telling you the debate on climate change is over”.

    Bob May also changed the translation of the Royal Society’s motto from ‘on the word of no one’, to ‘respect the facts’. This mottomorphosis might have been more haste than manifesto as such, but it nonetheless reveals institutional science’s political ambition, and its own transformation.

    RAFF can riff on the moral equivalence of Gleik and Salby all he wants — it is inconsequential waffle. There is no climate sceptic Royal Society, with equivalent reach over research and the media; there is no dominance within climate research institutions, and nobody established a school or department of climate scepticism at a university; there is no research budget for climate scepticism to encourage research in that area; there is no sceptic NERC, no sceptic IPCCC or UNFCCC, WMO, and there is zero sympathy at the UN to the principle of a diversity of perspectives. There isn’t even any equivalence between the hypothesised (by Royal Society presidents past), but never discovered ‘well funded denial machine’ and the green corporate PR and lobbying effort.

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  13. Spot on Ben and Mike.

    “but never discovered ‘well funded denial machine’ and the green corporate PR and lobbying effort.”

    The kind of stuff Raff was doing is specifically designed to make corporations shy away from funding anything that even seems like scepticism. There’s nothing in it for them but accusations of corruption. See RICO witch hunt. If CAGW isn’t real, time will demonstrate it and in the mean while nobody has stopped buying oil or coal (on a global market).

    And we don’t want them to fund the sceptic side, we want governments to do their job and examine both sides of the debate and provide the money to have it done properly. It would be good for climate science, even if CAGW is real.

    But the big projects like the UN, the EU and the green lobby, who prate on about doing things for the good of the people are losing their power to persuade the masses. The people are seeing the denizens of those organisations as the parasitic, hypocritical, arseholes they are. I’m not that keen on a ‘Clexit’ because I want the Brexit to be a standalone issue but the people are ready to dig their heels in against educated elites who trample over others and then tell them it’s good for them. My fear is that as scientists bunch together they’ll tar each other and debase the whole scientific community. Science is important, even if it takes the wrong path from time to time.

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  14. I think it may be time the RAFF collective found another of their number to make comments hereabouts. They used to have a sullen adolescent type sneering over at BH, then a would-be smart-alec here and there, and more recently they found a more erudite type to take on the work. But he or she has also proven to be out of their depth in recent days. It’s getting harder now to find good people I guess. But I welcome them, one and all if there is any chance we can help them to get out of the hole they are in.

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  15. I don’t care who Heartland gives money to. If they want to fund a department of climate scepticism somewhere, then great. I mean it, that would be great. We could all then see what came of it. The point is that it should be known who is funding people’s research and their public statements. The same goes for all other organisations and personalities. When some think-tank spokesperson pops up on TV we should be told who funds them.

    John Shade suggested that climate science obtains funds fraudulently:

    “But have federal funds ever been ‘fraudulently obtained’? That would be for the courts to decide, if and when climate whistle-blowers emerge to make prosecutions. Has this now very broad field (including economics, politics, and many areas of science) become that corrupt? I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the answer turns out to be yes.”

    yet he has zero evidence of that. Zero, zip, nada. The nearest I know of is the Salby case in the US and Salby is on the ‘Other Side’ of the argument.

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  16. RAFF: –“…it should be known who is funding people’s research and their public statements…”

    So much for ‘science’ then.

    Nullius in verba, indeed.

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  17. RAFF, I did not suggest ‘that climate science obtains funds fraudulently’. I merely recognised, as you too surely would, that it is a possibility. I think it would not be a surprise if it were true, whereas you might think it to be an extremely unlikely event.

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  18. Finding out who funds what isn’t going to happen for the consensus side is it? So better that all the funding comes from government but both sides get funded.

    The cash given to Heartland and the other right wing think tanks is for all sorts of initiatives, not just climate and anyway, it’s a drop in the ocean compared to consensus funding.

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  19. As an example of disparity of funding – the MET Office is proud to tell us that its climate modelling computer is the same as its forecasting one. In 2014 it ditched its £33 million computer for a new £97 million one. That’s just one of the World’s modelling departments. When did climate sceptics get £1 million, let alone 130 times that amount? Or were we supposed to have a whip round or knock up something as sophisticated on an Argos laptop? Plus work full time for free.

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  20. How’s this for a zero evidence post, John Shade?

    “But have UK government funds ever been ‘fraudulently obtained’? That would be for the courts to decide, if and when a whistle-blowers emerge to make a prosecution. Has John Shade become that corrupt? I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the answer turns out to be yes.”

    Based on the same amount of evidence that you have, does that seem a fair appraisal of you?

    Oil companies have significant computing facilities. I imagine if any of them thought there was any milage in supporting a “skeptic” (or more likely a skeptic) research program they would do it.

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  21. [screwed up the tags. better now I hope]

    How’s this for a zero evidence post, John Shade?

    But have UK government funds ever been ‘fraudulently obtained’? That would be for the courts to decide, if and when a whistle-blowers emerge to make a prosecution. Has John Shade become that corrupt? I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the answer turns out to be yes.

    Based on the same amount of evidence that you have, does that seem a fair appraisal of you?

    Oil companies have significant computing facilities. I imagine if any of them thought there was any milage in supporting a “skeptic” (or more likely a skeptic) research program they would do it.

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  22. “I imagine if any of them thought there was any milage in supporting a “skeptic” (or more likely a skeptic) research program they would do it.”

    Why? In what way would it benefit them? Who would trust the output? And having ‘significant computing facilities’ isn’t the same as a dedicated climate mainframe plus science and IT staff to man it. And what, if sceptics are right, and there just isn’t enough data to come to any useful conclusion? Are they supposed to build time machines too to go back and start monitoring conditions earlier? Or do they set up new teams of paleoclimateers who will duplicate work already supposedly being done? Even with modern temperature measurement you can get different global totals, paleo records are even more prone to interpretations. They could duplicate all levels of climate science and still not get an answer that anyone believed.

    Better to keep their heads down, parrot the official line and recognise all of them will be retired and dead before we stop using their product. Remember, they’re not tied to the West. They can sell oil to all those developing nations who are supposed to be allowed a crack of the CO2 whip. No skin off their nose if we commit economic suicide. They just move to where the good times are still rolling.

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  23. And what would oil companies have to prove? That CO2 has no effect at all? That the amount of CO2 we might or might not emit won’t warm the planet to dangerous levels? Who gets to define what is dangerous? Ho do they prove that someone who dies in a hurricane wasn’t killed by CO2 induced weather? Especially as some crackpot climate science will label EVERY storm as being the result of warming. With consensus scientists rewriting what normal is each week?

    And if they did fund climate science and it wasn’t 100% right, would they be open to being prosecuted for racketeering? Their scientists wouldn’t be allowed to bumble allong getting stuff wrong all the time as ‘science as its done’. They’d have to be right first time or be accused of lying.

    Nah, your idea is a mugs game and I’ve never met an oil exec but I’m fairly sure that they’re not dumb.

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  24. I thought you wanted “skeptic” science, done perhaps by a dedicated body. It seems not.

    By the way, have you ever ‘fraudulently obtained’ UK or other government funds? That would of course be for the courts to decide, if and when a whistle-blower emerges to make a prosecution. But has TinyCO2 become that corrupt? I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the answer turns out to be yes.

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  25. Is that what you’re reduced to Raff, innuendo? Hmmm, methinks you’re running out of things to say.

    “I thought you wanted “skeptic” science, done perhaps by a dedicated body.”

    And I’m sure that I’ve told you that it has to be funded by governments. It doesn’t need to do original science, it just needs to be tasked with pulling the standard stuff to pieces. That’s how other systems work. If the team tasked with pulling stuff apart, can’t break the product, it’s probably sound. Climate science can’t even stand up to casual outsiders, with no funding or insider information.

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  26. I think TINYC02’s point is an excellent one. All sciences would improve with red teams.

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  27. Innuendo, TinyCO2? I think you missed the point.

    Science has red teams built in. They are the other teams trying to research the same subject in different ways or the scrutiny of papers, etc. Climate science as a whole stands up well to scrutiny, even if people have found problems in individual papers.

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  28. In case Raff you missed it the whole replication crisis shows that science does not have “built in red teams.” Look at the Economist long article and editorial and get back to me.

    Ken Rice and Gavin Cawley may be in denial but the truth becomes clearer every day.

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  29. “Science has red teams built in. They are the other teams trying to research the same subject in different ways or the scrutiny of papers.”

    Face palm.

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  30. It works, TinyCO2. Or do you think that hundreds of years of progress have been despite science instead of because of science?

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  31. Raff, seriously? Do you really think that anything important is left to peer review?

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  32. You are a one, TinyCO2. You spend all this time with big talk about science being so important to you, yet you think scrutiny of papers means peer review. It is as if you think nobody ever reads papers, talks about them, judges them. Do you believe in science or don’t you? Science must be self correcting, or do you really think that hundreds of years of progress have been despite science instead of because of it?

    And you are so blind to what you read here that you think I am guilty of innuendo when all I did was take John Shade’s words and reflect them back on you. Innuendo is part of the life blood flowing in the veins of “skepticism” and you don’t even know it.

    ATTP once wrote a piece with the title along the lines of We Need A Better Class of Sceptic. He was right on!

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  33. Do you think that much of the science that passed peer review and was read, talked about and judged a hundred years ago is still valid? No, loads of it was crap or just limited by the tools or data available at the time. Sure, if we can wait a few hundred years to see which bits of climate science remain intact, I’d say that science as it is done in your way, is fine. Oh hang on, you want us to act now? Well in that case it needs to be a lot more rigorous and organised that that, don’t you think?

    Not all sciences are equal. For those scientists who delve into dinosaur extinction, the practice of debate by peer review is fine because the outcome doesn’t matter. How many years have they been tossing the same question back and forth now? For the MMR scare, peer revew was a disaster. A bunch of doctors tagged their name to an awful bit of ‘science’ they clearly knew almost nothing about. There was no system to properly vet the paper or the main author and once it was causing harm, there was no system to undo the damage. It wasn’t retracted for 10 years, because that’s not how science is done! Countless trivial and ludicrous papers clog up an ever expanding world of journals such that it would be impossible for much of it to be read, let alone rigorously examined. Scientists eagerly pass each other’s papers because quantitiy is now more important than quality and they hardly have time to go through another’s work with a fine toothed comb, even assuming the data is included to allow more than a cursory read.

    Some of the sciences can replicate their findings over and over again and we can say that those sciences can be relied on, even if some parts turn out to be more complicated when better tools turn up. Climate science can’t even give us a temperature record for the thermometer age that isn’t subject to regular revisions. What the hell use is a paper written 10 years ago if its based on a record that has subsequently changed significantly? What use are today’s papers if the records are different again in another 10 years? In almost any other field, the amount of revisionism would be viewed as either the wobbly steps of a novel subject or the dodgy adjustments of people who had an agenda. Which is it?

    One of the fundamental issues in climate is sensitivity. There seems to be almost no urgency to determine an answer. It’s like designing the first car with air conditioning, sun roof and sat nav before you’ve invented the wheel and a basic engine.

    There are ways to speed up how science is done but it requires something different to academic science. It doesn’t progress by peer review. It isn’t defended, it’s attacked. At every stage people view it with suspicion, especially those charged with protecting the public. It isn’t rushed through, no matter how important the results are, because a failure further down the line is massively damaging.

    So to answer your question – do I believe in science, the answer is no. Good science doesn’t need belief and bad science doesn’t deserve it.

    And I got your innuendo point but if you don’t know the difference between a random person on the internet and an entire science profession trying to persuade the people of the world to effect an energy revolution, you’ve got more problems than I can be bothered to deal with.

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  34. I should say that all work I have carried out in the last 10 years has been pro bono although I did receive a bar of chocolate and a balloon from my most recent client. To the best of my knowledge that customer is not calling for a review. I almost certainly will not declare those items on my tax return. So sue me.

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  35. http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Replication_crisis

    It’s a real issue. Science does not have in-built red teams; peer review is not the same as
    peer review is a post factum process. A red team methodology needs to be holistically part
    of the entire work, right from the beginning. The impact of tenure seems to be having the
    opposite effect of what was originally intended.

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  36. RAFF — “Science must be self correcting…

    Now that’s faith, isn’t it. It’s the same conceit as a religious zealot believing he can do no wrong because he’s following the literal word of God.

    Science is not ‘self-correcting’, first because it has no self. ‘Science’ is no more ‘self-correcting’ than test tubes do their own experiments. People do science, good or bad. The fact of scientific developments made in the past is not a guarantee of scientific progress in the future, nor moreover is it a guarantee that all that is called ‘Science’ is science. Worst still, the facts of scientific discovery do not make it a model for social or political organisation, which is increasingly the ambition of institutional ‘science’.

    Second, to claim science is self-correcting is to presuppose its end and its journey there — as though it could not become overwhelmed by its own fluff and error, and thereby descend into its own conceits for the rest of its history. It is people, after all, that do science.

    Third, to say ‘science is self correcting’ is a fig leaf for ‘so shut up’, which is to deny any possibility of science being corrected. Institutional science — which is to say its enforcers — has in recent years shown itself to be as hostile to criticism from without its ranks as religion. Consequently, it has become no less intolerant of culture.

    And fourth, sweeping criticism under the carpet, because ‘science is self-correcting’ is a naked rhetorical move to defend the authority of Science as an institution, not as a process.

    So the claim ‘science has built-in red teams’ or its equivalents, ‘science is self-correcting’ and ‘science is organised scepticism’ is to move ‘Science’ away from being a method to discover material reality, back to what it dethroned. Nothing is as anti-science as these claims. This version of ‘Science’ has created a holy order of ‘Scientists’ — an institution whose good faith we’re supposed to take at face value, but which jealously guards its texts in a move that reflects the opposite of the translation of the Bible into English. Can’t speak Latin and Ancient Greek? Then you have no business criticising the Church.

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  37. Ben is right of course. The claim that science is self correcting is a tactic of denial and delay. Reform is required if science wants to maintain its credibility.

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  38. Great replies. And talking of science that can’t be reproduced, Kenneth Richard can’t reproduce William Connolley’s lack of cooling papers back in the 60s and 70s. 7 papers become at least 285 papers. A nice use of Cook’s counting method and a dig at the ever changing global temperature records.

    http://notrickszone.com/2016/09/13/massive-cover-up-exposed-285-papers-from-1960s-80s-reveal-robust-global-cooling-scientific-consensus/

    Perhaps it will turn out that the papers Connolley counted were just the ones that happened to on his desk at the time? And therefore not deceptive, just very, very specific?

    Liked by 2 people

  39. Debate by peer review, TinyCO2? You really don’t have a clue, do you?

    And Ben Pile, the man with a degree in politics, pontificating about science – that is funny. Do you really think science still retains all the errors it had 100 or even 200 years ago. Can you identify a single one? How did we manage such progress if science hasn’t replaced the wrong ideas – is self correcting. Did we, as TinyCO2 failed to answer, progress despite science instead or because of it? You may excell at writing essays but you seem to know nothing useful.

    By the way, Ben Pile, have you ever ‘fraudulently obtained’ funds? That would of course be for the courts to decide, if and when a whistle-blower emerges to make a prosecution. But has Ben Pile become that corrupt? I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the answer turns out to be yes.

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  40. The snipping of a few sentences out of the context of possible corruption affecting sciences and other academic areas, and applying them to an individual is indeed worthy of remark and dismay, but it is a mere feather poked at TINYCO2, and more recently at Ben Pile, both of whose detailed and penetrating comments or posts have brought a great deal of insight to CliScep. They are valuable, positive contributors. In contrast, the RAFF collective remains irritating and lightweight.

    I fear it also does not read entire posts, but rather shares them out in chunks for each operative to have a go at. Hence they risk missing the big picture conveyed by the post. So let me help with an overview for my post above:

    1. Campaigners alarmed by rising CO2 levels are puzzled as to why so many of the general public in the USA (and probably elsewhere) are not swayed by their arguments and their sundry devices like trying to big-up extreme weather events to raise awareness, and they also are bemused by the Republican/Democrat split on the issue. One highly informed commentator has described their efforts as trying to put lipstick on a pig – the problem is with the pig, and not with inadequate lipstick. The case for alarm being the pig, and it is an extremely weak one.
    2. In some areas of science where there are huge sums of money being spent widely, notably in healthcare-related fields, there have been cases of fraudulent data being exposed by whistleblowers. The link I give mentions 5 examples, and the article explains the FCA law. My post draws attention to comments below this article which say that it makes them think of climate science. The revelations of the Climategate materials were cited in those comments as evidence of deviousness in that field. I raise the question of whether there has been fraud there as well, and say that will be for the courts to decide in the FCA sense, and I comment that it would not surprise if fraud is discovered. I give a link to examples of poor moral and intellectual standards amongst campaigners, a group which includes some climate scientists. My next comment to be posted below will contain some more recent items of interest here.

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  41. Raff

    when you are out of your depth, call a lifeboat:

    “Do you really think science still retains all the errors it had 100 or even 200 years ago.”

    When new hypotheses come along, then we will be able to answer the question. Science doesn’t know. Science is just a body of knowledge and hypotheses so of course it retains errors that it had in the past, until such a time as they are shown to be erroneous. However, it is fairly clear that there is significant room for progress in climate science. No need to go hunting for neutrinos or the Higgs Boson when you still cannot really account for “sensitivity”, or describe how heat gets into the oceans (if it does), or how energy flows around the different components of the climatic system. There’s a whole lot of low-hanging fruit there but sadly the folks who do climate science are unable to grasp it.

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  42. This business of fraud or other actionable offences by those alarmed by CO2 is actually an area worthy of more research, or at least of keeping a close eye on. Here are some notes I’ve made today in case they can help anyone wishing to investigate this further, and to supplement my own post above.

    (1) Today I came across a report on WUWT about a civil prosecution in the States:

    ‘I have filed a civil RICO complaint against the Climate Alarmism Enterprise – Climate Action Network, Generation Investment Management, Ceres, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Rockefeller Brothers Funds etc. – 40 corporations in total.  Attached are the stamped front page and the full text of the complaint (not for publication verbatim, of course).
    The alleged criminal Enterprise has been in existence since 1988. Alleged predicate offenses:
    – Retaliation against witnesses
    – Tampering with witnesses
    – Bribing witnesses
    – Bribing public officials
    Theft / Embezzlement from pension and/or welfare plans, including Social Security, and the ongoing attempt at embezzling up to $36 Trillions’

    Now that is going to be interesting!

    (2) We have the Mann/Stein case in the system, where the mills do seem to grind exceeding slow. We had the legal judgement in England about the political opportunism in ‘An Inconvenient Truth’.

    (3) Legal actions have been tried in New Zealand on data adjustments but were stalled by a judge in 2012:

    ‘ Government climatologists in New Zealand (NZ) last week won a major courtroom victory against skeptic plaintiffs when a high court judge declined to order scientists to release their data. But fresh legal analysis points to a new courtroom strategy to circumvent the kiwi government’s failure to honor a promise to release hotly contested global warming evidence. ‘

    But that note suggests it may be ongoing. Anyone more up to date on this?

    (4) On the academic side, researchers claim to have uncovered extensive bias in climate sensitivity studies. Their paper can be downloaded from here. See Lubos for a typically trenchant commentary on it.

    (5) Meanwhile, in New Zealand last month, this report looks interesting and relevant to the above post:

    ‘An official complaint has been lodged with the Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ) alleging a breach of that Society’s own Code of Ethics by Professors Tim Naish and James Renwick, of Victoria University of Wellington in their current programme of talks around New Zealand, entitled: “Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Climate Change,” sponsored jointly by the University and RSNZ.

    (6) Now (as reported above by TINYCO2), we have a post on No Tricks Zone presenting evidence for massive cover-up effort on the cooling, principally by the notorious Consensus Enforcer, William Connolley:

    ‘William Connolley may have successfully erased the Medieval Warm Period and 1970s cooling concerns from the pages of Wikipedia. He may have successfully written over 5,400 original Wikipedia articles in an attempt to persuade the public to believe in a dominant role for humans and CO2 in causing climate changes. But the internet has a long and expansive memory, and it is unforgiving when opportunists and activists attempt to dupe the public by concocting false narratives and employing the very same practice of “scientization” they hypocritically claim to deride. ‘

    As well as Connolley being accused of removing Wikipedia materials about scientific researchers’ work on cooling, the article reminds us of the extensive data-adjustments that have been going for years – seemingly in an effort to make the past conform to what the campaigners want it to be:
    ‘In reviewing the available scientific literature from the 1960s-’80s, it is plainly evident that there was a great deal of concern about the ongoing global cooling, which had amounted to -0.5°C in the Northern Hemisphere and -0.3°C globally between the 1940s and 1970s.
    Of course, this inconvenient global-scale cooling of -0.3°C between the 1940s and 1970s has necessarily been almost completely removed from the instrumental record by NASA (GISS) and the MetOffice (HadCRUT). After all, the observations (of cooling) conflicted with climate modeling. Overseers of the surface temperature datasets (such as the MetOffice’s Phil Jones or NASA’s Gavin Schmidt) have recently adjusted the -0.3°C of cooling down to just hundredths of a degree of cooling. NASA GISS, for example, has reduced (via “adjustments”) the global cooling down to about -0.01°C between the 1940s and 1970s, as shown below. It is likely that, during the next few years of adjustments to past data, the mid-20th century global cooling period will disappear altogether and mutate into a warming period.’

    All very interesting, I hope you will all agree.

    Liked by 5 people

  43. Why shouldn’t someone with a degree in politics ‘pontificate about science’? After all, if science is to inform politics (qua ‘policymaking’), politics grads probably have more of use to say about the process and its consequences than scientists. If RAFF wants to say that science is inconsequential to policymaking, we can all go home.

    I don’t claim that science is the same as it was 100 or 200 years ago at all. On the contrary, my point is precisely that science has changed, for better and worse — its product, its practice, its form, and its institutions.

    “How did we manage such progress if science hasn’t replaced the wrong ideas – is self correcting.

    Science didn’t ever correct itself. In the same way trains, boats, planes, computers and toasters don’t fix themselves.

    “how did we manage such progress”? People “corrected science”. The idea that it did it itself, automatically, is mystical, to say the least.

    Liked by 3 people

  44. MiaB — “Science is just a body of knowledge and hypotheses so of course it retains errors that it had in the past, until such a time as they are shown to be erroneous.

    Indeed, it seems RAFF might think libraries write books. And supermarkets make food.

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  45. There is also a political motivation for a lot of the ascendency of scientism, i.e., the faith in science. Many left leaners are repelled by Christianity and develop a substitute faith in science.

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  46. A more fruitful goal concept than self-correcting is unbiased. Human beings are by nature very biased and have little inclination for self-doubt. These biases are reinforced by Ben’s “enforcers” who downplay uncertainties, ambiguitities, and problems. Like Ken R they are apologists, in the same sense that St Thomas was.

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  47. DPY6629 “Many left leaners are repelled by Christianity and develop a substitute faith in science.”

    What’s wrong with developing healthy disinterest like the rest of us? I’ve had to deny being an atheist because it’s turned into a club that demands an evangelical membership.

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  48. I poked the feather at you first, John Shade. Why it should provoke ‘dismay’ I don’t know – it is the same method you and others use. Innuendo, Tiny called it. It is your tool of choice when you have evidence of any wrongdoing but want to umpugne someone’s morals. Your list of 3:57pm is the same: no evidence of anything, at all. Talk about moral and intellectual poverty – that is you in a nutshell.

    “Science didn’t ever correct itself. … People “corrected science”.”

    Oh bravo, Ben Pile! Debate the semantics. Did you learn that in your debating class? That sort of thing must be a core subject for politics studies; maybe this was your syllabus http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?ConversationalChaff

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  49. Raff why does all this bother you? If the science and the scientists are just fine then nobody has anything to worry about when it comes to more rigorous examination. I’m not even sure why you bother interacting with sceptics if we’re so easy to dismiss. You’d think that the warmists were loosing and you thought the battle was still being fought.

    But you had that successful Paris and Obama is doing his best to stitch up… err I mean sign up the US before he slopes off. Unless you’re afraid that the renewable revolution is already going flat and soon people are going to start seriously looking for a reason to back off from acting on CO2? Hmmm?

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  50. An extra o there in losing but I’m guessing the warmists have something loose, somewhere.

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  51. RAFF hides behind the get-out-of-jail free-card that anybody who fails to grasp the basics of abstract discussion will turn to: “you’re debating the semantics”. (Though they will do precisely that of course.)

    The point is to divert from what was transparently RAFF’s mystical misconception of science. Pointing out the misconception is not ‘semantics’; it is asking RAFF to explain what appears to be a mystical, teleological claim. If it’s people doing science, then science is no more self-correcting — vs prone to error — than people. It was up to RAFF to explain what makes science “self-correcting”. He chose not to. Science is a method, and an institution. Like any human institution, the rules it creates and adheres to are as easily corrupted as any other. To imagine that science or scientists are made of some other kind of moral stuff is, again, to imagine the fantastic.

    RAFF’s is an interesting diversion, however. Because if we were trying to understand some material phenomenon, we’d demand terms of increasing precision. Yet when we try to establish what the meaning of ‘science’ is, and what the mechanism of its ‘self-correction’ is, RAFF sniffs that this is mere ‘sematics’.

    I think that RAFF’s interventions unwittingly hint towards his antipathy towards science, and anxiety that it might being done by unauthorised persons. Just as the old Church used to worry about its authority.

    Liked by 2 people

  52. So science is done by people and people make mistakes and people correct those mistakes and science, or is that people, make progress and all that happens without anyone like Ben Pile or the guy who ‘likes’ his posts or anyone else having to control or direct the process. So it just happens, but don’t say the process self-corrects because that is a rhetorical step too far for the small minds that occur in Piles (and the guy who ‘likes’ his posts).

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  53. How many years have you got while climate scientists self correct as the public dismiss what they have to say Raff? I’m prepared to wait.

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  54. RAFF — “So science is done by people and people make mistakes and people correct those mistakes…

    Interesting. so now can’t we say that ‘politics is self-correcting’? (You know — that subject you were poo-pooing just a few moments ago.) Can’t we also say ‘religion is self-correcting’?

    I’m sure you see the problem. It’s all in the realm of Mystic Meg.

    If you were inclined to correct your own mistakes, I’m sure you’ll look back on your posts as petty-minded — especially the comments about ‘liking’. But you’re not so inclined towards reflection, of ‘self-correction’. Which is a good reason, isn’t it, not to take at face value the claim that ‘science is self-correcting’, and that its putative advocates act, argue or campaign in good faith. You are so to speak, the living disproof of your own argument.

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  55. Of course I could question whether politics or religion are self correcting. It would be stupid to say that such a question can’t be asked (except that you do seem to say that – stupid is as stupid does). I’d have to say that they are not, as unlike science they have not led to ever better understanding and prosperity. I’d say also that this failure to self-correct is a reason not to take politics or religion seriously or to study them, as a degree subject for example…

    “How many years have you got while climate scientists self correct as the public dismiss what they have to say Raff? “

    That is at least an intelligent observation, TinyCO2. I’m guessing you didn’t study politics or religion. I’m not so sure that the public does dismiss climate science, although clearly a part of it does. I think it is more agnostic or indifferent, as there is nothing that any individual can do alone to address the problem. It is not the only problem of that sort.

    As for red teams, they are not really such a bad idea and could apply much more widely than just climate science. A quality control department might be a useful addition to universities, although my experience of QA in the software world doesn’t give me much confidence for the reality. And it is hard to see how it would fit in with a supposed publish or die mentality for academics or the supposed desire of institutions to maximize the output of papers. But I know nothing of academia, so my thoughts on it are worthless. Maybe the academics here can offer an opinion (on whether QA in universities is or could be done; I know the “skeptics” want climate science torn down by whatever means).

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  56. — “I’d have to say that they are not, as unlike science they have not led to ever better understanding and prosperity.”

    Weber speaks directly to that claim in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Which puts some light on this comment, rather…

    I’d say also that this failure to self-correct is a reason not to take politics or religion seriously or to study them, as a degree subject for example…

    You’d have to be pretty ignorant to think it. And you’d have to be petty-minded to say it without thinking it because you think it’ll impress on anyone the possibility that there is any depth to your view of things.

    Which takes us back to science — the thing you’re evading as a subject. So what makes it ‘self-correcting’, and led to ‘better understanding and wealth’, now we know that even religion can do the same? I don’t think you really know. (Oh, and try organising research budgets, or realising commercial applications of research without ‘politics’…)

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  57. “I think it is more agnostic or indifferent, as there is nothing that any individual can do alone to address the problem. It is not the only problem of that sort.”

    The first I’ll agree with but the second is completely wrong. The only action possible will be from individuals. People agreeing to the changes, and making changes of their own at home and at work. Unless we live in North Korea, the only thing that would work is the mass agreement of the public. The majority of the two UK parliaments discovered very recently what happens when the public are on a different page to their political leaders. And trust me, they used far more effective scare tactics than the CAGW have so far been able to muster.

    You have to move away from the idea that a government can work miracles. There is no magical alternative for CO2 reduction on the horizon if only everyone believes. Not even a much more expensive alternative to fossil fuels. And if there was, who cares if the science is convincing or not? An inexhaustible, reliable energy source would be cheap in the long run. Call me when you find it. I’d even invest in it.

    The two options on the table at the moment is a sheer grinding CO2 poverty or a fossil fuelled gamble on climate. At the moment everyone is voting for option 2.

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  58. Several comments mention the value of ‘red teams’ or their equivalent (beginning with TINYCO2 – 12 Sep 6:51pm, and JONA 12 Sep 8:29pm). The NIPCC was set up in part to provide such a service for climate science given the deliberately blinkered and politicised IPCC:

    ‘In 2010, a Web site (www.nipccreport.org) was created to highlight scientific studies NIPCC scientists believed would likely be downplayed or ignored by the IPCC during preparation of its next assessment report. In 2011, the three sponsoring organizations produced Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2011 Interim Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), a review and analysis of new research released since the 2009 report or overlooked by the authors of that report.

    In 2013, the Information Center for Global Change Studies, a division of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, translated and published an abridged edition of the 2009 and 2011 NIPCC reports in a single volume. On June 15, the Chinese Academy of Sciences organized a NIPCC Workshop in Beijing to allow the NIPCC principal authors to present summaries of their conclusions.

    In September 2013, NIPCC released Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, the first of three volumes expanding and bringing up-to-date the original 2009 report as well as offering a counter-point to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report. A new Web site was created (www.ClimateChangeReconsidered.org) to feature the new report and news about its release.

    In 2014, the second volume of Climate Change Reconsidered II, subtitled Biological Impacts, was published. It offered more than 1,000 pages of reviews of scientific research finding the impact of man-made global warming is benign and even beneficial to mankind and the natural world.

    In November, 2015, the three lead NIPCC authors – Craig Idso, Robert M. Carter, and S. Fred Singer – wrote a small book titled Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming: The NIPCC Report on Scientific Consensus revealing how no survey or study shows a “consensus” on the most important scientific issues in the climate change debate, and how most scientists do not support the alarmist claims of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.’

    I strongly recommend downloading and studying all their reports. They are an excellent resource.

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  59. I’m glad you now accept that science is self-correcting, but for something to display a self-crrecting nature, Ben Pile, what comes after has to be demonstrably more correct that what came before. With science we know that is true, but can you say that modern religion is now more ‘correct’. I think you’d be the only one. One might make the argument that politics has corrected itself in some countries (expanding the franchise, removing descrimination) but that is beside the point – which was to counter your idea that something “self correcting” is “all in the realm of Mystic Meg”.

    I disagree, TinyCO2. It has to come from governments and it has to be as good as or better than what exists now or people wont vote for it. That is the challenge – not persuading people to do without but reorganizing industry and society to do the same things better. This is something you seem continually and surprisingly to underestimate. We already have the energy sources – renewables and nuclear.

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  60. RAFF — “I’m glad you now accept that science is self-correcting, but for something to display a self-crrecting nature, Ben Pile,

    It ain’t my concession, RAFF. The question was *if* science is ‘self correcting’, then what is its mechanism, and what sets it apart from other things.

    –“ “what comes after has to be demonstrably more correct that what came before.” —

    Is phrenology more accurate than humorism? This ‘must’ is a real problem.

    –“With science we know that is true…” —

    We know it? Or we presuppose it? Again, you appear to fetishise science; you make *it* transcendent.

    — “but can you say that modern religion is now more ‘correct’. I think you’d be the only one.”

    I made no judgement about how more or less ‘correct’ contemporary religion is than its earlier forms. I can though. I can can see, for example, that the God of the Old Testament isn’t the same God as the New Testament, and that this transformation is mirrored in historical transformations — and reformations — which frees man to become the centre of his understanding in and of a *material* universe — that humanism is born out of religious moments, and that thus, though science isn’t the literal and immediate product of religion, to misunderstand history, culture, religion in the way you did is crass, brute ignorance. Your point was,

    — “…unlike science [religion and politics] have not led to ever better understanding and prosperity.“—

    Head-bangingly stupid stuff, even as inconsequential, hollow, petty invective. The only way it could be true is if Science conjured itself out of nothing — not even a vacuum. Again, the point being the mystical conception of “science” that persists in green argument.

    — “… to counter your idea that something “self correcting” is “all in the realm of Mystic Meg”.

    You can’t even read. The point was not that something ‘self correcting’ is necessarily ‘in the realm of Mystic Meg’, but that your understanding, as it is expressed here, is from the realm of Mystic Meg. Your vanity is so pathological, you don’t understand the difference between taking issue with your argument, and taking issue with the material Universe!

    No wonder you remain anonymous.

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  61. Raff “not persuading people to do without but reorganizing industry and society to do the same things better. This is something you seem continually and surprisingly to underestimate.”

    What I’m doing is looking at what we’ve done so far and that’s sod all. And I don’t mean for a lack of trying. The current renewables are useless. Anyone with half a brain can see that. You’d need some very quick tenchnological steps forward to change that. You can’t expect those things to pop up just because you need them. Advances don’t work that way. Wind turbines and solar panels have been around for ages. Sure, they’re better now but the speed of improvement is minimal. Governments are slowly working out that they’re money munchers and won’t tolerate them for much longer. They are almost at their limit of usefulness in the UK. If we start having power cuts, it’s game over.

    What exactly is it that industry and society are going to do better? Industry is already fairly energy efficient. What the f*** do you think they’ve been doing for the last 50 years? Sitting around lighting their cigars with £ fifties? Is YOUR home and routine so energy wasteful that you could shave most of the total away? And if your energy use is reasonable, why do you assume most other people’s isn’t?

    The CO2 reduction we’ve seen so far was from low hanging fruit. With the last of the coal out of the system, the next stages get exponentially harder. We’re not even replacing the nuclear we’ve got. All but one was supposed to be decomissioned over the next 10 years. Germany and France are shutting theirs down.

    Electric cars? Laughable. Electric heating? We’ve just swapped to condencing boilers. Do you have the slightest clue about the scale of the issue? My whole life I’ve been hearing about magic solutions to problems just round the corner. For most of them the answer is as far away as it ever was.

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  62. Raff seems to enjoy making hints and allegations against everyone he argues with. Doesn’t it seem about time he was sent off to make his hints and allegations elsewhere?

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  63. Do you take the NIPCC report more seriously than the IPCC report, John Shade?

    You must exhaust yourself continually reinterpreting what you previously said to make it look less stupid, Ben Pile. There is no doubt that science has become ever more advanced and correct and that this has led to enormous prosperity. One could say that it is scientific research and development by people that has led to this happy state, but most people would be happy to abbreviate “scientific research and development by people” to just “science”. And this state of continual correction (by people doing the science, or “self-correction” by “science”) is an inevitable consequence of there being objective measures of correctness that are unique to science and lacking in other fields such as religion or politics. That is not to say that religion or politics cannot lead to increased prosperity but they also have a supreme ability to go terribly wrong because they lack any absolute measure of correctness.

    As usual you misunderstand the challenge and, like many older people, our ability to change, TinyCO2. You’ve lived your life with miracles going on around you and not even noticed. We can re-engineer society, how we live and what we do, to be carbon neutral, one step at a time over decades.

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  64. Wow… Now raff accepts that technology has changed over his /her lifespan without thinking that it might also change over the next 50 years. So we are not trapped in the same world. Co2 emissions might drop because of technology change rather than through “mitigation” aka deliberate killing people. Oh the cognitive dissonance

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  65. RAFF — “There is no doubt that science has become ever more advanced and correct and that this has led to enormous prosperity.” —

    It was never in question that science had advanced. What was in question was your ability to identify what does (or doesn’t) make science ‘self-correcting’, and unique amongst things like ‘politics and religion’ — neither of which you know much about, either, such that you can make such a judgement.

    There is in doubt, you see about this:

    — “And this state of continual correction (by people doing the science, or “self-correction” by “science”) is an inevitable consequence of there being ,b>objective measures of correctness that are unique to science and lacking in other fields such as religion or politics.“–

    There is no ‘objective measure of correctness’. It may be the point of science to attempt to understand things as objects. But not all sciences have a 5-sigma.

    Moreover, you seem yourself to be content with a very low standard — a highly subjective (and for that matter, deeply political) measure when it comes to an understanding of the climate, or the work of psychologists entering the climate debate. You object to criticism of poorly-conceived ‘objective measures of correctness’, but then when challenged to explain what that criticism lacks, you duck the question about the substance of the criticism, and descend to your own opinion about what is driving it — it must be evil deniers, on your view.

    Striving for ‘objective measures of correctness’ no more guarantees that the enterprise has achieved it than a religious zealot adhering to the literal word of the Bible means he can do no wrong. The scientist’s attempts may be merely superficial — cargo cult rituals. Scientific institutions may simply become corrupt. Science could simply fail to make any progress, for want of better brains. Or inconvenient perspectives may have been excluded from within the ranks of institutional science, thereby reducing ‘objective measures’ to merely bureaucratic processes.

    –“We can re-engineer society, how we live and what we do, …”

    It has been tried before. We Will Force You To Be Carbon-Free — has a nice ring to it. And it sounds sensible, too. As one political leader who emphasised science put it…

    –“When people attempt to rebel against the iron logic of Nature, they come into conflict with the very same principles to which they owe their existence as human beings. Their actions against Nature must lead to their own downfall.”

    One of his followers pointed out that this doctrine is ‘nothing but applied biology’.

    But there are problems with that approach. You’d probably need to do a degree in a non-science subject though, to begin to understand why.

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  66. Measures of scientific correctness boil down to whether observations can be explained by theories and whether those theories produce testable predictions. Nothing similar is possible in politics or religion; they have no capacity for self correction because little about them can ever be said to be ‘correct’.

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  67. “You’ve lived your life with miracles going on around you and not even noticed.” Raff.

    No miracles, just progress. But progress won’t make the sun shine at night or still air turn a turbine. Batteries have improved but never to the level the hype before hand suggests. Progress has been fairly steady, not the exponential improvement we need. This idea that renewables supporters have that we can muddle through with batteries to make up the gap between full supply and near zero is incomprehensible. During the spring and summer, the wind supply has been about a fifth of installed capacity and sometimes near zero. Only during the winter does the system show upwards of 50% of capacity and while there are short periods of near 100%, there are longer periods of near zero. How many renewables do you need to power current demand, power the batteries and power all the new things warmists want electrified? How much energy is needed to build all that and then replace it all 8-20 years later? The batteries in particular won’t last that long. You’ve heard of energy returned for energy invested. And that gets even more unbalanced if you keep a full scale fossil fuel supply waiting for the periods when you need it. And let’s not even contemplate the cost for all this kit.

    “like many older people.”

    Ageist git. How old do you think I am Raff? I have been in IT my whole career and am currently deep into Unity 3D, which is about as 21st century as it comes. I don’t see miracles, I see demonstrably excellent (or duff, there’s been a lot of duff) engineering. Most IT jobs are all about untangling the salesman’s hype from the sorry reality. No business and certainly no country can rely on non existent technology getting them out of a hole. I love my computer but I wouldn’t swap it for my low tech, high CO2 glass, bricks and mortar. My boiler and my washing machine may have computer chips but the real work is done by old, high energy engineering. My car may have many futuristic bells and whistles but they add extra weight and demand on the fundamentally old technology engine. It gets more miles to the gallon than the one my Dad drove when he was young but only about 2 to 4 times the rate.

    SOME things have shown amazing changes over the last few decades, not all. You may think like a ten year old Raff but I’m not making the assumption that you are one.

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  68. What you didn’t stress as much as you might have done in that post, Tiny, is that most of what you are talking about isn’t science; it’s technology.

    Chambers defines technology as “the practice of any or all of the applied sciences that have practical value and/or industrial use; technical methods in a particular area of industry or art …” What has driven human progress is mostly human ingenuity in applying scientific principles to practical ends. It isn’t that the science is unimportant; it is that once the scientific principle is accepted it can be used to practical ends; whether those ends benefit mankind or otherwise depends on how they are used. The scientific basics of nuclear physics, for example, are well understood; whether they are used to provide nuclear power or nuclear weapons is a personal/political decision.

    It seems to me that when we try to order our affairs according to “the science” rather than the practical use of science is when we come unstuck. Or when scientific argument is allowed to spill out of the ivory towers into the public domain before it is ready. Climatology is one example; Ancel Keyes and his theories on fats is another. I could probably find more if I cared to go digging.

    In both those examples our knowledge of “the science” is desperately incomplete. On the principle that “the man who wants something is always in a stronger position than the man who doesn’t want him to have it” the proponents of CAGW have been able to convince those that matter that their world view is the right one even though there are still massive gaps in our understanding and a plethora of competing hypotheses on primary causes, contributory causes and effects. And in our present state of knowledge there is no technological spin off from “the science”. We cannot use climatology for any practical purpose. It remains pure science and trying to use it for anything won’t work.

    Much the same applies to the fats vs sugar argument. In this case there is hardly any solid evidence to support any of the competing theories because research is inadequate and in any event is too often directed — consciously or sub-consciously — at pleasing the paymaster (as witness the number of published papers reaching wildly diverging conclusions from the same evidence or the number of ‘metastudies’ and data dredges where evidence from previous studies is reworked, not infrequently dishonestly, to reach a desired conclusion). We are, I suspect, doomed to swing between the various schools of thought simply because there is no scientific theory strong enough to anchor one view or another.

    The argument about whether or not science is “self-correcting” is a futile one. A hypothesis will hold good until a better one comes along or enough people provide sufficient evidence that the current one does not hold up in enough situations to be universally accepted. Keyes’ hypothesis has been under challenge for most if its lifetime by those who argued that the Provençale peasants’ diet of “red wine and goose fat” ought to have killed them off a lot earlier than it did if Keyes was right. But Keyes had the ear of the right people so little headway was made until after his death.

    (There is an intriguing parallel here. I was told this story many years ago by a local resident and believe it but cannot swear to its authenticity. Stratford-on-Avon has long been known for its swans and there was some concern locally when the numbers started to decline for no reason that anyone from vets through to swan “experts” could identify. Until the oldest and most cantankerous cob on the river died. The following Spring saw the largest number of cygnets for years and the flock never looked back! Draw your own conclusions.)

    Nature is already determining whether climate “science” is right or wrong and I have largely given up listening to the views of both sides at least as far as the published papers are concerned. The range of views expressed from the extreme scientific right who brook no argument on the subject to the generally regarded as looney left (who may be right for all I know) is so vast that either we are listening to bald men fighting over a comb or theologians discussing angels and pinheads. And when we finally decide which of these is correct (my own view aligns with the only sane pronouncement the IPCC has come out with to date, that “[the C]limate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible”) we are still unlikely to be in a position where climate research is going to come up with any “science” that an inventor or visionary or entrepreneur can use to advance mankind in any realistic way.

    Liked by 4 people

  69. RAFF — “Nothing similar is possible in politics or religion; they have no capacity for self correction because little about them can ever be said to be ‘correct’.“–

    And yet you told Tiny,

    –“We can re-engineer society, how we live and what we do, …”–

    Let’s call it RAFF’s Paradox… It’s ‘science’, but it’s politics. It’s as ideological as any -ism.

    The paradox deepens… Engineering society has been tried before. And those attempts have failed. How to understand what led to those failures, if not through ‘politics’? (You really should read and understand those quotes about the ‘iron logic of nature, and ‘applied biology’.)

    You’re also quite wrong to say that we cannot speak about ‘politics’ objectively. We can, for example, look at structures in society — political authorities, institutions, their domains and respective competences. We can say things about where money goes from and to, and which modes of exchange or which forms of political organisation produce more efficient results in comparison.

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  70. Mike, absolutely. But I didn’t want to get into debating where science stops and technology begins or whether it’s in academia or industry. The difference is testing.

    There was a point where industry was allowed to have agreat idea and then sell it to the public without any safeguards – this gave rise to snake oil salesmen and many similar shysters before them. At one point most professionals were winging it and success was hit and miss. Peer review was an early form of quality control and quite noble but it’s ludicrous that science never thought ‘shouldn’t we upgrade?’ Technology has had to because society made it. And although it might seem that regulation has slowed progress, it has prevented too many false products obscuring the good ones. Even where legislation doesn’t prevent poor products being sold, the public are now able to compare good with bad and usually somebody will step up to the quality plate. Bad products fall by the wayside because people chose something else or just don’t buy at all.

    Microsoft forgot that process and Apple are working their way towards it. They, like climate sientists, thought their products were so saleable that the public must buy them, despite countless flaws. They do. Until the novelty wears off.

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  71. Yes, Ben Pile, never say never. Okay so politics has less (not ‘no’) capacity for self correction. But whereas the learning of science doesn’t go away once found (barring disaster) the structures of society you refer to are easily destroyed by the extremes of politics or reigion – look at Russia, Venuzuela, Turkey or maybe Iran.

    Much of the technology we have would seem miraculous or magical to past generations, TinyCO2. But
    I don’t want to argue renewables with you. I’m happy to take what the late David Mackay wrote in his book as an indication that removing fossil fuels can be done if we want to and that renewables are not useless. I’m also happy to take his final video interview support for nuclear power in the UK as a best option for the UK – other countries will doubtless differ.

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  72. So which is most obstrutive to solving the CO2 problem Raff, a green that rejects nulear but accepts CAGW theory or a sceptic that says the science needs to be better but is ok with nuclear so long as they don’t buy the most expensive, non working option? If we’d gone nuclear from the start and not bothered with renewables we could have bought and paid for a fleet of nuclear that would have seen coal close sooner and be on the way to replacing gas central heating.

    Warmists invited the wrong side to join them. They wanted it all. So instead you’ve got barely nothing but a few promises made by people who rarely keep them. You’ve blown billions on toys.

    Liked by 2 people

  73. Nuclear would probably have been a better option for the UK, but we’d still be arguing about who was going to pay for them and where they’d be built. There might be a pipeline of plans by now, but I doubt ther would be a fleet of them built and paid for. Beyond the UK, solar is now competitive with fossils in sunny parts, thanks in no small part to the investment by Germany in renewables.

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  74. Last year alone we spent £15.2bn on renewables. Hinkley is £18bn. So for a little more than our annual renewables spend we could have a nuclear power station that will last at least twice as long and deliver 24/7. The money we’ve spent already would have bought quite a few stations.

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-record-uk-renewable-energy-investment-overtakes-north-sea-spend

    I wonder if those renewable costs include the enhanced grid that renewables need or all the research money frittered on tidal power and CCS.

    We put them in the same places they are now.

    In the time you’ve been irritating sceptics we could have radically moved towards a low CO2 system. Or at least staved off the rise in emissions as our existing fleet go offline. Well done.

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  75. RAFF — But whereas the learning of science doesn’t go away once found (barring disaster) the structures of society you refer to are easily destroyed by the extremes of politics or reigion – look at Russia, Venuzuela, Turkey or maybe Iran.

    Finally we are getting somewhere!

    It’s no harder to destroy ‘science’ than to destroy any other social institution. Burn the books, tear down the library, or, just maybe, exclude nonorthodox scientists from scientific institutions, from speaking, and from contributing to ‘science’.

    If, however, you’re saying that science persists without social institutions, you’ve merely returned to the mystical view of science again, which is unfortunate.

    Liked by 1 person

  76. To destroy science, you’d have to do it worldwide and include the written record. Very hard to do, but probably not impossible. Destroying a society and its instututions is comparatively easy. I don’t know whether excluding people has been tried, but with modern methods of publishing and communication it would not persist if they produced results and theories that explained things better.

    “In the time you’ve been irritating sceptics we could have radically moved towards a low CO2 system. Or at least staved off the rise in emissions as our existing fleet go offline. Well done.”

    I didn’t know I had such broad influence.

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  77. — “Yeah, you are right, and it destroyed science didnt it? Or not.“–

    Nobody thinks you’re anything but an anonymous waste of time on the Internet.

    Liked by 1 person

  78. Well I must say it took you a long time to recognize that simple fact, but coming from a master of time wasters such as you, I’ll take it as a complement. Of course you’d waste a lot less time if instead of constantly trying to reinterpret what you just said to be less stupid you just admitted it was stupid. I do it, it doesn’t hurt.

    But I’m interested who you think is currently excluded whose exclusion endangers science itself.

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  79. “I didn’t know I had such broad influence.”

    There are a lot of people like you. Together you’ve wasted billions on ineffective renewables. You’ve propped up shoddy science rather than insist it attains exellence and achieved amost nothing. It really is a good thing that CO2 won’t cause CAGW.

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  80. Public policy is made best when there is sensible opposition. The right essentially abdicated its responsibilities to oppose by adopting nutty positions on climate science allowing the left a free run at policy relating to climate. You are part of that.

    It is also not obvious that the money spent on renewables has been wasted.

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  81. The Right in the UK have taken exactly the same position as the Left but I’ll agree that it’s nutty. I’m not part of that. I’ve argued for nulear and better science from the start. I’ve also called for the green lobby out of the debate because they have no common sense. The party started long before most of us were aware that green loonies were being given a free hand to play with energy and policy.

    Over £70 billion in 10 years invested in a power supply that will deliver zero electricity on a still night. Any battery back up will arrive after most of that investment has expired – IF it turns up. I’d call that wasted.

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  82. –“The right essentially abdicated its responsibilities to oppose by adopting nutty positions on climate science allowing the left a free run at policy relating to climate.“–

    In your head, perhaps. But not anywhere else.

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  83. The nuttiest position to take on climate science, as indeed on any science, is to accept the pronouncements of those with a vested interest in continuing to profit from researching it (whether they are correct or not) without taking a critical stance and demanding proper explanations.

    When you do take such a stance and the response you get varies from loss of temper and accusations of bad faith to ad hominem attacks and claims that the science is settled all combined with a refusal to explain, debate or discuss and when their political supporters start looking at ways to criminalise you for your quite reasonable scepticism then you are entitled to take the view that those engaged in that exercise may well be charlatans or possibly crooks but are certainly not to be trusted.

    And when they have a plethora of computer models all telling you something different and none of them agreeing with observations the nutty ones are those that continue to believe that spending trillions of pounds, dollars and euros on cures that don’t work to combat problems that probably don’t exist.

    By the way, I have a nice bridge you might be interested in. One careful owner; buyer collects.

    Liked by 1 person

  84. Mike, they don’t think they are profiting from it. Like many institutionalised people they have a warped sense of how much other jobs pay in the private sector. They look at bankers and chief execs and feel badly done by. The put no value on the security of a pension with a publicly funded organisation or the perks they take for granted. A young researcher might not be paid much but it won’t be minimum wage by a long chalk.

    They also don’t realise that fame and recognition for their work is a form of reward. Publishing papers is how they progress and get funding. Even the ability to direct the path of their own work is a reward.

    Liked by 1 person

  85. RAFF: “As usual you misunderstand the challenge and, like many older people…”

    Dear me, what a patronising, pig ignorant little twerp you are!

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  86. Looks like Salby got off lightly… I image the headline in WUWT might have been Climate Denial Fraudster Goes To Jail.

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  87. Naff, you really don’t have a clue what you’re wittering a bout, do you, you thoroughly unpleasant, mendacious little man?

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