‘Actual’ Climate Scientist Michael Tobis Thinks I Don’t Exist

 

This is a reposting of a post I have put on my own blog: https://climatecontrarian.wordpress.com/2017/08/16/actual-climate-scientist-michael-tobis-thinks-i-dont-exist/

I thought about writing a post on this and then thought, meh, boring. So what if a paranoid scientist thinks I’m a sock puppet for fossil fuel interests? No big deal really. But he’s pushed his paranoid conspiracist ideation  so far, I thought I had better write something, not least because this person is supposedly a representative of the ‘climate science community’. As far as I know, nobody in that community has publicly criticised his bizarre, obsessive behaviour.

It started with an innocent tweet:

This sparked off a 2 day twitter stream (currently ongoing) so bizarre, I can scarcely believe it. Tobis apparently took great offence at my quote tweet.

For my sins, I suddenly found my identity being questioned:

Quite a few people got involved with the argument, mainly to suggest that Tobis was going over the top. He fired off a post on his own blog on the incident here. I quote one of his comments from that post:

“Let me be very plain. The profile picture is me.”

This carries precisely no information, as it is exactly what a sock puppet would say.

“So I will leave you with your somewhat obsessive ‘concerns’ and I will promise not to quote tweet you again.”

It’s not an obsession. It’s a hunch developed when I first encountered you yesterday. You have not convinced me that my hunch is incorrect, though it would be easy to do so. I would love to hear from someone who has met you to assuage my concerns.

Again, in the event that what you say is true, I sincerely apologise.

If it ain’t, though, if you’re not this one honest (if rather misguided) person but a dishonest person trying to be half a dozen or so trying to stoke the artificial anger at climate science, for whatever reason, I don’t have anything to apologise for.

I don’t propose to follow Jaime Jessop around trying to claim that the identity is a sock puppet. So if you’re real, please rest easy; I don’t intend to harass you, and I am genuinely sorry for the misunderstanding.

But *if* you’re not Jaime Jessop, I make no such promise. I will pay no more mind to Jaime Jessop, specifically, in future than I have in the past, as long as Jaime Jessop also leaves me alone. However, I’m now interested to find similar accounts with other identities attached, identities which the actual you (per hypothesis) might be using to encourage an environment which unfairly distrusts climate scientists.

You could save me the trouble if you like, just by talking to me for even a minute. But apparently you don’t want to do that. Yet you’ve already spent much more than a minute at this. I find this interesting.

To me, that is a downright weird comment for anybody to come out with, let alone a supposedly sober, rational scientist. Shub agreed:

Here’s a selection of Tobis’ other crazy comments on Twitter:

Note how they get increasingly suspicious and conspiratorial, like he’s feeding on his own feverish imaginings. Apparently, he’s got previous form. He accused at least one other person, Brandon Shollenberger of being a sock puppet too:

But he doesn’t seem to have obsessively followed up his accusations in anything like the manner which he has done with me.

I’m rather torn between being angry, bemused, unamused and highly amused that anybody would have the audacity to doubt my existence and question my honesty in such a blatant and passively aggressive way. I don’t intend to put him out of his misery any time soon by publicy acceding to his demands, but I will say that my existence is not privately in question, whereas Tobis’ state of mind does seem to be.

197 thoughts on “‘Actual’ Climate Scientist Michael Tobis Thinks I Don’t Exist

  1. Michael may benefit from professional help with his paranoia. But he’d be better off seeing a psychiatrist—who could prescribe lithium, Haloperidol or Conspiracin—than a psychologist, who could prescribe further paranoia:

    “As far as your blog is concerned, bear in mind that it is yours and that you can shut down any comment and run any moderation policy that you want. That still doesn’t make it easier to receive those hateful utterances in the first place, but at least it gives you some sense of control to shut them down. Bear in mind that a proportion of those comments is orchestrated and for all we know there are only a handful of people with multiple electronic “personas” each, who are paid to create disproportionate noise.

    Speaking of Stephan Lewandowsky, everyone’s favorite punitive psychologist has at last provided further hints as to the identity of his shadowy persecutors. In his latest complaint to Bristol police, he states that he believes the people following him may be “conspiracy theorists.”

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  2. I’m a bit of an expert in sock puppetry, ever since Monbiot accused me (or my alter ego) of sock puppetry when I pointed out that the study he was quoting which predicted 6 or 8 °C heating by the end of the century had been financed by Exxon Shell and Totale. Soon after I was banned from commenting at the Guardian, and my good friends who continued to comment, Sister Dingo, followed by Sister Zoot, made the interesting discovery that having a female persona helped when commenting, in that they were not subject to the same vile insults from politically correct Guardian readers. Similarly, my friend Ming Fangjian, who has started commenting at the Conversation since my banning, and who has not revealed his or her sex, finds that the comments are by and large less unpleasant than those addressed to an elderly white male. So far Doctor Ming has not received any offers of marriage but she (or he) has not lost hope.

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  3. BRAD KEYES
    Not only does Professor Lewandowsky believe that conspiracy theorists are following him (we are, even if no-one else is) but in a soon to be published contribution to the Oxford Research Encyclopaedia on Climate Science
    http://climatescience.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228620.001.0001/acrefore-9780190228620-e-328
    he reveals the extent to which we are conspiring to expose the conspiracy which he is propagating:

    Furthermore, some climate skeptics reject studies that show their skepticism as partially a product of conspiratorial thinking—they believe such studies are themselves part of the conspiracy.

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  4. Michael Tobis has always struck me as being the epitome of a supercilious climateer who is far too impressed with himself for anyone’s good – least of all his own.

    I first formed this impression of him some months after Climategate 1.0 when he was in chock-a-block horror over the use of that very word at Judith Curry’s (then) new blog:

    Regarding nomenclature, I find the avoidance of oppositional labels a commendable goal. I’d like to propose that the word “climategate” be among the words to avoid. I believe have seen you use the word at Keith Kloor’s site. (My apologies if I misremember this.) As a defender of what I take to be the consensus mainstream, I find it an emotionally hostile word filled with innuendo and practically devoid of meaning.
    […]
    I strongly urge you, therefore, to eschew the contentious and obfuscatory word “climategate” in discourse here.

    Some months later, he was pompously peddling the output of Kevin Trenberth’s false memory syndrome in a rather disgusting and very thinly disguised attempt to smear Chris Landsea.

    I suppose it’s within the realm of possibility that Tobis might have been aided and abetted in his current delusions of rectitude by Barry’s unfortunate repeatedly and mistakenly referring to you as “Jesse”. But for some reason I doubt it would have made much difference.

    So, I guess the kindest thing one can say about Tobis is that – like so many dedicated climateers – he’s just a verrrrrry slow learner.

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  5. The absence of a date of posting and an author had me confused (I had just awoken after all) and the more I read, the more I was reminded of previous efforts of Brad. So Jaime prove that you wrote this post, and answer this question – are we not all sock puppets for the ideas we espouse? After my morning coffee I shall go on a mtobis hunt, searching the dark recesses of Bing.

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  6. At Deltoid I once amused myself by offering a bounty to the first person who could predict my gmail address—which, I explained, was “identical to my real name, plus the at sign, plus gmail dot com”—and send me an email. Unsurprisingly, the first and last claim on the prize came from the lone skeptic, chameleon. She was the only commenter with sufficient insight into the denialist mind to guess the relationship between my screen name and my meatspace name, which is one of identity. The entire believalist horde was sure there was a trick involved.

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  7. Tobis is just showing that he is a bit (well a whole lot) crazy.
    Now what could drive someone crazy better than obsessively claiming that there is a climate crisis underway?
    Except claiming that those who disagree about the crisis are evil paid conspirators….

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  8. Sympathies Jaime.

    Right from the start I had to laugh at Dr Lew’s conspiracy ideation bluster when it was all too obvious that the warmist side was riddled with it. Their fondness for believing that we’re all funded by fossil fuels is down to their own lack of progress. It can’t be their own failings or the public’s natural reluctance to swallow what they’re selling. No, it must be dark, highly funded forces ranged against them.

    It’s never occurred to them that big companies have far swifter routes to government ears than to field internet grumblers. The most obvious being to meet MPs on or off the book to discuss things one to one. The other is to just put the price of products up and blame the green taxes. See British Gas. If they really wanted to get the message across they should have a day of action. Just agree amongst themselves to turn off the fossil fuel tap. In one day they could remind people how useful those hydrocarbons are. But they won’t because AGW hysteria just isn’t that much of a threat to them.

    Tobis has been in the warmist scene long enough that he should recognise ‘voices’. We are quite different. Though Tobis is acting mad enough to be one of Brad’s creations. Can it be true? Are all the loopiest warmists Brad in disguise? Sadly not. I wouldn’t fall for his disguises so easily if warmists weren’t so weird.

    I chose right at the beginning to don a disguise, purely for security reasons and the ‘real’ me has almost no internet contribution at all. I’ve no FB, Twitter or blog. I keep my head down. Having been Tiny for over 10 years, the real me would be the sock puppet and have no ‘credentials’ as a long serving sceptic.

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  9. Ahhh!!

    sorry Jaime.. I had no idea I was doing that.. I seem to have completed contracted your surname and forename together in my mind.

    Please take into account I’m currently on holiday in Jersey, tweeting intermittanly and consuming rather more wine than normal.!

    (Anybody who has ‘suspicions’ that I was doing it to mess with Michael’s mind, is absolutely wrong, but of course I can’t prove that. :-). )

    We should all meet (cliscep party) in person one day. Anybody that doesn’t come will be excommunicated for being an ‘obvious’ Shill for big oil… Excommunicated for not sharing all that money they get..

    (Note,for casual observer lots of in jokes in the above, please don,’t take it seriously or as ‘evidence’ of anything.. that means you. Lew)

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  10. Oh will mtobis be pi$$ed. I couldn’t find him in Wikki. But then Jaime and myself were also no-shows.

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  11. I’ll correct myself “But they won’t because AGW hysteria just isn’t that much of a threat to them.” should swap ‘isn’t’ for ‘wasn’t’. By never defending themselves, the fossil fuel companies gave warmist ideas sole possession of the debate. Common sense wouls suggest that Western society wouldn’t saw off the branch it is sitting on but recent events give lie to that theory. Western politicians are now so remote from the mechanics of society that they are easily attracted to impossible schemes. They could decimate the fossil fuel industries by accident. It would be no consolation to the oil and gas producers that the rest of us are equally damaged.

    In a similar mistake – I think that industry and the Conservatives have surrendered the educational field to the left and the greens. They’ve stopped trying to defend themselves and the result has been a youth insulated from the other side of society. There’s nothing wrong with socialist ideas so long as they are tempered by practicalities and the awareness where the money for schemes comes from.

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  12. You’re forgiven Barry. I put it down to your famous propensity for typos at first. It seems fine wine in Jersey also played its part!

    Tiny, this could be massive. Is ‘Brad’ really Tobis’? My mind is boggling.

    Seriously, security is a concern, which is why a lot of people opt for anonymous aliases online. I can understand that. I haven’t and in fact a few friends warned me that I should. My philosophy is not to hide away behind a mask, but, at the same time, to remain as private as possible on line and not serve up my life history on a plate. But I’ve put enough information ‘out there’ for somebody to painstakingly piece together and work out where I live and who I am. Am I bothered? Not a lot, I have to say. Perhaps I should be.

    Alan, Tobis isn’t even on Wiki? That is highly suspicious.

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  13. Alan, Tobis runs a blog called Planet 2.0,or something equally inane. He used to have a site called “only in it for the gold”, where he once made a notorious comment about the need to get rid of x million people in order for the planet to survive, the exact number escapes me

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  14. With respect Jaime, Lew’s post, apart from references to climate change (that do not seem to be the focus of his writing), seem reasonable and the advice offered even more so. There seems to be no doubt that abusive sock puppetry is occurring (on all sides).

    MIAB. Thanks for the info. Having established his identity and read some of his output, I am no longer interested in his ravings. No doubt he will be devastated.

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  15. Barry Woods. But surely the latter part of this thread is based upon the activities of a genuine and acknowledged sock puppet.

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  16. Alan, don’t completely write Tobis off. He’s one of the few warmists to understand that cutting CO2 is very difficult. After that his ideas go haywire.

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  17. True sock puppetry is pretending to be multiple people in the same debate. Just having different identities and/or winding people up with fake personas are not strictly the same thing.

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  18. Alan, the focus of Lew’s writing in that article is quite obviously climate change (and its detractors). Jo Nova is spot on about Lew. As a professional psychologist, that letter to him should have immediately rung alarm bells. Instead, he fell for it, hook, line and sinker, a victim of his own confirmation bias that there exists a nefarious conspiracy of just a few climate deniers out there who are using sophisticated techniques to generate multiple online personae to argue against the climate consensus and the ‘good’ people who support it by abusing them verbally on line. This is exactly what Tobis accused me of doing. As we speak, he’s probably frantically searching blogs across the climate debate, looking for electronic identities which are sufficiently similar to my own as proof that my twitter “JJ” master account is fake!

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  19. Part of the kooky response of Tobis is probably attributable to the same rationalizations of all fundamentalist extremists:
    They can’t imagine that actual people actually disagree with them.
    Lew is another case entirety: he is Batshit crazy like a fox.

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  20. Jaime. This is interesting. We have rather different opinions. You believe Lew, despite having psychological training failed to recognize the communication as fake. Thus his response must be considered to have been given in good faith (which is what I initially recognized). You blame him for being a dupe, because what he responded to fell into his view that many climate science bloggers are constructs. But “Alene Composta” does not make this claim, and the advice offered to “her” is helpful and rational. Writing up a post telling how Lew was hoodwinked by a sock puppet is hardly earth shattering news (as the first commentator to JoNova’s post remarked).
    I offer a possible alternative that paints Lew in a more devious light. Lew, trained as a psychologist, immediately identified Alene Composta as a fake, but decided to use her for his own ends. He replied sympathetically as if “her” concerns were real (as many people do indeed suffer the same fate). This was done deliberately so that Lew could later play the innocent and legitimately use it to prove the incidence of sock puppetry in the sceptic camp (as it indeed does).
    I believe Lew is smarter than some of you give him credit for. As a psychologist, perhaps he’s playing with your minds.

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  21. Alan.. no. Lewandowsky is just a climate activist.. go and read his original opinion peace, that sceptics are just conspiracy theorists, like aids deniers.. May 2010. or the two little videos around the same time he made, dripping with innuendo and snear. A political activist that wants to smear his opponents

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  22. Barry Woods. No, what? Either Lew didn’t identify Alene Composta as a fake and you must identify his response as genuine advice given in good faith, and you can bash him for being gullible. Alternatively you accept my hypothesis and conclude that his response was also genuine, despite identifying Alene Composta as fake, and sent as part of a scheme to identify you lot as the nasties and demonstrate his view that the sceptic community does include sock puppets – which Alene Composta demonstrates so well.
    “Short and curlies” comes to mind.

    This does not deny the accuracy of your designation of Lew as a climate activist. In fact my thesis casts him as one damn devious son of an activist. My feeling is that he is perfectly happy for you to believe he was too dumb to see through Alene Composta’s rather pitiful ploy. It gives him more leverage next time.

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  23. Alan.. when Lew as publicly calling Jo Nova by name a 911 conspiracy theorist (based on a fake quote, by coauthor Marriott) and calling hyper emotional,irrational outside of mainstream society was he a) being clever or b) making a sexist, misogynistic politically motivated smear..

    Note, he did a little video quoting her husband as anti-Semitic. Based on coauthors Marriot’s smears…

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  24. Please note I am referring only to the exchange between Lew and Alene Composta and how he subsequently used this. Methinks you are overthinking this. I have no time for the man and today is the longest he has invaded my cranium. Let’s move on.

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  25. Alan, your interesting hypothesis is not beyond the realms of possibility. It is indeed quite remarkable that Lew could be that gullible. As one commenter describes Alene on ‘her’ blog:

    “If I ever doubted your blog being an ingenious spoof, I apologise.

    There is no way in the world that anyone, and I mean ANYONE with a straight face can write what you write in the way you write it.

    Tips me lid to you lady keep it up!

    Cheers
    Mark”

    I put it down to his undisputed confirmation bias re. the organised ‘assault upon science’. But maybe he was just being clever in spite of that and decided to play Alene along so he could further his theory of organised sock-puppetry being a feature of online ‘scepticism’. But this tactic didn’t exactly play well for him did it, because most commentators just thought that he (and Cook) had just been easily duped. His academic output and the way he conducts himself generally doesn’t provide much in the way of evidence for your theory that he is super intelligent and devious, but then, I guess, if he really was super intelligent and devious, he would make sure that this was the case! I think we may have here a case of Occam’s Razor. I’m tending to go for the simpler explanation.

    BTW, was Alene ever ‘outed’? Was he/she revealed to be a genuine bonafide sock puppet in the pay of Big Oil, or just a trickster, in it for the kicks? There are plenty of the latter about, who don’t have any agenda in particular, just a perverse desire to deceive for the sheer hell of it. Lew falling prey to such a person would hardly vindicate his views or organised climate sock-puppetry.

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  26. Jaime Lew didn’t lose anything. He knew you already had a bad opinion of him. Did his “gullibility” ever emerge from outside sceptic blogsites (other than by his own hand)? Wasn’t it a godsend to advance his thesis that sceptics are sock puppets.
    BTW do sock puppets have to be in the pay of others? Can’t they cause mischief for its own sake or for a like-minded group? I suppose I’m asking – is Brad a sockpuppet?

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  27. Alan, before accusing Lewandowsky of above-average verbal intelligence, bear in mind that this is a guy who can’t remember whether to describe us as conspiracist (which is what he means) or conspiratorial (which is literally a conspiracy theory). For Lewandowsky, English is a second language at best, having apparently been raised in a Gibberish-speaking household.

    (Science is more like a fifth or sixth language—or will be, if he ever learns to speak it.)

    The other problem with your hypothesis is Lewandowsky’s hypertrophic ego. I can’t imagine he’d willingly cast himself as the fall guy in an elaborate piece of theatre. He might set up Cook or some hapless grad student to be humiliated for The Cause, but not himself.

    Which is not to say he never publicly shoots himself in the foot. He does, and to make it worse, his foot is usually in his mouth when he pulls the trigger. But it’s invariably a matter of incompetence, not cunning.

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  28. Lew and Cook more than likely fell for Alene. People who struggle valiantly under the weight of disinformation onslaught and deceit (with their limited intellectual armamentarium) are definitely part of how they view the world to be. They are the kind of people Lewandowsky hopes to save. In other words, Lew could not have responded outright questioning Alene’s identity because there was a chance she was real.

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  29. “and to make it worse, his foot is usually in his mouth when he pulls the trigger. But it’s invariably a matter of incompetence, not cunning.”

    Love that image. Brad, you are at your funniest when you’re being you, although Alene and her tear soggy cat was inspired.

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  30. I bow to your accumulated wisdom (and prejudice?) but I note all is opinion, unprovable (unless Len submits to scopolamine).

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  31. Alan, what part of Dr Lew’s behaviour males you think he’s super intelligent? This a guy who accidentally left in a 32000 year old man and two kids in a study. This is a guy who thought warmist web sites were a suitable place to canvass sceptics. This is a guy who mistook Dr Betts as a conspiracy ideating sceptic.

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  32. Aha! Alene. I had an inkling but it seems I’m always the last to catch up with Brad’s antics.

    “. . . . this is a guy who can’t remember whether to describe us as conspiracist (which is what he means) or conspiratorial (which is literally a conspiracy theory)”

    It seems my English is as limited as Lew’s Brad. I make exactly the same mistake above. Oh God, I think I need a bottle of Whiskey and a revolver.

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  33. Tiny. Superintelligent no, Devious with low cunning surly never to be excluded? How come someone that many of you disparage gets where he has? You have to posit that those appointing are even more stupid than you take him to be.
    It is all to easy to dismiss an opponent as being stupid.

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  34. Ah, I see Richard. Yes, you meeting Shellenberger makes sense. It was Shollenberger who was accused by Tobis of being a sock puppet, but he misspelt his name.

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  35. Alan, obviously Lew is not stupid. He’s incompetent and he’s manipulative and he sings from the AGW consensus hymn book whilst he uses his academic reputation to smear genuine climate change sceptics. Those appointing him are not stupid either – they’re just as incompetent and/or as lacking in morals as he is.

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  36. Tobis posted this one for the ages:
    “mtobis @mtobis

    No, I’m talking about you. I suspect your bio is contrived for effect. I could well be wrong but if so it would be easy to convince me.
    3:22 PM – Aug 14, 2017 · Ottawa, Ontario ”

    When I think of the CV’s of a seemingly great umber of climate hype promoters, “contrived bios”,. and especially contrived data, contrived conspiracy accusations, and contrived crises, all come to mind.
    Tobis, like the blind hog hunting truffles, occasionally gets one right….

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  37. Alan,

    “Devious with low cunning surly never to be excluded?”

    He lacks the physical courage for true surliness. But his cunning (which is not low but rat, technically speaking) coexists with a grossly unwarranted amour propre that would shirley be incompatible with sacrificing the queen (himself, Steve, Stephe, Estebán, Stevan, Stefen) to a cause to which he could just as easily sacrifice pawns (like his deformed hench-son Cook or his rentboy Hanich).

    “How come someone that many of you disparage gets where he has?”

    Reframe it as, “how come many of you disparage someone that has gone where he’s gone?” and the answer suggests itself.

    How did he insinuate himself into the bottom-feeding, shit-eating ecological niche he occupies? By being a whore. Whores, to develop the metaphor somewhat, are not necessarily the best-looking women, just the sluttiest and greediest sixes who’ve given up on breaking into film.

    “You have to posit that those appointing are even more stupid than you take him to be.”

    Or they’re all idiots (or rather, mediocrities) prepared to use each other to make a buck.

    “It is all to easy to dismiss an opponent as being stupid.”

    And fun. Easy and fun.

    But there’s a sliding scale of stupidity and nobody’s suggesting he’s got the single-digit IQ of the useless idiots who stand up for his honor online (when they’re not bickering over YouTube videos).

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  38. Well done Jaime for calling them out all this time. But this kind of thing is not an isolated incident. Mark Maslin called me a fossil fuel shill on twitter! At least he never questioned my identity. One of my blogs is entirely dedicated to nuclear power (pro-nuke). I have no blogs dedicated to fossil fuel, nor have I written much on FF. The climate faithful have a hard-time getting a grip on reality. No wonder they love climate models, and making stuff up. It’s a character flaw they have. I’ve never been paid to write a blog, never worked for nor been paid by any company connected to fossil fuels.

    PS: One of Maslin’s books: “Global Warming – A very short Introduction” : https://www.amazon.com/Global-Warming-Short-Introduction-Introductions-ebook/dp/B003DKG5G2/

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  39. Mark4asp,

    forgive me if you already knew this, but Maslin is no fan of ours either. I wouldn’t like us either if I were an utter douchecanoe. And talk about projection! It simply never enters Maslin’s imagination, does it?, that anyone could blog for the love of science—he’s so monogamously enthralled to Mammon that everyone who populates his mental cinema must likewise be a meretricious liar.

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  40. Mark, Maslin recently voiced his opinion (shared with Al Gore) that we need to ‘fix’ democracy because fossil fuel interests have hacked the ones we have here in the West.

    http://theconversation.com/al-gore-qanda-and-video-interview-fixing-democracy-to-combat-climate-change-82426

    Here’s an extract of his views on fossil fuel shills and how the West should be bouncing itself back to the Dark Ages to provide ‘leadership’ to the Third World (including China and India) on climate change):

    “The problem we face is that western countries are not decarbonising faster enough – and the rest of the world expect leadership on climate change. The reason why some Develop countries are not decarbonising is as Al Gore said because our democracies have been hacked – hence big money from fossil fuel companies and media companies opposed to collective action on climate change are continually funding disinformation and funding election campaigns. As the science is very clear and the energy alternatives are cheaper, cleaner and secure.”

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  41. But what really gets my goat is that he’s a Professor (a Professor!) of Palaeo-Climatology at UCL, a University which I also attended (in those heady, far off days when I actually existed), yet can come out with some truly mind-numbingly dumb and non-scientific statement like this:

    “Sunspots – we have had a sunspot low – part of the 11 years cycle and during that time we have had the hot years on record. The real concern is that as sunspot activity increases this will just add to the increase temperatures on Earth

    wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunspot”

    I almost feel ashamed to have gained a humble Physics/Astronomy BSc from the same educational statement which, in the interval, has apparently become a vipers nest of climate activists using academia as cover for political advocacy. Geoff too I don’t imagine.

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  42. Brad. “Reframe it as, “how come many of you disparage someone that has gone where he’s gone?” and the answer suggests itself.”
    Sorry, but it doesn’t.

    Seemingly the one thing you all hate him for is his success. He is extremely well known and influential, attracts funding, students and associates and confers some prestige upon the places he works. This is unacceptable to you and so you confer stupidity, mediocrity and other negative traits on his employers and supporters. Problem is this raises the anti, not only must Lew be of low moral fibre, but now those that promote him, and then? – those that promote his supporters until you include all those that promote or support the consensus? Good luck with that

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  43. Jaime. Soon we will need to affix a date to our degrees to prove they’re better than an origami masters.

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  44. Alan, it is a general problem for conspiracy theories that they have to expand to encompass ever greater parts of the population. Climate scepticism’s view of its opponents is a good example.

    Jaime, the sunspot text seems unremarkable to except for the words “The real concern”. Unless I missed something there…

    As for democracy being ‘hacked’, it is surely not unreasonable to be concerned that a single elderly Australian amongst others has the power to influence UK/US elections in so clearly.

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  45. “Seemingly the one thing you all hate him for is his success.”

    AK, the world is full of people like Lew. Certain strata of society are made up of nothing else, and yes we despise them too. Just like all B Ark parasites, they’re very good at what they do – which is not a lot. They don’t move the human condition on one iota but general reams of paperwork about the whole waste of time.

    I’m sure that Lew sells himself as the guy who can solve public resistance to reducing CO2. No mention of what will happen if he doesn’t succeed because it never matters. It’s enough to just think it’s a good idea. Great, have a load of money. Nobody asks ‘why would a guy who has no empathy for sceptics and piss poor research skills be any good at that job’. Nobody even asks if the problem is solvable by subtle psychological methods. Nobody appears to have asked ‘Dr Lew, what have you achieved so far?’

    How many actual problems has psychology solved? For every social theorist who claimed the wrong thing upfront, there will be a dozen who claim to have called it right after the event. Most of the time it doesn’t seem to matter, Either way these people get paid, get promotions and new jobs. And the irony is that the public have stopped trusting experts for exactly that lackadaisical attitude to getting the right answer.

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  46. Tiny. “Nobody asks ‘why would a guy who has no empathy for sceptics and piss poor research skills be any good at that job’. Nobody even asks if the problem is solvable by subtle psychological methods.” Sweeping statements – you have supporting evidence or do you think it to be self evident?

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  47. Len, the answer was in response to somebody pointing out that a possible upcoming Grand Solar Minimum might affect our climate in completely the opposite way to that predicted by climate scientists. That has virtually nothing to with the 11 year sunspot cycle, or the fact that the current cycle is now drawing to a close.

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  48. AK I have evidence but since they’ve been aired countless times, I’m not going through them again. Do you think he understands you? Do you think he has the skills to engage sceptics? What do you think his job is other than bloviating on issues like climate scepticism. I was never sure if he was secretly very clever until he deemed something like this – ‘Dr Lew is so bad he has to be a oil funded plant to make warmists look bad’ as an example of conspiracy ideation, whereas it was just basic derision.

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  49. No, but you’re a sceptic. You can articulate your objections to climate science. Are you in denial? That’s the conclusion the Dr Lews of this world have come to. They do it because they don’t want to think of you as a real person. So Lew will advise the powers that be about how deniers think and what might done about you but he’ll miss the mark because he doesn’t know you exist. It’s like the bad old days of anthropology where researchers would stride through a native village and draw instant conclusions or worse, form opinions based on the stories of travellers. If a modern anthropologist would be laughed out of town for not properly examining their subjects, why should psychologists get away with desk studies and silly surveys?

    His lack of knowledge of AGW disputes preclude genuine understanding of his subjects. He wants our objections to be irrational because it’s an easy conclusion. His paper about conspiracy theories failed to paint us as nutters because even if it wasn’t a truly bad study, the numbers of people believing in conspiracies was lower than a random cross section of the public. The only reason Dr Lews of this world thrive is because the people assessing them are even more useless.

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  50. On the debate concerning whether Lewandowsky actually fell for the Arlene Composta scam, or was secretly playing along per Alan Kendall’s suggestion, to prove the existence of sock puppetry in the sceptic camp, I go for the former rather than the latter. To me, it is the simpler explanation that always explains the climateers behaviours rather than the more sophisticated. It is why I do not believe in most conspiracy theories, such as 9/11 (George W Bush), NASA faked the moon landings, or the CIA organized the JFK assassination. It is also why I do not believe the suggested conspiracy behind the temperature data sets. The simpler explanation is that the compilers have strong beliefs about the way the data should look, and never question the key assumption of the homogenisation methodology. So when they experience random data noise, they adjust out the data that does not conform to their beliefs (they find no reason for it so adjust it anyway)*, but keep in data that does.
    The reason for Michael Tobis not believing that Jaime Jessop was real, I suggest stems from an extreme form of conspiracist ideation (to use Lew’s term). That is conspiracy theorists will accept their own empty (or weak) hypotheses as inalienable truths (pointing to fellow believers as confirmation) whilst rejecting high-quality evidence (or more rounded and informed moral perspectives) that undermine their beliefs for spurious opinions. In climate often for vague reasons of errant ideological bias (e.g. Lew’s free market ideation) or vested interests (e.g. Exxon Knows). It is nothing new at all. In fact in most societies, in most of human history, highly prejudiced enforcement of existing community beliefs existed, even when it conflicted with real world facts, or basic logic, or basic principles of justice, has been the norm. The weirdoes have been those who point out the conflicts between established consensus and reality, logic and/or wider morality.

    *A point of enlightenment in my understanding of temperature data adjustments was when one highly articulate blogger accurately described the standard process of temperature homogenisation. He then added an opinion.

    What if there isn’t a full record, or you can’t find any reason why the data may have been influenced by something non-climatic? Do you just leave it as is? Well, no, that would be silly. We don’t know of any climatic influence that can suddenly cause typical temperatures at a given location to suddenly increase or decrease. It’s much more likely that something non-climatic has influenced the data and, hence, the sensible thing to do is to adjust it to make the data continuous.

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  51. It’s of interest that Lewandowsky has done perfectly reasonable work before launching into the climate domain and conspiracy theory. Not only that, but much of this work is most excellent for demonstrating various of the mechanisms that contributed to the emergence of calamitous climate culture. For instance, various bias mechanisms described in his papers per the three part series at WUWT starting at the link below. No possibility of being accused of skeptic bias from source material, when Lew and crew are the main citations 🙂
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/11/06/wrapped-in-lew-papers-the-psychology-of-climate-psychologization-part1/

    It is only when a potential truth collides head-on with his world-view that sense seems to go right out the window. And the possibility that the *certainty* of climate calamity is an emergent cultural phenomenon, not a scientific truth, appears to cause exactly such a collision. The irony being that a proper consideration of word-view bias, is one of his most promoted warnings.

    We also have to thank Lewandowsky (along with Oreskes) for pointing out that the whole of climate science can indeed be steered by social effects. Quite something coming from folks who defend climate change orthodoxy. He meant very seriously swayed by skeptic narratives, of course, though failed to show that this was so given the relative strengths of all the various narratives and networks and effects in play. Yet the possibility that in some circumstances science can be swayed, even derailed, via the kind of mechanisms he describes, is perfectly correct. Which very effectively admits that the original mainstream position, i.e. the highly promoted consensus on the certainty of calamity, could itself be a function of such social effects and not a finding of science. As indeed is the case.
    http://judithcurry.com/2015/07/03/a-key-admission-regarding-climate-memes/

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  52. ManicBeanCounter: “In fact in most societies, in most of human history, highly prejudiced enforcement of existing community beliefs existed, even when it conflicted with real world facts, or basic logic, or basic principles of justice, has been the norm.”

    Absolutely. And frequently still occurs (not to mention rising culture will drive changes to re-align the moral compass and justice too). Despite downsides, consensus in the face of uncertainty is a net evolutionary advantage, hence strongly embedded behaviors lean towards the effects you list. Much science occurs under the radar of social notice, hence is largely unaffected. But for those issues which for whatever reason get promoted to strong social attention, these effects are powerful compared to a relative fragility of science. A methodology that relies ultimately on evidence should always self-correct, eventually, but this could be decades or generations even, with much potential harm along the way. Even when writ small, such as with the 50 year consensus on saturated fats, now collapsed, these cultural effects can be very damaging. Potentially much more so for the CC case, where cultural effects are writ large.

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  53. MBC. Thank you for your considered evaluation of my “Lew” theory. I agree completely that in most instances the more simple interpretation is the correct one (the Razor usually wins) and a healthy suspicion of conspiracies is warranted. But it should be a suspicion not a denial because conspiracies do exist, and in some circumstances can be rather common*.

    * in reality of course we are considering the actions of one man, not a conspiracy per se.

    I would point out that the conspiracies you (and I) don’t believe are complex and would be expected to unravel because of their complexity and the involvement of many. In this case Lew receives a communication from someone who people easily recognize as masquerading others (a few even identify the culprit), also identifies it as fake and decides to use it. This is not complex. All it requires is that Lew identify the missive as fake (and we must consider that he is a trained psychologist), and that he is devious (with which all here concur). The only argument I have read here that has influenced me away from my own theory (actually more a speculation, not even a hypothesis) was provided by Brad who suggested that Lew was not a person to be in the front line if the action required any diminution of respect or status. If this is correct then the likelihood of my speculation being correct is vanishingly small.
    I have found responses to my speculation highly interesting and confirmed my gathering respect for some who regularly post here.
    I have another speculation that will test your powers of disbelief. Lew is Brad!!!!

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  54. @Alan, well, we all know that Lew is definitely not Brad!! BUT at one point in time (in the early days of his infamy) ….

    Included in a flurry of posts (which he began on Sept. 3 [2013]) leading up to the “reveal” of a link to his actual (but at that point still not published) paper, was the mind-boggling claim from Lewandowsky that he was owed an apology by (amongst others) Steve McIntyre, because McIntyre (and others) had failed to find a 2010 E-mail invitation from Lewandowsky – that had made absolutely no mention of “Lewandowsky”, and in fact had been sent by his “assistant”, a Charles Hanich.

    For more of Lew’s self-serving antics, see: The mystery of missing elements in Lewandowsky’s blog bluffery

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  55. Alan,

    Your comment at 10:21 a.m. seems confused.

    What I have against Lewandowsky is that he’s an evil piece of shit. What I use against him is his embarrassing failures of brain, which are hardly difficult to come by. Why I bother doing this is that he’s successful (albeit in a ‘what profiteth a man if he gaineth a million bucks but hocketh his box?’ kind of way) and influential.

    But stupid?

    Let’s be precise here. I accuse our enemies of having zero intellectual curiosity, zero inherent preference for truth over falsehood, zero educational depth or erudition (of the kind that would have prevented the countless “conspiratorial”/”conspiracist” conflations by an academic who specializes in the topic, even if the same mixup can be forgiven when it comes from Jaime), zero ethical pride, zero limit to their promiscuous ability to sleep with themselves no matter what they’ve done to the world in the course of any given day, and of giving zero shits about the integrity of science.

    If you’d like to see my proof on all counts in the case against Lewandowky—which (like Tiny) I don’t intend to rehash within the constraints of a comment thread—please see here and here for starters:

    https://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/lews-crews-loose-screws-by-brad-keyes/

    https://climatenuremberg.com/2014/05/15/lewandowsky-literacy-in-five-minutes-a-cn-faq/

    (The first link should also satisfy you of the truth of the charge that Lewandowsky neither knows, nor wants to know, the first thing about what makes “us” tick.)

    I accuse our enemies (as if it were necessary to do so) of being humorless. Literally. You can travel for lightyears across the immense, bloated believosphere, and you’ll only ever come across one [intentionally] amusing website: DenialDepot. (It doesn’t rise anywhere near the level of wit displayed by Hilary, Ian, Jaime or Geoff when they’re trying to be funny, but I mention it for the sake of completeness and chivalry.) At the risk of sounding unscientific, DenialDepot is the exception that proves the law of nature. This is important, I think. With apologies to Geoff’s literary tastes, read The Name of the Rose for a classic exposé of the way anti-life cults are necessarily, anaphylactically averse to humor.*

    Do I accuse them of stupidity?

    In some cases, obviously. Wretches like Sou from Bundanga, Al Gore from Big Tobacco, “Wow,” David Appell and other trivially-beatable disputants are unintelligent by anyone’s definition.

    Intelligence, to be sure, is a highly compartmentalised phenomenon. Some of them (like Rob Honeycutt) are good businessmen, if that’s what it takes to sell a company called Jizmbags for several million dollars, but couldn’t reason their way out of a scum-soaked paper bag. And even the best thinker among our enemies is no genius. But the most one can say about the majority of our enemies is that they’re stupid COMPARED TO ME.

    Oh, and also, without exception, they lack either:

    a) the insight to recognize how poorly they’re faring every time they debate us
    b) the integrity to admit it
    c) the balls to take their whipping like a man
    d) or the ovaries to take their whipping like a woman

    …preferring, without exception, to ban my IP address instead of perseverating in being shown the error of their ways.

    Our enemies, by the way, categorically DO NOT include the entire “consensus”-believing hemi-climatosphere, as I’ve often gone out of my way to point out. The vast majority of believers are victims, not perpetrators, of the scam.

    Conspiracies are a fact of life, not a theory. On the other hand, great institutional evil can be done without resorting to secret plots. Lest we forget our history:

    2010:

    Operation Nonspiracy launched

    The climate leadership begins a concerted drive to hose down conspiracist ideation by removing all appearance of secrecy about its ambitions to re-engineer the world.

    Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of the IPCC’s Working Group III, explains in precise German that, “we are in fact redistributing the world’s wealth by climate policy… one must free oneself of the delusion that climate policy is [about] environmental policy.” It’s a message repeated ad nauseam by public figures from Tim Flannery and Christina Figueres to Pentti Linkola, Gina McCarthy and Jacques Chirac. But it seems that no matter how openly the agenda is spelled out, how often or in how many different languages, skeptics will continue to portray it as some sort of clandestine plot.

    The operation of the climate “machine” is usually no more conspiratorial than a crew of ants following a trail of pheromones to a juicy carcass. Made of money.

    Money, needless to say, is not the same thing as success in my books.

    *This paragraph, which I feel silly for having omitted, was an addendum.

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  56. Brad. I would be interested to learn if you you’ve actually met and conversed in pleasant surroundings with any prominent climate scientists. I ask because of your consistent use of the word “enemy” in your last post. I am interested because, although I might have more reason to agree, I do not identify them as enemies, opponents yes but not enemies. Many I did not like as people (Jones) but someone like Keith Briffa was a delight to know and I had many long and pleasant conversations including those about climate science. Others I had the great pleasure of debating with in front of undergraduates. I don’t know Lew and if I ever met him (which is entirely possible) the event left no permanent impression. So I reserve judgement.
    It has been most interesting to see the huge resentment that Lew engenders here and on other sceptic sites. It’s almost as if you cannot accept that the man can have any redeeming features, and that his success is due to the incompetence of others. I should exclude Andywest2012 who drew our attention to Lew’s earlier published work.
    It is true that one can gain impressions of people we have never met (you and I for example have never met, but I would be most surprised if we didn’t mesh if we ever did). Impressions are based on writings and actions taken. But my experience is that those impressions are commonly tempered after a physical meeting.

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  57. Jaime, if you’re referring to my last comment, you’re very kind. Not too kind, but very kind. Since you bookmarked it, I’ve expanded it a bit for completeness.

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  58. Alan, ‘climate scientists’ and “our enemies” are distinct, slightly-overlapping sets.

    In fact, to the (debatable and variable) extent that a climate scientist is a scientist, he or she cannot be my enemy.

    The only synonym I apply consistently to “our enemies” is “believalists.” (Note: not “believers.”)

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  59. Alan, opponents keep us on our toes, and are therefore our friends.

    But you err if you imagine we don’t have enemies. If Naomi Oreskes had her way, science would be consensus-based. In other words, it would stop dead in its tracks. If Lewandowsky had his way, scientists would only share their working with non-opponents. In other words, science would stop dead in its tracks. Both of these people are enemies of science, and science is the beating heart of modern civilization. That makes them inimici humani generis. They’re your enemies. They’re my enemies. They’re their own children’s enemies, whether their own children know it or not. I couldn’t care less if someone met Lewandowsky socially and he was a more convivial, charismatic raconteur than Stalin himself. It’s their crimes against humanity, not their interpersonal interactions, that count.

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  60. That is now comprehensive Brad. Thanks.

    Alan. Any scientist is not (or should not be) an enemy of the truth (or at least the quest for, thereof, carried out constantly, without regard for career, finance, reputation or ideological persuasion). In cases where this does not apply, wittingly or unwittingly, scientists become enemies of the search for ‘truth’ (i.e. as best an approximation to it that our limited human intellects, combined with our technological expertise can muster). An enemy of the search for truth is an enemy of science, ergo an enemy of those who value science as an investigative tool.

    Having said that, much of the opposition don’t even pretend to be adherents of the scientific method anyway.

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  61. ANDYWEST2012 @ 18 Aug 17 at 11:57 pm
    I would like to unpick your comment

    …consensus in the face of uncertainty is a net evolutionary advantage, hence strongly embedded behaviors lean towards the effects you list.

    This I would agree with, in ordinary life. Indeed in academia to understand the current state of knowledge in a subject based on opinions, like in economics or climate science, it is only by learning about the current state that of knowledge and methodologies, and comparing with the evidence, that it is possible to get some perspective on where the gaps lie for the entrepreneurial types in academia. That means clarifying propositions, through logic and language, deriving ever more refined empirically-based statements that can be verified against real world evidence. Lew’s “contributions” have been on two basic fronts. First, to encourage discrimination against any disagreement of climate science – they suffer from conspiracist ideation. Second to make the consensus so broad as to be inclusive of all activist believers who happen to be academics, whilst making it so ill-defined that those who point out the fundamental flaws in climate mitigation policy, whether logical, empirical or moral, are excluded. The fact of anyone disagreeing becomes evidence that they are wrong.

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  62. Alan,

    upon re-reading, I think it was my parenthetical remark…

    Lindzen was surely right about the generally low calibre of person attracted to a climatological career.

    …that may have misled you into thinking I meant to identify climate scientists with our enemies, especially as I inserted the remark immediately after a reference to our enemies. I didn’t mean that.

    The logic connecting those sentences was much hazier than I may have implied, and their juxtaposition was unfortunate.

    The only point I was trying to make, which was a bit of a throwaway, is that if this intellectual civil war (the one we call the Climate Debate) were instead the Oncology Debate or the String Physics Debate, I suspect it would be rather more difficult for us to outsmart our enemies, or even our opponents.

    I’m thinking of using my white male administrator privileges to delete that parenthetical remark, because if it was capable of misleading you, it’s bound to mislead others. What do you reckon I should do?

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  63. Alan and Jaime,

    I’ve become what I hate the most! Like Josef Stalin and John Cook before me, I’ve tampered with the record—controlled the past to control the present to control the future—rewritten history—by getting rid of that misleading (and misleadingly-placed) parenthetical sentence from my comment. Sorry about the confusion I caused.

    Jaime, thanks again for your praise. Alan, thanks again for your criticism.

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  64. Brad. My vote is to leave it alone. As it stands its a mini threadlet weaving through this narrative.

    I never implied that we don’t have enemies – clearly we do and I had at UEA. But I try as best I can to understand the underlying motives of my opponents and to categorize them as enemies serves no one.
    When getting students to research and represent positions in the climate debate that they didn’t agree with, I always explained that understanding your opponent’s position was always beneficial to you in that it commonly gave you an unfair advantage. To be honest, I didn’t care if a student left being a more confirmed believer or a sceptic so long as they knew both sides of the argument. My job was to encourage them to think and evaluate. I wish I were able to say that I apply this throughout my life, but like everyone else I fail. But I might have made a good preacher!

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  65. Alan,

    “But I try as best I can to understand the underlying motives of my opponents and to categorize them as enemies serves no one.”

    Agreed. Hence my clarification above: there are opponents, and there are enemies. Our opponents are our friends, because they force us to think better. Our enemies (obviously) aren’t.

    Like you, I don’t really care if someone “believes” in [[[C]A]G]W] or not, as long as they respect the rules of science itself. Some of my best parents are believers. Obviously, I think an *understanding* of the rules of science leads more or less directly to a rejection of climate alarm, but what matters is that people not be taken in by the lies of Oreskes and Lewandowsky, not that they necessarily be inoculated against Doing Something About The Climate.

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  66. Brad. I never have been a climate scientist (a scholar if you were being kind) and am now fully retired having had my last research paper published last month and having ceased peer reviewing the papers of others. In addition to which I actually meant meeting with someone so that you can simultaneously evaluate their body language, eye movements and what they say. I have had the good fortune to meet very few people I would evaluate as enemies. But as Climategate 2 revealed, you never can tell.

    I don’t understand “Some of my best parents are believers.” Are you in fact a supercomputer programme – it might explain a lot?

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  67. AK, you have an inflated sense of our dislike for all climate scientists. I don’t know Briffa but I did feel sorry for him and assumed he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. We know that they’re all different. Just like not every member of the Catholic church or priest abused children. However, like the church, a great many have ignored things they thought were wrong or explained away stuff that was worrying or worse, buried scandals to protect the whole. They think the silence is for the greater good. Just the opposite is true. Eventually the scandals come out and not only are they tarred by the events, they’re decimated by the cover up.

    Part of my anger towards the warmist crowd (not just the scientists) is because they might be right about CAGW. These are a bunch of people who are doing a great impression of being crooks and incompetents. Most of them have no idea how monumental cutting CO2 is or they’d be calling for better standards. They’d police themselves. They’d kick Dr Lew’s work out as astonishingly bad (his work mind – he might be a really nice guy in person although I doubt it). They’d recognise that they can’t polarise the debate because action needs both sides.

    Action on CO2 seems to be a separate thing in their minds. They don’t understand that the greater the action the more compelling the evidence has to be. They think belief is a binary thing. It’s not. Belief is measured in the scale of actions not in box ticking. Dr Lew seems to grasp none of this so how can he be useful?

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  68. Tiny, if you track back you will find that I was reacting to Brad’s original conflating climate scientists with enemies. But this was followed by several here defending Brad and agreeing with him or against my post. There is a lot of anger out there, because of this I now skip a lot of what appears in BH and don’t usually read discussions on WUWT. I read you, MBC, Jaime and many others here, nodding my head in agreement and feeling envy that I don’t possess the literary skills that you all possess. I sometimes disagree. For example, you wrote “a great many [scientists] have ignored things they thought were wrong or explained away stuff that was worrying or worse, buried scandals to protect the whole. They think the silence is for the greater good”. I disagree, I think that many don’t even acknowledge the existence of what you and I might consider gaping holes in the climate edifice. Still more may have doubts but these are buried for self preservation. It’s not unusual for scepticism to emerge towards the end of an academic’s life when there is little to lose.

    I found your second paragraph particularly stimulating and will consider it further.

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  69. ManicBeanCounter:

    Once again I agree. In short academics, especially those dealing in social psychology, ought to be much more on guard against the biases that strongly suck us towards a *cultural* consensus whenever there is significant uncertainty, and especially when the topic in question also has social impact (or merely *perceived* social impact). But this is rarely the case, and in Lewandowsky’s particular case his actions that you note are exactly those we would expect from a highly committed ideological defense; consensus policing emerges naturally in cultures and is part of the glue that holds them together against potentially millions of individual opinions (so resulting in common action rather than endless dispute – very useful indeed for many circumstances in our evolutionary history, but highly disabling for scientific exploration / understanding).

    Adherents of cultures form a spectrum of belief, from merely ‘convenient’ belief’ at one end to highly committed at the other. While most of the social sciences appears to buy the narrative touting the certainty of climate calamity (why wouldn’t they as a default position? – the social sciences are sensitive to questioning what is perceived as ‘hard science’), and so social psychologists typically have huge confirmation bias in this direction that blinds them to the cultural mechanisms behind climate orthodoxy, most would presumably be reasonable in discussion of the topic. And for sure I can say this is the case with Dan Kahan for instance, who has generated some great data that helps our understanding of the issue despite he believes in the climate orthodoxy. But Lewandowsky appears to be at the Jesuit end of the spectrum, and at the strong end of Jesuit enforcement to boot (e.g. I paraphrase: more uncertainty only means more reason to act more urgently and with more resource, terms such as ‘the pause’ are heretical and not only have no basis in science but no basis for even raising as a scientific possibility, and hence represent contamination that should be resisted / erased).

    As we know from the wider world, extreme ideological commitment can result in extreme actions (though fortunately the CC domain is nowhere near religious terrorism). Yet as to why the commitment, that is an interesting question. But for one who knows a great deal about all the above mechanisms, though also happened from early on to incorporate a climate orthodox stance as a pillar of his worldview (maybe from a strong tradition of such orthodoxy at UWA?) there is a terrible fork in the road. Crash the world-view by admitting all those mechanisms are what is driving the calamitous climate orthodoxy, or go to further and further extremes of inverted logic in order to reinforce the consensus and ascribe all the social mechanisms to the other side (which fork I don’t suggest is consciously perceived).

    There has been much discussion over the years as to the extent in which strong belief in cultural narratives (which are basically all *group* level deceits), represents individual lying. This is highly complex and recursive, as it involves parts of one’s brain lying to other parts. The discussion is also convoluted and I guess the jury is still out, but once again may cover a spectrum, from yes to no. Everyone is subject to cultural influence and it is not productive to simply define everyone as a liar. But for unusually strong cultural belief this can result in actions that cross various (previously established) moral / social / justice lines (although this too is recursive because new culture moves the lines). Some say the strong case effectively becomes a personal lie to justify those actions, which seems intuitive in the case of obvious harm. But sometimes even the crossing of lines can later be seen as a cultural advancement which becomes celebrated. Newer research assisted by MRI scans, is raising the possibility that strong cultural belief works via the same parts of the brain via which hypnosis is achieved. One would not generally blame a person for doing what he / she has been hypnotized to do. Yet surely one should blame those strongly committed individuals who seem to be doing great harm to science and society due to their ideological commitment. The blame game is complicated 0:

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  70. TinyCO2: “However, like the church, a great many have ignored things they thought were wrong or explained away stuff that was worrying or worse, buried scandals to protect the whole. They think the silence is for the greater good. Just the opposite is true.”

    Indeed. So culpability should be communal, I guess.

    Alan K: “Still more may have doubts but these are buried for self preservation.”

    But isn’t this just part of the mechanism via which Tiny’s above works? I.e. such folks have over identified their self preservation as being aligned to the greater entity that is going wrong?

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  71. Andywest2012. My belief is that there is a complete spectrum of belief with regard to matters like climate change. There are those so secure in their belief and confirmatory evidence that they can assume the guise of religious fanatics – no discussion is necessary and the science is known, definitive and settled. Few good scientists are this certain but multitudes of supporters are and many politicians pretend to be or cannot be bothered to seek out nuances. Scientists commonly pay lip service to the need for evidence but most go along with the crowd, which at the moment is firmly in the alarmist camp. It does not pay to be outside the strong consensus, unless you have retired or are nearing retirement. Nature of course picks sides and those on the wrong side will orchestrate their survival. This happened after the frigid projections of climatologists in the 1970s, and will happen again in the future.
    Many scientists don’t know, and would wish to remain on their fences. Activists won’t let them and, to date, sceptics are on the “wrong” side.

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  72. Richard, I’ve had my disagreements with Brandon too. I think he also wrote a blog post on me a while back over some trivial disagreement we had which got blown out of all proportion. Twitter can be like that, as can life in general.

    I agree with you on Tobis.

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  73. Alan Kendall: A fair description. But what you describe is a subset of behaviors due to strong culture, in which some science that is perceived as very important to society (justifiably or not), becomes entangled. Cultural behaviors have developed throughout our evolutionary history, while the endeavor of science is still comparatively very new, and very vulnerable to such behaviors.

    Nevertheless, while it may not ‘pay’ to be outside the strong consensus, it is still responsible to resist inappropriate behavior and attempt to do the right thing wherever possible. Else-wise the final consequences for everyone get worse and worse (and some cultural movements backed by science for part of their authority, for instance via eugenics, have ended up very very bad indeed). I don’t think it is appropriate to just shrug one’s shoulders and excuse all by saying this is inevitable or unavoidable. And we don’t have to let things happen in exactly the same way in the future, in the climate domain or elsewhere; we can strive to improve.

    The way emergent cultures work and their characteristics have been studied at least since Darwin, with much progress in recent decades especially. Hence, ironically, if it were not for the fact that the social sciences believe climate orthodoxy to be a certain conclusion of hard science that they don’t think to question, they would immediately recognize all of these characteristics. They are blinded by that much touted certainty from climate science, and many waste endless years working backwards from a supposed hard truth, vainly trying to figure out what’s wrong with individual skeptics, or indeed why after decades half the public in most countries still doesn’t buy it (which really is because innate skepticism resists culture: https://judithcurry.com/2017/02/20/innate-skepticism/)

    As to nature picking the right side, we can to some extent pre-pick. Social analysis cannot make any statement at all about the physical climate. Nor can it even say whose theory about physical climate is right, or nearest right. But it can show in some circumstances what is definitely wrong, because it can readily identify a cultural consensus. And all cultural consensuses throughout history are wrong; they are emergent fictions geared to satisfy social purpose, and hence they can never reflect reality. The core consensus narrative for the CC domain, as transmitted in the most urgent and emotive manner by virtually the entire Western authority matrix from presidents and prime ministers on downwards (until the Trump administration), is the *certainty* of catastrophic CC (absent massive emissions reduction). After decades this narrative, itself ‘underwritten by science’ as leaders constantly remind us, has fed back to hugely bias the whole wider science and policy endeavors. But whether ACO2 turns out to be good, bad, or indifferent, we know that this narrative is wrong. It is a cultural fiction, a fairy story. And for scientists to support it, or even to continue to say nothing as the fiction is pushed so forcefully across the world, is wrong no matter their circumstances, and something that not only skeptics can justifiably lay at their door, but which future history will lay at their door too.

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  74. Andywest2012. It’s all very well writing that you “don’t think it is appropriate to just shrug one’s shoulders and excuse all by saying this is inevitable or unavoidable”, but surely you recognize that to do otherwise risks losing tenure, funding or support of your colleagues. It is similar to resisting what your employer wishes you to do if you work for industry. Since some of the policies advocated to avoid climatic damage are win-win situations, any opposition to the wider fantasies of climate alarm is not cut and dried lunacy and some advocated changes could be beneficial. This should not excuse supporting sloppy science, but I and some of my colleagues survived by not courting controversy (except in rigorously defined settings). Deliberately opposing the prevalent consensus would have been counterproductive. Better to work within than be cast aside and lose any influence. I think there’s a huge difference between what one should do and what one can do.

    I was interested in your statement that “all cultural consensuses throughout history are wrong; they are emergent fictions geared to satisfy social purpose, and hence they can never reflect reality.” Do you believe this applies to topics like the development of democratic systems including justice, habeus corpus and the like. Or perhaps you think your statement applies especially to these. I believe with a little thought I could make a half decent fist of representing either side of a debate on the subject.

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  75. Alan Kendall: “It is similar to resisting what your employer wishes you to do if you work for industry.”

    Which very many people do. And the consequences for the world in letting climate fantasies go rampant are potentially far worse than those which such people typically oppose with their employer. Nor does opposing fantasy mean abandoning support for policies that are likely useful anyhow.

    Systems of reason such as justice, while necessarily incorporating some cultural norms, are in fact systems for resisting cultural change and especially excess, and when working without bias work in opposition to consensus policing and the natural selection of emotive narratives (which produces a cultural consensus). The ultimate such system is science, as its evidence is still more rooted in reality than the law (and ideally should not rest upon cultural props). Yet both systems can still be culturally subverted, this is a very frequent occurrence in fact. While science is self-correcting, eventually, much damage can occur during an extended period of subversion.

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  76. Alan,

    When we’ve finally gotten serious about the global warming movement’s corruption of science, when the impacts are really hitting us and we’re in a full worldwide scramble to minimize the damage, we should have war crimes trials for these bastards—some sort of science Nuremberg (with non-apology apologies to David Roberts).

    When that court is in session, do you really think “I was just following orders” is going to move the judge, the jury or the executioner to clemency?

    It’s all very well to want to fight the system “from within,” as long as you actually remember to fight it, and don’t let your tenure or your mortgage or your pension become excuses for collaboration.

    To your great credit, that’s what you did—you undermined the regime by teaching your students to see both sides of the debate.

    And Paul Dennis, your colleague at the UEA, to his great credit, spoke out and called Hide The Decline what it was: “inexcusable.”

    But how many other Good Germans can say the same?

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  77. Alan:

    It’s not unusual for scepticism to emerge towards the end of an academic’s life when there is little to lose.

    It’s VERY unusual in science, because in science, scepticism is supposed to “emerge” the moment you first don the white lab coat.

    If you were referring to CLIMATE science, then you just made a damning indictment of the entire field.

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  78. Alan,

    we rightly admire Resisters because they fight for what’s right, alone and at great risk to themselves. Irene Sendler risked, and suffered, arrest and torture by the Gestapo. You risked, and suffered, bitchy emails from Phil Jones. Paul Dennis risked, and suffered… well, I’m not sure. He seems to have gotten away with his good deeds scot free.

    The ironic footnote, of course, is that Irene Sendler’s Nobel Prize went to Al Gore instead.

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  79. I agree with you both Alan and Andy. The behaviours and personalities are the same in any sphere of work. Climate scientists like to think that they’re a better class of people than those who inhabit the business world but on evidence so far, they’re just the same mix of good and bad. Like those other spheres, they need external forces to see the problems within and demand improvements.

    Climate scientists still act like they’re working in pure science and they’re not, they’re detectives looking for evidence for the biggest trial ever. It needs to be forensic science. No more walking through the crime scene like Columbo dropping cigar ash. They should be more like Silent Witness. Everything bagged and tagged. Document everything. Future climate scientists shouldn’t find the current crop’s finger prints all over the data.

    Nobody likes those restrictions. Everybody wants to be Columbo, making leaps of intuition and then getting a confession but in the real world every case he investigated would probably have been thrown out. It’s tempting to think that because fossil fuels are nasty, smelly substances that they don’t deserve a proper defence but what’s on trial is not the fuel but the people who used them. Almost all 7.5 billion of us. If they find us guilty then the punishment will be hard labour for every generation to come until a new energy source is available or acceptable.

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  80. “Alan:

    It’s not unusual for scepticism to emerge towards the end of an academic’s life when there is little to lose.

    It’s VERY unusual in science, because in science, scepticism is supposed to “emerge” the moment you first don the white lab coat.”

    I can’t condemn those career scientists who kept schtum about climate ‘science’ right up until the twilight of their careers, presumably in the interests of keeping a roof over the head of their family, but neither can I respect such a life choice either. They put a wage packet and a career before personal integrity and before scientific integrity. I am 99% certain that had I enrolled upon Atmos Physics and Chemistry MSc at UEA and subsequently carved out an academic career, it would have been cut short when I began to realise the shortcomings of the emergent science of catastrophic global warming and its encumbent professorial promoters. I don’t count myself as morally superior in that respect, just unusual. This in itself is a tragedy, because, as Brad points out, such a position, in science, should be the norm, not the exception.

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  81. Dear oh dear, the wheel has turned full circle and I find myself back in 2011 just after Climategate 2 and my role at UEA was revealed. I turned to Bishop Hill to put the record straight about my University and School and to try to tone down the rhetoric against my climate change colleagues within CRU and the wider School. Now I find myself in a similar position, trying to get people to be more reasonable about climate scientists. However this time I know from the outset that I am doomed to failure. But hey, one can but try. What have I got to lose – my reputation? It’s Monty Python time!

    Firstly comparison with Irene Sendler (by Brad) is ridiculously over the top and disrespects her memory. Nothing I did at UEA approaches what she, and others like her did. I had a great time, I never felt under any great threat, I had the support of those that mattered and (at first) no restrictions on my teaching (after restructuring I lost access to the first year class where I gave a one hour lecture on climate change. I continued my main effort within my module on fossil fuels until the not so bitter end). I had support from across the School (including Keith Briffa) so I was more than willing in 2011 to give wholesome support to my School and University when it came under intense attack by sceptics. My views and support have changed very little. Yes, both CRU (which I never defended), my School and University did stupid things (possibly even criminal) but they never deserved the full hatred and abuse they were subject to. If you think you’re the good guys, try being on the receiving end of the WUWT and Bishop Hill hate machine.
    Now I see the same happening again, exemplified by Brad wanting a show trial. There is, on occasion, much anger out there, rather than rational discussion, for which this site is known.
    Sorry Brad, but I disagree vehemently with your current position.

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  82. Jaime. My apologies, we seem to have wandered so very far from your original topic and I hold myself very much to blame.

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  83. Alan, relax. You’re among friends. All real scientists are among friends at CliScep.

    My show-trial reference was a satirical quote from David Roberts of Grist. I’ll dig up the original if you don’t recognize it.

    To the extent that I see anyone as being truly criminal, it’s most certainly NOT the entire cli-sci profession, nor even the entire UEA or CRU staff, faculty, Senate, directorship or anything close! I have always tried (with mixed success, evidently) to confine my enmity to a handful of active saboteurs of the scientific method, so few that I can identify most of them by name.

    Finally, my allusion to Irene Sendler was not by way of comparison but by way of contrast. I was making precisely the same point you made: that the personal cost of standing up for scientific integrity from within the system is trivial in the scheme of things (and it is therefore inexcusable to fail to do so, if you ask me).

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  84. Actually… “show trial”? I thought Nuremberg was a more-or-less legitimate war-crimes trial, though I’ve also heard rumors of forced confessions and coercion of witnesses, so I guess I’m too historically-uninformed to know whom to believe.

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  85. Alan,

    Skeptics are only human. The anger we felt towards the UEA *en bloc* was an unavoidable consequence of our having no “face” to put on the institution other than the well-known and rightly-despised faces of its most infamous employees.

    Too few of us knew that you worked there too, as did (no doubt) countless decent, honest, true scholars. All we had to go on was the official position of the institution, which was (apparently) to defend the indefensible.

    I can’t pretend ours was a fair, ideal, rational or desirable response. Far from it. It’s just one of those tragedies of war. But you can hardly be surprised that people lacking your inside knowledge (which is to say, most of us) and your wisdom and maturity (which is to say, most of us) reacted that way.

    But you did the world a mitzvah by unmasking yourself as the “good” face of the UEA and providing a voice of sanity in those days of anger that began in late 2009 and climaxed after the show trials (*ahem* 😉 ) of 2010/11 reached their predetermined non-findings. I wasn’t present in those threads at BH and WUWT, but having read them subsequently, I dearly wish you’d been treated better and that your intervention had been taken in the right spirit by all, not just by some.

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  86. Note that by writing my last comment, I’m not defending the uglier flak emitted by some in the deniosphere. For one thing, I can’t defend it, because I don’t know what it entailed—I wasn’t on the receiving end of it, as you pointed out. All I’m trying to justify is the emergence of an impression of institutional corruption at a University which has never disciplined Phil Jones for his flagrantly anti-scientific actions.

    But institutional corruption, needless to say, does NOT imply corruption on the part of all, most or even *many* individual human beings within. It’s simply a convenient fiction that treats a corporation as a person, then judges that personoid on the basis of its official actions—actions which were no doubt the result of votes among a small number of the highest management, without the mandate of rank-and-file scientists.

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  87. Finally, for what it’s worth, I’ve been at work most of the morning on a draft post which begins:

    “Alan Kendall is not only a friend but, as our readers are aware, one of the most thoughtful, humane and deeply-educated contributors to this site. Having lived half as long as Alan, I can forgive myself for barely having learned half as much about the world.

    So when Alan rebukes me, no matter how gently, his criticism is not to be dismissed lightly. It takes a whole blog post….”

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  88. Brad. Perhaps I’m carrying too much baggage and so did not (and to be honest still don’t) identify your intent. I have reread your 8.53pm post several times and still (even now knowing your intention) think you disrespect Irene Sendler’s memory. If you were trying to set up a contrast between the hardships she endured and the “easy” sacrifices that scientists would need to make, think again. Those sacrifices could involve giving up one of the major factors in your life, something you have earned – the ability to do science. This is something I wanted to do since I was eleven, and I knew I wanted to teach since getting my doctorate. Giving those up on a matter of principle would have been a very great hardship. My wife once remarked that I would go to work (at UEA) even without a salary. [And in my final year’s teaching I almost did].

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  89. Alan, now I’m as confused as I thought you were!

    Surely, if one incurs a serious threat to one’s very ability to do science simply by speaking out FOR SCIENCE within the context of climate science, then “the entire field” (as the saying goes) has come to a more pathological pass than even I imagined.

    We keep hearing that the UEA CRU is not a “proxy” for climate science, i.e. that whatever its (corporate) sins, they aren’t shared by other institutions.

    But if that were the case, then shouldn’t it be relatively feasible to get a science job somewhere else, even (or especially) after sacrificing your future at the UEA by speaking out against bad science? Surely such a principled sacrifice should recommend you highly, or at least without prejudice, to a prospective employer anywhere else in the scientific world? Unless, of course, the tendrils of climatology’s “good cause corruption” reach even further and deeper than most cynics dare suspect!

    What am I being here: naive? Simplistic? Illogical? For once, I hope one of the above applies.

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  90. Alan, let me also concede the obvious:

    If (as it seems to have turned out, from what you’re telling me) the Irene Sendler allusion was applicable neither as a comparison nor as a contrast, with the truth awkwardly located somewhere in-between, then of course I shouldn’t have brought her name into it at all, and I apologize.

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  91. This is now embarrassing. To compensate I will tell a tale of how a scientist (me) can so easily be drawn into the climate change orbit and sell one’s soul. Before Climategate, but at the time after I was giving my climate change lectures to UEA undergraduates, my wife and I visited and flew over the Nazca Lines in Peru. There I noticed something interesting, the lines would be eroded by most ephemeral streams (which would be therefore younger than he lines) but would be have been made across other ephemeral stream deposits (which would have to be older than the lines). I had read that dating the lines was highly disputed, and it was even suspected that some of the lines had been recently “rejuvinated” by an archaeologist. But I had a way of dating and proving/disproving her activities if only I could date the stream deposits and when the piles of desert soil were last made. Not only that but I could then determine how much of the Nazca Plateau was being swept by rivers during any given interval. But I knew of a technique that could date how long rock crystals had been buried and shielded from cosmic rays. Furthermore a high plateau, like Nazca, would be an ideal site.
    So I had an interesting research project, one with the potential to have worldwide interest. But it would be expensive and I would need significant funding and probably to interest a Peruvian student to come to UEA. I wasn’t certain that I would get funding from the British Research Councils, so thought about making the project as interesting as possible to other funding agencies – we even considered National Geographic. In considering making our project of interest to agencies, we thought up another angle. The Nazca lines are very fragile, they are only shallow trenches cut into the desert surface removing stones darkened by desert varnish. Any increase in rainfall would destroy them. So the insidious nature of climate science raised its head. Off I trotted to CRU. Yes, I was told we can predict future climate changes for large areas like the Nazca Plateau and its environs, and yes we could join you in supervising a research student. In the end, I never pursued this project, not because of any resistance to climate science, but because I realized the topic was far distant from my real research interests and if I became bored with it after the initial enthusiasm had waned it wouldn’t have been fair on any student we had recruited. But I came so very close to being a climate scientist sensu lato. So when you think of admonishing academics for their support of climate science, remember my story. The pursuit of interesting science can lead to strange bedfellows.

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  92. Alan,

    “So when you think of admonishing academics for their support of climate science, remember my story.”

    Hang on.

    I’d never admonish an academic for supporting (or doing, or advancing our understanding of) climate science.

    I’d only condemn them for vitiating it; corrupting it; retarding it; turning it into a virtual oxymoron—by, for example, supporting the *enemies* of climate science: Phil Jones, Michael Mann et al.

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  93. Remember, it was Mann who retarded climate science for seven years by refusing to disclose the details that would have invalidated his precious stick.

    The reviled Steve McIntyre devoted years of his life, unpaid, in an attempt to advance climate science by debunking MBH98, in the face of tooth-and-nail resistance by people fraudulently calling themselves climate scientists.

    “Giving them the algorithm would have been giving in to intimidation tactics,” Mann told the WSJ, thereby equating competitive replication with bullying.

    Remember, it was Jones who said he’d rather retard human knowledge by destroying the CRU station data than share it with anyone.

    These guys hate climate science. I don’t. Steve McIntyre doesn’t.

    At worst, I might be accused of thinking the field is a bit of a joke, in terms of its meagre contribution to human knowledge. But unlike the supposed leaders of the field, I’d never go out of my way to make it even more of a joke.

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  94. No need to hang on. I read here and elsewhere that academics that do not admonish the guilty climate scientists (those that do “bad” science) are equally to blame. My story shows how even sceptics could be caught up. Once engaged in joint research it would become easier to be further drawn in. In my case it was with one of the senior players at CRU (not Briffa, and certainly not Jones). Some who write here and on other sceptic sites, would damn any that consort with the enemy or who try to understand their motives.

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  95. Alan,

    “Some who write here and on other sceptic sites, would damn any that consort with the enemy or who try to understand their motives.”

    I’m happy to take your word on this, and I have no other way of knowing, since I rarely read what skeptics write. (I disproportionately consume alarmist writing, because that’s the source of my satire, my science and my motivation.)

    “Happy” is perhaps the wrong word. I’m saddened by what you’re describing. But I’m not really surprised, since mathematics alone dictates that there be fanatics on either side of any sufficiently divisive argument.

    I urge everybody here to reserve the word “enemy” (and the concept “enemy”) for actual enemies, not mere opponents.

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  96. Alan,

    “I read here and elsewhere that academics that do not admonish the guilty climate scientists (those that do “bad” science) are equally to blame.”

    I’ve been guilty, on occasion, of condemning those who turn down perfect opportunities to condemn the guilty climate scientists.

    But by “the guilty climate scientists,” I don’t mean those whose work is subpar, sloppy, erroneous or imperfect.

    Those, I call “the human climate scientists.” Every scientist in the world is wrong about almost everything. That’s not only the human condition, it’s practically their job description. If you’ll pardon the cliché, science takes place on the frontiers of ignorance. That’s not a “bad” thing, that’s a definitional thing.

    The only guilty parties in climate science are the ones who set out to increase human ignorance and delusion by, for example:

    1. abusing their positions of respectability to lie about how science works

    2. fighting, abusing and defaming people like Steve McIntyre in an attempt to scare citizen scientists away from improving climate science

    3. publicly misrepresenting their results

    4. publicly denying that their work is subpar, sloppy, erroneous or imperfect even when their own deskmates privately acknowledge that it is

    5. hiding X, where X = anything.

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  97. If I’m boring you by defending myself at such length, Alan, I apologize. I would defend others here if I were absolutely certain that they shared my philosophy, but I can’t be since (as I admitted previously) I don’t read nearly enough of what my fellow-travelers write. I haven’t even read all the comments in this thread, and for all I know, some of them may embody the very binaristic, moralistic fanaticism you rightly deplore. I hope they don’t, but I don’t know (especially since you’re too much of a gentleman to name names).

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  98. Looking back, I notice with chagrin that I’ve argued for a moral duty to “speak out against bad science.”

    That word (“bad”) was ambiguous at best, confusing at worst, since it’s indistinguishable from the adjectives used by the patronising, Ben Goldacre-ish ‘Crap Science’ crowd.

    To remove any confusion, no, I don’t mean to suggest that anyone is obliged to condemn scientific work whose only crime is to be amateurish, inchoate, or (god forbid!) come to an incorrect conclusion.

    My position has always been that not only is such work morally blameless, but a healthy field of science is in no danger of being “damaged” by it in any serious way.

    At the risk of boring everyone, I’m sorry (particularly to Alan) for writing carelessly.

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  99. Cannot be repeated to often:

    “Every scientist in the world is wrong about almost everything. That’s not only the human
    condition, it’s practically their job description. If you’ll pardon the cliché, science takes
    place on the frontiers of ignorance. That’s not a “bad” thing, that’s a definitional thing.

    The only guilty parties in climate science are the ones who set out to increase human i
    gnorance and delusion by, for example:

    1. abusing their positions of respectability to lie about how science works

    2. fighting, abusing and defaming people like Steve McIntyre in an attempt to scare
    citizen scientists away from improving climate science

    3. publicly misrepresenting their results

    4. publicly denying that their work is subpar, sloppy, erroneous or imperfect even
    when their own deskmates privately acknowledge that it is

    5. hiding X, where X = anything.

    Every scientist in the world is wrong about almost everything. That’s not only the human
    condition, it’s practically their job description. If you’ll pardon the cliché, science takes
    place on the frontiers of ignorance. That’s not a “bad” thing, that’s a definitional thing.

    The only guilty parties in climate science are the ones who set out to increase human
    ignorance and delusion by, for example:

    1. abusing their positions of respectability to lie about how science works

    2. fighting, abusing and defaming people like Steve McIntyre in an attempt to scare
    citizen scientists away from improving climate science

    3. publicly misrepresenting their results

    4. publicly denying that their work is subpar, sloppy, erroneous or imperfect even
    when their own deskmates privately acknowledge that it is

    5. hiding X, where X = anything.”

    …The basis of genuine scientific research, CURIOSITY and a wish to solve real world
    problems.

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  100. If it feels bad being connected to an institution that was (briefly) a figure of hate, try imagining it for your whole life. My Dad worked in and eventually managed power stations. They were always hated as dirty, massive, noisy monsters. During the coal strikes they were war zones. A neighbour almost punched my Dad, screaming at him that he’d got scab electricity, thinking the lights connected to a car battery was some special mains power to people who crossed picket lines. My chemistry teacher at secondry school literally bullied me for a reason I couldn’t fathom until the other kids told me he often openly ranted about the nearby power station before I arrived. Later I worked in a chemical factory that was always being complained about because of the smell and noise, regardless that the factory was there first and the houses grew up around it. I worked with two guys who had grim tales about working in the coal mines that didn’t go on strike. The conservatives are still reviled for shutting the mines down, even as the same people demand coal power stations are shut.

    I am made aware at every point that the public and the media hate industry. At no point is there praise for the good things they provide. I remember being cross at the furore before Sunday trading – people wouldn’t be able to spend Sunday with their families!’ A large section of industry workers and their families thought ‘welcome to the club’. Only they don’t reliably get Christmas off either. When factories and power stations close almost everyone cheers. The early days of my career, I was left in no doubt that computers were the preserve of weirdos and loners. I remember watch Bill Turnbull smirking and laughing along with a group of culture types at the thought of using the internet. I remember thinking how horrified they’d be if someone admitted they hadn’t read and Shakespear or Dickens but they were positively proud of knowing nothing about computers. A year later it was www this and www that. Few, my career was no longer for losers although where I worked was doomed by rising energy prices.

    I don’t remember you from back in 2010/11, I was too busy protecting my parents from the ‘angels’ in the NHS. See the difference? Industry bad, hospitals good, but both are vital for our comfort and longhevity. Many sceptics are from industry. They see no reason why we should be gentle with believers. We know how vital affordable, reliable energy is but how much is is taken for granted. They know that when the country raises its industry standards, jobs go abroad. In theory our demand for stronger rules on pollution, safety etc, should be reflected in what we buy but it doesn’t. As a country we happily buy cheap and turn a blind eye to pollution and worker abuses so long as they’re somewhere else. Do climate scientists care? If they’re wrong, do they expect the people affected to shrug and say that the scientists were just doing their job? It’s as important that they are under scrutiny and threat as any business. We tried being nicebefore 2009. We thought that they’d see the light after 2009. What are we supposed to feel almost 8 years later?

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  101. Speaking for myself Ken, I think I’ve done that exhaustively over the years. I summarised my major points of disagreement for Tobis to which his response was that all the major predictions of climate science made in 1979 have come to pass (more or less) so it must be right.

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  102. Jaime,
    That doesn’t really answer my question. Partly I am interested to see if the discussion can move on from maligning swathes of people with whom you disagree, but I am also interested in what bits you either don’t accept (or think will turn out to be wrong) and why. This isn’t intended as some kind of trick question.

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  103. Tiny. I wasn’t after any sympathy and, as I explained earlier I don’t deserve any. Then I failed to mention the joy of having had the respect of a great many undergraduates who passed through my hands.
    I also worked for oil companies which for many greens is tantamount to being one of the seven princes of hell and beyond redemption. Accusations of being in the pay of oil companies bedevilled my academic life.

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  104. It does answer your question Ken, You just have to go look. But to save you the bother, my tweet to Tobis (plus those below):

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  105. Jaime,
    Okay, so you dispute that most, or all, of the warming since 1950 was human caused. For clarity, the analysis indicates that it is extremely unlikely that more than 50% was non-anthropogenic. The analysis also indicates that the best estimate for the anthropogenic contribution is almost all of it (in fact, the analysis also indicates that natural influences probably produced a small amount of cooling, so that anthropogenic influences alone would probably have produced more warming than was observed). In other words, the probability distribution for the anthropogenic contribution is that it probably contributed somewhere between about 50% and about 160%, with a peak at about 110%. This Realclimate post explains it quite nicely.

    If you disagree with this, does this mean that you regard it as quite likely that non-anthropogenic influences could have produced more than 50% of the observed warming since 1950? If so, what evidence do you have to support this?

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  106. ATTP,

    “What I would be quite interested in understanding is what substantive bit of climate science do people here think will turn out to be wrong (in a major way) and why.”

    The fetish for consensus.

    I know it will turn out wrong because homo sapiens spent between 400,000 and 1.2 million years (depending on your definitions) trying to do science that way, and failing abjectly.

    For ~300 glorious years, which ended when Oreskes reared her distractingly-sexy head, we managed to put all that fatuity behind us. Then along came clisci, exhuming the putrescent cadaver of pre-science and calling it prescience.

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  107. Speaking of which, Ken, what was the scholarly (as opposed to propagandistic) purpose of the Consensus on Consensus paper to which you appended your name and whatever credibility that entails?

    Please don’t run away like you did the last time I asked you this question, and the time before that, or I’ll be forced to inflict this nonversation on yet another unrelated thread in the future.

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  108. Tiny,

    I don’t want to downplay (and it would be difficult to up-play) the experiences you describe and the bad taste they’ve justifiably left in your mouth. Thank you for sharing that story—I can’t really blame anyone for failing to appreciate your perspective, because I didn’t understand any of that until now. It’s rare to learn so much from a comment.

    However, one of the points I take from Alan is that questions like

    Do climate scientists care?

    may sound, and may be, too indiscriminate to apply to a polylithic profession that includes (whether we see them or not) some good people.

    I’ve asked questions of that form myself, countless times, and the instinct to write that way won’t switch off overnight, so I’d love to get your suggestions:

    How can we better distinguish between the good guys, the bad guys and the ones who just fall in with the wrong crowd?

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  109. It’s all in the framing. Quite literally on Jaime’s most recent point. I submit that most Lukewarmers and most all of the consensus could accept the possibility that half or more of the recent warming is anthropogenic in origin.

    But that’s not a scientific statement, really. It’s an umbrella. It’s purely political and the fact that it is used in so much literature is an indication of how much literature in this field is not scientific. And that’s before we even start to consider the accuracy of such statements.

    When I write it it’s quite probable that I’m thinking 51%. When ATTP writes it he’s quite probably thinking of 110%, if I remember some of his posting correctly. So, like estimates of sensitivity, the range is too high for the statement to be useful.

    We resort to these statements to paper over real differences in basic assumptions, such as the sensitivity to the atmosphere to doubled concentrations of CO2. And we need to paper over these differences in the blogosphere to avoid blood-letting. But the consensus also needs to paper over these differences to inflate the percentage of consensus holders.

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  110. ATTP:

    FWIW, I did once try to construct a scenario in which more than 50% of the warming since 1950 was non-anthropogenic. It was extremely difficult to construct something that was physically plausible.

    I congratulate you (sincerely) on the fact that you “did once” behave skeptically.

    Having said that, I trust you realize that the argumentum ad ignorantiam, or Argument From Failure To Believe Your Own Attempt At Constructing a Model You Didn’t Believe In To Begin With, doesn’t exactly mean very much in scientific questions.

    I did once try to see if I could construct a model of human consciousness without making any reference to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You know what? It was extremely difficult to construct something that was physically plausible.

    Therefore, the human soul must be the gift of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. All praise her/him/it, for s/h/it is the wellspring of consciousness itself.

    Need I belabor the analogy, Ken?

    Like

  111. When ATTP writes it he’s quite probably thinking of 110%, if I remember some of his posting correctly.

    Depends what you mean by “writes it” but if you’re talking about anthropogenic influences being responsible for more than 50% of the observed warming since 1950, then I’m mostly thinking of what is presented in this post (for example, the first figure).

    Like

  112. When ATTP writes, “What I would be quite interested in understanding is what substantive bit of climate science do people here think will turn out to be wrong (in a major way) and why.” He deserves an answer.

    I would nominate the statement that the most likely value of atmospheric sensitivity is around 3C. It may in fact turn out to be the case. But mathematically the statement is tenuous at best. Observationally it is not borne out to date. And theoretically it seems without strong foundation.

    I consider that to be a statement vulnerable to falsification, and that that vulnerability is not newly recognized–I think many have known of it for a long period. Which is another class of problem with climate science dealt with above.

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  113. Tom,

    But mathematically the statement is tenuous at best.

    What do you mean by this? The suggestion that the most likely value for equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) is around 3C is because this is roughly the middle of the likely range (1.5C to 4.5C). IIRC, the distribution is somewhat skewed, so it may be that 3C is not really some kind of best estimate (it may be more like something between 2.5C and 3C), but it’s probably closer to 3C than to 2C.

    Observationally it is not born out to date.

    There are paleo observations that are consistent with a best estimate of around 3C. If you mean recent observations, then we haven’t yet doubled atmospheric CO2 so it is clear that it has not been born out yet.

    And theoretically it seems without strong foundation.

    Actually, theoretically we expect cloud feedbacks to be small and probably positive. Water vapour and lapse rate have also been estimated theoretically. Together, they suggest that the ECS is probably above 2C and you can do some basic calculations that suggest the ECS is around 3C. See this video by Andrew Dessler, for example.

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  114. Tom,

    When ATTP writes, “What I would be quite interested in understanding is what substantive bit of climate science do people here think will turn out to be wrong (in a major way) and why.” He deserves an answer.

    Fair enough, as long as skeptics like me get to answer that:

    1. we don’t object to any major plank of climate science per se (if only because it bores us too much to locate the flaws that may well infest it for all we know)

    2. what we find worthy of a chuckle is the politicoscientific adventitia that’s accumulated thanks to Tropical Resort Science by Committee, Rajendra-Pachauri-style

    3. what we find worthy of hatred and ridicule is climate pseudoscience, Oreskes/Cook/ATTP-style

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  115. Ken, what was the scholarly (as opposed to propagandistic) purpose of the Consensus on Consensus paper to which you appended your name [snark self-snipped]?

    You could have answered this in a fraction of the time it took you to put together your counterargument to Tom.

    Of course, that assumes there is an answer.

    Is there?

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  116. Hiya Brad. Oreskes and Cook are not scientists, so pseudoscience is the right word. Up until ATTP fixed his name to their recent collaboration on consensus (which could have been shortened to ‘we stand by our previous work’) I would have said there’s a clear demarcation between ATTP and them.

    ATTP seems bent on blurring the lines, but I do not think of him in the same terms as Oreskes/Cook.

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  117. ATTP, you expect you expect cloud feedbacks to be positive. But you use the word ‘probably.’

    I would submit that the fact that you do not even know the sign of cloud feedback to be troublesome for those making statements such as you make.

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  118. Tom,

    “I would submit that the fact that you do not even know the sign of cloud feedback to be troublesome for those making statements such as you make.”

    You forget Lewandowsky’s Uncertainty Principle, which states that it is not our friend. Our inability to say yay or nay, positive or negative, necessarily increases the probability that whatever the sign is, it’s worse than we thought.

    Ken might be destined for a less intimate circle of Science Hell than Lewandowsky, Oreskes and son, but since he’s had the decency / carelessness to comment here, I’m holding him accountable for his complicity. You should too, given that you think he added the imprimatur of actual, hard science to their fraud. Please don’t let him off my hook in your eagerness to land him on your hook. There’s enough squirming in the worm’s future to satisfy all of us.

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  119. Hiya Tom,

    Hiya Brad. Oreskes and Cook are not scientists, so pseudoscience is the right word.

    It’s possible I’ve misunderstood you, but the reason pseudoscience is le mot juste has nothing to do with their profession and everything to do with their lies about science. By the way, they both claim to be scientists (intermittently and inconsistently). Oreskes has even referred to her seminal Essay—the unreviewed, unreviewable page of pseudoscholarship bizarrely foisted upon readers of Science in 2004—as a scientific paper, a falsehood so brazen even Al Gore weaseled his way around saying it explicitly.

    Liked by 1 person

  120. Given the fact that he banned me from his site (I eventually retaliated in a similar fashion) I don’t want to scare him off. If you ever want to see him disappear, though, start talking about Representative Concentration Pathways. It works on almost all consensus holders… they decide it’s time to do some gardening.

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  121. Tom,

    I would submit that the fact that you do not even know the sign of cloud feedback to be troublesome for those making statements such as you make.

    Firstly, I didn’t make a statement (or, at least, I don’t recall making any statement). Secondly, we may not know the cloud feedback, but the analysis done to date suggests that it is more likely to be positive than negative. Why not watch Andrew Dessler’s video? It says something like getting a climate sensitivity much below 2C would require a strongly negative cloud feedback. Is this possible? Sure. Is it likely? Not very. The evidence supporting a negative cloud feedback is essentially non-existent and we do have reasonably good arguments why the cloud feedback is likely positive.

    Like

  122. ATTP: “…which bits of climate science you don’t accept…”

    Its silence. Over the decades it’s voice has not seriously challenged the dominant Western authority narrative on CC, i.e. the *certainty* of imminent (decades) climate catastrophe as framed in the most critically urgent and highly emotive manner (example snippets below).

    “…and why”

    This narrative, coming from many of the most influential people in the Westerm world and the huge pyramids of government and organizations beneath them, has flooded the public sphere over many years, raising inappropriate fears and driving main policy, plus becoming an overwhelming source of emotive bias across all segments of society and feeding back into the wider enterprise of science itself. As can be seen from the sample snippets below, the authority of science is repeatedly invoked to underscore this *certainty* of imminent catastrophe. Where was and is the concomitant push-back from mainstream scientists across the world, that should be expected from this inappropriate hi-jack of their authority? If we take say the AR5 technical reports as a benchmark, this narrative is not supported by orthodox climate science, let alone anything proposed by Luke-warmer or skeptic scientists who also represent valid parts of the debate. With the multiple apocalypses touted in the recent NYM article, at last, while little and late, a few orthodox voices (even including Mann) have drawn a line and said this crosses into alarmism. While indeed welcome, this reaction probably reflects as much a changing political environment as a change of heart. However, the NYM article is different to the below narrative only in supplying much (largely speculative) detail. The core message, and the highly emotive and urgent framing, are the same as below. Over at Climate Etc some supporters of the consensus position have complained about ‘CAGW’ as a label. I paraphrase: “this doesn’t describe the science”. Well for those near the center of orthodoxy at least, they have a point. Yet nevertheless it most certainly does describe the dominant narrative that is driving all the action. Why has climate science remained silent for all these years, as an apparent certainty of imminent ‘CAGW’ has been sold to the world?

    Example narative snippets:

    [GRO HARLEM BRUNDTLAND] to 15th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development : “So what is it that is new today? What is new is that doubt has been eliminated. The report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is clear. And so is the Stern report. It is irresponsible, reckless and deeply immoral to question the seriousness of the situation. The time for diagnosis is over. Now it is time to act.” [OBAMA] Energy Independence and the Safety of Our Planet (2006) : “All across the world, in every kind of environment and region known to man, increasingly dangerous weather patterns and devastating storms are abruptly putting an end to the long-running debate over whether or not climate change is real. Not only is it real, it’s here, and its effects are giving rise to a frighteningly new global phenomenon: the man-made natural disaster.” Speech in Berlin (2008) : “This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands.” George town speech (2013) : “Sticking your head in the sand might make you feel safer, but it’s not going to protect you from the coming storm.” State of the Union (2015) : “The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe.” [FRANCOIS HOLLANDE] Paris climate summit Nov 2015 : “To resolve the climate crisis, good will, statements of intent are not enough. We are at breaking point.” [GORDON BROWN] Copenhagen climate plan (2009) : “If we miss this opportunity, there will be no second chance sometime in the future, no later way to undo the catastrophic damage to the environment we will cause…As scientists spell out the mounting evidence both of the climate change already occurring and of the threat it poses in the future, we cannot allow the negotiations to run out of time simply for lack of attention. Failure would be unforgivable.” [ANGELA MERKEL] to UN summit on Climate Change (2009) : “After all, scientific findings leave us in no doubt that climate change is accelerating. It threatens our well being, our security, and our economic development. It will lead to uncontrollable risks and dramatic damage if we do not take resolute countermeasures.” Same speech : “we will need to reach an understanding on central issues in the weeks ahead before Copenhagen, ensuring, among other things, that global emissions reach their peak in the year 2020 at the latest.” And while president of the EU, on German TV in a wake-up call for climate action prior to 26 leader EU climate meeting (2007) : “It is not five minutes to midnight. It’s five minutes after midnight.” [POPE FRANCIS] Asked if the U.N. climate summit in Paris (2015) would mark a turning point in the fight against global warming, the pope said: “I am not sure, but I can say to you ‘now or never’. Every year the problems are getting worse. We are at the limits. If I may use a strong word I would say that we are at the limits of suicide.” [MARK CARNEY] governor of the bank of England, speech ‘Resolving the Climate Paradox’, September 2016: “…climate change is a tragedy of the horizon which imposes a cost on future generations that the current one has no direct incentive to fix. The catastrophic impacts of climate change will be felt beyond the traditional horizons of most actors including businesses and central banks. Once climate change becomes a clear and present danger to financial stability it may already be too late to stabilise the atmosphere at two degrees.” [PRINCE CHARLES] speech to business leaders in Brazil (2009): “The best projections tell us that we have less than 100 months to alter our behaviour before we risk catastrophic climate change.” [AL GORE] speech to NY University School of Law (Sept 2006): “Each passing day brings yet more evidence that we are now facing a planetary emergency — a climate crisis that demands immediate action to sharply reduce carbon dioxide emissions worldwide in order to turn down the earth’s thermostat and avert catastrophe.” [JOHN KERRY] as US Secretary of State, responding to UN report (2014): “Unless we act dramatically and quickly, science tells us our climate and our way of life are literally in jeopardy… …There are those who say we can’t afford to act. But waiting is truly unaffordable. The costs of inaction are catastrophic.” [HILLARY CLINTON] time.com (Nov 2015): “I won’t let anyone to take us backward, deny our economy the benefits of harnessing a clean energy future, or force our children to endure the catastrophe that would result from unchecked climate change.” [BERNIE SANDERS] US presidential candidate (2016), feelthebern.com : Bernie Sanders strongly believes climate change is real, catastrophic, and largely caused by human activities. [M. LAURENT FABIUS] French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, in the National Assembly (May 2014): “We have 500 days – not a day more – to avoid a climate disaster. People often talk about climate change or global warming. I attach great importance to words, and as far as the French language is concerned I don’t think those words are very appropriate, because – without alluding to this or that political programme – change is seen as rather a positive thing, but in the case of climate, it isn’t at all. Some French people say: why not, since they might think Lille, for example, is going to join the Côte d’Azur? That’s absolutely not it. We must face up to climate disruption, climate chaos. The scientists, several of whom are present here, have said it: ‘you’d have to be blind not to see it’.” [FRANCOIS HOLLANDE] as French President, at 150 nation climate summit in Le Bourget, France (Nov 2015): “Never have the stakes of an international meeting been so high, because it concerns the future of the planet, the future of life.” [MERKEL] as German chancellor, at the Lowy Institute in Sydney (Nov 2014): “If we do not put a brake on climate change, it will have devastating consequences for all of us – there will be more storms, there will be more heat and catastrophes more droughts, there will be a rising sea levels an increasing floods.”

    Liked by 3 people

  123. The IPCC has been remarkably clear about the foundational issues confronting climate science in terms of atmospheric sensitivity, the role of clouds in computational models and much more. They plainly state that we are unable as of yet to predict future climate states. They cite our inability to understand the net effects of cloud formation as one of the primary reasons.

    ATTP, do you and Andy Dessler know something that the IPCC does not?

    Liked by 1 person

  124. Tom,

    They plainly state that we are unable as of yet to predict future climate states.

    Indeed, and neither am I.

    They cite our inability to understand the net effects of cloud formation as one of the primary reasons.

    Yes, this is one of the main uncertainties. However, even the IPCC says (AR5 Chapter 7 page 574)

    The sign of the net radiative feedback due to all cloud types is less certain but likely
    positive. We estimate the …… cloud feedback from all cloud types to be +0.6 (−0.2 to +2.0) W
    m–2 °C–1.

    In other words, they do estimate a range for the cloud feedback that suggests it is unlikely to be strongly negative (as suggested by Andrew Dessler) and that is more likely to be positive than negative. Given this, the ECS is likely to be above 2C.

    Assuming that you are not just playing rhetorical games, the key point is that there is a difference between predicting the future climate state and determining the likely range of future climate states under various different possible future scenarios.

    Liked by 1 person

  125. Ken,

    You obviously lack the mental and/or testicular wherewithal to answer what would be a dead-simple question if you were a real academic:

    What was the scholarly (as opposed to propagandistic) purpose of the Consensus on Consensus paper to which you appended your name?

    How were you planning to refund the Scottish taxpayer for the salary you embezzled while fake-working on that fake research: cash? EFTPOS? Livestock?

    Or would you prefer we ask your Vice-Chancellor?

    Liked by 2 people

  126. ATTP @ 20 Aug 17 at 12:49 pm asks
    What I would be quite interested in understanding is what substantive bit of climate science do people here think will turn out to be wrong (in a major way) and why. Anyone willing to provide some insights?
    Jaime’s reply is a very good one.
    Ken, we’re still searching for a substantive bit of climate science. We’ll let you know if we find it!
    I will put it slightly differently. What, after 30 plus years of development, are the positive things that can be put forward to convince a group of lay people that climatology is actually a science?
    Four years ago I made three basic suggestions in my post Three Positive Ways to Counter Climate Denial
    First is building up a track record in predictions. I am sure ATTP can fill the answers.

    1. More than twenty years ago the models predicted a continuing upward trend in global surface temperatures if greenhouse gases emissions were not severely curtailed. Emissions growth has exceeded our worst expectations so…..

    2. In 2000 in both Britain and Germany, it was predicted that children would grow up not knowing what snow was. The decreasing can trend can be found ……

    3. Following the massive heat wave in Europe in 2003, it was predicted that would extreme heat waves would become more frequent. This trend is shown….

    4. Following Hurricane Katrina, it was predicted that would be an upward trend in these severe storms. That trend can be found ……

    5. In 2007 the UNIPCC predicted that climate change could lead to a drop fall in crop yields by up to 50% in some African countries by 2020. The latest evidence to support this prediction consists of…..

    6. One of the most visible signs of warming is the disappearing snows of Kilimanjaro. This continuing trend can be found…..

    7. One of the most dire predicted consequences of global warming is of accelerating sea level rise. The latest data demonstrating this trend can be found at…

    8. One of the biggest contributors of sea level rise is melting of the polar ice caps. Velicogna and Wahr 2006 predicted that the contribution to sea level rise from Greenland alone would rise from zero to 7mm per annum between 2002 and 2012. The actual data to support this is to be found……

    I might be wrong, but I believe that all these predictions are false. If any they had turned out to be true then the might of the climate consensus would have been shouting it from the rooftops. On that basis, I believe that future climate catastrophes will not happen, despite the fact that policy will fail to bring global GHG emissions down to near zero by the end of the century.

    Liked by 2 people

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