Climate “skepticism”

I’ve encountered a couple of recent blog posts where people discuss why they (or others) became “skeptical” of mainstream climate science. The reasons appear to mostly be related to the politicisation of the scientific process, the behaviour of some scientists, what some have been willing to say publicly, or because of what was found in some stolen emails. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who understands the scientific process should be embarrassed to present these as reasons for being skeptical.

Skepticism is a fundamental part of the scientific process. Everyone should be skeptical. It really just means that you don’t simply accept something because someone tells you to. It means that you don’t simply accept something because the person presenting it is trustworthy or a high-profile scientist. It means that you check and consider what someone presents. You, or others, collect more data, do more calculations, or run more models to try and understand something in more detail and to check and confirm (or not) what others have presented before.

What skepticism isn’t is being dubious or suspicious. Just because you don’t trust someone doesn’t mean that you’re being skeptical. If you don’t trust someone, you check what they’ve presented; either by doing it again yourself, or by finding other sources that either confirm or contradict what they’ve presented. Real skepticism takes effort and investigation. Of course, you can use your distrust of someone to prompt some skeptical inquiry, but ultimately your conclusions about the topic should be based on the scientific evidence that you encounter, not on whether or not some group of scientists behaved in ways that you don’t like, or said things to make you think that they couldn’t be trusted.

Let me clarify something, though. I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t care about the behaviour of scientists, or whether or not they can be trusted. Of course I think it would be much better if everyone behaved impeccably and could be trusted. My point is that it doesn’t really matter; I’m not going to trust a scientific result more if scientists learn to behave in a more trusting way. There’s a scientific method which requires that before we accept a result we check it and confirm it again and again. We probe and investigate in as much detail as possible. It’s only accepted when it becomes clear that the evidence is largely overwhelming. It’s the evidence itself that matters, not the behaviour of the scientists involved.

So, while those who are “skeptical” of mainstream climate scientists continue to claim that their skepticism was based on a lack of trust of scientists, and not on an actual investigation of the evidence, I’m going to assume that they’re simply suspicious, and not actually skeptical.

Addendum : Maybe I shouldn’t have written this post since it is likely to lead to one of those conspiracy-laden comment threads. I’m not really that interested in such discussions, so please try to avoid making conspiracy ideation-type comments. I’ll happily moderate or delete any that won’t lead to a constructive discussion.

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508 Responses to Climate “skepticism”

  1. dana1981 says:

    To be fair, most people are not capable of objectively evaluating the evidence behind AGW. Thus they should defer to the experts, but if they feel they can’t trust the experts for some reason, that puts people in a difficult position. They then turn to criticism of the experts for supposedly not being trustworthy.

    The problem is that there’s been a campaign to discredit climate science experts, but there’s no substance behind it. The most common example is the Climategate emails, which were entirely benign when actually taken in context, as nine separate investigations found.

    A common example is the claim that Climategate emails revealed journal ‘gatekeeping’, preventing contrarians from getting their papers published. The accusation is that mainstream climate scientists polluted the peer-review process. In reality the exact opposite is true. Contrarians were subverting peer-review by engaging in “pal-review”, and mainstream climate scientists exchanged some emails trying to figure out how to stop this from happening to protect the integrity of the peer-review process. I talk about this more in my book, due out in March (shameless plug).

    But I can understand the position that if you’re not capable of evaluating the evidence, and if you think those generating the evidence aren’t trustworthy, you would be suspicious of that evidence. Though I agree ‘suspicious’ is a more accurate term than ‘skeptical’, since you’re skeptically not evaluating the evidence itself.

  2. Yvan Dutil says:

    The root of the problem is that for commercial purpose a large part of the educational system maintain that you «can think by yourself». This is a big lie unless it is applied to trivial reflection or very specific topic. Compound the the post-modernist philosophy (also maintained for commercial purpose) and you get a fundamental problem of understanding of how science work.

    If it takes years of training to understand a topic you should be aware that you cant build a meaningful opinion in minute. Hence, you almost always really to some sot of argument of authority. This is obvious, but this is also hidden in the public discourse because, it somewhat undermines the root of democracy.

    Off course it does! But, should we care more about maintaining a fancy dream, taken account of the fact of life? Again, this answer is economic ; too much people are making their living of propagating fancy dream. Hence, the lies will still be propagated.

  3. Dana,

    Thus they should defer to the experts, but if they feel they can’t trust the experts for some reason, that puts people in a difficult position. They then turn to criticism of the experts for supposedly not being trustworthy.

    That’s a fair point. However, most people who make these kind of statements have access to experts. They can talk to the experts and ask questions. If, after asking many experts, the message is broadly consistent, then they either have to assume that there is a fundamental, world-wide, problem with climate scientists, or that those few who they don’t trust don’t really influence the scientific evidence. I’m assuming that such people have the ability to make a rational judgement, even if they don’t actually have the ability to assess the evidence directly themselves.

    But I can understand the position that if you’re not capable of evaluating the evidence, and if you think those generating the evidence aren’t trustworthy, you would be suspicious of that evidence.

    Agreed, but as I mentioned above, the options they have are either to start accepting the evidence, or assuming some kind of massive, world-wide conspiracy.

  4. Yvan,

    The root of the problem is that for commercial purpose a large part of the educational system maintain that you «can think by yourself».

    It seems to me that even if most can’t directly assess the scientific evidence, they can make rational decisions based on what a sufficient number of experts say. People do this all the time when it comes to other areas about which they have no expertise. Climate science seems to be an area where people feel they know more than the actual experts (or don’t trust a vast fraction of the experts) without having any expertise themselves.

  5. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Perhaps you should consder changing the name of this website to “And Then There’s Physchology.” 🙂

  6. John Hartz says:

    PS – Far be it for me to allude to a conspiracy.

  7. jsam says:

    “All crackpots end up being pathetic.”

    What clues give the scientific crackpot away?

    No features infallibly identify a crackpot. But certain indicators do raise our suspicions. Crackpots frequently see themselves as revolutionaries, and create extended narratives about their own contrarian position in a controversy.

    For example, many of Ling’s books include “revolution” in their title. Berkeley virologist and AIDS denier Peter Duesberg — he claims HIV is a harmless passenger virus — has referred to himself as a “courageous independent scientist resisting orthodoxy,” modestly invoking Galileo as an example.

    This sort of revolutionary flag-waving is absent among the heroes, who focus on specific scientific problems, not their personal position in a controversy.

    Also, an odor of Napoleonic, delusionary certainty often infects crackpot narratives and is never seen in hero narratives.

    Consider Linus Pauling, arguably the greatest 20th-century chemist. He was convinced vitamin C could prevent the common cold, despite many double-blind trials finding no effect. He continued pushing vitamin C as a cure for cancer, heart disease and AIDS, claiming that “75 percent of all cancer can be prevented and cured by vitamin C alone.”

    At the end of the day, this determined lack of open-mindedness is the clearest sign of crackpottery.

    http://www.munichre.com/corporate-responsibility/en/strategy-challenges/challenges/climate-change/index.html

  8. Interesting, who retweeted this.

  9. Richard says:

    ATTP, I totally agree with your post.

    When Pons & Fleischmann made the extraordinary claim of discovering ‘cold fusion’ other researchers did not employ shutuppery or ‘you guys are idiots’ type rebuttals, they went to the lab to try to reproduce the results and found they could not.

    Planetary/ climate science seems to add a level of complexity not in the basic science per se, but in the sheer range of disciplines and science involved. You cannot simply go to the lab and do an experiment with the result “Dangerous AGW in next 100 years is proven”.

    This means that addressing concerns/ true scepticism amongst non-scientists and even scientists, requires an integrated approach to communicating the science in a non-simplistic but convincing manner, that addresses fundamental misunderstandings.

    I see a pyramid in my mind: at the bottom level is the most basic science (kinetic theory of heat), concept of resonance, modes of vibration of molecules, types of EMR, etc.; the next level is things like absorption spectra; etc. All the way up to “dangerous AGW is …”.

    If this was done in a compelling, scientifically accurate but engaging way (e.g. as in BBC’s History of Ideas, here is one on the Big Bang http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02gfgfq ), I think we can create a pyramid of understanding that avoids an infinite loop that seems to jump around the pyramid like snakes and ladders, often ending up with “but is CO^2 really …?”

    Good as many of the sites are, they are often either too technical or too hand-wavvy, so I think there is a communication ‘gap’ here at present, and nature abhors a vacuum. Spurious scepticism fills this vacuum.

  10. @Wotts
    Suppose that someone publishes the results of a survey, and one of the respondents claims to be 32,727 years old. That someone did not spot this. After publication, the authors were alerted to what seems to be an error. Six months go by, and the seeming error is left to stand, even though all results are affected.

    Next time you read a paper by this person, do you check it more carefully?

    If you encounter a paper by a student of this person, do you check it more carefully?

  11. Richard,
    Not that I really want to get into a discussion about a topic that is mainly the focus of someone whose goal is to use the word “fraud” more often than anyone else in the history of the written word, but, yes, if you distrust an individual you would check their work, and the work of their collaborators, more carefully than maybe you would otherwise. That’s kind of the point I was making; our understanding of a scientific field does not depend on the behaviour of a few individuals. In fact, I would argue that if you particularly distrust someone, ignore their work completely, and consider only that of those you do trust. You assess all, or as much, of the evidence as possible.

    Of course, I’m really focusing here on the physical sciences and – as I understand it – your example isn’t an example from the physical sciences. The physical science does (whether you like it or not) have some advantages over some other areas in that there are physical laws that, if violated, would immediately disqualify a result.

  12. BBD says:

    Suppose there were 300 abstracts…

  13. dikranmarsupial says:

    I think Richard Tol has completely missed the point being made. Skepticism and suspicion are not the same thing. If you are skeptical then you check the next paper and abide by your findings. If you are merely suspicious, you don’t accept it, but don’t bother to find out. All scientists should be skeptical about science, rather than merely suspicious (although we need to acknowledge that we have that bias due to human nature and suppress it).

  14. Yes, if Gremlins have infected someone’s work in the past, one might check their work more carefully in future.

  15. Dikran,

    I think Richard Tol has completely missed the point being made.

    Yes, that’s rather a given, so I’ve rather given up pointing it out 😉

  16. verytallguy says:

    ATTP, 

    climate skeptics are rather dull and predictable,  and invariably come across as attention seeking mentioning no names #FreetheTol300. 

    It might be more instructive to do a post on why people on the realist side became engaged in the issue, particularly those without direct involvement in the science itself. 

    What is it about the subject that draws people like yourself in so strongly? 

  17. vtg,

    What is it about the subject that draws people like yourself in so strongly?

    I’d quite like the answer to that myself. Also, if I wrote such a post I’d probably end with “whatever you do, don’t do it!!!!” 🙂

  18. terryc says:

    *Sticks head above parapet*
    I’m a ‘skeptic’.
    I’ve gone from being a full-on alarmist to ‘slayer’ in the space of seven years. This being based on, I hope, an open-minded and reasoned approach to the scientific evidence, as far as it is possible for me to judge.
    The catalyst was an interviewer’s question to Melanie Philips; he asked her if she, as a skeptic, was simply a useful idiot for oil companies. It was her reply that prompted my investigations – she said that she could be, but her position was based on studying the evidence.
    I have to say that I agree with the general thrust of the post, as I often do here.
    *sticks head back down, waiting for the inevitable assault*

  19. @Wotts
    I daresay that the probability of encountering a 33,000 year old human is about as likely as finding light travelling at 100,000,000,000 m/s …

    But semantics aside, you seem to agree that some colleagues we’ve come to know and trust, whereas with other colleagues we’re not so sure.

    You’re contention that the laws of physics makes physicists more reliable than scholars in other disciplines, is an intriguing hypothesis but not one that has any empirical support that I’m aware of.

  20. terryc,

    I’ve gone from being a full-on alarmist to ‘slayer’ in the space of seven years. This being based on, I hope, an open-minded and reasoned approach to the scientific evidence, as far as it is possible for me to judge.

    If you’re actually a slayer (i.e., you don’t accept that the greenhouse effect is the consequence of radiatively active gases and that adding more of these will cause us to warm) then you’re virtually certainly wrong. You may well have had an open-minded and reasoned approach to the scientific evidence, but what you concluded is entirely inconsistent with the evidence.

  21. Richard,

    You’re contention that the laws of physics makes physicists more reliable than scholars in other disciplines, is an intriguing hypothesis but not one that has any empirical support that I’m aware of.

    You should really try reading things more than once and should aim to keep the words in the same order as they were originally presented. That wasn’t my contention. My contention was that it is somewhat easier to show that something is wrong in the physical science because of the existence of universal laws (energy conservation, for example). That doesn’t mean that physicists are more reliable than any other scholar. Simply that rejecting flawed ideas can sometimes be easier than in other areas where such universal laws don’t exist.

  22. @Wotts
    Conversation of mass is another one of those universal laws, right?

    But a 33,000 year old human is just unlikely?

  23. Richard,
    Ahh, okay, sure a 33000 year old human is an impossibility. I suspect, though, that the reasons are related to an increase in entropy. People other than physical scientists can also use the laws of physics 😉

  24. terryc says:

    ATTP: I realise that these discussions are always fruitless, but I am willing to be educated by you nonetheless.
    What evidence is the slayer position inconsistent with?

  25. terryc, we just had a discussion about that below the last post. Why don’t you first convince your friends: Anthony Watts, Jo Nova, Judith Curry. They all claim to accept the greenhouse effect.

  26. terryc,

    What evidence is the slayer position inconsistent with?

    Radiative physics, the Stefan-Boltzmann Law. The surface of our planet is 33K warmer than it would be because of the presence of radiatively active gases (greenhouse gases) in our atmosphere. There isn’t really another plausible explanation.

  27. Hans Erren says:

    It is all the noble cause corruption when physicists become activists that makes me very skeptical. Science is the first victim.

  28. Hans,

    It is all the noble cause corruption when physicists become activists that makes me very skeptical. Science is the first victim.

    You’re making my case for me. It doesn’t make you skeptical, it makes you suspicious. Also, I get the impression that your definition of “activist” is “someone who says things with which I disagree”.

  29. Michael 2 says:

    An interesting concept — the distinction between suspicion and skepticism. I suppose I am suspicious but not particularly skeptical; neither can I be until I have enough knowledge and skill to become “skeptical”. I’m working on the knowledge and skill part.

    So I tend to believe specific scientific claims but I am suspicions of political goals. Since that is conspiratorial ideation, I’ll stop here.

  30. terryc says:

    ATTP: Thanks for that. I’ll leave this thread now, as slayer physics is off-topic.
    Parting shot – so no evidence from historical CO^2 levels/temperature then (i.e. the actual real-world behaviour of the climate system).

  31. terryc,

    so no evidence from historical CO^2 levels/temperature then (i.e. the actual real-world behaviour of the climate system).

    Of course, plenty. Our past climate history is entirely consistent with the basic theory of the greenhouse effect. My list wasn’t meant to be exhaustive. If you’re genuinely skeptical, start again.

  32. Willard says:

    > I’ve encountered a couple of recent blog posts where people discuss why they (or others) became “skeptical” of mainstream climate science.

    Here, for instance:

  33. Willard,
    Yes, that was one of them.

  34. terryc says:

    ATTP: Sorry, one last post. Can I have a reference for that?
    A book would be preferable.
    Perhaps something on paleo-climatology.

  35. jsam says:

    Skeptics would do well to recall that inactivism is a form of activism. One may be suspicious of those calling for no change in course whilst the environment changes.

  36. terryc,
    I don’t have some kind of simple reference, or a single book. It’s a complex topic that includes many scientific areas. If someone else can recommend one, please do. I would suggest simply looking up the greenhouse effect (for example) and ignoring anything from WUWT, Bishop-Hill, or any of the other blogs with a similar level of scientific credibility (i.e., none). NASA, or most university hosted sites would probably be fine.

  37. BBD says:

    so no evidence from historical CO^2 levels/temperature then (i.e. the actual real-world behaviour of the climate system).

    Eocene CO2 >~1000ppm

    Pleistocene CO2 ~170 – 280ppm

    Cenozoic temperature reconstruction.

  38. Rachel M says:

    I quite like the stuff in the Thin Ice documentary that was produced by geologist, Simon Lamb. There’s a summary with some video links here – http://thiniceclimate.org/past-climates

  39. Willard says:

    Speaking of roads to Damascus, here’s another story.

    I will point at this:

    I was defeated by facts.

    I will also point at this:

    I’m very fortunate to have acquaintances in the environmentalist movement, and I began discussing my concerns with them last fall. One friend recommended that I read the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, suggesting that it might resolve some of the questions I had about the science behind climate concerns.

    I began reading the report with a skeptical eye, but by the time I concluded I could not find anything to justify my skepticism.

    http://www.frumforum.com/confessions-of-a-climate-change-convert/

    That is all.

  40. BBD says:

    Paleoclimate textbooks – like so many – can be rather expensive, but this one is both up-to-date and affordable.

  41. John Hartz says:

    Serious question:

    There is now a very large body of scientific evidence documenting the causes and effects of manmade climate change. Is there a commonly accepted metric for determing how big that body is and how it has grown over the past decades?

  42. jsam says:

    A free Coursea course on climate modelling with some time devoted to paleoclimatology.
    https://www.coursera.org/course/globalwarming

    just one from many
    https://www.coursera.org/courses

  43. BBD says:

    Actually, terryc, if you are still there, possibly one of the best places to start from (or return to) is Spencer Weart’s The Discovery of Global Warming.

    The link is to the extended online version, but I actually recommend the (quite slim, very readable, inexpensive) print edition very highly. The website worked best for me as an extended reference section. There’s nothing like a proper book and a proper bookmark for steady, ordered learning.

  44. Ian Forrester says:

    terryc if you want to understand the relationship between CO2 and paleoclimate one of the best ways is this video by Richard Alley:

    Anyone who wants to see how radiative physics works has only to look at their microwave oven. The processes at work there are very similar to the greenhouse gas effect, electromagnetic radiation of a certain wavelength, 2.45 gigahertz or 12.2 cms, causes the water molecules to increase their rotational energy and thus increase the temperature. IR radiation of a certain wavelength causes CO2 to increase vibrational energy, thus raising the temperature. Very simple really.

  45. terryc says:

    ATTP, BBD et. al.:
    Thanks for that. I’ll start with Weart, and I’ll also try to figure out a way of comparing more recent CO^2 levels and temp. for myself.
    I have never come across any statement that slayer physics is contrary to empirical evidence (though plenty of theoretical arguments) before, so this could be quite interesting for me.

  46. @Wotts
    I’m glad you agree that physics is not the only discipline in which there are telltale signs that a paper is most certainly wrong.

  47. Richard,

    I’m glad you agree that physics is not the only discipline in which there are telltale signs that a paper is most certainly wrong.

    Technically, I didn’t say physics, I said “physical sciences” which would include much more than just physics. Also, I was referring more to the existence of the universal laws, than to who would use them. I agree, though, that there are presumably tell tale signs in many fields that would indicate a problem with some research.

  48. jsam says:

    What a brilliant Spoonerism, “conversation of mass”.

  49. John Hartz says:

    Given that terryc brought up the topic of conversion, here’s a very interesting and thought-provking blog post on the topic.

    Reality Is That Which, When You Stop Believing In It, Doesn’t Go Away by Jason Rosenhouse, Evolutuion Blog, Jan 10, 2015

    The take-away for me is that if one immenrses oneself into an alternative belief system for a long period of time (in the example presented, it was one-year), one will convert.

  50. BBD says:

    terryc

    Thanks for that. I’ll start with Weart, and I’ll also try to figure out a way of comparing more recent CO^2 levels and temp. for myself.

    A really good choice. I should say now that I was a ‘sceptic’ at one time, of the lukewarm persuasion. One day, somebody on a blog asked me how, if sensitivity to radiative perturbation is very low, did the climate system enter and leave glacial states? This set me to thinking, and reading. About a year later, I had changed my view, as I had to, given what I now knew about paleoclimate behaviour.

    Only then did I get around to the history of climate science (Weart), a book I wish I’d read years ago. A real case of ah, so that’s how they figured that out. Okay, interesting.

    Reviewing the evolution of ideas is a very good way for a sceptic to evaluate their merit, or robustness or whatever you want to call it. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the book.

  51. BaerbelW says:

    terryc

    For a shorter recap of the history of climate science you might also want to check out this post on Skeptical Science:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/history-climate-science.html

  52. Andrew dodds says:

    @tol

    With economics, the fact that a paper is published is generally a clue.

    Seriously, have you ever read an economics paper? They seem to span a range from ‘laughable’ to ‘my word, are you serious?’. And I wish this was posted because I was a crank with my own pet theory on economics, because people make major decisions that affect my life based on this subject.

  53. Nathan says:

    Terry c

    Also try reading the series of posts by Science of Doom. He/She outlines the greenhouse effect both clearly and mathematically.

  54. Hans Erren says:

    “Skeptics would do well to recall that inactivism is a form of activism. One may be suspicious of those calling for no change in course whilst the environment changes.”

    Jsam: I am more worried about the inactivism by scientist when some activist science abuse comes to light, “walk on, nothing to see here, blame the messenger”

  55. Hans,

    I am more worried about the inactivism by scientist when some activist science abuse comes to light, “walk on, nothing to see here, blame the messenger”

    Would you still say that if the activist scientist who abused science was someone with whom you agreed? You tell me how we do something that is robust against witch hunts and doesn’t violate tenure/academic freedom, and maybe you’ll have a point. Otherwise, I don’t see how we can both protect academic freedom, prevent witch hunts and weed out “bad eggs”. Of course, I’m not talking about people who commit what is undeniable fraud or academic misconduct. I’m talking about scenarios where one group shrieks about scientific misconduct, and another disagrees.

  56. Richard says:

    Terryc .. If you want to get to the basics try also http://www.astronomynotes.com/solarsys/s3c.htm … But I think this just reinforces the point I made in my prior comment (rather drowned out by comments on a different Richard (Tol)). The science is out there .. But not very well organised for a general audience (in my view).

  57. Richard,
    Sorry, I realised that I just used “Richard” when responding to Richard Tol, which may have caused some confusion. I found little to disagree with in your first comment 🙂

  58. Richard says:

    Thanks. I am the Richard with a cloaking device 🙂 … I do think that if you lie all the the economists with first name Richard end to end you will never reach a conclusion!

  59. mt says:

    “I have never come across any statement that slayer physics is contrary to empirical evidence (though plenty of theoretical arguments) before, so this could be quite interesting for me.”

    terryc’s request is a good one, and for a long time I was very frustrated that I could not find a good answer for it. Even though I was steeped in the paleo conversation at one of the leading institutions for three years, I could not find a succinct argument in support of the fact, obvious to me, that the paleoclimate conversation was impossible without a CO2 sensitivity of roughly the order that other streams of evidence also provide.

    I don’t have a book or a review paper yet, but I can provide the outlines of what it would look like in the excellent and accessible AGU presentation by Richard Alley:

    The Biggest Control Knob; Carbon Dioxide in Earth’s Climate History

    (as is usual with academic presentations, you can skip over the ponderous introduction if you like – Alley is a very entertaining speaker. In this case, though, I highly recommend hanging in for the questions at the end, when Alley is asked to tie these observations in with the contemporary quandary.)

  60. mt says:

    I believe that economics is extremely underconstrained compared to physical sciences, and that the existence of a wide range of competing fundamental theories demonstrates it. Non-physical-based disciplines, even the best of them, have fads and trends, and “schools” of thought. (I am moderately familiar with the trends in psychology as well as with economics), while physical disciplines have cumulative progress and rich phenomenological understanding.

    The fact is that almost any statement expressed formally in physical terms is demonstrably wrong, and it is the very few that are not demonstrably wrong that are of enormous interest.

    Practitioners in non-physical fields commonly underestimate the rigor and power of these constrains.

    Meanwhile physical scientists often give too much credence to fields that have dramatically fewer useful constraints. (Economics and “communication of science” being especially salient examples.)

    My opinion only, for what it’s worth. As a corrollary, in my view the epistemic status’ of IPCC WG II and WG III are in my opinion on drastically weaker foundations than that of WG I.

    (What’s the plural of “status” anyway?)

  61. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Perhaps your next post should focus on why the general public do not readily embrace what scientists are telling them about manmade climate change, Here’s an excellent article about the topic.

    Climate change: Why some of us won’t believe it’s getting hotter by Peter Martin, Sydney Morning Herald, Jan 11, 2015

    In my opinion, gaining a better understanding of how the majority of people process information provided to them by experts is much more important than examing why a small minority of people who chatter about climate change in the blogospherre behave as they do.

  62. Michael 2 says:

    ATTP & VTG “What is it about the subject that draws people like yourself in so strongly?”

    Life.

    More specifically, empathy created by mirror neurons combined with an area of skill where each of you can make a difference. It doesn’t have a reason in the sense of a conscious decision. It is what you do and cannot fail to do. If various claims are true, you are a modestly paid professor when you could be working in industry — but in industry you seldom touch the lives of very many people; especially those that are themselves still learning about life.

    So when you want to make a difference, teaching is one of the very best professions. No doubt neurologists will someday pronounce a “reason” for it and it will sound very scientific and it will also seem rather weak.

  63. miker613 says:

    @ATTP “However, most people who make these kind of statements have access to experts. They can talk to the experts and ask questions. If, after asking many experts, the message is broadly consistent, then they either have to assume that there is a fundamental, world-wide, problem with climate scientists, or that those few who they don’t trust don’t really influence the scientific evidence.”
    Dana’s point is very interesting. I think this describes me very well. But – I have access to experts, and you may not approve of my choices! For instance, everything I’ve seen in most of a decade convinces me that Steve McIntyre is a bigger expert at paleo than any of the regular paleo experts – which leads me to various conclusions about the value of most of the paleo work. Judith Curry is an expert, and tells her story of how she changed her mind about her own trust in a lot of the IPCC work. Being from a physics background (and knowing Koonin from years ago at Caltech) I trust the judgments of Richard Muller and Steven Koonin far more than anyone in the field. Etc.

  64. Blair says:

    Since I am the topic of the discussion, I suppose it is only right that I comment here. However, my comment may not satisfy the author as I refute the entire premise of the posting. A careful read of my post indicates that I do not use the word sceptic (or skeptic) nor do I discuss any “skepticism” in the post because that is not what it is about. I deliberately chose the term “trust”. I indicate that following “Climategate” I ceased to “trust” the actors involved. I no longer trusted that they had the best interests of the scientific endeavour in their minds. It is the author who continually conflates “trust” and “skepticism”. I have always maintained the level of skepticism typical of scientific norms, but in addition, I no longer “trust” that the actors are behaving in a manner consistent with the ideals of the scientific endeavour.

  65. John Hartz says:

    miker613: Given the high esteem that you hold for Richard Muller, you will definitely want to check the video embedded in Greg Laden’s blog post of yesterday (Jan 10), Top Global Warming Skeptic Explains Global Warming

  66. Peter Jacobs says:

    Richard Tol writes: “one of the respondents claims to be 32,727 years old.”

    [For those who were curious about this rather specific question, I did some digging.

    It turns out that a person named Jose Duarte, who has made many, many accusations about climate-related papers in the social sciences, wrote a blog post about some incorrect data used in a paper by Stephan Lewandosky published last year in PLOS One.

    While Duarte has some rather febrile ideas about the True Meaning behind the error, some of his more level-headed commenters have pointed out that the strange value appears to be the result of a software glitch writing a missing value placeholder as a signed integer but then reading it as an unsigned integer.]

    Dr. Tol, what is the basis for your claim that this was an actual claim made by one of the respondents, rather than the result of a software glitch writing a missing value placeholder as a signed integer but then reading it as an unsigned integer?

    “Six months go by, and the seeming error is left to stand”

    What is the basis for your claim that the “error is left to stand”, implying that the authors have taken no steps to fix the issue with the journal? Are you making the claim that the authors have not taken the appropriate steps with the journal to address the issue, and if so on what basis?

    “even though all results are affected”

    Reading through the paper in question, I can see that a single line would have to be changed (“Age turned out not to correlate with any of the indicator variables”), but I fail to see how any of the paper’s main conclusions would be affected. Can you please state which of the paper’s conclusions you believe would change with the removal of the , and why?

    “If you encounter a paper by a student of this person, do you check it more carefully?”

    Can you please explain how this is to be interpreted, other than as a pretty transparent, illogical attempt at guilt by association (presumably directed at John Cook)?

    Thank you.

  67. Peter Jacobs says:

    miker163 writes: “everything I’ve seen in most of a decade convinces me that Steve McIntyre is a bigger expert at paleo than any of the regular paleo experts”

    Is this on the basis of McIntyre pointing out ostensibly flawed proxies and showing ones which he considers to be superior (and how this contradicts actual paleoclimatic reconstructions by experts)? Or claiming a given statistical methodology is superior to that used by actual experts?

    We were asked to stop discussing this sort of thing in a previous thread, but I hope ATTP and Rachel will indulge me a bit here. Because you’ve put your finger on the fundamental conceit behind the whole “auditing” charade.

    When pushed by people interested in the advancement of scientific understanding to produce his own paleoclimatic reconstruction, McIntyre refuses and is supported by his fans in doing so. He does this because ostensibly there are no good proxies and no good statistical methods for making a millennial-scale reconstruction of the Northern Hemisphere (or globe).

    But of course these same fans tout McIntyre as superior to the experts in the field on the basis of blog posts in which he uses ostensibly superior proxies or statistical choices to “refute” the experts.

    McIntyre has in fact made claims about some proxies being good and others bad, some methodologies being good and others bad. Enough certainly to take a stab at a reconstruction. And you can be sure that he has tried his hand at it in private. But that his results differ little from mainstream reconstructions, which is why he will not publish them.

    His supporters want to have it both ways. They want to hold him up as a “paleoclimate expert” on the basis of his claims of using superior proxies and methods, but then defend his lack of reconstruction on the basis of there being no defensible proxies or methods.

    I hate to burst your bubble, but he’s made his own hockey sticks, and he’s never going to show them to you. Because he thinks you’re gullible enough to excuse the inconsistency.

    If you’d like, I am happy to try to put you in touch with some genuine paleoclimate researchers in your area, if you would like to see what they actually do instead of reading strawman attacks on them on the internet.

  68. miker613 says:

    @John Hartz – sounds about the same as he usually says. Your point?

  69. miker613 says:

    Peter Jacobs, do you think I’m hostage to your imagination? If you’d read his blog, you’d see some answers to your questions. I’ve discussed it in other threads, and don’t expect RachelM wants me to do it here.
    But that’s my judgment after most of a decade of following both sides of the issue. Generally I find that people on the other side haven’t actually been following McIntyre’s side, only just reading “rebuttals”.

  70. Steve Bloom says:

    Tol’s absolute shamelessness is something to behold.

  71. Steve Bloom says:

    Yes, notwithstanding my recent arguments with him about some details of the mechanism behind the Plio-Pleistocene glaciations, SoD is a great resource for finding out why “slayer” physics is wrong. Threads there are never dead, so read the relevant ones and ask away re any remaining concerns.

  72. Peter Jacobs says:

    miker163 writes: “If you’d read his blog”

    I have. I won’t say all of it, but years of it.

    “you’d see some answers to your questions”

    I’ve seen the evasions, excuse-making, and cheer-leading. I have also seen some of the people who began as skeptics and pro-McIntyre get forced out for pointing this sort of thing out. Those were the old days though.

    “that’s my judgment after most of a decade of following both sides of the issue”

    I am skeptical, but open to being shown evidence to the contrary otherwise, that you have “followed both sides” in terms of understanding mainstream paleoclimatic research. I do not want to come across as antagonistic, so I don’t want to make a big deal about this. I will just offer, again, to do whatever I can to arrange a meeting between you and actual paleoclimatic experts as close to you as I can, and let you decide for yourself whether your present conception of the mainstream side is accurate. Would you like to do that?

  73. John Hartz says:

    miker613: I concur with Greg Laden’s introdcution (see below) to the video. Do you?

    This is serious. A highly regarded and widely recognized planetery physicist put together the most dangerous scientific ingredients that exist: skepticism of the established science, a comprehensive list of hypotheses that stood in opposition to that established science, a huge amount of data, a healthy amount of funding including a good chunk from energy companies that mainly sell fossil carbon based fuels, and a hand selected research team of others who were also skeptics.

    >In the end, he came up with an explanation for what people call Global Warming. Personally, I believe him. I think he has it right. Whatever you were thinking as the cause of global warming, you have to look at this work and if you have not come to the same conclusion, you should reconsider. [My bold.]

  74. Steve Bloom says:

    What a dull thing to say, miker. McIntyre got plenty of attention from the white hats (scientists and non-scientists, me included) for as long as he kept saying novel things, however incorrect they might have been. When he became boring and repetitious, the attention stopped.

    Out of curiosity since I have stopped reading his blog, did McI ever get around to admitting that a warmer MWP means greater sensitivity to CO2?

  75. miker613 says:

    Peter Jacobs, are you planning to go meet Steve McIntyre and hear his side of things?
    The truth is, I don’t even know how it would help to meet with experts. Why are your experts going to be more convincing than Steve McIntyre or Jim Bouldin? Because they’re good talkers? How would I know if they are right if I met them, without sitting down and spending weeks working through the math of their papers? And as Dana pointed out early on here, if people don’t have math backgrounds, they wouldn’t even be able to do that.
    If someone like me is basically just involved by reading blogs, so you had better make your blogs more convincing if you want to convince. As I said, years of reading them has convinced me the other way. Telling people that they would be convinced if they would just meet with experts in person doesn’t seem helpful.

  76. miker613 says:

    @John Hartz “Do you [concur].” Yeah, pretty much. Note that he is also against mitigation – he thinks it’s impossible, a waste of time and effort and is pretty much feel-good theatre – as I do. He is in favor of strongly pushing clean fracking and nuclear energy – as I am. And he concluded as I have that Mann and co. are people whose work should not be trusted.
    Are you interested in all his conclusions or are just looking for the ones you can use as weapons?

  77. miker613 says:

    “Did McI ever get around to admitting that a warmer MWP means greater sensitivity to CO2?” Uh, no idea? Has this been a subject on his blog? Willard seems to harp about it here. As usual, I have no clue what the point is, and no one ever bothers to explain it.

  78. Peter Jacobs says:

    miker613 writes: “As usual, I have no clue what the point is, and no one ever bothers to explain it.”

    The point is that the following argument used to be the basis for denying recent temps are unprecedented in the past 1,000 years or so:

    – globally medieval temperatures were as warm or warmer than present
    – this was due to an increase in solar forcing

    Here’s how that plays out from a climate sensitivity standpoint:

    – assume medieval temperatures were as warm or warmer than present
    – assume that this was due to an increase in solar forcing
    – this argues for a climate that is quite sensitive to changes in radiative forcing
    – we have a good deal of uncertainty in the net effect of anthropogenic aerosols during the instrumental period
    – when you combine these last two, plus some other things, you get a higher than mainstream estimate for climate sensitivity to increases in GHGs, meaning we’d expect more rather than less warming in the future if we don’t stabilize GHG emissions.

    After the logical fallacy of arguing for a hotter medieval climate due to solar forcing was pointed out often enough, a lot of global medieval warming proponents quietly dropped the solar part, or else joined the fringe groups of people who come up with physics-less reasons for the sun to warm the planet.

  79. Peter Jacobs says:

    miker613 writes: “are you planning to go meet Steve McIntyre and hear his side of things”

    I have read his blog. For years. I have heard “his side of things”. That has turned out to be largely thinly-veiled invective and inflation of minor criticisms into claims of huge significance that don’t stand up to scrutiny.

    I am interested in the advancement of scientific knowledge. If and when McIntyre starts making positive contributions to our knowledge of the late Holocene climate, I will be happy to listen anew. Or, heck, even if he comes up with a different, believable reason for not showing his own attempts at reconstructions, I’d listen. Or if he provided a set of criteria that he’d accept for a reconstruction that is consistent with claims he’s made in the past.

    So, I am indeed willing to “hear his side of things”. His “side” so far has been close to value-free from my perspective.

    “The truth is, I don’t even know how it would help to meet with experts. Why are your experts going to be more convincing than Steve McIntyre or Jim Bouldin? ”

    Convincing is a strange criteria. I can’t guarantee how convinced *you* would be. I will instead offer “actually trained in the discipline under discussion and currently contributing to it formally” as alternatives to your offered “experts”.

    “How would I know if they are right if I met them”

    I don’t expect you to be able to make an expert judgment on whether or not they are correct in their findings (although I suspect you would be persuaded if you went in with an open mind- things like coral high stands are hard to fake). I would expect that what you would see would bear little resemblance to the way that people like Steve McIntyre or other “skeptic” bloggers portray mainstream paleoclimate researchers. And I think that by virtue of this contrast, you would conclude that perhaps you were being misled about genuine paleoclimate work.

    “without sitting down and spending weeks working through the math of their papers?”

    Do you “spend weeks working through the math” of McIntyre’s claims? I am skeptical, but open to evidence to the contrary.

    “If someone like me is basically just involved by reading blogs, so you had better make your blogs more convincing if you want to convince. As I said, years of reading them has convinced me the other way. Telling people that they would be convinced if they would just meet with experts in person doesn’t seem helpful.”

    Can you explain what you mean by this a bit?

    You seem to be saying that there is something about McIntyre’s blogging that you find more convincing than the positions of mainstream paleoclimate research. But yet you also seem to be saying that you don’t want to be persuaded by rhetoric?

    McIntyre is a much more persuasive blogger than pretty much anyone from mainstream climate science. He also grossly misrepresents the field. Those two things aren’t in contradiction. So if you’re basing your view of the field on the persuasiveness of blogs, I am afraid that you’ll be stuck with a warped view of the science for the foreseeable future.

  80. Nathan says:

    Miker613

    It doesn’t sound like you are actually skeptical though. It sounds as if you like what he says and so you agree with him, but actually have no ability in analysis or actually determining who is correct. If you have no ability then all you are doing is cheerleading and supporting one team over another.

    Being skeptical of proxy data for paleo-reconstructions is all well and good, but you need to think more closely about what it means for them to be ‘wrong’ in the McIntyre sense. So he’s replacing an understanding of paleoclimate with literally nothing, so according to him we know nothing about paleoclimate (or at least nothing specific). There’s no comfort for you there; there’s still a massive problem about global warming.

    Maybe Try listing the things you KNOW are true, and then see where that leads you.

    Can you detail what you are actually skeptical of?

  81. Nathan says:

    Miker613

    “Note that he is also against mitigation – he thinks it’s impossible, a waste of time and effort and is pretty much feel-good theatre – as I do. He is in favor of strongly pushing clean fracking and nuclear energy – as I am. And he concluded as I have that Mann and co. are people whose work should not be trusted.”

    This is quite an unusual point of view; Mitigation is a ‘waste of time’ AND ‘impossible’ – really? In what way? Can you think of any other thing that humans do that you would think of as both a ‘waste of time’ as well as being ‘impossible’. This is just a rhetorical flourish surely.

    “And he concluded as I have that Mann and co. are people whose work should not be trusted.”

    Who is the ‘co.’? Can you list them? Is this every person involved in paleoclimate reconstructions?
    How many scientists do you think are working on reconstructions?

    “He is in favor of strongly pushing clean fracking and nuclear energy – as I am.”
    This should be irrelevant to you skepticism.

  82. Steve Bloom says:

    “Clean fracking.” No such thing. It’s a nasty, dirty process, worse than non-fracked drilling because of the risk to groundwater and the need to pollute the surface with larger amounts of process water.

    Peter, I think they’re quite relevant since so many deniers back into their denialism because of dislike for CO2 mitigation.

  83. chris says:

    miker613, your position with respect to science and its evidence (“..someone like me is basically just involved by reading blogs..”) is a bit of a “beauty contest” approach to science and evidence, yes?

    The way that primary scientific evidence is normally disseminated (e.g. by presentation at scientific meetings and publishing in the scientific literature), forces scientists to be careful about the nature of their evidence and allows this to be assessed, critiqued, extended, conglomerated within a scientific field, and so on…. It’s hard work and takes a certain amount of courage to put one’s evidence and interpretations on the line. However it’s a fundamental way of arriving at the substantial body of validated evidence that underlies interpretations (and consensus) in a particular field.

    In “science” by blogging this constructive contribution to scientific knowledge is largely by-passed. Constructive scientific arguments and evidence always finds their way into the scientific literature; blog “science” of the type that you like is largely non-constructive in terms of scientific contribution – it also seems a little cowardly – if one really considers that one has a valid scientific argument why not be brave enough to put it to the test like scientists do?

    A couple of examples from the McIntyre “oeuvre” – as an occasional reader over the years I tend to think of three major “set piece” “arguments”: (i) the hockey stick, (ii) the “upside-down” proxy, (iii) the Antarctic warming – as typical of McIntyre’s approach -they’re also 3 examples where McIntyre has actually chosen to publish something in the scientific literature. Typically these subjects were prosecuted with extremely robust and sometimes rather unpleasant blog attacks in which McIntyre asserted the incorrectness of scientists work – however despite the blog assertions in each case McIntyre was unable to make much of a scientific case in his papers. So his attempt at a published hockey stick critique was based on a particularly crass methodological misrepresentation (and when this misrepresentation was amplified in the Wegman hearing he made not a peep). His published “critique” of the “upside-down” proxy (his PNAS letter) was a truly dismal attempt at pursuing a molehill as if it was a mountain. And despite his and other’s enormously prolonged and rather unpleasant blog attack against the Steig paper on Antarctic warming, when McIntyre eventually published his interpretation he arrived at essentially the same (not completely the same!) interpretation…

    That seems to be a problem with McIntyre’s approach to science. It’s all very well to assert stuff on a blog but ultimately one needs to be courageous enough to put one’s analyses to the test like proper scientists – McIntyre generally prefers not to do this – the very rare examples where he has ventured into the scientific literature perhaps indicates why – he seems to struggle to find a scientifically-valid argument/analysis in the real (non-blog!) world.

  84. Steve Bloom says:

    IIRC in that video from several years back Richard Alley alludes to the mid-Miocene as the remaining significant gap in our understanding of recent (as these things go) paleoclimate. Just a few months ago:

    Past climate change and continental ice melt linked to varying carbon dioxide levels(/b>

    Summary: Scientists have discovered that a globally warm period in Earth’s geological past featured highly variable levels of CO2. Previous studies have found that the Miocene climatic optimum, a period that extends from about 15 to 17 million years ago, was associated with big changes in both temperature and the amount of continental ice on the planet. Now a new study has found that these changes in temperature and ice volume were matched by equally dramatic shifts in atmospheric CO2.

    Remainder of press release here, full paper here.

    Science marches on.

  85. @Peter Jacobs
    We of course do not know whether the person in question really is 32,757 years old, thinks he is, made a joke, tried to test the survey, or made a mistake.

    As the authors of the paper presume that all answers should be taken at face value, it is only consistent to continue with that presumption in this particular case.

    But that is besides the point.

    In the analysis, the authors found no correlation between age and the variables of interest. Age was therefore discarded. However, after the 32,757 outlier is removed, there is a correlation between age and most of the variables of interest.

    In the core part of the paper, the authors test the relationship between several beliefs. These tests are done based on the assumption that age is not a confounding variable.

    However, age is a confounding variable. Therefore the core tests suffer from omitted variable bias which leads to an upward bias in the results.

    This is not a matter of correcting a single sentence.

    There is more, of course. If the authors and referees did not spot such an obvious error, do we really have confidence that the rest of the analysis is kosher?

    And, having learned that there were no automatic checks on age in this survey, it appears that a number of minors are among the respondents, including one who claimed to be 5 years old. Unless the authors can produce the parental consent forms, the paper has to be thrown out for violating the ethics code that governs survey research with minors. Unless, of course, this is another data in the error, calling for further checks and re-analysis.

  86. Rachel M says:

    Mike613,

    For instance, everything I’ve seen in most of a decade convinces me that Steve McIntyre is a bigger expert at paleo than any of the regular paleo experts

    I find this statement very odd. Climate scientists spend years in the field gathering data. As far as I’m aware Steve McIntrye has never been to Antarctica, drilled an ice core, and extracted data from it. Or has he?

    Liz Sikes, a scientist from Rutgers University, talks about collecting water samples from the Southern Ocean:

    I love my work. I suppose I shouldn’t say but I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years and I really enjoy coming out to sea. Even getting sea-sick doesn’t stop me. I get sea-sick a bit but it’s what makes being an academic, fun. I spend a lot of time at my desk, I spend a lot of time in the lab but coming out here is a change. You cannot do the science without knowing where your samples come from. You can ask people to bring you home samples but if you don’t actually see where things are coming from it’s easy to miss the subtleties in what you’re looking for.

  87. Rachel M says:

    Richard Tol,

    We of course do not know whether the person in question really is 32,757 years old, thinks he is, made a joke, tried to test the survey, or made a mistake.

    It’s obviously a mistake. I don’t know why you keep bringing this up. It’s really irrelevant to this thread. It’s not a crime to publish a paper with a mistake in it. It’s not even a crime if the mistake changes the conclusions of the paper (and I’m not saying this is the case here as I really have no idea what this is all about). If people find a mistake in a scientific paper which changes the conclusion of the paper then typically they will publish another paper with the correct result rather than cluttering up the comment stream on a blog.

  88. @Rachel
    I brought it up as an example, to get Wottsy to admit that trust does matter. I could of course have used a different example. Others on this blog seem to think that, whatever an economist says, the opposite must be true, regardless of any evidence.

    Peter then wanted further elaboration on the example, and why it matters, which I agree is not the topic of this thread.

  89. Blair,

    Since I am the topic of the discussion, I suppose it is only right that I comment here. However, my comment may not satisfy the author as I refute the entire premise of the posting.

    Well, I didn’t really mention you in the post, so you’re not really the topic. Do you really dispute the entire premise of the posting, or do you dispute that it applies to you?

    I indicate that following “Climategate” I ceased to “trust” the actors involved. I no longer trusted that they had the best interests of the scientific endeavour in their minds. It is the author who continually conflates “trust” and “skepticism”.

    No, I don’t think I do conflate trust and skepticism.

    I have always maintained the level of skepticism typical of scientific norms, but in addition, I no longer “trust” that the actors are behaving in a manner consistent with the ideals of the scientific endeavour.

    Well, go out and do it. Stop whining about the behaviour of the actors and do some actual skeptical inquiry.

    I note that you now have an entire post about our discussion yesterday which I guess is fine, given that it was public. What I said will probably be completely misinterpreted by you and your readers, but no real surprises there.

  90. verytallguy says:

    Richard Tol,

    please stop the accusations re age.  There is a very obvious and entirely innocent explanation, simply that one of the respondents was not human but Gremlin.

    It is well known that Gremlins have a longer life expectancy than humans (Tall, 2008)

    #FreetheTol300 

    http://andrewgelman.com/2014/05/27/whole-fleet-gremlins-looking-carefully-richard-tols-twice-corrected-paper-economic-effects-climate-change/

  91. McIntyre’s postings on paleoclimatic studies form an interesting special case of skeptical discussion.

    1) McI clearly knows a lot on the subject, much more than typical blog posters and commenters, but comparing with active scientists is not possible. I can only guess that there are some important gaps in his knowledge. He understands also statistical methods fairly well although there have been indications of some weaknesses.
    2) He formulates his posts on the subject well making the points convincing and being careful to minimize outright errors in his presentation. He does also correct direct errors, when those are pointed out.
    3) Many of the issues he points out are clear errors or weaknesses in the published papers.
    4) All that does not prove that the overall picture he presents is even close to a balanced unbiased view.

    His site attracts many “skeptics” who go far beyond what McI himself is saying, sometimes so far that McI tells that they are wrong. The overall balance of the discussion is much more extreme in the criticism of science than the posts.

    Many of the posts are highly technical and of the nature that I would have expected more substantive comments from the specialists of the field in support of the present overall conclusions, or alternatively links to sites that answer the questions well. Some review papers provide perhaps presently the best answers, but finding even the best review papers may be difficult. People, who have defended published science in the discussion threads have seldom been expert enough to do it well. They have, however, pointed out errors in weak arguments presented in other comments.

    What I have read at CA (I have not followed the site regularly over long periods) is mainly related to the multiproxy analyses of the last 2000 years. I don’t think that this is the most important part of paleoclimatology. That it is not more important is, however, in part due to the uncertainties of the results. The field would be much more important, if the results were much more accurate. This limitation is, however, accepted generally and is not dependent on the criticism of McI.

  92. miker613,

    I think this describes me very well. But – I have access to experts, and you may not approve of my choices! For instance, everything I’ve seen in most of a decade convinces me that Steve McIntyre is a bigger expert at paleo than any of the regular paleo experts – which leads me to various conclusions about the value of most of the paleo work. Judith Curry is an expert, and tells her story of how she changed her mind about her own trust in a lot of the IPCC work.

    In my view, if you were being truly skeptical you would speak to many experts and would aim to base your views on an assessment of what they all say. It sounds to me that you’ve spoken to experts and then selected those who say things that you like. That’s not quite the same thing. Skepticism isn’t finding an expert who supports your view, it’s an attempt to objectively assess all the available evidence.

  93. chris says:

    miker613,

    “For instance, everything I’ve seen in most of a decade convinces me that Steve McIntyre is a bigger expert at paleo than any of the regular paleo experts – which leads me to various conclusions about the value of most of the paleo work.”

    The paucity of your evidence-free “beauty contest” approach might be illustrated by reusing your words in the sort of manner that those anti-HIV science politicians under Mbeki did with such horrific consequences in South Africa a decade or so ago:

    e.g.: For instance, everything I’ve seen in most of a decade convinces me that Peter Duesberg is a bigger expert at HIV than any of the regular HIV experts – which leads me to various conclusions about the value of most of the HIV work.”

  94. Richard Tol wrote “We of course do not know whether the person in question really is 32,757 years old, thinks he is, made a joke, tried to test the survey, or made a mistake.”

    Note that the possibility of a data transformation error, which was the point being made in the post to which he was responding, does not appear anywhere in the list. The inability to accept information that does not support ones position is not skepticism, quite the opposite. I think Prof. Tol needs to spend more effort in reading posts and considering their content. Note the likely source of the error is fairly obvious (hint 32768 = 2^15, suggesting the actual age might have been 42).

  95. Catmando says:

    Richard Tol, I agree that trust is important. One way to gain trust is to be honest and frank with criticism rather than ignore it or be rude. People in glass house…

  96. Catmando says:

    Miker613,

    I find the mark of proper skepticism is to ask yourself what evidence would change your mind. I would be interested to hear yours.

  97. @Dikran
    “made a mistake” includes “entered data in the wrong format” as well as “entered date of birth”

  98. I’m not particularly interested in discussing the Lewandowsky saga here. The behaviour of Jose Duarte is sufficiently extreme, unprofessional, and unpleasant, that – as far as I’m concerned – Stephan Lewandowsky is perfectly entitled to ignore anything he says. I would and largely do.

  99. Richard Tol, you are being obtuse, it is not necessarily “the person in question” that made the mistake, but an error in the software over which they had no control. One thing that tends to make me suspicious is when people are unable to admit they made a mistake or failed to understand some point and instead try and wriggle out of it. Evasion is an effective method in politics, much less so in science.

  100. dikran,
    I’m probably being dense, but why does 2^15 suggest the age was 42?

  101. @dikran
    It is of course possible that the software got it wrong. I find this unlikely, as it happened in 1 case but not in the other 999 cases. Anyway, it does not take the problem away: The data were analysed is if there was a 33 thousand year old about.

  102. I think that was from the value of 32727 given earlier in the thread, being so close to 32768 suggests it is some sort of wrap-around or sign conversion thing, in which case the difference between the two numbers may be about the intended age, however I didn’t work it out with any real care.

  103. toby52 says:

    Some may have seen this already, but here an eminent scientific sceptic recounts his intellectual journey …

    We are still wondering why Dr Muller did not just read the literature as he has ended up (by an objective assessment) in the same position as the IPCC reports he once dismissed. Still, rejoice over a lamb returning to the fold … etc etc

  104. jsam says:

    Where are Tolls fabricated 300 papers?

  105. Oh come on, Richard, that’s where you claim they exist. You still haven’t actually produced them. Or, are you still sticking with your suggestion that they’re a consequence of a fraction of every abstract rejecting the consensus. If so, that is patently ridiculous.

  106. @Wotts
    I don’t think you’re very nice so I’m gonna follow your above advice and ignore what you say.

  107. Richard,
    Ooh, sensitive. To be fair, I don’t think you’re very nice either, so the feeling is – I guess – mutual.

  108. @Wotts
    I see that next time I should end with

  109. jsam says:

    @Tol – no list? Oh dear. No wonder you’ve lost trust. You make stuff up.

  110. Richard Tol wrote “It is of course possible that the software got it wrong. ”

    Then why did you not mention it it your reply, given that the post to which you replied, specifically asked you to comment on this?

    “Dr. Tol, what is the basis for your claim that this was an actual claim made by one of the respondents, rather than the result of a software glitch writing a missing value placeholder as a signed integer but then reading it as an unsigned integer?”

    Did I mention that this sort of “getting blood from a stone” evasiveness engenders suspicion?

    “Anyway, it does not take the problem away: The data were analysed is if there was a 33 thousand year old about.”

    Errors are made in papers all the time, for instance it is quite common for people to make unreasonable statistical assumptions in their papers and not check to see the consequences of those assumptions affect the conclusions.

    The point is that the skeptical check each finding and judge it by its merits, the merely suspicious disregard it in favour of their existing beliefs. Scientists tend to be skeptcal, which is why science tends to be self-correcting. Sadly this is not universally true of blogs.

  111. Peter Jacobs says:

    Richard Tol writes: “It is of course possible that the software got it wrong.”

    Thank you for finally acknowledging this, Dr. Tol. One wonders why it took so long.

    ” Anyway, it does not take the problem away”

    It certainly contradicts a particular narrative about the nature of the problem. Having someone in your responses deliberately lying about their age implies something very different about the utility of their other responses than a simple software glitch does.

    In any event, you seem to failed to have answered all of my other questions.

    What is the basis for your claim that the “error is left to stand”, implying that the authors have taken no steps to fix the issue with the journal? Are you making the claim that the authors have not taken the appropriate steps with the journal to address the issue, and if so on what basis?

    Can you please state which of the paper’s conclusions you believe would change with the removal of the data in question, and why?

    “If you encounter a paper by a student of this person, do you check it more carefully?”

    Can you please explain how this is to be interpreted, other than as a pretty transparent, illogical attempt at guilt by association (presumably directed at John Cook)?

    Thank you.

  112. Peter Jacobs says:

    Richard Tol writes: “I brought it up as an example, to get Wottsy to admit that trust does matter.”

    I am not at all clear as to why you think it serves to make this point.

    If someone’s entire professional work, to the point where you’re even dragging their students’ trustworthiness into it, can be called into question by the inclusion of a couple of incorrect data points which don’t affect the main conclusion of a paper, then what does that suggest about your own work?

    You have published papers that included data points that were not merely wrong in magnitude, but had the wrong sign. I would assume that you do not believe that people should distrust all of your work because of this?

    Either such errors are part of the normal, imperfect nature of academic work (provided they are made innocently and corrected when pointed out), or they ruin someone’s credibility. You seem to want to make the case that the former is true for your own work, but the latter is true for Lewandosky’s work (and his students!).

  113. Either such errors are part of the normal, imperfect nature of academic work (provided they are made innocently and corrected when pointed out), or they ruin someone’s credibility. You seem to want to make the case that the former is true for your own work, but the latter is true for Lewandosky’s work (and his students!).

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  114. @Peter
    The authors were first alerted to the presence of very old and very young respondents in their sample in October 2013.

    Wotts made two claims in the opening post: Trust is irrelevant, and physics is special. He withdrew both.

  115. Joshua says:

    ==> “I brought it up as an example, to get Wottsy to admit that trust does matter.”

    Anyone interesting in purchasing a bridge?

    It’s in good condition, and the location is fantastic (connecting the Western edge of Long Island to the Southern edge of Manhatten). The deed is fully notarized, and because I’m having a bit of a cash flow issue this week, I’ve reduced the sale price by 15%.

  116. John Hartz says:

    Observation: Richard Tol has mastered the technique of sticking to his talking ponts no matter what.

  117. Richard,

    Wotts made two claims in the opening post: Trust is irrelevant, and physics is special. He withdrew both.

    No, I didn’t. I suggested that true skepticism is based on an evaluation of the evidence, not on whether or not you trust someone, and I pointed out that there are universal laws in the physical science that allows one to reject anything that violates these laws (and may make it easier to do this than in fields where such laws don’t exist). That isn’t the same as “trust is irrelevant” and “physics is special”. As I’ve said before, Richard, you should aim to read words in the order they were presented and not in the order you want them to be presented (also, don’t leave out words that are inconvenient).

  118. John Hartz says:

    miker613: You posed the following question to me:

    Are you interested in all his (Richard Muller) conclusions or are just looking for the ones you can use as weapons?

    I’m not terribly interested in what Richard Muller has to say about anything becasue I find him to be rather egotistical and more interested in promoting himself than anything else.

    It is you who has placed him on a pedestal.

  119. Peter Jacobs says:

    Richard Tol writes: “The authors were first alerted to the presence of very old and very young respondents in their sample in October 2013.”

    Dr. Tol, I don’t know what information you think this conveys, other than to imply that the authors have not worked with the journal to address the issue. Are you making the claim that the authors have not taken the appropriate steps with the journal to address the issue, and if so on what basis?

    Can you please state which of the paper’s conclusions you believe would change with the removal of the data in question, and why?

    Can you please explain how “If you encounter a paper by a student of this person, do you check it more carefully?” is to be interpreted, other than as a pretty transparent, illogical attempt at guilt by association (presumably directed at John Cook)?

    “Wotts made two claims in the opening post: Trust is irrelevant, and physics is special.”

    No, he didn’t. Anyone can read the post for themselves and see that this is a blatant misrepresentation by you.

    “He withdrew both.”

    No, he didn’t. Anyone can read the comments for themselves and see that this is a blatant misrepresentation by you.

  120. miker613 says:

    @Peter Jacobs. “globally medieval temperatures were as warm or warmer than present
    – this was due to an increase in solar forcing… etc.” Sounds like a pretty complicated chain of reasoning, based on a number of assumptions. So to answer your original question, I have no idea what McIntyre says about this argument. I don’t even know if he accepts the assumptions involved. I don’t know what he believes about solar forcing. I don’t know what he thinks climate sensitivity is, though he has had guest posts by Nic Lewis. I don’t know if he believes in MWP, as I’ve documented here before – only that he thinks that paleo scientists have failed to prove their point properly.
    This sounds like a construct that someone else decided was convincing, but may not be relevant to him at all. Unless you can find me a place where he discusses _any_ of these issues.

  121. miker613 says:

    ‘I have read his blog. For years. I have heard “his side of things”. ‘ If that’s sufficient, I don’t need to “go meet” paleo scientists; I have heard their side of things as well.

    “If and when McIntyre starts making positive contributions to our knowledge of the late Holocene climate”. PAGE2K just made half a dozen corrections based on his suggestions. Without acknowledgement, of course, and without correcting their original publication. So if you don’t follow climateaudit any more, you probably aren’t aware of it.

    “Or, heck, even if he comes up with a different, believable reason for not showing his own attempts at reconstructions.” You said that before, but I don’t understand why you think it should be convincing. He did a “reconstruction” recently, showing what the results of PAGES2K are now after their corrections. Anyhow, why isn’t his contribution sufficient: finding mistakes and corrections in the reconstructions that are out there? It just seems to me that this is the kind of demand that is designed to push away criticism, rather than get the science right. “Well, if you don’t like it, do it yourself!”

    ‘Do you “spend weeks working through the math” of McIntyre’s claims? I am skeptical, but open to evidence to the contrary.’ No… I read blogs. As I said: ‘ “If someone like me is basically just involved by reading blogs” ‘
    This seems to puzzle you, but that was the subject of the issue that Dana brough up. The vast majority of the public doesn’t follow climate science that much. Of those of us who do, the vast majority don’t work through the papers in detail. We take someone’s word for it, usually the blog we like best. Why do we like it best? Well, just speaking for myself: I would see an issue on climateaudit, extensively linked and footnoted. I would sometimes see a refutation on realclimate or skepticalscience – hardly ever linked – or comments on climateaudit by Nick Stokes and such. I would generally see clear, linked and footnoted responses on climateaudit. The authors of the RC/SkS posts would hardly ever or never engage there. I would look on SkS for comments by McI and co., and would sometimes find them, generally not much responded to. I would never see a follow-up post on RC or SkS that dealt with the responses. I would continue to see comments by others in other places on how RC etc. “refuted” this point by McI, generally without any knowledge of the response.
    After a few times like this, and by now I’ve seen dozens, one comes away with an impression that the proprietors of these other websites are a) basically not able to answer climateaudit’s points, and b) are satisfied if they have a link that people can refer to as a refutation, and c) are confident that their own followers will never see the response.
    Of course, RC and SkS aren’t “climate science”. I know well that there are many climate scientists toiling away doing honest work somewhere, away from the politics. But, these are the public face of climate science. If you-all want to convince those of us who follow blogs, you need to do a better job.

  122. Willard says:

    I don’t recall where the Auditor said anything about mitigation, miker, except indirectly, like here:

    [I]f I had a big policy job, in my capacity as an office holder, I would be guided by the reports of institutions such as IPCC rather than any personal views (a point I’ve made on a number of occasions); and that I believed that policy decisions could be made without requiring “statistical significance” (such decisions are made in business all the time, and, in all my years in business, I never heard the words “statistical significance” pass anyone’s lips as a preamble to a business decision.

    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/549098033

    I think this quote even contradicts a bit what you claim.

  123. miker613 says:

    @Nathan “So he’s replacing an understanding of paleoclimate with literally nothing, so according to him we know nothing about paleoclimate (or at least nothing specific). There’s no comfort for you there; there’s still a massive problem about global warming.” That sounds like a pretty good summary of my opinions on the matter. But I’m not looking for comfort really.

    “If you have no ability then all you are doing is cheerleading and supporting one team over another.” Well, yes. I’m afraid that describes most of us, including most people on the warmist side. What do you think people like that should do? – that was Dana’s original question. I have done the best I can: follow blog posts on both sides and see which ones do a good job of making their points and answering the other side’s post. And which ones don’t.
    My impression is that most people who attack climateaudit’s work don’t even do that. They have read their own side only and are unaware of the arguments against.

  124. miker613 says:

    Yes, Willard, I have no idea what McIntyre believes about mitigation. I tend to have the impression that he’s in favor, since he’s more-or-less a Canadian liberal.
    Of course, I am not bound by his opinions on a question of economics and politics like that.

  125. miker613 says:

    @Nathan. “This is quite an unusual point of view; Mitigation is a ‘waste of time’ AND ‘impossible’ – really?” No, I think Muller is quite clear. He believes that China (+ India + Africa eventually) are all that really counts as far as CO2 emissions, and that they are going to get the energy they need when they need it. And that we are just spinning our wheels here in the West buying Priuses and stuff, or spending lots of money for essentially no return in Europe. He believes that convincing and teaching China to do clean fracking is the only way to make progress right now.

  126. miker613 says:

    @Nathan. “Who is the ‘co.’? Can you list them? Is this every person involved in paleoclimate reconstructions?” No. I was quoting Muller. He is talking about the people involved in the “divergence problem” and “hiding the decline”, and he said very clearly that anyone who was involved in that is someone that “I won’t read their papers any more”. He also was part of the commission that reviewed the Mann/McIntyre controversy, and said that they concluded that McI’s criticisms of Mann’s methods was correct. Again, I’m just quoting him.

    The point of all this is the subject of this post: how do we decide who to trust. Since I trust Muller a lot, one result is that I don’t trust these other folks much at all.

  127. miker613 says:

    @chris. Your lengthy discussion of three McIntyre issues is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about. I’ve followed every one of those issues, and my conclusions on each one were pretty much the opposite to yours: McIntyre proved his point very convincingly, the other side generally corrected their mistakes quietly, often years later, generally without admitting it. I can only assume that you apparently only followed the other side, so you don’t know anything about it.
    Note that another “upside-down” proxy was used in PAGES2K – and corrected, after McIntyre’s complaint. You may think of that as “dismal”, or as evidence that you haven’t really been following where these issues end up.

  128. John Hartz says:

    miker613: You state:

    He (Richard Muller) believes that convincing and teaching China to do clean fracking is the only way to make progress right now.

    Please document where in the world “clean fracking” is crrently taking place. Also define what you mean by “clean fracking.”

    BTW, Do you also believe in “clean coal”?

  129. miker613,

    The point of all this is the subject of this post: how do we decide who to trust. Since I trust Muller a lot, one result is that I don’t trust these other folks much at all.

    No, that’s not really the point of the post. The actual point of the post is that at a fundamental level, the scientific method does not require that you trust individuals. You trust the evidence. Of course, your trust – or lack thereof – of some individuals may influence how you perceive their work, but that doesn’t change that ultimately you should trust the evidence, not the people.

  130. miker613 says:

    @RachelM “I find this statement very odd. Climate scientists spend years in the field gathering data. As far as I’m aware Steve McIntrye has never been to Antarctica, drilled an ice core, and extracted data from it. Or has he?” RachelM, you’re right. Though he actually has gone to some of the trees that were the subject of some of the dendro debates, in order to show that the rings could be updated with later samples.
    But this is really beside the point. The fact that someone else is an expert at taking ice cores doesn’t make them a bigger expert at analyzing the data. Anyone who reads the posts on the subject will see clearly that he (and several others there) know every detail of every published proxy.

  131. “PAGE2K just made half a dozen corrections based on his suggestions”

    on Nature’s website, the current page for that reconstruction is shown below
    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v6/n5/full/ngeo1797.html

    nothing about McIntyre or anything about a change in the reconstruction.

    in any case, is “half a dozen” your way of trying to make six sound like a big number?

  132. toby52 says:

    He (Richard Muller) believes that convincing and teaching China to do clean fracking is the only way to make progress right now.

    If Muller thinks he can condescend to China and “teach” them stuff, his intellectual arrogance is about to get a shock. At a visceral level, the Chinese have nothing but contempt for Westerners who think they need to be taught anything. It may be masked by a deceptive veneer of politeness, bit it is real enough.

    The Chinese will take their decisions for reasons they see fit for their own situation, including their aspiration to be a superpower, and a major influencer of the developing world. The leadership role they assumed at the Lima talks is an aspect of that. Climate change is a wedge issue for them internationally, which will split any USA-led coalition, especially as Republicans gain more clout in Washington.

  133. miker613,

    Anyone who reads the posts on the subject will see clearly that he (and several others there) know every detail of every published proxy.

    Possibly, but anyone who unashamedly calls their site “Climate Audit” doesn’t really understand how science works. We don’t advance our knowledge by auditing other people’s work. We advance it by doing our own.

  134. no rational person could possibly think an amateur blogger with an interest in paleoclimate could ever know more about the subject than even a first year graduate student who actually took classes and got a degree in paleoclimate or dendrochronology. no amount of amateur blogging is going to make up for real-world, hands on experience. the fact that we are even entertaining the idea is absurd.

    I’m not an architect, I have no degree in architecture, and I’ve never taken a class in architecture. everything I know about architecture I learned in my spare time and I write about it on my blog. In my time studying architecture, I have determined that literally every architect in the world is wrong about the proper way to construct a building, and only I know how to do it. I personally refuse to actually build a house using my superior knowledge, and I really don’t need to in order to show that I know more about architecture than anyone.

    sounds legit, right?

  135. miker613 says:

    @ATTP, I hear you. But tell me: would you say the same things about results in Gender Studies? (Or pick your own topic.) I am pretty sure that you could find areas of “science” which you personally don’t think are much science at all, where you assume that “results” in those fields have zero credibility until the field itself gets its act together.
    I am also pretty sure that we would both feel that condensed matter physics, recombinant DNA studies, physical chemistry… are totally different. There are always going to be bad results, but we assume that the field itself will sort things out and straighten out spurious results.
    Now, what about climate science? Well, I would have thought it is a whole lot closer to physics. On the other hand, it has these enormous political pressures – something like Gender Studies. You had representatives of governments rewriting part of the IPCC summary! And you have loads of people invested in climate science reaching the Right Conclusions. I see them all the time. I see them at conservative websites, spouting nonsense about fraud. I see them at liberal websites, spouting their own brands of nonsense. It’s hard to do science with all this going on.
    This is one reason that people like Richard Muller and Steve Koonin (and Freeman Dyson too) are important to my viewpoint. If someone very expert – someone very trusted among physicists – comes over from physics, looks at the field, and says, Whoa – this and this are way out of line. Someone needs to take you folks in hand and show you how to do science. (I’m paraphrasing a lot.) It may offend people in the field, and they may respond, How about if you leave this to those of us who have worked on it all our lives! – but that is just going to fuel an impression that climate science has been (somewhat) twisted by the politics involved, and really isn’t the same as physics at all.

  136. miker613 says:

    @curiousaboutclimate “nothing about McIntyre or anything about a change in the reconstruction.”
    Exactly. The corrections were made elsewhere. Am I wrong to suspect that the reason is that people like you should not know about them? In any case, that’s the result.

    @Pekka “Many of the posts are highly technical and of the nature that I would have expected more substantive comments from the specialists of the field in support of the present overall conclusions, or alternatively links to sites that answer the questions well.” I was very impressed that Robert Way came to climateaudit and did a very effective job of defending his work. When others fail to do so, obviously that has the opposite result. This is a very fertile area of endeavour for supporters of AGW, assuming they have good answers for climateaudit’s points. A lot of us would be much more susceptible to being convinced, if people tried it on McIntyre’s home ground. Nick Stokes is the only one who does it regularly.

    @ATTP “We don’t advance our knowledge by auditing other people’s work. We advance it by doing our own.” Maybe I don’t understand science either. Why isn’t blocking bad science good for science? What should be done with wrong work?

  137. miker613,
    Well, I read Koonin’s Op-Ed and – IMO – it was embarrassingly bad. He showed a serious lack of understanding of climate science and said a number of things that were simply wrong. Muller seems to have done a full circle and come to accept most of mainstream climate science.

    If someone very expert – someone very trusted among physicists – comes over from physics, looks at the field, and says, Whoa – this and this are way out of line. Someone needs to take you folks in hand and show you how to do science.

    Actually, the most suitable response to this would – IMO – be piss off, you arrogant prat.

  138. miker613 says:

    “no rational person could possibly think an amateur blogger with an interest in paleoclimate could ever know more about the subject than even a first year graduate student who actually took classes and got a degree in paleoclimate or dendrochronology.”
    Well, maybe I’m not rational. I take expertise wherever I see it. He knows every detail of every proxy. Does your first year graduate student? I was a graduate student, I don’t recall knowing everything about my subject. You seem to have a lot more respect for graduate schools than I do, or for formal schooling.

  139. “The corrections were made elsewhere.”

    where? a google scholar search for “McIntyre” shows he hasn’t published anything since before PAGES 2K was published.

  140. Rachel M says:

    Mike613,

    Anyone who reads the posts on the subject will see clearly that he (and several others there) know every detail of every published proxy.

    I would be very skeptical of someone who claimed to know every detail of every published proxy and I think you should be too. I also find the arrogance of those who claim to be “Skeptical” very unattractive and I don’t think it encourages dialog and nor does it engender trust, if that’s what you’re looking for. I personally prefer the humble scientist who makes mistakes over the arrogant non-scientist who thinks he’s always right.

    And you have loads of people invested in climate science reaching the Right Conclusions.

    This is a getting a bit conspiracy theory. Have you thought that maybe you are biased? That you are believing the people you want to believe because you like their conclusions better?

    When others fail to do so, obviously that has the opposite result.

    It’s completely unreasonable to expect academics to read all the blogs out there and comment whenever someone mentions their work.

  141. miker613,

    Maybe I don’t understand science either. Why isn’t blocking bad science good for science? What should be done with wrong work?

    The point is that finding an error in someone’s research tells you little. It might completely change the result. It might make no difference whatsoever. You need to understand the significance of the error. This normally requires doing it again, or doing it differently. In fact looking for errors in others’ work isn’t what’s normally done. You do it again anyway. Also, just because something had an error doesn’t mean it didn’t contribute to improving our understanding of a scientific topic.

  142. “He knows every detail of every proxy.”

    how could you possibly think an amateur blogger, with no expertise or education on the subject, who does this in his spare time, knows every detail of every proxy? did he say he did? are you familiar with the term “hubris”?

  143. John Hartz says:

    I’ve been blogging on comment threads about manmade climate change for more than a decade. During that time I have crossed swords with numerous climate science deniers. miker613 is unique among them because he uses as many pixels telling us what he doesn’t know as he does telling us what he does know, Is this gambit officially recognized and sanctioned by Climateball?

  144. miker613 says:

    @ATTP “Actually, the most suitable response to this would…” Could be. But I knew Koonin at Caltech, and I’ll take his opinion over anyone’s on the subject he discussed, which was the climate models. I haven’t seen that Muller has changed his opinion on the parts I quoted. He has done a good job in more-or-less settling the modern temperatures issues.

  145. Joshua says:

    miker –

    ==> “The point of all this is the subject of this post: how do we decide who to trust. Since I trust Muller a lot, one result is that I don’t trust these other folks much at all.”

    Why do you trust Muller a lot?

  146. John Hartz says:

    miker613: Why on Earth would a person of your intelligence form strong opinions about the causes and cosnsequnces of manmade climate change by confining your reading to blogs?

  147. miker613,

    I knew Koonin at Caltech, and I’ll take his opinion over anyone’s on the subject he discussed, which was the climate models.

    Well, you probably shouldn’t because he is very obviously not an expert at climate modelling. Anyone who says

    For example, human additions to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by the middle of the 21st century are expected to directly shift the atmosphere’s natural greenhouse effect by only 1% to 2%. Since the climate system is highly variable on its own, that smallness sets a very high bar for confidently projecting the consequences of human influences.

    doesn’t understand the topic very well at all.

  148. “The point is that finding an error in someone’s research tells you little. It might completely change the result. It might make no difference whatsoever.”

    In McIntyre’s case it’s the latter. His years of nitpicking haven’t changed the fact that every large-scale reconstruction shows a hockey stick. And as someone here brought up, we can all be pretty damn sure that privately, he’s done his own reconstructions and they’ve all been consistent with the published research, which is why he refuses (yes, that is the correct word) to publish a reconstruction. What would be the point of all his “auditing” if, in the end, he comes up with essentially the same result as everyone else (which he would)? I suspect he knows his core audience would turn on him and his blogging career would be over. Think about how they would feel after all these years of being told that every reconstruction is wrong, and that everyone who publishes them is incompetent, or a deceptive alarmist, only to find out that when he does it the “right way” it shows the same thing.

  149. miker613 says:

    @curiousaboutclimate: “where? a google scholar search for “McIntyre” shows he hasn’t published anything since before PAGES 2K was published.”
    Right. It was published by Kaufman et al, without updating the original publication:
    http://www.nature.com/articles/sdata201426
    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/pages2k/arctic2014temperature-v1.1.txt
    McIntyre points it out here:
    http://climateaudit.org/2014/10/27/the-third-warmest-arctic-century/
    In this and several other nearby posts, he notes that the _results_ have changed as well: no hockey stick – worldwide. MWP is back.
    I can’t tell if he’s right, of course, as the other side has found a very effective way to deal with his claims: Ignore them completely. Don’t correct the original. Don’t mention the corrections anywhere. Don’t recalculate results in the corrections.
    Very effective indeed. Their followers will never know and will continue to make the claims one sees here: amateur, really no comparison to the _real_ experts.

  150. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: In addition, miker613 apparently thinks that Koonin knows more about climate models than say the team of experts at MIT who are responsible for the care and feeding of its GCM.

  151. miker613,

    In this and several other nearby posts, he notes that the _results_ have changed as well: no hockey stick – worldwide. MWP is back.

    What? It’s a post about the Arctic. How does one conclude from that the there is no global hockey stick (which would be remarkable given the instrumental temperature record) and that the MWP is back?

    If McIntyre is upset about not getting acknowledge he should publish his work. FWIW, noone who publishes on a blog has the right to expect acknowledgement given that they cannot know if others worked it out for themselves or from their blog. Scientists do check this kind of stuff too.

  152. miker613 says:

    @curiousaboutclimate ‘And as someone here brought up, we can all be pretty damn sure that privately, he’s done his own reconstructions and they’ve all been consistent with the published research, which is why he refuses (yes, that is the correct word) to publish a reconstruction. What would be the point of all his “auditing” if, in the end, he comes up with essentially the same result as everyone else (which he would)?’
    As I mentioned, you’re missing another possibility: maybe you’re wrong. Maybe after McIntyre’s corrections, there are reconstructions that don’t show a hockey stick. Maybe Kaufman just republished one of them very very quietly. Maybe McIntyre did this for every reconstruction done in the last decade; they are all based on overlapping data after all. Maybe you’re the one who doesn’t know about it, because you don’t follow the only place on the web where these things are discussed in enough detail.
    Note that Kaufman didn’t make all of the corrections McIntyre suggested, just five or six. As McIntyre points out, there are now two very nearby reconstructions, one of which is exactly upside down from the other, since they fixed one “upside-down” one and not the other. Fixing both would shift the results more. And there were other suggestions as well that are still hanging.
    Instead of your sinister theory about McIntyre’s bad intentions, think of the possibility that he is actually the one who’s right.
    And if it turns out that better work later shows a hockey stick – which McIntyre has always maintained is completely possible – that wouldn’t make him wrong either, though it would irritate many followers. He has never claimed otherwise.

  153. jsam says:

    In which reputable journal may I read Sge McIntyre’s global temperature reconstruction?

    Game. Set. Match.

  154. Joseph says:

    He believes that China (+ India + Africa eventually) are all that really counts as far as CO2 emissions, and that they are going to get the energy they need when they need it.

    Miker, I have said this before to a skeptic here, but you must not know that China just agreed to cap their coal use in 2020.

  155. miker613 says:

    @ATTP “What? It’s a post about the Arctic. How does one conclude from that the there is no global hockey stick (which would be remarkable given the instrumental temperature record) and that the MWP is back?”
    http://climateaudit.org/2014/10/28/warmest-since-uh-the-medieval-warm-period/
    Answer is, you take the new data, duplicate PAGES2K calculations to include Arctic and everywhere together, and get the new results. A lot of PAGES2K hockey stick was based on the Arctic, and that’s gone now.
    You don’t need to deny the instrument temperature record to get rid of the hockey stick. You just need to bend the handle far enough.

    “If McIntyre is upset about not getting acknowledge he should publish his work.”
    As usual, I am a little astonished that people follow the subject and don’t follow climateaudit. You can skip all the stuff about Mark Steyn’s trial if you want. He _did_ publish his work, as you are publishing yours here. Welcome to the new world, where top-level mathematics is done on chat boards by people without PhDs. You would rather that it go through peer review and you’ll see it two years from now? I don’t get it. Anyone who wants can show up at climateaudit and peer review it there. It’s better and faster.

  156. miker613 says:

    Joseph, China is building about one coal power plant per week. They will continue till they don’t need to anymore. They are guessing when they won’t need to. They don’t want deadly air pollution any more than anyone else. But they will keep building them if they judge it necessary, and no agreement will stop them.

  157. @Peter
    Indeed. Teaching research ethics is one of the main tasks of a PhD adviser.

  158. “If someone very expert – someone very trusted among physicists – comes over from physics, looks at the field, and says, Whoa – this and this are way out of line. Someone needs to take you folks in hand and show you how to do science. ”

    My response would be to send them a copy of the Dunning-Kruger paper. Being an expert in one field does not mean that there is a short-cut to expertise in another, nevermind authority, instead you need to go back to the basics on that topic an work your way up before you are in a position to be critical of a whole field.

  159. miker613 says:

    “In which reputable journal may I read Sge McIntyre’s global temperature reconstruction?” Mind-boggling to me how many people repeat this nonsense as if it made sense. See the links I included – they are a reconstruction, based on Kaufman’s.
    But it’s irrelevant. He is doing A, and you keep saying, Doesn’t count because he didn’t do B! Makes no sense.

  160. Joseph says:

    It seems to me that skeptics should stop sniping about the various consistent consensus studies that they don’t like and publish their own study. I am not sure what they are trying to achieve from a scientific point of view when we all know (including Richard) that there is an overwhelming consensus on climate change and even more so among actual climate scientists who publish.

  161. miker613,
    I’m not quite sure your point. The ClimateAudit post shows a slight adjustment to a 2000 yr reconstruction that still shows a hockey stick and still shows we’re now probably warmer than in the last 1000 years or so.

    As usual, I am a little astonished that people follow the subject and don’t follow climateaudit.

    I’m not. Why would they?

  162. jsam says:

    @miker613 –

    In which reputable journal may I read S.McIntyre’s global temperature reconstruction?

    Game. Set. Match.

  163. Richard T.,

    Indeed. Teaching research ethics is one of the main tasks of a PhD adviser.

    I think Peter was suggesting that you were wrong to imply that not trusting a supervisor means you shouldn’t trust their students. FWIW, I agree with Peter.

  164. miker613 says:

    I knew Koonin. If he thinks climate models are not fit for purpose, it’s because he studied their work in detail and came to that conclusion. He was well at the top of his field, which is Computation Physics. He wrote the classic textbook in that field.

  165. Joseph says:

    But they will keep building them if they judge it necessary, and no agreement will stop them.

    Well it wasn’t exactly part of an agreement, they did it independently. I didn’t word that correctly. So why did they announce it now? How do you know they can’t or won’t do it.?

  166. Marco says:

    ATTP, I think miker613 shows a good example of the issue of “trust”: he trusts those who tell him what he wants to hear.

  167. Rachel M says:

    Miker613,

    Welcome to the new world, where top-level mathematics is done on chat boards by people without PhDs.

    No, it really isn’t. I’m married to a mathematician and they publish in peer-reviewed journals just like climate scientists. Anyone who tells you they’re doing top-level peer-reviewed mathematics on a blog probably doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

  168. Marco says:

    “Teaching research ethics is one of the main tasks of a PhD adviser.”

    Does that include saying it is OK to use information that you know is obtained through an illegal act (in your specific case hacking)?
    Does that include de-selecting data because you do not like the funding agency / employer of the scientists involved (in your specific case that gremlin-invested 2008 paper)?

  169. jsam says:

    Denialists see it as critical in their activism that blogscience establishes a level footing with peer-reviewed science. Nonsense is as good as science in their eyes.

    http://www.pages-igbp.org/workinggroups/2k-network/faq#what-are-the-primary-conclusions-of-the-study

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    What are the primary conclusions of the study?
    (1) The most coherent feature in nearly all of the regional temperature reconstructions is a long-term cooling trend, which ended late in the 19th century.

    – The regional rate of cooling varied between about 0.1 and 0.3°C per 1000 years.

    – A preliminary analysis using a climate model indicates that the overall cooling was caused by a combination of decreased solar irradiance and increased volcanic activity, as well as changes in land cover and slow changes in the Earth’s orbit. The simulations show that the relative importance of each factor differs between regions.

    (2) Temperatures did not fluctuate uniformly among all regions at multi-decadal to centennial scales. For example, there were no globally synchronous multi-decadal warm or cold intervals that define a worldwide Medieval Warm Period or Little Ice Age.

    – The period from around 830 to 1100 CE generally encompassed a sustained warm interval in all four Northern Hemisphere regions. In contrast, in South America and Australasia, a sustained warm period occurred later, from around 1160 to 1370 CE.

    – The transition to colder regional climates between 1200 and 1500 CE is evident earlier in the Arctic, Europe and Asia than in North America or the Southern Hemisphere.

    – By around 1580 CE all regions except Antarctica entered a protracted, multi-centennial cold period, which prevailed until late in the 19th century.

    – Cooler 30-year periods between the years 830 and 1910 CE were particularly pronounced during times of weak solar activity and strong tropical volcanic eruptions. Both phenomena often occurred simultaneously. This demonstrates how temperature changes over large regions are related to changes in climate-forcing mechanisms. Future climate can be expected to respond to such forcings in similar ways.

    (3) The 20th century ranked as the warmest or nearly the warmest century in all regions except Antarctica. During the last 30-year period in the reconstructions (1971-2000 CE), the average reconstructed temperature among all of the regions was likely higher than anytime in nearly 1400 years. However, some regions experienced 30-year intervals that were warmer than 1971-2000. In Europe, for example, the average temperature between 21 and 80 CE was warmer than during 1971-2000.

  170. miker613 says:

    @ATTP, the new reconstruction shows the MWP warmer worldwide than now. That is the point of contention. Since the LIA is pretty well accepted, no one expects higher temperatures than the present before that.
    Why would they follow climateaudit? I guess that depends. If they want to know the latest results in the field, they should follow it. Otherwise they can go on posting things like curiousaboutclimate has been posting just now, very confident and completely wrong.

  171. miker613 says:

    @jsam, does it matter to you that these conclusions have been _corrected_ ? Meaning, no longer true? Corrected by the same authors? Or will you continue to post them as long as they are there?
    As long as they say it, and you know they’re right, it doesn’t matter what some annoying blogger says somewhere else.

  172. John Hartz says:

    miker613: If I recall correctly, a few months ago we establshed that your pronouncements about climate science and climate scientists are pretty much dictated by your political idealogy. Is my recollection accurate?

  173. BBD says:

    @ATTP, the new reconstruction shows the MWP warmer worldwide than now.

    I still think you are muddling up the Arctic with the rest of the world. Can you link to what you are referring to as “the new reconstruction” so we can all see it? Thanks.

    Also, you seem not to have absorbed the sensitivity issue presented by a putative global and synchronous MWP as warm as or warmer than the present, despite Peter Jacobs’ excellent explanation above.

  174. miekr613,

    the new reconstruction shows the MWP warmer worldwide than now. That is the point of contention.

    Not that I can see. It’s a period just before 1000AD that seems as warm as today. Plus, we’re completely ignoring uncertainties here.

  175. miker613 says:

    John Hartz, the idea was that I am going to have a higher threshold of proof on climate science, since I think the proposed solutions are very harmful. Someone who thinks the proposed solutions are wonderful and should be done anyhow is going to be more likely to accept things where I will insist on a higher standard of proof, or at least higher probabilities.

  176. BBD says:

    IIRC McI did not follow the area-weighting used in PAGES 2K. He used some (undisclosed) method of his own. If he has given too much weight to his preferred (and by no means definitive) Arctic reconstruction, then he has demonstrated nothing at all. As I have said before, unless and until McI publishes this in a mainstream, reviewed climate journal, it is just blog science. Nobody is obliged to take notice of it, let alone take it seriously. That’s how it works.

  177. Willard says:

    I don’t recall where the Richard Muller said he was against mitigation, miker. I even thought that him and her daughter Liz, the founder and Manageing director of the China Shale Fund, were arguing that shale gas could help us mitigate carbon emissions.

    The Fund has been renamed:

    Development of shale gas is an essential ingredient in the mitigation of global warming and in the reduction of other great environmental disaster in the world today – extensive air pollution, currently causing extensive death and disease around the world.

    http://www.globalshale.com/environmental-issues/

    I have not found Richard’s position on this, but I doubt it contradicts the one of his daughter. This seems to contradict what you were saying about Richard’s position against mitigation.

  178. BBD says:

    @jsam, does it matter to you that these conclusions have been _corrected_ ? Meaning, no longer true? Corrected by the same authors?

    I think you are wildly – and I do mean wildly – exaggerating. Please link to the source for this claim.

  179. miker613 says:

    ATTP, the MWP is usually considered to start around that time, around 950.
    BBD, I linked it above: http://climateaudit.org/2014/10/28/warmest-since-uh-the-medieval-warm-period/

  180. miker613,
    Yes, but it seems as though you’re taking that there might have been a very short period at about 950AD that had global temperatures similar to today to mean that the MWP was warmer than today. Also, bear in mind what has been pointed out before. If the MWP is warmer than we once thought probably means our climate is more sensitive to changes in forcing than we thought before.

  181. jsam says:

    PAGES 2K >> Climatefraudit. Now stop.

  182. miker613 says:

    Willard, I think that’s exactly right. He is in favor of mitigation, but thinks that clean fracking is the only way it’s going to happen in the only place that counts: China and friends. He thinks the rest is feel-good theatre.

  183. jsam says:

    @mike613 – enough fanboi.

    In which reputable journal may I read S.McIntyre’s global temperature reconstruction?

    Game. Set. Match.

  184. John Hartz says:

    miker613: Thanks for the clarification. Your response begs the question, What is your working definition of “extraordianry proof”?

    in responding, keep in mind that vrtually every branch of science has its share of outliers and contrarions. In the that regard, climate scince is not unique.

  185. BBD says:

    miker

    Sorry – I missed your link. As I remembered, McI did not exactly duplicate the area weighting used in PAGES 2k. Unless and until published in a reviewed journal, McI has demonstrated nothing. See above.

    You are, as I thought, wildly exaggerating. Read through this list and think about what you are claiming:

    @jsam, does it matter to you that these conclusions have been _corrected_ ? Meaning, no longer true? Corrected by the same authors?

    How many of these conclusions plural have been corrected by the authors? Can you list them?

  186. Willard says:

    I think that “he is in favor of mitigation” contradicts “he is also against mitigation” as you said earlier, miker.

    You have a quote for the “feel good theater” claim?

  187. BBD says:

    miker

    I want you to say something for the forum. I want you to say that you agree that if there was a global, synchronous MWP as warm as or warmer than the present, then this indicates that the climate is relatively sensitive to radiative perturbations. This being so, the threat presented by CO2 emissions is at least as serious as currently thought and perhaps even more so.

    If you won’t agree to endorse this statement, please explain why not.

  188. miker613 says:

    “PAGES 2K >> Climatefraudit. Now stop.”
    “As I have said before, unless and until McI publishes this in a mainstream, reviewed climate journal, it is just blog science.”
    Am I wrong to see this all as just being Climateball-type game-playing by partisans? Kaufman makes corrections, based on “Climatefraudit”, partisans don’t hear about it. His results change, partisans don’t hear about it. Even when they hear about it, they don’t: It doesn’t count because they say it doesn’t count.

    Now I’m going to quote curiousAC and (mostly) just change one word:
    “We can all be pretty damn sure that privately, Kaufman has done his own re-reconstructions…, which is why he refuses (yes, that is the correct word) to re-publish a reconstruction. … I suspect he knows his core audience would turn on him and his career would be over.”
    I don’t think I really believe that. But that’s how curiousaboutclimate thinks I should think, in reverse.

    Can anyone see what makes this field difficult to take seriously? I have no doubt that there are good scientists out there, but how do you get past the cheerleaders?

  189. jsam says:

    “there were no globally synchronous multi-decadal warm or cold intervals that define a worldwide Medieval Warm Period or Little Ice Age” – PAGES 2K FAQ today.

    The McIntyre Factor may have been underestimated.
    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2007/09/20/the-mcintyre-factor/

    Your conspiracy ideation is showing. You are a cheerleader. McIntyre claims victory.

    In which reputable journal may I read S.McIntyre’s global temperature reconstruction?

    Game. Set. Match.

  190. miker613 says:

    “If you won’t agree to endorse this statement, please explain why not.” BBD, I don’t endorse it because I don’t really understand it. I saw Peter Jacobs’ explanation above. It looked interesting, and complicated, with a number of moving parts. I don’t know if it’s accepted by climate scientists or is just someone’s bright idea. Maybe there are other possibilities, which Jacobs hinted at.
    Anyhow, I don’t why it has anything to do with me. Let Steve McIntyre and Nic Lewis fight it out if they like. Why is it relevant to this discussion? Seems like a distraction.

  191. miker613,

    BBD, I don’t endorse it because I don’t really understand it.

    Well, it’s fairly simple. Our climate doesn’t change by magic, it changes when it is forced to do so. Now there can be internal variability, but that is expected to average out over decades and can’t produce long-term (century or longer) warming. So, if the MWP is warmer than we thought, it means that our climate responded more to the external forcings that it experienced at that time. Since, roughly speaking, how we respond to changes in external forcings doesn’t depend on what is doing the forcing (anthro, volcanoes, solar) a larger MWP suggests our climate is more sensitivity to these changes than would be the case were the MWP smaller.

  192. miker613 says:

    jsam, are you going to keep bringing PAGES2K FAQs which – as I said a few times – do not reflect their corrections which were published separately? Are you going to continue to chant slogans (McI reconstruction…), claim victory (game, set, match, rah-rah-rah), And then call me a cheerleader?

  193. Willard says:

    > I linked it above: […]

    Thanks, miker, for I missed it earlier.

    There’s an interesting quote in that article:

    In today’s post, I’ll show that the knock-on impact of changes to the Arctic reconstruction on the area-weighted average also make the latter claim untrue.

    http://climateaudit.org/2014/10/28/warmest-since-uh-the-medieval-warm-period/

    The latter claim is this one:

    There were no globally synchronous multi-decadal warm or cold intervals that define a worldwide Medieval Warm Period or Little Ice Age … during the period ad 1971–2000, the area-weighted average reconstructed temperature was higher than any other time in nearly 1,400 years.

    While this is compatible with the idea that “finding flaws in these studies doesn’t prove the opposite,” the title of the post is interesting: Warmest since, uh, the Medieval Warm Period. I think this substantiates my earlier claim that the Auditor promotes the MWP mythos, a point you failed to acknowledge. Instead of acknowledging this point, you repeated your red herring to Peter Jacobs:

    I don’t know if he believes in MWP, as I’ve documented here before […]

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/climate-skepticism/#comment-43023

    I claim this is a red herring because I don’t think what the Auditor believes about the MWP is relevant to what he promotes. As he is wont to say, he does not always say what he thinks.

    Another way to consider the irrelevance of the Auditor’s beliefs is that the empirical sciences can’t (positively) prove its hypotheses. This means that the belief in a MWP provides little justification anyway. On the other hand, the Auditor’s promotional efforts seem to provide plenty of evidence where he puts his stack of chips on this matter.

    ***

    Reading back this exchange, I fail to see where you have acknowledged Peter’s explanation of the impact a higher MWP. Have you?

  194. miker613 says:

    ATTP, I think I followed that much. But that’s fuzzy enough that perhaps it doesn’t translate directly into ECS=3.0 or the like. Anyhow, let the real climate scientists work it out. I am a spectator, and this seems like an attempt to distract.

  195. Joshua says:

    miker –

    Maybe you’ve answered this and I missed it?

    ==> “The point of all this is the subject of this post: how do we decide who to trust. Since I trust Muller a lot, one result is that I don’t trust these other folks much at all.”

    Why do you trust Muller a lot?

  196. Willard says:

    > I don’t know if it’s accepted by climate scientists or is just someone’s bright idea.

    I think it comes from Richard Alley, miker. Please research and report.

  197. miker613 says:

    Willard, comment from that same post: “Steve: I haven’t been shy about mentioning PAGES2K. As I’ve said repeatedly, finding flaws in these studies doesn’t prove the opposite: doesn’t prove that the medieval period was warmer than the present. Only that the studies haven’t proved the opposite.”
    I don’t know why you insist on ignoring what he actually says – he says this a lot – and chase after your narrative.

  198. jsam says:

    @miker613 – Yes, I am going to annoy the heck out of you. :-))

    McIntyre has claimed all sorts of nonsense in the past. Until he publishes he’s just another denialist blogger with a conspiracy theory swirling in his head.

    “Ground-truthing Marcott”, “More Mann Grafting”, “Mann and the Legacy of “Bogus”, The three top headlines of his today. If you think smears are science then you are just a cheerleader. And,yes, I shall mock you. It’s one of my very few strengths. :-))

    In which reputable journal may I read S.McIntyre’s global temperature reconstruction?

    Game. Set. Match.

  199. Peter Jacobs says:

    miker163 writes: “ATTP, the MWP is usually considered to start around that time, around 950”

    Some of us have been following the “skeptic” claims about a MWP long enough to remember when Lamb’s Central England schematic was supposedly the “truth”. Only, its peak warming is hundreds of years later and the ~1000AD temps were cooler than present (1950 actually). Funny how the “skeptic” story has… evolved.

  200. miker613 says:

    @Joshua “Why do you trust Muller a lot?” Joshua, since I come from a physics background (undergraduate), I tend to take that as a benchmark of Good Science, correctlyly or not. And Muller is a real good physicist, as is Koonin, as of course is Dyson. Their doubts about a sister science make me nervous. I expect that offends the practitioners of the sister science, of course.

  201. miker613 says:

    ‘Funny how the “skeptic” story has… evolved.’ Well, I like it when science evolves :). This is, after all, the most up-to-date reconstruction. I just took the definition of MWP from wikipedia…

    jsam, I guess if that’s your role, I will pay more attention to other people’s comments.

  202. jsam says:

    Hawking is, I’m told, a reasonable physicist. I’m told. I’m just an engineer so can only swoon when shown an equation.
    http://www.rtcc.org/2012/01/06/stephen-hawking-warns-of-climate-disaster-ahead-of-70th-birthday/

  203. jsam says:

    @miker613 – you’ve demonstrated a capacity to ignore uncomfortable truths. I expect nothing less.

    You’ve still not answered my question, “In which reputable journal may I read S.McIntyre’s global temperature reconstruction?”

  204. miker613 says:

    Of course Hawking is the best physicist around. But has he sat down and studied climate science? I am more interested in the other three because they went off and studied the part of the field they were thinking about, and eventually knew enough to draw some conclusions. Did Hawking do that (maybe he did)?

  205. Steve Bloom says:

    “He knows every detail of every proxy.”

    This cannot possibly be true for McI, and indeed I doubt that it’s true for anyone. There are a *lot* of late Holocene proxies.

    I’ve never heard of McI making such a claim, but miker was happy to make the assertion even so.

    Why just make stuff up, miker?

  206. jsam says:

    You’ve still not answered my question, “In which reputable journal may I read S.McIntyre’s global temperature reconstruction?”

    Science progresses one funeral at a time.
    http://www.nationalacademies.org/includes/G8+5energy-climate09.pdf

  207. John Hartz says:

    miker613 asks:

    Can anyone see what makes this field difficult to take seriously? I have no doubt that there are good scientists out there, but how do you get past the cheerleaders?

    You quit basing your opinions on what is posted in the blogsphere and read the actual scientific reports and peer-reviewed papers. Gieven your background, doing so should not be above your pay grade.

  208. miker613 says:

    “I’ve never heard of McI making such a claim, but miker was happy to make the assertion even so.” Just giving my impression. People show up on those comment threads and say, What about ___ (some obscure place in Iceland…); doesn’t that show ___? Everyone there begins discussing the details of that ice-core or tree-ring or whatever. Anyhow, just my impression.

  209. Steve Bloom says:

    From Wikipedia:

    In November 2013 Muller wrote an op-ed in The New York Times arguing that strong to violent tornado activity decreased since the 1950s and suggesting that global warming is the cause. Atmospheric scientists Paul Markowski, Harold E. Brooks, et al., replied that Muller made substantial methodological flaws and was ignorant of long established findings in severe storms meteorology. They argue that there is no discernible decrease in significant tornado activity and that attribution of tornadic activity to global warming is premature although changes, especially in regional character, are likely as the atmospheric environment changes.

    The guy does seem prone to sticking his foot in his mouth.

  210. BBD says:

    miker

    Joshua, since I come from a physics background (undergraduate)

    Then why can’t you understand a simple concept like hot MWP = relatively high sensitivity = *big* CO2 problem?

    Even I can manage that, and I am not a physicist.

    Your responses above are evasive and unsatisfactory. You cannot have it both ways (although McI is trying very hard at this nowadays).

    Either you peddle a hot MWP and accept that this is strong evidence that CO2 is at least as dangerous as we thought, if not more so, or you accept the mainstream position, which is that there was no global and synchronous MWP as warm as or warmer than the present. Rather, there were discontinuous regional NH warm episodes over a period of several hundred years. which have been lumped together, overblown and misnomered “the” MWP. The Medieval climate anomalies plural would be much more accurate. The reason this was done was to push the idea that modern warming is not unique in the last millennium in order to create fake doubt about human attribution for modern warming.

    If you don’t understand what McI is doing, it’s time you got it clear in your mind.

  211. Willard says:

    > I don’t know why you insist on ignoring what he actually says – he says this a lot – and chase after your narrative.

    Here’s your quote, miker:

    “Steve: I haven’t been shy about mentioning PAGES2K. As I’ve said repeatedly, finding flaws in these studies doesn’t prove the opposite: doesn’t prove that the medieval period was warmer than the present. Only that the studies haven’t proved the opposite.”

    Here’s mine:

    While this is compatible with the idea that “finding flaws in these studies doesn’t prove the opposite,” the title of the post is interesting: Warmest since, uh, the Medieval Warm Period. I think this substantiates my earlier claim that the Auditor promotes the MWP mythos, a point you failed to acknowledge.

    Please acknowledge that your claim that I “insist on ignoring what he actually says” is false, and that the Auditor promotes the MWP mythos, miker.

  212. verytallguy says:

     In which Miker unintentionally reveals his blogging tactics

    I am a spectator, and this seems like an attempt to distract.

  213. Steve Bloom says:

    You didn’t state it as an impression, miker. The underlying question remains: Why, as a careful reader of CA, would you even think so? Is it McI’s tone in discussing the limited number of proxies he claims to have looked into deeply? Is this an example of successful dog-whistling on his part?

    Can you even give us a list of late-Holocene proxies? Maybe McI doesn’t make mention of a lot of them, or in any case enough mention for you to have noticed in the midst of all the flash-bangs over there?

  214. miker613 says:

    “Quit basing your opinions on what is posted in the blogsphere and read the actual scientific reports and peer-reviewed papers. Gieven your background, doing so should not be above your pay grade.” John Hartz, you’re probably right. And I spend enough time on blogs that it might not even take more of my time than this! But seriously reading research papers is hard work; this is kind of relaxing. Anyhow, I haven’t made any such commitment, and maybe never will. And what will you say to people who just don’t have the math to be able to do it? They have absolutely no other option than picking whom to believe.
    Aside from all that, the interesting thing about this set of issues is that it isn’t enough to read the papers. The conflicts are in the Auditing; that is, in re-working the statistics, in checking the actual data for issues, in complaining when code or data are not available so you can’t even tell how they got those results… The claim has always been, your results don’t really follow from your data. I don’t know that someone who isn’t either retired or doing this as a full-time job could really check these things. It isn’t even really a peer-reviewer’s job, and they wouldn’t normally do it.

  215. Willard says:

    > Their doubts about a sister science make me nervous.

    Me too, as it might bring a tipping point in the publishing ecology:

    http://xkcd.com/793/

  216. jsam says:

    Sou, amongst other, has the Frauditor’s measure. I’m surprised more of McI’s fanbois don’t follow her.
    http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2013/10/steve-mcintyre-and-anthony-watts-fail.html

  217. miker613 says:

    If I didn’t state it as an impression, Steve Bloom, consider me corrected. That’s all it was – but it is an impression I retain, and I explained why.

    Willard, we both saw both quotes. As usual, I fault your motivated reading.

    BBD, as I said, this is better left to climate scientists. Why is it obvious that the sensitivity to CO2 is going to have to be higher if the sensitivity to solar forcing is higher? Or that the MWP was because of solar forcing? Maybe it was because the deep ocean stopped absorbing heat for a while. Or something else. It seems plausible, but not obvious. Insisting that I “accept it” sounds silly to me. Let climate scientists decide.

  218. BBD says:

    miker

    You’ve had the ‘hot MWP’ – sensitivity issue explained to you again several times now. So let’s try again.

    I want you to say something for the forum. I want you to say that you agree that if there was a global, synchronous MWP as warm as or warmer than the present, then this indicates that the climate is relatively sensitive to radiative perturbations. This being so, the threat presented by CO2 emissions is at least as serious as currently thought and perhaps even more so.

    If you won’t agree to endorse this statement, please explain why not.

  219. BBD says:

    miker

    We crossed. I still want a straight answer out of you.

    Why is it obvious that the sensitivity to CO2 is going to have to be higher if the sensitivity to solar forcing is higher?

    Because energy is energy, miker. It doesn’t make a great deal of difference where it comes from. 1W/m^2 = 1W/m^2.

    I thought you had a physics background. Were you… exaggerating about this?

  220. jsam says:

    “Let climate scientists decide.”

    “In which reputable journal may I read S.McIntyre’s global temperature reconstruction?”

  221. BBD says:

    Insisting that I “accept it” sounds silly to me.

    Actually, you have no choice. Either that or you admit that you are absolutely clueless about the basics of physical climatology, in which case you should not be commenting as you do.

  222. Peter Jacobs says:

    miker163, that wasn’t “science” evolving. It was “skeptic” contrarianism moving the goalposts when its original position became untenable to even themselves.

    A globally synchronous Medieval Warm Period as warm or warmer than present is simply not supported by the sum of the available evidence. Perhaps new evidence will be gathered to challenge this, and some day perhaps so much contradictory evidence will be gathered to tip the scale in the opposite direction. But that’s not the state of the science at the moment.

    And again, let us suppose that the planet warmed globally to the same or greater temperatures as today’s, in response to relatively minor increases in solar irradiance- that is comforting to “skeptics” why? A climate that is less rather than more sensitive to changes in radiative forcings would be comforting (but only by delaying impacts for a few years or decades for a given emissions trajectory). This is quite puzzling.

  223. Willard says:

    > As usual, I fault your motivated reading.

    Thank you for probing my mind, miker, but I think you more usually say that I make no sense to you.

    Please acknowledge that the title of the Auditor’s post you cited is Warmest since, uh, the Medieval Warm Period.

    Please acknowledge that Richard Muller is not against mitigation, and that you were incorrect in claiming so.

    Please acknowledge Peter Jacobs’ explanation as to why a high MWP has an impact on CS.

    ***

    Also, if you could respond to my arguments, that would be great.

    Your argument about the Auditor’s beliefs is a red herring because I don’t think what the Auditor believes about the MWP is relevant to what he promotes. As he is wont to say, he does not always say what he thinks.

    It is also irrelevant because the empirical sciences can’t (positively) prove its hypotheses, and that the belief in MWP provides little justification, contrary to Auditor’s promotional efforts, which provide plenty of evidence where he puts his stack of chips on this matter.

    Thank you for your understanding.

  224. corey says:

    I’d appreciate a little more illumination upon the PAGES2K “update” miker refers to, particularly the images here, if anyone has time or an opinion.

    Thanks!

  225. miker613 says:

    “Sou, amongst other, has the Frauditor’s measure. I’m surprised more of McI’s fanbois don’t follow her.” Well, that post is a good example why. Read it, then read the actual climateaudit post with its comments (search “ipcc fixing the facts” instead of her fake link. Then read lucia’s comments on that. Pretty obvious who is right. Also it’s interesting, w Richard Telford arguing his case at climateaudit and Yours Truly represented in the comments too!

  226. miker613 says:

    Corey, I’d really advise reading the comments on McIntyre’s post(s) on the update. Some of those figures are nuts: the most important one has two different scales for two curves, one on the left and one on the right. They discuss it in the comments and show a corrected graph.

  227. BBD says:

    I asked miker to link to the PAGES 2k update earlier, but he returned me to Climate Audit and McI’s graph. While Miker creates the impression that the global PAGES 2k reconstruction has been modified, I’m not clear that this is the case.

    Miker – do you have a link to PAGES 2k global update – by the Consortium, not McI? Is there such a thing? Or are we entirely reliant on McI for this? I have mentioned the potential issue with McI’s area weighting of the Arctic reconstruction within the full global reconstruction. I am concerned.

  228. BBD says:

    Some of those figures are nuts: the most important one has two different scales for two curves, one on the left and one on the right. They discuss it in the comments and show a corrected graph.

    There you go again, Miker. Elevating blog comments above papers published in high-impact, reviewed journals.

    * * *

    Why have you not responded to my question yet?

    You’ve had more than enough explanations now.

  229. miker613 says:

    BBD, McIntyre’s post(s) have links to the PAGES2K updates, which I also linked to above. As I mentioned, only McIntyre has recalculated the global results, and you are free to ignore his post. I have no doubt that there are other ways to do the recalculation which might yield different results. (The simplest way, of course, is what they actually did, which is to ignore the whole issue.) But you all say you wanted a _McIntyre_ reconstruction, so here’s one.

    And I have responded to your question. I think your explanations are plausible; I do not know if they are airtight. I feel no obligation to believe something or accept something just because you think I have to.

  230. jsam says:

    Yes, it is obvious who is right. It’s not McI. And not Lucia either.

  231. BBD says:

    I feel no obligation to believe something or accept something just because you think I have to.

    There is no wriggle-room, Miker. A ‘hot MWP’ = moderately high sensitivity to radiative pertubation = *big* CO2 problem.

    Some weeks ago you pitched up here peddling McI’s dubious tweaking of the PAGES 2k global reconstruction to get a (tiny) period ~950CE that was (fractionally) warmer than the 1971 – 2000 average. You were pushing a ‘hot MWP’ and you have been doing so ever since.

    Physics requires that you accept the corollary, which is relatively high sensitivity and so a relatively elevated threat from CO2.

    Either you accept this or you admit that you do not understand what you are talking about.

    So, which is it?

  232. John Hartz says:

    Observation: miker613 is a glutton for punishment. On the other hand, he has single-handedly hijacked this thread. Tally ho!

  233. Willard says:

    Please tell us more about why you think this is punishment, John.

  234. miker613 says:

    “single-handedly hijacked this thread”. Hmm – think I’ll take a break.:)

  235. BBD says:

    What, before answering my question?

    🙂

  236. John Hartz says:

    Willard: Because he gets hammered on each comment he makes by multiple individuals – think dog-piling. Also, he refuses to admit when he is wrong and just keeps on going like the Energizer Bunny.

  237. Willard says:

    Well, John, your cheer leading just gave miker a reason to “take a break.”

    Well played!

  238. Rachel M says:

    Yes, I encourage everyone to take a break 🙂 What a great idea. I’ve let things get a bit out of hand in this thread and I’d like to rein things in a bit. Please try to stick with the topic of the post.

  239. John Hartz says:

    [Mod: I’d prefer this discussion come to an end. Thanks!]

  240. russellseitz says:

    Our host observes :
    “Would you still say that if the activist scientist who abused science was someone with whom you agreed? ”

    This touches a nerve in many camps, because though the polemic abuse of global systems models is as old as computer science, it still pays to advertise, and instead of being chastened by the frequency with which model-based factoids crash and burn , their short lived success in forming or distorting public opinion always inspires more.

    What McLuhan said about media” framing” fifty years ago applies equally well to science today :
    “With the advent of television, advertising has become more important than products.”

  241. John Hartz says:

    Russell: Well said!

  242. jsam says:

    Do you believe in climate denial? According to climate scientists, it’s all around us. How can scientists learn to communicate to a skeptical public?

    Naomi Oreskes, Professor of the History of Science, Harvard; Co-Author, Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco to Global Warming (Bloomsbury Press, 2011)

    Joe Romm, Founding Editor, Climate Progress; Author, Language Intelligence: Lessons on Persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga (CreateSpace, 2012)

    Eugenie Scott, Chair, National Center for Science Education
    This program was recorded in front of a live audience at the Commonwealth Club of California on December 16, 2014.

    http://www.climate-one.org/podcast/climate-denial-121614

  243. BBD says:

    Russel Seitz

    This touches a nerve in many camps, because though the polemic abuse of global systems models is as old as computer science, it still pays to advertise, and instead of being chastened by the frequency with which model-based factoids crash and burn , their short lived success in forming or distorting public opinion always inspires more.

    All models are wrong, but…

    It’s also worth remembering that paleoclimate underpins the understanding of CO2-forced climate change and the estimates of sensitivity derived from paleoclimate studies support those emerging from models. Converging lines of evidence etc.

  244. BBD says:

    BTW Russell, you look different today. What the hell did you have for lunch?

  245. Nathan says:

    I think Miker613 has shown us exactly what skepticism isn’t!
    Maybe we could reflect more on what it is… 🙂

  246. Vinny Burgoo says:

    BBD: Horsemeat, tabasco and a condom. (Which probably explains the grimace.)

  247. Michael 2 says:

    jsam says: “Until he publishes he’s just another denialist blogger with a conspiracy theory swirling in his head.”

    Remarkably effective just the same, no?

  248. TBH, I didn’t really understand what Russell was trying to say, but it sounded clever 😉

  249. John Hartz says:

    Michael 2: Do you believe that McIntyre’s analyses have had signifigant impacts on anything outside of the blogosphere?

  250. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: That’s exactly my reaction to many of Willard’s comments directed my way.

  251. JH,
    I think I’ve now calibrated my Rabett and my Willard filters. I probably just need a bit more time to fully calibrate my Russell filter 🙂

  252. BBD says:

    Vinny

    BBD: Horsemeat, tabasco and a condom. (Which probably explains the grimace.)

    You cooked lunch for Russell?

  253. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: This thread seems to have petered out. It’s probably time for a new OP. Onward and upward!

  254. izen says:

    It is all very well claiming that proper skepticism requires people to examine all the evidence rather than using Trust as the assessment criteria, but that does require a lot of hard thinking.
    Sometimes it can be a struggle as seen in this thread where concept that if something warmed up more than we think when heated with a small amount of energy then it will probably warm up even more when heated with larger amounts of energy.

    Trust has the advantages of easy judgement, small social tribal signifiers can be used to assign anybody to one side or the other without all that cognitive effort.

    Unfortunately using ‘Trust’ as the measure carries a heavy ethical load. Unless you are prepared to be skeptical and examine all the evidence then trust withheld is as open to moral censure as trust misplaced.

    The duty of inquiry is an old ethical problem –

    “The Ethics of Belief (1877) – William K. Clifford
    A shipowner was about to send to sea an emigrant-ship. He knew that she was old, and not overwell built at the first; that she had seen many seas and climes, and often had needed repairs.
    Doubts had been suggested to him that possibly she was not seaworthy. These doubts preyed upon his mind, …however, he succeeded in overcoming these melancholy reflections. … In such ways he acquired a sincere and comfortable conviction that his vessel was thoroughly safe and seaworthy; he watched her departure with a light heart, and benevolent wishes for the success of the exiles in their strange new home that was to be; and he got his insurance-money when she went down in mid-ocean and told no tales.

    What shall we say of him? Surely this, that he was verily guilty of the death of those men. It is admitted that he did sincerely believe in the soundness of his ship; but the sincerity of his conviction can in no wise help him, because he had no right to believe on such evidence as was
    before him.

    He had acquired his belief not by honestly earning it in patient investigation, but by stifling his doubts. And although in the end he may have felt so sure about it that he could not think otherwise, yet inasmuch as he had knowingly and willingly worked himself into that frame of mind, he must be held responsible for it.

    To sum up: it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.

    http://www3.nd.edu/~dimmerma/teaching/10101-15/unlocked%20PDFs/Clifford_TheEthicsOfBelief_Excerpts.pdf

  255. Willard says:

    > Do you believe that McIntyre’s analyses have had signifigant impacts on anything outside of the blogosphere?

    Yes, actually.

    ***

    > Onward and upward!

    I’m wondering, John:

    Are you Statler or Waldorf?

  256. izen says:

    Edited out a key phrase in the C K Clifford above; –
    “He would put his trust in Providence, …”

    -grin-

  257. John Hartz says:

    Willard: In case you hadn’t noticed, my question was directed to Michael 2.

  258. Willard says:

    In case you hadn’t noticed, John, that part of my answer to your rhetorical question was directed at the audience.

  259. Brandon Gates says:

    dana1981,

    To be fair, most people are not capable of objectively evaluating the evidence behind AGW.

    I understand your meaning, but think that it’s unfortunately worded. I would agree with you that most people do not have the training to objectively evaluate the evidence of AGW. That’s a far cry from not being capable.

    For myself, I read the science and try, often vainly, to understand the nuance. Why I believe the planet is warming, and that we are doing most of it, is because of the consistency in the arguments which I do understand. “Skeptical” arguments do not have anywhere near the same coherence.

    I think we should always prevail on human intelligence to be able to understand a reasoned argument and not say, “Well, you just need to defer to my expertise.” Even though that is ultimately the primary basis for my own beliefs, that isn’t something I’d ever want anyone telling me — especially not in a scientific discussion with such important policy decisions riding on it.

  260. So it’s not Blair’s blog you are referring to. You haven’t said so, but presumably it’s mine. So you are criticising a blog post by someone who you’ve banned from your blog. Another instance of your lack of integrity.

  261. I agree with Brandon.

    Once a doubter (I never studied the subject deeply enough to be in denial), as soon as got myself a proper broadband connection (around 2001) and I read up on the subject with an open mind, it became clear that ‘sceptical’ arguments didn’t hang together and many even contradicted each other. And the people posting these arguments were all very vocal, self-promoting and clearly activists with an agenda.

    On the other hand ‘proper’ climate science was coherent and the scientists writing the papers seemed generally much nicer people (rather like our host!). Most in fact wouldn’t dream of being aggressive and appeared remarkably tolerant of the self-proclaimed ‘sceptics’ who rubbished their work and were often downright offensive in the process. This has continued and even worsened in line with rising CO2 (interesting correlation).

    Clearly I understand the basics of climate science, which is very logical and hangs together elegantly. But I struggle once the maths is introduced, so I’m never going to be able to ‘prove’ anything for myself. However, I base my trust on what I see before me: a consensus of every major scientific body globally, opposed by a very noisy and loose association of aggressive individuals and ‘think tanks’, each with a different agenda based on their backgrounds.

    Where the truth lies seems very obvious. I mean even the data backs it up!

  262. John Hartz says:

    JohnRussell: You and I have had similar journies, Although I never doubted the basic science, I just didn’t think it was possible for the human race to change the climate as quickly as has been the case. I assumed future generations would have to do the heavy lifting in terms of mitigation. I was compelled to face the reality of the speed at which things were happening in the early 2000s. My primary sources of information were, by the way, UK media outlets such as The Guradian and the BBC. The U.S> media was not paying much attention to climate change prior to release of Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth..

    [I’ll continue this musing when I return form the gym. I’ve started training for my upcoming 10-round boxing match with Willard the Great.]

  263. pbjamm says:

    miker says : “The conflicts are in the Auditing; that is, in re-working the statistics, in checking the actual data for issues, in complaining when code or data are not available so you can’t even tell how they got those results…”

    Yet McIntyre does not publish his work in anywhere but his own blog. How can we be sure it is complete? Oh the irony.

  264. curiousaboutclimate says:

    @phjamm

    Indeed, it appears the fact-checking takes place on McIntyre’s blog, where people like miker (who admittedly doesn’t know a lot about paleoclimate) are the fact-checkers. Basically, McIntyre is the best and brightest because miker can’t prove otherwise, even though he wouldn’t be able to anyway. This is mind-boggling.

  265. John Hartz says:

    curiousaboutclimate:

    Welcome to the wonderful world of Cognitive Dissonance.

  266. Kingb says:

    Physics,

    In your comment (42985) you suggest that I should: “go out and do it. Stop whining about the behaviour of the actors and do some actual skeptical inquiry”.

    Might I suggest you take a closer look at the original posts on my blog. They represent exactly that process as I have systematically worked through the strengths and limitations of renewable energy alternatives for my home province. As I note in my earlier posts, the intention of my blog was not to deal with Climate Science, per se, but it has been side-tracked by a posting that went viral and resulted in further postings feeding off the original post. Eventually my blog will return to its roots as my goal remains to enact real, local/regional change. My core readership remains regional and I simply lack the time to fight the big battles, when at the regional level I can see making real advances that would result in demonstrable and quantifiable improvements.

  267. Blair,

    Might I suggest you take a closer look at the original posts on my blog. They represent exactly that process as I have systematically worked through the strengths and limitations of renewable energy alternatives for my home province.

    Fine, so what? What has that got to do with climate science? Are you suggesting that how our climate will respond to changes in anthropogenic forcings will depend on whether or not renewables are a viable alternative to fossil fuels?

    As I note in my earlier posts, the intention of my blog was not to deal with Climate Science, per se,

    Yes, that does seem quite obvious, but that doesn’t stop you from maligning those who are trying to do – or are interested in – climate science.

    My core readership remains regional and I simply lack the time to fight the big battles, when at the regional level I can see making real advances that would result in demonstrable and quantifiable improvements.

    Good for you, but again I don’t see what that has to do with climate science or skepticism.

    Look, either you broadly agree with what I wrote in this post, in which case you could simply say so, or you don’t, in which case you would appear not to understand how genuine skepticism works. This post wasn’t an attack on you, whatever you might think (unlike your most recent post about me).

  268. Brandon Gates says:

    johnrussell40 & John Hartz,

    My initial knee-jerk reaction to AGW was … not skeptical … but dubious, and for typical reasons still cited today: CO2 is such a fractional percentage of the atmosphere, ok, maybe it’s happening but what’s the harm of a degree or two of warmer weather, etc. I spent the better part of 10 years on the fence, went through a period of cautious acceptance, then Climategate broke. By then I’d already become familiar with more of the science and was comfortable with how what I understood all fit together, but now the conspiracy theorists and “skeptics” had arguments with just enough plausibility that I couldn’t dismiss it.

    So I reviewed a bunch of illegally obtained private emails I had no business reading. What I found out is that the WUWTers et al. really have an aversion to quoting in context.

    Our climate contrarian friends don’t by and large do science. Where is their CMIP5-beating model? It’s not even vaporware, they hardly ever talk about seriously building one. Oh sure, here and there we see them pop up, but they just don’t go anywhere. It’s not like they couldn’t find the funding … I mean … and if they can’t raise the dough, maybe they should take the hint that the smart money in the world is betting on the IPCC version of the future even when so often it says otherwise in public.

    Lots of those little arguments add up to the plus side of the consensus ledger, as well as an overall native trust in the process of peer-review and science in general. Which is different from automatically trusting results, mind. But when my rudimentary math, physics and chemistry fail no doubt, I absolutely must either trust the experts … or declare that I don’t believe either way.

    It’s that last clause the other side of this argument really doesn’t seem to get very often, and another reason I’m ever more deaf in that one ear.

  269. Steven Mosher says:

    “The physical science does (whether you like it or not) have some advantages over some other areas in that there are physical laws that, if violated, would immediately disqualify a result.”

    Immediately? really? When results appear to violate a law, there is no automatic procedure.
    Well, historically, at least, there hasn’t been a univocal response to these types of results.

    “To first approximation, neutrinos weigh nothing, interact with nothing and are impossible to detect. Why, then, would anyone have predicted their existence? Well, it all started with beta decay, a form of radioactive decay in which a nucleus of atomic number Z transforms to one of atomic number Z+1 and an electron is emitted. An example of beta decay is the decay of carbon-14 to nitrogen-14 used in archaeological dating: 6C14 → 7N14 + e–.

    Beta decay takes place because the daughter nucleus has less mass than the parent, and therefore the decay is energetically favoured. By Einstein’s E = mc2, early nuclear physicists expected that the electron would carry off the difference in masses in the form of kinetic energy. However, it turned out that the electron always carried off less energy than expected, and instead of all electrons having the same energy, there was a continuous distribution.

    This was a very unexpected result, as energy conservation is much beloved of all physicists. At first, nobody could think of an explanation (there were even suggestions that energy conservation did not hold at the atomic level) “

  270. Steven,

    Immediately? really?

    Well, okay, that was probably too strong. You’re right that in reality it would take time to probe the processes, but that wasn’t really what I was getting at. These physical laws do help to determine what ideas are plausible and which are not. In some sense, there are things that are immediately rejected, but this probably happens before these things even makes it into the literature (there are some ideas not worth pursuing simply because they will obviously be wrong).

  271. Steven,

    To first approximation, neutrinos weigh nothing, interact with nothing and are impossible to detect. Why, then, would anyone have predicted their existence?

    I’m not sure that this is a big surprise. Even in first year physics, you’re taught that a single body can’t suddenly split into two pieces that move apart while conserving both energy and linear momentum (well, considering only kinetic energy, that is). I haven’t checked to be sure, but I always thought that neutrinos were introduced because people very quickly recognised that many of these reactions wouldn’t conserve energy and momentum unless there were these other particles.

  272. Okay, so if I check that universal source of knowledge (wikipedia) it seems that what I said above is about right.

    The neutrino was postulated first by Wolfgang Pauli in 1930 to explain how beta decay could conserve energy, momentum, and angular momentum (spin).

    source.

  273. Paul Matthews,

    So it’s not Blair’s blog you are referring to. You haven’t said so, but presumably it’s mine. So you are criticising a blog post by someone who you’ve banned from your blog. Another instance of your lack of integrity.

    I’ll post your comment, but only because you’re whining and being rude as usual. There are plenty of examples of people and posts describing why they’re “skeptical”. I seem to remember one on Jo Nova’s site. I think WUWT has had one. But, yes, this was partly motivated by more recent examples, yours being one of them. Now, I could have linked to it, but since my post was somewhat more general than just criticising yours, I didn’t (plus, I really don’t like you, so don’t see why I should). FWIW, I didn’t ban you because you pointed out that my use of the term “boundary conditions” wasn’t strictly correct (despite being used in a way many others have done before). I banned you because (as I pointed out in that comment) you seem incapable of making a constructive comment and, given my dislike of you, I have no desire to interact with you and don’t think I could do so constructively if I did. You should seriously consider that the reason people respond to you as they do is not because you’re a climate “skeptic” (and the inverted commas are necessary).

    If you are willing to answer the following question, I’ll post it. Do you disagree with my post, or do you really think that distrusting some scientists is a valid way to be genuinely skeptical?

  274. Richard S.J. Tol says:

    Gotta love Wottsy.

    He opens with “physics is objective, emotions play no role” and continues with “I don’t really like you, so I’ll ignore what you say”.

  275. Richard,

    He opens with “physics is objective, emotions play no role” and continues with “I don’t really like you, so I’ll ignore what you say”.

    I don’t believe that those positions are inconsistent. Emotions may not play a role in physics, they do in life.

  276. Richard S.J. Tol says:

    ah, the myth of the scientist who hangs his personality on the door when he puts on his lab coat

  277. Rachel M says:

    Richard Tol,

    Please don’t quote someone with quotation marks when they haven’t actually said what is between the quotation marks. Quotation marks should just be used when a direct piece of text is copied and pasted from someone else’s comment.

  278. Richard,
    I didn’t say that either, did I?

  279. aTTP,
    Physics of idealized small systems is mostly well understood, and so is statistical physics of nearly ideal gas, but most of today’s physics research is on systems that are not nearly that well understood. In that research hypotheses are presented and tested, the connection of those hypotheses with the solid foundations of physics is typically sorely lacking. In many cases it’s possible to do well controlled repeated experiments to improve understanding, but in other common cases the experiments are not that well controlled.

    Whenever we meet complex nonuniform systems with a huge number of degrees of freedom and with a large variety of different structures on many scales, the science is not any more that precise. The Earth system is an extreme example of such complexity. When someone tells that the climate change is well understood it may be appropriate to ask, how accurately the ECS is known in his opinion.

    How accurately should ECS be known to make it appropriate to say that the climate change is well understood? Perhaps within 10%, or perhaps we could allow for 20%, but saying that the likely limits are 1.5 – 4.5 C and that even those may be exceeded does surely not tell about good understanding. Similar weaknesses can be pointed out all around in the understanding of the dynamics of the Earth system.

    Many climate skeptics present totally wrong and even ridiculous claims, but more generally it must be remembered that people can form their opinions only based on the information that they can evaluate in some way. When they cannot study the issue by themselves they are influenced by others. They have their criteria for choosing what information to listen, and how to let that information affect their views. Their trust on various sources of information depends on earlier experience. If they have found that some source is, in general, consistent with what they think, their trust on that source grows. If another source contradicts directly something that they consider certain, that source will not be listened to. This is, of course, an (the?) explanation for the observation that certain right wing ideologies lead commonly to climate change skepticism.

    Influencing people of very different views does not succeed with frontal attack, but it may succeed gradually, if it’s possible to feed them bit by bit information that finally makes the conclusion unavoidable. One example of what absolutely should not be done is given in my view by Naomi Oraskes in her NYT op-ed, when she wrote in the first paragraph .. across the globe climate change is happening faster than scientists predicted, because so many think that such a claim is contrary to the facts. (I don’t know about any main stream scientist whom that sentence would apply, those Oreskes is likely to refer to have surely predicted faster warming than what we have seen. If she refers to other changes than warming that’s not obvious to the reader.) Starting by a sentence that people think to be contrary to the facts makes them either stop reading or to read searching for other weak points rather than valid insight.

  280. Richard S.J. Tol says:

    @Wotts
    Sometimes it pays to listen to what you say, read what you write. look in a mirror.

  281. Richard,

    Sometimes it pays to listen to what you say, read what you write. look in a mirror.

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA, oh my sides!

  282. verytallguy says:

    Some climate “skeptics” are truly remarkable individuals.

    Time and again my expectations of what it is possible to write are surpassed.

    Richard Tol, can I ask what you saw when you looked in the mirror after reading this?
    http://frankackerman.com/tol-controversy/

  283. Richard S.J. Tol says:

    @vtg
    You may want to read David Stern’s account.

  284. verytallguy says:

    RTol,

    You’ve just let us know the importance of looking in the mirror; that means it’s your reflections that matter rather than someone else’s.

    Please let us know what you see in the mirror after reading what you wrote on Ackerman.

  285. jsam says:

    It is rumoured vampires do not have a reflection. In the meantime Benny could do with some academic advice. :-))
    http://www.donotlink.com/d73v

  286. verytallguy says:

    Benny, along with Judith, requires ethical advice. And some honest reflection.

    But let’s wait to find what RTol saw in the mirror. I think it will be illuminating.

  287. Richard S.J. Tol says:

    @vtg
    I see the same guy as yesterday, but slightly older.

  288. verytallguy says:

    Richard,

    your advice on looking in the mirror would be much more powerful if you helped us by being more specific about what you’ve learned by applying this advice in your own life,

    So, pretty please, can I ask what you saw when you looked in the mirror after reading this?

    http://frankackerman.com/tol-controversy/

    with a cherry on the top?

  289. Pekka,
    I find little to disagree with in your comment. I can’t tell if it was just a general comment, or if there was some deeper implication.

    jsam.
    The recent Express Article about Benny Peiser’s views and his contribution to WUWT are amazing. Doesn’t he get any advice from anyone?

  290. aTTP,
    My comments are mostly inspired by earlier discussion in the thread but otherwise rather general.

    It’s common that I discuss issues that many can agree with (if they have understood my points in the way I intended), but which get easily overlooked in practice.

  291. Pekka,
    Then I find little to disagree with.

    Many climate skeptics present totally wrong and even ridiculous claims, but more generally it must be remembered that people can form their opinions only based on the information that they can evaluate in some way.

    I do think people can be rational, so they don’t necessarily need to understand the details, they just need to be able to assess if the overall picture seems reasonable.

    So, what you say here is certainly true

    When they cannot study the issue by themselves they are influenced by others.

    However, I think then one has to distinguish between genuine skepticism (an assessment of the actual evidence) and suspicion (I can’t evaluate the evidence because I don’t have the necessary skills, but I don’t trust those who are presenting it). It is, of course, possible that there is a massive problem within a certain scientific community and that the evidence is all tainted, but is it likely if that community is large and spread across many different institutions and countries?

  292. aTTP,
    What you disagree with is not in what I intended to say, but what you read from my comment. That’s so common that I included the caveat in my previous comment.

    When I used words “information” and “evaluate” I I had in mind many different ways of evaluating information, not only or even mainly logical inference.

  293. Oh, test results are in – you do read my comments.
    I disagree with your post. Muddled logic, also in your ‘… or …’ question to me.

  294. Pekka,
    I wasn’t really disagreeing, just commenting 🙂

  295. Paul Matthews,

    Oh, test results are in – you do read my comments.
    I disagree with your post. Muddled logic, also in your ‘… or …’ question to me.

    Rachel told me. I don’t normally bother checking my spam folder. Don’t you understand my question? It’s not that hard. Either skepticism requires actually evaluating the evidence, or it’s okay to be skeptical just because you don’t trust some people. The latter doesn’t seem like skepticism, it just seems like suspicion. Nothing wrong with being suspicious, but it doesn’t make you a genuine skeptic. So, given you disagree with my post, you either have trouble understanding this basic idea, or you think that it’s okay to base one’s skepticism on a lack of trust of certain individuals. As an academic, I would find it embarrassing to acknowledge the latter as it would suggest that I haven’t actually bothered to use my lack of trust to delve into the actual evidence. Or, I guess, you don’t want to really answer my question.

  296. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Given the most recent dialogue with Richard Tol, your next post has to be “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairist of us all?” (:

  297. Rachel M says:

    Rachel told me.

    Yes, that was a mistake. It won’t happen again 🙂

  298. Yes, that was a mistake. It won’t happen again

    Yes, probably, but if someone calls me dishonest, I think it is best to respond as honestly as possible 😉

  299. John Hartz says:

    The email below is from Dr. Mark Boslough, a physicist, climate change researcher, and Fellow at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.

    Dear John,

    Bill Nye and many other skeptical scientists (including me) have an important message: Climate science deniers are not skeptics.

    Last month a group of 48 of us published an open letter because some members of the media are still misleading the public by wrongly using the term “skeptic.” The New York Times, for example, recently called Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) a skeptic — even though he believes in the absurd notion that climate change is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated.”

    As scientists, we practice and promote scientific skepticism. As Fellows of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, we encourage informed citizens to do the same. But those who reject the facts on climate change are not skeptics — they’re deniers.

    We are insisting that journalists report truthfully on climate change and those who deny the science behind it. Can you add your name to support our letter?

    Sign your name to tell the media: Stop referring to climate science deniers as “skeptics.”

    Truth in climate reporting is already catching on among some news outlets. Recently, NPR and CBS both resisted using the term “skeptic” when it did not apply, and replaced it with the word “denier.” Now, we in the scientific community are asking other major publishers and broadcasters to do the same — and with strong, widespread public support, we can raise the bar for factual accuracy in climate reporting.

    It’s time for our media to recognize climate science deniers for what they are.

    Please sign on to support the letter from myself, Bill Nye, and other members of the scientific and skeptical community.

  300. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: My inner voice tells me that you and Richard Tol are unlikely to have a bromance anytime soon. (:

  301. Rachel M says:

    Am I turning into a despot?

  302. No, your first instincts were probably quite right. I should learn to follow mine more closely.

  303. pbjamm says:

    The behavior I have witnessed on this forum and others has made me both suspicious and skeptical of any claim made by Richard Tol. I feel it is safe to reject his claims out of hand and instead rely on the work of scientists and other economists. If his work is eventually mainstreamed and he is vindicated I will have the pleasure of learning about it from less abrasive sources.

  304. BBD says:

    Rachel

    Am I turning into a despot?

    Absolute power, and all that…

  305. Kingb says:

    Physics,

    I know you indicated that you weren’t overly interested in returning to my blog, but I have responded to your question from comment 43227, in detail, there (http://achemistinlangley.blogspot.com/). The length of my reply made it sensible to put it there rather than here.

    All my best in your continued pursuits.

    Blair

  306. verytallguy says:

    pjamm, 

    I can imagine how disappointed you are that Richard chose not to immediately enlighten us with the learning he gained from taking a look in the mirror at himself. 

    But don’t despair.  I’m confident he will be taking his time to ensure a thoughtful and insightful response once he has fully reflected on the issues and ensured the accuracy of the sources he quotes. 

    As the most cited scholar in the Stern review, he has his reputation to uphold and will doubtless take great care to avoid the glib, thoughtless and vindictive comments that sadly sometimes arise in these situations.

     He also has many gremlins in his care, and they can be very time consuming.

    We await his wisdom with bated breath. 

  307. miker613 says:

    @RachelM – found a little bit about what we discussed earlier:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polymath_Project
    They have apparently solved some hard problems.
    (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizen_science looked interesting)

  308. Blair,
    Yes, I noticed you had a new post. I don’t know if you’re doing this intentionally or not, but you’re largely mis-representing me and mis-interpreting what I’m trying to say. This could be my fault for not being clear enough, but – given past experiences – I have no interest in trying to clear things up (and am not convinced I could anyway). So, yes, I have no great interest in returning to your blog and aim to not do so. I rather regret encountering you in the first place.

    FWIW, I decided to block you on Twitter. It’s a free world, so you can mis-represent me to your heart’s content on your own blog. I don’t need to read it and I don’t need to make it easy for you to do so.

  309. [Mod: Refers to a deleted comment]

  310. Peter Jacobs says:

    [Mod: Refers to a deleted comment]

  311. [Mod: Refers to a deleted comment]

  312. Rachel M says:

    [Mod: Refers to a deleted comment]

  313. Notice that the “chemist” name of Kingb used a “sup” in the Co2 instead of a “sub” for the 2.

    Got to laugh at the chemist for screwing that up so badly. That’s the equivalent of an EE drawing the ohm symbol upside-down. ha ha.

  314. verytallguy says:

    [Mod: First sentence refers to a deleted comment]

    Richard is unfailingly civil and has sage advice for us in looking in the mirror at what we do.

    Personally, I’m still on tenterhooks awaiting his own reflections on his behaviour here where he will show us how he has learned from his experiences

    http://frankackerman.com/tol-controversy/

    After all I did ask nicely, pretty please and all, so someone as helpful as he is certainly won’t disappoint, I’m sure.

    Although, maybe on reflection, the reason he’s taking so long is to give us the full breadth of his wisdom.

  315. WHT,
    Yes, somewhat amusing, but let’s not pile-on here.

  316. [Mod: Disrespectful]

  317. verytallguy says:

    So perhaps it will be a while before he’s finished reflecting. Still, it will doubtless be brilliant once he gets there.

    Go Richard!

  318. Steve Bloom says:

    My resistance to looking at Blair’s stuff finally broke down and I had a peek. The linked post could have used some basic fact-checking, making as it does a number of standard denialist errors, and otherwise is a boring repetition of exhausted tropes, but I found this in his self-description:

    My area of expertise is the investigation and remediation of petroleum hydrocarbon contamination and the assessment of hydrocarbon contamination on human and ecological health.

    There you go.

  319. Kingb says:

    Physics,

    I’m sorry to hear that. I try to simply respond to the words on the page. In the absence of useful codes to indicate sarcasm etc., I have taken the approach that the written word represents the thoughts of the writer. If I have misinterpreted your words, then my apologies.

    Best regards,

    Blair

  320. Michael 2 says:

    Brandon Gates says: (January 13, 2015 at 3:48 am) “Our climate contrarian friends don’t by and large do science.”

    Agreed. Instead, they pay for it. Consider the implications. Some science is more socially useful than other science.

    http://www.livescience.com/699-painful-realities-hyena-sex.html

  321. M2,

    Agreed. Instead, they pay for it.

    Please don’t tell me you’re making the “they’re mostly the wealth creators and tax payers, therefore they pay for it” argument, because that is particularly ignorant.

  322. Ben Martin says:

    @miker613 Yes, the Polymath Project is a new approach to doing mathematics. It’s a scaling-up of the way mathematicians collaborate: rather than having a few people sitting in a room with a blackboard and working together, the Polymath Project allows large numbers of people to share ideas and solve problems by posting to a blog.

    But – just as for any piece of mathematics – the results of the Polymath Project are unlikely to gain general acceptance by the mathematical community until they have been accepted by a respectable refereed journal. As the Wikipedia article you linked to points out, some of the Polymath results have been written up as papers, posted on the arXiv and submitted to refereed journals. Indeed, you can find a referee report for one of the papers here:

    http://terrytao.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/report1c.pdf

    Much of the maths involved in these projects is very technical – see

    https://gowers.wordpress.com/2009/01/30/background-to-a-polymath-project/

    for example – and I suspect most of the people contributing are professional mathematicians with PhDs and academic positions. So I wouldn’t really describe this as “citizen science”.

    Ben
    (@Rachel M’s husband.)

  323. Ben,
    Thanks for the comment. I’m honoured 🙂

  324. Christopher Winter says:

    Richard Tol: “Conversation of mass is another one of those universal laws, right?”

    Well, I think at least some people converse during mass, albeit in low voices. And most converse before and after.

    Yes, it’s bad form to criticize someone else’s spelling or grammar in blog posts. But the above came after you were gently admonished to re-read your comments, for things like “You’re contention”.

    Richard Tol: “But a 33,000 year old human is just unlikely?”

    A 33,000-year-old LIVING human is (presently) impossible. But yes, a 33,000-year-old human is just unlikely. Otsi the Iceman is estimated to be, what, 5,000 years old?

    Really, putting more precise wording into your comments would repay the effort.

  325. miker613 says:

    Thank you, Ben. [I think this settles some burning issues about RachelM’s marital status that have been discussed elsewhere.:)] Would you agree, though, that anyone interested in that field who did _not_ follow the polymath project was being foolish? That was where the problem(s) were actually getting solved. Someone who just waits for the journal articles a year or two later is at risk of being totally out of touch with the most exciting part of the field.

    As for “I suspect most of the people contributing are professional mathematicians with PhDs and academic positions”, you’re probably right; not too many of us “citizens” could make much of a contribution. On the other hand, it’s a big world out there. If there had been some construction worker in India named Ramanujan who happens to like math and is good at it, has spent years studying that particular field in his spare time, and made a suggestion on the polymath forum that turned out to be valuable – I expect you agree that it would be absurd and offensive if someone were to say, “We don’t have to pay attention to what a construction worker says.” I don’t even take the possibility seriously. [Not to say that happened on polymath, I have no idea.]

  326. Lotharsson says:

    I take expertise wherever I see it.

    In that case you might want to take in the expertise of Messrs Dunning and Kruger…

    It looked interesting, and complicated, with a number of moving parts. I don’t know if it’s accepted by climate scientists or is just someone’s bright idea.

    It’s not very complicated and is based on well accepted climate science. (Ponder the previous paragraph again.)

  327. Lotharsson says:

    Please tell us more about why you think this is punishment, John.

    As I say at Deltoid in reference to a joke about an apparently unfortunate bear hunter, “[certain individuals] don’t come here for the hunting”.

  328. miker613 says:

    @Lotharsson “It’s not very complicated and is based on [italics mine] well accepted climate science.” Well, I am trying to sort out the impressions I’m getting, which so far is: this is someone’s bright idea, not a universally accepted part of established climate science. If I’m wrong about that: do you have a reference say from the IPCC?

  329. BBD says:

    Well, I am trying to sort out the impressions I’m getting, which so far is: this is someone’s bright idea, not a universally accepted part of established climate science. If I’m wrong about that: do you have a reference say from the IPCC?

    You don’t need one. All you have to do is think.

  330. miker613 says:

    Well, I need one! You can’t do my thinking for me.

  331. BBD says:

    I think you are being deliberately obtuse because you are trying to avoid admitting that there is a huge conceptual problem with the hot MWP meme that McI peddles incessantly.

    Now you’ve invented another stupid little denial meme about wanting a reference from the IPCC. Well, you aren’t going to get one but neither are you going to be allowed to use that as a fake ‘reason’ for denying the basics of physical climatology.

    I’m sick of you sealioning about this (and much else besides). Here’s a chronological recap. Read it all again:

    [Peter Jacobs’ origninal explanation:]

    Miker613 writes: “As usual, I have no clue what the point is, and no one ever bothers to explain it.”

    The point is that the following argument used to be the basis for denying recent temps are

    unprecedented in the past 1,000 years or so:

    – globally medieval temperatures were as warm or warmer than present
    – this was due to an increase in solar forcing

    Here’s how that plays out from a climate sensitivity standpoint:

    – assume medieval temperatures were as warm or warmer than present
    – assume that this was due to an increase in solar forcing
    – this argues for a climate that is quite sensitive to changes in radiative forcing
    – we have a good deal of uncertainty in the net effect of anthropogenic aerosols during the
    instrumental period
    – when you combine these last two, plus some other things, you get a higher than mainstream estimate for climate sensitivity to increases in GHGs, meaning we’d expect more rather than less warming in the future if we don’t stabilize GHG emissions.

    After the logical fallacy of arguing for a hotter medieval climate due to solar forcing was pointed
    out often enough, a lot of global medieval warming proponents quietly dropped the solar part, or else joined the fringe groups of people who come up with physics-less reasons for the sun to warm the planet.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    [BBD:]

    Either you peddle a hot MWP and accept that this is strong evidence that CO2 is at least as dangerous as we thought, if not more so, or you accept the mainstream position, which is that there was no global and synchronous MWP as warm as or warmer than the present. Rather, there were discontinuous regional NH warm episodes over a period of several hundred years. which have been lumped together, overblown and misnomered “the” MWP. The Medieval climate anomalies plural would be much more accurate. The reason this was done was to push the idea that modern warming is not unique in the last millennium in order to create fake doubt about human attribution for modern warming.

    If you don’t understand what McI is doing, it’s time you got it clear in your mind.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    [BBD:]
    I want you to say something for the forum. I want you to say that you agree that if there was a
    global, synchronous MWP as warm as or warmer than the present, then this indicates that the climate is relatively sensitive to radiative perturbations. This being so, the threat presented by CO2 emissions is at least as serious as currently thought and perhaps even more so.

    If you won’t agree to endorse this statement, please explain why not.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    [miker:]Why is it obvious that the sensitivity to CO2 is going to have to be higher if the sensitivity to solar forcing is higher?

    [BBD:] Because energy is energy, miker. It doesn’t make a great deal of difference where it comes from.

    1W/m^2 = 1W/m^2.

    I thought you had a physics background. Were you… exaggerating about this?

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    [BBD:]
    There is no wriggle-room, Miker. A ‘hot MWP’ = moderately high sensitivity to radiative pertubation = *big* CO2 problem.

    Some weeks ago you pitched up here peddling McI’s dubious tweaking of the PAGES 2k global
    reconstruction to get a (tiny) period ~950CE that was (fractionally) warmer than the 1971 – 2000
    average. You were pushing a ‘hot MWP’ and you have been doing so ever since.

    Physics requires that you accept the corollary, which is relatively high sensitivity and so a relatively elevated threat from CO2.

    Either you accept this or you admit that you do not understand what you are talking about.

    So, which is it?

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Let me know when you have decided.

  332. BBP says:

    BBD, you are forgetting that there is a third possibility. The current warming (if there is warming) is ‘natural’, and is being caused by some unknown physical mechanism (maybe N-rays or friction with the luminous aether). Obviously this same natural mechanism caused the MWP. The fact that the warming (if there is warming) matches what we would would expect from increased CO2 is just a coincidence, and undoubtedly, some other unknown physical mechanism is preventing increased CO2 from having the expected effect.

  333. miker613 says:

    BBD, I read all these comments. If I have not been convinced yet, I’m not going to become so because of your demands or insults.
    I do appreciate that people explained the idea.
    I didn’t insist on a reference from the IPCC; that was an example of something that would show that this is commonly accepted among climate scientists. That’s a “proxy” that can add credibility to a thing that I don’t seem to think is obvious enough on its own.

  334. John Hartz says:

    miker613: You state:

    I didn’t insist on a reference from the IPCC; that was an example of something that would show that this is commonly accepted among climate scientists.

    Please refresh my memory. What is the “this” you refer to in the above. Thanks.

  335. BBD says:

    BBP

    BBD, you are forgetting that there is a third possibility. The current warming (if there is warming) is ‘natural’, and is being caused by some unknown physical mechanism (maybe N-rays or friction with the luminous aether). Obviously this same natural mechanism caused the MWP.

    Hell’s teeth, I *knew* there was something else 🙂

    The phone rang. You know how it is.

  336. BBD says:

    Miker

    Newsflash: I have run out of patience with your sealioning bullshit. Either you are clueless or you are pretending to be to avoid admitting that you have been peddling the wrong denier meme.

    Let us know when you have decided which it is.

  337. John Hartz says:

    BBD:

    miker613 certainly know how to push your hot buttons. When you respond to him in anger, he then gets to the play his, “I’m being bullied” card.

    In my opinoion, the best way to deal with miker613 and his ilk is to go into a “Cool Hand Luke” mode and respond to him with cold hard facts. The other option, is to ignore him completely when you see that he is baiting you.

    PS – I know, “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

  338. miker613 says:

    Sorry, John Hartz. I had asked earlier if someone, instead of repeating this argument that BBD recapped (https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/climate-skepticism/#comment-43569) about MWP and climate sensitivity, had a link of something like the IPCC (or some other well-accepted source) that presented the argument. That way I could tell that this is consensus climate science, not just something that BBD and Peter Jacobs and ATTP and Willard etc. find awfully convincing. As I said above, I found it interesting and plausible but not necessarily airtight, so I wanted to know how well it’s accepted.

    BBD, by now you ought to have learned that not everyone agrees with everything you think.

  339. BBD says:

    Miker

    More evasive twaddle. Either you are clueless or you are pretending to be to avoid admitting that you have been peddling the wrong denier meme.

    Let us know when you have decided which it is.

  340. BBD says:

    John Hartz

    I’ve been through the detail with miker already (see recap above). That’s why my patience with this nonsense is finally exhausted. He is playing the standard, tedious denier trick of saying ‘I’m not convinced’ without actually advancing any kind of coherent counter-argument. That’s not how it works. If there is no no counter-argument, you concede the point or admit that you don’t understand the topic. If miker doesn’t understand the topic, how can his ‘sceptical’ position be taken seriously? Of course it cannot. In fact miker should not be spending his time promoting McI and his various distortions. Miker should be reading a textbook.

  341. Willard says:

    Please go argue with Richard Alley, MikeR:

    [B]ecause the feedbacks in the climate system often respond similarly to warming with different causes (warmer air will tend to melt more snow and ice, and to pick up more greenhouse-gas water vapor from the vast ocean, whether the warmth came from rising CO2 or increasing solar output or alien ray guns or a giant hair dryer), data showing larger climate changes in the past in response to some estimated forcing actually increase the concerns about future warming. If, for example, scientists had somehow underestimated the climate change between Medieval times and the Little Ice Age, or other natural climate changes, without corresponding errors in the estimated size of the causes of the changes, that would suggest stronger amplifying feedbacks and larger future warming from rising greenhouse gases than originally estimated. Any increase in our estimate of the natural climate responses to past forcings points to a more variable future path with larger average changes.

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/07/scientists-find-an-abrupt-warm-jog-after-a-very-long-cooling

  342. John Hartz says:

    BBD:

    I completely understand where you are coming from — been there and done that. At some point, you’ll have to stop chasing miker613’s mechanical bunny around the track unless someone unplugs him from his source of electricity.

  343. John Hartz says:

    miker613:

    I recommend that you read:

    How does the Medieval Warm Period compare to current global temperatures? by Dana Nuccitelli, Skeptical Science, April 22, 2013

    It contains many references. Its comment thread does as well.

  344. BBD says:

    Thank you, WIllard, that’s an excellent quote. How you find them all I will never know, but it’s good that you do.

  345. Willard says:

    Here, BBD, vintage Mar 12th, 2013 9:32am:

    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/45187548866

    Turning the computer on also helps.

    You come here often?

  346. miker613 says:

    Jeepers, John Hartz. You sent me to a link whose prize exhibit is PAGES2K? Hmm – I doubt RachelM wants me discussing that again! But if you want to see a more complete picture, I’d suggest climateaudit, search for PAGES2K.

  347. BBD says:

    And we’re right back where we started, with Miker (re)peddling McI’s blog science about hot MWPs – a topic that Miker has already admitted more than once that he does not understand.

  348. BBD says:

    Steve

    Looks more like a seal to me 🙂

  349. miker613 says:

    Willard, it’s a nice link, by the way, and a nice video up above. But not really evidence of consensus.

  350. Steve Bloom says:

    Pretty sure it’s a sea lion, BBD. Apparently seals lack the anatomy for that trick.

  351. BBD says:

    Steve

    You’re right! The beast has visible ear-flaps. It was the apparent absence of large rear flippers that fooled me, but they must be folded flat alongside the body. We’ve reached consensus.

  352. BBD says:

    miker

    But not really evidence of consensus.

    The basics of physical climatology are the basics of the scientific consensus on physical climatology. Your problem is that you don’t understand the basics but insist on being taken seriously, which isn’t going to happen here.

  353. Willard says:

    If there’s no consensus on the claim that “any increase in our estimate of the natural climate responses to past forcings points to a more variable future path with larger average changes,” then it will be easy to find a source you find credible who disagrees with it, MikeR.

    Please report.

  354. jsam says:

    So climateaudit is wrong. Again. In other news the sun rose.

  355. John Hartz says:

    miker613:

    How do you know that climateaudit’s analysis is correct and superior to other analyses of the MWP?

  356. miker613 says:

    @Willard. “it will be easy to find a source you find credible who disagrees with it, MikeR. Please report.” Doubt that. You found a throwaway line in the middle of someone’s blog article. Why would it be easy for me to find a source that discusses it at all? I’ve asked you several times to find me a consensus source. Can I presume then that it isn’t in the AR5? Why isn’t it, if it’s so fundamental and so important? Or BBD wants me to read a textbook. So can you find a textbook that has it? Or – as I’ve asked a number of times so far – is it just a cute idea that you happen to like a lot because you think it helps you argue with skeptics, but that hardly anyone else has ever heard of?

  357. miker613 says:

    John Hartz, refer to the earlier discussions, but I think RachelM has called an end to them by now. I have my reasons.

  358. miker613,
    I think you’re asking for something that probably doesn’t exist. The latest evidence reported by the IPCC is that the MWP was not globally synchronous and probably wasn’t as warm as it is now. Why would they then discuss what we could infer if it was globally synchronous and as hot as it is now? Not only is it not a standard thing to do – why discuss the significance of something that you think isn’t likely, but imagine the outcry from the shouty brigade if they were to say “it probably isn’t globally synchronous or as warm as it is now, but even if it were it would imply the climate is even more sensitive that if it isn’t”.

  359. BBD says:

    But of course if you can find any way – however ridiculous – of evading the issue then that is what you would do. Miker has been dodging this for a long time now, and not just on this thread. Miker is taking considerable liberties.

  360. John Hartz says:

    miker613: If you want to believe that climateaudit knows more about the Medieval Warm Period than does the scientifric community, that is certainly your perogative. I suspect your posititon is dictated by your political idealogy and not your ability to objectvely audit climateaudi’s analysis.

  361. miker613 says:

    Could be, ATTP. But it doesn’t make sense for Willard to send me on a scavenger hunt to find someone who disagrees with an idea that you’re now saying nobody really talks about.
    FWIW, I went to a couple of skeptic blogs and asked the commenters about the idea. You can find a couple of comments on it at lucia’s, for instance. But they said more-or-less what I had guessed they would say: “Hmm. Maybe. Natural variation?” As in Willard’s quote above, “without corresponding errors in the estimated size of the causes of the changes..,”
    Note that BBP couldn’t think of any possible errors in forcing without going off to N-rays. Climate is so simple, apparently. I earlier suggested one source of error pretty much at random, deep ocean heating and cooling, since it seems to be a hot topic now, and we have all of five years of data on it.
    Anyhow, I don’t see why you should have to accept the opinions of Lucia’s denizens, but I’m not getting the impression that you were trying to claim.

  362. miker613 says:

    John Hartz – see above.

  363. miker613,

    But it doesn’t make sense for Willard to send me on a scavenger hunt to find someone who disagrees with an idea that you’re now saying nobody really talks about.

    I didn’t say noone talks about it. We do. Willard found an example of Richard Alley talking about it. I just mean that you may not be able to find it in some formal place because one wouldn’t normally do a scientific study to show the implications of something that is regarded as unlikely.

  364. Steve Bloom says:

    SealionBall ™

  365. Willard says:

    > You found a throwaway line in the middle of someone’s blog article.

    Do you mean I found a quote from Richard Alley on Andy Revkin’s blog, MikeR?

    Here’s the preceding paragraph:

    I think it is worth remembering a few things for how this fits into the bigger picture. Whether the past was naturally warmer or cooler than recently, and whether the changes were faster or slower than recently, are of great interest to climate scientists in learning how the climate system works, including the strength of feedbacks. But existence of a warmer climate in the past doesn’t mean that the current warming is natural, any more than the existence of natural fires rules out arson in some recent warehouse blaze. And, existence of a warmer climate in the past also doesn’t mean that we’ll like a warmer climate in the future. Nature has made places and times colder, and warmer, than most people like. Our high assessed confidence that the recent warming is mostly human-driven, and that the costs will become large if the warming becomes large, do not primarily rest on how much warmer or colder today is than some particular time in the past, or even on how fast the recent changes are relative to those in the past.

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com//2013/03/07/scientists-find-an-abrupt-warm-jog-after-a-very-long-cooling/

    Thank you for your concerns.

  366. John Hartz says:

    Steve Bloom: “SlipperyeelBall”?

  367. Willard says:

    > But it doesn’t make sense for Willard

    That’s because I make no sense to you most of the times, MikeR, and of course it does. You’re the one who doubts if it’s consensual. I have no commitment regarding its guest appearance in the IPCC reports. Have you checked, BTW?

    The ClimateBall ™ move is Scratch Your Itch.

  368. John Hartz says:

    There are many gems of wisdom to be found in the comment threads of articles posted on SkS — and here of course.

    Here is the first comment posted on the thread to the SkS article I cited above.

    “The Medieval Warm Period was warmer than current conditions. This means recent warming is not unusual and hence must be natural, not man-made.”

    The argument is also logically invalid, even if the premise were true. Otherwise the following argument of the same form would be correct:

    ‘The Black Death in the middle ages is estimated to have killed more of Europe’s population than World War 2. This means that deaths during World War 2 were not unusual, and hence must be due to natural causes, not man-made’

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/medieval-warm-period.htm

  369. miker613 says:

    What’s your point, Willard? I knew the source. You have found a climate scientist who agrees with you. Is that all you were offering? It’s not what I asked for.

    Note that I’ve been asked this question probably more than a dozen times since I started visiting this blog. Several of you laughed at the foolish hypocritical skeptics who contradict themselves on these two contradictory issues. You many times demanded my position on it. And are we now agreed that you don’t have any kind of authoritative source, it’s not in the IPCC, it’s not in any textbook you know of? A certain respected climate scientist said it, that’s all. And you like it, so there you go.
    I don’t know what you’re thinking.

  370. miker613 says:

    “You’re the one who doubts if it’s consensual. I have no commitment regarding its guest appearance in the IPCC reports. Have you checked, BTW?” Nope. I do have ATTP’s claim that it is unlikely to be there, that it’s unlikely to be anywhere. Have you? You’re the one making the claim. Prove your claim, or I will continue to doubt it. That’s how it works.

  371. Willard says:

    > What’s your point, Willard?

    Which part of “scractch your own itch” you do not get, MikeR?

    You want something in the AR5. Go check. Report.

    ***

    > It’s not what I asked for.

    Then scractch your own itch.

  372. John Hartz says:

    I spent a few minutes browsing for papers about the Medieval Warm Period published in 2014 using Google Scholar: Here’s the abstract of one of the articles that popped up:

    Climate change between the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age: Model-data comparison between CMIP5/PMIP3 last millennium simulations and available temperature proxy records

    Charpentier Ljungqvist, Fredrik; Zhang, Qiong; Sundqvist, Hanna S.; Brattström, Gudrun; Moberg, Anders

    EGU General Assembly 2014, held 27 April – 2 May, 2014 in Vienna, Austria, id.3740

    “We present a model-data comparison between the CMIP5/PMIP3 last millennium simulations and available individual temperature proxy records from across the globe. Our focus is to investigate the agreement in amplitude of the simulated and the reconstructed temperature difference between the Medieval Warm Period (MWP, here defined as AD 950-1250) and the Little Ice Age (LIA, here defined as AD 1400-1700). An emphasis is placed on analysing to what extent the high latitude and continental amplification of the temperature signal is the same in the model simulations as in the proxies. We further discuss to what extent the models have captured the spatial signatures that is shown in the proxy data. We have collected 125 calibrated proxy records – representing either annual mean, winter or summer temperature – extending back to at least AD 950. The proxies include data from a wide range of archives: ice-cores, marine and terrestrial sediments, tree-rings, speleothems and historical records. Only proxies with at least two observations per century were included. We calculated the amplitude of change between the MWP and the LIA in the individual proxy records using the temperature calibrations by the original authors. The last millennium simulations from 8 different models in CMIP5 database are used to compare with the proxy records. This model-data comparison reveals that the ensemble mean and median of the models mostly underestimate the amplitude of temperature difference between the MWP and the LIA as estimated from the proxy records at those locations where proxy records exist. The relative lack of proxy data from the tropics and the Southern Hemisphere, however, precludes a fully comprehensive model-data comparison. [My bold.] We also note large differences between the model simulations both in amplitude of the temperature change and in their spatial patterns. The use of an ensemble mean or median of the model simulations emphasizes the averaged signature within the model ensemble. We observe an average tendency for the models to overestimate the magnitude of the Arctic amplification as compared to the proxies. On the other hand, the models underestimate the coastal-continental temperature gradient compared to the proxies.”.

    If I recall correctly, the statement of fact that I have bolded in the above is wiidely known throughout the scientific community.

    In this context, I ask:

    How can climateaudit and/or any other denier analyst make the claim that the MWP was global when the data necessary to validate that claim does not exist?

  373. Willard says:

    > Prove your claim, or I will continue to doubt it. That’s how it works.

    I’m afraid not. This is not logic. This is science.

    Empirical sciences don’t prove claims. They explain them, and gather evidence for them. AGW has not been proven: it’s just the best explanation we have.

    I offered Alley as evidence for what I claimed. You want something else? Fine. Scratch your own itch.

    See if I care to convince someone who does not even respect basic rules of conversation.

    ***

    For those who don’t know what kind of game MikeR is playing, see:

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

    Interestingly, this case study features CA.

  374. Willard says:

    > How can climateaudit and/or any other denier analyst make the claim that the MWP was global when the data necessary to validate that claim does not exist?

    They don’t. They simply dispute that the opposite has been conclusively proven, according to the standards of the auditing sciences.

    You have learned nothing from the latest presences here by MikeR and you’re using the D-word for no good reason.

    You’re making me waste my time, and I resent that.

  375. John Hartz says:

    Willard: Until yur post, I didn’t relaize that I had the power to make you do stuff. I had always assumed it was your inflated ego at work.

  376. John Hartz says:

    BBD: Our “Good Cop, Bad Cop” routine is a tad rusty. We need to practice. Your place or mine?

  377. John Hartz says:

    [Mod: I think it might be better to drop this topic. Thanks!]

  378. Michael 2 says:

    Lotharsson says: (January 15, 2015 at 1:09 am) “In that case you might want to take in the expertise of Messrs Dunning and Kruger”

    Yes. Plenty of experience with that one in the Navy. What was interesting wasn’t so much that a particular person thought he was smarter than evidence suggested was the case; but how many people he persuaded by his confidence and the tendency of the incompetent person to be promoted.

    Dr. Lawrence Peter wrote about it in “The Peter Principle”.

    Around here DK seems to be hurled as an insult revealing (IMO) a profound lack of understanding of what it means; but then, it doesn’t need a meaning — anything is an insult if hurled at your enemy.

  379. Michael 2 says:

    ATTP says (January 13, 2015 at 10:01 pm) referencing my: Agreed. Instead, they pay for it.

    “Please don’t tell me you’re making the ‘they’re mostly the wealth creators and tax payers, therefore they pay for it’ argument, because that is particularly ignorant.”

    Your response is illogical (“ignorant” does not describe a property of an argument).

    I was and am trying to gradually step back a bit; producing abbreviated responses that, as a consequence, can be interpreted variably according to what you expect to see.

    Lotharsson seemed to be arguing that only climatologists need be involved in the debate so everyone else should shut up. I point out that I, and hundreds of millions of other Americans, are expected to pay for all this, so like it or not, I’m part of the political debate. I do not see this obvious fact as being “ignorant” which means “uninformed”. I consider myself fairly well informed on layperson climate science and politics; lived in and around Washington DC for about four years where politics is what’s for breakfast.

  380. Marco says:

    M2, I could point out to you that you have a, uhm, “interesting” view of how the DK and Peter Principle are related, but in doing so I’d be arguing with someone who is afflicted with DK with regards to the DK and Peter Principle.

    So, I’ll just point it out to others: whereas the DK principle is related to how people rate their *own* competence, the Peter Principle is a result of how people rate the competence of *others*. The two meet when a DK afflicted person is capable of convincing others of his (faux-)competences and thus gets promoted to a position for which he is incompetent, but the Peter Principle is not contingent on the promoted person being DK afflicted. It is not uncommon that the problem is a failure to realize a certain (poorly-developed) competence is more important for the new job than the ten others in which the promoted person is indeed a star.

  381. Andrew Dodds says:

    Marco –

    That’s the ‘Dilbert Principle’, in which the least competent people are systematically promoted..

    Funny thing is, this can actually happen.. because people who are highly competent and interested in their job will be less interested in organisational politics, and more likely to take politically inconvenient stands on principle. Whereas people of dubious competence will need to be politically active for their own survival and will want to be seen as totally politically reliable to their superiors.

  382. BBD says:

    is it just a cute idea that you happen to like a lot because you think it helps you argue with skeptics, but that hardly anyone else has ever heard of?

    No, it’s not just a cute idea, miker.

    Past climate variability is an indicator of climate sensitivity to radiative perturbation. More variability indicates a higher sensitivity. Less variability indicates lower sensitivity. Why would this not be the case? Please explain how any alternative could work, miker.

    Now let’s look specifically at the ‘MWP’. There is no evidence of major forcing change during the period ~900 – 1200CE. So, if there was a ‘hot MWP’ in response to fairly small changes in forcing it would indicate that the climate system is relatively sensitive. How could it indicate anything else? If you do not agree with this, describe the alternative physical mechanism you think is operating.

    On this basis, a hot MWP is strong evidence that the climate system will respond to other quite small changes in radiative forcing – such as the rapid increase in GHG forcing in the modern period. So a hot MWP would be evidence that the potential threat from CO2 emissions is relatively high.

    How could this not be the case? Energy is energy. 1W/m^2 = 1W/m^2.

    I hope you will not be allowed to comment further until you address these questions in full, miker.

    Because until now, you have you done everything you possibly can to avoid doing this, including disappearing when pressed and reappearing to tr0ll some more later and enough is enough.

  383. miker613 said:

    “Welcome to the new world, where top-level mathematics is done on chat boards by people without PhDs. You would rather that it go through peer review and you’ll see it two years from now? I don’t get it. Anyone who wants can show up at climateaudit and peer review it there. It’s better and faster.”

    “If there had been some construction worker in India named Ramanujan who happens to like math and is good at it, has spent years studying that particular field in his spare time, and made a suggestion on the polymath forum that turned out to be valuable – I expect you agree that it would be absurd and offensive if someone were to say, “We don’t have to pay attention to what a construction worker says.””

    I think it was made clear to you that, regardless of whether a claimed result is obtained by public collaboration or by private work, it is OK for the professional community as well as the general public at large to accept a claimed result as correct only if it is first validated to be correct by sufficiently qualified members of the professional community. If the work obtains such a validation and then also obtains a judgment that it is sufficiently nontrivial, then it can become part of the legitimate peer-reviewed or refereed literature. If someone thinks that they have a result that is correct and is worth knowing about, their work should be presented to the professionals who publish in reputable refereed journals. That is what happened with Ramanujan’s work. See
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srinivasa_Ramanujan#Attention_towards_mathematics
    for this.
    Quote: “Ramanujan mentioned a correspondence he had with Professor Saldhana, a notable Bombay mathematician, in which Saldhana expressed a lack of understanding of his work but concluded that he was not a phoney.[41]”

    By your further above “You would rather that it go through peer review…” with an emphasis here on your use of “rather”, combined with some of the rest of your comments in this thread and at this blog, what I suspect is that you are trying to argue against the necessity of a claimed result being validated by sufficiently qualified members of the professional community before it is OK to accept it as true by the rest of that professional community as well as by the general public.

    The denial of this necessity is what we can call peer-reviewed or refereed literature denial, which is the heart of science (or mathematics) denial.

    I think that what I said in
    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/gavin-schmidt-on-advocacy-2/#comment-42785
    holds: “I think that in the end humanity had better be willing to trust – if not blindly, then not far from it – at least the peer-reviewed literature and the textbooks *in the ongoing aggregate*, since this literature along with the commentary *in the ongoing aggregate* of all those who write all this is the only thing humanity has to keep the cranks or crackpots from taking over the world.”

    (To anticipate any claim that what I wrote above means that I believe we should always trust any expert – which I don’t: Link to my comment above for its context.)

  384. Willard said, “Empirical sciences don’t prove claims. They explain them, and gather evidence for them. AGW has not been proven: it’s just the best explanation we have.”

    AGW has not been proven? I strongly beg to differ. There are uses of the term “prove” other than its logical or mathematical use – see every reputable dictionary out there on the terms “fact” and “prove” and combine these, and see such as proceedings in courts of law, which use these two terms quite a bit. In the US, in criminal law we have proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and in civil law we have proof by a preponderance of evidence. And the use of “proof” outside of mathematics or logic allows us to properly make claims along the line that such and such is a scientific fact.

    If we had a trial and the standard of proof was “beyond all reasonable doubt”, then I would vote as follows – and we do have a trial in this court of public opinion:

    The Big Bang has been proven beyond all reasonable doubt. Not only is it the best explanation we have, it’s the only reasonable one we have.

    Evolution has been proven beyond all reasonable doubt. Not only is it the best explanation we have, it’s the only reasonable one we have.

    (Yes, I know: Conservative religious ideology keeps many from getting the second one and a sizable percentage of them from getting the first one.)

    AGW has been proven beyond all reasonable doubt. Not only is it the best explanation we have, it’s the only reasonable one. Consider: As ATTP has essentially said, there are only two *distinct* ways to heat *the whole* system: First way: Increase the flow of heat into the system. Second way: Decrease the flow of heat out of the system. (Yes, of course, the two can work together.) The first way covers two conditions: The amount of energy falling onto the Earth from the sun and the amount of this energy that is absorbed rather than reflected (this second condition relates to albedo). So far, the reputable peer-reviewed literature *in the ongoing aggregate* has put an upper bound on this first way such that it can explain no more than a small percentage of the upward trend since the late 1800s. Therefore, by the process of elimination, the trend since the late 1800s must be due entirely or almost entirely to the second way, a decrease in the flow of heat out of the system.

  385. miker613 says:

    “You’re making me waste my time, and I resent that.” Willard, thanks for fielding that one for me.

    “Scratch your own itch.” Willard, you have absolutely no obligation to do research for me. On the other hand, you also have no more right to demand that I accept or refute claims about this issue.

  386. miker613,

    On the other hand, you also have no more right to demand that I accept or refute claims about this issue.

    I think the problem that some have, is that if you’re going to engage in discussions about this topic, then it’s easier – for everyone – to do so if you actually have views and if you’re willing to defend those views. Simply asking questions isn’t all that production and places all the burden on everyone else.

  387. BBD says:

    Do not ignore comments because they are inconvenient, MikeR.

  388. John Hartz says:

    BBD:

    Your advice to miker613 is not compatible with his Artful Dodger schtick.

  389. miker613 says:

    “I think it was made clear to you that, regardless of whether a claimed result is obtained by public collaboration or by private work, it is OK for the professional community as well as the general public at large to accept a claimed result as correct only if it is first validated to be correct by sufficiently qualified members of the professional community.”
    Meh. People in that particular field of mathematics are not going to be very interested in the peer-review process. Sufficiently qualified mathematicians decide for themselves what is important, what is valid. They don’t need someone’s permission. Journals there are for your CV and for a permanent record; everyone knows about important results long before they get to the journal.
    Ramanujan was not vetted by a prominent mathematician because there was some rule. He was an unknown whose work hardly anyone could understand; the best mathematicians in the world had trouble following it – and still do, on some issues. And trouble making sure he was for real. (I am not claiming he is typical; he was an incredible exception. All I wanted for my little parable was an unknown construction worker who was as competent as the professionals, not more.)

    “it is OK for the professional community…” – maybe it would be OK. Who says they do it? No one accepts a result as “correct” because it’s peer-reviewed. Most published results are wrong in many fields; peer-reviewing doesn’t claim to prevent that. It is just a way to bring more eyes onto a paper to catch some issues. In any event, nothing prevents the experts from hearing about a result and using it before it is published; of course they do that. In the example we were discussing, Kaufman and co. presumably saw or heard about errors in their paper discussed at climateaudit – and went and fixed them. Any problem with that?
    Unfortunately, there is a lot of nonsense out there in climate science. For sure, most things written by skeptics are nonsense, and nevertheless cause a lot of trouble for the establishment because credulous people latch onto them. “Peer review” was one way the establishment had to defend itself – none of that stuff counts, it’s not peer-reviewed! Those aren’t “real” climate scientists, pay no attention.
    Then there was climategate, with its revelations on how some of the establishment were fighting to use peer review as a tool to block entry. Whether or not they were right about those particular papers is beside the point. If you have to “fight” to get the reviews the way you want them, the system isn’t working properly.
    I think you’re accepting a story which is mostly political rhetoric. Peer review isn’t traditionally a gatekeeper (see Gulliver’s Travels about the Flappers in Laputa); it’s just a part of quality control for journals. It doesn’t define science, it never did.

  390. John Hartz says:

    miker613:

    What weight do you personally give to the postitions on manmade climate change that have been officially adopted by the U.S. National Academies of Science?

  391. miker613 says:

    ATTP, I think I’ve made clear that I am not a climate scientist. I have the math background, but not the time, to delve deeply into the actual research papers. My role is basically to see what people say in various public venues (i.e., blogs and such) and decide what I think of it. I wish I could do more, but I can’t.
    It’s fine if people present arguments, but I don’t know why “that sounds interesting, but not completely convincing” is not a perfectly acceptable response. (I once heard that jury and judge can’t generally argue with expert testimony. But they have a complete right to fail to be convinced by it.)
    I’ve even explained why, several times: I am not as convinced as many of you seem to be that we have all that much understanding of all the forcings from long ago, or of how much natural variability played a role.

  392. miker613 says:

    @John Hartz. Personally? Very little. I assume that positions taken by scientific organizations are (a) created by a select group without polling the members, and (b) the select group may not be expert in the particular issues at all. Note Judith Curry’s description of her own evolution: initially she held her position on attribution not because she had studied it, but because she trusted those who had. Eventually she began looking at that issues herself and realized that she came to (somewhat) different conclusions. Steve Koonin seems to have a similar story on climate modelling.
    I am more interested in the IPCC because the people working on it are experts in their particular fields. It has its own issues and weird gatekeeping and politics, though.
    I am totally not interested in scientists’ opinions on things way out of their own fields of expertise, like economics and politics. I assume that they pick opinions in these other fields based on their own political preferences, and they lose credibility for me when they do that.

  393. John Hartz says:

    miker613: You state;

    ATTP, I think I’ve made clear that I am not a climate scientist. I have the math background, but not the time, to delve deeply into the actual research papers. My role is basically to see what people say in various public venues (i.e., blogs and such) and decide what I think of it. I wish I could do more, but I can’t.

    You could become more knowledable about the science of climate change if you were to spend more time reading scientific reports and papers and less time reading blogs that appeal to your politidcal biases.

    You would also have more time to learn if you were to spend less time posting comments here and otn other websites.

  394. Michael 2 says:

    Marco says: “in doing so I’d be arguing with someone who is afflicted with DK with regards to the DK and Peter Principle.”

    You make my point — believing DK is an “affliction” and thus a point of insult.

    You are so predictable! Two years ago the common epithet was “low information voter”. Now it is “DK afflicted”. But, it’s 2015; time for a new epithet!

    “So, I’ll just point it out to others: whereas the DK principle is related to how people rate their *own* competence, the Peter Principle is a result of how people rate the competence of *others*.”

    Precisely. So how on Earth can you use the “DK principle” to judge whoever you have in mind? That is not self-judgement on display; it is profoundly bad logic.

  395. Michael 2 says:

    John Hartz, what I glean from Miker’s commentary is that (1) he is not a climate scientist and (2) he doesn’t need to be a climate scientist. He needs to be convinced that you (*) are a climate scientist.

    If you fail to convince him (**), then he will not play in your sandbox.

    * Where “you” is a proxy for any person having or claiming expertise or professional opinion on climate science.

    ** Where “him” is a proxy for all similar persons that have an interest in these proceedings but not part of The Consensus.

  396. Michael 2 says:

    Andrew Dodds says: “That’s the ‘Dilbert Principle’, in which the least competent people are systematically promoted.”

    One of the most dramatic examples for me was a young sailor who hooked up a huge power supply backwards. CMOS circuits are one great big forward-biased diode when hooked up backwards; the entire system went up in smoke; I kid you not, the copper runs on the circuit boards were vaporized. The circuit breakers in that small datacenter welded closed and did not open; it was the 440 volt main breaker that opened.

    He received a Navy Achievement Medal for his “attention to detail” and “working after hours to fix it” — yeah, he came in at 1600 and went to the tavern at 1900 with the civilian contractors that were hired to do the actual fixing.

    There was almost a mutiny when this was announced; people realizing that the path to a NAM was to destroy a million dollars worth of submarine hunting equipment.

    I experience this phenomenon on a smaller scale almost daily and very likely so do you.

  397. BBD says:

    Still refusing to talk about the basics of physical climatology I see, mikerR. You said you didn’t understand this hot MCA/sensitivity business and I am trying to discuss it with you in order that you understand it better and you dodge every time.

    Why?

    I’ve even explained why, several times: I am not as convinced as many of you seem to be that we have all that much understanding of all the forcings from long ago, or of how much natural variability played a role.

    It doesn’t matter how much of a role natural variability played in past climate variability if what we are interested in is what the *amount* of variability tells us about climate sensitivity to radiative perturbation. The Alley quote Willard gave you upthread made this point too.

    Please read this carefully (it was written by a climate scientist):

    It first needs to be emphasized that natural variability and radiatively forced warming are not competing in some no-holds barred scientific smack down as explanations for the behavior of the global mean temperature over the past century. Both certainly played a role in the evolution of the temperature trajectory over the 20th century, and significant issues remain to be resolved about their relative importance. However, the salient point, one that is oftentimes not clear in arguments about variability in the climate system, is that all else being equal, climate variability and climate sensitivity are flip sides of the same coin.

    A climate that is highly sensitive to radiative forcing (i.e., responds very strongly to increasing greenhouse gas forcing) by definition will be unable to quickly dissipate global mean temperature anomalies arising from either purely natural dynamical processes or stochastic radiative forcing, and hence will have significant internal variability. The opposite also holds. It’s painfully easy to paint oneself logically into a corner by arguing that either (i) vigorous natural variability caused 20th century climate change, but the climate is insensitive to radiative forcing by greenhouse gases; or (ii) the climate is very sensitive to greenhouse gases, but we still are able to attribute details of inter-decadal wiggles in the global mean temperature to a specific forcing cause. Of course, both could be wrong if the climate is not behaving as a linear forced (stochastic + GHG) system.

  398. BBD says:

    I am totally not interested in scientists’ opinions on things way out of their own fields of expertise

    Yet you treat McI – who is not even a scientist – as if he knows more that the entire field of paleoclimatology. You are confused to the point of incoherence.

  399. Lotharsson says:

    A certain respected climate scientist said it, that’s all.

    No, much more than that.

    The argument as stated appears to follow from the premises, and the premises are well accepted by the field in question. In that case in order to rebut it, as BBD has implied all along, you either need to show that the conclusion does not follow or that the premises are not well accepted.

    Your evasive routine doesn’t come close to doing either, and isn’t the slightest bit scientifically sceptical (to return to the OP!)

    (Citing “natural variation, maybe?” doesn’t help with Alley’s formulation of the argument, for reasons that do not require a major in physics to grok.)

  400. Lotharsson says:

    Around here DK seems to be hurled as an insult revealing (IMO) a profound lack of understanding of what it means…

    In my case it was neither.

    Lotharsson seemed to be arguing that only climatologists need be involved in the debate so everyone else should shut up.

    If you’re talking about the policy response or political debate as your context says, then that’s not what I was saying.

  401. Marco says:

    M2, DK, as generally meant, is not an insult, but a diagnosis. It refers to someone who rates their ability much higher than is accurate. That it is not a positive diagnosis automatically means that you *could* take it as an insult…or you could consider why someone would draw that conclusion. Then again, the whole problem with someone who suffers from the DK effect is that they are not very likely to do such self-reflection.

    Sometimes it can be quite easy to identify individuals who suffer from the DK effect. The DK afflicted himself is much less likely to notice – that comes with the affliction. In other words, it is pretty easy to use the DK principle to judge others. In fact, it essentially requires others to make that diagnosis.

  402. John Hartz says:

    Michael 2: Out of curiousity, what part of Alaska do you live in?

  403. Michael 2 says:

    John Hartz says: Michael 2: Out of curiousity, what part of Alaska do you live in?

    That would kind of give the show away I think in the unlikely case you haven’t figured me out. I do not currently live in Alaska; but living there has almost certainly shaped many of my beliefs. When most of the men were getting wasted, I’d be out exploring. I loved it; they hated it.

  404. Michael 2 says:

    Marco says: “DK, as generally meant, is not an insult, but a diagnosis.”

    Yes, correct, but you didn’t use it as it is “generally meant”. You wrote “I’d be arguing with someone who is afflicted with DK”

    Unless your definition of “afflicted” differs substantially from that of a dictionary, you intended it to be an insult. However, it pertains as much to the phenomenon of a genius underrating himself as it does to the incompetent person overrating himself.

    So, in fact, you ARE arguing with someone afflicted with DK. You need to up your game a bit.

  405. Michael 2 says:

    KeefeAndAmanda says:

    “The Big Bang has been proven beyond all reasonable doubt”

    Indeed: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_there_be_light

    “Evolution has been proven beyond all reasonable doubt.”

    That too: “Let the earth bring forth…”
    http://bycommonconsent.com/2011/10/16/review-howard-c-stutz-let-the-earth-bring-forth-evolution-and-scripture/

    But he cites [Genesis 1:11; Abraham 4:11] signifying Mormon, so I’m not sure if that counts toward your “conservative” religion. Probably not. Still, his views are remarkably similar to mine.

  406. Willard says:

    > DK, as generally meant, is not an insult, but a diagnosis.

    I disagree. It is an effect a psychologist might see in experimental conditions. It is not a condition, a disorder, or something which is generally the object of a diagnosis.

    As far as I can see, DK is usually used as an ad hominem in online debates. It is used against opponents. Those who use it are not trained psychologists, and if they were, they might be trespassing their professional guidelines by diagnosing in an online debate.

    Also note that “I am merely describing” is a common ClimateBall move.

    The last sentence was only descriptive, it goes without saying.

  407. Michael 2 said, in reply to my comment on January 16, 2015 at 10:10 am, “Still, his views are remarkably similar to mine.”

    If you’re talking about my views, then guess again. You forgot this part of my comment:

    “AGW has been proven beyond all reasonable doubt. Not only is it the best explanation we have, it’s the only reasonable one. Consider: As ATTP has essentially said, there are only two *distinct* ways to heat *the whole* system: First way: Increase the flow of heat into the system. Second way: Decrease the flow of heat out of the system. (Yes, of course, the two can work together.) The first way covers two conditions: The amount of energy falling onto the Earth from the sun and the amount of this energy that is absorbed rather than reflected (this second condition relates to albedo). So far, the reputable peer-reviewed literature *in the ongoing aggregate* has put an upper bound on this first way such that it can explain no more than a small percentage of the upward trend since the late 1800s. Therefore, by the process of elimination, the trend since the late 1800s must be due entirely or almost entirely to the second way, a decrease in the flow of heat out of the system.”

    I said on January 16, 2015 at 10:05 am, “I think it was made clear to you that, regardless of whether a claimed result is obtained by public collaboration or by private work, it is OK for the professional community as well as the general public at large to accept a claimed result as correct only if it is first validated to be correct by sufficiently qualified members of the professional community.”

    Miker613 replied, “People in that particular field of mathematics are not going to be very interested in the peer-review process.”

    This is utterly false. A scientific or mathematical claim should not be accepted as true simply because it is claimed, no matter how reputable the claimer is. It must first be confirmed by others who are sufficiently qualified to do the confirming. I dare say every professional scientist and mathematician knows this.

    In my field of mathematics, this vetting can and should occur before any publishing. No, it is of course not the case that having the result refereed properly guarantees that the result is correct, but if it did not get published yet was submitted to be published as a properly refereed paper, then either a flaw was found or the result was judged not interesting enough to publish in that journal.

    A couple of good cases in point:

    Shinichi Mochizuki, a respected professional mathematician, claimed that he proved the abc conjecture. Everyone is waiting until his claim is confirmed by sufficiently well-qualified people. See
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinichi_Mochizuki
    and
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abc_conjecture
    for more on this.
    Quote: “Several solutions have been proposed to the abc conjecture, the most recent of which is still being evaluated by the mathematical community, though it still remains open as of January 2015.”

    When Andrews Wiles claimed that he proved Fermat’s Last Theorem, final judgment as to whether he really did this had to wait until the proof was verified, which it was, but only after the initial verification process found a flaw in his proof that he had to fix. The flaw was such that Wiles later said that he began to despair that he couldn’t fix it, and turned to a former student for help. See
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiles%27_proof_of_Fermat%27s_Last_Theorem
    for more.
    Quote: “Wiles’ proof was initially presented in 1993. It was finally accepted as correct, and published, in 1995, because of an error in one piece of his initial paper……
    After the announcement, Katz was appointed as one of the referees to review Wiles’ manuscript…………. Wiles and his former student Richard Taylor spent almost a year resolving this issue.[23][24] …….
    The two papers were vetted and finally published as the entirety of the May 1995 issue of the Annals of Mathematics. The new proof was widely analysed, and became accepted as likely correct in its major components.[27][28] These papers established the modularity theorem for semistable elliptic curves, the last step in proving Fermat’s Last Theorem, 358 years after it was conjectured.”

    I am not equating the process of becoming published in reputable peer-reviewed or refereed professional journals with the process of checking results by sufficiently well-qualified referees, although the latter can be a subset of the former.

    To deny what everyone should know, that a scientific or mathematical claim should not be accepted as true simply because it is claimed, no matter how reputable the claimer is, to deny that it must first go through a process of being checked by sufficiently qualified professionals, says it all. This denial is at the heart of mathematics or science denial.

    “Ramanujan was not vetted by a prominent mathematician because there was some rule. He was an unknown whose work hardly anyone could understand…”

    This is false.

    First, the so-called rule in question above is universal in mathematics and science academia – as I said, its denial is at the heart of mathematics or science denial.

    Second, the sufficiently qualified mathematicians in the field of number theory of that time like Hardy were able to follow what his claims were saying, which were initially given without proof, but for some of his claims, they did need to see his proofs of his claims, since sometimes they could not themselves generate proofs of his claims (this is what Hardy meant by his use of the term “defeat”). (Other times they recognized that he independently obtained results that were already obtained by other mathematicians.)

    Ramanujan sometimes times unfortunately could not prove his own claims – with respect to his formulas, he sometimes did not do what is typically expected of mathematicians, which is to prove claims. See
    http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/biography/Ramanujan.html
    for more.
    Quote: “Because of his lack of formal training, Ramanujan sometimes did not differentiate between formal proof and apparent truth based on intuitive or numerical evidence. Although his intuition and computational ability allowed him to determine and state highly original and unconventional results which continued to defy formal proof until recently (Berndt 1985-1997), Ramanujan did occasionally state incorrect results.”

    These statements that he could not prove on his own have been treated as conjectures, and, as this quote above shows, some of them have been proved.

    ” Who says they do it?”

    Everyone who accepts the truth of the matter. Again: It is a given in academia that a scientific or mathematical claim should not be accepted as true simply because it is claimed, no matter how reputable the claimer is, that is, it must first go through a process of being vetted by sufficiently qualified people.

    And that last part further above on Wiles’ proof is very important: It shows that the vetting process does not necessarily end with getting published. And all of those citations above show the falsity of your suggestion that results by professionals do not need to be vetted by other professionals sufficiently qualified to do the vetting before they should be accepted as true.

    “In any event, nothing prevents the experts from hearing about a result and using it before it is published; of course they do that.”

    If they use it before publication, then they typically wait at least until there is some sort of confirmation by sufficiently qualified professionals that happens before publication. If they use the result before it is properly checked out in this way, then they take a risk, and they know it – which is why they typically don’t use it before at least some confirmation by sufficiently qualified professionals.

    You might be getting confused about certain things we do in mathematics. An example would be proving what a certain conjecture implies, so that if the conjecture is ever proved, we already have proofs of what it implies. But again, these proofs of what a conjecture implies must first be vetted by sufficiently well qualified people before anyone should accept these proofs.

    “I think you’re accepting a story which is mostly political rhetoric. Peer review isn’t traditionally a gatekeeper (see Gulliver’s Travels about the Flappers in Laputa); it’s just a part of quality control for journals. It doesn’t define science, it never did.”

    You are wrong. The canon of what we can call nontrivial knowledge in a particular area of mathematics or science is to be found in the ongoing aggregate of the reputable peer-reviewed or refereed journals and the textbooks. This literature in its ongoing aggregate and respect for it is the only thing in the end that keeps the cranks from taking over. Denial of this literature in its ongoing aggregate or denial of its importance is at the heart of mathematics or science denial.

  408. Peer review both is and is not an essential component of science.

    It is totally essential in its unformalized form. New hypotheses and conclusions become part of scientific knowledge only by critical appraisal of other scientists.

    The pre-publication peer review as a part of the publication process is a method that formed trough a long development process to help the more essential peer review that takes place after the paper has been published in some way that brings it to the attention of other scientists. Traditionally the peer reviewed scientific journals have been the almost exclusive way of publishing science, but for long there have been also less formal channels like preprints that have had a large role in many fields. Internet has already led to major changes, and this development is likely to continue changing possibly the whole approach to publishing science.

  409. Lotharsson says:

    Unless your definition of “afflicted” differs substantially from that of a dictionary, you intended it to be an insult.

    That does not compute. Afflicted means “suffering from” or “troubled by”, etc. That does not make the observation that someone is afflicted by something, not even DK, an insult.

    However, it pertains as much to the phenomenon of a genius underrating himself as it does to the incompetent person overrating himself.

    Not in the context it was used. Furthermore (unless your dictionary is quite different to mine), NOT if it was said to be an affliction. (Unless, of course, you are greatly troubled by your tendency – apparently undermined by your own comment 😉 – to underrate your own high competence.)

  410. Lotharsson says:

    Those who use it are not trained psychologists, and if they were, they might be trespassing their professional guidelines by diagnosing in an online debate.

    That doesn’t seem to follow if we accept the earlier part of your comment – that it is not something which is generally subject to diagnosis – unless you were you referring to a psychologist who offered it as a psychological diagnosis of some kind?

  411. Lotharsson says:

    …to help the more essential peer review that takes place after the paper has been published…

    If only more blog discussions about peer review take into account this more essential phase!

  412. Okay, I’d really rather not discuss whether or not someone is afflicted with something, even if people don’t think it is, strictly speaking, some kind of psychological diagnosis.

  413. Willard says:

    I was referring to online diagnosis in general, Lotharsson. I meant it as an “even if” case: even if we accept that we could diagnoze DK (we could, I guess, develop it within a proper theorical apparatus and testing), etc. I could have spoken of offering professional observations in general.

    The DK line is mostly used to dismiss an opponent’s argument as the one of an ignorant fool using geek parlance. It actually begs the question at hand, besides one’s own authority to offer that explanation.

    There’s little need to theorize about others’ beliefs, good faith or other intentional states, be it as an argument or an insult. It can only legitimately be used to reach a common understanding.

    If what you say can be read in a villainous monologue, chances are it’s not that cool.

  414. The DK line is mostly used to dismiss an opponent’s argument as the one of an ignorant fool using geek parlance. It actually begs the question at hand, besides one’s own authority to offer that explanation.

    In general I see almost every comment, where someone uses this kind of arguments in dismissing the opponent as use of logical fallacy.

    Everyone of us should remember the results of D&K when we consider our own contributions, not when we discuss what the other party has said.

  415. Joshua says:

    ==> “Everyone of us should remember the results of D&K when we consider our own contributions, not when we discuss what the other party has said.”

    Words to live by, Pekka.

  416. Joshua,
    What aTTP added in the slogan applies here: Trying – and sometimes failing .

  417. Lotharsson says:

    The DK line is mostly used to dismiss an opponent’s argument as the one of an ignorant fool using geek parlance.

    I have no doubt that happens, perhaps even “mostly”. But I also see it being applied (such as here) to what appears to be fairly obvious incompetence, typically after an argument has been rebutted and the other party has repeatedly demonstrated their incompetence to assess the argument vs the rebuttal or to robustly support their position. Repeated explanations of why one’s argument does not stack up is not “dismissal”, not even if “DK” is subsequently uttered.

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but the reason I use it is to try and indicate to the other party that they appear to be lacking the tools/skills/knowledge to make or assess the claims they do, and if they want to be more convincing (at least to me, but perhaps also to many others) they might want to work on that.

    So do we simply revert to earlier parlance such as “appear to be demonstrably incompetent”? Or do we decide we prefer to stay in the preceding loop of bad arguments rebutted and reiterated, rebutted and reiterated…? (There will be different strokes for different blogs, no doubt.)

  418. Willard says:

    > I can’t speak for anyone else, but the reason I use it is to try and indicate to the other party that they appear to be lacking the tools/skills/knowledge to make or assess the claims they do, and if they want to be more convincing (at least to me, but perhaps also to many others) they might want to work on that.

    Sure, like here, I presume:

    I take expertise wherever I see it.

    In that case you might want to take in the expertise of Messrs Dunning and Kruger…

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/climate-skepticism/#comment-43530

    I think that the dots indicate that “trying to indicate” might not be as neutral as “trying to indicate” may convey at first sight.

    Telling a commenter we surmise is suffering from DK about his predicament does not seem to take into account what we surmise in the first place.

    ***

    Your presence on Deltoid and your remark on bear hunting may indicate that you’re here for more than indicating to the other party what they may need to work to become more effective, Lotharsson.

  419. Lotharsson,

    What is your level of expertize in diagnosing D&K behavior based on comments on the net?

    There’s a difference between writing to someone saying that you have written many stupid messages and saying that you are stupid. Using D&K in place of stupid changes little.

  420. BBD says:

    In which our priorities are confused.

  421. Lotharsson says:

    Sure, like here, I presume:

    Yes. The inappropriate trust in one’s own competence referred to by that quote has been pointed out multiple times by different people on this thread (and others).

    Telling a commenter we surmise is suffering from DK about his predicament does not seem to take into account what we surmise in the first place.

    Speaking for myself, of course it does! (And I don’t mean trivially because the surmise is a prerequisite.)

    It takes it into account by suggesting to the commenter that not only that their claims or thinking faulty as (typically) explained several times before, but there appears to be a remediable reason that explains where some of the faultiness comes from that they might want to look into. It further takes it into account because by definition it’s exceedingly hard to become aware of one’s DK behaviour of one’s own accord hence external feedback is almost necessary in order to trigger awareness.

    What it does not do, ironically due to taking the surmise into account, is carry anything more than a rather low expectation of triggering that awareness. (But we live in hope…)

  422. Lotharsson says:

    What is your level of expertize in diagnosing D&K behavior based on comments on the net?

    It depends on the subject matter in question and/or in the way in which logic and evidence is used or abused. In some areas I have very little clue, in others I think I do much better.

    And yes, I realise I may be exhibiting DK on this point (and other points here) and resisting you guys trying to get me to become aware of it. If that’s the case I hope you persist a bit longer and succeed.

    There’s a difference between writing to someone saying that you have written many stupid messages and saying that you are stupid.

    Agreed. But strictly speaking there’s at least as strong a difference between saying “you appear to be suffering from DK in this area of expertise” and “you are stupid”. It would be unfortunate if the distinction has become lost to most people, as the distinction matters.

    There’s also a significant difference between saying “you’ve been saying stupid things” and “you’ve been saying stupid things AND it looks like this is one way that often leads you to reach flawed conclusions that you might want to look into”.

  423. Joseph says:

    I don’t thinking overestimating your own expertise and knowledge of a subject is being stupid. It’s natural to do so and we probably all do it to some extent. And due to the motivated reasoning that occurs around climate change, no matter how many times you repeat the important points, the skeptic suffering from DK, will likely persist in his own beliefs because he doesn’t understand your arguments due to his true lack of expertise. Perhaps, the best way to end a discussion with these people is to summarize your arguments to that point, summarize all the mistakes that the other party continues to make and demand that they address your points or the conversation will be over. Because I can see how it can be frustrating to have to argue endlessly with someone whose arguments don’t make sense and

  424. Willard says:

    > (But we live in hope…)

    The indicative dots, again. This hope may hit diminishing returns:

    In words:

    [S]cience literacy in general & climate science literacy specifically both increase polarization; they don’t have any meaningful general effect in inducing “less belief” in general — their effect is big, but depends on “what sort of person” one is.

    http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/2014/9/19/the-more-you-know-the-more-you-climate-change-vs-gm-foods.html

    Some may even argue that telling someone “you’re DK” may turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    The most beautiful aspect is that people seldom tell their opponents they are DK. They usually mock them by speaking of them to their kinship. Mash does that all the time.

  425. Steve Bloom says:

    There’s a distinction to be made between someone suffering from D-K and someone just throwing up arguments with concern mainly about their effectiveness in the discussion at hand rather than their correctness. The latter probably necessarily involves some element of D-K, but it’s not the main thing going on.

    I’ve pointed out before (and yes, yes, yes, promised a post on) Sterman’s work showing a widespread inability to grasp stocks and flows, demonstrated to be prevalent even among MIT grad students. Such a failure to understand physical reality at the root level must lead to all sorts of errors, certainly including ones of self-assessment, but D-K, while IMO indisputably real, begs the question of how the understandings to be self-assessed came about to begin with.

    Something I’ve wondered is that while people without an intuitive grasps of stocks and flows can be trained to work relevant problems (noting that Sterman had to exclude grad students from the relevant academic specialties), to what extent does the lack of intuition continue to manifest? This may explain the not-infrequent (on the internet anyway) climate change deniers with engineering training, and even a few with physics training.

    An avocation of mine is playing go (I’m a low-expert player) and for the last few years I’ve been hosting a playing meetup that involves teaching lots of people how to play. IMNSHO you can’t pick the game up quickly or become very good at it without having a reasonable intuition about stocks and flows. Even among people who have passed the first barrier of being interested in learning an abstract strategy game to begin with, it’s interesting to see how very many people just can’t pick it up notwithstanding that it has very few rules. What do we call that sort of deficiency?

    TBC, go isn’t a stocks and flows situation as such, but does involve a somewhat analogous need to keep track of multiple interacting variables. I would go so far as to argue that the former is a type of the latter, although I’m not aware of any social science work on that point.

    Thanks for that thorough exposition, K+A.

  426. Steve Bloom says:

    Willard, never forget:

    I’m DK, you’re DK…

  427. Steve Bloom says:

    DK awareness, pre-DK:

    “The Master picked up a brick and began grinding it with a stone. The student asked what he was doing, and the Master replied, ‘I am trying to polish this brick into a mirror.’ – ‘But no amount of polishing will ever make a mirror out of a brick.’ – ‘and no amount of sitting cross-legged will ever make a Buddha out of you.'”

  428. Joseph says:

    with concern mainly about their effectiveness in the discussion rather than their correctness

    Right, you see that a lot in political discussions

  429. Joshua says:

    Lotharsson –

    Have you ever measured the outcomes of telling someone of your DK diagnosis – outcomes either with them, or other observers, or with yourself?

    Have you determined that there is some net benefit?

    From my vantage point, it looks like nothing other than identity-defensive/identity-aggressive behavior.

    In other words, it’s sameolsameol.

  430. Joseph says:

    But I think when a person who is not an expert, has no formal training and no real grasp of the relevant literature argues endlessly with an expert on multiple technical points he just might be suffering from DK. I don’t guess you need to tell them though, right.

  431. BBD says:

    Have you ever measured the outcomes of telling someone of your DK diagnosis

    Speaking as someone who has devoted some time and energy into trying to sort out MikeR’s mess on this thread and elsewhere, there is no noticeable difference in outcome vs. Lotharsson’s D-K.

    If the argument is that D-Kaying someone is suboptimal and an alternative approach might work, well, I doubt it. And I have evidence on my side, at least in this specific case.

  432. Willard says:

    > If the argument is that D-Kaying someone is suboptimal and an alternative approach might work, well, I doubt it.

    Might work for what, BBD?

    I doubt the point is to convince the opponent that he’s wrong because he’s an ignoramus who even ignores that he’s an ignoramus.

    In the end, what remains is this:

    While Shub is incorrect about the accusation of fatwa, it’s easy for him to play the victim, even if he’s supposed to be a powerful being of darkness. Not that this prevents him from more than requiting:

    In the ClimateBall court, everything you do or say will be held or done to you or your kin.

  433. BBD says:

    One ignores malignant garbage from Shub for a reason, Willard.

  434. Willard says:

    Yes, BBD. You’re not ready to meet powerful beings of darkness.

  435. BBD says:

    Sorry, I meant to add:

    Might work for what, BBD?

    Anything, really. Any kind of acknowledgement by the other party that they might – just might – be mistaken. I don’t D-Kay people, as regulars here will know. I do get pissed off when commenters peddle while being serially evasive and refusing to answer direct questions intended to resolve their misunderstandings. Which in my corner of reality is not at all unreasonable. I can see that this allowed another player to make a move, but sometimes the moves are so feeble that there’s no need to bother taking any notice of them.

  436. BBD says:

    Yes, BBD. You’re not ready to meet powerful beings of darkness.

    True enough, but this is Shub we are talking about 😉

  437. Joshua says:

    BBD –

    ==> “If the argument is that D-Kaying someone is suboptimal and an alternative approach might work, well, I doubt it.”

    I’m not recommending a particular alternative approach – just questioning the likelihood that D-Kaying might be productive.

    Relating back to Pekka’s comment above….I think that D-K is a useful concept…sometimes maybe for understanding the behavior of others but probably more likely to understand my own behavior.

    But I think that considering it some kind of communication strategy is a pretty basic misconception.

  438. BBD says:

    Joshua

    I’m not recommending a particular alternative approach – just questioning the likelihood that D-Kaying might be productive.

    Yes, I got that. And I responded that nothing is productive with a certain type of interlocutor. This is *not* a defence of D-Kaying, which you will know that I avoid.

  439. Eli Rabett says:

    Oh hell, it’s the walrus, just like a vampire but awesone

  440. Eli Rabett says:

    Also, there is no such thing as the Medieval Warm period, although there was a European Warm Period,

  441. miker613 says:

    “A scientific or mathematical claim should not be accepted as true simply because it is claimed, no matter how reputable the claimer is.” “To deny what everyone should know, that a scientific or mathematical claim should not be accepted as true simply because it is claimed, no matter how reputable the claimer is, to deny that it must first go through a process of being checked by sufficiently qualified professionals, says it all.”
    KeefeAndAmanda, you said this twice, as if you were quoting me. I never suggested such a thing. I was saying the exact opposite: mathematicians do not and never did trust a result because a few peer reviewers think it’s good. If they are going to use a theorem in their own work, they will make whatever effort necessary to check it out themselves.
    When I was in school, someone who knew them told me that Feynman and Gell-Mann (who were there) hardly read research journals. They’d look them over, to see what looked interesting. If they saw something they liked, they’d sit down and work it out themselves. Most of us couldn’t do that, but _of course_ anything we used in our own work had to be understood fully. [Obviously, if it wasn’t our field, it would be different; maybe that’s what you’re talking about. But there it doesn’t have too much meaning that something is “accepted as true”.]

  442. miker613 says:

    “Yet you treat McI – who is not even a scientist – as if he knows more that the entire field of paleoclimatology.” Absurd. That makes as much sense as saying Einstein was not a scientist because he worked in a patent office. Or Ramanujan was not a mathematician. If McIntyre has been spending much of his time for the last decade studying paleoclimatology, then he is a paleoclimatologist. There is no other definition of scientist that makes any sense, except to people who are more interested in titles than substance. McIntyre has made significant contributions to the field – I’m not going to rehash the details. That is all that should count.
    If someone says that I’m claiming that McIntyre is Einstein – well, it would be better to try to understand the point instead.

  443. miker613 says:

    “A climate that is highly sensitive to radiative forcing (i.e., responds very strongly to increasing greenhouse gas forcing) by definition will be unable to quickly dissipate global mean temperature anomalies arising from either purely natural dynamical processes or stochastic radiative forcing, and hence will have significant internal variability. The opposite also holds.”
    BBD, this may be written by a real climate scientist, but it in no way answers my concern. If (for example) there is a significant heat sink in the deep ocean, and in the last decade a whole lot of heat has disappeared into it, and we have no way of predicting when or how that happens or didn’t happen – well, that is a source of internal variability that has nothing to do with what we usually call climate sensitivity. A thousand years ago, a massive amount of heat could have appeared in the part of the system that we could see, the surface. You would insist that it is proof of climate sensitivity and really it’s just because you are spending all your time looking at the surface, a very tiny fraction of the heat capacity of the whole system.

  444. miker613 says:

    @Michael2 ‘He needs to be convinced that you (*) are a climate scientist.’ Close but not exactly, Michael2. There are a lot of climate scientists. I need to be convinced that you speak for climate science – that is, that other climate scientists don’t disagree on this issue. Is this a point of “97%” agreement, or just a side of an open question that you prefer? Can I take your word for it?
    I have to say that I don’t get an impression from many of the commentators that I can accept them as impartial representatives of science. They seem too angry or too mocking. They are too unwilling to even consider the other side of things. They are too unaware of details of issues when I do know them, except for the details that they like. When I see someone as a partisan, I’m not likely to take their word for things.

  445. pbjamm says:

    miker613 : “I have to say that I don’t get an impression from many of the commentators that I can accept them as impartial representatives of science. They seem too angry or too mocking. They are too unwilling to even consider the other side of things.”

    Rehashing the same argument over and over has the effect on people. It is not that the are unwilling to consider the other side of the argument it is that they (usually) have considered it and rejected it years ago. Someone bringing up such a tired argument indicates that they have not done proper research into the subject.

    my 2 bits

  446. Willard says:

    > mathematicians do not and never did trust a result because a few peer reviewers think it’s good.

    Have you asked Ben about that one, miker?

    The fields of mathematics may be a bit vaster than you seem to presume.

  447. On January 17, 2015 at 10:41 am I wrote the following:

    “A scientific or mathematical claim should not be accepted as true simply because it is claimed, no matter how reputable the claimer is.” “To deny what everyone should know, that a scientific or mathematical claim should not be accepted as true simply because it is claimed, no matter how reputable the claimer is, to deny that it must first go through a process of being checked by sufficiently qualified professionals, says it all.”

    Miker613 replied,

    “KeefeAndAmanda, you said this twice, as if you were quoting me. I never suggested such a thing.”

    Actually, you did suggest such a thing.

    The context is about when it is appropriate for the relevant professional community as well as the general public to accept the truth of a mathematical or scientific claim, which by the larger context of this discussion is a claim that someone has something to add to the canon of nontrivial mathematical or scientific knowledge. Note: If this type of claim has not been vetted by *sufficiently qualified professionals*, then this claim is still merely a claim. The condition of amateurs vetting this type of claim at some blog does not count – the said claim remains not vetted by sufficiently qualified professionals and so it remains merely a claim.

    You many times argued in ways that denied my point that it is appropriate to accept such a claim as true only if it first goes “through a process of being checked by sufficiently qualified professionals”. And, in case you missed it, I repeat another point: It is not the case that the said claim is so vetted only if it is first submitted to a refereed journal for publication. However, although this vetting can occur prior to submission to a refereed journal, it is almost always the case that this vetting at some point involves the work of referees for a reputable peer-reviewed or refereed journal after submission prior to publication. (There is more on this last point further below.) To be specific, you said:

    ” You would rather that it go through peer review and you’ll see it two years from now? I don’t get it. Anyone who wants can show up at climateaudit and peer review it there. It’s better and faster.”

    This use of “rather” and “show up at climateaudit and peer review it there” and especially this use of “better” says it all. In terms of when it would be appropriate for we – and this includes professionals and the general public – to start to take the said claim as true, you suggest that amateurs at blogs vetting this type of claim can take the place of sufficiently qualified professionals vetting it. Again: You make the astonishing claim that having a bunch of amateurs at some blog vetting mathematical or scientific claims is *better* than having sufficiently qualified professionals doing the vetting for reputable peer-reviewed or refereed journals. That *most certainly* says it all. This in essence is a flat out denial of the importance of the reputable peer-reviewed or refereed journals and other reputable publications such as reputable monographs and textbooks in terms of when it becomes appropriate to accept these claims as true, where this denial is at the heart of all mathematics and science denial.

    And on top of that, later you said:

    “If there had been some construction worker in India named Ramanujan who happens to like math and is good at it, has spent years studying that particular field in his spare time, and made a suggestion on the polymath forum that turned out to be valuable – I expect you agree that it would be absurd and offensive if someone were to say, “We don’t have to pay attention to what a construction worker says.”

    If the construction worker were to ask that sufficiently qualified professionals vet the work, then it would be appropriate for some professionals to examine the work. If the construction worker can find such a professional who says the work is correct and worth pursuing, then that is that. If these professionals all say that the work is incorrect or too trivial to bother with, then that should be that. If the construction worker continues to persist, then at some point it would be correct to say that we have a crank.

    To continue an earlier point: Too see an example of sufficiently qualified professionals checking a claim prior to submission to a refereed journal as well as the rarity of such a vetted claim never so submitted, see these introductions
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grigori_Perelman#Verification
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poincar%C3%A9_conjecture#Hamilton.27s_program_and_Perelman.27s_solution
    on Perelman proof of the Poincare conjecture. He never published this proof in such a journal, and no, posting at the arXiv
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ArXiv
    does not count as publishing in such a journal. Note that it took years to fully and properly verify his proof.

    “I was saying the exact opposite: mathematicians do not and never did trust a result because a few peer reviewers think it’s good. If they are going to use a theorem in their own work, they will make whatever effort necessary to check it out themselves.”

    They will if they can. But, on a randomly given theorem, they almost always cannot because of the sheer volume of theorems (see below for more). Now, in their own specialties, this can be different, but even then, the volume of theorems is just too great – they a number of times find themselves having to trust the vetting of reputable colleagues. As Willard said, you seem to have a serious lack of knowledge as to how wide and deep the field of mathematics is. Stanislaw Ulam’s book “Adventures of a Mathematician” was first published in 1976. This
    http://www.ams.org/journals/bull/1978-84-01/S0002-9904-1978-14424-3/S0002-9904-1978-14424-3.pdf
    is a review of the book. Ulam said,
    “…..I suddenly started estimating silently in my mind how many theorems are published yearly in mathematical journals. I made a quick mental calculation and came to a number like one hundred thousand theorems a year…….they undertook a more systematic and detailed search…….., their estimate came to nearly two hundred thousand theorems a year.”

    Note that there is a big problem with this figure of 200,000 theorems published in the peer-reviewed literature per year. Ulam made that remark before he first published it way back in 1976, way before the modern age of the Internet and online peer-reviewed publishing, which allows the total number of papers that can be so published each year to be significantly larger than paper-only publishing. Therefore, the true modern figure for how many new theorems are so published each year could be very much larger than 200,000.

    Note that in mathematics, “checking it out themselves” means learning not just theorems but proofs of theorems. And note that a proof of a theorem is typically longer and even much longer than simply a statement of the theorem, and it is not unusual for a proof to be many and even very many pages long. Also, consider that the number of subcategories has grown – there are now many thousands. See
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathematics_Subject_Classification
    and
    http://www.ams.org/msc/pdfs/classifications2010.pdf
    for more.

    Case in point: Let’s go back to Wiles’ proof. Only a relative handful of people in the world were sufficiently qualified to act as referees on Wiles’ proof, to do, as you say, “check it out themselves”. Even in one’s own specialty it can be hard. I’ll never forget a well-trained PhD, a professor of mathematics, confiding in me that he could not understand almost everything presented at a certain conference even though it was in his area of specialty.

    Given all this regarding just how hard mathematics is and just how voluminous it is, the best mathematician in the world could not learn even just 1% of all the published mathematics including all the proofs published just up to this point, never mind trying to do all that and then trying to catch up. The most she could ever learn in a lifetime would be very, very, very much closer to 0% than even just this 1%.

    And so we have a very real problem with “they will make whatever effort necessary to check it out themselves” – the above shows that it’s almost always a fantasy to think this.

    “If McIntyre has been spending much of his time for the last decade studying paleoclimatology, then he is a paleoclimatologist.”

    This is false. By your “standard”, we would have to accept the claim that a person is an expert in field x because said person “has been spending much of his time for the last decade studying in field x.”

    Here come the cranks.

    There has always been an army of cranks out there. Many of them have spent much of their time for many years studying in the field in which they are cranks. And now, with the Internet and via blogs, this army is growing fast.

    The above taken together gives a glimpse into why professional mathematicians and scientists (and why the general public should) take the evaluation of mathematical and scientific claims by sufficiently qualified professionals to be a prerequisite for accepting these claims as true, and, since refereed journals are almost always the way to implement this process, why they put so much importance on these journals. To modify what I said before: The canon of what we can call nontrivial knowledge in a particular area of mathematics or science is to be found in the ongoing aggregate of the reputable peer-reviewed or refereed journals and other reputable publications such as reputable monographs and textbooks. (This covers even such as Perelman’s proof, which has found its way into some of this literature. See
    http://www.claymath.org/publications/monographs/ricci-flow-and-poincar%C3%A9-conjecture
    for more.
    Quote:”Dr. Kleiner of Yale and John Lott of theUniversity of Michigan have assembled a monograph annotating and explicating Dr. Perelman’s proof of the two conjectures…………Dr. Morgan of Columbia and Gang Tian of Princeton have followed Dr. Perelman’s prescription to produce a more detailed 473-page step-by-step proof only of Poincare’s Conjecture. “Perelman did all the work,” Dr. Morgan said. “This is just explaining it.””) This literature in its ongoing aggregate and *respect for its importance* is the only thing in the end that keeps the cranks from taking over. This respect for this importance includes the above precept. Denial of this literature in its ongoing aggregate and *denial of its importance* are each at the heart of mathematics or science denial.

  448. BBD says:

    miker

    If McIntyre has been spending much of his time for the last decade studying paleoclimatology, then he is a paleoclimatologist. There is no other definition of scientist that makes any sense, except to people who are more interested in titles than substance. McIntyre has made significant contributions to the field – I’m not going to rehash the details.

    Rubbish. You become a paleoclimatologist by professional study in the field which produces a body of published work in reviewed journals.

    As for McI’s supposed ‘significant contributions to the field’ more rubbish. They are non-existent which is why you cannot list them. He has published almost nothing, and what he did produce was woefully flawed.

    Your championing this unremarkable dilettante demonstrates your bias and your ignorance.

  449. BBD says:

    miker

    You have utterly failed to understand the words. Let’s try again:

    A climate that is highly sensitive to radiative forcing (i.e., responds very strongly to increasing greenhouse gas forcing) by definition will be unable to quickly dissipate global mean temperature anomalies arising from either purely natural dynamical processes or stochastic radiative forcing, and hence will have significant internal variability. The opposite also holds.

    So for this (imaginary) belch of heat from the oceans to drive the (imaginary) global and synchronous hot ‘MWP’ then the climate must be unable to quickly radiate the excess energy into space. Or nothing much would have happened to average global surface temperatures. Now, increasing the amount of GHGs in the atmosphere still further reduces the climate system’s ability to radiate energy to space. So a ‘hot MWP’ = sensitive climate system = big CO2 problem in modern times.

    Try actually understanding instead of reflexive denial.

  450. miker613 says:

    Interesting post about alkenone series
    http://climateaudit.org/2015/01/21/important-new-north-american-east-coast-proxy-data/

    @KeefeAndAmanda – I repeat, I never said what you claim I said, and I don’t believe it, and your examples of my words don’t support the claim. As I said, I was saying just the opposite: we need _more and better vetting_, not less. No one should believe anything is true just because a couple of peer reviewers checked off on it. And – as you more-or-less agreed – no one can, on things that they need to use in their own work. And if mathematics has indeed reached the stage where it’s so big that nothing else is possible, then mathematics has reached the stage where wrong results can hang around indefinitely. [You’ve twice brought Wiles’ proof, but that is a really unusual example, where the proof is too big and complicated, so we do the best we can. It’s not the norm.]

    Of course unknown people posting on the internet can be ignorant cranks, usually are. Professional mathematicians can be ignorant cranks as well, I knew a few back in the day. The real experts can generally tell the difference. But dismissing someone as a crank because he posts on a blog instead of in a journal is silly.
    It’s especially silly if – in climate science unlike in mathematics – he is in the middle of a political war where his opponents are moving heaven and earth to block his access to peer review, and he by his own account began his blog because it was the only place he could get past them.
    Sorry, but this is the truth about the field. If you want to know the latest news on alkenone series, read the post above. You won’t see it anywhere else. His opponents will only note the post if they think they can say something to attack it.

  451. BBD says:

    miker

    You cannot compare individual cores (or x3 closely spaced cores) with wide-area / global reconstructions and then insinuate that the wide area / global reconstruction is flawed because it doesn’t agree with SSTs in a specific location. What makes McI’s post especially problematic is that the cores used are located at the confluence of two ocean currents, one warm, the other cold. Slight spatial reorganisations in the flow will cause major local changes in SST. McI mentions this in passing but the main thrust of the post insinuates that there is something wrong with the Marcott global reconstruction. This is in my view intentionally (and considerably) misleading.

  452. miker613 says:

    So why tell me? Tell him! Peer review him! Let’s see what happens. Maybe you’re right. Or maybe he’ll show you why you’re wrong.
    If you really want to make a difference in convincing skeptics, that’s the place to do it. Even Mark Steyn reads the comments there. If you can refute him there, Mark Steyn will see it, and so will a lot of others. Robert Way did a very good job there defending his work. If you don’t, we’ll probably see a post soon from steynonline talking about the flawed-ulent Marcott reconstruction.

  453. BBD says:

    There’s more clear evidence of McI’s misrepresentation in his post.

    McI’s original attack on Marcott et al. (2013) was based on several false claims, prominent among which was the entirely spurious criticism that the blade in the M13 reconstruction was spurious, erroneous or even evidence of deliberate misrepresentation.

    He continues to make this claim in his post, heavy-handedly implying fraud:

    Obviously the Sicre 2014 results provide further evidence against Marcott’s supposed early-20th century blade. At the time, I pointed out that the Marcott blade does not exist in the data and is entirely an artifact of incorrect data handling. To borrow a term from Mark Steyn, the Marcott blade was f……..flawed. It is reprehensible that Marcott and coauthors have failed to issue a corrigendum. And that specialists in the field, knowing of the error, have permitted the result to be reproduced and disseminated. While the blade in the original article may have been merely f….lawed, one could perhaps describe its promulgation as a more virulent form of the flaw. Or perhaps, to coin a word, flawed-ulent.

    This is, to coin a phrase, is fucking disgraceful.

    If you read M13, you will find the following very clear statement:

    Thus, the 20th century portion of our paleotemperature stack is not statistically robust, cannot be considered representative of global temperature changes, and therefore is not the basis of any of our conclusions.

    Emphasis added.

    McI’s claim was false to start with and he had this explained to him by numerous people at the time. For him to repeat his claim of scientific misconduct by Marcott and co-workers now is inexcusable.

    My fear is that you simply do not realise how McI is manipulating and tricking you. I hope you begin to see.

  454. BBD says:

    So why tell me?

    Because you might change your mind. McI and Steyn are beyond reach.

  455. JCH says:

    Mike613 – the motion that climate science has indicated there is a lump of heat squirreled away deep in the ocean that is going to come back to haunt us is simply not true.

    People like to sell that crap to tear down Kevin Trenberth. It’s not true.

    What Trenberth speculated was the 2010 El Nino, which led to a record warmest year, may have included some of the missing heat. He was specifically referring to the layers of the ocean which interact during ENSO events: the sloshing of warm water that had piled up during the previous La Nina back across the equator to reheat the colder Eastern Pacific surface.

    Somebody asked Gavin Schmidt what Kevin Trenberth meant by the heat will come back to haunt us, and Gavin said he didn’t know what Trenberth meant and suggested the questioner ask Trenberth. I don’t know if he ever did, but I did, and I got an answer. I regret I wasted his time because when I reread his paper more carefully it was right there the whole time.

  456. miker613 says:

    You are invited to present your points there if you think they are good. I followed the issue at the time and got exactly the opposite impression – that the quote you are mentioning was added later, a response to getting caught, and an attempt to back down from a serious public relations error they had made. http://climateaudit.org/2013/03/31/the-marcott-filibuster/ is one of a number of posts from the time, but you can see the earlier ones there from before there was any admission.
    “there’s also room for more questions — one being how the authors square the caveats they express here with some of the more definitive statements they made about their findings in news accounts.” Andy Revkin. Of course, one of their “definitive statements” had been to him; maybe he didn’t like that.
    Following the issue then I got my usual clear impression: everyone knew that McIntyre was right, the other guys were going to make statements to cover themselves but not address his points directly, that the fans over there would never really know what McIntyre’s points actually were because they didn’t read them themselves and no one was going to tell them, and that after a while the other guys would begin bringing this as another proof of McIntyre’s duplicity. Sorry, but I think you are the one being manipulated and tricked.
    And once again, if you really think you’re right, you can try to prove it directly over there. It costs nothing and that site has basically no moderation if you stay on topic.

  457. BBD says:

    All that is necessary for rapid warming to resume is for the rate of ocean heat uptake to reduce, very slightly. Just as a very slight increase in the rate of OHU appears to be a major cause of the recent slowdown in the rate of surface warming.

  458. The “missing heat” theme is regularly misinterpreted. All it refers to is that radiative physics tells us something of the rate at which energy should be accumulating in the system. If the rate we measure is less than this, it’s probably going somewhere (or our radiative physics calculations are wrong, but that doesn’t mean “don’t look”). As far as “coming back to haunt us”, all that means is that if we’re currently transporting more energy than on average into the deep ocean, when that stops, surface warming will speed up. The energy that goes into the deep ocean doesn’t need to reappear for this to happen; it just has to stop going into the deep ocean.

  459. BBD says:

    miker

    I followed the issue at the time and got exactly the opposite impression – that the quote you are mentioning was added later, a response to getting caught, and an attempt to back down from a serious public relations error they had made.

    That’s because you were tricked. It is in the original paper, which you will find linked in full in above.

    Sorry, but I think you are the one being manipulated and tricked.

    Miker, read what I wrote above. I showed you a clear example of McI’s long-term peddling of a false claim about M13. I am frankly staggered that your response is to tell *me* that I’ve been bamboozled.

    Have you ever actually read M13? You will know the truthful answer to this.

  460. miker613 says:

    You’re right: I might change my mind – if you can handle them over there. I changed my mind about Robert Way’s work (I hadn’t really formed an opinion). But if you want to change my mind, and many other people’s mind, that is the way to do it. Not by preaching over here where no one will tell you when you’re wrong (well, Pekka shows up and does it every so often).
    Look, I think that McIntyre is the biggest expert around on alkenone series. That’s my impression. Show me I’m wrong. You can’t do that here – I’m no expert and have no way of judging. But if I see you holding your own over there, that’s a different story.

  461. Oh, and BBD makes a good point. About 93% of the energy excess goes into the oceans, and about 3% is associated with surface warming. A 1% change in the amount going into the oceans, can increase surface warming by 30% (i.e., a small change in the rate of ocean heat uptake can have a significant effect on surface warming).

  462. JCH says:

    All that is necessary for rapid warming to resume is for the rate of ocean heat uptake to reduce, very slightly. Just as a very slight increase in the rate of OHU appears to be a major cause of the recent slowdown in the rate of surface warming. …

    Bingo. Hi BBD. You rate. A perfect example is what happened when anomalous winds blowing from the Eastern Pacific started relaxing after 2012. Presto, back-to-back La Nina events, one characterized as being the second strongest in the instrument record, erased in just two years.

  463. miker613 says:

    No, you were tricked. It was not in the original paper – here is the paper (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/339/6124/1198.full), it was a statement they made later: (http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/03/response-by-marcott-et-al/). After a few weeks if I remember correctly. And with no correction noted in the paper. And with no links to climateaudit, lest you see him rebuttals. Again, read the old posts. No one saw that quote until just before the post that I linked, which was weeks later.
    You’re under no obligation to actually follow the history of what happened, instead of the tidied-up version that someone wants you to see now. But don’t expect me to have any impression other than the one I have. As you said, disgraceful.

  464. BBD says:

    miker

    If what I have shown you here isn’t enough to make you realise that you have been misled by McI then maybe it’s impossible to undo the harm. Trying to make reading and understanding what I say here conditional on my saying it again somewhere else is simply a crude avoidance tactic.

  465. miker613 says:

    “the motion that climate science has indicated there is a lump of heat squirreled away deep in the ocean that is going to come back to haunt us is simply not true.” I never said that, Trenberth did. It may have been a slip of the tongue or maybe he had something in mind, as you indicated. Schmidt responded correctly that it is not possible for the “heat to come back out” due to the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
    But none of this addresses my point, since I didn’t say that stuff. All I need for my point is that the heat uptake of the deep ocean varies, and varies in a way we cannot predict, and that perhaps a thousand years ago that varied in the other direction.

  466. Miker613,

    Maybe it was because the deep ocean stopped absorbing heat for a while.

    This doesn’t really make sense. The only way we can have long-term warming is to have some kind of change in external forcing that results in us either accumulating energy until the surface temperature rises to retain energy balance, or the surface temperature drops to retain energy balance. In equilibrium, the deep ocean isn’t really absorbing heat (well, it’s in energy balance) so saying “stopped absorbing heat” doesn’t really make much sense. You could mean that, for some reason, energy flux in one direction stopped, or slowed, but that doesn’t really help you either.

  467. BBD says:

    miker

    No, I wasn’t tricked, but you are quite correct that I have muddled the quotes up. What M13 says is this:

    To compare our Standard5×5 reconstruction with modern climatology, we aligned the stack’s mean for the interval 510 to 1450 yr B.P. (where yr B.P. is years before 1950 CE) with the same interval’s mean of the global Climate Research Unit error-in-variables (CRU-EIV) composite temperature record, which is, in turn, referenced to the 1961–1990 CE instrumental mean.

    In other words, they did not use data post-1450BP from their Holocene reconstruction in the process of aligning it with the extant millennial reconstruction and so the modern instrumental record.

    McI’s insistence that problems with the C20th data in the M13 reconstruction distort their conclusions is flat-out wrong.

  468. miker613 says:

    “Trying to make reading and understanding what I say here conditional on my saying it again somewhere else is simply a crude avoidance tactic.” I guess I can form my own impression of who is using the avoidance tactic. To most of us, it isn’t a hard distinction between belling the cat and murmuring at a distance about how he isn’t so tough.
    Remember, this is terribly important! The world depends on it! And at least 97% of climate scientists agree, which is literally thousands of them! And they have whole organizations dedicated to teaching people about climate change, because it’s so important! But not to actually go to the place that all those deluded deniers think disproves them. Too much trouble.

  469. BBD says:

    miker

    My point about McI’s deliberate deceptiveness stands. Any objective reading of the above would lead to the same conclusion. Why are you refusing to acknowledge that McI misrepresented M13?

  470. BBD says:

    But none of this addresses my point, since I didn’t say that stuff. All I need for my point is that the heat uptake of the deep ocean varies, and varies in a way we cannot predict, and that perhaps a thousand years ago that varied in the other direction.

    Then *global* OHC would have fallen during the ‘MWP’. Where is the evidence for this? All I ever see is half-arsed attempts to trick people into believing that SSTs and OHC were higher during the ‘MWP’.

  471. miker613 says:

    “Why are you refusing to acknowledge that McI misrepresented M13?” You said that already, on a totally different point. That was made pretty clear when you began by quoting something they said a few weeks after the attacks on them began, something that was clearly inconsistent with what they had been saying till then.
    Now you have changed the topic, with an entirely different quote from their paper. Are we done with the first topic? Are we agreed that this time, it was Marcott et al who were being disgraceful (your word), not McIntyre, that he was the one who was right, that you were the one who didn’t really understand the story, seeing only what realclimate chose to tell you?
    If we have agreed on that, then maybe we can begin on your new topic. But first, I would think it would be good if you would actually go and read what he wrote at the time. Maybe even find your point discussed there. .

  472. BBD says:

    miker

    That was made pretty clear when you began by quoting something they said a few weeks after the attacks on them began, something that was clearly inconsistent with what they had been saying till then.

    What M13 said is clearly consistent with their later statement, which was prompted by McI’s insistent misrepresentation of the original paper. Why are you claiming the opposite?

    I have not changed the topic.

  473. miker613 says:

    “McI’s insistent misrepresentation of the original paper” Correction: their misrepresentation of the original paper. Andy Revkin in his original interview caught them on the points that McIntyre had been pointing out all along. They tried to make a big media splash with it (“just up like an elevator!”), Revkin called them on it, gently, McIntyre spent a few weeks of posts pinning them down, they backed off and pretended it had never happened. Now you are either helping them pretend or are honestly gulled. But I was following the story then, so I know better. Please don’t expect me to accept your version of things, when I was following it in detail at the time, waiting and wondering _what_ those clowns were going to come up with to explain their bizarre conclusions from their paper that they were trumpeting to the media.
    As I’ve said many times, I’m used to this. People who don’t read climateaudit miss the whole story. And realclimate will never tell them, nor ever link to it.

    This is all completely aside from the second topic: the actual mistakes in the paper. For that – well, see climateaudit again, and deal with what he actually says. Or you can get very angry with him for all his egregious mistakes that realclimate told you about. But McIntyre has the right to talk about their mistakes, since he explained them in detail at the time, and neither you nor anyone else ever showed up to argue, or discuss them. Or probably even hear about them.

  474. BBD says:

    miker

    People who don’t read climateaudit miss the whole story.

    M13 integrated the modern instrumental record with their Holocene reconstruction (see above) and then compared the instrumental record to the Holocene reconstruction. Their conclusions came from this comparison (see above). McI’s argument is a strawman.

    Neither McI nor anyone else has shown that there were significant errors in the integration, nor in the general methodology of M13. If there were “egregious mistakes” in M13, then why have not other paleoclimatologists flagged them up? You appear to believe that there is a conspiracy of silence here. I would suggest that McI needs to publish his response or expect to be ignored.

    Why has he not done this?

  475. jsam says:

    I guess McI has judged that his work would not survive the scrutiny of a journal audience. Perhaps wisely. He knows his market.

  476. pbjamm says:

    Trust no one but climateaudit! If you are not reading climateaudit you are not getting the real story! Those misleading and disgraceful scientists at real climate dont know what they are talking about.

  477. Steve Bloom says:

    “I think that McIntyre is the biggest expert around on alkenone series. That’s my impression. Show me I’m wrong.”

    Training, collaboration with experts, talks, posters, publications? No? There you go.

    But even if true, and it isn’t, he’d have to know a lot about many other things for his opinions to carry much weight.

  478. Steve Bloom says:

    OK, against my better judgement I glanced at the post. McI sets the tone in his usual Strangelovian style:

    Unsurprisingly, the new data was not press released and has thus far attracted no attention.

    Then I looked at the map. He’s comparing three open-ocean cores with two new ones from bays? Que? And oddly I see no explanation as to why.

    Then he shifts into yet another attack on Marcotte et al. Which has what exactly to do with the two cores that were the alleged topic of the post?

    A little later, we see an out-and-out paranoid rant:

    To borrow a term from Mark Steyn, the Marcott blade was f……..flawed. It is reprehensible that Marcott and coauthors have failed to issue a corrigendum. And that specialists in the field, knowing of the error, have permitted the result to be reproduced and disseminated. While the blade in the original article may have been merely f….lawed, one could perhaps describe its promulgation as a more virulent form of the flaw. Or perhaps, to coin a word, flawed-ulent.

    This isn’t an expert, this is a paranoid nutter. But that’s the red meat you go there for, isn’t it, miker?

  479. Eli Rabett says:

    Tamino had a reasonable explanation for the sharp dip at the end of the Northern Extratropical Series, drop out of proxys, but then again, Marcott et al told everyone that there were problems like that towards recent times.

  480. BBD says:

    And did not use the end of the series as the basis for any of the conclusions of M13. As a careful reading of M13 makes clear. As Eli and otherbunnies know. As McI knows.

  481. In reply to my comment on January 21, 2015 at 8:47 am, miker613 said,

    “As I said, I was saying just the opposite: we need _more and better vetting_, not less.”

    Your “more and better vetting” refers to what a bunch of amateurs at a bunch of blogs do. Also, I note that this latter part of this claim of yours, that a bunch of amateurs at a bunch of blogs are qualified to do *better* vetting on claims than professionals sufficiently qualified to be referees on the claims, is a truly astonishing form of mathematics and science denial. I’m sorry, but it is not the case that there exists some amount of “vetting” on some claim by a bunch of amateurs such that it is appropriate for the professional community or the general public to view the claim as substantiated. We now have even stronger confirmation that what I said is true. Here’s how:

    First, take the mathematical or scientific literature of the reputable refereed journals along with the reputable monographs and textbooks *in their ongoing aggregate*. Then:

    You deny the implication that it is appropriate for the professional community or the general public to accept a mathematical or scientific claim as true or as an important conjecture only if the claim has been confirmed to be such by professionals sufficiently qualified to be referees on the claim. That is, equivalently, you affirm the conjunction of the antecedent and the negation of the consequent, which (by conjunction elimination) then gives you affirming the antecedent as a standalone statement, “it is appropriate for the professional community or the general public to accept a mathematical or scientific claim as true or as an important conjecture”, period, which is just accepting a claim, period.

    There is a way out via the creation of an alternative implication only if there is some acceptable alternative to the statement “the claim has been confirmed to be such by professionals sufficiently qualified to be referees on the claim” as a consequent for the statement in question, “it is appropriate for the professional community or the general public to accept a mathematical or scientific claim as true or as an important conjecture”. But there is no acceptable alternative other than one sufficiently similar to the one given, “sufficiently similar” meaning one that mathematics or science deniers would not be willing to give. And so there is no way out via the creation of an alternative implication.

    Why is there is no acceptable alternative other than one sufficiently similar to the one given? The world abiding by this implication or one sufficiently similar, which gives the literature in question, is what keeps this world from being taken over by the cranks. The denial of this implication and replacing it with an unacceptable alternative is the essential tool of any mathematics denial and any science denial, since it enables the denial of the literature in question.

    How is it such a form? Here’s how: It is a denial that the mathematical or scientific literature of the reputable refereed journals along with the reputable monographs and textbooks *in their ongoing aggregate* is the final arbiter of all mathematical or scientific truth-claims. This denial you commit is at the heart of all mathematics or science denial.

    “…. no one can, on things that they need to use in their own work. You’ve twice brought Wiles’ proof, but that is a really unusual example, where the proof is too big and complicated, so we do the best we can. It’s not the norm.”

    I was not talking simply about how long and complicated the proof is. As I documented in my last comment I cited above – and I documented how and why it is (I documented how vastly wide and deep my field of mathematics really is), the average professional mathematician is simply not sufficiently qualified to be a referee for the vast majority of what is published in reputable refereed professional mathematics research journals.

    “But dismissing someone as a crank because he posts on a blog instead of in a journal is silly.”

    This “instead of” is a giveaway for a red flag for the possibility of a crank. And if one posts denial of any part of the mathematical or scientific literature of the reputable refereed journals along with the reputable monographs and textbooks *in their ongoing aggregate* and can’t get this denial into said literature, then, as this denial persists, we have more and more red flags that what we have is a crank. Anyone who refuses to go to sufficiently qualified professionals to have her/his claims checked is planting a major set of the red flags in question.

    You seem to be stuck in this “romantic” idea of the “citizen scientist”, and it seems you try to use this notion to justify amateurs denying the literature in question. In a past comment on this, you mentioned Ramanujan and Einstein as examples of such “citizen science”, specifically mentioning that Einstein was a patent clerk. But you did not mention what articles like
    http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1921/einstein-bio.html
    show. According to this source above, he obtained his PhD in physics in 2005, which he worked on while he worked at a patent office, a job he started after he obtained a bachelor’s in physics with a specialty in teaching in 2001, this undergraduate started in 1896 (he was both in 1879). He became a professor of physics at a university in 1909 after having a lecture position starting in 1908. (Ramanujan finished high school, but twice dropped out of college because he couldn’t get himself to study the required courses outside of mathematics.)

    You cited the alleged examples of Einstein and Ramanujan to back up your denial of the implication that it is appropriate for the professional community or the general public to accept a mathematical or scientific claim as true or as an important conjecture only if the claim has been confirmed to be such by professionals sufficiently qualified to be referees on the claim. This is an insult to Einstein and Ramanujan. Not only did they not make such denials, they were examples of the affirmation of this implication – they operated within the system that affirms this implication.

  482. John Hartz says:

    KeefeAnd Amanda:

    I believe that your lengthy response to miker613 can be distilled into a single sentence:

    “Miker613, you have painted yourself into a corner and you cannot get out.”

  483. BBD says:

    I want some evidence of cooling in major ocean basins during the soi-disant ‘MWP’.

  484. Steve Bloom says:

    For the record, the always-meticulous Nick Stokes noted the same oddities I did with the McI post beloved of miker but unlike me decided to pursue the details. Upshot: McI looks like a fraudster trying to cover up his fraud.

  485. BBD says:

    Steve

    Yup. McI was obviously making s***t up as I explained to miker right at the outset.

    And as he has studiously ignored ever since.

  486. Steve Bloom says:

    Right, BBD, and I should have read back up first. I made the mistake of granting miker enough credibility to have not said —

    Look, I think that McIntyre is the biggest expert around on alkenone series. That’s my impression. Show me I’m wrong. You can’t do that here – I’m no expert and have no way of judging. But if I see you holding your own over there, that’s a different story.

    — after having had his nose rubbed in the obvious contradictions (which note one doesn’t need to know anything about alkenones to have spotted).

    He’s just a tr*ll, pure and simple.

  487. Steve Bloom says:

    Hmm, what other moderation trigger was in there? McIntyre?

  488. Pingback: 2015 blog summary | …and Then There's Physics

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