FOIA is not enough. Why not legally mandate transparency in climate research? A Modest Proposal…

Guest post by Professor Robert G. Brown of Duke University.

Not all scientific research is equal, in terms of its probable impact on humanity.  If one is studying poison dart frog species in tropical rain forests, getting a number wrong or arriving at an incorrect conclusion will generally have very little impact on the life of somebody living in California, India, China, or for that matter, in the tropical rain forests in question.

On the other hand, medical research has a profound impact on us all and has a long history of abuse, both deliberate and accidental.  From the egregious claims of snake-oil salesmen whose very name has come to be the universal metaphor for “science” subverted to special interest to modern cases of confirmation bias and manipulation of data in e.g. drug testing, because of the potential for profit from medical science and technology it has proven to be necessary to defend the public against bad science.  All medical research at this point is strongly regulated at or before the point where the rubber meets the road and actual patients might be adversely affected or killed by bad science or self-serving deliberately manipulated science.

Some of the key standards of this regulation of research include transparency and reproducibility, as well as the near-universal use of double-blind experiments to prevent the pernicious advent of confirmation bias, backed up by the threat of liability if the research process is deliberately subverted because of any sort of vested interest (including the simple desire to “be famous”, or “win tenure”, or “keep one’s grant funding”).

Engineering is a second place where doing science (in this case applied science) badly is dangerous to the public weal.  If a bridge, a car, a space shuttle is designed poorly or carelessly, society ultimately pays a significant cost.  In this case the needs of engineering firms and private individuals for protections of intellectual property are carefully balanced against the need to protect society.  Consequently, the building of bridges, cars, and space shuttles — with or without proprietary components — is subject to oversight, inspection, and again, legal liability.

Climate research has long since passed from the realm of being a tiny discipline with a handful of researchers whose mistakes had almost no impact on humanity to being an enormous, publicly funded research machine that has a huge impact on the public weal.  Whether or not you agree or disagree with the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) hypothesis, there is no denying that it has a huge impact on people all over the world.  Quite literally every human on earth is currently at risk either way relative to the conclusions of what is still a relatively small community of scientists with a remarkably homogeneous point of view.

Whether or not these scientists are honest — do or do not sincerely believe their own conclusions is not an issue (any more than it often is in the case of medical research or large scale engineering projects); what is important to the general public is that the scientists at this point have a clear interest that potentially conflicts with their own.  At risk (to the scientists) is: loss of (enormous) funding; loss of prestige; loss of political power and influence.  Many of them have staked their entire reputation and career on stating conclusions as near-certain scientific fact that have a multi-trillion dollar price tag to society associated with their conclusions — however objective and well-intended — turning out to be correct or incorrect.

This dwarfs the potential damage that could be done even by unscrupulous drug companies, by medical researchers seeking to make a name for themselves, by incompetent physicians and all of the other scientific activities in the general field of medicine that are so tightly regulated.  It dwarfs the damage that can be done by a faulty braking system in an automobile, by whole cities of buildings that cannot (as it turns out) withstand earthquakes, by faulty O-rings in space shuttles.  It dwarfs even the damage that can be done by unregulated banking systems leading to global financial collapse that lower the standard of living “suddenly” on a worldwide scale.  It is larger than the combined probable damages from all of these activities put together over any reasonable time scale.

I must emphasize that from the public point of view, this risk is in some sense symmetrical.  Taking global steps such as creation of an entire cap and trade financial instrumentation in order to combat CAGW is without any doubt enormously expensive and the loss in this case is certain and immediate.  However, as proponents of CAGW theories are quick to point out,  society is required to make some kind of wager regardless because the cost of doing nothing if their hypothesis is true may also be extreme.

However, it must be carefully noted that one is balancing a multi-trillion dollar and immediate certain cost against a future possible cost that is by no means certain.  It is simply a matter of responsible governance that the cost-benefit of this risk be soberly and, above all, openly assessed.  Furthermore, both regulation and liability are absolutely necessary — indeed, long overdue — in any scientific endeavor that has long since left the ivory tower of pure research and become the basis for such far-reaching policy decisions.

Unfortunately, climate research that not only has impacted, but has led the way in the public debate and scrutiny that should correctly attend the collective expenditure of vast amounts of wealth that could otherwise be put to better use has not, thus far, been conducted in an open way.   Critical data and methodology have been hidden and treated as if they were proprietary by the scientific researchers involved, in spite of the fact that the data itself has rather often come from governmental organizations or is the direct product of research funded entirely by public research grants, as in most cases is the published work itself.   That this has occurred, and continues to occur, is not at issue here — the evidence that this has occurred and continues to occur is conclusive and indeed, ongoing.   The simple fact of the matter is that whatever the truth of the hypothesis, the methodology and data used to support it are largely hidden, hidden well enough that it is routinely true that they cannot easily be merely reproduced by a third party, let alone the conclusions be intelligently and critically challenged.

In the ivory tower it is not unreasonable or uncommon for this sort of practice to exist, at least for a time.  Scientists’ only “commodity” of value at a research University or government organization is their ideas and their research work, and theft of both is far from unknown.  It is perfectly reasonable for individuals to initially hide their research goals and methods from everyone but perhaps a small set of trusted collaborators until they are proven to the satisfaction of the researcher, lest some key discovery or idea be co-opted or pre-empted by a competitor.

Even in the ivory tower, such obfuscation is supposed to — and  typically does — come to an end when a work is published.  Publication is the final goal of the research process in the ivory tower of the University (and often in a government laboratory) and in both cases there is a careful separation between work that is done with an eye to obtaining a patent or protected intellectual property and work being done (especially work being done with public funding) for open publication with no related rights being preserved.

Once a scientist has published in the latter case, it is expected that they will make both methods and data public upon request and invite others to reproduce and either verify or criticize the methods and any results derived from them.  Anything less is a corruption of the scientific process that — when it works correctly — eventually rejects error and advances the sound.  This process is often imperfect  — even with levelling/protecting structures such as “tenure”, there are differential rewards to scientists based on how well they keep key ideas, methods, or even data back to maintain an advantage over their competitors and it is not uncommon for only part of the story to be told in any given publication, especially early on in the development of a new idea.

Although one can therefore understand the origins of this sort of reticence and inclination to hide research methods and data or share them only with carefully selected collaborative colleagues, and although one might even still respect this right up to the point of publication in climate research, in the specific field of climate research the public stakes are too high for this practice, however common it might or might not be in the study of poison dart frogs or the physics of graphene, to be tolerated.

The conclusions of modern climate research are almost exclusively based on published results such as the (now infamous) “Hockey Stick” graphs produced by Mann, et. al. and data sets such as HadCrut3.   HadCrut3 itself is currently made readily available, but only as processed results obtained by some means from streams of raw data that are not.  It is, in fact, essentially impossible for a third party to take the actual data used in the current HadCrut3 snapshot published by the Met Office at the Hadley Center, feed it to the actual code used to generate the processed data, and verify even the very limited fact that the data and the code do indeed produce the same result when run on different computers, let alone that the methodology used to produce the result from the data is robust and sound.

It must once again be emphasized that public policy decisions that have been made, are being made, and will be made in the future based on the raw data and methodology used will cost every living person on earth on average several thousand dollars, at least.  Again this is stated without prejudice concerning whether or not the published temperatures are, or are not sound, or whether CAGW is, or is not, a well-supported scientific hypothesis.  If it is true and we do nothing, it will cost thousand of dollars per living person and many lives over decades.  If it is false and we spend money like water to prevent it anyway, it will cost thousands of dollars per living person and many lives over decades; in addition, it will do incalculable cost to the credibility of “the scientist” in the minds of the public that further amplifies this monetary damage by altering the profile of government funded research and the level of trust accorded to all scientists in the public eye.

I am writing this article to call for new legislation to address this issue, legislation that creates direct oversight for climate researchers whose work directly impacts the decision making process directing this enormous but unavoidable gamble.   I am writing this as a citizen that is already paying for decisions based on the “certain” conclusion of CAGW — if this conclusion is certain, then it is certainly true that it can be transparently certain, with the entire process used to arrive at it right back to the original raw data open to public and scientific scrutiny not only by those that agree with it but by those that honestly disagree with it or merely have doubts that it is true and would like to verify it for themselves.

I would suggest that this legislation be soberly and conservatively drafted so that it in no way hinders climate researchers from carrying out their research but adds the following requirements that must both precede and follow any published result that impacts the decision process.

a) All numerical code, and input data (that is, the raw input data including any that is for any reason available from one’s source but not included in the computation, along with  the provenance of all the raw data) used in arriving at some conclusion must be openly published in an immediately usable form and made readily available to anyone in the world as of the date of publication in any journal, public presentation at conferences or workshops, or publication or inclusion as a reference in policy document such as IPCC reports.

This legislation shall apply to publications based on proprietary data as well as data from public sources.  The immense cost of the public decisions based on such publications and the risk of corruption of the results cherrypicked or data that might have been altered in hidden ways by vested interests is too great to permit data to be used or selected from any source that cannot be checked in its entirety, including the data that is left out.

Note well that this precise measure is indeed needed.  The FOIA has already proven to be inadequate to compel the release of code and data used to generate datasets such as HadCrut3 or the “Hockey Stick” or “Spaghetti Graph” curves that currently support many of the conclusions of climate researchers.

Note also that this is hardly a burdensome requirement.  It is sound practice already to carefully provide provenance and good organization for one’s raw data, to provide sound backup and revision control for the computer code used to process the data that permits “snapshotting” of the code actually used to produce a result, and to archive both for any given publication in case one’s methodology is ever called into question.  The only additional requirement this imposes is to set up a website and put the data and code snapshot there with a short piece of documentation accompanying it that frankly will be of as much benefit to the researchers in the long run as it is to anyone seeking to download code and data to check results.   Nowadays the cost of this is so low as to be “zero” and in any event is trivially within the means of any grant funded climate research program that almost certainly is already using one or more web servers to disseminate both results and data.

b) The establishment of a board of governance for the science with the specific and narrow purview of addressing abuses of the open scientific process.  The need for such a board, and the need to staff it with people who are completely disconnected from climate or environmental research or any political organization or corporate organization with any possible interest in the outcome is clearly demonstrated in the occult Climategate conversations where it is revealed that certain researchers working in the field are far more concerned with “causes” and “winning the PR war” than with the science and are willing to deliberate tamper with data and methodology to hide results that confound their desired conclusions or to directly and deliberately subvert e.g. the objectivity and independence of the journal review process to suppress competing points of view right or wrong as they might be!  The only place such discussions should occur is openly, in the literature itself, in the form of critical counter-articles or published comments, not in behind the scenes efforts to discredit editors or have them fired.

Note well that implementing provision a) will make  tampering with data or methods far more difficult, but not (as evidence from medical research abuses reveals) impossible, and nothing (so far) seems to have worked to maintain any semblance of fair play in the public debate — on both sides of the climate issues.  Even if the only sanction used by the oversight board is public censure and the probable elimination of future funding, those are probably enough in a world where one’s scientific reputation and ability to continue work are one’s greatest treasure.

c) The establishment of personal liability for any work that is published wherein it is later shown that the researcher did knowingly and deliberately manipulate data or methods so that their arguments lead towards a predetermined end (confirmation bias, cherrypicking data) without openly indicating what was done and why in the publications.  Again, there is ample precedent for such liability (and the corresponding governance and oversight) in all scientific and technical endeavors that directly impact on the public weal, in particular in medical research.   There should be considerable freedom under this rule to make honest mistakes or to pursue unpopular or popular conclusions — one of the major purposes of provision a) above is that it should ensure that there should never again be a good reason for sanctioning a researcher after the fact of publication by guaranteeing transparency — but just as would be (and historically, often has been) the case when it is determined that a published medical study where the researcher or corporation sponsoring the research “fudged” the data and as a result patients died or suffered losses makes the researchers and/or sponsors legally liable for the damage, there need to be at least limited liability and public sanctions in climate research to provide a strong disincentive to academic dishonesty or the protection of interests that, in the end, are not strictly the pursuit of scientific truth.

Needless to say, no researcher can afford to pay the true liability cost of a mistake in a ten-trillion dollar public policy decision driven by their work, but actual overt dishonesty and work performed with hidden/vested interests cannot be allowed to proceed unpunished, either.  This has proven to be absolutely true in countless other, far less costly, realms of scientific, economic and sociopolitical endeavor — wherever an unregulated marginal advantage exists to be exploited by an unscrupulous individual, sooner or later such an individual shows up to exploit it.  There is far too much at stake here not to protect the public good.

To conclude, much of what happens on this and other blogs, e.g. Climate Audit, is ultimately fruitless.  Much energy and time is expended discussing this abuse or that abuse of good scientific methodology without any real hope of putting it right or on e.g. FOIA requests and other straightforward (but openly obstructed) attempts to simply understand how various numbers that purport to show anomalous warming were generated.  The place progress has been made is primarily in a very few, but extremely significant cases (e.g. the deconstruction of the infamous “hockey stick” graph that at this point is completely discredited in spite of having dominated public discourse and public policy decisioning for over a decade) when access has been obtained to raw data and actual computational code.  Mistakes that may well have misdirected hundreds of billions of dollars of public money could easily have been averted by legislation like that suggested above mandating a completely open and above-board process.

Those who advocate the CAGW hypothesis should welcome such legislature — if they have nothing to hide and their results can indeed convince “97% of scientists” as claimed, then they should make it easy for those scientists to not just read their published results (working from hidden data) but to be able to verify how their work advances from the hiddent.  They, and their “cause”, can only benefit from a completely data-transparent process if their conclusion is correct.

Advocates are mistaken in treating the CAGW hypothesis as a public relations problem to be solved or a cause to be fought for in the first place (terms bandied about in a most disturbing way in the Climategate communications however they were intended), often discussed as alternatives to the far simpler option of publishing papers that address and attempt to refute competing claims, ideally acknowledging points where they might have a point.  Scientific discourse has no room whatsoever for either of these as the popularity of an idea is irrelevant to its probable truth, and “causes” smack of either political or religious thinking, both of them ultimately irrational in different ways.  An idea is held to be correct when it is well-supported by a mix of good fundamental science, reliable data, and openly reproducible, openly critically examined methods, and any good scientist will always bear in mind the fact that however much they “like” their own conclusions, they could be wrong.

There is little that is certain in science, and good science is honest about the uncertainties even when — perhaps especially when — there is a lot at stake.

Yes, this is a high standard of truth, one that will take time to achieve, especially in a field as complex as climatology, where many results are obtained by means of rather complex computational or statistical methods that rightly should be closely scrutinized as it is all too easy to either “lie” with or be honestly misled by an incorrect model (again this happens so often that we have a whole terminology such as “garbage in, garbage out” to describe it) or incorrect statistical analysis — the latter especially is a bete noire in sciences (and medical research) with far less impact on the public purse than climate research.

Nowhere are the stakes higher; nowhere is the oversight lower and the methodology ultimately more deliberately hidden than it currently is in climate research.  And why?  If CAGW is indeed true, a truly open process of research and decision making should be openly and even enthusiastically embraced by supporters of CAGW, because it will equally well compel skeptics of CAGW to provide full access to their methods and data and reveal possible vested interests.  How often have we all heard the litany “anyone who criticizes CAGW is supported by the oil industry” (and seen scurrilous allegations to that effect in the ongoing discussion revealed by Climategate).  Well, here is an opportunity to provide objective oversight and liability in the unlikely event that this is true — but in both directions.

I would therefore strongly suggest that a sympathetic advocate be found who would sponsor the a-b-c rules above as actual legislation to govern all climate research, publicly funded or not, that is actually used to influence large scale public policy decisions.  Indeed, I would call on all climate researchers and journal editors to enforce “voluntarily” compliance with rule a) whether or not such legislation is ever written!  Climategate 1 and 2 documents have clearly, and shamefully, revealed that many climate researchers currently knowingly and deliberately refuse to make either data or code/methods publicly available even when proper FOIA requests have been made.   Journals such as Nature or Science have a deep responsibility to ensure transparency in any papers they choose to publish that have such a huge real cost and impact on public affairs either way their hypotheses are ultimately resolved.  Papers published in climate science that specifically address the issue of global warming, including papers published in the past, should be given a reasonable opportunity to provide provenance and access to raw data and methods and, if that provenance is not forthcoming for any reason, the papers should be publicly repudiated by the journal and withdrawn.

Perhaps we could call it “Mcintyre’s Law”, since few people have fought this battle more frequently, and more fruitlessly in far too many cases, than Steve Mcintyre.

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184 thoughts on “FOIA is not enough. Why not legally mandate transparency in climate research? A Modest Proposal…

  1. I would say that we need some kind of watchdog on things that are not true such as “accelerating sea level rise” which isn’t happening. Exactly how can the media be allowed to get away with saying such things? Same with glacier retreat. Yes, there is a retreat of many glaciers and it has been going on since the end of the LIA but I don’t see any evidence that it is “accelerating”. There is far too much “conventional wisdom” put out as “information” that just isn’t so. That sort of information influences policy makers, possibly long before they become policy makers.

    What bothers me more than the “science” is the propaganda. We need someone in government to make certain official statements of facts. Global climate has not warmed to any significant degree since 1998. It just hasn’t. Sea level rise has slowed in the past decade, not accelerated. We need for government to put this information out as official with wide distribution to stop the disinformation that is being repeated.

    What we need is a sort of official clearinghouse for this information. We need a national entity that can take the output of the IPCC and check it and if it is a crock, then call it a crock. If Mann’s maths are all wrong, someone needs to stand up from our government and say “this math is all wrong and we will not be using this on which to base policy” or something along that line.

    I don’t see that happening because in this case, “Climate Change” isn’t at all about the science, it is about advancing the political agenda of one specific party.

  2. Much of this is fair enough. But are scientists more or less likely to embrace complete openess if they are concerned that many people are looking for evidence to send them to the state penitentiary?

  3. I would never call Mr. McIntyre’s efforts, “fruitless”, many have already borne fruit, and the seeds from those fruit will themselves bear fruit in the future.

    W^3

  4. http://chriswilliamsonlabourleader.blogspot.com/2011/11/labours-climate-change-pledge.html

    http://blog.tides.org/2010/06/23/media-misinformation-impacts-entire-progressive-agenda/

    http://www.commonwealinstitute.org/archive/framing-progressive-agenda

    There are thousands more such links. “Climate Change” is a key issue for a specific political agenda and it is used as a “hook” to get people to buy into more government control of their life. From government management of what lightbulbs they use to government mandates of what goes in the fuel for their cars to government regulations that redistribute industries globally.

    This is not a scientific fight and if it is fought on that level, one is bringing a knife to a gunfight. You will be ignored or worse, you will be kowtowed too but in the end ignored.

    What we need is someone to stand up and say with full authority of government that the misinformation they are putting out is simply not true. THAT will shut it down.

  5. @crosspatch — are you suggesting a “ministry of truth”?

    Best of luck with that. The current “fact check” websites have been taken over by political ideologists, why would your ministry be any different?

  6. I propose we legally compel all politicians to be honest and forth-coming on all subjects. How much more reasonable can you get?

  7. What if the entire CAGW hoo-haa is an artefact of governmental funding of education and science in the first place?

    The problem is that, because government gets all its funding by coercion, it is outside society’s matrix of exchange. This means that, in providing a service, it has no rational way (rational in terms of the evaluations of the intended consumers of the service), to know
    a) which service to provide, and
    b) whether it is providing too much, not enough, or just the right amount.

    The author’s argument is basically that, because of enormous unintended negative consequences of government actions, the solution is more government control, more legislation, more officials funded by more tax.

    The author assumes that, if only we have enough government (we need more), and the right kind of policy (assumes government is competent and trustworthy to administer it), *then* we will have better outcomes.

    What if these assumptions are false?

  8. Whoa, I really like this carefully and well expressed concept. I hope Dr. Brown has already made this view known to at least his Representative and Senators in the US Congress. I also suggest that the rest of us should see to it that our Representatives and Senators also get it.

  9. Quick note. Robert G. Brown said:

    “It dwarfs even the damage that can be done by unregulated banking systems leading to global financial collapse…”

    That hasn’t happened in a long time. We don’t have unregulated banking systems and we don’t necessarily have under-regulated banking systems. We have banking systems that are badly regulated, for many reasons. We need to be careful about a new governmental system of regulations that aims to prevent the climate-science corruption that government money and influence are fueling.

  10. I certainly agree with the proposed concept. And difficult to imagine how they could invent some excuse for not doing it. No ‘national security’ issues here like those used to keep the curtains up around other political processes. And while I recognize that Dr. Brown’s point is directed at the scientific aspects of this question, that is only half of the story – and arguably much less in recent Pre-Climategate Era.

    That’s why I profoundly disagree with this statement: “To conclude, much of what happens on this and other blogs, e.g. Climate Audit, is ultimately fruitless.”

    I do not believe that this blog (or Climate Audit) has been fruitless” in terms of the science at all. Just the opposite. The questions raised here by Anthony – including The Original Question about ‘the impact of latex paint on global temperatures’ – and other contributors played a catalytic role in the evolving science on many levels. Just forcing the Team members to come up with their incredible explanations contributed to that progress. And many of the answers to those questions appear to have first emerged here too. It has been extremely fruitful in total – though no doubt fruitless for many individual commenters.

    Of course, none of the Team members et al would ever admit to WUWT’s positive role.

    And I know – not merely believe – that WUWT and CA have had a powerful impact on the political side.

    Or to put it another way, if WUWT was so fruitless, why is Anthony some kind of Darth Vader for the AGW Team and why do they pay so much attention to WUWT? Same for CA and McIntyre.
    Because it matters.

  11. I’m with Justin J. on this one, while appreciating Robert Brown’s analysis. Where on earth does one find neutral and impartial arbiters of climate science to serve in an oversight committee? I know lots of academics who have no link to ‘climate or environmental research or any political organization or corporate organization with any possible interest in the outcome’ who are entirely convinced by the fabrications of the climate scientists, and in my experience the ‘truth’ does not seem to guarantee converts.

    The prior political convictions of the ‘disinterested’ may well serve to filter the evidence sufficiently that the abuses outlined above by Robert G. Brown would not trigger the desired responses by the ‘board of governance’. Science ultimately has to go through a kind of ‘shake-down’ process where the supporters of opposing theories ‘duke it out’, and this has been the case from Galileo onward. Of course, it would help if so-called science journals and scientific societies would uphold their stated standards and demand the provision of the data and methods such that critics could reproduce the science produced. Ultimately I see the problems underlying climate science as being part of a larger societal issue of agenda-driven teaching and lack of real critical thinking in the institutions of higher education in western society. When students are given marks for providing the politically correct answers instead of deriving evidence-supported theses in their scholarship, the fundamentals of sound science or any other kind of reason-based inquiry are completely lacking.

  12. “Mcintyre’s Law”

    Time for someone to make a Facebook page for this. Maybe also to use all the social networking petition sites to send a message to respective national governments about this idea.

  13. @crosspatch (re this and the next thread)

    cherry-picking temps from 1998 to [insert date here] is not a good policy. 1998 was an extreme outlier, and the accusations of cherry-picking you will get for doing this are probably well-founded.

  14. vigilantfish says:
    December 2, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    I’m with Justin J. on this one, while appreciating Robert Brown’s analysis. Where on earth does one find neutral and impartial arbiters of climate science to serve in an oversight committee? I know lots of academics who have no link to ‘climate or environmental research or any political organization or corporate organization with any possible interest in the outcome’ who are entirely convinced by the fabrications of the climate scientists, and in my experience the ‘truth’ does not seem to guarantee converts.

    The names McIntyre and Curry do spring to mind.

  15. Pretty obvious who would be against this. Actual thermometers are the curse of Warmists.
    I am in Hawaii. A fire is now roaring in the fire place. The older homes have such. For 20 years the same seemed very superfluous. But not for the last 2 years. Not at all. It is cold. And the newer home owners are buying area heaters.

  16. All of this is easily circumvented. Just look at the history of climate research. Haven’t they already beaten your system, or something like it? I don’t think we need more regulations. It wasn’t regulations that failed us.

    As you can clearly see from the various whitewashes of AGW researchers’ misdeeds, regulating bodies know who pays the bills. If you can find a way for the regulating body to be “double blind”, then maybe you have something.

  17. Justin J. says:
    December 2, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    “The author’s argument is basically that, because of enormous unintended negative consequences of government actions, the solution is more government control, more legislation, more officials funded by more tax.”

    Yes, that’s why deregulating the banking sector led to such prosperous results for so many as recently seen.

    Your argument is to maintain the status quo for essentially a right wing anarchist ideology? In the market of ideas, right or wrong, the CAGW industry presently and of the last quarter century has been winning regardless of facts. Climategate the 1st should have made it quite clear that the truth is not in and of itself a remedy to bad science. Political capital is a double edged sword, but at least you know who’s holding the handle.

  18. I would not limit this to Climate- but extend it to all EPA and NOAA science.
    All IPOs and even real estate transactions require full disclosure- and these are voluntary exchanges. Why isn’t full disclosure applicable given we are forced to pay the costs of regulatory demands. The new Supreme Court ruling on full disclosure actually makes the hurdle for compliance higher than simply stating what you know– you need to pass along concerns about what you don’t know. And that means all the data- not just what you used in publication. It might be simpler to just make the government regulatory agencies accountable to the same standards as the private sector.

  19. The sad part is that the Team members appear to have no conscience. Some of them have undoubtedly thought about the worldwide ramifications of their findings supporting hurtful policies. The fact that they have for years performed this way and evinced no remorse, ever, indicates that, as far as I am concerned, sociopaths, lacking the ability to feel empathy.

    One in 25 people are sociopaths. They tend to be controlling, seeking power and wealth to increase their control. They are hurtful by nature and see the normal person as crippled by their morals and conscience. Sociopaths who want to take everything as well as have control of others are psychopaths, which describes ManBearPig Al Gore.

  20. kakatoa said:
    December 2, 2011 at 7:22 pm
    Mcintyre’s Climate Science Robustness Law sounds good to me.
    ———————————————————————————
    MWP: McIntyre’s Warmunist Policy

    :)

  21. Calling for watchdogs in this case is simply putting the poachers in charge of the poachers. CAGW will not be cured by legislation – it will only be cured at the ballot box (if at all).

  22. While I agree that climate science is in the highlight of its policy impact potential, in the future it will be something else, just as in the past it was ozone depletion, acid rain, DDT, etc. Wouldn’t it be easier to define a policy/law surrounding the use of scientific studies rather than the science itself? How would any particular researcher know his study would be used for future policy making? I would rather see a policy/law that any scientific conclusion or study must pass through an adversarial trial prior to being applied in policy consideration. The hockey stick would never have passed a “Wegman Tribunal” for example.

  23. “It is simply a matter of responsible governance that the cost-benefit of this risk be soberly and, above all, openly assessed. Furthermore, both regulation and liability are absolutely necessary — indeed, long overdue — in any scientific endeavor that has long since left the ivory tower of pure research and become the basis for such far-reaching policy decisions.”

    Robert,
    If you were a tent revival preacher, I’d be in the front row shouting “Halelujah!”. It is as simple…. and as very hard to achieve, as ‘A, B, C’. The only way we will ever have any assurance of responsibility in ‘climate science’ is if we have some real measure of liability for lying, cheating, and committing fraud. There will be many naysayers (some have already weighed in above), but doing nothing is unacceptable. How do we proceed? What small steps can be taken to start down a path of making this happen?

    MtK

  24. A brilliant article!

    …but one quibble.

    The initial observations by Professor Brown focus on the checks and balances on such professions as engineering and medical research. The analogy is sound. A combination of legal liability and regulation keep unethical and self serving behaviour in check. Oh it isn’t perfect by any means, but the checks and balances do orders of magnitude more good than they cost, and without them the world would easily be a much uglier place.

    Professor Brown’s suggestion is, in my opinion, flawed from one perspective. In the case of engineering or medical research, private industry is subject to the checks and balances of regulation by government, and to legal liability as adjudicated by the government run judicial system.

    Much of what has gone so sickeningly wrong in the area of climate science is that government has lost site of, for lack of a better term, church and state. The work of climate science is largely government funded, government regulated, government policed and government implemented. It is simply impossible for a government organization, no matter how well intentioned, to regulate and police itself.

    Power corrupts. Period. Unless the power that comes with the funding mechanisms, the regulatory mechanisms and the implementation mechanisms rests in separate hands, a “police state” is the inevitable result. Regulation and legal liability are effective in controlling engineering and medical research for the simple reason that the regulators gain power only by doing a good job of regulation. The moment that regulation and the work that the regulation controls are under one roof… power corrupts and the notion of checks and balances lost too.

    As much as I support Professor Brown’s main position and his brilliantly articulated article, the fact is that the only way for his suggestions to be effective is to move climate research into the private sector. Publicly funded research has its place, and that place is theoretical research. Applied science should be done in the private sector. The reason we have things like FOIA and judicial inquiries and ELECTIONS is that we learned a long time ago that government can govern and regulate, but it cannot govern and regulate ITSELF. If it could, we’d have no need of periodic elections in which the popular sentiment is “throw the bums out”.

  25. Perhaps there should be enough regulation to make lying bastards tell the truth and provide all documentation to convict himself if/when he lies. I’ll buy that. Can we make it retro-active?

    Apply to politicians? You bet.

    Apply to academics? First and foremost.

    Apply to the media? Absolutely.

    Would this have stopped the CAGW scam? No, they have already mastered the weasel words; suggests, may, likely, possible, etc.

    Nevertheless, good points are made here. It can’t be worse than it is.

  26. Here’s a tenth-of-a-loaf first step. All climate-related scientific research papers will be liberated from their paywalls, with the government picking up the tab. The burden on the government would be tiny, and the benefit substantial. And this law could easily get passed–it would be hard to oppose it. The public would like the sound of it.

    The next step would be to expand the scope of the law to cover papers in other contentious topics. And then maybe for all topics.

  27. davidmhoffer says:
    “Publicly funded research has its place, and that place is theoretical research. Applied science should be done in the private sector.”

    So, the National Hurricane Center should be turned over to CNN? While I happen to agree with you in principle; in practice the line between theoretical and applied can get blurred. What about applied science that is of general benefit but isn’t profitable, thus likely to not be attended to by the private sector?

    This will all be a lot easier after “The Great Purge” resulting from the backlash of the realization of all but the completely brainwashed that CAGW was exaggerated by orders of magnitude (2015-2020?) has removed advocates from positions of authority in what should be (and hopefully will be again someday – 2035?) trusted agencies such as NOAA, NASA, and EPA.

  28. I have been trying sporadically by email to prod the Australian opposition to ask questions in parliament, such as “Is it true that ice records show temperature rising before CO2?” or ” Exactly what do our sea level records show?” etc. The minister must either tell the truth or mislead parliament. It may be difficult to hold them to account in our current parliamentary predicament, but if they want a career after the next election, they should be careful. Also, there is a slim chance it may be reported. (Like Dr Dennis Jensen’s speech was, ho ho. )

  29. Jesse,
    You can send it to all the newspapers and all the TV stations; but how do you get them to use it?

  30. Michael Mann and transparency is like Dracula and sunlight — the latter is fatal to the former.

  31. Bravo, Prof. Brown. The spirit of Richard Feynman smiles on you. Another vote for “Mcintyre’s Law”, even though in an ideal world it would not be needed. Perhaps we might include also “Watts’ Quotient” as an indicator of just how accurate each element of data is, in view of Anthony’s outstanding efforts over the last few years.

  32. Politicians, businessmen, engineers, and practically all disciplines have to make decisions under uncertainty, under urgency, and high potential cost or benefits. There is no time to gather sufficient data and analyze it. A reasonable decisionmaker hedge his bet. If he is going to bet on AGW, then he hedge his bet by putting his research budget and investigation that AGW is wrong so that he could minimize his losses. The unusual thing about AGW or climate change is the apparent high ego to prove that his gamble is correct. The are just like Mr. Turnbull of the novel Phineas Finn. Having predicted some evil consequences, he was doing the best of his powers to bring about the verification of his own prohecies. The research grants, pulbicity and business opportunities are stacked to prove his gamble although his sycophants would claim the science is settled. If decision makers are going to hedge their bets, the debate would be more balanced. In fact, the most of the team if not all of them might even be on the other side.

  33. Robert. Excellent proposal.

    I would extend the section on liability to include Scientific Journals if they fail or have failed to meet the requirements of open and unbiased reporting and publication of scientists papers, and of assessing the accessibility of the data.

    I would also extend liability to broadcasters, newspapers and other publications that present scientists views and reports in the manner of attempting to brainwash the public. They are fully aware that the science is not settled yet have chosen to pervert balanced, open science and are breaching the fundamental principal of democracy in so doing.

  34. “…Perhaps we could call it “Mcintyre’s Law”, since few people have fought this battle more frequently, and more fruitlessly in far too many cases, than Steve Mcintyre…”

    For a long time now I have proposed that McIntyre be given a Nobel prize.

    Few people since Roger Bacon have done so much, in such appalling circumstances, to defend and advance the cause of Science.

  35. well, dang,. ~I just posted this on the previous thread:

    (1) The rehabilitation of Michaels and of Soon & Baliunas – though the science – is essential.

    (2) The restatement and legal binding of Scientific Method in terms of accountable replicability (published data, methods, and key factors like station history) is essential

    (3) The recognition of the importance of the human dimension, and the contribution of amateur scientists, is essential

    (4) It would be nice to develop a form of 12-step program for recovering scientoholics propagandists. Heck, aren’t some of us that already!

  36. much of what happens on this and other blogs, e.g. Climate Audit, is ultimately fruitless.

    Strongly disagree Sir – though I applaud the rest. Big oaks from little acorns grow, etc. The issue is transplanting the seedlings (WUWT, CA etc) into prepared land (Iegislation) which will not be done successfully without taking account of the wisdom of the blogs.

    There are other issues crucial to success, for which the blogs have been responsible in raising awareness:

    (1) Retrospective action. All past Climate Science papers would need to be passed through the new accountability, starting with the key papers, of course.

    (2) The human issues. Nobody, especially politicians and grant-dependent scientists, like to admit to misbehaviour. We need to find exoneration clauses of “acted in good faith with the best available evidence of that time” to let a lot of people off the hook. But we need more. We need a “12-step” type programme on offer for those who are more obviously culpable.

    (3) The media, and the power of urban myths. This is a serious issue. Here is a concrete example: the Protocols of Zion was discredited as a forgery in 1921. This did not stop Hitler using it. We need to beware the way that the “hockey stick” meme has taken hold.

    (4) The newcomer, the “delinquent teenager” IPCC, accountable to nobody, needs to be seen for what it was set up to be, a political tool to bend science to support predetermined results. The fact that this was, or may for some have been, a “Noble Cause”, needs to be taken into account but not used as a reason to avoid accountability.

  37. A superb article which, with it’s responses, exposes a basic flaw in Democracy as it is currently practised in the West. Davidmhoffer identifies this as follows:

    “Much of what has gone so sickeningly wrong in the area of climate science is that government has lost site of, for lack of a better term, church and state. The work of climate science is largely government funded, government regulated, government policed and government implemented. It is simply impossible for a government organization, no matter how well intentioned, to regulate and police itself.”

    I’m from the UK where for the last couple of decades or so the public have been ignored on major issues which have greatly affected their lives – European Integration and Mass Immigration to name but two. The same “strategies” as seen with CAGW have been used – anyone voicing a concern is personally attacked, labelled a “denier” (or worse still – a “racist”) thus shutting down discussion immediately. We even have “thought crimes” now.

    However I don’t want these emotive issues to take away the focus on this article and what is needed. Certainly enactment of A, B, and C should go ahead soonest. I will be copying this article to my local MP (Member of Parliament) to take forward. I suspect a major issue will be one of “global enactment” ie any government enacting this alone could find research moving “abroad” fairly quickly.

    We have to eat the elephant one mouthful at a time.

  38. crosspatch says: @ December 2, 2011 at 7:21 pm:
    ‘We need for government to put this information out as official with wide distribution to stop the disinformation that is being repeated.’ And: ‘We need someone in government to make certain official statements of facts.’

    I about gagged upon reading that. Government is the major reason for the present situation. Not only are all of the Warmista ‘scientists’ government funded, but all of the politicians and bureaucrats who promote and benefit from the AGW meme are members of government.

    Asking government to regulate scientific information is like having the fox guard the henhouse.

    Think EPA: C02 is now a pollutant. Would you prefer science by consensus or by decree?

    This is a really bad idea – in fact a terrible and dangerous idea. Government now has the power to declare anyone they disagree with a terrorist. If AGW is the law of the land then deniers can be considered terrorists. This website would be shut down and Anthony fined or worse.

    The answer lies right here in trying to expose lies and explain our concerns forthrightly and openly. Resorting to government coercion will only lead to – as one commenter said – a Ministry of Truth.

    Think about, please.

  39. Not only would it be cheap for academic organisations to provide the required information, they would also save themselves shed loads by not needing large departments to fight off FOIA requests.

  40. 2kevin says:
    December 2, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    “Your argument is to maintain the status quo for essentially a right wing anarchist ideology?”

    What’s your definition of “right wing,” Kev? Just asking.

  41. This is a VERY BAD IDEA! It won’t affect the pseudoscience one bit. It will just give the fraudsters another category to spend money on, thus another way to justify increased grant proposals.

  42. Why not consider a simpler solution, requiring no regulations, bureaucracies or taxes?

    Simply write into all contracts for publicly funded science the requirement for proper use of the scientific method, including transparency and replicability.

    Then, if what they do isn’t science, they don’t get paid.

    • Neil,

      I concur that your approach is an excellent way to improve the robustness of the scientific method in Climate Science. If you don’t follow the rules (essentially A and B noted by Dr. Brown) you don’t get paid. To have some teeth the contract/grant would include a requirement that the gantee (and/or his sponsor – say Penn State for Dr. Mann) pay back all the funds received if A and B are not followed. The complience side of this could be covered by including a clause in the grant/contract noting audits are at the discretion of the grantor.

  43. I would certainly vote for McIntyre’s Law!
    As I understand it, most organisations (e.g. NASA, NOAA, scientific journals, universities) already have data transparency rules for published scientific research. The problem is that these rules have been regularly flouted by the very people whose responsibility was to uphold those rules.
    If a new law could simply force these people to follow the rules properly, with severe penalties for those who did not, then that would be a big advance.
    Many thanks to Professor Brown for an excellent piece. I hope his ideas will come to fruition.
    Chris

  44. Brilliant analysis, brilliant proposal.
    What’s not to like?
    Well, this: who is going to write such law, and how is it going to get through the various Parliaments/Senates of the countries mostly involved?
    The usual political horse-trading prevalent in all our governments and those political entities who ought to crutinise governments but don’t would water this down to a toothless paper tiger.

    The six-month limitation to the UK FOI is a case in point. CRU finagled these requests in such way that the Commissioner couldn’t do a thing, except state that it was a breach of the FOI law.

    Also – can we wait that long until such most desirable law has been passed?

  45. This concept brings together several of our worst professions.
    1. We need laws to be written to protect the people and their property.
    [ figure the odds of politicians EVER doing anything besides helping themselves get reelected. Not to mention the negative unintended consequences of every law they write]
    2. The laws should be designed to hold lies and distortions illegal and not honest mistakes.
    All grant money must be returned and restitution paid if the perps acted illegally.
    [this would require insurance companies, another "not so popular" profession, to bond and insure the process]
    3. Finally, the last profession would be the attorneys.
    [need I say more?]
    IMHO (and I mean very humble), it could mean maybe, kind of, sort of, possibly, a slight chance of some minor thing going wrong and the system again proves itself designed for them.
    Even with all the bad possibilities I believe your proposal should be pursued.

  46. This is a superb article and ought to appear on the front page of the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Times (London), Le Monde, La Observatore, Bloomberg, Google, Yahoo and every other media outlet ( print, broadcast and electronic ).

    Bravo, Professor Brown !!!! Bravo!!!

  47. I have reservations about regulating research in this way, although the author makes an eloquent and persuasive case. I fear the law of unintended consequences will kick in. I don’t agree that blogs like this are fruitless – at the end of the day the best weapon is publicity and these sites have become an alternative and reliable source of information that is gradually pervading the MSM.

  48. Speaking of grant money. Briffa, in 2002, helped an outside organization ‘review’ a grant proposal.

    Many thanks for your very helpful comments. I realise that it is a good deal of work to referee applications for grants, and we do appreciate the trouble you have taken. Without such advice we should find it impossible to ensure that our funds go to the most meritorious applicants. We will let you know the outcome in due course.

    Sylvia Herd
    Senior Administrative Officer

    http://www.ecowho.com/foia.php?file=1140.txt&search=research+grant+review+-+ID20020124

    Taking it in, and doling it out.

  49. The proposal sounds wonderful for the thirsting skeptics, but IMO is fraught with pitfalls. Be careful what you wish for.
    In its early stages a lot of medical research is not subject to the intense scrutiny. It is only when a specific drug or therapy threatens to become commercial that the heavy legal burden becomes necessary.
    Before this stage, medical research continues in its “natural” form encumbered by only the traditions of the field.
    This natural distinction between theoretical and practical (commercial?) makes the implementation of an intense regimen quite a bit easier.
    First, the traditions of climatology are broken and my preference would be for that part to be fixed by climatologists themselves; of course with constant nudging from McIntyre and company.
    But to carry the medical (or engineering) analogy to its conclusion what is the commercial product of climate research? Policy? I am afraid the analogy breaks down and perhaps starts getting into free speech issues.

  50. Excellent article! I strongly support provision (a), which should immediately be pressed upon all sorts of funding agencies now (i.e., it does not require legislation to begin pressing for this kind of open data as an ethical/professional expectation in the “climate science community”…..

    I do have a lot of concern about (b) and (c) however, since they are more liable to various types of abuse. The open data requirement of (a) should be a “no brainer” for the reasons stated in this article and elsewhere.

    However, as soon as one legislates a new board or commission it is of course open to potential influences and abuses from various directions. That is not necessarily any fatal objection to this proposal, but simply a statement that this kind thing always requires much careful study and analysis before it should be legislated.

    As for (c), despite all the abuses that have been uncovered (and who knows how much more we don’t know about), an open-ended personal financial liability may be a very blunt and dangerous instrument for all concerned. At the very least it is something that would require the most careful examination and procedural protections.

    But there should be no reason not to support (a) immediately both with and without legislation. I applaud calling it “McIntyre’s Law” and more generally perhaps open data sourcing should be called “McIntyre’s Principle”….. it does not need to be law in a legal sense to become a cultural and ethical norm.

  51. Professor Brown’s article is brilliant and helpful, if we focus closely on what he recommended. He recommends legislation that requires researchers, their institutions, scientific journals, and similar entities to practice in accordance with scientific method. Specifically, he recommends that all raw data and methods must be published along with any article that relies on them. This requirement serves the Reproducibility of Results standard in scientific method and, like all elements of scientific method, it is entirely neutral with regard to the publishing scientists and their critics. The requirement would apply to disputes caused by critics who claim that some data or methods have been withheld. The requirement would foster standard methods of archiving data and methods on websites. Government would interfere with practicing scientists only to the degree necessary to ensure that the standards of archiving have been met. That is a very low level of intrusion.

    If this recommendation of Professor Brown’s had been in place in 1995, the harm caused by Phil Jones, Michael Mann, and friends would not have occurred. Phil Jones never had the raw data in some reasonable form for archiving and Mann has been unwilling to address questions about his methods. (The government would not be the critic of Mann’s methods; rather, the government would require publication of all of the methods.)

    Professor Brown recommends additional steps that go beyond scientific method. Creating liability laws along the lines of what is found in medical science goes beyond scientific method. That should not be surprising because pure science, such as physics, and medical science are not fully parallel. Medical science exists to serve medical practice and physicians are first and foremost caregivers, not scientists, though physicians and physician researchers use the products of pure science. If climate science is to be treated like medical science then government must act intrusively. This topic requires a separate post that I do not have time to undertake now.

    In conclusion, Professor Brown’s recommendations for legislation that requires compliance with scientific method in archiving and publishing are not intrusive and do not give power to government. His recommendations about liability laws require government intrusion and must be evaluated more fully.

  52. “What we need is someone to stand up and say with full authority of government that the misinformation they are putting out is simply not true. THAT will shut it down.”

    But it can all too easily become a cure far worse than the disease. In a sense, that’s what we are relying on now — the IPCC stands up and says with the full authority of many governments that CAGW is underway. Furthermore, imagine the consequences of such a government board in the UK at the time Mann and Jones and friends were conspiring to have de Frietas put down like a dog because he “dared” to accept a paper that challenged Mann’s hockey stick. I shudder at the mere thought of it.

    A scientific review board, OTOH, staffed by scientists who are not in the game and whose only charge is to adjudicate cases where data and methods have been hidden or where unethical manipulations of that data are revealed or vested interests are revealed — that already exists, in the form of the review process of the various granting agencies and journal editorial processes. The only flaw in what we have now is that both the latter and the former are all too easily corrupted by being in the game themselves; the problem with having a small group of very powerful researchers with a homogeneous outlook is that ultimately they review each other’s papers, and review each other’s grant proposals (I am quite familiar with the process involved in both cases and this is indeed how it works). Oh, and the tenure process is more of the same.

    One can all too easily get into a positive feedback “review loop” that excludes and punishes outsiders, usually to the detriment of science. This can be, and sometimes is, opposed by grant officers or editors, and generally it is benign or even sane (because in less “political” cases the consensus view is probably the right view anyway). The process needs to be, and usually is, somewhat tolerant of iconoclastic work. Climategate basically reveals that the specific case of climate research the review process has for better or worse been wrapped ever more tightly around a narrow ideological core that is highly intolerant of competing or differing views because they “don’t help the cause” or “send the wrong message” or lose “the PR war”.

    To be honest, the people that bear the greatest single responsibility (and are the most at fault) in this entire debacle are the journal editors IMO they should be ashamed of themselves. They aren’t supposed to be partisan and are supposed to select reviewers in a balanced way, but Climategate makes it absolutely clear that the entire journal review process has been subverted so that none of this is true for the majority of the journals out there.

    Why is de Frietas an exception that is so glaring, an exception that reveals (in the Climategate communications) the degree to which the closed community rules the journal review process? Why is it that, after M&M and work done within the hockey team itself reveals that MBH and MJ are both hogwash, pure noise that is obviously egregiously incorrect, Nature and other journals wherein these works was published or cited as key references did not publicly force the retraction of the article and the publication of a corrected version? Why is it that M&M were forced to publish their critical work in other places besides nature? The blatent “gatekeeping” that has occurred in climate research is itself a scandal.

    I myself am least confident about the b) provision of all of the three. As far as c) goes one can always sue somebody, but their liability in any such suit may be strongly limited by our properly strong belief that scientific research should be free. The standard is — equally properly — altered under law in the case of the abuse of medical research for self-serving ends, and even there an oft-cited objection is that it openly encourages e.g. malpractice suits or massive suits against drug companies. Yet it was just yesterday that I read (I think on slashdot) of a meta-study of medical research that reveals that it has one of the worst track records for the reproducibility of results of any of the sciences. The review wryly observes that if one is being paid to find an effect, one often succeeds, and it isn’t until somebody comes along that doubts the conclusion and isn’t being paid that contradictory results are obtained and the effect disappears. In other words, even the loose governance of medical research isn’t enough to police the medical research community — it is all too easy to get complete crap published because (and I say this as something of an expert) nobody understands statistics!

    This is the sad truth that M&M reveal. Nobody understands statistics except perhaps a select handful of professional statisticians, mathematicians, physicists and engineers. I’ve managed to master parts of the field well enough to be able to write a program (dieharder) that is devoted to pure hypothesis testing in the field of random number generation, as well as one of the world’s best (proprietary) neural network modelling tools, I can do real math well enough to teach it through the level of PDEs (I could probably manage to teach most of the courses in an undergrad math major), I’ve published a dozen or so papers in very advanced statistical modelling of critical phenomena via Monte Carlo, and I wouldn’t begin to arrogate myself by claiming that I understand statistics. It is difficult. The statistical methodology that underlies many of the currently published results in climate research is very, very difficult to understand and in some very deep sense it is being performed by rank amateurs.

    That’s the group I would turn to to lead the oversight board suggested in b). The core of this group should be Real Statisticians. Not the Sears kind, the real kind. People who can look at a methodology and tell at a glance themselves if it is bullshit, or if there is a well-hidden thumb on a scale. Statisticians whose work has been in fields completely distinct from climate research and who have no record of active participation in environmental activism and are arguably strictly neutral on “green” advocacy issues. I’d throw in a physicist or two mostly because they are usually fairly sane and multitalented and a quantum physicist, field theorist, experimental worker in condensed matter physics or nanoscale physics isn’t likely to have a dog in the climate fight. The board should be staffed by people who are naturally skeptical of statistical results, who have a “show me” kind of mentality, and who are themselves iconoclastic to a fault. Skeptics, in other words, but not skeptics in the specific context of climate research.

    rgb

  53. “I would never call Mr. McIntyre’s efforts, “fruitless”, many have already borne fruit, and the seeds from those fruit will themselves bear fruit in the future.”

    All too often fruitless. I was referring to M&M’s well-documented efforts, over many years, to get access to the actual hockey stick proxy data and code, and to Mcintyre’s ongoing effort to gain access to still more actual code and data in the case of many other questionable publications. These efforts are so far fruitless, and they each require enormous energy to pursue — I literally don’t know how he does it, as he has to fight for years to get something that he shouldn’t even have to ask for.

    That’s the fundamental motivation for Mcintyre’s Law. He shouldn’t even have to ask for access to the code and data and methods used to produce graphs and conclusions that affect the directed use of trillions of dollars wordwide! Indeed, this is so obvious that it is manifestly insane that he has to actively fight against researchers who don’t want to expose their work at a level that might reveal the hidden thumb on the scales. I can understand it — that thumb could be deliberate or it could be sheer incompetence in statistics (nobody understands statistics, making it so very easy to either lie with it or simply make a horrible mistake with it) but either way the discovery of a serious problem could be a career-ender. However, the stakes are too high for the current business-as-usual hidden methodology or methodology described only in crude terms that do not permit the precise numerical reconstruction of results to continue.

    rgb

  54. StudioBronze says:
    December 2, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    It will be very difficult to make a compelling counter-argument to Professor Brown’s proposal that is not transparently self-serving. Good Job.
    ____________________________________________

    NEVER make the mistake of thinking a politician can not twist a good idea into something that serves his masters, the large corporations and the banks who fund his campaigns.

    So actually it is not hard to make a compelling counter-argument. All one has to do is look at what has happened to the US Food Safety Laws and the FDA and USDA. Laws are only as good as the law makers, regulation makers and the BureacRATS that enforce them. I call Washington the “District of Criminals” for a darn good reason, six years of digging in the stinking muck DC generates.

    Like this proposed law, the food and drug laws started out as a “Good Cause” The food and drug laws have since morphed into a monster used by “self-serving” interests to control the market, wipe out competition and in the last few years, to actually make people ill as part of a campaign of Problem-Reaction-Solution. The goal is becoming the readily apparent Control of the food supply. see Farmland grab: http://farmlandgrab.org/

    Corporate/Government Revolving Door:
    http://www.rense.com/general33/fd.htm
    http://www.cptech.org/ip/health/politics/revolvingdoor.html

    Creating the PROBLEM
    After WTO agreement on Ag was ratified, the USDA/FDA moved to get rid of the “Safest Food in the World” by changing to the international HACCP regs.
    1996 HACCP http://mfu.org/node/276

    By opening the doors to uninspected imports (WTO) and removing hands on government inspection of food processing plants (HACCP) there was a doubling of food borne illness. (My analysis of CDC statistics after graph was taken off internet)

    The Media of course played this up and instead of identifying the WTO agreement on Ag AND the new HACCP regs, the “Old laws” were blamed and a “New law” was waved on high as the “Solution”

    “PROBLEM”:
    Shielding the giants: https://spideroak.com/directdownload?platform=ubuntulucid&arch=i386
    FDA says it is OK to turn bad food into sellable stuff: http://www.peoplesworld.org/fda-says-it-s-ok-to-turn-bad-food-into-sellable-stuff/

    “SOLUTION”
    The “Solution” is a law that turns control of the US food supply over to the Ag Cartel who wrote the World Trade Organizations Agreement on Ag. (Dan Amstutz – VP Cargill & Goldman Sachs employee) The New Law literally names the World Trade Organization as a must follow.

    Trojan Horse Food Safety Law: http://www.examiner.com/scotus-in-washington-dc/trojan-horse-law-the-food-safety-modernization-act-of-2009

    The reaction of farmers? “Let them eat GRASS!” http://www.newswithviews.com/Hannes/doreen110.htm
    Cartoons speak farmers contempt of the USDA even better: http://www.naisstinks.com/index.php?con=cartoons

    How Goldman Sachs created the 2008 Food Crisis http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/04/27/how_goldman_sachs_created_the_food_crisis?page=0,1

  55. “The problem is that, because government gets all its funding by coercion, it is outside society’s matrix of exchange. This means that, in providing a service, it has no rational way (rational in terms of the evaluations of the intended consumers of the service), to know
    a) which service to provide, and
    b) whether it is providing too much, not enough, or just the right amount.
    ….
    What if those assumptions are false?”

    Well, you could try looking at the evidence, instead of spouting ideology… no, I suppose not.

    I won’t even bother to go down the list of things that are features of your daily life that would not exist if it were not for the government funding of research. There are, perhaps, places where the government spends tax monies unwisely, and I would certainly not want to interfere with your constitutional right to speak on any of them including government funded support of technological and scientific research.

    I might, however, gently point out that doing so by typing a reply into a computer that uses a network built on top of software nearly every single part of which has roots that can be directly traced back to government funded research and corporate research performed by people who were educated in University programs that were funded by the government and that is carried from point to point “for free” (for the low cost enjoyed by end users) because of government subsidy of the networks themselves is a bit hypocritical.

    From the Enlightenment on, the majority of scientific discoveries and advances have been made by virtue of taking our very brightest people and providing them with some means of living that doesn’t involve digging ditches. The original discoveries were usually made by the only class with leisure time — the nobility — or those directly supported by the nobility to perform such research, all funded by money removed by “coercion” from the commoners. However much you may have bought into the mythology of Edisonian research and Atlas Shrugged (one of my own favorite books growing up — note well that I was a physics and philosophy major as an undergraduate) it is well worth remembering that Ayn Rand herself accepted medicare and social security to help pay for her terminal cancer (caused by her two pack a day drug addiction).

    Reality isn’t ideal, and a whole lot of what government pays for — such as the satellites that actually provide sound data that is in the process of gradually helping us to understand the physics of the sun and the science underlying both climate and weather, satellites that have paid for themselves thousands of times over in increased crop yields, decreased damage and mortality in hurricanes, and the countless minor regulations of everyday life that are optimized by e.g. knowing when a frost is coming, being able to postpone a trip due to anticipated rain. The evidence, in other words, that civilization benefits from government works funded by “coercion” is so vast as to be (in my opinion) conclusive.

    Is all of that money perfectly spent? Of course not. Neither would it be perfectly spent in any other scenario. Perfection isn’t on the agenda today, as it, along with idealization, are both mythologies, attractive illusions. There is plenty of freedom in the current system for Edisonian work to succeed. There is enormous freedom for corporate funded research to succeed in the best of capitalistic traditions, with significant protections for intellectual properties developed by such work (too much protection in many cases, as most of it is based on work that is already in the public domain, paid for by government money and published so that anybody can use it, creating a whole new form of “free enterprise” known as “the patent troll”). But the heart of the engine is indeed Your Tax Dollars At Work. Shut them down and you will bring on the greatest economic depression the world has ever seen, as the only thing that is keeping our entire world civilization out in front of the growth in population is our science and technology. As the world’s physical frontiers are largely eliminated so that there is less and less low-hanging fruit to be plucked, progress along the scientific frontiers has been picking up the slack, and only the government or corporations so large that they are themselves “governments” can afford to support the entire infrastructure that produces scientists and new scientific understanding that ultimately fuels the engine.

    Ayn Rand, alas, got it wrong. Not completely wrong, of course. It’s just the the optimal point for a rational society is somewhere between the poles of Ms. Rand and Mr. Marx. Both the endpoints are clearly unsuitable in well-known ways. In between, finding the optimum is a difficult problem in multivariate optimization on a time varying surface, it is surfing the wave as the wave itself changes. But we digress…

    rgb

  56. Well written, very clear and reasonable. However, I am not sure that I want to see the government regulating any more than it already regulates, nor do I want to see more laws prescribing human behavior, especially regarding research. The government screws up everything it touches.

    The problem is that scientists themselves failed at their job. Not enough people spoke up and demanded the appropriate peer review as they should have. Funding needs to be reformed, and scientists need to police themselves using the methods that have always been in place. What needed to happen didn’t happen because scientists were afraid to challenge a small group of men who had somehow managed to co-opt and control the direction of scientific inquiry in the area of climate.

    It all happened with the blessings of government, the IPCC and private funding sources who were only to too happy to throw millions (billions?) at an idea that became a cash cow and provided a political advantage.

    Scientists of good conscience need to stand now, speak as one voice and demand the reasoned inquiry you propose. But, government rules? I’m not so sure about that.

  57. @Robert Brown

    Thanks for your wonderful article and elaborations. Your comments about the issues with the statistics involved remind me of one of the recurrent questions I’ve had when reading about the real intellectual scandals associated with CAGW:

    why can’t we get more involvement from real, serious statisticians and mathematicians to review the quality (or lack thereof) of the work of The Team?

    I know some of the obvious reasons, such as (1) real math whizzes often don’t like messy issues with “politics” involved etc.,and (2) real math whizzes can’t be bothered even looking at a lot of the slovenly output of The Team, etc.

    But still, with the intellectual standing and integrity of statistics and mathematics often drawn into these shoddy practices, I would think there ought to be some real statisticians out there who would want to take a serious look at this…..

    If nothing else to draw clearer lines about what kinds of applications and practices are and are not justified…..

  58. These issues have been discussed forever by scientists and others all over the world. Would Dr Brown suggest we have a grand judge, a super monitor of methods, findings and supervising and adjudicating the work of thousands of scientists who presently work independently. I’m sure they prize this independence and their work requires the freedom to think and act without censorship in any way. You can see how damaging this monitoring approach worked during the Bush administration.

    The research speaks for itself, and the professional standards required in each field set limits for all research endeavors and subsequent publications. While there will be many who disagree with methods employed or the conclusions drawn by individual researchers, the net effect of the collective work of the world’s scientists, all published in peer reviewed journals, results in an advancement of our knowledge.

    This is not a PR exercise, or some kind of malicious game being played out by conspirators with a vested interest in making dramatic change. Those who inpute these motives, are simply wrong.

    We have reached a point in our discussion where it is no longer acceptable to proceed without an honest acknowledgment that the research in climate science clearly focuses on varieties of problems, which require our (the world’s) immediate attention. Unbiased risk assessments conducted by many, all over the world, have arrived at this conclusion.

  59. Should it not be called the Mann Act 2.0… Prohibiting the transportation of prostituted science across state lines for immoral purposes?

  60. As a physicist, engineer, and physician, the points made by Prof. Brown resonate strongly with me. I have made and are similar points elsewhere in the climate discussion. The rigor that is enforced on medical research comes from hard won lessons in all the ways research can go wrong. A big part of medical training today is to learn the dozens of subtle tricks that can be played by and on data, either intentionally or not – usually not. A physician with a solid background in evidence-based medicine is well-qualified to tease out methodological flaws in all kinds of scientific publications.

    The current generation of climate researchers started their training in a world where their results were of mostly academic interest. Wrong results couldn’t really hurt anyone. But they had academic careers that flowered at a time when their results were used to reallocate resources on the scale of trillions of dollars. This parallels the kind of events that took place in medicine a few decades ago, when a large, multinational pharmaceutical company could partner with university biochemistry lab working on a medically promising drug. They could subtly steer the research results to show the drug in the best possible light, sometimes better than was true, all with the noble intention of bring to market a blockbuster that would help millions of people live longer, healthier lives. That, and also making tons and tons of money.

    I certainly don’t think the problems are rooted in climate researchers being bad or stupid people. Like Orson Scott Card’s Ender Wiggin, they woke up one day to be told by their political leadership that the video games they have been playing might actually be used to “Save the Planet (TM),” and that vast resources will now be at their disposal. Surely this is a heady experience like none other.

    The medical field has learned its lesson, and continues to get the occasional refresher course. The methods, results, and conclusions we now see in many climate publications wouldn’t pass the sniff test in a major medical journal. The climate research field hasn’t matured in the same way. I think it is probably at least 20 years away from growing up to the point where medicine is today.

    If I invent a new blood pressure drug to potentially be used by hundreds of millions of people, the questions asked by the medical system are, “Is it safe?”, “Is it effective?”, “Is it better than the alternatives?” If CO2 reduction policies were evaluated in these terms, with the methodological rigor of a new drug, they would go nowhere. If I objected to evaluating my drug rigorously, and appealed to the “precautionary principle” that in the case that my drug works, millions of cases of stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure might be prevented, so it should be mass-distributed, I should be laughed out of the medical field.

  61. Talk about lack of transparency …. I was looking at the old harryreadme file and found this:

    “After an email enquiry from Wladimir J. Alonso (alonsow@mail.nih.gov), in which unusual behaviour of CRU TS 2.10
    Vapour Pressure data was observed, I discovered that some of the Wet Days and Vepour Pressure datasets had been
    swapped!!
    The files I was looking at were decadal, 1981-1990.

    Vapour Pressure, January: Min 0 Max 310
    Vapour Pressure, February: Min 0 Max 280

    Wet Days, January: Min 0 Max 3220
    Wet days, February: Min 0 Max 3240

    So I wrote crutsstats.for, whioch returns monthly and annual minima, maxima and means for any gridded output file.
    Tried it on the full runs, and they look OK:”
    ——————-

    So, I sent an email to Wladimir J. Alonso (alonsow@mail.nih.gov) and asked him…………
    “Sir,
    Who is Harry and how are you working together?
    I found this in the harry read me file.”

  62. “That’s why I profoundly disagree with this statement: “To conclude, much of what happens on this and other blogs, e.g. Climate Audit, is ultimately fruitless.” ”

    See previous reply (I’ll say this here once and for all, as this is a common theme). Of course it isn’t completely fruitless. However, blog comments, no matter how thoughtful, usually have relatively little impact on public policy. The readers of a blog are largely self-selected according to prior beliefs and conclusions. How successful are they at changing people’s beliefs? Somewhat, to be sure, but as I think was pointed out yesterday in another thread, it is akin to arguing with devout theists about the age of the Universe (something I’ve spent hundreds of thousands if not millions of lines of prose text doing in other contexts). “Pissing into the wind” does not begin to describe it.

    What has made a major impact is the published work of M&M. Indeed, I would say that it has had the greatest impact of any single thing in the entire debate. I started becoming a “skeptic” some nine or ten years ago, largely after doing some personal research on the connection between solar state and global temperature and discovering http://www.john-daly.com/#cru quite by chance. Daly’s site led me to the M&M paper, which I read and even though I’d never even heard of the “hockey stick” or given any real thought to the CAGW hypothesis (which was still far from dominating public discourse at that point) their work was instantly convincing. As a scientist, all I could think of is “who are these turkeys, what is this all about, and how are they getting away with this?”

    The answer to the latter became clear over the years in between, of course. At stake was vast amounts of money, spent worldwide — more than enough to attract the greedy. They were getting away with it because they used every trick in a rather corrupt book — cherrypicking data (and bragging about it), confirmation bias, gatekeeping in the granting agencies and journals, the use of “public relations tools” backed by celebrities working for “the cause” instead of open debate in scientific journals even when one of their own number would suggest that maybe they should participate in the latter! It became clear that “climate science” was indeed an unwritten conspiracy between three groups — environmentalists and deep socialists with one agenda, a very shadowy group of money and bank and political people seeking to make an enormous amount of money and accrue a vast amount of political power by controlling an entirely artificial globe-spanning commodity, “carbon” (note the familiar theme of many blog posts, “follow the money”), and an amazingly small group of climate researchers who were literally seduced by the IPCC.

    The extent of the seduction is clearly visible in one of Phil Jones climate reconstructions from immediately pre-IPCC, and from some of the earliest comments from climategate 1, where people like Briffa were not yet firmly on board and were wondering who this Mann kid was. Jones published a graph (I’m too lazy to go track it down and don’t know how to embed graphs properly in this interface yet) that clearly shows — I think even labels — the MWP and LIA, and shows a warming now that is roughly commensurate with that of the MWP. Certainly no “smoking gun”, no need to panic, no “catastrophic” process evident.

    At this point his work was, I’m sure, still unbiased as nobody cared. I believe some of Briffa’s work at this stage was similar — even Hansen’s reconstructions showed a clear MWP and LIA still — but again I’m too lazy to go back and look up papers so take this with a grain of salt.

    Both of them were virtually ignored in the IPCC process, while this unknown upstart, Mann, was positively lionized. They had proof at last! A smoking gun! Catastrophe evident (even people who flunked graph reading 101 in high school could follow the end of the hockey stick up to disaster).

    MBH became the poster child of the CAGW scam, funds flowed, and it rapidly became “join us or die” for anybody working in the field. Where the “death” involved is to be ignored, your work unfunded, to miss out on being lionized yourself, being interviewed on television and radio shows — for scientists who up to then were literally nobodies in the sense that perhaps one or two dozen people in a single, very select research community might have known their name and their work, this was heady, seductive stuff! Paleoclimatology and climate reconstructions went from being something nobody cared about to the most important thing in the world, to being the key to saving the world, if and only if one thing was true! If the temperature of the present is indeed “anomalous”, unexpected, impossible to explain by any other means than the increase in CO_2 concentration, then paleoclimatology is of world-shaking importance. Otherwise, it goes back to being interesting, useful, of some value — just like studies of poison dart frogs or the evolution of dinosaurs, but no longer a trillion dollar save-the-world holy mission.

    Although I do blame them for being seduced even by the chance to be Luke Skywalker fighting the Darth Vaders of the Oil Empire, I also pity them. They are hardly the first good people to be unable to resist the siren song of a world-shaking ideological bandwagon, and the human mind is sufficiently subtle that it is perfectly capable of convincing itself that something incorrect is true once a certain level of commitment is made, and often our tendency to do this is made stronger by weak or marginal evidence. Hence “High voltage power lines cause cancer”, and homeopathic dilution (water “memory”). Hence belief that advanced beings will come to earth in UFOs and take a select group of the “saved” away.

    The phenomenon psychologists study that is relevant here is called “cognitive dissonance”, and there are numerous case studies of the ways humans are capable of completely reworking reality itself (which is, recall, a mental phenomenon to each of us) to lie in accord with any sufficiently strong belief, where (paradoxically) evidence that contradicts that belief makes our belief even stronger.

    The siren song of cognitive dissonance is all too apparent on the page of this blog as well — it is all too easy to oppose the CAGW hypothesis to the extent that you ignore evidence that supports it, or even twist it around into evidence that it isn’t true. I’m very careful to state that I doubt the CAGW hypothesis, not that it is or isn’t true. I have a rational basis for my doubt, not the least of which is a rational basis for doubting the objectivity of much of the supporting evidence. The law above, you will note, doesn’t address the truth of falsity of the hypothesis in any way — it addresses the objectivity of the evidence, because I am certain that the evidence has been produced and manipulated in non-objective ways for non-objective ends. Climategate communications are absolute proof of this, especially in tandem with M&M.

    Ultimately, if you remove the factors that inappropriately protect the status quo — hidden methodology and goals, lack of an open critical process, gatekeeping in the journals — the science will fairly rapidly correct itself. Blogs are absolutely useful in the process of calling for changes in the law and the process itself. Indeed, it would be interesting to see what RealClimate would say in response to this modest proposal. I’m reasonably certain that they will either claim that the research is already transparent (in which case why would they oppose legislating this trasparency?) or claim that they have the “right” to conceal their methodology and data outside of what they publish. But I could be wrong. Perhaps they’ll respond to this proposal without my posting there (as I’m uninterested in posting there, given its origins and theme) but it is a lot more likely that they will just try to ignore it. But in the end, blog posts are not refereed research papers published in Nature, and to really change the perception of the science by means that are different from “winning a PR war” is to do more science, and correct the science that has been done, and publish it in the journals.

    To conclude: Blogs are not useless, but publishing things in a blog is not equivalent to publishing something in nature. Blogs are important in the “PR war” to be sure, but the very fact that such a thing is necessary is a sad, sad commentary on the state of the science and its corruption by the political process to which it is tied. They also have a strictly limited effect on the public mind, on the attention of the media that ultimately directs widespread human belief. At this point there is gatekeeping that extends well into the supposedly objective media, but the media are notorious for following their own interest, which is often being first to break a juicy scandal. I’m very interested to see if Climategate 2 eventually percolates into the mainstream media. It would be very interesting to see an e.g. “60 minutes” devoted to MBH, M&M, and the climategate revelations…

    rgb

  63. “cherry-picking temps from 1998 to [insert date here] is not a good policy. 1998 was an extreme outlier, and the accusations of cherry-picking you will get for doing this are probably well-founded.”

    Absolutely. How about cherrypicking a date such as the Holocene Climate Optimum? Or from the (restored) MWP? In my own opinion, we have approximately reliable global temperatures from an approximately 30, maybe 40 year base, and those temperatures are generally not derived from surface station data. This base is too small to be of any use whatsoever in the study of a process whose visible timescale of variation is practically unlimited that itself, exhibiting natural fluctuations that are close to an order of magnitude greater than the largest possible change observed from the LIA to the present.

    None of which matters in the issue of data transparency, of course.

    rgb

  64. @Hugh Pepper says:
    December 3, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Are you allergic to links? I can never seem to locate any in your pronouncemnts.

  65. “I would not limit this to Climate- but extend it to all EPA and NOAA science.
    All IPOs and even real estate transactions require full disclosure- and these are voluntary exchanges. Why isn’t full disclosure applicable given we are forced to pay the costs of regulatory demands. The new Supreme Court ruling on full disclosure actually makes the hurdle for compliance higher than simply stating what you know– you need to pass along concerns about what you don’t know. And that means all the data- not just what you used in publication. It might be simpler to just make the government regulatory agencies accountable to the same standards as the private sector.”

    Well said, and I wouldn’t argue about it being applied to all publicly funded research. However, you’ll get grief with such a suggestion from the “technology transfer” sector. At the moment, believe it or not, a lot of publicly funded research pays for the development of results and methodology that are patented or copyrighted by the individual (or the individual’s sponsoring institution, e.g. their University) which then uses the patent to make money. The argument is that (only) the private sector is capable of turning the ideas into wealth, and the patent is needed to get people to invest the effort required to do so with some guarantee of return. Or something like that.

    Personally I find it annoying — it enables the shell-game argument of the far right that government funded research is useless, among other things. I’m a strong proponent of open source software, and of open ideas. I’d like to see the actual authors of original ideas be rewarded, but the way our current system works they get the dregs after an entire crowd of hands dip into the value stream; not infrequently they end up with nothing at all. But that opens up a debate into all sorts of things — patent trolls, the DMCA — that could be used to weaken the chances of a more limited regulation passing.

    Hence the point about economic impact of the science on the commonwealth. In the cases of medicine and climate science, the motivating issue is billions of trillions of dollars, spent worldwide, plus huge human morbidity and mortality on a similar scale. In the case of the EPA overregulating CFCs (we could re-examine the ozone problem again, for example, where there is similarly “weak” evidence for human causation) there is some cost to regulating them unnecessarily, but it is hardly a catastrophic burden.

    However, one of the reasons I posted here is as a first step in an open process called a “Request For Comments” (RFC). RFCs built the Internet, for those of you who don’t know. Post a proposal to a group for comments, get the constructive comments on board, take them into account using a purely practical, reasoned process, improve the document until it becomes the basis for a possible standard, then implement it. If the consensus view is that applying Mcintyre’s Law more broadly than just climate research is wise — personally I’d suggest adding medical research next to the list of things that justify the legislative transparency before adding NOAA in general or the EPA — then sure, why not? However, bear in mind the possible cost — NOAA and the EPA do a lot of very good things; they are hardly demonic representations of the Antiscience come to bring about the apocalypse. I have both friends and acquaintances in the HPC community and elsewhere who do work for them (I live about twenty minutes from the EPA’s NC headquarters). Targeting them, especially with the election coming, is likely to be interpreted (correctly, at a guess) as being political, not objective.

    rgb

  66. Hugh Pepper is only being a water boy for the corrupt climate scam clique; an enabler. I can understand the motives consisting of illicit money and power that the clique gets out of their CAGW scam. But folks like Pepper are just useful idiots parroting alarmist talking points; know-nothings taking sides based only on being scared of the pseudo-science lies emitted by the self-serving alarmist contingent.

    It’s amusing to see someone like Hugh so terrified of the black cat in the dark room. But when honest science turns on the light… there is no cat. And there never was.

  67. “If it is true but we do nothing…it costs.” and “If it is not true but we spend ….it costs.”.
    It would appear that one thing is forgotten: If it is not true and we do not spend. That way it does not cost us any further.
    An overseer. Who appoints the overseer? Another rigged situation.
    I have not read all the comments so it is very likely that some or all has already been covered.
    Politically this thing is dead as a duck. The political will to continue with this is gone, that is clear from every corner. The sad thing is that nobody can just come out and say that, the politicians will now go through a number of years of slowly extracting themselves and in 5 years or so every one has forgotten. Science will be the loser.
    In the meantime there will be more money spent on research, talkfests and wind farms etc, after all we can’t just go cold turkey. The believers need to be weaned off, and this will take some time, until it is clear that they are definitely a minority.
    Having said all that, based on what we currently know and using accepted theory, the day will come when fossil fuels will be too expensive to extract so putting work into alternatives is needed, even if that day is 100 years away.
    But we don’t have to do it on the basis of AGW.

  68. @Robert Brown

    Your comments are fascinating and important. I do hope you get some some useful responses here to help in furthering your proposal.

    I recommend focus upon (a) as I think the principle of open access to data for researchers and “auditors” ala M&M is the critical aspect. Whether any institutional processes or sanctions would help or hurt is a much more complicated discussion, but as a first step getting a requirement of ready availability of data would help the situation enormously. The relevant journals and scientific societies ought to be pressed to move on this independently of any legislative proceedings. That’s why I think you should consider calling it “McIntyre’s Principle” and not only work for “McIntyre’s Law” — because the principle can be advanced and upheld in many more ways (and much more quickly, perhaps) than in legislative processes.

    p.s. I know the following is quite a distinct issue since it is more about publishing of articles than data availability per se, but have you followed or had experience with the “open access” movement such as the Public Library of Science (PLoS)? It seems that key aspects of the PLoS approach are the opposite of how The Team approaches climate science — the PLoS idea (as I understand it) is get all articles out there and let much of the “gate keeping” be done mainly by the citation and criticism process over time, rather than emphasize a narrow hierarchy of “prestige” journals such as “Nature” et al and let much gate-keeping be done before publication. I don’t think that the PLoS journals are going to do awy with “Nature” et al but it is fascinating to see a much more “open” scientific publishing environment:

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

  69. One more note on my last comment, I did not mean to give any impression that the PLoS journals are not peer-reviewed, they are. As I understand it they will reject or require revisions for any article which does not meet a certain standard of the peer reviewers. It’s more that since they are online there is not the traditional premium for “limited space” which over the years came to make journals like “Nature” come to be the locus of “most important” etc. Again, I know that “open access” publishing of journal articles is a distinct issue from “open availability” of data but some of the “gate keeping” issues of people like Phil Jones & co. have been a source of unwarranted power to control both data and the journals. I like this approach much better:

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

  70. “The research speaks for itself, and the professional standards required in each field set limits for all research endeavors and subsequent publications”

    Too true.
    Now, care to open your eyes & look at the research & standards that produced & continue to support MBH98 etc?
    That’s what Climategate fully opened the door on, the thoroughly disreputable conduct that both produces these travesties of scientific research and sustains them & their practitioners.

  71. Professor Brown, it’s a good start! I believe Senator Inhofe should get a copy, as should Speaker Boehner. While we can’t legislate honesty, maybe we can at least make it harder for the so-called “climate scientists” to cheat.

  72. We’re making this too hard. The federal government needs to get out of the research business. We borrow 43cents out of every dollar to conduct research.
    Step 1. Cut all available grant money by 50% now.
    If we limit the money they can fight over then they will be more selective how they pass it out.

  73. “Here’s a tenth-of-a-loaf first step. All climate-related scientific research papers will be liberated from their paywalls, with the government picking up the tab. The burden on the government would be tiny, and the benefit substantial. And this law could easily get passed–it would be hard to oppose it. The public would like the sound of it.

    The next step would be to expand the scope of the law to cover papers in other contentious topics. And then maybe for all topics.”

    I personally love this idea. What it comes down to is the government funding things like Physical Review up front instead of ass-backwards. The way it historically worked was that you would submit a paper to a journal and they might or might not try to charge you “page charges” for its publication. Who paid those charges? Your grant. They would sell you reprints. The government grant picked up that tab as well. The University would profit — they made money on the overhead (indirect costs) charged on the money you paid to have the papers published. The journals would usually waive page charges if you couldn’t pay (had no grant) because they could make it up from where they did charge, and because they had other sources of income, the most important one being the money they made from (e.g. University) libraries who had to purchase a full, very expensive, subscription to the journal. Who ultimately paid for the library purchases? Your government, through grants — one of the many uses for the indirect cost money. Many physicists would also pay for their own subscriptions out of pocket, if they made enough money (some of which came from their grants) to afford it.

    The internet has made most of this moot. Papers are submitted in very nearly photo-ready form — editorial tweaking is all but eliminated and what little takes place is supported by powerful formatting languages (like LaTeX) and other computer tools. Reprints are a matter of sending somebody a PDF. Yes, libraries still purchase paper subscriptions to many of the most important journals, but I can get at any paper in the world from where I sit typing at home through the Duke library, for free (to me), because Duke is still paying for en masse unlimited access subscriptions to the journals in question when the access attempt comes from a Duke controlled IP number or is forwarded via an authenticated connection to the Duke Library. And yes, a lot of the money that goes to pay for the subscriptions comes out of indirect costs on research grants in a complex ecology — the research can’t be done without access to the literature, the literature costs money to create and distribute, the government funds the research so that ultimately most of the cost of creation and distribution is sooner or later borne by the government, but only on the far side of a complex screen of money going from this pocket to that pocket, usually with a small deduction or two for overhead, along the way.

    There are exceptions to this rule. There are some internet-only journals with free distribution, run completely on voluntary time or with the support of small grants. There are people that are leaving the journal process altogether and simply directly distributing their papers to colleagues, but this makes e.g. getting tenure difficult since tenure decisions now rely on simple electronic search tools that can tell in a few seconds how many times all of your papers have been cited in the entire body of literature! But only if they are in the literature (and refereed literature at that).

    To me it has seemed absurd not to cut out all of the middlemen in the publication process and fund it directly for some time now. However, bear in mind this is not without its own problems and it still isn’t clear that it is wise to do so, even to me. For one thing, how do new journals come into existence, or old ones die out, if they are directly funded by the government? Who decides whether or not to fund a journal titled “Homeopathic Medicine” devoted to anecdotal “research” wherein it is alleged (without double blind support) that two drops of peppermint oil dissolved in a cubic meter of water cures warts? Who controls who edits the journals and what papers they will consider for publication? If they are publicly funded, can somebody sue them if a paper is rejected?

    It’s a nontrivial question, once again. I think it would greatly serve the public weal to pay many existing journals once and for all for unlimited public access. My list of journals that should be thus supported might not agree with yours, however. Who decides? What criterion should they use to decide? Does that funding come with a double side order of control? (See the earlier comments on the dangers of government control, which I generally agree with.)

    There probably is a good way to solve most of the problems with the idea. In the meantime, yes, it is absurd that research we have both paid for with our tax dollar is somehow sold back to us, after a markup, with still more tax dollars used to pick up the tab for some of that access. Note well that I can’t even get at my own published papers via the journals that published them unless I go through Duke, although I have final-draft PDFs of most of the ones published post somewhere around 1990, where my computer resources started to routinely include latex and enough storage to archive papers. But think about the whole problem, not just the annoying symptom.

    rgb

  74. I love the open access online publishing model for all journals (if the economics can be worked out) which is why I was mentioning the PLoS journals.

    However, I would keep the open-data proposal front and center in these discussions and proposals, simply because that is the “no brainer” proposal that could be most rapidly implemented (on voluntary basis by journals and research labs and scientific societies) without or before any legislation.

    The open-data proposal could in principle be implemented almost “overnight” if the will is there, by individual scientists and labs putting data on FTP servers etc., links on existing websites, etc.

    It does seem likely (to me anyway) and any more complicated or far-reaching proposals, especially ones requiring legislation, are much more likely to get wrapped up by opposition and foot-dragging.

  75. Oh c’mon Rob. Regulation of science only works for science. Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming is a religion. It’s therefore protected by the 1st amendment in the United States.

  76. Dear Lucy Skywalker,

    I agree entirely with your post and all four points. My sole quibble is our measures of “effectiveness”. When the hockey stick is no longer a controversy but is removed permanently from the wikipedia pages on global warming and global temperature reconstructions, then I will agree that blogs have been effective in altering the public debate. At the moment, the best I can grant them is that they (we, you) are trying.

    rgb

  77. “This is not a PR exercise, or some kind of malicious game being played out by conspirators with a vested interest in making dramatic change. Those who inpute these motives, are simply wrong.”

    My dear sir. Read the Climategate 2 letters. They refute you. That is precisely what it is. They refer to it as a PR exercise, by name.

    In other posts I already described what I believe to have been the seductive process that led otherwise good people into bad scientific behavior. I could be mistaken, of course, but it is a plausible (I think) argument.

    As for the rest of it — I agree, CAGW, as a scientific hypothesis, could be correct. It could also be false! Thus far the debate and scientific process studying the question has not been balanced — that is a simple matter of historical record (read the Climategate documents for yourself). I’m not impugning their motives; they could be as pure as the driven snow. I’m impugning their actions. And I’m in particular impugning their ongoing actions stonewalling requests to look at raw data and methods.

    As I have repeatedly said, they could be right! In that case, how is anything in the world harmed by making the raw data and methods whereby they compute the figures with which they claim to “prove” that they are right openly available, and I do mean openly available, available enough so that you or I can check their work and see if their conclusions are indeed borne out? Remember, it is a sure cost of trillions of dollars if we act on the basis of these conclusions, and that this money is basically wasted or at the very least not optimally spent if those conclusions are even somewhat less than “catastrophically” true. Mere AGW isn’t a sufficient cause for panic-driven creation of entire carbon marketplaces and expensive global regulation. It’s the question of catastrophe that makes the issue important, and quite different from (say) studying the behavior patterns of Galapagos songbirds.

    rgb

  78. Robert Brown says:
    December 3, 2011 at 11:31 am

    “Here’s a tenth-of-a-loaf first step. All climate-related scientific research papers will be liberated from their paywalls, with the government picking up the tab. The burden on the government would be tiny, and the benefit substantial. And this law could easily get passed–it would be hard to oppose it. The public would like the sound of it.”

    That’s an ill-conceived idea. It basically creates an entitlement program for scientific publishers wide open to abuse. I won’t want to pay for such a thing. It’s an exceedingly slippery slope. If privately owned science journal subscriptions are paid for by the government for whoever wants them why should the National Enquirer, Reader’s Digest, and the Wall Street Journal be excluded from the gravy train?

  79. When the hockey stick is no longer a controversy but is removed permanently from the wikipedia pages on global warming and global temperature reconstructions, then I will agree that blogs have been effective in altering the public debate.

    The purpose of the hockey stick is to A: show that climate was “stable” for 1000 years and B: show that temperatures skyrocketed in recent times. It’s purpose is to show the current increase in temperatures while eliminating the context of historical variation such as the MWP and LIA. That damage has already been done and there is very little we can do to reverse it. We have an entire generation of people GLOBALLY who have been taught that AGW is “fact”. Undoing a “fact” is much harder than exposing a lie.

  80. “As a physicist, engineer, and physician, the points made by Prof. Brown resonate strongly with me. I have made and are similar points…”

    Wow. Talk about in school for life…;-)

    But yes, your professional qualifications make you uniquely qualified to speak out on this. My wife is the physician, so I have to get my input in that corner secondhand…:-)

    rgb

  81. “However, I would keep the open-data proposal front and center in these discussions and proposals, simply because that is the “no brainer” proposal that could be most rapidly implemented (on voluntary basis by journals and research labs and scientific societies) without or before any legislation.”

    Yes, Skip. You are absolutely right. Whether or not they will implement it without leverage from the outside world, however, is another matter. I assume you’ve read Montford’s The Hockey Stick Illusion (or looked over some of the history on CA and elsewhere). If a mere “open data proposal” (I’d throw code and methods into that, BTW, not just data) were going to be accepted just by someone asking, why then has Mcintyre’s attempts to get them with the help of the journal editors met with open refusal, let alone “resistance”, in many cases? Why has Nature still not published a retraction of MBH? Why are MBH and MJ and many other flawed statistical studies still in spaghetti graphs on Wikipedia?

    I’m afraid that it will take a law. It shouldn’t need to, but I fear it will. There is just too damn much money, and now too many political reputations, at stake here. The stakes are very, very high — re-election prospects, proper stewardship of public money, trust of institutions like the BBC. This really is an explosive problem and finding a “soft” solution seems unlikely.

    rgb

  82. more regulations because even special inquiries showed that the previous batch worked so well?
    new regulations because the EPA lacks power?
    the patient suffers from anemia, therefore more leeches?
    what if you can’t get anything but what you fund? could we try ‘no funding’ for a while? it seems to me that parasites would disappear if denied a host.

  83. I strongly agree:
    In Data Libertanianism, Judith Curry posted:

    Fred Pearce has published a very interesting article in Index on Censorship, entitled “Secrecy in science – an argument for open access.“

    I posted:
    Stephen McIntyre points out the harm caused by selectively showing favorable data while hiding unfavorable data in Hide-the-Decline Plus
    He quotes Soon et al (EE 2003):

    The calibration period of Mann et al. (1998, 1999, 2000a) ended at 1980, while 20 more years of climate data post-1980 (compared to the 80 years length of their calibration interval, 1902-1980) exist. If the failure of inter-calibration of instrumental and tree growth records over last two to three decades suggests evidence for anthropogenic influences (i.e., from CO2, nitrogen fertilization or land-use and land-cover changes or through changes in the length of growing seasons and changes in water and nutrient utilization efficiencies and so on), then no reliable quantitative inter-calibration can connect the past to the future (Idso 1989).

    McIntyre points out:

    Indeed, they did not simply “hide the decline”, their “hide the decline” was worse than we thought. Mann et al did not merely delete data after 1960, they deleted data from 1940 on, You can see the last point of the Briffa reconstruction (located at ~1940) peeking from behind the spaghetti in the graphic below: . . .
    Had Mann et al used the actual values, the decline would have been as shown in the accompanying graphic:

    (Showing how the “decline” in the data was almost as large as the 20th century rise).

    Contrast Securities Fraud

    Securities fraud, also known as investor or stock fraud, covers a range of activities that violate federal and state laws pertaining to buying, selling and trading securities. The most common forms of securities fraud include:
    Misrepresentation (presenting misleading or false information to investors about a company, or its securities)
    Accounting fraud (manipulating or falsifying books or records to misrepresent a public companies assets and liabilities)
    Insider trading (buying, selling or trading securities based on information that is not readily available to the general public)

    Consider the Penalties of Securities Fraud

    Whoever knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States or any case filed under title 11, or in relation to or contemplation of any such matter or case, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.
    Section 1107 of the SOX provides legal protection for those who report situations that may involve securities fraud.

    The proposed consequences in diverting trillions of dollars in public funds is far greater than securities fraud such as by Enron or Bernie Madoff.
    As a result of the massive fraud at Enron, shareholders lost tens of billions of dollars.

    Mann, Ammann, Bradley, Hughes, Rutherford, Jones, Briffa, Osborn, Crowley, Oppenheimer, Overpeck, Trenberth and Wigley conspired to hide the decline to influence both grants and massive public expenditures. Why should not this explicit fraud to improperly divert much larger be subject to even greater public sanctions?

    We need:
    Clear easy public access to the data obtained at public expense.
    Sanctions against scientific fraud that corrupts public funding.

    Mann et al. should face as severe penalties as Enron for their severe breach of public trust.

  84. John West says:
    December 2, 2011 at 11:20 pm
    davidmhoffer says:
    “Publicly funded research has its place, and that place is theoretical research. Applied science should be done in the private sector.”
    So, the National Hurricane Center should be turned over to CNN?>>>

    No. The National Hurricane Centre should be retained, and should be responsible for collecting the data of use to analyzing hurricanes. It should make the data and the methods used to collect it public.

    The analysis of the data should be contracted to private industry. Contractors that produce quanitifable and verifiable results will rise to the top, contractors that produce results that are wrong or (even worse) produce results via the exclusion of data, using data sets upside down, using code that produces the same result no matter the data, produce results by mysteriously mixing up different data sets at different points in the analysis…these will all disappear in short order.

    When you get paid to collect data, analyze it, and produce a result, you get the result you want. When you get paid to answer a question to the best of your ability based on the data available, you get to bid on the next contract by doing a good job on the last one.

  85. It was my understanding that data and methods including code must accompany peer review papers in scientific journals.

    That the hockey team have been getting away with not complying in peer review papers, it should be that these offending papers are cancelled and rejected until compliance with the correct scientific procedure is met.

  86. I think Justin J. has a point.

    The question is not whether his critique of government is “ideology”, it’s whether it’s true.

    wattsupwiththat has shown, over and over again, that AGW not about the science. The discussion needs to be about the role of government.

    Are we going to argue that the fact that climate science has miscarried so badly, and the fact that it’s entirely a creature of government, is some kind of strange coincidence?

    Perhaps the hardest work for skeptics is the emotional work of asking this question: If I could avoid this kind of massive waste and corruption, but only at the cost of giving up my dearly held belief in government funding of science, would I do it?

  87. Smokey: I think you excel in hyperbole. There is no need to be insulting and mean-spirited. The expression of disagreement does not require harsh language.
    The “science” that you speak of does not exist Smokey. I read a ton of criticism, but very little well documented, empirical research. Where are the scientists from the skeptic camp writing conducting research in the Arctic; where are the oceanographers from your “clique” publishing their studies of the words changing oceans; how about glaciologists and their work on the world’s vanishing glaciers. I could go on asking these real questions Smokey and please be aware I’m not being rhetorical.

    AS I said earlier, if everyone conducts acceptable research and publishes their work, we will know that the truth will have been clarified and we can reasonably conclude that the world is as the scientists describe.

  88. Robert Brown says: @ December 3, 2011 at 8:08 am
    …. I won’t even bother to go down the list of things that are features of your daily life that would not exist if it were not for the government funding of research….

    Ayn Rand, alas, got it wrong. Not completely wrong, of course. It’s just the the optimal point for a rational society is somewhere between the poles of Ms. Rand and Mr. Marx. Both the endpoints are clearly unsuitable in well-known ways. In between, finding the optimum is a difficult problem in multivariate optimization on a time varying surface, it is surfing the wave as the wave itself changes. But we digress…
    ___________________________________________
    I am not sure I agree with that.

    As far as I am concerned on the one hand we need capitalism, private property, the right of contract and the freedom to innovate and produce with rewards for doing so. On the other hand as civilized people we need the “cooperation” to handle big projects, take care of the helpless and tackle the pure research that advances our civilization.

    I do not call this needed “Cooperation” by the name of “Socialism” or “Collectivism” or “Marxism” because it is not, even though many will try to tell us it is. The key point with all forms of “Collectivism” is that the group — ultimately “the state” — is more important than the individual. With “Cooperation” the free individual along with others can decide what projects to support because the project advances both his welfare and that of others.

    It is a subtle but very important difference and I think one of the points that Ayn Rand was trying to get across. We do NOT have to subordinate our welfare and wishes in order to be civilized. AND it is very very dangerous to make the group more important than the individual because the is the road to tyranny.

    This is the big point that Marx forgot. “The State” is always composed of people and you never ever want to make those people in power — “The State” — more important than the individuals they govern, because then the interests of the state (the people in power) can be used to justify any type of atrocity, as we have seen in practice where “Collectivism” was the justification for the government.

    As more than one great leader has said the price of freedom is Vigilance. That is where we as citizens have fallen down. We have ignored our governments, many do not even bother to vote and therefore we have allowed a small clique to takeover without even being aware that it has happened.

    “Free government is founded in jealousy, not confidence. It is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind those we are obliged to trust with power…. In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in men, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” — Thomas Jeffferson, 1799

    “Voting is no substitute for the eternal vigilance that every friend of freedom must demonstrate towards government. If our freedom is to survive, Americans must become far better informed of the dangers from Washington — regardless of who wins the Presidency.” — James Bovard

    To keep a vigilant eye on those who govern, I want a small local government. As the EU and the UN has shown the larger and farther removed the governing body is from those they govern, the more room for “Hanky panky” and down right criminal fraud there is.

  89. Hugh Pepper,

    You don’t seem to understand how difficult it is for a skeptical scientist to get published in a climate journal. That’s why we have to ferret out the truth here. So, to answer your points:

    The ocean heat is not accelerating, as was universally predicted by the alarmist scientists and their followers. To paraphrase J.M. Keynes: when the facts changed, he changed his mind. Sea level rise is decelerating. Why do you insist that the oceans show anything but nartural variability? Isn’t it time to change your mind?

    And glaciers advanced during the LIA, crushing villages in their paths. They have been receding since then. It is evidence of natural global warming. But there is no evidence that human CO2 emissions have any effect at all on glaciers. Your belief system is the only basis for assuming that, because there is no scientific evidence to support it.

    Why do you think Michael Mann, Phil Jones and their cohort fight transparency of their methods, data, code and metadata tooth and nail? We’re not talking nuclear defense secrets here, it’s essentially just long term weather. Transparency is essential for the scientific method to work, so other scientists would be able to replicate what the climate charlatans are claiming. But the emails show those people conspiring to use every underhanded method they can think of to thwart FOIA requests. That means they have plenty to hide, no?

    So Hugh, if you’re not carrying water for them, explain why they should be allowed to jettison the scientific method in favor of secrecy. Why should this particular climate clique be exempt from transparency, when it’s taken for granted in other scientific fields? While you’re at it, explain why they conspired to wreck the careers of anyone who had a different point of view than theirs? And not just once, but time after time, year after year. And they had some success in getting otther scientists fired, and causing mass resignations from journals. Explain for us how that is A-OK.

  90. The answer to problems is not more government spending. It’s less. The problem in climate isn’t endemic through all science and doesn’t call for the creation of yet another bureacracy. The comparison with medicine was ridiculous. It takes 10+ years to get a new drug approved. Ya figure that’ll work out for scientific publishing?

    I can hardly believe all the otherwise sane conservatives here that are so ready to throw good money after bad in this pursuit. The answer is to throw the bums out of government who support climate science and stop funding the crap with tax dollars and stop listening to the asshats who practice it. It’s not complicated and it results in less spending not more.

  91. #
    #
    Dave Springer says:
    December 3, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Oh c’mon Rob. Regulation of science only works for science. Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming is a religion. It’s therefore protected by the 1st amendment in the United States.
    ___________________________________
    Dave you come up with some goodies, but that is the best one yet.
    ROTFLMAO…

  92. davidmhoffer says:
    December 3, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    …..The analysis of the data should be contracted to private industry. Contractors that produce quanitifable and verifiable results….

    When you get paid to collect data, analyze it, and produce a result, you get the result you want. When you get paid to answer a question to the best of your ability based on the data available, you get to bid on the next contract by doing a good job on the last one.
    _________________________________________

    In theory I agree, unfortunately it is always the low ball bid not the best who is hired.

  93. Dave Springer says:
    December 3, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    ….I can hardly believe all the otherwise sane conservatives here that are so ready to throw good money after bad in this pursuit. The answer is to throw the bums out of government who support climate science and stop funding the crap with tax dollars and stop listening to the asshats who practice it. It’s not complicated and it results in less spending not more.
    _____________________________________
    SANITY at last.

    I would go a step further. The USA has PLENTY of laws and Regs. for example the 2010 Federal Register was 81,405 pages long.

    Some where in that mess is sure to be laws and regulations that can be used to HANG these SOBs. We know that Phil Jones took DOE money and many of these people work at US government agencies or take grant money. Misuse of funds comes to mind if they were lying about their findings. HECK Phil Jones losing the raw data is probably ILLEGAL! If the DOE paid for it then it was not his to lose. Think how the US government would react if the pilot misplaced Air Force 1 !

  94. Hugh Pepper;
    Where are the scientists from the skeptic camp writing conducting research in the Arctic; where are the oceanographers from your “clique” publishing their studies of the words changing oceans; how about glaciologists and their work on the world’s vanishing glaciers. I could go on asking these real questions Smokey and please be aware I’m not being rhetorical. >>>

    But you are. Contrary papers are being published and if you would bother to read them you would know what a totaly bogus statement you’ve just made is. You don’t even have to work hard to find them. You’ll find all kinds of threads right here on WUWT which are based on exactly the papers you are trying to pretend don’t exist, and the discussions frequently feature input from the people that wrote them. You’ll also find warmist papers as the subject of various threads, and unlike the skeptic papers, when tough questions are asked, the authors of those papers are no where to be found to defend their work. They refuse to disclose their methods, their code, their data, or even respond with an explanation any better than “trust me I’m a scientist and you have no right to question me and you are too stupid to understand the answers anyway”.

    You defend the indefensible with the most inexcusable defense of them all, which is that there isn’t any contrary evidence published. That sir, is an outright lie, and the briefest of perusals of the content on this site proves that.

  95. While I agree with the majority of the article and think he makes very lucid reading I do take exception to this statement:

    “All medical research at this point is strongly regulated at or before the point where the rubber meets the road and actual patients might be adversely affected or killed by bad science or self-serving deliberately manipulated science.”

    The FDA is bought and paid for by the large pharmaceutical companies. When two thirds of the scientists at the FDA are afraid to speak up you know something is wrong. The number of drugs that have gone public only to be later withdrawn and shoddy research exposed along with blatant coverups of failed tests is staggering. Record fines do nothing because the fines are not close to what was made by the drug.

    Climate science does not own the “sold their soul for 30 pieces of silver” category. So it is not just one area of science that needs to be cleaned up but ALL.

  96. 2kevin
    “Yes, that’s why deregulating the banking sector led to such prosperous results for so many as recently seen.”

    The markets for money and credit were at all relevant times regulated by the following:
    Securities & Exchange Commission
    Commodity Futures Trading Commission
    Federal Reserve System
    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
    Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
    Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
    National Credit Union Administration
    Office of Thrift Supervision.

    And that’s just at the federal level, and just in the USA. Whether you look at the GFC from interventionist theory (government has the competence and selflessness to manage the economy) or the Austrian theory (government printing money causes depressions) the interventionists lose the argument. Since the price and supply of money and credit were at all relevant times regulated and manipulated by government, and since the steering mechanism of a market is its price mechanism, that disposes of your argument. You can’t justify more intervention until you’ve justified the last lot. Good luck with that.

    But the point is, it is simply not valid to look on a welter of chaos arising out of an area of governmental activity, and assume that the problem is not enough governmental activity.

    A similar critique applies to the whole problem of AGW.

    “Your argument is to maintain the status quo for essentially a right wing anarchist ideology”

    No, my argument is that climate science should be funded voluntarily, not by taxes.

    As for Robert Brown’s defence of government funding of science, this also flies instantly to an accusation of “ideology”, This appears to be a boilerplate argument alleging but not proving that someone else’s argument is false. What about you, Robert? Does the same criticism apply to your theories of government? And if it does, how does that advance the argument? And if not, why not? You just perceive truth directly without need for resources to reason do you? Please define ideology.

    “Well, you could try looking at the evidence, instead of spouting ideology… no, I suppose not.”

    Experience cannot beat logic, and the evidence doesn’t support your argument, because just because a government provides a service doesn’t mean that
    • only government can do so,
    • government does so better, or even passably well
    • no-one would provide it if government didn’t
    • people i.e. society would prefer the government service to whatever else they could have bought with the same money.

    So you haven’t got to square one in answering my critique of government funding of climate science.

    Furthermore facts don’t interpret themselves. That requires theory, and your theory that we create net benefits by governmental provision of climate science cannot withstand critical scrutiny.

    The fact that nobility in the past funded science by coercion is not an argument in favour of government funding science by coercion, nor against voluntary funding of science.

    “The evidence, in other words, that civilization benefits from government works funded by “coercion” is so vast as to be (in my opinion) conclusive.”

    I don’t know why you put quote marks around “coercion”. If you are suggesting tax is voluntary that is wrong both in fact and law – it’s a compulsory exaction. And if you are suggesting that people pay tax because they want the services government provides, then according to that theory, if tax were abolished people would just keep sending government a cheque for the same amount as they now pay and the revenue effect would be no different.

    The question is not whether government works produce benefits, it’s whether they produce net benefits all things considered. Obviously if we count only the benefits and not the costs, anything will seem beneficial. It’s not legitimate to assume what is in issue, which is what your argument amounts to.

    The question that needs to be answered is *how would you know* whether a particular governmental action – say funding climate science – produces net benefits for all concerned with its costs? We do know that people considered the alternative uses of the funds to be more valuable than what government did with them, otherwise tax would not have been necessary to get them, would it?

    The most ethical solution is also the simplest and most practical. Those who want climate science should pay for it, and those who don’t want it should not be forced to.

    In a word, freedom.

  97. Skiphil @ 12.06

    I have yet to fully read this interesting post,
    however in regard to open data this webpage may be of interest to you and others (2002+)

    http://creativecommons.org/tag/au

    A significant issue with data collections remains with the epistimology chosen. Which in turn informs methodology and methods; as has been discussed in the WUWT post modern science threads some months ago. Nomenclature is a significant issue also as parameters become shape-shifters. Classification systems for data collections are to my knowledge here in Australia under govt statutory legislation. Perhaps the EU?

    Differences in copyright law as between US and Australia are discussed.
    The Productivity Commission (Aus) released a paper in ?2005 on reduction in red tape.
    IF the premises of the research were incorrect (ie no hypothesis), or incorrectly used to inform policy to begin with presumably a ‘reduction in red tape’ will not assist efficiency gains in govt programs or expenditure .
    Additionally linkage of datasets between govt agencies could have ‘unintended [frightening] consequences’ given what is being written of the activities of the CAGW industry and what is well known about previous regimes that owned and controlled the release of ‘data’.

  98. Hugh Pepper says:
    December 3, 2011 at 3:28 pm
    AS I said earlier, if everyone conducts acceptable research and publishes their work, we will know that the truth will have been clarified and we can reasonably conclude that the world is as the scientists describe.” ]

    We have evidence that you post here – Do you actually read the posts / threads here?

    When the VERY BASE of the data goes missing…
    When upside down Mann evidence…. Graphic grafting… is upheld….
    When manipulation…is upheld

    Your idea of truth…is not able to come to light.

  99. Dr Brown,

    I firmly support…. A
    I firmly support government grants require complete transparency and should be incorporated into the language of acceptance for the grant.

  100. Hugh Pepper says:
    December 3, 2011 at 3:28 pm
    “AS I said earlier, if everyone conducts acceptable research and publishes their work, we will know that the truth will have been clarified and we can reasonably conclude that the world is as the scientists describe.”

    Michael Mann is living proof that that’s a big “if”.

  101. Rather than setting up a funding model for publications I would suggest the Government should simply ban any public funded researchers from publishing behind paywalls as a condition of funding. Then let private enterprise sort out the solutions.

  102. Are there laws governing scientific conduct already on the books?

    Judiciously enforcing such laws might obviate the need for additional mandates — as well the alternative being proposed here – storming the citadels of climate science with pitchforks and torches.

    As for a governing committee, one might be wary of the unintended consequences. I can think of a dozen or so people I might actually fear in such a position of authority. Everybody has a different definition of the “bad guys” in this fracas.

  103. Gail Combs @ 4.37pm

    Yes, sanity at last.
    Thank you.

    I read the main post as speaking of artefacts. And measuring thereafter.

    When we ALREADY have (more than enough) laws and morals (and ethics) developed and in place in western society and when we deal with developing nations. .

  104. Smokey;

    >>It’s amusing to see someone like Hugh so terrified of the black cat in the dark room. But when honest science turns on the light… there is no cat. And there never was.

    Is this cat something like Schrodinger’s cat? :-)

  105. Steven F. Hayward highlights an 1989 email “from the late Stanford environmental scientist Stephen Schneider (who turns up in many of the emails in both Climategate features):”

    On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but​—​which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, means getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This “double ethical bind” we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.

    Because such blatant advocacy is overriding the ethical requirements of science , I strongly affirm Robert Brown’s proposed legislation as critically needed.

  106. Exposition of the problem is excellent. A legal requirement of transparency in publicly-funded research is reasonable. But a “board of governance” coupled with personal liability could be easily abused.

    If exposing climatic malfeasance through blogs and published articles is “ultimately fruitless,” it will be in part because legislative and oversight processes are corrupted. Consider how much legislation is “soberly and conservatively drafted.” Note the recent ‘whitewashes’ that exonerate the climate cabal of bad behavior. If it suits the powers that be, a governing authority would be used to further the ’cause’, not disrupt it.

  107. David,

    Thanks for the S. Hayward (S Schneider) reference. The emails released indicate how some climate scientists grappled with the moral dilemma noted by S. Schneider. Unfortunately, many climate scientists sacrificed the scientific method for their advocacy positions.

  108. “Just ask: how much of this would have happened if climate science was funded voluntarily?”

    None of it, because there would be no climate science. Seriously, it would be lovely if people would stop saying what really are amazingly silly things. Yes, climate science has been horribly abused, twisted to turn questionable support to expensive conclusions. That is no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater, just a very good reason to:

    a) Continue investing in climate science, perhaps at a more reasonable level. There are some questions that truly do need to be answered. So you don’t like AGW, how about the end of the Holocene? Is it due to start next year (or next solar cycle)? Has it already begun, and is the “decline” being momentarily masked by CO_2? What really is the effect of CO_2 versus solar effects?

    The main point is that once you strip away the hysteria associated with possible catastrophe, there are 7 billion very good reasons to continue to improve our knowledge of the heliogeodynamics of climate and weather. The ability to plan for even the moderate “extremes” of dry years, hot years, wet years, cold years not “globally” but in many distinct localities is easily worth billions — NOAA, NASA, and weather has paid for itself tenfold, nay, a hundredfold, over the decades in ever improving ability to predict hurricane trajectories and strengths, predict the rough expected strength of hurricane seasons, and more.

    I live in NC at one end of nature’s hurricane bowling alley and work in the summers right on the NC coast. NOAA saves on average hundreds of lives and hundreds of millions of dollars a year in NC alone, where a big, bad, storm can cause a billion dollars of damage in a day. Compare the damage done by the unpredicted, unobserved 1900 Galveston hurricane (or any of the really bad hurricanes from the pre-satellite era) and then stop spouting nonsense. What we really need is better prediction, more precise forecasting, a deeper understanding of storm formation and structure and steering. Every year it gets a little bit better, and all because of federally funded research.

    b) Clean up the science. This is really so very simple to do. It could happen tomorrow if the journals, impelled to do so by Climategate 2 and a certain amount of public furor, decided to. As I said, Nature could decide tomorrow to respond at long last to M&M, allow them to write and submit a paper to Nature to be a long-overdue rebalancing cover story, and formally withdraw/repudiate MBH. After all, a member of the hockey team itself openly acknowledge in CG2 that M&M were right because he replicated their results! That alone is prima facie grounds for reconsidering the article and giving M&M their long overdue shot.

    Alas, while that would be very helpful it would in my opinion not be enough. As several others in this thread have argued quite eloquently (not just me), there are plenty of public arenas where a certain standard of openness and liability are legally mandated, because we have learned to our great cost that Adam Smith’s invisible hand is all too easy to use to dip into our pockets on the back of fraud, deception, wishful thinking, religious thinking, and from pure greed, not the healthy Ayn Rand noble capitalist sort but the “screw the world, I’m gonna get mine” sort. Rand portrayed an idealized human being as John Galt — how many humans do you know that can live up to that kind of standard? “One” would probably be an exaggeration.

    c) Stop the bleed. The reliable temperature data from the last 30+ years (e.g. UAH) don’t indicate global cooling, they indicate at least a modest amount of warming. A sober consideration of the numbers we have that are reliable suggest that there has been irregular warming since the LIA. In my opinion, the best “uncorrupted” studies of temperature suggest that global temperatures are best tied to solar activity in ways that are far from clear, partly because there are so few uncorrupted studies of temperature and the corruptions that have occurred have (CG2 reveals) often been deliberately designed to erase the correlations that suggest the causal connection.

    This doesn’t make the question “What fraction of the post-LIA warming is due to CO_2?” an invalid scientific question, or one that we should not invest in answering with public money. What it does do is take some of the urgency out of it. This is especially true right now, when sheer economics is finally starting to affect the rate at which CO_2 is produced completely outside of Kyoto. Simple extrapolation of some of the existing technologies being developed — largely with government grant money in Universities, where every dollar spent also supports the educational and development infrastructure that is our greatest asset, as it produces each new generation of scientist, engineer, physician, entrepreneur, computer geek — suggests that in 20-30 years energy production based on burning carbon will be actively decreasing no matter what treaties are signed, simply because it will be cheaper that way. At the moment there is no real reason for the government to do more than maintain the support for much of this research, and perhaps to help subsidize pilot projects from which we (the people, and the companies that serve our energy needs) can learn about the real costs of implementation of different competing technologies without making an absurd profit that effectively transferred from the tax base into private pockets.

    Under the circumstances, I think that the right thing to do is dismantle the IPCC completely, lock, stock, and barrel. It has proven to be corrupt from the very beginning. Not completely corrupt — things are never as black and white as they are painted — but again CG2 reveals behind the scenes evidence that at the very least the IPCC itself has almost from the beginning been far less interested in objective scientific truth than in increasing its own importance and power. It has to go. Maybe in a decade one could try again, with a much smaller commission with a much more limited scope and little power, or maybe in a decade nobody will care.

    The Kyoto treaty needs to be formally repudiated, as being based from the beginning on a mistake. They can all blame MBH, why not? Oh my, we were fooled by MBH and that’s why we all panicked. It won’t be true (rather the opposite — MBH gave them what they needed to bring Kyoto about and thereby entrench their power and put them in the position to advance a political agenda that has nothing to do with CAGW, an agenda that wears CAGW like a mask.

    Finally, carbon trading in general needs to be immediately and permanently suspended. Those that are heavily invested in it, whether or not they are actually part of the swindle, should lose their shirt. That’s good old Capitalism at work for you, take a risk on being able to fool all of the people all of the time (or take a risk because you are enough of a fool to be taken in by those trying) and you deserve to lose your investment. Evolution in action — with their money gone, their power in future political discussions will be reduced as is entirely appropriate. Hopefully, Al Gore’s substantial investment will go down the tubes with the rest of them, and all of the profits he planned to “contribute” to agencies that had the sole purpose of making money from carbon trading even faster (as far as I can tell) will go down as well.

    In the end, we might be able to have a rational discussion about what the risks are, what the benefits are, and what it might be reasonable to invest in technologies that preserve our oil and coal resources (and thereby reduce CO_2 emissions not as a primary goal but as a secondary side effect). In the meantime, we can try to do some good science that might — over 20-30 years — help us understand what the climate is doing, whether CO_2 is a major driver, a minor driver, or nearly irrelevant past a point of saturation we’ve already reached, how the decadal oscillations work, how clouds are formed and what influences H2O based greenhouse and albedo effects, what the ocean is doing in all of this, and more.

    One thing is far from static — we have every more powerful computational resources to bring to bear on the problem. Once we put a stake through the heart of confirmation bias in the field — where IMO the next generation of scientists who enter climate research will be zealots the other way in reaction to the scandal, bending over backwards not to be alarmist or religious about their work — we might, actually, be able to build some global climate models with real skill at explaining the past through the present and perhaps even predicting the future.

    This is the sort of thing that actually interests me — I’ve thought very seriously about building a global neural network that is trained on highly multivariate historical data until it becomes a nonlinear “brain” that has empirically learned and encoded the underlying physics with no possible mechanism for inserting confirmation bias into the result. One could then proceed to make it gradually and cost-effectively more powerful until it works and predicts the future with high skill, and use it as a numerical laboratory to help build physics–based models with the right features and right numbers. That would be a very cool project, and one I’m well-qualified to advance.

    But until the problems with the input data are cleaned up, it cannot succeed. 30 years of reliable temperature data are not going to be enough to create a model valid over 300 years or 3000 years, and to be able to test model validity we have to have a TARGET — an accepted representation of global temperatures that RUNS back 3000 or more years. And I’m busy with other projects, and have no track record in this field, making the getting of funding unlikely. And I’m getting to be an “old guy” — I have one or two more major projects in my career, at most.

    This latter remark is entirely relevant to the original discussion. If you think climate research can be privately funded, please send me 10 million or so privately funded dollars, care of Duke’s office of research support and I’ll get cracking on building a neural network based Earth simulator. I’m certain it will be worth all sorts of money one day (if it works). You get to risk your money, I get to risk all of the work and time I put in, we’ll differentially split the eventual rewards as it produces products that range from the ability to predict the wind and perhaps the sun on some suitable time-space granularity to the ability to forecast first frost in Idaho so the potato farmers know when to get their harvests in by. Surely they’ll pay us for that information, you think?

    Mind you, it might cost more like $50 million or even $100 million before the Earth simulator actually works. Or it might work with only $1 million spent in hardware and human time (including my own). But surely private enterprise won’t mind taking all of those risks, and can think of some way of monetizing the output. Right now, of course, public enterprise funds this sort of thing, assumes the risks, limits the rewards to nearly nothing (fame, tenure, job satisfaction, a living), and spreads the benefits around to everyone — by giving farmers in Idaho our best possible weather forecasts, we increase their profits and decrease the price of potatoes for everybody else. The same investment protects the world’s coastlines from hurricanes and typhoons. It gives people a chance to lay in a few days worth of food before major snowstorms so that they aren’t snowed in and starving. It helps farmers weather droughts — not enough, of course — droughts are bad medicine — but knowledge is better than ignorance, even if you can’t do much about a bad thing.

    rgb

  109. “When you get paid to collect data, analyze it, and produce a result, you get the result you want. When you get paid to answer a question to the best of your ability based on the data available, you get to bid on the next contract by doing a good job on the last one.”

    I don’t think either of these are true. I know plenty of people who are paid to collect data, analyze it, and produce the results that the data supports whatever they are. The vast bulk of weather prediction done by NOAA is not only reliable, it is very reliable, and the raw data is easy for private companies to access and they do access it and process it themselves. If you want to address hurricanes in particular, go to something like the Weather Underground tropical weather page during hurricane season and read the actual products and the comments on how they are produced. This is not a closed process, nor is it a monolithic one. All of your objections simply do not exist in the real world. There is both competition between models and a rather large dose of well-informed human judgement, and they do a damn fine job of predicting the spatiotemporal evolution of hurricanes anywhere from 3 to 5 days ahead, accuracy improving as the time interval shrinks. I spend the summer with this page literally open on my browser at all times (hurricanes interest me in addition to being relevant to my teaching schedule and the preservation of my personal possessions, staring out my back window through the Beaufort inlet straight down hurricane alley).

    It is also untrue that corporate work is particularly better at doing this sort of thing. What it is is more expensive. Often a lot more expensive. And there are lots of nonlinearities in the way resources are allocated and jobs are accomplished.

    Competition is good. And sometimes the private sector does a better job than the public, sometimes the other way around. In the end, though, nothing does a better job than human judgement, thoughtfully applied, by people that love their work. I see happy people doing work that they love, well, way, way more often in the public sector than in the private sector, in matters like this, although historically there have been a few exceptional companies where you could find it in the private sector as well.

    rgb

  110. “…much of what happens on this and other blogs, e.g. Climate Audit, is ultimately fruitless.”

    This is the only thing I disagree with in spades. I credit the fact that there were watchdog blogs out there with the leaking of the emails. Without the blogs, there would be no one to leak them to as there was little place for them in the media, the universities, governments and the pliable general public, nearly all of which pooh-poohed, rationalized or ignored the most egregious acts and behaviours of the CAGW teamsters that were revealed . I believe the angst felt by the team at threats of discovery of their dark works arose from the existence of the few, undaunted, unfunded, defenders of truth (including the UAE insider who leaked the emails at extreme personal risk) that seem to be fully countable on the fingers of so few hands of the entire human race. This whole amazing exercise shows us that there are precious few who stand against the crushing of freedom and destruction of civilization. It is why history recognizes rather few individuals who stand out in the journey towards free societies and why the journey is still along way from completion. Watts, McIntyre, McKittrick, Jo Nova, and maybe no more than a dozen others took on a monster that was closer to succeeding in destroying and subjicating the world than the bloody tyrants of history that we are familiar with. Will we sing their praises one day? Probably not.

  111. Gail Combs says:
    December 3, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    (a bunch of stuff, much of which I agree with).

    However, the federalist issue was lost some 200 years ago, and history again has so very, very many case studies in where, and why, it is a very good thing that Jeffersonian completely delocalized government didn’t win out. Indeed, our history is very little BUT the history of examples of that very thing. I’m certain all of the black people who would no doubt be slaves today agree with this, as would all of the people in a world that is as free as it is because centralized, strong, free governments were able to oppose tyrannies that didn’t and don’t give a damn about beautiful myths like “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”. Don’t get me wrong — they are beautiful myths, myths worthy of basing a civilization upon, but Mr. Hobbes had the right of it.

    Of course, you might be referring to a mythical world where everybody is peaceful and where nobody does things like put a woman in prison for the crime of being raped, sentence her to death, think twice about it, and then finally release her but only under the condition that she marry the very brother-in-law that raped her. Or a world where Adolph Hitler never existed. Or a mythical world where governments at all levels but especially local ones haven’t been a lot more concerned about things like whether or not black men could marry white women, whether or not blaspheming the name of Christ is a crime, whether or not two people of the same gender having sex is a crime, whether or not Billy Bob, the governor’s cousin, has the right to drive drunk where everybody else in the state does not…

    Our current mix of federal and state and local power is not perfect. Perfect isn’t the point. It is functional, mostly, amazingly so given the complexity of human civilization. It is easy to claim that all we need is a far jump to some completely structure and all of our troubles would be over; it is very, very difficult to provide a substantive argument that doesn’t completely ignore any amount of actual history to support such a claim.

    If nothing else, wisdom dictates that we take small steps from where we are to different places, try moderate rebalancing of costs and benefits, who has what power, and avoid tearing down the house we live in upon our own heads in the name of an ideological mythology. I’m pretty free. I’m pretty well off. I’m pretty happy. Even with CAGW and climategate, the waste isn’t bringing an end to civilization as we know it. There are plenty of more important issues — religion, war, global poverty, global economics outside of “carbon”…

    Perhaps it would be good to separate the two discussions — all the people who want to tear down the federal government entirely can start a thread devoted to THAT modest proposal (and the best of luck to you), while those who think that perhaps there is something we can do within the context and framework of the federal government we’ve got to improve the specific issue of reliable climate research can remain?

    rgb

  112. “Climate science does not own the “sold their soul for 30 pieces of silver” category. So it is not just one area of science that needs to be cleaned up but ALL.”

    Well, all of the ones with enormous costs and risks borne by the public that paid for them, anyway. Usually science is decent at policing itself, but when science and corporate america mix, it is not, actually, a recipe for truth and enlightenment is it?

    I’d like see the Mcintyre principle equally well applied to medical research, for sure.

    rgb

  113. The key to exposing the malfeasance of climate science has been the internet. Without sites like WUWT few would be able to find the information to judge the AGW claims, let alone form an opinion from the mumbo-jumbo in the MSM. The internet is also the best way that scientists could let others judge their work, provided they are totally transparent once they have made a claim or drawn a conclusion. Anyone should be able to view all “published” scientific papers and all data supporting and related to them, on the internet, without having to face the shenanigans of scientists responding to FOI requests.

    However danger lurks in the form of internet regulations and censorship, which are being considered in the EU and the US under the guise of online piracy. There’s much discussion in the US, which US readers will be aware of, about the Online Piracy Act. One article in HuffPost Tech by Alexander Howard sums up the concerns:

    “SOPA is “really a Trojan horse that might be better named the Social Media Surveillance Act,” said Leslie Harris, CEO of CDT, in a press conference today. “Expect it to have a devastating effect on social media content and expression.

    “That the proposed bill has advanced with significant bipartisan support, along with PROTECT IP Act in the Senate, shows that online innovation and freedom of expression still need strong defenders against 20th century institutions whose quest for copyright protection would leave collateral damage in the form of human right defenders and entrepreneurs. “Any kind of online communication tool that allows users to post and share material” online are included under this bill, said David Sohn, senior counsel at CDT. “The definitions are so broad that any general purpose platform can be declared ‘dedicated to theft.’”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alexander-howard/internet-companies-and-la_b_1095477.html

    Senator Ron Wyden states in support of internet freedom:
    “In other words, the wrong approach to combating infringement could fundamentally change the Internet as we know it, moving us towards a world where transactions are less secure, ideas are less accessible and starting a website wouldn’t be an option for anyone who couldn’t afford a lawyer.
    “The Internet has become an integral part of our everyday lives precisely BECAUSE it has been an open-to-all land of opportunity where entrepreneurs, thinkers and innovators are free to try and fail. The Internet has changed the way we communicate with each other, learn about the world and conduct business, BECAUSE instead of picking winners and losers, we created a world where all ideas have an opportunity to be heard regardless of where they originate.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sen-ron-wyden/we-cant-take-the-internet_b_1097305.html

    Long may the freedom and diversity of the internet continue to be able to expose what some would wish to be concealed.

  114. For those who see a huge task in regulating scientific ethics, I would direct you to look at what is done for engineers in Canada (and of course elsewhere). Each province has an engineering act that creates a body that oversees matters of qualifications and proficiency, standards and ethical conduct. It is administered by the profession and has powers to conduct disciplinary hearings and impose sanctions, fines, suspensions and expulsions from the profession. It hasn’t in any way shackeled imagination and creativity and perhaps one could say that in this environment it has even promoted it. Its hard to argue against the engineering marvels that surround us everywhere. Even scientists tend to try to appropriate the work of engineers – for example the misnomer “rocket science” – there is no such thing it is pure engineering. I would say that computer science is also a misnomer but I would likely get a bit of argument out of this as it is too grand a prize. Anyway, it is time, especially in an age of the most apalling decline in morality, for science to appropriate this one more thing from engineers – a watchdog organization.

  115. Dave Springer says:
    December 3, 2011 at 12:17 pm
    Oh c’mon Rob. Regulation of science only works for science. Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming is a religion. It’s therefore protected by the 1st amendment in the United States.

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

    Protected as allowed to exist, but not protected as allowed to become the religion of the US by acts of Congress etc., as in setting up the EPA who base their responses and interference in the lives and businesses of others to belief in this religion, and not allowed to have tax payer money used in promoting it, and so on – right?

    It is obviously not science, these are obviously not scientists, proved time and again, but the problem is that the US government is actively complicit in promoting this, see the ‘major funder’ email from Jones, the US Department of Energy.

    This is clearly in breach of separation of Church and State.

  116. Robert Brown;
    In the end, though, nothing does a better job than human judgement, thoughtfully applied, by people that love their work>>>

    Robert, the issue isn’t about who does better work, or who does it more efficiently. The issue is how to protect the work being done from being corrupted by monetary interests, political agendas, and the like. What the current state of climate “science” shows is that the checks and balances that should have kept money and political interests out of the results not only didn’t work, it appears that they were absent in their entirety. If it were not for a whistle blower and the combined efforts of thousands of volunteers active in the blogosphere, can you imagine the state that climate “science” would be in today?

    When any organization is left to “police” itself, it turns into a police state in which dissenting opinion is muzzled from within, and a concerted effort made to muzzle dissenting opinion from without. It matters not if the subject is communism, blood letting, phrenology, the motion of the planets about the sun or how much global temperature reacts to CO2. History is plain on this, and if some weather forecasting bureau produces a high quality product, it is only because they are subject to the checks and balances provided by public opinion which eveluates their work on a daily basis. No such check and balance is available for the vast bulk of scientific research.

    Let the private sector do the research, let the public sector regulate and inspect and send to jail those who twist the results to serve their own purposes. What “the team” has done is beyond criminal, and the suffering they have induced world wide cannot even be quantified. If the work and the regulation of the work weere under two different roofs, there is no doubt in my mind that they, at the very least, would have no jobs at all, and would very likely be sitting in jail cells for what they have done. No such retribution for the lies and and disgusting self serving behaviour will ever happen when the “system” is its own judge and jury.

  117. Robert Brown says:
    December 4, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Gail Combs says:
    December 3, 2011 at 3:44 pm
    (a bunch of stuff, much of which I agree with).

    However, the federalist issue was lost some 200 years ago, and history again has so very, very many case studies in where, and why, it is a very good thing that Jeffersonian completely delocalized government didn’t win out. Indeed, our history is very little BUT the history of examples of that very thing. I’m certain all of the black people who would no doubt be slaves today agree with this…..
    _______________________________________

    First abolishing slavery in the USA had a heck of a lot more to do with the industrial revolution and cheap energy than anything else. The Civil war was not fought over slavery it was fought over economics. BTW. there are more slaves in the world today than ever before.

    Second a Federal Government is fine as long as it sticks to what it is supposed to do via the Constitution. When the Federal government starts colluding with others to get rid of the sovereignty of the USA, and that is what we are seeing today, then I have a REAL problem.

    Once we have governance from a bunch of far removed bureaucrats you get fiascos like the 2001 Foot and Mouth problem in the UK. I strongly recommend you read http://www.warmwell.com/footmoutheye.html It gives a real live picture of the type of problems that set me against a centralized government. The FEMA – New Orleans butt covering is another example of the problem. http://www.peterleeson.com/Hurricane_Katrina.pdf
    And the handling of the Gulf Oil Disaster a third: http://www.therightscoop.com/incompetent-obama-and-bp-turned-down-dutch-help-with-gulf-oil-spill-3-days-in-now-they-finally-accept/

    The fourth is the FDA/USDA/WTO/NAFTA handling of farmers and the food supply. I have more than 20 pages of links for that mess. This probably is the best over view

    http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/11853

    http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/11878

    http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/11910

    Bureaucracies are interested in two things expanding their “Territory” and “Protecting their turf” The bigger and further away the bureaucracy the worse the problems, corruption and the more the expensive.

    From what you are saying I take it you are in agreement with David Rockefeller’s the long term goal.

    “The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the National auto determination practiced in past centuries” –David Rockefeller allegedly addressing a Trilateral Commission meeting (June of 1991)

    Whether or not Rockefeller actually said that, from what I can see it is exactly the way we are headed and it scares the crap out of me!

    A World Government answering to the global elite is my worse nightmare because I am afraid the first move will be to consolidate power by removing the “skeptics” and “Deniers” followed by the “purging ” of the intelligensia and “Useless Eaters” (Plenty of historical examples) That is also based on exchanges with the Marxists littering the landscape in Cambridge and Harvard Square.

    Unfortunately most people have been brainwashed into agreeing with your point of view so we will soon see a world government and the tyranny that comes when the puppet masters throw of the sheepskin of “Socialism” and we see the wolf beneath. http://www2.lse.ac.uk/newsAndMedia/news/archives/2006/FabianWindow.aspx

    Heck the “Purges” of the Useless Eaters has already begun with the world wide Farmland grab starting in the 1990′s. World Hunger from FAO: http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/10/images/hungry_timeseries.jpg

  118. Ling says:
    December 3, 2011 at 3:16 pm
    Just ask: how much of this would have happened if climate science was funded voluntarily?
    Robert Brown answers:
    December 4, 2011 at 9:42 am
    “None of it, because there would be no climate science.”

    Before people were coerced to pay for science, there were for-profit and non-profit research institutes. Major science funding by government only began after World War II. Which taxpayer -funded climate studies have been so valuable it was worth forcing people to pay for them?

  119. Gail – the 2001 foot and mouth mass slaughtering of healthy animals further reduced Britain’s bio-diversity, which began on joining the then Economic Community which resulted in among other things, the majority orchards being grubbed up and the production of English apple varieties given to France, and a general ban on the diversity of seeds of veg and fruit which became illegal to sell, kept alive by forming clubs. The Monsanto destruction by making it illegal, for example in Iraq, of farmers saving their own seeds and being forced to buy Monsanto, is becoming better known, but this surely has been in the pipe line for a long time.

    The later outbreak of foot and mouth was from animals catching it from the laboratory next door..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_United_Kingdom_foot-and-mouth_outbreak

    “Symptoms were first reported late on 2 August 2007 on farmland located in Normandy in Surrey, which was subsequently isolated and placed under restrictions.[7] The following day the Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) Debby Reynolds confirmed that initial testing revealed that 60 cattle were infected with foot-and-mouth disease and[8][9] that other potential cases were being investigated.[10]

    On the 4 August the virus was identified as the FMDV BFS 1860 O1 1967 (Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus, British Field Strain 1860, serotype O, subtype 1, isolated in 1967; also referred to as strain BFS 1860/UK/67[11] ), a virus isolated in the 1967 outbreak and until the 2007 outbreak, not in circulation in animals.[12] It was the same strain as used at the nearby Pirbright laboratory site, which houses separate units of the Institute for Animal Health and Merial Animal Health Ltd at Pirbright, 2½ miles (4 km) away, which was identified as a possible source of infection, as it is one of only four European laboratories authorised to handle that strain of the virus to produce vaccines, the next nearest being in Belgium.[13][14][15] As a result the isolation zone was extended.[16]

    The laboratory carries out research into foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) as well as other diseases affecting livestock.[17]“

    Odd how the previously unknown strain of ‘swine flu’ began two years after a patent was taken out for a vaccine against it, and next to a lab working on such ‘viruses’..

  120. “Let the private sector do the research, let the public sector regulate and inspect and send to jail those who twist the results to serve their own purposes.”

    You mean the way that works so well in medical research? I see.

    rgb

  121. “The Civil war was not fought over slavery it was fought over economics. BTW. there are more slaves in the world today than ever before.”

    Oh? I suppose the civil rights war was fought over economics. I suppose we should have just left local governments and even state governments free to keep all the darkies in their place. After all, what a huge abuse of states rights, forcing little old Georgia and Alabama and places like that to actually permit black people and white people to ride the same bus, attend the same schools, get married.

    And of course, you’re indirectly advocating that we stand by and do nothing about slavery and abuse overseas. Hey, its their business, right? Local governments should be left alone, even if they are horrific tyrannies. And hey, if they decide — on the basis of simple majority decisions — that the Jews are superfluous, well, tough luck Jews.

    It isn’t difficult to reduce any such argument to absurdity, in other words. The United States has fought in two world wars, one world non-war, countless small wars, and, with its various cousins in the centralized, federal democracy arena, has slowly but surely pushed the boundaries of tyranny and oppression back all over the world. It has been able to do so because of its strength, because when we stand together, many become one, we are strong and can work wonders, where if every local municipality tried to manage its own affairs we’d still be living in log cabins and fighting little wars, Durham county invading Orange county across the line, precisely the way Europe was one big battlefield for almost all of the second millennium.

    “Second a Federal Government is fine as long as it sticks to what it is supposed to do via the Constitution. When the Federal government starts colluding with others to get rid of the sovereignty of the USA, and that is what we are seeing today, then I have a REAL problem.”

    There, we are in agreement, although I personally really do think that it is deeply, deeply absurd to equate CAGW and carbon trading with some sort of sinister plot to get rid of the sovereignty of the USA. That illustrates precisely what one of the biggest problems with this blog (and thread) is. This is an unreasonable assertion. By what standard is signing a treaty with other nations, even a stupid and ill-reasoned one, equate to “getting rid of the sovereignty the USA”? Is there a point in there where we all failed to get to vote or something, or did the USA simply elect to do something that you disagree with (and for that matter, that I disagree with). This sort of hyperbole makes it so very easy for the proponents of CAGW and Carbon trading to point to its opponents and say “look, they are batshit crazy”.

    There isn’t one single aspect of the US signing the Kyoto treaty that is unconstitutional or even unreasonable if the CAGW hypothesis is true in its worst, scariest, predictions. Judging the reasonableness of the hypothesis itself is what is at issue here, not trying to adjudicate the entire process whereby presidents get elected, congresspeople are elected, and all of that. The electoral process and divisions of power and so on are imperfect, absolutely agreed, but they beat the hell out of any alternative that I can see out there in the wide world, and I would certainly rather live here than anywhere else.

    Here my personal freedoms are for the most part quite broad, and there is steady pressure to broaden them further still, pressure that cannot be resisted by tiny, bigoted rural hamlets that wish everybody was Christian just like them and that think that gay people should be put to death, witches should be burned, black people shouldn’t hold public office and absolutely shouldn’t marry white people, that Jews are almost like white people but aren’t not really, and if something happens to me unexpectedly so that I cannot work and so that the cost of dealing with it exceeds all expectations and runs through my personal fortune there is at least a chance I won’t literally starve to death, homeless and cold. Here women (like yourself) have the right to speak freely and be heard and hold public office, even though there are still plenty of communities and an entire male dominated culture that oppose it. Here we have excellent roadways that make it a trivial matter to drive almost anywhere, fine airlines that permit one to fly to any point in the world, remarkably affordably, superb communications, an educational system that for all of its warts is one of the wonders of and envies of the world. We have opportunity for any human being to rise from any state of birth and social stratum to wealth and political power — opportunity that is still far from perfect because whole localities still fight it and wish to hold onto a status quo that leaves power in the hands of an elite that has always had it.

    We live in a country where an idea can change the world, and has done so many times before. Kyoto and the IPCC aren’t worthy of being considered a “threat to democracy”. That is manifestly untrue even if there are those that dream of it being so. If the European Union, Australia, the United States, China, India walk out on Kyoto, what is left? What are the odds that this will happen this year? Or if not this year, soon? What are the sanctions that the U.N. can bring to bear on the USA? Would that be “none”? Would that be “we could kick the U.N.’s sorry ass out of our country” anytime they attempted to do anything at all to us? Would that be “no country or countries acting in concert have a credible change of being a military threat to the US” in part because together we are so very strong, and never stronger than when we are being reasonable and ethical, being the best that we can be?

    I think that it would. The rest of the world — at least the tyrannical part of it — fears the US, because every now and then we actually reach across the ocean and use our power, and when we are done sometimes the world is a cleaner, freer place because of it. When we don’t let our power be directed by any special interests, those on the “right” or those on the “left”. When we actually apply the same moral standards to things that we ourselves would wish to live under.

    Our democratic friends don’t fear us, at least I hope not. I can’t see the US invading Canada or Australia or India in any conceivable future, not without the world turning along enormously dark paths.

    “A World Government answering to the global elite is my worse nightmare because I am afraid the first move will be to consolidate power by removing the “skeptics” and “Deniers” followed by the “purging ” of the intelligensia and “Useless Eaters” (Plenty of historical examples) That is also based on exchanges with the Marxists littering the landscape in Cambridge and Harvard Square.”

    Right, but at some point you have to wake up to the fact that we are nowhere near any path to a world government. You might also wake up to the fact that in a hundred, two hundred, five hundred years that’s exactly what we’ll have (assuming we haven’t fallen all the way back to barbarism and war in the meantime). Finally, you might look over the history of the tyrannies that did consolidate power to any of a number of functional elites and contrast them with our own. Personally, I’m not terribly worried that somebody is going to come knocking at my door tonight to haul me off to jail because I have dared to speak out against our ill-guided policy with respect to CAGW. Are you? Really? I think I could say things like “Obama’s mom wears army boots” and while it might be considered rude, not much of anything would happen. I could wear a tee-shirt saying “What would Jesus do? He’d be Buddhist!” or publicly state that the Pope has (in my opinion) very likely committed crimes covering up the crimes of Catholic priests and bishops and feel perfectly secure.

    Now, contrast that with visiting sunny Iran and wearing a tee-shirt featuring Muhammed with a speech bubble that says “The Quran? I just made that all up…” You’d be lucky to survive the hour.

    Even the debate over CAGW is a sign of a healthy democracy. WUWT is a purely democratic institution. I’m proud to post here (and the many other places I post). Yes, eternal vigilance is the price of freedom and all that but I think you greatly exaggerate the risks associated with CAGW and the IPCC. Even the science would straighten itself out — eventually — if we all did nothing at all. Global temperatures will do what they will do, quite independent of what we might think that they are likely or unlikely to do, and eventually the truth will be manifest.

    rgb

  122. Robert Brown says:
    December 4, 2011 at 4:13 pm
    “Let the private sector do the research, let the public sector regulate and inspect and send to jail those who twist the results to serve their own purposes.”
    You mean the way that works so well in medical research? I see.>>>

    For every abuse of the system that sneaks through the cracks in medical research, there are a thousand thwarted.

    No system is perfect, but in any system where the researchers and the regulators are one and the same, the results bow to a political agenda. Wrong doing is whitewashed. For every crime that is thwarted, a thousand slip through the cracks. Read the history books, learn from them, or be condemned to repeat what is in them. Communism, socialism, pick an ism and you will find that self regulation for the greater good is a myth never achieved in history. Power corrupts. Hence, separate the powers. The flaws in the regulation of medical research come no from the seperation of power, but from places where the seperation of power was circumvented.

  123. “Before people were coerced to pay for science, there were for-profit and non-profit research institutes. Major science funding by government only began after World War II. Which taxpayer -funded climate studies have been so valuable it was worth forcing people to pay for them?”

    Au contraire. There has never been a time where people were not coerced to pay for science. The means of coercion simply changed over time.

    People on this list really should read Hardin’s “The Tragedy of the Commons”. They also might acknowledge that the increase in the standard of living for every human being on this planet but the ultra-rich since the end of World War II is the greatest such increase in the history of the Earth. Again, by such an enormous factor that it doesn’t brook any debate. You can try to argue that this enormous increase would have been enormouser with some other structure of funding, but any sort of even passing familiarity with the literature of science (and its support) is sufficient to make this at least a very dubious proposition.

    Personally, I happen to think that building a solid, complete, total knowledge base of the real physical Universe is a part of the human race growing up and positioning itself to — maybe — earn the right to survive the inevitable disasters that will in the future be capable of terminating it. There isn’t one single piece of information that is trivial or unworthy of learning. With that, it is certainly fair to prioritize. Again, if CAGW is a correct hypothesis every penny spent on climate research is well spent! And I repeat, we do not know whether or not it is a true hypothesis, not yet. Not knowing if it is true is not the same thing as being certain that it is false. My major gripe isn’t spending money on climate research, it isn’t even spending a lot on the research — it is the begging of the question and basing major, expensive policy decisions on what looks like it is poor and corrupted science. I’m still open minded about the hypothesis itself.

    Aren’t you? Or are you fallen into the same trap as the CAGW proponents — a closed mind unwilling to look at data and reasoned arguments without bias? I’d argue that we don’t even HAVE uncorrupted data and arguments at this point, not that we couldn’t and shouldn’t work to build them.

    rgb

  124. “The flaws in the regulation of medical research come no from the seperation of power, but from places where the seperation of power was circumvented.”

    Well said, sir, and well reasoned. I do not agree with you, but I can appreciate your argument. I just do not think any system prevents all abuse, and misdoubt the ability of lay persons to “regulate” science. I also think you vastly underestimate the problems with modern medical research and reproducibility. But I could be wrong.

    rgb

  125. Robert Brown says:

    “…we do not know whether or not it is a true hypothesis, not yet.”

    Right. CAGW [and for that matter, AGW] are not hypotheses, because they are neither testable nor falsifiable. They are at the conjecture stage of the scientific method.

    Don’t misunderstand, if something is a conjecture that doesn’t mean it is wrong. I personally think that added CO2 may cause a slight amount of [beneficial] warming. But I could be wrong; it may cause no warming at all. It may even cause cooling on balance. At this point, no one knows. What we do know is that past predictions of rapid global warming have been falsified by the planet itself.

    Especially in science, words matter. If and when there is testable, falsifiable evidence for AGW, it will then be elevated to the status of a hypothesis. But as of right now AGW is a conjecture, because there is no testable evidence directly linking human emitted CO2 to global warming.

  126. Robert Brown;
    They also might acknowledge that the increase in the standard of living for every human being on this planet but the ultra-rich since the end of World War II is the greatest such increase in the history of the Earth.>>>

    Yup. Let’s see, what are the great advances in science over the last century that have so dramatically improved the lot of human beings?

    Electricity (generation and distribution), light bulbs, internal combution engines, freeze drying, food processing, refridgeration, long haul trucks (with reefers), television, CD’s, DVD’s, home stereos, home theatres, anti-biotics, anti-virals, personal computers, laser printers, central heating, central air conditioning, greenhouse produce, irrigation systems, food quality inspection systems, preservatives, vecro, yellow stickies, super glue, inter-continental aircraft…..

    What two things do all of those have in common?

    1. Developed by private industry.
    2. Without cheap energy, we’d have none of them.

  127. Robert Brown;
    I also think you vastly underestimate the problems with modern medical research and reproducibility.>>>

    Have you ever taken a close look at the regulatory regime those organizations operate under? I’m shocked they ever get ANYTHING to market. Compliance law that governs those organizations, and the tracking and inspection systems that enforce it are comprehensive to the point of being the largest cost component of the R&D process itself.

  128. Wow, I never would have expected to see so much space on WUWT given to a long-winded Marxist troll, just because he might have a little scientific integrity, or disbelieves the CAGW fairy tale, or refutes the existence of Santa Claus.

    There are already laws on the books covering all of the evil deeds done and yet to be done by both climalarmists and the politicians backing them. We need more laws as much as we need more politicians, or more government funded scientists, of whom Dr. Brown is one or would like to be one (can you say 100 million dollars?)…

    A million times more science is conducted every day in the private sector than will ever be done in the public in a whole year.

    But Wait! We can change that overnight! You will simply work for us!

    All right! Government is so purposeful, so loving, so all knowing, so benevolent, I can hardly stand it! Government is the liberator of all mankind! Save us please!

    What a bunch of drivel and nonsense, batshit. I’ve come to expect a lot more from the site. I will have to cancel my subscription if it continues!

  129. Hugh Pepper says:
    December 3, 2011 at 3:28 pm
    Smokey: I think you excel in hyperbole. There is no need to be insulting and mean-spirited. The expression of disagreement does not require harsh language.
    The “science” that you speak of does not exist Smokey. I read a ton of criticism, but very little well documented, empirical research. Where are the scientists from the skeptic camp writing conducting research in the Arctic; where are the oceanographers from your “clique” publishing their studies of the words changing oceans; how about glaciologists and their work on the world’s vanishing glaciers. I could go on asking these real questions Smokey and please be aware I’m not being rhetorical.

    AS I said earlier, if everyone conducts acceptable research and publishes their work, we will know that the truth will have been clarified and we can reasonably conclude that the world is as the scientists describe.

    It’s not just that skeptic research has a hard time getting published, as someone mentioned earlier, it has a hard time getting funded. The gov’t. is in the warmist camp, and the only potential gored-oxen who would privately fund such studies are the demonized oil companies and free market or conservative think tanks–whose results are instantly trashed in the public mind by the well-organized, well-funded alarmist machine. (One example among many I read here recently was of someone who wanted to research old ships’ logs for evidence of past weather, but couldn’t get government funding. Dr. Gray (of hurricane fame) couldn’t get funding for studying warming–his agency told him to stick to his last.)

    Further, a “skeptic” has no burden on him to come up with an explanation for what’s happening. He need only point out the logical flaws in the explanations being proffered by others. E.g., the 2035 Himalayan melt-by date, or the “radiative physics” assumption about climate “drivers,” or the unlikelihood of the climate sensitivity index being as high as the IPCC says, or the unwarrantedness of the positive-feedback hypothesis, etc. The same applies to pointing out the flaws in research about glaciers–see the thread just posted today on that topic. Or see the many threads picking holes in (or at least making reasonable objections to) consensus Arctic research conclusions.

    Further, the skeptic can undermine the case proffered in another way: by uncovering instances of behavior or rhetoric that impugn the trustworthiness of the advocates. And there’s lots of that.

    The skeptic need only say, “Go back to the drawing board–don’t tax me until you have something that can withstand criticism.”

  130. Dave Springer says:
    December 3, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Robert Brown says:
    December 3, 2011 at 11:31 am

    [By me, Roger Knights:] “Here’s a tenth-of-a-loaf first step. All climate-related scientific research papers will be liberated from their paywalls, with the government picking up the tab. The burden on the government would be tiny, and the benefit substantial. And this law could easily get passed–it would be hard to oppose it. The public would like the sound of it.”

    DS: “That’s an ill-conceived idea. It basically creates an entitlement program for scientific publishers wide open to abuse. I won’t want to pay for such a thing.”

    Well, I wish Google would fund it, the way they are funding a buyout of all the out-of-print but in-copyright books around, so they can put them online. (But Google won’t.) If Google did such a thing, and pledged to continue doing so in the future, would you still say that the program was so “wide open to abuse” that Google would be such a pitiful, helpless giant that it would be unable to notice what was happening and keep it under control? If you concede that Google wouldn’t be massively victimized, you concede that it’s not inherent in the donation that corruption will occur, but in the donor–the government. Well, I concede that there’d be some waste, some poor decisions about what to fund and not fund, but those seem minor in the big picture to the benefit of having free online access of the world’s citizens to the world’s science.

    DS: “It’s an exceedingly slippery slope. If privately owned science journal subscriptions are paid for by the government for whoever wants them why should the National Enquirer, Reader’s Digest, and the Wall Street Journal be excluded from the gravy train?”

    Google wouldn’t let this happen, to any great degree (there are always borderline cases). The government would probably let a lot more nonsense get funded, such as iffy alternative medicine journals, chiropractor’s journals, etc. But the amount involved would be small, and the harm produced would be 1% of the benefit of pulling down the paywalls around mainstream science.

    In the meantime, in exchange for avoiding that cost, the warmist juggernaut will roll on—instead of hitting the speed bumps which citizens who had free access to the science (and thus a level playing field with climatologers) would provide. The waste-cost of the EPA’s regulations will dwarf the waste-cost the government’s paywall-replacement subsidy

    Dave Springer says:
    December 3, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    I can hardly believe all the otherwise sane conservatives here that are so ready to throw good money after bad in this pursuit. The answer is to throw the bums out of government who support climate science and stop funding the crap with tax dollars and stop listening to the asshats who practice it. It’s not complicated and it results in less spending not more.

    You’re asking for nine-tenths of a loaf. It won’t happen. A tenth of a loaf is better than no bread.

  131. Robert Brown says:
    December 4, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    my emphasis

    “Here my personal freedoms are for the most part quite broad, and there is steady pressure to broaden them further still, pressure that cannot be resisted by tiny, bigoted rural hamlets that wish everybody was Christian just like them and that think that gay people should be put to death, witches should be burned, black people shouldn’t hold public office and absolutely shouldn’t marry white people, that Jews are almost like white people but aren’t not really, and if something happens to me unexpectedly so that I cannot work and so that the cost of dealing with it exceeds all expectations and runs through my personal fortune there is at least a chance I won’t literally starve to death, homeless and cold. Here women (like yourself) have the right to speak freely and be heard and hold public office, even though there are still plenty of communities and an entire male dominated culture that oppose it. Here we have excellent roadways that make it a trivial matter to drive almost anywhere, fine airlines that permit one to fly to any point in the world, remarkably affordably, superb communications, an educational system that for all of its warts is one of the wonders of and envies of the world. We have opportunity for any human being to rise from any state of birth and social stratum to wealth and political power — opportunity that is still far from perfect because whole localities still fight it and wish to hold onto a status quo that leaves power in the hands of an elite that has always had it.”

    Hahaha… why don’t you just quote directly from the horse’s ass mouth:

    “And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment …”

    You aren’t going to fit in well here, Brown. GFY.

  132. Robert Brown says:
    December 4, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Gail Combs wrote: “The Civil war was not fought over slavery it was fought over economics. BTW. there are more slaves in the world today than ever before.”

    Robert Brown, with an as yet undetermined appendage responds: “Oh?”

    Oh yes!

    http://www.historycentral.com/CivilWar/AMERICA/Economics.html

    I thought this was common knowledge amongst the more literate. I guess I was wrong about that.

  133. Roger Knights says:
    December 5, 2011 at 1:50 am

    Google can do whatever it wants. Google doesn’t have the power to levy taxes. I have no doubt that subscription science journals would absolutely love the idea of an unqualified journalcaid program I certainly don’t want to pay for it. I think there should simply be a law that any research conducted in whole or in part with public funding must be placed in a freely available government archive just like the archive maintained by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and furthermore that no part of any public money may be spent in payments to private publishers.

    There’s a nasty little exclusionary racket going on in the academic publishing business that is funded in part by tax dollars. Ending the racketeering is desirable from a taxpayer POV. Increasing the size of the racket by direct government payment of subscription fees does not end the scam it only makes it more lucrative.

  134. @Robert Brown

    “Furthermore, both regulation and liability are absolutely necessary — indeed, long overdue — in any scientific endeavor that has long since left the ivory tower of pure research and become the basis for such far-reaching policy decisions.”

    Uh huh. And how would the United States regulate research in, for instance, China?

    “society is required to make some kind of wager regardless”

    Really. You global village fruitcakes never cease to amaze me with how totally disconnected from reality you are. Nine tenths of the people in the world don’t know or care about global warming. They’re more interested in local supply of food and clean water and dream of someday having electricity. There is no “society” dufus. There are a million societies and most of them don’t know there’s anything being wagered and if they did know they wouldn’t care because they have more immediate concerns.

    This whole notion of passive wagers you’ve invented is nonsense, of course. Society “must” make a wager about whether terrorists get ahold of biological weapons of mass destruction for instance. Hell even a naturally arising communicable disease could wipe out 2/3 of the human race and there’s probably a better chance of that happening than any adverse consequence of global warming. A coronal mass ejection (CME) from the sun at the magnitude of the 1859 Carrington event would kill hundreds of millions and cripple the industrial world by trashing continent-wide electrical grids. There’s greater chance of that happening than the wholly imaginary adverse effects of global warming and the cost of drastically limiting the damage is orders of magnitude less than the impossibly high cost of limiting CO2 emission enough to make a difference. Hell a cure for cancer would cost less and benefit more people.

    These are all passive wagers that “society” is making. I could list a lot more of them like fresh water supplies and phosporous for fertilizers that are far more immediate and concrete threats than global warming. This whole global warming brouhaha is insanely misrepresented and mispriortized by any objective measure. We should just hunt down the perps behind it like so many coyotes.

  135. wayne Job says:
    December 3, 2011 at 3:17 pm
    It was my understanding that data and methods including code must accompany peer review papers in scientific journals.

    That the hockey team have been getting away with not complying in peer review papers, it should be that these offending papers are cancelled and rejected until compliance with the correct scientific procedure is met.

    That’s all that needs to be done. Nature and ilk purporting to require full disclosure having set themselves up as the creme de la creme upholding scientific principle should be held accountable for by-passing the process for these hooligans and for being complicit in blocking publication from real scientists.

    And, all of these reports taken out of the IPCC, which should anyway be disbanded but certainly not treated as if upholding scientific standards. It is a political organisation with its brief to prove agw and its deliberate corruption of science method and principles is government and big business funded, designed to help create a climate of more government control over peoples lives and control of the world’s resources by manipulating data. The propaganda that it is ‘analysis from the work of scientists’ and so should be trusted is political spin, that’s exactly what it isn’t and wasn’t set up to be: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intergovernmental_Panel_on_Climate_Change

    “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a scientific intergovernmental body[1][2] which provides comprehensive assessments of current scientific, technical and socio-economic information worldwide about the risk of climate change caused by human activity, its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences, and possible options for adapting to these consequences or mitigating the effects.”

    It is party to the corrupt science practices of this inner cabal of Jones, Trenberth and Mann who are just bit players, useful idiots, in the bigger picture of government and big banking/business in control of government policies, who set up the UN in the first place. More regulations will not change that, you’re (Brown) asking the corrupt in government to create legislation against their own corruption..

    And quite frankly the silliness of such as ideas as the ‘EPA does a good job because I know some friends of friends who work there and they’re very nice’ is more useless drivel. The EPA is in unaccountable control of the lives of US citizens able to pass legislation seriously affecting the well being on personal and business levels contrary to the Constitution, as I understand it, an outside agency given powers to exist by congress which should never have been given. There’s a good discussion on WUWT on the effect the EPA has had on businesses, worth reading. Big business interests aren’t affected by it, they control it. Just as the pharmaceutical companies are in the process of taking away even more of our rights to the Earth’s resources by government legislation, our use of plants for medicines..

    (As they were party to the demonisation of hemp, that great all rounder which can be used to make paper, beautiful hard wearing but soft cloth, rope, fuel, is a high in protein food source, and is medicinally one of the great, if not the greatest, plant around being so attuned to our own bodies’ workings. If you ever get to see a programme on the hype that the business interests at the time produced against hemp (by calling it Marijuana because it was too well known by everyone as hemp, grown everywhere in the US for its multiple uses and world wide), it’s the campaign prototype to how easy it is to manipulate people through fear and lies and control of government to further their own interests, in now full expression with their control of governments and propaganda world-wide in their manufactured AGW scare.)

    Here’s some typical spin from the corrupt cabal about this fact that the IPCC is set up to prove AGW: http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=400

    What do you expect them to say? They’re working for the same programme. Twitching on the end of the same strings.

    Here’s a real science look at the predictive power of the IPCC, link from this page to Dr. J. Scott Armstrong and Dr. Kersten Green’s paper which analyses this and concludes the IPCC is junk science: http://freestudents.blogspot.com/2007/07/forecasting-experts-say-ipcc-warming.html

    Please, do read it. There is zilch predictive power from the IPCC models. Junk science the lot of it. Any real scientists are thrown out or marginalised, or resign.

    squareheadedsquareheaded says: “All right! Government is so purposeful, so loving, so all knowing, so benevolent, I can hardly stand it! Government is the liberator of all mankind! Save us please!”

    Quite.

    More government regulations is just what we don’t need.

  136. Justin J. says:
    December 3, 2011 at 4:59 pm
    ….The markets for money and credit were at all relevant times regulated by the following….

    And that’s just at the federal level, and just in the USA. Whether you look at the GFC from interventionist theory (government has the competence and selflessness to manage the economy) or the Austrian theory (government printing money causes depressions) the interventionists lose the argument….
    ________________________________________
    One of the other points Brown makes that is a logical fallacy is that we only see advances in science and technology because it is “Government funded” – BULLOCKS!

    The USA did not have an income tax until we passed the Federal Reserve Act in 1913. The two go hand in hand as a mechanism to move wealth FROM the private citizen TO the bankers period. All the rest is just window dressing to make the raped citizen feel guilty about wanting not to be raped.

    The true cause of the industrial and technological revolution is LEISURE TIME. It does not matter how smart you are if you are spending from dawn to dusk working your hindend off and fall into bed exhausted.

    The real revolution was in farming methods that freed up people so they could devote more time to inventing. This was from about 1820 to 1840. From that period on the industrial and technological revolution exploded and it had NOTHING to do with the government.

    18th century – Oxen and horses for power, crude wooden plows, all sowing by hand, cultivating by hoe, hay and grain cutting with sickle, and threshing with flail

    1790′s – Cradle and scythe introduced
    1794 – Thomas Jefferson’s moldboard of least resistance tested
    1797 – Charles Newbold patented first cast-iron plow
    1819 – Jethro Wood patented iron plow with interchangeable parts
    1819-25 – U.S. food canning industry established

    1830 – About 250-300 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels.. of wheat…

    1850 – About 75-90 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels of corn

    1862-75 – Change from hand power to horses characterized the first American agricultural revolution

    1868 – Steam tractors were tried out

    1890 – 40-50 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels… of wheat

    http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blfarm1.htm

    This change to an Industrialized North and an Agricultural South was a main part of the Civil War BTW Get rid of slavery and the farmers have to buy northern factory made equipment to replace them…. Cui Bono.

    It was the Industrial/Agricultral revolution that really freed the slaves (and the rest of us serfs)

  137. Myrrh says:
    December 4, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Gail – the 2001 foot and mouth mass slaughtering of healthy animals further reduced Britain’s bio-diversity, which began on joining the then Economic Community which resulted in among other things, the majority orchards being grubbed up and the production of English apple varieties given to France, and a general ban on the diversity of seeds of veg and fruit which became illegal to sell, kept alive by forming clubs. The Monsanto destruction by making it illegal, for example in Iraq, of farmers saving their own seeds and being forced to buy Monsanto, is becoming better known, but this surely has been in the pipe line for a long time…..
    _____________________________________
    Thanks for the info. I was aware of the law in the EU but not about the loss of the orchards. In my copious notes I had:

    June 2006 Global Diversity Treaty: Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA) a standardized contract that will enable much easier access to crop diversity. [ germplasm for patenting] royalty payment (1.1% of sales) is paid only if product is unavailable for further breeding and research. funds will be devoted to conservation efforts. Translation: Bio-techs Corporations steal seed from third world farmers, patents it and pay money to Bioversity International http://www.bioversityinternational.org/publications/pdf/1144.pdf

    December 2006 “In the EU, there is now a list of ‘official’ vegetable varieties. Seed that is not on the list cannot be ‘sold’ to the ‘public’ To keep something on the list costs thousands of pounds each year…Hundreds of thousands of old heirloom varieties (the results of about eleven thousand years of plant breeding by our ancestors) are being lost forever . http://www.defra.gov.uk/planth/pvs/pbr/app-procedure.htm & http://www.realseeds.co.uk/terms.html & http://www.euroseeds.org/pdf/ESA_03.0050.1.pdf

    However the DEFRA link { http://www.defra.gov.uk/planth/pvs/pbr/app-procedure.htm } is no longer any good. Do you have a better link?

    Also I had seen in my reading where Monsanto got someone on the board of one of the seed saving clubs and “stole” their entire bank of seed genetics so they can patent it. Do you have a link to that?

    After researching the history of seed patenting I want NO laws about science. It is better to have a completely free internet and go after the propaganda machines we call the MSM.

    FRAUD, Miss use of Government funds and Government PROPERTY ~ Phil Jones lost GOVERNMENT PROPERTY when he “Misplaced the raw data set” ~ is really all that is needed.

    OH and honest politicians and judges.

  138. “Right. CAGW [and for that matter, AGW] are not hypotheses, because they are neither testable nor falsifiable. They are at the conjecture stage of the scientific method.”

    Not strictly true. They are both testable and falsifiable. They are being tested, and may turn out to be false — or true.

    It’s just that it is going to take time to test them. If you want me to break this down into small pieces, I’m happy to do so.

    * GW — the hypothesis that the world has warmed since the LIA is testable, and is almost certainly true. It could be false, I suppose, but the direct evidence of many actual thermometers suggests that it is true.

    * AGW — the hypothesis that some of that net warming is due to increased CO_2 concentration is almost certainly true! Not “90%, or “97%” — 99.999% certain. In order for it to be false, all sorts of falsifiable physics would have to be false. Again, this is an error made all too often on this blog that does not increase its credibility. I understand the human tendency to (over)simplify and say “AGW is false” or “AGW is an unsupported, unfalsifiable hypothesis” when what they mean is that the assertion that the anthropogenic component to the total average global temperature has not reliably been shown to be larger than X%, but this is not the way science operates.

    To put it a very simple way that is easy to understand, there is an S-shaped (logistic) function that represents P(x) (true) of the hypothesis that anthropogenic CO_2 is responsible for at least x degrees C of the temperature anomaly. I think that any reasonable scientist who knows enough to make an informed judgement would agree that the left hand side of this curve is pegged at 1 (with very little support on the left hand side, a negative anomaly). It is nearly certain that CO_2 is responsible for at least e.g. 0.1C, slightly less certain (but still quite likely that it is responsible for 0.2C, still less for 0.3C, and so on. On the right hand side, by the time the anomaly is out there to 3C or thereabouts nearly any reasonable person would agree that the function is asymptotically approaching zero — by that time one is alleging that anthropogenic CO_2 is responsible for more than all of the warming seen since the LIA, or the invention of the thermometer and beginning of a moderately reliable global temperature record in the first place if you don’t happen to “believe” in a LIA. Somewhere in between there is a value of x for which this monotonic function equals 0.5 — it is 50% likely that the anthropogenic contribution to the total CO_2 is responsible for at least this much warming of the total warming observed in the GW recorded since the invention of thermometers, given our existing knowledge of things like physics, and the available data. Note well that this is a conditional probability.

    It is silly to assert that there is no evidence that pertains to this, that the hypothesis itself is not falsifiable, provided that you understand what “falsification” really means in science. It never means anything more than “given the evidence and evidence-based consistent rules that we think are very likely true (e.g. laws of physics), this logistic curve has gotten sufficiently close to a step function” for some suitable mapping of an underlying parameter space, with the measured parameters from “reality” being on one side of the step (and hence “very probably true”) or the other (“very probably false”). You can read E. T. Jaynes lovely book on “Probability Theory, the Logic of Science” if you want to see how it works, or David Mackay’s online (but arguably more difficult) book on artificial intelligence that covers Jaynes’ result and shows how it is almost certainly the basis for how we actually think (and how neural networks themselves function).

    In this case, as in all cases, one has to use Bayes’ theorem to properly assess the evidence and improve the (really multidimensional) logistic. One has to account for the priors and the conditional probabilities. The hypothesis “increased CO_2 causes increased global temperatures does not stand alone”, only capable of being answered by a direct measurement. That is because the probability that it is true depends on other statements upon which it depends, that can be tested.

    For example, consider “CO_2 in a gas mixture like our atmosphere acts as a selective reflective/absorptive filter to incoming vs outgoing wavelengths of light”. This is true and well understood. Consider “Energy comes into the Earth primarily in the form of visible light (blackbody radiation from a high temperature object, the Sun), is absorbed (warming the Earth and atmosphere) and is reradiated away primarily as infrared radiation (blackbody radiation from a much lower temperature object, the Earth).” Hard to argue with any of that, isn’t it? Completely understood physics, plenty of evidence, any undergrad physics major could derive most of this as a conclusion from completely accepted laws of nature plus a handful of simple observations and common knowledge anytime after their freshman year.

    Combine the two into “Increased CO_2 in the atmosphere increases the some fraction of the outgoing radiation which is absorbed by the atmosphere and partially reflected back towards the earth. This decreases the overall rate of radiative energy loss (the energy has to be reabsorbed and diffuse into other wavelengths that make it through before having a good chance of escaping) and produces a net warming effect.” Based on the previous two statements, this is almost certainly true, and it can be independently tested at least in laboratory scale experiments. This statement has been confirmed in laboratory scale experiments many times, one of them that you can watch for yourself on mythbusters (youtube).

    The kiddy-scale demos aren’t proof at scale, of course — they leave way too many questions unanswered in a truly complex and chaotic thermal system — but to argue that this phenomenon does not occur at all or is unlikely to occur is absurd. CO_2 is indeed a greenhouse gas, and the greenhouse effect is without reasonable question a significant contributor to the overall global average temperature, contrast the temperature of the Earth with that of the moon. Atmosphere matters, the composition of the atmosphere matters, and it is almost certain that increasing CO_2 concentration (all other things being equal) will monotonically increase average global temperatures, at least up to some saturation.

    There are a fair number of questions left at the end of the day that make the overall magnitude of this effect and its functional dependence on CO_2 uncertain, but it seems very difficult to argue that there is no monotonic relationship between increased CO_2 and increased heat retention. This sort of Bayesian reasoning increases and even helps to tentatively quantify AGW, with correspondingly large remaining uncertainties. This is hardly “not-falsifiable” or “unsupported by evidence or reason”, it is merely uncertain as to raw magnitude, with even greater uncertainty ascribable to the climate sensitivity and correctness of global climate models that attempt to use AGW as one component of many to predict global temperatures.

    * Catastrophic AGW. This is certainly falsifiable. As is the case with any hypothesis concerning the future, to verify it or falsify it all we have to do is wait. That doesn’t make it a “conjecture” as something distinct from hypothesis or proposition — a conjecture is nothing but a hypothesis you happen to think is poorly or weakly supported and hence it states an opinion, not something quantifiable.

    If we experience a catastrophic warming and the improving science eventually soundly connects a significant part of that warming to anthropogenic CO_2, it will be very likely that it is true after the fact, will it not? Similarly, if CO_2 continues to increase, and temperatures either decrease or stabilize or increase, but not enough to lead to catastrophe, then it will be falsified, will it not? All we have to do is wait! Oh, and improve the GW and AGW science a bit, because we could have a catastrophe and it might not be blamable on AGW, it might have happened anyway. We don’t know the underlying science, and what we don’t know might melt the icecaps over the next century no matter what we do or it could bring about the start of the next ice age, also no matter what we might do. By any of the theories of global climate, some 98-99.9% of global temperature is and will continue to be driven and explained by factors utterly beyond our control, not atmospheric CO_2.

    Indeed, to some extent the Catastrophic hypothesis is being falsified. AGW is occurring and has been occurring at some rate (even if we might not agree on what rate that is), yet objective studies have failed to produce any sort of catastrophic consequences so far! Indeed some of the consequences are counterintuitive — total energy expended in e.g. tropical storms may well be decreasing instead of increasing, perhaps because temperature/pressure differences drive strong winds and more polar warmth or upper atmospheric warmth actually decreases the free energy available to the “engines” that drive hurricanes. Nor is there any evidence of any sort of catastrophic increase in droughts or floods or other extreme and destructive weather events (whatever nonsense Al Gore might spout in public forums). Weather is always extreme, somewhere, literally every day. Weather extremes are usually not catastrophic — most people don’t even notice them because they do no harm. Destructive events have as much of an origin in butterfly effect micro events as they do in any smooth, gradual increase in overall warming.

    In the meantime, to falsify CAGW can simply be done by falsifying GW or falsifying the more extreme claims of AGW. If temperatures decrease by a significant amount on some significant timescale, well, there goes the monotonic GW and CAGW becomes much less likely. If GW continues but at a modest pace, that weakens the AGW claim to the point where CAGW becomes much less likely. To probably falsify CAGW — where the only ultimate proof or disproof can come from waiting, of course — we are stuck with trying to improve the science underlying the claims of GW on a scale longer than 100-150 years (which is increasingly dubious in part because of a lack of raw data, in part because of a lack of reliable proxies, in part because thus far climate researchers have used terrible, non-robust methods to extrapolate the temperature reconstructions of the proxies and deliberately hidden the uncertainties in the process from everyone outside of a select circle). Transparency in this process is greatly needed, if only so that the true uncertainties can be honestly stated, because the uncertainties weaken — or should weaken, in a sane Universe — the case for CAGW.

    To empirically quantify the “A” in AGW, we need first to quantify GW. To quantify GW we need to have reliable and accurate global temperature reconstructions that extend over millennial timescales (if only to get an idea of the true magnitude of global temperature natural variability). To get global temperatures over those timescales we need to get a lot of local temperature reconstructions over those timescales because even on the timescales where we have good data, the north pole warms while the south pole cools, the atlantic warms while the pacific cools, land masses may or may not follow the oceans or poles, the equatorial temperatures don’t necessary vary with anything else in particular — we cannot, it seems, use temperatures from just one proxy dataset or place as a good indicator of global temperatures. See the just-a-few-minutes ago post from Bob Tisdale on reliable SST reconstructions from different oceans — one can easily go up, while others go down!

    This is a difficult problem, in other words, and one that isn’t made any easier by cherrypicking and rampant confirmation bias in the selection of only proxies, locations, and results that seem to “confirm” a previously held belief or that support a previously stated conclusion. At the moment, the fairest answer we have is probably that we do not know what global temperatures were over the last 2000 years, not really. Our probable uncertainties alone are almost certainly as large as the entire reliable GW trend post the invention of the thermometer, the variation from the LIA to the present. A few relatively honest reconstructions show that, but not many, and most don’t even show the error bars post the LIA correctly. We have 30 years worth of reliable global temperature data, period. I might even go for 40. Everything beyond that is dubious even during the 19th and 20th centuries.

    We do know (that it is very probable) that at least some places on the Earth were at least as warm at many points (for intervals centuries long) over the entire Holocene as they are now, variation that cannot reasonably be attributed to CO_2 let alone anthropogenic CO_2. We do know that over the last 1000 years it is very likely that there was at least one warm period where it was close to as warm as it is now (maybe warmer than it is now, but there are large uncertainties), and at least one cold period where it was much colder than it is now. We do know — based on the best existing temperature reconstructions across the entire Holocene that the warmth we are experiencing is probably not remarkable or extreme — it might be, sure, but it isn’t probable that it is because a number of straight up proxy reconstructions suggest that the Holocene Climate Optimum was warmer. The cold experienced in the LIA, on the other hand, was somewhat remarkable across the whole Holocene, suggesting that some fraction of the warming we can RELIABLY observe post-LIA is regression to a warmer mean being driven by processes that have nothing to do with CO_2.

    Considering the entire thermal record, in other words, weakens the CAGW hypothesis when Bayesian reasoning is used. If it was ever, even once as warm as it is now during the Holocene without anthropogenic CO_2, then it is true that natural climate variability can produce warming as extreme as that which we are experiencing. Since we cannot predict the global temperature across the entire Holocene with any model, and really have no friggin’ idea why the temperature in the best reconstructions go up when it goes up, down where it goes down, we cannot really say what the temperature outside should be without ACO_2, and hence cannot use subtraction to empirically confirm how much of the expected and reasonable post-LIA warming is due to CO_2 and how much is due to as yet unknown factors that appear to be capable of causing large shifts in global temperatures over millennial time scales.

    This doesn’t completely weaken the “C”, by the way — it opens up the chance that natural variations will continue to cause temperature increases independent of CO_2 to which any AGW contribution will be added. This might well permit the AGW component to trigger a C. However, the observation that within the recent climate record, temperature extremes are very strongly correlated with extremes in solar state — the LIA with a Maunder (Grand) minimum, the 20th century with an as-yet unnamed Grand maximum, and the empirical observation that the sun has returned to a more normal state of reduced activity and that this may have influenced (decreased) the rate of warming again does weaken the C, independent of the AGW.

    It therefore seems to me that believably quantifying the global temperature record in not only pertinent to GW and AGW, it is quite capable of significantly weakening the entire CAGW hypothesis using Bayesian reasoning, which is as close to “falsification” as one can get with a theory or hypothesis. I’m a bit surprised that no one has reviewed the literature in just this way — the Bayesian argument against CAGW is quite strong, which is why most of you are on this list — because you can intuitively see that there are too many inconsistencies with existing measurement to make the hypothesis very believable even with the observed GW from the end of the Dalton minimum or thereabouts on.

    Or to put it in terms I think everybody on this list would agree with, without the smoking gun of the MBH hockey stick erasing the MWP and LIA, nobody would have given the CAGW hypothesis more than a single glance before rejecting it as being relatively unlikely rather than relatively likely. Even with this hockey stick, graphs of the Holocene temperature reconstructions make the result unlikely. When one realizes that the hockey stick is nothing but transformed white noise and returns to reconstructions where the MWP and LIA once again occur, this should once again reduce degree of belief in the CAGW hypothesis. But at no time is this even formally stated, let alone quantitatively estimated using actual data from reconstructions (that, admittedly, may or may not be reliable, but the lack of reliability again weakens the CAGW hypothesis, it does not strengthen it, as it amplifies the expected noise and variability).

    Scientific propositions are not quite the same as mathematical ones, because the reasoning process one applies is statistical and inferential, not strictly deductive. If I assert that in 28.5 days the moon will return to a position in its orbit very close to its position today, I have stated a very narrowly proscribed hypothesis. It can be falsified or verified — in 28.5 days. In the meantime, I ascribe to it a degree of belief that follows from an involved Bayesian reasoning process that includes hypothesizing a law of gravitation, working out many consequences of this law (one of which is the return of the moon to a nearby orbital position at the end of one approximate period), performing countless experiments that give me confidence that the law itself is probably true.

    On the other hand, a failure of the moon to behave would count as negative evidence for the priors involved in the process that led me to believe in the assertion in the first place. If it gets there in 20 days, bad news for gravity, or calculus, or one of the other unwritten assumptions (no black holes happen to wander by etc).

    This entire process applies just as well to the CAGW hypothesis as it does to my hypothesis about the moon. It is falsifiable (by waiting to see if it comes true). In the meantime we would like to be able to use science and observation to compute an estimate of the probability — at least relative probability — that the hypothesis will be, eventually, verified or falsified. Given an ensemble of Earths in the current state and a distribution of small perturbations and future trajectories of e.g. the state of the sun, how many of those future Earths experience “Catastrophe”? Could be many. Could be none. So far, I’d say nobody knows the answer to this question well enough to peg any number in as the answer.

    Understand?

    rgb

  139. This is a reply from my Member of Parliament on the need for legislation on CAGW secrecy:

    “Thank you very much for your email about the need for legislation in relation to freedom of information regarding climate change science.

    I will raise it with the Government on your behalf and I will send you any reply I receive.

    Yours sincerely

    Bill Wiggin MP”

  140. “Hardin’s “How To Legislate Temperance?” section in The Tragedy of the Commons http://www.sciencemag.org/content/162/3859/1243.full was a reminder to me of the danger of administrative law without corrective feedbacks. Climate Science seems to be missing the internal corrective feedbacks associated with more mature fields of science.”

    Enormously well said. The entire CAGW argument on both sides is about the commons, and it is a part of the tragedy that by its very nature, objectivity is difficult to come by when the commons is involved. No single piece of trash makes the roadways a mess, and ultimately not even large fines suffice to keep all the people from throwing a beer can or drink cup out of the windows of their cars. Hardin’s basic point is proven any time you drive down almost any road in the country. See all the trash? That trash is the clearly visible proof of the tragedy of the commons.

    To me the real tragedy is that it isn’t clear that anything will provide the internal corrective feedbacks in the long run in any arena of human activity that involves a commons with scarce resources. The only counterfoils are rational ethical systems combined with coercion, and even with coercion the problem is not eliminated, it is merely brought into a possibly sustainable balance. Once the fines are large enough, the roadways get clean enough not to be an eyesore. Oh, and education. Well educated people who are brought up to understand the need to regulate the commons are more likely to metaphorically not through their trash out of the window as a rational act because they don’t want to look at trash on the roadway and only by universally practiced restraint — plus coercion of and sanctions applied to defaulters — can we achieve this.

    Of course bear in mind that the CAGW argument is that CO_2 is trash that corrupts the road and that it must be regulated by coercion because it won’t just be an eyesore, it will be a disaster if unchecked. I think that this is why they become so “devout”. I would hypothesize that one of the major constructive purposes of religion in human society is the social regulation of the commons. I would guess that we are evolved to accept socially directed axioms as “religious truths” that regulate the commons by promising reward and threatening punishment, lest the commons be overrun by anarchy and greed and human civilization itself become impossible. Scientists don’t stop being human just because they’ve moved past believing in the literal truth of religious mythology — they remain susceptible to the lure of simple ideas that sound like they ought to be true, and retain the passion for the enforcement of commons-linked behavior.

    Why do we get angry over the Soon and Baliunas/de Frietas paper as discussed in Climategate? Because it is an abuse of an accepted scientific commons (equal and unbiased access to publication, protection of academic freedom for the editor, the authors, the referees). Why do we find “hiding declines” repugnant? Because it is akin to dumping trash from your cars only at night when nobody can see you while during the day preaching about how important it is that the roadways be kept clean and did you see how that de Frietas guy dumped a whole bucket of rotten S&B right there ontot he side of the road. Why do we find it inexcusable that they would know that MBH was a crap result and yet ride its coattails to fame and ever more grants by telling everybody that this pile of car parts and old mattresses was a great sculpture and not roadside trash? Again, an abuse of the commons for personal gain.

    rgb

  141. Dave Springer says:
    December 5, 2011 at 2:52 am
    Roger Knights says:
    December 5, 2011 at 1:50 am

    Google can do whatever it wants. Google doesn’t have the power to levy taxes. I have no doubt that subscription science journals would absolutely love the idea of an unqualified journalcaid program I certainly don’t want to pay for it.

    I failed to explicitly state what my purpose was in citing Google: that the buy-out of the paywall is do-able, without succumbing to massive gaming of the system or stepping onto an unavoidable sharp slippery slope. Assuming the government is less diligent and efficient than Google, and more “game-able,” a near-certainty, that just reduces the benefit-to-cost ratio a bit.

    I estimate the benefits of open-access to science by all the world very high, and the cost of paying-off the paywall as $30 million per year. (I think that is the amount the current organization that collects money and disburses paywalled papers collects. I read about it in an article a month or two ago about a Harvard (?) student who surreptitiously downloaded millions of articles from their website with the intention of posting them freely online.) Think of the benefits to society if we contrarians could freely surf and cite that literature. It’s 1000-to-1. And that’s just one topic.

    Of course, that amount of money per year is something a private foundation could afford–and that would provide lots of bang (social benefit) for the buck. So maybe we should regularly suggest that the Pew, Packard, and Gates foundations should fund this rather than the mostly futile and more expensive crusades they’re on currently. But philanthropists are notoriously unimaginative, as Mencken wrote in an article devoted to that topic, so it’s hopeless to expect anything from them. so the government is likely our only hope.

    I’m more of a conservative than a libertarian on this issue–and many others. (Although my political hero is Gary Johnson, the budget-cutting ex-NM governor. I was a budget-cutter too, when I was student council prez.) That is, I think that the stance regarding government intrusion in the private sector should be one of skepticism, but not outright refusal. I.e., on a case-by-case basis, some intrusion and spending is justified. Anyway, standing fast against intrusive government is like resolutely keeping ones finger in the dike while the waters have risen ones chin. The dike has been breached, in practical terms. Allowing an additional trickle in through that finger-hole won’t make things materially worse. One has to rise above principle on some issues.

  142. Robert Brown,

    Whew! That’s a looong answer to a quibble over definitions. I agree with most of it, but not all. For example, the onus is totally on those claiming the CO2=CAGW conjecture to show, per the scientific method, that human emissions are directly responsible for rising temperatures. But since educated folks can’t even agree on a climate sensitivity number, it is clear that there is no testable evidence showing X amount of warming per Y molecules of CO2 emitted. If there were testable evidence, the argument would be settled. It’s not.

    I have to go out for a while and will complete my response later. In the mean time I’ll leave you with this. And this. As you can see, when a correct, non-arbitrary x-axis is used to show a trend, there is no accelerated warming. The scary charts that use an arbitrary zero line [or any arbitrary temperature line] falsely show accelerating temperatures. It’s a chart trick. They do it deliberately because climate alarmism pays.

  143. Here’s a way to keep my “payfree” subsidy program away from gaming and the slippery slope: Cap its spending at (say) $30 million per year, with a COLA elevator, and a stipulation that the “most scientific” and longest-established journals would go to the head of the line. That would exclude fringe journals and ones recently set up to cash in on the free money.

  144. @Robert Brown
    Have you seen Michael Mann’s piece in the WSJ today? He does not acknowledge any issue at all with MBH98 and the “hockey stick” it seems. What is the process for trying to get him and other climate scientists to confront and address serious statistical criticism of that kind of work?

  145. “Wow, I never would have expected to see so much space on WUWT given to a long-winded Marxist troll, just because he might have a little scientific integrity, or disbelieves the CAGW fairy tale, or refutes the existence of Santa Claus.”

    Why not? It even tolerates all sorts of ad hominem and irrelevant comments. Like yours. Of course your world, however much it is a fantasy that exists in your own mind, is very simple. One is either in agreement with you or “a Marxist”. Please, don’t make me laugh. Marx was an idiot. So was Ayn Rand!. Non-idiocy is somewhere in between.

    Being a non-idiot sometimes means that you need to study things. If you studied things you might then learn, for example, that Michael Faraday (the actual inventor of the electrical generator and co-discoverer and inventor of many other devices that contributed to the development of electricity, see “Faraday’s Law” was originally employed by Humphrey Davy as a chemist. Humphrey Davy was, at the time, employed by the Royal Society — that is, he was supported by the government. Later, Faraday was himself promoted to a position at the Royal Institution, where he was also supported by and did research with the Royal Society. Oops, sounds like government grants to me, not “private industry”. He actually did sometimes work for private industry — as a sideline, as a consultant. I’m guessing that the pay for being one of the greatest physicists and inventing a significant fraction of the basis of modern society then, as now, didn’t pay particularly well.

    You can really go down the list of great science done in the 16-19th centuries. Even though there was significant technology transfer in the 19th century (people like Faraday would invent something fabulous and die a person of modest means, while people like Edison would later make fortunes off of their work) the vast majority of work was done by people who either had their own wealth because they were noble (and hence got a lot of their money in “rents” that were basically taxes) or who worked for the crown. Faraday himself was sufficiently revered that he was given a house and stipend for life so that he retired in relative comfort.

    Maxwell, for example, was the scion of weath and nobility and was funded by the ivory tower (teaching at several colleges) plus various royal awards and grants (plus, no doubt, his inheritance). Coulomb was nobility and worked eventually for the National Institute of France — government supported, in other words. Gauss was born poor (and never felt secure in his support) which was — yes, you guessed it, government support, mixed with University support.

    If you go down any list of fundamental physics and science that underlies modern civilization — if this very short list isn’t convincing enough, we could always add Ampere, born to french nobility (his father lost his head in the revolution) who worked teaching and as a University professor and complete a grand slam of Maxwell’s equations — you will find government support and work that was not done for hire by people working for corporations at the heart of almost all of it. Not 100% — we could look at James Watt — oh, no we couldn’t, employed as an instrument maker at a University when he invented the steam engine, and had great difficulty in commercializing his machine that one day indeed did come to “move the world” a la John Galt. Good thing there was a publicly (and privately) supported University for him to work for or he would have been shoeing horses or plowing fields, you think? Watt is also reknowned as one of the first inventors who had to sue because his invention was blatently stolen by others who then refused to pay his modest royalty. He won, but never recovered the loss.

    Then we could work on the 20th century. We could, for example, read the original paper by Gordon, Zieger and Townes that is considered the invention of the maser. We could then look at the little blurb at the end on how the work was supported. That’s right, folks the maser — and the laser and the internet and the list goes on and on and on — was invented with government support! Sure, Bell Labs got the patents because our government had and continues to have this habit of using our money to pay for something, and then giving the value of that invention to somebody else who then charges us for it. I’m not criticizing this — it works well enough — but don’t even think of pretending that some company was at risk on the time and resources that went in to most of the most famous inventions of the last 500 years. In the specific cases of Henry Ford, of Edison, maybe, although again a huge amount of GE’s work has been federally funded at some point or another, a lot of Ford’s stuff had some measure of government contracts behind it, if not actual federal funding.

    There is no doubt that some inventions are still done the old-fashioned romantic idealized way — somebody has a good idea and pays to develop it, or works for a company that really is farsighted and deep-pocketed and lets them work on something that isn’t a trivial improvement on things that already work so that they can make sure money without all that nasty risk — but generally speaking companies are risk averse and prefer for somebody else to bear the majority of the risk, so that they can then step in and reap the reward (if any). Yet another abuse of the commons, but so very, very common. But sure it happens the other way, the “honest” way too, sometimes.

    Honestly, I think that the Faraday approach is a bit more ethical in the case of publicly supported work. Give an inventor who invents something while publicly supported additional support “for life” that in some way reflects the value of the invention and then put the invention, and/or the science behind it in the public domain since the public, after all, paid for it. Then let anybody who wants to make a product out of it, but without the unearned exclusive rights that should correctly go to somebody who risks their own resources developing something. Or, let them do the work in their spare time, at their own risk, or at the risk of whoever they can find to support them while they work. And the very best of luck with that, don’t quit your day job.

    Oh, by the way, I’m an entrepreneur with one failed company and one not-yet failed company under my belt. I lost a chunk my own damn money in the first failure (plus uncounted hours of sweat equity). I’m at risk of a huge amount of sweat in the second one. I can tell you all about risk and reward. I have had, and have now, no government support for my entrepreneurial activities beyond support for doing specific research in something else and teaching for many years, and some tiny fraction of the support that the government gives to all Universities that enables them to exist in the first place. So your calling me a “Marxist” is not only ad hominem and irrelevant to bringing transparency to climate research, and very irrelevant to any discussion of the value of government funded science, basic or otherwise (where a simpler approach might be to just read some papers and look at the little bits at the end where the sources of support are acknowledged, or look over really important patents that aren’t e.g. turning a Mobius strip into a belt that wears on both sides, it is so wrong it is really a bit funny.

    rgb

  146. D.S. states something like: “I’d thought this was common knowledge amongst the more literate. I guess I was wrong about that.”

    Oh, thank you for inserting a link to an article that clearly indicates that it was the advantageous economics of slavery that was perhaps the most important cause of the Civil War, not slavery itself. Certainly one of the most important causes. I was confused on that point — I thought they just wanted to own lots of human beings on those big plantations because it was fun, or they liked collecting and trading people the way kids like to trade Magic cards nowadays. I had no idea that they were afraid that they couldn’t afford to economically maintain their stately “southern” way of life without large numbers of workers with a high cash value, paid quite literally a subsistence wage with no way to quit so that it was all economics.

    Of course, if you ask yourself “If slavery was not an issue, because it had been outlawed in the constitution at the time the Republic was founded, would the Civil War have occurred?” it is a bit difficult to come up with a plausible reason why it would have occurred. It took a lot of passion to drive the southern states to secession, and the notion that the Northerner were interfering with their property rights was a major driver. See, you’re right, economics! Of course, the fact that the property in question was exclusively human beings — not factories, money, land, clothing, houses — is irrelevant, it’s the property part that matters. I’m sure that the southerners were equally certain that the Northerners were getting ready to come on down and seize their plantations and houses and other forms of property as well or take their pants away from them if they wore them into a “pants free” Northern state. The latter would surely make me want to secede.

    The causes of the Civil War were complex — FWIW, in the middle of watching its history on Netflix, so a lot of this is very much up to date in my mind — and there were other issues, other points of conflict, perhaps the greatest of which was that the South was less concerned with industrial production and preferred a rural “gentrified” way of life, close to Thomas Jefferson’s ideal. So sure, you can always point to this, point to that, and say “they helped cause the Civil War and there might well be some truth to it.

    Unfortunately, the true cost of that way of life included human slavery; with the slaves went the high profit margins and wealth, with the wealth went the way of life. Frankly, it still offends me to hear someone state that the most important single (proximate) cause of the Civil War wasn’t slavery. Everything else, all the other points of potential conflict, were not only negotiable, they wasn’t the sort of thing one could get passionate about, especially when it was a long way from New York to Mississippi so that what happened in New York or Washington didn’t matter much in Mississippi. Another major factor was that neither side had any clue about just how damn bloody and horrific the war was going to be — war was still viewed romantically by both sides, and both sides were confident that they could quickly beat the other. There wasn’t enough disincentive to prevent the war and motivate cheaper, more humane, more peaceful resolution.

    It is also quite true that the North’s early motivation carefully excluded emancipation and focused on holding the Union together for lots of reasons that were both economic and political; it was already clear that slavery was doomed as a way of life and nothing but moral pressure and a refusal to acknowledge the ownership of human property once it crossed the line into a free state was enough to bring it down eventually. Also, while in the North blacks were free, they were far from equal citizens and they weren’t, for example, permitted to fight in the Civil War.

    Even so, the primary point of conflict was slavery, even for the North — they surely weren’t fighting to try to prevent the south from industrializing or to take any other sort of property rights away. Lincoln would, apparently, have reluctantly left the slaves to rot if by doing so he could have preserved the Union, at least at first, because with the Union intact slavery was going to end anyway — in thirty, fifty, a hundred years. In a United States it could not endure as an institution much longer, as the greater political power and population and wealth of the North gradually weakened the South’s ability to maintain it and hence their “way of life”. But the propertied elite in the South knew this as well as the North, and knew equally well that a separate south could preserve the institution far, far longer — perhaps indefinitely.

    The whole economy was ultimately tied back to that propertied elite, and even the local version of Christianity had worked out easy ways of justifying the ownership of blacks as being a God given right (the Old Testament openly endorses slavery, including brutal slavery, and the New Testament doesn’t say a word against it aside from advising slaves to obey their masters). Throw in a touch of regional pride (statism), blind yourself to the moral realities and costs of your decisions and the war was inevitable once Lincoln was elected.

    Oh, and finally, one could also read Lincoln’s Republican National Platform — see if you can find the provisions that caused the civil war. To make it easy for you, I’ll just copy them here:

    7. That the new dogma, that the Constitution, of its own force, carries Slavery into any or all of the Territories of the United States, is a dangerous political heresy, at variance with the explicit provisions of that instrument itself, with contemporaneous exposition, and with legislative and judicial precedent; is revolutionary in its tendency, and subversive of the peace and harmony of the country.

    8. That the normal condition of all the territory of the United States is that of freedom; That as our Republican fathers, when they had abolished Slavery in all our national territory, ordained that “no person should be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” it becomes our duty, by legislation, whenever such legislation is necessary, to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it; and we deny the authority of Congress, of a territorial legislature, or of any individuals, to give legal existence to Slavery in any Territory of the United States.

    9. That we brand the recent re-opening of the African slave-trade, under the cover of our national flag, aided by perversions of judicial power, as a crime against humanity and a burning shame to our country and age; and we call upon Congress to take prompt and efficient measures for the total and final suppression of that execrable traffic.

    10. That in the recent vetoes, by their Federal Governors, of the acts of the Legislatures of Kansas and Nebraska, prohibiting Slavery in those Territories, we find a practical illustration of the boasted Democratic principle of Non- Intervention and Popular Sovereignty, embodied in the Kansas-Nebraska bill, and a demonstration of the deception and fraud involved therein.

    Good luck at finding a Casus Belli in the rest of it.

    rgb

  147. Mr. Brown:

    You keep “proving” that there wouldn’t be any roads if the government didn’t build them, by arguing: See? All these roads are built by the government!

  148. It would be nice to know exactly why FOIA failed so dramatically to stop warmers from commandeering this discussion over the last 50 years. (FOIA started in the 60′s, I believe?)

    Mr. Brown, I wonder if you could briefly explain what you state in your headline, namely that the “FOIA is not enough”.

    As a bystander forced to listen to the ongoing drumbeat of AGW catastrophists over the last four or five years, I’m aware of the frustrating (frustrated) FOIA requests for data, codes and methods from the scientists who are proclaiming the future catastrophe. Much of this was referenced, if a bit sketchily by CA readers. It appears that the FOIA, however sincerely endorsed by succeeding administrations, is 10% law and 90% exemptions. http://www.justice.gov/oip/foia_guide09.htm

    I am also in favor of transparency. And I’m also fond of saying, “There oughta be a law… (for various societal problems)” But since there already is a law which ostensibly provides us with access to this information, I guess it would be useful to know how / whether that law can still be employed to the ends for which it was designed – casting some light on this science. To that end:

    Why is FOIA “not enough”?; how has this federal law failed us people in the commons? (or, if you wish)
    Why is creating a new law mandating compliance better than giving some teeth to the existing FOIA?

    Thank you.

  149. Robert Brown,

    This isn’t about slavery, your original article was about the impotence of the FOIA. It’s very difficult to find all the grants that flow into “climate studies”. I’ve tried. Here are just a few, since MBH98 was submitted for publication:

    Some of Michael Mann’s grants [not a complete list]:

    Development of a Northern Hemisphere Gridded Precipitation Dataset Spanning the Past Half Millennium for Analyzing Interannual and Longer-Term Variability in the Monsoons, 
$250,000

    Quantifying the influence of environmental temperature on transmission of vector-borne diseases, 
$1,884,991

    Toward Improved Projections of the Climate Response to Anthropogenic Forcing: Combining Paleoclimate Proxy and Instrumental Observations with an Earth System Model, 
$541,184

    A Framework for Probabilistic Projections of Energy-Relevant Streamflow Indices, 
$330,000

    AMS Industry/Government Graduate Fellowship, 
$23,000

    Climate Change Collective Learning and Observatory Network in Ghana, $759,928

    Analysis and testing of proxy-based climate reconstructions,
 $459,000

    Constraining the Tropical Pacific’s Role in Low-Frequency Climate Change of the Last Millennium, 
$68,065

    Acquisition of high-performance computing cluster for the Penn State Earth System Science Center (ESSC), 
$100,000

    Decadal Variability in the Tropical Indo-Pacific: Integrating Paleo & Coupled Model Results,
 $102,000

    Reconstruction and Analysis of Patterns of Climate Variability Over the Last One to Two Millennia,
 $315,000

    Remote Observations of Ice Sheet Surface Temperature: Toward Multi-Proxy Reconstruction of Antarctic Climate Variability,
 $133,000

    Paleoclimatic Reconstructions of the Arctic Oscillation,
 $14,400

    Global Multidecadal-to-Century-Scale Oscillations During the Last 1000 years, $20,775

    Resolving the Scale-wise Sensitivities in the Dynamical Coupling Between Climate and the Biosphere,
 $214,700

    Advancing predictive models of marine sediment transport,
 $20,775

    Multiproxy Climate Reconstruction: Extension in Space and Time, and Model/Data
    Intercomparison,
 $381,647

    Detecting and understanding climatic change,
 $266,235

    Patterns of Organized Climatic Variability: Spatio-Temporal Analysis of Globally Distributed Climate Proxy Records and Long-term Model Integrations,
 $270,000

    Investigation of Patterns of Organized Large-Scale Climatic Variability During the Last Millennium, 
$78,000

    Total: $6,232,700

    And a few selected Briffa grants:

    £106,423: ECOCHANGE- Challenges in assessing and forecasting biodivesity and ecosystem changes in Europe

    
£125,000: Climate Change – Fellow 1 -modelling of the Earth’s climate

    
£123,789: Process-based methods in the interpretation of tree-growth/ climate relationships

    £121,880: To What Extent Was The Little Ice Age A Result Of A Change In The Thermohaline Circulation?

    
£226,981: Quantitative applications of high resolution late Holocene proxy data sets: estimating climate sensitivity and thermohaline circulation influences

    
£3,732: Statistical calibration of Eurasian tree ring records [Calibrate tree rings!!]

    
£1,000: ARC (Academic Research Collaboration): Long tree ring chronologies in the Alps.

    A few more recent CRU grants:

    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/research/grants.htm

    This is a titanic waste of taxpayer resources. But it also shows why Penn State closed ranks behind Mann, unethically whitewashing his scientific misconduct. Mann is the rainmaker who brought in the payola. So they faced a choice:

    a) Do an honest investigation

    b) Sell their souls

    We know which one they chose.

    Finally, regarding the mistaken idea that government must be involved in everything, keep in mind that:

    1. Government is force

    2. Good ideas do not have to be forced on others

    3. Bad ideas should not be forced on others

    4. Liberty, both personal and economic, is necessary for the difference between good ideas and bad ideas to be revealed

    You could pay $100,000 for an Econ education and never learn that. But you learned it here at WUWT. Government is a necessary evil. But it is still evil. The framers of the Constitution knew that. So smaller government is better. More local is better. And we do not need government regulating most facets of our lives. The U.S.A. did not become a great country because of big government. That came later, and as a direct result we are now in decline.

    President Eisenhower warned of the grave danger of a government techno-elite. That time has arrived. Incompetent scientific charlatans like Mann and Jones are lavishly rewarded, while much more deserving science is starved of funds. I noticed a report of a large asteroid recently passing between the moon and the earth. Asteroids can be deflected if they’re spotted in time. Where’s the money to prepare for that very real danger? Answer: it’s being wasted on “climate studies”.

  150. Robert Brown;
    If you go down any list of fundamental physics and science that underlies modern civilization >>>

    Robert, as much as I am impressed with your writing, you keep making the same errors over and over again.

    Your examples of various physcists doing ground breaking work while being public servants makes the point I raised earlier. Theoretical (or, to use your word, fundamental), research should be funded by government. I have no problem with that. But the MOMENT the research moves from fundamental to research to APPLIED research, there is now a profit motive. Where there is money, there is corruption.

    Once we’re talking about research to serve an applied purpose, there is conflict. The funding body cannot possibly regulate the research body that it is funding! It is paying the research body to come up with an applicable result as asked for by the funding body. Is the researcher going to go back to the funding body and say the actual results are the opposite of what they want? He’s risking his job to do so, particularly if the funding body is politicaly motivated. They’ll just keep firing researchers and hiring new ones until they get one who tells them what they want to hear. What happens if the researcher, under pressure to keep his job, fakes his results? You think the funding body will take him to task? Not a chance! They paid the researcher to tell them what they wanted to hear, and the moment they heard it, it became fact in their minds.

    Worse, if the funding body and the research body are doing applied science, they are competing with the private sector. If the funding body is the regulator, and also a competitor, do you think the funding/regulator will apply the same standards to themselves as they do to the competition?

    Worse still, the larger an organization is, the more difficult it is for that organization to allow good ideas to thrive. Take a look at the technology industry. The giants started out as innovators. Somewhere along the way, they lost the ability to innovate. Those who are good innovators are rarely good at internal politics. Lest they become powerful, the internal fiefdoms bury their ideas. Start up companies are frequently founded by people who became frustrated trying to get the companies they worked for to listen, and struck out on their own. Similarly, take a look at “new” technology from major companies. With a bit of research, you’ll soon find that very little of it was developed “in house”. It is almost always an acquisition with a new logo on the acquired company’s product because internal politics buried all the internal options that the company had to build something of their own.

    These are the reasons that for applied science, the funder, the researcher, and the regulator should be separate. These are the reasons that fundamental research should be government funded, but applied research should not. These are the reasons that climate science, the biggest “applied science” project in history, has become poisoned by politics and the these are the reasons that the regulatory systems that should have reigned in the dispicable behaviour we have witnessed failed to do so.

  151. Gail Combs says:
    December 5, 2011 at 9:11 am

    December 2006 “In the EU, there is now a list of ‘official’ vegetable varieties. Seed that is not on the list cannot be ‘sold’ to the ‘public’ To keep something on the list costs thousands of pounds each year…Hundreds of thousands of old heirloom varieties (the results of about eleven thousand years of plant breeding by our ancestors) are being lost forever . http://www.defra.gov.uk/planth/pvs/pbr/app-procedure.htm & http://www.realseeds.co.uk/terms.html & http://www.euroseeds.org/pdf/ESA_03.0050.1.pdf”

    However the DEFRA link { http://www.defra.gov.uk/planth/pvs/pbr/app-procedure.htm } is no longer any good. Do you have a better link?

    I can’t find a page that matches that, but got this page up in searching the old pages: http://search.defra.gov.uk/search?q=planth+pbr&btnG=Google+Search&access=p&client=default_frontend&output=xml_no_dtd&proxystylesheet=default_frontend&sort=date%3AD%3AL%3Ad1&entqr=0&entsp=a__defra_policy&oe=UTF-8&ie=UTF-8&ud=1&site=default_collection

    The second is:
    Defra, UK – Science Search … meetings. Further information about UK PBR can be obtained from Defra`s web
    site at http://defra.gov.uk/planth/pvs/pbrguide.htm. Contact …
    randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&Module=More&Location=None&Completed=0&ProjectID=11361 – 20k – Cached
    [ More results from randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx ]

    which is: http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&Module=More&Location=None&Completed=0&ProjectID=11361

    “Plant Breeders` Rights (PBR) are a form of intellectual property protection available to breeders. A grant of PBR can be made in respect of any plant species. UK PBR is under the control of The Controller of Plant Variety Rights, who is also a senior Defra official.
    In order to qualify for Plant Breeders` Rights a candidate must be shown to be distinct from any other varieties of the species in common knowledge, uniform and stable ie DUS.”

    and which has a url on it to: http://defra.gov.uk/planth/pvs/pbrguide.htm

    which comes back to page not found.. :)

    In the plants and seeds section there are a number of studies, the names of the organisations might help you here.

    http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&Module=ProjectList&Completed=0&FOSID=23

    This page has list of organisations who do DEFRA testing, there might be some who have the old pages, perhaps in documents.

    http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&Module=Contractor&Completed=0

    Perhaps easier, a couple of years ago DEFRA was trying to sell off the national apple collection into private hands, bit of stink ensued and even Chas stepped in, it’s now being looked after by the University of Reading, perhaps they’d be able to help you with background info about DEFRA plants and seed from its library, or know a man who can: http://www.reading.ac.uk/about/newsandevents/releases/PR17720.aspx

    Also I had seen in my reading where Monsanto got someone on the board of one of the seed saving clubs and “stole” their entire bank of seed genetics so they can patent it. Do you have a link to that?

    I recall reading that.., but where..?

    I was interested because I used to belong to such a club many years ago, small one, (not allowed to buy seeds because illegal, but through membership given a choice of some packets every year). I’ll have a look for it, meanwhile, some other Monsanto shenanigans for any that are interested, gives a flavour of the problem farmers have with them: http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=monsanto&printerfriendly=true

    After researching the history of seed patenting I want NO laws about science. It is better to have a completely free internet and go after the propaganda machines we call the MSM.

    FRAUD, Miss use of Government funds and Government PROPERTY ~ Phil Jones lost GOVERNMENT PROPERTY when he “Misplaced the raw data set” ~ is really all that is needed.

    I wonder if the mystery email man has anything on the raw data?

    OH and honest politicians and judges.

    :) you don’t want much then..

  152. Gail – while I’ve got the pages up,

    http://www.infowars.com/monsanto-trying-to-take-over-world-seed-supply-nation-by-nation/

    beginning to fight back:

    http://gmo-journal.com/index.php/2011/06/02/more-organic-growers-join-the-suit-against-monsanto/

    http://www.naturalnews.com/031922_Monsanto_lawsuit.html

    A link from the last which explains where the amazingly resistant to antibiotics e-coli came to be: http://www.naturalnews.com/032622_ecoli_bioengineering.html

    If you recall recently there was an outbreak in Germany which the Germans immediately blamed on the Spanish, who suffered financial loss as a result before they could clear their name, and then after some other German sources accused, finally nailed to some sprout farm. At the time I was reading about melanin (looking at how uv works), and was amazed to find what an amazing substance it was in us and found that there are labs trying to synthesise it and so on, one of the ways of growing it is on e-coli, I bet there’s a lab next to the German outbreak, just as there was in Mexico where swine flu just appeared and killed many. But like the bird flu ‘epidemic’ in China, it just didn’t have wings to spread around the world, the pigs wouldn’t fly, but they managed to get rid of the vaccine stock anyway.. At least, it was bought up by the health service in Britain for rather a lot of money, who ended up with stockpile no one wanted regardless of the big scare campaigns in press and on tv. In Scotland they put every case of death by flu, there’s always some every year, down to swine flu.

    Found it again – this is a fascinating look at melanin: http://www.blackherbals.com/melanin_and_bio_nanotechnology.htm

    And especially for the Americans here: http://www.naturalnews.com/034291_SB_1867_war_on_terror.html

  153. Prof Brown,

    I said I would complete my post upthread later. Later is now.

    Regarding chart tricks, when a zero baseline is used it shows rapidly accelerating recent temperatures. It is an artefact of that type of chart and its x-axis, which Michael Mann used to stunning visual effect in his [repeatedly falsified] hockey stick chart. In reality, however, we are still on the same rising trend line we have been on since the bottom of the LIA. There has been no unusual acceleration in global warming, despite a ≈40% increase in CO2.

    This chart shows what is really happening. The LIA was one of the coldest episodes of the entire Holocene. The planet is still emerging from it. Yes, human CO2 emissions probably have a small effect, but natural variability, as expressed in the long term trend, is the primary reason for the temperature rise. Can there be any doubt after seeing a trend chart, versus a zero baseline chart?

    Finally, I have proposed the following hypothesis repeatedly, without any takers:

    At current and projected concentrations, CO2 is harmless and beneficial.

    That hypothesis is testable and falsifiable. Simply show, via the Scientific Method, global harm as a direct consequence of human-emitted CO2 [around 3% of all CO2 emisions]. Up to now no one has even tried to falsify that hypothesis, because there is no evidence of global harm from anthropogenic CO2. Thus, CO2 is ipso facto harmless.

    And there is ample evidence that more CO2 is beneficial to the biosphere:

    click1
    click2
    click3
    [Many similar links available on request.]

    The facts that deconstruct the CO2=CAGW conjecture are readily available. They are empirical, and testable. That is why the alarmist crowd avoids honest, open debates. The facts simply do not support their conjectures.

  154. Robert Brown says:
    December 5, 2011 at 10:58 am
    “Right. CAGW [and for that matter, AGW] are not hypotheses, because they are neither testable nor falsifiable. They are at the conjecture stage of the scientific method.”

    Not strictly true. They are both testable and falsifiable. They are being tested, and may turn out to be false — or true.

    It’s just that it is going to take time to test them. If you want me to break this down into small pieces, I’m happy to do so.

    * GW — the hypothesis that the world has warmed since the LIA is testable, and is almost certainly true. It could be false, I suppose, but the direct evidence of many actual thermometers suggests that it is true.

    * AGW — the hypothesis that some of that net warming is due to increased CO_2 concentration is almost certainly true! Not “90%, or “97%” — 99.999% certain. In order for it to be false, all sorts of falsifiable physics would have to be false. Again, this is an error made all too often on this blog that does not increase its credibility. I understand the human tendency to (over)simplify and say “AGW is false” or “AGW is an unsupported, unfalsifiable hypothesis” when what they mean is that the assertion that the anthropogenic component to the total average global temperature has not reliably been shown to be larger than X%, but this is not the way science operates.

    Carbon Dioxide lags temperature by c 800 years – countless studies show this, it’s on the graph used by Gore, the Vostok data. During those hundreds of thousands of years the graph covers there have been several massive temperature changes as every 100,000 years or or so we move from being in the depths of the Ice Age we are currently still in, into brief respites of interglacials lasting around 15,000 years when the stupendous amounts of ice covering us in our Ice Age melts and raises sea level over 300 ft because of dramatic rises in temperature at the beginning of interglacials. And then we move back into the Ice Age proper, another period of dramatic sea level drops as it piles on top of us as ice a mile or two thick. All the while carbon dioxide levels lag behind by around 800 years, and, do look at the Vostok graph, unless you can prove that carbon dioxide has some magical capability of creating these dramatic rises and falls in temperatures 800 years before it makes a move one way or the other, you have not provided any testable hypothesis.

    All you have provided here, and the rest of your post is likewise, is wishful thinking. By all testable properties, carbon dioxide is incapable of being what the claims from AGW say of it. For example, how is it possible ‘carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere’? For a start it’s heavier than air and so will always displace air and head for the ground, and then also it’s fully part of the Water Cycle, spontaneously combining with water vapour which condenses out to fall as rain, all pure rain is carbonic acid. In other words water vapour is continually taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. What is the Water Cycle? It is the main greenhouse gas cooling the Earth.

    Anyway lighter than air, water vapour absorbs heat at the surface and rises with it into the cooler levels of the atmosphere where it releases its heat and condenses out into rain or ice, and carbon dioxide is fully part of that.

    As it rises colder air from above displaces it, that’s how winds are formed, again cooling the Earth. Without the water cycle the Earth would by 67°C not the 15°C it is, so, the main greenhouse gas cools the Earth, it doesn’t heat it, or rather, it’s cooling role is so much greater than any warming it may give, temporary cloud slowing heat loss by convection and so on, that it is a misnomer to say that ‘greenhouse’ gases warm the Earth. The Earth would be 52°C hotter without the Water Cycle, and, even if carbon dioxide wasn’t part and parcel of that, what possible significant effect could it have in counteracting the 52°C of cooling the water cycle is producing?

    That’s why AGW excludes the Water Cycle in the energy budget. Too much reality brought into the claims would show that an AGW hypothesis for carbon dioxide isn’t even on the cards. The AGW claim isn’t built on solid physics. Actually, it’s not built on any real physics at all, it’s all fiction, describing a fictional world.

    To put it a very simple way that is easy to understand, there is an S-shaped (logistic) function that represents P(x) (true) of the hypothesis that anthropogenic CO_2 is responsible for at least x degrees C of the temperature anomaly. I think that any reasonable scientist who knows enough to make an informed judgement would agree that …..

    Understand?

    Do you?

  155. Myrrh;
    For example, how is it possible ‘carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere’? For a start it’s heavier than air and so will always displace air and head for the ground>>>

    Dust is heavier than air too, yet there’s a considerable amount of it at considerable heights. Really Myrrh, if you are going to lecture on physics, don’t you think it is about time that you actually read some physics texts as I and many others have encouraged you to do?

    The question isn’t can CO2 do one thing or another, the question is, it it significant compared to other factors? It matters not if Robert Brown is 100% correct but the amount is so small that it can’t be measured and his statement would still be correct. So, let’s focus on what we’ve measured, and what it tells us about how significant CO2 is (or isn’t).

  156. davidmhoffer says:
    December 5, 2011 at 9:59 pm
    Myrrh;
    For example, how is it possible ‘carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere’? For a start it’s heavier than air and so will always displace air and head for the ground>>>

    Dust is heavier than air too, yet there’s a considerable amount of it at considerable heights. Really Myrrh, if you are going to lecture on physics, don’t you think it is about time that you actually read some physics texts as I and many others have encouraged you to do?

    The question isn’t can CO2 do one thing or another, the question is, it it significant compared to other factors? It matters not if Robert Brown is 100% correct but the amount is so small that it can’t be measured and his statement would still be correct. So, let’s focus on what we’ve measured, and what it tells us about how significant CO2 is (or isn’t).

    Yeah right, I’m going to be lectured by those who have no idea of scale or properties, dust settles. Perhaps you and those who think to educate me should get themselves and duster and do some housework, practical physics experience..

    Carbon dioxide is insignificant in the whole of this, whatever heat it takes up in the atmosphere it will either give it water spontaneously, you do understand what spontaneous means in the physics don’t you?, like heat spontaneously always flowing from the hotter to the colder.., and so be part of the great cooling of the EArth by ‘greenhouse’ gases, or, it will, like heavier than air dust, sink, to where plants expect it to be since they have evolved with stomata on the underside of their leaves to capture it. Carbon dioxide can’t help but sink in the atmosphere displacing air, because it is heavier than air. It takes work, wind etc., to alter that. Just as methane and water vapour, both lighter than air will rise, separating out from the rest of the bulk of the great heavy volume of the fluid gaseous atmosphere we have above us, the ocean of gas bearing down on us a ton per sq foot.

    It doesn’t matter if Brown isn’t 100% correct, as long as he keeps it to himself and stops pretending he knows what he’s talking about..

  157. Myrrh;
    Yeah right, I’m going to be lectured by those who have no idea of scale or properties, dust settles. Perhaps you and those who think to educate me should get themselves and duster and do some housework, practical physics experience..>>>

    Think it through Myrrh. There is ALWAYS dust in the atmosphere. If it “settles” how is it that there is always dust in the atmosphere?

  158. Dave Springer says:
    December 5, 2011 at 2:15 am

    Gail Combs wrote: “The Civil war was not fought over slavery it was fought over economics. BTW. there are more slaves in the world today than ever before.”
    ………
    Robert Brown, with an as yet undetermined appendage responds: “Oh?”
    ………
    Oh yes!

    http://www.historycentral.com/CivilWar/AMERICA/Economics.html

    I thought this was common knowledge amongst the more literate. I guess I was wrong about that.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Thank you Dave, I really did not want to have to go digging around for a reference on that. The flat statement “The Civil War was fought over slavery” irritates the heck out of me.

    ECONOMICS aka money is the driver behind practically everything. The rest is just window dressing to placate the masses.

  159. Robert Brown says: @ December 4, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    ….Right, but at some point you have to wake up to the fact that we are nowhere near any path to a world government.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    WHAT the heck planet are you living on??? OH, that is right you are in some Ivory tower divorced from reality.

    I have been following “Global Governance” for close to a decade. The World Trade Organization in conjunction with the FAO and OIE are WRITING the US food regulations and have been since 1996!

    This is from the FDA in 2008 BEFORE the blasted Food Safety Modernization Act was passed in 2010 in a lame duck session. ALL the regulations farmers are going to be saddled with were written by the WTO and UN between 1996 and now. They were not and are not written by AMERICANS. They were not written with ANY imput from American Farmers.

    International Harmonization

    http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~comm/int-laws.html

    The harmonization of laws, regulations and standards between and among trading partners requires intense, complex, time-consuming negotiations by CFSAN officials. Harmonization must simultaneously facilitate international trade and promote mutual understanding, while protecting national interests and establish a basis to resolve food issues on sound scientific evidence in an objective atmosphere. Failure to reach a consistent, harmonized set of laws, regulations and standards within the freetrade agreements and the World Trade Organization Agreements can result in considerable economic repercussions…..

    The UN has a commission on global governance where the surrendering of national sovereignty is openly discussed. The CIA, thanks to a FOIA, released a report “Global Governance 2025 at a Critical Juncture” http://www.dni.gov/nic/PDF_2025/2025_Global_Governance.pdf

    “Global Governance isn’t a tin foil hat conspiracy it is the WTO and UN writing laws/regulations that are then shoved down out throats whether we want them or not.

  160. davidmhoffer says:
    December 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm
    Myrrh;
    Yeah right, I’m going to be lectured by those who have no idea of scale or properties, dust settles. Perhaps you and those who think to educate me should get themselves and duster and do some housework, practical physics experience..>>>

    Think it through Myrrh. There is ALWAYS dust in the atmosphere. If it “settles” how is it that there is always dust in the atmosphere?

    No, there’s not “ALWAYS dust in the atmosphere”, something some people living in the real world used to understand very well and they’d hold rain dances to put dust in the air..

    ..but you wouldn’t know about the water cycle if you think the AGWSF KT97 cartoon energy budget describes the physics of this world.

    But of course, we see all around us that the constant volcanic eruptions and fires over countless centuries has led to such an accumulation of dust in the atmosphere because heavier than air dust and CO2 defy gravity to form thick blankets that we’re in a permanent year without a summer and have run out of oxygen because the plants at ground level don’t have the money for a plane ride around the sky to get their fix. Which planet do you live on?

    As dscott put it so well: “What we have here is the classic false proof, where the assumption at the outset of logical thought process is incorrect. In typical fashion you scientific types run with the flawed assumptions, apply flawless logic and then end up with a false conclusion.” http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/09/29/1-k-or-not-1-k-that-is-the-question-2/#comment-755585

    Or as I would finish it, end up with a really dumb, idiotic, fictional world…

    where there’s no sound in the atmosphere because it’s empty space because there’s no layer of voluminous fluid gaseous ocean to stop the ideal gas molecules zipping around at tremendous speeds thoroughly mixing as they bounce off each other in elastic collisions..

    ..and wind is the gods at the four corners blowing at each creating a continuous turbulence further mixing up the weightless volumeless gas molecules which are somehow not constantly flying off the earth because there’s nothing to keep them here..

    Your basics are junk physics, and gigo applies to all your conclusions. And if you’re getting this from the “physics texts books” you think I should be reading then you should be dumping them and getting back to real world traditional physics which has internal coherence.

  161. I don’t believe a word of it.

    It does not matter how much transparency there is in the research data or the methods or in the correctness of the research conclusions. The land of the skeptic will not accept AGW. No way no how.

    The reason for that conclusion is simple. There is already a huge amount of data and code available in the public arena. Adding more will make no difference. The land of the skeptic has not even attempted a fair assessment of what is already there. When they have looked and found there was nothing to complain about they simply started a spin cycle.

  162. Myrrh’s uneddicated threadjacking strikes again. Blech.

    Back on-topic, more or less,

    JK says:
    December 2, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Much of this is fair enough. But are scientists more or less likely to embrace complete openess if they are concerned that many people are looking for evidence to send them to the state penitentiary?

    I guess it depends on whether there’s anything to find. Since there almost certainly is, we can expect their resistance to be “to the death”.

  163. I think b) and c) deal with enforcement and punishment. They don’t excite me too much. On the other hand, a) is very important.

    Note that judging for c) is a tricky issue and scientific communities already punish those who are found to have been dishonest. Many “outsiders” have produced works that arguably have been dishonest. Who judges? Are we going to have gangs of hackers trying to break into everyone’s computers or have wealthy people bribe staff left and right to try and sink a scientist they don’t like?

    Off topic.. Myrrh, you almost appear to be a bit dishonest.

    The comment thread http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/26/does-the-trenberth-et-al-%E2%80%9Cearth%E2%80%99s-energy-budget-diagram%E2%80%9D-contain-a-paradox/#comment-824303 came to an end, but I noticed you ignored my questions in your last words.

    It is not my fault if we prove you are wrong. You don’t appear to have a good grasp of science (or are dishonest, worse) and so fail to see that in fact people everywhere are teaching theories that contradict your claims.

    When we ask questions or make valid replies and you ignore them or can’t answer them, it seems you understand that we are proving our point.

  164. …. Myrrh, do you even read what you find on the web?

    From the very link you provided yourself, again you fail to realize that it proves our point.

    http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/2004-05/1085667837.Ph.r.html

    > Infrared IR energy and ultra violet (UV) energy is carried by photons.

    > Dielectrics (insulators) such as glass have tightly bound electrons and when a photon hits a surface atom it can be absorbed as heat (absorption), or …

    > We have all seen visible light absorbed

    Read the original for context if you want, but note:
    a) It suggests visible light is carried by photons (you will find this claim all over the Internet in respectable sites).
    b) It says photons can be “absorbed as heat” within the glass.
    c) It says they have seen visible light absorbed.

    Then from the other link you provided in your last comment http://www.antonine-education.co.uk/physics_gcse/Unit_1/Topic_5/topic_5_what_are_the_uses_and_ha.htm

    > Different wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation are reflected, absorbed or transmitted differently by different substances and types of surface.
    > When radiation is absorbed the energy it carries makes the substance which absorbs it hotter and may create an alternating current with the same frequency as the radiation itself.

    > When an electromagnetic wave (radiation) hits a material, it can be:
    > reflected, like light in a mirror;
    > absorbed, like heat absorbed by a black surface;
    > transmitted, or passed on, like light passing through glass.

    > Sometimes two, or even all three processes can occur.

    > When energy is absorbed by a surface, it heats up.

    > A dark painted metal surface absorbs radio and light waves.

    > Wax can transmit microwaves, but absorbs light waves.

    From a link I provided earlier http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/mod3.html that you apparently didn’t read carefully despite later trying to use it.

    > While exposure to visible light causes heating, it does not cause ionization with its risks.

    And that same section stated a little earlier

    > The primary mechanism for the absorption of visible light photons is the elevation of electrons to higher energy levels. There are many available states, so visible light is absorbed strongly.

    So it is clear that (a) visible light is absorbed strongly, (b) leads to electron transitions, AND (c) “causes heating”.

    Myrrh, over and over I quote websites stating this same theme. I pointed to NASA, Harvard, numerous other educational sites, and even found evidence in the very links you provided. We can keep going on and on with me/us providing more links, with you ignoring what I ask or quote and then claiming we haven’t proved anything. This head-in-the-sand approach you are taking is why you _almost_ sound a little dishonest to me.

    Good luck, Myrrh.

    ..Now, back to the program.

  165. ..one small note to a question you posed, Myrrh. Microwaves (at least the range tuned to water molecules) have the potential to (a) essentially “inject” kinetic energy deep into a human body, (b) via a great accumulator of heat, water, and (c) via the most prevalent molecule in our bodies by far, water. This contrasts with say visible light radiation, where such absorption is much closer to the surface, does not affect such a large portion of molecules or lead to a large gain in heat. Additionally, any further IR that radiates from that initial excitation will affect potentially many neighborhood molecules only in the case of overdose deep in the body (water-tuned microwaves in large intensity) and not for near surface visible light. .. You did wonder why visible light was not a human hazard.

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