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Red team/Blue team Day 1

Filed under: — group @ 15 July 2017

From Russell Seitz:

83 Responses to “Red team/Blue team Day 1”

  1. 51
    BojanD says:

    With regards to the podcast I posted, climate change debate begins at 1:27:28. The naivety of the guy is mind-boggling.

  2. 52
    Mal Adapted says:

    Russell Seitz: “the point remaining is that science politicized is science betrayed”.

    [If TL;DR, please skip to ‘Enough Q&A for now’. MA]

    Russell, are you making a tu quoque, or false equivalence, argument?

    Let’s not forget that science is made out of the crooked timber of humanity, and that prospects for either nuclear annihilation on any scale or civilization-wrecking global warming ought to scare the bejeezus out of every reality-based human. That’s what makes them fundamentally moral issues!

    It may be that Turco et al. systematically exaggerated their findings. Do you suspect their ostensible nuclear disarmament cause disguised some more sinister agenda? If not, then yes, the TTAPS authors may have overestimated their determination not to fool themselves, and were thus fooled by their shared mortal terror for themselves and great masses of other people. Perhaps they were so alarmed by the finite risks of nuclear winter that, fearing uncertainty was their enemy, they masked the lower halves of key probability density functions. Do you see the equivalent happening in climate science today?

    Do consequences matter? Who was harmed? TTAPS embarrassed themselves in public and got egg on their professional faces. Did any of them gain immense fortunes, for themselves or someone else, for their trouble? Are they morally equivalent to climate scientists who carry water for fossil fuel billionaires from more-or-less-conscious personal motives, even if pecuniary self-interest isn’t a dominant one? Would you agree the great bulk of politicized climate science is done by scientists who, betraying their training and discipline, are fooling themselves and their lay audience? Do you agree that their motives, while seldom financial aside from the personal virtue of thrift, are self-aggrandizing in other ways? What are the consequences of AGW-deniers’ self-deception for the rest of the world?

    Perhaps the instinct for thrift together with hubris, that is, rejection of the mediocrity principle, are all that underlies a trained scientist’s denial of her peers’ consensus for AGW. Do you acknowledge that some scientifically credentialed AGW-deniers implicitly, if not explicitly, fool themselves that economic growth fueled by fossil carbon is of ‘divine’ providence, magically bestowed on an entitled humanity without a hidden price tag? Is it scurrilous to allege that they are proud of their contributions to human prosperity, cherish the illusion of their own and their species’ privileged status in the Universe, and are offended that anyone would challenge their entitlement or complain about their unpaid bills?

    Enough Q&A for now. AFAICT, scientists who are determined not to fool themselves have long since recognized that AGW is a manifestation of the selfish pursuit of private happiness. For the 3% dissenters from the AGW consensus, however, it must be painful to hear that the fantastic growth in global prosperity in the past 3 centuries has run up a fantastic bill in arrears, even if their personal shares of both the prosperity and the total liability outstanding are modest; and that the best they can hope for is to negotiate a fair and prudent payment plan, while commiting to at least temporary austerity rather than let their debts pile up henceforth!

    In an indifferent Universe, human selfishness is neither wrong nor right. Only the consequences to others gives it a moral dimension. Most of us consider either ourselves or anyone else being vaporized in the fireball of a thermonuclear explosion, or starving in an ensuing nuclear winter, ‘bad’. So obviously, unarguably bad that any selfish interest in enhancing the risks is immediately overridden by incentives to reduce them, and even to sacrifice abstract philosophical values for that objective. AGW-denial, OTOH, is bad because the deniers’ selfish pursuit of present happiness betrays everyone’s selfish dreams of future happiness, regardless of personal philosophy.

    Yet, let she who socializes no direct or embodied marginal climate-change costs be the first to sugar her neighbor’s gas tank. Billions of humans, scientists (yup, they’re human) included, are liable for AGW from reckless disregard, rather than intent. We’re all guilty of our own contribution to global tragedy in pursuit of private happiness. With crucial exceptions, however, none of us can afford to pay a tiny fraction of our personal liability for climate-change arrears. We can only repent, and promise to pay for our future marginal costs as we incur them.

    Here’s where I’m going with this: science offers scientists mostly intangible rewards, but ‘behind every great fortune there is a crime’ (attrib. Balzac). A tiny minority of humans are betraying their own and everyone else’s posterity with full knowledge of and deliberate disregard for the consequences, if not actual malice aforethought; and one doubts status among the world’s wealthiest can be attained or maintained without some malice. Fossil-fuel billionaires know that AGW gave them wealth and power, and that those will accrue only as long as AGW is exacerbated. Whether cynically or from pathetic self-justification, some of them are investing a fraction of their revenues in a strategy to hold off political challenges from their victims, who are everybody else on Earth now living and yet to live including their own descendants. Their tactics include suborning science. They’ve enlisted a few ‘useful idiots’, namely cognitively biased scientists, to stitch sheeps’ clothing for their predatory designs.

    Do those sheepish scientists deserve more or less opprobrium than TTAPS, Russell?

  3. 53
  4. 54
    patrick says:

    #19 Tamino: Thanks for your comments and your Open Mind post, linked by Tokodave #7. And thanks for the E&E News link. When I first saw that article I had a sinking feeling that peer review itself would come under attack before long and start to get the spin and obfuscation treatment.

    The king has no clothes and there are plenty of lackeys and henchmen to admire the wardrobe and hold the long coattails. Entering the wardrobe right now is the HONEST Act, the Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act, now in the Senate.

    “For the scientific community this is a very bad deal, and it has serious implications.” –Sean Gallagher

  5. 55
    Obstreperous Applesauce says:

    There’s room in the musical universe to include darker melodies. That doesn’t require false notes.

    I was going to ramble on about this, but Class M has basically covered it:

    Here’s the thing about science communication theory: it’s complicated. I’ve been writing about greenhouse gas emissions and sinks for 30 calendar years now… and the one thing everyone in this field can agree on is that we really have no clue about best practices.

    Hansen seems to be getting a little hot under the collar (“s*** is hitting the fan”). I wonder why:

    “The narrative that’s out there now … is that we’ve turned the corner,” he [James Hansen] said.

    “On the contrary, what we show is the rate of growth of climate forcing caused by increased methane [and other gases] is actually accelerating. That’s why it’s urgent.”

  6. 56
  7. 57
    Victor says:

    Mal Adapted says:


    ‘The notion that technical expertise in one field or another (in this case physics and math) entitles one to claim infallible insight into the nature of the universe (or, in this case, the climate), is just another form of hubris.’

    The insinuation that any RC commenter has claimed infallible insight into the Universe, or any lesser-scale phenomenon, is just another form of the straw man fallacy.”

    Sorry, Mal, but when I keep hearing that “the science is settled,” and anyone who feels differently should be silenced, then yes, the claim of “infallible insight” sounds accurate.

    Mal Adapted says:

    “The notion that your critical thinking skills are superior to the average RC regular is an indication of your affliction by the Dunning-Kruger effect. We need know nothing more about you than your comments here to support that observation.”

    When I find myself living in a world where the director of NASA publicly states that “the future of humanity lies with Mars”; where one of the most powerful CEO’s in the world is actually planning to colonize that planet (in cooperation with NASA, of course); where one major automobile company after another is investing billions in projects to build autonomous vehicles that can never be reliable or safe; where still another powerful CEO is planning on delivering products to his customers via drones, supplied by blimps hovering over all major cities; where leaders of the Democratic party have convinced the mainstream media that “the Russians” subverted our election system by revealing the corruption running rampant within that party; and where powerful leaders the world over have managed to convince themselves that the world will come to an end unless we repent our sins and immediately sacrifice the very sources of energy that have made modern civilization possible; then yes, it’s not difficult to convince myself that I must be among the very few still capable of critical thinking.

    “Screw courtesy. Just how much transparently self-serving, stubbornly incorrigible logic and counterfactoid rebunking on infinite loop do you expect a reality-based individual to overlook? Sorry, I never got the knack of ‘unflagging courtesy’, and ‘patience of Job’ is way beyond my capacities. You are not the aggrieved party here. Indulge in as much righteous indignation and victimization rhetoric as you like. RC’s moderators have the final say as always, but I stand by my comment.”

    The righteous indignation and victimization are all yours, Mal, as is obvious from the above. Sorry, but your venomous assaults neither impress nor intimidate me.

  8. 58
  9. 59
    BojanD says:

    Sorry, Mal, but when I keep hearing that “the science is settled,” and anyone who feels differently should be silenced, then yes, the claim of “infallible insight” sounds accurate.

    If only I had a dollar for every time I run upon implication that not giving somebody a platform or undeserved credit is the equivalent of silencing them. Playing a victim card is not going to gain much sympathy.

  10. 60
    Thomas says:

    57 Victor sounding a tad frustrated. Poor bugger. :)

  11. 61
    Thomas says:

    52 Mal Adapted states: “We’re all guilty of our own contribution to global tragedy in pursuit of private happiness.”

    Yes. No one is to blame, but everyone is unintentionally guilty by default of being one of humanity. The “west” more so than anyone else individually or collectively. Yet everyone was unknowingly born into this status quo as it was and is.

    My point? No point in getting angry with anyone, bar those who in the present knowingly and actively with INTENT deny reality and the truth of it with their lies and dishonesty.

    When you see it, it looks like this:

    eg “It’s up to psychologists to explain how leaders with a disordered personality pose a threat to society.”

    “The neuroscience of psychopathy has made great strides in the past fifteen years in understanding how their brains differ from those of normal people.”

    The outing of these ‘climate psychopaths’ engaged in multiple ‘criminal conspiracies’ in the present will be their ultimate undoing or everyone will be going down with the ship.

    Our Children’s Trust case may help a little, but until some serious criminal prosecutions happen ‘the people’ will keep believing the liars and the seriously deluded who follow them. (imho)

  12. 62
    patrick says:

    #55: …Applesauce: Other than James Hansen, your source is a “freelance journalist and communications consultant.” Writing about things such as “scare tactics” for “thirty years” does not mean he understands climate science–or wants to, or cares to. It merely qualifies him for more of the same–and means he likes to write about things like scare tactics.

  13. 63

    Seitz, you just have an obsession with calling the late Carl Sagan a liar. Or maybe anyone who was for disarmament. Just stop saying you have the better science, because you don’t.

  14. 64
    MA Rodger says:

    I see Victor the Troll is still mouthing off round here, telling us “when I keep hearing that ‘the science is settled’ and anyone who feels differently should be silenced, then yes, the claim of “infallible insight” sounds accurate.”
    The pertinent words here are “…anyone who feels differently…” as those who do “feel differently” on the subject in question include Victor the Troll. He cannot accept that with AGW ‘the science is settled.’
    Now, if he had half a brain, Victor would not simply “feel differently” but be able to give expression to a meaningful reason for “feeling differently.”
    Sadly science is a harsh master. Once the science is settled, you are either right or you are wrong. There is no room for those who decide they “feel differently” and cannot say why. While I presently couldn’t be bothered to check what drivel the Troll has been spouting up-thread, from memory he seemed to “feel” that, rather than mere Victor, it is the authority of the office of President Trump that allows Trump to “feel differently,” authority bestowed by many millions of US citizens who preferred Trump to Hilary Clinton for that office.
    But science is a harsh master. It does not give a fig who you are. If you cannot set out a scientific case for “feeling differently,” your views are worth nothing and in such circumstances it is best you remain silent. And to gush forth ad nausium in such a manner is unacceptable.
    But is Victor something more than a just persistent troll?
    While he has not the authority of Trump, Victor the Troll is claiming “superior critical thinking skills.” (Don’t laugh.) Perhaps here we could insist on those “superior critical thinking skills” being used to explain the example Victor gives of “superior critical thinking skills” being so important in science. Perhaps he can set out why Peter Woit has such a dislike of string theory that he describes it as “Not even wrong.” (Of course, Woit is not the first to blast at a theoretically-based construct of physics. Did not Fred Hoyle try to insult a theory he opposed by dismissively calling a phenomenon it included as “the big bang”?)
    So, come on Victor. Demonstrate these “superior critical thinking skills” of yours. We all think you’re a total idiot who couldn’t think himself out of a wet paper bag (and after all this time we do not hold that view lightly). Come on. Show us what you’re really made of.

  15. 65

    V 57: when I keep hearing that “the science is settled,”

    BPL: Is geocentrism versus heliocentrism settled? Do you reject heliocentrism because scientists are no longer working on confirming it?

    V: and anyone who feels differently should be silenced

    BPL: Nobody said that. Straw man.

  16. 66

    BPL’s words are his not mine- I’d call Carl an admirable scientific astronomer, witness his ingenious use of the thin atmosphere of Mars to focus the otherwise indetectable light of occulted stars.

    He was also science fiction writer , and if some of his fans wish to go to their graves denying that he wrote more than some give him credit for, that is their prerogative.

  17. 67
    Obstreperous Applesauce says:

    62 patrick

    Not sure what you’re saying. Is it that in a series of comments about science communication, I shouldn’t have quoted somebody who works in the field of science communication? Is it that scientists are already perfect communicators? Something else? You seem to be disgruntled about something, but I can’t even be sure of that.

    Keep in mind that nowhere was there a suggestion, either by me or the source cited, that anyone should stray from the facts.

    What I do hear a lot of is that the situation doesn’t need to be exaggerated because the situation is bad enough as it is. And then that statement is left hanging — left hanging without a short, clear unexaggerated presentation of consequences designed for a general lay audience.

    (It should be noted that exaggeration in this case means a narrow focus on what was presented –maybe poorly –as being one end of a range of scenarios).

  18. 68
    Victor says:

    “So, come on Victor. Demonstrate these “superior critical thinking skills” of yours.”

    Read my book. “The Unsettled Science of Climate Change: A Primer for Critical Thinkers.” Available via Amazon.

    But of course you won’t. Reading something that might challenge your cherished dogma is clearly beneath you.

  19. 69
    nigelj says:

    Mal Adapted @52, that was rather good. If there was just a shorter way of summarising it for the attention of joe public.

    A couple of points to add. I agree certainly some very powerful people have wealth associated with fossil fuels and they are very addicted to business as usual. Also as clever people they come up with endless, flawed but superficially convincing defences for their position.

    I would say many chief executives are a little sociopathic in outlook, and couldn’t care less what tactics they use, or about anyone else The ruthlessness suits the job description sadly to say.

    And wealthy climate denialists wield a very disproportionate influence on politicians. They are happy to donate money furiously to as many politicians as possible, with certain unspoken but obvious conditions attached. Sadly money in politics is a big problem with no easy solutions. Of course people who take climate science seriously probably also donate, but might be smaller in number, but this can make a big difference to political outcomes.

    And the climate problem is largely political. I suspect most people have a natural scepticism of new science, but they see the flaws in denialist myths and move on. I react like this.

    The stubborn sceptics (called denialists) seem to have political agendas, vested interests etc and you see it in their comments so often. Its not unreasonable to conclude this drives their scepticism of the science in a great many cases, possibly all. Turning this around is like pulling teeth. However on a global scale these people appear to be losing the battle, although possibly not in America.

  20. 70
    Gustav Spiel says:

    Wow. This blog sucks.

    No, really. It sucks.

  21. 71
    Thomas says:

    RE 68 Victor

    One could go here to waste their precious time:

    Or save some time and see what shows up when one digs deeper

    docgee aka Victor | September 22, 2015 at 10:39 pm |
    “In sum, I see no correlation at all until the late 1970’ s. And then, from ca. 1998 to the present the earlier correlation again breaks down. So from 1880 through 2014, we see only ca. 23 years where warming is correlated with CO2 emissions – out of a total of 134 years. Looks to me like the long term trend is not correlation but its opposite.”
    Vortex, Polar (2015-06-01). The Unsettled Science of Climate Change: A Primer for Critical Thinkers (Kindle Locations 493-495). . Kindle Edition.

    docgee aka Victor • 2 years ago

    docgee aka Victor


    The Unsettled Science of Climate Change: A Primer for Critical Thinkers Kindle Edition, by Polar Vortex (Author)

    Ho Hum cannot even put your name to your own published book … Loser Coward and by Default a Liar!

    With the greatest respect I can muster Victor for doing the hard yards in getting a kindle book published on Amazon … you’re still an unethical incompetent idiot when it comes to climate science, logic, reason, common sense, basic scientific rigour, morality, ethics and skepticism…. aka a blow hard fool.

  22. 72
    Thomas says:

    My gift to Victor — How Not To Be Stupid – A Guide To Critical Thinking

  23. 73
    Brian Dodge says:

    Victor – “Reading something that might challenge your cherished dogma is clearly beneath you.”

    1. an official system of principles or tenets concerning faith, morals, behavior, etc., as of a church.
    Synonyms: doctrine, teachings, set of beliefs, philosophy.

    observation act or instance of noticing or perceiving. act or instance of regarding attentively or watching.
    3.the faculty or habit of observing or noticing.
    4.notice: act or instance of viewing or noting a fact or occurrence for some scientific or other special purpose:

    to ascertain the extent, dimensions, quantity, capacity, etc., of, especially by comparison with a standard:

    1. to determine or ascertain by mathematical methods; compute:

    understand perceive the meaning of; grasp the idea of; comprehend: be thoroughly familiar with; apprehend clearly the character, nature, or subtleties of: assign a meaning to; interpret: grasp the significance, implications, or importance of: regard as firmly communicated; take as agreed or settled:

    know perceive or understand as fact or truth; to apprehend clearly and with certainty:

    [sahy-uh ns]
    Spell Syllables
    Synonyms Examples Word Origin
    See more synonyms on
    1.a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws:
    the mathematical sciences.
    2.systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.
    3.any of the branches of natural or physical science.
    4.systematized knowledge in general.
    5.knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study.

    believe have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so: have confidence or faith in the truth of (a positive assertion, story, fable, myth, etc.) have confidence in the assertions of (a person, e.g. a priest, politician, propagandist, economist, etc. cf con artist)

    I believe that Victor doesn’t know the difference between believing and knowing, or dogma and science.

  24. 74

    GS 70: Wow. This blog sucks. . . . No, really. It sucks.

    BPL: That sure is a convincing logical argument. I’ll bet it swayed a lot of people. Keep up the clever reasoning!

  25. 75
    MA Rodger says:

    The Washington Examiner” is saying that

    “The White House and the Environmental Protection Agency are recruiting scientists by enlisting the help of the Heartland Institute, considered to be the lead think tank for challenging the majority of scientists on climate change.”

    This is possibly not the wisest of moves. Heatland have already been publishing the work of what they call a “Red Team” styling itself the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) which they say counters ” the Green Team of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)”, a Red Team that may be eager to take up this new commission from the Clan Trump. The NIPCC does little more than trawl the nonsense of Craig Idso’s decade-old writings at CO2 Science dot Org to create laughable screed that misrepresents climatology from two-decades ago. The ‘counter’ to 1300-page IPCC AR5 WG1 isn’t much shorter than the genuine article, managing to fill 993 pages with denialist gobshite. Myself, I examined the fifteen pages of Section 2.1 and spotted sixty-odd fundamental errors that made its entirety ‘sub not-worth-the-paper-to-print-it-on’ standard. So that particular “Red Team” would prove a dangerous choice for Clan Trump. And if Heartland have been asked to act as the recruiting sergeant, Heartland may feel obliged to set them loose on this new “Red Team” task.

  26. 76
    Brian Dodge says:

    MAR – To their credit, the Heartland Institute did run a billboard pointing out that one had to be crazier than Ted “Unabomber” Kaczynski to doubt AGW.
    They were reportedly planning billboards featuring Pol Pot and Fidel Castro, but for some reason abandoned the project…..&;>)

  27. 77
    MA Rodger says:

    Brian Dodge @76,
    The Pol Pot billboard was indeed published, (but only on-line and on Heartland’s behalf, not by Heartland itself) suggesting that the task of a revolutionary dictator engaged in savagely working a quarter of his fellow countrymen to death leaves little time to brush up on your understanding of simple geometry theories.

  28. 78
    Mal Adapted says:


    Mal Adapted @52, that was rather good.

    Kind of you to say so!


    If there was just a shorter way of summarising it for the attention of joe public.

    I’ve always been pretty vague on who that guy is, but if you know him, cut’n’paste with abandon. None of my ideas are original, anyway 8^).

  29. 79
    Richard Simons says:

    Brian: “To their credit, the Heartland Institute did run a billboard pointing out that one had to be crazier than Ted “Unabomber” Kaczynski to doubt accept AGW.”
    Corrected for you.

  30. 80
    Richard Simons says:

    Brian: Sorry – on a second read through I realized I had misunderstood your comment

  31. 81
    Mal Adapted says:


    [Sagan] was also science fiction writer , and if some of his fans wish to go to their graves denying that he wrote more than some give him credit for, that is their prerogative.

    If anyone is wondering what Russell is always on about, I just came across this Jill Lepore piece in the New Yorker from six months ago (my emphasis):

    The Atomic Origins of Climate Science

    Trump’s tweets aside, there is a bipartisan consensus in favor of significant arms reductions. Bipartisan agreement about the future of the planet falls apart not over the bomb but over the climate. Historically, though, they’re inseparable: the weapons and the weather are twisted together, a wire across time, the long fuse to an ongoing debate about the credibility of science, the fate of the Earth, and the nature of uncertainty.

    What does it all mean? You decide. Russell has already decided.

  32. 82
    Russell says:


    Jill Lapore is evidently old enough to remember Jonathan Schell’s The Fate Of The Earth which ran in The New Yorker too, some thirty years after the cover of Colliers asked ” Are Atom Bombs Changing The Weather/”

    Since nuclear winter was balyhooed by Science, mal might want to take a look at what <Science‘s science writers wrote about the subject elsewhere:

  33. 83
    Thomas says:

    81, excellent article & info, worth reading in full, imho, as it reminded me of few things and i also learned some things i did not know before. so other broader issues makes a little better sense to me now. thx.