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A day of politics at Nature

researchersmust

I’ve commented previously on Nature’s ill-advised forays into political advocacy, as have others. It’s not a very new phenomenon — this piece dates from 2007.

On Wednesday this week, January 4th, the former science magazine and its spin-offs surpassed themselves with no less that three political articles on the same day (HT Barry Woods and Roger Pielke sr).

Why researchers should resolve to engage in 2017 is an anonymous editorial calling for scientists to engage in political activism. Bizarrely, it starts with a quote about science never being settled as if this is something that we ought to be challenging. It complains about “US think tanks that support free markets and reduced government”. It cites approvingly a paper by the notorious McCright and Dunlap, one of several by those authors whose only purpose is to create division and smear the “conservative movement”, or “one’s opponents” as the article helpfully puts it, just in case their might be any doubt about the politics of the author. It goes on to encourage “researchers to write to their political representatives”.  It was Nature’s citation of  so-called Skeptical Science as “an international group of technically minded individuals” that prompted both the Pielkes to draw attention to it:

Under the editorial you may see the words Commenting is currently unavailable. This is untrue — if you register with Nature you can see and submit comments. There is a comment from Deborah Castleman that says:

 I’ve been thinking about this post since I read it this morning… and I hardly know where to start in trying to articulate just how wrong-headed this approach is. Advocating for certain policy positions is advocacy, period. It is not science. Worse, because of this, “science” as an institution is losing credibility. It certainly has with me.

Well done Deborah, whoever you are. You have a better understanding of this issue than Nature Editor-in-Chief Philip Campbell or whoever it was who wrote the editorial.

Next, we have Scientists should not resign themselves to Brexit by ex-Nature-editor Colin Macilwain.  Again we have a call to action: “Instead, researchers, together with other groups threatened by Brexit, should fight to keep a foothold in the European Union.”  There is also the unsubstantiated opinion stated as if it were a fact: “the mood in science departments is universally grim” — well, that’s not the case in my department, where people were surprised and a bit shocked but carry on pretty much as before.

Perhaps the most offensive comment from Macilwain is this: “But the loose coalition of dissenters, doubters and right-wing jackals who voted to leave Europe can still be broken up”.  With a lack of self-awareness that is typical of the authoritarian elite, he seems to have forgotten that at the start of his article he accused others of arrogance. The article ends with another use of the m-word so beloved by these people: “The scientific community may be close to despair right now. But it must not take this rout lying down.”

Thirdly, in Nature Climate Change, there is Politics of climate change belief, which starts off with “Earlier this year, Donald Trump appointed Myron Ebell, a known climate science denier…”.  Most of the rest of the article is not so bad — it says that support for policies such as renewable energy is not necessarily determined by one’s view on climate science. But again it ends with a call to action, to convince people to adopt “pro-climate” behaviour.


Finally, a bit of positive news. UEA climate scientist Phil Williamson wrote a complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) regarding James Delingpole’s article Ocean acidification: yet another wobbly pillar of climate alarmism in the Spectator. Nature gave Williamson a platform for his whining in December, in which he said “it would be a defeat of rationality and science if my complaint to IPSO is dismissed as a matter of opinion, rather than fact.” Well, IPSO has now issued the ruling, the result being that there was no breach of their code.  They say that “[t]he article was clearly a comment piece” and that the committee “did not establish that the article contained any significant inaccuracies or misleading statements.”

You’d think they might have learnt that UEA climate profs called Phil complaining about climate sceptics isn’t a wise move.

400 thoughts on “A day of politics at Nature

  1. Jaw-dropping and eyebrow-raising and smile-inducing all at the same time. Now that they’ve given up on science, perhaps stand-up comedy awaits their unemployment from scientific publications – unemployment which cannot come a moment too soon if the sputtering candles of scientific integrity are to be protected from their foul and heavy breathing. I am left scratching my head at their insolence.

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  2. As the wheels come off the AGW gravytrain, the reactions of those on it get ever more starkly irrational. This is a hopeful sign for the rest of us. One of the things devout warmunists cannot seem to stand is ridicule. And that gets easier every day, as these examples illustrate.

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  3. This reminds me of a parable related by Forest Whitaker to Stephen Rea in the film ‘The Crying Game’. It involves a scorpion and a frog. The frog offers to save the scorpion by taking it across a wide flooded river. Scorpion climbs onto the frog’s back and they get half way across the river before the scorpion stings the frog. The frog says to the scorpion: “Why did you sting me scorpion, because we will both now surely die?” The scorpion answers: “Because it was in my nature”.

    Thus it is with Nature journal. It cannot help but be its own sorry demise, because it is in its Nature.

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  4. From Scientists should not resign themselves to Brexit “We’re far too well-behaved,” Glover told the meeting.

    These people really need to get out of the lab.

    It’s very sad to see how wealthy, intelligent people hold democracy in such contempt. They forget that it is a contract between the richest and the poorest that if determined enough, the poorest can make the richest do their will. Nobody but nobody could be in any doubt that leaving the EU is a risky business. The Remain side made it clear. So to choose Leave, Brexiteers had to have very strong reasons for doing so. I know a lot of people who voted Remain but were very, very tempted to vote Leave. It was not a light hearted decision on either side.

    If these people wanted us to embrace the EU they should have heard the mutterings from the crowd long before the vote and sought to solve the problems. Instead of listening they used their elevated positions to pour scorn on public concerns and sweep them under the carpet. Many elites even blamed the EU when they chose not to solve some of the problems. They can’t say after the event that the EU wasn’t to blame.

    I doubt their determination to keep the EU grant money rolling in matches decades of growing anger about immigration and erosion of sovereignty.

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  5. “But the loose coalition of dissenters, doubters and right-wing jackals who voted to leave Europe can still be broken up”

    So I’m a “right-wing jackal” now, am I?

    Yeah, I can live with that!

    The silly little man utterly fails to realise that it is insulting, inflammatory rhetoric such as that from privileged pseudo-intellectual self-elected “elite” sucklers at the taxpayers’ teat such as him that caused 17.4 million people to vote for Brexit in the first place and is equally responsible for the triumph of Trump and the Deplorables at the other side of the Pond.

    Blimey, talk about “how to make friends and influence people”!

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  6. Sorry Richard – it was just an extract from the pdf:-

    In any case, the global research university is a function of its own history, its host city, and other circumstances
    —not of its national government. Small nations are the strongest scientific performers in Europe: in the 2012 round of ERC starting grants, for example, the best performers per
    head were Switzerland, Holland,Israel and Denmark, in that order. There’s no empirical evidence that access to large research systems (such as those of the UK, Germany or the United States) confersexcellence.
    Last autumn, I askedErnst Winnacker, former head of both of the DFG and the ERC, about the track record of university reform in Germany. He spoke wistfully ofthe strengthof the Swiss system, and of the relative success of reforms in Austria.
    A Scottish research system could be modernized and optimized more readily than is the case with the established UK system.It is understandable that researchers will be apprehensive about any move by the political class to reform the structures that provide their funding, whether related to independenceor not. But I believe that Scottish researchers realise that there are bigger stakes here — no stakes could be larger, after all, than the future of our country — and that constitutional change need not threaten scientific excellence. Instead, it should be seen, in research policy as elsewhere, as an opportunity to move towards better, more transparent, and more accountable governance.

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  7. Isn’t it odd that all Williamson’s forays – in Nature, his IPSO complaint & now this – seem to be strong on political rhetoric and rather light on scientific arguments?

    You could almost believe he was more activist than scientist.

    Bob Ward with hair.

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  8. Thanks for the reformat Geoff – impressed to see you’re a geek as well as a polymath 🙂

    [Those of us depending on being geeks for our daily bread take exception to this 🙂

    I was going to do the same but got lost looking for a password for Barry. Rats – Richard]

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  9. A curious point from Politics of Climate Change is the suggestion that sceptics might reject the science but be amenable to installing renewables. “many Republicans support policies that promote development of clean and renewable energy not because they reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but because of potential economic benefits. ” But anyone examining renewables knows that the only economic benefits are for those raking in subsidies. Ok, maybe they’re a good idea to balance with air con in hot sunny conditions but only as part of a fully stocked grid. It’s hard to maintain any respect for the intelligence of these people if they’ve failed to notice renewables being unfit for purpose and far from being cheap.

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  10. Perhaps in anticipation that surface warming is not going to be a card that they can play for much longer, the climate alarmist bandwagon does seem to be diversifying into other areas.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/01/04/scientists-say-the-global-ocean-circulation-may-be-more-vulnerable-to-shutdown-than-we-thought/

    The slowdown/collapse in AMOC has an added bonus too. If it cools in the Northern Hemisphere (as currently suggested by diminishing solar activity) and sea-ice at the north pole expands again (as suggested by the cyclical nature of the AMO) then global warming alarmists have the perfect ready-made explanation:

    “The resulting climate consequences, compared to the uncorrected model, are also dramatic. Without the usual transport of warm water into the north, the corrected model predicts a marked cooling over the northern Atlantic, including in the United Kingdom, Iceland and northwestern Europe, as well as in the Arctic, where sea ice begins to expand.”

    We are of course already seeing a marked cooling of the North Atlantic. Is this due to rapid melting of the Greenland ice sheet diluting the salty waters of the North Atlantic and slowing the mass transport of deep water south? Will the continued melting of the Greenland ice sheet further imperil the correct functioning of AMOC in years to come? Decide for yourself in light of the fact that since September this year, Greenland has been gaining ice mass at a record rate.

    These people will not give up easily. They’ll use every trick in the book to keep the alarmist anthropogenic climate change narrative going.

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  11. The Day After Tomorrow scenario is the zombie that just won’t die. If it was true, it would have happened many times in the past including the MWP and the RWP. But as you write, Greenland is doing fine.

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  12. It is an odd argument: the Telegraph, Guardian, NYTimes and any tom, dick or harry blogger can write about the politics of science, despite probably knowing nothing about science, but Nature should not. It is as if you think medical journals shouldn’t express an opinion on the politics of medicine or maths journals shouldn’t express an opinion about the politics of maths research or teaching or… etc, make up your own stupid examples.

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  13. It only matters if they want to present themselves as impartial. I never thought they were, so demonstrating bias merely confirms it to those who were under illusions.

    It’s a dangerous, arrogant route to take, to assume that their opinions carry much weight over Brexit or the US elections. It smacks of ‘all people are equal but some are more equal than others’. Most of the time it’s true and those who benefit most from a peaceful society should recognise that some of the time they have to lose. Preferably with grace. The alternative is that democracy breaks down and it’s every man for himself. Then the biggest b@stard wins. That, sadly is what currently works for the Middel East and parts of Africa.

    I was amazed that Leave won. It said that the desire to leave the EU was far stronger than even the figures suggest. I didn’t expect Leave to win unless the polls put Leave at 70%, to allow for 20% to not vote or change their mind at the last minute. While many are still shocked by the vote, deep down there are a lot of people who are pleased that they can have it all – leave the EU and not be responsible for it because they voted to remain. The true supporters of the EU are actually few and far between.

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  14. I wouldn’t mind scientists pontificating about Brexit if they brought some of their expertise to the question. Scientists are clever chaps who understand complicated stuff like correlations. They could look at, for instance, the reported huge enthusiasm of the well-educated young for Europe and the steep decline in the study of foreign languages, and maybe draw some conclusions.

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  15. I do find some blogs, including this one, somewhat difficult to understand or sympathize with sometimes. People in the warmist camp are almost universally considered to have no skill, no morals or credibility. Reading some contributions, you would imagine they are all charlatans, with hard hearts and desires to destroy modern societies. You get an impression that “drawing and quartering” would be too good for them. Well my experience differs, a very few I have known or met are genuine shits, but most are normal human beings trying their best and believing they work for the greater good. I believe they are wrong in many respects but they commonly can be people of generosity and good spirit. I constantly have to remind myself of this since I now have little to no contact with students, staff and visiting academics at UEA. Exposure to sceptical sites is not good for my humanity, but then I don’t read the other side, which I am constantly told can be considerably worse.

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  16. Alan, it is good that you bring these impressions to us, for if you are right we ought to try to do better. But I think you are expressing more of what you fear might be the case than the reality deserves. You’d have to travel far before you’d meet a kinder lot than here. We can all lose patience at times given the deliberate provocations of some of our visitors, but, overall, effort is made to let them speak,and to respond to them in helpful ways.

    As for all ‘warmists’ being seen to have ‘no skill, no morals or credibility’, and worse, I do not see that. There is surely no question that a great many good and decent people have been moved to work on what has been so widely promoted as a, or even ‘the’, most important, urgent, and potentially catastrophic problem. I see the problem as none of those things, and my first reaction to those who think differently is one of sympathy. It is easy to see why they might well be very concerned. One result I hope for from this blog, is to advance a calmer more ‘feet on the ground’ approach. Reasoned arguments have a place, as does taking the piss out of some on the other ‘side’.

    From where I stand, this ‘climate movement’ has wreaked a great deal of physical and mental harm, but nevertheless there is still scope for civil discussions, and even the occasional laugh, as we work towards improving our understanding of how it came about and how the harm it does might best be reduced.

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  17. TinyCO2, you say “It only matters if they want to present themselves as impartial.” Nobody who is affected is impartial. We’ve all already lost 10-15% of our wealth, so none of us is. Scientific and academic cooperation with Europe is bound to suffer unless we can remain in the relevant agreements and allow free or at least easy movement of foreign/UK academics and students. So Nature should not be neutral.

    Paul Matthews, you say your department is not grim at athe prospect of leaving the EU. I don’t know if maths departments are considered science departments now. Perhaps so. What sort of involvement does a maths dept have with cross-European science programs, funding and student transfers?

    Geoff, youngsters don’t need to learn a foreign language to be keen on the prospect of studying or working abroad. If a student goes abroad, she can learn in a few months what might take years in school. I worked for years in Germany and had no need to learn German (although I did). Any meeting where there was a single monoglot-Brit present would switch effortlessly to English.

    Alan, you sound like a good person. Why not try a few non-sceptic sites. People there are generally nice.

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  18. Alan,
    Interesting comment. Maybe you should try some other blogs. None are perfect, but I don’t think many are quite as extreme as this one. I’m also interested in what way you think climate scientists are wrong.

    John,

    but nevertheless there is still scope for civil discussions

    I don’t think there is much scope for civil discussions (at least not between those who mostly disagree about this topic), but you could always try?

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  19. Somebody with the right connections please write up the line requesting that taxpayer funded work not be published in Nature publications because it’s a partisan political organization. We do expect tax payers not to fund political machines and conspirators, and that’s what Nature has become.

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  20. ATTP. Interesting comment yourself. However I find this site by far the most tolerant around – with my somewhat odd background at UEA I tend not to fit too well at some other sites, being blamed for starting arguments in one. This one feels much more confortable although I feel somewhat over-awed by some of the contributors and discussions. I certainly would never consider this to be an extreme site – perhaps you are just trying to provoke as I have observed you doing elsewhere.

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  21. Len when I had the responsibility of instructing young undergraduate minds at UEA I made sure that I kept abreast of what was happening on both sides of the climate science fence (and advised my charges to do the same). So I have experienced both. I no longer read non-sceptic sites for the simple reason that I don’t recognize your description of them as “friendly”. I looked up their reaction to Curry’s retirement this morning, and from that, my views have not changed.

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  22. Alan,
    Eye of the beholder and all that, but clearly some are welcome here and some less so, and so ones impression is possibly influenced by that. I was simply suggesting that you could always try some other sites. I am still interested in in what way you think climate scientists. You seemed to suggest that they were quite substantially wrong. And, FWIW, this isn’t some kind of leading question.

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  23. I’m sure that the various churches there have been over the millennia were full of intelligent people who were convinced they were doing the right thing and used all their skills to bring about a better world. It didn’t mean that they didn’t trample others opinions underfoot and do a great amount of evil. I’m also sure that those churches had genuinely nice people who kept their heads down because they believed that the greater good was more important than the minor atrocities. I’m sure that there were genuinely nasty people who ruthlessly used the power that religion gave them over others. There were a few brave souls who were prepared to say something was wrong when they saw it. By and large they were crucified for their apostasy. And there were the heathen masses who resisted forced conversion with everything they’d got.

    In the 21st century the masses have more power than we’ve even had before. What we don’t have to do is give the new crusading religious leaders the benefit of the doubt. They’ve got to earn it. That includes the EU and climate science. Personally I feel that we gave the EU far too long to justify the trust we’d placed on it.

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  24. LEN MARTINEZ (07 Jan 17 at 1:46 pm)

    We’ve all already lost 10-15% of our wealth.

    Only if you were planning to spend it all abroad and hadn’t already converted your pounds into euros.

    I worked for years in Germany and had no need to learn German (although I did). Any meeting where there was a single monoglot-Brit present would switch effortlessly to English.

    That certainly wouldn’t happen in France, though I know it does in other European countries. No wonder they don’t like us much. I wasn’t talking about the practicalities of living in Europe so much as the naïve and patronising attitude it reveals. “Don’t like Farage and the chavs that vote for him. Think I’ll go to Europe and be an immigrant, welcomed everywhere because of our proud traditions and Mr Bean. Or maybe I’ll just go to Budapest for a cheap piss up.”

    Ex-prats, dontcha hate ’em?

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  25. Alan,

    “I do find some blogs, including this one, somewhat difficult to understand or sympathize with sometimes . . . . . People in the warmist camp are almost universally considered to have no skill, no morals or credibility. Well my experience differs, a very few I have known or met are genuine shits, but most are normal human beings trying their best and believing they work for the greater good. I believe they are wrong in many respects but they commonly can be people of generosity and good spirit.”

    I don’t think we deride the 97% (or significant majority at least) of scientists who are ‘warmists’. We question their methods, their conclusions, and occasionally their motives. In that respect, is it a sufficiently valid motivation in science for somebody to ‘believe that they are working for the greater good’? Commendable no doubt but I personally don’t think it is sufficient. The overriding motivation for anybody to be doing science should, in my opinion, be a thirst for knowledge, for understanding, for consistent explanations of how things work. That may not be too ‘humane’ in some respects, but it is definitely very human. So when you say exposure to sceptical sites is not good for your humanity, I’m assuming you mean your appreciation of ‘humaneness’. But of course people can harbour vastly different ideas of what constitutes ‘humane’ and what doesn’t. In the climate change debate, many warmists consider it inhumane to question ‘settled’ climate science and in particular to oppose measures to mitigate climate change. Many sceptics think the measure themselves are inhumane, in addition to some of the persons most enthusiastically advocating those ‘solutions’.

    I’m sure that most people working for the ‘other side’ have morals – it’s difficult to function in life without some sort of moral guidance. In fact, we sceptics probably share very similar morals to our detractors, but because we have a different perspective, we tend to apply those morals differently, and perhaps more judiciously, when debating climate change and ‘what to do about it’.

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  26. ALAN KENDALL: ” but most are normal human beings trying their best and believing they work for the greater good.”

    The same could be said for eugenics enthusiasts. Or the Inquisitors who tortured and burned alive their victims for the good of their immortal souls. A certain Bernado Guidoni AKA Bernard Guy was credited with the inquisition of no less than 10,000 souls. All for their own good, of course.
    Remember, that cuddly humanistic Socialist utopian Swedes and Norwegians was still compulsorily sterilising people – including people considered to lack Nordic complexions – “for their own good” as recently as the 1970s. http://www.economist.com/node/155244
    Personally, I trust the “for their own good” brigade far less than I trust the straight-up assholes, myself. They have caused far more blood and death and suffering than all the rest put together IMO.
    As the Greens are doing right now in the Third World by condemning upwards of a billion people to an early death by forcing them to cook over open fires, not to mention the damage to the environment they cause in their hunt for fuel.
    But hey, who cares about a few million little brown children when they’er ‘Saving the World™’ right?

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  27. Quite.

    That’s exactly what’s wrong with open borders, it allows others to trample over the traditions and sensibilities of the locals – wherever those locals happen to be. When in Rome and all that. If you move to another country, embrace it. Don’t move just because you can and the prospects are better. I have no more objection to other countries demanding that immigrants learn their language that I think it’s reasonable that those wishing to reside here for any length of time do the same. Holiday makers and students can do what they like so long as they pay the bill.

    There may come a day when 28 countries are all on the same page and are so bland that one country is the same as another and one unifying government suits everyone but that day is a long way off. At the moment there are few people who fit seamlessly with their neighbours. The more distant, the less they have in common. As it is, the parts of the UK are drifting apart, not closer, for exactly the reason a unified EU doesn’t work. Multi culturism has encouraged people to retain their foreighness while berating the locals for wanting to cling to their own culture. It’s a double insult. The harder they try to shove European countries together the faster and more explosively they will blow apart.

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  28. Alan, if you dislike the warmist reaction to Curry, how do you react to the suggestions of malpractice or fraud by Mann on these pages? Surely that must set your nastiness detectors off?

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  29. Oh please Len. You would think we were plucking these allegations of fraud/scientific misconduct out of a hat. Hard evidence for Mann’s shoddy work in constructing the hockey stick is everywhere. His behaviour in promoting his scientific malpractice as ‘fact’ to a public audience very likely amounts to fraud.

    https://climateaudit.org/2014/05/09/mann-misrepresents-the-epa-part-1/

    The “warmist reaction to Curry” is in no way comparable.

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  30. Alan: “Well my experience differs, a very few I have known or met are genuine shits, but most are normal human beings trying their best and believing they work for the greater good”

    I would agree, but the problem is, for climate scientists in general, is that the shits (largely), have captured the political and media, or those like eic holtaus who fight against deniers, because the are in climate despair: https://twitter.com/EricHolthaus/status/817507282321670145?lang=en

    I was heartened to see at least one UK climate scientist, refuse to cite Skeptical Science, because of their ‘Climate Misinformer’ section… And he defended this viewpoint against @dana1981 @GavinCawley @andyscuse (all SkS) and ATTP following on from Roger Pielke Snr, complaining of Nature endorsing SkS, pointing out, he and other scientists were listed in it as ‘Climate Misinformer’, an misrepresented in it.. Fabius shows how here:

    https://fabiusmaximus.com/2015/07/24/skeptical-science-looks-at-roger-pielke-sr-87604/

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  31. Ironically it was probably Mann’s work that pushed Curry over towards the ‘dark’ side but it was the system’s refusal to admit that what he’d done was wrong and ostracised those that persisted in calling for higher standards, that made it permanent. Climate science has not been defined by its mistakes but how it dealt, or more accurately failed to deal, with them.

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  32. Re evidence for scientific misconduct by the egregious Michael Mann correctly entitled “A disgrace to his profession” – by his own colleagues:

    All 320 pages of it!

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  33. Barry, re Eric. Is the reason he’s depressed because he can’t understand that the action on CO2 is poor because the science and solutions are poor. Or is he depressed because he knows the science and solutions are poor and not likely to get any better?

    You’d think that after all these years being scorned by sceptics and ignored by the public that they might, just once in a while, wonder if the fault was them. They could just try it for a while and see if it made a difference.

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  34. Catweasle yours was the most challenging and strongest response to my post, and so is the one that I will try to address. You make comparisons with eugenics enthusiasts and with Inquisitors who tortured and burned alive their victims for the good of their souls. With regard to the the Inquisition, it is unfair to judge them using modern arguments. At the time one’s immortal soul was your most valued possession and your time of Earth was of much lesser value. It was the church’s responsibility to protect the souls of its charges regardless of the severity of its actions. Today we hold no truck with what happened but then it would have been deemed acceptable.

    The eugenics movement seemed to be based on science. Humankind could be improved with selective breeding (it wasn’t all about sterilization). At the time it combined neodarwinism and was known about genetic transference. What was not known then was that genetic combination tended towards the mean. Do you blame all supporters of eugenics, or selectively identify and blame kthose who misused the concept?

    The point I was trying to make is that most supporters of climate alarmism are definitely not shits, but commonly are identified as such, particularly in some sceptical sites – but not so much this one.

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  35. Alan, This blog does do a good job of allowing wide ranging discussion. If we compare it with ATTP, who is commenting here, we will find that ATTP has banned Paul Matthews, but yet ATTP is allowed free reign to comment here. I am also unable to comment at ATTP. That I think shows that your observation is correct. The “climate” at ATTP is more hostile and less open than that here or at Climate Etc. or the blackboard for example. The real problem at blogs like RealClimate and ATTP is that disgusting anonymous trolls who insult and demean are allowed to persist. This tactic allows the blog proprietors can appear to keep clean hands while ensuring that people they don’t like are driven away. That’s a tactic of hypocrisy.

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  36. Barry, I would point out that ATTP (Ken Rice) is a SKS associate having published papers with a number of the principals.

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  37. “The point I was trying to make is that most supporters of climate alarmism are definitely not shits”

    Nor were the Inquisitors, nor the Scandinavians who legislated and implemented the practice of eugenics.

    My point is that good intentions don’t necessarily excuse bad outcomes.

    Rather the opposite in many cases, in fact.

    Are you aware of the Milgram experiment, incidentally?

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  38. Please note, my original post was not a direct criticism or indictment of this site. It was an attempt to point out that “the other side” are human too and may be well motivated. I do feel that even the best of us (and especially myself who ought to know better) lose sight of this basic point sometimes. On some sites it is possible to create a firestorm with only a slightly inappropriate phrase or comment that is not “politically correct”. I recall when I first joined the blogosphere and was strongly criticized for not joining in the condemnation of members of CRU. These were my former colleagues, not people for me to hate.

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  39. Alan, I think everyone here agrees with your point that many climate scientists are very honest and good people. Richard Betts and Ed Hawkins come to mind. Judith Curry fits here too. Roger Pielke Jr. is another one whose statements seem to have never been shown to be even a little bit incorrect.

    What I think is important to realize here is that as scientists, there is I would say an obligation to try to improve science and its objectivity and to try to distance it from political narratives. And that’s where there is a subset of climate scientists who actively work to politicize the science and to “enforce” the consensus by smearing those who disagree.

    A far more important mission for the reputation of science is the “enforce” civility and good science by strictly separating science from advocacy and politics. I would claim that HotWhopper and a few others such as SKS with their misinformers list (which is a smear) do far more harm to science. You also need to beware of those such as ATTP who publish with these creeps and show extreme bias in their enforcement efforts.

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  40. We understand, we just don’t give them the benefit of the doubt any more. For most of us it’s been more than ten years waiting for a flicker of remorse or desire to change. Climategate was a long time ago. We’ve seen some of them ‘engage’ which was code for take the opportunity to criticise us

    They’ve turned their backs while the science was debased and good scientists were demonised. Just as the EU makes FIFA look like a company of harp plucking angels, everyone knows the waste and corruption are rife and while not personally involved, they don’t fix things either. Just as a lot of people at the BBC knew that there was something about Jimmy but didn’t want to be the one that called him out. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

    The public’s disinterest is far more of an indictment than our derision.

    And don’t say that this isn’t as bad as those examples. We are told that CAGW is the most important issue of our time. OK we believe them. Then surely the science should be the best of the best, not the best they can be bothered with?

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  41. I asked my first sceptic question of a Met Office representative in 2006. I asked how long the Pause would have to last or how low temperatures would have to fall before they admitted that the science was wrong. A bit stumped she replied that would never be wrong because they’d change the science. I never in my wildest suspicion think that by that she meant they’d rewrite the data to match the models.

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  42. I think I have made my main point and to pursue it further would get me a hiding to nothing. I remain concerned that most climate scientists are all too commonly over demonized. They are accused of not objectively assessing the evidence, cherry picking the evidence they use or manufacture. These practices are rightly condemned but are far from being unique to climate science. Extremely eminent scientists in the past have engaged in these practices. They were fortunate that they proved to be orrect when better evidence arrived or others confirmed their less than pristine work.
    The essential difference, as others have pointed out, is the descent into advocacy, advocacy that has severe repercussions for societies.

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  43. But these mistakes are costing trillions AK and that money represents lives. I’m not going to repeat the comment I gate crashed Brad’s article with but it perhaps explains why I and many like me are angry with the casual attitude some are taking to frittering government money as if we had it to burn. No, climate science isn’t the only offender by far but you have to start somewhere.

    https://cliscep.com/2016/11/05/the-silence-is-settled-breaking-the-science-on-climate-change/#comment-8225

    For all I know CAGW is real but I vehemently reject yet another cause that will sap our will to get sorted the things that are destroying people today. I reject it because the people in charge of it are playing at catastrophe management. They have no real plan. They can’t be arsed to live by the standards demanded of their cause and their main contribution is whining. They don’t care enough to listen to those boring people who say what can realistically be done with energy technology at the moment. Instead they cosy up to every bloody shyster that comes along and promises them a shiny new magic toy in exchange for a lot of cash?

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  44. Tiny CO2 we could disagree all day (week, month,,,,) I have had both the privilege and the misfortune to meet many climate scientists (but never Mann). They vary enormously, some are charming, others obnoxious, some are clearly high intellects, others not so much. Some (the CRU crowd) I have had to work with – teaching on the same module or sitting on committees. One (Keith Briffa) I considered a friend and he stood up for me when I refused to go along with the departmental stance taken after Climategate broke. So I cannot ever forget that these people are people, people in the main who thought they were doing good.
    My anger and disgust is for the very few in climate science who rode their tiger and for the politicians and business types who latched onto and created this gravy train.
    Phil Jones and I would studiously avert our eyes and ignore each other when passing in the UEA corridors. I believe we both refused to sit on each other’s committees. Petty and infantile behaviour from both of us – but I probably would be still doing it today.

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  45. Really appreciate your comments on this thread (and elsewhere) Alan. They influenced me in my latest on Paul’s Judith Curry resignation one, including as I remembered a good chat I had with a consensus believer I sat next to in Bristol. Unfortunately, as we see it, there’s a systemic plus a personal courage problem, perhaps best summarised by Jonathan Jones in his words to Richard Betts quoted by Tom Fuller on that thread:

    Do I expect you to publicly denounce the Hockey Stick as obvious drivel? Well yes, that’s what you should do. It is the job of scientists of integrity to expose pathological science. It is a litmus test of whether climate scientists are prepared to stand up against the bullying defenders of pathology in their midst.

    You have shown courage though. Thanks again for bringing your perspective to Cliscep.

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  46. Richard I can wholeheartedly agree with your quote, while still trying to understand why and how many climate change practitioners operate. Most would disagree that the basic premises of the science are pathological.

    I must admit to sometimes being very confused about the support I give to sceptics and consensus supporters. I am torn. I also believe the whole issue has become over polarized. On many blogs I dare not raise objections to opinions written by others for fear of being swamped by invective.

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  47. Tiny CO2. Reread your post upon “useless” science being done at the expense of more beneficial work. While agreeing with many of your views, I do have a different take. I hope that at some time in the future we might have the opportunity to debate this issue.

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  48. Alan,
    I think your point about demonizing people is well made and could be applied more generally. However, with regards to the quote Richard posted, I do think there is a potential issue with insisting that others denounce what you regard as worth denouncing. Of course, there will be cases where it’s obvious, but judging people on the basis of what they are willing to publicly, or not, denounce, sounds more like politics, than science to me. Scientists generally prefer to “fight” in the scientific literature, than in public, and not denouncing something doesn’t imply endorsing it.

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  49. ATTP, your convolutions are something to behold.

    The quote posted by Richard hinges on the existence of ‘bullying defenders of pathology in their midst’. Start from there. Assume it as a postulate. What ought to be done by the peers of these bullies? Do they have some moral and intellectual responsibility there?

    Or, if you prefer, challenge the presumption. For example, you might wish to deny the existence of the presumed bullying behaviour, and tell us why you take that view.

    But you float away from the challenge and waffle instead.

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  50. Thanks to GreenieWatch (http://antigreen.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/the-usual-gullibility-from-kristoff-of.html#links), I have just across a very thoughtful paper on Cook et al. (2016) [all the other articles mentioned at the GreenieWatch link look worthwhile as well].

    The abstract reads: ‘Cook et al (2016) presents a collaborative work by several consensus study authors, who claim a 97% agreement by undefined climate science experts that “humans are causing recent global warming.” The statement illustrates the problem of trying to use a social proof of consensus in place of scientifically defined evidence. The lack of empirical parameters that specifically identify the claimed ratio of human effect versus natural influence, the timescale in question, the level of risk or benefit, and the human activity or causative factor(s) are undefined. The notion of consensus defies the fundamental principle of scientific inquiry which is not about agreement, but rather a continuous search for understanding. This paper evaluates key disparities of Cook et al (2016) and outlines why a claimed consensus is a powerful tool for driving public policy, but an inappropriate and unethical means of conducting scientific inquiry or informing the public. ‘

    The focus on the dubious ethics. I look forward to reading it again, but in the meantime to encourage others to go there, here is the author’s concluding paragraph:
    ‘The failure to elucidate these types of uncertainties and instead proclaim that there is an amorphous “consensus on consensus” is an ethical breach in the opinion of this author and demonstrates a lack of scientific integrity. This is damaging to scientific inquiry, to science and society.’

    The paper can be downloaded from here: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2887245

    The author is Michelle Stirling, described only as ‘Independent’ on the paper. She may be the Canadian writer who is described here as the ‘ communications manager of Friends of Science Society ‘.

    Her conclusion makes her paper relevant to this post, highlighting as it does the blinkered politicisation of Nature. That this carries a risk of being ‘damaging to scientific inquiry, to science and society’ seems clear enough.

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  51. CATWEAZLE666 I missed your 07 Jan 17 at 8:21 pm post. I don’t believe the Milgram experiment is relevant. Climate scientists, in my experience, have little respect for authority figures. Climategate did reveal some attempts by some to get others to do things they might not otherwise do (delete potentially incriminating e-mails, hide the decline) but little coercion was involved. More likely is the relationship whereby students and junior staff members look up to and slavishly follow the opinions and lead of a more senior figure. But this isn’t what Milgram studied.

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  52. Alan Kendall,

    For the avoidance of doubt, I have no quarrel whatsoever with your position on these matters. Indeed my own position is probably quite close to yours: recall that I share a department with Myles Allen, Tim Palmer and Raymond Pierrehumbert.

    “Pathological science” in my famous quote refers to a quite small number of specific instances: essentially the Hockey Stick and various instances of refusal to provide, or attempts to hide the significance of, adverse data or adverse verification statistics. It is not meant as a comment on mainstream climate science as a whole. If climate scientists were willing to deal with the relatively small number of truly flagrant breaches of good scientific practice by their colleagues the world would be a better place, and I suspect that their refusal to do so will, in retrospect, be seen as a major error of academic judgement on their part.

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  53. Jonathan, I’m sure we don’t have many differences. My complaint is with the overall sceptic scene that contains too many who believe and comment upon climate scientists in general as if they were devils incarnate. I can understand and even sympathize with those with such views (there is much to be angry about) but I believe them to be wrong. Commonly, however, if you try to express nuanced views you are considered as part of the problem. I am so very pleased to be able to report that I have not been subjected to that here.

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  54. John, you complain of ” blinkered politicisation of Nature”. Alan, you complain of “advocacy” by scientists. Do you complain too of the same by journalists ignorant of science, such as Dellingpole, Rose, Booker etc?

    Tell me, who is best placed to comment on the political aspects of science, scientists or journalists, bloggers and politicians?
    Who is best placed to comment on the political aspects of medicine? Doctors or journalists, bloggers and politicians?
    Who is best placed to comment on the political aspects of teaching? Teachers or journalists, bloggers and politicians?
    Who is best placed to comment on the political aspects of engineering? Engineers or journalists, bloggers and politicians?

    John will clearly not answer, as Paul didn’t earlier. Cliscep authors don’t defend their statements. But maybe Alan will.

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  55. ‘Cliscep authors don’t defend their statements.’ Clearly not true.

    Len, you come across alternately as a troll and as some student looking for someone to do his assignments for him . Both are naughty of you. And tiresome.

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  56. Len. You ask
    “Tell me, who is best placed to comment on the political aspects of science, scientists or journalists, bloggers and politicians?
    Who is best placed to comment on the political aspects of medicine? Doctors or journalists, bloggers and politicians?
    Who is best placed to comment on the political aspects of teaching? Teachers or journalists, bloggers and politicians?
    Who is best placed to comment on the political aspects of engineering? Engineers or journalists, bloggers and politicians?”

    Somewhat naive questions if I might say so. What does “best placed” mean? Comment with what intention? Who are the audience? What is the aim of any information inparted? If I assume you mean to inform the general public about matters they should know about when political decisions are being made about science, medicine, education or even politics itself, my vote would go to the well informed and politically neutral journalists. Even if they are not neutral it is common that you can make suitable adjustments. Apart from websites I get much of my information from correspondents and columnists, and probably some of my opinions also. They all go through my own personal filter however.
    The important caveat is that the journalists need to be well informed. Few today are; they have not taken the necessary care and effort to become informed to the level they formerly were. Oddly I have just read a piece about Martin Sixsmith – someone with knowledge of Russia that I respect who appears to think Trump is deluded if he feels he can get the better of Putin. But who knows, more opinions to be processed by my own filter and prejudices.

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  57. Len. Who says journalists are “ignorant of science”? I used to recommend my undergraduate students , who were loath to accept my claims that there really were legitimate sceptical views out there, to start by reading “The Deniers” – a collection of articles by Lawrence Solomon, a newspaper journalist. Few students who did so emerged with their previous pro- warmist opinions intact.

    Strangely the UEA constantly prevaricated about obtaining a copy of this book, even though I identified it as an essential reading source. The two personal copies I successively donated to the library, also strangely disappeared (as did records of the library ever holding such copies). Copies of other books, like “The Satanic Gases” also absented themselves from the shelves. Just saying….

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  58. John, Alan and Jonathan, you all make good points. The actions of the few bad eggs are almost irrelevant. As is the general niceness, honesty and good work of the others. It’s how the whole field respond to the flaws that matter. I understand and have sympathy for most of the characters in the Climategate affair. I can even half forgive the immediate response, which was to sweep it under the carpet and say ‘nothing to see here’. But how many years of calmer reflection do they need to think ‘you know what, Climatgete was bad, not admitting it was worse and not putting systems in place to stop something similar happening is worst ’?

    Imagine that instead of climate science we were talking about a chemical industry. When that sort of business cocks up, people die. You can see the direct consequences of them getting it wrong. Nobody plans for anyone to get hurt. Industry people are generally nice, hardworking people too. They may have cut a few corners, made assumptions or just been too busy to do something seemingly trivial at a key point. Who hasn’t? With hindsight many accidents could have been avoided if time have been spent beforehand on procedures but who likes doing that part of the job? Now in this fictional chemical company, would the public be relaxed about those mistakes and be reassured that there was no need for regulation because it was just how industry was done? Would they accept that there was no need for inspections or regulation because it was just time wasting interference? Imagine how the public would react if key industry or business data were modified years, decades after the event. Would an acceptable excuse be that the other businesses did it too? And all the while the greater field stonewalled and obstructed and ignored growing concern. What would you think?

    Fundamentally, is climate science a funny little back water science subject or a life and death field that deservedly gets massive amounts of money and scrutiny?

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  59. Alan: ref that ‘sceptic scene’

    I hate to be the bearer of bad/good news – but you are 100% a part of it.. !

    on the spectrum, dare i suggest 97% plus in agreement with Jonathan Jones, with respect to the science..

    to Mann, SkS you would be just another “climate denier”.. they choose the labels..

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  60. ATTP, Yes the scientific literature is the place for technical disagreements generally except where there is bias in the literature and/or a science establishment that actively surpresses technical dissent. You may recall that this happened with the hockey stick. Many like Gavin Schmidt were in on the disingenuous defense of Mann. The problem here was that the community actively surpassed accurate criticisms. To this day, there is widespread denial that anything was wrong and the truth has never been aired adequately in the literature. Your silence is hard to square with honesty in this case. Being an ideological apologist for science also helps rationalize these inconsistencies.

    An example from another field might be helpful. In the 1960’s, a Nobel Prize winning chemist became an anti-nuclear activist and also “discovered” that Vitamin C cured cancer. He ultimately won a second Nobel prize for his activism on nuclear weapons. Many were skeptical about Vitamin C and ultimately studies proved it to be nonsense. It now appears that anti-oxidant supplementation is generally harmful to human health. Pauling deceived many people who declined effective treatment in favor of his quack cure. While the response of the community eventually corrected the error, there was a very long delay. In fact, the idea that anti-oxidant supplementation will improve health is still very popular and there is a huge industry that sells these products. Since Pauling was adept at using popular publications to spread his activism, it would have hastened the revelation of the truth if other scientists had used these venues.

    The bottom line here is that scientists have a responsibility to put aside their activism and political views and admit errors when they occur.

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  61. The problem here is simply that science is now so powerful in its impact that people are starting to wake up to the abuses and the generally unreliable nature of the literature. And there is a growing demand for reform. I would assert that denying that there is a serious problem is a natural place for scientists, especially those who are politically left of center, to end up. The public should demand better.

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  62. DPY6629, every field that comes under scrutiny tries to shrug it off. Industry, especially the oil business rightfully earned a bad reputation for it. The kind of work it involves is boring, restrictive and nowhere near as fast as freeform science. In many ways it’s a step backward but it’s what has to happen, especially where there is a lot of uncertainty.

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  63. DPY6629. Scientists should not advocate? Just suppose I had evidence that Vesuvius was about to erupt tomorrow but I couldn’t be exactly sure how severely, and the authorities in Naples do not accept all my conclusions. Potentially more than a million people might be at risk. Would you advise me to keep quiet because “scientists should not be in the business of advocacy”, or do you advise I warn people as best I can and with dire warnings through the media?

    This is the sort of dilemma faced by climate scientists who genuinely believe in CAGW.

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  64. Alan: this long comment is worth a read ( Jonathan and Alan mentioned in final quote)
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/11/25/new-climategate-1-and-2-combined-search-engine/#comment-809108

    As far as the warmist/climate concerned (for want of a description we can agree on) climate blogs are concerned, Alan, merely by reading and citing Climate Audit, you will be a climate denier, and you are absolutely on the ‘climate sceptic spectrum’ especially about concerns of a University being perceived as refusing to release data.

    [Note – it is allowed to be concerned by climate change – see Thomas Fuller who also has blogged here, and is smeared all over the internet as a climate denier]

    I note Phil Jones, is winding down.?

    “Alan is retiring at the end of this year….thankfully.” – Phil Jones

    I have long standing friends amongst the climate community, long time before I became interested in the subject, since kids our kids were at nursery together. One of whose emails were in the hack (all very boring), and an editor of the 3rd assessment report. It is the ‘sh*t that have made sensible public debate impossible, with their with us or against us attitude. (the Climate Audit as a ‘right wing site’ description to persuade Dave Palmer to ignore Climate Audit, simple (laughable) example, in the link above.

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  65. Yes Alan, I understand the dilemma. But its an ethically false flag. The activist scientist could just as easily be wrong and force a very costly and deadly to fragile people evacuation that could last indefinitely if the scientist pulled a Linus Pauling and kept saying that disaster was imminent. Everyone is biased including scientists. Some try harder than others to avoid bias. The hockey stick is a perfect example of bias that was covered up and denied by climate science. There is continued denial to this day by “communicators” such as Ken Rice. Do not be fooled by his latest “reasonable” persona.

    The least harm comes from scientists sticking to the science and letting the public and through them the government do what it thinks best.

    You see, the far bigger problem here I would argue is that activist scientists only succeed at undermining public confidence. Politics is more polarized now than at any time since the 19th century at least in the US. Scientists would be wise to steer clear of that toxic environment. In medicine, there is an oath that says “first do no harm.” Scientists should take that very seriously. The tendency in medicine is to advocate intervention because its a strong cultural bias that medicine works miracles. Also there is a financial interest of doctors to be able to perform more procedures.

    I would argue that the lasting advances in human knowledge have generally been made by people who eschewed politics and political consequences of their work, despite their private feelings. Errors are often compounded by political involvement.

    Social Darwinism in the 19th Century was a pseudo-scientific political doctrine that justified eugenics, racism, and the abuses of the gilded age and as Barbara Tuchman argued in The Proud Tower led to the rise of fascism in Europe. One could cite other very problematic instances, such as the guidelines on saturated fat and cholesterol that are just now being rethought. These were based on biased science by an activist scientist named Keyes. I mentioned previously Linus Pauling, a man who single handedly fatally harmed an untold number of people. The list is very long.

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  66. John, you don’t defend what you write. The other day you recommended a statistics website. Yet you did not comment on this statement by its author, WMBriggs:

    “Actually, of course, an average is a model—at least if you want to attach any meaning to it. It at least assumes the data that went into the model is measured without error.”

    I pointed out that Tamino’s response to this was: “[Response: Wrong. So wrong it’s astounding.]” and asked you to comment, but … nothing.

    Equally here, you and Paul claim that Nature should not make political statements yet you won’t comment on whether a medical (or other specialist) journal should never comment on the politics of medicine (or other specialist subject).

    Richard and others defend Curry response to Salby’s nonsense but they wont address the fact that RISTVAN (hardly a warmist) says that Salby’s errors are obvious to someone of Curry’s experience.

    So I am right to say that your authors wont defend what they write.

    ————–

    Alan, the book you mention, “The Deniers”, has a wiki page. The scientists mentioned include Bellamy, who has no climate science knowledge, Tol, who knows little CS apart from economics, Carter and Lindzen well known misleaders, Wegman (was he the one of the report that was basically a copy/paste thing?), etc. Not impressive, but quite likely to mislead undergrads.

    You call my question naive, yet you suggest that the best people to comment on CS politics are a non-existent group of journalists. What does that make you? Would you prefer the government to receive advice on medical matters from this non-existent group or from medical experts? Why should it be different for CS?

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  67. Hoe about geologist Len, do they have no climate science knowledge (ie like Ian Plimer) especially if they’ve worked in oil/mining industry.

    and FFS – without Dr David Bellamy there would be no environmental movement in the UK. He was instrumental in countless documentaries, for turning the public n to the environment.. but not convinced by CO2 catastrophism and ended up in a George Monbiot Deniers – Hall of Shame, despite achieving so much, much more for the environment.

    well known misleaders… why because activists that hate them just say so. get a grip..
    what about his guy: quoting a scientist making a comment at Bishop Hill.. Is he a sceptic? in your opinion

    “Also offspring of working class, socialist-leaning, parents and brought up in East End of London. First of a large extended family to go to university where I read geology. Have worked in government, industry (oil), and academia and lived in North America for 17 years. Worked in Alaska, Egypt and Australia, as well as the rest of the USA, Canada and the UK. Taught geological-related subjects at the [location removed, for making this point to Len] for more than 20 years, and dabbled into teaching sceptical climate science, much to the annoyance of CRU (but only fully aware of this following climategate).
    Never a warmist, but became increasingly perturbed about my former industrial profession as the tide of climate alarmism became ever more strident. Developed my scepticism after reading Crichton’s State of Fear (terrible book, good appendix and bibliography) did the necessary research and never looked back.”

    Wegman was not a copy/paste- with background info on the subject, which was referenced, was held up as an example of plagiarism, absolutely irrelevant to the report, but seized on as a smear.

    you are just parroting smears of people, with very little knowledge of the issues..

    Len: quote above, climate sceptic?

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  68. Guardian Environment
    Earthshakers: the top 100 green campaigners of all time

    18 David Bellamy, TV botanist
    A formidable campaigner for green causes, including saving a Tasmanian rainforest from flooding by a dam project. In recent years his reputation has been tarnished by public statements sceptical of climate change. Fierce hater of wind farms.

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  69. DYP6629. Fine but you ignore the essential point – the people involved in the dilemmas wholeheartedly believe that what they see as a threat to be real. They believe in it and this forces them to consider advocacy. Not to do so would be considered cowardice or a dereliction of duty by anyone believing in ethical responsibility. Should you really blame someone who might end up being wrong but who acted in good faith. A good scientist might offer clarification in the form of estimated probabilities. I deliberately chose the Vesuvius example because 1) it is conceivable 2) doing nothing might have very serious consequences and 3) as you pointed out the consequences of advocacy and being wrong are also serious. I happen to know someone put into a similar position regarding a volcanic eruption in the West Indies. That person was fortunate in having the support of the authorities.

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  70. Len. You asked “Would you prefer the government to receive advice on medical matters from this non-existent group or from medical experts? ” Read my response to your questions more carefully. I purposely did not attempt to answer a question about advising government.

    You really do have to watch the pea when debating you, don’t you.

    I put no pressure on my students with respect to the book. I urged them to make up their own minds. Ad hominem attacks on the people featured in the book, as you have done, would not have cut ice with my students.

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  71. Monbiot smeared and humiliated David Bellamy (wel he says he did, so do al the activists).
    not good enough to say he was wrong, but to the need to destroy him.. despite(or because of) he was a leading light in the save the rainforest movement and a leading environmentalist in the 1970s-1990s. Very visible, known and loved by millions of the public for green environmental courses (thus Bellamy being a CO2 catastrophe sceptic, a BIG problem for climate advocates)

    Monbiot, and the climate science advocates would have done the same to you Alan, if you’d kept up your letter writing, or been a more public voice with your scientific scepticism. you would have had to have been destroyed.. the climate activists/advocates would have seen to it. as any doubt, and you would have been seen as raising doubt would be dangerous, the public need no doubt, and saving the planet would have comes first over your reputation

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  72. I think Alan’s points about advocacy are well made. My own view is that people should be free to speak publicly whatever their other roles might be (unless, of course, they have some contractual obligation to not do so) but they should be honest about their role. For example, are they a scientist speaking as an expert, or are they a member of the public who might happen to have relevant expertise? I also think the idea that we want to discourage experts from speaking out is bizarre, especially given that we don’t fund research simply to allow people to satisfy their own curiosity, we fund it ultimately to benefit society as a whole. Having experts who can highlight potential issues is part of that benefit, even if there are examples where it was poorly done. As far as I can see, most of the arguments against advocacy by scientists/researchers are coming from those who don’t like what the scientists are suggesting and so want to deligitimise the messengers because they don’t have a strong argument against the message.

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  73. Bellamy was an advocate for environmentalism, but a CO2 catastrophy sceptic (he may of course be wrong, that is allowed ) but he had to be smeared and supposedly ‘humiliated’, because a leading environmental light, loved by the genera public, being a sceptic was a problem for all the other advocates on the ‘other’ side.

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  74. Barry. Don’t I know it, but I was at the end of my career and due for retirement. I was quite proud of getting those letters published in the Guardian (the letter editor must have had a couple of off days) and then to be individually chosen by Mombiot for personal criticism was a near career highpoint. I took much pleasure from that.

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  75. Barry,
    How do you think this should all work? When can someone who comments publicly be criticised, and when not? When can people use labels, and when not? I’m all for a more civilised debate, but even I’m not naive enough to think that it’s really likely in all cases, and even I’m aware that anything I say publicly is open to criticism.

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  76. Yes, Alan, there is a genuine dilemma if the danger is immediate and very likely. Rather like reporting a suspicious Muslim to authorities (like the San Bernadino shooter), where fear of condemnation can lead to inaction. Or there could be bias involved too.

    I believe the vast majority of these cases with regard to science are far too subject to bias to lead to genuine ethical dilemmas. Scientists who can’t even consider their own biases are not in my mind to be given much sympathy. Ethically, the imminent danger of significant harm is an important issue to consider. I would argue, the danger is mostly on the side of alarmism and political motivation. By all means point out the science, but advocating policy is quite another thing. For a physician, a similar dilemma is when to intervene in an individuals behavior. It’s not a sharp line either.

    As science apologists are so prone to pointing out, the truth usually will prevail in the long run, provided activist scientists, consensus enforcers, and political actors don’t squash the legitimate debate that science should be about. In our current politicized environment, every danger is hyped intensely for political advantage and the public grows weary of all the fear mongering and click bait horror stories.

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  77. Not picking on you Alan..
    (you made an effort! and as you found out via the hack/leak ruffled delicate feathers)

    But where were the scientists, the societies, the chief scientists, the organisations, the universites, the departments, the Royal Society, etc, defending Bellamy, his peers made him a pariah, even locked him out of his office. (defending at least his right to be wrong, and not smeared or misrepresented) where were they defending Plimer, Carter, Pielke, Lindzen, Spencer, Stott, Soon, sonja any one that ‘dissented’ or even asked questions. these people were demonised, made examples of, smeared as funded by fossil fuel industry climate deniers.. Lynas/Marshall being the source of that little phrase and smearing Lindzen as in pay of oil. , which Marshall acknowledged (the pharse) with a little embarrassment last year.. And Lynas said to me personally, no he does not believe that about Lindzen,( ‘oil funded opinion’ – now just wrong, in interesting ways)

    and of course, with the above shouted down, the clear message was sent out to encourage the others, keep your heads down, everybody else, or you get the same treatment, grants might not be looked on favourably, etc.. What would any young scientist do, with mildly sceptical views, or just curiosity in certain academic directions, keep quiet, or just get out of academia, how many good scientist will have been lost that way. (ref Judith Curry’s recent resignation statement, ref she did not know how to advice younger scientists, anymore, who cared about science, but needed a career.

    The scientists/organisations were silent.. they kept their opinions about the ‘sh*ts’, to themselves, and those like Mcintyre, Watts, Nova demonised as well. again silence from the Royal society, the AGU, etc,etc..

    then the sociologist/psychologists got into the smear…. of dissent

    So if their are some angry people out there, who are not that polite about scientists (after over a decade), and scientists don’t like the ‘tone’ of some on the sceptic scene’ – well ####### tough.. they should have spoken up earlier, and said the Halls of Shame, the smearing was not acceptable (looking at you Michael Mann)

    for evil to flourish, goes the saying, if good men say nothing..

    well that is wrong.. good scientists would not be silent.

    (mini rant, nor directed at Alan)

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  78. Ken Rice, You are at it again. You say:

    “As far as I can see, most of the arguments against advocacy by scientists/researchers are coming from those who don’t like what the scientists are suggesting and so want to deligitimise the messengers because they don’t have a strong argument against the message.”

    That’s just rubbish and intellectually lazy. I would ask you to comment on the saturated fat controversy and Keyes’ activism and subsequent government action. The real problem here is that advocacy can be completely wrong and lead to vast harm. Given high levels of bias, its a very real danger.

    Why shouldn’t scientists distinguish between scientific research and political policy? The latter is political and scientists are no more qualified than anyone else. It’s arrogant to suppose otherwise. Unless you like the social Darwinists who believed that their politics should try to claim scientific backing?

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  79. I had a feeling that I’d come across Michelle Stirling before. She wrote the paper I drew attention to above in https://cliscep.com/2017/01/06/a-day-of-politics-at-nature/#comment-10310

    It turns out we had an exchange of emails back in 2012, and she later mentioned my blog in this article from that year: http://www.troymedia.com/2012/09/27/teachers-journal-wants-questions-about-climate-change-suppressed/ I quote it here because it too is relevant to this thread since it is about political zealotry promoting the corruption of science teaching in schools.

    The rot at Nature is but another symptom of widespread politicisation in climate science outreach. Here is a Washington Times lament about it reaching kidergarten back in 2012: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jun/5/teaching-global-warming-in-kindergarten/#ixzz29akMTlGF

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  80. dpy6629,

    The real problem here is that advocacy can be completely wrong and lead to vast harm.

    Yes, of course, but we live in democracies and people have the right to express their views. You might not like it, but I far prefer it to the alternative. In my view, we’d be better off if we encouraged more people to speak out, so as to minimise the impact of over-confident minorities with little actual expertise, rather than trying to silence experts who might say things that challenge our ideologies. This doesn’t mean that those who do speak out should be free from criticism, but is an argument against advocating that they don’t speak in the first place.

    Given high levels of bias, its a very real danger.

    Everyone has some kind of bias. Trying to deligitimise groups that you regard as overly biased simply highights your own.

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  81. “Everyone has some kind of bias. Trying to deligitimise groups that you regard as overly biased simply highights your own.” – ATTP

    Below: ATTP trying to delagiamise this blog (comment earlier on this article)

    “Maybe you should try some other blogs. None are perfect, but I don’t think many are quite as extreme as this one.” – ATTP

    Unban, Paul from commenting on your blog ATTP , show some good faith, if you want to comment on his articles at this blog. (without coming across as a ~~~~~ tr##l ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~~, self censored)

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  82. Ken Rice, I know you prefer activism to the alternative. But you didn’t really answer my point either. The alternative is to stick to the science and let politicians and advocacy groups (of which there are a giant surplus) do the political end. Activists who imagine that they will advance “truth” or “science” in this way are shown by history to be wrong.

    My point is simply that science and scientists often discredit themselves when they enter political advocacy. Perhaps politics in South Africa was always as nasty and degenerate as in America in the 1850s. In the US, the descent has been very rapid in the last 15 years to that level. The majority of the public is really tired of constant activist messages pushed by dishonest political activists, backed by fake or biased news. They are also tired of pseudo-scientific “advice” about every aspect of their lives. I would recommend Barbara Tuchman’s “The Proud Tower” and consider its documentation of the demise of the rule of the “gentlemen.”

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  83. dpy6629,

    Perhaps politics in South Africa was always as nasty and degenerate as in America in the 1850s.

    A great deal of my time in South Africa was a period of extremely positive politics, and included the release of Nelson Mandela, the repeals of the group areas act and the mixed marriage act, and the first free and fair elections. If anything, living and growing up in South Africa has lead me to be very supportive of the idea that we should encourage people to speak out, rather than advocating that they do not.

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  84. Yes Ken, that confirms my suspicions. I would ask you to try to ask honestly if you are perhaps biased on this subject. It is a little like the activist feeling that slavery in the US was eliminated by the abolitionist movement. This is wrong. The Civil War was always justified in terms of preserving the Union and the liberty it ensured because the vast majority of opinion in the North did not favor abolition until after the war. In fact, slavery was a dying system because it was inferior economically to the capitalist system of free labor. And of course, the Civil War was tremendously costly, with 600,000 battle deaths in a population of perhaps 30 million at the time. There were also activists on the other side called the fire eaters who actively tried to provoke dissolution of the Union and a civil war. They no doubt felt very virtuous too. Samuel Elliot Morrison says in his Oxford History that if you believe that delaying the Civil War could have prevented it, then it is credible to argue that the election of Lincoln was a mistake. Slavery would have faded away. And none of this had any effect really on science or human knowledge.

    Social Darwinism is another case of science and its political uses gone awry.

    I would also assert that political activism by scientists cannot advance science and can only retard it. This I suspect has to do with what Bertrand Russell diagnosed as the modern ascendency of ideas that are based on “feelings” and not on objective reality. Virtue signaling is very tempting to those who seek social approval, but accomplishes nothing in terms of advancing human knowledge.

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  85. Barry Woods. I read through your 8.51 pm “rant” and realized it undermined much of what I had been writing here today. And yet I think about the individuals I had been considering as I wrote and I don’t believe they are bad people. I can look to myself. I probably could have spoken up more. Why didn’t I? Partly for a quieter life and partly because it was counterproductive. After a few years I convinced myself that getting a proportion of undergraduates to think for themselves rather than just accepting the climate mantra was a worthy aim in life.
    These ethical and moral questions are exceedingly difficult and rarely get resolved. I haven’t exercised these particular mental “muscles” for a few months now – the advantages of retirement.

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  86. Aside from perhaps more than its fair share of bad apples, the field of climate science is of course not populated by “bad people” per se, but the entire field in which they work, the academic backdrop against which they work, has been corrupted by a single, extraordinarily entrenched hypothesis – that of man-made global warming. Alan’s argument for excusing political advocacy on the part of those climate scientists who “believe” CAGW is a real threat by directly comparing their situation to that of a geologist who has assessed the evidence for an eruption and thereby faces the similar ‘dilemma’ of whether to communicate the risk to the public, just doesn’t hold water, I’m afraid.

    Climate scientists have had 30 years to find the evidence for CAGW and they have come up with nothing but failed climate model projections, a stubbornly wide range of ‘probable’ climate sensitivity, an attribution statement of modern climate change which completely ignores structural uncertainties, the trivial observation that sea-ice extent at the north pole has declined, the trivial observation that the surface has moderately warmed (though not by an ‘unprecedented’ amount). the observation that ocean heat content has increased by an uncertain amount, the trivial observation that atmospheric CO2 has increased, linearly, whilst emissions have increased exponentially, and finally a new and exciting ‘science’ of extreme weather attribution which seeks to pin the blame for bad weather around the globe on a hypothetical climate change which has not actually been observed, only modeled. Thus the nature of the ‘evidence’ and the immediacy of the threat assessed by Alan’s geologist is a lot different in character from the ‘threat’ and the ‘evidence’ being assessed by climate scientists.

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  87. And on the basis of all that 30 years of having found SFA Jamie, Western governments have wasted literally trillions of £/$/etc. that could have been used to solve real, important health, environmental and humanitarian problem, condemned tens – hundreds – of thousands of the poor, the weak and the elderly to choose between eating and heating and dying prematurely as a result, and condemned billions of inhabitants of the Third World to a lack of lighting and worse, to having to cook over open fires, thus drastically reducing their lifespan.

    All in the cause of “Saving the World™”…

    Talk about crimes against humanity!

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  88. I am no appologist for any climate scientist. It should be so easy for any of them to gather enough contrary information to demonstrate that what they accept s dubious at best.

    So why don’t they? One obvious reason is the opprobrium they would receive and no more grant money. Another is that few of them are at the cutting edge of the science of attribution. You accept that word as gospel and add your contribution to it (perhaps the effect of warming on the sexual activity levels of damsel flies). You believe; you believe the basic mantra, you add your voice to the legendary 97% and dismiss sceptical voices as possibly in the pay of big oil. All around you are encouraging signs – belief gets you research students, funding, appointments and promotion. Apostasy gets you none of this. Governments, academic institutions, granting agencies and those you respect and admire are all singing from the same sheet. So carrot and whip keep you in line, you believe anyway because everyone, except shills, also believes. You might have some doubts, especially if you have come up with data that doesn’t fit, but you don’t share any misgivings with others because that way is madness and professional suicide.

    So you are in this place and you hear that sceptics are calling you to identify, expose and denounce what they are calling toxic science. What do you do? Do you even read/listen to what such DENIERS are conveying?

    The final questions are rhetorical.

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  89. Jaime Jessop. You wrote “Alan’s argument for excusing political advocacy on the part of those climate scientists who “believe” CAGW is a real threat…..just doesn’t hold water,”. Why not? If you truly believe immediate action is required to prevent future catastrophe and all around you are saying the same, what do you do?

    If you don’t like my scenario, lets change it a bit. You are a volcanologist working in the Volcano Institute on Vesuvius. You all agree that an eruption is imminent but you cannot convince the city authorities to take appropriate action (perhaps you made a dodgy prediction earlier). What do you do?
    Alternatively you make a prediction that suggests a valuable land plot will inevitably be overrun by lava flows. The city authorities and a land developer announce a brand new hospital complex is to be built on this land. What do you do? – remember the threat to the area is potential, you cannot point to any evidence that lava flows are predicted at any given time.

    Advocacy should occur relating to scenarios with immediate affects all the way to the distant future, from scenarios that are blindingly obvious when identified to the obscure.

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  90. It comes down to Judith Curry’s uncertainty monster again I guess Alan; the ability to define the threat and to quantify it. I am making the assumption that those two things are considerably easier and more straightforward to do in the case of a volcanic eruption than they are in the case of the hypothetical threat of man-made climate change. What we see in climate science is increasingly strident policy advocacy on the part of some scientists (the consequences of said policies being in themselves extremely disruptive and damaging) based on what is essentially a very poorly defined and quantified ‘threat’. Also adaptation: it’s far more feasible to incorporate adaptation into climate change policy than it is to incorporate adaptation to a river of volcanic lava! In the latter case, you either act, soon, or you don’t, in which case property is destroyed and lives lost. Adaptation to a moderately changing climate over decades/years is a genuine alternative to instant action to mitigate the ‘threat’. That’s all I was trying to say; that the comparison may not be that apt.

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  91. There have been some excellent comments here, including Barry on David Bellamy and Jaime’s latest on the very great difference between the impact curve of a volcano compared to man-made warming. And indeed the existence proof. We may have a problem with warming or cooling over the next hundred years, who knows. We may never know that either have been caused by the actions of man. You can’t compare the two problems in any meaningful way.

    Having said which, I agree with Alan that it’s rightly hard to draw the line between science and activism. It’s whether your activism produces bias in your science that’s the issue. Those comments in the Climategate emails about not wanting to give fodder to sceptics show clearly that this poison had happened.

    Re Len, Curry and Salby, I was going to come to it today. I think your comments were groundless and disgusting. But you were assisted in your puny attempts to smear Dr Curry by an over-enthusiastic defence by Rud Istvan. That explains the logical bind you thought we were in but it doesn’t explain how graceless you and the other alarmist haters have become.

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  92. Jaime,
    You invoke some kind of uncertainty monster and then seem convinced that climate change will be moderate and that adaptation will be feasible (or a genuine alternative to mitigation). That doesn’t really seem consistent. Even if there is more uncertainty than is indicated by – for example – the IPCC, it doesn’t mean that it only works in one direction (i.e., the uncertainty monster – if it exists – does not simply imply that things will be less severe than indicated by current scientific analyses).

    FWIW, I also don’t think this is really an adaptation versus mitigation issue. It seems clear that some level of adaptation is unavoidable (rising sea levels being one example) and the big question is really whether or not we should be actively doing something to reduce how much we emit into the atmosphere in the coming decades.

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  93. ATTP, there are a few certainties to add to the fabled uncertainty monster. For example, the number of deaths caused by extreme climate events. That’s been coming down since 1920s. In a properly reported debate everyone would be aware of this base fact, which is powerful evidence that we have no problem that requires coercive CO2 emission reduction. Growing prosperity, and adaptation within that, has been working brilliantly. Your side has to prove that this winning formula is now defunct. But you never even mention this type of evidence. Blindness or dishonesty? I don’t know. But it’s very harmful to proper policy making.

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  94. Jaime. You don’t have to convince me. The points I have been trying to make are attempts to understand how most climate scientists operate, to explain why they act or do not act and why the majority of them are decent human beings behaving according to their beliefs or (at worst) fear to stand out from the crowd. Only those with little to lose are usually prepared to oppose the overwhelming paradigm. It has often been noted that many visable sceptics have retired or are near retirement (and are smeared for being so)

    I am also interested in the opinions of the general public. To most I think it is obvious. Carbon dioxide is a GHG, humans have increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that should result in warming, it has warmed, QED. The problem is the QED, this is difficult to properly assess, and everyone around is screaming at you that the science is settled and you should believe and go out there and do your own screaming.

    Over the years I have given climate change talks to community groups in Norfolk. Afterwards people would come up and express interest and declare intentions to investigate for themselves. Few do, as return visits confirm, it’s so very difficult to stand against the screaming mob.

    I used to constantly have doubts when at UEA. I wasn’t a climate scientist, I was a lowly geologist and surrounded by seemingly eminent people who governments consulted, who were recognized and awarded and given high status. How could they all be wrong and little ol’me be the holder of the truth. I know, first hand, how very difficult it is to stand firm to your own analysis of the truth. How much more difficult is it for junior members of staff, let alone lay people to independently reach their own conclusions and stick by them?

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  95. Richard,

    Your side has the prove that this winning formula is now defunct.

    I don’t really have a side (or, rather, I don’t have to accept some of affiliation supplied by others) and I certainly don’t really have to prove anything.

    But you never even mention this type of evidence. Blindness or dishonesty? I don’t know.

    Personally, I’m a physicist, so I mainly stick to physical science and was largely referring to uncertainty in our understanding of how the climate would respond to changes in anthropogenic forcings (or, equivalently, changes in atmospheric CO2). It’s certainly my view that dishonesty is saying something that is untrue, not failing to say something that you happen to think is important. YMMV, of course.

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  96. ATTP: So you are admitting that on your blog you have never once mentioned this evidence, let alone discussed it?

    Matt Ridley certainly mentioned it in his annual lecture for the GWPF and has frequently done so. Have you or others ever criticised Matt Ridley on your blog? I’m assuming the answer is yes. (Tom Fuller knows how to do the search!) Yet none of you have ever mentioned one of Matt’s most powerful arguments? Have I got that right?

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  97. Alan Kendall 09 Jan 17 at 7:05 am

    I agree with everything you wrote. However I don’t think the climate community (wider than the scientists) can now back down. It’s turned into a black and white situation. Every time a scientist claims x could happen as soon as y, they reaffirm that CO2 will be catastrophic. It would be interesting to survey politicians and the public to see if they are at all aware of the ‘could’.

    In your volcano scenario, you don’t allow for the scientists to present their evidence and say ‘you now know what I know’ and allow the officials to make a decision based on it. If the scientists don’t know, they don’t know. Saying ‘I don’t know’ is one of the hardest things a knowledge based professional has to do. And yes, your employers might think that you’re a waste of money. If a scientist filters the information to give a biased answer, they’ve become a decision maker. Decision makers are paid to make decisions and take the flack for the wrong ones (even if they wriggle out of it). Scientists set themselves up as patsy if they can be proven to have unduly swayed the decision making process. Remember politicians are fleeting and even parties come in and out of government. The scientists and their institutions are much longer lived.

    I know why climate scientists have acted the way they have, but I now think a change of direction can only come from outside.

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  98. ATTP:

    I don’t really have a side …

    You clearly do. If emission reduction has become ‘the right thing to do’ in the West and you never question this you have taken sides.

    Or you could show us where you have questioned it.

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  99. Its clear that some of you don’t like my linking advocacy for climate change with the more immediate warnings about volcanic activity, so let me try another case where I have some personal knowledge and tried unsuccessfully to advocate.

    Some time ago my wife and I spent a pleasurable holiday in the Maldives. Flying back to the airport I noted a clear relationship between the size of atoll like structures and whether the central lagoons were filled with sediment from the ring reefs. Only small ring reefs were filled and only those had islands upon which the Malvevians could live. We had noticed previously that the reefs near to inhabited islands were being overfished, and that blocks of the reef were being used for building materials. On our return to the UK we wrote a proposal to study the platform reefs of the Maldives and incorporated a warning that the reefs were providing all the material that kept the islands extant and therefore nearby reefs should be specially protected. Our proposal was rejected by the Maldives Government and we were refused permission to do research in the country. We went to the High Commission to plead our case but to no avail. What we didn’t know was that the Maldives Government had decided that the problem was rising sealevels caused by global warming and they wanted no confusion from interfering Colonial busybodies. Meanwhile local reefs continued to be damaged and we believed the very islands the inhabitants lived on were potentially being put at risk.

    My question to you is – should we have persisted and moved into straightforward advocacy? We believed we knew the “truth” and that the Government, by rejecting our warnings, were potentially endangering their citizens.

    We really wanted to do research in the Maldives. Purely altruistic reasons!!

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  100. Richard,

    So you are admitting that on your blog you have never once mentioned this evidence, let alone discussed it?

    Probably. I’ll try to explain again. I’m a physicist. I tend to stick to things that I think I understand well enough to comment on. If I haven’t commented on something, it might simply be that I regard it as outside my area of expertise, not because I’m trying to avoid highlighting something inconvenient. I also don’t think that someone saying something that might be true somehow negates all the things that they say that are not.

    If emission reduction has become ‘the right thing to do’ in the West and you never question this you have taken sides.

    Maybe you could find where I’ve claimed it’s the right thing to do? I think I may have expressed a personal opinion that I think continuing to emit increasing amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere would be a stupid thing to do, but I don’t think I’ve ever claimed that the right thing to do would be reduce emissions. Expressing a personal opinion is not somehow a claim about what is right and what is wrong.

    What I was getting at in my earlier comment is that I think that this is the aspect about which there should be more discussion. If you think that me suggesting this should be discussed more is some kind of indication that I’m claiming that the right thing to do is reduce emissions, maybe you should read harder?

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  101. Ken, yes of course the uncertainty monster has a tail end which includes extreme scenarios (‘tipping points’ etc.) but on the evidence we have thus far, the observed change in climate is moderate (rather more so than many models anticipated) and continues to be so. Indeed it can be argued that global warming to date has failed to exceed past fairly recent natural variations with respect to the rate of change or the magnitude. Climate sensitivity to CO2, on the basis of current observations, appears to be quite modest and so adaptation would appear to be a real possibility which would certainly be far less costly and damaging than rapid and drastic cuts in emissions. Returning to Alan’s analogy, we know for sure that the consequences for life and property in the vicinity of an erupting volcano will be catastrophic; the severe consequences are thus unanimously agreed upon and easily quantifiable.

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  102. Alan, that’s probably a better analogy but you and your wife’s advocacy in that situation would have essentially come down to opposing the prevailing hypothesis of what the greatest threat to the Maldives supposedly was (SLR due to global warming) and instead proposing that the more imminent and real threat to the islands was reef destruction by the inhabitants. You would then be advocating an alternative solution based upon an alternative theory, albeit combined with a genuine concern for the Maldives and their population.

    With climate change, we have a hugely dominant theory of a supposed threat which has essentially been unchallenged for decades AND we have scientists advocating public policy to deal with that threat. If the threat is so clearly defined and understood, then the only reason scientists can be moving into advocacy is not that they perceive any realistic scientific challenge to their conclusions, only that they wish to overcome public/political resistance to the solutions to the ‘problem’. Then they are behaving more like politicians than scientists, but ostensibly politicians with a clear moral purpose – to save us all from ourselves.

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  103. ATTP: I don’t need to find somewhere you claimed emission reduction was right. You’ve said just now that your opinion is that it would be stupid not to. That is the side you take. There’s no need to nit-pick.

    While on the physics I was conscious that you didn’t offer an opinion when Len said this on my Christmas thread:

    On the bigger picture of you article, the science behind global warming predates any of the big new ideas of the early 20th C that you talk about

    Because it is a very common (and in my view very stupid) trope I interpreted this as follows:

    Len: I find your claim that the science behind climate alarmism preceded general relativity to be not just silly but moronic … the moronic equating of Fourier, Tyndall. Arrhenius and co with recent alarmist theories does you and your fellow-travellers no favours.

    Len didn’t seem to dispute my interpretation:

    Richard, can you really be saying that the science behind global warming was not developed by Fourier, Tyndall, Arrhenius etc?

    Don’t you agree with me that current theories of the greenhouse effect, building on Manabe and Wetherald in 1967, have moved on from Fourier, Tyndall and Arrhenius, not least to take account of convection? Isn’t it highly misleading therefore to point to the earlier work as definitive, as so many people do? It would be like saying that Eddington’s observations in 1919 supported Newton! The reality was that we’d moved on from Newton at that point. And atmospheric physics has quite rightly moved on from the 19th century picture – though the so-called “enhanced greenhouse effect” is still a matter of open debate, with observations pointing to a lower climate sensitivity than predicted, as Jaime says. But do you agree with my basic point that current greenhouse theory has by now moved on from Fourier, Tyndall and Arrhenius? (This was certainly the picture painted at an event I attended at Imperial College to celebrate the work of Guy Callendar in 2013, with Doug McNeall among others speaking.)

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  104. Richard,
    As far as the Greenhouse effect goes, I think it’s perfectly fine to regard the origin of the the theory to be Fourier, Tyndall and Arrhenius. Everything moves on, but their work was a pretty crucial part of developing our understanding of why the surface is warmer than we would expect based on pure energy balance. I also don’t see why this is a big deal, or why you seem to want me to agree with you.

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  105. Haha. You can’t answer the question. I didn’t ask about the origin of the theory, I asked about whether the work of Fourier, Tyndall and Arrhenius had been superseded in current thinking, just as Newton was superseded in 1919. (Admittedly the observational picture is much more complex in the case of greenhouse theory, just as it was with Wegener’s continental drift from 1912 onwards.) Isn’t the simple answer to my question yes? Why do people like you equivocate on this? Why is there this misdirection back to 19th century, ad nauseam, all the time? Are you deliberately treating the general public as babies?

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  106. Richard,

    You can’t answer the question. I didn’t ask about the origin of the theory, I asked about whether the work of Fourier, Tyndall and Arrhenius had been superseded in current thinking

    I did, but to do so again, yes the theory has moved on since the time of Fourier, Tyndall and Arrhenius, but so what? That’s how science progresses and doesn’t change that they made fundamental contributions to our current understanding. There wasn’t some fundamental change at some point that invalidated what they had done.

    Newton was superseded in 1919

    This is rather simplistic. A great deal of modern physics still relies on (uses) Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation even though it was technically superseded by Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity. There are situations where it is well known that Newtonian gravity is absolutely fine and others where you need to take GR into account.

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  107. The references to the earliest scientists is an attempt to give the relativly new science a pedigree it hasn’t earned. By that measure one might give all modern medicine a free pass because some parts have been known for hundreds if not thousands of years.

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  108. Tiny,
    Alternatively, the objections to suggestion that the origins are Tyndall, Arrhenius and Fourier is that it gives the science you don’t like a better pedigree than you’re comfortable accepting. Personally, I don’t think it really matters (it is what it is) but that some seem to be making a fuss over this seems rather telling.

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  109. ATTP: The “so what?” gives the lie to your interest being in the physics. Theories that don’t even take account of convection are good enough to fly the alarmist mission and if the energy poor end up crashing and burning it’s just too bad. You’re only interested in the physics.

    What value did Fourier give for the social cost of carbon by the way? Oh no, sorry, you’re just interested in the physics so you wouldn’t even understand the joke. Except you’re not. You’ve added nothing constructive on what you see as the crucial developments in the area you claim to be so interested in. Because the physics is only interesting as an excuse to avoid other awkward subjects.

    And then there’s utter boredom and pointlessness.

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  110. ATTP but I don’t give modern medicine a free pass either. That doesn’t mean I reject all of it either. Medicine needs scrutiny from those whose job it is to find fault.

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  111. Another paper from Nature – behind a pay wall, Naturally – it’s supposed to convince us that the signs of global catastrophe are already clear (with no reference to the past having negative impacts if the graphs and write ups are anything to go by). And things will only get worse.

    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v7/n1/full/nclimate3179.html

    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v7/n1/full/nclimate3179.html

    Clearly written to be included in the next IPPC report, it infantalizes the issues in an attempt to make them clear and at the same time makes them worthy of derision.

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  112. Alan Kendall: “I am also interested in the opinions of the general public.”

    How about the opinions of 9,733,970 international respondents to the 2015 United Nations ‘My World’ survey of causes for concern?

    http://data.myworld2015.org/

    “Action taken on climate change” comes flat last, sixteenth of sixteen categories.

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  113. Catweazle: Your vote has been counted and will be taken into consideration 🙂 But note that I was talking about a group of people – what I called “your side” to ATTP, those in favour of coercive emission reduction. Here’s the full paragraph:

    ATTP, there are a few certainties to add to the fabled uncertainty monster. For example, the number of deaths caused by extreme climate events. That’s been coming down since 1920s. In a properly reported debate everyone would be aware of this base fact, which is powerful evidence that we have no problem that requires coercive CO2 emission reduction. Growing prosperity, and adaptation within that, has been working brilliantly. Your side has to prove that this winning formula is now defunct. But you never even mention this type of evidence. Blindness or dishonesty? I don’t know. But it’s very harmful to proper policy making.

    Because it’s a group I’m expecting there to be some blindness, some dishonesty. What’s amazing is that the mass media has never, to my knowledge, even mentioned such basic evidence. Add this to the picture and the Nature activism begins indeed to look very blind.

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  114. Tiny, thanks, I am not sure which is funnier, the article in Nature or the write-up in Vox that says “The so-called “burning embers” graph attempts to render the various risks of climate change — “reasons for concern,” or RFCs — in an easy-to-grasp visual form.”

    Can someone explain to me why there are three tractors in the third bar, and two frogs in the fourth one?

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  115. Catweasle. You quote me ” I am also interested in the opinions of the general public.” and I am, but primarily why they might have the opinions they do on climate change, as my text explained. They may rank their concern about it dead last in a list, but this does not necessarily correlate with whether or not they believe it to be real or not – as I think you well know. Much of the unconcern is that they perceive (and are told) that the effects are in the future. Who gives a xxxt when it’s other people who will have to suffer and you have present day problems to deal with. This low ranking of climate change is commonly misused.

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  116. Wow. The new diagraphgram looks fabulous – chocky-jam full of high impact and high confidence colours. The whole thing looks like a schematic for a new concept game of climate monopoly. I particularly like the little counters – frogs, igloos and coral reefs.
    I’ll swope you my malaria hospital card for two of your frogs.

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  117. I think the third tractor means that even your Greenland and Antarctic farms will be heat stressed at that point. They were going to put little rockets at the top to indicate we’d need to seek a new planet at that point but they thought that might be seen as alarmist and trvialise the issue.

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  118. “Who gives a xxxt when it’s other people who will have to suffer and you have present day problems to deal with”

    Or possibly they realise that there has up to now been no evidence of the dreadful catastrophes predicted by the CAGW brigade – rather the opposite in fact, vide the US mainland hurricane drought now in its 11th year and the 12% increase in Global green cover primarily attributed by NASA to CO2 fertilisation – and the totally astronomical funds poured into fighting this mythical monster at the expense of existential threats that they are actually living with – all of which rank above climate change in the above survey?

    As to your extraordinarily cynical “who gives a xxxt…”, if that is some sort of a slur on my regard or that of the other respondents for safety of the future population, I can assure you that as I have both children and grandchildren, I – and probably many of the other respondents to that survey – are heavily invested both materially and emotionally in the future of the planet and its inhabitants. Truly, is that how you view the morals/ethics of the majority of the population?

    In fact, I am far more worried for my children should this type of mindset become excessively evident:

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

    C. S. Lewis

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  119. Catweasle no slur intended (as I think you know full well).

    If you don’t think people are cynical, evaluate the other concerns and see how those likely to affect the respondants directly are ranked relative to those affecting other people. When you are beset by a host of problems, especially those beyond your control, the fate of others, now or in the future, assume lesser importance. For many “not giving a xxxt” is a reasonable facsimile.

    It would be satisfying to conclude (as you appear to have) that the low ranking of climate change means people have evaluated it and found it wanting. I fear this is not the case. Most people, in my estimation, are agnostic, ambivalent or broadly supportive of the climate mantra – if they ever think about it.

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  120. “– if they ever think about it.”

    Given that it is forced under their noses many times a day by the mainstream media – the BBC for example cannot broadcast a single program, including on the World Service – without bringing AGW – er sorry, climate change, into it somewhere, I think you are mistaken about that too.

    And please note my handle is spelt with a “Z”, not an “S”. But you already knew THAT, didn’t you?

    As this conversation is getting nowhere as you appear to believe you can read my mind – YOU CAN’T – I’ll leave you with this apposite comment on your excuses for climate “scientists” and their support of the unsupportable.

    As the great parliamentarian Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

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  121. Chicken or egg? Were the arguments unpersuasive and people stopped listening or did they never listen and so were unpersuaded? I think the former. Warmists prefer the second answer, with extra confusion thown in by oil funded deniers. That’s why they keep trying to repeat the same weak messages in ever simplistic forms to the point where few people know what the facts are. It was very telling that nobody on Newsnight knew that Emma Thompson was talking rubbish and never bothered to find out before they aired it.

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  122. Alan does have some evidence for saying that people are aware but don’t care in that most of the warmists fit into this category but I argue that belief is a weak measure of human commiment on all things. We supposedly believe a lot of things and then do the opposite. Are we in denial? Or do we just evaluate everything with its pros and cons. We might not know that we’re doing it and the calculation might be wrong but humans and animals are built for it.

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  123. Mr. Kendall, I am a market researcher and I deal with consumer surveys pretty much on a daily basis. Repeated surveys of the public that are specific to global warming do show, as you suggest, that a majority believes that some part of the Current Warming Period is caused by human emissions of CO2.

    Surveys of priorities usually end up with a dozen or more issues that the public perceives as of compelling interest. Addressing climate change is invariably last.

    Given the strength of intergenerational transfers of wealth, I am not persuaded that they don’t give a ‘xxxt’ about the future. I think the explanation lies elsewhere.

    I believe the constant barrage of mistaken but hysterical media stories has a numbing effect, especially as so many are acknowledged to be in error at a later date.

    I think the personal behavior of some of the climate change ‘rockstars’ like Al Gore and Rajendra Pachauri do not help the credibility of that coterie of activists and scientists who are most concerned about climate change.

    I think very large mistakes in messaging strategy by environmental NGOs have backfired, most notably the 10/10 No Pressure video.

    I think the adoption of mitigation measures by would-be rentiers, especially in Europe, has alientated large numbers of people–VAT carousel fraud, the mafia controlling wind farms, etc. has associated climate change with crooks and thugs–the very rare misbehavior of scientists has been publicized and has not helped.

    Finally, the political behavior of legislators and attorneys general has looked like bullying to most. That doesn’t help, even if the opposition frequently acts just as boorishly.

    I read on the internet (so it must be true) that 40% of the world’s population has not heard of human caused climate change. That may account for its dismal ranking in global surveys. But otherwise I would lay the responsibility at the doorstep of your allies, not your opposition.

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  124. It would be easy to get your RFCs mixed up with your RCPs.

    Or maybe Climate Cluedo Alan.

    It was the Swiss Doctor (or the Red cross worker) who killed the coral reef, using either the thermometer cosh or by drowning it in the shower, in RFC2.

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  125. For some reason, I am being prevented by WordPress (I presume) from ‘liking’ comments, and I have been for many a long month. That hasn’t troubled me much, although I’ve seen many, many comments here on this blog that I did indeed like. But reading the last comment from Thomas had me raging a bit at the machine. I really liked his comment a lot.

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  126. John, me too. It might be about not having a WordPress account or the settings on the Browser.

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  127. Catweazle. I shall repeat myself – I am no apologist for any climate scientist. I try to understand how they think and operate and I try to do this with as much understanding as I can. I do this because I have had friends and close colleagues who had very different views of AGW than I had. Have you faced a similar dilemma?

    I apologize for misspelling your nom-de-blog. It was not intentional.

    People are indeed bombarded with climate brainwash and, again in my experience, it rolls off them without lodging.

    I would prefer a more pleasant discussion if possible.

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  128. The interpretation of the UN poll has brought to mind an article I found helpful last month: The Defense of Liberty Can’t Do Without Identity Politics. I suspect some Cliscep readers may not immediately be attracted by that title! But in the first part the author Jacob Levy made a convincing case that lots of pundits were over-explaining Donald Trump’s victory in the US election. Surprise, surprise, they did so in the direction of their pre-held beliefs! Well worth a look.

    Alan: Summarises my view of the field very well 🙂

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  129. Thomaswfuller 2. Have only just read your interesting post after responding to Catweazle. I shall defer to your more relevant experience. As you write, it is a question of whether people apathetic about climate change were once concerned and have become apathetic (or even downright sceptical) or have never been supporters. Many of the reasons you suggest for suggesting the first group may have been apostate, would also act to keep he second group where they are.
    Do you think there might be any way in which individuals could be identified as belonging to either group?

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  130. Alan, it doesn’t matter whether it is advice to government or not, what Paul et. al. complain about is Nature making political statements based upon the knowledge and opinions of its editorial staff. He and all of you fail to say whether you would think it equally wrong for any other professional publication or body to do the same. Obviously that would be plain stupid, so you are all in a bind and have to say nothing or change the subject.

    It is the same with John, a professional statistician, recommending a website written by another statistician, and then, on finding that the author of that website says some really stupid things about statistics, being unable to defend his choice of authority on statistics.

    Or Richard being unable to defend Curry when he finds that one of Curry’s corespondents has agreed with Curry that Salby is plainly wrong and that anyone with a clue can see that and yet appears to give weight to Salby nevertheless.

    I could go on, but the message is clear. Sceptics at CliScep cannot support things they say because what they say is often stupid. It is difficult to say whether the stupidity or the dishonesty is worse. I doubt you’ll find such behaviour at ATTP, because when people do say stupid things, others (non-sceptics) will call them out. I recommend you give ATTP a go.

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  131. Hello Mr. Kendall, it’s actually quite easy to do if you’re running the survey. You ask the segmentation question and run crosstabs on the answer.

    Pretty nigh impossible if you don’t ask the question, though.

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  132. Gee Mr. Martinez, I think that perhaps we are reading different blogs.

    No blog is immune from errors, false assumptions or stupidity in the comments. However, I think this blog does pretty well when compared to most of the competition.

    But it brings up a relevant question–if we’re so stupid why are you here talking to us? Don’t you risk contamination?

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  133. As for And Then There’s Physics, I was excommunicated rather early on, as were many others here. That’s why Ken Rice comes over to slum on occasion–because he banned us all from ATTP.

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  134. Len, you are out of your depth here. You are making a fool of yourself. Why not give it a break for a couple of years or so, and give yourself more time for thought and study?

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  135. Thomaswfuller2. I think I can deduce what a segmentation question is, but would you take the trouble to explain to someone such as me what running cross tabs are? I can almost guess, but would wish to be sure.

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  136. Len, I just sat down for some nice burrito having written earlier

    Re Len, Curry and Salby, I was going to come to it today. I think your comments were groundless and disgusting. But you were assisted in your puny attempts to smear Dr Curry by an over-enthusiastic defence by Rud Istvan. That explains the logical bind you thought we were in but it doesn’t explain how graceless you and the other alarmist haters have become.

    Amazingly, both things are true. I am about to eat burrito and after that I am going to reply to you. But thanks for making the whole thing such good-natured fun.

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  137. “Have you faced a similar dilemma?”

    Being now at the end of my seventh decade on Earth, and having during my career been inter alia MD of a company with a multinational clientele, I have faced many dilemmas, Alan!

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  138. “I recommend you give ATTP a go.”

    I think you’ll find most of us have, and been promptly banned for not assiduously toeing Rice’s stringently enforced line on AGW, merely questioning his interpretation of some theory, for example is usually sufficient. Expressing any contrary opinion to Kenny-boy is a definite no-no.

    Your comment “because when people do say stupid things, others (non-sceptics) will call them out” is more informative than you seem to realise!

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  139. Yes, ATTP, after months of repeated requests–from you yourself–I did finally ban you. It didn’t stop you from calling me an idiot, something I never did at your blog. In fact, at your blog I was pretty much the soul of politeness, IIRC.

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  140. Hi Mr. Kendall,

    Yes, a segment is just a group within the total that you want to learn more about. Crosstabs (crosstabulations) are just cutting the data to see if there are differences between Group A and Group B.

    Do you like ice cream?

    Total=84%
    Males=89%
    Females=79%

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  141. ATTP, yes–after months of you (rather oddly) asking me to ban you, I did. It didn’t stop you from calling me an idiot at my old blog. I notice you had no reply to my question about Representative Concentration Pathways on the Judith Curry thread. Is there a reason?

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  142. Representative Concentration Pathways on the Judith Curry thread. Is there a reason?

    Actually, there is a reason. I finally worked out what I think you thought I was saying and although I can see how it might be possible to interpret my words in that way, it’s remarkable that anyone who has even the slightest understanding of the topic could have thought it was what I meant. Given that, I couldn’t see much reason for responding.

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  143. “although I can see how it might be possible to interpret my words in that way, it’s remarkable that anyone who has even the slightest understanding of the topic could have thought it was what I meant”

    Heh!

    Wriggle…wriggle…wriggle…

    Classic Rice!

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  144. ATTP, my interest in your comments regarding RCPs is based on what you wrote on your blog. In addition to what I highlighted in the earlier thread you wrote “The different RCPs (or emission pathways), however, illustrate different possible future pathways. We may not know what pathway we’ll actually follow, but we can certainly influence what it will be.”

    The RCPs do not illustrate different possible future pathways. The totals for each work group were assigned in advance. Had they been given a total of 25 watts per square meter they could have developed inputs for the climate models for that total as well. Does that mean that there is an emission pathway to 25 watts per square meter?

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  145. Thomas, I don’t think any of you are stupid. Only that some of what seems to pass for wisdom here is stupid. I am surprised you were blocked (or asked to go away) from ATTP. From what I have seen it takes quite a concerted effort or an unpleasant character to achieve that and you don’t seem to qualify as the latter.

    John, there’s no shame in saying, look I recommended Briggs, but he does sometimes write crap. That absolves you from responsibility for recommending a writer of crap. Now I for sure don’t know, as I am not a statistician, but Tamino says Briggs is astoundingly wrong in the example I quoted. I’d expect you to say something partisan like, well Tamino is a jerk, or some such, but you don’t. I find that very odd and it leaves me thinking that either you are not actually a statistician, or that you recognize Briggs is wrong and can’t admit it. That seems rather childish.

    Richard, if teasing you all wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t come back.

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  146. Len, invest in a text book. Learn about objectivity. Realise that Tamino is biased. Realise that Briggs is biased. Then grow up. That used to be the purpose of education but it seems that you have circumpassed that. You are now post education, so you can believe that climate science is scientific, with a clear conscience

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  147. “Richard, if teasing you all wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t come back.”

    Thank you for at least having the honesty to admit you’re nothing but a pathetic little troll with absolutely nothing positive to contribute to the blog.

    How old are you, twelve?

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  148. Ken Rice and Richard Drake,

    With due respect, Ken, this statement shows a sloppy attitude to the truth and shows why science has such a problem.

    “It’s certainly my view that dishonesty is saying something that is untrue, not failing to say something that you happen to think is important. YMMV, of course.”

    Failing to report adverse data in a scientific paper is in my view misconduct. One has only to look at the Vioxx fiasco to see that such misconduct can lead to very real harm. Failing to look for adverse information is just poor science but should be a demerit on your resume. Attempting to shut down legitimate criticism and keep it from getting into the literature is in my view misconduct.

    It seems to me just morally obtuse to try to finesse these points with defenses such as “the results are mostly right”. The public should demand better and we should try to give them better. Lower standards are not an answer to anything except the job security problems of scientists.

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  149. Thomas, My case is even more interesting than yours. I have tried at least a dozen times in the last few months to comment at ATTP’s site. Each time, the comment disappears. Yet ATTP denies that I am banned.

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  150. DPY6629. My case is even more interesting than yours. I have thought at least a dozen times in the last few months to comment at ATTP’s site. Each time, the thought disappears before I take any action. Does AATP ban me by remote control?

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  151. Alan,
    I don’t believe that has anything to do with me. You’re certainly not in my comment blacklist (and neither is DY, FWIW) and I certainly haven’t deleted any of your comments. There is also nothing in either of my comment spam folder, or trash folder.

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  152. Ken

    Not sure whether your reply is a joke, or whether you just didn’t read Alan’s comment carefully enough. Having exchanged comments with Alan elsewhere, I’m pretty sure he was having a laugh. But alarmists aren’t much good at recognising humour, by and large.

    By the way, I have no problem with scientists lobbying for the political outcomes they believe to be desirable as a result of their scientific work and the conclusions they draw therefrom.

    I do have a problem, however, with the political views of scientists (or actresses or celebrities, or whoever) being ascribed some sort of special status, because political views are something we all can (should?) hold, but it’s rare that any of us can rightly claim that our views should carry more weight (moral or otherwise) than anyone else’s. What we spend the public’s money on, and what priorities we ascribe to different objectives are subjective, and scientists are no better qualified to comment in these areas than anyone else.

    I also have a problem with taxpayers’ money being used to support lobbying organisations. And if scientists receive taxpayer funding for their scientific work, then it is very important in my view that none of that funding should spill over into lobbying.

    If those “rules” are observed, then scientists should be able to say what they want and lobby for what they want.

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  153. Mark,
    I did indeed misread his comment. My apologies.

    I do have a problem, however, with the political views of scientists (or actresses or celebrities, or whoever) being ascribed some sort of special status

    I agree completely. I do, however, have a problem with those who argue that scientists shouldn’t express their views. Of course, they’re free to express this view; I just happen to disagree with it. Of course, if some people/groups who express views are given some kind of special status, it’s not really their fault, it’s the fault of those who elevate their views. Although I do think there are cases where scientists should be careful of what they say, I do not think that they should generally avoid expressing their views in case they are accorded undue status.

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  154. Ken

    Thank you.

    Here’s to a harmonious 2017. We’ve just reached agreement about something. That must be a first!

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  155. It seems the panic that CAGW has induced is beginning to pay serious unintended dividends.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jan/10/northern-ireland-crisis-martin-mcguinness-mps-to-be-briefed

    I’m sure that there are political maneuverings going on too but the cash for ash scandal has offered a useful platform for them. Instead of having realistic talks about what was practical and affordable in cutting CO2, credulous ministers have jumped at every get renewables quick scheme waved at them. Instead of learning from the first few disasters they’ve just trawled wider for unworkable schemes. And seriously, what use are Civil Servants if they can’t work out that that sort of loophole existed and close it?

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  156. So here’s a timely event for you to ponder. From the New York Times:

    “Mr. Trump on Tuesday asked a prominent anti-vaccine crusader to lead a new government commission on vaccine safety and scientific integrity, ushering debunked conspiracy theories about the dangers of immunization into the White House.”

    So should the Matthews doctrine (or is it the cliscep doctrine) apply – that professional medical journals and organizations, especially those that receive public funding, should not be allowed to comment on this political appointment – or should commonsense apply (that they should)?

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  157. They should let the science speak for itself and tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. They should not let their political opinions be part of their output. After all, one of the greatest anti vaxxers was peer reviewed and what a cock up that was. The science community countered him by doing better science.

    I say that as a supporter of vaccination.

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  158. Lenny you sad little self-admitted troll, you wouldn’t know common sense if it ran under your bridge, jumped up, and bit you on the snout.

    You have admitted the sole reason for your presence on this blog is to annoy and distract, now go away.

    Oh and you haven’t answered my question about how old you are, but mentally, I can tell you are not out of your teens.

    And to all other contributors

    ————– PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE TROLL! ———————

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  159. I think, for once, Len has come up with a valid discussion point (I looked ouside to see the blue moon!).

    Science never speaks for itself, it is supposedly neutral and can be used for good or evil. It requires a mouthpiece.

    If the appointee spouts anti-vaccination drivel, the medical establishments will oppose him/her tooth and nail and pressurize Congress for removal. Yes there may be adverse consequences meantime, but those are the consequences of a system of government that allows unchecked appointments to positions of authority. You get what you vote for.

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  160. Sorry Catewazle, I think Len for once does raise a valid point, especially apposite given my response to ATTP earlier on this thread.

    I could split hairs and point out that opposing the appointment of an individual is not the same as lobbying to spend public funds (which is what the climate alarmism brigade do – and look where that gets us: NI RHI anyone?), but that would be disingenuous of me.

    I would, however, stand by my point, which is that those who are in receipt of public funds to conduct science should not use those funds to lobby politically. I did not say that such people should not be allowed to speak – I believe they should – just that they should be careful not to use public funds to lobby – e.g. it would be wrong for them to use public funds to place a media advert opposing the appointment.

    Or,more pithily – what Tiny CO2 said!

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  161. “It requires a mouthpiece.”

    That’s what journalists and politicians are for.

    Scientists being non political does not mean not telling the full story when asked. And I mean the full story. That means you have to give the pros and the cons. Vaccines are not without their hazards. If the medical profession sweeps those under the carpet, to give a slicker story and then the people find out what they weren’t told, they distrust the other half of the message. I don’t mind climate scientists explaining the science, it’s the black and white way it’s portrayed with all the uncertainties removed. It’s the way they dodge legitimate questions. Smart doctors and medical scientists can understand why parents are nervous about vaccination and have ready replies to questions – they understand why vaccines are broadly a good thing. Equally, they’re tasked with collecting the data and alerting the authorities if adverse data comes in. The efficacy and safety of each vaccine is not taken for granted. Neither of these important parts are built into climate science.

    I’m not happy that an antivaxxer is Trump’s choice but equally I know that the medical profession can become too complacent too and maybe a shakeup is needed every now and then. Drug companies can let standards slip and prices rise unduly.

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  162. Well, Nature publishes anonymous political posturing presumably meant to be from a scientist. Has Science out-shamed them by publishing scientific posturing from a named politician – one Barack Obama?

    Willis Eschenbach is not overly impressed, and notes this over at WUWT

    Now I gotta ask … is there anyone on the planet who thinks that:

    a) Barack Hussein Obama was the sole author of this piece of drivel? … or that

    b) Any of this is anything but politics? … or that

    c) We should get our climate science advice from op-ed political pieces by outgoing politicians? … or that

    d) Science magazine is doing its reputation any good by publishing this puff piece? … or that

    e) Obama made it into Science magazine (or to be the Editor of the Harvard Law Review) on his own merits?

    January 20th … could you hurry up please?

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  163. John,

    <i"…Has Science out-shamed them by publishing scientific posturing from a named politician – one Barack Obama? "

    You missed out WE’s dog whistle for the bigots at WUWT. It is Barack Hussein Obama. And how can having your highly respected (by the non-bigots) president be a cause of shame?

    Tiny, scientists can never tell the *full* story. Time and space is always limited. There’s always a judgment as to what is appropriate in the context of the article/speech/event and what is not. To be properly proportional to the success of vaccines one might add a footnote about negative issues.

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  164. Mark,

    I would, however, stand by my point, which is that those who are in receipt of public funds to conduct science should not use those funds to lobby politically.

    I agree that those who are in receipt of public funding should use that funding for whatever it is that they are funded to do. However, do you have any examples of those funded to do science using those funds to lobby politically? In my experience, funding is typically allocated for something reasonably specific and there are normally rules that make it extremely difficult to use those funds for anything else. Also, any institution at which I’ve ever worked has applied those rules quite rigidly. I’ve certainly never been involved in a project where the funds could be used for political lobbying and have, of course, never used any such funds for political lobbying. Maybe there are cases where people can use such funds for political lobbying, but if that is allowed, you should be lobbying the funding bodies to no longer fund such activities, not really complaining about those who use their funds for such activities.

    Also, Len is quite correct that it is simply impossible to present the full story. One always has to make a judgement as to how much detail to present, given the available time and space.

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  165. “Tiny, scientists can never tell the *full* story. Time and space is always limited. There’s always a judgment as to what is appropriate in the context of the article/speech/event and what is not. To be properly proportional to the success of vaccines one might add a footnote about negative issues.” Len

    No, they give short general picture and then address the concern of the moment. Interviews range across all medical issues, probing anything where journalism scents a scandal. That’s how many of the parts of the sciences get their full airing. Nothing is taboo. The stuff that’s working well is boringly easy to defend and stops being questioned and the dodgy stuff keeps cropping up. So not a footnote at all, it’s the bulk of what is discussed.

    A scientist might say that in the past, we under counted the cases of influenza and we now over count due to those convinced that their cold is flu, but the officially recorded stats would not be adjusted to fit that reasonable theory. How about if a pharma company did it to demonstrate the efficacy of their vaccine? If there was vaccine data being adjusted well after the fact, would you expect an interviewer and interviewee to breeze past it without a mention? No, the journalist would quiz them heavily on it and then they’d quiz ministers in charge of the sector. It might not affect the truth, but it would ask whether we were being told it. We’ve been through these issues with medicine and other fields and will again. Some of the time the concerns are genuine. Scientists counter with test evidence, references to aggressive, independent monitoring by authorities. Sadly, even with medicine the relationship between the authorities and the manufacturers can become too cosy.

    However, with climate science there are no independent authorities and the journalists have been scared off asking difficult questions. People are being pressured not to address public concerns or study alternative answers. The takeup of vaccines was high, even when people were scared by Andrew Wakefield, way higher than the confidence in climate science, let alone the actions demanded by it. Climate science can only dream of the kind of support medicine gets from the public.

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  166. ATTP: “I agree that those who are in receipt of public funding should use that funding for whatever it is that they are funded to do. However, do you have any examples of those funded to do science using those funds to lobby politically? ”

    Sorry if it sounded as though as I was pointing a finger at a specific case – I wasn’t. It’s just that as we’re having quite a detailed discussion about what scientists should or not be able to say, I just wanted to draw a line in the sand where I think it should be drawn.

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  167. Well, In the US anyway, there is no law against saying virtually anything. The question of course is whether its wise to do so. For government employee, there were Progressive reforms from the 19th century that made it illegal for them to participate in many ways in politics. That’s of course a step forward. In the Glided Age, to which perhaps ATTP wants to return, government employees were just political hacks who had NO objectivity at all. Some like Hansen wanted to be immune from these rules and showed themselves to be corrupt.

    There is the further question of whether it advances human knowledge to speak very publicly on political issues if you are a scientist. Clearly, many of them want to use their prestige as scientists to advance their political goals. That’s where they are being selfish and harming science.

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  168. On the subject of university academics unwisely interfering in political matters, here’s red-trousered Oxford Prof Joshua Silver being taken to pieces by Andrew Neill (and later, Michael Howard) after he reported Amber Rudd’s speech to the police as “hate speech”.

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  169. At what point does advancing a scientific opinion morph into a political position? For example if my work tells me that emitting CO2 will cause a rise in global temperature, am I being political in writing that if we want to have a good chance of keeping that rise below some limit, we need to reduce emissions?

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  170. Len, arguably you are, yes. Your statement carries within it the non-scientific, but political, value judgement that a rise in global temperature is a bad thing, and that we NEED to reduce emissions to deal with that. Others might point out that there is a whole industry out there claiming to identify and quantify the “costs” of “carbon” [sic – actually CO2], but that those who wish to reduce emissions are not keen to concede that more CO2 and rising emissions might also have benefits. Opposing views on this are at least as political as they are scientific.

    Your own question is itself an example of the way in which science elides into politics, and really makes the point for those of us urging caution in this area.

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  171. Mark, you are wrong. My question/statement makes no judgment about rising temps being harmful because it contains the magic word ‘if’:

    if we want to have a good chance of keeping that rise below some limit, we need to reduce emissions”. So is it political?

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  172. Len

    We shall have to agree to differ about that. Your conditional “if” still carries with it a value judgement. Even though you’ve used “if”, a reasonable inference from what you wrote is that that conditional is itself highly conditional and that the supposition is that we should do this – otherwise why would a scientist mention it?

    By the way, I’ve learned (painfully slowly, I admit) that baldly telling someone they are wrong is not helpful. Can I suggest that it might be more polite in future to say “in my opinion you are wrong”?

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  173. “At what point does advancing a scientific opinion morph into a political position?” Len

    Creating official reports that use grey literature. Saying that weather events are caused by CO2 and rising temps when you’ve no way of proving it and probably no link exists. saying that thousands of climate scientists have agreed with something when you know that most of them have no knowledge about the key part or parts of the science (eg CO2 sensitivity). Presenting a deceptive picture of past temperatures and failing to place modern temperatures into clear perspective. Ditto ocean ‘acidity’. Using statistical tricks to fool politicians and the public alike. Letting political speakers fool the public on your behalf. Trumpeting untested, alarming science as truth but very quietly admitting its disproval at a much later date. Pretending that the Chinese are doing more about cutting CO2 when in fact their output of CO2 is rising at a rapid rate. Harassing and intimidating opposing scientists. Lying about opposing scientists opinions. Cherry picking which data sets they present to the public….

    I could go on.

    Liked by 1 person

  174. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/dead-winter-1.3934117

    Persistently cold

    Although there are no records being set in Western Canada, Phillips said it has been a tough year for the four western provinces.

    Vancouver has received twice as much snow as normal and recorded 30 days where temperatures were below normal — double the average of 15.

    "It has been persistently cold for that period," said Phillips. "In fact, if you look at the average temperature in December, the last time there was a colder December was 1990. That was more than 25 years ago. It was a bit of a shocker."

    Winnipeg received a record snowfall for the month of December, while Calgary has suffered freezing temperatures and heavy snow.

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  175. How to reply to myself?

    Above was meant for BH unthreaded preview.

    Too many tabs/windows open.

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  176. Usual claptrap from the New Scientist. Illustrated by pteropod shells dissolved in the lab – signifying what?
    The whole scare totally ignores the fact that most calcifying marine organisms, especially those that photosynthesize or have photosynthesizing symbiots, use bicarbonate (employing the liberating protons to aid photosynthesis and nutrient uptake) and not carbonate when forming their shells and skeletons. Any decrease in pH decreases carbonate, but increases bicarbonate. Coccolithophores, which cause mass production of carbonate as “whitings”, actually grow bigger with decreasing pH.

    Liked by 2 people

  177. Alan – could you be so kind to write to New Scientist about that.. and maybe contribute that though to the @converstion as well. As you are a scientist, it might actually survive moderation/get published.

    New Sceintist have just republished the Converstion article, thus lending It’s own ‘credibility’
    https://theconversation.com/science-loses-out-to-uninformed-opinion-on-climate-change-yet-again-70924

    also, whilst New Scientist is usually behind a paywall, this one is not, thus aimed at maximum publicity, with the ‘credibility’ of New Scientist behind it.

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  178. Barry Woods.
    Comments at the Conversation are now closed for that article.
    See no point in contacting New Scientist, have been rejected too many times, even using aliases.
    If the subject of ocean acidification resurfaces in the big C, I’ll consider joining in.

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  179. Alan, interesting comment. You say that:

    “The whole scare totally ignores the fact that most calcifying marine organisms, especially those that photosynthesize or have photosynthesizing symbiots, use bicarbonate (employing the liberating protons to aid photosynthesis and nutrient uptake) and not carbonate when forming their shells and skeletons.”

    I read that “Coccoliths make up about half of the open ocean vertical flux of inorganic carbon”, which could substantiate what you say by itself, even if most calcifying marine species did not use bicarbonate (speculating). If this speculation is true, change in pH might at the least change the balance of species. Could that be a reason for concern (and why marine scientists are “ignoring” coccoliths)?

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  180. Mark, you said:

    “Your conditional “if” still carries with it a value judgement. … the supposition is that we should do this – otherwise why would a scientist mention it?”

    Nonsense. The supposition that we should reduce emission has been nearly universal in politics and science for a decade or more. You might prefer that this wasn’t the case, but there’s no value judgment in recognizing that it is.

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  181. Passing an acid test

    Calcifying marine organisms will generally find it harder to make and maintain their carbonate skeletons as increasing concentrations of atmospheric CO2 acidify the oceans. Nevertheless, some types of organisms will be damaged more than others, and some may even benefit from higher CO2 levels. Coccolithophores are a case in point, because their photosynthetic ability is strongly carbon-limited. Rivero-Calle et al. show that the abundance of coccolithophores in the North Atlantic has increased by up to 20% or more in the past 50 years (see the Perspective by Vogt). Thus, this major phytoplankton functional group may be able to adapt to a future with higher CO2 concentrations.

    http://science.sciencemag.org/content/350/6267/1533

    LEN MARTINEZ says:
    14 Jan 17 at 5:02 pm“You might prefer that this wasn’t the case, but there’s no value judgment in recognizing that it is.”

    YAWN…
    There’s no value judgment in recognising that it isn’t going to happen any time soon either, no matter how much you bedwetters hoot and screech and impotently stamp your little feet and wave your tiny arms.

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  182. It’s not just coccolithophores, tropical reef corals have symbiotic zooxanthellae that are photosynthetic. Thus these consortia also use bicarbonate. The liberated protons allow reef photosynthesis to be more efficient so reefs extend to deeper depths, and also allow more efficient nutrient uptake and recycling – so reefs thrive in nutrient-poor environments like oceans.

    Liked by 1 person

  183. Alan, again that is interesting, but it avoids the question. If most calcifying marine species do not use bicarbonate (speculation), a change in pH might change the balance of species. Could that be a reason for concern (and why marine scientists are “ignoring” coccoliths)? Otherwise, why would your fellow marine specialists deliberately ignore this important group?

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  184. Len, its your speculation that coccolithophores are being ignored, and you are asking me to explain your speculation (that actually I happen to disagree with). Go figure.

    Liked by 1 person

  185. Alan, are you trying to be obtuse or to avoid the question? I’m not speculating that coccolithophores are being ignored, but that most calcifying marine species do not use bicarbonate. That is clear from my comments I think. As a change in pH might easily change the balance of species, could that be a reason for concern (and why marine scientists are, in your words, “ignoring” coccoliths)? Otherwise, why would your fellow marine specialists deliberately ignore this important group?

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  186. Sorry Len but your question was rather obtuse. Furthermore, it is based upon a speculation that I do not believe you have any evidence for – that the majority of marine calcifiers do not use bicarbonate. Even furthermore I am not a marine specialist, but a lowly geologist, but one who has taken the trouble to read around the subject, talk to geochemists, and think for myself.

    Pity I had left UEA before Williamson arrived. I could have confused even more students with my anti-alarmist lecture on ocean acidification.

    If no one has noted a change in species (that you predict with your speculation) perhaps you are wrong.

    Anything more?

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  187. Despite a polite request from me that Len expresses himself a little more politely, his first response to me is bluntly to accuse me of nonsense, followed by:

    “The supposition that we should reduce emission has been nearly universal in politics and science for a decade or more. You might prefer that this wasn’t the case, but there’s no value judgment in recognizing that it is.”

    The sad thing is that this statement neatly makes the point that science morphs into politics, that value judgements are everywhere, but despite making the point himself, No conditionality about his statement, and confirmation that the value judgement is the same in politics and science. Len is apparently unable to see it. Hey ho – that’s climate alarmists for you.

    By the way, Len, you’re not Raff re-named are you?

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  188. My last comment was typed in a hurry and was less than coherent. Apologies. I could and should more pithily have said that Len’s two sentences are mutually contradictory and make my point for me:

    “The supposition that we should reduce emission has been nearly universal in politics and science for a decade or more. You might prefer that this wasn’t the case, but there’s no value judgment in recognizing that it is.”

    Saying that if we do x it will have an impact on y MIGHT be described as merely offering up a choice based on evidence. But deciding that we SHOULD do something is a value judgement. Saying that that “should” has been nearly universal in politics and science tells me that science elides into politics and that scientists are expressing a value judgement. Saying that there’s no value judgement in recognising this is semantics at best, plain wrong (in my opinion :-)) at worst.

    Liked by 1 person

  189. By the way, Len, you’re not Raff re-named are you?

    Or Nino on that thread in November. The same boring, trivialising, ‘joint ideas’ destroying nit-picking. However, despite this, some of the counter-arguments matter. The first paragraph there was for me a striking example:

    It is ironic when those who cheer Trump’s election talk about poverty in the developing world, when their hero is so opposed to exactly those trade policies of the last decades that have pulled so many millions of poor people out of poverty.

    So it’s hard to know what to do:

    I think it may be worth all of us reading that Twitter thread.

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  190. This is also typical modus operandi for the troll:

    Len, its your speculation that coccolithophores are being ignored, and you are asking me to explain your speculation (that actually I happen to disagree with).

    Very well put Alan. Plenty for all of us to learn.

    Liked by 1 person

  191. Wow, Ben’s Twitter thread explains quite a lot. Couldn’t read it because I’ve been blocked 🙂 Of course, one can make the exact same argument about climate denial and one can do the same as Ben has done, which is to use it as an excuse for blocking people. I actually have some sympathy with what I think he is saying, though. If one is trying to actually achieve something, trying to discuss it with those with whom you largely disagree may be pointless. It may well be more effective to simply ignore them and try to move forward by convincing others. Of course, there are other reasons for having discussions with those with whom you largely agree (it can be interesting, in itself) and if one does chose to block those with whom you disagree you should probably then go around complaining about there no civil discourse.

    Of course, where I disagree with Ben is in his definition of alarmism (it appears to be anyone who expresses any agreement with mainstream climate science) and his implication that his goal is to “pause for thought”. Each to their own, though.

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  192. ATTP, Twitter is not the place for a discussion, it’s for slogans, images and links to discussion. Why host another person’s differing slogans, images and links?

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  193. Why host another person’s differing slogans, images and links?

    No idea why this requires blocking people. Blocking someone doesn’t stop them from posting what they would like to post on Twitter and not blocking them doesn’t somehow mean you’re hosting what they post. Blocking someone essentially means that they can’t see your timeline (although there are ways around this) and means that you don’t get to see any tweets that they might direct at you.

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  194. “and means that you don’t get to see any tweets that they might direct at you.”

    That’s the point. They don’t have to respond to what they don’t see and end up in pointless back and forth with people who are never going to agree with what they write. They can concentrate on those who are more favourable. I say that as someone who can’t be bothered with Twitter at all.

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  195. Tiny,
    Okay, that is certainly one solution (and I have used it, in the past, myself) but there are alternatives. Don’t respond is one. Mute (which means you don’t get to see their tweets in your timeline) is another.

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  196. Alan, why do you think there is such concern about acidification?

    Mark, if you are wrong, I’ll say so – and I think you are. An alalogy: do you object to doctors stating their opinions about the running of the NHS? If one said, “if we want to reduce waiting times we should do x, y and z”, is that a political statement or an expression of medical opinion? Is the “if we want to reduce waiting times” a value judgment or simply a conditional clause (conceivably we might not want to reduce waiting times)?

    Richard said:

    “This is also typical modus operandi for the troll:

    Len, its your speculation that coccolithophores are being ignored, and you are asking me to explain your speculation (that actually I happen to disagree with).”

    Are you calling Alan a troll? After all I made no speculation that coccolithophores are being ignored – that was Alan’s line:

    “The whole scare totally ignores the fact that most calcifying marine organisms, especially those that photosynthesize or have photosynthesizing symbiots, use bicarbonate (employing the liberating protons to aid photosynthesis and nutrient uptake) and not carbonate when forming their shells and skeletons. Any decrease in pH decreases carbonate, but increases bicarbonate. Coccolithophores, which cause mass production of carbonate as “whitings”, actually grow bigger with decreasing pH.”)

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  197. Len. I really couldn’t say. If I were to speculate it might be that the chemists don’t consider the abilities of life to offset basic chemistry, and biologists possibility know insufficient chemistry. One of the real advantages of working within an interdisciplinary department like UEA’s Environmental Sciences School was that people from different disciplines worked together and you could talk with all of them.

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  198. Len Martinez: “An analogy: do you object to doctors stating their opinions about the running of the NHS? If one said, “if we want to reduce waiting times we should do x, y and z”, is that a political statement or an expression of medical opinion? Is the “if we want to reduce waiting times” a value judgment or simply a conditional clause (conceivably we might not want to reduce waiting times)?”

    Answer – very simply, it’s political, a value judgement. I don’t object to them expressing their opinions. I do recognise that those opinions are a value judgement and are political, not medical.

    By the way, it’s “judgement” with an “e” in this context. It lacks the “e” when it’s a Court judgment.

    Liked by 1 person

  199. Alan, you say that “One of the real advantages of working within an interdisciplinary department like UEA’s Environmental Sciences School was that people from different disciplines worked together and you could talk with all of them” but in your telling, you alone took advantage of that and decided that the experts from the other disciplines were wrong about climate and the oceans. There a hint of the DK syndrome to that.

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  200. “There a hint of the DK syndrome to that.”

    Heh, Martinez invokes ‘Dunning-Kruger’.
    And then wonders how he is instantly identifiable as a troll.
    He’ll be bandying around accusations of Godwin’s law next.

    Liked by 3 people

  201. Dunning himself has of course felt to pontificate on Trump in the last year. These two paragraphs in New York Magazine six days ago I particularly enjoyed:

    Of course, as the results of the election revealed, Trump supporters weren’t the only ones “suffering from Dunning-Kruger,” as goes the social-media j’accuse. As it turns out, we were all the deluded simpletons.

    Dunning was as surprised as everyone at the turn of the election. “No one really predicted what happened,” he said, pointing out that in most elections, both sides believe they will win, but in this case it was clear that not even Trump thought he stood a chance. “We basically had a collective Dunning-Kruger event.”

    If we all knew we were deluded simpletons, how much less trolling would go on?

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  202. Just to add to that thought about Professor Dunning: his status as an expert, like so many, came under threat because he got it so wrong about Trump. Compare that to the Cliscep troll sequence we were thinking of earlier:

    Raff -> Nino -> Len

    One of the great advantages of reinventing yourself in this way, as often as you like, is that you never need to appear a deluded simpleton. You can quiz a real person like, say, Alan Kendall, about his history and from great apparent height cast doubt on his judgement:

    Otherwise, why would your fellow marine specialists deliberately ignore this important group?

    and:

    but in your telling, you alone took advantage of that and decided that the experts from the other disciplines were wrong about climate and the oceans. There a hint of the DK syndrome to that.

    While all your own misjudgements are wholly unknown to everyone but yourself.

    The remarkable thing is that this highly asymmetric set up can work reasonably well, at times. At others, not so much. In those we need to know – and to know that others know – that we are deluded fools. It’s a fair starting point. But we never get to that first base with a troll.

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  203. Len. You are quite wrong. Not only did I benefit, but most other members of staff willing to collaborate with others versed in different disciplines (= most)did, as well as the literally hundreds, nay thousands, of students who passed through our hands.

    You do display some nasty troll-like behaviours don’t you?

    Liked by 2 people

  204. Alan,

    Coupled photosynthesis and calcification results in no release of carbon dioxide.

    I didn’t say anything about photosynthesis – I was simply pointing out that CaCO3 formation actually increases atmospheric CO2. However, you’re presumably talking about an equilibrium situation. I don’t think we’re in one anymore.

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  205. “You do display some nasty troll-like behaviours don’t you?”

    There is probably a reason for that…
    Now, I wonder what it could possibly be?

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  206. Alan, you said earlier when I asked why specialists think acidification will be a problem: “I really couldn’t say. If I were to speculate it might be that the chemists don’t consider the abilities of life to offset basic chemistry, and biologists possibility know insufficient chemistry.”

    You went on to praise the ability of people at UEA from different disciplines to learn from each other and say that most did so. Yet you think the chemists and biologists were unsuccessful in learning from each other but that you learned from both and decided they were all wrong. This seems at the very least rather lacking in modesty. You call me a troll for pointing this out – so be it.

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  207. If the climate community had got its act together it would be no trouble to access a database of all the marine creatures tested for their reactions to increased CO2 and there would be a standard operating procedure for the entire field on how to best test those creatures. If there was a disputed best practice then it might be recommended that creatures be tested under both schemes and both results documented.

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  208. Len. Why deliberately distort what I write because it doesn’t fit your particular narrative?

    Even though there were a large number of staff within UEA’s Environmental Science School, most concentrated upon their own small area of research (or combined to research a similarly small research areas) and their specialist area of teaching. I don’t believe, when I was there, that there was anyone researching ocean acidification. For reasons that I won’t go into, I was more of a generalist and taught in up to nine modules. One of these was an interdisciplinary module on fossil fuels. Most of my knowledge of climate change and ocean acidification issues I learned in order to cover the topic of environmental problems produced by using fossil fuels. To do this I read widely and discussed matters with specialists both inside the department, in other UEA schools, and outside. I know a fair amount about air pollution and landscape restoration as well.
    So Len, my colleagues spent their time devoted to their specialization; my interests were more directed to teaching across a wide spread of interests. In part this was because my specialist area did not fit well into the School’s remit.
    Easy to understand perhaps if you keep an open mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  209. ATTP. Since at least half of oceanic and the vast majority of shallow water tropical marine carbonate is produced by organisms that photosynthesize or have photosynthetic symbiotes, most marine carbonate was formed in association with this process.

    The majority of Holocene tropical marine carbonate was laid down during the period of relatively rapidly rising sealevel (when space was being regenerated). Carbonate production rapidly decreased when sealevel stabilized. Interestingly the period of fast carbonate production does not correspond to any period of atmospheric carbon dioxide increase. This strongly suggests 1) carbonate production did not release carbon dioxide and strongly suggests 2) most carbonate production was coupled with photosynthesis.
    Yes Ken the system is probably unbalanced, but unlike alarmists who argue this is causing harm, my understanding is that the increase in bicarbonate might well benefit many (most?) marine calcifiers.

    Liked by 1 person

  210. Alan,
    This is beyond my expertise, but – from what I’ve read – even though bicarbonate increases with decreasing pH what determines whether or not you get CaCO3 formation of dissolution depends on the saturation state, which depends on Ca{2+} and CO3{2-}. See, for example, Zeebe (2013).

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  211. Attp. Indeed it does depend on the saturation state, but the saturation state at the point of calcification. This may not be the saturation state of the bulk water but is under the control of the organism. The best example I know to illustrate this is the freshwater mussel Unio. Commonly these may live in waters that are not strongly supersaturated with respect to the carbonate they precipitate, and part of the time the water is definitely undersaturated. This is shown by the oldest parts of the shells where the organic coating (the periostracum) wears away and the shell starts to dissolve.
    In organisms that both photosynthsize and calcify the carbonate ion concentration is enhanced when (and where) photosynthsis uses protons released from the bicarbonate. Calcification is under the control of the organism, and not the ambient carbonate saturation.
    Arguments using the saturation state with respect to inorganic precipitation using the activities of calcium and carbonate ions are out and out wrong.

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  212. Alan,
    I certainly don’t dispute that understanding the role that life may play could well be important, but it’s unfortunate that he says

    I argue here that negative feedbacks due to life (‘Gaia’) may have stabilized the planet’s climate — on geological timescales and in recent decades.

    because that might suggest a confusion on the author’s part about recent decades.

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  213. Alan, don’t you recognize that your story sounds bizarre? You were required (or offered or whatever) to teach various courses in which you were not only inexpert but actually had little knowledge. You therefore taught yourself enough of each subject to manage, reading articles and talking to experts (hopefully) and in doing so came to the opposite conclusion to that held by people who are experts. And you thought yourself qualified to teach a course on oceans even though you “really couldn’t say” why experts are concerned about acidification. Did you not think it worth finding out?

    ATTP, is Alan’s story at all typical of university teaching? If so I’d want my money back.

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  214. Len, the other cheek is bared.
    Does it not occur to you that 1) people can make themselves expert by reading and discussing matters with specialists, and 2) you wouldn’t willingly take on a teaching role in a completely new subject area. For example, I taught on a hydrogeology module, why? because I was once a petroleum geologist working with petroleum engineers and the science of fluid flow through porous media is the same whether the fluid be oil or water. A conversion to hydrogeology wasn’t hard. I am a specialist in (amongst other things) carbonate sedimentology, thus I knew much about carbonate formation before teaching the reponse of carbonate-secreting organisms to changing ocean chemistry.
    Do you really think that undergraduate lectures are given exclusively by experts who have done or are doing research in the subjects being taught? I don’t know, but I fully expect that Ken has taught undergraduate material of which he has had no first hand experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  215. Alan, no I’m not at all surprised that undergrads are not taught be experts in the field. But it amazes me that a lecturer on a subject in which he is not an expert would teach the opposite of (what seems to be) accepted wisdom without even bothering to find out why that wisdom is accepted.

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  216. Len you seem to have a strange idea about teaching undergraduates. You don’t impart the “word ” from.on high. After several years of doing this I realized that instead I had several roles – to enthuse my students in the subject so that they wanted to learn more for themselves, to explain difficult subjects and to teach them how to do independent learning. If I was covering a potentially controversial subject like ocean acidification I would deal with the accepted interpretation as well as alternatives and leave/invite students to read around the subject and make up their own minds.
    I did not concoct these alternatives, I read about them, talked/emailed experts and only then reached my conclusions. Students appreciated not being lectured at, and commonly expressed their delight at being offered alternatives. I was always up-front with my students, telling them I was not a researcher in the field.
    I don’t know how others teach, but treating students as adults and not as older school children worked for me. It got me several nominations for best teacher in the University, so I couldn’t have been doing much wrong.

    I await, with some boredom, your next insults.

    Liked by 2 people

  217. Alan, I don’t have any teaching experience, but if I imagine giving students a tour of the facts, interpretations and received wisdom, I would consider it incumbent on me to understand the received wisdom. According to you, you don’t (why do specialists think acidification will be a problem? “I really couldn’t say”). That might or might not make you popular, but it seems a disservice to the students (who, unlike you, don’t have access to experts to help them choose between your ‘interpretations’).

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  218. ATTP, you write, “I argue here that negative feedbacks due to life (‘Gaia’) may have stabilized the planet’s climate — on geological timescales and in recent decades. because that might suggest a confusion on the author’s part about recent decades.”

    Temperatures have risen–check. Arctic ice has diminished–check. But what impacts have these occurrences had on the environment? I would argue (have argued) very little. Weather is not getting more extreme, despite the fevered pitches about Xtreme Weather. Migratory species have changed timing and destination with very little problem. Humans have so far benefited from increased vegetation.

    Perhaps the author is not so confused.

    None of which implies that future effects of climate change boosted by a human component will all be benign. But taking a longer perspective surely would tend to downplay the effects to date.

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  219. Temperatures have risen–check. Arctic ice has diminished–check. But what impacts have these occurrences had on the environment?

    What have impacts got to do with it? He appeared to be suggesting that somehow our climate has stablisied in recent decades. It seems clear that it has not.

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  220. Len you seem determined to have, or prolong, an argument, commonly by ignoring or deliberately misunderstanding what I have written.

    You asked why people think ocean acidification will be a problem. I could easily have given a partisan and trite answer, but I didn’t. Instead I gave an honest one – that I don’t know why and I speculated upon one possible explanation. The fact that I don’t understand why they believe as they do, does not preclude my understanding what it is that they do believe nor being able to convey this to students.

    Excitement in science is in investigating new vistas, and these are commonly controversial. Teaching well is not a matter of regurgitating accepted wisdom, but is in conveying the controversy and helping those being taught to evaluate the evidence for and against any scientific position.

    Want to suggest any other reason why you think I was incompetent to teach?

    Liked by 3 people

  221. “Len you seem determined to have, or prolong, an argument, commonly by ignoring or deliberately misunderstanding what I have written.”

    There’s a name for people who post deliberately provocative material like that, Alan.

    Begins with “t” and ends in “l”.

    Conventional wisdom recommends not feeding them.

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  222. Incidentally Alan, are you acquainted with the work of Saul Alinsky?

    Martinez most certainly is.

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  223. Catweazle666 you have me at a disadvantage. I know the name but little about his works. I cannot see a link between Len or myself and community organisation. Please explain.

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  224. Saul Alinsky wrote the rulebook for debating round and round in circles, very commonly used by the Left.

    Effectively, it means that if you are basically honest and respect fair dealing, you can never win a debate, as amongst other things the goalposts keep changing and your opponent will cause you to spend a great deal of energy purely defending yourself. It is a technique employing thoroughly dishonest rhetorical devices, basically, as it is entirely unnecessary for its proponent to have any knowledge of the subject they are dishonestly debating.

    You could also inspect this somewhat obscure post by the much-missed MemoryVault.

    https://libertygibbert.com/2010/08/09/dobson-dykes-and-diverse-disputes/

    Quite long, but perhaps instructive.

    Sometimes also known as “Clown Dancing”, incidentally.

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  225. Alan, I don’t think you are incompetent. I just find your position puzzling. Many sceptics seem to adopt a position on global warming because they are not convinced by the evidence they find and (unlike people like me in the same situation) seem to decide to trust their own judgement rather than accept that there are things they don’t know. My guess is that the vast majority of us don’t have easy access to experts who can explain, assuming we want an explanation. You on the other hand had access. So did you actually ask experts why they think ocean acidification will be a problem? Did you discuss the evidence you present here? If so, what did they say and why was it not convincing?

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  226. Len, you didn’t answer a single question about your views when I asked you highly relevant ones after Christmas. At that point you lost all credibility with me. I see the {Raff -> Nino -> Len}-and-ATTP (unreasonable and slightly less unreasonable) duality as organised to try and create futility here, in the Alinsky tradition, just as Catweazle has suggested.

    However, I don’t agree with Catweazle about Alan. He engaged with you and in doing so he clarified a lot. It’s true that in your futile universe he would never ‘win’ against you or gain a single concession from you. But he did educate the rest of us, and he did that well. That’s why I have never agreed with the ‘feed’ in “don’t feed the trolls”. One isn’t feeding the trolls, but other readers, if one chooses to answer. What feeds them is if one gives in to despair or storms off in rage. Which we are smart enough not to do.

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  227. Catweazle666.
    Many thanks for your information, it clarifies much about dealings I have had with various people on websites. I shall be reading your suggested post with much interest.

    Richard Drake
    I much appreciate your kind words.

    Len
    I believe I have already answered your question (to my satisfaction anyway). You are essentially repeating yourself.
    BTW. Anybody has access to experts. One of the remits of Universities and other public-funded research institutes is to engage with the “real” world outside. When I worked for a geological survey in Canada I often met with and answered questions from members of the public. Retired experts commonly spend time giving talks to local groups, as I have done. The internet provides additional access to those that know, as was just demonstrated by my latest exchange with Catweazle666.

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  228. Catweazle666
    “Saul Alinsky wrote the rulebook for debating round and round in circles””.
    Did he come up with an effective counter strategy (other than leaving the field)? I could sorely use one sometimes.

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  229. You’d need to look to the writings of Alinsky’s opponents I guess Alan. But, purely in the context of this blog, among the core team (the poor folk listed on the right hand side near the top of the page) there are different views on what our moderation policy should be. As I showed two days ago Ben Pile has made his views pretty public:

    and I think it’s fair to say Ben is one end of the spectrum, arguing that very often Cliscep’s ideal of developing “joint ideas” is torpedoed by brainless interactions with trolls. For myself, I am pretty happy with our policy from the beginning, that the author of the original post is in charge of such decisions – in other words, whether to snip what we consider trolling and other unhelpful input.

    Whatever, the experiment continues! Paul has had the happy knack of putting up newsy posts which do not require massive thought before contributing – I damn with faint praise and Dr Matthews loves me for it! – and this sometimes lets people “let off steam” on all kinds of subjects, as has happened on this thread. Cliscep is much richer for such posts but I think it also needs other, more thoughtful ones. But who listens to me? 🙂

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  230. Alan, I still don’t know what “I really can’t say” means practically – I don’t know whether you got answers from experts but rejected them, or didn’t get answers, or didn’t really ask. But I guess I exhausted your patience, so I’ll drop the subject. Thanks for an interesting chat.

    As for a “counter strategy”, there are half a dozen others on this thread. You talked mainly to me and ATTP. If that is so objectionable, talk to the others instead. Okay, with many of them you’d be better off talking to the wall, but Thomas and Mark seem nice. And Richard has his moments. Go for it.

    Richard, I don’t recall what you asked me, but here’s a sampler. I’m pretty liberal, pragmatic. I used to be much further to the right before I grew up (at around 50). I completely lack hubris and am quite willing to admit that I am wrong or that I don’t know enough to take a dogmatic position on much. I used to be quite clever, but I think that has faded to mediocrity.

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  231. Richard,
    In my opinion, the issue with Ben’s tweet is that he is probably one of the least civil people I’ve ever encountered. For completeness, I’m defining civility as the ability to have a conversation in which you don’t pretty quickly resort to being rude; telling people to “piss off”, for example. Each to their own, of course, and I’m not complaining (I fully understand how frustrating this topic can be). However, it seems a little ironic for Ben to be blaming others for the end of civil discourse. It’s almost as if he isn’t willing to take responsibility for his own behaviour.

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  232. The latest ill-advised excursion into politics is the letter from “the climate change research community” (apparently written by Bob Ward) in which they “urge” Theresa May to “press” Trump to take action on climate change.

    What is particularly idiotic about this is that Trump’s team are apparently concerned that climate science has become politicised, see Climate Home article. If they want evidence of this politicisation, the letter helpfully provides it.

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  233. Richard, I answered your questions later on that thread. You deleted my answer so unless you kept a copy, tough shit.

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  234. Haha, very funny. You did not answer any of the questions, as you both know very well. But if the truth matters to you, you are free to do so now, in the thread in question. They are crucial questions for justifying (or not) climate policies. If you cared about the subject at all you would answer.

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  235. ATTP, when I try and have a conversation with you, you only engage on peripheral points of zero interest. For example, I have tried to engage with you about Representative Concentration Pathways repeatedly on this blog over the past 10 days. You never respond…

    You write about RCPs often enough that they can be presumed to be of interest to you. As I have noted, you seem to be misrepresenting their function and utility at your own blog. Why don’t you want to discuss here?

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  236. Richard,

    They are crucial questions for justifying (or not) climate policies.

    Well, no, they’re not really.

    Tom,
    Mostly because I don’t particularly enjoy discussing things with you anywhere. If it bothers you that much, you can try to put some effort into making it something worth considering. I’m not too bothered one way or the other. I also don’t have any particular issues with how I’ve described the RCPs. They are possible future pathways. They aren’t the only possible future pathways, and it is clearly unlikely that we would precisely follow one of those pathways, however the pathway that we do follow will likely lie within the range represented by the RCPs (i.e., it’s unlikely to be below RCP2.6 or above RCP8.5).

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  237. ATTP, they are represented as future pathways. But what they are are pre-assigned totals of watts per square meter used to develop inputs to climate models. Trying to justify those pre-assigned totals came later and is not a finished assignment. The researchers who developed them have been clear about their limitations. The media, NGOs and bloggers such as yourself are ignoring all of that and saying foolish things such as that RCP 8.5 somehow represents business as usual. It does not.

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  238. Tom,

    But what they are are pre-assigned totals of watts per square meter used to develop inputs to climate models.

    Yes, I know.

    Trying to justify those pre-assigned totals came later and is not a finished assignment.

    Are you suggesting that there is a good chance of a change in forcing by 2100 that exceeds 8.5 W/m^2? If not, and given that we’re already at about 2.3 W/m^2 and hence are unlikely to produce a change less than 2.6W/m^2, the pathway we actually follow will probably fall within the range represented by the RCPs.

    The researchers who developed them have been clear about their limitations.

    I’m well aware of their limitations.

    The media, NGOs and bloggers such as yourself are ignoring all of that and saying foolish things such as that RCP 8.5 somehow represents business as usual. It does not.

    I didn’t say RCP8.5 somehow represents business as usual. That you have to make stuff up in order to criticise what I’ve written is the main reason why I don’t particularly care to discuss this with you.

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  239. Richard my understanding of Cliscep policy is that you don’t have an editor’s pen on Thomas’ thread. [It’s Paul’s thread actually. And you overestimate the strictness of the rules in a pathological case like this. — Richard.] So if you can’t dig up my honest answer to your questions, which you deleted, hard luck. [As you well know, I didn’t delete any answers to the questions. Give your answers over there or stop whinging.]

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  240. “Len
    I believe I have already answered your question (to my satisfaction anyway). You are essentially repeating yourself.”

    And that, Alan, is precisely why it’s referred to as a ‘clown dance’. Round and round in circles, basically the same steps over and over again, sometimes with minor variations and curlicues. When one set of steps are exhausted, then a quick change of goalposts and off they go again.

    Then, when you get a pair of clown dancers together – for example Martinez and Rice – one feeds the other and they essentially function as a tag team.

    They’re not debating, they’re playing a game with you and taunting you.

    However, as you rightly observe, they have their uses as they allow elucidation of the matter under debate, which can be useful for educating ‘lurkers’.

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  241. In case Ken Rice is still reading, I took his word that I was not banned at his blog and tried to post a brief and technical comment. I received the message: “Sorry, this comment could not be posted.” Its hard to square this with Ken’s assurance that I can comment there.

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  242. Richard,

    Please explain how they’re not. Each question and the links between them. Thanks.

    I’m not really here to do your homework for you. The fact that our scientific understanding has evolved is entirely normal science. I don’t see how this any real bearing on policy decisions we might make today.

    dpy6629,
    I have no idea why you can’t comment. I’v looked through my blacklist and moderation lists and I cannot see any reason why you shouldn’t be able to do so. This isn’t some kind of encouragement for you to try again, but I don’t think the problem you’re having with commenting has anything to do with me.

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  243. The fact that our scientific understanding has evolved is entirely normal science.

    Would it be entirely normal science not to mention Einstein’s general theory of relativity when seeking to explain Eddington’s observations on Principe? That would be the equivalent stupidity – except that the difference between the Fourier/Tyndall/Arrhenius view and the Manabe/Wetherald one is far greater in terms of expected observations than that between Newton and Einstein. Which makes the emphasis on everything being explained by “19th century physics” or “basic physics” even dumber.

    Pro tip (including for Ed Hawkins): don’t treat the general public as idiots.

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  244. Would it be entirely normal science not to mention Einstein’s general theory of relativity when seeking to explain Eddington’s observations on Principe?

    How is this even related. The whole point of Eddington’s observations on Principe were to test GR, so why would anyone not mention this?

    Which makes the emphasis on everything being explained by “19th century physics” or “basic physics” even dumber.

    Who has emphasised this? The suggestion isn’t that everything is explained by 19th century physics. The suggestion is that the origin of our understanding is in the 19th century.

    Pro tip (including for Ed Hawkins): don’t treat the general public as idiots.

    Indeed, and the way one should do this – IMO – is by saying what you really think, not saying what others want you to say.

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  245. It’s related and you know exactly how it’s related. I’m showing you how misleading the continual emphasis from the climate fraternity on the “origin of our understanding” is, leading to Len saying this on my Christmas Eve thread:

    On the bigger picture of you article, the science behind global warming predates any of the big new ideas of the early 20th C that you talk about.

    This is about as meaningful as saying that the geometry behind general relativity predates the big new ideas of the 19th century, then talking about Euclid.

    No, Euclid was superseded or subsumed in Minkowski and that was crucial to Einstein.

    Banging on about the “origin of our understanding” being Euclid quickly becomes misdirection.

    Just as Ed Hawkins should never have said this to a honest inquirer on Twitter:

    Man has caused vast majority of the warming since 1800s. We know this because of the basic physics of the greenhouse effect.

    But we don’t know because it’s not basic physics any more – if it ever was. As Jonathan Jones says it’s very complicated physics and unlike Einstein the complication has not been confirmed beyond reasonable doubt by observation. The “origin of our understanding” takes us precisely nowhere.

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  246. Richard,
    I’m disagreeing with you, whether you like it or not. I think your position is basically pedantry. What Len said, IMO, is quite reasonable. A lot of the science underpinning our understanding of global warming is indeed from the 19th century. You might not like this. You can, of course, disagree, but I’m not going to suddenly agree because we get more and more insistent.

    As far as Ed’s tweet goes, it’s not perfect. We don’t really know anything with absolute certainty, and we can’t do formal attribution studies using basic physics. However, we can – in my view – do some basic physics to illustrate how difficult it is to construct a scenario in which most of the observed warming was not anthropogenic. This isn’t quite as strong as “we know because of basic physics” but given that there is probably no 140 character explanation of this that couldn’t be criticised, I’m more than willing to give Ed the benefit of the doubt.

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  247. “A lot of the science underpinning our understanding of global warming” didn’t fit observations at all well though, did it? Because it didn’t take account of convection, for one very big thing. So the question has to be what “understanding” it ever brought and how does it “underpin our understanding” now? This isn’t pedantry, it’s concern about obvious falsification by observation. Otherwise known as normative science.

    I agree with you that Ed’s tweet wasn’t perfect. I disagree that he should have the benefit of the doubt. The doubt should in fact be front and central on all statements in this area, until observations have confirmed the very complicated theories, as Professor Jones says, that end up giving us estimates of climate sensitivity.

    However, we can – in my view – do some basic physics to illustrate how difficult it is to construct a scenario in which most of the observed warming was not anthropogenic.

    Can you point to a post on your blog that gives details?

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  248. Richard,

    So the question has to be what “understanding” it ever brought and how does it “underpin our understanding” now?

    The key reason the surface is warmer than it would be in the absence of an atmosphere (or a radiatively active atmosphere) is because of the greenhouse gases, which was recognised in the 19th century. I also found Arrhenius calculation quite impressive. I think he largely got the radiative forcing due to CO2 and did a good job of estimating the inluence of water vapour. What he didn’t get (AFAIA) is the role of convection which does reduce the temperature gradient and, hence, the amount of surface warming, but this doesn’t change that key aspects of our understanding were determined in the 19th and early 20th century.

    I disagree that he should have the benefit of the doubt.

    I think we’re using doubt in two different ways here. I’m simply suggesting that he may not have meant it to be quite as strong as his tweet indicated, not that we should no longer doubt that anthropogenic infuences were probably dominant. I think it highly unlikely that they haven’t been the dominant influence, but I would be more than happy to see an argument suggesting otherwise.

    Can you point to a post on your blog that gives details?

    My most recent one is a comment on this and a reblog of an older post that essentially did this (admittedly relative to 1950, not the 1800s, but you can make a similar argument for the warming since the 1800s).

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  249. It’s not just Ed’s tweet. He repeats this logical fallacy in full on his blog, Climate Lab Book. it’s extremely bad form for a scientist to be doing this. In essence, what he is saying is that, because something COULD theoretically be so, it IS so. GHG radiative forcing COULD account for all or most of the warming post 1800, but ONLY if you make some huge, sweeping, unsubstantiated assumptions about how the atmosphere has behaved over a long period of two centuries. It’s extremely irresponsible of Ed to keep repeating this attribution claim when green activists pick up on it and go forth and multiply bad science.

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  250. Thanks Jaime. I’m intrigued party because what was said at Classic Papers – The Greenhouse Effect at Imperial College by Ed Hawkins and Keith Shine in October 2014 seemed so different. Manabe and Wetherald was front and centre in Shine’s talk, showing how the field had moved on since the great Guy Callendar. (Ed having given the Fourier to Callendar history, very well I thought.) I’m fully with Jonathan Jones on Twitter on this.

    I also find it intriguing that ATTP couldn’t bring himself to mention Ed and Jonathan by name in his latest Is it just basic physics? Talk about attribution! Why not? Is it the same old desire to infantalise or misdirect or both?

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  251. dpy, Ken (And Then There’s Physics) told me I wasn’t banned repeatedly, even though my posts were not going up. Like yours, mine were inoffensive. Eventually his co-blogger told me she had banned me. ATTP still says he didn’t know about it. Right.

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  252. Manabe and Wetherald seems to be the main reason for the insistence of fixed relative humidity in GCMs. Their paper found unalarming warming without it. With it, the modellers are able to insert positive feedback by that means. It is a tough task to measure it with global generalisation in mind, but then that is true of so many important factors in the models, but some data sets show decreasing relative humidity in the troposphere. At Climate4You (see section on Climate & Clouds), Humlum writes:

    ‘Climate models therefore, in general, assume the relative Tropospheric humidity to remain more or less stable, as increasing air temperatures are compensated by increasing specific humidity.

    The above diagrams indicate that none of this has been the case since 1948. Only near the planet surface, the relative humidity has remained roughly constant (although with variations), but in the remaining part of the Troposphere below the Tropopause the relative humidity has been decreasing.’ [http://www.climate4you.com/]

    Now, like the Medieval Warm Period, and a more recent ‘decline’, I suspect there are those who would like to get rid of ‘declining relative humidity’ by hook or by crook (this sort of cynicism on my part is one of the minor things I hate about the poisoning of climate science by CO2 alarmists). See Montford’s books ‘Hiding the Decline’ for the second of these, and ‘The Hockey Stick Illusion’ for the first as well, and the Paltridge discussion on Climate etc for a response to a 2010 effort to challenge the ostensible RH decline: (https://judithcurry.com/2011/09/25/trends-in-tropospheric-humidity/ ) . He concludes reasonably enough that, in my words and intepretation, we could do with more and better data before this debate can be settled.

    So, that is something to watch. By the way, Richard, may I commend your patience with ATTP and LM. I do believe I can detect signs that they are becoming a little more civil, sensible, and grown-up. A ways to go yet, but I think we on this blog are providing them with useful help.

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  253. Back in 2008, when I was just getting involved in the climate debate, I would frequently run into a type of commenter who would insist that the mainstream view of climate change had to be correct because nobody could think of alternative explanations to human contributions of CO2 and methane.

    I thought then and still think today that this argument is not only specious, it is pernicious. It also bespeaks a paucity of imagination. Given the long cycle times of various elements of the climate system, particularly ocean, it is also very weak argumentation. Either the recent warming or the pause could have been caused by the climate system reacting to something that happened decades or even centuries ago.

    Given the limits and lack of history of the instrumentation used for calculating temperatures, those who sound most confident also sound most foolish on this subject.

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  254. Richard,

    Why not? Is it the same old desire to infantalise or misdirect or both?

    Are those the only two options you’re willing to consider? What about not really wanting to personalise this since it didn’t really seem all that relevant?

    Tom,
    Jeepers, still going on about that?

    John,

    I do believe I can detect signs that they are becoming a little more civil, sensible, and grown-up.

    Thanks. Any chance you’re planning to follow suit?

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  255. ATTP, nobody’s ‘going on’ about this–helping dpy understand his predicament is courtesy, not obsession. You behave quite badly at your blog and those who invest time and energy composing comments are entitled to know that.

    Over here, all of us note that there are several opportunities here for you to engage on the subject matter of interest, but that you prefer instead to practice a pale and clumsy shadow of Willard’s Climate Ball. You’re as bad at that as you are at normal argumentation–you should leave it to Smeagol. He does it better.

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  256. Tom,

    those who invest time and energy composing comments are entitled to know that.

    Tell you what, anyone who thinks their comments are so insightful that the world will be worse off if they aren’t posted is welcome to post their comments elsewhere.

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  257. So typical of an entitled academic. Callous and unthinking. When someone takes time and effort to compose a comment and hits submit, if you have pre-rejected their efforts without informing them their efforts disappear.

    Some comments are quickly dashed off–yours serve as an example. Others have quite a bit of effort invested. That effort is wasted due to your very bad behaviour.

    I don’t know you personally or professionally, Ken Rice. But your blog persona is distinctly unpleasant.

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  258. Richard,

    It is rather odd that Ken doesn’t link to that convo on Twitter. Perhaps he is being a little embarrassed on behalf of Ed whose attribution statement was, to be polite, not very scientifically robust. But Ed appears not to be fazed by his own ‘Back-of-the-envelope’ attribution. Indeed, he says:

    “Many of those skeptical about the causes of climate change suggest that the complex global climate models (GCMs) often used to make attribution statements are not trustworthy. Here I highlight that GCMs are not needed to roughly attribute nearly all of the observed warming (at least) to changes in greenhouse gases.”

    https://www.climate-lab-book.ac.uk/2015/back-of-the-envelope-attribution/

    So if Ed, a Met Office senior scientist, can own it, I really think that Ken should not be coy in also owning it on Ed’s behalf.

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  259. Are those the only two options you’re willing to consider?

    You’re right, I forgot the obfuscation.

    It’s incredibly relevant who’s making the claim that anything beyond climate sensitivity being greater than zero is “very complicated physics”. Professor of physics and expert in quantum computation at Oxford. Perhaps that background could usefully be taken into account by the casual reader. It’s also highly relevant that the attempt to portray the attribution issue as “basic physics” was from one of the best-known UK climate scientists. Tom read humanities (I assume) but in his earlier comment he shows he has the number of the specious argument from lack of imagination. It can be done. But the background of those discussing the matter in 140 characters in this instance was also of the essence.

    [Sorry Jaime, didn’t see your comment until after I penned this.]

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  260. Richard, you edited my comment to add: “[As you well know, I didn’t delete any answers to the questions. Give your answers over there or stop whinging.]” Don’t lie. Look at the thread, it is full if snipped comments. My answer was something to the effect that I don’t know the answers to any of your questions. If you think that admitting that one doesn’t know the answer is not an answer you are stupider than I thought.

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  261. “Its hard to square this with Ken’s assurance that I can comment there.”

    Heh, not if you’ve any prior experience of Ken, it isn’t!

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  262. Thomaswfuller2. You wrote ” So typical of an entitled academic.” Every time I read something like this my blood pressure goes up. I was an “entitled academic”. So was or is Judith Curry, Richard Tol, Roy Spencer and many others. Like most of humanity, we are not all the same.

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  263. Len:

    Richard, you edited my comment to add: “[As you well know, I didn’t delete any answers to the questions. Give your answers over there or stop whinging.]” Don’t lie.

    Ok, I promise I won’t lie any more. Unless I’m lying now, of course.

    Look at the thread, it is full if snipped comments.

    Gosh, did I do all that?

    My answer was something to the effect that I don’t know the answers to any of your questions.

    Ah, that’s the problem then. I took you to mean “I refuse to answer any of your questions, because it wouldn’t suit my haughty, nit-picking persona to have to defend anything as chancy and specific as that.” You poor, poor, persecuted thing.

    If you think that admitting that one doesn’t know the answer is not an answer you are stupider than I thought.

    Let’s face it Len (or Ken – whichever it is this time). You had too high an opinion of my lack of stupidity. People do this all the time. The sadness and tears as they learn how estupido I really am. But I’m sure one day you’ll get over it. Or at the next nit-pick, whichever is the sooner. Chin up.

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  264. Given how fond the “consensus” is of medical analogies, I wonder if Ken would like to be treated for gangrene or some now-curable disease by the methods employed in the first decades of the 20th century. Amputation is good for you, dear boy. I just wonder whether climate science has advanced as fast as medicine. I strongly suspect that it has not, not that the consensus would ever admit that.

    Alan, it is better to accept that outsiders sometimes make statements about your discipline that are overly broad. If my blood boiled over everytime someone on the net called Arts students stupid or referred to accountants as bean-counters, I would have even less hair than I currently have. A swift and to-the-point rebuttal is more effective and can rebuild a dialogue, like a discussion about the stranded assets that are the beech trees of High Wycombe.

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  265. Alan, no need to raise your blood pressure. Academics are titled, but in general are not especially entitled (or shouldn’t be, in an egalitarian society).

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  266. Man in a. barrel. I may have over-egged it a little. My blood pressure probably doesn’t vary much and when I see comments that disparage academics in general I suppose my overwhelming reaction is resignation and sadness. My reaction to your comment about my “being better than that” is that those who make such general, and therefore inaccurate, statements are better than that. This website is better than that.

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  267. Jaime. I felt entitled and I was. I had a position where for most of the time I did what I liked, I set my own work schedule, worked on topics that I chose, was in contact with colleagues and students with similar interests and motivations. Teaching duties were not onerous and mostly enjoyable (marking exam papers, however, was a real pain and very demoralizing). I also enjoyed committee work but was unusual in that. Having already worked for government and industry I knew very well how entitled I was.

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  268. Alan, perks of the job you might say, privileges that come with the position, but I don’t think that’s quite the same thing as entitlement, or a sense thereof which some academics – by no means the majority – think they have by virtue of their academic status.

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  269. Jaime, I wish I had thought of that. If you are a recognised authority on a subject then you are entitled. Who are the authorities on Climate science? Obviously Hansen has blown his credibility. Lindzen is deemed emeritus, not that it stopped my emeritus teachers enhancing their post retirement earnings by lecturing in the USA. I guess that in the Humanities, age is a positive factor. Experience and Geoffness

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  270. Thomas, I suspect that the powerful Willard, otherwise known as Lord Russell’s Squirrel, has banned me and Ken Rice hasn’t bothered to ask him about it. It wouldn’t be the first time Ken repeats assertions that are false. For someone who knows nothing about science, LR’s Squirrel has amazingly ingratiated himself with Ken.

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  271. Thomaswfuller2. I was after no apology, I am just as guilty of falsely categorizing groups. As a relatively new contributor to this site I noticed immediately just how very civilized it is. Even persistent adversaries are treated with much respect (even if this is not exactly reciprocated). Long may it remain so.

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  272. Jaime. An interesting distinction, but when does a perk become an entitlement? I certainly saw mine as perks, but also felt grateful for being so entitled.

    Another perk/entitlement – the ability to construct a research team around you to do what you are interested in, commonly including people with skills that you may lack.

    A lordly Duke may strut around displaying his entitlement, or use it to help his fellow man without visible reward.

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  273. DY,
    I checked my comment blacklist and moderation list and I cannot see anything to suggest that you should have any problems commenting. You don’t have to believe me and this isn’t an encouragement for you to keep trying. I don’t particularly benefit from people commenting on my blog and it’s certainly not my job to find out why they are having trouble doing so. Of course, if it was someone who was reasonable and who was willing to be understanding of the difficulties of running a blog, I might be willing to help, but when it isn’t, I’m not.

    Alan,
    If you think this is very civilised then I would hate to encounter a site that you regard as uncivilised.

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  274. Life’s little mysteries. ATTP finds this place so uncivilised that he can barely bring himself to comment. But comment he does and frequently. He plays a long game and boring with it.

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  275. Richard,
    Actually, my suggestion was more that describing it as very civilised is a bit of a stretch. Maybe we simply have different backgrounds and different senses of what is civilised and what is not.

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  276. Attp. You are fully aware of sites where I have contributed that contain some extremely uncivilized behaviours. This site, in comparison, is a breath of fresh air.

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  277. It really didn’t need the comment. Alan is entitled to his view and I, and I’m sure others, appreciate the encouragement. Even if I was in charge of moderation of this thread I wouldn’t snip your response but I will say, again, how unnecessary it was. If every very of someone else’s opinion we think is a “bit of a stretch” becomes the focus the blog disappears up its own fundament. I’ve been open about the fact I think achieving such absurdity is your and Len’s purpose here. But it is also terribly boring.

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  278. Richard,

    I’ve been open about the fact I think achieving such absurdity is your and Len’s purpose here.

    I’ve no idea what Len’s purpose here is, but this is certainly not mine. I really like it if we could simply have discussions that didn’t rapidly degenerate into complaints about how I run my blog, accusations of hypocrisy and dishonesty, and claims that what I’m doing is boring (while also complaining about me questioning the suggestion that the site is very civilised). That this doesn’t seem possible somewhat influences how I choose to conduct myself on such blogs. If that ultimately achieves absurdity that certainly wasn’t the intention. It takes two, as people often say, but which some seem unwilling to recognise.

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  279. I fear that ATTP is a bit on the disturbed side, and must be neglecting his paid work to do all the posting he does here and elsewhere. What can lead him to such a condition? My theory is that he craves to be seen as a clever sort of chap, but finds that hard to achieve. When he encountered the climate hoohah, he saw it as an opportunity to shine. But he is too dull, superficial, and rude for that ever to be a likely outcome. Although we have tried to help him, he might be better off looking for somewhere else to play his sorry game – maybe even just confining himself to his own blog would be best. For he really is a truly tiresome plonker.

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  280. Alan, et al. you keep talking about entitlement. Is that really what you mean, that you felt you were entitled to what you had? The word that I’d use is privilege. Academia does seem to be a privileged environment but do those in it have an entitlement – they have to earn their place, after all?

    John, there are plenty of “dull, superficial, and rude” people at CliScep, if you haven’t noticed. all that whining about moderation on a different blog – if that is not dull I don’t know what is; for rudeness just read Catweazle’s bilge or many others. As for superficiality, the blog is supposed to be about (loosely) climate science, but show me the posts that try to explain issues to readers, to detail how something actually works or happens, instead of just fatuous ‘comment’ on something the author doesn’t really understand. Where have you ever written anything substantive about statistics, what you supposedly bring to the party? When I’ve asked you, you don’t dare to express an opinion. Very superficial.

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  281. Len: too general. I may suggest to others in the core team that we insist that “negative reviews” of Cliscep are posted somewhere other than here. You yourself have tied us up in loads of diversionary nit-picks – that is, if we take your comments seriously at all. Your refusal to answer highly relevant questions on Two views … is typical. Nothing constructive, all time-wasting. Well, almost all. I have responded positively when you’ve made what I consider good points on a few occasions. You should as a matter of courtesy speak evil of Cliscep elsewhere. But your purpose is to disrupt. That’s part of what is generated when there is far too much money shoveled into the climate machine: troll production, to tie up principled opposition, is just one of the terrible consequences.

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  282. Len. I’ll accept “privilege” as an alternative to “entitlement”. But we are just playing with words.

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  283. Len, do you think it’s a privilege, an entitlement or a perk to be able to post here?

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  284. “I would hate to encounter a site that you regard as uncivilised.”

    Self-awareness really isn’t your strong suit is it, Rice?

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  285. Any web site that did not have BBD the excrement throwing chimp who has a deep manlove for Hansen commenting every 30 seconds, mainly to throw excrement, would be a good place to visit

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  286. Alan, I guess the nearest of your options is that it is a privilege. But sites like this are nothing without comments, so maybe CliScep is privileged to have me commenting 😉

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  287. Tom Fuller:

    Richard, I think we should welcome criticism here. Whining [or whingeing!], on the other hand, can go elsewhere.

    Couldn’t agree more Tom. And Len has made some useful criticisms, in my view, in between the other stuff. Alan and you have also criticised certain parts or expressions of scepticism. We need more, and more incisive criticism.

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  288. Len. I agree. You are a thorn beneath clisceps saddle that makes it run faster (but perhaps not always along the intended racetrack).

    Like

  289. Alan

    Fresh from disagreeing with you at Bishop Hill, I am pleased to agree with you here. 🙂

    Like

  290. Thomas, Ken’s position seems to be roughly deny first, verify later. What I took away from his denial statement is that running a blog is too hard for him to spend much time looking into my actual status since he doesn’t like my scientific contributions much anyway. He has said in the past that my publication record is not impressive. Of course, his own ignorance makes it nearly impossible for him to do an actual evaluation. Once again, the constraints of time I’m sure. But he has plenty of time to comment here of course, which does, however, provide some interesting reading. I am happy for Ken’s occasional appearances here.

    Like

  291. DY,
    My past comment about your publication record may have been a little unfair (I think I said “decidely average” rather than “not impressive”, but apologies anyway), but looking at someone’s publication record is almost the only way in which one can assess their academic credentials. Your publication record is not immediately consistent with your appeals to your own authority/brilliance. I will acknowledge that an impression publication record does not neccesarily imply academic brilliance and a less than impressive one does not neccesarily imply that someone is not academically brilliant.

    For clarity, my point about comments wasn’t specifically directed at you. It was a suggestion that anyone who thinks their comments are so insightful that the world will suffer if they aren’t posted is probably not someone worth taking all that seriously. I don’t think anyone’s comments would qualify (myself included, obviously), so anyone who thinks that their’s does, is probably kidding themself (and everyone else).

    Of course, his own ignorance makes it nearly impossible for him to do an actual evaluation.

    And you wonder why I’m not specifically encouraging you to try commenting again?

    Like

  292. Ken, As I’ve said many times, my record is not brilliant and I am not a brilliant scientist. Some of my collaborators are though. What you should pay attention to is that I’ve seen CFD from the inside and the outside and know that the literature is untrustworthy. Probably worse than in medicine. I’ve made literally tens of millions of separate code runs for different things using a wide variety of codes. Since you are largely an outsider, you really have no way of assessing this accurately. Most honest senior people in the field will acknowledge the deeply flawed literature in private. Younger researchers usually take a few decades to really discover this. With due respect, you seem like a “user” of CFD and not much of a developer of new methods. Am I right about that? It is also true I suspect that modeling planetary system formation is more a qualitative kind of thing where its virtually impossible to really compare to detailed data.

    BTW, your latest post has some comments about whether Navier-Stokes is “simple” physics. Of course its not, but I was unable to make that comment. There is that pesky little thing called turbulence modeling.

    I am actually pleased with the recent paper by a lot of modelers on model tuning. It’s a step in the right direction and kind of validates what a lot of us have been saying for a while. Sometimes, despite the consensus enforcement and the political “selling” of the models, people wake up.

    Like

  293. DY,

    What you should pay attention to is that I’ve seen CFD from the inside and the outside and know that the literature is untrustworthy.

    FWIW (and this is a serious comment) anyone who tells me that I should pay attention to them is someone worth ignoring. If you could tone down your appeals to your own authority I might take you more seriously. While you continue to promote it, I’m going to treat what you say with a suitably large pinch of salt.

    BTW, your latest post has some comments about whether Navier-Stokes is “simple” physics.

    No, my recent post has a comment from someone else who claimed that

    Navier-Stokes is not basic physics is it, there is a huge amount of pre-emptive parameter fitting.

    which is clearly nonsense. I presume that I don’t need to explain why (I might be wrong about this).

    As far as my own expertise goes, I don’t really wish to defend it or promote it. You very obviously do not know what it is, or what I do. That, however, appears to not stop you from proclaiming my ignorance about certain topics. That you can make such proclamations without much in the way of actual evidence is another reason for having little confidence in what you say. It doesn’t say much for your overall integrity.

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  294. Ken, Ken, and I thought you had turned over a new leaf of politeness and respect for others. Your latest comment shows the jackel does not change its spots. As is well documented by Paul Matthews earlier in this comment thread you have a terrible track record on the integrity and hypocrisy fronts.

    Your past comments about CFD have also shown a rather high level of ignorance of turbulence modeling. No-one is perfect, but you should really cease groundless criticisms of people you don’t like. I can send you a recent paper of ours on uncertainty in CFD if you want to learn more. It is designed to be read by relative outsiders such as yourself and you might actually learn something if that is really your goal.

    Like

  295. DY,

    I thought you had turned over a new leaf of politeness and respect for others.

    Whether I have, or haven’t, what’s pretty clear is that you haven’t. I genuinely do not get how someone who conducts themselves as you do, can expect others to treat you with politeness or respect. In all seriousness, why would you expect me to treat you with politeness and respect?

    No-one is perfect, but you should really cease groundless criticisms of people you don’t like.

    Pot, kettle, etc.

    I can send you a recent paper of ours on uncertainty in CFD if you want to learn more.

    I’m perfectly capable of accessing papers without people sending them to me. I will explain something to you that I’ve explained to you before. Despite what you continue to suggest, I don’t actually particularly disagree with you about what you say about turbulence, uncertainty, etc. What I have yet to see is you present an argument as to why this is relevant to something like climate modelling, or present some compelling evidence that those who do this type of modelling do not understand these issues (I suspect they aren’t as incompetent as you seem to think they are). Continuing to repeat things that I’ve already largely accepted, doesn’t seem all that worthwhile if you’re incapable of putting them into the broader context.

    Furthermore, I’ve yet to see you illustrate that you understand the basic physics associated with climate modelling. A fantastic understanding of the fine details is not necessarily all that useful if you don’t also have a good understanding of the basic physics of the system being modelled.

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  296. Ken Rice,

    The paper is unpublished so you are totally incapable of accessing it yourself unless you are a criminal hacker or an advanced alien or perhaps both.

    I’ve explained many many times why climate models are subject to all the issues with CFD and more. You have no counter to this of course. The only answer I’ve seen anywhere that is halfway credible is Nick Stokes’ argument that the atmospheric circulation is simply vastly easier than aeronautical CFD. And I explained to Nick why I disagreed. A really good reason is the highly variable but large levels of turbulence which is simply unmodeled outside the boundary layer. You might try reading that exchange as an example of how technical discussion should be done to enlighten and learn. Climate modelers are not incompetent. In private I’m sure they are just as honest about the issues with their work on a very very hard problem. The problem here is that to improve you must first publicly acknowledge all the issues and address the very high uncertainty.

    I love your concept of “understanding the basic physics” which is nothing other than an appeal to vague pseudo-explanations. That’s a ploy I’ve encountered so many times from people to deflect rigorous criticism, I’m a little surprised that you would employ such a well worn trite formulation. The physics of the climate system is the same as that in CFD with a lot of other very complex and questionable sub grid models for radiation physics, clouds, and other very complex and very hard to model processes. We’ve discussed this at length before too.

    It would help if you actually read some of my previous responses to your concerns.

    Like

  297. For those who want to dig into the technical details, here’s a good one from Cliff Mass about GCM’s in the US:

    http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2017/01/make-us-numerical-weather-prediction.html?spref=tw

    And here’s one from Nic Lewis in which some of the striking lack of skill from climate models is discussed in the later portion:

    Click to access briefing-note-on-climate-sensitivity-etc_nic-lewis_mar2016.pdf

    The real problem here is that consensus enforcement concerns cause a lot of people with little expertise to try to cover up these issues. That leads to a failure to acknowledge the problems and then try to fix them.

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  298. Thanks David for those two links. ATTP’s loss not to have you. Your earlier comment on the new paper:

    Sometimes, despite the consensus enforcement and the political “selling” of the models, people wake up.

    is the tantalising thing. It’s not that there’s no integrity at all within climate science, as sceptics have been wont to imply on occasions. But I also agree with Lindzen that “groupthink has so corrupted the field that funding should be sharply curtailed rather than redirected.”

    There’s a genuine problem here, which another contributor whose name rhymes with Ken was giving me a hard time about on another thread. How does one remove the mediocre and worse without damaging the good, even the belated good? Governments have never been good at that level of precision.

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  299. DY,

    I love your concept of “understanding the basic physics” which is nothing other than an appeal to vague pseudo-explanations.

    Hmm, no, it’s very simply an indication that you understand it. Calling it “pseudo-explanations” really doesn’t do you any favours. You still haven’t answered my question as to why I should possibly treat you with politeness and respect.

    Like

  300. ATTP

    Respect has to be earned (and is easily lost). Politeness should be one’s normal starting point.

    Like

  301. Ken, I don’t really care if you respect me or not. You don’t know me and you are not familiar with my work. The important stuff is the technical content and the science.

    You have admitted above that you agree with the main thrusts of my technical comments over the last years, despite your long history of endless nit picking, silly diversions, and denial. And that’s the main point here. Your tone, as pointed out above by Paul Matthews, is terrible. And you are a hypocrite about it too.

    I gave you two technical references that should be of great interest and answer your question about GCM’s. If you have a meaningful comment on them, that would be interesting, but sadly not in character for you. Do you have anything technical to say?

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  302. DY,

    I don’t really care if you respect me or not.

    Then maybe stop bringing it up.

    The important stuff is the technical content and the science.

    Why don’t you try sticking to it then?

    You don’t know me and you are not familiar with my work.

    Indeed, and – likewise – you don’t know me and are not familiar with my work. That, however, does not appear to stop you from commenting on both myself (as your recent comment has done again) and my work. Seriously, get a metaphorical mirror!

    You have admitted above that you agree with the main thrusts of my technical comments over the last years

    Not quite. I have agreed with the basics of your technical comments about CFD, and turbulence in particular. What I don’t agree with is what you seem to suggest this implies about climate modelling. Continuing to repeat your comments about the fine details of CFD without putting into a broader context is likely to add little.

    Like

  303. Ken Rice, So you have nothing to say about GCM’s and their lack of skill?

    Some of Nic Lewis’ salient points:

    1. Convection is poorly modeling in GCM’s yet its very important to climate. It is also a problem perhaps for the lapse rate theory.

    2. The very high sensitivity of GCM’s ECS to the pattern of SST increase, which GCM’s seem to get rather wrong.

    3. The high sensitivity of GCM results to changes to cloud parameters.

    Liked by 1 person

  304. 1. Try reading Steven Sherwood’s post here, in particular Figure 1, which indicates that

    Weaker upper-tropospheric warming and hence weaker water-vapour feedback actually implies, on average, slightly stronger overall positive feedback due to lapse rate and water vapour combined

    2. Indeed, the pattern of sea surface warming does indeed appear to influence the warming of the surface. This is currently an area of quite a lot of study. Also, as Thorsten Mauritsen points out here, with respect to the observed warming over recent decades

    I would like to point out that the main new finding in Chen Zhou’s great paper is that cloudiness in the East Pacific have increased over the period 1980-2005 (overlapping period of available observations and CMIP5 model runs) in a way that is consistent between observations and models, and that this is something that can be understood simply from the pattern of warming.

    Also, the pattern effect is something that could well be influencing Nic Lewis’s energy balance estimates.

    3. Yes, clouds are indeed one of the major uncertainties, as has been discussed extensively over the past couple of years. Again, an area that is being studied in quite some detail at the moment. Also, there are indications that the net cloud feedback is small and positive (although it could be negative).

    Why don’t you try listening to Andrew Dessler’s talk.

    So, why don’t you tell me what they key point is. We all, hopefully, know that “all models are wrong, but some are useful”, so what do you conclude from the inability of climate models to be perfect?

    Like

  305. “Ken Rice, So you have nothing to say about GCM’s and their lack of skill?”

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”

    Upton Sinclair

    Liked by 1 person

  306. Here is the key point stated by Nic Lewis. You could have found this yourself if you had actually read the link.

    Even more seriously, a 2016 study37 found that they could vary ECS over a wide range by changing a single parameter that controlled how “cumulus cloud condensate is converted into precipitation in a model’s convection parameterization, processes that are only crudely accounted
    for in GCMs”, without retuning other parameters. They concluded that:
    “Given the current level of uncertainty in representing convective precipitation microphysics, this study suggests that one can engineer climate sensitivity in a GCM by the approach used for parameterizing convective precipitation. … So far, we have not found a clear [observational] constraint that we feel would make one model choice more plausible than another. Therefore, holistic measures of the overall quality of the mean climate simulations do not appear to provide adequate guidance for choosing between these models.”
    This study, together with the other findings cited in the two preceding paragraphs, strongly suggests that neither the range of ECS values exhibited by AOGCMs nor their mean can be viewed as scientifically satisfactory evidence as to the value of ECS in the real climate system.

    I would agree with this assessment. Generally, given the immense complexity of the climate system and our lack of understanding of its key processes, such as convection, this should be the obvious conclusion.

    Liked by 2 people

  307. Ken Rice, I looked at your post on Dessler’s talk. It took about 5 minutes to realize how weak it is. Quoting from your post:

    “It’s quite interesting in that he’s trying to use short-term variability to estimate ECS. This has the advantage that the change in external forcing will be small, allowing it to be ignored. It does, however, require having some idea of how short-term estimates compare to longer-term estimates, which is obtained through comparing forced model runs, with unforced control runs.”

    So GCM’s are very bad at short term variability, but we can use them to extrapolate from that short term variability to long term changes. This sounds more like hand waving to me than science.

    Dessler is a committed climate activist of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  308. Here is the key point stated by Nic Lewis. You could have found this yourself if you had actually read the link.

    Indeed, and I had. I asked what you concluded from models not being perfect.

    Dessler is a committed climate activist of course.

    Seems you can’t avoid ad homs for more than one comment.

    Like

  309. Truthful statements based on Dessler’s public statements are not ad homs except in a weird post-truth world of hypocrisy.

    I would argue that our very poor modeling of convection is perhaps a critical weakness. Convection is of course a classical ill-posed problem so it is not surprising that our models are so poor given their extremely crude resolution.

    Liked by 1 person

  310. dpy6629 says: 22 Jan 17 at 7:36 pm

    “Truthful statements based on Dessler’s public statements are not ad homs except in a weird post-truth world of hypocrisy. I would argue that our very poor modeling of convection is perhaps a critical weakness. Convection is of course a classical ill-posed problem so it is not surprising that our models are so poor given their extremely crude resolution.”

    The ‘modelers’ cannot do ‘convection’ at all! They know not even the mass of the Earth’s atmosphere thus cannot (have no ability) to even consider ‘air mass momentum’, instead, the modelers fake that the atmosphere moves in response to ‘temperature or pressure’ differences! The models have no resemblance to this Earth or its atmosphere.

    Like

  311. This exchange with Ken Rice illustrates why he is such a frustrating person. He basically said he agreed with me about turbulence and he offered nothing to contradict Nic Lewis’ conclusions about GCM’s. Dessler’s talk doesn’t address any of it. Rice linked to it to try I guess to try to make the case that ECS is high, but it has nothing to do with GCM’s skill or value. But he wrote many, many comments here that really said virtually nothing.

    In previous discussions of these topics, Rice was even more insulting, obtuse, and obfuscatory. He refused to acknowledge any point even though they were correct according to his own statements here. He insulted me and let his anonymous trolls make personal and derogatory comments. He said I was “behaving like a denier.” And he doesn’t “respect” me I guess because I actually am right on the substance. For those who are interested, the most clear example was on his own ATTP blog where I made a concerted effort to educate. My condolences to all concerned. Concensus enforcement is such a demanding profession!

    He has also implicitly acknowledged in a blog post that Judith and I are right about the replication crisis. But he says it “doesn’t affect the basics.” Just another artful dodge. He of course goes through all the silly defenses. A favorite one of mine is “you just think modelers are incompetent” which is patently false and a smear. Another one is “you need to show me you understand the basic physics” as if that has any meaning. It’s a deflection tactic I’ve heard a thousand times from people when rigorous criticisms of their work are offered.

    Liked by 1 person

  312. dpy6629 says: 23 Jan 17 at 5:04 am

    “This exchange with Ken Rice illustrates why he is such a frustrating person.”
    Indeed dpy! Ken Rice, like many here, wish to have some political discussion of nonsense.
    The MSM is full of that. When Brad Keyes sent me to this Climate skepticism site, I thought ‘a way of engaging’ others to some understanding of the political Bull Shit now known as Climatology! I still feel that some remnant of ‘Science’ can be recovered from this colossal mess! The good guys in the late 1800s tried so very hard!

    Liked by 1 person

  313. Mark Hodgson says: 22 Jan 17 at 9:08 am

    “ATTP Respect has to be earned (and is easily lost). Politeness should be one’s normal starting point.”

    …and Then There’s Physics says: 22 Jan 17 at 9:10 am

    “Mark, Agree completely.”

    So Ken Rice, why do you refuse to express ‘politeness’ to anyone; or even civility to those that disagree?

    Liked by 1 person

  314. DY,
    If I am such a frustrating person with whom to have a discussion, why not simply ignore me? I would genuinely be more than happy if you did so. I apologise for any past occasions when I might have said something that you found insulting, but I think the vast number of insulting things you’ve since said about me, far outweigh anything I may have said about you. You would be doing me a great favour if you were to simply ignore me. I will happily ignore you (unlike you, I don’t go around the internet complaining about you on blogs) and will endeavour to not respond when you find yourself incapable of not writing a comment in which you mention me and find something derogatory to say.

    Like

  315. ..and Then There’s Physics says: 23 Jan 17 at 7:48 am

    DY, If I am such a frustrating person with whom to have a discussion, why not simply ignore me? I would genuinely be more than happy if you did so. I apologise for any past occasions when I might have said something that you found insulting, but I think the vast number of insulting things you’ve since said about me, far outweigh anything I may have said about you. You would be doing me a great favour if you were to simply ignore me. I will happily ignore you (unlike you, I don’t go around the internet complaining about you on blogs) and will endeavour to not respond when you find yourself incapable of not writing a comment in which you mention me and find something derogatory to say.

    So Ken Rice, why do you refuse to express ‘politeness’ to anyone; or even civility to those that disagree?

    Liked by 1 person

  316. From Ken Rice ( ATTP) You would be doing me a great favour if you were to simply ignore me. …
    Why oh why would any creature on this Earth wish to do even miniscule favor to Ken Rice? Even bacteria are not that stupid!

    Liked by 1 person

  317. Paul, it seems as if they are protesting about many things, including fears for their jobs, fears of Trump’s opinions on science and objection to sexism etc. If “oppression” is a theme, it is not a major one. McIntyre and you barking up the wrong tree as usual.

    Richard, nice that you now recognize cutting 90% of climate funding to be baloney. I guess you have to, since you are unable to justify your support for such a number without your editor’s scissors. As for the costs of carbon on the other thread, companies would be stupid to assume that it doesn’t exist, just because Trump/Putin don’t like it. Companies that make long term investments on the assumption that it has gone away would be dumber than stupid.

    Like

  318. “This exchange with Ken Rice illustrates why he is such a frustrating person.”

    See my posts to Alan about ‘Clown Dancing’.

    Rice is the epitome of the ‘Clown Dancer’ genre and a pastmaster at it.

    You will never win a debate with a ‘Clown Dancer’, under their rules it is impossible so it is a waste of your time trying.

    In case you missed it, here’s another exposition.

    http://libertygibbert.wordpress.com/2010/08/09/dobson-dykes-and-diverse-disputes/

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  319. Richard, nice that you now recognize cutting 90% of climate funding to be baloney.

    That no doubt would have been nice.

    The harsh reality is that a 80-90% cut seems reasonable to me.

    If you wish to debate it, how about you outline how much the US government currently spends on climate research, breaking it down by category, so we can have a go at it?

    Like

  320. From the marchers at Washington, another mind-numbingly stupid slogan: “Science does not discriminate”. Science itself DOES discriminate in the sense:

    “To make a clear distinction; distinguish: discriminate among the options available.
    To make sensible decisions; judge wisely.”

    In that sense discrimination is the very essence of the scientific method.

    But of course they mean discriminate as in show prejudice against women and minorities, asserting that ‘science’, i.e. scientific institutions, do not discriminate against women and ethnic minorities, LGBT etc. Well, actually, they might on occasions, but it’s far more likely nowadays that they will ‘positively’ discriminate in favour of such people, regardless of academic merit or aptitude for science, just so they can show how ‘diverse’ they are. The upshot is that white males do end up being discriminated against. So ‘science’ does discriminate – it’s just that the losers are ‘privileged’ (or even ‘entitled’) anyway, so they don’t count as victims.

    These middle class left wing slogan bearers with a ’cause’ to promote are generally thick as two short planks and will stand behind any banner with a message on which appears to signal their virtue or identify them as part of a ‘movement’, however dumb or fake it eventually turns out to be. Then when they’re done with their virtue-signaling fest and their protest against what is ‘nasty’ (in the sense that it does not resonate with their liberal views) they’ll dump their virtue placards by the roadside for working class white and black men to come pick up.

    Liked by 1 person

  321. Richard, no go. I’ve been asking you to identify where you 80-90% cuts are to be made, which satellite systems, ARGO bouy systems etc to scrap, but you’d rather snip my comments than answering. You are the one proposing those huge cuts (or are you just parroting Lindzen) so say where the number comes from and what should be cut.

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  322. Mr. Martinez, I think your question is legitimate–I wonder if perhaps your phrasing might be a bit off. I would like to know the answer to that question.

    If Dick Lindzen meant cutting satellites and buoys, I would disagree with him (at my peril). If he wants to cut 90% of impact studies I would think he’s actually being charitable.

    So… 90% of what is a proper preliminary question.

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  323. I don’t understand the “no go”. I’m not defending Lindzen to the death here. He said “probably” in his original which would give the great man wiggle room were he to join the Cliscep discussion. What I’m proposing is that we start a new thread on this and, as Tom implies, you help us to identify current levels of spending in different areas. I assume you’re very willing to do that. If it turns out 99% of all climate funding goes into satellites and buoys then I think you’ll be onto a winner. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  324. By all means write a new post, Richard; identify away. It would be very interesting to have some numbers, but have no information on spending to add. The field of quoting scarily large amounts of spending on climate science is a sceptic specialty, so other contributors should all have good information for you on that already.

    Like

  325. Ken Rice, Of course, the important points are the technical points. It is helpful when you acknowledge that someone else is right, even if you can’t bring yourself to say you respect them.

    It is apparent to me that you have learned and are trying to change your behavior. Initially, you were mean, nasty, and attacked people in a very childish way. Lately, you are more polite, but still tend to go on at length without much technical content. But I sometimes do that too.

    I would actually be interested if you had anything else to say about GCM’s and their skill or any references. Arguments that ECS is higher than Nic Lewis’ work shows is not what interests me. I noticed that Isaac Held had a post on model tuning that was interesting.

    You see that’s the real point here. If you can’t constrain your sub grid models with real data, then when you tune them, you are in some sense tuning ECS or perhaps the GMAT over the historical period. So, its then pretty meaningless to point to GMAT agreement as an indication of model skill. The question is if other things not used in the tuning are skillful.

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  326. DPY, you seem determined to discuss comment behaviour and climate models with ATTP, yet he is unlikely to change what he says because of your dislike for it and he, like you, is not a climate modeler. Why not post your questions/concerns at Isaac Held’s blog if you really want some answers. That would seem a more fruitful course.

    Like

  327. man in a barrel says: 25 Jan 17 at 12:04 am

    “For what it is worth, Len is Raff.”

    Thank you! This explains the scramble to remain at gov’t feeding trough!

    “Ye clown dance continues. I bet it is not so interesting on the Rice site”

    Indeed! Cliscep once was a science blog about Climate Clowns, Now it has much turned into social studies, and virtue signaling! Only dpy6629 has comments that reflect any technical skills.

    Like

  328. Ken and Len, What’s the technical content of your comments? I am interested in technical content. If Ken is claiming he is a born again adult, then that’s the way to proceed.

    Like

  329. thomaswfuller2 says: 23 Jan 17 at 10:31 pm

    “So… 90% of what is a proper preliminary question.”

    Cut 100% funding to ‘climate modeling’ at NASA Goddard, NOAA, and NCAR\UCAR! These folk have clearly demonstrated for 30-40 years that they have ‘no clue at all’. Spend 20% of that savings to improve CFD at JPL\Caltech. Get the computer guys at the Air Force academy to instruct them on how to create a verifiable computer program. Every change to that, must be righteously regression tested, as those pernicious bug-lets refuse to die!

    Like

  330. Len Martinez:

    By all means write a new post, Richard

    I have been given permission. What a relief that is.

    It would be very interesting to have some numbers, but have no information on spending to add. The field of quoting scarily large amounts of spending on climate science is a sceptic specialty, so other contributors should all have good information for you on that already.

    There seems to be a logical problem here. You “have no information on spending” but you know that “quoting scarily large amounts of spending on climate science is a sceptic specialty”. How could you know that?

    Let’s say that a sceptic says that overall spending on climate research by the US government is $3 billion per year. If you know that this is a 50% exaggeration then you obviously “have information” that the real figure is no more than $2 billion. This is exactly the kind of statement we are looking for.

    Thanks for making clear that you are able to contribute. Are you perhaps not willing?

    Like

  331. Will Janoschka:

    Cliscep once was a science blog about Climate Clowns, Now it has much turned into social studies, and virtue signaling!

    At exactly what juncture was Cliscep a “science blog about Climate”? If you look at the posts in every month since it began it’s always been much broader than that. You may not like that but you cannot claim that it was ever narrowly a “science blog”.

    Since Cliscep began Brexit and Trump happened. We made the decision not to be so narrow as to refuse to cover both. But I’d be grateful if you could point back to a month near the beginning which makes any sense of your claim that this “once was a science blog about Climate Clowns”.

    Like

  332. Richard Drake says: 26 Jan 17 at 11:33 am

    (Will Janoschka: “Cliscep once was a science blog about Climate Clowns, Now it has much turned into social studies, and virtue signaling!”)
    “At exactly what juncture was Cliscep a “science blog about Climate”?”

    See the ‘about’ page!! I don’t see your name!!!

    Like

  333. Richard Drake says: 28 Jan 17 at 8:26 pm

    “What are you arguing from that?”

    Have you read it? Says nothing of your rabid political rants!

    Like

  334. From 2014’s GAO web offering: Federal funding for climate change research, technology, international assistance, and adaptation has increased from $2.4 billion in 1993 to $11.6 billion in 2014, with an additional $26.1 billion for climate change programs and activities provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009. As shown in figure 1, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has reported federal climate change funding in three main categories since 1993:

    http://www.gao.gov/key_issues/climate_change_funding_management/issue_summary

    So, it seems like $35 billion two years ago. That’s a healthy chunk of change.

    Like

  335. Thanks Tom. Useful change indeed. I’m going to be at the House of Commons on Monday hearing Myron Ebell talk on “President Trump’s Approach to Environmental Policy,” courtesy of the GWPF. I’m sure we’ll come back to it.

    Like

  336. I’ll ask Ebell for clarity. I mean that rather seriously. Over the next four years it should become crystal clear what is being spent where, for how long. The term Climate Audit even comes to mind.

    Like

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