Persistence!

Richard Tol has another article about how claims of a scientific consensus don’t stand up (you can read it here if you really want to). It’s the standard message that he’s been promoting for quite some time now and I really can’t bring myself to point out the flaws again; it’s just getting tedious. I’m also tired of always being a critic. I thought I might, instead, try to write something a bit more positive.

I think what Richard has done here is a fantastic example of how persistence can eventually pay off. If you have some kind of agenda, or a message you’d like to promote, just be persistent; eventually you will succeed in getting it out there. It doesn’t really matter if what you’re saying is strictly correct, or not. It doesn’t really matter if what you’re saying is balanced and objective, or not. It doesn’t really matter if what you’re arguing against is something you’ve already accepted as being true. Just keep going. Eventually you will succeed.

Ignore those who point out your errors and tell you that you’re wrong. Ignore those who point out that your behaviour leaves much to be desired. Few people are sufficiently persistent, and so they’ll eventually just give up. You’ll be left to promote your message, free from the criticisms of those who would rather your audience were informed, than misinformed.

Now, there are of course some big caveats. Your message does need to appeal to some kind of audience, ideally one with some power and influence. There’s no point doing this if you won’t actually achieve something. Your message also has to be at least plausible, and you do need to avoid promoting something that would be obviously objectionable and/or libelous. Of course, you’ll be reasonably safe from claims of libel, as most who typically complain about such things would probably be in your audience, rather than amongst those about whom you’re writing.

This strategy also isn’t for everyone. If you have any interest in maintaining some actual credibility, this may not be optimal. If, however, that doesn’t particularly bother you, then carry on. It can be a particularly successful strategy, as long as you have suitable persistence and little interest in what others might think of you.

So, there you go. People think that I can only be a critic, but sometimes I can see the positives in what those with whom I broadly disagree are doing. I think Richard is the living embodiment of the saying if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!. Maybe we could all learn a lesson from this episode? Maybe this is a strategy worth considering. On the other hand, if you have any interest in maintaining a shred of dignity, possibly not. Similarly, if you would like the strength of your argument to be based on something other than your critics simply giving up, this may not be for you.

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579 Responses to Persistence!

  1. Rachel M says:

    It’s tiresome addressing Skeptic memes over and over again. I think you do a great job of it though but can see how after a while it’s easier just to say “I can’t be bothered doing this again”. I don’t know what the solution is. This will sound a little idealistic but I like to think that over time the truth will come out. It might take a little while, but it will eventually. I just hope it’s not too late by then.

  2. I like to think that over time the truth will come out.

    I’m sure it will. Of course, the irony here is that virtually noone disputes the existence of a consensus. This is all about trying to find a way to discredit some work that has illustrated something that most accept to be true.

  3. Alternatively, you could read my new piece. While there is indeed a summary of what was known before, there are also two new elements.

    First, U Queensland claimed data cannot be released because of a confidentiality agreement. There is a confidentiality agreement, but it does not cover the requested data. John Cook claimed data cannot be released because they were never collected. They were.

    Second, the not-collected-data-that-somehow-do-exist-nonetheless (aka time stamps) reveal the sequence of the research: Data were collected and analysed. More data were collected and analysed. The classification of the data was changed, and more data were collected before the final analysis. Going back to collect data, and collect data differently, is a big no no in experimental design, particularly if those who analyzed the preliminary data also collect the data.

  4. Richard,
    I wasn’t sure whether to post your comment or not, since I was still waiting for you to back up earlier claims. However, I thought this another good illustration of the power of persistence. Say something deceiptful and objectionable and simply ignore those who request that you either withdraw it or back it up. They’ll eventually just give up and you can carry on regardless. It’s quite amazing really. Kudos.

    I did read it. It’s still mainly a polemic that – IMO – is clearly aiming to discredit some work, the result of which you accept to be true, because the consequences of others accepting this truth would damage the narrative you would like to promote. That’s just my opinion, of course, but the idea that you’re doing this simply to promote good research practices and research ethics is clearly absurd. Bear in mind that your supporters include a ranty PhD student from Arizona who clearly does not understand the meaning on the term “consensus”, and Christopher Monckton. Also bear in mind that your work is being promoted on sites like Bishop-Hill, a site that promotes anything that diminishes the role of CO2, even if it is patently nonsense. I guess it’s not your fault that your work is being promoted on such ridiculous sites, but it does speak to its credibility.

    Also, that you can say in your article Consensus has no place in science just illustrates that you have little understanding of how science actually works.

  5. Wotts: You teach in the birth place of the Enlightenment. Science is a method, not a result. If the method is wrong, the result is invalid. It may be true, but it is still invalid. We cannot assess truthfulness. We cannot, ante hoc, falsify climate predictions. Validity is the only thing we have. Sacrificing validity for political expedience is a sure way to lose credibility.

  6. verytallguy says:

  7. lerpo says:

    Brian recently posted about a Patrick Moore interview where he stated: “you can drink a whole quart of it [glyphosate] and it won’t hurt you.” and “It’s not dangerous to humans, no it’s not.”

    He refused to take a sip when offered some stating “but I know it wouldn’t hurt me.” – http://rabett.blogspot.ca/2015/03/pesticide-drinks-for-thee-but-not-for-me.html

    It’s easy to be compassionate towards people who are duped or earnestly (if naively) believe the nonsense they spout. I get really angry when it becomes clear that they don’t believe their own bullshit, that they are simply pushing an agenda.

    Tol strikes me as someone who would not drink his own pesticides. He could easily rerun the experiment using his improved methods if he felt it would result in a different answer – but he does not. He has not found any fault with the results. In fact he agrees with the results. Nonetheless he is compelled to do whatever he can to cast doubt.

  8. Richard,

    Science is a method, not a result. If the method is wrong, the result is invalid.

    Yes, and I broadly agree. It doesn’t, however, mean that what you’re presenting is correct. It’s just a soundbite.

    However, I plan to stick with the theme of my post which is simply to illustrate the amazing power of persistence. My interest in defending, or even debating, Cook et al. (2013) is vanishingly small. Why? Because it’s not science, it’s simply an analysis of the literature. Feel free to carry on with your crusade, as I’m sure you will do. As I said in the post, the ability to persist and finally win through, is impressive.

    Sacrificing validity for political expedience is a sure way to lose credibility.

    I think most would regard that as a form of projection.

  9. dikranmarsupial says:

    “Consensus has no place in science ” Perhaps Richard has shifted Kuhn’s paradigm? ;o)

    This article ( http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/just-what-is-this-consensus-anyway/ ) at RealClimate puts it rather well (note this point was being made very clearly back in 2004, so there is no excuse for not getting it a decade later):

    “We’ve used the term “consensus” here a bit recently (see our earlier post on the subject), without ever really defining what we mean by it. In normal practice, there is no great need to define it – ***no science depends on it***. But it’s useful to record the core that most scientists agree on, for public presentation. ” [***emphasis*** mine]

    For those who don’t have the expertise to assess the scientific evidence for themselves (e.g. most of us non-climatologists), basing actions on the mainstream scientific position is an entirely rational thing to do, and that requires a clear picture of what most scientists actually agree on. You may argue that there is no place for consensus in science, there is most certainly a place for it in public communication of the science.

    While I am not a Kuhnian, I would say that there is a place for consensus in science, it is what defines the current paradigm that presents a target for scientists to attack (and they do). There is little incentive for scientists to agree with each other. The bigger the disagreement you can support with the evidence, the larger the impact will be *if* you are right. This is especially true of climate change as nobody wants the consensus view to be true, and there would be plenty of funds out there for someone who could show it to be false (e.g. the CLOUD project).

  10. verytallguy1 says:

    Speaking of political expedience, why is Richard so persistent in questioning the consensus that he agrees with?

    Given that he’s on the advisory board of a political lobbying group opposed to action on global warming,  one might speculate that it’s a cynical attempt to leverage the finding highlighted at the bottom of this graphic:

  11. Fergus says:

    Richard,
    A perusal of your article leaves me noting that the introductory paragraphs effectively set up a straw man. But to the point: is there no consensus? I refer you to Brown, Annan & Pielke (2007), the research we did way pack, long before Cook. ( https://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2008/02/22/is-there-agreement-amongst-climate-scientists-on-the-ipcc-ar4-wg1/)
    The relevant section is:

    From the initial response, we conclude that:
    1. The largest group of respondents (45-50%) concur with the IPCC perspective as given in the 2007 Report.
    2. A significant minority (15-20%), however, conclude that the IPCC understated the seriousness of the threat from human additions of CO2 .
    3. A significant minority (15-20%), in contrast, conclude that the IPCC overstated the role of human additions of CO2 relative to other climate forcings.
    4. Almost all respondents (at least 97%) conclude that the human addition of CO2 into the atmosphere is an important component of the climate system and has contributed to some extent in recent observed global average warming.

    These conclusions allow you to infer different messages according to what you wish to emphasise; the variety of flavours of different opinions in the community, or the very large agreement on point 4.

    The results do not depend on papers published or deductions from secondary sources; they record what the respondents said in person about their own opinions.

    So it comes back to what kind of ‘consensus’ you are describing or looking for, and what you decide counts as a consensus. Notwithstanding the limitations of the paper, on the surface the results do seem to correlate well with other papers published on the matter, including Cook’s. If you do not subscribe to the results, why not conduct your own research to challenge this so-called orthodoxy, rather than indulge in Cook-baiting.

  12. Joshua says:

    Richard –

    I’d like to remind you of what you have previously said:

    “Published papers that seek to test what caused the climate change over the last century and half, almost unanimously find that humans played a dominant role.”

  13. semyorka says:

    “Science is a method, not a result. If the method is wrong, the result is invalid.”

    This is a caricature of science, a childish simplification that leads some to focusing on critiquing methodology over presenting better explanations for phenomena. Good science is often stumbled across by a methodology that has nothing to do with what you found.
    “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ but ‘That’s funny…'”
    Isaas Asimov.

    Focusing on methodology would lead one to rejecting the usefulness of penicillin because the methodology it was discovered with had nothing to do with immunology.

    As for consensus, its not the scientific method but a consequence of it. When a wide body of the field agree on something you have a consensus. It is probably the strongest test to base policy on, when one turns the question around “what standard should we be setting to base policy on”, the role of attacking the legitimacy of there being a consensus in science by the deniers becomes obvious.
    Is CO2 a greenhouse gas, there is a consensus on this. There is little doubting that. As Thomas Kuhn pointed out, reaching consensus is the normal pattern in science. Consensus IS science. Its how we build up with what is known and move on to new frontiers, without consensus everyone would be trying to disprove Ohms Law and Pauli’s Exclusion Principle every day in the lab. There would be no time for people to push the frontiers outward.

    If John Cook is wrong, show a better results.
    If Manns paleoclimate results are wrong, show the better results don’t sit your lazy bum writing blogs about abstract concerns over “methodology”.
    If you think the Earth’s climate is dominated by negative feedbacks, don’t sit around whining about “models”, show how negative feedbacks produce a better explanation of the past 3 million years of climate change.

  14. This is a caricature of science, a childish simplification that leads some to focusing on critiquing methodology over presenting better explanations for phenomena.

    Exactly, every study is wrong and invalid. Every measurement and theory is wrong. Sometimes we do not know yet why, sometimes we do not care because the errors do not matter for the conclusions. The normal way of operation is to make a new study, fixing one of the errors, and show that it matters. That would be science rather than cheap polemics.

    But I am looking forward to Richard Tol retracting all his erroneous articles, all his articles.

    #FreeTheTol300

  15. Joshua says:

    ===> “in our age of pseudo-Enlightenment, ”

    Another day, another “alarmist” statement from Richard Tol.

  16. Marco says:

    I would have expected Tol to be a little more humble, after his regression of very poorly comparable data points.

    In science it is also a wrong method to deliberately exclude data points and not explicitly say so, and then come with the poor excuse that those numbers are biased because of who funded the research when someone notices their exclusion. In essence this comes down to ignoring inconvenient data without proper argumentation (no, pointing to the funding agency is not a proper argumentation – Soon’s papers are not bad because some fossil fuel companies paid for them).

  17. @Marco
    What data did I exclude?

  18. semyorka says:

    Tol shows us how real science is done.
    “Climate research lost its aura of impartiality with the unauthorised release of the email archives of the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia. Its reputation of competence was shredded by the climate community’s celebration of the flawed works of Michael Mann. Innocence went with the allegations of sexual harassment by Rajendra Pachauri and Peter Gleick’s fake memo.”

    Given the insinuations in the Chandrasekhar\Eddington controversy I publicly reject the existence of relativity! Am I correctly applying the GWPF paradigm of scientific research (aka sneer and smear)?

  19. Tol’s right. You’re wrong.

  20. Tom,
    So, you think persistence doesn’t pay off?

  21. Willard says:

    > Validity is the only thing we have.

    I doubt it. An argument to this effect might be nice. If we assume it is, then Richard needs to pay due diligence to it.

    Unless Richard only means that his own requirements against C13 are the only safeguard left to preserve the Enlightenment? That would be as heroic as problematic. Just like the absence of polemics, the Enlightenment is only an ideal.

    In the end, only Grrrowth matters. With Grrrowth, there is no end.

    The audit never ends too.

  22. Magma says:

    In the spirit of the great Dr. Tol, I offer a summarized view of his op-ed from The Australian. (Sadly, gremlins appear to have altered the full version in a prankish attempt to besmirch his good reputation and character. Bad, bad gremlins.)
    “Now almost two years old, John Cook’s 97% consensus paper has been a runaway success. Downloaded over 300,000 times, voted the best 2013 paper in Environmental Research Letters, frequently cited by peers and politicians from around the world… the Cook paper is remarkable for its quality… one of the most influential papers of recent years.
    Climate policy… can only be informed by the judgement of experts – and we must have confidence in their learning and trust their intentions… Cook’s paper is an excellent case in point.”

  23. Fergus says:

    @Richard,

    I’m disappointed you’ve ignored my question above. A second try: what would be acceptable criteria to conclude reasonably that NOT 97% of scientists agree that “… the human addition of CO2 into the atmosphere is an important component of the climate system and has contributed to some extent in recent observed global average warming…” ? Previously you have suggested that the consensus might be ‘in the 90’s”. What error bars would you consider acceptable and would your previous conclusions allow that the consensus was, for example, ‘better than 95%’?

  24. Tom Curtis says:

    VTG’S graphic gets to the heart of the issue. Richard Tol knows that, whatever method you use to test the consensus, the proportion of climate scientists who accept that greater than 50% of warming since 1950 is due to anthropogenic causes is much closer to 97% than to 55%. I have seen plausible methods which suggest the figure is as low as 86% – but it is, on balance of evidence, more likely to be above 90%. Indeed, even if we accept that validity of Tol’s criticisms of Cook et al, and apply appropriate corrections, unless we make rank errors, the figure for papers remains at about 96% (as does the corresponding figure for authors of papers).

    That is a very politically inconvenient fact for some people.

    For some people, notably those associated with the GWPF, it is far more convenient if people incorrectly believe the figure is around 55%. Hence Tol’s article.

    Tol’s bull shit about “science is a method” simply does not cut it as an explanation. If that was his concern, he would have no desire to publish in locations such as The Australian. Rather, it is the politics of the issue that is driving him, pure and simple. Hence his gish gallop.

  25. Marco says:

    Tol:
    “The numerical results shown in the paper exclude derivative studies (Ayres and Walter, derived from Nordhaus; Berz, derived from Fankhauser; Kemfert, derived from Tol) and exclude partisan studies (Hohmeyer and Gaertner, funded by Greenpeace; Ackermann and Stanton, funded by Friends of the Earth). The Stern Review was excluded for both reasons.”

    In your response to a comment by Julie Nelson on your 2009 Gremlin-infested JEP paper.

    Excluding derivative studies is a reasonable scientific argumentation, but stating “partisan studies” and then excluding them just because of the funding agencies is an unscientific argument.

  26. @Fergus
    Sorry for not answering.

    I think Cook should have limited his survey to those studies that estimate the equilibrium climate sensitivity.

    There are three such recent studies. Andrews et al. (2012, GRL) survey physical estimates. Annan and Hargreaves (2011, ClCh) survey statistical estimates. Rohling et al. (2012, Nature) survey palaeo-estimates.

    These surveys find disagreement about the size of the climate sensitivity, but robustly reject the hypothesis that it is near zero.

    Counting noses is silliness on stilts.

  27. Andrew Dodds says:

    @Tol

    You claim that the surface has has no warming for 18 years. Can you back this up, or should I take this as evidence that you just make things up?

    I’d also point out that your previous attempts at ‘surveying’ this forum show that you have absolutely no idea of the basics of performing or analyzing surveys, and are therefore unqualified to comment on others.

  28. Richard,
    Ahhh, so you don’t understand the meaning of “consensus” either. However, I can’t fault your persistence. Kudos.

  29. @Marco
    Thanks for the clarification.

    H&G and A&S are studies-for-hire. They were never published in a journal, and I don’t think were ever submitted. A&S even ignored their own work in their later, peer-reviewed papers on the topic.

  30. Willard says:

    > Counting noses is silliness on stilts.

    Thus spake the most cited scholar in the Stern Review, whose Twitter tagline is:

    The most cited Scholar most-cited by Stern Review. Top 15 most influentialest climate people. Top 100 most greenest Dutch.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/RichardTol

  31. Willard says:

    > You’re wrong.

    There are more nuanced ways to express one’s opinion:

  32. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Repitition is the hallmark of propaganda.

  33. Willard says:

    Information redundancy is the hallmark of communication.

  34. John Hartz says:

    Richard Tol: How much compensation did you receive for your op-ed?

  35. GSR says:

    You can say that again

  36. John Hartz says:

    Willard:

    Propaganda is a subset of communication..

  37. Maybe we can actually avoid suggesting that people are being paid to write such stuff. It’s perfectly plausible that no compensation was necessary or received.

  38. Richard, would you rather we base policy decisions on science that has a consensus around it or science that has very little support? Or should we just give up because we don’t know anything with any certainty or someone on the right is not going to like it?

  39. Willard says:

    > Propaganda is a subset of communication..

    Perhaps, but information redundancy is the hallmark of communication. Redundancy is not enough to identify propaganda. Repeating “propaganda!” card over and over again can get redundant. Denizens play the same card daily.

    Propaganda, propaganda everywhere else.

  40. dana1981 says:

  41. “Persistence is very important. You should not give up unless you are forced to give up.” – Elon Musk

    “(Physics is) a good framework for thinking. … Boil things down to their fundamental truths and reason up from there.” – Elon Musk

    “The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability will occur.” – Elon Musk

  42. Lucifer says:

    Fortunately, the equations of motion of the atmosphere don’t include a single reference to global average temperature anywhere.

  43. John Hartz says:

    Willard: Point taken.

  44. John Hartz says:

    Richard Tol: Who inititated the publication of your op-ed, i.e., you, or The Australian?

  45. Lucifer,

    Fortunately, the equations of motion of the atmosphere don’t include a single reference to global average temperature anywhere.

    Yes, but that doesn’t mean that energy is not conserved.

  46. JH,
    I don’t think this line of questioning is going to achieve anything constructive. I think it’s just a variant of “did you get paid”. Also, it doesn’t really make any difference whether it was solicitied or not. Nothing unusual about it one way or the other.

  47. verytallguy says:

    Lucifer,

    a reminder that you, mysteriously, still haven’t responded as to why you made this mendacious post previously. Looking forward to hearing back!

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/03/07/impacts/#comment-50228

  48. Steven Mosher says:

    ” Science is a method, not a result. If the method is wrong, the result is invalid. It may be true, but it is still invalid.”

    I have yet to hear anyone successfully defend some of the methodological lapses in the Cook paper.

    AGW is real, the vast major of qualified scientists agree. The literature supports this.
    AND Cook’s study has some serious methodological flaws.

    In short you can believe in the science, you can believe in his results and still responsibly question the method.

  49. Steven,

    I have yet to hear anyone successfully defend some of the methodological lapses in the Cook paper.

    Well, “successfully” is something of a judgement. Also, if the claims of methodological lapses are accompanied by suggestions (implied or otherwise) of fraud or academic misconduct, why would you bother?

    In short you can believe in the science, you can believe in his results and still responsibly question the method.

    Of course, but there is a difference between questioning a method, and writing a polemic that ends up being promoted on the blogosphere as an indication that the IoP is corrupt.

    On the other hand, getting back to the theme of my post, the persistence of those making claims of methodological lapses is impressive.

  50. verytallguy says:

    I have yet to hear anyone successfully defend some of the methodological lapses in the Cook paper.

    I have yet to hear anyone successfully argue that any lapses are material to the results of the study

    In short you can believe in the science, you can believe in his results and still responsibly question the method.

    I have yet to hear anyone successfully defend writing polemic opeds in national newspapers being “responsibly questioning methodology”.

  51. MIke Pollard says:

    The time that Tol has wasted venting his spleen about Cook et al paper could have been constructively used to do an independent study. Writing for The Australian simply paints Tol’s objections politically conservative. So I would say the chances of him doing any science devoid of that political bent is fast approaching zero.

  52. semyorka says:

    “I have yet to hear anyone successfully defend some of the methodological lapses in the Cook paper.”
    If there results are wrong, produce better results.
    Whining about supposed methodological flaws is only relevant if you can produce better results, otherwise you are lost somewhere between pettifogging and out right trolling.

    Science can be a very messy business, data is noisy, reality was not designed to be easily slotted beneath some “standard ruler” or other. “I think there is a methodological flaw” or “this is not best practice” is for paper reviewers\editors or PhD supervisors unless you can show it has an impact on the result.

    Writing an opinion editorial in a popular media outlet that says you are dissatisfied with the methodology then goes on to make insinuations about an entire branch of science with virtually no physical evidence to support an alternative* that it is wrong is a modus operandi of politically motivated polarisation, not enhancing public understanding of our physical world.

    *Other than the “pause” chestnut.

  53. Marco says:

    “@Marco
    Thanks for the clarification.

    H&G and A&S are studies-for-hire.”

    Please provide evidence for this. Showing they provided funding is not enough, your suggestion clearly is that the results have been bought.

    “They were never published in a journal, and I don’t think were ever submitted. A&S even ignored their own work in their later, peer-reviewed papers on the topic.”

    And this is now a new argument. Perhaps because you realize the unscientific nature of your original argument? Why didn’t you use *that* as your argument? You have done so in some of your other papers!

  54. @John Hartz
    Dana initiated the whole thing.

  55. BBD says:

    semyorka

    If there results are wrong, produce better results.
    Whining about supposed methodological flaws is only relevant if you can produce better results, otherwise you are lost somewhere between pettifogging and out right trolling.

    No, no, no! You don’t understand how Auditing works at all!

    🙂

    The persistent nit-picking and insinuation that there *may* be methodological errors is the entire process. God forbid auditors ever tried to reproduce anything in full themselves – they might demonstrate that their never-ending (persistent) insinuations were utterly groundless. They might show that they were reduced to persistent auditing because that’s all they’ve got. They have no scientific counter-arguments but they know very well that if you throw enough shit, some shit sticks, at least in the minds of the public.

  56. dana1981 says:

    I have yet to hear anyone successfully defend some of the methodological lapses in the Cook paper.

    I have yet to hear anyone successfully identify any significant methodological lapses in the paper.

    I think John Hartz’s last question is a rather interesting one though. Why did The Australian suddenly publish this Op-Ed dealing with horribly inaccurate material that’s nearly a year old? It’s a *news*paper and this is not news by any definition of the word.

    Did Richard Tol approach the paper, thinking that people will have forgotten the embarrassment he suffered last year when he failed to #FreeTheTol300? And why The Australian? It seems more likely that The Australian would have approached Tol, perhaps looking for somebody to distract from the climate-related pressures Tony Abbott has been facing recently. It still seems like an odd choice. I wonder if there might have been a broker between the two.

    Not that it matters of course, but I’m rather curious about the answer to this question.

  57. Lucifer says:

    Yes, but that doesn’t mean that energy is not conserved.

    Right – but the total global thermal energy does not determine atmospheric circulation.

  58. Lucifer,

    Right – but the total global thermal energy does not determine atmospheric circulation.

    Okay, but then I have no idea what your original point was.

  59. Joshua says:

    ==> “AGW is real, the vast major of qualified scientists agree. The literature supports this.
    AND Cook’s study has some serious methodological flaws.

    In short you can believe in the science, you can believe in his results and still responsibly question the method.”

    For the sake of argument, let’s stipulate that the study has some serious methodological flaws.

    What are the follow-onmeaningfulassociated implications? Does it mean that a “consensus” doesn’t exist? No. Does it mean that the “consensus” view on AGW is wrong? No.

    Does it support the implications that Richard draws: that the scientific literature on climate change is invalidated, or that the Enlightenment in this “age” is no longer non-pseudo, or that the degree of “settledness” of climate science is somehow altered, that the “aura of impartiality” among climate scientists has been lost, that the reputation of the “climate community” has been “shredded,” that Pachauri’s behavior has caused a loss of “innocence?” No, no, no, no, no, and no.

    So assuming for the sake of argument that Cook has some serious methodological flaws, has anything at all changed about the science? Have the potential ramifications of BAU with ACO2 emissions changed in the least? Does it tell us anything about the economics related to climate change? No, no, and no.

  60. Willard says:

    > Dana initiated the whole thing.

    See for yourself:

    Remember: the “load of nonsense” sentence is supposed to contain a question.

  61. Lucy,
    The total global thermal energy doesn’t determine lots of behavior — tides, seasons, night&day, etc. Why should atmospheric circulation be any different?

    One of the very persistent behaviors in upper-atmosphere circulation is the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO) which fluctuates slightly around a mean value of 28 months. This hasn’t changed markedly since radiosonde measurements started in the early 1950s. What’s more,the QBO has a very close connection to ENSO, which is a huge driver of the fluctuating global temperature.

    That is not to say that continuing to add GHGs to the atmosphere will not at some point change the dynamics. The density of the ocean’s water does indeed depend on temperature and since the characteristic frequency of the internal oscillations depends on this density and, more importantly, density differences across the thermocline, the process of adding thermal energy to the ocean may impact ENSO.

    But then again, I join with ATTP in that I may have no idea what your actual point is.

  62. John Hartz says:

    Dana,

    I posed my question about who initiatied Tol’s op-ed out of curiosity about Tol’s relationship with The Australian in particular and the Murdoch media propaganda machine in general.

  63. Another person I see that has shown remarkable persistence is Professor Christopher Essex, who has a new opinion piece on Breitbart.

    He has quite the gall to lecture anyone on how to do scientific inquiry after he produced in my opinion the most embarrassing popular books ever written concerning science — “Taken by Storm” in 2002.

    If there was any event that clued me in as to which “side” to take on the AGW subject, it was when I read that shoddy piece of work when it came out. “Fisking” was popular around that time and I wrote a long blog post pointing out all the scientific gaffes in the book, as did Lambert at the Deltoid blog as I recall. What is really disappointing is that other skeptics since then have not been able to rise above this level of mediocrity.

    BTW, Lambert has persisted as well but he has since figured out that skeptics will score #OwnGoals just by allowing them to speak. 🙂

  64. izen says:

    @-Lucifer
    “Right – but the total global thermal energy does not determine atmospheric circulation.”

    Yes it does.

    There are also other factors and intermediate modifiers that shape what form that atmospheric circulation takes, but the underlying root driving causation of any and all atmospheric circulation is the total global thermal energy.

    Not magic.

  65. Please let’s leave the funding out of all this, I agree with ATTP on that one. It is such an obvious creator of enmity and if it’s wrong it discredits the whole of the complaint which not about money but about false PR; the spleen is not worth the undertow.
    On the 97%, I have come to prefer this one, which says over 99%:
    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/the-curious-wavefunction/2014/01/10/about-that-consensus-on-global-warming-9136-agree-one-disagrees/
    It’s a limited sample (2013) but makes the point well.
    As to the claims about debunking and rebunking, I find this mildly conclusive:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Resources-links-documenting-Tol-24-errors.html
    “In addition, the Global Change Institute at The University of Queensland issued a statement summarising our response to Tol (2014) including a scholarly version of the 24-errors report (e.g., the same content but without all the bright, shiny boxes).”
    As often, I checked the links in this paragraph in the original, and they no longer work, but I doubt that makes them fairy dust. I hope somebody at SkS can set up new ones.

  66. Fergus says:

    @ Richard,
    Thank you for responding.
    Nose counts may not impress, but is it valid to ask a qualified person for their opinion on a subject and accumulate a number of opinions?

  67. @Fergus
    Expert panels are, of course, a valid method. The key word is “expert” though. Cook took a paper on TV coverage of climate change as evidence that climate change is real and caused by humans. I would take such a paper as evidence that climate change is discussed on TV.

  68. @Richard:”I think Cook should have limited his survey to those studies that estimate the equilibrium climate sensitivity.”

    And Darwin should have stuck to barnacles. I think we should stick to what is, not what we’d like it to be. I trust you understand.

  69. Eli Rabett says:

    Richard Tol’s way of working is not just persistence, but full out scream and leap, as Eli wrote a while ago

    Richard’s way of dealing with anyone who questions Richard is full throated Kzinti roar and attack. For the most part this succeeds because few want the joy of dealing with an axe murderer, and Richard does an excellent impression. This discourages criticism.

    However, over a long enough time, the act wears thin, and the Kzin run up against people who ain’t gonna take it.

    For those of you who do not read science fiction, the Kziniti are a race of large tiger like things who always attack before they are ready, and therefore lose. To prepare would not be honorable which explains the long series of corrections to Tol 2009 and the backing and filling wrt C13. As to the tiger like thing

    Of course, the picture is missing the tail although the ears are pretty good

  70. dikranmarsupial says:

    Richard Tol wrote “Cook took a paper on TV coverage of climate change as evidence that climate change is real and caused by humans.”

    This seems to be a misrepresentation of the paper (admittedly I haven’t read it recently). Please can you give a direct quote from the paper that supports your assertion. The paper is about the existence of a consensus of expert opinion on this question, but I don’t recall it suggesting that the existence of a consensus is evidence that the consensus position is correct. As far as I can see it is concerned with addressing the “consensus gap”, i.e. a public mis-perception of the level of scientific agreement on this issue.

  71. Richard,

    Cook took a paper on TV coverage of climate change as evidence that climate change is real and caused by humans.

    No they didn’t. Are you sure you’ve read Cook et al. (2013)? Can’t fault your persistence, though.

  72. Fergus says:

    @Richard
    To what extent would the section editors of various chapters of the AR5 (as an example) count as ‘expert panels’ in your opinion? The other point would be one we got troubled by; for a statistically significant result it is normal to seek a sizeable sample size. Where could we go to find a concatenation of suitably qualified scientists of sufficient size to produce robust evidence of a consensus (or otherwise), if not the AR5? Then there’s the vexing question whether the sample is properly representative of the full domain…

  73. Meow says:

    So, has anyone validated the economic “models” that deniers use to argue against action to mitigate AGW? In particular, has anyone validated the “model” that says that adaptation is far preferable to mitigation?

  74. Lucifer says:

    but the underlying root driving causation of any and all atmospheric circulation is the total global thermal energy.

    No.

    In fact, the summer hemisphere exhibits much weaker circulation ( dog days ), in spite of greater thermal energy.

    That’s because, as is even reaching blogs such as these, temperature gradients determine the pressure gradients which, in turn, determine motion.

  75. BBD says:

    [Lucifer,]

    I notice you have studiously avoided returning to this.

  76. Fergus says:

    @ meow

    Well, ‘model’ might be a bit inaccurate, but you should read Tol’s papers, perhaps the one from 2009. You could look at the Lomborg stuff, but you’ll find that Lomborg tends to rely a lot on the ‘economics’ from Tol, so you end up at source.
    The material I have read, though, didn’t contain an economic ‘model’ as such, but reviews of papers on the economic implications of climate change, tabulated, evaluated and conjoined (with some questions about wighting and accuracy). A sort of ‘consensus study’, if you like.
    Note that Tol is NOT a denier. The main take-home from his main work has always said that AGW will have net negative effects. The difference has been that his evaluation suggested some benefit out to around 2080, then a whole boatload of bad.
    This is the detail which Lomborg jumps on to support his claim that mitigation does not provide justifiable net benefits in the short to mid term.
    In the time subsequent to Tol’s publications, several quite sophisticated economic analyses have been done which produce results which contradict the above findings, including critiques of the work which found aberrant signals in the summary of one paper, which materially changed the signals Tol proposed. A new review of the kind conducted in Tol 2009 using comparable methodology is likely to result in rather different conclusions.

  77. Meow says:

    @Fergus: So, what are the uncertainties in those projections? Have the “models”, such as they are, been subject to complete validation? Have all the data underlying them been produced and audited? Have the authors accounted for the fact that the economic system contains many nonlinear effects, and is thus subject to chaotic behavior? How do they separate the unforced variation from the purported forced signals? Are their “models” complete? How do they justify their parameterizations? Do the models obey relevant conservation laws?

  78. Wotts
    Really. Paper 1294 was rated “2 – explicit endorsement without quantification”.

    Lost in translation? United States television news coverage of anthropogenic climate change, 1995–2004

    Max Boykoff, Climatic Change, 2008

    Abstract
    Eminent climate scientists have come to consensus that human influences are significant contributors to modern global climate change. This study examines coverage of anthropogenic climate change in United States (U.S.) network television news – ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News – and focuses on the application of the journalistic norm of ‘balance’ in coverage from 1995 through 2004. This study also examines CNN WorldView, CNN Wolf Blitzer Reports and CNN NewsNight as illustrations of cable news coverage. Through quantitative content analysis, results show that 70% of U.S. television news segments have provided ‘balanced’ coverage regarding anthropogenic contributions to climate change vis-à-vis natural radiative forcing, and there has been a significant difference between this television coverage and scientific consensus regarding anthropogenic climate change from 1996 through 2004. Thus, by way of the institutionalized journalistic norm of balanced reporting, United States television news coverage has perpetrated an informational bias by significantly diverging from the consensus view in climate science that humans contribute to climate change. Troubles in translating this consensus in climate science have led to the appearance of amplified uncertainty and debate, also then permeating public and policy discourse.

    It’s a fine paper, mind, but not one that tested the human contribution to climate change.

  79. verytallguy says:

    The mendacity Lucifer.

    Still waiting.

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/03/07/impacts/#comment-50228

    The intertubes have a very, very long memory Lucifer.

  80. Richard,
    Sure, that wasn’t what I was suggesting. Care to try again? You’re certainly persistent enough!

  81. verytallguy says:

    It’s a fine paper, mind, but not one that tested the human contribution to climate change

    Remind us Richard.

    Were cook et Al investigating if papers tested AGW?

    Or were they investigating if they endorsed it?

    Or, to put it another way, a fine post, but not one that enhances your integrity.

  82. dikranmarsupial says:

    Really. Paper 1294 was rated “2 – explicit endorsement without quantification”.

    Cook et al aim to quantify the proportion of papers endorsing the consensus position; papers included in the study can endorse this position without themselves providing evidence that the consensus position is correct. You have clearly misunderstood the study you are criticizing.

  83. Fergus says:

    @ meow

    I think you misunderstand me. I’m not justifying Tol, but respectfully disagreeing with him. Others have critique his papers in detail, including Cook et al. You seem to expect a ‘model’ something in line with a physics or gym-type model. AFAIK no such beast exists, and if it did, I’d be very dubious of it, since I’m not a huge fan of some of the underlying assumptions of financial modelling (in which I include by inference economic modelling). Tol has not produced such a thing.

    In general, expecting non-conformists to produce material comparable in scope and analytic detail to that of those whose work they aim to doubt is unrealistic. There are reasons for this.

  84. [Lucifer,] I think I wrote here in the comments that some of the spatial and temporal variability would decrease. This was long before I had even seen this argument used by mitigation sceptics. It is nice that you are able to learn a little if it fits your political agenda. Why not read the IPCC reports, they are full of legitimate caveats that could replace the bunk you guys normally use.

    If the circulation becomes less weaker that is not always good news, especially when that happens in summer, then you get longer heat waves and less wind to remove pollution.

    The climate we used to have is the climate our infrastructure is build for and the one the regional culture fits to. Changing it is unlikely to make matters better, even if sometimes some aspect sounds nice, you should consider all consequences.

  85. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: You call it “persistence”. I call it “trying to push water uphill.”

  86. In most sciences if you are persistently wrong your reputation suffers. Is there no such mechanism in economics?

  87. Victor, I think being persistently wrong in economics entitles you to be finance minister in your country of birth.

  88. BBD says:

    fragmeister

    Here in the UK we call ’em chancellors of the exchequer but otherwise, spot on.

  89. Øystein says:

    Victor,

    Not if you believe Paul Krugman

  90. GSR says:

    The Krugman cult believes he has not been wrong about anything since October 2008. I was a member of that cult until he revealed 2 years ago that he liked The Eagles.

  91. Rob Nicholls says:

    “Is there no such mechanism in economics?” I would hope so. I note, however, that the reputation of relentless austerity seems to be doing ok despite such spectacularly bad results over the last 30 years or so. That’s real persistence. (Apologies, I promised I wouldn’t veer off-topic into attacking neoliberalism again, didn’t I?)

    Dana made me laugh. “Consensus denial leftovers” for dinner again.

  92. Persistence leads to persistent victories when it’s backed with clear enough truth. It’s valuable for those who have truth on their side.

    This case is irrelevant. We know from other sources that virtually all scientists in relevant fields agree that CO2 causes warming. We know that a great majority of them agree that human influence is substantial. Most of them do surely also think that human influence is behind most of the warming over the last 50 years.

    I would furthermore guess that most of those who have checked the details of the Cook et al study agree that the study added virtually nothing to that knowledge. It’s methodological choices and its misleading presentation of the results are far below proper scientific standards. It’s final results are, however, substantially correct although the specific number of 97% does not refer to anything relevant.

  93. Pekka,

    We know from other sources that virtually all scientists in relevant fields agree that CO2 causes warming. We know that a great majority of them agree that human influence is substantial. Most of them do surely also think that human influence is behind most of the warming over the last 50 years.

    Exactly.

    It’s methodological choices and its misleading presentation of the results are far below proper scientific standards.

    Hmmm, okay I can’t be bothered.

  94. I’m always bothered when clearly poor science is used in public argumentation. That’s bad for science even, when the the work is used in support of correct claims.

  95. Tom Curtis says:

    “Hmmm, okay I can’t be bothered.”

    And that is why completely unjustifiable falsehoods end up as being received wisdom.

  96. @wotts
    “Hmmm, okay I can’t be bothered.”

    Thanks for making that clear. Others can be.

  97. Tom,

    And that is why completely unjustifiable falsehoods end up as being received wisdom.

    I know, but I’m trying to stick with the theme of my post.

  98. Richard,

    Thanks for making that clear. Others can be.

    I see you’re sticking with the theme of my post by going for the persistently deceitful? Excellent. Kudos.

  99. angech says:

    John Hartz. Water goes uphill twice a day. It is called a tide coming in and it is very persistent.
    ATTP thank you for drawing attention to Toll’s viewpoint.
    Joshua points out that in his opinion there are serious flaws,
    As does Steven, both go for the line that it does not matter as the underlying premises are true.
    Others here take exception to this view that there are flaws.
    Most attack the man.
    In short the consensus is on Toll being wrong, the methodology varies.
    Fergus point 4 sums up the reduction of the AGW debate ” we can all agree on “some” warming.
    A motherhood statement.
    We are not having arguments about motherhood statements.
    Toll is merely putting out the view that a study purporting to estimate a figure should be done properly, and it was not.
    99% Sue
    55% VTG where did you drag that poster up from???
    85% worst scenario TC
    Already we have a quite different range of scenarios.
    Sadly we must all (97%) agree with motherhood statements.
    But defending a poorly executed paper when it could have been done rigorously and achieved the same result with a little care and due diligence says more about mindset and persistence.
    Toll merely points out the obvious about the method.
    Attacking him and me for saying this was a poorly designed paper that should never be quoted is understandable. But sad in a way.

  100. angech,

    Attacking him and me for saying this was a poorly designed paper that should never be quoted is understandable. But sad in a way.

    And rhetorical tactics and playing the victim are irritating.

  101. Oh, and pretending to hold the moral high ground when you’re not is also irritating.

  102. angech says:

    Pekka, we disagree on a lot but you are spot on above

  103. I think if the rest of the “skeptics” could agree that there is strong consensus around the basic science behind AGW, we could move on. But I think very few would acknowledge it.

  104. Meow says:

    @Fergus: The proponents of the idea that mitigation is an economic disaster (or the related idea that adaptation is economically preferable to mitigation) have the burden of showing that their ideas hold merit. If they’re not even to the stage of having non-toy models of the system that they’re discussing, they really have little (or nothing) to recommend their viewpoint.

  105. Joseph,

    I think if the rest of the “skeptics” could agree that there is strong consensus around the basic science behind AGW, we could move on. But I think very few would acknowledge it.

    Indeed, consensus studies only exist because either people deny there is one, or try to discredit the studies when they do take place (requiring another one).

  106. angech says:

    Pretending to hold the high moral ground?
    No, attempting to hold a high moral ground?
    No,
    No pretensions.
    Either there is a moral ground here that Toll is trying to uphold, tedious though that may be, or there is not.
    Is there a moral ground here that should be being discussed or not?
    Re methodology?
    Yes.
    Also a scientific standard to uphold which should be and seems to be important to all here

  107. Willard says:

    Dear Angech,

    I don’t think you paid due diligence to RichardT’s contributions to this thread.

    Shall we proceed?

  108. angech,
    Maybe you should re-read your earlier comment. It’s no good telling me you’re not trying, or pretending, to hold the moral high ground. You have to not do so, by not doing so.

  109. Meow says:

    So, has anyone validated the economic “models” that deniers use to argue against action to mitigate AGW? In particular, has anyone validated the “model” that says that adaptation is far preferable to mitigation?

    Good point.

    Most economic models are game theory models. Yet it is well known that game theory models can not be validated. Knowledge of the model by actors engaged in the market will tend to invalidate the model when it is executed. See the Lucas Critique, Goodhart’s Law, Campbell’s Law, etc.

    The default then is to rely on the “take your chances” model. I have a suspicion this is what drives all the decision making at the policy level, and what encompasses the free market, as in a free-for-all market. No model guides anything so no one can take advantage of that model for market gain.

    Adaptation is closer to a “free-for-all” model because nothing is modeled, while mitigation is more of a game-theory model as it can be gamed by the players as it stands now — see carbon credits. But this doesn’t prove that one is better than the other.

    Alas, every once in a while I get sucked up into analyzing the “dismal science” , realizing that the effort is a waste of electrons.

  110. MIchael Hauber says:

    I don’t particularly trust the methods of Dana’s paper. I haven’t looked at the methods in any detail.

    I did do my own survey of climate science using google scholar. Probably with methodology far less rigorous than whatever Dana actually used. But seeing is believing and it is obvious that the consensus is well over 80% and that 97% probably isn’t too far off the mark.

    Everyone with an interest in this issue should go to google scholar and do their own search based on terms such as ‘climate change’ or ‘climate sensitivity’ or whatever they think is relevant and have a look for themselves.

  111. Fergus says:

    @ Meow

    Couldn’t agree more.

  112. GSR says:

    Pekka please specify your objections to Cook 13 or are you simply reliant on Toll’s obsession to support your views on this SOCIAL SCIENCE paper? What is your experience in reading and assessing social science papers and how do you deal with the fact that Cook13 is one of the most influential social science papers in recent times?

  113. Tom Curtis says:

    GSR “most read” does not equal “most influential”. I suspect Cook 2013 has had almost zero impact in the social sciences, and mostly been rejected by those who did not already largely agree with its conclusions already. So in academic terms it is probably one of the least influential social science papers of recent times. Of course, not influential does not equal “poorly executed”, or “should not have been done” either.

  114. Tom Curtis says:

    angech, if there was a high moral ground Tol was attempting to occupy (ie, “science is a method, not a result”), his first step would be to revise his critique of Cook 2013, which contains far more, and far more substantive, methodological flaws than does the paper he is critiquing.

  115. dana1981 says:

    Easy summary:

    The AGW consensus in the peer-reviewed climate literature is approximately 97%.
    The methodology in our paper was sound and certainly sufficient to demonstrate that.
    The only reason we embarked upon our study was that so many people deny the first point.
    Attacking our paper only amplifies the massive public misunderstanding on this issue.
    That’s the only reason The Australian published this nonsense almost a year later.
    If you’re really worried about poor methodologies, look at Tol’s paper. #FreeTheTol300.
    The focus really belongs on Richard Tol attacking a paper (ironically by himself using shit methods and statistics) whose conclusions he doesn’t dispute, most likely in a sad attempt to raise his own profile, misinforming thousands of people about a very important issue in the process.

  116. Eli Rabett says:

    Tom, the chalk on C13 appears to be I could have done a better job (and of course, Eli did), but I didn’t do it, and they are probably right. From that experience, the principal criticism that the Rabett would make is that the C13 team did not create a training set and use it to reach a consensus on what was what.

    As to the effect, since 2013, any social scientist worth his salt would point out that it had a major effect on the policy discussion.

  117. JCH says:

    As a member of the public, I have never heard a critic of Lew… make it perfectly clear the results are correct. What is usually abundantly clear is the critics are implying results are wrong and there was fraud.

    So it’s sounds like a form of loudly lying while meekly squeaking the truth. How is that good for science, or anything else?

  118. Storch did it fairly well in 2008. 81% of climate scientists agree with the consensus. Bart Verheggen replicated it last year. Pielke came up with about 80% several years ago.

    Cook et al is an embarrassment.

  119. Tom Curtis says:

    Eli & Dana, fair summaries both. I think the paper would also have been improved by the abstract rater rating a subset of the papers with access to the full paper to allow a more direct comparison with the author self ratings. Beyond that there are a couple of minor problems which are of no consequence. There is no reason to think that any of these issues would have shifted the headline result by more than 1 or 2%.

    Further, there is no reason to think that there exists any scientific paper whose methodology could not have been improved with hindsight. The extremist interpretation of science as method, not findings being applied by critics of Cook 2013, if applied consistently would mean there was no discipline of science at all – and certainly no published papers within that discipline. (Of course, they do not apply the critiques consistently, as witness the publication of Toll 2014).

    As regards to policy influence, I am not privy to any policy discussions and so I cannot comment. Granted it has been prominent (and influential for all I know) in the faux debate on climate generated by deniers. But then, so has Gerlich 2007 on that basis, so that is to damn with faint praise.

  120. GSR says:

    Tom Curtis Cook13 is fucking influential mate, otherwise fetid swamplands like The Australian wouldn’t be trying to discredit it. It wasn’t written for faculty members it was written for us, the GP and our politicians and our press and teachers and pastors and priests.
    If you wish to redefine INFLUENTIAL as that which impresses your faculty colleagues then write a fucking social science paper on it Tom. I’m sure you’ll be seriously influential in the faculty tea room.

  121. Eli Rabett says:

    Pekka, FWIW Gerlach and what’s his name never really penetrated into the media /print/video/radio C13’s 97% is mentioned constantly in newspapers, magazines, TV and tweeted by the President of the US. The Murdoch press simply can’t let go

  122. Willard says:

    > Storch did it fairly well in 2008. 81% of climate scientists agree with the consensus. Bart Verheggen replicated it last year.

    First, the title of Verheggen & al is Scientists’ Views about Attribution of Global Warming:

    http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es501998e

    Second, let’s emphasize one sentence in the abstract (excerpted here):

    Results are presented from a survey held among 1868 scientists studying various aspects of climate change, including physical climate, climate impacts, and mitigation. The survey was unique in its size, broadness and level of detail. Consistent with other research, we found that, as the level of expertise in climate science grew, so too did the level of agreement on anthropogenic causation. 90% of respondents with more than 10 climate-related peer-reviewed publications (about half of all respondents), explicitly agreed with anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHGs) being the dominant driver of recent global warming.

    Third, here’s a figure:

    The fifth column shows that there doesn’t see much basis for the juxstaposition of “81%” and “replicated”.

    Fourth, here’s the caption to this figure:

    The more publications the respondents report to have written, the more they agree with greenhouse gases being the main contributor to global warming (red bars). IPCC AR4 authors report the most agreement with GHG-driven global warming. Results are based on two different questions, one about the qualitative contribution of GHG (Q3) and one about the quantitative contribution of GHG (Q1).The latter question resulted in more “undetermined” answers (unknown, I don’t know, or other), presumably because it was more difficult to answer. Hence the percentage of consensus can best be compared by excluding these “undetermined” answers. Responses are shown as a percentage of the number of respondents in each subgroup.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Survey-confirms-scientific-consensus-human-caused-global-warming.html

    Fifth, a retraction would be in order.

    The lords of ClimateBall know how auditors react when they can’t get their retraction.

  123. Joshua says:

    Pekka –

    ==> “I’m always bothered when clearly poor science is used in public argumentation. ”

    My interpretation of Anders’ point was that he doesn’t agree with the criticisms you offered, but that in the end arguing over those criticisms (which you have done in the past with neither changing views) is not worth effort given that you basically agree w/r/t the issue the paper targets – whether there is a high prevalence of agreement among scientists with expertise in the field .

    Don’t you think that there should a hierarchy of being “bothered” w/r/t by “poor science” in public argumentation? If so, don’t you think that science that might have methodological problems but that don’t really change anything of significance either way in terms of overall understanding would usually fall to the bottom of such a hierarchy?

  124. One of the raters for Cook et al rated 675 abstracts in 72 hours. In what world is that acceptable?

  125. Joshua says:

    I’ve read many comments on both sides of the blogosphere that have been written on the theme of:

    “What will they say in 100 years about how stupid people were back in the late 20th, early 21rst century, when they thought that ACO2 was/was not going to cause problematic changes in the climate.”

    Here’s my take on that theme: In 100 years people will laugh their assess off that so many people early 20th century spent so much of their time arguing about Cook13.

  126. GSR says:

    In a world where most abstracts are a foolscap page in length.

  127. Willard says:

    Here we go again:

  128. John Hartz says:

    angech makes the banal observation…

    Water goes uphill twice a day. It is called a tide coming in and it is very persistent..

    Telling us that the gravity of the moon causes tides has absolutely nothing to do with Richard Tol’s inability to push water uphill.

  129. David Young says:

    Pekka and Mosher are both right on this matter.

  130. Eli Rabett says:

    Tom Fuller asks

    One of the raters for Cook et al rated 675 abstracts in 72 hours. In what world is that acceptable?

    Final exams are but 1.5 months away.

  131. GSR says:

    @thomaswfuller2 Many of the abstracts give the game away in their first sentence
    Paper: 1. Biological Diversity And Neptune Realm
    Abstract: “Global climate change and soaring extinction rates appear to be the consequence of anthropogenic effects”

    Next paper.
    That will took 2 minutes to read and rate the abstract as an endorsement.
    My wife is a senior barrister (trial lawyer) she reads, annotates and analyses complex affidavits, submissions and evidence at the rate that you or I read this blog.
    I’m confident that she could have rated those 675 abstracts in 24 hours.

  132. Brandon Gates says:

    Some people read slow.

  133. dhogaza says:

    Tom Fuller asks

    “One of the raters for Cook et al rated 675 abstracts in 72 hours. In what world is that acceptable?”

    In a world where many people can read one or two paragraphs more quickly than you, apparently.

  134. Willard says:

    Rope-a-doping to an argument from incredulity does not count as a retraction:

    Elliott included links with three recent stories on Ukraine from The Guardian with the listed number of comments and those deleted “for reasons of abuse,” including this one, from which they spiked 259 comments. Out of 4,817 total comments on the stories, Guardian moderators deleted 494.

    In the comments for the story about comment trolling, one person wrote “as long as paid EU trolls are allowed to post, it should be OK.”

    http://www.poynter.org/news/mediawire/250835/guardian-has-deleted-almost-500-comments-from-pro-russia-trolls/

  135. Willard says:

    If we accept that the optimal rate is 300 words per minute [1] and that this number also indicates an average length of a scientific abstract [2], reading 675 abstracts should take 675 minutes, i.e. 11 hours.

    Something like three half days of work. I’d negotiate between 400$ and 700$, depending on the client, the kind of reading involved, the timeframe, etc.

    [1]: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/747538
    [2]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstract_%28summary%29

  136. hmmm … and some people read fast. It’s partly a matter of training. What a felonious argument.

  137. Brandon Gates says:

    One could almost make a killing.

  138. “Dr. Idso, your paper ‘Ultra-enhanced spring branch growth in CO2-enriched trees: can it alter the phase of the atmosphere’s seasonal CO2 cycle?’ is categorized by Cook et al. (2013) as; “Implicitly endorsing AGW without minimizing it”.

    Is this an accurate representation of your paper?
    Idso: “That is not an accurate representation of my paper.”

    “Dr. Shaviv, your paper ‘On climate response to changes in the cosmic ray flux and radiative budget’ is categorized by Cook et al. (2013) as; “Explicitly endorses but does not quantify or minimise”

    Is this an accurate representation of your paper?
    Shaviv: “Nope… it is not an accurate representation.”

    How many of these would you like to see?

  139. The Cook et al study data base has seven categories of rated abstracts:
    1. 65 explicit endorse, >50% warming caused by man
    2. 934 explicit endorse
    3. 2,933 implicit endorse
    4. 8,261 no position
    5. 53 implicit reject
    6. 15 explicit reject
    7. 10 explicit reject, <50% warming caused by man

    The highest level of endorsement–“Endorsement level 1, Explicitly endorses and quantifies AGW as 50+%.(human actions causing 50% or more warming)” was assigned by the raters to a grand total of 65 out of the 12,000 papers evaluated. This certainly is a weak finding. Even combined with level 2’s 934 papers it amounts to less than 10%.

    The Cook et al 97% paper included a bunch of psychology studies, marketing papers, and surveys of the general public as scientific endorsement of anthropogenic climate change.”

    "Dr. Morner, your paper ‘Estimating future sea level changes from past records’ is categorized by Cook et al. (2013) as having; “No Position on AGW”.

    Is this an accurate representation of your paper?
    Morner: “Certainly not correct and certainly misleading. The paper is strongly against AGW, and documents its absence in the sea level observational facts. Also, it invalidates the mode of sea level handling by the IPCC.”

  140. Brandon Gates says:

    One argument shot down, on to the next as if nothing happened.

  141. Paper classified as endorsing: “Climate Change paper endorsing: Tran, T. H. Y., Haije, W. G., Longo, V., Kessels, W. M. M., & Schoonman, J. (2011). Plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition of titania on alumina for its potential use as a hydrogen-selective membrane. Journal of Membrane Science, 378(1), 438–443.”

  142. “Abstracts were randomly distributed via a web-based system to raters with only the title and abstract visible. All other information such as author names and affiliations, journal and publishing date were hidden. Each abstract was categorized by two independent, anonymized raters.”

    From the raters’ discussion board: “FYI, here are all papers in our database by the author Wayne Evans:”

    “I was mystified by the ambiguity of the abstract, with the author wanting his skeptical cake and eating it too. I thought, “that smells like Lindzen” and had to peek.”

  143. dhogaza says:

    For Fuller, life is just a bowl of cherries …

  144. Mr. Gates, shot down? No. The replies are too foolish to respond to. 675 abstracts in 3 days is a clear sign that insufficient attention was paid to the abstracts. That is one reason there was such a high level of disagreement between raters.

    Someone asserts that all abstracts are one page of foolscap. Someone can apparently read 675 pages of Marvel comic books in 3 days, hence 675 abstracts are a doddle.

    That isn’t argumentation. That’s weak at the knees pleading for mercy.

  145. Brandon Gates says:

    Why do you discount the inherent subjectivity of the exercise as a main component of the disagreement?

  146. Okay, three minutes everyone. Explicit endorsement 50% plus human attribution to global warming, implicit, no opinion, reject? I guess you don’t have time to read it twice.

    ““The regional climate change index (RCCI) is employed to investigate hot-spots under 21st century global warming over East Asia. The RCCI is calculated on a 1-degree resolution grid from the ensemble of CMIP3 simulations for the B1, A1B, and A2 IPCC emission scenarios. The RCCI over East Asia exhibits marked sub-regional variability. Five sub-regional hot-spots are identified over the area of investigation: three in the northern regions (Northeast China, Mongolia, and Northwest China), one in eastern China, and one over the Tibetan Plateau. Contributions from different factors to the RCCI are discussed for the sub-regions. Analysis of the temporal evolution of the hot-spots throughout the 21st century shows different speeds of response time to global warming for the different sub-regions. Hot-spots firstly emerge in Northwest China and Mongolia. The Northeast China hot-spot becomes evident by the mid of the 21st century and it is the most prominent by the end of the century. While hot-spots are generally evident in all the 5 sub-regions for the A1B and A2 scenarios, only the Tibetan Plateau and Northwest China hot-spots emerge in the B1 scenario, which has the lowest greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations. Our analysis indicates that subregional hot-spots show a rather complex spatial and temporal dependency on the GHG concentration and on the different factors contributing to the RCCI.”

  147. Umm, Mr. Gates, is that a defense of the paper?

  148. anoilman says:

    thomaswfuller2: Poor man, I can see how you are confused.

    “Is this an accurate representation of your paper?
    Idso: “That is not an accurate representation of my paper.””

    They didn’t rate papers. Please reread Cooks paper so that you have a remedial knowledge of it.

    Incidentally I did offer Richard Tol $1000 of my own money if he could produce his mysterious papers. He has steadfastly refused to collect.

    Personally I think he knows they don’t exist. But that’s my opinion, and I’m still willing to pay. Do you wanna chip in some of your own cash to convince Richard to produce tangible evidence?

  149. GSR says:

    Name the paper. Was it rated ?

  150. I’m sorry, all. I’m posting too frequently on this thread and ATTP may not be awake. As he has in the past remarked that I am too nasty to comment here I am going to wait until he has a chance to comment about my commenting.

  151. dhogaza says:

    Tom Fuller:

    “From the raters’ discussion board: “FYI, here are all papers in our database by the author Wayne Evans:”’

    Yes, arguing based on criminally obtained private communication.

    Which reminds me … the only reason we know who Fuller is, is because he wrote a book (with Mosher) to cash in on the criminally obtained private communications known as “Climategate”.

    This fact doesn’t weaken his arguments – that would be impossible – but does speak to ethics of the man.

  152. Brandon Gates says:

    Implicit endorse.

  153. Brandon Gates says:

    Mr. Fuller, no, it was a question to you about your critique of the paper.

  154. Sorry again–7 minutes.

  155. Kevin ONeill says:

    Thomas Fuller cites: Climate Change paper endorsing: Tran, T. H. Y., Haije, W. G., Longo, V., Kessels, W. M. M., & Schoonman, J. (2011). Plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition of titania on alumina for its potential use as a hydrogen-selective membrane. Journal of Membrane Science, 378(1), 438–443.

    From the abstract:

    As a clean energy carrier, hydrogen has attracted global attention in recent years, because it could address issues that are related to reducing global climate change. It has to be stipulated that to date’s processes for hydrogen production using fossil fuels need to be coupled with CO2 separation and storage.

    Now, what was your problem, Thomas? I take it you couldn’t even be bothered to read the abstract.

  156. Brandon Gates says:

    Some people can’t read.

  157. Kevin ONeill says:

    Thomas Fuller writes: “How many of these would you like to see?”

    Thomas, was it ever explained to you – or the authors quoted – that Cook et al rated the abstracts? Was it ever explained to you that the author responses matched the abstract ratings?

    Well, yes, it has been explained to you before. So your *persistence* in using this line of intentional misunderstanding is precisely the tactic which this post addresses. Apparently you believe if you keep repeating half-truths and distortions often enough and loud enough *some* people will believe you. You may be right – but it doesn’t speak well of your character or integrity.

    Let’s be clear – you know the actual facts. You choose to misinform and throw FUD into the air despite knowing these facts. There are names and epithets for people like that …. and you deserve them.

  158. pbjamm says:

    thomaswfuller2 : “How many of these would you like to see?”
    at least 1%. Only 37 more to go assuming your first 2 are accurate and your rating methodology sound.

    “Sorry again–7 minutes.”
    Your methodology here is not sound. You have no way to know when someone giving their rating started reading so no way to know how long they took to read it. Nor do you know how long they took to pen their reply. Fail.

    Your theories are the worst kind of popular tripe, your methods are sloppy, and your conclusions are highly questionable. You are a poor scientist – Dean yeager

  159. Willard says:

    > What a felonious argument.

    As Groundskeeper Willie says in his political hit job, “it’s worse in context”: every abstract were rated twice. Even better: the ratings for the ABSTRACTS can be compared to a subset of ratings for the PAPERS. More than that: the ratings for the papers were made by the authors themselves.

    That authors rated their own papers does not prevent errors. For instance, Richard misclassified some of his own papers.

  160. dana1981 says:

    Has I was just going to ask if Thomas Fuller is testing how trollish he can be before his comments are moderated. At least he has some self-awareness.

  161. Brandon Gates says:

    pbjamm,

    “Sorry again–7 minutes.”
    Your methodology here is not sound.

    Witness:
    March 27, 2015 at 4:26 am
    March 27, 2015 at 4:30 am

    His mathametics is worse than his redding.

    For the record, I didn’t time it exactly, but it was at least a minute before I even saw his post, and it took at least a minute for me to review and internalize the rating scale. It was a somewhat tricky abstract, the particularly “evil” bit is this: While hot-spots are generally evident in all the 5 sub-regions for the A1B and A2 scenarios, only the Tibetan Plateau and Northwest China hot-spots emerge in the B1 scenario, which has the lowest greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations.

    I gather this was supposed to be some sort of brain teaser. Gave me a good chuckle.

  162. Willard says:

    > Some people can’t read.

    A recent example. Here is something similar to an abstract:

    I’ve been trying not to say much about this book, but I just came across something incredible. In Chapter Two, [M&GW] quote a statement saying:

    > The conference concluded, that “as a result of the increasing greenhouse gases it is now believed that in the first half of the next century (21st century) a rise of global mean temperature could occur which is greater than in any man’s history.”

    And conclude this indicates a:

    > belief that the warming scientists were predicting would be unprecedented in the course of human history

    But just a few paragraphs before this, [M & GW] said:

    > The IPCC was founded to advise politicians on how bad global warming was going to be and based on the assumption that recent warming was the most extreme in history.

    And Chapter One had a number of statements like:

    > One claim underlying the founding of the IPCC, it should be recalled, is that the climate change we are seeing is unprecedented in human history.

    The WMO statement is largely unremarkable. Back in 1985, scientists said we might see warming by 2050 that is unprecedented in human history. [M&GW] somehow distorted this into, “We will see warming by 2050 that is unprecedented in human history” then further distorted it into, “We have seen warming that is unprecedented in human history.”

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2015/open-thread-for-ken/#comment-135339

    Here’s how it got classified:

    [N]ow I begin to see why others are reluctant to engage with you. Your post #135339 is pretty much garbage.

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2015/open-thread-for-ken/#comment-135342

    To what category does “garbage” belong?

  163. Brandon Gates says:

    I’d file that one under “treasure”.

  164. Willard says:

    Wait until you read the story of Vladimir asking for a source to the WMO 1985 statement and Estragon coming up with the one from 1999, BrandonG.

  165. DY,
    Yes, of course you think they are. Jeez!

    I think Joshua nails it, IMO. I’m just taken aback by how a bunch of people who will accept any old crap if it says anything that suggests AGW might not be happening, isn’t going to be significant, or that everything will fine, are all up in arms about a paper, the result of which most accept is correct.

    Joshua’s also right about this

    My interpretation of Anders’ point was that he doesn’t agree with the criticisms you offered, but that in the end arguing over those criticisms (which you have done in the past with neither changing views) is not worth effort given that you basically agree w/r/t the issue the paper targets – whether there is a high prevalence of agreement among scientists with expertise in the field .

    And, FWIW, Pekka, I do find it frustrating that you would throw out vague statements about bad behaviour and bad methods. I just don’t have the energy to start a discussion about this that won’t resolve anything.

  166. You don’t need to go after Pekka. After all, “The ‘97% consensus’ article is poorly conceived, poorly designed and poorly executed. It obscures the complexities of the climate issue and it is a sign of the desperately poor level of public and policy debate in this country [UK] that the energy minister should cite it.” Mike Hulme, Ph.D. Professor of Climate Change, University of East Anglia (UEA)

  167. Tom,

    You don’t need to go after Pekka.

    Jeepers, it’s how amazing how people who can be remarkably rude, suddenly get all sensitive when someone even lightly criticises someone who says something they agree with. Oh, and quoting Mike Hulme isn’t particularly convincing. You do get the concept of “appealing to authority”?

  168. BBD says:

    And so it goes on. As with Mann, the confected argument about C13 becomes the means by which climate science is *associated* with (fake) controversy by sly rhetoricians with no scientific argument whatsoever.

  169. harrytwinotter says:

    “I think Cook should have limited his survey to those studies that estimate the equilibrium climate sensitivity.”

    Trying to rewrite someone else’s survey questions after the fact – really?

  170. harrytwinotter says:

    Eli Rabett, I love you Kzinti reference. Not like your average AWG denier scholar who tends to be more the Pierson’s Puppeteer….

  171. harry,

    Trying to rewrite someone else’s survey questions after the fact – really?

    I do like the “this paper is wrong because they didn’t do the survey I would have done” argument. It is typically accompanied by a statement that makes it clear that the person suggesting the above didn’t bother to understand what the original survey was aiming to determine. This is nicely illustrated by Richard’s suggestion that Cook et al. used papers/abstracts as “evidence that climate change is real and caused by humans“.

  172. verytallguy says:

    ATTP,

    It is typically accompanied by a statement that makes it clear that the person suggesting the above didn’t bother to understand what the original survey was aiming to determine. This is nicely illustrated by Richard’s suggestion that Cook et al. used papers/abstracts as “evidence that climate change is real and caused by humans“.“.

    Your argument is readily refuted; it requires Richard to be ignorant. The evidence, however, is that Richard has spent many, many hours working on this, and also that he is highly intelligent.

    The obvious inference is not that Richard doesn’t understand the survey, but that he *does* understand it. Perfectly.

    And it’s the fact that he does understand not just its content, but its power in communication which drives his obsession to attempt to dishonestly discredit it.

    Which takes us back here.

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/persistence/#comment-51292

  173. Andrew Dodds says:

    @thomasfuller2

    Yay, we’ve got down to the ‘Creationist’ level – ‘random quote from scientist disproves science theory’. Next we’ll do a study in which we find that hardly any papers in the biological sciences explicitly argue for evolution!

    We should also set up some websites in which people post mutually contradictory alternatives to the hated theory without ever criticizing each other, perhaps set up the odd pseudo-journal (or just merge with the Journal-of-911-studies, I hear that one is going quiet).

    Oh, and if any nasty person uses sarcasm at us we’ll go full Charles-the-First Pompous on them.

  174. Rational Troll says:

    Thomas

    There’s a certain lost art to commenting on blogs (in particular ones that don’t necessarily share your point of view) that involves trying not to be a dick. I’d encourage you to employ this technique, as you make some valid and interesting points.

    You might think, as Hulme appears to do, that the Cook paper is a pointless and misleading exercise. I must admit, I’m somewhat sympathetic to that view. But then, perhaps, if there were a certain powerful and influential country, where a significant number of lawmakers did not believe that human activity could alter our climate, a researcher might want to combat that kind of ignorance? Might it not be handy to be able to say, well, you know, actually 97% of scientists involved in the field do believe we can and we are changing the climate, and I’ve got a study to prove it.

    97% is a blunt instrument and you, me and those who are familiar with the discussions around climate change might want a more nuanced argument than that, but then I don’t really think we’re the ones it’s seeking to inform.

    Are there flaws in C13’s methodology? Probably. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a survey paper that doesn’t have significant issues. Seriously though, who really gives a fuck? It’s time to move on.

  175. Rational,
    Hmm, your comment has lead me to think that I could significantly shorten my moderation policy 🙂

    I broadly agree with the rest of your comment. When I firsy encountered this, my initial thought was “of course the level of agreement is high, what are people on about?”. Are there likely to be problems with Cook et al. both in terms of method and in terms of the actual ratings? Sure, and I doubt the authors would disagree. As you say, it’s probably rare to find such a study that doesn’t have some kind of flaw, or that couldn’t have been done in a different, possibly better, way. None of that, however, implies fraud, scientific misconduct, or that what’s being illustrated isn’t broadly correct. People can carry on pontificating about methods as much as they like, but that isn’t going to change that the level of consensus is in the high 90%s.

  176. Rational Troll says:

    I’ve come across something interesting in my travels. It involves the Web of Science, and the claim that a search of UQ database returns different results as the U Sussex database. The details are over at Hot Whopper, it’s pretty interesting. Any thoughts anyone?

  177. Rational,
    I’m confused by that. It shouldn’t, I don’t think. I certainly got about the same number of abstracts using the same search terms. What does matter is whether or not you use quotation marks around the search terms, but I don’t think it should matter what university you’re searching from.

  178. Richard S.J. Tol says:

    @BBD
    And that is exactly the point: Tolerating, nay celebrating flawed research (Mann, Cook, Lewandowski, Rahmstorff) casts the whole of climate research in a bad light.

  179. Richard,

    And that is exactly the point: Tolerating, nay celebrating flawed research (Mann, Cook, Lewandowski, Rahmstorff) casts the whole of climate research in a bad light.

    There’s a word for this kind of tactic “you must accept my criticism or else you’re a bad person” (paraphrasing, of course). It’s obviously juvenile, but I think there’s a better one. Willard will know.

  180. BBD says:

    Rational

    [To Tom F:] Seriously though, who really gives a f**k? It’s time to move on.

    Ah, but that’s not how the game is played 😉

    Why, I even see people fulminating about MBH98/99 to this very day. Because this is about about generating mistrust in the public perception of climate science, not rational analysis of any particular study…

  181. BBD says:

    And that is exactly the point: Tolerating, nay celebrating flawed research (Mann, Cook, Lewandowski, Rahmstorff) casts the whole of climate research in a bad light.

    Oh thank you, Richard!

    Such a generous gift 🙂

  182. Richard S.J. Tol says:

    @Wotts
    Perhaps we should make it hard for Anthony Watts and the like to punch holes in climate research.

  183. BBD says:

    AW doesn’t ‘punch holes’ in climate research, Richard. He’s laughably wrong, all the time.

  184. Perhaps we should make it hard for Anthony Watts and the like to punch holes in climate research.

    Jeepers, do you seriously think that Anthony Watts and the like are punching holes in climate research? Seriously? Most of what Anthony Watts and the like promote is complete nonsense. Given that he’s willing to promote any old junk, it’s hard to see that there’s anything that could be done to reduce his attempts to try and punch holes in climate research. You do realise that much of the criticism coming from Anthony Watts and the like is just nonsense, don’t you? You don’t take them seriously do you? That would appear to be absurd if you do.

  185. Richard,
    The problem with this discussion (as is always the case with you) is that either you’re taking the piss, or you’re clueless. There isn’t really a third option. Of course, I can’t fault your persistence.

  186. verytallguy says:

    ATTP,

    Richard is on the side of truth, pure and simple. He is trying to help remove poor science from the public record.

    He achieves this through his position on the advisory board of a political lobby group – obviously the best way to promote truth.

    Any suggestion that he is an obsessive (Ackerman) politically motivated (GWPF) contrarian (Cook) rather than a righteous campaigner for scientific ethics (gremlins) would be bizarre.

  187. Richard S.J. Tol says:

    @Wotts
    Sorry for the shorthand.

    Does Watts punch holes? I don’t know. I only skim through his stuff, and I am not qualified to judge anyway.

    Do many of Watts’ readers believe he punches holes in climate research? Oh yes. Do his readers include people who influence public opinion? Oh yes.

    Irony has that this is genesis of the consensus project — or should I say the shoot-yourself-in-the-foot project?

  188. Eli Rabett says:

    ATTP said

    “but I don’t think it should matter what university you’re searching from.”

    Eli has seen WoS subscriptions that were limited by dates covered. The US Library of Congress has one of these for example. Given Thompson Reuters behavior in many things it would not be surprising that there were examples where coverage differed.

  189. The weaknesses of the Cook paper have been discussed extensively before. I have also explained my complaints before. I add only a short comment on what I meant by misleading presentation of the results.

    In the actual analysis several categories where used, but neither the paper nor supplementary material or anything else I have seen written by the authors presented the results at that level. The data was, however, made available, and it’s possible to count the full results. Doing that leads IMO to radically different conclusions from those presented in the paper. My conclusion being that the results have almost no real power, because the numbers are dominated by almost neutral classes, while the more polarized classes have so few hits that their results are also worthless.

    The results are perfectly compatible with the 97% number, but they are, IMO, compatible also with very different numbers for any quantity of relevance.

    It could perhaps be seen as an experiment that tells something about the approach, not as work that tells about the level of consensus.

  190. Marco says:

    ATTP, on Hotwhopper Tol claims that when he does the same search as Cook et al, he gets a markedly different result.

    http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2015/03/deconstructing-97-self-destructed.html?showComment=1427439913692#c3790368814282625887

  191. Richard,

    Does Watts punch holes? I don’t know. I only skim through his stuff, and I am not qualified to judge anyway.

    I would have thought it was fairly obvious. You could always talk to people who are qualified?

    Do many of Watts’ readers believe he punches holes in climate research? Oh yes. Do his readers include people who influence public opinion? Oh yes.

    Of course they do, but I’m not sure how that makes your point. Scientists should – IMO – not change their behaviour simply to counter the mis-representations presented by Watts. If anything, they should (and largely do) ignore him and his site – as I should probably have done myself.

    Irony has that this is genesis of the consensus project — or should I say the shoot-yourself-in-the-foot project?

    Well, of course you’d describe it that way.

  192. Eli Rabett says:

    ATTP, Eli thinks you are confused, it is not that Richard is clueless or taking the piss out of everyone, it is that he has a deep contempt for those he, bright bulb that he is, is condemned to share the world with. You mostly see this in those who are mildly bright and have been praised all their lives.

  193. Pekka,
    I think I may have pointed out before that – IMO – you’re misrepresenting, or misunderstanding, Cook et al. However, I have little interest in actually defending it again. My main issue with your earlier comment was how you manage to phrase it as a fact, rather than as your view.

  194. Eli,
    Okay, yes, that seems plausible. I have certainly encountered such people every now and again. Can be quite prevalent in academia.

  195. BBD says:

    Richard

    Does Watts punch holes? I don’t know. I only skim through his stuff, and I am not qualified to judge anyway.

    Those who are qualified to judge routinely reject AW’s output as nonsense.

    Do many of Watts’ readers believe he punches holes in climate research? Oh yes. Do his readers include people who influence public opinion? Oh yes.

    Then AW is actively misinforming decision-makers and potentially distorting public policy.

    Irony has that this is genesis of the consensus project — or should I say the shoot-yourself-in-the-foot project?

    You will persist in saying whatever you wish. That does not stop what you say being misinformation. In this respect you are exactly the same as AW.

  196. ATTP,
    I could defend my views and what I really do consider simple and straightforward facts, but the issue is not worth that.

    What I don’t quite understand is, why Tol chooses to return to his criticism, nor why you decided to write a post on that. When both these steps did take place, it’s natural that also many of the other points will be repeated, including my above comments.

  197. angech says:

    97%?
    97.1% in Dana’s paper that endorse AGW.
    But 1.9% reject it and 1.0 % are uncertain are linked together as not endorsing it.
    Suggesting the 1.0% is really negative uncertain.
    Otherwise the 1% should be divided 50/50 in the pursuit of fairness?
    Or was there a push to classify uncertain but positive as implicit.
    This would make the 97.1% more like 62.6% endorsing and 31.3% uncertain positive
    Why are there more rejecting it than uncertain?
    On a bell curve or any probability spread there would have to be more people in the uncertain range.
    Think about it.

  198. Fergus says:

    “And that is exactly the point: Tolerating, nay celebrating flawed research (Mann, Cook, Lewandowski, Rahmstorff) casts the whole of climate research in a bad light.”

    Mmm. Does this also apply to Economics? Besides, extracting the above mentioned at random (so as not to argue the case of ‘flawed’) wouldn’t even scratch the surface of the body of evidence. Why not just claim that everyone at the Met Office and NOAA, plus all those other institutions, is incompetent?

    Richard – where is the credibility in the ‘evidence’? More to the point, where is the counter evidence? From here it looks like you’re suggesting that lobbying/PR is valid because it fools the fools, and this makes it equivalent to science. Like I said; mmm…

  199. Pekka,

    I could defend my views and what I really do consider simple and straightforward facts, but the issue is not worth that.

    I’m sure you could and I think I could do the same and we could end up in a never-ending discussion. Hence, I agree, not worth it.

    What I don’t quite understand is, why Tol chooses to return to his criticism, nor why you decided to write a post on that. When both these steps did take place, it’s natural that also many of the other points will be repeated, including my above comments.

    A fair point. That’s partly why my post wasn’t about specifically defending Cook et al.

  200. verytallguy says:

    Pekka,

    What I don’t quite understand is, why Tol chooses to return to his criticism..

    C’mon, Pekka, be serious. You can’t even hazard a guess?

  201. angech,

    Think about it.

    I have, and I don’t really understand your point. However, irrespective of Cook et al. if you were to claim that significantly less then 97% of relevant scientists, papers, abstracts,…. don’t endorse the consensus position that we are warming and that is mostly us, you’d almost certainly be wrong – which is the main point. Of course, this doesn’t mean that all these scientists, paper, abstracts,…. are right, it just means that there is a strong amount of agreement about this aspect of the science.

  202. angech says:

    Pekka it is two Bulls locking horns.
    ATTP is quite happy taking Richard down on his attitude not his work.
    Toll is quite happy defending his work.
    Ad infinitum, see Eli above .
    ATTP wins while it rolls on but 7 days is usually the level of interest.

  203. VTTG,

    I might play an amateur psychologist and make guesses based on that. My own view is that looking objectively neither gained any positive results in the direction they may have had in mind, rather the opposite. In particular I think that this post and thread works more in Tol’s favor.

  204. angech says:

    ATTP, Oreskes was doing the we are warming and it is mostly us survey.
    Cook et al does we are warming but includes “mostly us” as a subset.
    I know you have read it.
    I have just reread it to be sure.
    The statement is that human beings are causing some global warming.
    Certainly less than 50% because it is a subset.
    It could be a lot lower.
    I realise you know the we are warming and it is mostly our fault is true.
    But this is not what the study says and it should be referenced appropriately.

  205. angech,
    I’m seriously not interested in debating this. Two facts. It actually says “causing” not “causing some”, and no abstract can have two ratings. You carry on interpreting it any way you like, though. This, however,

    But this is not what the study says and it should be referenced appropriately.

    is an irritatingly rhetorical tactic.

  206. Andrew Dodds says:

    @angech

    Tol has been unable to justify his claim of no warming for 18 years, which suggests an inability to justify anything else he says. And if he really thought the 97% study was wrong, he could actually like, publish a better paper with the correct number…

  207. Pekka,

    In particular I think that this post and thread works more in Tol’s favor.

    Possibly, but I don’t particularly care.

  208. angech,

    ATTP is quite happy taking Richard down on his attitude not his work.

    Except, this is really only true for this post (well, and maybe one other). The whole point of my post is that it gets tedious pointing out people’s errors and so it’s easiest just to give up. Persistence is a remarkably successful strategy.

  209. Richard S.J. Tol says:

    @pekka
    I returned because there were two new developments since my piece in Energy Policy: (1) The release of rater IDs and date stamps and (2) Simon Turnill’s FOI request.

    These developments are “new” rather than “recent” because (1) ERL left me hanging for a while, (2) two not-to-be-named media outlets let me hanging for a while, and (3) I was busy teaching for a while.

  210. Richard,
    So what? It wasn’t a survey of the raters, it was a survey of the abstracts.

  211. verytallguy says:

    Pekka,

    I don’t disagree with you on the outcome. But that wasn’t the question.

    The question was “why Tol chooses to return to his criticism..”

    Richard has answered.

    I don’t believe him. Or rather, to be more accurate, I don’t believe his answer is an honest reflection of why he has been so obsessive for so long over something whose conclusions he agrees with.

    What say you, Pekka?

  212. Richard S.J. Tol says:

    @Wotts
    If you want to measure the temperature, you start by testing your thermometers.

    The time/rater data show one good thing: Ari Jokimaki consistently applied the agreed rules.

    The rest was rubbish at their job.

  213. I’ll make a more serious point, which I was kind of trying to avoid. Pekka’s kind of made the point already.

    It is clear to anyone who has some understanding of this topic that the level of agreement amongst relevant scientists or within relevant papers/abstracts is very high (somewhere close to 100%). The only reason that consensus studies exist in this scientific area (and not in others) is because people either dispute the existence of a consensus or aim to discredit any piece of work that tries to illustrate this consensus.

    Given this, why would Richard possibly write the articles that he has? It can’t be to argue that the consensus doesn’t exist since it clearly does and he accepts that. It could be to try and argue for the purity of the scientific method, but why would anyone really care? The result is broadly correct and I doubt that – in general – most people care whether or not the method in a specific paper was absolutely perfect and that the analysis could not have been done better or differently. In fact, the latter is almost always true. Most papers probably have something that could be criticised (that Richard does not appear to realise or accept this is a little odd).

    The only reason that I can think of why people would possibly care about this, is that the result is one that is inconvenient to a certain narrative and, hence, if you can’t dispute the result, discredit the work and those who did it. Of course, that is just my opinion, since I can’t actually prove this and have no interest in doing so. Of course, if it is the reason, then the behaviour of those who are doing this is, in my opinion, appalling.

  214. Richard,
    Yes, and if someone were to publish a paper using thermometers that were poorly calibrated, the norm would be to do the analysis again with thermometers that are properly calibrated, not spend years pointing out that the first study used poorly calibrated thermometers. However often you pontificate about the method, it is ultimately the result that matters. If the method was poor or wrong, people normally redo it properly, not simply spend years pointing out that some earlier work used a poor, or wrong, method.

    The time/rater data show one good thing: Ari Jokimaki consistently applied the agreed rules.

    The rest was rubbish at their job.

    Really, and you know this because you’ve gone through the ratings and shown that everyone else gave ratings that were completely inconsistent with what was actually written in the abstract, or because you’ve applied some kind of statistical test that is probably more related to a survey of the raters, than a survey of the abstracts (or something else, I guess)?

  215. Richard,
    Here’s the fundamental problem I have. Your published response to Cook et al. was – IMO – nonsense. You claimed a consensus of 91% and, hence, that there should be 100s of reject abstracts. When questioned, you invoked quantum mechanics. For someone who keeps going on about the purity of the method, it’s really hard to take you seriously when your own method gave results that didn’t make any sense (including that there should have, initially, been a negative number of reject abstracts). Fix your own method first, and then maybe I’ll take what you say about the sanctity of the method more seriously.

  216. John says:

    “I think Cook should have limited his survey to those studies that estimate the equilibrium climate sensitivity.”

    Wouldn’t this just reproduce the bell curve of climate sensitivity? There seems to be a strong convergence around the 2-3C mark.

  217. Fergus says:

    Here’s a suggestion for Richard; why don’t you define the search terms and criteria for an ad hoc ‘survey’ ? I’m sure a number of commenters here or elsewhere would be happy to do a little legwork on google scholar or similar and provide their findings…

  218. Richard S.J. Tol says:

    @wotts
    Abstracts were offered in random order to the raters, so any trend in the ratings is because of the raters rather than the abstracts.

    Ari is the only rater whose ratings are not trending.

  219. Richard S.J. Tol says:

    @Fergus
    You can do that here: http://www.skepticalscience.com/tcp.php?t=rate_papers

    You may want to petition Cook to release the results.

  220. Richard,

    If the paper were thought to be scientifically significant, discussing it’s details would be relevant, but I cannot see, how anyone could ever have thought that the work is good social science. The paper was not written to tell on the scientific value of the method, it was written to summarize a selected subset of the ultimate results. It succeeded in getting that message trough. Criticism was strong almost immediately, but that didn’t make any difference for two reasons:

    1) The claims presented are surely qualitatively true, the number of 97% could well be taken as illustrative rather than quantitative.

    2) There was an audience willing to use the results including the “97%”. For that audience the scientific level of the paper was irrelevant.

    These two points, in combination with the obvious weaknesses of the paper, make it irrelevant, IMO, whether some further tests can be done on the method, or something new has been revealed about them.

    It’s surely possible to look at the approach and analyze in detail, whether it works, and where it fails, but the paper has so little content of this nature that discussing those points seems to me unjustified. I don’t see the work or the paper as an serious attempt to develop new methods for social science.

  221. John says:

    @Tol – “Perhaps we should make it hard for Anthony Watts and the like to punch holes in climate research.”

    Perhaps you’ve simply provided more sand for them to bury their heads in.

    @ATTP – “Yes, and if someone were to publish a paper using thermometers that were poorly calibrated, the norm would be to do the analysis again with thermometers that are properly calibrate”

    This would seem to be a better use of Richard’s time, if indeed he is interested in providing airtight proof of the consensus, which he concedes is most likely in the high nineties. And yet here he is, with another bucket of sand.

  222. Eli Rabett says:

    Richard says

    “If you want to measure the temperature, you start by testing your thermometers.”

    Well, if one wants to measure temperature trends you don’t have to do that, you measure the changes observed by each thermometer and compare them. Oh wait. . . .

  223. Richard S.J. Tol says:

    @Pekka
    That is the appropriate reaction in a sane world.

  224. Richard,

    Abstracts were offered in random order to the raters, so any trend in the ratings is because of the raters rather than the abstracts.

    I don’t particularly care. I’ll repeat the point I made above. It’s hard to take you seriously about the sanctity of the method after you managed to publish a response that effectively suggested that there were initially a negative number of reject abstracts and that there were finally many more reject abstracts than almost anyone else thinks is plausible. I’ll also repeat that if you really want to know if the ratings were poor, redo them! All your statistical tests just make it seem that you’re avoiding actually checking in case you discover that there is not a major problem with the actual ratings.

    Also, FWIW, this post probably most closely represents my actual view on this whole issue.

  225. Willard says:

    I am beginning to come round to that opinion. All my life I’ve tried to put it from me, saying Vladimir, be reasonable, you haven’t yet tried everything. And I resumed the struggle.

  226. Richard,

    That is the appropriate reaction in a sane world.

    Okay, so we can expect your next article to say “the consensus is in the high 90%s, let’s all move on”. If you don’t like consensus studies, then that would be the sensible thing to do. It is – IMO – because of what you’re doing that they exist.

  227. Paul S says:

    Pekka,

    In the actual analysis several categories where used, but neither the paper nor supplementary material or anything else I have seen written by the authors presented the results at that level. The data was, however, made available, and it’s possible to count the full results. Doing that leads IMO to radically different conclusions from those presented in the paper. My conclusion being that the results have almost no real power, because the numbers are dominated by almost neutral classes, while the more polarized classes have so few hits that their results are also worthless.

    I have a feeling this has probably been covered a few times previously but I haven’t been paying attention, so a question: Your conclusion appears to rely on an assumption that implicit endorsement is much weaker than explicit endorsement, ‘almost neutral’ even. My understanding of the study is that it was about attempting to gauge how climate change is discussed in the scientific literature versus how it is discussed in the public sphere. With that in mind my view of implicit endorsement is almost opposite to yours. If scientific papers discuss anthropogenic climate change as a given, which requires no endorsement, how is that not a strong indicator of belief that anthropogenic climate change is a real issue?

  228. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Are you pleased that you decided to reopened this can of worms (the OP) despite your statements to the contrary on another thread? 🙂

  229. Willard says:

    > The paper was not written to tell on the scientific value of the method, it was written to summarize a selected subset of the ultimate results.

    This claim, even taking into account its ambiguity, is clearly wrong. I’ve been saying so for many years now. It’s poorly conceived. It offers nothing to Grrrowth.

    I hope everyone in the audience gets that, or else I’ll repeat it in one hour. Then in two. Then this afternoon. Perhaps a bit later too.

    This is so stupidly obvious that I won’t even bother to argue. I’ve already argued for it so many times. No need to provide any citation. It’s just too futile to bother.

    The claim, in a nutshell, is invalid.

    Thank you.

    See you in an hour.

  230. Joshua says:

    Pekka –

    There have been a couple of issues floating around in the blogosphere lately where I’ve found myself saying “Self, what do you think Pekka might say about that?”

    Most of those issue were related to science, and I thought you input might be useful for helping me to understand the issues in play. One was related to a post about moderation at Judith’s – where there was much speculation about you – and where I thought your input might be interesting if not in any way useful w/r/t the science of climate change.

    But you’ve been pretty quiet of late.

    And then here I see you weigh in on a topic which is really, IMO, nothing other than a food fight about personality politics.

    Of course, that could merely be a matter of happenstance – say that you’ve been busy lately and just happened to have some free time right when this post was active. Or perhaps I’m missing something about how fights about Cook13 are actually meaningful in some way.

  231. Fergus says:

    @ Richard:

    You’re missing the point. You don’t like nose counts. Okay, tell us what to look for and we’ll look for it; iow, you get to select any reasonable search term and any reasonable criterion which tests the hypothesis “This scientist (paper) agrees with (statement X)”, or some other device. There’s no point in doing more of what you already deem to be worthless, so let’s do something you would consider robust and see what results come out. Will you do this?

  232. Pekka said:


    The results are perfectly compatible with the 97% number, but they are, IMO, compatible also with very different numbers for any quantity of relevance.

    For some reason, reading Pekka reminds me of HAL 9000 speaking to Dave.


    In particular I think that this post and thread works more in Tol’s favor.

    After complaining about the non-science of the study, Pekka pulls the subjective opinion card.

  233. Kevin ONeill says:

    R. Tol writes: “If you want to measure the temperature, you start by testing your thermometers.””

    Richard, there are methods of measuring temperature that do not require accurate thermometers. There are methods of measuring temperature that do not even require thermometers. In fact, there are methods of measuring temperature that require *no* instrumentation at all.

    The question then is: Does R. Tol’s level of cluelessness pass for wisdom in his circle of friends and acquaintances? Doesn’t anyone in his circle ever point out his ideas are just flat out wrong?

  234. verytallguy says:

    JH,

    Are you pleased that you decided to reopened this can of worms

    I was going to observe that Tol is the only person enjoying themselves here, then Willard comes along and I think “Aha – let’s leave Tol to Willard – he might at least enjoy the argumentation”

    But now even Willard seems to be frustrated and irritable.

    So Tol gets to enjoy the attention he gains through winding up others obsessively. No surprises there.

    So. A reminder. Like Willard, I might come back in an hour and remind again if necessary. Unless ATTP puts me out of my misery and bans me for threadbombing.

  235. verytallguy says:

    Seems relevant

  236. Paul S,

    Technically most of the paper is restricted strictly to abstracts (the other part is based on self-assessment by the authors). It’s essential to notice that by far most papers where not about estimating the anthropogenic contribution to warming, and that references to the anthropogenic contributions may have been present for other reasons. Very often AGW was part of the justification for the work. We know that a scientist neutral on the AGW may well do research that’s irrelevant without AGW. References to AGW are in these cases typically very short.

    Thus we have several obvious questions:
    1) Can the people who assess the abstract do that correctly and consistently?
    2) Do the abstracts reflect properly, what the full paper tells about an issue that’s is not central for outcome of the paper?
    3) Does the full paper reflect the thinking of the authors?

    To me the most serious question is the second one. Picking just a few papers reveals immediately that what’s written in the abstract on a factor that’s not related to the main results of the paper is extremely variable and prone to misinterpretation. It would be of some interest to study the abstracts in relation to the full papers. It’s natural that authors themselves and reviewers put some emphasis on assuring that the main results are reflected correctly in the abstract, but are the other parts of the abstract as representative, on that I have great doubts, enforced by several examples I checked myself.

    All the checks of the type Richard has discussed might form reasonable scientific research, but the the original paper skipped all that. It jumped to something else that’s not scientific at all, IMO. It did that without any attempt to justify that the problems that I see as likely devastating are not that serious.

  237. Michael 2 says:

    Kevin says “In fact, there are methods of measuring temperature that require *no* instrumentation at all.”

    So it seems.

    But seriously, I cannot think of anything that measures temperature. A mercury thermometer measures the expansion of mercury, a substance that expands presumably in response to an increase in this mysterious property called “temperature”.

    A bolometer changes electrical resistance as a response to a change in its own temperature, which is changed by focusing infrared emitted by something else.

    In these cases, what is measured is a change in the physical properties of something.

  238. Paul S says:

    Pekka,

    Don’t the author self-assessment results answer those questions?

  239. Michael 2 says:

    Fergus says “There’s no point in doing more of what you already deem to be worthless, so let’s do something you would consider robust and see what results come out.”

    That’s a good start. There’s no point in counting the exact number of candles a candle manufacturer produces if the question is whether candles exist and are human caused.

    Global warming has become a multi-billion dollar industry and of course it will produce climate change papers, about four per day if I remember right.

    That doesn’t make it wrong, but how many papers per day are produced explaining the incandescent lamp? Clearly the science is either not settled or most of these papers aren’t really about climate change (or both, or neither).

  240. pbjamm says:

    a little late but:

    “Tolerating, nay celebrating flawed research (Mann, Cook, Lewandowski, Rahmstorff) casts the whole of climate research in a bad light.”

    You forgot to include Tol on that list 🙂

  241. Joshua,

    I have been rather busy with other activities last couple of weeks. I noticed with some delay the discussion on my contributions at Climate Etc., and concluded that it’s better to leave that without my comment. There were some comments, where my trust in basic physics was labeled dogmatic. I pondered, whether it would be necessary to explain, why I don’t see any problems in that, rather I see that the commenter didn’t understand, what scientific knowledge is. I decided not to write on that either as some other commenters seemed to make my contribution unnecessary.

  242. Paul,

    You forgot to include Tol on that list :

    Yes, I did wonder if Richard appreciates that we could all play the same game. Tolerating work that I regard as flawed brings the whole of some group into disrepute?

  243. Kevin ONeill says:

    Pekka, regarding your 2nd point: isn’t the use of the abstracts as a proxy for the entire paper validated by the author’s self-ratings? That is my interpretation since the authors should know what’ is and isn’t in their papers as well as anyone.

  244. Willard says:

    > All the checks of the type Richard has discussed might form reasonable scientific research, but the the original paper skipped all that.

    Citation needed, Pekka.

    You may notice that you’re moving from “this is not how social science should be done” to “this ain’t how social science is done.”

    To answer your questions:

    (1) Yes, otherwise Richard would have to reinvent psychophysics.

    (2) The classification has a category for that counterexample.

    (3) Irrelevant, since what is measured is an endorsement, not the inner life of a researcher.

    ***

    I’m not irritated anymore, Very Tall. This thread perfectly illustrates the power of persistence. It will also show to Pekka why I usually stick around epic threads. More importantly, I think we’re developing material for a sequel to Waiting for Godot.

    Vladimir & Estragon — With Extra Shades of Grey

  245. Paul,

    Case by case comparison with the self-assessment answers at least partially the question in cases where self-assessments are available. Looking in more detail on that might be useful, but I don’t think that the paper included that kind of analysis.

    I don’t remember any more all the details. Therefore I try to restrict my present comments to what I surely remember correctly. Further details on the use of the self-assessments belong to what I don’t remember that well.

  246. Willard says:

    > Case by case comparison with the self-assessment answers at least partially the question in cases where self-assessments are available. Looking in more detail on that might be useful, but I don’t think that the paper included that kind of analysis.

    From the horse”s mouth:

    Abstracts were randomly distributed via a web-based system to raters with only the title and abstract visible. All other information such as author names and affiliations, journal and publishing date were hidden. Each abstract was categorized by two independent, anonymized raters. A team of 12 individuals completed 97.4% (23 061) of the ratings; an additional 12 contributed the remaining 2.6% (607). Initially, 27% of category ratings and 33% of endorsement ratings disagreed. Raters were then allowed to compare and justify or update their rating through the web system, while maintaining anonymity. Following this, 11% of category ratings and 16% of endorsement ratings disagreed; these were then resolved by a third party.

    Upon completion of the final ratings, a random sample of 1000 ‘No Position’ category abstracts were re-examined to differentiate those that did not express an opinion from those that take the position that the cause of GW is uncertain. An ‘Uncertain’ abstract explicitly states that the cause of global warming is not yet determined (e.g., ‘…the extent of human-induced global warming is inconclusive…’) while a ‘No Position’ abstract makes no statement on AGW.

    To complement the abstract analysis, email addresses for 8547 authors were collected, typically from the corresponding author and/or first author. For each year, email addresses were obtained for at least 60% of papers. Authors were emailed an invitation to participate in a survey in which they rated their own published papers (the entire content of the article, not just the abstract) with the same criteria as used by the independent rating team. Details of the survey text are provided in the supplementary information (available at stacks.iop.org/ERL/8/024024/mmedia).

    http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024024/article

    Even Kahan admitted that this was well crafted.

  247. Joshua says:

    VTG –

    Re: your 1:43 – sometimes you have helpfully reminded me to play the ball.

  248. dikranmarsupial says:

    Pekka wrote “It’s essential to notice that by far most papers where not about estimating the anthropogenic contribution to warming, and that references to the anthropogenic contributions may have been present for other reasons.”

    I think you are missing the point here, the question is not about whether there is evidence that consensus position is correct, the question addressed by Cook et al is whether there is a consensus position on this particular question. A paper need not be on estimating the anthropogenic contribution to warming in order to endorse a particular position on that question. For example a paper on statistical downscaling might well include a statement in the abstract to the effect that anthropogenic emissions are having a dominant effect on global climate as providing a motivation for improved methods for assessing sub-regional consequences of our emissions. That would be a clear example of endorsement of the consensus position without the paper estimating the anthropogenic contribution. Cook et al would be perfectly correct in including such a study (the one of which I was a co-author was not captured by the search terms).

    “To me the most serious question is the second one. (“Do the abstracts reflect properly, what the full paper tells about an issue that’s is not central for outcome of the paper?”)”

    That is not the aim of Cook et al. and that is made perfectly clear in the abstract.

    If you are interested in the science of climate change, then I would agree that Cook et al. is not very interesting. However if you are interested in public communication or understanding of the science, then it is a useful step in showing that the “consensus gap” is real. It is a bit like criticizing a screwdriver for being a sub-optimal tool for driving in a nail.

    c.f. the RealClimate article I referenced up-thread.

    “We’ve used the term “consensus” here a bit recently (see our earlier post on the subject), without ever really defining what we mean by it. In normal practice, there is no great need to define it – ***no science depends on it***. But it’s useful to record the core that most scientists agree on, for public presentation. ” [***emphasis*** mine]

  249. matt says:

    For the undecided lurkers out there, wiki (links within it) is worth a read.

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

    Focusing on one study, whether it has serious flaws (as Richard insists), or its conclusions are about right (as Tol insists), is not a good idea.

  250. matt says:

    > “675 abstracts within 72 hours, a superhuman ­effort.”

    From a slow reader, are you sure you wanna put that out there RT? Thats as doable as Tom Fullers test. Very.

  251. verytallguy says:

    Joshua, re, 1:43, the figure in the picture represents Tol.

  252. Willard says:

    May one inquire where His Highness spent the night?

    In a ditch.

    (admiringly). A ditch! Where?

    (without gesture). Over there.

    And they didn’t beat you?

    Beat me? Certainly they beat me.

    The same lot as usual?

    The same? I don’t know.

    See also:

    http://judithcurry.com/2013/08/08/after-climategate-never-the-same/#comment-362090

  253. Willard says:

    > “a superhuman ­effort”

    Is that a quote, matt?

    Here would be what may appear like another superhuman effort:

    We are writing this in December 2009.

    More than 180 pages in a couple of weeks. Not that many shades of grey.

    By chance RonG reminded us recently that it’s super powers all the way up.

  254. Joshua says:

    VTG –

    ==> “Joshua, re, 1:43, the figure in the picture represents Tol.”

    ???? Yeah. That was my point.

  255. Sir Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII, Lord Dingittover-Hugh says:

    Dang, Eli’s beaten me to the punch here on my first point, whilst I was over at Sou’s having him beat me to the punch there. Still, I’ve gone to the trouble of typing this and sitting on it for an hour or two, so…

    I note that the calibration of thermometers canard has raised its head. Three points come immediately to mind:

    1) If there is an error in calibration is is likely to introduce a systematic bias, in which case measurement will still detect a change in the mean.

    2) If there is an issue of calibration, it will be greatly diminished with repeated measuring using different instruments, with the mean rapidly approaching the true mean.

    3) Temperature is measured using many different, independent techniques. Parsimony precludes that the same bias would operate across the spectrum, and to date all different techniques seem to indicate the same trend. UAH may beg to differ, but it’s just fallen into a rather large hole…

  256. verytallguy says:

    Joshua. Ah. yes, that does make sense. I’m very slow today. And now off for the weekend, as Willard is enjoying himself once more.

  257. pbjamm says:

    This all very familiar and the answer is always the same. If you think the methods were wrong or flawed do the study again in any way you see fit and see what your results are. Contrarian types never seem to want to do this because
    A: then people are critiquing their sloppy work
    B: their results will be substantially the same and confirm the original (see BEST)
    C: It is far easier to be a complain about shoddy methods than to do good work

  258. matt says:

    Sorry Willard, I am not sure what you are talking about. I feel like I should but i am not the most avid reader of climate blogs.

    In case it wasn’t a rhetorical question, yes it was a RT quote.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/global-warming-consensus-claim-doesnt-stand-up/story-e6frg6zo-1227276959248

  259. Bernard J. says:

    (Apologies for the honourifics – they’re a hangover from a long, long time ago in a conversation with a lordship far, far away.

    Just how long has this tab been open?!)

  260. Bernard,
    I guessed that there was some link to our most favourite Lordship.

  261. Willard says:

    Thanks, matt.

    I don’t always argue, but when I do, I use my super powers:

    Aw, Geez. This is all to plug your blog and book? Go away.

    I plugged our book on my page. (Didn’t work much. Most of our sales came from a banner on Anthony Watts’ site.) I didn’t go whoring through the blogosphere picking fights at random just to hype it.

    Just…go away.

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2015/open-thread-for-ken/#comment-135489

  262. John Hartz says:

    [This comment has been removed by the moderator]

  263. Willard says:

    Please, John, don’t lump people together like that. Denizens do that all the time. Besides, asking a rhetorical question about motive leads to dog whistling:

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

    To exploit ClimateBall moshpits like you do over and over again, including my own work, to peddle your propaganda is quite frankly [suboptimal].

    Pekka’s his own man.

  264. Joshua says:

    Thanks for that link, willard.

    I just want to say, there’s a lot of people in the “climate-o-sphere” that I love, and Tom Fuller really is close to the top of the list. I consider him to be very precious. In fact, I don’t just love Tom. Love is too weak a word. I lurve Tom.

  265. Fergus says:

    @ Michael2: not being disingenuous. I strained, but couldn’t quite understand your point. What am I missing? RSJT & I have a small history of interaction but most times it has left me somewhat frustrated. At the top of the comments you might be interested in my first post…
    Please elucidate a little.

  266. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    Richard Tol (@RichardTol) says:
    March 26, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Science is a method, not a result.

    False dichotomy.

    Tol:

    If the method is wrong, the result is invalid. It may be true, but it is still invalid. We cannot assess truthfulness. We cannot, ante hoc, falsify climate predictions. Validity is the only thing we have.

    Hmmm…

    Sound argument = validity + true premises.

    How does one determine whether premises are true, one wonders?

    If all you’ve got is validity…
    You have form with no content.
    You have a truth table – which can be handy for determining logical equivalences – but no so useful for making choices.

    Tol:

    Sacrificing validity for political expedience is a sure way to lose credibility.

    Sacrificing truth is a sure way to indicate that you shouldn’t be advising others on the subject of credibility.

  267. The claims presented are surely qualitatively true, the number of 97% could well be taken as illustrative rather than quantitative.

    Richard, if this is taken as a given, then why is Richard so obsessed with this study? It’s not directly related to your field of study? What are you trying to accomplish except to give others the impression that there is no consensus?

  268. BBD says:

    Joshua

    In fact, I don’t just love Tom. Love is too weak a word. I lurve Tom.

    Back off! He’s mine, do you hear me! Mine!

  269. Willard says:

    I’ve written a lot about JAQing OFF at Judy’s recently, eg:

    > I support the investment.

    Then why did you ask the question the way you did, TonyB?

    Does it mean you would still support the investment the MET Office’s investment did not provide more powerful projections, say because it’s good for your community?

    Do you feel that my questions are putting you on a stand right now?

    Do you think I’m just exploring ideas?

    Do you feel my good humour?

    Many thanks!

    INTEGRITY ™ – We Explore Ideas

    http://judithcurry.com/2015/03/10/the-albedo-of-earth/#comment-682808

    JAQing off can get annoying, guys. Also beware that it only provokes Richard to rinse and repeat his INTEGRITY line.

  270. Joshua says:

    BBD –

    You may lurve him also, but I lurve him plus infinity.

  271. Brandon Gates says:

    Willard,

    Vladimir’s rant about his eyes bleeding is about where I had to stop, lest my schadenfreude reach a tipping-point. This is not as clever a reference by far, but it reminded me of Tom chasing Jerry around with a frying pan.

  272. John Hartz says:

    Willard:

    With apologies to Margaret Mitchell and Rhett Butler…

    Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn about your silly game!

  273. snarkrates says:

    Michael 2, Just curious. Are you trying to be obtuse? To claim that nothing measures temperature, merely the change in material properties with temperature? Good fricking God.

    And then to claim that because climate research is an active field this implies that there is somehow controversy over whether anthropogenic CO2 causes warming?

    Dude, there may be a thin line between profundity and stupidity, but your questions are firmly on the stupid side.

  274. Brandon Gates says:

    And just for everyone’s daily dose of irony, this just in at WUWT: Finally: peer reviewed pushback against the Lewandowsky, Oberauer, and Gignacpaper

    You’re welcome.

  275. Vinny Burgoo says:

    The consensus here appears to be that the flaws in Cook et al are unimportant and uninteresting, so unimportant and uninteresting that some here are mystified why other people find them important or interesting.

    One reason is Schadenfreude. When a bunch of snarky science amateurs who have spent years bashing people over the head with a big stick labelled ‘What the science says’ publish some sciencey research themselves (‘What the science says the science says’, Cook et al, ERL, 2013) and that research turns out to be unscientific hokum, jeering is hard to resist.

    Human nature, innit.

  276. JH,
    I think the point that Willard is trying to make is that if we engage in a way that is similar to what one might see on WUWT, CE or BH, we lose whatever moral high ground we might have and make it seem that the person/group we’re targetting holds such a moral high ground. IMO, asking people if they got paid, suggesting some kind of conspiracy,…. are all standard tactics on those sites. I don’t hugely appreciate seeing similar here.

  277. Vinny,

    The consensus here appears to be that the flaws in Cook et al are unimportant and uninteresting, so unimportant and uninteresting that some here are mystified why other people find them important or interesting.

    No, do you want to try again? Persistence is the theme of this post.

  278. Brandon,
    I’ve been trying to avoid the whole conspiracy-ideation aspects of this debate. I have no idea if Lewandowsky’s work is any good or not, or if what he claims to be illustrating is reasonable or not. However, from what I’ve seen, if “skeptics” don’t like people to suggest that they are prone to consiracy ideation, they should simply stop saying things that make it seem that they are.

  279. Joshua says:

    I suspect that Lewandowsky13 will be the new Cook13.

    ==> “However, from what I’ve seen, if “skeptics” don’t like people to suggest that they are prone to consiracy ideation, they should simply stop saying things that make it seem that they are.”

    But herein lies an important point. It’s fallacious to go from reading “skeptic” after “skeptic” writing conspiratorial comments about, say, temperature adjustments to “make it look like the Earth is warming” to assuming/concluding that “skeptics” as a group are more prone than any other particular group towards conspiracy ideation in general (i.e., more likely to believe that the moon landing was faked).

    I think that when we read “skeptics” presenting conspiracy theories about climate change, we should note that “skeptics” are prone to presenting conspiracy theories about climate change.

  280. Brandon Gates says:

    ATTP,

    I’ve been trying to avoid the whole conspiracy-ideation aspects of this debate.

    Apologies, I was not aware; will be mindful of that in the future. I did have a more general point: on the rare occasion a paper favourable to the “sceptical” view makes it to press, Watts & Co. suddenly remember how to properly spell “pal review”.

  281. Joshua says:

    I hear the train a’ comin’

  282. Steven Mosher says:

    “The consensus here appears to be that the flaws in Cook et al are unimportant and uninteresting, so unimportant and uninteresting that some here are mystified why other people find them important or interesting.”

    There is a standard way of finding out if something is unimportant: replication.
    1. I have a real issue with the norming process of the reviewers. I know from past experience
    that this can be important.
    2. I have a real issue with the Kappa score. I know from past experience that this can be
    important.
    3. I have real issue with some raters apparently doing many ratings over a short period of time.
    I know from past experience that this can be important.

    Asserting that these are not important, arguing that they are not important, isn’t very convincing.
    That’s just words. Showing that they are unimportant by repeating the study with better controls over the raters would be convincing.

    As for the consensus here about what is important and interesting, it’s rather meaningless to me. Why? Cause, like, I used to do this crap for a living of sorts. The appeal to consensus works when your audience needs to trust others.

    Why do I find it interesting? It’s simple. I have always been interested in how different people can read the same words and come to different conclusions. Whether that was in theology, literature, or science. I don’t think you can argue that I should not find it interesting. It interests me. Why do I find it it important? If we are going to recommend that people trust the consensus in the circumstance where they lack the expertise to judge for themselves, and if their decision to trust has significant positive or negative consequences for them, then I think we are obligated to provide
    A) the clearest statement of what that consensus is.
    B) the most sound analysis of that consensus we can muster

    In other words, the science about the consensus should not be shittier than the science itself.

  283. Brandon,

    Apologies, I was not aware; will be mindful of that in the future.

    It’s not a problem, but I can’t imagine that me discussing Lewandowsky et al. (2013) would go well. It’s hard enough moderating threads about Cook et al. (2013) 🙂

  284. Brandon Gates says:

    Mosher,

    There is a standard way of finding out if something is unimportant: replication.

    No, that only tells you something about its veracity.

  285. Brandon Gates says:

    Anders, you’re an awful troll. That’s a compliment.

  286. Willard says:

    > There is a standard way of finding out if something is unimportant: replication.

    Exactly.

    If you can replicate it and it’s important, then it’s important.

    If you can’t replicate it and it’s important, then it’s important.

    Or not.

  287. Joshua says:

    Brandon –

    == > “Anders, you’re an awful troll. That’s a compliment.”

    Heh. I’ve noticed the same thing. His efforts at trolling Judithcurry.com have largely been a failure. He’s actually gotten into some interesting discussions that, at least so far, haven’t devolved into him being insulted. What a lousy troll. Anders – if you ever want some lessons, just shoot me an email.

  288. Brandon Gates says:

    Willard,

    Or not.

    What’s the consensus on how many in a quorum?

  289. Joshua says:

    willard –

    What about if you can’t replicate it and it’s unimportant, or you can replicate it and its unimportant?

    Would either of those make it important?

    Or not?

  290. Willard says:

    > IMO, asking people if they got paid, suggesting some kind of conspiracy,…. are all standard tactics on those sites. I don’t hugely appreciate seeing similar here.

    It goes beyond symmetry, AT.

    See what Richard does. He comes here to promote the INTEGRITY ™ brand. Questioning his only helps him promote his brand. This is self-defeating. The same goes with any kind of appeal to scientific ideal, which mainly promote self-righteous credibility.

    Think American football — the offense can block, double team and play physical, but it can’t hold. The defense can hold. This is why it blitzes individuals. Just like today, yesterday, and the day before, right back to the birth of populism.

    OTOH, the offense has the ball. There is no choice but to play the ball. That’s what makes the game asymmetrical.

  291. Brandon Gates says:

    Joshua,

    He’s actually gotten into some interesting discussions that, at least so far, haven’t devolved into him being insulted.

    At risk of revealing the full depths of my hypocrisy, it’s kind of sad when not getting insulted is the minimum standard of success.

  292. dikranmarsupial says:

    @Willard and people say cricket is incomprehensible! ;o)

  293. Willard says:

    Joshua,

    What if I told you that to connect scientific importance with replication was just a bait to switch to INTEGRITY ™?

  294. Willard,

    OTOH, the offense has the ball. There is no choice but to play the ball. That’s what makes the game asymmetrical.

    Actually, that may be one of the more profound things said on this thread. I hadn’t atually perceived it in that way before. Obvious now that you mention it.

  295. pbjamm says:

    “Asserting that these are not important, arguing that they are not important, isn’t very convincing.
    That’s just words. Showing that they are unimportant by repeating the study with better controls over the raters would be convincing.”

    Maybe I misunderstand what you are saying here (I am a lowly IT cog, not a proper scientician) but unless the original authors accept the criticisms as valid why should they redo the study to disprove someone elses’ claims? isnt the burden on the people claiming the methodology is flawed to prove that there are indeed flaws? If someone redid the study and got wildly different results then you could compare and draw conclusions about why, but if they got largely similar results that would show that the claims of flawed methodology were baseless. Please enlighten me internets!

  296. Joshua says:

    willard –

    I’d be shocked. Shocked, I say.

  297. pbjamm says:

    I think you can ignore my last comment. I think i read Steven Mosher (sorry!) as suggesting that Cook et al should repeat the study. On reading it again I do not think that was the point he was making but rather something similar to what I was suggesting. My mistake and I apologize if I have confused the matter.

  298. Michael 2 says:

    HarryTwinOtter says “Kzinti reference. Not like your average AWG denier scholar who tends to be more the Pierson’s Puppeteer”

    Wow; that takes me back a few years. I barely remember any of that, but Larry Niven’s “Ringworld” series was impressive and above average in “science” fiction.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierson%27s_Puppeteers

  299. pbjamm,
    I would largely agree with what you say. There are two ways to discredit a piece of research. Illustrate beyond any doubt that their work was fraudulent or plagiarised, and it would be retracted. The problem is that you have to really make the case for this. In my view, such claims should not be made unless it is incontrovertible and beyond any doubt. If you make such a claim and can’t back it up you are, in view, committing scientific misconduct yourself. That people have not accepted such claims with regards to Cook et al. would seem to suggest that it isn’t incontrovertible. Simply asserting it, is not really good enough.

    Alternatively illustrate a major flaw by essentially redoing the work and getting a different result, or show that you cannot do the work if you use the correct method.

    As far as I can tell, most of the criticism of Cook et al. is somewhere between the two. Claim problems with the method but don’t actually redo the study. Instead imply some kind of misconduct/fraud – maybe without actually saying it explicitly, but close enough that the blogosphere manages to interpret what you say as “The IoP is corrupt”.

  300. Brandon Gates says:

    pbjamm,

    isnt the burden on the people claiming the methodology is flawed to prove that there are indeed flaws? If someone redid the study and got wildly different results then you could compare and draw conclusions about why, but if they got largely similar results that would show that the claims of flawed methodology were baseless.

    Easier to redo the study, get marginally different results and play up the flawed methodology.

  301. Michael 2 says:

    verytallguy says “The obvious inference is not that Richard doesn’t understand the survey, but that he *does* understand it. Perfectly.”

    Yes, and so do I as I have elsewhere written. The problem is how easily it is cast as something else, by design it would seem.

  302. Brandon Gates says:

    ATTP,

    In my view, such claims should not be made unless it is incontrovertible and beyond any doubt.

    Which is difficult in any non-trivial hard science, next to impossible in a soft one.

  303. pbjamm says:

    Thank you ATTP it does seem the critics are making claims without doing the foot work to substantiate them.
    Branon Gates : I admit I had not considered that very likely possibility.

    I cant tell from reading Steven Mosher’s comment who he is trying to put the burden which is why I posted the second apologetic comment.

  304. Michael 2 says:

    Rational Troll writes “The details are over at Hot Whopper, it’s pretty interesting. Any thoughts anyone?”

    It is a story about obsession.

    Hot Whopper is obsessed with Richard. “Richard is obsessed with the study by John Cook et al,”

    http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2015/03/deconstructing-97-self-destructed.html

    Elsewhere, Hot Whopper is obsessed with Anthony.

    SkS is also obsessed with the study by John Cook; but why not, it’s his blog 🙂

  305. Rachel M says:

    I have been on a bit of a moderating hiatus 🙂 But I’ve just had a look at this thread and thought it worth reminding everyone that the thread is not really about the consensus paper itself but about Richard Tol and his crusade against the consensus paper. Try to stick to the topic. The consensus paper has been discussed to death on this blog already.

    Oh and try to be nice 🙂

  306. Brandon Gates says:

    pbjamm,

    I admit I had not considered that very likely possibility.

    You are meant not to.

  307. Brandon,

    Which is difficult in any non-trivial hard science, next to impossible in a soft one.

    Yes, largely my view.

  308. Brandon Gates says:

    ATTP: I wasn’t sure. Could be my lax reading, could be that central point really has gotten lost amidst the running interference.

  309. BBD says:

    Rachel

    Oh and try to be nice

    See declarations of lurve above (from shirt-ripping to bodice-ripping?)

    We does us best, ma’am.

    😉

  310. “Tolerating, nay celebrating flawed research (Mann, Cook, Lewandowski, Rahmstorff) casts the whole of climate research in a bad light.”

    I suspect virtually every great scientist has published something that has turned out to be flawed. Darwin is an obvious case in point – his ideas on inheritance were easily debunked. But that doesn’t stop science in general celebrating Darwin since his wider idea and compilation of evidence resulted in a scientific consensus on the matter of evolution. Tol may be equally a genius. He just hasn’t been able to demonstrate it yet.

  311. Joshua says:

    I would argue that because Brandon can’t replicate Mosher’s work for BEST, we can conclude that (1) BEST is unimportant and (2) the methodological flaws in BEST are proof that the only people who are concerned about BAU with ACO2 emissions are those who have a blind faith in the work of incompetent and/or corrupt activist climate scientists who try to rely on fallacious appeal to authority and a fraudulent claim of “consensus” (the very nature of which is antithetical to noble scientific inquiry).

  312. Joshua says:

    Re: my 6:45 – Bradon S.,that is.

  313. Brandon Gates says:

    I’ve confused him with me myself. 🙂

  314. izen says:

    @-ATTP
    “Willard,
    OTOH, the offense has the ball. There is no choice but to play the ball. That’s what makes the game asymmetrical.
    Actually, that may be one of the more profound things said on this thread. I hadn’t actually perceived it in that way before. Obvious now that you mention it.”

    So… is climate science batting of fielding?
    (and which innings is it)

  315. Willard says:

    AT,

    Thank you for the kind words. Pekka said about the same when he observed that these ClimateBall episodes served contrarians more than anything. Since Richard’s running around inflating his own INTEGRITY ™ and uses C13 as a proxy to target the establishment’s, what would be the proper response?

    There are many, I guess. Picking one is a matter of taste, perhaps. Or rather style.

    My own ball is the words people use. That’s why I focus on this. I don’t think it’s “meta”, whatever that means. The auditing sciences are first and foremost word placement disciplines. Everything else is meta, including debates about scientific minutiae, like sensitivity. From my perspective, these are proxy debates that hide power struggles between establishments and those who fight for them, willingly or not.

    If your ball is physics, go for it. If you like to add some social spice, like any successful climate blogs to date, go for it. I don’t mind. Even PaulM discovered that this may be funnier than formal stuff. Just make sure to keep your eyes on the ball, and ClimateBall will play all by itself.

    The offense is winning. It is a wipe out. When there won’t be any food fights, the contrarians lose.

    Contrarians need skirmishes to survive. Stay out of them if you can. If you are in one, use Love and Light.

    Or call Andrew Adams.

  316. Brandon Gates says:

    Ninth. Bench clearing brawl over whether the scoreboard can be trusted, not an umpire in sight. Nobody can remember whether it’s the top or the bottom of the inning.

  317. Wow. What a lot of time reading through all that took; Eli and ATTP’s link to his earlier factual article seem to me to about cover it, along with some amusing Scots and a hint about narcissism (contempt for others, eagerness to get in on the action, and all). Willard is amusing too. Fergus, if you will flirt with people who have an agenda to prove that it’s all a big conspiracy and undermining the Republican War on Science, you deserve what you get. But reality beckons …

    Earlier I pointed to this. Of course, it’s not about Tol or persistence, but it points up what I sometimes prefer to call the “uncontroversial” nature of climate science conclusions (stolen from RC a while back; wish I could find the original, which suggested it was time to move on from trying to quantify overwhelming agreement and accept facts):
    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/the-curious-wavefunction/2014/01/10/about-that-consensus-on-global-warming-9136-agree-one-disagrees/

  318. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Both the GWPF and the Murdoch news empire are part of the internaional cabal that have been waging a propaganda war against climate science and climate scientists for decades. Given Richard Tols’ history of working closely with both organizations, it is damn appropriate to to question why he has engaged in a vendeta against Cook 2013 since its publication.

  319. JH,
    All you say may be true. Actually saying it, however, may be sub-optimal and may work more to your disadvantage, than to your advantage.

  320. pbjamm says:

    If we are going sports metaphor here I think it is the -i Inning and the Contraians have just bowled the puck into the dugout and declaring the batter out. The crowd goes wild and the Science batter is left scratching his head while the other team runs off with the trophy that they made themselves.

  321. Eli Rabett says:

    What Neven said over at HotWhopper
    “Ja, kap eens met dat laffe en kinderachtige gezuig, man.”

  322. Marco says:

    “Consensus has no place in science” says Richard Tol.

    And yet:

    “This diversity of modelling approaches is needed especially when there is no consensus on what the actual problem is, or many questions need to be answered” says…Richard Tol (Hisschemöller et al 2001).

    interestingly, Tol said the exact same thing in 1998 (Tol & Vellinga, 1998). If people want to have fun they should compare the two papers (both freely available online).

    In a working paper (Narita et al, 2008) Tol states:
    “In the equation, δ is the parameter indicating how much wind speed increases per degree warming. The level of δ is set to be 0.04, after the consensus statement by WMO”.

    So, apparently there *is* a role of consensus in science according to Tol. In the first example the lack of a consensus means different modeling approaches is required, suggesting that such diversity is not so important if there were a consensus. In the second example a parameter is set in their model based on a consensus.

  323. BBD says:

    Have to laugh: Google ‘Translate’ parsed that as:

    Yes, hood agree with that cowardly and childish sucking, man

  324. Willard says:

    Resilience is not far from persistance. It is the first virtue in that list:

  325. Michael 2 says:

    Fergus “define the search terms and criteria for an ad hoc ‘survey’ ? I’m sure a number of commenters here or elsewhere would be happy to do a little legwork on google scholar or similar and provide their findings…”

    A similar thing took place at WUWT after the Lewandowsky survey. It was basically a repeat but added a 5th option which I don’t now remember but basically “no opinion” as for instance whether a person believes John F Kennedy was assassinated by a man acting alone or it was part of a conspiracy. I don’t have an opinion since it could be either. I am quite certain about the moon landing as I was alive at the time and like pretty much everyone else alive at the time remembers exactly where I was and what I was doing at that moment. I was in Seattle. I used to wake up at 5 a.m. and spend hours watching the preflight of the Gemini program broadcast live. it was an exciting time to be alive — science was solving all problems and produced the “Jetsons” cartoons.

    Now, science is doom and gloom and send money or you’ll never find out if there’s a Higgs Boson.

  326. BBD says:

    The old KBO.

    It has good and bad aspects, like most things.

  327. Willard says:

    > Given Richard Tols’ history of working closely with both organizations, it is damn appropriate to to question why he has engaged in a vendeta against Cook 2013 since its publication.

    Actually, questioning Richard regarding his interests may very well be the most suboptimal thing one can do.

    It’s lazy: instead of simply exposing Richard’s interests, Richard is being burdened to do that job for you.

    It’s self-defeating, since Richard’s strategy is optimized for him to occupy the center of the stage, either as a hero of science of the martyr in an exercise of public humiliation.

    It’s rhetorical, since the answers being seeked are already known.

    It’s immoral, since it sets up a “struggle session”, the very thing that should repel anyone seeing the serengeti strategy applied to Mike.

    Questioning is just not the way to go.

    ***

    You want to respond to Richard? Look at what he’s not talking about. Here are five, from the top of my hat:

    1. Gremlins:

    Recall that as early as 28 May 2009 (see link here), Prof. Julie Nelson wrote a detailed note pointing out problems with your paper, in particular identifying one of the data points that you later had to correct. Your response at the time was simply defensive. You lost the opportunity to make the correction back then and now here we are 5 years later, several other errors were found in the paper, indicating real sloppiness in a paper that was published in such a prominent journal on such an important topic, and you’re getting further criticism from me and others. Instead of taking this criticism seriously, you continue to be defensive.

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

    2. Bitching:

    I am well aware of the statistical issues. Instead of bitching about someone else’s work, you may consider helping to solve this problem: You may 20 incommensurate estimates. How do you draw a conclusion about effect size? You are not allowed the ivory tower option of refusing to confront the problem until more evidence will have been gathered.

    http://andrewgelman.com/2014/05/27/whole-fleet-gremlins-looking-carefully-richard-tols-twice-corrected-paper-economic-effects-climate-change/#comment-167773

    3. Ackermann:

    If you look at his newest book which came out last year – the Climate Casino – it says much more about the nature of economic models and the nature of catastrophic risk. So to continue to cite Nordhaus’s older work, which is what Tol does, without looking at how he is evolving is trying to freeze the field on a narrow and dated vision of it.

    http://www.rtcc.org/2014/08/04/tol-v-ackerman-debating-the-costs-of-climate-change/

    4. Chilling:

    The reason your paper is never reviewed is because the Energy Economics’ Editors-in-Chief tried their best, for over seven months, to find suitable reviewers, but none could be found.

    Well, it was only from March to November, and of course, Richard’s advice when asked about the paper by the author, Eric Prentis, was

    Chill

    and, after the stonewall, the Editors In Chief put on full huffing regalia and wrote to Eric P on November 9

    The author lacks confidence in the editorial team of Energy Economics and is thus best advised to take the paper elsewhere.

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2015/01/editolial-discretion.html

    5. ESRI:

    The working paper, which claimed that 44 per cent of families with young children would be better off on the dole than working, has been taken down from the ESRI website following what the think-tank called ‘serious methodological issues’.

    http://www.thejournal.ie/richard-tol-esri-working-paper-withdrawn-484845-Jun2012/

    There are many others: Nordhaus’ own lack of due diligence; #freethe300; Brandon’s (who, like Lucia, seems to have blocked my IP); just about anything in the Lomborg playbook; about every single page on the GWPF website; etc.

    ***

    Res ipsa loquitur.

  328. Brandon Gates says:

    John Hartz,

    Vilifying powerful international cabals is exactly the sort of propaganda that works best for the side with the least money. And talk is very, very cheap.

  329. Brandon Gates says:

    pbjamm, you’ve topped me. Uncle.

  330. I think you are missing the point here, the question is not about whether there is evidence that consensus position is correct, the question addressed by Cook et al is whether there is a consensus position on this particular question.

    I stated in several comments that I do believe that there is wide consensus on the basic issues. I didn’t actually discuss at all, whether the consensus is correct. Thus I explicitly did not miss the point.

    The question is thus for me, whether there’s a wide consensus, the question is, how much the paper added evidence for that conclusion, and my view is that virtually nothing. We knew is before, and we know it equally well (not better) after the paper.

    What we may learn from the paper is some count of expressions in the abstracts, but the paper tells very little on that as well, because the method has so many problems..

    A paper need not be on estimating the anthropogenic contribution to warming in order to endorse a particular position on that question.

    That may be true, but having checked a number of actual cases in the data set, I can only conclude that the statement is very often also false, so often that we don’t know at all, what the numbers mean.

    A good start is formed by the small number of papers that were classified in the most positive category (endorsing most strongly anthropogenic contribution). Even this most extreme set contains several cases where the full papers do not tell, whether the authors really endorse such a view, they just happen to contain a couple of words in the abstract that may be interpreted also that way. One of those papers is written by a scientists usually classified as skeptic, another by power engineers who discuss a rather unrelated issue, etc.

  331. Willard says:

    > The question is thus [not?] for me, whether there’s a wide consensus, the question is, how much the paper added evidence for that conclusion, and my view is that virtually nothing.

    Again, from the horse’s mouth:

    Despite these independent indicators of a scientific consensus, the perception of the US public is that the scientific community still disagrees over the fundamental cause of GW. From 1997 to 2007, public opinion polls have indicated around 60% of the US public believes there is significant disagreement among scientists about whether GW was happening (Nisbet and Myers 2007). Similarly, 57% of the US public either disagreed or were unaware that scientists agree that the earth is very likely warming due to human activity (Pew 2012).

    Through analysis of climate-related papers published from 1991 to 2011, this study provides the most comprehensive analysis of its kind to date in order to quantify and evaluate the level and evolution of consensus over the last two decades.

    http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024024/article

    Providing the most comprehensive analysis to quantify and evaluate the level and evolution of consensus over the last two decades doesn’t sound like virtually nothing.

  332. It’s comprehensive in one sense (total count), and very far from that in another (quality of the measure). There’s a good statistics about something, but it’s impossible to tell what that something really is, and how it’s related to what’s is really interesting.

    We know that something is 97% of some total, but again it’s not not known what that is.

  333. Pekka,
    It just seems to me that you’re judging the paper on what you think it did, or what you think it should have done, not what it was actually doing.

    We know that something is 97% of some total, but again it’s not not known what that is.

    Yes, we do know what the 97% refers to. It is explained very clearly in the paper.

  334. Brandon Gates says:

    Pekka,

    It is knowable what that 97% is. All one need do is take the time to review them and draw one’s own conclusions. You’re feeding a tempest in a teapot.

  335. Willard says:

    > We know that something is 97% of some total, but again it’s not not known what that is.

    C13’s abstract seems to be a bit more specific that “something,” Pekka:

    We analyze the evolution of the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming (AGW) in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, examining 11 944 climate abstracts from 1991–2011 matching the topics ‘global climate change’ or ‘global warming’. We find that 66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW, 32.6% endorsed AGW, 0.7% rejected AGW and 0.3% were uncertain about the cause of global warming. Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. In a second phase of this study, we invited authors to rate their own papers. Compared to abstract ratings, a smaller percentage of self-rated papers expressed no position on AGW (35.5%). Among self-rated papers expressing a position on AGW, 97.2% endorsed the consensus. For both abstract ratings and authors’ self-ratings, the percentage of endorsements among papers expressing a position on AGW marginally increased over time. Our analysis indicates that the number of papers rejecting the consensus on AGW is a vanishingly small proportion of the published research.

    http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024024/article

    When you’ll put arguments on the table, I’ll stop reading the paper to you.

  336. Brandon Gates says:

    Willard, he’s declared his argument: “… it’s impossible to tell what that something really is, and how it’s related to what’s is really interesting …”

    The problem is that this is true regardless of Cook (2015) or not — there are simply too many papers for one person to read and comprehend — so I think his argument is a special pleading and fails on that basis.

  337. Willard says:

    Sure, BrandonG. I could also use “everything is what it is, and nothing else” (to paraphrase another beloved Bishop) as an argument too.

    Since “it’s impossible to tell” requires an impossibility proof, “that something” is not identified, and “what is really interesting” has been transformed into a question of internal validity, I’d rather wait for Pekka to spell out what he means. I know he can. Recall that Richard started with something more specific, yet obscure, i.e. “I think your sampling strategy is a load of nonsense.”

    Constructive criticism is hard.

  338. Brandon Gates says:

    Willard,

    Heh. I don’t think constructive criticism is hard at all. This is specifically what I think is wrong, and this is how I think it can be fixed. But now I’m just being contrary on purpose. I will follow your lead and wait for his replies.

  339. angech says:

    Paul S,
    Re reply to Pekka on implicit endorsement and your reading that it is almost neutral.
    No.
    The descriptions of explicit >50%, explicit and implicit are quite clear and Pekka is right.
    The concern hinted at on my part is that the uncertain component is
    a. Too small
    b. Has been lumped in with negative endorsement
    C. Suggests there has been an element of uncertainty positive that has been moved to the implicit endorsement column

  340. angech,
    I note you haven’t responded to my point that the paper actually says “causing” not “causing some”, as you claimed in an earlier comment.

  341. Vinny Burgoo says:

    ATTP to John Hartz on the latter’s most recent conspiracy theory: ‘All you say may be true. Actually saying it, however, may be sub-optimal and may work more to your disadvantage, than to your advantage.’

    Bloody hell! A conspiracy to conceal a conspiracy theory – and right there in the open! Have you people no shame?

  342. Brandon Gates says:

    No shame whatsoever. Are you embarrassed by the things you say in public for all to read?

  343. Vinny,
    Huh? In case it wasn’t obvious, I wasn’t suggesting that it was true and that it should be hidden, I was simply pointing out that even if it is something that does happen to be true, pointing it out may not be the best way in which to engage. This is especially true if you don’t have absolutely convincing proof for what it is that you might be suggesting.

  344. Willard says:

    > Heh. I don’t think constructive criticism is hard at all. This is specifically what I think is wrong, and this is how I think it can be fixed.

    Well, BrandonG, I think I’m going to “well” you on that one. While your description seems to cohere with mine at Jim’s:

    What would be your main point of contention, besides the fact that you find the whole exercise ridiculous?

    https://ecologicallyoriented.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/our-new-consensus-study/comment-page-1/#comment-5547

    you should notice that our exchange does not end very well, with not much as criticism, except perhaps the patronizing professor’s favorite “they ought to have done something else.”

  345. Willard says:

    Addendum — my argument regarding the difficulty of providing criticism is that bitching is easier:

    My own working hypothesis is that we see so much bitching because there’s little incentive for something else. Nothing to gain. Too much to lose. Those who had some skin in the game have spoken. The caravan goes on.

    https://ecologicallyoriented.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/our-new-consensus-study/comment-page-1/#comment-5554

    Hence the ClimateBall ecology we have.

  346. Rob Nicholls says:

    Way way back, Willard said “More importantly, I think we’re developing material for a sequel to Waiting for Godot.” (I really wish I understood more of what Willard says, btw. The bits that I think I comprehend are really good). I’ve never got around to reading anything by Beckett (although I used to watch Quantum Leap), but I’ve wanted to read some of his work ever since I went on a coach journey with someone who was laughing his head off while reading a book of Beckett’s plays. He said the relentless bleakness was just totally hilarious, which I found, and find, fascinating. I think I’m beginning to understand.

  347. Ron Graf says:

    Pekka, I’m glad to see you in the middle here. For those who were not familiar with the M&F(2015) debate on CA, it broke with a press release from the Max Plank Institute that led: “Skeptics who still doubt anthropogenic climate change have now been stripped of one of their last-ditch arguments…”

    The actual paper simply said that the models as of 2012 were not further off target than they would have been a couple of times before when initiated from 1900-2012 (although that may certainly not be true to 2015).

    Ken just finished his reconstruction and analysis using Marotzke’s supplied data on CA.
    http://climateaudit.org/2015/02/05/marotzke-and-forsters-circular-attribution-of-cmip5-intermodel-warming-differences/#comment-755816

  348. Rob,
    Understanding Willard can be worth the effort (I don’t always get it either). I’ve been enjoying rereading some of his links 🙂

    Ron,
    If you want an illustration of why people like me get annoyed by some of what goes on in this online debate, Ken’s CA comment is a classic. For example

    When I set to doing this I realized that what I had first thought was the authors approach was incorrect. In fact the time invariant variables, alpha and kappa, used in the regressions limit the regression approach to what M&F published.

    Exactly! As people tried to point out, many, many times.

    What was quite revealing to me (as a layperson relatively new to this area of climate science)

    If you’re a layperson and new to this, why do you think you have the knowledge to critique the work of experts? Isn’t it quite possible that even what’s he’s done now is simply confused (I haven’t bothered reading it all, so maybe he’s somehow cracked it, but I’d be surprised).

  349. Ron Graf says:

    [Mod : Sorry, not interested in unsubstantiated claims about the state of climate science.]

  350. Willard says:

    > I really wish I understood more of what Willard says, btw.

    Me too.

    ***

    If you like Vladimir & Estragon, Rob, this episode‘s quite good:

    [Both see a strange looking bottle in the ditch. Estragon picks it up.]

    [Vlad.] You can drink a whole quart of this and it won’t hurt you.

    [Estr.] You want to drink some?

    [Vlad.] I’d be happy to, actually. Not, not really, but…

    [Estr.] Not really?

    [Vlad.] I know it wouldn’t hurt me.

    [Estr.] If you say so, then why not have some?

    [Vlad.] I’m not stupid.

    [They exchange stares. Estragon looks away. Vladimir looks at the audience. Silence.]

    [Estr.] So it’s dangerous, right?

    [Vlad.] People try to commit suicide with it and fail fairly regularly.

    [Estr.] Let’s tell the truth, it’s dangerous.

    [Vlad.] It’s not dangerous to humans, no it’s not.

    [Estr.] So you are ready to drink one glass of it?

    [Vlad.] No I’m not an idiot.

  351. Rob Nicholls says:

    I must admit I haven’t been following the details of Richard Tol’s criticisms of Cook et al 2013, so for all I know he may have a point, or maybe not. I see a lot of thoughtful comments about this above, but not enough to base an opinion on. Not sure I can stomach going through all the details written elsewhere, it seems a bit futile, especially in view of VTG’s repeated graphic with the quotation.

    The “author’s cut” of the article in the Australian is really something to behold, though, especially the last paragraph. Regardless of the motivation behind Richard Tol’s decision to write that article, I think the overall effect is likely to be that a lot of people who read the article will be misled into thinking that the IPCC’s reports are untrustworthy and that climate change can be safely ignored.

    I’m no expert, but I’ve spent quite a lot of the last 5 years trying to find flaws in the basic message of the scientific consensus as expressed by IPCC (especially WG1). I’ve never found an argument by a mitigation skeptic that seems to hold water on close inspection. If such an argument existed, surely I would have found it by now? Maybe I’m just blinkered.

    I’ve just re-read some articles that Rachel M posted a few weeks ago about climate change impacts, which were really helpful. This is not just a game.

  352. Michael 2 says:

    snarkrates “Michael 2, Just curious. Are you trying to be obtuse? To claim that nothing measures temperature, merely the change in material properties with temperature? Good fricking God.”

    Yes. It is a variant of “swallowing camels while straining at gnats”. So, I strain at some gnats which is also known as argumentum ad absurdum, by taking an argument to its extreme, but still same kind of argument, it suggests that it is absurd at other levels of detail.

    Also it is a test of the scientific thinking here whether this nuance is observed. It is a mistake to think that what one says he is measuring is actually what he is measuring.

    Consider a Simpson voltmeter. Does it measure volts? No. It measures current but the display calibration is volts. But is it really measuring current? No, it is responding to magnetic force resisted by a spring. Not only that, but the voltmeter, by bleeding a bit of current, changes the circuit being measured.
    http://www.amazon.com/Simpson-260-8-Analog-VOM-Meter/dp/B002R6MWL0

    Why it matters is because the presence of a magnetic field will alter the reading even though the current has not changed and thus neither the voltage. Knowing what is actually measured is useful to be aware of factors that will alter the display but not the thing you think is being measured.

    In the context of today’s discussion, the act of surveying 12,000 papers changed the surveyors just as surely as sticking a voltmeter in a circuit changes the circuit.

    “And then to claim that because climate research is an active field this implies that there is somehow controversy over whether anthropogenic CO2 causes warming?”

    That is a different topic entirely but yes, if the science was “settled” there would be no government grants. Since grants exist, the science is clearly not settled. Whether that is a synonym for “controversy” I leave you to ponder.

    “Dude, there may be a thin line between profundity and stupidity, but your questions are firmly on the stupid side.”

    That is what it sometimes takes to provoke interesting responses that give me an opportunity to explain without insulting anyone by explaining in advance. It is a test of your interest whether to go into more detail.

    For instance, while you have challenged my explanation, I notice that you have not provided one of your own. So, do tell, how exactly do you propose to measure “temperature” directly and exactly and NOT by observing physical property changes?

  353. Michael 2 says:

    Whups, that was a bit unexpected, to have a picture of a Simpson multimeter actually appear inline. Well, there you go, it looks like the same model I used four decades ago. No battery needed, except for measuring resistance — I mean, measuring the magnetic force created by a small current through an unknown resistance using a known voltage.

  354. Rob Nicholls says:

    Thanks Willard. I think I’m going to enjoy Beckett even more than principal component analysis.

    Well, at least I got something out of this.

  355. Brandon Gates says:

    Well Willard,

    You have moved the goalposts from “Constructive criticism is hard” to “Bitching is easier”. But as the latter argument is one I agree with in addition to be materially different from the former, I believe that I better understand your disagreement with Pekka.

    Cook (2015) is in the books. “They ought to have done something else,” can be read several different ways, one of which is “They ought not have done it at all”. Those kind of statements do want further explanation instead of just trailing off into ellipses ….

  356. Brandon Gates says:

    Ron Graf,

    So, one asks is there a trustworthy, yet adversarial, site that one can entertain a full and rational debate?

    At least as many as there are definitions of trustworthy, adversarial and rational.

  357. https://thelukewarmersway.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/sigh-cook-again/comment-page-1/#comment-7109

    Rachel M | March 27, 2015 at 8:56 am | Reply | Edit
    I deleted your comment four times and banned you early this morning, Thomas Fuller. I mistakenly didn’t mention it to AndThen until this afternoon. Feel free to blame me.

    thomaswfuller2 | March 27, 2015 at 4:21 pm | Reply | Edit
    Rachel, that’s unfortunate. There is blog etiquette on how to deal with commenters. I banned willard, for example, here. But I didn’t delete his comments prior to that. (I did afterwards.)

    Importantly, I advised him on the blog what he was doing that I found inappropriate, told him what the consequences would be if he continued and suggested specific actions he could take if he was interested in commenting further.

    As with any contested topic discussed on the internet there is no shortage of ill-will between many of the participants.

    Sloppy blog etiquette doesn’t help.

    However, thank you for coming here and advising me about what you did. That shows more guts, quite frankly, than I have seen from many bloggers (and more commenters) on both sides of the fence on this issue.

    I actually think that’s more important than your original incorrect action

  358. Willard says:

    > You have moved the goalposts from “Constructive criticism is hard” to “Bitching is easier”.

    I’d rather say I made the hardness of two goalposts relative to one another, BrandonG.

    Shub seems to agree:

    First, you write about the topics running on well-trafficked skeptical blogs. This brings two advantages (i) you don’t have to scratch you head thinking about what to write, (ii) you draw commenters from the well-trafficked blogs.

    https://nigguraths.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/censorship-by-judith-curry/

    While Shub is wrong in thinking that this applies to “warmie blogs,” he does have a point.

    He’s wrong because we can generalize the formula:

    1. Here, look at A.
    2. See how it’s stupid
    3. Maybe we should ponder on that.
    4. Instead of a conclusion, look at that link I just fished in a ten second search.

    http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2010/06/willard-explains-blogging.html

    ***

    Here would be a Vladimir & Estragon version describing online journalism:

    me: this is the problem. I like them, Kloor, Fleck, Yulsman, Revkin
    They are part of the problem but they are also role models
    they make a living thinking about the big problems
    I don’t
    I like them. I admire them. And I hate it when they screw up.
    It makes me scream.

    willard: they don’t think about big problems
    they think about staging

    me: “staging”?

    willard: they stage scenes
    plays
    bouts
    events

    me: yes, “set pieces”
    “In film production, a setpiece is a scene or sequence of scenes the execution of which requires serious logistical planning and considerable expenditure of money. The term setpiece is often used more broadly to describe any important dramatic or comedic highpoint in a film or story, particularly those that provide some kind of dramatic payoff, resolution, or transition.”

    willard: exactly

    me: they tell “stories”
    I want them to relentlessly tell *the* story

    willard: in any case
    there is a pragmatic problem with all of this
    there is no conversation
    only conversation about conversation

    me: aha
    yes
    well said indeed sir!
    you justify the whole conversation about conversation about conversation thereby… (oddly)

    willard: the basic argument is this:

    1, look at person X
    2. X is speaking about p
    3. p is not what we should talk about
    so everyone is arguing about what we should talk about
    then
    after it gets personal
    everyone is arguing about how we should talk

    me: !

    willard: then someone says: why are we talking about that?
    then comes another blog post

    me: and another day passes, and the lemmings get that much closer to the precipice

    willard: a miraculous leap in evolution
    to sit and talk about talking, without really talking much
    everyone getting frustrated, cynical, powerless

    http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2011/03/willard-on-meta-journalism-meta-thread.html

  359. sm says:

    “The time/rater data show one good thing: Ari Jokimaki consistently applied the agreed rules.”

    What’s the impetus for that statement?

  360. Brandon Gates says:

    Willard,

    I’d rather say I made the hardness of two goalposts relative to one another, BrandonG.

    I’m sure you would because that’s the stronger argument. When you did, I ceased my quibbling. Mostly.

    you justify the whole conversation about conversation about conversation thereby… (oddly)

    Yes, and Cook (2013) is a consensus about a consensus, which amuses me because I find humour in recursion. I could, nay will at this point, go full-on existential nihilist on you and ask: what in bleedin’ hell is the point of any of this shite is since most of us on this circuit are probably going to be dead and disposed of before the worst of it is predicted to hit the fan? Why not make sure that one’s nephews are fiscally positioned to be the most fit to adapt to whatever form that takes, and burn gasoline conscience-clear until my expiration date?

    While I’m at it, to hell with Africa, which is going to get screwed regardless if past (and present) performance is indicative of future results.

    The faint glimmer of maybe making some small difference is, for me, a decent antidote against my powerlessness to do the morally correct thing — by my definition of morally correct — in the ways which make the most sense to me. Will Hartz consider my pushback about appealing to Tol’s motives and amend his own tactics in the future? I doubt it. If I really thought so, and really thought that would make a further difference, I would have risked concern trolling SkS a long time ago. But since he happened by, I sounded off. One less thing on the bucket list.

    Mostly though I enjoy the … conversation … even when it gets faintly ridiculous — perhaps especially when it becomes farcical. It’s how I keep my native cynicism from morphing into full-on apathetic pessimism. And I learn a lot of stuff which is interesting in its own right.

  361. dhogaza says:

    DikranMarsupial:

    “@Willard and people say cricket is incomprehensible! ;o)”

    Yeah, really, since Willard misunderstands American football.

  362. verytallguy says:

    What’s the impetus for that statement?

    An opportunity  for the prolongation of persistence, what else? 

  363. Brandon Gates says:

    I’m supremely annoyed with myself for not having thought of this sooner:

    per·sev·er·ate
    pərˈsevəˌrāt/
    verb
    Psychology
    verb: perseverate; 3rd person present: perseverates; past tense: perseverated; past participle: perseverated; gerund or present participle: perseverating

    repeat or prolong an action, thought, or utterance after the stimulus that prompted it has ceased.

    Think the Energizer Bunny, but powered by a small star and with one foot nailed to the floor.

  364. OPatrick says:

    I thought Vinny made an excellent point above, though not the one I suspect he thought he was making (I feel that I may have said that before about his comments on occasion):

    One reason is Schadenfreude. When a bunch of snarky science amateurs who have spent years bashing people over the head with a big stick labelled ‘What the science says’ publish some sciencey research themselves (‘What the science says the science says’, Cook et al, ERL, 2013) and that research turns out to be unscientific hokum, jeering is hard to resist.

    Human nature, innit.

  365. angech says:

    ATTP, you are right, it says causes warming (unquantified).

    The warming caused is a combination of significant and non significant warming,
    There is no 97.1% consensus specified on significant warming, none.

    Re the second point that no abstract can have two ratings, I agree.
    I was pointing out that uncertain should be split 50/50 between the two choices.
    Hence Cook should have claimed 97.6% .

    I am surprised that uncertainty is smaller than rejection. Statistically this should fall on a bell curve of probabilities with all the proof out there. Hence the percentage for uncertain “should” be greater than that for rejection when acceptance is so large, as it is closer to the bulk of choices.
    Hence food for thought.

    Great post, lots of responses, and has made me look at the survey more closely.
    The response rate may be partly due to your allowing so much discussion on this thread.
    I will try to retire to the high ground as you suggested.

  366. Willard says:

    I played in college, Dhogaza. What about you?

  367. John Hartz says:

    Brandon Gates:

    You state,

    Will Hartz consider my pushback about appealing to Tol’s motives and amend his own tactics in the future? I doubt it. If I really thought so, and really thought that would make a further difference, I would have risked concern trolling SkS a long time ago. But since he happened by, I sounded off. One less thing on the bucket list.

    You’re welcome.

  368. Willard says:

    > But I didn’t delete his comments prior to that. (I did afterwards.)

    “Afterwards” above means twelve hours earlier than promised:

    I’m calling time early. Willard, you’re banned and all your comments are going into the trash. Bye.

    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/110074456384

    Legal threats prevent me from expanding too much on the matter.

  369. John Hartz says:

    For anyone reading this thread who is not familiar with the Skeptical Science (SkS) website, “concern trolling” is prohibited by the SkS Comments Policy. Persons who engage in concern trolling relinquish their privilege of posting comments in relatively short order.

  370. JCH says:

    Let me get this straight. Willard played American football in college?

  371. Willard says:

    Canadian colleges have football teams, JCH. The rules are about the same, except for the 3rd down rule and the yard between the teams at the line of scrimmage. I thought the only thing I claimed about football was common knowledge.

    You might also be interested to know that Dhogaza is one of the ClimateBall players implicated in the aforementioned legal threats.

  372. Joshua says:

    Brandon G:

    ==> “Will Hartz consider my pushback about appealing to Tol’s motives and amend his own tactics in the future?”

    I consulted my Magic 8-ball. It said: “Outlook not so good.”

  373. Willard says:

    Paying due diligence to what I believe was common knowledge:

    A defensive player may not tackle or hold an opponent other than a runner. Otherwise, he may use his hands, arms, or body only:

    (a) To defend or protect himself against an obstructing opponent.

    [Exception]

    (b) To push or pull opponent out of the way on line of scrimmage.

    (c) In actual attempt to get at or tackle runner.

    (d) To push or pull opponent out of the way in a legal attempt to recover a loose ball.

    (e) During a legal block on an opponent who is not an eligible pass receiver.

    (f) When legally blocking an eligible pass receiver above the waist.

    http://www.nfl.com/rulebook/useofhands

    Just think how difficult it would be to tackle a ball carrier without being able to hold.

    ***

    Since we’re into college sports, here’s John Oliver on the NCAA

  374. JCH says:

    Yes I know: sports other than hockey and curling. My brother is in the Canadian baseball Hall of Fame, which I believe he said is located in the hallway of somebody’s house.

  375. John Hartz says:

    Willard: I trust that you did not sustain any concussions during your football career.

  376. Okay, I’m concerned that this thread is heading in a non-construtive direction. Maybe we could just keep things nice and pleasant (or, at least, close).

  377. Joshua says:

    ==> “Maybe we could just keep things nice and pleasant (or, at least, close).”

    Lol! God love ya’, Anders, for your persistent optimism.

  378. verytallguy says:

    Okay, I’m concerned that this thread is heading in a non-construtive direction.

    Constructive??

    It’s a thread about Tol! What the duck did you expect??

  379. John Hartz says:

    Willard: Lest my prior remark be misconstrued, I sincerely hope that you did not sustain any concussions while playing football. I would not wish that upon anyone.

  380. dikranmarsupial says:

    Pekka, as several other comments above suggest, the meaning of 97% seems to be clearly stated in the abstract of the paper, which suggests the problem may not lie with the paper but elsewhere.

    I am not sure why anybody would expect a survey paper that was essentially replicating the findings of earlier surveys should be expected to say anything really new (suggesting that there is no additional information is obvious hyperbole). Such incremental replication is an important element of science. As far as I can see the paper makes no great claims, so it seems unreasonable to evaluate it as it did (the level of interest it has attracted should not change the interpretation of what was actually written).

    *WE* already know that there is a strong consensus in the scientific community on this one, but the paper was not written to tell *US* about it. The public appear to have been misinformed about the level of consensus, hence the “consensus gap”. *THAT* is what the paper is about.

  381. Willard says:

    Only weak ankles, JH. I did not play much. As JCH observes, it’s not a real sport anyway.

    Thank you for your thoughts. My best friend got hit by a car and now suffers from a traumatic brain handicap. Dead for a few minutes. Took him a year to regain any sense of hunger. He just got facial memories back. Still can’t orient himself very well. Let’s hope ClimateBall never leads to such incidents.

    I should not have pulled a Keynes on Dhogaza. Arguing from authority is silly.

  382. Marco says:

    In the meantime, over at Sou’s place, the plot has thickened.

    http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2015/03/deconstructing-97-self-destructed.html?showComment=1427530417049#c946762847831447983
    is where the fun starts.

    Not only has Tol found 300 extral papers that reject AGW…Tol has found an amazing 932 extra papers in Cook’s data. Papers that others cannot find in the same datafile Tol claims contains those 932 extra papers!

  383. What the paper does technically is to classify abstracts. It uses a particular method for that and gets counts form that.

    Is that interesting when stated like that? Are politicians or members of general public interested in counts of abstracts by itself?

    I would say that they are not.

    What gave the paper attention, was the interpretation of those counts as quantitative indicators of the extent of consensus. Thus an assumption was implied that the count of abstract is a quantitatively meaningful indicator of extent of consensus. This is the step in the argument that is weak. There’s certainly some relationship between the counts of abstract and the level of consensus, but the relationship is loose. The paper did not present any justification that tells that the relationship is quantitatively close. Looking at the actual papers tells immediately that the relationship is not perfect and it gives strong reason to think that the relationship is likely to be very inaccurate. False classifications are likely to be common, quite possibly much more common that the 3% that separates 97% from 100%.

    I have not seen anybody to present justification for thinking that the relationship is so strong that this paper would add anything to the knowledge about the strength of the consensus.

    The latest article of Tol that led to this post presents actually many additional valid points that strengthen the doubts about the quantitative validity of this work.

    When we are discussing a paper published as science, it’s not enough that we think for other reasons that the conclusions are in the right ballpark. It’s right to insist that the work has been performed using methods that have been validated well enough. It’s right to insist that what’s presented as quantitative results has been shown to represents quantitatively correctly those quantities they are interpreted to represent. It does not help that the abstract can be read to tell that the paper is only about abstracts, not about consensus as the general interpretation is not that.

  384. Joshua says:

    Pekka –

    I notice that you didn’t mention the numerous invalid points presented in the latest article of Tol that led to this post.

    I also notice that you don’t mention the numerous ways that attention has been paid to Cook13 by “skeptics” that could potentially lead to public misunderstanding about the implications of the paper in very much the same way that paying attention to Cook13 by “realists” might lead to public misunderstanding about the implications.

  385. dikranmarsupial says:

    Pekka you are STILL conflating the interpretation of the paper with what the paper says. If you want to criticize the interpretation, then that is fine, but you will only make your point more obscure by framing it as a criticism of C13 itself.

    “The paper did not present any justification that tells that the relationship is quantitatively close. ”

    C13 also included a survey of the authors own ratings of their papers, to say there is no justification is again hyperbole. Are you claiming that there is little association between the author’s rating and their own endorsement of the “consensus position”?

  386. Joshua,
    I read the short version that’s openly accessible. I didn’t spend much time on that either, but my impression was that it’s basically correct.

    For some reason I react strongly against bad arguments when they are used to support views that are more correct than the arguments. I feel that those who speak in favor of basically correct conclusions should be particularly careful in using also valid arguments. I do think that giving up on that will in some cases backfire badly. It does also weaken the accuracy of the conclusions even when it remains clear the they are mostly correct.

  387. Dikran,
    I do believe that I have understood correctly what the paper is. You may have a different view of what it is, but I stick with mine. The authors are no more authorities on that than the readers.

  388. dikranmarsupial says:

    Pekka, sorry cryptic comments such as your last sentence are not very helpful in communicating the issue you have.

    The authors of the papers surveyed in C13 are very much authorities on their own endorsement of the consensus position, which is precisely why C13 includes the survey formed by their ratings of their own papers.

  389. Given the strong consensus, an inaccurate relationship between the real consensus and the estimated consensus would only reduce the estimated percentage. This could be right, the 97% is lower as I would have estimated myself from the literature I know (before I got into the climate “debate”).

  390. Pekka,
    I’m afraid you’re not making much sense to me either. You seem to be applying some kind of special standard that I don’t really understand. Also, you can clearly choose to interpret something any way you like. However, if your interpretation is wildy different from what was actually intended, then any criticism is going to be weak.

  391. Joshua, I fail to see what publicly criticizing the paper is expected to accomplish. What are we supposed to conclude if one concedes the paper used poor methods?

  392. Brandon Gates says:

    VTG,

    It’s a thread about Tol! What the duck did you expect??

    I went to bed pondering why it’s ok for me to call Tol six different kinds of stupid here and at Sou’s, but count coup on Hartz for banging him on prior associations. An egocentric preference on matters of personal taste seems to be a big part of it. Jealousy that JH has knowledge and influence which I don’t. Jealousy that TOL has knowledge and influence which I don’t. A deep-seated rage for screwed up politics and venal money-grubbing politicians who have less spine than an earthworm and even less apparent sense. And jealousy that I don’t have as much knowledge and influence as they do.

    It’s a nasty cocktail.

  393. dikranmarsupial says:

    The strongest statement of the “interpretation” that Pekka seems to be concerned with that actually appears in the paper seems to be:

    “The self-ratings by the papers’ authors provide insight into the nature of the scientific consensus amongst publishing scientists. For both self-ratings and our abstract ratings, the percentage of endorsements among papers expressing a position on AGW marginally increased over time, consistent with Bray (2010) in finding a strengthening consensus.”

    which is (a) not a terribly strong statement and (b) pretty well justified by the self-ratings. The rest of the paper seems to be pretty clear that the quantative statements relate to the literature rather than directly to the scientists themselves.

  394. Steven Mosher says:

    March 27, 2015 at 5:52 pm
    > There is a standard way of finding out if something is unimportant: replication.

    Exactly.

    If you can replicate it and it’s important, then it’s important.

    If you can’t replicate it and it’s important, then it’s important.

    Or not.

    ###################

    its pretty simple. if you want to argue that their norming process was unimportant you repeat the test with a better norming process. That’s a standard way of settling arguments.
    words about the norming process are not science.

  395. Brandon,
    I think you may have mis-interpreted my request to tone things down.

  396. Joshua says:

    Pekka –

    ==> ” I feel that those who speak in favor of basically correct conclusions should be particularly careful in using also valid arguments. ”

    OK. That makes some sense to me. Not sure exactly why, but I see that as being similar to “I wouldn’t want to be a member of any group that would have me as a member.”

    In real life, I do tend to hold those I’m more closely aligned with to a higher standard – although I don’t present that picture of myself in blogospheric discussions.

    Hmmm.

  397. Brandon Gates says:

    ATTP,

    I don’t understand, but I’m aware that I’m not thinking clearly. If you mean that my comment is inflammatory, please by all means delete it.

  398. Joshua says:

    Brandon G:

    ==> “I went to bed pondering why it’s ok for me to call Tol six different kinds of stupid here and at Sou’s, but count coup on Hartz for banging him on prior associations.”

    Consider what Pekka says above:

    ==> ” I feel that those who speak in favor of basically correct conclusions should be particularly careful in using also valid arguments. ”

  399. Joshua says:

    Brandon G –

    I think that you misinterpreted Anders after he misinterpreted you!

    Anders –

    I think that Bradon’s comment was w/r/t self-criticism and not criticism of consistency in moderation.

    Of course, I could have misinterpreted whether Brandon misinterpreted Anders after he misinterpreted Brandon.

    Oh. Nevermind….

  400. Brandon,
    No, I broadly agree with your comment. I think I said something similar myself. I think JH is very passionate and I applaud passionate people. A time and a place, though.

  401. Brandon Gates says:

    Johsua, Yes, I thought I had misinterpreted him, but really wasn’t sure.

    ATTP, Thanks for the clarification and letting me know I’m not the only one.

  402. sm says:

    Marco,
    The ‘missing’ docs gallop comes from the stolen data that he relies for his information. In the stolen ‘All Articles’ data you can see that the index numbers go 1-4, then skip to 347. From there you can see the indexes skip a number here and there, and this would likely be congruent with the samples that Cook eliminated, and mentioned in his paper. There is another large chunk missing at 2065 – 2129. If you add the gaps together you get 407.

    When Tol knowingly uses documentation that isn’t Tol’s , Tol should probably expect to have missing bits and unanswered questions about what is found.

    That Tol’s claiming to have gotten that data off the journal’s site is a lie or another error.

  403. Brandon Gates says:

    Joshua,

    Consider what Pekka says above:

    ==> ” I feel that those who speak in favor of basically correct conclusions should be particularly careful in using also valid arguments. ”

    Oh I agree, that was my overriding justification for my initial comment to JH. When I applied the same standard to myself, I found myself wanting. And woke up angry about it. h/t Willard for coaxing it out of me.

    I am hinting that all of us have some form of this or another — I made that explicit in a draft version. I think I should have left it in.

  404. Eli Rabett says:

    FWIW, Eli would not characterize Righteous T as stupid, but emotionally limited, which makes communicating with or about him difficult. For some insight take a look at Josh Marshall on Ted Cruz

  405. verytallguy says:

    Brandon,

    I think to treat Tol seriously is to make a mistake.

    See his previous (links above from Willard I think):
    Akerman
    Gelman
    ESRI
    etc

    Tol is politically useful to the Australian, but if he wasn’t doing it, plenty of others would step up. I recall Tim Lambert had a series running into the 100s.

    At risk of being repetitive, the only person relishing Tol ‘s notereity is Tol.

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/persistence/#comment-51610

  406. verytallguy says:

    Pekka,

    your engagement on this topic reminds me of the thread (forgive me, I can’t recall which one), where I tried to persuade you that the fact that sea level was now rising faster than at the start of the 20th century meant it was accelerating.

    You wouldn’t agree.

    I became rather frustrated.

    Do you recall?

    Does it seem similar?

  407. Brandon Gates says:

    VTG,

    I think to treat Tol seriously is to make a mistake.

    Clearly. The zen I’m looking for is how “best” to actively disregard him.

  408. Marco,

    ATTP, on Hotwhopper Tol claims that when he does the same search as Cook et al, he gets a markedly different result.

    I’ve just been reading that HotWhopper thread. Jeepers, it’s ridiculous. When I did the search a year or so ago I got about the same result as Cook et al. If I do the search now, I do get more, but I can also elect settings that bring it back close to the Cook et al. numbers. The WoK search page has changed in the last year or so.

    Even so, Richard’s suggestion is just absurd. The whole point was to get a roughly consistent sample based on a well-defined search string. If there are more now because the database has been updated it would be extremely unlikely that the update would introduce papers that had a different distribution to that of the sample used by Cook et al.

  409. Brandon Gates says:

    ATTP, Has he actually claimed the distribution would be different, or is he only claiming that the raw total results of the query would change?

    Richard S J TolMarch 29, 2015 at 5:11 AM
    Marco
    Simples: You download the .csv from WoS and assign number 1 to N.
    But why is N=12,876?

    It’s Jedi Mind Tricks, mate. I think.

  410. verytallguy says:

    The zen I’m looking for is how “best” to actively disregard him.

    I find this helps:

    (ATTP – moderation for repetition might be required…)

  411. Here is his actual comment. It’s a “could swing the result” in the same sense that I might suddenly find a pile of money outside my front door tomorrow morning, but almost certainly won’t.

  412. vtg,
    I’m a big fan of repetition if it helps to illustrate a valid point 🙂

  413. BBD says:

    Now there’s this Hansen paper I was reading the other day…
    😉

  414. verytallguy says:

    Or, Brandon, one might usefully quote the following from Andrew Gelman:

    Your habit of brushing aside criticisms is unseemly… …This indicates:

    1. A stubborn refusal on your part to even consider you could have made an error;

    2. A lack of command of the literature on which you are considered an expert…

    3. A continuing pattern to dismiss valid criticism, a pattern that is continuing today.

    Put these together and I guess there’s no surprise that your paper contained so many errors—indeed, an amazing number of errors for an empirical paper with only 14 data points.

    The Google can easily find many, MANY more ways to help you passive disregard for Tol become more active. 

  415. verytallguy says:

    ATTP,

    I guess rather than repetition, one could term it persistence 😉

  416. vtg,
    Indeed, back to the theme of the post. Excellent!

  417. John Hartz says:

    Brandon Gatres:

    You stated:

    I went to bed pondering why it’s ok for me to call Tol six different kinds of stupid here and at Sou’s, but count coup on Hartz for banging him on prior associations.

    What the heck are you trying to say in the second half of this sentence? What does “count coup” mean?

    BTW, I was not banging on Tol for his prior associations, but rather on his continuing associations.

    Regardless, I still find Tol’s vendetta against Cook et al rather weird because the analysis is not within his stated area of expertise. I presume that he has more important things to do than chase John Cook’s tail for months on end.

  418. Brandon Gates says:

    Victor,

    Given the strong consensus, an inaccurate relationship between the real consensus and the estimated consensus would only reduce the estimated percentage.

    There is only one consensus here which matters: what the physical system is actually doing. A mistake Tol makes attacking C13 is that the literature consensus is an objective reality. It’s not, because the literature itself only approximates reality. I believe Pekka is arguing that Cook et al. err in defending their paper in a like manner, which I agree with even if Pekka isn’t really arguing it — I’m content to own that argument myself.

    I think part of the fracas here is the subtext that C13 should not have been attempted and/or published in peer reviewed literature, nor used as a method of attempting to establish “The Consensus” as if it is some sort of concretely measurable object. Which is a value judgement, and no defense/attack of methods will ever resolve a matter of opinion ….

    ATTP,

    Indeed, back to the theme of the post.

    … but bull-headed persistence in using the wrong method to talk about the wrong problem “seems” to pay dividends for “some people”.

  419. There is only one consensus here which matters: what the physical system is actually doing.

    No the question whether a consensus exists is a question about a scientific community.

    The reason for the existence of a consensus is what the physical system is doing.

    The same argumentation is, however, also valid for a physical system. If a medical diagnosis has a 5% error rate and the decease is rare, then if you test everyone (or a random sample) most people who are diagnosed as having the decease will be healthy.

    In the same way, a random error in estimating the consensus will reduce the estimated consensus.

  420. Brandon Gates says:

    John Hartz,

    What does “count coup” mean?

    You’re well known and influential, I am not, but would like to be. Will never happen, so I indulge myself arguing with well known influential people on the Innertoobs when they happen by. Which is not to say that my argument wasn’t sincere, but I am aware that it’s from a position of relative ignorance and lack of experience, backed by some … resentment … that is inappropriate.

    BTW, I was not banging on Tol for his prior associations, but rather on his continuing associations.

    I believe you were doing both. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t necessarily follow that pointing to continuing associations constitutes a “good” argument simply because it’s arguable that dredging up skeletons from a distant past is odious. Ascribing motive and guilt by association are key tactics in the denier arsenal, for which I routinely chew their asses. It sucks when “my own side” arguably does the same thing. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve said “I don’t speak on behalf of other activists or commentators, I speak only for me … kindly limit your critiques to my own words, not someone else’s.”

    There’s no solution to this, me getting hacked off about it won’t change a thing, but it’s undeniably true that I’m angsty about it.

    Regardless, I still find Tol’s vendetta against Cook et al rather weird because the analysis is not within his stated area of expertise.

    I see nothing weird about it, I think it’s obviously political. His arguments are obviously wrong because they’re extremely poor, not least because he frequently isn’t finishing them. He says things like “I come up with a different total number of abstracts” and trails off leaving the insinuation hanging there. I don’t have to know what his associations are, or were, nor what his expertise is, to see that as a bad faith argument and disregard his words on that basis.

    I presume that he has more important things to do than chase John Cook’s tail for months on end.

    Good grief, not according to Tol. You very likely just handed him even more incentive to keep at it.

  421. Willard says:

    > words about the norming process are not science.

    That would be a bit harsh on Richard’s commentary.

    Here are nevertheless some words on C13’s norming process:

    Each abstract was categorized by two independent, anonymized raters. A team of 12 individuals completed 97.4% (23 061) of the ratings; an additional 12 contributed the remaining 2.6% (607). Initially, 27% of category ratings and 33% of endorsement ratings disagreed. Raters were then allowed to compare and justify or update their rating through the web system, while maintaining anonymity. Following this, 11% of category ratings and 16% of endorsement ratings disagreed; these were then resolved by a third party.

    http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024024/article

    The emphasized bit might lead to a bigger agreement than what Richard found. Applying Kappa to two distinct rating objects (ABSTRACTS and PAPERS) looks fishy. Some weighting of his measure might be needed and justified. Acknowledging that the disagreements have been arbitrated would be even nicer. The nicest would be to concede that Kappa as its own limitations, and that the perspectives between authors and raters may differ.

    Analyzing the disagreement between authors and raters should bear in mind that authors themselves may misclassify their own articles, like Richard himself for his own papers.

  422. Eli Rabett says:

    FWIW, counting coup comes from the Plains Indians and refers to winning prestige in battle. Perhaps trash talking would be a bit more precise here.


  423. For some insight take a look at Josh Marshall on Ted Cruz

    The ongoing buzz surrounding Cruz is that he is super-smart. To contrast, on the skeptic side there are no smart scientists as far as I can tell. Except maybe Lubos Motl? 🙂

    To make up for it, they are persistent.

  424. Brandon Gates says:

    Victor,

    The reason for the existence of a consensus is what the physical system is doing.

    I believe that the bulk of literature written about climate converges on the reality of the system being studied. I have very little doubt about that. I’m far less confident about what comes in the future because I find that literature is far less confident about it.

    I am making a semantic point here, which I normally avoid because I’m generally pragmatic: it matters less how things are said, much more what is being said. However, as you and I have previously discussed on your blog, it does make sense to talk about scientific consensus in a nuanced way since mitigation skeptics make much ado about fallacious appeals to popularity. IIRC, one of my comment was “No non-trivial science is ever settled.”

    If anything, I am a champion of clear thinking. I find it tremendously difficult to advocate that without coming off as overly-pedantic. With that in mind …

    In the same way, a random error in estimating the consensus will reduce the estimated consensus.

    In a similar way, not the same way. A medical diagnosis can be a discrete thing: I’m sorry to inform you, but you have non-Hodgkins lymphoma and we expect that you have less than six months to live according to our models. There are simply too many climate parameters for any one person to know even though the collective we have summarized those complexities into also near-countless indices in an attempt to make the problem manageable.

    “The Consensus” needs a narrowly-defined definition to be meaningful in this analogy. So: “97% of papers reviewed conclude that human CO2 emissions since 1750 have resulted in between 55 and 70 percent of the observed GMST” is something which is far more objectively testable. That paper would be eminently defensible in a way that C13 isn’t. Knutti (2008) comes to mind.

    None of which is to say that I think C13 is a flawed paper, or should not have been done, nor that it needs to be buried and forgotten about. I do think how we think about it and discuss it is. Here I only offer some of my opinions about that.

  425. Meow says:

    The ongoing buzz surrounding Cruz is that he is super-smart.

    I thought that being smart was a disqualification under The Rules of Modern American Conservatism, because it means that you’re an “elitist”. Certainly that was a commonplace con criticism of Obama. What am I missing?

  426. John Hartz says:

    Brandon Gates:

    You can rest assured that I am neither “well known” nor “influential.”

  427. Maybe because he is super-smart he feels the need to make stupid statements to become electable?

  428. John Hartz says:

    Eli Rabbit: Thank you for clarifying the meaning of “counting coup.”

  429. Willard says:

    > What the paper does technically is to classify abstracts.

    It does a bit more:

    To complement the abstract analysis, email addresses for 8547 authors were collected, typically from the corresponding author and/or first author. For each year, email addresses were obtained for at least 60% of papers. Authors were emailed an invitation to participate in a survey in which they rated their own published papers (the entire content of the article, not just the abstract) with the same criteria as used by the independent rating team. Details of the survey text are provided in the supplementary information (available at stacks.iop.org/ERL/8/024024/mmedia).

    http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024024/article#erl460291s2

    ***

    > The paper did not present any justification that tells that the relationship is quantitatively close.

    Close to what?

    From the introduction:

    Surveys of climate scientists have found strong agreement (97–98%) regarding AGW amongst publishing climate experts (Doran and Zimmerman 2009, Anderegg et al 2010). Repeated surveys of scientists found that scientific agreement about AGW steadily increased from 1996 to 2009 (Bray 2010). This is reflected in the increasingly definitive statements issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the attribution of recent GW (Houghton et al 1996, 2001, Solomon et al 2007).

    The peer-reviewed scientific literature provides a ground-level assessment of the degree of consensus among publishing scientists. An analysis of abstracts published from 1993–2003 matching the search ‘global climate change’ found that none of 928 papers disagreed with the consensus position on AGW (Oreskes 2004). This is consistent with an analysis of citation networks that found a consensus on AGW forming in the early 1990s (Shwed and Bearman 2010).

    […]

    Through analysis of climate-related papers published from 1991 to 2011, this study provides the most comprehensive analysis of its kind to date in order to quantify and evaluate the level and evolution of consensus over the last two decades.

    http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024024/article#erl460291s1

    From the discussion:

    Our sample encompasses those surveyed by Oreskes (2004) and Schulte (2008) and we can therefore directly compare the results. Oreskes (2004) analyzed 928 papers from 1993 to 2003. Over the same period, we found 932 papers matching the search phrase ‘global climate change’ (papers continue to be added to the ISI database). From that subset we eliminated 38 papers that were not peer-reviewed, climate-related or had no abstract. Of the remaining 894, none rejected the consensus, consistent with Oreskes’ result. Oreskes determined that 75% of papers endorsed the consensus, based on the assumption that mitigation and impact papers implicitly endorse the consensus. By comparison, we found that 28% of the 894 abstracts endorsed AGW while 72% expressed no position. Among the 71 papers that received self-ratings from authors, 69% endorse AGW, comparable to Oreskes’ estimate of 75% endorsements.

    An analysis of 539 ‘global climate change’ abstracts from the Web of Science database over January 2004 to mid-February 2007 found 45% endorsement and 6% rejection (Schulte 2008). Our analysis over a similar period (including all of February 2007) produced 529 papers—the reason for this discrepancy is unclear as Schulte’s exact methodology is not provided. Schulte estimated a higher percentage of endorsements and rejections, possibly because the strict methodology we adopted led to a greater number of ‘No Position’ abstracts. Schulte also found a significantly greater number of rejection papers, including 6 explicit rejections compared to our 0 explicit rejections. See the supplementary information (available at stacks.iop.org/ERL/8/024024/mmedia) for a tabulated comparison of results. Among 58 self-rated papers, only one (1.7%) rejected AGW in this sample. Over the period of January 2004 to February 2007, among ‘global climate change’ papers that state a position on AGW, we found 97% endorsements.

    http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024024/article#erl460291s4-2

  430. Brandon Gates says:

    VTG,

    The Google can easily find many, MANY more ways to help you passive disregard for Tol become more active.

    The Pac-Man graphic also speaks volumes. What I’ve read myself without much benefit of Teh Goggle is consistent with Gelman’s summary. This is less about me knowing what his game is, more about how I can counter it with the appropriate level of dispassionate disregard it warrants. It’s something I think about wrt ALL T(r)ol(ls) because, make no mistake, I am most of all furious with the climate contrarian community for their collective intellectual dishonesty, insinuations, obfuscation and diversionary tactics. It’s a hot outrage I’m trying to turn into something ice cold and hard so that I can consistently disregard without being seen as dismissive or vindictive.

    For whatever that’s worth. Mostly my own satisfaction, really. Has be; the reality is I’m just piss in a puddle of it, and not at all good at having genuine humility.

  431. Brandon Gates says:

    Eli,

    FWIW, counting coup comes from the Plains Indians and refers to winning prestige in battle.

    With the specific sense of landing a light blow with a non-fatal implement designed for just that purpose.

    Perhaps trash talking would be a bit more precise here.

    I generally perfer to use more romantic metaphors in a pissing contest. The patina of erudition and all that rot.

  432. Brandon Gates says:

    ATTP,

    Yes, repeating it for emphasis: I did not say that the 1500 missing papers would swing the result, I said they could.

    Explicitly dodgy, always the best sort. Good catch.

  433. Steven Mosher says:

    Vtg
    I think to treat Tol seriously is to make a mistake.

    ×**×*

    What an odd thing to say. I could give two shits about tol.
    His arguments.. It would be a mistake to laugh them off.

  434. Tom Curtis says:

    Brandon Gates, what do you mean by “trivial” when you say:

    “No non-trivial science is ever settled.”

    Do you, for example, consider heliocentrism “trivial”. Certainly it is settled, but it was not trivial at the time of discovery – either as to the scientific evidence, or as to its cultural impact (just ask Galileo). Granted with the benefit of our current position, the evidence for heliocentrism is overwhelming. But if that is what you mean by “trivial”, then all you mean by “trivial” is “scientifically settled”, which reduces your mantra to a tautology (and a rather uninteresting one).

  435. Eli Rabett says:

    Modern equivalent is trash talking

  436. John Hartz says:

    Brandon Gates:

    You stated:

    Good grief, not according to Tol. You very likely just handed him even more incentive to keep at it.

    Damn! Now I’m in John Cook’s doghouse for sure!

  437. Brandon Gates says:

    Eli: Granted, but that is not my perception of what I am doing, and certainly isn’t my intent. Think hormonal teenager going through some growing pains.

    John: If doggie treats go along with that, it may not be such a bad thing. On that note, I think I’m quite finished howling at the moon for this session. Cheers, and keep up all the good work.

  438. Brandon Gates says:

    Tom Curtis,

    Do you, for example, consider heliocentrism “trivial”.

    A bit hard for me to give an honest and candid answer here since I’ve already read ahead …

    Certainly it is settled, but it was not trivial at the time of discovery – either as to the scientific evidence, or as to its cultural impact (just ask Galileo). Granted with the benefit of our current position, the evidence for heliocentrism is overwhelming. But if that is what you mean by “trivial”, then all you mean by “trivial” is “scientifically settled”, which reduces your mantra to a tautology (and a rather uninteresting one).

    It’s kind of uninteresting and rather annoying that you’ve decided it’s a mantra before even allowing me to answer. Let’s try this exercise. Do you think there is such thing as a trivial science? If so, please offer an example.

  439. BBD says:

    Brandon G

    It’s a hot outrage I’m trying to turn into something ice cold and hard so that I can consistently disregard without being seen as dismissive or vindictive.

    Me too, but with patchy results. Rage bubbles up, and the lid on the pan rattles, even in the most sternly-managed kitchen. We’re only human.

  440. Brandon Gates says:

    BBD,

    Thank you. Historically, my management system has been one of tightly sealed containment.

  441. Tom Curtis says:

    Brandon Gates:

    “A bit hard for me to give an honest and candid answer here since I’ve already read ahead …”

    Not hard at all. If you agreed with my opinion, then it has no influence. If you disagreed, you could always say so, and why. What is there about my holding an opinion that makes honesty and candour difficult for you?

    “Do you think there is such thing as a trivial science? If so, please offer an example.”

    Actually, no. There are trivial scientific exercises, as when you apply a well established theory to a paradigm case and draw the appropriate conclusions. But the scientific theories we use in so doing are not trivial, nor trivial to develop. If we think otherwise, we are only forgetting the giants on whose shoulders we stand.

    What I believe, however, is beside the point. You introduced the word, and it is what you believe it means that matters in interpreting your mantra. Can you given it a sense which does not reduce your mantra to a tautology?

  442. Willard says:

    > Can you given it a sense which does not reduce your mantra to a tautology?

    Why would BrandG need that, Tom Curtis? He hasn’t even claimed it here, but offered it as an example of platitude in another discussion, on another blog, about something quite trivial. Or is it settled?

    Which reminds me of this story:

    Awakening should be a surprise. When you don’t expect something to happen and it happens, you feel surprise. When Webster’s wife caught him kissing the maid, she told him she was very surprised. Now, Webster was a stickler for using words accurately (understandably, since he wrote a dictionary), so he answered her, “No, my dear, I am surprised. You are astonished!”

    http://www.soulwise.net/99adm03.htm

  443. Brandon Gates says:

    Tom Curtis,

    Not hard at all. If you agreed with my opinion, then it has no influence.

    Speak for yourself. I’m telling you, it had an influence on ME.

    If you disagreed, you could always say so, and why.

    Sure. I chose not to.

    What is there about my holding an opinion that makes honesty and candour difficult for you?

    I’m aware that when someone challenges me in a debate context that the answers I give are biased toward “winning” the point.

    There are trivial scientific exercises, as when you apply a well established theory to a paradigm case and draw the appropriate conclusions. But the scientific theories we use in so doing are not trivial, nor trivial to develop. If we think otherwise, we are only forgetting the giants on whose shoulders we stand.

    I think that is well put, I agree.

    You introduced the word, and it is what you believe it means that matters in interpreting your mantra. Can you given it a sense which does not reduce your mantra to a tautology?

    I don’t think that is possible. That would require “mantra” and “tautology” to have universally immutable definitions, and that “no non-trivial science is ever settled” can be objectively evaluated against those definitions. The best I can do is explain further what I mean by that, or attempt to rephrase, and leave you to decide whether you agree with me or not. I’d be happy to do that if you’d like, but I have this thing about not giving satisfaction to closed-ended questions, particularly if I think they’re loaded.

  444. ” email addresses for 8547 authors were collected, typically from the corresponding author and/or first author. For each year, email addresses were obtained for at least 60% of papers.”

    Of whom 20 some percent responded. There is no description in the Methods of any steps the co-authors took to insure the scientists were representative of authors of all the studies. Opportunistic sampling must be done very carefully. There is no description of any sample frame constructed. There is no description of reminder emails, how the email was worded, who the author of the email was or estimate of the effect of email source on likelihood to respond.

    Given the number of authors who have subsequently declared that their papers were misclassified (including in abstract), it is a pity that greater care was not taken in handling this portion of the project.

  445. Willard says:

    A ClimateBall interpretation of “counting coup”:

    However, you play offense, which means you have the ball. Keep the ball moving forward. Let them do their touch down dances on their line of 20.

    Keep calm and play ClimateBall like gentlemen and gentlewomen.

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/persistence/#comment-51865

  446. I thought I was thinking, don’t you all have something better to do, but some of this stuff is good. However, what I’d like to see is Willard applying his undoubted skills to pushing back on Cruz. As to Cruz being clever, my favorite reading (The New Yorker) has it down. He’s a champion debater, and quite nauseatingly smug and loving the attention (sounds like somebody else we’ve been talking about*). Anybody wanted to know about Cruz, here (and search for more, they’ve been expanding the subject):
    thttp://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/06/30/the-absolutist-2

    [Mod : I might just redact this bit.]

    (ATTP, you may want to censor me here, I seem to be all over the place. I won’t mind.)

  447. Over at Sou’s. 400 of the missing 1500 papers may have been found.

  448. Richard,
    Any chance of link? Also, if you look at the datafile with the abstracts numbered from 1 – 12876, you may note that it starts at 1, then goes to 2, then 3, then 4, then 347. So, there are clearly NOT 12876 abstracts/papers in that file.

  449. Marco says:

    Over at Sou’s, we are running circles around Tol. You’d think our minimal digging to find those 400 would have been done by Tol a looooooooooong time ago.

  450. Brandon Gates says:

    Now they see what will be, blinded eyes to see …

    … for whom the bell Tolls

    (time marches on)

  451. Marco says:

    ATTP, as a result of those gaps, Tol assumed Cook removed extra papers from his original search. Tol could have kindly asked Cook for an explanation of the gaps in the paper IDs, but that would defeat the whole purpose of his exercise: throw as much as possible at the wall and hope something sticks. And of course it works, because he has gotten his message out, and as Mark Twain said, the truth is still putting its shoes on.

  452. Marco,
    Well, yes, of course. And people wonder why the Recursive Fury paper created such an outcry. A bit too close to the truth for comfort?

  453. Brandon Gates says:

    For any who don’t already know it …

    http://members.shaw.ca/jeanaltemeyer/drbob/TheAuthoritarians.pdf

    … far more general and comprehensive. Indispensable.

  454. Brandon Gates says:

    Marco,

    “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience” ~George Carlin, channelling Twain

  455. verytallguy says:

    Mosher

    What an odd thing to say.

    Tol exemplifies :

    Over at Sou’s. 400 of the missing 1500 papers may have been found

    Arguments sometimes perhaps.  Behaviour not so much.

  456. Brandon Gates says:

    thomaswfuller2,

    Given the number of authors who have subsequently declared that their papers were misclassified (including in abstract), it is a pity that greater care was not taken in handling this portion of the project.

    1) There is no description in this statement of the steps taken to insure the scientists were representative of authors of all the studies.
    2) Opportunistic sampling must be done very carefully. (And carefully must be defined very carefully.)
    3) There is NO description of any sample frame constructed. (And no links to any references where one might obtain it.)

    It is a pity that greater care was not taken in handling this portion of the discussion.

  457. Brandon,
    Yes, you’ve made the point I was going to make.

  458. Mr. Gates, I may be mistaken but it seems evident from your comment that you’re not familiar with sampling frames. Am I wrong?

    If not, it involves deciding how many of each type of respondent will be invited to the survey, and making sure responses correlate well with invitations.

    In this case,as so many abstracts were classifed as not having expressed an opinion it would have meant extra work to insure that adequate numbers of both explicit endorse and explicit reject were invited. It probably would have meant going outside the bounds of the publicly available email addresses to get responses. Given the low response rate (which on its own is disturbing), it would have posed a problem under the best of circumstances.

  459. Tom,
    Are you sure you understand sampling frames? It’s not clear

    If not, it involves deciding how many of each type of respondent will be invited to the survey, and making sure responses correlate well with invitations.

    This implies you know each type of respondent. You don’t? All you have is a set of papers and a corresponding set of email addresses. You email as many as possible and see what response you get. You cannot – in advance – identify each person emailed as belonging to a specific category, as you don’t know what this is. Each person is simply an author of a paper. Their response allows you to then provide a rating for their paper.

    In this case,as so many abstracts were classifed as not having expressed an opinion it would have meant extra work to insure that adequate numbers of both explicit endorse and explicit reject were invited.

    Why? The sampling of the authors was an independent check. What you’re suggesting would potentially lead to a bias. The authors of Cook et al. had rated the abstracts. You then email the authors and ask them to rate their papers. If you want these to be independent, you can’t then use the results of the abstract ratings to inform how your contact of the authors.

  460. Many mitigation sceptical scientists have blogs, whereas only a few percent at best of the normal scientists has a blog. Clearly the mitigation sceptics have a much stronger urge to talk about their opinion.

    Thus I fully agree with thomaswfuller2 that there may well have been a strong difference in response rate between the groups. A more careful analysis likely shows more realistic higher number for the consensus position.

  461. @Marco
    Until early this morning, I thought there was an innocent explanation for the missing abstracts.

  462. I agree with ATTP that you should not do any selection of emails in advance and try to get as many responses as you can. But afterwards you can check whether the authors of papers that were rated as rejecting the consensus position had a higher response rate than the normal scientists, which would be my hypothesis. If yes, you could correct for that and get a more accurate estimate of the size of the consensus.

  463. Joshua says:

    In 100 years people will laugh their assess off that so many people early 20th century spent so much of their time arguing about Cook13.

  464. Joshua says:

    21rst century….although it does feel like these arguments have been going on that long. 🙂

  465. Joshua says:

    angech –

    ==> “angech says:
    March 26, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    Joshua points out that in his opinion there are serious flaws,” <==

    Actually, I said "for the sake of argument." I actually have no opinion as to the methodological flaws. I don't have a lot of interest in the paper itself (I find the arguments about the paper interesting and boring at the same time). I read the arguments briefly, and from such a bird's eye view, I think that arguments on both sides seem plausible – but I don't take the time to really dig in to assess the veracity of the claims being made because it would take so much time and energy and I really just don't care that much.

    Personally, I'm dubious about a claim of "97%," as I don't think that you can find that much uniformity in a group on much of anything unless you reduce the issue in question to such a banal question that who would care anyway?

    But that said, from what I can tell, there is a high prevalence of shared opinion among experts who study the technical issues involved, that ACO2 is changing the climate in such a way that it presents a potential risk of significant harm – which in turn, merits consideration of policies to address mitigation and adaptation.

    I think that the prevalence of shared opinion among experts should not be considered dispositive but it is information that I can use to help me weigh the probabilities when I see what seem to be smart and knowledgeable people disagreeing about technical matters that I can't evaluate for myself.

  466. Richard,

    Until early this morning, I thought there was an innocent explanation for the missing abstracts.

    Here’s a suggestion: why don’t you put up or shut up? That way John Cook and co. can either defend themselves and show that your implications are unfounded, or you can show that they’re not. All these subtle hints are not only irritating, they’re borderline unethical.

  467. Willard says:

    When I think of it . . . all these years . . . but for me . . . where would you be . . . (Decisively.) You’d be nothing more than a little heap of bones at the present minute, no doubt about it.

  468. Marco says:

    “Until early this morning, I thought there was an innocent explanation for the missing abstracts.”

    Until some days I thought there was a minute chance you would admit to being wrong. Today you just continue to provide evidence for my earlier statement that you are never capable of doing so.

  469. verytallguy says:

    Until early this morning, I thought there was an innocent explanation for the missing abstracts.

    What a coincidence!

    Until early this morning, I thought there was an innocent explanation for Richard’s innuendo laden obsessions.

  470. John Hartz says:

    Joshua: “This too shall pass.”

  471. Marco says:

    Tom Fuller, a 14% response rate is quite normal for these type of surveys. For someone claiming to be such an expert in the field, I am surprised (actually, I am not) that you did not know that.

    It is also quite interesting to note that quite a few authors that complained about how their paper was rated actually did not complain about how the paper was rated, but complained about an incorrect representation of how their paper was rated. If you write an abstract that says more than 50% of warming can be attributed to greenhouse gas emissions, you endorse AGW in the abstract rating. If you are (made to) believe that the abstract rating was based on 100% of warming due to AGW, then yes, your abstract was misclassified. But that was not how the rating was done. If I remember correctly there was also one who stated that his paper showed AGW would not be dangerous and therefore the rating was wrong…but that was not part of the rating process!

  472. Joshua says:

    willard –

    lol! Beckett was an amateur in the theater of the absurd compared to the “climate-o-sphere.” Although (I Googled him for the hell of it)….

    His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humour.

    he must have been channeling into the future. Imagine him as a climate blogger and then think of Anthony Watts. Same, same but different, no?

  473. verytallguy says:

    As Richard had started to throw around unpleasant insinuations,  I think it would be appropriate to remind ourselves of some of his previous lest this be perceived as a one-off aberration. 

    Frank Ackerman on Tol suggests that “relentless” might be a better adjective than “persistent”:

    Richard Tol… …has waged a relentless campaign to convince the world that one of my published articles is illegitimate and must never be mentioned… …He has written to my employers and publishers, accusing me of libel for writing this technical article. This is a false accusation of a serious offense, no longer just an academic disagreement. It has gone far beyond the bounds of acceptable debate.

    Our emphasis.

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

  474. BBD says:

    The word that springs to mind is ‘unhinged’.

  475. John Hartz says:

    VTG: Tol also launched a similar vendetta against Stpehan Lewandowsky. Are there others?

  476. Rob Nicholls says:

    Glad to see people still commenting, until a couple of hours ago at least.
    I’m truly grateful to Willard for reminding me to (finally) read things by Samuel Beckett. Very enjoyable so far.

  477. Willard says:

    > This too shall pass.

    Yes:

  478. Marco, as usual you are incorrect. Acceptable response rates vary by nature of survey, nature of respondent and other factors such as incentives paid, accessibility to survey results (important in business and academic research), etc. In a survey of academics familiar with the survey subject and the organization fielding the survey 14% is too low.

    For example, the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education cites 80% as expected.

    On the other hand, an internet panel of consumers might yield a response rate of 1% or 2%, depending on the incentive offered, length of survey and topic.

    This falls in between. I would look askance at a response rate lower than 30%. Other survey practitioners might offer different figures.

  479. ATTP, you are also incorrect. They scraped email addresses to use for their invitations. That doesn’t mean they were required to send invitations out to all. They could have looked at the results of their ratings and invited proportionally to the ratings results.

    More important, they could and should have made extra efforts to get respondents from the high and low end of the ratings. They should have, if necessary, called the author and begged, offered money, whatever to get adequate representation.

    What they ended up with was a mass of author responses that don’t reveal much, if anything. Because they did not take care with the fundamental aspect of sample design they wasted a lot of their own and the survey respondents’ time.

    Just one of many errors in the fielding (as well as design and analysis) of this paper.

  480. pbjamm says:

    Can someone please explain what Richard Tol is insinuating wrt toe h”missing papers”? I have been following the tread at Sou’s but have no idea what he is on about. Also his comment here:

    “Until early this morning, I thought there was an innocent explanation for the missing abstracts.”

    seems completely disingenuous when compared to the claims he made in The Australian, here, and at Hot Whopper.

  481. pbjamm says:

    Sou sums up Tol’s arguments in a new post that answers my question. I would still be interested in hear some other peoples take on what he is claiming. Seems a lot of hand waving and baseless accusation to me.

  482. Joshua says:

    I went to the MIT museum a couple of weeks ago. There is an exhibit on Arthur Ganson’s “kinetic sculpture” There was much there that reminded me of discussions about climate change

  483. Joshua says:

    I’ll stop here, but I really had a hard time picking which one offered the best analogy. Maybe this one?

  484. I do think how we think about it and discuss it is. Here I only offer some of my opinions about that.

    I think a consensus is an indicator of how confident other scientists are in some aspect of science. Of course one can still be confident and wrong, but the research done and observations made done will almost always tell us if that confidence was misplaced. And if we decide to ignore confidence in the science, then we won’t be able to effectively use science in decision or policy making. So I do think establishing that there is a consensus around an aspect of science is important.

  485. Willard says:

    Once upon a time, i.e. months earlier than Richard’s “load of nonsense” claim, there was a revised letter:

    In a recent paper in this journal (1), basic things go wrong with the economics. Economists are known for their fierce disagreements and spotty forecasting. Economists agree, however, on accounting principles.

    http://richardtol.blogspot.com/2012/10/revised-letter-for-pnas.html

    This revised letter persists in reiterating what has been observed a few weeks earlier in September, in response to “comments by an unidentified member of the editorial board” which starts thus:

    PNAS publishes few letters, selecting only those that “make a significant contribution to the field and help further discussion.” I do not believe that the present version of your letter meets that bar. I’ll say why below. If you believe you can address my comments constructively and effectively, you are welcome to submit a revised letter.

    1) The first third of your letter (paragraphs 1 and 2) is a set of homilies that are not wrong but rather truisms well known to many of us on both the editorial board of PNAS and in our readership. Good editing is hard. Got it. We don’t always get it right. But this observation is no more relevant to the present article than it is to most that we publish, especially in the Sustainability Science section. Please remove this section from your comments.

    http://richardtol.blogspot.ca/2012/09/pnas-response.html

    These comments are followed up five days later by a letter by Luderer to PNAS, which contains:

    An entry on Prof. Richard Tol’s blog regarding our recently accepted article on the “Economics of nuclear power and climate mitigation policies” (Bauer, Brecha, Luderer 2012) has come to our attention. In this piece, Prof. Tol claims to have found fundamental flaws in the REMIND model, which was used for the analysis underlying the paper.

    https://www.pik-potsdam.de/members/nicolasb/letter-pnas-re-tol.pdf

    The authors refer to an “entry” written in August 2012:

    Sorry, the page you were looking for in this blog does not exist.

    http://richardtol.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/the‐economics‐of‐nuclear‐power‐and.html

    Where’s this entry, Richard?

    ***

    Some online resources do not seem to persist as much as Richard.

  486. Willard says:

    Found it by looking in the yearly archives:

    http://richardtol.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-economics-of-nuclear-power-and.html

    The tabs in the letter messed up the URL.

    ***

    Also found this:

    Interdisciplinary research should meet disciplinary standards

    http://richardtol.blogspot.com/2012/09/interdisciplinary-research-should-meet.html

    Some themes persist.

  487. OPatrick says:

    I thoroughly recommend the This Too Shall Pass video Willard has linked to above – a brilliant antidote to this whole discussion.

    I warn against Joshua’s picks, which chillingly bring you back to reality.

    Maybe watch them in the reverse order.

  488. Willard says:

    On the 2012-09-20, Richard tweets:

    On the 2012-10-19, Richards tweets again:

    Does it show less persistence in going after the editors than after the authors?

    Of course not:

  489. Willard says:

    Aggressiveness seems to persist on Twitter:

  490. Willard says:

    “But dissent” persists everywhere:

    My favorite meme, these days.

  491. Brandon Gates says:

    ATTP,

    Yes, you’ve made the point I was going to make.

    Pity that it should have to be pointed out to him at all.

  492. Brandon Gates says:

    Willard,

    This too shall pass.

    My housemate appreciates your taste in music. She informs me that Go were very perrrrsistent in the making of that video.

  493. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Now that Sou has posted her second article on this topic you will need to follow suit. 🙂

  494. John Hartz says:

    Willard: Your excellent contributions to this thread are most appreciated.

    PS- My previous antipathy toward the Climateball brand is starting to melt away.

  495. verytallguy says:

    Now that Sou has posted her second article on this topic you will need to follow suit. 🙂

    NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

  496. Pingback: 2015 SkS Weekly Digest #13

  497. Willard says:

    Thanks, JH. I call this technique times and lines: Show it like it is.

    ***

    Speaking of which, here’s another episode featuring Richard: the Lüdecke, Link, and Ewert paper, a guest post at Judy’s on 2011-11-07.

    Here’s what may be a most persistent comment:

    I’m a professor and an editor. I am an authority in quality control.

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/11/07/two-new-papers-vs-best/#comment-134472

    Gremlins agree.

  498. Willard says:

    On the 2011-11-07, the very same day, another post at Judy’s:

    Barry Woods highlights a twitter exchange about my hosting a guest post, where I am accused of purveying disinformation:

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/11/07/disinformation-and-pseudo-critical-thinking/

    Judy’s reply is a persisting one among parsomatics afficionados: asking what some words mean. This time, it was disinformation. Here was Barry’s comment:

    Not very professional behaviour? Blinded by thoughts of ‘political motivations’? This is the problem in ‘climate science’ everything is wrapped up with who i people are, what they represent, not whether it has any merit…

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/11/07/two-new-papers-vs-best/#comment-134214

    Two leading questions, followed by a sentence that ends with an ellipsis…

    JAQing off [1] and Having one’s cake [2] are two persisting tools in a peddler’s repertoire.

    ***

    A tweet that contains the word “authority”:

    The word “authority” seems go beyond the “sound science” meme Richard tried to sell to justify “going against the authors” (as he said in a tweet cited above against Luderer) of C13.

    Could it be that Richard is an authoritarian [1]?

    ***

    [1]: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Just_asking_questions

    [2]: http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html#cake

  499. climatehawk1 says:

    And more on Tol from the always admirable HotWhopper: http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2015/03/the-fall-and-fall-of-gish-galloping.html (Personally, I don’t feel the slightest need to say anything positive about him. YMMV.)

  500. Tom Fuller,
    If you’re going to engage in the way that you are, you can simply go away. This

    They scraped email addresses to use for their invitations. That doesn’t mean they were required to send invitations out to all. They could have looked at the results of their ratings and invited proportionally to the ratings results.

    is not a response to my point. This is a suggestion that they introduced a bias. Either think about what you’re saying and think about what others have said, or go back to your own blog where you can whine about me to your heart’s content. It’s neither here nor there to me (well, actually, that’s not quite true).

  501. Willard says:

    On the 2011-11-08, Richard posts a reply at Judy’s:

    There has been some brouhaha over a guest post by Lüdecke, Link, and Ewert. I think the quality of work is so bad that Judith should never have spotlighted these papers. Publicly berating Judith, I of course drew more attention to their work, and her response added to that.

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/11/08/tols-critique-of-the-ludecke-et-al-papers/

    Richard’s distanciation is duly noted.

    Seems that brouhaha is a property of the auditing sciences.

    ***

    Now, let me ask you this. Do you have any idea how many words this two-days ClimateBall episode compels you to read?

    Walls of words, walls of words everywhere.

  502. Sou says:

    I haven’t read all the comments but I notice that Richard Tol is up to his tricks here, too.

    1. There were no missing papers.
    2. There is no mystery about 400 papers.
    3. There are no missing 1500 papers.
    4. There were 411 duplicate abstracts accidentally loaded into the database and deleted, naturally enough. This added an extra 411 numbers to the abstract IDs, which were automatically assigned. Once removed, it left gaps in the abstract ID numbering. That’s it. No mystery.

    None of this has any bearing on the Cook13 research, the methodology, the results or any aspect of the study whatsoever, no matter what Richard says.

    In fact, after this episode, I won’t be taking anything Richard Tol writes at face value – whether it’s about his own field of work or, as in this case, quite outside his field of expertise.

  503. ATTP, I will leave here as it is tiring to get threatened every other comment by someone who is not only wrong on this particular subtopic but by someone who doesn’t even know why they are wrong.

    I’ve been doing this type of survey since 1996. You’re letting your animus get in the way of learning something. Why am I not surprised?

  504. Tom,
    That is brilliant, I’m very pleased.

    I’ve been doing this type of survey since 1996. You’re letting your animus get in the way of learning something. Why am I not surprised?

    I’m always happy to learn. I have yet to learn something – worth learning that is – from someone who starts with “you are wrong” and ends with “I am right”.

  505. Brandon Gates says:

    Fuller,

    I will leave here as it is tiring to get threatened every other comment by someone who is not only wrong on this particular subtopic but by someone who doesn’t even know why they are wrong.

    Manufacturing persecution and then fleeing from it so as to play the martyr, are we? Don’t let the door hit you in your cowardly posterior.

  506. Willard says:

    > someone who starts with “you are wrong” and ends with “I am right”.

    Waiting till Groundskeeper Willie rips off his shirt, AT:

    ***

    The survey part of C13 is the second one, BTW. The first part is more like a literature review.

  507. russellseitz says:

    RT cites 3 papers examining variations in climate sensitivity estimates.

    Here’s the whole data set in one graph– see for yourself.

  508. Willard says:

    You can insert images by putting its URL on one line, like this:

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-i2umjVrnxQY/VQxpNzoEzcI/AAAAAAAAKTA/3t5glCfLQ1M/s1600/Screen%2BShot%2B2015-03-20%2Bat%2B2.18.11%2BPM.png

    This gives:

  509. Brandon Gates says:

    Addendum: while some run awaaaaayyyy, others are being very, very persistent about gnawing on everyone’s ankles. I’ve seen such a farcical comedy before … where was it … ah yes:

  510. Brandon Gates says:

    Willard,

    If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys? I’m just askin’.

  511. Willard says:

    > There are no missing 1500 papers.

    There never was:

    Once upon a time, Richard was arguing that Scopus would have been better.

  512. climatehawk1 says:

    If you are in a hole, persistence is not a virtue.

  513. BBD says:

    Russell Seitz

    Looks like about 3C to me…

    🙂

  514. Brandon Gates says:

    climatehawk1,

    I’d offer Tol my shovel, but he’s down to digging with his teeth.

  515. Willard says:

    > Now, let me ask you this. Do you have any idea how many words this two-days ClimateBall episode compels you to read?

    The answer is, of course, not enough, since on the 2011-11-10, a couple of days later, Ludecke & al responds:

    We would like to answer on the many comments on our guest post. However, more than 500 comments – so far – are too much. Most comments have the same shortcoming as Tol’s critique – a fundamental deficit of knowledge about persistence and DFA.

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/11/10/ludecke-et-al-respond/

    Cf. with Groundskeeper’s parting shot above.

    ***

    On the very same day, i.e. 2011-11-10, Judy posts another post:

    Lets conduct a thought experiment. Consider the differing reactions to the two Ludecke papers if the exact same papers had been written by:

    a) Ludecke et al.
    b) Michael Mann
    c) Isaac Held
    d) A graduate student

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/11/10/disinformation-vs-fraud-in-the-climate-debate/

    An interesting extension:

    What if the paper were written by Antonio Lasaga?

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/11/10/disinformation-vs-fraud-in-the-climate-debate/#comment-136952

    ***

    Fast forward three months later:

    The bottom line is that rather than invoking authority, they’d be well advised to stick to careful argument.

    http://judithcurry.com/2012/02/04/argument-and-authority-in-the-climate-fight/

    And then three years later:

    I don’t care for strictly appeals to authority, but having said that, I don’t reject them out of hand.

    http://judithcurry.com/2015/03/26/christopher-essex-on-suppressing-scientific-inquiry/#comment-688157

    Res ipsa loquitur.

  516. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: I highlighted your OP and Sou’s two OPs in today’s edition of the SkS Weekly Digest

  517. Kevin ONeill says:

    Any economist that writes: “Economic theory is now able to explain most phenomena – even if the 2008 financial crisis remains theoretically impossible.” ought to get out of the field of economics and leave it to those that understand how economies work.

    Joseph Stiglitz Dean Baker, Paul Krugman, Brad Delong, et al would be amazed to learn that the housing market crash and the ensuing financial crisis were theoretically impossible. Perhaps Richard Tol needs to rethink his economic models. Using the correct economic models the financial crisis was not theoretically impossible, but entirely predictable.

  518. Brandon Gates says:

    ATTP,

    Excellent, I see there is Serious Business afoot:

    This implies you know each type of respondent. You don’t?

    I would emphatically say that we do not, and should not assume on the basis of our own subjective self-ratings that we do. As you clearly lay out:

    All you have is a set of papers and a corresponding set of email addresses. You email as many as possible and see what response you get. You cannot – in advance – identify each person emailed as belonging to a specific category, as you don’t know what this is. Each person is simply an author of a paper. Their response allows you to then provide a rating for their paper.

    Which is beautiful, because now we can compare the responses to our own rating and make some error estimates, which Table 5 of the paper lays out:

    Study rating Self-rating Position
    —————– —————– —————–
    791 (36.9%) 1342 (62.7%) Endorse AGW
    1339 (62.5%) 761 (35.5%) No AGW position or undecided
    12 (0.6%) 39 (1.8%) Reject AGW

    In percentage terms (Self-rating/Study Rating – 1), here’s how badly we screwed up:

    69.7% Endorse AGW
    -43.2% No AGW position or undecided
    225.0% Reject AGW

    Wow, we really blew it on rejections in percentage terms. But noting that n is a vanishingly small number compared to the total number of responses, it stands to reason that “random” chance would tend to inflate percentage changes is that category. There are significance tests for this, my stats are sufficiently inexpert (and rusty) that it’s not readily apparent whether Cook et al. … adequately … addressed that question. Eyeballing the lopsided distribution in the summary stats leads me to believe that it’s not worth the bother, but in the name of absolutely bombproof rigour, any suggestions/answers would be welcome.

    There’s still a potential issue in some minds about whether there is a discernible non-response bias worth obsessing over. Given the great deal of persistence from the side of the fence crying foul, basic psychology suggests that musings along the lines that non-response bias would work against their favour seems a fantastic departure from reality. But such idle speculations are a sloppy inference on my part. I’m sure it’s been endlessly rehashed somewhere (everywhere?) — since overly-tenderized horse hash IS this week’s menu speciality — but I think it’s an interesting question if only for my own general and purely academic concerns.

    One thing I can offer in the way of needful repetition is Dana’s Guardian article from a few days back:

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2014/jun/05/contrarians-accidentally-confirm-global-warming-consensus

    Wherein he notes: An anonymous individual has also published an elegant analysis showing that Tol’s method will decrease the consensus no matter what data are put into it. In other words, his 91% consensus result is an artifact of his flawed methodology.

    http://t.co/wXd0FjekBE

    I will have to read it many many times before I could speak with Dana’s confidence. At this point all I can comfortably say is that it does look like an elegant approach.

    So now Fuller also has a substantive response from me with as many appropriate caveats about the gaps in my own knowledge — though if he were playing this issue honestly, our original curt dismissals on the basis of his own wholly lacking “argument” really should have sufficed.

  519. Bernard J. says:

    What Victor:

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/persistence/#comment-51883
    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/persistence/#comment-51885

    And Marco:

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/persistence/#comment-51894

    said.

    And a point to reiterate:

    They could have looked at the results of their ratings and invited proportionally to the ratings results.

    Why? There may be valid reasons what proportional surveying is not practical or even necessary. As long as there are minimum adequate subsample sizes, stastistics do the rest.

  520. Sou says:

    Further to my comment above about the gaps in Abstract IDs, as I deduced it’s been confirmed.

    I’ve just been told by John Cook that the ~411 duplicate abstracts were removed well before the researchers commenced categorising the papers. In fact some months beforehand. These duplicate abstracts were *not* categorised twice.

    Bang goes another one of Richard’s conspiracy theories. I’ll be adding this to my article later today.

  521. KR says:

    Richard Tol – “Until early this morning, I thought there was an innocent explanation for the missing abstracts.”

    Are you making an accusation of scientific malfeasance here? That previously rated abstracts were discarded and redone? If so, that would be libel. Given that it’s been clearly explained (on HotWhopper) that the gaps in unique IDs were due to Cook downloading the abstracts in batches, resulting in some duplicates that were removed before any ratings were done, it should be quite clear to you that you are making up your insinuations and accusations out of whole cloth, interwoven with conspiratorial ideation.

    It’s utterly astounding to watch you dig yourself further and further into the mud, accumulating self-inflicted injuries…

  522. Michael 2 says:

    ATTP says “if skeptics don’t like people to suggest that they are prone to consiracy ideation, they should simply stop saying things that make it seem that they are.”

    That won’t actually work. The underlying problem is “You are different. Because you are different I don’t like you. I will express my displeasure in any and every way my limited imagination permits.”

    Neither, for that matter, do I care in the least if you identify that I have conspiracy ideation. Of course I do and so do you. If not, you’d better get with the program because human beings are always in competition with other human beings; the only natural enemy thereof.

  523. Michael 2 says:

    Brandon Gates says “A mistake Tol makes attacking C13 is that the literature consensus is an objective reality. It’s not, because the literature itself only approximates reality.”

    Indeed, and abstracts approximate papers.

    It serves a purpose but after two or more layers of abstraction I can see where Pekka wonders about its utility.

    Comic relief: Just now I finally realize y’all aren’t discussing the isotope “carbon 13”.

  524. Michael2: “human beings are always in competition with other human beings; the only natural enemy thereof.

    That is politics. Science is a joint effort of humanity to discover the secrets of nature.

  525. verytallguy says:

    Michael2

    human beings are always in competition with other human beings

    Scientific research:

    Humans are generally highly cooperative and often impressively altruistic, quicker than any other animal species to help out strangers in need.

  526. Willard says:

    Synthesis:

    Humans are generally highly cooperative and often impressively altruistic, quicker than any other animal species to help out strangers in need and to compete with other human beings.

    Gloss:

    Humans are generally highly cooperative and often impressively altruistic, quicker than any other animal species to help out strangers in need and to compete with other human beings by playing ClimateBall.

  527. John Hartz says:

    Michael2:

    “…human beings are always in competition with other human beings; the only natural enemy thereof.”

    So when you visit Yellowstone National Park, you play patty-cake with the Grizzly bears?

  528. Michael 2 says:

    ThomasWfuller says “it is a pity that greater care was not taken in handling this portion of the project.”

    It is irrelevant in my opinion. It is scooping up the horse droppings after the parade is over. The “97 percent” meme is worldwide, more or less, and the possibility that it is really anything from 0.3 percent to 100 percent matters mostly to a few blog readers.

    But I’ll grant that in Congress, sloppy science could matter particularly when the majority party doesn’t want taxes (not for the other side’s projects anyway). Your opponents must be compelled and doing that requires absolutely meticulous proof.

  529. Michael 2 says:

    Marco boasts “Over at Sou’s, we are running circles around Tol.”

    Trivial. Now if you were to run circles around Tol on his blog that would be impressive.

  530. Steven Mosher says:

    http://judithcurry.com/2015/03/30/is-climate-change-a-ruin-problem/#comment-688709

    Eli currently has an attach rate of 3. counting comments on comments.

  531. sm says:

    http://richardtol.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/days-of-rater-bias.html

    I wonder if Richard understands what happens when you are re-selecting from a skewed distribution?

  532. Michael 2 says:

    Brandon, I’ll admit once he finally gets started on his essay it is interesting. I’m not sure there’s a point or if it is intended to have a point. It seems to be an attempt to understand the authoritarian personality type. I’ve gotten to about page 50 of 260 or so pages so maybe this is going to lead to a conclusion of some sort but it is quite interesting.

  533. Michael 2 says:

    Victor Venema “Science is a joint effort of humanity to discover the secrets of nature.”

    It certainly seems that way when it is big and expensive; my daughter doing science isn’t a “joint effort of humanity”; she’s just doing homework, learning things and laying a foundation.

  534. Michael 2 says:

    John Hartz “So when you visit Yellowstone National Park, you play patty-cake with the Grizzly bears?”

    I regret I am unfamiliar with patty-cake; feeding bears seems to be fairly popular and highly discouraged. But still popular.

    My comment was about “natural enemy”. I said nothing about food; people are food to pretty much anything with a big enough mouth (bears, sharks) or a very large number of mouths (army ants). I am unaware of any animal that schemes against me although I wonder sometimes about my dogs. Ravens seem to be capable of scheming.

    But people; that is a different story. Way too many here have warm fuzzy feelings for science and humanity and I wish, I really wish, things were as warm and fuzzy as you imagine.

  535. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: The indomitable Sou is leaving you in the dust with her third post on the Richard Tol fiasco…

    The Evolution of a 97% Conspiracy Theory – The Case of the Abstract IDs

  536. Brandon Gates says:

    Right beyond persistence into indefatigable. First she flays the man alive. Next she roasts his bones over an open fire. I think that dust you’re seeing is from the flour mill …

  537. GSR says:

    Toll’s disgraceful conduct has generated 536 comments on ATTP. Is that a good or a bad thing?

  538. JH,
    I think I’m happy for Sou to take the lead 🙂

    GSR,
    A bad thing, I suspect.

  539. Brandon Gates says:

    Michael 2,

    Indeed, and abstracts approximate papers.

    Egggggzachary.

    It serves a purpose but after two or more layers of abstraction I can see where Pekka wonders about its utility.

    As can I. Yet I found C13 tremendously useful for myself because it put some hard numbers to the quality and scope of the consensus, and that did something good for me. So now we’ve had a talk about consensus on the consensus of the consensus. This pleases me.

    Comic relief: Just now I finally realize y’all aren’t discussing the isotope “carbon 13″.

    I was calling it “Cook (2015)” for a time … apparently numbers are even more difficult for me to keep track of when I’m tired and agitated.

    It seems to be an attempt to understand the authoritarian personality type. I’ve gotten to about page 50 of 260 or so pages so maybe this is going to lead to a conclusion of some sort but it is quite interesting.

    He does wind around a bit, lots of asides. I further distracted myself by reading all the footnotes … and enjoyed him teasing me for doing so. He doesn’t come to any single overarching point — as you say, it’s a study of how the enumerated personality traits play out in society. I thought it was absolutely fascinating, and very useful.

  540. Bernard J. says:

    It certainly seems that way when it is big and expensive; my daughter doing science isn’t a “joint effort of humanity”; she’s just doing homework, learning things and laying a foundation.

    You are making a typical lay mistake when you confabulate learning about science with actually doing science, which may be what your daughter does if she constructs in class a hypothesis and tests it with experimentation, data collection, analysis and presentation to professional peers.

    The same mistake is reflected in the blogosphere when so many armchair experts who vaguely remember what a periodic table looks like think that they can come up with apparent gotchas and in doing so are performing ‘science’ on a par with professionals.

    No. Just no.

    And on that basis I relegate everything else you say to the ‘looney’ bin.

  541. Brandon Gates says:

    Bernard J.: if you want to get your blood up along these lines further, go check out what the WTFUWT experts are saying about soybean farming today. There aren’t enough brick walls for me to bash my head against right now.

  542. BBD says:

    Way too many here have warm fuzzy feelings for science and humanity and I wish, I really wish, things were as warm and fuzzy as you imagine.

    Be sure not to number me among them, M2.

  543. John Hartz says:

    Michael 2:

    Way too many here have warm fuzzy feelings for science and humanity and I wish, I really wish, things were as warm and fuzzy as you imagine.

    Think “Rosebud”.

  544. anoilman says:

    Brandon Gates says:
    March 31, 2015 at 10:47 am

    “Bernard J.: if you want to get your blood up along these lines further, go check out what the WTFUWT experts are saying about soybean farming today. There aren’t enough brick walls for me to bash my head against right now.”

    Interesting. WUFUWT is way less rabid than I remember. Its still chock full of stupid people.

    I’d be curious to know for far north soy beans are expected to move, by, oh, say 2050 and 2100. I’d be curious to know what the crop’s requirements are. (We have crap soil in Canada, so I know its not coming here.) I wonder at what point the declining sunshine we have in the north will impact soybean growth. (Some crops grown in Canada have 20% yields of their American counter parts. Warmth has nothing to do with it, its milder sunshine that reduces the growth.)

    In the places where soy no longer grows well, what will be done in their stead?

    Changes in crops, and production methods will cost the economy a lot over time. i.e. local Soybean packing plants will be having issues eventually.

    Interesting that all the counter arguments are focusing on maximum or peak temperatures. I would think the broader temperature distributions, and wild rain rides, would be more indicative of problems.

  545. Brandon Gates says:

    anoilman,

    WUFUWT is way less rabid than I remember.

    Wow, really? It’s arguable I’m leading the frothing-mouth brigade on that thread.

    Its still chock full of stupid people.

    Gee, thanks. 🙂

    It’s the deliberate stupidity which gets to me.

    In the places where soy no longer grows well, what will be done in their stead?

    Bananas?

    Interesting that all the counter arguments are focusing on maximum or peak temperatures.

    It’s interesting they’re challenging it at all. It’s an adaptation paper, not a mitigation paper.

    I would think the broader temperature distributions, and wild rain rides, would be more indicative of problems.

    Study’s findings are that yields are more sensitive to in-season temps than precip despite much of the growing areas NOT being irrigated. And that things like timing of planting cultivation techniques can bring yields up to par in the warmer growing seasons. I’ll bet you a fiver this paper is cited in the next NIPCC report.

  546. anoilman says:

    Brandon Gates:
    Obviously you are young and full of energy and excitement. Getting jaded will set in later. After 6 years of wading through denial BS, I really just want to go to the pub.

    I don’t think anyone actually writes or even reads the NIPCC report.

    Here’s what their expert on solar radiation has to say;
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/us/ties-to-corporate-cash-for-climate-change-researcher-Wei-Hock-Soon.html
    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/02/21/science/document-climate.html

    “If a solid physical explanation using the dynamics of the natural Earth system can be found for the results shown in Figures 1 and 2, the dream of a physical theory for a predictable sun-climate connection, especially on multi-decadal and multi-centenial timescales as focused in this comprehensive research program, may soon be realized.”
    –> Willy Soon

    Take this, you may need it;

  547. Lotharsson says:

    (Mods, feel free to delete if this isn’t sufficiently related to persistence…)

    Okay, three minutes everyone. Explicit endorsement 50% plus human attribution to global warming, implicit, no opinion, reject? I guess you don’t have time to read it twice.

    You’re right! I didn’t have time to read it twice, I had time to read it five, almost six times! Approximately two readings are sufficient for rating. The first time gives you the lay of the land, the second time to make sure you’ve grokked the relevant details for the purpose at hand, and a third reading of specific phrases or sentences if required.

    For someone who allegedly makes a living from reading and writing and might be presumed to be familiar with such things, you appear to presume reading rates rather a long way below those of the highly competent (on the assumption that your argument from personal incredulity is to be taken seriously).

  548. Brandon Gates says:

    anoilman,

    Obviously you are young and full of energy and excitement.

    And idealistic, perhaps to a fault. Hard for me to know, since there is so much I don’t know.

    Getting jaded will set in later.

    Did weariness set in before or after?

    After 6 years of wading through denial BS, I really just want to go to the pub.

    Been about a year for me. My sentiment is: I’d buy the first round. Thanks for the links to the stuff on the NIPCC.

  549. deminthon says:

    “Victor Venema “Science is a joint effort of humanity to discover the secrets of nature.”

    It certainly seems that way when it is big and expensive; my daughter doing science isn’t a “joint effort of humanity”; she’s just doing homework, learning things and laying a foundation.”

    That’s like responding to the claim that the population is 7 billion by saying your daughter is just one person.

  550. deminthon says:

    Tol tends to be coy, but he comes out of the closet when he writes in his piece

    “Climate research lost its aura of impartiality with the unauthorised release of the email archives of the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia. Its reputation of competence was shredded by the climate community’s celebration of the flawed works of Michael Mann. ”

    Who is Tol, who has demonstrated that he lacks more than a rudimentary understanding of what science is, to pass judgment on the work of Michael Mann … work that has been repeatedly confirmed by independent research? And, given his ignorant rejection of the validity of consensus, why is he talking about the “reputation of competence” of *climate research*?? Isn’t research to be judged on empirical grounds, not on its “reputation of competence”? It’s a category mistake.

    What can be said of Tol’s own competence? Nothing good. What can be said of his reputation of competence? Well, it’s high in certain quarters, for the wrong reasons.

  551. deminthon says:

    “Science is a method, not a result.”

    This confirms that you have no idea what science is. The scientific method is a method, but science is far more than that. The opening words of the Wikipedia article get at it:

    “Science (from Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge”[2]) is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.[nb 1] In an older and closely related meaning, “science” also refers to this body of knowledge itself, of the type that can be rationally explained and reliably applied. ”

    “If the method is wrong, the result is invalid.”

    Sigh. First, methods are neither right nor wrong … they are effective or not. But even ineffective methods can yield valid results … a flip of the coin may point us in the right direction. The validity of the results are *empirically determined* and are independent of how we got there. As Feyerabend — who understood science orders of magnitude better than you — said, “anything goes”.

    “It may be true, but it is still invalid.”

    This is intellectually incompetent word salad. Penicillin fights infections regardless of how it was discovered. The placebo effect is real even though it was rejected for decades and still treated with great suspicion (with reason, given how it is inflated). The tectonic plates really do shift, even though Wegener lacked sufficient evidence when he put forth his thesis.

    “We cannot assess truthfulness. We cannot, ante hoc, falsify climate predictions. Validity is the only thing we have.”

    This is one of the most astoundingly ignorant, wrongheaded things ever said about science. The scientific method isn’t *deductively* valid … it’s *just a method*. We get wrong results out of it all the time. How do we know? We assess for truthfulness!

    “Sacrificing validity for political expedience is a sure way to lose credibility.”

    Such projection.

    “Consensus has no place in science.” … “Counting noses is silliness on stilts.”

    More astounding ignorance and incompetence. Consensus and “counting noses” is *evidence*!!! Do you even know what evidence is, with all your ridiculous talk about “validity”? There is a *strong causal relationship* from facts of the world to a consensus view among scientists in a field that focuses on those facts. If you had any understanding at all of how science works, you would know this.

  552. deminthon says:

    “Richard, would you rather we base policy decisions on science that has a consensus around it or science that has very little support? Or should we just give up because we don’t know anything with any certainty or someone on the right is not going to like it?”

    Apparently you’re supposed to recreate all the science on your own — and then publish your findings on WUWT, along with other “researchers” like Bob Tisdale, so that all the rejectionists there can nod along if it fits their ideology.

  553. deminthon says:

    “AGW is real, the vast major of qualified scientists agree. The literature supports this.

    In short you can believe in the science, you can believe in his results and still responsibly question the method.”

    It’s nice that you have shifted your views, Mosher, but you have a long ways to go to reach the land of intellectual honesty.

    Tol says that it’s silliness on stilts to care whether “the vast major of qualified scientists agree”; that consensus has no place in science. You say “the literature supports this”, but that’s just another way to say there is consensus. So what, by Tol’s lights, are your grounds for claiming that “AGW is real”? Did you recreate all the scientific research yourself? If you want to defend Tol, you’re in a bit of a pickle. And who else defends Tol? On his own blog he reposts Jo Nova, and her comment is followed by one from Bob Tisdale and other assorted science rejecters.

  554. deminthon says:

    “Expert panels are, of course, a valid method.”

    So you lied when you said that consensus has no place in science?

    “Cook took a paper on TV coverage of climate change as evidence that climate change is real and caused by humans. I would take such a paper as evidence that climate change is discussed on TV.”

    [Mod : Inflammatory.]

    Let’s get down to it:

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421514003747

    “consensus is robust at 97±1%.”

  555. deminthon says:

    “Note that Tol is NOT a denier. ”

    Sure he is. He denies the relevance of consensus, the size of the consensus, the validity of Michael Mann’s work, and the urgency of action, among other things.

  556. deminthon says:

    “Tolerating, nay celebrating flawed research (Mann, Cook, Lewandowski, Rahmstorff) casts the whole of climate research in a bad light.”

    You tolerating your own grossly flawed research casts you in a bad light. And that’s nothing compared to the rejectionsphere that celebrates your incompetent crap.

    Another thing that casts you in a bad light is the gross incompetence and/or intellectual dishonesty of the statement above. All research is “flawed”, but the degree to which the work of the people you mention is flawed is a matter of dispute … most *competent* people differ with your assessment. If people are “tolerating” work that they, in good faith, think is tolerable, that is not grounds for attacking the entirety of climate research just because an incompetent like *you* has a different opinion.

    Finally, whether their work is flawed or not, the people you mentioned are competent and did their work in good faith, and have responded with integrity to criticism of their work … none of which can be said for you. If validity of method is all that counts, then the entire body of your contributions is less than worthless.

  557. deminthon says:

    “Perhaps we should make it hard for Anthony Watts and the like to punch holes in climate research.”

    What holes have they punched? If you mean that we should make it hard for them to *claim* to have punched holes … we’re not into violence.

    [Mod : Inflammatory.]

  558. deminthon says:

    Uh oh … my persistence has been thwarted by the moderation queue.

  559. I’ve moderated parts of a couple of your comments, and I think I will avoid posting the one that got caught 🙂

  560. deminthon says:

    “[Mod : Inflammatory.]”

    On those grounds, shouldn’t all of Tol’s posts be removed? His whole career is inflammatory.

  561. I only have moderation rights here, though 🙂

  562. Oh, I misread your comment. It only seems right to let Richard comment when the post mentions him.

  563. deminthon says:

    ” I think I will avoid posting the one that got caught :-)”

    Lessee … I think that’s the one where I commented on Tol’s backtracking on

    “Perhaps we should make it hard for Anthony Watts and the like to punch holes in climate research.”

    shifting it to the fact that people who read WUWT *believe* that AW et. al. punch holes in climate research (and that he isn’t competent to judge what is written there and doesn’t bother to ask anyone who is)… which is closely related to my “If you mean that we should make it hard for them to *claim* to have punched holes”. Surely his suggestion about what “we” should do is inflammatory, especially since it would require violence or a DDoS attack or something.

  564. deminthon says:

    Oh, now I remember … I asked Tol why he is the sort of person he is.

  565. deminthon says:

    “Oh, I misread your comment. It only seems right to let Richard comment when the post mentions him.”

    I’m not convinced of that, but banning him would not let him verify your theme, so there’s that.

  566. deminthon says:

    Finally … I know no one is reading here any more, but there’s a lot that warrants critical comment, and not just from folks like Tol, Fuller, Angech, and Michael 2 … e.g., in a discussion about the social influence of the paper, Eli writes

    “C13’s 97% is mentioned constantly in newspapers, magazines, TV and tweeted by the President of the US. The Murdoch press simply can’t let go”

    Sorry, Eli, but it’s not “C13’s 97%” … see, e.g.,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surveys_of_scientists%27_views_on_climate_change#STATS.2C_2007

    “In 2007, Harris Interactive surveyed 489 randomly selected members of either the American Meteorological Society or the American Geophysical Union for the Statistical Assessment Service (STATS) at George Mason University. The survey found 97% agreed that global temperatures have increased during the past 100 years”

    The number 97% was in wide circulation before the Cook paper; their paper just confirmed it.

  567. deminthon says:

    Sorry, I shouldn’t have said “just confirmed it” … their survey was about AGW, whereas the Harris Interactive survey was only about GW. But the number was in wide circulation, and I myself used it frequently, before the Cook paper.

  568. Michael 2 says:

    deminthon says (defining “denier”) “Sure he is. He denies the relevance of consensus, the size of the consensus, the validity of Michael Mann’s work, and the urgency of action”

    This description of the Spanish Inquisition seems relevant: “The Inquisition was originally intended in large part to ensure the orthodoxy of those who converted from Judaism and Islam”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Inquisition

    If you want pure orthodoxy, go to SkS or DailyKOS; 100 percent pure Consensus; they even invent their own opposition (straw man argumentation).

    The Consensus matters to those for whom such things matter (hive minded people who take their social cues from other people, who are also doing that; the result being you can get the whole entire mass circulating slowly around an invisible center just as you can with a herring ball).

    The size of the consensus varies according to the parameters of the measure. I suspect that many people having similar opinions aren’t actually forming a “consensus” they just happen to observe the same thing. In other words, the Consensus (capital C) is a deliberate alignment with an orthodoxy and a willingness to bend a bit to conform. But “little c” consensus is an abstraction that perhaps its members aren’t “members” subscribed to a common idea per se and is described by someone rather than being a physical, tangible entity.

    I do not have enough information to judge Michael Mann’s work and I think neither does anyone else since he won’t release the information that would allow a meaningful judgement. However, withholding that information is itself a suggestion of problems with the work.

    Your Urgency of Action won’t be the same as mine or anyone else’s for that matter. Endless are the arguments over climate sensitivity, the costs of mitigation vs adaptation vs doing absolutely nothing.

    So count me among the “impure” for I am also not a pure “denier” that denies outright global warming (never mind its cause), and so on. There’s a vast realm between a card-carrying Leader of The Consensus (or its creator!) and a hard-boiled, right wing authoritarian denier of just about everything you care to assert.

    I’m somewhere in that impure middle. So is most of the human population I think.

  569. Michael 2 says:

    deminthon “…so that all the rejectionists there can nod along if it fits their ideology.”

    That seems to be the purpose of most blogs. I can easily write of SkS, Salon, Huffington Post, DailyKOS and hundreds of others “…so that all their unbanned readers can nod along…”

    There’s an “M” word for engaging in reproductive behavior when you are the only one doing it; a word that reasonably sums up the reason for existence of highly purified orthodox blogs.

    Compare the attendance of a Catholic Mass in Latin with, say, Manchester United futbol. Tens of thousands will come to watch futbol. Why? It is COMBAT.

    Huffington Post used to sponsor online combat with provocative headlines and vigorous debates in the comments section. Then about two years ago they took a hard left turn and purified their commenter corps. I quit before being banned; lost interest in it. No more combat. Now its the online version of the “M” word with readers nodding along in agreement.

  570. Michael 2 says:

    deminthon says “That’s like responding to the claim that the population is 7 billion by saying your daughter is just one person.”

    That is amazingly deeply insightful! Do you think of people in masses (the left wing) or as individuals, one at a time? (right wing).

    When I engage in public speaking, I don’t see a “crowd”; I see individuals, and for a moment I will look at and speak directly to one, then another, then another, especially where their body language suggests affirmation or challenge to my words.

    Do I spend more time each day thinking of 7 billion or thinking of my daughter? That’s easy but I’ll leave it to you to guess at the answer.

  571. deminthon says:

    “I’m somewhere in that impure middle. ” — You’ve been well demonstrated at Deltoid to be a science denier.

  572. deminthon says:

    I think that “M word is “Michael 2”. Your obscurantist posts bore me (and everyone else who reads them) so I won’t respond again.

  573. Michael 2 says:

    Deminthon says “Your obscurantist posts bore me (and everyone else who reads them)”

    I love it when a reader arrogates to himself to speak for everyone else.

    At any rate, I’ll answer my own question. I think of my daughter more than I think of a faceless mass of 7 billion people. Your mileage probably varies.

    The relevance to this blog is that messages tuned to “the most important people in your life” carry more weight than messages tuned to the “7 billion people you don’t even know exist.”

  574. Michael 2 says:

    deminthon says “You’ve been well demonstrated at Deltoid to be a science denier.”

    That’s awesome! I’ve never participated at Deltoid and I have no memory of even visiting it. So they are writing about me? I had no idea I was that influential.

    Anyway, I don’t deny science. I deny some assertions. I resist groupthink. I’m not immune to it of course and neither are you.

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