Relevant quotes on skepticism – and a motto for our times

About the same time I had opened my browser window a week ago for this post on Bertrand Russell’s Liberal Decalogue from 1951, I had opened a page at The Inconvenient Truth by Guy McCardle on quotes that represent the very best aspects of skepticsim.  It has taken me this long to get back to it.

This one in particular, strikes me as highly prescient:

A thing is not proved just because no one has ever questioned it. What has never been gone into impartially has never been properly gone into. Hence skepticism is the first step toward truth. It must be applied generally, because it is the touchstone. –
Denis Diderot

The short version takeaway is:

Skepticism is the first step toward truth  
–Denis Diderot

Given what we’ve seen in professional climate circles these past two weeks, I think that makes a great motto. Here’s the rest.

Since these are public domain quotes from multiple people, I’ve reproduced it in entirety here. Please give props to Guy McCardle at The Inconvenient Truth for collecting them.

Critical Thinking

Skepticism is the first step toward truth. 
–Denis Diderot

The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones. –
John Maynard Keynes

He that will not reason is a bigot; he that cannot reason is a fool; he that dares not reason is a slave.
 –William Drummond

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. — Albert Einstein

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away. –Philip K. Dick

A thing is not proved just because no one has ever questioned it. What has never been gone into impartially has never been properly gone into. Hence skepticism is the first step toward truth. It must be applied generally, because it is the touchstone. –
Denis Diderot

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. –
Martin Luther King Jr

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool.
 –Richard Feynman

A scientist seeks the truth, wherever that may lead. A believer already knows the truth, and cannot be swayed no matter how compelling the evidence. –
Author Unknown

But what a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away. –
McDonald/Loggins

Ridicule may lawfully be employed where reason has no hope of success
. –Ed Brayton

If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.
 –Anatole France

That is the essence of science: ask an impertinent question, and you are on the way to a pertinent answer. –
Jacob Bronowski

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd. –
Voltaire

It is impossible to reason someone out of something that he did not reason himself into in the first place. –
Jonathon Swift

Doubt grows with knowledge. –
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Most people would die sooner than think; in fact, they do so. –
Bertrand Russell

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. –
Galileo Galilei

You can fool too many of the people too much of the time. –
James Thurber

That which can be destroyed by the truth, should be.
 –P. C. Hodgell

It is better to ask some of the questions than to know all the answers.
 –James Thurber

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.
 –Bertrand Russell

The curse of man, and cause of nearly all of his woes, is his stupendous capacity for believing the incredible.
 –H. L. Mencken

The hard but just rule is that if the ideas don’t work, you must throw them away. Don’t waste any neurons on what doesn’t work. Devote those neurons to new ideas that better explain the data. Valid criticism is doing you a favor. –
Carl Sagan

For, to speak truly, that superstition has extended itself through all nations, and has oppressed the intellectual energies of all men, and has betrayed them into endless imbecilities.
 –Cicero (106 BC – 43 BC)

Learning without thinking is useless. Thinking without learning is dangerous.
 –Confucius

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite. –
Bertrand Russell

Broad-minded is just another way of saying a fellow’s too lazy to form an opinion.
 –Will Rogers

Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality. –
Bertrand Russell

For it is the natural tendency of the ignorant to believe what is not true. In order to overcome that tendency it is not sufficient to exhibit the true;it is also necessary to expose and denounce the false.
 –H. L. Mencken

Evidence

A habit of basing convictions upon evidence, and giving to them only that degree of credibility which the evidence warrants, would, if it became general, cure the world from most of the ills from which it is suffering.
 –Bertrand Russell

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. –
Carl Sagan

In science, ‘fact’ can only mean ‘confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.’ I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.
 –Stephen Jay Gould

That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence
. –Christopher Hitchens

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
 –Aldous Huxley

When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir? –
John Maynard Keynes

It is better to be roughly right than precisely wrong.
 –John Maynard Keynes

The correct scientific response to something that is not understood must always be to look harder for the explanation, not give up and assume a supernatural cause. –
David Attenborough

It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.
 –W.K. Clifford

It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatsoever for supposing it is true.
 –Bertrand Russell

Not until the empirical results are exhausted need we pass on to the dreamy realms of speculation
. –Edwin Hubble

If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: For it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion. –
David Hume

A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence. –
David Hume

No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavours to establish.
 –David Hume

Errors using inadequate data are much less than those using no data at all. –
Charles Babbage

The general root of superstition is that men observe when things hit, and not when they miss, and commit to memory the one, and pass over the other.
 –Francis Bacon

The enemy of knowledge and science is irrationalism, not religion. –
Stephen Jay Gould

To treat your facts with imagination is one thing, but to imagine your facts is another. –
John Burroughs

When I see a bird that walks like a duck and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck.
 –James Whitcomb Riley

The better a man knows the truth, the less he is likely to condemn. –
Sebastian Castellio

The sciences do not try to explain, they hardly even try to interpret, they mainly make models. By a model is meant a mathematical construct which, with the addition of certain verbal interpretations, describes observed phenomena. The justification of such a mathematical construct is solely and precisely that it is expected to work.
 –John von Neumann

Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones. –
Bertrand Russell

On Sciences

Science is organized knowledge. –
Herbert Spencer

I maintain there is much more wonder in science than in pseudoscience. And in addition, to whatever measure this term has any meaning, science has the additional virtue, and it is not an inconsiderable one, of being true. –
Carl Sagan

Truth in science can best be defined as the working hypothesis best suited to open the way to the next better one. –
Konrad Lorenz

[Science is] a series of judgements, revised without ceasing.
 –Pierre Emile Duclaux

Science is nothing but trained and organised common sense differing from the latter only as a veteran may differ from a raw recruit; and its methods differ from those of common sense only as far as the guardsman’s cut and thrust differ from the manner in which a savage wields his club. –Thomas Henry Huxley

True science teaches, above all, to doubt and to be ignorant.
 –Miguel de Unamuno

[Science is] the desire to know causes.
 –William Hazlitt

[Science is] the knowledge of consequences, and dependence of one fact upon another.
 –Thomas Hobbes

It is a good morning exercise for a research scientist to discard a pet hypothesis every day before breakfast. It keeps him young.
 –Konrad Lorenz

There are in fact two things, science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance. –
Hippocrates

The great tragedy of science – the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.
 –Thomas Henry Huxley

Science is the disinterested search for the objective truth about the material world. –
Richard Dawkins

The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he is one who asks the right questions.
 –Claude Levi-Strauss

Education is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get if you don’t. –
Pete Seeger

Science can only ascertain what is, but not what should be, and outside of its domain value judgments of all kinds remain necessary.
 –Albert Einstein

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. –Albert Einstein

Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.
 –Adam Smith

The compass that today guides this timeless endeavor is scientific inquiry. It is science that gazes outward, providing the grand questions that challenge us to journey farther and farther from home. But it is also science that peers inward, exploring previously inaccessible areas of the Earth, and asking the practical questions that help us to make Earth safer, protect our citizens, and expand our economy.
 –NASA Roadmap “Exploring our Planet for the Benefit of Society”, 2005

Science is the only way of knowing – everything else is superstition.
 –Robert Park

Perfect as the wing of a bird may be, it will never enable the bird to fly if unsupported by the air. Facts are the air of science. Without them a man of science can never rise.
 –Ivan Pavlov

Thought-provocation

So you’re offended. So fucking what? –
Stephen Fry (talking about religious objections to free speech)

Never argue with an idiot. The best outcome you can hope for is that you won an argument with an idiot.
 –Anonymous

I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief
. –Gerry Spence

In the final tolling it often turns out that the facts are more comforting than the fantasy. –
Carl Sagan

Every man is guilty of all the good he didn’t do. –
Voltaire

Give to us clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for – because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything. –
Peter Marshall

Whoever is still seeking for miracles so that he may believe is himself a wonder, who does not believe while the world around him does
. –Saint Augustine

If you don’t think too good, don’t think too much.
 –Yogi Berra

Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and whatever abysses nature leads, or you will learn nothing.
 –Thomas Henry Huxley

Faith is believing what you know ain’t so. –
Mark Twain

The only good that I can see in the demonstration of the truth of “Spiritualism” is to furnish an additional argument against suicide. Better live a crossing-sweeper than die and be made to talk twaddle by a “medium” hired at a guinea a séance. –
Aldous Huxley

The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible. –
Oscar Wilde

When you have no basis of argument, abuse the plaintiff
. –Cicero (106 BC – 43 BC)

The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not. –
Eric Hoffer

There’s a sucker born every minute. –
Joseph Bessimer (not Phineas T.  Barnum)

Heathen, n: A benighted creature who has the folly to worship something that he can see and feel.
 –Ambrose Bierce

It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled seas of thought.
 –John Kenneth Galbraith

It is harder to conceal ignorance than to acquire knowledge. –
Arnold Glasgow

Never give in – never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
 –Winston Churchill

Our grand business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.
 –Thomas Carlyle

There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity
. –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Bigotry dwarfs the soul by shutting out the truth.
 –Edwin Hubbell Chapin

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.
 –Winston Churchill

There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.
 –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Faith” is a fine invention
When Gentlemen can see -
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency.
 –Emily Dickinson

I think that in the discussion of natural problems we ought to begin not with the Scriptures but with experiments and demonstrations.
 –Galileo Galilei

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.
 –Dalai Lama

A man ceases to be a beginner in any given science and becomes a master in that science when he has learned that he is going to be a beginner all his life. –
Robin G. Collingwood

Other

Heaven wheels above you displaying to you her eternal glories and still your eyes are on the ground. –
Dante Alighieri

We must not forget that when radium was discovered no one knew that it would prove useful in hospitals. The work was one of pure science. And this is a proof that scientific work must not be considered from the point of view of the direct usefulness of it. It must be done for itself, for the beauty of science, and then there is always the chance that a scientific discovery may become like the radium a benefit for humanity.
 –Marie Curie

You never see animals going through the absurd and often horrible fooleries of magic and religions. Only man behaves with such gratuitous folly. It is the price he has to pay for being intelligent but not, as yet, intelligent enough.
 –Aldous Huxley

Some people are like Slinkies. Not really good for anything but they bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs.
 –Anonymous

Man masters nature not by force but by understanding. This is why science has succeeded where magic failed: because it has looked for no spell to cast over nature.
 –Jacob Bronowski

Truth exists. Only lies are invented. –Georges Braque

I am among those who think that science has great beauty. A scientist in his laboratory is not only a technician: he is also a child placed before natural phenomena which impress him like a fairy tale.
Marie Curie

Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.
No, not Thomas Jefferson – it was John Philpot Curran

The mob has no ruler more potent than superstition
. –Quintus Curtius Rufus

There is no nonsense so gross that society will not, at some time, make a doctrine of it and defend it with every weapon of communal stupidity. –
Robertson Davies

Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of imagination.
 –John Dewey

Truth is so rare that it is delightful to tell it.
 –Emily Dickinson

Men talk of heaven, – there is no heaven but here;
Men talk of hell, – there is no hell but here;
Men of hereafters talk, and future lives, -
O love, there is no other life – but here. –
Omar Khayyám

Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.
 –Denis Diderot

I would like to be remembered as a person who made trouble where trouble was needed. –
Studs Terkel

I have always observed that when people are interrupted in the performance of some egregious stupidity their feelings are hurt. –
Anthony Trollope

We are all born ignorant, but we must work hard to remain stupid. –
Benjamin Franklin

Four stages of acceptance:
i) this is worthless nonsense,
ii) this is an interesting, but perverse, point of view,
iii) this is true, but quite unimportant,
iv) I always said so. –J.B.S. Haldane

A man should never put on his best trousers when he goes out to battle for freedom and truth. –
Henrik Ibsen

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.
 –Thomas Jefferson

The mind of the bigot is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour upon it, the more it will contract.
 –Oliver Wendell Holmes

Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible positions. –
Thomas Jefferson

Morality & Ethics

Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant.
 –H. L. Mencken

Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life, so aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something.
 –Henry David Thoreau

The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. –
Dante Alighieri

There are causes worth dying for but none worth killing for. –
Albert Camus

The time is always right to do what is right. –
Martin Luther King Jr

In the name of noble purposes men have committed unspeakable acts of cruelty against one another. –
J. William Fullbright

Prejudice is opinion without judgment
. –Voltaire

You measure a democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists.
 –Abbie Hoffman

Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself. –
Robert Ingersoll

There is nothing more unequal, than the equal treatment of unequal people.
 –Thomas Jefferson

Science has proof without any certainty. Creationists have certainty without any proof. –
Ashley Montague

In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
 –Thomas Jefferson

Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too
. –Voltaire

All it takes for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing. –
Edmund Burke

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. –
Evelyn Beatrice Hall, writing in a biography of Voltaire

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities
. –Voltaire

Indifference to evil is more insidious than evil itself. It is a silent justification affording evil acceptability in society.
 –Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

Prejudices are what fools use for reason
. –Voltaire

We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.
 –Karl Popper

Alternative Medicine

Penicillin cures pneumonia even if you’re in a coma, but alternative medicine only seems to work when you are awake. –
R. Barker Bausell

I suffered from chronic hypochondria for years. Eventually I went to a naturopath and was cured with a course of broad-spectrum placebos
. –M. Cullen

There must be some limit to the thing. It cannot go on to infinity. (Es muss ein Ende geben, es kann nicht bis ins Unendliche weitergehen). –
Samuel Hahnemann (to Dr Schreter, Sept 13th 1829, Writing about Homeopathic Dilutions)

The orthodox doctor treats what you have, and the alternative practitioner says you have what she treats. –
Rose Shapiro

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128 thoughts on “Relevant quotes on skepticism – and a motto for our times

  1. The real diversity is the diversity of thought.” — David Mamet

    “Only dead fish go with the flow” — Sarah Palin

    If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.” — Benjamin Franklin

    “There is an almost universal tendency, perhaps an inborn tendency, to suspect the good faith of a man who holds opinions that differ from our own opinions…It obviously endangers the freedom and the objectivity of our discussion if we attack a person instead of attacking an opinion or, more precisely, a theory.” — Karl Popper

    “Our civilization…has not yet fully recovered from the shock of its birth – the transition from the tribal or ‘closed society’, with its submission to magical forces, to the ‘open society’ which sets free the critical powers of man.” — Karl Popper

  2. “It is not that there are no certainties, it is that it is an absolute certainty that there are no certainties.” Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22.

  3. “A prediction, in a field where prediction is not possible, is no more than a prejudice.” Malcolm Gladwell, What the Dog saw.

  4. Great collection which will be referenced and dipped into often I’m sure. I can only add the saying. which is very relevant to a lot of accusations from climate alarmism. “When you point one finger, there are three fingers pointing back at you.”

  5. One thing I learned from studying Karl Popper (although far from the only thing) is that while you can never be certain something is true, you can say with certainty when something is false (with some mostly statistical caveats).

  6. “Men occasionally stumble over the truth but most manage to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and go on their way as if nothing had happened”
    I think it was Winston Churchill IIRC.

  7. “Now, Kalamas, don’t go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, ‘This contemplative is our teacher.’ When you know for yourselves that, ‘These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness’ — then you should enter & remain in them.”

    The Buddha

  8. “Always wear clean underwear because you might get hit by a city bus and never argue with a crazy person”— Grandma

  9. [Science is] the desire to know causes.
 –William Hazlitt
    Support the cause of Climate Science? The role of science is to determine cause. Science is not a cause.
    Never be afraid to ask a question, there are many more stupid answers than stupid questions.

  10. Sorry but Green-Activist Science (Acti-Science) owns the language now
    you are not a healthy skeptic you are a “denier”. There is no spectrum of ideas just the false dichotomy of “with us or against us” the word Green, & Skepticism have already been hijacked next is the same vain is the word “science” they are attempting to own the word “Science”..note the term used in the Desmogblog PR “Anti-science”

    - Doubtfulnews.com is still fundraising for Gleick’s NCSE with this post “The Anti-science agendas invade the schools; not just Creationism anymore”
    QUOTE – One disturbing point in this piece is the use of the word “skeptic” and “skeptical”. Everyone should be skeptical but that doesn’t mean “antagonistic” or “denialist”, it means “looking for evidence”. There’s no reason to be skeptical that global warming is happening.ENDQUOTE

  11. If only John Maynard Keynes would follow his own advice!
    There is a Russian joke, usually ascribed to Stalin:
    “Facts are stubborn things. So much the worse for the facts.”

  12. Anthony, this is a great list. You know how much I support what you have done, your principles, your hard work, your scientific excellence.

    However, it irks me, once again, to see the unnecessary addition of negative comments relating to “alternative medicine”. These are the same kind of remarks that we hear from “warmists”, that we rightly eschew, challenge, and produce data to contradict.

    At some point I clearly need to get Ben Goldacres’ book, to start to take it apart properly. Here I have only time for a short comment, and no time to work on, say, a proper article at a standard and with an approach that would speak to the WUWT environment. I still want to stay with Climate Science, until I have done all I can with getting a wiki on the road for others to take on and develop so that it can be owned by the whole climate skeptics community. I am doing this because I care about restoring integrity in science, and because getting one’s basic facts always seems to be step one, step two, and likely step three, in overcoming prejudice, ignorance and corruption of the science. Like the basic temperature data for Climate Science.

    The remarks on “alternative medicine” show me clearly the need to also address what I know, and bitterly know, is deep albeit unconscious, uninformed, onesided prejudice in other areas. This too is part of the work needed to restore integrity to Science.

    I have seen much “alternative” medicine work, and work completely, where everything else has failed, and failed badly, for years. This does not make all “alternative” medicine ok, or even all practitioners within any one “alternative” discipline ok. Nor does it deny the placebo effect. But it does go beyond the scurrilous kind of treatment Nature magazine gave to Professor Benveniste, and the pseudoreligious pseudoscientific dogma and limitations in what James Randi practiced. And that is opening a can of worms here, which I cannot answer at half-cock, because that will simply create more confusion. It needs thoroughness, and ability to forestall the likely objections here.

    Please, Anthony, stay with what you truly know about, and try to avoid being judgemental in areas where you only have the “consensus” opinion to draw on.

  13. I think the inclusion of quotes about alternative medicine in the list is appropriate – alternative medicine is similar in many respects to Climate Science’s CAGW. Both are highly dependent on models which are relatively uncritically accepted by their practitioners, despite contrary evidence or lack of certainty. From these inadequate and relatively unproven models, sometimes expensive and largely useless treatments are confidently derived.

    In the case of alternative medicine, positive treatment results are cited as proof of the underlying models, despite the strong probability of other factors having a major influence (e.g. the body’s own defences and a placebo effect). In Climate Science, partially correct temperature predictions are cited as proof of models, despite the likelihood of many other factors having a major influence.

    Climate Science and alternative medicine could be immeasurably improved if their practitioners were to reduce their unwarranted confidence in particular models and were willing to accept only good quality evidence and either change or discard their models based on that evidence. Since the time of Galileo, this approach has been a requirement of sound science.

  14. From Robert Boyle’s 1661 book “The Sceptical Chymist”:

    “A considering man may very well question the truth of those very suppositions which chymists as well as peripatetics, without proving, take for granted; and upon which depends the validity of the inferences they draw from their experiments… which though a chymist perhaps will not, yet I do, look upon as the most important, as well as difficult, part of my task.”

    OK, the sentence is rather long and wandering for modern taste, but this quote from a scientist whose work lies at the very foundation of climate science should be better known, both for itself and the “Sceptical” in the title. In more punchy modern style he’s saying “These guys aren’t skeptical enough: they don’t examine their assumptions, which is the hardest thing to do in science, so they get the wrong answers”.

    Perhaps today we would cross out the word “chymist” and amend the passage to read “…though a climate scientist perhaps will not…”.

  15. “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it” Adolf Hitler

    “Obviously, history has proven Hitler’s “big lie and continue to lie” strategy to be incorrect. The belief in the truth and the fight for the truth is a powerful motivation. In the field of science, in the end, the truth will prevail. The pursuit of the truth is the essense of science. Public policy that is based on lies leads to anarchy.” William Astley

    “Lying is done with words and also with silence.” Adrienne Rich

    http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/Articles_2011/Winter-2010/Morner.pdf

    Seagate
    “The mean of all the 159 NOAA sites gives a rate of 0.5 mm/year to 0.6 mm/year (Burton 2010). A better approach, however, is to exclude those sites that represent uplifted and subsided areas (Figure 4). This leaves 68 sites of reasonable stability (still with the possibility of an exaggeration of the rate of change, as discussed above). These sites give a present rate of sea level rise in the order of 1.0 (± 1.0) mm/year. This is far below the rates given by satellite altimetry, and the smell of a “sea-levelgate” gets stronger.

    When the satellite altimetry group realized that the 1997 rise was an ENSO signal, and they extended the trend up to 2003, they seemed to have faced a problem: There was no sea level rise visible, and therefore a “reinterpretation” needed to be undertaken. (This was orally confirmed at the Global Warming meeting held by the Russian Academy of Science in Moscow in 2005, which I attended). Exactly what was done remains unclear, as the satellite altimetry groups do not specify the additional “corrections” they now infer. In 2003, the satellite altimetry record (Aviso 2003) suddenly took a new tilt—away from the quite horizontal record of 1992-2000, seen in Figures 5 and 6—of 2.3 (±0.1) mm/year (Figure 7).”

    “As reported above regarding such adjustments, an IPCC member told me that “We had to do so, otherwise it would not be any trend,” and this seems exactly to be the case. This means that we are facing a very grave, if not to say, unethical, “sea-level-gate.” Therefore, the actual “instrumental record” of satellite altimetry (Figure 10) gives a sea level rise around 0.0 mm/year. This fits the observational facts much better, and we seem to reach a coherent
    picture of no, or, at most, a minor (in the order of 0.5 mm/yr), sea level rise over the last 50 years.”

    http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/PastRecords.pdf

    Estimating future sea level changes from past records by Nils-Axel Mörner

    “In the last 5000 years, global mean sea level has been dominated by the redistribution of water masses over the globe. In the last 300 years, sea level has been oscillation close to the present with peak rates in the period 1890–1930. Between 1930 and 1950, sea fell. The late 20th century lack any sign of acceleration. Satellite altimetry indicates virtually no changes in the last decade. Therefore, observationally based predictions of future sea level in the year 2100 will give a value of + 10 +/- 10 cm (or +5 +/- 5 cm), by this discarding model outputs by IPCC as well as global loading models. This implies that there is no fear of any massive future flooding as claimed in most global warming scenarios.”

    Hurricane Gate

    http://www.climatechangefacts.info/ClimateChangeDocuments/LandseaResignationLetterFromIPCC.htm

    “After some prolonged deliberation, I have decided to withdraw from participating in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). I am withdrawing because I have come to view the part of the IPCC to which my expertise is relevant as having become politicized. In addition, when I have raised my concerns to the IPCC leadership, their response was simply to dismiss my concerns…

    Shortly after Dr. Trenberth requested that I draft the Atlantic hurricane section for the AR4′s Observations chapter, Dr. Trenberth participated in a press conference organized by scientists at Harvard on the topic “Experts to warn global warming likely to continue spurring more outbreaks of intense hurricane activity” along with other media interviews on the topic. The result of this media interaction was widespread coverage that directly connected the very busy 2004 Atlantic hurricane season as being caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gas warming occurring today. Listening to and reading transcripts of this press conference and media interviews, it is apparent that Dr. Trenberth was being accurately quoted and summarized in such statements and was not being misrepresented in the media. These media sessions have potential to result in a widespread perception that global warming has made recent hurricane activity much more severe….

    ..The IPCC assessments in 1995 and 2001 also concluded that there was no global warming signal found in the hurricane record…Moreover, the evidence is quite strong and supported by the most recent credible studies that any impact in the future from global warming upon hurricane will likely be quite small. The latest results from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (Knutson and Tuleya, Journal of Climate, 2004) suggest that by around 2080, hurricanes may have winds and rainfall about 5% more intense than today. It has been proposed that even this tiny change may be an exaggeration as to what may happen by the end of the 21st Century (Michaels, Knappenberger, and Landsea, Journal of Climate, 2005, submitted)….

    I personally cannot in good faith continue to contribute to a process that I view as both being motivated by pre-conceived agendas and being scientifically unsound. As the IPCC leadership has seen no wrong in Dr. Trenberth’s actions and have retained him as a Lead Author for the AR4, I have decided to no longer participate in the IPCC AR4.”

  16. “Skepticism is the first step toward truth.”

    Denialism is continuing to walk away from well established truth and pretending you are stepping towards it.

    I’d like to ask Anthony a question.

    My presumption is that Anthony doesn’t believe that there is enough evidence to support action on AGW. True?

    If this is the case, he must know what evidence he would require for the opposite to be true.

    At one point, he said he would accept the results of the BEST study but then backed away from this.

    So, the sincere question, in 2 parts, is: What is the evidence that most convinces you of your position and what is the evidence and what would you have to see from the science to accept that AGW is something we should mitigate against?

    So far, I have not found a “sceptic” willing to answer it. I wonder why?

    30 years of no significant warming as evident in the surface temp record would pretty much be enough to change my mind.

  17. Nice quote from Stephen Fry. Correct me if I’m wrong, though, but isn’t he regularly expressing offence at those who don’t share his beliefs?

  18. … and for devotees of climate models, here’s some Eastern wisdom:

    ‘Do not mistake the finger pointing at the moon for the moon itself’

  19. @ Stew Green

    Isn’t the term Denier, rather than Skeptic, what we should expect from the warmists. After all, it is the opposite of Believer.

  20. Nice. One or two more (Guy McCardle, feel free!):
    “Science is a flickering light in our darkness, it is but the only one we have and woe to him who would put it out.” (Morris Cohen)
    “Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts.” (Richard Feynmann)
    “My kingdom is as wide as the universe and my wants have no limits. I go forward always, freeing spirits and weighing worlds, without fear, without compassion, without love, without God. I am called Science.” (Gustave Flaubert)
    “In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.” (Galileo)
    “If it can’t be expressed in figures, it is not science, it is opinion.” (Robert Heinlein)
    And one for climate science:
    “Science policy is to science as bird shot is to birds.” (Petr Beckman)

  21. I know it’s a recent quote, but:

    “After you have convinced people that you fervently believe your cause to be more important than telling the truth, you’ve lost the power to convince them of anything else.” – Megan McArdle

  22. Is there a better quote about the climate debate than this gem by Feynman?

    “It does not matter who you are, or how smart you are, or what title you have, or how many of you there are, and certainly not how many papers your side has published, if your prediction is wrong then your hypothesis is wrong. Period.”

  23. The difference between a “Denier” and a “Skeptic” is that a Denier will refuse to look at the data while a Skeptic will insist on looking at the data.

    The great difficulty in arguing with logic against an irrational argument is that the irrational argument does not need to make sense.

    GPlant

  24. Yet more:
    “There is nothing particularly scientific about excessive caution. Science thrives on daring generalisations.” (Lancelot Hogben)
    “I am too much of a sceptic to deny the possibility of anything.” (T.H. Huxley)
    “The great tragedy of science is the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.” (T.H. Huxley)
    “The hope of science is the perfection of the human race. The hope of theology is the salvation of the few and the damnation of almost everybody.” (Robert Green Ingersoll)
    “In the world of human thought generally and in physical science particularly, the most fruitful concepts are those to which it is impossible to attach a well defined meaning.” (Hendrick Anthony Kramers)
    “The incompatibility between science and religion is simply this: a scientist will not believe anything until he sees it; a religious man will not see anything until he believes in it. Do you see the difference? Do you believe it?” (Anon)
    “Science would be ruined if (like sports) it were to put competition above everything else, and if it were to clarify the rules of competition by withdrawing into narrow defined specialities. The rare scholars who are nomads-by-choice are essential to the intellectual welfare of the settled disciplines.” (Benoit Mandelbrot)
    “If you believe in Ogopogo, or any other mystical beast, you will likely see one. If you are a sceptic, you never will.” (Mary Moon)
    “As long as men are free to ask what they must … free to say what they think … free to think what they will … freedom can never be lost and science can never regress.” (Robert Oppenheimer)
    “There must be no barriers for freedom of inquiry. There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors.” (Robert Oppenheimer)
    “I can understand harbouring a mistrust of technology. I myself wouldn’t be inclined to picnic nude in Bhopal. But to mistrust science and deny the validity of the scientific method is to resign your job as a human. You’d better go look for work as a plant or a wild animal.” (P.J. O’Rourke)
    “Science is the search for truth … it is not a game in which one tries to beat his opponent, to do harm to others.” (Linus Pauling)
    “Science is one thing and Wisdom is another. Science is an edged tool, with which men play like children, and cut their own fingers.” (Thomas Love Peacock)
    “Science is facts; just as houses are made of stones, so is science made of facts; but a pile of stones is not a house and a collection of facts is not necessarily science.” (Henri Poincare)
    “Science progresses best when observations force us to alter our preconceptions.” (Vera Rubin)
    “In art, nothing worth doing can be done without genius; in science even a very moderate capacity can contribute to a supreme achievement.” (Bertrand Russell)
    “Science is what you know, philosophy is what you don’t know.” (Bertrand Russell)
    “Sceptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.” (Carl Sagan)
    “Scepticism is a hedge against vulnerability.” (Charles Thomas Samuels)
    “The true contrast between science and myth is more nearly touched when we say that science alone is capable of verification.” (Santayana)
    “Scepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer.” (Santayana)
    “Science is nothing but developed perception, integrated intent, common sense rounded out and minutely articulated.” (Santayana)
    “Science is the refusal to believe on the basis of hope.” (C.P. Snow)
    “Education has failed in a very serious way to convey the most important lesson science can teach: scepticism.” (David Suzuki)

    Sorry. My quotes fill over 600K of text file, these are just the scientific/sceptical ones.

  25. I usually like Mencken, but I found his quote about the necessity to “expose and denounce the false” to verge chillingly on Big Brotherism. Of course it’s true, but then so are most of the tyrant’s sayings, taken at face value. They just mean something a little more sinister than one sees on the surface.

  26. Lucy Skywalker says:
    February 25, 2012 at 3:48 am


    Please, Anthony, stay with what you truly know about, and try to avoid being judgemental in areas where you only have the “consensus” opinion to draw on.

    Indeed, and Lucy is correct. Get this: The body heals itself–most often in spite of human (doctor) intervention.

    But my personal consensus is this: I’m old enough to have watched a number of my relatives pass on. Those that have adhered to the allopathic philosophy lived about 10 years less than those that adhered to a homeopathic approach. A cousin of mine, 3 months my senior, is now applying for disability because of a number of health-related issues. In contrast, I have vibrant health. The difference? About 15 years ago the doctors wanted to load me up on a range of pharmaceutical drugs to cover a number of maladies but instead I changed my diet, started to exercise, drink more water, and got into nutritional supplements and became a live blood analyst. My cousin, on the other hand, did none of these and got hooked on pharmaceutical drugs and has gone downhill ever since. I can now run circles around him. (Pharmaceutical drugs are by definition “toxins”–pharmaceutical companies can only get “toxins” (in most cases natural substances they have chemically altered) designated as drugs to patent, push, and thereby profit. Natural substances can’t be patented.)

    Be skeptical if you want, but how many of you over 60 can drop and give me 50 military pushups? Nobody? I can do it without breaking a sweat. And I don’t take any drugs.

    My thought of the day: “As the diameter of our circle of knowledge increases, the circumfrence of our ignorance outpaces it by pi. Hence the truly intelligent person is never egotistical–for the more he knows, the more he realizes there’s so much more he doesn’t know.”

    And as far as government goes: “Anytime the government gets involved in the economy, it creates a shortage in one sector and a surplus in another, and the taxpayer always makes up the difference.

  27. I’ve always liked:

    “If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.”
    – Baron Ernest Rutherford of Nelson.

  28. Exp says:
    February 25, 2012 at 4:38 am

    “Skepticism is the first step toward truth.”

    So, the sincere question, in 2 parts, is: What is the evidence that most convinces you of your position and what is the evidence and what would you have to see from the science to accept that AGW is something we should mitigate against?

    So far, I have not found a “sceptic” willing to answer it. I wonder why?

    Wonder no longer. The reason is that there is no answer for a lie. Like Aristotle, I shall pose a question:

    Where is your evidence that this “AGW” of yours poses a serious problem? For what I’ve seen (based on the assumption you’re still blaming CO2 for your plethora of problems), is that the gas is beneficial and what little warming we’re seeing from CO2 is beneficial also.

    So my turn: Do you have any evidence we’ll see catastrophic response from the normalization of CO2 (geologically speaking)? If so, please state it. Prove the null hypothesis is wrong–show testable, empiricle evidence that CO2 is the cause of crop migration, species migration, ice and glacier loss, ocean acidificaiton, etc, etc.

    On the other hand, there is very strong evidence that the earth is greening up (I see it myself)–and somehow this is bad from an environmental standpoint? Do you want the human race to struggle more than it does? Do you want population control or even population reduction? Is famine fine with you? Is that what you’re after? Are you a true environmentalist and concerned about humanity or are you just a pawn of the UN/IPCC?

    So I shall pose my own question for all AGW …umm….. (thinking of an appropriate word here)… control freaks. Yes, that’s appropriate: AGW Control Freaks: Where is your evidence that additional atmospheric CO2 isn’t beneficial? I’ve not found a “control freak” willing to answer it or admit to it. But here’s the difference–I don’t wonder why. I know. I know you can’t (in good conscience or with facts) be willing to lie about the benefits of CO2. The earth is greening up and you know it. What’s not to like?

    That response rather changes the whole game, doesn’t it, Exp? So much for AGW Control Freaks. You’ve received your answer. You should be satisfied.

  29. If I was really snarky, I would include something like “Be first with the truth,” but I won’t go there.

  30. Glenn A. Plant says:
    February 25, 2012 at 6:07 am

    The difference between a “Denier” and a “Skeptic” is that a Denier will refuse to look at the data while a Skeptic will insist on looking at the data.

    ——————————————–

    And once the sceptic finds the data doesn’t match the hypothesis/theory being proposed they get denounced as “deniers”.
    But then bigotry and irrationality never did show any reason.

  31. Posted on February 25, 2012 by Anthony Watts
    This one in particular, strikes me as highly prescient:
    “A thing is not proved just because no one has ever questioned it. “

    Ignoratio elenchi / Irrelevant conclusion

    Hence skepticism is the first step toward truth.

    Ignoratio elenchi / Irrelevant conclusion

    It must be applied generally, because it is the touchstone. –

    Denis Diderot

    To apply generally to call a thing in question has no reason except the idea to call a thing in question; there is no other criteria then this idea and so there is no prove why this is a step to truth, it could also be a step back from truth.

    “The fallacy of Irrelevant Conclusion consists of claiming that an argument supports a particular conclusion when it is actually logically nothing to do with that conclusion.”

    It is in general a problem to argue on No_thing, because it has no existence. Parmenides has learned this is a trap. It is also a problem if you divide 3 by nothing [0] or divide 4 by nothing [0]. It leads the fallacy that in both calculations the result equal to infinite and to follow that 3 is equal 4.

    There is no touchstone outside of the own indivddual consciousness;only the individual consciousness is the reference to discriminate truth from untruth. This and logic IS, and it can be understood that to to call logic in question leads the mind astray.

    V.

  32. Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities
. –Voltaire

    This I believe sums up the deep environmental movement most accurately, and those who head up the deep environmental movement are some of the most influential people of our time.
    Very scary.

  33. Exp says:
    February 25, 2012 at 4:38 am

    ……………….
    So, the sincere question, in 2 parts, is: What is the evidence that most convinces you of your position and what is the evidence and what would you have to see from the science to accept that AGW is something we should mitigate against?

    So far, I have not found a “sceptic” willing to answer it. I wonder why?

    30 years of no significant warming as evident in the surface temp record would pretty much be enough to change my mind.

    ——————————————————————————————————————–
    The flaw in your argument EXP is that you are assuming that all warming during the 20 th Century is due to AGW. We know there was warming during the Medieval and Roman periods and also during the Eocene geological Period when there was no industrial activity. Also warming and some cooling after the ‘Little ice Age’ that has continued until recently. During about 30 years after the Little Ice Age there was a sudden high warming rate that could not have been due to industrial activity. Skeptics also are aware of the celestial reasons why these warming and cooling periods occur.

    So the skeptics are simply saying that because of these facts AGW is very likely not the main cause in the relatively small rise in temperature observed recently. Also all calculations show AGW can only be a very small fraction of the temp rise observed. Added to that is that while CO2 has increased temperatures have flat lined over that last 10 years or more. That is the skeptical evidence. So the question is where is the evidence that CO2 is the main reason for the 20th Century rise in temperature?

  34. Exp says: February 25, 2012 at 4:38 am

    … the sincere question, in 2 parts, is: What is the evidence that most convinces you of your position and what is the evidence and what would you have to see from the science to accept that AGW is something we should mitigate against?

    So far, I have not found a “sceptic” willing to answer it. I wonder why?

    30 years of no significant warming as evident in the surface temp record would pretty much be enough to change my mind.

    In the work of many of the sceptics I name in my Primer, you will find answers to your two questions, over and over again. And over and over again I’ve tried directly answering questions framed in similar ways to your framing, and so have we all. Nearly every time we get the feeling that the questioners have fingers in their ears, with stock “answers” to all the “skeptics’ issues” provided by websites like Skeptical Science (a warmist propaganda site with sciencey lookalikes that only tell half the story). Clearly it isn’t enough that my Primer basically answers every single one of SkSci’s 150-odd articles. So we get a little disinclined to waste our energy with further individual attempts to answer.

    You need a good spade and an open mind to see the mega-corruption of the science. For bullet-point answers to your questions, go here and then read the whole piece above it for backup evidence, the story of my U-turn from warmist to skeptic, and links to more backup evidence.

    If this answers your question, drop me a line. It would be nice to know when I actually manage to get the message through.

  35. @EXP

    “..Denialism is continuing to walk away from well established truth and pretending you are stepping towards it…”

    You are aware that this statement is in direct conflict with the scientific method? It seems to be saying that there exist truths which are ‘well-established’ and must not be questioned. Did you really mean to say that? It sounds as if you are confusing science with religion….

    “..My presumption is that Anthony doesn’t believe that there is enough evidence to support action on AGW. True? If this is the case, he must know what evidence he would require for the opposite to be true…”

    You do seem to have a deep problem with the whole concept of science, and you fundamentally cannot grasp what is being talked about here. Science works by making conjectures and then proving them. It does NOT work by making conjectures and then asking people to DISPROVE them. If Anthony does not believe there is enough evidence to support action (What action? That alone is a hugely complex issue..) then there is NO requirement for him to prove a negative. The fact there there is not enough evidence is sufficient.

    Do you not understand this? Or are you just trying to make a (poor) debating point? In either case you would be well advised to improve your knowledge of the scientific method before posting on this subject again…

  36. Apart from many true but redundant ones, there are a few questionable quotes in this list. Examples:

    1. “That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence
.” –Christopher Hitchens

    The only statements that can rightfully “be asserted without evidence” are simply the rules of logic, such as “If A and B, then A” or “If not (A and B), then not A or not B”. Impossible to dismiss. Einstein got this right:

    “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.”

    2. “It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.”
    –W.K. Clifford

    The problem is that sufficient evidence is often simply unavailable. How about the RNA world or the big bang? Any witness accounts? Still, both reasonable hypotheses. This problem is better appreciated in the following two quotes:

    “Not until the empirical results are exhausted need we pass on to the dreamy realms of speculation
.” –Edwin Hubble

    “Errors using inadequate data are much less than those using no data at all.” –
Charles Babbage

  37. “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”
    R. P. Feynman, What Do You Care What Other People Think, 1988

    “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”
    September 23, 1800, letter by Thomas Jefferson to Dr. Benjamin Rush, Jefferson Memorial

    “The right to search for truth implies also a duty. One must not conceal any part of what one has recognized to be true.”
    Words inscribed on Einstein memorial in Washington D.C.

    “In all of history, we have found just one cure for error – a partial antidote against making and repeating grand, foolish mistakes, a remedy against self-deception. That antidote is criticism.”
    D. Brin, The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom?, 1998.

    “The only known cure for error is criticism, but we hate it. The sign of a good ego is wanting to do better.” D. Brin, 12/14/96, Encinitas

    All models are wrong, some models are useful.
    George Box, 1979

    For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.
    H. L. Mencken

    “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”
    Albert Einstein

    “Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.”
    “The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.”
    Albert Einstein, (attributed)

    “When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”
    A. C. Clarke, Profiles of the Future, 1962

    “If a scientific heresy is ignored or denounced by the general public, there is a chance it may be right. If a scientific heresy is emotionally supported by the general public, it is almost certainly wrong.”
    I. Asimov, 1977

    “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”
    Carl Sagan

    Some quotes already on the list, but with their citation….

    “Science alone of all the subjects contains within itself the lesson of the danger of belief in the infallibility of the greatest teachers in the preceding generation … Learn from science that you must doubt the experts. As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.”
    Richard Feynman, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out (1999), http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Richard_Feynman

    “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
    Sir Winston Churchill, Speech, 1941, Harrow School

  38. Exp says:
    February 25, 2012 at 4:38 am
    30 years of no significant warming as evident in the surface temp record would pretty much be enough to change my mind.
    I hope you will live that long (another 15 years). Don’t forget then, what you’ve said today.

  39. The Keynes quotes are particularly ironic considering how his current proponents seem completely oblivious to the huge failures his theories produce as opposed to other, less fantasy based economic theories.

  40. I’m not Anthony, but I’ll take a nibble of the Troll Bait…

    Exp says:
    February 25, 2012 at 4:38 am (Edit)

    “Skepticism is the first step toward truth.”

    Denialism is continuing to walk away from well established truth and pretending you are stepping towards it.

    So what is it you are denying?

    As for me, I’m not denying anything. I’m positively recognizing giant gaping holes in the AGW thesis, corrupted and lost data, flat out identity theft, character assassination as a standard tool of the “Warmers”, ‘attack the messenger’ (as you do here) as Standard Operating Procedure, intimidation of editors to block skeptical publications, repeated ‘appeal to authority’ but only the ‘authority’ that has been vetted as Politically Correct and published in journals under influence, repeated claims that it is “the warmest year ever” or “among the 10 warmest ever” when there is Ice on the canals of Venice and my tomatoes will not ripen from the cold (and a hundred and one other similar indicia of cooling), predictions of more hurricanes when we had less, predictions of massive drought, when we are now having floods, and dozens of other FAILED predictions. Perhaps that is what you are denying?

    Don’t forget the SNOW in southern Brazil, the DEAD from COLD in Peru, the bitter cold in Russia, and, oh yeah, the thermometers in ALASKA that likely would have given a NEW ALLTIME RECORD LOW had they not died from said cold just one degree shy…

    Perhaps those are the things you are denying?

    My presumption is that Anthony doesn’t believe that there is enough evidence to support action on AGW. True?

    If this is the case, he must know what evidence he would require for the opposite to be true.

    Can’t speak for Anthony, but for me: Yes, the evidence to date is vastly insufficient.

    That does not in any way mean I can say what IS required. Whatever some bright person can figure out that is not falsified and is not fraudulent becomes accepted. When the weight of such is sufficient to overcome the MOUNTAINS of tainted, corrupted, adjusted, and flat out FANTASY presently presented, then there is cause to temporarily accept the THEORY as plausible. One then continues to test, as with ALL scientific theories, for as long as time lasts. One may accept it for practical use, but it is never ever set in stone as “settled science” (an oxymoron if ever there was one…).

    There are roughly 1200 thermometer records used in the last GIStemp version I ported (about a year+ ago). From that, 8000 grid locations are assigned “temperatures” (that are not temperatures, but fabricated numbers). That means that about 85% of the “temperatures” are complete and utter fabrications. From THAT a fiction of a Global Average Temperature is calculated. But it isn’t a temperature, and you cannot simply ‘average temperatures’ and make any statement about heat flow. Simply and completely a fantasy number.

    When looking at individual long lived stations, the temperatures do not rise to any significant degree in comparison. When individual months data are looked at for the records in the GHCN data set, some months trend up, and some down for the same station (across all years). and adjacent stations can have opposing trends. The data are heavily “artifact laden”.

    Basically, all the things that simply and clearly falsify the present junk that is claimed to be “proof” would need to be overcome. As the very integrity of the historical data has been compromised (or simply thrown out), that will be rather hard to do. Sadly, the zealots who have “cooked the data” with massive adjustments, cherry picking, and homogenizing have effectively prevented any way to use that data to prove AGW. So we’re going to need a new data set. That might take a century or two…(unless someone can find AUDITABLE RAW ORIGINAL data records).

    So, as to “what is required” being “known”: That is a false conclusion. Someone might come up with a very elegant and completely unexpected proof tomorrow. It is impossible to forbid that that might happen. (But, for starters, as one example, those sea ports in Italy, Greece, Turkey etc that are now many kilometers from the shoreline and well above sea level would need to be a bit closer to the water…. and the arctic would need to be ICE FREE during summers for several years in a row, like they were in the past warmer parts of the Holocene, and the Antarctic would need to be net losing ice in stead of gaining it as present, and there would need to be LESS extent of frost and snow instead of more as there is at present, and for a long time too. Oh, and no “Raining Iguanas” in Florida from the frost…

    At one point, he said he would accept the results of the BEST study but then backed away from this.

    As did I. AND, like Anthony, I had that little world “IF” in my statement of acceptance. It was not a blind unthinking acceptance. It was an “IFF” they had good clean data, collected in an unbiased way and from a stable set of locations with good clean instrumental records. Instead we got PR Press Announcements of warming before the dataset was even released. When folks are already playing the propaganda game and the data isn’t even out yet, well, sorry, now you go back into the “How might these data have been cooked?” suspect bin until that audit is done.

    Good unbiased science is not done by saying ‘These are my conclusions and I’m going to find these results’ before you are done.

    So, the sincere question, in 2 parts, is: What is the evidence that most convinces you of your position and what is the evidence and what would you have to see from the science to accept that AGW is something we should mitigate against?

    1) First off, I don’t need ‘convincing of my position’. The Null Hypothesis is “nothing unusual is happening”. That is to be accepted up and until there is sufficient Falsifiable but unfalsified evidence of an alternative theory. As the present codes, like GIStemp, are not even repeatable, “Falsifiable” has a long ways to come…

    But, to humor the spirit of the question: Well, for starters, look out the windows. It reminds me most of the 1950′s. Same blustery winds. Same cooing trend. Same “loopy jet stream” (Rossby Waves). Same kind of storms. Near as I can tell, we had a 30 year ‘warm phase’ of the PDO, and now have returned to the start of a “30 year cold phase”. So one “Must Do” is change from the stupid notion that “climate” is the “30 year average of weather”. An average is used to HIDE THINGS. (That isn’t a pejorative. It is what the tool is used for. A 10 day average is used to hide the ‘noise’ of daily price moves in stocks so you can see the longer term trend. It’s a feature.) So a 30 year average is GUARANTEED to “tell lies” as we have a known 60 year periodicity cycling of the data. You need at least a 60 year window just to cover that one.

    Now there’s also a known 179 ish year cycle, and even good evidence for 700 year minor cycles, then you hit the 1500 year Bond Event cycles. (Beyond that it even looks like there is a 5000 year lunar tidal cycle…). So you might want to just completely chuck out that whole averaging approach as it’s busted. Instead, look at cyclical highs and lows and plot trend lines laid on top of those peaks. When I do that, we’re headed downhill to colder from the Holocene Optimum to the Roman Optimum to the Medieval Optimum to the Modern Optimum.

    So showing that the present CENTURY has been above those prior optimum peaks would be a good place to start. Now that might be a bit hard since the raw data has been lost, corrupted, and adjusted beyond use… So better hope that someone can find an archived original raw data set….

    But we do have proxy data. Grape Growing records from England. Utze the Ice Man found UNDER a glacier that only formed AFTER he fell, some 5000 years ago (hey, just about on that same cycle…) and more. They all say “about the same are prior warm cycles but just a little cooler”. Oh, and trying to erase the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Optimum from history means you get to start over… See, we have historical documents from those periods saying it was very different then (both HOTTER and COLDER) so your premise of “temperatures are naturally stable” is a false one and needs to go…

    2)Then, if somehow you manage to find some clean data and it shows warming, then you get to prove that a) CO2 is causal (and not, some computer video game isn’t enough. I’ve programmed for a living and know I can make a model say anything I want.) and B) Warming is BAD (when all historical evidence shows it to be good, which is why they are called “Optimums”) and C) People are causing the CO2 change, not just natural cycles (as it has been in the past many times) and finally D) The cost of the Mitigation is lower than the cost of just accepting and adapting. Oh, and that the mitigation would actually work… Get a sworn statement from China along with a couple of $Trillion in a Swiss Bank (in case they change there mind…), otherwise you will be ‘taken’ by China in a Carbon Swindle. About then we can talk about “doing something to mitigate”

    So far, I have not found a “sceptic” willing to answer it. I wonder why?

    Perhaps because it is a poorly worded StrawMan Hypothetical? It presupposes what can not be supposed (that all possible proofs are known to the answerer), then expects a laundry list / checklist of what those proofs are to find, and glosses over many of the important precursor requirements (like, oh, showing mitigation would work, or that “30 year average of weather” was anything other than a “Find 30 year cycles to be trends instead” filter…

    Besides, most Skeptics have seen all the Troll Bait a dozen times and just don’t see the reason to bother. I would have not bothered either, but felt maybe I needed some practice…

    30 years of no significant warming as evident in the surface temp record would pretty much be enough to change my mind.

    Well, as the “30 year” window just finds the present cycle state, and as the PDO swap happened in about 1998, you will be “changed” in about 2028. Perhaps sooner if ‘flat’ really is enough and you don’t insist that a 10 year downtrend isn’t meaningful…

    Or look at an interval of “top to top” from the 1930s to the 1990s and notice it’s dead flat. That’s a way to find ‘trend’ in cyclical series. And the tend is NOT warming.

    Now, one other little problem: You can’t depend on the “surface temp record” as it isn’t a “record” any more. It is an adjusted, filtered, fabricated, spiced, blended fiction riddled with UHI artifacts and bad siting too. So, I suggest going over to NCDC and asking if they’ve continued to let the original paper record sheets rot and mold away. If they have, you get to wait about 60 years to gather new data… Otherwise it isn’t repeatable and it isn’t falsifiable, so it isn’t science… I suggest talking to the nice folks at CRU and NCDC and asking them why they screwed up the audit trail so much that ALL the subsequent work done with their cooked bits is now useless.

    While you are at it, ask what the scientific basis is for averaging intensive intrinsic properties.
    Oh, and ask what the scientific basis is for constantly changing the thermometers used in a calorimetry experiment while NOT using enthalpy data and mass data and specific heat data and…

    Or we can just wait 60 years for the Satellite data to reach a long enough span to be useful…

    As there is NO urgency since nothing is noticeably changed from 50 years ago when I was a kid and certainly not from those very hot years in the ’30s and ’40s my Dad told me about; there’s no problem at all collecting a new temperature series and then doing the science right (complete with those enthalpy and specific heat / density and mass flow – rain – figures…)

    Yeah, you know, real honest science. The hard stuff.

  41. I have seen much “alternative” medicine work, and work completely, where everything else has failed, and failed badly, for years.

    To Lucy and others advocating “alternative” medicine therapies: Alternative medicine is called “alternative” because no one knows if or how it works. You need to use science to determine exactly how it works. I’m not dismissing alternative medicine out of hand, but if you can’t show the mechanism by which a treatment works, then you really don’t know anything. If you can scientifically demonstrate how an alternative technique works, then it will become part of the scientific medical knowledge base.

    I’ve had too many experiences in my life where I believed I had found the cause of some problem (not medical) only to discover later, sometimes much later, the the real cause. At that time I was able assess how I went wrong, usually finding out I had fallen victim to correlation is causation.

    Alternative medicine is not science and I think Anthony is correct to include it in his list of quotes of science and rationality.

  42. Toto says:
    February 25, 2012 at 1:04 am

    “A prediction, in a field where prediction is not possible, is no more than a prejudice.” Malcolm Gladwell, What the Dog saw.

    A prediction that cannot be experimentally verified is USELESS! Oh, the RADIATIVE FORCING!

    Babs

  43. Here’s a quote to consider in the context of CAGW and the Religion of Environmentalism, those who practice it, and how they’d like to control your lives.

    “Make no mistake about the character of mystics. To undercut your consciousness has always been their only purpose throughout the ages – and _power_, the power to rule you by force, has always been their only lust.” – Ayn Rand

  44. Exp says:
    February 25, 2012 at 4:38 am
    “Skepticism is the first step toward truth.”

    Denialism is continuing to walk away from well established truth and pretending you are stepping towards it.

    I’d like to ask Anthony a question.

    My presumption is that Anthony doesn’t believe that there is enough evidence to support action on AGW. True?

    If this is the case, he must know what evidence he would require for the opposite to be true.

    At one point, he said he would accept the results of the BEST study but then backed away from this.

    So, the sincere question, in 2 parts, is: What is the evidence that most convinces you of your position and what is the evidence and what would you have to see from the science to accept that AGW is something we should mitigate against?

    So far, I have not found a “sceptic” willing to answer it. I wonder why?

    30 years of no significant warming as evident in the surface temp record would pretty much be enough to change my mind.Exp says:
    February 25, 2012 at 4:38 am
    “Skepticism is the first step toward truth.”

    Denialism is continuing to walk away from well established truth and pretending you are stepping towards it.

    I’d like to ask Anthony a question.

    My presumption is that Anthony doesn’t believe that there is enough evidence to support action on AGW. True?

    If this is the case, he must know what evidence he would require for the opposite to be true.

    At one point, he said he would accept the results of the BEST study but then backed away from this.

    So, the sincere question, in 2 parts, is: What is the evidence that most convinces you of your position and what is the evidence and what would you have to see from the science to accept that AGW is something we should mitigate against?

    So far, I have not found a “sceptic” willing to answer it. I wonder why?

    30 years of no significant warming as evident in the surface temp record would pretty much be enough to change my mind.

    Rather than questioning the sincerity of the question, I’ll just repeat that this question has been asked and answered dozens of times over and over, on this site and others. The answers are always ignored, or rebutted with false ‘debunking’ statements.

    So let me turn around and ask the question you should be asking: What evidence makes you non-skeptical?

  45. Dodgy Geezer says:
    February 25, 2012 at 7:34 am
    “Science works by making conjectures and then proving them. It does NOT work by making conjectures and then asking people to DISPROVE them. ”

    About the proving bit; that’s often difficult to do when you’re outside mathematics.

    So I would say: You formulate a theory that is capable of making a prediction. Only when predictions of the theory come to pass, the theory can have a chance of counting as accepted, and only in this stage does it become a task of the opponents to disprove it.

    But it looks like we don’t have to in the case of CO2AGW.

    The next question is, which theory explains the LACK of warming, and my favourite candidate would be Miskolczi’s theory. I’ve already outruled the simple CO2AGW theory as insufficient.

    In the case of climate science it’s of course all very fuzzy as no IPCC consensus climate scientists ever writes down the theory in a complete form together with its predictions, but we could argue that implementations of GCM’s constitute the most definitive form of a variant of the theory. Now, these are ruled out. They are disproven.

  46. Exp said that at one point Anthony said he would accept the results of the BEST study but then backed away from this.

    Yes. But later it was discovered that Muller had artificially “adjusted” the BEST data. The before and after results are here:

    Muller rigged the results to show a hockey stick. He was caught. Naturally, Anthony refused to accept the rigged results. Only a fool would accept the claims of a charlatan.

  47. Great post. Excellent quotes all.
    I read the post and the comments section and thought this one should be included. (My apologies if I missed it.)

    “There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them.”
    —George Orwell

  48. Exp says:
    February 25, 2012 at 4:38 am
    “So, the sincere question, in 2 parts, is: What is the evidence that most convinces you of your position and what is the evidence and what would you have to see from the science to accept that AGW is something we should mitigate against?”

    That question sounds like you’re working at GISS and need to know what data you have to fabricate next.

    Well, just start by showing more warming. Fudge it up, the more the better. That’ll do.

  49. Exp says:
    February 25, 2012 at 4:38 am

    Everything that has been claimed over the past 15 years or so to be evidence supporting CAGW has failed. (sea levels, surface warming, stratospheric temperatures, droughts, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, global sea ice, aerosols, mid trosphere temperatures and the hot spot, missing heat and cloud albedo etc) These have all been highlighted many times before and not just on WUWT. When one of these fails the next thing is cherry picked to try and explain the previous fail. Constant fails of scientific method are very convincing, but not suprising when only the influence with humans on climate is looked into by these, not the climate mechanisms themselves. If one thing doesn’t happen as planned it is always because of humans doing x,y,z never anything else. La Nina’s had even been blamed for non-warming, yet global warming was screamed to the hills when there was a sequence of El Ninos. It is up to these alarmist scientists to prove this evidence supoorting CAGW and they have failed.

    The biggest thing I find funny most of all is your claim that you don’t support a non CAGW view unless there is 30 years of non warming. Yet your pro CAGW view has been determined on just 17 years of global temperatures at the most.

    Since the 1930′s global temperatures have only warmed during a period of 17 years.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1998/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1998/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1998/trend/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1998/trend/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1980/to:1998/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1980/to:1998/trend/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1934/to:1980/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1934/to:1980/trend

  50. Exp says:
    February 25, 2012 at 4:38 am

    I’d like to ask Anthony a question.

    So, the sincere question, in 2 parts, is: [...] what would you have to see from the science to accept that AGW is something we should mitigate against?

    Under the assumption that Exp is sincerely interested in the answer to this question, here goes.

    Exp, my technical background is in control systems. Stable physical systems are dominated by negative feedback mechanisms — these are the things that make a system return to stability upon receiving some external perturbation. One of the things that is established science and a matter of absolute consensus in my discipline is that stable control systems *are never* dominated by positive feedback mechanisms. They can’t be. If they were, then they would not be stable, they would be unstable: they would be unable to return to a stable state when knocked off balance by small, commonly occurring external forces. So now we have a bunch of climate scientists with no expertise in control systems claiming that our multi-billion year old, stable atmosphere actually defies the established science of control systems. They claim that our atmosphere is dominated by a positive feedback from water vapor. Basically, they argue that the effects of a small change in CO2 concentration will be amplified by water vapor to produce a large change in surface temperature.

    Now I will grant you that stable control system can be knocked out of a stable state when the external force is of sufficient magnitude — but that’s not what the CAGW theory is proposing. Its saying that small changes in CO2 concentration to levels commonly seen in prior geologic periods, will destabilize the atmosphere (or, if not destabilize it, produce a catastrophically large change in surface temperature). This is an *extraordinary* claim for which there is no support in the control systems literature. If it were true, then it would have already happened sometime previously in the geologic record.

    So I’ve got a very simple answer to you question: I need to see *evidence* (not computer models) that the equilibrium climate sensitivity to CO2 is >3C and I need to see the scientists who make such claims willing to answer my questions about his/her methods and results.

  51. There’s nothing quite as frightening as someone who knows they are right. – Michael Faraday

    The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge. – Stephen Hawking

  52. Smokey says:
    February 25, 2012 at 9:03 am
    “Yes. But later it was discovered that Muller had artificially “adjusted” the BEST data. The before and after results are here:

    Muller rigged the results to show a hockey stick.”

    Ah well, different time scales. The problem with BEST’s hockey stick they prepared for the media was that they used data until 2005 or so and then ran a symmetric 10 year running mean on it, so the BEST hockey stick stops in 2000 and doesn’t show the last flat decade.

    Which clearly showed Muller as the wannabe geo-engineering alarmist he is.

    He’s a front for these guys:

    http://jer-skepticscorner.blogspot.com/2011/04/best-novim-and-other-solution.html

    And this is Muller’s own company:

    http://www.mullerandassociates.com/index.php

  53. One almost sensible go so far:

    “So I’ve got a very simple answer to you question: I need to see *evidence* (not computer models) that the equilibrium climate sensitivity to CO2 is >3C and I need to see the scientists who make such claims willing to answer my questions about his/her methods and results.”

    What experiment can be proposed and done to provide such evidence? Got another world that we can try it on?

    Your proposal amounts to what I think the position of most “sceptics” really is: I’ll believe it when I see it: I need to see signs of catastrophic warming.

    Pop off to the casino and ask if they’ll let you place your bets after the little ball has stopped rolling.

  54. “We modern human beings are looking at life, trying to make some sense of it; observing a ‘reality’ that often seems to be unfolding in a foreign tongue – only we’ve all been issued the wrong librettos. For a text, we’re given the Bible. Or the Talmud or the Koran. We’re given Time magazine and Reader’s Digest, daily papers, and the six o’clock news; we’re given psychological counseling, cults, workshops, advertisements, sales pitches, and authoritative pronouncements by pundits, sold-out scientists, political activists, and heads of state. Unfortunately, none of these translations bears more than a faint resemblance to what is transpiring in the true theater of existence, and most of them are dangerously misleading. We’re attempting to comprehend the spiraling intricacies of a magnificently complex tragicomedy with librettos that describe barroom melodramas or kindergarten skits. And when was the last time you heard anybody bitch about it to the management?”
    Tom Robbins – ‘Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas
    Keep on Bitchin on Anthony & Gang!
    BTW… How come no one gets into the predicting polar ice cap extents anymore???? Too cyclical???? If I could put a big red S for sarcasm here, I Would!
    peace

  55. Marvelous— absolutely marvelous. As a lifelong devotee of the sainted Mencken, I am addicted to epigrams and this collection would warm his heart as well as that of Ambrose Beirce ( author of the indispensible “Devils Dictionary.”

  56. HorshamBren says:
    February 25, 2012 at 4:54 am
    … and for devotees of climate models, here’s some Eastern wisdom:

    ‘Do not mistake the finger pointing at the moon for the moon itself’

    Very good.

    It reminds me of Magritte´s painting “The Treachery of Images”

    It reads “This is not a pipe” For those who cannot tell de difference between computer output and reality.

    Phillip K. Dick’s quote also applies here.

  57. Exp,

    What would make me change my mind over climate skepticism ? Well, I would have to seriously reconsider my position if you could find the missing hotspot in the troposphere. Without it, there is no water vapour amplification of the warming effect of CO2 and hence no crisis.

    Now, would you like to answer your own question and tell us what you would accept as falsifying the man-made global warming hypothesis. We’re all waiting.

  58. Exp says:
    February 25, 2012 at 4:38 am

    …Denialism is continuing to walk away from well established truth and pretending you are stepping towards it.

    I know I responded to your post already, but I can’t lead the above false and misleading statement go without calling you out on it.

    For from it, AGW is not a well-established truth. It’s theory not supported by real-world observations. It’s based on spurious, adjusted data and ignores the facts of natural climate change, not the least of which are we are still recovering from the Little Ice Age and no one can show the warming has exceeded previous Holocene warm periods which must have been entirely natural in cause.

    In short, nobody has shown the late 20th century warming to be either unnatural or unprecedented. Nobody has shown the climate models accurately reflect the processes that control the real climate and nobody has shown the climate to be as unstable as it must be for AGW to be true.

    Just to be clear that you get it, climate models do not output data or facts. Climate models produce the results they are programmed to output.

  59. dcfl51 says:
    February 25, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Missing heat in the troposphere? I thought it was lost in the deep ocean. Silly me!

  60. Michael Palmer says:
    February 25, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Apart from many true but redundant ones, there are a few questionable quotes in this list. Examples:

    1. “That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence
.” –Christopher Hitchens

    The only statements that can rightfully “be asserted without evidence” are simply the rules of logic

    ——————

    I think that rather than disproving Hitchens you are agreeing with him.

  61. Dear Anthony Watts

    In regard to the many admirable quotations in your recent WUWT essay “Relevant quotes on skepticism – and a motto for our times”, please let me advocate for this one: “Be First with the Truth.”

    Two fundamental virtues of “Be First with the Truth” are:

       • it is the simplest and shortest of maxims, and

       • the other virtues in your WUWT essay all follow from it.

    Uncompromising fidelity to this simplest-yet-toughest of principles — extending in a chain of integrity from the lowest lance corporal to the highest levels of command — has sustained America’s troops (and the families of those troops) through many years of a grinding tough war. Semper Fi!

    We all appreciate that Peter Gleick gravely violated “Be First with the Truth” … indeed, I was myself among the first to break the story here on WUWT (before even you, Anthony!), and among severest to criticize Gleick’s actions (more severe even than you, Anthony!). So I hope you will not mind that I apply the principle “Be First with the Truth” with equal strictness to the Heartland Institute.

    [snip - I do mind, and I'm not going to let you steer another thread into areas you want to discuss that are waayyy off-topic for a thread about quotes - Anthony]

    And so, it is entirely appropriate that rationally skeptical forums (like WUWT) severely criticize Peter Gleick’s gross failure to “Be First with the Truth.” And similarly, it is entirely appropriate too — and absolutely essential to the integrity and effectiveness of rational skepticism — that the Heartland Institute’s failures to “Be First with the Truth” are criticized with similarly uncompromising severity.

  62. Exp says:
    February 25, 2012 at 9:53 am

    “Pop off to the casino and ask if they’ll let you place your bets after the little ball has stopped rolling.”

    We can to go to the casino and place our bets at out liesure if we so choose. As far as the ‘solutions’ to ‘Climate Change’ go, they will be forced upon us at gunpoint by government. Truth be told, sceptics are too stoopid for their own good and climate scientists are the true saviours of Mother Gaia, even thought they can’t presently locate the missing heat, are they not?

  63. Exp says:
    February 25, 2012 at 9:53 am
    “Your proposal amounts to what I think the position of most “sceptics” really is: I’ll believe it when I see it: I need to see signs of catastrophic warming.

    Pop off to the casino and ask if they’ll let you place your bets after the little ball has stopped rolling.”

    So you are placing your trust in discredited GCM’s. Well, maybe they’ll fix them so they can explain the current lack of warming and then we’ll have another go at CO2AGW theory Vs. 2.0.

    All the models are designed to hindcast correctly, or hindcast what James Hansen thinks the temperature history of the planet is, which is a bad reference to start with. You trust these models? Why do you trust them? Here’s why. Copy of a comment of mine from PG’s(*) notrickszone.com :

    It occured to me in attempts at debate with William M. Connolley on the “Omitted Variable Fraud” thread on WUWT (he ignored me, BTW) that the modelers have a very simple means of achieving whatever future prediction they want.

    a) Any model must maintain conservation of energy – in each time step, energy between cells can only be redistributed, not created or destroyed. This is something that goes easily wrong, so they really do test that that holds; an error here would be too blatant.
    b) Energy comes in from the sun. This is modelled as largely constant; with which I agree. TSI won’t change much.
    c) Energy leaves only to space.

    By controlling c) they control the temperature of the model. That’s why they are so relaxed when one tells them, look, you try to model a chaotic system, your simulation MUST go off the rails in no time. They know it can’t happen – they simply control the energy that leaves to space.

    And how do they do it? Simple.

    The Aerosol fudge factor. Control the thermalization of photons by aerosols and you have a control knob for the energy content of the model. After decades of research, there are still large uncertainties about the forcing caused by aerosols, and even whether it’s net positive or negative.

    They have no intention of changing that. If experiments would narrow down the range they would lose this very simple means of tuning the models to whatever warming they like. There is to my knowledge no research other than more modeling going on with regards to the aerosol forcing. That modeling will of course deliver exactly the right results to justify the model’s behaviour; a scientific shell game, a tautology; an obfuscation for the public.

    (*) No, another PG.

  64. Alexander Feht says: and many others
    February 25, 2012 at 7:55 am
    Exp says:
    February 25, 2012 at 4:38 am
    30 years of no significant warming as evident in the surface temp record would pretty much be enough to change my mind.
    I hope you will live that long (another 15 years). Don’t forget then, what you’ve said today.

    Are you folks not paying attention? Or maybe you don’t know how to subtract! Earth’s atmospheric temperature is (January 2012) nearly the same as, or slightly below, what it was 30 years ago. There has been 30+ years of “no significant warming” as requested by Exp.

    Can y’all ignore the next comment by Exp, insofar as it will be an almost exact duplicate of the comment here, where it is off-topic (O/T or OT).

  65. Babsy, I trust you are being humorous and have your ‘sarc’ on but there might be some trolls reading this and taking your comment literally. For their benefit, the hotspot is NOT an area of the atmosphere where missing heat resides. It is an area which, according to the computer climate models, is supposed to warm FASTER than anywhere else during periods of global warming. Unfortunately for CAGW believers, this hotspot is not present in data from the warming of 1975 to 1998. Furthermore, we cannot look for it in current data because, despite what the alarmists say, they know full well that there hasn’t been any global warming for about 15 years. They will have to wait until 2025 or thereabouts before they can start looking again because that is when the NATURAL !!!!!!!! cycles evident in the 1860-2011 temperature record are next due to switch to a warming phase.

  66. Exp says:
    February 25, 2012 at 9:53 am
    One almost sensible go so far:

    “So I’ve got a very simple answer to you question: I need to see *evidence* (not computer models) that the equilibrium climate sensitivity to CO2 is >3C and I need to see the scientists who make such claims willing to answer my questions about his/her methods and results.”

    What experiment can be proposed and done to provide such evidence? Got another world that we can try it on?

    Your proposal amounts to what I think the position of most “sceptics” really is: I’ll believe it when I see it: I need to see signs of catastrophic warming.

    Pop off to the casino and ask if they’ll let you place your bets after the little ball has stopped rolling.

    Did you intend to let is slip you have no evidence of AGW, but you believe it’s a problem anyway? Where is the science in that?

  67. A physicist says:
    February 25, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Please see More Soylent Green! says: February 25, 2012 at 6:48 am)

    Gleick didn’t break “Be first with the truth,” he broke several laws, published harmful data and distributed fake documents intended to discredit those whom he disagreed with.

    I have another motto for you to try on: “Don’t lie, cheat or steal or tolerate those who do.”

  68. Chuck says:
    February 25, 2012 at 8:28 am
    ”I have seen much “alternative” medicine work, and work completely, where everything else has failed, and failed badly, for years.”

    To Lucy and others advocating “alternative” medicine therapies: Alternative medicine is called “alternative” because no one knows if or how it works.

    Wrong. To claim that ‘no one knows if or how xyz works’ he must have knowledge and a proof that no one know. But this is impossible. It may be that the claimer has no knowledge how xyz works, but that is a personal problem. An alternative is in general one or one of more than one different ways to go, as the claimed one way. This claim is not a valid scientific claim, because in fact other alternatives exist or can exist. It is a fallacy called Argumentum ad verecundiam (Appeal to authority). The Appeal to Authority uses admiration of a famous lobby to try and win support for an assertion.

    You need to use science to determine exactly how it works.

    Maybe wrong again. One of the best methods of science is empery. If you empirical find out that a special (poison) herb (Fumaria officinalis) cleans the skin, you do not need to use chemical science do determine exactly how it works. It is an option but not a prerequisite. It works well without the knowledge how it works.

    I’m not dismissing alternative medicine out of hand, but if you can’t show the mechanism by which a treatment works, then you really don’t know anything. .

    This is not only wrong, this is a claim called absolutism claim knowing the other have no knowledge in general. Not on his apartment number, not on his name, no knowledge where the bathroom is, etc. Claimer of this kind of proud never have explained how or if or since when they exist prior to their birth using science. If they have come out of nothing this seems not to be a science based argument. If they have existed some years prior their birth it seems that they can give proof of it. And if they ‘work’ but can’t show the mechanism by which they work it seems to me that they really don’t know anything about their existence.

    If you can scientifically demonstrate how an alternative technique works, then it will become part of the scientific medical knowledge base.

    If you can scientifically demonstrate, how your existence works prior, while and after you are not triggered to breath, then I think your understanding of science is knowledge based.

    Alternative medicine is not science

    Sayings without valid arguments meet not the science of logic.

    V.

  69. Leon M Lederman

    “If the Universe is the answer, what is the question?”

    “· .. what I really would enjoy is teaching physics to young liberal arts students because they are skeptical. They’re not a captive audience. My goal would be to convince them that science is part of a liberal arts education.”

    For any who’ve never read him: http://history.fnal.gov/lederman_quotes.html

  70. That which can be destroyed by the truth, should be.
 –P. C. Hodgell
    Not necessarily. For example, civilization may be built upon myth, necessary untruths. If the untruths are eliminated, there is no guarantee the civilization built upon them will persist.

    What is ‘truth’? Who can with any certainty state what is ‘truth’? The best we can do is make a reasonable argument and call it truth. That is destinguishable from actual Truth, which may not be knowable, at least not yet. The ‘truth’ of one day is replaced by a better, more useful ‘truth’ another.

    All ‘truths’ depend on making a set of assumptions. Are these assumptions questioned? Some of these may be unknowable, and yet useful. Some assumptions may be essential for certain purposes even if they are wrong.

    Here is an example of a dilemma, there is no right or wrong answer. There is no example of a civilization persisting in the world at any time in history in which homosexual marriage was accepted. The major religions do not support such marriages. That constitutes a historical and cultural assumption such marriages are wrong. Is this assumption a founding principle of civilization? Can civilization persist if the assumption is argued away by judicial logic?

    Similarly, is the notion of rights being given by God necessary to support free civilization? Even if there is no God, are rights innate, or are they given to us by the State? Or, what about a person’s willingness to die for a higher cause? That behavior may be driven by arguably false beliefs, and yet, they may be essential for the survival of civilization. The fear over the existence of a divine watcher who will punish the wicked may be an essential lie.

    Smart people are capable of making solid arguments to support almost any position. Judicial rulings seem to be increasingly self-consistent logic run amok, disconnected from reality. Instead of attacking founding assumptions of civilization based on judicial reasoning, perhaps legal opinion should bend to benchmarks of civilization that have stood the test of time. Otherwise, there is no limit to where their legal arguments may take us.

    Beware seeking perfect Truth, at least for everyone. Try it for yourself first and see how it works out before trying to make everyone else see your truth. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be judgmental. In fact, judging is a very important task. It is the basis of evolution, whether you choose to believe in that or not.

    My point here is truth may not be for everyone. Some lies may be necessary for other purposes. In other words, some lies may be needed for many, if not most people. We need to be careful about idealism. It’s another reason why we should not impose top-down compliance with laws or beliefs. We don’t really know what the consequences are when we change how people interact. If one country fails, that may be unfortunate (e.g. Greece), but civilizaiton will go on. If we force everyone behave the same and believe the same things, and the whole world goes down, it would be an utter catastrophe.

  71. DirkH says:
    February 25, 2012 at 10:58 am
    “c) Energy leaves only to space.

    By controlling c) they control the temperature of the model.”

    And thanks to Babsy to mention the missing heat, that fits perfectly to how the CO2AGW vs. 1.0 models failed. It left to space – but in the pre-2000 runs of the GCMs it wasn’t allowed to so the heat content of Sim-Earth went up faster than it really did, and, I don’t know, did nobody tell Kevin? Is he still looking for it?

    They should really communicate that to the inmates.

  72. Chuck says:
    February 25, 2012 at 8:28 am
    I have seen much “alternative” medicine work, and work completely, where everything else has failed, and failed badly, for years.

    To Lucy and others advocating “alternative” medicine therapies: Alternative medicine is called “alternative” because no one knows if or how it works. You need to use science to determine exactly how it works. I’m not dismissing alternative medicine out of hand, but if you can’t show the mechanism by which a treatment works, then you really don’t know anything. If you can scientifically demonstrate how an alternative technique works, then it will become part of the scientific medical knowledge base.

    By that logic, aspirin should have been excluded from medicine until the 70s (or whenever it was that its mechanism was discovered).

  73. Hoser says:
    February 25, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    That which can be destroyed by the truth, should be.
 –P. C. Hodgell
    Not necessarily. For example, civilization may be built upon myth, necessary untruths. If the untruths are eliminated, there is no guarantee the civilization built upon them will persist.

    Ok, so I sell your “civilization” a million calculators that have 2+2= 5 on some days, and on other days it is 7 and on other days it is the square root of pi…

    And you would buy those calculators because….??

    Sheesh.

    I hope you’re not running for president of your “civilization”. (Better yet, define for me a civilization that would last in a highly complex technical world with calculators like that–and that’s just a minor example of letting myth trump truth.)

    I suppose you could always pine away for the Dark Ages where myth held sway.

  74. A physicist says:
    February 25, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Dear Anthony Watts

    In regard to the many admirable quotations in your recent WUWT essay “Relevant quotes on skepticism – and a motto for our times”, please let me advocate for this one: “Be First with the Truth.”

    No, A… that’s not it at all. It is:

    “First, Tell the Truth”.

    You sound like it’s a race to come up with the “truth” when in fact lots of what you say isn’t necessarily so. Simple as that. First, tell the truth. A wonderful first axiom. Unless you do, nothing else matters–truth isn’t relative.

    Now, we could drag Jones, Mann, Gore and a whole lot of other AGW Control Freaks into this little discussion, but they aren’t very good examples of the first and foremost axiom, are they?

    No, they aren’t.

  75. Paul Martin says:
    February 25, 2012 at 10:36 am
    The Truth Shall Make Ye Fret.
    – Terry Pratchett, “The Truth”

    The truth shall make you freek.

  76. dcfl51 says:
    February 25, 2012 at 11:20 am

    My aplologies. I was being obscenely sarcastic and I should have noted that for civilization. As for the trolls, well, they can all rot…

  77. Exp,
    Turning to your comment at 9:53 am, “What experiment can be proposed and done…” to see whether climate sensitivity > 3 degC, it is generally accepted that the no-feedbacks climate sensitivity is about 1 degC. ( IPCC says 1.2 degC.) Sensitivity over 3 degC requires strong positive water vapour feedbacks. Experiments have already been going on for years, measuring changes in atmospheric humidity, temperature, outgoing radiation, sea surface temperature, etc in order to try to quantify the feedbacks. This is ongoing work, but all I can say is that so far the results are pretty disappointing for your side of the argument.

    We can also hindcast a high sensitivity model and see how it compares to actual temperatures over the last 150 years. If you visit this site regularly you will know that temperatures should have already risen much higher than they actually have, according to the hindcasts.

    Also, Mother Nature has been conducting an experiment for the last 4.5 billion years. We have masses of data showing that the earth has had significantly higher CO2 levels and temperatures in the past. If the climate were as sensitive to CO2 as the models assume then the oceans would have boiled away in the past and we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about it. The climate didn’t start in 1970, you know !

    You have mentioned that 30 years of non-rising temperatures would make you change your mind. Exp, the debate is not about climate change – it is about catastrophic man-made climate change. To say that you want evidence that the climate is not changing before you will believe that climate change is not primarily anthropogenic is illogical. Unfortunately, warmists do tend to promote the idea that any evidence of climate change is, ipso facto, evidence of catastrophic man-made climate change. I don’t know whether this is through a lack of ability to think logically or whether it is because they know their case is so weak.

  78. Regarding Alternative vs Conventional Medicine, I believe the following core principles of Conventional Medicine do show it to be far superior:

    1)Treat the symptom, not the cause.

    2) For every symptom or ailment, there’s a drug, or set of drugs.

    3) Never mind preventive medicine like proper diet, exercise, and taking vitamins. Simply wait ’til you’re sick, then see #2.

    4) Even if you aren’t sick yet, there are drugs for you to take to help keep you from getting sick.

    5) Drug manufacturers do their own rigorous studies. They do this out of the goodness of their hearts, and for science, not the money.

    6) If drugs fail, there’s always surgery.
    /sarc

  79. A physicist says: [snip - growing tired of this - Anthony]

    Anthony, are all posts that differ from your views intrinsically “tiresome”? Like this one, which (for me) is indeed “A Relevant Quote on Skepticism” …

    On any forum — whether skeptic-leaning or consensus-leaning — censorship of the strongest criticisms can serve no good purpose … for the common-sense reason that the strongest skepticism and the strongest science recognize one another not as enemies, but rather as the most natural of allies.

    The too-common practices of censorship, personal abuse, cherry-picking, astro-turfing, and legal bluster all seek to obstruct the natural union of strong skepticism with strong science … yet over the long run, they are entirely helpless to prevent it.

    In this regard, Anthony, please let me commend to your attention and consideration the core USMC/Army principle that “All force activity is wrapped in a blanket of truth.”

    The practices of censorship, personal abuse, cherry-picking, astro-turfing, and legal bluster amount to “loopholes in the blanket of truth”, and that is the simple reason why these practices must be foresworn.

    REPLY: Read my policy page. You are in my home on the Internet, and quite frankly I should have shown you the door long ago for your constant and condescending lecturing. Not only are you tiring me, but all the other guests as well. And that bit about military truth? You can’t even put your own name to your words while lecturing us about honor. So please, stop embarrassing yourself with pronouncements about honor and truth when your deeds say otherwise. The issue here is off-topic threadjacking, something I snipped you for and admonished you for earlier. It has become your signature here and I’m tired of it. I have only so much tolerance.

    I remind you of your own words, written on 2012/01/27 at 1:34 pm

    “Should you ever observe that I (or for that matter any WUWT poster) am mainly criticizing persons, rather than opinions, then it would be fully appropriate to require that personal criticism to appear under my own name, or not at all.”

    So in this case, you are criticizing me, directly. You’ve had 408 posts here at WUWT, most of them like the one above. Unless you want to adhere to your own stated principles, and put your name to your direct criticisms of me, please see the door at the end of the hallway that says “EXIT” over it. – Anthony

  80. I’m a busy guy, Exp. I’m willing to be convinced about AGW. I’m not willing to be hectored. Computer models may help scientists DISCOVER facts, but by definition they can’t PRODUCE facts. The burden of proof is on your side. You want more people to believe? Then note: every time a ‘climate scientist’ or fellow-traveller uses the word ‘denier’, that person asserts that the science isn’t good enough, and that ad hominem will have to do.

  81. A physicist says:
    February 25, 2012 at 1:31 pm
    “The practices of censorship, personal abuse, cherry-picking, astro-turfing, and legal bluster amount to “loopholes in the blanket of truth”, and that is the simple reason why these practices must be foresworn.”

    How about memetic carpetbombing.

  82. dcfl51,

    Don’t disaree with too much you have said.

    It’s not about proving catastrophic climate change – suspect the best we will ever be able to do is estimate the chances and the risks – until its too late.

    And, if it’s not man-made, what is it?

    Despite claims to the contrary here, you are putting forward an hypothesis and it’s not the “null hypothesis” that you need to prove, it’s the “something else other than man hypothesis”. If you think there’s big holes in the man-made hypothesis, seems like there’s nothing but air comprising the other.

    “If the climate were as sensitive to CO2 as the models assume then the oceans would have boiled away in the past”

    Ah, I call BS on that one.

  83. (I originally posted this on Judith Curry’s blog here)

    “a physicist”:

    It is your choice to pursue The Big Lie technique as your primary method of communication.

    However, a moderator removing your non-topical, dishonest, defamatory statements from the comments section of a blog is no more “censorship” than removing penis enlargement spam from the comments section would be.

    And the penis enlargement spammer has the virtue of not trying to wrap its fantasy claims in the mantle of honor and integrity of the armed forces.

    Your behavior makes you a less appealing ally than a penis enlargement spammer would be. Perhaps you should reflect on that, “a physicist”.

  84. Chuck said @ February 25, 2012 at 8:28 am

    To Lucy and others advocating “alternative” medicine therapies: Alternative medicine is called “alternative” because no one knows if or how it works. You need to use science to determine exactly how it works.

    I’m not dismissing alternative medicine out of hand, but if you can’t show the mechanism by which a treatment works, then you really don’t know anything. If you can scientifically demonstrate how an alternative technique works, then it will become part of the scientific medical knowledge base.

    I’ve had too many experiences in my life where I believed I had found the cause of some problem (not medical) only to discover later, sometimes much later, the the real cause. At that time I was able assess how I went wrong, usually finding out I had fallen victim to correlation is causation.

    Alternative medicine is not science and I think Anthony is correct to include it in his list of quotes of science and rationality.

    What twaddle! Allicin for example, (a constituent of garlic and onions) is a well-known anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent. To support your contention, you need to explain why it does not have these properties while part of the garlic or onion plant, but magically does have these properties when removed and placed in a container for sale at your local pharmacy. Ditto for salicylic acid in apples, alantoin in comfrey, thymol in thyme.

    I could give many more examples. Suffice it to say there are many pharmaceuticals in my garden and they are a lot less expensive than purchasing them from the pharmacy.

  85. Some of the Git’s favourite quotes:

    The more we learn about the world, and the deeper our learning, the more conscious, specific, and articulate will be our knowledge of what we do not know, our knowledge of our ignorance — the fact that our knowledge can be only finite, while our ignorance must be infinite. — Sir Karl Popper

    Unless the mind is capable of coming into contact with reality, then all thought is equally worthy and equally worthless. It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere. No normal person honestly believes that. For one thing it’s unhealthy. If you split your mind into two halves, a discursive half and a practical half, and give them radically incompatible things to believe the outcome is going to be stress and inner conflict. It’s also illogical. Is the thought that no thoughts are true, itself true? Is the statement that no statement is unbiased, itself unbiased? If we answer Yes, we contradict ourselves. For if all thoughts are untrue, then this thought is untrue. If all statements are biased, then this statement is biased. There’s no question therefore of a total scepticism about human thought because it can only be formulated by making a tacit exception in favour of the thought we are thinking at the moment.

    Authority may be a hint as to what the truth is, but is not the source of information. As long as it’s possible, we should disregard authority whenever the observations disagree with it. — Richard P. Feynman

    The masses have never thirsted after truth. They turn aside from evidence that is not to their taste, preferring to deify error, if error seduces them. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim. — Gustave Le Bon

    Men will always be mad and those who think they can cure them are the maddest of all. — Voltaire

  86. Exp says:
    February 25, 2012 at 9:53 am

    One almost sensible go so far:

    Your proposal amounts to what I think the position of most “sceptics” really is: I’ll believe it when I see it: I need to see signs of catastrophic warming.

    REPLY

    Ignorance doesn’t get you anywhere. Why not look at the real problems pro CAGW face and the real reason supporting the sceptics.

    http://mises.org/daily/5892/The-Skeptics-Case#.T0eUhlmYO74.email

    Unless you think CAGW will just come out of thin air instantly, there needs to be signs it is already building up to be a problem. Changes in water vapor and global temperatures at the surface, troposphere and stratosphere say no. It is not to do with we’ll believe it when we see it, it has to have observations that the planet can demonstrate this will happen in future. Anything else is just based on faith and therefore religion/agenda, not science. The rate of warming and water vapor needs to double/triple from the 1980′s and 1990′s values to support any possible CAGW. Yet we have been at a stable rate now for over a decade, so this changes to a rate triple/quadruple. This rate needs to get bigger the longer global temperatures remain stable.

    One big problem here is more water vapor, more lower based clouds = negative feedback. With cloud albedo increasing over recent years it is no wonder we are not warming. This also therefore provides scientific evidence that the sceptics view on water vapor is correct and the pro CAGW view false. (see above link too regarding this)

  87. “History is a set of lies agreed upon.” Napoleon Bonaparte
    It seems that this may apply to many aspects of modern culture, possibly even aspects of modern science.

  88. “Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just
    a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into
    the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?”

    Stephen Hawking

  89. The Pompous Git says:
    February 25, 2012 at 2:10 pm
    What twaddle! Allicin for example, (a constituent of garlic and onions) is a well-known anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent. To support your contention, you need to explain why it does not have these properties while part of the garlic or onion plant, but magically does have these properties when removed and placed in a container for sale at your local pharmacy. Ditto for salicylic acid in apples, alantoin in comfrey, thymol in thyme.

    I could give many more examples. Suffice it to say there are many pharmaceuticals in my garden and they are a lot less expensive than purchasing them from the pharmacy.

    What has been found, for example with aspirin, is that the plant also contains something which prevents the effects of upset stomach which appears among those who regularly take aspirin, say for blood thinning. One has to bear in mind that pharmaceutical companies need to ‘isolate’ or somehow change the natural combination to have a product to sell.

    And they are very busy trying to destroy the herbal remedy market, while pilfering the knowledge of them…, as they’re now attacking the vitamin supplement market. Far as I recall, they began by getting comfrey banned from general sale – by force feeding it in huge amounts to rats or something and then claiming it damaged the liver.

    We could do with a pithy saying to encapsulate the need to be sceptical of advertising claims from pharma against something or for their claims about their own products – and this can get rather dark, there was a patent taken out for swine flu vaccine two years before swine flu appeared. Just cause they’re wearing a white lab coat doesn’t make them scientists.

  90. “We do not believe any group of men adequate enough or wise enough to operate without scrutiny or without criticism. We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it, that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. We know that in secrecy error undetected will flourish and subvert”. – J Robert Oppenheimer.
    The banner of http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/

    GWPF have a post of their latest article. http://thegwpf.org/science-news/5061-green-obsession-how-climate-research-starves-other-scientists-of-funding.html
    The url says it all. I’m maths (math for those who don’t know of its many varieties) inclined, but I find this appalling.

  91. Sherlock Holmes by Conan Doyle;
    “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”.
    The only thing that counts is hard, unfalsifiable evidence. Show me that and I will accept the proposition.
    No-one in the CAGW camp has ever shown me this sort of evidence. Therefore I cannot accept any of their propositions.
    An acceptable stance?

  92. Stephen Brown says:

    “An acceptable stance?”

    The only correct stance. Anything else leads back to witch doctors.

  93. For Bruce Cobb,

    Regarding the Advantages of Alternative Medicine:

    1) It always treats the symptoms instead of the cause.

    2) For each alternative procedure, there are a variety of ailments it will cure.

    3) Never mind Conventional Medicine because many serious conditions may respond to restrictive diets, yoga, and vitamin pills. If after a prolonged period of treatment you find that you are still seriously ill, then see #6.

    4) Even if you aren’t sick but only think you are, Alternative Medicine has procedures that will help you continue in your belief.

    5) Herbal manufacturers rigorously promote testimonials from satisfied users. They do this out of the goodness of their hearts, not for the money, and certainly not for science.

    6) If Alternative procedures fail, there’s always the emergency room.

  94. alan said @ February 25, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    If Alternative procedures fail, there’s always the emergency room.

    The Git and a close friend both have osteoarthritis. On his sister’s advice (she’s a neurology specialist) the Git began taking glucosamine sulphate several years ago and is one of the fortunate forty percent who experience considerable pain relief when taking this nutrient supplement. BTW in Australia such are called complementary medicines rather than alternative and are very often prescribed by general practitioners.

    The Git’s friend took his doctor’s advice and began taking Vioxx. He then experienced five heart attacks over a period of several weeks and we now know this was caused by his taking that drug.

    The Git’s policy is to take complementary medicines first and only move on to the more risky medicines when they do not work.

  95. I’m proud of myself.. While reading this delightful post and the comments I made this up:

    Formulating a scientific hypothesis is figuring out what’s not true……in the hope that skeptics and critics will improve it until it is closer to the truth.:

  96. “Effective execution of [the United Nations'] Agenda 21 will require a profound reorientation of all human society, unlike anything the world has ever experienced a major shift in the priorities of both governments and individuals and an unprecedented redeployment of human and financial resources. This shift will demand that a concern for the environmental consequences of every human action be integrated into individual and collective decision-making at every level.” -Cant Say

  97. The Pompous Git,
    I too had osteoarthritis twenty years ago and found that abstinence from trans-fats and sugar fixed the problem. A single packet of biscuits over a few days and it returns.

    Despite being an alternative medicine enthusiast, and have outlived my “tribe”by five years and counting, I do appreciate conventional trauma and crisis treatment, they are excellent. (And there is no legal Alternative ;)

  98. Three quotations from Thomas Huxley (whose debate with Bishop Wilberforce established the pre-eminence of Darwin’s theory of evolution):

    “My business is to teach my aspirations to confirm themselves to fact, not to try and make facts harmonize with my aspirations.”

    “The man of science has learned to believe in justification, not by faith, but by verification.”

    “The ultimate court of appeal is observation and experiment … not authority.”

  99. Werner Brozek says:
    February 25, 2012 at 4:00 pm
    “Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?”
    Stephen Hawking

    Well, Stephen, there may be a confusing in your thoughts. If there would be only one possible unified theory, then it must be simple and should have not more than two ore tree elements; many equations need a lot of elements and give evidence of more than one theory, but not ONE unified theory.
    What can be recognized is that a description is different from the object which is to describe. Regarding your question there may a confusing, because you claim to know that the object you ask for makes a universe, and in the same time you ask for that unknown object.

    The answer of your question despite the problem of ‘making’ a universe is easy. You. You IS the consciousness which is different to your description and you are the object and the origin of the question. You breathes fire into equations and describe the universe. You are the one who is unified with the reference of truth, which let you discriminate false from true; no external equation, no king or description in a (holy or science) book or in a pdf document.

    V.

  100. Dennis Nikols says:
    February 25, 2012 at 5:36 pm
    It is not for lack of knowledge that we fail to apply it. It is for lack of reason we fail to act rationally.

    Despite the question what acting rationally means, where is the reason that we fail to act? If knowledge is the consciousness of that what IS, each acting shift’s the balance of the energies in the universe, and disturbs the balance in nature. It is not out of the question that acting and especially rational acting (not knowing the truth about the premises) is still logic but not knowledge about (the reason) living in this world.

    V.

  101. [snip - and again, this has nothing to do with this thread - read my admonishments to you above - Anthony]

  102. “bogotry: noun form of “bogus”.”

    I’m also fond of the variant “Bogosity”, as in “this supposedly scientific document has a high bogosity content.”

  103. EXP wrote: “And, if it’s not man-made, what is it? Despite claims to the contrary here, you are putting forward an hypothesis and it’s not the “null hypothesis” that you need to prove, it’s the “something else other than man hypothesis”. If you think there’s big holes in the man-made hypothesis, seems like there’s nothing but air comprising the other.”

    This is a very good point, there does need to be some mechanism to account for the warming we’ve seen. To do this to the entire world, it would have to be something incredibly powerful and massive, which means it must be something we know about but have been overlooking for some reason. What could possibly be big enough? it would have to something huge, something on the order of… our own sun.

    I wonder why no one ever thought of that? Oh wait, we did.

  104. A physicist says:
    February 25, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Censorship? You assume you have a right to post here.

  105. EXP wrote: “And, if it’s not man-made, what is it? Despite claims to the contrary here, you are putting forward an hypothesis and it’s not the “null hypothesis” that you need to prove, it’s the “something else other than man hypothesis”. If you think there’s big holes in the man-made hypothesis, seems like there’s nothing but air comprising the other.”

    REPLY

    Just to highlight this again, it is impossible to prove any negative, thats why need to prove the hypothesis. Example, “I was a women in a previous life”, impossible to prove a negative, so by your idea it must be true then? This is witch doctors and religion, not science.

    What is it? Well I would first start by looking at global cloud albedo and you will find that it declined during the previous warming period and early this century become stable and starting increasing again recently. The result meaning during the declining period more shortwave radiation was reaching the surface directly from the sun, then it stalled and recently declining again so we have no further warming. Not rocket science is it, but ignored because it kills CAGW conjecture.

  106. Sherlock Holmes by Conan Doyle;
    “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”.

    True, but of little practical benefit. Even if you manage to eliminate the impossible, what remains, most likely, is an infinite series of possibles, any one of which could be the truth.

    I note the parallel with AGW theory. They believe they have eliminated the impossible (they list these in the AR4 report), and then they can smuggle in one “possible” cause – CO2, as if it was the only possible remaining. But, like any work of fiction, when you get down to the details, it’s just a load of BS.

  107. RockyRoad says:
    February 25, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    You think myths don’t run things now? Grow up. You give an example based on mathematics. There are some systems were 2+2 is 5 and it’s not wrong. How very simple-minded of you to avoid the point by trivialization. Apparently the deeper thought is too much for your set of neurons.

    And as pointed out once by Mayor Koch, I can explain it to you, but I can’t comprehend it for you.

  108. A couple more quotes:

    “The ruling class has the schools and press under its thumb. This enables it to sway the emotions of the masses.”
    ~Albert Einstein

    “Scientists have been trained with grant funds the way Pavlov’s dogs were trained with dog biscuits.”
    ~A former NASA scientist [OKM]

    “The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can’t get and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods.”
    ~H.L.Mencken

  109. Smokey says:
    February 27, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    A couple more quotes: …..

    It seems there is a phenomenon here and there that people are doubtful on quotes of authorities, but in the same time hidden fans of the quotes. Hidden, because there is very few until no discussion about the truth of the quotes, and doubtful because there are no own given readable arguments on the quotes.
    That this is a serious problem one can recognize because the quote “I know one thing, that I know nothing” granted to Socrates is repeated many times without any critique; but logic tells us that this sentence contains a contradiction; if one really know nothing, then he or she cannot state that he or she know one thing. But reading Plato online there are more origin quotes without contradictions.

    Parallel to that phenomenon the mind war on the battle field of global warming seems to have shifted from science which includes philosophy (and logic) to that what Schopenhauer has called The Art Of Controversy. It seems to me that this shift from philosophy and especially scepticism has its cause in confusion about the nature of scepticism developed since the Age Of Enlightenment; it was the exercise to reject all nonphysical nature by the science community because of the bad experiences with the authorities from the church. But as one can see today, philosophy inclusive logic has no importance in arguing bias text’s powered by money and the science of corruption.
    I think to analyse (equal to critique) by logic, such Socrates quote, is not a method of scepticism, because there is no rejection per se, but reasons in valid arguments. This means that it is not enough only to be sceptic to the unknown (and not sceptic to the own claims), it is always necessary to argue on the object. This can be done using quotes – wherein the argument has a meaning but not the quoted authority – but the point is, that the actual saying person is responsible for the statement; there is no virtual court to judge who directs with a finger to a supposed enemy, while the judge is untouchable. It is a nonlinearity and violates the truth in logic. Nevertheless this nonlinearity is used well as weapon the climate war; valid arguments seems to disturb the holy war.
    Regarding a motto for our times I like the famous fallacies containing humour like the last words of a parents murderer, when he is arguing that he must not punished because he is already punished enough to be an orphan. Learning why fallacies are fallacies it helps to discriminate false from true, but also absurd talk from valid arguments. There was a motto “No time to lose” in the Monty Python ‘Kamikaze Scotsmen’ sketch, including the “No time to lose clinic” and the absurd shift of the motto to „No time Toulouse“ (!).

    If the term sceptic is meant as critique (from the origin of an analyse of the object) I agree with that this can be a step to the recognition of truth, but this has to be done with own arguments; a confessor of scepticisms does nothing.

    V.

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