Friday, July 17, 2009

Climate Skepticism 101: “we can't think of anything else”

Global Warming. Be worried. Be very worried. Be vewy, vewy worried. It's damaging the planet at an, ahem, alarming rate. Cue the polar bear. It affects your kids, and your kids' kids (if they're still irresponsible enough to have any). Earth is at the tipping point (we've got 5, 10, 15 -- pick one -- years before it will be too late). You can save the world or destroy it.

Time said we should reduce. Cut-back. As a result, I declined to renew my Time magazine subscription. I did this to save the planet. Did they thank me? They did not.

Am I an anthro-global warming, er, climate change skeptic? Yes, I am.

Read this NP article by Jerome Bastien to better understand the point of view of an AGW skeptic.

http://tinyurl.com/nr5yzv

Some key points:

"the enormous scale of the sacrifices we have been asked to make

"evidence of warming is not evidence of anthropogenic warming

"there is no empirical evidence to support the proposition that human-produced CO2 will cause catastrophic warming" (this raises the issue of Newtonian vs. Einsteinian approaches to science)

"CO2 is a greenhouse gas, but as we add CO2 to the atmosphere, the amount of additional heat it absorbs follows a logarithmic curve. In other words, if CO2 levels were to double, the heat absorbed by CO2 would increase but it would not double. Furthermore, CO2 can only absorb infrared radiation at certain wavelengths, and these wavelengths are already almost fully absorbed."

I view this last point as essential to the issue, especially the issue of upending western world economies to re-set the thermostat. It's like a billiard table. Once your shot is blocked, it doesn't matter how many additional balls get in your way. A blocked shot is a blocked shot. At some point the thin C02 band is saturated, and pumping additional C02 into the atmosphere will have no incremental effect. We are, apparently, close to that point now. I wonder how many people who have already bought into the popular alarmist message of pending incremental catastrophe are aware of this. Something to think of before you go aborting your baby to save the earth.

"the earth is warming and has been since before humans began polluting our atmosphere

"In a system as complex as earth’s climate, there are any number of reasons why the earth may be warming or cooling; until the link between CO2 and rising temperatures is proven, we must be open to other possibilities. And this link has not yet been proven"

From the IPCC’s own Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), in section 2.4 titled “Attribution of climate change”: "The observed patterns of warming, including greater warming over land than over the ocean, and their changes over time, are simulated only by models that include anthropogenic forcing."

The money-quote:

"If you’re having a hard time deciphering what they mean, let me help. The above is weasel-speak for “we can't think of anything else”.

"in order to model the climate accurately we would need to understand the climate system almost perfectly, which we do not.

"computer models are not evidence" (this is the Newtonian vs. Einsteinian conflict)

And then, the author throws down a scientific gauntlet which AGW believers should be able to refute. Let's see what they make of this:

* the theory predicts that there should be a measurable hotspot in the upper troposphere.

* no hotspot has been found.

* In a less politicized field, this would have been the end of it.

The full article may be found at:

http://tinyurl.com/nr5yzv

Maybe we can crank-down the name-calling and mindless ad hominems.

27 comments:

Joe said...

Back in the last century Pope John Paul II wrote of 'The Culture of Death'. He was referencing those who for a lack of better terminology hate Yahweh and hate His creation especially that which is created in the image of Yahweh, Mankind.

In this twisted mindset of self love/loathing, mankind is a weed to be exterminated from that which 'just naturally evolved'.

The same spirit that grasped Darwinian evolution and its natural out cropping, state mandated euthanasia to its breast has simply sprung a new front with which it will attempt to exterminate that which it views as the most vile of all creatures Mankind.

Supposedly educated men write tomes using scientific terminology which are reviewed by other supposedly educated men and all agree that it must be true.

Mankind must die!

To paraphrase Solomon: Foolishness Foolishness scientific education is Foolishness.

Just like the Darwinians who rush out with every new fossil they discover and proclaim it is the final proof of evolution, or NASA scientists who upon discovering a meteor in Antarctica proclaim they have proof that there is life on Mars, so too the agendized knitwits expect us to fall at their feet in awe of the number of books they have read or the number of scientisms they can throw about.

Of course the warmists are loathe to actually provide any proof and certainly don't engage logic they prefer to attempt to baffle as they omit to tell you that they have no proof. Its all just a theory. Not only is it just a theory its a theory about a phenomena that no one is actually sure is happening!

With such a lack of evidence of the event, that anyone believes their theory baffles me. Perhaps their behaviour is best understood as the faith of those who are afflicted with the spirit of the culture of death.

Bitter Chill said...

The link to your article is broken, so I can only comment on your paraphrasing.

First, please don’t take this ad hominem, but I don’t get my Climate Change info from Time Magazine or The National Post….

Interesting idea about the CO2-absorptive wavelengths being almost fully absorbed at ~300ppm. That is a bit of a mischaracterization of the problem. You really think this one “inconvenient fact” was completely missed by the world’s climate scientists? But a guy writing for the National Post thought of it, like Archimedes in his bathtub?

To continue your allegory: it does matter where your billiard ball is blocked. It is true that almost all of the “absorbed window” of wavelengths is blocked before it leaves the atmosphere, however increasing atmospheric CO2 means that is it blocked earlier, farther down. One of the pieces of “evidence” that AGW deniers use is that the upper atmosphere has cooled measurably in the last 100 years (Yes, Joe, we have good records of this). This is because less of the IR radiation is getting up there, where it is efficeinetly lost to space. The problem is that there is little atmospheric mixing between the troposphere (where we live) and the stratosphere and mesosphere (which are significantly thicker, but much less dense). These upper layers block heat that radiates through the troposphere. Increase the CO2 in the troposphere, less heat makes it through, the troposphere heats up, the mesosphere cools down. Ergo climate change.

"computer models are not evidence"

What a beautifully simple refutation of all modern science. Computer models are fundamental to all science today, and the primary reason for the recent rapid advances in genetics, pharmaceuticals, geology, materials science, aeronautics, and any of a thousand other areas of science. But feel free to sweep that all aside in one brush.

I know nothing of the alleged tropospheric “hotspot” you mentioned, but I will look into it.

I agree, no more ad hominem. Let’s stick to refuting specific points instead of the person who makes the point (does that include Dave Suzuki and Al Gore?)

Bitter Chill said...

“In this twisted mindset of self love/loathing,”

Ha ha ha. The leader of the Catholic Church called the mindset of self love/loathing twisted? The leader of a church based on original sin, confession of sins, and mankind’s good/evil duality? That is like Chris Rock complaining that people don’t take themselves seriously anymore!

“scientific education is Foolishness.”
SO I guess you will be turning off your computer now, and stop taking any medications, since you don’t want to be party to all that foolishness?

“Darwinians” (whatever that is) do not “rush out with every new fossil they discover and proclaim it is the final proof of evolution”, we don’t need that proof. Evolution is an observable phenomenon, we are at least 100 years past when we were looking for proof of it, we are just trying to work out the details of how it resulted in what we see now. Kind of like we don’t waste time trying to prove gravity, we are just trying to work out the details. Or do you not believe that theory either?

RkBall said...

"The link to your article is broken"

Try copy/pasting to a new window.

RkBall said...

"Let’s stick to refuting specific points instead of the person who makes the point (does that include Dave Suzuki and Al Gore?)"

Only if they post to the blog. House-rule.

Joe said...

Well Bitey ole boy maybe a computer model counts as evidence in your world but I'm holding you to a higher standard.

Where are those 4 proofs I asked you for the other day.

Telling me how you think it might work doesn't count I want actual evidence that what you allege is happening is indeed happening and happening in the way you allege it is happening.

BTW over 32,000 trained climatologist disagree with you and have put their reputations on the line by signing a petition saying AGW is a hoax.

lastchancetosee said...

From the IPCC’s own Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), in section 2.4 titled “Attribution of climate change”: "The observed patterns of warming, including greater warming over land than over the ocean, and their changes over time, are simulated only by models that include anthropogenic forcing."

The money-quote:

"If you’re having a hard time deciphering what they mean, let me help. The above is weasel-speak for “we can't think of anything else”.


If one were to actually read the report in question instead of just skimming through it for quotes to mine, one would discover that what that sentence actually means is that the only models capable of simulating the observed effect where those that included anthopogenic forcing.
Here is the full excerpt:
The observed patterns of warming, including greater warming
over land than over the ocean, and their changes over time, are
simulated only by models that include anthropogenic forcing. No
coupled global climate model that has used natural forcing only
has reproduced the continental mean warming trends in individual
continents (except Antarctica) over the second half of the 20th cen-
tury.


In other words: The anthropogenic models were the only ones to simulate the effects because all others failed to do so. English language 101.

I guess everyone can be mistaken. Which is weasel-speak for "Bastien is a barefaced liar."
How I hate this pseudo-scientific, quote-mining, lying factually false nonsense. Just because most people haven't read the IPCC reports, deniers think they can attribute just about everything to it.

Bonus points for Bastien for attributing his quote to the right section, so that everyone can immediately see he's lying. At least in that respect, he's honest.

RkBall said...

LC2C. Thank you for posting -- we're glad you did.

"If one were to actually read the report... one would discover that what that sentence actually means is that the only models capable of simulating the observed effect where those that included anthopogenic forcing."

I think that's exactly what the report is saying, as the excerpt made clear, and what M. Bastion understood it to be saying. But, what it amounts to, is something like this: "In order to get our models to work, we had to use a fudge-factor. We are attributing this fudge-factor to forced AGW."

"In other words: The anthropogenic models were the only ones to simulate the effects because all others failed to do so. English language 101."

Yes, and the rest of us can read, and have some faint grasp of the English language. I think where you are possibly missing the point is that for epistemological certainty in the IPCC conclusion the climate models being used must be comprehensive in their understanding of climate. And M. Bastien makes the point in his article that they are not. So, is high confidence in the IPCC conclusion warranted? That's the issue.

For example, the IPCC report also said, and I quote from section IV.C.iii:

"Ive looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
Its cloud illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all".

Or maybe that was Joni Mitchell. So please don't go calling me a liar. When people communicate, they use all kinds of techniques -- including satire, polemic, etc. -- which is what M. Bastion, for anyone with a feeling for the nuances of the English language and the subtleties of communication, was doing when he gave his "money quote" -- which is why I enjoyed it so much.

My understanding is that the climate models do not include the effects of clouds in their modeling -- a fairly serious omission. if so, the models have to be approached with humility and degrees of probability rather than epistemological certainty.

"Bastien is a barefaced liar."

O-K.

No nuance there.

lastchancetosee said...

I'm not calling you a liar, I'm calling Mr. Bastien one.
By that I stand.

I would have thought that obvious, especially if one takes the whole paragraph instead of just one quote. Look, they took different models, some including anthropogenic forcing, some that didn't. They found that no model that did not include a. forcing was adequate to model the climate. Now, of course it is still possible that there is some non-anthropogenic forcing agent unknown to men that is responsible, but you'll run smack into occam's razor if you want to argue that. Because that argument would amount to saying: Models point to anthropogenic forcing, but I don't like that, so I postulate a different agent, but I don't know what kind.
That sound sensible to you?

Climate change is the new moonlanding. For some reason people are more at home with a worldwide conspiracy aiming to do ... something, than they are with the idea that 6 billion people armed with loads of industry, cars etc. might be capable of irreversably changing an immensely complex and input-dependent system.
Mr. Bastien can choose to believe whatever he wants, even if that belief causes him to live at right angles to reality.

I'm sorry, you might remember me from other threads as rather less ill-tempered, but I can't stand people who question science because they don't like the conclusions.

Joe said...

Lastchance: When to computer models can predict past climate changes /I might give them a modicum of respect. Until then....

Look up. Way up. 93,000,000 miles up to that fireball in the sky and try to figure out if its output is constant. If the fireball in the sky has variable output doesn't it make sense that we might notice that variability when fireball's higher output results in earth's climate getting warmer and when fireball in the sky's output drops the earth's climate cools?

I've been following this climate change debacle and since its beginning none of the CO2 based predictions have come to pass. Mann's hockey stick was shown to be a sham. Yet for 100s of years solar minimums have coincided with cooler weather on earth.

Therefore Occams Razor says that CO2 is not a driver of climate change but Solar Maximums/Minimums are drivers of climate change.

Of course Occams Razor also says that Solar Cycles are beyond Mankind's control and since the whole CO2 drive corporate greed coupled withis the elimination of the image of Yahweh.

Bitter Chill said...

Um Joe. They do. That is exactly the conversation LCTS and RKB were having. Climate models were tested against past events. In fact, all are. The first thing you do with a climate model is to input data from, say, 1910, and run the model to, say, 1950, then see if the model results at 1950 fairly estimate the actual data collected in 1950. If not, back to the drawing board. In the case of the cherry-picked quote discussed at length above, they took some of the most robust climate models, they entered data from some early data, and ran the model several times: sometimes with anthropogenic forcings included, sometimes with the anthropogenic forcings “turned off”. The models run wioth the anthropogenic forcings turned on fairly represented observed changes over the last couple of decades of the last century. Those with the anthropogenic forcings turned off did not.

Read that couple of times, and them tell me what that says to you about the models.

That is a good theory you have about solar maximums and minimums. Since it is a good scientific theory, one should be able to present data that either supports it, or disproves it. Well, we don’t have to, because some people out there with the appropriate instrumentation have done it. Some guys at the Max Planck Institute , and I am afraid the data does not support your theory (to paraphrase, no increase in solar irradiance since 1940). Nor does the data collected from PMOD . If you can find anyone, anywhere, who has collected data supporting your theory, please provide it. I’m curious to learn!

Joe said...

Yet strangely enough Bitey ole boy the sun has had no sunspots for a year and there is record low temperatures. I guess it is just a coincidence. I guess the solar minimum during the 'little ice age' was just a coincidence too. But then I guess you should never let the facts get in the way of a good scam should you?

Now that's not like that CO2 stuff. It allows the temperature to go up or down or stay the same and still be called global warming.

Say what about those 32,000 experts who disagree with you and I'm not talking about the "I'm not a real expert but I play one for the IPCC" kind. You know those guys with real the PHD's in that obscure science called CLIMATOLOGY.

I'm still waiting for your proof by he way. You say something is happening and/or about to happen so I would like to see some real evidence that precludes other possible or likely explanations.

lastchancetosee said...

These are classics.

Chill: Well, we don’t have to, because some people out there with the appropriate instrumentation have done it. Some guys at the Max Planck Institute , and I am afraid the data does not support your theory [...]. Nor does the data collected from PMOD .

Joe: Yet strangely enough Bitey ole boy the sun has had no sunspots for a year and there is record low temperatures. I guess it is just a coincidence.


"Here's what scientists in extensive studies have dtermined: solar forcing is not the reason."
"But it was COLD yesterday!"

Joe said...

Now lasty ole boy here's the problem. You say 'scientists' don't see any connection between solar max/mins yet I read a lot of respected scientists who say there is a real connection.

I'll tell you what, why don't we do an experiment. We will build 4 identical houses. In two house we will put in R10 insulation to simulate low levels of CO2, In the other 2 houses we will put in R12 insulation to simulate high levels of CO2. In the first two houses we will set the thermostat to 22 C to simulate a solar maximum. In the other two houses we will set the thermostat to 18 C to simulate a solar minimum.
Then we will record the temperatures in all the houses during a -40 C cold snap.

According to your theory the houses with the R12 should be warmer than the houses with R10. According to my theory the houses with the higher heat setting will be warmer than the houses with the lower heat setting.

Care to place a bet on the outcome?

Hey why don't I be a nice guy instead of R12 let's use R40 insulation.

Then we we know for certain which is more important a heat source or heat retention. I think we can both agree that CO2 only retains heat not generates heat right?

Jerome Bastien said...

Bitter Chill:

Im glad to see that you follow that time-tested tradition of alarmists to react to counterarguments by anger and insults. I hope your side of the debate keeps it up forever.

I'll try and address the points you raise in your comments though, just to give you a little lesson in how to debate properly, and to give you a better understanding of what science, because clearly you dont have a clue.

1. I didnt think of the wavelenghts being fully absorbed in my bathtub. This is a known scientific fact, which is not even disputed by informed alarmists. But according to them the tiny effect of absorbing a bit more of that wavelength leads to a massive positive water-vapor feedback effect, which is the ultimate cause of the catastrophic warming. The positive feedback hasnt been scientifically proven yet however.

2. Computer models are not evidence. You try to refute that by saying that computer models are useful to science. Sure enough. But you seem to be confusing something being useful to science, and evidence. Evidence is a real world observation which either supports or disproves a theory. By any definition, computer models are not evidence. They are a useful tool, but they are not evidence. They cannot be the basis for you to either prove or disprove a theory. Observations done in the real world are what you need to prove or disprove a theory.

Jerome Bastien said...

lastchancetosee:

Thanks for calling me a barefaced liar. The comments in the NP column were overwhelmingly positive and I was disappointed that more alarmists were not driven to hysteria by my column.

Also Im glad you included all the "context" from the IPCC Report. I would make reading the whole thing mandatory for everybody if I could, because there is no better way to be convinced that global warming is nonsense. The part that you added in your comment says pretty much the same thing as the quote include in my column.

The point is, that is why they attribute climate change to CO2 - because only models which include CO2 forcing reproduces past climate.

If you think this is somehow an adequate basis to reorganize the world economy, well what can I say, hmmm, maybe you want to buy my shares in Nortel and Chrysler?

You must understand that computer models are just a piece of software that attempts to simulate the real world? You must understand that simulating something as complex as climate is a tall order.

One thing is for sure though, we can only make climate models simulate the aspects of climate which we understand. Therefore, unless we fully understand the climate, all we're doing is coming up with our best guesses.

And since the IPCC thinks that CO2 leads to increased warming, that is the behavior which is programmed into the models. Its not surprising therefore that models show increased warming with increased CO2.

As to the fact that past climate cant be reproduced without CO2 forcing, well that is really nothing more than showing the bias of the IPCC authors and the climate modelers. Sure, the CO2 helps the models fit past records, but maybe that's just due to an error in the models, or maybe its because there's an unknown factor which is playing an important role and is simply not part of the models.

Therefore, they are quite literally saying "we cant think of anything else". That's not even an exaggeration. As in, we cant think of anything, other than CO2, in order to explain the past climate. Its not evidence and its not enough to draw conclusions and its not enough to bankrupt the world over.

Jerome Bastien said...

lastchancetosee:

a couple more points.

You write: "Now, of course it is still possible that there is some non-anthropogenic forcing agent unknown to men that is responsible, but you'll run smack into occam's razor if you want to argue that."

That is a misuse of Occam's razor if there ever was one. Occam's razor postulates that the simplest explanation is usually the best one. So, first off, it is not a hard rule but rather a useful guideline. But even then, to suggest that humans' attempt to simulate climate by computers is not perfect, is by far the simplest explanation. To suggest, as you seem to do, that models are most likely correct and that we should take their result to the bank, to the tune of trillions of dollars is the most audacious and I would add arrogant one.

You also write:
"Models point to anthropogenic forcing, but I don't like that, so I postulate a different agent, but I don't know what kind.
That sound sensible to you?"

That is not the argument. The argument is: models point to anthropogenic forcing, but the real world data doesnt. Until the real world data fits with the theory that CO2 is responsible for the warming, models are interesting, but are not enough to either prove or disprove a theory.

lastchancetosee said...

Hmm, I didn't want ot get drawn into this discussion, but here I go ...

"We can't think of anything else."

The reason evolution get's accepted as a scientific theory is "because we can't think of anything else". Dito for Newton's mechanics.
The crucial part that gets left out in this, as in your cute little "translation" of the IPCC report, is that what we CAN think of actually explains something other theories do not.

"Misuse of Occams razor."
It is actually a pretty hard rule although stated the way you do it it doesn't seem that way. You seem to have a talent for that.
Given two theories that explain the same things, the one that needs less assumptions is to be preferred.
Notice the part you left out?
So, applying this to climate change:
(a) We have a subset of available data that is explained purely by known natural forces.
(b) We have a larger subset that is explained by known natural forces plus anthopogenic forcing.
OK, so, out with purely natural causes, in with anthorpogenic forcing.
Now, to topple (b), we would need an explanation
c) that explains the same subset whilst using less assumptions or explains a larger subset with the same ones.
What you are proposing is
d) that we explain the same subset of data by some force about which we only know that it is not anthropogenic.
Sorry, but that's not good enough. And no, "The models are wrong" is not the simplest but rather no explanation. You keep harping on about the data not showing ant. forcing. What do you think the models are based on, figures the scientists pulled out of their collective behinds?

You might not agree with their opinion, but you might at least credit these people with a) some intellect and b) rather more knowledge on this topic than either of us combined.
You are painting the whole field of climate scientists as stupid, disingenious and incompetent while you for some reason have the clarity of mind to see through all that while the only explanation you have to offer is "something other than anthropogenic forcing" and you are accusing ME of arrogance (which is a true accusation, btw.)? It takes one to know one.

Jerome Bastien said...

lastchancetosee:
you wrote
"The reason evolution get's accepted as a scientific theory is "because we can't think of anything else". Dito for Newton's mechanics."

Not quite. The reasons they get accepted as theories is that they make verifiable predictions. In the case of newtonian mechanics, it predicts how far a ball will travel if i throw it with a given force. Evolution predicts that the fossil record will become more and more complex as we move through time and that there should be a link between past species and current ones. This is science 101. Theories are only as good as predictions they make and how these predictions stand up against real world data.

I fully concede that the climate modelers are smart people that do hard work and who know quite a bit about climate.

But that doesnt mean that everything they say is correct, or that their conclusions shouldnt be subject to scrutiny.

You say that to topple this we need to explain it by some other forcing which is not AGW. That is an incorrect view of science.

Similarly, if we can show that a person on trial for murder has an alibi, we dont need to find the real culprit before we let that person go.

Here, the AGW theory predicts a hotspot in the upper troposphere. Observations have failed to find the hotspot. It may be that the hotspot is there somewhere but we havent found it, although that is unlikely but its certainly possible. It may be that the prediction of a hotspot itself is wrong (in which case, the IPCC's own theories would have to be revised significantly). But right now, as the science stands, the AGW hypothesis has failed to live up to real world observation.

You can produce a million computer models, all I need is 1 contradictory set of real world observations to show that they are wrong.

And btw, Im not accusing climate scientists of stupidity. Scientists are humans too and are therefore flawed, they get attached to their theory and explain discrepancies away because the opposite means no job, no funding, or worse, being labeled a denier. Einstein refused to believe quantum mechanics up to his death - that doesnt make him stupid, that makes him human.

lastchancetosee said...

B.D. Santer et al., 2008, Consistency of modelled and observed temperature trends in the tropical troposphere, International Journal of Climatology 28: 1703 - 1722

Abstract here:
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/121433727/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0




I see no point in further discussing this. The models fit the data, at least as far as I know. As for the stuff I don't know, I'd trust the opinion of experts in the field over those of people like us any day of the week.
Rejecting human activity as a contributing factor is, as said before, at the very least needlessly multiplying entities.

As a physicist I sometimes run into people who think they can disprove Einstein. Invariably they a) know next to nothing about his theory b) are incapable of understanding why their arguments are wrong and c) are utterly incapable of imagining that everyone else might be right. I can't begin to tell you how exasperating that is, but at least with us they're crackpots, nobody takes them seriously. I pity climate scientists who have to take the same crap not from crackpots but actual US Senators.

Jerome Bastien said...

Yes I know about Santer et al., and what he did was he performed a statistical analysis on the existing data to say the hotspot might still be there but we just missed it. Its strictly correct, there is a statistical probability that the measurements taken missed the hotspot even though it was there. But importantly he did not actually find the hotspot.

If you're interested in this you should also check out Sherwood

Sherwood says ok we didnt find the hotspot from direct temperature measurements maybe we can find it by proxy using the winds. His conclusion is similar to Santer's - we cant find it, but we cant rule it out either.

As you can see, these are not results to overthrow the world economy over. AGW is still breathing but its on the respirator.

So you're a physicist? And I need to tell you that theories are believed because they can make predictions? Wow. Do you have a PhD? What is your field of research?

And btw, Einstein's theory is not in dispute here, even though Einstein himself said that only one incompatible observation would mean his theory is wrong. Yet his theory is believed today because of its amazing predictive ability.

Bitter Chill said...

JB, I’m not sure what you have been reading, but I don’t see that as a fair characterization of the exchange between Joe and I. I have not used anger or insults. Joe made a few specific points, some based on what he had read elsewhere, some based on his own “speculations”. I took the opportunity to point out, usually with hot-linked references to actual data, where his data was flawed, or his speculations regarding flash-frozen mammoths were logically inconsistent and not supported by the available evidence. I tried, as hard as it was, with every point to attack the point being made, and not the point-maker. Although, if we are talking about challenging the logic of a “speculation”, it is hard to separate the source from the point.

Joe, on the other hand, availed himself of all the response strategies typical of the pseudo-scientist: he claimed any evidence that disagreed with his point was wrong, he claims science itself is wrong, he completely ignored any point made that he didn’t have an answer for, and then, when cornered by logic on any one point (i.e. frozen mammoths) he shifts to another, completely unrelated point (solar maximums), until that false lead is completely debunked, then he switched to another point (32,000 Climate scientists), etc. etc. At one point, I quoted Joe extensively, not as a personal insult, but as an attempt to show how he is logically inconsistent, and sets constantly shifting goalposts. Admittedly, it has been rather like talking to a child with his hands over his ears going “LALA I CANT HEAR YOU LALALA”. But I’m retired. I have time.

By the way, that last point has been very well debunked as well. The “32,000 Climate Scientists” petition included so many cultural references, with fake signatures made up of celebrity names (“Dr. Michael J Fox”,) including at least three of the Spice Girls, with numerous members of the legitimate sciences community saying their signatures are on there but they never signed it. The couple of hundred legitimate signatures with PhDs appear to be from an oddball collection of medical doctors, dentists, and theologians. With this kind of unvetted on-line “petition”, I bet you I can get list of 40,000 nuclear physicists that don’t believe in the atom.

Bitter Chill said...

The reason I keep coming back, though, is because of the deniers, I learn more all the time. Because of Joe, I researched mammoths, got lots of information from different sources, and found one really cool book, not just about the 39 (not thousands) of carcasses, but about the people who found them and the explorers of Siberia. Cool stuff.

Another example, I had no idea about the “Missing Hotspot” idea. I found a couple of papers (thank you SFU and access to electronic journals!) and I found out that not only is it not missing, it isn’t necessary . (no, not a science journal, but links to actual journals there). So the idea that there is a missing hotspot was proven, as long ago as 2007, as flat out wrong.

Science, you gotta love it. Or deny it, I guess.

lastchancetosee said...

a) Since whatever scientific qualifications I might have are unrelated to the field of climatology they are irrelevant to our discussion.
b) I know AGW is a far less well proven theory than general relativity. That was not the point to my anecdote. (But it is funny how all the crackpots always choose relativity, evolution and global warming for taking shots at. Why not electrodynamics? Chemical kinetics? Or string theory, at least there they might have a point.)
c) You misrepresent what I wrote. I never denied that theories make predictions and can be disproven by data (which is why ID is not scientific) etc.
You're pretending that I ceded the existence of conclusive contradictory data while maintaining that AGW is still valid, I didn't. I say that what data there is that you say contradicts AGW is inconclusive and therefore does not constitute a failure of AGW.
I readily cede that much, much more research is needed until we fully understand earth's climate, but that does not make the idea of AGW any less valid.

I don't see us getting anywhere with this discussion, so allow me to introduce another question:
What exactly is so bad about all that is initiated to stop global warming?
Because to my mind, even if AGW was a total myth, everything that is initiated right now would still be a good idea.
For example: Most of what is initiated now to combat global warming serves the additional purpose of getting rid of fossil fuels, which is something we have to do anyway.

You're argument seems to be that the evidence isn't enough to restructure our whole lives for. Well, we need to do that anyway, so what exactly was the point to all this again?

Jerome Bastien said...

Bitter Chill:

sorry my bad I had originally read the comments rather quickly and I thought there was only one in the pro-AGW camp and I thought that you had called me a bald-faced liar but it was in lastchancetosee. Again, I apologize.

As for your link to realclimate.org I actually went to check it out and read their post. I could find nothing to suggest that the hotspot is not needed, but rather they say much the same thing as Santer or Sherwood: there's tons of biases and issues with the data, so we dont know if the hotspot is there or not.

Their conclusion:

To conclude, the structural uncertainty in the radiosonde data is large, and while these attempts to improve the homogenisation are a step in the right direction, the degree of adjustment is a concern. The bottom line is that the observations may well be closer to the model data than preliminary analyses suggested but that the structural uncertainty remains high. Coming to dramatic conclusions based on any of this remains unwise.

Your use of 'proven ... as flat out wrong' is completely unwarranted.

Jerome Bastien said...

lastchancetosee:

You're pretending that I ceded the existence of conclusive contradictory data while maintaining that AGW is still valid, I didn't. I say that what data there is that you say contradicts AGW is inconclusive and therefore does not constitute a failure of AGW.

No I meant I was shocked that you claimed to be a physicist and yet you suggested at your post of 2:09pm that the reason evolution and relativity are believed is because "we cant think of anything else". We believe these theories because of their predictive ability.


I say that what data there is that you say contradicts AGW is inconclusive and therefore does not constitute a failure of AGW.


Well, this is semantics, does a strike constitute a "failure" for a batter? Its not a homerun, thats for sure. This was a big test for AGW and we're quite far from "the science is settled", or from claims that "deniers" are akin to flat-earthers or creationists.

Also, Im glad that you request a change of topic from "does agw exist" to, "if it doesnt exist shouldnt we take these measures anyways"?

On that point, some of it is good, a lot of it is bad. Taxing individuals into oblivion and punishing economic activity on a geographical basis (because some regions get their electricity from coal, others from hydro, ...) is bad. Environmental concern is higher when people have $ and are employed. I could go on all day about the bad, but on the other hand, energy efficiency and pollution reduction are valid objectives in and of themselves, and should be targeted directly not through the shaky science of global warming.

And I know that fossil fuels are limited, but there is more proven reserves today than in 1970, when doomsayers predicted we'd run out of oil in the 80s.

We do have an energy problem, and its not by impoverishing the world that were going to solve it.

lastchancetosee said...

Firstly, "I was shocked [...] yet you suggested [...] that the reason evolution and relativity are believed is because "we cant think of anything else".

You said in your original article, without qualification or additional supporting argument that "the only models capable of explaining the data." was code for "we can't think of anything else. From which would follow that the same could be said about relativity etc. because they too are the only theories capable of explaining the data.
And you are quite right, that is a shocking and rather embarrassing misrepresentation of the models/theories, which is why I reacted so strongly to you using it in your article.

Secondly, "Also, Im glad that you request a change of topic from "does agw exist" to, "if it doesnt exist shouldnt we take these measures anyways"?"

The correct form to paraphrase my words would have been "even if it didn't exist". But hey, that wouldn't make it sound like a concession on my part, right?

All I ever do here is correcting your misrepresentations.

Thirdly, I know next to nothing about baseball, but I think I'll leave further discussion of hotspots to Bitter Chill, he seems to be more knowledgeable in this field than the both of us combined.


"Taxing individuals into oblivion and punishing economic activity on a geographical basis [...] is bad."

And who exactly is proposing "taxing individuals into oblivion"?
Concerning economies, a newsflash: They are being punished on a geographical basis anyway. Economies based on fossil fuels are a dying breed. There's no way to go for them but down.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"