Between conflation and denial

I’m on my way back from Cambridge, where I had a very pleasant evening with our Stoatness. I also happened to have a look at Climate etc., where Judith is promoting a new paper by Peter Tangney, a Lecturer at Flinders University (you can download a copy from here). I should disclose that I exchanged a few emails with the author a couple of years ago. It didn’t end well.

The paper is about the politics of expertise in Australia and Judith thinks it hits the sweet spot and provides some insights into the climate wars. I think it’s somewhat confused, remarkably ironic, and mostly an exercise in savaging strawpeople. It’s full of accusations that scientists are engaging in deficit model thinking, and – of course – has a pop at consensus messaging.

The basic argument seems to revolve around scientists not engaging effectively with policy-making, and – of course – being responsible for the conflict within the climate debate. For example, it says

[i]f climate scientists are to effectively engage in policymaking, I argue, they should reconcile their conflicting political advocacy for and valid instrumental uses of climate science. A renewed focus upon adaptation science would help avoid accusations of scientists’ ‘stealth issue advocacy’ (Pielke 2007) and allow other experts to usefully inform and frame climate-related policies in ways more likely to garner sustainable bipartisan support.

The whole paper seems to be full of suggestions that scientists are not using climate science properly (who gets to decide this?), that their communication strategies are hampering the possibility of bipartisan support (consensus messaging), that they’re engaging in advocacy (stealth or otherwise), and that what they’re advocacting for is not going to be effective (they should focus more on adaptation).

The paper is rather long, so there’s only so much I can highlight. I thought I would highlight a few things that might be instructive for those who’ve followed the public climate debate. One issue that is highlighted is

[t]he trials of once-well-regarded Professors Judith Curry and Roger Pielke Jr. [which] provide useful demonstration from the US of how such heretical notions have been received by the climate science community at large

Both professors, it should be noted, committed relatively minor offences in their pursuit of scientific truth.

The evidence he provides for this are (yes, you guessed it) articles by Judith Curry and Roger Pielke Jr. Roger’s situation is quite complicated, but Judith is mostly citicised for questioning mainstream climate science without providing any viable alternatives.

The paper also argues that

[a]lthough scientists might wish to be considered apolitical agents for the promotion of objective knowledge and revealed moral truths concerning climate change risks, sceptics argue that undue emphasis upon consensus makes scientists vulnerable to epistemologically significant claims that they are no longer performing as a scientifically-healthy community. This point has been made by Ridley…

Firstly, any undue emphasis on consensus is because the evidence has allowed a strong consensus to develop, not because people feel that they need to be consistent with one that has been imposed upon them. Also, yes, it’s that Ridley. Someone who purports to be a serious academic thinks that articles by Matt Ridley potentially highlight real problems within the climate science community?

As far as I can tell, this article is written by someone who clearly does not understand the basics of climate science, appears to have spent little time communicating with actual scientists, and writes about how scientists can suffer from confirmation bias without considering that their own selective use of sources might indicate a bit of a problem on their side.

Why do people who write this kind of stuff never seem willing to consider that the reason scientists aren’t adapting their communication strategies is because they don’t know how to do so while also ensuring that what they communicate is consistent with the available evidence? If our goal was simply to develop something that we could call climate policy, then it would probably be quite easy to adapt our messaging so that there was stronger bipartisan support. On the other hand, if our goal is to develop something that will actually effectively address climate change, then this is likely to be considerably more difficult.

Links:
Between conflation and denial – the politics of climate expertise in Australia (by Peter Tangney)

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339 Responses to Between conflation and denial

  1. Willard says:

  2. John says:

    Reblogged this on jpratt27 and commented:
    Scientists are caught between a rock and a hard place, when politicians aren’t interested in facts.

  3. dikranmarsupial says:

    “that their communication strategies are hampering the possibility of bipartisan support (consensus messaging)”

    I suspect I have said this before, but if a true fact is divisive, the problem doesn’t lie with the party presenting it.

  4. Dikran,
    Yes, I feel the same. If someone’s argument involves encouraging people not to highlight something that it true, then maybe they should rethink their argument?

  5. dikranmarsupial says:

    Yes, especially given that anti-consensus messaging is recognised as an effective strategy for the skeptics (c.f. Luntz memo”). Seems to me somewhat asymmetrical.

  6. My recent favorite on science communication is this (Susan Jay Hassol teamed up with Mike Mann recently). Even though it’s rather TED-y.

  7. Jon Kirwan says:

    Your blog sentence, “Firstly, any undue emphasis on consensus is because the evidence has allowed a strong consensus to develop, not because people feel that they need to be consistent with one that has been imposed upon them,” is well-said.

    In all my almost five decades now of working with physical scientists in developing measurement instrumentation, I can’t recall them “going along to get along.” Quite the opposite, if anything. My experience as a working engineer tells me that scientists can be pretty brutal about challenging each other (and me.) And I’m very glad for that. None of the scientists I worked with first hand did anything I interpreted as coming out of a desire to “be consistent” with externally imposed views.

    Sure, if they knew facts and how those facts develop from more prosaic facts as part of a comprehensive view, they would say so quickly and bluntly. But that’s more about what has been very well established and is being used as a valid foundation for observing some novel situation and removing known effects in order to get down to the residuals yet to be explained. And as you say, it takes time for those residuals, and various alternative ideas about how to explain them, to develop and be tested for their strengths and weaknesses.

    So one must have patience and allow time for consensus to arrive. But consensus is posterior, not anterior.

    I just don’t believe the accusation that physical scientists (none that I’ve known, surely) feel a need tow some “line.” ‘Going along to get along’ is no way to make a name for one’s self in science! And challenges to existing explanations are made regularly and are an important part of how science advances. Even well-known science fact will find itself under immediate challenge when new observations, interpreted in the light of even more prosaic facts, arrive. The most recent one I just read about, only one of thousands such that I read about each year, would be: https://phys.org/news/2018-12-discovery-complicates-efforts-universe-expansion.html .

  8. It was the UNFCCC (a political entity set up in 1992 under international treaty) that made a request of the IPCC (setup in 1988 by the WMO and UNEP) to provide a report on 1.5C (compared to 2C). It is the UK’s Committee on Climate Change – a statutory body set up under the Climate Change Act (2008) – that calls on scientific expertise to help it in advising the Uk Government. I see lots of product engagement of scientists and policy-makers.

    Maybe that is what irritates those who do not want progress, or who feign acceptance of evidence but act in a way that belies genuine acceptance #BadFaithActors

    For those of use that take the risks seriously, the issue is not scientists failing to engage, but politicians failing to act with sufficient urgency.

  9. Joshua says:

    Dikran –

    I suspect I have said this before, but if a true fact is divisive, the problem doesn’t lie with the party presenting it.

    From a practical standpoint, I don’t agree. I don’t think that the argument that consensus messaging explains “skepticism” (or detracts from bipartisan progress) holds water. It looks like argument by assertion to me, and isn’t ever (that i can tell) supported by evidence. But if I’m wrong, and it does produce such results, then the problem is a shared one, IMO. I think people should evaluate the effectiveness of their strategies, and respond accordingly. That might mean that you continue with a counterproductive strategy regardless, but it doesn’t mean that the “problem,” (i.e., a lack of policy progress) as it were, isn’t shared, IMO.

  10. Joshua,
    I don’t think that Dikran was suggesting that consensus messaging explains skepticism. I think he was simply suggesting that if there is some problem associated with presenting things that are true, the problem doesn’t lie with those presenting these truths. That doesn’t mean that presenting these truths explains some problem, simply that the solution is not (in my view, at least) to avoid presenting these truths (although, there may be optimal ways to do so).

  11. Joshua says:

    Both professors, it should be noted, committed relatively minor offences in their pursuit of scientific truth.

    I used to have some questions about whether Judith might ever have some biases in her “pursuit of scientific truth .” After all, all scientists are, at least to some degree, influenced by their individual experiences and values.

    But then I saw Judith explain that she considers herself to be unbiased (or at least less biased than others), and so I realized I was wrong and there should be no reason for concern.

  12. Jon Kirwan,
    I realise I should probably have left the word undue out of that first sentence.

  13. Joshua says:

    Anders. –

    don’t think that Dikran was suggesting that consensus messaging explains skepticism.

    I wasn’t clear. I didn’t think thst he thought that.

    We often see thst argument made by critics of consensus–messaging, but e confirming evidence is never actually presented. People like Judith and the author in question simply believe it to be true, IMO, because it fits their own narrative.

    But my point was that if it is true, and consensus-messaging causes blowback from people who would potentially be reachable otherwise, then the problem is shared. People may choose to continue with that approach anyway, because they think that political expediency shouldn’t deter people from informing the public of fact – but that doesn’t mean thst the problem is owned only by those who are pushed away by information they don’t like for one reason or another. The “problem” would be shared, IMO.

  14. Joshua,

    But my point was that if it is true, and consensus-messaging causes blowback from people who would potentially be reachable otherwise, then the problem is shared.

    The problem is probably shared, but my own view (which I hold for no other reason than I can) is that if there is some problem with promoting things that are true, then that is not an argument for not doing so. Having said that, if there were a way to communicate that would be more effective, and avoided highlighting that truth, without having to present something that was not consistent with the evidence, that would be fine. In fact, in my view the focus on consensus messaging isn’t necessarily as high as some people imply. There is plenty of information that doesn’t rely on highlighting the level of consensus. My impression is that some people regard presenting a position that is consistemt with the evidence as being a form of consensus messaging.

  15. I am a grandfather now twice over. My daughter shares stories of parents with different problems they have faced or are facing during pregnancy and early years, and the various forms of ‘advice’ they receive. As far as we can tell, parents are all – without exception – huge fans of learning more, namely, they believe the deficit model argument (more facts don’t work) is bollocks.

    Those concerned about the fever planet Earth is facing seem to share the same relfex; enter the scientists. All doing their thing and mostly being heard.

    A small minority of parents and minority of citizens seem to prefer to consult the likes of self-anointed experts [Mod: Judith Curry and Matt Ridley] (oh no, we’re not the experts, but we are the experts in selecting the experts!). These relatives are highly critical of bloody experts who are pushing echo chamber solutions like breast feeding.

    I can see why many climate scientists I admire talk about the deficit model – and say we must focus on values because facts don’t work (although interestingly, this cri de coeur is often immediately followed by an exposition on the science!).

    The deficit model argument is of course true if it means that you’ll never convince Matt Ridely, Donald Trump, et al. of the need for urgent action. But if it is your neighbour, an old friend, a colleague from work, or a member of a society you belong to, … then they, like new parents, are absolutely interested in facts. They are 99% of the communcation challenge. Let’s stop trying to convince Matt and Judy, or defining our communication norms in terms that they define.

    In this way, I believe the whole deficit model argument is utter BS.

  16. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    The problem is probably shared, but my own view (which I hold for no other reason than I can) is that if there is some problem with promoting things that are true, then that is not an argument for not doing so.

    I think it is an argument. As to whether it’s a good argument is, IMO, context specific: It depends, largely on your goals and the quality of the evidence you have as to what is the impact of promoting what is true.

    My impression is that some people regard presenting a position that is consistemt with the evidence as being a form of consensus messaging.

    Could be…that’s a convenient conflation for “skeptics” to make. But I do think that’s a separate issue.

  17. Joshua says:

    Richard –

    But if it is your neighbour, an old friend, a colleague from work, or a member of a society you belong to, … then they, like new parents, are absolutely interested in facts.

    There’s a problem in that in a highly polarized context, people are likely to filter facts so as to confirm identity-oriented biases. I don’t think the context you referenced is really a good parallel for drawing lessons – as it isn’t a polarized context.

  18. dpy6629 says:

    I see here, ATTP, a very black and white view about “presenting the truth.” As every doctor knows there are more and less effective ways of presenting “the truth” which is always a very complex balance of different and often contradictory “truths” and fraught with uncertainty, especially concerning treatments for disease.

    Another part of the problem here is that like with vitamin supplements and most other medical and dietary issues, there are differences of opinion (or at least should be). It is always more effective to present those differences of opinion (honestly and directly) and let the patient decide.

    But that the whole point. Honest differences of opinion are not consistent with consensus messaging.

  19. Dpy,
    You don’t understand consensus messaging.

  20. Joshua,
    I was more presenting a view than an argument. I just have a problem with an argument that revolves around avoiding highlighting things that are true.

  21. Joshua says:

    I just have a problem with an argument that revolves around avoiding highlighting things that are true.

    Ok. I just think it’s a bit complicated.

  22. Joshua,
    I didn’t say it was simple 🙂

  23. Joshua says:

    David –

    As every doctor knows there are more and less effective ways of presenting “the truth” which is always a very complex balance of different and often contradictory “truths” and fraught with uncertainty, especially concerning treatments for disease.

    That is one context I was thinking of when I wrote my comments above.

    Honest differences of opinion are not consistent with consensus messaging.

    Why? I don’t see why that would be true, at all.

  24. dpy6629 says:

    Joshua, Perhaps we agree on this.

    Usually the “truth” contains a lot of uncertainty, especially when it involves predicting the future centuries in advance. Also, the “consensus” even if honestly presented is almost always quite ambiguous and to the extent it is not, it can be a warning signal that there is something wrong, i.e., the recent Resplandy paper and its dramatic errors in understating uncertainty.

    I suppose consensus messaging could be done well by an elder statesman in a field who had balanced views. It can’t be done by a bunch of youngsters from Australia using badly flawed methods.

  25. dpy,
    I take it, balanced views means views you agree with (and, those “youngsters” weren’t all that young).

  26. Joshua says:

    IAlso, the “consensus” even if honestly presented is almost always quite ambiguous and to the extent it is not, it can be a warning signal that there is something wrong, i.e., the recent Resplandy paper and its dramatic errors in understating uncertainty.

    That looks like an overstatement to me. Sometimes issues are simplified and a prevalence of expert opinion is conveyed, because doing so is considered beneficial. For example, there might be variations in how different doctors feel a specific type of operation to correct a particular condition might be conducted, and even about he efficacy of the various methods, even if they agree that the condition should be treated by an operation.

    i.e., the recent Resplandy paper and its dramatic errors in understating uncertainty

    You should be more careful, IMO, about how you extrapolate from specific examples. The first step, IMO, should be to evaluate your own potential biases in how you select examples. You need to check for representativeness, as a first step.

    I suppose consensus messaging could be done well by an elder statesman in a field who had balanced views.

    This is waaay to broad to be of much use, IMO. The effectivness of consensus messaging is dependent on a wide variety of factors. The condition of being done by an “elder statesman” seems to me to be a rather odd criterion to pick out among the many potential relevant criteria. For example, all kinds of people might react to any given “elder statesman” in any variety of ways in any particular context. Maybe you could explain why you picked that one out?

    It can’t be done by a bunch of youngsters from Australia using badly flawed methods.

    See what I said above about selecting your examples. If you’re trying to discuss general issues, cherry picking examples -in a manner that just so happens to apply to a context where you have a very partisan perspective – doesn’t seem like a very good heuristic, IMO.

  27. dpy6629 says:

    No ATTP, balanced views means knowing all the sides of the argument and all the pitfalls and ambiguities. There will always be disagreements, but in my experience, only senior people have generally balanced views. Perhaps a discussion format with senior people with different views would be good.

    So for example, if you have severe lower back pain, the physician should present a very complex reality, because there are not really good treatments and half of these patients get better with a placebo. A physician in his 30’s who comes in with his sure fire surgical intervention is not going to be a good physician.

    Unless you lead a sheltered existence, most interesting people who you can learn from argue with you about things and its that tension that leads to process and new thinking.

  28. dpy,
    I think you’re confusing the consensus view (which can exist even amongst doctors) with the options available, given that consensus view. The consensus doesn’t necessarily define what we should do, it simply highlights a level of agreement about an aspect of the topic.

  29. JCH says:

    Would not the original Resplandy paper be anti-consensus. Now it appears supportive of the consensus.

  30. dpy6629 says:

    JCH, It was just sloppy and very full of fundamental errors. Even the corrected paper seems to me to not tell us anything because the error bands are so broad.

  31. dpy6629 says:

    Joshua, i can’t tell if you are agreeing with my general points and adding minor caveats or if we broadly agree.

  32. Joshua says:

    JCH –

    All depends on how you define “consensus,” a term which in this context, like so many other terms like “skeptic, ” “lukewarmer,” and “alarmist” are generally inkblots/tools used to advance rhetorical goals.

  33. Steven Mosher says:

    Consensus messaging.

    The problem is the consensus argument is rarely presented as “just a fact”. All facts are presented in frames and frames control the meaning of the fact. Facts have no meaning.

    The toxic frame for the consensus fact is the frame in which the contrarian is told, in effect,
    “You should believe this because it’s the consensus view. And further, your refusal to believe
    it is a sign of some sort of mental defect, or moral defect. So there! evil denier”

    The “factual” frame is something more like this
    AGW: The science says c02 causes warming ( hiding the agency of scientists)
    Cont: But Happer, But Dyson, But Ned.
    AGW: Yes, a few guys ( slip in an emeritus slam) are outside the mainstream
    Cont: There is no agreement
    AGW: actually a large number around 97% agree. There is a consensus.
    Cont: But Galileo!

    Now, even in the second frame, “consensus is just a fact”, it doesn get used as just a fact:
    “Hey the sky is blue!”

    The second problem with the “it’s just a fact” is that it is a squishy fact.
    Yes yes in the accounting of consensus a particular set of claims are said to be consensus claims.
    Its warming. Its our c02, and it will be dangerous. But in the feild, folks tend to use “there’s a
    consensus” to support positions on which there is no factual basis ( count of papers, polls ect)
    to support them claiming a consensus.

    Lastly I dont know how one avoids the consensus argument!. Take Exo Planets. I read ATTPs stuff. I have no clue how to do the work myself. If he showed me his methods or code I have no way of seeing if it correct or not. The overall structure of his arguments make sense. No single claim he makes strikes me as “out of this world”, he seems like a reasonable, transparent guy. I see the rest of the community accepts him. Seems like he is doing the best science. I trust him. For utterly “unscientific” reasons I accept his science. My only other option is to suspend judgement and say, I have to check the work myself. But I’m not willing to do that work. EXo planets dont mean enough to me to check the work. The downside to trusting ATTP and being wrong are slight. I’d say 99% perceent of the science I know, I “know” from reading and merely trusting and not from
    checking the work myself. It couldnt be any other way. I have no issue with this because pragmatism.

    This means I will be accepting Einstein without having the ability to re do his work from scratch or without having the ability to do some experimental test myself, like chasing some exclipse. I will use my phone today and its GPS, trusting the position ( which relies on him being correct) because the consensus of scientists and engineers say so, because trusting it has worked, because I derive personal benefit by trusting, because no one to date has found anything substantially wrong with it. How to put this boldly, the vast majority of all the science the public believes in it believes in for very pragmatic reasons. Challenging science is a no win because we derive benefit from believing in it. It works. In materials science, in chemistry, in astronomy, in biology we are all content to rely on what “scientists say”, or what “the science says”. The pain of denial can be quick and sharp, and the benefits of acceptence many. Or maybe its a “dont really care” Exoplanets, cool work, really amazing we can do this. I support it 100%, but not high on my survival needs.

    You might say that climate science exposes the fact that the vast majority of us accept the vast majority of science based on purely pragmatic, social, reasons. The science says. Which is just a cleverer way of hiding the consensus argument. And rejecting climate science consensus is easy and straightforward: play the scientific method card, explain why you cant trust particular scientists,
    There is no pain in denying it, there is no benefit to accepting it. It means nothing in my daily life. Reject, because I can.

    Of course people can try to make others feel some sort pain by labelling them deniers or crazy.
    And of course contrarians want the consensus argument off the table, precisely because refusing to accept the consensus in this one particular area makes them look, well, crazy.

  34. Jon Kirwan says: “In all my almost five decades now of working with physical scientists in developing measurement instrumentation, I can’t recall them “going along to get along.” Quite the opposite, if anything. My experience as a working engineer tells me that scientists can be pretty brutal about challenging each other (and me.) And I’m very glad for that. None of the scientists I worked with first hand did anything I interpreted as coming out of a desire to “be consistent” with externally imposed views. …
    I just don’t believe the accusation that physical scientists (none that I’ve known, surely) feel a need tow some “line.” ‘Going along to get along’ is no way to make a name for one’s self in science!

    Fill in the blank:

    If you feel it is natural for scientists to be authoritarians, to disregard the evidence and to submit to power you may be an ………….

  35. angech says:

    Well said Steven, agree with all your points[ouch].
    “And of course contrarians want the consensus argument off the table, precisely because refusing to accept the consensus in this one particular area makes them look, well, crazy.”
    Contrarians/skeptics overlap but are different.
    The consensus is very interesting, “a particular set of claims are said to be consensus claims.”
    Worse the definition varies so much. There is no real consensus on the consensus that I have ever found stated here.
    “Its warming. Its our c02, and it will be dangerous” is a disingenuous device is it not?
    true, “‘true” and a matter of opinion. unsubstantiated but certainly very true according to “consensus”.
    Nonetheless that is your belief and what motivates you so go with it.

  36. Joshua says:

    The toxic frame for the consensus fact is the frame in which the contrarian is told, in effect,

    You’re off on the wrong foot.

    The point isn’t what a “contrarian” is told, because it doesn’t matter what a contrarian is told; her mind is made up.

    What matters is the impact on a pursuadable.im skeptical about the arguments in bith sides, but let’s stop chasing down red herrings.

  37. Joshua says:

    Lastly I dont know how one avoids the consensus argument!. Take Exo Planets. I read ATTPs stuff. I have no clue how to do the work myself. If he showed me his methods or code I have no way of seeing if it correct or not. The overall structure of his arguments make sense. No single claim he makes strikes me as “out of this world”, he seems like a reasonable, transparent guy. I see the rest of the community accepts him. Seems like he is doing the best science. I trust him. For utterly “unscientific” reasons I accept his science. My only other option is to suspend judgement and say, I have to check the work myself. But I’m not willing to do that work. EXo planets dont mean enough to me to check the work. The downside to trusting ATTP and being wrong are slight. I’d say 99% perceent of the science I know, I “know” from reading and merely trusting and not from
    checking the work myself. It couldnt be any other way. I have no issue with this because pragmatism.

    Is not about you. You are an outlier. Extrapolating from yourself isn’t instructive.

  38. Steven Mosher says:

    You’re off on the wrong foot.

    The point isn’t what a “contrarian” is told, because it doesn’t matter what a contrarian is told; her mind is made up.

    ###############

    I am not so certain that it doesnt matter what they are told.

    1. ) skeptical people ( undecideds) watch. They watch you demonize people, they form
    a judgement of both sides.
    2) a some point in the future these folks will be required to “pay” some sort of sacrifice
    to pay for climate change. I’d avoid poking them with a stick so that they pay peacefully
    when the time comes..
    3) Not so sure you accept cosequentialist ethics in all circumstances.. do you?

    My larger point is this.

    A) the toxic frame exists
    B) the Factual frame, isnt merely factual, and can turn into the toxic frame.
    C) we cant merely avoid the consensus issue.

  39. Willard says:

    > the Factual frame, isnt merely factual, and can turn into the toxic frame

    More importantly, it can be turned into a toxic frame. By those who harp about its toxicity, for starters. Good ol’ well poisoning.

    If that’s correct, then anything can be toxic. Anything. Absolutely anything:

  40. Joshua says:

    A) the toxic frame exists
    B) the Factual frame, isnt merely factual, and can turn into the toxic frame.
    C) we cant merely avoid the consensus issue.

    I agree with that. But I think that Willard points to the key issue w/r/t those aspects. Anything can be made toxic, so worrying about what can be made toxic , and even more spending time blaming “realists” for the toxicity, IMO, seems like a distraction.

    The bottom line is that if you think the impact of consensus messaging is important, you should measure the impact. Speculating about hypotheticals and counterfactuals seems a waste of time, IMO.

  41. dpy6629 says:

    ATTP, The problem here is that in medicine many if not most issues don’t have a firm “consensus” because the evidence is ambiguous or the “consensus” is quite vague and uninformative. There is also a tangle of interests and prejudices among practitioners. The real problems come from false studies (perhaps half) that get promoted in the media as “scientific.” Or if a consensus exists, its too general to give much practical information. Human beings are tremendously variable, and the individual consequences of any given treatment can only be stated in probabilistic terms.

    And of course, there are fundamental errors that take on “consensus” status such as the dietary fat mistake. There is also a fundamental conflict between communicating a “consensus” and trying to motivate science to clean up its act. As painful as it may be, cleaning up your act is always a great aid in establishing trust. Silence or deflecting creates distrust. There is a blizzard of pseudo-scientific advice coming from the media often contradictory advice, making it difficult to establish trust.

  42. Steven Mosher says:

    “If that’s correct, then anything can be toxic. Anything. Absolutely anything:”

    Of course anything can toxic. duh, The devil, of course, is in the dose and the severity of the disease, whether it is chronic or acute, and the possibility of an antidote, and the cost of the cure. Plenty of dimensions to discriminate. Or of course, we can recognize that everything is equally toxic and just cut to the riots. Embrace toxicity.

    Joshua

    ‘so worrying about what can be made toxic , and even more spending time blaming “realists” for the toxicity, IMO, seems like a distraction.

    The bottom line is that if you think the impact of consensus messaging is important, you should measure the impact. Speculating about hypotheticals and counterfactuals seems a waste of time, IMO.’

    I wouldn’t say observing that in practice the factual frame can morph into the toxic frame is
    “worrying” that it can be made toxic. You just observe how it can become toxic. Further, I wouldn’t spend too much time accounting and weighing who is at fault in these interactions, in some sense
    it just happens. it might be interesting to watch specific conversations and see when and where the factual becomes pejorative. Probably better to study conflict resolution and see how personally you can avoid being the one in any particular situation who goes overboard. And no, there is no brightline for knowing when you have gone overboard in a social art. I don’t think its a distraction to note that you might want to take care when employing the factual frame that you don’t force it to go south sooner or harder than it has to. Or maybe just to disengage because you see that endgame is approaching. Err, we always have the safe words “lets agree to disagree”.

    As for measuring the impact. Any good approach to measuring will probably address hypotheticals
    and counterfactuals, those are good tools to use in any approach to designing a measurement task.
    If you want to test something, then test various forms of the consensus argument delivered in different fashions: Or simply document, how it gets used in social media for example. Plenty of space for linguistic feild study. Ask Andy West he would probably compile a huge corpus.

    Finally, as I said, I think it might be impossible for us to avoid the consensus argument, precisely because we do in fact use our “knowledge” of a consensus to decide what science to believe. That is not licence to engage in the most antibiotic resistant versions of the argument. It’s not a demand to lay blame for toxicity in anyone’s lap or an attempt to hunt down patient zero. It’s not an attempt to stop any data collecting on the actual effectiveness of various forms of the argument. Did you think my argument was “lets avoid a form of argument we cant avoid?”

  43. Willard says:

    > Embrace toxicity.

    Some crap is toxic, some other crap is said to be toxic, and I embrace both.

  44. dikranmarsupial says:

    Joshua “IMO. I think people should evaluate the effectiveness of their strategies, and respond accordingly.”

    In order to evaluate effectiveness, first you have to know what the objective of the strategy is. It isn’t necessarily to get people to take action on climate change. I have said this many times before: what I want is for people to be able to make a rational, well informed decision on what action they want to take, that is in accordance with their actual values. What I don’t want is for society to decide a course of action based on what is essentially bullshit. Call me old-fashioned, but I think truth is rather important.

  45. dikranmarsupial says:

    ATTP “I don’t think that Dikran was suggesting that consensus messaging explains skepticism.”

    Indeed. I think it is rather more likely that complaints of consensus messaging being divisive is a strategy by skeptics to discourage people telling them an unpalatable truth. Sadly it is a strategy that is rapidly adopted by those that don’t want to hear it, so it become self-fulfilling. This isn’t a conspiracy, just that people are very good at fooling themselves and eager to adopt arguments that allow their position to go unchallenged.

  46. dikranmarsupial says:

    I should add, IMHO the physics of climate seems pretty divisive as well, should we stop talking about that as well?

  47. dikranmarsupial says:

    Hopefully one last comment. Personally the only need for “consensus” messaging is to refute claims that there is no consensus on climate (e.g. Luntz memo, or lists of climate skeptics, or lists of papers that ostensibly disagree with the mainstream scientific position, but when you actually read them turn out no to do so). In the absence of that, I suspect most people are quite happy to align themselves with the mainstream scientific position on a variety of topics, without any need for “messaging”. There are of course exceptions, but that is because human beings are rather varied.

    SM wrote

    The toxic frame for the consensus fact is the frame in which the contrarian is told, in effect,
    “You should believe this because it’s the consensus view. And further, your refusal to believe
    it is a sign of some sort of mental defect, or moral defect. So there!

    I must be visiting the wrong places because I don’t recall having seen it. Can I be sure this is not just a straw man? Are those that study the consensus using that frame?

    SM wrote “I trust him. For utterly “unscientific” reasons I accept his science.” well of course. The value of knowing the existence of the consensus is nothing to do with scientific reasoning, it is to do with how to select reliable expertise for the layperson (like myself). Just because something is “science” doesn’t mean it is “good” and just because something is “non-science” doesn’t mean it is “nonsense”, and there is more to “rational” than just “science”.

    I suspect if every government decided to increase income tax by 1% to fund a mission to put a colony on an exoplanet, you would suddenly find an increase in exop0lanet denial. ;o)

  48. Dave_Geologist says:

    ATTP, The problem here is that in medicine many if not most issues don’t have a firm “consensus” because the evidence is ambiguous or the “consensus” is quite vague and uninformative.

    So, not like climate science then dpy. So why do you keep using an inappropriate analogy?

  49. Steven Mosher says:

    dk..
    i used the term “in effect” for a reason.
    I will say I have never seen you use the argument toxically.

    historically it might be interesting to go back to the old origins of the consensus argument and see how particular folks use it.

    1% ? tax. hmm makes me wonder. since all science is subject to doubt how much do you have to take from people in the name of science or technology related truth before they engage the contrarian matrix. whats the market rate on integrity.

    related thought.

    If a consensus of economists concluded that adaptation was more cost effective than mitigation, I wonder how many folks would doubt that. The forms of doubt they would use are just moves stolen from climate skeptics.. like when a skeptic says to a physicist that are there things you dont understand.. that has an analog in anti econ types who say there are things you cant put a price on.

    cue willard to say you cant buy love.

  50. dikranmarsupial says:

    SM I can’t recall seeing anybody else use it either. I don’t doubt that someone has, because frankly the WWW isn’t going to run out of keyboard warriors anytime soon, but I don’t think the anti-consensus messaging argument is aimed at them (if it were it would be somewhat ironic as it would be almost certainly ineffective).

    The Luntz memo was apparently 2002, Oreskes’ paper was 2004, and contains:

    … Some corporations whose revenues might be adversely affected by controls on carbon dioxide emissions have also alleged major uncertainties in the science (2). Such state-ments suggest that there might be substantive disagreement in the scientific community about the reality of anthropogenic climate change.

    which suggests to me that “consensus messaging” (I hate the word “messaging”! ;o) is a response to assertions of a lack of scientific consensus, and hence an attempt to correct misinformation.

    “that has an analog in anti econ types who say there are things you cant put a price on.”

    I don’t think that is anymore “anti econ” than pointing out that there are important issues that are outside the remit of science is “anti science”.

  51. dikranmarsupial says:

    FWIW, back in the mists of time, the Lib Dems in the U.K. suggested putting a penny on income tax for education ISTR it wasn’t a very popular policy (I thought it was a good idea, but of course that doesn’t mean that it actually was).

  52. dikranmarsupial says:

    angech wrote “Worse the definition varies so much. There is no real consensus on the consensus that I have ever found stated here.”

    I seem to remember having explained to you before that this is an indication of the robustness of the finding. If you get the same basic result regardless of minor variations in the question, it indicates the structural uncertainties are low.

  53. Steven Mosher says:

    Still one of the best

  54. Anti-consensus messaging is toxic.
    Anti-climate-physics messaging is toxic.

    I am sure WUWT & Co. will stop using once the know it.

    Oh right, we have different rules for extremist babies and the rest. Just keep on moving towards the extremists, ignore whether it makes any sense. See how they will move to more extremism because they hate us and want to be a clearly difference tribe. Then you just move again. Doing this a few decades has broken the America that once put a man on the moon.

  55. Willard says:

    > cue willard to say you cant buy love.

    I hate the Beatles.

    There, I said it.

  56. dpy6629 says:

    Dikran, I don’t know who these people are whom consensus messaging was supposed to counter. Skeptics like Dyson and Lindzen accept the reality of greenhouse gases. Luntz is a political consultant who may reflect only his own opinion and probably doesn’t have an opinion on greenhouse gases.

    The problem here is that the “consensus” you keep touting is really not very quantifiable in terms of TCR for example or in terms of long term damage and thus not really fully actionable. You need a stronger consensus statement, except that then you have to deal with the ambiguity and uncertainty surrounding stronger statements. It’s a dilemma you should recognize as a prerequisite to dealing with it intelligently.

    The other thing though is the constant drumbeat of media reports and scientists’ press releases saying “its worse than we thought” and the consequences are “already very large” because storm X is due to global warming. People grow tired of the media always finding and exaggerating every not uncommon occurrence as a “crisis.” However, its only a crisis when the media can blame it on people in power who they hate and oppose.

  57. dikranmarsupial says:

    Dpy6629 had you read my post you would know. It is those that argue there is no consensus (I think I just may have mentioned the luntz memo?)

  58. dpy6629 says:

    Dave_G, I’m not convinced by your unsupported assertions that “climate science is different than medicine.” I assume you mean that all its theories are certain and true, just like “the moon orbits the earth” is true (Einstein?). That’s hogwash as anyone who has read an IPCC report knows. The IPCC range for ECS is 1.5 to 4.5 C and hasn’t changed in 40 years.

    Climate science is like medicine a science that has produced some good results and some bad results. In both you are dealing with complex systems that are very difficult to model and for which uncertainties are large.

  59. Magma says:

    Next up, time to take on physicians and health bodies over their overt bias against disease, illness, injury and death. After all, what are the chances that cancer has NO beneficial effects? But no, it’s always doom and gloom and “please fund medical research” and “we’re somewhat concerned about that large mass in your abdomen” and so on.

    Bloody elitists and their fancy talk.

  60. Scientists have cleaned … and cleaned … and cleaned … ad nauseam. It doesn’t work. The whole point of the well financed support for “experts” who argue against the vast and detailed majority of expertise over time is to make specious claims and get people to buy into them. In most cases, you can draw a direct line from the money or self-interest to the false quantities (Judith Curry, for example), but once the focus is on the “meme” – Mike Mann and the hockey stick, Al Gore “ManBearPig”, SkepticalScience is biased, ClimateGate cherrypicking and decontextualizing, Inhofe’s snowballs, Trump’s it’s cold where’s your global warming, etc. etc. – there’s no way to move on except to go elsewhere.

    It is possible to use different words, to simplify the language, but it takes effort. “Consensus” is a shortcut we all understand, but it subsumes a vast quantity of interdisciplinary expertise, theory, and real-world evidence. If we care or are bothered, we just have to explain in longhand in an effort to reach people who are not frozen in bias.

    Susan Jay Hassol gets some of this. Trained in scientific method and scientific trust (after all, we trust computers and vehicles and electricity, all products of science), scientists have a hard time abandoning their habits of language and professionalism.

    I recently came across a takedown using “Dunning Kruger” which I think is a good example. You expect people to know what it is or look it up. The people you want to persuade (those not already in the know) don’t know what you are talking about. You can go back to Schopenhauer’s 38 ways to win an argument: none of this is new. But it helps to argue in plain language with real illustrations.

  61. dpy6629 says:

    Dikran, I read your post and you mentioned Luntz and WUWT who are mostly common citizens. Who are the “powerful” evildoers who consensus messaging was supposed to counter? Surely you mean Tom Steyer, Al Gore, and George Soros don’t you?

  62. dikranmarsupial says:

    Lol, I take it you didn’t find out the recipient of the luntz memo!

  63. dpy6629 says:

    So now we are back to Curry who of course accepts the greenhouse gas theory and most of climate science but who has published a paper with Lewis showing observational evidence for an ECS of 1.5 or so?

  64. dikranmarsupial says:

    The views stated in that video are not consistent with mainstream scientific position on climate change, they aren’t even consistent with ECS of 1.5C. So it is possible to find climate skeptic scientists making statements that reject the consensus view. I have no problem with that – the thing that I have a problem with is the use of rhetoric to obstruct attempts to correct misinformation.

  65. dpy6629 says:

    Dikran, You keep coming up empty. A recipient of a memo may of may not believe what the memo says. The problem here is rather like all good conspiracy theories. The evidence is always circumstantial and rather weak. With Steyer, Gore, and Soros the evidence is very direct and these men have plenty of resources to get their message out.

    I would suggest that a more important windmill for you to take on is that climate mitigation is costly and may harm the economic well being of people like the yellow jackets. No conspiracy is required to explain what has happened.

  66. dpy6629 says:

    Dikran, I’m not going to watch the video since Curry’s views are well known from her blog. She accepts most climate science albeit with the view that the literature and the field is biased, that uncertainty is understated, etc. After Resplendy is there any doubt about the latter?

  67. dikranmarsupial says:

    Sorry, not interested in bullshit rhetoric. You were obviously unaware of the luntz memo (or you wouln’t Have mentioned gore, who is obviously less powerful than bush), and are just trying to bluster away from it.

  68. dikranmarsupial says:

    Lol, not willing to look at evidence that supports my argument? Why am I not surprised!

  69. do you have time to review or comment on the recent UN emissions report and what it means?
    https://www.unenvironment.org/resources/emissions-gap-report-2018

  70. BBD says:

    She accepts most climate science albeit with the view that the literature and the field is biased, that uncertainty is understated, etc. After Resplendy is there any doubt about the latter?

    One study is one study, David. Not ‘the [entire] literature’ or ‘the [entire] field’. What dikran said about rhetoric…

  71. Mitch says:

    There seems to be an unstated assumption that all climate change science is about trying to affect policy. Most of the studies are being done because it is just plain interesting how the world works, and it is possible to use the current fossil fuel CO2 transient to understand more.

    Most scientists have then realized that there are real problems, and that policy change is needed to answer the problems. The first warnings about global warming as an issue were given more than 50 years ago, and that the IPCC has been summarizing the science for over 30 years. Why do people like Curry, Ridley, etc get to claim that it is all a messaging problem?

  72. Willard says:

    > The problem here is rather like all good conspiracy theories. The evidence is always circumstantial and rather weak. With Steyer, Gore, and Soros the evidence is very direct

    That’s between conflation and denial, DavidY.

  73. Joshua says:

    Dikran –

    In order to evaluate effectiveness, first you have to know what the objective of the strategy is.

    Agreed

    It isn’t necessarily to get people to take action on climate change. I have said this many times before: what I want is for people to be able to make a rational, well informed decision on what action they want to take, that is in accordance with their actual values.

    OK.

    What I don’t want is for society to decide a course of action based on what is essentially bullshit. Call me old-fashioned, but I think truth is rather important.

    Sure. I think that it is sub-optimal for people to make decisions about climate change policy in the absence of useful information (including understanding of prevalence of shared view among experts). But that doesn’t mean that I’d necessarily advocate attempts to communicate specific information if doing so has an effect counter to what I consider to be the ideal outcomes. It depends. The importance of providing as much information as possible gets filtered through decisions about the relative importance of specific information, or the net effect of various communicative acts. While providing as much information as possible, without prioritizing, is certainly a goal in a perfect world, I don’t consider it to be the only or even necessarily the most important factor in the real world.

    I don’t argue against consensus messaging, because I happen to believe it has little impact (I certainly don’t see evidence of the blowback effect asserted – as far as I can tell evidence free – by Judith, Tangney, etc.)

    But if it does have a negative impact, I think that the “problem” of that negative impact isn’t just “their” problem. How one responds to that problem involves balancing considerations that might be somewhat complicated (e. g., prioritizing communication strategies so as to achieve what I consider to be optimal policy outcomes).

    I think the question about when a doctor might limit the conveyance of certain medical information serves as a useful example.

  74. dpy said:

    “Skeptics like Dyson and Lindzen accept the reality of greenhouse gases.”

    Hardly. Lindzen essentially accepts the classification of greenhouse gases but that the actual effect is inconsequential.

  75. Magma says:

    @ Susan Anderson

    Ridicule is one way to deal with climate change deniers in the media (social, print and broadcast), but can easily degenerate into simple back and forth name-calling, or at least the appearance of such.

    Based on the premise that your opponents probably know what hurts them better than you do, I’ve noticed that something that consistently gets under the skin of deniers, skeptics, lukewarmers etc. is any reference to the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change. It’s simple, correct, and easy to explain. They loathe it, and have no set response except to wheel out their increasingly small and decrepit band of “experts” and to fall back on their equally tired Just A Giant Hoax ploy.

  76. @Magma. That’s one way to look at it. I see it as an automated system that brings in opposition workers and their dupes whenever certain specifics are mentioned. I don’t respond for them, but for any lay audience that might be lurking. I like simplifying the language and removing code words and phrases.

  77. angech says:

    Magma,
    Read your above.
    Your two approaches deserve taking a step back and looking at them more closely.

  78. angech says:

    The gap or divide is so great. Boundary areas, where the arguments crop up, seem as if they may produce a reasonable discussion and then the boomgates get dropped.
    Why?
    I can name half a dozen of the touchy points. They are raised by ATTP on a regular basis so they do exist as points even if they are either lauded or derided.
    It is the consensus of nailing ones colours to the wall and identifying those who are weak of faith or need to be excluded.
    Doubt is not allowed.
    We can see them well outlined above, Sue mentioned “You can go back to Schopenhauer’s 38 ways to win an argument”
    Merchants of doubt is a great line to cast doubt on the validity of doubt.
    Yet don’t must underlie science. When people tell you to stop doubting it can be a prelude to being sold a pup or a bridge.
    Pushing the selling is the big turnoff in my opinion.
    Truth works. Tell the truth.
    Pushing doesn’t work well. The underlying resentment it builds up will come back in spades if a crack developes.

  79. angech says:

    Yet doubt must underlie science. Correctable?

  80. angech,
    It’s one thing to doubt a consensus, it’s another to dispute it’s existence.

  81. Joshua says:

    angech –

    I’ve seen you, for years, regularly dengegrare those in the other side of the “climate wars,” personally, scientifically, and politically. Sometimes directly at places like ATTP, but more typically through your comments at other blogs

    As such, it’s really interesting to see you offering advice as to how they might more effectively communicate.

    How do you reconcile those two behaviors? Assuming your advice is made good faith, how do you conceptualize the purpose of your poor faith behaviors?

  82. dpy6629 says:

    Yes Dikran, truth is important. Rather than decrying outlier individuals who spout what you call “bullshit” the way forward has ironically been shown by Nic Lewis and Judith Curry. There is a lot wrong in climate science with Replendy a perfect example. With Nic’s expert help, the authors generously responded by fixing the rather glaring errors in their original paper and their ridiculous press release. They could improve by issuing a corrected press release, but the media scare mongering machine would probably ignore it.

    Nic’s first accomplishment was to correct the record in instrumentally constrained sensitivity estimates by fixing some obvious statistical errors and trying to root out other sources of inexactness.

    The response to McIntyre was of course the opposite and set off a political mud throwing fest that probably set back any mitigation efforts by at least a decade.

    Another one is the reliance on climate models. Gradually negative results are accumulating and the disagreement with data is growing clearer.

    And it is also true that higher values will be advanced by cleaning up the field and correcting errors, doing more careful auditing and peer review and more openly discussing disagreements.

    And finally, taking shots at your benefactors (McIntyre, Curry, and Lewis) is just mean and doesn’t help your cause with outsiders at all. It just highlights the past polemical excesses of a field that has a bad track record (even though its improving recently).

  83. dpy6629 says:

    Dikran, I don’t care much about the Luntz memo because its no more important than the climate gate emails or Podesta’s email to Steyer claiming credit for driving Pielke Jr. off Silver’s site.

    There is no benefit for the future or for science, or for mankind with this kind of political BS. There is so much garbage out there than wasting time on it is a waste of good human capital that could be doing better science, creating new energy technology, etc.

  84. Willard says:

    Speaking of good human capital, DavidY, you should try peddling your crap somewhere else, please.

  85. Willard says:

    In case I’m not being clear enough:

    First comment – “like with vitamin supplements and most other medical and dietary issues, there are differences of opinion.” Second comment – “but Resplandy.” Third comment – “but lower back pain.”

    Fourth – an editorial comment on Resplandy. Sixth: again connecting consensus with medecine, and a hint at Resplandy. Seventh – spinning the CAGW meme. Eight – “Climate science is like medicine” again. And then there’s the food fight with Dikran.

    You’re just flipping whatever you’ve been told to connect consensus studies with medecine, take a few jabs at Resplandy, and spin the CAGW meme.

    Please give it a rest.

  86. dikranmarsupial says:

    Joshua “I don’t argue against consensus messaging, because I happen to believe it has little impact (I certainly don’t see evidence of the blowback effect asserted – as far as I can tell evidence free – by Judith, Tangney, etc.)”

    You are assuming an objective there again re. impact.

    So, specifically how would you deal with claims that there is no consensus?

  87. dikranmarsupial says:

    angech wrote “Truth works. Tell the truth.”

    Priceless! ;o)

  88. dikranmarsupial says:

    dpy6629 arbitrarily rejecting arguments and evidence that doesn’t suit your position is fine, provided you are happy for others to arbitrarily reject yours.

    Sadly (as I personally know) Climategate had a substantial effect on public opinion (mostly via spin, e.g. making a mean of the word “trick” or examples obvious humorous hyperbole), while multiple reviews shows that (while there were faults) the science itself was sound. I agree that these things are BS from a science perspective, but the point is that they affect public understanding of science and there is a lot of misinformation. That is why the Luntz memo is important to the public debate on climate change, and why WUWT (and others) spreading obviously incorrect scientific arguments is not a good thing.

    You make know who Luntz is now, but your earlier replies very strongly suggest that you didn’t when you made the replies.

    However refusing to watch a 49 second video because you had already made up your mind about Prof. Curry’s views shows that you are not interested in questioning your own position, hence there isn’t much point trying to have a rational discussion with you.

  89. dikranmarsupial says:

    @dpy6629 “Yes Dikran, truth is important. Rather than decrying outlier individuals who spout what you call “bullshit” ”

    You appear to be misrepresenting me. I have no problem with scientists that genuinely believe their theories, e.g. Essenhigh, Salby or Curry. The thing that I have a problem with is disingenuous rhetoric (like yours) that contributes to the public misunderstanding of the science.

    It’s funny you should mention the Lewis and Resplendy issue. Firstly Nic Lewis wasn’t the only person to raise issues. This kind of thing happens all the time in science, it is just that usually it doesn’t happen on blogs. Nic was also one of those that spotted an error in one of my papers and in his emails to me he was constructive and polite. However, I have also the opposite experience in pointing out errors in the work of others (Essenhigh, Salby, Loehle, Harde) and in each case, none were able to accept the errors were there (even though the observations show their conclusions to be obviously incorrect), Salby didn’t even reply. So I think you may have some observer bias there in your apparent conclusion.

    And finally, taking shots at your benefactors (McIntyre, Curry, and Lewis) is just mean and doesn’t help your cause with outsiders at all.

    I have never taken a shot at Lewis, in fact I have been generally complementary about his work (even though he has not been uniformly pleasant about mine), so you owe me an appology for that one. I’ve never had anything but insult from McIntyre and he certainly isn’t my benefactor. Prof Curry isn’t my benefactor either, as he has promulgated scientific misinformation on a topic that I have made efforts to refute. *I* am the benefactor of the skeptics on that one as it is a topic where the inability to accept the scientific truth makes climate skeptics look utterly ridiculous (I know you are not interested in looking at the information I provide, but do read that one, it is written by a noted climate “skeptic”).

  90. Steven Mosher says:

    “So, specifically how would you deal with claims that there is no consensus?”

    Cont: There is no consensus
    SM: Consensus about what?”
    Cont: About Climate change!
    SM; Hmm, I talked to some skeptics and they said no one denies the climate changes.
    Cont: I mean the cause of climate change.
    SM: Yes thats true there is no consensus. I read a guy on twitter who is convinced the sun is
    the cause of everything. He didnt have any data to back it up or anything, but ya.
    There a bunch of wrong theories out there. Why is a consensus important to you.
    Cont: Its not!
    SM: So this non existent consensus is unimportant to you.
    Cont: Well people argue there is a consensus.
    SM: About what?
    Cont: About the science.
    SM: so do you want to discuss the science or what people say about the science, cause I’d rather talk about the science.
    SM: here’s the thing; Consensus or not, the world is getting warmer, not because of some head count you seem fascinated with, but because the science shows us this. And C02 is a GHG, consensus or not. Physics tells us this. You want to talk physics or do you want to talk about head counts of physicists..
    Cont; I want to talk about the consensus
    SM: that thing that doesnt exist and is unimportant in your opinion?
    Cont: it is important!
    SM; How
    Cont You guys claim there is a consensus and 97% is not really 97%, and Cook has this weird
    picture in a nzi uniform.
    SM: so, you want to talk about papers about the science rather than the real science itself.

    I expect dk will not approve of this because he takes the contrarian claim “There is no consensus” as a factual claim that should be countered with a simple “yes there is, here is the data”
    I’m not so sure it is a simple factual claim. I see it as an invitation to a dance. They may want to talk about the consensus argument but I am not compelled to correct them if they say there is no consensus.

    Contr; There is no consensus.
    SM; About what?
    Contr; about man being the cause of all the excess C02.
    SM; You are right, there is one guy, Salby, who thinks otherwise. he hasnt published any papers or anything, or substantiated his claim in any way, but ya, there is one guy who disagrees, but you know rather than counting heads to see who is right or wrong, I just read a little science: here is a
    paper showing why Salby is wrong. Here read the paper. In stead of counting heads, look at sinks and sources in the paper –here.

    How do I put this. You know the person claiming there is no consensus is not making a good faith factual claim. They are not entitled to a good faith factual correction.

    On the other hand if you get an open question ‘is there a consensus?” then you might have a different approach.

    I don’t offer this as a cure all, cause its not. It just illustrates that you are not compelled to make
    the ‘yes there is a consensus’ response. You can convey the same meaning in a different way.
    I dont think sarcastically agreeing with a contrarian is a tactic you dk will use. I respect that. But you do have options to reframe any consensus discussion as an actual science discussion.

    If I were you I would just bring it back to a concrete example of your paper.

    Contr; There is no consensus.
    DK; About what?
    Contr; about climate change!
    DK; Ah thats a big topic. Let me tell you what I know. One of the claims of the consensus is that
    Man is the cause of the excess C02:
    Contr; Science isnt done by consensus.
    DK; ya I know thats why I wrote the paper. Sure thousands of my peers believe that man is the cause of the excess C02 so I went out to check for my self. This is one way we do science right?
    We check for ourselves.
    Contr: There is no consensus
    DK; Lets table that and look at the actual science and see for ourselves if man is the cause of the c02, we can get back to your question about head counts after we first discuss the actual science.

  91. dikranmarsupial says:

    “I expect dk will not approve of this because he takes the contrarian claim “There is no consensus” as a factual claim that should be countered with a simple “yes there is, here is the data”

    yep.

    “I’m not so sure it is a simple factual claim. I see it as an invitation to a dance.”

    I don’t like dancing, if that means a pointless rhetorical debate. It gets boring very quickly, which is why I occasionally have to take a break from trying to discuss climate science online, and should probably give it up altogether and stick top cosmology and dinosaurs.

    “SM; About what?
    Contr; about man being the cause of all the excess C02.”

    Sadly it tends not to be something that specific, it usually “all of it”, followed by cui-bono attacks on science in general, or naive views of the philosophy of science that say there is no place for consensus in science (although I am not that much of a fan of Kuhn)

    “How do I put this. You know the person claiming there is no consensus is not making a good faith factual claim. They are not entitled to a good faith factual correction. ”

    actually no, I don’t know that, and the Golden rule suggests I should at the very least give them the benefit of the doubt, They may well think the same about me.

    Sadly my paper doesn’t seem to convince skeptics on that particular issue, the reason I bring it up in discussions is for the benefit of anybody else that might be watching.

  92. angech says:

    Joshua says: angech –
    “I’ve seen you, for years, regularly denigrate those in the other side of the “climate wars,” personally, scientifically, and politically.
    Sometimes directly at places like ATTP, but more typically through your comments at other blogs.”
    I would leave out the word regularly.
    I try to comment scientifically on the interesting topics.
    I also try to learn.
    Occasionally I get very upset and denigrate but regret it.

    “As such, it’s really interesting to see you offering advice as to how they might more effectively communicate. How do you reconcile those two behaviors?”
    Good parents, poor application?
    The only person who truly understands you is yourself.

    ” Assuming your advice is made good faith, how do you conceptualize the purpose of your poor faith behaviors?”

    Poor faith behaviour is such a pejorative term. I would expect if it occurs it is a foolish overreaction to other people’s poor faith behaviour. Still, if anyone wishes to cast a first stone, go ahead.

  93. angech says:

    SM: “here’s the thing; Consensus or not, the world is getting warmer.
    And C02 is a GHG, consensus or not.”
    Step one,
    step two,
    and…….
    colder objects are denser.
    ice is colder than water
    Step one,
    step two,
    and…….. logic is a funny thing

  94. Dave_Geologist says:

    Simple observation: if you’re taking flack, you must be over the target.

    If consensus messaging is ineffective, why do deniers and lukewarmers and their shills devote so much effort into attacking reports of the consensus? Especially the ones who claim it causes a blowback effect and is counter-productive? Have they never heard the maxim “don’t interrupt your enemy when he’s making a mistake”?

    Methinks I smell me a rat!

  95. Steven Mosher says:

    “Sadly my paper doesn’t seem to convince skeptics on that particular issue, the reason I bring it up in discussions is for the benefit of anybody else that might be watching.”

    DK, Before your paper I had no clue and so pragmaticly I had to say -to myself- Hey I believe this because consensus, because I trust others. I read your paper, I get edumacated, I understand a little better, and its more than just trusting this amorphous cloud of ‘experts”.

  96. dikranmarsupial says:

    Glad it has done something for “anybody else that might be watching”, I do wonder sometimes ;o)

  97. Steven Mosher says:

    “If consensus messaging is ineffective, why do deniers and lukewarmers and their shills devote so much effort into attacking reports of the consensus? Especially the ones who claim it causes a blowback effect and is counter-productive? Have they never heard the maxim “don’t interrupt your enemy when he’s making a mistake”?”

    Lets see: Deniers put so much effort into it because ITS EASY. You dont have to learn any science. Understand that the denier game is just say no. You say up, they say down. Those who
    have a smattering of philosophy of science can go crazy over misunderstanding the consensus argument. They dont complain about you using it, they enjoy that you do because they have a ready made (wrong) response that requires No math!

    Lukewarmers: to many varieties to generalize. I would say my main concern with it is that it makes an easy target. BUT As I said upstream I dont think we can avoid the argument . How would I put this. In all cases I would rather turn questions about consensus back into questions about the actual science. I have a number of preferred circumlocutions for avoiding the exact phrase that express the same concept

    I also dont like the “control knob” metaphor because of the way it can be twisted (haha)
    Same way I dont like the “greenhouse” analogy.

    Then again every time I think the messaging can be better engineered I am reminded of certain skeptics who have an uncanny ability to twist and distort anything you say.

  98. dikranmarsupial says:

    I also dont like the “control knob” metaphor because of the way it can be twisted (haha)

    quality pun!

    Those who have a smattering of philosophy of science

    i.e. everybody that doesn’t have a solid grasp of philosophy of science? ;o)

  99. JCH says:

    I have a $30,000 stove (came with the house.). It has a lot of control knobs. In the current stove regime, every time I put on a pot of water and turn up the “right” knob, it boils. My stove experiences no stadium waves that either reverse or delay the boiling. It’s a gas burner. If I blow on it really hard I can almost extinguish the flame. Natural variation. That is, until I run out of wind. Then the flame comes right back. Or, see 2016.

  100. Joshua says:

    dikran –

    Sadly (as I personally know) Climategate had a substantial effect on public opinion

    What evidence have you seen of this? The evidence I’ve seen says otherwise.

    The evidence I’ve seen is that a rather small number of people (a portion of those who are heavily engaged and identified on the issue of climate change) saythat Climategate significantly altered their opinion, but such self-report should be taken with a grain of salt and evidence for a differential effect is questionable. It appears to me to be quite likely momthat people (on both sides, sctually) just used Climategate to rationalize preexisting biases. I think it’s rather unlikely that the real impact moved the public policy needle much at all.

  101. Joshua says:

    Dave –

    Simple observation: if you’re taking flack, you must be over the target.

    Poor logic, IMO. Consider that we read people like Ridley use such logic to conclude he’s right because his arguments are criticized. Also consider Danth’s law.

    https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Danth%27s_Law

  102. Joshua says:

    Steven:

    Your 10:56 outlines strategies to engage with people already invested in their opinions on climate change. Their minds won’t be changed. They don’t formulate their opinions about climate change based on the counter arguments to consensus messaging (in fact, I’d argue that virtually no one does).

  103. Joshua says:

    angech –

    Occasionally I get very upset and denigrate but regret it.

    Why are you so emotional in this topic?

    Or maybe you’re just an emotionally labile person generally?

  104. Joshua says:

    dikran –

    So, specifically how would you deal with claims that there is no consensus?

    Good question. I don’t know of a good strategy. I’d say that generally, energy is best spent by trying to de-politicize the ussue and engage in stakeholder dialog where people gain in a sense of ownership over policy outcomes. To the extent that informing people about the views of experts can be done in such a manner, it can be done so as to have a net benefit. That’s a tall order.

  105. angech says:

    Why am I so emotional?
    I read the ends of books first.
    One way is to try to look at things from other perspectives or better to invert the problem and argue the opposite.
    In which case your question might well be why is everyone else so emotional.

    People do not like being told what to think, especially if the message is that it is for your own good. As we all know when one person thinks they know what is good for us it usually means what is good for them.Hence the consensus dilemma. What Steven said. Hit them with the science. Let them make up their own minds on what to believe. Results are a lot better that way.

  106. Joshua says:

    In which case your question might well be why is everyone else so emotional.

    Not everyone engages in personal, scientific, and political denegration across the blogoshoere
    and then comes back to a particular site to engage in discussion with the same people previously denegrated.

    But even if everyone did, it would be an interesting behavior.

    I find it’s useful to be introspective about engaging in emotional behaviors which I then later regret. Especially if it displays as a pattern.

    My instinct is often to rationalize such behaviors, but I try to move past that tendency.

  107. Dave_Geologist says:

    Joshua and Steven:

    Perhaps a better way to put it would have been “why are they attacking the consensus if they truly believe the consensus doesn’t matter?”. IOW taking flak is not evidence that consensus messaging works. But it is strongly suggestive that the people making the attacks think or fear that it works. And yet they spend a lot of their time telling us not to waste our time because it doesn’t work.

  108. Joshua says:

    Dave –

    why are they attacking the consensus if they truly believe the consensus doesn’t matter?”

    Because they’re emotionally invested (see above).

    My personal favorite is when they say that consensus has nothing to do with science, in fact that considering the magnitude of the consensus is antithetical to science, and yet spend gobs of time arguing about the magnitide of the consensus. Steven spoke to this pattern above.

    It’s like when they go back and forth from promoting specific peer-reviewed science to bolster their views, denegrating peer-review itself, saying that peer-review is antithetical to science, and claiming that no papers that run counter to “alarmist” dogma can get past peer-review.

  109. Joshua says:

    angech –

    I should correct what I wrote above:

    and then comes back to a particular site to engage in discussion with offer advice to the same people previously denegrated.

  110. Greg Robie says:

    As I was doing a google search this morning for a graph of Arctic sea ice extent loss, Google’s AI/algorithms guessed “gain” as my search query approached “Arctic sea ice”! This, based on vague memories, was a “new” thing. To the degree such indicates something regarding motivated reasoning, I pass it along as part of this comment thread.

    FWIW, by my read of it, this energetic thread is all about [& of] motivated reasoning regarding a shared situation that physics defines … regardless various perceptions regarding knowledge of the same. Why AI is guessing “gain” – instead of the physics defined fact of “loss” – when responding to input at least confirm the situation is dynamic.

    And relative to that, and MyBad, that asserted 30% error I made yesterday appears to be the result of motivated reasoning on my part. Revisiting my work last night, I’m now guessing that, and mislabeled by my motivated reasoning, a 1.43% – 2.15% got scrambled into something else … which became my wrong assertion. This range of error, however, seems descriptive of both the growing gap between modeled sea ice extent loss, and decadal growing spread in the range sea ice volume graphed radially and by month. Any “why” relative to the growing gap between observation and plausibly modeled outcomes concerning Arctic sea ice loss animates my curiosity. Anyone else. If so, I’d value help sorting out how to communicate what may be hidden by motivated reasoning in plain sight.

  111. Steven Mosher says:

    Dave .. what Joshua said.

    But I would not rule out some of them objecting to it because they fear it works.
    Lets just talk about the dynamic of what happens in blog fights, social media fights, etc.
    Just watch what happens. Sorting out the dominant reasons for the rejection of any
    argument seems tough. I like joshuas formulation. emotional.

  112. Willard says:

    Denial is more than emotional:

  113. dikranmarsupial says:

    Joshua. Try saying you work at UEA when you discuss climate change with someone.

  114. dikranmarsupial says:

    Joshua wrote

    So, specifically how would you deal with claims that there is no consensus?

    Good question. I don’t know of a good strategy. I’d say that generally, energy is best spent by trying to de-politicize the ussue and engage in stakeholder dialog where people gain in a sense of ownership over policy outcomes. To the extent that informing people about the views of experts can be done in such a manner, it can be done so as to have a net benefit. That’s a tall order.

    Telling someone an objective non-political fact ought to be de-politicising. As I have already pointed out, if that is politicising the problem doesn’t lie with the party pointing it out. IMHO while people insist on accepting science only if they accept the policy outcome (putting the cart before the horse) we are unlikely to make progress on anything.

    If you want people to stop pointing out the existence of a consensus then you need to have a better strategy to counter the equivalent (but bogus) messaging from the skeptics.

  115. BBD says:

    Denial is more than emotional:

    Eek.

    Joshua. Try saying you work at UEA when you discuss climate change with someone.

    It’s no good, dikran. Joshua’s emotionally invested in stakeholder dialogues and there’s no reaching the chap anymore…

  116. dikranmarsupial says:

    angech wrote “Poor faith behaviour is such a pejorative term. I would expect if it occurs it is a foolish overreaction to other people’s poor faith behaviour. Still, if anyone wishes to cast a first stone, go ahead.”

    a better response would be a bit of introspection to determine whether the charge is perhaps warranted. Have you ever seen the film Rashomon? If you haven’t, you should (everybody should, it’s a great film! ;o)

  117. dikranmarsupial says:

    BBD, I think the old maxim “statisticians, like artists, have a nasty habit of falling in love with their models” applies more broadly to academia as a whole (not excluding myself, naturally ;o).

  118. Willard says:

    FWI, I take it that Rashomon’s point is that there’s no vantage point from which you can objectively say how things are:

    [T]he Rashomon effect is not only about differences in perspective. It occurs particularly where such differences arise in combination with the absence of evidence to elevate or disqualify any version of the truth, plus the social pressure for closure on the question.

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

    In the movie, that effect doesn’t prevent the woodcutter from doing the right thing in the end and take care of the kid, which is enough for the priest (and the audience) to regain faith in humanity.

  119. Joshua says:

    dikran –

    Telling someone an objective non-political fact ought to be de-politicising. As I have already pointed out, if that is politicising the problem doesn’t lie with the party pointing it out.

    Maybe it ought to be… and it certainly can be in some contexts… but I’d say that a lot depends on context. If a non-political fact is delivered by a politicized figure in a politicized context,…

    You say “pointed out”…. but I don’t agree. I could say that I have already “pointed out” that no matter what ought to be, if the effect is counterproductive than the “problem” is shared.

    Maybe it depends on how we’re defining the “problem.”

    Perhaps you mean the “problem” of a politicized reaction to a non-politicized fact. In that construct, sure, the “problem” lies in the person who is responding politically to non-political information. But as Steven points out, we have an inherently politicized context. We can’t just wish the politicization away. We can’t just lift our engagement out of a political realm. So I don’t see how, in a practical sense, that theoretical “problem” is very important for questions of climate change. It hardly exists.

    Apparently the medical information analog, where a doctor considers the net effect of delivering “objective fact” to a patient, doesn’t work for you? Why not?

    I don’t disagree with you in principle within a theoretical frame. I’m disagreeing with you, I think, about the implications in this particular context. I don’t agree, in this context, that it’s simply “their problem” if consensus-messaging has a significant blowback. I consider negative blowback to be a shared problem. Deciding how one best deals with such problems is another matter. It could be a matter of trade-offs.

    I think this might parallel some differences we’ve had about the use of terminology, and the “prescriptivist” vs. “descriptivist” frame over terms such as “denier.”

    If you want people to stop pointing out the existence of a consensus then you need to have a better strategy to counter the equivalent (but bogus) messaging from the skeptics.

    I haven’t said that I want people to stop. I don’t think it has much net effect, so I don’t care much either way. Except to the extent thst i think there could be an opportunity cost in investing energy in strategies that, IMO, are sub-optimal. But that opportunity cost is in comparison to strategies that I don’t think are very practical given the logistical obstacles within the existing framework – so I’m not terribly animated by it. I think it’s a shame, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

    But I question the logic of saying that we need to do something to counter the misinformation strategies of “skeptics,” so therefore we should employ counter stratefies if we don’t know the net cost/benefit of doing so. I get that some people think there is a clear net benefit, and so I understand why they engage with those strategies. But I don’t happen to share that perspective based on my reading of the situation.

    To wit – Anders linked one of Hamilton’s papers above, which reported a positive impact from consensus-messaging. I posted the link in a discussion with “skeptic” who strikes me as statistically sophisticated. He was critical of the methodology (something about auto-correlation, as I recall). I’m not statistically competent to evaluate his critique, and I’m not inclined to accept his statistical critique at face value, but he did make another criticism that I thought might have some merit – that Hamilton’s conclusion about the positive impact of consensus messaging was speculative and as such not well-supported. I haven’t read the study in detail, but just judging from the abstract, the claim did seem pretty speculative.

  120. Joshua says:

    BBD –

    Joshua’s emotionally invested in stakeholder dialogues and there’s no reaching the chap anymore…

    What makes you think I ever was?

  121. dikranmarsupial says:

    “In the movie, that effect doesn’t prevent the woodcutter from doing the right thing in the end and take care of the kid, which is enough for the priest (and the audience) to regain faith in humanity.”

    Spoiler alert, spoiler alert!

    For me the message is simply that it is human nature to apply self-serving interpretations to reality, or at least to embellish a bit. I suspect that the characters knew they were not telling the (whole) truth, so it may even happen if you are able to perceive and remember events with complete objectivity. Willard is spot on though, I think a lot of it is “surface” and doesn’t imply that you are a bad person, and perhaps that was what Kurosawa was trying to say.

  122. Joshua says:

    dikran –

    Joshua. Try saying you work at UEA when you discuss climate change with someone.

    Not working there, I can’t know for sure, but my guess is thst if someone has a strong reaction to that attribute, indeed, if someone even knows what the UEA is, then they are an outlier who is heavily invested in the matter of climate change. As such, I don’t think that context is particularly instructive for evaluating communicative strategies that target pursuadables among the general public. It might be, but my guess is that the outlier factor probably makes the sample unrepresentative.

  123. dikranmarsupial says:

    “Maybe it ought to be… and it certainly can be in some contexts… but I’d say that a lot depends on context. If a non-political fact is delivered by a politicized figure in a politicized context,…”

    so why can’t I say it?

    “You say “pointed out”…. but I don’t agree. I could say that I have already “pointed out” that no matter what ought to be, if the effect is counterproductive than the “problem” is shared. ”

    Again, counterproductive to what? My objective is well-informed decision making. That requires truths to be told and untruths to be refuted.

    “Except to the extent thst i think there could be an opportunity cost in investing energy in strategies that, IMO, are sub-optimal.”

    again, sub-optimal relative to what objective?

  124. dikranmarsupial says:

    “As such, I don’t think that context is particularly instructive for evaluating communicative strategies that target pursuadables among the general public.”

    sorry, but that is a poor argument indeed, but perhaps I am being too falsificationist ;o)

  125. Joshua says:


    sorry, but that is a poor argument indeed,

    Why is it a poor argument (indeed!?)

    Are you saying that the subset of people who react strongly to the mere fact of someone working at the UEA are a representative sampling for evaluating strategies that target the pursuadables in the general public?

    Or is there another aspect that makes it a poor argument (indeed!)

  126. Joshua says:

    Perhaps I misunderstood the relevance behind why you raised the issue of how people react to someone working at the UEA?

  127. dikranmarsupial says:

    ” Sadly (as I personally know) Climategate had a substantial effect on public opinion

    What evidence have you seen of this? The evidence I’ve seen says otherwise. “

  128. Joshua says:

    dikran –

    so why can’t I say it?

    If I understand your question correctly, I’m not intending to suggest that you can’t. Obviously you can.

    To the extent that you are engaging in a frame where speaking about the consensus doesn’t engender politicized polarization, I would guess it might have a net benefit.

    But I’m not really grounding my comments within a person-to-person or face-to-face situation. I’m thinking more of general strategies for public communication.

    Do you see a context for conveying to the public information about the consensus, that wouldn’t likely effectively fit into preexisting politicized and polarized frameworks? Do you see none, or few, but think that conveying that information within the polarized frame will have a net benefit regardless of the politization? Is it simply that providing more information is a net benefit because it facilitates informed decision-making.

  129. dikranmarsupial says:

    That was in response to dpy’s

    Dikran, I don’t care much about the Luntz memo because its no more important than the climate gate emails or Podesta’s email to Steyer claiming credit for driving Pielke Jr. off Silver’s site.

    which looked rather like dpy’s attempt to minimise the significance of the Luntz memo in a discussion of consensus “messaging”. Sadly public opinion on climate science is quite strongly affected by things like that.

  130. Joshua says:

    dikran –

    ” Sadly (as I personally know) Climategate had a substantial effect on public opinion.

    So are you arguing that your own personal experience is evidence of a substantial public effect?

    As a general principle, thst doesn’t strike me as a very good paradigm.

    But have you seen a substantial effect on people who weren’t heavily predisposed toward “skepticism,” or who weren’t ideologically oriented in such a way as to be highly predictive of the effect?

    The empirical evidence I’ve seen suggests that reactions to Climategate were easily predictable based on preexisting biases, and that, to me, suggests that the effect (for the public in general) was not really “significant” but more just a marker of identity orientation.

  131. Joshua says:

    I should take a break. If only to keep from driving Willard crazy.

  132. Willard says:

    I think we could safely say that contrarians have problems dealing with consensus stuff, that scientific orthodoxy has a problem with dealing with contrarian concerns, that these are two different types of problems, and that trying to find a one-size-fit-all solution to all these problems may not work. Different ClimateBall strokes for different folks.

    We should bear in mind that there’s an asymmetry between contrarians and the orthodoxy. Contrarians profit from poisoning wells. Not the orthodoxy.

  133. dikranmarsupial says:

    “Do you see a context for conveying to the public information about the consensus, that wouldn’t likely effectively fit into preexisting politicized and polarized frameworks?”

    I’m not sure I understand the question, but essentially for most topics the general public are able to identify mainstream scientific position for themselves. There is only really a need for “consensus messaging” in response to assertions that there is no consensus, and indeed if not for efforts to mislead on this topic, I don’t think it would be of great interest.

    “As a general principle, thst doesn’t strike me as a very good paradigm. ”

    Really, someone involved in climategate does not have a voice in discussing the consequences?

  134. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    …we could safely say that contrarians have problems dealing with consensus stuff, that scientific orthodoxy has a problem with dealing with contrarian concerns, that these are two different types of problems…

    Not if you’re the new U.S. Ambassador to Canada, Kelly Craft, who, with Trumpian efficiency, is able to subscribe to contradictory positions, and yet remain completely devoid of cognitive dissonance.

    There’s a new consensus message in town.
    Ambassador Craft, you see, believes “both sides of the science”.

    It may possibly be relevant that Craft’s husband is a billionaire coal-mining executive for Alliance Resource Partners, L.P., the third-largest coal producer in the eastern United States.

    It may also possibly be relevant that the Crafts gave $2 million to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.


    Diplomacy is really far less important than the stock movements within Russia.

    – Alan Greenspan

  135. BBD says:

    Who pays the piper, calls the tune

    – proverb

  136. izen says:

    Would the messaging change if the cause of the warming was NOT human fossil fuel use ?
    If 2 C – 4 C of warming was an inevitable outcome over the next 80 years for intrinsic reasons and adaption was the only possible response, opposition may have had a different form.

  137. What Willard said. We have to rabbit on trying to find ways to communicate though, since it’s life itself that is at stake. I do think changing the words and providing current examples is a help.

    As for “personal experience” with ClimateGate, we all have that, direct or indirect. It changed the conversation at a time when we needed to make progress. IMNSHO it was an appalling act of misdirection. For information on those directly affected, you can find at least 5 long comment sections accompanying the text of RealClimate’s effort to provide factual information and maintain courtesy in an effort to contain the damage.

    Somewhat off topic, just came across this gem about the US: “We seem to have an aversion to national self-criticism in general. We began as a nation of rabble-rousers, bent on change. But now, patriotism is often severely defined as acccepting our country to be a perfect finished product.” (Barbara Kingsolver, about “The Lacuna”)

  138. Trying more simply (sorry guys):

  139. Pingback: Tame and Wicked Problems | …and Then There's Physics

  140. The deniers are currently at war with themselves. Now it’s AA Tsonis’s turn.

    He has a paper that claims climate synchronization across time scales here:
    Jajcay, Nikola, Sergey Kravtsov, George Sugihara, Anastasios A Tsonis, and Milan Paluš. “Synchronization and Causality across Time Scales in El Niño Southern Oscillation.” Npj Climate and Atmospheric Science 1, no. 1 (2018): 33.
    This implies that there is a powerful mechanism that underlies climate variability on both short term scales as well as the long term, leading them to assert that “whose understanding may be the key to an improved prediction”

    Yet Tsonis also has a paper that essentially claims that climate modeling is impossible, where he right off the bast asserts “Climate models do not and cannot employ known physics fully. Thus, they are falsified,a priori. “
    Christopher Essex, Anastasios A. Tsonis, “Model falsifiability and climate slow modes”,
    Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications,Volume 502,2018

    [Chill. -W]

  141. angech says:

    “Not everyone engages in personal, scientific, and political denigration across the blogosphere.”
    Cheap shot.
    Well done.
    Each site has their collection of over the top warriors who do all of those things as you are fully aware and on all sides.
    I try to remain apolitical but as the politicians have chosen their sides ( yes, no political consensus) I have to sup with the devil. Hence if a Macron does something sensible in my eyes I might mention it. If opposition in your eyes can only be denigration you might have a point.
    Scientific denigration? If caustic put downs of shoddy science or selective science count as denigration, they do, I occasionally do.
    I prefer to question and listen to people about their opinions on science.
    Personal denigration, usually as a response to someone using it on me first and often. Sometimes I have been guilty of starting it but as said my modus operandi in life is to be nice as much as and as often as I can. When I fail I cuss myself, not others, and start again. I apologise when I see I have gone over the top except with the first category.

  142. dpy6629 says:

    Dikran, “You appear to be misrepresenting me. I have no problem with scientists that genuinely believe their theories, e.g. Essenhigh, Salby or Curry. The thing that I have a problem with is disingenuous rhetoric (like yours) that contributes to the public misunderstanding of the science.”

    You don’t know if my “rhetoric” is disingenuous or not. You gave no examples.

    And who is it that determines if a misunderstanding has taken place and which of the evil doers contributed to it? I suppose that’s you? Differences of opinion are common when hard problems are involved. The most ethical attitude is to assume that these differences should be investigated irrespective of the your personal dislike of those espousing them.

    As to taking shots, you have taken shots at Judith Curry even though you just said you had no problem with her. Which is it?

  143. JCH says:

    They want climate models to include the stadium wave.

  144. dpy,
    You take a fair number of shots at other people. I don’t really think you’re in a position to criticise others for doing so too.

  145. dpy and Angech

    We can see you. It’s all too familiar.

    Try real skepticism, not personal preference. Picking on that with which you agree is bias, not skepticism.

    The best scientists (and to get qualified, most of them have to be pretty good indeed, with the occasional exception) are trained skeptics, expert witnesses.

  146. dpy6629 says:

    Paul, Tsonis’ falsification claim is overstated I think. But the paper is still interesting. Their comparison of CMIP3 and CMIP5 looked interesting.

  147. Joshua says:

    angech –

    Cheap shot.

    I offer my impression if what I’ve seen.

    I try to remain apolitical but as the politicians have chosen their sides ( yes, no political consensus) I have to sup with the devil.

    OK. They made you do it. Got it.

    If opposition in your eyes can only be denigration you might have a point.

    In my eyes, there is a distinct difference between opposition and denigration, and I’m not only speaking with reference to politicians.

    Scientific denigration? If caustic put downs of shoddy science or selective science count as denigration, they do, I occasionally do.

    I’m taking about the attribution of motivation for accusations of fraudulent science (I’ll admit, sometimes cloaked beneath plausible deniablity).


    Personal denigration, usually as a response to someone using it on me first and often.

    Oh. OK. They made you do it (and mommy they did it first). Anyway, that’s not what I’ve seen. And I’m also speaking to different brands of behaviors in different venues. As I said above.

    t as said my modus operandi in life is to be nice as much as and as often as I can.

    Denigrading peole in ine venue and then offering them advice is an interesting behavior generally, but even more an interesting way of being nice.

    When I fail I cuss myself,

    Yes, you essentially said that already. And I already suggested introspection about such patterns when they repeat. Emotional outbursts followed by self-cussing doesn’t strike me very effective. Perhaps that’s why the pattern repeats?

    I apologise when I see I have gone over the top except with the first category.

    Have you checked with the people you’ve apologized to, to see if your apologies carry much weight? Generally, in my experience, apologies followed by repeats of the offending behavior don’t carry much weight.

  148. dpy6629 says:

    Paul, The truth of the matter is that it’s impossible to use “full physics” for any turbulent flow. Turbulence models are needed and they are inevitably inaccurate. That doesn’t “falsify” all models, but should introduce extreme caution when using these models out of sample.

    What Tsonis and Essex later in their paper show is another interesting example where small forcing changes to the model result in quite different asymptotic behavior. It’s another caution that these systems might not be fully computable.

  149. Willard says:

    > The truth of the matter is that it’s impossible to use “full physics” for any turbulent flow.

    It’s worse than that:

  150. Steven Mosher says:

    Willard,

    Not surprised at all that Jessie Peterson has never heard the creed.

    http://www.jesseleepeterson.com/press-article/jesse-lee-peterson-returns-amber-rose-slutwalk-2018

  151. dikranmarsupial says:

    angech, you do know some of us have seen your posts on other blogs, don’t you? Your high horse is at best a falabella.

  152. dikranmarsupial says:

    “As to taking shots, you have taken shots at Judith Curry even though you just said you had no problem with her. Which is it?”

    ” You gave no examples. ”

    there you are, disingenuous rhetoric. Requiring examples from me, even though I have given several earlier in the thread (e.g. trying to downplay the influence of Luntz, despite him being a spin-doctor for a US president), but not providing them yourself.

    I do criticize Prof. Curry for her actions in promoting obviously incorrect scientific arguments (and not being willing to discuss whether they are correct), and for overplaying the uncertainties, but that is not “taking a shot”, it is rational, measured criticisim of her scientific position and her public communication of science. There is nothing personal about it (note I generally refer to her by her professional title, and don’t call her names).

  153. dikranmarsupial says:

    FWIW, my mini-review of Essex and Tsonis is here.

    Not “obviously incorrect” in this case by definitely “deeply misleading”.

    Here is a sub-thread with Prof Curry and I agreeing on stuff. Scientists are like that, we criticise technical stuff, but it doesn’t prevent us from being ready to agree about things where we agree.

  154. dikranmarsupial says:

    Oops forgot the link:

  155. Steven Mosher says:

    angech

    seriously dk is one of the most polite commenters you will run into. FFS

  156. dikranmarsupial says:

    SM I think angech was referring to Joshua (who is also polite).

  157. Dave_Geologist says:

    @dikran

    Climate models do not and cannot employ known physics fully. Thus, they are falsified, a priori.

    That’s just silly. Who edits and reviews for Statistical Mechanics and its Applications?

    No science, ever, has employed known physics fully. Nor any engineering. Nor astronomy. Didn’t stop NASA flying to the moon, or me typing this comment. Even if was theoretically possible to employ known physics fully, you’d need a HHGG-style planet-sized computer.

    Ah, I see, they’re mathematicians. Who haven’t learned the difference between maths and science, theorems and theories. Proof is for maths and measuring alcohol content. The idea that we can derive scientific proofs in the same absolute way we derive mathematical proofs is so 18th Century.

  158. dikranmarsupial says:

    Yes, they key problem with the paper is that they provide no evidence whatsoever that the issues they discuss actually apply to climate models. Anybody that knows the basics of GCMs ought to be able to detect a variety of obvious misrepresentations of climate models in the paper. Clearly the reviewers of the paper knew little of falsificationism.

  159. Dave_Geologist says:

    The curious thing though dikran is that it’s not a pure-maths journal. ISTM that all the papers in the most recent issue would fail their test. So even if Essex & Tsonis benefited from pal or incompetent review, the editor should have caught it.

    Controlled drug release from a spheroidal matrix
    Non-parametric application of Tsallis statistics…
    An investigation of the J1–J2–J3 transverse Ising antiferromagnet on the honeycomb lattice with frustration (no quantum mechanics in the paper)
    A new parameterization
    Baxter–Wu model according to a mean-field approach
    Stock market daily volatility and information measures of predictability (bet it doesn’t incorporate all known human psychology)
    Conditional quenched mean-field approach
    …hierarchical hidden Markov model (purely number-crunching?)
    Modeling Competitive Marketing Strategies in Social Networks (how much biology and psychology is incorporated? what about the quantum physics of the semiconductors in the smartphones?)
    Statistical mechanical modeling…

  160. [Mod: Can we please avoid psycho-analysing people in blog comments.]

  161. Steven Mosher:
    Cont: There is no consensus
    SM: Consensus about what?”
    Cont: About Climate change!
    SM; Hmm, I talked to some skeptics and they said no one denies the climate changes.
    Cont: I mean the cause of climate change.

    Another possible branch of this discussion would be to ask why “Cont” accepts the fact that the climate is changing. Almost surely the answer will have to be that he trust the scientific consensus based on multiple lines of evidence that the climate is warming.

    Even I only understand the warming estimates from station observations in detail and accept the estimates of the decline of glaciers, summer snow and sea ice, as well as of sea level rise, changes in ecosystems and agriculture based on my trust that those scientists did their job well and an understanding that science based on many independent lines of evidence is very unlikely to be wrong.

    Explaining that Americans underestimate how overwhelming the scientific consensus on climate change is works especially well in the mass media. It is easy to understand and easy to explain the few seconds you get in such situations. There is no need to use it talking to one other person about a scientific topic, except when he bring the consensus up as not existing.

    Steven Mosher: “Lets see: Deniers put so much effort into it because ITS EASY. You dont have to learn any science. Understand that the denier game is just say no. You say up, they say down. Those who have a smattering of philosophy of science can go crazy over misunderstanding the consensus argument. They dont complain about you using it, they enjoy that you do because they have a ready made (wrong) response that requires No math!

    That the consensus is easy to understand I would see as one of the benefits of talking about it. If you talk technical details and math nearly everyone in the audience just sees an ongoing debate, while having no skill or energy to investigate who is right.

    That is the eternal “debate” we have been having with bad faith actors for decades. It is easy to lure scientists into it as they are allergic to misinformation and stupidity, including myself, but I do not think it works that well and in the worst case may even help spread the BS.

    How about starting a large crowd-funded consensus messaging campaign in real life in randomly selected parts of America, while tracking how public opinion changes in those regions and in those that were no selected. A real life (not laboratory), randomized control trail. I would be happy to put in a few bucks. For Steve we could add an option to donate bitcoins.

  162. Mr. Venema, if the consensus is so easy to understand, why do so many of you get it wrong?

    What many, including our host, say is that somewhere on the order of 97% of scientists believe that half or more of warming since around 1978 is caused by anthropogenic contributions of CO2.

    The many, (including our host who contributed to one of the papers making this claim) have a problem with nomenclature–their claim is actually that 97% of the papers they reviewed support their definition of AGW, not that 97% of scientists do so.

    Indeed, when asked, ‘only’ 66% of climate scientists agree with the statement that half or more of current warming is due to anthropogenic contributions of CO2. I put only in quotes because that is actually a robust consensus, perfectly adequate for science. The 97% claimed by those who never read a paper on secondary research is necessary for political leverage, which is why the hilarious percentage is defended as if it were holy writ.

  163. dikranmarsupial says:

    ” holy writ.” oh happy happy, joy joy, a religious metaphor ad-hominem, my favourite.*

    * may contain traces of sarcasm.

  164. Tom,
    The consensus is indeed that “humans are causing global warming”. If you want more precision, it is indeed that it is extremely likely most of the observed warming (since 1950 if you want even more precision) is anthropogenic. Your mis-analysis of Bart’s survey doesn’t somehow produce evidence against this. Having said this, if we could avoid another pointless thread about the consensus, that would be greatly appreciated.

  165. ATTP, as I write this, there are 180 uses of the word ‘consensus’ in this post. Oh–now it’s 181. I don’t think I contributed very much to the total.

  166. As for ‘mis-analysing’ Bart’s survey, you yourself said that I was correct. Of the 1,869 credentialed climate scientists surveyed in Verheggen et al, 66% said half or more of the current warming is due to anthropogenic contributions of greenhouse gases.

    Many tried to say ‘look over here’ by pointing out that credentialed scientists with more publications were more likely to say so. Funnily enough, most of them were the same crew that transposed 97% of papers reviewed for a shoddy study into 97% of scientists.

  167. dikranmarsupial says:

    I think ATTP meant pointless thread about the validity/magnitude of the consensus. There are many other threads still open where you could discuss that if that is what you want.

  168. Tom,
    I don’t ever recall saying you were correct. However, what I did say is that I would prefer this not degenerate into a pointless thread about the strength of the consensus or what it actually means.

  169. dpy6629 says:

    Dikran, I explained that the Luntz memo is just political noise like Podesta’s email to Steyer. You have given no evidence that it’s more important than the Climategate emails for example. The point here is that this argument is not productive because its really about selection bias. You “select” those evidences of evildoing you like and ignore those you don’t like.

    So let’s not waste further time on these issues of “my evildoers are worse than yours.” BTW, that’s not disingenuous “rhetoric.”

  170. dpy6629 says:

    Dikran, I don’t understand why the Tsonis and Essex paper is misleading. They make a statement about falsification that is questionable. But the core finding about extreme highs and lows is interesting and a convincing negative result. Also the stuff about small perturbations to dynamical systems is likewise quite interesting to me anyway. Not all papers have to review everything about GCM’s to provide a “balanced” picture.

    However, the problem here is that these negative results keep accumulating. MRSS has something showing warming rates of their dataset vs. CMIP5 and it shows perhaps a factor of 2 discrepancy in the tropics. That confirms what McIntyre and Lucia have been showing for a decade. There is a discussion of it at Real Climate in the comments.

    There is also Zhou et al which seems like a strong negative result to me. But its an obvious result to anyone who knows much about turbulence models.

  171. Well, ATTP, this was in the middle of a much longer conversation but you did write, “So, for example, your claim seems to be that the core result is that 66% of those surveyed agree with the consensus. Fine, that indeed seems true.” https://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2015/09/02/rick-santorum-misrepresents-our-climate-survey-results-on-bill-maher-show/#comment-32185

  172. Willard says:

    > They make a statement about falsification that is questionable.

    They rather make a statement about falsification that is wrong. They also make at least one statement about modulz that is wrong too. These are obvious falsities to anyone who knows much about falsification. In fact, these are obvious falsities to anyone who pretends to know how turbulence modulz are implemented too.

  173. Willard says:

    > there are 180 uses of the word ‘consensus’ in this post. […] I don’t think I contributed very much to the total.

    The first claim reinforces that the main post was about the paper raising concerns about consensus studies.

    The second claim is a trick to hide peddling of a never ending audit over one’s favorite study.

  174. Willard says:

    > this was in the middle of a much longer conversation

    A nice “conversation” it was:

    The 66% result is not hidden. Yes, you might have to actually read the paper to find it, but it’s not difficult. You seem to be arguing that they didn’t highlight it enough, or focused on things that are secondary. Fine, but that’s simply a disagreement with what they decided to focus on when writing the paper and is – largely – a pointless discussion.

    https://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2015/09/02/rick-santorum-misrepresents-our-climate-survey-results-on-bill-maher-show/#comment-32155

    A “conversation” that ended thus:

    AT, quote mined by GW:

    My argument is simple. This is a dataset.

    GW’s response, quote mining himself:

    [N]o, it is not a dataset. It is a paper based on analysis of a dataset.

    ***

    Compare and contrast:

    AT, in full:

    My argument is simple. This is a dataset. As long as you’re clear as to your analysis, there aren’t strict rules as to what you can and cannot do. Telling me otherwise without actually constructing an argument is not very convincing.

    GW’s response in full:

    [N]o, it is not a dataset. It is a paper based on analysis of a dataset. There are not only rules about how information should be presented, there are also conventions and traditions on where information should be reported and how it should be reported.

    Citing these rules, conventions or traditions might be nice.

    https://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2015/09/02/rick-santorum-misrepresents-our-climate-survey-results-on-bill-maher-show/#comment-32210

  175. dpy6629 says:

    OK, Willard, I concede their statement about falsification if false. But what about the actual technical content of the paper? It seems to me that that is interesting and valuable.

  176. Tom,
    Nice cherry-pick there. Let me include the full paragraph:

    So, for example, your claim seems to be that the core result is that 66% of those surveyed agree with the consensus. Fine, that indeed seems true. That, however, does not mean that that is the most interesting or relevant result. Why? Because as I’ve said in an earlier comment, that result is quite dependent on the survey setup. A more inclusive survey would probably produce a smaller value. A less inclusive survey would produce a larger value. Hence, since we are probably interested in the expert opinion, we remove those who claim that they “don’t know” and report that result as the headline result. Not only is it probably less sensitive to the survey setup than the basic result, it’s also more relevant to what’s of interest (what is the expert opinion).

    If you read our Consensus on consensus paper you’ll note that the sub-sample of publishing climatologists in the Verheggen et al. sample shows a consensus of about 90%.

  177. dikranmarsupial says:

    dpy wrote “So let’s not waste further time on these issues of “my evildoers are worse than yours.” BTW, that’s not disingenuous “rhetoric.””

    Now that really is disingenuous rhetoric. I have made it very clear that I have nothing against individuals, such as Prof. Curry, I certainly don’t view them as “evildoers”.

  178. dikranmarsupial says:

    “But what about the actual technical content of the paper? It seems to me that that is interesting and valuable.”

    They make many statement about models that are factually incorrect, pointed out in my mini-review. They also provide no evidence whatsoever that these problems actually apply to GCMs.

  179. dikranmarsupial says:

    ” The point here is that this argument is not productive because its really about selection bias. You “select” those evidences of evildoing you like and ignore those you don’t like.”

    you started that with

    “the recent Resplandy paper and its dramatic errors in understating uncertainty.”

    At least if me mentioning Curry is an instance of “evildoing” (in your hyperbolic terms).

  180. dikranmarsupial says:

    The only person being selective here is DPY. I didn’t reject any of his examples, but he rejected mine. I mentioned Prof. Curry in response to this statement

    “Dikran, I don’t know who these people are whom consensus messaging was supposed to counter. Skeptics like Dyson and Lindzen accept the reality of greenhouse gases.”

    To show that there are high profile skeptics that have made statements that contradict the consensus position they claim to agree with. DPY refused to watch a 49 second video that contradicted his position.

    “Dikran, I’m not going to watch the video since Curry’s views are well known from her blog.”

  181. Willard says:

    > But what about the actual technical content of the paper?

    I stopped at the first bullet point – YOLO, and that point is crucial for their whole argument to stand. It may still be included in the Contrarian Matrix as an example of a talking point about predictions:

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

    The “actual technical content” has little to do with AT’s post.

  182. tedpress says:

    [Groundskeeper has enough identities as it is, and his peddling has ran out its course. -W]

  183. dikranmarsupial says:

    I did read the whole paper, I linked in my mini review on Twitter if anybody wants to read about the other issues (note it isn’t quite a linear thread, there are some branches). Happy to discuss any of the technical issues I raised.

  184. Willard says:

    > Happy to discuss any of the technical issues I raised.

    Not here, please.

  185. dikranmarsupial says:

    Willard didn’t miss much, it wasn’t a great use of my time and energy.

  186. Willard says:

    Unless it’s an invitation for a blog post?

    Wink wink.

  187. dikranmarsupial says:

    Willard, no problem, a reply on the twitter thread would be better.

  188. Willard says:

    I wasn’t talking about me, hence the wink wink.

    Since Peter has been deferring to Judy’s “pursuit of truth” and since Dikran hid the tweet under a “mobile” link:

  189. dpy6629 says:

    I don’t do twitter Dikran can you post a link?

  190. Willard says:

    Here, DavidY:

    You need to click on the timestamp to get the thread.

  191. dpy6629 says:

    Dikran, You need to be factual. I didn’t reject any of your examples of evildoing. I simply said I wasn’t interested in them because of selection bias and the fact that evildoers are everywhere. I simply don’t care to waste time on hunting the evildoers. Please read what I wrote.

    The statement about Resplandy seems accurate to me. Understating uncertainty by a factor of 2-3 is a big error. Also without their post hoc “adjustment” of one of the parameters of their method, they understated the trend by 20% or so. Then they issued a press release based on these errors propagating them into the media.

  192. Dpy,
    I think we’ve decided to draw this discussion to a close. Maybe you could endeavour to actually do so.

  193. dikranmarsupial says:

    I wrote “. I have made it very clear that I have nothing against individuals, such as Prof. Curry, I certainly don’t view them as “evildoers”.”

    Dpy wrote ” I didn’t reject any of your examples of evildoing”

    I think that is a pretty good indication that this “discussion” is ended.

  194. Dave_Geologist says:

    Wrong dpy. They don’t make a statement about falsification that is questionable. They make one that is utterly, mind-blowingly stupid. Embarrassing coming from any educated adult. From a professor? Words fail me. In what otherwise looks to be a respectable journal. Editors have resigned for less.

  195. Dave said:

    “Wrong dpy. They don’t make a statement about falsification that is questionable. They make one that is utterly, mind-blowingly stupid. Embarrassing coming from any educated adult. From a professor? Words fail me. In what otherwise looks to be a respectable journal. Editors have resigned for less.”

    Nice. There are 5 strong assertions they make
    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2018/04/04/an-editorial-response/#comment-115147

  196. Dave_Geologist says:

    I saw the others Paul. But the first two are truisms, and less strong in that they would have to demonstrate that the weaknesses they point are true not just of climate model in general, but of all climate models. Because consilience. Otherwise the unstable or overstable ones would stick out like sore thumbs. It’s obviously not true of all computational modelling all the time. Otherwise planes would fall out of the sky, bridges collapse, buildings topple over, and large oilfields would be undevelopable. Or if they are true, then the impact must mostly be trivial, or detectable by testing, comparison with closed-form solutions, etc.

    The next one appears to demonstrate ignorance of the fact that the variability (stochastic or chaotic) in individual model runs is a feature not a bug. The average can be stable, in the same way that the average of a thousand coin tosses is stable. It would be astonishing if individuals so ignorant of the subject they are critiquing had anything useful to contribute.

    The last is too vague to be strong. Does decadal variability refer to oscillations about a mean or between bistable states? Or does it refer to multidecadal, unidirectional trends? “A specific class of nonlinear dynamical systems” is just flim-flam unless it’s nailed down clearly and shown to apply to actual climate models using actual data. Otherwise you’re potentially into M&M territory, where you can simulate a multidecadal trend from noise as long as you make the temporal correlation length an order of magnitude longer than it is in real life, and cherry-pick the best one-in-a-hundred outcomes. IOW an amusing intellectual exercise, but as useful in the real world as unicorn farming.

  197. The last is the Tsonis influence to the paper and allows them an escape hatch from dead-end-ism science.

  198. Dave_Geologist says:

    Ah, I see I already had a copy of the ms. The last one is unicorn farming Paul. Because, as our host would say, Then There’s Physics. If the post-industrial and recent warming is entirely down to long-period internal variability, something must be almost exactly cancelling out the known forcings. Given that there’s a lot we don’t even need much in the way of measurements to quantify, e.g. ab initio quantum mechanics, the chance that there’s a whole bunch of unknown physics out there, which just happens to cancel out the known physics, is vanishingly small. The only mechanism I can come up with is unicorns. Smart unicorns, who observe our emissions and land-use changes, and tweak the cancellation as required.

  199. Joshua says:

    I’m still trying to digest that clip of Judith that Willard posted.

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2018/12/05/between-conflation-and-denial/#comment-133301

    So thinking that we can change the climate (she goes exchanges change the climate and the semi-straw argument of controlling the climate) through altering emissions on a time scale of a century is misguided hubris (as opposed to guided hubris).

    Can someone smart tell me if that statement is consistent with the Lewis and Curry publications on sensitivity?

  200. Joshua,

    Can someone smart tell me if that statement is consistent with the Lewis and Curry publications on sensitivity?

    In the absence of anyone smart, I’ll have a go. The answer is essentially no. The Lewis & Curry paper essentially assumed that all of the observed warming was anthropogenic. It’s clearly a century-scale warming event and clearly driven by our emission of CO2 into the atmosphere.

  201. Joshua says:

    Yes, you’ll do. Thx.

  202. Dave, Your unicorn is a nod to the other paper that Tsonis has out right now which is about the natural climate variation that exists independent of AGW. As I said before (but which you did not see) you can’t marginalize this because he and his co-authors are getting peer-reviewed at the level of Physical Review Letters on the topic

  203. Canman says:

    About the Richard Alley video posted by Steve Mosher @December 6, 2018 at 4:12 pm, and described as “one of the best”. Now I want to be clear that that I do think Alley can do a good job of describing CO2 as a control knob on the climate over geological time, and maybe even do the best job of this. But this video is mostly about economics, and listening to Alley on that subject is like listening to Donald Duck explain the Federal Reserve System.

    He does start out pretty well by explaining the position (which I hold) that increasing humanity’s wealth will allow our grandchildren to better deal with the upcoming problem. He doesn’t agree (fair enough), but his reasoning is a bunch of sanctimonious, preachy blather about how we don’t care about our grandchildren, along with a bunch of blithering economic baby talk. Even with his folksey humor, he comes across with that condescending demeanor that’s so common among academics. I don’t recall the word “nuclear” anywhere in his discussion of solutions. I’ve listened to it on an ipod a few times, while doing other things, so I may have missed it.

    My conclusion, from listening to this video, is that the best thing anyone can do about climate, is vote against politicians that listen to Alley, like Jerry Brown.

    Brown ought to be the poster child for a bad climate politician. He claims to be a climate leader when his state is below the national average in reducing emissions. He’s mandating solar roofs, while his state has a housing crisis. He’s an anti-nuclear zealot. He’s thrown billions at the utterly stupid high speed train to nowhere.

  204. Willard says:

    > My conclusion, from listening to this video […]

    Sure, Canman.

    As if you didn’t have this conclusion beforehand.

  205. Willard says:

    > I went over their “new” no growth macro economic “model”

    Should be easy to show your homework, then.

    There’s nothing very sciency about anchoring one’s 2,5% discount rate with one as high as 5%.

  206. Joshua says:

    Canman –

    and listening to Alley on that subject is like listening to Donald Duck explain the Federal Reserve System.

    Who do you sound like, on which subject, when you talk about the economics of climate change? Einstein/relativity? Chomsky/linguistics? Lebron/basketball?

  207. Canman says:

    Joshua, I probably sound like a biased, casual observer (which I am), but in economics, you have experts with wildly diverging views who do a poor job at predicting the future. On climate, I take a very skeptical view of anyone talking about economics and not mentioning nuclear power.

  208. On climate, I take a very skeptical view of anyone talking about economics and not mentioning nuclear power.

    Ding! Ding! Ding!

    We have a winner, Johnny! What prizes do we have today for Canman?

  209. Steven Mosher says:

    “There’s nothing very sciency about anchoring one’s 2,5% discount rate with one as high as 5%.”

    Empirical.

  210. Steven Mosher says:

    “But this video is mostly about economics, and listening to Alley on that subject is like listening to Donald Duck explain the Federal Reserve System.”

    I didnt think it was mostly about economics. I thought it was mostly about ice sheets, sea level rise and reasoning about Risk.

    As Joshua notes we dont reason about these things very well. And as willard notes our current
    ‘scientific” reasoning about discount rates is also subject to serious objections. ( even though I kid him about being anti science,haha always the instigator)

    I think Alley does a better job than most at explaining both the science and the economics in a way that the great unwashed can begin to get a handle on. If I have to pick spokesmodels i would always have a folksy type in the line up. Funny looking, weird sense of humor, doesnt take himself too seriously. No technical jargon. Must have player in the line up!

    You may not like his dumbing down of things, but I rather liked it.

    Let’s just take his example of driving to work in traffic. Or better catching a train or plane.

    For international flights they advise you reach the airpport two hours in advance.
    I recently had to go to the airport with a friend. Now, this involved the following.

    1. Get a subway to the high speed train (uug mass transit)
    2. Take the highspeed train to another subway system. (ugg)
    3. Take two different subway trains to my hotel. (ugg)
    4. Then take another subway or cab to the airport. (ugg)
    5. Fly !

    My friend pull out the schedules and calculated with precision: we leave at 6pm
    get to the airport by 9pm for the 11pm flight. I looked at the same data and said leave at
    5pm. A fight ensues of course. Why the difference? Well, we didnt have tickets for the high speed train. And had no way of knowing how long the line would be, or if there would be seats.
    The slower train would get us to the aiport by 10pm for an 11pm. My argument was leave
    an hour early because shit happens. His argument was leave at 6pm and worst case we miss the flight, and stay another night. So here we were two rational creatures assessing the same known risk in totally different ways. We didnt sit down and figure out the probability of missing the plane and then assign a cost based on the cost of the hotel room and re booking a ticket. His argument, why would I want to waste an extra hour in the airport if all the times were correct. My argument, why risk missing the trains or planes when the cost of waiting an extra hour is so low. Me? I’ve never missed a plane. Always early. Him? he is constantly running through airports. he likes that. Travel together? never again. I have my way; he has his. And for the most part this manner of handling risk is fine. You go your way, I’ll go mine. I have no need to convince you to change your ways.

    Except with climate, we are both kinda on the same plane. You are taking risk for me. And I am taking risks for you. And we have no known way of making me agree with the reason in your approach and no known way of making you agree with the reason in my approach.

    In that gap power will exert itself to settle matters. Always has. Get yourself a yellow vest.

  211. Steven Mosher says:

    “Can someone smart tell me if that statement is consistent with the Lewis and Curry publications on sensitivity?”

    Joshua the official answer would be something like this.

    1. The paper is something like a devils advocate paper.
    2. They assume the values given by the IPCC are correct .. for forcing and temperatures.
    3. They assume the EB approach is acceptable because it was used before by IPCC
    4. They assume 100% of the temp rise is human caused, for sake of argument.
    5 Given these assumptions they calculate ECS and show low numbers with their opponents
    assumptions and data.

    When pushed at one point ( cant find it ) Judith essentially used the devils advocate
    defense. That is assume what your opponents believe to be true and then show how their
    assumptions lead to smaller numbers. Of course this is done without any “committment” to the assumptions. I find this rather odd for an actual science paper. It is a standard rhetorical ploy,
    but ordinarily in science you make assumptions that you are willing to defend.

  212. dikranmarsupial says:

    “Can someone smart tell me if that statement is consistent with the Lewis and Curry publications on sensitivity?”

    Not particularly smart, but: AIUI Lewis and Curry argue that ECS is approximately 1.5K for a doubling of CO2. Thus if we change atmospheric CO2 levels via fossil fuel emissions, we will cause a change in global mean surface temperatures (all things being otherwise equal). So the only way I can see that Prof. Curry’s statement can be reconciled with the Lewis and Curry paper is to argue that the rise in CO2 is not anthropogenic (c.f. Salby – a theory on which Prof. Curry refuses to answer direct questions about its validity). However, there may be other reasons, or it may just be that the two are not consistent.

  213. dikranmarsupial says:

    ” Of course this is done without any “committment” to the assumptions. I find this rather odd for an actual science paper. ”

    If you do do that, it does need to be stated explicitly in the paper (IMHO), otherwise you may mislead the reader.

  214. Dikran,
    As Steven says, Judith could argue that they were assuming that it was all anthropogenic and still recovered a result that was lower than the mainstream values. This doesn’t mean that they think it is actually all anthropogenic. Of course, this is probably the case, but in the opposite sense to what is being suggested by Judith in that interview (i.e., natural factors may have suppressed some of the forced warming).

  215. dikranmarsupial says:

    Yes, I should learn to be more cynical! ;o)

  216. Dave_Geologist says:

    Paul, as we’re both well aware, peer review, even in a good journal, is not a guarantee of good science. All it shows is that the paper is Not Obviously Wrong. Do you have a link to the PRL paper? All I can find is a 2008 paper on El Niño. You’re surely not suggesting that multi-decadal and multi-century trends, with a larger temperature change than is seen in the multi-annual oscillations, are part of some super El Niño? In which case, in addition to the question I posed, “what switches off or cancels out the known physics”, we can add “why do we only see it now, and not in the palaeo records”. You can argue (spuriously, because there are some annually resolved records) that sampling and resolution issues issues impact our ability to recognise large short-term temperature variations. But that doesn’t apply to multi-decadal or multi-century variations.

  217. Dave_Geologist says:

    There’s an interesting analogue to the “if it’s all natural cycles, why does known physics not do what it’s supposed to do” question in that other favourite area of denial, Creationism and Intelligent Design. Given (a) heritable traits that can confer a competitive advantage (which Darwin deduced from human-directed selective breeding, which is why he wrote so much about farm animals, fancy pigeons etc., and which we now understand through DNA); (b) a situation where parents have more, often many more children than are required for replacement; and (c) situations such as stable ecosystems where a population’s numbers are more-or-less stable, evolution by natural selection is inevitable. Given those three easily demonstrated facts, the rest is just arithmetic. For evolution by natural selection not to happen, God has to intervene to stop it. Then He has to manage Creation in such a way that it looks exactly as if evolution by natural selection has happened and is happening. William of Ockham was a clergyman IIRC, but I’m pretty sure he’d be with me in deciding which is the more parsimonious alternative.

  218. Steven Mosher says:

    “If you do do that, it does need to be stated explicitly in the paper (IMHO), otherwise you may mislead the reader.”

    ya. It seems to me if you are assuming something you believe to be false, then you need to be straight up about it and crystal clear.

  219. Joshua says:

    It seems to me if you are assuming something you believe to be false, then you need to be straight up about it and crystal clear.

    Unless your goal is to use research as a rhetorical device, in the pursuit of issue advocacy (which, I might add, would be some top shelf irony).

  220. That is assume what your opponents believe to be true and then show how their assumptions lead to smaller numbers. Of course this is done without any “committment” to the assumptions. I find this rather odd for an actual science paper. It is a standard rhetorical ploy, but ordinarily in science you make assumptions that you are willing to defend.

    I find that perfectly acceptable. Every paper is a single contribution to science and there is no need for all of your papers to fit together. A scientist can contribute to multiple (conflicting) lines of evidence and see where the evidence takes us and hopefully one day resolve the conflict. Being able to handle this ambiguity is helpful when working on the boundary of what we know.

    Einstein rejected quantum mechanics. I presume most of his papers on the topic were: look at the ridiculous outcomes you get using this theory (after which these ridiculous outcomes were observed in the lab). But I see no problem with him writing a paper: thinking about this problem I found this useful trick, or a paper: hey, this observation fits the theory.

    I am currently co-author of a manuscript that is able to fit the variations in the global mean temperature very accurately. I personally do not believe the warming estimates to be so accurate that this result is possible. But I see no technical error in the paper. Maybe I am wrong about the quality of the data, maybe the result is less sensitive to inhomogeneities than I expect. The future will tell and in the mean time this paper is an interesting contribution to the scientific debate.

  221. Greg Robie says:

    Of wicked, life & evil: [t]ame thing

    The problem with the assertion that “we do know how to stop…” is that the assertion is not supported by the evidence, nor the data. Knowledge is defined by physics as action (below, see Gates’ Equation regarding “P” & the existential threat physics defines for “P”). Even limiting ATTP’s “we” to academics, as intended(?), what percentage of academic institution have implemented policies that demonstrate an existence that is not a “live” backwards; relative to understandings developed within these institutions, is not a manner that is “evil”; is not “wicked”? Isn’t that percentage sufficient to observe that “wicked, live & evil” are the [s]ame thing?

    When actions negate understanding, it is actions that constitutes the socially understood ‘talk’. Within the range of years that quantify a generation, isn’t such the length of time “we”/we have been, as Kevin Anderson observes, pretending to care about climate change? Isn’t the wisdom of the evil/live semordnilap wickedly avoided when trusted thinking embraces these institutions’ separation of knowledge from action as understanding and knowledge? If so, can the “wicked thinking” that creates a problem have agency regarding grasping and understanding a solution to the “problem” it creates? And, whether trusted motivated reasoning is wicked or wise, socially, it is what creates …and to which physics reacts.

    Gates’ Equation: P x S x E x C = CO2 [= 0], where P = population; S = services used by people; E = the energy needed to power those services; C equals the carbon dioxide created by that energy.

    Isn’t that [=0] I’ve added a zeroNOT! … to the degree that we imagine [motivated reasoning] we know how to stop? Period./? … when “WalkingNOT! our physics: Blunderland” (to the tune) of “Winter Wonderland”:

    Market bells, they are ringing
    In the north, snow’s less glistening
    But ‘beautiful’ sounds
    That physics confounds
    WalkingNOT! our physics: Blunderland

    Walked away from the truth-bird
    Means to stay, is a new turd
    That Tweets out its song
    As we blog along
    WalkingNOT! our physics: Blunderland

    In the mind is where we build our strawmen
    Then pretend “the others'” we knock down
    If to this, we’re married
    We’ll say, No man
    But then we’re on the job
    …it’s quite profound

    All day long, we conspire
    As we dream in the fire
    And trust unafraid
    The plans we’ve unmade
    WalkingNOT! our physics: Blunderland

    In the meanwhile we’ve become our snowman
    This pretending – like a circus clown
    We have lots of fun as mister snowman
    Until the warming climate melts us down

    When heat grows, ain’t it thrilling
    Though truth’s hosed, we’re still chilling
    We frolic and play, shun what Eskimos say
    WalkingNOT! our physics: Blunderland

    Trundl’n in our blunders: where we stand
    Talking ’bout the physics: wonderland
    WalkingNOT! our physics: Blunderland

    I’ve almost completed a rough draft of a narrative regarding the [now] 0-1.4% error that’s evidenced by the Inuit hunter observations of a seasonal tropopause rise regarding parallax in the Arctic … and it’s apparent omission from the climate models. But even if [because ;)] I’m wicked smart, I’m still seeking help (&/or an introduction to those who might help).

    Astronomy: knowledge of how Arctic twilight has or has not been changed regarding the seasonal tropopause shift, irradiance and parallax.

    Physics: atmospheric parallax calculations and climate models.

    Solar Radiation Management geoengineering: robustness of the calculations regarding the asserted 1% shading and SRM.

    Arctic cryospheric studies regarding ice extent: quantifying the plausibility of error margins and the divergence of graphed and observed sea ice loss incorporating (hiding) a dynamic 0-1.4% omission.

    Arctic cryospheric studies and ice volume: I.B.I.D

    Mathematics: calculus regarding fitting linear trend lines to curves and over different time spans.

  222. dikranmarsupial says:

    VV wrote “I find that perfectly acceptable”

    me too, provided that you are upfront about what you are doing. Making an assumption without saying that you think the assumption is invalid is implicitly endorsing the assumption, and hence likely to mislead people about your true position.

  223. Willard says:

    I think it’s worse in context.

    Once upon a time, Judy went long on da paws:

    A final point: Intrinsic variability indeed may damp the presumed anthropogenic signature of secular-scale warming in the currently observed “pause”. Many have suggested such, Steinman et al. among them. Yet, without demonstration, conclusions on what may seem valid cannot be made. Thus, Steinman et al.’s argument that they have assessed the role of internal variability in the current “pause” is unsupportable. Their chosen forced signal – a multi-model ensemble-mean – fails to provide convincing evidence.

    https://judithcurry.com/2015/12/15/20656/

    It’s that possibility that makes her latest stance incompatible with what she says in that interview about her paper with Nic.

    Interestingly, the 2015 post was one of her latest on the attribution series. Then it went downhill with Javier.

    That’s where her latest “but sea level” fits, BTW.

  224. dpy6629 says:

    Victor is of course correct about this issue of “inconsistencies.”

    If you comb the pubic papers and blog posts of someone as prolific as Curry, you can always find inconsistencies, changing opinions, etc. This is of course what is called “opposition research” in the vernacular. It’s a waste of time to do so, isn’t it? What does it accomplish other than to fill blog comments as here?

    Vastly more important are actually errors or biases as in Respendy and Marvel et al. That’s why Lewis has succeeded in changing climate science, because he focuses on important issues. If there is an error for example in Lewis and Curry 2018, that’s really valuable to find and point out.

  225. Nic Lewis hasn’t really succeeding in changing climate science. His work has lead to people looking more thoroughly at various issues. This is a perfectly repectable thing to have achieved. It hasn’t really changed anything in terms of our basic understanding of climate science (even the Resplandy et al. result mainly ended up being less certain than they initially presented – it didn’t really change our understanding of how ocean heat content has been changing).

  226. Canman says:

    To continue a bit on my rant against Alley’s video, at about 55 minutes in he spouts a bunch of warm fuzzy blather about how we can build a renewable energy system with batteries and solar cells and better windows, … but no hint of nuclear. I’m not very long winded, but, fortunately, Enlightenment Liberal, over in the comment section of Pharyngula, is. He presents hard headed analysis of how important nuclear is in this and other comments:

    https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2018/11/08/jordan-peterson-is-a-fool-part-ive-lost-track-of-the-number/#comment-1977026

    The other commenters there accuse him of being impervious to logic without offering much that I can see in the way of logic.

  227. Willard says:

    > To continue a bit on my rant against Alley’s video […]

    Peddling “but nukes” gets boring quickly, Canman.

  228. Steven Mosher says:

    Canman.

    My claim is simple. Alley is one of the best communicators.

    Your job is to find better ones and show he is not one of the best.
    Pointing out that he does not ride OUR HOBBY HORSE ( i like nukes too FFS)
    gets you nowhere toward that goal.

    You could have sarcastically commented that Moshers best, shows how poor the field is
    and won some cleverness points, but you missed that opportunity.

  229. Canman says:

    I agree Alley’s a good communicator. He certainly looks like he’s wowing Jerry Brown. I just don’t like what he’s communicating, … at least the “we can build a renewables world” part. I’ll admit he can explain the CO2 control knob over geologic time well and he probably does a good job on the ice sheets with their flying buttresses — I didn’t listen that closely to that part.

    The best communicator on energy I see is Michael Shellenberger. He’s very articulate, doesn’t talk down to anyone and is ready to debate on the subject. And there’s no excuse for climate people to avoid discussing nuclear. Some of their leading lights, like Hansen, Kerry Emanuel and Ken Caldeira think it’s vital.

  230. Willard says:

    Here’s what that reminds me of:

    Replace “Doritos” with “nuclear.”

  231. Canman,
    Michael Shellenberger is probably one of the most condescending people I’ve ever encountered.

  232. Canman says:

    ATTP,

    Really? Can you give me some examples?

  233. Canman,
    Given that I’m blocked, not easily.

  234. Canman says:

    Twitter (I’m assuming that’s where you’re blocked) has an advanced search feature where you can search for tweets from one twitterer to another, and then click on them to examine the thread. I take it he blocked you after this tweet:

    Upthread, Shellenberger makes this tweet:

    Then you attack him with this one:

    What’s with the suspended account, “@MichaelBTI”?

  235. Canman says:

    Last link should’ve been:

  236. Canman says:

    I’ll just say that in his public persona, Shellenberger impresses me as a straight shooter who argues his points very well. In the twitter thread, he’s just making a critical assessment of his neighbors, which I agree with. I remember Richard Tol saying he’d met Shellenberger in person and found him to be just like his persona.

    In private, if he has any avarice, he’s certainly done a good job of keeping it in check publicly. I even hope he does have some, because I’d like to see him do better in politics.

  237. Dave_Geologist says:

    doy, if you comb the pubic papers and blog posts of someone as prolific as Resplandy, you can always find inconsistencies, changing opinions, etc. This is of course what is called “opposition research” in the vernacular. It’s a waste of time to do so, isn’t it? What does it accomplish other than to fill blog comments as here?

    Vastly more important are actual errors or biases as in LC18. That’s why Lewis has not succeeded in changing climate science, because he ignores other scientists who point out flaws in his papers, and instead of responding in the academic literature, doubles down in blog posts. As has been pointed out, both in the academic literature and in blogs (including this one – and I’ll bet I’d find comments by you in the thread, so there’s no excuse for ignorance), there is at least one error, and one bias. The bias lies in their use of a global-average temperature dataset which is known to under-report Arctic warming, which is where warming has been fastest. I’m using the word “bias” here in the scientific sense, a systematic displacement from reality (as it happens towards less warming), rather than in the pejorative, bad-faith sense. The error lies in their use of global averaging, when it has been demonstrated that applying that technique to GCMs returns an incorrect value of ECS, which in this case is precisely known from the model. Or if you don’t like modulz, because Reasons, the same result has been demonstrated by simple latitudinal sectoring. That’s an error not a bias, because in principle it could go either way. In this particular case, it leads to an underestimation of ECS. You should use the simplest model that works, but it’s become clear (I bet it was already clear to the GCM jockeys) that global averaging is too simple and doesn’t work.

    Resplandy et al., had a large error in the uncertainly estimate (error in the sense of a mistake), and a small error in their central estimate. Neither of which materially changed the conclusions of the paper. Their initial central estimate was within the existing range but towards the upper end, with a range which IIRC just about fitted into the existing range. Their new central estimate is slightly smaller (about 20% IIRC), still within the existing range and still towards the upper end, with a range which now encompasses more of the the existing range and, not to be forgotten, extends the existing range upwards. Uncertainty bounds, like stock prices, can go up as well as down.

    Resplandy et al. was a computational error. LC18 is a rubbish-in, rubbish-out error, in the sense that they’ve correctly calculated something, but not the something they set out to find, because you can’t correctly calculate it from those inputs. Resplandy et al. used a new technique so it’s too soon to say whether it suffers from bias or error (both used in the non-pejorative sense). So even without the calculation error, it would always have been regarded as provisional until the field was more mature. Resplandy et al. will kick off new fields of study by their team and others. That’s how science works. Lewis & Curry will attract some interest among the scientific community, but will never be more than a footnote. It didn’t add much; if anything, the attention it attracted has made it clearer that their method of simple global averaging is the wrong way to go. Others have made the same mistake in the past; fewer will make it in future. That’s how science works. The focus on Resplandy et al.’s embarrassing computational error is how culture wars work. I know the difference. Do you?

  238. Dave_Geologist says:

    I should of course have put (sic) after pubic papers 😉

  239. Dave_Geologist says:

    Hmmm… “My neighbors in Berkeley successfully grow a heirloom tomato & think they are French peasant farmers … my neighborhood is thick w/solar panels & Teslas. They think they’re making their own power.” is not condescending to his neigbours (IMHO it’s also sarcastic), but “You don’t seem to think much of your neighbourhood. Makes me wonder why you live there.” is an attack. Interesting.

    Not to mention “Talk about green branding as an exercise in erasing production, pollution, class, power, and privilege! … Late capitalist green Romanticism as the ideology of post-industrial elites: an exercise in forgetting.” Bit of a foot-gun, that thread.

  240. Canman says:

    Dave_Geologist, He’s talking about his neighbors, not to them. He’s ridiculing them, which is a way of being critical. He’s not being condescending to ATTP — he’s being direct.

  241. Marco says:

    “I remember Richard Tol saying he’d met Shellenberger in person and found him to be just like his persona.”

    Thereby essentially confirming Shellenberger is arrogant and condescending…You just shot yourself in your own foot.

    You may want to consider, and I mean this in absolute earnest, whether you like the communication of Shellenberger because he truly is a good communicator, or because he communicates that what you like to hear. I’ve got a feeling it is the latter.

  242. Canman,
    I’m really not sure what point you’re trying to make. IIRC, I suggested that Shellenberger was arrogant and condescending in that Twitter thread. My view really hasn’t changed (although I haven’t really followed what he’s done recently, so maybe he’s changed).

  243. dikranmarsupial says:

    “He’s talking about his neighbors, not to them. He’s ridiculing them, which is a way of being critical.”

    Oh well, that’s alright then.*

    * may contain traces of sarcasm.

  244. dikranmarsupial says:

    I think this is where ATTP went wrong. He should have ridiculed Shellenberger behind his back, rather than being criticial to his face, that way Shellenberger wouldn’t have seen it and so not blocked him! I think I am getting the hang of this on-line discussion thing! ;o)

  245. Everett F Sargent says:

    “If you comb the pubic … ” Eew!

    But moving right along, about JC’s “so called” works post you know when .. those are filed under Deep Uncertainty. Doesn’t know and moreover does not even care to know.

    Which sort of undermines both of her 2nd author papers with NL. How can one, at the same time, claim Deep Uncertainty and Deep Certainty in ultra low TCR/ECS? There is Deep Uncertainty in JC’s published Deep Certainty, of that I am certain.

  246. Steven Mosher says:

    Canman.

    twitter brings out the best in people.

  247. petertangney says:

    Ken,
    Thanks for plugging my paper.
    I teach an undergrad class here in Adelaide on critical reasoning. If you’re ever passing this way, you should pop in, I’d be happy to provide a few pointers. In the meantime, a few notes on your post above:
    “I exchanged a few emails with the author a couple of years ago. It didn’t end well.”
    – As I recall, I questioned your defence of the deficit model on Twitter. After a few back-and-forths, you descended into troll-like behaviour until I blocked you. At which point, you pursued the ‘conversation’ by looking up my email address, and again, wouldn’t go away until I allowed you the last word.
    In posting a response to your attempted take-down above, I’m aware that I’m once again invoking what a fellow twitterer once amusingly referred to as the ‘wrath of Kenny’. Rest assured, you are now blocked from my emails too, should you seek to avail of this communication avenue. My hunch is that you’ll be much less obnoxious in person when we meet; most keyboard warriors are.

    “I think it’s somewhat confused, remarkably ironic, and mostly an exercise in savaging strawpeople.”
    – Pro-tip: An unqualified assertion toward strawman argumentation, is a strawman;
    – The paper does make accusations concerning the climate science community’s deficit model thinking, because they demonstrably do succumb to the various erroneous assumptions under this model. As the paper highlights, the Larry Marshall/CSIRO case-study was a perfect demonstration of this. Climate scientists may well be aware (as you assert in your linked post) that more information will not solve the climate change problem; what they obstinately refuse to accept however, despite decades’ worth of mounting evidence in support, is that pursuing this line of communication strategy is so often politically counter-productive. This sort of communication merely serves to entrench the politics of technical policy issues, particularly when it is accompanied by the criticism and condescension of those they are attempting to communicate with. What science communicators frequently fail to grasp is that effective communication is about two-way traffic on the basis of common ground. This paper seeks to enhance two-way understanding.

    “The basic argument seems to revolve around scientists […] being responsible for the conflict within the climate debate”
    – Oh please. The paper seeks to understand the other side of the climate change debate as a means of finding the most politically optimal strategy available to advance climate change policies, at a time when Australia’s climate politics appears to have arrived at an impenetrable impasse. Part of the responsibility for this impasse does lie with climate scientists. Do you deny this? If so, it would suggest that you have once again succumbed to erroneous deficit model assumptions.

    “The whole paper seems to be full of suggestions that scientists are not using climate science properly (who gets to decide this?)”
    – This is a strawman. I argue that scientists say their science can be used in one way, when it actually is considerably more limited in its instrumental utility. The body of research utilisation studies of climate science for policymaking confirms this finding.

    “The evidence he provides for this are (yes, you guessed it) articles by Judith Curry and Roger Pielke Jr.”
    – For Judith’s case I cite both her own account, and the piece that was written in Nature about her travails. Subsequent arguments by Gavin Schmidt that you link to were made after she had already retired and are less relevant to the assertions I made in the paper. She was originally criticised and ostracised for different reasons, as outlined by Lemonick (2010)
    – For Roger’s case, it’s true that I only cite his account, but this is partly because little or no independent analysis has been undertaken of his case. He has challenged the scientific community to amend his reporting of AR5 extreme event statistics and (to my knowledge) no challenge has been forthcoming. His reporting is accurate as far as I can tell and other than being a rather annoying person, this appears the only basis upon which he was removed from 538 and put under investigation by his university at the behest of a Democrat representative.

    “Firstly, any undue emphasis on consensus is because the evidence has allowed a strong consensus to develop, not because people feel that they need to be consistent with one that has been imposed upon them.”
    – Not many academics really doubt the scientific foundations upon which the consensus was built, even if they doubt how the consensus was calculated. I’m not going to get into a discussion of the philosophy of science with you, but the whole idea of expert consensus as advocacy tool is fraught in terms of the cognitive and social norms of scientific pursuit. I disagree that there is no pressure on scientists to think alike on the greenhouse effect and its relative influence compared with other anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic forcings. Aside from the cases outlined in the paper which should be ample demonstration themselves, Roger Pielke Senior is another good example of someone who has been increasingly ostracised from the mainstream for not agreeing with the GHG-as-control-knob model of anthropogenic warming advocated by the IPCC. He, like Judy and Roger Jr., also sits within the much touted 97%. The point of examining this issue was to highlight that skeptics’ suspicions of politicised expertise are not aided by these instances, particularly when the worth of consensus as advocacy tool is, at the very least, eminently arguable from an academic point of view.

    “Someone who purports to be a serious academic thinks that articles by Matt Ridley potentially highlight real problems within the climate science community?”
    – This is a genetic fallacy. The veracity or otherwise of Ridley’s argument has absolutely nothing to do with his personal politics or allegiances. That’s the good thing about arguments, they stand or fall on the basis of (directly pertinent) evidence and logic. And as I outline in the paper, Ridley’s argument coheres with the theses of most of the preeminent philosophers of science of the 20th century.

    “As far as I can tell, this article is written by someone who clearly does not understand the basics of climate science, appears to have spent little time communicating with actual scientists, and writes about how scientists can suffer from confirmation bias without considering that their own selective use of sources might indicate a bit of a problem on their side.”
    – I note, on perusal of your blog, including your previous responses to this posting, that when you disagree with someone, you tend to accuse them of not understanding a particular issue. This is usually in an unqualified, Ad Hominem sort of way. Yet, much evidence here and on Twitter indicates that it is you, in fact, who does not understand the science-policy interface, the politics of climate change, or the normative challenges presented by this most formidable of social problems.
    – You’re not a climate scientist are you, Ken? And you’re not a political scientist either, am I correct? Have you ever worked for government as a science-policy advisor? Reflexivity is indeed a valuable attribute, as you (and the IPCC) note. It’s just a shame that it is so rarely practiced by those who invoke it.
    – FYI, I have worked for 6 years in the UK, and 7 years in Australia at the science-policy interface working for, in, and at the behest of, UK and Australian government. I have two degrees in natural science and a PhD in political science. I sit in a college of science and engineering. I am a multi-award-winning researcher. I converse with both scientists AND policymakers and I have done so on almost a daily basis for ALL of my career.
    The purpose of the paper was that of devil’s advocacy, as I clearly stated in the introduction. It was attempting to construct an argument on the part of skeptics to help us collectively to understand how to derive bipartisan evidence-based justifications for robust climate adaptation and mitigation policies.

    “Why do people who write this kind of stuff never seem willing to consider that the reason scientists aren’t adapting their communication strategies is because they don’t know how to do so while also ensuring that what they communicate is consistent with the available evidence?”
    – I specifically state in the paper that one of the reasons that scientists aren’t adapting their communication strategies is because they don’t understand evidence-based policymaking. This is compounded by their exaggeration of what the science can actually (instrumentally) do to direct decision-making. Perhaps then, they should attempt some humility in their advocacy for climate change policies and stop making exaggerated claims about what the science can do and reductive claims about what ‘the truth’ is.

  248. dpy6629 says:

    ATTP, I generally agree with what you say about Nic Lewis. I would add that quantification is what we really need in climate science and here Lewis has made significant contributions.

  249. verytallguy says:

    Odd comment on “quantification”.

    You’re suggesting that climate science was qualitative (“descriptive” perhaps) pre-Lewis in the areas he has published? Which seems very weird if so.

    Or something else?

  250. Peter,

    I teach an undergrad class here in Adelaide on critical reasoning. If you’re ever passing this way, you should pop in, I’d be happy to provide a few pointers.

    I’ll pass, thanks.

    “I exchanged a few emails with the author a couple of years ago. It didn’t end well.”
    – As I recall, I questioned your defence of the deficit model on Twitter. After a few back-and-forths, you descended into troll-like behaviour until I blocked you. At which point, you pursued the ‘conversation’ by looking up my email address, and again, wouldn’t go away until I allowed you the last word.

    Not entirely my memory of how it went, but I doubt we will reach some consensus, so not much point in taking it further. I think I assumed it’s was okay to contact fellow academics via email (I believe my initial email was the form of an apology, and my second was one in which I suggested it would be good if physical and social scientists could work closer together, which then somehow got you all worked up again). In some occassions I’ve discovered that it is regarded as not acceptable to email people. Mostly, people are quite happy to exchange emails, and remain quite polite (something you do seem to struggle with). Let’s bear in mind that you’re the one going around calling someone else a troll. I’ll let others decide as to who was engaging decently, and who was not.

    I will add that this is all quite new to me. I’ve been doing academic research for almost 30 years. I’ve emailed many, many people, and it’s only in the context of this topic that I’ve had the kind of response I got from you (you’re not the only person, but it’s not many, and the company in which you’d be placed is not one I’d be pleased to be placed in). I do find it rather odd.

    I’m not going to respond in too much detail to what you’ve said. There isn’t really much point. Your understanding of climate science is clearly woefully inadequate for someone who feels they’re in a position to comment on the science-policy interface.

    Aside from the cases outlined in the paper which should be ample demonstration themselves, Roger Pielke Senior is another good example of someone who has been increasingly ostracised from the mainstream for not agreeing with the GHG-as-control-knob model of anthropogenic warming advocated by the IPCC.

    That’s because he thinks that land-use changes play a key role. It does on regional scales, but not on global scales. I’m not even realy sure he suggests otherwise. His problem seems to be that people are not taking these factors into account when considering a global response. Well, that’s probably because they require more in the way of local adaptation, than a global response. Given your focus on adaptation, maybe this is something you could look at in more detail?

    He, like Judy and Roger Jr., also sits within the much touted 97%. The point of examining this issue was to highlight that skeptics’ suspicions of politicised expertise are not aided by these instances, particularly when the worth of consensus as advocacy tool is, at the very least, eminently arguable from an academic point of view.

    You didn’t consider that maybe it’s quite remarkable that for such a highly politicised topic you can only find a few names, and they’re all the same names that recur time and time again. Did you happen to look at that interview with Judith Curry that I highlighted on Twitter? The reason Judith Curry gets criticised is that she hand-wavingly dispute the role of CO2, without really explaining how any of the supposed alternatives actually work (despite being asked about this many, many times). Roger Pielke Jr gets criticised for many reasons, which I won’t bother going in to,

    You could actually engage in some discussions with scientists and try to learn something of the scientific method and also something about climate science itself. Blocking them on Twitter or complaining when they email you might suggest that you’re less open to these kind of discussions than maybe you should be. Each to their own, of course.

    To be fair, I do not understand the science-policy interface, but have never really claimed that I do. However, I’m unlikely to learn much from an article written by someone who clearly does not understand the science. It should really work both ways.

  251. Peter,

    Aside from the cases outlined in the paper which should be ample demonstration themselves, Roger Pielke Senior is another good example of someone who has been increasingly ostracised from the mainstream for not agreeing with the GHG-as-control-knob model of anthropogenic warming advocated by the IPCC. He, like Judy and Roger Jr., also sits within the much touted 97%.

    I’ll take this a bit further. The evidence that CO2 is a control knob is extensive. You should watch the video I’ll post below. It’s virtually certain that CO2 has been the dominant driver of recent warming (“Extremely likely that more than 50% of the observed warming since 1950 is anthropogenic”). So, you’re claiming the people above are within the 97% while also appearing to question a key aspect of the consensus (“humans are causing global warming”). On the off chance that you are actually trying to be serious, you could at least try to give this some thought.

  252. petertangney says:

    Ken, this is a remarkably dishonest reply. You engage in a multiply fallacious critique of my work and then complain that I’m engaging in ad hominem attack by highlighting your ‘troll-like behaviour’ (I did NOT call you a troll) as my motivation for blocking you. You haven’t elaborated on your original assertions or responded to my critique of them; you’ve merely proposed another genetically fallacious red herring concerning Curry and the Pielke’s motivations (by that logic yourself and Mann and Schmidt and a couple others are also corrupt and un-credible) and repeated your ad hominem attack concerning my lack of understanding of the science. On what basis? Frankly, you’re not qualified to claim any such thing. The paper makes only a few assertions about uncertainties in the available science, all well referenced, and largely tangential to the paper’s central thrust. My assertions about research utilisation are a 100% accurate portrayal of the available literature, some of which is based on my own peer-reviewed research. And unlike you, I also have many years’ experience of translating climate science outputs into policy evidence for government. Stick to the physics mate.

  253. Peter,

    Ken, this is a remarkably dishonest reply. You engage in a multiply fallacious critique of my work and then complain that I’m engaging in ad hominem attack by highlighting your ‘troll-like behaviour’ (I did NOT call you a troll) as my motivation for blocking you.

    My apologies, you did indeed say “troll-like” rather than actually calling me a troll. That makes all the difference. (This is sarcasm, in case that isn’t obvious).

    A simple question for you. Are you able/willing to have a discussion about this, or do you just want to make a few more abusive comments and then go away? Either is fine with me. I appreciate that my post is not particularly complimentary about your paper. You could always try to defend it and try to convince me (and others, I suspect) that there is something valuable there. Or, you could simply claim that it is 100% accurate, make a few more insulting assertions, and leave it at that.

  254. Peter,

    you’ve merely proposed another genetically fallacious red herring concerning Curry and the Pielke’s motivations (by that logic yourself and Mann and Schmidt and a couple others are also corrupt and un-credible)

    This is a bit odd. All I said is that Roger Pielke Sr thinks we should focus more on other anthropogenic factors, like land-use change. I think this is entirely consistent with what he says. I didn’t say anything about Judith Curry’s motivations and I didn’t say anything about corruption and being un-credible. I did point out that the criticism Judith receives is because she questions the mainstream view, without really providing any explanations for how the alternatives are meant to work.

  255. dikranmarsupial says:

    ” Climate scientists may well be aware (as you assert in your linked post) that more information will not solve the climate change problem; what they obstinately refuse to accept however, despite decades’ worth of mounting evidence in support, is that pursuing this line of communication strategy is so often politically counter-productive. ”

    I think this is assuming a particular objective for those trying to communicate the science. This seems to me an over-simplification. More information (in the general public) clearly is required to address the climate problem, however it obviously isn’t all that is required and there are other things that need to be addressed for the information to be useful.

    This sort of communication merely serves to entrench the politics of technical policy issues,

    As I said upthread, if making a statement that is true is divisive, the problem doesn’t lie with the person making the statement. I would have thought it would be more productive to critize being polarized by true statements.

    “, but the whole idea of expert consensus as advocacy tool is fraught in terms of the cognitive and social norms of scientific pursuit. ”

    The importance of the consensus is nothing to do with “cognitive and social norms of scientific pursuit”. The importance of scientific consensuses is for the general public who don’t have the time and/or expertise to judge the scientific theories for themselves, so a sensible approach is to align themselves with mainstream scientific position. However this is external to science, it is how society chooses to use what science has to say. However, in order for the public (including me) to align themselves with mainstream science, they have to be able to identify what that actually is. This is made more difficult by “anti-consensus” messaging (e.g. Luntz memo) and near ubiquitous false balance in media “debates” on climate.

    So, if “consensus messaging” is counter-productive, specifically how should we respond to the misleading impression given by false balance and claims that there is no consensus?

    Roger Pielke Senior is another good example of someone who has been increasingly ostracised from the mainstream for not agreeing with the GHG-as-control-knob model of anthropogenic warming advocated by the IPCC.

    Actually, I think the reason may be more that he ostracized the climate science mainstream by being unwilling to answer criticisms of his work, and instead handing it back as homework:

    “This is usually in an unqualified, Ad Hominem sort of way. ….

    – You’re not a climate scientist are you, Ken? And you’re not a political scientist either, am I correct? Have you ever worked for government as a science-policy advisor? Reflexivity is indeed a valuable attribute, as you (and the IPCC) note. It’s just a shame that it is so rarely practiced by those who invoke it.

    – FYI, I have worked for 6 years in the UK, and 7 years in Australia at the science-policy interface working for, in, and at the behest of, UK and Australian government. I have two degrees in natural science and a PhD in political science. I sit in a college of science and engineering. I am a multi-award-winning researcher. I converse with both scientists AND policymakers and I have done so on almost a daily basis for ALL of my career.”

    [emphasis mine]

    This does seem somewhat ironic in a discussion about communication strategies.

  256. dikranmarsupial says:

    and repeated your ad hominem attack concerning my lack of understanding of the science. On what basis? Frankly, you’re not qualified to claim any such thing. … And unlike you, I also have many years’ experience of translating climate science outputs into policy evidence for government. Stick to the physics mate.

    ermm….

  257. Maybe someone can clarify, but I thought Ad Hominem was an argument in which you dismiss what someone has said simply because of who they are, not an argument in which you claim that they don’t understand something (this may be wrong, but it’s not – I think – Ad Hominem).

  258. Actually, I forgot that Alice Kally had highlighted this Conversation article that Peter wrote a few years ago. Some interesting comments.

  259. Peter,
    Choosing the latter option I see.

    This is all a bit silly. Your main argument seems to be that scientists don’t understand (or are getting wrong) the science-policy interface, and yet you seem upset by my suggestion that you don’t understand climate science. You’re accusing me of making fallacious arguments, while making a number yourself (Ad Hominems, Arguments from authority). You could always try to do a bit better. What’s there to lose?

  260. dikranmarsupial says:

    “What science communicators frequently fail to grasp is that effective communication is about two-way traffic on the basis of common ground.”

  261. Joshua says:

    Peter –

    From that The Conversation piece:

    This means tailoring their science and its communication to policymakers’ priorities.

    How should climate scientists tailor their science to policymakers’ priorities?

  262. Joshua,
    Yes, I’d be interested in understanding that better too.

    In one of the comments, Peter says:

    Because Climate Science is a hyper-politicised moniker that is not doing the science community any favours.

    Would be interested to understand how tailoring the science and its communication to policymakers’ priorities wouldn’t end up making it more politicised, rather than helping to make it a less hyper-politicised moniker.

  263. dikranmarsupial says:

    “Because Climate Science is a hyper-politicised moniker that is not doing the science community any favours.”

    So why should the (obvious and rather innocuous) term be “hyper-politicised”? Could it be that those that don’t accept the science tend not to want to argue about the science itself (c.f. my attempts to get Prof. Curry to discuss Salby’s theory that she has actively promulgated, or my attempts to get Prof Pielke Sr. to discuss the statistical support (or lack thereof) for his hypotheses), and so choose to attack it indirectly via endless “nature of the debate” debates. Prof. Pielke Jr does this whenever I try to discuss anything with him it always goes back to the SkS “misinformers” page (which has since been changed to focus on the misinformation). He knows I had no power to change it, and indeed had argued against it myself, but he kept raising it in every discussion, almost as if it were just some sort of diversionary ploy rather a genuine grievance.

  264. dikranmarsupial says:

    I’d also be interested in the answer to Joshua’s question.

  265. Joshua says:

    From reading the comments… perhaps tailoring their science would be something on the order of: Stop modeling climate change because of the uncertainties of models?

  266. Joshua,
    There seemed to be an element of that. Something to bear in mind, though, is that if one thinks the focus should be adaptation, then that would require more modelling, rather than less. From the mitigation perspective, we do largely know the answer – get net emissions to peak soon, then get net emissions to reduce, then get net emissions to ~zero. There are clearly complex questions as to how soon, how fast, and how we actually do so (both in terms of policy and technology). None of this really requires all that much in the way of climate modelling (it can inform carbon budgets, but these are unlikely to change much in the next few years).

  267. Joshua says:

    It’s like when “skeptics” say that we wouldn’t make decisions that will ruin the economy, based on the output of models that haven’t been validated and verified, without taking into account that their predictions of economic ruin are based on modeling with high degrees of uncertainty.

    I agree that scientists should evaluate carefully the evidence of the impact of their communication efforts, but I think we should be very precise when suggesting that science be “tailored” based on political (or even policy) expediency.

    I think the line between those two frames gets back to a question that we’ve batted back and forth: If a consensus exists, what do we do with that information?

  268. Joshua,

    I agree that scientists should evaluate carefully the evidence of the impact of their communication efforts

    I agree, but as I think I’ve said many times before, there is probably a limit to what scientists can do. They can’t suddenly change to become people who some groups will identify with if this isn’t already the case. If it appears to be having no impact, then they should also, in my view, be careful of focussing mainly on how to have impact; they’re not salespeople. I also think there is value in communicating scientific information even if there isn’t some obvious impact; some things may take time.

  269. dikranmarsupial says:

    “If a consensus exists, what do we do with that information?”

    conclude that we should quit discussing climate science canards so we can start talking openly about the issues that really divide us?

  270. Willard says:

    > Ad Hominem was an argument in which you dismiss what someone has said simply because of who they are, not an argument in which you claim that they don’t understand something (this may be wrong, but it’s not – I think – Ad Hominem).

    There is no consensus on how to classify fallacies in general and the ad hominem in particular. What follows is my own interpretation. Others are mostly stricter than mine. Using them may not help Peter’s case.

    The expression ad hominem simply designates “toward the person.” It can refer to an argument, but can also refer to a personal attack. I accept both usages, if only because everything one says in an argumentative setting can be taken as an argument. Consider:

    [1] Your say P.
    [2] P is wrong.
    [3] Therefore you are an asshat.

    [4] Your say P.
    [5] P is wrong.
    [6] Oh, and you are an asshat.

    There is not enough difference between the two for a ClimateBall player to lulz about the fact that [6] isn’t exactly an argument. (Those who insist in that distinction are usually very aggressive players, such as Brave Brandon.) Instead of pussyfooting about what is or isn’t an argument, it’s simpler to take every personal attack as ad hominem.

    ***

    Are ad hominems fallacious? As always, relevance matters. Most if not all infelicities (a term I prefer to fallacy) break relevance. Moroever, what is considered “personal” depends upon how we conceive personhood and agency. Suppose one wants to question a researcher’s competence. Is that personal? I bet few researchers won’t feel the sting.

    It seems to me there are cases where overall competence indeed matters. That Matt King Coal bankrupted the first English bank since 1878 may not matter for his luckwarmism, but it sure matters to evaluate the grandiosity of his plans to electrify Africa. To question the credibility of Matt King Coal doesn’t imply he’s wrong. It just means the credibility of the plan should not rest on his authority. Considering how the GWPF sells Matt King Coal’s stuff, the argument does not seem infelicitous to me.

    Mileage varies, but not to a point where one’s measures switch from miles to knots when it suits. The converse of an ad hominem argument is the appeal to authority. What the latter tries to bolster, the former tries to undermine. So I contend that one’s view on ad homs should cohere with one’s view on appeals to authority. Under that light, reconsider:

    I have worked for 6 years in the UK, and 7 years in Australia at the science-policy interface working for, in, and at the behest of, UK and Australian government. I have two degrees in natural science and a PhD in political science. I sit in a college of science and engineering. I am a multi-award-winning researcher. I converse with both scientists AND policymakers and I have done so on almost a daily basis for ALL of my career.

    If one brings one’s own authority to the table, I don’t see why it shouldn’t be questioned. To brag about one’s mad skillz and then whine when due diligence is being paid to them leads to a sad virtual life. As a ninja, I may be biased.

  271. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    I agree, but as I think I’ve said many times before, there is probably a limit to what scientists can do. They can’t suddenly change to become people who some groups will identify with if this isn’t already the case. If it appears to be having no impact, then they should also, in my view, be careful of focussing mainly on how to have impact; they’re not salespeople. I also think there is value in communicating scientific information even if there isn’t some obvious impact; some things may take time.

    I agree that there is probably a limit to what scientists can do. I agree that focusing on the impact of climate scientists’ choices in communication is probably of limited utility. I also think there is value in communicating scientific information even if the net effect of doing so isn’t immediately obvious, or even if the obvious effect isn’t positive in the short term – as the effect may manifest differently over time.

    My own take is that the way in which climate scientists communicate about climate change doesn’t go very far in explaining where we are in terms of policy development and implementation. I think that we have quite a bit of evidence that there are some other, much more powerful mechanisms in play that are more explanatory.

    While I think there are legitimate questions about the benefits of a “deficit model” approach, that doesn’t mean that we have strong evidence that a “deficit model” approach on the part of climate scientists explains why we are where we are, or that we have evidence strong enough to be confident of a counterfactual conclusion about whether we’d be someplace better if climate scientist had done A, B, or C.

    As such, I am not particularly impressed by Peter’s argument – his long experience in the science/policy interface notwithstanding. Part of the reason that I’m not particularly impressed is because, IMO, I have often seen people present what I consider to be weakly supported arguments towards the conclusion that in fact, communication choices by climate scientists does explain why we are where we are, and so I have to wonder if Peter is doing what I believe I have seen others doing when making arguments that seem to me to be similar to his.

    I’d like to think I’d be open to being more favorably impressed should Peter provide more evidence in support of his viewpoint, but my guess is that he won’t likely be back to enrich my understanding.

    In lieu of such a development, same old = same old = same old.

  272. Joshua says:

    dikran –

    conclude that we should quit discussing climate science canards so we can start talking openly about the issues that really divide us?

    Who is “we” in that sentence? Obviously, people who don’t agree on what comprises climate science canards can’t likely agree on how to quit discussing climate science canards.

  273. dikranmarsupial says:

    “If one brings one’s own authority to the table, I don’t see why it shouldn’t be questioned.”

    and likewise, if you object to someone questioning your authority, it is hypocrisy to go on to question theirs.

    For me ad-homs are most problem when an attack on the source is made where an attack on the substance was required (more or less any discussion of science, but science isn’t where the polarisation actually stems from – IMHO).

    Rhetorical ad-homs are a bit like sledging in cricket, it is an attempt to gain an edge over the opponent by some means other than just being right. Perhaps we should view it as a tacit admission of a lack of confidence in their position/bowling ;o)

  274. dikranmarsupial says:

    Joshua, “Who is “we” in that sentence? ”

    all of us. For example the reason I wrote the comment paper on Essenhigh was to try and prevent time being wasted discussing a climate myth that is very, very clearly incorrect. There is nobody that would like to stop talking about it more than me.

    However, if someone accepts what mainstream science says on this, they won’t agree with the canard.

    We could also do with alarmists canards about runaway greenhouse effects, or imminent loss of all Arctic sea ice, which are not in accord with mainstream science either.

  275. The Very reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    There is no consensus on how to classify fallacies in general…

    And 97 percent of philosophers will agree with that.

    Further to which, if a special-pleading Texas sharpshooter utters a “genetically fallacious red herring” in the course of bandwagonning, is that identical with the offspring of a scapegoat and a straw-no-true-Scots-man?

  276. dikranmarsupial says:

    Here is a valid ad-hominem argument. Gavin is a human being; human beings make mistakes; be skeptical about what Gavin says.

  277. Joshua says:

    dikran –

    all of us.

    I’m still not following. Not to be difficult, but I’m left with the question of who is “us?”

    I wrote the comment paper on Essenhigh was to try and prevent time being wasted discussing a climate myth that is very, very clearly incorrect. There is nobody that would like to stop talking about it more than me.

    I see two problems with that construct. The first is the subjectivity in determining what is, or isn’t, a waste of time. I think of the many times that I’ve been told, in climate-o-spheric exchanges, that what I’m trying to do is get people to waste their time, or even more problematically, IMO, that what I’m doing is causing someone else to waste their time – when I think what I’m trying to do is express my viewpoint, and when I think that actually, I’m not even remotely responsible for how other people make decisions about how to spend their time.

    I’m not suggesting to not discuss canards (or what are or aren’t canards), but I’m questioning how we might measure the impact of doing so (within the larger public domain – if not within a more tightly constrained scientific arena).

  278. Willard says:

    > Rhetorical ad-homs are a bit like sledging in cricket, it is an attempt to gain an edge over the opponent by some means other than just being right. Perhaps we should view it as a tacit admission of a lack of confidence in their position/bowling[.]

    If only. We have evidence that personal attacks work:

    In both studies (the second was a replication of the first) we found the same pattern of results:

    – Attacks on the educational background or competence of a researcher do not undermine faith in the claims made by that researcher.

    – Accusations of conflicts of interest and accusations of both types of research misconduct undermine faith in the claims made by the accused researcher.

    – Attacks on the empirical foundation of a science claim (our control condition) undermined faith in that science claim.

    – Accusations of deliberate misconduct, accusations of conflict of interest, and attacks on the empirical foundation of a claim were all equally effective. That is, we found no statistical differences between the past misconduct, relevant misconduct, conflict of interest, and empirical conditions in either Experiment 1 or 2.

    The effects were moderate in size, Experiment 2 nearly perfectly replicated the results of Experiment 1, and the pattern of results did not vary as a function of gender, age, socioeconomic status, or education level of participants.

    http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2018/03/06/ad-hominem-attacks-on-scientists-are-just-as-likely-to-undermine-public-faith-in-research-as-legitimate-empirical-critiques/

    If ad homs were not effective, politicians would have stopped doing them a long time ago.

    ***

    As for the “cricket” part, I’m just going to put this here:

  279. dikranmarsupial says:

    “The first is the subjectivity in determining what is, or isn’t, a waste of time.”

    I think it is reasonable to assume that if a disagreement is in good faith, both sides would agree that it would be a waste of time to discuss issues that have been long resolved and the explanations presented repeatedly and there being no new evidence, if it is merely a prelude to discussing what we ought to do about it (which most people seem to think is the purpose of public communication of climate science).

    “but I’m questioning how we might measure the impact of doing so ”

    Why do you need to measure the impact of a worthless activity (flocinauccinihilipilification)? The point I am making is that if the public aligned themselves with mainstream science, rather than e.g. climate blogs, we could stop discussing canards and have a productive discussion instead. I know this is anecdotal, but if I had my life to live over again, I’d spend it doing something more productive, that is a measure of a sort.

    ““It is wrong to suppose that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – a costly myth ” W. Edwards Deming.

  280. dikranmarsupial says:

    “We have evidence that personal attacks work:”

    I fully agree. Sledging is often effective in cricket as well, but IMHO that is not a good reason for doing it, and doesn’t mean it isn’t an indication of weakness on the part of the sledger rather than (or as well as) the sledgee.

    I’m afraid the bit about cricket was beyond me, but if it was a bit like scoring points for each use of a technique from Schopenhauers “The Art of Always Being Right”, attached to every blog comment, then that would be great! Nice project for these AI types that we hear so much about these days ;o)

  281. Willard says:

    > Sledging is often effective in cricket as well, but IMHO that is not a good reason for doing it, and doesn’t mean it isn’t an indication of weakness on the part of the sledger rather than (or as well as) the sledgee.

    This itself could be interpreted as an ad hominem argument of the form those who indulge in cheap arguments are asshats who don’t have any better in their hands. A simple countermodel to it would be a ClimateBall player who’s both right and overly aggressive. Someone who hot-dogs after a touchdown can’t be said to not having scored a touchdown.

    Crickets or football have constitutive rules, i.e. we know what scoring means. Does ClimateBall have constitutive rules? I don’t think so. In fact, I don’t think ClimateBall is a conversational game at all. But I won’t delve into that – it’s in the stack of upcoming posts.

    ClimateBall, being a language game, have regulative rules. (Yes, I know – “regulative” and “rule.”) Hence why I posted David Lewis’ classic. His point was that language games should have rules to accomodate how the game proceeds. These rules vary from one game instance to the next, but some of them are needed to get what each player is saying. If I tell you “the cat,” there should be some kind of rule to make every player determine which cat is being discussed.

    ***

    Interlocutors usually try to accomodate one another. ClimateBall is a good counterexample to that model. Let’s paraphrase this very exchange. AT underlines that Peter’s concerns are tough to reconcile with his caricatures of Judy, Junior, and Matt King Coal. Peter reacts with something like my name is Peter Tangney, you strawmanned me, prepare to be called an asshat. Where does that leave us?

    The answer lies in the following (i.e. regulative) question – how to determine where the ad hominem mode started? It should be obvious that Peter’s subtext is that scientists are lousy communicators and are to be blamed if nothing gets done. He should at the very least own what he’s doing instead of ripping off his shirt.

    Aggression almost always starts passively, in the background, until someone gets fed up and makes it explicit. Then either it becomes an opportunity for an exchange to occur, or an excuse to bring forward a communication closure. Choosing a strategy tests the presupposition that there’s a willingness to communicate.

  282. Joshua says:

    Aggression almost always starts passively, in the background,

    In this case, it might be hard to say where it started, but I found this pretty amusing as a prelude to playing an ad hom card.

    The first two sentences from above:

    Ken,
    Thanks for plugging my paper.

    Followed by:

    I teach an undergrad class here in Adelaide on critical reasoning.

    Roughly translated: Thanks for scoring my goal for me, and you’re an idiot.

  283. Everett F Sargent says:

    Well I read the good doctors “so called “paper just two days ago, the entire thing, word for word.

    The paper is titled “Between conflation and denial–the politics of climate expertise in AUSTRALIA”

    Australia? Go figure, as it is still the only Anglosphere nation with a much worse track record than any other Anglosphere nation wrt climate denial (even considering just two years of Dump TrumpTV USAniacistans). As the Number One global exporter of Coal (to mostly southeast Asia).

    The paper concludes with …

    “It is now well recognised internationally that expert authority is unlikely to be politically
    incisive if experts tacitly subsume contested political values and priorities within their privileged
    judgement (American Association for the Advancement of Science 2017, 5–6).”

    I’m pretty sure that the AAAS is not internationally as it has the word “American” as in USAniacistan in it.

    But the AAAS statement CAN’T be found here …
    POLICY MAKING MANIFESTO: SQUARING SCIENCE WITH THE HUMAN FACTOR
    https://www.euroscientist.com/policy-making-manifesto-squaring-science-human-factor/

    “To remedy this situation, a five-year reflection on policy mechanisms has led to the publication of the Brussels Declaration on Ethics and Principles for Science and Society Policy-Making. The declaration, first published in EuroScientist, has just been presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) Annual Meeting in Boston on 17th February, 2017. Our central premise is that science advice can never be fit for purpose unless social psychology and humanities studies around information selection, confirmation bias, pluralistic ignorance, extremism, polarisation, decision-making, are fully factored in.”

    So NOT an AAAS publication AT ALL, but a presentation of the “The Brussels declaration on ethics & principles for science & society policy-making”
    http://21ax0w3am0j23cz0qd1q1n3u-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Brussels-Declaration.pdf

    I would very kindly suggest that the good doctor focus their attention on Section 3 (7-8) ….

    “Section 3: what we expect from the policy-making community (p7)
    9. Policy-makers must listen, consult and be held accountable
    10. Ethical consideration of the impact of policy decisions is crucial
    11. Policy-makers have to challenge science to deliver on public investment
    12. Policy-makers should be willing to justify decisions, particularly where they deviate from independent scientific advice
    13. Policy-makers should acknowledge the potential for bias and vested interests Contrary to the scientific consensus”

    That would be at least a good start. I thus give this “so called” paper a grade of somewhat less then or equal to 3%. Not very good using a misdirected reference either (AAAS presentation versus the reality of a EuroScientist decleration).

    :/

  284. Everett F Sargent says:

    The good doctors rest of the Conclusions section …

    “I propose that the rhetoric of climate change prediction, risk, disaster and expert consensus has reached its useful end.”

    Perhaps for Australia and only Australia.

    “Australian climate scientists can and should re-engage with the true instrumental uses of their science through the broader discipline of adaptation science.”

    Ah, a mitigation skeptic, I see.

    “Politically astute scientists would do well to limit their promotion of climate models as the principal means to rationally optimise policymaking.”

    So, apparently Australians does not know about climate models or understand them at all.

    “Instead, they should highlight the applications of climate science for enhancing Australia’s climate resilience.”

    Wishy-washy sentence. Probably misunderstood to be taken as adaptation policies and not a combination of adaptation and mitigation policies.

    “Meanwhile advocates from a broader range of disciplines should focus on presenting a business case to government about the economic and social advantages of clean energy innovation, not just for urban Australia, but for rural economies too.”

    Can’t forget about those predominately conservative rurals, don’t cha know.

    “Renewable energy policies must now target conservatives’ aspirations for jobs, economic prosperity and healthy local environments; all the ancillary benefits we should expect from a well planned transition to environmental sustainability.”

  285. Joshua says:

    Everett –

    I think the first few items are…well…dubious. However,

    “Meanwhile advocates from a broader range of disciplines should focus on presenting a business case to government about the economic and social advantages of clean energy innovation, not just for urban Australia, but for rural economies too.”

    Given the possibility of non-mutually exclusive possibility of walking and chewing gum at the same time, I’d be inclined to agree with that.

    “Renewable energy policies must now target conservatives’ aspirations for jobs, economic prosperity and healthy local environments; all the ancillary benefits we should expect from a well planned transition to environmental sustainability.”

    Again, with the non-mutually exclusive caveat, I’m inclined to agree with that, also.

    Of course, I also think that adopting such strategies will do little to mitigate the main obstacles to developing and implementing policies to address the risk of ACO2 emissions: (1) the difficulty that people have with probabilistic reasoning over long time horizons towards the goal of indeterminate gains or mitigating indeterminate losses, and (2) people approach the question of climate change from identity-aggressive and identity-defensive postures, that undermine the chances that any policy-oriented focus will move the needle significantly; policy is not the actual driver in how people form their perspective on policy and thus, a policy focus isn’t likely mitigate the identity-related driving mechanism.

    A good analog might be what happened in the US when Obama incorporated “conservatives” views on “personal responsibility” to undergird a “personal mandate” justification for healthcare insurance policy Personal responsibility morphed into a tyrannical assault on our basic freedoms.

  286. Pingback: Five dimensions of climate science reductionism | …and Then There's Physics

  287. Everett F Sargent says:

    Joshua,

    IMHO the last two statements do not necessarily follow the body or design of the rest of the paper. (I’m just now rereading the entire paper). If the paper made direct connections between rural types and conservative types and climate science those last two statements might have a reasonable foundation.

    It is as if there are missing sections of the paper, in a connect the dots fashion.

    As such, I consider those last two statements as opinions not supported by the rest of the paper.

    The paper is a mashup of sorts …
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mashup_(education)

    For example …
    “The precise contribution of greenhouse gases relative to other anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic influences, and the expected quantity of future climate change from these various influences, are matters of considerable uncertainty (IPCC 2013, 16). Amongst other issues, they
    pertain to the thorny issue of climate sensitivity to GHGs, about which there is no clarifying
    expert consensus beyond agreement that GHG contributions are the primary anthropogenic
    influence upon global climate (IPCC 2013).”

    Which I consider Not Even Wrong. IPCC 2013,(page 16) says no such thing. The author clearly does not understand probabilistic reasoning or declarations thereof.

    “Furthermore, even assuming these uncertainties could be overcome, any policy interpretation of climate model outputs for the purposes of directing renewable energy investment in an optimised way require largely subjective, normative (and therefore political) assumptions about future economic growth and GHG emissions at policy-relevant scales.”

    Another Not Even Wrong sentence. The point being that replacing FF’s with renewables is a very good idea regardless of its purported uncertainties. Which the author more or less proves in the last sentence in that paragraph …

    “They are also, arguably, redundant considerations given market dynamics and the current trajectory of global renewable energy investment already underway (McCrone et al. 2016, 11; REN21 2017, 19–24).”

    Cart before horse much? What is the major drivers of renewables to begin with in the 1st place. Certainly it isn’t due to climate science at all. How is that even remotely possible. Much sarcasm is implied here by yours truly.

  288. Joshua says:

    Everett –

    . If the paper made direct connections between rural types and conservative types and climate science those last two statements might have a reasonable foundation.

    OK. Got it. Seems to me that Peter mashes up the argument that “skepticism” as a phenomenon is based on a detailed and sophisticated critique of the scientific evidence, with an argument thst “skepticism” is explained by the communicative strategies of climate scientists.

    I see little evidence to support either argument, let alone a mashup of the two.

  289. Everett F Sargent says:

    Another mashup from ‘that’ paper …

    “However, when Jeff Seeney (Willacy and Solomons 2015), Scott Morrison (Murphy 2017), Tony Abbott (2017) and Larry Marshall (Sturmer 2016) imply that climate change has become a religious cult, this ties in with concurrent complaints from former IPCC authors who have been ostracised by the scientific community for holding contrarian interpretations of what the accumulated science means, and even, for communicating what it says (Curry 2013; Pielke Jr. 2015; Smith 2017).”

    Forget the 1st part (ending in religious cult) …

    “concurrent complaints from former IPCC authors” is referenced to BLOG entries from CP&S, none of whom have ever been lead authors, co-authors or any named contributing author in any of the five main IPCC assessment reports AFAIK. I’ll gladly stand corrected if otherwise, but the cited references in no way shape or form even remotely suggests that CP&S were ever “former IPCC authors” as ‘that’ paper suggests.

    :/

  290. EFS,
    Thanks, I had noticed that a number of the references were to blogs and articles. I think if someone is going to discuss complaints about an organisation (IPCC) or about some scientific position, they should really try to quantify the significance of that. The same few names crop up all the time. Why? What about the vast number of people who are not complaining?

  291. I was wondering who Smith was. It’s someone called Mike Smith, who I have in fact encountered on Twitter. It really is the case that the number of people who dispute the mainstream science is remarkably small. It’s pretty hard to find someone you haven’t encountered before.

  292. A thought I had was that Peter’s paper is somewhat focussing on how climate science has responded to its critics and, potentially, ostracised them. If this is indeed a reasonable way in which to judge something, then presumably we can apply the same type of judgement to Peter’s response to the criticism his paper has received here?

  293. Everett F Sargent says:

    “The same few names crop up all the time. Why? What about the vast number of people who are not complaining?”

    Finding climate science academics who are climate contrarians, that list is really a short stack. In the current paper, I can only get to three. Which suggest something along the lines of disproportionate influence. IMHO that is the main driver for JC. The denier audience has always been there, they just need that patina of academia to amplify their denial.

  294. verytallguy says:

    For Dikran, presented as a nomination for “self-awareness gap of the year”

    Gavin Cawley was a prime example of the aggressive use of the smear

    https://judithcurry.com/2018/12/12/cliff-mass-victim-of-academic-political-bullying/#comment-885901

  295. vtg,
    But you do realise that other people’s smears are justified?

  296. dikranmarsupial says:

    VTG well, I’m glad he moderated his tone at last, hopefully there will be none of the “evidoers” stuff from now on! ;o)

  297. JCH says:

    When DPY uses a name in an attack comment, the first thing to realize is he may have meant somebody else. If he refers to something, it easily could not be what he means to refer to. If he shooting in northerly direction, everybody to the east, west, and south should immediately duck.

  298. Joshua says:

    David Young –

    I made this comment at Judith’s but chances are she won’t free it from moderation – so I’ll repeat it here:

    The latest is that you are being criticized for saying “CO2 is not the climate control knob” in a speech.

    You should consider paying diligence to being more accurate. Her statements that were being questioned entailed more than just saying that CO2 isn’t a “control knob.” Watch the clip again. She also said that ACO2 can’t affect the climate on the time scale of a century, which seems to be in conflict with what is written in papers that she co-authored.

    Do you agree with her statement that ACO2 can’t change the climate in the scale of a century? Do you think such a statement contradicts what is written in the papers she co-authored with Nic?

  299. dikranmarsupial says:

    What Joshua said. The “control knob” thing wasn’t the issue – it is more messing around with the thermostat than a control knob. Thinking we haven’t already demonstrated that we can change the climate on a centennial scale over the last couple of centuries is itself inconsistent with the mainstream scientific position (consensus).

  300. But, according to Peter, Judith is simply engaged in the pursuit of scientific truth?

  301. izen says:

    @-Mircea Dochia
    “… Judith is simply engaged in the pursuit of scientific truth?”

    Perhaps something more important; – a different climate science needed to identify, inform and advance new solutions to climate change that address people’s lived experience and are tailored to local context, so they are more likely to be positively received and, therefore, to succeed.

    Or are there other examples of how climate science might be communicated more effectively, according to the STS critique ?

  302. Willard says:

    Send in the honest brokers, izen.

  303. Joshua says:

    My guess is that in speaking extemporaneously, Judith kind of misspoke when she said that ACO2 can’t affect the climate on a century timescale.

    That kind of stuff happens. The bigger issue, IMO, is the semi-strawmannism w/r/t the “control knob” reference (my understanding is that no one argues that ACO2 singularly “controls the climate” ) and a lack of accountability for the “advocacy” of strawmanning, and a tendency to get out over her skis when engaging extemporaneously (and sometimes even when doing something like testifying before Congress).

    Of course, Judith could easily disabuse me of any misconceptions about a lack of accountability.

  304. dpy6629 says:

    Well Joshua, you are right of course right that Judith obviously misspoke and how many hours and electrons have been wasted on this biased and childish issue?

  305. Joshua says:

    David –

    Am I right about a lack of accountability also?

  306. dikranmarsupial says:

    It would be rather fewer if you didn’t keep accusing people of smears that only exist in your own imagination (and hence can’t be substantiated when challenged). Rashomon.

  307. Joshua says:

    David –

    Btw, instead of responding to my comment at Judith’s that I reposted above here, Judith just deleted it.

    Apparently she sees no need to clarify why she said thst ACO2 can’t affect the climate in a century timescale.

    The problem is that people may hear her say something like that, and not know that it contradicts her scientific publications.

    Wouldn’t you prefer that she take the opportunity to clarify?

  308. dikranmarsupial says:

    I of course agree with the idea that Prof Curry may have “misspoke”, however an unbiased discussion would be one that considered all of the views expressed, a biased view would be one that rejected instances that were not in accordance with some particular position, e.g. refusing to watch a 50 second video demonstrating an obvious inconsistency.

  309. dpy6629 says:

    OK, Joshua. There is not much accountability for anyone getting out over their skis with strawmannirg. I don’t care that much.

    The straw man here is that “CO2 is the control know for the climate.” That’s partially true and also false at the same time. It’s a vague formulation I think invented by Andy Lacis in a long ago post at Curry’s. I guess Lacis retired which is a shame as I learned a lot from him. I even enjoyed his over the top rhetoric because he was at least honest and direct about science.

  310. dikranmarsupial says:

    Dpy6629 Joshua made it very clear that it wasn’t the “control knob” metaphor that was the issue, but the other things Prof Curry said in the interview, so it is rather ironic that you talk of “strawmanning”!

  311. I don’t think Judith misspoke. I think it was very clear that Judith was suggesting that other non-anthropogenic factors dominate on century timescales.

  312. dikranmarsupial says:

    My approach would be to ask Prof. Curry what she meant, but unfortunately I have found that she consistently refuses to answer direct questions about the scientific ideas she has promulgated. Which is a pity, as it seems like a way to guarantee misunderstanding and division.

  313. dikranmarsupial says:

    It appears that my comments at Prof. Curry’s blog have been deleted, but DPY6629’s unfounded and inaccurate accusations against me, that were refuted in those comments remain. Prof. Curry has a right to moderate her blog in any way she deems appropriate, however it is rather ironic given the topic of the blog post.

  314. Everett F Sargent says:

    Somehow this all reminds me of … wait for it … The Wooden Rabbit …

    You get to decide if the Knights of the Round Table are climate scientists or STS or a combination of both. The castle is climate science denial.

    There is a fundamental dilemma in this “so called” debate. Try as we might, nothing appears to work on the necessary timescale (e. g. zero FF emissions circa 2050).

    Holy Grail indeed.

  315. Joshua says:

    I actually wasn’t sure whether she misspoke. Thst is why I asked above whether what she said contradicts her published science. My assumption was that if she said something that contradicted her published science, then she must have misspoke. Unless she has changed her position, or got caught up in the rhetorical moment of advocacy, and got over her skis (I suppose a form of “misspeaking”).

    Anders –

    I think it was very clear that Judith was suggesting that other non-anthropogenic factors dominate on century timescales.

    Which I think would be consistent with what she’s said before. The thing that had me ouz, led was when she said thst ACO2 doesn’t affect the climate on century timescales. The point being, “affect” means anything above 0%, as distinct from “dominate.”. I’ve asker previously about a lack of clarity when she talks about “dominate” versus “affect” the climate – to see if she had mispoken then also. Unfortunately, I got no answers then either.

  316. Joshua says:

    Dikran –

    Judith has long been capricious (IMO) in her blog moderation, often allowing personal attacks on me to remain, while deleting my non-attacking comments in response.

  317. dikranmarsupial says:

    Well, it is Prof. Curry’s blog.

  318. dikranmarsupial says:

    Although next time Prof. Curry complains about the SkS misinformers page (which is no more… etc.) I might have a response about unfounded accusations bookmarked! ;o)

  319. What Judith said was

    it has some effect on very long timescales, but it’s nothing you can really dial up or down on the timescale of a century and change the climate. There’s a lot of natural forces in play here that determine the climate.

    I think this is entirely consistent with what Judith has said before about most of the observed warming being natural (or, disputing that most is anthropogenic).

  320. Joshua says:

    Dikran –

    Or course it is. Entirely her decision to make. The notion that someone is being “censored” if their comments are moderated, as some people assert, is IMO silly.

  321. dikranmarsupial says:

    Joshua – indeed ;o)

  322. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    it has some effect on very long timescales.

    Seems to me to stand in contrast to having “some effect” on century timescales.

    Of course, there is a logical problem there (there would have to be some effect on a century timescale to have some effect on a millennial timescale, for example), but I have noticed that Judith sometimes has been untroubled by logical incoherence in the past.

  323. Everett F Sargent says:

    Could someone please post a link to JC’s comments wrt CO2 “control knob” in written, spoken or visual form?

    Is this an accurate quote.made by JC?

    “I don’t think that even if we had the political will we could do very much to change the climate. Carbon dioxide is not a control knob for the climate. It has some effect on very long time scales but it is nothing you can really dial up or down on the time scale of a century and change the climate. There’s a lot of natural forces in play here that determine the climate and thinking that we can really control the climate by dialling down the CO2 emissions is really misguided hubris.”

    I’d post a link but all I can find right now are denier links.

  324. Joshua says:

    David –

    It’s a vague formulation I think invented by Andy Lacis in a long ago post at Currys.

    It strikes me as somewhat vague also. But Iook at that against my background of insufficient technical understanding. But irrespective of thst, I think that everyine should strive for clear and precise language. Thus, Judith’s rhetoric in thst clip seems inadequate to me, and should be clarified. I had the same problem when she testified to congress about “global warming” pausing, when actually she was talking about a relatively short term slow down in a relatively longer term trend of increase in surface temperatures. She never responded on that either.

  325. The link in my comment should take you to a tweet with the video embedded.

  326. dikranmarsupial says:

    Joshua “when actually she was talking about a relatively short term slow down in a relatively longer term trend of increase in surface temperatures. ” statistically speaking, there isn’t significant evidence even for that interpretation, the null hypothesis of the long term trend being unbroken isn’t rejected.

  327. Everett F Sargent says:

    Here is where I found that entire quote …
    https://www.heraldsun.com.au/blogs/andrew-bolt/top-climate-scientist-man-cant-do-much-to-change-climate/news-story/bb35a20b8e349334dfcd8ff5191a7d81

    “Carbon dioxide is not a control knob for the climate.”

    Hubris indeed! The irony hammer is simply killing me right now.

  328. Joshua says:

    Not just hubris. Misguided hubris

  329. Everett F Sargent says:

    Joshua,

    “My assumption was that if she said something that contradicted her published science, then she must have misspoke.”

    No, she said what she said. Simple as that.

    “The impact of recent forcing and ocean heat uptake data on estimates of climate sensitivity”
    https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/10.1175/JCLI-D-17-0667.1
    Nope, no CO2 control knob in that paper (63 CO2 hits there).

    “The implications for climate sensitivity of AR5 forcing and heat uptake estimates”
    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00382-014-2342-y
    Nope, no CO2 control knob in that paper (33 CO2 hits there).

    I’ve passed irony, sarcasm and sardonic but I was stopped at bald-faced lie.

  330. Everett F Sargent says:

    And Now for Something Completely Different …
    “Estimating Transient Climate Response in a large‐ensemble global climate model simulation”
    B. K. Adams A. E. Dessler (03 December 2018)
    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2018GL080714

    Abstract
    The transient climate response (TCR), defined to be the warming in near‐surface air temperature after 70 years of a 1% per year increase in CO2, can be estimated from observed warming over the 19th and 20th centuries. Such analyses yield lower values than TCR estimated from global climate models (GCMs). This disagreement has been used to suggest that GCMs’ climate may be too sensitive to increases in CO2. Here we critically evaluate the methodology of the comparison using a large ensemble of a fully coupled GCM simulating the historical period, 1850–2005. We find that TCR estimated from model simulations of the historical period can be much lower than the model’s true TCR, replicating the disagreement seen between observations and GCM estimates of TCR. This suggests that the disagreement could be explained entirely by the methodology of the comparison and undercuts the suggestions that GCMs overestimate TCR.

    Plain language summary:
    The transient climate response (TCR) is defined to be the warming after 70 years of a 1% per year increase in atmospheric CO2. It is one of the important metrics in climate science because it plays a key role in determining how much warming we will experience in the future. Previous work has found that TCR inferred from observed warming over the 20th century tends to be lower than TCR in climate models. This has been used by suggest that climate models are overpredicting future warming. We use a large number of climate model runs to investigate the methodology of this comparison. We find that TCR estimated from the 20th century simulations may indeed be much lower than the model’s true TCR. This arises from biases in the methodology of estimating TCR from 20th century warming, as well as biases in the construction of the observational temperature data sets. We therefore find no evidence that models are overestimating TCR.

  331. verytallguy says:

    Wow Dikran.

    It’s obviously prof Currys blog, and her moderation.

    But to delete your riposte yet leave the insults from dpy… remarkable.

    For me you’re one of the least antagonistic people in this debate

    Curry continues to amaze.

  332. JCH says:

    Atmospheric CO2: Principal Control Knob Governing Earth’s Temperature

    Ample physical evidence shows that carbon dioxide (CO2) is the single most important climate-relevant greenhouse gas in Earth’s atmosphere. This is because CO2, like ozone, N2O, CH4, and chlorofluorocarbons, does not condense and precipitate from the atmosphere at current climate temperatures, whereas water vapor can and does. Noncondensing greenhouse gases, which account for 25% of the total terrestrial greenhouse effect, thus serve to provide the stable temperature structure that sustains the current levels of atmospheric water vapor and clouds via feedback processes that account for the remaining 75% of the greenhouse effect. Without the radiative forcing supplied by CO2 and the other noncondensing greenhouse gases, the terrestrial greenhouse would collapse, plunging the global climate into an icebound Earth state.

  333. dikranmarsupial says:

    To be fair, I think I have antagonized Prof. Curry a bit by asking questions about science. I don’t think that ought to antagonize, but it became clear (even to me) that it did, so I pretty much stopped.

  334. Dikran,
    I think that kind of thing is human nature. I think the idea that someone, on the basis of some questions, will acknowledge some kind of serious problem with what they’ve presented is probably unrealistic. My hope is typically that people might take into account what was said and maybe adjust what they present in future. It’s typically a rather naive hope.

  335. dikranmarsupial says:

    Indeed. Ideally in the sciences we tend to learn not to take these things personally but to try and be objective about scientific arguments, but in practice scientists are human beings and none of us (AFAICS) actually live up to that ambition all the time, most definitely including me.

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