I Have A Stake In The Outcome

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Here on WUWT, Ron Cram has provided an interesting overview of a number of people’s ideas about desirable changes to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC). He proposes that the IPCC provide us with a majority and a minority view of climate science, rather than just a single Assessment Report.

I’m here to propose something very different. Some people think the IPCC should be disbanded. I’m not one of them.

Figure 1. The old time methods are still the best.

I think disbanding the IPCC is a bad idea. Instead, I think that we should take the IPCC to the crossroads at midnight and pound an aspen stake through its heart, stuff its head with garlic, and scatter the remains to be disinfected by sunlight so it can never, ever rise again.

Let me give you a list of my reasons why this is the preferable outcome, in no particular order:

•   The IPCC has provided very little of value in the way of deliverables. The reports have been clearly political, heavily slanted, and shot through with third-rate science and worse, NGO puff pieces disguised as science.

•   No other branch of science wants, needs, or has anything like the IPCC … which argues against it being a useful construct. Nor would most branches of science tolerate that kind of nonsense, a bunch of government bureaucrats summarizing the science.

•   Instead of providing us with any kind of certainty or agreement, the IPCC has been the source of endless disagreements, arguments, and food fights. It is a force for dissension and division, not for scientific advancement and harmony. It has made the split worse, not better.

•   Dr. Pachauri has shown repeatedly that he views his tenure as an Imperial Presidency, immune to comment or dissent. Indeed, his view permeates the entire organization.

•   The “Summary for Policymakers” is done with lots of input from politicians. Letting politicians assist in the writing of the scientific summary for themselves and other politicians … bad idea.

•   A number of underhanded, unethical, and generally dirty things have been done under the IPCC umbrella. As a result, there is a huge segment of the population who will automatically adopt the opposite position to any IPCC recommendations … and often with good reason.

•   People don’t trust the IPCC. We have little confidence in the players, the science, the system, or the so-called safeguards. We’ve been lied to, systematically lied to, by the IPCC. How anyone can think the IPCC is still relevant to public policy after that is beyond me. Abraham Lincoln knew better. In a speech in 1854, he said:

If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem.

And regarding the confidence of the public, nothing has changed in the last century and a half since Lincoln spoke … which is another reason why it is useless to try to keep the IPCC alive. Confidence in the IPCC is dead and it will not come back, it’s not pining for the fjords, it’s terminal, put it out of its misery.

•   Previous dirty fighting has soured a number of excellent scientists on participating in the IPCC process.

•   The participants are chosen by politicians of the various countries … hardly a scientific method for doing anything.

•   The great Ravetzian experiment has been a failure. Jerome Ravetz is one of the founders of and hucksters for “Post-Normal Science”. He recommends including all stakeholders like politicians and planners and social scientists into the scientific process, just like the IPCC did. And he thinks that in times like the present, we need “Post-Normal Science”. (In the best Orwellian doublespeak fashion, this is not a science at all, despite the name.) Post-Normal Science holds that we need to substitute “quality” for truth. The IPCC fits right into Ravetz’s vision of “quality” and participation, and this is exactly what the IPCC claims to do — assess the quality, from the viewpoint of all the stakeholders, of the various parts of climate science.

I’m not saying Jerome Ravetz planned this in any way, he didn’t as far as I can tell. But quite unintentionally, for whatever reasons and circumstances, the IPCC has been a grand experiment in Post-Normal Science.

That experiment has failed. And not just failed, it has crashed and burned with spectacular pyrotechnics and outrageous sound effects. In addition to unending disputes, it has brought us the amusingly meretricious self-aggrandizement of third-rate scientists like Michael Mann.

The attempt to introduce some kind of “quality” assessment into climate science has not led to a greater agreement on where we stand and what to do. Instead, the IPCC and its post-normal science process has led to infighting, and to chapter authors promoting and hyping the “quality” and the “robustness” of their own work, and to questions and protests from reviewers being routinely ignored or run over, and to people gaming the system, and to everything but what the IPCC was supposed to lead to – some kind of agreement on the main points.

And that is why we need to drive a stake through its heart. It was based on false premises. One was the premise that we need something like the IPCC at all. No other arena of scientific endeavor has such a thing … oh, except for the UN bureaucrats latest power grab, a new “IPCC for the biosphere”. (OK, for those who don’t know how that will turn out, spoiler alert! The outcome will be another train wreck … I can see that many of you are surprised.)

Another very important false premise was the charmingly naive idea that Lead Authors would treat their own work the same as they treated the work of other scientists … BWAHAHAHA. Only a lapsed Marxist like Ravetz or one of his kin would be foolish enough to think that would end well. I strongly suspect that Ravetz must actually believe in the goodness of man.

Look, folks, the US Constitution works because none of the founding fathers trusted each other one inch. They didn’t believe in the goodness of man, they’d seen too many kings and tyrants for that nonsense to fly. That’s why the US has three equal branches of Government, so no one branch and no one man would get too powerful. They didn’t trust people a bit.

Why didn’t they trust anyone? Because they were realists who knew that given a chance, someone would grab the power and use it for their own interests and against the interests of the people.

Like, for example, what Michael Mann did when he was appointed Lead Author for an IPCC Chapter. Because the people who set up the IPCC believed in things like fairies, AGW, unicorns, and the basic goodness of humanity, Mann had no constraints on his scientific malfeasance. He was free to promote his Hockeystick garbage as though it were real science.

So that’s why I say kill the IPCC, deader than dead, and scatter the remains. It is built from the bottom up on false ideas, fantasies of human goodness and of the benefits of political involvement that will ensure failure even if the motives are good.

But if for our sins we have to have something like the IPCC, it needs to be set up so that no one faction can take control of the outcome. We need an IPCC Charter that is specifically designed, like the US Constitution, to prevent people from doing those things that we know they will otherwise gladly do. So if we have to have an IPCC, we need a new Charter for a new organization, a charter that starts from the premise that humans will definitely lie, cheat, and corrupt the science if given the slightest chance.

As a result, if we don’t kill the IPCC, the Fifth Assessment Report will be guaranteed to bring us at least three things among its cornucopian lack of benefits:

Liars, cheats, and corrupters of science.

My conclusion? Considering the widespread damage done by the first four attacks, I’m not sure that climate science is strong enough to endure the impending attack from the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. Kill the unclean beast now, while we still have a chance of saving the science.

w.

About these ads

199 thoughts on “I Have A Stake In The Outcome

  1. Areal good one Wiillis, keep them coming, thanks to these idiots a wind turbine has just been built 300 meters from my house, what can you do about the noise? And the value ?

  2. Willis, that’s one of the most profound posts on why the IPCC should be dismantled I’ve read so far. I’m happy to supply a nice big stake to do the job. I’ll even spring for the hammer as well.

  3. Bravo!

    The IPCC is another example of why religion should be kept out of science. And also why religion should be kept out of politics: and also science out of politics.

    And thanks for your insight that PNS has at its heart, the religious impulse. And so seeks to merge all three.

    The bigger problem is not directly from the millenialist religion of the Warmists, (which is being exposed by the mere passage of time) but that their infiltration of Science and Politics gives justification to other Thanatics, Creationists, and Fundamentalists of all types.

  4. From the tone I gather you too think there has been far too much PC lately. Like two decades of it. Finally members of Congress agree and I definitely agree and could never have said it better myself Willis.

  5. I totally agree.
    I fear that what might happen is some sort of political compromise whereby all the IPCC villains get golden handshakes and honourable retirements etc.

    I think that if there is to be any justice the whole structure needs to be ripped apart and exposed for the absolute atrocity that it is.

  6. Bravo, the metaphorical image is wonderful. Good also to see skeptics start to say what they demand, rather than just complaining.

    The IPCC has spawned a climate industry that has become a disseminated cancer in Australia, invading every level of government, schools and business. It must all go. Above all, it should not be allowed to survive by mutation through switching the goalposts to claim benefits of energy security, sustainability, business opportunity, ocean acidification or just some intrinsic beauty of being green. I would repeal every law with the word climate, spill every job with the title containing ‘climate’ and stop every subsidy, abolish every government department or office with names containing ‘sustainability’ or ‘climate’.

    A few climate research centres should be re-established and publicly audited and transparent. Mild warming mitigated. True pollution should be tackled properly and rainforests protected for the right reasons. In time, as resources dwindle, leaps in technology and market forces will naturally find alternatives.

    BTW, It is eerie how IPCC seems invisible already – Australia’s Climate Change minister Penny Wong referred to IPCC 15 times in her speech 12 months ago; I have not heard the government or warmists utter the words since. It’s a pity because near the end there, Pachauri’s and IPCC’s outrageous statements were the sceptic’s best friends.

  7. Willis, there is one sentence I would take issue with:

    In addition to unending disputes, it has brought us the amusingly meretricious self-aggrandizement of third-rate scientists like Michael Mann.

    I think you have seriously over-rated Michael Mann. I know of some perfectly good fifth-rate scientists who do better work than the Mannster.

  8. Willis, you have nailed it! Anyone in power who uses the words “Trust Me” is NOT to be trusted. This does not mean that we should not trust any person, but that we need checks and balances to ensure that public bodies act in trustworthy ways; the IPCC has been encumbered with no such strategies and cannot be allowed to continue as it will ruin the Western world if allowed to continue unchecked.

  9. I concur… and do the same to the UN while you’re at it. The whole thing is rotten to the core and always has been.

  10. Willis, I’m totally with you.

    But we still have a problem… all the “science” organizations worldwide like NAS, Royal Society, and their partners-in-crime like BBC.

    I maintain strongly that we need a “two-party government system” for things to work. And I think that Bill Gates and Open Source have shown us the way for the future of Science. I think it has to be Establishment versus Open Source.

    Therefore, I maintain, we need a wiki. Yes, I’m still working on this idea and actually have a wiki domain for this though currently it is simply asleep. All good ideas take time, this one is too much for me alone, and it needs to involve the whole sceptics’ community.

    I’d like to pick up the wiki project again presently, but the step I’ve taken for now is a major edit, update and rewrite of my Primer (and associated pages). Click my name. I think this update stands tall in its own right, and could be useful to circulate more widely – and I’d like the sort of “peer review” one gets here too.

  11. As much as I agree with your sentiments Willis, there is NO CHANCE that the IPCC will be killed off.
    The damned organization was set-up by the UN and Europeans, the MOST CORRUPT, NEPOTISTIC and SELF CENTERED bunch of politicians and beurocrats the world has ever seen.

    So a little bit of Australiana for you, you got BUCKLEYS and NUN chance the IPCC will be disbanded.

  12. Well said, Willis. I especially like what you had to say about our Constitution. It is too much for me to so trust humanity that I would sacrifice my liberties to a handful of self-proclaimed “experts” and their bureaucratic lackeys on this particular subject, or any other subject for that matter. As Lord Acton once said, “Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Human history is full of examples of this, and IPCC is just another one.

    If you need a hammer to drive that stake, I’ll be glad to help provide one.

  13. Cross-posted from the NoTricksZone:

    Read up on Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, or find his online lectures on Democracy and Tyranny. When the “Selectorate” backs an Inner Circle, they lock onto the jugular of Public Goods, transferring them to their own Private Goods vaults. This is a huge flow; even a destitute state like NK can support an Inner Circle in great luxury.

    And now you know why so many strange bedfellows are working the AGW scam for all it’s worth..

    http://www.econtalk.org/archives/_featuring/bruce_bueno_de_mesquita/index.html

  14. Spot on, Willis – and TWE and Lucy Skywalker, come to that, here in the comments. There is a whole vast tier of self-serving powermongers, who want to rule us all regardless of either our opinions or inconvenient physical fact, which needs to be stripped out and thrown away. Permanently.

    Here in the UK, the Guardian is bewailing today that their beloved “Climate Change Committee” might suffer some damage in Cameron’s latest “Bonfire of the Quangos” (surprise! /sarc). Funny thing, from where I sit quangos and global power groups are more like the Hydra: every time you abolish one of them, three spring up to take its place, which is perhaps why we never see any smoke from the “Bonfire”. Kill ‘em all. (the quangos and “global government” organisations that is, not the individuals – they need help.)

  15. It is heartening to be pipped by Willis’ better writing. For several years I have complained that climate “science” lacked the performance and credibility to be called a true science like Physics or Chemistry.

    There are rules of conduct. Like taking accurate measurements. Like verifying them. Like carrying forward errors and stating them properly. Like mentioning confounding variables. Like letting the results speak for themselves, rather than towards a cause.

    As a chemist, I know that in simple aqueous solutions, phenolphthalein changes to a pink colour above pH of about 8. This is observable, it is repeatable, it is explainable.

    Although this is a very simple example, it stresses the point that it is not open to interpretation for a cause. Much of what I have read from the IPCC would challenge an assertion like this if it suited a political cause to do so.

    The IPCC has yet to reference a publication in which greenhouse gases induce temperature changes on Earth to an accurate, verified, error-estimated extent, with quantification of confounding effects. I suspect that the IPCC would reject this assertion because I did not use the full IUPAC terminology for “phenolphthalein” – or some similar diversion.

  16. Willis,
    As Lucy S. says, the fact on the ground is that the “authorities” like NAS and UK-RS are promoting CAGW. Is must be understood that politicians will rely on them. They have to. Your post is fine, and you will get a lot of support from WUWT commentators, but it wont change a thing. Please use your intelligence and efforts to come up with a way to convince the NAS, the AMS, the APS and so on to change their tunes. Until the “Authorities” and the MSM change their tune, life will go on. I think what you are doing is called “preaching to the choir” in some countries. Do you know what I mean? The whole AGW thing is harming my own life. I spend so much time looking at it. It is angering my family. I want it resolved. Please tell us how to do that. If you cannot change the NAS etc., doesnt that mean that they are right? Your post only increases my personal stress. I think that is how they make lab rats go crazy. Present them with problems with no solution.

  17. Well said Willis. Our dear leader is determined to have a carbon tax in July 2012 and an ETS in 2015. To this end she has employed an economist and a mammologist, who also happen to believe in MMAGW/CC and who have both made serious dough out of it, to brainwash the rest of us into believing her tax is vital to our survival. La Nina is playing havoc with the agenda because the forecast perpetual drought is over, for a while at least. The change could not have come at a better time; natures “climategate ” if you will.

    There is considerably more discussion about nuclear which is driving the Greens spare. True to form they are hyping wind power and other renewables. During a recent hot spell in South Australia the state was drawing 3999 Mw of which 49 Mw was being supplied by wind. Problem is SA has 1050Mw of installed wind power. The excuses and the cries of cherry picking was more extreme than the weather.

    Willis is right to call for the decapitation of the IPCC as it is responsible for the madness we see here and around the world as brainless governments try to “Stop Climate Change”.

  18. Awww, c’mon, Willis. Don’t sugar-coat it. Tell us what you really think ;o)
    .
    .
    .
    Some good arguments there. I’d like to see the counterpoint from an IPCC supporter explaining all the good that has come from the money spent. (crickets…)

  19. Huge damage to economies of other poor countries too done by the IPCC. In the Philippines for instance, outstanding climate loans from the climate loans racketer ADB, WB, OECF, etc. $1.08 B, excluding past climate loans that have been paid already. Another $1B is being negotiated for energy loans to have mandatory subsidies to solar, wind, other RE sources to “save the planet.” The robbery of taxpayers and energy consumers that IPCC has created and justified is huge and will remain huge in the future.

  20. Willis Eschenbach said: “The great Ravetzian experiment has been a failure. Jerome Ravetz is one of the founders of and hucksters for “Post-Normal Science”. He recommends including all stakeholders like politicians and planners and social scientists into the scientific process, just like the IPCC did. And he thinks that in times like the present, we need “Post-Normal Science”. (In the best Orwellian doublespeak fashion, this is not a science at all, despite the name.) Post-Normal Science holds that we need to substitute “quality” for truth. The IPCC fits right into Ravetz’s vision of “quality” and participation, and this is exactly what the IPCC claims to do — assess the quality, from the viewpoint of all the stakeholders, of the various parts of climate science.”

    The biggest hurdle for PNS is people not understanding the name. It’s not post normal science but post normal science – ie a potential way forward when science can’t provide the answers rather than a new form of science. Science by consensus isn’t science, it is politics.

    The simplest interpretation of PNS reveals why it has failed with climate change. All that is really required is that everyone with an interest in resolving a matter compromises until a forward step can be made. 3 issues are prevalent in the AGW application of PNS.

    1. It is assumed that we must make forward steps. Invariably this is inflated to needing rapid, ginormous leaps to aid the consensus building process through scaremongering. The ‘something must be done’ mentality usually discounts ‘nothing’ as an unsuitable answer even when it is the most appropriate.

    2. The evidence and opinions have been sifted by the likes of the IPCC so that not all views are being heard. PNS does describe the need for weighting of opinions and that I think is the major weak point of the theory. With AGW Governments have put people with a vested interest in achieving a specific outcome (rather than just ‘any outcome’) in charge of directing discussions.

    3. Compromise is not in their vocabulary. They have set out a case for AGW. It is quite flimsy and based on an assumption of CO2 warming induced feedbacks yet they will not consider anything less than a vast redistribution of wealth from rich nations to poor ones through force. Governments aren’t compromising – they view green taxes as extra revenue. The luminaries of the AGW creed aren’t compromising either – does it really need 30,000+ people descending on a town?

    At best all they have set out to do is build a fraudulent consensus with PNS as a cover story. Maybe they have convinced themselves that they are practicing PNS properly but they aren’t. The Lisbon conference was an attempt to do it right.

  21. Willis says:

    Look, folks, the US Constitution works because none of the founding fathers trusted each other one inch. They didn’t believe _in the goodness of man_, they’d seen too many kings and tyrants for that nonsense to fly. That’s why the US has three equal branches of Government, so no one branch and no one man would get too powerful. They didn’t trust people a bit.
    ———-
    This is not true. What the Founding Father trusted was the Will of the People as set forth in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution:

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do _ordain_ and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    The key word is “ordain”. Implicit in the Preamble is that the will of the People is above the will of God and of the establishments of religlion, the monarchy and the previleged aristocracy. At that time in Europe, no pretender ( (i.e., a hereditery royal) to the throne could rule unless ordained by the Church a monarch who could then grant privilege and title to an aristocrat (or other worthy person).

    The implcit exclusion of the establishment of regligion from goverance was made explicit in the First Amendment: “The Congress shall pass no law with respect to an establishment of religion or the free exercise thereof…” The intent of the Founding Fathers was this: The Congress shall pass no law confering powers of goverance on an establishment of religion or banning the any religion. This exclusion does not mean that a school can not put on play at christmas time about the birth of Jesus Christ.

    In his Gettyburg’s Address, President Lincoln reaffirmed the Founding Fathers’ trust in will of the people with “…that government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth.” This the fundamental principle of “That shot heard round the world.” The people in Eygpt have finally heard and understood “That shot heard round the world.” The US is the only country in human history where the power of government to rule is granted by will and approval of the people.

    The old world societies despise the USA because the principles of the American Revolution has and still threatens to upset their social, political and religious applecarts. They have never forgiven , do not now and never will forgive the USA for upsetting their applecarts.

  22. Willis the IPCC process is NOT and example of PNS. Stakeholders, like you or representing you would have to be part of the process for it to be PNS.
    You don’t understand PNS. And its not because it hasnt been explained to you.

    Still I think the IPCC should be put to rest, precisely because it doesnt bring all stakeholders into the process as PNS would dictate.

    When Facts are uncertain, when values are in conflict, when stakes are high and when
    some think decisions must be made, THEN stakeholders (like people whose taxes would go up) MUST be part of the decision process. That’s the whole point.

  23. Good article Willis, but realistically I don’t think the fraud wagon will be stopped before we see the 5th report unfortunately.

    But I think a group should be ready to do a forensic dissection on the report when it is released and this time nail all the lies and exaggerations quickly in a matter of days or weeks.

    This time the fraudsters must be made to account for their slop as soon as it is on public display and you will probably have more pollies with big enough testicles in every country to help expose some of the nonsense as well.

    I think lucy’s idea is a good one, we definitely need a site to counter every facet of climate both ancient and modern.

    Every peer reviewed paper covering the MWP from all corners of the planet should be available, plus sea level records, droughts ,floods, ocean oscillations, coral records, glaciers during the LIA and now, ice core records, sea bed core records etc.

    All the latest argo OHC records should be available every month, plus satellite sea levels whatever, but make sure they’re available at one site or more as long as they are available.

  24. Willis rants
    ———-
    humans will definitely lie, cheat, and corrupt the science if given the slightest chance.
    ———-
    and you are excluding climate skeptics from that classification for no particular reason?

  25. Great post…hit the IPCC nail on the head…..BUT, if you think the US constitution prevented power grabs by politicians…..then you need to do some serious reading!

  26. I think disbanding the IPCC is a bad idea. Instead, I think that we should take the IPCC to the crossroads at midnight and pound an aspen stake through its heart, stuff its head with garlic, and scatter the remains to be disinfected by sunlight so it can never, ever rise again.

    Seconded.

  27. Richard Hill says: February 14, 2011 at 2:07 am

    Exactly.

    In the UK, the new figurehead of the Royal Society is called Sir Paul Nurse and it is he who fronted that appalling BBC Horizon programme the other day.

    If you look at the top left of this web page http://royalsociety.org/news/paul-nurse-presents-horizon/ you will see the words “Excellence in Science”.

    There is no hope for change there if they can shamelessly juxtapose the words “excellence in science” with the words “bbc horizon”.

  28. George Tetley says:
    February 14, 2011 at 12:11 am
    “Areal good one Wiillis, keep them coming, thanks to these idiots a wind turbine has just been built 300 meters from my house, what can you do about the noise? And the value ?”

    Shoot it.

  29. I believe Margaret Thatcher took a large part in the creation of the IPCC. At the time global warming alarmism was a useful weapon in her fight against the miners.

    If she really did believe it at the time, she doesn’t now. She is now quite sceptical, as made clear in her autobiography.

    In my view the IPCC is responsible for the greatest confidence trick in the history of mankind.
    Chris

  30. Excellent suggestion Willis Eschenbach, I’m 100% with you but please leave out the part with aspen stake and the garlic. Skeptics should leave the use of medieval rituals to the warmists.

  31. Excellent piece. I do think though, that you have misunderstood Ravetz. Wasn’t Ravetz saying that the problem with climate science is that they don’t use PNS? If Ravetz gets his way, it would make the IPCC even worse, if that’s possible.

    As for that Mann, you are too polite in referring to him as a scientist. There are many third rate scientists that do diligent if uninspiring work. Mann is a charlatan – someone who manipulates and deceives under the aegis of science. He is no less a hoaxer than the Piltdown man creator.

  32. steven mosher says:
    February 14, 2011 at 2:27 am

    “Willis the IPCC process is NOT and [sic] example of PNS. Stakeholders, like you or representing you would have to be part of the process for it to be PNS.”

    That is Ravetz’s take on it yes. But with the exception of stakeholders, the IPCC fits the description of PNS. The idea of involving taxpayers directly as stakeholders is never going to work as it would require a plebiscite. What you have are governments getting involved and writing summaries of the science. In as much as governments are the representatives of the people, then it could be argued that taxpayers are stakeholders.

  33. steve;
    The protestations of PNSers that they aren’t really attempting to relegate truth-testing to subordinate status (to policy priorities) and hence to politicians fails the sniff test.

    Anent which, Mencken:

    The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

  34. Willis,

    Well put, but we should realise that the IPCC is but a small part of the UN, and it is the UN that should be wrent asunder.

  35. I agree with Willis that the IPCC is beyond redemption. Better to start anew on a level playing field with the various teams of scientist working on various aspects of climate science and a variety of competing hypotheses discuss their differences rationally from an equal footing. This is the basis behind my new post here:

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/t-c-chamberlin-multiple-working-hypotheses/

    It was also the basis of my statement to the Lisbon conference:

    “The possibilities for a deliberate realignment of research effort in the testing of multiple hypotheses concerning the causes and consequences of climate change must be considered.”

    I enlarged on this in my verbal intro piece, saying that given interesting correlations are popping up between solar activity and climate indicators, there is a strong case for funding parallel lines of investigation which can cross fertilise and cross validate/eliminate each other. That way, we can winnow out falsehood, and arrive at a convergence of an assessment on the relative power of the various climate driving factors at various epochs.

    Where I disagree with Willis and agree with ‘another Gareth’ above, is in his characterisation of the IPCC process as a “Ravetzian enterprise”. It wasn’t and isn’t. It’s a Schneiderian enterprise founded on “making little mention of any doubts we may have” and as such is utterly the opposite of what Ravetz called for, which was the open acknowledgement and discussion of uncertainty.

    I wrote a lengthy reply to Willis on this issue this morning on Judy Curry’s site here:

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/01/29/lisbon-workshop-on-reconciliation-part-ii/#comment-42355

  36. The checks and balances of the US Constitution exist and are needed for one reason: Original sin. We are selfish and will use any means available to further our own interests. Science is supposed to be above all that: objective, true until proven otherwise by reliable, repeatable tests. Put politics into the process, and you let in human motives, self-interest, willingness to skew or falsify or bypass results, and all the rest of the apparatus of Original Sin.

  37. Willis, from your pen to God’s eyes, but what you wish will never happen. Sort of like in the US trying to get rid of the NEA – NPR nexus or take any other program.
    I know quite a few people whose consultancy revenue stream is tied to attending the sessions in nice foreign places. They will continue to believe, at least publically.

  38. Well yesterday, I called ‘em second rate, Willis is probably right, I’ll settle for third rate.
    But also what I said yesterday – Scrap it. If you don’t, they’ll only dream up some other scare, and spend billions on ‘research’ into junk science.
    What many do not see, is the time wasted on what could be useful research into energy from Thorium, research into flood attenuation, and well you name it….

  39. Even though I agree with the sentiments expressed in this post, …’it’s not going to happen’… Pielke Jnr. In another context but applicable here.

    Deal with it.

  40. Scrap the IPCC? Great idea, but unfortunately totally unrealistic.

    The political establishment requires ever more taxes to fund bloated bureaucracies and welfare schemes.

    ‘Green’ taxes are perceived as being good and most important, they are relatively easy to collect.

    The IPCC is a political tool designed to scare us all into the ‘need’ for more ‘green’ taxes.

    Ergo, it will not be scrapped, unless the political establishment wishes it – and there is absolutely no chance of that happening!

  41. R. de Haan says:
    “Skeptics should leave the use of medieval rituals to the warmists.”

    Unfortunately, logic and correct scientific procedures are unlikely to have too much effect on some of these groups, we have seen that over and over again.

    Sometime, to kill a blood-sucking vampire, ones may need to resort to using an aspen stake and some garlic. ;-)

  42. “George Tetley says:
    February 14, 2011 at 12:11 am

    A real good one Wiillis, keep them coming. Thanks to these idiots a wind turbine has just been built 300 meters from my house, what can you do about the noise? And the value?”

    Big wind and the negative impacts are the consequences of the IPPC . Destruction to rural and urban life that destroys quality of life, property and community – exactly what this global warming crowd wants.

  43. Come on, Willis, tell us how you really feel. Fun aside, I really like your unique voice and I endorse every word you wrote and the picture too. I believe that the IPCC was designed to corrupt science. It has succeeded incredibly well in corrupting science and has produced nothing good. It should have a stake driven through its heart. The people who designed it should be removed from all UN duties and not given another UN dime.

    As regards Ravetz, only the UN or some benighted liberal university would pay him to rehash Marxism for the one gazillionth time.

  44. Willis,

    I like reading all your stuff, and admire the fact that you’ll stuggle to get your head around something, and do it right there (here) in public. This time though, there’s no struggle. You nailed this one right out of the gate. Bravo!

    /dr.bill

  45. I’m with you, Willis. The IPCC should be thrown on the scrap heap of discredited systems of thought control and tyranny, to moulder and rust, along with those other discarded bureaucracies. the Star Chamber, Papal Inquisition and Stalin’s Law Courts. And while we’re about it, why not chuck the BBC over the cliff as well…..

  46. agreed! the Un is behind it and like all Un backed ideas , its lousy with corruption and bias.
    no rejigging would work, they’d make sure of that.
    by all means do real science on matters of climate.
    but as for the whole agw cc disruption foolery- bury it deep, real real deep.
    as the aussies above noted we have an accountant with no science and a chap with seriously questionable bias and lack of real cred now given 5 Mil to try and brainwash/scare the public into compliance with insane taxes and trading in fictitious carbon ventures. today abc and the DPI vic are pushing feeding animals waste cottonmeal( chem and gm is good?) and paying them a bonus to do so.
    cattle are meant to graze grass NOT eat grain and waste. and it just keeps coming,
    as another poster said its wasting our lives doing battle over this, sure we;re all learning more and thats good, but at the expense of other things that matter, while they have us in a lather over this, it’s what else is going on behind the show thats a worry. more rules regs and un agreements..none of which is good for any but the UN megaworld govt afficionados.

  47. Willis, great and ground breaking piece. Hooley dooley.

    I thought for a minute there, ‘Willis can I have some of your fish?’ Ciguatera and its symptoms of allodynia?

    Triangulation, a term for the mix of qualitative and quantitative research (not science) for some decades now may be this ‘post normal science’.
    Is anyone aware or has commented on how policy IS actually developed?

    Surely ease of access to publications on the web by pseudos, rather than the real tedious work with a disparate group of experts who have subjected their area of expertise WITHIN scientific principles of the peer-reviewed literature rather than cherry picking from a desk what’s been blogged on the internet …… is the question.

    My garlic is planted, sapling being chosen and whetstone wettened.

    And have good peoples read Pat Franks 3 part response in Metrology blog on WUWT. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/22/the-metrology-of-thermometers/
    Masterful responses.

  48. Another Gareth says:
    February 14, 2011 at 2:18 am

    “The biggest hurdle for PNS is people not understanding the name. It’s not post normal science but post normal science – ie a potential way forward when science can’t provide the answers rather than a new form of science. Science by consensus isn’t science, it is politics.”

    Your astounding error is found in the phrase “potential way forward.” It has never been and never will be the purpose of science to create, identify, or point a way forward. Science produces understanding, not political action. Science might reveal in the next few weeks that the human genome is such that all humans will die within the next year and that nothing can be done about it. In other words, science might reveal that there is no way forward. In doing so, it will have done its job perfectly.

    You folks who are always looking for a way forward are not promoting science or a scientific approach to the matter. You are not looking for understanding. You are looking for political leverage. So, stop dragging the good name of science through any and all of your sewers. Stop using the name altogether.

    Ravetz and PNS are just the gazillionth iteration of Marxism, a dead old dogma that had bored people to tears by 1890 at the best. It is bereft of all value. It is nothing but a smokescreen for those who want to impress others with their intellectual heft but who actually are clueless. I will gladly debate any Ravetzian or PNSian at WUWT and I will guarantee to reveal the absurdity in each position associated PNS.

  49. “A number of underhanded, unethical, and generally dirty things have been done under the IPCC umbrella.”

    Steady on there. If you ignore the: gross exaggeration and distortion; manipulation of peer review; conflict of interest; lack of proper due dilligence; cherry picking of evidence and downright lies (e.g. Himilayan Glaciers to disappear by 2050)
    …they do write some good works of fiction.

  50. ” The IPCC has provided very little of value in the way of deliverables. The reports have been clearly political, heavily slanted, and shot through with third-rate science and worse, NGO puff pieces disguised as science.”

    The beast never had to deliver facts, It just had to be believed. Mission accomplished.

  51. Don’t think that vampire’s dead Willis. Looks to me like it has been stabbed in the right side, missing the heart. I reckon its going to come back and haunt us later. Sort of mirroring the whole post normal science debate – we’ve scored a few hits but, what with the IPCC for the biosphere idea, we haven’t yet dealt any mortal blows.

    Here’s hoping that wooden stake hits the heart some time soon.

  52. steven mosher says:
    February 14, 2011 at 2:27 am
    Willis the IPCC process is NOT and example of PNS. Stakeholders, like you or representing you would have to be part of the process for it to be PNS.
    You don’t understand PNS. And its not because it hasnt been explained to you.

    Still I think the IPCC should be put to rest, precisely because it doesnt bring all stakeholders into the process as PNS would dictate.

    When Facts are uncertain, when values are in conflict, when stakes are high and when
    some think decisions must be made, THEN stakeholders (like people whose taxes would go up) MUST be part of the decision process. That’s the whole point.”

    Actually the failure of PNS is it does not explicidly separate the science from the policy,

    Here is the quote and my response…”“…’When facts are uncertain, when values are in conflict, when stakes are high, when decisions seem urgent, the FIRST casualty is “normal” science.’
    I would say the first obligation of policy makers, those with integrity to truth, should be to protect and defend “normal” science, and not let it be a casualty.

  53. Peter Miller says:
    February 14, 2011 at 3:58 am
    “Scrap the IPCC? Great idea, but unfortunately totally unrealistic. The political establishment requires ever more taxes to fund bloated bureaucracies and welfare schemes.”

    Aren’t you aware that the Republicans are taking steps to end funding for EPA regulation of CO2 and, in addition, to remove that mandate from the EPA? In 2012, they might end the Department of (Marxist) Education. Why so glum? Have some hope.

  54. Congratulations Willis. Keep it up because the silent majority is finally stirring judging by the increasing traffic on sceptic blogs, especially in Australia.

    Here’s another take on the UNIPCC which may come as huge shock to AGW believers who were feeling all warm and fuzzy about ‘saving’ the planet and felt at one with the zealous environmental forces of the UNIPCC and their CAGW theory.

    It’s an interview by one of the top IPPC men given to NZZ am Sonntag on November 10 2010.

    Ottmar Edenhofer is a German economist who deals with climate change policy…….. He is currently professor of the Economics of Climate Change at the Technical University of Berlin, co-chair of Working group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and deputy director and chief economist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research…… In 2004 he was a lead author for the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President of the United States Al Gore.

    In the interview Edenhofer freely admitted that the goal of Climate Policy is to transfer wealth from the West to the Third World by imposing economy eviscerating carbon caps on the West.

    Edited excerpts from that interview:-

    (NZZ AM SONNTAG): “The new thing about your proposal for a Global Deal is the stress on the importance of development policy for climate policy. Until now, many think of aid when they hear development policies.

    (OTTMAR EDENHOFER, UN IPCC OFFICIAL): That will change immediately if global emission rights are distributed. If this happens, on a per capita basis, then Africa will be the big winner, and huge amounts of money will flow there. This will have enormous implications for development policy. And it will raise the question if these countries can deal responsibly with so much money at all.

    (NZZ): That does not sound anymore like the climate policy that we know.

    (EDENHOFER): Basically it’s a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization. The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War.

    (NZZ): De facto, this means an expropriation of the countries with natural resources. This leads to a very different development from that which has been triggered by development policy.

    (EDENHOFER): First of all, developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community. But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore.”

    The link is http://www.libertarianadvocate.blogspot.com/2010/11/ottmar-edenhofer-co-chair-of-uns-ipcc.html

    Google NZZ am Sonntag for the original in German.

  55. We’re entering a new era where spending must be reduced…not a little, but a lot. I think the beast will be killed–not by a stake, but by starvation and not a minute too soon.

    For those who shoot the windmills, please leave the shafts standing as a warning to the next generation of brain-damaged do-gooders. Thank you.

  56. Well, this gets off-topic, but curiosity can’t be stopped. Is there a zoologist here who can identify the non-human bones in the picture? I’m guessing that the “vampire” was buried with his horse.

  57. Just like a guy said earlier in his comment, there should be a very good distinction between science, religion and politics.Although in my own opinion the three of them are only helping at the destruction and making a very big slavery onto population these days.Too much control because some big guys have allot of money and they want more!

  58. The IPCC was set up by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) as an effort by the United Nations to provide the governments of the world with a clear scientific view of what is happening to the world’s climate.

    A great idea, certainly. But what happened?

    Well, the scientific view of what is happening to the world’s climate was hijacked by politics. The first group of scientists, responsible for the first report of the IPCC, concluded that there was no evidence to support anthropogenic global warming. Well, that would have spelt the end of the IPCC then and there. The UN couldn’t stomach that … so an “eminent scientist” was found to prepare a misleading statement that there was evidence of anthropogenic global warming.

    US 60+ billion dollars have been spent over the years, trying to persuade the world that CO2 emissions from human activity is causing catastrophic global warming … yet the IPCC has still not yet produced even one shred of empirical evidence to support its mantra. (Heck, the IPCC could even win US $500,000 from the Junk Science web site by producing the empirical evidence.)

    http://ultimateglobalwarmingchallenge.com/

    So what now? There is only one answer. The politics in climate science, which has corrupted scientists, and caused so much damage to the scientific community, must be eliminated. To do this, the IPCC must be exterminated. The scientific method and skepticism must regain their rightful place in science, and consensus science must be cast into a bottomless pit, never to rear its ugly head again.

  59. George Tetley says: February 14, 2011 at 12:11 am
    Commentator 1/N=?

    True, what would one do?
    Such troglodytes that want us back eyeing the winds to gather, smoke and trade trepang on the northern shores or bake a loaf from the one sack reaped from wind-milled grain for ten kids in the wood oven in the middle of the mallee (or city) need some further education. Or permanent relocation to do just so.

    A submission of the contribution (not) and lunacy of wind farms for OUR national energy grid and the effects on families, natural habitats and industry is here:

    http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/why-wind-wont-work.pdf

    The Senate http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/clac_ctte/impact_rural_wind_farms/info.htm
    must surely need re-education that we are in the 21C and people want jobs and the opportunity to live in our wonderful country without such massive blades over their heads and families. Particularly when Australia has such an abundance and capacity for provision of cheaper and less damaging energy.
    Read the other submissions

    http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/clac_ctte/impact_rural_wind_farms/submissions.htm

  60. “I think disbanding the IPCC is a bad idea. Instead, I think that we should take the IPCC to the crossroads at midnight and pound an aspen stake through its heart, stuff its head with garlic, and scatter the remains to be disinfected by sunlight so it can never, ever rise again”

    I am sympathetic, unfortunately, there’s a lot of organization and political theory out there which implies this is impossible.

  61. LazyTeenager says:
    February 14, 2011 at 2:33 am

    Willis rants
    ———-
    humans will definitely lie, cheat, and corrupt the science if given the slightest chance.
    ———-
    and you are excluding climate skeptics from that classification for no particular reason?

    You misunderstand (again). Climate Skeptics’, or Climate Realists’ only stake in this is a level playing field. The Alarmists have stacked the deck, and blatantly so, then claimed that the “science was in” and “the debate is over”.
    All of the lying, cheating, power-mongering etc. is being done by the Alarmists because their motives have to do with keeping the funding/career/fame/power behemoth rolling along.

  62. Theo Goodwin says: February 14, 2011 at 4:32 am

    Theo I would appreciate if you would expand on
    Verstehen (understanding) and Erklaren (explaining).

    Dilthey did such. I understood that Weber failed.
    Your post is most interesting, thank you.

  63. “Figure 1. The old time methods are still the best.”

    It does help if the stake is driven through the left-hand side of the chest, where the heart is, rather than the right-hand side. Professor Abraham van Helsing would give you a very poor grade on the whole stop the vampire thing.

  64. While I too would like to see the IPCC disbanded, I don’t agree with the language used in this post. Kill the IPCC? There are plenty of people lined up to tangentially manufacture political hay from less violent imagery, as recently witnessed in the Palin-target-list kerfluffle. I do hope Anthony will keep a tighter rein on his contributors in the future.

  65. steven mosher says: February 14, 2011 at 2:27 am

    If the IPCC “Process” is not an example of PNS then it must be an example of the process of “Socially Engineered Science”. Cronyism disguised as a stakeholder.

    BTW mosh, the definition of a “Stakeholder” is a fork. In any event, a stakeholder is usually devoid of any equity in which they cast an opinion on, or in.

  66. More than just a rim shot, this post is a three point game stealer from midcourt with zero left on the clock!

  67. DocMartyn says:
    February 14, 2011 at 5:55 am

    It does help if the stake is driven through the left-hand side of the chest, where the heart is, rather than the right-hand side.
    ____________________________

    The heart is actually right in the middle, although: “The heart is usually felt to be on the left side because the left heart (left ventricle) is stronger (it pumps to all body parts). ”

    As usual, the actual science and facts are often contradictory to what is “felt to be”. Much in the same way many leftist eco-extrimists “feel bad” about what humans do to the world. There is no doubt much harm being done by humans, but it may not correspond entirely and perfectly with our “feelings” about what is going on.

  68. HaroldW says:
    February 14, 2011 at 5:33 am (Edit)
    Well, this gets off-topic, but curiosity can’t be stopped. Is there a zoologist here who can identify the non-human bones in the picture? I’m guessing that the “vampire” was buried with his horse.

    Some enjoy flogging a dead one. In this case it’s the “….and the horse you rode in on”

    Like Anthony I prefer not to ascribe malice where incompetence is quite sufficient. On the subject of skeletons, horses and the IPCC’s incompetence and doom saying, I always liked this cartoon.

  69. What’s everyone complaining about? The IPCC is working well within design specifications! In fact the design has worked so well that they’ve already started on the MkII, biodiversity version.

    DaveE.

  70. None of this will ever end until there is true accountability in public life. The problem is that the ‘ruling’ class can make decissions without bearing the consequence of the decisions that they make. This leads to corruption and self interest. It also leads to acting upon ideological lines with a complete damn as to the consequences. This is pervassive and has pervaded public life for far too long.
    For example, a parole board may release a prisoner who has served say just 40% of their sentence because of the ideological views of the parole board. The released prisoner during the early release period (ie., the remaing 60% period) may commit another serious crime, eg., stabbing, rape, murder whatever. If the members of the parole board were considered to be accessories to that further crime and each liable to prosecution as a co-offender in relation to that offence, it would make them think seriously about the risks that early release may pose and whether early release is justified in relation to the risks that society runs by virtue of the early release. It would make them consider what risks they themselves are prepared to run for the ideological beliefs that they hold.

    A similar principle should apply to political decisions taken by politicians and activists/pressure groups pushing for certain policy decisions. If a decision was negligently made (and in this regard there may need to be a seperate catagory of negligence and may be a different standard of proof), then those who pushed for the decision and those who made the decision should be liable to compensate all those adversely affected by the decision. In this regard, one would also have to carefully consider and define the assets of the people involved ti get around trusts, marital/family dispositions etc.

    The problem is that it is easy to spend other people’s money. It is easy to take a joy ride and enjoy the gravy train and when it is all seen to be a scam and de-rails, there is no consequence for the parasites involved. Fundamental changes are needed if one is to ever curb the abuse of power.

    As regards the IPCC, this will live on. There is little chance that a scientific debate will kill it off. If there was a killer scientific argument on either side this would have been deployed. The science and the inadequacies in the science has been known for at least 40 years. At best, the only potential game changers are a better understanding of clouds both whether they are positive or negative feedback and the cosmic rays experiment.

    In my view, the only realistic game changer on the horizon is an observational one should we be in for a prolonged period of cooler temperatures. If we are in for a period of say a further 20 years of cooling temperatures, the AGW argument will become ever more difficult to sell. The only question is how much damage will we inflict upon ourselves before this becomes obvious. There is of course potential to inflict much damage. However, the present economic problems may curb that. If it takes us 5 to 10 years to crawl out of the present economic mess and if by then the cooler temperatures are more apparent, we may be able to stop applying the accelerator and possibly even apply the brakes. I don’t like cold but I am hoping for a prolonged period of cooling.

  71. Mervyn Sullivan says:
    February 14, 2011 at 5:36 am

    US 60+ billion dollars have been spent over the years, trying to persuade the world that CO2 emissions from human activity is causing catastrophic global warming … yet the IPCC has still not yet produced even one shred of empirical evidence to support its mantra. (Heck, the IPCC could even win US $500,000 from the Junk Science web site by producing the empirical evidence.)

    ______________________________________

    An important side note to your story is the: “We must act now or it will be to late. Evidence may be rather scarce, but if you don’t trust us completely and make a U-turn within very little time, the evidence WILL mount up as the problem grows too large to handle”-mantra.

    This was a neat trick. It kind of eases the burden of providing actual evidence. The problem I see is that I cannot wrap my head around how they, in spite of being unable to come up with clear evidence, can be so precise with regards to tipping points, feedbacks, windows of action expressed in precise numerical statements about reduction goals etc.

    AND: Have they produced any actual solutions that can be implemented to reduce CO2? Seems like the AGWers are more concerned with confirming the ever more dramatic catastrophy than providing solutions that can actually reduce CO2 in a meaningful way.

  72. This is a clear and persuasive set of reasons to ‘take the IPCC to the crossroads’. It is a shame that the rent seekers will not listen, learn and heed. I fear that the 5th attack will severly damage the global economy.

    The good news is that after a couple more years of cooling the 6th will not happen.

  73. To misquote:
    “Willis Eschenbach (may his tribe increase)”

    I thank you Willis on behalf of my grandchildren and great grandchildren. I sincerely hope that your post gets wider coverage.

  74. @ Chris D.

    You said:
    ” . . .I don’t agree with the language used in this post. Kill the IPCC? . . . I do hope Anthony will keep a tighter rein on his contributors in the future.”

    OK. I have to assume you intended that remark facetiously, right?

    This was a brilliant call to arms, Chris.

    I’m a little old lady who releases flies out-of-doors if she can manage it.

    But rational people need to identify an enemy by its evil intentions and deeds and then – kill it.

  75. Willis, you’re tendancey to use big words when you get excited is so telling of how upset you really are. I take it from this piece that you don’t care much for the proposal on the table and that if you had your way you might do something unkind to the organization in question. Is that right? You’re so deep and enigmatic when you’re upset.

    PS: Why “an aspen stake”? “Garlic”? “Scatter the remains”? Don’t understand. Wouldn’t a rope, a tree, and some gas and a match be OK too? You should use less Voodoo and more four letter words so we don’t misunderstand you. (It was Voodoo, right?;-)

  76. This is obviously becoming a Roman Circus based on the comments here. Where can I buy a ticket to the ceremony? I would like to buy now before all the food seats are gone. Will there be refreshments or shall I bring my own champagne?

  77. That experiment has failed. And not just failed, it has crashed and burned with spectacular pyrotechnics and outrageous sound effects.

    My overactive imagination was stimulated to think of the sound effects coming through my home theater. The windows would rattle, the whole house would shake, and the butt massage would be incredible on my sofa.

    Thank you Willis!

  78. Can we toss this in the ashes, too?

    “The biggest hurdle for PNS is people not understanding the name. It’s not post normal science but post normal science – ie a potential way forward when science can’t provide the answers rather than a new form of science. Science by consensus isn’t science, it is politics.”

    Bollocks. PNS is a way to projects alive that cannot be supported by the science.

  79. I didn’t think that anyone could hold Post-Modern Science in greater disdain than I do. But I think Willis does. Can I volunteer to help in the midnight stake-driving?

    Three cheers for Willis!

  80. “… I think that we should take the IPCC to the crossroads at midnight and pound an aspen stake through its heart, stuff its head with garlic, and scatter the remains to be disinfected by sunlight so it can never, ever rise again.”

    Excellent, Willis. Now let’s get practical. Exactly how should this be done, step by step. Exactly who is going to provide the “crossroads” (the individuals, agencies, organizations, courts;, how do we agree on “midnight” (the timing of each thrust and dismemberment); what is the stake and the garlic; how and where to do we scatter the remains (I hope some of “it” goes to prison and I hope “it” gets NO retirement pension); how — throughout every developed society — is that sunlight distributed and shone at its brightest. There’s one heck of a lot of work to do. A Tea Party type of grassroots anger is an excellent beginning.

  81. There is no need for the IPCC or any other such body for any of the sciences.

    BUT, there is a need to protect and monitor the temperature data from the “adjustments” and corruption imposed upon it by the politically-purchased data handlers. We need to present the raw data from a set of properly sited and maintained temperature monitoring sites relatively evenly distributed over the land mass – less than a hundred would do fine. With such quality and consistency, changes in global and regional temperatures would be valid.

    There is no reason to create a “true” global average when it means cobbling up and extrapolating all kinds of regions while enduring changes over time in quality ad number of sites, as well as the selective deletion of sites by the data handlers.

  82. LazyTeenager says:
    February 14, 2011 at 2:33 am

    Willis rants
    ———-
    humans will definitely lie, cheat, and corrupt the science if given the slightest chance.
    ———-
    and you are excluding climate skeptics from that classification for no particular reason?

    HUMANS will definitely lie and cheat Lazyteenager, HUMANS. Ergo this includes sceptics and alarmists alike.

    So are you now saying us sceptics are NOT human?

    I got to hand it to you LazyT, you repeatedly receive intellectual pummelings here at WUWT, but you keep posting regardless. Most people would be too embarrassed to.

    [snip . . unhelpful even if true]

  83. Spot on, Willis. The very basis of the IPCC’s existence is that there is something “wrong” with our climate, and that we humans “must” be to blame somehow.
    You can’t fix something that’s rotten to the core.

  84. Charles Higley says:
    February 14, 2011 at 7:19 am
    …there is a need to protect and monitor the temperature data from the “adjustments” and corruption imposed upon it by the politically-purchased data handlers. We need to present the raw data from a set of properly sited and maintained temperature monitoring sites relatively evenly distributed over the land mass

    Discussion of this topic was one of the practical outcomes of the Lisbon workshop by the group I was sitting with. A short draft proposal was generated and read out:

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/one-lisbon-workshop-output-climate-datasets/

  85. tallbloke says:
    February 14, 2011 at 6:21 am
    Like Anthony I prefer not to ascribe malice where incompetence is quite sufficient.
    ======================================================
    Then you would have to believe that they are ignorant, have never looked at any opposing science, and don’t know what they are doing…

    I don’t

    I believe they are smart, and know exactly where they are lying

  86. Willis,

    I appreciate your position but consider this counter-argument: if we didn’t have the UN we could have something else in its place possibly worse. If we didn’t have the IPCC we could have something worse.

    What is worse? Say we disband the UN – could the next thing simply be secret meetings between inter-governmental uber bureaucracies where the real decisions on policy are made independently of elected officials, officials who are simply front men and fall guys? I mean, look at the recent actions of the EPA on finding that CO2 is pollution.

    At least with the current system we can see what is going on (to a degree) and protest.

    (on a note of full disclosure my birthday falls on United Nations day)

  87. GregO says:
    February 14, 2011 at 7:51 am

    Willis,

    I appreciate your position but consider this counter-argument: if we didn’t have the UN we could have something else in its place possibly worse. If we didn’t have the IPCC we could have something worse.

    At times like this it best to remember the words of WC

    An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
    Winston Churchill

    I think Willis has the right of it. :-)

  88. Latitude says:
    February 14, 2011 at 7:38 am
    I believe they are smart, and know exactly where they are lying

    But did you like the cartoon?

    Made me laugh anyway.

  89. This is the best analysis of and proposal for the IPCC I’ve ever seen. I’d just modify it one tiny bit.

    Nuke the IPCC from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

  90. Well done Mr. Eschenbach!! Well done indeed!! The IPCC is totally corrupt and beyond repair. It needs to be completely abandoned.

  91. Willis,
    You are being way too soft on the IPCC!
    The proper way to deal with it is to stop paying any money at all and then [trimmed] all the participants. Scorched earth is the best policy.

  92. Dr. Pachauri and the IPCC are perhaps the greatest force on earth promoting climate skepticism. Rather than waste energy tearing down your enemies, hold them up on high for all to see their flaws.

    Imagine what it would do to climate science if for example, Lord Moncton was to relentlessly praise Dr. Pachauri and the IPCC beyond measure. Telling the world how fantastic a job they are doing, and how they are getting everything right. That warming causes cooling, and drought causes floods, just like everyone knows.

    That the reason the climate models have made mistakes is because we haven’t stop producing CO2. That the solution is to tax energy production, shut down industry and everyone stop eating meat and become vegetarians, move back to the country and live off the land, just the way the Dr. Pachauri and the IPCC would have us live.

  93. GregO says:
    February 14, 2011 at 7:51 am

    Well, the EPA basically side-stepped its obligation to do due diligence in examining the science by citing the IPCC as an authority. That crutch needs to be kicked out, broken up, and burned.

  94. I just discovered that one can vote with the stars at the beginning of the post replies. I voted excellent.

  95. The greatness of that corrupt inner circle webbing has its tentacles sucking deep into the global economy.

    There is an akiles heel. Now the story of David and Goliath come to mind.

    Looking forward to the IPCC being a distant bad memory.

  96. One of the best posts on WUWT yet! Thanks, Willis!

    You said: “the IPCC has been a grand experiment in Post-Normal Science”

    This is evident by the fact that they NAMED it the “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” from the outset. Climate change was assumed to be occurring, so all of their science is skewed towards validating that position.

    If it were honestly named “Intergovernmental Panel to Investigate if Climate Change Is Real, And, If It Is, What The Hell We Can Do About It,” we wouldn’t be in this fix. WUWT and a few other blogs seem to be functioning in this role, holding honest debates about the science & possible outcomes…true peer-review on the web.

    I agree….stake through the heart, burn the corpse and sow the soil beneath it with salt so that nothing more like it can ever grow again.

  97. steven mosher says:
    February 14, 2011 at 2:27 am

    Willis the IPCC process is NOT and example of PNS. Stakeholders, like you or representing you would have to be part of the process for it to be PNS.
    You don’t understand PNS. And its not because it hasnt been explained to you.

    Still I think the IPCC should be put to rest, precisely because it doesnt bring all stakeholders into the process as PNS would dictate.

    When Facts are uncertain, when values are in conflict, when stakes are high and when
    some think decisions must be made, THEN stakeholders (like people whose taxes would go up) MUST be part of the decision process. That’s the whole point.

    …except the definition (according to wikipedia) says “…[stakeholders] who are prepared to enter into dialogue on it.”

    Who decides who is prepared? This is Willis’ point, that PNS is a joke from the git-go, from its entire definition.

    Now, for a second, let’s assume the line I quoted wasn’t part of the definition, and your understanding is the correct one. How exactly can every taxpayer fulfill their responsibility to [MUST] be part of the process? Elections? No, because those have defined timelines (counter-thema to PNS). And even if every taxpayer “did something” to add to the PNS process, who decides how each taxpayer’s part is incorporated? From your definition, PNS sounds like “science by democracy (er, consensus),” which I know that you know is totally wrong.

    It still concerns me that you’re of the belief “if only IPCC incorporated PNS correctly, it would be OK.” For my money, Post Normal Science is an oxymoron at best. I’d call it Philosophy or Ethics. It is not Science.

  98. Ban Ki Moon is already aggregating votes for his next regime. He is a key player in this game and is a true believer. If he retains his chair the IPCC will continue unabated. If Obama was even half the brain of past presidents he would have killed the UN by now. I could be wrong, but I remember Reagan at one time threatening the UN with castrattion. That needs to happen now but not as a threat, as a promise.

  99. Willis,
    I always enjoy your posts. You have a great writing style. While I understand your anger at the IPCC and believe it is justified, it is not within our power to drive a stake through the heart of the IPCC.

    I agree with your reading of history and the US Constitution. We have checks and balances on power precisely because people are not to be trusted. The best way to put a check on the power of the IPCC is to complete a quality and competitive assessment report.

    I do not trust the IPCC to produce a fair and unbiased AR5 and that is the reason for my proposal. A great deal of skeptical research has been published since AR4 and more will be published because of Climategate. By the time AR5 rolls around, the state of climate science will be much different. I don’t believe the IPCC is to be feared, it is to be defeated in the open marketplace of ideas and evidence.

    Roy Spencer made a comment on my post indicating John Christy had made a similar proposal in a meeting in Hawaii. I take that as a signal Christy may be interested. On Judith Curry’s blog, she responded to my question by saying she had read my proposal on WUWT and thought it was a good idea. I am hoping other scientists will join the effort. This is not an effort I will lead. I am just trying to get it started.

    Willis, I hope you will agree to contribute to an assessment report alternative to AR5. I think you can make a valuable contribution.

  100. Latitude says:
    February 14, 2011 at 7:38 am
    I believe they are smart, and know exactly where they are lying

    But did you like the cartoon?

    I’m with Lats here and yeh, the cartoon is great. Incidently, I’m also totally convinced that the likes of Trenberth, Mann, Schmidt et al are well aware of what the future climate looks like and that’s why their responses are getting more and more shrill. They need to get some reglés in place before it’s too late and we start seeing some really cold summers as well as winters.

  101. Bruckner8 says:
    February 14, 2011 at 9:14 am
    “It still concerns me that you’re of the belief “if only IPCC incorporated PNS correctly, it would be OK.” For my money, Post Normal Science is an oxymoron at best. I’d call it Philosophy or Ethics. It is not Science.”

    Brazen Marxism with a dash of sociology. It certainly does not qualify as Ethics. It qualifies as philosophy only in the sense that everything qualifies as philsophy.

  102. George Tetley says (#1) : “Areal good one Wiillis, keep them coming, thanks to these idiots a wind turbine has just been built 300 meters from my house, what can you do about the noise? And the value ?”
    - – - – -
    [snip . . without a sarc/ we can't be part of this can we?]

  103. Jessie says:
    February 14, 2011 at 5:54 am
    Theo Goodwin says: February 14, 2011 at 4:32 am

    Theo I would appreciate if you would expand on
    Verstehen (understanding) and Erklaren (explaining).

    In the tradition that I am following, begun by Carl G. Hempel and continuing through Isaac Levi, understanding and explaining are the same thing. The simplest way to describe explaining and understanding is to use an example. I like Thomas Kuhn’s narrative about the transitions from Ptolemy to Copernicus to Kepler to Galileo to Newton that is found in his book The Copernican Revolution. Kepler’s solar system, as described by his Three Laws, is the perfect example of a set of hypotheses that can explain and predict the behavior of the planets as observed from Earth. With Galileo, the observations and predictions are broadened and enhanced. Galileo can predict the phases of Venus using Kepler’s equations. To understand the phases of Venus is to see that they are implied by Kepler’s hypotheses and the model of the solar system that they describe. To explain Galileo’s predictions is the same thing, to show by appeal to Kepler’s hypotheses that a given phase is an instance of Kepler’s solar system.

    The German word ‘verstehen’ is ambiguous. Another meaning of ‘verstehen’ is to understand in the sense of empathizing with another. I think that is what you have in mind with regard to Dilthey. That kind of understanding does not have a role in the hard sciences.

  104. The comments are too many to avoid possible duplication. I especially like Willis’s Founders example, and observe that, to the IPCC and other nations, a nation of sovereign persons is a foreign idea, one that works against the rule of an elite.

  105. stephen richards says:
    February 14, 2011 at 9:58 am
    “before it’s too late and we start seeing some really cold summers as well as winters.”

    What the 400 years of the Central England Temperature record teaches is that the summers here don’t change as much as the winters do. Probably due to the cloud cover that comes with low solar solar activity. It’s often cloudy in summer in the UK.

    The winters are a different story. When ocean heat content drops and the gulf stream slows, the south westerly winds are not as warm. The jet stream loops south from the arctic and Northern Britain finds itself in freezing air for weeks at a time. This is what happened this winter with the blocking high over Greenland. With a couple of low solar cycles on the horizon, it’s looking a bit grim oop north.

  106. No, no, no…

    Don’t disband. Repurpose!

    Just think what a wonderful theatrical company the IPCC could be. They already have the writers, the actors, the producers, the directors, the marketing talent, the distribution network, and sources of funding for fictional narratives.

    There would of course need to be a new category added to the Oscars for best scientific hoax.

  107. Willis: I have a bunch of wooden stakes left over from a project, and a great big mallet to bang them in. When do you want to start?

  108. tallbloke says:
    February 14, 2011 at 10:53 am

    stephen richards says:
    February 14, 2011 at 9:58 am

    “before it’s too late and we start seeing some really cold summers as well as winters.”
    —————————————————————————–
    What the 400 years of the Central England Temperature record teaches is that the summers here don’t change as much as the winters do…..

    ——————————————————————————–
    Whilst it is only a very short period of time the UK CET “Growing Season” April through October has cooled. 2010 mean was 13.0C, 0.6C down on 2009 and a full 1.6C down on its peak of 14.6C in 2006.
    Too short a timescale, but my home grown veggies were a lot more productive in 2006!

  109. Although I agree 100% I can’t see them going. Too many carbon scammers waiting for the next boost (and boy do they need it). Once the carbon shell game gets woven into the economy as deep as it is now there is no backing out, not even if we were entering an ice age.

  110. Amen brother! Not sure if an aspen stake will do it. Maybe a sharpened hockey stick?

    stephen richards says:
    February 14, 2011 at 9:58 am

    “I’m also totally convinced that the likes of Trenberth, Mann, Schmidt et al are well aware of what the future climate looks like and that’s why their responses are getting more and more shrill.”

    Me too. That also explains the frantic rush to get the Copenhagen scam in place.

    And when this mention of ‘Global Cooling’ popped up last spring, that was the clincher:

    “The 58th Bilderberg Meeting will be held in Sitges, Spain 3 – 6 June 2010. The Conference will deal mainly with Financial Reform, Security, Cyber Technology, Energy, Pakistan, Afghanistan, World Food Problem, Global Cooling, Social Networking, Medical Science, EU-US relations. Approximately 130 participants will attend of whom about two-thirds come from Europe and the balance from North America. About one-third is from government and politics, and two-thirds are from finance, industry, labor, education, and communications. The meeting is private in order to encourage frank and open discussion.”

    http://www.bilderbergmeetings.org/meeting2010.html

    A few related quotes:

    “In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.”
    - Club of Rome, The First Global Revolution

    “We need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination… So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts… Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”
    - Stephen Schneider

    “Unless we announce disasters no one will listen.”
    - Sir John Houghton, first chairman of IPCC

    “It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.”
    - Paul Watson, co-founder of Greenpeace

    “We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.“
    - Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation

    “No matter if the science of global warming is all phony, climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.“
    -Christine Stewart, fmr Canadian Minister of the Environment

    “We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis.“
    - David Rockefeller, Club of Rome executive manager

  111. Chris D. says:
    February 14, 2011 at 5:57 am

    While I too would like to see the IPCC disbanded, I don’t agree with the language used in this post. Kill the IPCC? There are plenty of people lined up to tangentially manufacture political hay from less violent imagery, as recently witnessed in the Palin-target-list kerfluffle. I do hope Anthony will keep a tighter rein on his contributors in the future.
    —————————————
    Chris, the thought that Anthony Watts will put a snaffle bit in my mouth, attach a leather strap and then pull on it is very disturbing!

    [don't worry, that will never happen]

  112. There is no choice but to cut spending. And what better place to start than by eliminating UN subsidy payments?

    Since Obama was elected:

    Avg. retail price/gallon gas in U.S. UP 69.6%

    Crude oil, European Brent (barrel) UP 127.7%

    Crude oil, West TX Inter. (barrel) UP 135.9%

    Gold: London (per troy oz.) UP 60.5%

    Corn, No.2 yellow, Central IL UP 78.1%

    Soybeans, No. 1 yellow, IL UP 42.3%

    Sugar, cane, raw, world, lb. fob UP 164.7%

    Unemployment rate, non-farm, overall UP 23.7%

    Unemployment rate, blacks UP 25.4%

    Number of unemployed UP 24.7%

    Number of federal employees [ex. military] UP 2.2%

    Real median household income DOWN -0.7%

    Number of food stamp recipients UP 35.1%

    Number of unemployment benefit recipients UP 22.2%

    Number of long-term unemployed UP 146.2%

    Poverty rate, individuals UP 8.3%

    People in poverty in U.S. UP 9.5%

    U.S.rank in Economic Freedom World Rankings DOWN from #5 to #9

    Present Situation Index DOWN -21.4%

    Failed banks UP 17.1%

    U.S. dollar versus Japanese yen exchange rate DOWN -8.6%

    U.S.money supply, M1, in billions UP 18.4%

    U.S.money supply, M2, in billions UP 6.5%

    National debt, in trillions UP 32.2%

    Sending taxpayer money to the UN is like giving your savings to someone who intends to kill you.

  113. Steven Mosher says:

    When Facts are uncertain, when values are in conflict, when stakes are high and when some think decisions must be made, THEN stakeholders (like people whose taxes would go up) MUST be part of the decision process. That’s the whole point.”

    The weakness in this statement is “How do we know the stakes are high?” We’re told the stakes are high by people who stand to gain by the Chicken Little behavior. As a geologist by education, I take the view that the Earth’s climate will change because that’s what the Earth’s climate does, and human activity has very little bearing on that. It’s better to be prepared to adapt to those changes rather than destroy the world’s economies with a wholesale transfer of wealth.

  114. R. de Haan says:
    February 14, 2011 at 3:12 am
    Excellent suggestion Willis Eschenbach, I’m 100% with you but please leave out the part with aspen stake and the garlic. Skeptics should leave the use of medieval rituals to the warmists.

    I agree.

    Also, Willis’ plan would be a waste of both the aspen and perfectly good garlic.

    They should be reserved for blood-sucking vampi… er, wait – now that I think about it, Willis is correct.

    /grin

  115. R. de Haan says:
    February 14, 2011 at 3:12 am

    “Skeptics should leave the use of medieval rituals to the warmists.”

    Indeed. Which reminds me…

    “The Age of Witch-Hunting thus seems pretty congruent with the era of the
    Little Ice Age. The peaks of the persecution coincide with the critical
    points of climatic deterioration. Witches traditionally had been held
    responsible for bad weather which was so dangerous for the precarious
    agriculture of the pre-industrial period. But it was only in the 15th
    century that ecclesiastical and secular authorities accepted the reality of
    that crime. The 1420ies, the 1450ies, and the last two decades of the
    fifteenth century, well known in the history of climate, were decisive years
    in which secular and ecclesiastical authorities increasingly accepted the
    existence of weather-making witches. During the “cumulative sequences of
    coldness” in the years 1560-1574, 1583-1589 and 1623-1630, again 1678-1698
    (Pfister 1988, 150) people demanded the eradication of the witches whom they
    held responsible for climatic aberrations. Obviously it was the impact of
    the Little Ice Age which increased the pressure from below and made parts of
    the intellectual elites believe in the existence of witchcraft. So it is
    possible to say: witchcraft was the unique crime of the Little Ice Age.”

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/32396573/Witch-Hunting-Maunder

  116. “Look, folks, the US Constitution works because none of the founding fathers trusted each other one inch. They didn’t believe in the goodness of man, they’d seen too many kings and tyrants for that nonsense to fly. That’s why the US has three equal branches of Government, so no one branch and no one man would get too powerful. They didn’t trust people a bit.

    Why didn’t they trust anyone? Because they were realists who knew that given a chance, someone would grab the power and use it for their own interests and against the interests of the people.”

    This was indeed the most profound insight that guided the Founders in attempting to construct a model of governance that would be able to preserve human liberty through the ages. Unfortunately for more than a century the tyrannical impulse has been eroding that model and as we now stumble into the 21st century, we have as President a man, who was supposedly a lecturer in Constitutional Law, who is not merely oblivious to this insight but entirely antagonistic to it. He is not only the standard bearer for a political party which shares that antagonism, but has assembled an administration for which the litmus test for inclusion is complete devotion to it. They all share the view that the government is empowered to exert control over anything that strikes their fancy and that the Constitution is an antique document that is completely irrelevant and impotent to hinder their plans.
    The blatant manor in which they attempted to enforce their schemes has at last awakened some in the populous to the “eternal vigilance” that the Founders warned would be “the price of our Liberty”, but the success the tyrants have achieved in turning virtually all of us into the willing receivers of the stolen property of others, makes the prospect of returning our government to its planned role of tightly constrained powers a daunting and highly uncertain task.

  117. Before doing them in, couldn’t we just march them around to a few choice locations (at choice times) where they can be exposed to the raw elements without the benefit of their big bucks, their central air conditioning and heating, clean water, plentiful food, fossil fuel energy, and fast Internet access? I’m thinking of Antarctica or Siberia or Alaska at its coldest . . . Death Valley or another desert at its hottest . . . some Gulf Coast locale in the path of the next F5 hurricane or Bangladesh at the height of its monsoon season . . . an earthquake- or volcano-ravaged location (preferably during the event) . . . or a riot- or war-torn location, right in the middle of the action. I keep getting the idea that these elites are too far removed from reality to remember that man is not the master of all things. Mankind didn’t “break” the climate, and mankind can’t “fix” it. I think it would be only fair to deprive them of the things they want to deprive most of the world’s population of — life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If they want everyone else to give up those things, let them give them up first.

    I would also entertain the idea of dying them all blue, a la “Liar, Liar” (the movie).

  118. Green Sand says:
    February 14, 2011 at 11:16 am
    Whilst it is only a very short period of time the UK CET “Growing Season” April through October has cooled. 2010 mean was 13.0C, 0.6C down on 2009 and a full 1.6C down on its peak of 14.6C in 2006.
    Too short a timescale, but my home grown veggies were a lot more productive in 2006!

    True true, mine as well. I didn’t even attempt tomatoes last year at our latitude near Leeds.
    I’m making a big effort this year to get hardy vegetables planted which will survive in the ground through frosty weather. Leeks, brussel sprouts, turnips, as well as my usual beans, potatoes, onions and lettuce.

  119. Unfortunately, the IPCC AR5 train has already left the station, as indicated in this report from the tropical island vacation/party Bali conference. I note that they have budgeted about $7 million dollars / year just to deal with the report writing bureaucracy. Supporting the actual work is likely consuming (as we speak) millions of additional dollars per year.

    On a related note, I recall that the new “Discovery” supercomputer cluster nodes (costing at least $5 million in “stimulus” funds) were added at GSFC in 2009 to help with IPCC “contributions” to AR5 from our friends at GISS, as recently documented here…

    Let me know if anyone can get a good estimate of how much the IPCC work is costing all of the participating countries…as a taxpayer, I consider myself a “stakeholder”…

  120. The IPCC is only one part of the “hideous symbiosis” of agw. The IPCC provides the official fodder needed by policymakers (ie: politicians). Politicians need the agw crisis to save the electorate who clamor for solutions. Bureaucrats need it to build their empires. The MSM needs it to enrage subscribers and keep up ratings and ad revenue. New cottage industries which have no other reason to exist in the free marketplace need the crisis for shear survival. Numerous scientists not willing to work for a living, need it to ensure constant replenishment of the trough of free grant money. Many scientists find a home in the IPCC. And the cycle continues.

    Killing the IPCC would be a start, but the EPA needs its wings clipped, too. What needs to be done is de-fund this whole agw fraud from top to bottom. Most of the money comes from Uncle Sam. Hopefully, this Congress has the guts to pull the plug on all this agw crap and alternative energy nonsense.

  121. tallbloke says:
    February 14, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    True true, mine as well. I didn’t even attempt tomatoes last year at our latitude near Leeds.
    I’m making a big effort this year to get hardy vegetables planted which will survive in the ground through frosty weather. Leeks, brussel sprouts, turnips, as well as my usual beans, potatoes, onions and lettuce.

    I am in Derbyshire, so similar conditions. Harvesting now, sprouts, leeks and swede all have wintered but not without damage. Over wintering onions all OK.

    Anyhow enough of veg, good luck with the growing, have fun! Don’t want the growing season getting any cooler. When I get chance I will check it back through the full CET record.

    PS keep up the good work with your blog, very interesting and informative.

  122. Could you be a little more emphatic, Willis?

    Actually, this post gets a standing ovation from me! As usual, you get right to the heart of things, but this time with a stake in the matter!

  123. Baa Humbug says:
    February 14, 2011 at 1:17 am

    As much as I agree with your sentiments Willis, there is NO CHANCE that the IPCC will be killed off.

    Hey, a man can dream, can’t he?

    w.

  124. Richard Hill says:
    February 14, 2011 at 2:07 am

    Willis,
    As Lucy S. says, the fact on the ground is that the “authorities” like NAS and UK-RS are promoting CAGW. Is must be understood that politicians will rely on them. They have to. Your post is fine, and you will get a lot of support from WUWT commentators, but it wont change a thing. Please use your intelligence and efforts to come up with a way to convince the NAS, the AMS, the APS and so on to change their tunes.

    Since all of those are different organizations with different memberships and charters, there won’t be a “one size fits all” solution. We just have to keep pounding on the idea of involvement.

    The problem is that people think the statements by those organizations actually represent the views of the members. In general they do not, they represent the views of a few activists in the leadership of the organization.

    Do I have evidence for this? Well, consider that despite many requests, I know of no scientific organization which has actually polled its members about their views. In the absence of evidence that they have polled their members, the explanation that Occam would favor is that the statements don’t represent their membership.

    So … keep up the good fight, is about all I can say.

    w.

  125. steven mosher says:
    February 14, 2011 at 2:27 am

    Willis the IPCC process is NOT and example of PNS. Stakeholders, like you or representing you would have to be part of the process for it to be PNS.

    You don’t understand PNS. And its not because it hasnt been explained to you.

    Thanks, Mosh. Perhaps I don’t understand PNS, you may be right. But I’m not the only one to make the claim that the IPCC represents PNS at its finest. There are peer-reviewed papers making the same claim. Do they not understand PNS either?

    Still I think the IPCC should be put to rest, precisely because it doesnt bring all stakeholders into the process as PNS would dictate.

    When Facts are uncertain, when values are in conflict, when stakes are high and when
    some think decisions must be made, THEN stakeholders (like people whose taxes would go up) MUST be part of the decision process. That’s the whole point.

    Stakeholders should be part of and have input to any process that affects them, yes … and this is somehow news that relates to PNS?

    Stakeholder involvement is an old, old idea that has absolutely nothing to do with PNS. It has been a central tenet of village level and other development for at least the quarter century I’ve worked in the field. For PNS to claim it as a distinguishing factor is nonsense. Yes, we should include stakeholders … but that doesn’t mean we should include PNS.

    This is part of why I may not understand PNS, because I find it very hard to get a good definition of what PNS is. Ravetz writes with his elbow, reading his work is like reading a faded Marxist newspaper under dirty dishwater as far as clarity goes. Ravetz says that “quality” should replace scientific truth … but neither he, nor you, nor anyone seems to be able to give a definition of “quality” that is useful for making the kind of distinctions Ravetz is interested in making.

    In addition, I cannot find a single instance where the PNS method was used in business … and since uncertainty is a huge issue in business, if it were of any value in decision making under uncertainty, someone would be using it. Where are the success stories, where are the heartwarming “I saved my marriage and reduced my uncertainties with PNS” articles? Where has PNS worked where science has failed?

    w.

    PS: After coming up with the idea myself, upon further research I found that the idea that the IPCC is an example of PNS in practice is not new. It was discussed in the peer-reviewed literature a decade ago by Tuomo M. Saloranta in Post-Normal Science and the Global Climate Change Issue. His abstract says (emphasis mine):

    Science has recently faced a new challenge in that it must now provide its best knowledge to support the urgent policy-making concerning, e.g., risks of technology, environmental pollution, or the climate change. However, this knowledge unfortunately often can host high uncertainties as the natural systems are complex. How to proceed when the facts given by the scientists are diverging and uncertain, while the decision-making is urgent? Funtowicz and Ravetz (1992, 1993) argue that in this case traditional `Normal’ science (described by Kuhn (1970)) becomes inappropriate and that science should become `Post-Normal’ in order to more effectively cope with these contemporary problems. The philosophy, or methodology, of Post-Normal Science is briefly introduced and its corelation with the climate change issue, specifically with the compilation process and summary content of the Second Assessment Report(SAR) from the Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on ClimateChange (IPCC, 1996a), is viewed. It seems that climate science around IPPC can, to a relatively large extent, be characterized as `Post-Normal’. Moreover, results from some related studies indicate that the elements of Post-Normal Science in the IPCC have enhanced the problem-solving in the climate change issue.

  126. LazyTeenager says:
    February 14, 2011 at 2:33 am

    Willis rants
    ———-

    humans will definitely lie, cheat, and corrupt the science if given the slightest chance.

    ———-
    and you are excluding climate skeptics from that classification for no particular reason?

    Are you this foolish normally, or are you working at it specially today?

    I did not say, nor did I imply, that climate skeptics or any other groups were excluded from that classification. We’re all human, which is why I used the word “human” to describe those actions.

    So your post is nothing more than your sick fantasy. I said nothing of the sort, that one is 100% yours. Stop trying to put words in my mouth, it just makes people point at you and laugh.

    I’m fed up with your nonsense, Lazy. Please go away and spew your ugliness elsewhere, your style of discussion is puerile, insulting, trivial, and unpleasant. You add nothing of substance here, you seem to be the perfect example of your username. You’re too lazy to do the thinking necessary to post, so you want to insult and demean others rather than do any work of your own. I invite you to either change your style or else take your onanism to some dark corner where you won’t bother decent folks, that kind of thing is not welcome here.

    w.

    [Yes, I think Lazy Teenager has earned himself an indefinite time out. ~dbs, mod.]

  127. Chris D. says:
    February 14, 2011 at 5:57 am

    While I too would like to see the IPCC disbanded, I don’t agree with the language used in this post. Kill the IPCC? There are plenty of people lined up to tangentially manufacture political hay from less violent imagery, as recently witnessed in the Palin-target-list kerfluffle. I do hope Anthony will keep a tighter rein on his contributors in the future.

    Oh, please. That is post-modernist rot. Are we such children that a call to kill the IPCC (not an individual, but an organization) is not politically correct? Take that pabulum away, I will have none of it. I call blueshift on the whole idea that somehow any but the most irenic imagery will drive the easily swayed proles to wholesale rapine and murder.

    You don’t like that, Chris D? Well, you can just go jump in a lake … oh, wait, sorry, I meant “immerse yourself gently into liquid H2O while wearing a Coast Guard approved Type II personal flotation device”, don’t want to get the children all excited now, do we?

    Chris, if you want a PG-13 or a G-rated post, this ain’t it. This blog is for grownups, people intellectually advanced enough to know that a call to “kill” an organization is different from a call to kill an individual. What’s next in your world, Senators won’t be allowed to kill bills? Performers won’t be able to ask the sound man to kill the microphone?

    I fear you’ll have to ask your kids where to find such a PG-13 or G-rated blog if you can’t come up with one on your own. They’re outside my area of expertise.

    w.

  128. Baa Humbug says: February 14, 2011 at 1:17 am
    As much as I agree with your sentiments Willis, there is NO CHANCE that the IPCC will be killed off.
    The damned organization was set-up by the UN and Europeans, the MOST CORRUPT, NEPOTISTIC and SELF CENTERED bunch of politicians and beurocrats the world has ever seen.

    So a little bit of Australiana for you, you got BUCKLEYS and NUN chance the IPCC will be disbanded.
    ——————————————————————————–
    Baa H – I share you pessimism – except that revolution is in the air these days – If the Euros continue to screw themselves at the rate they seem intent on continuing, and the Irish, Greeks and Spanish hotheads get up enough steam (and as an Aussie you will know what these boys can do) there is a good chance that they will follow the Tunisians and Egyptians and deal to them. Well, one can at least hope! Don’t have any faith in the English – too much processing gone on there!

    Cheers
    Douglas

  129. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:
    February 14, 2011 at 9:13 am

    … If it were honestly named “Intergovernmental Panel to Investigate if Climate Change Is Real, And, If It Is, What The Hell We Can Do About It,” we wouldn’t be in this fix.

    Too good.

    w.

  130. Ron Cram says:
    February 14, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Willis,
    I always enjoy your posts. You have a great writing style. While I understand your anger at the IPCC and believe it is justified, it is not within our power to drive a stake through the heart of the IPCC.

    I agree with your reading of history and the US Constitution. We have checks and balances on power precisely because people are not to be trusted. The best way to put a check on the power of the IPCC is to complete a quality and competitive assessment report.

    I do not trust the IPCC to produce a fair and unbiased AR5 and that is the reason for my proposal. A great deal of skeptical research has been published since AR4 and more will be published because of Climategate. By the time AR5 rolls around, the state of climate science will be much different. I don’t believe the IPCC is to be feared, it is to be defeated in the open marketplace of ideas and evidence.

    Roy Spencer made a comment on my post indicating John Christy had made a similar proposal in a meeting in Hawaii. I take that as a signal Christy may be interested. On Judith Curry’s blog, she responded to my question by saying she had read my proposal on WUWT and thought it was a good idea. I am hoping other scientists will join the effort. This is not an effort I will lead. I am just trying to get it started.

    Willis, I hope you will agree to contribute to an assessment report alternative to AR5. I think you can make a valuable contribution.

    Thanks for the comments, Ron. I think that your proposal (a “minority report” as well as the usual majority report) is certainly a second-best outcome … and one which has much more chance of actually coming to pass than my more Gordian solution.

    I just thought that before we started discussing what the second-best outcome might be, I would make a strong case for what I see as the best outcome, so that’s why I wrote the post …

    Keep up the good fight, thanks for your contributions here on WUWT,

    w.

  131. Dave Springer says:
    February 14, 2011 at 10:57 am

    No, no, no…

    Don’t disband. Repurpose!

    Just think what a wonderful theatrical company the IPCC could be. They already have the writers, the actors, the producers, the directors, the marketing talent, the distribution network, and sources of funding for fictional narratives.

    There would of course need to be a new category added to the Oscars for best scientific hoax.

    Oh, very good indeed, the “Climategate Players” give the historical phrase “the Globe Theatre” new meaning. Those suckers want to play with the real globe …

    w.

  132. I understand that there is a new emerging technology for dealing with Imperial Presidencies called “Twitter” and “Facebook”. There was something in the news lately involving Egypt or Tunisia or both… and a new story about the same technology having promise for application in Algeria, Yemen, Syria, and a half dozen other places.

    I don’t know exactly how it works, but it looks like you do a process called a “tweet” that says something like “Aspen at Midnight NYC sched on Facebook” and it catches a virus? or becomes a virus or something “viral” happens and then 100,000 people show up with Aspen stakes …

    Someone under 30 ought to look into this approach.

    ;-)

    Oh, and once Puchari is esconsed in a villa on the coast of India we can have the Swiss Banks freeze his accounts pending a ‘review’… that seems to be what they do next.

    (If this catches on, I may need to get one of those eye-pod things and join the pod people…)

  133. The UNIPCC is the spawn of the UNFCCC. The following is from the UNFCCC web site,
    at unfccc.int/2860.php:

    “Over a decade ago, most countries joined an international treaty — the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) — to begin to consider what can be done to reduce global warming and to cope with whatever temperature increases are inevitable.”

    Their avowed purpose is to prove that global war is the result of human activities. Either their mission in life, their raison d’etre, must be changed or their funding eliminated.

  134. JamesS says:
    February 14, 2011 at 11:35 am
    Steven Mosher says:

    ‘When Facts are uncertain, when values are in conflict, when stakes are high and when some think decisions must be made, THEN stakeholders (like people whose taxes would go up) MUST be part of the decision process. That’s the whole point.”’

    “The weakness in this statement is “How do we know the stakes are high?” We’re told the stakes are high by people who stand to gain by the Chicken Little behavior.”

    Right on the money. And what evidence do they offer that the stakes are high, why Mann’s hockey stick and the rest of their “science,” not PNS but science. This is the most obvious truck sized hole in the entire PNS gambit. They always end up depending on the best science. Well, if they are using science to make their decisions when the stakes are high, then how is PNS different from science?

  135. Willis,

    i think you are blinded by Ravetz’ past political associations. FUNDAMENTALLY, Post normal science is a DESCRIPTION of what happens WHEN..

    1. Facts are uncertain
    2. Values are in conflict
    3. Stakes are high
    4. Decisons are SEEN AS urgent.

    As Ravetz said when we talked, the first casualty when these 4 things happen is Normal science. that is, normal scientific practice is thrown aside. That is a description of what happens. Lets Press a little deeper. When values are not in conflict, when stakes are not high, when a decision is not being called for, then scientists behave in the “normal” fashion. They look at what they want to look at. Study what they want to study. Spend their time solving the riddle of nature. The accept theories as “proven” . As Kuhn and Ravetz explain, they engage in puzzle solving. So for example take Superconductivity. No great values are in conflict in society about various theories. The stakes might be high, but no one is claiming that we have to decide something now. So normal science continues. However, the minute values are in conflict, somebody will find a way to raise the stakes, and more often than not they will argue that a decision is necessary. For example: take materials science and nano technology. People who hold values about “interfering with nature” and playing god, raise the stakes with fears of “grey goo” and then they try to argue that we need to make some decision now. Not about the science, but about the regulations surrounding the science. And the behavior of normal scientists ( free inquiry and puzzle solving) comes under scrunity. In behavioral science or medical science, when values are in conflict ( what can you do to a test subject) stakes are raised and the behavior of scientists is controlled. Or consider something like Stem cell research. Again, values are in conflict, stakes are high and people call for decisions. Then what happens. We decide to change what scientists can normally do. We limit their inquiry. we force them to change their behavior as scientists. They no longer have the right of free inquiry. Knowledge takes a back seat because of conflicting values.

    Lets consider something like star wars. There values were in conflict ( is building a defense shield a sign of agression) stakes got raised ( the russians are dangerous) and decisions were caste as urgent. The result? the PATH of science was changed. What science got funded changed. What also changed was the way we tested things. Basically, we accepted more uncertainty in the science AND in the enginering than would would have. the cultural forces ( conflicting values) drove the science. It was no longer free inquiry of any theory. It was no longer “take your time” the science will correct itself. It was “get a USEFUL SOLUTION as quickly as possible. People who believed in the threat of the russians were willing to live with more uncertainty in the science. people who did not believe in the threat deamnded MORE ceertainty in the science. More testing. basically, when values are in conflict, the issue of uncertainty gets RAISED by one group and HIDDEN by another. This is what happens. Some say, we known enough about AGW to make decisions, others say we want more proof. Now of course there is no proof in science. no proof. Not even normal science says its theories are Proved. But when values are not in conflict this epistemic point doesnt get much attention. Its a merely philosophical issue. It’s of no practical consequence. No one takes an interest because nothing is at stake. When values are in conflict, the issue of uncertainty and proof takes center stage. Which is Why climate science becomes intertwined with philosophy. people studying super conductivity dont have discussions about Kuhn and Popper and Quine. When values are not in conflict nobody has the motivation to go around raising epistemological issues around the science.

    So first and formost PNS is a description of what actually happens when values are in conflict, stakes are high and decisions are seen as uncertain. Its purely descriptive. When those things happen, normal science is the first thing that goes out the window.
    Since you argue for a RETURN to normal science, you implicitly agree with the descriptive aspects of PNS. Let me put it another way. A scientific description of science, an empirical account of what science is, must take account of these observations. what happens to the behavior of scientists? what’s it like pre science, whats it like in “normal” science? whats it like in revolutionary science, and what’s it like when values are in conflict etc. Unless one wants to ignore the data in our theory of what science is, the one needs to account for these different forms of science.
    Not all science is the same. Not all science uses the same method.

    The part where you have difficulty is in the “prescriptive” views that you try to ascribe to PNS. What should science be. Your position is roughly this. When values are in conflict, when stakes are high, when somebody is clamoring for a decision, normal science should just carry on. Scientists should take no account that stakes are high, for example. If, for example, we have a correlation between smoking and cancer but we have no mechanism, then a scientist should not say “smoking causes cancer” Action should await proof ( although there is no proof in science).

    The difference comes down to this. You want a return to normal science. The problem is you can’t simply return to that state of innocence. Climate scientists won’t go back to looking at the questions that interest them. They will continue to look at questions that have been FRAMED by policy makers. Peter webster will not get the resources he wants to study natural variability. Tallbloke will not get funding to look at his alternative theories. Nobody will pay to update the proxies. The frame of inquiry has been set. That’s the FIRST thing one does to get “normal” science off the rails. So there isnt any SIMPLE return to innocence without an entire dismanteling of that framework.

    Finnally, lets get to the passage you quoted but misunderstood.

    “PS: After coming up with the idea myself, upon further research I found that the idea that the IPCC is an example of PNS in practice is not new. It was discussed in the peer-reviewed literature a decade ago by Tuomo M. Saloranta in Post-Normal Science and the Global Climate Change Issue. His abstract says (emphasis mine):”

    You bolded:

    “It seems that climate science around IPPC can, to a relatively large extent, be characterized as `Post-Normal’. ”

    Several points.

    1. This is descriptively accurate. Climate science does find itself in a PNS situation.
    2. This describes WG II.
    3. The PNS folks have serious issues with WGII, so I’d say that the author of this study was wrong. Silvio and others were most critical of the over constraining of the dialog that the IPCC enforces. I don’t think I talked to a single PNS proponent who suggested that the IPCC came close to issuing quality decisions.

    Anyway, before we even begin to discuss prescriptions for how one handles decision making in a PNS situation we first have to come to some agreement on the basic facts.
    we are in a PNS situation. we are in it. like it or not. We are in it because values are in conflict, stakes have been raised, and decisions are being pushed upon us.

    How we act, what we do, going forward is an open question.
    Your suggestion of a return to “normal science” is one approach. it’s an attempt to control how scientists behave. Maybe we investigate them. maybe we cut their funding. That is, we use political and legal power to force scientists to behave the way you want them to. the way you believe they should. One the other side, they will use political power to allow scientists to continue to do their bidding.

    PNS looks at that conflict and suggests a third way. “Truth” is already dead in this debate. So we are not suggesting that quality take the place of truth. We are saying, since people on either side will never agree on what the truth is can we find another concept to come to some kind of ‘reconciliation.’ That’s an open question. Not a logical necessity. not a moral necessity. not a fact to be discovered. It’s an invitation to finding a common ground.

  136. But isn’t that like calling the over zealot socialist eurocrats single minded mentally disturbed cheats suffering from the bureaucratic dilemma of being over zealot in his/hers socialistic single mindedness that is the manifestation of someone mentally disturbed and will readily cheat to fuel his/her OCD?

    It is said that running an organization is like running a business: Creative destruction. To otherwise survive you have to always add to it. In proper business economy you branch out if there’s no more to be had in your own branch (wether it is literally or by meagre economic fund is beside the point), but for organizations being run like proper business’, lacking tax income (nor can claim membership fees, especially growing if they had any to begin with?) What would such organization do, once they’re created, to keep what they have accomplished, to grow, and then to keep the growth and keep growing? (If for nothing else just to keep bestest of coworkers having a job to go to.)

  137. Mosher:

    “i think you are blinded by Ravetz’ past political associations. FUNDAMENTALLY, Post normal science is a DESCRIPTION of what happens WHEN..

    1. Facts are uncertain
    2. Values are in conflict
    3. Stakes are high
    4. Decisons are SEEN AS urgent”

    So, were Einstein and his friends engaged in PNS?

    And the “Truth” is never DEAD! Elsewise there would never be any progress at all.

  138. “I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times.”

    Source: Inscription on the southeast quadrant of the Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C.

    I can’t think of any finer words as applied to CAGW and the IPCC….

  139. steven mosher,

    What exactly are you saying? That PNS deviates from the scientific method?

    If that’s it, I agree. PNS isn’t any more science than Scientology.

  140. Willis;
    Steven is illustrating the true meaning of PNS:
    “Political Newspeak Science”.

    It’s an elaborate embodiment of Mencken’s observation:

    The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

    Never, in all of recorded or unrecorded history, has warming caused a crisis for humanity or other species. Nor has high CO2. Both are universally associated with thriving and lush ecosystems, and major expansion of human civilization and populations.

    The latter appears to be what the PNSers want to avoid.

  141. Willis

    People don’t trust the IPCC.

    According to a web survey, 83.8% of people believe the IPCC, or Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a corrupt organization, prone to groupthink, with a political agenda.

    http://svy.mk/frwSV7

  142. steven mosher says:
    February 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    “However, the minute values are in conflict, somebody will find a way to raise the stakes, and more often than not they will argue that a decision is necessary. For example: take materials science and nano technology. People who hold values about “interfering with nature” and playing god, raise the stakes with fears of “grey goo” and then they try to argue that we need to make some decision now. Not about the science, but about the regulations surrounding the science. And the behavior of normal scientists ( free inquiry and puzzle solving) comes under scrunity. In behavioral science or medical science, when values are in conflict ( what can you do to a test subject) stakes are raised and the behavior of scientists is controlled. Or consider something like Stem cell research. Again, values are in conflict, stakes are high and people call for decisions. Then what happens. We decide to change what scientists can normally do. We limit their inquiry. we force them to change their behavior as scientists. They no longer have the right of free inquiry. Knowledge takes a back seat because of conflicting values.

    Lets consider something like star wars. There values were in conflict ( is building a defense shield a sign of agression) stakes got raised ( the russians are dangerous) and decisions were caste as urgent. The result? the PATH of science was changed. What science got funded changed. What also changed was the way we tested things. Basically, we accepted more uncertainty in the science AND in the enginering than would would have. the cultural forces ( conflicting values) drove the science. It was no longer free inquiry of any theory.”

    —————-

    In each of the examples you cite, it is not the scientific understanding that was in question, but the moral understanding of the kinds of questions that were being addressed. To say the stakes were high in reference to stem cell research is like saying, for those who find research on human beings objectionable, that the stakes were high when Joseph Mengele did experiments on Jewish children. While what he accomplished did not count in general as real scientific research, the objection remains not to the kinds of question he was addressing, but to the fact that he had no regard for the human subjects he used.

    There is no objection whatsoever to non-embryonic stem-cell research, which has proved very fruitful, and has generated many insights into the pluripotency of stem cells from non-embryonic sources and their potential therapeutic uses. The methods, the questions being asked, the intended or hoped for outcomes, are the same as for embryonic stem cell research. The stakes are only high for embryonic stem cell research because it transgresses long-held moral boundaries in western society. There has been no shortchanging of scientific methods, falsifiability and so on because of the restriction on the research material.

    The arguments surrounding nano-technology entirely echo the controversies concerning biotechnology. In both of these areas, state-of-the-art scientific methodologies and technologies are being employed to further the development of new technologies. The issues again, have nothing to do with the kinds of scientific question being asked, but rather deal with the limits we should put on our apparently natural but unrelenting drive to alter nature to our own ends. While the moral and ethical arguments we build around these technologies may rely heavily on science to assess the relative risks, the understanding of the underlying phenomena, again, is not affected by these moral judgments.

    Kuhn applied his analysis of normal science and scientific crises to episodes in the history of science like the Copernican revolution, or the Chemical revolution of Lavoisier. IN the case of the Copernican and Galilean revolutions that gave us a heliocentric universe, the scientific methods were not altered to suit peoples’ agendas. Nor were the best scientific practices disregarded. The moral crisis revolved around the philosophical and religious implications of removing humanity from the centre of God’s universe. The solution Copernicus used to avoid religious condemnation was to discuss his ideas as a thinly disguised hypothesis (and have his book published after he died). Galileo developed telescopic observations of the solar system to support his theories, and again used the best practices of science then available, essentially ushering in modern science. He did not quibble about interpretations or understandings of the methods, and he was shut down not by science, but by the failure of the Catholic Church to move beyond its religious defensiveness arising from the Reformation. He was shut down not scientifically, but politically. Of course, with no concept of inertia and gravity nobody could understand why things would stick to a moving earth or other moving heavenly bodies, but the crisis in understanding did not undermine the development and use of Galileo’s scientific methods. Rather, this crisis challenged scientists to re-examine the world in a period of enormous scientific fruitfulness and change when very little that was done was ‘normal’ under the old understanding.

    Normal science in Galileo’s era was Aristotelian (earth at the centre of the universe, the 4 earthly elements with their natural motions, the universe from the lunar sphere outward being composed of ether with its natural circular motion). He, through the use of his ‘post-normal’ science ushered in the developments that led to Newtonian science. And yes, the stakes were very high. But the methods employed were not justified by political arguments, not were Galileo’s conclusions ratified by all the involved stakeholders arriving at a consensus. No, one side lost, the other side won, because the evidence of the Galilean interpretation was far more powerful. So I guess Galilean science, while not normal cannot be called Post-Normal Science.

    What new paradigms in science are the Ravetzian post-normalists ushering in? Kuhnian philosophy is associated with paradigm shifts and new understandings of how nature works. It seems to me that the current debate is not about scientists in competing camps holding incompatible or incommensurable understandings of climate, oceanography, and atmospheric science. There is simply a disagreement of the degree to which these systems are understood to the point of being predictable. The only new methodology is an over-dependence on computer models, which hardly constitutes a paradigm shift in understanding nature. The arguments, as has been stated at WUWT many times before, are political, not scientific in nature. While there were political dimensions in the Copernican revolution, the important thing really was the enormous shift in our understanding of how the universe works.

    I, like Willis and others here, have a hard time seeing so-called Post-Normal Science as being anything other than a redefinition of science itself, so that the real standards of science no longer apply. How can it then be science? It becomes more like areas that are accorded the label ‘science’ which scarcely deserve it – psychology and sociology come to mind.

  143. Charles S. Opalek, PE says:
    February 14, 2011 at 1:32 pm
    Killing the IPCC would be a start, but the EPA needs its wings clipped, too. What needs to be done is de-fund this whole agw fraud from top to bottom. Most of the money comes from Uncle Sam. Hopefully, this Congress has the guts to pull the plug on all this agw crap and alternative energy nonsense.

    AMEN, with the exception of changing the word “clipped” to “lopped off.” I’d enjoy reading a post of Willis’ opinion of the EPA.

  144. Unfortunately the UN is a focal point for people like Ravetz, and by that I mean people who unfailingly belive in the goodness of man. We need to go for the nos feratu, the stake must be driven through the UN.

  145. Someone once said: “By their fruits you shall know them.” The IPCC was vomited forth by the UN and reveals the underlying corruption thereof. The US should pull out of the UN as a first step towards sanity. Big government, whether it’s the UN or the EU or the US as envisioned by Obama, is always going to trend towards evil. All power corrupts…

  146. The definition of “Post Normal Science” should be “political science.” It is a way to point out the excuse of the lack of science vigor and the making of decisions based on political needs and not real science. pg

  147. David A. Evans says:
    February 14, 2011 at 6:27 am
    “The IPCC is working well within design specifications! In fact the design has worked so well that they’ve already started on the MkII, biodiversity version.

    Say what ??
    Somebody tell me that’s not a cover for selective extinction.

  148. Mosh, thanks as always for your patience in explanations. You say:

    steven mosher says:
    February 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Willis,

    i think you are blinded by Ravetz’ past political associations. FUNDAMENTALLY, Post normal science is a DESCRIPTION of what happens WHEN..

    1. Facts are uncertain
    2. Values are in conflict
    3. Stakes are high
    4. Decisons are SEEN AS urgent.

    As Ravetz said when we talked, the first casualty when these 4 things happen is Normal science. that is, normal scientific practice is thrown aside. That is a description of what happens. Lets Press a little deeper.

    Well, hang on. Before running off to something else, let’s stop and take a look at your claim that PNS is a description and not a prescription.

    If all PNS was doing was offering a description, as you claim, then it would have no prescriptions about what to do. But PNS is full of prescriptions, about how we need to change the players, and how we need to substitute quality for truth, and how we should adopt the NUSAP criteria (which has never been adopted by any serious organization I can find), and the like. Those are not de-scriptions, those are pre-scriptions. Here’s one:

    We also pondered on the question, now that Truth is no longer effective in science (unless we accept paradoxes like ‘incorrect truths’ or ‘false facts’), what is there as a regulative principle? The answer is Quality, which itself is a very complex attribute.

    Now, unless you have a different definition than I have, that is a pre-scription, not a de-scription. Not only that, it is an unacceptably vague and dangerous prescription, to throw out scientific truth and replace it with some undefined concept of “Quality”. Here’s another quote:

    Again, I take for granted that ‘applied science’ is the basic, common and essential form of activity for our civilization to persist, and that PNS performs an essential regulatory function where necessary, under those special conditions.

    If PNS is just a description as you claim, how can it possibly “perform an essential regulatory function”? That’s one hell of a description you’ve got there, it’s the Swiss Army Knife of descriptions, it has a tool for everything …

    So as long as you persist in believing that PNS is solely or even fundmentally descriptive, I fear we won’t meet in the middle. While it is descriptive in part, PNS has also been an active force pushing for the implementation of a particular set of responses to what they might call a “post-normal” situation. I oppose those responses, in particular the idea of substituting Quality for Truth (which is as far from a description as I can possibly imagine).

    Next, you say:

    The part where you have difficulty is in the “prescriptive” views that you try to ascribe to PNS. What should science be. Your position is roughly this. When values are in conflict, when stakes are high, when somebody is clamoring for a decision, normal science should just carry on. Scientists should take no account that stakes are high, for example. If, for example, we have a correlation between smoking and cancer but we have no mechanism, then a scientist should not say “smoking causes cancer” Action should await proof ( although there is no proof in science).

    While I am glad that you think you know what my position is, I am puzzled by the fact that it is so far from my actual position, and contains many things that have nothing to do with me. When did I ever say anything about a correlation between smoking and cancer depending on a mechanism? When did I say “action should await proof”? Those are both statements that I disagree with entirely, particularly the second one, since I have stated many times that there is no proof in science. Nor have I ever said that when stakes are high, scientists should just “carry on” and “take no account that stakes are high”. Those have nothing to do with my position.

    My position is that when stakes are high, we need to be even more cautious about what scientists do and how they do it. We should be aware that there will be pressures on the scientists, and adjust our sights accordingly.

    What we should not do at that point is replace scientific truth with “Quality” or with anything else. What we should not do is slacken scientific standards.

    What we should do is encourage scientist to resist political pressures, and to give us the best answers that they know of in the time that they have, along with realistic uncertainty figures. That’s what scientists have to offer, and that’s all scientists have to offer – honest answers and realistic uncertainties. So at that point scientists shouldn’t just “carry on”, they should gird themselves as best they can to avoid getting caught up in the politics and compromising their science as a result.

    Again I ask, if PNS is such a good system, how come Ravetz has to fight like crazy to get it adopted? People in general and businesses in particular have a huge problem with uncertainty. If the PNS tools for dealing with it are so you-beaut, then where are the success stories about PNS? Where are the evangelists that have taken it up and used it to great effect in their work?

    And finally, Mosh, do you use PNS in your work? Do you follow Ravetz’s prescription to replace science with quality? After all, you’re working in the climate field, where stakes are high, decisions are urgent, Chicken Little is screaming something about the sky, values are in conflict, and idiots are in control … and if that ain’t PNS, what is?

    So are you changing your own scientific habits to match the situation? And if not, why not, since it is a PNS situation, and you’re a PNS advocating scientist working in that situation?

    w.

    PS – in closing, here’s Ravetz again:

    I am well familiar with the abuses of science by big government and big business; I confess that I find it difficult to imagine how environmentalists can wreak the same sort of damage.

    Yes, I can see, given his philosophy, how he could find that difficult to imagine … however, given the number of real world examples of the phenomenon that come up every week, I find it not unimaginable, but depressingly common headline fare. Green propaganda is used by the IPCC, and Jerry can’t imagine that damaging science …

    He can’t imagine environmentalists wreaking damage on science??? Where has he been living for the past decades? The unholy alliance of AGW alarmists and the environmental movement has caused immense damage, both to science itself and to the environmental movement. Ravetz gives the phrase “living in an ivory tower” new meaning … along with the phrase “would you buy a used car from this man?” He definitely needs an imagination transplant, because his own organ seems to be failing him badly. (Of course, if he truly lacks the imagination to see how environmentalists are damaging science, he could just read the news, they’ve reported the problem in detail … but I digress.)

    This is the problem with Ravetz’s idea of “Quality”, Mosh. One man’s “quality” is another man’s rubbish … whereas scientific truth doesn’t have that problem. So substituting quality for scientific truth as a “regulative principle” can only increase dissension, not decrease it.

  149. Girma says:
    February 14, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Willis

    People don’t trust the IPCC.

    According to a web survey, 83.8% of people believe the IPCC, or Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a corrupt organization, prone to groupthink, with a political agenda.

    According to a web survey, 83.8% of reasonable people believe that web surveys are not worth the electrons they’re printed on …

  150. Reed Coray says:
    February 14, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    … I’d enjoy reading a post of Willis’ opinion of the EPA.

    Reed, it’s not a post, but here is my opinion of the EPA. Like many of the other players in the game, the folks at the EPA have been heavily afflicted by “noble cause corruption”. They believe in their noble cause so completely that they are willing to ignore the rules and facts and take action to prevent Unspeakable Horror.

    While this is a tragedy, I view the EPA rather like I view democracy – it’s a terrible system, but it’s the best we have. I think that overall the EPA has been beneficial, although along the way it has made some very bad decisions … but then who among us can say different? And at present it is totally set on a false trail by the climate spinmeisters.

    But the reality is that humans need regulations, or they do all kinds of Really Bad Stuff™. So I would never say get rid of the EPA. Because at some point the EPA will return to doing what it should do and was created to do (stop people from doing Really Bad Stuff™ like dumping poisons into the water and air) and recover from its infatuation with climate alarmism. Until then, I’d say lets just stop the EPA from doing stupid things like classifying CO2 as a pollutant, and wait for the worst effects of their climate-related illness to wear off … time wounds all heels, as they say.

    w.

  151. Jeremy says:
    February 14, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Unfortunately the UN is a focal point for people like Ravetz, and by that I mean people who unfailingly belive in the goodness of man. We need to go for the nos feratu, the stake must be driven through the UN.

    Like my previous post, I don’t believe in killing the UN any more than I believe in killing the EPA. To start with, the UN provides a very necessary and critically important benefit as a forum for nations to talk to each other, even nations without diplomatic representation. As Winston Churchill commented on the importance of discussions between nations, “Jaw, jaw is better than war, war”.

    Do I like the UN? Not at all. Is it a nest of pluted bloatocrats who are riding the gravy train for all it is worth? Of course. Does it provide legitimacy for tyrants and dictators? Sure ’nuff. Did UN Secretary General Kofi Annan steal from the UN “Oil for Food” program without any repercussions? Near as I can tell.

    But we should FIX those problems, not kill the UN. It’s like climate science in that way. The solution is to FIX the problems in climate science, not throw it out the window. Yes, the UN has problems, huge ones. And no, the US should not pick up 45% of the tab or whatever it is we pay, this is 2011, some others should carry more of the weight. But that doesn’t mean that the UN does not provide some huge benefits to the planet. UNICEF, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN work with refugees, there’s a host of things the UN does well, a few even very well, along with a host of things it does poorly, some very poorly.

    Sound familiar? Sound like life? Yep. Nothing is an unalloyed benefit. But when I think of a world without the UN, as much as I dislike a lot of what the UN does, I don’t think that would be a net gain.

    But of course … YMMV.

    w.

  152. Willis;
    Fine detailed response to Mosher/Ravetz.

    About the UN etc comment:
    The jaw-jaw/war-war thing is WC, not LBJ.
    And the fundamental irredeemable problem with the UN is the General Assembly structure, with every state having one vote. Sounds lovely and democratic, but there are a lot more mice and rats than elephants. I’d suggest a weighted vote proportional to the square root of population, or SLT.
    Or just walk away and create a Council of Democracies; entry qualification is 2 successive peaceful electoral changes of party in power. And any reported election with a 75%+ majority is grounds for immediate expulsion.
    Wouldn’t solve everything, but it would solve a lot.

  153. Brian H says:
    February 15, 2011 at 12:10 am

    Willis;
    Fine detailed response to Mosher/Ravetz.

    About the UN etc comment:
    The jaw-jaw/war-war thing is WC, not LBJ.

    Thanks, fixed.

    And the fundamental irredeemable problem with the UN is the General Assembly structure, with every state having one vote. Sounds lovely and democratic, but there are a lot more mice and rats than elephants. I’d suggest a weighted vote proportional to the square root of population, or SLT.

    Definitely a problem, but like all problems, likely fixable in some way or another.

    Or just walk away and create a Council of Democracies; entry qualification is 2 successive peaceful electoral changes of party in power. And any reported election with a 75%+ majority is grounds for immediate expulsion.
    Wouldn’t solve everything, but it would solve a lot.

    Another possible fix. I don’t care exactly how it is fixed, as long as each change makes it better, and we don’t lose the gains we’ve made. I’d start by cutting everyone’s salary by 20%, but hey, that’s just me.

    w.

  154. Great post Willis. I share your sentiments concerning the flaws inherent in the IPCC. But if the beast is slain, what manner of monster will replace it. If the UN is involved, in all probability a reincarnated IPCC Mk II, perhaps worse. Does anyone really believe that such a deeply flawed political organisation like the UN will create anything that doesn’t mirror it’s own shortcomings?
    I suspect it may be better instead to just allow the beast to remain with withering credibility – until the save the planet crowd moves on to their next “great moral issue of our time” whatever that turns out to be.

  155. Bob;
    don’t be so sanguine about the next great (trumped-up) “moral issue”. Biodiversity and ocean acidification are both in training. Both were selected because they provide “justification” for de-industrializing the planet.

  156. My apologies for the long-winded post above. I guess the point of my historical ponderings is that Ravetz is trying to do for science what the CAGW alarmists have done to the scientific historical record – argue that conditions now are so different from the past that past causation no longer counts. Yet Copernicus, Galileo, Lavoisier, etc all faced high stakes and conflicting values, and the facts were not certain (if they were, there would have been no heliocentric/geocentric or phlogiston/oxygen debates), but somehow coped without PNS. Yet science has somehow reached the curve in the hockeystick blade today, and new assessment methods (quality vs truth?) are now needed? Frankly, give me a break. The argument for historical discontinuity is as specious in the philosophy of science as it is in the history of climate.

  157. Willis,

    I like the spirit of your post.

    I would suggest though that the humanist philosophy that shaped the ideas of the founders of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America was more profoundly optimistic about human natur than your less than positive view of mankind.

    I completely agree regarding PNS. It is of the same philosophical parentage as the Kantian-Hegelian-Marxist philosophical axis. It belongs in the historical dustbins along with European 19th & 20th century authoritarian socio-economic-politico ideology. PNS has no relationship to objective science. It is the creation of non-content epistemology.

    John

  158. vigilantfish says:

    February 15, 2011 at 4:48 am

    ”””My apologies for the long-winded post above. I guess the point of my historical ponderings is that Ravetz is trying to do for science what the CAGW alarmists have done to the scientific historical record – argue that conditions now are so different from the past that past causation no longer counts.”””

    ——–

    vigilantfish,

    Your apology is not needed, please continue on about the historical and philosophical baggage that PNS carries with it.

    I think PNS is part of the ideology that precipitated the IPCC and its associated AGW bias. It is part of the original problem and not part of a solution set.

    John

  159. vigilantfish says:
    February 15, 2011 at 4:48 am
    Yet Copernicus, Galileo, Lavoisier, etc all faced high stakes and conflicting values, and the facts were not certain (if they were, there would have been no heliocentric/geocentric or phlogiston/oxygen debates), but somehow coped without PNS. Yet science has somehow reached the curve in the hockeystick blade today, and new assessment methods (quality vs truth?) are now needed? Frankly, give me a break.

    Ravetz told me an interesting story about Lavoisier and mathematicians being excluded from the inner circle while we were at Lisbon. History endlessly repeats.

    Sure, you can throw out Ravetz’ idea of the ‘extended peer community’ (including sceptics and their ‘leaked documents’), having a say in policy formation. Then we can get back to the good old days of the science/public policy interface being run behind closed doors by unaccountable mandarins.

    /sarc

  160. Tallbloke:

    I have to confess I don’t quite get your point, sarc or no sarc.

    Not sure what story you are thinking of re: Lavoisier. He was to my knowledge pretty much inner circle in the development of the new chemistry which finally fully ejected the 4-element theory. Priestly also ran in his own inner circles, but ended up leaving England for Pennsylvania because of his prior political commitments (i.e. French-Revolution-supporting radical) which were not flavour of the month in England at the time. Lavoisier was very much a part of public policy re water purification etc, as was Joseph Banks in England in that era, but Galileo was not a public policy-maker, and again, I was not aware that training in public policy-making was a part of scientific training. The divide here is applied science, in these cases.

    Yes, the greater community should have some input in policy-making, and many fisheries scientists, for example, have become advocates of fishermen’s participation in generating scientific knowledge as well as local or participatory management schemes, but this does not necessarily impinge on how scientific theory itself is upheld or decided. In fisheries science, the actual development of science principles, theories, and accepted knowledge is divided from management science, although senior scientists who move towards administration do move back and forth between the two. Fisheries scientists regard themselves as separate from the ‘managers’.

  161. vigilantfish says:
    February 15, 2011 at 7:50 am
    but this does not necessarily impinge on how scientific theory itself is upheld or decided.

    And nor should it. And nor does PNS. It does not attempt to “replace truth with quality”. Nor does it interfere with the scientific method. It uses quality control assessments when there is no truth to be had; *after* the science has been done, but facts remain both uncertain and not amenable to standard techniques such as Bayesean methods.

    There is a strong argument to say that if the climate scientists had done their job properly to start with, they would have no reason or excuse to invoke the need for PNS analyses.

    However, given that they did, we can now hoist them neatly on their own petard by demanding a seat at the table as legitimate members of the ‘extended peer community’, along with our ‘leaked documents’.

    Or we can go stake driving as Willis prefers.

  162. Willis said:

    “… time wounds all heels, as they say.”
    ————————————————

    It wasn’t ‘they’, it was Dorothy Parker.

    I have to agree with vigilantfish about PNS. It is a travesty which illustrates the muddled thinking that has infested debates about climate. Blurring the boundaries between politics (and political techniques) and science is what got us into this mess in the first place.

    Just because science cannot definitively answer a particular question at a particular time doesn’t mean you water down the scientific content. It just means that, as throughout history, decision makers have to make judgement calls. In democracies, the decision makers are accountable at the polls for those decisions.

    It is not as if scientific disagreements, or imperfect knowledge, are new. They are a fact of life, always will be.

    I certainly don’t want PNS anywhere near medical research. Imperfect as it is, the results of sticking to traditional scientific methods have produced significant extensions of quality and quantity of life. Why is climate science any different?

  163. tallbloke says:
    February 15, 2011 at 8:27 am

    However, given that they did, we can now hoist them neatly on their own petard by demanding a seat at the table as legitimate members of the ‘extended peer community’, along with our ‘leaked documents’.

    Or we can go stake driving as Willis prefers.

    Fallacy of the Excluded Middle. I know for a fact that you are smarter than that. Sloppy thinking, you need to up your game if you want to continue to play.

    Or in other words, giving the stakeholders a seat at the table is an idea far, far older than Ravetz. It is not in opposition to stake driving, it is not an “either/or” choice as you seem to think. Your claim, that somehow if anyone wants a seat at the table that we have to invite Ravetz too, is laughable.

    w.

  164. Tallbloke:

    You state:

    There is a strong argument to say that if the climate scientists had done their job properly to start with, they would have no reason or excuse to invoke the need for PNS analyses.

    However, given that they did, we can now hoist them neatly on their own petard by demanding a seat at the table as legitimate members of the ‘extended peer community’, along with our ‘leaked documents’.

    My problem with this formulation is that we are no longer really talking about science here, but diplomacy and negotiations. Unfortunately, the political reality that applies in such situations is that ‘might makes right’ as the more powerful players have more sway. In the climate science ‘communities’ even though the hockey team, CRU etc. have taken some major hits, in the political and scientific realms they still hold power. Who or what is the neutral party that is to adjudicate? If no adjudication, I have plenty of experience of faculty meetings in which obnoxious personalities hold the entire meeting hostage to their agendas through sheer force of nastiness masquerading as ‘due course’. Other faculty members are just ‘too nice’ or sometimes too stupid to stand up to these people. I think something similar to this has in fact happened in the science community owing to perhaps less-than-scrupulous climate scientists taking advantage of the noble causes endorsed by biologists and other scientists.

    I do not see that PNS would put CAGW skeptics or their scientific representatives at any advantage or even in a position of equality, given current political ‘green’ world views and environmental paradigms.

  165. Willis Eschenbach says:
    February 15, 2011 at 10:53 am
    Fallacy of the Excluded Middle. .

    No problem, I’ll add, “or whatever else anyone wants to suggest and get on with”.

    Your claim, that somehow if anyone wants a seat at the table that we have to invite Ravetz too, is laughable.

    We didn’t invite Ravetz. He helped get the European Union Joint Research Centre to invite us.

    All the best with your own efforts.

    tb

  166. tallbloke says:

    [I had said]: Your claim, that somehow if anyone wants a seat at the table that we have to invite Ravetz too, is laughable.

    We didn’t invite Ravetz. He helped get the European Union Joint Research Centre to invite us.

    Apologies for the lack of clarity in my writing. When I said:

    Your claim, that somehow if anyone wants a seat at the table that we have to invite Ravetz too, is laughable.

    it was intended to be metaphorical rather than literal. It referred to what I saw as your attempt to convince us that “including the stakeholders” was some kind of innovation of PNS, and thus if we accept the value of including the stakeholders we have to accept the value of PNS.

    My point was that including the stakeholders has nothing at all to do with Ravetz. He didn’t invent the idea, he didn’t popularize it. Yes, it is valuable … but that doesn’t make PNS valuable.

    All the best with your own efforts.

    And you as well, keep up the good work.

    w.

  167. Wow Roger Tallbloke,

    You’re taking it from both sides on the PNS issue. I have to review a book that criticizes the history of Canadian fisheries management and defends Post Normal Science as the way forward, so this thread has re-ignited my interest in understanding PNS. I just visited Post Normal Times as a part of my research and see you have recently been taking it on the chin there.

    http://postnormaltimes.net/wpblog/?p=335&cpage=1#comment-7807

    I’m definitely an admirer, despite my disagreement with the philosophy you uphold.

  168. Willis Eschenbach says:
    February 15, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    “Your claim, that somehow if anyone wants a seat at the table that we have to invite Ravetz too, is laughable.”

    it was intended to be metaphorical rather than literal.

    Fine.

    Ravetz helped get the European Union interested in hearing what we have to say, and then got off his backside and helped organise a face to face meeting with a policy maker, IPCC lead author, high profile journalists, and others. This concordes better with my own personal philosophy, which is a philosophy of action. I found Lisbon to be tremendously worthwhile for all sorts of reasons I won’t bore you with. It might have been small steps, and mistakes were made, and differences weren’t all settled, but least it was something other than just talking amongst ourselves, and we managed to disagree agreeably.

    Sincere thanks for the good wishes.

    tb.

  169. Willis Eschenbach says:
    February 14, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    Thank you for your response–an eminently reasonable position. I agree that we need regulations and organizations to see that the regulations are followed. However at the point the regulating organization does more harm than good, I believe it’s time to disband the organization and create a new set of regulations and/or a new regulating body. In my opinion, even if the EPA cost the taxpayers nothing, it has crossed the threshold where it is doing more harm than good. In light of the cost it takes to keep the EPA running, its disbandenment is long overdue.

  170. Theo Goodwin says: February 14, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Thank you Theo, much appreciated.

    And the further discussions on PNS.

  171. tallbloke, you say:

    Ravetz helped get the European Union interested in hearing what we have to say, and then got off his backside and helped organise a face to face meeting with a policy maker, IPCC lead author, high profile journalists, and others. This concordes better with my own personal philosophy, which is a philosophy of action. I found Lisbon to be tremendously worthwhile for all sorts of reasons I won’t bore you with. It might have been small steps, and mistakes were made, and differences weren’t all settled, but least it was something other than just talking amongst ourselves, and we managed to disagree agreeably.

    The problem with Ravetz for me is that he is a mass of unresolved contradictions, at least from where I’m sitting. However, he seems to have had a real conversion regarding the problems with climate science, and is acting on it, which is great.

    Many thanks for the discussion, tb,

    w.

  172. vigilantfish;
    Yes, “Post Normal Times”, indeed. That “post-normal” is explicitly the progressives’ “post-normal”, meaning after the discarding of all the philosophies, sciences, cultural norms, and standards of the [by definition deluded] past.

    Ravetz has put lipstick AND false eyelashes on that particular swine.

Comments are closed.