Criticising the critics

I’ve recently come across a number of examples of people objecting to the manner in which some people engage in public criticism. There is a podcast with Sam Harris and Ezra Klein. It relates to a situation in which a number of Vox articles (at which Ezra Klein was editor) were highly critical of a Sam Harris interview. Sam Harris regarded the articles as a unfair and as misrepresenting what he had presented, and his motives. Similarly, I came across an article complaining those who have criticised Jordan Peterson, and Roger Pielke Jr has a recent post about science communication as intellectual hospitality.

All of these seem to have an underlying suggestion that those who are doing the criticising are getting things wrong, misrepresenting what was being presented, and are either engaging in bad faith, or are ideologically biased. The suggestion seems to be that the onus is on the critics to engage suitably with what is being presented, so as to enable constructive dialogue/discourse. The problem I have is that this should really apply to all, not just to those doing the criticism.

In many cases, I can’t actually see what one achieves by complaining about one’s critics. If they’re operating in bad faith, then no amount of complaining will make much difference. Just ignore them and carry on. If they’re operating in good faith, then it may be worth considering why they’ve decided to criticise what you’ve said. Is there an actual disagreement? If so, maybe just accept it and move on. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with disagreeing with other people. Have they interpreted what you’ve said in a way you didn’t intend? Maybe consider if there is a way to avoid/minimise this in future. Have they highlighted some actual errors? If so, maybe acknowledge them and be more careful.

My impression, unfortunately, is that some of this criticism of critics is actually tactical. If you can find some way to focus on potential issues with the criticism, then you can avoid engaging with your critics and can avoid acknowledging potential issues with your own presentation. If it happens regularly, you can start to promote the idea that there is some kind of vendetta against you. If you’re really lucky, your critics will get so frustrated by your lack of constructive engagement that their criticism will become openly vitriolic. Then you can paint yourself as the poor victim who is trying to engage constructively, but who is facing some kind of orchestrated campaign aimed at delegitimising you and what you’re saying.

I should make clear that I’m not suggesting that there is no occasion when it would be worth defending oneself against criticism. I mostly, however, think that if you’re confident in what you’re saying, then the criticism should often not matter. If you’re interested in engaging constructively, and the criticism has merit, consider it. Essentially, if some think that there is merit in improving public discourse, then the only person they can influence is themselves. Complaining about one’s critics is unlikely to achieve much.

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341 Responses to Criticising the critics

  1. There was a comment in this Jordan Peterson’s critics that partly motivated this. It says:

    Peterson is an immensely charismatic individual and, as such, is in danger of producing a cult-like movement if there are not reasonable and charitable critics to engage with him and his ideas.

    It appears to be accepting that what Peterson says could produce (and that this is a danger) some kind of cult-like movement, but implies that the onus is on the critics to engage in a way that would potentially address this. What about arguing that the onus is on Peterson to be more careful in what he presents, not on his critics to engage in some reasonable and charitable way?

    I’m not suggesting that people shouldn’t be reasonable and charitable; I’m very much in favour of this. However, I don’t see why it’s really the critics responsibility to engage in a way that might address the issue of Peterson producing a cult-like movement.

  2. Michael E Fayette says:

    Hmmmm.

    I’ve lurked here for a couple of years and only posted comments a few times, usually when I had a question, so forgive me for commenting on this post, which seems to be atypical for you…..

    Please – everyone – stop analyzing the motives of your critics. Instead focus on their arguments. The science. The data.

    If a critic has misquoted you – or distorted the facts of your argument – then by all means point that out, since we don’t need more straw man arguments.

    But this attitude seems to build on an “us against them” warfare that is not helpful to anyone, especially to anyone who simply wants to understand the scientific arguments on both sides of the Climate Change debate..

  3. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    As it happens, I slogged through the Klein/Harris podcast yesterday – basically a good walk spoiled (I kept thinking of how listening to it, particularly Harris, would probably drive Willard insane).

    Still processing the podcast…. but to the extent that Harris had anything to say that I found of value, it was related to a point raised in the Peterson criticism critique you linked to above.

    Yes, one the one hand whining and aggressiveness in response to being critiqued harshly seems pointless from a productive engagement frame. But on the other hand, some aspects of what Harris complained about (e. g., mainstream academics emailing him to say that they feel intimidated to openly discuss the relationship between IQ and race) do seem problematic. I do think that at some level, the tenor of some of the responses to Peterson are likewise are a symptom of a problem.

    How can the problem be addressed without simply devolving into sameosameo?

    I did like the following part from the Peterson article you linked:

    I find this a depressing indication of the current state of discourse. And Peterson himself is far from being without fault here. His own characterizations of ‘cultural Marxism’ are quite distorted and tendentious, even if they are not altogether without a genuine referent. He has been quite uncharitable in many of his attacks upon opposing viewpoints and has not done much to dispel a culture war mentality, especially in his engagements on Twitter.

    I think little progress can be made without accountability. Peterson and RPJr. are rather instructive examples, IMO, of how a lack of accountability fuels the fires of indignant responses to the potentially useful products of their analyses. That description above of Peterson’s mode of engagement seems very apt for RPJr’s approach as well. I would think that, if only as a matter of chance, there would be more examples of participants in the science/science policy public discussion space who would stumble upon a more constructive engagement paradigm.

    I have to wonder if there isn’t something about the people who seek out these kinds of engagements that makes a more constructive form of exchange such a rare bird.

  4. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Welcome to the wonderful world of tribalism where anything goes when attacking the “others”.

  5. I like the idea of identifying the good faith versus bad faith operators quickly in any discussion. With the GFO folks, there is little need to engage, except to note occasionally that certain posters/actors in these discussions have a history of being BFO.

    Beyond that, I like the idea of keeping the discussion civil and I think/hope that we might to be able to occasionally offer and receive a little criticism delivered among GFOs in the hope of advancing collective understanding.

  6. Willard says:

    > I kept thinking of how listening to it, particularly Harris, would probably drive Willard insane

    I’m reading a lot of criticisms on Freedom Fighters these days thanks to Pocket, and after reading this exchange on airport security, I think I will pass:

    It turns out designing good security systems is as complicated as I make it out to be. Witness all the lousy systems out there designed by people who didn’t understand security. Designing an airport security system is hard. Designing a passenger profiling system within an airport security system is hard. And I’m going to walk you through an analysis of your security design.

    In your response above, you make a big deal about two points that are unimportant.

    One, it doesn’t matter that the correlation between Muslim and terrorist is a causal relationship. We’re taking about a detection system. You’re proposing that we can detect attribute A (terrorist) by using attribute B (Muslim). That’s what matters, not whether or not there’s a causal arrow or which direction it points. In using the word “correlation” I was giving you the benefit of the doubt; it’s a lower bar.

    And two, “the probability that the next terrorist will be a Muslim” doesn’t matter either. To demonstrate that, for now I’ll just assume the probability equals one.

    To analyze your system, I first need to describe it. In security, the devil is in the details, and it’s the details that matter. Lots of security systems look great in one sentence but terrible once they’re expanded to a few paragraphs.

    You’re proposing an airport passenger screening system with two tiers of security. Everyone gets subjected to the lower tier, but only people who meet your profile, “Muslims, or anyone who could conceivably be Muslim,” would be subjected to the higher tier.

    https://www.schneier.com/essays/archives/2012/05/to_profile_or_not_to.html

    I can provide more breadcrumbs if you’re interested.

  7. Joshua says:

    Willard –

    FWIW, from my reading, Shorter Harris = (1) his arguments can’t have racist implications because he doesn’t hate black people, (2) his arguments are pure science, not the work of a human with biases, and unconnected to history, because, (3) he isn’t tribal because he disagrees with Murray, (4) confirmation bias a problem, but not for him, because.

  8. Joshua says:

    Sorry, (3) he isn’t tribal because he disagrees with Murray about some things.

  9. Michael 2 says:

    ATTP writes: “but implies that the onus is on the critics to engage in a way that would potentially address this.”

    That is correct. Whoever wishes to change the direction of a ship can take the helm and actually change the direction. Where that is not possible or likely the next best thing is to be a trusted navigator or pilot to the helmsman. Many voices exist; the helmsman is going to listen to just one or maybe none. Be the one.

    Do you take advice from your opponents? Probably not. They are your opponents and some danger exists in heeding their suggestions.

    There’s a book, trying to remember the title, read it many years ago: “Our Man in Damascus: Elie Cohn”

    As I remember the story he proposes to Saddam Hussein that Saddam’s soldiers in their gun emplacements are hot and dusty and really ought to have some shade trees. Saddam thinks that’s a wonderful idea so pretty soon the gun batteries are denoted by trees. So when the 7 day war broke out it was easy to locate and fire upon those gun batteries.

    “What about arguing that the onus is on Peterson to be more careful in what he presents, not on his critics to engage in some reasonable and charitable way?”

    So make that argument; see what changes.

  10. Steven Mosher says:

    ya attp.
    read through the harris klein debacle.
    klein is pretty much of a nazi.
    definately punchable.

  11. Joshua says: “mainstream academics emailing him to say that they feel intimidated to openly discuss the relationship between IQ and race

    Judith Curry also claims that there are anonymous scientists who support her, which I find hard to believe beyond a tendency of scientists not to be confrontational. Trump speaks daily about imaginary friends who are saying rather remarkable things. I hope you will excuse me when I do not take such evidence-free claims too seriously.

  12. The least I would like to see is an interview of some of these imaginary people with a respectable journalist, a silhouette of the suppressed victim and an electronically altered voice.

  13. Steven Mosher says:

    ” (2) his arguments are pure science, not the work of a human with biases, and unconnected to history, because, ”

    weird Joshua at no point did he make this argument.
    Basicly Klein insists that every conversation about genetics and groups ( but only specific groups)
    Must always include some sort of nod to “history” or discusion the social aspects. In this particular case he is insisting that discussion about the data around IQ must necessarily include the historical context or that discussion is somehow racist, or aids comfort and support to racists, or some such stuff. Harris’s point is simple: he believes that some folks should be able to discuss the data, qua data. Harris believe that you ought to be able to discuss the data qua data. Period. And NOT be forced to have a discussion about the history, or the policy implications. Klein never really addressed the threshhold question: Can we simply discuss the data without reference to the social context? Are we allowed to do that without being labelled. The politically correct stance, of course, is you are never allowed to discuss the data qua data, you always have to discuss the social aspect, or drag in participants of the correct persuasion.

    Harris wants to preserve a space for have discussion where the framing is “science”
    Klein wants to insist that all spaces for discussion have a history or social context frame.

    Imagine if I wanted to discuss temperatures and some skeptic insisted that all discussions
    of climate data must include the history of climategate.

  14. Joshua says:

    Harris says that confirmation bias is a problem and excludes himself from the problem. He creates a false line of distinction between science, and the social voted of science, and then because his focus is on that pure science, he is free from any tribalistic sensitivities.

  15. Joshua says:

    Basicly Klein insists that every conversation about genetics and groups ( but only specific groups)
    Must always include some sort of nod to “history” or discusion the social aspects.

    I always love it when people summarize what someone says with “basically.” It gives you license to characterize what they said in any way you want.

    Basically.

  16. Joshua says:

    Harris wants to preserve a space for have discussion where the framing is “science”

    Right. Because his interest is in pure science. Just the data. Because he’s free from confirmation bias and has no tribal affiliation (on an issue where he’s very emotionally engaged doncha know the issue of fighting against the evil of political correctness).

    Harris’ argument is “basically” one i see in the “skept-o-sphere” all the time: he’s interested only in a pure discussion of pure science, pure data, free from any biases or experience-influenced perspective. Bit his opponents are interested in conflating science with ideological agendas, and will visciously and maliciously trample freedom fighters in their way, because those bad biased people are so afeared of the unbiased truth.

    It’s kind of sad, actually, because I had expected more of him.

  17. Joshua says:

    Social voted = social context

  18. Joshua says:

    VV –

    No way to know for sure, but my sense is that it is entirely plausible that both Judith and Sam get some emails of the type they describe. My guess is that the IQ/race issue is one that is probably more radioactive (making his claim closer to objective reality than Judith’s), but that it is entirely likely that both exaggerate the scale of the problem .

    I also think that both fail to place whatever such problematic communication they receive into a full context, because it suits their (tribal) affiliations to view their particular frame as special. Everyone loves a slippery slope.

    I listened to a somewhat interesting show on the radio today. One of the people speaking was this woman:

    https://climateone.org/people/debbie-dooley

    She described how, when talking about climate change, in some contexts she can’t mention “climate change” or she will not get any purchase with her (often conservative) audiences.

    This was the show:

    https://climateone.org/events/new-political-climate

    The notion that you “can’t talk” about some things (as Harris claims that we “can’t talk” about IQ and race) seems fairly universal to me. The concern about such a problem (i. e., political expedient leveraging of the problem) exists on the left and the right.

    But “political correctness” is not, it seems to me, likely to be disproportionately distributed across ideological boundary lines – because the phenomenon is an embedded component of universal, tribalistic tendencies. Thus, I look at Sam’s and Judith’s claims to be plausible in essence (there is a real problem that they are referencing) even if they are likely inflated and esaggerated by their selective treatment of data, self-victimization, and bias-confirming sense of persecution.

    Irrespective of the veracity of their claims, I do think that tribalistic engagement with differing views on science is, indeed, a problem. It does seem to me to potentially be a growing problem (although I’m skeptical if my own tendency towards apophenia in that regard) – perhaps for reasons related to technology as described in the article Anders linked above. Indeed, irrespective of my opinion that Sam is leveraging victimhood to advance an ideological agenda, I so think that there is a kernal of something important in the problem that he references in that regard. IMO, he can be full of shit and right about that at the same time. The world isn’t binary.

  19. Steven Mosher says:

    Huh, “basically’ does not give you licence to characterize something in any way you want.

    Watch “basically Klein was arguing to assinate all intellectuals”

    See? basically doesnt work the way you claim.

    Its a fair interpretation to summarize Klein as follows.

    Harris wants to have what he calls a bright line

    ‘But that’s the kind of thing that could just emerge from the study of hoarding behavior. Someone studies the psychological problem of hoarding and they study the genetics of it, and then they just happen to discover that the genetics are represented differently in different populations, and Ashkenazi Jews, of which half of my ancestry is, have more of the hoarding genes than other people. Do we deal with that like adults? Or do we vilify the person who merely spoke about the data? That’s the bright line I’m trying to get you acknowledge.”

    He wants a space to have a discussion about the data qua data, without Vilifying the person who talks about the data.

    Klein, wont answer that, or rather points out that the
    the History of discussions of differences between the races has always been wrapped in ‘science’.
    and so that the these discussons of the data should always include a discussion of the history or social context. The MINIMAL claim he makes is that these discussions of the data will be improved by a discussion of the history. Consequently he criticizes harris for not including his pet topic.

    But forget my ‘basically”
    here is Klein

    “I think an important thing when we study the history of racism in this country is that it has always had a scientific wrapper. It has always been not something people thought they were doing because they were hateful, it was something they thought they were doing, because it was true.

    Yeah, I strongly disagree, and I disagree because of American history. That is why my fundamental criticism of that conversation was that you needed to deal more with the history of this conversation and the history of this country.

    I think there is what you would call confusion here. I do think it’s just important to say this. I have not criticized you, and I continue to not, for having the conversation. I’ve criticized you for having the conversation without dealing with and separating it out and thinking through the context and the weight of American history on it.
    I think using these conversations to become more precise, as opposed to less precise — using these conversations to begin to question social categories that we build for political purposes in this country, as opposed to validate them in strange ways that don’t have consistency across them — I think we could be doing a better job on that.
    I think that there is room to have conversations about genetic findings, but because we are mapping those conversations onto social-political realities, having more conversations where you deliver more nuance and more understanding, where you yourself get more understanding of the social-political realities

    I think that a conversation with a broader range of experts would give you more texture and more empathy for the people whom this conversation and its imprecision and the way it gets leveraged in American life really hurts them.

    I think a conversation that included more African-American voices and more people who have specialization in the history of race in America, in the history of these ideas in America, in the history of how these ideas and social policy in America interact, would lead to a better, more fruitful, more, as you put it, adult, and also a more constructive, debate.”

    Harris wants to have a conversation where the frame is Science.
    Klein wants to have a conversation where the frame includes the social context
    ( like past racists always using the badge of ‘science’)

    In any case you are welcomed to do your own synopsis of Klein. You havent figured Harris out fairly, maybe you’ll have better luck with Klein.

    Quotes help.

  20. Steven Mosher says:

    “Right. Because his interest is in pure science. Just the data. Because he’s free from confirmation bias and has no tribal affiliation (on an issue where he’s very emotionally engaged doncha know the issue of fighting against the evil of political correctness).”

    Err no.
    One the things Harris and those like him object to is motive hunting. Like you just did.

    He never claims he is free from Confirmation Bias, quite the opposite

    ‘Confirmation bias is a real thing. This is the situation I think we’re in. Everything you’ve said about the politics and the historical wrongs of racism, which you wrote about a lot in your last piece, I totally agree with, and I’m probably more aligned with you politically than I am with Murray, which is to say that I share your biases. I share the bias that is leading you to frame the matter the way you’re framing it.”

    The point about pushing for a discussion of the data qua data is to reveal the confirmation bias, to control for the confirmation bias, not to deny it. Otherwise, discussions of any and all data merely devolve into discussions of motivation. As Harris notes above he shares Kleins bias, and Harris method for controlling for this bias is to actually talk to somehow who doesnt share his bias to see what he thinks of the data. Joshua, you and might have an opportunity to talk about gun violence data, qua gun violence data. But if I come to the conversation convinced that your bias taints the data and you come believing that my bias taints my data, we never really have a discussion of the data. We have a pissing match in which I attack your motivated reasoning and you attack mine, and we just add one more thing to the list of things we can’t have discussions about.

  21. Steven Mosher says:

    “Harris says that confirmation bias is a problem and excludes himself from the problem. He creates a false line of distinction between science, and the social voted of science, and then because his focus is on that pure science, he is free from any tribalistic sensitivities.”

    Err No.
    He acknowledges that he shares Klein’s Bias. His remedy is to talk to someone ( Murray) who has a different bias than he does and bracket the discussions of motive to try to focus on the actual data. The hope ( the rationalist hope) is that people can put their tribalism to the side and actually
    talk about the data. And if they can’t put their tribalism to the side, that they at least can meet with members of other tribes to discuss X without resorting to tribalist tropes or simplistic appeals to motivated reasoning.

    We can of course have discussions of EXO planets without referring to ATTPs race or gender

    If harris really really wanted to have a discusion of the data qua data there is an easy way to do it.
    I believe Lewandowski did this with temperature data, you just relabel the data. you can do the same thing with genetic data.

  22. Joshua says:

    VV –

    Here is the quote I was mostly thinking of :

    I have had a lot of Republican elected officials tell me privately, I support what you’re doing. But if I speak out, I know I’m going to be attacked so I want people to defend me, you know, from the Republican side and he’s absolutely right

  23. Everett F Sargent says:

    All I know is that someone here would have been a card carrying Nazi in Germany in the 1930’s because of … wait for it … data … and … science.

    Same goes for Harris and Peterson and Trump. RPJr is simply a whining tosser.

    They all have a permanent free ride on a shortbus of their own very limited thinking.

    IMHO this is not a good topic or post simply because some people here will defend the likes of racists and sexists.

    There are very good reasons to turn away from ‘so called’ science and ‘so called’ data when dealing with the ‘so called’ human condition. Because that path leads straight to HELL as all of human history so vividly illustrates.

    The social construct must always exceed the intelligence construct or the racist construct or the sexist construct.

  24. Steven,

    Imagine if I wanted to discuss temperatures and some skeptic insisted that all discussions
    of climate data must include the history of climategate.

    I would argue that there are scenarios where you ignore what others regard as a crucial context (climategate might be one) and others where you might reflect on whether or not they have a point. In other words, I think there will be cases where people might be justified in criticising some lack of context, and others where they are not.

  25. Joshua,

    But on the other hand, some aspects of what Harris complained about (e. g., mainstream academics emailing him to say that they feel intimidated to openly discuss the relationship between IQ and race) do seem problematic. I do think that at some level, the tenor of some of the responses to Peterson are likewise are a symptom of a problem.

    Indeed, I’m not suggesting that the criticism of the critics is unjustified. There clearly are examples where it is, or would be. I’m mostly suggesting that it’s sometimes pointless to try and address it, and that it’s not as if it’s only them who are engaging in ways that are not ideal.

    I think little progress can be made without accountability. Peterson and RPJr. are rather instructive examples, IMO, of how a lack of accountability fuels the fires of indignant responses to the potentially useful products of their analyses.

    I think is a key point. It does seem as though some do not want to acknowledge some kind of accountability. I would have much more time for them if they seemed to at least acknowledge that some of what they did was not optimal.

  26. “One, it doesn’t matter that the correlation between Muslim and terrorist is a causal relationship. We’re taking about a detection system. You’re proposing that we can detect attribute A (terrorist) by using attribute B (Muslim). That’s what matters, not whether or not there’s a causal arrow or which direction it points. “

    From a technical perspective, rather a worrying statement. You can’t make a reliable detector unless there is a causal relationship between attribute A and attribute B (although the direction doesn’t matter so much). If there is no causal relationship then the “correlation” is spurious and your security system is likely over-fitting the calibration data. Worrying from an political/ethical perspective as well…

  27. Steven Mosher says:

    ” In other words, I think there will be cases where people might be justified in criticising some lack of context, and others where they are not.”

    So when it comes to feminism and glaciology would that be in bounds or out of bounds?

    and who decides when that boundary is crossed. As a scientist I get where harris is coming from.
    And its a consistent easy to apply rule. We just discuss the data. We can apply this in every case.
    We dont force people to discuss the context. we dont decide when it right to discuss it, we just say
    for the limited purposes of understanding the actual numbers we want to limit discusion to the actual numbers: group A scored x. group B scored y. Divorced from context what are the numbers? But In Klein’s world if A= jewish and B = non jewish and topic = hoarding, then
    no context is required. But if A= one race and B = a different race and topic = IQ, then context is required. And you see that’s at the heart of the problem. The rules of Harris are pretty clear.
    Just the facts maam. No policy, no motive, no history, no politics– the desire for intellectual purity and “objectivity”. And its clear what is in bounds and out of bounds. When it comes to Klein’s world, there is no rule. You find out after you crossed the boundary– “hey insensitive guy who lacks empathy ( sexist charcterization of course), dont you know that when we talk about X, we always
    invite person who fits group y, and we always discuss historical reference G” That’s a certain kindof tyranny. And so before you dress up for halloween you have to check with the empathy committee and insure that no feelings will be hurt.

  28. e. g., mainstream academics emailing him to say that they feel intimidated to openly discuss the relationship between IQ and race

    An academic that doesn’t feel at least uncomfortable openly discussing issues such as race and IQ (or Islam and terrorism) shows a lack of consideration/empathy/responsibility. These are issues where what is said can cause very grave offence, and shifts in public opinion can cause serious hardship to the groups in society that are the targets of what is said (not difficult to think of examples). The discomfort is your brains way of making you think carefully about what you say before you say it, and is generally a good thing. Unfortunately we are all but blockheads in practice.

  29. Michael E Fayette says: Please – everyone – stop analyzing the motives of your critics. Instead focus on their arguments. The science. The data.

    I largely agree with that, however quite often when we are trying to discuss the science we need to be aware of the techniques used to avoid discussing the science, in which case having some idea of the critic’s motives is useful in avoiding those techniques. For instance, that is one reason I avoid the word “denier”, I would rather talk about the science, rather than interminable discussions about how mean alarmists are. It would be better though if the focus were on the content of the scientific arguments.

  30. Steven Mosher says:

    “All I know is that someone here would have been a card carrying Nazi in Germany in the 1930’s because of … wait for it … data … and … science.”

    you forget the perderson perspective on scientific truths and moral truths and which trumps which.

    And you forget that the existence of differences does not cash out simply into social policies

    have some fun.

  31. Steven,
    Okay, clearly there isn’t some universal rule that defines where criticism of a lack of context is justified, and when it is not. It will depend on many factors. In some sense, I think the critic typically has the right to decide to criticise some lack of context and the person being criticised has the right to ignore their criticism (or not). This is all in the context of public discussions. So, in some sense, whether the critic is right or not will be determine by the response of the audience.

    I’ll add that structural constancy is relevant (in my view). I think it is possible to develop global temperature datasets without considering private emails between scientists. I don’t think that it is possible to understand potential differences between groups of people without considering the societal factors that may well have (probably did) significantly influence those differences. That’s my view, of course.

  32. Steven Mosher says:

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

    Strangely enough I believe this was assigned in a moral philosophy class. too long ago.

    Maybe it was a Rawls discussion.

  33. Steven Mosher says:

    ‘I think the critic typically has the right to decide to criticise some lack of context and the person being criticised has the right to ignore their criticism (or not). This is all in the context of public discussions. So, in some sense, whether the critic is right or not will be determine by the response of the audience.”

    Hmm, so Klein insinuates or dog whistles that Harris is some sort of racialist monster, science hack, and nazi–which is his right– and Harris can ignore him. Yup. But Harris can also say, “err, people took your criticism to mean that I’m a nazi and that audience is not right. The audience doesnt decide. It’s a mob.

    In its crudest form Kleins argument is this: Racism has historically wrapped itself in science, so if youre a scientist talking about race, you own that because history. So, the christians will always own the crusades, and muslims will always own that child bride thing, and germans will always own the nazi thing, and whites will always own the slavery thing, and for the koreans the japenese will always own that occupation, and the Afrikaners will own their mess forever. Sins of the father, ya I get that.

  34. Everett F Sargent says:

    Someone here is preaching … wait for it … Scientism …
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientism

  35. Scientism is a term generally used to describe the facile application of science in unwarranted situations not amenable to application of the scientific method.

    Ouch! Not a bad definition ;o)

  36. Steven,

    Hmm, so Klein insinuates or dog whistles that Harris is some sort of racialist monster, science hack, and nazi–which is his right– and Harris can ignore him. Yup. But Harris can also say, “err, people took your criticism to mean that I’m a nazi and that audience is not right. The audience doesnt decide. It’s a mob.

    Of course it could be a mob, and that is indeed an issue. I’m just not sure what sort of viable solution there is, other than everyone trying to better understand what others are saying. Maybe I’m wrong to suggest that the response of the audience is important, but what I was getting at is that Harris (for example) does what he does in order to communicate to an audience. If the critical articles have little impact on what he is doing, then he can carry on regardless. If they do have some impact, he could reflect. I’m just not clear as to what alternative exists. I’m all in favour of a world in which everyone behaves in a reasonable manner, I just don’t think that we could even define what that meant, or achieve it if we could. There will always have people who are more appealling to their audience, than trying to engage with those with whom they disagree. You might argue, though, that if someone is aware of some contentious context and wants to avoid being accussed of associating with something objectionable, then they should try very hard to engage in a way that makes that clear. I don’t think saying “I’m not a ….” is enough.

  37. Everett F Sargent says:

    In the year 2546, worldwide atheism, founded by Richard Dawkins and his wife Mrs. Garrison, has eradicated religion. Atheism has in turn split into three hostile denominations at perpetual war over the so-called “great question”: the super-intelligent otters of the Allied Atheist Alliance (AAA), the humans of the United Atheist Alliance (UAA), and a rival human faction, the Unified Atheist League (UAL).

    A massive battle between the three atheist groups begins, during which Cartman discovers the nature of the “great question”: the war is being fought over which denomination name is the most logical for atheists to call themselves.

  38. Steven Mosher says:

    Huh,

    Trying to explain what harri’s position is without calling him names or labelling him is not the same as believing as he believes.

    You see now how it works. As a pragmatist I don;t really buy the distinction between science and non science. Not a logical postivist. I don’t buy what harris is promoting ( especially on ethics). But, I’m trained to try to explain what he thinks without insinuating that he is a nazi. I also dont buy pederson, but in his discussion with harris where he valorizes moral truth, I get what he is saying.

    But it this world you dont get to merely explain what harris thinks, you have to label it, condemn him, blah blah blah. As if merely noting his scientism is required to make the argument he makes.

    You can explain what harris believes without also believing it.
    This is the first best step to actual criticism on grounds that harris himself might accept.
    Refusing to engage in name calling is not a sign of agreement.
    That Harris is a propopent of scientism, says nothing about the particular argument here. On Harris’ view science can form the grounding of an ethical system. That’s a rather strong form of scientism.
    personally I’m about as far from this point of view as you can get. is ought and all that.
    The other thing to note is that apparently harris read the science on IQ and it had no effect on his
    moral convictions. Go figure. In harris’s system ethics can be grounded in science. And he looks at the same science as Murray and comes to different ethical conclusions. His scientism tells you nothing. Most labels don’t.

    Any way.

    https://samharris.org/racism-and-violence-in-america/

  39. Steven,
    Was that a response to me? If so, I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at. I’m not advocating name calling (I’m also not all that interested in debating the merits, or lack thereof, of Harris vs Klein – it was more an interesting example of this kind of issue).

  40. Steven Mosher says:

    “Of course it could be a mob, and that is indeed an issue. I’m just not sure what sort of viable solution there is, other than everyone trying to better understand what others are saying. ”

    willard would probably suggest playing the ball, not the man. Klein wants to play the ball and the man, and sarg just wants to play the man.

    #deletefacebook

  41. Steven Mosher says:

    No ATTP
    that was a response to sarg

    ““All I know is that someone here would have been a card carrying Nazi in Germany in the 1930’s because of … wait for it … data … and … science.”

    “Someone here is preaching … wait for it … Scientism …
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientism

    Its the same dynamic. Harris is totally uninterested in Murray’s topic. But he gets interested because he hears that Murray is being silenced. Of course that makes the intellectually curious, curious. So he has Murray on to talk about the science. And since he gives Murray a platform and doesnt play the man, then harris is played. Played as a nazi, played as unscientific, played as a racialist. And so here we merely repeat it. I dont agree with harris scientism or with any of the work on genetics and IQ, but I think we should at least explicate harris position truthfully and avoid as much as possible the personal attacks– or hold them till later or wait for Tol to show up so we can beat the designated barbarian.

    hint. this is not an honest restatement of harris

    “FWIW, from my reading, Shorter Harris = (1) his arguments can’t have racist implications because he doesn’t hate black people, (2) his arguments are pure science, not the work of a human with biases, and unconnected to history, because, (3) he isn’t tribal because he disagrees with Murray, (4) confirmation bias a problem, but not for him, because.”

    Explaining harris doesnt make one a closet nazi or scientism preacher.

  42. Everett F Sargent says:

    Haidt for the trifecta (Peterson. Harris, Haidt and Trump aka The Three Stooges). What has happened to the world, where have all the good public intellectuals gone to? RPJr fancies himself a modern Socrates. 😦

    Social media has changed the landscape, so much so, that the heaping on of complete ridicule is only seconds away. PewDiePie for the win.

  43. Steven Mosher says:

    ‘(I’m also not all that interested in debating the merits, or lack thereof, of Harris vs Klein – it was more an interesting example of this kind of issue).”

    ok,

    let’s then just dig down on what your main claim is

    “In many cases, I can’t actually see what one achieves by complaining about one’s critics. ”

    Do you mean to say?

    “In many cases, I can’t actually see what one achieves by responding to one’s critics. ”

    is it the mere response or rather the “complaining” nature of the response. ?

  44. Everett F Sargent says:

    The subject matter is criticism and how to handle said criticism (I take that to mean introspection, in my case at least).

    We should stay on the subject matter at hand, and not those positions that others have taken, and dissect/support/reject them.

    How does one, or how should one, handle criticism?

  45. Steven Mosher says:

    “Social media has changed the landscape”

    Social media merely amplifies and hardens the structures already there. it recapitulates highschool on steriods.

  46. Everett F Sargent says:

    My opinion of what Harris said or thinks is not someone else’s opinion. Words are not equations or Boolean logic. I interpret things differently than someone else.

    So here is the crux, someone else here tries to correct the ‘so called’ record, a ‘so called’ record that can only opinion based, ironic. How do they do this? By offering up their own biased form of opinion under the guise of scientism. Period. Full stop.

  47. So he has Murray on to talk about the science. couldn’t he have just read the book instead? It was enough to convince me that Murray was wrong (presuming the Murray in question is the “Herrnstein and Murray” Murray, rather than some other Murray), although you have to read the footnotes carefully.

  48. Steven: “Harris wants to preserve a space for have discussion where the framing is “science”
    Klein wants to insist that all spaces for discussion have a history or social context frame.

    Let’s have a look at this claim in a context that is less contentious between us. That may give more clarity and the discussion of IQ and race is an American discussion I am not familiar with.

    Imagine someone would claim “Arctic sea ice is increasing!” I think this person could not claim that he is just looking at the (3 years of) data and is the one using the science framing.

    I think this person should give the direct context, the period studied, as well as the broader context “from this analysis you cannot make any conclusions on the long-term trend.” I think it is intellectually honest (and very much part of science) to add this broader context when you expect that part of the audience would otherwise misinterpret your claim. There is no need to also study the long-term trend, but there is a need to be honest about the limitations of your analysis.

  49. Steven Mosher says:

    How does one, or how should one, handle criticism?

    from a spiritual perspective, you thank the critic for his concerns and pray for them wishing that they get all the blessings in life they wish for.

    Agreeing with them also causes maximum annoyance.

  50. Steven Mosher says:

    “So he has Murray on to talk about the science. couldn’t he have just read the book instead? It was enough to convince me that Murray was wrong (presuming the Murray in question is the “Herrnstein and Murray” Murray, rather than some other Murray), although you have to read the footnotes carefully.’

    he has to play the public intellectual.

  51. Joshua: “Thus, I look at Sam’s and Judith’s claims to be plausible in essence (there is a real problem that they are referencing) even if they are likely inflated and esaggerated by their selective treatment of data, self-victimization, and bias-confirming sense of persecution.

    Many people are saying that Trump is the greatest president in the history of America. Many people told me that.

    Could be. In that sense it is plausible. It is certainly not impossible. I am also not claiming they are lying, but I am not taking such claims seriously and I would thus not conclude from such evidence-free claims anything about the real world beyond that this person has made this utterance.

    Joshua: “Irrespective of the veracity of their claims, I do think that tribalistic engagement with differing views on science is, indeed, a problem. It does seem to me to potentially be a growing problem

    I thus think concluding there is a problem requires more evidence.

    P.S. My previous comment hangs in moderation.

  52. Steven Mosher says:

    “My opinion of what Harris said or thinks is not someone else’s opinion. Words are not equations or Boolean logic. I interpret things differently than someone else.”

    Not necessarily. I could imagine any number of people reading him the same way you do. What is interesting to me at least is how people read.

    it’s true, trivally true that words are not equations and that , yes, you get to have your “own” interpretation, but I’m not so sure you are actually thinking for yourself. Anymore than a contrarian caught in willards contrarian matrix is thinking for himself. There are fixed set of moves you make in response to Harris. None of them original with you. none of them “your thoughts” on the matter.

  53. zebra says:

    Victor V,

    “requires more evidence”

    Here it is; I’ve presented it a couple of times– perhaps you missed it.

    Your point about “only knowing this person made this utterance” is a valid one and worthy of further discussion. There was just another article (can’t remember where) which pointed out that in surveys only 2-3 years ago Republicans overwhelmingly said “deficits are bad”, and now they overwhelmingly say “deficits are good” (paraphrasing).

    Understanding this Authoritarian psychology, which is very well scientifically established, is critical to developing solutions. They will say whatever their leaders establish as the correct tribal response. They will vote as they are told. They will act contrary to their professed beliefs without experiencing stress.

    They will not be influenced by better graphs and more data, or reasoned arguments.

  54. Steven,

    is it the mere response or rather the “complaining” nature of the response. ?

    I probably meant “complaining” rather than “response”, because complaining can come across as avoiding engaging by attempting to delegitimise one’s critics (which can be ironic).

    To touch on something else. I think that one problem I have is that I don’t think one gets to define how engagement should occur within a public sphere. In academia I think one can expect some standard of behaviour. There are expectations as to how people should behave in seminars, at conferences, or what they can say in papers. I don’t think (within the law) that the same applies in the public sphere. I don’t think there is anything necessarily wrong with someone choosing to engage in a public dicussion that focuses on the scientific details and ignores a broader context. However, there’s no real expectation that your decision to focus on the scientific details and ignore the broader context means that others in the public sphere *have* to respect that decision. They’re quite free to criticise how you chose to frame, or not, your public discussion.

  55. Steven Mosher says:

    ya attp. how you respond to the criticism of your child or spouse or employer or peer reviewer is a different matter.

  56. Steven Mosher says:

    interesting topic zebra

    https://www.vox.com/2016/3/1/11127424/trump-authoritarianism

    now it would be weird if that supposed type had genetic components. Regardless dont frighten those people.

  57. Dave_Geologist says:

    Willard, re https://www.schneier.com/essays/archives/2012/05/to_profile_or_not_to.html.

    I got as far as

    Imagine that a terrorist is attempting to board an airplane bound for a major city in Europe or the United States with a bomb strapped to the body of his four-year-old daughter.

    Why (imagine that)? Is that an attack vector that has happened before? If not why bring it up? Is murdering a planeload of strangers not evil enough? Has he also to kill his child to add a special yewk factor? To demonise your enemy? Do you think that will make me regard you as a good-faith actor? Think again.

    Why not imagine a black or white citizen of your own country who grew up a Christian or atheist, converted to Islam, was radicalised, then went off to commit acts of terrorism in the name of his new religion. Without waving a T-shirt that says “I’m a radicalised Muslim”. Because that is an attack vector that’s happened before. More than once.

    Or perhaps I’m just getting things wrong, misrepresenting what was being presented, and am either engaging in bad faith, or am ideologically biased 😉

  58. zebra says:

    Steve M,

    As far as I understand it, there is not much if any genetic component. Rather, it is the result of “nurture” and early life experiences. So, Authoritarian parents have Authoritarian kids, but that is because of how they raise them and the general environment.

    It’s possible, again as far as I have read, that the “brain drain” effect provides a positive feedback– less authoritarian people tend to move to less authoritarian environments, with obvious consequences for the population left behind. Again, cultural rather than biological mechanism.

    To be clear, it is not exclusively a right-wing phenomenon, the potential exists in all humans, but the right-wing message is tailored to appeal to this psychology.

  59. zebra says:

    Dave-G,

    “radicalized”

    Words words words. Why not:

    “Some screwed-up young male, on some spectrum of mental malfunction and stress, wants to strike out somehow, relieve existential anxiety of some kind, whatever…picks up on some current meme, e.g. “Islam”, and is both functional enough and screwed-up enough to act.”

    Painting the manipulators as having superpowers of some kind is another kind of demonizing process.

    Who “radicalizes” all those school shooters?

  60. Dave_Geologist says:

    Steven Mosher

    ” In other words, I think there will be cases where people might be justified in criticising some lack of context, and others where they are not.”

    So when it comes to feminism and glaciology would that be in bounds or out of bounds?

    Well, glaciology is science, feminism… isn’t. So I’d expect different rules.

    With glaciology it depends on the context whether you need context 🙂

    “This glacier is twelve miles long” – no.

    “This glacier is adding mass at its headwall” – no.

    “Is this glacier really adding mass at its headwall – let’s look at some other ways of measuring it (all year round not once a year, GPS as well as stakes, satellites… have you checked whether it’s actually losing mass more slowly because a subglacial river diverted and the base has frozen to the bedrock)” – no.

    “Is this glacier adding mass overall – no, the termination is melting faster than the headwall is growing” – no.

    “This glacier is adding mass so global warming has reversed” – yes. Required context is that it’s only one glacier and most others are losing mass, that this glacier has benefited from more snowfall (probably as a result of warmer air carrying more moisture) and we know that because it’s been measured across the surrounding mountains and indeed temperatures have risen locally by 2°C while still remaining below freezing, that GPR shows it’s grounded, probably only temporarily, and historic records show that the grounding only lasts about ten years then flow accelerates big-time, and actually only part of the glacier is adding mass, if you sum it up head to toe it’s losing mass, due to termination retreat. Note that none of these additional pieces of information contradicts the “glacier adding mass” statement, not even the last one (the cop-out is “I never said the whole glacier”). They just provide necessary context to refute the conclusion which has been wrongly drawn from the observation. It’s the false conclusion which demands the context, not the glacier’s mass.

    “This glacier is adding mass” – yes, in the context of a ding-dong where it’s clear to both parties and to the audience that it’s being used as an argument against the reality of global warming. E.g. “the worlds’ glaciers are losing mass”. “This one isn’t”. Required context as above.

    Which of course is why it takes ten times as long to rebut a Gish Gallop as it does to run one.

  61. Dave_Geologist says:

    zebra
    “radicalized”

    Well, there has often been a trail of “breadcrumbs” which show intent to radicalise or to promote violence. And indeed people have gone to jail for that. So yes the individual may have mental health problems (although they often seem to be alienated petty criminals without a history of psychiatric treatment, which yes may derive from some other mental health issue that drove them off the rails in their teens). But no-one goes around trying to turn schoolkids into classmate-killers.

    So on the one hand there is a plausible cause-and-effect (which requires case-by-case investigation nevertheless), in the other there is not.

    No superpowers required BTW and no demonisation intended. It’s far more boring and low-rent. Read the Manchurian Candidate or ask yourself why millions of people in Eastern Europe accepted Communism much the same way they now accept EU membership.

    And anyway my point was that if the end-point of Harris’ argument (which I gathered it was from its apologia) was that we should stop brown people with bushy beards or wearing hijabs, or anyone from a majority-Muslim country, or anyone carrying the Koran or texting in Arabic, we’d miss the white guy with the well-trimmed beard listening to his headphones, and the clean-shaven black guy reading The Sun.

  62. Willard says:

    > Why (imagine that) [an image of a 4-yo strapped to a bomb by his parent and encouraged by confederates]?

    SamH argues that the prejudice associating suicidal terrorists and Muslim is justified. This is what motivates his suggestion to profile against Muslim-looking persons in airplanes, that and the absurdity of checking a Texas cheerleader:

    We should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/apr/03/sam-harris-muslim-animus

    I rather like how Bruce Scheier destroys his contention with logistic reasons, showing that having an opinion, however justified, doesn’t always translate into safe decisions.

  63. Joshua says:

    Interesting:

    That said, what I did say in my emails with Harris – and what I unequivocally affirm again now – is not that Harris is a “racist”, but rather that he and others like him spout and promote Islamophobia under the guise of rational atheism.

    One might get the impression, from that excerpt, that agreeing or disagreeing with Klein on whether black people should be hated might not be the only way to delineate tribes.

  64. Willard says:

    > I think that there is room to have conversations about genetic findings

    Here’s how SamH framed one such “conversation”:

    So this is how I want us to approach the podcast—with you reading what you wrote and our stopping to talk about each point, wherever relevant. Again, you can say anything you want in this context, and I won’t edit you (though if our exchange truly is “fruitless,” as well as boring, I reserve the right not to air it).

    These extremist demands have been met by Omer Aziz. The “conversation” lasted four hours. “Ideas were exchanged. Veiled insults were delivered. Bathroom breaks were taken.” Then SamH of course refused to release the podcast.

    I don’t think “conversation” covers it.

  65. Joshua says:

    Greenwald is certainly an interesting cat.

  66. izen says:

    @-“My impression, unfortunately, is that some of this criticism of critics is actually tactical.”

    Correct.
    Further, it is for some a feature not a flaw.
    If you are selling the idea of a becoming the fearless warrior for Truth, then making a serious rational counter to the substantive points of the critique just labels you a ‘cuck’. A macho, testosterone fuelled ad hominem, preferably with extreme scatological elements is a response in keeping with the ideology you wish to promote.
    Or the ego.
    I have participated on forums where credit was accrued not by making a reasoned rational response to a critic, but by how florid and imaginative your characterisation of the carnal failing of your critics parentage.

    Sam Harris claiming that he just wants to be able to examine the data, as some sort of neutral body of sciencey knowledge sounds hopelessly naive. A reader of Darwin would want to send him a list of the size and colour of all the pebbles in a gravel bed…

    Data is always (YMMV) collected for a reason. What is measured, and how, is shaped by the intended or expected purpose of the data. The data can then be re-purposed for other reasons, but to pretend there is some pristine, uncontaminated, neutral original data is scientism at its worst.

    Take IQ data.
    The test was originally designed for a specific purpose. To detect the bottom percentiles of children who would require additional educational support to reach a minimum academic standard. It was intended to collect data to enable the educational system to reach more equitable outcomes in education. Level the playing field. The measured IQ was viewed as a measure of what improvement in IQ was required by educational intervention.

    What happened was that otters took this data and imposed an assumption that IQ was fixed (biological determinism of the status quo), and exploited the data not to make educational achievement more equal in society, but to bolster the differentials that already existed by selecting the top percentile for extra educational attention. The very opposite of the way the test and data were originally intended to be used. Extending it to then rank ‘Races’ was just a further distortion of the original intent and purpose of IQ testing. Pretending it is a neutral ‘scientific’ use of the information is ignorant at best. Looking at Murray’s work without the context of this re-purposing, and ignoring that the differences measured are small compared to the effects of environmental/educational influences, as shown by the Flynn effect, is grounds for suspecting a wanton avoidance of the racist implications of that work.

    Attacking the messenger, or the critic, is the appropriate response if your audience values strength in confrontaion above rational analysis.
    Trump.

  67. zebra says:

    Dave-G,

    “missed the white guy”

    Of course. No argument from me.

    I didn’t mean to imply you bought into the meme, but it is part of the propaganda here in the US– “radicalized” implies that it is only the influence of the current international bogeyman that causes the problem. Rather than testosterone and personality disorders and so on… it’s usually not classic “mental illness”, as you say, petty criminals and other marginal individuals are the usual actors.

  68. Willard says:

    > Greenwald is certainly an interesting cat.

    Greenwald prefers dogs. Can’t say I’m a fan of him. I like dogs, and those who like dogs can’t be that bad.

    It’d be hard to have a conversation about SamH’s positions without mentioning his zeal to defend militarism, in particular Israel’s:

    Any review of Sam Harris and his work is a review essentially of politics. And from there I will begin my examination of his thought and work my way back to the question of religion for which he is better known. Harris gave a revealing interview recently to Tablet that best sums up the key themes of his political writing on the Middle East, Israel and the Western relation to Muslims :

    “The Israelis are confronting people who will blow themselves up to kill the maximum number of noncombatants and will even use their own children as human shields. They’ll launch their missiles from the edge of a hospital or school so that any retaliation will produce the maximum number of innocent casualties. And they do all this secure in the knowledge that their opponents are genuinely worried about killing innocent people. It’s the most cynical thing imaginable. And yet within the moral discourse of the liberal West, the Israeli side looks like it’s the most egregiously insensitive to the cost of the conflict.”

    It’s a claim recycled from his book The End of Faith (2005), in which he maintains that Israel upholds the human rights of Palestinians to a high standard. His source? Alan Dershowitz. The spirit of the Zionist law attorney infuses a book in which he is approvingly quoted and in which he provides the basis for Harris’s ticking time bomb defence of torture. It’s not for nothing Dershowitz blurbs the book. But is it true as Harris gushes that Israel’s moral capital lies in the fact “They’re still worried about killing the children of their enemies”?

    Consider the findings of human rights groups like Amnesty International’s investigation into the Gaza war of 2008:

    “Amnesty International on Thursday accused Israeli forces of war crimes, saying they used children as human shields and conducted wanton attacks on civilians during their offensive in the Gaza Strip. “

    What about the assertion that Arabs take cover behind their own children? Amnesty finds that although Hamas rocketed Israeli towns during the war, that:

    “It could not support Israeli claims that Hamas used human shields. It said it found no evidence Palestinian fighters directed civilians to shield military objectives from attacks, forced them to stay in buildings used by militants, or prevented them from leaving commandeered buildings”

    The co-author of the influential Goldstone Report for the UN Human Rights Council, Desmond Travers, has said:

    “We found no evidence that Hamas used civilians as hostages. I had expected to find such evidence but did not. We also found no evidence that mosques were used to store munitions.”

    For a man who likes to badger Muslims about their “reflexive solidarity” with Arab suffering, Harris seems keen to display his own tribal affections for the Jewish state.

    http://mondoweiss.net/2012/06/sam-harris-uncovered/

    I don’t think we can go so far as to say that Israel is having a “conversation” with the Arab world.

  69. Mal Adapted says:

    OP:

    All of these seem to have an underlying suggestion that those who are doing the criticising are getting things wrong, misrepresenting what was being presented, and are either engaging in bad faith, or are ideologically biased. The suggestion seems to be that the onus is on the critics to engage suitably with what is being presented, so as to enable constructive dialogue/discourse. The problem I have is that this should really apply to all, not just to those doing the criticism.

    The first onus is on the provocateur who posts pernicious nonsense, then decries the incivility of his critics. IMIMO, it’s egregiously un-civil to relentlessly reintroduce self-serving BS as ‘discourse’. The hell with motive-hunting: that’s prima facie evidence of insincerity on the poster’s part. Again IMIMO, one has a duty to address it plainly. It may not be worth the effort in this circumstance to speak both plainly and civilly. If RPJr wants ‘intellectual hospitality’, he needs to give us something we can live with!

  70. Steven Mosher says:

    funny, especially at the end

  71. Joshua says:

    Willard –

    Can’t say I’m a fan of him

    I’ve gone back and forth on Greenwald a lot over the years. I recently decided to give up on him once and for all.

    But that article was so sharp, now I’m back in the fan camp.

  72. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    I’m mostly suggesting that it’s sometimes pointless to try and address it,…

    Agreed. But even more so if the attempts to address it are done in such a manner that they could easily be predicted to engender just more of the same. Then, it seems appropriate to me, to ask what they’re really after.

  73. I think genuine differences between engineers and other people do exist, however there is a great overlap between engineers and normal people.

    I think there is a difference between a label and a caricature.

  74. Willard says:

    > funny, especially at the end

    I agree:

    So, when I— when I started to write Maps of Meaning, I thought, okay, what’s the situation? This is the Cold War. We’ve divided into two armed tribal camps and we’ve decided that settling the difference between us is worth risking ‘being’ itself. We could— we could drive everything into extinction; we’re willing to take that chance. What the hell is going on? So, I wanted to know two things; what was truly driving the tribalism of the Cold War, including its— including the generation of that fast, nuclear arsenal, because that just seemed to me to be insanity taken to the final pinnacle. So, I wanted to know that, and I wanted to know, okay, having figured out why that’s happening, what could be done about it so it would stop? And at the same time, I was also studying what had happened in Auschwitz and with the Nazis, and all of that. And so, it was a very a serious problem. And I actually wanted to have the answer; I actually wanted the answer. I didn’t want to write an interesting book about it. It wasn’t even that I wanted to write a book exactly, it was just that writing a book was the best way to figure out the problem because it’s— really writing a book is so rigorous, you know? Because you think but you can only remember so much. You have to write it down.

    https://erikamentari.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/jre-1070-jordan-peterson-transcript/

    Maps of Meaning has been published in 1999. He started to write it in 1985. The year Gorbachev took office.

    As Joe Rogan said, JordanP is the right guy for the job. So meticulous with his thoughts. About his work. About his writing. Criticizing his own ideas.

    His hawt take on Damore is even funnier.

  75. Steven Mosher says:

    Someone drag Jr in here and deliver the obligatory ritualistic beating..
    oh wait they just did.

    It is vitally important that liminal characters be beaten.

  76. Willard says:

    > It is vitally important that liminal characters be beaten.

    Some, but not me, might interpret this as an auto-critique.

    If Junior doesn’t want to reminded of his victim playing, he should drop the victim playing act.

  77. Willard says:

    > I think genuine differences between engineers and other people do exist, however there is a great overlap between engineers and normal people.

    You read JordanP’s mind, Dikran:

    The Damore is really interesting, you know, because I think it’s such a classic story of an engineer getting tangled up in politics. So, Damore went to this diversity seminar and he wasn’t very happy about it because he knew the literature, so at the end of the seminar they asked for feedback. Well, James Damore is an engineer so when you tell an engineer that you want feedback, the engineer thinks, “oh, you want feedback? And you want facts and stuff, right?” Because that’s what feedback would be like. So Damore went and wrote this, like, thorough memo and gave it to them. […] It wasn’t like Damore was trying to expose Google for what it is, he was just doing what an engineer type would do when someone asked him to provide feedback because he’s not thinking politically; he’s not thinking of they just want to hear what they already just said; he thought they actually wanted some facts. Anyways, I think they picked on the wrong guy because Damore turns out to be pretty damn tough.

    https://erikamentari.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/jre-1070-jordan-peterson-transcript/

    Damore was so tough that JonathanH had to balk him out of his misery:

    In this review, we also do not address Damore’s claims that some gender differences are rooted in biological factors, such as the effect of prenatal hormones on brain development. Meta-analyses cannot tell us the origins of differences. Most researchers studying these questions assume that biology, childhood socialization, and current context interact in complex ways, and most psychologists know that pointing to a biological contribution (such as a genetic or hormonal influence) does not mean that an effect is “hard wired,” unmalleable, or immune to contextual variables (see Eagly & Wood, 2012; this is a point that Damore did not acknowledge). In this review we focus only on whether “population level differences” exist.

    http://heterodoxacademy.org/the-google-memo-what-does-the-research-say-about-gender-differences/

    Just like “conversation,” “funny” might not cover it.

  78. Steven,

    Someone drag Jr in here and deliver the obligatory ritualistic beating..
    oh wait they just did.

    A bit melodramatic, isn’t it?

  79. Mal Adapted says:

    Steven Mosher and mine host:

    Someone drag Jr in here and deliver the obligatory ritualistic beating..
    oh wait they just did.

    A bit melodramatic, isn’t it?

    I merely point out that RPJr was introduced in the OP.

  80. Mal,
    Indeed, but I’m not sure where the ritualistic beating is coming from.

  81. I have to admit that the comments are coming so thick and fast that I’m not really keeping up.

  82. Mal Adapted says:

    Willard:

    If Junior doesn’t want to reminded of his victim playing, he should drop the victim playing act.

    Thank you, Willard. IMIMO (as always), in his case the victim often really is to blame. Yeah, yeah, not 100% every time: no strawmen, thanks! The remaining few % aren’t what we criticize him for!

    But never mind, this post offered RPJr as an exemplary provocateur:

    The suggestion seems to be that the onus is on the critics to engage suitably with what is being presented, so as to enable constructive dialogue/discourse. The problem I have is that this should really apply to all, not just to those doing the criticism.

    In your defense, mine host (and of course your blog, your rules), I acknowledge that civility demands a measure of circumlocution. Before I forget (again), thank you for your intellectual hospitality 8^).

  83. Mal Adapted says:

    Our’n host:

    I have to admit that the comments are coming so thick and fast that I’m not really keeping up.

    You’re to blame, for your boundless intellectual hospitality ;^D.

  84. verytallguy says:

    Let me get this right.

    Critical comments are coming in too fast to follow criticising a post which criticises people for criticising those who criticise them?

    Or have I missed something?

  85. vtg,
    No, I think that pretty much sums it up 😉

  86. izen says:

    @-SM
    “Someone drag Jr in here and deliver the obligatory ritualistic beating..”

    Eli has got that covered in this post –
    http://rabett.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/who-could-resist.html

    Or perhaps just;
    “See our earlier work on this subject.”

    It is difficult to be the noble hero if you ARE’NT opposed by malicious forces…

  87. Michael 2 says:

    Victor Venema writes: “the discussion of IQ and race is an American discussion I am not familiar with.”

    It has similarities to discussions of climate change since it comes with baggage. Johns Hopkins attempted to convene a forum to explore, scientifically (more or less) the issue of race and I.Q. but the forum was cancelled. This document might be referring to that event or leading up to it: http://pages.jh.edu/gazette/1994/nov2894/gordon.html

    At any rate, it illuminates one of the great paradoxes of the Left: (1) All men are created equal. (2) there is no creator.

  88. Steven Mosher says:

    “If Junior doesn’t want to reminded of his victim playing, he should drop the victim playing act.”

    I fully agree and think the same thing about the whole metoo nonsense.
    people choose to be victims and should just stop whining.

    milo said it best

  89. Steven,
    It’s hard not to interpret your comment as suggesting that what RPJ has faced is somehow equivalent to sexual harassment.

  90. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    If I might say… my view is that he’s just seeking a reaction.

    In that spirit, I’d like to thank Steven for his concerns about victims and whining.

  91. Mal Adapted says:

    Smokin’ Steven Mosher:

    I fully agree and think the same thing about the whole metoo nonsense.
    people choose to be victims and should just stop whining.

    Jeez, I even said, albeit parenthetically, “No strawmen, thanks!”

    It looks like Smokin’ Steven’s blowin’ smoke again.

  92. Willard says:

    > I fully agree and think the same thing about the whole metoo nonsense.

    The word “playing” may not mean what you make it mean. Seems that the #MeToo shoe is dropping not far from atheists this time. And God knows how similar Junior’s treatment is compared to the one of women by the atheist movement:

    At first, readers of Myers’ blog wondered whether this was really the famous English biologist. Had the man who coined the word “meme” really descended from Olympus to attack a young American writer? Once it was clear that this was indeed Dawkins, it was on: a fight between the world’s leading atheist and a female activist half his age. Bloggers and tweeters and redditors took up sides, and “Elevatorgate” was covered by The Wire, Gawker, and dozens of smaller sites. Dawkins got called a sexist, and worse. His defenders decried “feminists” as enemies of free speech, overly sensitive about harmless flirtation. Watson got death and rape threats. One man emailed her his artwork of her being anally raped. She still endures a daily dose of Twitter and email hate — messages like, “You should experience rape … I think plenty of guys want to teach your dirty ass a lesson” and “She looks more like a feminist Jew every day … she’s slowly morphing.” (Watson is often called some variety of “Jew whore,” although she is not Jewish.) Watson’s resilience in the face of abuse — in addition to her gifts as a writer, podcaster, public speaker, and organizer — has solidified her status as a leader in freethought, to women and to many men too. Having written no books, she is the first major atheist whose rise has occurred on the web.

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/markoppenheimer/will-misogyny-bring-down-the-atheist-movement

    But it’s alright, because lobsters.

  93. BBD says:

    Approving references to Milo? Whatever next, Steven?

  94. Mal Adapted says:

    Willard:

    Seems that the #MeToo shoe is dropping not far from atheists this time.

    Hey, I resemble that remark. I’m an a-theist. Which atheists are you referring to?

  95. Willard says:

    > Whatever next

    Freedom Fighters asking for safe spaces.

    But for now we’re still into the conflation between experiences and feelings.

  96. Steven Mosher says:

    “It is difficult to be the noble hero if you ARE’NT opposed by malicious forces…”

    I find it totally weird. I mean dont you guys get tired of the same old crap? Every once in a while I head over to WUWT and I see the same old crap counting coup on Mann or Gore . I mean seriously if you want to hone your attack skills you have to take on new targets. so I watch this repetition compulsion with Jr and think ya’ll need to go to couples counseling or read harold bloom on Kenosis. oy vey.

    Just look at it, who are your favorite targets, Judith, Tol and Jr and Sr. You have to have some ability to critically reflect on who your favorite targets are and why. Or FFS you have to realize that in some cases you’ve already delivered the killshot and there is no point in re winning.
    Take Dk and Tol. We all know that dk is right. dk knows it, tol knows it, we all know it. Yet the same beating gets delivered again and again. At the top ATTP asked what was the point of criticizing critics? Good question.. Now comes the question, what is the joy in beating a dead horse?

    And now I realize that I’ve noted this several times here. boring

    we need a red hammer

  97. Mal Adapted says:

    I just coined a new Internet metric: the ‘Watson’, value @ 1.00 per ethnic or gender slur, death or rape threat (additive) by either email or Twitter, or for each horrifying image by either medium.

  98. Willard says:

    > Which atheists are you referring to?

    The article cited above mentions Michael Shermer and PZ Myers. There is also Lawrence Krauss. Let’s recall this gem:

    [K]rauss’s reputation took a hit in April 2011, after he publicly defended Jeffrey Epstein, a wealthy financier who was convicted of soliciting prostitution from an underage girl and spent 13 months in a Florida jail.

    Epstein was one of the Origins Project’s major donors. But Krauss told the Daily Beast his support of the financier was based purely on the facts: “As a scientist I always judge things on empirical evidence and he always has women ages 19 to 23 around him, but I’ve never seen anything else, so as a scientist, my presumption is that whatever the problems were I would believe him over other people.”

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/peteraldhous/lawrence-krauss-sexual-harassment-allegations

    SamH took 15 minutes to respond that he will not respond, that we should believe women, but that the Buzzfeed article may not be reliable:

    Plausible deniability ought to look more plausible than that.

  99. Willard says:

    > And now I realize that I’ve noted this several times here. boring

    Go play elsewhere, then.

    Next comments playing the ref will be deleted.

  100. Steven Mosher says:

    “Approving references to Milo? Whatever next, Steven?”

    Huh? you guys are the ones discounting Jrs feelings and arguing that his victimhood is all imagined and self imposed. I’m just pointing where it leads to.

  101. Mal Adapted says:

    SSM:

    Just look at it, who are your favorite targets, Judith, Tol and Jr and Sr. You have to have some ability to critically reflect on who your favorite targets are and why. Or FFS you have to realize that in some cases you’ve already delivered the killshot and there is no point in re winning.

    I’m starting to wonder if Smokin’ Steven and Truculent Tom might be writing another book.

  102. Joshua says:

    VV –

    .I am also not claiming they are lying, but I am not taking such claims seriously and I would thus not conclude from such evidence-free claims anything about the real world beyond that this person has made this utterance.

    Do you take the same approach towards the Green Tea Coalition woman, who spoke about Republicans coming to her and saying they agree with her, but are intimidated about expressing that publicly?

    I thus think concluding there is a problem requires more evidence.

    Well, ok. Maybe the difference is because you’re a scientist and I’m not – but FWIW, based on my observations of human nature across contexts, and my anecdotal experiences in specific contexts, and based on my own instinctive reactions, I’m willing to say that I believe that there is a problem, even if the exact magnitude is unknown and varies widely by context. That isn’t in any way an excuse for those who cynically exploit that problem, and in fact exacerbate the problem, to pursue their own ideological agenda.

    Here is an excerpt from the article that Anders linked above:

    it doesn’t entirely surprise me that many academics hate Peterson with a passion. While they might want to believe it is because his ideas are misguided and yet the masses are lapping them up, I am pretty certain that this is only a small part of the explanation. The real reason is deep ressentiment.

    It is followed with a few paragraphs of motive impugning, mind reading, and emotion attributing, but nonetheless, I think it likely hits on something that has some importance. IMO, the degree of hostility towards Peterson might not simply be explained, in entirety, by reactions to the content of his views. I find that I have to stifle an instinctive hostility to Peterson, not simply because of what he says, but because I resent that his advocacy carries so much valence these days in the public sphere. I feel it represents a kind of injustice, indeed a dangerous injustice. My hostile instinct stimulates in me, a reaction at the personal level – to the point where I feel motivated to judge Peterson at a personal level – probably with a standard that I wouldn’t apply to those who I find more politically like-minded. Part of my reaction at the personal level, is because his approach is, IMO, aggressive and hostile and rageful and polemical (I could come up with a lot of other negative characteristics), and I tend to react negatively to those attributes no matter who displays them, but I wonder if I would be as bothered by those attributes if I found his politics more palatble.

    I don’t assume that because I have such tendencies, everyone who is similarly oriented politically has those same tendencies, but neither do I think that I’m some kind of outlier in that regard. I certainly recognize such tendencies in those who disagree with me politically, and I think it is unlikely that there is some major disproportion in how those tendencies are distributed across political/ideological boundaries.

  103. Steven,

    Huh? you guys are the ones discounting Jrs feelings and arguing that his victimhood is all imagined and self imposed. I’m just pointing where it leads to.

    I would argue that you’re trivialising an important issue. However, I’m certainly not arguing that RPJ’s feelings and victimhood are *all* imagined. However, in my view his comments on this would have more credence if he also reflected on his own role.

  104. Steven Mosher says:

    “Hey, I resemble that remark. I’m an a-theist. Which atheists are you referring to?”

    doesnt matter, collective guilt.

  105. Steven Mosher says:

    “But for now we’re still into the conflation between experiences and feelings.”

    ya, I forgot 538 was a feeling not an experience.
    Thanks for that reminder logic chopper.

  106. Joshua says:

    Willard:

    Re your 6:43. Would that clip be evidence that Sam thinks that sometimes discussion of science cannot be cleanly separated from social context?

  107. Steven Mosher says:

    ” However, in my view his comments on this would have more credence if he also reflected on his own role.”

    seriously? how many humans do you know that can reflect on their own role. Next you’ll say something about him wearing short skirts.

  108. Mal Adapted says:

    SSM:

    doesnt matter, collective guilt.

    Ah, irredeemable mediocrity (IM), then. Everyone bears the burden of original medsin. No salvation, no exceptionalism, no nuttin’. Sounds about right.

  109. Joshua says:

    Approving references to Milo? Whatever next, Steven

    Not the first time.

    Because, you know, he’s bored by what he’s noticed here several times.

  110. Steven,

    how many humans do you know that can reflect on their own role. Next you’ll say something about him wearing short skirts.

    Okay, this is getting silly. I know lots of humans who are willing to acknowledge that the problems they’ve faced are not only the fault of others.

  111. Willard says:

    > I forgot 538 was a feeling not an experience.

    So now Junior’s experience at 538 is similar to sexual harassment:

    Reception to the article ran about 80 percent negative in the comments section and on social media. A reaction like that compels us to think carefully about the piece and our editorial process.

    The responses have fallen into about four broad categories. I list these in order of most to least concern to us:

    Criticisms of [Junior]’s central thesis about disaster costs

    Concern about how FiveThirtyEight will be covering climate topics

    Criticisms of other claims [Junior] made in the article, such as those about the overall incidence of weather-related disasters

    Criticisms of things [Junior] has said or written in other venues, sometimes including ad-hominem attacks against [Junior]

    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/fivethirtyeight-to-commission-response-to-disputed-climate-article/

    That and #metoo – same same.

    Do you have more squirrels, Moshpit, or you’re ready to try to poison the well once again?

  112. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    > I’m just pointing where it leads to.

    Obviously, all “I’m just pointing where it leads to”s lead to the crucifixion of poor, poor, Judy.

    Climate martyrs everywhere.

  113. Steven Mosher says:

    “Steven,
    It’s hard not to interpret your comment as suggesting that what RPJ has faced is somehow equivalent to sexual harassment.”

    Really? I recalled an episode where he had to call the cops because of threats, maybe I mis remembered.

  114. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    However, in my view his comments on this would have more credence if he also reflected on his own role.

    Again, I point to the article you excerpted above:

    And Peterson himself is far from being without fault here. His own characterizations of ‘cultural Marxism’ are quite distorted and tendentious, even if they are not altogether without a genuine referent. He has been quite uncharitable in many of his attacks upon opposing viewpoints and has not done much to dispel a culture war mentality, especially in his engagements on Twitter.

    I find it striking how infrequently I see such caveats in such discussions, even as lukewarm as that one.

  115. Joshua says:

    I’m just pointing where it leads to. =

    “But, Realclimate moderation.”
    “I’m just talking about science.”
    “Ihis would all be better if only those popeyheads would stop calling us poopyheads.”

  116. Willard says:

    > maybe I mis remembered.

    Yes you do misremember:

    “If Junior doesn’t want to reminded of his victim playing, he should drop the victim playing act.”

    I fully agree and think the same thing about the whole metoo nonsense.

    Come back when your tantrum is finished, Mosh.

    Don’t forget to stand up with your shoulders back.

    It’s a lobsters‘ world out there.

  117. I wish I could reliably tell the difference between cryptic humour and simply writing something reprehensible. I wish everybody would do me a favour and use ;o) every now and again. ;o)

  118. Steven Mosher says:

    “Roger Pielke Jr
    OCTOBER 24, 2017 AT 2:16 PM
    For my part, the day I had to go to the police because one of your climate colleagues threatened me and my family with violence is probably the point where bridge building with you guys was done. But keep up the good fight, there are surely still a few academics who haven’t fallen in line out there to harass and bully. I see you’ve decide to go after Kevin Folta now, outstanding … to achieve better equity, I can suggest Alice Dreger and Amy Cuddy also. Go get ‘em.”

  119. Willard says:

    Citation needed.

  120. verytallguy says:

    Can we play a game like DK plays with Tol?

    This thread may now have reached the point where Tol joining in would actually improve the level of discourse.

    I believe that could be unprecedented.

  121. Steven Mosher says:

    https://theclimatefix.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/pielke-on-climate-6/#comments

    https://theclimatefix.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/pielke-on-climate-6/#comment-1277

    I will take your apology on the air. or you can play Tol to my Dk.

    I did not misremember him calling the police.

  122. Willard says:

    > I did not misremember him calling the police.

    You misremembered what you were replying to.

    It’s less easy to gaslight someone in writing, Mosh.

  123. vtg,
    Indeed.

    Steven,
    He aimed that comment at me. He provided no evidence to support his claim that one of *my* climate colleagues had done such a thing. I object very strongly to being associated with his family being threatened, especially as I have no knowledge of it whatsoever.

    I don’t actually know what you’re trying to achieve here, but if it’s to illustrate the futility of engaging in discussions with some people, you’ve made your point. Maybe we can leave it at that.

  124. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    …one of your climate colleagues threatened me and my family with violence…

    And the Pielke said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother?
    And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?

  125. Steven Mosher says:

    “Steven,
    He aimed that comment at me. He provided no evidence to support his claim that one of *my* climate colleagues had done such a thing. I object very strongly to being associated with his family being threatened, especially as I have no knowledge of it whatsoever.

    He said she said.

    I get it.

  126. Steven,
    No, I don’t think you do, but maybe we can leave it at that.

  127. Willard says:

    > He said she said.

    Not exactly:

    1. Being threatened with violence is utterly objectionable. It shouldn’t happen, and I condemn it in the strongest possible way.

    2. Implying that it had anything to do with me is also objectionable.

    https://theclimatefix.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/pielke-on-climate-6/#comment-1278

    That comment thread is pure gold, BTW. Thanks for the reminder.

    Better luck next time.

  128. Steven Mosher says:

    “I object very strongly to being associated with his family being threatened, especially as I have no knowledge of it whatsoever.”

    Think about that. It is disconcerting when your critics associate you with stuff you have no knowledge of merely because you belong to a group.

  129. Steven Mosher says:

    “He provided no evidence to support his claim that one of *my* climate colleagues had done such a thing. ”

    what would count as evidence? The name? then you asked for better evidence, what exactly was said, did he have a recording? records that he called the police. There isnt any evidence he could produce except his word.

    The simple fact is that there have been a couple occasions where it appears that Jr was a bonefied victim, the threat incident and the 538 stuff ( oh ya that was just feelings not an experience)

    but in the game here he’s just a punching bag, pass the red hammer.

    weird that this incident offended you so much as to forget it.

  130. izen says:

    @-SM
    “You have to have some ability to critically reflect on who your favorite targets are and why.”

    How can one side claim the moral high ground if they need to critically reflect on why they target ‘Evil Exxon’ and the Kochtopus?

    “We have met the enemy and he is us”

    Did you invoke Milo as a comparison with Pielke as someone who employs being victimised, to raise his status and perceived importance ?

  131. Willard says:

    > It is disconcerting when your critics associate you with stuff you have no knowledge of merely because you belong to a group.

    Junior goes a bit further than that:

    You are also associated with people who have tried to have me fired from multiple jobs, people who lie about me in public and to journalists, people who have contacted my graduate students, people who have (successfully) sought to have me disinvited from professional talks, and some other unprofessional things. If you are unaware of such behaviors among your colleagues, then I’m sorry to be the one to break the bad news to you. You are associated with these folks too, even if you never engaged in these actions yourself — maybe you just cheerlead online from a position of ignorance. Yay.

    https://theclimatefix.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/pielke-on-climate-6/#comment-1283

    Speaking of “spreading lies,” and since it’s #HolocaustRemembranceDay:

    Now, did Morano learn about this kerfuffle by reading Tobis’ blog? That seems very unlikely, especially since he echoes almost word for word [Junior]’s misinterpretation of what Tobis meant. Did he learn about it from Kloor’s posts? Doesn’t seem to have, since Kloor’s misinterpretation of Tobis was only at the end of a long rambling post, and wasn’t so pointed. Morano’s source was clearly [Junior]’s blog. This is Pielke’s distortion. How did Morano learn about [Junior]’s post so quickly? [Junior] certainly made it much easier for Michael Tobis’ “political enemies” to find out (a distorted version of) what he had said.

    http://arthur.shumwaysmith.com/life/content/character_assassination_in_climate_science_the_michael_tobis_story

  132. Willard says:

    > the 538 stuff ( oh ya that was just feelings not an experience)

    See our earlier work on this subject.

  133. “weird that this incident offended you so much as to forget it.”

    I’d say the ability to forget offences is a good thing.

  134. Steven,

    weird that this incident offended you so much as to forget it.

    I haven’t forgotten it (what made you think that?). I can’t see much point in highlighting it. Roger’s not going to change it. Pointing out that he pretty much does exactly the things he complains about gets tedious after a while.

  135. Given that I don’t really want this thread to degenerate (any further, that is) maybe we can draw this aspect of the discussion to a close.

  136. Michael 2 says:

    Joshua writes “a culture war mentality, especially in his engagements on Twitter”

    There’s only room for a hammer on Twitter. Nuances, caveats, disclaimers generally won’t fit.

  137. Francis says:

    Back when I first started practicing law, a very smart senior attorney told me: You don’t need to swing at every pitch. If someone’s making an ass of themselves, just let it go.

    There is very little productive that can be said when someone is claiming victim status, whether you’re at a bar or on a blog. What can you say? “Suck it up, sunshine” is a perennial favorite, but it only allows the self-reported victim to tell his followers: “See! See! I told you so.” Getting into the facts of the various incidents rapidly gets tedious and unlikely to persuade anyone to change their mind. Trying to get the victim to understand why he has received the unwelcome commentary tends to fall quickly into comments about people’s character, and that is very rarely well received.

    in my extremely humble opinion, if people feel like being loud about the world not treating them fairly, let it pass in silence. Calling attention to the outrage just diverts from the debate on the underlying point.

    (RPJr wrote a book entitled The Honest Broker, which was for me the best thing going until David Brooks decided to teach a course entitled Humility, and assigned his own writing. Does anyone honestly think that a discussion about how either of these people perceive themselves is likely going to be fruitful?)

  138. I have always regarded the climate wars as a comedy of manners.

    Between the Apocalyptic , the apoplectic and the absurd, it seldom dissapoints.

  139. Mal Adapted says:

    Francis:

    (RPJr wrote a book entitled The Honest Broker, which was for me the best thing going until David Brooks decided to teach a course entitled Humility, and assigned his own writing. Does anyone honestly think that a discussion about how either of these people perceive themselves is likely going to be fruitful?)

    Clearly seen and plainly stated, Francis.

  140. Harry Twinotter says:

    ” If they’re operating in bad faith, then no amount of complaining will make much difference.”

    Correct. But you still have to respond to the unfair criticisms on behalf of your own readers and supporters.

  141. Joshua says:

    Francis –

    (RPJr wrote a book entitled The Honest Broker, which was for me the best thing going until David Brooks decided to teach a course entitled Humility, and assigned his own writing. Does anyone honestly think that a discussion about how either of these people perceive themselves is likely going to be fruitful?).

    Nice comment.

  142. Everett F Sargent says:

    Aristotle, father of scientific racism (2018-04-06)
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2018/04/06/aristotle-father-of-scientific-racism/?utm_term=.259cd02c5307

    “After being shouted down by protesters while trying to give a talk at Middlebury College last spring, Murray was invited to participate in a two-hour podcast conversation with Sam Harris, prominent new atheist and champion of science and so-called reason.

    But, as Vox editor Ezra Klein pointed out, Murray’s views — especially his ideas on the heritability of intelligence, which Murray explicitly linked to race and which have been gleefully adopted by overt and covert white supremacists — are hardly the groundbreaking and new ideas that Harris presented them to be. Rather, they are very old and very bad ideas that have led to unspeakable oppression, particularly of black Americans.

    But these ideas are even older than Klein realizes. To understand the underlying assumptions of Murray and others, it’s helpful to look back to the granddaddy of all racial theorists: Aristotle. In understanding the role Aristotle played in laying the groundwork for “race science,” we can better understand how ingrained it is in Western science and philosophy, and why the alt-right’s embrace of “western civilization” has a particularly chilling edge.”

    Google search “scientific racism” “sam harris”

    Scientific Racism Isn’t ‘Back’—It Never Went Away (2018-04-06)
    (In the age of Trump, believers of the once-popular tenets of scientific racism are feeling emboldened.)

    “Judging by the headlines, pseudo-scientific racism is making a comeback. Nineties-relic Charles Murray (The Bell Curve) is popping up on campuses and in conservative media outlets, much to the delight of those who think his graphs confer legitimacy to their prejudices. Atheist philosopher and podcaster Sam Harris is extolling Murray’s highfalutin version of racist graffiti as “forbidden knowledge.” New York Times’ increasingly off-the-rails op-ed page gave genetics professor David Reich the opportunity to write that “it is simply no longer possible to ignore average genetic differences among ‘races.’” And Andrew Sullivan, as ever, is fervently repackaging Gilded Age eugenics for a 21st-century audience.”

  143. Joshua says:

    champion of science

    Yay team.

  144. Dave_Geologist says:

    At any rate, it illuminates one of the great paradoxes of the Left: (1) All men are created equal. (2) there is no creator.

    Actually, I think it illuminates one of the great paradoxes of the USA (apologies if you’re not American but it is very much an American archetype).

    People can handle all sorts of subtleties in everyday life, but when it comes to politics, culture and religion, it’s all about “The Tribe”. To be a member of the tribe requires you to adopt all the tribal baggage, and involves an assumption the members of the other tribe disagree with you about everything.

    Hence, for example, the implicit assumption that someone on the Left must be an atheist. Elsewhere in the world there are right wing Christians, Muslims, Hindus, atheists etc. And left-wing Christians, Muslims, Hindus, atheists etc. So there is no real contradiction, just an imagined one. Which I don’t think counts as a paradox. And of course it’s perfectly possible to believe all men are created equal, and therefore no-one should be given a leg up by society – which I would call right-wing. Or to believe that they are created unequal, and we owe the less well-endowed a helping hand – which I would call left-wing.

    And to extend it to science like AGW or evolution is a complete head-scratcher from this side of the Atlantic. Yes, I’d expect a Biblical literalist Christian to deny evolution, but why AGW? And why should (s)he be right wing? Sermon on the Mount and all that. I don’t think Christ’s first act if he came down as a benign global dictator would be to give billionaires tax cuts.

    There’s a smattering of that in other English-speaking countries, to my eyes seemingly more than elsewhere, but it’s very much a minority sport. In the USA it seems to dominate every aspect of life.

  145. Yes, I’d expect a Biblical literalist Christian to deny evolution, but why AGW?

    There are some passages in the bible (I suspect mostly old-testament) that could be used to support that position, e.g. Genesis 9:11

    I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

    However, while AGW will cause sea levels to rise, they won’t destroy all life or the earth.

  146. Dave_Geologist says:

    Will Misogyny Bring Down The Atheist Movement?

    Willard, I’m confused.

    Is that the tribal thing again? Are atheists supposed to be/required to be nicer people than believers? Not sexist? Especially if you narrowly specify atheist as opposed to, for example Humanist which does come with a moral code. Which Humanists don’t always live up to, just as Christians don’t always live up to the Bible. Is Christianity doomed every time some megachurch pastor is caught with his fingers in the till or cheating on his wife?

    Dawkins has a pretty sharp tongue IIRC, and very strong views that he is right. Including on areas outside his scientific expertise. That’s not news. On the specific point, is it worse to be violently attacked by a stranger or less-violently betrayed by someone you trusted? Unlike Dawkins, I wouldn’t presume to judge. It’s for the victim to decide, Dawkins is on a par with white people defining for black people what is and isn’t racism, men defining for women what is and isn’t sexism or non-Jews defining for Jews what is and isn’t ant-Semitism.

    Would Dawkins’ comments turn me off atheism? No. Would a crooked pastor turn me off Christianity? No.

  147. Dave_Geologist says:

    Think about that. It is disconcerting when your critics associate you with stuff you have no knowledge of merely because you belong to a group.

    I’m on a tribalism roll today! What group is that Stephen?

    The group of people to whom ATTP belonged in that context, and presumably Jr’s threatener, is the group who accept settled science. That’s an awfully big group, one I’m in. But I’m not even my brothers’ keeper, let alone Keeper to the planet. So it’s not a group I’m prepared to resign from just because some of its members are obnoxious. I’ll get annoyed if that membership leads people to accuse me of complicity in something I had no part in and no knowledge of. But that annoyance is not sufficient to drive me away from reality and into fantasy.

  148. Dave_Geologist says:

    I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.

    I’m aware of that Dikran. And the YouTube video of a senator or congressman using that argument in an AGW hearing/show-trial. But it’s silly. And wishful thinking.

    1) God isn’t sending it, we’re doing it. And old-testament-God’s covenants and promises tended to come with small print. Loki had nothing on Him. No, I didn’t promise to save you from yourselves, only from Nature and My Wrath. And BTW, the other half of the Covenant was that you keep to my Faith. Only about one in a million humans seem to be doing that (Christians don’t count of course, this is Jehovah speaking). Maybe I’ll just rescue them and let the rest drown. Oh, and did you miss the “destroy the earth” small-print? I can do a helluva lot without breaking that promise!

    2) No AGW scientist is suggesting the coming of a Flood that reaches to the top of Mount Ararat, which is getting on for 20,000 feet high. That wouldn’t just require AGW, but also the magical creation of an ocean or three of extra water. Because climate science follows the laws of physics and not miracles, it is explicitly not describing a Biblical Flood.

  149. Willard says:

    > Is Christianity doomed every time some megachurch pastor is caught with his fingers in the till or cheating on his wife?

    Isn’t that an argument made by the megaphones of the atheist movement, DaveG? The Church had some issues with sexual harassment already. I don’t think we can say it did it good, but it didn’t fall. Your incredulity regarding the article’s rhetorical question is therefore justified, considering how society protected itself so far from its most powerful men’s sexual abuses.

    OTOH, SamH seems to have this policy about talking about anything and everything. Shouldn’t he talk about sexual harassment with the most obscure authority that would defend it? I’m sure it would make a good interview. After all, Richard Dawkins, who compared being raised as a Christian to sexual abuse, already defended mild pedophilia:

    “I am very conscious that you can’t condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours,” Dawkins was quoted as saying. “Just as we don’t look back at the 18th and 19th centuries and condemn people for racism in the same way as we would condemn a modern person for racism, I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild pedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today.”

    https://www.rawstory.com/2013/09/richard-dawkins-defends-mild-pedophilia-teacher-putting-hands-down-my-shorts-didnt-do-lasting-harm/

    Perhaps that kind of “conversation” does not go far enough. How about this:

    We need to have a conversation about the right to sell children, otherwise the future of our intellectual liberty is at stake.

  150. (1) My point was that the “why AGW” does have some justification from a biblical literalist perspective, so it isn’t all that surprising, even if the arguments will not be convincing to non-literalists (and probably not many literalists either).
    (2) that is what I said, isn’t it?

  151. “Isn’t that an argument made by the megaphones of the atheist movement”

    somewhat ironic, given that it tends to be presented as the more rational position. People are strange.

  152. Mal Adapted says:

    M2:

    At any rate, it illuminates one of the great paradoxes of the Left: (1) All men are created equal. (2) there is no creator.

    D_G is right, there is no paradox. You’ve identified ‘the Left’, then told us what it claims. Your definitions of ‘created’ and ‘creator’ are ignorant of Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: namely that stochastically generated heritable variation and ordered selection for persistence can result in complex systems that superficially appear designed, as if by a human engineer.

    Dennett concludes that once a replicating chemical agent comes to exist in an environment (e.g. by pre-biotic astrogeochemical evolution), then assuming the following:

    – resources required for replication are limited in the environment;
    – replication errors occur with finite probability, leading to heritable variation;
    – at least some variants can persist in the environment (i.e. resources are available, and there are no sterilizing events); and
    – some distinct variants are more likely to persist than others, within some portion of the range of environmental variation;

    THEN adaptation by natural selection must occur, and distinct lines of descent must diverge in their inherited adaptations. Dennett maintains that’s why living things superficially look like they’ve been purposefully designed. As at least one commenter has already pointed out here, closer examination reveals that the hypothetical designer was mediocre at best. I, for one, would like to talk to it about my effed-up shoulders.

    Regardless, Darwin, in his model of evolution as a creative process, had no more need of a teleological factor then LaPlace did. And unless sheer “survival of the fittest” (Spencer’s phrase, not Darwin’s) is the only measure of existential value (itself a paradoxical concept under the mediocrity principle), all men are in fact created equal: Zero equals zero.

  153. Dave_Geologist says:

    That should of course have been one in a thousand 😦 – but I’ll cheat and say only the Ultra-Orthodox really count. Remember that small print!

  154. Dave_Geologist says:

    Mal, “THEN adaptation by natural selection must occur, and distinct lines of descent must diverge in their inherited adaptations”

    Indeed, as with global warming. Given the scientific observation on the inputs and processes, the output is inevitable. Absence of evolution, or of AGW, would actually be strong evidence for an interventionist God, Or ofaliens whose technology was indistinguishable from magic.

    dikran (2). Yes, but my additional point was that the Biblical Flood was not just bigger than anything AGW scientists predict, but bigger than anything they could predict. Because it required magic.

  155. Joshua says:

    Michael 2

    At any rate, it illuminates one of the great paradoxes of the Left: (1) All men are created equal. (2) there is no creator.

    Despite what Steven Mosher says above, words take their meaning in context and their meaning is determined though a process of individual interpretation.

    Lemme explain why I see no paradox there (except in the eyes of those who are out looking around for Leftist paradoxes).

    My guess, is that for a lot of folks, that concept is equivalent to “All people born should be extended equal rights.”

    If we want to be extremely literal, as in the use of “created” meaning “fabricated by some entity,” then should we also take the use of “men” literally as well?

    Is there some kind of paradox that “the Left” thinks that only men are created equal even as “the Left” think that women and men have a right to be treated equally?

    I happen to have no problem accepting a concept of all people being “created” equal and, at the same time, being agnostic as to whether there is a “creator,” and ambiguous as to what such a “creator” might be like if one does exist. I don’t see any contradiction there, in a sense that might be considered a paradox.

  156. Joshua says:

    Dave –

    The group of people to whom ATTP belonged in that context, and presumably Jr’s threatener, is the group who accept settled science.

    First, I assume he wasn’t threatened by a “group.”

    Second, FWIW, and I’m certainly not going to defend RPJr.’s comments in that thread over at The Climate Fix, but I would guess that your definition of “group” there doesn’t fit with the one that RPJr. was working with. I think he was referencing a subset of that group that you’re describing – basically those “realists” who are actively engaged in the climate wars, and who have a hostile stance towards RPJr., (among others).

  157. Joshua says:

    Well, this is interesting:

    We conducted a one-year longitudinal study in which 600 American adults regularly reported their climate change beliefs, pro-environmental behavior, and other climate-change related measures. Using latent class analyses, we uncovered three clusters of Americans with distinct climate belief trajectories: (1) the “Skeptical,” who believed least in climate change; (2) the “Cautiously Worried,” who had moderate beliefs in climate change; and (3) the “Highly Concerned,” who had the strongest beliefs and concern about climate change. Cluster membership predicted different outcomes: the “Highly Concerned” were most supportive of government climate policies, but least likely to report individual-level actions, whereas the “Skeptical” opposed policy solutions but were most likely to report engaging in individual-level pro-environmental behaviors. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272494418301488

    Not sure what to make of that! It would be interesting to find a non-paywalled version.

  158. Joshua says:

    Here’s an interesting “paradox.”

    First, consider whether you think that Mohammad Ali was an intelligent person.

  159. Joshua says:

    Then consider that (it is reported) his IQ was 78, when he was tested by the army.

  160. Joshua says:

    I suppose I should have said above that I’m ambivalent, as opposed to ambiguous.

  161. Marco says:

    Joshua, junior high school:

  162. Joshua says:

    Marco –

    This is pretty cool (all taken with a grain of salt):

    After scoring a 78 on a 1964 Army IQ test – “I said I was the greatest, not the smartest”

    How can we measure the “intelligence” as revealed in a sophisticated sense of humor?

    Also: – Ali was classified 1-Y: “Not qualified under current standards for service in the armed forces”. Two years later, as the war continued to escalate, the Army lowered its minimum score for service, and Ali was reclassified 1-A.

    It’s certainly interesting how the importance placed on IQ scores takes shape in context.

  163. Joshua says:

    Sorry –

    https://www.iq-test.net/what-is-muhammad-ali-iq-pms69.html

    Thinking about Ali leads me to think of another question: How do we evaluate the importance of “kinesthetic intelligence,” or its usefulness as a predictor for life outcomes, as compared to IQ scores (if there is such a thing as “kinesthetic inelligence”)?

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/unique-everybody-else/201311/the-illusory-theory-multiple-intelligences

  164. JCH says:

    Story may be suspicious. He was never in the army. The army gives an IQ test to every recruit to determine suitable avenues for additional training after bootcamp.

    Practice started around WW1.

    After they’re in the army.

    Up next, cash-starved, segregated public schools in Kentucky lavishing IQ tests on black students.

  165. JCH says:

    I bought The Bell Curve when it first came out. It had a table in it that listed average IQ for race in order of average penis size for race. Is that still in it?

  166. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    Apologies for monopolizing the “Recent Comments” section..but I’m on a role (and would appreciate any responses)…

    I’m struck with just how current this article, from 1998, is today (IMO).

    https://www.mrmikkola.com/uploads/1/0/5/7/10576731/gardner.pdf

    Here’s the line I liked the most, re the Ezra/Kelin podcast (and the question as to whether data exists independent of context):

    Intelligence is not a crisp concept, but a term of value – indeed, the ultimate term of value.

  167. Willard says:

    It’s all cultural marxists’ fault:

    Mr. Murray rejects the idea that Fishtown [a stoopid modulz to represent America’s working class]’s problems stem from cyclical unemployment or long-term trends such as the decline of America’s manufacturing sector, because its decline, in work-force participation and other measures, continued in good times as well as bad. The way he sees it, life in both Belmont and Fishtown began to change drastically after about 1964, as a result of forces such as the sexual revolution, the women’s movement, the counterculture, and the social-welfare programs that came about as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty and left women less fearful of the economic consequences of having children on their own.

    https://www.chronicle.com/article/Charles-Murray-Author-of-The/130722

    The review ends up with an observation that may explain why polemicists such as those identified by AT should embrace criticism:

    At the end of the day, the cultural and economic divide most illuminated by Coming Apart might be one found in scholarly publishing. On one side are authors and publishers who produce nuanced books that offer only conclusions stemming from research, and tend to be too esoteric for wide readership. On the other side are authors and publishers who cash in by producing best-selling polemics, in which research is used to buttress foregone conclusions.

  168. Joshua says:

    Funny thing, as it happens I have lived in both Fishtown and Belmont.

  169. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    Willard:

    Dawkins does not “defend” mild pedophilia (even if the editors at RawStory choose to imply that with their URL/headline)…
    He says that he cannot condemn actions done decades ago by the same standards as he or anyone would today.

    As an abuse victim himself Dawkins is hardly ‘the most obscure authority’ that could “defend” abuse – but he allows that there are bad, and then far worse, forms of abuse:

    There are shades of being abused by a priest, and I quoted an example of a woman in America who wrote to me saying that when she was seven years old she was sexually abused by a priest in his car.
    At the same time a friend of hers, also seven, who was of a Protestant family, died, and she was told that because her friend was Protestant she had gone to hell and will be roasting in hell forever.
    She told me of those two abuses, she got over the physical abuse; it was yucky but she got over it.
    But the mental abuse of being told about hell, she took years to get over.

    https://www.christiantoday.com/article/dawkins.suggests.being.raised.catholic.worse.than.child.abuse/31302.htm

    One does not “defend’ corporal punishment when saying that getting “the strap” as a school-child was bad, but not as horrible as the bullying.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    I once attended a formal debate between Philippe Rushton and David Suzuki.

    Suzuki played for the crowd, eliciting cheers of support for his own rhetoric, and jeers for Rushton’s explication of his publications. Rushton’s position was methodical, quantitative, and boring. Many in attendance, including me, agreed with Suzuki that Rushton’s science was dubious at best.
    But IMHO, Suzuki lost the debate by turning it into a question of popularity rather than of evidence.

    http://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/the-rushton-suzuki-debate

  170. Joshua says:

    FWIW, pre-print for article I linked above:

    https://osf.io/bd4fn/

  171. Mal Adapted says:

    Joshua:

    Thinking about Ali leads me to think of another question: How do we evaluate the importance of “kinesthetic intelligence,” or its usefulness as a predictor for life outcomes, as compared to IQ scores (if there is such a thing as “kinesthetic inelligence”)?

    I was intrigued by Gardner’s proposal for eight orthogonal modular ‘intelligences’, particularly since I’m clearly better endowed with some than with others. I can think well enough to stay dry in the rain, but I can’t paint or draw, play an instrument, dance or get other people to do what I want worth a damn.

    OTOH, I’m pretty sure I got the full ‘natural history’ module. It was the eighth Gardner defined, after he spoke somewhere about the first seven and a member of the audience came up to him afterward and said “I know who wouldn’t fit into your seven modules: Charles Darwin”.

    However: Gardner’s modular intelligence model has yet to receive much empirical support, AFAIK. Gardner himself never called it more than a heuristic device; at most it was a first-level inference from what he’d seen as an educational psychologist.

  172. Dave_Geologist says:

    I think he was referencing a subset of that group that you’re describing

    Accepted Joshua, but the same argument applies. If you accept the reality of AGW, and consider the world’s response too slow so engage in some form of activism, you can’t pick the people who agree with you. Chances are some will behave unpleasantly, and you can criticise them for that, but it’s not like choosing between the Red Sox and Orioles. There is only accept the science or don’t, take public action or don’t. You shouldn’t be held responsible for the people on your side of the argument who behave badly. If you defend the bad behaviour, yes. But ISTM ATTP was being accused of guilt by association, not of defending bad behaviour.

  173. Dave,
    I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.

    Seems a scripture set to leave Pruitt’s Dominionist EPA posse quaking in their boots
    The Lord neve said anything about intelligent life or Tulsa lawyers

  174. Willard says:

    Reverend,

    I wasn’t referring to Dawkins as an authority on pedophilia, but as way to document the fact that atheist leaders took some interest in it and sexual abuse more generally. As far as authorities are concerned, Erik Möller and his BoyLove website would come to mind:

    http://gawker.com/372140/erik-mller-no-2-at-wikipedia-a-defender-of-pedophilia

    I would suggest that “defend” is not that far from not being able to find within oneself to condemn by today’s standards. Is there such a thing as “mild” pedophilia (e.g. would BoyLove be one), and how today’s standards differ from yesterday’s anyway regarding it? Psychological abuse is too important to reduce religious education to it. It’s a way to play to the crowds more than a methodical way to delve into an issue.

    IMHO, of the Four Horsemen, only Dan Dennett deserves any attention.

  175. Dave_Geologist says:

    Joshua

    Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
    Not sure what to make of that! It would be interesting to find a non-paywalled version.

    May read ms. later, thanks. Despite the suspiciously post-modernist boilerplate in the first sentence (sorry, my prejudice is showing 😉 ). At lease there’s no sign of “signfier”.

    I’d want to see it somewhere else. My roll today is US tribalism. It probably just means that one tribe is “Skeptical” (in reality, in denial) about AGW and the other not. And that one is individualist, the other collectivist. Perhaps with a twist that if you think the problem is small, you’re more likely to feel that an individual contribution will help than if you think it’s big.

    Also, recycling, public transportation, eco-friendly products and shopping bags are a subset of environmental behaviour. You might do all of those and drive a 12mpg truck 500 miles every weekend to shoot mule deer. Or none of them and commute 5 miles a day by Prius. If you don’t believe in AGW, or don’t believe that it’s harmful, you won’t see your truck as environmentally unfriendly.

    It is interesting that AGW is a specific environmental issue that triggers tribalism. Almost as if there’s some sort of active campaign to do so 😉

  176. Mal Adapted says:

    Willard:

    I wasn’t referring to Dawkins as an authority on pedophilia, but as way to document the fact that atheist leaders took some interest in it.

    If I wasn’t an a-theist, I’d beseech all hypothetical gods to save me from ‘atheist leaders’. Atheism is an absence of belief, for cryin’ out loud. What is there to lead or be lead toward or away from?

  177. Mal Adapted says:

    D_G:

    It is interesting that AGW is a specific environmental issue that triggers tribalism.

    Yeah, instead of a clear and present physical and economic threat to everyone living and yet to live, not to mention global ‘civilization’ as we know it.

  178. Willard says:

    > Atheism is an absence of belief, for cryin’ out loud.

    No, it’s not. You’re confusing it with agnosticism.

  179. Michael 2 says:

    Mal Adapted writes: “D_G is right, there is no paradox.”

    Oh but there is. You do a wonderful job describing evolution; I could not do better, cannot even come that close to describing it as well as you.

    Now see if you can get any kind of “equality” or “should” out of that. If anything is created ex-nihilo, it is “should”.

  180. Joshua says:

    Dave –

    one tribe is “Skeptical” (in reality, in denial) about AGW and the other not. And that one is individualist, the other collectivist.

    Related – from their limitations section:

    Or, perhaps the “Highly Concerned” felt that federal policies were the more effective means of addressing climate change (vs. individual pro-environmental behaviors).

    Seems to me to be a logical speculation.

    Anyway, this was my favorite part:

    Despite these findings about climate change beliefs, self-reported behaviors, and policy support, we were unable to explain why the “Skeptical” low-believers were more likely to self-report more pro-environmental behavior than high-believers. For instance, the “Skeptical” did not report greater identity fit with environmentalism, endorse greater beliefs in individual and political efficacy to reduce climate change, and were not associated with logical demographic factors (e.g., political ideology, income, education).

    So “pro-environmental behavior” wasn’t coupled with belief in individual and political efficacy to reduce climate change. In an odd way, that makes complete sense to me (because, indeed, why would anyone think that individual behavior would materially reduce climate change or materially influence the politics of climate change? Fascinating. Maybe “realists” should stop beating up themselves and others about individual carbon footprints (if only to deny “skeptics” the pleasure of watching them do it)?

    I found their limitations section to be worth the read. I love limitations sections.

  181. Mal Adapted says:

    If I say “I do not believe a god exists”, I’m not expressing doubt. Nor am I saying “I believe a god does not exist”. I’m saying I have no belief. As far as I’m concerned, the onus is on theists to support their presupposition of the existence of a god with evidence. Since they didn’t make the presupposition of a god’s existence from evidence, I do not expect them to succeed.

    I’m imagining myself saying “Wait, wut? You think there’s an invisible, omnipresent, omniscient and omnibenevolent cosmic mind who abrogates the Standard Model of Physics on a whim? Weird. How do you know you’re not fooling yourself?”

  182. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    I would suggest that “defend” is not that far from not being to find within oneself to condemn by today’s standards.

    Psychological abuse is too important to reduce religious education to it. It’s a way to play to the crowds more than a methodical way to delve into an issue.

    Dawkins’ does not reduce religious education to psychological abuse, but merely claims that the two intersect.

    Dawkins was pointing out that there is a spectrum of abuses – and that that spectrum is, as a matter of history, time-dependent. To say that today’s standards may not be applicable to the past is not to defend the past, much less defend pedophilia, ‘mild’ or otherwise.
    The passage I supplied previously illustrates that Dawkins considers that psychological abuse can be more destructive and difficult to overcome than even physical abuse. He’s not attempting to minimize psychological abuse, quite the opposite.

    If we’re going to be a-historical absolutists regarding pedophila, or slavery, or misogyny, or racism, that’s fine. But we should start with Socrates and Aristotle and get at least through Aquinas to Locke before we indict Dawkins.


    IMHO, of the Four Horsemen, only Dan Dennett deserves any attention.

    Dennett is certainly worth more attention than the collective non-Dan.

  183. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:
  184. There’s no need to be a-historical absolutists regarding anything to see that RichardD’s “mild pedophilia” remark minimized a topic that distracted him from his main target, Rev. His hypothesis on religious belief as a more intense form of abuse than sexual is well known:

    Anecdotes and plausibility arguments, however, need to be backed up by systematic research, and I would be interested to hear from psychologists whether there is real evidence bearing on the question. My expectation would be that violent, painful, repeated sexual abuse, especially by a family member such as a father or grandfather, probably has a more damaging effect on a child’s mental well-being than sincerely believing in hell. But ‘sexual abuse’ covers a wide spectrum of sins, and I suspect that research would show belief in hell to be more traumatic than the sort of mild feeling-up that I suffered.

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2013/01/physical-versus-mental-child-abuse/

    That’s not an “an off-the-cuff remark made in the heat of the moment” anymore. I’ve seen a study that links belief in hell with lower happiness, but not with trauma. I’ve also seen a study that links religiousness and lower suicide rates:

    The results of a multiple regression analysis demonstrated that controlling for the other constructs in the model, religiousness is associated with lower suicide rates, confirming the hypothesis. Even in secularized European nations, where there is a relatively weak moral community to reinforce religion, religiousness acts as a protective factor against suicide.

    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/sltb.12435

    After decades of pious pontifications, the leaders of the atheist movement still do not show any grasp of their subject.

  185. Michael 2 says:

    zebra “Rather, it is the result of “nurture” and early life experiences. So, Authoritarian parents have Authoritarian kids”

    My authoritarian parents had one authoritarian child (me) and two that were not. You place WAY too much belief in culture. My father, an atheist, went to some lengths to ensure his children were also atheists. One is, two are not.

    It is self evident to me that people are what they are and tend to *oppose* parental influence.

  186. Everett F Sargent says:

    “I’ve also seen a study that links religiousness and lower suicide rates: …
    … religiousness acts as a protective factor against suicide.”

    I don’t think that study controlled for historical (and ongoing) dogmas of the Christians (RE: suicide) …
    Religious views on suicide
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_on_suicide
    Christian views on suicide
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_views_on_suicide

    So, for example, I am a full fledged card carrying member to the Agnostics Anti-Suicide Church (membership is very exclusive and limited to one member), whose only commandment is: Thou shalt not kill thyself.

  187. > If I say “I do not believe a god exists”, I’m not expressing doubt. Nor am I saying “I believe a god does not exist”. If I say “I do not believe a god exists”, I’m not expressing doubt. Nor am I saying “I believe a god does not exist”. I’m saying I have no belief.

    In philosophy, a belief refers to a propositional attitude that combines a thought with a propositional content. Speaking of beliefs comes with some ambiguity – are we talking about the thoughts, or the content of these thoughts?

    An “ism” word usually designates a doctrine, thus a position or a set of positions with an explicit content. The private thoughts people entertain toward these positions matter little. This is why atheism is usually constructed as a positive stance toward God’s existence:

    “Atheism” is typically defined in terms of “theism”. Theism, in turn, is best understood as a proposition—something that is either true or false. It is often defined as “the belief that God exists”, but here “belief” means “something believed”. It refers to the propositional content of belief, not to the attitude or psychological state of believing. This is why it makes sense to say that theism is true or false and to argue for or against theism. If, however, “atheism” is defined in terms of theism and theism is the proposition that God exists and not the psychological condition of believing that there is a God, then it follows that atheism is not the absence of the psychological condition of believing that God exists (more on this below). The “a-” in “atheism” must be understood as negation instead of absence, as “not” instead of “without”. Therefore, in philosophy at least, atheism should be construed as the proposition that God does not exist (or, more broadly, the proposition that there are no gods).

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/atheism-agnosticism/

    While I understand that the atheist movement may have a different take on this, I duly submit that it should have looked first at how those who studied these questions for centuries were using these words.

  188. Mal Adapted says:

    M2:

    Now see if you can get any kind of “equality” or “should” out of that. If anything is created ex-nihilo, it is “should”.

    Ex nihilo? Hardly. ‘Should’ in the normative sense is created out of neurons, and may exist only in hominid brains. A plausible adaptationist argument for ‘equality’ and ‘should’ as behavioral motivators can readily be constructed from kin selection and reciprocal altruism. Next!

  189. Mal Adapted says:

    Willard:

    The “a-” in “atheism” must be understood as negation instead of absence, as “not” instead of “without”. Therefore, in philosophy at least, atheism should be construed as the proposition that God does not exist (or, more broadly, the proposition that there are no gods).

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/atheism-agnosticism/

    While I understand that the atheist movement may have a different take on this, I duly submit that it should have looked first at how those who studied these questions for centuries were using these words.

    So, if I’d never heard of nor thought to wonder about a deity as an explanation for the Universe of phenomena, would I be an atheist, a non-theist, or an agnostic?

    But let’s all sing along with Jiminy Cricket: E-N-C-Y-C-L-O-P-E-D-I-A 8^D! The author of that SEP entry may well have spent a lot of time on these words. I’m not dismissing the relevance of the academic discipline of Philosophy, but the author’s use of ‘must be understood’ and ‘should be construed’ seem rather subjective. And I’m afraid the logic carries a hint of presuppositional apologetics, which has also been studied for centuries.

    In any case, minute parsing of word distinctions is less often seen in common usage. I call myself an atheist because I have no knowledge of, or belief in, a deity; and because if I call myself an agnostic I’m harangued by believers who want me to take that final leap of faith, and if I say I’m a non-theist I’m likely to be interrogated as to just exactly what I mean.

  190. izen says:

    @-M2
    “You do a wonderful job describing evolution;…
    Now see if you can get any kind of “equality” or “should” out of that. ”

    It is possible to see from human genetics that we all share in the mitochondrial DNA and the Y chromosome a common female and male ancestor just a few generations ago. Far too recent for any radical variation to arise since in the genome.
    The human population, certainly for its size, is the least genetically varied population of large mammals on Earth.
    (with the possible exception of leopards?)
    Genetically we are more equal than other creatures.

    Whether we “should” use that biological knowledge in determining our ethical behaviour is a matter of philosophical choice.

    So there is no justification in the biology of the genetics to view people as anything other than equal.
    If you want to then grade, or rank people on the small variations that arise out of shuffling the parental alleles, or environmental influences on the embryo and infant, that is a social choice, not a biological imperative.

  191. > I’m not dismissing the relevance of the academic discipline of Philosophy, but […]

    You should know when to cut your losses, Mal.

  192. Mal Adapted says:

    What losses? IMIMO Philosopy is like cotton candy: when I bite into it there’s nothing there. Nothing to lose! But who cares? I’m having fun 8^D!

  193. > Nothing to lose!

    You sure about that, Mal?

    Take your silly burden of proof reversal:

    [T]he onus is on theists to support their presupposition of the existence of a god with evidence. Since they didn’t make the presupposition of a god’s existence from evidence, I do not expect them to succeed.

    Theists don’t need to support any presupposition of an existing God, for instance because faith ain’t belief. As for evidence, you can point at just anything – your own existence, your own consciousness, Sidney Crosby’s hat trick two days ago. You can’t shift on them the onus to justify what you accept or reject as evidence.

    More to the point – why would you care at all about that proof if you really had no dog in this fight? Methinks you’re conflating how arguments work with blog comment sections. While Socrates may have been the first troll, the dialogues would have been quite different if all he did was to eat popcorn. Speaking of popcorn – how the hell can you not expect theists to succeed if you don’t entertain any belief regarding theism? You can’t have the cake you smugly claim not wanting to eat.

    And that’s notwithstanding the personal jabs, because let’s not kid ourselves – you don’t just denigrate philosophy for the fun of it.

  194. Mal Adapted says:

    Willard:

    And that’s notwithstanding the personal jabs, because let’s not kid ourselves – you don’t just denigrate philosophy for the fun of it.

    Would you acknowledge a fine distinction of meaning between ‘denigrate’ and ‘cheerfully ignore’?

    But assuredly, let us not kid ourselves. There’s nobody here but us IM humans. What’s the point of it all? It may simply be self-enhancement by all parties. How will we ever know ;^)?

  195. Your ‘cheerfully ignore’ would feel more genuine to me if your la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you’s followed by a string of philosophical ponderings didn’t make it sound like an oxymoron, Mal.

    Read the Stanford entry. It’s a good one.

  196. izen says:

    @-Mal
    “There’s nobody here but us IM humans.”

    That requires a narrow definition of ‘anybody else’.

    For at least 100,000 years us IM humans shared the world with other hominids (Neanderthals, Denisovans, Hobbits) who were perhaps equally IM and sentient. As human hunter-gather groups they had no more impact on the ecology or retained culture than present-day social animals. Some primates, elephants, and cetaceans, can least pass the mirror-spot test.
    I always suspect cats are sentient, but lack self-awareness. Or possibly vice-versa.

    While as individuals we are IM, as part of a collective system or civilisation, we are involved in projects, emergent capabilities, that exceed the limits of our individual mediocrity. Not least, liberating us from the need to spend most of our time and energy obtaining food and shelter.
    As a result we can spend much more time on other things.

    @-“What’s the point of it all?”

    Wondering what’s the point of it all.

  197. angech says:

    Thank you Izen.
    @-“What’s the point of it all?” Wondering what’s the point of it all.

  198. Dave_Geologist says:

    M2

    Now see if you can get any kind of “equality” or “should” out of that.

    1) Depends on how you define “equal” 😉 . In an evolutionary sense, no. Otherwise there could be no evolution. Equal rights or opportunities regardless of race*, gender, skin colour), religion, yes

    2) And how you define “should”. There is no imperative that humans should be bound by our animal nature. Much of (1) is a social construct, not genetic. Primitive humans and chimpanzees are patriarchal and tribal, so that’s what nature intended, reduces us the the status of chimpanzees. Monkey Trial redux! And if genetic determinism, why bonobos?

    I call race in large part cultural, skin colour even more so. Because self-identified races are more variable internally for most alleles than the are different from other races. And skin colour is the most plastic of all. It depends almost entirely on where your ancestors have lived for the last few thousand years, and hardly at all on other elements of your ancestry.

  199. zebra says:

    Michael 2,

    “my authoritarian parents”

    Well, since one anecdote is “data”… But seriously, I have no idea if your parents, or you, are properly diagnosed as having Authoritarian personality. (And I also don’t know if your idea of atheism and non-atheism are related to AP.)

    Why don’t you do a little reading on the well-studied phenomenon and see if you really fit it. There’s a lot of misunderstanding about it; even Dave-G seems to be confusing the tribal propaganda with the actuality of individual personality.

  200. izen says:

    “What’s the point of it all?” Wondering what’s the point of it all.

    I know this looks glib, or like a joke or Quine construction, but it is meant quite seriously.
    The choice of the verb ‘to wonder’ is key.
    A book that some people claim is the most insightful philosophical work on the human condition in the last few centuries, has this as a central theme.
    The answer to questions like “what’s the point of it all?” is known to an arbitary precision, 42. But the Earth, and its sentient inhabitants are the means to discover the really important thing. Not the answer, but the true and proper QUESTION.

    The ability to formulate the question and seek an ‘answer’ is the important, or meaningful aspect of existence, not any specific, but inevitably incomplete, resolution.

  201. Dave_Geologist says:

    izen, I love HHGG. And wouldn’t it be cool if the Magratheans could run a parallel Earth with no AGGs to convince the doubters.

    But Asimov got there first with The Last Question (don’t give away the punchline!)

    You can bookend it with Clarke’s The Nine Billion Names of God.

  202. ” And wouldn’t it be cool if the Magratheans could run a parallel Earth with no AGGs to convince the doubters.”

    I’ve often used that analogy to explain how to interpret the mean and spread of a GCM ensemble (of course you need multiple parallel earths), rather than just the one.

  203. Mal Adapted says:

    izen:

    @-Mal
    “There’s nobody here but us IM humans.”

    That requires a narrow definition of ‘anybody else’.

    I thought about that when I posted my comment, but evidently not enough ;^). By ‘human’ in this context I mean mind, an epiphenomenon of brain. It’s true IMIMO that no other species appears to have evolved mind to the extent Homo sapiens has. It’s also ‘true’ (i.e. epistemically justified) that the H. sapiens mind, like every other feature of life on Earth, did not arise ex nihilo: every organism has at least one parent. In the evolutionary sense, the earliest precursor of mind was the adaptive self-regulating and goal-seeking behavior of the LUCA, the “last universal common ancestor” of all later lifeforms.

    Once again, IMIMO (do I have to keep saying that?): genomic and cultural evolution are sufficient ultimate causes of ‘our’ (e.g. habitués of this blog) individual and collective minds. My ‘point’, solely in the narrow scope of M2’s fatuous challenge upthread, is that whether or not it happened as I indicated, no god hypothesis is needed to explain the existence of the human mind, its internal state or its behavioral manifestations. I call myself an a-theist because there’s nothing to talk about: an IM mind is either theist, or is not.

  204. Willard says:

    > even Dave-G seems to be confusing the tribal propaganda with the actuality of individual personality.

    Keep your toxic “seems” to yourself, zebra.

    If you have a point, make it.

  205. Magma says:

    Since Roger Pielke Jr. is still discussing proper and improper behavior in the climate change debate, mainly but not exclusively focused on scientists, can anyone tell me if he has ever called out contrarians, skeptics and deniers for their own — I’ll be diplomatic — poor behavior?

    The analogy of a referee whistling down even the slightest infraction by one team while turning a blind eye to their opponents comes to mind. But maybe I’m being unfair to RP.

  206. Magma says:

    A timely, if random example: aalthough he’s well past his best-before date these days, contrarian Patrick Moore still weighs in on occasion. Yesterday he contributed this valuable insight into climate change mitigation: “Anti-pipeline people are mentally retarded.”

  207. Joshua says:

    Magma –

    can anyone tell me if he has ever called out contrarians, skeptics and deniers for their own — I’ll be diplomatic — poor behavior?

    That strikes me as, possibly, a particularly banal form of ad hom (i.e, “They do it too,” or “They did it first.”). IMO, a critique of how he has been treated doesn’t directly hinge on how he treats others – although certainly, his claims of victimhood and honest brokerage, and the efficacy of his attempts to improve the communicative environment, are all directly related to how he treats others.

    That said, I did once ask RPJr. about the proportionality of his criticism: I.e, he from what I’ve seen he makes general statements about the dangers of personalizing scientific disputes, but the specific criticisms he makes (which, ironically, are often personally focused) seem far more often targeting “mainstream” climate scientists as opposed to “skeptics.”

    As I recall (and I could be wrong), his response was on the order of: He focuses on mainstream climate scientists because they have disproportionate power in shaping public policy.

  208. Everett F Sargent says:

    “Since Roger Pielke Jr. is still discussing proper and improper behavior in the climate change debate, mainly but not exclusively focused on scientists, can anyone tell me if he has ever called out contrarians, skeptics and deniers for their own — I’ll be diplomatic — poor behavior?”

    No. The ‘so called’ Honest Broker should get a clue, if only deniers and their ilk support your POV. Why does the coin only come up tails? Because it only has two tails.

    “In yesterday’s NYT there was a great example of delegitimization in practice. There is no news value here, the entire purpose of the article is to delegitmize one individual–>”

    Note to self: Twit’R’Us should have a “Unlike” button.

  209. Magma says:

    @ Joshua

    Not an ad hominem argument, but an observation that Pielke’s one-sided(?) criticism would, if effective, act to shift the Overton window on the discussion of climate change science and public policy.

  210. Magma says:

    @ EFS

    Pielke’s comment contains the implicit, hard-to-defend proposition that Crockford ever had any legitimacy to lose as a scientific expert in climate science or polar bear biology/ecology.

  211. Joshua says:

    There is no news value here

    I wonder how RPJr. measures news value.

  212. Willard says:

    > Not an ad hominem argument, but an observation

    “What about your own tribe” is tu quoque that can be interpreted as an appeal to the target’s hypocrisy.

    You can bet that it is ad hom.

  213. Mal Adapted says:

    izen:

    “What’s the point of it all?” Wondering what’s the point of it all.

    Speaking for myself, ‘fun’ is the most proximate point. At minimum, I’m a recreational typist. One may or may not wish to ponder more ultimate causes for why I subjectively perceive doing so on aTTP as fun.

    Which brings me back to Willard, our ‘steemed moderator:

    And that’s notwithstanding the personal jabs, because let’s not kid ourselves – you don’t just denigrate philosophy for the fun of it.

    Well, not if one inquires into more ultimate causes of my comments on this thread, no. Fun is only the most proximate cause.

    Look, I wasn’t ‘jabbing’ at you personally. I’ve previously described the well-informed, thoughtful and articulate regular participants here as ‘frenemies’, i.e. virtual persons who interact with reciprocal combined amity and enmity. My 10yr-old stable virtual identity “Mal Adapted” takes responsibility (FWIW) for failing to recognize your presuppositionalist virtual inclination hitherto; I’m afraid that’s the way he is, however. Literally (i.e. not virtually): I (the man behind the avatar) do not process non-verbal communication very well, in part because I’m probably not paying adequate attention to the verbal channel either. Mal could do a better job with ASCII emojis, too 8^} (‘}’ signifies ‘diffidence’ in this context).

    Willard, in all literal sincerity, you are among those well-informed, thoughtful and articulate virtual persons. In the scope of this blog, I reserve my personal jabs for crypto- or overt AGW-deniers. I’m inclined to defend that as plain-speaking. If you ask me to do so, however, I’m prone to respond more generously than you might wish, because it’s fun! I blame my IM heritable personality ;^) (‘shared joke’).

  214. Magma says:

    @ Willard

    I’m noting inconsistencies and inferring biases affecting Pielke’s public stance on the ways climate science is conducted and communicated, Willard. Any personal traits such as hypocrisy and motivation are harder to determine, and less interesting.

    “The analogy of a referee whistling down even the slightest infraction by one team while turning a blind eye to their opponents comes to mind.”

  215. Willard says:

    Your usage of bias looks psychological to me, Magma. If that’s the case, how can it not be personal? Among tu quoques, there are appeals to hypocrisy. I believe it’s the technical term.

    To check its validity, you need to validate if what you’re doing is fine by the implicit rules introduced by Junior. Once again, he whines about deligitimization, handwaves to an article about a recent ClimateBall episode, and declares that the article has no “news value,” thereby invoking an ad hoc principle, places himself in the role of the NYT editor, and confirms what he whines about each and every single day over teh tweeter.

    I’m not sure Junior would need to assume an honest broker position to do any of that. He’s just playing ClimateBall. Being thankful for his concerns (e.g. by showing how his shirt ripping works) is the best one could do here, IMO.

    JeanG’s concerns are a bit more constructive:

    Since they’re similar to the ones I’ve underlined in the Polar Bear episode, I might be biased.

    ***

    Peace, Mal.

  216. izen says:

    @-Joshua
    “He focuses on mainstream climate scientists because they have disproportionate power in shaping public policy.”

    I suspect this is an accurate precis if not a literal quote.
    Ideally (?!) Mainstream climate science has the power to shape public policy according to the import and strength of its results. If 97% are certain, then it should have 97% of the power to shape policy.

    In reality the contrarians that RPJr is reluctant to focus on (and sometimes defends) have the disproportionate power in relation to the strength of their science. The disconnect between the scientific level of confidence and the US public level of understanding is a measure of just how disproportionate the contrarian influence has been. The inordinate influence of one source on the polar bear issue is a good example.

    Perhaps RPJr clings to some concept of false balance. That whatever the relative merits, or size of two sides, they should get equal weight.

  217. Joshua says:

    Willard –


    thereby invoking an ad hoc principle, places himself in the role of the NYT editor,

    But how would we assess news value were RPJr. not around?

    … but to claim that feeding them *will* backfire would be too strong. It depends upon the specific objectives involved.

    Indeed.

    I think of the land between not making things better and making things worse.

    Many times people think of engendering negative engagement around climate change as making things harder, while I just see it as not making things better (i.e., sameosameo). Perhaps opportunity cost.

    For some reason, that land seems to lie beneath a cloak of invisibility, or perhaps within a cone of silence? :

  218. Mal Adapted says:

    EFS:

    Note to self: Twit’R’Us should have a “Unlike” button.

    If you add a ‘gobsmacked’ button, sign me up.

  219. Willard says:

    Here would be a valid tu quoque:

    Either we’re for having Congressional approval before strikes, or we’re not.

  220. Mal Adapted says:

    For the curious, one of the better anti-Scotsmanpresuppositionalist fiskings I’ve seen is Sorry Apologetics: What’s Wrong with the Presuppositional Approach. Apparently the presuppositionalist method of Christian apologetics per se hasn’t actually been studied for centuries, but was pioneered by a seminarian in the 1930’s, after Science (capitalized) had sufficiently rendered the ‘God of the gaps’ fallacy impotent. Sorry for my flawed anti-presuppositionalist apologetics.

  221. Joshua says:

    Willard –

    What do you mean by valid Tu Quoque? Seems to me that a statement is either a Tu Quoque or isn’t a Tu Quoque.

  222. Joshua,

    An argument is or isn’t a tu quoque, but not every tu quoque is fallacious. There are roughly two big conditions for a tu quoque to be valid – it needs to be relevant to the point it counters, and it needs to be strong enough to make the point it is conveying.

    Compare and contrast:

    [J1] Junior seldom criticizes contrarians, if ever.
    [J2] Junior often rips off his shirt when dispensing ClimateBall criticism.
    [J3] Junior’s ClimateBall concerns look like ways to claim victimhood.
    [J4] Junior is a poor ClimateBall referee.

    I think the steps from 1 to 3 are somehow valid and relevant to the point he makes, but not the 4th. Junior’s concerns are ways to play the ref, in this case the audience – people are being mean to contrarians. That point doesn’t stand on him being a (good) ClimateBall referee. However, the third point is a valid way to counter his, because it undermines its plausibility.

    In other words, the observation that Junior is constantly whining is more relevant to his concerns than the fact that he’s not an honest broker.

    And that’s besides the possibility that he may be special pleading with his “not newsworthy,” which may be a more direct way to counter his point. The only problem I see with paying due diligence to Junior’s concept of newsworthiness is that unless one is interested in becoming an editor or a journalist, it is of little use. It thus becomes a squirrel for ClimateBall amateurs who could not care less about what newspapers (should) do.

    There might be a more formal way to say all this, but that’s what I got for now.

  223. Invalid, but still funny:

  224. Everett F Sargent says:

    Ho-Hum, a normal day (or three) on Twitter …

    “The all out war you & friends are waging against people you disagree with is bad for science & bad for the prospects of climate politics. I know this firsthand because I have been a target in your war. I see the unethical actions you guys take, and I will not stop calling it out.”

  225. Indeed, Everett. Junior seldom criticizes contrarians, if ever. Junior often rips off his shirt when dispensing ClimateBall criticism. Junior’s ClimateBall concerns look like ways to claim victimhood.

    The tears of the word are a equal quantity. For each one who begins to weep, somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh.

  226. By some ClimateBall serendipity, Eli left a tweet earlier this evening:

  227. Mal Adapted says:

    EFS:

    Ho-Hum, a normal day (or three) on Twitter …

    Indeed indeed, Everett. No prisoners ;^)! (‘humorous hyperbole’).

  228. Everett F Sargent says:

    Pielke on Climate #6
    https://theclimatefix.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/pielke-on-climate-6/

    “As anyone familiar with climate science should well know, the idea to monitor ocean heat content as a metric of human-caused global warming that is far better than surface temperatures was first presented by my father in 2003 in BAMS.”

    Google Scholar says otherwise (“ocean heat content” through 2001 About 649 results (0.13 sec)) …
    https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=%22ocean+heat+content%22&hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C25&as_ylo=&as_yhi=2001

    1st two hits …
    Warming of the world ocean (2000)
    ( Cited by 1414)
    http://www.atmosp.physics.utoronto.ca/~dbj/PHY392/levitus_etal2000.pdf

    Anthropogenic warming of Earth’s climate system (2001)
    (Cited by 594)
    https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Thomas_Delworth/publication/12031466_Anthropogenic_Warming_of_Earth%27s_Climate_System/links/00b7d52389be304def000000/Anthropogenic-Warming-of-Earths-Climate-System.pdf

    Add the word Pielke … eight hits (none AFAIK with P2 The Elder as an author or coauthor)
    https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C25&as_yhi=2001&q=%22ocean+heat+content%22+Pielke&btnG=

    Heat storage within the Earth system (2003)
    (Cited by 90)
    https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/BAMS-84-3-331
    (See Figure 3 for P2 The Elder’s own take on OHC at that time, flat wavy line, no less.)

    S-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o, absolutely no one else than P2 The Elder had thought of Ocean Heat Content prior to 2003? So ask yourself, why were others, long before P2 The Elder, already working on Ocean Heat Content, years and decades before P2 The Elder claimed to have done his brain fart. Because an energy budget predates P2 The Elder and OHC predates P2 The Elder.

    As I recall, P2 The Elder pushed for OHC, at a time, when the OHC record was not very accurate and not very long. In short, it was an effort to negate the GMST record which extended to 1880 or 1850 at that time. GMST is still the longest most accurate record of global mean surface temperature and now OHC can stand next to that record as further proof of AGW.

    However others, who are not P2 The Younger, might have a different take or memories than I do.

  229. Willard says:

    FWIW, a clarification has been offered in response to BG’s comment:

    I’m not finding where Cheng or Abraham claim originality of the idea, “we suggest that scientists and modelers who seek global warming signals should track how much heat the ocean is storing at any given time, termed global ocean heat content (OHC)”.

    Neither do I find where your father claimed it as an original idea in his BAMS 2003 article.

    The clarification:

    The argument in Pielke 2003 was not that the oceans store heat, of course that was well known, but rather, it seems to be the first to point out that ocean heat content itself could be used to diagnose TOA radiative imbalance on multi-year time scales.

    https://theclimatefix.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/pielke-on-climate-6/#comment-1301

    The abreviation “TOA” only appears once in the page at Junior’s, which means it’s absent from the OP.

    The war on error never ends.

  230. Willard says:

    To clarify the clarification, here’s Junior’s claim:

    As anyone familiar with climate science should well know, the idea to monitor ocean heat content as a metric of human-caused global warming that is far better than surface temperatures was first presented by my father in 2003 in BAMS.

    https://theclimatefix.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/pielke-on-climate-6

    Let’s revisit Senior’s 2003:

    A figure is needed that portrays the actual radiative forcing to the climate system that is felt at any particular time, in this instance in 2000. As this planetary energy imbalance is virtually the same as the energy stored in the top 3 km of the oceans, and other energy stores in the climate system are much smaller (Levitus et al. 2001), we can examine either the global mean nonequilibrium radiative flux or the ocean storage to evaluate this quantity. Peixoto and Oort (1992, p. 351) even concluded that such a relation exists between the radiative forcing and ocean heat storage over the annual timescale. They showed that the annual variation of net radiation at the top of the atmosphere is in good agreement, both in phase and amplitude, with the ocean heat storage.

    https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/BAMS-84-3-331

    Also note that Senior seems to advocate for something more general than OHC – a planetary energy imbalance in which observed changes in heat within the earth system would be used to constrain the global mean radiative forcing. This quantity would emphasize land use, another of Senior’s pet topics, “as an influence on the global and regional climate.” The source for this last claim goes Pielke-all-the-way-down, as if it was his own invention.

    Methinks some appropriation’s goin’ on.

  231. Willard says:

    Here’s the first paragraph of the discussion in Levitus & al 2000:

    Our results demonstrate that a large part of the world ocean has exhibited coherent changes of ocean heat content during the past 50 years, with the world ocean exhibiting a net warming. These results have implications for climate system research and monitoring efforts in several ways. We cannot partition the observed warming to an anthropogenic component or a component associated with natural variability. Modeling studies are required even to be able to attempt such a partition. However, our results support the findings of Hansen et al. (19), who concluded that a planetary radiative disequilibrium of about 0.5 to 0.7 W mp2 existed for the period 1979 to 1996 (with the Earth system gaining heat) and suggested that the “excess heat must primarily be accumulating in the ocean.” Hansen et al. included estimates of the radiative forcings from volcanic aerosols, stratospheric ozone depletion, greenhouse gases, and solar variability. Such information is critical for studies attempting to identify anthropogenic changes in Earth’s climate system. This is because coupled air-sea general circulation model experiments that are used to assess the effects of increasing carbon dioxide frequently begin integration with a sudden increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide (e.g., twice the present value) rather than the gradual buildup observed in nature. This is done to minimize computer time required for completion of the time integrations of these numerical experiments. Integration in this manner introduces what is known as a “cold start” error (20, 21).

    Levitus & al seemed to be well aware of the importance of ocean heat content to attempt to identify anthropogenic changes in the Earth’s climate system.

    Does Senior cite JimH?

  232. dikranmarsupial says:

    As Willard points out, the key is in the “as a metric of human-caused global warming”/ I think the priority is for spelling out the obvious explicitly rather than for actually having the idea. It is implicit in the Peixoto and Oort quote, but they didn’t actually say the relation meant you could use OHC as a measure of AGW. We should give Prof. Pielke full credit for his contribution, but that contribution is a rather modest one, AFAICS.

  233. My own view of the whole Pielke OHC issue is that there are certainly occasions when someone realises that there is an obvious way to frame some idea. They publish something pointing this out and get quite a lot of credit. However, most would not then argue that it was all their idea and that they should get all the credit. In a sense, Pielke Sr highlighted something that had been mentioned (in a related way) a number of times before. A reasonable thing to do. However, it’s not as if he’s done (as far as I’m aware) much other work on ocean heat content, either as a metric, or actually doing something to determine how it has changed.

  234. dikranmarsupial says:

    Scientific papers often hint at things implicitly, rather than state them explicitly, because the authors haven’t yet done the necessary work to put it on solid foundations (also perhaps because it is best to have one substantial idea per paper).

  235. Steven Mosher says:

    i agree with dk.
    proportion credit where it is due.
    regardless of his intentions or his obnoxious
    spawn.

  236. Steven Mosher says:

    proportionate…damn

  237. Mal Adapted says:

    Steven Mosher:

    proportion credit where it is due.
    regardless of his intentions or his obnoxious
    spawn.

    Well, yes, that would be the ethical high road to take. OTOH, consider the reverse-Serengeti strategy, wherein payback is a bitch (colloquially speaking).

  238. Dave_Geologist says:

    Mal

    Full text is paywalled for now.

    Science Advances is usually open access. And it is now. Perhaps you caught it just as it was in the process of going live.

    Not terribly surprising. Higher CO2 and temperature = more weathering = more nutrients = more organic carbon fallout = more anoxia; warmer ocean = more stratification = more anoxia. Welcome to Pond-Scum-World!

    See also Lethally Hot Temperatures During the Early Triassic Greenhouse. According to that it was even hotter than at end-Permian. My take is that only heat-tolerant species made it through the end-Permian, so it took something extra-special to kill them off. Conditions may actually have been more hostile to life during the early Triassic. It’s just that they were confronted by an unusually robust population of species which had already run the previous gauntlet and survived.

  239. Willard says:

    The high road is a moral one. The ethical one pertains to the ethics Junior questioned. Considering that Senior harped about it (1) without tracing it back himself and (2) without working it out himself, Junior’s ethical point is dubious at best. As far as I’m concerned, Senior’s the guy known to Joule all the things, and for going Pielkes-all-the-way-down.

    There is a way to do justice to Senior’s contributions. Here would be the first draft of my footnote:

    Pielke Sr is known in the ClimateBall sphere for his advocacy (Pielke Jr, 2017) on using OHC as a metric of AGW (e.g. Pielke Sr, 2003), something that has been discussed, among other places, by Hansen et al 1997 and Levitus et al 2000. His advocacy did not go as far as developing the metric or improving data sets or methods – see Willard 2019 for a genealogy of how his handwaving mainly served as a way to minimize the importance of AGW and undermine the IPCC, sometimes by failing basic reading comprehension (Rabett, 2013). Since we now have the data, we could not pass up the opportunity to see how his ClimateBall (see Willard 2018) strategy work out scientifically.

    Comments welcome.

    Junior’s “seems” in response to BG seems to indicate that both him and Senior did not really check where the idea comes from. Which is quite understandable, considering the Pielkes-all-the-way-down.

  240. jacksmith4tx says:

    https://books.google.com/talktobooks/
    This is just a toy for now but after trying a few test questions I am impressed.
    Try formulating a question that is the subject of this blog post and see what happens.
    Question: “How to argue with climate scientists.”
    or
    Question: “Is ocean heat content a metric of human-caused global warming?”
    I think you find the results are interesting and amazingly relevent.
    When the database expands from just 100,000 books to include not just English but also Chinese, Russian, French, German, Japanese etc. this will be amazing.

  241. Willard says:

    For all open access needs, follow the breadcrumbs.

  242. Mal Adapted says:

    Willard, quoting RPJr:

    The argument in Pielke 2003 was not that the oceans store heat, of course that was well known, but rather, it seems to be the first to point out that ocean heat content itself could be used to diagnose TOA radiative imbalance on multi-year time scales.

    Grrr 8^(! (‘virtuous venting of virtual spleen’). This guy is, IMIMO, a prodigiously clever figurative weasel. As a career tactic, he’s backpedaling on a grandiose claim, making it more specific and thus less grandiose. He appears speciously reasonable while exploiting a perhaps-uncomfortable truth about Science as a cultural institution: rough-and-tumble competition for publication priority.

    Of course it was well-known that the oceans store heat. A back-of-envelope numeric model, with total heat distribution proportional to reservoir mass, would support monitoring ocean heat content (OHC – not a proprietary acronym) as a primary parameter of interest. The more advanced and better distributed the calorimeters, the closer an approximation of reality we’ll have. Duh, let’s keep building and distributing sophisticated calorimeters. The same logic applies to measuring incoming energy at TOA.

    I’ll allow I might be demonstrating 20-20 hindsight here, if anyone wants to make a counter-case.

  243. Willard says:

    One good argument to cite Pielke 2003 would be if that document itself traced back the whole OHC-as-AGW-indicator thing.

    One problem with that citation is that it then goes Pielkes-all-the-way-down.

    Either we’re serious about the keeping a good record of the intellectual history of an idea, or we’re just paying lip service to it, sometimes for deferential purposes.

  244. Mal Adapted says:

    D_G:

    Science Advances is usually open access. And it is now. Perhaps you caught it just as it was in the process of going live.

    Thanks D_G (and Willard). As I have a login on sciencemag.org, I never actually tried to view the full text without it.

    Yes, the paper’s findings, though perhaps not surprising to a trained specialist like yourself, are nonetheless very interesting to a retired professional computer geek, once-wannabe-professional evolutionary biologist and climate science dilettante. IMIMO this is the kind of high-resolution data needed to illuminate the black boxes of our existing models. The devil, after all, is in the details.

  245. Mal Adapted says:

    Willard:

    One problem with that citation is that it then goes Pielkes-all-the-way-down.

    Ah, good ol’ ipse dixit, disguised as disciplined citation. Weasel.

  246. It is also worth bearing in mind that things get independently reinvented all the time (as I pointed out to RPJr) and also researchers don’t always find out about things in the order in which they were discovered (e.g. “discovery” of the back-propagation algorithm for artificial neural networks), and also researchers are only human and working to a limited time/energy budget (sadly the reward system doesn’t reward “keeping a good record of the intellectual history of an idea”, even though it should). People are also being only human when they respond badly to a perceived slight against them. I’m not bothered by a researcher getting unduly upset about not being cited, giving straight answers to direct questions about their scientific arguments is rather more important.

  247. Dave_Geologist says:

    It’s also worth bearing in mind that things which are obvious to those in a scientific field, don’t get mentioned much in papers because “everyone knows”. And if they do, editors cut it out as a waste of space. IIRC with the various 97% papers there was some manufactured noise about how some consequences papers didn’t explicitly say anthropogenic global warming, just global warming. So they weren’t part of the 97%. Even though the authors had been specific about attribution elsewhere.

    Strikes me that if someone spoke at a climate science conference 20 years ago and said (a) most of the heat is stored in the oceans and (b) maybe we could use OHC changes as a truer indicator of the Earth’s radiative imbalance than surface temperature, the audience would have said “well duh; all we need now is for someone to measure it”.

  248. Indeed, the “mass balance” argument for the anthropogenic origin of the rise in atmospheric CO2 was mentioned very briefly in the first IPCC report (no equations) and you wont see it explicitly used in papers because it is a statement of the bleedin’ obvious (and spelling it out in a paper would be absurd). I suspect that one of the reasons people have difficulty accepting it is that it is so simple and obvious, and it gets dismissed as naive and simplistic, perhaps without actually understanding it.

  249. Mal Adapted says:

    Willard:

    Comments welcome.

    Remember how another Willard got into trouble promising a paper ;^).

  250. Willard says:

    Another thing to bear in mind that the authors over whom Junior wages war have another takehome point than Senior:

    Monitoring the past and current climate helps us better understand climate change and enables future climate projections. We must maintain and extend the existing global climate observing systems [Riser et al., 2016; von Schuckmann et al., 2016] as well as develop improved coupled (ocean-atmosphere) climate assessment and prediction tools to ensure reliable and continuous monitoring for Earth’s energy imbalance, ocean heat content, and sea level rise.

    The EEI has implications for the future and should be fundamental in guiding future energy policy and decisions; it is the heartbeat of the planet. Changes in OHC, the dominant measure of EEI, should be a fundamental metric along with SLR.

    As we continue to scrutinize the fidelity of specific climate models, it is critical to validate their energetic imbalances as well as their depiction of GMST. The fact that the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) ensemble mean accurately represents observed global OHC changes [Cheng et al., 2016] is critical for establishing the reliability of climate models for long-term climate change projections.

    Consequently, we recommend that both the EEI and OHC be listed as output variables in the CMIP6 models, in addition to SLR and GMST. This vital sign informs societal decisions about adaptation to and mitigation of climate change [Trenberth et al., 2016].

    https://eos.org/opinions/taking-the-pulse-of-the-planet

    The breadcrumb to follow seems to be Cheng et al., 2016. I haven’t checked it yet. Let’s hope it does not go Cheng-all-the-way-down.

    For the simple idea that ocean stores most of the heat, the authors refer to Rhein et al., 2013.

  251. Joshua says:

    Identity politics?

    Personally, what I think is a far more interesting issue, is that ‘skeptics” like Judith fail to highlight the importance of OHC (even when testifying before Congress), even as they claim that there was a “haitus in global warming,” even as they love them some RPSr.

    I was wondering, the other day, what it might look like if reference to specific identities were banned in the discussion of climate science. When I become king of the universe I may just make such a law.

  252. Willard says:

    > Let’s hope it does not go Cheng-all-the-way-down.

    It does not:

    It is estimated that more than 90 % of the excess heat is stored in the ocean and is manifested by ocean warming (Loeb et al., 2012; Balmaseda et al., 2013; Rhein et al., 2013; Trenberth et al., 2014), i.e., an increase in global ocean heat content (OHC; Lyman et al., 2010; Levitus et al., 2012; Abraham et al., 2013). Due to the ocean’s dominant role in the global energy storage changes, the rate of OHC change provides a strong constraint on Earth’s energy imbalance on interannual and longer timescales (Palmer and McNeall, 2014; Trenberth, 2015). Numerous efforts have been made to detect the historical OHC change (for example, Levitus et al., 2005; Gouretski and Koltermann, 2007; Smith and Murphy, 2007; Domingues et al., 2008; Palmer and Haines, 2009; Ishii and Kimoto, 2009; Lyman et al., 2010; Levitus et al., 2012; Balmaseda et al., 2013; Cheng et al., 2015a) and attribute causes to its variation (Palmer et al., 2009; Gleckler et al., 2012). However, large uncertainties exist in OHC estimates (Abraham et al., 2013; Balmaseda et al., 2013; Rhein et al., 2013), which can confound our understanding of the changes in Earth’s energy imbalance since the 1970s.

    https://www.ocean-sci.net/12/925/2016/os-12-925-2016.pdf

    This paper looks like a better target for Junior’s war on behalf of his father’s name:

    We suggest that OHC be a fundamental metric for climate model validation and evaluation, especially for forced changes (decadal timescales).

    One, but not me, would argue that Cheng & al staked a bit more than the idea of a metric.

  253. Willard says:

    > I was wondering, the other day, what it might look like if reference to specific identities were banned in the discussion of climate science. When I become king of the universe I may just make such a law.

    GaryM once suggested that we reverse the peer-reviewed process: papers published anonymously with signed reviews.

    The idea is appealing, even if I could think of four ways to game it before breakfast.

  254. Joshua says:

    Just to get this in before I make my decree…

    Directly related to RPJr.’s “iron law of climate policy,” I theorize that there is an iron law of climate change politics:

    There is an inverse correlation between the level of concern about being a victim of unfair treatment, personally, in the climate wars, and the degree to which people take steps to avoid having animus directed their way.

  255. An infamous example of gaming the peer-review process is described in the latest Atlantic

    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/04/the-scientific-paper-is-obsolete/556676/

    Brings up some other aspects about scientific collaboration and publishing that we are discussing over at the Azimuth Project forum

  256. Everett F Sargent says:

    You can go here to get OHC data …
    https://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/basin_data.html

    Good luck with calculating a useful time derivative time series (I used a simple central difference stencil then divide by seconds/year and Earth’s surface area to get W/m^2).

    This is what RPSr originally suggested (see his Figure 2 (above, in an earlier post, I referred to Figure 2 as Figure 3, my bad)).

    Cheng16 states …

    With 0.07 Wm−2 for the other components (Trenberth et al. 2014), the implied average
    energy imbalance is 0.46 [0.40, 0.52] Wm−2 after 1970 and 0.82 [0.76, 0.88] Wm−2 after 1992.

    I’m getting 0.85 Wm−2 (OHC 0-2000m 3-month 2005-2017 inclusive or 13-years OLS linear trend regression line of raw OHC time series).

    As to RPSr (2003) the subtitle reads thus …
    “The assessment of heat storage and its changes over time should be a focus of international climate monitoring programs.”

    Hmm. Wow, what a good but totally NOT an original idea.

    Argo (oceanography)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argo_(oceanography)#History

    “A program called Argo was first proposed at OceanObs 1999 which was a conference organised by international agencies with the aim of creating a coordinated approach to ocean observations. The original Argo prospectus was created by a small group of scientists, chaired by Dean Roemmich, who described a program that would have a global array of about 3000 floats in place by sometime in 2007.[4]”

    Reference 4 …
    On The Design and Implementation of Argo (Created 1999-05-15 15:09:06)
    http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/argo-design.pdf

    There is also a png file in that Wikipedia article (which might not show up inlined) …

    I rest my case. 😉

  257. Willard says:

    Come to think of it, there’s a simple way to validate the first part of Junior’s:

    As anyone familiar with climate science should well know, the idea to monitor ocean heat content as a metric of human-caused global warming that is far better than surface temperatures was first presented by my father in 2003 in BAMS.

    https://theclimatefix.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/pielke-on-climate-6/

    Looking at who cites Senior 2003 and what they say should reveal what “anyone familiar with climate science” knows. I’m not sure I have the time to look at many papers. Let’s take the first that jumps at me:

    The usual (or “equilibrium”) CC warming commitment at time t is the difference between the equilibrium warming for forcing at this time (DTe) and the corresponding realized warming (DTr), DTe – DTr. This is related to the “radiation-imbalance” concept (8, 9). If DQ is the forcing to date, and if DQr is the forcing that gives an equilibrium warming of DTr , then the radiation imbalance is DQ – DQr EDQ – DQr is approximately equal to the flux of heat into the ocean (9).

    Reference 9 is Senior’s 2003. It does not seem to be the kind of ackowledgment that motivates Junior’s war.

    Being able to trace quantities and equations might be more interesting, but mileage varies.

  258. Everett F Sargent says:

    [The comment you’re republishing has hit the spam bucket. A version of it now live, I think. If you repost too much, you’ll get flagged as a spammer. If you have problems getting your comments through, try to ask Akismet to verify your account. Sorry. – W]

  259. Steven Mosher says:

    “One problem with that citation is that it then goes Pielkes-all-the-way-down.’

    I want to build a bot that starts with a pielke paper ( or any paper) , reads the references recursively and then for every article pulls up the abstract and conclusion.

    Hmm, that really shouldnt be too hard, most of the data should already be in place.

  260. Everett F Sargent says:

    Willard,

    I went through Google Scholar, year-by-year, there are only 74 unique references out of the original 90. AFAIK, only three of those are OHC specific and only one explicitly discusses TOA, EEI (nee PEI) and OHC …

    Decadal variations of global energy and ocean heat budget and meridional energy transports inferred from recent global data sets (2007)
    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2007JD008435

    I do remember those blog discussions as they occurred around that time frame, it reminded me of the old bait and switch routine, replace a fairly good long running GMST record with the time derivative of OHC, which as his Figure 2 illustrates was not very good (note absence of error bars), OHC is good now, the time derivative of OHC still not so much so IMHO.

    Note to self: You can get the Cheng16/17 monthly OHC (0-700m/0-2000m) time series from here (he is currently updating it on what would appear to be a monthly basis) …
    http://159.226.119.60/cheng/
    (mainland China I believe)

  261. Willard says:

    Thanks, Everett.

    Here’s the relevant paragraph:

    The conventional view is that the time variations of PEI and OHSR generally agree in both phase and magnitude for timescales ≥ a year, and therefore they may be directly compared [see, e.g., Pielke, 2003]. The primary reason for this view is that, except for the ocean, there is no other component of the climate system that can store the amount of heat equivalent to, say, 1 W/m2 of global mean net flux sustained for a year (≈1.6*1022 J) needed to produce a difference between the net TOA and the net surface fluxes large enough to cause a noticeable difference between PEI and OHSR (one of the largest storage terms is increasing water vapor in a warming climate, but observations of annual mean variations (defined by standard deviation) over the passed decades of water vapor abundance of a few percent per decade [e.g., see Trenberth et al., 2005] are equivalent only to about 0.1 W/m2 based on our calculation for global, annual mean precipitation time series of 1979–2005, averaged from the global data sets from the Global Precipitation Climatological Project (GPCP) [see Adler et al., 2003]). Nevertheless, the relationship between PEI and OHSR is complicated. First, PEI is not a single component at TOA, but consists of three parts: downward and reflected SW and outgoing LW fluxes with very different space‐time variations because of the differing effects of clouds, water vapor, temperature and the surface. About 60% of the net SW reaching the ocean surface is converted into water vapor (latent heat flux) and about one third is converted to net surface outgoing LW. Therefore only a few percent of PEI is absorbed by the ocean, mostly the net SW retained by the ocean and gradually mixed to greater depths. All of these considerations mean that the comparison between PEI and OHSR is approximate in both magnitude and timing.

    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2007JD008435

    So there’s a conventional view, and Senior’s cite is only presented as an example.

  262. Tyson Adams says:

    Poor perpetually misunderstood Sam Harris. It’s almost as though he should work on that rather than complain about it all the time.

  263. Dave_Geologist says:

    Hmm, can I bear to read the Atlantic article? This doesn’t bode well.

    These programs tend to be both so sloppily written and so central to the results that it’s contributed to a replication crisis

    Really? If it’s written in something like R and it and the data are archived, as is getting more not less common, replication (in the Auditor sense) is trivial for anyone ordinary skilled in the art. The sloppy program will run just as reproducibly as a tidy program. Not if the program, data and results are out of sync, but that’s not a programming problem, it’s an archiving (i.e. administrative) problem. And Auditor-style replication is not how science is verified anyway, at least outside of blogs and kangaroo courts. Certainly not how it’s advanced. It’s by independently analysing the data using your own code or better still using a different approach on a different dataset and getting a consilient result. That requires a clear plain-language explanation of the Materials and Methods.

    And “Calculus had only just been invented. Entire data sets could fit in a table on a single page. What little “computation” contributed to the results was done by hand and could be verified in the same way.” sounds like: No Fair, I dropped maths at 14/15/16 and can’t understand it. Sorry sunshine, you’re not the target audience. They carried on doing maths into university and they understand it perfectly well.

  264. ” It does not seem to be the kind of ackowledgment that motivates Junior’s war. ” it is somewhat ironic!

  265. Steven Mosher says:

    “Brings up some other aspects about scientific collaboration and publishing that we are discussing over at the Azimuth Project forum”

    welcome to the club.
    now buidl something

  266. I mentioned the Atlantic paper in response to this:

    “GaryM once suggested that we reverse the peer-reviewed process: papers published anonymously with signed reviews.”

    One scientist that has addressed how publishing may play out is Vallis, in his review paper “Geophysical fluid dynamics: whence, whither and why?”.

    “5. A final note on education
    We cannot prescribe how the field will evolve, but we can educate the next generation to be
    prepared for whatever comes, and perhaps influence what they bring to it. Numerical models
    are now such a part of the field that there is not so much a danger that students will not be exposed to them, rather that they will not be exposed to the basic ideas that will enable them to understand them, or infer whether the models are behaving physically. Thus, the very basic concepts in GFD are as important, perhaps more so, than they ever were, but can sometimes seem irrelevant; relatedly, there is a danger that analytical skills, if not lost, become divorced
    from modelling skills. Scientists will always have personal preferences and differing expertise,
    but combining analytical ideas with simple numerical models can be a very powerful tool in both research and education, and modern tools can be used to enable this at an early stage in the classroom. A numerical model transparently coded in 100 lines and run on a laptop can then play a similar role to that of a rotating tank in illustrating phenomena and explaining what equations mean, and the rift between theory, models and phenomena then never opens.

    Although conventional books will remain important for years to come, the next textbook or
    monograph in GFD, or really in any similar field, could to great effect be written using a Jupyter
    Notebook (formerly IPython Notebook), or similar, which can combine numerical models with
    conventional text and equations (e.g. LATEX markup), figures, and even symbolic manipulation
    in a single document, enabling interactive exploration of both analytical and numerical GFD
    concepts. Such an effort would be a major undertaking so a collaborative effort may be needed, perhaps like the development of open source software, and the end product would hopefully be free like both beer and speech. Research papers are a separate challenge, but a first step might be to allow electronic supplementary material to be in the form of such a Notebook. There are obvious difficulties with such a program, but if one specifies that the text and figures be self-contained the material can at the least be read as a conventional article or book. Another difficulty is that software standards evolve faster than hardcopy printing methods: it was 500 years after the Gutenberg press before digital typography arrived. Thus, a Jupyter Notebook might be unreadable in 20 years and Python might be passé, but a ‘real’ book will live on. This problem simply might not matter (immortality is not the goal) but if it does it might be wise not to couple the text and code too tightly. In any case, these are all simply obstacles to discuss and overcome rather than insurmountable barriers”

  267. An issue with the OHC measure is that it works partly as a temporal integrator, so that much of the fine detail in the signal gets filtered out. This can either illuminate or obscure, as with the usage of any filter.

  268. Dave_Geologist says:

    I skimmed the Atlantic article. TL;DR. It’s all about maths and a maths paper. So perhaps the maths fetish is forgivable. But of questionable relevance to science, even numerical-heavy science. Maths isn’t even a science, It’s postulates and theorems vs. observations and theories. Absolute proof vs. always-contingent.

    When a mathematician says: “consider a spherical cow”, she literally is referring to an actually spherical, actual cow, and everything that follows is dependent on the spherical-cowness axiom.

    Which reminded me, I haven’t checked to see if cowsay is still installed on my system. Oh, it’s not. Now it is, that’s better. Do try this at home. I’m betting WordPress will mangle it.
    {
    line-height: 1.0;
    }
    $ cowsay -p spherical cow
    _______________

    —————
    \ ^__^
    \ (@@)\_______
    (__)\ )\/\
    ||—-w |
    || ||

  269. Dave_Geologist says:

    Thoroughly mangled 😦

  270. being an engineer, I’d start with a point-mass cow on the back of an envelope.

  271. could try the

     tag?  
    
    
     ________________________________________
    / You have Egyptian flu: you're going to \
    \ be a mummy.                            /
     ----------------------------------------
            \   ^__^
             \  (oo)\_______
                (__)\       )\/\
                    ||----w |
                    ||     ||
    
  272. yep the pre tag works

  273. Mal Adapted says:

    I want to play figurative Devil’s advocate. Early in this thread, our host replied to SSM:

    I would argue that there are scenarios where you ignore what others regard as a crucial context (climategate might be one) and others where you might reflect on whether or not they have a point.

    Later, yours truly said:

    [RPJr] is, IMIMO, a prodigiously clever figurative weasel. As a career tactic, he’s backpedaling on a grandiose claim, making it more specific and thus less grandiose. He appears speciously reasonable while exploiting a perhaps-uncomfortable truth about Science as a cultural institution: rough-and-tumble competition for publication priority.

    It does occur to me that my personal jab at RPJr might be unjust, not only to weasels but to him. AFAICT his career tactics are common throughout Science. In this case he made an exaggerated claim of priority on his father’s behalf, in response to what plausibly might be regarded as an infringing claim. Then he calmed down enough to document just what priority he thinks RPSr is due. That judgment is best made by climate science specialists, by criteria that may seem arbitrary to lay people. To the public, Jr. may sound like a professional scientist paying due honor to his dad and the giants who preceded him. What’s wrong with that? Does my jab overlook the beam in Science’s eye?

    Now I’ll prosecute the Devil some more ;^D (‘with glee’): no! In the crucial context of AGW, RPJr. has more than just a mote in his eye. In a previous comment thread, I criticized his dalliance with the GWPF:

    Roger Pielke Jr. is considered by many climate realists to have staked his academic career in Political Science on playing both sides against the middle; a common career strategy in academia, to be sure. The GWPF is considered by many climate realists to be a professional disinformation services firm, largely funded by fossil fuel wealth in an effort to delay the transition to a carbon-neutral economy. The specific charge against RPJr here is that he appears to deny the GWPF’s actual mission, and enhances its specious claims to legitimacy by lending his academic credentials.

    Not to get up on a soapbox, but is ‘free will’ merely tangential here? RPJr. may not explicitly deny AGW, but it sure looks to me like he deliberately overlooks the beams in the eyes of for-profit AGW-deniers. By my singular existential IM authority as a (proximately) autonomous moral agent: ‘honest broker’ my pale, aged buttocks! In the context of the collective response to a looming global threat to human life, property and the pursuit of happiness, I judge RPJr’s contribution to be net negative. I apologize to any literal weasels who may be offended.

  274. Willard says:

    > Sorry sunshine, you’re not the target audience.

    That audience is changing, DaveG.

    ***

    Teh Scholar lists Loehle & Scafetta 2012, but the relevant paper is not cited, only two on “but UHI” and one on “but land use.”

    Hawkins, Edwards, and McNeall 2014 caught my eye, for obvious reasons. The relevant paragraph:

    The communication of the slowdown and its implications is complex. Although the most recent decade is the warmest since 1850 [1], this does not mean there is no pause, as some have seemed to suggest [26]. To overcome these communication challenges, some have discussed the overall energy budget of the Earth, which has been suggested as a more robust indicator of climate change than surface temperature alone [27, 28]. However, surface warming impacts people directly, is readily understood by the public and is also the canonical example of climate change which has been iconic for many years.

    “Robust” may not mean “far better than surface temperatures.” The paper we’re looking for is 27; 28 is a citation of one of the authors, Palmer, McNeall, and Dunstone 2011, which does not cite Senior 2013. The abstract reads:

    We use control run data from three Met Office Hadley Centre climate models to investigate the relationship between: net top-of-atmosphere radiation balance (TOA), globally averaged sea surface temperature (SST); and globally averaged ocean heat content (OHC) on decadal timescales. All three models show substantial decadal variability in SST, which could easily mask the long-term warming associated with anthropogenic climate change over a decade. Regression analyses are used to estimate the uncertainty of TOA, given the trend in SST or OHC over the same period. We show that decadal trends in SST are only weakly indicative of changes in TOA. Trends in total OHC strongly constrain TOA, since the ocean is the primary heat store in the Earth System. Integrating OHC over increasing model levels, provides an increasingly good indication of TOA changes. To achieve a given accuracy in TOA estimated from OHC we find that there is a trade-off between measuring for longer or deeper. Our model results suggest that there is potential for substantial improvement in our ability to monitor Earth’s radiation balance by more comprehensive observation of the global ocean.

    Perhaps it might be time to compare and contrast a few variations on the claim on which Junior wages war:

    [JW1] We should study OHC, but we can’t for now.

    [JW2] We should study OHC, but I won’t.

    [JW3] We should study OHC, and here’s how.

    [JW4] We should study OHC, and here’s such a study.

    These variations matter for the following reason. Junior’s claim has two components: (1) “the idea to monitor ocean heat content as a metric of human-caused global warming”; (2) “that is far better than surface temperatures.” Unless and until we establish such metric, it’s hard to consider (2) as a valid reason for (1). Read that way, only JW3 and JW4 can help support (2).

    In other words, speculating that a future OHC will be a far better metric is not the same thing as showing it.

  275. Eli Rabett says:

    Been there, done this http://rabett.blogspot.com/2008/11/old-man-and-warming-ocean-one-of.html
    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2007/04/we-got-big-trouble-in-ocean-heat.html

    Many dead links but the humor of the situation is that Senior was all for ocean heat content being the ne plus ultra until the early Argo data was shown to have a cold bias.

    Eli is a very old bunny and it’s always Pielkes all the way down

  276. Mal Adapted says:

    Willard, you’re a helluva guy. No smiley: I’m completely sherioush.

  277. Dave_Geologist, Curious about your suggestion of a math fetish in the Atlantic paper and then whether you really believe that there is “questionable relevance to science”.

    In addition to the Vallis paper, who is an expert on ocean dynamics, there is a recent 2017 book by John Boyd called “Dynamics of the Equatorial Ocean”. This guy is a very entertaining and folksy writer and he does this while being math-intensive. In the preface he wrote this criticism:

  278. Dave_Geologist says:

    Thanks for the help dikran. Later. The cow has gone to sleep for now. Or is in hiding (as you no doubt no, -p is paranoid cow 🙂 )

  279. perhaps it is an engineering point-mass cow and is simply too small to see. Must install cowsay on my computer! ;o)

  280. Dave_Geologist says:

    Paul, I’ve nothing against maths. But the thrust of the article (at the start, and later AFAICS when I was skimming it) was about the reliance on maths and computer programs. Which is obligatory in a maths paper; otherwise why write it? And from my casual reading, problems which need a numerical proof are a big deal in maths lately, where peer review requires code-debugging rather than traditional maths skills. What I meant was that while some science papers are maths-heavy, others are not. So the premise that the traditional paper is dead

    because maths and programs

    , only applies if at all to perhaps 10% of the scientific literature. And that is not all of the academic literature. So even if the premise is true, there is a large userspace where it does not apply.

    A Brief History Of Time famously only had one equation, but Penrose wrote a book full of equations which was nevertheless a best seller. I’ve published a paper with 18 equations (and that is only numbering the last one when I’ve gone through several steps to derive it), and an entire page devoted to defining the terms in the equations. And almost as much space devoted to graphs and charts as to words. And although it’s not quite a spherical cow, everything is reduced to triangles and rectangles so there are analytical solutions (all models are wrong, some models are useful, and in this case the simple models were to explain the concept, “toy models” in climatology-speak). I even made a joke when I presented it, along the lines of “I’m in danger of turning into a geophysicist, but I’ve redeemed myself by putting corners on the spheres”.

    But even then the key charts, which most people would use in a practical application where the linearisations didn’t work, almost got published with an error. (I caught it before proof stage when applying the results to another problem. It needed a finite-difference model for which I wrote my own solver, but I made the time-steps too big because it was running it on a 7-bit computer with less memory than a modern fitness band. I fixed it by changing to a predictor-corrector solver that didn’t drift.) 30 years ago, pre-web-archives, there’s no way that the publisher would have entertained including reams of code, except in a niche journal. So the “problem” isn’t even new. It’s just a niche problem.

  281. Dave_Geologist says:

    dikran

    perhaps it is an engineering point-mass cow and is simply too small to see. Must install cowsay on my computer! ;o)

    Careful. You’ll have people proposing zero-point-energy as the solution to AGW 🙂

    Apparently cowsay is now available on Windows. Although it looks like a script for download from github, which is probably not what the average Windows user wants. Or the latest Windows 10 supports a Linux installation with native bash shell. Which is probably not what the average Windows user wants either. Come to think of it, the average Windows user probably doesn’t want cowsay anyway…

    As you probably guessed from the $, I’m running Linux. I think it’s in the basic bash shell so should be available on Unix or Mac.

    Now, what was the name of the one that put a pair of eyes in the taskbar that followed your cursor around the screen?

  282. Mal Adapted says:

    D_G:

    Paul, I’ve nothing against maths. But the thrust of the article (at the start, and later AFAICS when I was skimming it) was about the reliance on maths and computer programs. Which is obligatory in a maths paper; otherwise why write it? And from my casual reading, problems which need a numerical proof are a big deal in maths lately, where peer review requires code-debugging rather than traditional maths skills. What I meant was that while some science papers are maths-heavy, others are not.

    Although I hesitate to stir the pot ;^) (‘not really’), I’ll support D_G’s point that only modest mathematical talent/expertise is needed to grasp the ‘take-home message’ of many scientific arguments. I feel the same way about philosophy, too. I’m aware that philosophy and mathematics are the foundations of Science’s epistemic justification, but in specific cases I’m willing to rely on scientific meta-literacy and leave the details to the specialists. I save time that way, and the risk of stepping on my virtual d**k is reduced (though hardly eliminated) because I already know I’m at a disadvantage with genuine experts.

    And, having written code for scientific models amounting to 10s of thousands of lines in various procedural and object-oriented languages, I have a reasonably good idea what models signify for me. If it didn’t make ‘intuitive’ (‘right-brain’, maybe, damfino) sense to me before I start, however, my code wouldn’t survive cursory ‘second head’ inspection by way of internal peer review.

  283. Dave_Geologist says:

    Thanks dikran. It was another one, but xeyes is already installed so will do for now. Actually it’s better, the other one was tied to the taskbar. xeyes can be maximised then resized and dragged around the screen (at least on KDE). And you can change the colour of the eyes and all sorts. And the “latest” version dates from 1988 when Windows barely had a GUI. How cool is all that (or how childish – YMMV).

    Takes me back to when we were issued with a bunch of new SGI Irix workstations. Management wondered why everyone was working late. Someone had discovered they came with a flight simulator per-installed, and you could fly air combats with other machines over the local network. Until some spoilsport got it disabled. Ya gotta have a bit of fun sometimes!

  284. Dave_Geologist says:

    Willard

    Sorry sunshine, you’re not the target audience.
    That audience is changing, DaveG.

    But do you expect that (lay) target audience to read scientific papers? Or the papers to be dumbed down so they can read them? Or should the scientific papers be written for scientists to read, and accessible distillations be written by (some) scientists, or by e.g. science writers with a cross-check by scientists so they don’t screw up?

    Yes there are things scientists can do and there’s no excuse for bad writing and poor drafting. In climatology and evolution, it is a fact of life that there are bad actors out there, both amateur and professional. And motivated reasoners desperate for a straw to grasp. So by all means word papers (especially title and abstract) and press releases carefully, to avoid hostages to fortune and mis-quotable quotes. And make graphs that are comprehensible and hard to take out of context. Simple things like embedding keys in the figure and not describing them in the caption. When I was a journal editor I was told by the Chief Editor to clamp down hard on that. “The ARGO data are represented by empty blue triangles” is rude to non-English speakers and prone to typesetting errors you may not spot, as well as vulnerable to accidental or deliberate mis-labelling when only the image is copied.

    But some science-stuff is hard and will always be hard. No, the Internet has not made everyone an expert. The networks in the Atlantic article are nice, but they don’t let you Audit the proof. You have to assume good faith and competence on the part of the author and reviewers. Prettier pictures and nicer explanations won’t persuade people who’re determined to believe that the data has been faked and the analysis manipulated.

  285. Dave, If the thinking is that only around 10% of the scientific literature centers on math, then there is a big hole left to explore. I didn’t realize the number is so low.

    The advanced degrees awarded in math and computer science alone is between 10 and 20% of all STEM degrees according to NSF stats.

  286. Mal Adapted says:

    Zounds! I obtain precious few ‘oogle hits for ‘xroach linux’ in the last year. I see it’s available for debian. Has anybody tried it? I’ve got fedora, so it’s theoretically possible it will work if I build it.

  287. DG rather partial to angband and xbattle myself ;o)

    xroach!

    As an undergraduate a friend and I wrote a program that made a snail periodically work its way across the bottom of the screen, leaving a trail of slime behind (a “feature” due to getting the stencil wrong ;o), but that was for Sun-stools, so nothing to run it on now.

  288. Mal Adapted says:

    @WHUT:

    The advanced degrees awarded in math and computer science alone is between 10 and 20% of all STEM degrees according to NSF stats.

    Here’s a good one. Neither Mal nor his principal IRL are making this up: I had to take both Calculus I and Linear Algebra twice. I have a quarter-century-old MSCS from a relatively prestigious ‘continuing professionals’ program. I retired in reasonable financial security not long ago, after a long and modestly remunerative career in tech support for scientific computing. If you offer me the ‘too lazy to fail’ shoe, I’ll wear it. Yay computer science 8^D! (‘smug self-congratulation’). More I will not say, at the risk of self-doxxing.

  289. Mal Adapted says:

    dikran:

    that was for Sun-stools, so nothing to run it on now.

    Spent the first half of my career on ’em. Later Solaris had a Linux compatibility layer. The hell with all that, I’m retired ;^D (‘ecstatic gloating’).

  290. Willard says:

    Thanks, Eli. You say:

    The response was to attack the surface temperature record, via a 95 pager that apparently has been accepted by J. Geophys. Res. One wearies.

    Your link is dead, but the “R-321” is an important step in the Pielke-all-way-down. You can find it at Senior’s. Here’s how Senior & al 2007 ends:

    A major conclusion is that, as a climate metric to diagnose climate system heat changes (i.e., ‘‘global warming’’), the surface temperature trend, especially if it includes the trend in nighttime temperature, is not the most suitable climate metric. As reported by Pielke [2003], the assessment of climate heat system changes should be performed using the more robust metric of ocean heat content changes rather than surface temperature trends. If temperature trends are to be retained in order to estimate large-scale climate system heat changes (including a global average) the maximum temperature is a more appropriate metric than using the mean daily average temperature. This paper presents reasons why the surface temperature is inadequate to determine changes in the heat content of the Earth’s climate system.

    https://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/r-321.pdf

    I’m not sure how a paper that only looks at a laundry list of concerns regarding surface temps can infer anything about the robustness of OHC. Furthermore, the “robust” epithet may be the result of an evaluation made by Senior himself. As a lead author, one may suspect that he’s the one who wrote the paper’s fall. To verify that hypothesis, let’s see how NG, one of the authors of that paper, felt about the robustness of OHC vintage 2011:

    [Senior] Do you agree that the monitoring of the ocean heat content changes is a more robust way to assess the radiative imbalance of the climate system, than using the global average surface temperature trends in order to determine a so-called “climate sensitivity”?

    [NG] I agree that monitoring of ocean heat content has the potential of being a more robust way of assessing radiative imbalance. Since it’s a fairly new technology, I’d like to give it a few more years for most of the bugs to shake out, but this may be skepticism based on ignorance. On the other hand, weather is affected much more directly by ocean (and land) surface temperatures than by ocean heat content, so I prefer global surface temperature over ocean heat content as a convenient metric for how much the sensible climate has actually changed or is going to change.

    NG contributed to a paper with a fall over which he disagrees.

  291. BBD says:

    Always a pleasure watching you work, Willard.

  292. Willard says:

    > But do you expect that (lay) target audience to read scientific papers?

    Yes, I do. I expect both the lay audience to improve their reading skills, and the scientific writers to improve their writing skills. I also expect publishers to improve their editing skills.

    Witness how we sometimes have a plain-language section. Here’s the abstract of a paper that studies the phenomenon:

    Journals and other scientific organizations produce a diverse variety of plain-language summaries.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5352219/

    I expect that one day I’ll also be able to reproduce figures by clicking on an executable. I further expect that one day I’ll be able to pull the Git repository of the scientific project behind it, data and all. I even expect that one day, instead of writing silly blog posts, contrarians will issue merge requests.

    The last expectation may be a bit overoptimistic.

  293. Everett F Sargent says:

    So a couple (or three) of Hansen references …
    Global warming in the twenty-first century: An alternative scenario (August 15, 2000)
    http://www.pnas.org/content/97/18/9875

    “GHGs cause a global climate forcing, i.e., an imposed perturbation of the Earth’s energy balance with space (5). There are many competing natural and anthropogenic climate forcings, but increasing GHGs are estimated to be the largest forcing and to result in a net positive forcing, especially during the past few decades (4, 6). Evidence supporting this interpretation is provided by observed heat storage in the ocean (7), which is positive and of the magnitude of the energy imbalance estimated from climate forcings for recent decades (8).”

    “Two empirical pieces of information are consistent with our estimated net climate forcing: (i) global warming of the past century and (ii) observed heat storage in the ocean. The second of these is direct and fundamental.”

    “The remaining global warming of 0.4–0.5°C that is “in the pipeline” is consistent with the present planetary energy imbalance of 0.6 ± 0.1 W/m2 (8).”

    “The ocean is the only place that the energy from a planetary radiation imbalance can accumulate, because of the low thermal conductivity of land and the limit on ice melting implicit in the observed sea level rise (36). Thus observed ocean heat storage requires a planetary energy imbalance of the same magnitude. Analyses of global ocean data (7) reveal that ocean heat content increased by 2 × 10^23 joules between the mid-1950s and the mid-1990s. This heat storage could be a natural dynamical fluctuation. But the simplest interpretation is that the change in ocean heat content and the implied planetary energy imbalance are a reflection of the net global climate forcing. Observed heat storage between the mid-1950s and mid-1990s yields a mean heating of 0.3 W/m2 averaged over the Earth’s surface for that period (7). This finding is consistent with the ocean heat storage simulated in global climate models that use the forcings of Fig. 1; the heat storage in the models increases from near zero in the 1950s to a mean of 0.5 W/m^2 in the 1990s (8, 35). Thus observed ocean heat storage provides empirical evidence for the sign and approximate magnitude of the net climate forcing of Fig. 1.”

    The 2nd reference …
    Climate forcings in Goddard Institute for Space Studies SI2000 simulations (20 September 2002)
    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2001JD001143

    “A climate forcing, by definition, causes a planetary energy imbalance. An extended planetary energy imbalance must show up as a change of ocean heat content, because of the negligible heat conductivity of the continents and the small heat capacity of other heat reservoirs such as the atmosphere. We inferred previously [F‐C] that the Earth had attained a positive rate of heat storage of 0.5–1 W/m^2 by the middle 1990s, and we argued that the best confirmation of this planetary disequilibrium would be measurements of ocean temperature adequate to define heat storage. Recent analysis of global ocean data [Levitus et al., 2000] permits comparison of observations with the transient energy imbalance in climate scenarios.”

    “The change in the ocean heat content over the past half century is in good agreement with the climate model driven by known climate forcings. The dominant forcing and the cause of the long‐term increase in ocean heat content is the GHG forcing, as shown by Figure 2. The positive ocean heat storage, because it is so directly connected to the planetary energy balance, is probably the best confirmation of the sign of the net climate forcing that has been operating on the planet during the past half century.”

    “Observed temporal change of ocean heat content also has the potential to yield a good, perhaps the best, quantitative measure of the net global climate forcing. However, the rate of heat uptake by the ocean depends upon climate sensitivity and ocean mixing, as well as upon the net climate forcing [Hansen et al., 1984, 1985].”

    “Nevertheless, we argue that the net forcing has sufficient significance that, together with observed ocean heat storage, we can draw some conclusions about the present state of planetary energy imbalance, as discussed in section 6.2.”

    “However, if the trend of ocean heat storage is established more accurately with a longer record, and if the forcings are defined more precisely, it should be possible to narrow the uncertainty in the unrealized warming.”

    The 3rd reference …
    Climate Simulations for 1951–2050 with a Coupled Atmosphere–Ocean Model (1 September 2003)
    https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/1520-0442(2003)016%3C2807:CSFWAC%3E2.0.CO%3B2

    “This energy imbalance, or residual climate forcing, a consequence of deep ocean mixing of heat anomalies and the history of climate forcings, is a crucial measure of the state of the climate system that should be precisely monitored with full-ocean temperature measurements.”

  294. Everett F Sargent says:

    Sorry Senior (aka Professor Chaos) … sorry Junior (aka General Disarray)… but …
    Hansen Already Did It …

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

  295. Willard says:

    I think I can raise you over a decade, Sarge. From Ellis & al 1978:

    An annual variation with a range of 31 W m -• is found in the global net radiation balance of the earth. The net radiation flux values measured from satellites and the changes in total heat content computed from independent sets of atmospheric and oceanic data show annual variations which are consistent with each other in both phase and magnitude. The net energy gain and loss by the planet within a year is stored and released within the system primarily by the oceans.

    https://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/ellis-et-al-jgr-1978.pdf

    The citation comes from the exchange between Senior & NG. In that exchange, there’s also a citation to this post:

    https://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/additional-information-on-the-oceans-missing-heat-by-katsman-and-van-oldenborgh-2011/

    In that post, a correction is mentioned:

    https://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/2011-update-of-the-comparison-of-upper-ocean-heat-content-changes-with-the-giss-model-predictions/

    In that post, we can read:

    The use of the ocean heat content change as the most appropriate metric to diagnose global warming was reported in

    Levitus, S., J.I. Antonov, J. Wang, T.L. Delworth, K.W. Dixon, and A.J. Broccoli, 2001: Anthropogenic warming of Earth’s climate system. Science, 292, 267-269

    and

    Pielke Sr., R.A., 2003: Heat storage within the Earth system. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 84, 331-335.

    I think Levitus has been mentioned earlier. Also note that the long form of Ellis & al 1977 is this:

    Ellis, J. S., T. H. V. Haar, S. Levitus, and A. H. Oort (1978), The annual variation in the global heat balance of the Earth, J. Geophys. Res., 83(C4), 1958–1962, doi:10.1029/JC083iC04p01958.

    I duly submit this is checkmate, and I would suggest that Junior should have consulted with Senior before waging his war and ripping off his shirt

  296. Everett F Sargent says:

    Willard,

    I’ll still give Hansen much credit, he did the AOGCM modelling, used the OHC data, recommended further OHC efforts and was more or less 1st in verbally expressing TOA/PEI/EEI/OHC combined via numerical modelling and empirical evidence..

    Regardless of who was 1st, we have the peer reviewed history FROM THAT TIME that clearly predates RPSr (2001b/2003).

    Juniod DID consult Senior, Senior complained that he stole, hmm, err, borrowed, hmm, err, thought of an idea, taken from other people in the peer reviewed literature before him and claimed it solely for himself (well something like that fictional ‘based on true events’ .characterization).

  297. Another questionable paper: “On the influence of solar cycle lengths and carbon dioxide on global temperatures” by RJ Booth published in Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, 2018, Elsevier

    “Temperature is nearly 3 times as sensitive to solar radiation as to CO2 radiation.”
    What does that even mean?

    “∼35% of the warming during 1980–2001 was from solar variability, by 2 different analyses.”
    I don’t think so.

    How did this get through peer-review? It does include some impressive statistical significance analysis but that is for naught if the basic findings don’t pass the smell test.

  298. Everett F Sargent says:

    Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics is, or should be, notorious for accepting these types of papers (e. g. the Sun did it). There are a rather small group of these (e. g. something like Space Science). Search on Nicola Scafetta or Willie Soon or others known to be Sun Worshipers.

  299. Oxford is excited about the paper though

    “05th April 2018
    Exeter alumnus Dr Richard J Booth (1971, Mathematics) has published his first academic paper, ‘On the influence of solar cycle lengths and carbon dioxide on global temperatures’. It is published in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics and is currently available to view online here.

    https://www.exeter.ox.ac.uk/richard-j-booth-publishes-paper-influence-solar-cycle-lengths-carbon-dioxide-global-temperatures/

  300. Dave_Geologist says:

    If the thinking is that only around 10% of the scientific literature centers on math,

    Paul, that was my ball-park guess. And the 10% is not everything-that-involves-math. It’s papers which fit the Atlantic template:

    They depend on chains of computer programs that generate data, and clean up data, and plot data, and run statistical models on data. These programs tend to be both so sloppily written and so central to the results that it’s contributed to a replication crisis

    The replication crisis feeds into a common denier meme but is really only relevant to an entirely self-written program, like the one referred to in my mea culpa above.

    Is R sloppily written? Does an R function call return a different answer in different versions or different platforms, or on the same platform depending on the day of the week (other than trivial ones like nth decimal place rounding differences or random number sequencing which depends on the system library called for the low-level calculation)? Is it poorly documented? How about Matlab, SAS, SPSS and S? If they all get a pass that exempts huge chunks of papers that use applied maths or statistics from the charge, other than at the much more manageable level of dozens or hundreds of lines of R script, as opposed to tens of thousands of lines of R source code. Or in geology/biology, THERMOCALC or the various cladogram generators. All of these either have a commercial vendor working hard to keep them accurate, or are open source where many eyes make bugs shallow. If you want to argue with someone’s cladistic analysis, you don’t Audit the software. Someone who thinks that is, frankly, too ignorant to make a contribution. You debate the 30 traits which were scored and whether another 5 traits or 10 species should have been included. Just like we did with pencil and paper when I was an undergraduate. Read the discussion papers about the new placement of bird-hipped dinosaurs. The topics would have been the same 100 years ago. All about what goes into the cake, not the voltage of the oven or the design of its heating elements.

    So you’re left with papers relying on monster FORTRAN programs, which fair enough includes some climate models. But where is the evidence that they are sloppily written? Has James Somers Audited them? Or is he just going on the unsubstantiated claims of (highly fallible, as we know) Auditors? If they’re so sloppy, why don’t they explode all the time? Why do independent models agree closely? Why do they they agree with observations, despite being run on basic physics with minimum tuning wrt clouds etc. (BTW, no reservoir engineer in an oil company would get away with such minimal tuning – that’s why schedules often allow more time for history-matching than for model-building). Isn’t the empirical evidence that there is no replication crisis in climatology? Only a manufactroversy? Many of the contrarian ECS estimates, for example, fall within the IPCC’s +/- 1 S.D. range and even the outliers probably fall into the P5 – P95 range. And in some cases we expect from basic physics that the techniques used will provide minimum not central estimates. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and Somers doesn’t even present ordinary evidence. Just one anecdote, then he’s off into Wolfram territory, which may be interesting but is not the peer-reviewed science literature.

    And there are lots of descriptive papers in geology, biology etc. which have no equations and no computer programs. I’ve published some myself.

    😉

    So back to the criticising-the-critics theme. I would summarise the article as a straw-man argument (weakly*) supported by an anecdote, then a wander off into the woods of Woolfram and Mathematica and software, which from clicking his article list seems more his bailiwick anyway.

    * Weakly because its application to climatology relies on the premise that the refusal to accept the scientific literature, particularly among those who lack the skill or determination to dig into the calculations, is because the words-and-pictures bit is not compelling. Really? To me, Trenberth’s energy-balance cartoons are at least as good as the Strogatz example. And RealClimate has made an industry out of debunking climate myths using well-crafted, plain language, many with two or three degree-of-difficulty versions. And yet scepticism and denial persists. I wonder why?

  301. Dave_Geologist says:

    the surface temperature trend, especially if it includes the trend in nighttime temperature, is not the most suitable climate metric

    Why? Apart from the obvious and specious point that it shows more warming, as expected from a GHG effect. As opposed to a solar effect. Surely max day temp only makes sense if you think it’s the Sun wot dunnit? How does throwing away half the data at any one time improve a global energy balance calculation?

  302. Dave_Geologist says:

    Later Solaris had a Linux compatibility layer

    ..and the final generation of Sun workstations had x86 processors and ran native Linux.

  303. Dave,
    I think that RPS’s argument is that the boundary layer is lower at night than it is during the day. Therefore, it takes less energy to increase the temperature of this layer at night, than it does during the day. Therefore, by including the nighttime temperatures you’re biasing the global trend. My argument would be that this is real, hence should be included.

  304. Dave_Geologist says:

    because of the negligible heat conductivity of the continents

    (Hansen et al. 2001). But the conductivity of rocks is about five times that of water – should it be heat capacity? I guess what they mean to say is that the continents can only send heat deep by conduction, but the oceans and atmosphere can convect. But the heat capacity of the atmosphere is small so the only one with both high heat capacity and an efficient way of sending it deep is the oceans, so that’s where most of the energy will end up in the short-to-medium term.

    In a rigorous mood today 😉 ).

  305. Dave,
    As I think you’re suggesting, what I suspect he means is that the energy that heats the land does not penetrate very deeply and so it doesn’t take much (compared to the oceans) to heat the continents.

  306. They had 68020’s in my day – a 3M machine, one megabyte of memory, one megapixel (monochrome) screen, one MIP of processing power. And you try telling that to kids these days, …, they won’t believe ya!

    Ah, nostalgia isn’t what it used to be…

  307. Dave_Geologist says:

    …but not rigorous enough to quote the right Hansen (2000) 😦

    ATTP, boundary layer. Fair enough, but that is throwing away data that we expect to warm more, based on known physics. So any paper or blog post which dos that should explicitly state that it is an underestimate or minimum estimate. And include night-time temps as a max estimate. Better still, show in a numerical calculation that the boundary layer error is larger than the throwing-away-night-time error. And surely GCMs implicitly or explicitly take that into account? So there would be knowledge as to how important that is.

    Plus, as per NG, the surface is where we live. 24/7. And IIRC,it’s night-time temperatures that were the real killer in the recent European heatwaves – inability to cool down at night without a/c. So we should care about calibrating them. Plus what’s with the maximum temperature? Surely that’s deliberately picking a noisy data series. Shades of homeopaths and the memory of water.

  308. Steven Mosher says:

    “I expect that one day I’ll also be able to reproduce figures by clicking on an executable. I further expect that one day I’ll be able to pull the Git repository of the scientific project behind it, data and all. I even expect that one day, instead of writing silly blog posts, contrarians will issue merge requests.”

    I have been thinking of doing an Rmarkdown post for ATTP,
    Hmm I did one for some guys who needed GHCN v4 metadata,
    maybe a blogdown or notebook.

    With a blogdown your science paper becomes an executable paper.
    One thing missing is a good reliable repository for data. IPFS is a bit sketchy but
    its perfect for traceable inmmutable data.

    fast forward a few years .

    The data you use is stored all over the world, and you’ll pay pennies to store it using filecoin.
    The data you used has a hash so that everyone can verify the actual data you used.
    Your code will be open and included in an executable document. Just click and it re processes.
    Your code will run on an global compute resource ( a VM) that uses spare cycles on machines all over the world. You’ll pay for that using Golem. You can give your code away, charge to run it, anything you want.

    If you want to monetize your work, you charge microcents per view, you can split the revenue stream between multiple parties, grant people redistribution rights, donate free views to people,
    using a bitmark system.

    fast forward a few decades and you will be writing in a new language a mixture of language created and used by AI and “natural” language. Your claims will be less vague and easily checked and traced. AIs will write ‘science papers’ and make novel claims.

    something like that

  309. “Your code will run on an global compute resource ( a VM) that uses spare cycles on machines all over the world.”

    great, lets all of us re-run all those climate model ensembles to check the paper. Oh, hang on …

    This kind of reproducibility is easy and a good thing for studies that require limited processing, but not so good for those that do (if you think the API for your favorite global compute resource won’t even change, think again). I try this as much as I can (mainly using make, with MATLAB that generates the lables, numeric values and diagrams to stitch into the LaTeX source), but where it falls over is the parts that require a lot of computing power. Perhaps I could send a .zip file of the source, and tell the user to type “make” at the command line, but of what use would that be if they had to wait a couple of decades while the code runs on their machine (rather than their favorite compute resource which is not compatible with mine). Its main benefit is for me to keep a track of how things are done while I am working on it.

  310. Steven Mosher says:

    “If they’re so sloppy, why don’t they explode all the time? ”

    What makes you think they dont?

    Hmm, I’ll dig up one of the discussions at a modelling discussion where they took the time
    to explore the parameter space…… Boom!

    Oh wait super funny story.. You’ll love this 1.

    Back in the late 80s I had the pleasure of working on aircraft ( air war ) simulation. We build a model of the aircraft, run a few wars, collect the data. change the design more war, more data. One of the advances we had to model was an ESA radar. In an old style radar the array is a single flat plate that is mechanically swept. Pretty easy to model you can do a cookie cutter +- 60 degrees, or you can model the sweep back and forth and then apply the radar range equation, your radar power/gain/ , S/N, target RCS, etc etc to simulation target detection, and tracking etc.
    But with an ESA the beam is scanned electronically and the power falls off as you scan off normal
    to the array. So normal to the array you have one power and off axis you have less power. Plus the arrays ( there are more than one) are mounted in the nose to avoid detection at angles off normal.

    To make matters worse the folks who have CAd for the plane use one geometry system (NED) while flight mechanics used SEU and so you are always sitting there with three figingers out ( thumb, forefinger and middle finger) trying to remember what coordinate system you are in and what rotations you have to do to put in system into another.

    Anyway, one day they asked me do do a rendering of the 3D volume of ranage detection range. Its not a simple volume, with transparency etc ( this is the late 80s so all hand coded stuff) I had to take the the air force approved version of the ESA radar ( it had been used for about 8 years )
    and display the detection range for given radar paramters against certain threats.

    two weeks. The picture was always wrong. The radar modle output a 3D volume of Power versus azmimuth and elevation. Pretty simple stuff. But the picture was always wrong. I started to go a little bit crazy and called in two friends and we all sat there with our fingers out doing rotations..yaw picth roll? what was it again? Finally in desperation I decided to dig into the validated model of the ESA radar. Fortran.. yuk.. 60 seconds. Some clown left a sin() out of the transformation matrix.
    After informing the guy who owned the model, his repsonse was: dont tell anyone we’ve used that model for years with no problems.

    Dont ask what happened when we plowed into the models of air defense systems inthe Fulda gap.
    same kinda issue. bug that lived for years. programs never crashed. but the answers were all bogus. luckily they fit the narrative so they went un discovered until we ported the code.

    oh ya, the IRST that got “installed” upside down in a simulated aircraft.. ( coordinate system problem again) never crashed, gave bogus answers until someone asked a stupid question.

    I can go on.

  311. Dave_Geologist says:

    Hmm, I’ll dig up one of the discussions at a modelling discussion where they took the time to explore the parameter space…… Boom!

    Please do. And one where they explore a meaningful parameter space, not one where they go somewhere unrealistic just to prove it explodes safely distant from where you’re interested in, which is the sort of thing I’ve done before. For example, clearly a model which uses a simplified logarithmic CO2/warming relationship will break down when CO2 gets to the levels where that approximation is no longer valid. But that’s only relevant if you use the model in that part of the parameter space.

    Or take the simple teaching-chaos model of the logistic parabola. For part of the parameter space it’s univariant, then bifurcates, then gets highly chaotic. But these break-points are not random, and if you explore them and find you’re operating well short of the first bifurcation, no problem. Or if the bifurcation is into and out of a snowball Earth, no problem for us as we’re on a warming trend above the bifurcation point. Perhaps something to worry about in the event of a nuclear winter or an aerosol geoengineering project gone wrong.

  312. Steven Mosher says:

    “Takes me back to when we were issued with a bunch of new SGI Irix workstations. Management wondered why everyone was working late. Someone had discovered they came with a flight simulator per-installed, and you could fly air combats with other machines over the local network. Until some spoilsport got it disabled. Ya gotta have a bit of fun sometimes!”

    yes dog.
    if you knew what you were doing you could edit the source and change the parameters. So the bullets were modelled using a simple point mass equation. Get rid of the drag term and change the muzzle velocity and you had a laser. or if you were really sneaky you could rlogin to your opponents machine and execute a “mousewarp” command. This changed the sensitivity of his mouse and they would depart the aircraft.. You could change radar parameters all sorts of fun stuff if you knew what you were doing.

  313. Steven Mosher says:

    Dave_Geologist

    in the 80s there were 3 basic business for the machines: Image processing ( medical);
    Oil and gas; and Simulation ( flight)

    I will assume that if you used an Irix that you must have been in Oil and gas Viz.

    Are you aware of the field of study of the ‘founder of reproducable research”

    https://www.amazon.com/Fundamentals-Geophysical-Data-Processing-Applications/dp/0865423059

    You should read him

  314. Dave_Geologist says:

    SM

    bug that lived for years. programs never crashed. but the answers were all bogus. luckily they fit the narrative so they went un discovered until we ported the code.

    Just as well then that the climate system has independent constraints that tell us when a program is doing something stupid. Their version of The picture was always wrong. Simple physics models which don’t rely on millions of lines of code, basic correlations, assorted measurement, palaeo evidence. We know the lo-ball ECS estimates are wrong not because they conflict with a CMIP5 model, but because they conflict with a 150-year mountain of evidence. And because they can’t explain the Ice Age without magic or special pleading. The mountain of physics evidence doesn’t rule out scary-high ECS, but the palaeo record does, at least for more than about double the IPCC range. We only have one realisation of Experiment Earth, but that’s enough to know it didn’t boil the oceans, and when it froze them, there was a way out.

    There was some discussion recently about a Potsdam model which was run but not published because it has a crazy-high ECS, rejected for just those sort of reasons. Although I suspect we’ll find that it was a parameterisation issue, not a software bug.

  315. zebra says:

    Dave-G,

    “Just as well then that the climate system has independent constraints that tell us when a program is doing something stupid.”

    Kind of like, you know, a narrative?

    Physics needs both– the physical model (narrative) that let’s us draw qualitative and first-approximation conclusions, and the mathematical models that yield quantitative results of higher precision.

    It might be more difficult to relate the two when there is no closed-form solution, though.

  316. “I have been thinking of doing an Rmarkdown post for ATTP”

    “welcome to the club.
    now buidl something”

  317. Dave_Geologist says:

    SM

    Are you aware of the field of study of the ‘founder of reproducable eesearch

    Yep. Just because some research is reproducible, doesn’t mean all research is irreproducible. Just because some software is buggy, doesn’t mean all software is buggy. Just because some buggy software blows up, doesn’t mean all buggy software blows up. Just because all models are wrong, doesn’t mean no models are useful. Just because a retired mining executive was right once (about something pretty trivial), doesn’t mean he wasn’t wrong a lot, about some things non-trivial.

    And just because someone works in my field, I don’t assume he’s got it right every time in that field (although being distinguished and much-awarded by his peers is a strong positive sign, so presumably you kneel in admiration of Hansen and Mann). Or that he can jump into another field and overturn convention (otherwise I’d be cheerleading Plimer).

    Consider Venn Diagrams.

    Claerbout: Actually according to Wiki, Boyle (of Boyle’s Law) has a few centuries priority when it comes to reproducible research. But has Claerbout anything to say about climate models? Not AFAIK.

    He was one of the first scientists to emphasize that computational methods threaten the reproducibility of research unless open access is provided to both the data and the software underlying a publication

    Fully agree. Note threaten does not mean everything is wrong. Just that it is harder to spot when something is wrong. Now if only all those right-wing governments around the world would stop telling their Met Offices to treat their raw data as trade secrets in order to pay for themselves by making a profit on their commercial work. What do they think they’re doing, anyone would think they’re in league with commies and hippies, hiding that data which just needs the right touch from a Seeker After Truth. 🙂

    I did find REPRODUCIBLE COMPUTATIONAL RESEARCH. Interesting. recognised some other names. Even worked with a couple. But that’s not the kind of reproducibility most people talk about in science. I’d call it replication and reliability. You run the same data and get the same answer. In fact, I’d call most of what’s on that page software engineering, not science. Not being disparaging, just drawing a distinction between research and implementation.

    Not at all the same sort of reproducibility that plagues biomedical research and is alleged for climate research (other than by those who commit the Auditor Error). Claerbout’s is of the same-data, same-software, same-answer (or not) variety. The biomedical problem is different-data, same-software, different-answer. IOW the generalisability of uncontrolled experiments vs. the replicability of controlled experiments.

  318. My suggestion that the 10% reliance of math or software in scientific study is a low-ball estimate is borne out by the number of anecdotes I am reading here.

    Yet, it’s probably true that earth sciences consists of more of the pure model narrative along the lines of “just-so stories” than you will find in, say, electrical engineering research papers.

  319. Willard says:

    > I would summarise the article as a straw-man argument (weakly*) supported by an anecdote

    Try this other anecdote:

    I stopped using Mathematica and gave up on notebooks, so it was only recently that I discovered how easy it is to use the Jupyter notebook to as a front end for Python libraries. It offers the best REPL I’ve ever used. It does a better job of delivering what Theodore Gray had in mind when he designed the Mathematica notebook. It lets me get quick feedback, via text or graphics, about what happens when I select a line of code and run it.

    Python libraries let me replicate everything I wanted to do with Mathematica: Matplotlib for graphics, SymPy for symbolic math, NumPy and SciPy for numerical calculations, Pandas for data, and NLTK for natural language processing. Jupyter makes it easy to use Latex to display typeset math. With Matplotlib, Latex works even in the label text for graphs. (I have not yet tried the major update, JupyterLab, which is still in beta testing.)

    I’m more productive. I’m having fun. On both counts, it helps to be able to get an honest answer when I have a question.

    https://paulromer.net/jupyter-mathematica-and-the-future-of-the-research-paper/

    Incredulity seldom stops free software.

  320. Mal Adapted says:

    @WHUT:

    it’s probably true that earth sciences consists of more of the pure model narrative along the lines of “just-so stories” than you will find in, say, electrical engineering research papers.

    Well, if you consider that all earthly natural phenomena have ultimate causes stretching back past the birth of the solar system, the first challenge for all Earth Sciences is to puzzle out a satisfactory historical narrative for their subsystem. Once that’s done you can start delving (heh) into cause and effect, but it soon gets complicated. Not like with electrical engineering, in which there’s a much more limited scope, causes and effects are well understood, and you’ve set out to tell a predictable future narrative.

  321. Mal Adapted says:

    Bummer 8 ^(! (‘dismay’). When I Google™ “age of the earth” between double-quotes, the first hit is biblicalscienceinstitute.com.

  322. Dave_Geologist says:

    My suggestion that the 10% reliance of math or software in scientific study is a low-ball estimate is borne out by the number of anecdotes I am reading here.

    Paul, my 10% was for untestable maths or programs (oops, there’s me straw-manning Somers now) 😦

    Lots of publications use maths at the level where a reader or reviewer is perfectly capable of working through everything just from the printed page. I don’t count that in the 10%. In the mea culpa example I gave, all the important conceptual stuff was no more difficult than the problems in a maths textbook (presuming the right level of textbook). The only bit that was opaque was the numerical integration. At the time, the only journal that would have published the code (that I was aware of) was Computers and Geosciences. Nowadays I’d probably have put the code online. It wouldn’t have been hard to read, it was slow because it had to loop a zillion times.

    Now, you could say there’s a whole bunch of stuff behind the scenes which relies on opaque code. For example, I did some analysis for my PhD which started out with wavelength-dispersive spectrometers and moved onto energy-dispersive spectrometers (effectively photomultipliers). So from something Bragg would have been familiar with and could have tested by hand, to a black box feeding a computer program feeding a CRT and a dot-matrix printer. With all types of potential new sources of error like a live-time counter that stops the clock while the SSD resets itself and gets ready for the next photon. It felt really uncomfortable looking at my watch and wondering why a nominal 100 seconds live-time was sometimes 100 and sometimes 120. After a while I stopped looking at my watch 😉 .

    Most modern lab kit is like that nowadays. But you don’t manage that by taking it apart and recompiling the control software. You manage it by periodically running standards through the system and checking that it’s still in spec.

  323. Willard says:

    > Most modern lab kit is like that nowadays.

    Consider the possibility that we could be in a lab right now.

    Imagine the man hours we could mobilize.

    All the contrarian energy that could be tapped for Sound Science ™.

    After that, all we’d need are keyboard turbines and we’d be fossil free.

  324. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    > Most modern lab kit is like that nowadays.

    There is a fine line between measuring and modelling.
    A simple thin lens will generate 2-D Fourier transforms at the speed of light.
    Ones and zeros moving around inside black boxes may be cool above a sampling rate that satisfies the Nyquist sampling criterion.
    But sometimes, there is no processor and no code that can, even in principle, match old-school analog.
    There’s hardware and there’s software, and then there’s wet-ware.

  325. I do see where earth sciences requires narrative models but my interest is in the application of computational math so that slants my perspective. Having worked on GPS calibration and leap second adjustments, one realizes how much you can do with second-order adjustments in the orbital calculations and in signal propagation to improve the precision. That’s a place where the earth sciences intersects with engineering physics. In the stuff I am working on now, that’s what I am trying to rationalize, and perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised by the amount of computational precision required.

  326. Mal Adapted says:

    D_G:

    ..and the final generation of Sun workstations had x86 processors and ran native Linux.

    Yep. Thus, even if they did design their own systems, Sun Microsystems, Inc. found they had nothing to sell that other commodity hardware vendors weren’t already selling, and got folded into Oracle, which sells support for its own branded Linux running the company’s DBMS products. Lo, how the mighty have fallen.

  327. Dave_Geologist says:

    Lo, how the mighty have fallen.

    Indeed. Guess what we bought next? Dells. Then more Dells after three years when the warranty ran out. The company wasn’t prepared to run them out of warranty and sold them at near scrap value. But they were cheap to buy so what’s the problem?

  328. It’s so hard to resist correcting this narrative into a mathematical model.

    The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse said:
    “A simple thin lens will generate 2-D Fourier transforms at the speed of light.”

    That’s not really correct. What generates the Fourier transform is the diffraction or interference of the light interacting with the structure of interest. All the lens is doing is collimating the light so the wavevector doesn’t require a spherical deconvolution. Also need a monochromatic light source.

    And it’s not really Fourier transform — unless the detector can capture the phase information the result will be a power spectrum.

    Change the narrative into the mathematical diffraction equations and the ambiguity disappears.

  329. zebra says:

    Paul Pukite,

    “the ambiguity disappears”

    Or perhaps you are engaging in a kind of transform, from a narrative, to the mathematical model, and then back to a narrative?

  330. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    Paul,
    Yes, of course – Corrections accepted.

  331. Mal Adapted says:

    Very Rev.:

    But sometimes, there is no processor and no code that can, even in principle, match old-school analog.
    There’s hardware and there’s software, and then there’s wet-ware.

    Speaking of ‘wet-ware’, I recall a Meteorology 101 lecture 40 years ago, in which the observation was made “a sufficiently accurate model of a thunderstorm would feel like the real thing to us.” To my knowledge, highly simplified real-time simulations of short-term severe weather events, complete with palpable wind and water, are within current technological capability.

    A sufficiently detailed model of global climate might make accurate projections of the future, but only in real time ;^) (‘what a silly idea’).

  332. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    A sufficiently detailed model of global climate might make accurate projections of the future, but only in real time…

    We’ve already got one. It’s very nice. It’s called the Earth. 😉

  333. Willard says:

  334. Dave_Geologist says:

    Willard

    Consider the possibility that we could be in a lab right now.

    Imagine the man hours we could mobilize.

    Mouse hours surely. The man-hours are just CPU cycles. And the woman-hours are just multiprocessor CPU cycles. #HHGG

  335. lerpo says:

    “What about arguing that the onus is on Peterson to be more careful in what he presents, not on his critics to engage in some reasonable and charitable way?”

    XKCD has noticed: https://xkcd.com/1984/

  336. Pingback: Dark webs | …and Then There's Physics

  337. 8ampickles says:

    “Knowledge arises from criticism”
    I believe that criticism helps you improve your opinion/position. Constructive criticism is crucial and I always tell myself to appreciate it…

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