I’m off travelling for a few days, so will probably not be posting much – if at all – and may not have a chance to respond to comments. In fact, if I can do so, I will be trying to avoid the blog for a few days (I may, however, not succeed 🙂 ). I will say that there’s been an interesting spat between Roger Pielke Jr., and John Holdren (who is commonly referred to as the President’s top science advisor). If you want to know more, you could read Eli, or Sou’s, recent posts. All I’ll say is that if Roger thinks that what John Holdren is presenting is consistent with the evidence (as I think he does), then why is he arguing with him? Couldn’t he just say, “yes, I agree with that you’re saying. Maybe I should have made that clearer in my evidence”? Also, if people think that what you present appears misleading, maybe you’re not explaining yourself clearly enough. Just because everything that is said is factually correct does not immediately imply that the conclusions people will draw from what is presented is correct.

Anyway, I thought I’d leave you with a pick-me-up video from one of my favourite bands. Enjoy, and I will be back in a few days.

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8 Responses to Intermission

  1. OPatrick says:

    Has Roger Pielke made any comment on Senator Sessions’ (mis)use of his words to criticise John Holdren in the Senate hearings? Given that his objection to Holdren’s analysis appears to be that Holdren has misinterpreted what Roger has said it seems odd that he wouldn’t also be criticising Sessions for doing so. But then maybe he has.

    I’d also be interested in hearing how those commenters here who place such great weight on deconfrontationalising (?!) the debate view Pielke’s characterisation of Holden’s phrase

    ‘not representative of the mainstream scientific opinion on this point’


    …delegitimizing talk… accus[ing] an individual academic of holding views are [sic] are not simply wrong, but in fact scientifically illegitimate… seek[ing] to delegitimize a colleague

    That seems an over-reaction to me, hyperbole even. But maybe that is just my impression and others disagree.

  2. OPatrick,
    I find it one of those odd ironies. He’s trying to delegitmise Holden by claiming that Holden was trying to delegitmise him. Personally, I see no reason why a science advisor to the president cannot suggest that Pielke’s views are outside the mainstream. If he’s wrong, Pielke could simply point out that he agrees with Holden and that Holden has misunderstood what he said. That he’s doing what he’s doing would suggest that Holden has a point.

    My issues with Pielke Jr. are quite complex, but I don’t think he’s actually doing science. He’s simply playing with numbers. Science is about drawing interpretations from data, not simply playing with data. What is Pielke’s interpretation? That there’s no signal in some datasets yet? Sure, that may well be true. Doesn’t tell us anything about the future though. Plus, looking at flooding instead of precipitation; looking at landfall cyclones, rather than cyclones overall; looking at costs/damage, rather than actual event data, all makes it harder to find signals and also makes it harder to determine if an event has changed with time, given that we can’t always know if the reason costs/damage (for example) haven’t gone up is because the events haven’t changed or because we’ve adapated to those events.

    As I tried to say in the post, if Pielke Jr doesn’t like because accused of being misleading, maybe he should give some thought to the evidence he’s presenting and how he chooses to present the evidence.

  3. OPatrick says:

    I think Pielke Jr shows every sign of loving being accused of being misleading.

  4. BG says:

    With what the Obama Administration, not to mention the rest of us, have had to put up with from these right wing nuts like Sessions, I personally don’t care how hard any of them get hammered.

  5. I very much enjoyed seeing Holdren call out Pielke for his usual misleading comments. Pielke is known for downplaying the link between AGW and extreme weather, which he does by focusing on types of extreme weather for which the data aren’t very good and thus are difficult to link to AGW, or by looking at national and global averages and glossing over regional changes. That’s exactly what he did in this case, looking at US national and global average drought changes, then hiding important information about local changes in the Southwest and West US in the footnotes.

    Senator Sessions of course didn’t read the footnotes. If you want to convey important information, you don’t downplay it and hide it in the footnotes. Holdren called Pielke on it, and then Pielke started whining. This is what he always does.

    John Abraham’s takedown of Pielke on climate action harming the poor is also worth a read.

  6. izen says:

    Perhaps most revealing is the hubristic assumption by Roger Pielke that anybody would bother to read his footnotes.

    Although now we know that’s where the caveats and contradictions are that enable R J Pielke to stay just on the border of misrepresentational deniability.

  7. BG says:

    Footnotes. Sounds exactly like what the US intel community did in the run up to the Iraq wars. Put stuff in the footnotes where people won’t see it and/orread it.

  8. AnOilMan says:

    andthentheresphysics: I believe that if you want to play with numbers you must be an engineer. That’s what we do. 🙂 Its a mishmash of science, and.. that’s close enough until a customer complains.

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