Forbes: Can We Really Call Climate Science A Science?

Below are excerpts from a story by Paul Roderick Gregory, in Forbes, plus an examination of how desperate the website SkepticalScience seems to have become in the way they treat professionals.

Excerpts from Forbes:

================================================

Three recent events have brought the controversy over climate science back into the news and onto my radar screen:

First, Ivar Giaever, the 1973 winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, resigned from the American Physical Society over his disagreement with its statement that “the evidence (on warming alarmism) is incontrovertible.” Instead, he writes that the evidence suggests that “the temperature has been amazingly stable, and both human health and happiness have definitely improved in this ‘warming’ period.”

Second, the editor of Remote Sensing resigned and disassociated himself from a skeptical paper co-authored  by University of Alabama Climate Scientist Roy Spencer after an avalanche of criticism by “warmists.” His resignation brings to mind Phil Jones’ threat to “get rid of troublesome editors” (cited above).

Third, the New York Times and other major media are ridiculing Texas Governor Rick Perry for saying that global warming is “not proven.” Their message: Anyone who does not sign on to global warming alarmism is an ignorant hayseed and clearly not presidential material.

What lessons do I, as an economist, draw from these three events?

First: The Giaever story starkly disputes warmist claims of “inconvertible evidence.”   Despite the press’s notable silence on such matters, there are a large number of prominent scientists with solid scholarly credentials who disagree with the IPCC-Central Committee. Those who claim “proven science” and “consensus” conveniently ignore such scientists.

Second: As someone with forty years experience with peer reviewed journals. I can testify that the Remote Sensing editor’s resignation and public discreditation of  Spencer’s skeptical paper would be considered bizarre and unprofessional behavior in any other scholarly discipline.

Third: The media is tarring  and feathering  Rick Perry, we now see,  for agreeing with Nobel laureate Giaever and a host of other prominent scientists.  I guess if  Perry is a know-nothing Texas hick (or worse, a pawn of  Big Oil) so is every other scientist who dares to disagree with the IPCC Central Committee. Such intimidation  chillingly makes politicians, public figures, and scientists fearful of deviating one inch from orthodoxy. They want to avoid Orwell’s “watching their comrades torn to pieces after confessing to shocking crimes.” How many are willing to shoulder that burden?

=========================

Read the entire piece here.

For a recent example of “watching their comrades torn to pieces after confessing to shocking crimes” one needs to look no further than Dr. Roger Pielke’s attempt to have a dialog with the oxymoronically named website “SkepticalScience.com”. Bishop Hill described what happened there as self immolation, Shub Niggurath lists it as A dark day in the climate science debate.

Whatever is is, it’s the worst example of climate ugliness I’ve seen this month, though not the all time worst (see the “corrections” at the end). It is surprising though, that for a website that recently won the  prestigious national Eureka award in Australia, that they’d have to stoop to this level of juvenile behavior reminiscent of Animal Farm, cited by Paul Roderick Gregory in his Forbes article.

Strikeout of opposing commentary, especially that of a professional scientist writing something that doesn’t even appear inflammatory or off topic (since he’s responding to another commenter), is so “grade school”.

Can you imagine the howling that would ensue if I did the same thing to NSIDC’s Walt Meier when he posts something here I might disagree with?

From my perspective, while I once said that John Cook was at least “civil in his discourse with me”, and for that reason I gave Skeptical Science a place on my blogroll. I’m rethinking that now after seeing this latest ugliness.

One thing Shub Niggurath said caught my eye:

More recently however, the tone at [SkepticalScience] has turned shrill. The main proprietor John Cook, who is a climate change communication award winner, apparently approves. These changes have especially been noticeable after a certain ‘dana1981′ – likely referring to the author being born in 1981, began his contributions to the website.

And to top it all, in their narrow and monomaniacal attempts at interpreting Roger Pielke Sr’s blog posts, the readers/moderators and authors including ‘dana1981′ were completely blinded to the fact, that one of them – ‘dana1981′ – had in fact, carried out the very same thing they so vehemently denied.

That reminds me of something I once said about the Internet:

Anonymity breeds contempt

I wonder if Cook will rise to the level of respect that the Australian National Museum has granted him with their Eureka award and fix this mess “dana1981″ has created, or will he turn a blind eye and take one for “The Team”? I’ve done my part to be reasonable and adopt suggestions, the ball is now in John Cook’s court. Ironically, in the attempt to muzzle Dr. Pielke and have him acquiesce to demands, they handily proved his original point.

The way defenders of climate science are acting these days, it does indeed beg the question Can We Really Call Climate Science A Science?

h/t to Kevin Hearle for the Forbes article

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131 thoughts on “Forbes: Can We Really Call Climate Science A Science?

  1. Here are the last two paragraphs of the article:

    About a year ago, I attended a debate between a noted warmist and skeptic. They agreed only on one thing: Climate science is in its infancy. We are just beginning to understand the climate. When we look back, we will understand how little we really understood and how wrong our first findings were. This is the way science is created.

    False claims of consensus and incontrovertible truth reveal a political or ideological agenda wrapped in the guise of science. The incontrovertible bad behavior of the warmists has led skeptics to suspect base motives, and who could blame them?

  2. Just read the article and the comments so far. The Warmists are piling on, e.g.:

    glennpecker 8 hours ago
    Are you trying to discredit a person or an entire field of science? If you want to expose an individual for trying to suppress facts, I’m all for it. But the data supporting man induced climate change is [sic] overwhelming and to try to attack an entire field of science over a few emails and individuals is absurd. . .

    I wonder where those “overwhelming” data are. . .

    /Mr Lynn

  3. It’s true that at present, climate science is an enigma and all too often it seems linked to a lot of other madness or evil that is going on in the world today. I’m referring to organized groups that want to shut down discussion or opinions that they don’t like, some have a tremendous hatred against other peoples personal opinions.

    On a different aspect, Climate Science is a very broad academic entity, certainly it contains more fields than any one person can claim to be an expert in, therefore it is questionable if one person can justifiably claim to be a climate scientist.

  4. In a memorable 1990s TV ad, a doting grandmother said proudly of her grandchild, “He’s got an ‘ology’!”

    I reckon that climate science should be stripped of its ology. May it henceforth be demoted to climatography. No more shall the Climate Dept share a corridor with real sciences like Chemistry. Climate has-beens stand around the coffeee machine chatting to their peers from photography and geography. “Back in the glory days of Global warming I used to be an ‘ologist’, you know…”

  5. with Murdoch under attack on a number of fronts, he could launch a counterattack whilst at the same time help answer the question posed by Paul Roderick Gregory (as regards IPCC “climate science” at least) by having Neil Wallis spill the beans about the damage control he did for UEA post-Climategate!

    18 Sept: WSJ: ‘High School Physics’
    Another Nobel laureate breaks from the climate change pack. .
    That’s how Al Gore described the science of climate change this week, by which we suppose he meant it’s elementary and unchallengeable. Well, Mr. Vice President, meet Ivar Giaever, a 1973 physics Nobel Laureate who resigned last week from the American Physical Society in protest over the group’s insistence that evidence of man-made global warming is “incontrovertible.”…
    Other dissenters include Stanford University physicist and Nobelist Robert B. Laughlin, deceased green revolution icon and Nobelist Norman Borlaug, Princeton physicist William Happer and World Federation of Scientists President Antonino Zichichi. Our point is not that all of these men agree on climate change, much less mankind’s contribution to it, only that to one degree or another they maintain an open mind about warming or what to do about it.
    One of the least savory traits of climate-change advocates is how they’ve tried to bully anyone who keeps an open mind. This is true of many political projects, but it is or ought to be anathema to the scientific method. With the cap-and-trade movement stymied, Mr. Gore and the climate clan have become even more arch in their dismissals of anyone who disagrees. Readers can decide who they’d rather study physics with—Professor Giaever, or Mr. Gore’s list of politically certified instructors.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903927204576572842778437276.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

  6. From Paul Gregory’s at Forbes:
    False claims of consensus and inconvertible truth reveal a political or ideological agenda wrapped in the guise of science. The incontrovertible bad behavior of the warmists has led skeptics to suspect base motives, and who could blame them?

    A very good article, but way too conciliatory towards the warmists.

  7. Brent Hargreaves says:
    September 19, 2011 at 6:10 am
    May it henceforth be demoted to climatography.

    Yes, and those skilled in the ART shall be known as climatographers.

  8. Gore received a Nobel Peace Prize, as did Obama. Why are you surprised that SkepticalScience.com got a Eureka? I would be very surprised if this SkS is resurrected.

    The people on the AGW gravy train of government funding have one plan – attack all dissent and vilify all dissenters. Sounds like politics, or religion, not science.

    Bill

  9. …the oxymoronically named website “SkepticalScience.com
    It’s not an oxymoron, which would mean that the two terms are intrinsically or at least typically in opposition. For example, “skeptical_yesmen” would be an oxymoron. Instead, “SkepticalScience” is inaccurately named — certainly in the first part, and having seen their disgraceful treatment of Dr. Pielke’s comments, quite possibly in the second as well.
    /pedant mode

  10. If climate science isn’t a science, and since it is practiced by many people who aren’t scientists, it might not be, it sure the heck isn’t an art. Most artists claim their art is about a search for some sort of true, either from the real world or an emotional truth, as climate science is practiced now days searching for any truth isn’t a part of it. So if it isn’t a science and it isn’t an art what is it? I think that the best that can be said for the state of climate science today is that it is a political ploy and quite a cynical ploy at that.

  11. Some intellectual discipline can only be truly and honestly considered scientific if, and only if, it fully adheres to all the rules imposed by the scientific method of discovery.

    After 10 years of reading scientific papers, opinion pieces, blogs, commentary from the media and politics across the spectrum of “belief” and after reviewing as much scientific and circumstantial evidence as I can find with regards to climate and the causes of changes in the climate, I have come to the following conclusion.

    That political philosophy of indoctrination, which falsely calls itself “climate science” when advocating a catastrophic anthropological impact on global climate, and especially on global temperature increases, fails on a number of rules according to the scientific method and therefore it is not a scientific discipline. It is propaganda, it is indoctrination, it is religion. It is NOT science.

  12. Third: The media is tarring and feathering Rick Perry, we now see, for agreeing with Nobel laureate Giaever and a host of other prominent scientists.

    Huntsman challenged Perry at the recent Republican debate by saying that 97% of climatologists were in agreement. Here’s what Perry should come back with:
    “I wouldn’t be surprised if 97% of them were Democrats.”

  13. Brent Hargreaves says:
    September 19, 2011 at 6:10 am
    May it henceforth be demoted to climatography.

    I’ve stuck with an appellation I picked up from a commenter here at some point in the last two years: crimatologists. Tthough crimatographer will do just as well.

  14. Can We Really Call Climate Science A Science?

    Hey, at least they repeat and repeat, and repeat, the same old “tried and true” cynical Political Science Propaganda tactics! And if they “win”, we all know what that would mean in the real world. That’s right, you’d have to listen to the likes of Hansen and Gore 24/7!

  15. Slightly O/T but I must get this off my chest before I bust. Frequently on scientific sites, and too often on this one, (as one can see somewhere above) comments appear that indicate that the commentator is labouring under the misapprehension that the word “data” is strictly a plural. Using the word in its singular sense gives rise to snide comment. When one speaks of a number of data from a single source then the plural verb in relation to ‘data” is permissible, but not always appropriate. When one speaks of a body of data such as is generally the case with climate matters, the the word ‘data’ takes the singular verb. This is not optional – it is obligatory. Does it matter? Yes it does, since the incorrect plural use makes the user sound like a misguided pedant, and if spoken makes the user sound like an idiot.

    I thank readers in anticipation of their indulgence.

  16. Hmm, what makes something a “science” in this age? Let me think… Something about repeatibility, ability to accuately predict effects, could probably toss in ability to design and conduct studies that can be replicated by others.

  17. In a memorable 1990s TV ad, a doting grandmother said proudly of her grandchild, “He’s got an ‘ology’!”

    Climatology is an ‘ology’ like Astrology, Theology, and Phrenology.

  18. I wouldn’t be so surprised to see this from Skeptical Science. The website’s very name is meant to be deceiving. Why look there for honest debate?

    BTW the name Skeptical Science is not an oxymoron. An oxymoron is phrase where one part of the phrase contradicts the other part of the phrase. Scientists should by their very nature be skeptical.

  19. dana 1981 = Dana Nuccitelli
    Environmental Scientist

    Dana Nuccitelli is an environmental scientist at a private environmental consulting firm in the Sacramento, California area. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in astrophysics from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Master’s Degree in physics from the University of California at Davis. He has been researching climate science, economics, and solutions as a hobby since 2006, and has contributed to the climate science blog Skeptical Science since September, 2010.

    http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/bio.php?u=25

  20. Anthony, I’m wondering about the value of having a dialogue with these sort of people. We’ve all been trying for years with little gain in that respect. However, while they were degenerating, rebuffing, discounting, we grew (the skeptical community). We grew in knowledge and numbers. We are gaining not just a voice in the blogosphere, but as this Forbes article shows, skepticism is gaining, (very slowly) a foothold in the area of acceptance by various media outlets and commentators.

    We’re are never going to be able to have a dialogue with the likes of Cook, Foster, Clark, or the rest the cast of idiots. Not only won’t we ever have a reasonable dialogue with them, I don’t believe we need to soil ourselves with association. Good progress has been made without them, and progress will continue without them. They never were relevant, they are even less relevant today.

    James Sexton

  21. I thik we sure can call Climate Science a Science … as soon as we separate it from Climate Politics and Climate Religion.

  22. John Cook’s website is aptly named – “skeptical science”,

    ’cause I’m skeptical that there is any real science going on there.

    Well, other than the science of distortion, the science of misrepresentation, and the science of false manipulation of data.

    Anthony is entirely too kind to Cook and his dedication to these “sciences”.

  23. Science and Scientists are the Losers here. I’m just an average person who relied on these people to answer the questions I couldn’t but no longer do I put my trust in any of them.

    THOUGHT FOR THE DAY (for Global Warming Believers)
    Fear controls us. We are more afraid of being burnt to death than we are of freezing to death, therefore we believe in what we fear the most. (What a gullible lot you are)

  24. As a participant in the Skeptical Science/Dr. Pielke Sr. discussion, there are a couple of points that seem to have been overlooked, particularly in terms of timeline.

    * Dr. Pielke blogged that the SkS website was using ad hominem arguments to dismiss the University of Alabama MSU temperature data (http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2011/09/12/scientific-robustness-of-the-university-of-alabama-at-huntsville-msu-data/).

    * SkS posted a response thread stating that (a) this was an unwarranted accusation, and (b) that Dr. Pielke seemed a bit one-sided in criticizing SkS when his own colleagues post notable amounts of ad hominem</em laden articles (http://www.skepticalscience.com/one-sided-skepticism.html). Note that Dr. Pielke's blog generally does not allow comments, so there was no opportunity for anyone to respond to him there.

    * Dr. Pielke kindly participated in that open thread. I will note that he did not produce any evidence of ad homimen attacks on the MSU data.

    * At the end of the day, Dr. Pielke had (in my opinion) made the reasonable point that the “Spencer Slip-Ups” and “Christy Crocks” headers used to group multiple articles about various issues were a bit insulting, but again failed to produce any evidence of ad hominem arguments, any dismissal of the MSU data, etc.

    * Dr. Pielke’s posting of the very end of the SkS dialog omits any number of questions regarding his own accusations, and numerous attempts on his part to change the subject (http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2011/09/17/my-interactions-with-skeptical-science-a-failed-attempt-so-far-for-constructive-dialog/). I would encourage those interested to read the entire thread, not just the last few postings where people were getting fed up with each other.

    I would like to compliment Anthony Watts for modifying the Al Gore header in response to this discussion. But the timeline and context of the discussion are important.

  25. I assume Pielke Sr is not of the right generation to realize just how horrifically a message board can turn against you. When the board’s moderators themselves hold and push bias, you’re basically hosed. It would be like Reagan visiting the Kremlin to talk about capitalism in 1982. You might look like the bigger man in your mind, but you will look like the fool to everyone else for even going there.

  26. REAL SCIENCE:

    http://www.stanford.edu/group/brainsinsilicon/ – Heading towards a real human brain simulation in circuitry.

    http://www.mpibpc.mpg.de/groups/hell/ – Smashing the “Abbe Limit”.

    Of course these folks do MODELING and DEVELOPMENT and TESTING of everything they do. And all THREE of these elements match each other and support each other. Final result – Verified and reproduced.

    Wait, a lot of it is NOT reproduced by OTHERS! Wait, a lot of it IS PUBLISHED ON THEIR OWN WEBSITES and NOT PEER REVIEWED. This is because this work is too “cutting edge”. They generally don’t have “peers” in the normal sense. So it must not be “real Science”.

    Darn, I should have noticed that. I guess they are just “tinkerers”…

    Max

  27. Anthony: Please leave Skeptical Science on your blogroll. It provides one measure of which sites take the high road when discussing the findings of climate science.
    Thanks

  28. I have said for many a year. Climate Science is not a science. It is a new wave religion wrapped in scientific jargon. Like any new religion there are groups of zealots that see god and are willing to do anything to promote their beliefs. This tendency has been a central charcteristic of humanity and since the nature of the species has not changed it should not be too surprising that nor has the behavioral tendency been lost.

  29. IF both sides to this issue could openly present their case with their data and findings, it would be science, BUT we find that the AGW view withholds their raw data, insists that their view is the consensus view, and blocks any other view. It’s clearly NOT Science, but dogma.

    A similar dogma view in science occurred over the issue of whether the Sun went around the Earth. It looks like history is repeating again…

  30. “They want to avoid Orwell’s “watching their comrades torn to pieces after confessing to shocking crimes.” How many are willing to shoulder that burden?”

    Too late, as the psycho, yet sweet teacher uncovers the button which atomizes two student children who dare to ask why. That image should be repeated from time to time to remind the rest of the world just how sick this AdHom BS has become.

  31. One of the “ologies” that is most frequently ignored in climate science is metrology (the science of measurement). In my high school physics class, we were divided up it to teams and asked to measure the average temperature of our classroom. The variance from the highest reported average temperature to the lowest (all using the same equipment, but different methodologies), was more than 10%. I know we have experts measuring the temperature now, but it’s the entire Earth. Has anyone even tried to put a collar around the potential margin of error (particularly for measurements that predate modern equipment)? As someone much smarter than I once said, for the AGW to be proved, experts in the fields of chemistry, meteorology, physics, mathematics, geology, metrology and computer modeling must all be correct. For the entire theory to be flawed, only one of these experts must be wrong. I spend most of my time these days modeling the stock market and anticipating its trends. I do barely better than random chance (which is enough, by the way . . . just like casinos), but certainly, I would never suggest that I have a complete understanding of the market, which, by the way, has far fewer variables than the climate. After perusing the “read me” files, I have no confidence that all the various disciplines are right. I wouldn’t be surprised if all of them are dead wrong.

  32. Climate science suffers from the same ailments that afflict astrophysics and probably many other sciences. Follow the money and you will always get to the bottom of the problem. Those involved in research are biased by the lure of the dollar. They use correlations without regard for rule one, not to imply cause and effect. They violate many other rules of proper research such as using selected data which confirm the view they espouse, ignoring contrary date, poor or no statistical methodology, invention of properties which are not proven to exist (dark matter, inflation, dark energy) to fit their theories, etc. They want their papers published, they want grant money, they want fame and fortune. Climate science fits right in and these problems are not new.

  33. Re: dana1981

    I believe I remember reading Luboš Motl (The Reference Frame)

    http://motls.blogspot.com/

    taking on this person earlier this year. I can’t find that post now but recall Lumo scored all the points. He visits WUWT so maybe he can point to that set of comments.

  34. Ken Hall: “It is propaganda, it is indoctrination, it is religion. It is NOT science.”

    We have a winner! I just listened to a fired up President Obama who mentioned Buffett and taxes repeatedly. Since the CAGW schemes aren’t gonna work, Spaghetti O knows that by raising taxes on the wealthiest it then becomes much easier to raise taxes on the middle class where the real money is!

  35. KR says:
    September 19, 2011 at 7:35 am

    As a participant in the Skeptical Science/Dr. Pielke Sr. discussion, there are a couple of points that seem to have been overlooked, particularly in terms of timeline….

    Also overlooked was the science w.r.t. to talking to Pielke. I guess with the warmists like yourself, the subject in question is the science, except when it is not.

    Also, it seems that if his accusations of SS’ ad hominem against Christy and his sat data were so wrong, you’d think SS would avoid doing it, they didn’t:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/santer-catch-christy-exaggerating.html

  36. As James Sexton says, we don’t need to argue with these people any more. The more they thrash about in their panic, the more stupid they look in the eyes of mainstream science. Truth is gaining ground in it’s own right. The climate isn’t matching their models, no matter how they weasel, we don’t have the predicted temperature rises, sea level rises, global ice melt, extinctions, outgassing, and all the other nonsense they came up with around the turn of the century to scare us.

    A silly immature science based on faulty statistics pushed to its limit by a few self-serving bullyboys, the truth always catches them out – they can control the datasets, they can even control the media through politicians who want to push the same message for different reasons, but their words can’t actually control the climate, which is doing its own thing as it always has.

    But such nasty tactics aren’t new to science, such squabbling has gone on for centuries. All that’s happened is that we have had 30 years of relative stability in science, with no major big arguments. Since Steady State Theory and Plate Techtonics, science has been a pretty stable climate in our lifetimes, and we’re just not used to the underhanded way some scientists behave when their work and reputations are at stake. Human nature = nothing new. Time always favours the correct answer, and we just have to sit tight as the rest of the world catches up with us.

  37. I think a better question is can we really call climate models science and an even better question is can we really call climate scientists who push junk science scientists?* After all, climate science is in it’s infancy and it’s not fair to paint the entire profession with a broad brush.

    *BTW: For those who think this question is too strident or divisive, you can broaden the scope to include all scientists who push junk science if you wish, but I’d rather we stay on the topic at hand.

  38. Ken Harvey says:
    “When one speaks of a number of data from a single source then the plural verb in relation to ‘data” is permissible, but not always appropriate. When one speaks of a body of data such as is generally the case with climate matters, the the word ‘data’ takes the singular verb. This is not optional – it is obligatory.”

    I was taught that the singular of “data” is “datum” and that if one was referring to data one should always use the plural. . If one was referring to an agglomeration of data the singular should be used because it was the agglomeration to which one was referring not the data themselves.

    Incidentally climate science is a science but then so was alchemy.

  39. The Wall Street Journal editorial page today features Prof. Giaever’s protest beginning as follows: “High School Physics” — That’s how Al Gore described the science of climate change this week, by which we suppose he meant it’s elementary and unchallengeable. Well, Mr. Vice President, meet Ivar Giaever, a 1973 physics Nobel Laureate who resigned last week from the American Physical Society in protest over the group’s insistence that evidence of man-made global warming is “incontrovertible.”

  40. So called ‘Skeptical Science’ is pretty amusing.
    I used to post there but, just as with un-‘Real Climate’ any post which questions the dogma is summarily excluded.

    They’ve kinda devolved into a self assuring religious cell, much like a bees nest which dedicates itself to defending the faith.

    Of course Luke Warmers, who contend that global warming is real, but exaggerated, don’t get a lot of play anywhere.

  41. Climate ‘Science’ has been used by politicians to create an ‘external enemy’ that justifies more taxes and more power to the politicians.

    However, importantly, it also follows a powerful theme found in the plots of successful dramas like ‘Jaws’ that fits with the psychological mores of many people. The plots have a scientist/expert finding evidence of an imminent disaster and being scorned and not believed by the majority until it is almost too late.

    I think that this allegory is the reason for many of the heated attacks on ‘the deniers’ – “Don’t you see there is a disaster about to happen/shark about to attack?! Get out of the water!!”

    Unfortunately, they are totally convinced they are saving the world while ‘deniers’ are big-business trying to make money and lulling the population into ignoring the looming disaster.

  42. bhaskell says:

    “Has anyone even tried to put a collar around the potential margin of error (particularly for measurements that predate modern equipment)? ”

    I have also often marveled at the number of people in science who don’t seem to understand the difference between accuracy and precision. In addition to the actual margin of error on the thermometer, there are siting differences as where you measure should be relevant to the area of interest and not biased by location close to various influences, like asphalt and ac outlets. This has been amply demonstrated by our host’s Surface Stations project. When a large number of your temperature measuring stations have accuracies specified as + or – 2 to 5 deg C it’s hard to take them seriously when they claim to be able to discern temperature rise rates on the order of a tenth of a degree or two per decade, or a hundredth of a degree per year. No matter how much they claim this doesn’t matter or that they have “adjusted” for it, UHI and siting issues still do not allow much confidence in the determination of temperature trends IMO.

  43. Ken Harvey says:
    September 19, 2011 at 6:57 am

    Sorry, I was taught that ‘data’ is the plural of ‘datum’. While it is true that in the sense of ‘a body of data’ is often carelessly treated as a singular noun, I don’t think if I wrote, “But the data supporting man induced climate change are overwhelming” would make me “sound like an idiot.” Though making that barely-grammatical Warmist claim would, of course.

    /Mr Lynn (an admitted pedant)

  44. Pedantic error: “While it is true that in the sense of ‘a body of data’ is often carelessly treated as a singular noun. . .” should be “While it is true that in the sense of ‘a body of data’ it is often carelessly treated as a singular noun. . .” /Mr L

  45. tom T says:

    BTW the name Skeptical Science is not an oxymoron.

    I think the correct word is “misnomer”.

  46. Ken Harvey: When one speaks of a body of data such as is generally the case with climate matters, the the word ‘data’ takes the singular verb. This is not optional – it is obligatory.

    I always cringe when I hear or read “data is”, but that’s because I am an old fogey, and usage has changed during my lifetime. When I hear or read a “correction” to “data is” I infer that the person doing the “correction” is another old fogey. “Data” as singular refers to what used to be called “data set” or “all of the data”, so the evolution abbreviates communication in a useful way.

  47. Is climate “science” a science?

    …. most real scientists would think that is a very worthwhile question to ask.
    …. most climate “scientists” would tell their supporters it is a ridiculous question as they egg them of to a new pitch of alarmism at the next rally.

  48. That striking out of entire comments – by a real scientist, FFS – by skepticalscience is simply breathtaking. The contumelious arrogance it reveals strips away any last doubt that the AGW project is politics, pure and simple – should there be any doubt left to strip. Who the hell do these people think they are? Let us be grateful that this sort of vileness is making more and more people aware that AGW was never about science.

  49. Umm…
    Not to be contrary, but the SkS moderators seemed to be requesting that he not discuss the science [i]in that particular thread[/i], not that he never discuss it, for organization purposes. I’m really confused how that amounts to a “dark day”, though using strikeout rather than simply telling him to discuss it elsewhere was bad form.

  50. Of course these folks do MODELING and DEVELOPMENT and TESTING of everything they do. And all THREE of these elements match each other and support each other. Final result – Verified and reproduced. ,

    Max,
    So far in “climate science” testing does not match modeling, and therefore is not verified and reproduced.

  51. Is Pielke Sr. under arrest? Is SkS some sort of special tribunal? It certainly reads like it.
    If I may diverge a little, if you need a laugh after this (I certainly do) check out this website:

    http://www.eurocoin-competition.eu/home

    Looks like climatologists are not the only people resolutely impervious to reality – perhaps they are the same people – the ‘energy’ of Europe is represented by wind turbines! No sign of the people ‘celebrating’ ten years of the Euro by rioting though.

  52. Forbes: Can We Really Call Climate Science A Science?

    ————–

    If science is considered an integrated and consistent body of reality confirmed information, then no, climate science is not science. So far climate science is some kind of a fragmented and dis-integrated pre-science, something in gestation and not yet fully born as viably alive science.

    If science is considered to be the process for achieving such reality confirmed info (see above), then no, climate science is not science. Climate science is predominately a politicized funding process, supporting scientists with ideologies that ensure the production of conformed research products supporting the framework of IPCC bias toward CAGW. Climate science therefore can be defined as that which will produce an AR5 that is more alarming than AR4; it is not producing reality confirmed information.

    John

  53. Speaking of “data” …

    My impression is that the word “data” may be undergoing transformation from a count noun (I think that’s the term) to a mass noun. As a result, it’s becoming increasingly acceptable to use it as a singular rather than a plural term.

  54. D. King says:
    September 19, 2011 at 6:30 am

    Brent Hargreaves says:
    September 19, 2011 at 6:10 am
    May it henceforth be demoted to climatography.

    Yes, and those skilled in the ART shall be known as climatographers.

    And those that use climate science for political gain can appropriately be called climaticians (rhymes with morticians.)

  55. I think the very fact that so many scientific organizations are taking a public stand on this issue is a warning signal of a possible pseudo-religious, politically-correct dogmatism. The less than one degree C change in global temperatures since 1850 (or 1910) does not seem to warrant the dire predictions being made for the near future or conclusively prove that modern industry is killing the planet.

    Yes there is a greenhouse effect and that has been true ever since there was water vapor in the atmosphere. Perhaps we have been responsible for increasing the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by about 39 percent. But the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide is well known to be logarithmic and self-limiting.

    If mankind and human industry are given the benefit of reasonable doubt, I do not think there is any proof but coincidence that modern industry and population growth have adversely affected the weather on a global scale. The one-degree overall average change being cited seems well within what should be the noise level range.

  56. Anything that includes “science” as part of it’s name is highly unlikely to be actual science. You don’t need to say “physics science’, for instance.

  57. Commander Bill says:
    September 19, 2011 at 7:54 am

    I have said for many a year. Climate Science is not a science. It is a new wave religion wrapped in scientific jargon. Like any new religion there are groups of zealots that see god and are willing to do anything to promote their beliefs. This tendency has been a central characteristic of humanity and since the nature of the species has not changed it should not be too surprising that nor has the behavioral tendency been lost.

    “The most common of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably untrue. It is the chief occupation of mankind.”
    –H.L. Mencken

  58. Ian W says:
    September 19, 2011 at 8:59 am

    … it [climate science] also follows a powerful theme found in the plots of successful dramas like ‘Jaws’ that fits with the psychological mores of many people. The plots have a scientist/expert finding evidence of an imminent disaster and being scorned and not believed by the majority until it is almost too late.

    I think that this allegory is the reason for many of the heated attacks on ‘the deniers’ – “Don’t you see there is a disaster about to happen/shark about to attack?! Get out of the water!!”

    Unfortunately, they are totally convinced they are saving the world while ‘deniers’ are big-business trying to make money and lulling the population into ignoring the looming disaster.

    The prototype for this template was set by Ibsen’s play, An Enemy of the People, where the hero tries to warn the in-denial populace about a dangerous water well. The alarmists see themselves as his descendants.

  59. Tim Spence says:
    September 19, 2011 at 6:07 am

    “Climate Science is a very broad academic entity, certainly it contains more fields than any one person can claim to be an expert in, therefore it is questionable if one person can justifiably claim to be a climate scientist.”

    ___
    Excellent point. Just as “biology” is a very broad general field, broken up into many specialties. So a person is a climate scientist who specializes in glaciology, or atmospheric chemistry, etc. These specialities are every bit as rigouras as any science, but are reliant on the use of models in some areas, as it is impossible to put a small Earth in a petrie dish as a biologist can with a bit of fungi…

    I see the suggestion that climate science is not a science as yet more attempts of the same anti-science rhetoric that would discredit an entire discipline in the attempts to increase doubt about the credibility of the findings.

  60. As far as I see it, climate science believes itself to be a science, but that is not the interesting question. What sort of science is it?

    Climate Scientists appear to believe that they are following a ‘scientific method’. It is not a method which is based upon experimentation with laboratory controls and so it can hardly be put in the same category as chemistry or nuclear physics. Close to the natural sciences there are the ‘observational’ sciences of which astronomy is a clear example. Astronomy has developed as observational technology has developed and climate science does not approach the observational rigour that astronomers employ. At the other end of the spectrum it can hardly be described a ‘social science’ like social anthropology or sociology. With these sciences the role of the observer directly conditions what is being observed. It would appear to sit in a middle ground along with economics.

    Economics (at least the classical variety) has within it certain core beliefs about human rationality and that aggregate human activity in the form of markets can be empirically studied and modelled. Climate Science takes as a given that certain thermo-kinetic properties of CO2 can result in aggregate effects upon the state of the climate. ‘Climate’ like ‘market’ are conceptual abstractions and most climate scientists, like most economists think they agree what these words mean.

    Both Climate Science and Economics suffer from the lack of rigour that characterises the natural sciences and both suffer from imprecision in measurement which characterises the observational sciences. Indeed, because of problems of empirical attribution both sciences have to rely upon modelling in order to explain and predict the phenomena they are concerned with. Nearly all sciences do this to an extent but with these subjects models rather than observation are accepted as the principal route to knowledge. Indeed, both economists and climate scientists would argue that if model and observation conflict then it is probably the observation that is wrong.

    Interestingly economics and climate science are characterised by similar dysfunctional behaviours: ostracism of opponents, data torturing, political posturing and so on. There have been disputes in all the sciences and from time to time they have all been subject to vested interests. But I do not believe there has been quite the ruthlessness with which any opposition is dealt with by those who claim the scientific high ground in these subjects. It was this that first led me to wonder if the claims of climate scientists were as well founded as they and their media and political outriders would have us believe.

    I put the AGW hypothesis on about the same level as the rational expectations or efficient markets hypothesis. The large majority of economists engaged in published research would claim that there is a consensus supporting the validity of the EMH for example, whereas most who work in the real world and have never published (or indeed read) a peer reviewed article in their lives would dispute it. I do not doubt that climate science is a science of a sort but like economics its claims to the truth are flimsy to say the least and skepticism is the only rational response.

  61. In English, the word “data” is a mass noun – neither singular nor plural. It takes a singular subject. It functions interchangeably with the word “information” (also a mass noun). One says “this information” not “these information” and similarly one should say “this data” not “these data”.

    We know that “data” is not plural because it can form a compound noun: “database”, “data center”, “data warehousing”, etc. Plural nouns cannot do that in English. In English, you say “dishwasher” not a “disheswasher”.

    In Latin, “data” is plural and should agree in number with the subject when speaking Latin. Or, if your intent is to use the Latin “data” instead of the English “data” you should print the word in italic as you do with any other foreign word.

    Yes, I am aware that the consensus among academics is that “data” should take a plural subject. But the evidence in this case is that the academic consensus is wrong.

  62. “Ken Harvey says:
    September 19, 2011 at 6:57 am

    ………..When one speaks of a number of data from a single source then the plural verb in relation to ‘data” is permissible, but not always appropriate. When one speaks of a body of data such as is generally the case with climate matters, the the word ‘data’ takes the singular verb. This is not optional – it is obligatory………..”

    Not really off topic Ken, but incomplete. One temperature measurement is a datum. Two or more are data. The files NOAA, CRU, and others maintain, where the data have been homogenized, corrected, averaged, or otherwise manhandled, are “products”. Products may or may not provide some insight into the mechanisms producing the underlying data. They are not “data” themselves, but representations of data.

  63. The way defenders of climate science are acting these days, it does indeed beg the question Can We Really Call Climate Science A Science?

    Sorry to be pedantic, Anthony, but this is a huge pet peeve of mine. The phrase ‘beg the question’ carries a specific definition in logic, sometimes more commonly known as the circular argument. The phrase is not intended to refer, literally, to a question (although this usage has become pervasive in the common vernacular).

    Correct verbiage in this case would be ‘to raise the question.’

    —.

    On topic, the study of climate can be legitimately called science, if practice properly. However, the current incarnation of climate study resembles religious practice more so than genuine scientific inquiry. IMO.

  64. It might be fruitful to detect if there is a mono-mythic theme (see Joseph Campbell’s ‘Hero With a Thousand Faces’) embedded by PR firms about John Cook’s as a mythic hero at the SS (Skeptical Science) blog. If we find a mono-myth embedded in the SS blog then a little dissection would be enlightening to expose its mythic structure.

    For purpose of my analysis let’s postulate John Cook is being cast as a mono-mythic hero by some PR spin-meisters.

    About the mono-mythic theme, Joseph Campbell says,

    “The standard path of the mythological adventure of the hero is a magnification of the formula represented in the rites of passage; separation-initiation-return: which might be named the nuclear unit of the monomyth.”
    “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder [ . . . ]; fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won [ . . . ]; the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man [ . . . ].”

    So, following a monomythic theme, we have Cook leaving the normal pre-CAGW world of capitalistic consumerism ignorance. He in enters a dark subterranean supernatural (Gorean and Hansenian) world of Gaia spirituality and fervent collectivist ideological wonder where he encounters the truth of planet saving and the evil nature of technologically progressive mankind. He is aided in his quest in the nether world by none other than mother Gaia herself. Cook vanquishes the evil twin brother demons called underground coal and oil deposits. He vanquishes their God called Big Fossil Fuel. Then he returns as a hero to the blogs to bestow the power to smite skeptics by promoting fake skepticism in its place. He is given awards and granted righteousness by politicians and ideological environmentalist; he triumphantly marches forth in his valiant battle against all non-believers in his heroic mission.

    Ahhh, OK. So it would make a really bad movie. And I think Cook should go back down again into the dark subterranean supernatural (Gorean and Hansenian) world. He needs some more stuff to bring back, because he isn’t making it as a hero so far.

    John

    PS – mpaul, thanks for reminding us of the possible use of the monomyth by PR firms : )

  65. Can We Really Call Climate Science A Science?

    Sure. The climate scientists have accumulated lots of empirical results about climate, and lots of reasonable mathematical approximations to empirical relationships. There is good understanding of why the climates of Venus, Earth and Mars are as different as they are.

    What is lacking is a completeness and precision in this knowledge claimed by some of the promoters of the theory of AGW. There is no solid evidence that the prediction of even a single model for the climate evolution through the next two decades is accurate enough to depend upon, much less through 2050. It isn’t unusual for true scientists to hype their claims (e.g. “God particle” for Higgs boson.) It isn’t unusual for scientists to develop fads and bandwagons either — remember how scientists were bitter and angry about Pres. G. W. Bush’s decision on embryonic stem cells? For another comparison, the execrable eugenics movement did not demonstrate that genetics was not a science.

  66. Even if I knew nothing about climatology, I would be suspicious of the globalwarmists based solely on their behavior. If they knew they had the truth on their side, they would feel no need to act as bullies.

    Still, as much as I decry the tactics of the globalwarmists and their supporting hordes, the entity that shoulders most of the blame for the AGW scandal is the Media. Why? Because instead of reporting the news, instead of acting as journalists and seeking out true stories behind the reports and claims, they have taken on the agenda of the globalwarmists and simply do not report anything regarding anthropogenic global warming (AGW) with accuracy. They only give credence to IPCC-approved reports and statements; they pretend there is no credible evidence or argument against AGW. They report the smears against skeptics as truth without investigating the veracity of such claims. They don’t report the totalitarian behavior of the globalwarmists, even when they have piles of affirming evidence. They even promote the myth that all, or virtually all, prominent scientists agree with the premise and conclusions of AGW, whilst only imbalanced cretins, Texas hicks, or oil company shills deny AGW claims.

    Despite the best efforts of an agendized Media, support for AGW is dwindling rapidly. Sadly, even after proponents of AGW fall into incontrovertible disrepute, most people will hold the Media blameless. After all, once the Media believe the globalwarmists’ fall from grace to be inevitable, they will descend with a hateful vengeance and shred the remains of the fallen AGW priests and acolytes, whilst absolving themselves of all blame. Truth will still be buried beneath stinking piles of propaganda, because the Media will not out themselves.

  67. Ian W says:
    September 19, 2011 at 8:59 am

    I think that this allegory is the reason for many of the heated attacks on ‘the deniers’ – “Don’t you see there is a disaster about to happen/shark about to attack?! Get out of the water!!”
    ================
    You make a very good point there. It would explain a lot.

  68. I loose respect very quickly for an author who purposefully conflates “global warming” with “warming alarmism”.

    The statement from the author: “The evidence (on warming alarmism) is incontrovertible.”
    The actual statement from APS: “The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring.”

    These are very different statements, clearly misrepresented by the author. In fact, even Ivar Giaever states “and both human health and happiness have definitely improved in this ‘warming’ period.” So Ivar Giaever is not disputing that global warming is occurring.

    Presumably Ivar Giaever is upset with later parts of the APS statement like “If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur.” But note that this “warming alarmism” is NOT presented as “incontrovertible”, merely as “likely.”

  69. R. Gates says:
    September 19, 2011 at 11:40 am

    “I see the suggestion that climate science is not a science as yet more attempts of the same anti-science rhetoric that would discredit an entire discipline in the attempts to increase doubt about the credibility of the findings.”

    Given the way that folks like you and some of these so-called “climate scientists” behave (e.g. grand, sweeping statements supported by precious little or no solid evidence), it’s becoming more obvious to me that “climate science” is discrediting itself, without need of anyone else’s help.

  70. If climate science is the sum of computer models and paleo-reconstructions along the lines of Mann, then it is not science. Many others and I have explained these matters in great detail on WUWT. Arrhenius’ original hypotheses are science, but do not explain forcings or feedbacks. What else remains of climate science?

  71. In view of the spelling dispute, “sceptic” vs “skeptic”, may i propose “climate skience” to distinguish it from the regular kind?

  72. R. Gates says:
    September 19, 2011 at 11:40 am

    …Just as “biology” is a very broad general field, broken up into many specialties. So a person is a climate scientist who specializes in glaciology, or atmospheric chemistry, etc.

    No, a person who specializes in glaciology or atmospheric chemistry is a glaciologist or atmospheric chemist–neither are automatically given any particular degree or additional credibility as a “climate scientist”.

    These specialities are every bit as rigouras as any science, but are reliant on the use of models in some areas, as it is impossible to put a small Earth in a petrie dish as a biologist can with a bit of fungi…

    While it is true than any of these scientific fields are rigorous, are models?–not so much. And scale is not a valid excuse to ignore empirical evidence, which pracitcally every model does. Epic Fail in logic there.

    I see the suggestion that climate science is not a science as yet more attempts of the same anti-science rhetoric that would discredit an entire discipline in the attempts to increase doubt about the credibility of the findings.

    That’s a bunch of baloney–and I say that as a scientist myself. What we’re combatting here (and winning, by the way) is the unending, unthinking attempts to conflate inexact modeling, data fudging and a whole slew of unscientific behavior and analysis (may I remind you of Michael “I’m not a crook–hey, stay outta my emails” Mann’s infamous and discredited Hockey Stick, among many others) as “science”. It is not–not by a long shot.

    R. Gates–It is obvious you don’t believe any of us climate realists, skeptics, dissidents or whatever you want call us are scientists or realize what the true nature of science entails. I submit that the better scientists–those who are truly doing their jobs as scientists–are the climate realists, skeptics, and dissidents. Your people (Jones, Mann, Trenberth, etc.) are low life science wanna-be’s. They hide behind the law, they chase easy money through The Team’s advantage, and they are anything but honest (they remind me of a bunch of climate mobsters, actually) They will eventually go down in history as the laughable lot that most of us now recognize. They have little or no credibility; they are the true anti-scientists.

    You just wish they weren’t.

  73. Stir estimates together and make some numbers crunch and soon you’ve got a science and more than just a hunch.

    From reading all of this it’s now quite clear to me that if you add up guesses, you get a certainty

  74. Septic Matthew says:
    September 19, 2011 at 9:35 am

    I always cringe when I hear or read “data is”, but that’s because I am an old fogey, and usage has changed during my lifetime. When I hear or read a “correction” to “data is” I infer that the person doing the “correction” is another old fogey. . .

    Guilty as charged: “39 and holding,” as Jerry Lee Lewis once sang, echoing Jack Benny. I guess if I remember Jack that makes me an old fogey for sure.

    “Data” as singular refers to what used to be called “data set” or “all of the data”, so the evolution abbreviates communication in a useful way.

    Can’t disagree, except that it may be devolution, as phil c suggests (September 19, 2011 at 11:56 am),

    . . . One temperature measurement is a datum. Two or more are data. The files NOAA, CRU, and others maintain, where the data have been homogenized, corrected, averaged, or otherwise manhandled, are “products”. Products may or may not provide some insight into the mechanisms producing the underlying data. They are not “data” themselves, but representations of data.

    i.e. ‘data’ and their products are being conflated. We old fogies might argue that this leads to less clarity, not more.

    * * * * *

    As for the topic of this thread, I propose that we ask the Rationalists, the genuine scientists who insist upon the scientific method in the study of climate, whether they prefer to be known as ‘climate scientists’, ‘climatologists’, or something else. To my mind ‘climatologist’ harmonizes nicely with ‘geologist’, ‘paleontologist’, etc., established empirical disciplines which do not need to proclaim themselves ‘science’ for credibility. But it should be up to the practitioners, the real ones, not the ideologues.

    /Mr Lynn

  75. “Can you imagine the howling that would ensue if I did the same thing to NSIDC’s Walt Meier when he posts something here I might disagree with?”

    You should get some sociology/psychology profs that can do a study on the huge bias of if you do that. Would be an amusing event to watch all the crying and whining only to have a peer reviewed paper later published to show how one sided the “civility” is.

  76. @Brent Hargreaves September 19, 2011 at 6:10 am:

    In a memorable 1990s TV ad, a doting grandmother said proudly of her grandchild, “He’s got an ‘ology’!”

    I reckon that climate science should be stripped of its ology.

    Perhaps Climate Scientology is the most proper term.

  77. Some thoughts on the Pielke-SkS debate megaphone parade slanging match non-debate.

    I see a lot of people simply talking past each other on all sides, here. Skeptical Science had already several times asked contributors to keep to the topic of the thread, long before Pielke weighed in with what, in the moderators’ terms, were indeed diversions. But Skeptical Science, while technically correct that rudeness about faulty science is not ad hom in itself, fails to notice the unavoidably ad hominem effect of high-profile sidebar buttons like

    “Spencer’s Slip-ups”,

    if there is no equally visible note to the effect that

    “To be fair, Dr Spencer has made astounding contributions to Climate Science – but has also made some errors of detail (eg) and what we believe are serious errors of hypothesis (eg)”.

    No, Spencer’s faults are shouted, his virtues are kept hidden. The resultant effect IS ad hominem

    In my bad old warmist days, I used to regard Skeptical Science as a gold standard of information. That’s one of the places I learned to regard Monckton as someone whom it was not worth beginning to listen to because he was a (charlatan) (liar) (politician) (non-scientist) (etc). Therefore it was at first difficult, then a real pleasure, to find that the real Monckton was nothing of the kind, that in fact he had some of the key evidence for demolishing AGW – arguing against IPCC by using their own science and maths against them. I was told by the warmist consensus that Monckton had been debunked on this issue by Schmidt, which indeed seemed to be the case… until I probed deeper and found that Monckton had answered all Schmidt’s arguments… but the warmist consensus had failed to mention the existence of this clinching document, to which, tellingly, Schmidt had no reply.

    That was the moment that turned me from warmist to skeptic.

    Before my conversion, I would not have thought I was really “ad hom” with some of the names I called Monckton to myself. But switching sides showed me how easily misrepresentations of someone’s evidence can lead to others feeling justified and neutral in using language and style that really attack the person – and how easy it is to see the language of one’s opponents as ad hom, whichever “side” one is on.

    In fact I see a lot more effort at SkS to keep polite and relevant – certainly by warmist standards – than does Anthony Watts. Don’t often disagree with you Anthony, and you may yet make me change my mind. But, dear people at SkS, you must give references to the best work of both sides! If you reference Abraham refuting Monckton, you must also reference Monckton’s reply – and Abraham’s reply to Monckton’s reply, if such a document exists – and so on for as long as this, the true dialogue, continues.

  78. @Roger Knights September 19, 2011 at 11:31 am:

    Ian W says:

    …it [climate science] also follows a powerful theme found in the plots of successful dramas like ‘Jaws’ that fits with the psychological mores of many people. The plots have a scientist/expert finding evidence of an imminent disaster and being scorned and not believed by the majority until it is almost too late.

    I think that this allegory is the reason for many of the heated attacks on ‘the deniers’ – “Don’t you see there is a disaster about to happen/shark about to attack?! Get out of the water!!”

    Unfortunately, they are totally convinced they are saving the world while ‘deniers’ are big-business trying to make money and lulling the population into ignoring the looming disaster.

    The prototype for this template was set by Ibsen’s play, An Enemy of the People, where the hero tries to warn the in-denial populace about a dangerous water well. The alarmists see themselves as his descendants.

    I would suggest it is like the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog in the movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail“, that they see us as Arthur’s knights who, when they see it is only just a little bitty rabbit, stand up and get slaughtered. According to the alarm ringers we are all in dire danger from what the skeptics just won’t recognize as a real threat. According to us, the rabbit is only real within the imagination of the audience watching the movie – and the movie is the analog to the climate models: To them, though, it is seen to be as real as it is to the characters within the script – but the script itself is just a made-up representation of reality, not reality itself. And they cannot see the disconnect with reality.

    No one was walking out of the theater cringing at every shadow, wondering if a killer rabbit was lurking, ready to off us all. We, the skeptics, laugh at anyone silly enough to believe it is real – short of some tangible connection with the real world outside of celluloid.

    The modelers somehow think that we should all take their representation more seriously than a movie script. And we are all saying, “And just WHY?” And they say, “Dammit! Didn’t you see the freaking movie?!” …And we just slide down to the other end of the bench…

    And we WILL take the models seriously at some point – but not until they come up with one that parallels reality much more closely and can correctly predict at least a year or two in advance without fail, for perhaps a generation.

    The commenters here who talk about climate science being in its infancy are more than correct. Predictions at this stage of climate science are actually immaturely foolish. Had two factors not contributed, none of us would be having this “conversation”: First was that the science editors around the world fell hook, line, and sinker for the warming spin, and, secondly, that the spin drew in inordinate amounts of money, which the inhabitants of the backwater of climate science simply could not resist. It was the equivalent of Jeb Clampett finding his land had oil under it.

    I wonder how long it will be – and what it will take – before another warmer will follow in Judith Curry’s step into no-man’s land or come over to our side.

  79. The increasing incongruity of climate propaganda is not dissimilar to elements of the former Soviet Union’s various five-year plans in Soviet industry, agriculture, the economy, or the military. If the plan succeeded it was trumpeted as a great triumph for the proletariat. If it failed, the reasons for failure were ignored and the plan was often still broadcast as a success. Over time all but the most ardent party members became cynical of the successes. Eventually, the cost of military expenditures, too much “success” in key areas of the Soviet economy, and widespread popular demand for reform facilitated the changes implemented by Gorbachev. The propaganda from the Climate Politburo (many of whom are not scientists) is seen increasingly by most people for what it is except for those members of the Climate Politburo. The Soviet system did not go quickly or quietly. The Climate Politburo apparently will not go quietly either. It is up to the real scientists to reign in the Climate Politburo. If they don’t the coming backlash will hobble Western science for decades.

  80. I was horrified to find that one correspondent thought that ‘climate science’ should be compared to astrophysics – a real science with impeccable reputation, and as well, highly self-correcting. When he mentions ‘dark matter’, ‘dark energy’ and such, surely he’s talking about cosmology, a much more speculative branch of science.

  81. feet2thefire says:
    September 19, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    . . . I wonder how long it will be – and what it will take – before another warmer will follow in Judith Curry’s step into no-man’s land or come over to our side.

    I expect we’ll wait a long, long time for a major defection from the Alarmist hierarchy. Can you imagine a Michael Mann or a Kevin Trenberth admitting to the world that the dogma in which they have so much invested is at best unsupported by the data, and at worst a complete hoax? Unfortunately, that is what it would take for the major media and their sycophantic ‘science’ writers to turn about and celebrate the Climate Realists, the much-maligned ‘deniers’.

    /Mr Lynn

  82. RE: phil c: (September 19, 2011 at 11:56 am)

    “Not really off topic Ken, but incomplete. One temperature measurement is a datum.”

    OK if you make that distinction, but for many English speakers, one temperature measurement can also be ‘data.’ The word ‘datum’ is rarely used in nontechnical contexts. This might be a case of loanword simplification by those who have not had the once mandatory education in classical languages.

  83. The Pro-AGW link list should be moved to underneath the archive. I can’t beleive you’d put it above the skeptical roll to begin with

    REPLY: When you get your own blog, you can arrange such things anyway you want, but in my case “P r o” comes before “S k e” in the WordPress provided links category alphabetizer, and I’m a slave to it’s choices – Anthony

  84. Climate science is related to science the way astrology is related to astronomy. A wacky, greedy cousin. They look at the same things with much different motives.

  85. I have thought for some time that Climate Science (as currently practiced) and cosmology (same) are very similar disciplines requiring the same caliber of mind. The sort of (subsidized) person who will tell you with an air of certainty that the temperature of the earth will rise .076% of a degree in the next 50 years will also tell you what happened between the 14th and the 17th nanosecond of the Big Bang. Both theories require constant revision to keep up with inconvenient reality while claiming to have been valid all along. Both require copious computer models and math formulas in lieu of facts.

  86. “From my perspective, while I once said that John Cook was at least “civil in his discourse with me”, and for that reason I gave Skeptical Science a place on my blogroll. I’m rethinking that now after seeing this latest ugliness.”

    At least you got a crossout. My posts have been simply deleted even though they were on topic. SkS is irrelevent as an interactive forum for discussing science. And its not surprising its poster numbers have dropped to pretty much zero lately. There has been a desperate attempt recently to revive it.

  87. @Mr Lynn September 19, 2011 at 4:15 pm:

    feet2thefire says:
    September 19, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    . . . I wonder how long it will be – and what it will take – before another warmer will follow in Judith Curry’s step into no-man’s land or come over to our side.

    I expect we’ll wait a long, long time for a major defection from the Alarmist hierarchy. Can you imagine a Michael Mann or a Kevin Trenberth admitting to the world that the dogma in which they have so much invested is at best unsupported by the data, and at worst a complete hoax? Unfortunately, that is what it would take for the major media and their sycophantic ‘science’ writers to turn about and celebrate the Climate Realists, the much-maligned ‘deniers’.

    Yes, it IS what it would take, and the tilt of the media WAS in the direction of the ‘deniers.’ It is about 50-50 whether someone hadn’t already done that, albeit surreptitiously, in releasing the Climategate files and emails. It is as likely that someone on the inside leaked the files – perhaps even more likely, since the bobbies apparently never came up with any evidence of hacking.

  88. @John Howard September 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm:

    I have thought for some time that Climate Science (as currently practiced) and cosmology (same) are very similar disciplines requiring the same caliber of mind. The sort of (subsidized) person who will tell you with an air of certainty that the temperature of the earth will rise .076% of a degree in the next 50 years will also tell you what happened between the 14th and the 17th nanosecond of the Big Bang. Both theories require constant revision to keep up with inconvenient reality while claiming to have been valid all along.

    Amen, John. Your last sentence has been my observation for years. It happens in almost ALL the sciences – some new fact blows everything away, so they eat humble pie a short while, then back to the “we know everything now, so STFU” meme. Climate science isn’t alone at all, nor is cosmology. Try asking two quantum physicists to explain quantum physics to you. Among themselves they admit that they are each and every one ignorant of what it is, but publicly they put on a show of all-knowingness. And archeology? I’ve come to demote arkies to the status of historians. As Mark Twain said (paraphrased), “It is amazing how much archeologists can conclude from so little.” It hasn’t changed since his day. But you pointing out cosmologists, that is a good ‘get’ on your part. Biologists, geologists, astronomers, too. Even chemists – the ongoing work on cold fusion (around the world) by people of several disciplines shows they don’t know everything there is to know. Chemistry is based on the premise of the Law of Conservation of Energy, and cold fusion, when (not if) it becomes a real reality, it will shoot down that ‘Law.’

    I love your phrase “while claiming to have been valid all along.” Yes, exactly. Pretending to the public that nothing has changed, that the previously all-wise are still all-wise. I keep a folder for what I term “Science does it again” articles, though I started the folder 50 articles late. When another such article comes out, I declare, “Hubris is dead! Long live hubris!

  89. Ken Harvey says:
    September 19, 2011 at 6:57 am

    … Frequently on scientific sites, and too often on this one, (as one can see somewhere above) comments appear that indicate that the commentator is labouring under the misapprehension that the word “data” is strictly a plural. …. When one speaks of a body of data such as is generally the case with climate matters, the the word ‘data’ takes the singular verb. This is not optional – it is obligatory. Does it matter? Yes it does, since the incorrect plural use makes the user sound like a misguided pedant, and if spoken makes the user sound like an idiot. [emphasis added]

    I do not agree that abandoning proper usage is ever “obligatory”, merely because alternative usage has appeared in print, due in no small part to the fact that American schools have ceased to include etymology and morphology in English curricula (my public-school classes did so, in fact, from the seventh through twelfth grades). As an erstwhile published theoretical and descriptive linguist, sometime technical writer, and now prolific documenter at work, I decline–adamantly–editorial changes that would render my text ungrammatical, semantically incoherent, or perilously ambiguous. As regards datum/data, there is in my view little evidence that the phrase “the data” ought ever take a singular verb, if one assumes as I do an educated audience, even given the undeniable probability that some portion of the actual audience has not been so educated. The suggestion that a body of measurements, explicitly referred to as “the data”, is anything is as discordant as the mention of “an interesting phenomena”. (Note that I accept Linguistic Society of America punctuation regarding quoted phrases followed by a comma or a period, where the sentence itself is not being quoted, in case anyone takes offense at the sequences [",] and [".].)

    Would this same linguist insist that everyone learn and write exclusively in my dialect and register of Standard Literary English? No. When someone asks me to edit their writing, I make suggestions to be accepted or rejected as they wish. On the other hand, I do not prescribe the use of any neologism as obligatory, except in the case where there is no better supported alternative.

  90. suyts,

    I have spent (wasted?) a year trying to create a dialog with Warmists.

    Now I agree with you; it really is not worth the effort as you can no longer find a Warmist site that does not censor contrary opinions.

    I used to like SkS and BNC (Brave New Climate) but recently both of these sites imposed “Moderation” policies similar to Joe Romm’s “Climate Progress”.

    If the Warmists had anything going for them they would not fear debating the science. The Stalin/Trotsky dialog quoted in the Forbes article skewers this point:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2011/09/18/can-we-really-call-climate-science-a-science/

    Now these Warmist sites only allow comments that conform with their creed and that should tell everyone that they are pushing religion or politics rather than science.

    I have noticed that there are only two climate web sites that attract huge numbers of thoughtful comments. One is WUWT and the other is Judith Curry’s “Climate Etc”. Could the popularity of these sites have anything to do with the moderation policies they apply?

  91. Tim Minchin says:
    September 19, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    The Pro-AGW link list should be moved to underneath the archive. I can’t beleive you’d put it above the skeptical roll to begin with

    REPLY: When you get your own blog, you can arrange such things anyway you want, but in my case “P r o” comes before “S k e” in the WordPress provided links category alphabetizer, and I’m a slave to it’s choices – Anthony

    If you have access/edit rights to the wordpress folder on your server all the PhP source code is there. You can modify to your heart’s content. I didn’t like a number of things about it back when I was running a wordpress blog and changed it to my liking. The only hassle is carefully documenting the modifications you make because when you upgrade to a newer version your modified PhP files will get replaced so you have to insert your changes all over again.

    This will get you started:

    http://wpbits.wordpress.com/2007/08/14/navigating-wordpress-source-code/

  92. TimTheToolMan,
    I remember seeing you at SkS. I think you nailed it. Soon after [Daniel Bailey], [dickranmarsupial], [dana1981] et al. took over the “Moderation” task the poster numbers plummeted.

    Folks like the ToolMan, “Berenyi Peter” and this camel stopped commenting. The site became just another echo chamber on the “Climate Progress” model. BOOOOORING!

    SkS could easily revive itself by returning to John Cook’s original moderation style that was ……….moderate. I exchanged emails with the site owner a few months ago but he upheld the new heavy handed moderation style. One can hope for a change of heart but I am not holding my breath.

    BNC (Brave New Climate) imposed draconian “Moderation” policies in relation to the CAGW debate but their poster numbers will not suffer very much because the site’s main mission is promoting nuclear power and that is still done in impressive fashion.

  93. Lucy Skywalker,
    Thank you for really interesting comments. I note that you are interested in Rudolph Steiner, a truly amazing person. Many of his ideas live on such as the “Emerson Waldorf” schools.

    On the topic of SkS you said:
    “But, dear people at SkS, you must give references to the best work of both sides!”

    That is pretty much how I feel but they may have painted themselves into a corner. Let’s hope they can find a way back.

  94. Ian W
    I think you’re right, but what they don’t realize is that sometimes even a shark in the water isn’t anything to worry about.

  95. Mr Lynn says:
    September 19, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    There’s a terminology (pun intended) problem to be sure. Everyone’s probably familiar with the terms geology and biology. Both are experimental sciences and there’s no need for expansion into geological science or biological science to make it clear. Climatology, on the other hand, is not an experimental science. It’s an actuary science concerned with probabilities, statistics, and mathematical models.

    “Climate Science” appears to be a catch-all phrase for many scientific disciplines like atmospheric physics, oceanography, solar physics, and so forth with many tangential connections to biology, botany, chemistry, economics, political science, and even theology. The last one, theology, is a real kicker as the so-called climate scientists just can’t seem to resist disparaging sucessful, productive scientists like Spencer and Christy because they happen to believe in God while the typical academic asshat is an atheist with the fundamental belief that anyone who believes in God can’t be playing with a full deck.

  96. In reply to feet2the fire.
    I enjoyed your reference to Mark Twain. My favorite Twain quote comes from “Life on the Mississippi”.

    “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” Mark Twain

    That applies especially to climate skcience

  97. kim;) says:
    September 19, 2011 at 7:09 am
    dana 1981 = Dana Nuccitelli
    Environmental Scientist

    Dana Nuccitelli is an environmental scientist at a private environmental consulting firm in the Sacramento, California area. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in astrophysics from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Master’s Degree in physics from the University of California at Davis. He has been researching climate science, economics, and solutions as a hobby since 2006, and has contributed to the climate science blog Skeptical Science since September, 2010.

    http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/bio.php?u=25

    ============================================

    A ‘know-it-all’ hardly out of nappies. Weakened by his hobbyist approach to the science he acts as a cultist.

    Lesson for Dana from my wise old departed father, … “get out there son whilst you are young and full of it because when you are old and decrepit as I, you too will be just as stupid.”

  98. Malcolm Miller says:
    September 19, 2011 at 4:12 pm
    ” I was horrified to find that one correspondent thought that ‘climate science’ should be compared to astrophysics … ”
    ===================

    I’m sure that they meant ‘astrology’ … has the ‘astro’ in front of it as well :)

  99. Can We Really Call Climate Science A Science?

    For sure we can just like the Science of Humanology. What! You haven’t heard of my peer-reviewed, learned mates and I? That’s obviously because we sit at the commanding heights of Science far above biology, medicine, physiology, anthropology, chiropracty, reflexology, iridology, astrology,….!!!
    All you poor skeptical chumps or denialist chimps as the case may be, just need to know for the present, is that mass colonic irrigation is the only sensible course to save mankind now. Well that and a rollout of tinfoil hats to deflect the cosmic rays, among a few other urgent UN programs we have planned for you in Brussells.

    Reply: I get the facetiousness of your comment, but so many of our readers have such a poorly developed sense of humor (cough, cough, nevermind, can’t name names), that I would suggest in the future you dial it back a bit, or spoil your dry humor with /sarc tag as is often suggested by others here. ~ ctm

  100. Regarding the controversy over data, here are a couple of posts from the past (here on WUWT):

    Deadman wrote:

    “If you choose to use a Latin word, you have to get the plural correct.”

    That’s not so. Fowler, in Modern English Usage, states, “Latin plurals sometimes become singular English words (e.g., agenda, stamina) ….” As long as it’s OK to employ those words as singulars, it’s OK to do the same for “data.”

    PeterW (19:49:26) :

    The word `data’, in English, is a singular mass noun. It is thus a deliberate archaism and a grammatical and stylistic error to use it as a plural.

    The Latin word data is the neuter plural past participle of the first conjugation verb dare, `to give’.

    The Latin word ‘data’ appears to have made its way into English in the mid 17th century making its first appearance in the 1646 sentence `From all this heap of data it would not follow that it was necessary.’

    Note that this very first appearance of the word in English refers to a quantity of data, a `heap’, rather than a number.

    The English word `data’ is therefore a noun referring variously to measurements, observations, images, and the other raw materials of scientific enquiry.

    `Data’ now refers to a mass of raw information, which is measured rather than counted, and this is as true now as it was when the word made its 1646 debut.

    ‘Data’ is naturally and consistently used as a mass noun in conversation: the question is asked how much data an instrument produces, not how many; it is asked how data is archived, not how they are archived; there is talk of less data rather than fewer; and talk of data having units, saying they have a megabyte of data, or 10 CDs, or three nights, and never saying `I have 1000 data’ and expecting to be understood.

    The universal perception of data as measured rather than counted puts the word firmly and unambiguously in the same grammatical category as `coal’, `wheat’ and `ore’, which is that of the mass, or aggregate, noun.

    As such, it is always and unavoidably grammatically singular. No one would ask `how many wheat do you have?’ or say that `the ore are in the train’ if one wished to be thought a competent speaker of English; in the same way, and to the same extent, we may not ask `how many data do you have?’ or say `the data are in the file’ without committing a grammatical error.

  101. An interesting post and one that brings up a doubt that I think a great many people have.

    I’m all for trying to get a clearer answer and I’ve never been a crazy taken-at-the-word follower regarding climate change and such – I do feel however that we have a tendency to be lazy about these things and who can argue that increasing efforts to reduce dependance on limited fossil fuels and to generally reduce pollutant levels in the air as much as possible is a bad thing?
    Is the planet getting hotter? I don’t know, but I do see some of the more intelligent measures to reduce pollution helping people and I do feel a difference when I go to cleaner and less polluted places.
    This alone should be reason enough but for some reason we are more fixated on fighting each other over this stupid argument then just saying “yeah, we should work on these things” and making an honest effort to do so and just getting on with it instead of burning energy and effort for nothing. Really nothing.

  102. Colin in BC said
    Sorry to be pedantic, Anthony, but this is a huge pet peeve of mine. The phrase ‘beg the question’ carries a specific definition in logic, sometimes more commonly known as the circular argument. The phrase is not intended to refer, literally, to a question (although this usage has become pervasive in the common vernacular).

    Correct verbiage in this case would be ‘to raise the question.’

    An increasing number of people are using “to beg the question” as Anthony did. Some dictionaries give “to raise the question” as one of the meanings. So either you’re not right, or you won’t be right for long. This is extremely unfortunate because it makes it harder to point out the fallacy of begging the question.

  103. feet2thefire said Try asking two quantum physicists to explain quantum physics to you. Among themselves they admit that they are each and every one ignorant of what it is, …

    That’s not true! I would guess that you’re talking about inability to answer the question of how Nature can be that way, but they freely admit that they can’t answer it.

  104. Roger Knights says:
    September 20, 2011 at 2:37 am

    [Quoting Fowler] . . . The universal perception of data as measured rather than counted puts the word firmly and unambiguously in the same grammatical category as `coal’, `wheat’ and `ore’, which is that of the mass, or aggregate, noun.

    As such, it is always and unavoidably grammatically singular. No one would ask `how many wheat do you have?’ or say that `the ore are in the train’ if one wished to be thought a competent speaker of English; in the same way, and to the same extent, we may not ask `how many data do you have?’ or say `the data are in the file’ without committing a grammatical error.

    Far be it from me to disagree with Fowler, but I will to this extent: ‘Data’ has one sense which is more like ‘cattle’ than ‘wheat’, i.e. a collective noun. Just as we say “The cattle are grazing. . .” so we can claim “The data are unambiguous,” or “The data have been poorly collected.” In point of fact, data can be both counted and measured, so depending which sense you want to emphasize, both the singular and the plural usage can be correct.

    That said, I still like phil c’s suggestion (September 19, 2011 at 11:56 am), or implication, that we distinguish between ‘data’ as collected (‘raw data’?) and ‘data’ as processed. The former is more like ‘cattle’, and the latter more like ‘wheat’. Maybe we need two terms.

    /Mr Lynn

  105. Colin in BC said
    Sorry to be pedantic, Anthony, but this is a huge pet peeve of mine. The phrase ‘beg the question’ carries a specific definition in logic, sometimes more commonly known as the circular argument. The phrase is not intended to refer, literally, to a question (although this usage has become pervasive in the common vernacular).

    Correct verbiage in this case would be ‘to raise the question.’

    It’s a pet peeve of mine too. (Along with the nearly universal misuse of “comprise.”)

  106. These are the people who thought Mannian Statistics and the Jones-Briffa ‘extensions’ to the ‘brand new field of mathematics’ called ‘Climate Math’ was REAL MATH; of course until the head of the Royal Statistical Society apprised them that the statistics “weren’t real statistics” and that in fact “..no ‘Climate Math’ is mathematics of ANY kind.”

    These are the people who thought Photonic energy furiously dragging entire molecules in circles as the photon/air molecule interacted in a gravitational field – said photons dragging said air molecules UP – these are the people who thought that for UTTERLY MAGICAL REASONS, suddenly these VERY UPWARD-DRAGGING PHOTONS emitted:
    D.O.W.N

    Down?
    Yep.

    These are the people who thought Steven Schneider wrote a paper where he DERIVED AIR TEMPERATURE more ACCURATELY from WIND SPEED than -READ THIS: ANY THERMAL SENSOR ON EARTH.
    SO MUCH more accurately, he SAID, HE ‘CALYALATED’ TEMPERATURE from W.I.N.D. S.P.E.E.D, that “finally all those skeptics will shut up, and we will be using this calculation method I.N.S.T.E.A.D. OF T.H.E.R.M.O.M.E.T.E.R.S. from NOW ON.

    Yes. He ACTUALLY THOUGHT he CALCULATED TEMPERATURE from W I N D speed.

    AND SO DOES TRENBERTH; SO DOES MANN; SO DOES JONES and SO DOES HANSEN.

    These are the people who, if you ask, get so quiet you can hear CRICKETS if you just say “If there’s more INFRA RED in the ATMOSPHERE then WHY is the FIELD of INFRA-RED TELESCOPY UTTERLY SILENT through ALL THESE DECADES?
    Why is the field of OPTICAL telescopy UTTERLY SILENT about the MANDATORY EVER-INCREASING m.o.t.i.o.n. OF THE AIR as it HEATS: heat, on gas, being DEFINED as M.O.T.I.O.N…..
    this motion… it’s called Atmospheric Scintillation.
    The STARS twinkling over these TWINKS’ heads.
    Ask them WHY the ATMOSPHERIC SCINTILLATION hasn’t grown as heat has grown and watch THEM ‘GROAN’.

    These people are the banjo-picking, barefoot-on-the-porch MORONS who thought TWELVE YEARS of electromagnetic energy graphs from C.E.R.E.S. etc, that would put a forensic accountant to sleep, were “ever accelerating, UNSTOPPABLE, APOCALYPTIC WARMING… as the earth in fact, went through the slow, lazy change, from a MODERATELY WARM half-oscillation, to one that’s cool.

    These people who have SCAMMED not millions, but BILLIONS and COST HUMAN LIVES SCAMMING the nations of the world’s emergency mitigation, farming, insurance, resources,

    CAN NOT EVEN R.E.A.D. in many cases. They CAN NOT GRASP that PHOTONS ESCAPE UP due to GRAVITY’S interaction on the ATOMS of GAS they resonate on.
    They CAN NOT GRASP that for PHOTONS to TURN and DIVE DOWNWARD INTO a SEA of GAS in a GRAVITATIONAL FIELD,
    the POLARITY of that GRAVITATIONAL FIELD ITSELF: gravitational force being one of the TWO FUNDAMENTAL FORCES of the UNIVERSE outside an atomic nucleus –
    must have REVERSED.
    These people believe that GRAVITY is REVERSING: and that NO ONE HAS EVER DEVISED a TEST to CHECK their HYPOTHESIS.

    This is the kind of LOONBARKING FOOLSPEAK being SCAMMED as GOVERNMENT-GRANT and EMPLOYMENT-WORTHY scientific research we use to SAVE HUMAN LIVES by predicting storms, predicting WHICH CROPS WON’T FAIL keeping thousands from STARVING…
    people have ALREADY: albeit more than less not known whom exactly – DIED from these lies.
    People caught in winter storms without enough salt or grit for roads.
    People caught in weather events contrary to FALSIFIED SCAM PREDICTIONS, having PLANTED the WRONG CROP for the SEASONAL ENVIRONMENT.

    These people are all nothing but FAKES, SCAMS, and outright criminals, and indictments need to start coming SOONER
    than
    LATER.

  107. Climate science as practiced by “consensus” scientists is pseudo-science in service of an ideology, and thus more akin to lysenkoism. It is anti-science on steroids.

  108. In my go arounds with SkepticlScience they snip and delete my posts, That they merely line out Pielkesr’s stuff must be a matter of respect.

  109. @Alan D McIntire September 19, 2011 at 9:09 pm:

    In reply to feet2the fire.
    I enjoyed your reference to Mark Twain. My favorite Twain quote comes from “Life on the Mississippi”.

    “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” Mark Twain

    That is the quote I know of, but the way I heard it, it had “archeology” in place of “science.”

    The point is, as it was in Twain’s day, that there comes a point when the conjecture

    a.) is taken itself for being fact, and
    b.) far outnumbers the actual facts.

    At that point, science falls short and is no longer really science.

    Living in Chicago, where there is a “major league” baseball team named the Cubs, I am reminded that in European soccer/football it is not enough to pay your way in. You also have to maintain a level of performance: those teams who end up at the bottom of the “tables” (standings) get “relegated” the next season. Relegated in this case means that the entire team gets sent to the minor leagues, replaced byb an equal number of teams at the top of the tables of the next league below. (But they can even get further relegated, to an even lesser minor league.

    The Cubs bought their way into the “major leagues” at its inception in 1901 (the official first season of MLB, as it is called today). They have been at the bottom so many times they should have been relegated long ago.

    Now, relegation is not permanent. A team can win its way to the top again, by earning their way to the top of the tables.

    It seems to some extent that the science of climatology is (along with archeology) staying in the major leagues simply because science doesn’t use the European sporting way, but the American way: once in the majors, the “team” stays there. (Perhaps astrology once upon a time was relegated, but that time was a long time ago. And ever since, it has been the whipping boy of “science.”)

    All I can say is that they (both climatology and archeology) aren’t doing anything to win my vote to stay in the major leagues. What exactly is going to happen, at that point when all the crap science of today’s climatology is found to be utterly wrong? Will the other scientists even do anything? To be consistent, at the least, they will laugh at climatology like they laugh at phrenology, astrology and epicycles. And the flat Earth.

    It is obvious by their hubris that the “warmist” climatologists don’t see such a thing as possible. If they did, they would look at their own papers more skeptically and the papers of their opponents as valid counter-evidence, and begin to find out what paradigm can be made to fit ALL the evidence, not just their narrow conjectural point of view.

    What scientist ever – EVER – thinks that he has ALL the truth? Not Newton (look up what he wrote about gravity as “action at a distance”, for example). Not Einstein (think “unified field”). Not Darwin, for sure. But Mann & Associates does.

  110. For the grammarians, yes, this:
    “A team can win its way to the top again, by earning their way to the top of the tables.”
    should have been this:
    “A team can win its way to the top again, by earning its way to the top of the tables.”

  111. @spider42 September 20, 2011 at 4:11 am:

    …who can argue that increasing efforts to reduce dependance on limited fossil fuels and to generally reduce pollutant levels in the air as much as possible is a bad thing?
    Is the planet getting hotter? I don’t know, but I do see some of the more intelligent measures to reduce pollution helping people and I do feel a difference when I go to cleaner and less polluted places.
    This alone should be reason enough but for some reason we are more fixated on fighting each other over this stupid argument then just saying “yeah, we should work on these things” and making an honest effort to do so and just getting on with it instead of burning energy and effort for nothing. Really nothing.

    In reality, as in the history of it all, the actions taken to clean up our air and water preceded any claims about warming by several years. So, the clean(er) air and clean(er) rivers you are enjoying have nothing whatsoever to do with warmists’ efforts to stamp out carbon dioxide emissions. CO2 is not, as the U.S. EPA has declared, a “pollutant.” Ask the plants about that. CO2 is food for plants (and has, in fact, been part and parcel of your “less polluted places”), so efforts to control it can be seen to be shortsighted, at best. And without an incontrovertible evidential link between CO2 and warming (and non-warming, as the last 10 years have evidenced), any actions are premature, at best. And – in Kevin Trenberth’s words – “correlation does not establish causation”.

    So, actual mechanisms must be proven. And partial evidence is not sufficient. We currently have some evidence one way, and some evidence the other way, so in the true sense of the term, “the science is not settled.” And until it is, governments should refrain from establishing policies based on one side’s evidence vs the other side’s evidence. It is the free privilege as citizens in open democracies for one side to push for what it thinks is true, but the other side is also free to disagree. It is also their freedom to ridicule each other, in whatever forms that takes, short of violence. Until Climategate, the only arguments making it into the main stream media was that of the warmists. Climategate showed a bit of why that was such a one-sided affair. It is a far, far healthier intellectual environment since Climategate opened the ears of people to the arguments of the skeptics and the naughtiness of the warmists.

    It is the naughtiness of the warmists that is at issue in this post, not whether we should be glad to be breathing clean air. We have the Clean Air Act (1970) to thank for that.

    And just how much naughtiness is a discipline allowed, before the rest of science throws them out on their keisters?

  112. IAmDigitap says:
    September 20, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Could you please lose the ALL CAPS and (worse) P.U.N.C.T.U.A.T.E.D C.A.P.S? They make your comment UN-R.E.A.D.A.B.L.E.

    Must have taken you forever to type it.

    /Mr Lynn

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