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Kate hates debate

Kate Marvel is one of the new brand of climate evangelists, preaching a message of politics, emotion and rhetoric, who are helping to destroy the credibility of the field. She climbed aboard the climate gravy train from another field only about five years ago, but despite her lack of experience she’s frequently given high-profile platforms to present her opinions.

The latest of these is in Scientific American, where she discusses Why I Won’t Debate Science. You may recall Mark Maslin saying a similar thing in the Conversation, and getting completely taken to pieces in the comment section. But Kate has chosen a Safe Space at SA where comments aren’t allowed, so no pesky debate can occur.

Refreshingly, she is quite up-front about the reasons for her refusal to debate — she knows that she would lose. After establishing her politics with a Trump-sneer in the first paragraph she says

In fact, as a general rule, I refuse to debate basic science in public. There are two reasons for this: first, I’m a terrible debater and would almost certainly lose.

And the second reason is

But second, and maybe more importantly: once you put facts about the world up for debate, you’ve already lost. Science isn’t a popularity contest.

This is quite amusing, since the argument that science isn’t a popularity contest is commonly used by sceptics against the 97% consensus nonsense!

Although Kate is not prepared to debate with climate sceptics, because she knows she would lose, she is quite happy to use the platform at SA to spread lies about them:

Too often, we scientists find ourselves asked to “debate” people who believe (simultaneously) that the Earth is cooling, that it’s warming but the warming is natural, that the warming is human-caused but beneficial, and that NASA somehow made it all up in between faking moon landings and covering up alien abductions.

After that, having accused sceptics of “no internal logic”, the article becomes itself ever more illogical, incoherent and infantile, burbling about Frodo and Mr Rochester and ending by saying that she’s part of the “pink team”. (Isn’t that a bit racist?)

75 thoughts on “Kate hates debate

  1. Paul,

    With regard to the Kate Marvel article, why do you torture yourself by reading such infantile drivel? I only read it to see whether it was as bad as you said. Now I can’t unread it and my day is ruined!

    When I was at school, I read the Dandy for its toe-curling attempts at humour and Scientific American for its erudition. It isn’t really surprising that the Dandy should no longer exist, but I had never expected the SA to morph into the comic that put it out of business.

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  2. Yes John, Scientific American and even National Geographic have gone down the politicized science route. Seems everything nowadays is political.

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  3. “The skills necessary to be a good scientist….aren’t necessarily the same skills that will convince an audience in a debate format.” What tripe.
    1. Who said it had to be a debate format? In my experience those like Kate refuse to debate (= discuss) in any format.
    2. Most scientists have to convince their peers or their students orally. You cannot refuse to speak about your subject and only rely upon the written word.

    “It is very fortunate that things like the atomic model of matter do not rest on my ability to be charming or persuasive.”
    Is she stupid? To be persuasive requires you at least to be able to speak. Even Hawking, honoured today, knew this

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  4. Scientific American is no longer either scientific (as Kate Marvel demonstrates) or American (it was sold to German publishing company Holtzbrink).

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  5. The argument being made is very simply that there is rarely any benefit in formally debating science. The outcome of that depends more on how well one can engage in such a debate, than on the actual scientific evidence. The article even describes how scientific disputes are resolved, and suggests that we should really be arguing (publicly, at least) about policy, rather than about science.

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  6. Attp. So you meekly accept what your fellow astrophysicists tell you do you? You never question a fellow astrophysicist’s findings or interpretations? Must be a truly boring subject – not a science at all. No wonder you have spare time to indulge in AGW nonsense.

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  7. Alan,

    So you meekly accept what your fellow astrophysicists tell you do you? You never question a fellow astrophysicist’s findings or interpretations?

    Ummm, no, but I rarely (if ever) challenge them to a public debate.

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  8. ATTP,

    “The argument being made is very simply that there is rarely any benefit in formally debating science.”

    No, the argument being made is stated clearly in the article’s subtitle:

    “Once you put established facts about the world up for argument, you’ve already lost.”

    The problem with this attitude is that it begs the question regarding what the established facts are. That is the question that requires debate, and if you and the marvellous Marvel see no point to this debate it may be because you are failing to discriminate between the basic physics and how the basic physics manifests itself.

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  9. John,
    Actually, the first was

    In fact, as a general rule, I refuse to debate basic science in public.

    The reason given that [t]he skills necessary to be a good scientist (coding, caring about things like “moist static energy”, drinking massive amounts of coffee) aren’t necessarily the same skills that will convince an audience in a debate format. What you’ve quoted was second, and maybe more importantly:

    So, there were two main reasons (as I read it). The skills needed to sound convincing in a debate aren’t necessarily the same skills needed to do good science. And, if you debate things that are regarded as true you give undue credence to things that are not.

    That is the question that requires debate, and if you and the marvellous Marvel see no point to this debate it may be because you are failing to discriminate between the basic physics and how the basic physics manifests itself.

    Well, I do come here (despite the complaints when I do) so I don’t really have a problem with discussing some of these things in a public forum. However, I do broadly agree with what the article was suggesting. Scientific disputes are not resolved through formal public debates, and if you publicly debate things that are regarded as true, you may give undue credence to things that are not.

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  10. “Basic science”, in Kate Marvel’s opinion, is the ‘fact’ that human activities are warming the planet. Buried implicitly within this ‘fact’ are another two unspoken ‘facts’: that most or all of the secular global warming trend post 1850 is due to anthropogenic GHGs and that GHGs will continue to warm the planet ‘dangerously’ in the coming decades, centuries and millennia. This is what she calls “objective reality”. This is what she calls “basic physics and chemistry” in order to avoid having to debate it with the public, not because she will lose on account that she is a poor debater but because the ‘solid’ ground on which she claims to stand is actually shifting sand – and she knows it, either consciously or subconsciously. This is why she is not a scientist.

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  11. ATTP,

    I’m beginning to detect a pattern in your methods of argument. You respond with a quibble (which, incidentally, confuses the cardinal with the ordinal) in the hope that your opponent becomes distracted and nobody notices that you haven’t actually responded to the point being made.

    The author states that ‘perhaps’ the more important point is that once you put established facts about the world up for argument, you’ve already lost (she certainly thinks this is an important enough point as to state it in the article’s subtitle). I have raised a serious concern regarding the logic of this position and you have studiously avoided commenting upon whether or not I have made a valid point. It is only through scientific argument that one turns propositions into ‘established facts’. Not wishing to put up ‘established facts’ for argument is a dangerous conceit.

    The appropriate forum for any argument is, indeed, a matter to be considered, but I am not nearly as concerned about this as I am regarding the apparent attempt to close down the argument altogether. Yes, of course, rhetoric may triumph over reality when it comes to winning the hearts and minds of the public, but that’s a risk that will always exist at the interface between science and policy.

    P.S. I didn’t refer to the Marvel article as ‘infantile drivel’ because of my concern for the logic of the author’s central point. It was because the article as a whole was infantile drivel, albeit flecked with the occasional valid point.

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  12. John,

    It is only through scientific argument that one turns propositions into ‘established facts’. Not wishing to put up ‘established facts’ for argument is a dangerous conceit.

    Yes, but you don’t normally do this via some kind of formal public debate. Typically it is done through the scientific literature, and through discussions at conferences/meetings. In most cases, it becomes pretty clear what is accepted as being essentially “true” (and I don’t mean absolute truth, but what one might call a scientific truth) and what is not.

    In some cases, though, things that are regarded as not true by the scientific community are still presented by some as possible/probable (mainly publicly, rather than in the scientific literature). The argument being made (as I understand it) is that it is probably counter-productive to try and address this through public debates. How would you address this?

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  13. Oh what a poor science astrophysics must be if we believe ATTP. Astrophysics meetings are mere recitation of scientific presentations. No questions are asked in public (don’t believe it). Compare that with that of my own subject – carbonate sedimentology. I attended specialist international meetings in Britain, Europe and North America where discussions were rife. One particular meeting held every four years was deliberately designed to encourage discussion and debate, allotting fully half the time to those activities. All who attended benefited enormously. Science is debate.

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  14. Alan,
    Sigh. Of course we have plenty of discussion and “debate”. We don’t, however, have formal debates with a proposer and an opposer and in which the audience (or some adjudicator) decides on who has won and who has lost.

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  15. Attp. Sigh. Debate does not only include formal debate as I’ve already pointed out. Kate seems to want to avoid any form of debate. She, like you, proceed as if the science is settled and it would be a retrograde step to admit anything else.

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  16. Perhaps I missed it, but all I see is a desire to spread the message, without any annoying opposition, opposition that can be dismissed as non scientific. Bit like yourself perhaps?

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  17. ATTP,

    “In some cases, though, things that are regarded as not true by the scientific community are still presented by some as possible/probable (mainly publicly, rather than in the scientific literature). The argument being made (as I understand it) is that it is probably counter-productive to try and address this through public debates. How would you address this?”

    Firstly, I think you are too generous in your interpretation of the author’s argument. You emphasize the perils of public debate but it is clear from the article that the author eschews argument of any form once the facts have already been ‘established’. This is what I have difficulty with.

    As a secondary point, I think the article is egregiously disingenuous in the way it characterizes the nature of the opposition to the ‘established facts’. Those who would make such a challenge are portrayed as if they were the assailants in ‘The Hills Have Eyes’, barely capable of coherent thought but somehow possessing the rhetorical skills to turn the public against the scientists (the implication also being that there are no sceptics within the scientific community). Of course, one wouldn’t propose debating with such people. But I don’t expect the Red Team / Blue Team debaters will be chosen from such stock.

    Finally, to turn science into policy, one needs to be seen to have taken the uncertainties into account, and so one cannot avoid public debate of said science (to settle the policy, not the science). How should one address the problem of misunderstanding or misrepresentation (deliberate or otherwise) when it arises? By doing what you and I are doing; by pointing it out whenever we think we see it.

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  18. Scientific American is not, in my opinion, a science journal. It is intended for public consumption. Consequently, anything written therein is *already* half of a public debate or discussion, with the opposing viewpoints manifest where ever permitted (blogs, typically).

    The irony of announcing that one is not going to participate in a debate, but then doing exactly that (or half of a debate) is part of today’s entertainment.

    I allow for the possibility that people that are expert in a field can say with assurance and correctness that something happened, or is possible, or is impossible. Over on ATTP’s blog is a geologist that explains with considerable persuasiveness WHY the Yellowstone supervolcano is not at imminent risk of explosion.

    The relevant part is that not everyone there is convinced by Dave_Geologist. In order to be convinced one must have already performed enough study of the topic at hand to “resonate” in a manner of speaking, that the things he says that I know to be true reach a threshold that the things he says that I don’t know to be true, are probably true.

    It isn’t a ratio exactly; it is achieved by not making any obviously wrong statements. Suppose a science fiction writer describes “a feather floating down to the surface of the moon”. You’d know immediately that the writer does not understand some physics (might be okay with force, motion, springs and things).

    When David Viner announced that children would not know snow, he could not then know he would be shown to be wrong, but he also could not know whether he would be shown to be correct.

    It casts a doubt on ALL of his pronouncements, more or less.

    The risk is not in debating “facts” or even science; it is that pronouncements of the future are neither fact nor science and thus the scientist is at a disadvantage compared to any ordinary prognosticator, soothsayer, weather-guesser, preacher or politician.

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  19. ATTP, Mosher,

    What neither of you appears to be prepared to concede is that sceptics are calling for debates that may establish the appropriate policy, given the current state of understanding. This will invariably require a discussion regarding what that state is. This may not be normal science, but it is absolutely central to post-normal science, in which one is engaged in problem-solving within complex, high-stake scenarios characterized by significant levels of uncertainty. By portraying this as an attempt by cognitively challenged fantasists to challenge basic physics, Marvel displays a staggering level of ignorance and arrogance. You would both do well to leave her to it rather than rushing to her aid.

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  20. A key clue to con artists and religious fanatics is an unwillingness to debate or submit to review.

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  21. Steve documented how the consensus fudged data, suppressed contra-evidence, lied, had editors, silenced critics, destroyed evidence, performed cover ups, and more.
    Now he defends them and writes in a prose style that would annoy e.e. cummings.
    The power of faith over reason played out.
    And to the idea that “climate science” should be immune ti debate:
    BS.
    “climate science” is claiming to not only have the science. “climate science” claims to have the only possible interpretation. The only possible solution. And requires trillions of dollars, the disruption of the world econony, the permenant impoverishment of billions to make it happen.
    With no assured benefit at all.
    But no, it cannot be debated because it is too important
    BS on that.

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  22. John,

    This may not be normal science, but it is absolutely central to post-normal science, in which one is engaged in problem-solving within complex, high-stake scenarios characterized by significant levels of uncertainty.

    The problem I have with post-normal science is often appears to be used as a mean of justifying being dubious about some scientific evidence. Science already provides answers to questions with confidence intervals (uncertainties). If you think this is wrong, then do more science. If you use your policy preferences, or societal values, as a justification for questioning the science, then you’re not (IMO) doing science. Calling it post-normal doesn’t suddenly make it a form of science.

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  23. ATTP,

    “The problem I have with post-normal science is [it] often appears to be used as a mean of justifying being dubious about some scientific evidence.”

    I don’t disagree with your reservations regarding post-normal science. It isn’t science in its finest tradition; it is evidence based decision-making. However, the posited outcome of AGW is that of irreversible, catastrophic damage. It is argued, therefore, that under these circumstances we must adopt the post-normal strategy (i.e. use available evidence to assess the risks and then make a decision) because we cannot afford to wait for the uncertainties to be reduced to the levels one would normally associate with ‘established facts’. Since making a decision based upon incomplete evidence is basically a matter of policy, it is perhaps inevitable that ‘policy preferences or societal values’ will come into play. Furthermore, it is in the nature of uncertainty that one will always find those prepared to dispute its magnitude. Whether this is questioning the science, or just questioning whether a given decision can be justified by the science, can get pretty hard to distinguish.

    Either way, I believe that we are stuck with post-normal, like it or not.

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  24. John,
    I still maintain that there is a difference between accepting that climate change is probably irreversible and that – if we emit enough – it could be catastrophic, while arguing against policies that would reduce our emissions, and using an objection to these policies to argue that there is something wrong with this evidence.

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  25. ATTP,

    But, are people objecting to these policies to argue that there is something wrong with the evidence, or are they suggesting there is something wrong with the evidence to object to the policies? You assume it is the former because you can’t see how anyone can argue with the evidence. But they do.

    I think I might set up my own blog and call it ‘And Then There’s Uncertainty’.

    Just kidding.

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  26. ATTP is obviously not a geologist, claiming that the current level of 400 ppm CO2 would be carastrophic, or even that a level of 1000 ppm would be catastrophic. Does he really wish to return to the unnatural low CO2 levels of preindustrial times?

    And then there is geology showing us that under high temperatures life flourishes on earth.
    Suggestion: visit a greenhouse where humidity is high, temperature is high and co2 levels are high, to witness the irreversible catatophe fist hand. I am with Fourier, Tyndall Arrhenius and Calander who all saw the beneficial effects of a warmer world.

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  27. Hans, perhaps the way that alarmists pose the problem is the real problem. It is easy to accept that there are probably levels of CO2 that make life more difficult or easier for humans but there are other species that share the planet. Humans seem unusually adaptable because they can be found from the tropics right up to fairly close to the poles. Not many species have that adaptability. And we have technology to help us, unlike other species. So are alarmists more worried about species other than humans? Are they true ecologists? Or are they human-phobic?

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  28. Clouds – one of the main causes of uncertainty in global warming projections. Dr. Marvel thinks there is ‘no observational evidence that clouds will significantly slow down global warming’. She thinks that clouds are moving away from the tropics and into higher latitudes, due to circulation changes (although she doen’t explain how CO2 is responsible for those circulation changes) and therefore the decrease in cloud cover in the tropics will make the planet warmer, which will not be offset by the greater presence of clouds in the mid-latitudes. She may or may not be right about this. It’s debatable. It’s not settled science. I think her analysis is maybe too simplistic and I dislike the way she just assumes that global circulation changes must be due to the anthropogenic global GHE. These things are up for scientific debate. The radiative forcing of clouds is an order of magnitude greater than the radiative forcing of GHGs, so cloud feedbacks are crucially important in determining whether we fry or just warm slightly. In turn, this will determine the policy response. Sceptics therefore like to debate the science of cloud feedbacks. Consensus climate scientists – not so much.

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  29. Of course there should be a debate.
    Only cowards and liars oppose debate.
    Australia, for just one example of very many,
    did not allow skeptics a place at the table when climate alarmists were allowed to scare the peple into believing their BS about droughts and built extremely expensive desalination plants. This plant has been used once in four years, this year, and is being done so to subsidize the operator. Not because there is a water shortage.
    Billions that could have gone into better wster management, other infrastructure or just the pockwts of Australian tax payers.
    But skeptics are suppressed by cowardly scientists and extremists.
    So wasted money, wasted opportunity, fat climate hypesters.

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  30. “Too often, we scientists find ourselves asked to “debate” people who believe (simultaneously) that the Earth is cooling, that it’s warming but the warming is natural, that the warming is human-caused but beneficial, and that NASA somehow made it all up in between faking moon landings and covering up alien abductions.” Kate

    Who will inoculate against Lewandowsky,Wood psychology.. mixing up their three papers. Dead and alive, and moon hoax, and lew’s Crowning glory, Alice in wonderland)

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  31. Though the covering up alien abductions, seems new, that must be Kate’s ‘contribution’ to rational debate

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  32. In looking at why climate alarmists will not debate – whether verbally or through an exchange in a literary form – one needs to look at what constitutes a  “debate”.
    A motion is proposed and reasons given why the audience should accept it. The motion is then opposed, with reasons given for not accepting the motion. Each side is then given the opportunity to counter the arguments of the other side. There are thus two major features that are missing from Kate Marvel’s piece in particular and the climate alarmism in general. That is equality of access and understanding the opposing point of view. Further, the exchange is public and it is up to the proponents of the motion to persuade that public.
     For both sides it is an opportunity to learn and broaden their understanding. But for those with dogmatic and/or shallow beliefs, real debates expose their vulnerabilities.
    Supran and Oreskes 2017, in looking at Exxon-sponsored climate communications, used a mantra that encompasses what the full climate debate is about.

    “AGW is real, human-caused, serious and solvable”

    If alarmists really want  implement a solution to the potential issues of AGW then the audience to persuade is those who will implement the solution(s). The Paris Agreement states in Article 4.4 that the vast majority of Governments have not even an obligation to even start reducing their emissions any time soon. Most of these developing countries, with >60% of glbal emissions, will continue to increase their emissions any time soon. On this factor alone AGW is not solvable. Given nearly every country has signed the Agreement, there is now a on the non-solution being thrown out and replaced by a proper solution using the alarmists terms.
    Alarmists are going to look pretty ridiculous saying in a fair debate that future warming may be a huge problem based on 77 out of 79 academics in a specialist and unproven field believe that human activity accounted for a significant part of warming since 1800.
    All what we are left with is a load of useless and damaging policies, and an academia that have failed to realize that they have been out-maneouvered by governments who have (from their perspectives) the best interests of their Nations at heart. Any debate about what “we” ought to be doing is now irrelevent.

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  33. If we consider that the word “debate” means a formal and ordered discussion which can be judged by the number of listeners who change their minds upon the proposition being debated (which requires the audience to declare their positions before and after a debate) I know of no instance where sceptics have lost. Commonly they don’t carry the day but invariably they are the more convincing. This is why those pushing the so-called consensus position commonly refuse debates. Even Kate comes tantamount to admitting this, excusing herself as being rubbish at debating.

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  34. I meant to imply that those opposing the consensus position are the more convincing (= sway more to adopt their position) whereas they may not carry the day ( ie win the debate).

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  36. Alan,

    If we consider that the word “debate” means a formal and ordered discussion which can be judged by the number of listeners who change their minds upon the proposition being debated (which requires the audience to declare their positions before and after a debate) I know of no instance where sceptics have lost. Commonly they don’t carry the day but invariably they are the more convincing. This is why those pushing the so-called consensus position commonly refuse debates.

    No, it’s not the reason why some refuse these debates. The reason is that many regard this as not being a suitable way in which to resolve scientific issues. The truth of some scientific position is not determined by how convincing the person supporting it appears to be, but by the actual scientific evidence. Typically convincing others of the validity of a scientific hypothesis takes time and isn’t achieved by simply sounding more convincing than those who dispute this position.

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  37. Kate is making a straw man of the skeptics so she doesn’t have to address the scientific arguments.
    Is climate change serious, does it need solving, is the pain really more expensive than the cure?

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  38. Attp. “Typically convincing others of the validity of a scientific hypothesis takes time and isn’t achieved by simply sounding more convincing than those who dispute this position”.

    Sounds like special pleading to me. How come those arguing the sceptical position do so well?

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  39. This question goes to the heart of the credibility of climate science.

    If one limits oneself to the vague verbal formulations some (like ATTP) sometimes call “physics”, then yes the “science” is pretty certain.

    Science however is really about quantification. Once one crosses that Rubicon, the science turns out to have large uncertainties (much larger than reported in the literature) and that makes it easy for skeptics to gain traction.

    A further problem here is that many climate scientists are firmly convinced that climate change is a serious problem and that political action is morally imperative. In the mind of the public, that makes their science suspect, just as the public is suspicious of science coming out of the medical field because of the massive conflicts of interest of many of those involved.

    Medicine has tried to clean up its act while climate scientists usually actively deny there is a problem, with the notable exception of recent papers on model tuning and trying to make it more transparent. That’s is a further issue for making your case to the public.

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  40. ATTP,

    “Any evidence, or are you just going to assert this with absolute confidence?”

    The press view is largely informed by the IPCC Assessment Reports. Regarding these, one should be aware of what is stated in the Inter Academy Council (IAC) audit of 2010. Note in particular the following two findings:

    “Review Editors do not fully use their authority to ensure that review comments receive appropriate consideration by Lead Authors and that controversial issues are reflected adequately in the report”.

    “…guidance was not always followed, as exemplified by the many statements in the Working Group II Summary for Policymakers that are assigned high confidence but are based on little evidence”.

    These are the views of the ‘independent’ auditors appointed by the IPCC , so I think we can have ‘absolute confidence’ in their testimony.

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  41. ATTP,

    On the subject of why some refuse debates @ 17 Jun 18 at 3:35 pm you state

    The reason is that many regard this as not being a suitable way in which to resolve scientific issues. The truth of some scientific position is not determined by how convincing the person supporting it appears to be, but by the actual scientific evidence.

    From what Kate Marvel wrote in Scientific American, is her belief in the objective reality of climate change dependant on pointing to actual scientific evidence? My reading is that Marvel is trying to shut out those who disagree a collective group, then making unsupported assertions about a small minority of that group.

    Further, Do you have clear evidence that how in climatology, the consensus take quality control steps to make sure their scientific positions are not biased by their collective pre-determined beliefs about the world?

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  42. Well there have been a number of recent papers. Here’s one that is interesting.
    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/2017MS001067
    There are several others looking at these issues.

    Generally, reporting of modeling results is afflicted by positive biases. Tuning is used as a rationalization to report only your best results and rationalize away the less convincing ones. It is good that a few papers are starting to appear on this subject.

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  43. dpy,

    That’s a very interesting link you have provided.

    If you like that sort of thing, you may already be familiar with, “The Art and Science of Climate Model Tuning”, by Frederic Hourdin of the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique:

    https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/BAMS-D-15-00135.1

    The paper calls for greater transparency with regard to the tuning strategies adopted by the climate modelling community. Within its abstract is stated:

    “Tuning is an essential aspect of climate modelling with its own scientific issues, which is probably not advertised enough outside the community of model developers.”

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  44. I should add that the Hourdin paper concludes with the following statement:

    “We end by expressing the hope that this article will encourage both a systematic effort by the community to document this arcane aspect of model construction and for more people to join a vigorous debate on model tuning and evaluation.”

    Oh dear! Climate scientists calling for debate? Don’t let Kate Marvel find out!

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  45. An extreme example of where a scientific paper did not fully express the uncertainties is
    Acceleration of the contribution of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to sea level rise – Rignot, Velicogna et al 2011 https://doi.org/10.1029/2011GL046583
    The abstract states

    In 2006, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets experienced a combined mass loss of 475 ± 158 Gt/yr, equivalent to 1.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr sea level rise. Notably, the acceleration in ice sheet loss over the last 18 years was 21.9 ± 1 Gt/yr2 for Greenland and 14.5 ± 2 Gt/yr2 for Antarctica, for a combined total of 36.3 ± 2 Gt/yr2. This acceleration is 3 times larger than for mountain glaciers and ice caps (12 ± 6 Gt/yr2). If this trend continues, ice sheets will be the dominant contributor to sea level rise in the 21st century.

    A Reconciled Estimate of Ice-Sheet Mass Balance DOI: 10.1126/science.1228102 (Nov 2012) included amongst the 50 authors the Eric Rignot and Isabella Velicogna. This paper was a key paper for AR5 WG1.
    The abstract states

    Between 1992 and 2011, the ice sheets of Greenland, East Antarctica, West Antarctica, and the Antarctic Peninsula changed in mass by –142 ± 49, +14 ± 43, –65 ± 26, and –20 ± 14 gigatonnes year−1, respectively. Since 1992, the polar ice sheets have contributed, on average, 0.59 ± 0.20 millimeter year−1 to the rate of global sea-level rise.

    There was no sign of acceleration, just about average rates. Yet the uncertainties are far greater for the linear rates, than the acceleration, the opposite one would expect. The differences between the two papers is that the earlier one uses far more data modelling. When I compared the combined ice loss graph with the satellite sea level data, there seems to be a strong level of coherence, with short-term fluctuations in sea level rise occurring about 20 to 36 months after. But (a) there is no observed acceleration in the rate of sea level rise in the period (b) sea level rise is equivalent to 6 to 8 times the short-term changes in ice melt.

    https://manicbeancounter.com/2013/07/02/rignot-et-al-2011-on-ice-sheet-melt-acceleration-reconciling-with-sea-level-rise/

    What this points to is that the uncertainties expressed in the earlier paper are a statistical artefact based on the model. They cannot express the full uncertainties between objective reality and the conclusions, as the data of objective reality are just average estimates and have to be modelled to make that data meaningful. What appears to be missing from the paper – and climatology in general – are proper attempts to corroborate the conclusions from other sources and other ways of analysing the same data sets. The Kate Marvel article shows the opposite to careful data checking. That is of trying to understand the natural world through established beliefs and prejudices.

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  46. John, Thanks for the reference. Climate and weather modelers are stepping up their game recently and that’s a good thing. Some small steps are also happening in the CFD literature but climate is doing a better job I would say.

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  47. Meanwhile I updated my data and concluded market forces will make it nearly impossible for CO2 concentrations to reach 600 ppm by 2100. This means most of this debate is fairly meaningless, other than “fighting the climate” sure seems to be a good way to weaken the economy, increase poverty and tooth decay.

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  48. “Meanwhile I updated my data and concluded market forces will make it nearly impossible for CO2 concentrations to reach 600 ppm by 2100.”

    And even if it does, due to the logarithmic relationship between CO2 concentration and temperature rise for that increase being next door to Sweet FA, it will make little real difference anyway.

    Then there’s this, of course:

    Abstract
    Global environmental change is rapidly altering the dynamics of terrestrial vegetation, with consequences for the functioning of the Earth system and provision of ecosystem services. Yet how global vegetation is responding to the changing environment is not well established. Here we use three long-term satellite leaf area index (LAI) records and ten global ecosystem models to investigate four key drivers of LAI trends during 1982–2009. We show a persistent and widespread increase of growing season integrated LAI (greening) over 25% to 50% of the global vegetated area, whereas less than 4% of the globe shows decreasing LAI (browning). Factorial simulations with multiple global ecosystem models suggest that CO2 fertilization effects explain 70% of the observed greening trend, followed by nitrogen deposition (9%), climate change (8%) and land cover change (LCC) (4%). CO2 fertilization effects explain most of the greening trends in the tropics, whereas climate change resulted in greening of the high latitudes and the Tibetan Plateau. LCC contributed most to the regional greening observed in southeast China and the eastern United States. The regional effects of unexplained factors suggest that the next generation of ecosystem models will need to explore the impacts of forest demography, differences in regional management intensities for cropland and pastures, and other emerging productivity constraints such as phosphorus availability.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/nclimate3004

    Or this:

    Enhanced levels of carbon dioxide are likely cause of global dryland greening, study says
    Feb. 12, 2016
    Enhanced levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide are a likely key driver of global dryland greening, according to a paper published today in the journal Scientific Reports.

    The positive trend in vegetation greenness has been observed through satellite images, but the reasons for it had been unclear.

    After analyzing 45 studies from eight countries, Lixin Wang, assistant professor of earth sciences in the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and a Ph.D. student in Wang’s group, Xuefei Lu, concluded the greening likely stems from the impact of rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide on plant water savings and consequent increases in available soil water.

    http://archive.news.iupui.edu/releases/2016/02/drylands-global-greening.shtml

    So it would appear that despite the dismal hooting and screeching of the doomsayers (many of whom most certainly make a very good living on the strength of their pessimistic prognostications) touting their “precautionary principle” (if ancient man had been as bothered with that as the Warmies we’d never have utilised fire due to the risk of someone burning themselves or the wheel in case someone got run over) the extra atmospheric CO2 would appear to been a practically unalloyed benefit to the planet’s ecosystem and thus to humanity’s comfort and security.

    In any case, if this graph is anything to go by, the relationship between atmospheric CO2 concentration and Global temperature is tenuous in the extreme, and both have been much higher in the past, especially during the periods of high biological activity.

    http://c3headlines.typepad.com/.a/6a010536b58035970c017c37fa9895970b-400wi

    [PM: Sorry Cat, this got held up in the spam folder.]

    Like

  49. Alan
    The Sierra Club article is an interesting example of lack of appreciation of other views. Republicans changing views on health care reform as a result of President Obama introducing Obamacare (health care reform) and changing views on climate change after his talking about taking action on Climate Change in his State of the Union Address, are hypothesized as due to racism. Because a black President pursued the policies, people turned against it.
    There is an alternative, more banal, hypothesis. People think that free or subsidized healthcare is a good idea. But when many American’s saw the actual policies, and how it would exist on existing healthcare provision they became opposed. Similarly, many people go along with the waffle of “taking action on climate change to save the planet for future generations”, but when that means closing coal mine, or power stations, or preventing economic regeneration through shale gas in declining industrial areas, then maybe it ain’t such a good idea.
    In a similar vein, Brexit is being driven through by a female Prime Minister, and the opposition to Brexit comes mostly from men both in Britain and the EU. Is denial of the referendum result driven by closet misogynists?

    Like

  50. Back to Kate. I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, but this, I’m afraid, confirms that Dr Marvel is an unconscionable social justice warrior, an emotional blackmailer and a sufferer of Trump Derangement Syndrome with a skewed sense of morality and, to boot, a naked political opportunist using her privileged position as a ‘scientist’ to further her cult-like belief in social and climate justice.
    You may get the impression I’m not impressed.
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/hot-planet/adapting-to-climate-change-will-take-more-than-just-sea-walls-and-levees/

    Liked by 2 people

  51. Jaime, wow, just 6 days after the previous one, “Scientific” American has given Kate another space to promote her political agenda. Most of it is just a silly rant about the recent Mexico border news story. Nothing to do with science at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  52. Jaime another wow! I only had to read the introductory section when I came across
    “The minute my son was born, though, the future was no longer theoretical. Climate projections generated by computer models aren’t abstract anymore—they’re glimpses into my baby’s adult world. I know it will be warmer and stranger and, perhaps, more dangerous to live there.”
    And my mind flipped and I thought “We’ve all been there darlin.” When my son was born it was at the height of the cold war, only a few years after the Cuba crisis, and we all lived with the spectre of nuclear Armageddon. The imagined threats of climate change decades into the future, when Kate’s son may be drawing a pension, really don’t cut it.

    Liked by 2 people

  53. Yes, It is an emotional screed. The fact is that all criminals are separated from their children when they are detained and charged with a crime. These illegal aliens are charged with a crime.

    The whole “separating families” is a shameless propagandistic lie. All previous U. S. administrations did the same thing. All governments do the same thing millions of times every year when they prosecute someone for violating the law.

    Liked by 2 people

  54. like her first intro comments in – Scientific American’s New Climate Science Column (with earth on fire logo)
    2 quotes sum up her thinking –

    “I want to stress that nothing I say here reflects the official view of these institutions, although it damn well should.”

    “I’ll be honest with you, I have the attention span of a toddler. Climate science is the perfect field for those of us who are easily bored. I get to play with satellite data—pictures we took of the whole planet from outer space—and the output of enormous computer simulations”

    the “I get to play” bit may confirm what some see as a problem when this affects so many that have no say in the matter.

    Liked by 1 person

  55. DFHunter is Kate perhaps progressively refining the attributes of the modern-day climate scientist? – so far 1. Crap at debating, 2. Attention-span of a toddler (a bit of boasting here methinks?).
    Guesses for future revelations? Statistical Wizz (or should that be wuss?)

    Like

  56. Kate loves to babble.
    I hope Scientific American lets her post her inner reasoning a *lot* more.

    Like

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