I have mostly been sitting back and watching the John Bates story go through the predictable news-cycle of almost all supposed ‘scandalous’ science stories. The patterns are very familiar – an initial claim of imperfection spiced up with insinuations of misconduct, coordination with a breathless hyping of the initial claim with ridiculous supposed implications, some sensible responses refuting the initial specific claims and demolishing the wilder extrapolations. Unable to defend the nonsense clarifications are made that the initial claim wasn’t about misconduct but merely about ‘process’ (for who can argue against better processes?). Meanwhile the misconduct and data falsification claims escape into the wild, get more exaggerated and lose all connection to any actual substance. For sure, the technical rebuttals to the specific claims compete with balance of evidence arguments and a little bit of playful trolling for the attention of anyone who actually cares about the details. None of which, unfortunately, despite being far more accurate, have the narrative power of the original meme.
The next stages are easy to predict as well – the issues of ‘process’ will be lost in the noise, the fake overreaction will dominate the wider conversation and become an alternative fact to be regurgitated in twitter threads and blog comments for years, the originators of the issue may or may not walk back the many mis-statements they and others made but will lose credibility in any case, mainstream scientists will just see it as hyper-partisan noise and ignore it, no papers will be redacted, no science will change, and the actual point (one presumes) of the ‘process’ complaint (to encourage better archiving practices) gets set back because it’s associated with such obvious nonsense.
This has played out many, many times before: The Yamal story had a very similar dynamic, and before that the ‘1934‘ story, etc. etc.
Assuming for the sake of politeness that sound and fury signifying nothing is not the main goal for at least some participants, the question arises: since this is so predictable why do people still keep making the same mistakes?
I have two slides that I use in my talks about the challenges of science communication in a politicized world:
The Bates story is an excellent illustration of how this plays out in real life. The key thing to remember is that there is a ready-made narrative and ‘public’ issue for all stories like this and it takes real skill (and might not be possible) to avoiding falling into that pre-existing narrative rut. You know, this one:
Plot idea: 97% of the world's scientists contrive an environmental crisis, but are exposed by a plucky band of billionaires & oil companies.
— Scott Westerfeld (@ScottWesterfeld) March 21, 2014
[Pro-tip: talking about massive international multi-agency conspiracies makes you sound like a crazy person, so get past that by only talking about the whistleblowers!].
Unfortunately, Bates and Curry, perhaps deciding that judgement calls about where on a complex maturity matrix (right) (Bates et al, 2014) any specific dataset should be placed, was not likely to generate much attention, decided to over-egg their pudding: Bates added obviously wrong claims to his litany (like the claim that ASCII data on an ftp site was neither an archive nor ‘machine readable’), and let his imagination run beyond what he could actually show (‘thumbs on the scale’ for instance). David Rose, certain that he had a juicy data tampering story didn’t bother to check his graph when it seemed to show a big difference between analyses. Note that the graph did not actually use the data from the Karl et al (2015) paper at all.
Thus a perhaps interesting claim about process, got turned instantly into a claim about misconduct, and another hammer to be used to undermine independently replicated conclusions (Hausfather et al, 2016). In Bates’ later interviews, he tried to close Pandora’s box – for instance saying that “The issue here is not an issue of tampering with data, but rather really of timing of a release of a paper that had not properly disclosed everything it was”. Well, whoop-dee-doo.
Weirdly he also claimed that he is wary of his critique becoming a talking point for those skeptical of human-caused climate change and that “I knew people would misuse this”.
Which kinda makes my point but also raises some obvious questions!
The key element in politicized discussions of science is the obvious desire of most people to have the narrative confirm what they desperately want to be true. Thus however little the story projected onto the faux debate, that is where the story was going to go. The initial exaggerations and false claims just made this more likely.
In contrast to the argument made in a recent New York Times op-ed, science is not politicized because scientists are citizens and have opinions (they are and they do), but because certain narratives suit political movements better than the truth.
Scientists can fight against this by being scrupulous in not giving opportunities for people to take their words or work out of context and project it onto the faux debate. One can be clear from the beginning about what can’t be concluded, as well as what can be. Specific complaints about specific issues need to be clearly distinguished from general complaints about everything. I find that people who do this don’t get caught up so much in these faux scandals, while for people (like Bates) who don’t see it as their responsibility to properly contextualise their statements, it happens over and again.
When people who know better go ahead anyway, you end up with this kind of mess with all the bad consequences outlined in the above slide, regardless of the point that someone thought they were making. But in this case the actual substance is a total NOAA-thing burger.
Can I get fries with that?
- J.J. Bates, J.L. Privette, E.J. Kearns, W. Glance, and X. Zhao, "Sustained Production of Multidecadal Climate Records: Lessons from the NOAA Climate Data Record Program", Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, vol. 97, pp. 1573-1581, 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-15-00015.1
- T.R. Karl, A. Arguez, B. Huang, J.H. Lawrimore, J.R. McMahon, M.J. Menne, T.C. Peterson, R.S. Vose, and H. Zhang, "Possible artifacts of data biases in the recent global surface warming hiatus", Science, vol. 348, pp. 1469-1472, 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aaa5632
- Z. Hausfather, K. Cowtan, D.C. Clarke, P. Jacobs, M. Richardson, and R. Rohde, "Assessing recent warming using instrumentally homogeneous sea surface temperature records", Science Advances, vol. 3, 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1601207
126 Responses to "Serving up a NOAA-thing burger"
James Annan says
“a total NOAA-thing burger”
Is that like a wish sandwich?
[Response: Nothing burger: Wish sandwich. So yes, it is – but I can’t make a bad pun from the latter. – gavin]
Bate’s questions the timing of the Karl et al paper? Really?
I question the timing of the Curry, Bates, Rose and Lamar Smith cabal doing this right before the House Science Committee Hearing on “Making the EPA Great Again” on Feb 7th. The House Science Committee twitter account was probably the first to tweet a link to the Daily Mail UK trash tabloid story.
Irony and hypocrisy on several levels.
Good article in Science
Phil Clarke says
Given that the author of the piece that has got Dr Curry, David Rose, Andrew Montford, Delingpole ‘Josh’ et al so excited, who is apparently something of an authority on the data in question, is now crystal clear that he saw absolutely no malfeasance or wrongful data manipulation:
“Bates accused former colleagues of rushing their research to publication, in defiance of agency protocol. He specified that he did not believe that they manipulated the data upon which the research relied in any way.
“The issue here is not an issue of tampering with data, but rather really of timing of a release of a paper that had not properly disclosed everything it was,” he said.”
Is it too much to expect that those who DID level accusations of improper data manipulation, which let’s face it is a serious charge for a professional scientist and researcher, to issue retractions and apologies?
I think I know the answer.
Quote from http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060049630
The Bates article was published on Climate Etc. at 6:06 pm on February 4, 2017. In a CE comment I called it a hatchet job at 8:05 pm… 1 hour and 59 minutes.
I apologize for taking so long.
Steven T. Corneliussen says
I see one thing new in this go-round: What’s going on actually has to do with altering the course and conduct of federally funded climate science in the Trump era. We’re seeing the orchestration of this Big Lie for use as pretext. Consider:
A Mail on Sunday editorial enthused that following the Rose piece, President Trump “will find it easier than before to dismiss the climate change agenda completely.” National Review predicted that Bates’s actions will “encourage others to speak out about what’s been going on at federal scientific agencies”—and added, “It’s long overdue.” A Fox News report ended by wondering which side the president “will take his cue” from. A brief Wall Street Journal online news video, framing the controversy as “Climategate 2.0,” presented the views of Pat Michaels concerning the falsely alleged data manipulation. The video ends with this take-away from the WSJ moderator: “It sounds like it’s time for the new administration to do a cleanout of NOAA and NASA and all these other agencies.”
Jim Hunt says
Gavin – Thanks for a most interesting article which will prove extremely useful in our current battle against the forces of darkness.
FYI – The scaly suckers on Twitter have just swallowed my very good friend Ray’s tasty bait. Hook, line and proverbial sinker:
Eli Rabett says
There is an excellent argument to be made that Curry and Bates got their timing wrong based on the panel in the House Committee hearing which was set up to bash regulations of chemicals. By the time the hearing was held, the push back had robbed the attack of most of its sting, and Rush Holt was well briefed.
Ceist:If we could monetize hypocrisy these people could pay off the National Debt in a nanosecond and have change left over for several hamburgers…
Susan Anderson says
Steven T. Corneliussen
9 Feb 2017 at 8:02 AM
“I see one thing new in this go-round: What’s going on actually has to do with altering the course and conduct of federally funded climate science in the Trump era. We’re seeing the orchestration of this Big Lie for use as pretext.”
Correct, thanks for pointing this out. Nobody can stop them.
The truth does not have any standing in this kangaroo court.
Dennis N Horne says
Talking about manipulation, honesty, archiving, … where are these comments now? Hypocrisy much?
Dennis Nicholas Horne | February 6, 2017 at 9:30 am | Reply
Well, Dr Curry, history isn’t going to be very kind to you. I don’t claim to know much science but I know rubbish when I see it. At least enough not to embrace it.
JCH | February 6, 2017 at 10:04 am | Reply
It’s a hatchet job. This is why the thugs and bullies here at CargoCult Etc. gravitate to her. Buds of a feather.
Susan Anderson says
Scott Westerfield’s tweet: I’d forgotten that, thanks for the reminder, short and sweet!
Meanwhile, there’s some misbehavior that might be worth repeating as well:
Jim Hunt says
Chin up Susan @10!
Our simultaneous subversive surrealist sites are coming together:
Save Our Surf Forecast
Even the UKMO are joining in the fun!
It’s such a shame one can’t embed images in comments on here. Or is there some magical trick to it?
Steven T. Corneliussen says
I’ll take Susan Anderson’s affirmation of my earlier comment as a license to offer the link to what has been posted online in the meantime, namely, my full column about the point I had made:
Squabble over supposed global-warming pause illuminates new political challenges
Breitbart’s James Delingpole sees “the perfect excuse to drain the climate swamp.”
Susan Anderson says
STC, you are much more credible than I am. Thanks for the link.
Jim Hunt, your first link doesn’t work. I was able to find something called
http://afwetware.org/ “Alternative Facts Wetware” which looks quite fun through a manual truncation: http://www.SaveOurSurfForecast.org (Kesia and the “look” would not appear in a fake). Looks like fun, and your sense of humor is a help, but unfortunately the awfuls appear to have neither self-awareness nor humor, just a determination to turn us into a climate-dangerous kleptocracy per their money masters. I have a nice bumper sticker* and do keep my chin up, but it is not a good time to be in the US without daily attacks on honesty and freedom of speech and such.
* “Don’t Blame Me, I’m from Massachusetts”
(Ed Markey is just as good as Elizabeth Warren, and even our Republican governor is on board with climate change.)
John Hartz says
In the same vein as Gavin’s OP…
Whistleblower: ‘I knew people would misuse this.’ They did – to attack climate science by Dana Nuccitelli, Climate Consensus – the 97%, Guardian, Feb 9, 2017
Make mine a “thing-burger,” I think. The idea of a thing-burger is that it could be (made of) anything. It’s another way of saying there’s no there there or nothing there, there. For disinformation this is a big plus. It is not necessary to actually say anything. It is only necessary to appear to say something. Cognitive distortion and agendas external to science do the rest. This is an important point, and a hard one, for people who have not themselves practiced saying nothing. The skill can be further refined to make nothing seem to be something–and even some particular thing–at will.
> Constant ‘debate’ of irrelevancies hinders serious discussion.
The slides in this post are brilliant, helpful.
In a twitter exchange about GHCN adjustments, I got this gem of a response to one of my tweets.
It’s a creative conspiracy twist that would never have crossed my mind in a thousand years!
@JCH #5 “The Bates article was published on Climate Etc. at 6:06 pm on February 4, 2017. In a CE comment I called it a hatchet job at 8:05 pm… 1 hour and 59 minutes.
I apologize for taking so long.”
The @HouseScience twitter account tweeted a link to Daily Mail article at 6:27 PM – Feb 4
Is it any surprise that the only ‘scientist’ that Lamar Smith’s @HouseScience twitter account follows is…. Judith Curry?
Jim Hunt says
Dennis @11 – Would you by any chance like to compare notes? I don’t know about you, but I always keep meticulous records of which of my comments end up on ex Prof. Judy’s cutting room floor. IIRC some of Nick Stokes’ have joined mine in that ignominious position recently.
18 caerbannog666 – ground zero for all that BOM data manipualtion BS-Bus is driven by Jennifer Marohasy and her little coven of witches and warlocks who still pray at the alter of Saint Bob Carter (now deceased, thankfully)
This delusional psychopathic Aussie Cabal are funded openly by the fraudulent neoliberal IPA ‘Non-Think Tank’ and via several other nefarious sources and the misuse of CQU University assets, people and pseudo-cred.
They can get meetings with MPs and PR ops on call with the elected denier politicians and ministers greasing the wheels and arranging further support via mining magnates and the like
All very accomplished liars of the highest order.
It’s a dead set Pigs Trough of Pork Barrelling and all of it funded by Not for Profit Tax Deductible Donations and overseas Dark Money.
Much of this is listed on Source watch, but the details are worse than the summaries.
I hope that helps a little for those who weren’t aware of the extent of the “system at work” in Australia. It makes the Sicilian Mafia look like honest business folks out for the Public Good.
Jim Hunt says
Susan @15 – You’re right. Sorry about that. Fat finger problem at this end probably. Creating links manually here is a major hurdle if you’re in a hurry. Link is definitely mangled :(
The correct capitalisation should be AFWetware. As per the dictionary definition:
The nice man from DGM described my “Live Free or Die” image as a “work of art”. Little does he know! The site should be expanding on a daily basis from now on. Is there anything you might care to contribute?
Jim Hunt says
Ceist @19 – You might be interested in these slides revealing my own take on the timeline to which you refer?
Thomas @21, ha ha that’s no doubt true.
But can I politely and constructively say long lists of links make my eyes glaze over, and I end up clicking on none of them? Now I’m a lover of links, so if even I react this way, etc.
Now Australia have a large tribe of climate denialists, related to their huge coal resources, but Australia is very susceptible to heat waves and droughts, and people are starting to sense climate change might actually have a sharp, pointy end and they are starting to make some noise. Call it serendipity or something.
10 & 12
Susan and Steve
“I see one thing new in this go-round: What’s going on actually has to do with altering the course and conduct of federally funded climate science ”
reflects Climateball’s most central and elephantine irony :
It’s as bipartisan as leakmanship.
Steven T. Corneliussen says
Russell’s quoting (comment 25) of what I said omits the crucial element: “in the Trump era.”
In comment 6 I wrote, “What’s going on actually has to do with altering the course and conduct of federally funded climate science in the Trump era. We’re seeing the orchestration of this Big Lie for use as pretext.”
In the column that I wrote about this for Physics Today Online–linked from comment 14 (http://physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/PT.5.8205/full/)–I didn’t think I had the evidence simply to charge out-and-out orchestration and collusion. But that level of guilt almost doesn’t matter. The point is that what’s going on is not just an extension of what has been happening for years–not just more of what causes Gavin Schmidt justly to write in a spirit of ennui. These people–at Breitbart and the Daily Mail and the House Science Committee (and maybe Bannon in the Oval Office)–know perfectly well what they’re actually doing, whatever is to be said about the fixations of Professor Curry and Mr. Bates. The political operatives are lining things up not just for more of the same climate-wars stuff, but for a new, concerted Trump-era attack on climate science and climate awareness. It’s all in James Delingpole’s Breitbart headline: “NOAA scandal gives Trump the perfect excuse to drain the climate swamp.”
Eric Swanson says
Gavin, you wrote: “Assuming for the sake of politeness that sound and fury signifying nothing is not the main goal for at least some participants, the question arises: since this is so predictable why do people still keep making the same mistakes?”
I think you guys still don’t get it. The David Rose piece in the Daily Mail isn’t about science, it’s political disinformation, thus, efforts to correct same won’t have much effect. That’s because the piece has been widely distributed far and wide via the internet echo chamber of conservative blogs and other “news” outlets. There’s little chance that all the efforts to “correct” the post will be ignored by the readers of the Daily Mail and those who may view it on the ‘net. Curry knew about the article before publication and posted her commentary amplifying the claims of improper data manipulation via those sites which echoed her post.
Curry wrote: “…the evidence kept mounting that Tom Karl constantly had his ‘thumb on the scale’—in the documentation, scientific choices, and release of datasets—in an effort to discredit the notion of a global warming hiatus…”, a statement which suggests the Karl paper presented intentionally distorted results, a claim not proven by the rest of the post. Curry’s post now has some 674 comments, which indicates the depth of her following.
It’s all part of The Plan. The Trumpian masses have been fooled into voting for him and his agenda. They may awake to find they’ve been led astray, but it may already be too late for all of us. The big news today is that a storm with high winds in Jackson Hole, WY, blew down 17 steel power poles, darkening much of the area. The elite may not be able to go skiing this weekend, so sad. Just shows that none of us are immune to the impacts of climate change…
Danley Wolfe says
Some good words of advice, but generally not easy to achieve in various realms of science. Referring to the “two slides” giving guidance on communication in a politicized world. The ideal world would be to not mix advocacy / politics at all with science… just focus on the science and stay out of advocacy. Difficult for all sides when there are deeply held, vested interests in the work, and the debate is framed as having “two sides.” The Karl et. al. corrections to the temperature records was surely destined to be controversial – both by the nature of the correction and the timing of the release on the eave of both the CPP and the COP21 Paris convention. Rhetorical posturing contributes greatly to this environment, e.g., “deniers,” “flat earthers,” “right thinking people would agree with me … ,” “people who care about their children’s future,” contributes to this environment, since it is pure demogoguery, name calling, purely political acts doing nothing to further the progress of science. it only incites further polarization. Similarly, surveys done to further an advocacy position (“97% of scientists believe that …” done to promote a targeted already held conviction are intellectually dishonest (question: is a small mammal researcher expert on the mating characteristics of the Canadian Rocky marmot an expert on the physics of climate science?) If the science were absolutely clear there would be no debate, no place for politicization of science. So better to avoid it.
OK, We now know the politics of this issue from Gavin’s perspective. But how about the science? Paul Matthews raises the issue that the NOAA station data adjustment method seems to be unstable with respect to added data. That’s a real issue that someone should address. In other areas where for example wind tunnel test data is corrected, it is done on a case by case basis and carefully documented. That would be a vastly better way to go about it, wouldn’t it?
Steven, It’s always better to keep both eyes open, and an ear to the ground.
Trump did not start climate science denial, manipulation/purchase of Congress, the media and the people on January 20th.
Hint: ALL Politicians and even presidential candidates lie, obfuscate, and hide behind what they hope is secret.
For balance and perspective :
Persistent questioning drove one of the most notable political “evolutions” of the campaign thus far: Hillary Clinton’s position on the Keystone XL pipeline. 350 Action volunteers first asked the former Secretary of State about her position on the project on July 28th, when she responded that “If it is undecided when I become president, I will answer your question.” […] Finally on September 22nd, after a question from a 350 Action volunteer in Iowa, Clinton pivoted and said, “I oppose it.” – that took two months – but would she have opposed it if she won?
All three Democratic candidates have also faced questions on offshore drilling, fracking, fossil fuel extraction on public lands, fossil fuel divestment, the investigation into ExxonMobil’s climate lies, and whether they will take a pledge to refuse fossil fuel industry contributions. On the last question, both Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders answered “yes,” while Clinton said she didn’t think she received much money from the industry, but she was “gonna take a look.”
(Reports have shown that almost all of the Clinton campaign’s top bundlers have ties to the fossil fuel industry).
2008 run and funded by those who caused the GFC – as was Obama
As secretary of state, she pressured governments to change policies and sign deals that would benefit US corporations like General Electric, Exxon Mobil, Microsoft, and Boeing. She also promoted hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and contracts with US oil companies like Chevron in Poland, Bulgaria, and elsewhere.
Unforced variations: Sep 2016 « RealClimate
Sep 1, 2016 … Donations tied to Exxon have totaled more than $600,000 since 2001, and a former Exxon vice president sits on the AGU’s board of directors.
Money talks – ethics walks
This isn’t ‘whataboutery’ but about all captured corrupted unethical Politicians no matter who or where or in what party they belonged to.
Among [Democrat Senate Leader] Tom Daschle’s business backers are a number of big GOP supporters, including ExxonMobil, and ChevronTexaco.
.. financial services firms as Bank of America, Lehman Brothers and American Express
Perhaps the most notorious so-called “shadow lobbyist” is former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who worked for years as a “special policy adviser” at a D.C. lobbying company before finally registering as a lobbyist in 2016.
The truth is, they’ll be able to use the “Daschle loophole,” as it’s become known, and claim they are “special advisers,” not lobbyists, even as they advocate for their corporate conglomerate clients with former colleagues.
Questions about Daschle’s failure to fully pay his taxes from 2005 through 2007 had been increasing since they came to light last Friday. Daschle overlooked taxes on income for consulting work and personal use of a car and driver, and also deducted more in charitable contributions than he should have. To resolve it, he paid $128,203 in back taxes and $11,964 in interest last month.
After 10 years of “policy advising,” “strategic consulting” and “government affairs” work, Tom Daschle is finally registering as an out-and-out lobbyist.
Harvard Center for Ethics The Bipartisan Lobbying Center: Nor did it say that energy companies, including America’s Natural Gas Alliance, heavily fund the BPC.
The BPC was founded in 2007 by former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell, who all cashed in on their government experience by working for Beltway law and lobbying firms, and advising major corporations. The think tank’s funders include foundations, corporations and trade associations, with donors in the last two categories including FedEx, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, the American Bankers Association, BP, Chevron, Citigroup, ConocoPhillips, the Nuclear Energy Institute, and Shell.
Corporations are the dominant group among the energy project’s membership list, including CEOs and executives from Marathon Oil, ExxonMobil, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Exelon Corporation, and Southern Company. For window dressing there is one environmentalist, Ralph Cavanagh of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Same thing goes in Australia of course:
Take the Labor Party. [center left/progressive/introduced major AGW/CC action reforms 2007-13] When Labor lost the last election, Govt Ministers Martin Ferguson, Craig Emerson and Greg Combet either took up management jobs with mining and energy companies and associations or worked as consultants for them.
All three with lifelong Union connections, two were head of the national ACTU union body, and Martin Ferguson was the Minister for Mining, Energy before he quit to become a multi-company Board Member for Mining giants and Fossil Fuel corps and their “lobbyists”.
Martin Ferguson is Chairman of the advisory board to the Australian oil and gas industry association, APPEA; is an executive with the Seven Group Holdings with responsibility for natural resources and is a Non-Executive Director of British Gas.
Russell Seitz says
What I have blogged about Delingpole and Lord Lawson’s merry crew , and their Heartland counterparts should more than serve to remind Steven Cornellius that I’ve said what i meant about this being a bipartisan problem , and one I’ve been admonishing Republicans to consider it since Alan Bromley was in John Holdren’s shoes- witness what I concluded in The National Interest in 1990:
At all times and in all polities, science politicized is science betrayed.”
The idea of duty to render disinterested policy advice does not figure greatly in the postmodern STS narrative, and the idea that the political neutrality of scienctific institutions must first exist in order to be respected sadly remains as politically incorrect an opinion today as in 1990,
The article on Curry’s blog is actually Bates’ work. What you’ve quoted are Bates’ words, not Curry’s.
Not to disagree too much with your premise about impacts, but if you read the comments at Curry’s a good 1/3 are certainly not from followers. This is the kind of story which would have easily got her 1000+ comments a few years ago. I would suggest her following is dwindling.
Steven T. Corneliussen says
Thomas (30) and Russell Seitz (32) seem to me to have missed the simple point that I offered earlier, then reiterated in comment 26. I stand by what I wrote.
You’re buying into a number of misconceptions.
The Karl et. al. corrections to the temperature records was surely destined to be controversial
Karl et al. did not introduce any corrections. They were set out in other papers, on which Karl did not participate. Karl et al. 2015 was simply reporting a feature which was apparent in the new datasets.
timing of the release on the eave of both the CPP and the COP21 Paris convention
The paper was published two months before the CPP was finalised (a year after it was proposed), and six months before the Paris summit. By that definition of “on the eve” there would rarely be a time when a paper isn’t released “on the eve” of something that could be deemed important after the fact.
Danly Wolfe @28, I agree with most of that, except you say “it only incites further polarization. Similarly, surveys done to further an advocacy position (“97% of scientists believe that …” done to promote a targeted already held conviction are intellectually dishonest (question: is a small mammal researcher expert on the mating characteristics of the Canadian Rocky marmot an expert on the physics of climate science?”
This is not strictly accurate. 97% of “climate scientists” say we are altering the climate. This is what polls like Cooke or Doran looked at. So they have relevant expertise.
And also, even if they specialise in some small area of climate science, surely they would have enough overall expertise to make a valid statement on whether we are altering the climate.
But it does raise the issue of whether such polls and arguments do much to convince the public. Maybe not a great deal in America, given if anything growing denialism. Maybe such statements about consensus do more in Europe.However it’s hard to see how such polls would do harm, and they would convince most reasonably minded people. The problem is the debate in America is no longer reasonably minded, and has become intensely political.
I think there is another issue. It appears to me that climate change denialism has multiple causes. Like about ten at least. This is what makes it a challenge. We need some circuit breaker that cuts through everything, but I’m not sure what.
Those who consider answering David @29 may note he already got answers in the comments at:
29 David, I won’t react and simply assume you are not a trojan horse sent by Heartland to get Gavin fired but are genuine and merely misguided from all the dis-info and noise in this world.
imo Gavin is so extremely apolitical everywhere he goes in ‘public’ that I suspect even he doesn’t know what his politics is. :-)
re “seems to be unstable with respect to added data” Then he needs to prove that beyond reasonable doubt sceintifically and get it published after being peer-reviewed. Until then it’s a beat up juts as the Marohasy (delusional or intentionally manipulated) claims about the BOM data is a beat up too. How she even got a science degree blows my mind. The woman is so irrational and illogical one can drive a school bus though her arguments and assertions but never touch the sides.
That’s a real issue that someone should address. weren’t the hundred times it’s already been addressed good enough? Will addressing it one thousand times make any difference to the conspiracy theorists on crack?
I don’t think so. In fact I know so. Your mileage may vary, but still ….
you do wonder when Mr Rose is going to grow up and stop acting like a hormonal teenager
28 Danley Wolfe says: [i’ll only stick to this bit] Similarly, surveys done to further an advocacy position (“97% of scientists believe that …” done to promote a targeted already held conviction are intellectually dishonest (question: is a small mammal researcher expert on the mating characteristics of the Canadian Rocky marmot an expert on the physics of climate science?) If the science were absolutely clear there would be no debate, no place for politicization of science.
Danley, try harder for accuracy … https://theconversation.com/consensus-confirmed-over-90-of-climate-scientists-believe-were-causing-global-warming-57654
There is no science or state of knowledge that is absolutely clear. None. Impossible to achieve yardsticks that get laid out by amateurs for experts to high jump over are not valid… or worth the time of day.
RE: intellectually dishonest
Not true, in fact miles for it. There was a untruthful dishonest “meme” going abotu for a decade plus claiming the there was NO consensus in climate science, they beat up this meme daily across the world anyway they could. IT was false and mostly it was intentional lies created by lying shills.
A handful of “academics” picked up on that a several wrote some academic papers on it. One was John Cook of skeptical science because he heard the crap daily. A degree and Phd in psychology/communication fields he was a perfect person to bring all that “consensus studies” together and refine it, and promote it via the SkS site.
John Cook et al addressed the rampant intellectually dishonest asswipes across the internet who were outright head-******** the public repeatedly.
Put down that gun, unload it reload it again with higher caliber .. to a 180 degree turn and then start firing on automatic until you run out of rounds. Then you might hit the right targets. ;-)
Cheers with a long sad sigh
Ray Ladbury says
Danley Wolfe: “If the science were absolutely clear there would be no debate, no place for politicization of science. So better to avoid it.”
I’d call 97% consensus fairly uncontroversial. The opinions of the ignoramati don’t count.
Vendicar Decarian says
10 -“Nobody can stop them.” – Susan Anderson
Absolutely. So there is no point in trying. Just keep your mouth shut and be a good little Liberal.
Inaction = Complicity.
Paul Matthews raises the issue that the NOAA station data adjustment method seems to be unstable with respect to added data. That’s a real issue that someone should address. …
Out of the Curry-led debacle:
MacBates: Much Ado About Nothing
skeptics have found a new pearl to clutch.
Bates also claims that there were bugs in the land station database software that were ignored in the Karl paper. But according to Peterson, the slight day-to-day variability seen in the software’s output was simply the result of the fact that new data was added every day. Stations that straddled statistical cut-offs might fall on one side of the dividing line today, and on the other side tomorrow. There was nothing wrong with the software, they realized. It was just silly to re-run it every single day. …
Susan Anderson says
I recently viewed the brief segment of the travesty of a hearing posted by Rep. Lamar Smith that included their shutdown of former Rep. and current head of AAAS Rush Holt, an intelligent and thoughtful man with a reservoir of knowledge about science.
What struck me is that he is a very ineffective communicator in these shark-infested waters. He is quiet, thoughtful, willing to listen, and reasonable, qualities that don’t work against determined opposition which has already made up their mind and is only conducting the equivalent of a “show trial” to justify their industry-funded trashing of their (and my) earth. His effort to provide parallel examples of how evidence-based science works was viewed as weakness. It was valiant, intelligent, and literate, but wisdom is no longer worthy of respect, except amongst us, the emasculated audience to wholesale destruction.
34 Steven T. Corneliussen, that’s fine, by all means stick to your guns. You make a lot of sense and seriously concerned about it. But why only now? And not 6 months ago or 6 years ago? Nothing has substantially changed except the political power to implement what deniers and neoliberal fanatics have always been on about.
EG “…but for a new, concerted Trump-era attack on climate science and climate awareness.”
With respect, it’s not new Steven. It’s not a ‘Trump-era’ and saying it repeatedly “frames the discussions” in ways that creates even more unnecessary barriers to improved clear communication to the public by “framing” the non-stop never-ending ‘global’ attacks upon the output of climate science that way.
The entire pretense of a left/progressive/hyperbolic media railing against Trump daily every minute is self-serving and counter productive to genuine action on AGW/CC and fighting against any undermining whether coming from Trump Admin decisions and choices or by anyone else.
BY Framing attacks against AGW/CC science into a Trump issue immediately shuts down half the world’s population even listening to what the actual attack is about.
These attacks never stopped under Obama or the Labor Govt in Australia to 2013, and they haven’t eased up since.
Keep speaking out about it but please just focus on the actual attack, the false basis of the attack, the effect of shutting down XYZ govt science body or sacking XYZ scientist and rally the public to also speak out and harass their elected Reps no matter where it happens or which nation they live in.
OR put really ass into gear and run for public office themselves.
PS there’s another thing that’s been going on especially in the US that is impacting upon climate action as a side effect. That is a split in the Corporate power base, one side that backs things like TPP and TIPP and those who do not. Hillary belongs in the former and Trump belongs in the latter.
Yes politics always involves multiple issues and beliefs, but this split has been around along time and is only now become a major battleground. Don’t confuse donations for core beliefs seeking personal/shareholder advantage in a preferred kind of world. They all hedge their bets. And agw/cc issues are more a battlefield strategy to divide and conquer being used to win the long war.
Fred Magyar says
Danley Wolfe @ 28 says:
“(question: is a small mammal researcher expert on the mating characteristics of the Canadian Rocky marmot an expert on the physics of climate science?) If the science were absolutely clear there would be no debate, no place for politicization of science. So better to avoid it.”
Perhaps you didn’t get the memo that the evidence for climate change is multidisciplinary and not restricted to atmospheric physics and chemistry alone.
The inputs from studies done by scientists in the field such as naturalists, biologists, ecologists, etc… allow us to understand how climate change is affecting changes in the biosphere, on which great apes like ourselves, still depend for our survival…
What is crystal clear is that the war on science has been racheted up quite a few notches by the current US administration’s crop of politicians and special interest groups. It would be nice to be able to leave politics out of science altogether and just live and let live, but at this particular juncture in history that would be downright immoral. Silence is not an option and neither is not taking a stand.
Mike Flynn says
“Scientists can fight against this by being scrupulous in not giving opportunities for people to take their words or work out of context and project it onto the faux debate.”
What a good idea! Keep your mouth firmly shut. Only publish what is reproducible, make all supporting data freely available. Accept you may be wrong.
I’m dreaming, of course.
Steven T. Corneliussen says
Re Thomas in 45, I don’t know what else I can say to someone who so puzzlingly asserts
* that the vividly real Trump era doesn’t actually exist (“It’s not a ‘Trump era’”), and that
* despite President Trump’s and his allies’ acquisition of actual power, “nothing has substantially changed,” even though
* they now have what Thomas himself accurately identifies as “the political power to implement” stuff.
These Trump allies are plainly saying–and with this bogus, undignified “scandal” renewal plainly showing–what they intend to implement with the power they got when the Trump era began. Again, it’s distilled in Stephen Bannon’s Breitbart’s Delingpole’s headline: “NOAA scandal gives Trump the perfect excuse to drain the climate swamp.”
Thomas also appears to express worry that to write as I’ve been writing–in several comments here and in my Physics Today Online column about all of this–is to exacerbate polarization. That may be true. But it’s no justification not to seek to understand what’s actually going on.
Mal Adapted says
This. AGW has affected every ecosystem within reach of the downward heat flux (try typing ‘climate change ecological impacts’ into Google Scholar). Field ecologists must confront AGW daily. Their research subjects are crucial indicators of its potential impact on human societies.
As a lifelong student of “natural history”, I was dismayed by Danley Wolfe’s question:
If you even know what a marmot is, how hard can it be to imagine that what affects them might affect you too?