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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. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. “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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. 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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  27. 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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  28. Len. I’ll accept “privilege” as an alternative to “entitlement”. But we are just playing with words.

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

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  30. “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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  31. 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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  32. 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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  33. 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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  34. Len. I agree. You are a thorn beneath clisceps saddle that makes it run faster (but perhaps not always along the intended racetrack).

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  35. Alan

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

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  36. 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.

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  37. 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?

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  38. 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.

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  39. 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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  40. 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.

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  41. 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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  42. 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.

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  43. 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:

    https://niclewis.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/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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  44. 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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  45. 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.

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  46. ATTP

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

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  47. 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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  48. 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.

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  49. 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.

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  50. 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?

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  51. “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

  52. 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

  53. 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

  54. 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

  55. 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

  56. 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

  57. 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

  58. 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

  59. 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

  60. 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

  61. ..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

  62. 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

  63. 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

  64. “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/

    Like

  65. 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

  66. 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

  67. 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.

    Like

  68. 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.

    Like

  69. 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

  70. 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

  71. 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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  72. 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

  73. 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

  74. 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

  75. 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

  76. 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

  77. 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

  78. 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

  79. 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

  80. 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

  81. 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

  82. 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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