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Friday round-up

Filed under: — group @ 24 July 2009

Two items of interest this week. First, there is an atrocious paper that has just been published in JGR by McLean, de Freitas and Carter that is doing the rounds of the denialosphere. These authors make the completely unsurprising point that that there is a correlation between ENSO indices and global mean temperature – something that has been well known for decades – and then go on to claim that that all trends are explained by this correlation as well. This is somewhat surprising since their method of analysis (which involves taking the first derivative of any changes) eliminates the influence of any trends in the correlation. Tamino has an excellent demonstration of the fatuity of the statements in their hyped press-release and Michael Tobis deconstructs the details. For reference, we showed last year that the long term trends are still basically the same after you account for ENSO. Nevermore let it be said that you can’t get any old rubbish published in a peer-reviewed journal!

Second (and much more interestingly) there is an open call for anyone interested to contribute to setting the agenda for Earth System Science for the next couple of decades at the Visioning Earth Science website of the International Council for Science (ICS). This is one of the umbrella organisations that runs a network of committees and programs that prioritise research directions and international programs and they are looking for ideas. Let them know what your priorities are.


533 Responses to “Friday round-up”

  1. 151
    Mark says:

    Fred states: “The 30 year trend in the UAH mid-troposphere data is virtually zero.”

    Uh, no.

    The end value of the 30 year graph is a single month and that is at 0 distance from the zero value.

    This does not mean that the trend is zero.

    Just that the last month is 0.

    A trend requires more than one month.

  2. 152
    John Mashey says:

    re: #150 John Burgeson

    Can you explain more as to why you think those people have credibility on climate science? [Physics is a big tent: trapeze artists may think they are also lion tamers, but usually they are not.]

    1) Moorad Alexanian @ UNCW, theoretical physics, quantum optics or Moorad Alexanian @ Earth History Research Center, i.e., @ Earth History Research Center, of which:

    “Our mission is to develop a scientifically credible view of earth history consistent with scripture, …”

    Moorad wrote The crucifix confronting Dracula, applauding Sarah Palin for her great efforts, including:

    His C.V. there lists a number of interesting publications, especially since 1999.
    “achieving the goals of smaller government, energy independence, national security, and freedom.”

    Or, read <a href="http://origins.swau.edu/who/moorad/debate.pdf&quot; for letter to Physics Today. ("the claims made by those advocating evolutionary theory can never really be falsified").

    Laurence Gould is a big proponent of Viscount Monckton, Essex+McKitrick, etc, and was discussed during the APS/FPS fiasco last summer. His peer-reviewed publication record, such as it is, doesn’t include any climate science.

    Frank Tipler is a cosmologist authoring “The Physics of Immortality”, “The Physics of Christianity”. Google Scholar finds many papers, but none on climate that I could see.

    John: *these* are the 3 you picked that seemed credible?

  3. 153
    Mark says:

    “(Aside to Mark — I really don’t understand your recent post chiding me for something I don’t think I ever said)

    Burgy”

    It was what you didn’t say.

    Current meme du juour for denialism is “The IPCC think they are wrong! They say they only have 90% confidence!”.

    And let that lead you to “AGW is therefore wrong”. Quite possibly because NONE of the denialist papers are given confidence levels, ergo there’s a 10% chance IPCC is wrong and 0% chance denialists are wrong.

    And you have some friends who deny AGW for VERY POOR REASONS. As in “no reasoning behind their reasons”.

  4. 154

    #122, My solution for any person or scientist siding with the contrarian point of view from now on is to come up with their own estimate on what will happen with GT’s and or Arctic ice over the next few years. Given that contrarians are so confident about the null effects from greenhouse gases, they should accurately forecast at the very least : Arctic sea ice volume or mass predictions, or GT’s. I have learned that statements from anyone not versed in climate, however well educated are meaningless, their words having more political weight than scientific merit. Like I do, put words in writing and predict what happens based on your understanding of the systems, after say , a few year, look back, and assure by your accuracy.

    I’ve never read chaps like Singer, Lindzen, Pielke and others being right about this subject or making any accurate prediction. But during the short lifetime of RC, Arctic sea ice is vanishing faster, temperatures kept rising, correcty foreseen by quiet IPCC experts, who had at least got the warming trend direction right, while all that contrarian bluster achieved nothing. Contrarian words should be transmitted with the caveat that they can’t predict anything, or even worse they fear to predict anything scientifically, but are capable of demolishing proponents like political pundits…. The Climate hall of fame belongs to those who have successfully seen what has happened, contrarians enjoy staying in the minor leagues batting .000 with prediction hits, but get the same attention from the media.

  5. 155
    MarkB says:

    Re: #141

    Steven writes:

    “I’m asking about these 50 contrarians because my own sense, FWIW, is that they’ll be perceived outside the scientific community as speaking pretty authoritatively.”

    Perceptions can be deceiving. There’s also the Oregon Petition, the Inhofe 700 list, or the Cato Institute advertisement (among others), all with overlap and all which attempt to create the perception that the lists are “authoritative”.

    “If they do get perceived that way, it seems to me that it’ll be a mistake simply to ignore or disdain them, even if that’s what they deserve.”

    Who’s ignoring them? I acknowledge there’s a very small fraction of the scientific community that denies global warming. It’s important to note both their relative size within the scientific community and their credentials on climate science. These are folks making a public political statement. They shouldn’t be immune to basic scrutiny of their credentials and representation.

  6. 156
    dhogaza says:

    Mark:

    And let that lead you to “AGW is therefore wrong.

    Burgy has never said that AGW is wrong. Why the false accusations? Why do you think falsely accusing someone of beliefs they don’t hold is a positive contribution to the discussion?

  7. 157
    Mark says:

    “Mark:

    And let that lead you to “AGW is therefore wrong.

    Burgy has never said that AGW is wrong.”

    And reread the entire post, dhog.

    “Current meme du juour for denialism is “The IPCC think they are wrong! They say they only have 90% confidence!”.

    And let that lead you to “AGW is therefore wrong”.”

    Think you took “you” as meaning “Burgy” not “the indefinite article, third person pronoun” or whatever.

    As in “you can see the red sky…” doesn’t mean YOU can see it, just that it can be seen.

  8. 158
    Fred Staples says:

    Gavin, you comment (146) that the 30 year satellite data for the mid-troposphere has been contaminated by the cooling stratosphere, eliminating any warming trend (0.4 degrees C per century, Mark (151), not significantly different from zero).

    The Hadley Centre radio-sonde data for the lower stratosphere shows a fall of 1.0 degrees centigrade from 1958 to 1971, with a volcanic eruption in 1964. Thereafter there are three distinct periods of level temperatures separated by the two volcanic eruptions marked on the chart.

    The El Chichon eruption in 1983 was associated (I hesitate to say caused) a fall of about 0.5 degrees C. The Pinatubo eruption in 1993 was accompanied by a further fall of about 0.7 degrees. Thereafter, from 1995 to date (14 years), lower stratosphere temperatures have been constant.

    In contrast, the mid-troposphere data reacted to the 1998 El Nino peak, increased sharply from 1999 to 2001, and did not fall back until 2007
    It is, in my opinion, more plausible to assume that the mid-troposphere data is what it appears to be, however difficult that is for “the higher is colder” AGW theory.

    [Response: You can assume what you like. Doesn’t make it true. – gavin]

    I fully accept the old Physics maxim that, if the facts do not agree with the theory, so much the worse for the facts. There are limits to this, however.

  9. 159

    Frank Tipler, no matter how credible his introductory modern physics textbooks may be, is also interested in such speculative subjects like ‘Physics of Christianity’.

    Crackpots Are Everywhere

    We’ve even got one headed for the NIH directorship.

    Nothing wrong with speculation as long as its backed up by a significant body of evidence to extrapolate.

    For instance, I speculate that exomoons exist. Frank Tipler speculates a significant body of planetary and climate science isn’t relevant to planetary evolution.

  10. 160
    Fred Staples says:

    Mark (151), I have often suggested that readers should look at the temperature charts (Google “Global Warming at a Glance”) before rushing to respond to these posts.

    Look at the scales. It is very instructive to mark an anomaly of 2 degrees on the charts, look at the variations to date, and ask yourself if you believe temperatures will be fluctuating about that mark 50 years from now on a “business as usual” scenario.

  11. 161
    Doug Bostrom says:

    MarkB 28 July 2009 at 1:03 PM

    “These are folks making a public political statement. They shouldn’t be immune to basic scrutiny of their credentials and representation.”

    How about something even more basic?

    The common thread to all of these campaigns is their reliance on innuendo, implications and even explicit accusations of malfeasance and corruption leveled at broad swathes of the scientific community.

    How about this, from the Nature letter:

    “It requests that an objective scientific process be established, devoid of political or financial agendas, to help prevent subversion of the scientific process and the intolerance towards scientific disagreement that pervades the climate issue.”

    Read that carefully, and use your thesaurus. These guys are allowed to assert– unchallenged thus establishing a beachhead in the record– that a real and significant problem of corruption both scientific and financial is steering reported findings regarding our climate.

    The fields reporting on climate-related findings supporting AGW include everything from biology to glaciology to oceanography, many points in between, returning nearly to the beginning of the alphabet with botany.

    Enormous numbers of researchers in all these fields are being painted with a broad, nasty brush of slander, with the cooperation of respectable journals and scientific organizations.

    Why, for instance, does Nature suspend all the normal rules of their publishing operation and allow such mendacious fiction to appear in their pages?

    Why?

    Where is the factual basis of the signatories’ claims?

    Why are they allowed to trash so many fields without offering a shred of evidence?

    Can they point to specific cases? Can they show a significant distortion of the scientific record inspired by corruption, theft?

    Standards need to be improved, that’s for certain, but the authors of the Nature article need to look in the mirror for where to begin.

    Meanwhile, professional publications need to contain their guileless credulity and begin consistently applying their publication standards, demanding evidence wherever new claims are made. Individual scientists need to be begin calling out individual accusers, focusing on humiliating them so badly when they fail to produce evidence of their charges that they’ll think twice about risking their reputations by repetition of this trashtalk.

  12. 162

    Mark — Perhaps I wrote with less clarity than I might have — your assessment is 180 degrees out of phase with what I meant to say. Let it drop. Thanks, dhogaza. I think Mark is misreading you, too.

    On the credibility of the three people I mentioned. Here I was definitely less than clear. I have interacted with Moorad a number of times over the years; his theological views are largely at odds with my own but when he speaks as a physicist, I have found him worth listening to. No — that does not mean I agree with his climate scientist position, which I suspect is not thought out well.

    On Tipler — I enjoyed his books; good reading. Made me think, whether or not I agreed with him. On Gould — I had him confused with Stephen J Gould. Then I remembered that great man is no longer with us.

    In general, I find the letter distressing. Particularly that it appeared in NATURE. It is garbage of the worst kind — the kind some folks will pick up and wave under rational person’s noses.

    Burgy

  13. 163
    SecularAnimist says:

    Mark wrote: “Current meme du juour for denialism is ‘The IPCC think they are wrong! They say they only have 90% confidence!’.”

    Actually, the hot new denialist meme that all the Ditto-Heads seem to be simultaneously posting on every blog they can find, is that all the climate scientists in the world have been bribed to promote the great global warming hoax by General Electric, to boost GE’s sales of wind turbines.

    The theory that the world’s climate scientists were all conspiring to make Al Gore the Evil Liberal Dictator Of The World seems to be passe.

    In both cases, only the heroic and altruistic underdogs at ExxonMobil, with their commitment to True Science, stand between humanity and the jackboot of the global warming oppressors.

  14. 164
    Rod B says:

    Doug Bostrom (147), so are you all in favor of discipline journals, including the specialized peer-reviewed publications, editing, censoring, and in fact rejecting all treatises that do not conform to the current accepted dogma?

    While some sound like a stretch, all of the statements in the “paper” are judgment assessments. What type and level of evidence should be hammered out the writer(s) to allow their assessments (accusations??) in print?

  15. 165
    Hank Roberts says:

    Thank you John Mashey, for looking those people up.
    Among much else.

  16. 166
    pjclarke says:

    Nobody seems to have remarked on John McLean’s claim that 1900-1940 was “pre-CO2″. – Arthur Smith

    Maybe not here, but the same nonsense was posted over at Tamino’s and received characteristically short shrift

    And for your information, 1900-1940 is not “pre-CO2″; although CO2 concentrations are much higher later in the century, the period 1900-1940 represents significantly higher CO2 concentration than pre-industrial. Is this more dishonesty — or did you really not know that?

  17. 167
    MarkB says:

    Re: #160

    Doug,

    Good points and I guess I’m used to the conspiracy/corruption charges from contrarian types. It is ironic that a letter co-authored by Fred Singer (among others), states:

    “It requests that an objective scientific process be established, devoid of political or financial agendas”

    Really?

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=S._Fred_Singer#Affiliations

    I tend to agree that when these sorts of innuendos are made, expressing “disdain” for the person making the accusations is quite appropriate.

    ” and the intolerance towards scientific disagreement that pervades the climate issue.”

    This is rhetoric – attempting to paint the scientific community as rigid or close-minded because they reject bad arguments of theirs that aren’t much more scientifically robust than claiming the Earth is flat.

    Doug:”Can they point to specific cases? Can they show a significant distortion of the scientific record inspired by corruption, theft?”

    No, but they can repeat the same unsupported claims endlessly, which they know is effective at convincing the public.

  18. 168
    Jim Galasyn says:

    RodB, rejecting nonsense is what peer review is all about. Imagine if this same group of luminaries had penned a letter decrying the theory of gravitation as the result of political and financial agendas. Gravitation, you see, is not the result of space-time curvature, but rather the influence of, whatever, cosmic rays or something. But definitely not space-time curvature; cosmologists who defend the space-time hoax are intolerant of other theories and probably corrupt.

  19. 169
    John Mashey says:

    Steven T. Corneliussen:

    (I’ve been collecting data for some time on the question “Why do people, especially scientists, go off into anti-science?”)

    I’ll soon post a serious analysis of the people on that petition, but meanwhile, it seems plausible that your path might have crossed Ronald Sundelin’s. Can you offer any insight as to why he’d sign this?

  20. 170
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Rod B 28 July 2009 at 4:03 PM

    [cognitive short-circuit attempting to insert/splice unproven assumptions about general conduct of science redacted]

    No, grasshopper, I am in favor of demanding that claims, accusations, assertions of whatever type not be accorded respect or resonance or placement in our cognitive processes unless they’re accompanied by prima facie evidence or some sort of plausible explanation that can be actually be tested. To the extent claims are more outlandish, the more onerous the burden of proof should become. Sound familiar?

    “While some sound like a stretch, all of the statements in the “paper” are judgment assessments.”

    Judgment assessments, eh? You think these guys were able to take “judgment assessments” to their PhD committees and then saunter away with a degree? For those of them that actually have an advanced degree, they’re =perfectly= familiar with what constitutes an argument for an assertion. They don’t have any actual argument to support their claims, so we’re treated to untestable generalized slander.

    If you can’t tell the difference between “judgment assessments” and research with useful findings, it’s no wonder you’re sucking this stuff up.

    “What type and level of evidence should be hammered out the writer(s) to allow their assessments (accusations??) in print?”

    How about some actual evidence for what sounds like wild conjecture? For instance, a finding of scientific misconduct related to what they’re talking about? A showing that somebody purposely arranged their research agenda and findings for the specific purpose of personal enrichment? Some recorded communications between politicians and scientists that could be interpreted as a conspiracy?

    Failing any basis for their complaint, these self-appointed shambolical inquisitors’ reputations should be stained ten times as badly as they would blot the reputations of entire fields of inquiry.

    These people are a creeping rot. While degrading the public estimation of science with their particular agenda in mind, their degradation of public trust won’t be confined to the borders of the particular arena of dispute. We can’t afford this sort of cultural dementia, it’s too destructive.

    MarkB 28 July 2009 at 4:42 PM

    “…they can repeat the same unsupported claims endlessly, which they know is effective at convincing the public.”

    Yes, and so they shall, until it is demonstrated to them beyond a shadow of a doubt that making such claims without evidence is equally or more destructive to their reputations as is attempting to publish crap research. They’re publishing crap and have not even done any research. That should be fully accounted for.

    I suspect a lot of these folks are way past being productive, emeritus fossils looking for a thrill and less protective of their credibility, but that does not mean they should be allowed a free ride.

  21. 171
    Hank Roberts says:

    > gravity … definitely not space-time curvature …

    Irony is _still_ dead. One of the classics:

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/39512

    “… Things fall not because they are acted upon by some gravitational force, but because a higher intelligence is pushing them down …. Proponents of Intelligent Falling assert that the different theories used by secular physicists to explain gravity are not internally consistent. Even critics of Intelligent Falling admit that Einstein’s ideas about gravity are mathematically irreconcilable with quantum mechanics. This fact, Intelligent Falling proponents say, proves that gravity is a theory in crisis.”

  22. 172
  23. 173
    Steve Reynolds says:

    145Doug Bostrom: “… why are you wasting your time pursuing the issue here?”

    Good question; no one here seems interested in looking at evidence that has not been filtered through RC moderation. So please stop bringing it up unless you want to suggest an alternate location for discussion.

  24. 174
    Steve Fish says:

    Steve Reynolds, #173, I would be interested in what you believe to be credible “evidence that has not been filtered through RC Moderation.” Please post links and please be very specific regarding what evidence in the link is credible. Also, I don’t want to go to any more sites where citations to published scientific research are not provided.

    Steve

  25. 175

    Re 154 by Wayne D.: “My solution for any person or scientist siding with the contrarian point of view from now on is to come up with their own estimate on what will happen with GT’s and or Arctic ice over the next few years.”

    Great idea!But most of those with their heads in the sand don’t propose anything, or make projections, they only deny. Since nothings happening,(in their bizzaro world)then nothing needs to be done. The status quo is just fine.

  26. 176
    Steve Reynolds says:

    174Steve Fish: “I would be interested in what you believe to be credible “evidence that has not been filtered through RC Moderation.” Please post links and please be very specific regarding what evidence in the link is credible.”

    I can’t post links here; we have to go to another site. I suggested rankexploits before. Let me know if that is OK.

  27. 177
    Doug Mackie says:

    Carter’s support for EG Beck:
    (RC had a couple of posts, look for them).

    More from Carter’s submission to the Parliamentary Select Committee considering an ETS: (*)

    More support for decadal fluctuations of carbon dioxide comes from the compilation and summary of 90000 historical atmospheric analyses back to the mid 19th century by Beck (2007).

    In the reference list Beck is cited as “in review”, and as those that have read the “published” version of Beck will see in the acknowledgements:

    “I am especially indepted to
    Prof. Dr. Arthur Roersch, Dr. Hans Jelbring, Andre Bijkerk and Prof. Dr. Bob Carter for helpful discussions, Prof. Dr. Arthur Roersch, Dr. Hans Jelbring for helping to produce a condensed draft and Prof. Dr. Arthur Roersch and Prof. Dr. Bob Carter for their linguistic support.”

    (*) first round. The ETS Bill passed but after an election the new govt currently has it under review. Carter made submissions both times.

  28. 178
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Steve, really? You mean you are physically incapable of posting links here?

  29. 179
    Rod B says:

    Doug Bostrom (170), you just eliminated most, probably all, papers touting AGW that were published between early 1900s or before up to maybe 1970s, and tons of other science papers. Way to go.

    One good example for the drill (and admittedly some others are not quite as good) in the “open letter” says, “…measured or reconstructed temperature records indicate that 20th or 21st century temperature changes are neither exceptional nor persistent.” If you don’t think that is an analytical judgment, then you do not comprehend the words exceptional and persistent. You got another think coming. In any case how on Earth is this or any other of their statements “slanderous?” There are zero personal attacks. (Besides the term is libelous.)

    What does presenting to PhD committees have to do with anything?

    Given your last three paragraphs, you could have been a big hit in the (real) Inquisition.

  30. 180

    #175, I agree Lawrence, but if we in return, reply to any of their news articles directly to the journalist or editor, citing that they are mere talking heads devoid of being able to predict anything (an important aspect in climate science, its biggest value, is the capacity to predict from knowledge), the press might, eventually, ask them whether they have done something in the field worth printing, an accomplishment, a track record of being more right than wrong. We tend to blame the oil companies for their obvious lobbying efforts,
    they have the right to lobby, we have the duty to point out that their scientists
    have empty portfolios, and flaunt their credentials as a business card, while hiding their field batting record by playing political games.

  31. 181
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Steve Reynolds 28 July 2009 at 7:21 PM

    “So please stop bringing it up…”

    What am I supposed to say now? I’m really sorry I suggested you were being suppressed? Sorry, no can do.

    You’ve got yourself all tied up in knots.

    Now, what was that important evidence you were speaking of?

  32. 182
    Chris Dudley says:

    Steve Reynolds (#173),

    There is a comment policy at Real Climate: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/comment-policy/

    If you feel that your comments have not been subject to that policy, then your best bet would be to no longer comment. I’ve done that at a site that doesn’t follow its stated policy. It is a waste of time to mess with a dishonest site as well as a matter of personal integrity not to participate.

  33. 183
    Mark says:

    “Mark — Perhaps I wrote with less clarity than I might have — your assessment is 180 degrees out of phase with what I meant to say”

    That is quite possibly true.

    Hence the discussion.

    Now you know you were less clear in what you said than you thought, you can take better care.

    And like I said, the wording could be how you’ve heard it from some of your friends who don’t know what’s going on but DO know it’s not AGW. In which case, look closely at yourself to see if you’re taking their words on unthinkingly just because you’re immersed in them.

  34. 184
    Mark says:

    “I fully accept the old Physics maxim that, if the facts do not agree with the theory, so much the worse for the facts.”

    I suppose that’s how YOU do science, Fred. It isn’t how real science is done.

    When the facts don’t agree to the theory

    1) the theory is wrong in some way
    2) you didn’t make the experiment test the right way

    #1 could mean “wrong with no way to fix” as in the luminiferous aether after the Michelson Morely test (you did do science history of this at school?). Or it could be “wrong because it doesn’t fit there” as in Newton and Mercury’s orbit or Ideal Gas under high pressure/density regimes. As you can see “doesn’t fit” may actually come up in the theory too.

    #2 could be if the LHC doesn’t find a Higgs Boson. The theory still has an option if it’s at the top end of the theory. Or the theory that the Sun is made of Iron (after all, the sun has a magnetic field…). Finding the Plasma state of matter fixed that one.

  35. 185
    Mark says:

    “Actually, the hot new denialist meme that all the Ditto-Heads seem to be simultaneously posting on every blog they can find …”

    That’s actually a variation on an old one. Just a new spin on it. The old one had worn out since people started looking at Heartland Institute and their “research papers” on how cancer is A-OK… so it became necessary to change the vector slightly.

  36. 186

    Mark is right. The temperature trend in UAH data is +0.127 K/decade, which is not even close to zero. It’s statistically significant, too. More here:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/VV.html

  37. 187

    To the Editors of Nature,

    The undersigned are concerned that coverage of the gravitation issue has been one-sided and not in keeping with good scientific standards. We call on Nature to be more open-minded on this issue, and we further propose that a non-partisan institute be set up, free of political or financial agendas, to objectively assess whether gravitation is from so-called space warping, or is actually, as several studies in peer-reviewed journals show, from solar influence and other sources of natural variation. It is not right that alternative viewpoints on an issue this important be suppressed. The good name of science demands it.

    -Burton Paul Livingston, Dept. of Science Fiction, Worldwrights University
    -S. Fred Flintstone, Dept. of Paleoanthropology, Bedrock University
    -Willie Soon Begone, Dept. of Solar Astrophysics, George Harrison University
    -Frequent Tipler, Dept. of Ethanol, Exxon-Mobile Institute for Biofuels and Drill, Baby, Drill
    -Christopher Munchhausen, Third Viscount Benchpress, Sitting in an English Garden, Waiting for the Sun
    -Sun Ahllshowallofyou, Dept. of Cosmic Influence, Banzai University of Alaska
    -Roy Dispenser, Dept. of Satellite Instrumentation and Remedial Arithmetic, University of Alabama at Habakkuk

    It’s 4:30 AM. I haven’t quite woken up yet.

  38. 188
    Martin Vermeer says:

    in #164 in his old tired way Rod B mixes up cops and criminals again:

    > the current accepted dogma

    which is “evidence-based science”. Count yourself and your loved ones lucky your President understands it even if you don’t.

  39. 189
    Mark says:

    “I can’t post links here; we have to go to another site.”

    Eh, exciting! All cloak-and-dagger stuff.

    Strange that he can post that he can’t post here when it so very much easier just to make his posts disappear without trace…

  40. 190
    Mark says:

    Further to Secular at #163, another new string to their bow is the report that $79Bn (worldwide, I assume) is spent on Climate Research over the last 20 years yet there’s no “Empirical Evidence” for AGW.

    Forgetting that the evidence is most clearly in one sattelite that looks at the earth through a narrowband IR camera and has seen the earth cool at these wavelengths, showing that greenhouse gas concentrations increase is having the effect AGW proposes, the other problem is that this figure is little more than half the subsidy given in the US *alone* over that same period.

    Yet we still do not have electricity “so cheap it isn’t worth metering”.

  41. 191
    Steven T. Corneliussen says:

    John Mashey in comment 169, discerning that I’d likely know the accelerator physicist Ron Sundelin — as indeed I have, since 1985 — asked if I could offer any insight into his signing of the 50 APS contrarians’ petition. In fact I cannot, and moreover, I’ve only seen him once since he retired several years ago from Jefferson Lab. I doubt very much that he’s importing political or other biases. Please let me know (Corneliussen at JLab dot org) if I you’d like me to help get you into contact. My strong guess is that he’d be glad to discuss his view with you. (And thanks. I had failed to notice his name on the list.)

  42. 192
    Mark says:

    190 should have read “little more than half that given to NUCLEAR as subsidies over that period in the US alone”.

    Or something similar that fits grammatically…

  43. 193
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mark,
    Actually, 90% confidence does not equate to a 10% chance of being wrong. It is merely a measure of the amount of what the amount of evidence we have to date allows us to claim.

    Example: We are told that an opaque jar contains both black and white balls. We draw 22 balls (with replacement) they are all black. This allows us to draw the conclusion that with 90% confidence, 90% or more of the balls are black. We are now given the opportunity to bet a substantial pile of money that the next ball drawn will be white. Do we accept 9:1 odds? No. How about 20:1. Probably not, since we have no evidence that there are ANY white balls in the jar at all. This is very like the situation wrt climate change. Our evidence is sufficent to claim 90% confidence that we are warming the planet–that does not correspond to a 10% chance that we are not, since there is no convincing evidence favoring this proposition.

  44. 194
    Mark says:

    “Mark,
    Actually, 90% confidence does not equate to a 10% chance of being wrong.”

    I know. I was quoting denialist “appreciation”.

    Like doctors saying “you’ve probably got prostate cancer”. AFAIK, NOBODY has ever said “well, wait until you’re certain before you cut me!”.

  45. 195
    Hank Roberts says:

    > black balls, white balls, and “well, wait” before surgery

    Watchful waiting is a recommended procedure, in fact, and based on exactly this kind of statistical evidence about outcomes.

  46. 196
    Jeffrey Davis says:

    We went to war in Iraq on Cheney’s hidden maxim of a 1% chance that they had WMDs. Eventual financial cost: over $1 trillion. To date deaths: over 1,000,000. Is there a > 1% chance that we’ll experience a world-wide, civilization-throttling increase in global temps and associate climate changes? You betcha. A 5C change in temps would make Iraq look like a walk in the park.

  47. 197

    Actually, 90% confidence does not equate to a 10% chance of being wrong.

    It’s quite possible that there are no exomoons at all, and that our solar system is absolutely unique in the entire universe as being the only system containing moons. Therefore, given this distinct possibility, we should refrain from criticizing astrophysicists who deny the existence of exomoons, and give them equal, fair and balanced treatment in both the media and the literature.

  48. 198
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Rod B 28 July 2009 at 10:56 PM

    “…you just eliminated most, probably all, papers touting AGW that were published between early 1900s or before up to maybe 1970s, and tons of other science papers.”

    Did I really? You should explain in detail how you think that is the case.

    “One good example for the drill (and admittedly some others are not quite as good)…”

    How about some actual good examples? Are there any? And is the choice of poor examples reflective of ignorance, or desperation?

    ‘…“open letter” says, “…measured or reconstructed temperature records indicate that 20th or 21st century temperature changes are neither exceptional nor persistent.”’

    Oh, -so- damning. They’ve selected a particular indicator in isolation, describing it in a way strongly suggestive of lack of understanding or plain old obfuscation and are touting that as evidence of malfeasance and corruption, ignoring a vast number of findings congruent with AGW. That’s a good example? That’s not persuasive, it only makes me more contemptuous.

    “If you don’t think that is an analytical judgment, then you do not comprehend the words exceptional and persistent. You got another think coming.”

    Have they published their “analytical judgments” in the form of refereed papers? Are they publishing alternative explanations to correct the problems they “judge” are infecting research? No. And guess what? Wild-eyed claims of suppression won’t provide an escape hatch. Any and all “suppressed” work can be published at will these days, and given the nature of this controversy would swiftly find a receptive audience if it had any merit. Unless of course you believe the global cabal of corrupt scientists is censoring the Internet?

    By the way, what “think do I got coming”?

    “In any case how on Earth is this or any other of their statements “slanderous?” There are zero personal attacks. (Besides the term is libelous.)”

    There are zero personal attacks because they have no actual evidence to support their claim that scientific research is being corrupted by graft. Now go look up the definition of “slander” [edit]

    “What does presenting to PhD committees have to do with anything?”

    Surely you’re not that obtuse. As you hopefully know, many of the authors of this and other letters are familiar with how a professional scientist presents findings, beginning at the PhD level if not a little earlier. When you make a claim, you are expected to present a rigorous argument as nearly airtight as possible in support of your assertions. In failing to present any evidence whatsoever of their accusations of corruption, these people have not done that and are enjoying thereby a double-standard, demanding that others do a better job than can they.

  49. 199
    Jeff says:

    BPL (comment 187), that was extremely funny!

  50. 200
    Rod B says:

    Martin Vermeer, decent point but your ignoring the possibility of evidence morphing into dogma, which has been done by some in climate science. Dogma need not be made out of whole cloth to be dogma. A simple extension of evidence (even good solid evidence) into absolute truth — which many do while protesting loudly that they don’t — accompanied by an absolute intolerance of anyone or anything that deviates, even in the most remote, slightest, or insignificant sense, describes dogma and a goodly portion of AGWers.

    Do Doug B’s words in 170 sound like they’re defending evidence or dogma? (not singling Doug out — he’s just one of many, but recent.) Your cops and criminals comment is another example. I asked Doug a simple objective question (which he answered in the affirmative), and also made a simple declarative statement that all (except maybe one as it turns out) of the assertions in the open letter are judgmental, meaning interpretative of hard data. Which they are; and even though that doesn’t say one iota of their statements being correct or even anywhere near, your “dogma” can not permit my statement.

    For the record, I’m feeling decidedly unlucky over what my president understands, including (but not limited to) climate science.

    Barton PL, I enjoyed your 187; very clever!


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