## Environmental bullies

I was wondering what others thought of Owen Paterson’s lecture to the GWPF. I read it and thought it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting (which shouldn’t really be interpreted as “good”). Some of what was said about energy was reasonable, although ignoring climate change when discussing shale gas is always a bit of a red flag. The Committee on Climate Change has, though, produced quite a strong response to Owen Paterson’s lecture.

He did, however, briefly mention his views on climate science

…let me say a few words about climate science….

I readily accept the main points of the greenhouse theory. Other things being equal, carbon dioxide emissions will produce some warming. The question always has been: how much? On that there is considerable uncertainty.

Okay, kind of alright and there is uncertainty, but this uncertainty really just means that there is a range of possible warming for each possible future emission pathway. We can use these ranges when considering the various policy options. It doesn’t mean “wait until we’re more certain”.

indeed the failure of the atmosphere to warm at all over the past 18 years – according to some sources.

This is interesting because it appears as if he’s trying to make this sound correct by adding “according to some sources”. The reality is that most of the sources indicate that we have warmed over the past 18 years. Cherry-picking a source that suggests otherwise is not particularly credible.

Many policymakers have still to catch up with the facts.

Indeed.

The stopping of the Gulf Stream, the worsening of hurricanes, the retreat of Antarctic sea ice, the increase of malaria, the claim by UNEP that we would see 50m climate refugees before now – these were all predictions that proved wrong.

Is this true? I’m not aware of these being credible predictions. This seems rather like a strawman argument.

For example the Aldabra Banded Snail which one of the Royal Society’s journals pronounced extinct in 2007 has recently reappeared, yet the editors are still refusing to retract the original paper.

Firstly, you don’t retract a paper simply because it’s wrong and, secondly, this paper has had far more attention in the last few months, now that some have noticed it is wrong, than it had had in the preceding 6 or 7 years. It’s much more a poster-child for those “skeptical” of mainstream climate science, than it ever was for those who are not.

I actually found his conclusions more interesting (annoying) than most of the rest of his lecture. He says

To summarise, we must challenge the current groupthink and be prepared to stand up to the bullies in the environmental movement and their subsidy-hungry allies.

Really? Bullies in the environmental movement? Also, we might disagree about whether or not there is groupthink and – if there is – who is suffering from it. This also just seems a bit whiny and pathetic for an ex-government minister. Also, people who tell you that you are wrong aren’t necessarily bullies. He goes on to say

Paradoxically, I am saying that we may achieve almost as much in the way of emissions reduction, perhaps even more if innovation goes well, using these four technologies or others, and do so much more cheaply, but only if we drop the 2050 target, which is currently being used to drive subsidies towards impractical and expensive technologies.

I always find this type of suggestion quite frustrating. It’s kind of saying that we can achieve what is wanted, but only if we do it the way he wants to do (he’s not alone in presenting this type of argument). Possibly, I guess, but if it’s possible to achieve the required emissions reductions, then why is there such disagreement? If it is possible to do so, why are we not simply working together to achieve these goals? Of course, some would argue that it’s only possible if we do it in a particular way, as every other way is simply too inefficient or will never work. If so, then this is fundamentally an ideological argument. The interesting thing, though, is that it does seem to be an acknowledgement that it is possible to achieve emission reductions without destroying the economy, so a step in the right direction – maybe?

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

### 332 Responses to Environmental bullies

1. Michael says:

“…”and do so much more cheaply, but only if we drop the 2050 target, which is currently being used to drive subsidies towards impractical and expensive technologies. ”

More weird than ‘paradoxical’ – we’ll reach the target , if we just drop the target……or something.

2. Tom Curtis says:

Anders, re “climate migrants”

1) The quoted prediction was made by Norman Myers, who predicted an increase in the number of “environmental refugees” from then current numbers to 50 million, a doubling of the number over 15 years. The wording has become loose (and was not exactly precise to begin with) in popular presentations.

2) By reasonable estimates, there were in fact around 50 million “environmental refugees” in 2008, and probably in 2010.

3) “Environmental refugees” include any temporarily or permanently displaced person due to environmental factors including dam construction. “Environmental refugee” does not equal “climate refugee” although that term has been used as a synonym. Nor are “environmental refugees” refugees by strict legal definition. A refugee is

“any person who:

“owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”

Note that the legal definition does not coincide with popular usage, in that if you do not cross an international border, by legal definition you are not a refugee (you are an internally displaced person”.

IMO opinion Myers has been guilty of a poor choice of terminology, but that as he defines his terms, the figures support his conclusions. The figures, however, are not hard figures.

3. BBD says:

You are being more charitable than I can manage, ATTP.

4. Tom,
Thanks. Interesting.

BBD,
Quite possibly 🙂

5. Willard says:

> the Aldabra Banded Snail which one of the Royal Society’s journals pronounced extinct in 2007 has recently reappeared

Gremlins!

6. OPatrick says:

Is this true?

Unless the people who regularly make these sort of claims are spectacularly bad at finding credible references I’d say the only one of those which has any validity (that is that the prediction was actually made with a timescale and shown to have been too pessimistic) is the ‘climate refugee’ one, and as Tom has already shown this hinges largely on some loose wording.

7. Michael 2 says:

Owen Paterson: “The stopping of the Gulf Stream, the worsening of hurricanes, the retreat of Antarctic sea ice, the increase of malaria, the claim by UNEP that we would see 50m climate refugees before now – these were all predictions that proved wrong.”

ATTP: “Is this true? I’m not aware of these being credible predictions. This seems rather like a strawman argument.”

I think you have just discovered the keystone that holds the arch together.

The predictions were made and widely distributed in *public* science sources such as National Geographic (which I subscribe to) and Scientific American (which I don’t but read occasionally) if I remember right. These types of doomsday predictions were issued with considerable certainty and authority and of course tended to be amplified and exaggerated at every retelling until “Earth will be like Venus”. I believe even the SPM’s (Summary for Policymakers) contain doomsday language but I’m not going to try to cite sources right now.

I remember National Geographic in particular being emphatic about tornadoes and hurricanes increasing in both frequency and ferocity. Then along came scientists pointing out that no, since the arctic is warming faster than the tropics, the differential is actually declining and it is the differential, not absolute energy, that produces storms. Nat Geo has very slowly, reluctantly, rolling back its predictions. A few issues ago they had a large spread showing hurricane distribution and energy on a timeline. Definitely a decline in hurricane frequency; harder to say about energy. There’s a lot of potential energy in warmer moist air but it takes an equally impressive mass of cold air to precipitate it and predictions are that large cold air masses decline and in fact could stop if the arctic ocean is ice-free.

The movie “Day After Tomorrow” is based on the Gulf Stream stopping. With that energy transport system stopped, the tropics must warm and the arctic must cool producing a band wrapped around the earth at 45 north and 45 south where cold meets warm and makes storms. It is simpleminded and extremely unscientific but it had me worried for about an hour, just enough science to be credible. Actually, that band exists right now but its about 52 north and produces storms year round. Hello Juneau. Welcome to warm/wet meets cold/dry.

In your bubble you probably do not see how this train was hijacked long ago for political purposes. Science isn’t just “settled” — it’s irrelevant! Does anyone actually READ the 12,000 climate change articles surveyed by John Cook? No. They go straight to the SPM. Done! We don’t need no steenkin confidence intervals. If 1SD doesn’t cover the observations, make it 2SD. If 2SD doesn’t cover the observations make it 3SD. How can you possibly be wrong?

8. Michael 2 says:

How about a recent pronouncement as an example:

“Earth has lost half of its wildlife in the past 40 years, says WWF”
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/29/earth-lost-50-wildlife-in-40-years-wwf

Is that who you want on your side?

The headlines are carefully crafted to be ambiguous — does it mean half the species or half the populations OF those species? On careful reading it appears to be half the populations of those species, except of course it’s barely better than a WAG (wild assed guess).

Anyway, readers that assume “half the species” are going to call B.S. on the WWF (world wildlife fund or world wrestling federation, take your pick). The other half are going to say, “ho hum, another bit of trivia for Trivial Pursuit”.

But a few, mostly in Blighty I think, will wring their hands and say, “Oh my, we must save the ____ but be overwhelmed by it.” So pick something, save it, be happy.

9. M2,
Where are your original sources? Journalists elaborating on some scientific result does not mean that anyone actually did some research and made such predictions. I could go and find an equal number of similar sources arguing that the poor will suffer or the global economy will collapse if we decarbonise. Paterson was talking about climate science specifically in that part of his lecture, not science journalism. If he wants to see examples of catastrophism in journalism he could speak to his brother-in-law, who helped him to write the speech.

10. Paul S says:

The stopping of the Gulf Stream

It’s been a hot topic of speculation of course, but I can’t see it’s ever been considered a firm prediction. I’m also not sure in what sense he believes it has been “proved” wrong though. Current theoretical understanding strongly suggests it won’t happen, but his statements about uncertainty are inconsistent with him accepting this as fact.

the worsening of hurricanes

A bit vague given the nuances of hurricane predictions but I can’t think of any mainstream predictions which have been proven wrong.

the retreat of Antarctic sea ice

Predictions about Antarctic sea ice have been less forthcoming than those for Arctic sea ice, possibly out of recognition of greater complexity. AR4 said Antarctic sea ice is predicted to decrease by the end of the century in all scenarios. Again, can’t really see how this has been proven wrong at this point in time.

the increase of malaria

As far as I can tell current understanding is that climate change will increase exposure to malaria, though other factors are obviously important in determining the actual rate. Again, can’t see anything having been proven wrong here.

the claim by UNEP that we would see 50m climate refugees before now

Well, Tom’s said it better than I could. From what I’ve read there is an issue of terminology here, but as far as can be seen the number is probably reasonable in terms of current levels of displacement due to climatological/meteorological factors. I don’t think it’s clear how much of this is due to a changing climate, and how much is due to increasing population in areas already vulnerable to natural disaster.

11. Michael 2 says:

My favorite failed prediction of them all:

“According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, within a few years winter snowfall will become ‘a very rare and exciting event. Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,’ he said.”
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/snowfalls-are-now-just-a-thing-of-the-past-724017.html

While I take the “Telegraph” with a grain of salt (a large grain) it has this interesting bit of trivia about what befell the good doctor after this pronouncement:

(quote)
where did Viner go? Well, for a time he was in charge of disseminating climate change propaganda at taxpayers’ expense for the British Council.

More than £3.5 million has gone on recruiting a worldwide network of young “climate activists” in over 70 countries to engage in climate change propaganda… £2.5 million has been spent on a more ambitious project to recruit a global network of 100,000 activists in 60 countries across the world, led by 1,300 young “International Climate Champions”, to participate in “international peer networks, both in person and online, to share ideas, projects and experiences”.
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100133247/children-just-arent-going-to-know-what-sun-is/

So. That’s an interesting revelation. Paid climate activists. Who would have thunk it. It’s not a conspiracy since it isn’t “secret”. It also isn’t science. It’s politics.

12. M2,
Again, you’re quoting newspaper articles. None of that indicates that climate science (collectively) has made specific predictions that have turned out to have not come true. As Paul S points out above, there appear to be little in the way of predictions about what should have happened by now.

13. The existence of numerous giant iceberg scour marks on the continental shelves as far south as Florida is hard almost irrefutable evidence that rapid fresh water injections and ice sheet collapse can screw up ocean currents dramatically. Hard peer reviewed published evidence, with photos.

Now certainly the situation today is somewhat different, but clearly nearly 40 percent of our global ice sheets still exist, and they are already in the throes of warming, melting and collapsing on their way to a 1000 year complete disappearance. Or are you denying those irrefutable facts as well.

I know you view facts as so inconvenient that you would rather deny them, but that won’t help you.

14. Marco says:

“The movie “Day After Tomorrow” is based on the Gulf Stream stopping”

Dude! If we are going to take stuff in movies seriously…

15. izen says:

Perhaps his views read better on paper than when defended on R4 Today.

I am puzzled about the underlying motivation for (t)his campaign against the 2008 Climate change Act that established the 2050 emissions target.

Forgive the cynicysm, but one possibility is that it was a chance to Gish Gallop through the best denier soundbites. No warming… Wind will never work… It will hurt the Poor… etc. So that targeting the 2050 target could just be a hook on which to hang a GWPF and backbench politico self-promotion exercise.

But the other possibility is that the 2050 legal limit on emissions really IS the target of his activism. That there is a political viewpoint and a business lobby organisation which for some reason finds the existance of an Act of Parliment commiting to significant decarbonization in 45 years time an important issue warrenting such high profile advocacy.

Puzzling…

izen

16. Paul S says:

Dr. David Viner: “We’re really going to get caught out. Snow will probably cause chaos in 20 years time,”

Another successful prediction.

17. WebHubTelescope says:

BBD says:
October 16, 2014 at 3:07 pm

You are being more charitable than I can manage, ATTP.

Indeed — if someone blames “environmental bullies”, I will discount completely what ever else that person has said or will say that may be positive.

I listen to to the right-wing gasbags and can identify the dog-whistles.

18. Michael 2 says:

ATTP says “M2, Again, you’re quoting newspaper articles.”

Yes! Exactly! That is why a billion people believe climate science is AFU at UEA’s CRU. They get their news from newspapers (and their online presences). That is where the rubber hits the road. What can you do about that? Not very much. It is no longer in your hands and never was in my hands. Carl Sagan got some traction but he was a celebrity and made his program slightly scientific but mostly entertaining.

19. jsam says:

My favourite Delingpole quote is in this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuQLvK6kxeU. No wonder the Telegraph sacked him. He’s sought refuge at Brainfart.com.

20. M2,

That is why a billion people believe climate science is AFU at UEA’s CRU. They get their news from newspapers (and their online presences).

So what? We’re talking about a speech given by an ex-government minister who appears to be suggesting that he has sufficient knowledge to tell others how best to proceed in the coming decades. If he doesn’t know the difference between actual science and science journalism, what the devil is he doing?

21. OPatrick says:

My favorite failed prediction of them all:

I wonder, Michael, if you would be willing to reflect on this. Your ‘favourite failed prediction’ is an off-the-cuff quote in a newspaper interview which is even contradicted (or rather your interpretation of it is contradicted) within the article itself. You say

These types of doomsday predictions were issued with considerable certainty and authority and of course tended to be amplified and exaggerated at every retelling until “Earth will be like Venus”. I believe even the SPM’s (Summary for Policymakers) contain doomsday language but I’m not going to try to cite sources right now.

yet the only example you’ve actually given, your favourite example, doesn’t even come close to matching your description. Surely if these predictions were “widely distributed in *public* science sources” you should be able to come up with more convincing examples.

22. Steve Bloom says:

m2, the evidence would seem to suggest that you’ll remain a pseudoskeptic until such time as you believe climate change is significantly impacting you personally. This stance is quite orthogonal to the science, which is why you’re happy to be so sloppy in your argumentation. At bottom, you don’t really care what the science says.

23. BBD says:

M2

ATTP says “M2, Again, you’re quoting newspaper articles.”

Yes! Exactly! That is why a billion people believe climate science is AFU at UEA’s CRU. They get their news from newspapers (and their online presences). That is where the rubber hits the road.

You have forgotten that that episode which we shall neither name nor discuss further was created out of *nothing* by persons unknown for political reasons.

Those who make a fuss about the power of the press to mislead might do well to consider the misinformation pumped out by the right-wing media and the appalling harm it has done to public understanding of CC.

24. Joshua says:

==> “we must challenge the current groupthink and be prepared to stand up to the bullies in the environmental movement”

And this is where we see, in a nicely condensed form what much of the climate wars is about. It is about identity-protection (they are guilty of groupthink, but we are not) and identity-aggression (they are bullies and we are victims)….

We can see the same dynamic play out over and over in many polarized arenas. For example, in the U.S., Obama is a narcissistic, Muslim tyrant who is victimizing Christians…,

25. BBD says:

In fact anyone who advances the argument that climate science is associated with systematic misrepresentation has no option but to spend the next half-hour in bug-eyed fulmination against the grotesque distortions and lies incessantly spewed out by the denialosphere.

That’s where the [self-redacted] hits the road.

26. Joshua says:

==> “That is why a billion people believe climate science is AFU at UEA’s CRU.”

Really? I’d bet that less than a million know what any of those entities are.

Oh, and BTW – please don’t forget that Fox News, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Bill O’Reilly, Dennis Miller, Paul Ryan, Jim Inhofe, etc., etc., do actually exist.

Really, they do.

For the most part, the general public actually has a pretty poor idea of what climate scientists actually say. For example, I’d say that many believe that many climate scientists have said that “the science is settled” – or have made other statements that there is no uncertainty w/r/t the potential risk of ACO2 emissions.

27. OPatrick says:

the grotesque distortions and lies incessantly spewed out by the denialosphere

Now, BBD, I’m sceptical of your claims. Do you think you might be able to give examples of these lies and distortions?

28. “…The retreat of Antarctic sea ice…”

The Antarctic has lost almost all its sea ice every summer since it was first observed, so I cannot believe any scientist has ever made any claim about it retreating. I guess he’s confusing sea ice with land ice, the loss of which scientists have repeatedly observed, at both poles.

29. BBD says:

O’Patrick

🙂

Careful or someone will probably think you are being serious and then I’ll have to open the stopcock to the slurry tank and we’ll all be sorry.

30. Since there seems to be some claim here along the lines of “climate science has all these false predictions”, I’d like to point something out that so many who try to make such claims (not only on climate science but on any science) seem to make a very simple, basic logical mistake.

Mathematical theorems and scientific models each generally have a broad underlying logical form of an implication or conditional, in that there is a set of assumptions p and a set of conclusions or results q, which we can we can write as p -> q. We can also say inputs and outputs if we wish to reflect the saying “garbage in, garbage out”, this saying quite relevant to the point I’m about to make.

The negation of p -> q (read “p implies q” or “p only if q” or “if p, then q”) is p & ~q (read “p and not q” or “p without q”). And so if we want to see whether we can falsify the mathematical theorem or scientific model, we have to see whether we can obtain a set of events p & ~q.

Example: Imagine a car speeding toward the end of a cliff. I claim that if the driver does not change the direction of that car, then the car will go over the cliff, (the claim is of the form p -> q). But suppose that the driver does change the direction of the car and the car does not go over the cliff (what actually occurs is of the form ~p & ~q). But suppose someone claimed that I was wrong, that I made a false prediction, since the car did not go over the cliff. Is this person right? Did I make a false prediction? No. I did not. This person is wrong, not me, since I did not make the independent claim q. I did not claim p & q. I only claimed p -> q. The only way to properly say I made a false prediction would have been for p & ~q to have occurred.

Those who say “climate science has all these false predictions” are making the same mistake this person who claims I was wrong made. They are claiming that climate science predicted q but ~q happened instead, therefore climate science is all wrong and all that.

But as I said above, scientific theories or models – including those of climate science – do not make outright predictions q: These models only say p -> q, which is that if a certain set of assumptions turn out to hold, then a certain set of conclusions should also turn out to hold. It also is true that if garbage is fed in, then we can expect garbage to come out (the underlying form of this being ~p & ~q) – but this does not negate or falsify the model (only p & ~q would).

Yes, I know. The models of climate science are based very much on probability theory and statistics, and so by so much of what we read in philosophy of science, it’s really not proper to speak of falsifying such models since they strictly are not amenable to it, that it’s best instead to speak on the relative usefulness of them. (See
“Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy”
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/popper/
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/thomas-kuhn/
“A Falsifying Rule for Probability Statements”
http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/686745?uid=3739600&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21104940549883
for some more.) But even so, I still think it’s OK to speak of negation or falsification perhaps in terms of degrees when we speak of probabilistic models, and that addressing the broad underlying logical form of these and other models as p -> q with their negations or falsifications (even if in terms of degrees) being of the form p & ~q is, well, still quite relatively useful.

Summary: Many – but especially science deniers – very often wrongly claim that events of the form ~p & ~q negate or falsify models of the form p -> q when only events of the form p & ~q do.

31. Joshua says:

K&A’s comment reminds me of the many times I see “skeptics” saying that something on the order of: “Climate scientist A said that X would happen, and it didn’t happen which proves that climate scientist A doesn’t know what s/he’s talking about”

Yet when I look more closely, what climate scientist A actually said was something like: If Y continues to happen at the same rate that it has been happening recently, then X is the likely result.”

I would say that almost invariably, when I have dug into these “false prediction” claims from climate “skeptics,” that’s what I find.

Which isn’t to say that sometimes, indeed, there is an element of where climate scientist A was over-confident in his hypothesis about what might occur.

So this is the dilemma I’m in: On the one hand, I do think that scientists in general are often over-confident in their hypotheses. That’s kind of the nature of human cognition – a tendency to to confirm biases. The scientific method employs methodologies to help control against that tendency, but the system can’t completely control for typical human behavior. So in that sense, I think that it is appropriate to be skeptical (sans quotation marks) about scientific claims. In that sense, I have some sympathy for the position of climate “skeptics” (with quotation marks). But when I have pointed out the pattern that I just described, where what Climate scientist A said had been distorted and then held forth as a failed prediction, I’m usually either insulted or told that I’m “ankle-biting” or “nit-picking” or some other form of dismissal.

32. Joshua says:

BBD –

==> “Those who make a fuss about the power of the press to mislead”

IMO, both sides of the political spectrum generally over-evaluate the “power of the press to mislead.” Doing so creates an easy scapegoat, and creates a facile way for partisans (on both sides) to paint themselves as victims of unfairness. As it happens in other political issues, so it happens in the climate wars.

Along those lines..

We must keep in mind that in spite of their visibility to people like us who are politically engaged, relatively few people tune into shows like The O’Reilly Factor or The Rachel Maddow Show. For instance, voter turnout in the 2012 presidential election was roughly 12 times the size of the top-rated partisan talk show audiences on Fox News and MSNBC.

More important, people choose to watch partisan news audiences. The type of person who gravitates to partisan news shows is more politically and ideologically motivated than those who choose to watch mainstream news or tune out the news altogether, partisan or otherwise. People are not passive or particularly open-minded when it comes to political controversies. Not only do they choose what to watch on television, but they also choose whether to accept or reject the messages they receive from the televisions shows they watch.

In short, two forces simultaneously limit and blunt the effects of partisan news media. First, partisan news shows cannot polarize—in a direct sense—the multitude of Americans who do not tune into these shows. Second, the sort of people who actively choose to watch partisan news are precisely the sort of people who already possess strong opinions on politics and precisely the sort of people who should be less swayed by the content they view on these shows.

http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/2013/8/8/partisan-media-are-not-destroying-america.html

33. Why was it somehow clear to me that a change in the Gulf Stream was speculative, mainly a call for more research and otherwise science entertainment for the masses? Maybe because I do not get my science education from Hollywood.

It is somewhat weird to complain about the bad quality of the press on this blog. Better complain with the journalists in question. Delingpole comes to mind first.

“I readily accept the main points of the greenhouse theory. Other things being equal, carbon dioxide emissions will produce some warming. The question always has been: how much? “

Another clear misstatement. Remember the Spencer post: 10 Skeptical Arguments that Don’t Hold Water. Which was mainly an admission that the greenhouse effect really existed, he did not want to concede much more. And he knew his audience better than our poor victim of environmental bullies and wrote:

My obvious goal here is not to change minds that are already made up, which is impossible (by definition), but to reach 1,000+ (mostly nasty) comments in response to this post. So, help me out here!

Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. got close to a 1,000.

Maybe scientific advisers of the the WG Policy Foundation are not doing a good job.

#FreeTheTol300

34. BBD says:

Joshua and Victor

IMO, both sides of the political spectrum generally over-evaluate the “power of the press to mislead.”

I know we’ve touched on this before, but my views remain the same. The WSJ, Forbes, The Australian, The Times/Sunday Times, etc reach an influential demographic. Consider the way the narrative of “pause” and “hiatus” and “no warming for x years” has gone mainstream. There’s a spin to that narrative.

* * *

Victor says:

It is somewhat weird to complain about the bad quality of the press on this blog. Better complain with the journalists in question. Delingpole comes to mind first.

Egregious misrepresenters like Delingpole, Bolt, Rose etc are employed by editors who are employed by proprietors. Who set the tone.

To illustrate this point, consider J. Delingpole, formerly associated with the Daily Telegraph (prop. Barclay brothers) and now employed by Breitbart.com.

35. Michael 2 says:

Out of curiosity I chose the global mean sea level projection of AR5, to compare the actual predictions to the SPM and to public newscaster projections of the same thing.

To make a long story short, I find a disconnect between the IPCC and public media, although not as dramatically exaggerated as from previous AR’s. The specific example that caused me to question AR5 is a report of an extremely wide prediction of 0.2 (0,2) to 7 meters of sea level rise by the end of the century. Inspection of the report and of the SPM show that the 7 meter figure is for the end of the *millenium*. The range for the end of the century was specified in various ways (different social responses) but all less than 1 meter.

The implication is that reporters glance over the SPM and pluck a scary sentence — 7 meters — and weave their tale around it.

National Geographic: upper bound 2 meters (twice IPCC AR5 projection)
http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/critical-issues-sea-level-rise/

Wikipedia: 4 feet (1.3 meter) pretty close to IPCC
“The Third National Climate Assessment (NCA), released May 6th, 2014, projects a sea level rise of 1 to 4 feet by 2100(30-120 cm).[16]”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Current_sea_level_rise

“Surging Seas” says Climate Central. 8 inches in 130 years is a surge?
http://sealevel.climatecentral.org/
“Global warming has raised global sea level about 8 inches since 1880”
“And compounding this risk, scientists expect roughly 2 to 7 more feet of sea level rise this century”

Unsurprisingly, the more left-wing the source, the greater the emergency:
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/10/16/3580131/worst-case-sea-level-rise/

But don’t come here expecting a simple answer or projection:
http://www.skepticalscience.com/sea-level-rise.htm
It complains about skeptics while claiming to be skeptical. Curious, that.

“if the rate of decay of the probability tail of the climate impact function is polynomial while the cost of damage rises exponentially, then the cost-benefit function does not converge and no cost of mitigation is too high to justify.”

Just give us your money. All of it. Forever. It still isn’t enough.

So what’s a person to do? Eat, drink and be merry, for eventually you die. You can either keep your money and spend it how you like, and then die, or you can give it all to ThinkProgress and die of poverty a bit sooner.

36. Michael 2 says:

Joshua says: “I’d bet that less than a million know what any of those entities are.”

Okay. Granted. Even a million seems like a large number for people who actually care to know that particular detail. I think for just a moment, a day, it was big news accessible to everyone who has an internet connection.

I continually revise downward my vision of how many people actually care to read anything about it. As I travel around the blogs I see the same dozen or two regulars.

I have also been revising downward how many people are actually involved in this whole thing as I discover this blog writer or that blog writer was also an IPCC contributor is also a reviewer of Lewandowsky’s Fury paper etc. 12,000 reviewers? Good heavens, no. You can even download the complete list of reviewers of AR5. Exaggeration is rampant.

If anyone can be said to be influential it would be the Australians.

37. Michael 2 says:

OPatrick says: “I wonder, Michael, if you would be willing to reflect on this.”

Depending on moderation, you will see that I already HAVE reflected on this, finally drawn to the ordeal of actually looking at AR5, and the SPM, and several popular sources of public information. What I see is a *convergence* between the scientific claims and the popular media portrayal of those claims. I see exaggeration and some misquoting but not nearly as dramatic as used to be the case. No more polar bears falling from the sky, no more comparing Earth to Venus, no more claims that the seas will be all boiled away. It will just be a bit different; at the margins a lot different. However, most economic activity probably is at the margins (sea/land interface for instance).

Still, I see some desperation in calling an 8 inch sea level rise in 130 years a “surge”. (link in previous comment, I don’t want to repeat it since the spam detector will be triggered)

But how exciting would it have been for ThinkProgress to call it a “creep”?

My labeling that episode “favorite” pertains to its entertainment value. I mean, really, it is Monty Python hilarious. The British do humor better than anyone else on Earth and one of my favorite TV shows is “Last of the Summer Wine”. It is serious and funny at the same time.

38. Mr Patterson’s mention of the Aldabra banded snail is a strawman – even in the paper which wrongly suggested that it had gone extinct, there was no attribution to anthropogenic climate change. The supposed extinction was linked to reduced rainfall, but this was not linked to AGW – the authors wrote:

At present, the data from Aldabra are too limited to confirm that the climate change pattern is part of the drying trend of Southern Africa and not merely a local or short-term phenomenon.

39. Joseph says:

We must keep in mind that in spite of their visibility to people like us who are politically engaged

Except that these same people are more likely to turn out on in primaries and non-presidential year elections. So there influence is greater relative to the size of the population.

40. Oh I should have written Paterson with one ‘t’.

41. Willard says:

> First, partisan news shows cannot polarize—in a direct sense—the multitude of Americans who do not tune into these shows.

Of course it can, echo chambers work by reinforcing cognitions that otherwise would lose their edge, and by normalizing outrageous claims by sheer repetition. Immigrants don’t need to watch Fox News to feel its impact on their lives.

Belief fixation is neither static, nor individualistic.

42. Willard says:

> I did not claim p & q. I only claimed p -> q.

The former is implied be the latter when both P and Q obtains. The first line in the truth tables of both connector is the same. The logical explanation does not seem to work. Falsification works by modus tollens anyway:

P => Q
Not Q
====
Not P

When P => Q is a universal conjecture, the Popperian argument is perfectly valid. But see where it leads: Not P. Not P does not invalidate P => Q, it invalidates P.

Since P => Q is usually a physical law, it’s easier to rethink the assumptions that the models really modelled P. But P => Q stays on the table.

The only way to invalidate P => Q would be to find Not (P => Q). This means using something like:

(P => Q) => R
NOT R
==========
NOT (P => Q)

But even then, one could argue that there are ceteris paribus clauses involved, that all models all wrong, that Mr. T is watching, etc.

PS: Sorry if that’s unclear. It’s late, I am thinking out loud, and I’m presuming some background knowledge. I don’t like using formalism.

43. Joshua says:

willard –

==> “Of course it can,..”

Well perhaps it can, but maybe the more relevant question is whether it does, and how we might be able to measure the magnitude of that effect, and whether or not that magnitude is frequently over-stated by various partisans.

BBD refers to the impact of the “hiatus” as being over-sized. Well, I agree that partisan “skeptics” nearly uniformly overstate the scientific argument about the “hiatus” (Judith being a prime example), but they’re partisans – who in no way rely on over-evaluating the importance of the hiatus in order to draw their conclusions about climate change. In fact, the causality runs the other way, they overstate the importance of the pause because their views are already formed and their are filtering evidence so as to justify those opinions.

Among the larger public – does an overemphasis on the pause in the press -relative to its scientific significance – materially affect the balance of opinions on climate change in some material fashion? I think not. SWIMCAREs will make that claim and SWIRLCAREs will claim that co-AGW religionists in the press will sensationalize an alarmist agenda, with the effect of duping the general public into thinking that recent emissions are more of a threat than they actually are. Both sides will scapegoat the press for their woes, playing the victim card Both sides are absolutely convinced that the other side holds “the media” in their pocket. Yet what actually changes? Nothing much, IMO – because views on climate change are more a reflection of who people are than what they know or what they have heard reported in the press.

44. Tom Curtis says:

“When the Natural History article containing the great global conveyor belt diagram appeared, the editor put a sales “stimulator” on the cover that stated “Europe beware: the big chill may be coming.” At the time I was much annoyed because no mention of the conveyor’s future was made in the article. To make matters worse, even after reading the article itself, many people were left with the impression that I was warning of an imminent conveyor shutdown. The fact is that I thought, at that time, that the coming greenhouse warming would, if anything, strengthen the conveyor by increasing the rate of vapor loss from the Atlantic basin. I had not given serious thought to the question as to whether any changes associated with human’s activities might threaten the conveyor.

The first activity that comes to mind in this regard is the rerouting of water for agricultural
use. Irrigation projects increase the recycling of water on the continents and thereby change the
point at which a given water molecule re-enters the ocean. Of particular interest in this regard is
the Russian proposal to divert the great northward flowing Siberian Rivers to the south for agricultural use. The result of such a diversion would be to increase the vapor loss from the Atlantic basin, for instead of flowing out of river mouths into the Arctic, the water would move through the atmosphere across Asia into the Pacific basin. The long-term result would be to strengthen the conveyor.

In addition to increasing vapor export from the Atlantic basin, the greenhouse warming will increase the transport of fresh water to the northern Atlantic. On the short term (i.e., decades), the salinity decrease created in northern surface waters
would be more important than the Atlantic-wide salinity increase caused by increased vapor loss
from the Atlantic basin. The reason is that the replacement time for waters in the northern Atlantic
is shorter than the replacement time for waters in the upper limb of the conveyor. So if a
threat to the conveyor is in the making, it is most likely to come in this way. To be on guard we
should pay close attention to the climate and oceanography of the northern Atlantic basin. The
finding by Brewer et al. (1983) that the salinity of Atlantic deep waters to the north of 50°N declined between 1972 and 1981 and the finding by Schlosser et al. ( 1991) that deep ventilation of the Greenland Sea was shutdown during the 1980s are indications that changes do occur. Unfortunately we have no way to tell whether these changes signal natural fluctuations or anthropogenically driven trends.”

“The evolution of the THC in response to future forcing scenarios is a topic requiring further study. It should be noted in particular that these climate model experiments do not currently include the possible effects of significant freshwater input arising from changes in land ice sheets (Greenland and Antarctic ice caps) and mountain glaciers, which might well lead to bigger reductions in the THC. It is too early to say with confidence whether irreversible shut-down of the THC is likely or not, or at what threshold it might occur. Though no AOGCM to date has shown a shut-down of the THC by the year 2100, climate changes over that period may increase the likelihood during subsequent centuries, though this is scenario-dependent. The realism of the representation of oceanic mechanisms involved in the THC changes also needs to be carefully evaluated in the models.”

Dr Terry Joyce on the Great Ocean Conveyor (Horizon 2003)

“The likelihood of having an abrupt change is increasing because of global warming is moving us closer and closer to the brink. We don’t know where that is but we know one thing, we’re moving towards the edge. And so I would say within the next hundred years it’s very likely. In other words a fifty percent probability that this might happen.”

“Based on current simulations, it is very likely that the Atlantic Ocean Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC) will slow down during the course of the 21st century. A multi-model ensemble shows an average reduction of 25% with a broad range from virtually no change to a reduction of over 50% averaged over 2080 to 2099. In spite of a slowdown of the MOC in most models, there is still warming of surface temperatures around the North Atlantic Ocean and Europe due to the much larger radiative effects of the increase in greenhouse gases. Although the MOC weakens in most model runs for the three SRES scenarios, none shows a collapse of the MOC by the year 2100 for the scenarios considered. No coupled model simulation of the Atlantic MOC shows a mean increase in the MOC in response to global warming by 2100. It is very unlikely that the MOC will undergo a large abrupt transition during the course of the 21st century. At this stage, it is too early to assess the likelihood of a large abrupt change of the MOC beyond the end of the 21st century. In experiments with the low (B1) and medium (A1B) scenarios, and for which the atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations are stabilised beyond 2100, the MOC recovers from initial weakening within one to several centuries after 2100 in some of the models. In other models the reduction persists.”

“It is very likely that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) will weaken over the 21st century but it is very unlikely that the AMOC will undergo an abrupt transition or collapse in the 21st century. Best estimates and ranges for the reduction
from CMIP5 are 11% (1 to 24%) in RCP2.6 and 34% (12 to 54%) in RCP8.5. There is low confidence in assessing the evolution of the AMOC beyond the 21st century. {12.4.7, Figure 12.35}”

“In summary, measurements of the AMOC and of circulation elements
contributing to it, at various latitudes and covering different time periods, agree that the range of interannual variability is 5 Sv (Figure 3.11b). These estimates do not have trends, in either the subtropical or the subpolar gyre. However, the observational record of AMOC variability
is short, and there is insufficient evidence to support a finding of change in the transport of the AMOC
.

(My emphasis)

Over an extended history, there has been considerable discussion of, but no consensus that global warming will cause a shut down of the Atlantic Overturning Circulation (and hence the gulf stream). The most ambitious prediction of a shutdown (50% chance by the end of 97 years) leads to a prediction of only a 0.1% chance by 2013 on the assumption the chance in each year is independent. That qualification is unlikely to be correct, and the chance in any given year is likely to rise with time, even under Dr Joyce’s ambitious prediction so that the chance of a shutdown by 2013 would be substantially less than 0.1%. At no stage has the IPCC considered the possibility of a shutdown prior to 2100 credible, although they cannot exclude the possibility, nor calculate the probabilities. Observations are of such short duration, and natural variation of sufficient strength that they cannot even confirm or contradict model based estimates. That being the case they certainly cannot contradict model based projections so that those projections have not been falsified.

Given that it is not yet 2100, and that he only predicted a 50% chance of shutdown of the AMOC by 2100, even Dr Joyce’s prediction cannot yet have been falsified (although clearly it is not supported by the balance of evidence).

Unless Owen Pattterson is of the opinion that his views should be rejected completely upon the falsification of the particular view of any AGW “skeptic” on some aspect of climate change, it is absurd and hypocritical of him to judge climate science by the predictions of particular individuals rather than consensus predictions as published by the IPCC. (That is particularly so given that the nature of science is that of formalized trial and error.) It would be equally absurd and hypocritical to pull the same trick merely rhetorically, ie, encouraging in others the fallacy of reasoning he is too intelligent to fall for himself. Yet by including the shutdown of the AMOC in his “failed predictions”, he is counting as failed predictions for decades or centuries from now, and counting them as failed based on evidence that is entirely equivocal. His view on the AMOC shutdown is, therefore, certainly not informed by science and he is rebutting a strawman.

He had a slight excuse for including “climate refugees” in his list of “failed predictions” in that the language of that prediction was poorly chosen and an inattentive reading (or a purely media filtered reading) might reasonably lead to his misinterpretation. He has no excuse for his misrepresentation of the nature and status of predictions of shutdown of the AMOC, which has to fall into the category of simple propaganda.

45. Tom Curtis says:

Joshua, first, I have no idea what is meant by “SWIMCARES” and “SWIRLCARES” other than that the acronyms are clearly constructed so as to form dismissive epithets. (As dismissive in their own way as “denier”.)

Second, the media industry minus one or two state or publicly sponsored examples, is built on the principle that airtime (or column inches) persuades. Absent that principle, advertising is a waste of money for any corporation. So, when advertising agencies start being prosecuted for fraud, then I will believe that media is not persuasive. Until then your argument that the domination of Australia’s private media by pro-denier messages is not relevant to the large switch in political will on climate change in Australia (for example) was not related to that media presence is just laughable.

46. > I did not claim p & q. I only claimed p -> q.

Willard said on October 17, 2014 at 2:24 am in reply to my above,

“The former is implied to be the latter when both P and Q obtains. The logical explanation does not seem to work. Falsification works by modus tollens anyway:
P => Q
Not Q
====
Not P

The only way to invalidate P => Q would be to find Not (P => Q). This means using something like:
(P => Q) => R
NOT R
==========
NOT (P => Q)”

The logic I gave works just fine. Here’s how:

The statements p -> q are p & ~q are the negations (contradictories) of each other – that is, ~(p -> q) and p & ~q are tautologically equivalent (more at the end below on what I mean by “tautologically”). (In mathematics we use proof by contradiction all the time, sometimes using a number of different forms that negations can take.)

Yes, the only way to falsify or invalidate p -> q is to find ~(p -> q), but that’s what I said in my prior post, since, again, p -> q are p & ~q are the negations (contradictories) of each other – that is, ~(p -> q) and p & ~q are tautologically equivalent. To see this use the definition of an implication or conditional and use the appropriate rules of propositional logic, including either double negation or De Morgan’s laws depending on which version of the definition one takes, and then take the negation.

There are many ways to obtain ~(p -> q) – that is, (the conjunction) p & ~q. The most direct way is, well, the example I gave in the last post, which is the direct way, which is to see (the conjunction) p & ~q hold.

Other examples of the direct way: Suppose one puts forth a claim that it is a physical law that the presence of oxygen implies the presence of fire (“oxygen -> fire” – that is, p -> q). But direct observation gives us many instances of oxygen present without a fire (“oxygen & ~fire” – that is, p & ~q). Suppose we have a computer model such that we input a set of conditions (a conjunction of conditions) p all of which we know is true and we get an output that is a set of conditions (a conjunction of conditions) at least one of which we know is false. Then we’ve got a problem with the idea that p -> q is true, since we’re directly getting p & ~q – that is, we’re directly getting ~(p -> q).

Other ways to obtain p & ~q or ~(p -> q) include what you say above, a use of modus tollens, as well as a derivation of both p and ~q from some set of assumptions or facts.

But your first statement is true, since it’s a tautology – if I get your meaning then to formalize “the former is implied to be the latter when both P and Q obtains” we have A => (B -> A), where we let A represent “p & q” and B represent “p -> q”. (The term “when” functions as the term “if”.) By (the rule of replacement called) exportation, the statement A => (B -> A) is equivalent to (the inference rule) (A & B) => A. Or you may have meant part of a propositional logic theorem (tautology) that (p & q) => [(p -> q) & (q -> p) & (~p -> q)], which says that from p & q we can infer three implications, p -> q, q -> p, and ~p -> q. I don’t know which you meant, or whether you meant something else (if something else, I’d like to see the form).

(Side note that some might find useful when symbolizing: I like to use the single lined implication and equivalence symbols “->” and “”, respectively, when denoting a truth functional implication or equivalence that is not tautological, meaning not necessarily true in all its substitution instances [the main column in the truth table is not necessarily all T’s], and I like to use the double lined implication and equivalence symbols “=>” and “”, respectively, when denoting a truth functional implication or equivalence that is tautological, meaning true in all its substitution instances [the main column in the truth table is all T’s], such implications and equivalences called rules of inference and rules of replacement, respectively, in some presentations of propositional logic.)

Joshua’s above comment on October 16, 2014 at 8:04 pm gets the gist of what I said in my prior post October 16, 2014 at 7:35 pm right.

47. Lars Rosenberg says:

Here is what IPCC has said about the Gulf Stream stopping:
TAR:
Most models show weakening of the ocean thermohaline circulation which leads to a reduction of the heat transport into high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. However, even in models where the thermohaline circulation weakens, there is still a warming over Europe due to increased greenhouse gases. The current projections using climate models do not exhibit a complete shut-down of the thermohaline circulation by 2100. Beyond 2100, the thermohaline circulation could completely, and possibly irreversibly, shut-down in either hemisphere if the change in radiative forcing is large enough and applied long enough.

AR4:
Based on current model simulations, it is very likely that the meridional overturning circulation (MOC) of the Atlantic Ocean will slow down during the 21st century. The multi-model average reduction by 2100 is 25% (range from zero to about 50%) for SRES emission scenario A1B. Temperatures in the Atlantic region are projected to increase despite such changes due to the much larger warming associated with projected increases of greenhouse gases. It is very unlikely that the MOC will undergo a large abrupt transition during the 21st century. Longer-term changes in the MOC cannot be assessed with confidence. {10.3, 10.7}

AR5:
It is very unlikely that the AMOC will undergo an abrupt transition or collapse in the 21st century for the scenarios considered. There is low confidence in assessing the evolution of the AMOC beyond the 21st century because of the limited number of analyses and equivocal results. However, a collapse beyond the 21st century for large sustained warming cannot be excluded. {12.5}

48. Richard Betts,

KandA,
I presume you’re trying to illustrate the distinction between a prediction and a projection? That is certainly something that many seem to misinterpret/misunderstand.

49. “He did, however, briefly mention his views on climate science”

For a brief mention, the number of errors found above is quite remarkable.

Seems hard to explain with chance. Maybe his scientific advisers do do something.

50. Steve Bloom says:

My understanding is while the AMOC and the Gulf Stream follow the same path for a considerable distance they are by no means the same thing. The latter is a western boundary current driven by planetary rotation and won’t go away even if the AMOC does (which latter could occur only in a much warmer climate, as the AR5 notes).

I don’t have time to dig up the reference just now, but IIRC maybe six months ago it was announced that the AMOC has been measured to have slowed substantially in recent years.

51. BBD says:

Joshua

Among the larger public – does an overemphasis on the pause in the press -relative to its scientific significance – materially affect the balance of opinions on climate change in some material fashion? I think not.

What Tom Curtis said.

Sometimes one has to admit error.

52. Victor,
Indeed. I saw a few Twitter exchanges about his speech. It seems that when someone gets climate science wrong in a speech, it doesn’t really matter because it wasn’t the main focus of the speech. When a journalist is overly alarmist, climate scientists should instantly call this out or else they can’t be trusted. Odd that. What does Joshua call this – “identity politics”?

It seems that Paterson’s speech was actually written by Matt Ridley, who is, of course, Paterson’s father-in-law, so the egregious errors aren’t particularly surprising.

http://the-tap.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/owen-paterson-is-matt-ridleys-sock.html

54. ATTP on October 17, 2014 at 7:26 am wrote in reply to my October 17, 2014 at 5:34 am:
“KandA,
I presume you’re trying to illustrate the distinction between a prediction and a projection? That is certainly something that many seem to misinterpret/misunderstand.”

So that others can access some definitions:
http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_and_data_reports.shtml
Working Group I: The Scientific Basis
Other reports in this collection
Appendix I – Glossary
Editor: A.P.M. Baede
http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/518.htm
Climate prediction
A climate prediction or climate forecast is the result of an attempt to produce a most likely description or estimate of the actual evolution of the climate in the future, e.g. at seasonal, interannual or long-term time scales. See also: Climate projection and Climate (change) scenario.
Climate projection
A projection of the response of the climate system to emission or concentration scenarios of greenhouse gases and aerosols, or radiative forcing scenarios, often based upon simulations by climate models. Climate projections are distinguished from climate predictions in order to emphasise that climate projections depend upon the emission/concentration/ radiative forcing scenario used, which are based on assumptions, concerning, e.g., future socio-economic and technological developments, that may or may not be realised, and are therefore subject to substantial uncertainty.

(First, this note: When I use the term “assume” or its variants like “assumption”, I use it as it’s used in basic logic, math, and science, in some instances synonymous with “premise”.)

ATTP, if you are using the terms per the above, then no, I’m not addressing this difference, since both predictions and projections make assumptions. (I agree that many do not see the difference, that a projection is “softer” than a prediction.)

Again, I think that Joshua in his post October 16, 2014 at 8:04 pm got what I said in my first post.

Perhaps the simplest way to say it is this: Assumptions always matter. But deniers seem to always or almost always try to get away with (at least the tacit) claim that they don’t matter – at least not when they are trying to get away with claiming along the lines of “Aha! Prediction or projection x didn’t come true! Therefore mainstream climate science is a fraud! Curry, Lindzen, and Spencer are my heroes! They will get a Nobel Prize someday!”

I’m just showing how assumptions always matter in terms of their logical relationship to what is predicted or projected – very broadly, their logical relation is in how p and q in a conditional or implication statement p -> q relate to each other: The assumptions comprise that set of conditions that functions as the antecedent p, and what is predicted or projected is that set of conditions that functions as the consequent q. One can therefore call the predictions or projections of science conditional ones rather than absolute ones. No scientist (or anyone intelligent and sane for that matter) would make an absolute prediction or projection, which is one with no assumption. Yet, again, we see deniers always or almost always trying to get away with the (at least tacit) claim that scientists in the science they deny are making absolute predictions or projections.

And so if a (conditional) prediction or projection q does not come true, we have ~q instead, then we have to look at the assumption set p, to see whether they all still hold true. If they all do, then we have p & ~q (which is tautologically equivalent to ~(p -> q)), and the model needs fixing. But if it turns out that they do not (for instance, volcanic or anthropogenic activity may turn out to be not as assumed), then we have ~p & ~q, which is not a negation of p -> q, which means that the model may or may not need fixing – false assumptions do not falsify a model.

(Notes: Remember, each of these sets of conditions p and q is a conjunction of conditions, and we need only one conjunct to be false to make the whole conjunction false. And although I’m mainly speaking of those assumptions that are explicitly addressed or entered into the model for calculations, there is a potentially infinite set of tacit assumptions, and this could include the assumption that the planet won’t be obliterated before the [conditional] predictions or projections could be tested. Of course, one has to be reasonable as to which of those tacit assumptions need to actually be addressed.)

55. KandA,

Assumptions always matter.

Yes, I agree. This was kind of what I was getting at, but probably not very clearly. You’re quite right that understanding whether or not a model has skill depends both on what it suggests might happen and on the assumptions used. Simply arguing that a model has failed without considering the role that the initial assumptions may have played is indeed the wrong way to assess the skill of a model.

56. BBD says:

It seems that Paterson’s speech was actually written by Matt Ridley, who is, of course, Paterson’s father-in-law, so the egregious errors aren’t particularly surprising.

Ah. Thanks for pointing that out. It’s a funny little world, isn’t it? What with Dominic Lawson being married to Rosa Monckton and all 😉

57. BBD says:

K&A

Touching on assumptions – when ‘sceptics’ claim that the models have been ‘falsified’ by GAT since ~2000, they ignore key assumptions input into the models (volcanic/anthropogenic aerosols; solar; ENSO). When these inputs were updated to bring them into line with actual forcing change since 2000, the models came into much better agreement with observations. Most of the factors that changed were unpredictable, eg eruptions, ENSO and the profound solar minimum of SC24.

Ref: Schmidt et al. (2014) Reconciling warming trends

58. BBD says:

AA
BTW, Ridley is OP’s brother-in-law.

59. Bwana_Mrefu says:

Andrew Adams: actually Ridley is his brother in law, who’s uncle, Nicholas Ridley was a member of the same Thatcher-led Cabinet as Lord Lawson. It IS a funny world BBD.

60. There was an entertaining tweet (below) that shows the document info with Matt Ridley as the author. I seem to remember, though, Paterson acknowledging help from Matt Ridley. No real issue with someone getting help from their brother-in-law, although it might have been better if he’d got help from someone who actually understood climate science.

BBD, Bwana_Mrefu

Thanks for the correction.

62. jsam says:

Surely one of the many skilled academic advisors employed by the Global Warmers Protection Fund should have proofread and corrected this speech. Or maybe they already have?

Of course the fact of Paterson’s family connection with Ridley doesn’t imply any impropriety, it’s just a curiosity which indicates the incestuous nature of some “skeptic” opinion. What is maybe more notable is the fact the Ridley is an advisor to the GWPF, I mean there is nothing inherently wrong with a prominent politician giving a speech to a campaigning organisation which supports that organisation’s aims, but when the content of the speech is actually provided, or at least greatly influenced, by that organisation’s “Academic Advisor” it all seems a bit…cosy. But hey, how about those environmentalists and their groupthink.

64. Willard says:

> The statements p -> q are p & ~q are the negations (contradictories) of each other – that is, ~(p -> q) and p & ~q are tautologically equivalent […]

Yes, and that’s one of the reasons why I used “=>”. (The other and main reason is because “=” is closer to “>” on my tablet than “-“.) The two lines usually indicates a semantical relationship. Popper’s implication can’t work syntactically alone. (It does not work semantically either, but that’s for another time.)

There is a problem with the two formulas (p -> q are p & ~q) being equivalent, for they represent two very different situations in Popper’s setting, and in science in general. Implication represents a causal relationship, while conjunction represents the addition of two predicates. Conjunction works to represent “All swans are white”: it is a swan (P) and is also white (Q). Finding a black swan disproves it.

But a causal relationship is not that static: it is for instance directional. That is, if our models are faithfully representing our climate (P), then there should be warming (Q) can’t be reduced to a mere conjunction of two propositions. First, we establish that P obtains; second, we establish that Q obtains; in that order, and in a way that makes Q follows from P.

If we could reduce a causal relationships to conjunctions, then we’d be able to eliminate quantifiers and predicates altogether and do science by way of propositional logic. Since we invented predicate and quantificational logics to circumvent the limitations of propositional logic, I duly submit that something’s amiss in the explanation by way of propositional logic to explain causal relationships. This argument is only circumstantial, but I don’t think I need a stronger one for now.

***

Popper’s “All swans are white” was unfortunate. But then he was speaking metalogically. His point was to show that science does not work by induction. For Popper, induction does not exist. He never tried to portray science as a calculus: he accepts that there are background assumptions behind every scientific hypotheses.

So in this description:

And so if a (conditional) prediction or projection q does not come true, we have ~q instead, then we have to look at the assumption set p, to see whether they all still hold true. If they all do, then we have p & ~q (which is tautologically equivalent to ~(p -> q)), and the model needs fixing.

the “assumption set P” inflates what is the P in the first place: a proposition. Also, models always need fixing, and to establish that Q obtains or not is very tough. It’s never a simple matter of feeding model results to a truth machine. In fact, and perhaps most importantly, models are neither validated, nor verified:

http://www.easterbrook.ca/steve/2010/11/do-climate-models-need-independent-verification-and-validation/

This means that we don’t even know if we have P as we imagine it in the first place either.

Using logic to represent modeling can only be by way of an analogy. This is why I don’t like formalism in a discussion. It oftentimes clarifies very little.

***

Models are more like telescopes than like oracles.

65. Tom Curtis says:

Willard, it is a mistake to think the causal relationship can be represented by any implicature from logic. Consequently it is no argument against material implication to point out that it does not adequately represent causation.

The discussion about causation is a bit over my head TBH but I did read this piece recently which from my layman’s perspective was very interesting

http://www.skeptic.com/insight/the-logic-of-causal-conclusions-how-we-know-that-fire-burns-fertilizer-helps-plants-grow-and-vaccines-prevent-disease/

67. Tom Curtis says:

Andrew Adams, the article is highly apt. For any logical implication A => B, A is a sufficient condition for B, and B is a necessary condition for A. As the article notices, however, causes can be the Insufficient Non-redundant Unnecessary part of a Sufficient condition (INUS). It follows that there is an important failure of isomorphism between causal implication and logical implication that precludes any form of logical implication being, or modelling the causal relationship.

68. Willard says:

Well, Tom, that it would be a mistake seems to me like a good argument against pushing too far the logical analogy. Logicizing Popper [led David Stove into problems]:

http://www.jstor.org/stable/3750590

I don’t think contrarians need to be portrayed as making any logical mistake.

***

I’ve added “we need independently verified and validated models” to the contrarian matrix:

http://contrarianmatrix.wordpress.com/no-best-practices/

69. Tom Curtis says:

Willard, I don’t think contrarians automatically need to be portrayed as making a logical mistake. A very large number of them, however, do appear to think that it is sufficient to refute Q to refute if P, then Q. (Or perhaps it is better to say that they interpret “If P, then Q” as being logically equivalent to “Q”. I can’t say that I find this surprising, however, as the inability to understand conditional statements seems to be widespread in the population at large.

70. Joseph says:

Joshua, almost all of the public’s views and the information on climate change comes from the media. And even if their views are primarily shaped directly by friends and acquaintances, the chain of influence will eventually lead back to the media. So I don’t think you should underestimate the influence of the media or the misinformation that is spread by various sources.

71. Joshua says:

Tom Curtis –

==> Joshua, first, I have no idea what is meant by “SWIMCARES” and “SWIRLCARES” other than that the acronyms are clearly constructed so as to form dismissive epithets. (As dismissive in their own way as “denier”.)”

Well, SWIRMCARE (I left out the “R”) = Someone Who Is Relatively More Concerned About Recent Emissions, and SWIRLCARE = Someone Who Is Relatively Less Concerned About Recent Emissions. Using labels in and of itself is a big part of the problem in the climate wars, IMO, but it’s hard to have these discussions w/o labels (which isn’t really an excuse, as maybe we’re just better limiting our discussions to those than can be had w/o labeling, or maybe we’re better off just not having the discussions at all 🙂 ), but to the extent that labels are used, I think it’s important to use accurate labels. I think those labels are, relatively speaking, more accurate than those I see used generally. Neither term is meant to be an epithet or dismissive – although I accept that some folks might interpret them that way.

==> “Second, the media industry minus one or two state or publicly sponsored examples, is built on the principle that airtime (or column inches) persuades.”

I haven’t argued that the media (or advertising) categorically doesn’t persuade. What I have argued is that the influence of the media, w/r/t this specific context at least but also in other highly polarized and politicized contests, likely is much less in reality than what partisans on each side seem to think. I have also argued that a pattern among partisans, of holding “the media” responsible for the degree of public opinion they don’t like, is IMO a flawed argument that I see a lot in politically charged debates. I find it amusing that often partisans on each side in highly politicized and polarized issues are absolutely convinced of a clear and abundant political bias against their views from the “mainstream media,” – yet in the studies I’ve seen, including meta-analyses, their confidence in the nature of said bias is not borne out by the evidence.

==> “Absent that principle, advertising is a waste of money for any corporation.”

I haven’t argued that advertising is a waste of time.

==> “So, when advertising agencies start being prosecuted for fraud, then I will believe that media is not persuasive.”

I would hope, that instead of waiting for fraud prosecutions, you would instead look for empirical evidence of the impact of media coverage on public opinions about climate change, such as the “hiatus,” rather than make assumptions absent evidence. If you have some in mind, I would appreciate you letting me know. For example, to go back to BBD’s comment above, I’d love to see some evidence of even correlation between significant changes in public views about climate change pre- and post-focus in the media on “the hiatus,” let alone some empirical analysis that shows a causal mechanism behind that such a correlation.

What I see is quite a bit of evidence that opinions on climate change, in the general public at least, are very strongly associated with political orientation (in the U.S., at least). As such, it seems quite likely to me that the media has significantly less direct impact, differentially, than someone’s overall ideological orientation and factors such a short-term weather phenomena and the state of the economy. In general, I think that the precise mechanism of causality is complex, and it’s unlikely a simple mechanism, but I have seen evidence that I think supports my conjecture. But I’m not sure – I’m offering speculation based on evidence. I realize that you think that my opinion is so ridiculous as to be laughable (I’m glad to entertain you, even if it is unintentional), but aside from that, I would like to know if you have actual evidence to support your confident conclusions.

I have seen some related empirical study that might support an argument counter to mine – specifically the paper by Lewandowsky on a study of the impact of giving people information about the magnitude of scientific “consensus” – but I think that study does have some methodological problems – that I haven’t seen to be thoroughly addressed.

==> “Until then your argument that the domination of Australia’s private media by pro-denier messages is not relevant to the large switch in political will on climate change in Australia (for example) was not related to that media presence is just laughable.”

I didn’t realize that there was such a “switch” in public opinion in Australia (I was speaking to more general phenomena). I would appreciate it if you show the evidence for that switch, ideally if it is contextualized in a way that helps to control for other influential variables, and that help to show specific correlation.

It would be particularly helpful for me if you would, as willard did, speak to the information in the link I gave above and express why you think the methodology employed and/or conclusions drawn are erroneous and/or not applicable for Australia.

72. Joshua says:

Joseph –

==> “Joshua, almost all of the public’s views and the information on climate change comes from the media. And even if their views are primarily shaped directly by friends and acquaintances, the chain of influence will eventually lead back to the media. So I don’t think you should underestimate the influence of the media or the misinformation that is spread by various sources.”

I largely addressed your points in the comment I was writing before seeing this comment of yours.

I am not convinced, at all, that people’s views on climate change are shaped by the information they receive from the media is some direct fashion. There are a lot of media out there, and people are selective about which media they trust, or like, or believe, or watch/listen to, or discount, or distrust, or ignore, etc.

For example, if we were going to look at the impact of the focus in the media of “the hiatus,” it seems to me that we’d want to see some longitudinal analysis – that includes at least some control for variables. From what I see, people who are SWIMCAREs are not particularly convinced that what is erroneously called “the hiatus” should significantly lessen their concern about the risks of ACO2 emissions. And on the other hand, I highly doubt that very many SWIRLCAREs have become less concerned about the risks posed by ACO2 because of what they’ve heard in the media about the so-called “hiatus.” I would guess that most of them have had their views little changed as the result of that media coverage, even though many of them will strong say that their views have been changed as the result of coverage of the so-called “hiatus.” IMO, such claims are usually the result of people filtering information so as to confirm their biases. They start with relatively less concern about ACO2, and then when the hear about the so-called “hiatus,” the integrate that information as a justification for their pre-existing views.

I think that there is a fairly strong body of evidence that views on climate change are less a product of the information people are exposed to, and more a reflection of their personal, social, political, and ideological identifications.

73. Joseph says:

Joshua, where does the public’s information on climate change come from? Of course, conservatives easily fall for the arguments against AGW, because they don’t like the policy implications. But their actual views on climate change come from other sources (eg the media). One can’t make an argument against the importance of mitigating against climate change without those sources.

74. Joshua,
You seem to keep leaving out the R 🙂

75. Joshua says:

Last night, I had too much wine, and this morning not enough coffee. (Early onset dementia is also a strong possibility).

76. Well, if all that happens when you had too much wine followed by too little coffee is that you forget the odd R, then I am impressed 🙂

77. Joshua says:

Joseph –

==> “Joshua, where does the public’s information on climate change come from? ”

Different segments of the public get their information from different sources. But that doesn’t happen by accident. People choose their sources. And further, they also choose which sources to trust. If a SWIRLCARE hears about something from the NYT, they use that information to become less concerned about ACO2 emissions.

==> “But their actual views on climate change come from other sources (eg the media).”

Again, I think that the causal chain you outline there is too simplified to be particularly useful.

People construct knowledge on the basis of how they assimilate and integrate information.

78. Willard says:

Modus tollens has a lower rate of success than one might expect, Tom:

But the problem is not the application in modus tollens, it’s the necessity to infer NOT P from NOT Q in an epistemological setting in the first place. But this leads us to the problem of representing belief revision in logic and gets way too much complicated. I prefer to say that in the end, holism wins:

http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/tagged/HolismWins

***

The main problem with the contrarians’ argument is that they put too much emphasis on prediction. Science is about understanding more than prediction:

The main purposes of science are understanding (of past as well as future), technology, and control of the environment. So I have written, in one place or another.. My point about prediction is that it is the checkpoint.

http://putnamphil.blogspot.com/2014/07/a-letter-1988-from-quine-to-chris.html

***

Not much time for now to add anything. I did not mean to jump at K&A the way I did. Tablets are not meant for logic.

79. Joseph says:

And on the other hand, I highly doubt that very many SWIRLCAREs have become less concerned about the risks posed by ACO2 because of what they’ve heard in the media about the so-called “hiatus.”

Joshua how did those people learn there was a “hiatus” and who told them that this undermines AGW and why it does? Is the misinformation being spread irrelevant?

80. Joseph says:

oops I got my swimcares and swirlcares mixed up when quoting..

81. Joshua says:

Yeah – I get confused too. 🙂

Consider some hypotheticals. Jill Lunchpail is a conservative, who doesn’t follow the climate debates very closely. She had never heard anything about a “hiatus.”

She usually watches Fox News, but one day she turned on the TV and it just happens to be tuned to MSNBC because her liberal son was the last person to use the TV. At that very moment, Rachel Maddow was talking about the so-called “hiatus,” and saying that it is part of a deliberate misinformation campaign by fossil fuel industry apologists.

What is Jill’s response likely to be? (A) “Wow, like Rachel says, that whole “hiatus” stuff is just a bunch of junk,” or (B) “Wow, Rachel sure seems bent out of shape about this whole “hiatus” thingy. I guess there must be something to it, because when libruls start talking about fossil fuel industry conspiracies, they’re trying to lay cover for an anti-capitalist hoax.”

And then there’s Jill’s husband, Joe Lunchpail. He also, doesn’t pay much attention to the climate wars, and hadn’t heard anything about the “hiatus.” He’s a liberal who usually watches MSNBC, but happened to turn on the TV just after his libertarian daughter was watching Alex Jones on Prison Planet. Before he switches the channel, he happens to hear Jones talking about how the “hiatus” is evidence that proves that liberal climate scientists are perpetuating an AGW hoax so they can destroy capitalism.

Which is likely to be Joe’s response?: (A) “Wow, like Alex says, that “hiatus” thingy really shows that AGW is a hoax,” or (B) “Wow, Alex sure seems to think that this “hiatus” thingy is really important to defend. I guess then, that it really must be a bunch of junk, because if Alex gets bent out of shape about something, I can easily dismiss it because he’s a tin-foiled nutjob.

Obviously, I think that “B” is more likely in each case, and that in each case, it wasn’t the information about the so-called hiatus that was influential, but how the listener self-identifies relative to the source.

We could reverse the hypotheticals, where Jill would hear about the “hiatus’ first from Hannity and Joe would learn about it first from Maddow. The ultimate outcome would be the same. Joe would dismiss the “hiatus” as a product of a fossil fuel industry conspiracy and the Jill would conclude that the “hiatus” proves that AGW is a librul conspiracy.

82. I agree largely with Joshua on the limited influence of various ways of influencing general opinions, but I agree only as far as we consider influencing in short and medium term. I do believe that persistent offering of information is essential. In addition there are special occasions during which people may be influenced strongly. That’s most likely the case, when people have no prior views on the issue, and when the main change is that they start to believe that an issue that they knew nothing about before is actually important.

Many of the views that I have presented on this site and elsewhere on, how to act to have a real effect are based on my belief in the slowly developing effect of persistent and consistent offering of knowledge based on the best scientific understanding of the time. I continue to believe that attempts to speed up the process by stronger message, than can be kept persistent and consistent, are counterproductive.

Those who wish to inform, must put special emphasis on maintaining their credibility as perceived by the relevant audience even, when that requires that they scale down the message. As far as I can see that’s the approach that Richard Betts has taken. Whether those of you, who consider climate change a very serious issue, like his way of presenting the matters is not important, what’s important is, how he and other scientists are perceived by those who are not as convinced. Journalists are important intermediaries in the process, but one should not expect that the overall picture presented by MSM is very different from the views of the public.

83. BBD says:

Well, Joshua won’t admit that he’s wrong. Shocked, I tell you.

84. BBD says:

Tell me, Joshua, if the media is so ineffectual a tool for swaying public opinion, why is such a vast deal of money, effort and time expended in inserting misinformation into it? What is the point? Are they mad? Are they stupid? Or are you mistaken?

85. Willard says:

I don’t think Joshua is wrong to ask for evidence, BBD:

> However, wide swings in public opinion result from different frames for a policy initiative. When “opportunity to eventually become citizens is used” in the place of “amnesty,” net opposition to legalization virtually disappears. Although the terms reference the same policy, the opposition level to “opportunity to eventually become citizens” was -.04 (on that -2 to 2 scale), whereas the opposition level to “amnesty” was -.7 (a 17-percentage-point difference).

http://journalistsresource.org/studies/government/immigration/illegal-undocumented-unauthorized-equivalency-frames-issue-frames-public-opinion-immigration

It’s not the wording as much as the framing of the possible ways to resolve the issue.

This connects well with his deliberative framework.

86. Joshua says:

BBD –

==> Tell me, Joshua, if the media is so ineffectual a tool for swaying public opinion,”

I haven’t said that in some categorical sense, “the media is so ineffectual a tool for swaying public opinion.” I haven’t made any, such general arguments. My arguments have been more specific, and they’ve been conditional. I’ve pointed to an empirical basis for my opinion, and asked that the empirical aspects be addressed.

And yet you spike the ball in triumphant affirmation, do your ATTP version of the Lambeau Leap,

in celebration that you were correct in predicting I would refuse to admit that I’m wrong.

Here’s the thing. When I read technical arguments on issues that I can’t evaluate the evidence, and I read the input of you or Tom or someone like Cap’n and think that you all make some reasonable sounding arguments….I then look at your other arguments on issues where I feel I have a better grasp on the issues, and try to weigh probabilities. When Cap’n makes bogus arguments in discussions with me, such as he did not that long ago when we discussed DDT – and then he persists in arguments that IMO, are fallacious (specifically, in that case, he failed to deal with effectively with the counterfactual nature of his arguments), then I lose confidence in his technical analysis. I think if he makes such obviously flawed arguments in discussions are simple enough for me to understand, then maybe the arguments he’s making in technical discussions are similarly founded on flaws that would be “obvious” were I smarter or if I had technical chops.

So here we have a thread where, IMO, you and Tom are persisting in, IMO, an obviously flawed argument. So the effect is that when I read your input into technical discussions, I have to consider that maybe your arguments are similarly founded on flaws that would be “obvious” were I smarter or if I had technical chops.

Please try to read again what I argued. Respond on point if you desire. Respond with comments about the flaws you see in the article I linked. But there is obviously little point in me further responding to mischaracterizations of my arguments.

87. Daniel Stewart says:

In reply to Joshua concerning how people of different political views react to media reports about climate change:

http://www.culturalcognition.net/browse-papers/the-tragedy-of-the-risk-perception-commons-culture-conflict.html

88. Daniel Stewart says:

This might have been the better paper to read first. It shows that across political orientations people who test higher on science literacy measures show more divergence on their opinions about climate change:

http://www.culturalcognition.net/browse-papers/the-tragedy-of-the-risk-perception-commons-culture-conflict.html

89. Daniel Stewart says:
90. Daniel,
Thanks, I keep meaning to read more of Dan Kahan’s work. It’s not something that I’m particularly familiar with.

91. Joseph says:

At that very moment, Rachel Maddow was talking about the so-called “hiatus,” and saying that it is part of a deliberate misinformation campaign by fossil fuel industry apologists.

I never said that people don’t have positions on issues consistent with their ideologies. But it is not necessarily the case that the Republicans party should deny the mainstream position of climate scientists. It could have been that they in general accept the science, but be opposed to doing anything about it because it is too expensive and involves the government meddling. The reason they question the science is because of the “message” that is propagated through the right wing media. They base their views on this message and associated arguments. I will put it like this, I don’t think you would see the opposition to the actual science without the consistent message. from the right wing media.

92. On several occasion I have read books and articles that discuss risk perception. A general observation is that people’s views on risks are not coherent at all. When closely related, and even totally equivalent, questions that have been formulated somewhat differently are asked, the answers are typically contradictory.

Without further support from scientific literature I’m convinced that similarly contradictory views extend beyond risk perception. When people face issues like risks of climate change they have in their mind many aspects related to that. Some of those are directly related to climate, while other have a closer connection to possible policies or behavioral changes. Again what they think about one of the related issue is not coherently linked to what they think about another. Some aspects are more important for them, and these are likely to be most influential for their general opinions. If and when they realize that their thinking on some other aspect contradicts with that they explain in some way the contradiction away.

If climate science is not the most important factor in their thinking, improving their knowledge on climate science is not likely to have much immediate effect. Their pattern of reasoning may change gradually over time. In that process solid arguments that they have previously dismissed may become more important, but we should not expect that to happen rapidly.

To the extent I have read Kahan’s writings, his results seem to be consistent with the above – but that may, of course, be an example of my biased thinking.

93. Daniel Stewart says:

I think that’s right. Further, Kahan seems to have found that opinions derived from evidence conform to those of the social group one identifies with (and which they derive from the same evidence). No doubt there is also an effect on what particular evidence is considered.

94. BBD says:

Joshua

So here we have a thread where, IMO, you and Tom are persisting in, IMO, an obviously flawed argument. So the effect is that when I read your input into technical discussions, I have to consider that maybe your arguments are similarly founded on flaws that would be “obvious” were I smarter or if I had technical chops.

I really don’t like this. I don’t see why Tom C’s climate science analyses are rendered potentially dodgy because you think he’s wrong about something that has nothing to do with technical commentary. Something that, to be fair, you might be mistaken about yourself.

The majority of the electorate are so-so about climate change. Aware but not concerned. A generalised media spin that keeps them in that frame of mind diminishes the space for policy evolution. I suggest that this is happening and it is easy enough to see it by looking around.

95. Joshua says:

BBD –

==> ” I don’t see why Tom C’s climate science analyses are rendered potentially dodgy because you think he’s wrong about something that has nothing to do with technical commentary.”

Sometimes I read Tom’s comments and go damn, I wish I were that smart, and damn, this guy knows his shit and damn, I don’t understand the technical issues in dept, but from what I can tell, he made mincemeat of that “skeptic” argument.

But then I might read a response to his argument, and think that the counterargument also seems to be impressive. And then I might read Tom say to the other person that s/he has no idea what s/he’s talking about and then his interlocutor might say in return that it is Tom that doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

As near as I can tell, both discussants are well-informed and wicked smart.

So I don’t know what to think.

So then I get into a discussion with Tom, and he responds to my point about partisans over-interpreting the influence of “the media” in the context of heavily polarized issues and his response is that he’ll wait until advertisers get sued. And I go huh?

And further, and probably worse, he says that my position is “laughable, even though he’s mischaracterized it and in so doing ignored empirical evidence that I’ve referred to that I think supports my position, and even though he’s presented no empirical evidence of his own and basically made an argument by assertion. And I find that worse not because of his condescending attitude towards me (I know my argument might be wrong, but it isn’t “laughable” even if a really smart and knowledgeable guy says that it is), but because he seems to find an argument not based in evidence more impressive than an evidence-based argument (keep in mind, IMO the evidence he alluded to was not on point). In fact, he doesn’t only find it more impressive – he seems to be absolutely convinced that his view is absolutely correct even though he hasn’t presented evidence to show me what convinces him.

So then I think,damn, that reminds me of the weak arguments I see presented by smart and knowledgeable “skeptics” over at Judith’s.

==> “Something that, to be fair, you might be mistaken about yourself.”

Of course I might be. That’s a given. If I ever come across as expressing something otherwise, call me on it. I think that we all tend towards too much certainty about our perspectives (I think it’s human nature to do so)…and so it helps me when people call me on that even if I’m sometimes resistant to acknowledging it.

96. Joshua says:

Pekka –

==> “Their pattern of reasoning may change gradually over time. …To the extent I have read Kahan’s writings, his results seem to be consistent with the above…”

One of the issues I bring up with Dan frequently is that I would find some of his arguments more convincing if he had more longitudinal data. For example, he says that as people become more “scientifically literate,” they become more polarized. I don’t think that he should make that argument with only cross-sectional data that show a correlation between higher scores on assessments of scientific literacy and polarized views. But I do agree with his hypotheses that simply providing more information will not alter people’s views on climate change, and that views on climate change reflect who a person is more than what they know. The reason why I agree with his hypotheses is that they are evidence-based, which IMO, does not apply to any variety of arguments I see, on both sides of the climate wars battle lines, regarding the causality behind the general public’s views (and one of the most common arguments that I see on both sides is that coverage in “the media” is causal).

97. Maybe the more scientifically literate people are higher up in the hierarchy and thus benefit more from social Darwinism or they dare to express more extremist positions, confident that they can talk their way out of it?

Dan Kahan seems to identify very strongly with the mitigation sceptics. Maybe this made him forget to ask some critical questions. Saying you do not believe climate change is no problem does not mean you believe that, it may also mean that you do not like mitigation, it may mean that you find allegiance to your group more important than holding a correct position, or that you like the social Darwinian consequences of climate change.

Maybe I should read more, but the things I saw I did not find very convincing. I hope that does not mean that my technical analysis is no longer appreciated. 🙂

98. Joshua says:

==> “Dan Kahan seems to identify very strongly with the mitigation “sceptics.”

Not sure what evidence you base that on. FWIW, “skeptics” are convinced that he identifies very strongly with “realists.”

==> “Saying you do not believe climate change is no problem does not mean you believe that,”

Is this supposed to read “Saying you do not believe climate change is no a problem does not mean you believe that?”

==> ” it may also mean that you do not like mitigation, it may mean that you find allegiance to your group more important than holding a correct position,…”

I’d say that’s probably pretty consistent with his opinions, actually. He doesn’t speak to people saying that they believe things that they don’t believe, but he does speak to group allegiance as driving people’s opinions about climate change.

==> ” I hope that does not mean that my technical analysis is no longer appreciated. :-)”

Well, clearly anyone who expresses an opinion I don’t agree with gets demoted. 🙂

99. Tom Curtis says:

Joshua, in order of ease of proof:

1) Australian opinions about climate change from the Lowy Institute 2014 Poll:

I will note that from 2006-2009 (approx) The Australian (considered to be Australia’s leading newspaper) ran an opinion piece against the then government’s policy of a cap and trade scheme every day. The vast majority of these pieces were written by AGW “skeptics” or outright deniers, although occasionally accepters of climate science (such as James Hansen) got a look in, but only for opinion pieces arguing against cap and trade as a mitigation policy. At the end of that period, The Australian’s opinion page editor resigned and took up a position as speech writer for the then leader of the (politically conservative) opposition.

Media coverage from other outlets, and in particular that most influential of media sources, radio shock jocks were also biased – the most popular shock jocks being more so even than The Australian (evidence below).

The rise in opinion over the last two years (by 28% of the initial fall) is interesting. I would partly attribute it to the the reduced media bias following the election of the (politically conservative) Abbot government – with less time being now spent criticizing Labor party policies and more spent on the impacts of Abbot government policies; and partly to Australia’s hottest year on record in 2013. No doubt there are also other factors that I am not aware of, or not taken proper account of.

2) Australian media bias:
At the national broadcaster (ABC, similar in role to the British BBC on which it is modeled). Curiously the ABC is often condemned for its purported green-left bias.

At The Australian. Robert Manne’s essay, Bad News is only available offline and at a price, so here is his summary of the section on The Australian’s reporting on climate science from an interview:

“The paper claims that it supports climate science conclusions. That’s a nonsensical claim, as I try and show in the Quarterly Essay. It takes a lot of work to do it. The editorials have been all over the place, but they sometimes are covertly denialist about the fundamental climate science view, and sometimes overtly denialist. When they choose commentary, the opinion columns have been weighted extremely heavily in favour of those who deny climate science and certainly deny the need for strong action on climate change. And when I analysed the articles in the paper on climate change over a period of something like seven years, between 2004 and the present, my estimate was four to one of those unfavourable to action on climate change, four to one, and in terms of the scientists that they put in their opinion pages, it was something like ten to one for sceptics or denialists, when in the scientific community it’s more like between 97 and 99% of climate scientists who support the view that essentially human beings, through the emission of greenhouse gases, are primarily responsible for global warming. So the paper’s coverage of climate change has been, I think, a disgrace, and anti-science and anti-reason. It’s one of the things that I think is most unforgiveable about its coverage over the last years.”

Here is an alternative take on The Australian’s reporting on climate science.

And finally, Australian newspapers in general.
Key quotes, the first being a summary of a previous similar survey:

“The coverage of the carbon policy debate was the subject of the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism’s first report on the media’s role in reporting on climate change, Sceptical Climate: Part One. That report included an investigation of coverage by ten major print publications of the carbon policy between February and July 2011. It found that overall, the coverage was very strongly opposed to the Gillard’s government’s carbon policy. Negative coverage outweighed positive coverage by 73% to 27%. The coverage by News Corp, which dominates Australia’s print media, was even more biased (Finkelstein, 2012, p. 58). It published 82% negative stories compared to 18% that were positive. By comparison, Fairfax Media was more evenly balanced with its Melbourne masthead The Age being the only newspaper which was more positive than negative.”

The overall results for two 3 month periods, one in 2011 and one in 2012 were:
Newspaper; Accepts; Suggests doubt; Rejects; Unable to discern; Grand total
Comment 87 (47%) 40 (22%) 57 (31%) 2 (1%) 186 (100%)
Editorial 16 (62%) 9 (35%) 1 (4%) 0 (0%) 26 (100%)
Feature 94 (64%) 44 (30%) 5 (3%) 3 (2%) 146 (100%)
News 197 (81%) 31 (13%) 2 (1%) 14 (6%) 244 (100%)
Total 394 (65%) 124 (21%) 65 (11%) 19 (3%) 602 (100%)

I will note that commentary is heavily biased. Editorial and features are significantly biased, and news reports slightly biased in favour of AGW skepticism. I take that on the benchmark of relative reporting in relation to relative number of science articles in each direction, although I am aware an AGW “skeptic” would apply a different standard.

It is particularly interesting for this discussion that 2012 was the nadir of Australian public opinion on climate change. The first survey period (Feb – April, 2011) showed far more anti-AGW bias, and also a more blanket coverage of climate science than did the second survey period (Feb-April, 2012). That is, the reversal in Australian public opinion follows a change in the level of bias in Australian media.

3) With regard to your example, and the study (discussion of which) you link to, first and most obviously, I do not claim that single exposures to media reports determine views on a subject. Nor do I claim that only media reports determine views on the subject. Therefore your thought experiment and the study you cite do not even address the relevant question. The question is, absent the persistent exposure of “skeptical” view points in the media, would people with a right wing point of view be skeptical of scientific claims about global warming?

Taking Dan Kahan’s insights as given, the reasonable conclusion is that the typical right wing view on climate science would be determined as a matter of identity politics. However, without exposure of AGW “skepticism” in the media from sources that are identifiably conservative in politics, there would be no basis for framing climate science as a right wing/left wing issue. It follows that there would not, under those circumstances, by sustained right wing skepticism of climate science, and opposition to mitigation policies.

I do not, however, think that Dan Kahan’s insights can be taken as given. More accurately, they are not wrong, but are nowhere near the total picture. In particular, media persuades by framing the range of “reasonable” views. Those views not discusses in media, and in particularly MSM tend to be considered either as insignificant or absurd. The constant exposure of AGW skeptical view points in MSM serves to elevate it to a position of “reasonableness” in the public view which it does not merit on the science. This is a function not of single stories, but of repeated exposure. Having been thus elevated, it becomes a position around which political identity can coalesce.

Further, in particular regard to the study you cite, the experiments were performed with a panel of 500 odd political science students. I do not accept that political science students constitute a representative sample of the US population in relation to political opinions. Therefore, that study in particular does not show my views to be wrong both because it assesses only the effects of single exposures, and because the majority of US citizens do not have the same level of exposure to political opinions, nor (I strongly suspect) commitment to political views that is to be found in political science students.

4) Finally, my argument above is, IMO, a reality check. That you do not recognize it as such shows to me that you have a very narrow view of what constitutes evidence which significantly biases your opinions on this subject.

5) For what it is worth, Pekka’s view expressed at 5:31 pm seems quote reasonable to me, although we would possibly disagree about detail.

100. Tom Curtis says:
101. Willard said on October 17, 2014 at 1:32 pm: “There is a problem with the two formulas (p -> q are p & ~q) being equivalent…Conjunction works to represent “All swans are white”: it is a swan (P) and is also white (Q). Finding a black swan disproves it…If we could reduce causal relationships to conjunctions, then we’d be able to eliminate quantifiers and predicates altogether and do science by way of propositional logic…the “assumption set P” inflates what is the P in the first place: a proposition.”

I presume you meant ~(p -> q) where you wrote p -> q. As for the rest:

Perhaps you can give a reference that says that “Conjunction works to represent “All swans are white”” – that the conjunction relation represents universally quantified statements. This contradicts every textbook I’ve ever seen that covers first order predicate logic as to how to symbolize universal and existential statements. (I’ve referenced a few. Although we typically do not specialize while getting an undergraduate degree in math, while I got mine I did study some logic on the side with one of my math professors whose specialty is logic.) For those who don’t know what these references on first order predicate logic say: “All S are P” (all cats are mammals) is symbolized as (for all x)(S(x) -> P(x)), (for all x, if x is a cat, then x is a mammal), and “some S is P” (some cat is a mammal) is symbolized as (for some x)(S(x) & P(x)), (for some x)(x is a cat and x is a mammal). (Note: “Some” means “at least one”.) This link gives a concise summary of what is in logic textbook covering this topic of symbolizing universal and existential statements:
http://www.philosophypages.com/lg/e12.htm
(This page above applies the conventions used by Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead with respect to what symbols to use for implication and conjunction: The horseshoe symbol means implication and the dot means conjunction.)
More:
http://www.iep.utm.edu/sqr-opp/

Now combine the content of the two links above to see how the given symbolizations work with the contradictories in this square of opposition. This is very basic stuff, and if Popper went against this, then maybe we know why he ran into problems. (For what it’s worth, my take on the causal relation is that it’s a sub-class of the class of the implication relation, and that it’s an inductive problem as to whether a given implication statement signifies a causal relation.)

As to whether there is a problem in pointing out that ~(p -> q) p & ~q is a theorem in propositional logic: It seems to me that science – and anything else we humans do that is a rational exercise – has to obey the fundamentals of propositional logic and mathematics, and given the fundamental definition p -> q (p implies q) ~p V q (not-p or q), it is fundamental via double negation and De Morgan’s Laws that ~(p -> q) ~(~p V q) ~~p & ~q p & ~q. It’s fundamental that the propositional calculus codifies the main architecture of rational thought, including the broad outline of the thinking that is expressed in all mathematical proofs. That’s right. We can prove nothing in math – and we can say nothing rational about climate science or whatever one cares to name – without using some of it at least with respect to the broad outline of the thought, even though that use is tacit and intuitional most of the time. To reject this is to reject every proof of every mathematical theorem that ever has or ever will be given, and since mathematics is the main language or tool of science….. (I think that this is why we can have a very high degree of trust that a bridge won’t fall down when we drive over it, etc.)

(Side note: If someone wishes to invoke that mathematical school of thought called intuitionism (see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intuitionism
for more), I note that they cannot prove even their own theorems using only their logic.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intuitionistic_logic
They have to use some of the classical logic that they deny to prove even a single theorem.)

As to whether a set of assumptions can itself be a proposition: Of course it can. A proposition can itself be a conjunction or disjunction of propositions. That’s basic.

But this is very important: Apart from all of the above, if the broad relationship of scientific predictions or projections q and the assumptions behind them p is not to be understood as an implication p -> q but as a conjunction p & q, then we give the science deniers what they want, which is to get away with arguing – even if only tacitly – that assumptions don’t matter! They constantly argue that if scientific prediction or projection q turns out to not hold, that instead ~q holds, then that right by itself with no consideration of assumptions falsifies the model. But they would be right if the correct representation of the model is p & q because ~q falsifies this conjunction regardless of whether p or ~p is the case! Representing this relation between p and q as a disjunction like ~p V q, which again is the definition of p -> q in propositional logic and all logics based on it, is the only way to avoid this. See what I wrote in my prior posts. (They are called “assumptions”, after all.)

(Note: If one wants to say that there is no logical relationship between the assumptions p and predictions or projections q, that p is neither sufficient nor necessary for q or the reverse, then note that this phrase can hold up only in modal logic. It does not hold up in propositional logic – we get a contradiction. If one does not believe this, then use the above definitions and logic I gave – or use a truth table if one must to obtain all F’s in the main column. And so, broadly, since we must choose between q -> p and p -> q and since by the recent above we must reject p & q, the implication p -> q seems to force itself upon us as a representation of a model.)

As to whether we can reduce first order predicate logic to propositional logic: To a degree, we can do this. Consider the early parts of the 20th century in the work of some mathematical logicians, including Skolem and Herbrand. Here are some links for the interested:

102. Willard says:

> I presume you meant ~(p -> q) where you wrote p -> q.

Yes. Thank you.

***

> Perhaps you can give a reference that says that “Conjunction works to represent “All swans are white”” – that the conjunction relation represents universally quantified statements.

Damn. What I meant is that a conjunction works to falsify (or, alternatively, to represent a falsifier of) a universal statement of the form “All swans are white”. If one finds a swan and is not white, one has falsified “All swans are white”. But this works well because it is about one single thing. This is static. For causal relationships, this does not work so well.

Suppose we want to say that “putting potassium in a fireplace will cause immolation [1]”. What would be a falsifier? Perhaps Tom, who puts potassium in a fireplace, but has no immolation. But we now have two events connected by a conjunction. This is not about what Tom is, but about what happens with (let’s hope not to) Tom. But how does the connection expressed by the “and” express any causal relationship at all, and if not, how could this be considered a falsifier? The background assumptions to understand Tom’s story are very important.

With “All swans are white”, we could use propositional logic to express the ontological properties needed to falsify it. (This reduction works because of the Herbrand theorem – think Prolog.) If we use propositional logic to express a causal relationship like “putting potassium in a fireplace will cause immolation”, see all the conditions and the dynamics that are being omited. More importantly, notice why we’d state something like this: because we seek an explanation. (More on that later.)

To sell falsificationism, using “All swans are white” is perfect. To sell how scientific explanations work, not so much.

[1] Example borrowed from here: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/causation-metaphysics

***

Representing causality was so hard that the proponents of the Deductive-Nomological model did it quite indirectly. Long story short, the DN model hit a wall:

By DN model, if one asks, “Why is that shadow 20 feet long?”, another can answer, “Because that flagpole is 15 feet tall, the Sun is at x angle, and laws of electromagnetism”. Yet by problem of symmetry, if one instead asked, “Why is that flagpole 15 feet tall?”, another could answer, “Because that shadow is 20 feet long, the Sun is at x angle, and laws of electromagnetism”, likewise a deduction from observed conditions and scientific laws, but an answer clearly incorrect. By the problem of irrelevance, if one asks, “Why did that man not get pregnant?”, one could in part answer, among the explanans, “Because he took birth control pills”—if he factually took them, and the law of their preventing pregnancy—as covering law model poses no restriction to bar that observation from the explanans.

Many philosophers have concluded that causality is integral to scientific explanation. DN model offers a necessary condition of a causal explanation—successful prediction—but not sufficient conditions of causal explanation, as a universal regularity can include spurious relations or simple correlations, for instance Z always following Y, but not Z because of Y, instead Y and then Z as an effect of X. By relating temperature, pressure, and volume of gas within a container, Boyle’s law permits prediction of an unknown variable—volume, pressure, or temperature—but does not explain why to expect that unless one adds, perhaps, the kinetic theory of gases.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deductive-nomological_model

This is where Andrew Adams’ link kicks in. Being trained nowadays in a statistical framework, scientists could not care less about the deductive framing of their theories. The first step of the statistical ladder is steeper than logic, but when comes the time to interpret causal relationships, it provides a nice shortcut, and is way more powerful.

For those who like ClimateBall, I had an exchange at Bart’s on this:

http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/is-climate-science-falsifiable/#comment-25253

***

> They constantly argue that if scientific prediction or projection q turns out to not hold, that instead ~q holds, then that right by itself with no consideration of assumptions falsifies the model.

I’d like to have an example of that, for I’m not sure what you intend to say by that, K&A. This does not correspond to my own experience, as far as I can understand what you mean here. Since this is the accusation that justifies all this logical excursus, I think this is important to clarify it.

Here’s the guy I cited in my Contrarian Matrix:

As falsifiability is an essential element of science (Karl Popper), many have disputed the scientific basis of climatic predictions on the grounds that they are not falsifiable or verifiable at present. This critique arises from the argument that we need to wait several decades before we may know how reliable the predictions will be. However, elements of falsifiability already exist, given that many of the climatic model outputs contain time series for past periods. In particular, the models of the IPCC Third Assessment Report have projected future climate starting from 1990; thus, there is an 18-year period for which comparison of model outputs and reality is possible.

https://www.itia.ntua.gr/en/docinfo/850/

I don’t think we can claim that Koutsoyiannis does not get what the modus tollens is, or that he does not consider the assumptions of the models. I rather think that a falsificationnist is oversensitive to the modus tollens, and that when he sees ~q, he infers that whatever predicted q is wrong.

This is a bad reflex. Not so much because it misapplies logic, but because it omits the fact that we don’t make predictions on some P (say a model) alone, but on the basis of our complete network of theories. Therefore, we seldom know with certainty what needs to be tweaked to take that new observation ~q into account.

And this is why in the end, holism wins.

PS: Sorry if there are still typos. I spent two hours on this, and I think this ought to be enough.

103. BBD says:

Well, Joshua, there isn’t much I can add to what Tom C wrote above, so I will simply repeat the key paragraph for emphasis:

4) Finally, my argument above is, IMO, a reality check. That you do not recognize it as such shows to me that you have a very narrow view of what constitutes evidence which significantly biases your opinions on this subject.

Publicly announcing that someone who disagrees with your opinion is probably full of shit across the board – as you did above – is self-destructive to a high degree.

104. Joshua says:

Tom – thanks for the response.

I don’t have time now to do what would be involved in an in-depth response….but quickly, I’m sure exactly how we got to where we are now, but it seems to me that not only are you misunderstanding my perspective (which is not that the media have no influence on public opinions) but also my understanding of your perspective (I don’t think that you think that a single exposure to a media report determines someone’s views on climate change).

BBD –

==> “someone who disagrees with your opinion is probably full of shit across the board ”

Not what I said.

105. BBD says:

Yes it is.

106. Okay, I haven’t been following this discussion all that closely, but I didn’t interpret Joshua’s point as being anyone who disagrees with him being full of shit. It was more to do with someone’s overall credibility being influenced more by the things they say that you understand, than by anything else.

I must admit that I’m also struggling to follow all the comments about logic. I’m kind pf impressed that people have such apparently intellectual discussions on this blog; I just wish I understood what they were saying 🙂

107. BBD says:

So here we have a thread where, IMO, you and Tom are persisting in, IMO, an obviously flawed argument. So the effect is that when I read your input into technical discussions, I have to consider that maybe your arguments are similarly founded on flaws that would be “obvious” were I smarter or if I had technical chops.

My reading comprehension is okay. Joshua has used this unpleasant little play against me before and I let it pass. I really shouldn’t have. It’s unacceptable.

108. BBD,
Okay, but it wasn’t the “full of shit” bit that I was disputing, it was the “disagrees with your opinion” bit. I think he’s arguing that if he knows something to be wrong, then it becomes more possible that the other person is simply “full of shit”. Anyway, I’ll leave you two to this, as I think you’re both more than capable of handling yourselves in this situation. Let’s keep it reasonably polite, if possible 🙂

109. Tom Curtis says:

Joshua, you wrote:

“Both sides will scapegoat the press for their woes, playing the victim card Both sides are absolutely convinced that the other side holds “the media” in their pocket. Yet what actually changes? Nothing much, IMO – because views on climate change are more a reflection of who people are than what they know or what they have heard reported in the press.”

I read that as saying that media influence is minimal, to the point of being undetectable, and that political identification is by far the most important factor in determining views on climate change. From my perspective, that is a grossly over simplified model in that absent the influence of media, the vast majority of people would have no idea what view on climate change, if any, corresponds to what political identification. Indeed, in the US, absent Fox news and a senator or two, and the debate would be not over whether climate change is happening, or is man made, but on what method of mitigation is best, with the Democrats lining up behind regulation and fee and per capita dividend, and the Republicans lining up behind no (or minimal regulation) and fee and dividend pro rata with tax paid (or some other minimum economic impact model of fee and dividend), or possibly behind cap and trade.

From my point of view, this does not say identity politics plays no role. The situation, however, is analogous to nature vs nurture debates where any non-overlapping percentage division of influence must be wrong. On that analogy, political identity (themselves social constructs, and hence significantly media constructs in a media dominated society) is analogous to “nature”, and media is one of the three or four most dominant aspects of the idea forming environment takes the role of “nurture”. (For what it is worth, peer group, and self identified authorities -by which I mean the person influenced identifies them as authorities on bases not typically related to actual expertise- are the other two of the three but I’m sure any decent social psychologist could flesh that out further. Note these groups are not necessarily exclusive. In Australia several of the most prominent self identified authorities are the previously mentioned radio shock jocks – notably John Laws, Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt – and hence are part of the media themselves.) The key point is that whatever the persons nature, it must express itself in the environment of ideas in which it develops, and hence is intrinsically shaped by that environment of ideas. Given that the political identies are themselves constructs of ideas, and hence shaped in the same way, it is not possible to conduct controlled experiments in which media influence can be eliminated for a control group. At best you can control for the influence of a very limited media events and detect (as a result) only the limited influence form individual events.

Of course, if this rough picture is wrong, political identies would be invariant across societies, and across overall media differences such as those between 1960s US and 1960s Soviet Union. On that level, the no influence model is known to be falsified, but controlling for media influence vs peer group or self identified authorities is pretty much impossible.

“I don’t think that you think that a single exposure to a media report determines someone’s views on climate change”

Then why did you present as a hypothetical counter example a pair of situations based on the influence, or lack of influence of a single encounter with contrary media? And why present as your “empirical evidence” an experiment whose design only looks the influence of a single encounter with media (leaving aside is non-representative sample). If we are agreed (along with Peka) that single media encounters (typically) have minimal influence, and an influence whose direction is a function not only of the media encounter but of previously developed political identities; why are you presenting as relevant evidence something of only peripheral relevance to the extent of media influence on beliefs.

110. Tom Curtis says:

BBD, much as I appreciate your agreement and support of my position, I (like Joshua) am inclined to be largely dismissive of the views of anybody who accepts a full fledged conspiracy theory. What is more, that tends to be referable in my view. If Chistopher Monckton is a conspiracy theorist (which he is on at least two counts) then not only do I dismiss his views, but also (to a lesser extent) those of people like Anthony Watts who, knowing he is a conspiracy theorist, continue to accept his views uncritically and give him a platform.

More germainly, I also am dismissive of the views of anybody whose beliefs imply that the beliefs of any well established academic discipline are not just wrong, but irrational. I don’t have to know the details of the latest variants of HIV denial or geocentrism to know that they are almost certainly a waste of time to analyze in detail (unless my specific purpose is to rebut them). It is that very intuition that my “sanity check” on media influence appeals to. The “no influence” thesis implies that the practice of advertizing is irrational, and the supposed expertise in that practice (whether based on practical experience, or the large body of academic work related to it) is sham expertise. Such views are not worth considering absent mountainous evidence in their favour (which will perculate through the relevant disciplines with consequent law suites long before I will notice it).

Now, it is possible that Joshua’s ideas are not so dismissive of media influence as his statements here (on various posts) have led you and I to believe. That remains to be seen. If true, my dismissal was ill aimed (although I would maintain his expression of his views was poorly nuanced, if that is the case.) But I cannot argue that sanity checks on beliefs are an appropriate form of practical reasoning while claiming that sanity checks on reasoning ability (such as Joshua says he is inclined to apply) are not reasonable. (I would argue the converse also applies, but that is not a major point.)

111. Willard says:

> The question is, absent the persistent exposure of “skeptical” view points in the media, would people with a right wing point of view be skeptical of scientific claims about global warming?

How is this the question? It sounds more like a way to reverse the burden of proof than a question. That the MSM reinforce belief persistence remains an assumption. I think this is a plausible assumption, but assuming it may beg the question Joshua is asking. How do we know that this assumption holds, beyond means-ends reasoning?

Perhaps Joshua could even accept this assumption, and still ask: how does this belief persistence (which I think Lackoff calls mind framing) lead to polarization? This is where it is legitimate to ask for a more “constructive proof”, of which I offered one above. (I’m just rolling along the logical theme here – it’s not really a proof.) Since Joshua missed it, I can offer another one, mitigating a bit the one already offered:

But there is perhaps an even more important type of selection at work. While the political can tune into Fox and MSNBC, those who dislike politics also have more options than ever for avoiding it. In lieu of the nightly news—or a televised presidential address—they can watch Sports Center, Entertainment Tonight, or a rerun of The Big Bang Theory. When confronted with a political option, they simply change the channel to something else that they find more agreeable . Even the most popular cable news programs get 2 to 3 million viewers on a typical evening in a country of 300 million Americans. In earlier decades, some of these individuals would have been incidentally exposed to political news and information (by, say, watching the television news at 6 o’clock, when there were no other options). Now that they can avoid news altogether, they know less about politics and are less likely to participate . So the growth of media choice strengthens the extremes while hollowing out the center, making the electorate more divided.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/02/03/are-fox-and-msnbc-polarizing-america/

This is a perfect case illustrating when identifying variables matters. If we posit (there is evidence on this, but I can’t find it right now) that the “extremes” have the most important impact when comes the time to count votes or to set out the frames being sold by the MSM, then there’s a perfectly sound model where both BBD and Joshua are correct (I may be oversimplifying, again my point is more about quantification than anything):

[BBD] Partisan framing by the MSM impacts voting.

[Joshua] Partisan framing has no impact on most of the electorate’s beliefs.

So, who gets polarized, and what is the expected impact of this polarization?

112. Willard says:

As a side note, I will observe that I’ve seldom seen a discussion about “sanity checks” work. The only time I’ve made this work is by asking my interlocutor to “give” me something, or else I balk out of the exchange. Notice: not “I will start taking you seriously and wonder about your motivations”. Simply: I will walk away.

Turning the exchange about the exchange itself can only be constructive if what is exchanged makes the ball going forward.

113. Michael 2 says:

Willard wrote many interesting things summarized as:
“[BBD] Partisan framing by the MSM impacts voting. [Joshua] Partisan framing has no impact on most of the electorate’s beliefs. So, who gets polarized, and what are the expected impact of this polarization?”

I agree with the citation that the center has been hollowed out (ignore politics mostly), and the extremes have become echo chambers ever more extreme; actually I think a bit unpredictable as each group will end up being led by its resident narcissist who requires ever stronger assurance of his or her superiority and less challenge.

The center will tend to ignore politics *unless* or until something “awakens the sleeping giant” to borrow a phrase preceding World War 2.

President Bush (The Second) was re-elected in large part because the Democrats pushed an issue that awakened the sleeping giant and this sleeping giant is somewhat right-wing in nature but more properly just libertarian (or lazy), the “leave me alone” type that it seems everyone ignores, or when not ignoring, gets it totally wrong, as shown by the Democrats.

114. What MSM writes affects public opinion, but at the same time public opinion affects what MSM writes. Drawing conclusions from simultaneous changes in both does not tell, what’s the strength of the causal influence in each direction. In addition there are changes external to both, and those changes may affect both public opinion and MSM in complex ways.

Knowing almost nothing about Australian developments I dare to speculate that both MSM and public opinion were also strongly affected by political developments, and in this case possibly in the direction opposite to the changes in government policies. If that’s the case it indicates that the government failed in presenting well the justification for its policy choices.

115. Tom Curtis says:

Willard, if you consider it a reversal of the burden of proof, how would you phrase the question of media influence without (apparently) making reference to relative proportion of media content and relative proportion of particular political views?

116. Willard says:

> how would you phrase the question of media influence without (apparently) making reference to relative proportion of media content and relative proportion of particular political views?

I would ask questions about the relative proportions of media content and political views, insofar as it would help pinpoint who we are talking about, about what, and how the two are related.

Then if I would be inclined to look for a cognitive explanation, I’d posit something like Kahan does. But I won’t, at least to remain within character. Remember that I’m supposed to impersonate a behaviorist 😉 I could cheat and call some cognitions distal behavior, but I won’t channel Davidson.

117. Tom Curtis says:

Are you supposed to impersonate a behaviorist (and odd type of being with internal mental states that infers that there are no such thing as internal mental states) or to impersonate a behaviorists conception of human behavior (which can only be accomplished by completely lacking qualia, ie, by being thoughtless)?

118. Willard says:
119. BBD says:

Tom Curtis

BBD, much as I appreciate your agreement and support of my position, I (like Joshua) am inclined to be largely dismissive of the views of anybody who accepts a full fledged conspiracy theory.

If you mean my suggestion that pervasive [right wing] media bias is capable of influencing the electorate, does this require a conspiracy? I would argue that it does not. There is sufficient common interest and commonality of ideology between the right wing media and certain vested interests for media bias to exist without a fully-fledged or even a hatchling conspiracy.

If I’ve misunderstood what you were getting at, sorry.

120. I want to address this first:

Willard wrote:

“I rather think that a falsificationnist is oversensitive to the modus tollens, and that when he sees ~q, he infers that whatever predicted q is wrong.
This is a bad reflex. Not so much because it misapplies logic, but because it omits the fact that we don’t make predictions on some P (say a model) alone, but on the basis of our complete network of theories. Therefore, we seldom know with certainty what needs to be tweaked to take that new observation ~q into account. And this is why in the end, holism wins.”

First, p could represent that whole network of theories. Even so, one could define “cause” such that even if we say that p -> q and ~q gives us ~p, the condition ~p is not necessarily something to be alarmed about, since what needs to be tweaked to take that new observation ~q into account could be so small that it could fixed by something like a single sign change. And we could define “cause” to allow for (even uncountably?) infinitely many truth values or degrees of truth and thus (even uncountably?) infinitely many degrees of falsity and thus falsification:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncountable_set
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuzzy_logic
Hey, why not?! It makes sense to me, given that the mathematics of science is becoming increasingly based on increasingly powerful probability theories (and fuzzy theories) and statistics. But as much as I can tell, I’m not against holism as you describe it, since mathematical science is becoming increasingly probabilistic and statistical. But regardless, it doesn’t seem to me that what I wrote is inconsistent with what you wrote. Except for what I just wrote further above for the sake of argument as to what p denotes, it seems that you and I are letting p denote different things. I was denoting p and q as follows: I wrote that the assumptions comprise that set of conditions that functions as the antecedent p (and gets fed into the model), and that what is predicted or projected is that set of conditions that functions as the consequent q. It seems to me that you are denoting something else with p. We’re not addressing the same thing with p -> q.

I wrote on October 18, 2014 at 4:40 am:

> They constantly argue that if scientific prediction or projection q turns out to not hold, that instead ~q holds, then that right by itself with no consideration of assumptions falsifies the model.

Willard said October 18, 2014 at 9:13 am:

“I’d like to have an example of that, for I’m not sure what you intend to say by that, K&A. This does not correspond to my own experience, as far as I can understand what you mean here. Since this is the accusation that justifies all this logical excursus, I think this is important to clarify it.”

Consider the exchange earlier in this thread between Michael 2 and others. Where’s the discussion on the assumptions, on the inputs to the formulas, and so on, as to whether different assumptions resulting in different inputs could or would have resulted in different outputs such that the “failed predictions” could or would have instead been otherwise? The only thing discussed was “failed predictions”. I had to respond.

Here’s more via a comment by BBD on October 17, 2014 at 11:20 am, which gives another tip of the very large denier iceberg of assumption avoidance:
——————
Touching on assumptions – when ‘sceptics’ claim that the models have been ‘falsified’ by GAT since ~2000, they ignore key assumptions input into the models (volcanic/anthropogenic aerosols; solar; ENSO). When these inputs were updated to bring them into line with actual forcing change since 2000, the models came into much better agreement with observations. Most of the factors that changed were unpredictable, eg eruptions, ENSO and the profound solar minimum of SC24.
Ref: Schmidt et al. (2014) Reconciling warming trends
——————-

This is a prime example of what I’m addressing. The mainstream climate science deniers are tacitly claiming that assumptions don’t matter – when assumptions always matter, and this includes the fact that false assumptions do not falsify models. Garbage in, garbage out (even if relatively speaking) does not mean the formulas taking in the garbage are wrong.

In my view, this sort of thing is par for the course for the deniers of mainstream climate science. They’re like used car salespeople trying to sell lemons by not addressing the whole story about the cars they’re trying to sell – they very well know that one would probably be less likely to buy if one were to know the whole truth about what they’re trying to sell. Don’t get the analogy? I claim that they know very well that the more the discussion is on that which it should mainly be when confronted with less accurate predictions or projections (which would be what I addressed above with respect to the inputs and the assumptions behind them), the more likely it is that prospective buyers of the denial they’re trying to sell would realize that the model could or would have yielded more accurate predictions or projections has it been fed more accurate information from more accurate assumptions – and the deniers don’t want the prospective converts to think about this.

“I don’t think we can claim that Koutsoyiannis…does not consider the assumptions of the models.”

I looked through the paper and I did not see even one mention of assumptions or inputs with respect to whether different inputs could or would have yielded more or less accurate results. The entire presentation seems to focus only on outputs (the term “outputs” is explicitly used in the paper). It seems that they are trying to do a falsification test of the models without considering whether different assumptions and thus different inputs could or would have made a difference.

121. Joseph says:

I agree with Willard that both factors (ideological predisposition and the media) are important. But the problem I have with Joshua argument is that misinformation spread by the “skeptics” in the media is important to the debate regarding the policy implications. Debates can’t without arguments. You should also consider that the debate in the public will be important in deciding if we do anything to mitigate and or adapt to climate change. The meme that the pause discredits AGW is now so common that it regularly appears in the MSM media in various forms. The average individual wouldn’t know about this meme without the media. The right wing media here tries to uses these simple memes to win the debate politically and in legislature and influence people politically. To say that information won’t influence the public would mean the politicians are wasting their money on political advertising because people are already ideologically predisposed to vote one candidate or the other. I don’t we should just ignore the misinformation being spread by the media, if we want to actually muster the political will to do something about climate change.

122. Joseph makes a point that I had been thinking of myself. I had wondered about simply ignoring much of what is said in the “skeptical” blogosphere as it is clearly wrong and rather nonsensical. The problem is, it doesn’t stay there. We see Telegraph articles that parrot what’s written on Steven Goddard’s blog, for example. We see statements about the “pause” all over the place. So, it does seem that one can’t simply ignore this misinformation, because it actually makes it out into the general media.

123. BBD says:

But everybody ignores it, ATTP!

🙂

124. Hey, why not?! It makes sense to me, given that the mathematics of science is becoming increasingly based on increasingly powerful probability theories (and fuzzy theories) and statistics.

Sure, it makes sense to you, since you totally ignore other aspects of science called observation and experimentation. Not to mention the use of science in the engineering of devices and machines that work, repeatedly and reliably, with known failure and maintenance schedules.

And then on top of that, the observation that these devices improve and evolve using science. But not matter, you continue to live in your cozy little world where your understanding is exempt. Pardon me if I do not read your long rants here and just merely excerpt the relevant falsehoods.

125. BBD,
You mean me or the MSM 🙂

126. Tom Curtis says:

BBD, I was not in anyway suggesting that you were a conspiracy theorist. I did explicitly state that Monckton was, and suggested that while the fact that he was a conspiracy theorist was not a rebuttal of any of his views, it is sufficient reason to ignore all of his views. If Joshua wishes to ignore all of my views based on a similar sanity check, he is welcome to do so (though IMO that would make his position incoherent in that we would be using a sanity check to determine that my views were not worthy of attention because I use sanity checks).

127. Willard says:

> The mainstream climate science deniers are tacitly claiming that assumptions don’t matter – when assumptions always matter […]

Citation needed, K&A.

The falsifiability argument has this general form: whatever assumptions there are, they are shoveled in the left-hand side of the prediction (P -> Q); as soon as ~Q obtains, you can infer ~P. P is falsified: basic modus tollens. There is no logical mishap there because of a missing assumption, if the P side amounts to be the antecedent of an implication and one accepts, like I think you just did, to shove under P just about every scientific laws in existence.

Now think about what this implies: the falsifiability argument, when conceived at the level of the propositional calculus, has the power to overthrow ALL THE SCIENCES with one falsifying observation.

The only way out is to open that P and to pick what should be ditched. If all you have are propositions, then you must ditch at least one proposition, show that everything else is valid. If you have quantifiers and propositional variables, then you have more leeway, but you still must ditch something. The problem is to choose what to throw away. In the case of “White swans are white”, you have to decide if you revise what is a swan, what is whiteness.

If you have quantifers, you can revise its the scope, e.g. you exclude Australia. (Take that Tom C!). You can even decide to revise how you conceptualize what means to be the value of a bounded variable. Even the logical laws are arguably up for grabs, at least in principle.

In the end, holism wins.

***

I’ll address the logical points later. The mansplaining has to stop.

128. BBD says:

K&A

Garbage in, garbage out (even if relatively speaking) does not mean the formulas taking in the garbage are wrong.

I read you as directly referring to the errors in model forcings that caused the CMIP5 mult-model mean to diverge from observations since ~2000. If we are both talking about the same thing, I believe we can go one step further.

Since correcting the forcing inputs brings the models into much better agreement with observations, we can argue that the models have to an extent been validated. Bearing in mind that model sensitivity is an emergent property not a parameterised one, an improved agreement with observations when forcing inputs are corrected indicates that the models are capturing the physics quite well.

129. BBD says:

Sorry Tom (BAU). Thanks for the clarification.

130. BBD says:

Thomas LE

You know me. No time for bad faith. But K&A is definitely here in good faith, so IMO you are going in rather too hard there. Just leave the logicians to it. Have a beer. It is advice I shall follow myself, right now.

131. Yes, K&A is definitely here in good faith. I’m also planning to leave the logicians to it – although I do plan to reread the comments to see if I can actually begin to understand them 🙂

132. BBD says:

M2

President Bush (The Second) was re-elected in large part because the Democrats pushed an issue that awakened the sleeping giant and this sleeping giant is somewhat right-wing in nature but more properly just libertarian (or lazy), the “leave me alone” type that it seems everyone ignores

This kind of “leave me alone”?

😉

133. Since correcting the forcing inputs brings the models into much better agreement with observations, we can argue that the models have to an extent been validated.

That is perhaps true as long as we can be sure that the inputs have really been corrected rather than adjusted to get the wished for result. Proving that that’s really the case is difficult, because it’s not sufficient to show that some of the changes are justified, but what’s needed is evidence that all equally justified changes are made, also those that move the result in the wrong direction. Corrections made after the deviation is observed are generally considered suspect for this reason.

134. BBD says:

ATTP

I’m also planning to leave the logicians to it

Like Kilkenny cats, so they are. And the language: ‘mansplaining’! Here on a family physics blog while it’s daylight somewhere in the world.

135. BBD says:

Pekka

That is perhaps true as long as we can be sure that the inputs have really been corrected rather than adjusted to get the wished for result.

Of course this is a valid point. Your reading of Schmidt et al. (2014) will enable you to determine if you think its conclusions are over-stated.

136. Steve Bloom says:

Joshua, I wanted to see the list of true/alsef questions Kahan used in that paper, but it doesn’t seem to turn up easily in citation 26. Pointer? TIA.

TBC, what I’m especially interested in is the extent to which the questions test adequately for the striking stocks-and-flows cognitive shortfall Sterman identified in a population of MIT grad students.

I also have my doubts about Kahan’s use of a pre-selected population of survey-takers. Are such people more likely to have a D-K problem?

More broadly, as clearly it is possible for people to change their views, I think that on the whole it’s more useful to focus on the circumstances under which that happens. Has Kahan done that?

137. Willard says:

I can substitute for “patronizing” if you prefer, BBD, e.g.:

This [using a conjunct to represent “All swans are white”] contradicts every textbook I’ve ever seen that covers first order predicate logic as to how to symbolize universal and existential statements.

Since K&A accepts that implication can be rewritten as a conjunction, and that he offered the usual interpretation of “All swans are white” as an implication [1], I’ll let him find in his textbooks the contradiction he claims.

138. BBD,

I cannot judge, whether Schmidt et al have taken all potential factors correctly into account. That’s probably difficult even for them, as there’s no way that they can get rid of the knowledge of the correction that they are looking for or from knowing the direction of the effects various changes would make.

I have seen very good discussion of this kind of problems in literature on technical analysis that many investors use in making investment decisions. People have done really a lot of thinking and written many scientific papers on studies that try to find out, whether technical analysis has real merit. Testing is usually done using historical data, because new data accrues too slowly. They have found out that reaching firm conclusions is made extremely difficult by the fact that some features of the history are known to every analyst. Reading through all the ways having this kind of knowledge may lead to spurious conclusions is very revealing. Mush of that is discussed in the book Aronson: Evidence-based Technical Analysis, but scientific literature goes deeper in these issues.

139. BBD says:

Willard

Leave me out of this 😉

140. BBD says:

Pekka

I agree that one should be cautious, but I would prefer to see work like Schmidt14 done than not done. I would also expect it to be challenged if there were serious questions over the assumptions it makes. But I would agree that it is a plank in the bridge, not the bridge itself.

I have to add that were I in Gavin Schmidt’s shoes, I might bridle a bit at the suggestion that I was

adjust[ing] to get the wished for result.

141. BBD,
I didn’t mean that it was wrong to write the paper.

I just took advantage from the way you formulated your comment to make this point.

At the minimum an analysis like they did tells that there’s less justification for concluding strongly that the models are biased. It may do that by widening the uncertainty range even, it the idea is rejected that a better agreement has been achieved. The paper tells probably more than that minimum, but on that opinions may vary.

142. Adjusting may be unintentional. The additional comments that I made should indicate that I had in mind unintentional biases in the work. The work on technical analysis that I referred to discusses solely unintentional biases.

143. BBD says:

Pekka

My feeling is that you’d have to show something substantive before you can air these concerns.

144. terryc says:

“Of course, some would argue that it’s only possible if we do it in a particular way, as every other way is simply too inefficient or will never work. If so, then this is fundamentally an ideological argument.”
Please explain why this argument has to be idealogical, and not of technical or economic possibility.
Tom Carter – Skinner believed that consciousness was an epiphenomenon, not that mental states don’t exist.

145. Tom Curtis says:

Willard:

“Now think about what this implies: the falsifiability argument, when conceived at the level of the propositional calculus, has the power to overthrow ALL THE SCIENCES with one falsifying observation.”

Taking “->” to be material implication, “&” to be conjunction, “v” to be non-exclusive disjunction, “~” to be negation, “=>” to be “entails that”, and “” to be logical equivalence; we then have that
(p & q & r & s & t) -> u,
~u
=> ~(p & q & r & s & t) ~p v ~q v ~r v ~s v ~t
which is satisfied if even one of the disjuncts is false.

The “power to overthrow all of science” or even a single scientific theory, therefore does not lie within a single experiment.

You, of course, know that. You indicate that knowledge by going on to say that we can open “P”, although it would create less confusion to be open about that from the start.

“If you have quantifers, you can revise its the scope, e.g. you exclude Australia.

This misconceives the role of quantifiers in logic. We are already able to “revise scope” at the propositional level by, for example, letting p = “Swans native to Eurasia are white”, and q = “Swans native to the Americas are white” and so on for three continents not covered. (These, of course, contain implicit quantifiers, but so does your implicit sample proposition so I will pass on that for the nonce.) Then we can show ~p v ~q v ~r v ~s v ~t is satisfied by showing that ~s (“Swan’s native to Australia are black”) is false.

What quantification does is allow us to massively abbreviate communication. Instead of laying out of p through to t, we need only write (x)(y)(Nxy & Cx & Sy) -> W(y), where Nxy is “y is native to x”, Cx is “x is a continent”, Sy is “y is a swan”, and Wy is “y is white”, which given reasonable assumptions about extraterrestrial life is equivalent to “all swan’s are white”. Applying modus tollens on discovering a black swan, we then have:
((Ex)(y)(Nxy & Cx & Sy) -> ~W(y)) v ((x)(Ey)(Nxy & Cx & Sy) -> ~W(y)) v ((Ex)(Ey)(Nxy & Cx & Sy) -> ~W(y)) v ((Ex)(y)(Nxy & Cx & Sy) -> ~W(y)) , ie, either there exists at least one continent on which all native swans are not white, or that on all continents there is at leas one native non-white swan, or there exists at least one continent with at least one native non-white swan.

The abbreviation (from five to three) propositions (if I have got my negations right) may not be evident here, but that is only because we are using implicit quantification in our original propositions. If use truly quantification free propositions, we must individually name all members of a class, and then state the proposition for each member of the class separately. Thus for swans, we could name the (evolutionarily impossible) first swan 1, then their first descendent1.1, their second descendant 1.2, their first grandchild by their first descendant as 1.1.1, and so on, and state “1 is white” & “1.1 is white” and so on till we lose patience and reinvent quantification. Again, if we do not loose patience it is evident that we can already “reduce scope” by stating of an Australian swan and all its descendants that it was not white.

Obviously, from this example, logic without quantification is impractical. However, introducing quantification has no impact on the use or meaning of modus tollens beyond convenience.

Turning on to a side point, the classic philosophers example of “All swan’s are white” and the equally classic and now more popular example, “All crows are black” is also false and shown to be false by our close neighbours, the Indonesians with their native species, the brown headed crow, or the African pied crow:

What is a logician to do?

146. Willard says:

I’ve closed your first quote, Tom. It’s late here, so I’ll simply agree with this for the moment:

> Obviously, from this example, logic without quantification is impractical. However, introducing quantification has no impact on the use or meaning of modus tollens beyond convenience.

Since it’s a basic rule of inference in propositional logic, the modus tollens can certainly be used without quantifying over anything. Adding predicates does not change the rule itself. But how are you going to state natural laws? Since the models are supposed to implement these laws, why not have them on the table, with predicates that could serve in the analysis?

As a way to express a metalogical framework, presenting predictions as a conditional proposition may be alright. But I think we should make clear, then, that all the empirical assumptions are underneath the antecedent, which may extend to ALL THE SCIENTIFIC THEORIES, at least if you buy holism like me. The only assumptions that are not in that antecedent belong to the metalogic you are using to represent your scientific inference. If your models need logical modules, they too should be integrated in the antecedents.

So if we take P => Q as representing a prediction, the only assumption that matters from the falsificationist framework, which is basically a glorification of the modus tollens, is in the P itself. Now, what is P in the falsificationist argument? The models. If our models are predictive, then Q should obtain. When contrarians challenge models by observing that ~Q, they challenge the main assumption that needs to be challenged. This is why I think K&A’s argument, according to which P is discharged from the contrarians’ claim, doesn’t work. In the model war, we all assume that there are models.

Now, there’s a part of K&A’s argument that can be reconciled with what I am saying. To negate P ain’t enough: we need to look under P’s hood to see what we’d need to revise. And this is where the falsificationist gets screwed. There are no experiment crucis: we are free to choose whatever we need to minimize the impact of the falsifier. On the other hand, this means the falsifier itself tells us very little. So we’re stuck with models we know are wrong, with a torrent of runs and very fuzzy statements to serve as testbeds.

But there’s another kind of claim that Koutsoyannis makes, for instance in one of his presentations. It’s the fact that models have no predictive skills. Whatever climate model one can come with, someone who bought the chaos playbook will deny that climate models will ever be able to make reliable predictions. This is another kind of claim: it rejects that (P => Q).

But interestingly, the argument becomes inductive: models m, n, o, p, …, q so far failed; how many will it take until we realize that they have no skill? This argument amounts to claim [S => (P => Q); ~(P => Q) |= ~S], where S is something like “Models have skills”. How does it proceeds to build this argument? This is where quantification comes handy. But since we’re abstracting this level of analysis, there’s little left to be analyzed.

OK. I need to close the comp. Hope I have not blundered anything.

PS: I did. I’ve edited the argument against skill, and turned it in a modus tollens.

147. Michael 2 says:

“The only way out is to open that P and to pick what should be ditched.”

Welcome to the hard part. I have very much enjoyed and learned (again) many aspects of logic.

148. Michael 2 says:

Joseph says “To say that information won’t influence the public would mean the politicians are wasting their money on political advertising because people are already ideologically predisposed to vote one candidate or the other”

Yes, many politicians DO waste their money! How far did Mitt Romney get? Not far enough.

The purpose of money is to bring to people’s attention that “Hey, I *am* the person that you are ideologically predisposed to vote for!”

What I think is not known, and possibly not knowable, is how many people can be influenced to change, or are not straight-ticket voters. My own experience is that very few people will change substantially on anything. More than zero, but not by a lot.

149. Michael 2 says:

Willard wrote “In my view, this sort of thing is par for the course for the deniers of mainstream climate science. They’re like used car salespeople trying to sell lemons by not addressing the whole story about the cars they’re trying to sell”

This seems to me to be nearly the same sentence I could write about the AGW alarmists. “Not addressing the whole story.”

So what part of the story is not often told? (Ottmar Edenhofer: co-chair of the IPCC’s Working Group III, and a lead author of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report) “We redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy” … “Basically it’s a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization. The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War.”

http://www.nzz.ch/aktuell/startseite/klimapolitik-verteilt-das-weltvermoegen-neu-1.8373227

So while some serious actions probably need to be taken (certainly with regard to energy supplies), it does seem the used car salesmen are not telling all.

150. terryrc,

Please explain why this argument has to be idealogical, and not of technical or economic possibility.

Because it appears to be an argument about how we get the economy to develop and deploy this technology. Free-market versus public sector, for example. If it was simply technical, then it shouldn’t matter about the manner in which it’s incentivised.

151. Willard said on October 18, 2014 at 6:38 pm, in reply to what I wrote on October 18, 2014 at 5:58 pm,

> The mainstream climate science deniers are tacitly claiming that assumptions don’t matter – when assumptions always matter […]

“Citation needed, K&A.”

In my last post, I gave two examples, and this includes the paper by Koutsoyiannis. See again what I said about what they said. Note my use of the term “tacit”. Again: Every time someone argues against the formulas used in climate science via the claim that the formula outputs are not as accurate as “they should be”, see whether in that discussion there is any discussion of the fact that different inputs to the formulas could or would have yielded more accurate results. This latter discussion is one that deniers of climate science have always or almost always avoided, for obvious reasons, these obvious reasons I amplified in the last couple of posts. Challenge: Out of all the very, very many relevant articles all over the world during the last few years, give me a list of just 10 articles by those who reject the formulas of mainstream climate science because their outputs are not as accurate as these rejecters say should be the case (do they ever say what level of accuracy would satisfy them?) such that these rejecters *fully and honestly* explored in their writings the fact that different inputs to the formulas could or would have yielded more accurate results, and if these articles are replies, such that they were *not* dragged into said discussion on said fact by defenders of the science being rejected.

BBD said on October 18, 2014 at 6:39 pm, in reply to what I wrote on October 18, 2014 at 5:58 pm,

> Garbage in, garbage out (even if relatively speaking) does not mean the formulas taking in the garbage are wrong.

“I read you as directly referring to the errors in model forcings that caused the CMIP5 mult-model mean to diverge from observations since ~2000. If we are both talking about the same thing, I believe we can go one step further.

Since correcting the forcing inputs brings the models into much better agreement with observations, we can argue that the models have to an extent been validated. Bearing in mind that model sensitivity is an emergent property not a parameterised one, an improved agreement with observations when forcing inputs are corrected indicates that the models are capturing the physics quite well.”

Yes, this is another tip of that very large denier iceberg of assumption avoidance.

Michael 2 said on October 19, 2014 at 5:24 am, in reply to what I said on October 18, 2014 at 5:58 pm:

> Willard wrote: In my view, this sort of thing is par for the course for the deniers of mainstream climate science. They’re like used car salespeople trying to sell lemons by not addressing the whole story about the cars they’re trying to sell.

“This seems to me to be nearly the same sentence I could write about the AGW alarmists. Not addressing the whole story…So what part of the story is not often told?…”We redistribute de facto the world’s wealth…””

I wrote that, not Willard. And the above reply is yet another example of avoiding the story in question. The story in question that the salespeople I was clearly speaking of do not want told – the story that those who reject mainstream climate science do not want told – is the fact that different inputs to the formulas could or would have yielded more accurate results, and that continuing improvements to the assumptions and information fed into these models are in fact yielding more and more accurate results. The reason those who want this fact swept under the rug is obvious: The more public learns about this, more difficult it becomes to sell to the public the false idea that the models are wrong, have been falsified, that climate science is not to be trusted, and so on.

See BBD’s post further above on October 18, 2014 at 6:39 pm, where we have an example of the models becoming more accurate because the assumptions and information fed into them are getting more accurate.

152. Thomas Lee Elifritz said on October 18, 2014 at 6:25 pm, in reply to what I wrote on October 18, 2014 at 5:58 pm:

> Hey, why not?! It makes sense to me, given that the mathematics of science is becoming increasingly based on increasingly powerful probability theories (and fuzzy theories) and statistics.

“Sure, it makes sense to you, since you totally ignore…”

You seem to not understand what I meant by my “fuzzy” reference. I was addressing the possibilities of philosophers creating systems having even uncountably infinitely many truth values or degrees of truth – and therefore of falsity and thus falsification – via the application of fuzzy logic and set theory, which are relatively new and very serious areas of mathematics that already are finding much application in science and engineering, many times along with or even as better alternatives in some applications to probability and other areas of classical mathematic. I gave some links for those not familiar but interested. Check them out. I also gave links for those not familiar with the difference between countable and uncountable infinites. Note: In this mathematics, each one of the uncountably infinitely many real numbers from 0 to 1 functions as a truth value, or as a degree of truth if one wishes to view it that way. But applications usually limit themselves to the countably infinitely many rational numbers – this is similar to probability, where probabilities are values from 0 to 1. (Again, see the links.)

Willard said on October 18, 2014 at 6:38 pm, in reply to what I wrote on October 18, 2014 at 5:58 pm,

“…the falsifiability argument, when conceived at the level of the propositional calculus, has the power to overthrow ALL THE SCIENCES with one falsifying observation.”

Given that P is in the form of a conjunction, it implies the overthrow of “all” as you say *only if* one chooses to accept the definition of a negated conjunction that you choose to use. I choose to not accept that definition you use. Why? Simple. It’s wrong. It’s a misuse of the universal quantifier. Tom Curtis beat me to it in his October 19, 2014 at 12:11 reply to your above, on which I expand here: The negation of the conjunction of n conjuncts for any n does not imply that *all* the conjuncts are negated. It implies that *some* – which means *at least one* – of the conjuncts is negated, nothing more.

Important Note: Those who think that they’ve falsified climate science via such a use of modus tollens commit the same misuse of the universal quantifier.

Note that the proper use of the universal quantifier is such that the quantified proposition holds for each and every element of the set of elements quantified. Negating the universal transforms it into an existential. For those who’d like to see the above expanded to the conjunction of n conditions and the disjunction of n negated conditions, use the information at links like this
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_quantification#Negation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existential_quantification#Negation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Morgan's_laws
that show how to negate universal and existential statements as well as conjunctions and disjunctions. (It should be easy to see how the latter two negations expands to n terms.)

I recommend that everyone read that post on October 19, 2014 at 12:11 by Tom Curtis. (Note: What seems to have happened to him in this post is what happened to me in my October 18, 2014 at 4:40 am post, which is that the symbol for tautological equivalence – I used the symbol “” for it – got erased somehow in the process of saving in ascii text and posting on line. Hopefully, the reader should be able to use this information to see where these symbols are missing in some of the symbolism and fill in the blanks.)

(As for that m-word: Yes, I know the term. But regardless, the educator in me recognizes that I’m not discussing things in a private room with one person. Many in the general readership out there now or in the future that come across what I write might not be familiar with what I write about. And since by the numbers they are by far the main audience, I choose to provide introductory explanations or links along the way so that the reader who is not as familiar with these things can investigate them at her/his convenience. By the way, want evidence that some people might be helped by this style? ATTP has indicated twice now a lack of familiarity with some of the material, and has indicated an intention to perhaps at his convenience explore some of it. Hopefully, some of the introductory explanations or links might help if and when he chooses to explore some of these things.)

Willard said on October 18, 2014 at 7:10 pm, in reply to my last few posts:

“Since K&A accepts that implication can be rewritten as a conjunction, and that he offered the usual interpretation of All swans are white as an implication [1], Ill let him find in his textbooks the contradiction he claims.”

I did not accept that. Perhaps you are thinking of your October 17, 2014 at 1:32 pm post in which you said (later was a typo) that conjunction represents a universal statement, and in which you twice talked about the causal relation as a conjunction? I never said any of this.

Willard said on October 19, 2014 at 3:13 am:

“This is why I think K&A’s argument, according to which P is discharged from the contrarians, doesn’t work. ”

This is not my argument because I do not let p represent such. In my post on October 18, 2014 at 5:58 pm, I said that you and I are letting p represent different things.

153. Michael 2 says:

K&A wrote: “Important Note: Those who think that they’ve falsified climate science via such a use of modus tollens commit the same misuse of the universal quantifier.”

True, but I do not know anyone that denies the entire spectrum and neither do you. Instead, it is sufficient for the prediction to fail to suggest that the science is NOT settled, that at least one of the inputs (of many) is wrong.

So, find the wrong input, find the wrong process, fix it and try again. It isn’t settled. The denial (in my opinion anyway) pertains to the “settled” part of claims made primarily by politicians and the challenge is aimed at those same politicians (and perhaps a few politically active scientists and I use the word with some reservation).

154. Michael 2 says:

terryc asks “Please explain why this argument has to be idealogical, and not of technical or economic possibility.”

ATTP wrote it pretty well but it is almost a tautology — it is ideologues that are making the arguments in the first place therefore it is ideological. The fact of greenhouse gas has been known for more than 100 years, but not known to very many people and in those days considered a giver of life (one of several, without which the Earth would be too cold and without plants).

155. Michael 2 says:

BBD wrote “If you mean my suggestion that pervasive [right wing] media bias is capable of influencing the electorate, does this require a conspiracy? I would argue that it does not.”

Agreed. William F. Buckley once spoke on the left-wing media bias; he was asked about a conspiracy. He said there was no conspiracy per se, merely that it resembled one since most journalists go to the same schools, study the same materials and generally think the same way.

An inherent left-wing bias exists simply because journalism is about other people’s business. Those that mind their own business do not become journalists.

I laugh when I read someone writing about a pervasive right wing media bias.

156. Michael 2 says:

Willard wrote “When ‘opportunity to eventually become citizens is used’ in the place of ‘amnesty’ net opposition to legalization virtually disappears. Although the terms reference the same policy…”

Not to me they don’t refer to the same policy. One is instant gratification, no work needed.

157. Joseph says:

“Hey, I *am* the person that you are ideologically predisposed to vote for!”

A Republican who was ideologically motivated could, when he get’s in the booth, go down the list and vote for the all candidates R’s by their name without even knowing anything about the individual candidates. Some people do vote on other factors beside ideology. Some people will vote for the Democrat in one race and the Republican in another. You also have have districts that swing from one party to the other demonstrating that people can change their mind about particular candidates or parties.

158. Joseph says:

btw Michael, Mitt wasted his money on advertising because he was a lousy candidate ;-).

159. BBD says:

M2

I laugh when I read someone writing about a pervasive right wing media bias.

And I laugh when anyone denies that there is a pervasive bias in the right-wing media’s coverage of climate science.

Denying matters of fact is counter-productive.

* * *

it is sufficient for the prediction to fail to suggest that the science is NOT settled, that at least one of the inputs (of many) is wrong.

We’re into strawman territory here. Scientists don’t argue that ‘the science is settled’ in any stronger sense than this:

– CO2 is an efficacious climate forcing

– we are responsible for an exceptionally large and rapid release of carbon from geological sinks

– It’s very likely that if this process continues the planet will warm more rapidly than Holocene-adapted ecosystems and human agriculture can adapt

– It will not be pretty

Nit-picking cannot make any of this go away.

The denial (in my opinion anyway) pertains to the “settled” part of claims made primarily by politicians

See above.

160. > This is not my argument because I do not let p represent such.

Whatever P is, if we accept the propositional calculus (PC) and assume (P => Q), P is false as soon as Q is falsified. This is basic modus ponens. In particular, the falsifiability argument works for this interpretation:

[S]cientific theories or models – including those of climate science – do not make outright predictions q: These models only say p -> q, which is that if a certain set of assumptions turn out to hold, then a certain set of conclusions should also turn out to hold.

https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/environmental-bullies/#comment-34641

According to this interpretation, P is “a certain set of assumptions” and Q is a “certain set of conclusions”. Let “A certain set of assumptions” implies “A certain set of conclusions”; whenever “A certain set of conclusions” is false, by modus tollens “A certain set of assumptions” is false too. This conclusion holds for any scientific prediction whatsoever, as soon as we accept that propositional calculus (or any logic that accepts it) represents faithfully our scientific predictions.

To preserve P => Q, one could try to revise P, Q, that ~Q obtained, logic itself, or a bit of everything. To claim that the antecedent is ignored when the argument basically targets the antecedent won’t work. To pretend that P “did not really happened” (as with the car example) won’t work either, unless one is willing to argue that the model outputs were the result of a malfunction.

And even then, the argument is still valid: whatever that P is, it is falsified as soon as we uphold that P implies Q, Q is false, and PC holds.

***

Now, I’ll work my way up in the comments.

161. > Suppose one puts forth a claim that it is a physical law that the presence of oxygen implies the presence of fire (“oxygen -> fire” – that is, p -> q).

It’s usually the other way around:

Fire is a chemical reaction involving oxygen. Thus it cannot happen that there is fire without oxygen. Hence the implication “Fire implies the presence of oxygen” is a true statement.

162. > Other ways to obtain p & ~q or ~(p -> q) include what you say above, a use of modus tollens, as well as a derivation of both p and ~q from some set of assumptions or facts.

https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/environmental-bullies/#comment-34673

To obtain ~(p -> q) by modus tollens, we’d need (p -> q) as an antecedent of another implication, say (p -> q) -> r, and then have ~r. By assuming ~q and using modus tollens on (p -> q), we get ~p. We also get p V ~q, which rewrites (p -> q) by material implication.

The form (p V ~q) is useful to show a common ClimateBall ™ quandary. Let q be our conclusions from model outputs, p our assumptions, and ~q our recalcitrant observations. We have to choose between revising our assumptions or our observations (we could do both too) if we’re to maintain (p -> q).

That we should always revise our assumptions is far from obvious, considering the nature of our observations and the predictivity that (p -> q) assumes.

163. > To obtain ~(p -> q) by modus tollens, we’d need (p -> q) as an antecedent of another implication, say (p -> q) -> r, and then have ~r.

The “we’d need” is too strong: it’s more a “could” than a “must”.

If by “modus tollens”, we mean transposition or contraposition, we could also get ~(p -> q) from ~(~q -> ~p).

164. > I like to use the single lined implication and equivalence symbols “->” and “”, respectively, when denoting a truth functional implication or equivalence that is not tautological, meaning not necessarily true in all its substitution instances [the main column in the truth table is not necessarily all T’s], and I like to use the double lined implication and equivalence symbols “=>” and “”, respectively, when denoting a truth functional implication or equivalence that is tautological, meaning true in all its substitution instances [the main column in the truth table is all T’s], such implications and equivalences called rules of inference and rules of replacement, respectively, in some presentations of propositional logic.)

Neat. I like this suggestion. Thanks!

My own convention is mostly intuitive: I try to use “->” to emphasize the syntactic transformation, and “=>” the semantic information. I used => in my first comment because it was easier to type on the tablet, and to underline that a model prediction is not only the product of a number of simulation runs, but the confrontation of a proposition to reality. The most important objection against models is not about the soundness of their projections, but the external validity when considered as predictions.

I can’t claim having been consistent in doing so, nor am I willing to declare that this solves all the arguments about logical implication and the notion of consequence.

165. Tom Curtis says:

Michael 2:

“The purpose of money is to bring to people’s attention that “Hey, I *am* the person that you are ideologically predisposed to vote for!””

In my experience, most campaign funding is spent trying to attract swing voters, ie, those who may vote either way in any given poll, to vote for a particular party. Adds based solely on identifying with an ideological predisposition are only rolled out when it is thought the campaign is lost, and the candidates are trying to limit the political damage (size of the loss).

Of course, my experience is limited to Australia where we are sensible enough to have compulsory, preferential voting.

The United States (and UK) are considerably less democratic than that. Therefore pure adds appealing purely to ideological predisposition may be more common, but as a means of getting out the vote rather than of attracting swing voters. The different electoral systems may be key in other ways. Nobody talks in Australia of the center being hollowed out. Rather, the talk about the two major parties becoming indistinguishable as they both attempt to shape their policies to appeal to the central, uncommitted block of voters.

166. anoilman says:

Tom Curtis: “In my experience, most campaign funding is spent trying to attract swing voters, ie, those who may vote either way in any given poll, to vote for a particular party.”

That’s pretty much how I view it. Its the basis for a lot of what goes on in the media.

167. Michael 2 says:

Tom Curtis says “Nobody talks in Australia of the center being hollowed out. Rather, the talk about the two major parties becoming indistinguishable”

This is frequently heard in the United States as well. Direct elections of candidates and “winner take all” elections pretty much guarantee no more than two viable parties with really only one in control of anything. Parliamentary systems such as I experienced in Iceland elect parties, not persons; and the parties then obtain seats proportional to the election. Who actually occupies the seat is decided by various party mechanisms. While it should be obvious that a wider representation of citizen interests reaches parliament this way, it also tends to lead to more gridlock in my opinion and a necessity for coalitions of parties to agree on something. In the end it doesn’t seem all that different; moneyed interests still control the process whether it be the extremely democratic Iceland or the representational government of the United States.

Pure democracy, besides being impractical, is also potentially a terrible thing. The 51 percent can decide to do whatever they wish. It need not even be 51 percent of citizens; just 51 percent of actual voters.

168. > I did not accept that [implication can be rewritten as a conjunction]. Perhaps you are thinking of your October 17, 2014 at 1:32 pm post in which you said (later was a typo) that conjunction represents a universal statement, and in which you twice talked about the causal relation as a conjunction? I never said any of this.

Echoing K&A’s translation, which is standard, of “All swans are white,” and replacing “P” by “W”:

[1] (for all x)(S(x) -> W(x))

By material implication, this gives:

[2] (for all x) (~S(x) or W(x))

I.e. “either it’s white or it’s not a swan”.

By de Morgan:

[3] (for all x) ~(S(x) & ~W(x))

I.e. “you can’t find something that is a swan and is not white”.

Implication can indeed be rewritten as a conjunction.

***

The typo was made because I wanted to talk about falsifiers, i.e. what would falsify [3], not [3] itself. The falsifier of [3], represented by “S(x) & ~W(x)”, i.e. a swan that is not white, was what I wanted to talk about.

169. Tom Curtis says:

Returning to the logical fray, let T = (t1 & t2 & t3 & … & tn) where ti is some putative scientific law, and “=” stands for material equivalence. Let B = (b1 & b2 & b3 & … bm), where bi is some boundary condition under which T operates. Then we know that T by itself implies no observable fact, for if it did, some part of its conjuncts would be logically necessary (ie tautologies), but that T & B entails an observable set of circumstances, P. If we make our observations and observe that ~P, then we cannot conclude that ~ti for any t1-tn, for the problem may be with one or more of the boundary conditions. That I believe is K&A’s point.

We can go further, because with respect to the so-called “pause” in global temperatures there is very good evidence that some of the boundary conditions were in fact false. Specifically, the most recent five years of forcing were overstated and there was a distinct trend in ENSO, both of which contributed to slower warming, and the latter of which is plausibly sufficient by itself for the observed reduction in the warming rate. Further, when the models are corrected for these changed boundary conditions they predict similar reductions in warming rate which counts as a confirmation of the model physics, not a refutation.

What is more, P itself is not monolithic, but is a set of conjuncts. That is, P = (P1 & P2 & P3 & … & Pl), where each Pi is a separate prediction. Further, the predictions are not binary, but probabilistic. The effect of this is that “falsifying” any given Pi is irrelevant by itself. That is, assuming that each Pi is statistically independent of the others, then for a large number of observations, we expect that a significant number will vary significantly from the predicted value, and that on average, 5% of observations will be statistically different from the related prediction. Therefore to genuinely falsify P, we need not falsify any Pi, and nor will falsifying any given Pi falsify P. Rather, we need to show that the set of observed observations is statistically different from the set of observed predictions. This is something AGW skeptics never deign to do. Far more typically they will select a single observation (say GMST trends over the last 15 years), show that it is lower than the mean prediction and declare the models falsified. They do this even though the observations are not statistically different from the predictions, and with no attempt to show that the sum of predictions differs statistically from the sum of observations.

Thus far is just standard philosophy of science as expounded by Popper, Lakatos and no doubt many others since. It should not be controversial (although given that this is the internet, it will be ;)). The point of this comment is that it does not represent an adequate model of climate science.

Due to the intractability of computation, climate models include not only representations of physical laws and boundary conditions, but a large number of parametrized values designed to show the consequences of interactions of events of too low a resolution to model. These are odd features in terms of philosophy of science. They could be treated as simple theories that would be reduced to more basic laws plus an additional set of boundary conditions. That is not, however, how they are viewed, and they are more typically semi-empirical approximations and have in the past been known (in some cases) to be explicitly false if treated as laws or empirical estimates, but still necessary to compensate for known errors introduced by limited resolution. Consequently they are best treated as an independent series of conjuncts that are also “falsifiable” by modus tollens. That is, if we find a divergence between model predictions and observations, the problem need not lie either in the model physics, nor in the boundary conditions. Sometimes the problem may lie in the parametrization.

170. Michael 2 says:

Tom says: “Further, when the models are corrected for these changed boundary conditions they predict similar reductions in warming rate which counts as a confirmation of the model physics, not a refutation.”

That’s wonderful BUT the idea of a model is to be able to predict the future. What good is it if you have to wait until the future to know which model was correct or how to correct it?

171. Michael 2 says:

I’ve saved this entire thread for its very interesting discussions of propositional logic. I thank you for taking rather a lot of time to write all this.

172. Tom Curtis says:

Michael 2, no! The role of a model is to model scientific theories. The model can then be run on projected estimates of future boundary conditions, and if projections are accurate, and the theories and model are any good, they will then predict the future. A good model of an accurate theory run on inaccurate projections, however, they will poorly predict the future because the model is good and the theories accurate.

So, when we compare model projections to new observations, the proper way to do it is to rerun the model with observed boundary conditions rather than projected boundary conditions and no other changes to see how it performs. Where the observed boundary condition is something that is an emergent but chaotic feature of the model (such as ENSO), you either constrain that feature of the model, or run it multiple times and select those model runs in which the feature in the model matches the observed evolution and compare the predictions thus obtained. (Both have been done for recent years, as it happens, and both showed the models to be accurate when boundary conditions matched observed conditions.)

Granted, it would be nice if we could not just project the boundary conditions, but constrain them to run a more traditional experiment – but it is not practical to do so, and not scientific to give up the limited means we have of exploring the issue merely because they are not ideal.

173. Michael 2 said on October 19, 2014 at 4:09 pm, in reply to what I said on October 19, 2014 at 9:48 am,

“K&A wrote: “Important Note: Those who think that they’ve falsified climate science via such a use of modus tollens commit the same misuse of the universal quantifier.””

“…it is sufficient for the prediction to fail to suggest that the science is NOT settled…”

This claim of sufficiency is false. It is possible to have true predictions in unsettled sciences, and it is possible to have false predictions in settled sciences.

How is it possible to have the latter? Simple. One of the assumptions that help determine what to feed into the formulas could be faulty.

174. willard said on October 19, 2014 at 10:00 pm and in some concurrent posts, in reply to what I said on October 19, 2014 at 9:49 am and in some prior posts,

—————–
W:
“To pretend that P “did not really happened” (as with the car example) won’t work either, unless one is willing to argue that the model outputs were the result of a malfunction.”
—————–

In my car example (I believe there was only one car example I gave), the essential claim for a car heading towards the end of the cliff was this: If the driver does not turn the car around in time, then the car will fall off the cliff, p -> q, with p being the first clause and q being the second clause. I was just pointing out that if we observe both that the driver turned the car around in time and the car did not go over the cliff, then we have observed ~p & ~q, which is not a negation of p -> q, which is the conjunction p & ~q.

That p and q each can be observed to hold or not hold relates to my further below on a construct giving a broad overview of the architecture I have in mind, which makes it so that deniers *tacitly* affirm a contradiction when they infer ~F (some faulty formula) from ~q (an observed faulty prediction) given ~p (an observed faulty assumption).

—————–
W”
> Suppose one puts forth a claim that it is a physical law that the presence of oxygen implies the presence of fire (“oxygen -> fire” – that is, p -> q).

“It’s usually the other way around:
Fire is a chemical reaction involving oxygen.”
—————–

It seems to me that you may have misunderstood what I wrote. I said “suppose” and purposely gave a false implication claim under this “suppose” to show that one of the ways we can prove an implication p -> q false is by observing its negation, p & ~q.

—————–
W:
“We also get p V ~q, which rewrites (p -> q) by material implication.”
—————–
Neither of these expressions can rewrite the other. Perhaps this is another typo, where you meant ~p V q, which is tautologically equivalent to p -> q by definition.

—————–
W:
“(for all x) ~(S(x) & ~W(x))
I.e. “you can’t find something that is a swan and is not white”.
Implication can indeed be rewritten as a conjunction.”
—————–

This expression “~(S(x) & ~W(x))” is the negation of a conjunction, not a conjunction. You are giving the same name to a proposition form and its negation. I don’t think we can do that. The negation of a conjunction is tautologically equivalent to a disjunction, which of course means that since an implication p -> q is tautologically equivalent to a disjunction – namely ~p V q, implication is tautologically equivalent to the negation of a conjunction – namely ~(p & ~q). Some may prefer to give the definition of an implication p -> q in this negated conjunction form ~(p & ~q). (Which is fine since ~p V q is tautologically equivalent to ~(p & ~q).)

—————–
W:
“That we should always revise our assumptions is far from obvious, considering the nature of our observations and the predictivity that (p -> q) assumes.”
—————–

But I don’t treat p -> q as a condition that can’t be falsified – I do not assume that “we should always revise our assumptions”. Note that according to how I defined p and q, the truth or falsity of each obtains by observation. If our observations give us the negation of p -> q, which is p & ~q, then the formulas that give us p -> q need to be fixed.

Do you want an implication form that is treated as an axiom or a postulate? OK. This leads to the aforementioned broad overview:

Let F be the formulas – the applied mathematics in the form of all the equations and algorithms that take the data inputs and give the data outputs, let p be the set of assumptions, tacit or otherwise, that tell us which set of data to input (and to not input), and let q be the set of predictions (or projections or conclusions) (whichever is appropriate for the context) obtained from the outputted data. Note that we can determine the truth or falsity (even if probabilistically) of each of p and q by observation. Take this construction in the form of an implication:
(F & p) -> q.
Via exportation, each of the following is its tautological equivalent:
F -> (p -> q);
p -> (F -> q).

Consider:
1 (F & p) -> q (postulate)
2 ~p (observation)
3 ~q (observation)
4 ~(F & p) (Modus Tollens)
5 ~F V ~p (De Morgan)
The only way to infer ~F at this point is to introduce ~~p on another line, which would give us p, but since we already have ~p, that would give us the contradiction p & ~p. That is, one *tacitly* affirms a contradiction when one infers ~F (some faulty formula) from ~q (an observed faulty prediction) given ~p (an observed faulty assumption).

This above provides a logical foundation for the fact that if we put garbage into a formula, then regardless of what comes out we cannot say that we have properly put that formula to the test in the first place.

This is why deniers again and again avoid discussing whether or not observations show that some assumption was faulty – this is why they again and again commit the offence of assumption avoidance: They *tacitly* affirm a contradiction when they infer ~F (some faulty formula) from ~q (an observed faulty prediction) given ~p (an observed faulty assumption).

175. anng says:

ATTPS:- “Paterson was talking about climate science specifically in that part of his lecture, not science journalism.”

Is that why you’ve called the post “Environmental Bullies”? Paterson has a lot of strong words against the likes of WWF (who claim to do research – including the glacier gaffe for the IPCC) and GreenPeace. I agree with him that they just exost in order to protest. I particularly dislike GreenPeace because of their anti-science approach.

176. Willard says:

> You are giving the same name to a proposition form and its negation. I don’t think we can do that.

First, I’m not “giving a name” to the form, I’m referring to it by naming the main operator the statement contains.

Second, statements remain statements even when adding a negation in front of it. A basic proposition is still a proposition, even when you put a NOT in front of it, or two, three, four, etc. Words like “proposition” and “statement” signal the material mode, what is denoted by the formal expressions. By “implication” I try to refer to material implication, not the implication form, a form so clumsy we don’t even have an expression for it.

Third, what we can say is that the statement I was referring to is not a conjunctive normal form:

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

But a conjunctive form that is not normal is still a conjunctive form.

Fourth, it’s not a negation normal form either, BTW:

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

But, and this may explain the confusion, we *could* say that ~p is in negation form, and what I offered too.

Fifth, that we can change the form between our propositions formulas is one of the main asset of an algebraic logic. It’s very useful in theorem proving:

> Since all logical formulae can be converted into an equivalent formula in conjunctive normal form, proofs are often based on the assumption that all formulae are CNF.

Op. cit.

Most theorem provers use this. I leave to readers the exercise to transform the non normal form I offered into a normal form. Hint: a disjunction can be a CNF. If we could not turn implications into CNF, we’d have stopped using boolean logic a long time ago.

***

All that being said, and God know how important this is for the future generations who will read about this, even if machines resolve implications like “Swans are white” by looking quasi-randomly at white stuff or non-swan stuff and then printing “true” or “false”, we humans don’t. We stumble upon a swan that is not white and we revise ourselves.

177. Willard says:

> This is why deniers again and again avoid discussing whether or not observations show that some assumption was faulty – this is why they again and again commit the offence of assumption avoidance: They *tacitly* affirm a contradiction when they infer ~F (some faulty formula) from ~q (an observed faulty prediction) given ~p (an observed faulty assumption).

To claim that “deniers” avoid discussing whether “some assumption” was faulty when their falsifiability argument is exactly against models, those in which “some assumption” is contained, is a bit rich. To use logic to prove this stretches incredulity.

Using classical logic can only reinforce the falsifiability argument. The only way out, if one wishes to continue to logicize all this, is to use substructural logics. More on that later.

***

[Addendum. I’m having second thoughts with the way I use simplification. Even if it was OK, which I now doubt, it’s not a proper sequent, and this is the opposite of sexy. I’ll try to get around this tomorrow. I’m also trying to recall ways to eliminate negation, to simplify the demonstration.]

***

> This above provides a logical foundation for the fact that if we put garbage into a formula, then regardless of what comes out we cannot say that we have properly put that formula to the test in the first place.

Then this “logical foundation” is just a big caricature of the falsifiability argument by trying to reduce a prediction, which in principle can be tested, to something that can’t.

178. Willard says:

I have spent enough time on this for today, but I’ll return tomorrow, if all goes well. Just a short comment to illustrate how “rational” is propositional calculus.

Suppose I have two bucks (2$). With those two bucks, I buy myself a cup of tea (C). Now, according to PC, C is the same thing as C & C. And C & C & C. And so forth. Does it mean that with 2 bucks I could buy myself tea until there is no more tea in the universe? No. It just means that classical truth has nothing to do with doing stuff that consume resources. Classical logic may very well be the biggest environmental bully there is. Until tomorrow, W PS: The example is inspired by Jean-Yves Girard. 179. anng, Is that why you’ve called the post “Environmental Bullies”? I called it that because it was a term used by Owen Paterson. I meant to put a “?”, but forgot. As I said in the post, I find it a bit pathetic that an ex-environment ministers regards environmentalists collectively as bullies. He may not agree with their views, but that doesn’t make them bullies. There may be individuals who are bullies, but that doesn’t make it the norm. Also, I suspect that he’s annoyed with them because they probably told him – often – that he was wrong. From what I’ve seen, he often is. Also, your description of Greenpeace sounds very much like mine of the GWPF. Odd that. 180. Vinny Burgoo says: A recent example of environmentalist bullying: WWF’s shrill campaign against Soco International’s exploratory tests beneath Lake Edward in Virunga National Park. WWF stamped its not-so-little feet and told a lot of porkies until it got its way. Stop this illegal drilling in Africa’s oldest national park! Save picturesque illiterates with strangely Hoxtonesque views on fossil fuels and global climate change! Don’t let Belgian princes be attacked by people who weren’t tied to Soco but we’ll hint that they were anyway and let you make up your own minds! Preserve illegal fisheries from seismic insults and distant gorillas from impertinences whose exact mechanisms have yet to be determined! Other irrelevancies! Stop Soco or kittens will die! It was shameless, but it worked. So well done them, I suppose. Well done the manichaean carbon purists of WWF. (Have they helped the gorillas and other precious wildlife in the region? No. Its people? No. The planet? No. The enforcement of UN treaties? Yes. Super.) 181. BBD says: Why should oil exploration be permitted in lakes in nature reserves? Why is it surprising the WWF fought this? Isn’t that what it is supposed to do? It was shameless Trying to drill for oil under a lake in a nature reserve is shameless, if you ask me. 182. Tom Curtis says: Willard: “Suppose I have two bucks (2$). With those two bucks, I buy myself a cup of tea (C).

Now, according to PC, C is the same thing as C & C. And C & C & C. And so forth.”

Your comment is just silly. As stated, you have identified a proposition (C), which can be represented as:

“With … two bucks [in your possession], [you] buy [your]self a cup of tea”

If it were in strict propositional form, it would be free of indexicals, but leave that aside.

From that it certainly follows that “With … two bucks [in your possession], [you] buy [your]self a cup of tea” & “With … two bucks [in your possession], [you] buy [your]self a cup of tea”. It even follows that “With … two bucks [in your possession], [you] buy [your]self a cup of tea” & “With … two bucks [in your possession], [you] buy [your]self a cup of tea” & “With … two bucks [in your possession], [you] buy [your]self a cup of tea”

Indeed, you can multiply the repetitions till tedium restores a measure of sense to you, without in any way failing to make a correct inference. The inferences are merely redundant.

You purport a problem with the Propositional Calculus, but merely show your inclination to make a category mistakes (cups of tea are not propositions).

Perhaps you intended to make a joke, and merely showed that logicians have no sense of humor. However, given that several readers here have expressed both ignorance, and a desire to learn more of propositional calculus, your joke (if that is what it is) will merely confuse those who cannot be supposed to have the requisite knowledge to recognize it for the silliness it is.

183. Tom Curtis says:

Vinny Burgoo, your accusations would carry more weight if you had the courage to link to sources so that we could make up our own mind as to who (you or the WWF) is being less than candid.

184. jsam says:

The Foreign Office joined forces with the WWF. As did UNESCO. As did the locals.
http://www.wwf.org.uk/wwf_articles.cfm?unewsid=7134
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jun/11/soco-oil-virunga-national-park-congo-wwf
http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=15960

Vinny is representing the culprit, claiming he is actually the victim. It would seem Soco’s attempt at bullying and bribing failed.

185. Willard says:

> You purport a problem with the Propositional Calculus, but merely show your inclination to make a category mistakes (cups of tea are not propositions).

How about “2$buys me a cup of tea” Tom: wouldn’t you consider it a proposition? Also, read again what I said: “classical truth has nothing to do with doing stuff that consume resources”. If you want to model processes that consume resources (time, space, money, moves, objects, etc.), this is not a trivial bug. This bug is also a feature of PC, of course. An important feature that is non-obvious to many, including those who can’t get PC. For eternal truths, it rocks. Here’s a resource-sensitive logic: Notice though that once one has eliminated the contraction and weakening rule, formulas no longer behave as immutable truth values: indeed, when we have a proof of A ⇒ B and a proof of A in linear logic, by composing them we actually consume them to get a proof of B, so that A ⇒ B and A are no longer available after the composition. Linear logic formulas behave now more like resources that can only be used once. There are other substructural logics available. 186. anoilman says: If you think the enviro’s are bullies you got no clue. Oil companies will bend you over and use you like a surf board. If you’re lucky, they’ll just take your rights from the government, and use you any way they like. Like so; http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/26/fracking-trespass-law-changes-move-forward-despite-huge-public-opposition And how about those contracts.. cherry deals right? You don’t mind your house becoming a dump site do you? If you complain about being abused you get a SLAPP; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_lawsuit_against_public_participation On the plus side, your land value will go down. 🙂 http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2014/04/10/pollution-fears-crush-home-prices-near-fracking-wells/ So who’s the bully exactly? 187. austrartsua says: ATTP says: “It doesn’t mean “wait until we’re more certain”. In fact, there is a valid, logical argument to be made for doing nothing. Doing nothing is not sexy. And politicians will never get behind it. But sometimes its rational to wait and see. Why not? When we are talking about trillion dollar policy implications, we should wait and see. These are expensive decisions and it is immoral to waste money when it could be spent on, for example, hospitals or schools etc. With regards to reducing emissions “my way, or the highway” – this is precisely what GWPF and other skeptics do not do. And precisely what warmist do say. Warmists say, we must cut emissions by collective, top down, govermnent enforced, UN treaty measures. Skeptics say – “yes, we need to cut emissions. Let us see what the market comes up with”. Technological innovation will solve this problem, and we do not even know what type of technology will break the problem open. Maybe it will be fusion, or some renewable. Or maybe it will be a geoengineering technique such as carbon capture and storage, or artificially cooling the planet by some means. Who knows? The future is open to new potential. You have absolutely got this the wrong way around. It is environmentalists and warmists who say we must reduce emissions now by top-down government enforced methods. It is skeptics who are open to unknown possible solutions of the future which will be far cheaper and effective. Cheers, 188. it is skeptics who are open to unknown possible solutions of the future which will be far cheaper and effective. What absolute nonsense. And I assume you mean “skeptics”, not skeptics. 189. austrartsua, Warmists say, we must cut emissions by collective, top down, govermnent enforced, UN treaty measures. Ohhh, a conspiracy. Actually, this isn’t what “warmists” (this isn’t going to go well, I can tell already) say. There is a general view that it’s unlikely to be effective if there isn’t some kind of global agreement. This might be wrong, but I think it is largely agreed as being a reasonable view. Skeptics say – “yes, we need to cut emissions. Let us see what the market comes up with”. Let’s not actually try and do something and let’s just hope that this magical thing called “the market” will fix it all for us? Also, this appears to be a rather generous interpretation of the typical “skeptics” view. What I see a variations on “it’s not happening”, “if it is, it’s not a problem”, … The Contrarian Matrix may be of interest. 190. Rachel M says: I should have got up earlier this morning 😉 191. Marco says: “With regards to reducing emissions “my way, or the highway” – this is precisely what GWPF and other skeptics do not do” Which comes after “These are expensive decisions and it is immoral to waste money when it could be spent on, for example, hospitals or schools”. In other words: don’t do anything! If you do, you are immoral. My way, or the highway. 192. Rachel, 🙂 Marco, Indeed. This is what I’ve come to call the status quo fallacy – the idea that arguing for leaving things as they are is somehow not a form of advocacy. 193. Steve Bloom says: Rachel, for some reason I kept thinking of this. 194. Andrew Dodds says: austrartsua — Well, here’s the problem: As long as you are allowed to dump your waste in the atmosphere at no cost, then the cheapest form of energy is coal, and is likely to remain so for decades to come. There are some circumstances where solar might come close, but for first-world levels and patterns of use 24/7 it’s not going to replace the grid anytime soon. Note that the above depends on the ‘atmospheric dumping’ clause. Indeed, the whole ‘skeptic’ argument tends to rest on minimising this clause – pretending that it’s not dumping at all, or there will be no effect, or the effects will be minimal. After all, I don’t see skeptics positively pushing for a carbon tax and merely arguing for the correct level of the tax, which would be the case if we were determined to use market forces to solve the problem. 195. verytallguy says: ATTP, advocacy is in the eye of the beholder. Writing opinion pieces in major newspapers which suggest we should defer decisions for decades is, for instance, not advocacy. 196. Rachel M says: Rachel, for some reason I kept thinking of this. Haha, that’s so funny. 197. Willard says: October 20, 2014 at 2:45 pm “First, I’m not “giving a name” to the form, I’m referring to it by naming the main operator the statement contains.” By the rules of the propositional calculus, this is false – a negated conjunction is not a conjunction. The main operator in the negated conjunction “~(p & q)” is “~”, not “&”. When we do the truth tables for a negated statement, the main column is under “~”. Yes, “~” is an operator, where the underlying function is a unary operation. Yes, “&” is an operator also, but the underlying function here is a binary operation. The main convention in mathematics – which includes symbolic logic – for the term “operation” is to define it as a certain type of k-ary function. (For a decent introduction, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_(mathematics) for more. Quote: “An operation w is a function of the form w: V -> Y, where V is a subset of the Cartesian product of k sets (that in the general case may or may not be the same) X_1 * … * X_k.”) “But a conjunctive form that is not normal is still a conjunctive form.” What you trying to say, which that the negated conjunction you gave is a conjunctive form, is false. A negated conjunction is not in conjunctive form. http://www3.cs.stonybrook.edu/~skiena/113/lectures/lecture6/lecture6.html Quote (modified for ascii text): “For example, ~(A & B) is neither in disjunctive nor conjunctive form,…” Willard says: October 20, 2014 at 4:24 pm “To claim that “deniers” avoid discussing whether “some assumption” was faulty when their falsifiability argument is exactly against models, those in which “some assumption” is contained, is a bit rich.” On the contrary. Their claim to be able to set up a modus tollens argument with q as the set of predictions or conclusions given by the formulas F directly against F with no consideration of the set of assumptions p that determines what data does and does not get fed into F is what is a bit rich. “Then this “logical foundation” is just a big caricature of the falsifiability argument by trying to reduce a prediction, which in principle can be tested, to something that can’t. Another casualty in the already sad history of material implication.” This is false. Below I give a mathematical proof that the acceptance or the denial of the construct (F & p) -> q destroys what the deniers try to do, which is to try to infer ~F from ~q without considering whether p or ~p holds. For those who’d like some definitions again: Define a tautology to be a truth functional proposition that is true in all its substitution instances – that is, the main column in the truth table is all T’s, and define a contradiction to be a truth functional proposition that is false in all its substitution instances – that is, the main column in the truth table is all F’s. Let the double lined implication and equivalence symbols “=>” and “” denote tautological and only tautological implication and equivalence, respectively. Again, the construction (see above what F, p, and q denote) is: (F & p) -> q, which can be rewritten via exportation as F -> (p -> q) and p -> (F -> q), and one can choose any form that best fits one’s intuition. Theorem (A). If we observe ~p (and affirm our observation we must), then with logical necessity we affirm the construction (F & p) -> q. Proof: (1) (p & ~p) => (F -> q) (By a theorem in the propositional calculus: A contradiction in any form tautologically implies anything. Check the truth tables to confirm if needed.) (2) (F & p & ~p) => q ((1): Exportation.) (3) ~p => (F & p) -> q ((2): Exportation.) (4) ~p (Observation.) (5). (F & p) -> q ((3) and (4): Modus Ponens.) Theorem (B). If we deny the construction (F & p) -> q, then with logical necessity we affirm that p is the case, and if we observe ~p (and affirm our observation we must), then with logical necessity we affirm the contradiction p & ~p. Proof: (6) ~((F & p) -> q) (Claim: Denial of the construction.) (7) ~~p ((3) and (6): Modus Tollens.) (8) p ((7): Double Negation.) (9) ~p (Observation.) (10) p & ~p ((8) and (9): Conjunction Introduction.) Theorem (C). If we deny the construction (F & p) -> q, then with logical necessity we deny the construction F -> q. (Those who wish to affirm F -> q therefore cannot deny (F & p) -> q.) Proof: (11) (F-> q) => (F & p) -> q (By a theorem in the propositional calculus. Check the truth tables to confirm if needed.) (12) ~(F -> q) ((6) and (11): Modus Tollens.) Let’s revisit what happens with the construction (F & p) -> q: (13) (F & p) -> q (Postulate.) (14) ~p (Observation.) (15) ~q (Observation.) (16) ~(F & p) ((13) and (15): Modus Tollens.) (17) ~F V ~p ((16): De Morgan.) It should be clear that the case of ~p makes it logically impossible to infer ~F from ~q. And it should be clear that the acceptance or the denial of the construct (F & p) -> q destroys what the deniers try to do, which is to try to infer ~F from ~q without considering whether p or ~p holds. 198. andrew adams says: 1. When we are talking about trillion dollar policy implications, we should wait and see. These are expensive decisions and it is immoral to waste money when it could be spent on, for example, hospitals or schools etc. We don’t have the luxury of being able to wait and see. We can’t take back the CO2 we are pumping into the atmosphere now if we decide 20 years down the line that yes, we do need to mitigate climate change after all, whereas the effect of emissions reductions we make now will accumulate over those 20 years. Decarbonising our economy is a huge task and the most practical and cost effective way to do it is to start early and do it gradually. Having international agreements on emissions reductions enforced at local level by governments and just leaving it to the market to find solutions are alternative approaches to the problem. People might advocate for one or the other but they are both, at least in the terms that you present the choice, mutally exclusive. So either way, advocates could be accused of having a “my way or the highway” approach. But of course in reality it doesn’t have to be such a black and white choice – having international agreements on emissions reductions doesn’t preclude the markets playing a large part in finding the most efficient and effective methods for achieving the targets. But markets need incentives, and a desire to save the planet isn’t in itself an incentive to develop new technologies. What you’re advocating is essentially the “Underpants Gnomes” approach to climate mitigation. 199. Willard says: > By the rules of the propositional calculus, this is false […] The rules of PC don’t rule how people refer to expressions. If I wished to refer to something like “~(~p & ~q) -> ~r”, it would be silly to say “your implication between a negated conjunction of two negations and a negation”. I could perfectly say “your implication”, because that’s the central connector. And since people usually try to get what one means, this should be enough. There is seldom the need to refer by way of a complete description. *** The conjunctive normal form of “p -> q” is “~p V q”. If you don’t trust me, try Alpha: http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=p+implies+q Language is a social art. 200. Willard says: > Quote (modified for ascii text): “For example, ~(A & B) is neither in disjunctive nor conjunctive form,…” The name of the lecture is Normal Forms. He’s saying that the expression is not in a normal form. Which does not contradict what I said. Also, the expression is not in negative normal form either. Does it mean it’s not a form? 201. Willard says: > Their claim to be able to set up a modus tollens argument with q as the set of predictions or conclusions given by the formulas F directly against F with no consideration of the set of assumptions p that determines what data does and does not get fed into F is what is a bit rich. Again, quotes might be nice, this time with an analysis showing that the logical abstraction does not construct a strawman. Meanwhile, here are the three relevant arguments that I know: [Falsification] Our (current) observations falsify our (current) models. [Infalsifiability] Climate science cannot be falsified. [Impredictibility] Climate models can’t make skillful predictions. If we accept that K&A’s “p” represents models, he concedes the first argument. If we accept that in K&A’s “F” represents our theories, among them we have climate science, his argument could lead credence to the second argument. This is a very big limitation with the overall analysis, in my opinion. We can’t judge the third argument because we don’t have quantifiers and we don’t allow induction. *** I don’t think we should concede the first argument, for I don’t think there’s no way to determine ~p specifically, at least most of the times. (A counterexample: a program bug.) I get that it can be granted for the sake of argument, but even then, it creates a wedge between theories and observations that goes against holism. Also, I understand that it’s just cheaper to revise our models, so it’s not that bad from a resource allocation standpoint. I’d rather say that at most contrarians could say that observations (~q) refute predictions (q). So that leaves us with ~(F & p), or whatever we accept as theories and instruments, or “models”. I’m introducing the notion of instruments to underline that what we call “models” encompasses way more than instances of program runs. Models are cheaper to ditch, but note: when we tweak them, it is (at least in principle) quite possible that we also take the opportunity to modify them according to a new theorical feature prompted by our model projections and updated observations. In other words, I’m allowing that ~q can lead us to revise both F and p. Not that we’re compelled to do so by some experimentum crucis. Simply because otherwise it would be sensible not to claim that the core of climate science (or science in general if we generalize the epistemological argument) can never be falsified. *** A question about the connector “&” between F and p in (F & p) -> q. What kind of relation or function does this connector represent? As I already said, I take it that the F represents theories and p represents models. Assuming that we can turn theories and models into propositions (and that there’s no category mistake, like Tom C might not like), what does the overall expression mean? I’m asking this because I toyed with this yesterday: http://web.inf.unibz.it/~franconi/teaching/propcalc/ If F stands for our theorical apparatus and M the models, we could say that the theories are implied by our models. But then the overall structure becomes unsatisfiable. If we put an OR, the only logical model is one where F, p, and q are false. As soon as we accept ~p, there’s not much other connectors that work than the &, and I don’t know what this & really means. Something’s amiss. *** The only other interpretation I can think of “p” would be the model implementations, in which case all we could ever falsify would be model implementations. That would be quite underwhelming, for then both the models and the theories would become tough to falsify. 202. Willard says: I will add that all this would really interest me if we could finally get to real contrarian arguments, held by real contrarians, published in real publications. Anyone who can help me get to these are acknowledged by name or pseudo in my Contrarian Matrix: http://contrarianmatrix.wordpress.com Returning to PC after 15 years was cool, but if it does not help me improve my Contrarian Matrix, I’m afraid it’s just another kind of ClimateBall ™ game. 203. austrartsua says: @Andrew Dodds, I agree, a carbon tax is the best approach – in theory. But the problem is, what should the tax rate be? The nature of “negative externalities” is that they are hard to quantify. Especially in this case, where the immediate negative externalities of CO2 are minimal and all the detrimental effects are delayed by decades. Another problem was pointed out by Daniel Ben-Ami. It is that emitting CO2 also has positive externalities because the energy is so cheap and allows people so much freedom. Should we subsidize the positive externalities of having such cheap energy? If so, do the negative effects outweigh the positive ones? Perhaps, I don’t know. It is a philosophical question. But yes, a CO2 tax is the best measure and I am not really opposed to it. It is far superior than other central planning solutions. But ultimately, whatever route we take, if we are going to force people to use more expensive forms of energy, than we will have to pay for it. We should at least recognise that there is a trade-off to be made. 204. verytallguy says: emitting CO2 also has positive externalities because the energy is so cheap and allows people so much freedom. That’s not an externality. That’s internal to the bargain struck by supplier and customer. 205. austrarta, It is that emitting CO2 also has positive externalities because the energy is so cheap and allows people so much freedom. Should we subsidize the positive externalities of having such cheap energy? If so, do the negative effects outweigh the positive ones? If this is the view, then it’s essentially arguing that it’s fine for us to benefit today even if we do so at the expense of those who will be alive in the future. You can make arguments about them possibly being richer, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a moral issue to the choices we make today. But ultimately, whatever route we take, if we are going to force people to use more expensive forms of energy, than we will have to pay for it. Have you actually looked at the cost of energy today for each different source of energy. The difference may not be as great as you might think. For example, look at table 4 in this document. Also, it would seem reasonable that we will have to find alternatives at some point in the future. Is it better to simply wait until we definitely need to do so, or is it better to start trying and considering alternatives today. My preference would be the latter. YMMV. It is far superior than other central planning solutions. You make it sound like people are proposing communism. Also, do you think we can introduce a carbon tax without some kind of global agreement? We should at least recognise that there is a trade-off to be made. This is almost always true. I don’t think anyone is suggesting otherwise. 206. Willard says: October 20, 2014 at 4:24 pm “Using classical logic can only reinforce the falsifiability argument. The only way out, if one wishes to continue to logicize all this, is to use substructural logics.” This is false. I killed the denier falsification argument by beating them at their own game. See the further below and my last post on October 21, 2014 at 11:14 am. Willard says: October 20, 2014 at 5:14 pm “Just a short comment to illustrate how “rational” is propositional calculus. Suppose I have two bucks (2$). With those two bucks, I buy myself a cup of tea (C). Now, according to PC, C is the same thing as C & C. And C & C & C. And so forth. Does it mean that with 2 bucks I could buy myself tea until there is no more tea in the universe? No. It just means that classical truth has nothing to do with doing stuff that consume resources.”

I note that for all mathematics (and this includes symbolic logic) x, we could come up with an application of x that makes no sense. It seems to me that in order to tacitly try to prove via modus ponens that the rationality of the propositional calculus is questionable, you’re tacitly trying to get us to accept the implication that if we could come up with an application of x that makes no sense (never mind that we can do this for all x), then the rationality of x is questionable. Sorry, I’ll never accept this implication – why should anyone?

I note that with the above example, you tacitly used part of the propositional calculus – that is, modus ponens – to try to question its rationality. I claim that it’s not possible to deny it without using some part of it – even denial itself is a use of part of it. So much for its lack of rationality.

Willard says:
October 21, 2014 at 11:56 am
“The conjunctive normal form of “p -> q” is “~p V q”.”

Yes, but you claimed on October 20, 2014 at 3:26 am, “…implication can indeed be rewritten as a conjunction”. It can be rewritten as a negated conjunction, but not as a conjunction – they are not the same thing.

Willard says:
October 21, 2014 at 1:04 pm

“…here are the three relevant arguments that I know:
[Falsification] Our (current) observations falsify our (current) models.
[Infalsifiability] Climate science cannot be falsified.
[Impredictibility] Climate models can’t make skillful predictions.
If we accept that K&A’s “p” represents models, he concedes the first argument.”

Yes, I see the “if”, but, again, my “p” does *not* – I repeat, *not* – represent a model. Yet again: It denotes the assumptions outside the model that help us determine what data to feed into the formulas, equations, and algorithms and what data not to feed into them. “F” denotes the mathematics – the model if you will, the set of definitions, formulas, equations, and algorithms into which we feed numerical data. To avoid putting “garbage in” F, we have to have an accurate or accurate enough set of assumptions p. These assumptions can be tacit – they need not be explicitly stated to count as assumptions. (Examples of an assumption: “Volcanic activity will stay roughly at the same level for the next 20 years.” “We won’t be obliterated by an asteroid in the next 20 years.”) Yet they determine what we feed into the formulas and algorithms. My “q” represents the conclusions, predictions, or projections formed from the outputted numerical data. My construction is (F & p) -> q. Those who claim that climate science has been falsified seem to use F -> q as the basis for their modus tollens argument, and thus ((F-> q) & ~q) => ~F seems to be what they try.

Essentially what I did in my last post on October 21, 2014 at 11:14 am is kill the denier falsification argument beating them at their own game by the use of three theorems and a fourth derivation. In line (11) of the proofs of the theorems, I gave the fact that their F -> q tautologically implies my construction (F & p) -> q. That is, if they affirm F -> q for their falsification game, then they must with logical necessity affirm my (F & p) -> q. Here is line (11): F -> q => ((F & p) -> q). It is clear, given this tautological implication, that if they deny (F & p) -> q, then by modus tollens they deny their own F -> q.

Even though they must affirm my (F & p) -> q if they affirm their own F -> q, I showed more consequences of denial of (F & p) -> q. Here again are the three theorems that describe these consequences:
(A). If we observe ~p (and affirm our observation we must), then with logical necessity we affirm the construction (F & p) -> q.
(B). If we deny the construction (F & p) -> q, then with logical necessity we affirm that p is the case, and if we observe ~p (and affirm our observation we must), then with logical necessity we affirm the contradiction p & ~p.
(C). If we deny the construction (F & p) -> q, then with logical necessity we deny the construction F -> q. (Those who wish to affirm F -> q therefore cannot deny (F & p) -> q.)
…And I gave a fourth derivation that should make it clear that the case of ~p makes it logically impossible to infer ~F from ~q.

“If we accept that in K&A’s “F” represents our theories, among them we have climate science, his argument could lead credence to the second argument.”

How?

“I don’t think we should concede the first argument, for I don’t think there’s no way to determine ~p specifically, at least most of the times.”

As I just outlined above, I killed the first argument by beating those who try to make this argument at their own game.

“A question about the connector “&” between F and p in (F & p) -> q. What kind of relation or function does this connector represent?”

Again: “And”.

As I already said, I take it that the F represents theories and p represents models.”

This is wrong on p. See my definition above again. Does your “theories” fit my definition given above of F?

“Something’s amiss.”

Yes, because you are not sticking to my definitions of F, p, and q.

I missed a very good post by Tom Curtis on October 20, 2014 at 3:50 am. I recommend everyone read it. Here is part of what he said:

“Returning to the logical fray, let T = (t1 & t2 & t3 & … & tn) where ti is some putative scientific law, and “=” stands for material equivalence. Let B = (b1 & b2 & b3 & … bm), where bi is some boundary condition under which T operates. Then we know that T by itself implies no observable fact, for if it did, some part of its conjuncts would be logically necessary (ie tautologies), but that T & B entails an observable set of circumstances, P. If we make our observations and observe that ~P, then we cannot conclude that ~ti for any t1-tn, for the problem may be with one or more of the boundary conditions. That I believe is K&A’s point.

We can go further, because with respect to the so-called “pause” in global temperatures there is very good evidence that some of the boundary conditions were in fact false. Specifically, the most recent five years of forcing were overstated and there was a distinct trend in ENSO, both of which contributed to slower warming, and the latter of which is plausibly sufficient by itself for the observed reduction in the warming rate. Further, when the models are corrected for these changed boundary conditions they predict similar reductions in warming rate which counts as a confirmation of the model physics, not a refutation.”

Essentially, yes. Thank-you. Your T and B seems to be similar enough to my F and p.

207. austrartsua says:

@ATTP

“If this is the view, then it’s essentially arguing that it’s fine for us to benefit today even if we do so at the expense of those who will be alive in the future. ”

Pretty much, although I would phrase it like this. The benefit of increased economic growth comes at a cost of increased risk of warming in the future. The benefit of cheap energy today has to be balanced against the future risk of damage caused by warming. Of course, phrasing the problem like this does little to solve it. The next questions are: what is the risk posed by warming in the future? What is the benefit of growth today? etc etc. But nevertheless, what we are doing is a risk/benefit analysis, whether we like it or not. Cutting emissions will do real damage today to mostly poor people; coming in the form of more expensive energy, fewer jobs and opportunities, and more dependence on government welfare. On the other hand, cutting emissions will reduce the risk of warming.

Where you fall on this issue depends very much on your philosophy, your morality and other intangibles. It comes down to your optimism/pessimism about humans and about the future. Because we cannot know the future with any certainty and we cannot do a risk/benefit analysis properly. So the questions are: How confident are you that we can adapt to warming and solve the problems which will arise in the future? How much faith do you put in human ingenuity? If you andwer a lot to both these questions, then there is no point causing real suffering today for the benefits of a future which will not care and where the ‘problems’ we imagine people will face turn out to not matter at all – or be replaced by much bigger, unimaginable problems.

Let me give you an example. Before the invention of the car, intelligent people were really worried about the build up of horse manure in city streets. They predicted how many horses would be on the streets in 1920 or 1930 and they were shocked. But they were wrong. They were wrong just as Thomas Malthus was wrong. Because they did not think that future generations could solve any problems and invent any new technologies. Let’s not make the same mistake.

208. Let me give you an example. Before the invention of the car, intelligent people were really worried about the build up of horse manure in city streets.

I’m sure you will find that if you do the math and the physics, that replacing fossil fuels as an energy conversion medium and then removing the excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere will be considerably more difficult than removing the horse manure was from city and town streets.

But I can tell from the content of your posts that you are both unable and unwilling to do neither.

209. Willard says:

> It seems to me that in order to tacitly try to prove via modus ponens that the rationality of the propositional calculus is questionable, you’re tacitly trying to get us to accept the implication that if we could come up with an application of x that makes no sense (never mind that we can do this for all x), then the rationality of x is questionable. Sorry, I’ll never accept this implication – why should anyone?

I have no idea what I’m tacitly supposed to make anyone accept, except that the concept of spending is well established. The action of spending money cannot be represented in classical logic, for it deals with eternal truths, not resources. Another example:

Suppose we represent a candy bar by the atomic proposition candy, and a dollar by $1. To state the fact that a dollar will buy you one candy bar, we might write the implication$1 ⇒ candy. But in ordinary (classical or intuitionistic) logic, from A and A ⇒ B one can conclude A ∧ B. So, ordinary logic leads us to believe that we can buy the candy bar and keep our dollar! Of course, we can avoid this problem by using more sophisticated encodings, although typically such encodings suffer from the frame problem. However, the rejection of weakening and contraction allows linear logic to avoid this kind of spurious reasoning even with the “naive” rule. Rather than $1 ⇒ candy, we express the property of the vending machine as a linear implication$1 ⊸ candy. From $1 and this fact, we can conclude candy, but not$1 ⊗ candy. In general, we can use the linear logic proposition A ⊸ B to express the validity of transforming resource A into resource B.

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

From a structural point of view, linear logic manages contraction and weakening differently. Note that the frame problem, mentioned in the quote, is another thing that could be discussed, since it also shows a limitation of classical systems like PC to deal with real-life problems:

The challenge, then, is to find a way to capture the non-effects of actions more succinctly in formal logic. What we need, it seems, is some way of declaring the general rule-of-thumb that an action can be assumed not to change a given property of a situation unless there is evidence to the contrary. This default assumption is known as the common sense law of inertia. The (technical) frame problem can be viewed as the task of formalising this law.

The main obstacle to doing this is the monotonicity of classical logic. In classical logic, the set of conclusions that can be drawn from a set of formulae always increases with the addition of further formulae. This makes it impossible to express a rule that has an open-ended set of exceptions, and the common sense law of inertia is just such a rule. For example, in due course we might want to add a formula that captures the exception to Axiom 3 that arises when we move an object into a pot of paint. But our not having thought of this exception before should not prevent us from applying the common sense law of inertia and drawing a wide enough set of (defeasible) conclusions to get off the ground.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/frame-problem/

Agents that deal with actions all day long can solve this quite easily. And yet classical logic is cumbersome for such elementary tasks. That any “rational exercise […] has to obey the fundamentals of propositional logic” is a claim that has been refuted a long time ago. And that’s notwithstanding the underlying logicism of such claim, which is far from being taken for granted nowadays:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logicism/

210. austrartra,

Let me give you an example. Before the invention of the car, intelligent people were really worried about the build up of horse manure in city streets. They predicted how many horses would be on the streets in 1920 or 1930 and they were shocked. But they were wrong. They were wrong just as Thomas Malthus was wrong. Because they did not think that future generations could solve any problems and invent any new technologies. Let’s not make the same mistake.

Except this is your worry not mine. You’re the one who doesn’t want change, not me. I’m pretty optimistic that we can solve this. My concern is that we’ll leave it too late and that the warming – that basic physics tells us will happen if we continue to increase our emissions – will do damage that we could have avoided if only we’d acted sooner. My concern is that policy makers will listen to people like you who keep saying “don’t do anything yet : let’s wait for the magic of the free market to solve this by just waiting for a solution that someone will come up with for reasons that we don’t understand, and we shouldn’t – under any circumstances – try to solve this any way other than through a wait and see strategy, because that would be wasteful and inefficient”.

Of course, we should be thankful that policy makers don’t always listen to people like you or else we’d never have gone to the moon, discovered the Higgs Boson, seen the most distant galaxies, developed the world wide web, and a whole myriad of things that were developed through funding from governments that recognised that there are just some things that the magical free-market just won’t bother doing.

So, please, don’t think that any pessimism I have is based on a sense that we can’t solve this. If I am pessimistic, it because I’m concerned we won’t even bother trying.

211. jsam says:

ATTP – be gentle with austrartra, he has faith.

212. jsam,
Okay, I’ll try to be gentler 🙂

213. Michael 2 says:

“if we could finally get to real contrarian arguments, held by real contrarians, published in real publications.”

The No True Contrarian fallacy pertains 😉

214. austrartsua says:

I have faith in free markets, you have faith in government. We’ve all got to have faith in something! 🙂

215. jsam says:

I have faith in physics. Ta.

216. Tom Curtis says:

W – “First, I’m not “giving a name” to the form, I’m referring to it by naming the main operator the statement contains.”

K&A – “By the rules of the propositional calculus, this is false – a negated conjunction is not a conjunction. The main operator in the negated conjunction “~(p & q)” is “~”, not “&”.”

W – “The rules of PC don’t rule how people refer to expressions. If I wished to refer to something like “~(~p & ~q) -> ~r”, it would be silly to say “your implication between a negated conjunction of two negations and a negation”. I could perfectly say “your implication”, because that’s the central connector. And since people usually try to get what one means, this should be enough.”

Willard, that is not a counter example to K&A’s point.

We can see K&A’s point by recasting our syntax. So, instead of ~p, we have ~(p); instead of (p & q) we have, &(p,q); instead of (p v q) we have, v(p,q); and instead of (p -> q), we have ->(p,q). It should be readily appreciated that recasting our syntax like this makes not difference to the logic, and that (with suitably substituted substitution rules) the resulting sentences are every b it as much an example of Propositional Calculus as are the more familiar forms.

So, using this variant syntax, for K&A’s “~(p & q)”, we have ~(&(p,q).
For your “~(~p & ~q) -> ~r” we have ->(~(&(~(p),~(q))),~(r))

The advantage of this variant is that the main operator is always the left most symbol. K&A claim that it makes sense to refer to a sentence in abbreviated form by its main operator, but not by subsidiary operators alone. Thus you could refer to their example as a negation, or a negated conjunction, but not as simply a conjunction. The later misrepresents the sentence by leaving out the most important feature.

In your counter example, however, you are following exactly K&A’s rule by referring to the sentence you constructed by the main operator. K&A (and I) agree, it makes sense to refer to your sample sentence as an implication, or as an implication between negations, but it would not make sense to refer to it as a negation, but we agree only because your purported counter example in fact follows the rule that K&A described (and I agree with).

217. Tom Curtis says:

austratsua, your claim of faith is ambiguous. Do you have faith in “free markets” in the sense of a market with no negative externalities, no coercion, no transaction costs, and perfect knowledge by market participants? Or do you have faith in a “free market” in the sense of a market entirely free of regulation? You are aware, I hope, that Pareto optimality can only be proved for the first form of a free market, and that because the second form of a free market will, de facto lack the defining conditions of the first form of a free market, it will also lack Pareto optimality (or indeed, any sort of optimality except for the very rich).

218. johnl says:

austrartsua says:

I have faith in free markets, you have faith in government. We’ve all got to have faith in something!

“A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.”

“Faith: not wanting to know what is true.”
(Friedrich Nietzsche / 1844-1900)

219. BBD says:

Shorter Tom C: there’s no such thing as a free market. Never was. You are putting your faith in something that does not exist, austrartsua.

220. You are putting your faith in something that does not exist

As are billions of other humans, worldwide. Faith is an extremely profitable market for a select few, and it’s surprisingly easy to sell any nonexistant delusions to the gullible and uneducated masses.

221. jsam says:

By inclination I am a free marketeer. My career has been in commercial enterprises. I have started three businesses.

However, I like my policy choices backed by data, not faith.

So, what has worked to protect the environment?

On the side of regulation we have the UK Clean Air Acts (the fist of which pretty well eradicated London pea soupers(, North American acid rain and CFCs. And there appear to be many more.

On the side of the free market I, frankly, came up with nothing. Not a sausage. The very many smarter than me may well be able to fill in the blank. But I suspect there are few, if any, examples.

I suspect that the underlying reason so many Libertarians are climate science deniers at the extreme through do-nothingers is simply that because no tool in their workshop can fix the problem, the problem therefore cannot be allowed to exist. The lack of policy available wags the scientific dog.

222. Tom Curtis says:

Willard, returning to cups of tea, the purpose of Propositional Calculus is to model truth in propositions. It is no more a “bug” of PC that it does not model directly the inner workings of vending machines than it is a “bug” of GCMs that they do not predict the winner of the Kentucky Derby. Having said that, using the first order (I think) or second order (for sure) Predicate Calculus, and time indexes and explicit statements about location it is possible to model the inner workings of vending machines using the standard PC operators.

I know this because standard computer chips do in fact use logic gates isomorphic in operation to the PC operators, and can easily serve as the control mechanisms for vending machines. It follows that while there may be more elegant logics for the control mechanisms of vending machines, your example only appears as a counter example to the use of PC based on category mistakes as I previously noted. Specifically, Propositional Calculus operators assert, and only assert truth relationships between propositions. Those propositions, however, can assert facts about the world and it is that combination that allows the Propositional Calculus to model any situation the world may throw up.

223. Tom Curtis says:

BBD, shorter me is that “free market” is ambiguous, an ambiguity illicitly played on by supporters of deregulated markets so that they can both pretend that they have a proof that “free markets” are Pareto Optimal, while allowing market situations to develop that void the assumptions of that proof.

224. austrartsua says:

Who cares about pareto optimality? Or any other theoretical concept of optimality? I don’t. I support making markets as ‘free’ as possible because a) this makes them more efficient and b) this makes them more dynamic and adaptive and c) this gives rise to innovation. Supporting free-er markets is progressive. Does this mean no regulation? Of course not! Government has a very important role to play in regulating markets and building infrastructure etc. I mean free in the sense of open to new competition and free from unnecessary – crony-protection, status quo entrenching – regulation.

Anyway, this has nothing to do with global warming. But on the point of what’s good for the environment – the wealthiest countries are the ones who can afford to look after their environment. Poor countries have horrible environmental quality because. Technological innovation improves agricultural productivity allowing more land to be left to wilderness. All of this is more support for being pro-economic growth.

225. Tom Curtis says:

austrartsua, first, your use of one ambiguous term (without disambiguating) by introducing another. Any efficiency is a ratio between two values, and input value and an output value. “Market efficiency” or “economic efficiency” are terms often bandied about without definition. So, again, what is your definition of market efficiency in terms of inputs and outputs. Your free use of undefined terms and dismissal on the economic basis on which it is claimed that free markets are just (Pareto Optimality) certainly go to show that you have Faith in “Free Markets”, ie, an ideological support of a set of shibboleths.

Putting that aside, however, I am intrigued by this statement:

“Does this mean no regulation? Of course not! Government has a very important role to play in regulating markets and building infrastructure etc. I mean free in the sense of open to new competition and free from unnecessary – crony-protection, status quo entrenching – regulation.”

The cynic in me suggests that what you really mean by that is you want just sufficient regulation so that corporations can privatize profits and externalize costs.

Suppressing my inner cynic aside, for the moment, how exactly do you determine which regulations that are for crony-protection and status quo entrenching. The status quo is the current heavy reliance of fossil fuels with externalized costs in the form of health effects of fossil fuel pollution (which are very large). The largest current system of cronyism in the US would be the support of the fossil fuel industry in Congress (based on size of donations to members of Congress). Your stated position on regulation provides no support for not regulating to avoid global warming, and would suggest positively altering regulations to prevent the fossil fuel industry from dumping negative effects (as determined by science) on other parties without either consent or compensation.

226. Willard says:

> I know this because standard computer chips do in fact use logic gates isomorphic in operation to the PC operators, and can easily serve as the control mechanisms for vending machines. It follows that while there may be more elegant logics for the control mechanisms of vending machines, your example only appears as a counter example to the use of PC based on category mistakes as I previously noted.

The previously alleged category mistake was about my use of implicit propositions. This new “category mistake” rests on the idea that because a vending machine is made of logic gates and that we can represent PC using logic gates, vending machines express the full expressive power of PC, when in fact they forbid people to ask for more than what their money can buy. It’s like arguing, as K&A did above, that because I am using Modus Ponens (I have no idea where I did, but never mind), I am using PC. As if there using Modus Ponens implied a Boolean algebra!

And as the sentence right after the one I emphasized above states, if you get an agent that is more sophisticated, you get into the frame problem. One way to the algebraic tool and add constraints via axioms, for instance to make sure there is a physical limit on the number of coins one can insert. (PC does not even consider that writing its propositions takes physical space, or that resolving the satisfiability of its propositions takes time: another feature that can be a bug, sometimes.) PC alone is of no help to make sure that when a client puts a quarter and another quarter in the machine, the vending machine does not infer “there’s a quarter in the machine”. The same applies to simplification: when you put a dollar and a quarter, the machine should not infer “there is a quarter in the machine”. These are two inferences that allow PC. Therefore, we should conclude that the machine, even equipped with PC, has been modified with a dynamic component, and basically simulates a linear machine.

There are two points I want to make out of this example. First, PC is just one tool among many: it’s good for some things, it sucks at others. Second, I’m using this example to illustrate something important about K&A’s trick. (Yes, I’m quite sure it’s only a trick: it looks too much like the old one about auxiliary hypotheses [1].) To add an ad hoc propositional variable to deflect the [modus tollens] would not be valid in linear logic. A linear logician will always ask: where does that q comes from?

This is supposed to be clarified by the interpretation of that F, that p, and the connector between them. I’ll return in my next comments to these interpretations: these matters if we want to address the contrarian arguments against climate models, theories, instruments, and the many claims made on their basis.

227. Tom Curtis says:

Willard, you miss the point. I am not arguing that the use of modus ponens implies that you are using a boolean algebra. I am arguing that computer chips, as a matter of fact use a bolean algebra, and that therefore their operations can be modeled in (at minimum) 2nd order Predicate calculus and for most applications first order predicate calculus, both of which are simple, consistent syntactic extensions of the Predicate Calculus.

In short, linear logic may be valid under certain applications, and even more economical of expression than the Propositional Calculus (or first or 2nd order predicate calculus), but it is not necessary. The convenience of linear logic for certain applications does not thereby demonstrate the inability of the PC to handle those same situations.

228. austrarta,

I have faith in free markets, you have faith in government. We’ve all got to have faith in something!

This is where you’re wrong (and maybe illustrates that you should consider that those with whom you seem to disagree are not actually saying what you think they are). I don’t have specific faith in government and I haven’t really said that I do. What I was pointing out that assuming that the free-market alone will find a solution is naive. Maybe you could try pointing to some major, societally relevant development that was driven only by the free-market without any government incentive or investment. Even if we were to push for a carbon tax, that is still not going to be implemented without government involvement and global agreement.

229. Willard says:
October 21, 2014 at 7:16 pm

“I have no idea what I’m tacitly supposed to make anyone accept,…”

You put the term “rational” in quotation marks when on October 20, 2014 at 5:14 pm you said, “Just a short comment to illustrate how “rational” is PC (propositional calculus), and you followed that with an example of a nonsensical interpretation or application of PC. The hint was taken. You’re trying to get us to accept that the PC is sometimes not rational. This is what you are trying to get us to accept.

You put forth an interpretation or application x of PC that makes no sense….Therefore? If there is nothing after “therefore”, then there’s nothing to talk about. If there is some y after “therefore”, then we have the argument form, “x, therefore y”, which is not a valid argument form – unless there was a hidden premise that connected x and y such as x -> y. Now we see the tacit attempt at modus ponens ((x -> y) & x) => y. But there’s no obligation to accept a premise of an argument if there is no argument made for that premise (otherwise, we have the fallacy of begging the question – assuming the conclusion – with x -> y itself as the conclusion). You made no argument for that hidden x -> y premise, which means we have no obligation to accept it, which means we don’t have to accept y from x.

By the way, for any two propositions A and B, it’s a tautological disjunction that either A -> B or B -> A, The affirmation that neither implication holds is a contradiction. (Do the truth tables or apply De Morgan’s Laws if you don’t believe this). And so if someone argues “A, therefore, B” then point out this tautology, which supports that this hidden claim A -> B surely is there.

“Another example:
Suppose we represent a candy bar by the atomic proposition candy, and a dollar by $1. To state the fact that a dollar will buy you one candy bar, we might write the implication$1 -> candy. But in ordinary (classical or intuitionistic) logic, from A and A -> B one can conclude A & B. So, ordinary logic leads us to believe that we can buy the candy bar and keep our dollar!”

It seems to me that this is just another example of the fact that one can always come up with an interpretation or application of any mathematics or mathematical symbolism that makes no sense. Yes, we can always do this….Therefore?

Tom Curtis says:
October 21, 2014 at 10:07 pm

“Specifically, Propositional Calculus operators assert, and only assert truth relationships between propositions. Those propositions, however, can assert facts about the world and it is that combination that allows the Propositional Calculus to model any situation the world may throw up.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disjunctive_sequence
Quote:
“A disjunctive sequence is an infinite sequence (over a finite alphabet of characters) in which every finite string appears as a substring.

A rich number or disjunctive number is a real number whose expansion with respect to some base b is a disjunctive sequence over the alphabet {0,…,b – 1}.

A number that is disjunctive to every base is called absolutely disjunctive or is said to be a lexicon.”

There is an uncountable infinity of real numbers whose infinite digital expansions satisfy this. If it is *in principle* possible to encode as a finite string any finite set of spacetime events in any possible finite physical universe (anything that could possibly be written of any finite length or anything that could possibly happen for any finite duration in any possible finite physical universe), and since every such string by the above exists in each of said uncountable infinity of real numbers, then what would that say about “…it is that combination that allows the Propositional Calculus to model any situation the world may throw up”?

Willard says:
October 22, 2014 at 12:45 am

“I’m using this example to illustrate something important about K&A’s trick. (Yes, I’m quite sure it’s only a trick: it looks too much like the old one about auxiliary hypotheses [1].) To add an ad hoc propositional variable to deflect the [modus tollens] would not be valid in linear logic. A linear logician will always ask: where does that q comes from?
This is supposed to be clarified by the interpretation of that F, that p, and the connector between them. I’ll return in my next comments to these interpretations: these matters if we want to address the contrarian arguments against climate models, theories, instruments, and the many claims made on their basis.”

Yes, these do matter. And it’s not a trick. At the very least, it’s beating them at their own game by, for the sake of argument, granting that the propositional calculus applies and granting their claims that false predictions are made, and then logically destroying their attempts to falsify climate science – or any science, for that matter – that use nothing more than false predictions. And this includes the Koutsoyiannis paper you cited:

In the conclusions they flatly claim as an independent bullet, “This makes future climate projections not credible.” This sounds to me like they are making a flat claim that the mathematics used to produce those outputs has been falsified – never mind that they have no idea at all the role the assumptions I denote as p may have played in what they consider to be false predictions. They may well be engaging in contradiction affirmation, this possibility I prove below: I show that claiming falsification from nothing but false predictions is nothing but an exercise in possible contradiction affirmation.

Further below is another theorem that I could and should have included on October 21, 2014 at 11:14 am with that set of three theorems. Although these four theorems along with the extra derivation exposing how it is logically impossible to infer ~F given the observation ~p kill the denier falsification argument by beating them at their own game, this fourth theorem seems to be quite good at doing that by itself:

Again, here are the definitions: Variable “p” denotes the assumptions that help us determine what data to feed into the formulas, equations, and algorithms and what data not to feed into them. The set of assumptions p also include those used to decide what mathematics to use, to cover such things as human error or malfunctions, and to decide how to turn the numerical data outputted from F into q. Variable “F” denotes the mathematics – the model if you will, the set of definitions, formulas, equations, and algorithms into which we feed numerical data. Variable “q” denotes the conclusions, predictions, or projections formed from the outputted numerical data.

Theorem (D). If we affirm the simple modus tollens scheme ((F-> q) & ~q) => ~F, we observe ~q (and affirm ~q we must), and F is actually the case (and we know that in science many times the conjunction F & ~q turns out to be the case), then with logical necessity we must affirm the contradiction F & ~F.

Proof:
(1). F (Given.)
(2). F -> q (Postulate.)
(3). ~q (Observation.)
(4). ~F ((2) and (3): Modus Tollens.)
(5). F & ~F ((1) and (4): Conjunction Introduction.)

Comment on this last theorem: Has not someone noticed that the denier modus tollens scheme ((F-> q) & ~q) => ~F says that if we observe ~q, then with logical necessity we must infer ~F *every single time* that F is actually the case and something other than F is responsible for ~q? This means that with this denier falsification scheme, *every single time* F and ~q actually are the case – and we know that many times this happens, we get the contradiction F & ~F.

This is what happens when we reject the fact that assumptions p always matter.

230. Willard says:

> In short, linear logic may be valid under certain applications, and even more economical of expression than the Propositional Calculus (or first or 2nd order predicate calculus), but it is not necessary.

I agree with that: a computer is almost (unless you can get one with an infinite tape) a Turing machine! My argument is that the converse is also true: PC is not necessary either. We just don’t know what is the minimal structure to represent rationality in general. There might even not be something like rationality in general, just like there may not be a General Problem Solver. This is not an a priori question. [Logic always provides] constraints, of course, but this is an empirical [question], at least to those who, like me, believe that epistemology ought to be naturalized because it’s just a branch of psychology, if I may merge two slogans from my avatar.

***

This has an impact on how one should teach anything that relies on informal logic. Take K&A’s^ ~(F & p) and the fact that p is false. Do you really think that the only interpretation we can give to “p is false” is ~p? Another natural interpretation is to say that, when trying to find satisfiable models for the expression, “look only at the lines where there’s a F or a 0 under p”. And if you enter that expression here:

http://web.inf.unibz.it/~franconi/teaching/propcalc/

the only countermodels to this expression are when p is true. That is, the only way ~(F & p) is false is when p is true. But we already established that p was false! Do you think that I’m being irrational when I say that? I don’t think so. The only thing you can say is that I’m not using negation as defined in classical logic.

***

Take how negation operates in PC, and consider this case:

From the perspective of knowledge representation, a set of ground atoms can be thought of as a description of a complete state of knowledge: the atoms that belong to the set are known to be true, and the atoms that do not belong to the set are known to be false. A possibly incomplete state of knowledge can be described using a consistent but possibly incomplete set of literals; if an atom p does not belong to the set and its negation does not belong to the set either then it is not known whether p is true.

In the context of logic programming, this idea leads to the need to distinguish between two kinds of negation — negation as failure, discussed above, and strong negation, which is denoted here by $\sim.$ [2] The following example, illustrating the difference between the two kinds of negation, belongs to John McCarthy. A school bus may cross railway tracks under the condition that there is no approaching train. If we do not necessarily know whether a train is approaching then the rule using negation as failure

$\hbox{Cross} \leftarrow \hbox{not Train}$

is not an adequate representation of this idea: it says that it’s okay to cross in the absence of information about an approaching train. The weaker rule, that uses strong negation in the body, is preferable:

$\hbox{Cross} \leftarrow \,\sim\hbox{Train}$

It says that it’s okay to cross if we know that no train is approaching.

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

This kind of formalism may be fruitful to represent the precautionary tales we so commonly encounter in ClimateBall ™.

***

What should we conclude from this? Some may argue that K&A’s formula is a truism, which reinforces the idea that climate science, or any science that can be formalized that way can’t be falsified.

To see how the strategy of making scientific theories unfalsifiable, consider:

http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=%28p+implies+q%29+implies+%28%28p+and+q+and+r%29+implies+q%29

This means that once you get that F implies q, you can add to the left side of the implication as much as you want. You have a problem with r? Throw it under the bus, and add another propositional variable! This trick can be used ad lib, unless we also require that doing so makes sense in the first place.

***

To return to our case, I don’t think that to interpret & as an “and” (which is wrong for reasons that are uninteresting for us – natural language has many ways to understand that “and” beyond being a mere Boolean connector) in no way justifies the introduction of any dummy propositional variable, something that is allowed by PC.

In a nutshell, IF you can’t predict that F will lead to q, this means your F can’t predict anything, because this q is just about anything [required to make a prediction]. And IF you need something else to make predictions, be it p, r, s, t, or what not, that means your predictive apparatus needs to contain all this. THEN it’s quite clear that to split your predictive apparatus into a part which can be falsified by observation and another one that can’t makes a part of your apparatus unfalsifiable.

These are big IFs, [considering] what follows the big THEN.

I’d rather consider other ways to connect the parts of your predictive apparatus than a Boolean “and” than accept there’s something in science that can’t be falsified. Throwing equivocations around won’t stop falsificationnists from requiring that we put the feet of theories under our empirical fires. This is not an irrational request.

And what makes everything worse is that we have yet to find any real scientist to claim what K&A posits is being irrationally claimed.

231. Willard says:

> You’re trying to get us to accept that the PC is sometimes not rational. This is what you are trying to get us to accept.

No, I’m trying to make you accept that there are rational processes that do not follow PC. In other words, I’m disputing your claim that a rational process implies PC.

232. Willard says:

> This is what happens when we reject the fact that assumptions p always matter

Citation needed.

I rather think that when people (not just deniers or contrarians, anyone, really) speak of theories, or models, or whatnot, they are referring to that thing-that-is-used-to-make-predictions.

To suppose that the only thing that is falsifiable are assumptions makes everything that are not assumptions in that thing-that-is-used-to-make-predictions unfalsifiable.

Since the unfalsifiable part is F, I hope we now realize that defining correctly that F matters a lot. I can compromise that F contains some basic logic. (As Ruth Millikan once observed, we ought to be able to differentiate good sex from bad sex.) But beyond that, I say that everything is up for grabs and belongs to the “assumptions” p. But then why not simplify everything, drop that F on the principle that even bivalence is not universal and speak only of p?

***

I should note that what you’re saying looks a lot like this, K&A:

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

If you did not know that stuff, I say: congratulations! You just reinvented most of logical positivism.

233. Willard says:

I just noted this, and this is important:

In the conclusions they flatly claim as an independent bullet, “This makes future climate projections not credible.” This sounds to me like they are making a flat claim that the mathematics used to produce those outputs has been falsified – never mind that they have no idea at all the role the assumptions I denote as p may have played in what they consider to be false predictions. They may well be engaging in contradiction affirmation, this possibility I prove below: I show that claiming falsification from nothing but false predictions is nothing but an exercise in possible contradiction affirmation.

Since Koutsoyannis use past models in his demonstration, I have no idea why we’d interpret what he claims as “claiming falsification from nothing but false predictions”.

Another way to interpret Koutsoyannis is to read him as claiming that climate models have no skill. This means that the claim that the things-climate-scientists-used-to-make-projections-so-far have not behaved like a predictive engine at all. In other words, they argue that any prediction claim with any similar-thing-climate-scientists-use-to-make-projections can’t be trusted. In other words, there is no empirical reason to accept that any thing-climate-scientists-use-to-make-projections can make reliable predictions. The operative word is “credible,” which inserts a modality that PC does not capture.

(I will continue to hammer that one until K&A realizes that there’s a reason why Carnap went for modal logic. A move I condone, BTW. I’m disagreeing with my avatar about modal logic. The alternative is to go the Popper route. But then the whole positivist apparatus must be dropped.)

***

The way I read Koutsoyannis leads to the Impredictibility argument, not the falsification argument. It is different from the falsification argument because there’s an induction step that makes the argument apply from the past things-climate-scientists-used-to-make-projections to future similar-things-climate-scientists-will-use-to-make-projections.

To equivocate with “but assumptions” changes nothing to the argument. It just throws assumptions under the bus to preserve an unfalsifiable hard core, which is not the target of any of my three arguments in the first place, at least until we put climate science in that safe haven.

234. Vinny Burgoo says:

Wotts, you don’t need global agreement for a national carbon tax. That’s one of its beauties.

(Indeed I can’t imagine what a global agreement on carbon tax would look like.)

235. Vinny,
Yes, I realise you don’t need a global agreement for a national carbon tax, but you do if you want a globally consistent carbon tax. I can see how it might make some sense to simply go for a national carbon tax, but then it would seem that you would run the risk of simply moving more of your industry/manufacturing overseas where there is a different/no carbon tax.

236. Willard says:

International agreements will never be possible.

In other news, seems that the pound is getting stronger:

http://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=GBP&to=USD&view=1Y

237. Vinny Burgoo says:

Wotts, it would only affect exports because imports would be carbon-taxed, and not all exports would be affected, only those with big manufacturing footprints that are bought by places with low tariffs. (And perhaps oil exports, although you could argue, as I think Norway does, that their CO2 is the responsibility of whoever burns them.) So we might lose a little bit more of what’s left of our heavy industry. Exports with a smallish manufacturing footprint would actually get cheaper with a revenue-neutral carbon tax, though, so we’d probably end up making and selling more…

[consults exports table]

Hmmm. Art, essential oils and knitwear.

Perhaps the carbon tax isn’t such a good idea after all. It’d turn us into a nation of hipsters.

238. Vinny,
Maybe I’m missing something, but how would imports be carbon taxed? Do you mean we’d actually have an import duty that would be based on the carbon emitted in making the produce?

239. Vinny Burgoo says:

Wotts, yes. Unless it was carbon-taxed at source.

240. Vinny Burgoo says:

BBD, the park isn’t a pristine wilderness. Most of the refugees and local squatters who lived in it have now been removed but four million people (including 900,000 refugees) live within a day’s walk of it and use it as a source of fuel and food. (And who can blame them? They’ve got nothing.)

Then there are the rebel militias. They make money trafficking charcoal, bushmeat and fish from the park. (I thought they’d all been defeated but they’re still very active. Last week one militia killed fifty people in two attacks on the same town and another attacked a prison and released all the prisoners.)

So it’s all a bit of a mess, really.

What’s needed is wealth, stability and infrastructure. Drilling for oil could help with all three. It probably wouldn’t create many local jobs directly but Congolese law would oblige it to finance the provision of things like schools and electricity. Plus not all of the money would end up in Swiss bank accounts. Some of it would certainly be put to good use by the government. (Activists say that drilling would actually increase poverty and violence in the area but their arguments don’t add up.)

241. Vinny,

Wotts, yes. Unless it was carbon-taxed at source.

Well, okay, but that’s essentially my point then. Either you have a global agreement about a carbon tax, or you’re going to have to introduce some kind of import duty of foreign goods if you want to have a national carbon tax (or don’t have an import duty and simply produce everything overseas where there is no carbon tax).

242. jsam says:

243. Vinny Burgoo says:

jsam, that dissertation used four indicators of political instability:

‘(1) Demonstrations and Riots, (2) Civil War and Guerilla Warfare, (3) Coups D’Etat and Attempted Coups D’Etat and (4) Terrorism.’

DRC already has all four, so she’d have a hard time proving that they were linked to low oil prices.

244. BBD says:

Ah, so the new version of Vinny’s argument is that because things on the ground are far from perfect, WWF was an “environmental bully” for stopping an oil company from taking advantage of the situation for its own profit. WWF was an “environmental bully” for trying to prevent still more damage to the park.

245. anoilman says:

Vinny Anders… a national carbon tax does not affect imports exports and you won’t shift jobs.

To resolve the concern of off-shoring local jobs, all you have to do is carbon tax incoming goods, and carbon release (tax credit?) when you export.

A global flat rate would be simpler though. In that case a global tax on fossil fuel production (not consumption) would be a good way to go. Personally I lean to tax on consumption since that is known to work.

246. anoilman says:

You get a host of problems with any sort of petro state. Long term regimes, with extremist politics, and since governments tend to lean on those resource revenues you get crazy random budgets that are resource driven and unstable. Lets not forget all those special interest groups.

That’s what its like here in Alberta. How many decades with conservatives in power? 3? 4? Home of the Canadian Tea Party (Steven Harper), and amid record (?) profits we have cut backs and lay offs. It gets pretty nutty.

247. anoilman says:

Not liking oil is present has unpatriotic.

The only laughter in all this, is that Alberta championed that resources were provincial rights, to the exclusion of all others. So… now that they want pipelines, the other provinces, and 400 some odd first nations treaties are quite free to say no. And they are. (If only because they don’t care, and why wade into something polarizing and contentious when you can just say no.)

Mean while, the oppressive bullies are having a hay day;

248. Important note: Before I begin, I will make a variable change. Up to now, I have let F denote the models (all the mathematics in question that outputs numerical data that is interpreted as predictions, projections, or conclusions). Starting with this post, I will use M instead, and so in all past posts containing F, substitute M for F. I will still let p denote all the relevant assumptions *outside* of M – these assumptions also those outside M used to interpret numerical data outputted from M – and still let q denote all the predictions (or projections or conclusions).

Willard says:
October 22, 2014 at 1:51 pm

“Do you really think that the only interpretation we can give to “p is false” is ~p”

In PC (the propositional calculus), yes, it’s the only one. I have always been in PC with my symbolism in this thread. Why? The denier falsification scheme deals with and only with propositions under PC. I grant *for the sake of argument* their operating premises and then below with three proofs – two of them new – use their own premises to logically destroy their falsification scheme. Two of these proofs appeal to modal logic, and one of them appeals to probability and quantification theory. The essential problem with this scheme is that it tries to infer ~M from taking the implication M -> q as a postulate coupled with the observation ~q even though it can and sometimes does happen that this alleged postulate’s negation M & ~q holds – it can and sometimes does happen that we observe what seems to be a false prediction ~q with a model M that is OK. This tension between M -> q and its negation M & ~q leads to contradiction. Taking (M & p) -> q instead of M -> q as a postulate avoids all these contradictions, but as I noted further above, deniers would not be able to claim that climate science is falsified from merely M -> q and ~q.

“What should we conclude from this? Some may argue that K&A’s formula is a truism, which reinforces the idea that climate science, or any science that can be formalized that way can’t be falsified.”

The use of (M & p) -> q as a postulate doesn’t do this.

“To return to our case, I don’t think that to interpret & as an “and” (which is wrong)…”

It’s a definition. You asked me how I was using the “&” symbol in my symbolisms. All the symbolisms I’ve given are under PC. In ascii text, it’s a convenient symbol to use.

“…because this q is just about anything [required to make a prediction].”

This is not what I defined q to denote.

“And what makes everything worse is that we have yet to find any real scientist to claim what K&A posits is being irrationally claimed.”

See Koutsoyannis and everyone else who uses the falsification scheme M -> q, ~q, therefore ~M. See the theorem and proofs below for details.

Willard says:
October 22, 2014 at 1:53 pm

> You’re trying to get us to accept that the PC is sometimes not rational. This is what you are trying to get us to accept.

“No, I’m trying to make you accept that there are rational processes that do not follow PC. In other words, I’m disputing your claim that a rational process implies PC.”

I don’t claim this. “PC” is not a proposition. Put it in a form such that antecedent and consequent are both propositions. And don’t forget that it’s a tautological disjunction in PC that for any two propositions x and y, either x implies y or y implies x. Beautiful.

Willard says:
October 22, 2014 at 2:22 pm

“To suppose that the only thing that is falsifiable are assumptions,…”

All this above is a very serious misinterpretation of what I wrote. I never said or even implied that F – which I define to be the model to be tested, which in this post and all future posts is denoted M – is unfalsifiable. I never said or even implied that p – which I define to be the set of all relevant assumptions outside of M – is the only thing that is falsifiable. My definitions, theorems, and proofs say none of this, and my use of the symbolism in these definitions, theorems, and proofs says none of this.

Willard says:
October 22, 2014 at 3:05 pm

“Another way to interpret Koutsoyannis is to read him as claiming that climate models have no skill.”

This changes nothing. Koutsoyannis made no consideration whatsoever of the assumptions p outside of the models M. Period. He can’t know that they have no skill. For all he knows, the models M were just fine. For all he knows, it could be that at least one false assumption in the set of assumptions p outside of M (which would give ~p) is what is responsible for the ~q he claimed to measure. He used M -> q as a postulate to get ~M via claimed ~q.

Here are the proofs I mentioned that doing this, that using M -> q as a postulate to get ~M via claimed ~q, implies contradiction.

Theorem X_1. If we grant *for the sake of argument* the operating premise of PC and if we take M -> q as a postulate, then we have three consequents:
(A) If ~q is observed and we take the axiom in some modal logics called necessity introduction (see
https://www.otexts.org/mlo/1/11

to see this axiom), then we have the contradiction that it is both possibly and not possibly the case that M holds.
(B). If ~q is observed and we take one of those instances in which M & ~q holds, then we have the contradiction M & ~M.
(C). If ~q is observed, then we have the contradiction that it is both possibly and not possibly the case that the contradiction (M & ~M) holds.

Proof: First, a side note: We have the implication (M & p) -> q via modus ponens on the postulated M -> q and the tautological implication (M -> q) => ((M & p) -> q).

To prove that the antecedent implies (A) (this proof uses modal logics in which we can have the proposition called Necessity Introduction):
(1). M -> q (Postulate.)
(2). ~q (Observation.)
(3). ~M ((2) and (3): By Modus Tollens.)
(4) It is necessarily the case that ~M holds. ((3): By Necessity Introduction.)
(5). It is not possibly the case that M holds. ((4): By the definition of necessity in modal logic.)
(6). It is possibly the case that M holds. (It is possibly the case that M holds if it is possibly the case that ~p holds, and since this last possibility has not been ruled out via ignoring p, it holds, and thus by modus ponens, the former possibility holds.)
(7). It both possibly is and possibly is not the case that M holds. Contradiction. ((5) and (6): By Conjunction introduction.)

The only way out for the above is to deny all modal logics in which we can have the proposition called Necessity Introduction.

To prove that the antecedent implies (B): By Modus Tollens on part of the givens, we obtain ~M and then the contradiction M & ~M.

To prove that the antecedent implies (C): This proof uses modal logics in which we can have the proposition that it is not possibly the case (equivalent to “it is necessarily not the case”) that a contradiction (x & ~x) holds: There exist instances in which M holds and both ~p and ~q are observed (which can be generated via the “garbage in, garbage out” method on M when M holds, if one so desired), which implies that any given instance in which ~q is observed has a nonzero probability of being one of those instances in which M holds and ~q is observed, which by the givens and via modus tollens on the givens implies that there is a nonzero probability that we have the contradiction M & ~M, which implies that it is possibly the case that we have the contradiction (M & ~M), which implies that via the modal statement that it is not possibly the case (equivalent to “it is necessarily not the case”) that a contradiction (x & ~x) holds, we have the contradiction that it is both possibly and not possibly the case that the contradiction (M & ~M) holds.

The only way out for the above is to deny all modal logics in which we can have the proposition that it is not possibly the case (equivalent to “it is necessarily not the case”) that a contradiction (x & ~x) holds.

The denier falsification scheme that tries to infer ~M from taking the implication M -> q as a postulate coupled with the observation ~q is dead, essentially because it can and sometimes does happen that this alleged postulate’s negation M & ~q holds – it can and sometimes does happen that we observe what seems to be a false prediction ~q with a model M that is OK. Taking (M & p) -> q instead of M -> q as a postulate avoids all these contradictions, but as I noted further above, deniers would not be able to claim that climate science is falsified from merely M -> q and ~q.

249. > Before I begin, I will make a variable change. Up to now, I have let F denote the models (all the mathematics in question that outputs numerical data that is interpreted as predictions, projections, or conclusions). Starting with this post, I will use M instead, and so in all past posts containing F, substitute M for F. I will still let p denote all the relevant assumptions *outside* of M – these assumptions also those outside M used to interpret numerical data outputted from M – and still let q denote all the predictions (or projections or conclusions).

This removes the theories from K&A’s structure and makes them immune to falsification, since they are disconnected from the predictions, if not completely obliterated from K&A’s considerations. To abstract away theories and only speak of models is no big deal, as long as we realize that the models try to model the theories. Here’s how Tom Curtis interpreted this F or this M:

Let T = (t1 & t2 & t3 & … & tn) where ti is some putative scientific law, and “=” stands for material equivalence. Let B = (b1 & b2 & b3 & … bm), where bi is some boundary condition under which T operates.

The letter “T” and the expression “putative scientific law” seem to refer to theories. Yet, K&A seemed to appreciate this wording: ” Your T and B seems to be similar enough to my F and p”. And yet he rejects my characterization of that F as theories, a characterization I borrow from the logical positivist playbook: to divide the predictive engine into two sets, one set of theorical sentences, and another with observation sentences. [But this pushes models in K&A’s “p”, which are assumed refuted; since the models are to be preserved at all cost, that move was contested.]

So we have four concepts that express the ingredients of the predictive apparatus: theories, models, boundary conditions, and assumptions. We have two proposition variable: M and p. We can surmise that “assumptions” include forcings, parametrizations, approximations, and parametrizations, as shown here:

Both in the development phase and the simulation phase it is quite clear that the models are an interpretation of the theory according to these “assumptions”:

In this framework, some data are required as input during the simulation. However, the importance of data is probably even greater during the development phase of the model, as they provide essential information on the properties of the system that is being modelled (see Fig. 3.1). In addition, large numbers of observations are needed to test the validity of the models in order to gain confidence in the conclusions derived from their results (see section 3.5.2).

Notice that we’re speaking of testing the validity of the models, not simply the “assumptions”. In fact, we clearly see that models are far from being mere theorical constructs. In other words, the relationship between the M and the p in K&A’s structure is a bit more promiscuous than a simple “and”. The assumptions themselves help design the models. Not only are the properties of a model built from the assumptions, but the models are also connected to theories: they implement the laws that are needed to run the simulations. Speaking for myself, I always assumed that models bridged theories and assumptions together, which is why I put the models in the “p” themselves.

According to my reading of this, models integrate the “assumptions” into the theorical statements. This explains why I said earlier I have no reason to assume, like K&A does, that “p” alone can be isolated and negated while the M would stand alone, unfalsified. At the very least, we have yet to see how K&A’s structure would allow models themselves (assuming the distinction between M and p) to be falsified. If that is the case, then falsificationists will certainly have a ball with this argument, for it basically confirms their argument that climate science is unfalsifiable.

***

> The denier falsification scheme that tries to infer ~M from taking the implication M -> q as a postulate coupled with the observation ~q is dead [.]

There was no such falsification scheme in the first place, for falsificationists usually have no patience for equivocation games. When they speak of models, they are referring to the whole predictive engine, including the assumptions, which Popper calls background knowledge. He knew that scientists use auxiliary hypotheses all the time:

Falsificationists after Popper – and Popper himself in his more careful pronouncements – have allowed for modification of auxiliary hypotheses in the face of refutation, provided that the latter are independently testable and do not reduce the empirical content of the theory. If these conditions are not met, according to the falsificationist, the auxiliary hypothesis has to be discarded as ad hoc. Thus, a more sophisticated falsificationist philosophy of science accepts that every scientific research programme builds up a “protective belt” of auxiliary hypotheses around its “hard core” claims (Lakatos and Musgrave 1970; Lakatos 1968). As such, adjustments and revisions in the face of empirical anomalies are not necessarily problematic. Scientists routinely resort to auxiliary hypotheses to rescue a theory from apparent refutation, and significant progress has been made by doing so. The example of Leverrier’s and Adams’s successful postulation of an extra-Uranian planet (Neptunus) to account for the perturbations in the orbit of Uranus provides a case in point.

As we can read by following this analysis of falsificationism, the main problem is that we use ad hoc hypotheses all the time, and that using them is basically a judgement call. This by no means refute the principle that we ought not go a bridge too far with our liberty regarding auxiliary hypotheses. In fact, most of them are supposed to be already tested (cf. the image above), if not stronger than what is about to be tested.

David Stove tried the logical defense against Popper, and it was shown that he got falsificationism all wrong. The idea of the modus tollens was only there to show that science proceeded via conjectures and refutation. Popper never claimed that scientists had or did construct falsifiers that way. It’s mainly a blackboard artifice to explain how science works.

Logical schemes like K&A’s are certainly not the falsificationists’ “own game”. On the contrary, this kind of logification always has been the main debating tool of Popper’s opponents. This was Carnap’s bread and butter.

[Also note that this none of this addresses Koutsoyannis’ argument, which was against the very idea that we could consider having a reliable predictive engine in climate science.]

***

There are still logical problems that could be discussed. [Fuzzy logic, for instance, obviously rejects bivalence, on which rests classical logic. Also, infinitary logic is stronger than first-order logic in some important respects.]

250. Michael 2 says:

Anoilman says “A global flat rate would be simpler though.”

Quite right, implemented by a global government, which is also simpler. Strange that in all of human history these simple things haven’t happened and probably won’t happen. Somewhere on Earth is someone that just doesn’t want to be part of your global schemes.

The problem with “flat rate” is that the cost of production isn’t flat. Different sources have different quality of crude. Maybe it isn’t so simple and won’t be so flat.

251. Michael 2 says:

AnOilMan says “a national carbon tax does not affect imports exports and you won’t shift jobs.”

All taxes have a deadweight loss. By removing money from the flow, citizens are less able to buy imports and thus imports must decline. You further propose to tax imports and offer credits on exports. That will further reduce imports; but what is the effect? People must buy locally produced goods, which seems good, but they are more expensive than import (or not available), and thus fewer items are purchased. Despite the credit for export, not as much takes place because of a growing trade imbalance.

Capital will flow where it is less exposed to this deadweight loss, and with the movement of capital will also move the accompanying jobs. Whether it leaves Canada is a bit more complicated but your assertion that national carbon tax will not affect import, export or jobs seems naive.

252. Michael 2 says:

willard (@nevaudit) at October 25, 2014 at 2:28 am…

Wow. Seriously I think I gained 3 I.Q. points from that presentation. Well worth keeping. Good graphic, too. I’ve had few professors able to distill something this complex so succinctly.

253. Michael 2 says:

ATTP says “What I was pointing out that assuming that the free-market alone will find a solution is naive.”

Indeed, I would go farther and say it is orthogonal, irrelevant to the problem. The market does not care because the market is just the aggregation of human beings trading goods and labor.

254. Michael 2 says:

Jsam writes “the underlying reason so many Libertarians are climate science deniers…is simply that because no tool in their workshop can fix the problem”

That is partly correct. Besides the fact that Libertarians have been defined this way (making it a tautology), tools that exist to force subservience on another person are not in the Libertarian toolbox.

This is so central to Libertarian philosophy that I wonder why y’all keep stating the obvious. Is it that difficult a concept? The most a Libertarian will do is keep his own house clean; conserve energy, minimize offense to neighbors — a pretty good list. But I see very little mention of this. I see “tax, tax, tax!”

255. Michael 2 says:

ATTP wrote

“developed the world wide web”

That’s a bit of a one-man show there. Tim Berners-Lee if I remember right, but he didn’t invent it in a vacuum of course. Seems like Gopher preceded it by a bit and so did SGML. Its invention was inevitable by combining SGML and Gopher.

DARPA (government sponsored research) developed the 4 layer network model later expanded to 7 layer OSI model, also the early development on TCP/IP. Many network designs existed in the early days, the science and scalability of TCP/IP have proven to be “Darwinian” in becoming the fittest.

“there are just some things that the magical free-market just won’t bother doing.”

EXACTLY. The words “free market” are essentially irrelevant in any discussion of climate.

256. Six consecutive comments is pretty telling on any blog.

257. jsam says:

The Libertarian faith does not withstand inspection.

258. jsam says:

The Libertarian faith does not withstand rational investigation.

To regulate isnot to tax.

259. willard says:
October 22, 2014 at 2:22 pm

“This removes the theories from K&A’s structure and makes them immune to falsification,..”

This is another very serious misinterpretation of what I wrote. All I did was make a change in the letters of the alphabet used to denote things. Going from a^2 + b^2 = c^2 to x^2 + y^2 = z^2 is fine. These sorts of changes are perfectly OK and do not create something “immune to falsification”.

At the risk of losing some who still don’t understand that such letter changes are OK, I will now make more such changes (it seems I have to do this because the letters I’ve been using keep being misinterpreted as to what they denote). Let’s keep letter “M” as the one that represents a model – or a theory, or anything else that we really want to say is the target of a falsification test, but now, so that the reader can hopefully more easily follow what the letters denote, let’s replace the letter “p” used to represent the conjunction of all those relevant assumptions outside M with the letter “A”, and let’s replace the letter “q” used to represent the conjunction of all the predictions with the letter “P”.

Examples of members of A: “Volcanic activity will continue at such and such a rate for the next 20 years.” “Everything is OK with the hardware used to apply or test M”. “It won’t get knocked off its course.” There are many such assumptions that can be members of A.

“…this pushes models in K&A’s “p”,…”

Models never were denoted by my “p”.

“…which are assumed refuted; since the models are to be preserved at all cost,…”

My p (yet again, the entire conjunction of relevant assumptions outside of a model M, this conjunction now represented with the letter “A”) was never assumed to be refuted, and my models were never taken to be preserved at all cost.

“We can surmise that “assumptions” include…

Yes, there are relevant assumptions that can be members of M, and there are relevant assumptions that can be nonmembers of M, and again, the set of all the latter is now denoted A.

Example: Recall that faster-than-the-speed-of-light debacle recently? That was one of many examples in history of a true M but a false P, one of the many examples where we had the conjunction M & ~P actually hold true. Taking M -> P as an axiom means we had no choice but to infer ~M right then and there via modus tollens. Then we have the contradiction M & ~M, this contradiction being the inevitable result of taking M -> P as an axiom.

“In other words, the relationship between the M and the p in K&A’s structure is a bit more promiscuous than a simple “and?”

Not so. As I said before, there are assumptions that can be in M and there are those assumptions that can be outside M.

“…models integrate the “assumptions into the theoretical statements. This explains why I said earlier I have no reason to assume, like K&A does, that “p” alone can be isolated and negated while the M would stand alone, unfalsified.”

You are claiming that there is no assumption outside of models or theories or whatever else you want to put into M that could possibly be relevant in a falsification test. You are claiming that A must be an empty set. But this claim is itself falsified by observation. Another example: Suppose we use the relevant physics M to predict where an asteroid will be in some number of years. Suppose we use the climate science falsificationist axiom M -> P. But suppose that before that some numbers of years is up, it gets knocked off course by another asteroid, but we don’t see this happen. Then we must infer ~M. But we find later what happened, and so M is still OK, and so M & ~M, contradiction.

“At the very least, we have yet to see how K&A’s structure would allow models themselves (assuming the distinction between M and p) to be falsified.”

Simple. We do what we need to do to rule out ~A. Once we rule out ~A, we can infer ~M.

This sort of thing is true for any implication that has a conjunction as its antecedent. When we have a false consequent, we have to find the false condition in such an antecedent by this process of elimination. No big deal. We do it all the time.

> The denier falsification scheme that tries to infer ~M from taking the implication M -> q as a postulate coupled with the observation ~q is dead [.]

“There was no such falsification scheme in the first place,…When they speak of models, they are referring to the whole predictive engine, including the assumptions, which Popper calls “background” knowledge.”

First, there are such climate science falsification schemes. Such a falsification scheme is exactly what Koutsoyannis applied. He did not consider the possibilities with respect to what you call auxiliary hypotheses. He did not consider the possibilities with respect to all those assumptions, tacit or otherwise, with respect to conditions that can be overlooked or are inherently unpredictable by humans or whose truth values are inherently unknowable by humans.

And no, these auxiliary hypotheses or this “background knowledge” does not include *all* the relevant assumptions, including the possibilities with respect to all those assumptions, tacit or otherwise, with respect to conditions that can be overlooked or are inherently unpredictable by humans or *especially* whose truth values are inherently unknowable by humans. We can overlook things all the time, such as “Everything is OK with the hardware.” And we *cannot* predict or even just “predict” that which is inherently unpredictable by us, and we *cannot* know or even just *know* that which is inherently unknowable by us.

What I am doing essentially is this: Given an implication in which is the consequent is P, I am partitioning the set of all possible conditions that could be a condition in the antecedent into two sets, one set being the set M of all those conditions that really are the target of the falsification test and the other set A being the set of all those conditions that really are not the target of the falsification test. The former set M would include all the mathematics and some other conditions. The latter set A would include all those assumptions (many if not almost all tacitly made) with respect to those conditions that are inherently unpredictable by humans or whose truth values are inherently unknowable by humans.

Arguing against this partition or something similar is like arguing that the real targets of a falsification test should include our ability to predict the unpredictable or know the unknowable. I would think that it should be clear that the real target of a falsification test would be other things, like the mathematics in question.

“Koutsoyannis’ argument…was against the very idea that we could consider having a reliable predictive engine in climate science.”

His argument is that if we get ~P, then merely from that and the climate science falsificationist axiom M -> P, the mathematics is problematic. Period. Looking at past models is looking at past mathematics, and is not looking at A. Never mind the possibilities with respect to what you call auxiliary hypotheses. Never mind all those assumptions, tacit or otherwise, with respect to conditions that can be overlooked or are inherently unpredictable by humans or whose truth values are inherently unknowable by humans.

I did in fact beat the climate science falsificationists at their own game. Those who claim falsification of climate science play the game of using part of the propositional calculus. I joined that part of the game. They play the game of not considering all those assumptions of the type I list above, which means that they do in fact use as an axiom what I claim they use as an axiom, M -> P. I joined in that game by granting that axiom as a hypothesis and then, in my last post on October 23, 2014 at 1:44 pm, deriving contradiction in three different ways.

Taking M -> P as an axiom even though its negation M & ~P sometimes holds means that the logical system of climate science falsification that they use is logically inconsistent. Taking my (A & M) -> P – which by exportation is tautologically equivalent to A -> (M -> P), if you prefer this latter form – gives us no such problem.

This is straight out of logic: It’s always possible to derive contradiction within a logical system from an axiom that is sometimes false. We shouldn’t take a statement that we know is not always true as an axiom in a logical system. There are mathematical theorems proving that it’s not OK. Yet the climate science falsificationists do it anyway, and think that everything is OK.

In short, on October 23, 2014 at 1:44 I gave three mathematical proofs that show that the climate science denier falsification system is logically inconsistent, and that therefore their claim that they have falsified climate science is itself falsified.

260. Willard says:

> All I did was make a change in the letters of the alphabet used to denote things.

If M represents models, p assumptions and q are predictions and there’s nothing else, then theories become immune to falsification for the simple reason that they are absent from the structure. Unless the theories are in the general structure of predictions, they can never be tested. The only way out is to have them implemented by the models, but then we have to say how to falsify them.

That may concede the strongest argument falsificationists have against climate science, [or for that matter any kind of science which relies on model-based predictions, since K&A’s structure should apply to any of them].

***

> there are assumptions that can be in M and there are those assumptions that can be outside M.

If we accept that there are assumptions that are in the M and assumptions that are out of the M, to call p “assumptions” can lead to an equivocation. (There are also assumptions belonging to the meta-theory, but never mind that for the moment ) For all I know, the assumptions outside the models could very well be those that need to hold unless the simulation runs into a malfunction.

We still have no idea how falsifying the assumptions in p has been established by the results of experiment in a way that exclude any impact on the M. This also means we have yet to see how M could be falsified by experiment, according to K&A’s thought experiment. K&A’s argument does not suffice to block another important argument by falsificationists, according to which falsifying models is impossible.

If we accept that we can always throw auxiliary hypotheses under the bus, this argument may have merit. Which is quite ironic, since models themselves are used in science as auxiliary hypotheses to protect the theorical core. Models should be easy to refute. Rejecting models is cheaper than rejecting theories. That’s why the Met Office release new models every year or so.

It even become a selling point: faster! stronger! with 20% more theory!

***

Look. Popper’s idea springs from his criticism of induction. Since he rejects induction, he can’t accept the idea that theories are testable or confirmed after N tests. His solution is to say that science proceeds by conjectures and refutations. In that conceptions of science, knowledge is always conjectural.

So the whole idea is to establish ways to show how science can help us converge toward the truth, and how pseudoscience can’t. That’s the demarcation problem.

Unless we can state how empirical results can refute our hypotheses, that’s not science. If models are irrefutable, they do not implement scientific hypotheses.

K&A is pursuing a Pyrrhic victory.

261. Michael 2 says:

jsam writes

“The Libertarian faith does not withstand rational investigation.”

It does if you wish it, otherwise not. There’s not much to investigate. If you wish to make your own decisions and grant the same right to others, you are a libertarian. You may also be a great many other things simultaneously.

“To regulate isnot to tax.”

Agreed. That is probably why each is represented by its own word.

262. jsam says:

There is not much to investigate. An overly simple faith for the overly simple.

263. Michael 2 says:

Thomas Lee Elifritz writes “Six consecutive comments is pretty telling on any blog.”

Yes. With a bit of luck each of the six told you something. I hope you notice and appreciate the improvement in my brevity but that is a function of how much substance is in the comment to which I am responding.

264. Willard says:
October 25, 2014 at 12:34 pm

“…and there’s nothing else, then theories become immune to falsification for the simple reason that they are absent from the structure.”

Then put them in set M with the models. Before I continue, I’ll make one more change to which variables represent what, since you keep objecting to my choices of which letters to use or keep objecting to what they say. Again, let “&” be “and” and let “V” be “or” in the propositional calculus. Let “M” denote the set of all the theories and models and every other condition (yes, the term “condition” can cover everything here) that is a real target of the falsification test. Let “O” (instead of “A”) denote every condition (yes, the term “condition” can cover everything here including all those assumptions formerly denoted by “A”) outside of M that could explain why we do in fact sometimes obtain M & ~P – true theories and true models and true everything else that is the set of real targets of the falsification test – coupled with ~P, where “P” denotes the set of predictions of projections or conclusions that follow from M given O. Note: What I just said is my axiom O -> (M -> P), which by exportation is tautologically equivalent to axiom (O & M) -> P.

“…unless the simulation runs into a malfunction.”

The condition of a malfunction is usually the negation of a member of my set O, since I do not accept that the assumption “there will be no malfunctions” is usually a real target of a falsification test – it is usually not part of the reason why we do falsification tests.

“We still have no idea how falsifying the assumptions in p [now represented by O – see the above change] has been established by the results of experiment in a way that exclude any impact on the M.”

Why would you think that I think that? In all tests in which scientists observe a false prediction of models or theories or anything else that is a real target of the test, they already do what you seem to hint at can’t be done: They have a large disjunction of many negated conditions to comb through to see whether any of these negated conditions holds as a negated condition, and comb they do.

To make concrete this point, let’s examine more closely that example I gave in my last post on October 25, 2014 at 11:13 am: “Einstein was wrong!” they said. The observation was ~P. People claiming falsification used M -> P, ~P, therefore ~M. But it turns out there was human error resulting in mechanical malfunction causing the observation ~P. So M held, and so from M -> P as an axiom we got the contradiction ~P & ~M & M as the final result of the experiment in question. My axiom O -> (M -> P) or (O & M) -> P yielded no contradiction. From my axiom the final result for the experiment in question was ~P & ~O & M. Condition ~O was obtained from at least two false assumptions in set O. Those two assumptions were not in M in that they were not part of the theory or the model or anything else that was a real target of the falsification test. These two assumptions were, for the experiment in question, “There is no human error involved” and “There is no mechanical malfunction involved”.

Note: They were actually implementing my axiom O -> (M -> P) or (O & M) -> P when they looked and looked for instances of human or mechanical error, members in ~O. But since they could not find such, they started to think that maybe ~M was the case, meaning maybe Einstein was wrong.

“This also means we have yet to see how M could be falsified by experiment, according to K&A’s thought experiment.”

See much of the recent above.

“If we accept that we can always throw auxiliary hypotheses under the bus,…”

Is that what those scientists were doing with respect to that alleged faster than the speed of light measurement after which they were trying to find something by which they could avoid going with the idea that Einstein was wrong? My axiom is consistent with what they did, but the climate science falsificationist axiom is not.

“If models are irrefutable,…”

I never said this.

Let’s get to the definitive points.

The essential and inescapable problem for M -> P as an axiom is this: For a given experiment that yields the observation ~P, we *must* by modus tollens infer ~M, and as long as M -> P is retained as an axiom, we *must* by modus tollens retain ~M *even if* we find that M is actually still true, like in that example above with that debacle on the speed of light being supposedly exceeded. And we also *must* retain the observation ~P as part of the result of the experiment, since ~P is part of the historical record. My axiom O -> (M -> P) or (O & M) -> P has no problem with consistency, it yields no contradictions, and as I showed above, it describes what good scientists actually do when confronted with ~P, which is that they do not jump immediately to negated conjunction ~M, but first instead look to negated conjunction ~O in its broken down form as a large disjunction of negated conditions. The climate science falsificationists like Koutsoyannis do not do this. They go straight to ~M, never mind auxiliary hypotheses, conditions that are inherently unpredictable by humans, or conditions whose truth values are inherently unknowable by humans.

The climate science falsificationists claim to have falsified climate science. Koutsoyannis claims via his repeated use of language on falsification that it is not credible that climate science can make accurate projections – that is, he claims to have proved false the idea that climate science can make accurate projections. I claim that on October 23, 2014 at 1:44 I gave three different mathematical proofs that falsify their claim that they have accomplished such a falsification. These proofs specifically show that Koutsoyannis does not have a legitimate basis to make his claim that he proved false the idea that climate science can make accurate projections, since his basis is an axiom that is not always true and thus leads to contradiction – the falsification system he uses is logically inconsistent. But I claim nothing else – I merely proved to be false their claims that they proved climate science to be false. (Note: The use of M -> P as an axiom by the climate science falsificationists meets this criterion by virtue of the fact that we know of examples of its negation M & ~P being true. My axiom O -> (M -> P) or (O & M) -> P, has no problem with consistency – it yields no contradictions, and as I showed above, it describes what good scientists actually do when confronted with ~P.)

By the way: These three theorems are all merely simple specific examples of a general theorem that says that if an axiom of a logical system is not always true, then the system is logically inconsistent – we can always derive a contradiction from said axiom.

265. Willard says:

> His argument is that if we get ~P, then merely from that and the climate science falsificationist axiom M -> P, the mathematics is problematic. Period.

The abstract starts with:

As falsifiability is an essential element of science (Karl Popper), many have disputed the scientific basis of climatic predictions on the grounds that they are not falsifiable or verifiable at present.

https://www.itia.ntua.gr/en/docinfo/850/

In the presentation, Koutsoyannis presents his target in the second line of his first slide, right under his Popperian claptrap.

The hypothesis that climate is deterministically predictable and its implementation through the General Circulation Models (GCMs) are central on current scientific scene.

By analyzing some time series, Koutsoyannis claims that the models are not credible. He does not say that models are refuted. He questions their predictive skill. He does not say they are false: he says they are no better than predictions based on time average.

This argument does not substantiate the claim that climate science is falsified, but the claim it is unfalsifiable. He does not say that it is unfalsifiable either. He dog whistles it by induction.

This has very little to do with any falsificationist “axiom”, which is more an epistemological principle inspired by a common logical inference rule than anything else.

Period.

ADD. For more on Koutso’s argument against climate determinism (i.e. the “->” itself), here:

http://www.climatedialogue.org/long-term-persistence-and-trend-significance/

266. Willard says:

> I never said this [that models are irrefutable].

Me neither. I’m saying we have no idea how models can be falsified within this structure. The only way to show that M can be falsified is to show possible falsifiers. I have shown a picture where the models are said to be “validated” through simulation. Correlatively, to justify how one can get ~p “by observation” of the simulation results would be nice.

***

> The essential and inescapable problem for M -> P as an axiom is this: For a given experiment that yields the observation ~P, we *must* by modus tollens infer ~M, and as long as M -> P is retained as an axiom, we *must* by modus tollens retain ~M *even if* we find that M is actually still true, like in that example above with that debacle on the speed of light being supposedly exceeded.

No, and yes.

Here is the no part:

First, there’s a shift in meaning: the M above is not the same M identified in (M & p), and to join M and p together (with theories, no less!) makes the whole trick fall apart. It switches from the logical level and repurposes the argument at the meta-logical level. In other words, it turns the “->” into something like a “$\vDash$” and negation in a rejection.

Second, that *must* is not in PC. That science *must* be able to come up with falsifiable conjectures does not imply we stupidly follow the modus tollens. That’s not beating falsificationism at its own game: that’s using the same trick logical positivists used and then blame falsificationists for them.

Third, falsificationists are well aware that we need background assumptions. I’ve already given a link where the levels of “ad hocness” of auxiliary hypotheses are considered. But to make sure this time it’s read:

As these examples from pseudoscience make clear, an explanation or auxiliary hypothesis deserves to be labelled ad hoc if it merely explains away particular anomalies and does not yield theoretical progress or empirical unification. Accusations of adhocness, in the sense we have construed here, are sensitive to the particular context in which a theoretical move is made, in particular the lack of constraints on its application (i.e. it can be used to explain away any bothersome anomaly) and its inconsequential use (i.e. it is conveniently ignored on other occasions). Precisely because the introduction of an ad hoc auxiliary serves no proper epistemic or explanatory goals, the move is often condemned as psychologically motivated to save the theory at all costs. As we saw, this way of putting the complaint of adhocness, though understandable as a shorthand, is philosophically inaccurate, as psychological motivation as such is irrelevant for assessing the merits of an theoretical move.

Compare and contrast with a more natural use of an auxiliary hypothesis:

“Now, wait a minute,” you might wonder, “If we can’t ever isolate a single idea for testing — if all tests have auxiliary hypotheses — then how can the process of science ever give us much confidence in any hypothesis?” This is not the problem that it might at first seem. Our auxiliary hypotheses can be checked by independent testing. Many other tests support the ideas that the half-life of uranium-238 is 4.5 billion years, that this decay rate is constant, etc. Because those auxiliary hypotheses seem to be pretty accurate based on our other tests, we can have confidence that, in this test, our results really do support the idea that the rock is 3.8 billion years old.

http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/bundle

***

Here is the yes part:

The argument above starts to look a lot like what I said

This is a bad reflex. Not so much because it misapplies logic, but because it omits the fact that we don’t make predictions on some P (say a model) alone, but on the basis of our complete network of theories. Therefore, we seldom know with certainty what needs to be tweaked to take that new observation ~q into account.

https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/environmental-bullies/#comment-34779

All this is way simpler from a holist standpoint. Every hypotheses are interconnected (i.e. more than by a simple “&”). There’s nothing that we can observe that, in principle, compels us to reject anything specific. But this does not mean that it never is possible to isolate some specific claim. Refutability is still a virtue we should seek regarding our hypotheses, like simplicity, coherence, conservatism, and generality.

***

Look. We’re talking about positions intellectual giants of the 20th Century held. There’s no need to portray anyone as making basic logical mistakes.

I’m sure we could find someone who held something that is stupider than that. I want to see quotes and citations. I need that for my Contrarian Matrix.

267. Tom Curtis says:

Willard:

“Look. We’re talking about positions intellectual giants of the 20th Century held. There’s no need to portray anyone as making basic logical mistakes.”

Actually, I think you are defending an inconsistent synthesis of the ideas of two intellectual giants of the 20th Century. Faced with the logical point that K&A is making (which Quine was one of the first to explicitly draw attention to), Quine responded with Holism:

“The totality of our so-called knowledge or beliefs, from the most casual matters of geography and history to the profoundest laws of atomic physics or even of pure mathematics and logic, is a man-made fabric which impinges on experience only along the edges. Or, to change the figure, total science is like a field of force whose boundary conditions are experience. A conflict with experience at the periphery occasions readjustments in the interior of the field. Truth values have to be redistributed over some of our statements. Re-evaluation of some statements entails re-evaluation of others, because of their logical interconnections — the logical laws being in turn simply certain further statements of the system, certain further elements of the field. Having re-evaluated one statement we must re-evaluate some others, whether they be statements logically connected with the first or whether they be the statements of logical connections themselves. But the total field is so undetermined by its boundary conditions, experience, that there is much latitude of choice as to what statements to re-evaluate in the light of any single contrary experience. No particular experiences are linked with any particular statements in the interior of the field, except indirectly through considerations of equilibrium affecting the field as a whole.

If this view is right, it is misleading to speak of the empirical content of an individual statement — especially if it be a statement at all remote from the experiential periphery of the field. Furthermore it becomes folly to seek a boundary between synthetic statements, which hold contingently on experience, and analytic statements which hold come what may. Any statement can be held true come what may, if we make drastic enough adjustments elsewhere in the system. Even a statement very close to the periphery can be held true in the face of recalcitrant experience by pleading hallucination or by amending certain statements of the kind called logical laws. Conversely, by the same token, no statement is immune to revision. Revision even of the logical law of the excluded middle has been proposed as a means of simplifying quantum mechanics; and what difference is there in principle between such a shift and the shift whereby Kepler superseded Ptolemy, or Einstein Newton, or Darwin Aristotle?”

You will note that Quine was far more thorough in allowing the non-falsifiability of individual statements than K&A, even allowing the revision of logical laws to preserve the “truth” or particular statements.

Popper did not state the same problem explicitly, but he was certainly aware of it. His response was to resort to conventionalism to determine which of a set of conjuncts was considered falsified by recalcitrant experience:

“Every test of a theory, whether resulting in its corroboration or falsiﬁcation, must stop at some basic statement or other which we decide to accept. If we do not come to any decision, and do not accept some basic statement or other, then the test will have led nowhere. But considered from a logical point of view, the situation is never such that it compels us to stop at this particular basic statement rather than at that, or else give up the test altogether. For any basic statement can again in its turn be subjected to tests, using as a touchstone any of the basic statements which can be deduced from it with the help of some theory, either the one under test, or another. This procedure has no natural end. Thus if the test is to lead us anywhere, nothing remains but to stop at some point or other and say that we are satisﬁed, for the time being.”

(Logic of Scientific Discovery, page 86, my emphasis)

Your position seems to deny either of the horns of the dilemma that the Duhem-Quine thesis faces us with. You don’t want to give up falsificationism with Quine, but nor are you willing to acknowledge that the statement which is falsified is always under determined and therefore (if we are to be falsificationists) it must always be a matter of revisable convention as to which conjunct we in fact accept as being falsified.

Personally I prefer Lakatos’ solution to the dilemma, myself – and as it happens, so did Popper, who always insisted that Lakatos’s theory was implicit in his own. (He is correct on that, but the difference in emphasis is crucial to actually understanding science so that by leaving it implicit, Popper made an error IMO.)

268. > Your position seems to deny either of the horns of the dilemma that the Duhem-Quine thesis faces us with.

Not at all. My standpoint was holist from the beginning:

The only way out is to open that P and to pick what should be ditched.

At that moment, P stood for everything that was in the antecedent. I even extended that P to ALL THE SCIENCES later on. This holism is why I dispute this “&” in “(M & p)”, and why I question K&A’s assumption that we can reject ~p by observation. The falsifiability criterion rests on plain common sense and makes the whole logical argument misguided.

But if we want to push that argument forward, it will have to beat statistical testing as it’s still practiced. Falsification is still relevant in that context, although the link between Fisher and Popper is unclear to me. The question of ad hocness is also still with us, and God knows how climate science is being attacked for its choices of theorical assumptions (e.g. determinism), models, data, and hypotheses.

Popper is still relevant today, at least among those who have been trained in the frequentist mold:

The classical or frequentist approach to statistics (in which inference is centered on significance testing), is associated with a philosophy in which science is deductive and follows Popper’s doctrine of falsification. In contrast, Bayesian inference is commonly associated with inductive reasoning and the idea that a model can be dethroned by a competing model but can never be directly falsified by a significance test.

In any case, both holism and falsificationism are epistemological positions. They are not ruled by logic alone. Whereas Popper pushed for falsifiability, Quine pushed for (let’s say) pragmatism. But the two thinkers share lots of common traits. Realism, for instance.

***

There is a tension between the many “virtues” an hypothesis should have (I’ve borrowed the one I listed above in Quine & Ullian’s Web of Beliefs, a very good book), but one thing is clear is that Quine respected Popper quite a lot:

In Pursuit of Truth (1992) Quine expressed a surprising measure of agreement with Popper – agreement which, as far as I know, has gone uncommented on all these years!

On page 12 Quine writes “Traditional epistemology sought grounds in sensory experience capable of implying our theories about the world or at least endowing those theories with some increment of probability. Sir Karl Popper has long stressed, to the contrary, that observation serves only to refute theory and not to support it.”

Taken at face value this looks like total agreement with Popper, and the whole section (which starts on page 9) up to this point is in perfect agreement with Popper. Moreover, the sentence that follows: “We have now been seeing in a schematic way why this is so.” (emphasis added by me), says that this is in agreement with Popper. (I noticed when I was still quite a yound philosopher that Quine never employs the term “confirmation”, which is why I shudder when people call him a “confirmation holist”, just as I shudder when people call him a “meaning holist”.)

BUT

On Page 13 Quine says something that Popper would clearly disagree with:

“It is clearly true, moreover, that one continually reasons not only in refutation of hypotheses but in support of them. This, however, is a matter of arguing logically or probabilistically from other beliefs already held. It is where the technique of probability and mathematical statistics is brought to bear. Some of those supporting beliefs may be observational, but they contribute only in company with others that are theoretical. Pure observation lends only negative evidence, by refuting an observation categorical that a proposed theory implies.”

As I interpret this, Quine’s considered view is that Popper is right that observations by themselves cannot support a hypothesis, but he holds that, in conjunction with theories that we accept, but contrary to empiricism as traditionally understood, not simply because they are supported by observations (!).

For the leaders of Logical Empiricism, Carnap and Reichenbach, it was important that there should be a formalizable notion of probability such that accepted scientific hypotheses have (ideally) a high degree of probability (Reichenbach) or a high of degree of instance-confirmation [I have forgotten what Carnap’s technical term is, but I mean a high probability that the next observation will conform to the hypothesis, if the hypothesis is a universal generalization] relative to the total observational evidence. Quine is explicitly rejecting that in those pages from Pursuit of Truth. If I am right about this, this is as sharp a break with logical positivism as the rejection of the analyticity of mathematics. And by citing Popper favorably, he emphasizes the disagreement with Carnap, since Popper and Carnap and their followers waged war on just this issue.

http://putnamphil.blogspot.com/2014/06/surprising-praise-of-popper-by-quine.html

***

All this is becoming quite academic. Having people who holds what K&A suggests might render this less so. Meanwhile, here’s what I’m reading:

269. anoilman says:

Michael 2: Taxes are not a dead weight loss. There is no evidence to support that notion. Money does not get burned or buried. It goes else where, and gets spent. Its a fact. You can even look it up.

The correct view for Libertarian zealots is that its a socialist plot to redistribute wealth.

270. Tom Curtis says:

Willard, as I understand K&A, they are arguing that if we have a scientific theory (treated as the conjunction of propositions T1 to Tn) and boundary conditions, ie, empirical constraints (treated as the conjunction of propositions B1 to Bm), then we have the conjunction of theory and boundary conditions implies a set of empirical statements (P1 to Pl). If we find from observation that not Pi for i between 1 and l inclusive, then we know that not T & B, or in other words that at least one of the union of the sets T1 to Tn and B1 to Bm is false. Thus far, you agree based on the claim that “The only way out is to open that P and to pick what should be ditched”.

What K&A specifically claim is that you are not compelled by logic to ditch one of T1 to Tn in preference to one of B1 to Bm. Therefore the denier claiming to have falsified AGW needs to not only show that ~P, but also that B in order to deduce ~T. Failing that, we are quite entitled to assume that ~B (where T is the conjunction of all propositions T1-Tn etc). On that point Quine agrees. Tacitly, so does Popper although he frames the issue differently. They differ on how you may reasonably go about rejecting B rather than T. Do you disagree with this basic point?

271. Willard says:

Here’s an article that questions deductive closure in science:

272. Willard says:

I only disagree with the argument, Tom. It’s a straw man. We have yet to find one argument that could be quoted and cited in my Matrix. There are logical weaknesses too, but that’s secondary. Here could be a way to create a belief revision system:

> One problem tackled there that of accounting for the sorts of exceptions to law-like regularities associated with information flow that are also traditionally associated with non-monotonic reasoning.

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.57.3367

This framework could help create auxiliary hypotheses and even add parameters as we go along. But to do so we have to take an internal view on our logic

***

We build models because we need to run simulations. They are quasi experiments. Their results help us test our theories because we don’t have earth holodecks. To be able to revise models is very important for the modellers themselves. This is not something that should be required by auditing falsificationists.

My own answer is that prediction is not that important for what we do with models. What’s vital is that we get a better understanding of what’s going on. Think of simulations as telescopes.

When I use a chess engine to play correspondence chess, I don’t expect my engine to predict by which move the game will end. I want it to check for tactical shots

273. jsam says:

All economic systems redistribute wealth. Next.

274. Before I start, my apologies to the reader if the following is thought to be redundant, but for the sake of clarity I would like to define the variables I presently use again: Let M (which was F and then M) denote the conjunction of all conditions that are targets of the falsification test (models, theories, everything that is a target), let O (which was p and then A) denote the conjunction of all conditions outside of M that are not targets for falsification but could still either alone or in conjunction with another condition cause the observation ~P, and let P denote the set of all conditions that comprise the predictions, projections, or conclusions made by M given O, this last phrase symbolized as the axiom O -> (M -> P), which is tautologically equivalent to (O & M) -> P.

Tom Curtis says:
October 26, 2014 at 12:08 am
October 26, 2014 at 5:37 am

“What K&A specifically claim is that you are not compelled by logic to ditch one of T1 to Tn in preference to one of B1 to Bm.”

(Note: I will substitute my O for your B and my M for your T.) Not only are we not compelled to jump to the conclusion ~Mi for some i and thus ~M, we are not allowed. Is it not the case that history is full of examples of people – scientists and nonscientists – thinking they had ~M from ~P but were wrong, since it was later found out that there was a condition in O that was false and either alone or in conjunction with another condition caused ~P? Not only that, I claim that Koutsoyannis did worse than this jumping of the gun – from the cited paper it seems that he did not even look at O. See further below for more on what he did in that cited paper.)

“Therefore the denier claiming to have falsified AGW needs to not only show that ~P, but also that B in order to deduce ~T. Failing that, we are quite entitled to assume that ~B (where T is the conjunction of all propositions T1-Tn etc). On that point Quine agrees. Tacitly, so does Popper although he frames the issue differently. They differ on how you may reasonably go about rejecting B rather than T.”

Thank-you. It’s a fact that Koutsoyannis in that cited paper did not abide by this in his claim that future climate projections are not credible. He went straight to negated conjunction ~M. (If someone thinks they can prove that he consider O – and properly so at that, then let’s see the proof.)

I do, however, for the sake of completeness, seem to include many more elements in set O (your B) than your definitions above would allow, since I’m not sure that the phrase “auxiliary hypothesis” would cover every last condition that is not a target for falsification in the falsification test but could still either alone or in conjunction with another condition cause the observation ~P.

willard says:
October 26, 2014 at 3:17 am

“This holism is why I dispute this “&” in “(M & p)…”

This is inconsistent. Condition M is itself a conjunction of propositions, which means “&” is used to connect them all in conjunction M. See my further below on conjunctions as antecedents in implications. (You do really have a problem with any implication whose antecedent is a conjunction?)

“I question K&A’s assumption that we can reject ~p by observation.”

Scientists reject ~O (formerly my p and then A) by observation all the time. See that example on the faster than the speed of light debacle. They observed a false condition in O and this made it acceptable to keep M.

“The falsifiability criterion rests on plain common sense and makes the whole logical argument misguided.”

My logical argument is perfectly in line with common sense since my axiom (O & M) -> P is what scientists actually use even if implicitly. They do not use M -> P. Again, see that recent faster-than-the-speed-of-light debacle for an example of scientists actually using (O & M) -> P.

Willard says:
October 26, 2014 at 6:09 am

“I only disagree with the argument, Tom. It’s a straw man.”

How can it be a straw man when Quine saw the problem? Tom Curtis said on October 26, 2014 at 12:08 am, “Faced with the logical point that K&A is making (which Quine was one of the first to explicitly draw attention to), Quine responded with Holism:…”

And how can it be a straw man when we have so many examples – many agree:

“BBD says:
October 17, 2014 at 11:20 am
K&A
Touching on assumptions – when ‘sceptics’ claim that the models have been ‘falsified’ by GAT since ~2000, they ignore key assumptions input into the models (volcanic/anthropogenic aerosols; solar; ENSO). When these inputs were updated to bring them into line with actual forcing change since 2000, the models came into much better agreement with observations. Most of the factors that changed were unpredictable, eg eruptions, ENSO and the profound solar minimum of SC24.
Ref: Schmidt et al. (2014) Reconciling warming trends”

I submit that the claim that it is a straw man is itself a straw man, especially given the political realities.

Willard says:
October 25, 2014 at 6:41 pm

“I’m saying we have no idea how models can be falsified within this structure.”

Yes, we do. It’s the process of elimination used by scientists all the time. Noting again that M is a conjunction: Do you really have a problem with any implication form whose antecedent is a conjunction?

“I have shown a picture where the models are said to be “validated” through simulation.”

Now show how that picture relates to the recent experiment with respect to measurements showing a false prediction that seemed to falsify Einstein’s equations. Show where in that picture we see the elements of set O, such as these two: “There was no human error involved.” “There was no mechanical malfunction involved.” I claim that there are elements in O that are not accounted for in that picture, such as the two I just gave. Think that they are not important. The negation of each of these statements held as an independent condition, and this mucked the test, making it look like Einstein was wrong even though he wasn’t. I keep talking about this example and you keep ignoring it.

> The essential and inescapable problem for M -> P as an axiom is this: For a given experiment that yields the observation ~P, we *must* by modus tollens infer ~M, and as long as M -> P is retained as an axiom, we *must* by modus tollens retain ~M *even if* we find that M is actually still true, like in that example above with that debacle on the speed of light being supposedly exceeded.

“…the M above is not the same M identified in (M & p)…”

Yes, it is. I’ll explain in a moment.

“and to join M and p together (with theories, no less!) makes the whole trick fall apart….”

No, it does not. I’ll explain in a moment.

“…that *must* is not in PC.”

Yes, it is. That “must” was about rules of inferences on propositions, in which the conclusions necessarily follow. This holds for all propositions (truth functional subject-predicate combinations). Note: Eliminate propositions, and we eliminate all the definitions, theorems, and proofs of mathematics. Science without math? Essentially nonexistent. It eliminates essentially all communication – even if only implicit or tacit – of rational thought. Let’s see you communicate a rational thought in writing with no subject-predicate combination – and this means eliminating even those communicated only implicitly or tacitly. It won’t be much.

And (O & M) -> P is not a trick. It’s what scientists implicitly use as an axiom. Scientists don’t – and shouldn’t – jump straight to ~M when faced with ~P. They check O first. That’s a fact.

Willard says:
October 25, 2014 at 5:41 pm

“In the presentation, Koutsoyannis presents his target…”
|————-
The hypothesis that climate is deterministically predictable and its implementation through the General Circulation Models (GCMs) are central on current scientific scene.
————-|
” This argument does not substantiate the claim that climate science is falsified, but the claim it is unfalsifiable. He does not say that it is unfalsifiable either. He dog whistles it by induction.
This has very little to do with any falsificationist “axiom”, which is more an epistemological principle inspired by a common logical inference rule than anything else.”

First, let’s include the most important part of Koutsoyannis’ conclusion:
|————-
20. Conclusions
This makes future climate projections not credible. [This scientist puts forth this claim as a scientific claim.]
————-|

First, inductive dog whistling is still the implicit or tacit making of propositional claims. These include use of modus tollens.

If his propositional claim “this makes future climate projections not credible” is not the conclusion of a propositional argument with at least some propositional architecture, then it’s made out of thin air and thus it’s OK to flush it down the toilet where it belongs. I don’t think he made it out of thin air. Therefore:

One part of his propositional architecture seems clearly to be along this line: Let M be “future climate projections are credible”, and P be “the projections in question made by the models looked at are accurate enough.” The broad architecture is ~P -> ~M, ~P, therefore ~M, which is tautologically equivalent to M -> P, ~P, therefore ~M. So he uses M -> P, which can be stated as, “future climate projections are credible only if the models looked at are accurate enough.” Personally, I think that it is reasonable to just affirm the negation of his claim M -> P. Think of it – note the term “future” – he’s making an absolute, unqualified claim here. He thus claims that it’s not credible no matter what models they come up with in the future. I claim that his absolute claim is what is not credible.

And he did all this without looking at O as I define it above. (If he did look at O as I define it above, then show it.)

You stated, “This argument does not substantiate the claim that climate science is falsified, but the claim it is unfalsifiable.” By your use of the term “but”, this seems to me that you implied, “This argument does substantiate the claim that climate science is…unfalsifiable.” Is this right? If so:

Suppose the target M of his falsification test was the claim “climate science is falsifiable” rather than some set of theories or models in climate science itself. Guess what. It doesn’t matter. Here’s why: Not looking at O is not credible. Period. This fundamentally kills his falsification test, makes it fundamentally illegitimate, no matter what the target of the falsification test.

In other words, generally speaking, if one wishes to have some set of propositions M be the target of a falsification test (and this includes targeting in this way the claim that some set of propositions is falsifiable) and if one does not at least properly consider the set O as defined above, then one has in fact used the implication M -> P as an axiom even though its negation can be and is sometimes known to be false, an axiom that I on October 23, 2014 at 1:44 mathematically proved to yield a logically inconsistent falsification system (mainly because of the simple fact that it’s an example of the general theorem that any proposition that is not true in all its substitution instances (that is not a tautology) is taken as an axiom in a logical system, then that system is logically inconsistent (the axiom yields contradiction).

Perhaps not all falsificationists commit this fatal mistake of using M -> P as a sometimes false axiom in a falsification scheme, but I claim that all (including Koutsoyannis) who claim that by some set of falsification tests climate science has been falsified (one example of ~M) or that climate science is unfalsifiable (another example of ~M) commit this fatal mistake by virtue of the observation that is there for all to see that they ignore O (or at most only give lip service to it) to obtain their claim ~M from observing ~P.

275. GregH says:

This interview about Michael Glennon’s book”Vote all you want. The secret government won’t change.” seems relevant to the discussion of Libertarians. Coincidentally, I’m voting Libertarian in the next election.

276. The argumentation that resulted in this corrigendum (see the acknowledment) made me more generally doubtful on the work of Koutsoyiannis, although making the corrigendum was certainly a positive sign.

Everyone makes errors, thus making an error was not a problem, but in my view it should have been obvious to anyone, who publishes on thermodynamics that the result could not be correct. That was, of course, the reason that led me to observe the error and to insist on that. It’s funny that he could not leave out the words (albeit ineffective), but perhaps that was important for him.

277. Willard says:

> I claim that all (including Koutsoyannis) who claim that by some set of falsification tests climate science has been falsified

Claiming something that has been refuted by quoting the text itself leads to a straw man. Koutsoyannis targets the determinism assumption. To undermine it, he analyzes the model skill of the past. His argument is inductive. There is a gap: it’s a credibility argument. Here is the argument:

– Climate science assumes determinism
– Climate models do not show the skill we expect from deterministic systems.
– Perhaps we ought to relax the constraint of determinism.

I know this conclusion because I know Koutsoyannis’ clap traps on this. This conclusion does not imply that determinism is false, but that there is no reason to *believe* climate is constrained in a deterministic fashion. There is a judgment call here: some may disagree with the call to action. It’s not a pure reductio ad absurdum like a real modus [tollens]:

http://www.iep.utm.edu/reductio/

Also note that there’s a time span: past models. Even if future models showed skill, Koutsoyannis’ test procedure could still remain valid. In any case, the two most obvious moves regarding this argument is to acknowledge the lack of skill and say it does not matter much, or that the test itself is unreasonable. In both cases, we need empirical arguments to substantiate them, not syllogism.

(As a side note, Popper may have been a deductivist, he was not a determinist. He believed that science was a creative endeavor. What to do with a falsification is never compulsory.)

To claim that unless one presents an explicit syllogism one makes an argument “out of thin air” that can be dismissed is ridiculous, considering K&A’s misreadings on this thread alone. Most of the time, this argument has to be made explicit by the reader. To dismiss a whole epistemological framework by caricature alone is preposterous, and amounts to a rationalization against an imaginary threat.

Everyone should agree that we ought to provide falsifiers to our empirical claims. No amount of logical sidestepping will escape that requirement. The task if providing falsifiers belongs to those who test these claims, not their critics.

278. Michael 2 says:

jsam wrote “All economic systems redistribute wealth. Next.”

Unimpressive. Barter systems trade goods and services where each recipient believes he obtained more “wealth” than he gave up. Money exists in lieu of barter.

Someone has to create whatever you believe is “wealth” in the first place.

Socialist redistribution does neither. “Next” indeed.

279. Michael 2 says:

AnOilMan says “Taxes are not a dead weight loss. There is no evidence to support that notion.”

Seriously? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excess_burden_of_taxation
“Economic losses due to taxes were evaluated to be as low as 2.5 cents per dollar of revenue, and as high as 30 cents per dollar of revenue (on average), and even much higher at the margins. See Martin Feldstein, Tax Avoidance and the Deadweight Loss of the Income Tax, 81(4), Review of Economics and Statistics (1999), at p. 674; Charles L. Ballard, John B. Shoven and John Whalley, The Welfare Cost of Distortions in the United States Tax System: A General Equilibrium Approach, National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 1043.”

The economic process from which money is removed experiences the “incidence” of the tax.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_incidence

“Money does not get burned or buried. It goes else where, and gets spent.”

Money comes into existence spontaneously every time you buy on credit. Paying the debt makes this same money “disappear”. It doesn’t go elsewhere — it vanishes! Several kinds of money exist and in a consumer society debt money seems to predominate.
“The M1 money supply increases by \$810 when the loan is made. M1 money is created.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_supply

Even the initial “seed” money is mostly imaginary. Think about it — what prevents a government from simply printing money and NOT taxing citizens? I’ll let you answer that in your response.

“The correct view for Libertarian zealots is that its a socialist plot to redistribute wealth.”

A straw man argument. It is not for you (or anyone else) to define “correct views” for Libertarians because each libertarian is free to have his own views. Thus, this “correct view” is your own invention, a straw man. It is also a “red herring” since it really doesn’t matter what a libertarian thinks of it.

Taxes redistribute wealth from the payer of the tax to the recipient of the revenue.

280. jsam says:

Wealth is created in all sorts of ways. The government can and does create wealth. Looked at what Arpanet morphed into.

Libertarianism is a simple credo for simple folk.

281. M2,

Barter systems trade goods and services where each recipient believes he obtained more “wealth” than he gave up. Money exists in lieu of barter.

Why is the first bit of what you said above true? I don’t see why a barter system guarantees that at all. There can still be supply and demand. Some people can have things with lots of value, other may have to barter with things that have little value. I don’t really see why there would be a difference between a barter system and one where – as you say – money exists in lieu of barter.

282. Willard says:
October 26, 2014 at 4:44 pm

“Claiming something that has been refuted…”

You have not refuted – in fact, you cannot refute – the proposition that Koutsoyannis’s argument is a falsification argument, that is, that the logical architecture of Koutsoyannis’s affirmations implies the falsification of the credibility of future climate projections via modus tollens. This is because I give below a mathematical proof of the proposition I just stated.

Again, this is what he said:

“This makes future climate projections not credible.”

First, some definitions: The “this” above refers to the conjunction of propositions on Koutsoyannis’ statistical analysis that he refers to. Let K be the conjunction of propositions on Koutsoyannis’ statistical analysis that he refers to. Let C be the proposition that future climate projections are credible. Since we have propositions, let V be disjunction and let & be conjunction. The rest of the symbols you should remember. The proof will start with the assumption K, since Koutsoyannis does affirm the conjunction of propositions on his statistical analysis that he refers to.

THEOREM. Koutsoyannis’s argument is a falsification argument: The logical architecture of Koutsoyannis’s affirmations implies the falsification of the credibility of future climate projections via modus tollens.

Proof.
(1). K. (Assumption.)
(2). (K & C) V ~(K & C). (Tautology: Excluded Middle.)
(3). (K & C) => C. (Tautology: Conjunction Elimination.)
(4). ~(K & C) => (K -> ~C). (Tautology: Definition of Material Implication.)
(5). C V (K -> ~C). (Inference: Constructive Dilemma on (2), (3), and (4).)

At this point we have either C or K -> ~C. If we take C, then we preclude Koutsoyannis’ desired ~C, since if do include ~C with the taken C, we have a contradiction. Therefore we will introduce the assumption K -> ~C.

(6). K -> ~C. (Assumption.)
(7). C -> ~K. (Inference: Contrapositive on (6).)
(8). ~C. (Inference: Modus Tollens on (1) and (7).)
(9). (K & (C -> ~K)) => ~C. (Inference: Conditional Proof on (1), (7), and (8). This is a statement of Modus Tollens.)

(Note: On propositions, the modus tollens form is tautologically equivalent to the modus ponens form, and they can always be derived from each other. One therefore cannot escape the proof of this theorem by trying to appeal to such equivalences and derivations.)

This means that the three theorems I proved on October 23, 2014 at 1:44 (each an example of the theorem that if a proposition not a tautology is taken as an axiom in a logical system, then that system is logically inconsistent) apply to Koutsoyannis’ affirmations (the assumptions in this proof) and thus his argument.

283. Andrew Dodds says:

Michael 2 –

Your view of barter systems (or economic transactions generally) is fundamentally wrong – mutually beneficial trades only happen when both participants have the option of not trading.

As an example, if you were lost in the desert, and I came down in a helicopter and proposed a transaction – ‘I’ll rescue you in exchange for every possession you own’, this is not an example of mutually beneficial trade, it’s an example of taking advantage of desperation.

Trades resulting from desperation are unlikely to create wealth.

284. Kevin O'Neill says:

Long ago in another thread Michael 2 had no answer to why we do not see high inflation and interest rates in the United States considering that the Federal Reserve ‘exploded’ the money supply in response to the 2007/8 financial crisis.

Libertarians and conservative economists and politicians were telling us that the Fed’s actions would cripple the country; skyrocketing interest rates, hyper-inflation, debasement of the currency, etc. None of these things has come to pass, yet Michael 2 and those who held these beliefs have not marked their beliefs to market. They carry on as if all of this never happened.

Their understanding of economics is fundamentally flawed to the point of being useless to predict the most basic actions of an economy. Until they change their models to incorporate these facts why waste time even listening to them? They just pollute the discourse with nonsense.

285. Whenever the word money appears in economic argumentation it’s likely that confusion ensues. It’s yet again a word that’s used meaning very different issues. Looking at textbooks of economics we can see that most of their content avoids largely the concept of money and concentrates on real production and consumptions rather than on money that has been created to make trade of products and services easier.

Saying that taxation involves transfer of wealth from the tax payers to the recipients, as M2 did in his latest comment, may help in avoiding some of the pointless discussion about money.

Transfer of wealth does not create or destroy wealth, but is likely to lead to a different use of that wealth for better or worse. If the situation is optimal before some change in wealth transfer, then the net outcome must be negative. That’s also the expectation value, if we do not know the way the original situation is non-optimal, but when we know the direction to go, it’s possible that an increase in taxation is part of the best approach.

286. Joshua says:

==> “Taxes redistribute wealth from the payer of the tax to the recipient of the revenue.”

IMO, that is a clean and binary simplification that is ideological, not useful.

The “payer” often receives at least some degree of benefits in return for the taxes paid. Consider, for example, the returns (some analyses say on the order of 18 to 1) from public spending on early childhood education. In other words, the “payer” is also a “recipient.”

287. Tom Curtis says:

Pekka:

“If the situation is optimal before some change in wealth transfer, then the net outcome must be negative.”

You need to define the criteria of optimality. A situation may be Pareto optimal (ie, you cannot make anybody better of without making somebody worse of) but not optimal with regards to equity, to productivity, or with respect to efficiency conceived of as maximum utility for a given unit production. Making the system worse by one criteria may easily make it better by others.

288. Joshua,

I absolutely cannot see anything ideological in my formulation. I even noted explicitly that under suitable conditions higher taxes lead to better outcome than lower taxes.

289. Tom,

Is it really necessary to go deeper in that? I told what happens if the original situation is optimal.

My other comment was based on the idea that, when we do not know at all, how the present situation deviates from the optimum, moving in any direction makes the expectation value of the state worse. That applies only to the expectation value determined based on the existing knowledge. It may be almost as likely that the actual change is positive, but knowing what leads to positive outcome would contradict the assumption of lacking knowledge.

Whether we have one goal or multiple goals that do not lead to a unique optimum does not change conclusions at the level of my arguments.

290. Joshua says:

Pekka –

I was referring to M 2’s statement – not yours, which in contrast to his, contained important context.

But still, I think that the construct of “payer” and “recipient” are more ideological than useful. They have a kind of qualitative connotation, which could be fine except that in reality, there are not really such clear distinctions. If someone pays taxes to sustain public education or trash collection or national defense or environmental regulation, are they not also a “recipient?”

Thus, I’d question the usefulness of M 2’s construct generally even if I can appreciat that speaking in terms of wealth is more sophisticated than talking about “money.”

291. I could add that Pigovian taxes are usually part of the optimal state, when quantitatively known externalities are present in the system.

292. Joshua says:

Pekka –

For more context on where I’m coming from – my comment is directed towards the arguments expressed by most “libertarians” that I have run across – which, IMO, take reasonable principles and overlays upon them a kind of binary thinking to serve ideological goals. In other words, related to this discussion, I often see the argument that taxation is like some form of “theft” that “takes” from one person to “give” to another in service of an elitist belief that some authoritarian or “statist” force is needed because the common man is incapable of evaluating what’s in their own best interests. IMO, that takes some underlying truths about the danger of government overreach and distorts them.

293. Joshua,
That I mentioned M2 was solely due to the fact that he introduced the concept of wealth transfer to this discussion.

My views are very far from the libertarian ones. In the past I have participated in net discussion on economics, but almost exclusively in Finnish. The nature of money and the weaknesses of the claims that the policies of the Fed are sure to lead to inflation were a significant part of my contribution to that discussion.

294. Joshua says:

Pekka –

Yes, I wasn’t suggesting that your point was one of a libertarian, or that the concept of wealth transfer is necessarily ideological – only that the overall usefulness of M 2’s construct was dubious because it frames wealth transfer with a counterproductive simplicity.

295. Eli Rabett says:

Taxation is the admission fee to civilization. Property is theft.

296. anoilman says:

I do think Pekka summed it up nicely. “taxation involves transfer of wealth from the tax payers to the recipients” You can also look at how the government offers services for what you pay. As a Canadian I pay a healthy 30% and 5% GST. I get health care, police service, military and sundry services for folks who can’t afford it. (Those sundry services are very critical to me…. Homeless people keep showing up behind my house. I actually care one one level, but on another I want them gone.)

All in all, I’m quite happy with the services I get for my money.

By the way, Michael 2 has hit on the other issue fueling the conservative movement. Namely, taxation without representation. If taxes are perceived to be high, or expenditures appear poorly conceived, folks get upset. This anger is what the Rob Fords (Mayor of Toronto… smokes Crack when he’s not drunk) of the world are tapping into.

These politics are worth paying attention to lest you get your very own Rob Ford. 🙂 In North America it is often framed as inner city (where the services are) to outer city (little or no services).

297. Tom Curtis says:

Pekka, the point is that for different people, “optimal” means different things. There is no way to appeal to the idea of things being “optimal” with out at least tacitly committing to particular political ideologies. Saying that taxation moves things away from an optimal situation without specifying which definition of optimal you are using then amounts to simply hiding the ideology you are basing your decisions on.

298. Joseph says:

Michael, most revenues are returned directly or indirectly to the economy through either government purchasing and contracting, salaries to employees, or being returned to individuals in the form of social spending.

299. Willard says:

> THEOREM. Koutsoyannis’s argument is a falsification argument: The logical architecture of Koutsoyannis’s affirmations implies the falsification of the credibility of future climate projections via modus tollens.

First, it is not a theorem, but a simple proposition. The “demonstration” that follows this “theorem” is simply an interpretation of that proposition. It does not substantiate it.

Second, there is no such thing as the logical architecture of Koutsoyannis’s affirmations. K&A projects his own and takes it as such. We are interpreting points in a presentation, and everything we say is conditional upon the correctness of that reading.

Third, to reduce “It is not credible that P” to “P is true” commits a modal (scope) fallacy. That something is credible does not imply it’s true, and asserting that P is credible does not amount to claim it is true.

Fourth, the implication is false: future climate projections could become credible and Koutsoyannis’ argument still hold for the data he was analyzing. This basically follows from K&A’s conditional argument in the beginning: what Koutsoyannis asserts is conditional on his analysis being correct.

K&A’s analysis has little merit.

***

If we want to analyze a modus tollens in Koutsoyannis’ argument, we should take the minor premise we underlined earlier: Climate models do not show the skill we expect from deterministic systems. How this premise is established could be considered to follow a modus tollens:

(P1) Deterministic systems should show some skill.

(P2) Climate models do not show that kind of skill.

(C) Climate models do not show the skill we expect from deterministic systems.

Again, the presentation as a modus tollens does not imply we are looking at a formal argument. This is more a syllogism from informal logic than an example of a sequent calculus. There are lots of implicit premises that make the argument work [, rendering] the argument unpalatable to a formal theorem prover.

Also, and more importantly, this is an argument that represents a statistical inference. Even if we omit the fact that the waste baskets of the history of logic is full of probabilistic logics (to borrow again from Jean-Yves Girard) and accept that statistical inference can be modeled deductively, K&A’s argument has the power to undermine the actual practice of statistical testing.

I conclude (and no, that’s not a formal deduction) that it’s way more economical to reject the idea that the scientific practice follows strict deductivism, like Kyburg does say, than reject statistical testing.

300. Michael 2 says:

Joseph wrote “Michael, most revenues are returned directly or indirectly to the economy”

Agreed, but that point isn’t in dispute. What seems to have been briefly introduced is the idea that libertarians are offended by re-distribution and socialism. That strikes me as odd; I assume most readers here are above average in intelligence and do not need to daily be told things that are blindingly obvious.

To the extent that tax revenue isn’t returned immediately to the person from which it was taken, it is indisputably redistributing.

The connection to global warming is this: Quite a few redistributionists have seen an opportunity to advance their global agenda through the Kyoto Protocol and other mechanisms. Consequently some opposition exists to that redistribution, but not specifically to claims of global warming. To try to prove global warming to a person that already accepts it is pointless; that’s not the sticking point for that person.

301. Michael 2 says:

Eli Rabett insists “Taxation is the admission fee to civilization. Property is theft.”

Says a chemist, arguing from authority without actually being one. Let’s see if I can find a comprehensible explanation for either of these incomprehensible sentences.

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Oliver_Wendell_Holmes,_Jr.
He’s wrong and so are you, at least insofar as making a cosmic or global statement that always pertains. His expression is more acceptable: “Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.”

He is of course referring only to the kind of society he occupies and identifies it as a necessary COST to maintain such a society, rather than the way you twist it, an “admission fee”.

After all, 47 percent of Americans are not paying either the cost OR the admission fee!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Property_is_theft!
“I said things like, Property is theft! The intention was to lodge a protest, to highlight, so to speak, the inanity of our institutions.”

That’s precious. That’s hiliarious. You work at an institution whose income depends on another institution which in turn depends on taxes and the whole house of cards is on the brink of tumbling down. No wonder you make self-serving but unsupported assertions. It is your bread-and-butter. You need people to believe your claims when in fact many do not.

Property is one of the three legs of French governance — life, liberty and property (changed to “pursuit of happiness” for Americans). Most animals will defend their territories needed for life itself and so will most humans, even you I suspect.

How about this one: “The phrase also appears in 1797 in the Marquis de Sade’s text L’Histoire de Juliette: ‘Tracing the right of property back to its source, one infallibly arrives at usurpation.’ ”

No, one does not infallibly arrive at usurpation nor does it matter. Consider the case that usurpation is a natural right that evolved along with humanity itself. In that case, it is right and natural for superior to usurp inferiority, and “taxes” are indeed a manner in which usurpation is accomplished in modern societies. A farmer that is not efficient, cannot earn enough money to pay taxes, his land is seized and sold to a farmer that is more efficient and can pay taxes. Did the new farmer usurp the property? No, the government did. But consider Easton, Pennsylvania. That was obtained in a footrace with the natives of First Nation; the amount of land a runner could encompass in a day was ceded to the settlers. How about Salt Lake City? Nobody wanted it — it was good for nothing; no hunting, no farming, salty water. No one was displaced to put the Mormons there.

Conversely, let us consider the ethic that usurpation is *wrong*. What exactly is usurpation? To me it is pushing you aside and taking your property, making it my own. That certainly seems wrong; in which case no one could own “property” and that is indeed the communist point of view. But apart from owning, there is the issue of “control” and so even the Utopians had “control”, which is a fine distinction if ever there was one.

But the extreme case is nobody owns property, no one has any concept of property, it is like the Utopians that could walk into anyone’s house at any time without so much as a knock at the door because it wasn’t your house anyway. In that scenario, there is also no human progress, no invention, no incentive to do anything.

Perhaps you consider usurpation to include animals, maybe even insects. Your very existence displaces other life. Well, so be it, I do not wrestle with my guilt but it appears that you do.

302. Tom,

I know very well that optimal is not the same for everyone, but I don’t understand, why this observation would change anything in my argument. It’s quite reasonable to think that one of the possible paths is best when all preferences are taken into account. It’s clear that that optimum cannot be determined, but in the spirit of democracy the most reasonable assumption is that we do not know, how we could move towards another state that’s better, when all preferences are combined.

All political groups have their own, and very often conflicting views on, what would be better. Almost everyone might agree that some particular change would be an improvement, but in that case it’s likely that that change is difficult to make, otherwise it had already been made.

303. Kevin O'Neill says:

Michael 2 writes: “To the extent that tax revenue isn’t returned immediately to the person from which it was taken, it is indisputably redistributing.

This is so much hogwash. See earlier comment on how libertarians/conservatives simply fail to mark their beliefs to market.

Businesses still pay some taxes in this country. But we know that these taxes are then built into the price of the products/services they sell. So, the business paying the tax is merely acting as a middle man; collecting taxes for the government. It is the purchaser of the product or service that is in reality paying the tax, not the business from which it is being collected.

So the idea that the business paying the tax is “indisputably” having its wealth redistributed is nonsense. In effect, businesses are never taxed, because any taxes they pay are built into their prices. It is always the end-user of the product or service that ‘pays’ the tax.

I will note that Michael 2 cannot explain how we avoided hyperinflation and skyrocketing interest rates despite pouring trillions into the economy. Why were all these conservative/libertarian economists wrong? If they fail at the very basics of economic thinking, why should we believe *anything* they have to say about economics?

304. Michael 2 says:

Pekka wrote “M2 … introduced the concept of wealth transfer to this discussion.”

That’s like me taking credit for revealing the existence of a cow in a small room that everyone should have noticed; it dominates the room! The proposed wealth transfers dwarf *everything* and aren’t even about global warming; merely using it as leverage.

How often do you see any mention of who receives all this tax money? We see a lot about who has to pay:

It also helps to remember that Americans do not have a sovereign, no “crown” that owns everything, even your souls, your property, your income; and if you are permitted to keep ANY of it, that is by the grace of the Crown. Can there be such a thing as a libertarian in that environment? Probably not and he’d be considered a heretic anyway.

305. Michael 2 says:

Joshua wrote “I often see the argument that taxation is like some form of theft that takes from one person to give to another.”

Unsurprising that you don’t refute the argument itself, merely that you value the words differently. That’s to be expected if you are on the receiving end of the booty.

But since you broach that argument, let’s see you defend it. In case you do not, I’ll try defending both sides of this argument. Just so you know how good I am, I always win when I play chess with myself.

Suppose we are neighbors. Do I have a right to come to your house and demand money from you? I can ask, but can I demand it, perhaps at gunpoint, and will society approve? Hopefully not, and certainly not in most of the United States. If I take your money, against your will it is theft (or robbery if you are there in person).

Now suppose I persuade my buddy to come with me and together we demand your money. Has it suddenly become right? No, it has not.

Suppose I round up a vigilante group and come to your house. Is it right? No.

So what makes it right? Nothing; but we *pretend* it is right if that vigilante group is sworn in as deputies by the sheriff. Now suddenly it is right. A government “of the people” cannot have rights that no person has and yet we pretend otherwise. Why do we pretend? Because chaos is the alternative.

The United States has no sovereign. It once did, his name starts with a “G”, contains an “o” and a “d” in that order but to mention it is forbidden by the blog software and owner. A supreme court justice made that argument and he was very observant. Absent some sort of sovereign there can be no ultimate authority of right and wrong, in fact, the concepts disappear.

With that sovereign gone, where is the source of the right to take your property?

But I challenge myself by saying, where is my right to keep it? Shall one man “own” all of North America? That would be absurd and nearly everyone, except maybe a New Englander, would laugh and ignore his claim, allowing that he legitimately can claim enough land to feed himself and his family, maybe a bit more if his stewardship requires it.

In the end I realize that there is only one ultimate “right” — life itself. It creates the other rights of liberty and pursuit of happiness. Property is necessary for life and liberty and is therefore very nearly as inalienable as life itself. Communism, naturally enough, is the antithesis to all of these ideals — opposing liberty and property and placing life itself at the disposal of the sovereign.

So, “taking” is never “right”, but it can be excused or justified in some expediencies. It is better to let representatives of the people do the justifying rather than each person stealing stuff and claiming justice. He might be “right” but also might not be believed and find himself dead or in jail.

The ramification for “eco terrorism” is that some of them take it upon themselves to do deadly things the least of which is lying to get their way, escalating to taking property and escalating again to war.

306. Michael 2 says:

Joshua wrote (re: M2 Taxes redistribute wealth from the payer of the tax to the recipient of the revenue.)

“that is a clean and binary simplification that is ideological, not useful.”

Indeed, very clean, very binary, and responds precisely and in opposition to the equally simple and binary claim that taxes are NOT wealth transfer.

The United Nations intends for carbon taxes to enrich developing nations at the expense of developed nations. How is this anything other than wealth transfer?

That it is also ideological is not in dispute.

“The payer often receives at least some degree of benefits in return for the taxes paid.”

Sometimes. It is not obvious to me what is my benefit to paying carbon taxes. Not only that, some taxes exist with no intention of offering a benefit, such as income taxes “imputed” from the bizarre argument that I have hired myself at market wages to mow my grass, fix my car, pick up dog poop — and then pay tax on it. The concept hits the elderly poor especially hard since they paid very little for their homes 40 years ago now the market RENT in the area may be greater than their monthly income!

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

“The concept of imputing income is logically extensible to any service people perform for themselves, such as cooking their own meals, washing their own laundry, or even bathing themselves.” (same source).

307. Michael 2 says:

Kevin O’Neill asserts “Long ago in another thread”

Starting to sound like Star Wars 😉

“…Michael 2 had no answer to why we do not see high inflation and interest rates in the United States considering that the Federal Reserve ‘exploded’ the money supply in response to the 2007/8 financial crisis.”

I responded on 2014-09-07. The relevant sentence is:

M2: “The United States is borrowing from the Chinese. This avoids hyperinflation. It’s still inflationary (the interest rate will contribute to inflation).”

You were arguing then about libertarianism and still seem to be flogging that same horse.

308. Michael 2 says:

Kevin wrote “It is the purchaser of the product or service that is in reality paying the tax, not the business from which it is being collected.”

So you DO have some knowledge of economics — in this case the “incidence of taxation”.

How this is not “wealth transfer”?

309. Eli Rabett says:

M2 confuses income taxes with all taxes. Common fallacy of the terminally confused. Care to find one person who pay no TAX in the US or the developed world M2?

310. Michael 2 says:

PS — I’m chopping my responses into several small pieces rather than a few big ones. This makes it easier for specific persons to see their responses or for moderation to delete small comments while keeping others.

Kevin asked “Why were all these conservative/libertarian economists wrong?”

Because this is your argument and you can define it that way.

“If they fail at the very basics of economic thinking, why should we believe *anything* they have to say about economics?”

There is no “we”. You choose who to believe and who to disbelieve. Several prominent and very different schools of economic thought exist. Your choice is probably ideologically motivated and very likely so is mine. AFTER choosing an economic school of thought you will then rationalize it making it seem very correct and all others wrong. The same phenomenon can be found in any religion I suspect.

311. Eli Rabett says:

If property is not theft, then naturally it will be quite easy to find some land that had not been stolen from its original inhabitants. Good luck on that.

312. Michael 2 says:

ATTP asks “M2: Barter systems trade goods and services where each recipient believes he obtained more “wealth” than he gave up.” Why is the first bit of what you said above true? I don’t see why a barter system guarantees that at all.

A barter system is the most egalitarian system of all and the underpinning of economics.

Understanding “marginal value” is important. If I have only one potato and intend to eat it, its value TO ME is very high. But if I have a hundred potatoes, the marginal value of that 100th potato is to me rather low. But if it is your first and only potato then its value to you is very high.

So, you trade something you have in surplus to me, and I trade something I have in surplus to you, and we’ll keep doing that until the marginal values are approximately equal.

A thing does not have “value” as a property of the thing itself. The value you place on a thing is personal and unique. Trade happens when you want something else more than the thing you already have. For some people that’s everything — wanting what you don’t have, and losing interest once obtained. A consumer society depends on that phenomenon. My teenager has it bad. 40 pairs of shoes but desperately wants the pair she sees in the store.

“There can still be supply and demand. Some people can have things with lots of value, other may have to barter with things that have little value. I don’t really see why there would be a difference between a barter system and one where – as you say – money exists in lieu of barter.”

No difference. You actually barter for money; you barter or labor for money, then you barter with money for something you want. The benefit of money is that everyone except a Buddhist wants it, it has at least *some* value to nearly everyone. Gold is best because it is very pretty and nearly indestructible. But not very handy. So certificates of value came into existence. I have some of those certificates. They have no intrinsic value but I’d hate to lose the ones I have; their value comes into existence the moment I use them to “barter” for something I want, but their value could change tomorrow.

But even with money, things do not have value, except as you value them at that moment. If the thing you want is more valuable to you than the money you possess, you will trade your money for his thing that you desire. If not, then you don’t. Conversely, he must desire your money more than he desires to keep the thing he intends to sell.

Any way you slice it, “economy” happens when every participant believes his wealth improves at every transaction.

313. jsam says:

Free and open debate? From ALEC? Who write boilerplate legislation behind closed doors? No chutzpah here.

Vinny, Vinny, will contact her, please?

The good news is that she may well bring the same degree of success to ALEC as she brought to HP. The world will be a safer place if she does.

314. Michael 2 says:

Eli writes “If property is not theft, then naturally it will be quite easy to find some land that had not been stolen from its original inhabitants.”

Trivial. After all, the land is still here and obviously hasn’t been stolen!

But I wonder what cultural assumptions you are making in your words “original inhabitants”. Do you mean single celled bacteria? Probably not. You are making culturally biased assumptions and worse, you have mixed and stirred cultures until you are hopelessly riddled with guilt.

315. Joshua says:

M 2

==> “Unsurprising that you don’t refute the argument itself, merely that you value the words differently. That’s to be expected if you are on the receiving end of the booty.”

I have no idea what that means. I pay taxes and I receive benefits. I don’t consider it theft, but a worthwhile tradeoff. I always have the opportunity to move somewhere like Somalia. I choose not to – because I don’t think that the situation is binary, and I see no point in wishing for Shanrgi-La.

==> “But since you broach that argument, let’s see you defend it.”

I don’t quite understand what argument you’re suggesting that I defend.

==> “I always win when I play chess with myself.”

You’re obviously much better than I, because I always lose when I play against myself.

==> “Suppose we are neighbors. Do I have a right to come to your house and demand money from you? I can ask, but can I demand it, perhaps at gunpoint, and will society approve? Hopefully not, and certainly not in most of the United States. If I take your money, against your will it is theft (or robbery if you are there in person).”

The condition here is that you are demanding it at gunpoint. You are not asking me to make a tradeoff.

==> “Now suppose I persuade my buddy to come with me and together we demand your money. Has it suddenly become right? No, it has not.”

Not sure where you’re going with that.

==> “Suppose I round up a vigilante group and come to your house. Is it right? No.”

Nor that. It seems that you’re still working with an argument where you’re comparing non-parallel situations.

===> “So what makes it right? Nothing; but we *pretend* it is right if that vigilante group is sworn in as deputies by the sheriff. Now suddenly it is right. A government “of the people” cannot have rights that no person has and yet we pretend otherwise. Why do we pretend? Because chaos is the alternative.”

We elect a government. We have a choice for voting of winning candidates or losing candidates. We have the right to move to Somalia if we don’t like the policies implemented if the policies are not to my liking because my candidate of choice lost. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I can’t complain about the policies I don’t like – and to prevent me from doing so, I would find quite objectionable (just in case you think I’m saying “Love it or leave it:).

==> “The United States has no sovereign. It once did, his name starts with a “G”, contains an “o” and a “d” in that order but to mention it is forbidden by the blog software and owner. A supreme court justice made that argument and he was very observant. Absent some sort of sovereign there can be no ultimate authority of right and wrong, in fact, the concepts disappear.”

i fail to understand the relevance. You’re going to have to dumb this down for me to follow. Are you thinking that I’m arguing that there is some ultimate authority that determines right and wrong? If so, I’m not.

==> “With that sovereign gone, where is the source of the right to take your property?”

I don’t understand why you are asking me that question. I choose to live in a country where an acceptance of the power of an authority to determine such things as property rights exists. The methodology for doing so is codified. To the extent that I care about it, I can easily determine whether I want to accept those terms or not.

==> “But I challenge myself by saying, where is my right to keep it? Shall one man “own” all of North America? That would be absurd and nearly everyone, except maybe a New Englander, would laugh and ignore his claim, allowing that he legitimately can claim enough land to feed himself and his family, maybe a bit more if his stewardship requires it.”

I fail to understand the relevance of this. Perhaps it’s too philosophical for me to follow. Again, I suggest dumbing it down.

==> “In the end I realize that there is only one ultimate “right” — life itself. It creates the other rights of liberty and pursuit of happiness.”

Again, I don’t really follow the relevance here, but I do kind of recognize an argument that I’ve heard from self-described liberatarians in the past. Anyway, I disagree with the argument. I live in a country where “rights” are determined by the population, collectively. Those rights are codified. If I choose to not accept those rights as they exist, I can try to break the law, fight the law, pay the penalty for breaking the law, or leave the country.

==> “Property is necessary for life and liberty and is therefore very nearly as inalienable as life itself.”

Again, I fail to understand how this is relevant to the question of whether the notion of taxes = “taking” wealth and “giving” it to another is fallaciously simplistic, and thus, counterproductive.

==> ” Communism, naturally enough, is the antithesis to all of these ideals — opposing liberty and property and placing life itself at the disposal of the sovereign.”

Again, I have no idea of the relevance here. The validity or lack thereof of the principles of communism stands apart from a discussion of whether taxation = “theft,” or whether if you (or I) are taxed – given that you receive benefits from living in this country – you are being robbed.

==> “So, “taking” is never “right”, but it can be excused or justified in some expediencies. It is better to let representatives of the people do the justifying rather than each person stealing stuff and claiming justice. He might be “right” but also might not be believed and find himself dead or in jail.”

I choose to live in a country where taxation exists, because I enjoy the fruits of that taxation. I don’t think that the system of return is perfect, and sometimes I might violate my putative principles by seeking to minimize the taxes I pay – but that doesn’t mean that I would argue that there is some kind of unfairness to me by virtue of being required (if I want to live here) to pay taxes.

==> “The ramification for “eco terrorism” is that some of them take it upon themselves to do deadly things the least of which is lying to get their way, escalating to taking property and escalating again to war.”

Why are you talking to me about “eco-terrorists?”

316. Joshua says:

Michael 2 –

I also had trouble understanding the connection between your 2nd response to me and the comment (I made) that you were responding to. I will respond to the 2nd comment, but it would help me in the future if you would constrain your responses a bit to make the connections more easily apparent to me:

==> “Indeed, very clean, very binary, and responds precisely and in opposition to the equally simple and binary claim that taxes are NOT wealth transfer.”

I didn’t make an argument that taxes are NOT wealth transfer. So my question is why are you responding to me with an argument that you explain is in precise opposition to an argument I didn’t make?

==> “The United Nations intends for carbon taxes to enrich developing nations at the expense of developed nations. How is this anything other than wealth transfer?”

I think that the notion that it is a clean and binary condition of a “payer’ and a “recipient” is counterproductively simplistic. If I choose to live a lifestyle that causes negative externallities to others, then I believe that I can’t then simply say that compensation for them being affected by those negative externalities is simply a matter of me “paying” and them “receiving.” To me – your construct basically starts in the middle and then selectively excludes relevant factors. I am not saying that quantifying externalities – in particularly those related to ACO2 emissions – is simple.

=> “That it is also ideological is not in dispute.”

The problem, IMO, is not in that it is ideological. The problem, IMO, is that it is unproductively simplistic (and binary) so as to serve an ideological goal. Being ideological is not a problem, IMO. Being simplistic about complex matters so as to serve an ideology is problematic, IMO.

==> Sometimes. It is not obvious to me what is my benefit to paying carbon taxes. ”

Seems to me that if carbon taxes were to become a legal requirement, and the benefits weren’t obvious to you, you would not pay those taxes. But I doubt that would happen. Perhaps you’d think that the benefit would be that you’d be able to maintain your lifestyle (with something of an effect of absorbing the tax payment) and stay out of jail. Perhaps the benefit would be that you would be able to maintain your lifestyle (more or less) and not have to move to Somalia as an alternative. Either way, you would actually have the option of not paying the taxes and going to jail or moving to Somalia. It seems to me that you’re not likely, in the future should carbon taxes become law, to be writing blog comments from jail or Somalia – so I’d say that in the event that carbon taxes are enacted, if I encounter you in these threads you will be demonstrating that you see a benefit in paying your taxes. Unless someone forces you into jail or to move to Somalia for non-payment of taxes, before you have accrued a tax-debt, I will be assuming that you have decided that the benefit to paying taxes is worth the cost.

==> Not only that, some taxes exist with no intention of offering a benefit, such as income taxes “imputed” from the bizarre argument that I have hired myself at market wages to mow my grass, fix my car, pick up dog poop — and then pay tax on it. The concept hits the elderly poor especially hard since they paid very little for their homes 40 years ago now the market RENT in the area may be greater than their monthly income!”

I’m not familiar with the concept of “imputed taxes.” It looks quite complex. I will need some time to look at it – and perhaps others will make comments that might help me to understand the concept. At any rate, I can’t express any opinions on that topic right now.

317. Joshua says:

Will the person who is the [word staring with “G” and containing an “o” and a “d” in that order] of this blog’s moderation please release my most recent comment from comment prison? You have stolen my supreme being-given right to comment on this blog, and I demand to have it back.

318. Tom Curtis says:

Pekka, I understood your point to be intended as clarifying the dispute raised by M2 about taxation. If you do not specify what is meant by optimum, it ceases to be clarifying. Rather it reduces to a motherhood statement. It becomes becomes logically equivalent to stating, “If the current situation is whatever you happen to think it best, then changing the situation will change it from the situation you happen to think is best”. While true, on that interpretation it was hardly worth saying.

319. Michael 2 says:

Joshua says

(M2 “I always win when I play chess with myself.”) “You’re obviously much better than I, because I always lose when I play against myself.”

Indeed I am better. It is “cup half full, cup half empty” thing. I am optimistic and I see the winning half of my solo game. You are pessimistic and see the losing half of your game.

Everything else follows.

“Are you thinking that I’m arguing that there is some ultimate authority that determines right and wrong? If so, I’m not.”

I believe you have not given it sufficient thought to form an argument on the topic. Right and wrong are moral concepts and require a giver of rules. Otherwise what you consider right I may consider wrong; who is correct? Me usually but you might see it differently.

Arguing mere numbers does not turn a wrong into a right. A changing world does not change wrong into right. However I also recognize “expediency” and situational ethics.

Right and wrong, in a moral context anyway, can only be determined by a sovereign.

“Rights” emanate from that sovereign. Always. Otherwise it is just a social contract that is binding only on the people that actually subscribed to the contract and children quite plainly have not subscribed to that contract. The contract can change at any time. How is that a “right”?

I’ll stop here and see if there’s anything else interesting to respond to.

320. Joseph says:

To the extent that tax revenue isn’t returned immediately to the person from which it was taken, it is indisputably redistributing.

No it’s paying for services that the private sector can’t or won’t provide for the public. The most obvious being roads and bridges, education, and police. You can argue that we shouldn’t pay for these services, but in a Democracy the majority decides.

321. Kevin O'Neill says:

Michael 2 – The fact that we can sell Treasuries at virtually zero interest should give you pause. Libertarians predicted that inflation and interest rates would skyrocket in the wake of the ARRA and QE I (II and II). It hasn’t happened. Nothing changed vis a vis the Chinese. Selling gov’t bonds to the Chinese (or any other entity) should, per libertarian economic thought, put inflationary pressures on the dollar – not the reverse. Doesn’t libertarian economics predict that massive gov’t spending results in inflation?

You have given multiple garbled answers – at one time you said it was the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency that prevented inflation. This rationale is also spurious.

What you can’t seem to admit is that your economic theory is deeply, deeply flawed. Instead of revising your ideas to fit facts you just keep shifting your rationals. I introduced the economic debate as an analogy to the GW debate: it’s the sun! It’s natural variability! It’s cosmic rays!

You jump through the same hoops in economics – it’s everything BUT the one answer that’s right in front of you – libertarian economics has once again been proven by reality to be nothing of any intellectual consequence.

You yourself brought up Weimar Germany as the result of the government just printing money – but that’s exactly what the US has been doing and hyperinflation is not only not here – it’s nowhere on the horizon. In fact,the Fed would *like* to see more inflation, not less.

322. Tom
The only thing required for may argument is that the individual optima can be in some way combined to form an overall optimum. I refer to democracy as the mechanism, which determines, how they are combined.

323. First, this note: The proof further below is essentially the same derivation in my last post, given some cleanups. In response to criticism on the wording of the statement of the theorem, I changed and amplified the wording to reflect much more explicitly what is proved.

Willard says:
October 27, 2014 at 4:52 pm

“There is no such thing as the logical architecture of Koutsoyannis’s affirmations.”

There is such a thing, since explicitly or implicitly we do all the time deal with the logical architecture of collections of propositions (affirmations) via replacing the propositions with variables and creating the logical structure of a mathematical calculus on those variables. This is what symbolic logic including the propositional calculus addresses. (Yes, symbolic logic is a sub-category of mathematics. We deal with this architecture all the time in mathematics, explicitly or implicitly using the propositional calculus and its extensions.)

“To reduce “It is not credible that P” to “P is true” commits a modal (scope) fallacy.”

But I did not do this. This is a very seriously incorrect reading of what I actually wrote and did. I actually represented clauses – entire subject-predicate combinations, which can be sentences – and collections of clauses with variables, and I represented as clauses what Koutsoyannis actually affirmed, including one that includes the phrase “not credible”. This above quoted passage suggests that I did not include this phrase “not credible” in my symbolisms even though I did. Consider the following:

Much of what follows is an analysis of the sentence in question that Koutsoyannis actually wrote – and let’s stick to an analysis of what Koutsoyannis *actually wrote* – and which I properly symbolized. That sentence is:
“This makes future climate projections not credible.”

Note that embedded in the sentence is “future climate projections not credible”, which literally is not a clause because it lacks the verb “are”. But it is clearly the tacit or implicit clause “future climate projections are not credible”. Why is the verb “are” not in the former? Simple: To make the sentence grammatically correct. One way to make “future climate projections not credible” into a literal clause with the verb “are” and keep “this” as the subject of the sentence would be the sentence, “This makes it so that future climate projections are not credible.”

Let’s now examine this clause “future climate projections are not credible”. It is a fact that this clause can be rewritten as “it is not the case that future climate projections are credible”. Again, that these two clauses in question are equivalent is a fact. We use this fact all the time in mathematics when we rewrite mathematical statements into more useful forms for symbolism, as we do now on the latter form: We symbolize “it is not the case” with the negation symbol “~” and we symbolize the clause “future climate projections are credible” with the variable C and we now have the symbolism ~C for each of the equivalent clauses “it is not the case that future climate projections are credible” and “future climate projections are not credible”. (This is all factually correct. I repeat: We do this sort of thing all the time in mathematics.)

Now let’s go back again to that sentence that Koutsoyannis wrote in his conclusion:
“This makes future climate projections not credible.”
What does he refer to with his this”? Undoubtedly, it’s some nonempty set (a set can be empty or contain one element) of propositions with respect to his statistical analyses such that he takes each of these propositions in this set as true. And, therefore, he undoubtedly takes this set of true propositions as a single proposition or conjunction of two or more propositions that he thus takes as true. And note that we can, if we wish, view this conjunction itself as a proposition. In my last post, I let my variable K represent “this”, which is the proposition or conjunction of propositions written by, referred to, and taken to hold true by Koutsoyannis in his “this makes future climate projections not credible”. Note that since K is written by, referred to, and taken to hold true by Koutsoyannis, K is given as a distinct affirmation. (Some subset of Koutsoyannis’s conclusion may contain a subset of K.)

So now we have K and ~C. How do they relate? Now, first, what does K -> ~C represent? It represents the following implication sentence S:
S: This implies that future climate projections are not credible.
Note that K represents “this” and that ~C represents “future climate projections are not credible”. What’s the difference between what Koutsoyannis actually wrote and S? Let’s see by looking again at what he wrote:
“This makes future climate projections not credible.”
To go from what he actually wrote to S: The verb “are” is introduced to let the tacit or implicit clause “future climate projections not credible” to be the literal clause “future climate projections are not credible”, and “makes” is replaced with “implies that”. Surely, that’s reasonable. But I anticipated objection to this, and therefore:

In my last post (and again further below) I gave an absolutely airtight mathematical proof that we have a disjunction that necessarily holds, this disjunction being C V (K -> ~C). That’s right. In my proof in my last post I *mathematically* proved via Constructive Dilemma that it is necessarily the case that C V (K -> ~C). Mathematically speaking, there is absolutely no way out here, since *all* – that’s right, *all* – the steps in this Constructive Dilemma leading up to this disjunction are tautologies, statements that are true in all their substitution instances, statements that are necessarily true. The conclusion is thus necessarily true. Therefore:

By disjunctive syllogism on tautologies, all denials of K -> ~C lead with necessity to the affirmation of C.

“…the implication is false:…”

I just explained that I mathematically proved in last post that it is necessarily the case that C V (K -> ~C). Therefore, by disjunctive syllogism on tautologies, all denials of K -> ~C lead with necessity to the affirmation of C. This denial above of the implication affirms C.

“…K&A’s argument has the power to undermine the actual practice of statistical testing.”

I make no such argument, and what I wrote does no such thing. I merely properly symbolize what Koutsoyannis *actually wrote* and then show the logical derivations that necessarily flow from what he actually wrote. If there is a problem here with respect to statistical testing, then maybe Koutsoyannis should retract this particular sentence “future climate projections are not credible” and replace it with a sentential form that is not problematic in the context of statistical testing.

THEOREM.

Givens and definitions: It is given that Koutsoyannis wrote and thus affirmed, “This makes future climate projections not credible.” Define symbol K to represent “this”, which is the proposition or conjunction of propositions written by, referred to, and taken to hold true by Koutsoyannis in his “this makes future climate projections not credible”. Note that since K is written by, referred to, and taken to hold true by Koutsoyannis, K is given as a distinct affirmation. (Some subset of Koutsoyannis’s conclusion may contain a subset of K.) Define symbol C to represent the clause “future climate projections are credible”, in which case ~C represents either of the equivalent clauses “it is not the case that future climate projections are credible” and “future climate projections are not credible”. (See the further above discussion on the symbolism for more on this.)

Conclusion (proved below). All denials of K -> ~C lead with necessity to the affirmation of C. In light of this, we affirm K -> ~C as the proper symbolism in the propositional calculus of “this makes future climate projections not credible”. Then Koutsoyannis’s affirmations in question K and K -> ~C – those in question that he *actually wrote* – lead to the falsification of C via either modus ponens or the equivalent (via the contrapositive) modus tollens. Stated another way, it is false that Koutsoyannis made no affirmation that leads to the falsification of C via either modus ponens or the equivalent (via the contrapositive) modus tollens.

Proof. For the detailed description of the proper symbolism that leads to the below, see the discussion further above.

(1). (K & C) V ~(K & C). (Tautology: Excluded Middle.)
(2). (K & C) => C. (Tautology: Conjunction Elimination.)
(3). ~(K & C) => (K -> ~C). (Tautology: Part of the Definition of Material Implication.)
(4). C V (K -> ~C). (Inference: Constructive Dilemma on (2), (3), and (4).)

By disjunctive syllogism on tautologies, all denials of K -> ~C lead with necessity to the affirmation of C. (See the further above discussion on the symbolism for more on this.) In light of this, we affirm K -> ~C as the proper symbolism in the propositional calculus of “this makes future climate projections not credible”.

(5). K. (Given by Koutsoyannis.)
(6). K -> ~C. (Given by Koutsoyannis.)
(7). C -> ~K. (Inference: Contrapositive on (6).)
(8). ~C. (Inference: Modus Ponens on (5) and (6); Modus Tollens on (5) and (7).)

Again: This means that the three theorems I proved on October 23, 2014 at 1:44 (each an example of the theorem that if a proposition not a tautology is taken as an axiom in a logical system, then that system is logically inconsistent) apply to Koutsoyannis’ affirmations (the assumptions in this proof) and thus the argument that flows from his affirmations.

324. guthrie says:

Oh, did someone mention WEimar Germany? The inflation there was prompted by the cutting off of imports and therefore increasing prices within the country. THe printing money came later, and obviously added to it but was not the prime driver and cause.
Anyone who brings it up should immediately be asked where money comes from in the first place.

325. Eli Rabett says:

Guthrie, a substantial part of inflation in Weimar Germany was driven by the imposition of reparations by France. The Germans printed money without end to purchase hard currency to pay the reparations. This is something the Germans might keep in mind as they press southern Europe.

326. Tom Curtis says:

Pekka:

“The only thing required for may argument is that the individual optima can be in some way combined to form an overall optimum.”

That the different definitions of “optimal” can be in some way composed is a very large, I would say false, assumption. In particular, some definitions of “optimal” are mutually contradictory such that the only way to “compose them” is to simply exclude, one or the other, or both from the composite definition of “optimal”

“I refer to democracy as the mechanism, which determines, how they are combined.”

And that is not they way democratic compromise works. Even granting that the final concept of optimum enshrined by the democratic process reflects equally the views of what is optimal of all citizens (something that is explicitly false in first past the post and/or two party political systems as is found in much of the English speaking world), the resulting composite definition is not something identified as optimal by people with initially different views, but merely as a sub-optimal economic arrangement accepted as a compromise for non-economic reasons.

327. Michael 2 says:

Joshua — thanks for the detailed reply. I think I’ll let the matter rest for now.

328. Michael 2 says:

Kevin — thanks for your answers. I do not expect to change your mind on anything and appreciate the opportunity to lay out an opposition point of view for anyone interested in it.

329. Tom,
With all your reservations, I still cannot see, how my argument can be improved upon without a political judgment that some views are more valuable than some others.

If people would genuinely agree that some other state were better and also, how that state could be reached, then the change had probably been made.

330. Michael 2 says:

Pekka writes “Tom, With all your reservations, I still cannot see, how my argument can be improved upon without a political judgment that some views are more valuable than some others.”

That is a logical analysis. I’ve known two people from Finland and both were meticulous, smart and rational. In an irrational world those traits are not always “qualities”.

“If people would genuinely agree that some other state were better and also, how that state could be reached, then the change had probably been made.”

Yes, absolutely. The small size and geographical confinement of Baltic and Scandinavian nations reduces the number and diversity of value systems and makes agreement and optimization possible. Tom’s argument pertains to the unlikely condition of “agree” in most of the world.

The former Soviet Union, and to a lesser extent the United States, are examples where irreconcilable value systems exist.

Consider Islam and just about anything else: The “anything else” may be willing to compromise, but Islam has no mechanism for such a thing.

Consider socialism vs libertarianism: Giving people a choice would seem always to socialize cost while personalizing profit, destroying the financial base of socialism. Therefore no one can be permitted “choice” under socialism and thus there is no compromise between liberty and socialism.

To conclude, your argument is correct and theoretical but Tom sees the impossibility of applying that theory to most of the world.

331. Michael,
I don’t make any claims that the optimization is possible. Actually I’m fully certain that it’s not. My point can be taken in the spirit of the quote of Churchill (even if he took it from William Buckley or someone else): .. democ­racy is the worst form of Gov­ern­ment except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

In this spirit trusting on the democracy to find the optimal state is false, but trusting any other way of finding the optimum when the criteria must reflect all different vies is even more false.

For this reason we have no better way of deciding, what’s the overall optimum given all the restrictions that apply than to assume that we are at the optimum.

Then we may start to present our own preferences, but at point we must recognize that those preferences are not accepted by everyone else.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.