I also don’t get Judith’s logic

John Nielsen-Gammon has an article called your logic escapes me. It’s about Judith Curry’s testimony to the US Senate’s EPW committee (that I discussed here). I recommend reading the article yourself; it’s very good. Basically, Judith was presenting evidence that she thought weakened the IPCC’s attribution statement. John Nielsen-Gammon was arguing that even though the evidence presented was factually correct, using it to conclude that the IPCC statement is weaker than it appears, doesn’t make sense (or, at least, that’s how I interpret his article).

Judith Curry has responded with a post about the logic (?) of the IPCC statement. I, however, really don’t get the logic of what Judith is trying to say. I’ll only consider her conclusions, which start with

N-G’s reasoning about how to think about the relative contributions of natural vs anthropogenic anthropogenically is something like the way I have approached this, but not quite. I look at it the following way. Consider two periods: 1975-1998 (warming), and 1998-2013 (hiatus). Play with the percentages of natural variability (assuming warming in the first period and cooling in the second period) and anthropogenic forcing, accounting for the relative lengths of the two periods, and see what percentage breakdown works for both periods. And what the implications are of the hiatus extending another 10 years. You will not get numbers that exceed 75% for anthropogenic.

If I use HadCRUT4, I get a trend for the period 1975-1998 of 0.171 ± 0.072oC per decade, and for the period 1998-2013 of 0.042 ± 0.125oC per decade. If I assume natural variability provides an equivalent amount of warming during the earlier period as cooling during the latter period, then I get a mean anthropogenic trend of 0.106oC per decade. If the “hiatus” continues for another 10 years, then the total mean warming since 1975 will be 0.171×2.3 + 0.042×2.5 = 0.5oC. If the average of these two trends is anthropogenic, then the total anthropogenic contribution is 0.106×4.7 = 0.498oC. This is virtually 100% of the warming. What am I missing here? Sure, I could take the uncertainty intervals into account and could assume that the natural contribution to warming during 1975-1998 far exceeded the contribution to cooling in the later period. However, I seem to be able to easily get numbers that exceed 75% for anthropogenic.

Judith continues with

If I were given a 44% range to work with, I would put the range at 28-72% anthropogenic. My range overlaps with the IPCC in domain 51-70%, but I also allow for numbers below 50%. The main uncertainties seem all in the direction of increasing the contribution from natural variability.

So, Judith seems to be suggesting that natural variability could contribute 72% of the warming. If I assume she’s still referring to the periods 1975-2013, then we have a total mean warming of 0.46oC. If Judith is correct, then natural variability could have been responsible for 0.33oC of that warming. If natural variability has been providing a cooling during the period 1998-2013, then that suggests that the natural variability trend was at least 0.14oC per decade during the period 1975-1998 (and that would require that it was actually providing no cooling during 1998-2013). That would also imply that the anthropogenic trend during 1975-1998 was lower than during 1998-2013.

Again, we could consider the uncertainty ranges, but if natural variability is to provide some cooling (as Judith suggests) during the 1998-2013 period, then if it is to provide as much as 72% of the warming during the 1975-2013 period, the contribution it makes during the earlier period just gets bigger. Also, according to the IPCC attribution figure, there is less than a 2.5% chance of natural/internal variability providing more than 0.15oC of the 0.65oC warning since 1950. If all if this were to occur after 1975, that would still mean that there was a less than 2.5% chance of natural/internal variability providing more than 33% of the warming since 1975. So, how does Judith get that it could provide as much as 72%? Is it just me, or is everyone else finding it hard to follow Judith’s logic?

This entry was posted in Climate change, ENSO, Global warming, IPCC, Judith Curry, Science and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

377 Responses to I also don’t get Judith’s logic

1. I thought I’d add a comment to this post to query something that noone really seems to be mentioning when it comes to natural variability. The ocean heat content data tells us that we’ve had an energy imbalance since at least 1970. Hence, we’ve been gaining more energy than we’ve been losing. To close this energy imbalance, the surface temperature has to rise (basic physics). So, in some sense, it doesn’t really matter what process produces the surface temperature warming. The reason the surface temperature isn’t going back down again after the warming is because it still hasn’t reached energy balance yet.

If the system was in energy balance, then any warming would push the surface temperature above equilibrium and the excess energy would be lost quite quickly. If it pushed temperatures below equilibrium, it would be gained again quite quickly. The long-term trend would be flat. The reason it isn’t flat is because we aren’t in energy balance. So, there isn’t really warming that’s natural and warming that’s anthropogenic. We can determine a long-term trend that we can call the anthropogenic component and we can define the variations about this trend as natural variability. At the end of the day, however, all warming is acting to drive the surface temperatures back to equilibrium.

Of course, the bigger question is; why do we have an energy imbalance? Could that be because of natural variability? Well unless that has somehow acted to change the Earth’s albedo then no. Also, it would be a natural variation that is unprecedented in the Holocene. Is it likely anthropogenic? Yes, because we have anthropogenic forcings that are consistent with this imbalance.

Anyway, I guess what I’m getting at is that there is an argument to be made for not dividing the surface warming into a natural and anthropogenic component, but I can see why it’s done.

2. I also meant to add to my previous comment that there is a new post on Skeptical Science about the significance of the energy imbalance.

3. Rachel says:

There is one thing in that JNG article which I found a bit odd. It’s this bit:

Let’s look at her three-paragraph summary. Paragraph 1:

“Multiple lines of evidence presented in the IPCC AR5 WG1 report suggest that the case for anthropogenic warming is weaker than the previous assessment AR4 in 2007. Anthropogenic global warming is a proposed theory whose basic mechanism is well understood, but whose magnitude is highly uncertain. The growing evidence that climate models are too sensitive to CO2 has implications for the attribution of late 20th century warming and projections of 21st century climate.”

I agree!

Why is he agreeing with that? More specifically, why is he agreeing with her first sentence?

4. Rachel,
I’m not sure why he agrees with the first part. I got the feeling that part of his writing was rhetorical. I think (although I could be wrong) that he was trying to highlight that her statements were – by and large – factually correct, but that her interpretation was flawed (illogical). It almost felt like he was trying to pretend that he was marking a student’s work and giving feedback. So, I think there was an element of tongue-in-cheek involved.

5. JNG appears to agree that some of Prof. Curry’s statements are so vague that they can be generously interpreted as being consistent with the evidence. For instance, JNG points out that “she does not conclude that ECS is overestimated.”

Prof. Curry’s underwhelming response continues to misunderstand ‘most’ to cover a range of 51-95%, which misunderstands the fact that the IPCC’s central estimate of the post-1950 human contribution is ~100%. Hopefully she’ll ponder the implications of JNG’s reasonable range of 51-135%.

I like the separate scientist and public comment threads.

6. Joshua says:

“JNG appears to agree that some of Prof. Curry’s statements are so vague that they can be generously interpreted as being consistent with the evidence. “

Judith tends to avoid making concrete or direct statements, but reading her posts and reading her description of “evidence of decreased climate sensitivity to increases in atmospheric CO2 concentrations.” he is, indeed, being very generous by concluding that: ““she does not conclude that ECS is overestimated.” I thought that was an odd aspect of his post.

7. Tom Curtis says:

Anders, natural variations can effect the energy balance by changing albedo, as you note, but also by increasing water vapour content in the atmosphere, or changing cloud top altitude, both of which modifiy the total greenhouse effect. Further, simple changes in the location of energy can change the energy balance. Specifically, the more even the surface temperature of the Earth, the higher the average temperature must be for a given total energy output. A natural variation that warmed the arctic while cooling mid latitudes by the same amount with no net effect on mean global temperature would decrease the radiation to space, thereby increasing the energy imbalance.

It is known that the maximum effect of ENSO on global temperatures is greater than the area weighted effect tropical Pacific surface temperatures, and is lagged with respect to the tropical Pacific surface temperatures. It follows that it must be influencing temperatures on other parts of the globe by these means, and hence must also have some effect on the energy balance.

8. Tom Curtis says:

Rachel, John N-G disagrees with the first sentence. That, after all, is the point of his article. He agrees with the next two sentences but quotes the first sentence to avoid quoting out of context. I do not think there can be much doubt that the second sentence is true. The basic mechanism is well understood, and an uncertainty of plus or minus 50% of the expected effect is large. Further, there is growing evidence that the current generation of climate models are too sensitive. They over predict ENSO, TSI, and VEI adjusted short term temperature trends by 18% (AR4) or 35% (AR5). That indicates their TCR is too high, and possibly also their ECS; or that possibly that they have got the forcings wrong.

9. Anders and others,

I asked NG by email if we was being rhetorical in his agreement. He was not. He and Judy agrees on (much of) the evidence, and perhaps also the counterfactuals, at least insofar as to what is relevant for what he wanted to discuss.

Hope this helps,

w

10. Oh, and he also promised to discuss sensitivity next month.

So stay tuned for another episode of Climateball ™!

11. Mircea says:

Hi,

ATTP you say:
“If the average of these two trends is anthropogenic, then the total anthropogenic contribution is 0.106×4.7 = 0.498oC. This is virtually 100% of the warming. What am I missing here?”

Well… the 0.106 per decade that represents 100% anthropogenic warming is aprox 62% of the 0.171 warming per decade 1975 – 1998. If one plays with the tolerances then it can get that 100% anthropogenic warming is under 50% of total warming. This is Judith argument, if I understand it correctly, against the 95% confidence.

Am I wrong ?

Mircea

12. Mircea says:

ATTP you say:
“The ocean heat content data tells us that we’ve had an energy imbalance since at least 1970. Hence, we’ve been gaining more energy than we’ve been losing. To close this energy imbalance, the surface temperature has to rise (basic physics). So, in some sense, it doesn’t really matter what process produces the surface temperature warming..” –

I think that you probably are in error here: There is no energy imbalance unless one applies the standard model computations and there is no need for surface to increase in temperature outside the standard model. A model based on different mechanisms (clouds for example) can resolve this “energy imbalance” without any increase in surface temperatures. For such a model the OHC increase is just another energy flow path.
Therefore, what process produces the surface temperature is essential for explanation and prediction. You are actually saying it a little bit lower when you write “Of course, the bigger question is; why do we have an energy imbalance? Could that be because of natural variability? Well unless that has somehow acted to change the Earth’s albedo then no.” I probably could invent another 100 physically plausible and logically consistent mechanisms (if they are true or not is another issue).

Mircea

13. There is no energy imbalance unless one applies the standard model computations and there is no need for surface to increase in temperature outside the standard model. A model based on different mechanisms (clouds for example) can resolve this “energy imbalance” without any increase in surface temperatures.

If surface temperatures didn’t increase after applying a radiative forcing (because of clouds for example) that means negative feedback exactly cancels the forcing. This implies that climate sensitivity to that forcing would be exactly zero. If true for all forcings, this would imply that the paleoclimate should exhibit no forced natural variability. This is not the case.

14. t_p_hamilton says:

Mircea, the energy imbalance is inferred from heat observations, not models. The models predict the imbalance, correct prediction being a rather strong support for models.

15. Mircea says:

Hi t_p_hamilton,

“the models predict the imbalance” – well … only the standard model models (i.e. the ones that incorporate the CO2 impacts as per what we very well know) predict this type of “energy flow” as an “imbalance”. If we create a different model (for example one that varies the albedo) then this type of “energy flow” is not an “imbalance” anymore but a “energy flow path”. As you see what type of model one uses matters of what type of explanation and prediction results.

This was my point in my previous post. ATTP said that “it doesn’t really matter what process produces the surface temperature warming..”

Mircea

16. Mircea says:

Hi DS,

But why should same forcing act now and during the period that creates the “paleoclimate”? Now we are talking about 50 – 100 years, then I think we are talking about 1000s of years. You see… Now it happens that the standard model explains both (more or less satisfactory) but for a theory to be physically plausible and logically consistent this is not a requirement. But I am still thinking about this subject. Is there a way to show that in light of observations only one logically consistent theory is possible? Interesting, but maybe OOT here.

Mircea

17. The Sun’s variable output shines on Earth now, and also did so in the paleoclimate. CO2 varies now, and also did so in the paleoclimate. The last 65 million years of observations rule out a climate sensitivity of zero. The long-term surface warming from radiative forcings has never been zero, not over the millions of years in the paleoclimate record.

18. Mircea says:

DS,

Yes, as I said, the standard model explains both events using same forcing. However, explaining both events using same forcing or same phenomena is not a requirement for a climate theory to be valid. My assertion is that using same observations one can build different logically consistent theories (the ones that have also same predictions are called equivalent). In these cases past observations and pure logic cannot decide which theory is true or not. Only new observations will show which one survives. There are cases when it is impossible to decide which one is true and as such we apply the Occam razor.

Do I make sense in what I am saying?

Mircea

19. No. Sorry for bothering you. Have a nice day.

20. Mircea says:

DS

Yes, it can get very confusing and practical conclusions are not at all clear. Nice talking with you!

Mircea

21. Tom,
Indeed, you’re quite right, there are other ways that natural influences could produce/change the energy imbalance. I guess, however, that not only do we have no real evidence that this is what is producing the imbalance, you then also have to explain what’s happened to the anthropogenic forcings.

Mircea,

Well… the 0.106 per decade that represents 100% anthropogenic warming is aprox 62% of the 0.171 warming per decade 1975 – 1998. If one plays with the tolerances then it can get that 100% anthropogenic warming is under 50% of total warming. This is Judith argument, if I understand it correctly, against the 95% confidence.

But Judith said that if the hiatus continues for 10 years you can’t get anthropogenic contributing more than 75%. As far as I can see, I can easily get more than 75% – as I showed.

I’m not sure what you were getting at with the energy imbalance argument. It’s existence is expected from radiative physics but is inferred from observations.

22. Marco says:

Looks like she just repeated her interpretation of the Kosaka & Xie paper, in which she made the same type of argument. Of course, she then ignored the comments from Kosaka (or was it Xie?) explaining how she was wrong. John NG also tried to explain how she was wrong.

Looks like Curry is slowly becoming serially wrong in her understanding, see also Tamino’s latest on sea level rise and Curry’s failure to understand what the IPCC is actually saying.

23. Mircea says:

Attp,
After reading again your post I see clearly were I was wrong in my previous comment. Of course once one removes the natural variability then all it remains is 100% anthropogenic warming, as such the 95% confidence is correct.
This is a classisc exemple of how wrong one can understand a text when he has a preconceived idea. I finally undertood exactly this issue.
Thanks,
Mircea

24. verytallguy says:

DumbScientist

The last 65 million years of observations rule out a climate sensitivity of zero.

If climate sensitivity were zero, we could turn off the sun and maintain our current climate. Mind you, at this time of year in the UK climate it feels as though it has been turned off for weeks, so maybe zero isn’t entirely inconsistent with the evidence. 🙂

On topic, JNGs final paragraph in his response to Dr Curry’s response seems to be a good summary and hard to argue with

N-G: The final total, as I see it: One error of fact (the IPCC’s best estimate for anthropogenic contribution is ~100%, not <95%), one error of logic (double-counting evidence that the IPCC has already included), and one case of the answer being different because the question is different (1951-2010 vs. 1975-2013).

I really don’t understand Dr Curry’s response to that

This kind of argument, where anthropogenic contribution is argued to exceed 100%, seems senseless to me

Why is it senseless to consider that natural variation might be net positive over a period rather than net negative? I’m bemused.

25. N-G argues that this includes up to 100%, and that the AR5 states its best estimate is 100% for the natural contribution. If this were true, why did the AR5 not say ‘virtually all’ rather than more than 50%?

Because despite some ironic accusations, the IPCC acknowledges uncertainty. This is just a rerun of Prof. Curry’s 2011 performance, when she first wrongly claimed that the IPCC’s attribution statement has a 95% cap. Can we please stop playing Groundhog Day?

26. Presumably above she meant to say “0% for the natural contribution” as John N-G did.

27. BBD says:

DS

Can we please stop playing Groundhog Day?

But then the contrarians would have nothing left to offer and we’d all have to pack up the kit and go to the pub.

28. DumbSci,
Yes, that’s how I understand it. The extremely likely is a 95 – 100% confidence interval. So, the IPCC are accepting a level of uncertainty. Also, as you point out in an earlier comment, the IPCC’s best estimate is something close to 100% of the warming since 1950 being anthropogenic. So, Judith’s 44% range was simply made up – as far as I can tell. In fact, if you simply look at the IPCC’s attribution figure, one can read off their estimate for the anthropogenic contribution, which is something like a 95% chance of it providing between 85% and 120% of the warming since 1950 (I eyeballed that, so don’t take these numbers as exact). So, nowhere near Judith’s 51-95% that she argues gives her a 44% range to work with.

29. BBD,

we’d all have to pack up the kit and go to the pub.

Now, there’s an idea – and it’s Friday too!

30. > Only new observations will show which one survives.

It’s even worse than that, Mircea:

A version of underdetermination that might threaten realism would thus assert that our postulated complete global theory of the world will have empirically equivalent alternatives with no translation from one to the other being possible, i.e. that we cannot obtain one from the other by reconstruing the predicates of the theory. Quine comments: “This, for me, is an open question” (1975a, 327). Much of his subsequent discussion of underdetermination takes place in terms of the weaker idea that our theory might have empirically equivalent alternatives such that “we would see no way of reconciling [them] by reconstrual of predicates” (loc. cit, emphasis added; cf. also 1990, 97).

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/quine/#UndTheEviIndTra

The fact that we could build an alternative theory of climate that would be logically equivalent to it may have more import in theory than in practice. Unless, of course, we consider Climateball ™ as being a practical endeavour.

That we could does not suggest that we do have an alternate theory, let alone an equivalent one. But I’m willing to be surprised, Mircea. What equivalent alternative to AGW do you have in mind?

31. Bonza says:

attp

Shouldn’t the calculation be .106×4.8 instead of .106×4.7?

Bonza

32. Bonza,
Indeed, it should. So more than 100% could be anthropogenic (0.51 of the 0.5) 🙂

33. izen says:

While Dr Judith Curry’s defensive of her position on how much of the measured warming could be natural/human seems to miss the point of john N-G’s arguement, the subsequent discussion is… odd.

The idea that natural cycles are thermodynamically neutral by definition is ignored, and even longer natural cycles are proposed as a solution to the neutrality of a 60yr cycle having an effect on a trend caused by a forced energy imbalance. Despite the paucity of evidence for such cycles and the general observation that the longer the cycle the slower and smaller any changes.
The recovery from the LIA is quoted as an example of a natural variation that is not zero-sum in terms of energy, conveniently ignoring the fact that the LIA and the recovery from it are not considered to be natural variations, but due to changes in forcings. {sun output and volcanoes}

Perhaps I am just forgetting how wilfully myopic such denialist blogs can be, but the use of ‘natural variation’ as a putative explanation when it is only ever a first order description is a common and frequent meme in the denialsphere.

It certainly seems to require willful myopia to refuse to accept that a natural variation may briefly negate an external forcing causing an energy imbalance, or at least negate the air surface temperature component while amplifying the ocean heat sequestration element.

34. Joshua says:

izen –

“The idea that natural cycles are thermodynamically neutral by definition is ignored,…”

Just to clarify – It seems to me that your comment indicates that you consider it a given that natural cycles don’t have residual or follow-on effects that cumulatively might contribute to trends on top of what is directly attributable to the effects of the cycles themselves.

Is that a fair reading? If it is, why would that be a given?

The whole thing seems beyond “odd” to me. I mean we have a lengthy discussion about how much warming has been caused by CO2 which takes into consideration just about every conceivable influence on the climate – the sun, ENSO, volcanoes, PDO, AMO, etc. Except the actual well established and observed radiative forcing effect of CO2 itself.

36. izen,
Yes, I don’t understand some people’s arguments regarding natural variability. It seems that they don’t recognise that to get long-term warming you need some kind of energy imbalance. Some kind of natural variability in the heating of the surface can’t produce a 0.85oC increase in surface temperature over a century timescale because the heat content of the land and atmosphere is so low that if you push the temperature above equilibrium it should lose the excess quickly. Also, as I worked out a while ago, if we were – by chance – to be 1 degree below equilibrium in 1880, we should have returned to equilibrium by about 1940.

So, the only other possibility (that noone who suggests it’s natural variability ever seems to present) is that natural variability has to somehow produced an energy imbalance. Firstly, you’d have to explain what cancelled the anthropogenic forcing. Also, there’s no real evidence for this. As Tom mentions, there are possibilities. Natural variability could increase water vapour concentrations which could then produce a feedback. The issue I have with this is that we have an annual variation in WV forcing of around 14 Wm-2 (I think) so if a large El Niño can increase surface temperatures enough to trigger a WV feedback response, why does it not happen simply because of the annual variation anyway. Natural variability could change the albedo, but I don’t believe there’s any evidence that natural variability has done so.

So, as far as I can tell those who promote natural variability are (knowingly or not) basically appealing to magic.

37. Andrew,

Except the actual well established and observed radiative forcing effect of CO2 itself.

Indeed, if it’s not causing warming, what’s it doing?

38. Joshua,

Just to clarify – It seems to me that your comment indicates that you consider it a given that natural cycles don’t have residual or follow-on effects that cumulatively might contribute to trends on top of what is directly attributable to the effects of the cycles themselves.

I tried to answer that in my response to izen, but I’ll do a bit more. They could is the basic answer. One issue is that we don’t really have convincing evidence for unforced variability in the past. I don’t know if you followed the discussion with Science of Doom. That was about forced versus unforced variability and that we don’t know precisely what triggers the climate variations associated with the Milankovitch cycles. The timing seems to coincide with orbital variations, but we haven’t shown precisely what change in forcing drives the climate variations. So, if one could show – for example – that it wasn’t forced, then that would be interesting. However, not being able to show what forced it doesn’t mean that it was unforced. So, it appears that most past climate changes have been forced rather than unforced, but we can’t rule out that some variations were unforced (some kind of natural variation).

If we consider what’s happening today, well natural variability could somehow melt polar ice and change the albedo; it could increase surface temperatures and produce a rise in water vapour that then produces a feedback. However, I don’t think we have evidence for a significant change in albedo because of natural variability (and it doesn’t appear to have happened before). On an annual basis the global temperature varies by a few degrees (the two hemispheres are not identical) and produces quite a substantial change in water vapour. If that doesn’t feedback and produce long-term warming why would it do so after an El Niño produces 0.2oC of warming.

Also, if you want it to be natural, you have to explain why at the same time as feedbacks to natural variability produce warming, other feedbacks are cancelling the anthropogenic forcings. The bottom line is that it’s perfectly reasonable that natural variability can produce variability in the surface temperature trend, but it’s very hard to see how it can be responsible for the long-term trend. That’s why the IPCC are extremely confident that most (if not all) of the warming since 1950 has been anthropopgenic.

Hopefully I got most of that right, but I think that’s the general idea.

39. Joshua,
I guess there is an alternative way to look at what you’ve asked. Let’s say we have a 1 Wm-2 energy imbalance. In the absence of feedbacks, a surface temperature rise of 0.3oC would cancel that imbalance. So, a large El Niño could provide that warming. At the instant it’s done so, the energy imbalance is gone. The globe is 0.3oC warmer and in energy balance. However, because it’s slightly warmer we’d expect an increase in atmospheric water vapour which will then produce a new energy imbalance (through it’s radiative forcing). Now, is that a consequence of natural variability? If the original energy imbalance is because of anthropogenic forcings, then I would argue that natural variability has simply been the mechanism for producing the surface warming, but the fact that we’re warmer is entirely anthropogenic. So, natural variability has contributed to the surface warming, but the reason we have a long-term trend is entirely anthropogenic. Others may have different views though and maybe this is an illustration of why this is a complicated topic.

40. Joshua says:

Anders –

Thanks.

41. izen says:

@- Joshua says:
January 24, 2014 at 3:09 pm
izen –

“The idea that natural cycles are thermodynamically neutral by definition is ignored,…”

Just to clarify – It seems to me that your comment indicates that you consider it a given that natural cycles don’t have residual or follow-on effects that cumulatively might contribute to trends on top of what is directly attributable to the effects of the cycles themselves.

Is that a fair reading? If it is, why would that be a given?

=========
ATTP has given good reasons, but I will repost the explanation I gave at Climate Etc –

The reason why natural cycles are assumed to be neutral in their effect on the climate over the full cycle length is that during the cooling phase the outgoing emissivity will drop so that there is a TOA energy imbalance with more energy entering than leaving.
During a warming phase outgoing emissivity will increase because it ia proportional to the 4th power of temperature and there will be a TOA energy imbalance with more energy leaving than incoming.

So the inherent thermodynamics define natural variation as neutral in energy terms. It requires a change in a forcing, solar output or GHG concentration or albedo to alter the climate with a change in energy content.
—————————-
I suppose you could claim that a natural {internal} variation could change a forcing factor, warming causing CO2 rise and ice melt changing albedo. But then it is a natural variation causing a measurable forcing and altering the energy balance indirectly, NOT as a direct effect of the change in ocean circulation or whatever the source of the natural variation may be.

It is the sign and magnitude of the TOA energy imbalance that defines weather something is a natural variation when the energy imbalance opposes the temperature shift, or weather it is an external forcing that creates an energy imbalance that drives the temperature shift.

42. Joshua says:

Also –

Related (but less detailed) is the discussion between Lulu and JN-G over at his blog:

http://climatechangenationalforum.org/your-logic-escapes-me-by-john-nielsen-gammon/

43. AnOilMan says:

Meanwhile Monsanto is betting on Climate Change and profiting from it.

Or maybe Judith thinks its those wild and whacky insurance guys blowing money after one too many crazy parties. “Find out next week on Insurance Salesmen Gone Wild.”

The simple fact is that we are now paying for climate change, and its not something to keep pretending isn’t happening. I think the onus is actually on these so called skeptics to actually prove the existing science is wrong, and not invent fantasy math and put on rose coloured glasses.

A hiatus in global warming is indeed very very bad. If all this was some sort of natural cycle, temperatures MUST go down. Holding still (assuming that is happening) given what we know of the physics is incredibly bad.

44. Joshua says:

A follow-on question (again, excuse the ignorance).

So one key concept here is that a natural variation cycle might be influenced by some change in the overall energy balance, but cannot create or change the ratio of the overall energy balance,, and ultimately “global warmth” or “global cooling” can only be a result of a factor that alters the overall energy balance?

45. Rachel says:

OilMan,
I read an article in the NYTimes this morning which said that industry was starting to see the costs of climate change already – http://nyti.ms/1eHO4tM

46. BBD says:

Joshua

Yes, because energy is conserved (see ATTP; Izen). You need a sustained radiative imbalance (aka forcing) to produce a sustained warming or cooling trend.

47. BBD says:

Sorry: “a sustained radiative imbalance (aka forcing change)”

48. Joshua says:

izen –

“But then it is a natural variation causing a measurable forcing and altering the energy balance indirectly, NOT as a direct effect of the change in ocean circulation or whatever the source of the natural variation may be.”

OK, since no one has ridiculed me yet, I will continue – with a full understanding that anything I write is more likely nonsense or an outgrowth of poor understanding than an accurate description of Judith’s arguments, and it’s kind of silly for me to be trying to express in my own words concepts that are so complex and require so much technical expertise.

So then, to speculate about an association of a natural variation cycle with an alteration of the energy balance is not particularly meaningful w/o a discussion of the mechanics that fill in the indirect effect (I think I’m on safe ground since I’ve read a number of smart people make that argument) – hence much of the criticism of Judith’s argument about stadium waves mixed with her argument about the “hiatus in global warming” which seems to suggest:

stadium wave ====> “hiatus in global warming”

So what seems to me missing there is the explanation for a change in energy balance, i.e., it looks like “putting the cart before the horse” in a way that suggests confirming a bias (although it could simply be looking for an explanation of a supposed discrepancy between model projections and observations). The best I can get from her argument is:

ACO2 caused alteration of albedo? ====> stadium wave ====> “hiatus in global warming”

except the timing wouldn’t work out given the time frame she provides for her stadium wave.

49. Joshua,
I think the stadium wave may even be simpler than that. For example, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) appears to have a period of around 60 years. For 20 – 30 years, the Pacific surface stays quite cold. The oceans absorb a larger fraction of the excess, and the surface temperatures rise slowly. Then we move into a phase where the Pacific surface is warm. The oceans absorb less of the excess and the surface warms faster than normal.

So, we could have some natural variability that varies how the excess energy is distributed throughout the climate system (oceans/atmosphere) and produces periods (decades) of slower than normal warming and then periods (decades) of faster than normal warming.

Now, I don’t know if that is what’s happening. It’s just a possible explanation for how one could superimpose variability onto a long-term warming trend.

50. Joshua says:

One more thing – just read this comment at Judith’s:

stevepostrel | January 23, 2014 at 9:09 pm |

Natural cycles seem unlikely to leave the planet’s albedo unchanged, so the energy conservation arguments here are overdrawn.

Which would suggest:

stadium wave ====> change in albedo ====> alteration of energy balance ====> “hiatus in global warming”

Looks like what’s missing there is evidence to prove: (1) change in albedo, (2) mechanistic explanation for how the stadium wave would alter albedo, (3) explanation for other possible (observed or theoretical) effects of an energy imbalance that “skeptics” supposedly accept as a basic principle of the physics of the GHE.

I should probably stop now…don’t want to be too much of a distraction.

51. Joshua says:

“Now, I don’t know if that is what’s happening. It’s just a possible explanation for how one could superimpose variability onto a long-term warming trend”

Which leaves us back at AA’s 3:13 PM post?

52. Joshua,
It’s interesting that someone has actually made that link. But, as you say, I’m not sure that there’s any real evidence to support a change in albedo (or – at least – a significant one). Also, considering our past climate history would seem to indicate that we’re not sensitive to short term natural variability and maybe not particularly sensitive to natural variability at all (there might be some periods that are unforced but I don’t know how strong the evidence is for that).

53. dana1981 says:

Personally I didn’t think John N-G’s post was good. The logical argument basis of it was good, but in the process he “agreed” with a bunch of incorrect statements that Curry had made on issues like climate sensitivity. Most of her points were wrong, and yet he agreed with all except the illogical conclusion.

If you could delete all the points where he agreed with Curry’s erroneous statements, then it would have been a good post.

54. Dana,
I had thought that he was being a bit rhetorical. As I think we’ve both mentioned, Judith seems to make a bunch of statements that could well be regarded as factually correct but then draws conclusions that aren’t really what these “facts” are indicating. So, I had thought that John N-G was trying to highlight how one could make a series of factually correct statements but then draw conclusions that don’t make sense (illogical).

Willard seems to be suggesting that he wasn’t doing this and that he actually does agree more strongly with what Judith was saying than I had at first thought. If so, you may have a point about the article not really being all that good.

55. dana1981 says:

If he had said “let’s assume for the sake of argument that these points are correct”, that would have been fine. But he specifically agreed with them, and some of them weren’t just vague enough to be technically correct, they were flat-out wrong. I cringed several times reading the Curry quotes that John N-G “agreed” on.

Moreover, in her subsequent blog post, Curry (predictably) pointed out 3 separate times that John N-G was agreeing with essentially all of the points she made (sans the illogical conclusion), and I believe he confirmed that agreement in an update to his post.

Even if the agreement were rhetorical, it certainly gave the impression that he was agreeing with her incorrect points, which would also be problematic. So in any case, I didn’t like the post (though again, the primary logical argument was good).

56. > Willard seems to be suggesting that he wasn’t doing this and that he actually does agree more strongly with what Judith was saying than I had at first thought.

What I’m also suggesting is that if you attack a non sequitur, you don’t even need to dispute the premises.

Also note that most of Judy’s premises are themselves counterfactuals. These look trivially true to me. Insofar we agree upon the paradoxes of material implication, of course:

Let’s be more concrete and take what can be the most contentious statement:

The growing evidence that climate models are too sensitive to CO2 has implications for the attribution of late 20th century warming and projections of 21st century climate.

http://climatechangenationalforum.org/your-logic-escapes-me-by-john-nielsen-gammon

Who could ever disagree with this? Anything can have implications. This claim is so general as to be trivial. Even denying that there’s a growing evidence &c. does not prevent the statement to be true.

Just like this other example:

If the recent warming hiatus is caused by natural variability, then this raises the question as to what extent the warming between 1975 and 2000 can also be explained by natural climate variability.

NG does not need to agree about the plausibility of the if part to agree on the if, then. He does not need to discuss the cause of da paws. From false premises, one can infer about anything.

* * *

I don’t think it is wise to always play for the shutout. Winning by one goal is enough.

57. Joshua says:

willard –

Who could ever disagree with this? Anything can have implications. This claim is so general as to be trivial. Even denying that there’s a growing evidence &c. does not prevent the statement to be true.

What I find interesting is John’s statement here:

In her written testimony, she does not conclude that ECS is overestimated, just that the IPCC has lowered the lower end of its range and that there’s a sizable difference between observation-based and model-based estimates.

The growing evidence that climate models are too sensitive to CO2 has implications for the attribution of late 20th century warming and projections of 21st century climate.

With an prejudice. Good for him. From what I have seen, it seems to me that he is wrong about that – in which case it would be interesting to see if he “agrees” with Judith (that ECS is over-estimated)….

Of course, Judith tends to avoid making statements on issues like those that can be clearly interpreted – but it certainly seems that she thinks that ECS is over-estimated. But the Mr. Monster can be a tricky dude. Uncertain T. can be quite the shape-shifter.

58. Joshua says:

Sorry – that should read “Without any prejudice. Good for him..”

59. Joshua says:

Anders –

See my 7:49. He agrees with what Judith is saying, predicated on the interpretation that what she is saying does not imply a belief on her part that “ECS is overestimated.”

It is an interpretation on his part that I find confusing, but with that consideration, would you still think that agreement with Judith on that particular issue would mean “the article not really being all that good.”

60. dana1981 says:

The problem with this statement:

“The growing evidence that climate models are too sensitive to CO2 has implications for the attribution of late 20th century warming and projections of 21st century climate.

Is that it’s based on a false premise (the ‘growing evidence’ claim). I don’t think you can agree with this statement without agreeing with the false premise. If there were growing evidence that ECS is low, then yes, that would have implications for warming projections and possibly for attribution. But the premise isn’t true, so agreeing with the statement is a mistake without expressing the caveat that it’s based on a false premise.

At least John N-G makes a statement that indicates he doesn’t agree ECS is low (though I think Curry believes it is, based on the aforementioned false premise), but at best this exchange is very confusing and detracts from the main logical argument.

61. ­> I cringed several times reading the Curry quotes that John N-G “agreed” on.

My next comments will be less diplomatic.

62. dana1981 says:

“My next comments will be less diplomatic.”

That would be an impressive feat of dickishness!

63. Joshua,

I think the most important sentence to see how NG reads Judy is this one:

I do disagree here that a “very substantial reconsideration” will be needed. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. It all depends on the cause of the hiatus.

NG only needs to follow Judy’s reasoning to see the logical gap that leads to her “reconsideration”. This suffices to show that Judy might be rooting a bit too soon for Mr. T’s score. There’s nothing much to do: her jumping to conclusions regarding that matter tells everything one needs to read.

NG’s approach is wise. First, you see if the inference works. If it does not, you stop.

To always go “all in” is uneconomical. Let’s not forget that in two days from now, give a day or two, we’ll have another round of Climateball ™.

64. dana1981 says:

I should add that there are several prominent climate scientists who agree with me, so tread carefully before making those “less diplomatic” comments.

65. Thank you for playing, Dana.

66. I’ve just had a pleasant evening out with the family. Maybe we could all avoid spoiling it (although, I’m likely to go to bed, so won’t know till tomorrow morning if you choose to do so 🙂 )

67. Joshua says:

Are you sure you want to go to bed? Don’t forget, someone might be wrong on the Internet.

http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/386:_Duty_Calls

68. Joshua says:

Heh. I never saw the “title text” before:

What do you want me to do? LEAVE? Then they’ll keep being wrong!

Even better than the cartoon.

69. Tom Curtis says:

Willard:

The growing evidence that climate models are too sensitive to CO2 has implications for the attribution of late 20th century warming and projections of 21st century climate.

has the form:

There is growing evidence that climate models are too sensitive to CO2;
AND
FOR SOME proposition A, such that A is a proposition about attribution of late 20th century warming and projections of 21st century climate, climate models are too sensitive to CO2 implies A, OR climate models are too sensitive to CO2 implies NOT A

(Logical operators and variable capitalized.)

I do not think implication in normal language is material implication, so it is unfair to say the second conjunct is a tautology, but it certainly has minimal information content. I would parse it as:

Climate sensitivity is relevant to attribution and projection.

I doubt anybody here considers that untrue.

The first clause of Curry’s sentence, however, is most definitely a conjunct, not the antecedent of a conditional. If it is false, as is claimed by Dana, then the entire sentence is false. You are mistaken, in other words, in claiming that:

“Even denying that there’s a growing evidence &c. does not prevent the statement to be true.”

Dana: “evidence” is a slippery term. X is evidence of Y iff X being true makes it more probable that Y is true. Given that, Foster and Rahmstorf is evidence that climate models have too high a climate sensitivity given that their adjusted trends are around 0.17 C/decade, compared to 0.2 C/decade (AR4) and 0.23 C/decade (AR5). That is evidence that model climate sensitivity is too high. So also is the reduced short term trend in global mean surface temperatures, in that it results in certain sorts of studies returning lower values in climate sensitivity.

The trick is, at the same time you are making observations that make it more probable that P, you can be making other, even more, observations that make it more probable that NOT P. Thus every day billions of people see the Sun in apparent motion around the Earth. That is growing evidence of geocentrism. At the same time, those same people are making even more observations that are growing evidence that geocentrism is false. Consequently, the balance of evidence that geocentrism is false grows even as the total quantity of evidence that geocentrism is true grows. That is, while the amount of individual, cherry pickable evidence that geocentrism is true continues to grow, the total evidence continues to make geocentrism overwhelmingly improbable, and more so each day.

Interpreted literally, therefore, Curry’s first clause is hardly objectionable because it says virtually nothing. Of course, we expect statements to not just be true, but also relevant. Consequently we tend to interpret statements like Curry’s as meaning that there is a growing balance of evidence that climate model sensitivities are too high. Even that is likely true. If we accept AR5 as correctly balancing the relevant evidence, it must be true in that the lower bound of climate sensitivity has been reduced, and the IPCC no longer considers the PDF of climate sensitivity to have a log normal function (which reduces the mean even with no adjustment to the range). However, growing evidence is not conclusive evidence. A climate sensitivity of 4.5 C per doubling of CO2 is still entirely consistent with the IPCC conclusions, even though very high relative to model values.

70. > If it is false, as is claimed by Dana, then the entire sentence is false.

Balderdash. The sentence is of the same form as “The King of France is bald”:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definite_description

71. > it is unfair to say the second conjunct is a tautology

That’s not what I’m saying either, Tom. What I’m saying is that what Judy’s proposition needs to be parsed as a whole first, and that Dana gets hypnotized by the first part of the conjunct and then conflates it with the whole proposition, which looks trivial to me. And notice: trivial, not tautological.

Look. I can understand that what Judy says is infuriating, but let us take the time to read what is written, e.g.

There is a growing evidence that climate models are too sensitive.

All the claim says is that we have more evidence than before that some models have a CS that is so far a bit overpessimistic if we take this very evidence into account. To make Judy’s claim true, all you need is more evidence, more models, or a combination of both. Is this true?

Nevermind what this could imply. If does not even imply we should lower our overall estimate. It is quite possible to have more models that are too sensitive, and yet the most plausible ballpark could be around what we have. The growing evidence may not compelling, overwhelming, or relevant enough or else to lower our CS estimates.

All Judy needs is that some evidence grows for her bandwagon effect to work. There’s nothing one can do about that. This is par for the course.

***

Going for Climateballers’ throat without paying due diligence to what is being said only helps escape artists like Dodger Jr. Dana needs to learn from his previous experiences.

The more Dana will react the way he does, the more contrarians will keep pushing his buttons.

72. Tom Curtis says:

Willard, which King of France? They have had several.

“The present King of France is bald” is logically equivalent to:
“France currently has a king” AND “That king is bald”.
It is, therefore, false simpliciter because one of its two conjuncts is false.

I will (indirectly) cite no less an authority on this than Russell, who even you will not charge with not knowing his logic.

On that basis, I must agree that Curry’s claim has the same form (ie, is a conjunction of several propositions) as does “The present King of France is bald.” However, the correct conclusion is that Curry’s sentence is true if both conjuncts are true, and otherwise is false.

Going further, even if you are a Fregian, the first clause fails to refer only if there is no “growing evidence that climate models are too sensitive to CO2”. If you are claiming that, you are in agreement with Dana, but wrong as my analysis above shows.

73. Tom Curtis says:

Willard, we crossed.

“Trivial” is sometimes used for “tautological” and the statement is tautological if we treat implication as material implication, which you had just referred to. I therefore thought it better to cover all bases rather than assume you were not saying it was tautological. I did not, I think, actually say you believed that. My phrasing was poor, however, and could be so interpreted. Sorry for that, and thanks for the clarification.

“All the claim says is that we have more evidence than before that some models have a CS that is so far a bit overpessimistic if we take this very evidence into account. To make Judy’s claim true, all you need is more evidence, more models, or a combination of both. Is this true?

Nevermind what this could imply. If does not even imply we should lower our overall estimate. It is quite possible to have more models that are too sensitive, and yet the most plausible ballpark could be around what we have. The growing evidence may not compelling, overwhelming, or relevant enough or else to lower our CS estimates.”

Exactly. Could not agree more, and indeed said as much (if in more words) to Dana above.

74. > “The present King of France is bald” is logically equivalent to: “France currently has a king” AND “That king is bald”.

Some might interpret it as meaning

(1) IF France currently has a king THEN that king is bald,

which is falsified only if the antecedent is true and the consequent false.

We can convert that implication into a conjunction:

(2) It is NOT the case that France has a king AND he’s not bald.

In other words, to invalidate Judy’s claim, what Dana would need to show is that there’s a growing evidence of models that run too hot which has no implication whatsoever for warming projections and possibly for attribution. Refusing the antecedent only leads to a stand-off: it’s Judy’s interpretation against Dana’s and his pocket climatologists.

Since there is a trivial interpretation of “there is growing evidence”, as me and Tom independently discovered, Dana and his pocket climatologists are bound to lose.

***

Under Frege’s analysis, my defense falters as the truth of the antecedent is presupposed, which I tried to prevent, as it leads to gaps in truth value. If we’re Fregean, we could say that Judy’s claim is meaningless, insofar as its antedecent does not refer to anything. But then again, the argument does not get settled, unless a failure to communicate could satisfy anybody.

So I’d rather assume that the antecedent applies trivially: it is after all the best to dogwhistle.

75. Tom Curtis says:

Willard, some people may interpret all manner of things, but I think the interpretation is strained. Allowing the interpretation to stand, however, and clarifying scope as:

(2) It is NOT the case that BOTH France has a king AND that king is not bald.

I then agree with the rest of what you write.

76. Rachel says:

Three logicians walk into a bar. The bartender says, “Do you all want beer?”. The first logician says, “I don’t know”; the second says, “I don’t know” and the third says, “Yes”.

77. Tom Curtis says:

Thank you for that, Rachel. Best joke I have seen in a long time.

78. Rachel says:

Thank you, Tom and Willard for the fascinating discussion.

79. Thanks, Tom. Nevertheless, my point goes beyond my interpretation of “has implications”. It seems to me that it is a basic strategical point, without which nobody ever survived philosophy seminars.

My main point is this: Judy’s claims on which NG agreed could be interpreted in many ways. Before claiming any of them is false, we ought to make sure that ALL those who are available to her are ALL invalidated before we start to hurl monkey wrenches at her. (In other words, you have to build a semantical argument.) That’s the only way to make sure Judy can’t come back with “oh, but I meant this interpretation I”, which is quite trivial.

Think about it: what is it to “grow” and which “implications”? We may have a good idea of what she means by this, e.g. she may be channeling Nic Lewis, but we don’t know. What is implicated is not spelled out.

Faced with such an underdetermined claim in a seminar, you have a few choices. You dismiss it out of hand, in which case the conversation stops. You try to find a minimal interpretation which is agreeable for everyone. You add to this minimal interpretation until you find a breaking point, i.e. you underpin where parties disagree.

The latter choice takes lots of time. Is it worth it for such trivial claims?

* * *

Last time Dana tried to hurl monkey wrenches with our artful Dodger, the latter escaped. I have yet to see anyone escape from NG’s grasp. Even Senior could not:

> The other issue you raise, the relative importance of other anthropogenic effects, does not argue against the hypothesis I stated, and neither does the Pielke et al. (2009) Eos article.

http://blog.chron.com/climateabyss/2011/08/roger-pielke-jr-s-inkblot/

I’m just quoting a move I found neat: it shows how Senior’s squirrels did not impress NG.

* * *

NG is a formal guy. We should beware arguing with formal guys. Dana ought to know better than bluff his way out with pocket climatologists. I only need to play with NG on the table, and my getting tired of bloggers with attitudes.

80. Joshua says:

willard –

I think the most important sentence to see how NG reads Judy is this one:

I do disagree here that a “very substantial reconsideration” will be needed. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. It all depends on the cause of the hiatus.

Well, certainly that is the most important sentence or understanding NG’s views. Seems that those seeking to understand NG’s views should hold themselves accountable for reconciling that unambiguous statement of ambiguity. Of course, they may also be certain that he is wrong there (i.e., there is no ambiguity), in which case it would be interesting to read their argument.

So then here’s my question – how to reconcile a belief that:

[Judith thinks that] very substantial reconsideration will be needed.

and

[Judith] does not conclude that ECS is overestimated…

81. Willard,

NG is a formal guy. We should beware arguing with formal guys.

Yes, he does seem to be. The exchange with Pielke Sr was quite something, partly for the way John N-G conducted himself but also for the position Sr was taking.

I’ll add my thoughts on this situation. I think we need more people like John N-G. By this I mean people with stature who are able to present and defend an argument and who can do so without it becoming confrontational and who can make it very difficult for others to distract the discussion from the key point.

So, Joshua – I think – was asking if I still thought the recent John N-G article was good. I do, despite what others have said. Why? Because I think he was trying to make the case that Judith’s interpretation about the IPCC attribution was illogical and he did so in a way that forced Judith to respond to that point and not to something else that was less important and which she may have been able to defend because of some alternative – but still plausible – interpretation. So others may disagree with how he did it and may believe that he should have agreed with less, but the article appears to have been effective and made a strong point. I also don’t see any point in being overly critical about the article. I can’t see what that would achieve and would – itself – act to divert away from the main point.

However, I also don’t think everyone can be a John N-G. Not everyone can conduct themselves in that way or have the deep understanding of the field to defend an argument as he seems to be able to do. Also, this is a highly emotive topic and expecting everyone to conduct themselves in the same way is probably silly and assuming that there’s only one way to engage is also probably wrong. We don’t really know what is effective and it’s likely that it all plays a role.

82. Joshua,

The beauty of NG’s “maybe it will, maybe it won’t” move is that it applies to any interpretation Judy could muster about the “reconsiderations” she has in mind. Also notice how NG reflects Judy’s ambiguity without being diverted from the prize, which is the cause of the paws. It seems to be the prize here, as Judy may have some difficulties reconciling Mr. T’s “we don’t know the paws’ cause” with Marcia’s “let’s posit a stadium wave”.

In fact, this is why NG’s argument knock downs Judy’s stance so elegantly: accepting the reality of a stadium wave suffices to show it reinforces the IPCC’s claim she wishes to criticize. Since her testimony used the stadium wave as an argument, it falters on logical grounds alone. Judy’s testimony rests on a non sequitur which cannot escape the evidence that extraneous energy has been added in our climatological system.

Judy should have refrained from moving goal posts in her testimony and in her response to NG. This should be left to her blogging practices, which move from one post to the next. Which is something you often notice.

83. Dear all,

As I need to be afk for a while, I might as well draw the moral of this story.

NG won the argument cleanly. Piling on is unnecessary at this point. It could even be self-defeating. First, it wastes energy for the next Climateball episode, which should soon resurface. Second, it offers Judy a way out, as she now she can reply to many other arguments than NG’s.

The second reason is very important in PR businesses such as Judy’s. She needs to save face. She can do this by replying to a weaker argument, e.g. Dana’s. This helps save face because she replied.

* * *

In a turn-based game, A plays a move and waits for B’s reply. If B has no reply, he loses. In a position where B has a lost position, it would not be advisable for A to risk anything. So A might consider just playing a non-commiting (i.e. “waiting”) move and see what B can do.

So let’s see what Judy can play here. If the discussion moves to another topic, we’ll know who won. Next time the argument resurfaces, all that would be needed is to remind Judy where she left the current game.

84. Let’s add this TL;DR —

If NG plays Spock, let Judy play Kirk:

http://www.khaaan.com/

85. Joshua says:

Anders –

Please understand, I am not trying to trip you up here but to understand…

I’ll add my thoughts on this situation. I think we need more people like John N-G. By this I mean people with stature who are able to present and defend an argument and who can do so without it becoming confrontational and who can make it very difficult for others to distract the discussion from the key point.

So how do you put this together with (what at I think I have seen you describe in the past as) your uncertainty as to whether being confrontational might be the best way to influence those who aren’t fixed in their views?

My thoughts:

If I were made the god of the climate wars, I would ensure that all climate scientists who disagree with Judith should do so in the approach of JN-G rather than in the approach of Michael Mann. (Of course, I don’t think that anyone should be disallowed from disagreeing in whatever manner they think might be best, but if I were the god of the climate wars I would make folks like Michael Mann think that JN-G’s approach is best).

I would also ensure that not only climate scientists, but also warriors in the blogosphere would think it best to engage with a similar approach.

86. Joshua says:

Anders –

Sorry, I have a nasty habit of reading one paragraph and responding before reading the entire post.

So,

Also, this is a highly emotive topic and expecting everyone to conduct themselves in the same way is probably silly and assuming that there’s only one way to engage is also probably wrong. We don’t really know what is effective and it’s likely that it all plays a role.

Yes, expecting everyone to use John’s approach would be silly at two levels: (1) very few have the technical chops and, (2) relatively few have the needed disposition towards debate.

I think we don’t know what would be optimally effective, but: I do think that we know that the “denier” approach is sub-optimal, based on observable evidence – so we have to keep in mind that we are choosing between sub-optimal approaches. What I object most to is when people feel certain in their conclusions that the “denier” approach is most effect when, at least as far as I can tell, there is not evidence sufficient to support that confidence.

87. Joshua,
Yes, if I was the god of climate wars, I would do the same. However, since I’m not, I don’t “know” what’s going to be effective and I can’t see any real point in criticising the tactics of others with the same goals (although, there may be exceptions where this is worth doing). Hence, I think we should consider that other tactics may be effective even if it’s not how we would do it.

Having said that, I am still somewhat confused about this whole topic and that may be reflected in what I’ve written in my various comments 🙂

I was thinking a little about John N-G’s approach when I was out shopping earlier. It is the approach that I think I was aiming for when I started this blog (although I don’t have even a small amount of the stature that I think John N-G has). Even though I don’t think I ever came close to achieving it, I did wonder if I’ve been influenced/pushed in a slightly more adversial/confrontational/activist direction by my various interactions over the past year.

88. Joshua,

Sorry, I have a nasty habit of reading one paragraph and responding before reading the entire post.

I do the same fairly regularly 🙂

89. John N-G says:

Sorry, my ears were tingling.

dana1981 said:

The problem with this statement:

“The growing evidence that climate models are too sensitive to CO2 has implications for the attribution of late 20th century warming and projections of 21st century climate.

Is that it’s based on a false premise (the ‘growing evidence’ claim). I don’t think you can agree with this statement without agreeing with the false premise.

Putting aside the interesting discussions over logic and semantics, Curry herself was challenged on that statement in her own blog. She responded by pointing out that the fact that AR5 lowered the range of ECS from 2.0-4.5 to 1.5-4.5 is prima facie evidence that the IPCC consensus considers that the weight of evidence points more toward lower sensitivity now than seven years ago, and that she did not consider her statement to go beyond the IPCC in this regard.

Given that the CMIP5 models are just as sensitive as the CMIP3 models, I agree that the premise can be derived from the latest IPCC report. Along with Curry and the IPCC, I too consider the premise to be factually correct.

Were I free to frame the statement myself, I would have left off the gratuitous “to CO2”, since there’s NOT evidence that climate models are more wrong with CO2 sensitivity than with sensitivity to any other kind of forcing,

Thanks, Willard, for alerting me to this discussion. I won’t be monitoring it, so contact me directly if another dispute arises over what my words mean, and I’ll be happy to clarify.

90. John N-G says:

P.S. I don’t know if my approach is best either, but it’s a relatively unoccupied niche.

91. John N-G,

Sorry, my ears were tingling.

Yes, I keep forgetting that everyone can read what is written here 🙂

Thanks for the comments and clarifications. I must admit that I’ve only become aware of your writing quite recently and it does appear to be a relatively unoccupied niche. Although I do think other approaches also have value, we may well benefit from more trying your approach. It is, I think, harder than it may seem.

92. Thanks for clarifying, John. AR5 lowered the range of ECS from 2.0-4.5 to 1.5-4.5, which is the same range used in the 1979 Charney and 1990, 1995, 2001 IPCC reports. I don’t think Earth system sensitivity estimates have changed significantly, because paleoclimate.

Perhaps some context could shed some light on the implications of returning to the same ECS range used from 1979-2001. Click through this interactive graph of IPCC projections and ponder the AR4/AR5 comparison that’s described like this: “There is some good news: the new IPCC report suggests that the climate may be slightly less sensitive to carbon than previously thought. Unfortunately that doesn’t help much.”

Trivial implications are still technically implications.

93. Steve Bloom says:

“If I were made the god of the climate wars, I would ensure that all climate scientists who disagree with Judith should do so in the approach of JN-G rather than in the approach of Michael Mann.”

Joshua, this seems gobsmackingly naive. If Judy (along with others of her ilk) had been taking that approach herself, I might agree with you. As they’re engaged in propaganda rather than science, no.

94. Steve,

Joshua, this seems gobsmackingly naive. If Judy (along with others of her ilk) had been taking that approach herself, I might agree with you. As they’re engaged in propaganda rather than science, no.

But how do we know that the other “side” also engaging in propaganda would be effective? That’s what most of the discussion has been about. I, personally, don’t know the answer, but it’s not clear that fighting fire with fire would be effective in this case. I may, of course, be wrong but just because one “side” has a particular tactic doesn’t immediately mean that the other “side” should adopt the same/similar tactic.

95. Steve Bloom says:

Didn’t say that, Anders. My response was to Joshua’s suggestion that *all* scientists who are engaging should take n-g’s approach. Re propaganda, I should be more precise and distinguish between the pro-science and anti-science sorts.

96. Joshua says:

steve –

Joshua, this seems gobsmackingly naive. If Judy (along with others of her ilk) had been taking that approach herself, I might agree with you. As they’re engaged in propaganda rather than science, no.

I don’t think I am naive. What evidence do you have that a “denier” approach is more effective than John’s approach?

First, we have to agree about how we are defining effective.
Then, we have to agree as to a valid metric.
Then, we have to use our metric to assess different approaches.

I am all ears.

97. Steve,

Didn’t say that, Anders

Yes, I accept that my response may have been slightly strawman-like. I agree, all behaving in one way is unlikely to be effective. I would argue that more senior climate scientists engaging as John N-G does would be effective, but I have no evidence to support that assertion. However, as you suggest, that doesn’t mean all should behave that way.

As regards propaganda, I agree that there could be a difference between “propaganda” that is supported by the evidence and “propaganda” that is not.

98. Joshua says:

Let alone gobsmackingly naive.

99. Joshua says:

I agree, all behaving in one way is unlikely to be effective.

As opposed to what?

Look, it’s kind of a silly convo ’cause it ain’t happening – but would all climate scientists adopting John’s approach be more unlikely to be affective than some adopting his approach and some adopting Mann’s approach? I doubt it. What I know for sure is that John’s approach is much more effective for me.

100. Joshua,

As opposed to what?

I might be slightly losing the thread of this discussion and I do worry that we’re slightly heading into strawman territory. My “all behaving” response was more to Steve’s comment than to anything you’ve said (although, I realise that I’ve “agreed” to an interpretation of Steve’s comment, rather than to something he actually said). I – like you I think – like what I’ve seen of (and how I understand) John N-G’s approach. So – as I’ve said before – I think that more people engaging in this way would be effective. That, however, doesn’t mean that other approaches aren’t also effective and I’m not sure you’ve suggested that they aren’t either (just not effective for you). Maybe, however, I’m slightly missing what you’re getting at in your comment.

101. Steve Bloom says:

My general view is that we just plain need many more scientists speaking as loudly as possible. Scientists being scientists (or perhaps cats in this regard), many different approaches will be used, and of course different ones will be more or less effective with different people. But I would disagree that it would make no difference if at least a significant fraction of scientists speaking out weren’t perceptibly upset. The style difference between n-g and Jim Hansen is illustrative. I’d have to look it up, but there is psych/social science supporting this point of view.

Joshua, the naive comment is based on my experiences attempting to implement social change theory in the real world (mainly in the context of local environmental policy). YMMV, of course.

102. Steve,

My general view is that we just plain need many more scientists speaking as loudly as possible.

I agree, and that’s why being critical of how another chooses to engage is likely to be counterproductive unless there’s an extremely good reason for doing so. IMO, we should start by encouraging more to engage and to do so honestly. We can worry about the details of how best to engage later – or, at least, that’s my view.

103. > I would also ensure that not only climate scientists, but also warriors in the blogosphere would think it best to engage with a similar approach.

That would be great if only because that would make me comment less.

Meanwhile, I can put forward two suggestions.

***

[Dana’s “khaaan!” approach] Statement S is based on a false premise, and therefore is unagreeable.

we could prefer:

[The good ol’ conditional approach] IF statement S implies premise P, then it is unagreeable, as we have reason to doubt P. Actually, here is evidence that P is false.

Second, one could also use that other approach:

[The interrogative approach] Statement S seems to imply P; is this correct? According to evidence E, P looks fishy. In fact, one may think it’s outright false. What’s up with that, Judge J?

***

Suppose some Neo-God NG were to came here and show that P is actually true. Which approach would you have preferred to choose?

Climateball requires one does not lose as soon as one is found wrong.

104. Joshua says:

Steve –

My general view is that we just plain need many more scientists speaking as loudly as possible.

I think that John, and scientists who employ a similar approach, should be very loud.

Scientists being scientists (or perhaps cats in this regard), many different approaches will be used, and of course different ones will be more or less effective with different people.

I’d say that those who are the most effective should be the loudest. Not that I would dictate that anyone should be any more silent than they want to be. I have no problem with people being whatever sort of advocate they want to be. I disagree with those who think that scientists should not be advocates. But none of that changes my perceptions about what is effective, and what is likely to be counterproductive.

But I would disagree that it would make no difference if at least a significant fraction of scientists speaking out weren’t perceptibly upset.

It might make a difference, but the question is what would the difference be. I have no problem with scientists speaking out and showing that they are visibly upset. There are different ways to make that visible.

The style difference between n-g and Jim Hansen is illustrative. I’d have to look it up, but there is psych/social science supporting this point of view.

I think that the point is to look it up, and to discuss it, before deciding what is advisable. The approach should be evidence-based. I’ve seen your research at work (recently read a Tobis thread about “Collapse.” I was impressed and I’d be interest to see what you find).

Joshua, the naive comment is based on my experiences attempting to implement social change theory in the real world (mainly in the context of local environmental policy). YMMV, of course.

I have experience, also, trying to implement social change and it seems that I have a different take than you w/r/t what is effective. That I disagree, I would argue, does not make me naive. You’d have to do more work to show that I’m naive. And even more to show that I’m gobsmackingly so.

And then we’d have to talk about what we think about how effective implementation of social change theory contextualizes to the climate debate.

105. BBD says:

Climateball requires one does not lose as soon as one is found wrong.

Wisdom from Willard. One can stand, corrected.

106. dana1981 says:

“Putting aside the interesting discussions over … semantics”

Is it interesting? To each his own, I guess 🙂

“Perhaps some context could shed some light on the implications of returning to the same ECS range used from 1979-2001.”

That’s an interesting question. The IPCC raised the lower bound of the range in 2007, then lowered it back down in 2014. That lowering back down was based on one method to estimate ECS, for which there’s evidence of excessive sensitivity to “the pause” a.k.a. internal variability. And in 2007, we were still on the tail end of a period where models were *underestimating* global surface warming (again, due to internal variability). The IPCC isn’t infallible (i.e. see Tamino’s recent critique on their Arctic temps discussion), and I know some climate scientists didn’t agree with lowering the lower bound. But it’s also just a lower bound.

As for the implications, I’d say it just means we haven’t been able to constrain the possible range of ECS any more tightly over the past 3 decades. Which is kind of understandable because there are several different methods to estimate ECS (paleoclimate, models, etc.), and their ranges don’t overlap perfectly, and it’s hard to determine which method is the most accurate.

The climate sensitivity point is just one that Curry got wrong that John N-G agreed with. Some other examples:

“the warming over the past 15 years is only ~0.05C.” (it’s more like triple that)

“The IPCC does not have a convincing or confident explanation for the current hiatus in warming.” (IPCC said it’s roughly half reduced forcings and half internal variability. Whether or not you find that convincing or confident is subjective)

All of the “evidence that…” statements are *technically* correct, as Tom has pointed out. There’s also evidence the Earth is flat. There’s also evidence against all of those points, which Curry ignores. I think “agreeing” with these without pointing out the existence of contrary evidence is a mistake because of the associated implications.

Most people won’t play these rhetorical games and engage in the semantics contortionism that Willard seems to so enjoy. They’ll read that and say “oh, John N-G and Judith Curry agree that climate sensitivity is low, sea level rise in 1930-1950 was larger than today’s, Antarctic sea ice extent is relevant, etc.”

As I previously noted, the post would also have been shorter, clearer, and easier to follow without all of that stuff. The main logical argument was good, and didn’t need the clutter and confusion about whether or not the sub-points were correct. Just look at all the time wasted here arguing about them instead of focusing on Curry’s logical failure. KISS.

107. > Most people won’t play these rhetorical games and engage in the semantics contortionism that Willard seems to so enjoy.

There’s no need for any contorsionism to prove my point, Dana, which is that one does not simply play the “khaan” gambit against Spock and expect to reach Mordor.

This point is related to pragmatics, which ain’t exactly semantics. In fact, rhetoric has more to do with pragmatics than with semantics, which is incidentally a formal discipline, e.g.:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logic-games/

There may be affinities between such games and Climateball ™, as they help model proofs, i.e. ways of establishing truths, by way of an interactive process.

Even slapsticks such as the ones between Kirk and Spock may be modelled that way.

108. guthrie says:

I’d like to read the evidence that the earth is flat…
I’m sure it would be a good example of how to choose specific small observations and ignore the bigger ones and the context of everything.

109. Joshua says:

guthrie –

I assume that was directed at me? I which case I would be ignoring bigger ones? What big observations am I ignoring?

110. Joshua,
I thought that was aimed at Dana or Tom. Dana mentioned that there is evidence that the Earth is flat, but one would only conclude that it was actually flat if you ignored all the other evidence that it is not.

111. Joshua says:

112. > There’s also evidence the Earth is flat.

Perhaps, but there might not be a growing body of evidence that the Earth is so.

BTW, the Chaldean astronomers did not hold a geocentric view of the heavens, and they knew that the Earth was round:

In Babylonian cosmology, the Earth and the heavens were depicted as a “spatial whole, even one of round shape” with references to “the circumference of heaven and earth” and “the totality of heaven and earth”. Their worldview was not exactly geocentric either. The idea of geocentrism, where the center of the Earth is the exact center of the universe, did not yet exist in Babylonian cosmology, but was established later by the Greek philosopher Aristotle’s On the Heavens. In contrast, Babylonian cosmology suggested that the cosmos revolved around circularly with the heavens and the earth being equal and joined as a whole. The Babylonians and their predecessors, the Sumerians, also believed in a plurality of heavens and earths. This idea dates back to Sumerian incantations of the 2nd millennium BC, which refers to there being seven heavens and seven earths, linked possibly chronologically to the creation by seven generations of Gods.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylonian_astronomy#Cosmology

So let’s blame the Philosopher for geocentrism.

113. Steve Bloom says:

“I’d like to read the evidence that the earth is flat…”

Just look around you. Simple!

We have a similar problem with AGW, as if the world started out flat and remains mostly so, but is in the early stages of a rounding process that will take several centuries to complete. Throughout such a process and after, a physical intuition of flatness would remain perfectly workable for most.

114. Steve Bloom says:

That’s just one of a long list of his thought crimes, Willard.

115. Steve Bloom says:

Joshua, by “look it up” I meant I’ve seen the research but not kept track of it. But I would think the general conclusion would be nearly intuitive. One might, e.g., eventually get a result by quietly murmuring “fire” in a crowded theater, but probably not until somebody starts shouting it.

116. Steve Bloom says:

“I think that John, and scientists who employ a similar approach, should be very loud.”

Could you explain how someone using that approach would go about being loud (vs. not)? Thanks.

117. dana1981 says:

“I’d like to read the evidence that the earth is flat…”

I looked around. Looks flat to me. Yeah it’s a stupid argument, but as long as we’re torturing logic and rhetoric…

Growing evidence: I asked my wife. She said it looks flat too. I rolled a ball on the ground. It stopped.

118. > I asked my wife. She said it looks flat too

Conflating scientific evidence with personal testimony does not solve your problem, Dana. If you have more persons that can attest to some evidence E, some may argue that we’re still talking about the same E. Also note:

Scientific evidence consists of observations and experimental results that serve to support, refute, or modify a scientific hypothesis or theory, when collected and interpreted in accordance with the scientific method.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence

119. Tom Curtis says:

Willard, the idea goes back at least as far as Anaximander in Greek tradition, and was taught by Plato. I don’t think we need to give Aristotle all the blame. It is also firmly esconced in ancient Jewish writings.

Further, I do not think blame is appropriate. Geocentrism was a good fit with available empirical observations (given their limited precision) at the time. Further, it was more or less necessary as a corollary of Aristotle’s physics which again were a good fit with observations until Galileo’s more detailed observations falsified it.

120. Tom Curtis says:

Willard, when did we switch from talking about “evidence” simpliciter and start talking about “scientific evidence” only?

121. dana1981 says:

“Evidence, broadly construed, is anything presented in support of an assertion. This support may be strong or weak … scientific evidence consists of observations and experimental results…”

And no, I won’t “try again.” In case you haven’t noticed, I take no enjoyment whatsoever from playing rhetorical games. I think they’re a massive waste of time.

Thanks for asking nicely this time though, instead of launching straight into wild inaccurate insults. That’s a significant improvement.

122. Reich.Eschhaus says:

@&Dan

I am all in favour of a “mud wrestling” competition between Dana and Willard! (Anyone who agrees make a comment below.) Can your blog be used for such an event? They fighting it out above the line and the rest cheering on below the line. Should be a highly instructive exercise and entertaining at the same time!

Just a thought! 😋

123. > When did we switch from talking about “evidence” simpliciter and start talking about “scientific evidence” only?

When Dana interviewed his wife. But I don’t think Judy’s “growing evidence” refers to something else than scientific evidence, e.g. judicial evidence.

124. > Thanks for asking nicely this time though, instead of launching straight into wild inaccurate insults.

Show one inaccurate insult, O great blogger with a badass attitude.

Your wife visual reports now counts as scientific observation, now, Dana?

Besides, it’s been a while since we have evidence that people may perceive the flatness of the Earth. Your wife does not make that evidence grow.

126. Tom Curtis says:

But, Willard, we are discussing Judith’s quote – and she does not specify scientific evidence. We may expect her to be referring to scientific evidence only, but then we should be able to expect her to report on the balance of evidence as well. If we can invoke conversational implicature, Dana’s interpretation is reasonable.

127. > If we can invoke conversational implicature, Dana’s interpretation is reasonable.

Dana’s blunder was exactly on the implicature Judy’s claim had, Tom. NG’s clarification shows that there was not such implicature like the one that made Dana gloats out of incredulity. So all that remains is Dana being caught gloating on the basis of a false accusation.

Considering how he reacts, we can predict that this won’t be the last time. Yet, there is still hope he’ll learn to validate his incredulity by asking questions, issuing proper counterfactuals, or letting go of gloating altogether.

The last option would be best for him, but we should not expect such turnabout from a blogger with a badass attitude.

128. dana1981 says:

“Show one inaccurate insult, O great blogger with a badass attitude.”

Wait let me guess, implying that I’m illiterate isn’t an insult because it’s only an implication?

That was a rhetorical question, by the way. I wouldn’t expect such a badass rhetorical contortionist to admit to having made any sort of error. After all, I’m told this is all some kind of game (the least enjoyable game I’ve ever encountered).

129. > implying that I’m illiterate

Did I, Dana? I thought I was implying that you misread both Judy and NG, an implication which has been substantiated since I commited this implication. You were wrong, NG was right, no big deal.

Please try again to find an inaccurate insult, Dana. I suppose the expression makes sense, right?

Alternatively, you can tell me about feats of dickishness.

130. Okay, I think I understand what’s going on here, but I’m not 100% sure. I also think Reich was being ironic. Therefore, I can’t see much point in extending this discussion much/any further.

131. Steve Bloom says:

Just to note that Dana’s original flat earth analogy above was to point to Judy’s selective assessment of the evidence. I’m not sure why it started an argument since I expect Willard agrees with the basic point.

132. Steve, I suspect that you’re right. I think the point that Willard is trying to make (and this is my interpretation, so happy to be corrected) is that if you’re trying to show that what someone has presented is wrong, don’t make it easy from them to deflect the discussion in a different direction. For example, in JC’s testimony one of the key arguments she was making was that the IPCC attribution statement was too strong. To do so, she presented a bunch of information about the pause, sea levels, Antarctic sea ice, climate sensitivity. I would agree that the interpretation that most would draw from what she presented would not be consistent with the actual evidence (i.e., sea levels have been rising for thousands of years, it’s just much faster today than it has been in the past) but most of the statements could be argued to be factually correct.

However, if you want to address the main point (the attribution statement, for example) then it may be better to accept that her statements are factually correct, but point out that it’s illogical to use these “facts” to draw the conclusions that she draws. If you don’t do this, you will probably end up discussing the details, rather than the point you were trying to highlight. By the time you get to the main point, everyone will have moved on, as is the norm in climateball. Of course, if you want to discuss these details (as Tamino does, for example) then that’s also fine, but make sure that you present an argument that forces others to address the point you’re trying to make and not something that’s not really as important, or that makes it appear that you claimed something was factually incorrect when it wasn’t.

Also, if you’re going to say something that could be interpreted as implying something about someone else’s character, you’ll probably end up defending that, rather than getting to address the bigger issue. It doesn’t even matter if you didn’t intend it that way. If there’s the smallest chance that it could be interpreted that way, you’ll provide a way for others to deflect the discussion.

Some have argued that we should fight fire with fire. It’s clear that if JC (or McIntyre, or Watts, or …) says something about the character of Mann, or Dana, or Trenberth, or …. they get cheered and lots of people agree. Why shouldn’t we do the same. Personally, I would argue that they don’t really have anything else. That’s why that tactic is used and appears (to them at least) as being effective. We don’t need to use that tactic, since we actually have the scientific evidence to back up what we say.

My own preference would be to stick with the scientific evidence and to try and show that much of what is said (or inferred) by JC is not consistent with the evidence. Others, may of course, disagree and think that other tactics may be more effective.

Anyway, that’s my interpretation and I hope I’ve presented it fairly and correctly. If not, feel free to correct me, but I’m not that keen for this discussion to go on much further as I’m not particularly enjoying it myself.

133. Steve Bloom says:

I got that, Anders. Mostly I was, perhaps elliptically, expressing frustration about an argument that obviously started elsewhere being completely needlessly carried over to here.

On the substantive point, as I’ve said before I don’t think Judy’s issue is so much poor physical intuition (more or less the point of the flat earth analogy), although probably there’s an element of that, as a commercial motivation due to her side business.

134. > Dana’s original flat earth analogy above was to point to Judy’s selective assessment of the evidence.

If that is the case, then we must reject the consequent under discussion, i.e. the “has implications” part whereby Judy dogwhistled something that pushed Dana’s buttons. The problem is that he already accepted that implication: if there’s growing evidence, then of course it has implications. Which is why he dismissed the antecedent after all.

But now instead of agreeing with me (and perhaps also NG) that it’s quite possible to have growing evidence that have implications without having the implications Dana seems to repudiate, he prefers to caricature my argument. It would be interesting to analyze Dana’s caricature using verisimilitude or a theory of evidence like Dempster-Shafer’s. But I think would should stick to the pragmatic point to make sure it will be grasped.

One does not simply voice one’s disagreement by begging the question under discussion to gloat one’s way to Mordor.

135. > I wouldn’t expect such a badass rhetorical contortionist to admit to having made any sort of error.

If only to prove Dana wrong, I’ll take the time to acknowledge Tom Curtis’ caveat that my impression we should the blame the Philosopher (i.e. Aristotle) for geocentrism. He showed that there are indeed previous models on which He (i.e. the Philosopher) based his model. And so I stand corrected.

I will also concede that Tom Curtis’ reference showed that the Ancients were no flat-earthers even more clearly than the one I provided.

136. dana1981 says:

ATTP, I agree except for this part:

“if you want to address the main point (the attribution statement, for example) then it may be better to accept that her statements are factually correct”

As I’ve said, you could just say something along the lines of “even if we grant Curry these points, the logic doesn’t follow.” You don’t have to accept that they’re factually correct when they’re not (or when at best they’re technically correct but misleading and based on cherry picking and ignoring most of the available evidence).

If you grant her those incorrect/misleading points, at best it serves to confuse people, at worst to misinform them on those other topics (sensitivity, sea level rise, Antarctic sea ice, etc.). And as we’ve seen in the comments here, that still results in distracting from the main logical argument. Especially since it makes the post a lot longer and more opaque than it could have otherwise been.

137. Dana,
Yes, I agree. One could have done it the way that you suggest, rather than simply accepting them. My broader point though, as I think you accept, was that highlighting those incorrect/misleading points could (almost certainly would) end up being a distraction for those who want to avoid addressing the more fundamental point.

It’s one or the other, Anders. One is about facts, the second is about the impact on an audience. Switching from facts to impact during a debate moves the goal posts.

I duly submit that Dana’s tiptoeing in this very thread would not stand one round against the Auditor.

139. Willard,

It’s one or the other

True, although I assert that my new term “incorrect/misleading” is defined (by me) as something that one could argue as being factually correct, but that when interpreted would typically produce an interpretation that is inconsistent with the majority of the evidence 🙂 I take your point though.

140. dana1981 says:

It’s one or the other

No, I argue there are examples of both.

My broader point though, as I think you accept, was that highlighting those incorrect/misleading points could (almost certainly would) end up being a distraction for those who want to avoid addressing the more fundamental point.

Yes, we call that the overkill backfire effect. But if one’s purpose is to accurately inform one’s audience (as I’m sure is the case for John N-G’s blog), I’m not sure that accepting numerous incorrect/misleading points as true is better. It’s certainly substituting one sub-optimal approach for another.

141. > I argue there are examples of both.

To argue, one must put forward arguments. To argue against an incorrect claim, one must show that it is indeed incorrect. To argue against a misleading claim, one must show that is is indeed misleading.

Arguing that a claim C is incorrect does not suffice to show that C is misleading. The converse is also true. Both require different trains of thoughts. Note that to argue that a claim is incorrect or misleading is not to same as to argue that it could be considered such by so and so.

***

Climateballers oftentimes do a little bit of both at the same time. Take for instance Nic Lewis:

In my commentary on the 3rd Met Office July report, I made a number of allegations that it contained a variety of misrepresentations and erroneous and misleading statements.

http://judithcurry.com/2013/09/25/nic-lewis-vs-the-uk-met-office/

Readers who followed Nic’s pea and thimble game between his various claims will see how we can use incorrectness claims to armwave accusations of having misled. Readers who will follow my analysis in the comment section at Judy’s will appreciate that my business is quite different than the one Dana tried to portray.

Dana’s confused argument repeats a very common pattern in Climateball. Constructing an argument requires due diligence, a diligence both Dana & Nic failed to pay.

This pattern has to stop.

142. dana1981 says:

ATTP’s recently-referenced xkdc cartoon (my favorite) applies here. The urge to argue with people who are wrong on the internet is strong, and yet also usually a total waste of time (as is clearly the case here). So I’ll ignore the urge in this case. I’m not here to play games.

I will also however let Tom Curtis prove my point.
http://rabett.blogspot.com/2014/01/gauntlet-tossing.html?showComment=1390819537184#c6456399112973714771

143. Joshua says:

Just want to say that in my view, in these recent threads the discussion of disagreement with Dana were not substantially different than the discussions of disagreement with Brad.

What’s funny to me is that thought of either of them confronting that situation (assuming that my view is correct)

Same ol’ same ol’ in the climate wars..

144. > I’m not here to play games.

This is evidenced by his cringing:

I cringed several times reading the Curry quotes that John N-G “agreed” on.

https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/i-also-dont-get-judiths-logic/#comment-12725

Dana is here to report that he cringed, and since people seldom cringe when playing, Dana may not be here to play games at all.

145. Tom Curtis says:

I am finding this discussion between Dana and Willard increasingly frustrating. It is very plain that they are both right in respective ways, and are (SFAICT) simply failing to acknowledge the relevant points made by the other person.

Willard, you technically correct in interpreting both Curry and John N-G, but technicalities mean little in rhetoric. The way Curry’s statements will be read by “dismissives” and the “doubtful” is as saying that the balance of evidence for a best estimate of ECR close to two degrees is strengthening, a claim that is simply false. Further, they will now quite happily quote John N-G as agreeing to that claim, something I doubt he would agree to. Try reading John N-G through the distorting lens used on the UEA emails and you will see the problem.

If this were an honest debate from both sides; or if most of the people we are trying to persuade had the patience to sit through an exhaustive discussion where misquotes could be nailed home to the detriment of the misquoter, or minor semantic technicalities can be debated, and clarified at length, there would be every reason to follow your tactic. But it is not! That being the case, it is far better to go after the message conveyed rather than the strict, and limited meaning of what was actually said.

Having said that, Dana (and I in many moods) does need to recognize the potential for rhetorical ju jutsu. It is a favoured tactic of politicians, rhetoricians, and evidently of Judith Curry to do more with less. To say something very limited that will be interpreted as saying a lot, with the intention of being so understood, but with the prepared defense that they “only meant to say” the more restricted literal interpretation.

To counter this, it is necessary to first point out that restricted meaning – and to point out how innocuous it is. In this respect, John N-G response was poor Climate-ball. You do not simply agree to such double edged statements. You first delimit their meaning, and having clarified both their limited literal meaning, and the intended message within it, agree only to the former while rejecting the later (if false).

Finally, the Climate Ball analogy is a poor one, IMO. There are many people on the field, and they are not all playing the same game, or by the same rules

146. Reich.Eschhaus says:

“I also think Reich was being ironic.”

Should I respond like this:

Was I, &Dan? To also think, one must also become aware of thoughts.

Or like this:

Thinking that I’m being ironic isn’t an insult because it’s only a thought? I’m not here to play games.

? 😀

My proposed mud wrestling competition appears to have been fought out below the line. I guess my suggestion was actually a concealed way of saying that there could be an interesting follow up post from the discussions in this thread. As you yourself already mentioned, the discussion is about how and what to discuss in the climate war of words.

On the other hand, the argument is made that by taking to much for granted that you leave a false impression for the onlookers that you are actually agreeing with false or misleading statements from the adversary when you are not doing that. Those statements may -in some (contrived) way- be technically correct or not, what matters is the impression those statements have on the lurkers. If you think they give a wrong impression they must be opposed as well (if only to force your opponent to make clear what exactly was meant with the -often open for multiple interpretations- statements). Showing that statements that are in some contrived ways correct but may also be misleading when their correct interpretation is not spelled out by the person who made them, is I think also valuable for onlookers. Forcing an adversary to actually spell out what they meant can be a win.

Now, who won the wrestling match? Before getting to that, I should say that I think it is a silly kind of match. I don’t think there is a necessary contradiction here. However, someone wishing to argue with an adversary may need to choose one of the strategies. Using both at the same time seems a recipe for disaster. I see that someone trying strategy one, and someone else trying strategy two on the same comment thread might get the first “someone’ irritated that the common adversary chooses to engage with the second “someone” more because that seems a target with more wriggling room. Ah well, bad luck I say! Could be the other way around next time.

So, who won? The jury is still out I guess. As part of the jury I can only give my verdict. I urge other jury members to do the same.

Willard gets points for getting in NG himself as a potential referee. Also for saying “if you attack a non sequitur, you don’t even need to dispute the premises”, “most of Judy’s premises are themselves counterfactuals”, “I don’t think it is wise to always play for the shutout. Winning by one goal is enough”, “NG’s approach is wise. First, you see if the inference works. If it does not, you stop”, “to always go “all in” is uneconomical”, “Thank you for playing, Dana”, “the more Dana will react the way he does, the more contrarians will keep pushing his buttons”, “I will also concede that Tom Curtis’ reference showed that the Ancients were no flat-earthers even more clearly than the one I provided”, “to argue, one must put forward arguments. To argue against an incorrect claim, one must show that it is indeed incorrect. To argue against a misleading claim, one must show that is is indeed misleading.”

Dana gets points for saying that a statement like “let’s assume for the sake of argument that these points are correct” would have prevented much of the discussion and that “the primary logical argument was good.” Additional points for “if you could delete all the points where he agreed with Curry’s erroneous statements, then it would have been a good post”, “most people won’t play these rhetorical games and engage in the semantics contortionism that Willard seems to so enjoy. They’ll read that and say “oh, John N-G and Judith Curry agree that climate sensitivity is low, sea level rise in 1930-1950 was larger than today’s, Antarctic sea ice extent is relevant, etc.””, “if you grant her those incorrect/misleading points, at best it serves to confuse people, at worst to misinform them on those other topics (sensitivity, sea level rise, Antarctic sea ice, etc.)”, “yes, we call that the overkill backfire effect. But if one’s purpose is to accurately inform one’s audience (as I’m sure is the case for John N-G’s blog), I’m not sure that accepting numerous incorrect/misleading points as true is better. It’s certainly substituting one sub-optimal approach for another.”

They both get penalties though for occasional display of piss taking and being obtuse in general.

The winning statement is this one: “So I’ll ignore the urge in this case. I’m not here to play games.” Dana wins on points, not by knock-out. (If Dana comes back here to argue some silly point, I will reconsider though.)

147. Steve Bloom says:

Although, Tom, that’s precisely why Willard coined Climateball.

148. Reich.Eschhaus says:

Hi Tom

I see you posted when I was busy writing my comment. I think we mostly agree here! At least I see that some of my intended points are addressed by you.

Cheers! And good night!

149. Tom Curtis says:

Steve, if that is why he coined the term, he has lost the point. If not all are playing by the same rules, there is no single winning strategy. Rather, there are at best winning strategies relative to the rules adopted by particular players. It then becomes pointless to argue that somebody playing by different rules (eg, Dana) should adopt your rules, let alone the strategy appropriate to winning with your particular rules.

150. Tom Curtis says:

Reich, we are indeed making the same points, although mine run around the rim while yours go swish!

151. Reich.Eschhaus says:

“although mine run around the rim while yours go swish”

Huh? I guess I am too old. “around the rim” and ” go swish” I cannot interpret. Please explain! 😉

152. dana1981 says:

I agree with Tom’s last comment. And sure, “rhetorical ju jutsu” is great for misleading people. The issue being discussed here isn’t Curry’s ju jitsu comments (which have been torn apart elsewhere), it’s John N-G’s response, which was problematic because as we’ve both said,

“You do not simply agree to such double edged statements.”

We can argue about the technical accuracy of her statements all day. Some were flat-out factually wrong (i.e. the claim of 0.05°C warming over the past 15 years, which is off by a factor of 2 to 3), most were just cherry picked and misleading. But if you say they’re correct without at least pointing out that they’re cherry picked and misleading (and sometimes wrong), that could very well do more harm than the good done by demonstrating her logic is all wrong. For example, we now have John N-G on record agreeing there’s only been 0.05°C warming over the past 15 years.

For the record, I like John N-G, and I was happy to see him willing to go on the record pointing out Curry’s logical flaw. Too many people let her get away with this sort of nonsense unopposed. I just wish the post had been better constructed.

153. Tom Curtis says:

Reich, imagine scoring points in basketball. A perfect shot goes swish. Straight through the basket without touching the rim. A lucky shot runs around the rim before (if you are lucky) falling through the hoop. In actual basketball, I am very lucky to do either 😉

154. Steve Bloom says:

Perhaps contradictory, Tom, and I should let Willard defend his own term, but I think the idea is to recognize when it’s being played, and then to win by trimming things down to their logical core, in a sense playing anti-Climateball. While any such victory will not be recognized.by the usual opponents, who if nothing else can simply declare victory in the face of defeat, perhaps onlookers will be enlightened to some degree. Anyway, Willard’s idea seems to be that the effective anti-Climateballer should avoid introducing extraneous elements that can be separately argued (as n-g certainly did, big-time), although that might exclude use of any analogy.

155. Steve Bloom says:

Just to add, while it’s somewhat peripheral to my own experience, I suspect arguments in the form of “even granting all your premises, you’re still wrong” (essentially what n-g did) are common enough in academia. But of course he mistook Climateballer Judy as someone to whom a logical appeal could be made successfully.

156. Tom,

You’re right that my argument was technical, but that’s just because I like such technical details. My claim was pragmatic and related to a rhetorical context. Dana needs to learn how to block the literalistic gambit, moves which Eli calls parsomatics. Yet again he got suckered into an editorial based on an overinterpretation. This is a lousy habit to have when you play Climateball with contrarians.

I don’t think that there’s anything one can do against “what people may say”. NG has to agree with a claim that can be read out of the IPCC reports. I bet Dana hasn’t seen that one coming!

Concerns about what people may say of NG’s agreement are as futile as wasting time and energy on the word “hiatus”. See how NG responds to Mauri Pelto’s concerns:

What’s your definition of a hiatus? Your statistics argue for the absence of a decline, not the absence of a hiatus. Unless the hiatus spans two full decades, it won’t show up on the decadal temperature record.

If you’re trying to argue that it wouldn’t exist at all without the effect of ENSO variability, then I’m with you. But: the 15-17 year trend is near zero, and no such interval has occurred since the 1970s. This is an observed feature of the climate record. We have to call it something in order to talk about it.

This is in the comment thread of NG’s response. I already put the link elsewhere. Op. cit. to bypass moderation.

***

Climateball is called Climateball for the very reason you think it should not be called “Climateball”:

So Steve Bloom has the right of it.

***

Since I’m a bit tired to repeat about the same thing, I might as well add this other topic. A Climateball custom I don’t get is to whine about other people on their back. It’s not that tough to find NG’s email. There’s even a comment thread dedicated to NG’s response to Judy’s testimony.

If Dana’s reasons to cringe are so important he won’t lower himself to play games, WHAT THE HELL IS HE DOING HERE? Not only his incredulous act was mistaken, but he cringed so ungentlemanly that he sounded just like Brandon Shollenberger.

***

To wrap up, here’s what I argued so far. Dana overall stance fails on logical, semantical, pragmatic, rhetorical, historical, strategical, moral, and stylistic grounds. This is suboptimal, and should stop.

I said I was not going to be diplomatic. We’re still in the middlegame, and as long as Dana continues to hide under your robe, I will continue to pay due diligence to his behavior.

What I write under my name is my Honor,

w

157. verytallguy says:

At risk of bringing this thread back on to the topic of the logic of Curry, Judith has responded to Tamino on Arctic temperatures:

to review:

IPPC AR5
“Arctic temperature anomalies in the 1930s were apparently as large as those in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still considerable discussion of the ultimate causes of the warm temperature anomalies that occurred in the Arctic in the 1920s and 1930s.”

Curry’s testimony
Arctic surface temperature anomalies in the 1930’s were as large as the recent temperature anomalies.

Curry’s Latest
Well, average temperatures above 70 N during the 1990′s were lower than in the 1930′s. The most recent Arctic temperatures that are published (say for 2005-2010) are higher. The IPCC’s statement is not incorrect, and the citation of the IPCC statement in my Senate testimony has been defended.

All emphasis mine

Incredibly, Judith acknowledges that Tamino is correct in that 1930s temperature were lower than recent temperatures, yet still concludes her statement that they were as large as recent anomalies is correct and “defended”.

Logic anyone?

158. VTG,
Thanks 🙂

I guess a theme with regards to Curry’s testimony is indeed that of her logic. So, I’m certainly stumped as to how someone can present the information that she did and then draw the conclusions that she did. It really doesn’t make much sense.

159. verytallguy says:

There’s now a clear pattern to Judith’s avoidance of the various critiques of her testimony.

It goes something like this:

X takes issue with my testimony. Here’s a lot of information, cited in these studies, which shows various things. Much is uncertain; my original testimony was correct.

Not impressive.

I predict having declared victory she’ll move on without responding to any of the others. If she does respond it will be as above.

160. VTG,
You notice how Judith responded to Michael Mann’s anti-science claim,

I expect you to (publicly) document and rebut any statement in my testimony that is factually inaccurate or where my conclusions are not supported by the evidence that I provide.

This would seem to suggest that she is dis-allowing Mann to rebut anything with any other evidence. He can only use the evidence [I] provide. I don’t know if this was intentional or not, but it’s an interesting way to respond.

In a sense, this is why John N-G’s general approach (even if we disagree with how he did it specifically) was quite clever. He rebutted her conclusion using her evidence (or showed that her evidence didn’t support the conclusion she was drawing).

161. verytallguy says:

Notice the approach to Tamino.

1) Data flood.
2) Define terms of reference – “recent” = 1990s is the key here.
3) Do not challenge Tamino’s analysis, downplay it.
4) Declare victory

All the while ignoring the substantive point Tamino carefully elucidates with hard data – that current Artic temperatures are way above those in the 1930s and by extension that Curry’s testimony was misleading in suggesting that the two were comparable.

For JNG it’s similar – note the IPPC statement

“It is extremely likely (>95% probability) that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010* was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together.”

here we get

1) Logic flood – many disconnected hard to follow statements
2) Define terms of reference – that “I understand ‘most’ to cover a range of 51-95%.” – note the fundamental difference to the above
3) Don’t challenge JNG, but downplay disagreement “There is a quibble about the meaning of ‘most’. ”
4) Declare victory

All the while ignoring the substantive point that the IPCC statement is fully consistent with natural variability and consistent with the data.

162. Joshua says:

VTG –

Another step in the process: If in the future someone raises the same questions, Judith will say something like: “See my discussion of those questions in my previous post.” and provide a link – as if that in and of itself settles the issues.

163. Very Tall,

The rhetorical trick in Tamino’s post is to discharge it right from the start and to try to provoke Judy in some kind of theorical duel. Since Judy only needs to settle for a draw there, Tamino has to outflank her escape clause:

> if [Judy] believes it “because the IPCC report says so” then it’s obvious she’ll take the IPCC report’s word for what she wants to believe but not for what she doesn’t want to believe.

That Judy will read whatever she fancies out of the reports moves the goalposts. We might as well argue back that Tamino is ready to throw the IPCC’s reports under the bus if they agree with Judy. In any case, if Tamino has a beef against the IPCC, he should take that one up with them, not with Judy.

Sour grapes never taste good, more so when you’re a blogger with an attitude such as Tamino.

164. Damn, I inversed a sentence and misplaced a pronoun.

The “it” in the first sentence refers to the escape clause, i.e. the “it’s in the IPCC report”.

165. In all fairness, and to show that I’m not here to root for Judy (Joshua can attest that I seldom do), I think this move by Tamino could be improved:

Here’s what I believe happened: Judith Curry combed through the IPCC AR5 looking for stuff she could use to contradict the stronger statement of confidence in dangerous global warming which the report makes explicit. I further believe that she paid little or no attention to stuff which would support the stronger statement in AR5.

This move is not difficult to improve, as it’s a mindreading exercise. Tamino’s prognostication of Judy’s mind states is of little relevance to his argument. Furthermore, it begs what needs to be proved by the op-ed he was about to write.

As a way to improve on Tamino’s move, on would simply need to quote this:

This is a draft of something I’m writing; I would appreciate hearing about any other examples of:

the AR5 WG1 text not supporting the SPM conclusions
the AR5 pulling back relative to the AR4

http://judithcurry.com/2014/01/06/ipcc-ar5-weakens-the-case-for-agw/

To keep in the Auditor’s spirit, we could add:

> Yup.

Yup.

166. dana1981 says:

It’s another one of those Curry comments you could argue is technically correct (because the term ‘recent’ is vague), but obviously misleading, and hence shouldn’t be “agreed” to without pointing out where it falls short. That being in ignoring the rapid Arctic warming over the past 15 years or so. Robert Way has an SkS post today on the subject.
http://skepticalscience.com/Rapid_Arctic_Warming_Part_One.html

“Based on the data presented above there is virtually no evidence that Arctic air temperatures were greater than present during any previous period of the last century.”

167. verytallguy says:

Willard,

I think I agree in that Tamino expanding from his excellent dissection of the data to a discussion of intent merely allows Judith to add an extra smokescreen to her already impeccable avoidance tactics set out above.

168. Joshua says:

VTG –

Just curious – reading that 4:39 comment here and some of your comments in the thread over at Tamino, I’m wondering if you views on this (your preferred approach) have evolved, or if you have basically felt this way all along?

169. > Robert Way has an SkS post today on the subject.

Here’s how to do it, Dana:

> During her most recent Senate testimony, Dr. Judith Curry (Georgia Tech) repeated one of the most common misconceptions found in the blogosphere, that the Arctic was warmer than present during the 1940s.

A quote might be needed, if only to see if Judy argues what “the contrarians argue”, whoever they may be.

Some citations showing that what the contrarians argue can be reduced to the two claims in the text might be nice.

***

Furthermore, this article mentions “the contrarian view” and quotes the IPCC without presenting both viewpoints. All we see is a quote. No discussion of the rationale behind the IPCC’s claim. Not even a citation.

In fact, we have no evidence of any effort to conciliate the author’s opinion with the authors of the AR5, chapter 10.

***

I conclude that this article is mainly a promotional token for Cowtan & Way, in press, and expect better from a site that declares his intention “to explain what peer reviewed science has to say about global warming”.

http://skepticalscience.com/Rapid_Arctic_Warming_Part_One.html#101281

There’s no need to cringe, let alone elsewhere.

170. verytallguy says:

Joshua,

not sure what you mean – have I been inconsistent here vs at Taminos? I’m a great admirer of Tamino above the line, less so btl.

My views in general, have always been that “keeping the discussion civil” is a good principle to follow. And that wrestling with pigs is a mistake, although tempting on occasion.

Which is why I like this site, and equally why I don’t comment at Judith’s.

I can’t claim always to maintain my aspirations in reality.

171. Joshua says:

Personally, I cringed when I read this:

Using a single observational network therefore has the potential to mislead – particularly on short timescales.

I like the effort shown by “has the potential…..” but why not something like: “Using a single observational network therefore may not be comparatively robust, particularly on short time scales as we will elaborate on further below.”

Willard?

The discussion would at least have the potential of being focused on comparing the scientific robustness of different analyses, and not on whether any given presentation of the evidence is potentially “misleading.”

Now if I posted such a critique over that Judith’s, I would be told that I am a religiously fanatic warmist that’s nitpicking details to distract from the important goal of dismantling the AGW hoax being perpetrated by a cabal of greedy scientists whose real interest is in creating a tyrannical Socialist state.

Of course, if someone’s goal is to avoid a good faith discussion of the science, there are many paths to get there. But at least there would be one difference for sure if some “realists” would approach the discussion in (what seems to me to be) a less defensive manner – I wouldn’t cringe as much. A small difference to anyone else, indeed, but a meaningful difference for me.

172. Joshua says:

VTG –

“not sure what you mean – have I been inconsistent here vs at Taminos? I’m a great admirer of Tamino above the line, less so btl.”

No, I think you were being entirely consistent between here and at Tamino’s. I thought your exchange over there (with deminthon) was interesting, if frustrating for me to see because you were not able to gain much headway with your interlocutor although your argument was one that I think was spot on.

It’s just that I was under the impression that previously, you were of a different persuasion and I was curious to know whether a change has taken place. One of the aspects of the climate wars that I find most interesting is how little change takes place. Every time I get away for an extended time and come back, I’m struck with just how little changes, and when I do see something that seems to be a change I’m interested in understanding the causality.

173. > Now if I posted such a critique over that Judith’s […]

I dare you, Joshua.

Aren’t you a guy who likes empirical data anyway?

174. So the post-2000 “pause” is important, but post-2000 Arctic temperatures are so unimportant that Prof. Curry’s testimony has been defended: “Arctic surface temperature anomalies in the 1930’s were as large as the recent temperature anomalies.”

175. Joshua says:

willard –

???

I didn’t mean if I posted that particular critique – but critiques based in a similar logic, and I’ve posted “such critiques” at Judith’s many a time, with the sort of reaction that I described.

I haven’t posted many detailed critiques of “realists” over at Judith’s… It is an interesting question as to why not.

176. Tom Curtis says:

Dumb Scientist, your not paying attention. You only get a post 2000 pause in temperatures if you use a data set that excludes Arctic temperatures. Otherwise, you only get a slow down back to a rate approximately equal to the twentieth century average. Ignoring post 2000 Arctic temperatures is the common theme to both rhetorical tricks.

177. Tom Curtis says:

Joshua, you may have cringed but that only shows you have no conception of SkS’s target audience, and make no allowance. SkS views itself as being targeted at a popular, technically unsophisticated audience. The ideal is a grade 10 reading and comprehension level so that it remains a useful resource for parts of the population other than scientists, engineers and philosophers playing climate ball. Your alternative wording is likely to leave a significant part of SkS’s target audience simply confused. If anything, given the target audience, revisions to most SkS articles need to go the other way – to simpler, and hence unfortunately for some purposes, less precise language.

178. I’ll add something here that may be relevant. It certainly seems (and it is my general experience too) that if you want to start an argument amongst scientists (and maybe academics in general) just start a discussion about how best to communicate to a general audience 🙂

179. verytallguy says:

Joshua,

maybe a while ago I used to me more aggressive. I do understand the anger from those who see lies being deliberately spun, but it’s not productive or ultimately satisfying.

180. Tom’s right: ignoring the Arctic is the gift that keeps on giving. The Cowtan and Way 2013 post-1998 trend is 0.109 ±0.149 °C/decade, compared to HadCRUT4’s Arctic-excluding 0.042 ±0.123 °C/decade. But the uncertainties are so large that neither post-1998 trend is statistically distinguishable from the preceding 15 year trend. Since that seems necessary to establish a pause, it’s not clear why a scientist would draw a stronger conclusion than “we’re looking at a timespan that’s too short; it’s dominated by weather noise instead of climate signal.”

It’s really not clear why a scientist who draws strong conclusions based on the last 15 years of (surface only) data would then ignore those last 15 years when comparing Arctic (surface) temperatures to those in the 1930s. Sure, in both cases the recent Arctic warming is being implicitly ignored along with ~90% of the climate’s heat capacity. But I naively thought that anyone who isn’t in the grip of Morton’s demon would notice that the last 15 years can’t simultaneously be very important and very unimportant.

181. Joshua says:

Tom –

“Joshua, you may have cringed but that only shows you have no conception of SkS’s target audience, and make no allowance. “

It is true that I didn’t take the target audience into account.

“SkS views itself as being targeted at a popular, technically unsophisticated audience. “

Which puts me in the target audience demographic.

“The ideal is a grade 10 reading and comprehension level so that it remains a useful resource for parts of the population other than scientists, engineers and philosophers playing climate ball. “

Well, I sometimes fool myself that I can read at an 11th grade level. 🙂

“Your alternative wording is likely to leave a significant part of SkS’s target audience simply confused.” If anything, given the target audience, revisions to most SkS articles need to go the other way – to simpler, and hence unfortunately for some purposes, less precise language

I’m kind of notorious for syntax that leaves people confused – but I’m not sure that being simpler and achieving the goal I was trying to achieve (precision, specificity, and a less defensive/less aggressive wording) are mutually exclusive.

182. Reich.Eschhaus says:

@Tom

Ah! A sports metaphor! So I am not too old after all, instead not paying attention to basketball and therefore not knowledgeable. Good to know. Thanks!

183. > SkS views itself as being targeted at a popular, technically unsophisticated audience.

Then the latest op-ed by Robert Way raises lots of issues, starting with its title: A Historical Perspective on Arctic Warming. Here’s how Rob Honeycutt reads the article:

The article is a response to Dr Curry’s erroneous claims.

There’s a discrepancy between the title and the take-home from Honeycutt. If Rob Honeycutt reads the article that way, one has to wonder how a non-climateballer will read that op-ed.

***

I also note that there’s no link provided to Judy’s “most recent Senate testimony”.

184. > So the post-2000 “pause” is important, but post-2000 Arctic temperatures are so unimportant […]

Let’s please Reich with two terms from football and say that besides choosing an end zone for the Arctic (60 or 70N?), the latest line of scrimmage was 2005:

Polyakov et al’s dataset is used by Berkryaev, Polyakov and Alexeev (2010) which Dr. Curry cites. If you look at that paper you will see that Dr. Currys position may have been defensible if she presented it in 2005 but today in 2014 it is not. And using that dataset its not even close…

http://judithcurry.com/2014/01/27/early-20th-century-arctic-warming/#comment-443670

Strictly speaking, “up to 2005” is nearer than “from 2005 to 2014” as a replacing term of “the 2000s”, and therefore Robert Way’s “but today in 2014” it is not.

***

Judy also notes that the lead authors of chapter 10 of the AR5 are Igor Mokhov and James Overland. Have they been contacted yet by those who claim they fumbled the ball with “2000s”?

185. Reich.Eschhaus says:

Willard, to me it seems you want to make some point. However, I only see you alluding to things. Can you cut the crap and tell us all what it is about?

186. Reich.Eschhaus says:

Willard

“Dana needs to learn how to block the literalistic gambit, moves which Eli calls parsomatics. Yet again he got suckered into an editorial based on an over interpretation.”

which editorial? You cannot simply go into a discussion on another website… etc

187. Reich.Eschhaus says:

“which editorial? You cannot simply go into a discussion on another website… etc”

This of course applies to Dana as well. First mover is to blame though (if first mover does the first move to another website, then the adversary reacting on the first mover is to be excused).

188. > which editorial?

Start here:

https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/i-also-dont-get-judiths-logic/#comment-12721

189. > Can you cut the crap and tell us all what it is about?

Robert Way got caught the same way Dana did, and that now he has to enter rounds of parsomatics about conventions, e.g. where does the Arctic starts, and semantics, i.e. is “up to 2005” enough to warrant the IPCC’s “2000s”. Instead of paying due diligence to the IPCC’s documents, Tamino and Robert Way check kite one another.

As predicted.

190. Or C beats C.

191. Tom Curtis says:

Joshua, there are (at least) four desiderata of writing – accuracy, clarity, brevity and wit. They tend to conflict. The more witty, for example, you are, the less accurate and clear you will be (something very obvious in Willard’s briefer comments). It is possible in most cases to be very accurate, and very clear – but only at the expense of great length (in most cases). Hence for most practical writing you have to compromise. If you are prepared to put more effort into learning then most (which seems evident), a compromise that retains some brevity is likely to dissatisfy you with respect to either accuracy or clarity.

My personal opinion on articles at SkS is that I have no write to condemn reasonable efforts from people who are doing this unpaid, and as a public service. Particularly as the more active members of SkS (of which Robert Way is certainly one) will be putting far more effort into making the site better than by just publishing articles. In particular, they will be involved in internal review, and with moderation duties. Consequently, if I think there is a problem with lack of clarity, or accuracy, I try to make up the shortfall in a comment.

While on the topic, while I am now disassociated with SkS, they provide a commendable service and are very happy to have new contributors – particularly for the unglamorous job of internal review. If you think you can effectively pick out genuine flaws, and make reasonable suggestions for improvement you may want to consider volunteering.

192. Reich.Eschhaus says:

It’s insane:

My next comments will be less diplomatic.”

“The more Dana will react the way he does, the more contrarians will keep pushing his buttons.”

“Climateball requires one does not lose as soon as one is found wrong.”

“So let’s blame the Philosopher for geocentrism.”

“This pattern has to stop.”

” but we should not expect such turnabout from a blogger with a badass attitude.”

“The last option would be best for him, but we should not expect such turnabout from a blogger with a badass attitude.”

“This pattern has to stop.”

“One does not simply voice one’s disagreement by begging the question under discussion to gloat one’s way to Mordor.”

“There’s no need to cringe, let alone elsewhere.”

“Sour grapes never taste good, more so when you’re a blogger with an attitude such as Tamino.”

I don’t agree.
Pretty sure dana does not agree.

I don’t like your 9fiture( world

193. Tom Curtis says:

This following reproduces a post on SkS. It is, however, topical both because it directly relates to the subject of the OP, and because Dana/Willard have brought the post on which I commented into discussion here. I think this, together with Tamino’s two posts, and that by Robert Way clearly refute any notion that the IPCC was justified in concluding that 1930s Arctic temperatures were warmer than those in the 2000s:

First, Tamino now has a follow up article on this issue.

In it he examines the temperature data presented in:

Polyakov et al (2003)

Wood and Overland (2010)

Yamanouchi (2011)

Fyfe et al (2013)

Johannessen (2004)

Bekryaev et al (2010)

He discusses these because they are the articles Curry cites in her defense. Tamino shows that none of them show temperatures in the 2000s as cold as those in the 1930s. That is, the literature Curry cites do not support her conclusion, and where they show both 1930s and 2000s temperatures, refute it.

In the list above, the bolded articles are also cited by the IPCC in the section quoted by Willard. It is far from clear that the articles cited by the IPCC are in support of the disputed claim. When making that claim, ie, that “Arctic temperature anomalies in the 1930s were apparently as large as those in the 1990s and 2000s”, they cite no literature in suport of the claim. Above (@1), Willard critiques the OP on the basis that there is no “… discussion of the rationale behind the IPCC’s claim”. In fact there is no discussion of the rationale behind the IPCC’s claim in AR5 WG1. Criticizing Way for not reproducing or quoting what does not exist is bizarre. It shows that Willard has, at best, “phoned in” his initial critique,ie, that it is not based on an assessment of either the IPCC’s discussion or of the literature.

I had expected better from Willard.

The IPCC also cites:

Ahlmann (1948)

Veryard (1963)

Hegerl (2007a)

Hegerl (2007b)

Brohan et al (2006)

Bengtsson et al (2004)

Grant et al (2009)

Bronnimann et al (2012)

Ahlmann and Veriyard are clearly too early to be relevant, not being able to compare 1930s even with 1990s temperatures – let alone those of the 2000s.

Hegerl et al (2007a) discusses attribution in relation to a reconstruction of NH temperatures from 30 to 90 degrees North, and contains no distinct discussion or representation of Arctic only temperatures. Further, the reconstruction terminates in 1990, making it irrelevant to the question at hand.

Hegerl et al (2007b) ie, AR4 WG1 Chapt 9 shows no pan-arctic temperatures, but those that it does show for individual Arctic areas show 1930s temperatures below temperatures in the 2000s.

Brohan et al (2006) introduces the HadCRUT3 which is superceded by HadCRUT4 which shows Arctic temperatures warmer in the 2000s than in the 1930s.

Bengtsson et al (2004) shows Arctic temperatures warmer than in the 1930s by the late 1990s, and does not show temperatures of the 2000s.

I do not have access to the full text of Grant et al (2009), but its abstract restricts its discussion entirely to the early twentieth century. That makes it unlikely that it will contradict what appears to be a concensus in the literature that actually discusses or shows a comparison between 1930s and 2000s Arctic temperatures. That is particularly the case as Grant et al (2009) share three coauthors with Bronniman et al (2012), including both Grant and Bronnimann.

Bronnimann et al (2012) conclude that:

“None of the data sets alone is sufficient for addressing long-term trends in the Arctic. However, knowing the shortcomings and differences, information can be gained even on trends from analysing all data sets individually and by combining the results (see also Thorne et al. 2010 for the value of multiple tropospheric temperature data sets). For instance, all data sets agree that the last two decades are unprecedented in the 20th century in terms of the magnitude of the warm anomaly in the lower troposphere.The rate of warming between the 1980s and present is also outstanding. The vertical structure of the trend shows a clear amplification of the recent trend at the surface in autumn to spring. During the ETCW, high temperature anomalies were also found at 700 hPa and above in winter. Although the data are more uncertain for the first half of the twentieth century, they clearly point to a smaller lapse rate compared to the recent warm period.”

(My emphasis)

To summarize, the IPCC claim has no supporting evidence in any of their cited literature that I have been able to examine, and flatly contradicts all of the standard temperature records, and the only clear statement on the subject in the literature they cite.

I believe that shows Willard’s critique to have been entirely baseless.

(Formatting and links lost in quotation.)

194. Tom Curtis says:

Willard:
“Robert Way got caught the same way Dana did, and that now he has to enter rounds of parsomatics about conventions,…”

Nonsense.

Any such defensive retreats by Curry are irrelevant because they do not support here claim in any event. Counting the 2000’s as stopping in 2005 is clear cherry picking, and the years 2000-2005 are warmer than the 1930s in the Arctic in any event.. Allowing that it might run from 2000-2009 (or 2001-2010) results in a straightforward falsification. Defining the Arctic as being above 70 degrees North is another clear cherry pick, and again (as Tamino shows) does not result in “arctic” temperatures in the 1930s as warm as those in the 2000s.

Further, anybody critiquing another is fully justified in taking common words as having their common meanings. It is incumbent on the person making the original claim to clarify if the common meaning is not intended. If the lack of clarification was an oversight, they may always accept that their original claim as stated was wrong; and then restate the claim in the more restricted and presumably accurate form. If instead they redefine without admission, and insist that their uncommon and clearly misleading use of common terms was justified, the correct conclusion is that the misleading was intentional.

Deniers may think they are allowed any sort of intellectual legerdemain to “establish” their points. Expecting critics to allow them to play those games, however, is not rational. The correct response is not to criticize the critique for not having impeccable form, but to criticize the denier for their contortions.

195. > Criticizing Way for not reproducing or quoting what does not exist is bizarre.

And yet Tamino analyzes “what does not exist”.

Bizarre, that.

196. > I don’t like your 9fiture( world

I’m not Anders. Tit for tat is good enough for me.

197. > Any such defensive retreats by Curry are irrelevant because they do not support [her] claim in any event. Counting the 2000′s as stopping in 2005 is clear cherry picking, and the years 2000-2005 are warmer than the 1930s in the Arctic in any event.

Judy’s defensive retreats is relevant insofar as she’s attacked for quoting the IPCC. The accusation of cherry-pick is of little merit, as it’s the end-point we can read in the second of the two sentences Judy bolded in her op-ed from a quote of the chapter 10:

Arctic temperature anomalies in the 1930s were apparently as large as those in the 1990s and 2000s.

[…]

Comparing trends from the CCSM4 ensemble to observed trends suggests that internal variability could account for approximately half of the observed 1979–2005 September Arctic sea ice extent loss.

http://judithcurry.com/2014/01/27/early-20th-century-arctic-warming/

My emphasis.

Trying to bulldoze is useless against an open door.

***

Here’s what has been played:

[Team Judy] Arctic surface temperature anomalies in the 1930’s were as large as the recent temperature anomalies.

[Team SkS] Citation needed.

[Team Judy] The IPCC’s AR5. Look, here.

[Team SkS] But that’s obviously a mistake. LOOK AT ALL THE GRAPHS!

[Team Judy] I wash my hands over this. Take it to the IPCC.

Everything else distracts from where we should have been a while ago.

***

It took NG one comment to reach that state.

198. Let’s see if climateballers learned the lesson.

What would be a response to

> Defining the Arctic as being above 70 degrees North is another clear cherry pick.

that would be in the spirit of Judy’s defines so far?

Solution tomorrow.

199. Joshua says:

Tom –

I certainly didn’t intend my comment to read as a condemnation.

My point wasn’t to suggest a major flaw on the article (if I felt there were one I might have commented there), but to provide an example here as part of a larger, ongoing discussion related to science communication and cringeworthiness.

200. Steve Bloom says:

Willard, the sentence in the AR5 before that first quote provides the full context:

A question as recently as six years ago was whether the recent Arctic warming and sea ice loss was unique in the instrumental record and whether the observed trend would continue (Serreze et al., 2007). Arctic temperature anomalies in the 1930s were apparently as large as those in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still considerable discussion of the ultimate causes of the warm temperature anomalies that occurred in the Arctic in the 1920s and 1930s.

So it was a question in 2007. What does the AR5 say about the present? Also, “anomalies” adds something to the meaning of the second sentence. What’s the baseline? Possibly different for each? That would change the meaning.

Compare to the key sentence from Judy’s Senate testimony:

Further, Arctic surface temperature anomalies in the 1930’s were as large as the recent temperature anomalies.

Well, “the.” Note also that the AR5 considered data not just from the 1990s and 2000s, but up through 2012. Actually you can pretty much see what the real story is from the graph she provided, showing that as of about 1998 temps had already nearly matched those of the 1930s peak. Why such an old graph?

Also, notice how the added sentence was deleted from the longer quote of the AR5 text in her post. Slippery, slippery.

I’m a little surprised you were so careless as to miss this, although Tamino seems to have done so as well. Careless is entirely too generous a term for what Judy did.

201. Steve Bloom says:

Aha, I see that later in the post she admits that more recent Arctic temps have been sharply higher, but defends her testimony as an accurate quote of the IPCC. Not so much.

202. Steve,
Yes, but I find that a very odd way to engage. If you make the argument that temperatures in the 30s were similar to today then presumably you’re trying to suggest that today may not be unusual. If you then are forced to accept that temperatures today are likely higher than they were in the 30s, you should be willing to accept that not only is your initial statement no longer correct, but that your inference is wrong. Saying “yes, the statement’s wrong but I can point to a source for what I’ve said and therefore what I’ve said is still valid” is scientifically ridiculous.

203. Steve Bloom says:

She appears to have engaged in some similar fishiness regarding Arctic sea ice decline, but I’ll have to leave that until tomorrow.

204. Steve Bloom says:

Ridiculous, yes, but the alternative is to admit that her testimony was misleading if not incorrect.

205. Since part of this thread ended up being about rhetoric and engagement, I’ll add a thought based on Judith’s responses and some other comments of her’s that I’ve encountered (for example, this one). It seems to me that we can be as careful as we can possibly be, but people still seem to be able to ignore what they’ll been told by experts in the past and simply make stuff up when challenged. Judith’s response, for example, to John N-G’s article was absurd. She simply made up some confidence interval (IPCC says 51% – 95%) and then from that suggested that she could use a 44% range but would make it 28% to 72%. Not only is the IPCC range more like 85% – 120%, just because they have a particular range, doesn’t mean you can simply choose a different interval with the same width.

So how can we actually achieve anything meaningful if people who are regarded as credible by some simply get away with making things up? I don’t know the answer to this, obviously. I just find it remarkable.

206. Steve,

Ridiculous, yes, but the alternative is to admit that her testimony was misleading if not incorrect.

Yes, good point. Take some courage to do that.

207. > [N]otice how the added sentence was deleted from the longer quote of the AR5 text in her post.

Better.

***

> Well, “the.”

Well, “recent” like in “2007 is not recent”.

It was promising.

***

> I’m a little surprised you were so careless as to miss this, although Tamino seems to have done so as well.

I simply read Judy’s post, quoting the two sentences she bolded. On the other hand, Tamino is the science guy who was supposed to pay due diligence to the AR5. Notice how Steve Bloom’s wording does not say that Tamino was careless.

***

Also, notice that Judy’s op-ed sufficed to undermine Tamino’s “I could only find one study for the 1990s”. Notice how the game became “but the 2000s”.

***

Showing ALL THE PLOTS is way better than all this pussyfooting. That’s what Robert Way should have done in his Historical perspective, and not simply promote his own paper while +1ing Tamino’s “analysis”. As we may expect from Skeptical Science.

Unsophisticated readers who could not care less about Climateball ™ would still learn something.

208. Tom Curtis says:

Willard, Robert Way showed 10 temperature indices for Arctic temperatures – 6 land, and 4 Land/Ocean. All support his claim, and only one is from his forthcoming paper. That is not promoting his own paper. Your position on that point is absurd, and diminishes you. Further, careful readers would have noted that the title of the post was “A Historical Perspective on Arctic Warming: Part One“. I know it is subtle, but some readers would conclude from that that there is a part two and possibly even a part three in the offing. Criticizing a two or three part series for what it lacks having read only the first part is, frankly, silly. You are straining to find fault, and it shows.

209. Aha, seems that Robert Way has not quoted the sentence that changes everything according to Steve Bloom.

***

Speaking of Robert Way, here’s how his op-ed starts:

During her most recent Senate testimony, Dr. Judith Curry (Georgia Tech) repeated one of the most common misconceptions found in the blogosphere, that the Arctic was warmer than present during the 1940s. This period – known as the Early Century Warm Period (ECWP) – coincides with observations of reduced Arctic sea ice cover and allowed for more widespread ship navigation than during the late 1800s and early 1900s (Johanessen et al. 2004).

Way has not provided a quote for the first claim. As we we already observed, a point no one has picked up here yet, Way has not even provided a link to the document he’s criticizing.

Also note Way’s wording in the second sentence: “early 1990s”. Since Tamino mentions Johanessen along the year “1997”, one has to wonder when exactly the ships stopped navigating in the Arctic in the 1990s. Just the kind of information a reader of an historical perspective might expect to find in an historical perspective. Fancy that.

210. Tom Curtis says:

Willard, 1900s does not equal 1990s.

211. > Some readers would conclude from that that there is a part two and possibly even a part three in the offing.

Here’s what’s promised:

Based on the data presented above there is virtually no evidence that Arctic air temperatures were greater than present during any previous period of the last century. This is clearly a case where the IPCC should consider amending its text to provide a more accurate picture of Arctic temperature changes. In Part Two the Early Century Warm Period will be discussed in the context of its causes and origins.

This question has nothing to do with the myth Way tried to dispel in his first part. It does not answer my criticism that his first part should have been a play-by-play of IPCC on the matter. More so considering that criticizing Judy means paying due diligence to what the IPCC said more than touting his own paper in press.

**

> Your position on that point is absurd, and diminishes you.

The alternative is of course that my point is misunderstood, Tom. Showing datasets that argue from one’s viewpoint is not the same thing as showing ALL THE EVIDENCE, exactly what Judy has been accused to do. It also undermines the power of his conclusion, as Way is forced to conclude “based on data presented above” that there is virtually no evidence of ANY kind of warming AT PRESENT, which is crisper and nonequivalent to RECENT times.

(If you think about it, a conditional claim is seldom virtually true, unless it’s of some type we’ve already encountered, i.e. a trivial claim, or a categorical claim in desguise.)

***

If you continue on this policy in criticizing my person, you will have to own every single point I make you choose to ignore, Tom. I don’t mind much getting flack. People who play like that are not offered takebacks.

212. > Willard, 1900s does not equal 1990s.

Renewed interest led to several demonstration voyages in 1997 including the passage of the Finnish product tanker Uikku.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Sea_Route

I guess Way’s remark will be elucidated in his second part, and hope Way has not cited Johanessen’s blurb for the sake of expediency.

213. Tom Curtis says:

Willard:

“Judy’s defensive retreats is relevant insofar as she’s attacked for quoting the IPCC. The accusation of cherry-pick is of little merit, as it’s the end-point we can read in the second of the two sentences Judy bolded in her op-ed from a quote of the chapter 10”

Reading the second of two bolded quotes does not provide an interpretive framework for the IPCC’s comments about the 1990s and 2000s. It fails to do so because it comes in a following paragraph, on a different subject, that does not mention temperature, and follows an earlier non bolded period that would take precedence if that sort of contorted misquotation were permissible. Contrary to your claim, however, the bolded sentence is not intended (or at least not clearly intended) as justifying taking the 2000s to be the period 2000-2005.

This illustrates the problem with your approach. You want to count mere quoting of an unrelated IPCC passage mentioning the key date, “2005”, as being a sufficient rhetorical move by Curry to block attempts to point out her cherry picking. By giving her so lax a standard, you permit her always to have an available rhetorical move to counter any refutation. You become so keen to give Curry a free pass that you make fallacious rhetorical moves in her name that she did not make, and then declare them justified simply because somebody could make them.

“Here’s what has been played …

Your miss the fairly obvious response that Curry cannot wash her hands of it as she presented the claim in testimony to Congress. Now, either she was there under false pretenses, having nothing more to add than could be gained by reading the IPCC, or she has actual expertise in the issues she discussed. If the later, than the IPCC’s say so is not sufficient ground for her testimony. It is the role of experts, particularly in science, to not simply accept the consensus position in their area of expertise. It is only when they step outside of that expertise that they are constrained to do so.

So, one possible next move for SkS (accepting for the sake of argument your play-by-play) is to point out that Curry’s falling back onto “that is what the IPCC said” is an admission of lack of expertise on a topic on which she testified before Congress as an expert.

“Everything else distracts from where we should have been a while ago.

And finally your reveal ignorance of the fundamental rhetorical game of deniers. They are in it to raise doubt, not on a given precise point – but on any point which may be effective. It is not sufficient when countering them to refute the logic of their argument when their argument is a Gish Gallop which works rhetorically leaving sufficient claims uncontested so as to sow doubt regardless of which few points are actually refuted. John N-G got to your desired point rapidly, but only at the expense of leaving several false claims unrefuted – which claims can then feed into denier myths. Worse than that, he unnecessarily agreed with claims which are in fact false, even on finely parsed interpretations.

Given this, what is obtained in getting to the end point of your play-by-play is the refutation of a false hood about Arctic temperatures. That is in itself a desirable thing.

214. Willard,
Although I think I’m getting (or partly getting) what you’re trying to illustrate, I have a lot of sympathy with Tom’s comment below.

By giving her so lax a standard, you permit her always to have an available rhetorical move to counter any refutation. You become so keen to give Curry a free pass that you make fallacious rhetorical moves in her name that she did not make, and then declare them justified simply because somebody could make them.

As I tried to point out in this comment Judith seems to be able to get away with simply making stuff up. So even though what you’re illustrating may be true (or partly true) if we’re dealing with people who will go to any lengths to refute what others say or justify what they say, I don’t know how understanding that this is possible or how it might work can really help.

215. Tom Curtis says:

“If you continue on this policy in criticizing my person, you will have to own every single point I make you choose to ignore, Tom. I don’t mind much getting flack. People who play like that are not offered takebacks.”

Do you think I care?

At this point you are looking more like a hindrance in the fight against AGW denial than a help to me. Indeed, as far as I am concerned this conversation is over until you actually attempt to justify your repeated, and unsupported claims that Way’s article “… is mainly a promotional token for Cowtan & Way”.

216. > Reading the second of two bolded quotes does not provide an interpretive framework for the IPCC’s comments about the 1990s and 2000s.

That is not my job, Tom, so this won’t help you making this about me. I’m the one who keeps asking for this interpretative framework, for Gadamer’s sake! Neither Tamino nor Robert Way offer the interpretative framework that would help them undermine Judy’s reliance on the IPCC’s text. So far, the best we have is Tamino showing us graphs of the relevant literature.

This problem is way more important than the actual episode of Climateball ™. It shows a lacuna behind Skeptical Science’s motivation to become an encyclopedic resource. It also shows that most blog posts are written to consumed by IPCC exegets.

217. Willard,

It shows a lacuna behind Skeptical Science’s motivation to become an encyclopedic resource. It also shows that most blog posts are written to consumed by IPCC exegets.

If I understand what exeget means, then I don’t really agree with this. There may be posts for which this is true, but – as a whole – SkS seems like a remarkable resource. Admittedly, I have a PhD in physics so maybe I’m not really the best to judge how others – less qualified – would find it.

I’m also starting to feel slightly uncomfortable about a lengthy discussion here about the merits (or lack thereof) of the SkS strategy. I’m not sure what that will achieve.

218. > [A]s far as I am concerned this conversation is over until you actually attempt to justify your repeated, and unsupported claims that Way’s article “… is mainly a promotional token for Cowtan & Way”.

First, there’s only one claim there: Way’s op-ed is mainly a promotional token for Cowtan & Way.

Second, this is easy to support. Way starts his exposition this way:

The challenge with describing Arctic surface air temperature changes is that the observational network is sparse, something we noted and corrected for in Cowtan and Way (In Press).

Then follows the results of this paper. The results are then compared to other “record”, “datasets”, Then Way notes that some “record terminates in 2008, before several of the warmest years in the Arctic”, which renders his cutting-edge results even more important.

Et cetera, but I think this suffices to show that indeed, Way’s op-ed is mainly a promotional token for his article in press.

219. > SkS seems like a remarkable resource.

I agree, Anders, and might even add that it may be the best one we have so far. That does not diminish my criticism, which was generalized to op-eds we can read in climate blogs. Reading Climateball ™ op-eds are more often than not, as bender would have said, “needles in the eyes”.

Mixing editorial content with longer lasting information does not help improve readability, and deprecates the informational content quite fast. Just imagine you read Way’s op-ed in 2 years from now. We may wonder how we will appreciate the information provided in this historical perspective.

Take the simplistic problem of “in press”. If we revise to add a date, then the “cutting-edge” effect is lost. If we don’t, we have an article that is in press for a long time.

***

Has the Skeptical Science team made usability tests with their target audience?

220. Willard,
I see, yes then maybe you have a point.

Has the Skeptical Science team made usability tests with their target audience?

I don’t know, but I do know that designing websites and deciding on website content is not easy 🙂

221. While waiting for Tom’s comeback into the conversation, or even better some interesting discussion over the meaning “mainly”, “promotional” or “token”, let’s give the answer to our puzzle:

> Some of the plots show the recent temperatures to be comparable to the earlier temperatures; others show current temperatures to be much warmer. The discrepancies to occur owing to the spatial variability of the trends. In particular there is a strong latitudinal trend with the warmest temperature anomalies circa 1930 occurring at latitudes higher than 70N (Bekrayev et al., Yamanouchi) and also in the Atlantic sector (Overland and Wood).

http://judithcurry.com/2014/01/27/early-20th-century-arctic-warming/

So the answer to “but the 70N is a cherry pick!” is “please take it with Bekrayev or Yamanouchi and thank you for your concerns”.

***

The quote above is near a newly added resource:

A 2009 study of warming in Greenland by Jason Box et al found that ” The annual whole ice sheet 1919–32 warming trend is 33% greater in magnitude than the 1994–2007 warming.”

While Judy may not be able can argue that she used this to justify her judgment, for I don’t think she simply “forgot” to add it, it is still something interesting to cover in any endeavor seeking to adjudicate the similarities between the 1930s and recent (or is it present?) times in the Arctic using virtually all the evidence available to us.

222. Interesting, and yet it continues with

Using the empirical relationships between Greenland and the Northern Hemisphere surface air temperature data, we calculate that if Greenland was to become in phase with the hemispheric pattern, as it did after 1923, an additional 1.08–1.68C warming would occur. In light of this predic- tion and global climate model forecasts for continued high-latitude warming, the ice sheet mass budget deficit is likely to continue to grow in the coming decades.
.
.
.
.

Climate warming has pushed the Greenland ice sheet beyond its threshold of viability in recent years (Rignot et al. 2008). The ice sheet seems poised not to grow without substantial regional and global climate cooling. It therefore seems much more likely that not that Greenland is and will be for the foreseeable future be a deglaciating Pleistocene Ice Age relic.

So, they’re using what happened in the early part of the 20th century to compare how Greenland warms when compared to the rest of the NH, and using that to project what might happen in the coming decades/centuries. Consistent with what Judith is suggesting?

223. Joshua says:

willard –

Did you happen to catch when Judith added that update/reference/link? What it before or after she had washed her hands of the discussion?

224. Joshua,

I think so, but you’d have to see the timestamp in the comment thread.

I think Judy washed her hands when the accusations became more practical. Not unlike the Tiljander affair, if you ask me. We have enough examples of witch hunts to consider that it might not be the best way to improve any kind of meeting of the minds. And if what remains is less than useful for the 10th grader, so much the worse for Climateball ™ as an editorial practice.

***

Anders,

I have no idea if it’s consistent with what Judith is suggesting. Looking for inconsistencies in Judy’s testimonies and op-eds looks like shooting a fish in a barrel to me. All that is needed is due diligence. The best would due diligence that goes beyond proving Judy wrong, as if 10th graders will care about that next week.

Some strategies make winning a won position more difficult for no good reason. So far, we can hypothesize that gloating, mincing words, advertizing, and indignant dueling waste energy. Judy does not make anyone play these lousy Climateball ™ moves.

225. Willard,

The best would due diligence that goes beyond proving Judy wrong, as if 10th graders will care about that next week.

Yes, but I have no idea how one would go about doing this. It really doens’t seem to matter what was said and how it was rebutted, some just carry on regardless and – a week later – it’s forgotten.

226. Joshua says:

Interesting. Just went on a stroll in the Internet and came across this:

http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2012/08/the-best-is-yet-to-come-an-interview-with-richard-muller

Muller says Curry distanced herself from the paper because she disagrees with the findings, and that she has an alternative theory – that the climate is random, so any correlation between increases in carbon dioxide and warming is an accident. His response: “‘I’ve said to her that the unfortunate aspect of her theory is that it’s untestable. Now a theory that’s untestable is not something I consider to be a theory.”

My emphasis.

Based on my understanding of what I’ve read from Judith – Muller is mischaracterizing her views. On the other hand, perhaps he has had convos with her where she expresses opinions differently than she does in her writing, or perhaps I have misinterpreted her writing.

I dropped a comment on her blog asking her to clarify.

I have to say, that if Muller’s characterization is accurate, it would seem quite remarkable.

227. Since we’re on the theme of short memories, I remembered I had a brief discussion with Reiner Grundmann about trust in science and trust in the IPCC. It was about Myles Allen’s submission to the Select Committee. I was suggesting that Myles was partly arguing that it wasn’t possible to create a perfect process. Therefore, if you wanted to find fault you could.

I was therefore suggesting to Reiner that he should be considering – as a social scientist – the possibility that any lack of trust is manufactured rather than a real reflection of a genuine problem with the process. He responded that this was possible, but lame and that I should provide some concrete. I suggested that some high-profile people – some of whom comment on his blog – had done exactly this. For some reason, he never responded to that comment.

228. Joshua says:

Anders –

I don’t know about “any” lack of trust – but certainly I think there should be questions about “some” of the lack of trust. Or many you meant “any” in the sense that it could mean “any portion or occurrence of.”

What you post there reminds me of discussions about “trust in climate scientists” where “skeptics” point to evidence that they claim indicates that climate scientists are not trusted (for example, by referencing polls that show that some members of the public think that X% of climate scientists might fudge data to support their arguments).

However, those “skeptics” do not look at that lack of trust in context; in other words, how does trust in climate scientists compare to trust in plumbers, or priests, or ditch-diggers, or for that matter, “skeptics.”

In essence, that seems to me like, manufacturing distrust: Taking a pervasive phenomenon, lifting it from context, and trying to argue that it is somehow uniquely applicable for a very specific application.

And that doesn’t even go into the questions of: (1) whether there has been any change in trust in climate scientists over time (in other words, these “skeptics” use cross-sectional data to draw longitudinal conclusions – something that is entirely unskeptical) (2), whether those who report distrust in climate scientists actually know in any depth what climate scientists have said and, (3) relatedly, the nature of causality behind the reported distrust – in other words, is it more about political ideology than about the scientific work of climate scientists?

I would hope that a social scientist would have some answers about how my questions relate to a question of whether trust has been “manufactured.”

229. dana1981 says:

This is not the place to discuss SkS strategy, but if you’re going to criticize it, you should at least understand it first.

“Just imagine you read Way’s op-ed in 2 years from now…”

Why would you? In 2 years there will have been 2 more years of scientific research done, and we’ll be talking about that. Blog posts are intended to be short-term. SkS has a myth rebuttals database as the long-term scientific resource. Long story short, we know what we’re doing.

Also, lease stop calling blog posts “op-eds”.

230. Joshua says:

Please put in ….”or maybe you meant…” in place of “or many you meant.”

It is a little disturbing how often I find that I do that weird substitution of the wrongs words thing as I type. Fortunately, I think that a variation of the following effect can, at least sometimes, bail me out.

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh?

231. Joshua,
Partly, the point I was trying to make to Reiner was that if one was going to investigate (as a social scientist) whether or not there was a lack of trust in climate scientists, one should at least consider the role that people may have played in trying to manufacture distrust. When he asked for actual examples I was thinking of what I heard about Pielke Jr and Tol criticising Pachauri. Criticism which, I believe, turned out to be unfounded (and yet they continue).

What you say here is very true

However, those “skeptics” do not look at that lack of trust in context; in other words, how does trust in climate scientists compare to trust in plumbers, or priests, or ditch-diggers, or for that matter, “skeptics.”

Especially as quite a few of those who are critical claim to be expert statisticians, you’d think this would be obvious.

232. Joshua says:

FYI, Judith says that Muller mischaracterized her views

233. Joshua says:

Especially as quite a few of those who are critical claim to expert statisticians, you’d think this would be obvious.

It’s quite remarkable that I have often had a particular Rasmussen poll pointed out to me as evidence of a lack of distrust in climate scientists (and as evidence, supposedly, that inaccurate claims by climate scientists has eroded trust not only in climate scientists but in fact the very institution of “science”) – but that poll does not provide any context w/r/t relative trust in people from other professions, and when I point that out I have gotten, each and every time, bupkis in response.

I remember the first time that happened, in an exchange with Willis. I thought it quite remarkable that someone who spends so much of his energy examining for errors in analytical reasoning would reference that poll as evidence for a phenomenon and then not address such an obvious problem with the logic of his argument.

Actually, I think maybe even worse is the fundamental problem where “skeptics” try to draw longitudinal conclusions (e.g., that inaccurate claims from climate scientists has eroded trust over time) from freaking cross-sectional data (a one-off poll that reports X% of people think that climate scientists might sometimes fudge data). It’s really quite remarkable because it is a striking example of a failure to think skeptically – yet it can be found very often at blogs where self-described “skeptics” hang out – and it never, that I have seen anyway, gets challenged.

234. Joshua says:

Partly, the point I was trying to make to Reiner was that if one was going to investigate (as a social scientist) whether or not there was a lack of trust in climate scientists, one should at least consider the role that people may have played in trying to manufacture distrust.

Seems like it would be a key issue to address.

If I’m not mistaken, I had a blog exchange with Reiner (at RPJr.’s) about data on the variables that correlate with reports that “Climategate” affected opinions on climate change and on the work of climate scientists. If I’m right that it was Reiner – I was struck with how unimportant he felt it was to investigate whether reports of “trust” or changes in belief pre- and post-“Climategate” were correlated with social/political/cultural predispositions. In fact, the data I’ve seen showed that a relatively small % of people’s views were altered by “Climategate” and that the changes that people reported could be predicted by their social/political/cultural predispositions (i.e., “skeptics” reported it diminished their concern about climate change whereas “realists” reported in increased their concern). Even further, assumptions were being made about the impact of “Climategate” w/o data that compared views pre-“Climategate” to post “Climategate,” and there was no control for people reporting a loss of trust that, in fact, did not show up in carefully validated data (in other words people reported a drop in trust, after the fact, that would not be reflected in pre- and post- data). Social scientists, it would seem to me, would never draw longitudinal conclusions based on cross-sectional data, and would always seek to control for biases such as social desirability bias when collected self-report evidence.

235. > This is not the place to discuss SkS strategy […]

Right, we should not discuss how Robert Way misses an open net, just like Dana fumbled the ball right here not long ago. This blog is just a place for Dana to cringe or promote Way’s op-ed.

***

> [I]f you’re going to criticize it, you should at least understand it first.

There’s an about page, and I’ve shown ways in which Way’s unpaid ad fails to meet the first criteria I read there. I can show more, and perhaps will.

For now I’m still waiting for a link to Judy’s testimony in Way’s op-ed.

I can also mention that SkS’s blog posts have undated URLs.

236. I think Steve Bloom made an important comment and wrote a blog post about this serious misquotation by Judith Curry to give it some more visibility.

Strange how people here do not seem to mind or have more important battles. I wonder what you think reading the full argument.

237. Victor,
I rather missed that with all the other discussions going on here 🙂

I agree seems to be a rather serious misquote as it seems clear that AR5 was highlighting how our understanding had improved since AR4. Of course, how does one get people to accept that this is a serious misquote by Judith (apart from those who would not be surprised)?

238. Steve Bloom says:

Thanks so much, Victor. I’m salivating! 🙂

239. Steve Bloom says:

“Neither Tamino nor Robert Way offer the interpretative framework that would help them undermine Judy’s reliance on the IPCC’s text. So far, the best we have is Tamino showing us graphs of the relevant literature.”

Shoving my humble offering down the memory hole so quickly, Willard? Nice Climateball move! I’ll have to remember that one.

May I say that overall your reply farther up was remarkably graceless and evasive given the principles you advocate? Yes, I think I may.

Also remarkable is the (apparent) fact that I’m the first one to have done due diligence on Judy’s temperature claim, notwithstanding so many comments having passed under the bridge at Judy’s and elsewhere subsequent to her Senate testimony. It didn’t even take that long to do it.

FWIW, my intent was not to let Tamino off the hook. That was very careless on his part, and I’ll even add that he has less of an excuse than you do.

Re “the,” perhaps I misunderstand your comment, but are you seriously trying to argue for a possible meaning other than the obvious one (i.e. that the entire recent record was being referenced)?

240. Steve, thanks for finding this treasure. Which again shows, with climate ostriches you always have to check the source. Always. No exceptions.

Anders, good you see it our way. The disinterest here made me wonder whether I was seeing ghosts. Consequently the post is worded a bit carefully.

241. I do have some understanding for the fact that Tamino did not catch the misquotation. Your first question when you see the quote and have all the datasets ready, like Tamino has, is whether the claim is true. Then you jump into the data, analyse it and forget to check what the IPCC really wrote before you start writing your blog post.

And as a scientists you are not accustomed to scientists doing such stuff, especially when it is that easy to find out. That is also why I have my rule, to always check sources in case of ostriches. It is a new rule, it is not the way I used to work and I still have to remind myself every time again and sometimes also forget.

242. I’ve just gone and checked the document myself. Maybe this is already posted somewhere, but if anyone else wants to check, the text Steve found is in Chapter 10 at the bottom of page 43.

243. Steve Bloom says:

While we’re on the subject, have a look at Figure 10.16, to be inserted just above the quoted passage. It seems a little obfuscatory in that context. IMO this is another example of the IPCC bending over backwards to defend the models, which contrary to the impression one might get from that graph are quite off the rails relative to recent sea ice behavior. And maybe I missed it, but they don’t seem to have included a similar graph re temperature. Would that make the models look even worse?

The foregoing is also pertinent to Judy’s testimony since, attribution being a modeling exercise, it’s the primary reason why the authors couldn’t make a stronger attribution statement (i.e. it’s the opposite lesson from the one she drew). Elsewhere they made some expert judgments, which IMO they could and should have done for these Arctic trends. By glossing things over, they gave the likes of Judy room to run.

Victor, agreed that in the case of a scientist like Judy this sort of due diligence shouldn’t be needed. I would suggest the crystallizing observation that, like Lindzen and a few others of that ilk, her motives are not scientific in nature.

Re Tamino, sure, and of course he has a day job too.

244. > Also remarkable is the (apparent) fact that I’m the first one to have done due diligence on Judy’s temperature claim […]

Quite remarkable that Tamino spent many blog posts on this story and that Robert Way’s historical perspective that ends up with the conclusion that “the IPCC should consider amending its text”. But yeah, Tamino has a day job, and Way is just a student, so I guess it’s not that bad.

Also remarkable that Steve Bloom talks about Judy’s claim and not the IPCC’s claim.

That Victor, like Tamino, wondered where Judy got her “information” is barely remarkable, though. It’s just written all over her testimony, after all:

My testimony focuses on the following issues of central relevance to the President’s Climate
Change Program:

Evidence reported by the IPCC AR5 weakens the case for human factors dominating
climate change in the 20th and early 21st centuries.

• Climate change in the U.S. and the importance of natural variability on understanding the
causes of extreme events

• Sound science to manage climate impacts requires improved understanding of natural
climate variability and its impact on extreme weather events

http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=07472bb4-3eeb-42da-a49d-964165860275

Considering our remarkable auditing team, what we emphasize does not seem remarkable at all.

***

In the spirit of complete quotation, here’s the whole paragraph where “Judy’s claim”, which is the IPCC’s claim, come from:

A key issue in understanding the recent decline in Arctic sea ice extent is to understand to what extent the decline is caused by anthropogenic warming versus natural climate variability. Analysis6 of the CMIP3 and CMIP5 simulations found that about 41% of the recent sea ice decline could be attributed to anthropogenic warming from the CMIP3 models, and about 60% from the CMIP5 models. A recent paper seeks to interpret the multi-decadal natural variability component of the Arctic sea ice in context of a ‘stadium wave’.7 This paper suggests that a transition to recovery of the natural variability component of the sea ice extent has begun in the Eurasian Arctic sector, and that the recovery will reach its maximum extent circa 2040.

Op. cit. , again with our unremarkable emphasis.

Let’s hope our salivary glands will not overwork while waying for auditing team’s analysis of the words “recently” and “further”.

245. Erratum. There are two paragraphs. Here was the first:

The increase in Antarctic sea ice is not understood and is not simulated correctly by climate
models. Further, Arctic surface temperature anomalies in the 1930’s were as large as the recent
temperature anomalies. Notwithstanding the simulations by climate models that reproduce the
decline in Arctic sea ice, more convincing arguments regarding causes of sea ice variations
requires understanding and ability to simulate sea ice variations in both hemispheres.

246. NevAud, why do you thing I was “wondered where Judy got her “information”” from?

She did answer it to a tweet of mine, but that was not an answer to my question.

I almost start to wonder, whether someone hacked your account. What is your real problem today?

247. Steve Bloom says:

Willard: “Also remarkable that Steve Bloom talks about Judy’s claim and not the IPCC’s claim.”

Yeah. I mean, the former couldn’t have been the post topic or anything like that. And how did you miss the rather harsh criticism of the IPCC in my most recent comment above?

Judy, quoted by Willard: “Evidence reported by the IPCC AR5 weakens the case for human factors dominating climate change in the 20th and early 21st centuries.”

Um, no, as has been more than amply explained to you. The evidence supports no such conclusion, and the IPCC certainly didn’t say any such thing.

Re the first bit of that longer passage: “A key issue in understanding the recent decline in Arctic sea ice extent is to understand to what extent the decline is caused by anthropogenic warming versus natural climate variability. Analysis6 of the CMIP3 and CMIP5 simulations found that about 41% of the recent sea ice decline could be attributed to anthropogenic warming from the CMIP3 models, and about 60% from the CMIP5 models.”

Hmm, another Golden Horseshoe passage from Judy, and you swallow it whole. The first sentence by itself is innocuous, but the second one, while true, manifests a hope that the unwary reader will draw some unjustified conclusions.

Oddly, you say that this is the IPCC’s claim, but actually it’s a quote of Judy’s interpretation. What’s up with that?

248. dana1981 says:

The problem with the IPCC discussion is that, unless I missed it, while they basically say ‘this was a question 6 years ago’, they don’t say what the evidence now shows about temps in the ’30s vs. today. They suggest that the ’30s Arctic warming was natural variability while the current warming is ‘due to a different process’ (just a tad vague), but they don’t compare the temperatures. It looks like another case of ‘not wrong’, but also not very clear.

249. Tom Curtis says:

Willard:

“First, there’s only one claim there”

You have made essentially the same claim multiple times in different posts. Hence, your “claims that …”

“Way starts his exposition this way:

The challenge with describing Arctic surface air temperature changes is that the observational network is sparse, something we noted and corrected for in Cowtan and Way (In Press).

Then follows the results of this paper. The results are then compared to other “record”, “datasets”,”

I would quibble as to whether the start of the fourth paragraph counts as the start of the exposition. Regardless of that, however, this is the fourth paragraph in its entirety:

“The challenge with describing Arctic surface air temperature changes is that the observational network is sparse, something we noted and corrected for in Cowtan and Way (In Press). Using a single observational network therefore has the potential to mislead – particularly on short timescales. However, comparison of all available long surface temperature records for the Arctic (here defined as regions North of 60°N) shows relatively strong agreement amongst the various products (Figure 1).”

(My emphasis)

The final sentence introduces the ‘comparison’ with other datasets, so by elimination – on your exposition of the post – the sentence bolded above constitute “… the results of this paper”. The problem with that theory is that the need to compare multiple data sets is not explicitly discussed in Cowtan and Way, let alone constituting the results of the paper. Indeed, as a “result” it would be insulting to the scientists working on temperature datasets – as if they needed instruction on so obvious a point.

It is possible that you meant just the temperature index, which is indeed a result of Cowtan and Way. Your exposition of order, however, is in that case entirely fallacious, as the 60-90 North index of Cowtan and Way (not itself published in the paper) is not introduced independently of the comparison. Worse, the notion that the comparisons are to exhibit Cowtan and Way is falsified by the existence of two panels in each of the comparative figures, only one of which includes Cowtan and Way (the other comparing land only temperature indices). That is despite the fact that Cowtan and Way did in fact create a land only data set as part of their analysis (see section 5.1 of the paper).

Far better than your tendentious reading is the interpretation that mention of the effect of sparse data sets only justifies the claim that using “… a single observational network therefore has the potential to mislead”. That caution is applied to Cowtan and Way’s data set just as much as to other available data sets, with Cowtan and Way’s own data set given no unusual prominence.

“Then Way notes that some “record terminates in 2008, before several of the warmest years in the Arctic”, which renders his cutting-edge results even more important.”

Except that that caution is applied with regard to just one data set, ie, NansenSAT – and that data set is not even directly compared to Cowtan and Way’s data set. As the comment does not apply to the data sets that are directly comparable to Cowtan and Way, ie, GISS LOTI, HadCRUT4, NOAA, it in no way helps to justify Cowtan and Way as superior. Further, given that NansenSAT clearly terminates earlier than other data sets in the comparison, some justification of that early termination was required in the text.

Further, what is entirely missing from your discussion is any evidence as to motive. Here are two hypotheses:

A) Robert Way had recently finished a paper which gave him considerable expertise on Arctic data. Given that that is the focus of his research, he is far more expert on the subject than any contributor at SkS. Learning that Judith Curry had said some patently wrong things to the US Congress about Arctic temperatures, he decided to use that expertise to write a response.

B) Robert Way had recently finished a paper that produced a temperature index. Hearing that Judith Curry had commented on temperatures in the Arctic, he decided to use the opportunity to write a response, including his own data so as to promote that data.

You have provided no information inconsistent with (A), and nor can you without explicitly addressing motives. Therefore you have not established (B), and nor can you without addressing motives. Worse, you have clearly made a tendentious reading that has resulted in clear misinterpretations at two points, and a straightforward misrepresentation (citing a criticism of one index as a criticism of “some”. Indeed, IMO you have quoted Robert Way out of context at least twice in trying to make your point.

Finally, I have dealt with both Kevin Cowtan and Robert Way over an extended period. From my experience with them, I consider hypothesis (A) to be far more likely, and (B) to be out of character. You don’t have that advantage, but that does not justify you denigrating Robert Way on no greater basis than your lazy exegesis of his blog post.

250. Reich.Eschhaus says:

It seems the discussion has strayed a bit over night. Thought it was about a clean attack on faulty reasoning vs an attack of every statement that can -at face-value- be considered wrong.

Reasoning seems to be that arguing points allows to much wriggle room. Well, I don’t believe anything of this. If they bullshit observations they will bullshit reasoning. And they do.

If you want to make an impression you need numbers. Nothing else will do (OK, maybe money does the trick 😉 ). Drown Judith out with negative commentary. That’ll do it.

It’s not reasoning or facts that have the real impact.

Willard, take another note

251. Tom Curtis says:

“The quote above is near a newly added resource:

A 2009 study of warming in Greenland by Jason Box et al found that ” The annual whole ice sheet 1919–32 warming trend is 33% greater in magnitude than the 1994–2007 warming.”

And now Willard adds substituting Greenland for Arctic as an acceptable way to defend claim that the Arctic was warmer in the 1930s than in “the recent years”. It appears that in Climateball, deniers are permitted to make any move they like, however irrational – while defenders of climate science must stick religilously to the Willard play book.

252. Steve Bloom says:

It’s there, although it takes a little digging:

SPM-7: “There is medium confidence from reconstructions that over the past three decades, Arctic summer sea ice retreat was unprecedented and sea surface temperatures were anomalously high in at least the last 1,450 years. {4.2, 5.5}”

14-39: “Temperatures averaged over the Arctic over the past few decades are significantly higher than any seen over the past 2000 years (Kaufman et al., 2009).”

253. Rachel says:

I’m not going to pretend that I’ve completely understood the discussion here or why people seem to be getting upset about it. I have always thought it perfectly reasonable that people should disagree and that there is no reason why a discussion about disagreements needs to be confrontational or negative. Discussing disagreements ought to be very positive and challenge the way we think and so in this respect can be very useful.

I also think a discussion about how best to argue with contrarians is a very important one. This is an area that I personally would like to improve upon. It’s not surprising that people have different ideas and different approaches and while some are going to be more effective than others, there is probably space for a wide range of tactics.

I just want to say one more thing and that is that I really dislike the idea that this is a game. It may feel like a game to everyone here but it really is not a game at all. The idea that people get points and that some of these points are winning moves and some are losing moves is an idea that I find a bit disconcerting. Perhaps it’s just that I’m not very competitive but I also feel that the stakes are too high to pitch this as a game.

And one more thing 🙂 can we please all remain respectful of each other even though we disagree from time to time? There’s really nothing wrong with disagreeing, it’s the manner with which we disagree that is important.

254. > And now Willard adds […]

No, Judy does. If you have a problem with that, take it with Judy. How many times will I have to play that move for our auditors to get it?

Reading what Judy writes is still the best way to criticize what Judy writes.

255. Tom Curtis says:

Willard, Curry added the reference, you are the one who declared it a legitimate move in Climateball.

256. Hmmm, my understanding is either that there are no legitimate moves in Climateball, or that all moves are legitimate – these two possibilities may not be mutually exclusive.

257. > [Judy’s claim] couldn’t have been the post topic or anything like that.

Yeah, Judy’s claim is the topic, but not IPCC’s claim. Yet they’re the same claim. If there’s a problem with that claim, take it with the IPCC.

After hundreds of comments and a dozen blog posts or more, Steve Bloom remarkably discovers that perhaps the IPCC did not mean what Judy takes the IPCC to mean. For that, he had to go read the relevant chapter in the IPCC AR5. Does that mean that nobody before him had done that?

Sometimes, you’re just lucky.

That might explain why all the commotion when it was discovered that Judy’s claim was in the IPCC reports. After all, it was well hidden in Judy’s testimony. Judy never declared that the theme of her testimony was to compare discrepancies between the AR4 and the AR5, after all. Does that mean that nobody read Judy’s testimony before criticizing it?

I suppose this could have happened: Way read Tamino and went directly to SkS to post his historical perspective; Victor read Tamino and tweeted to Judy; Tamino picked a sentence in Judy’s testimony and went berserk. That’s all understandable: we all have day jobs, after all. (I have an evening job, but Big Cats don’t count.)

That Judy based her testimony on the AR5 is now public knowledge. We even have a link here in the thread to the testimony. Wait. Do we have a link to the AR5? Were I a 10th grader, I might wish to click on the link leading to the relevant chapters and verses in the AR5.

WHERE IS THE LINK TO THE AR5?

OK, a missing link is no big deal. Let’s assume an usability glitch that will be corrected soon. After all, if Way is to criticize the IPCC on a blog post, readers should be able to access the resource, right? I’ll go check to see if SkS has corrected the situation since the last time I went there.

***

Thanks to Steve Bloom, to whom we should be of infinite gratitude, that the IPCC messed up big time (paraphrasing Tamino and Robert Way) may have been going a bridge too far. It is now argued either that the IPCC meant something else that what Judy said, or that the IPCC’s claim is now deprecated anyway.

After all, 2007 is so unlike “recently” when we’re looking at a century of data in the Arctic.

***

Now, two questions remains, if we disregard questions of managing commitments. (No, Tom Curtis, I seldom forget such aspect of pragmatics, just like I notice when I am being shoveled commitments I do not have.) One is scientific, the other is hermeneutic.

The scientific question is this one: what happened with the 2007 question? As I understand the rediscovered story, asked themselves a question, a question that has now became… we don’t know what exactly. Has it been solved? If it is now dismissed, why? Why the hell is this question not relevant anymore? New data never solve a question: we need an explanation.

The hermeneutic question is this one: what happens with Judy’s claim, which is in fact the IPCC’s claim, when we read it in Judy’s testimony? What did Judy do with that claim? If “reading in context” matters to understand the IPCC’s claim, the same applies to “Judy’s claim”. Answering this question is important to understand what kind of trial is this.

And even if we deemed that last question irrelevant, paying due diligence to it would at the very least make us read what Judy wrote, which sounds like a good idea if we’re to criticize what Judy wrote.

258. > you are the one who declared it a legitimate move in Climateball.

Any move is legitimate in Climateball, for the simple reason that players are not referees, how hard they might try to portray themselves as such. Even shooting the messenger, as Tom Curtis obnoxiously tries, seems legitimate. Overburdening a commenter with strawmanish commitments is a very common Climateball team strategy:

http://scientistscitizens.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/debate-in-the-blogosphere-a-small-case-study/

I don’t think I need to own everything I report from Judy. I started to report what Judy’s saying when I got the impression that people read very little of what Judy wrote. Everything Judy says can be used for or against her, and for or against her critics.

If critics take upon themselves to inform 10th graders, I expect that they take any Climateball opportunity to inform about the science. That means paying due diligence to the citations that are offered in a way that more science gets promoted, not in a way that only disses the enemy.

Armchair dismissiveness is best left to those who occupy university chairs.

259. jsam says:

I only play Climateball when Mornington Crescent seems too transparent.

260. Joshua says:

Whew!

I’m curious as to whether anyone here can, in a couple of sentences, summarize what the points of disagreement are?

Maybe that’s unfair, and asking for someone to do so would be inappropriately trying to simplify a complex issue – but I would like to have a better grasp of what’s going on.

261. Joshua says:

And as a point of interest…

I’d like to think that this is a place for good faith discussions (and where those not interested in good faith discussions are not particularly welcome).

I always think that a good faith discussion takes place pretty much only when the disputants can describe each other’s views and the points of disagreement in ways that would not raise objection. I also happen to think that the ability to do so is a prerequisite of valid argument to support a thesis.

What are the theses here? What are the arguments and counter-arguments?

262. Joshua,
I certainly don’t think I could summarise this coherently. Sometimes I think I’m getting it and then I lose it again.

I’ll make a comment though. I think one of points that Willard is trying to make (maybe) is that one has to be very clear about the issue you’re addressing. Read and understand properly what the other person has said (or, more correctly, make sure that your interpretation is rhetorically correct). Make sure that your response is robust and clear. Don’t fall into traps of not reading what the other person has said carefully enough, or not writing your response with enough care.

I don’t know if that’s close or not, but that’s one of my understandings. An issue that I keep having to grapple with is that this type of situation is so odd, compared to what I would normally expect. It’s not that unusual for someone to say, or write, something that doesn’t appear correct. You question it. They respond and clarify. Maybe you respond again. A discussion ensues and, typically, some kind of clarification is reached. Maybe there’s still disagreement, but the two parties will still likely understand what they’re basing their views on. The idea of justifying your view by referring to your source and claiming that because you’ve used a source, that that someone justifies what you’ve said/written is very unscientific.

So, I guess what I’m saying is that I still expect people to address the broader point and not to simply respond with some simple justification, rather than an actual explanation of why they chose that source and what they were implying with what they said.

So the problem I’m having with this discussion is quite what it implies. If we have to be extremely careful about how we read what others write and extremely careful with what we say, then that feels like we’re just playing a rhetorical game. We’re playing by the “other side’s” rules. Alternatively, if we assume that everyone should behave in a scientifically credible way (i.e., justify what they’ve said properly and allow us to clarify/justify what we’re saying) then we end up “losing” because the “other side” plays rhetorical games. I don’t see a winning strategy here.

Of course, I’m also very confused which may be evident from this comment.

263. I’d like to think that this is a place for good faith discussions (and where those not interested in good faith discussions are not particularly welcome).

Yes, that would be the ideal.

264. > Read and understand properly what the other person has said (or, more correctly, make sure that your interpretation is rhetorically correct). Make sure that your response is robust and clear. Don’t fall into traps of not reading what the other person has said carefully enough, or not writing your response with enough care.

Yes.

I can now start to switch my focus on two other things.

The first is that once the position to criticize has been properly established, one has to follow the commitments closely, especially regarding the justification basis. This is why the “take it with the IPCC” matters so much.

The second is that you also need to take into account your own communication objective. That is, even if Way has written a properly structured argument, he’d still need to make sure it is addressed to 10th graders, that all the resources needed are easily accessible, and that his historical perspective promotes science, assuming this is what Way undertook with his blog post and that this abides to SkS’ objective.

265. Since one of my communication objective is to promote the concept of Climateball (tm – sorry about that, Rachel), I will transpose what I just said in these terms.

First, identify your opponent’s shoulders and hips. Second, hit them fair and square, making sure you don’t hit the head, grab the stick or else. Third, put it in the net you decided for your game.

Another reason to say that Climateball has no fixed rules is that not everyone has the same ways to score goals, for the simple reasons that the nets change from one to an otter.

266. BBD says:

Rachel:

I just want to say one more thing and that is that I really dislike the idea that this is a game. It may feel like a game to everyone here but it really is not a game at all.

Think of it like this.

267. BBD says:

the nets change from one to an otter.

Mustelids everywhere.

268. “This is why the “take it with the IPCC” matters so much.”

Do you mean that we should have complained about the IPCC before it was known that JC took their statement out of its context? That is exactly what Tamino did, he clearly stated that also the IPCC was wrong, in retrospect that claim was wrong and he was fooled by JC.

I do see a difference, even if both had made the same error. The IPCC is mostly correct, having a few errors in it is unavoidable and I am always surprised how little errors people find. The testimony of JC seems to be riddled with mistakes and always in the direction of no action necessary. I find it logical that people recognize such a pattern and complain about the behaviour of JC.

Maybe you should hold your discussion with Robert Way over at SkS. I did not notice you were talking about the SkS post here and thought you were talking about this post and or its comments. That could have been one of the sources of confusion.

269. Tom Curtis says:

Willard again asks of Robert Way’s piece:

“That Judy based her testimony on the AR5 is now public knowledge. We even have a link here in the thread to the testimony. Wait. Do we have a link to the AR5? Were I a 10th grader, I might wish to click on the link leading to the relevant chapters and verses in the AR5.

WHERE IS THE LINK TO THE AR5?”

If he read his AR5 carefully, he would find a the bottom of each page the injunction:

“Do Not Cite, Quote or Distribute”

The injunction remains because the version of the report available to us is still a draft report.

Where he familiar with SkS, he would know that SkS take that injunction seriously, and do not cite, quote or distribute the draft version, including by providing links. Some exceptions are made, as for example, where Robert Way quotes a sentence from AR5, but only where the the quote has already entered the public domain and is directly germane to the point being addressed.

270. “Do Not Cite, Quote or Distribute”

Ooops.

271. dhogaza says:

“Do you mean that we should have complained about the IPCC before it was known that JC took their statement out of its context? That is exactly what Tamino did, he clearly stated that also the IPCC was wrong, in retrospect that claim was wrong and he was fooled by JC.”

One would hope that Willard’s saying we should never trust anything JC says without going to whatever source she quotes and verifying that she’s quoted accurately.

That’s not the impression I’m getting, though, Willard seems to hold JC faultless in regard to her testimony and the reaction to it …

272. > Do Not Cite, Quote or Distribute.

At long last!

Now, how will we be able to criticize the IPCC’s position if you can’t do that?

Let’s see… Judy does quote the AR5… We could quote Judy quoting the AR5… Which technically allows us an escape clause…

Well played!

273. > Willard seems to hold JC faultless […]

Indeed, that’s why I tried to explain why NG knocked down her position in one clean hit, substantiated Tamino’s impression that Judy looking for nits between the AR4 and the AR5 like any reader of Judy’s knows since a long time (besides anyone who read her testimony) , and recently said that trying to spot inconsistencies in Judy’s positions is like shooting fish in a barrel.

We can get all kinds of impression by not reading.

274. Joshua says:

Anders –

It’s not that unusual for someone to say, or write, something that doesn’t appear correct. You question it. They respond and clarify. Maybe you respond again. A discussion ensues and, typically, some kind of clarification is reached. Maybe there’s still disagreement, but the two parties will still likely understand what they’re basing their views on.

That is something that I very, very rarely see in the blogosphere – which is why I think it is crucial for people to confirm their understanding of the counterarguments being presented. To me, it’s an interesting phenomenon that discussions in a form such as those you describe seem to be so rare. What I find interesting, in particular, is the dearth of good faith, non-rhetorical questions, being asked for the sake of clarity.

I notice that I haven’t gotten a direct answer to my original request.

I could guess what some reasons for that might be (not a reasonable request because it simplifies inherently complex points of view, folks just aren’t interested in doing so, etc.), but I would be curious as to whether the discussants here can succinctly summarize the counterarguments, respectively, in ways that would not raise objections from their counterpart as being inaccurate.

275. Tom Curtis says:

Victor, I believe you are over interpreting the context of the IPCC quote. Although, read in full it clearly attributes an opinion to an earlier work (Serreze et al, 2007, ie, not IPCC AR4), it does not dispute that opinion, and adds nothing further to contradict that opinion. Therefore the claim is correctly read as the qualified opinion of the IPCC AR5 Chapter 10 on the subject. Curry did quote out of context, but the lack of context conceals only the qualified nature of the support for the opinion. It does not reverse the IPCC finding.

Steve Bloom’s quote from Chapter 14, section 39 is interesting. The Kaufman reconstruction, however, shows as the warmest to coolest decades, the 1990s, the 1960s, the 1950s, and the 1980s, with the 1940s tying with two other decades from much earlier in the record. The reconstruction does not extend past the year 2000. Therefore their conclusion that “… the most recent 10-year interval (1999–2008) was the warmest of the past 200 decades” is based on a comparison of the instrumental record to the proxy record. The proxy record itself contradicts the ordering of the 20th century decades by warmth in the Arctic. Given this, the IPCC’s “…the past few decades …” must be read as extending back to at least 1950 to match the proxy record, and presumably to the 1930s so as to not contradict the instrumental record. So read it is not directly germane to this issue.

It is not entirely clear the IPCC so interpreted Kaufman, but neither is there any reason to insist they meant a shorter interval when that shorter interval would place them at odds with their source. In that case the principle of charity applies and we must read the claim as indicating unusual Arctic warmth from the middle decades of the twentieth century rather than an assertion that the late twentieth century was warmer than the middle twentieth century, and the 1930s in particular.

276. BBD,

Since you like Climateball, you might be interested in knowing that I started to develop the model at Lucia’s:

Imagine a football game with many teams. There are more than two teams, but each teams has two roles. (We do not need the concept of team, only the concept of role, but I think the teams are imposed by the role. More on that another time.)

A team can play offense or defense. When a team plays offense, it has to move the ball forward. When a team plays defense, it has to prevent the ball to move. Ideally, it needs to get the ball, but that is not necessary. (We could argue that it must, but not now.)

Here is another important point: offense cannot grab, defense can. Like in American football, so it’s not hard to understand. So the roles are not symmetrical, both in the ends and in the means.

Now, let’s transpose that into what I said earlier about theories. Coherence is not being able to grab. Non-coherence (yes, there is an alternative to incoherence) is being able to grab. Moving the ball is akin to building a theory.

http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/384966743

So it started by a way to model epistemological holism. It developed to adapt it to blog comments. Then came Calvinball.

The rest is history in the making.

***

Since I’m here, I must issue a correction on this:

> Which technically allows us an escape clause…

Has Steve Bloom just quoted the IPCC by providing the missing sentence which was not quoted by Judy? Bad Steve. Of course, Victor is technically safe, technically speaking, as he only quoted Steve.

***

This moment in the discussion has been reached before. The Auditor usually cites an arcane version of the dirty hands defense. My favorite is when the Auditor used it to attack NG’s doctrine of justified disingenuousness. Incidentally, it was during an episode of Climateball ™ Antarctica.

Another time, perhaps.

277. > The AR5 WG1 is now citable.

Coup de théâtre!

278. Tom Curtis says:

Dumb Scientist, thanks for that. I note that as of 4:30 hours ago, we could quote and cite to our hearts content.

279. For those who’d like to read the Auditor c. NG:

> “Not optimal” are faint words relative to his criticism of Ryan O’Donnell breaking the code of omerta on peer reviewer identity.

http://climateaudit.org/2011/02/18/limits-to-justified-disingenuousness/

Almost three years ago.

This episode is why I use the word “suboptimal”, RyanO using it somewhere to excuse his villainous monologue against Eric Steig.

Sorry for the OT comment. Let’s just say it provides some “historical perspective”.

280. An update. Eli’s latest shows splendid form:

Notice how Eli abides to Gordie Howe’s Climateball niceties. (Type “Gordie Howe hat trick” in your search box.)

Beware though that Eli’s may not be suitable for 10th graders.

281. I wonder what people think of Bob Ward’s recent blog post about the parliamentary hearings.

It seems to me that because he used “fib” he’s being accused by some on Twitter (David Rose, for example) of libel. Anthony Watts calls him a piece of work. He also refutes things said by Laframboise, Lewis and Lindzen. I don’t disagree with anything Bob Ward has said (although I haven’t read it thoroughly), but as far as I can tell Laframboise’s testimony increases the IPCC’s credibility. If that’s the best that can be found to criticise their procedures, then they’re probably pretty good (or, at least, noone sensible would listen to what Laframboise said and conclude that the IPCC has major flaws in its procedures). Ignore her, in other words. As I’ve already said, Lewis did okay. I certainly don’t agree with everything he said, but it was pretty benign. Also, would our politicians really make policy decisions based on the testimony of someone with 3 papers (I think). Again, ignore him for the moment. The only one of the 3 with any real credentials is Lindzen. So, if you really want to “score a point” show how dreadful his testimony was, rather than trying to show each of them said something that was wrong.

Now, I don’t know if I’m right and I certainly don’t know what Bob Ward’s goals were with his post. But it may have been more effective if he’d avoided using a word that could lead to accusations of libel. It could also have been more effective if he’d focused on the one person with real credentials, rather than trying to “score a point” against all 3.

282. Marlowe Johnson says:

anyone else feel like they’ve walked in on their parents and have no idea what they’re talking about?

Now I’ve said before that I like a good Willard post as much as the next guy as it’s among the most entertaining and strenuous forms of mental gymnaistics that I come across on a daily basis. having said that, it feels like you’ve raised the degree of difficulty on this one willard. you’re making my head hurt.

one more thing. i think Tom Curtis is right that you’re being uncharacteristically uncharitable to Robert Way in this instance. send him some flowers and be done with it.

283. Steve Bloom says:

Links are indeed good. Here’s Kaufman et al. Their wrap-up:

The warming during the 20th century (and first decade of the 21st century) contrasts sharply with the millennial-scale cooling, with the last half-century being the warmest of the past two millennia. Our synthesis, together with the instrumental record, suggests that the most recent 10-year interval (1999–2008) was the warmest of the past 200 decades. Temperatures were about 1.4°C higher than the projected value based on the linear cooling trend and were even more anomalous than previously documented.

Tom says this passage and the IPCC’s approval of it “must be read” as having something other than their plain meaning. AFAICT this is because he disagrees with Kaufman et al.’s expert interpretation of their own data. And remember, this is a paper submitted nearly five years ago. There has been much Arctic melting and temperature rise under the bridge since then. The IPCC authors can be presumed to be familiar with it.

Tom also seems to want to wish away the clear implication of this IPCC sentence (previously quoted):

A question as recently as six years ago was whether the recent Arctic warming and sea ice loss was unique in the instrumental record and whether the observed trend would continue (Serreze et al., 2007).

Which is to say, it is no longer a question.

284. Steve Bloom says:

Also, Tom, you say:

Curry did quote out of context, but the lack of context conceals only the qualified nature of the support for the opinion. It does not reverse the IPCC finding.

I’m focusing on her Senate testimony since what she says elsewhere is of comparatively little importance. Just so I’m clear on the point, do you extend your opinion to this context?

285. > One would hope that Willard’s saying we should never trust anything JC says without going to whatever source she quotes and verifying that she’s quoted accurately.

This may imply that Tamino trusted Judy. Let’s see if he did:

The AR5 does indeed support Curry’s claim about Arctic temperature in the 1930s, in fact it says (as Curry quotes): […]

http://tamino.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/one-of-the-problems-with-judith-curry/

The emphasized bit provides evidence that Tamino did not really trust Judy. Let’s hope the Dhog did not wish to imply that Tamino failed to notice Steve Bloom’s remarkable discovery. If he did, it does not seem to be because he trusted Judy. This is a good thing, as we should never trust what anyone says without going to whatever source we quote if our objective is to criticize the accuracy of a quote.

***

If someone wanted to corroborate Tamino’s impression that the IPCC papers “don’t support the claim” and that “the IPCC goofed on this one — big-time”, that someone might need to inspect these papers too. Someone who’d like to provide an historical perspective of the Arctic research on a website with a mandate to explain peer reviewed science might wish to pay due diligence to these papers, or at least explain why this question “does not matter” anymore.

Of course, that someone could simply say “what Tamino says” (paraphrasing), link to one of his posts on that question, and be done with it.

286. Steve Bloom says:

It seems very likely that Tamino did see the missing sentence. Being a time series analyst rather than a philosopher, lawyer or similar, it’s possible he simply misconstrued the meaning.

287. > Which is to say, it is no longer a question.

This might be very well be implied, but the text does not clarify why this is no longer a question. Even if we assume that it is no longer a question, that does not entail that Judy’s testimony is infelicitous. Judy announced she was going to show some bits of the AR4 and AR5. That’s what she did. Some like me might wish to argue that she used that famous “claim” mainly to promote Marcia’s Stadium Wave.

Let’s hope neither Tom nor Marlowe won’t mind me saying so. And for the record, I already warned Marcia about that:

I could not care less about how you spell out your motivations. The fact is that you do spell them out. It is the fact that you appeal to your motivation that is suboptimal.

However you will try to portray your motivations, they will contrast with your co-author’s. You’ve just published a paper with a climate warrior, with non-negligible PR facilities.

Wait until you meet the climate warriors that Judy combats until you judge if I’m being mean right now.

I was referring to you, guys.

***

In “the question” that may no longer be “a question”, I see two questions:

– whether the recent Arctic warming and sea ice loss was unique in the instrumental record;
– whether the observed trend would continue.

How these two questions are related exactly has not been explained. Nor do we know how these relate to a third one, this one quoted by Judy, regarding “ultimate causes of the warm temperature anomalies that occurred in the Arctic in the 1920s and 1930s”, a question to which her Stadium wave is suppose to bring some light. Nor do we know what role “Judy’s claim” plays in the promotion of her Stadium wave, i.e. if Tamino’s right to claim that this is an “essential argument” either for her presentation or for Marcia’s Stadium wave.

which is in fact the IPCC’s, that Arctic temperature anomalies in the 1930s were apparently as large as those in the 1990s and 2000s.

Readers and editors ought to know, if not in the main text, perhaps on websites that promote peer-reviewed science, whether for 10th graders or not.

288. Deleatur: scratch which is in fact the IPCC’s, that Arctic temperature anomalies in the 1930s were apparently as large as those in the 1990s and 2000s. in the above comment.

289. > it’s possible [Tamino] simply misconstrued the meaning.

The question was if Tamino trusted Judy. Resolving that question does not presume that Tamino got the infamous claim right.

It is still possible that Tamino trusted Judy. It does not seem likely to me, but it is still possible.

290. Steve Bloom says:

“This might be very well be implied, but the text does not clarify why this is no longer a question.”

The immediate text doesn’t, the broader text does. Sou’s post has some details.

“How these two questions are related exactly has not been explained.”

They aren’t, other than rhetorically. If the earlier Arctic warming had followed a similar pattern to the current warming, it would be a different matter.

The third one is indeed of scientific interest, but bear in mind that prior to the modern instrumental period there are many similar unanswered questions. Some will get answered soon, some eventually, and some never.

As for the “stadium wave,” as many have pointed out it’s essentially worthless without a proposed mechanism that can be tested.

291. Tom Curtis says:

Steve Bloom questions my analysis of the relevance of Kaufman et al for analyzing Arctic temperatures differences withing the twentieth and twenty first century. He does so based on a quote, the first and last sentences of which compare twentieth century warming to the prior 1900 years, and which therefore have no bearing on the question at hand. That leaves the claim that:

“Our synthesis, together with the instrumental record, suggests that the most recent 10-year interval (1999–2008) was the warmest of the past 200 decades.”

I assume Steve would not claim this contradicts my claim that Kaufman et al relied on a comparison of the instrumental record (CRUTEM3) with their reconstruction to “suggest” that 1999-2008 was warmer than all prior decades in the 2000 year period.

As it happens, the decades of the twentieth century are ranked as follows by the reconstruction:
1990s, 1960s, 1950s, 1980s, 1930s, 1940s, 1920s, 1970s, 1910s, and 1900s.
For the twelve lake based proxies (primarily varves), the order is:
1960s, 1950s, 1990s, 1980s, 1970s, 1930s, 1940s, 1900s, 1920s, and 1910s.
For the seven glacier based proxies, “… mostly from Greenland…”, the order is:
1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1930s, 1990s, 1910s and 1970s (tied), 1900s, and 1980s.
For the four tree ring width proxies, “…interpreted primarily as a proxy for warm-season temperature…”, the order is:
1920s, 1940s, 1980s, 1990s, 1930s, 1960s, 1950s, 1910s, 1970s, and 1900s.
For the CRUTEM3 record it is:
1990s, 1930s, 1980s, 1950s, 1940s, 1970s, 1960s, 1920s, 1910s, and 1900s.

Given the wide disparity in decade rank order, and the wide disparity between the magnitude of differences, Kaufman et al clearly rely on CRUTEM3 to eliminate the possibility that the temperature in a decade of the twentieth century was warmer than 1999-2008. Given that reliance, they are not justified in concluding that any decade other than the 1990s, and 2000s are warmer than the 1930s. I would also note that they are not justified in any stronger than their “Our synthesis, together with the instrumental record, suggests …”. I parse that as saying that “Given only the data considered, it is more probable than not …”. It is, I believe, as weak a positive conclusion as it is possible to declare in science.

My specific discussion regarded the IPCCs different claim that:

“Temperatures averaged over the Arctic over the past few decades are significantly higher than any seen over the past 2000 years (Kaufman et al., 2009).”

That statement, though reliant on Kaufman et al, goes beyond Kaufman et al in two significant respects. First, it makes the claim for the Arctic in general, whereas Kaufman et al discuss only a land based instrumental series, and proxies. Second, it refers to multiple decades, rather than just one. The former means that Kaufman et al is of limited value as direct evidence against Curry’s claim, and that in Chapter 10. The later reflects Kaufman et al’s abstract, which states:

“The cooling trend was reversed during the 20th century, with four of the five warmest decades of our 2000-year-long reconstruction occurring between 1950 and 2000.

(The similar statement in the conclusion is restricted to summer temperatures.)

If that statement is the basis of the IPCC’s claim in Chapter 14, then “recent decades” include at least all those since 1950. Given that the instrumental record, including that relied on by Kaufman et al, clearly indicates the 1930s to be warmer than all other decades of the twentieth century, excluding the 1990s, Kaufman et al itself refutes such a generalized statement, unless “recent decades” is extended back to include the 1930s. So, either the IPCC have made a clear error by generalizing a statement clearly restricted to the reconstruction in Kaufman et al to be an absolute claim about temperatures; or their “recent decades” includes at least the last eight decades, and is not relevant to Curry’s claims. As there is no need to assume the mistake, we are compelled to conclude the later.

292. Tom Curtis says:

Willard is correct that there are at least two questions in the “… question as recently as six years ago…”. Having looked up Serreze et al (2007), I find that it contains no discussion of Arctic temperatures prior to 1950, and no discussion of Arctic ice prior to 1958. It is, therefore, irrelevant to the question(s) as to “…whether the recent Arctic
warming and sea ice loss was unique in the instrumental record”, so the question as to whether the trend will continue must be parsed as a separate question. The consequence is, however, that we are left in the dark as to why it was thought to be a question six years ago, and what, if any works have resolved the issue.

With reference to the interpretation of the crucial quote, if the the past tense in “were apparently” refers to the 1930s, Curry’s interpretation is natural. If it refers to “six years ago”, then it is incorrect. Nothing in context resolves that issue, but the 1930s was the most recently referred to prior date, which makes Curry’s interpretation significantly more natural.

293. > Sou’s post has some details.

Perhaps this one:

http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2014/01/how-expert-is-arctic-climate-expert.html

This helps everyone, and in our case it helps Sou.

294. > As for the “stadium wave,” as many have pointed out it’s essentially worthless without a proposed mechanism that can be tested.

Better than that: even by assuming the Stadium wave, NG showed that Judy’s logic does not follow.

I want NG in my Climateball fantasy team. I more than once compared him to Bobby Orr:

Since he studied at MIT, he took it as a compliment.

295. dhogaza says:

“It is still possible that Tamino trusted Judy. It does not seem likely to me, but it is still possible.”

Yet Willard trusted Judy, until Bloom provided evidence that she was being … selective with her quotes.

Why wouldn’t Tamino trusty Judy? She’s a chair in the science department at Georgia Tech. It seems much more straightforward to assume she’s just wrong, without calling her out to be a liar.

Willard’s complaint now seems to be that Tamino didn’t call her out to be a liar, and Willard claims this is a defense of Judy?

296. dhogaza says:

“Let’s hope the Dhog did not wish to imply that Tamino failed to notice Steve Bloom’s remarkable discovery”

Steve Bloom, has anything Tamino said suggest to you that he noticed your remarkable discovery before he wrote his post?

Let’s see some real evidence that he did, and ignored it.

Once upon a time, Willard was almost interesting. [Mod: deleted].

297. dhogaza says:

Willard: Curry is untruthful.

Deconstructing this in ways that might make her more or less untruthful doesn’t change the bottom line.

She’s untruthful.

She’s demonstrated that many times, starting with her proclaiming that everything in Montford’s “Hockey Stick Illusion” is true (despite folks like Mann and Schmidt trying to correct her at Real Climate).

You are tiresome. Climateball is irrelevant. The political battle was lost a decade ago, it appears. The scientific world continues to march forward, and Curry and the like are no longer part of it, not in any relevant sense. That’s why she blogs and courts acceptance by folks like Oliver Manuel (“iron sun”), and, to be blunt – you.

I’d say it is time to close down the thread, and to start thinking about science, rather than your mythical “Climateball”, which has no rules, but which you claim to be sole judge.

Screw that.

Please, host, just close this. It is counterproductive, and only serves to feed Willard’s sense of self-importance.

298. dhogaza says:

““Let’s hope the Dhog” …

Oh, and isn’t any friggin’ self-important person unable to recognize that the arabic “dhogaza” isn’t

“Dhog aza”

but rather “Dho Gaza”?

Willard, you’ve spent too much time reading Mosher’s insults of me based on misinterpretations of my screen name.

I’d expect you to do better but … oh, wait, I have no reason to expect you to do better.

And, no, I’m neither arabic nor muslim before you choose to go off on that tact. A “dho gaza” is a tool used in field biology, no hidden meanings implied or realized. But you are a fool for copying Mosher’s stupid “Dhog” (meant to rhyme with “dog”) intentional misrepresentation of my handle.

You should be ashamed of your self.

299. dhogaza says:

oh, “tack” not “tack”.

and I’ll forgo the many opportunities to make demeaning misrepresentations of the handle “Willard” …

300. Rachel says:

dhogaza,
I’m not closing down the thread – I can’t do this anyway – and I’m about to go for lunch so please can you try to settle down a bit? I’m all for an open discussion but would prefer we didn’t hurl insults at each other. Keep your criticisms directed at the comments people make rather than the commenters themselves.

301. dana1981 says:

“I wonder what people think of Bob Ward’s recent blog post about the parliamentary hearings.”

I generally agree with your take. Ward probably could have brushed aside Donna and Nic without giving specific examples of their faulty comments, though the Lewis comment he raises does seem rather bizarre. It would help to see it in context, but it does seem like the Lewis comment in question was very wrong.

It’s also hard to escape Lindzen being a ‘fibber’. Either he doesn’t know that the IPCC report discusses solar activity and GCRs in detail – in which case he’s a giant ignoramus and why is he testifying about the report to begin with? – or he’s lying. Obviously you can’t prove he’s lying (which requires intent), and hence you shouldn’t make the accusation, but yeah, he was lying. It’s possible he’s just ignorant about Nordhaus’ research and book, but again, those are your two options – ignorant or lying.

Ward probably should have said “either he’s ignorant about the IPCC report and shouldn’t have been invited to testify about it, or he was fibbing”. And a similar comment about Nordhaus, who specifically debunked this exact misrepresentation of his research almost 2 years ago.
http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=1325

Maybe Lindzen didn’t know that, but if you don’t know what you’re talking about, then shut up! Seriously, is Lindzen ever right about anything?

302. Just when I thought this thread was settling down, it appears to have slightly taken off again.

Willard, if “dhog” really is what Mosher uses to annoy “dhogaza” then maybe best we don’t use it here.

Dhogaza, I don’t think Willard was backing Judith. I think Willard was trying to illustrate something. Admittedly, it wasn’t all that obvious, but I think that – in itself – was part of the illustration. Admittedly, I’m somewhat confused myself, so I may well be wrong 🙂

303. BBD says:

Dhogaza, I don’t think Willard was backing Judith. I think Willard was trying to illustrate something.

This is also my view.

Regarding Bob Ward’s piece, his accusation of “fibbing” against Lindzen relates to Lindzen citing Nordhaus in support of his claim that the best course of action over the next 50 years is to do nothing. Now I guess that this could be considered an innocent misreading rather than a deliberate misrepresentation, if he hadn’t done exactly the same thing before and been explicitly called out on it by Nordhaus. See section 6 in the below link

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/mar/22/why-global-warming-skeptics-are-wrong/

So I’m sorry, but claiming that an author said something when the author has already explicitly stated that he said no such thing is pretty indistinguishable from an outright lie, let alone a “fib”.

305. Andrew,
Yes, I suspect we all agree with you. However, since this comment thread ended up as a long discussion about strategy I was trying to use Bob Ward’s piece as an illustration.

My thoughts are as follows. If you want to accuse someone of lying, then maybe it’s best to make it so clear that it’s hard to dispute. If you want to show that something they said was wrong than – again – make that so clear that it’s hard to dispute. Bob Ward’s article appears to be trying to do everything. It tries to show that they all said something wrong and throws in that something Lindzen said was a “fib”. All of this may be correct, but since Bob Ward then had to defend himself on Twitter against accusations of libel and the article doesn’t really show that most of what someone said was wrong, maybe it wasn’t very effective.

So, there’s a difference between saying something that we might all agree with and saying something that virtually noone could dispute (at least not reasonably). Also, showing that all 3 said something wrong is maybe not as effective as showing that the most credible of the 3 (Lindzen) said virtually nothing right.

I should add that I don’t know what Bob Ward was hopinhg achieve with his article. Maybe he’s achieved what he wanted to. I would argue, however, that if his goal was to discredit the testimony of Lindzen, Lewis and Laframboise, then I don’t think he’s succeeded.

306. Rachel says:

Ok. I have a bit more time and have a few things to say, so bear with me.

First, with regards to Bob Ward’s post, I thought it was really good and I thought he did a good job of demonstrating the inaccuracies in Lindzen’s testimony. I agree with you though, AndThen, in that it would have been better for him to avoid using the word “fib”. It really is unnecessary. He can illustrate what Lindzen has said and then illustrate what the IPCC says or what Nordhous says and how they are inconsistent and then leave it for the rest of us to make up our own minds. By using the word “fib” he is acting as judge and jury himself and that is not his job. It also places the focus on accusations of libel rather than on the inaccuracies in the testimony.

dhogaza,
Sorry if I was a bit curt this morning but I think you have misunderstood Willard. He is not here rooting for Judy. He would like us all to be as effective as NG is in his rebuttals of Judy.

BBD,
Thank you for the mesoamerica link. It reminds me of the film, Gladiator. I thought civilization had moved on from games like those. A game to me is a form of entertainment and fun and not something that involves death, suffering and/or destruction. A game of life or death is not a game at all by my definition and I think it trivialises the problem we are facing. But I should probably direct this comment at Willard instead.

Willard,
See my comment to BBD above.

to promote the concept of Climateball (tm – sorry about that, Rachel)

307. BBD says:

Rachel

The human cost of losing the “game” of climateball is going to be paid in the future. I wasn’t being flippant. My apologies if I failed to make this clear. I suspect willard isn’t being flippant either, but we will have to ask him.

308. Rachel says:

BBD,

I don’t think you or Willard were being flippant. I just find it hard to attach the word “game” to something as serious as this.

309. BBD says:

So do I, which is why it’s willard’s framing, not mine. I was simply pointing out that games have been played for very high stakes in the past. “Desperate struggle for the future of humanity and indeed the planetary ecosystem itself” might be closer to the mark, but it’s a bit of a mouthful. Also, some people are bound to start calling you “alarmist”.

To be fair to willard – which someone recently remarked is always wise – I *think* “climateball” arose as a means of describing the true nature of the “debate” rather than a literal classification of it as a game. But I could be mistaken on this point too.

310. Rachel says:

Ok, yes, I think you are probably right. I don’t want to push any particular point here as I’m not sure that I can and I can appreciate that “climateball” is a good word for describing what is happening. Plus I’m feeling quite agreeable.

311. Instead of clarifying if his previous comment was meant to imply that his trust in Judy Tamino made what seems to be a mistake in his exegesis of the IPCC text, as Steve Bloom suggests, dhogaza, one of the most aggressive commenter in the history of Climateball ever, rips off his shirt because I used “dhog” and tries to make the thread about me. Rope-a-doping like that does not erase a comment where he basically slipped up the ball right in front of Tamino’s net.

Since all this is based on his impression that I’m here to back Judy, I guess it’s only fair that he does.

***

I am truly sorry if I offended you, dhogaza, but only if.

I am also thankful for your comment about trust, because it made me realize how Steve Bloom’s story conflicted with Tamino’s reading of Judy. It helps me underline a side-effect of piling on. When many Climateballers try to tackle a single one, it’s easier for the latter to be coherent than for the former. Pay attention even to trifles, as Mushashi would say.

Missteps like dhogaza made have serious consequences in more serious games than Climateball.

Anders/Rachel,

I do take your point, but I also think that Lindzen’s behaviour deserves to be called out for what it is. The fact is that given that he had already been corrected by Nordhaus when he made this claim before, his repeating it again can only be described as an outright lie. Even if we were ignorant of previous events (and let’s assume most people reading the article would be) Ward still demonstrated in his piece that Lindzen blatantly misrepresented Nordhaus sufficiently for the (rather milder) word ‘fib’ to be perfectly apposite.

Of course the fake skeptics are outraged, but then the likes of Watts and Rose can be relied on to react in absolute bad faith to whatever Ward was likely to write, should we really care what they think? In the end it’s Ward himself who has to deal with the flak, maybe he regrets using that particular word given the fuss it’s caused or maybe he thinks getting grief from cretins is just part of the job and is prepared to put up with it, I don’t know.

If I thought that the average non-commited reader would be shocked by the use of the word ‘fib’ in this context and it would cause them to disregard the overall message in Ward’s piece then I would agree that he shouldn’t have used it, but I very much doubt that’s the case.

Mind you, I’m off sick at the moment and feeling a bit grumpy so maybe that’s colouring my view on this 😉

FWIW I think the word “game” is pertinent because in Climateball even if there are no rules, or if the rules are whatever we want them to be, there are certainly recognisable plays and strategies. For certain people the plays and strategies are more important than the result.

314. > I’ll forgo the many opportunities to make demeaning misrepresentations of the handle “Willard”

Denizens’ favorite is Wee Willie.

There’s always a trade-off when using nicknames:

http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/tagged/stevedoesnickname

On the one hand, it’s fun. On the other, it may decrease INTEGRITY ™ when not used affectionately, as labeling is kinda uncool. Also, otters can use them against you. Tit for tat is a robust algorithm.

Commenters that believe I can be easily offended should take into account that I have hundreds of comments under my belt at Judy’s. The belief I’m rooting for Judy is not only false, but indicates that those who entertain it seldom read the comment threads at Judy’s for the last few years. From what I experienced so far in this thread, I estimate that only a few commenters would be ready to deal with Judy’s Denizens.

Those who doubt the Denizens’ skills can go take a look at how David Appell fares these days over there, sources tell me.

Well I would certainly vouch for the fact that Willard is not someone who generally “roots for Judy”. But it’s still possible to be highly critical of someone in general and yet still think that particular criticisms of them are unfair or badly aimed. I must admit that my first reaction to Tamino’s article was that it was slightly unfair in that Judy was criticising the IPCC for drawing conclusions about the strengthening of evidence for AGW which were contradicted by claims made in it’s own document, and so for that purpose she was entitled to take those claims at face value (notwithstanding the subsequent revelation that she may have misrepresented one of them) and if they are wrong it’s the IPCC’s which should get the flak, not her. There were of course other serious weaknesses in her argument which still deserved full attention.

316. OK. Seems I have a water heater problem here, so I might be afk for a while.

While I’m gone, would Judy’s critics be so kind as to come up with an explanation of how the infamous “claim” from the IPCC is so “essential”? Not only for her argument about Arctic, as Tamino prudently but also mysteriously adds, but for her overall argument.

We now know, thanks to Steve Bloom, how much context matters.

w

317. Lucky for me, it was just the fuses.

Lucky for Rachel, while replacing the fuses this hit me:

Climateball ™ – Grab Second Life by the Ball

318. As I noted in my last comment, the problem with “fib” or “lie” is that they require intent. You can’t prove that Lindzen knew his comments were false. It’s entirely possible that he’s just an ignoramus. Ward needed to provide evidence that Lindzen knew what he was saying was untrue, or else not use the ‘fib’ word.

However, I’m more irritated that Lindzen was lying, if not about Nordhaus then about the IPCC report’s discussion of solar and GCR climate influences. He’s just a shitty person.

319. Tom Curtis says:

Willard:

“I am truly sorry if I offended you, dhogaza, but only if.”

As the “if” is evidently in your mind, it follows that you do not actually feel remorse. Your statement is, therefore, necessarily false. Closer to the truth, perhaps, would have been:

I truly want to express contrition if I offended, but only if.

320. Tom Curtis says:

Andrew Adams, Curry repeatedly questions the IPCC conclusions in her testimony, basing her questioning on very selective reading of IPCC evidence, and in one instance, her own rather dubious research (“stadium waves”). Given that, she is not entitled to take the IPCC at face value when it suites her.

Indeed, Tamino covered this point first up. His was a conditional critique of Curry. If she was taking the IPCC claim at “face value”, and relying on that, why did she not taking the IPCC at face value in other parts of her testimony. Alternatively, if not taking the IPCC at face value, but instead relying on the evidentiary basis, why was she accepting an IPCC “claim” which was contradicted by the evidence?

321. Tom Curtis says:

Anders defines Willard’s point above, writing:

“I’ll make a comment though. I think one of points that Willard is trying to make (maybe) is that one has to be very clear about the issue you’re addressing. Read and understand properly what the other person has said (or, more correctly, make sure that your interpretation is rhetorically correct). Make sure that your response is robust and clear. Don’t fall into traps of not reading what the other person has said carefully enough, or not writing your response with enough care.”

“Yes.

I can now start to switch my focus on two other things.

The first is that once the position to criticize has been properly established, one has to follow the commitments closely, especially regarding the justification basis. This is why the “take it with the IPCC” matters so much.

The second is that you also need to take into account your own communication objective. That is, even if Way has written a properly structured argument, he’d still need to make sure it is addressed to 10th graders, that all the resources needed are easily accessible, and that his historical perspective promotes science, assuming this is what Way undertook with his blog post and that this abides to SkS’ objective.”

It seems to me that this exchange leaves out at least two of Willard’s points. The first of these, and the first he made on this thread on the topic of strategy in “Climateball” was when he wrote:

“NG only needs to follow Judy’s reasoning to see the logical gap that leads to her “reconsideration”. This suffices to show that Judy might be rooting a bit too soon for Mr. T’s score. There’s nothing much to do: her jumping to conclusions regarding that matter tells everything one needs to read.

NG’s approach is wise. First, you see if the inference works. If it does not, you stop.

To always go “all in” is uneconomical. Let’s not forget that in two days from now, give a day or two, we’ll have another round of Climateball ™.”

I would summarize that as “Do not multiply your rhetorical commitments beyond necessity”. The justification of the principle is that, first, doing so allows distraction from the key point, thus providing a pretext for your intended target to escape by squidding (ie, in a cloud of confusing ink). Second, multiplying your rhetorical commitments gives your opponent more opportunities to go on the attack, ie, to challenge a rhetorical commitment you have made which is weak, poorly stated, or which their primary audience do not share.

The second additional point, which is crucial to the difference between us IMO, is that:

“Any move is legitimate in Climateball, for the simple reason that players are not referees, how hard they might try to portray themselves as such.”

Before proceeding to critique these views, I will wait for Willard to confirm that they are indeed the points he has been trying to make in this discussion.

322. BBD says:
323. > Do not multiply your rhetorical commitments beyond necessity.

Thank you, Tom, for wording this so succinctly a principle to which I’m trying to abide as a Climateballer. My first comments ever online were at the Auditor’s, so I learned quite early to be very circumspect about what to say. When you can dodge monkey wrenches from CA, you can play Climateball ™.

Such prudence applies elsewhere too, I think.

***

Your notion of “rhetorical commitment” is interesting, as it can be distinguished from the kind of logical commitment, i.e. when you put a claim on the table under your own name and responsibility. It is distinct from what you say, as it relates to what you do with your words. For instance, when I said

> Then learn to read, Dana[.]

I did not only commit myself to a claim, e.g. “I believe that Dana misread either NG, Judy, or both.” I commited myself to a challenge: showing that Dana misread. To throw my gauntlet at Dana would have had the same effect.

By way of pragmatic consequence, this commitment leads to this other one: showing why this misreading matters. The reasons I provided so far are along these lines: chasing down every arguments Judy made is a waste of energy and runs the risk of turning against the chased. This seems to be well subsumed by Tom’s formulation

This led to another commitment I decided to bear: showing how misreading can put a Climateballer in a difficult position. I thereby tried to show how tactics like escape clauses and parsomatics can undermine the relevance of lots of auditing time. These tactics (and others, I’m just writing from memory) rely on commitments: they are ways to say “no commitment”, an important move in dialogues games:

Click to access 85newdir.pdf

It comes from Charles Hamblin, an Aussie philosopher that Vaughan Pratt, one of Judy’s occasional Denizen, incidentally knew.

I also used used other tactics, like flipping the board (i.e. applying a criteria to its author himself) or cutting connections (i.e. opposing two players that were teaming up against me). There are other tactics people use. Humans use them all the time. Those who have kids should know.

Most of this is in Musashi anyway and elsewhere.

***

As for the Climateball ™ itself, it’s above all a metaphor I like. I dare not say it’s a model, for I add to it as I go along and I don’t take the time to systematize it. I’m not sure I tried to show that “there are no rules”: it’s something like an axiom based on my observations and my preference not to stipulate something like Habermasian pragmatics ruling every kinds of exchanges between people. I prefer Huizinga and accept that games, including pragmatic ones, are undefinable.

What I mean by that is that there are no universal rules to play Climateball. There is not one way to play for everyone. The game changes from one player to the next. It also changes depending where you are, the situations in which you react, etc.

There are rules, of course, insofar as I do have rules for my own INTEGRITY ™: for my own behavior, and for those about whom I expect reciprocity and respect. I can’t say, though, that I enforce those rules in a way a game referee would. Nor do I appreciate players who play the ref all the time.

My own words are therefore the sword by which I seek justice, and my only warrant for this justice is that what I do with my words are honorable.

Since I’m not Calvin nor Judge Dredd, I can’t say I decide the rules or am the law.

***

We could consider that the social norms we encounter in our ring of climate blogs provide rules. We otters say should also be taken into consideration. But let’s not kid ourselves: the constant sophistication of the art of trolling is a living proof that there’s an arms race between sincerity and lack therof. As long as the conversation remains somewhat civil, at least according to the proprietor’s taste, everything’s fine.

So while I agree that we should seek to have discussions that pertain to the dialectical mode, we should accept that the eristical mode adds its zest, and that debates do have their share or eristics. What matters, in the end, at least regarding one’s own way to play, is to seek what works best for oneself. If that path leads to Love and Light (another theorical metaphor one can search for on my tumblog), so much the better, at least from my perspective.

Perhaps this is where my biases show the most: I sincerely believe that hate and flames are as destructive as they are unsexy.

324. Please excuse the typos and the curious mix of technical references with sanguine comments.

Since I’m here, here’s a quote which may provide an alternative to what I offered so far:

Before game theory we had no means of speaking clearly about social reality, so the great men and women who created the behavioral sciences from the dawn of the enlightenment to the mid-twentieth century must be excused for the raging ideological battles that inevitably accompanied their attempt to talk about what could not be said clearly.

Herbert Gintis Game Theory Evolving

Games could be taken more seriously than I do.

Let’s say that I’ve chosen the blue pill and worship the poetry of it all.

325. Joshua says:

willard

>I did not only commit myself to a claim, e.g. “I believe that Dana misread either NG, Judy, or both.” I commited myself to a challenge: showing that Dana misread. To throw my gauntlet at Dana would have had the same effect.

I think that you made another commitment also. As you and I have discussed before, in saying “Then learn how to read, Dana” – you are saying that knowing how to read is something Dana has not “learned.” I’d say that not only do you not have the evidence to support that assertion, in fact it is a highly implausible assertion – as we could find many cases, quite easily, where Dana has demonstrated knowing how to read. That he may have not demonstrated that ability in a particular instance does not imply that he doesn’t have the ability.

326. > [Y]ou are saying that knowing how to read is something Dana has not “learned.”

Come on, Joshua. Dana’s ability to parse words with enough reliability to show some skill (i.e. learning) is not under dispute. Please recall that my remark was made in response to Dana’s cringing. What I believe my “learn to read” conveys is that his cringing may be caused by his misreading of NG’s blog post.

I hope NG’s comment here helped Dana learn to read NG’s blog post.

We can’t be sure, as Dana has not really acknowledged NG’s corrigendum except by ridiculing the argument he had to counter.

Sooner or later, commitments like these may need to be managed.

327. Joshua says:

willard –

I often read conclusions about reading ability (or “reading comprehension) in the blogosphere. It’s a rather common form of insult or vehicle for denigrating someone’s argument (basically, an ad hom).

I don’t know how to judge someone’s ability to read w/o a more proper assessment.

I think it’s more beneficial to say something on the order of “I read that differently than you, and here’s why I say that………” Even, I believe that your reading is mistaken, and here’s why………”

I think it’s important because it is clearer as to the root of the problem. In my experience, when someone accuses me of being unable to read – as happens quite often, I am disinclined to share interpretations, and inclined towards defending my ability to read – all to often by then being moved to criticize my attacker’s reading ability as a defense.

Of course, in this particular case Dana and everyone else might have interpreted your statement as a suggestion that Dana simply misread…but why roll a die that has a couple of faces that are suboptimal?

Dana,

But we know Lindzen knew his claim about Nordhaus’s book was false because Nordhaus had previously said so. But even if we disallow that defence to Ward (as he didn’t mention that fact in his article) the fact remains that Lindzen’s statement implies that he was at least familiar with the contents of Nordhaus’s book even if he hadn’t read it in full but his claim is blatantly contradicted by a quote which Ward takes from the book itself. It’s hard to imagine that this is down to an innocent misunderstanding.

I certainly don’t think we should make accusations of untruthfulness, or indeed any other kind of sub-optimal behaviour, unless we ban back them up. But if we do have evidence for it then we shouldn’t be afraid to call it what it is.

It seems rather odd to me that it seems acceptable language to accuse people of behaviour such as cherry-picking, data fudging, misrepresentation of sources, all of which are a form of lying, but as soon as we use the “L” word itself people find it shocking.

329. Andrew,

I certainly don’t think we should make accusations of untruthfulness, or indeed any other kind of sub-optimal behaviour, unless we ban back them up. But if we do have evidence for it then we shouldn’t be afraid to call it what it is.

I agree. That’s why an entire article devoted to things that Lindzen has said that he should know where wrong, would be interesting.

Tom,

I was certainly not intending to suggest that Curry’s argument had any merit as a whole. Her “I just quoted the IPCC” defence falls on exactly the grounds you said – that she only quotes those bits of the IPCC report which suit her argument and ignores those that don’t, and also the fact that even then they don’t really support her conclusion in any case. So I don’t think the fact that the IPCC may have got it wrong in one instance (although it now seems she quoted it out of context, another point against her) in itself makes much difference to the case against her, although I take thhe point about her dragging in the stadium wave when it suited her.

Ultimately I agree with Willard about choosing the right arguments to address and avoiding unnecessary commitments. I can speak with some authority on this having often let myself be dragged into unnecessary side-argumentscompletely tangential to the point I originally wanted to make.

331. Andrew,

I can speak with some authority on this having often let myself be dragged into unnecessary side-argumentscompletely tangential to the point I originally wanted to make.

Likewise, and I think I now know why. It’s because I think “I’ll just quickly point out why they’ve misunderstood what I was trying to say, and we can then move one”. If you believe that, I’ve got a car I need to sell 😉

332. > It’s a rather common form of insult or vehicle for denigrating someone’s argument (basically, an ad hom).

Indeed, and it was in response to an insult. If NG writes something that makes you cringe, you should reread carefully. Saying something like “then please reconsider how you read NG” would have been less suboptimal.

The discussion that followed introduced another conception of reading. I took reading to mean “reading the play that is in front of you”, say if you see yourself as a quarterback (let’s say Tom Brady to indulge) and have to make a decision based on how the defense reacts to your offensive deployment. If you see a receiver completely free in the endzone, nevermind how you could outplay all the linebackers that are about to tackle you and your guard.

***

Your observation makes me realize that I don’t really want to commit to “Dana can’t read”. Therefore, instead of clinging to my formulation and defend it tooth and nail, I may be better to revise it in a way that will cohere with the commitments I’m willing to bear. “Please reconsider” might be more in line with “my next comments will be less diplomatic”.

This shows how even our insults carry commitments, and in fact more pragmatic commitments, as we commit ourselves to some antagonism. It also shows how easy it is to rehearse pattern we see in conversations that becomes about the D word:

– He’s a D.
– But this is an insult!
– I don’t care, for he’s just a D anyway.
– Are you sure he’s really a D?
– Yes, I really mean he qualifies as a D. Look, here.
– But what does he deny?
– [Etc]

So, a simple label made in jest could become the topic of interest, just like my insult to Dana has become a topic of conversation. The only available options are to reply to the counter, to dodge it by taking back the commitment questioned, or to ignore it. Note that ignore the “you use the D word” can lead to “do you think that using the D word is helping?” concern.

Acknowledgement. I am thankful to Barry Woods and many otters for their illustration of such moves.

***

Everything you say can be used against you in a game of Climateball ™.

333. > Her “I just quoted the IPCC” defence falls on exactly the grounds you said – that she only quotes those bits of the IPCC report which suit her argument and ignores those that don’t, and also the fact that even then they don’t really support her conclusion in any case.

We could agree that Judy’s quotes selection shows a double standard, Andrew, without rejecting her specific argument. Arguing for a double standard targets Judy’s INTEGRITY ™, not Judy’s argument.

In contrast, to say that Judy’s argument rests on a non sequitur does target her argument. In fact, it destroys it, as an argument without an inference step becomes a pundit op-ed.

To counter that inferential argument, Judy will have to revise either her evidence basis, her conclusion, or a bit of both. She can’t simply agree to disagree about the premises, and if NG did his job she can’t wriggle out with “you misrepresented my conclusion”. Climateballers will recognize that this move is a specialty of honest brokers.

***

This analysis prompts the following intuition. What do climate auditors do? They pay due diligence to the evidence basis. That is, they inspect the data, the formal apparatus, the code, the design choices, etc. They specialize in an internal review of an argument.

What do the two arguments that Andrew underlined do? They question the argument from the outside. NG’s argument focuses on the logic, while Tamino’s “you’re using a double standard” attacks Judy’s authority. I suggest we introduce the rold of editor:

The main problem I see with the current state of climatological affairs is the lack of competent readership. Blogs do not help improve upon that predicament, and the MSM is worse. Neither does the current practices of scientists: which professional scientist would care or even dare to delve into all these op-eds and articles and datasets and programs and issues and concerns and stories in a way to act as a mediator?

Like bloggers, scientists seem to prefer to step forward and go to the next iteration of their endeavour. Non nova, sed nove: what remains, in the end, are citations. And stories: how much indignation would we ever be able to muster without stories?

Let’s all blame the editors.

http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/60449315892

***

If we read Robert Way’s blog post with the eye of an editor, I submit that we should see that, for all its merits, it does not do what it purports to do. Nor does it satisfy simple usability requirements. We could also compare what it really does with the editorial policies from where it’s being published.

Voicing my criticism that way might have been more felicitous than writing something that can be reduced to “I’ve read Robert Way’s post and I cringed” at John’s.

334. dana1981 says:

“But we know Lindzen knew his claim about Nordhaus’s book was false because Nordhaus had previously said so.”

But that assumes Lindzen was aware of Nordhaus’ response. Likewise he could have only read part of Nordhaus’ book, or misunderstood what the book was saying.

How does the phrase go? Don’t blame something on dishonesty that can be explained by incompetence? I personally have no doubt that Lindzen lied in his testimony, but it’s almost impossible to prove. Just point out his incompetence, or point out that the only two options are incompetence or lying.

335. It is probably smart not to call someone a liar, but given the indecent behaviour of WUWT & Co., I am not going to condemn someone for doing so. It is good when we show more moral values, but one does not have to exaggerate.

336. Rachel says:

I found your comment, Victor! Sorry it took me so long.

337. Steve Bloom says:

“Arguing for a double standard targets Judy’s INTEGRITY ™, not Judy’s argument.”

Far better to do so by pointing to her commercial interest.

338. Joshua says:

>Far better to do so by pointing to her commercial interest.

Not from where I sit. Implying that her commercial interest drives her analysis targets her integrity.

It reminds me of what I read in the “skept-o-sphere” rather constantly – assumptions about the financial motivations of scientists. I’d much prefer that “realists” stick to evidence-based analysis and not analysis that makes causation out of correlation.

339. Comment # 344. Wow

Rachel, and I used the agreed signal, I liked the post. 🙂

340. Rachel says:

Victor,
That signal only works on my own blog because I don’t get notification of likes on AndThen’s blog.

341. Steve Bloom says:

Out of curiosity, Joshua, how does it help to assume people are unaffected by economic interests when they actually are? (And recall that there is some evidence for this in Judy’s case.)

342. Reich.Eschhaus says:

“Not from where I sit. Implying that her commercial interest drives her analysis targets her integrity.”

Yes and no. Alluding to commercial interests is enough to question integrity. Job done. (And no, this is not a dishonest way to approach things.)

343. Joshua says:

Steve –

>Out of curiosity, Joshua, how does it help to assume people are unaffected by economic interests when they actually are?

I don’t think that helps.

I also don’t think that assuming that people are affected helps.

I think it is fallacious when I see assumptions of financial motivation being made “skeptical” blogs. It’s one of the things that I use to evaluate the reasoning of “skeptics” when I am not knowledgeable enough to evaluate their scientific arguments on their own scientific merits. When I read a “skeptic” who seems smart and knowledgeable start explaining how climate scientists are fudging their science to keep the gravy train running, I lose confidence in their scientific analysis because I see them engaging in sloppy reasoning — reasoning that earns quotations around “skeptic.”

Of course, the possibility either way is there. That there is a possibility does not, IMO, suggest anything to hang your hat on.

344. Joshua says:

Reich –

If we’re willing to speculate based on what is possible, then whose integrity would not be questioned?

It’s possible that I am being paid by the “team” to distract “skeptics” from their important work of exposing the AGW “hoax.”

I have run into that speculation many times. I can’t prove them wrong, now can I?

345. Rachel says:

I think that if Judith Curry has business interests that are contrary to her work in climate science then this is a conflict of interest and ought to be disclosed. It does not mean that she will be influenced by those interests, but it is possible that her judgement may be impaired by them and so it is in the public interest to acknowledge this.

346. Steve Bloom says:

Right. Imagine the ***storm that would ensue of Mike Mann were to launch such a business, although that would pale in comparison with the one that would result from him modifying his public stance in a manner that enhanced the commercial interest. For that matter, consider the flak Jim Hansen has gotten for winning a couple of public prizes of zero commercial relevance. Then notice the total lack of flak when it comes to Judy. It’s an amazing double standard.

347. Tom Curtis says:

Rachel, in this case I am not aware of any conflict of interest between her business interests and her work as a scientist.

More generally, just because a person is paid for their opinion does not mean they have that opinion because they are paid for it. An example may well be the Idsos’ who have a regular income because of their opinion about climate change. That, of course, differs from regular climate scientists who have an income because they use appropriate techniques to study and teach about climate, and whose income would not be harmed by changing their opinion. However, the Idsos’ may be paid because of an opinion they had independent of that payment and which they would retain of the payment ceased. They may even refuse greater payment to have a contrary opinion.

It is still worth mentioning that they are payed for their opinion because their ability to propagate their opinion is clearly dependent on that payment. Their opinion receives more notice than it would if they were ‘mere’ academics solely because it is a convenient opinion for some wealthy person(s) to have propagated. The prominence of their ideas outside academia is consequently in no way a reflection of their merit. In this they contrast sharply with Michael Mann, Stephen Schneider, or Gavin Schmidt, the prominence of whose opinions were a function of their ability to convince other experts of their merit.

348. Steve Bloom says:

Tom, are you considering her blog-related activities, Congressional testimony, op-eds etc. to be part of her scientific work? If the latter is more strictly defined, she’s had virtually no output since starting the business ~2005.

Possibly you’re unaware of the sea change in Judy’s public pronouncements circa 2008/9, although I suppose one can note that and nonetheless choose to ignore the commercial benefits of the notoriety she gained due to her subsequent stance.

349. Rachel says:

Tom,

This from desmog:

When she was questioned about potential conflicts of interest, this was her response to the Scientific American: [2]

“I do receive some funding from the fossil fuel industry. My company…does [short-term] hurricane forecasting…for an oil company, since 2007. During this period I have been both a strong advocate for the IPCC, and more recently a critic of the IPCC, there is no correlation of this funding with my public statements.”

350. There’s a comment from John Mashey, that may be relevant.

351. Tom Curtis says:

Rachel, payment for weather forecasting, which Curry is well qualified for, is not payment for espousing a particular opinion. We might speculate that her activities on Climate Etc may improve her chance of contracts among climate change deniers, but that is just speculation. Therefore trying to make a case, or suggesting that her financial interests are what drive her opinions on climate change is straightforwardly ad hominen, and not helpful. In that respect her case is quite different from that of the Idsos, Fred Singer, Patrick Michaels, and Joe Bast (and I am sure John Mashey could add others to the list), where it is known that they have received payment to propagate their opinions. Even then, as noted above, that is not of itself a basis to suggest dishonesty. If it were, we must also suggest dishonesty on the same basis for Tim Flannery (Australia’s former Climate Change Commissioner) or Bill McKibben (due to his connection to 350.org). It is, none-the-less, relevant. So relevant, IMO, that no statement by any of the above to the press should fail to mention their financial gain from propagating the ideas, and who funds it.

352. Tom Curtis says:

Steve Bloom, I am, of course, aware of Curry’s change in view, and indeed read here meltdown on Real Climate at the time it occurred. None-the-less, her income does not depend formally on her expressing any particular view. Not even if she has contracts with oil companies, as (for example) Richard Alley has in the past. Therefore her case is quite different from the Idsos etc. Mentioning that she has a weather forecasting business is irrelevant. Suggesting that she holds her opinions in order that that business will prosper is libel. She may not be able to bring suite for it in the US, but she would certainly be able to do so in the UK or Australia if she could establish that the expression of the opinion had on balance of probabilities caused her harm.

353. Steve Bloom says:

“Suggesting that she holds her opinions in order that that business will prosper is libel.”

Hmm, is an incorrect assertion of libel itself libel? One wonders.

But her change in opinion did lead to notoriety that’s of clear benefit to her business, noting her connections through GTech and the fact that many if not most potential customers would be in the South, a region whose business executives are even less enlightened about AGW than average. Do you disagree?

Now, can I prove in an absolute sense she switched tracks in order to better appeal to clients? No, I can’t read her mind. But it’s one hell of a coincidence, isn’t it?

She is different from the Idsos, but in the sense of being one step removed rather than qualitiatively so. The Idsos get paid to produce misleading interpretations of science, Judy gets paid because she produces such interpretations to show that she’s the sort of person a wingnut Southern executive would want to hire (for work that is nether here nor there with respect to those interpretations).

For this to make complete sense, you have to consider the other half of the picture, i.e. Peter Webster. Unlike Judy, Peter does have a first-class scientific reputation (Rossby Medal e.g.), but based on his past behavior is unwilling to sacrifice it to enhance the family nest egg, or engage in the sort of intellectual sloppiness that’s par for the course in Judy’s blog posts and other pronouncements. So potential clients might tend to view Peter as one of those alarmists were it not for Judy’s neat balancing of the scales.

354. Steve Bloom says:

“weather forecasting, which Curry is well qualified for”

Really? Compare her pub record with Peter’s. It’s quite clear where the vast majority of the expertise lies. Judy’s lack of same means she’s not giving up too much in exchange for the notoriety, especially since she’s nearing retirement.

355. Tom Curtis says:

Steve Bloom, CFAN was founded in 2006. It obtained its oil company contract in 2007. Curry did not have here meltdown until 2010. The dates are wrong for your hypothesis. Worse, CFAN continues to compete for, and has won research rewards which presuppose global warming. If anything, her views on climate change would damage her companies chance of receiving those awards. Consequently you have not even established that she would obtain a financial benefit from a change of view, even if we accept your speculations regarding how she is likely to react to such a possibility.

356. Tom Curtis says:

Steve Bloom:

“Really? Compare her pub record with Peter’s. It’s quite clear where the vast majority of the expertise lies.”

So, other than the fact that Curry’s publication record seems to have dried up (last published article in 2011), there is little to split the two. If anything, Curry has the more extensive record (which is not the same as quality, but is a better indication than your mere assertion). Further, much of her publication record is on tropical hurricanes, which makes her eminently qualified for forecasting in the Gulf.

Curiously, I noticed that Peter Web co-authored Curry’s “uncertainty monster” paper.

As it stands, the only clear effect of Curry’s meltdown has been to tarnish a previously distinguished (if not stellar) scientific career, and to gain her public acclaim. Her reasons are not known by you, and your evidence for your view relies on coincidences that don’t coincide, speculation, and a failure to appreciate the quality of Curry’s career before the meltdown.

357. I think everything that’s been said has been acceptable, but let’s try to be very careful about how we proceed.

358. Steve Bloom says:

Tom, publication count indeed doesn’t tell the tale accurately. Check Judy’s for first/sole author pubs. Thin on the ground, aren’t they? Lots of many-authored obs papers, too. Now compare to Peter’s. So call her distinguished if you like, but it’s a firmly second-rate variety of same.

sarc BTW, have e.g. the Koch brothers spoken to you personally about their motivations? If not, don’t let me catch you speculating about them. They are after all distinguished members of the business community and deserve the benefit of the doubt from all! /sarc

359. Tom Curtis says:

Steve Bloom, the first or single authored paper counts are respectively:
Peter Webster: 46
Judith Curry: 34

So, by the standard you set, Curry has not done as well as Webster, but not by a very large margin. Nothing prior to her 2010 meltdown gives reason to be as dismissive of Curry as you are, so it appears to me as though you are reading back into the record your distaste for her later actions.

You may not like the descriptor “distinguished”, but for a scientist who has been awarded the Henry G Houghton award, which is “…given to promising young or early-career scientists who have demonstrated outstanding ability” (1992); has become a Fellow of the AMS, which requires that the Fellow “…shall have made outstanding contributions to the atmospheric or related oceanic or hydrologic sciences or their applications during a substantial period of years” (1995); has become a Fellow of the AGU, where to be nominated you must have “…must have attained acknowledged eminence in the Earth and space sciences”, the primary criteria of which is “… major breakthrough/discovery and paradigm shift” (2004); and a Fellow of the American Society for the Advancement of Science, an honour granted for “…efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications [which] are scientifically or socially distinguished” (2007), I think it is only appropriate. Indeed, I think you are distorting a language to not call her career distinguished, at least up until 2010.

I would go further. Scientists contribute much to society just be doing science. An average career for a scientist makes them a person of distinction in my book.

Finally, I do not believe that you cannot distinguish motives. I do believe, however, that you need relevant evidence. Coincidence is not relevant evidence – particularly not “coincidence” in which the coinciding events are separated by four years. Nor is the mere possibility that somebody could be motivated as you suggest (which is the strongest evidence you have).

360. Steve Bloom says:

You also have to look at the value of the content of those papers, which for non-experts like you and I means checking citations to see if the work is significant. My assessment is based on having spent several hours on this a few years ago.

Re the fellow stuff, sure, but don’t overstate their significance. If those were limited to first-rate scientists, they wouldn’t hand out nearly so many of them.

I don’t know anything about the earlier award other to note that it was a long time ago. Late career scientists get other sorts of awards for having done significant work over their careers, as with Peter’s Rossby Medal, and Judy doesn’t have any of those. FWIW, neither has been elected to the NAS, so even Peter can’t be considered quite cream of the crop.

361. Steve Bloom says:

Out of curiosity, and perhaps I missed something important in the course of my prior effort, do you know what Judy’s “major breakthrough/discovery and paradigm shift” might have been?

362. Tom Curtis says:

Steve, (9:00 pm) no I don’t, but I would hazard a guess that it has something to do with hurricanes.

(8:52 pm) I agree that Peter Webster has a more distinguished career than has Judith Curry. You only need to see the timing of his Fellowships to see that (he has the same Fellowships as Curry, plus a Fellowship in the Royal Meteorological Society, but achieved them much earlier in his career). Nor have I argued that Curry is the cream of the crop. My description was “distinguished (if not stellar)”. Never-the-less, prior to 2010, she had a career to be proud of in retrospect, even if she may have hoped for more at the start of their career. She stood noticeably above the average of her peers (was distinguished) but was not in the first rank of scientists of her generation (was not stellar/ or “the cream”).

363. Steve Bloom says:

Not much point in continuing to debate the fine points, but I think we agree that she made a decision to spend a respectable scientific reputation. While I continue to think money had much to do with it and was perhaps the decisive factor, late-career sour grapes was probably a big factor as well. So in addition to the prestigious position she’s held (GTech department chair), her change in view has meant she’s quoted in important media and invited multiply to testify in front of Congress. Take that, snooty colleagues!

364. Rachel says:

Tom,

Rachel, payment for weather forecasting, which Curry is well qualified for, is not payment for espousing a particular opinion.

Only just getting around to replying to this, sorry. So I was thinking more that having an oil company for a client is a conflict of interest. Isn’t it? If not, then I don’t really understand what conflicts of interest are because this is precisely what I thought it was. I’m not saying that the oil company pays her to say something in particular. Not at all. Just that her client is an oil company and it is in their interest to continue with business as usual.

365. Tom Curtis says:

Steve, I agree something odd happened in Curry’s thinking in 2010 that caused her to trash a respectable scientific reputation. I do not believe we can diagnose (rather than speculate) what it was at a distance, and nor do I believe that speculation serves any purpose.

FWIW, having spent a fair bit of time at Curry’s blog ISTM that she certainly gets a kick out her recently aquired notoriety, her flock of admirers and the fact that she is the “go to” person for people who want reliable contrarian opinions from someone with ostensible scientific credibility – the calls to testify to congress, the numerous media appearances etc. I’ve never thought she is in it for financial gain.

367. Tom Curtis says:

Rachel, in some respects most oil companies (as with any large corporation) are quite pragmatic. It is more important to them that your results are reliable than that you espouse any particular ideological line. If we do not accept that, we must consider anything from (in blogs) Dana, Daniel Bailey, AnOilMan, scaddenp, and no doubt a number of others as irreversibly tainted. We would also have to disregard Richard Alley and nearly all geophysicists.

In Curry’s particular case, she landed the oil corporation contract three years before she jumped the shark. It, therefore, was not a factor in her decision to do so. Further, among the services offered by her business are climate impact assessments – a line of business that can only be damaged by her activities at Climate Etc. Consequently it is not clear whether or not becoming friendly with “skeptics” even helps her financially, and certainly far from clear that such a financial interest (if it existed) would in fact motivate her sufficiently to trash her scientific reputation. (It certainly would not motivate me, and I believe that it would not motivate the majority of scientists.)

Her reason for jumping the shark may simply be the reason she gives – ie, that she poorly understood the reasoning behind much of the science of global warming so that when she was directly confronted by “skeptics” about it, she did not have the answers. If you couple that with the loss of clarity of reasoning that goes with old age and being too proud to ask of others who knew better and you may simply have a case of “going emeritus” early.

That too, is of course speculation. It has no more, nor less, in its favour than either of the three other speculations floating about (political ideology; financial interest; desire to be, if not famous, at least infamous). These are all theories that can be speculated on with little acquaintance with the details, and no doubt other theories could be proposed with more personal knowledge. They are none of them supported by solid evidence, and speculations only serves one purpose – to reassure ourselves that her decision was not rational and principled. I don’t need that reassurance, and neither should anybody else familiar with the evidence, and whose beliefs on global warming are therefore appropriately confident.

368. Steve Bloom says:

It’s interesting to compare the trends of Judith Curry and “climategate.”

369. Steve Bloom says:
370. Steve Bloom says:

Although Occam’s Razor, Tom. I still like my explanation best.

371. Marco says:

I agree with Andrew. I came independently to the conclusion that it is most likely the attention she got that was so attractive. Perhaps her “brain fossilization” comment about William Gray started it all with the few minutes of media fame she got because of that.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.