WUWT is the focus of a seminar at the University of Colorado

Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. sends word of this via email. I’m a bit amused, but not surprised, as we know WUWT has been pushing the traditional media envelope, and we often tackle subjects they can’t or won’t. I liked this statement about skeptical blogs:

They serve as extended peer communities as put forth by post-normal science, however, blog users themselves do not see post-normal science as a desirable goal.

She’s got that right. Just wait til she sees what is coming up next. – Anthony


CSTPR Noontime Seminar
Fall 2012 Series
Thursdays 12:00 – 1:00 PM
The Communications-Policy Nexus
Media, messages, and decision making

* Tuesday September 11, 2012

THE CONTRARIAN DISCOURSE IN THE BLOGOSPHERE: WHAT ARE BLOGS GOOD FOR ANYWAY?

by Franziska Hollender, Institute for Social Studies of Science, University of Vienna

CSTPR Conference Room, 1333 Grandview Avenue

Free and open to the public


The media serve to inform, entertain, educate and provide a basis for discussion among people. While traditional media such as print newspapers are facing a slow decline, they are being outpaced by new media that add new dimensions to public communication with interactivity being the most striking one. In the context of climate change, one question has arisen from recent events: what to do with the contrarians? Some propose that the contrarian discourse is merely an annoying sideshow, while others think that it is science’s responsibility to fight them. Blogs, being fairly unrestricted and highly interactive, serve as an important platform for contrarian viewpoints, and they are increasingly permeating multiple media spheres.

Using the highly ranked blog ‘Watts up with that’ as a case study, discourse analysis of seven posts including almost 1600 user comments reveals that blogs are able to unveil components and purposes of the contrarian discourse that traditional media are not. They serve as extended peer communities as put forth by post-normal science, however, blog users themselves do not see post-normal science as a desirable goal. Furthermore, avowals of distrust can be seen as linguistic perfomances of accountability, forcing science to prove its reliability and integrity over and over again. Finally, it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.

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

http://cires.colorado.edu/calendar/events/index.php?com=detail&eID=605

Can anyone go? Pielke Jr. reports he will be traveling.

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483 thoughts on “WUWT is the focus of a seminar at the University of Colorado

  1. This bothers me in so many ways:

    – That, as evidenced in events like the Lewandowsky paper, climate scepticism is framed as some kind of pathology (“what to do with the contrarians?”)

    – The assumption – again! – that “science” is some kind of homogenous entity – (“others think that it is science’s responsibility to fight them”) and contra to the sceptics.

    – That our contributions are now being analysed (“discourse analysis of seven posts including almost 1600 user comments”). Something I’d have no problem with ordinarily (I write bots to do exactly the same thing to trace how stories or information is spreading and where from). But it suddenly feels a little oppressive and Orwellian given the above assumed pathology.

    – “avowals of distrust can be seen as linguistic perfomances of accountability, forcing science to prove its reliability and integrity over and over again.” – I thought that WAS the essence of the scientific method? It worries me that I’m increasingly encountering this slack post-normal attitude to science. A few years ago had a falling out with an ex-girlfriend who is a microbiologist over a campaign she was supporting for science funding in the UK. The promo page contained several outright economic falsehoods and on the grounds that they would not correct them I refused to support the campaign. She said “but its for a good cause…”. I’m really starting to worry hearing that type of reasoning from people who really should know better…..

    – “the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis” – huh? The discourse is more important than the science (discussion of which is “obsessive”)?

    – “in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.” – Good god. I’d like to know what they mean by “ideology” here as I don’t think it will match up with my own expectations of what it means to follow the scientific method given the above….

  2. stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted
    Here she is dead wrong. Science is not an ideology and should not be communicated as such.

  3. Science as an ideology? Really? I think ideology should be separate from science, but perhaps that is a result of my time. I think science and engineering principles are not about what you believe or want to be true, but what data, observations and experiments demonstrate. Nature is not what you want it to be, it’s what it is. As an engineer or scientist, it is for you to determine from these things, not to project upon.

    Gerry Parker

  4. Finally, it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis

    Hilarious!

    Franziska thinks that climate change discussions (discourse) have been stifled by skeptics wanting to discuss the science.

    It doesn’t get any better than that? Perfect material for a Josh cartoon.

  5. The abstract should be a subject of peer-to-peer reviews via this blog. Help formulate the issues and the important elements not mentioned. It would be fitting.

    BTW, what should be name for the type of on-line, free access, accountable, review and critique of papers and talks?

    “Blog Review” – that is condescending. One person with a blog no one reads posts one comment. No. Blog is not the critical element.

    Peer-to-Peer Review — that is closer. It involves a community, it implies openness and it sounds official (which is not necessarily the case). But then “Peer Review” sounds more official than “Pal Review” it too frequently becomes.

    Crowd Review — a cousin to Crowd Source, it embodies the more unruly nature of a pre-publication review. It is not limited to blogs. A twitter stream (shudder!) at a live presentation would also count.

    Social Review — Peer Review by Social Media. I don’t like it — It brings to mind up turned noses.

    Other ideas?

  6. @Leif
    I was wondering about the ‘ideology’ thing myself, then thought perhaps she was referring to the principles that scientists are supposed to adhere to, and I think you could argue that’s an ideology.

    The first definition I came across is this: “the body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group”

    Assuming that were allowed to drop myth and belief I’d probably accept that definition, but ideology is a fairly loaded word and wouldn’t be one I’d use for preference.

  7. “what to do with the contrarians? Some propose that the contrarian discourse is merely an annoying sideshow, while others think that it is science’s responsibility to fight them. ”

    So they have to decide what to “do with” me?
    Either I’m an annoying side show to be ignored, or it is the responsibility of “science” to fight me?

    I can’t go, but this pi$$es me off to the point that if I was in the area I certainly would go and I gaurantee that there would be some “disruption”.

    What complete arrogance surpasses only by their self imposed ignorance.

  8. I used to worry that we were living in a world run by accountants. Now I worry that we’re living in a world run by sociologists.

  9. “Some propose that the contrarian discourse is merely an annoying sideshow, while others think that it is science’s responsibility to fight them. ”
    Note the elitist bubble. “Skeptics: Pest or Menace?” These are the two opinions of the Establishment, not the two opinions of the whole world of science. Non-elite opinions do not exist in Franziska’s mind.

    Also she seems to be confused by “post-normal”, which is understandable. The term has no fixed meaning. Most of us on the factual side would take “normal” to mean the Establishment, so post-normal means us. But Jerome Ravetz, whose article was probably the one Franziska “analyzed”, used post-normal in a more complicated way. He may have been referring to the Establishment climatologists as post-normal. Frankly, I couldn’t tell what Ravetz meant, and I don’t think he knew what he meant.

  10. forcing science to prove its reliability and integrity over and over again

    Yes, science SHOULD be forced to prove its reliability and integrity every time it makes a new claim.

    Someone claiming to be performing “science” doesn’t get a free pass simply because past scientists were able to build television systems or put men on the moon.

  11. @ katabasis1 and Dr. Svalgaard:

    I cannot express my concerns with this piece of condescending acatrivia (academia + trivia) more succinctly than you have done.

    What ‘discourse’ is science supposed to advance, that WUWT and similar blogs are obstructing? Surely humility in the face of nature and natural events, aided by curiousity, should be the sum total of the ‘ideology’ of science.

    If any of the seminar participants is looking at this thread, this tenured and publishing historian of science wishes to point out that historically there have been many discourses in science, and often the prevailing but later jettisoned discourse is the main thing that stands in the way of newer and more fruitful understanding (I’m of course avoiding here references to ‘truth’ or ‘progress’ to honour the Kuhnian and social constructivist biases of sociologists of science.)

    When, I wonder, is the mainstream of historians and sociologists of science, and their STS brethren, going to apply the reflexivity principle to their treatment of global warming and climate science? How about looking in the mirror if you want to identify an interesting pathology.

  12. “Finally, it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.” – U of C Journalism(?) Staff 2012

    “It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion.” – Joseph Goebbels 1934

    I fear memories, especially at university, are growing shorter every day.

  13. Her prose makes my brain ache. What is she really trying to say? What is “discourse analysis”? How do you do it without asking those who made the comments to verify the interpretations of what they intended to say? This strikes me as so much post-normal nonsense.

  14. Today we have people of intelligence, people who have become educated, but the result is they speak Babel. They mentally get things confused and twisted. Could this have some aspect of age old prejudice in one’s beliefs?

    Or could it be in part due to current society is very complex and there are many ‘educated’ people that lack the intelligence to see things sensibly? Such as the miss state in climate science and global warming?

  15. Everything has been hijacked as part of an overriding ideology.

    The blogosphere is the only significant remaining arena of free public discourse.

  16. Wow, that last sentence….
    “…climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.”
    …is quite the whopper! Obsesstion of discussing the science…. Science as an ideology…
    They’re right, the debate is over!
    I’ll bet Max “Balance is Bias” Boykoff will be there to assert that “contrarians” should be censored, and maybe Ben Santer will show up to punch dissenters in their faces. And Michael Mann can threaten to sue anyone that misses Ben’s punches.
    Looks like it could be a could show of cloistered climatologists.
    I used to live and work in Boulder, but now reside in the Free American Sector of Colorado. Perhaps I’ll be able to head back north across the 40th parallel to witness this academic Reichsparteitag. I promise to be out of Boulder before dark.
    Meanwhile, I’ll chicken out and not post my name with this. These Boulder types, well, they have ways…

  17. Gerry Parker says:
    September 1, 2012 at 10:15 am
    Science as an ideology? Really? I think ideology should be separate from science, but perhaps that is a result of my time.
    ===================================================================
    It’s how science has been twisted and used by politics to promote a social(ist) agenda that has made “climate science” an ideology. Mann, Hansen etc. are willing “twisters” in promoting the ideology. It’s no surprise that there are attempts to marginalize WUWT and other such blogs are “untwisting” the science thus removing one of the tools of the politicians.
    The internet is the uncontrolled “Free Press”.

  18. This is the fundamental problem with the alarmist crowd. They truly believe science is an ideology that everybody, especially we “contrarians” are to accept without question. If only we would goose-step in perfect harmony with the CAGW brownshirts, our opinions might be acceptable. Galileo must be spinning in his grave at the sight of all this.

  19. “climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis”

    Social science is not a science, and consequently this person has no idea how science should be conducted. It is totally absurd that “social scientists” would pretend to pass judgement on others participating in a scientific debate as if there could ever be too much discussion of the science basis of a theory.

  20. it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.

    And there you have it. Agenda driven ‘science’, straight from the horses mouth. They are so arrogant in their assumption of invulnerability, they undermine their own position with statements such as these.

    The trickle of papers making it into the literature that contradict the IPCC position is becoming a torrent. Not far to go now.

  21. Leif Svalgaard says:
    September 1, 2012 at 10:07 am

    stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted
    Here she is dead wrong. Science is not an ideology and should not be communicated as such.
    ====================================================

    Right, but what is traditionally thought of when referencing climate science is an ideology. And then there’s the ideology which believes science should have a large role in human governance.

  22. Wow. . . . .

    “Finally, it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.”

    “. . . . . stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis . . . . . .”

    This is absolute proof that American Universities are sadly failing their students.

  23. Skepticism as post-normal science? Hey, I thought that was the label WE gave THEM and their denial of the scientific method!

    Some interesting perspective here in regards to alarmism and the agenda’s on-going attempts to re-define how science is communicated and what its meaning is. No doubt, they would wish for a new way to perform & communicate science that doesn’t have to include such things as…the scientific method, which requires skepticism, rebuttals of postulates with facts, etc. They desire science to be not so much about science, but about dictatorial & essentially religious declaration.

    This sentiment is not original…I can’t link any other sources at the moment, maybe someone else can, but we’ve seen these types of calls made numerous times already. These sentiments, put into words and posed as a question, as they are, are essentially a call for proposals. That’s a good way to think about it.

    They have a program, a desired end point, like any project. It has been on-going for some time, but with real science entering the debate through blogs such as this and the many others, and more and more proper skeptical papers coming out showing that there is essentially zero evidence to support the alarmist or even the vanilla AGW agenda, they’re putting out a call for proposals for someone to invent a new way of doing science. We all know that, truly, these people hate science with religious-like zeal. They thought they could just hijack it and create a *simulacra* of science and that would be enough…the stupid sheople wouldn’t figure THAT out. And they succeeded with many stupid sheople…which apparently tend to a leftist orientation, although, perhaps this is an unimportant observation…then again…

    In any case, the internet and the free flow of information it provides has provided a medium for rationality among a large enough number that has obviously been too great for them to overcome. They’re obviously losing and the public support just isn’t there. That is directly thanks to blog sites, to a large extent at least. They know they can’t shut down the internet and properly scientific skeptical blogs – although I am sure they have thought about it – so now they want to modify their modus operandi from merely creating a simulacra of science & reality, to re-defining science altogether. You can hear the desperate plea in her words: “We need science to be dictatorial; skepticism can not be part of the future of science; those in the position to do so will tell you what the appropriate things to think are; etc.” Once this is in place, the existence of blogs won’t matter, because the idea that science involves questioning and skepticism will be removed from the public conscious. This is essentially, and really quite directly, straight out of 1984. They’re still using the standard play-book.

    Her talk is a call for proposals: how do we redefine science so that it is devoid of skepticism? With religion, that’s how. And they’ve got a good start on that one as well.

  24. I think that any discipline that requires “science” as part of it’s name isn’t real science. Consider: Political Science, Social Science, Social Studies of Science, Climate Science, etc. None of these take the Scientific Method seriously, but like to pretend they make use of some kind of scientific rigour. No one says “Physics Science” or “Chemistry Science”.
    /snark

  25. Finally, it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.

    WTFIUWT? “stifled by obsession of discussion of science basis?” Isn’t that part of the definition of science? Isn’t that the heart of the science, to discuss the hypothesis, and its conclusions, and how the hypothesis might need changing? What exactly is stifling about constant communication? Heck, even “consensus science” (oxymoron if I ever saw one) RELIES on the players to communicate the lie, staying on the same page, consistently communicating the message.

    And what does “science as an ideology” mean? And what exactly needs to change? Is she promoting it as an ideology? I always thought that science TRANSCENDS all ideologies, and that’s why I love it so much! I suppose THAT in and of itself could be thought of as an ideology, but what needs changing about that? It sounds too political to me.

  26. I would like to see a concise definition for “post normal science” presented, and then one of the “sceptics” translating it into English. I suspect it would resemble “If your definition of science promotes theory over observation, it’s not science. If the totality cannot be broken into testable sub-components, it’s not science. If experiments cannot be proposed to falsify the basic premises, it’s not science. If the theory is accepted as the null case and “it’s within the realm of natural variation” must be proven, it’s not science. If numbers must be carefully chosen from larger data sets, and data which does not support the theory is discarded/not displayed, it’s not science.” Post normal science trusts that what the fast-talking saleman from out of town has in the bag that he’s selling is actually a pig. We skeptics want to see it before we buy it, that’s why we’re more likely to let the cat out of the bag. (for non-North Americans, the sayings “buying a pig in a poke” and “let the cat out of the bag” are both related to a confidence game/fraud from an earlier time.)

  27. The media serve to inform, entertain, educate and provide a basis for discussion among people.

    That would be the ideal. But how close is that to reality? Howard Beale (as written by Paddy Chayefsky) summarized the trustworthiness of media best in Network (1976)

    Howard Beale [addressing audience on live TV “Network News Hour”] So. A rich little man with white hair died. … And *why* is that woe to us? Because you people, and sixty-two million other Americans, are listening to me right now. Because less than three percent of you people read books! Because less than fifteen percent of you read newspapers! Because the only truth you know is what you get over this tube.
    [strolling through audience] Right now, there is a whole, an entire generation that never knew anything that didn’t come out of this tube! This tube is the Gospel, the ultimate revelation. This tube can make or break presidents, popes, prime ministers… This tube is the most awesome God-dxmned force in the whole godless world, and woe is us if it ever falls in to the hands of the wrong people, … this company is now in the hands of CCA – … And when the twelfth largest company in the world controls the most awesome God-dxmned propaganda force in the whole godless world, who knows what sh!t will be peddled for truth on this network?

    [ascending the stage] So, you listen to me. Listen to me: Television is not the truth! Television is a God-dxmned amusement park! Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, side-show freaks, lion tamers, and football players. We’re in the boredom-killing business! So if you want the truth… Go to God! Go to your gurus! Go to yourselves! Because that’s the only place you’re ever going to find any real truth.

    [laughing to himself] But, man, you’re never going to get any truth from us. We’ll tell you anything you want to hear; we lie like hell. We’ll tell you that, uh, Kojak always gets the killer, or that nobody ever gets cancer at Archie Bunker’s house, and no matter how much trouble the hero is in, don’t worry, just look at your watch; at the end of the hour he’s going to win. We’ll tell you any sh!t you want to hear. We deal in *illusions*, man! None of it is true! But you people sit there, day after day, night after night, all ages, colors, creeds… We’re all you know. You’re beginning to believe the illusions we’re spinning here. You’re beginning to think that the tube is reality, and that your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you! You dress like the tube, you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube, you even *think* like the tube! This is mass madness, you maniacs! In God’s name, you people are the real thing! *WE* are the illusion! So turn off your television sets. Turn them off now. Turn them off right now. Turn them off and leave them off! Turn them off right in the middle of the sentence I’m speaking to you now! TURN THEM OFF…
    [collapses in a prophetic swoon as the audience erupts in thunderous applause]

    So, whenever you hear some pure-as-snow statement like “The media serve to inform,” keep Howard in mind and know that the media will tell you anything you want to hear and others want you to hear.

  28. “the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis”

    Perfect, that would be the goal; to keep draconian regulations from being enacted until it becomes painfully obvious to nearly everyone that they’re too stupid for words.

    ” and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.”

    Actually, I have to agree. An ideology being basically a set of beliefs that determines ones perspective and actions, therefore, the ideology of science would be one of rigorous experimental methodology, objective observation, and transparency in all activities from data collection to conclusion. So, a change in communicating and enacting that ideology is definitely called for when “scientists” stifle debate, make back room deals, hide declines, cherry pick data, fabricate memos, etc. etc. A change to open debate, open source, WHOLE TRUTH science would be refreshing indeed.

  29. >> Finally, it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis …

    Don’t they understand that with science, it’s the evidence that counts? And it’s so simple: Hypothesis –> Prediction(s) –> Test predictions by checking with reality (i.e. the evidence supporting the hypothesis). If evidence supports hypothesis, then hypothesis morphs into a “theory” (which is *always* open to rejection or modification if new evidence arises). If not, hypothesis is rejected.

    Maybe they ought to teach what the scientific method is in elementary schools. After all, it’d take about 5 minutes, and is elementary. Why on earth is Franziska Hollender apparently ignorant of the scientific method, the invention of which was arguably the greatest leap forward for humanity since the late medieval times? Test: Who said, “And yet it moves…”? Hint – Italy, the Inquisition, a very well-known scientist (or “philosopher” as he would have been called in those days).

  30. Sure, let’s communicate the science. However, let us do so according to the late Dr. Richard Feynman’s admonition: (paraphrased) with all the uncertainties, the short-comings, known errors and inaccuracies.

    In climate science, we skeptics strive to point out the tremendous failings, including the horrible temperature data, the massive data manipulations and statistical mischief and nonsense, and then the utter failure of badly-formed models to predict essentially anything.

    How would it be if we built nuclear power plants by using the identical standards of the climate scientists? Which of the true believers would have their homes next to and immediately downwind from such plants?

    Or, oil refineries, or chlorine plants, or biological weapons plants?

    For that matter, who would drive across a bridge, knowing it had been designed and built to the IPCC consensus standards?

  31. The interesting thing about this, and one finds it all the time in climate science but no place else, is the attempt to put old wine in new bottles.

    For instance, we had today an article in the Guardian CiF section which was dancing around only allowing views on climate science to be published by certified consensus qualified writers.

    It was not put like that, it was phrased in terms of self certification, but the endgame was clear. As Babel said in one of his last speeches before he was purged, the Party wishes to stop us from writing badly. Quite so.

    In the present case we have the invention of something called post normal science. This is a form of science where we have insufficient evidence for hypotheses but wish to accept them anyway. Our desire is so strong that we invest a supposed new form of science. This new form of science, were we consistent, would also lead us to accept hypotheses which are incompatible with those we are using it to advocate accepting, but of course it will never be applied to them. Consistency of this sort is old fashioned, we are dealing with the post normal here.

    In the same way, we have insufficient evidence to justify certain kinds of policy decisions, and we invent a whole new way of justification called the ‘precautionary principle’ by which they will be justified. Never mind that they will justify incompatible policy decisions, we will never apply the principle to them.

    We have seen all this before. In the Soviet Union it ended up under different names for the same logical errors, in Lysenkoism. Here at least we have free comment and publication, so good argument over time will drive out bad. At least we must hope so.

    But the emergence of real publicly acknowledged desire to base acceptance of hypotheses on essentially religious grounds, and decisions on public policy on essentially religious grounds, is a deeply worrying prospect to those of us who believe the inheritance we received from John Stuart Mill is one of our most precious social assets.

  32. “Furthermore, avowals of distrust can be seen as linguistic perfomances of accountability, forcing science to prove its reliability and integrity over and over again.”

    I’m almost positive that readers of this blog don’t believe science needs to prove its reliability again and again. You have -people who disagree over physics, people who think climate science is overly politicized/bunk, people who think climate science is fine but the claims people make about global warming are bunk, people who think cost/benefit favors inaction and people who think warming is something to be encouraged.

    Aside from climate science posters show a healthy skepticism of social science and other fields that have a large number of confounding variables, are highly politicized, occur over long time periods and have a poor predictive rate. In harder and more tested fields (engineering, evolution, etc) posters show alot more appreciation for science. Just because skeptics may suffer from confirmation bias doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason behind it!

    “Finally, it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.”

    The time for that was the 1960s. We’ve had a ton of ecological doomsday predictions since then without having a doomsday. Somewhat unsurprisingly people have come to the conclusion that any prediction that has a whiff of doomsday about it is crap. It doesn’t help that the environmentalist movement leapt onto the issue- its anti-technology attitude, hodge podge of social movements and contridictory goals repells alot of the people here.

    In short, better science communication will have no effect because the problem isn’t science communication. This site wouldn’t exist if global warming was just “the planet is warming”. The problem is global warming is “the planet is warming and we must do something about it”. As long as the “something to be done” is completely unhocked from reality and little more than a green wishlist, skeptics and denialists will treat it for what it is- a blatant political ploy. And once it is a political ploy, both sides will tighten ranks, lessen standards, view the opposition as evil, view their position in apocalyptic terms… you know, what generally happens whenever politics is injected into anything. Attempting to overcome that by changing the format you communicate science is a bit like yelling louder a a foreigner on the assumption that deep inside he really knows English.

  33. Glad to hear they are going nuts. You posted early this year about CO2 saturation. This is what this following link is all about. It’s peer reviewed. It was published in The Journal of Cosmology and seems to fit all data from 1850 to present. Dr. Qing-Bin Lu who accidentally discovered this in 2009 is appointed to the departments of Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy at the University of Waterloo in Ontario Canada. I believe he is unbiased like you and his second paper on this subject of the cause of the global warming is a game changer. So far his second paper has not attacked. Just ignored….http://journalofcosmology.com/QingBinLu.pdf

  34. “…it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis…”

    This is part of verification you idiot. If a proposed mechanism can not stand up to scrutiny, then there is pretty good chance that there may be something drastically wrong with it.

  35. Gerry Parker hit it right on the nose. Science as an ideology! Science is a process, not an ideology. The scientific method revolutionized natural philosophy and these clowns with post-normal science want to do away with it? The basis for scientific study of any theory is twofold: replication and falsification. Climate science fails on both points…the Team will not provide enough information to replicate their results, and apparently there is nothing that can happen that will falsify their cagw beliefs.

  36. I love this line: “the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis”. I believe they are saying that we here are obsessed with the science behind climate change? And that by focusing on that science we’re “stifling” political discourse?

    How Orwellian.

  37. “In the context of climate change, one question has arisen from recent events: what to do with the contrarians?”
    =================

    It’s a Saturday afternoon and by 2 beer response would be: Get on your knees and worship the intellectual superiority of the contriarian skeptics and ask for forgiveness for your ignorance.

  38. Institute for Social Studies of Science, Why stop there? Social Studies of Social Studies of Science? It’s a great (and expensive) alternative to an unemployment office.

  39. I thought science was an objective method for trying to understand the universe. The phrase, “forcing science to prove its reliability and integrity over and over again” just blew me away. As an earlier commenter said, that is the ESSENCE of the scientific method, is it not? This phrase reeks of a scentific establishment whose word is not to be questioned. Dissent is “post-normal science”? I don’t think so, it’s just plain old vanilla science.

  40. Leif: “Here she is dead wrong. Science is not an ideology and should not be communicated as such.”

    Yes, but the statement was not “science is an ideology” but “science as an ideology”. And quite certainly if you are stating that science should be ‘a’ or ‘the’ goto basis for informing public policy decisions then you are certainly taking on a ‘science as an ideology’ approach; quite aside from whether we are speaking of scientism or not.

    The issue at hand here is not, of course, science as science (‘science basis’) but notions of communication, discourse, and narratives in managing the philosophical side of science; the scientific theories. This is all a rather terrible offspring of positivism that expresses itself as “hypothesis x posits y, and y was found under experiment z. Therefore the entire theory A is True.” And if you’re feeling surly you would not be incorrect to state that this is a canonical argument of many Philosophers who attempt to ‘prove’ their position by misusing empiricism as a religious touchstone. (Which owes much here to positivism in practice.)

    Climate Science is and has been a poster child for this fallacious manner of backwardation in reasoning. There are other disciplines that make use of it as well, to be sure. But the notion is part of the modern narrative about scientific narratives. And I daresay it is pressing few individuals that realize that there is, or can be, a difference between data, experiment, model, and metaphysics. You are free to test yourself by delimiting where science is philosophical and where it is empirical. And then others on the same basis. I have little doubt that you will find the results rather depressing.

    This is a basic issue of pedagogy about science and the scientific method rather than one of Climate Science in particular. But it is still the case that pedagogy involves narratives. And it is certainly the case that Climate Science narratives are used in advocating that legislative force be issued in support of those narratives.

  41. I homeschool my kids, and we are studying General Science. This week we learned several things about science. 1. Science results are tentative; 2. Science is not 100% reliable; 3. You must use the scientific method. Because of these things, science can not PROVE anything. All you need is ONE counter-example to show that a hypothesis, theory, or law is wrong. You either have to modify the hypothesis, theory, or law, or throw it out and start over. There are plenty of theories that have been shown false eventually. Because of this, I think that political decisions (policy decisions) shouldn’t be justified by “science.” This is why we don’t buy the sky-is-falling rhetoric we hear.

  42. I am continually amazed at how often supposed scientific discourse devolves into logically fallacious ad hominem attacks on those who advance contrary opinions or evidence. You’d
    think a supposed advanced scientific discourse would not include logical errors recognized
    by the Greeks as such several thousand years ago. Al Gore, of course, is king of the ad hominem argument- he does science the same way he did politics – attack your opponent, not his ideas.
    Of course, with a brain like Gore’s, what other option does he have?
    Anyone familiar with the history of science understands the value of intelligently based skepticism. Name one scientific discipline that can be said to have “figured it all out” ? I
    can’t think of a single one, including even the most advanced and those with the greatest ability to predict their respective phenomena, such as physics, or astronomy. Skepticism can only be silenced (and often not permanently, as history tells us) by providing seemingly irrefutable evidence in support of theories.
    And skeptical blogs, much like all others, come in a variety of different types and with a wide range of competence levels. Faults found in one skeptical blog apply to that blog alone.

  43. It’s not so much that the discourse has been stifled that is of concern to Franziska, as it is that the socialist agenda has been slowed. In any case, I will put this on my calendar but it might not be possible to get away in the middle of the day.

  44. In the context of climate change, one question has arisen from recent events: what to do with the contrarians?

    Do with them?! Why, listen to them, of course. Arrogantly dismissing them only shows your paternalistic ignorance.

  45. I’m with davidmhoffer (10:26 am) and polistra (10:29 am). Much in the press release is disturbing, but this is personal:

    In the context of climate change, one question has arisen from recent events: what to do with the contrarians? Some propose that the contrarian discourse is merely an annoying sideshow, while others think that it is science’s responsibility to fight them.

    Hollender may be just the messenger in this talk, presenting what she’s learned about, well, climate anticontrarians. But whether or not she’s in on the conspiracy, I don’t want anything done with me. Not by that crowd, anyway.

  46. This sort of psychobabble nonsense reminds me of when I was at college (a long time ago). Above the toilet roll holder someone had scrawled, “Social Science degrees – please take one.”

  47. @ wobble says: September 1, 2012 at 10:29 am “because past scientists were able to build television systems or put men on the moon”

    I appreciate your sentiment but as is so often the case these days you conflate science and engineering. Television systems and landing on the moon were primarily engineering feats, if the fundamental tenets of the scientific method are not present you are probably talking about engineering.
    Science fundamental tenets.
    a) Hypothesis/theory
    b) experiment
    c) conclusion
    d) published data
    e) replication/verification
    Science by it’s nature is fundamentalism as stated above.

  48. Maus says:
    September 1, 2012 at 11:47 am
    Yes, but the statement was not “science is an ideology” but “science as an ideology”.
    Although English is not my mother tongue it is good enough to surmise that ‘yyy as xxx’ implies that ‘yyy is xxx’.

    And quite certainly if you are stating that science should be ‘a’ or ‘the’ goto basis for informing public policy decisions then you are certainly taking on a ‘science as an ideology’ approach;
    I don’t think so. Agencies measure rainfall and draw maps of flood zones in order to enable policy decisions to be made, and I would not call that data collecting activity ‘ideology’. The science of special relativity enabled the policy decision to produce atom bombs to shorten a war. I would not call special relativity an ideology, and so on.
    A pillar of the post-normal science paradigm is that science should be geared towards answering the urgent social/political problems [if I understand them critters correctly] of our day [=the social/political relevance of science]. While sounding noble, this is a prescription for disaster as it put limit and boundaries on the discovery process. Now, some people actually want limits: perhaps it was better if atomic energy was never discovered, perhaps it is better if we cannot genetically modify organisms, perhaps we shouldn’t play god, perhaps there is knowledge we are not allowed to have, etc. I am not one of those people, and I hope you are not either.

  49. “””””…..Finally, it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted……”””””

    I believe a strict translation of this sentence from the original in the Austrian Language (ask Obama) reads as; “We have to pass it, to find out what is in it !”

    Well excuse us Franziska for having the temerity to think science discussions should be about science; NOT social studies !

  50. “Pielke Jr. reports he will be traveling.”

    The Center for Science and Technology Policy Research is Pielke’s creation.

    On June 17, 2001 an article in The New York Times reported, “some experts believe that science’s influence in public policy matters has not been at such a low ebb since before World War I.” The statement reflects a widely shared view that while science and technology hold great promise for contributing to societal needs, meeting that promise requires thoughtful attention to how science and technology relate to decision making. In the summer of 2001, the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado (CU) initiated development of a new Center for Science and Technology Policy Research.
    […]
    We welcome your feedback (pielke@colorado.edu).
    Roger A. Pielke, Jr., Director
    […]
    Director Roger Pielke serves as the Director of the Environmental Studies Graduate Program, and CIRES and the Policy Center together have committed to support approximately 5 Environmental Studies Graduate students beginning in the fall of 2002.

    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/about_us/archives/annual_report_01-02.pdf

    It looks like the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research’s focus is and has always been overwhelmingly about climate science (although there is nothing to indicate that in their title).

    This little get-together may be based on Franziska Hollender’s thesis.

    Franziska Hollender
    Grad Student at University of Vienna

    http://at.linkedin.com/pub/franziska-hollender/6/914/8b3

    I am currently a graduate student in my last semester of Science, Technology and Society studies at the University of Vienna. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Cultural management and I have worked with EF Education in the U.S., a well-known contemporary art museum in Austria and I am currently working as a part-time media analyst for an international company.

    My Master’s thesis “Communicating Climate Change: Understanding the contrarian discourse in new media arenas in the United States” analyzes the impact of contrarian blogs on the climate change discourse. Following my graduation this year, I am seeking a PhD/Dr. phil. position in Germany, the UK or the USA starting in Spring 2013.

    ——————————-

    Fraulein Hollender,

    I presume you will read this thread.

    What to do with the contrariansyou? Some propose that the contrarian discourse is you are merely an annoying sideshow, while others think that it is science’stheir responsibility to fight them you. Blogs Pseudo-scientific seminars, being fairly unrestricted and highly interactive, serve as an important platform for contrarian Orwellian viewpoints, and they are increasingly permeating multiple media spheres.
    […]
    Finally, it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing refusal to discuss the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.

    I appreciate that English is not your first language. But for future reference: you cannot “stifle” a “discourse” with “discussion”.

    You have written a thesis and are now organizing a seminar, supposedly about what makes “contrarians” tick (or to “unveil” our “components and purposes”). Yet, Anthony and all of us “contrarians” at WUWT, whom you cite as a prime example, have never heard of you. Did it never cross your mind to ask the subjects of your enquiry?

    Despite your characterization of us as people about which something must be ‘done’, I urge you to follow Dian Fossey’s fine example and join us in ‘obfuscatory’ mist of this forum. We promise not to bite. We’d love to hear your definition of “post-normal science”. We can even help you get that PhD. And who knows, you might even learn something.

  51. When I read the lines and in between the lines, statements such as Ms..Hollender has made, it leaves me cold. Her statements dredge up memories of an ugly past. Her statements would make Goebbels proud.
    I wonder what her “solution” to the “problem” is.
    Someone told me a long time ago that the Austrian establishment was the most effective P.R. organisation in the world: They have managed to convince the world that A.H. was German, that Kurt Waldheim was not a war criminal, and that Marie Antoinette was French.

  52. She’s got that right. Just wait til she sees what is coming up next. – Anthony

    Anthony you tease, what are you up to this time…?

  53. @ Mike D in AB says: September 1, 2012 at 11:08 am I would like to see a concise definition for “post normal science”

    Science fundamental tenets.
    a) Hypothesis/theory
    b) experiment
    c) conclusion
    d) published data
    e) replication/verification
    Science by it’s nature is fundamentalism as stated above.

    Post Normal Science tenets.
    a) Hypothesis/theory
    b) experiment (this can be a computer model not an actual experiment)
    c) conclusion (or a statement of belief/consensus)
    d) published data (keeping data secret is ok or using computer model data is ok)
    e) replication/verification (not required)
    Post Science by it’s nature is liberal as stated above any or all caveats listed above may be used.

  54. For those that are going to attend this seminar, here is a short clip which sums up the key to science. I have to remind myself about this from time to time:

    Science is not an ideology. I first saw this clip here on WUWT.

  55. The single characteristic of the blogosphere which differs from ‘traditional’ media is the complete lack of a barrier to entry for participation. If I so chose, I could set up a blog site for the weather, for sports, for politics, so long as I had the money to pay a monthly ISP charge for broadband access. Should traffic start to increase expontentially, of course costs may rise a bit, but there comes a time when advertising can cover that.

    What you will see, therefore with ‘blogs’ is a series of ‘communities’ who either subscribe to the views of the dominant posters or who enjoy disagreeing with them.

    The key transition point for any blog which starts attracting traffic is whether it starts accepting significant advertising/sponsorship and whether there are any changes in editorial policy as a result. In one model, what was once a radical site turns into an establishment voice. In another, advertisers are sought who are comfortable with the current editorial policy, even if that means that revenues are somewhat lower.

    Another characteristic of blogs is that there is no a priori limit to the size of the community from which productive lines of enquiry can emerge. Let’s say there are 1000 comments on some article at this site, of which 600 broadly agree, 350 disagree and 50 actually add new insights. Those 50 new insights could come from an amateur gardener with no science qualifications, they could come from retired engineers, from scientists outside the field in question. They are not limited to the academic community, which is the reality within ‘traditional’ academic research, something those enjoying nice salaries and privileged status are of course keen to retain.

    The effect of this depends on how good people are at filtering the poor insights from the good ones. There is no ‘list of published weblog contributions’, because the only ‘peer review’ is to determine whether they are abusive or in any other way contravening polite discourse. Whether scientists who read this blog would ever admit that they got any good ideas from bloggers is moot: the fact is that they can if the ideas are out there and they realise the value of them.

    A third characteristic of blogs is that, if the careers of many bloggers do not depend on their contributions, they may well say things which no career contributor could possibly say and prosper. I have no job as a climate scientist and no need for IPCC funding, so I can happily say that in my judgement, the basis for carbon dioxide-driven warming is complete bullshit. For those needing the funding, the requirement to curry favour with those sitting on the grant-awarding committees over-rides such considerations. Blogs therefore serve the useful function of alerting the world to self-serving bullshit in learned communities where self-regulation of research funding has come off the rails.

    I read and contribute to numerous blogs, many of which are filled with self-reinforcing prejudiced groups. I could not possibly believe or agree with both the leanings of the Guardian, the Independent and the Daily Telegraph about almost anything. I contribute regularly to blogs in all newspapers. It is therefore possible to try and influence these reinforced prejudice communities by challenging them regularly to rethink their prejudices. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

    I have used WUWT as part education, part intelligence, part as a forum to express opinions which may stimulate debate in certain directions. I’ve never written an article here and doubt I ever will. It doesn’t mean I didn’t successfully predict snow patterns in the 1990s in the Alps, but I didn’t do that to earn a living, I did it to optimise my ski-ing holiday enjoyment. I did it pretty well but couldn’t publish any papers on it as I didn’t keep detailed records and didn’t set any scientific theories in place. I did make predictions and honed them over a 13 year cycle, starting out unsuccessful and getting more successful with each passing year. When the PDO shifted, my success rate dropped as I didn’t know what the PDO was in those days.

    Blogs serve many purposes which academics may not value.

    The more important question is whether things that academics don’t value are precisely those things which the rest of us consider important……

  56. “Finally, it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.”

    Science as an ideology? Shurely shome mishtake…

  57. Scottie says:
    September 1, 2012 at 12:03 pm
    This sort of psychobabble nonsense reminds me of when I was at college (a long time ago). Above the toilet roll holder someone had scrawled, “Social Science degrees – please take one.”

    ======================================================================
    8-)

  58. IMO, the most galling part is their assumption that they are being scrupulously objective about climate change science when they don’t (or won’t) question it more deeply themselves or even attempt to view the argument from the other sides of the fence.

  59. PS I have to echo Richard III above; just what the hell is “post normal science” ?

    On the one hand we have the lawyers jabbering to each other in mediaeval Roman mumbo jumbo, designed to obfuscate; and then we have the “Science” peer reviewed literature crowd, who are in constant competition for the Bullwer Lytton prize , aka the bullshit prize. The abstracts of peer reviewed science literature papers, seem to be where the publishers of new editions of the Oxford English Dictionary, find their most fertile breeding ground for English Language expansion; as if we didn’t have enough words already.

    I’m sorry if the good citizens of Vienna are being taxed to support Ms Hollender’s fliegende fancies; but why should the US taxpayers or the Colorado taxpayers also support an outreach expansion of her sphere of influence ?

  60. I wonder if Franziska got a trophy for striking out every time at bat, as a child. Obviously she has never been wrong, never been humbled, never had a mistake pointed out, never been astonished by a new view offered by a little child. She cannot coincieve of a differing opinion being a revelation. Minds such as hers are not merely closed. They are encased in cement. The School Of Hard Knocks will have to knock pretty hard to open such a mind, but it is possible. (After all, it opened even mine, when I was a young, smug know-it-all, and that took some knocking.)

  61. I see from her facebook page abve, that she is pursuing a course designed to achieve permanent unemployable status, and a post doc gig swilling at somebody’s tax trough.

  62. The Wikipedia article on Post-normal science

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-normal_science#cite_note-0

    links to this article in the Guardian by Mike Hulme

    His final paragraph is jaw-dropping.

    The appliance of science

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2007/mar/14/scienceofclimatechange.climatechange

    […]
    If the battle of science is won, then the war of values will be won.
    […]
    In fact, in order to make progress about how we manage climate change we have to take science off centre stage.
    […]
    If scientists want to remain listened to, to bear influence on policy, they must recognise the social limits of their truth seeking and reveal fully the values and beliefs they bring to their scientific activity.
    […]
    What matters about climate change is not whether we can predict the future with some desired level of certainty and accuracy; it is whether we have sufficient foresight, supported by wisdom, to allow our perspective about the future, and our responsibility for it, to be altered. All of us alive today have a stake in the future, and so we should all play a role in generating sufficient, inclusive and imposing knowledge about the future. Climate change is too important to be left to scientists – least of all the normal ones.

    Mike Hulme, a professor in the school of environmental sciences at the University of East Anglia and the founding director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, is writing a book, entitled Why We Disagree About Climate Change

  63. Well, I think the REALLY big problem here is everyone seems to think that somehow science is something of itself or some truth.

    The big claim of evil here is that we skeptics somehow are acting on faith or using an act of faith for our position when we are not!

    The problem here is the hypocrisy of this so called scientism.

    In the nutshell since one has not done the science and does not have the firsthand knowledge of the quantum mechanics or even behaviors at the molecular level, then the it is clear that people accept AGW by making an act of faith on their part.

    In other words, we don’t have a time machine to go back and witness that thermometer reading in 1930. We have ONLY the witness and testimony of what someone wrote down in a book. Not only must we rely on that person reading that thermometer in 1930 but we do NOT have a time machine to go back and repeat that event.

    In fact, what those supposed “scientism” people don’t realize that is that they are reading something form a book that is based on the witness and testimony of someone else. And even WORSE is that testimony is past tense and thus is historical in nature.

    At the end of the day, there actually nothing wrong with making an act of faith to Accept some paper or something written in a book.

    The BIG PROBLEM IS these VERY SAME people run around criticizing people for making such act of faith when in fact that is what they are doing! It called hypocrisy!

    In other words, the issue is not so much that people are making an act of faith there, but they are in effect lying and refusing to admit they are making an act faith to hold their position!

    We skeptics use evidence and fact finding no different than the rest of the science community the only difference is we realize that such evidence is based on the witness and testimony of others, and as such we have to accept such witness and testimony of these people.

    Science is not some special thing on to itself that is some SEPARATE truth here. Well over excess of 90% or even more we know is accepted on faith since we not done that science are self.

    In fact, the very reading of an instrument is a past tense event witnessed by someone else. We have to make an act of faith to accept that witness and testimony. This simple fact an observation applyes to science as well as everything else in life.

    The idea that we skeptics don’t use evidence and reasoned thought without evidence is perhaps one of the greatest lies perpetrated against a skeptic community.

    However worse this lie against us skeptics is the HYPOCRISY of the science community that is it is somehow NOT making acts of faith and accepting the witness and testimonies of others to present these historical events in some book that we read.

  64. Appears to be someone who perceives that the goalposts are shifting, doesn’t like the fact, but doesn’t know what to do about it.
    Also is not a fan of free speech.

  65. Friends:

    Perhaps because the seminar is in the USA and WUWT is a US-based blog, it seems that several commentators think the seminar is an example of something new. It is not. It is an example of the standard methods of totalitarians. And totalitarianism is a great evil.

    Old-fashioned, left-wing British socialists like me and the late Eric Arthur Blair (aka George Orwell) have been fighting such totalitarianism for over a century. Those who want a clear exposition of the totalitarians’ methods only need to read his novel ‘1984’.

    And in ‘1984’ Orwell gives those methods names; e.g.

    Newspeak
    i.e. redefine the meanings of words, e.g. science is an “ideology” and not a method, communication is presentation of specified ideas and not provision of pertinent information, etc.

    Thoughtcrime
    i.e. independent thought

    Historical revisionism
    i.e. changing records of the past; e.g. the global-cooling scare of the 1970s did not exist, “adjusting” temperature data from decades ago, etc.

    Memory hole
    this is part of historical revisionism and consists of ‘disappearing’ inconvenient records; e.g. “losing” unadjusted temperature data

    Doublethink
    i.e. simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory ideas as correct; e.g. thinking science is good and being skeptical of a scientific idea is being “contrarian” to science although skepticism of ideas is the core of science

    The very concept of the intended seminar is a promotion of totalitarianism: it is an evil of immense proportions. You don’t need to be a ‘lefty’ like me to oppose it: all people of conscience need to oppose evil.

    Richard

  66. “Finally, it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.”
    In other words, don’t confuse me with facts. My mind is made up.

    This fits with the thinking of the CAGW community, that the ideology is what matters, and the science simply needs to be tortured enough to yield the correct results. Nothing good can come of this study which starts with the assumption that the doctrine as promulgated by the IPCC is correct, and that skeptics are really only ideologues that don’t care what the science is.

  67. >>>jbird says: Why would anyone want to go to this?
    Good point. I might go because Anthony would like a “mole” to report on the proceedings. However, because of the distance, it would chew up much of the day.
    There’s lots of seminars at the U of C, NCAR, etc., and some of them are pretty good – I went to one last month about detailed observations of an Earth-grazing asteroid. I gravitate toward the observationally based talks, but won’t waste the bus fare on some nonsense modeling studies (which is saying something, since my bus fare is free).
    As for something about stifling the ideology of science, well, not sure if I want to torture myself by attending, but then, it might be like going to a Klan rally to see what goes on and I could learn something about “post-normal science”.

  68. If one looks into the history of the “science” of sociology, one will learn that it was the creation of Marxists. It was developed as a tool to change society into a Marxist state. Holding a Marxist world view is a sure sign of damaged cognition. Most sociologist think with a Marxist world view. Therefore most sociologist are insane.

  69. If the rules for post normal science differ from those of ordinary science then it is perfectly possible that climate change truly is a done deal as they have been telling us for years. PNS appears to be a science of concensus among a select few. They have that concensus. Climate change, QED (PN).

  70. Leif Svalgaard says:
    September 1, 2012 at 10:07 am

    “”stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted”
    Here she is dead wrong. Science is not an ideology and should not be communicated as such.”

    I agree. The role of science is to inform ideology.
    It should never become one. Academic freedom is an important concept in producing informative science.

    She touches upon blogs as an impediment to enacting science. Policy is the product of ideology and thus the role of science is to also inform policy. When science becomes policy we have the classic problem of the Pope and Galileo.

  71. Notice how lefties always redefine terms, on the fly to suit their needs? Junk science describes the cult of CAGW with their high priest of propaganda, yet the moonbats use it to describe real scientists. At one time a liberal was the opposite of a socialist! Now this wacko is redefining post-normal science, ascribing to it that which is antithetical to it. The insanity is mind boggling.

  72. Wow.

    In the context of climate change, one question has arisen from recent events: what to do with the contrarians?

    That formulation of the “one question” says it all.

    Some propose that the contrarian discourse is merely an annoying sideshow, while others think that it is science’s responsibility to fight them.

    Evidently, none in the circle that this d!p$#!^ travels in proposes that there is any value in listening to dissenting opinion. Except insofar as it is to research innovative methods to quash same, of course. Wot wot.

    They serve as extended peer communities as put forth by post-normal science, however, blog users themselves do not see post-normal science as a desirable goal.

    Yes, we tend to see normal science as a desirable goal.

    Furthermore, avowals of distrust can be seen as linguistic perfomances of accountability, forcing science to prove its reliability and integrity over and over again.

    Yes, normal science is only valuable to the extent that it is reliable and has integrity. It is properly referred to as “science”.

    “Post-normal science” is not science. “Post-normal science” pretends to be science, when it is actually a political propaganda technique invented by a Communist to advance leftist political agendas under the imprimatur of “science”. It derives its value from its ability to trade on the reputation that science has earned for reliability and integrity, while adhering to neither. It would be more honestly titled “Post-science politicking”, but it is not. Not surprising, given that its adherents freely admit that the willingness to trade honesty for political effectiveness is in fact a component of “post-normal science”. That is what allows them to justify “telling scary stories” to drive decision making according to the dictates of the decidedly non-scientific “precautionary principle”.

    For further exposition of what “post-normal science” is, simply look at how its proponents discuss it:

    Finally, it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.

    1) Discussing the science basis is an obstacle to “post-normal science”.

    2) Science is an “ideology”

    3) This ideology is to be “enacted”.

    ‘Nuff said.

  73. @Doug Hanes;
    Dr. Qing-Bin Lu is a Warmist in sheep’s clothing.

    humans were responsible for global warming in late 20th century, but CFCs, rather than CO2, were the major culprit; a long-term global cooling starting around 2002 is expected to continue for next five to seven decades.

  74. Science as an ideology. There’s your problem, ma’am. AGW theory is an ideology, not a science. Scientists will not have to prove themselves over and over again on this question. Just once will do. Don’t you have business back in Europe?

  75. @ Mike D in AB says:

    I’m going to copy + paste

    “If your definition of science promotes theory over observation, it’s not science. If the totality cannot be broken into testable sub-components, it’s not science. If experiments cannot be proposed to falsify the basic premises, it’s not science. If the theory is accepted as the null case and “it’s within the realm of natural variation” must be proven, it’s not science. If numbers must be carefully chosen from larger data sets, and data which does not support the theory is discarded/not displayed, it’s not science.”

    To use when I need, if that’s ok with you.

  76. Post normal “science” isn’t science. But neither is economics or archaeology or a host of other very useful subjects. So that doesn’t mean I personally think it is “wrong”, what is wrong is suggesting it has anything like the credibility of real science. Post normal science or “soft-science” might be a better name, is “science” without the verification (which is essential to science hence the “science”.

    Perhaps a good analogy would be between criminal law (proof beyond reasonable doubt) and criminal law “on the balance of probabilities). Science requires assertions based on proof beyond reasonable doubt using tested hypothesis. Science-lite/soft-science/post-normal science is using science like methods with a much lower standard of proof (much like the climategate inquiries .. sorry, the climategate inquiries were “couldn’t be proven to have lied and cheated” … it’s more honestly saying something, or using best judgement.)

    Soft-science is a subject that allows assertions without factual basis, so long as there is a reasonable argument based on science, not a scientific argument which is one that asserts only what can reasonably asserted from the evidence and tested hypothesis – but an argument using less rigorous standards like e.g. found in archaeology, applied to science.

    Why? Well in areas like the climate, you can’t test your assertions. It’s more like geology than a science. The academic can’t manipulate what is going on to test a theory, and data is slow to arrive.

  77. Someone has asked for a definition of post-normal science. Let’s try: when facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent, the paradigm-based puzzle-solving research confined to closed sets of practitioners is not adequate. We can call this a ‘post-normal situation’. Then there must be an ‘extended peer community’, using ‘extended facts’ which include traditional research results along with open criticism, plus data from non-traditional sources, and expressions of value commitments. Also, in such circumstances there is no possibility of results approaching truth to the same degree that is possible in traditional science; hence the debate will be about the quality of results. This is inevitably complex, since all scientific results depend on arguments where imperfect data and imperfect inferences are combined. Experience has shown that in such cases, which include all areas closely connected with policy, the ‘extended peer community’ plays a very positive role, not merely in legitimating accepted results but also in criticising controversial results. This practice of open debate, which is realised on the blogosphere with salient examples like WUWT, is post-normal science. Of course PNS is open to abuse, but then so is the closed-community practice of normal science, especially when it is closely tied to policy. For a good example of PNS in action, there is Phil Tattersall’s ‘Community Based Audit’ that operates in Tasmania. He has shaped his work by thinking about PNS.

  78. there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.

    This is a really dumb statement, and reveals that we are dealing with people who worship something they don’t understand. Science is a process with an accumulated body of knowledge that changes constantly. Science is not an ideology.

  79. I’m in Denver, Anthony – and I used to live in Boulder. I will happily attend and report. Drop me a line via my facebook email (Orson2) for further contact information, if you wish.

  80. Post-normal: start with your conclusion and trim all reason and evidence achieve it. The author’s method exactly:

    Some propose that the contrarian discourse is merely an annoying sideshow, while others think that it is science’s responsibility to fight them.

    Wait, are those the only logical possibilities? YES, if your logic is being trimmed to in post-normal fashion.

  81. Leif Svalgaard says:
    September 1, 2012 at 10:07 am

    stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted
    Here she is dead wrong. Science is not an ideology and should not be communicated as such.
    ______________________________
    Thank you. That is exactly what I zeroed in on.

    I even looked up the definition because I could not believe that was what she was saying.

    Ideology [ˌaɪdɪˈɒlədʒɪ]
    n. pl. i·de·ol·o·gies
    1. The body of ideas reflecting the social needs and aspirations of an individual, group, class, or culture.
    2. A set of doctrines or beliefs that form the basis of a political, economic, or other system.

    n pl -gies
    1. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) a body of ideas that reflects the beliefs and interests of a nation, political system, etc. and underlies political action
    2. (Philosophy) Philosophy Sociol the set of beliefs by which a group or society orders reality so as to render it intelligible
    3. speculation that is imaginary or visionary
    4. (Philosophy) the study of the nature and origin of ideas
    ideological [ˌaɪdɪəˈlɒdʒɪkəl], ideologic adj
    ideologically adv

    Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
    ideology
    the body of doctrine, myth, symbol, etc., with reference to some political or cultural plan, as that of communism, along with the procedures for putting it into operation. — ideologist, idealogue, n. — ideologic, ideological, adj.
    See also: Politics
    the body of doctrines, philosophical bases, symbols, etc., associated with a particular social or political movement, large group, or individual. — ideological, adj. — ideologist, n.

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ideology

    It certainly makes it clear that we are talking about two different definitions of “Science.”

    I even found them.

    According to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, the definition of science is “knowledge attained through study or practice,” or “knowledge covering general truths of the operation of general laws, esp. as obtained and tested through scientific method [and] concerned with the physical world.”

    http://www.sciencemadesimple.com/science-definition.html

    They seem to consider the first definition where “science” is “knowledge attained through study…”, that is handed down by the high priest of academia.

    We consider the definition of science to be the second definition: “knowledge covering general truths of the operation of general laws, esp. as obtained and tested through scientific method [and] concerned with the physical world.” (And it worries me that this is the second and not the first definition)

    This moving away from the rigorous definition of science can also be seen in this essay where the author acknowledges the above definition and then come up with this interesting modification of the definition.

    Journal of Theoretics Vol.1-3, Aug/Sept 1999 Editorial

    What is Science?

    It continues to amaze me how many “educated” people do not understand what Science* is or what is meant by the term “scientific method.” …

    One of the best descriptions and explanations of the current concept of scientific method is interestingly found in the Appendix E of Frank Wolfs’ website.

    1. Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.
    2. Formulation of a hypothesis to explain the phenomena. In physics, the hypothesis often takes the form of a causal mechanism or a mathematical relation.
    3. Use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena, or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations.
    4. Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments. [so far so good G.C.]

    But in order to realize whether this is a valid concept or not, we need to understand what Science really is….

    Let’s say that I am an archeologist and that I hypothesize…. [example]

    The scientific method is fine for experimentation but it is inadequate in determining what is Science. In the past if a discipline could not be subject to the scientific method, it was not Science. Therefore, I would like to propose that the scientific method should only be applied to experimentation when appropriate and not be used in the determination of what is or is not science, nor should it have any application in defining what is a hypothesis, theory, fact, or law.**

    In terms of the definition of what is or is not a Science, we need to find a definition that is timeless and few could argue against. One of the best way to understand the current definition of something is to look at its history (ignorance of the past will lead to mistakes of the future5) but I will leave that for a book on the subject because even though it is engrossing reading, it can get lengthy. I would like to propose that we define Science as the “the field of study which attempts to describe and understand the nature of the universe in whole or part.”* Though simple, it is an encompassing and elegant definition, as we will see….

    Why do I think that it is important that we all be on the same page in our definition of Science?

    * I am a stickler for being exact in our communications because if we do not have the same definitions then we can not communicate accurately and if we can not accurately communicate then we can not progress.
    * By defining Science accurately, it is easy to see that scientific theory, fact, and law can be developed and verified totally outside the walls of the academic experimentalist and the scientific method.
    * By knowing what academic disciplines are Sciences, we can better approach or attempt to describe and the universe in a more organized manner thereby maximizing the progress that mankind can make in developing his knowledge base.
    It shows us that hypothesis and theories are not the sole purview of the experimentalist with his/her scientific method.
    * It is only through the field of Theoretics that we can get a logical overview of Science from which we can all get on the same page and allow Science to progress in all of its facets.

    * I only hope that all will become involved in Theoretics so that we can all be on the same page in our definitions, coherent and logical in our arguments and theory development, and rather than being petty, look at what is the best for Science and Mankind.

    JP Siepmann, Editor

    http://www.journaloftheoretics.com/editorials/vol-1/e1-3.htm

    And there went the rigorous definition of science down the rabbit hole of Post Normal Science. In this definition there is NO TESTING of the HYPOTHESIS!

  82. The temperature alone spanks her ilk. Those who worship faux art and faux science have finally bankrupted a generation of college kids and their parents too just as something called the Internet revealed their identities and academic connections in a permanent and uncensored archive along with juicy financial records with long strings of zeros. The backlash has barely begun. If the Randians about to win a landslide let us innovators innovate instead of ban manufacturing further, maybe we can inflate away the debt but I’m too pissed off to ever hire a liberal arts major. Need I mention that I became an adult bachelor again just as big city women threw their sex into environmental fascism? Yeah, that type of pissed off!

  83. “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win”.
    Gandhi knew what he was talking about, even if it was not about Post-Normal Science. We seem to be about in stage 2. Post-Normal Science is fraud.

  84. Bill Hunter says:
    September 1, 2012 at 1:30 pm
    She touches upon blogs as an impediment to enacting science. Policy is the product of ideology and thus the role of science is to also inform policy.
    ===============================================================
    Kind of sounds like “lobbyist”. Leave out the bribes and greed aspect, and a “lobbyist” value in politics is to inform the law maker of the impact and implications of whatever is being considered. (For example, how many ex-lawers understand an energy grid?) Part of the problem is that through grants etc. the lawmakers have become the bribers, “bad” lobbyist. “Here’s some cash. Now tell them they need to support (and pay for) what I want to do.”

  85. There was a gap in the link below, which I’ve eliminated:

    imoira says:
    September 1, 2012 at 10:59 am
    “Using highly ranked blog, ‘Watts up with that’ as a case study, discourse analysis…. reveals… ” (see above)
    Discourse analysis is “…based on a view that is largely anti-scientific, though not anti-research.”

    http://www.eamonfulcher.com/discourse_analysis.html

    This gal’s statements, which seem so off-track, may not be as bad as they sound. STS (Science and Technology Studies), which is her field, speaks in a special lingo / jargon. She may have deliberately avoided sounding like a contrarian herself in order not to put off potential attendees. We’ll know soon.

  86. There are blogs where science can be questioned (WUWT) and blogs where it definitely can not (ReaalClimate). We are all familiar about WUWT attitude, statements from academic to amateur blogers are questioned and tested.
    I gave a test to RC few hours ago.
    Tread title :
    Climate indices to watch
    vukcevic says:
    1 Sep 2012 at 1:20 PM
    We shouldn’t forget the North Atlantic SST (the AMO) which is often ignored. Since 2000 the short term oscillations appear to be suppressed , this could be an indication of ‘energy saturation’ and that multidecadal peak has been reached, implying significant cooling in the coming decades.
    300 years of the AMO from Mann, Gray etc.

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/AMO-recon.htm

    [Response: As the person who coined the term “AMO” I figure it’s appropriate for me to comment. The AMO, as we have shown in numerous articles, has little influence on global (or even Northern Hemisphere) average temperature. Its largely a zero sum game because it mostly associated with changes in the transport of heat between regions, and not the total heat budget of the planet. I talk about the history of the AMO (and my role in it) in my book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars –mike http://www.amazon.com/The-Hockey-Stick-Climate-Wars/dp/023115254X/ ]

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/08/climate-indices-to-watch/comment-page-1/#comment-247360

    Legitimate challenge to the academic from an amateur
    Hi Dr. Mann
    According to what I find
    – Zero sum game
    yes across 9-10 or 64-5 years, but necessarily not in between, unless a symmetrical section is selected
    – changes in the transport of heat between regions
    The SST changes trend direction almost simultaneously (within 1-2 years, across most of the North Atlantic, while e.g. subpolar gyre has cycle of about two decades. It is more likely that the AMOscillations are responsible for transport of heat in the vertical direction (from surface downwards) and it can be adequately represented as an amplification system (see link below)
    – has little influence on global (or even Northern Hemisphere)
    The N.H. Tav (detrended) and the AMO are inextricably linked together (with high uncertainty of order of precedence) as I show here:

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/GSC1.htm

    Since the ‘AMO’ type oscillations are detectable in other areas of the globe, the oscillations are most likely globally generated, but due the North Atlantic’s specific properties, their presence there is more evident.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/the-bore-hole/comment-page-21/#comment-247367

    Off with ‘inconvenient intruder’ to the ‘Bore Hole’ since he doesn’t appear to be interested in purchasing the book ‘The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars’ even at the significant discount

    vukcevic:Science advances not by the acquiescence, but by questioning every single assertion

  87. richardscourntney’s cautions are something to take seriously.

    Prof. Max Boykoff spoke to the Denver Cafe Scientifique last June. http://cafescicolorado.org/Flyers/Cafe%20Scientifique%20Flyer%20Boykoff.pdf

    Boykoff is a social scientist in charge of teaching many courses in environmental studies – my field of science – especially the intro level courses on climate change at the University of Colorado at Boulder. No doubt the speaker Hollender is appearing because of him and his recent CUP book, “Who speaks for the climate? Making Sense of Media and Climate Change.”

    http://artsandsciences.colorado.edu/magazine/2011/12/who-speaks-for-the-climate-2/

    I found his presentation to be epiphenomenally pretentious, and irrelevant to the real – and much more important – scientific debate. Furthermore, he invokes authority on behalf of those doing (politicized) climate change research – another one of the dangerous and familiar arguments from authority – cf, Courtney – and therefore dismissed instead of understood and dealt with honestly, as real scientists do.

  88. Translation:

    We hate that you keep ignoring us smart scientists. We hate that you keep doing your own research that disproves all our hard work and makes us look stupid. We hate that we have to keep trying to sell our story over and over becasue you bring up facts over and over.

    We hate that your efforts are causing other people, much of the general public, to disbelieve what we claim as well.

    We hate you all and want to find a way to make you all go away.

  89. These things will pass.
    Sociologists have been nibbling at the corners of my profession for at least 50 years.
    In retrospect, some of it was useful. R E Pahl’s work helped to explain how people actually interact with their environment and each other. A useful counter-balance to the shibboleths that would have prevailed otherwise.

    http://www.socresonline.org.uk/16/3/11.html

  90. Another Kari Norgaard. Wondering aloud what to “do about” contrarians. Like we’re a creeping cancer on their pristine landscape of flitting social justice butterflies. Jeez, Louise, will someone please give these people a shake.

  91. So they have read your blog without actually reading your blog. How can they do that? These people seem to have their heads so far up their assets, they can’t tell real science from ideology, nor recognize rational discourse, nor the right to even question. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH THESE PEOPLE?

  92. By analysing a blog in a manner which is manifestly prejudiced they can produce whatever results they wish to produce because they consider science to be a philosophical ideology, constructed by the mind, not an external search for truth and measurable reality. Just like CAGW activists, for them, 2+2 can equal whatever they want it to.

  93. Can I take it then no one involved with this event has actually contacted Anthony for his thoughts or comments?

    Contrarians? Aren’t those the people who actually want to make decisions based on honest and verifiable science?

    If you view honest and verifiable science as the problem……

  94. Here’s the Post Normal Science garbage in a nut shell.

    How do we make decisions when:

    o The stakes are high
    o The matters urgent
    o The facts uncertain

    This is the founding premise of Jerry Ravetz’ PNS bullarky. It is a logic process that he then uses to argue that requires action on CO2 mitigation. It is a logic process that surprisingly intelligent people buy into without thought. It is was lead The Economist to suggest that we need to take draconian measures on CO2 emissions, not because the science is settled, but precisely because it is not. Last penny I ever spent on that once proud magazine was that issue.

    The logic train doesn’t hold up.

    The stakes are NOT high. We have clear geological records showing that CO2 levels have been many times what they are today, and that temperatures have been higher, and the whole biosphere THRIVED as a result.

    Matters are NOT urgent. CO2 is increasing at a paltry 2 ppm per year, and each additional ppm has LESS impact than the one before it. CO2 is logarithmic meaning it is subject to the law of diminishing returns.

    The facts ARE certain. The FACTS are that returning to a pre-industrial society would sentence over 90% of the people on earth today to DEATH.

    PNS is a sick and twisted way of distracting us from the real issues and turning decision making upside down and inside out and making it seem logical. It is moraly, ethicaly, and scientificaly bankrupt.

  95. Finally, it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted

    Obsession with discussing the science? “Advancing the discourse” apparently means improving the propaganda communications and massaging messaging.

  96. Jerome Ravetz;
    Of course PNS is open to abuse
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    And you and the climate science community are doing exactly that.

  97. >>>Orson Olson says:
    >>>richardscourntney’s cautions are something to take seriously.
    >>>Prof. Max Boykoff spoke to the Denver Cafe Scientifique last June.
    The Boykoff Bros. did write the “Balance as Bias” paper, bit of an Orwellian title, that claimed the “contrarian” viewpoint is over reported.

  98. vukcevic:Science advances not by the acquiescence, but by questioning every single assertion.

    And in the case of many climsci people, science only advances one funeral at a time.

  99. Be fair, she’s identified a sceptic blog and a very good one, so she’s streets ahead of her Australian competition ;-)

    However, I do doubt she can work out what makes this blog so successful. Warmists seem to lack empathy for sceptic motivations. Perhaps it goes hand in hand with their inability to self examine and realise they haven’t actually cut their own CO2 footprints. Warmist psychologists are looking for the essence of what makes sceptic blogs successful but the answer can’t be taught. It’s passion, integrity, common sense, hard work, persistence, humour, warmth, fairness and self sacrifice. If you lack those qualities you can’t fake them. Mann, Gleick, Trenberth, Oreskes, Romm, Mooney, Gore, Prince Charles… Oh boy!

    I love the comment “the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted”. A bit like saying ‘I don’t know why the prisoner keeps asking for a retrial, when he should be choosing his method of execution.’

    I’ll add that while WUWT and the other sceptic blogs are doing a tremendous service, I doubt they’re the major factor in waning AGW support. It’s more a case of warmists losing than we’re winning. Franziska Hollender and her ilk need to ask sceptics why we’re sceptical, not how. Sceptics are a symptom not the disease.

  100. … “analyzes the impact of contrarian blogs on the climate change discourse”…

    At least she didn’t use the term denier. A quick look at the LinkedIn link
    posted above reveals little or no scientific background, yet a wealth of
    “ed biz” and communications coursework/jobs.

    This type of statement reminds me of when Carly Fiorina said
    “perception IS reality”. A fan of Hegel, Fiorina is an expert at Hegelian
    dialectic, which also appears to be what the “efforts to improve
    communication of climate science” is really all about.

    Since the AGW folks can’t get Hypothesis -> experiment -> validate/retry
    to work, they’ve resorted to Thesis Antithesis –> Synthesis.

    Trouble is, they’re synthesizing the “Kool-Aid” that we’ll be forced
    to drink (and, as taxpayers, pay for as well).

    Methinks with that background and those views, that Ms. Hollender
    aims to feed her doctoral studies at the trough of AGW.

    Would be great if Lord Monckton was there to show her a thing or
    two about communication and climate science…

  101. Jerome Ravetz,

    There is a very good likelihood that an asteroid large enough to destroy all of humanity will strike the earth at any moment. Stakes high, matter urgent, facts uncertain. Should we put everything we have into building anti-asteroid missiles just in case?

    There are considerable nuclear war heads in the former USSR which are poorly secured and in the hands of unstable governments or terrorists could wreaque havoque on the western world. Stakes high, matter urgent, facts uncertain. Should we use our nuclear arsenal to obliterate the former USSR just in case?

    There are dormant volcanoes all over the earth like the one underneath Yellowstone that make Krakatoa look like a firecracker. Any one of them could erupt at any time and civilization as we know it would end, billions would die. Stakes high, matter urgent, facts uncertain. Should we put all of our resources into excavating them and finding ways to relieve the pressure and ensure this doesn’t happen? Or do we only put half our resources into that and the other half into the anti-asteroid missile program? Should we ask the former USSR nations to help us out with the volcano issue and THEN blow them to smithereans?

    This is the true face of your PNS garbage. It is a way of rationalizing the irrational. It is a way of making emotional decisions seem logical while ignoring the science that would allow us to make logical decisions.

  102. Given that most skeptics are not public figures, can we finally get our big money payoff via class action law suit against those who libel us, tossing in some RICO and hate crime language? That might actually shut them up though and send them back into hiding, ruining things, covertly. A naughty sense propels me to drop here a few Ayn Rand quotes rather relevant in tone to the real world fact that mainstream psychology is once again going crazy.

    “The impulse of the habit of reason almost pushed her to speak, to argue, to demonstrate the self-evident – but she looked at their faces and she saw that they knew it. In some terms different from hers, in some inconceivable manner of consciousness, they knew all that she could tell them, it was useless to prove to them the irrational horror of their course and of its consequences….” – Ayn Rand (“Atlas Shrugged” 1957)

    “She could not believe that she was supposed to feel respect for the dreary senselessness of the art shows which his friends attended, of the novels they read, of the political magazines they discussed – the art shows, where she saw the kind of drawings she had seen chalked on any pavement of her childhood’s slums – the novels, that purported to prove the futility of science, industry, civilization of love, using language that her father would not have used in his drunkenest moments – the magazines, that propounded cowardly generalities, less clear and more stale than the sermons for which she had condemned the preacher of the slum mission as a mealy-mouthed old fraud. She could not believe that these things were the culture she had so reverently looked up to and so eagerly waited to discover. She felt as if she had climbed a mountain toward a jagged shape that had looked like a castle and had found it to be the crumbling ruin of a gutted warehouse.” – Ayn Rand (“Atlas Shrugged” 1957)

    “If a man makes an error in his choice of values, his emotional mechanism will not correct him: it has no will of its own. If a man’s values are such that he desires things which, in fact and in reality, lead to his destruction, his emotional mechanism will not save him, but will instead, urge him on toward destruction: he will have set it in reverse, against himself and against the facts of reality, against his own life. Man’s emotional mechanism is like an electronic computer: man has the power to program it, but no power to change its nature – so that if he sets the wrong programming, he will not be able to escape the fact that the most self-destructive desires will have, for him, the emotional intensity and urgency of lifesaving actions. He has, of course, the power to change the programming – but only by changing his values.” – Ayn Rand (“The Virtue of Selfishness” 1961)

    “There was a time when men were afraid that somebody would reveal some secret of theirs that was unknown to their fellows. Nowadays, they’re afraid that somebody will name what everybody knows. Have you practical people ever thought that that’s all it would take to blast your whole, big, complex structure…?” – Ayn Rand (“Atlas Shrugged” 1957)

  103. Franziska Hollender’s subjectively perjoative stereotyping through her use of the label ‘contrarian’ is to me a sufficient intellectual basis to ignore her treatment of the situation in climate science dialogs.

    Her injection of a subjective theory of reality (that is called PNS) is consistent with her subjectivity in presenting the climate science situation as being ‘science versus contrarians’.

    She gets a score of A+ in applied subjectivism.   Subjectivists are just making stuff up arbitrarily as they randomly react to localized social stimuli.  To them reality is what society desires it to be.

    John

  104. Idiot social manipulator (NOT science) ….

    wanting some small amount of relevance.

    based purely on ignorance.

  105. Leif Svalgaard: “Although English is not my mother tongue it is good enough to surmise that ‘yyy as xxx’ implies that ‘yyy is xxx’.”

    Well, no. ‘Is’ is an identity statement while ‘as’ is a rather unfortunate collection of differing things that are not the same. In the manner used ‘as’ is to be read as ‘in the manner of’, ‘in the form of’, etc.

    “I don’t think so. Agencies measure rainfall and draw maps of flood zones in order to enable policy decisions to be made, and I would not call that data collecting activity ‘ideology’. ”

    And if science were strictly and only a data collecting activity then it would be engineering at most. But then we have to deal with theories and hypotheses. I submit that nothing would be lost if the ‘scientific method’ were redefined such that science is only and always a hypothesis non fingo affair. To disagree one has to first commit to the idea that theories are Truth and have primacy over experiment. But once that is done we have not said that science can be, in an ‘as’ sense, an ideology; but that it ‘is’ fundamentally ideological.

    All that aside, I think it is without question that Climate Science is properly under the modern practice of science. And it is certainly without question that a large number of people take the canonical climate theories as a central point of their weltanschauung. Which is to say, they take it as ideological in the non-perjorative sense. And, of course, if they then try to leverage their political will in a democracy it becomes ideological in the perjorative sense as well. (Which is, honestly, a bit silly given that this is the entire point of democracies in the first place.)

    I don’t perceive you as being such an individual that elevates Theory over experiment. But that makes little difference as to how the term is used today. Certainly, if we wished to be purists on definition, then Science is a word that doesn’t exist, we are speaking about ‘the Philosophical method’, and Philosophy is Rhetoric. But these notions are rather out of date by quite a few centuries.

  106. davidmhoffer:

    re your post at September 1, 2012 at 3:36 pm addressed to Jerome Ravetz

    Excellent. Well said. Thankyou.

    But, please remember, people who have made – and are making – a living out of having promoted something are not likely to abandon that something whether or not they know it is nonsense.

    Richard

  107. Jo Postma: September 1, 2012 at 11.04 am: ‘Skepticism as post-normal science? Hey, I thought that was the label WE gave THEM and their denial of the scientific method!’

    I don’t think these academics are arguing that scepticism per se is post-normal science, but rather that climate sceptic blogs (and also of course pro-AGW blogs) function as part of climate science, which is considered to be an instance of post-normal science,

    Post-normal science is characterised by its proponents as: ‘the stakes are high, uncertainties large and decisions urgent, and where values are embedded in the way science is done and spoken’, and where blogs act ‘as extended peer communities’.

    To my mind, these characteristics apply well to climate science, in a way that, for example, the mating habits of monarch butterflies do not. I think it is very clear that values and worldviews, even ideologies, are deeply embedded in discussions of climate, from whichever angle.

    Interestingly, most people on both sides of the climate debate seem to be pretty cool on the notion of post-normal science, possibly because there’s a rhetorical advantage in claiming that ‘they’ are infected by ideology, while ‘we’ are doing real science.

  108. DesertYote says:
    September 1, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    If one looks into the history of the “science” of sociology, one will learn that it was the creation of Marxists…..
    ________________________________
    I went to look that up and came across a very interesting course syllibus from HArvard.

    History of Science 157
    Sociology of Science
    The History of Science and Sociology of Science

    …Science has historically presented conceptual, methodological, and even moral and political, obstacles to understanding it in sociological terms. So what is sociological about science and why has there been such resistance to thinking sociologically about science?

    …..The founding figures of the sociology of science were struck by both the remarkable consensus characteristic of the natural sciences and by the distinctive and admirable set of moral commitments that distinguished the scientific community from other social institutions. This tradition of work aimed to say something important about the social conditions for the production of scientific truth, but it also testified to the distinctive cultural and social conditions of the settings from which this sociological project emerged.

    Critics of the approach represented by Robert Merton sometimes pointed to so-called problems of “agency”: if social order in science was to be accounted for by socialization into the structures and collectively held values, then what did this make of individual decision-making processes? What are social “norms,” such that they can count as explanations of social behavior? Should agency be regarded as an illusion or was the failure of structural-functionalist sociology to give an account of individual agency a sign of its impoverishment?….

    ….For many writers, scientific knowledge counted as a ‘hard’ or even limiting case. What could possibly be ‘social’ about facts, logical inference, the whole apparatus of Scientific Method? You could have– it was considered– a sociology of the scientific role, of the scientific institution, and of the thematics of science (what sort of science was done at certain times and places, and how much of one sort as opposed to another). You could have a sociology of error or of pseudo-science, but not, it was thought, a sociology of scientific knowledge proper. These sessions will introduce the frameworks which found such presumptions a matter of course, and then we will go on to suggest a different way of thinking that made a sociology of scientific knowledge not just possible but necessary for understanding the historical development and credibility of scientific knowledge

    Few aspects of the sociology of scientific knowledge are as controversial as the relativism associated with some of its versions. To what features of science do sociologists think one should adopt a relativistic posture? How does sociological relativism square with currently accepted standards of historical practice?….

    GAG, if this is the type of course she has been taking no wonder the poor dear is so confused by “THE CONTRARIAN DISCOURSE IN THE BLOGOSPHERE”

  109. You know, the whole “what is PNS” is a little more complicated than it seems – but the “not science” people have it basically right.

    I’ve followed Funtowicz and Ravetz a little bit, and pretty much PNS comes from the places you’d expect it to.

    Funtowicz is a part of the EU bureaucratic machine, and some of you are familiar with how that has turned out. Like “Critical Theory” and PNS itself, the EU could be described as “Marxism in a funny hat.” I think a better metaphor for the EU is like Fantasy Football. Imagine if a Fantasy Football Club had billions in budget and hundreds of thousands of employees and no actual football teams or players. Then replace “Football” with “Marxism,” and you’d pretty much have the EU in a nutshell.

    Ravetz… well, it’s not like I know him personally, but given his background and writings I’d take a wild stab and say – raised by and surrounded by people whose shared delusion of persecution he adopted. I say delusion because people who want to overthrow a relatively free system and replace it with a less free one don’t get a lot of leeway from me for crying victim when they get called on it. Not executed (except the occasional spy), not tortured, not had their legs cut off – but called on it.

    Anyway, old-school Marxist “fellow-traveler” plus “Fantasy Marxism” bureaucrat-in-training had a problem – the science wasn’t really giving them what they wanted. So they came up with a “model” wherein they could massage the rules until they *did* get what they wanted.

    Basically PNS should have been laughed completely off the map. Unfortunately, there’s another institution you may be aware of that has been separated enough from reality that it can engage in “Fantasy Marxism,” we call it academia.

    If you’re one of those people who feel that talk of Marxism is just some kind of evil right-wing paranoia, I suggest you stare at the Twentieth Century and count corpses until the feeling passes.

    It always starts as an idea that will make things *better*, and then people start dying. Every time.

  110. Scientists should stick to science and let policy be decided at the ballot box. Bloggers give me and my fellow voters a greater opportunity to formulate good policy.
    At the birth of my first child the doctor felt that a caesarian section was called for and sought my permission. I simply said, “give me the facts and i will give you a policy statement”.
    Perhaps germane is this famous exchange, from the writings of Stanley L. Jaki, quote,
    “Hence, the truth of Einstein’s remark to the Archbishop of Canterbury, that the science of relativity has nothing to do with moral betterment, which, let it be recalled, forms the gist of genuine religion. Einstein certainly offered something most momentous when he said in another context that he could not distill a drop of morality from his science”.

  111. If there’s no big message before this one, I get it, it could be seen as off-topic. This is a science blog. But where ideas *come from* matters because it informs the people who make the rules and build the structures. It also helps you interpret what people are saying when you have an idea what their intentions are.

  112. I just hope they don’t zero in on any of my comments.

    Kudos to them, for picking a fight with the biggest dog in the pack.

  113. PS in case it’s not clear, I’m not saying Ravetz and Funtowicz are *trying* to usher about some kind of Soviet-style apocalypse or being *expressly* dishonest.

    I think they’re honestly pursuing something they just don’t or won’t realize doesn’t work.

    What some call “weasel language” isn’t a strict attempt to deceive, it’s an almost worse attempt to control the conversation.

  114. Someone asked what post normal science is. To me it is politically correct science. Science used to be done by clever people. In these more enlightened days everyone can be a scientist and not just the clever people. So post normal science is science done by people not smart enough to do real old fashioned science.

    As a perfect example of a post normal science I give you “climate science’.

  115. “I don’t think these academics are arguing that scepticism per se is post-normal science, but rather that climate sceptic blogs (and also of course pro-AGW blogs) function as part of climate science, which is considered to be an instance of post-normal science,”

    The argument goes like this.

    We are in a post normal situation. facts are uncertain, values are in conflict, stakes are high,
    and some argue that immediate action is required. Because values are in conflict others will argue that action is NOT required. Some will say we have to act because we dont know what a warmer world will be like. Others argue we cant act until we know.

    In Normal science, well science would just muddle along till the truth came out. But some people think we know enough to act. Other think we need to know more. Science cant settle this type of impass. Science can merely report. we are 65% sure, 94.9% sure. etc.

    It’s simplistic for one side to say, well wait until we are convinced. Its simplistic for the other side to count heads and say, the consensus is convinced. Since everybody knows how to play the game of “prove it” we are stuck. One side likes being stuck. The other side doesnt.

    One approach to the problem is to extend the “peer” review to include all stake holders.

    It’s not a marxist plot.

    Whether it will work or not is open to question. However, the experiment is being done.
    right here.

  116. Smokey says:
    September 1, 2012 at 3:07 pm
    Jerome Ravetz,

    Science is based on the scientific method. PNS is not. Therefore, PNS is not science.

    Correct. PNS is a description of what can happen at the science/policy interface after the ‘normal science’ is done. It also contains prescriptions for how that science/policy interface can be prised open by interested parties, some of them holding ‘leaked information’ etc.

    Perhaps we should stop taking potshots at the messenger and think about the message…

  117. “there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.” That the author would even use such an expression as “science as an ideology” is enough for me to dismiss whatever else she might have to say. Science is not an ideology, period.
    It is the notion that science is an ideology that is the inspiration for the skeptic blogosphere being what it is. The blogoshpere is about heathy skepticism in its simple, democratic meaning and the essential element of democracy, freedom of expression. Freedom of expression allows all views, all potential models, theories etc to be articulated, considered , rebutted, reviewed accepted after the application of the accumulated common sense acting as our common intelligence.

    Ideology is a system that puts the idealogues in charge, de facto or de jure, and is in its very essence anti-democratic and obnoxious to any sense of democracy. It is also contrary to common sense.

  118. davidmhoffer says:
    September 1, 2012 at 3:17 pm
    Here’s the Post Normal Science garbage in a nut shell.

    How do we make decisions when:

    o The stakes are high
    o The matters urgent
    o The facts uncertain

    This is the founding premise of Jerry Ravetz’ PNS bullarky. It is a logic process that he then uses to argue that requires action on CO2 mitigation.

    He does? This is news to me. Got a link to that? Maybe you got him mixed up with Schneider.

  119. Steven Mosher says:
    September 1, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    We are in a post normal situation. facts are uncertain, values are in conflict, stakes are high,…

    You’ve led yourself up the garden path on account of your false premise.

  120. Brdan H:

    I read your post at September 1, 2012 at 4:11 pm and the only thing it told me is that you are confused.

    Science, politics and religion are each important. But they are mutually exclusive. Mixing one of them with either or both the others destroys the proper practice of the components of the mixture.

    Of course we are all human and, therefore, we have scientific, political and religious views, but we need to avoid confusing those views. PNS excuses (deliberately adopts?) confusing science and politics.

    Climate realists argue the science and the politics of climate change but they are clear about the difference: e.g. see threads on WUWT.

    Climastrologists deliberately confuse the science and the politics of climate change: i.e. they overtly practice PNS whatever they may say. Indeed, they consider it proper to provide “Summaries for Policymakers” (policymakers are politicians) in what they claim to be scientific reports.

    Richard

  121. Franziska, for Christ sake.

    How dare you be so rude as to do a study on us without speaking to us?

    We’re human beings. How would you feel if I did a doctorate on what I see as your peccadillos without even contacting you?

    How dare you ask “what to do” with us, without asking us?

    How dare your university allow you to indulge in this Orwellian drivel?

  122. richardscourtney;
    But, please remember, people who have made – and are making – a living out of having promoted something are not likely to abandon that something whether or not they know it is nonsense.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    True. But there remains considerable value in exposing them so that they are less able to convince others. Jerome Ravetz is possibly a greater threat to humanity than the likes of Jones, Briffa, Mann and Hansen. He’s worse, because he enables them.

    Wrapped up in high sounding words, carefully articulated, he constructs a chain of assertions that seem logical. That seemingly logical construct is then applied to a single issue such as climate change, and suddenly the urging of Jones, Briffa, Mann and Hansen also seem logical by extension.

    But like all completely artificiall thought constructs, the logic chain fails when applied, not in isolation, but in general. How many more alarming issues that could be described as high stakes, urgent, facts uncertain could we list? Israel and Iran could plunge the whole middle east into war, cutting off much of the world’s oil supply. Maybe we should nuke them to prevent that? Any number of diseases could evolve into something disastrous. Vaccine resistant strains of smallpox or polio. Should we put all of our resources into coming up with vaccines for diseases that might exist in the future? We could be visited by aliens who want to fry us up for dinner. The sun might eject a stream of matter that would fry the earth. The magnetic field of the earth could shut down as it has in the past, and that would be disastrous too.

    Ravetz, I predict, won’t answer me, precisely because he knows the truth. That the list of things that fit his “stakes high, matters urgent, facts uncertain” definition is ridiculously long, and many of the things people could come up with to list are far more likely to actually happen than the ill effects of climate change. We can’t possibly deal with even a tiny fraction of them, and that’s what applying his logic in the general case instead of JUST to climate change exposes.

    While he probably won’t answer me (he hasn’t before) I take some satisfaction in knowing that his lack of response is a tacit admission of guilt, and those who read this blog will see that. If I’m wrong, and he does answer me…. well, let’s just say I look forward to that.

  123. “post-normal science as a desirable goal”

    Wow. The Edward Said-ian narrative cranks are now on the CS gravy train? But they are confused. The skeptics are NOT part of the post-normal something. Post-normal science is essentially a matter of increasing and maintaining funding in light of the scientific method being a barrier– to wit, when they realized everyone was starting to catch on to “postive feedbacks” blimey, they needed a new paradigm to ignore the uncertainties that could defeat further and continued funding.

    “One approach to the problem is to extend the “peer” review to include all stake holders.

    It’s not a marxist plot.”

    Duh. It’s a fascistic one. “Stakeholders” is the new-nice term for the usual business and government parasites and their fellow travelers.

    WARNING: When ever you hear the word “stakeholder,” it is some corporations or corporate front group posing as, or renting itself as, an ngo working in the “public interest.” “Stakeholder” equals “B.S.”

  124. Re:Jerome Ravetz says:
    September 1, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Someone has asked for a definition of post-normal science. Let’s try: when facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent,,,

    Jerome, when the facts are uncertain the decisions cannot ever be urgent because, well, you might just be dealing with a load of B.S.

    This is the reason why the planet is not devoting the majority of the total GDP towards the defense against an invasion of evil, carnivorous space aliens. Because that fact is in uncertain.

    “Post-normal science”, wotta joke. LOL

  125. I would like to see a plot of exactly or even vaguely where things stopped being “normal,” before which things were “certain.”

    When you form your argument around your desired conclusion, sometimes it’s pretty darned evident where you had to insert the “miracle step” that made the process coherent.

  126. Steven Mosher:

    In your post at September 1, 2012 at 4:27 pm you say

    In Normal science, well science would just muddle along till the truth came out. But some people think we know enough to act. Other think we need to know more. Science cant settle this type of impass. Science can merely report. we are 65% sure, 94.9% sure. etc.

    It’s simplistic for one side to say, well wait until we are convinced. Its simplistic for the other side to count heads and say, the consensus is convinced. Since everybody knows how to play the game of “prove it” we are stuck. One side likes being stuck. The other side doesnt.

    One approach to the problem is to extend the “peer” review to include all stake holders.

    No! The only valid “approach to the problem” is to let politicians decide the politics and to let the scientists “just muddle along till the truth came out”.

    Politicians make decisions about uncertain issues by assessing available information – including scientific information – every day. IT IS THEIR JOB. In democracies it is what we elect them to do. Nobody elects “all stake holders”.

    Richard

  127. Jerome Ravetz says:
    September 1, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    “Also, in such circumstances there is no possibility of results approaching truth to the same degree that is possible in traditional science; hence the debate will be about the quality of results. This is inevitably complex, since all scientific results depend on arguments where imperfect data and imperfect inferences are combined. Experience has shown that in such cases, which include all areas closely connected with policy, the ‘extended peer community’ plays a very positive role, not merely in legitimating accepted results but also in criticising controversial results. “

    A wonderful opportunity to get WWF material into the IPCC reports, or any other propaganda one has produced, and grab the power, n’est-ce pas? No objective reality, how very nice indeed; a perfect playground for the post-positivist manipulator.

    Unfortunately, you’ve left logic behind and ignore that other field called probability theory that deals perfectly well with uncertainty – but that is not so easy to manipulate, n’est-ce pas?

    There’s one rule that Alinsky failed to mention: You should make sense if you want to convince people. CO2AGW science doesn’t.

  128. In other words, in 1980, the environmentalists thought they could usher in a better, cleaner, smaller future if they only had more power and control, because their hearts and their philosophy told them it was so.

    In 1991, Post Normal Science was introduced.

    In 2012, the environmentalists thought they could usher in a better, cleaner, smaller future if only they had more power and control, because Post Normal Science told them it was so.

    There is a persuasion of person for whom the answer is always “more power and control,” no matter what the problem or process is. The fact that the problem or process shifts does not address the appropriateness of their conclusion.

  129. Maus says:
    September 1, 2012 at 4:08 pm
    Well, no. ‘Is’ is an identity statement while ‘as’ is a rather unfortunate collection of differing things that are not the same.
    Splitting hairs wrongly. “that sunset is beautiful’ does not use ‘is’ as an identity statement, but simply meaning ‘having the quality of’. There is no doubt in my mind that ‘science as ideology’ was meant to imply that science is an ideology. I don’t grok what other meaning you would ascribe to it.

    I submit that nothing would be lost if the ‘scientific method’ were redefined such that science is only and always a hypothesis non fingo affair. To disagree one has to first commit to the idea that theories are Truth and have primacy over experiment.
    In fact, some theories belong in that category. Perhaps the best example is Dirac’s prediction of antimatter. In the theory there was a square root. The square roots of 4 are +2 and -2. So on the basis of the beauty of the theory, Dirac postulated that both solutions described physical reality, and sure enough, antimatter was later discovered experimentally. There are several other examples.

  130. Oh dear, another doctorate to recall. Sociology continues to demonstrate its the kindergarten for basket-weavers in the intellectual curriculum. Her discourse isn’t even worthy of discussion, let alone consideration. Offer her another Zoloft and put her by the window, she’ll enjoy the bright colours in the sunlight.

  131. WARNING: When ever you hear the word “stakeholder,” it is some corporations or corporate front group posing as, or renting itself as, an ngo working in the “public interest.” “Stakeholder” equals “B.S.”

    No, “stakeholder” means “profiteer”. There no BS about that. Stakeholders always have a vested interest somewhere, and they’re most definetly not shareholders…

  132. Ally E. says:
    September 1, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    So they have read your blog without actually reading your blog. How can they do that? These people seem to have their heads so far up their assets, they can’t tell real science from ideology, nor recognize rational discourse, nor the right to even question. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH THESE PEOPLE?
    ___________________________________

    They have a completely different mindset. They were never taught the Scientific Method or Logic. This was intentional. In a totalitarian state you do not want independent thinkers or CONTRARIANS as they now see fit to call us.

    You are seeing the result of over one hundred years of education as formulated under John Dewey, Father of American Progressive Education where the whole idea behind education is to produce good little conformist slaves.

    You can read about John Dewey’s (founding member of the American Fabian Society) “Hegelian idealism and socialist materialism” here: The Philosophy Of Karl Marx: The Hegelian Basis

    …As a student, Marx accepted the philosophy of Hegel as the only sound and adequate explanation of the universe….

    Hegel accepted as real only that which existed in the mind. Objective phenomena and events were of no consequence; only the conceptions of them possessed by human minds were real. Ideas, not objects, were the stuff of which the universe was made. The universe and all events therein existed and took place only in the mind, and any change was a change in ideas. Therefore, to account for these changes in ideas was to account for change in the universe.

    ..If an idea were labeled a thesis, its opposite would be its antithesis. Consequently, in this realm of the mind within which the universe had its only real existence, innumerable theses and antitheses existed. Struggle or conflict was the en-evitable fact in such a universe—conflict of the thesis with its antithesis. In this struggle thesis and antithesis acted and reacted on each other, and a new phenomenon—synthesis—was created. All action or change occurring in the universe was, under the Hegelian philosophy, the product of thesis, antithesis, and resulting synthesis—all in the realm of ideas, since objective reality could exist only in that sphere. Since this process was universal and never ending, it offered a complete explanation of the causal processes creating all phenomena within the universe.

    In the Hegelian philosophy no idea could exist without an opposite…

    http://www.economictheories.org/2008/12/philosophy-of-karl-marx.html

    This is the fundamental belief system Marx modified. This idea of the struggle between thesis and antithesis to produce a new phenomenon— the synthesis, is the philisophical basis of all these people, especially the non-scientists.

    As far as they are concerned the struggle between thesis and antithesis is done, the consensus or synthesis has been reached and now it is time to get on with discussing the social, political and physical implementation of that consensus. A new thesis has been formed and we are, like Mitt Romney is, supposed to engage in the next part of the dialog, implementation. This is why we are “Deniers” and “CONTRARIANS” this is why there is so much frustration on their part that we “distrust accountability, forcing science to prove its reliability and integrity over and over again.”

    Notice the comment about ” Finally, it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.”

    They LITERALLY can not see our side of the debate at all because to them facts are not hard and fast but relativistic. From wiki

    Relativism is the concept that points of view have no absolute truth or validity, having only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration. …the doctrine that there are no absolute truths, i.e., that truth is always relative to some particular frame of reference, such as a language or a culture…

    This is the intellectual type of philosophy that is now seen in our schools.

    … John Dewey who is usually characterized as the father of progressive education. Yet the change of the teaching of reading is probably Dewey’s greatest contribution to the tranformation of American education from an academically oriented process to a social one.

    The progressives were a new breed of educator…. Indeed, men like G. Stanley Hall, James McKeen Cattell, Charles Judd, James Earl Russell traveled to Germany to study the new psychology under Prof. Wilhelm Wundt at the University of Leipzig. It was these men who later imposed the new psychology on American education and transformed it permanently from its academic function to one dedicated to behavioral change.

    In 1894, Dewey was appointed head of the department of philosophy, psychology and education at the University of Chicago which had been established two years earlier by a gift from John D. Rockefeller. In 1896, Dewey created his famous experimental Laboratory School where he could test the effects of the new psychology on real live children.

    Dewey’s philosophy had evolved from Hegelian idealism to socialist materialism, and the purpose of the school was to show how education could be changed to produce little socialists and collectivists instead of little capitalists and individualists. It was expected that these little socialists, when they became voting adults, would dutifully change the American economic system into a socialist one.

    In order to do so he analyzed the traditional curriculum that sustained the capitalist, individualistic system and found what he believed was the sustaining linchpin — that is, the key element that held the entire system together: high literacy. To Dewey, the greatest obstacle to socialism was the private mind that seeks knowledge in order to exercise its own private judgment and intellectual authority. High literacy gave the individual the means to seek knowledge independently. It gave individuals the means to stand on their own two feet and think for themselves. This was detrimental to the “social spirit” needed to bring about a
    collectivist society….
    And so, high literacy had to go. Dewey wrote in 1896, after the Laboratory School had been in operation for nine months:

    It is one of the great mistakes of education to make reading and writing constitute the bulk of the school work the first two years. The true way is to teach them incidentally as the outgrowth of the social activites…

    Note Dewey’s suggestion that what was needed first was a “full and frank statement of conviction … from physiologists and psychologists” that could be used to convince teachers of the need to downgrade literacy in the primary grades. This need was actually met by one Edmund Burke Huey, a professor of psychology who had studied under G. Stanley Hall at Clark University and did his Ph.D. dissertation on the psychology and physiology of reading….

    http://www.ordination.org/dumbing_down.htm

    IMHO, thanks to John Dewey, we are moving from the age of enlightenment back into the dark ages of superstition and serfdom. Unfortunately people no longer have the necessary education to detect this and are embracing it as some sort of utopia.- A first class Brainwashing job.

  133. Paul Coppin says:
    September 1, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Oh dear, another doctorate to recall.

    She hasn’t got one yet; she’s a grad student.

  134. richardscourtney says:
    September 1, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    No! The only valid “approach to the problem” is to let politicians decide the politics and to let the scientists “just muddle along till the truth came out”.

    Politicians make decisions about uncertain issues by assessing available information – including scientific information – every day. IT IS THEIR JOB. In democracies it is what we elect them to do. Nobody elects “all stake holders”.

    Richard

    If the world was as it should be, I’d agree. However, we are in a situation where the scientists tell the politicians what they want to hear and the politicians pay them fat grants to do that.

    So we either sit on the sidelines complaining about it, or we enter the fray and try to actually affect the outcome. Ravetz presciently pointed out, long before climategate, that the extended peer review community was entitled to bring leaked documents to the table and be heard.

    Well, here we are, damning emails in hand. So, do you now want to sit back and let politicans decide how to tax us into the ground, or do you want to fight for your right to not be abused?

    Good honest scientists are in the majority, but it seems they are too well controlled by the chain of command extending up through departmental heads to funding bodies controlled by mandarins. I think we have to take up the challenge and form the vanguard in the fight to save objective science.

  135. “post normal” – a bizarre and arrogant term to justify the imposition of an extreme agenda, which lacks a strong scientific foundation and which may be described as totalitarianism by any other name. As far I as understand it, the null hypothesis of CAGW craves the empirical disproof. If I’ve missed something here, someone provide the key sentinel reference that turns the world on its collective head.

  136. No, “stakeholder” means “profiteer”. There no BS about that. Stakeholders always have a vested interest somewhere, and they’re most definetly not shareholders…

    Rather shortsighted. If I invest in a company, buy shares of their stock, I expect a return on my investment. What my return is depends on how well that company does. How does that make me not a “stakeholder?”

    Do you honestly think that I would (willfully) put my money someplace where it does not guarantee its return, or at some level of risk, a greater return? I guess that make me an evil “profiteer.”

    So be it.

  137. One thing, however, does not change. Clyping is still against the unofficial school moral code and swift retribution will be heaped by their peers on anyone who is so foolish as to clype. Clype (pronounced to rhyme with ripe and having the alternative spelling clipe) is a Scots verb meaning to tell tales, in other words to tell a teacher about a piece of wrongdoing carried out by another pupil. For once, something is known about the origin of the word. Clype is related to the Old English word, meaning to name or call.

    caledonianmercury.com/2010/08/26/useful-scots-word-clype/0010208

  138. Steven Mosher says:
    September 1, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    It’s not a marxist plot.

    No, it’s not Steven, but the proposed solution is central and authoritarian and attracts those who would profit from that shift in resources/power/money. Compromises are assiduously avoided or claimed as ineffective. That lack of compromise and willingness to negotiate is a clear indication it’s not about CO2, it’s about a shift in power in America and the world.

  139. Follow the Money says:
    September 1, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    …It’s not a marxist plot.”

    Duh. It’s a fascistic one. “Stakeholders” is the new-nice term for the usual business and government parasites and their fellow travelers.

    WARNING: When ever you hear the word “stakeholder,” it is some corporations or corporate front group posing as, or renting itself as, an ngo working in the “public interest.” “Stakeholder” equals “B.S.”
    _____________________________
    You are correct the word “Stakeholder” should set of loud alarm bells whenever you see or hear it. However there is a more ominous use of the word that livestock farmers figured out a long time ago. In all the dealings with farmers, we are referred to as “stakeholders.” Do you know what a “stakeholder” actually is?

    …. The USDA, in their original documents regarding NAIS, refers to participants as “stakeholders” repeatedly, twenty one times in the Draft Strategic Plan alone. They also use the term “national herd” and tell us that NAIS is necessary to protect the health and marketability of the “national herd”. First let’s look at the PIN and then at animal identification with official NAIS compliant tags.

    The USDA claims to “own” the PIN (page6 A User Guide) and when one is assigned a PIN either through truly volunteering for it or being rolled into it via other disease control programs, it stays with the property forever (Draft Program Standards pg 16-read the whole section on PIN) and the person who owns the property becomes a stakeholder.

    The definition of stakeholder is as follows:

    “The term stakeholder, as traditionally used in the English language in law and notably gambling, is a third party who temporarily holds money or property while its owner is still being determined.”

    Yep. While it’s owner is still being determined. It doesn’t make me feel all warm and fuzzy. Now let’s look at the definition of ownership as a comparison. Wikipedia defines the term as follows:

    “Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive possession or control of property, which may be an object, land/real estate, intellectual property or some other kind of property. It is embodied in an ownership right also referred to as title.”

    So, if you have exclusive possession or control of the property in question, how can you be a stakeholder? Well, you can’t be. Either it’s your property, or it’s someone else’s property. With the NAIS, it’s not your property once you have a PIN making you a stakeholder and putting you under the jurisdiction of the Area Veterinarian In Charge or AVIC. (“A User Guide” is loaded with ‘consult your AVIC’ with any questions about anything.)

    This brings about some very serious questions regarding not only livestock but also real estate. Since the USDA “owns” the Premise Identification Number (page 6 “A User Guide”) and the number can only be ‘inactivated’ and not expunged or completely annihilated, does it create an encumbrance on property with the PIN? Should that be part of the disclosure on the property? What happens if someone who doesn’t want to be in NAIS in any way buys property with a PIN?…
    Doreen Hannes

    The term Premise when applied to property also has some serious legal connotations. “The word premises is a synonym for the word tenement. A definition of the word tenement in law is: “Property, such as land, rents, or franchises, held by one person leasing it to another.

    In Black’s Law Dictionary, premises, in the context of estates and property, means: lands and tenaments, buildings, an estate, the subject matter of a conveyance, land and appurtenances thereto.”

    I mention this because a goal of Agenda 21 is to transfer effective ownership of land from individuals to the government.

    The United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (HABITAT I) met in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1976. Agenda Item 10 of the conference report was entitled simply “Land.” Here is an excerpt from the Preamble to that item:

    “Land…cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes. Public control of land use is therefore indispensable….”

    This policy document was agreed to by the United States. Among the U.S. delegates were William K. Reilly, former EPA Administrator, and Carla Hill, former Trade Negotiator in the Bush Administration. Since the mid 1970s, both the United Nations and the United States have been moving toward ever-tightening “public” control of land use. Land Use Control

  140. Richard Courtney: ‘Brdan H’:

    Sorry, that should be ‘Brendan H’.

    ‘PNS excuses (deliberately adopts?) confusing science and politics.’

    I don’t see it that way. I don’t think PNS argues that science and ideology should be confused. Rather, it argues that ideology is embedded in the way some scientific subjects are framed and presented, not how the science is actually done (the scientific method).

    So the message I get is that these ideological, or political, or worldview elements are a reality in the climate debate and should be acknowledged as a factor. I don’t see that as an attempt to confuse science and ideoogy, but rather as an attempt to clarify the relationship beween the two.

  141. tallbloke wrote:

    The guy who invented the term posted an essay on my blog:

    Tallbloke, do not take anything this guy says at face value.

    Jerome Ravetz: PNS, Truth and Science
    I would not be at all surprised at the misunderstandings and harmful interpretations of PNS. That’s the price I pay for injecting my ideas into a debate.

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/02/08/jerome-ravetz-pns-truth-and-science/

    I think that sowing “misunderstandings and harmful interpretations” is exactly what Ravetz intends. He is a new New Left Marxist and disciple of Herbert Marcuse. Marcuse was the guru of the student protest movement in the late 1960s. These two articles are on the right track.

    Post-Normal Claws, Teeth, and Slime
    By Norman Rogers

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/11/post_normal_claws_teeth_and_slime.html

    […]
    Post-Normal Science aims to change people’s consciousness so that they will accept politicized science.

    Postmodernism: A Unified Theory of All the Trouble in the World
    By M.J. Braun
    May 2, 2010

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/05/postmodernism_a_unified_theory.html

    […]
    That’s where post-normal science (PNS) comes in. According to the “inventors” of PNS, Silvio Funtowicz and Jerome Ravetz, it is supposedly a scientific method of inquiry appropriate for cases where “facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent.” What they describe however is more accurately recognized as politics than science, which is precisely the point: In postmodernism, everything is politics. And the aberration from “normal” science to post-normal science is designed for the purpose of manipulating and controlling high-stakes political artifice like “man-made global warming.” This is not about determining “truth,” which the advocates of post-normal science don’t believe in — it is about the power and control of politics.

    This article (from the Egyptian weekly Al Ahram of all places) includes a good description of Marcuse’s legacy.

    According to Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s current right-of- centre president, many of the country’s present ills, from the economic malaise to the crisis in the suburbs, can be laid at the door of the events of 1968.

    “In this election,” Sarkozy told French electors during last year’s presidential elections, “what is at stake is the question of whether the heritage of May 1968 should be perpetuated or whether it should be got rid of once and for all.”

    This heritage “has imposed a moral and intellectual relativism upon us,” he said, its inheritors having “imposed the idea that everything has the same value and that there is no difference between right and wrong, between true and false, or between what is ugly and what is beautiful.”

    http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2008/898/fe3.htm

    If terms like “Post-modern” or “deconstructivist” leave you confused or you have difficulty finding a straightforward definition from those who use them most. Don’t be surprised. Confusion is the point. They are off-shoots of “Cultural Theory.” The New Left version of Orwell’s Ministry of Truth on steroids. You are supposed to re-assess everything you believe in; every aspect of your (dominant) culture. Heroes become villains. Certainty becomes doubt and suspicion.

    What is the point of all this? -so that people come to despise their society enough to want to change it utterly i.e. revolution. “Smash the system” is so old fashioned. “Smash the culture” is the new mantra.

    Marcuse realized the potential of the nascent environmental movement just before his death.

    …authentic ecology flows into a militant struggle for a socialist politics which must attack the system at its roots, both in the process of production and in the mutilated consciousness of individuals…
    Herbert Marcuse

  142. As an ENGINEER who has been making things WORK all my life such Nuclear reactors, (Hey, point Kernel analysis for neutron flux problems…just a bone to throw out so the knowledgeable know I’m not kidding!), SPC for medical catheters and implant devices, pump and delivery systems for refineries, ASME Section VIII design for PV’s, from 300 to 3000 PSI, -320 F to 1500 F..heh heh, I know, I’m “hot dogging”.. I’d suggest that everyone reading this better get down on the floor of their next A320 or 767 and kiss it…thanking Boeing, the French and Brits, that their ENGINEERS still engage in NORMAL engineering…design, test, prove, verify…codify, etc. And there is no nosense of “post normal engineering”.

  143. On some other thread I challenged defenders of PNS to please illustrate the necessity for post-normal science historically, using a solid historical case study in which some catastrophic outcome was threatening portions of humanity (or nature, I suppose) if this new approach were not adopted. I’m not talking about high stakes for some scientist’s reputation, or the risks taken by individuals defending their intellectual stake – which are the kinds of example Jerome Ravetz has offered before, IIRC. I’d like to see some non-climate related science (and I mean science, not policy-decisions at the international protocol level) in which PNS resulted in fruitful outcomes.

    It’s no wonder so many of us are confused by the definition of PNS, given the lack of concrete examples that offer any guidelines.

  144. Probably just another one working towards getting snout into lucrative government funded “climate change” trough.

  145. C.S. Peirce, no slouch in statistics, once defined the “normal” thus: “….the ‘normal’ is not the average (or any other kind of mean) of what actually occurs, but of what would, in the long run, occur under certain circumstances.” It seems to me that “post-normal” science is merely post-scientific science. The tautologous falsity of such a characterization is a performative instance of the object of description.

  146. If you try and make an Ideology or Religion out of Science, you are doing it wrong. A screwdriver is not a car.

  147. Brendan H says:
    September 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    I don’t see it that way. I don’t think PNS argues that science and ideology should be confused. Rather, it argues that ideology is embedded in the way some scientific subjects are framed and presented, not how the science is actually done (the scientific method).

    So the message I get is that these ideological, or political, or worldview elements are a reality in the climate debate and should be acknowledged as a factor. I don’t see that as an attempt to confuse science and ideoogy, but rather as an attempt to clarify the relationship beween the two.
    —————
    If that were the case, then there would be no issue, but when I read Ravetz I see his definition as prescriptive – saying that certain situations warrant a blurring of lines – rather than analytical. Analysis is what sociologists of science should be doing in any case – only in a disinterested and reflexive manner, rather than using Ms. Hollander’s sadly condescending and activist approach.

  148. See if you can get Trenberth to answer why he gave up on his Stratwarm studies, was it due to his paycheck getting cut off?
    Also, see why we aren’t concerned about C02 and the mixing with other atmospheric constituents at 1000hPa, 500hPa, 200hPa right on up to 10hPa levels.
    How do the atmospheric chemicals behave during shifts in PDO, AO, NAO, Indian Dipole and the Antarctic stream?
    We set new records and our messiah may have stopped the seas from rising, but he know needs to address the real concerns (Note the number during loading):

    http://earthquakes.tafoni.net/

  149. A lot of comments, but a quick observation on Leif’s comment

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    September 1, 2012 at 10:07 am
    Here she is dead wrong. Science is not an ideology and should not be communicated as such.

    “There is no more to science, than its method.”

    The problem is that for most people, ‘science’ is the product of its method, say the Periodic Table as an example.

    I have no problem considering the scientific method as an ideology, but you absolutely must not treat the product of the scientific method as ideology, because the entire body of scientific knowledge is always only one experiment away from being falsified. The problem is that science as product almost always is treated as ideology.

  150. “They serve as extended peer communities as put forth by post-normal science, however, blog users themselves do not see post-normal science as a desirable goal. Furthermore, avowals of distrust can be seen as linguistic perfomances of accountability, forcing science to prove its reliability and integrity over and over again.”

    Re the first sentence, “post-normal science” is a nonsense, science is science, that is it is the use of the scientific method of observation ->hypothesis -> experiment -> confirmation/inconclusive/disproval. WTF does “post-normal” mean? It sounds like some post modernist deconstruction of meaning according to some predefining set of criteria, i.e the deliberate use of “deconstruction” as a method for the purpose of disassembling meaning in a manner expressly warned against by Derrida himself who clearly saw the danger of how ideological dingbats would latch on to his basic thesis.

    Re the second sentence,
    i) “avowals of distrust can be seen as linguistic performances of accountability”. What on earth does that mean? Applying Occums Razor, a much better guide to formulating hypotheses about the real world than deconstructionism or post modernism or post normalism, “avowals of distrust ” means avowals of distrust , i.e. one does not trust the thesis presented and articulates same, presumably because one is not convinced by the evidence to hand. It is pretty plain that the person who wrote this paragraph is engaged in “linguistic performances of accountability” themselves.

    ii) “forcing science to prove its reliability and integrity over and over again” . How bizarre, the words written are a pretty succinct articulation of the very essence of the scientific method yet clearly their intent is the very opposite. Who is this Franziska Hollender, the Queen of Hearts?.

    The author of this twaddle seems to think that science is ideology and that the scientific method is the associated ideological evangelism. How on earth did our society produce people from our centres of learning who could buy into this sort of linguistic alchemy? The rest of the world is going to absolutely whiz past if these idiots are allowed to continue with their influential lunacy.

    If you want to know what happened to China for all those centuries when they gazed at their own navel rather than engaging with the world, then just consider that the sort of person who wrote the drivel quoted above is the sort of person who was a mandarin to the Chinese court, an intellectual eunuch whose life’s work is their own self promotion and scramble for a share of the funding, the accolades and the trips to conferences.

    I do not know quite how we have managed it but “climate science” has created some strange upwelling that has brought the intellectual dregs of our society to the surface, bobbing like floaters in the sewage farm section of academia and with some bizarre attraction to the mainstream media.

  151. I have been trying to get a grasp of the idea of post-normal science and the entire concept seems like nonsense. I doubt there are many engineers buying it.

    An analogy to the concept could be put like this? I have an cut/injury to my lower leg. The stakes are high should I get an infection so my leg is immediately amputated at the knee. No time to wait to see if infection occurs. I believe I would rather wait and see if there is any sign of infection and save the cost of amputation as well as my leg. Furthermore, anyone who suggested the first immediate option would be due a kick in the ass by my saved leg.

  152. Coming in a bit late to the game but… Franziska Hollender sounds like a classic Post-Modernist.
    For those unfamiliar with this style of writing, there is a funny PostModern generator at this site:

    http://www.elsewhere.org/pomo/

    Reload the page to get a new ‘essay’

    There was this wonderful prank — the Sokal Affair:

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

    And there is hope — in 2008, the Blog “Gene Expression” searched the JSTOR archive for specific words related to PoMo thought — Social Construction, Postmodern, Marxist, Deconstruction among others. When plotted against time, these all show a significant ramp up from the 1970-1980’s –but– a significant decline from the 1995-2000’s

    http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2008/09/graphs-on-death-of-marxism.php

    Considering that many references do not show up at JSTOR for several years, the crest may have been sooner.

  153. re John Campbell says: September 1, 2012 at 11:25 am
    Test: Who said, “And yet it moves…”? Hint – Italy, the Inquisition, a very well-known scientist (or “philosopher” as he would have been called in those days).

    Answer: Giordano Bruno. Reference: “A History of Pi” by Petr Beckman. Full quote: “E pur si muove! (And nonetheless it moves!) Giordanol Bruno’s last cry from the burning stake, 16th February, 1600.”

  154. Franziska Hollender’s synopsis of the seminar shows the oh so typical “Holier than thou attitude” of those who haunt Ivory Towers. In they (Franziska / seminar holders) are starting with the mindset; they are absolutely correct, and those that disagree with their position (aka agenda), do so as lowly uneducated agitators (aka “contrarians”).

  155. Sociologists who can’t comprehend basic science, who want to applaud and cheerlead from the sidelines, appear to be disturbed by “rude” but accurate scientists, who correctly point out when “the king has no clothes.”

    “Group think” is much more sociologically comforting and it’s easier for mindless cheerleading, than actually applying the Scientific Method. Ongoing skeptical evaluation is the very essence of the Scientific Method. We continue to review upgraded data, changing data, improved methods and additional research, into how things really work. All are vital when evaluating assumptions that have not been confirmed.

    The mere assumption that prior claims have been confirmed is their first problem. A better seminar would cover that and some other issues, like how can so many millions of people be fooled by a small core of propagandists with enormous conflicts of interest? Why do people not know that the media narratives don’t address the underlying core problems with the CAGW hypothesis? And, why do so many people believe the media outlets, whose outrageous claims have continually been discredited, by scientists applying the scientific method?

    But, traveling such paths toward reality, may be much more “uncomfortable” for sociologists, if they value group hugs and a quiet flock of followers, over actually getting the answers right.

  156. Stephen Rasey: “BTW, what should be name for the type of on-line, free access, accountable, review and critique of papers and talks?” … “Other ideas?”

    Free B.S. detectors – Calling out those haunting Ivory Towers, and slapping them in the face with facts; giving them a hard dose of reality.

  157. Simply give as much air time as you can to the well known cases of minority views becoming accepted views. The classic Australian case is Nobel Laureates in physiology or medicine (as opposed to peace) Marshall and Warren, in showing that stomach ulcers were not dominantly caused by stress (the former Establishment view) but by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori and that cure was possible with antibiotics.

    This is a good counter to the arrogance of the Establishment. I have yet to see the Establishment provide a plan for the recognition and nurture of early, promising anti-Establishment science that will lead to gains. The Establishment has to educate itself better and to mature past the name-calling stage.

  158. OT,

    But it looks like I win my proposition bet..

    Open water north of 85!

    looks like another storm may be brewing just as the melt season ends

  159. Some propose that the contrarian discourse is merely an annoying sideshow while others think it is science’s responsibility to fight them.

    She is an advocate for POST-NORMAL SCIENCE — not an advocate for science. But here in this sentence, by a false substitution of terms, she claims for her side all the virtues of “science” — virtues which post-normal science totally lacks.. If this women were honest she would have written

    Some propose that the contrarian discourse is merely an annoying sideshow while others think it is POST-NORMAL SCIENCE’S responsibilty to fight them.

    But that would make it only too clear that her side is anti-science.

    Eugene WR Gallun

  160. ursus augustus says:
    September 1, 2012 at 8:03 pm
    ==================

    Very well said.

    I read the leading post several times and it would take a very long comment to respond to it as nothing made any sense, with the exception of only one sentence, that being the last in the first paragraph. In my opinion, what I read was not worth commenting on specifically.

  161. wobble says: “Franziska thinks that climate change discussions (discourse) have been stifled by skeptics wanting to discuss the science.”

    Mann: How can I hide the Decline under Science’s scrutiny?
    Gore: How can I pontificate with Science involved?
    Hansen: How can I protest if Science is required?
    UN/IPCC: How dare skeptics bring Science into our scam!

  162. “Finally, it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis [translation: despite all our efforts to affirm with arguments of authority that the science was settled, some scientists and scientifically literate people did not cave under that pressure and the show business surrounding it] and that in order to advance the discourse [translation: ensure these people have no voice], there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology [translation: our political agenda is labelled science for deceit] is communicated and enacted.[translation: this seminar is all about finding the dialiectic tools that will do what our global warming science could not and we know will not be able to do]”

    So they are at the second stage of propaganda. When that one will fail, they’ll become physical.

  163. Sociologists want to get on the gravy train that is climate politics. Obviously analysing the whole climate science/government alliance would be a fascinating line of inquiry. Unfortunately it is doubtful there would be any funding for that. All that is left is attacking the skeptical bloggers. Whatever comes out should be good for a few laughs.

  164. Sun Spot / Tallbloke – you missed my point. The latter half of the post was the more important part. If we stand accused of not knowing what post normal science is, then we should ask them (aka the speaker who accuses us) what it means, and then point out if their definition falls within the scientific method. If we disagree with what they call post normal science because what they propose is not scientific, let them (and the audience at large) know it! Calling one’s religion the only truth does not make it so for everyone. Calling a way of looking at things (post normal) science does not mean that it follows the scientific method, and it does the image of science within popular society a lot of damage when we let folks who are peddling their worldview and calling it “science” and get away with it.

    anarchist hate machine – help yourself. I think that what I wrote is what my undergrad profs tried to pound into my head as the proper approach when I was a trainee engineer, so I’d like to think that what I said should be common knowledge.

  165. What do you suppose they mean by “post-normal science”? That paragraph reeks of academic-speak (I use “reeks” in its standard sense).

    “… science as an ideology …”

    The standard understanding of “ideology” (at least in the Left) is that it’s a “bad thing”. It’s always used in a pejorative sense. Unfortunately (for them) it just means “The body of beliefs that guides a person, institution, or group”. So then, I’m happy with my ideology that says that AGW is nonsense on stilts.

  166. Richard Keen says:
    September 1, 2012 at 3:26 pm
    >>>Orson Olson says:
    >>>richardscourntney’s cautions are something to take seriously.
    >>>Prof. Max Boykoff spoke to the Denver Cafe Scientifique last June.
    The Boykoff Bros. did write the “Balance as Bias” paper, bit of an Orwellian title, that claimed the “contrarian” viewpoint is over reported.

    That can be disproved by an analysis of all the climate change stories in the Reader’s Guide to periodical Literature for any given recent year. This would be a good Master’s thesis. Or maybe Big Oil could grease my palm and I’d do it myself.

  167. Finally it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicatated and enacted.

    This is rather an amazing sentence. First some of the pieces need explanation.

    SCIENCE AS AN IDEOLOGY — The reader may not recognize it but this is her definition of “post-normal science”. Switch out the the two phrases and the line becomes clear. THERE NEEDS TO BE A CHANGE IN HOW POST-NORMAL SCIENCE IS COMMUNICATATED AND ENACTED.

    iN ORDER TO ADVANCE THE DISCOURSE — People fail to realize that a discourse is essentially a monologue — meaning the speech of one person. IT IS NOT A CONVERSATION WHICH INVOLVES TWO OR MORE PEOPLE. :You can’t have a discourse if you allow others to speak.

    THE CLIMATE CHANGE DISCOURSE HAS BEEN STIFLED BY THE OBSESSION OF DISCUSSING THE SCIENCE BASIS — This is simply a recognition that they are losing the science battle — so instead we will get much scare mongering. We see this already in the new emphaisis on “extreme weather events”. How clearer can it be stated that Global Warming or Climate Change or whatever new term they come up with is no longer about science. IT IS ALL PROPAGANDA.

    Taken as a whole the sentence says that “real science” is no longer useful to them in attaining their agenda. “Post-normal science” is to be totally disconnected from “real science”. Surprisingly “real science” had a place in “post-normal science” when “post normal science” was first conceived — it was to supply at least the appearance of an underpinning for their political agenda — but now the disconnect is to be total. From here on out they are just going to make it all up, shout and scream, intimiadate, bribe, etc.

    What type of people would lap this crap up? Self-centered, greedy, power hungary people who totally believe in their own moral superiority. That pretty much describes a believer in “post-normal science” — or so think I.

    Eugene WR Gallun

  168. Max Hugoson says:
    September 1, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    everyone reading this better get down on the floor of their next A320 or 767 and kiss it…thanking Boeing, the French and Brits, that their ENGINEERS still engage in NORMAL engineering…design, test, prove, verify…codify, etc. And there is no nosense of “post normal engineering”.

    Ah – HA! And it right there, my friend, that you would be mistaken. Here, for example, are two post-normal aeronautical engineers:

  169. Now that I’ve re-read all of the comments, thanks to all others who attempted to answer my rhetorical question “what is a simple definition of post normal science?” As mentioned above, I had entered it as a vehicle to get the speaker (in this case, the “social studies of science” folks) to define what they mean by post normal science that it is said we disagree with. Once the statement has been made, the differences between post normal science and “real” science can be made. As they have so eloquently been made within the comments. I particularly enjoyed Gail Combs @2:23 and Smokey @3:07.

    I’m interested in further discussion with Jerome. My background is in Engineering, so my worldview is a little different from yours. Different people with different knowledge and priorities will disagree about what the largest threat is, and what the appropriate level of response should be. What deciding mechanism do you favour (links to or keywords from previous writings that answer would be a perfect response – I didn’t see anything about this in your post at Tallblokes)? In the context of AGW, for most of the last 100,000 years the geographic location of my house has usually been covered by ice 1 mile thick. I want to delay the ice returning to this “normal” state, When the ice returns to this “normal” state, my nation of Canada will cease to exist. Others argue that increasing global temperature by a degree or two would be catastrophic, I look at the scour marks hundreds of meters up on local mountains and know the damage that normal, natural cycles can do. When worldviews differ regarding how far out a credible threat is and whether it should be considered, and when the “solutions” of one threat can actively cause (or at least ignore) another threat of equal or greater danger, then how should these choices be made? Note that this is a political question, not a scientific one. Either side can quote science (or note how the other side is ignoring science). As an engineer I need a good level of proof and some solid theories (including their falsification criteria) before I’m willing to make big changes.

  170. Digging around in a few obscure posts, found these important tenets of Postnormal Science

    factualizing sociological data and socializing the facts, allowing easy movement around them
    unhitching language from reality in order to find deeper interpretations of truth
    bridging the gap between imaginary crises and postnormal “solutions”
    auctioning off your own solutions to the highest bidder
    rationalizing all of the above as science

  171. I was talking with a friend one day I cannot remember the topic but they made this comment “If you educate an idiot all you get is an educated idiot not a clever person”.
    The company I work for loves employing graduates and fast tracks them upwards, but when they turn up at work they seem to fall into two groups those who think that as they have been to university they know it all, or those who have learned that if you listen to those with experience you will learn.
    James Bull

  172. Futhermore avowals of distrust can be seen as linguistic performances of accountability, forcing science to prove its reliability and integrity over and over again.

    This is girl thinks stringing big words together makes her look smart and that for fear of looking stupid no one will suggest that her words are so much turkey gobble. This is one of the most stupid lying sentences ever written by a human being. To break the code —

    Avowals of distrust — Freedom of information requests for publicly owned data that should have been supplied when the scientists involved originally published — without which replication is impossible..

    Linguistic performances of accountability — Linguistic is being used to mean “verbal not actual”. In other words she is saying that the claim that the information obtained by an FOI will be used to replicate the “science” is a lie. The FOI’s are only being filed to harass.the scientists who recieve them. The claim to want to replicate the “science” is only a “verbal performance”.

    Forcing science to prove its reliabiltiy and integrity over and over again — What a lie! Those scienctist ignore the FOI’s or they send misleading information. Therefore they get sent another and then another. And its data paid for with public money and that should have been made public when the original papers using it were published. They don’t send the real data becasue they know their work can’t stand inspection.

    Science — This is girl advocates “post-normal science” The scienctists who receive FOI’s are all doing post-normal science. The line should read — forcing POST-NORMAL SCIENCE to prove its reliability and integrity over and over again. Post-normal science has no reliability and is being done by people totally lacking in integrity.

    And this girl actually thinks she is highly educated and deserves to have her education furthered by public monies?????? She will get it — and I bet they will give this bimbo a MacArthur Genius Grant also. She has the right politics. .

    Eugene WR Gallun

  173. What a drivel. That blurb could have been computer-generated, just like post-modern philosophy, and nobody would be able to tell the difference.

  174. pat says:
    September 1, 2012 at 7:47 pm
    has anyone posted the full program to take place from 13-15 sept, with a list of speakers/presenters almost as long as a telephone directory?
    Culture, Politics, and Climate Change
    AN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO BOULDER
    SEPTEMBER 13-15, 2012
    Please see page 24 for a list of CHPS speakers and session information.

    http://www.climateculturepolitics.com/docs/CPCCONLINEProgramFinal.pdf

    >>>Thanks for posting that, Pat – I was unaware of this, occurring right under my nose. It’s looking less like a Klan metting and more like a Woodstock of Ecobabblers. No way could I sit though three days of this rubbish, much less pay the price of admission. I’d learn more at a Grateful Dead concert for less money. The saddest thing is that there’s 200+ presenters, most of whom are paid by the taxpayer to invent justifications for policies that will raise the price of living and cost us even more.

  175. Leif Svalgaard: “Splitting hairs wrongly.”

    Well, then there’s nothing further to be gained in helping your understand a foreign language.

    “So on the basis of the beauty of the theory, Dirac postulated that both solutions described physical reality, and sure enough, antimatter was later discovered experimentally. ”

    And it remains that if we had no clue as to what Dirac’s theory was, or why he came to it, that the empirical results would be unaltered. This is a rather simple issue. Simply ask yourself: Does reality change if we are unaware of the rationalizations people have about that reality?

  176. tallbloke:

    Your post addressed to me at September 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm can only be either disingenuous or severely mistaken.

    You claim we should accept and participate in PNS because you say

    Good honest scientists are in the majority, but it seems they are too well controlled by the chain of command extending up through departmental heads to funding bodies controlled by mandarins. I think we have to take up the challenge and form the vanguard in the fight to save objective science.

    Corruption is not defeated by adopting the corrupt practices. That only institutionalises the corruption.

    Richard

  177. Brendan H:

    Thankyou for attempting to clarify your position in your post addressed to me at September 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm where you say

    I don’t think PNS argues that science and ideology should be confused. Rather, it argues that ideology is embedded in the way some scientific subjects are framed and presented, not how the science is actually done (the scientific method).

    So the message I get is that these ideological, or political, or worldview elements are a reality in the climate debate and should be acknowledged as a factor. I don’t see that as an attempt to confuse science and ideoogy, but rather as an attempt to clarify the relationship beween the two.

    And therein lies your error.
    There is no proper “relationship beween the two” and any attempt to make such a “relationship” harms both.

    Politics uses information of all kinds obtained from all available sources.
    Science generates information by use of a philosophical method.

    Hence, politics will use information generated by science, but any “relationship” between the two can only be a relationship of politicians as masters and scientists as slaves. The inevitable result is Lysenkoism, and this is why totalitarians attempt to create relationships between politics and science.

    US President Eisenhower specifically warned that this danger was being created by the financial relationship between government and research institutions. Decades on and we have PNS being promoted to formalise the “relationship between the two”.

    Richard

  178. John Ravetz: Not sure how I missed your post previously; apologies for that.

    “Let’s try: when facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent, the paradigm-based puzzle-solving research confined to closed sets of practitioners is not adequate.”

    Which is the same as stating: When there are no facts, there is a difference of opinion, and at least one group holds an opinion of urgency, then science qua Thomas Kuhn is inadequate.

    Left unsaid is why we should give any credence to an opinion of urgency whether held only by one group or by all involved groups. For example, if there is a religious sect that holds a strong opinion that doomsday is next Thursday after the hot-wing specials end then science is surely inadequate. But it begs the question as to why a given group’s values should matter over another’s, or at all, if there are no facts.

    “Then there must be an ‘extended peer community’, using ‘extended facts’ which include traditional research results along with open criticism, plus data from non-traditional sources, and expressions of value commitments. Then there must be an ‘extended peer community’, using ‘extended facts’ which include traditional research results along with open criticism, plus data from non-traditional sources, and expressions of value commitments.”

    There must be…. why? We are left in the dark due a lack of expression of your value commitment.

    “Experience has shown that in such cases, which include all areas closely connected with policy, the ‘extended peer community’ plays a very positive role, not merely in legitimating accepted results but also in criticising controversial results. ”

    Which seems a rather tortured manner in which to state the paradigmatic views of Democracy as a manner of governance.

    Throughout I cannot find anything that distinguishes your notion of PNS from that of plain Political Activism, save using the symbol ‘science’ as a patina to respectability.

    You mentioned on Tallbloke’s blog that the term has rather gotten a life of its own; and this is surely the case. But your definition as provided here doesn’t explain the necessity of PNS, nor any differences to distinguish it from standard political discourse.

  179. Richard111 says:
    September 1, 2012 at 10:21 am
    I’m lost again. What is post-normal science?

    Rich111,
    Post-normal science is also known as ‘Abby-normal’ science, or ABnormal science for short. the definition was first elucidated in the Mel Brooks farce Young Frankenstein. Marty Feldman (Igor) procures an Abby Normal brain for the monster Frankenstein…. and ABnormal (aka post-normal) science has been a farce ever since. Enjoy!

    MtK

  180. I don’t often but in this case I tend to agree with Steve Mosher, because of the dreadful style used in putting the words down some are reading into what was said that which isn’t really there

  181. James Sexton says:
    September 1, 2012 at 11:03 am

    …what is traditionally thought of when referencing climate science is an ideology. And then there’s the ideology which believes science should have a large role in human governance.

    Science should have a role in human governance; it should have a role in probably most things at one level or another. I don’t see anything ideological about that. My problem is when “human governance” has a role in science.

  182. Leif Svalgaard says: September 1, 2012 at 5:03 pm
    Perhaps the best example is Dirac’s prediction of antimatter. In the theory there was a square root. The square roots of 4 are +2 and -2. So on the basis of the beauty of the theory, Dirac postulated that both solutions described physical reality, and sure enough, antimatter was later discovered experimentally.

    Hi doc.
    Nice one. We also have irrational numbers and than we also have imaginary numbers, without either of which modern science would be crippled.
    In accordance (to follow our hero Dirac) I often present both irrational and imaginary hypothesis. I expect and looking forward to your support in future. :)

  183. The “normal” in post normal science refers to Kuhn’s notion of Normal science.

    In “normal” science, science that occurs under a paradigm, scientists view their activity as puzzle solving. Filling in bits and pieces of a framework that everyone accepts.

    Post normal science, first and foremost, DESCRIBES the situation scientists find themselves in.

    The situation can be describes by these factors.. which are unlike Kuhnian Normal Science

    1. Facts are uncertain: people disagree about fundamental Facts.
    2. Values, moral values, are in conflict: science when it is discussed is shot through with
    commentary about values
    3. The stakes are high. Science discussions quickly turn into discussions about what things
    cost.
    4. Some parties demand immediate action because of the high stakes, other parties demand
    no action because the facts are uncertain.

    That is Post normal science.. as a DESCRIPTION of the situation that scientists find themselves in.

    Post normal science as a PRACTICE is not very well defined. The question is really how do you get back to a normal situation… not very easily.

    10 years from now when its warmer, so people will still deny it. same way they deny that there is less ice this year than last year. Science as a method cannot deal with people who refuse to accept the facts.

  184. They serve as extended peer communities as put forth by post-normal science, however, blog users themselves do not see post-normal science as a desirable goal.

    This little girl has a peanut for a brain. “Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.” People who are involved in that systematic enterprise we call “scientists”. The overriding interest of the vast majority of people who sign-in at WUWT is the preservation of “science”. Yet only a few people at WUWT are actually engaged in doing science. The vast majority of people at WUWT are making no claim to be contribting to science.

    The best way to describe POST-NORMAL SCIENCE is to say that it is NOT a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe. It is pseudo-science. Since post-normal science draws the infomation it uses to promote its “beliefs” (what other word can you use?) from many groups of people who are not scientists it is possible to say that anyone who expresses any type of opinion about anything is contributing to post-normal science. Therefore since the sources of post-normal science are so broad it is possible to say that bloggers on WUWT are regular contributers to post-normal science. “They are one of the extended peer communities as put forth by post-normal science” who contribute to post-normal science consensus.

    In the past politicians have tried to use “science” to formulate policy. And the public has a great respect for “science” since it has created our modern civilization. The crazy left has always tried to cloak its “beliefs” as science (Marxism is science????) but today we see something different. The crazy left has simply decided to redefine “science” into something to its liking. Science is no longer about testable explanations and predictions about the universe. It has become post-modern science — and draws it conclusions largely from unreliable data sources. And these conclusions are never to be questoned or tested. Everyone can contribute to post-modern science — but like all things on the left only a few select people at the top are allowed to draw conclusion.

    So to sum it all up post-normal science is just the left using the cover word “science” to lend credence to a purely self-seeking poltical agenda. Go read — POST NORMAL SCIENCE — a paper by S.Funtowicz and J. Ravetz. They make it perfectly clear that it is all about politics.

  185. For those interested there is a paper on the internet titled — POST NORMAL SCIENCE —
    BY S. Funtowixz and J. Ravetz.
    EWRG

  186. Steven Mosher:

    I fail to understand the point of your post at September 2, 2012 at 1:04 am.

    I would be grateful if you were to read my post addressed to you at September 1, 2012 at 4:49 pm which addresses an earlier post from you and, having done that, please explain how your more recent post answers my point.

    Of course you are right when you say in your recent post,
    “Science as a method cannot deal with people who refuse to accept the facts”.
    But I refrain from making a personal remark and merely present my request that you answer my post which rejected your earlier assertion.

    Richard

  187. Hey, Mosher,

    We were supposed to have 40,000,000 climate refugees by 2010! Where are they? The prediction has been pushed back to 2020. So in eight years when there are still no climate refugees will you renouce your warmism?

    Eugene WR Gallun

    By the way you dont have the faintest idea what Post Normal Science is about.

  188. 30 Aug: BBC: Paul Hudson: Summer 2012 – 2nd wettest on record
    So far 367mm of rain has fallen, compared with 384mm which was recorded in 1912.
    It’s also been the dullest summer since 1980, and cool, with mean temperatures 0.4C below average.
    It adds to a depressing sequence of summers across the country, with the last 6 years all being wetter than average.
    Moreover 2 of the 3 wettest summers on record have happened in that time – 2007 and 2012…
    The big question is why is the jet stream behaving in this way?
    There are two current theories, which I detailed in my earlier blog which you can read here.
    One is linked to melting Arctic ice, which fell to a satellite record low on Monday.
    The other theory suggests it’s down to the protracted low solar activity over the last few years, as happened in the early 1800’s.
    And if the early 1800’s are anything to go by, poor summers and cold winters may be something we need to get used to in the next few years.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/paulhudson/2012/08/summer-2012—2nd-wettest-on-r.shtml

  189. PaulH says:
    September 1, 2012 at 11:06 am

    That’s a very valid point – and one I think has arisen as a result of ‘study of something’ being called ‘science’. I suppose it’s a bit like the craze for the ‘engineer’ term, as someone who works with something! So we had ‘Domestic Engineer’ for housewife, and sanitation engineer for a refuse collector or road sweeper, or drain cleaner, etc etc.

    re: the actual article, the first few comments sum it up perfectly – it’s a load of twaddle. Moreover, it is a disgrace that they try and label us as post normal, when all we are asking is to see the ‘colour of their science’ and see if it is correct….I’d swear profusely, but it would be pointless to be snipped. But I’m sure the vast majority here feel insulted by this drivvel?

  190. Hi Mosher
    The ‘hockey stick Mann’ turns out to be a ‘denier’
    [Response: As the person who coined the term “AMO” I figure it’s appropriate for me to comment. The AMO, as we have shown in numerous articles, has little influence on global (or even Northern Hemisphere) average temperature. It’s largely a zero sum game because it mostly associated with changes in the transport of heat between regions, and not the total heat budget of the planet. I talk about the history of the AMO (and my role in it) in my book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars -mike]

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/08/climate-indices-to-watch/comment-page-1/#comment-247360

    Post normal science syndrome?

  191. Steven Mosher says:
    September 2, 2012 at 1:04 am
    no matter how you try and justify it – there is really no way to defend post normal science as sensible or a valid practice. Sure, for a small (local) problem requiring attention, a group think solution may be ideal, especially if required in short time frame. (think of Apollo 11 CO2 scrubbers, for example – quick fix and all that)
    However, for what is essentially an UNKNOWN problem (as in unproven, or at best, conjectured), or even any SUSPECTED problem that may occur at some longish future time, at the very least you would expect to follow rigorous data collection, analysis and good science method. Put another way, we know the sun will die one day – but its probably not gonna be for a few billion years and we accept THAT science (when in fact, we cannot be 100% sure)! If the AGW scare projections were true, don’t you think the science would be as robust?

  192. Max Hugoson says:
    September 1, 2012 at 6:49 pm
    As an ENGINEER who has been making things WORK all my life….. I’d suggest that everyone reading this better get down on the floor of their next A320 or 767 and kiss it…thanking Boeing, the French and Brits, that their ENGINEERS still engage in NORMAL engineering…design, test, prove, verify…codify, etc. And there is no nonsense of “post normal engineering”.

    Max,
    While there was no ‘post normal’ engineering on the modern aircraft platforrms like the Boeing 787, there was post normal management. They declared that a non-traditional distributed design and manufacturing base would be able to perform design and manufacturing of major subassemblies faster and more efficiently than the traditional Boeing direct design and carefully controlled oversight of supplier manufacturing. ” This is not a significant risk.” they abjurred. “It’s different this time!” they said.

    Similarly, the selection of carbon fiber reinforced plastics for major structural applications was not deemed a significant manufacturing risk. “It’s different this time!” the new management stylists stated with assurance. “You old fuddy duddies need to start thinking outside the box!”.

    The 787 aircraft was nearly 3 years late for its initial deliveries, as the “It’s different this time!” chickens came home to roost! Traditional engineering and manufacturing methods were employed to sort out the issues post normal management had minimized. Normal design and manufacturing methods take time but produce reliable and safe products for the consumers like all of us. Three years later, a credible and safe product was delivered to the customers.

    Yes. Their engineers still engage in NORMAL engineering, assembly, and supplier control. And Yes, we should all give ‘em a kiss for demanding real science, engineering, design, and manufacturing discipline be maintained, even in the face of post normal management.

    Remember: When you hear anyone tell you “It’s different THIS time!”, post normal science is at work again and a debacle is brewing, if you don’t successfully face it down at its inception. New materials, manufacturing methods, and supply chain responsibilities represent risks. With normal care and discipline, these risks can be mitigated. But they cannot be ignored. This is true of basic science also. The traditional scientific method is still the only reliable ‘model’, in a post normal science world.
    MtK

  193. I wonder if she’ll include this thread of comments in her study. Will that skew the results? Will we see chaos in her conclusion? Or after considering such scathing rebukes of PNS, will she drop the project altogether?

    Time will tell.

  194. This woperson is strongly advised to do some thorough discourse analysis of the highly ranked climategate emails, as a case study, with a sharp focus on obsessions, free and open to the public. That’s the only way she can show her worth.

  195. Warmers war is getting warmer

    Muller & Curry
    We find that the strongest cross-correlation of the decadal fluctuations in
    (global) land surface temperature is not with ENSO but with the AMO.

    http://berkeleyearth.org/pdf/berkeley-earth-decadal-variations.pdf

    Mann
    The AMO, as we have shown in numerous articles, has little influence on global (or even Northern Hemisphere) average temperature. It’s largely a zero sum game….

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/08/climate-indices-to-watch/comment-page-1/#comment-247360

    Are these people advising the US government on its climate policy?

  196. Vigitantfish: ‘…when I read Ravetz I see his definition as prescriptive – saying that certain situations warrant a blurring of lines – rather than analytical.’

    I was basing my comments on another article linked above: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2007/mar/14/scienceofclimatechange.climatechange

    The sense I get from that article is that disputes about climate science are often proxy disputes about other things, eg: ‘…do we have confidence in technology; do we believe in collective action over private enterprise; do we believe we carry obligations to people invisible to us in geography and time?’

    These are the sorts of issues that are regularly aired on WUWT. So I’m not sure why the message is so badly received.

  197. Richard Courtney: ‘Hence, politics will use information generated by science, but any “relationship” between the two can only be a relationship of politicians as masters and scientists as slaves.’

    In a democratic society I don’t see why the relationship between politics and science need be that of master and slave.

    We’re also possibly talking at cross-purposes. When I say politics and ideology, I’m talking about the spectrum of worldviews and interests, not just a particular sector or power relationship.

    If politics is the arena where the various interests of society meet to debate and decide how to deal with the issues of the day, then it’s inevitable that some matters of science will be brought into those debates.

    Currently, climate sceptics want to get a seat around the table of climate science. This seems to be pretty much in line with the conclusion to an article linked above:

    ‘All of us alive today have a stake in the future, and so we should all play a role in generating sufficient, inclusive and imposing knowledge about the future. Climate change is too important to be left to scientists – least of all the normal ones.’

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2007/mar/14/scienceofclimatechange.climatechange

  198. richardscourtney says:
    September 1, 2012 at 11:38 pm
    tallbloke:

    Your post addressed to me at September 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm can only be either disingenuous or severely mistaken.

    That’s a logical fallacy. I could be right too. It’s a third possibility.

    You claim we should accept and participate in PNS

    No I don’t.

    because you say
    Good honest scientists are in the majority, but it seems they are too well controlled by the chain of command extending up through departmental heads to funding bodies controlled by mandarins. I think we have to take up the challenge and form the vanguard in the fight to save objective science.

    Corruption is not defeated by adopting the corrupt practices. That only institutionalises the corruption.

    I’m not advocating the adoption of corrupt practices, and I think you are being disingenuous by suggesting I am.

  199. In short their claiming there is nothing wrong with the message the problem is in the people hearing it so if we shut it louder they will get it this time . In other words they learnt nothing at all , they are still imply unable to accept that its the message itself that has a problem . Its a faith based outlook which assumes that has you can’t be wrong therefore the fault most be with others .

  200. vukcevic says:
    September 2, 2012 at 2:12 am
    Warmers war is getting warmer

    Muller & Curry
    We find that the strongest cross-correlation of the decadal fluctuations in
    (global) land surface temperature is not with ENSO but with the AMO.

    http://berkeleyearth.org/pdf/berkeley-earth-decadal-variations.pdf

    Mann
    The AMO, as we have shown in numerous articles, has little influence on global (or even Northern Hemisphere) average temperature. It’s largely a zero sum game….

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/08/climate-indices-to-watch/comment-page-1/#comment-247360

    Are these people advising the US government on its climate policy?

    The only important correlation it that between decadally rising outgoing longwave radiation, flat or slightly falling temperature, and the negative feedback from increasing cloud cover. Once that is understood and coupled wit the knowledge that cloud cover fell globally for 25 years from the start of the satellite age to 1998, the whole ‘climate driven by trace gases’ paradigm falls away.

  201. Steven Mosher [September 1, 2012 at 4:27 pm]

    First you try on your fence-sitting luke-warmer neutrality hat again (to see if it still fits?) and describe our alleged impasse with a laundry list of the extreme positions of the two sides …

    “…some argue that immediate action is required. Because values are in conflict others will argue that action is NOT required. Some will say we have to act because we dont know what a warmer world will be like. Others argue we cant act until we know.”

    “But some people think we know enough to act. Other think we need to know more.”

    “It’s simplistic for one side to say, well wait until we are convinced. Its simplistic for the other side to count heads and say, the consensus is convinced. Since everybody knows how to play the game of “prove it” we are stuck. One side likes being stuck. The other side doesnt.”

    Ironically this was immediately after you yourself first stated:

    “We are in a post normal situation. facts are uncertain, values are in conflict, stakes are high”

    Your premise wants to set up some kind of IF…Then pseudo-code but all four of those things are not given facts at all, they are opinion also. So you fail to elevate yourself out of the two sides completely by doing what you describe as being “simplistic”. But then you do the exact same thing again, but worse:

    “It’s not a marxist plot.”

    What Steve, no two sides to this point of view? We should take your word as gospel? I have no doubt that in your mind you have a twisted definition of “marxist plot” providing the rationale you needed to say it, but facts are facts, and there are many facts you have scoffed at.

    First of almost no-one uses ‘Marxist’ in the pure 19th century definition, most say or mean Socialist, specifically in the context of the 20th century welfare state (and personally I believe you used ‘Marxist Plot’ as a technique to belittle some of us in the same politically correct way McCarthyism is tossed around to silence others, but I digress).

    Secondly, there is plenty of evidence all around that the leftist Democratic-Socialist parties of the western world are engaged in so-called ‘plots’ (your cynical word) to do what they always do. They are redistributing wealth from one person to another, and like it or not they know a good thing when they see it. The AGW hoax and the lukewarmers that aid and comfort their fantasy is the ‘good thing’ that they see. To them, the AGW hoaxsters and you lukewarmers are very useful idiots.

    Any possibility of regulating CO2 (which feeds plant life and is exhaled from life-sustaining power-plants and from our very bodies) is the ultimate fantasy of Socialist big-government control freaks, perhaps only H20 could be worse. This is not difficult to understand. A smart guy would have no problem connecting the dots. Just look at what the Democratic-Socialists and their pet agencies like the EPA have accomplished *without* CO2 regulation. Who could possibly consider granting them further power unless they thought they would be able to skim something out of it for themselves.

    Beyond the dream of CO2 regulation with its resultant further redistribution of wealth are the secondary effects which attract more than the usual crowd of philosophical Socialists, it reels in the hypocritical cronie Socialists. A fine example is Carbon Credit exchanges where the Socialist criminals use the AGW hoaxsters and their lukewarmer dupes to drum up fears of catastrophe to the masses in order to get the government to pass crazy legislation so they themselves may then sell pieces of paper to assuage the needlessly guilty consciences of the gullible. Being that many of the same people are in place all along the path from the AGW lobby to the government to the CCX, it should be a giant beacon that this is a huge pump-and-dump that dwarfs Enron. It is just Chicago politics on a worldwide scale, who could possibly rationalize this unless they were part of this crime syndicate?

    Watching these AGW hoaxsters also infiltrate the elementary schools, child television, and popular culture in order to brainwash them into frightened little knee-jerking skirt-wearing cry-babies (only a slight modification from Communist child re-education) should scare anyone with any historical knowledge.

    It is not a traditional kremlin based “marxist plot” because ironically, the ‘Soviets’ have moved beyond this leaving only our spoiled children brainwashed in universities to carry the torch. Writing such concerns off with the flippant “It’s not a marxist plot” says more about you than anyone else.

  202. Steven Mosher [September 1, 2012 at 8:24 pm] says:

    “But it looks like I win my proposition bet..

    Open water north of 85!”

    Yes, but is it 15% or 14% sea-ice concentration? Or should I say 85% or 86% open water? (for those that don’t follow, open water threshold is usually defined as 15% ice and 85% water. So open water might have 14% visible sea-ice concentration and considering the fact that 90% of ice is below the water, that ‘open water’ is very full of ice. Ask them to sail through such open water.)

    Anyway, this thing with sea-ice is stunning to hear from any self-described scientist. You really remind me of the teams trying to detect microscopic bias in a roulette wheel (i.e., CO2) thinking it is not overwhelmed by huge, uncontrollable, chaotic variables like sea current and wind (i.e., the croupier that drops the ball).

    But right on schedule, the Arctic is between its summer solstice and equinox and the warmies once again come out of hibernation and point to the bi-annual solid-liquid-solid-liquid phase change of H20, and each year they either yell a little louder or softer depending upon the result of the chaotic conditions: the annual sea-ice minimum extent.

    What happens when sea-ice-extent is higher next year? What is the significance? Let me guess, aerosols and volcanoes? What kind of a person starts hand-waving when the data seems to endorse their agenda and quiets down when it doesn’t. What do you call that again?

  203. Steven Mosher [September 2, 2012 at 1:04 am] says:

    “10 years from now when its warmer, so people will still deny it. same way they deny that there is less ice this year than last year. Science as a method cannot deal with people who refuse to accept the facts.”

    It will definitely be warmer … somewhere. Especially if you compare different locations (which they will) or time of day (which they will) or date (which they will) or using different satellites or equipment (which they will) and filters and algorithms (which they will).

    Where are the net volume numbers anyway? I ask only because you clearly said “there is less ice this year than last year”. Did you mean minimum ‘extent’ instead? ‘Less’ implies ‘volume’ observation which must take into account compaction and thickness. As you are no doubt aware, extent is a mutually exclusive observation.

    Steve, serious question: are you in the slightest bit concerned that the alarmist pseudo-scientists are causing mistaken information to be assimilated into the minds of the masses that are far less intelligent than people like you think you are? Are you worried for example that these average people think things like the Arctic is continually melting and that sea-ice is connected to sea-level? This is nothing short of a dis-service to humanity and Science itself. Do you even care at all?

  204. Steven Mosher says:
    September 1, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    OT,

    But it looks like I win my proposition bet..

    Open water north of 85!

    OT, snow in the Alps yesterday down to 2,000m.

    http://livecam.courchevel.com/

    The ice is on the move! Maybe when it isn’t on the surface of the Arctic it ends up on the temperate zone glaciers.

  205. In his 1972 book `The Art of the Soluble`, the Nobel laureate Sir Peter Medawar wrote:

    `Just as compulsory primary education created a market for cheap dailies and weeklies, so the spread of secondary and latterly tertiary education has created a large population of people, often with well developed literary and scholarly (and scientific) tastes, who have not been sufficiently educated in these fields for them to undertake analytical thought`.

    My addition in parenthesis.

    Does this not lie at the root of much current misunderstanding of the climate system both past and present?

  206. Pretentious and convoluted prose is usually the hallmark of a muddled mind.If the synopsis is any indication of the quality of the presentation it sounds like something to be avoided like the plague.

  207. Her paper, which may well follow the seminar, has been written for her by people of well above average intelligence commenting on WUWT. I naturally exclude myself from that description.

    Science is science and the ‘method’ has evolved over many years to be the best way to try and ensure scientific research is effective and honest. There is no pre-normal, normal or post-normal science. These are metaphysical descriptions which have no meaning in the real world outside the minds of those who believe science is philosophical idealism, a subjective view of the universe residing in consciousness.

    The method may well continue to improve, particularly as climate science research has shown that the method can be abused and results distorted by greed, dishonesty and the craving of scientists and activists to be inside and pals with the ‘consensus’. The followers of the consensus view know that if they do not promote this view they will be outsiders, lose funding and be subjected to abuse such as the label ‘denier’.

    Science requires continuous and open questioning and challenging not evasion and trickery. Mann declined an interview with a TV crew where his hockey stick was going to be challenged. Gleick was invited to speak and debate at Heartland and instead chose to steal private documents by impersonation and disseminate these and a fake document for publication on the web, including irrelevent personal information.

    In the not too distant future climate science may be dragged kicking and screaming into court where the flaws in the method will be discovered by a jury. This could open the door to criminal prosecution as happened to two eminent men in the UK who as a direct result of suing newspapers, found themselves in prison.

  208. Franziska “it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.”

    continues: When the sceptic asked what she meant

    “When I use a word,” Franziska said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said the sceptic, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is,” said Franziska “which is to be master – that’s all.”

    With apologies to the Rev. Charles Dodgson who was obviously way ahead of his time.

  209. Brendan H:

    At September 2, 2012 at 2:25 am you say to me

    In a democratic society I don’t see why the relationship between politics and science need be that of master and slave.

    It is because politicians have power (i.e. money) and can use it on scientists but scientists have no power to operate on politicians.

    I am surprised that you are unaware of this.

    Richard

  210. tallbloke:

    Thankyou for your clarification that you provide in your post which replies to me at September 2, 2012 at 2:45 am .

    I had said your original post could “only be disingenuous or severely mistaken”. Your reply makes clear that you were being disingenuous. However, you say you “could be right”. Well, only in the sense that somebody who claims the Moon is made of cheese “could be right”.

    You now say you do not claim “we should accept and participate in PNS.” OK, if that is so then I am at a loss to understand your words which I quoted; i.e.

    Ravetz presciently pointed out, long before climategate, that the extended peer review community was entitled to bring leaked documents to the table and be heard.

    Well, here we are, damning emails in hand. So, do you now want to sit back and let politicans decide how to tax us into the ground, or do you want to fight for your right to not be abused?

    Good honest scientists are in the majority, but it seems they are too well controlled by the chain of command extending up through departmental heads to funding bodies controlled by mandarins. I think we have to take up the challenge and form the vanguard in the fight to save objective science.

    And you now say to me

    I’m not advocating the adoption of corrupt practices, and I think you are being disingenuous by suggesting I am.

    PNS is a corrupt practice and you are certainly being disingenuous by suggesting it is not.

    Richard

  211. The most important question scientists can answer about earth’s climate is when will the next Ice Age commence. I’m not at all convinced that the slight up-tick in CO2 contributed by man’s activities will thwart that inevitable and catastrophic tipping point. And I’m not at all convinced post-normal climatologists or climastrologists (your choice of terms) will provide sufficient or accurate forewarning!

  212. David Bowen

    Fine comment and one I will back up with my own educational experience.

    As a confirmed thicko, I got into Cambridge to do science aged 17 yrs 0 months. I had a year abroad before going up and then studied Natural Sciences (which is the general name for the whole science undergraduate degree spectrum, allowing students to choose specialism as they go along), specialising in Biochemistry in Year 3. I was an intellectual pygmy as I only got a good II/i.

    In that time, the undergraduate lecture programme force-fed an incredible smorgasboard of facts with absolutely no time for scientific thought. We must have read 500 papers in the final year alone, not to mention all of Stryer, Alberts et al, Fersht etc etc etc. The only thing which might have resembled real science outside of the final year project was an essay summary of the literature of a particular field (I chose Steroid Hormone Receptors). There was no discussion of that embryonic criticism, presumably as that would need to focus on experimental details, experimental systems etc, which our hothousing was miraculously free of.

    All of us were more than capable of identifying possible factors influencing experimental outcomes, but after 11 years of lectures, we were encyclopaedias thin on practical experience. We knew what Maniatis had done, written etc but we didn’t know why. No text book existed which said: ‘these are the reasons the protocols are as they are’. As a result, there was no short-cut to avoidiing the mistakes of previous generations.

    It took me another 11 years to really understand deeply where scientists really knew what they were talking about and where they were winging it. That’s when I knew that titles of papers were like newspaper headlines, aimed to grab attention rather than summarise the true results. Paragraph summaries were the same. Discussion of results ended with saying: ‘we built a car which can go 10mph, all we need to do to get to the moon is increase the power generated’. Those sentences were written as part of the ‘we need more money for more research’ industry.

    Thing is, if you are doing real science research (what I was working on was real science, namely gene therapy), it may be many years before you can actually say something which changes people’s lives. You are dependent on the politics of science (translational medical research vs basic science) not going the other way at the crucial point. If it did, you were ‘acceptable collateral damage’, your career sacrificed to expediency. It’s a normal part of real life……

    There are too many people out there right now who say: ‘this senior scientist said so, so it must be true’. Scientists say things for reasons, like everyone else.

    It’s just a shame that the public still put them on a pedestal instead of treating them like other groups: potential criminals, potential saints, potential pygmies just trying to pay for their children’s upkeep.

  213. Maus says:
    September 1, 2012 at 11:36 pm
    Well, then there’s nothing further to be gained in helping your understand a foreign language.
    Oh yes, you can tell us what meaning you would attach to ‘science as ideology’ if not ‘science is an ideology’. The way I see it is that if science were not an ideology, then it would make no sense the discuss science as if it were an ideology. Perhaps you disagree.

    Does reality change if we are unaware of the rationalizations people have about that reality?
    That was not the issue. The point was that from the inner consistency [and, yes,’beauty’] of the theory an aspect of reality was predicted to exist before it was found. Somewhat more speculatively: at least in some interpretations of Quantum Mechanics, reality depends on how [even ‘if’] something is observed.

  214. richardscourtney says:
    September 2, 2012 at 5:46 am
    tallbloke:
    I’m not advocating the adoption of corrupt practices, and I think you are being disingenuous by suggesting I am.

    PNS is a corrupt practice and you are certainly being disingenuous by suggesting it is not.

    I regard PNS as a realistic description of how scientific output has been manipulated by realpolitik, rather than as a practise to be followed. I find it hard to fathom what, if anything, you think should be done to defend science from political interference. Maybe your position is to avoid confronting the issue and stay ‘unsullied’ as a journal editor. Fair enough, I can see that works for you. I don’t see that it puts you in a strong position to pass judgement on the efforts of others though.

    As a climate blogger and historian/philosopher of science with a practical engineering bent, I don’t mind getting down to the nitty gritty of fighting the forces which pervert science with the tools at my disposal, with the integrity I believe I have, and with the best qualities I can muster.

    Good day.

  215. Just throwing this in the mix:

    I’m not a scientist, I don’t have post-secondary education in any of the Sciences, not Physics, or Chemistry or Biology. However, I am well versed in what we call Computer Science (no, that doesn’t mean I write clever scripts for websites), and mechanics and engineering. I spent several years working at a nuclear facility and as part of my employment was required to pass certification in nuclear theory and safety.

    One thing I know for a fact: if I write code that is expected to do “x”, that code will do “x” no matter how many times I run it. The function is verifiable, and I can comfortably predict the outcome of my work. The same goes for the engineering in, for example, my car. I can easily predict the suspension travel and steering geometry at various loads and steering angles, and barring worn or damaged components things will remain predictable and verifiable.

    When I first heard about the whole AGW thing, I was concerned. I worried. I wondered what I could do to help, which policies to support, and what was wrong with these weirdo “deniers” that were occasionally popping up. I began a quest for accurate information about the severity of the AGW problem, and as many readers here know, I found none because none exists.

    Perhaps before Franziska Hollender gets too worked up about the rabble questioning the ideology of her brand of science, she could provide the simple, empirical, verifiable demonstration that the CAGW hypothesis is valid. Really, it’s the only thing keeping me from swallowing the entire thing, hook, line and sinker. Possibly she’d be too embarrassed by discovering that there is no such thing, and she’s been duped all along. All of the horrible outcomes and predictions that we are supposed to be stressing about are, simply, NOT happening.

    Funny how that works. People who are incapable of independent thought are the most fervent believers in the AGW thing, while those who demonstrate critical thinking and independent thought have seen no reason to believe what we’re being told. It wouldn’t take much, really. Some kind of experiment or demonstration that shows with reasonable certainty that we’re causing problematic warming. Or, let’s go one step back. Demonstrate that the historical record even SHOWS any warming. Or, another step back. Demonstrate where our climate is in any way exceeding values that we all know are within normals, or exceeds normal in any significant way.

    You do that, and I’ll fall in line. But here’s the thing: as long as climate “science” is polluted with faulty data and ideologically driven results and personalities, no real proof will ever be forthcoming. Because the only people YOU have to convince are… well… YOU. And anyone who questions your beliefs are, you know, weird and wrong and creepy.

  216. C’mon Mosher. Out with it. Or can we just continue with the only reasonable conclusion of you being an AGW propagandist/apologist who refuses to have an adult conversation about the motivations behind post normal science/AGW.

  217. Of course, I do not think this is an invite. It’s a trap and a ploy to bring some much needed tourism money into the community. If enough show up that is income to hotels, restaurants, and the like. And if I was truly a contrarien, I would postulate that “they” want to get an eyeball on “you” for further investigation; just to see if “you” have any additional useful information worth gleaning which would be protected by the some proprietary information arrangement.

    . . . So that “they” may predict the long term weather trends more accurately, so that they may continuing blaming “hue-mans” behaving badley for the natural variations the have been striking “us” down for eaons. Doesn’t matter whether it is “mother nature” or “father time” . . . we are doomed, I tell you, doomed!

    /sarc

  218. I always thought that “normal” science was the scientific method, as it has been known for centuries. I thought it was experimentation, gathering empirical data to provide evidence which supports or detracts a hypothesis. “Post Normal” science was referring to non empirical research which rely purely on thought experiments, statistical manipulation, and consensus acceptance of hypothesis, without corresponding empirical data… ie models all the way down.

    Have I defined this term incorrectly?? GK

  219. Mike D in AB says:
    September 1, 2012 at 9:15 pm
    Sun Spot / Tallbloke – you missed my point…. Calling a way of looking at things (post normal) science does not mean that it follows the scientific method, and it does the image of science within popular society a lot of damage when we let folks who are peddling their worldview and calling it “science” and get away with it.

    Hi Mike. Ravetz isn’t claiming PNS is a science in and of itself. You have the emphasis wrong. it’s not (post normal) science, rather it’s post (normal science), in the Kuhnian sense. i.e. what comes after the normal science is done. i.e. what society does with scientific output when it moves from the lab into the world of conflicting interests.

    PNS then is a description of how the science/policy interface operates in the real world, and who gets access to the process. We should thank Ravetz for stating that the science/policy interface should not be the preserve of a narrow clique of those people who review, fund, and support each others positions, but that it should be subject to a wider review, critique and pool of input to decision making. Including the blogospheric ‘peer community’ and it’s cache of contrary opinion, theory, and ‘leaked documents’.

    The very fact we are having this discussion wouldn’t have been conceivable in the bad old days of autocratic policy formation being handed down from on high.

    PNS has democratized decision making involving the input of science. Bravo Ravetz.

    It’s messy, full of argument, and hard to resolve, but at least it’s happening, and we are making progress.

  220. In end, I would view this all as just another in a long line of groups of persons with a particular “ideology” or view of the world throughout history attempting to implement Plato’s Republic with themselves as the elite that has all of the real power and knowledge. examples: communist, Nazis, catholic church, Scientology, any religious cult you would care to name, etc. A direct opposite to the principles the founding fathers based the constitution on. ie. all have an equal say (1 person, 1 vote) with strong individual rights and limits on what any government is allowed to do.

  221. G. Karst says:
    September 2, 2012 at 6:41 am
    I thought it was experimentation, gathering empirical data to provide evidence which supports or detracts a hypothesis. “Post Normal” science was referring to non empirical research which rely purely on thought experiments…
    It is a bit more complex than that. One of science’s greatest achievements is General Relativity. GR was based on pure thought experiments and was not the result of empirical data. Einstein was, of course, happy to find that GR predicted things that were eventually confirmed, but those did not form the basis for developing the theory. Same thing with Dirac’s theory [predicting antimatter].

  222. Andrew Newberg says:

    September 1, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Any idea on the what 7 posts?

    I second that question!

  223. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/01/wuwt-is-the-focus-of-a-seminar-at-the-university-of-colorado/#comment-1069431

    @ Both? Please edify me on how you would “experiment” with climate, especially when we can not accurately predict it short term much less long term?

    WEATHER MODIFICATION: cloud seeding, atmospheric services …
    http://www.weathermodification.com/

    Weather Modification, Incorporated is the leader in atmospheric assessment and evaluation. Since 1961, we have been working in the sky, providing unmatched …
    Clients & Projects – Cloud Seeding – Aircraft – About Us

    Weather modification – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weather_modification

    Weather modification is the act of intentionally manipulating or altering the weather. The most common form of weather modification is cloud seeding to increase …
    History – Cloud seeding – Storm prevention – Hurricane modification

    Given that we can not accurately predict weather, or climate change short term much less long term the above is like a crowd of youngsters messing with . . . . oh, I dun know, pick something!

    Could be me just being silly, but; “I thought” that was why Einstein did thought experiments and we developed models to predict future events to begin with!

  224. I personally have become very skeptical of science for several reasons. But primarily through the outright deception of pharmaceuticals and the junk medical professionals they own. Examples abound. That led me to question all of the science, especially climate science that has been infected with political gain.

    As for the reading of this blog; it is a pool of thoughts from folks who are just curious, who have vested interest in a particular science, …etc., the list is long.

  225. “obsession of discussing” should be obsession WITH discussing. So WUWT is to be analyzed by people who can’t speak English properly. I will not be reading anymore from this person as I have no desire to lapse into a coma.

  226. ” there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted”

    Oh dear… where to start? Since when did science become an ideology? This writer seems to accept without equivocation that ‘science’ is a matter of faith and opinion, rather than a system intended to establish provable facts via results which can be replicated.

    It’s extremely depressing that such people are employed by institutes of learning

  227. Tallbloke@6:46 Thanks for the further explanation. Even with things being post (normal science), I would prefer that the precepts of scientific inquiry still be followed. Particularly relating to falsification. When what can be seen as malfeasance, selective sampling and use of data, or simple human error is the basis for the “normal science”, I don’t want it used as a launchboard for extrapolation into the post normal realm! The example of the 787 was listed above, with several “unproven” items included within it’s design/construction mentioned. The “unproven” items were changes of sub-systems and materials that had been shown to work in other applications being applied to aircraft, where they had not worked before. I see the current approach to climate control via atmospheric management as being comparable to arguing about which tail colour makes the plane fly more efficiently, and then leaving the wings off the plane design once the tail colour is perfect.

    I agree that it is great that we can discuss such things in a civil fashion. I’m not so sure that we’re making progress: not everything is a problem, and not all problems have solutions. As another poster had said, a scraped knee shouldn’t automatically cause leg amputation (because things could go so badly so quickly that you have to preemptively take action). I’m not looking forwards to the time my descendants will see the walls of ice advancing again because of cycles beyond our control, and I shudder at the amount of waste and the costs in human lives from extending poverty in the developing world that that will result from our current tilting at windmills.

  228. Eugene

    “By the way you dont have the faintest idea what Post Normal Science is about.”

    Funny. Jerome Ravetz has a different opinion about me than you do.

  229. Sun Spot says:
    September 1, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    I appreciate your sentiment but as is so often the case these days you conflate science and engineering. Television systems and landing on the moon were primarily engineering feats, if the fundamental tenets of the scientific method are not present you are probably talking about engineering.

    I appreciate your sentiment, but I didn’t conflate anything. The ultimate test of science is the successful, tangible use. The fact that a picture appears in a living room proves to everyone that the science involved with television is accurate. The fact that we landed men on the moon proved to everyone that all the sciences involved with that effort were accurate. Both feats proved the scientists correct and gave the public confidence in science.

  230. “Eric Barnes says:
    September 2, 2012 at 6:25 am (Edit)

    C’mon Mosher. Out with it. Or can we just continue with the only reasonable conclusion of you being an AGW propagandist/apologist who refuses to have an adult conversation about the motivations behind post normal science/AGW.
    ############################

    1. Go read the posts here about PNS
    2. Go read my posts about PNS at Judith Curry’s
    3. Go read my book on Climategate

    As I’ve said before science has no way of seeing into men’s hearts. We can speculate about motivations, but its ironic ,don’t you think ,to accuse the other side of PNS while practicing it yourself.

  231. Richard III opines- “I’m lost again. What is post-normal science?”

    That’s easy. It’s where Big Climate posts the latest PR exercise or Green plagiarism via their tame MSM and you go looking for the science and you quickly get lost. Clearly then you’re in need of professional help and some serious analysing and since they’re from the Gummint, naturally they’re here to help.

  232. Darren Potter says:
    September 1, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Mann: How can I hide the Decline under Science’s scrutiny?
    Gore: How can I pontificate with Science involved?
    Hansen: How can I protest if Science is required?
    UN/IPCC: How dare skeptics bring Science into our scam!

    Yup, it’s funny that Professor Franziska claims that climate change discussions are “stifled” by skeptics wanting to discuss the science.

    Hey, is there any chance of Anthony setting up a fund so that his readers can pay to send him to one of these sessions? I’m sure he would be welcomed there with open arms.

  233. Steven Mosher says:
    September 2, 2012 at 8:26 am
    its ironic ,don’t you think ,to accuse the other side of PNS while practicing it yourself.

    Maybe PNS stands for Pejorative Non Sequiteur here?

  234. Interesting, Discourse analysis something I’ve never heard of before which sent me on the obligatory wikipedia search; my oh my what a huge article! Me thinks that the article tries too hard to sound authoritative.
    Of course when the second paragraph says:”

    Discourse analysis has been taken up in a variety of social science disciplines, including linguistics, sociology, anthropology, social work, cognitive psychology, social psychology, international relations, human geography, communication studies, and translation studies, each of which is subject to its own assumptions, dimensions of analysis, and methodologies.Discourse analysis has been taken up in a variety of social science disciplines, including linguistics, sociology, anthropology, social work, cognitive psychology, social psychology, international relations, human geography, communication studies, and translation studies, each of which is subject to its own assumptions, dimensions of analysis, and methodologies.”

    it sounds like something that would be right up the climate alarmist’s alley, undefined assumptions, methods of analysis and methodologies.

  235. Steven Mosher says:
    September 2, 2012 at 8:26 am

    As I’ve said before science has no way of seeing into men’s hearts. We can speculate about motivations, but its ironic ,don’t you think ,to accuse the other side of PNS while practicing it yourself.

    ****
    It’s not a question about science, it’s a question posed to you personally.
    It’s very telling how you can drop the term ‘marxist plot’ on one hand and can reel behind the ‘inability to see into men’s heart’s’ on the other.
    You are biased on the subject, but can’t bring yourself to admit it.
    I’m not practicing PNS. I can admit tigers of all stripes exist on each side. You cannot.

  236. i·de·ol·o·gy/ˌīdēˈäləjē/
    Noun:

    A system of ideas and ideals, esp. one that forms the basis of economic or political policy: “the ideology of republicanism”.
    The ideas and manner of thinking of a group, social class, or individual: “a critique of bourgeois ideology”.

    Interesting times.
    I thing the real message here is that the pursuit of the science is getting in the way of the ideology.

  237. Quick question (forgive me if it’s been covered already) – has the
    insufferable Ms. Hollender asked permission to use (quote, whatever)
    the seven blog posts and approximately 1600 comments, if only
    out of courtesy?

    I’m not advocating stifling exchange of information, only it seems
    hypocritical on the part of “the Team” and their minions to freely
    use skeptical material when they’re so stingy with theirs.

    A look at the conference program shows no balance whatsoever,
    only the usual agenda21 ngo/watermelon/nutcakes seeking to
    brainwash the credulous public and intimidate everyone else.
    And, of course, all of it from the point of view of “the science
    is settled”.

    IMHO, if it’s science, it’s not settled. (OK it might be
    until it’s falsified, but in general….).

    The links/info above from Gail Combs are really
    eye-opening….we need to worry less about
    post-normal/pre-normal/para-normal/abby-normal
    and start looking at what we can do to counter all
    this psycho-eco-babble and the resulting public
    policies that will destroy our civilization as we know it.

    Like the frog in the stewpot, we’re going to get
    cooked if we don’t jump up and act soon.

  238. Mmmm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-normal_science
    … “post-normal science” is simply an extension of situations routinely faced by experts such as surgeons or senior engineers on unusual projects, where the decisions being made are of great importance but where not all the factors are necessarily knowable. Although their work is based on science, such individuals must always cope with uncertainties, and their mistakes can be costly or lethal.”
    Mann/Manne/Hollender [i]et al[/i] are neither surgeons nor engineers.
    From the description above it would seem that they claim to get credible results (that solve the planet’s climate problems) from models they themselves design with built in bias toward the results they want. All this with unknowable factors, yet based on science.
    Reminds me of this type of science: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrzMhU_4m-g
    Warmists sure know how to make a prophet (and a profit).

  239. If anyone is going, the best question to ask (IMHO) is “Would you support, and lead an outreach to the hockey team, for a face-to-face, lengthy, actual scientific debate with leading skeptics?”

  240. Laurie Bowen being Pollyanna:

    You pose a good question at September 2, 2012 at 7:26 am when you ask

    Please edify me on how you would “experiment” with climate, especially when we can not accurately predict it short term much less long term?

    I wish your question were presented more often because it shows the state of climate science.

    An experiment consists of using a conjecture, hypothesis or theory to predict an outcome.

    Often an experiment is conducted by constructing a simplified system then adjusting a variable to observe if the adjustment produces the predicted change.

    But some sciences cannot construct simplified systems. One such science is astronomy. In these sciences the prediction is made of how something will be observed. A classic example is Halley predicting when a comet would return. The experiment was not completed until long after his death when his prediction was observed to be correct.

    Halley could not have conducted his experiment without an adequate theory of orbits. And formation of that theory created the science of astronomy. This theory was devised by the astrologer Copernicus who did not know he had created a new science: he only knew he had devised a new tool for use by astrologers. And his new science was based on his meticulous measurement of planetary movements through the sky.

    Climate science is now at the same state of development as astronomy was before Copernicus. Little basic data has been obtained and that which does exist is over too short a time and lacks sufficient accuracy for construction of verifiable predictions of the future. We call the unjustifiable predictions of Copernicus and his colleagues who studied the sky ‘astrology;. The unjustifiable predictions of the future made on the basis of existing understandings of climate behaviour are similar to the predictions of astrologers, and they are often given as much credence as astrological predictions were in the time of Copernicus.

    This is not to say that existing understandings of climate cannot be tested by experiment: they can.

    An example of an experiment in existing climate science is the prediction of the tropospheric ‘hotspot’ as a result of increased atmospheric GHG concentrations. The ‘hotspot’ is warming at altitude a factor of 2 to 3 times greater than at the surface in the tropics. But the ‘hotspot’ is not observed and this indicates the understanding(s) which predict the ‘hotspot’ are wrong.

    Many scientific predictions are of things which conjecture, hypothesis or theory says exist but have not been found; e.g. several elements in the Periodic Table were predicted to exist before they were found. A finding that such a prediction is correct is an experiment.

    As Halley knew, not all experiments can be conducted on a laboratory bench or can be completed in minutes.

    Climate science needs a Copernicus.

    Richard

  241. PNS at Work
    The Challenger Disaster

    The opinions of the scientists and engineers who had designed the o-rings was that there was a substantial risk of failure in a cold weather launch. They were over ruled by a larger group of NON scientists. People died.

    The launch deadline was approaching (matters urgent) the stakes were high (there was political pressure to not miss the launch window) and the facts were uncertain (the engineers could not prove that the seals WOULD fail as no testing at those temperatures had been done).

    Enter PNS. The opinions of a larger spectrum of decision makers were sought, and the opinion of NON scientists was substituted for that of the people who had actually designed the oNor w-rings in the first place.

    People died.

    That is PNS in action. For starters, there never was any urgency. The urgency only existed in the minds of beauracrats who wanted to launch within a time frame that served political goals. There was no REAL urgency. Were the stakes high? For the people that died they were. Were the facts uncertain? No they were not. The facts were that testing had NOT been done at the launch temperatures in question, the design had NOT anticipated those temperatures, and there was every reason to believe that there was a very high risk as a consequence.

    By analogy to the climate debate: There is no urgency. There is no scientific evidence that I have seen presented showing that something catastrophic is about to happen in the next few years, decades, or even centuries. The stakes are not high. We have ample evidence to show that much higher concentrations of CO2 (thousands of ppm versus our current hundreds) and much higher temperatures (jungles in the high temperate zones) have existed in the past, and the biosphere thrived as a result. Facts are, actually, certain. If we return to a pre-industrial society now, billions of people will starve to death.

    This is the true face of PNS. It is a method to create a SENSE of urgency where none exists to JUSTIFY the substitution of the opinions of NON scientists for the opinion of ACTUAL scientists and to disguise the FACTS such that we take action on something that MIGHT happen in the face of the much greater negative consequences of what WILL happen if we take those actions.

    That is NOT what people at WUWT in my experience are doing as part of their discussions.

  242. Post Normal Science (PNS) is not science.  It is simply a political proposal for a widespread socialist based control mechanism in lieu the non-socialist (non-totalitarian) pursuit of free/ voluntary/ individualistic approaches to the scientific process. The attempts at justifications for PNS are the same old (greater than 100 year old) tired socialist attempts to justify any advance of socialist control of any human freedom.

    PNS intellectuals are just opportunistically supporting the pre-existing CAGW advocate’s call for political totalitarianism.   When CAGW agendas collapse, PNS intellectuals will grab on to the next pseudo science doomsday agenda to justify initiating PNS controls.

    Since PNS intellectuals are using all the acumultated rhetoric of past socialist advocates, there really is nothing new in their arguments.

    We again have the eternal argument of totalitarianist action versus voluntary actions based on individual freedom.  There continues to be the need to remain vigilant wrt to this eternal argument.

    The convoluted and obscure writing of Ravetz is a a poor mask for blatant socialist advocacy.

    John

  243. What is post normal science? The attempt to promote a socio political agenda using a perversion of science to give that socio political agenda a validity it would not otherwise have. ‘The debate is over’ and if you disagree with the majority you are ‘denier’ and a ‘heretic’. Post normal science does not tolerate dissent because to do so would render the consensus invalid and weaken the case for urgency.

  244. Re: Mosher post: “10 years from now when its warmer, so people will still deny it. same way they deny that there is less ice this year than last year. Science as a method cannot deal with people who refuse to accept the facts.”

    Mr. Mosher, 10 years from now is no fact but speculation and the way this temperature is supposed to be measured is in fact disputed.
    Nobody denies summer Arctic sea ice extent is smaller than last year. Indeed this measurement is a fact. However, what is debatable and debated is the climatological meaning of this fact. In their paper Kinnard et al. 2011 claimed that Arctic sea ice extend has not been that small for 1450 y a claim that can be argued. However in their demonstration they also showed that the extent of Arctic sea ice shrinked during the LIA, hardly a warming period…
    The finding that Arctic sea ice extent and/or area was shrinking during this global episode of cooling such as the LIA confirms evidence from research on the last glaciation. It was shown that during the onset of glaciation, a period of relative warmer conditions affected the Svalbard islands before glacial conditions finally were established. Leroux easily explained that relief channelized warm air advection increased as a consequence of colder, higher pressure more powerful air masses descending from the Arctic, displacing more warm air at its periphery.
    BTW, during the Dust Bowl 1930s during which atmospheric circulation was in an accelerated mode, DMI nautical charts showed a similar -because of the atmospheric dynamic involved- pattern of summer Arctic sea ice reduction, even accounting for the uncertainty of mapping.
    Since the climatic shift of the 1970s, well expressed by pressure measurements around the globe -way more robust than temperature- we have also entered a phase of rapid mode of circulation, hence increased remobilization of the pack seen in satellite animations. I wish also to add that “multiyear ice” is referring to 7 y and older ice. If the claimed stability was indeed a feature, how come we cannot map 100 y, 50y old sea ice? The intensity of atmospheric circulation explains the periods of quiescence and periods of mobilization of the pack. It also explains the shape a melting pack takes during a mobilization period. And these periods do not correspond to warming phases but on the contrary to cooling phases and increased gradient between polar and equatorial regions. And please do not quote the temperature reanalysis at the 500hPa level as proof of the opposite since it has been well demonstrated that cold air masses are lenticular shaped and their thickness is 1.5km, which is well below the 500 hPa level. In fact this is the “trick” of all these studies…
    So before attributing one factual consequence to one cause, one needs to look beyond thermometers and temperatures series: your comment participated in PNS while I informed you how the real scientific method allowed us to put that fact in context.

  245. Steven Mosher says:

    That is Post normal science.. as a DESCRIPTION of the situation that scientists find themselves in.

    No. PNS is not the situation. PNS is a Marxist’s proposed method of exploiting the situation. Put another way: PNS is the Marxist plot, and the situtation is the excuse. One of the ways to get people to adopt the plot, is to equivocate on the term PNS – as you are doing now.

    Post normal science as a PRACTICE is not very well defined.

    Really? Funcowitz and Ravetz have written several papers and books on the subject. Those hundreds and hundreds of pages don’t define the practice very well? Not very charitable commentary on Jerry’s last chance at achieving relevance.

    Perhaps the problem is not that they didn’t write it well, but that you didn’t read it well. You appear to have only read two of those hundreds and hundreds of pages: the one that describes the situation to exploit, and the one that mentions ‘extended peer review’. There is so much more! Above, Jerry uses the NewSpeak ‘extended peer community’, but he also mentions his replacement for facts: ‘extended facts’. He also hints at his replacement for scientific reasoning: ‘quality’. And don’t think for a moment that ‘expressions of value commitments’ is in there without reason.

    The question is really how do you get back to a normal situation…

    Well, that certainly is not a question with which PNS concerns itself. PNS is an implementation of “never let a good (imaginary) crisis go to waste”. PNS is about getting people to accept politicized science, not drawing them away from it.

    10 years from now when its warmer, …

    You have powerful faith commitments.

    … so people will still deny it.

    One might have said in 1998: 15 years from now when it is not warmer, some people will still claim warming. You may be correct in 10 years time. That person would be correct right now.

    Science as a method cannot deal with people who refuse to accept the facts.

    Science as a method is not intended to “deal with people”.

    Telling that you would say such a thing. You seem to be laboring under the same misconception as the woman who put together the seminar that is the subject of this posting: that science is an ideology, and that science can be ‘enacted’. No, that is not science. That is PNS.

    “Dealing with people” is the realm of politics. Ideology is politics. PNS is politics. None of these things is science, and it is bad politics that they attempt to masquerade as such.

  246. I am extremely suspicious of the thrust of the presenter. It seems from the abstract that she might be in favour of post-normal science and has some notion of “science as ideology”. – and uses the word “linguistics”. It may be an effort to attack Anthony Watts, because he is a high-profile climate blogger who has exposed major errors in the surface temperature databases of US government and academia).

    She is a graduate student in Vienna, http://www.linkedin.com/pub/franziska-hollender/6/914/8b3, thesis is “Communicating Climate Change: Understanding the contrarian discourse in new media arenas in the United States”.Basic degree is in “Communication and Cultural management”. Has a past connection to CIRES.

    There’s at least one skeptic at the hosting institution: http://cstpr.colorado.edu/prometheus/?p=4419.

  247. Mike D in AB says:
    September 2, 2012 at 8:06 am
    Tallbloke@6:46 Thanks for the further explanation. Even with things being post (normal science), I would prefer that the precepts of scientific inquiry still be followed. Particularly relating to falsification. When what can be seen as malfeasance, selective sampling and use of data, or simple human error is the basis for the “normal science”, I don’t want it used as a launchboard for extrapolation into the post normal realm!

    Hi Mike. Ravetz wouldn’t disagree. Which is why he stresses integrity and quality in the essay I linked. After communicating with me over a period of months, he realized that the normal science hadn’t been done properly in the case of climate science. Which is why one of the major themes at the Lisbon conference was the definition and agreement of standards to be adhered to in the production of datasets and their metadata.

    He made a further effort to clarify what he meant by ‘quality’ on my blog here:

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/jerome-ravetz-quality-in-science/

    Quality isn’t a replacement for adhering to the scientific method. It is what assures it.

  248. Re: Joe Postma @11:04 on 09/01

    I have not heard someone say or use the word simulacra in 15 years, maybe Allan Bloom in one of his books. Well used, and applicable to much of the establishment’s methods to impose it’s ideology, and apprently pretty effective.

  249. richardscourtney says:
    September 2, 2012 at 9:51 am
    Climate science needs a Copernicus.
    >>>Climate science has dozens of “Copernici”. They’re all over the place at Heartland climate conferences, on WUWT, Icecap, Climate Audit……
    However, like Copernicus, they’ve been excommunicated from the taxpayer funded church of Climate Sciencism.

  250. @ Stephanie Clague commented
    Not, only that Stephanie, if “hue”mans are in “control” or can “control” this the next big wars will be rain wars, (“they” stole our rain). “They” caused the plate techtonic movements . . . “They” shifted the orbit of the planet!

    The USA already paid Canada for the Acid Rain issue . . .

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=1Q5VAAAAIBAJ&sjid=MT0NAAAAIBAJ&pg=1295,3554989&dq=usa+payment+to+canada+for+sulfur+dioxide+acid+rain&hl=en

    Turns out that Mt St. Helen did most of the polluting!
    Just a continuation of the same strategies . . . Same game . . new playbook.

    Not, saying we can not engineer more efficient, (cleaner burning) energy methods that are cost effective, as the innovations available.

    Hue-mans have to be able to make a living, but, it it not an imperative for them to make “a killing” which is the nature of a unfettered capitalistic system which is one crux of the entire debate.

    In my opinion, of course.

    Turns out that Mt St. Helen did most of the polluting!

    Just a continuation of the same strategies . . . Same game . . new playbook. In my opinion, of course.

  251. tallbloke:

    In response to my having said at September 2, 2012 at 5:46 am

    PNS is a corrupt practice and you are certainly being disingenuous by suggesting it is not.

    At September 2, 2012 at 6:03 am you said

    I regard PNS as a realistic description of how scientific output has been manipulated by realpolitik, rather than as a practise to be followed. I find it hard to fathom what, if anything, you think should be done to defend science from political interference. Maybe your position is to avoid confronting the issue and stay ‘unsullied’ as a journal editor. Fair enough, I can see that works for you. I don’t see that it puts you in a strong position to pass judgement on the efforts of others though.

    Subsequently, at September 2, 2012 at 8:40 am you wrote to Steven Mosher saying:

    Maybe PNS stands for Pejorative Non Sequiteur here?

    Clearly, on the basis of your response to me, you think it does.

    Me, I know PNS stands for Political Nullification of Science: i.e. a corruption of science.

    Richard

  252. Pollyanna says: September 2, 2012 at 7:26 am
    Please edify me on how you would “experiment” with climate

    I suppose you could fill a bottle with CO2 and expose it to sunshine, add a bit of water to play role of Pacific, but that isn’t climate is it.
    I would suggest looking into past records, find a possible pattern and take a speculative leap suggesting that it may repeat in the future.
    That is exactly what I have done, taken 2-3 components out of the CET temperature records reassembled them and extrapolated forward.

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CET-NV.htm

    but even if turns out to be reasonable approximation for the central England, may not tell us much about North America or even less about Australia. Regardless, it was a bit disappointing to find out that Margate is not going to turn into Marbella.
    Perhaps there is someone else who is better at the climate edifying skills.

  253. “the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis”.

    Indeed it must be unsettling when the whole basis for your cosy sociological chats is being costantly undermined by testing and retesting for observable evidence.
    Enough to make you spill your coffee.

    Unfortunately that’s real Science. Every premise is constantly open to review & up for either improvement or disproval, because real knowledge relies on the reality of the premises it is founded upon.

    Whereas in the ‘Sciency’ Sciences a premise is just an excuse for a good natter, and requires no basis in objective reality.

  254. I stand with Codetech on this idiocy, Post normal science is hallucination , if the real world does not support your belief systems its now credible in academia to retreat from reality. Using this PNS tag as justification, I can prove anything I want, but of course it will fail verification.
    The old, Fools names & fools faces are always found in public faces, refrain keeps coming to me each time I read self serving circular reasoning pretending to be science or even reason.

  255. Tallbloke @10:53 Good! That is the sort of thing I had been hoping to hear when I had asked for further discussion above. And “Who will guard the guardians” was one of the first things that had entered my mind before my first post on the thread. Thanks for the follow-up.

  256. Leif @12:20 – not so. All involved in proper peer review act as guardians, do they not? They should not guard a particular theory or viewpoint, but the integrity of themselves and the field. This is why inquiries post Climategate that have been referred to as “whitewashes” have been so damaging to the layman’s view of science as a whole (IMO).

  257. Jerome Ravitz;
    It has been 22 hours and counting since you posted your definition of PNS in this thread. Since then, I have seen not a single response from you to the many criticisms levelled against both PNS in general and yourself in particular. I would like to add one more challenge to your assertion to show the complete bankruptcy of your position. You definition of PNS from your comment above reads:

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Jerome Ravetz says:
    September 1, 2012 at 2:14 pm
    Someone has asked for a definition of post-normal science. Let’s try: when facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent, the paradigm-based puzzle-solving research confined to closed sets of practitioners is not adequate.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I submit to you that not only is your premise wrong, it is impossible.

    Consider a thought experiment involving a situation that is ACTUALLY high stakes, urgent, facts uncertain. Suppose that an asteroid is discovered to be hurtling toward earth. It is large enough to be termed a “planet killer” though nobody is 100% how large it must be to actually kill the planet. It isn’t even 100% certain that it will collide with the planet. Impact is estimated to be within 18 to 24 hours.

    Pretend you are the president of the United States. What do you do Jerome Ravetz? The fate of the world rests upon you. The stakes are high. Everyone on earth might die. The matter is urgent. You’ve got to choose a course of action in enough time to be effective, meaning that you have perhaps two or three hours at most to make a decision and hope that all the things that have to come together to make the solution effective do.

    What do you do Jerome Ravetz? There can be no higher stakes than this. What do you do? Do you consult with the specific resources you have available that can bring launch capability (NASA) and the biggest baddest bombs ever built (the military), pick an action plan and order it to be carried out? Or do you expand the decision making beyond “a closed set of practitioners”? Do you order NASA to grab a 160 Megaton bomb from the arsenal and tell them to blow that sucker to smithereens? Or do you start a blog and solicit recommendations from beyond a “closed set of practitioners”? Do you contact the people whose job and resources make them the best expertise you have available in the next 2 to 3 hours? Or do you set up a hotline to take phone calls from people who might have good ideas?

    This demonstrates the complete irrationality of Jerome Ravitz position, and the complete hollowness of the PNS concept. When confronted with an ACTUAL emergency, where the stakes are ACTUALLY high, and the need to act ACTUALLY urgent, it becomes painfully obvious that the opportunity to expand the decision making process beyond a “closed set of practitioners” is not only not science, it is IMPOSSIBLE.

    I challenge you Jerome Ravitz, to propose a single situation which be definition is high stakes and urgent and could be solved by going outside of a “closed set of practitioners” to arrive at a solution. The fact of the matter is Dr Ravetz, that any situation that meets your own definition of high stakes and urgency CANNOT POSSIBLY be solved by anything BUT a closed set of practitioners with immediate access to the means with which to implement their solution.

    The ONLY debate that can be expanded beyond a “closed set of practitioners” with any value is one that does NOT meet your own criteria for high stakes and urgency! Your theory is bereft of logic and no value in the climate debate or any other debate for the simple reason that it falsifies itself.

  258. Richard Courtney: ‘It is because politicians have power (i.e. money) and can use it on scientists but scientists have no power to operate on politicians.’

    Politicians have the power of the purse in many areas of public life. That’s one of the reasons we elect them.

    And since climate science is an issue of potentially large impact on the public, politicians need to be involved at some point in the game.

    The important issues here are accountability and transparency, and making clear the respective rights and responsibilities of all parties. I think that can be achieved through a properly functioning democratic system.

  259. I have no great issue with post normal science myself. From my very basic understanding of it we haven’t come close to putting the theory into practice.

    The scientific consensus on AGW is a tiny number of people. From them it has spread out with what you might call converts or believers, and those best placed to exploit the hypothesis for their own gain, rather than those additional and wider views shaping the consensus to any great degree. If they can’t compromise amongst themselves and allow their consensus to develop they certainly won’t compromise with those who are sceptical of the evidence and sceptical of the proposed solutions.

    With AGW the IPCC and governments have tried to sell us a finished product rather than involve us in the development of it. PNS requires the latter. Instead we have had a distinct lack of transparency from scientists, a compliant media that happily overlooks the financial interests scientists and states have in AGW and a good deal of gate keeping by politicians on what particular goals are to be aimed for, what specific solutions are to be allowed and who gets to speak on these matters.

  260. Mike D in AB says:
    September 2, 2012 at 12:36 pm
    All involved in proper peer review act as guardians, do they not?
    Actually, they are not supposed to. They are concerned with whether a paper fulfills a certain level of quality as to its execution [sound data, proper analysis, proper references to prior work, etc], but not whether the paper adheres to accepted dogma that needs guarding. That peer review at times is corrupted is another matter.

  261. TL:DR version of PNS: Science isn’t giving us what we want, so we’re going to try to change science so it does give us what we want.

  262. ” Science as an ideology” WUWT! Ideological science can only be ideology dressed as science. To me, that quote says it all. AGW is indeed a religion.

  263. PNS is nothing but pseudo-science. It is a bunch of malarky that Ravetz is coasting on because his position at the public trough gives him a platform to spout his anti-science nonsense.

    And the reason for this seminar is because WUWT is having a big effect on the discourse of the AGW conjecture. I think most knowledgeable people question the belief that AGW is something to worry about. All available evidence shows that there has been no ill effect from a *very* mild, 0.8ºC rise in global temperature over about 150 years. Prior to that, global temperatures have changed by tens of degrees in only decades, when CO2 was very low. That is strong evidence that CO2 is, at most, a very minor driver of temperature – so minor, in fact, that its effect is unmeasurable.

    The current natural warming follows the Little Ice Age – one of the coldest episodes of the past 10,000 years. The real [and unstated] ‘problem’ of the Boulderites is the threat of derailing their financial gravy train. That is the only thing they really care about.

    I would like to attend the seminar, but I suspect the censors will be out in force, and the only ones allowed a voice will be those in the CAGW unreality bubble. It will be the ultimate echo chamber, where no true skeptic voices will be tolerated. But maybe someone can attend, and bring along their cameras to record the event for posting here.

  264. Brendan H:

    At September 2, 2012 at 12:48 pm you say to me

    Politicians have the power of the purse in many areas of public life. That’s one of the reasons we elect them.

    And since climate science is an issue of potentially large impact on the public, politicians need to be involved at some point in the game.

    The important issues here are accountability and transparency, and making clear the respective rights and responsibilities of all parties. I think that can be achieved through a properly functioning democratic system.

    YES! Absolutely, and that is precisely why PNS needs to be opposed.

    Please see my post above addressed to Stephen Mosher at September 1, 2012 at 4:49 pm.

    It is good to end on agreement.

    Richard

  265. By blocking “discourse” I think she means blocking their political agenda. Her communications skills are poor and her thinking is convoluted, reflecting both ignorance and cognitive bias. She is a very sad example of the declining standards in academia.

  266. One other interesting thought here on “Science” versus “Engineering”… I highly recommend http://www.brainsinsilicon.stanford.edu —May I be so bold as to point out that here is an example of taking “observable systems of nature” (i.e., neural networks and human brains) and completely modeling/duplicating via ENGINEERING. (Anyone realize the analogy here between WATCHING the atmosphere and trying to accurately model it?)

    NONE of the work done by the B.I.S. group goes without bouncing against the “real” systems.

    In fact that is the REASON for their existence.

    An interesting comparison between “science” (said holding your nose in the air, and a little finger out while tasting your tea..) and “engineering” and development. As far as I’m concerned the “scienctists” can all dissapear tomorrow…and as people read about it on their iPhones they’d say, “Daddy? What’s a SCIENTIST?” And the answer would be, “Like a land line child, something ancient and useless.”

  267. Leif:

    Correct, and that is exactly what Ravetz says in the piece on ‘quality’ he asked me to publish. “There are no go-no-gauges at the end of the science production line” “It has to be self policing”

    Personal integrity comes under pressure when an individual succumbs to the prospect of money and fame. The AGW scientists were seduced by the catapulting of their backwater disciplineinto the big time media limelight and let themselves, and us, down very badly.

  268. Sociology is a peculiar game. Sociological study begins with the conclusions which are fixed at the outset of study. These are specified for their political correctness (sociology uses politics as an axiomatic system). The goal of sociology is then to construct arguments which explain the correctness of these politically correct conclusions.

    In the case of climate skepticism the conclusion is that climate skeptics have false beliefs. This is axiomatic – selected on political grounds. It WILL NOT be questioned (anyone who ever questions a politically correct conclusion even accidentally has their license to practice sociology instantly revoked). The sociologists see their goal purely as one of explaining WHY skeptics have false beliefs.

    The first attempt was to argue that skeptics are scientifically ignorant. The argument goes that skeptics believe wrongly because they don’t know any better. However surveys showed that climate skeptics are actually quite well informed – much better informed than the average population on scientific matters. So that argument didn’t fly.

    That lead to the argument that if skeptics are not ignorant then they must be insane. This explanation has the virtues of being nice and simple. The communists in particular are quite taken with it. However the idea that scientific error should be treated as a psychiatric condition has less appeal to non-communists, reminding us uncomfortably as it does of the forced psychiatric treatment of dissenting scientists in the Soviet Union. Many non-communist sociologists have therefore rejected this explanation as being politically incorrect.

    The next suggestion (and the one under current intensive study in the small world of sociology) is that our error arises from a kind of pathology of communication which poisons the way that scientific results are communicated to the public. In other words we are not insane, we are merely deceived and deluded, misled by shadowy dark forces promulgating a highly effective propaganda campaign who have sold us on a pack of lies. By the way that is probably why they are interested in WUWT. Under this theory WUWT would be responsible for doing the deluding.

    Of course WUWT is nothing of the sort. Maybe they’ll notice. These guys CAN take note of reality … sometimes … so long as it doesn’t conflict with any important political consideration.

    Finally, if you are unlucky enough to run into an infestation of sociologists there are some important things to remember. Never ever try to argue with them. If you don’t know the special sociologist jargon and secret handshake they won’t listen to a word you say anyway. In particular you will get absolutely nowhere by trying to dispute their chosen politically correct conclusion. In fact they’ll laugh at you for trying to argue about axioms. Also try not to scratch too much as the bites can easily get infected. Treat your pets and vacuum regularly to try to get rid of the eggs. Severe infestations may require the services of an exterminator.

  269. New:
    Decadal-extent cross-ENSO annual-LOD by day of year:


    Overview:

    1 coin
    2 sides

    A) J-N 12.8 year — annual LOD / wobble (polar motion)

    B) J+N 11.07 year — semi-annual LOD / sun

    Robust across methods.

    (supplementary: http://i45.tinypic.com/bfxn4.png (total ozone))

  270. richardscourtney says:
    September 2, 2012 at 11:17 am
    tallbloke:
    I find it hard to fathom what, if anything, you think should be done to defend science from political interference. Maybe your position is to avoid confronting the issue and stay ‘unsullied’ as a journal editor. Fair enough, I can see that works for you. I don’t see that it puts you in a strong position to pass judgement on the efforts of others though.

    So what do you think should be done to prevent the political interference in science Richard?
    It seems that you think it is ok for them to interfere in science so long as they were elected.
    You should realise that it doesn’t matter who you vote for, interfering politicians always get into government.

    They’ve got the best science money can by as well as the best electioneering assistants.

  271. Smokey says:
    September 2, 2012 at 1:17 pm
    PNS is nothing but pseudo-science. It is a bunch of malarky that Ravetz is coasting on because his position at the public trough gives him a platform to spout his anti-science nonsense.

    Back in the 70’s Ravetz was sitting on committees which were trying to decide what the limits on embryo research and genetic engineering would be. Various scientists being well paid by various interests offered conflicting views. Plus the church had a thing or two to say about it all, and they represent big constituencies the politicos can’t ignore.

    Some of his thinking about what you do with the products of scientific expertise at the policy interface where other groups have valid interests in having a say came from these turbulent meetings. How can science and non-science (but still valid) interests be assessed and weighed in the balance. Richard thinks we should just let the politicians get on with it, but in fact, they are pretty poorly equipped to deal with the issues.

    So Ravetz offered some thoughts on how to formalise the melee of uncertainty, quantify it, and come up with rational decisions. However, he fully recognised that in the end, the decision taken by the elected politicians wouldn’t be wholly based on rational considerations, because reason and faith and strategy are human constructs which all demand a say in matters.

    If the people here who think Ravetz is the spawn of the devil stop to consider the gravity and difficulty of the issues he has tried to grapple with, they might realise that facile and adamant positions can look like breast beating and intolerantly dogmatic postures to others.

    In the specific case of the climate change issue, I personally am with the people who say “what urgency?”, but then, we come down with a judgement about issues for which no crucial experiment has yet been devised to decide the issue.

  272. tallbloke says:

    So what do you think should be done to prevent the political interference in science Richard?

    Step one: call it out when you see it.

    To wit: PNS is not science, it is political interference in science.

    If you can figure out how to keep the meddling hands of PNS off of science, you’ll have a step up on keeping other political interference out of science.

    When do you start?

  273. JJ says:
    September 2, 2012 at 3:32 pm
    tallbloke says:

    So what do you think should be done to prevent the political interference in science Richard?

    Step one: call it out when you see it.

    To wit: PNS is not science, it is political interference in science.

    Well of course JJ, when we insist on auditing science it’s a good thing, but when Ravetz does it he’s just sticking his PNS in where it’s not wanted.

  274. tallbloke;
    when we insist on auditing science it’s a good thing, but when Ravetz does it he’s just sticking his PNS in where it’s not wanted.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.

    Bull. He’s sticking a false premise and disguising it as having value. The example you gave of his work on stem cell research does NOT fit his definition of PNS! There was nothing URGENT about those decisions! There was not catastrophic event in the offing that would be prevented or enabled by the decisions being made in that example. His own definition requires that the matter be urgent. It wasn’t.

    And since he won’t answer me, if you wish to defend him, then by all means. Answer my previous charge. If the matter is URGENT then limited time to make decisions requires that those decisions be made by those who have both the means and the knowledge. If there is TIME to consult outside of that group, then by DEFINITION the matter was NOT urgent. His utter garbage fails on his own definition!

  275. davidmhoffer says:
    September 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm
    The example you gave of his work on stem cell research does NOT fit his definition of PNS! There was nothing URGENT about those decisions!

    In the absence of clear directives, biotech companies simply go ahead. It was urgent that international agreements were reached ASAP.

    Before I answer to the rest of your post, I’d like you to answer the question I put to you 24 hours ago:

    tallbloke says:
    September 1, 2012 at 4:34 pm
    davidmhoffer says:
    September 1, 2012 at 3:17 pm
    Here’s the Post Normal Science garbage in a nut shell.

    How do we make decisions when:

    o The stakes are high
    o The matters urgent
    o The facts uncertain
    This is the founding premise of Jerry Ravetz’ PNS bullarky. It is a logic process that he then uses to argue that requires action on CO2 mitigation.

    He does? This is news to me. Got a link to that? Maybe you got him mixed up with Schneider.

    Depending on the outcome of that request, I’ll decide whether or not I feel like taking the punches.

  276. tallbloke;
    He does? This is news to me. Got a link to that? Maybe you got him mixed up with Schneider.
    Depending on the outcome of that request, I’ll decide whether or not I feel like taking the punches
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    It matters not in the least if I got him mixed up with Schneider or not. His PNS premise fails on its own definition. Including the example you gave in your last comment which was:

    “In the absence of clear directives, biotech companies simply go ahead. It was urgent that international agreements were reached ASAP.”

    Why, exactly, was it “urgent”? Was there some worldwide catastrophe that would have resulted had decisions been put off for a year or two or five? What impending disaster was averted? There was none.

  277. When John F Kennedy was facing the Soviet navy only minutes from intercepting the American naval blockade of Cuba, with Cuban missiles within hours of becoming operational, with his finger on the button that would destroy much of humanity, did he have TIME to consult with anyone outside his military and immediate advisors?

    When the leadership of Japan realised that just two bombs had utterly destroyed two major cities, did they have TIME to do a public survey to surrender or not?

    When Apollo (15? 16?) had sensor trouble, and the engineers at Spar Aerospace had only a few hours to determine if the sensors had failed and were giving false readings that could be safely ignored, did they have the TIME to consult outside of their own subject matter expertise?

    When Apollo (13?) had failed CO2 scrubbers, did they have TIME to put out an RFP for a solution? Or did they come up with a fix based on the expertise that they had on hand right then and there?

    Shall I go on? The insertion of the word “urgent” makes a mockery of the premise. If it is actually urgent, then the TIME to seek the counsel of a broader skill set does not exist. If non technical decision makers are so arrogant to, at that point, substitute their judgment for that of technical decision makers, then the result is the tragedy we call the Challenger Disaster.

  278. davidmhoffer says:
    September 2, 2012 at 5:07 pm
    It matters not in the least if I got him mixed up with Schneider or not.

    It might matter to him.
    So, no link to substantiate your accusation then?
    I think you should withdraw it rather than do a Gavin and say “it doesn’t matter”.

    His PNS premise fails on its own definition. Including the example you gave in your last comment which was:

    “In the absence of clear directives, biotech companies simply go ahead. It was urgent that international agreements were reached ASAP.”

    Why, exactly, was it “urgent”? Was there some worldwide catastrophe that would have resulted had decisions been put off for a year or two or five? What impending disaster was averted? There was none.

    It was urgent because amongst other things a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth was resulting from poor women being paid to have live ‘abortions’.

  279. Leif @ 1:02 I fully agree. I had not meant to imply that the paper or ideas presented were what the peer review team should guard, but rather the ideals of science and the integrity of the journal that is asked to publish. If peer review does not guard against shoddy methods and write-ups then the journal or governing body will lose the public trust (or the trust of those who depend upon the journal to be a good place to go for ideas related to their field). If a professional society does not guard its reputation then it runs the risk of becoming worthless.

  280. Can anyone imagine the reaction this person would get is she said the same things about the Law?

    What would Post Normal Law look like? North Korea?

  281. tallbloke,

    Your loyalty to your friend Jerome Ravitz is commendable. I admire fierce loyalty. But you must admit that “urgent” is hard to quantify. Who decides what is urgent?

    In the wrong hands PNS would be used as a cudgel to beat down normal science, along with anyone who thinks rational decisions are always best. And with the crew running today’s world, you can be certain that is exactly what would happen. We can see it now, with the urgent demands that we must “do something” about AGW. The precautionary principle and PNS go together hand in glove, and together would make AGW believers even more fanatical true believers.

  282. tallbloke says:

    Well of course JJ, when we insist on auditing science it’s a good thing, but when Ravetz does it he’s just sticking his PNS in where it’s not wanted.

    Auditing in science is not PNS, and adopting the terminology and philosophy PNS is not necessary to auditing in science. Science doesn’t need PNS to do science. PNS needs science from which to rob an air of legitimacy in order to do politics.

    And as David points out, PNS is not applicable to the ethics of stem cell research, by its own definition. There was neither urgency, nor uncertain facts that were relevant to the non-existant urgency. Only the “values in conflict” applies – i.e. the politics. Easy to confuse, but remember that just because PNS is all politics doesn’t mean that all politics is PNS.

    And of course, always remember that PNS is never science.

  283. “Finally, it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.”

    What sort of “discourse ” is this person talking about? The scientific discourse IS discussing the science including its basis. “Science as an ideology”. Wow, what can you say?

    I think western academia has the intellectual equivalent of Aids if this sort of convoluted drivel is evidence of what “sociology” is about.

    How appropriate that this anti-enlightenement drivel is to be delivered on September 11. Is that deliberate or just karma?

  284. Mike D in AB says:
    September 2, 2012 at 6:03 pm
    the journal or governing body will lose the public trust
    Perhaps more importantly, if a journal declines, good scientists will stop publishing in the journal.

  285. tallbloke;
    So, no link to substantiate your accusation then?
    I think you should withdraw it rather than do a Gavin and say “it doesn’t matter”.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Ravetz had no less than three guest posts on WUWT. Regarless of his badgering us or not with the specifics of CO2, he injected himself squarely into the climate debate with his PNS garbage. While he answered some of the replies to him, frankly he ignored the ones that really scored points. I regard him as a coward how starts a brawl, and then slinks away. And it STILL doesn’t matter. If you choose to equate me to Gavin because of that, that’s your choice.

    tallbloke;
    It was urgent because amongst other things a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth was resulting from poor women being paid to have live ‘abortions’.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    At the risk of sounding callous, that abortions happen every day. Honour killing happen every day. Babies are killed every day because they’re not the sex the parents desired. Are these lives worth less than the one lost due to paid for abortions? Why do these lives not deserve an “urgent” international response?

    I’ll tell you why. Because it became a politicaly motivated cause. There was no actual urgency. The urgency was entirely perceived and the wailing and gnashing of teeth was completely lacking in any true morality. If the hue and cry had been based on morality, they would have extended their efforts to include things like honour killings and murdering infants for the sin of being girls. Did they? No. And your prescious Ravetz advocated how for these poor souls? Oh, there was no money at stake so he didn’t get involved? Wow. Some hero you’ve got there.

    Ravetz has created an entire “philosophy” that has nothing to due with how to deal with high stakes, urgent issues. What he does is provide a means to stampede the public into believing that things that are not urgent are, that things that are not high stakes are, and the where facts are uncertain people like him should share in the gravy train with the likes of Hansen and Mann. He’s as despicable as they are, perhaps more so.

    None of which changes the fact that his premise falsifies itself.

  286. None of which changes the fact that his premise falsifies itself.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    And that he lacks the temerity to defend it.

  287. Discourse analysis has been taken up in a variety of social science disciplines, including linguistics, sociology, anthropology, social work, cognitive psychology, social psychology, international relations, human geography, communication studies, and translation studies, each of which is subject to its own assumptions, dimensions of analysis, and methodologies.

    Also in Informal Logic, a subdivision of philosophy, perhaps under another name.

  288. richardscourtney says:
    September 2, 2012 at 5:29 am
    Brendan H:

    At September 2, 2012 at 2:25 am you say to me

    In a democratic society I don’t see why the relationship between politics and science need be that of master and slave.

    It is because politicians have power (i.e. money) and can use it on scientists but scientists have no power to operate on politicians.

    I am surprised that you are unaware of this.

    “[Robert Anton] Wilson’s Law of the superiority of politics to science holds that if A equals B, and B equals C, then A equals C, except where forbidden by law.”

  289. Much has been said in this thread, but I say this: I hold these truths to be self-evident, that science is our best hope for freeing us from dogma, that the final arbiter of truth is experiment, and that all men have an inalienable right to investigate matters for themselves. If this is an ideology, then I choose to be wrong with Socrates rather than to be right with Plato.

  290. Tallbloke, I’m a fan of your blog and I appreciate that you studied under Ravetz back in the day. The loyalty you display in defending your old teacher is admirable. But I think he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Some points of interest:

    Scientific Knowledge and Its Social Problems
    Jerome R. Ravetz
    Transaction Publishers, 1971

    http://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Scientific_Knowledge_and_Its_Social_Prob.html?id=OlFyG1BYTSEC

    Introduction to the Transaction Edition
    […]
    I no longer believe that it is useless to make clarion calls for the achievement of Utopia
    […]
    Former com­rades in the radical science movement were annoyed at the ab­sence of engagement to the cause; what I said about “critical sci­ence” was deliberately sketchy, and also explicitly self-critical.
    […]
    Only recently, as my ideas on “post-normal science” have developed, can I see a way forward to the democratization of science
    […]
    the book has been nearly totally ig­nored by the professional philosophers of science. By their cri­teria, or within their paradigm, it is not a work in the philoso­phy of science.
    […]
    My own internal debate had been with Marxism, but that had been settled by the time that I was beginning work on the book.
    […]
    Out of this has come the concept of “post-nor­mal science,” of which the core idea is the enhancement of the peer community responsible for quality assurance of the sci­entific inputs.
    […]
    Instead of being restricted to discipline-based scientists or official experts, this peer com­munity should include all the stakeholders in an issue who are committed to a dialogue.
    […]
    For some years I had hoped that Marxism would provide a coherent synthesis of all these problems; but in the versions then extant it was very much less a successful doctrine than an extremely general guide to action.
    […]
    It was through reading the work of Professor Barry Commoner and his group at St. Louis, that I came to the conception of ‘critical science’, which gives this whole work what unity it has.

    So, he’s a Marxist (or more accurately New Leftist/Neo-Marxist). That ain’t a crime. But might give some clue about where he’s really coming from. This 1979 news clipping is more revealing.

    Exploitation the price of civilisation
    The Sydney Morning Herald, Mar 27, 1979

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=totWAAAAIBAJ&sjid=X-YDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3905,9674204&dq=jerry-ravetz&hl=en

    Dr Jerry Ravetz was a child of the Enlightenment. Born in 1929, he comes from a rationalist, Jewish, socialist background. Now, however, he is a follower of an Indian guru.
    Our civilisation is flounder­ing into deeper and deeper crisis, he says, and the broader view of life of the Eastern religions enables him to accept this with, if not serenity at least equanimity.
    Dr Ravetz is Reader in the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Leeds. He is a former executive secretary of the British Council for Science and Society, and a former member of the Genetic Manipulation Advisory Group.
    […]
    Some time ago, he realised that the ideals of the Enlightenment, the political liberties and material dig­nities that we have, all depended in the first place on the oppression or exter­mination of other peoples. America, the land of the free and home of the brave, was built by destroying the Indians and enslaving blacks. “In Australia, you know as well as I — you’ve grabbed other peoples lands.”
    The ideals also depend on exploitation of nature —which cannot be sustained at its present level — and the “debauching” of all the rest of the world, the Third World countries.
    “Now, this is the price that the world has paid for this civilisaton that we enjoy. I think that the price is not going to be paid for any more. Something will have to change.”
    If we want to remain rich while the test of the world stays poor, we will have to preach the virtues of poverty to the poor, which they won’t like, he says.
    “Or suppose we all become Third World Inter­nationalists. We want them to be prosperous too, like a billion Chinese want to be prosperous. How many cars would we need? A billion cars. Where are you going to get the materials for that, what are you going to do with the waste heat?”

    Incidentally, Ravetz’s comment about “waste heat” refers to a theory, then current among some Malthusian catastrophists (Paul Ehrlich and John Holdren among them), that asserted: the ice caps were going to melt and the oceans boil because of “thermal pollution” -a kind of mega urban heat island (CO2 warming was dismissed).

    Another alternative, in which we, the rich, make do with less, depends on a social will that has not yet appeared, he says. He saw this most clearly on a recent visit to the United States: the Americans don’t want to give up what they have.
    “You could look at it in cyclical terms. We’ve had a run for about half a thou­sand years, which is about par for the course for a great civilization. Now we are not holding it together any more. Our particular civilization is in retreat, and we don’t know just how weird it’s going to get as it retreats.”
    In his book, Dr Ravetz warned that science had be­come industrialised, a tame servant of industry and State. Its ethics and ethos have been corrupted, leading to what he calls entrepreneurial, shoddy, reckless and dirty science and runaway tech­nology, all of which threaten the survival of science and of our whole civilization.
    He placed his hope for the future in the growth of a “critical science” to check this irresponsible science and technology, and in the re­nascence of a radical, roman­tic, philanthropic philosophy.
    […]
    Dr Ravetz believes we are not in control of our science and technology. He cites the example of micro-processors, the tiny electronic computer components, which are revo­lutionising the computer in­dustry.
    “It’s pretty clear that this revolution, this coming revo­lution, is not under control. As far as I can see, no society, no nation, has a chance to say: ‘Well, let’s really see whether we want it or how fast to move into it.”
    […]
    The computer revolution poses serious economic and social problems in the Third and Second World countries. He suggests that countries -like Taiwan, South Korea and Brazil that have man­aged to get into the major world economy on the strength of their cheap labour, will get squeezed out again because of the cheap­ness of the micro processor-run industry.
    Discussions on the pos­sible scenarios of the effect in countries like Australia are almost pointless since it is not going to make a bit of difference, he says.
    […]

    Apparently, he still holds the same religious believes and views on alternative medicine (and I suspect also on the wickedness of modern industrial civilization). Yeah, what ever happened to those micro-processor thingies? [sarc]

    2005

    http://www.jerryravetz.co.uk/work.html

    My own story would not be complete without a mention of my personal explorations in inward awareness, which becomes stronger and more meaningful all the time. It started with an experience of Hindu spirituality
    […]
    I now find ‘complementary and alternative medicine’ a fascinating phenomenon in many ways.
    […]
    Then there is the contrast between the apparent consensus that rules in most areas of conventional medicine, with a veritable jungle of alternative treatments and therapies.
    […]
    there is clearly a different sort of knowing and of practice going on here. It may well be related to a different sense of embodied self.
    […]
    The simple experiment of holding one’s hands parallel and then gradually bringing them together until there is some sort of ‘feeling’ may come to function for our time as Galileo’s telescope did for his. Where it will all take us is a story yet to be written; I hope to see it and to play my part.

    During the 90s his ideas started to catch on with some.

    The fascination of fear
    Aisling Irvine, Times Higher Education, 31 May 1996

    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storyCode=93934&sectioncode=26

    […]
    But one attempt to populate these inner territories has been made by risk consultant Jerry Ravetz. His idea is another new buzzword: “post-normal science”. Ravetz says post-normal science is appropriate when normal science fails. It happens during a crisis such as global warming, “where you have a policy issue where facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes are high, decisions are urgent and traditional research and consultancy is inadequate”.

    To deal with such problems Ravetz says it is necessary to extend the community looking at the science to include all stakeholders and to consider “extended facts” – those collected outside laboratory conditions. Everyone involved must recognise “the diversity of legitimate perspectives”. This is an idea that will be further explored at the conference

    Extended facts????

    Food Safety, Quality, and Ethics – A Post-normal Perspective
    Ravetz J.R.
    Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, Volume 15, Number 3, 2002 , pp. 255-265(11)

    http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/klu/jage/2002/00000015/00000003/05087983

    Abstract:
    I argue that the issues of food quality, in the most general sense including purity, safety, and ethics, can no longer be resolved through “normal” science and regulation.
    […]
    The new drug/food syndrome needs a new sort of science, what we call “post-normal.”
    […]
    …we understand that an appropriate foundation for regulation and ethics is not so much “objectivity” as “awareness.” In an age when “consumers” are becoming concerned “citizens,” the relevant science must become post-normal.
    […]
    In this new sort of science, problems become salient as a result of a broad public debate. Issues are forced into public and official consciousness by campaigns involving activists and the media, which reveal suspected scandals and disasters.
    […]
    The reform of science education may itself become politicised, so that the new understanding of ‘precautionary science’ can be integrated into the education of the next generations of scientists.

    “This new sort of science” is conducted through “campaigns involving activists and the media”???

    ‘Show Your Working': What ‘ClimateGate’ means
    Mike Hulme and Jerome Ravetz
    BBC, 1 December 2009

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8388485.stm

    The classic virtues of scientific objectivity, universality and disinterestedness can no longer be claimed to be automatically effective as the essential properties of scientific knowledge.

    Objectivity is no longer effective???

    So what about Ravetz’s “outreach” to the skeptics. Are we to be included in his “extended peer review” as Greenpeace, WWF, FOE, etc. have been (Google “Post-Normal” “Tyndall Centre”).

    Jerry Ravetz on Climategate
    Roger Pielke Jr.’s Blog, 09 February 2010

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.co.uk/2010/02/jerry-ravetz-on-climategate.html

    Jerry Ravetz, a giant among scholars in the history and philosophy of science and someone who I am happy to call a friend and colleague…

    And Roger Pielke has just invited Franziska Hollender to hold a seminar, where she asks “what to do with the contrarians?”

    [Apologies and thanks to the moderator for the length of this comment.]

  291. A note on PNS: It is wrong to see science as the handmaiden of politics. Science is done for its own sake. When science and politics come together, both are corrupted. Any conception of a ‘post-normal’ science that would hitch one to the other is a not only muddle-headed, it is also dangerous.

  292. davidmhoffer wrote:

    How do we make decisions when:

    o The stakes are high
    o The matters urgent
    o The facts uncertain
    This is the founding premise of Jerry Ravetz’ PNS bullarky. It is a logic process that he then uses to argue that requires action on CO2 mitigation.

    And Tallbloke replied:

    He does? This is news to me. Got a link to that? Maybe you got him mixed up with Schneider.

    And later:

    Depending on the outcome of that request, I’ll decide whether or not I feel like taking the punches.

    Tallbloke, please don’t take any of this as an attack on you. My issue (and that of some others) is with Ravetz. You have every right to defend him as you see fit.

    In answer to your request.

    Robust knowledge for Sustainability

    http://www.nusap.net/

    Policies for sustainability cannot wait until all the facts are known.
    We must plan and implement radical changes in technology and lifestyle, in spite of irreducible uncertainty, ignorance, and value-conflicts.
    The commitment of all of civil society is necessary for such changes to be accomplished; thus sustainability is a moral issue.
    The relevant knowledge base must be robust in relation to the constraints and demands of this new context of use.
    It must be designed to be fit for its various functions in the discursive, inclusive policy processes on complex issues that are essential for consensus.
    All stakeholders (including those who produce, use and are affected by policy-relevant knowledge) should be equipped with tools for a critical self-awareness of their engagement with that knowledge.
    These are now being created by developments based on the insights of NUSAP and Post-Normal Science.
    In that way we will achieve the robust knowledge that is essential for sustainability.

    Jerry Ravetz, 14-08-2002

    The stakes are high
    …radical changes in technology and lifestyle…commitment of all of civil society is necessary…

    The matter is urgent
    …sustainability cannot wait…

    The facts uncertain
    …until all the facts are known…irreducible uncertainty, ignorance

    And by “sustainability” I believe he means CO2 mitigation.

  293. Tallbloke — I often go to your site.

    However you are wrong about “Post Normal Science”. Everything you say may be arguably true “in the abstract” — but “in the real world” you are totally wrong. Do you remember the Mao line — “Let a thousand flowers bloom!” Remember what the result of that was?

    The key to understanding the trick is that Post Normal Science wants to expand the number of groups who participate in forging SCIENCE BASED policy “. Let me repeat that — the key to understanding the trick is that Post Normal Science wants to expand the number of groups who participate in forging SCIENCE BASED policy!

    So the opinions of people who have no knowledge of a subject or are biased by a special interest or motivated by a political ideology will carry equal weight with the opinion of a scienctist in forging SCIENCE BASED policy. In other words the intention of Post Normal Science is to totally drown out the voice of “real science” by creating a vast chorus of competing voices THAT ARE EQUALLY VALUED!. Post Normal Science is simply a ploy to to emotionalize the decision making process. It is a leap backwards from the rational to the irrational.

    So Post Normal Science is really an attempt to make science irrelavent. THAT IS WHAT IT IS — THAT IS WHAT WILL RESULT FROM IT. The voice of science is to be drowned out.

    Eugene WR Gallun

  294. David Ross says:
    September 2, 2012 at 10:23 pm
    ….

    Hi David,
    I went to read the Ravetz/Hulme piece on the BBC to check how selective your quote was as an indication as to the balance of your quote mining of other Ravetz writing, and I found a lot in the article I agreed with, and that the quote you selected made more sense within the larger context. Everyone should read it and have a think:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8388485.stm

    The main bit I disagreed with was concerning the IPCC internal peer review, but I bet Hulme as an IPCC reviewer wrote that part not Ravetz. I’ll ask him.

    davidmhoffer says:
    September 2, 2012 at 8:41 pm
    None of which changes the fact that his premise falsifies itself.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    And that he lacks the temerity to defend it.

    Why would you expect Ravetz to engage with you after you make unsupported allegations against him and won’t retract them even when you are called on by me to back them up and don’t, but instead say “It doesn’t matter”?

    Of course it freakin’ well matters. You’ve put Ravetz on trial here, and passed judgement in your own kangeroo court using ‘evidence’ which isn’t in evidence.

    You shouldn’t be surprised that I’m sceptical about your process in this case.
    Neither should you be surprised that Ravetz hasn’t turned up to answer your summons.

    After months long dialogue with me via email about the egregious activities of the IPCC’s leading lights wrt to peer review and the unreliability of their scientific claims, Ravetz CHANGED HIS MIND about the solidity of their scientific case, wrote the BBC piece with Hulme, and convened a conference aimed at improving standards of data collection, metadata meticulousness, and OPENNESS to public scrutiny.

    That should be regarded as a resounding victory for the sceptics.

    I’ll round off with two quotes from the BBC piece:

    “It is possible that some areas of climate science have become sclerotic, that its scientific practices have become too partisan, that its funding – whether from private or public sectors – has compromised scientists.

    The tribalism that some of the e-mails reveal suggests a form of social organisation that is now all too familiar in some sections of business and government.

    Public trust in science, which was damaged in the BSE scandal 13 years ago, risks being affected by this latest episode.

    It is also possible that the institutional innovation that has been the IPCC has now largely run its course.

    Perhaps, through its structural tendency to politicise climate change science, it has helped to foster a more authoritarian and exclusive form of knowledge production – just at a time when a globalising and wired cosmopolitan culture is demanding of science something much more open and inclusive.”

    And

    “While there will always be a unique function for expert scientific reviewers to play in authenticating knowledge, this need not exclude other interested and motivated citizens from being active.

    These demands for more openness in science are intensified by the embedding of the internet and Web 2.0 media as central features of many people’s social exchanges.

    It is no longer tenable to believe that warranted and trusted scientific knowledge can come into existence inside laboratories that are hermetically sealed from such demands.

    So we have a three-fold revolution in the demands that are placed on scientific knowledge claims as they apply to investigations such as climate change:

    o To be warranted, knowledge must emerge from a respectful process in which science’s own internal social norms and practices are adhered to.

    o To be validated, knowledge must also be subject to the scrutiny of an extended community of citizens who have legitimate stakes in the significance of what is being claimed.

    o And to be empowered for use in public deliberation and policy-making, knowledge must be fully exposed to the proliferating new communication media by which such extended peer scrutiny takes place.

    The opportunity that lies at the centre of these more open practices of science is to secure the gold standard of trust.”

  295. Eugene WR Gallun says:
    September 2, 2012 at 11:55 pm
    Tallbloke — I often go to your site.

    Thanks! I hope you’ll continue to.

    the intention of Post Normal Science is to totally drown out the voice of “real science” by creating a vast chorus of competing voices THAT ARE EQUALLY VALUED!. Post Normal Science is simply a ploy to to emotionalize the decision making process. It is a leap backwards from the rational to the irrational.

    If you hadn’t noticed, in the climate change arena, “real science” has been telling us lies for 25 years, because the ‘realclimate’ scientists and their IPCC pal review buddies got all emotionalized about ‘saving the planet’ and thought the end justified the means.

    Ravetz’ call for the process of science production to adhere to standards and to be more open to public scrutiny is to be commended in my view. As for who gets a say in what decisions are taken once ‘the science is in’, well, I want a say, don’t you? It’s up to us to cut through emotionally driven rhetoric with cool reason and win the day with rationality.

    But Further than that, Ravetz overtly recognises that the science is ‘never in’ as knowledge constantly evolves, and that ongoing reassessment is best done through the medium of the internet where everyone can see what’s going on.

    What’s not to like?

  296. Keith G says:
    September 2, 2012 at 10:58 pm
    A note on PNS: It is wrong to see science as the handmaiden of politics. Science is done for its own sake. When science and politics come together, both are corrupted. Any conception of a ‘post-normal’ science that would hitch one to the other is a not only muddle-headed, it is also dangerous.

    Once again, it’s not ‘post-normal’ science but post – ‘normal science’ (ref: Thomas Kuhn). i.e. what is done with the outputs of science after they enter the public arena.

    And it’s not that Ravetz wants science to be the handmaiden of politics. he merely observes that it is in fact what has happened. He is not advocating it, he is commenting on it. He then goes on to say that if that’s how it is, then a wider range of people (including sceptics with their leaked documents) should be involved, because everyone is affected by the fact that science isn’t conducted in a vacuum of serene rationality and objective disinterest.

  297. Smokey says:
    September 2, 2012 at 6:24 pm
    tallbloke,
    In the wrong hands PNS would be used as a cudgel to beat down normal science, along with anyone who thinks rational decisions are always best. And with the crew running today’s world, you can be certain that is exactly what would happen. We can see it now, with the urgent demands that we must “do something” about AGW. The precautionary principle and PNS go together hand in glove, and together would make AGW believers even more fanatical true believers.

    A fire extinguisher can be used as a cudgel to beat down normal people, or to save lives in a fire. There will always be ways to misuse things. I think Ravetz’ ideas are actually of more help to us sceptics who are demanding better access to datasets and code than they are to autocrats who want to browbeat us into accepting their diktat without showing us their working.

    Ravetz is saying that if the scientists and politicians tell us the situation is urgent and the stakes are high, then they must go to greater lengths to consult with the people affected by the decisions than usual. That includes people who hold the opinion that the situation isn’t urgent and that the precautionary principle doesn’t apply to a strong enough degree to warrant radical action. People like you and me.

  298. tallbloke:

    At September 2, 2012 at 2:35 pm you ask me

    So what do you think should be done to prevent the political interference in science Richard?
    It seems that you think it is ok for them to interfere in science so long as they were elected.
    You should realise that it doesn’t matter who you vote for, interfering politicians always get into government.

    They’ve got the best science money can by as well as the best electioneering assistants.

    Thankyou for you – at last – entering a rational discussion instead of your above proclamations saying, “There’s a problem so we need to destroy science with PNS”. I write to answer your question.

    Before I answer, I remind of the following points which lead to your silly accusations of what I “think”.
    1.
    The problem of “political interference in science” is not new. It has always existed because politicians employ scientists; e.g. Archimedes of Syracuse was employed by the government.
    2.
    As you say, politicians have “the best science money can by (sic) as well as the best electioneering assistants”. Again, this is nothing new: it was ever thus and ever will be.
    3.
    Not all science is funded by politicians; most is funded by industry and some by individuals.
    4.
    There are always self-proclaimed saviours (i.e. false prophets) who pretend they have the answer to ancient problems such as lack of Peace On Earth or political interference in science.
    5.
    Ravetz is clearly an example of a false prophet and he is offering PNS as an answer to the problem of political interference in science.
    6.
    It is always easy to replace one problem with a worse one, and PNS is an example of such a worse replacement.
    7.
    PNS replaces independent scientific thought with collective political decision-making and, thus, stops political interference in science by replacing it with political destruction of science.
    8.
    But some problems cannot be “solved”: they can only be avoided or minimised.
    9.
    Recognising that a problem is insoluble and attempting to minimise it is NOT thinking that the problem is “OK”: it is being realistic (e.g. recognising that Peace On Earth is not attainable is a reason to decide how best to avoid war).

    Those eight points are what I actually think and they are very different from what you assert I think. They govern my answer to your question which is as follows.

    Political interference in science is unavoidable and false claims that the interference can be prevented or accommodated should be rejected. Actions are required to minimise the interference and I suggest the following.

    It is necessary to obtain wide-spread recognition that politicised science is tainted science. And it needs to be proclaimed that science funded by industry is LESS tainted than science funded by politicians. This is because politicians use science as a tool to justify policies, but industry uses science as a tool to make profits. I explain this as follows.

    Funding directs the science conducted but the results of science are tainted if the funding is aimed at a specific result. Industry has learned this the hard way and, therefore, makes clear distinction in its research (and research funding) between research (R), development (D) and demonstration (D).
    The intended result of industrially funded R,D&D is a commercially successful product: it needs to be correct and reliable.
    But
    The intended result of politically funded research is ‘evidence’ to justify policy: it needs to be in accord with the policy.

    Whenever politicians proclaim ‘science’ then the political argument should be addressed on the basis of the validity of the proclaimed ‘science’. Therefore, governmental and/or intergovernmental assertions of ‘science’ should be proclaimed as being the political documents which they are; e.g. each IPCC Report is a political document of the same type as a Political Party Manifesto. Nobody accepts a Part Manifesto as being the best available information that does not deserve challenge, and a politically funded Science Report should be treated similarly and for the same reasons. It seems that followers of WUWT recognise this although not explicitly.

    So, we need to defend science by constantly pointing out that politicised science is politics and not science.

    And we need to fight the politics in the political forum by
    (a) Informing politicians of all parts of the science
    (b) Informing the public of all parts of the science
    (c) Proclaiming the limits of what is scientifically known and not known.

    Additional polticisation of science by accepting PNS needs to be opposed ‘tooth and nail’.

    Richard

  299. Scientific Knowledge and Its Social Problems
    Jerome R. Ravetz
    Transaction Publishers, 1971

    “Only recently, as my ideas on “post-normal science” have developed, can I see a way forward to the democratization of science”

    democratize or democratise
    n verb introduce a democratic system or democratic principles to.

    democratic
    n adjective relating to or supporting democracy. (egalitarian).

    egalitarian
    n adjective believing in or based on the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.

    science
    n the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

    empirical
    n adjective based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic.

    These definitions from the Concise Oxford English dictionary suggest that science is empirical (based on observation and/or experience, while “post-normal science” is democratic (egalitarian) where anyone’s opinion is a valuable (in science) regardless of whether or not they have any knowledge of the subject.
    This suggests to me that “post-normal science” is a sham.

  300. Tallbloke –

    Since discovering PNS a few years ago I’ve taken the time out to explore the literature. I’m curious about your defence of Ravetz. It may be the case like so many other philosophers – Nietzsche, Latour, Lyotard etc have all had their descriptions confused with prescriptions and attacked accordingly. I’m still on the fence regarding Ravetz in that respect.

    However, since going beyond him, reading dedicated postnormal literature by others – and there is a lot of it – it has become something of a bête noire for me. Take someone like Mike Hulme as the test case for this – particularly in ‘Why We Disagree about Climate Change’. Everything and more that people are expressing their fears about here with regard to PNS is both true and rational in cases like Hulme. Moreover, he has had a much more extensive (and toxic) influence than Ravetz, especially in the climate arena.

    So my question to you is – defending Ravetz is one thing. Are you willing to do the same for Hulme? If so let’s have it out.

  301. davidmhoffer says:
    September 2, 2012 at 9:54 am

    PNS at Work
    The Challenger Disaster
    =======================

    You wrote a very good example of an imagined sense of urgency.

  302. Tallbloke

    Your defence of Ravetz is most spirited and most admirable. I understand that the intention is that PNS should focus on what should be done with the outputs of science after they enter the public arena. However, the bureaucratic way in which the conduct of science has evolved over the last century (give or take a decade or so) – the professionalisation of science, the creation of various research labs (both public and private), the elimination of tenure, the creation of various bodies that approve grants to academic institutions, and so on – has resulted in a highly bureaucratic form of science, and one that is tightly bound to assorted funding sources. I would like to think that individual scientists could be relied upon to make a clear distinction between their role as scientists and their role as stakeholders in a policy debate but I fear that in the long run that is a forlorn hope. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is utopian to believe that in a PNS world that the conduct of science would not be corrupted and that PNS would simply focus on what should be done with the outputs of normal science. That path leads to the dismantling of normal science and the creation of political institutions bolstered by the full authority of a residual, but morally bankrupted, scientific establishment.

  303. katabasis1 says:
    September 3, 2012 at 2:55 am
    Tallbloke –
    my question to you is – defending Ravetz is one thing. Are you willing to do the same for Hulme?

    No. Ravetz makes an honest attempt to clearly separate the activity of producing science from the activity of making decisions based on the output of science. Hulme try to mush it all up together.

    And I don’t defend all of Ravetz’ output either. I see ideas of value in his work, and don’t want to see the baby thrown out with the bathwater. Others here have characterised me as ‘defending Ravetz, my old teacher’. This kind of personalisation in debate is a trojan horse. Ravetz gave some seminars at Leeds that I attended, but he was never ‘my teacher’. I hold an honours degree in the history and philosophy of science, as well as an HNC engineering qualification. I work with ideas and data, not adherence to personalities.

  304. richardscourtney says:
    September 3, 2012 at 1:34 am
    tallbloke:

    your above proclamations saying, “There’s a problem so we need to destroy science with PNS”

    I didn’t say this or anything like it. If you’re going to use quote marks, at least put something that someone said between them. I’ve got a lot to say about the conflations and errors further on in your comment, but I’ll not go any further in dialogue with you if you are going to misrepresent me by putting things I never said in quote marks and attributing them to me.

    It’s a despicable tactic.

  305. Great discussion people, very much enjoyed trying to follow it! And if I have, here is a cherry to put on top!

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/page2/life_is_sacred_20120903/

    It is an example of why “we” must have a model that accurately explains the causes of weather and climate change. Which would, by definition, accurately explain past weather and climate change as well as accurately pro-ject future weather events and climate changes.

    We may not be able to control ‘it’ any more than we can control the life cycle, but, it would be beneficial for ‘everyone’ to understand it.

    it’s why
    We all know that famous quote . . . . . . . . . . “Knowledge is Power . . .
    but, not many know the rest of it which is . . . . & Ignorance is Control”

  306. Somewhere in the cosmos Galileo is sighing and saying “Here we go again.” These progressive “scientists” are taking science back to the 17th Century, just substitute the IPCC for the 17th century church. Now that is what ideology is all about.

  307. Gee, Art. isn’t that a nature of human nature? Why, oh why, would they want to give up that ‘lifestyle’ they have come to expect, because that’s their faith, that’s the way it’s always been, that is the traditional value, there are so many code phases for the concept you are trying to convey and I’ll tell you “progressive” is not one of them!

  308. Keith G says:
    September 3, 2012 at 4:59 am
    Tallbloke
    the elimination of tenure, the creation of various bodies that approve grants to academic institutions, and so on – has resulted in a highly bureaucratic form of science, and one that is tightly bound to assorted funding sources. I would like to think that individual scientists could be relied upon to make a clear distinction between their role as scientists and their role as stakeholders in a policy debate but I fear that in the long run that is a forlorn hope. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    Thanks Keith.
    I think this is most clearly answered by consideration of the disinfecting power of clear sunlight. The more we can force the data, the machinations of those who interpret it, and the policy process out into the open, the more those involved in its production will be in fear of being caught manipulating it, and so are more likely to adhere to the straight and narrow.

    In this sense, Ravetz’ widened peer community can perform a valuable service for all, simply by giving up some of their time to keep an eye on what the scientists and policy makers are getting up to. They don’t necessarily need to interfere in it. I would go as far as to say that this is what has happened, and the effects are observable, and good so far, if not as far reaching enough yet for some people’s liking. I’m one of them.

  309. “…science as an ideology…” There it is. The Blogosphere definitely got this right and the mass merdia missed it entirely. I can see that the author of the series has been informed by the Blogosphere.

  310. tallbloke:

    At September 3, 2012 at 5:39 am you say to me

    your above proclamations saying, “There’s a problem so we need to destroy science with PNS”

    I didn’t say this or anything like it. If you’re going to use quote marks, at least put something that someone said between them. I’ve got a lot to say about the conflations and errors further on in your comment, but I’ll not go any further in dialogue with you if you are going to misrepresent me by putting things I never said in quote marks and attributing them to me.

    It’s a despicable tactic.

    I was not a “tactic”: my use of quotation marks was an unthinking error for which I wholeheartedly and unreservedly apologise.

    I was replying to your untrue assertions in several posts – including some not addressed to me – which misrepresented what you claimed were my views. Before listing what are my actual views, I stated what I then understood – and still understand – to be your position. I should not have used quotation marks when doing that.

    Having provided a numbered list of what I actually “think” I then provided my argument in direct reply to your question which you put to me.

    However, your use of my mistake – for which I apologise – as an excuse to ignore my argument in reply to your question is a despicable tactic which I feel sure you will want to correct.

    Richard

  311. richardscourtney says:
    September 3, 2012 at 8:35 am
    tallbloke:
    my use of quotation marks was an unthinking error for which I wholeheartedly and unreservedly apologise.

    Thank you, and although I obviusly disagree with your characterisation of what I’ve said, I accept your apology.

    However, your use of my mistake – for which I apologise – as an excuse to ignore my argument in reply to your question is a despicable tactic which I feel sure you will want to correct.

    Heh, fail. Here’s what I said
    “I’ve got a lot to say about the conflations and errors further on in your comment, but I’ll not go any further in dialogue with you if you are going to misrepresent me by putting things I never said in quote marks and attributing them to me.”

    It wasn’t an excuse, it was an ultimatum.

    However, now you’ve graciously apologized and I’ve accepted your apology, we can get back onto an even keel and debate like gentlemen. So, to your numbered arguments:

    My reply to these is that I don’t disagree with 1-4.
    5-6-8-9 are straw men. Ravetz doesn’t claim to have all the answers or a permanent solution. Nor does he set out to replace science with politics as you claim in 7.

    I think we may be talking at cross purposes too. I’m talking about what Ravetz said, not what others have tried to rehash his meaning to be.

    Here’s a quote from one of the essays he submitted to my blog:

    “Science is exceptional among systems of production in that its quality-assurance is largely informal. There can be no testers with go/no-go gauges at the end of the research line. Because of this, it must necessarily be self-policing. This enables a greater flexibility and subtlety in its actions, thus distinguishing between encouraging the best and discouraging the worst. But it also makes it vulnerable to corruption. I explored this topic in my old book, and there came to the paradoxical conclusion that the achievement of objective knowledge about the external world depends on the strength of the ethical commitments of the leaders of a community.”

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/jerome-ravetz-quality-in-science/

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/02/08/jerome-ravetz-pns-truth-and-science/

    Have a read. It won’t make your eyes bleed.

  312. tallbloke;
    Why would you expect Ravetz to engage with you after you make unsupported allegations against him and won’t retract them even when you are called on by me to back them up and don’t, but instead say “It doesn’t matter”?
    Of course it freakin’ well matters. You’ve put Ravetz on trial here, and passed judgement in your own kangeroo court using ‘evidence’ which isn’t in evidence.

    What utter tripe.

    I’ve raised twenty or thirty points that eviscerate the false god of PNS but he has no burden to answer me because I may have gotten a single one wrong? Funny, but when someone makes a false accusation against me, I seek to set the record straight at the earliest opportunity lest by failing to defend myself others conclude the accusation has merit.

    If the demigod of PNS stands unjustly accused, then he should say so. I predict that he will not. By stepping up to the issue, he must address the other points raised by others as well as myself at the same time. If he seeks to defend himself against that single accusation while ignoring all the others made against him, his omission will speak volumes. If he does defend himself on these matters, he’ll lose because his premise defies logic.

    So stop defending him. Instead encourage him to return to the thread and defend himself. I’m not interested in what YOU say his motivations and through processes and defenses are. I want HIM to take responsibility for what he has said.

    I challenge you to get him to return to this thread.

  313. The mantra of Post Normal Science is —

    THE NATURE OF THE EVIDENCE IS IRRELEVANT — IT’S THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE CHARGE!

    Everybody remember where that line came from? We have seen the left use that tactic time and time again. That line tells us exactly how Post Normal Science will operate. The screamers will outshout the scientists. Why, all that you have to do is claim that the world will be destroyed and that stifles all other arguments. THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE CHARGE!

    So Post Normal Science is about making the proclamations of Chicken Little the basis of all political action. THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE CHARGE!

    Eugene WR Gallun

  314. davidmhoffer says:
    September 2, 2012 at 8:34 pm
    tallbloke;
    So, no link to substantiate your accusation then?
    I think you should withdraw it rather than do a Gavin and say “it doesn’t matter”.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Ravetz had no less than three guest posts on WUWT. Regarless of his badgering us or not with the specifics of CO2, he injected himself squarely into the climate debate

    Of course he injected himself into the climate debate with his BBC article and his posts at WUWT. But in none of them did he use PNS as “a logic process that he then uses to argue that requires action on CO2 mitigation.” as you wrongly accuse him of doing. Thats a lie and the sooner you withdraw it the better IMO.

    In fact if you read his articles, you are left with the strong impression that he entirely approves of the actions of the ‘widened peer community’ which exposed the emails which demonstrated that the scientists themselves didn’t have sufficient certainty about their theory to warrant action on co2 mitigation.

    As for returning to answer you, I doubt it. As he said in his essay at my blog:
    ” if one finds that the people advancing an idea are rigid, intolerant and abusive, one can say that their concern is less for finding the truth than at proving their adversaries wrong.”

    In this particular case, that’s you to a tee that is.

  315. tallbloke quotes Jerome Ravetz;
    “Science is exceptional among systems of production in that its quality-assurance is largely informal.”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    More utter tripe. What happened to empiracle data and reproducability as the foundations of science? Ravetz creates PNS by first re-defining science to something it isn’t. The rest of his essay fails because it is based on that single sentence which is a false premise. Just as his definition of PNS which he himself posted upthread falsifies itself. I’ve given a considerable number of examples which demonstrate this. Ravetz though, is like a grifter who, when he realizes his mark sees through his flim flam game, simply drifts away to find another sucker.

  316. Tallbloke –

    I do understand and appreciate that you are defending a particular part of Ravetz’s contributions and do understand what you’re saying. However two points:

    i) I think most people here are reacting to what else has been wrought in the name of PNS (Hulme, et al) and are perfectly right to be hostile and fearful. People like Hulme have taken the very worst of postmodernism (n.b. I would argue strongly that there are some very good bits and they can be salvaged – indeed Actor-Network Theory and Bruno Latour’s critique of philosophy, science and the social sciences does just this) and repackaged it into a horrific frankenstein whose MO is now metastasizing through to the media, law, politics and a much wider ranger of academic topics beyond climate science now (c.f. Lewandowsky’s version of scientific practice in Psychology).

    ii) Even sticking with just the one position – even if it is the main position – of Ravetz that you outline above is problematic. Even if I’m willing to grant the benefit of the doubt to Ravetz and agree that he is being descriptive, not normative (still not sure on that one), it doesn’t solve the problem, it just moves it. For example, Ravetz still has to address the issue of individualism versus collectivism. The PNS argument above (let’s call it ‘PNS core’) appeals to collectivism and consequentialism. This is problematic on its own; its even worse when applied to real examples. Try for example compromising the process outline above in ‘PNS core’ with, for example medical research and see if you can marry up the former’s collectivism with the latter’s individualism in the form of the Helsinki Declaration – e.g. “- In medical research on human subjects, considerations related to the well-being of the human subject should take precedence over the interests of science and society.”

  317. I think the most fruitful comment in this long thread for the understanding of Ravetz’s PNS comes from David Ross on September 1, 2012 at 6:44 pm.

    Ross’ comment points to Ravetz’s apparently strong intellectual inheritance of the most fundamental concepts of the philosophy of Herbert Marcuse.  Marcuse was the  philosophical founder of the new left radical socialist movement in the 1960’s.

    QUESTION FOR JEROME RAVETZ:  Mr.  Ravetz, Would you please provide (if any) the fundamental concepts of PNS that you developed from the fundamental concepts of the philosophy of Marcuse?    That context for PNS would clearly concretize what PNS is at its most fundamental philosophical roots.

    Note to readers:  there is an extensive critical literature on Marcuse’s radical socialist philosophy.  I think those critical works on Marcuse apply significantly to analysis of Ravetz’s philosophical grounding of his PNS.

    John

  318. tallbloke;
    As for returning to answer you, I doubt it. As he said in his essay at my blog:
    ” if one finds that the people advancing an idea are rigid, intolerant and abusive, one can say that their concern is less for finding the truth than at proving their adversaries wrong.”
    In this particular case, that’s you to a tee that is.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Fine. I apologize to Dr Ravetz for misrepresenting his writings in regard to CO2. I fully retract my statement.

    Now tallbloke, I’m sure that should be sufficient for Dr Ravetz to engage regarding the balance of my points? Or shall you find a new excuse?

  319. davidmhoffer says:
    September 3, 2012 at 10:10 am
    tallbloke quotes Jerome Ravetz;
    “Science is exceptional among systems of production in that its quality-assurance is largely informal.”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    More utter tripe. What happened to empiracle data and reproducability as the foundations of science?

    They are still there after Ravetz’ visit.

    Ravetz creates PNS by first re-defining science to something it isn’t. The rest of his essay fails because it is based on that single sentence which is a false premise.

    Are you able to understand entire paragraphs, or just single sentences? I guess the single sentences are easier to wilfully misinterpret and quote out of context.

    Enough, I’ll leave you to your ranting.

  320. tallbloke:

    Thankyou for accepting my apology. In that same post at September 3, 2012 at 9:22 am you say to me:

    I think we may be talking at cross purposes too.

    I respond: We most certainly are!

    In my post at September 3, 2012 at 1:34 am I introduced my numbered points saying

    I write to answer your question.

    Before I answer, I remind of the following points which lead to your silly accusations of what I “think”.

    and I followed my list of numbered points saying

    Those eight points are what I actually think and they are very different from what you assert I think. They govern my answer to your question which is as follows.

    (actually, there were nine and “eight” is a misprint)

    Clearly, my numbered points were my correctiion of your misrepresentations of my views and they were not my answer to your question.

    You have given ‘yes/no’ answers to my numbered points and completely ignored my answer to your question. Instead, you tell me to read what Ravetz has written. I HAVE! And that reading is the reason for my answer (and for my opinions).

    I concluded my answer saying
    Additional polticisation of science by accepting PNS needs to be opposed ‘tooth and nail’

    Your failure to mention my answer to your question gives me no reason to modify that conclusion. .

    Richard

  321. Best just post the brief essay which is distilled from an entire book Ravetz wrote on the subject with Silvio Funtowitz in 1990 called “Uncertainty and Quality in Science for Policy”:

    Quality

    To start, ‘quality’ now means ‘goodness’. But it is not a simple property. In fact, it is complex, recursive and moral. First, for any thing or action, there are a plurality of attributes of quality, each of which will have its own criteria and standards. These do not come from nowhere; for each there will be a social system that defines and then monitors them. This immediately raises the question in the Latin motto, ‘who guards the guardians?’

    For each answer, the question is reiterated, and so there is a recursive process. The tasks are different, at the different levels; and ultimately there is a sanction in an informal, perhaps indefinable thing called ‘public opinion’. We see this most clearly in the case of school exams, where children are tested by special agencies, and these are inspected by other agencies, up to the political level where a Minister is responsible; and (as happened not long ago) if things go very wrong then the Minister resigns because public opinion has made their position untenable.

    There is a distinction between quality control and quality assurance; the latter refers to the total complex process. The maintenance of quality is very much a moral process. This is because it is impossible to make a complete specification of tasks at the lowest level; evasion of imposed standards is always possible. Hence if operatives do not believe in the system to some extent, it will fail. Their adherence to the system will depend on their morale, and that is conditioned by what they observe of the behavior of those who govern them. In that sense, corruption starts at the top.

    Science is exceptional among systems of production in that its quality-assurance is largely informal. There can be no testers with go/no-go gauges at the end of the research line. Because of this, it must necessarily be self-policing. This enables a greater flexibility and subtlety in its actions, thus distinguishing between encouraging the best and discouraging the worst. But it also makes it vulnerable to corruption. I explored this topic in my old book, and there came to the paradoxical conclusion that the achievement of objective knowledge about the external world depends on the strength of the ethical commitments of the leaders of a community.

    Problems with severe uncertainties and high decision-stakes are so different from those of ‘normal science’ that its traditionally-trained practitioners are not fully competent to assess quality in that sphere. Hence the ‘extended peer community’ has a vital role to play.

    Of course, the conclusion of all this is that quality cannot be assessed with certainty.

  322. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8388485.stm

    2009, after Climategate: Hulme and Ravetz defend environmental organisations as peer reviewers of the IPCC report…

    “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), for example, included individuals from industry, environmental organisations and government officials as peer reviewers of early drafts of their assessments. “

    …but stay silent about the fact that the environmental organisations have written part of the report…

    Did they not have access to a list of authors? Hulme was the boss of the Tyndall centre for Climate Change.

    My conclusion: Hulme and Ravetz are manipulators.

  323. tallbloke;
    Enough, I’ll leave you to your ranting.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    And so tallbloke quits the field after raising not a single cogent argument to the matters of fact and substance which I raised.

    PNS as defined by Dr Ravetz and quoted in full from his own comment upthread:

    “Someone has asked for a definition of post-normal science. Let’s try: when facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent, the paradigm-based puzzle-solving research confined to closed sets of practitioners is not adequate. We can call this a ‘post-normal situation’. Then there must be an ‘extended peer community’, using ‘extended facts’ which include traditional research results along with open criticism, plus data from non-traditional sources, and expressions of value commitments. Also, in such circumstances there is no possibility of results approaching truth to the same degree that is possible in traditional science; hence the debate will be about the quality of results. This is inevitably complex, since all scientific results depend on arguments where imperfect data and imperfect inferences are combined. Experience has shown that in such cases, which include all areas closely connected with policy, the ‘extended peer community’ plays a very positive role, not merely in legitimating accepted results but also in criticising controversial results. This practice of open debate, which is realised on the blogosphere with salient examples like WUWT, is post-normal science. Of course PNS is open to abuse, but then so is the closed-community practice of normal science, especially when it is closely tied to policy. For a good example of PNS in action, there is Phil Tattersall’s ‘Community Based Audit’ that operates in Tasmania. He has shaped his work by thinking about PNS.”
    >>>>>>

    Jerome Ravtez’ own definition fails the logic test. Any matter that is urgent can only be solved by those who have the unique combination of necessary knowledge and means to act at hand. If there is sufficient time for consultation beyond that “closed set of practioners” then the matter is, by definition, not urgent. If there is time for a “community based audit” then the matter is, by definition, not urgent. Dr Ravetz’ entire thesis fails on this single issue. He either fails to understand what the meaning of “urgent” is, or wilfully misrepresents it. Having begun with a false premise, the rest of his comment is also falsified.

    We can all win arguments tallbloke if we are free to attach whatever meaning we want to the words we use. Dr Ravetz’ arguments on behalf of PNS can only have merit if we permit the complete rewrite of the meaning of “urgent”. Similarly his rewrite of the meaning of science which you accuse me of taking out of context. It is not out of context. It IS the context.

  324. tallbloke quotes Jerome Ravetz;
    To start, ‘quality’ now means ‘goodness’.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    The very first sentence of the excerpt quoted begins with the exact same strategy, which is to change the definition of a single word. Without this change in definition, the rest of what he writes is absurd. He seeks to change the definition of the words “quality”, “urgent” and “science”. Without these changes in definition, his entire thought process crumbles. We can attach value to his writing only if we allow ourselves to be tricked by this blatant subterfuge.

    Another word for subterfuge is bullsh*t.

    tallbloke will no doubt take me to task for my egregious remark rather than dealing with the substance of it. But bullsh*t is, in my opinion, as apt (and arguably better) description that subterfuge.

    A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

    And bullsh*t by any other name stinks just as much.

  325. Richard Courtney: ‘Please see my post above addressed to Stephen Mosher at September 1, 2012 at 4:49 pm.’

    Your 4.49 post contained this statement: ‘Politicians make decisions about uncertain issues by assessing available information – including scientific information – every day. IT IS THEIR JOB. In democracies it is what we elect them to do. Nobody elects “all stake holders”.’

    True, but of course much of the ‘available information’ will be sourced from ‘stakeholders’, including scientists.

    So it is inevitable that science will be part of the policy mix. And politicians will also need advice in assessing scientific information. The people best placed to offer that advice are scientists.

    But in the case of climate science, the advice will have public policy implications. The issue then becomes the extent to which other stakeholders – those outside science – can have a say in public policy.

    From what I have read on WUWT and elsewhere, climate sceptics are keen to have a seat at the decision-making table – for both the science and public policy – except that in this case they are rejecting the offer, which is puzzling.

  326. tallbloke says: “Hi Mike. Ravetz isn’t claiming PNS is a science in and of itself.”

    Jerry Ravetz says: “The new drug/food syndrome needs a new sort of science, what we call ‘post-normal.'”

    JJ says: tallbloke doesn’t pay attention to what Ravetz is saying.

    tallbloke says: “I regard PNS as a realistic description of how scientific output has been manipulated by realpolitik, rather than as a practise to be followed.

    tallbloke says: “PNS is a description of what can happen at the science/policy interface after the ‘normal science’ is done. It also contains prescriptions for how that science/policy interface can be prised open by interested parties, some of them holding ‘leaked information’ etc.”

    JJ says: tallbloke doen’t pay attention to what tallbloke is saying.

    Science is epistimology, not politics. The epistimology of science encompassed the auditing and “quality control” of science by asserting the supremacy of facts and reasoning and replicability and dismissing as irrelevant the appeal to authority or majority. Science did these things, long before Jerry Ravetz decided to make a run at legitimizing the politicization of science. Kuhn described and promoted bad science. Ravetz describes and promotes politics masquerading as science, and he does this by referring to his political methodology as “science” – both in the title he picked for it as well as his narrative descriptions of it.

    When “facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent” then you admit that what you are doing is politics in the absence of science. Leaving aside the laboratory air of the word “science”, you admit that what you are doing is politics in the absence of knowledge. If Ravetz had called his methodology “The Politics of Ignorance” and honestly desribed it similarly, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. He didn’t, and the reason he didn’t was that he wished to engender the very confusion that you are demonstrating.

  327. JJ says:
    September 3, 2012 at 11:47 am
    tallbloke says: “Hi Mike. Ravetz isn’t claiming PNS is a science in and of itself.”

    Jerry Ravetz says: “The new drug/food syndrome needs a new sort of science, what we call ‘post-normal.’”

    JJ says: tallbloke doesn’t pay attention to what Ravetz is saying.

    JJ doesn’t provide links so the context of his snippets can’t be checked.

  328. davidmhoffer:

    David,

    You have provided a series of cogent posts in this thread and in my opinion you have saved the best till last. At September 3, 2012 at 11:42 am you say

    tallbloke quotes Jerome Ravetz;
    To start, ‘quality’ now means ‘goodness’.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    The very first sentence of the excerpt quoted begins with the exact same strategy, which is to change the definition of a single word. Without this change in definition, the rest of what he writes is absurd. He seeks to change the definition of the words “quality”, “urgent” and “science”. Without these changes in definition, his entire thought process crumbles. We can attach value to his writing only if we allow ourselves to be tricked by this blatant subterfuge.

    Exactly so!

    In my first post to this thread at September 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm I wrote

    …Old-fashioned, left-wing British socialists like me and the late Eric Arthur Blair (aka George Orwell) have been fighting such totalitarianism for over a century. Those who want a clear exposition of the totalitarians’ methods only need to read his novel ’1984′.

    And in ’1984′ Orwell gives those methods names; e.g.

    Newspeak
    i.e. redefine the meanings of words, e.g. science is an “ideology” and not a method, communication is presentation of specified ideas and not provision of pertinent information, etc.

    Anybody who fails to understand my anger at what PNS represents can find the answer by reading all of my above post at September 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm.

    Richard

  329. Brendan H:

    Thankyou for your post addressed to me at September 3, 2012 at 11:46 am.

    I commend others to read and consider all your post because it is good. I write to address your final paragraph which says

    From what I have read on WUWT and elsewhere, climate sceptics are keen to have a seat at the decision-making table – for both the science and public policy – except that in this case they are rejecting the offer, which is puzzling.

    I think your puzzlement derives from a misunderstanding; viz. I do not know of any climate sceptics “keen to have a seat at the decision-making table”.

    There probably are a few who want that because e.g. there is a UK MP who was a frequent poster to WUWT threads. But most don’t.

    In general, climate sceptics desire
    (a) that science be conducted properly
    (b) that malpractice in climate science be corrected and those responsible brought to account
    (c) that the abuse of climate science as justification for political policies be stopped
    (d) that politicians and public be informed of the realities of climate science.

    PNS is a Trojan Horse: it pretends to offer climate sceptics “a seat at the decision-making table” when – in reality – it would make it impossible to achieve the desires I list as (a) to (d).

    Richard

  330. Tallbloke — thankyou you for your considered reply.I will quote you below then use that quote to somewhat shift the topic.

    “If you hadn’t noticed, in the the climate arena, “real science” has been telling us lies for 25 years because the “real climate” scientists” and their IPCC pal review buddies got all emotionalized about “saving the planet” and thought the end justified the means.”

    First let me say that the definition of science that i have posted elsewhere on this thread is — “Science is a systematic enterprize that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.” The above people are not scientists. I have never considered them to be scientists.

    Secondly it is generally true that things exist before they are named. (Whether or not the Tooth Fairy “came into existence because it was named” all depends on how broad your definition of existence is. It can be argued that “existence in name only” is a form of existence.)
    The point I wish to make is that we have been seeing Post Normal Science in operation for the last 25 years — before someone finally named it. The process you deplore above is Post Normal Science in application. And the result of that application is that the voice of “real science” has been shouted down.
    When you think about it isn’t it obvious that the political process that has promoted “global warming” can best be named “applied Post Normal Science”? You deplore the reality of that which in the abstract you advocate.

    Now to shift the topic a little bit. First we need to get a definition of the art term — Postmodernism.
    “Postmodernism is largely a reaction to scientific or objective efforts to explain reality”. From that we can say that Postmodernism is the employment of non-scientific and non-objective efforts to explain reality as a reaction to scientific or objective efforts to do so — without getting too many people’s knickers in a twist.
    Since Post Normal Science advocates a political process that promotes non-scientific and non-objective efforts to explain reality as a reaction to purely scienctific and objective efforts — then we can say that the politics of applied Post Normal Science is really nothing more than a bit of staged Postmodern art.
    I have said elsewhere that Post Normal Science is “anti-science” and when you properly categorize it — it undisputably is.
    This type of thinking comes out of the “soft sciences” which most people recognize as being largely “art” and not science.

    Eugene WR Gallun

    PS — The “scientists” who advocate for global warming would best be described as “Postmodern Scientists” — I know its a contradiction in terms but thats what helps to make it funny.

  331. tallbloke;
    JJ doesn’t provide links so the context of his snippets can’t be checked.

    and

    And you conclude this without knowing if or how the article was edited by the Biased Broadcasting Corporation before publication?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Seriously tallbloke, your loyalty to your friend is admirable, but you are increasingly grasping at straws and obviously so.

  332. tallbloke says:

    JJ doesn’t provide links so the context of his snippets can’t be checked.

    All the quotes are from this thread. If you can read my post, you have ‘the links’.

    That said, for the purpose at hand there is no need for ‘context’ beyond that provided by the quotes themselves. You contradict Ravetz, and you contradict yourself. And you play “blind eye” to the balance of my posts with throw away dodges like that.

    When you find yourself behaving like that, introspection is in order.

  333. It is an overt intellectual misrepresentation by Ravetz et al to peddle their proposed social/political programs as a ‘science’.  PNS is not science in any logical sense.

    Ironically, we’ve seen John Cook  misrepresent his consensus climate science website with the name ‘Skeptical Science’, now with the same overtly misleading strategy we see Jerome Ravetz refer to his proposed social /political prograns as science; as Post Normal Science.   

    Both are common examples of the systematic lack of intellectual integrity by those cashing in on the manipulations of IPCC climate related products; manipulations being done by a core of scientists (see CG1 & CG2) whose research is biased by  sociopolitical ideologies.

    John

  334. JJ:

    re your post at September 3, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Have you only now noticed? He has done it to me three times in this thread.

    Richard

  335. What Einstein did to Newton’s theory?
    “…. forcing science to prove its reliability and integrity over and over again.”
    He should be burnt at the stake, this guy named Albert!

  336. Tallbloke

    There is only one small document that you need to read, that I think will settle the argument on this thread and let you know what Ravetz is all about.

    This is it.

    Participatory Approaches to Environmental Policy
    by Bruna De Marchi & Jerome R. Ravetz

    http://www.clivespash.org/eve/PRB10-edu.pdf

    Economic techniques have been developed which extend the logic of valuation
    based upon monetary transactions in markets to environmental entities.
    […]
    An alternative is the use of participatory approaches for aiding environmental
    decision-making. Rather than appeal to claims based on science and rationality, these approaches are advocated on grounds of justice and democracy in
    procedure and an appreciation that complex, multi-attribute issues cannot be effectively evaluated by a one-dimensional numeraire based on simple consumer
    choices.
    […]
    Coercive Dialogue and New Forms of Protest
    Protests such as those recently in Seattle and Prague can be regarded as sharing some commonalities with the forms of participatory dialogues as discussed here. Whenever issues of power are involved, dialogues involve a mixture of reason, rhetoric and coercion. Unlike ‘traditional’ strikes and blockades, these are not intended to win concessions by impeding basic economic activities. Rather, they have the dual goals of causing disruption to official deliberative activities and making symbolic protests for diffusion by the global mass media. They combine the lessons learned about the effectiveness of non-violent coercion with the opportunities offered by new technologies. For example, the protest at the Seattle World Trade Organisation meeting in November 1999 was organised over the internet. Protesters gathered from across the world to re-assert the ‘rights’ of the environment (and the workers) against those of global free trade and the market (see Policy Research Brief 6). Unlike traditional hierarchical mass movements, here individual members and non-governmental groups gather in extended networks which tend to take an ‘amoeba shape’ with fluctuating contours and no single centre. Similarly, there is no uniform adoption of a particular set of tactics. In any one demonstration, there are numerous positions (on demands and on actions) among both protesters and their targets, with almost all sharing a highly sophisticated understanding of the diversity and nuances of their particular roles.
    To summarise, each of the approaches sketched above have their specific advantages and drawbacks. Therefore, the selection (or combination) which is most appropriate to a specific situation needs to be carefully assessed. Considerations of time, scale, representation, available resources and type of mandate need to be addressed. Even exercises in participation that emerge spontaneously go through a learning process, eventually adopting a structure or
    style based on experience.

    h/t Bernie Lewin

    http://enthusiasmscepticismscience.wordpress.com/2010/02/28/post-normal-science-and-the-corruption-of-climate-science/

    “Coercive Dialogue,” not even Orwell came up with such a sinister example of doublespeak as this.

    Ravetz “participatory democracy” is really chaotic mobs of protesters using vandalism, violence and the threat of it to get their way. It is straight out of the Marcuse play-book. Look at the first three pictures in that document.

    I could (and will if you insist) provide a point by point comparison between the work of Ravetz and Marcuse, but perhaps this will suffice for now.

    The Politics of Science and Sustainable Development:
    Marcuse’s New Science in the 21st Century
    Katharine N. Farrell, Capitalism Nature Socialism, 28 Nov 2008

    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10455750802559616

    Introduction
    The arguments presented in this essay build on the work of the critical theorist Herbert Marcuse, in order to address the role of science in environmental governance. The main focus of the essay is the simultaneous domination of humans and non-humans of “man” and “nature” –that takes place in the course of building and maintaining industrial systems of economic production.
    The core thesis is that postnormal science,1 a discourse on scientific methodology and its related techniques, can be understood as a realization of the new modality of science that Marcuse predicted in One-Dimensional Man. where: “pacified existence … the repressed final cause behind the scientific enterprise… were [it] to materialize and become effective. [is accompanied by a situation where} the Logos of technics would open a universe of qualitatively different relations between man and man, and man and nature.”2
    The proposition that postnormal science is a manifestation of Marcuse’s “new modality of science” is significant for the study of 21″ century environmental politics, because Marcuse proposed that this new modality of science might provide a means for escaping the oppression of one-dimensional thinking.

    * This paper owes its existence to Stephen Eric Bronner, many of its insights to discussions with Jerry Ravetz, Silvio Funtowicz, John Barry and Christoph Görg, and its final form to very helpful written comments from Timothy Luke, Andrew Biro, Ariel Salleh and two anonymous reviewers. Research contributing to this work was funded by the United Kingdom Support Program for University Research and the European Union Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship EIF024688: Accountability and legitimacy in Governance Institutions that Support Viable Environments ALIVE.

    1 Silvio O. Funtowicz and Jerome R. Ravetz, Uncertainty and Quality in Science for Policy (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1990); Silvio O. Funtowicz and Jerome R. Ravetz. “A New Scientific Methodology for Global Environmental Issues.” in Robert Costanza (ed.) Ecological Economics: The Science and Management of Sustainability (New York: Columbia University Press. 1991), pp. 137-152; Silvio O. Funtowicz and Jerome R. Ravetz,. Good, the Frue and the Post-modern.” Futures, Vol. 24, No. 10. 1992, pp. 963-976; Silvio O. Funtowicz and Jerome R. Ravetz. “Science for for the Postnormal Age” Futures, Vol. 25, No. 7. 1993. pp. 739-755.

    2 Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society (London: Routledge. 1991 [1964]). p. 239.

    Marcuse also gets a mention in Ravetz’s book.

    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=jng6AAAAMAAJ&q=marcuse#search_anchor

    Some historical background on Marcuse.

    War of the generations generations in West Germany
    The Sydney Morning Herald – Feb 21, 1968

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=YsBWAAAAIBAJ&sjid=YecDAAAAIBAJ&pg=2095,6815538&dq=herbert-marcuse&hl=en

    […]
    In West Berlin, a film on how to make “Molotov cocktails” was fol­lowed by a picture of the Springer Press empire’s head­quarters.
    […]
    Panicky politicians and sen­sational headlines, with rather less restraint, talk of “organised terrorism,” “gue­rilla blitzkrieg,” “the white Vietcong” and “approaching civil war.”
    Elderly professors are drawing parallels between the current disorders and the rampaging bands of Communists and Nazi storm-troopers in the dying days of the Weimar Republic. They cannot under­stand why in this orderly, pros­perous and firmly anti-Communist society intelligent youngsters should suddenly emulate the Red Guards of China’s “cultural revolution.”
    […]
    Student power became a reality in Berlin after the up­roar that followed the slaying by a police bullet of a student rioter last June resulted in the downfall of Mayor Hein­rich Albertz.
    […]
    The nucleus of the student revolt is the neo-Marxist Soci­alist Students’ League (S.D.S.),
    […]
    The S.D.S. followers draw their ideological inspiration from the thoughts of Chair­man Mao, the example of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, and the writings of the American philosopher Herbert Marcuse.

    Revolutionaries’ Are Old Hat: Date Back To Past Centuries
    John Chamberlain, Meriden Journal, Jun 5, 1968

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=iDpIAAAAIBAJ&sjid=8QANAAAAIBAJ&pg=3138,4463463&dq=herbert-marcuse&hl=en

    Riots That Jolted France Unlikely In Spain, Germany
    By Phil Newsom, UPI Foreign News Analyst, The News-Dispatch, un 11, 1968

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=3MZWAAAAIBAJ&sjid=B0INAAAAIBAJ&pg=3101,6332309&dq=herbert-marcuse&hl=en

    Danger For The Left
    By Dev Murarka, London Observer Foreign News Service, The Calgary Herald, Jun 19, 1968

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=HWhkAAAAIBAJ&sjid=3XwNAAAAIBAJ&pg=5362,1895561&dq=herbert-marcuse&hl=en

    French Maoists Riot Leaders
    Gadsden Times, Jul 3, 1968

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=uaofAAAAIBAJ&sjid=0dYEAAAAIBAJ&pg=674,400074&dq=herbert-marcuse&hl=en

    […]
    Many students on the far left consider themselves dis­ciples of the German-American philosopher Herbert Mar­cuse, 70, a professor who teach­es at San Diego, Calif. His the­sis is that the modern age of technology has made automa­tons of men and that only those nonestablishment groups such as the students and the unem­ployed can be influential in eliminating the errors of the past. He claims that the Com­munists, along with the capital­ists, are part of an ossified so­ciety which has replaced real democracy.
    […]

    Godfather Of Revolt
    The Daily Reporter, Jul 7, 1968

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=ZWIrAAAAIBAJ&sjid=7_YEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3356,167516&dq=herbert-marcuse&hl=en

    […]
    It is sometimes said of Marcuse that the students who fol­low him haven’t the slightest idea what he means.
    […]
    His student followers say that basically he advocates change for the sake of change. He be­lieves that in the present day society the elements of change have been subverted by the Es­tablishment, both the capitalist Establishment and the communist Establishment. Youth has to keep blasting away at the Es­tablishment, Marcuse theorizes, and this is one reason the stud­ents at Columbia revolted even after their original issue of the Vietnam was killed by the Paris truce talks.
    The world must have constant revolution, constant change,
    […]

    The Establishment Reacts
    The Calgary Herald, Aug 12, 1968

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=oGdkAAAAIBAJ&sjid=1nwNAAAAIBAJ&pg=4836,3212743&dq=herbert-marcuse&hl=en

    […]
    The German-born Marcuse…He has argued that democracy is a totalitarian system which furthers its repressive elements by permitting limited, but in­effectual, dissent.
    […]

    The Age, Aug 30, 1968

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=fv1UAAAAIBAJ&sjid=dJMDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6422,5323929&dq=herbert-marcuse&hl=en

    […]
    In the U.S. the political parties have traditionally kept alive the link between the people and Go­vernment. They have provided a form—sometimes frenzied but, also compelling—of the “participatory politics” which the young follow­ers of Herbert Marcuse and others now demand.
    […]

    Watchdog’s threat to 42-day terror law
    Alan Travis, The Guardian, Monday 31 March 2008

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/mar/31/terrorism.uksecurity

    […]
    When I was an undergraduate reading law at university in the 60s, every self-respecting student had a poster of Che Guevara on their wall and knew something of the writings of [Herbert] Marcuse. Both of those terrorist luminaries said repeatedly that the best course for a terrorist was to provoke a government to overreact to a threat by eroding civil liberties, increasing executive powers and diminishing due process by the denial of justice.”

  337. Tallbloke

    You say that: “And it’s not that Ravetz wants science to be the handmaiden of politics. He merely observes that it is in fact what has happened. He is not advocating it, he is commenting on it. He then goes on to say that if that’s how it is, then a wider range of people (including sceptics with their leaked documents) should be involved, because everyone is affected by the fact that science isn’t conducted in a vacuum of serene rationality and objective disinterest.”

    I’m not sure I know what Ravetz wants, but I would not disagree with the assertion that science has already become the handmaiden of politics – if not entirely, then certainly to the point where it is difficult to imagine a decent policy debate without some form of scientific input. And if one were to concede that science is obliged to take on this role, and that such a role cannot be unwound, then one might indeed propose that the only effective political counter to the fusion of science with politics is greater transparency and accountability in the policy formation process.

    The problem is that this casts science in a role that it is not really well equipped to play. Stripped of its modern hierarchical overlay, the ‘output’ of science is not a set of statements of the form: “X, Y, and Z are true subject to caveats A, B, and C”. Rather, the ‘output’ of science is statements of the form: “Because of observations P, Q, and R, we now know that hypotheses X, Y, and Z are not true”. The normal conduct of science then is not to build a set of truths but, rather, to progressively knock down a set of provisional hypotheses. And all that remains standing once things have been knocked down remains provisional – and not an assertion to be promulgated as a truth. Policy formulation, on the other hand, requires statements of the form “We the people hold X, Y, and Z to be self-evident”, or “They the scientists have demonstrated that X, Y, and Z are true”. It is upon such positive assertions that collegiate action is built.

    But you already know all this.

    Of course, many are willing to put themselves forward as figures of authority on certain topics, to become advocates – and the incentives to do so are great. I fear that in so doing they misrepresent themselves, their science, and the institutions they represent.

  338. Keith G says:
    September 3, 2012 at 9:39 pm
    Tallbloke

    You say that: “And it’s not that Ravetz wants science to be the handmaiden of politics. He merely observes that it is in fact what has happened. He is not advocating it, he is commenting on it. He then goes on to say that if that’s how it is, then a wider range of people (including sceptics with their leaked documents) should be involved, because everyone is affected by the fact that science isn’t conducted in a vacuum of serene rationality and objective disinterest.”

    I’m not sure I know what Ravetz wants, but I would not disagree with the assertion that science has already become the handmaiden of politics – if not entirely, then certainly to the point where it is difficult to imagine a decent policy debate without some form of scientific input. And if one were to concede that science is obliged to take on this role, and that such a role cannot be unwound, then one might indeed propose that the only effective political counter to the fusion of science with politics is greater transparency and accountability in the policy formation process.

    I don’t think Ravetz knows what Ravetz wants either. There’s no doubt that in the deep past he has flirted with philosophies of action which militate for radical change in the way society is controlled and manipulated by the ‘scientific-technological elite’ Eisenhower warned us all about. In his middle years he courted and was courted by groups and movements which have attempted to subvert the system from within. In his mellower later years he has grappled with concepts of truth, quality, the epistemological underpinnings for the enterprise of knowledge production and rational ways of reconciling different world views and interests in non-violent ways.

    Those with black and white views about politics like David Hoffer and those with commercial and intellectual interests to protect like Richard Courtenay see Ravetz’ desire to democratize the corridors of power and peer review as dangerous and wrong. Well, Ravetz always liked a bit of danger and struggle, and has long experience of being vilified, so I doubt their bellicose pronouncements bother him much. Pretty tame stuff compared to the lambasting he got from Willis Eschenbach last time round anyway. He is amused by pompous irrationality and frequently elicits it for fun. He’s a bit of an old rascal in this respect.

    Through the months long email conversations Ravetz and I had in 2010 post climategate, I think he came to see just how duplicitous and self serving the environmental movement and the climategate scientists had become, and was disillusioned by their abandonment of integrity and their naive adoption of means to ends strategies, including their misuse of his own ideas. Hence his short essays on truth, integrity and quality published on my blog, followed by his organising the Lisbon conference, which the arch warmists refused to turn up to. I warned him he would end up taking flak from both sides if he adopted the middle ground. But he is of an age now where he doesn’t really mind what others think of him, so long as he is still effective in stimulating debate on the important issues. His closing words in the essay on PNS, Truth and Science are:

    “I am still not content with my resolution of the problem of Truth. The way I see it now (which I certainly don’t say is True) is that there is a connection between truth and integrity. This might be cast as attempting ‘the truth as best as I can achieve it’, or, more fundamentally, ‘being true to myself’. This is not always easy, as I may be under great internal pressure to protect my personal investment in a particular theory when it is under attack. The theory might about the course of climate change and its causes, or even philosophical considerations of truth, uncertainty, and responsibility in scientific knowledge. The challenge is never-ending.

    Understanding that challenge makes it easier for me to attempt non-violent communication, and to escape from the assumption that all who disagree with me, or even who criticise me sharply, are wrong or malevolent. Enough.”

    These words speak to me of a man who is still mentally agile in his middle 80’s, and one who is not so overly attached to his own previous output that he will defend it against other, different and at least equally valid points of view ‘no matter what’.

    An attitude that certain climatologists would be wise to emulate, before they do irreparable damage to their own reputation and self worth, and perhaps more importantly so far as the rest of us are concerned, science itself.

  339. “tallbloke says:

    JJ doesn’t provide links so the context of his snippets can’t be checked.”

    The quote comes from: http://www.springerlink.com/content/7vvmwn907bj5h21j/ where Ravetz continues:
    “Also, we understand that an appropriate foundation for regulation and ethics is not so much “objectivity” as “awareness.” In an age when “consumers” are becoming concerned“citizens,” the relevant science must become post-normal”.

    aware
    n adjective having knowledge or perception of a situation or fact. (from COED)

    In the case of Ravetz it would seem that “perception” is the definition. In which case decisions should not be made on empirical evidence rather they should be made according to the perception (understanding) of the consumers (concerned citizens).

    In these days, when education has been dumbed down (certainly in the UK), and “science” is dictated from authority, post-normal science would seem to be a dangerous practice.

  340. David Ross says:
    September 3, 2012 at 6:41 pm
    Tallbloke
    There is only one small document that you need to read, that I think will settle the argument on this thread and let you know what Ravetz is all about.
    Participatory Approaches to Environmental Policy
    by Bruna De Marchi & Jerome R. Ravetz

    http://www.clivespash.org/eve/PRB10-edu.pdf

    Hi David, thanks for this. The standout passage in relation to this debate is this one IMO

    “The very nature and dynamics of current environmental issues impede the
    effectiveness of explanations, forecasts or decisions based on a reductionist
    approach – those that assert definitive rather than probabilistic value-based judgements.
    Environmental systems are complex and their future characteristics uncertain.
    Consequently there is no privileged perspective on environmental issues. We cannot
    eliminate radical uncertainty about the factual basis for most applications of
    environmental evaluation. We can, however, encourage public debate on the
    merits thereof.

    Environmental evaluation can be viewed from the perspective
    of ‘post-normal science’ (Funtowicz and Ravetz 1993); that is, facts are
    uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high, and decisions urgent. The traditional
    distinction between ‘hard’ objective scientific facts and ‘soft’ subjective value judgements
    is now inverted. All too often, we must make ‘hard’ policy
    decisions where scientific inputs are irremediably ‘soft’ in the sense of being
    insufficiently reliable to provide conclusive support for a policy decision.

    Traditionally, economics has acted as a ‘normal’ science based on clearly
    defined postulates. It has sought to demonstrate how social goals are best
    achieved through the mechanisms operating automatically in an essentially
    simple system. The argument goes that conscious interference in the workings
    of the economic system will undermine achievement of these goals. However,
    in relation to decisions about the global environment, inherent judgements are required
    that go well beyond normal science.

    Even when pricing rather than control is advocated
    for the implementation of environmental policies, the prices must be set, consciously,
    by some agency. When externalities are uncertain and irreversible, setting ‘ecologically
    correct prices’ is impossible either in actual markets or surrogate markets that are used
    in contingent valuation studies (see also Policy Research Briefs 1 and 3). In this case
    special hypotheses, theories, visions and prejudices of the various policy-setting agents
    all come to bear on the policy debate.

    The public, whose members have their own
    perspectives, witnesses these contrasting and conflicting visions amongst actors in the
    policy arena. Experts are hence best regarded as one set of actors in a process of
    analyses and decisions. Rather than appealing to outdated notions of positivism and
    absolute knowledge, scientific expertise needs to establish a ‘new social contract with
    society’ (Gibbons 1999). This new style of governance requires that many social
    actors are involved in an extended dialogue where different types of knowledge and
    perspectives are brought to the forum and taken into consideration.

    Plenty to discuss there. :-)

    A couple of quickies to get us started:

    1) Was the situation urgent? Hoffer says not and I’ve always thought the same. But the powers that be were led to believe it was by the public pronouncements of the climategate scientists, even though they privately expressed doubts, as demonstrated by the emails. However, we can’t blame policy wonks writing in 2000 for not knowing stuff which wasn’t revealed until late 2009.

    2) Don’t underestimate the political impact of the Prague ‘velvet revolution’, and the lynching of Ceaucescu (sp?) in Romania. This set sphincters pulsating in Brussels. Public involvement in decision making beyond a once in four years opportunity to vote for one set of corrupt politicos or another suddenly became fashionable.

    3) Prime time for Ravetz and Funtowicz! Suddenly, people are taking their stuff seriously. Were they as unready for this as Phil Jones and the CRU?

    4) All this European stuff looks alien to U.S. American eyes, but how much are they not privy to behind the scenes? Isn’t Ravetz’ insistence on the spotlight being shone into the policy corridors a good thing? To be able to deal with something you first have to know it. Is there any willingness on the part of the U.S. public to get out there and force their mandarins to open up?

    5) Is Ravetz right that positivism regarding climate science is unwarrranted and outdated? Or has he put a pejorative label on what should have been a simple enough exercise in ruling out the possibility of extreme climatic effects from emissions? How careful do we need to be not to have our judgement clouded by 20-20 hindsight?

  341. Eugene S Conlin says:
    September 4, 2012 at 1:26 am

    The quote comes from: http://www.springerlink.com/content/7vvmwn907bj5h21j/ where Ravetz continues:
    “Also, we understand that an appropriate foundation for regulation and ethics is not so much “objectivity” as “awareness.” In an age when “consumers” are becoming concerned“citizens,” the relevant science must become post-normal”.

    No he doesn’t. Ravetz actually continues with:

    “The new drug/food syndromeneeds a new sort of science, what we call“post-normal.” This is inquiry at the contested interfaces of science and policy”

    So, nothing to do with interfering with empirical science done before the science reaches the “contested interfaces of science and policy”.

    You are trying to blacken Ravetz with selective snippets dishonestly conjoined and I won’t bother dealing with further examples. Shame on you.

  342. tallbloke:

    I am getting fed up with your repeated refusals to address my arguments but, instead, your repeated attempts at ‘poisoning the well’. The latest example of your despicable tactic is in your post at September 4, 2012 at 12:34 am where you write

    Those with black and white views about politics like David Hoffer and those with commercial and intellectual interests to protect like Richard Courtenay see Ravetz’ desire to democratize the corridors of power and peer review as dangerous and wrong

    Forget what you mistakenly think and assert are my motives. Answer my arguments: you have yet to answer a single one of them.

    Indeed, in one post you completely ignored my response to a question you posed to me and, instead, gave ‘yes/no’ responses to my numbered list of corrections to your false assertions of what I “think”. Enough is enough. Answer the arguments.

    Richard

  343. tallbloke says:
    September 4, 2012 at 12:34 am

    Those with black and white views about politics like David Hoffer and those with commercial and intellectual interests to protect like Richard Courtenay see Ravetz’ desire to democratize the corridors of power and peer review as dangerous and wrong.

    I cannot imagine how you get involved in these arguments and controversies on the internet. It is a complete mystery.

  344. I thought that might get Richard Courtney’s attention.

    Richard, when you and David stop mischaracterising what other people are saying with misquote and straw man argumentation, I’ll take your righteous indignation seriously.

  345. ****
    Steven Mosher [September 1, 2012 at 8:24 pm] says:

    But it looks like I win my proposition bet..

    Open water north of 85!
    ****

    Yeah, even here at 37N, I can feel it — alittle dizziness and slight nausea. A major disturbance in the farce. I can’t imagine how people in Barrow can survive the onslaught…

  346. tallbloke:

    At September 4, 2012 at 5:37 am you reply to my rebuttal of yet another of your false assertions about me together with a demands that you stop making untrue assertions about me but, instead, address my arguments (none of which have you addressed). Your reply says in full

    I thought that might get Richard Courtney’s attention.

    Richard, when you and David stop mischaracterising what other people are saying with misquote and straw man argumentation, I’ll take your righteous indignation seriously.

    So, you choose to condemn yourself.

    You have no answers to my arguments and your post I quote here adds another excuse to your series of excuses for not addressing my arguments. Indeed, your excuse on this occasion is an addition of two more to your list of false assertions about me.

    At September 3, 2012 at 12:51 pm davidmhoffer wrote:

    Seriously tallbloke, your loyalty to your friend is admirable, but you are increasingly grasping at straws and obviously so.

    Quod Erat Demonstrandum

    Richard

  347. tallbloke says:

    No he doesn’t. Ravetz actually continues with:

    “The new drug/food syndrome needs a new sort of science, what we call“post-normal.” This is inquiry at the contested interfaces of science and policy”

    So, nothing to do with interfering with empirical science done before the science reaches the “contested interfaces of science and policy”.

    Uh, everything to do with interfering with empircal science by pushing it into the “contested interfaces of science and policy” and keeping it there. The ultimate goal being to replace objective science in decision making with “a new sort of science”, i.e. fake science. Fake science that is not based on facts, reasoning, and hypothesis testing, but is instead based on values and “justice” and all the other fru-fru politicizations.

    You are trying to blacken Ravetz with selective snippets dishonestly conjoined and I won’t bother dealing with further examples.

    No, he is trying to point out to you what Ravetz’s words mean. Ravetz’s strategy, his methodology, his agenda, is to jump into the power void left by the expectation for scientific results that do not yet exist, and replace it with something else that has the air of science, that trades on the reputation earned by objective science, that has the imprimatur of science and yes something that is even given the name “science”, but which is not science. He is attempting to replace empirical science, and it is hard to imagine a greater interference than that.

    Shame on you.

    Shame on you for employing third grade logical fallacies to pout and run from a difficult discussion. Listen to what people are saying, and stop trying to shut them out and shut them down. You are too intelligent to be this naive.

    Pay attention to what is being said:

    tallbloke says:“Hi Mike. Ravetz isn’t claiming PNS is a science in and of itself.”

    Jerry Ravetz says: “The new drug/food syndrome needs a new sort of science, what we call ‘post-normal.’ This is inquiry at the contested interfaces of science and policy””

    Ravetz is claiming PNS is a science in and of itself. He calls it that! It is “a new sort of science.” Lest there be any doubt, he continues on to claim that it is a method of inquiry. Come on now tallbloke, you know what the definition and connotation of “inquiry” is in this context! Science! The “context” you are whining about provides further evidence of what you are refusing to accept.

    This quote also answers your own apparent confusion regarding description/prescription – half the time you deny the prescriptive function of PNS, the other half you embrace it:

    tallbloke says:“I regard PNS as a realistic description of how scientific output has been manipulated by realpolitik, rather than as a practise to be followed.”

    tallbloke says:“PNS is a description of what can happen at the science/policy interface after the ‘normal science’ is done. It also contains prescriptions for how that science/policy interface can be prised open by interested parties, some of them holding ‘leaked information’ etc.”

    Note how Ravetz put it: “The new drug/food syndrome needs a new sort of science, what we call ‘post-normal.’ “

    He doesn’t say that the circumstance of the contentionus “drug/food syndrome” is a new sort of science. He says it needs a new sort of science. He is not describing a circumstance, he is advocating for method of addressing that circumstance. A method that he calls “a new sort of science” and which will assume the role in the decision making process that science would normally play, but which is not science. It is just politics.

    PNS pretends to be science. PNS is not science. PNS is politics.

    Obscenely. Normal. Politics.

  348. tallbloke,

    You appear to be sort of an agent representing Jerome Ravetz on this tread, so can you direct the following question to him which I previously directed to him on this thread?

    from comment by John Whitman on September 3, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    QUESTION FOR JEROME RAVETZ:  Mr.  Ravetz, Would you please provide (if any) the fundamental concepts of PNS that you developed from the fundamental concepts of the philosophy of Marcuse?  That context for PNS would clearly concretize what PNS is at its most fundamental philosophical roots.

    I would appreciate it.

    John

  349. To tallbloke:

    What arrogant twaddle. You demanded an apology from me for misrepresenting Ravetz’ comments on CO2, I gave it to you. Bereft of any further excuses to refuse to respond to the valid points I made, you now accuse me of “black and white” politics? You complained about personal smears and ad hominem attacks, and then engage in them. But most egregious of all, you simply ignore the valid points being made and doggedly assert the primacy of your belief system without a shred of evidence to support it. You are doing PNS. You are doing exactly what you call out the alarmists for doing, yet cannot recognize the precise same behaviour in your own actions.

    Do you know why I don’t participate at your blog anymore?

    Because you practice PNS.

    I was in the middle of an argument with another commenter about an aspect of physics, that you admitted you had no expertise in. Despite having no expertise in the matter, you declared the matter resolved in favour of the other commenter. It was the last time I commented on your site.

    How DARE you? Yes, it is your blog, you can run it any way you want. But how DARE you pretend to be interested in science and then propose to settle a disagreement about a point of science that you admit you had NO expertise in? You sir, practiced PNS. You sir demanded, not only a seat at the table, but the authority to be “the decider” on a matter you had NO expertise in.

    That is PNS in action.

    It matters not if I was right or wrong. It matters only that someone who admitted to not having the requisite expertise one way or another granted themselves the power to decide the issue. In your blog on this specific point, there was little in the way of consequences for your actions. Would you have been so certain of yourself if millions of lives had been at stake?

    You are a practitioner of PNS and hence you defend it, no matter how foolish you look doing so. And you do look foolish.

    If Ravetz was really your friend, he’d step into this thread and defend himself. He’d have your back. Where is he? Don’t tell me he’s unaware, all you need to do is send him an email to make him aware. I’ll tell you where he is. He’s hiding.

    He’s smart enough not to get into a fight he cannot win. So, he cuts his losses. If you’re dumb enough to take the body blows for him, that’s no skin off his back. He’s not your friend as much as you are his useful idiot. Stop letting yourself be used. Ravetz is a flim flam artist who knows when his mark is on to him, and so quietly moves on to another mark. That you wish to stay behind and explain to the crowd that there was no cheating going on in the game of 3 Card Montey that just got exposed byu turning all three cards over at once and discovering that NONE of them are the Ace of Spades just makes you the target for the crowd’s ire while the true criminal makes his escape and finds a new crowd to fleece.

  350. Timeout

    This thread is getting too heated. I disagree with Tallbloke’s take on Ravetz and PNS. But he deserves more respect and latitude than he is now getting here.

    He has had the police search his home and confiscate his hard drives because of his part in revealing the Climategate emails. How many of you, now criticizing him, can claim anything similar?

    OK, enough of the preachy “yee who have not sinned” talk. This is a call for old fashioned civility, not the Ravetz kind of “conflict resolving”.

    If you believe, as I do, that Ravetz is duplitious and that his work is deliberately deceptive, then I see little justification for getting angry with someone who is deceived by it. Also, as I am asserting that much of what Ravetz says is not what he means, i.e. that he has a hidden agenda, then the burden of proof is firmly on me (and anyone else with a similar stance).

    The issue of “expertise” has been raised. My suspicions about Ravetz and PNS stem from the similarities I see with Herbert Marcuse’s work and “critical theory”. I have studied these at length, so claim some “expertise” (but no authority, anyone is welcome to ask for substantiation of any assertion I make).

    But Tallbloke, I believe, has known Ravetz personally for many years and has communicated with him at length, so if their is any “expert” on Ravetz, on this thread it is Tallbloke. Again the burden of proof is on others.

    I would like continue this discussion, but not until some people pull back from their recent comments. I do not want to participate in a piling on of Tallbloke. Also, this thread (which is drifting away from the original subject) may not be the best format or forum.

    Tallbloke, do you want to move this over to your blog?

  351. JJ says:
    September 4, 2012 at 8:04 am
    tallbloke says:

    No he doesn’t. Ravetz actually continues with:

    “The new drug/food syndrome needs a new sort of science, what we call“post-normal.” This is inquiry at the contested interfaces of science and policy”

    So, nothing to do with interfering with empirical science done before the science reaches the “contested interfaces of science and policy”.

    Uh, everything to do with interfering with empircal science by pushing it into the “contested interfaces of science and policy” and keeping it there.

    Not at all JJ. Not even a bit. Ravetz distinguishes carefully between ‘normal science’ and what happens afterwards once the outputs of that ‘normal science’ reach “the contested interfaces of science and policy”

    Spin it all you like but it’s very clear. And it’s backed up by his essay on my blog where he says:

    “Science is exceptional among systems of production in that its quality-assurance is largely informal. There can be no testers with go/no-go gauges at the end of the research line. Because of this, it must necessarily be self-policing.

    Got that JJ?

    “self policing”.

    Not subject to “inquiry at the contested interfaces of science and policy” where all the other factors and actors come into play.

    Not subject to investigation by Ravetz and the PNS police banging on the door demanding hard drives and laptops from scientists.

    “self policing”

    But hey, I told you all this already, and you keep twisting around trying to get Ravetz’s meaning to mean what you say it means. Fortunately, his actual words are sharp and clear on this.

  352. David Ross;
    if their is any “expert” on Ravetz, on this thread it is Tallbloke. Again the burden of proof is on others.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    No, the burden is on Ravetz to engage in the discussion instead of slinking away when valid criticisms of PNS are raised.

  353. David Ross says:
    September 4, 2012 at 12:19 pm
    Tallbloke, do you want to move this over to your blog?

    Hi David,
    If you’d like to move our part of the discussion over to the Talkshop that’s fine by me. We’re in celebratory mood over there with Medieval Greenland Viking Beer flowing freely and a jovial atmosphere around our landmark event today. I put Keith G and Jerry Ravetz comments from this thread over on this one if you’d like to continue there.

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/02/08/jerome-ravetz-pns-truth-and-science/

    And thank you for your wise words here.

  354. John Whitman says:
    September 4, 2012 at 8:04 am
    QUESTION FOR JEROME RAVETZ: Mr. Ravetz, Would you please provide (if any) the fundamental concepts of PNS that you developed from the fundamental concepts of the philosophy of Marcuse? That context for PNS would clearly concretize what PNS is at its most fundamental philosophical roots.

    Hi John,
    I believe you’ll get an answer to this. Jerry tells me that:
    “I really must correct that Marcuse stuff. Kate Farrell is a very dear friend, and a brilliant scholar, but she is hung up on Marcuse.”

  355. davidmhoffer says:
    September 4, 2012 at 1:17 pm
    No, the burden is on Ravetz to engage in the discussion instead of slinking away when valid criticisms of PNS are raised.

    Ravetz is into non-violent communication. If you turn the volume down a bit and ask for things like John Whitman does, it might work. I speak for myself in this too.

  356. tallbloke;
    I put Keith G and Jerry Ravetz comments from this thread
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    How selective of you. Why not any of the many comments that score direct hits on Ravetz PNS garbage? Why not all of the comments both pro and con? Why just from those two commenters?

    I’ll not be bothering to follow at your site however. If Ravtez wants to stick his nose into the discussion on this site, then he should defend himself on this site. I’m not particularly interested in your defense of Ravetz, I’m interested in his defense of himself. Given that he has not answered me on any thread on any blog at any time, I wonder if he even has a defense.

  357. David Ross:

    At September 4, 2012 at 12:19 pm you express concern for tallbloke and say

    OK, enough of the preachy “yee who have not sinned” talk. This is a call for old fashioned civility, not the Ravetz kind of “conflict resolving”.

    I go further: it is long past the time for old fashioned civility.

    In this thread tallbloke has steadfastly refused to address any of my arguments including arguments in reply to a question he put to me, but he has repeatedly made personal insults to and about me.

    He feels it is reasonable to throw mud but you and he seem to think it is unfair for others to complain at his throwing it.

    Now, at your suggestion, it seems he is ‘going to take his ball home’.

    Old fashioned civility would have been much preferred.

    Richard

  358. tallbloke;
    Ravetz is into non-violent communication. If you turn the volume down a bit and ask for things like John Whitman does, it might work. I speak for myself in this too.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Bull. I’ve tried all sorts of approaches ranging from styles similar to his own to calling bullsh*t what it is, bullsh*t. I’ve followed his responses to others as well as myself, and he is consistant. Faced with valid criticism of his PNS malarky, he simply doesn’t respond. The guiding principle is not the “volume” of the remarks but the validity of the criticism. In the face of valid criticism, he disappears, and it matters not in the least if it is worded politely or not.

  359. tallbloke says:

    “Uh, everything to do with interfering with empircal science by pushing it into the “contested interfaces of science and policy” and keeping it there.

    Not at all JJ. Not even a bit. Ravetz distinguishes carefully between ‘normal science’ and what happens afterwards once the outputs of that ‘normal science’ reach “the contested interfaces of science and policy”

    Yes, all. Nothing in what you wrote is responsive to my point. You are talking around our points, instead of addressing them.

    Yes, Ravetz distinguishes between actual science and his PNS politics masquerading as science. He distinguishes between them, declares actual science to be useless under subjectively defined criteria, then he puts his PNS in the place of the actual science in the decision making process. Then he calls his plan “science” and refers to it as “a new sort of science”. PNS is not science. It is politics. PNS is not a method of inquiry. It is politics.

    Spin it all you like but it’s very clear.

    Yes it is. And you are willfully obtuse as to what is very clearly stated. Cold War era communists like Ravetz had a term for people who stumped for their philosophies without understanding them. It isn’t flattering.

    “Science is exceptional among systems of production in that its quality-assurance is largely informal. There can be no testers with go/no-go gauges at the end of the research line. Because of this, it must necessarily be self-policing.”

    Got that JJ?

    Yes. I also get that it is absolutely irrelevant to anything I have said thus far. You appear to be responding to some internal narrative that the rest of us aren’t privy to.

    But hey, I told you all this already, and you keep twisting around trying to get Ravetz’s meaning to mean what you say it means..

    No, you haven’t already told me the above referenced non-sequitur. Perhaps you are thinking of a non-reponse you made to someone else. Understandable error, given the frequency with which you do that. It would be really nice if you were to read the posts that you are reponding to, and respond to what is in them, rather than making these absurd statements and running from the discussion with childish charges of “twisting” etc.

    On the other hand I have previously explained to you the error of these two statements:

    1) Ravetz isn’t claiming PNS is a science, and

    2) PNS is a description, not a methodology.

    And I’m wondering when you will stop making them.

  360. Cautiously re-emerging into what has become a war zone (I hope you guys are enjoying this!)

    @ cynicalscientist says:
    September 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm – loved what you had to say about sociologists! in earlier times had more rigour, especially Robert Merton, of the pre-PC era, whose analysis of scientific processes and advances offered real insights.

    @ davidmhoffer

    “Faced with valid criticism of his PNS malarky, [Ravetz] simply doesn’t respond”.

    I have to agree. I’m still waiting, several years after first requesting this, for a nice (and appropriate) historical example that would justify Ravetz’s PNS philosophy. The problem with philosophy is that it seeks to create normativess and absolutes, but uses abstractions as justifications. PNS, seeking to strip real life (and science) of its contingencies, ‘actors’ and ‘networks’, remains purely an ideology.

    I have read one very poor analysis of the Canadian fisheries science crisis following the collapse of the northern cod stocks in 1992, which calls for PNS as the solution, but also fails to define what this would mean. I think in this case the author wished to see the precautionary principle as the guiding principle for all fishery policy, involving all stakeholders in the industry (including environmental activists.)

    One can imagine some degree of sympathy for this argument, but again, what is being called for is not science, but for conservation policies based on different philosophies and with different policy development by different actors and participants. In fact, it would amount to a profound rejection (perhaps rightly in this case) of the existing science, at a time when what is needed most is a commitment to reinvigorated scientific investigations, as the causes of fish stock population fluctuations remain poorly understood.

  361. JJ says:
    September 4, 2012 at 2:57 pm
    tallbloke says:

    “Uh, everything to do with interfering with empircal science by pushing it into the “contested interfaces of science and policy” and keeping it there.”
    Not at all JJ. Not even a bit. Ravetz distinguishes carefully between ‘normal science’ and what happens afterwards once the outputs of that ‘normal science’ reach “the contested interfaces of science and policy”

    Yes, all. Nothing in what you wrote is responsive to my point. You are talking around our points, instead of addressing them.

    Well, I thought I addressed it clearly and succinctly. We’ll have to agree to disagree about that.

    Yes, Ravetz distinguishes between actual science and his PNS politics masquerading as science. He distinguishes between them, declares actual science to be useless under subjectively defined criteria, then he puts his PNS in the place of the actual science in the decision making process.

    Got a link to him declaring the “actual science to be useless”?

    He does say that when facts are in dispute and uncertainty high that the scientific outputs are “irremediably soft” but I don’t think most sceptics would disagree with that assessment as it applies to climate science.

    So when you have one group of scientists saying “yes it is” and another group of scientists saying
    “no it isn’t”, what are the people sitting on the committee at the science/policy interface to do? They have to weigh up what the claims are from each group, and also take into account the church group who are saying “it doesn’t matter which of them is right, the whole premise is immoral”. And the local residents who don’t care who is right, but don’t want it in their backyard anyway whether it’s in the full fat or half measure compromise form.

    I was amused to note the people on this thread who said they didn’t want the extra seats at the policy table Ravetz is trying to argue for. I’m not surprised though. It’s a sh1tty job you’ll always get more flak than praise for, because the number of disgruntled groups will always outnumber the one group which got the favourable decision.

    The point is that ‘normal science’ in the Kuhnian sense, is, according to Kuhn, “puzzle solving within an accepted paradigm.” But when fundamental facts which underpin the paradigm are in dispute, then, according to Kuhn, science moves into a revolutionary phase where the normal rules of academic engagement fail. Philosophers of science from Lakatos to Feyerabend point out that when this happens, the outcome isn’t decided by nice neat logic, but by an intellectual brawl where ‘anything goes’.

    Ravetz takes Kuhn’s insights and translates them to the science-policy interface, where he tries to come up with formulas to aid in the policy process where non-experts have to weigh up disputed and conflicting evidence from various groups of science experts, who despite their supposed impartiality and perfect objectivity, tend to make sciencey sounding pronouncements which support the views of their funders.

  362. And I’ll just add that in the case of climate science, it’s pretty clear that it was the advocates of urgent action such as Schneider who were trying to replace science with malarky, not Ravetz. The science was knobbled by ‘scientists’ before it got to the science-policy interface. Now, here’s the nub of the issue: Some people say that Schneider was saying, along with a couple of others, as revealed in the emails years later, that it didn’t matter if the science was wrong, because using ‘scientists’ (turned advocates) to persuade the policy wonks to take action was “the right thing to do anyway”.

    Personally, I don’t think you can lay the blame for this on Ravetz doorstep, because he had to expect the scientists to do honest science, and that the internal system for quality assurance, the “self policing”, would ensure that they did. He had to start from that ‘given’ because he knew that no-one would support the idea of ‘oversight committees of non-experts’ keeping an eye on what went on in the lab.

    Which is why, after the malarkey came to light post-climategate, he suggested the scientists and sceptics should get together at Lisbon to agree on standards for data collation and transparency. That was to be the initial compromise between ‘interference’ and ‘hands off’. He couched it in terms that the climate scientists themselves should welcome this, because other disciplines had agreed standards and standards agencies to police them, and that if climatologists wanted people to take them seriously post-climategate, they would benefit from doing the same.

    Yet what do we see? Jim Hansen is still picking and choosing which stations to use in GISStemp this year on the basis of whether they warmed or cooled, generating the graphs, publishing papers drawing spurious conclusions from the spurious dataset and getting himself arrested at climate demos.

    It isn’t Ravetz you should be going for as the fall guy for all this, the malarkey goes way higher up the chain.

  363. vigilantfish:

    Thankyou for your post at September 4, 2012 at 5:05 pm which includes a useful example of a real case. Your post begins saying

    Cautiously re-emerging into what has become a war zone (I hope you guys are enjoying this!)

    Yes, it is a “war” but I am not – and I suspect others are not – “enjoying” it: wars are never pleasant.

    At the enlightenment, science was separated from political and religious authority in so far as that was possible. And the resulting benefits to humanity have been immense.

    PNS is a direct attack on the achievements of the enlightenment, and we who value the achievements of the enlightenment are defending against the attack.

    ‘The enlightenment’ has been given many differing definitions but it was, in essence, an eighteenth century philosophical movement which emphasised human reasoning over blind faith or obedience. This emphasis was mostly provided by encouraging ‘scientific’ thinking instead of acceptance of ‘authority’. And enlightenment philosophy contrasted with much of the religious and political order of the day.

    The basic achievement of the enlightenment can be summed up as being the general adoption of the original motto of the Royal Society (i.e. “nullius in verba”) whichtranslates as “On the authority of nobody”.

    PNS overtly attempts to reduce the distinction between intellectually unfettered scientific research and ‘authority’ imposed by ‘stakeholders’. In practice it can only provide a return to the pre-enlightenment situation because the ‘stakeholders’ have power (e.g. money) that they can use on the research and the researchers have no power to defend their research.

    Thus, the ‘war’ is between supporters of different philosophies.

    Richard

  364. tallbloke says:

    “Yes, all. Nothing in what you wrote is responsive to my point. You are talking around our points, instead of addressing them.”

    Well, I thought I addressed it clearly and succinctly. We’ll have to agree to disagree about that.

    Chicken.

    Got a link to him declaring the “actual science to be useless”?

    Useless under subjectively defined criteria is what I said, and that is the central thesis of PNS.

    So when you have one group of scientists saying “yes it is” and another group of scientists saying “no it isn’t”, what are the people sitting on the committee at the science/policy interface to do?

    What I expect them to NOT do, is pretend that their decision making is based on science. That is what PNS does – it gives the imprimatur of science to non-science based decisions. That was Ravetz’s goal, and he accomplishes it by titling his political methodology “Science”, by referring to it as “a new sort of science”, and by casting it to fill the role that science would normally play in science based decision making.

    They have to weigh up what the claims are from each group, and also take into account the church group who are saying “it doesn’t matter which of them is right, the whole premise is immoral”. And the local residents who don’t care who is right, but don’t want it in their backyard anyway whether it’s in the full fat or half measure compromise form.

    None of that is science. All of that is politics. If Ravetz had titled his political methodology “The Politics of Ignorance”, if he had referred to it as “a new sort of politics” instead of a “new sort of science”, and if he had admitted that it was just politics, we would not be having this one sided conversation where I make the same points over and over and you dance around pretending not to hear.

    I was amused to note the people on this thread who said they didn’t want the extra seats at the policy table Ravetz is trying to argue for.

    We don’t care about “extra seats at the policy table”. Come up with whatever political decision making process you want. Fill it with whatever mix of religious and other political actors you want. Account for whatever moral, aesthetic, political and other “values” you want. Weight “expertise” and “quality” and “motives” how ever you please. But when you go to sell your seating chart for the policy table, dont pretend that it is science, or an acceptable substitute for science based decision making.

    The point is that ‘normal science’ in the Kuhnian sense, is, according to Kuhn, “puzzle solving within an accepted paradigm.” But when fundamental facts which underpin the paradigm are in dispute, then, according to Kuhn, science moves into a revolutionary phase where the normal rules of academic engagement fail. Philosophers of science from Lakatos to Feyerabend point out that when this happens, the outcome isn’t decided by nice neat logic, but by an intellectual brawl where ‘anything goes’.

    Yes, Kuhn described (and to a large degree promoted) bad science. I said that.

    Ravetz takes Kuhn’s insights and translates them to the science-policy interface, where he tries to come up with formulas to aid in the policy process

    Perhaps you are now prepared to admit that which you alternately deny – PNS is prescriptive, and PNS is politics. PNS is a political methodology.

    where non-experts have to weigh up disputed and conflicting evidence from various groups of science experts, who despite their supposed impartiality and perfect objectivity, tend to make sciencey sounding pronouncements which support the views of their funders.

    And Ravetz titles, refers to, and conceptualizes that non-science activity as science. Perhaps you are now prepared to admit that as well…

  365. tallbloke says:

    And I’ll just add that in the case of climate science, it’s pretty clear that it was the advocates of urgent action such as Schneider who were trying to replace science with malarky, not Ravetz. .

    Schneider, Hulme and the rest of the climate cabal appeal directly to PNS and Ravetz. See:

    http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Climate/Climate_Policy/Policy.html

    They do this, because PNS supports their plan for making non-science based decisions under the guise of science. The whole notion of “urgent action” being an excuse for modifying the standards by which scientific knowledge is judged is pure PNS. The fact that they embrace Ravetz with the same ferver you do should be a clue to you. And perhaps to us.

    Personally, I don’t think you can lay the blame for this on Ravetz doorstep, because he had to expect the scientists to do honest science, and that the internal system for quality assurance, the “self policing”, would ensure that they did.

    FFS. PNS’ fundamental premise is that when “stakes are … blah blah blah” scientists can become corrupt. Ravetz expected that some scientists would NOT do honest science in those circumstances, and that is the excuse given for PNS. It is the excuse for “extended peer review” and “extended facts” and the basis of the need for “assessing quality”, and “questioning motives” and “admitting leaked evidence” and the other “features” of PNS that you alternately extoll and deny. You contradict yourself in your ad hoc attempts to make excuses for Ravetz.

    You cannot defend your master by denying his work. Stop trying so hard to prop him up and start looking for the truth.

  366. JJ says:
    September 5, 2012 at 7:04 am

    And Ravetz titles, refers to, and conceptualizes that non-science activity as science. Perhaps you are now prepared to admit that as well…

    He does and he doesn’t. It’s a pun. A play on words. And it’s got him into trouble, as he admitted on the previous WUWT thread. It goes something like this:

    Post…….’normal science’ i.e. after Kuhns concept, what is done with the output of normal science.
    Post-normal……science i.e. not a science in the normal sense (although it does attempt quantification here and there)

    PNS is prescriptive, and PNS is politics. PNS is a political methodology.

    I think you are overegging it with that statement.
    Pretty much anything which isn’t algebra or formal logic or pure maths has elements of politics in it if you look for them. Read Bruno Latour’s critique of Einstein’s popular science book on Relativity sometime.

    There again don’t. You would probably totally misunderstand that too.

  367. tallbloke says:

    “And Ravetz titles, refers to, and conceptualizes that non-science activity as science. Perhaps you are now prepared to admit that as well…”

    He does and he doesn’t. It’s a pun. A play on words.”

    No it isn’t. And you know it. When someone says that what is needed is “a new sort of science” and then offers up something that he calls “blah blah science”, he isn’t telling a joke.

    You are just being childishly argumentative.

    “PNS is prescriptive, and PNS is politics. PNS is a political methodology.

    I think you are overegging it with that statement.

    No you don’t. You described PNS as “formulas to aid in the policy process …”. You also describe PNS as “…contains prescriptions for how that science/policy interface can be prised open by interested parties, some of them holding ‘leaked information’ etc.” You also fawn over PNS as securing “extra seats at the policy table”.

    You are just being childishly argumentative, largely with yourself. It is embarrassing.

    Pretty much anything which isn’t algebra or formal logic or pure maths has elements of politics in it if you look for them

    Absurdly argumentative.

    PNS is politics. What else could it be? A “new sort of science”, like Ravetz claims it to be? No, you deny that it even claims to be science, let alone that it actually is science.

    PNS is politics. You alternately extoll and deny this simple fact. Pick a lane.

  368. @JJ and the rest of the ‘die hards’ hangin in on this discussion . . .

    I am trying to understand what you all (ya’ll) are trying to point out . . . I agree that PNS is not applicable to Climate Science but, it appears to me that PNS is applicable in the art of “crisis management” so, might be applicable in a tornado event, a hurricanes, a possible tsunami, or earthquake, all relatively short term events in the Climate Science time line.

    Climate has it’s crises but, it is not in crisis, so to bring up PNS in the context of the long term is not relevant or constructive and may actually foster mass hysteria.

    So, for me the question arises: Just what is (was) the objective?

    As the objective for one is not necessarily the objective for another, or for “the all”!

    And just what are “you” (I, they) trying to “real”-ly acheive?

    This could be contrued into my PNS for convolution,

  369. tallbloke;
    Pretty much anything which isn’t algebra or formal logic or pure maths has elements of politics in it if you look for them. Read Bruno Latour’s critique of Einstein’s popular science book on Relativity sometime. There again don’t. You would probably totally misunderstand that too.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    There we have it. Confronted with facts and logic, philosophy always retreats into increasingly abstract arguments (excuses!) and diversionary rhetoric that have no direct bearing on the original discussion. Having demanded that the volume be “turned down” and having complained about smears and ad hominem attacks, the philosopher not only retreats to a battle field of his own definition, but employs the very tactics he complained about in the process.

    So back to the core of the argument tallbloke. Ravetz definition of PNS is above in this thread. I challenge you, yet again, to provide a single example of a matter that is urgent and yet provides for the time to consult the wider array of stakeholders that Ravetz proposes. You cannot because this is a contradiction in terms. If the matter is urgent, there is no time for broader consultation. If there is time for broader consultation, then the matter is not urgent.

    PNS fails on its own definition. The only way for it to function is to create the PERCEPTION of urgency while still embracing a leisurely decision making process. Why? Why create the perception of urgency while imposing on the decision making process and extended discussion which takes considerable time?

    I’ll tell you why.

    Because by creating the perception of urgency while preserving an extended timeline, Ravetz creates the opportunity to stick his snout into the public trough. He creates a framework of urgency combined with an extended timeline for consultation that is a complete fiction. Urgency and the timeline for extended consultation CANNOT COEXIST BY DEFINITION.

    The very situation that Ravetz claims is served by PNS does not, and cannot exist. It is a facade, pure and simple. A flim flam game with all of humanity as the mark. He is not better, and quite possibly much worse, than the charl@tons who conduct Climate Seances and substitute models for data, belief systems for science. He is worse than them because he enables them.

  370. Laurie Brown;
    I agree that PNS is not applicable to Climate Science but, it appears to me that PNS is applicable in the art of “crisis management” so, might be applicable in a tornado event, a hurricanes, a possible tsunami, or earthquake, all relatively short term events in the Climate Science time line.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    As I have been (futiley) explaining to tallbloke, PNS can have no value in an actual crisis. In a crisis, decisions have to be made, and made right now. That’s what words like “crisis”, “emergency” and “urgent” mean. They mean we need action NOW not consultation which takes time. If we have the time for the kind of consultation that Ravetz proposes as the PNS process, then how could it have been urgent in the first place?

    When urgent situations arise, there are people with the knowledge to address them, and there are people with the resources to address them. With any luck, they are the same people. Anyone who has actually been in a crisis situation understands this. When a child falls into a pond and begins to drown, either there is someone who knows how to swim and so jumps into the pond to save the child’s life… or there isn’t. If there isn’t, the adults on shore can convene all the committees they want, consult with an expanded set of stakeholders, weigh the opinions of people who cannot swim about what to do… and the child will still drown.

    • davidmhoffer… and the child will still drown. Unless, one fast thinking non-swimiming, blind, legless person suggests throwing a rope and someone does it . . . . perhaps the child can be saved.

      But, I agree with your assertion that “creating the perception of urgency” when there is not an urgent situation is a tactical ploy for nefarious purposes.

      It’s just a normal that there is/are exception(s) to just about every rule, (except one?)

  371. JJ and davidmhoffer:

    Thankyou for your keeping up the struggle until everyone who comes upon this thread can see and understand the seriousness of the danger posed by PNS.

    Only tallbloke seems to positively want PNS but – as Laurie Brown says and exemplifies – there remain those who may be beguiled by PNS. And this discussion needs to continue until everyone can clearly see the danger posed by PNS.

    Unless people other than tallbloke support PNS in the thread, there is no point in my doing other than observing the debate because tallbloke adamantly refuses to address anything I say: instead, he responds to me by throwing mud which obscures the arguments.

    So, I thank both of you for your sterling efforts and I write to urge you to keep up the good work.

    Richard

  372. davidmhoffer… and the child will still drown. . . . . .Unless, one fast thinking non-swimiming, person suggests throwing a rope and someone does it . . . . perhaps the child can be saved.

    I agree with your assertion that “creating the perception of urgency” when there is not an urgent situation is a tactical ploy for nefarious purposes.

    It’s just a normal that there is/are exception(s) to just about every rule, (except one?)

  373. Laurie Bowen:

    At September 5, 2012 at 11:51 am you ask David

    It’s just a normal that there is/are exception(s) to just about every rule, (except one?)

    I take the liberty of providing two answers of my own. And my answers could be thought unfair because they each reply your question with another question. But I intend them as serious points and not an evasion.

    Firstly, I cannot think of the exception which would require PNS, can you?

    Secondly, if you can think of exceptions, could they possibly outweigh the harm to science from the application of PNS which they would require?

    Richard

    • Richard, PNS can examine, “what if’s” PNS can “brainstorm”.
      Science is a specialized discipline different from this PNS, by definition.

      You can have a lone scientists, but PNS takes a community.
      Kind of like saying apples and oranges are different from grapes . . . . . but, it’s still all fruit.

      And that’s it for me on this red herring hunt and the only thing out there are snipes.

  374. Laurie Brown;
    Unless, one fast thinking non-swimiming, person suggests throwing a rope and someone does it . . . . perhaps the child can be saved.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    You’ve simply constructed an alternate version of immediate applicable knowledge having access to immediate applicable means. No time to form a committee, only the time to act and that action being limited to the knowledge and means available at the moment.

  375. Let’s take a test. Part 1, matters urgent:

    1. You pull a child from the water. The child is unconscious and not breathing. You don’t know what to do. Yoy can accept help from one of three people who announce their willingness to help along with their profession. Do you choose:

    a) the lifeguard
    b) the mechanical engineeer
    c) the stock broker

    2. You awake to the smell of smoke, and upon investigation, discover that your neighbour’s house is on fire. Do you call:

    a) the fire department
    b) your neighbour
    c) the chair of your employer’s health and safety committee

    3. You are in a public place when a terrorist starts shooting people. You are armed, and have a clear shot. Do you:

    a) shoot the terrorist
    b) offer the terrorist the phone number of a good psychologist
    c) organize a committee of innocent bystanders

    4) You awake to the smell of smoke, and upon investigation, discover that your house is on fire. Do you:

    a) get your family out of the house.
    b) phone your neighbour
    c) organize a neighbourhood watch meeting

    If you answered anything other than a) to any of these questions, you may be suffering from PNS.

  376. Part 2, Matters important, but not urgent

    1. You are in charge of emergency response in the event of flooding in your city. You need to know what areas of the city are best to store emergency rations both to keep them above the flood waters and have best possible access to the city. It is most important to consult with:

    a) civil engineers knowledgeable of the local flood plain
    b) civil engineers with no knowledge of the local flood plain
    c) a lifegaurd

    2. A hostile nation appears to be increasing troops on your border. Is it most important to consult with:

    a) your military advisors
    b) Doctors Without Borders
    c) GreenPeace

    3. An asteroid has been detected which appears to be on a collision path with earth 10 years from now. In formulating possible action plans, is it most important to ask the opinion of:

    a) NASA
    b) stock brokers
    c) Committee for a Better Tomorrow

    4. You are tasked with improving the access of emergency vehicles via public street systems at rush hour. To understand the challenges faced by emergency vehicles under these circumstances, do you consult with:

    a) drivers of emergency vehicles
    b) drivers of bicycles
    c) people who ride the bus

    If you answered anything other than a) to any of these questions, you may be suffering from PNS.

  377. Laurie Bowen says:
    September 5, 2012 at 1:45 pm
    Richard, PNS can examine, “what if’s” PNS can “brainstorm”.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    How? If the matter is urgent, how is there time to do this?

  378. Laurie Bowen:

    Thankyou for your willingness to explore these matters with me that you show by your post addressed to me at September 5, 2012 at 1:45 pm.

    There is always the possibility that I may be wrong so I welcome sincere disagreement. So I am sorry that you think my reply to you was “snipes”: that was not my intention.

    Your post says in full

    Richard, PNS can examine, “what if’s” PNS can “brainstorm”.
    Science is a specialized discipline different from this PNS, by definition.

    You can have a lone scientists, but PNS takes a community.
    Kind of like saying apples and oranges are different from grapes . . . . . but, it’s still all fruit.

    And that’s it for me on this red herring hunt and the only thing out there are snipes.

    Taking your points in turn. PNS is irrelevant to “brainstorming”.

    It is common for scientists to “brainstorm” especially in emergency situations. For example, consider what happened in the Apollo 13 emergency. The first thing the scientists and engineers did was to brainstorm possible responses to the emergency. PNS would have required them to involve other ‘stakeholders’, e.g. among others the PR people from NASA and all the companies who contributed to provision of the Command Module. Far from helping, the involvement of ‘stakeholders’ would have been a hindrance if only because every scientific and engineering statement would have needed to be explained to them. When a problem is “urgent” then the waste time involving ‘stakeholders’ needs to be avoided, but PNS claims the ‘stakeholders’ should be involved because the problem is “urgent”.

    As you say, PNS and science are not the same thing. Science is an on-going activity: science is never “settled”. But once PNS is introduced science becomes governed by the desires, preferences and prejudices of the ‘stakeholders’. And this damages the science because PNS is politics and not science. Therefore, the ‘stakeholders’ need to be kept away from the science as much as possible. As I say in my post at September 3, 2012 at 1:34 am, industry has learned this the hard way and, therefore, industry makes clear distinction between research, development and demonstration. Industrial research is funded to investigate a specific objective (e.g. to find a material with certain properties). If the funder defines and controls what the research must provide then little of use is likely to be obtained from the research. Alternatively, if the research is free to find whatever it can as a means to fulfil the objective then that research may find several or no solutions to the problem (i.e. several or no such materials) but probably will discover (possibly not anticipated) information as a ‘by-product’. The funder will then employ engineers to develop tightly specified developments from whatever the research finds.

    There are some “lone scientists” but most science is now conducted by research teams; i.e.”communities”. If the “community” is not sufficient – perhaps because it lacks expertise in a particular discipline – then the team is expanded either permanently or temporarily. If the team needs additional expertise in statistics then the addition of a lawyer to their “community” would not help. PNS adds ‘stakeholders'; i.e. everybody with a vested interest in wanting ‘a finger in the pie’. Not all fruit is good in every dish.

    Those are my thoughts.

    Richard

  379. I’m not taking sides here – just responding to an earlier comment I thought was excellent.

    @ Richard S Courtney: September 5, 2012 at 1:39 am

    PNS is a direct attack on the achievements of the enlightenment, and we who value the achievements of the enlightenment are defending against the attack.

    I fully agree, and you have put it most succinctly. Thank you.

    I don’t want to de-rail this thread (it’s a train wreck already, and Ms Hollender must be licking her lips at so much new material for study). But I would like to add to your comment, Richard. People in this forum might want to think about other aspects of the ongoing attack on Enlightenment values. Not just against science but, for example, against the rights and freedoms of the individual, against tolerance of differing views, and against human progress.

    Now, why don’t y’all stop arguing against each other and start understanding the “enemy?”

    Neil

  380. Neil:

    Thankyou for your overly kind comments (at September 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm) concerning a post I made. I write to respond to the question with which you conclude your post; i.e.

    Now, why don’t y’all stop arguing against each other and start understanding the “enemy?”

    With respect, this discussion about PNS is about “understanding the enemy” and the ‘enemy’s’ methods. David has expressed this clearly in several excellent posts. One of his posts is so clear about this that I copy it below to save you needing to find it.

    Please note that this argument transcends normal politics: David and I are poles apart politically (David admits he is right-wing by American standards and I am left-wing by British standards).

    Richard

    ***************
    davidmhoffer says:
    September 1, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    richardscourtney;
    But, please remember, people who have made – and are making – a living out of having promoted something are not likely to abandon that something whether or not they know it is nonsense.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    True. But there remains considerable value in exposing them so that they are less able to convince others. Jerome Ravetz is possibly a greater threat to humanity than the likes of Jones, Briffa, Mann and Hansen. He’s worse, because he enables them.

    Wrapped up in high sounding words, carefully articulated, he constructs a chain of assertions that seem logical. That seemingly logical construct is then applied to a single issue such as climate change, and suddenly the urging of Jones, Briffa, Mann and Hansen also seem logical by extension.

    But like all completely artificiall thought constructs, the logic chain fails when applied, not in isolation, but in general. How many more alarming issues that could be described as high stakes, urgent, facts uncertain could we list? Israel and Iran could plunge the whole middle east into war, cutting off much of the world’s oil supply. Maybe we should nuke them to prevent that? Any number of diseases could evolve into something disastrous. Vaccine resistant strains of smallpox or polio. Should we put all of our resources into coming up with vaccines for diseases that might exist in the future? We could be visited by aliens who want to fry us up for dinner. The sun might eject a stream of matter that would fry the earth. The magnetic field of the earth could shut down as it has in the past, and that would be disastrous too.

    Ravetz, I predict, won’t answer me, precisely because he knows the truth. That the list of things that fit his “stakes high, matters urgent, facts uncertain” definition is ridiculously long, and many of the things people could come up with to list are far more likely to actually happen than the ill effects of climate change. We can’t possibly deal with even a tiny fraction of them, and that’s what applying his logic in the general case instead of JUST to climate change exposes.

    While he probably won’t answer me (he hasn’t before) I take some satisfaction in knowing that his lack of response is a tacit admission of guilt, and those who read this blog will see that. If I’m wrong, and he does answer me…. well, let’s just say I look forward to that.

  381. Neil:

    As an addendum to my reply to you, I refer you to my first post in this thread at September 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm. It directly and specifically addresses your points saying

    People in this forum might want to think about other aspects of the ongoing attack on Enlightenment values. Not just against science but, for example, against the rights and freedoms of the individual, against tolerance of differing views, and against human progress.

    However, I draw your attention to that post merely as an addendum because it addresses the matter from one specific political viewpoint and – as I said in my body of reply to you – this matter transcends normal politics.

    Richard

  382. JJ says:
    September 5, 2012 at 9:48 am
    PNS is politics. You alternately extoll and deny this simple fact. Pick a lane.

    What I was trying to point out was the inevitable tension between science, which as Richard says is always an ongoing process, and policy, which is ‘written in stone’ for years at a time. But then, AGW science has resisted all new discoveries in order to maintain its grip. However, this has more to do with the corruption of the peer review process than scientists becoming PNS practitioners. The internal governance of science, which Ravetz stated very clearly
    “must of necessity be self policing” has failed in the case of climate science.

    The reasons for that failure are without doubt partly due to political allegiances among the cadre of scientists, journal editors and peer reviewers, and the instinctive way groups circle wagons and defend against attack. None of this has anything to do with PNS however.

    “Self policing” JJ.

    richardscourtney says:
    September 5, 2012 at 11:32 am
    tallbloke adamantly refuses to address anything I say: instead, he responds to me by throwing mud which obscures the arguments.

    You’ve been throwing enough mud of your own Richard

    The long reply you addressed to me at
    richardscourtney says:
    September 3, 2012 at 1:34 am

    Contained argument by assertion, ad hominem and non sequiteur. Much of what you said about politics and science was perfectly correct, but your attempt to charge Ravetz with responsibility for the ills of society failed IMO.

    PNS is a corrupt practice and you are certainly being disingenuous by suggesting it is not.

    PNS as practised by who? In what context? IAnd when did I discuss the practice of PNS as opposed to what Ravetz means?

  383. @richard2courtney,

    I did not reply earlier due to term start-up work, but just wanted to say thank you for your kind comments and for keeping up the good fight. Your arguments are beautifully concise and ‘enlightened’.

  384. tallbloke:

    Thankyou for your post at September 6, 2012 at 5:52 am which – at last – says something which pertains to what I have said in this thread instead of asserting what you wrongly proclaim I ”think” and what you mistakenly claim are my motives.

    I do not intend to get into a ”who said” argument about mud-slinging: you have thrown much at me without any apology but I apologised for the sole error I made. Say what you like about that.

    I address your points which relate to what I have actually said.

    You say

    What I was trying to point out was the inevitable tension between science, which as Richard says is always an ongoing process, and policy, which is ‘written in stone’ for years at a time. But then, AGW science has resisted all new discoveries in order to maintain its grip. However, this has more to do with the corruption of the peer review process than scientists becoming PNS practitioners. The internal governance of science, which Ravetz stated very clearly

    “must of necessity be self policing” has failed in the case of climate science.

    The reasons for that failure are without doubt partly due to political allegiances among the cadre of scientists, journal editors and peer reviewers, and the instinctive way groups circle wagons and defend against attack. None of this has anything to do with PNS however.

    Of course the normal system has failed with respect to climate science. Perhaps the system needs amendment, but it certainly does NOT need replacement by PNS.

    As I have repeatedly said e.g. at September 3, 2012 at 1:34 am

    Political interference in science is unavoidable and false claims that the interference can be prevented or accommodated should be rejected. Actions are required to minimise the interference and I suggest the following.
    [snip]
    So, we need to defend science by constantly pointing out that politicised science is politics and not science.

    And we need to fight the politics in the political forum by
    (a) Informing politicians of all parts of the science
    (b) Informing the public of all parts of the science
    (c) Proclaiming the limits of what is scientifically known and not known.

    Additional polticisation of science by accepting PNS needs to be opposed ‘tooth and nail’.

    You have not addressed that – or any of its supporting argument – in any way.

    And your post I am answering does not address it or its supporting argument. Instead, it says my post at September 3, 2012 at 1:34 am

    Contained argument by assertion, ad hominem and non sequiteur. Much of what you said about politics and science was perfectly correct, but your attempt to charge Ravetz with responsibility for the ills of society failed IMO.

    That is merely a series of untruths used as excuse to avoid answering any of my points. Indeed, you continue by quoting my accurate statement that says;
    ”PNS is a corrupt practice and you are certainly being disingenuous by suggesting it is not.”
    and reply by asking

    PNS as practised by who? In what context? IAnd when did I discuss the practice of PNS as opposed to what Ravetz means?

    I answer each question in turn.

    PNS as practised by who?
    I answer, PNS is corrupt practice as practiced by anybody.

    I have repeatedly explained this. For example, at September 5, 2012 at 3:20 pm where I wrote as explanation with illustration

    PNS and science are not the same thing. Science is an on-going activity: science is never “settled”. But once PNS is introduced science becomes governed by the desires, preferences and prejudices of the ‘stakeholders’. And this damages the science because PNS is politics and not science. Therefore, the ‘stakeholders’ need to be kept away from the science as much as possible. As I say in my post at September 3, 2012 at 1:34 am, industry has learned this the hard way and, therefore, industry makes clear distinction between research, development and demonstration. Industrial research is funded to investigate a specific objective (e.g. to find a material with certain properties). If the funder defines and controls what the research must provide then little of use is likely to be obtained from the research. Alternatively, if the research is free to find whatever it can as a means to fulfil the objective then that research may find several or no solutions to the problem (i.e. several or no such materials) but probably will discover (possibly not anticipated) information as a ‘by-product’. The funder will then employ engineers to develop tightly specified developments from whatever the research finds.

    In what context?
    PNS is a practice which corrupts science in every context and the reason for this being universal is stated in my previous answer; i.e.
    ”Science is an on-going activity: science is never “settled”. But once PNS is introduced science becomes governed by the desires, preferences and prejudices of the ‘stakeholders’. And this damages the science because PNS is politics and not science.”

    Once the ’stakeholders’ are put in charge they will not let go.

    And when did I discuss the practice of PNS as opposed to what Ravetz means?
    You keep changing your tune about ”what Ravetz means”. But, concerning the practice of PNS for example at September 2, 2012 at 2:49 pm, you wrote

    Back in the 70′s Ravetz was sitting on committees which were trying to decide what the limits on embryo research and genetic engineering would be. Various scientists being well paid by various interests offered conflicting views. Plus the church had a thing or two to say about it all, and they represent big constituencies the politicos can’t ignore.

    Some of his thinking about what you do with the products of scientific expertise at the policy interface where other groups have valid interests in having a say came from these turbulent meetings. How can science and non-science (but still valid) interests be assessed and weighed in the balance. Richard thinks we should just let the politicians get on with it, but in fact, they are pretty poorly equipped to deal with the issues.

    So Ravetz offered some thoughts on how to formalise the melee of uncertainty, quantify it, and come up with rational decisions. However, he fully recognised that in the end, the decision taken by the elected politicians wouldn’t be wholly based on rational considerations, because reason and faith and strategy are human constructs which all demand a say in matters.

    I fail to understand how that can be understood as being about anything other than the practice of PNS and Ravetz’ assertions for the need of that practice.

    Also, I am at a loss to understand why you think politicians are less well equipped to make political decisions than ”science and non-science (but still valid) interests”.

    Richard

  385. Richard: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/01/wuwt-is-the-focus-of-a-seminar-at-the-university-of-colorado/#comment-1071946

    1. Should have provided the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snipe_hunt

    2. “”The first thing the scientists and engineers did was to brainstorm possible responses to the emergency. PNS would have required them to involve other ‘stakeholders’, e.g. among others the PR people from NASA and all the companies who contributed to provision of the Command Module”” It was successfully employed when “we” got the cosmonaut out of the space station for Russia and when “we” retrofited the Hubble.

    3. Re: “”Not all fruit is good in every dish.”” This is sorta’ true. Just depends on what perspective you are comming from. So the question is: SO, . . . . ?

    4. Why would you want to exclude a “stakeholder”? Would that be because they are “stakeholders” in name only?

    Truly, this is a rhetorical discussion, at least for me.

  386. Neil: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/01/wuwt-is-the-focus-of-a-seminar-at-the-university-of-colorado/#comment-1071984

    Richard S Courtney: September 5, 2012 at 1:39 am PNS is a direct attack on the achievements of the enlightenment, and we who value the achievements of the enlightenment are defending against the attack.

    This is a good example of an ad hominom assertion: You are enlightened . . . anyone who disagrees is not, thus is an attacker. . . . at least in my analysis and opinion . . .

  387. Richard, you and JJ, and David Hoffer are repeated conflating two different areas which Ravetz is very clear about distinguishing:

    Science, which Ravetz says “must necessarily be self policing”.
    and
    The science policy interface, where Ravetz says that under circumstances of significant public interest, the ‘peer community’ must be widened to include those who the decisions will affect.

    Science is not the science policy interface. The science policy interface is not science.

    Ravetz sees the organic growth of a community such as WUWT as an extension of the peer community’ par exellence, and WUWT, along with similar online communities has undoubtedly had an effect on policy formation. Without ever having formally ‘taken a seat at the policy table’. So maybe we’re both right.

    The problem that Ravetz doesn’t try to meddle with is the corruption of peer review, since that falls within the purview of quality assurance, which is part of the scientific enterprise, which he says “must of necessity be self policing”.

    That’s your department isn’t it?

  388. tallbloke,

    Ravetz’ point about being self policing is an “also”. It is an after thought. I’ve quoted his definition multiple times in this thread and pointed out the fallacy of the definition itself, which you have not addressed.

  389. tallbloke says:
    September 6, 2012 at 12:09 pm
    Science, which Ravetz says “must necessarily be self policing” and The science policy interface
    An interface has two sides. You can change things at one side and shifting the interface towards to other side. What may be needed is change at the policy side and not at the science side.

  390. tallbloke:

    In reply to my post at September 6, 2012 at 7:20 am you say at September 6, 2012 at 12:09 pm you say
    blockquote>Richard, you and JJ, and David Hoffer are repeated conflating two different areas which Ravetz is very clear about distinguishing:

    Science, which Ravetz says “must necessarily be self policing”.
    and
    The science policy interface, where Ravetz says that under circumstances of significant public interest, the ‘peer community’ must be widened to include those who the decisions will affect.

    NO! PNS as prescribed by Ravetz conflates “science” and the “science policy interface”.

    I twice explained this in my post you are replying when I wrote and repeated

    PNS and science are not the same thing. Science is an on-going activity: science is never “settled”. But once PNS is introduced science becomes governed by the desires, preferences and prejudices of the ‘stakeholders’. And this damages the science because PNS is politics and not science.

    In this thread (at September 1, 2012 at 2:14 pm) Jerome Ravetz himself said:

    Someone has asked for a definition of post-normal science. Let’s try: when facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent, the paradigm-based puzzle-solving research confined to closed sets of practitioners is not adequate.

    But in science facts are never “certain”, and values are always “in dispute”, while stakes can usually be asserted to be “high”, and almost anything can be asserted to be “urgent”.

    I remind that you admitted there are examples of false claims of such “urgency” which have been accepted.

    So, whenever any part of the science is asserted to be “urgent” then PNS says ‘stakeholders’ take over the science, and once they have taken over they are very, very unlikely to go away.

    Please explain which part(s) of this you are failing to understand.

    I may be misunderstanding you, but it seems to me that when you say

    Science is not the science policy interface. The science policy interface is not science.

    you are suggesting that those involved in the “science policy interface” are isolated from the “science”. They are not. They directly interact with the “science” often by funding it. Simply, the ‘stakeholders’ can control the science and the scientists have no possibility of stopping them controlling the science. This is because, as I have repeatedly pointed out, the ‘stakeholders’ have power which they can exercise on the science (e.g. research funds) but the scientists have no power which they can operate to defend the science.

    As I have also repeatedly explained (including in my post you have replied), we need to separate the science and its ‘stakeholders’ as much as possible, but PNS calls for increased involvement of the ‘stakeholders’ initially and especially when involvement of ‘stakeholders’ is least wanted..

    Richard

  391. Laurie Bowen:

    At September 6, 2012 at 8:08 am you refute my reasoned argument about how and why PNS is a reversal of the Enlightenment by claiming my argument is an ad hominem. That claim is offensive nonsense. Please withdraw that claim,apologise, and state any error in my argument.

    Conversation is not possible when discussion is replaced by such offensive and untrue insults.

    Richard

  392. Richard,

    Thank you, at last we have some clarity about what the argument is, so far as you are concerned.
    I note however, that you have still not confronted the issue of the corruption of peer review within the “necessarily self policed ” province of science, and maybe we should consider the weight of this problem as compared to the ‘problem’ of allowing the people affected by decisions a hand in making them.

    Please comment on the degree of the corruption of peer review in climate science and the gravity of the problem as compared to the ‘PNS problem’ from your perspective.

    If you think the corruption of peer review is not a problem at all, feel free to say so.

    Thankyou.

  393. tallbloke:

    Thankyou for your reply to me at September 7, 2012 at 3:00 am which says

    Thank you, at last we have some clarity about what the argument is, so far as you are concerned.
    I note however, that you have still not confronted the issue of the corruption of peer review within the “necessarily self policed ” province of science, and maybe we should consider the weight of this problem as compared to the ‘problem’ of allowing the people affected by decisions a hand in making them.

    Please comment on the degree of the corruption of peer review in climate science and the gravity of the problem as compared to the ‘PNS problem’ from your perspective.

    If you think the corruption of peer review is not a problem at all, feel free to say so.

    I am pleased that my views are now clear. However, I am surprised that I have added clarity in my posts you are answering: those posts consist almost entirely of my quoting statements I had made earlier in the thread.

    I write to address the serious problem of corruption in the peer review process which you request me to do.

    I do not know why you suggest I don’t care about this corruption of the peer review process. On the contrary, I have good reasons to care deeply. For example, my submission the the Parliamentary Select Committee inquiry into ‘climategate’ was about a specific case where I had suffered from it. Also, the Team tried to put pressure on the Editor of E&E by getting her sacked from her university (she made a submission to the inquiry about it) and I am on the Editorial Board of E&E.

    But caring about a problem is not a reason to do something which would make the problem worse.

    I fail to see how PNS could reduce corruption of the peer review system, but I can see how it would worsen the problem. The corruption would be worsened by involving ‘stakeholders’ in peer review because few of them would have requisite expertise to assess papers but all of them would have reason to influence papers. And the IPCC demonstrates this.

    The IPCC is an example of involving ‘stakeholders’ in the peer review system. The IPCC Reports are approved by representatives of all signatory governments to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC). Each government has scientists among its representatives because scientists are needed to understand the science. But the resulting documents are political documents because governments (i.e. the ‘stakeholders’) have a say in what the IPCC Reports contain. The resulting Reports are often asserted to be “scientific” reports but any ‘climate-savvy’ reader of them can see they are biased political documents couched in scientific language.

    And the existence of the IPCC is to some degree (I think a large degree) responsible for much of the corruption of the peer review process in ‘mainstream’ scientific journals. Governments are ‘stakeholders’ so encourage people whom they employ to provide information which supports the FCCC and which, therefore, is useful input to IPCC reports. The pressure from ‘stakeholders’ has empowered the Team by giving the Team protection from accountability (e.g. all ‘climategate’ inquiries were whitewashes) while funding their work which is intended to provide the desired results. Importantly, science is a competitive activity. Ideas and information are compared and contested. The ideas which survive competition become accepted theories. Therefore, it is and always has been a proper part of science for scientists to promote their own ideas and to attack other ideas. When the Team became flooded with research funds and were protected from accountability they then began to attack opposing ideas by trying to exclude them; e.g. by usurping the peer review process and the executive committees of Institutions.

    These results of lack of scientific accountability are not new to science. For example, Hooke was President of the Royal Society (RS) and he archived all his scientific papers with the RS. Newton was his greatest scientific opponent. So, when Newton took over from him as as RS President then Newton destroyed all Hooke’s archived papers. This is directly analogous to the usurpation of the peer review process which has recently happened in climate science. And there are many other examples of this effect of lack of accountability in science since Newton and up to the present.

    The solution is – as I keep saying – to isolate the science (including peer review processes) from ‘stakeholders’ as far as is possible. This would enable the peer review process to ensure accountability by exposing misconduct. But the peer review process will never be perfect.

    Scientists desire prestige. If they wanted personal financial wealth then they would have chosen a career other than science. Therefore, exposure of their misconduct is a very severe penalty for them: it trashes their careers and reputations.

    Accountability for scientists consists of exposure of misconduct. PNS provides scientists with ‘stakeholders’ who will attempt to protect them from exposure of any misconduct. There always are such ‘stakeholders’ but their power needs to be minimised';e.g. Penn State Uni. is a ‘stakeholder’ in the reputation of Michael Mann. PNS deliberately increases the involvement of ‘stakeholders’.

    Richard

  394. tallbloke:

    On reading my above post I can see that I imply Sonja was sacked from her university. She was not. The Team tried to get her sacked.

    Sorry, if I misled.

    Richard

  395. richardscourtney says:
    September 6, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/01/wuwt-is-the-focus-of-a-seminar-at-the-university-of-colorado/#comment-1072697

    Richard, Why would I take it back . . . you just made another ad hominem . . . . How is what I said non sense? “”Conversation is not possible when discussion is replaced by such offensive and untrue insults.”” Richard! Neither is rational reasoning betweem two “hue-mans”.

  396. Apparently Laurie, some people don’t understand what an ad hominem attack is. On the basis of this thread, you ought to be able to find at least one example of same.

  397. Laurie Bowen:

    I did not make an ad hom. but you did.

    If you can find fault in my argument then I would be very pleased to learn it because that would tell me I need to modify my argument and/or my understanding.

    Richard

  398. tallbloke;
    How very Ravetzian of him.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>

    You really and truly do not understand the difference between politics informed by science and science informed by politics.

  399. Hoff:
    A week ago I replied to this comment from Richard Courtney:
    tallbloke says:
    September 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm
    richardscourtney says:
    September 1, 2012 at 4:49 pm
    No! The only valid “approach to the problem” is to let politicians decide the politics and to let the scientists “just muddle along till the truth came out”.
    Politicians make decisions about uncertain issues by assessing available information – including scientific information – every day. IT IS THEIR JOB. In democracies it is what we elect them to do. Nobody elects “all stake holders”.
    Richard

    If the world was as it should be, I’d agree. However, we are in a situation where the scientists tell the politicians what they want to hear and the politicians pay them fat grants to do that.

    Example: Margaret Thatcher telling the CRU that “there’s money on the table if you can prove this stuff. (about co2)”

    I’ll add that it was also the climategate scientists own unsupported beliefs which led them to allow their politics to inform their science, not Ravetz’s. He trusted that science’s internal quality assurance mechanism would be “self-policing”.

    So given that it was a collusion between politicians (wanting to bash the coal miners union in Thatcher’s case) and the scientists (who were advancing the importance of their field and the green agenda they believed in), I think it would have been a good thing if from the start, third, fourth and fifth parties had been in there at the science/policy interface asking awkward questions and opening up the debate, rather than being sidelined as ‘merchants of doubt’ by a compliant media infiltrated by the ‘society of environmental journalists’.

    That way the dragon might have been slain before it turned into the multi-headed hydra we now face.

    Sorry, what was it I don’t understand again?

  400. tallbloke:

    At September 7, 2012 at 11:49 pm you refer to Thatcher’s initiation of the AGW scare and say

    So given that it was a collusion between politicians (wanting to bash the coal miners union in Thatcher’s case) and the scientists (who were advancing the importance of their field and the green agenda they believed in), I think it would have been a good thing if from the start, third, fourth and fifth parties had been in there at the science/policy interface asking awkward questions and opening up the debate, rather than being sidelined as ‘merchants of doubt’ by a compliant media infiltrated by the ‘society of environmental journalists’.

    There is so much wrong with that it would take a book to explain it.

    If you want to know why and how Thatcher started the scare then read

    http://www.john-daly.com/history.htm

    Firstly, ” third, fourth and fifth parties ” did not want to be involved. The coal industry was too busy dealing with the ‘acid rain’ scare to worry about another improbable scare. The nuclear industry joined in promoting the scare because it was ‘hurting’ from Three Mile Island and Chernobyl and nuclear does not emit CO2. The oil industry joined the scare because it was expanding gas usage and gas produces less CO2 than coal. etc.

    So, all the interested ‘stakeholders’ were people and organisations wanting to promote the scare. People and organisations wanting to oppose the scare had little motivation and were busy doing other things.

    Therefore, PNS could only have worsened the scare and would have assisted the politicians to do what they did do for purely political reasons.

    Please remember that politicians want science to be on tap but not on top. And politicians can always ‘fix’ that there are involved ‘stakeholders’ of their choosing.

    Richard

  401. Richard, thanks for your additional observations. I don’t think it negates my admittedly skimpy account but amplifies it. The other interested parties you list no doubt did influence political thinking on the issue, and they don’t need official seats at official tables to do that. But we see that despite Governments continuing to say they don’t take any notice of sceptics, they do take notice of public opinion, and public opinion has become better informed by sites like WUWT and Climate Audit, or at least a good proportion of those members of the public with an open mind on the scientific issues have.

    And I suppose Ravetz’ thinking has changed to accommodate the internet social media phenomenon. He now sees these unofficial but influential channels as effective parts of the ‘widened peer community’. Nothing stays still, all things change.

    Ultimately, the thing we all want is for governments to make wise decisions when it comes to policy direction and the spending of vast amounts of the money it has extracted from the pockets of the public. In order for politicians to make wise decisions, they need to weigh in the balance the competing claims and interests of disparate groups in society. A lot of Ravetz’ development of PNS is centred around the representation and evaluation of risk, aimed at helping decision makers in performing those evaluations. Judy Curry took on those issues following the Lisbon conference on her blog, and a lot of argument ensued.

    One of the more interesting presentations given at Lisbon in my view, was that given by Jeroen van der Sluijs.
    Have a look and see what you think of this paper he wrote:

    http://uu.academia.edu/JeroenPvanderSluijs/Papers/674229/Uncertainty_communication_in_environmental_assessments_views_from_the_Dutch_science-policy_interface

    Here’s a taster from the intro which seems pretty uncontroversial to me:

    Uncertainty communication in environmental assessments: views from the Dutch science-policy interface

    1. Introduction
    Scientific assessments of complex environmental risks, andpolicy responses to those risks, involve uncertainties of manysorts(FuntowiczandRavetz,1990).These uncertainties can be present in various stages of the policy cycle, ranging from theinitial detection of a (possible) problem, to policy formulation and, eventually, monitoring and adjustments to existing policies.More research will not necessarily reduce uncertainty and decisions often need to be made before conclusive evidence is available (Risbey et al., 2005; Van der Sluijs,2005; Van der Sluijs et al., 2005a,b; Wardekker and Van derSluijs, 2005). Meanwhile, the potential impacts of wrong decisions on, for instance, health, economy, environment andcredibility can be huge. Communication of uncertainties aimed at policymakers, as well as other parties involved in policymaking, is important because uncertainties can influence the policy strategy that is selected. Furthermore, it is a matter of good scientific practice, accountability and openness towards the general public.

  402. Tallbloke:

    Thankyou for the abstract you quote in your post to me at September 8, 2012 at 6:13 am. As you say, the abstract is fairly uncontroversial, but I read the paper which you kindly linked and – to be polite – it is naïve.

    For example, it makes these statements and then evaluates them as though they had practical importance

    People have different views on the extent to which science can remove uncertainty and is certain and objective, and the role and challenge of science, facing uncertainties in policy problems. Views can be classified,using a four-point scale of archetypes of attitudes towards uncertainty, ranging from strict ‘‘positivism’’ (science is objective) to strict ‘‘constructivism’’ (science is inseparable from society and, thus, always coloured by the context in which it is produced), adapted fromV an der Sluijs (2005):
    * Avoid
    : Uncertainty is unwelcome and should be avoided. The challenge to science is
    The elimination of uncertainty by means of more and better independent research.
    * Quantify
    : Uncertainty is unwelcome but unavoidable. The challenge to science is the quantification of uncertainty ,and separating facts and values as effectively as possible.
    * Deliberative
    : Uncertainty offers chances and opportunities. Uncertainty puts the role of science in perspective. Science is challenged to contribute to a less technocratic, more democratic public debate.
    * Science as player
    : The division between science and politics is artificial and untenable. Science is challenged to be an influential player in the public arena.

    All of that – and the subsequent study of it in the paper – ignores the two most important facts; viz.
    1.
    Politicians evaluate much information of many kinds and almost all of it is uncertain.
    They welcome information on uncertainty and tend to distrust assertions of certainty. Indeed, when politicians ascribe undue confidence to information they often suffer resulting consequences (e.g. WMD, the Banking Crisis, etc.). Science is a minor contributor to the information used by politicians with economics, public opinion, and security issues having much more importance. All the important information is uncertain and that is why political policies are adopted. If information is certain then society (i.e. individuals, corporations and businesses) act on it without need for policy and politicians only need to define laws which prohibit misbehaviour (e.g. murder, fraud, theft, etc.).
    2.
    Politicians can game each of the listed definitions to suite political purposes.
    ‘Scientific’ information is often used by politicians as justification or excuse for political policies that are desired for other reasons (e.g. IPCC ‘scientific’ information justifies economic and energy policies).

    Scientists are deluded if they think assertions of degrees of ‘uncertainty’ or interaction with politicians can – or will – benefit their science. Such assertions and interaction can only result in politicians interfering in the conduct of the science and blaming scientists for any unfortunate outcomes of political decisions which are never made predominantly on the basis of science.

    However, it should be noted that science can enable important political decisions. For example, if radar had not been invented then politicians could not have provided the policy of funding the radar system which was essential to winning the Battle Of Britain. But the decision to do that was based on much wider considerations than the scientific fact that such a system could be constructed.

    Richard

  403. tallbloke:

    I have been thinking about my last response to you.

    Earlier, you cited as example Thatcher starting the AGW-scare and I said that PNS would have made the problem worse. I pointed you to my account of that subject at

    http://www.john-daly.com/history.htm

    If you remove all reference to science from Figure 2 in that link then the AGW issue takes off and is unaffected.

    Richard

  404. Great education Richard.

    I liken the PNS argument to the “if it will save even one life” argument. Over the years, I’ve frequently seen promoters of some community improvement or another trying to get some pet project funded, and when they run into questions about affordability, they pull out the “if it saves even one life, isn’t it worth it?” argument. We’re could be talking about anything from a pedestrian overpass at a busy intersection to a new hospital. Anything can be justified to save one life, can it not?

    The trick here is the same one that PNS plays. If our financial resources were infinite, the answer of course would be “yes”. But the point is that our financial resources are NOT infinite. So the response is twofold:

    1. How much money do we have available?
    2. What are ALL the things that money could be spent on and what are their benefits?

    This is where the “it is will save even one life” argument falls apart. If we only have $1 million to spend, and there are a dozen things that could save dozens of lives each, then obviously those things should be done first. If there is no money left…. then there is no money left. It would be absurd to spend money on something that would save a single life if the same money spent on something else would save hundreds of lives.

    Thus the fallacy of PNS is twofold. It fails because the argument about including non science “stakeholders” to have input to science in an “urgent” situation, just defies logic. The more urgent the situation, the less time there is to consult an expanded list of “stakeholders”. But on top of that, PNS doesn’t survive the “if it only saves one life” argument. Just as the “if it only saves one life” argument seeks to focus us on the issue at hand and at the same time exclude all the other options for the use of a given resource, so does PNS focus us on a single issue (climate change) to the exclusion of all the other options. Were PNS applied to all the issues that PNS could be applied to, the absurdity would quickly become apparent as the resources available would quickly be exhausted, and the only situations they would be applied to would quickly become apparent as not being urgent in the first place, or there would have been no time to apply the resources!

  405. davidmhoffer:

    Thankyou for your post at September 8, 2012 at 2:23 pm which I agree.

    I write to make clear that I agree with you that PNS is impractical, but I am also concerned that any attempt to adopt PNS does actual harm for all the several reasons I have tried to explain in this thread.

    Additionally, and very importantly, I am sincerely convinced that PNS is a retreat from the Enlightenment and a stepping-stone towards totalitarianism.

    Richard

  406. Additionally, and very importantly, I am sincerely convinced that PNS is a retreat from the Enlightenment and a stepping-stone towards totalitarianism.
    Richard
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I never thought about it in terms of the Enlightenment until you brought pointed it out upthread. After considerable thought, I’ve concluded that you are correct. PNS simply opens the door for a belief system to impose itz will upon facts and to displace them with belief systems that are not founded upon fact. This can serve no purpose but to aid those who grasp for power and care not how they attain it. Ravetz is simply an enabler who believes that his enablement of them will confer upon him some special place amongst the “new order”. If he were to review history with the oft repeated words about repitition and what happens to those who don’t learn from it, he’d know that it is people like him that the new order makes “disappear” as rapidly as possible, lest his talents be used against them.

  407. richardscourtney says:
    September 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm
    tallbloke:

    I have been thinking about my last response to you.

    Earlier, you cited as example Thatcher starting the AGW-scare and I said that PNS would have made the problem worse. I pointed you to my account of that subject at

    http://www.john-daly.com/history.htm

    If you remove all reference to science from Figure 2 in that link then the AGW issue takes off and is unaffected.

    Richard, thank you for pointing me to your article, which is excellent. I’d like to give it a new airing with your permission. If we remove reference to science from fig 2, then it’s hard to explain media interest. Journalists are reluctant to take politicians at their word on matters which are beyond both their competences, and so they would naturally have sought confirmation from scientific sources.

    The media’s culpability for swallowing whole and regurgitating press releases which made claims which went well beyond the data is crucial to an understanding of how the scare took off IMO. They bear much responsibility for the positive feedback between public opinion and policy formation. I think the prevalence of arts degrees amongst the media professionals coupled with the social trend within the ‘intelligentsia’ or ‘chattering classes’ towards environmental concern generally probably partly explains the journalistic failure to properly investigate global warming hype pushed by advocate scientists. There are also some overly cosy relationships between media moguls, national broadcasters and politicans as revealed by recent developments in the phone hacking scandal too.

    Andrew Montford’s work on revealing the links between members of the ‘society of environmental journalists’ and the advocacy groups with political influence highlights important factors too. I recommend a read of his low cost recent publication for an in depth account.

    http://www.bishop-hill.net/conspiracy-in-green/

  408. richardscourtney says:
    September 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm
    tallbloke:

    I have been thinking about my last response to you.

    Earlier, you cited as example Thatcher starting the AGW-scare and I said that PNS would have made the problem worse. I pointed you to my account of that subject at

    http://www.john-daly.com/history.htm

    If you remove all reference to science from Figure 2 in that link then the AGW issue takes off and is unaffected.

    Richard, thank you for pointing me to your article, which is excellent. I’d like to give it a new airing with your permission. If we remove reference to science from fig 2, then it’s hard to explain media interest. Journalists are reluctant to take politicians at their word on matters which are beyond both their competences, and so they would naturally have sought confirmation from scientific sources.

    The media’s culpability for swallowing whole and regurgitating press releases which made claims which went well beyond the data is crucial to an understanding of how the scare took off IMO. They bear much responsibility for the positive feedback between public opinion and policy formation. I think the prevalence of arts degrees amongst the media professionals coupled with the social trend within the ‘intelligentsia’ or ‘chattering classes’ towards environmental concern generally probably partly explains the journalistic failure to properly investigate global warming hype pushed by advocate scientists. There are also some overly cosy relationships between media moguls, national broadcasters and politicans as revealed by recent developments in the phone hacking scandal too.

    Andrew Montford’s work on revealing the links between members of the ‘society of environmental journalists’ and the advocacy groups with political influence highlights important factors too. I recommend a read of his low cost recent publication for an in depth account.

    http://www.bishop-hill.net/conspiracy-in-green/

    Thanks for your comments, nice to be able to have a clear conversation amongst the confusion and conflation of ideas which has dogged this thread.

  409. richardscourtney says:
    September 8, 2012 at 3:53 pm
    Additionally, and very importantly, I am sincerely convinced that PNS is a retreat from the Enlightenment and a stepping-stone towards totalitarianism.

    Not everything about the enlightenment was enlightening, and some of the science produced under it aegis constituted stepping stones to forms of totalitarianism which actually occurred.

    Examples:
    IQ tests for immigrants containing questions about provincial football teams
    Phrenology
    Lamarckian heredity theory
    Eugenics

    In fact, it contained as much politically motivated pseudoscience as any other period in the development of science.

    Partly due to the nature of the organised opposition it faced, it invested too strongly in the hierarchical structure of it’s governing institutions too.

    Of course, it’s easy to argue that the Enlightenment’s founders were honestly driven by the goal of improving society’s understanding of reality. That part of society they deemed to be ‘worthy’ and capable of rationality anyway. A product of its time, it was pretty unashamedly elitist. See:

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

    While I was doing my degree course in the Development of European Science I actually read a lot of the source material.

    IMO the post-internet era requires more open democratic structures, open peer review and open data access complete with agreed and monitored standards for data collation, verification, and presentation including media relations. Many areas of science such as medecine and food have made good progress in these items, usually following legislation enacted following scandals. It’s about time climatology grew up and followed suit.

  410. tallbloke:

    At September 9, 2012 at 1:19 am you ask me

    Richard, thank you for pointing me to your article, which is excellent. I’d like to give it a new airing with your permission.

    OK, no problem, but I need to give you some background.

    In 1980 the British Association of Colliery Management (BACM) commissioned me to determine if there were environmental issues which could affect the coal industry as the ‘acid rain’ issue was then doing. I searched literature (scientific, environmental and journalistic) to identify possible issues and persons interested in possible ‘environmental’ issues. I then interviewed as many of the identified people as possible and – on the basis of the literature search and interviews – I constructed influence diagrams of the identified potential issues.

    The influence diagrams indicated two potential problems which my report needed to inform to BACM; viz. ‘global warming’ (as it was then called) and microdust.

    I provided my report to BACM near the end of 1980 and they considered it in early 1981 (it is often referred to as my “1980” and my “1981” report, but that is the same report). It concluded that positive feedbacks in the political system would cause ‘global warming’ to become a serious environmental issue whether or not any scientific evidence to support it were to be obtained. Indeed, the political feedbacks were so severe that the issue would become more important than any other ‘environmental’ issue and was likely to supplant most ‘environmental’ issues.

    BACM rejected that report saying it was “extreme” and “implausible”. Since then ‘global warming’ has failed to obtain any supporting evidence but has become the major ‘environmental’ issue such that all other ‘environmental’ issues have become subordinated to it.

    In the 1990s I became much involved with the late John Daly. He needed photocopies of documents archived by the Royal Society (RS) for his “Isle of the Dead” study and he could not get the RS to provide them: I asked the RS to send me the required photocopies and I forwarded them to him.

    John was interested in why I had been involved with ‘global warming’ from the start of the scare and I answered him by explaining about how my 1980 BACM report had been rejected, and I sent him an extract from it including two diagrams. He asked me to update that extract so he could post it on his blog. The article on his blog is the update which he posted in (I think) 1999.

    Please note that the diagrams in the article were constructed before the AGW-scare existed and they indicated that the scare would occur. But this indication was so extreme that only I accepted it.

    Additionally, I strongly agree that Montford’s work is good and I commend it.

    Richard

  411. davidmhoffer:

    re your post at September 8, 2012 at 4:30 pm.

    So, you have seen that tainting yourself by associating with socialists like me can have its uses.
    (joke)

    Richard

  412. tallbloke:

    I write to apologise for omitting an important fact from my last post to you.

    Please observe that the diagrams do not mention environmentalists. That is because they had no interest in ‘global warming’ at the time the diagrams were constructed. Indeed, the initial reaction of Greenpeace to Thatcher having raised the scare was to oppose ‘global warming’ because they saw it as a distraction from the ‘acid rain’ scare.

    But all environmentalists jumped on the AGW bandwagon when they saw its usefulness. As my article says;
    “Contrary to common belief, environmentalists did not raise awareness of global warming, they responded to it. Simply, environmentalist organisations were part of the general public and decided to use the issue when it became useful to them.”

    Richard

  413. tallbloke:

    It seems clear to me that you and I will not agree about PNS so I write to point out that I agree with a comment you have made in this discussion.

    At September 9, 2012 at 2:58 am you say

    Not everything about the enlightenment was enlightening, and some of the science produced under it aegis constituted stepping stones to forms of totalitarianism which actually occurred.

    Yes, I agree.

    You provide the example of eugenics where science has been severely misused as an excuse for political policies. Several have made that point before and have compered the near universal adoption of eugenics to the similar adoption of CAGW (I was among the first – if not the first – to make that comparison). And other examples exist (e.g. Darwinism as an excuse for ultra-right politics in 1930s Germany).

    However, I think few would argue that on balance the Enlightenment has been a great benefit. And I oppose retreat from it. As I explained earlier in this thread, I see the debate about PNS as a “war” between opposing philosophies pertaining to the Enlightenment.

    Richard

  414. richardscourtney says:
    September 9, 2012 at 5:04 am
    tallbloke:

    I think few would argue that on balance the Enlightenment has been a great benefit. And I oppose retreat from it.

    Richard, thanks for your replies and permission, I have reposted your article and used material from here for the introduction.

    I agree with you in broad terms. Having read his book ‘Scientific Knowledge and its Social Problems I don’t doubt Ravetz agrees too.

    You provide the example of eugenics where science has been severely misused as an excuse for political policies.

    I think the same is true of PNS. So maybe here we can lay this to rest and say that most ideas in themselves are not dangerous, just various misuses of them. Perhaps this is why Ravetz concluded his essay on quality at my blog with this:

    “I explored this topic in my old book, and there came to the paradoxical conclusion that the achievement of objective knowledge about the external world depends on the strength of the ethical commitments of the leaders of a community.”

    I’m going to leave it there for now, thanks again for your insights.

  415. richardscourtney;
    So, you have seen that tainting yourself by associating with socialists like me can have its uses.
    (joke)
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    There’s two kinds of socialists Richard. Ones who believe in their positions and can logicaly articulate why, and those that simply believe. I have much respect for the former, none for the latter, and the same goes for the opposite end of the political spectrum. I find little value in discussing important issues with a large number of people from both right and left who simply regurgitate the position of their peers. I gain much from discussion with people who are knowledgable on a given topic and draw conclusions from their knowledge, regardless of those conclusions being left or right. I’m honoured to have made your acquaintance, and suspect that we likely agree on far more than we disagree in matters of science, religion, and politics, despite coming from “opposite ends fo the spectrum” on the latter two categories.

  416. comment by John Whitman on September 3, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    QUESTION FOR JEROME RAVETZ: Mr. Ravetz, Would you please provide (if any) the fundamental concepts of PNS that you developed from the fundamental concepts of the philosophy of Marcuse? That context for PNS would clearly concretize what PNS is at its most fundamental philosophical roots.

    John

    = = = = = = =

    I still have not received a reply from Jerome Ravetz.

    John

  417. I attended the CSTPR Seminar today. I’m a retired VP Global R&D (consumer staples), returned to my home state of Colorado. It was a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Hollender.

    She provided a very broad outline of the research topic. No specifics. I hope others will provide specifics of the seminar and discussions. I found the topic of interest, so I will comment on the potential of the topic.

    I’ll focus on what could be potential positives from researching climate science blogs – what I would like to see as outcomes. The list of pitfalls will be extensive and I will not discuss.
    1. How to increase the effectiveness of blogs in scientific discourse? Blogs are successfully engaging a diversity of people and view points, but also creating a large quantity of noise and vitriolic comments. How will we separate the wheat from the chaff (or do we need to)? Google has been working this topic in-house with some scientific organizations. I would engage Google.
    2. Science is becoming more isolated and siloed. It is not engaging a diversity in perspectives. It might be okay for short term prestige and grant funding, but long term, this is detrimental to science and the public’s willingness to fund science. What can be learned from blogs for engaging a diversity of perspectives, or is this desired? (I say it is necessary. In my research labs, I proved that a diversity of perspectives initially slowed short term responsiveness but dramatically enhanced our long term effectiveness and improved the quality of our research/products)
    3. Peer reviewed journals are not interactive nor accessible to the media, politicians, masses…. What can be learned from blogs/social media to improve the peer review journal process?

    I would hope the research will study the structure of blog interactions and discourse to gain understandings in how to make them more effective for discussing differing scientific points of view. I would drop any references to “contrarian”, “skeptic” and make no references to “sides”. Study the process not the points of view. I would analyze a variety of highly used climate science topic sites.

    As a scientist and engineer, I understand the desire for a comfortable, country club of scientific friends where we can pursue our interests for “the good of humanity”. Engaging a broad community with our science and justifying our research is very difficult and time consuming. Often they don’t understand. But, “trust us” no longer works in industrial nor public R&D.

  418. Thirteen people, including Franziska Hollender (Google +: https://plus.google.com/116446784794396843390/posts), attended a seminar on September 11, 2012 at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research on the Boulder campus of the University of Colorado.

    Ms. Hollender recently completed her M.A. studies at the University of Vienna and is planning to pursue a PhD next spring. Her presentation centered around her M.A. thesis, which examined seven blog posts over six consecutive years by Anthony Watts on his blog, Watts Up With That.

    Bobby, the woman who introduced Ms. Hollender as “Fran”, told us that Fran was taking an academic look at blogging, something few others have attempted. Bobby then asked Fran if she would take questions during her presentation, but Fran preferred to take questions at the end of her talk.

    Fran started by talking about a “mediated society” that calls into question the integrity of science. One of the new media is the weblog, or blog. She noted that she also has a free blog about cooking, and mentioned that few blogs make money. She talked for some time about seven posts by Anthony Watts on WUWT. She noted that the comments to these posts operated as verification of the results contained in the posts and were an extended peer review. She added that the comments in the recent post at WUWT announcing her seminar verified her thesis.

    Fran’s approach to Anthony’s posts was to use critical discourse analysis as put forward by Fairclough and Wodak. She was especially interested in analyzing the power structures that were evident in the seven posts and their comment sections.

    Fran’s analysis showed three major ideas that ran through all the posts:

    1. Normal (Kuhnian) science is the good above all else.
    2. Climate scientists are not following the scientific method and are not honoring the people who pay their bills and wages.
    3. Post normal science (the science that comes *AFTER* normal, Kuhnian science, according to Ravetz and Funtowitcz) is anti-scientific.

    Fran said very little more about Anthony’s seven posts. Instead she began her discussion of the 476 comments that followed Anthony’s posting of the announcement of the seminar she was now conducting. First, she pointed out that Anthony claims to cull all posts that have ridicule, personal attacks, and name calling, as described in the “Policy” section of the blog. She said that this was clearly not being done for the posts commenting on the WUWT announcement of her seminar – or any other comments that use the terms warmist, alarmist, warmista, global warming fanatic etc. She especially took umbrage at being called a “dipshit.” She objected to the terms “warmist” and “alarmist” but noted that the term “believer”, which Simon Kuper used in an article at the Financial Times, is not an accurate description of “people who are of the opinion that climate change is at least in part anthropogenic and worthy of public action” but is at a loss herself for a good one-word term.

    She then began a discussion about the authority and trustworthiness of science. “Has science ever been normal?” Fran believes that it has never been normal. Scientists cannot be totally objective and thus always have motives other than the mere search for knowledge and truth.

    She thinks that most of the people who posted comments to the WUWT announcement missed the point of her “Science AS ideology” (my emphasis) comment.

    Because data collection is never unbiased, not being objective with the collection of data isn’t a fault one can ascribe to scientists who biasedly interpret their data, according to Fran. She wants everybody to be aware that observational bias is unavoidable.

    She notes that even blogs have biases due to gatekeeping. Nobody sees the comments that have been snipped by moderators, so there is no objective way to determine if they were snipped deservedly. Fran noted that in all her studies of WUWT, few dissenting comments remained after moderation.

    There was a guest post on WUWT by Jerome Ravetz, in which he attempted to explain Post normal science and its enactment in the blogosphere. Fran felt that the response to Ravetz was almost entirely personal attack, and unfair personal attack at that, since clearly few of the attackers even understood what Ravetz was getting at.

    Fran summed up her appreciation of WUWT and other blogs by saying that they are “Not that free. Not everyone is welcome.”

    However, she noted that the interactivity of blogs is high: about 250 comments on each post on WUWT. The interactivity and lack of moderation mean that comments like “Offer her another Zoloft and put her by the window, she’ll enjoy the bright colours in the sunlight,” were “speech acts” that should be held accountable for their aggression.

    “Holding science accountable is important.” People who comment on blogs that claim to be scientific should be held accountable for the speech acts that they have committed, according to Fran.

    Then she noted that the vast majority of the comments that were appended to the seminar announcement descended into a discussion of Post normal science.

    Fran’s appreciation of Post normal science is that it is a description of what happens after the science is done. It is not a prescription, but is a description of what people do after they understand what the normal science means in the real world. There are large issues at stake. What must we do with the knowledge we gain from science?

    Thus, in Fran’s thinking Post normal science isn’t a different kind of science at all. It is the actions and words that occur *after* science is done with its objective data and replicated experiments – thus, POST (after) normal science.

    Fran believes that, “blogs are underrated as media and need to be taken more seriously.” Blogs are good at noting that the role of science in society is a matter of ideology. Blogs are also good at extended peer review of the results of scientific inquiry. However, blog commentary as constructive discourse is impeded by personal attacks and ridicule, something she herself experienced in the comments to Anthony’s seminar announcement on WUWT.

    Fran suggested that if blogs were willing to take out the arguing and attacks, they would become acceptable as academic and scientific discourse. She ended her presentation with the Heisenbergian statement that, “Observing a system changes the system.”

    Then Fran opened the floor for questions.

    One questioner mentioned that “open source” journals might be one solution to the problem of scientific peer review. Fran replied that unfortunately, scientific journals are usually put on paper, which costs money, and thus they will mostly remain read only within the scientific community, while blogs are open and are much better way to reach a wider public. Also, even though there are free journals, they are not very well promoted and thus reach fewer people from outside a discipline.

    I asked Fran whether she could articulate the great divide, the thesis and antithesis of climate change.

    She said that she was confused, and could not take a side. Her conviction is that humans do contribute to climate change and that it was worth it to make lifestyle changes like paying more for energy and recycling. She also mentioned that she believes in some version of the precautionary principle: we should do something if the stakes are so high that the entire planet might be affected. She said she would rather act sooner about such a situation rather than later. She added that her approach is very European. Europeans have a “give and get” tradition where they are willing to give more in taxes in order to get less poverty and environmental degradation.

    Another questioner asked Fran about roles that commenters take on blogs, specifically the roles of policing the comments or the role of commenting productively. Fran noted that most people stick to some particular role, usually noting that they are stepping out of that role in a particular comment by saying something like, “I normally don’t do this, but now I will comment.” Unfortunately, the policing role generally degenerates into nothing but vicious comments, something that is “unproductive.”

    Fran noted that she had to refrain from commenting on Anthony’s post about her seminar. “I wouldn’t be able to stop if I started commenting,” was the reason she gave for not participating in the commentary. Plus, the fact that doing so would have changed the object under study.

    Another questioner asked if blogs could influence normal science. Fran noted that many of the guest posts on WUWT were by knowledgeable people, but people not usually publishable in normal peer reviewed journals. This might have some influence on normal science. However, some posts on WUWT were definitely not suitable for peer reviewed journals, most notably Anthony’s posts regarding Pachauri’s novel writings, an activity that has nothing to do whatsoever with Pachauri’s science or his believability as the head of the IPCC, at least in Fran’s opinion.

    Thus, says Fran, “Ideas that don’t pass rigid scientific peer review get air.”

    Another questioner mentioned Judy Curry’s blog and how it engages both believers and contrarians. Fran noted that Anthony has said that Judy Curry used to be a contrarian, but has “fallen off the bandwagon and retreated to warmist views.”

    Fran noted that Jerome Ravetz had a guest post on WUWT, but the 500 comments on that post were almost uniformly “all bad.”

    Fran said that she has “yet to find a blog where constructive discourse happens” where clashing views are hosted.

    Another questioner asked whether blogs could be the new “agora” in the Greek philosophical sense. Fran found the comment interesting.

    Fran wrapped the questioning up by noting that there is still a lack of constructive discourse in the blogosphere. Among contrarians, the role of humans in climate change is still discussed, while among those who are believers, they are “not concerned about whether climate change is happening.” Believers are only concerned about what to do about it.

    Bobby thanked all the participants for coming, and most everybody but a few contrarians left for classes or other activities. To the remaining few, Fran opined that she ultimately preferred the European lifestyle to that of America, but appreciates the possibilities and chances in America, having lived in different states and cities herself. She was appalled at the poverty she saw in big parts of the country and was flabbergasted that Americans could allow such blatant inhumanity to stand. She also noted that even with the higher taxes and lack of economic freedom in Europe, the lifestyle there has not changed for the worse.

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