A grand scheme of scientists

I came across this video today of John Cook interviewing Brian Schmidt, who shared the Nobel Prize for Physics for his work showing that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. He mainly talks about attempting to accept a bet from Maurice Newman, but what struck me was when he said

if you don’t want to believe in climate change, you have to really believe that there’s a grand scheme of scientists around the world, with our $75000 per year salaries and 12 years of education behind us, who are just trying to scheme the rest of the world for grants.

This is something that has struck me time and time again too. Scientists who remain in research will have spent maybe 10 – 12 years studying before they get their first job, they’ll then postdoc for a number of years before they get something permanent, they’ll get their first permanent job in their mid-30s, and maybe reach Professor by their mid-40s. Salaries are not awful, but they’re not brilliant. It’s true that getting grants can improve your career prospects, but they don’t typically benefit scientists directly; most of the money goes to paying the salaries of postdoctoral researchers, paying for studentships, covering travel and computing costs, and some goes to the university to cover other indirect costs.

If these were people who were after money, or power, there would be far easier ways to do so than to study for a decade, and then spend maybe as much as another decade in a relatively low paying job hoping for something more permanent. Sometimes they’ll have to move to another country in order to remain in a research environment. This may sound appealing, and it certainly can be, but there are still sacrifices. These are people who are capable of getting good undergraduates degrees and then going on to do a PhD; it’s not as if there isn’t any demand outside academia for such people.

So, the idea that it’s more likely that climate change is some kind of grand scheme amongst the world’s scientist, rather than actually being real, just seems utterly bizarre. I find it ridiculous that anyone can actually believe this, and even more amazing that those who do – Maurice Newman, or if you want someone more local, James Delingpole, for example – actually have a platform to spout this nonsense. It’s so far away from being some kind of reasonable scenario, that it’s hard not to conclude that those who promote such ideas are simply bonkers.

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149 Responses to A grand scheme of scientists

  1. People who think it was a conspiracy also have to believe that scientists wouldn’t find better ways to use their time and apply for money than to work on a scam. They think without climate change, scientists would lose their jobs. Which is ridiculous.

  2. They think without climate change, scientists would lose their jobs. Which is ridiculous.

    Exactly. Many climate scientists trained in other areas (astronomy being one) and so if there wasn’t as much of a demand for climate science specifically, they would have probably gone into a slightly different area. Also, it’s not as if we wouldn’t still want to understand our climate, even if climate change wasn’t presenting some kind of risk.

  3. Since when has [climate] science denial been about rational thinking?

  4. Kit,
    Maybe, but you’d still like to think that there are still some things that are too bizarre to be taken seriously. I realise that it is naive of me to think this 🙂

  5. It’s projection. Those who make these accusations are the sort of people who would take money to conspire to promote an agenda. 😉

  6. If someone finds a problem with climate change, it will not be just one Galileo writing one paper.

    There is so much evidence on the side of climate change, that building up enough evidence against it would take at least a decade of research. The short term effect would thus be more funding to understand the conflicting evidence. And more interesting funding, fundamental science rather than producing data for climate impact studies on the tiling of cauliflower.

  7. No one is saying there is a giant conspiracy. Well, no one with a brain anyway.

    What many of us say is that scientists are human, and like of all us they are biased. And their funders/rulers are biased too. Of course this is not unique to climate science and happens pretty much in every field.

    For a much better example of scientists fooling themselves you only have to look at estimates of species extinction. Apparently due to man-made eco-impacts we’re in the sixth wave or something – but try and name species that have actually gone extinct!
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/wol1/doi/10.1111/j.1472-4642.2011.00856.x/full
    There isn’t a conspiracy to publish ridiculous species-loss estimates and keep sanity from journals… but the ecology field is biased towards catastrophe, and reporting non-extinctions doesn’t excite anybody.

  8. The mitigation sceptical position assumes scientists to be in an multiple decade conspiracy of unbelievable size or enormously stupid. That is an important argument.

    There is just a post going around in the denial-of-sphere where the main argument against global warming is showing graphs for some stations before and after homogenization. Because nearly no one in the public knows that this is done and the mitigation sceptics are sufficiently dishonest not to state why and how this is done, this works.

    That is just one of so many examples, you cannot fight this with education, that would require half of American to invest years of study on a topic they prefer not to understand.

  9. Alberto,

    No one is saying there is a giant conspiracy. Well, no one with a brain anyway.

    There clearly are people who say this. You can just read the link to James Delingpole’s article if you don’t believe me.

    What many of us say is that scientists are human, and like of all us they are biased.

    Do you understand the idea of the scientific method? That individuals may have their biases is clear. However, to suggest that an entire field, with thousands of scientists, across many countries somehow has some underlying bias is bizarre. In my opinion, this kind of suggestion is simply an attempt to legitimise a viewpoint that you know to be ridiculous.

  10. No one is saying there is a giant conspiracy, but ecologists keep on fraudulently making up that specific species go extinct and there is no organized opposition to that in ecology, they are all covering up this travesty of science, it is a conspiracy, I tell you.

  11. That comment is so stupid I’ll disengage. Read anything by or about E. O. Wilson, then read the Loehle&Eschenbach paper, and report back if you want.

  12. Alberto,
    I’m not sure which comment you’re referring to, but if it’s Victors, I think it’s pretty spot on. And suggesting we read a paper with Willis Eschenbach as an author; don’t be silly.

  13. I meant Victor’s. As for your comment, Delingpole is nuts. As for the paper, it’s quite telling that an amateur scientist had to call out the ‘professional’ biologists on their nonsense.

  14. > I’ll disengage

    That presumes you engage in anything, Alberto. Which is far from being obvious, considering your minimization of the conspirational tenor of many contrarian positions:

    https://contrarianmatrix.wordpress.com/we-won/

    Your squirrels amounting to a lukewarm #NotAllContrarians are duly noted.

  15. Alberto,

    As for the paper, it’s quite telling that an amateur scientist had to call out the ‘professional’ biologists on their nonsense.

    What makes you think that he did? This topic is full of amateur scientists claiming to call out the professionals. I’ve yet to encounter one who has really done so. Mostly, they illustrate their own ignorance.

    I actually went through some of the papers that cite Loehle & Eschenbach. Here’s the first one which says

    Facing increasing human-driven changes, several populations and species now experience a mismatch between locally adapted traits and novel conditions, leading to an increase in mortality, and a decrease in abundance [1,2].

    2 is Loehle & Eschenbach.

    Here’s another

    For example, while avian extinctions have been previously reviewed at the species level [4], [17]–[20], to our knowledge, there has been no analysis of the extent and pattern of loss among subspecies.

    17 is Loehle & Eschenbach, but the paper goes on to say

    Finally, the escalating impacts of climate change may soon become the primary driver of biodiversity loss (e.g., [80], [81]). Failure to address these increasing challenges will lead to many more extinctions, impoverishing our planet and reducing the ability of ecosystems to deliver the benefits and services upon which we all ultimately depend.

    So, precisely what is the relevance of Leohle & Eschenbach?

  16. It’s not about who is citing L&E. It’s about the content of L&E.

    E. O. Wilson is/was claiming 27,000 extinctions a year. Nah, some take it up a notch and talk about 140,000 a year.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene_extinction#cite_note-2

    L&E is simply an extinction count… but one that bothers to separate islands from continents, and points out that extrapolating extinction rates from one to the other doesn’t make any sense. It builds upon this Eschenbach post.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/04/where-are-the-corpses

    That chart includes the islands, where a sizable number of extinctions have occurred (usually in the decades following human arrival and the accompanying introduction of alien species). Turns out that in the continents there are so few extinctions it’s hard to do any kind of analysis. Apparently, something like three continental mammals and six continental birds have disappeared.

    Of course, even the total rate (including islands) of about 2 per year makes one wonder about those estimates of thousands and thousands of species lost per year. But the continent-vs-island analysis makes these estimates untenable… so it’s hard to see why the journals keep churning out this stuff.

    See also:
    http://judithcurry.com/2014/08/20/no-bodies/

    Maybe it’s my paranoia, but when the IPCC pushes the hypothetical disappearance of 21-52% of species due to a 3ºC temperature rise… well, I think one has to be skeptical.

  17. Alberto,
    None of the above means that an amateur scientist has somehow called out the professionals. Are you sure you weren’t intending to say, “amateur scientist publishes paper that might be interesting”?

  18. verytallguy says:

    it’s hard to see why the journals keep churning out this stuff.

    So perhaps you should suggest a reason. Bearing in mind that you eschew conspiracy theories, naturally.

  19. ATTP, I posted at 10.22 and you answered at 10.25. It’s not humanly possible for you to have even taken a glance at the articles I linked to.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say people are biased. That’s all. No serious person suggests that there a is a mega-conspiracy to produce a particular kind of results. Many of us do say, however, that this bias contributes to promoting/publishing some results instead of others. Case in point, the sixth great extinction and the 27,000 species supposedly lost every year.

  20. Mal Adapted says:

    Alberto Zaragoza Comendador:

    No one is saying there is a giant conspiracy. Well, no one with a brain anyway.

    US Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and author of The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future.

    Alberto assures us you don’t need a brain to become chairman of an important US Senate committee. OK, glad that’s cleared up.

  21. Arthur Smith says:

    It’s not just the low salaries; to be a successful research scientist generally means years of toil after your PhD in un-tenured positions (i.e. you could lose your job next year – no security) working 60+ hour weeks with little time for family or other relationships. It’s not something I recommend to friends unless they really really really love doing science 🙂

  22. MarkB says:

    E. O. Wilson is/was claiming 27,000 extinctions a year.

    E. O. Wilson is/was claiming 27,000 invertebrate extinctions a year in tropical forests. Comparing that with Eschbach and Loehle’s mammals and birds number is silly at best.

  23. > It’s not about who is citing L&E. It’s about the content of L&E.

    It’s not about the content of L&E. It’s about “a grand scheme of scientists.”

    You’re just peddling a talking point, Alberto.

    #NotAllContrarians peddle, of course, but quite a lot do.

  24. Ceri says:

    This is not remotely my field, but Alberto seems to be pulling an almost literal ‘Look, a squirrel!’ Extinction rates refer to all species; L&E’s graph refers to birds &mammals. There are about 10,000 species of birds and 6,000 species of mammals, out of about 2 million identified species.
    Rates of tens of thousands of extinctions include all species, not birds & mammals. Looks up to Eschenbach’s usual standards.

  25. Alberto – Australia alone has lost more than three mammals in the past 85 years:
    Blue Grey Mouse – not seen since 1956
    Tasmanian Tiger (aka Tasmanian Wolf or Thylacine) – 1936
    Desert Bandicoot – 1943
    Toolache Wallaby – 1937
    Lesser Bilby– 1931

    Now, if you got that information from Loehle and Eschenbach or WUWT what does that tell you? I put together a list of 5 mammals in Australia alone that have gone extinct in the past 85 years — and did it in 10 minutes.

    You really shouldn’t take anything you read at WUWT as fact.

  26. rconnor says:

    Alberto,

    It’s important to understand there are two levels to the conspiracy theory that “skeptics” use to support their position on climate science (or, more accurately, to justify the lack of scientific evidence to support their position). The first is that, as discussed, the reason for the tens of thousands of peer-reviewed papers supporting the consensus position on climate science is that climate scientists (…and nearly every major reputable journal and nearly every major reputable scientific institution and nearly every government) are somehow in cahoots for personal gain. While we all agree that is a ridiculous position, it’s unfortunately well prescribed to by “skeptics”.

    Some take a more lukewarm approach and insist, “it’s not a global conspiracy, it’s merely an example of group-think/noble-cause corruption/cargo-cult science”, as you seem to be doing. However, this ignores the fact that sometimes advancement in academia is best done by being a contrarian. Going against the grain is perhaps the best way to make a name for yourself and thus there is a (slight) motivation to do so. For example, we can all name a much higher percentage of contrarian climate scientists, almost all of which are continually asked to speak at high profile “skeptic” events and certain media outlets, than we can of those that support the consensus. Furthermore, and more importantly, group-think doesn’t inherently mean the consensus is wrong. The consensus being wrong means the consensus is wrong (see the Galileo Gambit).

    So, to actually support their position, “skeptics” need evidence that suggests why the consensus is wrong, peer-review being the gold standard. Given how obviously wrong the consensus position is to “skeptics” (and the billion, if not trillion, dollar vested interest to prove the consensus wrong), this should be trivial. However, such evidence is tellingly absent.

    This leads to the second level of the conspiracy. To justify why “skeptics” have almost no peer-reviewed evidence to support their position, it requires a global attempt to suppress contrarian positions from publication. This implicates the entire field and nearly every major journal, spanning across the globe and for 50+ years. So while perhaps escaping the pitfall of an insane conspiracy theory on the first level, these same “skeptics” have fallen into another conspiracy theory (with an equal lack of rationale).

    What’s more, the existence of published contrarian papers and the inclusion of contrarian scientists at conferences, the IPCC and universities seems to completely disprove the second level of the conspiracy. An important distinction is that the conclusions contained in published contrarian papers tend to be much weaker and less significant than those “knock down arguments” spouted on “skeptic” blogs (sometimes by the same person). This suggests one of two things:

    1) We need to put back on our tin-foil hats and say “while sometimes contrarian papers are published, their conclusions need to be weakened in order to pass review”, or
    2) Where contrarian arguments are accurate, they are weak and rather insignificant. Where contrarian arguments are strong and conclusive, they are inaccurate.

    Inescapably, either you require a conspiracy theory (at some level) to justify the lack of scientific justification behind the “skeptic” position or you have nothing credible to support it. But the former is really just the latter phrased differently.

  27. Alberto – And I missed the Desert Rat Kangaroo and the Pig-Footed Bandicoot. I’m sure I missed others – so I think your data source needs revision.

  28. Australia is an island. The fact that it’s lost about as many mammals in 85 years as all the continents combined only drives the point home.

    The list of three unfortunate birds and six unfortunate mammals is:
    -Bluebuck, Hippotragus leucophaeus (an antelope hunted by European settlers around the 1800s
    -Labrador duck (shooting and trapping, overharvest of eggs)
    -Algerian gazelle (“extinction was assumed from a single skin purchased in a market place in North Africa in 1894 and from an adult male skull; we know nothing else about it”)
    -North Carolina parakeet (hunted to death for food, for their prized feathers worn on hats; beekeepers also hunted the parakeets because they ate bees)
    -Slender-billed grackle (lived in marshes of Mexico that were drained; total destruction of habitat, any species would go extinct from that)
    -Passenger pigeon (the most prolific birds in the U.S.; extinct from extensive hunting and disease; we hunted them on a large scale, “thousands were brought by trainloads to shoot them where they roosted”)
    -Colombian grebe (predation by introduced rainbow trout)
    -Atitlan Grebe (predation by the large-mouth bass)
    -Cotton tail rabbit (“three specimens collected in 1991 in a small area in Mexico, when they looked back, there were none; nobody knows why they were extinct”)
    (I think the list drives the point home further)

    I really recommend that you check out the article:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/04/where-are-the-corpses/

    And yes, the 27,000 figure was total species which is mostly invertebrates, but using Wilson’s formula for species loss due to habitat destruction (which is the main basis for his and similar estimates) there should have been about 30 bird and mammal extinctions per year. Instead there’s been at peak 1 per year, and essentially 0 per year excluding the islands. Hell, exactly 1 continental species has been recorded as going extinct from habitat destruction.

    One.

  29. > Australia is an island.

    Great Britain too:

  30. Of course we could just use the wiki – which lists 25 extinct Australian mammals and two more from Christmas Island.

    Note Wiki shows the Tasmanian Tiger’s location as Tasmania, but it was actually native to continental Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea.

    So much for, “Turns out that in the continents there are so few extinctions it’s hard to do any kind of analysis. Apparently, something like three continental mammals and six continental birds have disappeared.”

  31. > [S]ome take it up a notch and talk about 140,000 a year [followed by a Wiki cite].

    Here’s where the Wiki cite leads:

    Any absolute estimate of extinction rate requires that we know how many species there are. In fact, we do not.

    http://www.rachel.org/files/document/The_Future_of_Biodiversity.pdf

    No, not that Rachel.

  32. izen says:

    @-“For a much better example of scientists fooling themselves you only have to look at estimates of species extinction. Apparently due to man-made eco-impacts we’re in the sixth wave or something – but try and name species that have actually gone extinct!”

    The list gets longer the further you go back.
    Of course you could argue about how much culpability Homsaps have in the disappearance of the various mammoths and other large mammals that went extinct as modern humans expanded out of Africa and arrived on various continents.
    Should we count the other hominids that vanished, the Neanderthals and Hobbits?

    Some species make it through several ice ages, some don’t. That THIS transition seems to be notable for the disappearance of several that made it through several SHOULD give us pause…

  33. > And yes, the 27,000 figure was total species which is mostly invertebrates, but […]

    At least there’s a “yes” before the “but.”

  34. andrew adams says:

    What many of us say is that scientists are human, and like of all us they are biased. And their funders/rulers are biased too. Of course this is not unique to climate science and happens pretty much in every field.

    Sure, and this has been true as long as “science” has been a thing. Yet science has nevertheless worked pretty well one the whole, despite the human failings of its practitioners. So why are we supposed to believe that somehow climate science is somehow failing us in a way that other fields are not?

  35. This is going to be my last message, as it’s obvious none of you are even clicking on the links I offer or trying to understand the issue.

    Islands = high extinction rate. Continents = low extinction rate. Australia = somewhere in the middle, which makes sense.

    Biologists have repeatedly come up with crazy species-loss estimates that have no support in the evidence. At least one of the most prominent biologists in this ‘niche’, E. O. Wilson, has used flawed methods based on extrapolating a given rate of species loss due to habitat destruction over the whole world. The idea that dozens of birds and mammals are going extinct every year from habitat destruction is ludicrous – exactly one continental bird and zero mammals have been recorded as disappearing for this reason, and nine when you include all reasons.

    These crazy estimates keep popping up and even make it into IPCC reports even though the evidence is as flimsy as it gets, the worst example being Thomas et al 2004. This is not part of a conspiracy but simply bias and human nature – we would all like to be engaged in solving some really big problem, and for some people the lack of problems is really bad news.

  36. > [I]t’s obvious none of you are even clicking on the links I offer[.]

    I think a previous comment proves this claim wrong.

    ***

    > This is going to be my last message […]

    I take your word for it, Alberto.

  37. Eli Rabett says:

    Islands = high extinction rate.

    One of the things driving extinction today is that species are increasingly isolated because of human settlement and that under stress they have no way of safe retreat. Habitat fragmentation is an important factor today in extinctions and you don’t need islands

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habitat_fragmentation

  38. Joshua says:

    Unfortunate that Alberto was so easily discouraged. Well, in case he’s reading even if he can’t bring himself to comment:

    ==> “What many of us say is that scientists are human, and like of all us they are biased.”

    That comment suggests “human” biases, such as confirmation bias and the like, and certainly scientists (being human) are prone to the influence of such biases.

    But an argument commonly found in the “skept-o-sphere” is where many of you? ( the “many of us” in your statement wasn’t clearly defined, but I think I’m safe in assuming it was a reference to climate-o-sphere “skeptics” broadly) is a very particular bias – the one that Anders referred to in the OP: That being, a bias the leads scientists to reach specific conclusions because they’re chasing funding, and that largely because they’re seeking to enrich themselves.

    Should I presume that you didn’t address the putative bias that Anders referred to because you agree that even though such claims are very frequently made throughout the “skept-o-sphere,” (by prominent “skeptics” such as Judith Curry, no less), you agree that the claims are based in poor reasoning, a near complete dearth of empirical evidence, and in fact, are more than likely just a manifestation of confirmation bias among “skeptics?”

    Please come back, Alberto. I’d really like to see you respond on point to my comment.

  39. Alberto writes: “Australia is an island. The fact that it’s lost about as many mammals in 85 years as all the continents combined only drives the point home.”

    and writes: “Islands = high extinction rate. Continents = low extinction rate. Australia = somewhere in the middle, which makes sense.”

    He forgets to mention that Australia is a continent. By common definition it is *NOT* an island. From the wiki once again: “An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water.”

  40. MartinM says:

    Hell, exactly 1 continental species has been recorded as going extinct from habitat destruction.

    One.

    You might want to let the IUCN know their Red List has at least three errors, then, since they list the following:

    Juscelinomys candango: This species has not been seen since discovered and is presumed to be extinct, as the entire region where it was discovered has been converted to a city and more recently urban sprawl.

    Cryptonanus ignitus: The major threats to this species which are presumed to have driven it to extinction are human impact of agricultural and technological development, cattle ranching, and indiscriminate deforestation

    Rucervus schomburgki: Commercial production of rice for export began in the late nineteenth century in Thailand’s central plains, leading to the loss of nearly all the grassland and swamp areas that this deer depended on, and greatly fragmented what remained. Intensive hunting pressure at the turn of the 19th–20th century restricted the species further and it disappeared in the 1930s. Schomburgk’s Deer was prominent in the antlers sought by the Chinese medicine trade (Harper 1945). During the wet season, animals marooned on higher ground were hunted readily with spears from boats (Harper 1945), no doubt hastening the species’ decline.

    They also have a bunch of continental mammals listed as extinct that apparently shouldn’t be. Where would we be without talented amateurs like Loehle and Eschenbach to set the “experts” straight, eh?

  41. izen says:

    If the natural human biases were all that was affecting ecologists, then it seems about even odds that they would exaggerate extinction rates, or emphasise speciation events defending evolution.

    But apparently the open debate about the extinction rate, with a majority voting high based on human impacts over the Holocene is all PART of the same grand conspiracy of scientists to blame human Eco-impacts for everything.

    As verytallguy asked before, why?

    It is not another example of scientists getting it wrong for grants, it’s the same plot!
    Is there a field of science that is not part of the grand scheme, astronomers were clearly co-opted some time ago. Look at the explanation of planetary climates.

    The Lysenko nonsense is the only other example of a grand scheme of scientific delusion. But it seems more applicable to the dragons slayers than the extinction Cassandras.

  42. izen says:

    Were did it start…
    Well the physics of energy transfer by radiation and convection that lies behind the GHG effect was first worked out for stellar internal dynamics I believe….
    (grin)

  43. uknowiss says:

    Anders, I’ve been away for awhile and see you’re still giving some morons a voice….oh well, your blog and I respect that.

    Anyway, the whackiest part of the whole “scientists are in it for the grant money” silliness is the extension that somehow we scientists are also trying to usher in a socialist one world government to tax people to poverty, take away everyone’s guns and become eugenecists. Presumably the scientists whose motivation is to get rich on grant money is to give it all up when we all become socialists.

    In all seriousness though, in Australia, the majority of government funded grants are provided the the Australian Research Council. Now, putting aside the difficulty in obtaining an ARC grant with all the peer review and hoops to jump through (http://www.arc.gov.au/peer-review), if all these climate scientists are presumably getting rich on grant money, someone needs to explain why less than 1% of all grants go to climate related projects? http://www.arc.gov.au/sites/default/files/filedepot/Public/ARC/NCGP_dataset/SuccessRate%20for%20web_Feb2015_rev.xlsx

  44. Joshua says:

    ==> “It is not another example of scientists getting it wrong for grants, it’s the same plot!”

    I agree, but in my experience, “skeptics” will only admit that they’re saying it’s the same plot when they’re talking to each other. When in discussion with a “realist,” they invariably say that no one is arguing that there’s a conspiracy.

  45. Dan Riley says:

    Loehle and Eschenbach:

    “Because mammals and birds are more mobile than other taxa, we also do not consider our results to necessarily extend to other taxa, which make up a significantly higher proportion of total extinctions”

    “We do not extend our results to plants because they are so different from birds and mammals”

    So Loehle and Eschenbach don’t present any estimate comparable to Wilson’s 27,000, nor do they claim that their results generalize to such a comparison (L&E do make a more appropriate comparison to Wilson(1992), but Willis isn’t so careful at WUWT).

  46. Eli Rabett says:

    He forgets to mention that Australia is a continent. By common definition it is *NOT* an island. From the wiki once again: “An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water.”

    Pluto used to be a planet.

  47. ==> “It is not another example of scientists getting it wrong for grants, it’s the same plot!”

    Funding does not explain why the solar physicists claim that the sun only makes a small contribution to global warming.

    Funding does not explain why hydrologists, ecologists and agricultural scientists claim that land use changes make a small contribution to global warming.

    Funding does not explain why oceanographers claim that the long-term warming does not come from the (warming) ocean.

    Could it be that the evidence determines the consensus opinion of a scientific field, rather than funding? Just a thought.

    P.S. When it is known that we have only catalogued a very small part of all species on Earth, it makes perfectly sense to me that ecologists do not determine the extinction rates based only on known species that went extinct. That would naturally lead to an enormous underestimate to the extinction rate.

  48. Sou says:

    Alberto, paraphrased:
    >>it’s not a conspiracy, but I have an “over-riding suspicion” that “something must be wrong”. Scientists and funders are biased because “nothing occurs by accident”.

    >>And now I’m taking my bat and ball and going home because I’m a “persecuted victim”

    http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2015/07/curses-its-conspiracy-fury-is-back.html#categories

  49. Here’s Sierra Nevada Jim on walrus science:

    NOAAs claim that the “carrying capacity is almost certainly declining because of sea ice declines” is advocated by USGS and US Fish and Wildlife researchers who believe that CO2 warming and declining sea ice must be bad. That belief is advocated in the opening paragraphs of nearly every publication. Wedded to that belief their interpretations ignore robust evidence suggesting less has been beneficial. So one must wonder how politicized those agencies have become and if political pressure has biased their publications. Researchers in those agencies likewise ignored their own observations that it was cycles of thick springtime ice in the Beaufort Sea that caused declines in ringed seals and polar bear body condition. Instead without evidence, they only advocated that reduced summer ice, consistent with CO2 warming, has negatively impacted polar bear populations and walrus[.] Such unsupported biased interpretations are most likely the result of the politicization of science, and I fear this decade will be viewed as the darkest days of environmental science.

    http://judithcurry.com/2015/12/25/noaa-fails-walrus-science

    The comment thread has turned a very mundane reading exercise into an epic ClimateBall episode, in which Jim shows over and over again that he may have failed to notice Judy’s request to keep your comments civil and relevant.

    Sou might be interested to know that Jim wondered if I was her, at least for a few days. He seems to have recanted, and now compares me to some Pete Meisler. He might be still wondering about who pays me.

    Bunnies can’t statistically prove that Jim is wrong, so the truth is still out there.

  50. Joseph says:

    Do you understand the idea of the scientific method? That individuals may have their biases is clear. However, to suggest that an entire field, with thousands of scientists, across many countries somehow has some underlying bias is bizarre. In my opinion, this kind of suggestion is simply an attempt to legitimise a viewpoint that you know to be ridiculous.

    Right, I wonder if Alberto can tell us the odds that these thousands of scientists in their respective fields would almost all share the same or similar bias. And it’s no typical bias either. It’s a bias that is so obvious that even a lay “skeptic” thinks he or she can understand how wrong all of these climate scientists are. I wonder what possible kind of bias could so strong that it blindws both you and your peers to clear mistakes.

  51. anoilman says:

    Joseph: In Alberto’s mind, all scientists are created equal. This is why amateurs who hang out at the high schooler’s web site (Anthony Watts), appear to have equal credence and understanding of the world as experts do.

    His world view makes no sense, and is factually untrue;

    You’ve also hit the nail on the head. Its a pretty limited view to think that 10’s of thousands of scientists world wide aren’t in any way competitive. That’s pure bunk and totally unsubstantiated.

    As for his myth that there some sort of group think… That’s just as likely as claiming buffer chemistry or calculus is group think… I kinda doubt it, especially without any evidence to support his position.

  52. Willard says:

    > In Alberto’s mind […]

    Your auditing powers don’t go that far, Oily One.

  53. John Mashey says:

    I had no idea that the only relevant part of climate science was extinction rates.

    Anyone smart enough to do a technical PhD would be out of their minds to do one in the natural sciences if they were primarily money-oriented. In particular, people with math, stats, computing skills are usually welcome on Wall Street . and lots of other places.

    Now, Bell Labs paid OK, and no postdocs, but as it downsized, by the 1990s, when I was helping sell SGI computers on Wall Street, I used to run into ex-BTL physicists, computer scientists, etc, all the time. I don’t know if they were happier, but they were certainly making more money and had impressive titles.

  54. Arthur,

    It’s not something I recommend to friends unless they really really really love doing science 🙂

    Indeed.

    Alberto,

    Anyway, I just wanted to say people are biased. That’s all.

    Well, I don’t see that as all that you were saying. You said

    but the ecology field is biased towards catastrophe, and reporting non-extinctions doesn’t excite anybody.

    As far as this is concerned

    No serious person suggests that there a is a mega-conspiracy to produce a particular kind of results.

    I think there are plenty of people who claim to be serious who say things that make it seem that they think there is some kind of conspiracy.

    uknowiss,

    Anders, I’ve been away for awhile and see you’re still giving some morons a voice….oh well, your blog and I respect that.

    Strange, there are other sites where people complain that I’m not giving enough of them a voice 🙂 It’s actually been quite quiet for a while. I wasn’t really expecting this post to have quite this active a comment thread. Must have struck a nerve.

  55. Victor Petri says:

    It seems to me as well that extinction rate estimates are often wildly exaggerated, have a poor scientific foundation, are often rehashed from outdated numbers and seem primarily to be mentioned to prod people into action,

    From the Economist:
    http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21585082-extinction-fact-life-rates-seem-be-slowing-down-dead-moa
    “In the 1970s scientists started trying to estimate extinction rates based on assumptions, not observation. On the basis that tropical forests are reckoned to be home to around half the animal and plant species on Earth, and that such forests were being chopped down fast, scientists came up with massive figures. In 1979, for instance, Norman Myers, a British environmentalist, suggested that a million species might well go extinct in the last quarter of the 20th century. Such figures filtered into the political arena, too. The Global 2000 Report to the President, published in 1980 by America’s Council for Environmental Quality and the state department, said that “between half a million and 2m species—15-20% of all species on Earth—could be extinct by 2000.”

    Nobody now thinks that anything remotely on that scale has happened. The number of birds and mammals known to have gone extinct between 1980 and 2000 is just nine, and although some species will undoubtedly have disappeared unnoticed during those two decades, it is unthinkable that a fifth of the planet’s species could had been wiped out while nobody was looking. What is more, among birds and mammals at least (the classes for which data are most reliable), numbers of known extinctions have recently been falling (see chart 1).

    The discussion about why and how far those early estimates were wrong has been conducted at an emotional pitch that would surprise laymen. Extinction rates have become highly political. A scientist who leans towards the lower end says that he was accused of being “anti-conservation” by another who favours higher numbers. Some scientists fear, not unreasonably, that unless people believe mass extinction is imminent, they will not bother to do anything about it.

    One possible reason why scientists overestimated extinction rates was put forward by Fangliang He and Stephen Hubbell in 2011. They reckon that the models scientists were working with underestimated species’ ability to survive a lot of deforestation. In Brazil’s Atlantic forest, some 90% of which has been destroyed, not a single species of bird is known to have gone extinct.

    But there is another explanation which gives more credit to the doomsayers. Since the 1970s humanity has made far greater efforts to protect other species, mainly thanks to a change of attitudes which the pessimists helped to bring about.”

    If there was any bias in Climate science, I expect it to work something like this. Scientists being convinced of the enormous importance of societies acting against global warming do not communicate e.g. certain advantages of warming or uncertainties in estimates, because they feel the public does not deal with nuanced stories well, and such nuances would cause inactivity. (I am not saying I have proof of this, I just say that I could see this happening).

  56. vp,

    It seems to me as well that extinction rate estimates are often wildly exaggerated, have a poor scientific foundation, are often rehashed from outdated numbers and seem primarily to be mentioned to prod people into action,

    Are you intentionally trying to illustrate the point that people are making, or is it unintentional?

  57. Although, this is interesting

    But there is another explanation which gives more credit to the doomsayers. Since the 1970s humanity has made far greater efforts to protect other species, mainly thanks to a change of attitudes which the pessimists helped to bring about.”

    People made predictions of potential doom. Others then actively tried to prevent this doom. It didn’t happen. Where the predictions right, or wrong?

    In a sense this is the key point. Projections about climate change are not done by people because they want these outcomes to happen, they’re done to provide information about what might happen under certain future pathways. If we decide to do things that mean that we don’t follow a future pathways that might carry a risk of severe impacts, it doesn’t suddenly mean that the original projection was wrong, or that those who made those projections were wrong to do so.

  58. BBD says:

    I’d just like to point out that arguing from the recent past wrt extinctions is irrelevant when we are discussing the future ecological impacts of rapid warming.

  59. JCH says:

    We have two really smart boys in the younger generation of our family. When they were in junior high, I would have said my son was headed for a PhD in science and my nephew for a well-paid specialty in medicine. So now they are flipped. My son is a resident physician at the highest ranked residency program in the world for his chosen specialty. Once he’s finished with his fellowship, he will be getting a lot of money. Will probably start at around $400,000 per year, maybe more. The other boy is working on a PhD in physics at a school that is big into something called quantum computing. He’s going to do very well in life. He’ll have a lot of fun. The odds of $400,000-plus per year payday… low. If money was his motivator, he would have gone into medicine.

  60. Harry Twinotter says:

    Alberto,

    if you want to see extinction in progress, come to Australia for a visit. Or pop over The Ditch to New Zealand.

    Concern trolling at it’s worst. I noticed your bait and switch from scientists to the media.

  61. Has anyone done any research into the income of scientists publishing climate papers, in comparison to their peers in other disciplines? I wouldn’t have thought it would be difficult research to carry out: a short letter to universities asking what percentage scientists working in climate-related studies were paid as a percentage of the average pay of all other disciplines. It would blow this annoying ‘sceptic’ meme right out of the water if the result turns out to be how I think it would. A great little project for some social scientist. I would think the paper would receive a lot of citiations.

  62. Gingerbaker says:

    Climate deniers are onto something very significant, very profound, and something absolutely fascinating.

    You all know that with satellites we can actually measure quite accurately the amount of energy hitting the Earth from the sun, and we can also measure how much of that energy reflects back into space. There is a large imbalance – a lot of energy is being retained by the Earth. Four Hiroshima bombs per second worth of heat. For decades.

    Well, if there IS a conspiracy (or a crippling bias) of scientists, and that heat is NOT warming the seas, air, and land, then where is it going? Answer: Someone very evil must be stealing it. For their own nefarious purposes. But who would do such a thing?……..

  63. john,
    I think it would be quite simple. Given salary structures in most universities, all you would need to do would be to determine the distribution of grades (which is essentially public) for those doing climate science and compare it to the overall distribution. They would probably have to all be full Professors for those doing climate science to – on average – be benefitting compared to other academics.

  64. The supposed conspiracy is even more ridiculous than that – after all, the world’s governments and civil services are supposed to be in on it too, right?

    So according to that view, the cabal, decades after having achieved the “hoax” and even having brought the scientists along with them, and gotten governments to sign off line by line on multiple IPCC reports, thus perfectly poised to put in place the boot stamping on a human face–forever sort of tax that is already in place in much of the EU on petrol, they instead do….pretty much nothing.

    What are they waiting for?

  65. Willard says:

    The world conspires to pick cherries:

    Yes. All the ‘excitement’ that temperatures have for two months reached the model mean is ridiculous – exactly the kind of cherry-picking that supposedly should be avoided.

    http://climateaudit.org/2016/01/05/update-of-model-observation-comparisons/#comment-765661

    Follows John Christy’s graph temps with a 5-year running mean in the last hearing.

    #NotAllAuditors pick cherries. For instance, in that same editorial, the Auditor observed that the current Canadian winter has a “negative impact on high CO2 footprint local residents who, like Eric Steig, travel outside the city to ski.”

  66. BBD says:

    Cherrypick: HADCRUT is one of the ‘coolest’ products.

    Cherrypick: really should use the forcing-adjusted CMIP5 spread; the AR5 one is obsolete.

  67. really should use the forcing-adjusted CMIP5 spread; the AR5 one is obsolete.

    I’m currently trying to explain this. Some are getting it, others not so much.

  68. BBD says:

    Sorry – those above were the Auditor’s cherry-picks. AZC’s use of the horribly misleading Christy figure is… well, perhaps it is evidence that the figure is horribly misleading.

  69. BBD says:

    Some are getting it, others not so much.

    If I can understand it, the bar is fairly low.

  70. Willard says:

    In other news, our Beloved Bishop’s latest sermon:

    My review of Liberal Fascism the other day provoked a very long comments thread and lots of strong views.

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2016/1/5/the-inner-duce.html

    This led me there:

    Taking a few days off from the blog has at least given me a chance to finish reading Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism. This book (buy here) was a bit of an eye-opener for me, setting out in mind-boggling detail the links – both historical and philosophical – between fascism and the ideas espoused by modern day liberals and progressives.

    http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2015/12/27/the-greens-and-the-fascists.html

    It may have took decades for the American exceptional revisionism to cross the pond, but it finally got there.

    The world of ClimateBall ™ conspires to make us click.

  71. Willard,
    Yes, the beloved Bishop’s recent posts are quite eye-opening. There have also been a couple of interesting Discussion threads too. It’s fun observing people discuss how my moderation makes me dishonest, while AM can moderate as he sees fit because it’s his blog.

  72. Willard says:

    The first comment already won the thread:

    Environmentalism, fascism and communism all share their historic roots in romanticism, with its adulation for an unspoilt past and its longing for a noble strongman.

    While the “noble strongman” looks like a classical liberalism myth, the longing for the past is mostly conservative:

    Conservatism as a political and social philosophy promotes retaining traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others, called reactionaries, oppose modernism and seek a return to “the way things were”.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservatism

    In any case, it’s interesting to see the Greens cover the whole political spectrum.

  73. Willard says:

    Another very good comment:

    [C]orruption is a strong incentive for complex regulation over simple taxation.

    Alberto is in good shape these days.

  74. BBD says:

    Reminds me of the good old days of Ben Pile peddling ‘ecofacism’. I seem to recall there were comment deleting issues there, too.

  75. anoilman says:

    Well, its pretty clear they think its arson.

  76. Reminds me of the good old days of Ben Pile peddling ‘ecofacism’. I seem to recall there were comment deleting issues there, too.

    Judging by what Ben Pile favourites on Twitter, he thinks James Delingpole makes sense, so I wouldn’t take what he says too seriously (he could be favouriting these things ironically, I guess, but it does seem in keeping with his normal style).

  77. BBD says:

    Alberto might have more in common with Hansen than he suspects.

  78. anoilman says:

    Scientists arson around…

  79. Willard says:

    Twitter conspires to create more ClimateBall ™:

    I can’t copy the rest of the exchange. Wonder why?

  80. Willard says:

    A blast from the present:

  81. I can’t copy the rest of the exchange. Wonder why?

    I think he and Derek Sorensen discussed why they had decided to block you. I think they just don’t understand you 🙂

  82. Joshua says:

    ==> ” I think they just don’t understand you :-)”

    As opposed to…..????

  83. Joshua,
    As opposed to them being unwilling to confront their logical inconsistencies that Willard was highlighting? 🙂

  84. Willard says:

    In this case, it was not an inconsistency as burdening the interlocutor with commitments he did not have while shifting the topic:

    I guess I could write a post describing the play by play of this episode, AT. Tu quoques are kinda big in the contrarian playbook.

  85. That might be useful. I keep having to look up what a tu quoque is whenever I see you use it.

  86. Willard says:

    Good. I’ll try to write something for the week-end.

    I don’t always search for conspirational zest and gusto, but when I do, my go-to guy is Wagathon:

    The global warming bubble was built mostly behind the scenes and out of the public eye. The building of a consensus amounted to nothing more that a concerted plan by Europe, the UN, Western academia and companies like Enron and Lehman Brothers. They met over cheese fondues to work out plans on how best to fleece America as a means to keep the bubble of Euro-communism from going bust. And then the worst thing that could happen did happen: George Bush defeated the EU, UN and Leftist/liberal Utopian presidential hopeful, Al Gore. That is when the war against Bush and reason and the common man exploded like a mushroom cloud. The ‘big money’ referred to above includes billionaires, corporate raiders, financiers, business magnates, hedge fund operators and political insiders like, T. Boone Pickens.

    http://judithcurry.com/2016/01/06/renewables-and-grid-reliability/#comment-756564

  87. This threat is not complete without Potholer on the previous time a huge conspiracy in climate science was revealed.

    The first minute of this conspiracy Potholer video can seriously damage your midriff. 😀

  88. Joshua says:

    There were a couple of other possible interpretations.

    “They don’t understand ….you

    The first is that “They” don’t understand willard as opposed to X? (who does understand willard?)…

    The second is that They don’t understand “willard” as opposed to them understanding [non-willard] X)? My guess is that “they” rarely “understand” people :”they” don’t agree with….

  89. Joshua says:

    Wags is the absolute best.

    Alberto….in case you’re still reading, I’m still hoping for a response to my comment.

  90. Vinny Burgoo says:

    BBD: ‘I’d just like to point out that arguing from the recent past wrt extinctions is irrelevant when we are discussing the future ecological impacts of rapid warming.’

    Why? If you want to argue that extinctions due to rapid warming will one day massively outnumber those due to other anthropogenic influences then you surely have to have some sort of handle on what those other influences have done, are doing and will likely do, no?

    But perhaps I am reading too much into your comment.

    (Does anybody want to know about a conspiracy by 8,000 scientists to threaten a Welsh fungus with extinction?)

  91. Andrew dodds says:

    Well, they pay me 10k a week for progulamting global warming on the internet, 7k from the Evil Athiest Conspiracy for combatting (OK, ranting at on the internet) creationists, 2k from Big Pharma for occasionally suggesting that vaccinating your kids is a good idea, and the campaign to discredit Donald Trump has me on a retainer.. You mean to say that you guys are doing it for free??

  92. BBD says:

    Vinny

    Why? If you want to argue that extinctions due to rapid warming will one day massively outnumber those due to other anthropogenic influences then you surely have to have some sort of handle on what those other influences have done, are doing and will likely do, no?

    Since the ecological consequences of rapid warming have largely yet to arrive (as the warming has only really just started to get going), it is illogical to point to the recent past as an indicator that future impact will not be severe. Different conditions = different impacts.

  93. Willard says:

    We have a problem.

    I’m all for science. But we all agree there’s a problem. Look, these emails don’t come from Sweden. You can call it something else, but I call it the CAGW clique feedback loop.

    We need to get down to the root cause. You can’t solve a problem without getting at the root cause. People tell me all the time, “Willard, we need to get to the root cause.”

    This is why I say: let’s split science and politics until we can figure out what’s going on. We need a wall, and we’ll make scientists pay for that wall. You can call it something else, but I call this separation scientific freedom.

    This wall will cut the head of leftists. It’ll cut their heads, and we’ll take their oil. GRRRROWTH will be tremendous

    We will make the Western World the Western it once was.

    Thank you.

  94. And extinction, like sea level rise, takes time. Even if the temperature would stabilize now, extinctions (and sea level rise) would continue for a long time.

  95. anoilman says:

    The 15 most absurd things said about Climate Change by right wing media;
    http://ecowatch.com/2016/01/04/media-climate-change-2/

    I really like Ben Stein’s claim than “Saving the Earth is a Ridiculous goal”. And here we are in a thread where action on endangered species is probably saved them. Ridiculous… I know.

    How about WSJ tying the conspiracy that bacon causes cancer to a global warming conspiracy?

    The real question is who listen’s to them?

    [Chill. -W]

  96. anoilman says:

    Willard… tell me about it. I have a bigger Tu Quoque hat than most.
    http://www.logicallyfallacious.com/index.php/logical-fallacies/13-ad-hominem-tu-quoque

    Apparently being concerned about Global Warming is at odds with the fact that I work in oil and gas.

    I prefer to think that my paycheck doesn’t define what math and physics I am permitted to support.

    Its funny when it comes up with industry shills though… people will ask how I can speak out about something that might damage my industry. Its only later that they realize what it says about them, and therefore that they are incapable of thinking clearly or using logic. (Its paycheck first in their opinion.)

  97. Willard says:

    I’ll answer your rhetorical question this week-end, Oily One.

    Meanwhile, if you could drop words like the one in the meme I’m about to edit, that’d be nice.

  98. Eli Rabett says:

    Willard – Don’t piss in the soup.

  99. Mal Adapted says:

    Frank O’Dwyer (@fodwyer):

    The supposed conspiracy is even more ridiculous than that – after all, the world’s governments and civil services are supposed to be in on it too, right?

    It’s even more ridiculous than that: the conspiracy would have had to originate with Fourier in the 1820s. Tyndall and Arrhenius would have had to be in on it, before the turn of the 20th century. That’s one heck of a long-range plot!

  100. Willard says:

    Teh Donald Made Me Do It, Eli:

  101. graemeu says:

    Amazing how quickly Alberto hijacked this into a totally different field. By and large an excellent response, too bad his bias prevented him from seeing anything differently. Discussing the differences between islands and continents is arguably a red-herring, more relevant is the arrival of placental mammals in an environment not adapted to them, all the continents have a full suite of indigenous placental mammals.
    BBD, I think, was trying to get it back on track, apologies BBD if I have that wrong

    “January 6, 2016 at 11:49 am
    I’d just like to point out that arguing from the recent past wrt extinctions is irrelevant when we are discussing the future ecological impacts of rapid warming.”

    Actually, the island vs continent discussion is very relevant. It may have even been Alberto who pointed out the problem of fragmentation. Each fragment is an island surrounded by a virtual ocean from which only those capable of long distance dispersal can move, and that assumes there is a suitable vacancy available for them somewhere else and that they will find it. Starts to sound like the odds of winning the lottery. Change the average temperature, rainfall or humidity, or when the wet, dry, cold, hot seasons start and many species in any given fragment will need to move out or die out.

    That whole business of ‘bias’ is also interesting. Seems to me that by the time someone has been through undergraduate and post-graduate to PhD level they have been well and truly indoctrinated into a mindset. Someone mentioned Galileo, there’s no way he would have got past peer review for publishing, Darwin was vilified. More recently Harold Wellman (c.1950) was subjected to ridicule for his theories
    “Wellman proposed that the rocks in Nelson and Otago had originally been joined together, and were subsequently dragged apart 480 kilometres by continuing movement of the Alpine Fault. It was regarded as a crackpot idea at the time, but it is now completely accepted.” http://vup.victoria.ac.nz/harold-wellman-a-man-who-moved-new-zealand/
    The publishers blurb for his biography has this to say
    “Harold Wellman (1909-1999) was the first to recognise the Alpine Fault. Because he initially had no formal academic training, Wellman started with few preconceived ideas, and based his thinking on what he observed in the field. He acted as an inspiration and mentor to many young scientists in the DSIR and at Victoria University.” http://www.gsnz.org.nz/harold-wellman-moved-zealand-p-17.html
    I never met him, my father thought him arrogant, but that’s what it takes to go against accepted thinking.
    Anyway, the first scientists who suggested AGW was going to be problem got similar treatment. The difference, Alberto, is that as the evidence mounted up those capable of independent thought put aside their bias, accepting the validity of the new paradigm. If there is a bias it lies with those who continue to deny the evidence for AGW and/or that it will have serious negative impacts on people and the ability of the earth to sustain us. Without them(deniers) the cash-cow of climate science to ‘prove’ AGW would diminish and we could get on with mitigation.

  102. “Rucervus schomburgki: Commercial production of rice for export began in the late nineteenth century in Thailand’s central plains, leading to the loss of nearly all the grassland and swamp areas that this deer depended on, and greatly fragmented what remained. Intensive hunting pressure at the turn of the 19th–20th century restricted the species further and it disappeared in the 1930s. Schomburgk’s Deer was prominent in the antlers sought by the Chinese medicine trade (Harper 1945). During the wet season, animals marooned on higher ground were hunted readily with spears from boats (Harper 1945), no doubt hastening the species’ decline.”

    nevermind

  103. Andrew dodds says:

    Mal adapted –

    And this huge conspiracy against coal, oil and gas burning has somehow completely failed to actually stop us burning coal, oil and gas..

  104. Victor Petri says:

    @AD
    That is of course because Big Oil is in a huge conspiracy of their own. These evil capitalist pigs care only about money, stop at nothing to disrupt renewables. Were it not for them we had free energy for a long time already. Tesla and stuff. Wake up!

  105. dikranmarsupial says:

    I think it is worth pointing out that good quality climate skeptic research does get government funding, the most obvious example being the CLOUD project at CERN, which IIRC received about 12MEcu from the EU, and rightly so. A while back I read Svensmark and Calder’s book on “The Chilling Stars”, in which there is a fair bit of complaining about the lack of funding he received, which made me smile given how much better supported he had been than I was to a similar point in my career. I understand the UAH dataset is fully government funded. The problem is that most of the climate skeptic arguments that you see on the blogsphere are not good quality and are full of holes (or at least not well supported by theory or experiment), so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it doesn’t attract government funding. Government funding is pretty scarce at the moment (and has been for a long time), and there are many researchers competing for it, so any piece of work that has obvious holes in it stands no chance whatsoever of getting funded, and rightly so. Also great claims require great evidence, if you want funding to change a well established paradigm, you ought to need very good justification for your argument.

  106. Dikran,
    Indeed, and you also see arguments that somehow the money should be shared around in some kind of different way so that more “skeptic” research could be funded. That would seem to require some kind of central oversight, which then seems to go against the idea that you don’t really want governments deciding what specifically should be funded (although they do, of course, have some control over how much is available).

  107. Andrew Dodds says:

    Also regarding funding, at least when I was in academia, Earth Sciences departments tended to have links with the oil and gas industries, for pretty obvious reasons. So the main non-government source of funding was organisations who would very much like to see a research program suggesting low climate sensitivity and/or impacts.

  108. dikranmarsupial says:

    I think some research funding councils (IIRC the EPSRC) do encourage high-risk high-return research projects, which I would have thought would fit many climate skeptic research programs (very unlikely to pan out, but would have enormous socio-economic impact if it did), and the forms the reviewer needs to fill in cater for that, so it could be argued that such a mechanism already exists.

  109. Dikran,
    I think that’s true, and some of the European funding is based on doing high-risk, high-return research projects. You do have to make a convincing argument though: “if I’m right, the impact will be high” is probably not good enough 🙂

  110. dikranmarsupial says:

    It also helps if your hypothesis is not directly contradicted by the observations from the outset (e.g. the rise in atmospheric CO2 is natural, contradicted by the fact that atmospheric CO2 is rising more slowly than anthropogenic emissions), and anyone likely to review the proposal will know that (unlike, apparently, many of the readers of blogs that promulgate such ideas, which I think perhaps explains where the perceived unfairness has its origins).

    Personally I think the focus on “high-risk high-return” projects has been taken a bit too far, mostly science progresses by low/medium-risk low/medium-return projects, i.e. solid, high-quality incremental research. I can see the point in having a pot for speculative high-risk high-return projects, but I don’t think it is a good idea to try and get everybody working on highly speculative research. However, at the end of the day, what is really needed is more funding for responsive mode grants in general (IMHO, of course! ;o)

  111. Dikran,

    Personally I think the focus on “high-risk high-return” projects has been taken a bit too far, mostly science progresses by low/medium-risk low/medium-return projects, i.e. solid, high-quality incremental research.

    I agree to a certain extent. Maybe a related issue is the idea that we dump lots of funding onto fewer, supposed high-flyers. Sometimes lots of funding is needed, sometimes it isn’t. In my experience, what can happen is a very good researcher ends up with a group that they spend all their time managing, and you’ve ended up turning someone who was a very good researcher, into a mediocre manager.

  112. dikranmarsupial says:

    ATTP indeed, the Peter Principle is a potential problem, especially as the skills for being a good researcher and being a good research manager are not very similar.

  113. …and Then There’s Physics says: “ In my experience, what can happen is a very good researcher ends up with a group that they spend all their time managing, and you’ve ended up turning someone who was a very good researcher, into a mediocre manager.

    One of the many travesties of funding so much science via projects where the deciders have no skin in the game rather than letter researchers decide what is important like we did in the past.

    …and Then There’s Physics says: “Indeed, and you also see arguments that somehow the money should be shared around in some kind of different way so that more “skeptic” research could be funded.

    The new Trump database for Muslims could then also register the US “skeptical” scientists. Outside they should wear a bright yellow circle on their cloths to symbolize the solar influence on the climate. Where was that link to WUWT protesting against a list with “skeptics”?

    More seriously, a scientist normally does not know the results in advance. How is one to know in advance whether the results show more or less need for mitigation (if there is a direct link to this at all)?

  114. Pete best says:

    This might all sound really obvious but these people are somehow very idelogically based and in the name of the free market, small government, the sqatus quo, change is bad etc they will pursue this angle forever regardless of truth, facts and good ideas. For these people they just want to uphold their position regardless of anything.

    Therefore finding obviosuly idiotic ways to most, they continue to berate science and scientists, their institutions and bodies etc and then when that fails to stop the bad news coming, they will slader individuals, attack the messenger (ad hominem) ad infinitum to meet their goals, delay action, keep the status quo.

    The most troubling aspect of all of this is for rational intelligence to take decades to pervail which it always eventually does but not after decades of delays and tonnes of back and forth arguments propogated by the media in all of its forms (the internet has not helped and has helped at the same time.

    I think Winston Churchill once said, you can lways count on the USA to do the right thing once it has exhausted every other avenue. on CC we all hppe that within another decade.

  115. izen says:

    @-“That is of course because Big Oil is in a huge conspiracy of their own. These evil capitalist pigs care only about money, stop at nothing to disrupt renewables.”

    I don’t think you can call it a conspiracy when the actions are openly reported and in the public domain.
    Big Oil makes contributions to political parties, elected an appointed officials and also spends a lot of money ‘lobbying’ those people and institutions. They usually just beat Big Pharma for most money spent.

    It is probably a mistake to regard those donations or the groups they support, (Heartland, ALEC etc) as philanthropic.

  116. “This might all sound really obvious but these people are somehow very idelogically based and in the name of the free market, small government, the sqatus quo, change is bad etc they will pursue this angle forever regardless of truth, facts and good ideas. For these people they just want to uphold their position regardless of anything.”

    These people.
    Those people
    Ya;ll have a nice day

  117. These people.
    Those people
    Ya;ll have a nice day

    Normally I would agree with you on these kind of things and – generally – “these people”, “those people” is a sub-optimal way to frame this. On the other hand, this is a thread about those who actually think that there is some kind of grand scheme of scientists, so I think that “these people” is probably okay in this context.

  118. Pete best says:

    Mr mosher, what a fun guy you must be.

  119. Eli Rabett says:

    The CLOUD project at CERN is a wonderful example of funding Team B. Denmark had a right wing (for Denmark) government. Denmark bitched about how it was getting nothing out of the megaeuros being sent CERNs way, and oh, btw we have this bright young Svensmark with a wonderful idea and CERN though, o yeah it’s nonsense but we can put a few euros into it, support some people, etc.

    The elephant squatted and pushed out what, two papers in ten years, one of which simply pointed out that high energy types were clueless about the pitfalls of measuring kinetics in chambers.

  120. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    Well – Me and most of the others you see out here are just simple science patriots, doing what’s right and just and proper.

    We’ve taken over this rhetorical space from the tyranny of the consensus.
    We’re here in defense of The Science.

    We have exhausted all prudent measures and have been ignored.
    We’ve got food and ammo and we’re planning to be here for years.

    You can call it an “occupation”, but we prefer “vocation”.

    We want the appropriate scientific authorities to admit that that there are no appropriate scientific authorities.

  121. Eli, if research that confirms our current understanding counts as Team B funding, then we already have a lot of that. Solar physics, cloud sciences, exchange processes between surface and atmosphere, urbanization, etc.

    I have the feeling the people calling for Team B funding also expect a certain outcome. Otherwise they could just call for more fundamental research.

  122. Andrew dodds says:

    Aom – what, no forced conversion to the metric system?

  123. Willard says:

    Jeff Id just asks a question:

    Considering the level of extremism in Islam as it is currently practiced, what is wrong with a temporary ban on immigration of Muslims?

    https://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2015/12/15/yet-another-blog-kerfuffle/

  124. Willard says:

    I forgot to mention that Willis’ title (Where are the Corpses?) and Sir Rud’s No Bodies hint at the One Single Proof argument:

    “One single proof” is a deceptive rhetorical flourish […] designed to apparently negate a preponderance of circumstantial evidence by claiming that without a specific key proof, the whole argument is invalid. The effectiveness of the technique is dependent on a sort of distortion of Occam’s razor whereby any evidence that does not provide the whole answer is ignored.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/One_single_proof

  125. BBD says:

    As I said earlier, Willis and Rud are making specious arguments since rates of extinction in the recent past can tell us nothing about rates of extinction under rapid future warming.

  126. anoilman says:

    Victor… you forgot all that Paleo work. There’s a f*ck of a lot of that for the last 20 years. And gee… it keeps confirming what we know of global warming.

    BBD: It also ignores the fact that we have active monitoring and prevention for extinction since previous cataclysmic predictions were coming out.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banff_Springs_snail

    Failure to follow the rules can be expensive to say the least.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/banff-swim-in-forbidden-snail-pool-ends-with-charges-1.2869842

    But without looking at Willis work… (Its not like he’s an expert or anything, so why bother.) My bet based on reading some of his other work would be that he’s used a mish mash of convenient sources that make his point. Not always recent, and not always authoritative. (Like I say, they like to look blindly stupidly at numbers, but not understand them.)

    The meme they are playing on is the doomsday being predicted by environmentalists in the 1970’s. (And I mean, ‘environmentalists’, not ‘scientists’.) This is generally the broad brush they wish to paint all of this. To that end they have their own language originally coined by Bush, they wish to appear to be good ‘environmental stewards’. In reality this seems to be deregulating, and increased pollution.

  127. anoilman says:

    Andrew Dodds:

  128. izen says:

    The measure of extinction rate by number confirmed per year is mired in a pre-Darwinian concept of inviolate, distinct species.
    It requires that every member of a species is known and monitored so that the exact time the very last definitive member of that species dies can be declared the moment of extinction.

    In reality extinction can be as spread spread in time as speciation. Often a … ‘kind’ of animal will have many sub-species and a large range. If it becomes two independently breeding groups it might then become two species. But if the range, numbers and genetic diversity shrinks the remaining species becomes increasingly vulnerable.

    With a recorded rate of between 3 and 23 avian and mammal extinctions a year(?), but with the number of uncertain cases where some species are thought to be extinct, not seen in decades, and others are thought to still be around, but have not been seen in decades, the effective uncertainty about the number of extinctions per year is probably an order of magnitude larger than the average.
    There is probably a good example in other fields where drawing conclusions about trends, or even the underlying rate, from a very short period of data is known to be misleading.

  129. anoilman says:

    izen: Global Warming requires and assumes species will adapt and move. If not, their populations will crash. (Note: There is no evidence that species will quickly adapt and move.)
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v398/n6728/full/398611a0.html

    We need to send them an eviction notice;

    Mean while Silly Willy and the Deniers as singing a new song for species at risk;

  130. verytallguy says:

    Willard,

    given the level of rape undertaken by men as they currently behave, just what is wrong with temporary chemical castration of all males?

    Just asking.

  131. Willard says:

    Good question, Very Tall:

    https://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2015/12/15/yet-another-blog-kerfuffle/#comment-223844

    Right after jim2’s quote of a related Breitbart article.

  132. Willard says:

    Very Tall,

    I’m pleased to report that Jeff’s answer came within minutes:

    That has to be one of the craziest comments I’ve seen at tAV. Is this supposed to parallel something?

    https://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2015/12/15/yet-another-blog-kerfuffle/#comment-223845

    Hope this helps,

    W

  133. Willard,
    Are you planning on explaining it to Jeff, or would that spoil the fun?

  134. verytallguy says:

    Given the propensity for climate change deniers to quote right wing media, should we conclude that lewandowsky was right?

    endorsement of a laissez-faire conception of free-market economics predicts rejection of climate science

  135. Willard says:

    I’m not a math guy, AT. I can’t draw parallels as well as Jeff.

    So I told him a refugee story:

    Perhaps you’d like this tremendous refugee story:

    On 14 February 2007 The New York Times published an article titled “Letters reveal desperate plight of Anne Frank’s family,” reporting that documents newly uncovered by an accident of circumstance revealed the Frank family’s failed attempts at entry to the U.S. […]

    http://www.snopes.com/anne-frank-refugee/

    https://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2015/12/15/yet-another-blog-kerfuffle/#comment-223847

  136. Willard says:

  137. anoilman says:

    Willard, VTG: That was quite funny.

  138. verytallguy says:

    Willard,

    Now I’ve gone and read the post. Damn you I’ll never be able to unread it.

    Jeff sure knows his history

    the dark side of Islam is far stronger than Christianity has ever been.

    To this day here in England we celebrate our history of religious tolerance by burning Catholics in effigy.

  139. Willard says:

    Searching for “James F. Tracy” and “global warming” leads to this tremendous read:

    November 23, 2012
    The Realities of Aerosol Geoengineering and Weather Modification

    By Prof. James F. Tracy – Global Reasearch

    Over the past decade evidence has increasingly emerged indicating how geoengineering and weather modification programs designed to inflict major impacts on the atmosphere and environment are fully operational.

    Despite such developments the CO2-specific anthropogenic theory of global warming touted by foundation-funded environmental groups and public relations dominates much of popular discourse and the prevailing worldview of intellectuals.

    http://chemtrailsplanet.net/2012/11/23/the-realities-of-aerosol-geoengineering-and-weather-modification/

    Sometimes, reality conspires to be elating. Must have something to do with the expansion of the universe.

  140. verytallguy says:

    Jeff’s post is a sort of allegory of Donald Trump’s hairdo.

    It’s self regarding, showy, ignorant of its impact on others. Yet still it engenders fear- fear that one day soon the ideology it sits above may rule over us.

    Is it even a reflection of our inner daemons, those parts of us we try to suppress with intellect and reason, yearning to escape and commit the most appaling deeds? Massacres of those “other” to us perhaps, like the worst recent religiously inspired massacre in Europe, Srebrenica.

    (sorry to come over all serious, but I found the post genuinely disturbing)

  141. sorry to come over all serious, but I found the post genuinely disturbing

    Don’t apologise, I only read the first bit and that was more than enough.

  142. verytallguy says:

    I don’t normally read climate denial websites, beyond Judith’s anyway. Are they all as totally fruit loop and unpleasant as Jeff’s? The commenters there really do deserve one another.

  143. vtg,
    Some of the Bishop’s recent one’s are pretty close.

  144. anoilman says:

    VTG, Anders, I think it shows that the red necks of both cultures have incredibly intolerant views.

  145. Pingback: Charges of conspiracy, collusion and connivance. | Science or not?

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