RealClimate logo


Technical Note: Sorry for the recent unanticipated down-time, we had to perform some necessary updates. Please let us know if you have any problems.

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. 351
    simon abingdon says:

    Mark #348 “And not 50-50. The coin could fall skew. Could be stolen. Could fall between the floorboards. It could even balance on the edge”. Thanks anyway.

  2. 352
    simon abingdon says:

    Martin #349 Thanks for your response. I shall need time to digest.

  3. 353
    simon abingdon says:

    Ray #250 Perhaps you misunderstand me. I take issue with expressions of belief where evidence is what is required. BTW you can’t use “manners” as the plural of “manner”. Manners are quite different!

    I hadn’t read your link but I have now. It’s dated 22 September 2006 so things may have moved on, but it did surprise me rather.

    Here are some extracts:

    However, closer examination reveals that these estimates are based on a number of implausible implicit assumptions. We explain why these estimates cannot be considered credible and therefore have no place in the decision-making process.

    Beliefs which do not conform to the probability calculus are said to be incoherent, and are vulnerable to a Dutch Book argument. That is, is it possible to construct a sequence of decisions (bets), each one of which appears to be rational in the light of the stated beliefs, but which collectively ensure a loss under all possible outcomes.

    Cloud feedback is widely acknowledged to be highly uncertain, but a prior of U[0C,20C] requires the belief that not only it is “very likely” (90%) positive, but furthermore likely to be large.

    4. Conclusions

    If we are to act rationally based on probabilistic calculations, then it is essential to ensure that these decisions are based on credible analyses of the available evidence. By both choosing a uniform prior (which by construction assigns very high probability to high climate sensitivity), and also ignoring almost all data which would moderate this belief, researchers have generated a number of results which assign high probability to extremely high climate sensitivity. We have explained here why this approach is fundamentally unsound, and cannot be considered to plausibly represent the rational beliefs of informed climate scientists.

    In the light of this analysis, it is difficult to see how a belief in a significant probability of very high climate sensitivity can be rationally sustained.

  4. 354
    canbanjo says:

    Dear canbanjo,

    Thank you for your interest in our paper.

    There is little point in my responding to ridicule when that ridicule is based upon wilful misunderstanding of the science in question.

    Unfortunately neither of the web sites that you mention provide dispassionate scientific analysis of the AGW issue, and they are therefore not sites that I spend time reading. For their authors are primarily committed to defending against all comers the IPCC’s hypothesis of dangerous human-caused warming, rather than testing it independently.

    The McLean et al. paper supports earlier understanding of the effects of ENSO and volcanic eruptions on the climate system, and shows that much of the variance in the global temperature record can be explained by changes in ENSO 7 months prior. That fact leaves no room for a major influence from human carbon dioxide emissions, and cannot simply be shrugged of.

    The paper does not address trends as such (which Real Climate and similar websites often appear to be obsessed by).

    I attach a leaflet which contains some recommended websites and other sources of information on AGW that are of higher quality, and exhibit better scientific balance, than the two that you are currently relying upon.

    Thanks again for writing.

    With kind regards.

    Bob Carter

    Professor R.M. Carter
    Marine Geophysical Laboratory
    James Cook University
    Townsville, Qld. 4811
    AUSTRALIA

    Phone: +61-7-4781-4397
    Fax: +61-7-4781-4334
    Home: +61-7-4775-1268
    Mobile: 0419-701-139

    [Response: Wow: "..the paper does not discuss trends" and yet "..leaves no room for for a major influence from human carbon dioxide emissions". Does he mean to imply that IPCC et al think that the problem here is related to the influences of CO2 on the interannual variability??? That is the only reading of his comments that I can make that doesn't imply that he is simply making this up as he goes along. At minimum, I'd say he was rather logically challenged. - gavin]

  5. 355

    #354 canbanjo

    Wow is right! This is truly good news :)

    If I am reading his letter correctly, Bob Carter is stating that his paper has nothing to do with ‘global warming’.

    Since we all know that climate is generally a 30+ year trend, and we now know that his “paper does not address trends as such (which Real Climate and similar websites often appear to be obsessed by)” I suppose we are to conclude he is not talking about climate at all but rather natural variation of ENSO and its associated affects.

    Nice to know that RealClimate is actually obsessed with climate, rather than ‘internal radiative forcing’ ;)

  6. 356
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Simon Abingdon, I am afraid you have not grasped the basics of Bayesian probability–belief IS based on evidence. The problem YOU have is that there is NO evidence on your side. Moreover, what uncertainties there are actually favor a higher sensitivity than lower.
    That’s the motivation behing A&H arguing for an informed prior–e.g. one that starts out favoring slightly the sensitivity we think is most likely, namely about 3 degrees. If you do that, then the tail on the high end of the sensitivity is beaten down.

    Perhaps at least part of you problem in understanding climate science is that you don’t understand probability.

  7. 357
    David Horton says:

    #342 Thanks very much Hank, that’s useful. Where I saw the reference to the Dickens et al paper the first time it was another example of the denialosphere taking a conclusion from a paper (or even the title of a paper) that even the authors didn’t intend, and then plonking it down into a thread with a self-satisfied air of triumph that at last the St George of greenhouse gas-induced global warming had been defeated by the dragon of denialism.

  8. 358
    Hank Roberts says:

    The weekend’s hot rumor — supercapacitors almost ready.
    Talked about for a long time, as an alternative to batteries.
    Google terms: EEstor, ZENN
    Blogged (unofficially, unconfirmed) at http://theeestory.com/

  9. 359
  10. 360
    Martin Vermeer says:

    #353 Simon,

    I see that you found the seminal Annan & Hargreaves paper. It addresses the core problem of Bayesian inference: finding a realistic prior.

    What A&H have a problem with, is people picking a prior mechanically (calling it an “ignorant prior”, a troubled concept), without even looking what it implies in terms of “belief” (i.e., expert judgement). Like, a uniform prior U[0C,20C] for equilibrium doubling sensitivity, which would, taken literally, mean considering it 50% probable that it exceeds 10C… “up the wall” by any standard, requiring a 5x compound feedback over CO2 + H2O. And remember me earlier in this thread questioning the uniform prior assumed by Gavin for the black&white balls experiment? uniform is simple, popular, and often wrong, i.e., counter to common sense.

    Now this only becomes important if you don’t have any strong observational likelihoods (from paleo, Pinatubo, …) to update this prior — or choose not to consider them. Which is the other thing A&H are criticising. A good test for whether a prior is plausible is to change it and see what it does to your outcome. If it doesn’t change much, you have enough observational data to constrain it. Smile!

    But you should also be clear about what it is that A&H are criticising: the claim by some that the possibility of a very large (over 6C) sensitivity is real enough to be allowed to affect policy. Not even Annan proposes that it could realistically be less than 2.5C. And that’s bad enough.

  11. 361
    Deep Climate says:

    I’ve just read Bob Carter’s statement – unbelievable.

    I hope you don’t mind this crosspost of my comment at Tamino’s open mind, which seems apt here.

    This paper and associated press releases are nothing less than a concerted PR effort to convince the general public that the MdFC analysis has demonstrated that ENSO is the main driver of global warming (and therefore there is no need to regulate human activity).

    The first press release is entitled “Nature not Man responsible for recent global warming”.

    The third states:

    The results in Figure 7 clearly show that the SOI related variability in MGT is the major contribution to any trends that might exist, although the McLean et al study did not look for this. The key conclusion of the paper, therefore, is that MGT is determined in most part by atmospheric processes related to the Southern Oscillation.

    I don’t see how the situation could be any clearer.

    You can look up several such MdFC statements, both in the paper and in the three press releases, on the attribution of global warming and temperature trends here:

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/07/30/is-enso-responsible-for-recent-global-warming-no/

    By the way a new post on the political links and possible funding source of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition is here:

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/08/01/meet-alan-gibbs-builder-of-amphibious-humvees-and-climate-science-coalitions/

  12. 362

    canbanjo writes:

    The McLean et al. paper supports earlier understanding of the effects of ENSO and volcanic eruptions on the climate system, and shows that much of the variance in the global temperature record can be explained by changes in ENSO 7 months prior. That fact leaves no room for a major influence from human carbon dioxide emissions, and cannot simply be shrugged of.

    “Shrugged off.”

    The paper was worthless and never should have been printed. The authors used first time derivatives in such a manner as to wipe out the trend. Their argument amounts to, “If you take out the trend, carbon dioxide has no affect on the trend.” Duh!

  13. 363
    Mark says:

    “In the light of this analysis, it is difficult to see how a belief in a significant probability of very high climate sensitivity can be rationally sustained.

    Comment by simon abingdon ”

    Likewise a belief in a lower (and still positive) climate sensitivity is even LESS likely to be rationally sustained.

    The PETM requires CO2e values VASTLY higher CO2e than any possible outgassing of same if the temperature sensitivity to CO2e is much less than 1.5. We’re talking 2% CO2e at 1.5C per doubling and 10% at about 1.4C per doubling.

    Even if it was pure methane, this wouldn’t work since the effect lasts much much longer than the residency time for methane before chemistry changes it to CO2.

    You could get that effect if the Martians tried War Of The Worlds with their global Heat Ray for 5000 years, but that would be about it.

  14. 364
    Mark says:

    351: “Thanks anyway.

    Comment by simon abingdon ”

    You still didn’t read the question then.

    The IPCC has many projections. What if 95% of them are right 100%? One projection in 20 would be outside the projection.

    Lets say there are 20 projections of what AGW will cause in the future.

    One of which says that as it warms, there will be a greater number and more energetic hurricanes.

    But one Hurricane expert thinks that they will just become more energetic, not more numerous, at least over the next 150 years.

    There goes your 5% error you are fixated on. 95% of it (1-10%) is right.

    Now does that make the IPCC as a whole wrong?

    Does it make AGW not a problem?

  15. 365
    simon abingdon says:

    Mark #364

    “The IPCC has many projections. What if 95% of them are right 100%?” Er, does right 100% mean the 95% all have to agree about the future in every respect? If so, seems rather unlikely unless the models which produce the good projection are exact replicas of each other. But go on.

    “One projection in 20 would be outside the projection.” You mean, outside the projection of the 95% (the other 19)? Yes, I see that.

    “Lets say there are 20 projections of what AGW will cause in the future.” OK. I take it we’re still assuming 95% of them right 100%.

    “One of which says that as it warms, there will be a greater number and more energetic hurricanes.” Er, does that have to be the rogue one (not one of the 19)?

    “But one Hurricane expert thinks that they will just become more energetic, not more numerous, at least over the next 150 years”. Do we need to know how confident he is? Does it matter if there are other Hurricane experts who don’t agree?

    “There goes your 5% error you are fixated on. 95% of it (1-10%) is right”. I didn’t know I was fixated on a 5% error but I’ll assume I am and see if “95% of it (1-10%) is right” makes any sense to me. No, I’m afraid it doesn’t. (But I accept I’m probably out of my depth).

  16. 366
    Mark says:

    “I didn’t know I was fixated on a 5% error ”

    Well you keep blabbing on about 90% confidence but that’s the “90-99%” limit in the IPCC banding. Expected value 94.5%.

    “No, I’m afraid it doesn’t. (But I accept I’m probably out of my depth).”

    Not just that but drowning.

    Out of 20 future results, 19 turn out right, one doesn’t.

    19/20= 0.95

    0.95 x 100 % = 95%

    Do you not even understand MATHS????

  17. 367

    #267 simon abingdon

    A lot of talk about confidence but what about common sense. Scientific confidence is math based. I’m not a mathematician though, so I have to use whatever reasoning capacity I have to figure things out. You can play with relativism all day, but if the argument remains in the existential and we don’t exercise our human reasoning, we could argue forever while the watched pot heats up. Is ‘reason’ really Pandoras box? Kind of a silly notion.

    My use of confidence is that I have high confidence in the consensus views and even high confidence in non empirical projections. This is based on the reality that not all feedbacks are calculated into the models yet, and all indications point to higher positives rather than lower.

    So my confidence is that things are actually quite serious and that sea level rise will not be 1.4 feet in 2100, but rather substantially higher, though I cant say with confidence how high…. though I would venture it would be higher that 2 meters, possibly as high as 5 meters.

    My, that’s a lot of different kinds of confidence going on there :)

    Here is how I express my confidence with regard to AGW:

    We are 100% sure the climate is on a different path.

    and

    We are 100% sure that path is human caused.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/global-warming-is-only-part-human-caused

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/natural-variability

    What is your confidence in how much of this global warming event is human caused?

  18. 368
    Mark says:

    “Er, does right 100% mean the 95% all have to agree about the future in every respect? If so, seems rather unlikely unless the models which produce the good projection are exact replicas of each other.”

    Uh, the projection is “between 2.5 and 4.5C warming if we pass 550ppm”. When passing 550ppm, if the warming is 2.95C then that projection was 100% correct.

  19. 369
    Hank Roberts says:

    Simon, you need some help from a patient, thoughtful, teacher of statistics to understand the numbers you’re throwing around. Here, mostly, people are just throwing numbers back at you. Perhaps trying to mirror your behavior in hopes of teaching you a lesson by showing you what it’s like to get numbers thrown at you that don’t make a lot of sense. That’s not good pedagogy and it doesn’t seem to be helping. How much math do you have? Could you work through a basic statistics class? Seriously, it really would help.

  20. 370
    simon abingdon says:

    John P Reisman #367 Hi John, just realized you’ve addressed a question to me: “What is your confidence in how much of this global warming event is human caused?” Do you know John, so far I haven’t been able to make up my mind one way or the other. The physicists, statisticians and mathematicians certainly know their stuff, but they’re grappling with a vastly more complicated system than Kepler or Newton ever did. I often wish we could bring Newton back to life to ask his opinion. Maybe he’d be able to take in the whole thing in one sweep and either tell us how to find the answer or else give us the Latin phrase which means “I frame no hypotheses”. Either way, he’d probably be appalled that the immediate future of the human race depended on it. He’d say “In my day we were just learning about how God made the Universe work. It was very interesting and rewarding. We didn’t think for a moment that He was going to zap us all”. Anyway John, best regards from me, simon abingdon.

  21. 371
    Hank Roberts says:

    > no hypotheses

    Simon, sounds like you’re thinking of “ignoramus” — science can’t know.
    That has been rebutted, by David Hilbert.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignoramus_et_ignorabimus

  22. 372

    #370 simon abingdon

    Hello Simon,

    If I may make a suggestion to help sort it out. Since the major forcings are quite well understood, and the details are, and always will be, under investigation; and while certainly the major forcing components will also become better understood… Is it not plausible and even reasonable to state a fair degree of confidence that ‘this’ global warming event is human caused?

    In other words, the major signals have been separated from the noise, and while there is much to learn in the decadal and of course the shorter term internal radiative forcings, the long term trends match the quantitative assessments on GHG concentration as well as the expected correlative forcing based on the general physics.

    Since, we were at a radiative forcing of around thermal equilibrium pre-industrial and now we are around +1.6 W/m2 based on the mean of the calculations. The only plausible variance is land use changes and greenhouse gas concentrations as confirmed by ice cores and multiple GCM’s.

    I’m a bit confused as to what it is you may still be grappling with?

    I have attempted to outline what we do and do not know in reasonable terms. Please tell me your thoughts on my assertions and their basis.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/what-we-dont-know

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/what-we-know

    I understand that there is an assertion that this is complex and have seen that argument from certain people that are denying AGW on the basis of complexity, I think Svensmark, Carter and Singer fall into that category and probably others. But the complexity is in the noise, not the signal, they are just looking at the whole thing backwards.

    As an example of backwards thinking review Lomborg

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/the-copenhagen-distraction

    Hope this all helps. It’s not just about physics and mathematics though that is the foundation for understanding in this complex realm, it’s about the human capacity to comprehend reason when enough information is assimilated that has relevant context.

  23. 373
    Alan C says:

    #336 and #358. I’ve been recently following ideas in new ideas concerning energy and there seems to be a few. I’m also uncomfortable with any expansion of nuclear power. As I understand it we still cannot neutralise most of the waste so it’s almost trading one problem for another. They also require a fair bit of water for cooling which is already an issue in some areas. I realise some may be skeptical, however, one place I have been visiting has been PESwiki.com which has a fairly extensive list including a rated top-100. Can’t hurt to take a look.

  24. 374
    simon abingdon says:

    Hank #371 “Hypotheses non fingo (Latin for I frame no hypotheses) is a famous phrase used by Isaac Newton in an essay General Scholium which was appended to the second (1713) edition of the Principia”. And thanks for your you kind and thoughtful #369.

  25. 375
    simon abingdon says:

    John #372 You admit “Since the major forcings are quite well understood”, “the major forcing components will also become better understood” and “while there is much to learn”… “We are 100% sure the climate is on a different path” and “We are 100% sure that path is human caused”. So why the qualification? Why do any more work on the subject? For me your certainty is just “one giant leap”! If you’re happy with the evidence, fine. Me, I’m still on the fence, gently weighing the drip-drip-drip of the evidence from the sidelines, following the debate, but not at all interested in the outcome. Sorry, that’s where I am. Regards simon

  26. 376

    #375 simon abingdon

    How confident are you that you know how old you are?

    What evidence do you have for your age? The word of your mother and father. A birth certificate?

    Pretty flimsy, when compared to the extent of climate modeling research.

    Are you still sitting on the fence regarding your precise age?

  27. 377

    #375 simon abingdon

    Also, you state that you are “not at all interested in the outcome.”

    Then why are you blogging in here, just to waste everyone’s time?

    If you’re not interested in the outcome, then you have no motive to learn. If you’re not interested in learning, then stop playing games in here. It seems rather rude for you to put forth questions and challenges with no interest in learning. Quite odd I must admit.

  28. 378
    Hank Roberts says:

    Simon, note we do know what Newtom meant, and how he worked.

    Context matters:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=N9IMz_YP5IkC&pg=PA284&lpg=PA284&dq=newton+frame+hypotheses&source=bl&ots=kacz8zSzBw&sig=-LDMtTk6OKxBxOtRvEN1aAbXEY0&hl=en&ei=Fz92SprhEYeAswPK-tHMCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1

    That’s why I suggested you look at the other quote — because the Newton phrase is often extended by people who want to claim it as a general approach. That was a specific answer about dealing with one puzzle in particular.

    The “ignoramus” phrase really covers what people are talking about when they quote Newton as though it were a general approach to science.

    And the refutation, I think, is utterly convincing.

  29. 379
    Doug Bostrom says:

    John Mashey 1 August 2009 at 2:48 PM (#347)

    That’s most interesting. It’s good to see somebody w/the initiative to put together some data on this.

    Meanwhile a bit more information has emerged concerning the forged letters. It seems that when you’re working in the deception industry lying becomes a way of life and for some underlings the stuff of life itself:

    “The former employee, who now works on Capitol Hill, said that the pressure from Bonner management to produce results — by getting outside groups to sign onto Bonner clients’ campaigns — is so intense that the kind of outright deceit seen in this case is all but inevitable. He said that temporary employees were regularly threatened with firing if they didn’t produce enough signatures — and demonstrate enough time on the phone — to satisfy supervisors. And on many Friday afternoons, said the former employee, a group of under-performing employees would be summoned to a manager’s office to be told that they were being let go.

    “Some of these projects it’s very hard to get people to sign,” said the former employee. “Management doesn’t take that as an answer. They say you need to spend more time on the phone. The only recourse you have is either to produce something, lie about it, or get fired.”

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/07/former_employee_bonner_just_got_caught_this_time.php

  30. 380
    simon abingdon says:

    John #377 “If you’re not interested in the outcome, then you have no motive to learn”. An egregious non sequitur I’m afraid. The enquiring mind has no preconceptions about possible outcomes. It is the close-minded person whose hopes and expectations of a particular outcome blind him to other possibilities.

  31. 381
    simon abingdon says:

    John #377 I withdraw my last post. Please ignore it. I see the cause of our misunderstanding. I should have said “I have no interest at all in the outcome” rather than “I am not at all interested in the outcome”. My apologies.

  32. 382
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Markey staffers investigating fraudulent letters:

    http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/tapped_archive?month=07&year=2009&base_name=lobbyist_lettergate_update#116093

    Has anybody noticed if this has received any column space at all in “mainstream” the press?

  33. 383
    simon abingdon says:

    Hank, either you’re not reading your own reference carefully enough or we’re seriously at cross purposes.

    #371 “Simon, sounds like you’re thinking of “ignoramus” — science can’t know. [I wasn't]
    That has been rebutted, by David Hilbert.” Oh, really?

    #378 “And the refutation, I think, is utterly convincing.” So is the rebuttal you’re talking about Hilbert’s (overconfident) reliance on axiomatics? (For example in 1922 he said ‘The axiomatic method is indeed and remains the one suitable and indispensable aid to the spirit of every exact investigation no matter in what domain; it is logically unassailable and at the same time fruitful; it guarantees thereby complete freedom of investigation.’) If so, alas for poor Hilbert; as we all know, in 1931 Gödel threw a spanner in the works. To quote from your own link:

    “Hilbert worked with other formalists to establish concrete foundations for mathematics in the early 20th century. However, Gödel’s incompleteness theorems showed in 1931 that no finite system of axioms, if complex enough to express our usual arithmetic, could ever fulfill the goals of Hilbert’s program, demonstrating many of Hilbert’s aims impossible, and establishing limits on mathematical knowledge.”

    There were other disasters in Hilbert’s day: Russell’s famous trashing of Frege’s monumental “Fundamental Laws”, the widespread and unjustifiable use of the harmless-looking “axiom of choice” used in many algebraic proofs, the use of impredicative (self-referencing) definitions which mean that even innocent sounding assertions such as “Hank is the youngest boy in the class” are logically flawed.

    Looks like it’s “ignorabimus” after all.

  34. 384
  35. 385
    Hank Roberts says:

    Simon, either you’re arguing abstract high level math, or you’re arguing that because we can’t know everything, we can’t know enough about climate to decide what to do. Which?

  36. 386
    Hank Roberts says:

    Bob, it’s called ‘hard argument’ and nonscientists often are either horrified about the strong words, or excited because they think — seeing the hard argument and strong words — that the author must be certain of absolutely devastating the other side.

    For those of us not experts in the area, the level of challenge seems like what you’d hear from someone trying to start a bar fight.

    Now that you’ve seen the unreviewed blog posting, hold off and watch for the published version. Compare them, first, see what the journal prints and what changes.

    Then sit back and watch for the time series analysis experts to write more.

  37. 387
    Chris Dudley says:

    simon abingdon (#383),

    While Gödel’s work may pose a problem for a formal system, it does not preclude exhaustive knowledge. It merely constrains the method of approaching it. Further, Hilbert’s statement is about physics while the work of Gödel applies to mathematics. These are not the same. Hilbert did approach physics axiomatically, but it is clear that this is a post discovery approach in many respects. Physics, being experimental, can decide mathematically undecidable questions with ease. So, the refutation of the refutation is not sound.

    What one can say is that “We must know — we will know!” is an expression of wishful thinking and thus does not really refute “ignoramus et ignorabimus” in a logical way, though that idea seems to be unfounded as well. And, declaring certain questions transcendent also seems to lack rigor.

  38. 388
    simon abingdon says:

    Hank #385 Neither is relevant. I just wanted to know what you meant in #378 when you said “And the refutation, I think, is utterly convincing.” Whose refutation of what do you find utterly convincing?

  39. 389
    Rod B says:

    John P. Reisman (376), that’s just an outright silly argument. Sorry; couldn’t pass.

  40. 390
    Rod B says:

    John P. Reisman (377), I think he meant by “interest” that he has no pre-conceived vested interest in the outcome, which is completely proper. But, if not, then your assertion is appropriate…

  41. 391
    Rod B says:

    Doug Bostrom, that was one of management guru Deming’s main points: If management berates and threatens discipline to meet numerical targets, their only result is a bunch of lying employees.

  42. 392
    Mark says:

    “John P. Reisman (377), I think he meant by “interest” that he has no pre-conceived vested interest in the outcome”

    This doesn’t mean either that he’s telling the truth or that he’s not just willy-waving.

    It *definitely* doesn’t mean he’s right or he’s willing to listen, learn or consider his point wrong.

  43. 393

    Simon Abingdon,

    I admit being a generalist while relying as available detail in context to achieve relevance and I try to view the holistic as able.

    In this sense I really don’t think that reason is something we should shy away from. To say that the system is just to complex to understand negates the capacity to understand the major forcings where the signal is quite clear.

    I’m not saying the picture is perfect but reason should not be abandoned because there is a little dust on the glass.

    The big picture of AGW is quite clear based on my examinations of the evidence, models.

    Getting back to one of my assertions. Assuming the planet is warming, and human caused, do you agree or disagree with my reasoning in the Lomborg refutation?

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/the-copenhagen-distraction

  44. 394
    Hank Roberts says:

    OK, Simon, then I have no idea what point you’re trying to make. Chris Dudley’s point:
    > Physics, being experimental, can decide
    > mathematically undecidable questions with ease.
    I think also applies to questions like the greenhouse effect — we can figure things out even lacking the ability to run all the variables on a dozen identical planets.

  45. 395

    #389 Rod B

    Not that I am against silliness as appropriate, but how is #376 a silly argument?

    In the context of knowns and unknowns and the extent of study,

    For example: To use some memes that are used in the argument sphere regarding AGW such as there is not enough information to make a decision yet…

    There are petabytes of information on the subject of climate.

    All I have for my own age is the word of mom and dad and a birth certificate.

    Well, we’ve already seen the likes of Lord Monckton and S. Fred Singer, Carter and so many others making up graphs and using facts out of context.

    So, on what basis other than reason do I accept my own age, or do you accept your age, or does simon arbingdon accept his age?

    How is that a silly argument?

    On the AGW side we have thousands of scientists, hundreds of institutions, petabytes of data filtered through peer review and peer response.

    On the side of the ‘your or my age’ argument, we have a single document and mom and dad (typically).

    Hmmm…

    Can a birth certificate be faked? Could mom and dad have lied? It has certainly happened before. Parents lie because they think they are shielding the children from the truth that they may be adopted.

    In this context, is my argument really silly? Yes and no, it makes the point well and it is a very simple argument. But I try to keep things simple as best I can, even when wallowing in complexity.

    Would you also say this argument is silly:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/01/what-if-you-held-a-conference-and-no-real-scientists-came/comment-page-3/#comment-80338

    “To put it another way: if Paul were lying on a table with a giant ax with a blade three feet wide above him and he could not move from under the blade, and the rope that held the blade was being eroded (at an uncertain rate? (even though he (and a large group of scientists) could see it eroding), and there were a panel of scientific advisers (from around the world giving him a consensus view) advising him on the reality of the situation by observations of fact and proxy analysis…

    If he were to use his arguments regarding uncertainty, I wonder which action he would tend towards, I wonder if he would think it more prudent to use less drastic policy and keep him under the ax, or more prudent policy that might get him out from under the ax, even though it might cost him something, but at least not his life?”

  46. 396
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Rod B 3 August 2009 at 12:09 PM

    “If management berates and threatens discipline to meet numerical targets, their only result is a bunch of lying employees.”

    No doubt about it!

    The incident w/Bonner and Associates is darkly amusing on several levels, not the least of which is that when really pressed to the wall our private sector begins to resemble the old USSR with its Byzantine, intricate webs of self-deception.

    Of course in this case the main contracted deliverable apparently was misdirection bumping up against plain untruth. Bonner’s unpacked excuse thus becomes something along the lines of “We didn’t tell him to lie -that- much!”.

  47. 397
    Robert says:

    Someone claiming to be “john_mcl” states that this article in the Independent shows “that carbon dioxide has negligible, if any, effect” on global warming. See The comment is dated Monday, 3 August 2009 at 07:59 am (UTC).

  48. 398
    Martin Vermeer says:

    Can a birth certificate be faked? Could mom and dad have lied? It has certainly happened before. Parents lie because they think they are shielding the children from the truth that they may be adopted.

    Precisely, and that’s in modern, well organized societies. Parents may also want to shield their sons from being drafted into the army. Etc. I have known an elderly person who didn’t know her own age to within a year, and one whose official birthday was, by family lore, ten days after her true birthday… underlings of the Czar, all.

  49. 399
    Rod B says:

    John P. Reisman (395), simply, saying climate science is more exacting than knowing one’s age is, well, silly.

  50. 400
    Rod B says:

    Martin and a ps to John R., I admit it’s fun, but get a serious grip. Pseudo-scientific gobbledygook and pontifical analytical hooey doesn’t add much, as interesting as it is. ;-)


Switch to our mobile site