The Paradox of Consensus – a novel argument on climate change

Paradox

Paradox (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Theories that can be easily tested should have a high degree of consensus among researchers. Those involving chaotic and less testable questions – climate change or economic growth, physiology or financial markets – ought to have a greater level of scientific disagreement. Yet this is hardly the case for climate science. In the Paradox of Consensus, we illustrate that the greater the level of consensus for certain classes of hypotheses (those that are difficult to test) the less truth we should assign to them.

Guest Essay By D. RYAN BRUMBERG and MATTHEW BRUMBERG

The moon is not made of cheese, the earth is not flat, and lightning may strike the same place twice. We believe these claims to be true, yet it is unlikely that most readers have personally confirmed each of them. Because it would be nigh impossible for anyone to verify all they take as true, most individuals arrive at their worldview by following the beliefs of others (often “experts”). While there can be good reason to accept an idea based on its popularity, this consensus heuristic must be used with care. There must be a sufficient number of others who did arrive (and continue to arrive) at the same conclusion through independent verification and testing. When this condition is not met, the results can be catastrophic (recall the Challenger disaster). Instead of independent observers arriving at the same conclusion, we risk an information cascade. This failing goes by many names—argumentum ad populum, groupthink, the “bandwagon effect”—but its function is the same: increasing numbers of people will buy into an idea simply because many others already believe it. 

Consensus, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing. The more easily testable and verifiable a theory, the less debate we would expect. There is little disagreement, for example, about the sum of one plus one or the average distance of the earth from the sun. But as a question becomes more complex and less testable, we would expect an increasing level of disagreement and a lessening of the consensus—think: the existence of god, the best band since the Beatles, or the grand unified theory of physics. On such topics, independent minds can—and should—differ.

We can use a simple formula to express how an idea’s popularity correlates with its verifiability. Let us introduce the K/C ratio—the ratio of “knowability,” a broad term loosely encapsulating how possible it is to reduce uncertainty about an idea’s correctness, to “consensus,” a measure of the idea’s popularity and general acceptance. Topics that are easily knowable (K ~ 1) should have a high degree of consensus (C ~ 1), whereas those that are impossible to verify (K ~ 0) should have a low degree of consensus (C ~ 0). When the ratio deviates too far from the perfect ratio of 1, either from too much consensus or too little, there is a mispricing of knowledge. Indeed, in cases of extreme deviations from the perfect ratio, additional support for a concept with such a lopsided K/C ratio increasingly subtracts from its potential veracity. This occurs because ideas exist not simply at a single temporal point, but rather evolve over the sweep of time. At the upper reaches of consensus, there is less updating of views to account for new information—so much so that supporters of the status quo tend to suppress new facts and hypothesis. Government agencies deny funding to ‘sham’ scientists, tenure boards dissuade young researchers from pursuing ‘the wrong’ track, and the establishment quashes heretical ideas.

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Consider the belief that the sun, moon, and stars circle the earth—a reasonable initial proposition. Yet, as additional facts became available (Copernicus, Brahe, Galileo), the dogmatic believers of the consensus condemned these observations as heresy. A world with a less skewed K/C ratio (lower level of consensus given low knowability) would have advanced to the heliocentric model sooner. Given that we know not the evolutionary stage for any current theory, we arrive thus at the unexpected conclusion that when knowability is low, as the level of consensus increases (without a commensurate increase in knowability), there should be a decrease in the probability assigned to the truth of the matter. While not always clear why the K/C ratio can become highly skewed, one interpretation is that more than just the search for knowledge is at play.

To see how this works in practice, we turn to the evergreen topic of climate change. Notwithstanding the underlying ecological threat of climate change itself, the debate about how to confront human-caused global warming has spawned unprecedented financial, political, and social risks of its own. Entire industries face extinction as the world’s governments seek to impose trillions of dollars of taxes on carbon emissions. The New York Times’s Thomas Friedman approvingly writes that Australian politicians—not to mention public figures through the world—now risk “political suicide” if they deny climate change. But if carbon dioxide turns out not to be the boogey-man that climate scientists have made it out to be, tens of trillions will be wasted in unneeded remediation. Much of the world—billions of humans—will endure a severely diminished quality of life with nothing to show for it. The growth trajectory of the world in the twenty-first century may well depend more on the “truth” of climate change ex ante than ex post.

With climate change, as in many areas of scientific complexity, we can (and do) use models to understand the world. But models have their problems. This is particularly true when dealing with complex, non-linear systems with a multitude of recursive feedback loops, in which small variations produce massive shifts in the long-term outcome. Pioneered by the mathematicians Edward Lorenz and Benoit Mandelbrot, chaos theory helped explain the intractability of certain problems. Readers of pop science will be familiar with the term the “butterfly effect,” in which “the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set[s] off a tornado in Texas.” The earth’s climate is one such dynamic, chaotic system and it is within the whirling, turbulent vortex of unpredictability that the modern climate scientists must tread.

And boldly have they stepped into the breach. The scope of agreement achieved by the world’s climate scientists is breathtaking. To first approximation, around 97% agree that human activity, particularly carbon dioxide emissions, causes global warming. So impressed was the Norwegian Nobel Committee by the work of the Inter-governmental Committee on Climate Change and Al Gore “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change” that it awarded them the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. So many great minds cannot possibly be wrong, right?

Yet something nags us about this self-congratulatory consensus. Our intuition is that this narrow distribution of opinions yields a knowability to consensus ratio far removed from the perfect ratio of 1. To reach their conclusions, climate scientists have to (a) uncover the (historical) drivers of climate, (b) project the future path of these inputs and others that may arise, and (c) predict how recursive feedback loops interact over multi-decadal time horizons, all without being able to test their hypotheses against reality. When evaluating the causes of past climate shifts, for example, scientists cannot simply re-run history to test the impact of changing different variables. Similarly, although climate scientists can make testable hypotheses about the future, their short-term predictions have an embarrassing record (think post-Katrina predictions of a massive surge in US hurricanes or the failed attempts to forecast temperature changes for the 2000s), while the debate will be moot by the time we can test their long-term forecasts in the year 2100.

We would, therefore, expect this limit on empirical verifiability to birth widely divergent views on the path, causes, and consequences of earth’s future climate. In other arenas, only after a theory has been empirically verified has the scientific community coalesced around it. Even then, scientists continue to subject such theories to rigorous testing and debate. For example, consider the current state of theoretical physics: quantum physics, loop quantum gravity, string theory, super-symmetry, and M-theory, among others, all vie for acceptance. Albert Einstein’s general relativity itself did not begin to garner widespread support until four years after its publication, when Arthur Eddington verified its predictions during a 1919 solar eclipse. Even so, as illustrated by the rash of headlines in late 2011 announcing the (false) discovery of faster-than-light neutrinos, scientists continue to try to poke holes in Einstein’s theory.

Yet the expectation of a rich debate among scientists about climate change does not reconcile easily with the widely endorsed shibboleth that human activity will warm the globe dramatically and dangerously over the next one hundred years. As climate scientists are themselves fond of repeating, the vast majority have arrived at the exact same conclusions about both past warming and future trends. Any discussion that doubts the fundamental premises of climate change is dismissed by the mainstream media and climate scientists as pseudo-science conducted by quacks or ideologues. Thus, questions about observational biases in the location of temperature stations, changes in the earth’s albedo, the cooling effect of dust particles, shifting ocean cycles, fluctuating solar activity, correlation v. causation of historical warm periods and carbon dioxide, catastrophic model failure caused by chaotic interactions, and innumerable other theories—most of which are presumably wrong—are never properly mooted in the public debate.

In our view, the fact that so many scientists agree so closely about the earth’s warming is, itself, evidence of a lack of evidence for global warming. Does this mean that climate change is not happening? Not necessarily. But it does mean that we should be wary of the meretricious arguments mustered in its defense. When evaluating complex questions—from climate change to economic growth, physiology to financial markets—it is worse than naïve to judge the veracity of an idea merely from the strength of consensus. The condemnation of Galileo Galilei meant one man served a sentence of life imprisonment. His ecumenical accusers at least acknowledged a force greater than science drove their decision. The modern priests of climate change endanger the lives of billions as they wield their fallacy that consensus is truth.

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180 Responses to The Paradox of Consensus – a novel argument on climate change

  1. Doug Huffman says:

    K/C sounds a lot like Karl Popper’s ‘surprise’ of The Logic of Scientific Discovery.

  2. philjourdan says:

    The real danger comes when K/C approaches 0, and people start to act on the lack of knowledge. You do more damage when you do not know what you are doing, than doing nothing.

  3. Malcolm Miller says:

    Yes, the ‘modern priests of climate change’ endanger us all, epecially with their diversion of political energies away from the developmemnt of cheap electrical energy.

  4. Doug Proctor says:

    There is nothing wrong with a consensus of opinion (or belief) as long as we do not behave as if such a consensus is the same as physical reality: William James, pragmatist, described any “truth” as a useful article to be considered only an approximation of truth, and only useful as long as evidence showed it to be an approximation of truth less than needed.

    An opinion is not fact, regardless of how many hold it, and a “fact” is only a close representation of reality as it is not in contradiction with other “known” truths, leads us correctly towards other things we would not have found otherwise and is useful. CAGW does not lead us correctly towards the mid-tropospheric hotspot, does not lead us to the temperature history of the last 30 years and several other items. As such CAGW theories are opinions, not facts and not very good “truths”, though they are more useful than nothing.

    If we were faced with no theory, a guess would be more useful than nothing, and a consensus opinion of a guess would be more useful than a guess without any opinion at all. Fortunately we are not faced with no theory, but several, one or two of which handle the other two weaknesses of CAGW with regard to a pragmatist’s “truth”, i.e. the predicted events that aren’t present and the present events that aren’t predicted. So a consensus of opinion in the current case has no value.

    We don’t have to admit we know a lot to go forward, but if we think we go forward thinking we have lot more than we actually have, we’ll be like the fellows wading into the empty swamp surprised to find something biting on their butts.

  5. garymount says:

    “recall the Challenger disaster”
    Why yes I did, and I was scolded and told that was a low blow. But I made my point. See the late April comments near the current end of this thread :

    http://channel9.msdn.com/Forums/Coffeehouse/Crown-Capital-Earth-Management-Fraud-Warriors-Earth-Hour

    You’ll have to excuse the title of the thread, I had nothing to do with that.

  6. Money is the reason that the truth is being hidden. They have invested all that money needlessly, and don’t want to admit it….

  7. Dave Wendt says:

    The post brought this to mind…

  8. John Parsons says:

    So there is a consensus on AGW. JP

  9. gofer says:

    I thought the “consensus” was that man “contributed to” not caused global warming? The PNAS said scientists agreed with the “basic tenets of the IPCC” whatever that means and the other survey said there was a “significant contribution”, but I don’t remember any that said it was “caused” by man’s activity.

  10. Manfred says:

    The fluid terminology surrounding climate politics is a dead giveaway.
    ‘Global warming’ (usually implies AGW and often CAGW) is used interchangeably with ‘Climate Change’, a meaningless axiomatic term that has more recently been adopted to imply AGW or CAGW, but purposely not defined in order to embraces any and all, known and unknown, actual and potential adverse anthropogenic influences.
    Such fluid terminology is resistant to a testable definition, which suits both scientific uncertainty and political agendas. And needless to say, it is not the first time ‘consensus’ has dragged us to hell.

  11. dp says:

    A better test of the meaningfulness of a consensus would be if there are no compelling data and analyses offered from within the greater peer group. This consensus would only matter in politics where reason is frequently suspended in order to move an agenda forward. None of this is a substitute for the truth as a consensus can be the result of laziness or funding (Gentlemen – we are agreed. This is hard/expensive – let’s do it wrong) or the consensus may be entirely opinion (gut feel) and not a result of artfully presented compelling data. A consensus does not alter facts and is not a component of science and does not survive debate within the scientific circle (Listen to me, Einstein – give it up. Everyone is in the Euclidean camp). It is made much over outside that circle largely in the fourth estate of comedy — the press.

    The only way to relate consensus to the world is to state clearly that consensus is of no consequence in matters of science and a consensus of scientists whose actions are to use that consensus as a tool of influence should be treated like pick-pockets and con-artists.

  12. DirkH says:

    Well basically every person who wants to become a climate modeler these days will probably get a nice warm place to go to during office hours, will be paid pretty well by a Green government; and otherwise achieve exactly nothing in his life. From time to time he will have the opportunity to pontificate in state-owned media about the terrible future that awaits us all. If that’s your cup of tea, go for it. Maybe you can also land a nice marketing deal with Panasonic.

  13. DirkH says:

    John Parsons says:
    April 30, 2013 at 4:27 pm
    “So there is a consensus on AGW. JP”

    Yes, amongst idiots.

  14. Rick Bradford says:

    Mike Hulme has already made the related point that the appearance of consensus makes people less likely to accept the consensus view. The reason is that we are instinctively suspicious of what appears to us as manufactured conformity (especially in a complex area like climate).

  15. Janice Moore says:

    Re: Gofer @1631 on 4/30/13

    Q. How do you significantly contribute toward a result without being one of the effective causes of that result?

  16. graphicconception says:

    I’ve seen a quotation in a climate blog recently but unfortunately I can’t find it again.
    Basically it said: If everyone really did believe the same thing then you would not have to go round telling everyone there was a consensus.

  17. geran says:

    In the fields of “soft science”, consensus is most important. Much like a popularity contest–“Here is what we found, if you disagree you are stupid”.

    “Hard science” is not questioned. No one questions gravity. But ice cores, rock formations, and lake bottoms, are subject to interpretation. If you disagree, you do not get your doctorate, or you to not get your funding, our you do not get to appear on TV.

    When people have motivations other than the TRUTH, the real science disappears.

  18. polistra says:

    It’s not the percentage that matters, it’s the Politburo.

    Consider the standard “theory” of evolution. It’s not a theory in the first place, only a set of beliefs; it has never been proved by the origin of any species; and lots of working biologists have abandoned most of its details for various alternatives that are closer to the facts. But the standard “theory” is still REQUIRED BY LAW. If you dare to teach any of the alternatives seen by large numbers of working biologists, you will be fired or sued.

    For all X: As long as the silverbacks who control the grant money believe in theory X, theory X will be the only allowed theory.

  19. JohnWho says:

    In our view, the fact that so many scientists agree so closely about the earth’s warming is,..

    An incorrect view, since “so many” is really nowhere near 97%.

  20. RockyRoad says:

    So Global Warming is nothing more than unsubstantiated opinion. Loosely held, too.

  21. van Loon says:

    In a chaotic system, such as the atmosphere and oceans, two or more forcings deprives the system of being capable of being forecast over a longer period. Yes, we have climate changes on many time scales (not man-made), and we are unable to predict them because the system is chaotic.

  22. van Loon says:

    Remember, the same man does not go into the same river twice.

  23. Martin Clark says:

    Let’s see if I have this right …
    The “97%”.
    1.
    Bunch of post-grad students decided to conduct a survey.
    Many of us have been “post-grad” students. Many more of us know that the species can be downright dangerous :-)
    They have passed some sort of milestone, so think they know it all etc etc
    2.
    They didn’t get any advice about ensuring questions were concise, unambiguous, and were NOT leading questions etc.
    3.
    Contacted about 3000 “scientists”? Not a bad effort.
    4.
    About 1,000 responded. Not so good in my experience as a perpetrator of surveys. A decent survey will usually get 50% at the first call, most people being helpful etc.
    5.
    Many of the responses were highly critical of the questions, approach etc.
    6.
    Perps didn’t like this, so instead of fixing the problems, they filtered the responses to include only those respondents who identified themselves as “climate scientists”. As we know, this is widely regarded as an oxymoron. Climate goes in a thousand directions. It has been estimated (I do not recall by whom) that there are over 100 scientific and technical disciplines that have a bearing on the understanding of climate. (I did not take this as “given” so I started compiling a list. Stopped when I got to 84.) No one person can be expert in more than about 3 or 4 of these. So it is unsurprising that people who actually know stuff about climate tend to identify themselves according to their base qualifications and avoid the term.
    7.
    They (claim to have) got 77 responses identifying as “climate scientist”. 75 of the 77 believed that GW, CC, EW or whatever term was being peddled at the time was anthropogenic.

    75/77 x 100 = 97.4%

  24. Robert L says:

    The last time I went with consensus , I wound up soaked to the bone and fourteen miles from the truck !

  25. As one of the paper’s authors, I wanted to share a response I received that helps illustrate how too much consensus (at least among “mainstream scientists”) can impede the search for truth. The language is strong, but this sentiment is common among people’s responses. Such strongly held beliefs create an environment where it is difficult to challenge the established wisdom. This is an example of why we should assign a lower ex ante probability to claims that have high levels of consensus (with low knowability) compared to when there is less consensus (with low knowability).
    ———
    FROM: G.R. [ a Stanford/OECD economist ]
    You’re ignorant.

    The climate has changed and it due to greenhouse gases. There is no scientific debate about this. None.

    The opposing side (the side of ignorance) is the side of greed, supported by the energy companies. They are committing crimes against humanity and the planet, and should be tried as the Nazis were tried after WWII.

    They are not held accountable because half the population in the US (not the rest of the world) thinks “global warming” is a sign of the end of the world and the second coming of Christ. Do you think my hackels have been raised?

    Your application to this particular issue is an apology for their crimes. And you will come to regret your wasted efforts.

    Is your work an apology or a scientific inquiry into the creation of facts by consensus instead of scientific inquiry?

    I’ll take my answer off the air

  26. Stan W. says:

    posts made of ignorance are just sad — please, authors, up your game:

    “Increases in greenhouse forcing inferred from the outgoing longwave radiation spectra of the Earth in 1970 and 1997,” J.E. Harries et al, Nature 410, 355-357 (15 March 2001). 

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v410/n6826/abs/410355a0.html

    “Comparison of spectrally resolved outgoing longwave data between 1970 and present,” J.A. Griggs et al, Proc SPIE 164, 5543 (2004). http://spiedigitallibrary.org/proceedings/resource/2/psisdg/5543/1/164_1

    “Spectral signatures of climate change in the Earth’s infrared spectrum between 1970 and 2006,” Chen et al, (2007) http://www.eumetsat.int/Home/Main/Publications/Conference_and_Workshop_Proceedings/groups/cps/documents/document/pdf_conf_p50_s9_01_harries_v.pdf

    “Radiative forcing – measured at Earth’s surface – corroborate the increasing greenhouse effect,” R. Phillipona et al, Geo Res Letters, v31 L03202 (2004)

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2003GL018765/abstract

    “Measurements of the Radiative Surface Forcing of Climate,” W.F.J. Evans, Jan 2006

    https://ams.confex.com/ams/Annual2006/techprogram/paper_100737.htm

  27. dbstealey says:

    Ryan Brumberg,

    G.R. is scary; an unthinking throwback to Naziism [note his psychological projection]. G.R. provides absolutely nothing in the way of any scientific evidence, just his wild-eyed assertions.

    Thank you for providing rationality in this often emotional debate.

  28. Dave VanArsdale says:

    Great post. The useage of the word paradox is trending up in recent years. Reading the title reminded me of the following:

    “Collins English Dictionary
    Definition of ‘liar paradox’
    (logic) the paradox that this statement is false is true only if it is false and false only if it is true: attributed to Epimenides the Cretan in the form all Cretans are liars”

    If the dendrochronology shoe fits….you may be a Cretan!

    Cheers,
    Big Dave

  29. Steve from Rockwood says:

    What an excellent essay. Thank you.

  30. Clay Marley says:

    I like the concept, though quantifying K and C will be problematic. Who determines K and C? Those who support an idea or those who are skeptical? We’d need to find a way that is independent of the opinion of most anyone.

    To understand why an idea may deviate strongly from K/C=1, consider adding a third orthogonal axis. Call it the P4-Axis, for Profit, Power, Pride, and Politics. A sin-axis for the less secular. Normalize all 3 and create a surface. A high P4 index would suggest post-normal science.

  31. Konrad says:

    The whole manufactured “consensus” of the global warming industry may have the outward appearance of a planned hoax, but it was not. It started as a flawed hypothesis, that adding radiative gases to the atmosphere would reduce its radiative cooling ability. Sadly the proposed solutions to this unproven hypothesis fitted neatly with the ideology and political agendas of a great number of disparate “fellow travellers”. When evidence started to mount that the hypothesis may be incorrect, the fellow travellers were already very heavily invested in terms of reputation, politics and finances. Those involved had a choice whether to keep the story alive or back down. They chose poorly.

    The time to back down safely was well over a decade ago, possibly at the point of the first IPCC report. After this point an excusable mistake turns to inexcusable malfeasance. The fellow travellers have all failed to realise what a very poor decision fighting to keep AGW alive was in the age of the Internet.

    Global warming has in effect been a global IQ test with results permanently recorded on the Internet. It has also been a test of character and ethics for all the journalists, activists, scientists and politicians involved. Most have failed. As the AGW story collapses, the fellow travellers will try the “but everyone believed” line, but the debate became highly polarised and the fellow travellers are very clearly identified.

    Climate scientist are currently scrabbling for a “sciencey” sounding excuse for the failure of their claims, but the mistake in their calculations is too basic and it is far to late for that. Most available reasons why CO2 is not causing warming have already been raised by sceptics and AGW promoters record of vehement dismissal is permanent.

    Failure to back down at the appropriate time has serious consequences in the age of the Internet. Intentionally trying to keep a failed hypothesis alive to preserve the agendas of fellow travellers has even more severe consequences.

    – Almost all politicians of the Left are now compromised.
    – Environmental NGOs lose what remains of their reputation.
    – Journalists supportive of the Left are now compromised.
    – New Media is now more trusted than the old Lame Stream Media.
    – Post normal science is now discredited.
    – No one will trust the UN with any plans to address any environmental “Crisis” again, especially not involving money.
    – A global network of sceptics has been created that cannot be controlled by governments, and is not dependant on their funding.

    So on the whole the fallout from the collapse of the manufactured consensus is not too bad ;)

  32. Consensus as input data!
    Thanks for the good dissertation!
    Yes, every good test on CAGW falsifies it, showing reality is going further away from the models.

  33. gofer says:

    Janice Moore says:
    April 30, 2013 at 4:53 pm
    Re: Gofer @1631 on 4/30/13

    Q. How do you significantly contribute toward a result without being one of the effective causes of that result?

    I would interpret it like somebody saying that the faulty brakes “contributed significantly” to the car crash but not “caused” it since other factors such as slick roads and speed were also contributing factors. We are left with the impression that man is the sole cause of climate change, not one of the causes. The typical blog statement goes something like “Global Warming is real and is caused by human activity.

  34. This essay would have been stronger without the neologism “knowability” and the fancy graphs and fractions. The basic questions are simple: On any given issue, is there, or isn’t there consensus; and if there is, is it based on solid evidence? If unsupported by solid evidence, consensus does more harm than good.

    “Climate change” is simply the most visible, egregious and lucrative example of manufactured consensus among scientists. However, the general pattern is much more common – wolf packs of scientists ganging together, creating a new theory or, better still, new-fangled “discipline”; promising the people rich rewards if they will fund them, or doom and disaster if they won’t. Climate changers are the masters of doom right now – look at the hype-and-hosiannah end of the news spectrum to see some other fields that fit the general description.

    Each such movement needs strength in the numbers to build “momentum” and succeed. To achieve this, low standards are of the essence; every aspiring junior wolf must be reassured that he, too, will be able to howl with the pack. Again, “climate science” has achieved this beautifully, but again there are some other fields that qualify just as well.

  35. Chuck Nolan says:

    Robert L says:
    April 30, 2013 at 5:51 pm
    The last time I went with consensus , I wound up soaked to the bone and fourteen miles from the truck !
    ————
    Robert, that story wouldn’t include alcohol would it?
    Some day that tale must be told.
    cn

  36. gofer says:

    I wonder why 350.org has never referred back to the time when CO2 was at the “safe” level and shown us how much better the climate/weather was during that time? A direct comparison would surely convince the doubters of the validity of working to reduce emissions. It must have been much better or else why bother reducing emissions since the focus of late has been on “extreme” weather over temperature.

  37. geran says:

    Konrad says:
    April 30, 2013 at 6:56 pm
    “….Global warming has in effect been a global IQ test with results permanently recorded on the Internet.”
    >>>>>>>
    If only I had written that….

  38. KevinK says:

    reminds me of an old joke;

    When you tell someone there are a billion stars in the universe and they say; Oh, okay you must be right. But when you put up a “wet paint” sign they have to touch it to make sure…………..

  39. Gary Pearse says:

    polistra says:
    April 30, 2013 at 5:02 pm
    “Consider the standard “theory” of evolution. It’s not a theory in the first place, only a set of beliefs; it has never been proved by the origin of any species; and lots of working biologists have abandoned most of its details…”

    Paleontologists have seen the origin of thousands of species. Let me give you some evidence, and before you dispute it, suspend disbelief and offer an explanation for it – do your honest creative best – treat it like a mystery in a science fiction work. The world’s sedimentary rocks are like the pages of a book with the oldest page on the bottom and the most recent pages on the top. Now in the oldest pages one finds fossils only of sea creatures and they are few in variety.
    Overlying this oldest formation is a younger one, with only sea creature fossils but a large variety – many species not seen in the older formation have appeared. Continue this study of ever younger formations until you find the first amphibian fossils and they increase in number and variety as you progress upwards, then you find land lubbers – lizards, followed by dinosaurs, followed by birds, then mammals appear in the latter stages of the dinosaurs – all during this time we find sea vegetation followed by land vegetation which appears before the amphibians and these give way to increasing varieties and numbers and lead to giant forests of the Carboniferous period during which most of the world’s coal was formed in large forested swamps and then grasslands appear, etc. Primates appeared several millions of years ago, then ~300,000years ago, the first record of stone tools and weapons of the Neanderthal appear and then Cro-Magnon, or anatomically modern man arrive near the tail end of Neanderthal existence.

    While going through all this we find something interesting in detail. The first horse is a small dog sized forest dweller with five-toed feet. In the layer above this we see a larger creature with three-toed feet extended in length. It has ventured out into the newly-appeared grasslands and has raised up on three toes to be a bit taller – his skeleton has two extra splinters of bone, one on each side of the first and third toes- vestiges of the old five toed foot. But in the next layer, the primitive grasses have grown taller and the horse ( to be able to see danger from a distance) has raised up onto one toe on each foot and that toe (and the legs) have grown much longer but vestige bone splinters of the second and fourth toe (first and fifth have disappeared entirely) lie along the sides of the single toe that the horse is standing on. This horse, standing on the middle toe of each foot, with its toe nail developed into a hoof and vestiges of two toes remaining as splints along the remaining toe is exactly what we see in the Modern Horse:

    http://books.google.ca/books?id=O-EOAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA10&lpg=PA10&dq=horse+skeleton+showing+vestige+toes&source=bl&ots=7BnokDLHAG&sig=fy6vQj7VNYcFx3qS4vf9bZbhVFM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=XHiAUcnKPJDyqAHqzoCgCQ&ved=0CEMQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=horse%20skeleton%20showing%20vestige%20toes&f=false

    Be honest now and remember Occam’s razor. Evidence of the evolution of the horse is so powerful, that anti-evolution folks have taken on the challenge of explaining it away with the zeal that medieval bishops employed to repudiate the Heliocentric theory of Galileo:

    https://www.google.ca/search?q=occam%27s+razor&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

    Also remember that Darwin probably didn’t even know about the evolution of the horse and also realize that I can give many example of developments of other species and can tell you that we do not find mixing – e.g. Neanderthal tools and skeletons in the age of the dinosaurs (Jurassic and Cretaceous), or dinosaur remains in the Cambrian seas where all life of this ancient time were aquatic, etc.

  40. Chuck Nolan says:

    Konrad says:
    April 30, 2013 at 6:56 pm
    ……………So on the whole the fallout from the collapse of the manufactured consensus is not too bad ;)
    —————————–
    Damn, Konrad! Bravo brother bravo.
    cn

  41. Stan W. says:

    interesting that no one here will confront the actual evidence:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/30/the-paradox-of-consensus/#comment-1292801

    that’s what i’ve come to expect….

  42. AlexS says:

    Those minds don’t differ because AGW theory – and its opting out unfalsifiable escape “climate change”- is a Social Construct.
    Socialization, and if it is established as a systemic acculturation is a way to escape uncertainty. Uncertainty is intolerable to those that need a certain level control to feel secure and-or need to give meaning to their lives.
    This kind of thinking had open hears in journalism, not surprising, itself a profession where people go to “change the world” – control once again.
    For short term pack behavior, professional and social intimidation was utmost necessary to establish an obedient culture.

  43. geran says:

    Stan W., take a deep breath fella. You have not presnted “evidence”, you have presented questionable links that you “believe in”.

    Hint: If it doesn’t fly, it’s probably not aerodynamic.

  44. TimC says:

    If for “level of knowability” you substitute “complex” this theory seems to reduce to “the more complex the problem the lower the consensus ought to be, in the absence of verifiable proof”, which (to my mind anyway) is a clearer statement of the basic proposition.

    I agree there must be other factors at play to give disproportionately high consensus based on a complex issues – but isn’t this just self-evident and on what scale is complexity to be measured?

  45. Gary Pearse says:

    Stan W. says:
    April 30, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    interesting that no one here will confront the actual evidence:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/30/the-paradox-of-consensus/#comment-1292801

    You don’t know much about WUWT, I see. Confronting the “evidence” is what we do thanklessly and effectively. The “evidence” of your masters has been pretty thoroughly debunked in this blog and other blogs, like Climate Audit – a blog that strikes terror into hearts of the climate chefs – check and see if any of these linked papers have been withdrawn BY THE AUTHORS or the journals after vivisection by Steve McIntyre! Here is some real evidence that you missed:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/10/18/gergis-et-al-hockey-stick-paper-withdrawn-finally/

    http://www.thegwpf.org/steven-mcintyre-marcott-filibuster/

    I know it must hurt when people here stop noticing you. You are in the company of giants where one liners and a batch of links to the rap-sheets of the climate felons won’t get much traction here after the politeness of earlier responders gives way to silence.

  46. Theo Goodwin says:

    Good article. Another important criticism of the “global warming consensus” claim is that the “consensus” is about no particular claim. For example, is there a consensus on Mann’s Hockey Stick? If so, then what of the criticisms of the Hockey Stick? Is there a consensus on the criticisms? If so, where is that position stated? In short, the claim of consensus is empty of all content.

  47. Jeff Alberts says:

    Readers of pop science will be familiar with the term the “butterfly effect,” in which “the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set[s] off a tornado in Texas.”

    Very poor analogy, and not even close to being true. The microscopic turbulence caused by the butterfly’s wings are quickly dispersed and overwhelmed by normal breezes. Even on a dead calm day that butterfly can’t make a whit of difference in even it’s local weather patterns. Consider all the things that move through the air every second of every day that are multiple orders of magnitude larger and more turbulent than a butterfly’s wings. Even they have zero effect.

    It’s really difficult to describe how stupid the statement is in the first place.

  48. philincalifornia says:

    Stan W.

    It doesn’t matter how many times you say it, or in how many different ways, or how many links you post – it’s not “simple physics”. Posters here don’t want to go near that sub-meme because it is dead and buried and smelly.

    ….. but many congratulations on your support, albeit unknowingly to you, of the original essay.

  49. Theo Goodwin says:

    Stan W. says:
    April 30, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    People who post here are expected to participate in debate. You do that by stating your own arguments in your own words. Do not presume to assign homework.

  50. Stan W. says:

    @theo —

    what you call “homework” others call “evidence.”

    sad that you won’t confront it. but i understand why not….

  51. dbstealey says:

    Stan W,

    What you posted is not testable scientific “evidence”. Planet earth is deconstructing your belief system: as CO2 continues to rise, global temperatures have stagnated for the past sixteen years. Thus, CO2 is not the cause of global warming. QED.

    Logic is not your strong point, is it, Stan?

  52. davidmhoffer says:

    Stan W. says:
    April 30, 2013 at 8:36 pm
    @theo —
    what you call “homework” others call “evidence.”
    sad that you won’t confront it. but i understand why not….
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Sadly, you present evidence of increased GHE and presume that this equates to evidence of CAGW. The two are not synonymous.

  53. Janice Moore says:

    “We are left with the impression that man is the sole cause of climate change, not one of the causes.” [Geran @1857 on 4/30/13]

    Thank you, Geran, for responding to my query; that rarely happens! It appears that we must (well, I, at least, will) agree to disagree. You believe that humanity is one of the small but significant causes of global climate change. I go further and assert that there is no evidence that humans have ANY meaningfully significant influence on global climate.

    To use your hypothetical, I would say that the car was swept off the road and over a cliff by a big landslide before the driver had ANY opportunity to apply the brakes.

    As Rhoda stated last week, the AGW proponents have the burden of proof as to their speculative conjecture that humans are one of the main causes of global climate change. They have not yet produced even one piece of evidence to prove their case. Not only have they not proven their assertion by a preponderance of the evidence, they have not even proven it “more likely than not.” (I realize that you agree with me on this)

    Thanks again for helping me to understand where you are coming from. Much appreciated!

  54. Stan W. says:

    dbstealey says:
    Planet earth is deconstructing your belief system: as CO2 continues to rise, global temperatures have stagnated for the past sixteen years.

    do you honestly not understand that the ocean is the prime repository of any energy imbalance?

    if not, how can i make this clearer for you?

  55. dbstealey says:

    Stan W says:

    “…how can i make this clearer for you?”

    You can post verifiable empirical, testable data, showing deep ocean heating. Post it here, if you can…

    …and post your C.V. while you’re at it — if you even have a C.V.

  56. Stan W. says:

    @dbstealey —

    what I posted is the results of experiment.

    i understand why you would deny it, but such measurements are open to anyone.

  57. Stan W. says:

    @dbstealey —

    post your c.v. first.

  58. barry says:

    All rhetoric, no data. The argument is thus assertive rather than deductive or inductive. “I assert that concensus on science that is uncertain can be corrupt, therefore the consensus on climate change, in which there is uncertainty, is corrupt.”

    The equation is arbitrary and untested The article is simply politics trying to pass itself off as some kind of analysis.

    REPLY: The point is to discuss it not be snooty about it. The fact that it irritates you gives it more credibility, since your role is defender of the indefensible. – Anthony

  59. Janice Moore says:

    @ Alex S [re: 7:57 PM comment: "...Uncertainty is intolerable to those that need a certain level control to feel secure and-or need to give meaning to their lives."]

    Yes. Reminds me of a conversation I had with one of my enviro-controller friends [yeah, if we just didn't talk about just about anything I care about we had a fun time, LOL] several years ago. I think we were talking about the Christmas light displays we had just walked past on her street.

    Janice [with gusto]: I like liberty!
    Friend: I like rules!

    She was serious.

  60. Greg House says:

    “Theories that can be easily tested should have a high degree of consensus among researchers. Those involving chaotic and less testable questions – climate change or economic growth, physiology or financial markets – ought to have a greater level of scientific disagreement. Yet this is hardly the case for climate science. …
    Guest Essay By D. RYAN BRUMBERG and MATTHEW BRUMBERG”

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

    This is the case for climate science. The level of scientific disagreement on “global warming” is much greater than some people think. The majority of relevant scientists do not believe in this nonsense, but for understandable reasons they keep their mouths shut: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/04/30/consensus-argument-proves-climate-science-is-political/#comment-972119.

  61. philincalifornia says:

    I can’t keep up.

    Which shell is the pea under ? The one labeled “spectroscopy” or the one labeled “ocean heat content” ??

  62. davidmhoffer says:

    Stan W;
    what I posted is the results of experiment.
    i understand why you would deny it, but such measurements are open to anyone.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Uhm no…. what you posted were studies based on measurements. If you don’t know the difference between a measurement and an experiment, you need to go back and understand that first.

    BTW, here’s a link to an excellent article on WUWT talking about the GHE and CO2 and how we can verify it by measurement. I, a raging skeptic, refer to it often.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/10/visualizing-the-greenhouse-effect-emission-spectra/

    I suggest also that you read the IPCC report, the penultimate authority on consensus science, in which they specifically state that a change in RF (radiative forcing) can not, repeat NOT, repeat NOT be directly related to SF (surface forcing) and hence surface temperature.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch2s2-2.html

    It is mind boggling to me that people like you sneer down your noses at people like me, accusing us of crass ignorance, when it is clear that you don’t even know what the consensus science you think you are rubbing our noses in says. I suggest you read the actual literature to see what it actually says before spouting off further.

  63. William McClenney says:

    Stan W., if you surf now to http://pre.aps.org/abstract/PRE/v84/i1/e011130 you can plunk down on:

    Phys. Rev. E 84, 011130 (2011) [8 pages]

    “Social consensus through the influence of committed minorities”, J. Xie, S. Sreenivasan, G. Korniss, W. Zhang, C. Lim, and B. K. Szymanski

    Previously discussed on this blog here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/07/27/tipping-points-and-beliefs/

  64. davidmhoffer says:

    Janice Moore;
    Janice [with gusto]: I like liberty!
    Friend: I like rules!
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don’t ever count on having both at once.
    Robert A Heinlein

  65. rtj1211 says:

    The boundary between science and faith is whether or not you can design an experiment to test your hypothesis or not.

    To date, so far as I’m aware, you can’t test whether God exists or not. You can, however, test whether BELIEVING that he does exist makes some people feel better or not. There is, after all, potential for a religious placebo effect if God didn’t exist but people believe that he does. That is an untestable Gedankenexperiment, after all……

    If something is really pretty unknowable, it’s something which shouldn’t be of great concern to practicing scientists of this generation, although they may flag it up as something which people should try and find ways to discover more about – developing new measurement technologies and the like.

    Therefore, the first question for al concerned members of the public about any matter of ‘science’, ‘societal concern’ or the like is this: ‘can we actually test whether this is true or not?’

    The second question is: ‘if we can’t, do we need to do anything more than just learn more about the phenomenon?

    The third question is: if the answer to that is yes, why is that the case?

    The fourth question is: ‘what if the scientists are arguing about whether or not we can test this or not?’

    The only thing one can deduce from the graphs of this article is this: ‘coercive religion occurs when high unknowability is matched by high concensus’.

  66. Scott says:

    There’s a children story about this title: “The Emperor’s New Clothes”
    Hans Christian Andersen must have been a pretty smart guy.

  67. Stan W. says:

    @william McC:
    please address the evidence i have presented, and not some lame sociological interpretation of it.
    thank you.

  68. frankpwhite says:

    Not mentioned is the resolution of the CO2 record since the Pliocene. Usually the data points for periods that long in the past represent the average level of CO2 over long periods such as 100 years or 1,000 years.

    A lake bed in Europe was sampled for CO2 levels with data points at 10-year intervals. What was found? Wide fluctuations in CO2 level within single centuries.

    We do not know what was the variance of CO2 since the Pliocene, not by decades nor by centuries. We know only the averages by longer periods than centuries, possibly only millennia.

    Comparing the level for one day to the average for 1,000 years is an abuse of statistics.

  69. TomRude says:

    “Does this mean that climate change is not happening?”
    Please, this kind of question has been settled: the climate does change all the time. This is the kind of wording that we blast CAGW zealots for when they call us “climate change deniers”. No one in his right mind denies it’s in the nature of climate to change.

  70. Konrad says:

    Stan W. says:
    April 30, 2013 at 9:01 pm
    “what I posted is the results of experiment.”
    ———————————————–
    Stan,
    there is no hope of reviving the AGW scare, it’s over. The foundation of AGW is the radiative greenhouse hypothesis and this contains critical flaws. These flaws are so great they invalidate the entire AGW hypothesis. Quite simply the climate pseudo scientists got the “basic physics” of the “settled science” wrong. They got the radiative physics mostly right, but the fluid dynamics and gas conduction in a moving atmosphere totally wrong. The experiments to prove this are quite simple and can be run in a high school science class. This means that the the current attempts of the pseudo scientists to find a “sciencey” sounding excuse for getting it wrong will not work. The corpse of AGW cannot be reanimated, nor can it be hidden.

    If you want evidence of the critical flaws in the AGW hypothesis, build and run these simple empirical experiments for yourself –

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/05/a-comparison-of-the-earths-climate-sensitivity-to-changes-in-the-nature-of-the-initial-forcing/#comment-1267231

    Stan, the “basic physics” of the “settled science” are in error. It is not just that there is no CAGW, there is no AGW at all. Our atmosphere is far cooler than it would otherwise be due to the presence of radiative gases.

  71. Konrad says:

    davidmhoffer says:
    April 30, 2013 at 8:47 pm
    “Sadly, you present evidence of increased GHE and presume that this equates to evidence of CAGW. The two are not synonymous.”
    ———————————————————————————————————–

    No. There will be no “soft landing” for the AGW hypothesis or any of the fellow travellers.

  72. Janice Moore says:

    “You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. …” [David M Hoffer quoting Heinlein]

    Janice (with gusto): I choose freedom! I’d rather be free in a dangerous world than sitting in a peaceful prison (where they have LOTS of rules).

    BTW this was not, in case it appears to be, to argue with your point.

    Indeed,

    FREEDOM IS NOT FREE.

    Thank you, all you active and retired members of the U. S. armed services!!! Thank you for my freedom.

  73. Stan W. says:

    Konrad says:
    blah blah blah

    where can i read your published, peer reviewed work, Konrad?

    i’m guessing nowhere. you’re an anomymout little blog commenter who does no science at all.

  74. Janice Moore says:

    “The corpse of AGW cannot be reanimated, nor can it be hidden.”
    [Konrad @ 2228 on 4/30/13]

    QUOTE OF THE YEAR!

  75. Chris Schoneveld says:

    This essay starts off with a wrong premise. There is no consensus on AGW.

  76. davidmhoffer says:

    Stan W. says:
    April 30, 2013 at 10:21 pm
    @william McC:
    please address the evidence i have presented
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    and

    Stan W. says:
    April 30, 2013 at 10:31 pm
    Konrad says:
    blah blah blah
    where can i read your published, peer reviewed work, Konrad?
    i’m guessing nowhere. you’re an anomymout little blog commenter who does no science at all.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Well Stan, I addressed the evidence you presented, but you ignored my comment. I also pointed out that the consensus science does not support your assertions, provided links to the IPCC report to verify my assertion, and you ignored that too. I guess it is easier to maintain a state of self delusion if one simply ignores contrary facts and evidence?

  77. Dave Wendt says:

    Stan W. says:
    April 30, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    “Measurements of the Radiative Surface Forcing of Climate,” W.F.J. Evans, Jan 2006

    https://ams.confex.com/ams/Annual2006/techprogram/paper_100737.htm

    I find it very interesting that you include this work in your list of supposedly probative studies as I have commented on it here quite a few times, although my own impressions are quite a bit different from those provided by the authors.They make quite a fuss about their observed increase in DLR
    “This code has been used to calculate the model predicted increase in surface radiative forcing since 1850 to be 2.55 W/m2. In comparison, an ensemble summary of our measurements indicates that an energy flux imbalance of 3.5 W/m2 has been created by anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases since 1850. This experimental data should effectively end the argument by skeptics that no experimental evidence exists for the connection between greenhouse gas increases in the atmosphere and global warming.”

    They do however mostly neglect to mention that the entirety of the increase occurs in the dead of Winter, which leads me to the part where they pretty much buried the lead of what I always have found to be very revealing experiment. I would refer you to tables 3a & 3b in the paper which are respectively Measured Winter Downward Surface Fluxes and Measured Summer Downward Surface Fluxes they describe as follows “Table 3a shows the measured downward surface radiation forcing for three winter cases. CO2 is around 33 W/m2 , CH4 is 1.25 W/m2, N2O is 1.25 W/m2 and CFCs contribute around 0.25 W/m2″…”Table 3b shows the measured downward surface radiation forcing for three summer cases. The H2O flux has increased from about 100 W/m2 to 200 W/m2 . CO2 is reduced from 33 W/m2 to 11 W/m2 CH4 is reduced from 1.25 W/m2 to 0.8 W/m2. N2O is reduced from 1.25 W/m2 to 0.8 W/m2. O3 is reduced from 3.2 W/m2 to 2.6 W/m2 in summer. The CFCs contribution is about the same around 0.25 W/m2 and hence the relative contribution as compared to CO2 has increased.”

    Did you catch that? Although the logical implication which seemed incredibly obvious to me as soon as I saw it is right there, most folks don’t see it that quickly. In Winter CO2 does account for about 25% of the total DLR, which is the conventional number, (33W/m2 out of 150+W/m2) , but in the Summer the CO2 contribution is dramatically suppressed (10.5W/m2 out of 270+W/m2 total) to about 4%
    Note that 270 W/m2 total DLR number. This experiment was conducted in the middle of Canada and even in the peak of Summer the number is not that large. I would refer you to these maps of global DLR

    http://tinyurl.com/maps-of-DLR

    They would seem to indicate that over most of the Earth most of the time total DLR is in the 300-450W/m2 range and by extension, if the phenomenon which E&P observed and measured is real, CO2 is a fairly negligible contributor to total DLR(2-4% or less) over a majority of the planet a majority of the time. I’m not sure how real this is, but I would point out that the nice model they constructed to provide their baseline data for the 19th century matched the 10.5W/m2 Summer CO2 exactly.

    What I have actually found most interesting about this work was the spectral analysis technique itself. It seemed to provide an obvious path to resolving once and for all the question of CO2’s role in forcing the climate. By deploying instruments capable of recording this kind of data continuously at a relatively small number of latitudinally distributed sites we would have in fairly shot order a database that would be capable of providing a clear outline of CO2’s role. It has been nearly a decade and a half since E&P did their field work and though I admit has been a number of months since I’ve gone looking, AFAIK, no such effort has occurred. I find that extremely curious. It’s almost as if the people doling out the climate research money don’t want to know what that data could tell them.

  78. What a fine example of “begging the question” in the original sense.

    You cannot sensibly use the your belief that the problem is too hard for any meaningful consensus, in a demonstration that any such consensus is not legitimate. It’s obvious that the former implies the latter, but you’re not any more done than you were before you made the point, because the premise is just a matter of undefended assertion.

    Your belief is not the belief of those holding the consensus. So it is just another way of saying you doubt it. Yeah, we got that.

    What is the consensus? That’s a good question.

    I suggest that the consensus is:

    1) that contemporary climate change on earth is overwhelmingly caused by inadvertent side effects of human activity,

    2) that the forcing is cumulative, and therefore would increase even for stable emissions

    3) that the expected and observed effects have recently become statistically unambiguous not to say painfully obvious to the casual observer (especially those attuned to one or more natural environments),

    4) that there are large global-scale risks associated with foreseeable climate change,

    and

    5) the longer we delay an adequate policy response the greater the risk and the worse the final outcome will get for a given level of response effort and expense.

    I believe it is fair to say, based on the substantial sample with whom I am best acquainted, that 97% of the 20,000 people, say, with the best claim to understanding of physics of climate agree with all that, and further that they are all supported by extensive and clear evidence.

    In short, the parent article is wrong. There are solid policy-relevant conclusions in climate science on which there is a legitimate consensus.

  79. Stan W.:

    Not for the first time on WUWT, your arrogance and self-imposed ignorance are becoming annoying.

    At April 30, 2013 at 10:21 pm you write

    william McC:
    please address the evidence i have presented, and not some lame sociological interpretation of it.
    thank you.

    There was and is no need for ‘william McC’ to consider the irrelevant links you presented because others had explained their irrelevance. So, he debated their sociological import.

    As one example of the reality which your question demonstrates you are refusing to face, I cite the post of davidmhoffer at April 30, 2013 at 8:47 pm. He explained to you

    Sadly, you present evidence of increased GHE and presume that this equates to evidence of CAGW. The two are not synonymous.

    Indeed, on another WUWT thread (where you were a very annoying troll) I repeatedly informed you that they are not synonymous and why they are not synonymous. But you come back here and repeatedly post your question which displays your self-inflicted ignorance. And you do it with a complaint at ‘william McC’ because he makes a “sociological interpretation” on a thread about a sociological subject!

    This thread is about false proclamations of certainty based on assertions of a “consensus”. Only yesterday on another WUWT thread I addressed the subject of this thread which you are trying to deflect. I copy that post to here to save others needing to find it, but it was at

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/29/the-mental-control-of-the-97-consensus-myth-spans-politics/#comment-1292203

    Richard

    ///////////////////////
    richardscourtney says:
    April 30, 2013 at 1:23 am

    Friends:

    I am surprised nobody in this thread has made the obvious point that the claim of “97% of scientists think” demonstrates that there is NO clear scientific evidence for what the 97% thinks.

    Nobody says X% of scientists think
    gravity exists,
    the Arctic is a cold place,
    fire is a chemical reaction,
    the air is a mixture of gases,
    or any number of other things for which there is clear scientific evidence.

    People say the evidence for gravity is that apples fall down and not up. And etc.

    People only say “X% of scientists think” when there is no clear evidence that the X% are right and there are good reasons to think the X% are wrong.

    Richard

  80. Janice Moore, even if you are fat and ugly,I love you. If I wasn’t commited I would hunt you down and prove that statement.

    for Konrad: Years ago Charles the moderater came under attack. I then came out from my handle of taxistan and posted “my name is stan stendera and I stand with you Charles”. I have posted as stan stendera ever since. I do not regret “coming out”.

    I suggest you use your full name when you post such lucid comments as above. I am not the only one who has approvingly noticed your comment. Posting under your real name is LIBERATING!

  81. Stan W. says:

    is there anyone here who will address the science?

    richard_courtney will not, and so he is cut off.

    anyone else?

  82. Stan W. says:

    you people are no challenge.
    you completely ignore evidence.
    that is not scientific.
    i thought this was about science.

  83. mtobis (@mtobis):

    re your post at April 30, 2013 at 10:48 pm.

    Your abject presentation of the Precautionary Principle is mistaken.

    You assert that we should stop greenhouse gas emissions in case the AGW hypothesis is right. But that turns the Precautionary Principle on its head.

    Stopping the emissions would reduce fossil fuel usage with resulting economic damage. This would be worse than the ‘oil crisis’ of the 1970s because the reduction would be greater, would be permanent, and energy use has increased since then. The economic disruption would be world-wide. Major effects would be in the developed world because it has the largest economies. Worst effects would be on the world’s poorest peoples: people near starvation are starved by it.

    Indeed, the world’s population is anticipated to continue to increase until it peaks at (conservatively) ~2.6 billion more people around the middle of this century. Those extra people need sufficient energy to survive, and that requires the use of fossil fuels and nuclear power. Stopping increase to CO2 emissions constrains increased use of fossil fuels and thus condemns those extra people to death.

    The precautionary principle says we should not accept the risks of certain economic disruption with billions of resulting deaths in attempt to control the world’s climate on the basis of assumptions that have no supporting evidence and merely because they’ve been described using computer games.

    Richard

  84. For Stan W.: I am ashamed I share the same first name as you, you troll. I do, however, notice you do not post under your full name. Hummmmm.

  85. Friends:

    I strongly recommend ignoring the troll posting as StanW. That troll’s egregious behaviour destroyed another thread by – as he/she/it/they is doing here – ignoring all information and repeatedly posting nonsense.

    Don’t feed the troll and the troll may go away because its attention-seeking will have failed.

    Richard

  86. Janice Moore says:

    Stan Stendera! (blush) I think you’re pretty cool, too. But, how did you know that I am fat and ugly? LOL. [#:o0]-|- @ The Brumberg Bros. — good job. Worthwhile topic. Meaningful conclusions rationally arrived at. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

  87. Janice Moore says:

    Hey, Mr. Stendera, sorry about that weirdly truncated post above — the entire middle section mysteriously did not get copied onto the page. It went something like:

    I’m glad I checked back here (wondered if Mr. W. read my letter on other thread — apparently not) before signing off — I was wondering if all was well with you (I even prayed), for you weren’t posting as much as I’ve observed you to do. Glad to “hear” your voice.

    Thanks for making my evening, Mr. S.. And whomever you are committed to is blessed. I’m sure she knows it, too.

    Take care.

    HEY, I think I just figured out why part of my post was auto-deleted — for “legs” on my little stick lady, I used the “less than” sign and it and all that followed for quite a bit of text went — POOF!

  88. Janice Moore says:

    Re: “… I am ashamed I share the same first name as …” [STAN S.]

    Mr. Stendera, with my last name, I understand completely! (please, don’t even mention that man!)

  89. Dave Wendt says:

    Stan W. says:
    April 30, 2013 at 11:07 pm
    is there anyone here who will address the science?

    richard_courtney will not, and so he is cut off.

    anyone else?

    Jeez. Stan you make me feel like Rodney Dangerfield! In comment above I offered a somewhat different, but what I feel to be an entirely logical, contrarian interpretation of the data collected. I expected someone of your obvious intellectual gifts to be able to point out precisely why I was wrong. But you just ignored me. I can’t get no respect!

  90. Jimbo says:

    AGW cannot easily be tested but some observations can be made and compared to the theory.

    1) The still missing tropospheric missing hotspot.

    2) Flat global mean temps for over 15 years while co2 continues to rise.

    3) Failed predictions of warmer, less snowy northern hemisphere winters.
    (Weather not climate: Last weekend it snowed in 26 regions of Spain, some beaches whitened).

    4) [insert your own observations]……………

  91. Konrad says:

    Stan W. says:
    April 30, 2013 at 10:31 pm
    “Konrad says:
    blah blah blah
    where can i read your published, peer reviewed work, Konrad?
    i’m guessing nowhere. you’re an anomymout (sic) little blog commenter who does no science at all.”
    ————————————————————————————————————–
    Well that one’s a keeper! Clearly you are not too enamoured of spelling, punctuation or science. Has the rabid foam disabled your shift key?

    What I gave you was a link to instructions for five simple empirical experiments that demonstrate the flaws in the radiative greenhouse hypothesis. I’m given to understand that repeatable empirical experiments are something of a cornerstone in the traditional scientific method. I have designed these versions of the experiments to be simple enough for most readers to build and run. However AGW believers may need Mum, Dad or a responsible adult to help with the scissors.

    Experiment 1 demonstrates that unlike other materials, liquid water does not have its cooling rate significantly effected by incident LWIR. This means that the surface would not be 33C cooler under a non radiative atmosphere.

    Experiment 2 demonstrates the ability of CO2 to radiate energy it has acquired by conduction rather than intercepted surface IR. Most of the net energy that radiative gases emit to space was acquired by surface conduction and release of latent heat.

    Experiment 3 shows how energy loss at altitude in a fluid column in a gravity field is important for convective circulation. Radiative gases do this in our atmosphere. Remember that cooling by expansion of rising air masses (adiabatic cooling) does not represent energy loss from the air mass.

    Experiment 4 shows the effect of convective circulation on the average temperature of gas columns in a gravity field. Box 1 with convective circulation driven by heating at the base and cooling at the top runs cooler than box 2 with cooling and heating at the base. Box 1 may have a higher “surface Tav, but the gas column is cooler. Box 2 has a lower “surface” Tav but a higher gas temperature.

    Experiment 5 shows why greater radiative cooling of the night land surface under a non radiative atmosphere would not result in significantly greater conductive cooling of an atmosphere in which the gases are free to move. The surface is better a conductively heating a moving atmosphere than it is at conductively cooling it.

    Because of their critical role in driving convective circulation and radiating energy to space, radiative gases act to cool our atmosphere at all concentrations above 0.0ppm. Without radiative gases, average tropospheric temperatures would rapidly rise towards surface Tmax.

    The flawed AGW calculations that show radiative gases heating the atmosphere are all based on treating the atmosphere as a static body or layer. For a classic example of this mistake see Willis’ article here – http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/17/the-steel-greenhouse/
    The mistake of treating the atmosphere as a static body or layer is the very foundation of the AGW hypothesis. It is a mistake that can never be erased from the Internet.

  92. barry says:

    REPLY: The point is to discuss it not be snooty about it. The fact that it irritates you gives it more credibility, since your role is defender of the indefensible. – Anthony

    Discuss what? The notion that scientific conclusions are more suspect if the weight of consensus is stronger?

    “In our view, the fact that so many scientists agree so closely about the earth’s warming is, itself, evidence of a lack of evidence for global warming.”

    The view is unlikely on its face. The implication is that scientific understanding with less consensus is more certain. The argument given, such as it is, is circular reasoning at best (more accurately, doubling down on assertions), and there is not a jot of data to back it up. The degree of scientific uncertainty on climate change is not quantified with respect to the other sciences mentioned, it is only assumed. There is no substance to discuss. The facts on offer are poorly reasoned out. for example;

    Albert Einstein’s general relativity itself did not begin to garner widespread support until four years after its publication, when Arthur Eddington verified its predictions during a 1919 solar eclipse. Even so, as illustrated by the rash of headlines in late 2011 announcing the (false) discovery of faster-than-light neutrinos, scientists continue to try to poke holes in Einstein’s theory.

    We can land a craft on the moon via Newtonian physics, and Einstein’s work supercedes Newton’s. Uncertainty on finer points don’t undo the general strength (utility) of well-established theories, and the notion of AGW has been around for more than a century, never mind 4 years. So why would I be interested in considering the article author’s unquantified assumptions about uncertainty on climate change?

    Uncertainty should lead a skeptic to think that projections of climate change could both underestimate or overestimate future warming. I think most people here agree that there should be some warming with an ever-increasing atmospheric concentration of CO2. It seems the author of the article attaches no probability to the notion at all. The rebuttal to the consensus on that is something about groupthink, as if there are a dozen scientists pushing AGW and all the other researchers in the field disregard their own work and skeptical rigour and mindlessly tag along. But that’s not an argument either. it’s just assertion again, an assertion that has a receptive audience here.

    Why is it that, for some people, scientific uncertainty on climate change means that therefore projections are overestimated – instead of uncertainy going either way? The argument for that view seems to rely on highly selective reading of the literature, or positing that thousands of climate scientists have surrendered their professionalism to fashionable ideas.

    (Don’t mistake vigorous disagreement for an emotional response. This is straight criticism, not snootiness, and variety of opinion is the spice of blogs, isn’t it?)

  93. William McClenney says:

    Stan W. says:
    April 30, 2013 at 10:21 pm
    @william McC:
    please address the evidence i have presented, and not some lame sociological interpretation of it.
    thank you.

    ““Increases in greenhouse forcing inferred from the outgoing longwave radiation spectra of the Earth in 1970 and 1997,” J.E. Harries et al, Nature 410, 355-357 (15 March 2001).
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v410/n6826/abs/410355a0.html

    That’s a tough one. Might it be the last peak in PDO/AMDO? We did “discover” it the year before, after all…….. Or were the authors of this tome unaware?

    “Comparison of spectrally resolved outgoing longwave data between 1970 and present,” J.A. Griggs et al, Proc SPIE 164, 5543 (2004). http://spiedigitallibrary.org/proceedings/resource/2/psisdg/5543/1/164_1

    I presume that this is all that is needed to avoid the fact that from 1 to 3 natural warmings (typical at post MPT end extreme interglacials) swamp what could happen anyway? Have already happened, anyway? You say you can get here with greenhouse gases. And if you/we somehow manage not to? It can happen anyway. Ffrom 1 to almost 2 orders of magnitude, because, well, it already has. Once? Twice? Why should this/that even matter?

    At the very least, In order to be anomalous, you have to trump background. And that’s a pretty tall order: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/05/on-%E2%80%9Ctrap-speed-acc-and-the-snr/

    I’ll see your Hansen prognosticated 20-feet (~+6M) AMSL rise by whenever and raise you +52M AMSL in the Eemian http://lin.irk.ru/pdf/6696.pdf

    and call almost an order of magnitude more climate chips for gaia…….

    “Spectral signatures of climate change in the Earth’s infrared spectrum between 1970 and 2006,” Chen et al, (2007) http://www.eumetsat.int/Home/Main/Publications/Conference_and_Workshop_Proceedings/groups/cps/documents/document/pdf_conf_p50_s9_01_harries_v.pdf

    “Radiative forcing – measured at Earth’s surface – corroborate the increasing greenhouse effect,” R. Phillipona et al, Geo Res Letters, v31 L03202 (2004)

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2003GL018765/abstract

    “Measurements of the Radiative Surface Forcing of Climate,” W.F.J. Evans, Jan 2006

    https://ams.confex.com/ams/Annual2006/techprogram/paper_100737.htm

    So, if, for whatever reason, measurement of (and I do indeed mean whatever) the late 20th century C.E. single (so far) potentially end-interglacial warming is in some, yet undocumented way, categorically distinguishable from the long single thermal excursion end-MIS-11, the close-spaced double thermal excursions at the end-Eemian or the 3 longer, more spread-out thermal excursions at end MIS-19 (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/16/the-end-holocene-or-how-to-make-out-like-a-madoff-climate-change-insurer/), then you might need to up your climate game.

    At the very least wouldn’t an alarming prognostication have to exceed what has already happened in terms of abruptness and magnitude? In what other way would it pose an environmental exigency relative to (been there before, and recent) noise?

    Just sayin

  94. Stan W. says:

    i have yet to see @richard_courtney actually answer a question.

    he finds it far more convenient to call people names.

    that’s not scientific.
    isn’t this a web site about science?

    yes, i think it is.

  95. M Courtney says:

    Stan W. says at April 30, 2013 at 5:53 pm.
    I haven’t time nor money to go through all the paywalls but I will address (as an amateur, even) the first paper.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v410/n6826/pdf/410355a0.pdf

    It does not support the mindless following of the manufactured consensus. Try reading the paper, not just the title or abstract.
    I’ll just quote the paper,
    “It is quite possible that small residual amounts of ice cloud absorption remain in both sets of data. Owing to the larger ®eld of view, the IRIS spectra have a much higher probability of being contaminated than their IMG counterparts. The observed 1 K or so enhancement of the 800±
    1,000 cm-1 difference signal would be consistent with this, and could also arise from a change in the mean cirrus microphysical properties.
    We cannot separate these two effects, but we do conclude that the observed window difference spectra strongly indicate an effect involving residual small ice crystal effects, incompletely cleared
    from the data. R.J.B. has performed further calculations, following on earlier work, which confirm that window difference spectra of the magnitude observed can easily arise from small changes in amount, size or shape of small ice crystals: these studies also indicate that the difference spectrum should be larger below about 920 cm-1, which is consistent with the observed data, especially the global case (Fig. 1b).”

    In other words, they found that clouds have an effect that masks any effect of CO2.

    Worse for the consensus is their figure 1c. Look at the lack of CO2 peak in the unmasked region. Actual proof that the absorption at that wavelength is saturated. (Or at least masked)

    How can you present that as support for the consensus?

  96. Stan W. says:

    jimmy:
    2) Flat global mean temps for over 15 years while co2 continues to rise.

    why are you ignoring the strong ocean warming in this time period?

  97. Stan W. says:

    @Dave_Wendt:

    you are also cut off — too many words, too little content.

    please try again on another post.

    next?

  98. SAMURAI says:

    The problem with Statist governments trying to develop environmental policies of complex, chaotic, non-linear and recursive-feedback systems, is that their decisions are based on inherently inaccurate and unverified/unverifiable data.

    To justify draconian measures taken to mitigate a perceived CAGW problem, politicians employ Pascal’s Wager apologetics, making the case that since there is a chance we’ll all die in the future if we don’t take immediate action against CAGW, t’s better to do something and be wrong, than to do nothing risk possible death.

    The fallacy of Pascal’s Wager logic is that it doesn’t take into consideration the infinite number of unintended consequences of CAGW mitigation: the loss of manufacturing jobs caused by uncompetitive and unnecessary EPA regulations, reduced GDP from higher energy costs, increased welfare payments to unemployed workers caused by CAGW legislation, reduced quality of life from reduced disposable income due to higher energy costs, higher taxes to pay for higher welfare payments, reduced R&D funding from higher corporate taxes/operating costs/rule and regulation compliance, increased product and services prices caused by increased input costs of CAGW rules and regulations, the young potential nuclear physicist that has to work construction because his dad was fired at the coal mine, so he can’t go to university to develop the revolutionary fusion reactor that’s never built, etc. etc., etc., in ad infinitum….

    In a “settled” (sarc/off) science, that is far from being settled or verified by empirical evidence, it’s far better to act ex post rather than ex ante, because the ACTUAL negative impacts of unintended consequences from taking action of an unverified risk, far exceed the actual costs of the perceived threat. It’s far better and cheaper to adapt to actual results of a perceived threat than to mistakenly take action against a threat that will most likely not happen.

    Moreover, the potential net economic/social benefits from increased CO2 and slightly warmer temperatures may actually exceed the costs of reducing manmade CO2…. Go figure.

    And so it goes…..until it doesn’t…

  99. hro001 says:

    mtobis (@mtobis) says: April 30, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    There are solid policy-relevant conclusions in climate science on which there is a legitimate consensus.

    Well, golly-gee, MT … perhaps you’d better let Mike Hulme know about this. After all, he says he’s a climatologist and he should know, shouldn’t he?

    Claims such as ’2,500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate’ are disingenuous. That particular consensus judgement, as are many others in the IPCC reports, is reached by only a few dozen experts in the specific field of detection and attribution studies; other IPCC authors are experts in other fields.[emphasis added -hro].

    [See: Honey, I shrunk the consensus! for source and subsequent "clarifications" from Hulme.]

    I think you should probably let IPCC CLA, Richard Klein know, as well. Because he has declared:

    It’s hard to describe this process to someone who hasn’t actually witnessed it, but it is this line-by-line approval process that results in the actual consensus that the IPCC is famous for, and which is sometimes misunderstood. The consensus is not a consensus among all authors about every issue assessed in the report; it is a consensus among governments about the summary for policymakers.

    [See: A conversation with an IPCC coordinating lead author]

    But I do appreciate that this myth of a “scientific consensus” has certainly taken very firm root. in your mind. As it has with all the big green activist and advocacy groups, amongst others. And as it probably has with E3G’s John Ashton – a chap who believes that the U.K. Met Office is a “jewel in the crown, of British science and global science”.

    And I’m inclined to think you may well take comfort in some of Ashton’s recent exhortations to the folks at the Met Office (which I have documented here):

    [...] here is a challenge that is Promethean. We have stolen the secret of fire for our own use, unleashing punitive forces inherent in the system of which we are ourselves part. Dealing with this is imperative, because if we don’t the consequences could soon become unmanageable, perhaps even jeopardizing the system conditions within which civilization itself can flourish.

    And as we look more deeply into the picture, it urges us to summon a response that is transformational, because the entire modern economy is organized around the energy system. Making that system carbon neutral will reconfigure the economy, and the power relations embedded within it. Furthermore we must accomplish this urgently, in little more than a generation, while building resilience to the climate insecurity we can no longer avoid.

    Promethean, imperative, transformational, urgent. [emphasis added -hro]

    Heck, Ashton’s as convincing a crusader as you are, MT!

  100. David Jones says:

    Stan W.

    Most (nearly all) commenters here are at least polite in the debate as that is the only way a true debate will really work.

    You are not. Is your boring rudeness natural (perhaps genetic) or do you spend time practicing?

  101. Mods:

    At May 1, 2013 at 12:08 am the disruptive troll posting as Stan W. has the gall to say to Dave_Wendt:

    too many words, too little content.

    But the troll is making far, far too many posts all with no content.

    I thought there was a policy about thread-bombing?

    Richard

  102. William Astley says:

    In reply to:
    Stan W. says:
    April 30, 2013 at 5:53 pm
    posts made of ignorance are just sad — please, authors, up your game:

    I do not want to appear rude as I fully support an open no holds barred debate of the facts concerning ‘climate’ change and the extreme AGW paradigm. The issue is not any warming but extreme dangerous warming. The extreme AGW paradigm pushers will not participate in a debate as the science does not support the extreme dangerous warming hypothesis. The subject of the debate is to show the 20th century warming is unprecedented (it is not check out the Bond cycles which are also called Dansgaard-Oeschger cycles) and to provide evidence that the 20th century warming is dangerous. i.e. That a doubling of atmospheric CO2 will result in more than 2C warming (Lindzen and Choi’s top of the atmosphere satellite analysis vs ocean temperature indicates a doubling of atmospheric CO2 will result in less than 1C warming.)

    I also fully support an open no holds barred debate of the facts concerning CO2 emission programs and ‘green’ energy. The EU is presently in the process of destroying their economies in response to the extreme AGW paradigm with bizarre programs that have killed primary industry and are moving on to brown industry in their countries. As the EU consumers still purchase products that require primary industry inputs and brown industry products their net CO2 emissions have increased (i.e. Including the CO2 inputs to the products and goods that are now manufactured in Asia or the US which they purchase). Ironically (sadly ironically) the wind farms and conversion of food to biofuel is so inefficient that there is almost no net reduction in CO2 emissions, if a complete unbiased energy calculation is done which includes cutting down virgin forest for example to grow food to convert to biofuel. The majority of CO2 emission reduction in the EU region is due to the massive loss of jobs to Asia.

    There is no consensus on the AGW ‘science’ as the AWG ‘science’ does not support the extreme AGW paradigm. There is obvious indication the IPCC is a political, agenda driven organization that rigs the report writing to exclude papers and authors that do not support their ‘message’. The extreme AGW paradigm pushers are hiding observations and analysis that indicates a doubling of atmospheric CO2 will result in less than 1C warming. An obvious observation to support the assertion that there will be less than 1Cwarming is there was been no warming for the last 16 years. The observations indicate something is fundamentally incorrect with the general circulation models that ‘project’ a warming of 3C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 from 0.028% to 0.056% is absurdly high.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/04/global-warming-slowdown-the-view-from-space/

    The general circulation models that were used to project a warming of 3C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 predicted and require to create the 3C warming, that would be warming of the tropical troposphere at around 8 km above the planet’s surface. The warming at this level in the atmosphere occurs due to a predicted increase in water vapour at this altitude and due to increased CO2 at altitude in the atmosphere. The tropic tropospheric warming at around 8km then warms the tropics by long wave radiation. There is no observed tropospheric warming at 8 km. One of the major physical reasons for the lack of warming is found in Lindzen and Choi (2011) analysis (See link to paper below) that low level cloud cover in the tropics increases or decreases in to resist planetary temperature forcing changes by reflecting more or less sunlight off into space.

    This is a link to a review paper that was prepared by EPA’s own scientist that supports the assertion that the research and analysis does not support the extreme AGW paradigm. The EPA buried the report. The EPA and IPCC of course are completely ignoring the data and logic that indicates the majority of the 20th/21st warming was not due to the rise in atmospheric CO2.

    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/endangermentcommentsv7b1.pdf

    “Technical Support Document for Endangerment Analysis for Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Clean Air Act”
    “I have become increasingly concerned that EPA has itself paid too little attention to the science of global warming. EPA and others have tended to accept the findings reached by outside groups, particularly the IPCC and the CCSP, as being correct without a careful and critical examination of their conclusions and documentation. If they should be found to be incorrect at a later date, however, and EPA is found not to have made a really careful independent review of them before reaching its decisions on endangerment, it appears likely that it is EPA rather than these other groups that may be blamed for any errors. Restricting the source of inputs into the process to these two sources may make EPA’s current task easier but it may come with enormous costs later if they should result in policies that may not be scientifically supportable.

    The failings are listed below in decreasing order of importance in my view: (See attached for details.)
    1. Lack of observed upper tropospheric heating in the tropics (see Section 2.9 for a detailed discussion).
    2. Lack of observed constant humidity levels, a very important assumption of all the IPCC models, as CO2levels have risen (see Section 1.7).
    3. The most reliable sets of global temperature data we have, using satellite microwave sounding units, show no appreciable temperature increases during the critical period 1978-1997, just when the surface station data show a pronounced rise (see Section 2.4). Satellite data after 1998 is also inconsistent with the GHG/CO2/AGW hypothesis 2009 v
    4. The models used by the IPCC do not take into account or show the most important ocean oscillations which clearly do affect global temperatures, namely, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, and the ENSO (Section 2.4). Leaving out any major potential causes for global warming from the analysis results in the likely misattribution of the effects of these oscillations to the GHGs/CO2 and hence is likely to overstate their importance as a cause for climate change.
    5. The models and the IPCC ignored the possibility of indirect solar variability (Section 2.5), which if important would again be likely to have the effect of overstating the importance of GHGs/CO2.
    6. The models and the IPCC ignored the possibility that there may be other significant natural effects on global temperatures that we do not yet understand (Section 2.4). This possibility invalidates their statements that one must assume anthropogenic sources in order to duplicate the temperature record. The 1998 spike in global temperatures is very difficult to explain in any other way (see Section 2.4).
    7. Surface global temperature data may have been hopelessly corrupted by the urban heat island effect and other problems which may explain some portion of the warming that would otherwise be attributed to GHGs/CO2. In fact, the Draft TSD refers almost exclusively in Section 5 to surface rather than satellite data.”

    “2.9 The Missing Heating in the Tropical Troposphere
    Computer models based on the theory of GHG/CO2 warming predict that the troposphere in the tropics should warm faster than the surface in response to increasing CO2 concentrations, because that is where the CO2 greenhouse effect operates. Sun-Cosmic ray warming will warm the troposphere more uniformly. The UN’s IPCC AR4 report includes a set of plots of computer model predicted rate of temperature change from the surface to 30 km altitude and over all latitudes for 5 types of climate forcings as shown below. The Hadley Centre’s real-world plot of radiosonde temperature observations shown below, however, does not show the projected CO2 induced global warming hot-spot at all. The predicted hot-spot is entirely absent from the observational record. This shows that most of the global temperature change cannot be attributed to increasing CO2 concentrations.”

    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/DOUGLASPAPER.pdf

    “ A comparison of tropical temperature trends with model predictions
    We examine tropospheric temperature trends of 67 runs from 22 ‘Climate of the 20th Century’ model simulations and try to reconcile them with the best available updated observations (in the tropics during the satellite era). Model results and observed temperature trends are in disagreement in most of the tropical troposphere, being separated by more than twice the uncertainty of the model mean. In layers near 5 km, the modelled trend is 100 to 300% higher than observed, and, above 8 km, modelled and observed trends have opposite signs. These conclusions contrast strongly with those of recent publications based on essentially the same data.”

    http://www.johnstonanalytics.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/LindzenChoi2011.235213033.pdf

    “On the Observational Determination of Climate Sensitivity and Its Implications by Richard S. Lindzen and Yong-Sang Choi
    We estimate climate sensitivity from observations, using the deseasonalized fluctuations in sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and the concurrent fluctuations in the top-of-atmosphere (TOA) outgoing radiation from the ERBE (1985-1999) and CERES (2000- 2008) satellite instruments. Distinct periods of warming and cooling in the SSTs were used to evaluate feedbacks. An earlier study (Lindzen and Choi, 2009) was subject to significant criticisms. The present paper is an expansion of the earlier paper where the various criticisms are taken into account. … … We argue that feedbacks are largely concentrated in the tropics, and the tropical feedbacks can be adjusted to account for their impact on the globe as a whole. Indeed, we show that including all CERES data (not just from the tropics) leads to results similar to what are obtained for the tropics alone – though with more noise. We again find that the outgoing radiation resulting from SST fluctuations exceeds the zerofeedback response thus implying negative feedback. In contrast to this, the calculated TOA outgoing radiation fluxes from 11 atmospheric models forced by the observed SST are less than the zerofeedback response, consistent with the positive feedbacks that characterize these models. …. … CO2, a relatively minor greenhouse gas, has increased significantly since the beginning of the industrial age from about 280 ppmv to about 390 ppmv, presumably due mostly to man’s emissions. This is the focus of current concerns. However, warming from a doubling of CO2 would only be about 1C (based on simple calculations where the radiation altitude and the Planck temperature depend on wavelength in accordance with the attenuation coefficients of well mixed CO2 molecules; a doubling of any concentration in ppmv produces the same warming because of the logarithmic dependence of CO2’s absorption on the amount of CO2) (IPCC, 2007). This modest warming is much less than current climate models suggest for a doubling of CO2. Models predict warming of from 1.5C to 5C and even more for a doubling of CO2. Model predictions depend on the ‘feedback’ within models from the more important greenhouse substances, water vapor and clouds. Within all current climate models, water vapor increases with increasing temperature so as to further inhibit infrared cooling. Clouds also change so that their visible reflectivity decreases, causing increased solar absorption and warming of the earth. …”

  103. For Janice. You may think you are fat and ugly but you are NOT because your mind is clear, you care, and you can express yourself probably better then I can. I love many things, my woman person, my dogs and cats (I bet you have some too), the birds on my bird feeder, and life itself.

  104. For Stan W: I notice you have not addressed my comment that I am ashamed you carry the same first name as I do. I also notice you do NOT post under your “real name”. Is your real name a fiction as your comments are?

  105. Dave Wendt says:

    richardscourtney says:
    May 1, 2013 at 1:11 am

    I think Stan meant to say too many words over two syllables.

  106. For Anthony: You had best be cautious. Janice and I are hooking up. WUWT is in danger of becoming the eHarmony of climate skeptics.

    On another topic: When I misspell something ( as I do frequently) a little red line appears under that word. Oh, joy, a
    built in spell checker!!!!!

    [the Firefox (Mozilla) web browser does that automatically in all of its text entry screens. Mod]

  107. TeaPartyGeezer says:

    Stan W seems to share the same tendencies as David Appell. Connection, perhaps?

  108. Dave Wendt:

    re your post addressed to me at May 1, 2013 at 1:22 am.

    Thankyou! I enjoyed that.
    And, of course, you are right. Silly me for not seeing it.

    Richard

  109. DennisA says:

    Martin Clark says:
    April 30, 2013 at 5:47 pm
    Let’s see if I have this right …
    The “97%”.

    The original target audience was 10,257 scientists, of whom 3,146 responded, less than a 31% response rate. They narrowed this down to 77 “climate scientists” based on publication history and as you say, 75 from 77 became the 97%. It was disingenuous to then use the “climate scientists” as a new population sample size. The response figure of 3,146 is the figure against which the 75 out of 77 should be compared and in this case we get not 97% but just 2.38%.

    As the original number contacted was 10,157 and of those, 69% decided they didn’t want any part of it, the figure of 75 believers should really be set against that number, and then we get a mere 0.73% of the scientists they contacted who agreed with their loaded questions.

    However a headline of “0.73% of scientists think that humans are affecting the climate” doesn’t quite have the same ring as 97% does it?

    This CNN posting was typical of the Press coverage at the time:

    Surveyed scientists agree global warming is real January 19, 2009
    “A survey of more than 3,000 scientists found that the vast majority believe humans cause global warming. Against a backdrop of harsh winter weather across much of North America and Europe, the concept of rising global temperatures might seem incongruous.

    Human-induced global warming is real, according to a recent U.S. survey based on the opinions of 3,146 scientists. However there remain divisions between climatologists and scientists from other areas of earth sciences as to the extent of human responsibility.

    However the results of the investigation conducted at the end of 2008 reveal that vast majority of the Earth scientists surveyed agree that in the past 200-plus years, mean global temperatures have been rising and that human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures.”

    As we know, the final result was not based on the opinions of 3,146 scientists, but 77, but what does accuracy matter in the whole scheme of things. It is amazing how often this distortion is repeated, no matter how many times it is refuted.

  110. Clovis Man says:

    barry

    I think you meant to say:

    ” there should be some warming with an ever-increasing atmospheric concentration of CO2.” if all other factors remain the same.

  111. TeaPartyGeezer says:

    That struck me also. The 97% consensus was the basis of this article … while that 97% statistic has been completely debunked. Interesting article, anyway.

  112. dbstealey says:

    TeaPartyGeezer,

    I like you.

  113. Stephen Skinner says:

    Jeff Alberts says:
    April 30, 2013 at 8:27 pm
    Readers of pop science will be familiar with the term the “butterfly effect,” in which “the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set[s] off a tornado in Texas.”

    “Very poor analogy, and not even close to being true. The microscopic turbulence caused by the butterfly’s wings are quickly dispersed and overwhelmed by normal breezes. Even on a dead calm day that butterfly can’t make a whit of difference in even it’s local weather patterns. Consider all the things that move through the air every second of every day that are multiple orders of magnitude larger and more turbulent than a butterfly’s wings. Even they have zero effect..”

    I don’t disagree, however I think the “butterfly effect” can affect models as they are closed systems and all parts mathematically interconnected and driven. As the world is not a mathematically construct but can mostly be described mathematically I would have thought Newton’s 1st, 2nd and 3rd laws describe what should happen based on the mass of the butterfly, which is not much, other than the butterfly gets airborne with minimal effort. If more than that happens then we are into alchemy, perpetual motion and all sorts of wishful thinking.
    Besides models, one other area where the butterfly effect may exist is human thinking and actions. One small idea or action can indeed propagate with few words and negligible exertion.

  114. mpainter says:

    Stan W. :

    Relax, have a beer or sip some vin, the world is not going to warm anymore, that is over, unfortunately for us because a warmer world is a better world: 1. Milder winters; 2. higher humidities, longer growing seasons; 3. expansion of arable land; 4. more food for a growing population and less hunger; 5. shinkage of deserts.

    CO2 is a beneficial gas, the basis of life, and a plant fertilizer; crop yields have increased because of increasing CO2.

    Don’t be like the poor dummies who swallow the panic mongering and pee a puddle over something that they don’t understand.

    Best Regards, mpainter

  115. Michel says:

    Consensus means “general agreement”. It is a social phenomenon.
    Science is not a matter of consensus but of founded reasoning based on experimentation and observation. In science any contradictory evidence will put in question an established theory.
    The post of Messr. Brumberg tells us that the more is known on a subject in detail and from different points of view, the more likely it is that people will generally agree on conclusions drawn from this knowledge: this is quite a banality. And the more complex an issue with unsettled theories and models, the less likely it is that consensus will be reached when drawing conclusions. This is also quite a banality.
    Or should be… because the paradox on which they point is that in matters of climate change some passionate people, among them scientists, claim that a vast consensus exists on the [catastrophic] anthropogenic cause of it. But to claim that a consensus exists does not establish consensus!
    Less convincing in the post is the use of concepts such as “knowability”, level of consensus, and veracity. The definition of these terms is left open and it is also assumed that they can be graded from 0% to 100%.
    But for example Newton laws of gravity are not partially known or “knowable”; they are applicable within a frame of confidence, e.g. at velocities that are not near the speed of light, and beyond it another theoretical frame –relativity– shall be used.
    And a consensus cannot be partial: there may exist one within a set group of people or there is none. In democracy a majority imposes its view on minorities; it is a way of arriving to a decision, not to a consensus. Among convinced climate scientist it is to be expected that there will be consensus, the non-convinced ones being excluded from the party. This does not make this opinion a truth.
    Furthermore I don’t know how to use veracity in this context. The Oxford dictionary defines it as a) conformity to facts; accuracy, and b) habitual truthfulness. I cannot sense a grade of veracity. Newton laws, Darwin theory have not more or less veracity. Climate change is not about veracity but about beliefs in models and predictions, opinions.
    Opinions, such as CAGW, will be forged, based on personal experience and observations, inference from reasoning, and knowledge taken from trustful sources. Different conclusions are drawn from different sources and mental frameworks. As long as an opinion is not based on outright lies it deserves to be treated with respect, even if it is felt that it is a wrong one, in which case honest arguments need to be exchanged to try to modify an opinion.
    Disrespectful arguments don’t help building opinions; they are the modern littering of the blogosphere. Can we have a consensus on this?

  116. M Courtney says:

    Stan W’s response wasn’t unreasonable. He may have come off as rude but that’s the internet for you.

    The premise of the article is that the statements of collective confidence (97% consensus) are not justified by the certainty of the evidence and so there must be some ‘action’ enforcing the consensus (whether knowingly or unknowingly).

    It is reasonable to question:
    1 Whether the consensus exists?
    Which many on the thread have done.
    2 Whether the evidence is as uncertain as the article asserts?

    Stan W gave referenced papers that he thought justified the certainty.
    Skimming the first reference showed that it did not justify the certainty. Quite the reverse, in fact.

    But his lack of scientific training is not a fundamental flaw; this is a social science thread.
    Stan W did correctly identify one of the assumptions of the article. So he should be treated with respect and rebutted.

  117. Jacob says:

    “But if carbon dioxide turns out not to be the boogey-man that climate scientists have made it out to be, tens of trillions will be wasted in unneeded remediation.”

    It is worse than that.
    Even if CO2 turns out to be harmful, those tens of trillions will have been wasted in vain, because the “remediation” is ineffective, impractical, and uncapable of reducing CO2 emissions.
    (The “remediation” = windmills, solar panels, electric cars, biofuels).

  118. Erik Christensen says:

    On-topic and Imho a good read:
    Consensus and Controversy – The Debate on Man-Made Global Warming, a report by the Influential Swedish Research Institute SINTEF:

    http://www.sintef.no/upload/Teknologi_og_samfunn/Teknologiledelse/SINTEF%20Report%20A24071

  119. M Courtney:

    You conclude your post at May 1, 2013 at 2:49 am

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/30/the-paradox-of-consensus/#comment-1293215

    saying

    Stan W did correctly identify one of the assumptions of the article. So he should be treated with respect and rebutted.

    That ignores the fact that he was treated with respect and was rebutted several times and by different people in different ways; e.g.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/30/the-paradox-of-consensus/#comment-1292894

    and

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/30/the-paradox-of-consensus/#comment-1292913

    and

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/30/the-paradox-of-consensus/#comment-1292921

    and

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/30/the-paradox-of-consensus/#comment-1292926

    and

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/30/the-paradox-of-consensus/#comment-1292937

    and

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/30/the-paradox-of-consensus/#comment-1292939

    and

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/30/the-paradox-of-consensus/#comment-1292985

    and

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/30/the-paradox-of-consensus/#comment-1292994

    and

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/30/the-paradox-of-consensus/#comment-1293017

    and

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/30/the-paradox-of-consensus/#comment-1293027

    and

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/30/the-paradox-of-consensus/#comment-1293031

    and

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/30/the-paradox-of-consensus/#comment-1293071

    and

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/30/the-paradox-of-consensus/#comment-1293077

    and

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/30/the-paradox-of-consensus/#comment-1293082

    The latter of those linked rebuttals was from you.

    But Stan W ignored all answers, repeatedly claimed he had not been answered, and made unfounded insults of all who answered him.

    Stan W is a troll clearly acting to disrupt this thread by similar tactics to those which this especially egregious troll used to destroy another WUWT thread.

    He deserves the disrespect earned by his behaviour, he has been rebutted, and in my opinion he warrants at least a time out for his thread bombing.

    Richard

  120. Bill from Nevada says:

    Stan W. says:
    April 30, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    posts made of ignorance are just sad — please, authors, up your game:

    “Increases in greenhouse forcing inferred from the outgoing longwave radiation spectra of the Earth in 1970 and 1997,” J.E. Harries et al, Nature 410, 355-357 (15 March 2001).

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v410/n6826/abs/410355a0.html

    “Comparison of spectrally resolved outgoing longwave data between 1970 and present,” J.A. Griggs et al, Proc SPIE 164, 5543 (2004). http://spiedigitallibrary.org/proceedings/resource/2/psisdg/5543/1/164_1

    “Spectral signatures of climate change in the Earth’s infrared spectrum between 1970 and 2006,” Chen et al, (2007) http://www.eumetsat.int/Home/Main/Publications/Conference_and_Workshop_Proceedings/groups/cps/documents/document/pdf_conf_p50_s9_01_harries_v.pdf

    “Radiative forcing – measured at Earth’s surface – corroborate the increasing greenhouse effect,” R. Phillipona et al, Geo Res Letters, v31 L03202 (2004)

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2003GL018765/abstract

    “Measurements of the Radiative Surface Forcing of Climate,” W.F.J. Evans, Jan 2006

    https://ams.confex.com/ams/Annual2006/techprogram/paper_100737.htm

    =====
    Spectral reading observations and projections that it should be warming due to downward radiation no instrument can find from here on the ground,

    Spectral observations from thirty years ago no less, papers from – whenever –

    All those spectral observations and projections have been checked up on since.

    Temperatures are found to be dropping in spite of your claims, those spectra, prove warmth.

    Indeed NOAA

    CHECKED YOUR CLAIMS

    by putting infrared sensors all over the Great Plains, taking more than three quarter of a MILLION readings: 800,000 –

    Guess what, stupid – after FOURTEEN YEARS
    instruments PUT OUT S.P.E.C.I.F.I.C.A.L.L.Y. to C.H.E.C.K. your ALLEGATIONS about OUTGOING LONGWAVE
    meaning something regarding
    BACK WELLING LONG WAVE

    and they found out that – not only are you wrong – it’s not even CLOSE.

    There’s LESS down welling long wave in earth-generated frequency now,

    than when they started checking – Y.O.U.R.* *S.P.E.C.I.F.I.C* . *C.L.A.I.M.S.* –

    that IRIS/CERES etc SPECTRAL OBSERVATIONS

    “proved” there is down welling earth-generated-frequency INFRARED.

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2011JCLI4210.1?journalCode=clim

    ====
    Of course we’ve also got the good old infrared astronomy field: if atmospheric infrared were growing, every group of sophomores taking their first slides of what earth-generated infrard looks like through the instruments, to prove they can tell the difference,

    would be posting up the proof that – yep – thim’ air infur eds wuz uh… grOWin an uh…GROWin.

    Only problem you’ve got is that whenver we check,
    wherever we check,
    however we check,

    your outgoing longwave misinterpretations keep slapping Trenberth in the mouth. Over
    and Over
    and Over.

    Just as conincidentally, Linden described when he called the entire Greenhouse Gas Effect scam “not even science” and “incompetence built on voo-doo” – or whatever it was. I know he’s got about the same respect for YOUR hence Trenberth’s grasp on what spectra going out have to do with whatever remains.

    I’ll paraphrase for myself: N.O.N.E.

    Your fervent wish for Trenberth to have ever been right once in his miserable life’s denied.

    He couldn’t read them when he was calling them “ever accelerating irreversable cataclysmic fire in the sky”

    Which means you, knowing HE’s been laughed at till he won’t show his face anywhere

    STILL thinking his crap is actual science,

    makes you somewhere down in that group of people who having seen someone’s concepts be demolished by one instrumental check after another

    still thinks everybody ought to give it one more try.
    Take just one more look.

    There’s no need to look. We don’t need that any more, we checked up on what was said about it,
    *the first time, Tinkerbell.*

    The FIRST time we compared it to actual instrumental output, it was found that

    not only is there no correlation between those spectral prophecies and reality,

    there is a REVERSE correlation: the more magical gases,
    the LESS magical gas,
    EFFECTS.

  121. Bill from Nevada says:

    Wow I went back and looked again at that old Trenberth-era bullshoot you were trying to call science. There’s enough “we infer” and “could not be proven through experimental data taken from instruments so we modelled” to make me think you’ve been hanging out smoking dope with old Trenberth himself.

    Tell him and Wigley I said kiss my a$$ they’re still both stupid as stumps, or they’d have realized those spectral readings require knowing what you’re talking about before you declare cataclysmic irreversable gaint infrared light -class heaters to be in the sky.
    About too set your head on fire.

    You have to be stupid Stan but you don’t have to be stupid here.
    If you want to though I can show you a list of the number of times I see the words “are here inferred” and “modelled” and “assumption”

    and “found not to agree with experimental observations.”

    Somebody here or – know what? That’s no one’s job, here, it’s YOURS – so YOU should,
    go make a LIST of the number of times YOU see that,

    and then come on back and apologize for trying to bring language better used in selling used cars without warranties, to some people who read all those papers when they came out; or at least when they became relevant enough for your Area/51/Bigfoot/Mann Maid global warming site.

    Just lettin you know you weren’t dismissed utterly Stan. You were dismissed initially because you believe in the crap.

    You were then belittled for taking a bunch of claims of “inference” and “modeling” and “assumption” and “doesn’t match experimental results” into a forum full of debaters used to calling people cons and proving it by their own high definition photography of the experiments, they switch thermometers in.

  122. Wamron says:

    There is only one lesson anyone needs to know about “consensus” in “science”.

    Its the lesson of Semmelweis.

    Consensus had it that microbes were harmless and irrelevant to disease. Semmelweis showed by controlled experiment that microbes caused infections. He showed that merely requiring medics to wash their hands drastically reduced deaths from infection on a maternity ward.He was derided, ridiculed and ultimately incarcerated in an insane asylum. There, of all ironies, he died from an infected injury.

    Some years later the consensus changed.

  123. Konrad says:

    The premise of this article was to deal with the nature of consensus rather than the AGW science, or lack of it. Such discussion has merit. As I indicated at the start of the thread, I believe many involved have seen the increasing counter evidence, but chose to continue to defend the “consensus”. But in terms of the Saul Alinsky method, who were the “change agents”? Here the internet can help.

    The history of the 97% claim has been discussed above, but there are many more fundamental issues that seem to lead back to a very limited number of individuals.

    Where did the “Big Oil” and “Well funded denial machine” claims lead back to? Most trails seem to lead back to one place. Geldspan.

    Where does the idea of applying a TOB adjustment to surface station records without supporting meta data come from? Most trails seem to lead back to one place. Karl.

    The simple empirical experiments I linked to above show the importance of radiative gases to tropospheric convective circulation and atmospheric cooling. This appears to have been accepted science prior to the global warming hoax. AGW supporters on the blogs seem very reluctant to discuss the role of radiative gases in convective circulation. Is there yet another a skeleton in the closet? Did someone promote claims that initially radiative gases cause atmospheric cooling but after a certain concentration cause warming? Claims that sound “sciencey” but won’t stand up to scrutiny? It appears that someone did. The trail seems to lead back almost two decades. Pierrehumbert.

    Every touch leaves its trace.

    It’s a good thing for democracy that those at the 1975 “Endangered Atmosphere” conference never anticipated the Internet.

  124. DirkH says:

    Rick Bradford says:
    April 30, 2013 at 4:53 pm
    “Mike Hulme has already made the related point that the appearance of consensus makes people less likely to accept the consensus view. The reason is that we are instinctively suspicious of what appears to us as manufactured conformity (especially in a complex area like climate).”

    In other words, Hulme, the boss of the Tyndall social engineering institute, is suggesting different tactics, but not different goals.

    Now one thing about communitarians like Hulme or Schellnhuber that amazes me is that they write openly that science is in their opinion not about finding the truth but to gain the power, openly theorize about HOW to get the power, and put it all on the web.

    “In postnormal science, science-based stakeholder dialogues play a crucial role. One basic idea is that the role of science is not to find the truth and convey it to society but to engage with society for looking for reasonable insights and actions. EYES will contribute to advance both theory and practice of science-based stakeholder dialogues.”

    http://www.pik-potsdam.de/research/transdisciplinary-concepts-and-methods/projects/project-archive/eyes

    I mean that’s like a Pinky and The Brain comic, isn’t it?

  125. Steve T says:

    Jacob says:
    May 1, 2013 at 2:59 am

    “But if carbon dioxide turns out not to be the boogey-man that climate scientists have made it out to be, tens of trillions will be wasted in unneeded remediation.”

    It is worse than that.
    Even if CO2 turns out to be harmful, those tens of trillions will have been wasted in vain, because the “remediation” is ineffective, impractical, and uncapable of reducing CO2 emissions.
    (The “remediation” = windmills, solar panels, electric cars, biofuels).

    ***************************************************************************************************
    Come, come, not wasted – just taken from people around the world and redistributed to the rich, well connected and ‘climate scientists’ as grant money. The ‘people’ would only have frittered it away living their everyday lives and instead they can struggle, starve and die – just as the Malthusians would like. This is the real intention and result of the CAGW scare story.
    Sadly.

    Steve T

  126. DirkH says:

    Steve T says:
    May 1, 2013 at 5:45 am
    “Come, come, not wasted – just taken from people around the world and redistributed to the rich, well connected and ‘climate scientists’ as grant money. ”

    Of course it’s a waste.
    Misallocating money leads to diminished growth so the waste is the future GDP you don’t create.
    This can be seen in Spain, Portugal, greece – they all had German style renewable energy FIT’s before and during the Big Financial crisis; this helped to bring them down. Spain had or has more wind power per capita than Germany, and a solar boom in 2008. Now it’s a country of squatters.

  127. Corey S. says:

    Stan W. says:
    May 1, 2013 at 12:06 am

    jimmy:
    2) Flat global mean temps for over 15 years while co2 continues to rise.

    why are you ignoring the strong ocean warming in this time period?

    According to Trenberth, it is due to ENSO, not GHG’s. [emphasis mine]

    They found that about 30 percent of the extra heat has been absorbed by the oceans and mixed by winds and currents to a depth below about 2,300 feet.

    Oceans are well-known to absorb more than 90 percent of the excess heat, but its presence in the deep ocean “is fairly new, it is not there throughout the record,” Trenberth said during a teleconference with reporters on Thursday. “So the question is: What happened to produce this?”

    To find out, the team used a model that accounts for variables including ocean temperature, surface evaporation, salinity, winds and currents, and tweaked the variables to determine what causes the warming at depth.

    “It turns out there is a spectacular change in the surface winds which then get reflected in changing ocean currents that help to carry some of the warmer water down to this greater depth,” Trenberth said. “This is especially true in the tropical Pacific Ocean and subtropics.”

    The change in winds and currents, he added, appears related to a pattern of climate variability called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation which in turn is related to the frequency and intensity of the El Niño/La Niña phenomenon, which impacts weather patterns around the world.

    ENSO-Forced Variability of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation
    MATTHEW NEWMAN, GILBERT P. COMPO, AND MICHAEL A. ALEXANDER
    NOAA–CIRES Climate Diagnostics Center, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
    5 March 2003 and 12 June 2003

    The PDO is dependent upon ENSO on all timescales.

    So, it seems as though the warming is due to natural forces, not GHG’s. Nice to know Trenberth agrees.

  128. oldfossil says:

    George E.P.Box on models:

    – Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful.
    – Since all models are wrong the scientist cannot obtain a “correct” one by excessive elaboration. On the contrary following William of Occam he should seek an economical description of natural phenomena. Just as the ability to devise simple but evocative models is the signature of the great scientist so overelaboration and overparameterization is often the mark of mediocrity.

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/George_E._P._Box

  129. tadchem says:

    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Germany’s great poet, novelist, philosopher, playwright, and scientist, wrote: “Es ist nichts schrecklicher als eine tätige Unwissenheit.” (“There is nothing more terrible than ignorance in action.”)
    I would disagree, in that we are now witnessing an active ignorance driven by consensus, reminiscent of the urban legends of lemmings.

  130. DirkH:

    re your post at May 1, 2013 at 5:54 am.

    A good case is spoiled by bad arguments. And a bad argument can be self-defeating for a good case.

    I agree that windpower is a waste, and I agree that AGW has been used to extort from the poor to fill the pockets of the rich. But those are minor reasons for the economic problems of Spain, Portugal and Greece.

    Over the last 5 years the US economy grew by the small amount of 4.8%.
    Over the same period the UK economy grew by the tiny amount of 1.1%.
    So, the US economy did ~5 times better than the UK economy.
    Windpower and AGW do not explain the difference.

    The economies of Spain, Portugal and Greece did worse than the UK economy.
    Windpower and AGW do not explain the difference.

    Richard

  131. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    @Guest Blogger

    I will be happy when, one day, religious authorities are not blamed for dictating the answers to scientific questions upon which they have no opinion.

    “The condemnation of Galileo Galilei meant one man served a sentence of life imprisonment. His ecumenical accusers at least acknowledged a force greater than science drove their decision.”

    His accusers were scientists, first. The Church followed the consensus.

    The Ptolemaic view of an Earth-centered universe was not the creation of a church or church body but that of the ‘scientific minds’ of men in Greece. Overturning the long-held consensus that the Earth was a globe that moved around the sun, the ‘new knowledge’ dictated by Ptolemy held sway for centuries. It would be correct to call the promoters the ‘flat-earthers’. It was not the RC Church that decided on an Earth-centered universe, it was the ancient Greeks. All the church did was repeat the priestly statements of the scientists.

    Today we have exactly the same thing: priestcraft by self-appointed leaders of philosophic thought. There is no need to beat around the bush. Agnostics and atheists have a long term agenda to tie anything negative they can to religion so they endlessly repeated meme that the Church of Rome was stuck-in-the-mud obstinate and refused the ‘new knowledge’ about the planets. This was only vaguely and belatedly true. All they did was ask scientists what the truth of the matter was and the scientists of the time said Ptolemy settled this long ago and that these new ideas were poppycock. If anyone bothers to investigate what happened at the time they will find that Galileo was a mouthy prat who did his best to tick off the church and succeeded. They were otherwise tolerant of multiple views of physical reality leaving such matters to the scientific community, many of whom were monks with church-sponsored laboratories. Sun-centered calculations were well known and understood by the church to be a useful method of making planetary predictions. Look it up.

    While this is not the place to debate the agendas of Western materialist philosophers, it is worth the time one might spend looking into how history repeats, or rather, how we repeat, the foolish actions of our forebears as we suck up and swallow one after another consensus of the blind of eye and deaf of ear. It is not just CAGW. There are many.

  132. geran says:

    Janice Moore says:
    April 30, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    “We are left with the impression that man is the sole cause of climate change, not one of the causes.” [Geran @1857 on 4/30/13]

    Thank you, Geran……
    >>>>>>>

    Janice, I think you meant to address “Gofer”. He’s the one that made the comment at 6:57. I’m “Geran”, and I’m innocent of all charges….

  133. barry says:

    Clovis Man,

    I think you meant to say:

    ”there should be some warming with an ever-increasing atmospheric concentration of CO2.” if all other factors remain the same.

    Yep.

  134. DirkH says:

    richardscourtney says:
    May 1, 2013 at 6:07 am
    “Over the last 5 years the US economy grew by the small amount of 4.8%.
    Over the same period the UK economy grew by the tiny amount of 1.1%.
    So, the US economy did ~5 times better than the UK economy.
    Windpower and AGW do not explain the difference.”

    You are sceptical about the claims of the warmists.
    Why are you not sceptical about the official inflation claims of the US government?

  135. DirkH says:

    And another thing, Richard: the GDP growth claims are not adjusted for population growth.
    The population of the US grows by 1.3 % or so a year.
    In that regard, the growth of the US GDP is simply abysmal.
    Look at GDP/capita.

  136. SUT says:

    I often use this argument, but more as metaphor:

    Contrast: The chemist or pilot vs the political analyst or economist.

    Given a time machine, an amateur could become the greatest practitioner in the latter field – eg. subprime mortgages in 2008, FL recount in 2000. This is because you never step thru the same river twice.

    In the former, even with a time machine, you would be an incompetent pilot or chemist. This is because learning in these fields comes thru experience and experimentation.

  137. DirkH:

    You made a silly mistake. Everybody does now and then.
    Accept it and stop crying about it.

    I said, “small amount”. You agree that. Finding similar points to whinge about is pointless and I shall ignore them if you do.

    Richard

  138. @ Crispin

    You are right about the origin of the geocentric world view; it has nothing to do with Scripture, and accordingly the curch had little difficulty to later on quietly get with the times. However, the fact remains that it was the church that suppressed free scientific inquiry.

    It is not coincidence that modern science really took off only after the back of the Catholic church had been broken. Of course, the church has long since made its made its peace with science, mostly by way of surrender, and there is now little reason left on either side to pick a fight. However, look at the map of Europe, even today, and correlate advancement in science with the prevalent faith; then draw your own conclusions as to what role the church has played in history.

    BTW are you in Waterloo these days? How about coffee?

  139. Jim Ryan says:

    This paper needs a lot of rethinking. “Knowability,” that a proposition p is true (the degree to which you can know that p) just reduces to the degree to which you are justified in believing that p (i.e., the strength of your evidence for concluding that p.) Therefore, when “knowability” is low, the “expected veracity” of p is near zero (i.e., left to luck or chance) and it simply doesn’t matter whether there is high or low consensus. The graph on the right is incorrect. It should be a line of slope zero near the bottom of the y axis.

    Similarly, when the “knowability” of p is high, then the expected veracity is also high. It doesn’t matter whether the consensus is high. The graph on the left is incorrect. It should be a line of slope zero near the top of the y axis.

    What you can say is that when the evidence for a proposition p is very poor and the consensus is very high, then the consensus shows that the scientists in agreement that p is true are full of baloney. You can say that. But you can’t do what this paper is trying to do. It just doesn’t come off.

    You can also say that consensus is a marker for those who aren’t knowledgeable enough to understand what the evidence shows. In specific, when there is high consensus that p amongst scientists who have proven track records of tracking the truth, have carefully examined the evidence, and have high resistance to being corrupted by the lure of more funding, then I, as an ignorant layman, may be warranted in expecting that p is highly likely to be true. But when the evidence is apparently poor or the scientists have no track record to speak of, then their concensus does not warrant your expecting that p is likely to be true.

    In short, this paper gets the relationship between consensus and expected veracity wrong. There is a relationship, but it is much weaker and narrower in scope than the paper says.

  140. DirkH says:

    richardscourtney says:
    May 1, 2013 at 6:50 am
    “You made a silly mistake. Everybody does now and then.
    Accept it and stop crying about it.
    I said, “small amount”. You agree that. Finding similar points to whinge about is pointless and I shall ignore them if you do.”

    So you are saying that misdirecting billions of Euros into wind turbines and solar panels is not a waste? Well, everyone is entitled to his own opinion; but while we’re at it, you can also ignore this:

    During the last 5 years the Fed has generated 2 tn USD. Of course this serves to increase the nominal GDP, measured in Dollar terms of course. The fact of the matter is that the US currently generates about 10% of its GDP with the printing press, or in the words of the french economist Jacques Rueff, inflation is the creation of purchasing power in a nation with a trade deficit.

    Obsessing about the alleged increase in US GDP is like calling the Zimbabwean stock market the most successful in the world, after all it went up millions of percent during the hyperinflation.

  141. jc says:

    @ Bill from Nevada

    Enjoyed your posts.

    There is nothing like the clarity that comes with intelligent contempt shown in scathingly humorous mockery whilst still effortlessly dealing with what is supposed to be of substance, and demonstrating it to be empty.

    Not only effective, but realistic in approach to such a person, whose insinuation into discussion is bogus in its claim to sincerity, as shown by the nature of all his comments. An offence to intelligence to pretend otherwise.

    To tell you something you already know, you will get nothing intelligent out of Stan W, both because of inability and disinclination. Furtive snippets then hiding is all this being is capable of.

    I’m still waiting, from a previous thread, for him to state what benefits he gathers to himself, personally, from AGW being implemented as policy, and to give an estimate of how many dollars for each person dead.

    Unlike many who see – rightly – that the presence of a being such as Stan W is calculated purely to confound intelligent discussion, I see it as having real virtues. The existence of such a thing, amongst many otherwise thoughtful and genuinely interested contributions, makes stark the threadbare “position” and low character of such proponents. That “Stan W” will be incapable of seeing this reinforces the point. The nature of The Beast on display.

    Also, as Konrad above goes into, the record here of this entities – and others similar – contribution gives an invaluable tool to ultimately hold such things to account for their actively dishonest pursuit of goals they know have, are, and will, kill innumerable human beings.

  142. jc says:

    @Konrad says:
    April 30, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    I think your using the word “corpse” (in relation to AGW) unnerved “Stan W” somewhat. Like all his kind, being blind to killing-by-proxy is essential. God forbid that they be seen for what they are.

    @Konrad says:
    April 30, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    As with Bill from Nevada above, enjoyed your insight into the nature of “Stan W”.

    @ Konrad says:
    May 1, 2013 at 5:38 am

    It sounds as though you have (or are developing) a good understanding of where this has all come from and the techniques employed. In combination with others (internet!) it should be possible to establish people and links back to the genesis of this.

    Like most (I suspect), I know of certain comments and claims from a handful of people at different times, and have a general cultural (political) overview, but these are not properly integrated. Probably the major task ahead, and, once this gets to the point of being untenable in a “sciency” way (not far off), this context will be all that counts, and will be the death of AGW politically and the start of accountability.

  143. DirkH:

    At May 1, 2013 at 6:07 am I wrote a post addressed to you which said

    I agree that windpower is a waste, and I agree that AGW has been used to extort from the poor to fill the pockets of the rich. But those are minor reasons for the economic problems of Spain, Portugal and Greece.

    Only 92 minutes later, at May 1, 2013 at 7:39 am, you write to me

    So you are saying that misdirecting billions of Euros into wind turbines and solar panels is not a waste?

    I admire your effort, and that was a good try, but you cannot outdo Stan W.

    I refer you to my post at May 1, 2013 at 6:50 am.

    Richard

  144. Steve Jones says:

    I was a certified ‘denier’ until I read the lucid, objective and scientifically rigorous posts by the great Stan W. I have seen the error of my ways and now have an unshakeable belief in CAGW.

    How could anyone not be persuaded?

    Do I really need to add a sarc tag?

  145. provoter says:

    Barry says at 11:54 pm:

    ” Discuss what? The notion that scientific conclusions are more suspect if the weight of consensus is stronger?

    “In our view, the fact that so many scientists agree so closely about the earth’s warming is, itself, evidence of a lack of evidence for global warming.”

    The view is unlikely on its face. The implication is that scientific understanding with less consensus is more certain. The argument given, such as it is, is circular reasoning at best (more accurately, doubling down on assertions), and there is not a jot of data to back it up. ”

    ——————————————————————————

    First of all, to Barry – thank you for making what appears to be a good-faithed attempt at argument, as that’s really all that anyone is asking for around here. There are those who do not or will not understand that.

    Now to your assertion that the authors themselves assert “…that scientific conclusions are more suspect if the weight of consensus is stronger[.]”

    What they assert is nothing nearly so simple, and a careful reading of the post isn’t even necessary to see this. As such, the assertion you swat down is merely the strawman you just stood up (unintentionally or not). At the core of the authors’ express argument is that:

    “…as a question becomes more complex and less testable, we would expect an increasing level of disagreement and a lessening of the consensus—think: the existence of god, the best band since the Beatles, or the grand unified theory of physics. On such topics, independent minds can—and should—differ.”

    They follow this by asserting (not demonstrating, obviously – just asserting) that the real-life physical complexity of the earth’s climate and of how and why it changes as it does lay on a “complexity continuum” (my term) closer to something like the field of economics than to something like the field of mathematics (my examples). Economics does not lend itself to hypotheses easily tested through experiment; therefore, it is maddeningly difficult to simplify the field. Worse, it is a field hopelessly driven in large part by politics, a driver nearly wholly antithetical to the pursuit of truth.

    It’s too bad the authors didn’t use the example of economics to illustrate their point, because it is a nearly perfect illustration of it. Is it the case that there is a great deal of consensus, in general, in economics? Of course not; there is fierce and never-ending debate throughout the field, from Ph.Ds to grade-school dropouts. Were some group of economists to claim that their particular school enjoyed an overwhelming consensus of support throughout the economic world, it would be laughable. But if the private sector did not have a strong and immediate interest in economics, such that the study of it would then depend primarily on government funding around the world, there probably would eventually be manufactured a faux consensus, and the field would in many ways come to resemble climate science in its current state. (Predictably, that consensus would be some form or another of “limited government = the suffering of the masses,” would it not?)

    Now, if people wish to argue that climate science is in fact MORE like math – easily tested and readily falsifiable – and LESS like economics, than by all means they should do so. Perhaps climate science truly is not very complex after all. But this is a point wholly separate from the post’s more basic one that difficult-to-test questions (if that is what they are) by their nature tend away from consensus. This point is so basic, and as a point of logic so innocuous, that I’ll be surprised to see anyone even ATTEMPT to refute it.

    Perhaps that’s why the strawman was cued.

  146. Barry,

    The core theory in our paper is an application of Bayes’ theorem. The logical prior of ‘truthfulness’ one must assign to the set of questions with [ low knowability / high consensus ] IS less than the prior one must assign to the set of questions with [ low knowability / low (or medium) consensus.] For certain sets of questions, as consensus increases, the a priori analysis means the prevailing belief is LESS likely to be true. To debate this point is to misunderstand logic. I point you to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayes'_theorem for a good primer.

    There are only two ways to argue against our conclusions. 1) You can dispute anthropomorphic global warming’s knowability (admitted an non-specific term) or 2) the concomitant level of consensus. Anything else is poetry.

  147. provoter says:

    As an aside, I agree with anyone else who feels that the authors shoot themselves in their feet, with a shotgun, when they breezily state, “The scope of agreement achieved by the world’s climate scientists is breathtaking. To first approximation, around 97% agree that human activity, particularly carbon dioxide emissions, causes global warming.”

    It doesn’t ruin their basic argument, but it sure does make you question their fundamental understanding of reality vis a vis the climate science debates. (Most people here already know why such a statement is simply goofy, in too many ways to (again!) count.) I for one will listen to you more closely if you demonstrate being in touch with reality, and less so if you do not.

  148. IMO, the suggestion that everything stated here isn’t obvious to any college educated scientists is absurd.

  149. Jim Ryan says:

    So, as the consensus for CAGW drops from very high down to, say, 50%, its expected veracity will increase. And the more scientists change their minds and reject the theory, the more likely it is true, until about half of the scientific community believes it. Is that correct?

  150. Climate change is a bit unusual because of the dynamics around what people (think they) know to be true and widely accepted. There is a segment of the population which thinks ‘the science is settled and everyone agrees’, and there is a segment which thinks ‘there is no consensus at all!’. Capturing the ways in which these dynamics interact to tease out some understanding of how much faith we should put in climate science would be interesting, but ultimately would move the paper away from its basic precept – that consensus is not truth, but it is an input into understanding the veracity of a point of view.

    Yes, there is wide disagreement about climate science, but also, there is wide agreement. It depends on who you ask and where you are. If you wish to argue against global warming being primarily human caused and of dire consequences, there are a bunch of broad arguments that are typically mustered, including:

    1) Climate science is not settled
    2) Climate science is filled with bias
    3) Warmer average temperatures might be better for people, just as they might be worse for
    3) Its very expensive/impossible to alter CO2 emissions in a meaningful way.

    We are merely providing an additional argument. For those who believe that the science is settled, and are unwilling to accept any other fact based perspective, there is the inescapable problem that more consensus for a low knowability idea is subtractive rather than additive to supporting their arguments – a conclusion that is (un)intuitive.

    Provoter: We are aware that the 97% figure is badly biased, but it is also (arguably) widely believed. It is certainly bandied about in the MSM as fact. As mentioned above, it is a difficult problem to discuss climate science in general, because people’s preconceptions about what is widely accepted are vastly different. Yet this is also the value of choosing AGW to illustrate our point. Because roughly half of Americans are in fact skeptical, it is possible to use our theory to show that the consensus of the other half is not evidence of truth, without facing universal condemnation of the underlying idea simply because it is applied to a controversial topic.

  151. Jim Ryan says:
    May 1, 2013 at 11:12 am
    So, as the consensus for CAGW drops from very high down to, say, 50%, its expected veracity will increase. And the more scientists change their minds and reject the theory, the more likely it is true, until about half of the scientific community believes it. Is that correct?

    The question is what you know.

    If you were to have no knowledge about the evolution of an idea, then a lower consensus for a difficult to verify topic would increase its expected veracity, because your ex-ante opinion should be that over the course of time there would be more independent verifications of the idea, and more of these verification would be recent (which is better if we assume the ability to test ideas improves over time).

    In addition, lower connsensus on one idea would suggest that other ideas had gained influence, so on a meta-level, there would be more evidence that the correct idea was one of those vying for room in the debate.

    In either case, we should attribute a low level of confidence to all the theories because all the theories are neither testable nor falsifiable.

  152. Janice Moore says:

    Dear GERAN,

    “Janice, I think you meant to address “Gofer”. He’s the one that made the comment at 6:57. I’m “Geran”, and I’m innocent of all charges….” [Geran]

    … and I AM SO SORRY. I was, indeed, responding to Gofer. Please forgive my carelessness. And, thank you for letting me know; eating humble pie (even just a bite or two) is good for the soul.

    AHEM! Mr. Stendera. You are very kind and I appreciate your reassuring me about being “fat and ugly.” (chuckle) I do like you, but, FOR THE RECORD (there is SO much misunderstanding and potential for mistake on the internet …), I AM NOT HOOKING UP WITH ANYONE. Yes, I realize you were joking, but, some people’s ability to detect sarcasm is pretty poor. THUS, I wrote.

    Take care, Stan Stendera. You make my world (and the world) a better place to be.

  153. Michael J. Dunn says:

    Re: Gallileo
    My recollection of the issue (following Crispin) is that there was no observational evidence to support the heliocentric theory. After all, the geocentric and heliocentric theories produced the same predictions. The evidence that the Earth moved was obtainable only upon measurement of stellar parallax, and the accuracy required to do that wasn’t available until some time afterward.

  154. TeaPartyGeezer says:

    dbstealey says:
    May 1, 2013 at 2:08 am

    Why thank you. I like you, too!

  155. Mac the Knife says:

    philjourdan says:
    April 30, 2013 at 4:13 pm
    The real danger comes when K/C approaches 0, and people start to act on the lack of knowledge. You do more damage when you do not know what you are doing, than doing nothing.

    Truth, in a nutshell.
    MtK

  156. RobRoy says:

    You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him think. No need to think, Just rely on the IPCC. They are looking out for me. I feel warm all over. Wait, warmth is bad.

  157. RobRoy says:

    Crispin in Waterloo says:
    May 1, 2013 at 6:12 am “l they did was ask scientists what the truth of the matter was and the scientists of the time said Ptolemy settled this long ago and that these new ideas were poppycock. ”
    Galileo “The father of Science” was “a mouthy Pratt” and the Catholic Church tolerated him. No
    The Church turned “poppycock” into heresy and made galileo recant. Not the scientists.

  158. Radical Rodent says:

    One very interesting point from my own (questionable) observations is that, generally, the AGWist will not look at any site or opinion that is in contradiction to their belief (i.e. contrary to “the consensus”).

    I like to consider myself a sceptic, and do read a lot of blogs along that line; however, I also want to know what the other viewpoint is, to try to understand their logic. To do this, I read AGWist blogs. Some views I find too unpleasant for excessive reading (such as Richard Black, with his blatant bias and subtle twisting of facts while he was with the BBC); others are quite laughable. One thing that I have noticed is that any comment contrary to their dearly-held views is beyond the pale, which, as many actually claim to be scientists, is rather odd. Most merely expunge the remark; however, some will leave the comment in, and let their faithful lay in with unpleasant, ad hom remarks, often to the point of encouraging self-harm and outright libel. None seem to want to engage in reasoned argument.

    I am making it my mission to get myself banned from as many of these sites as possible. It is quite easy; with one (who has been well-roasted on WUWT), all I had to do was to point out that even the UKMO admitted that warming had stopped, and that the events of Hurricane Sandy are far from unique in that region. The only pity is that no-one can see my clever ripostes!

  159. provoter says:

    Matthew Brumberg says at 11:38:

    “Provoter: We are aware that the 97% figure is badly biased…”

    —————————————–

    If I misinterpreted how you meant the statement of “The scope of agreement achieved by the world’s climate scientists is breathtaking. To first approximation, around 97% agree that human activity, particularly carbon dioxide emissions, causes global warming,” then I apologize for that. It sounded to me like you were giving the results of that pseudo survey the benefit of the doubt, and even that by itself is just a personal choice and certainly nothing for which you should be pillaried. What struck me was how you just threw that statement out there with not a qualifying comment in sight.

    It’s trivially true of course – and I would imagine you agree – that increased CO2 – manmade or otherwise – should cause some as-yet-unknown degree of warming. Therefore, it is trivially true that a lot of scientists agree with this statement. Of the manifold defects and dishonesties riddling the survey behind it, this is its most grating, that its conclusion is utterly devoid of significance and yet is used far, wide and incessantly as a gag to silence any attempt at reasoned argument. My point is that if you study that survey and then study the arguments regarding it made by people at sites like this, there is almost no way you could toss such a statement out there naked, as you did, without being painfully aware that your prose was, to be charitable, ill-suited to your audience.

    I wouldn’t mention intelligent design to an audience of physicists without making clear that I felt the idea to be (as you now know I am wont to say) “goofy.” It’s a simple case of knowing my audience, and that’s really all I’m saying.

    Hopefully you saw my earlier comment (to Barry at 10:39 am). If so, you already know I come in peace with respect to your post, which I enjoyed a lot … because I thought it was excellent.

  160. Bill from Nevada says:

    Stan is another Phlogiston Phlogger Blogger whose Phiziks Phind Phlogiston Phairly Phrequently

    but who, being stranded on earth, with phlogiston unbelieph,
    is shackled by the fact that

    all we have

    is the technology to guide, land, and communicate with robots on other planets,
    and out at the edge of the solar system.

    We aren’t Phlogiston Phield Ephects certiphied in this inphernal world as of yet, because we’re not Phullie Phlogistonically, philosophically, phul-philled.

    Phor instance we can phind phacts phar phrum inphrared spectra phreely – but we can’t phind the

    Giant
    Ever HotterColder
    InPhraReD
    Phreezing
    Phlogiston
    Generator
    in the sky.

    Except phor of course, Dark Phlogiston leaving it’s ugly phreezing phootprint in incidental phindings.

    Some of our instruments show the Phlogiston is missing, going out – this is dark, inverted (also known as backerd) phlogistonological phlux phields.

    but then when you check with the inphrared astronomy phield, they’re silent as a phreaking phield mouse.

    When you check with every single phield of atmosferic energy that wouldn’t be able to hide the phlogiston –

    like NOAA when they laid out sensors for fourteen years –

    that doggone phlogiston gets tricky.

    Phirst
    it turns dark,
    then you can’t phind it at all with your satellites.

    Now that’s tricky, pholks.

    All that phlogiston has to do, is turn into dark phlogiston, to hide phrum the satellites,

    and then: *blip* you can do any kind of check you want.
    —–

    You can sit out a picnic cooler with water in it at night, when it’s a phew degrees above phreezing,

    phacing the open top, up to the sky.

    Now phlogiston is tricky-here’s how it goes: *WATCH CAREFULLY and PHOLLOW the PHLOGISTON*

    if you turn the open face of a picnic cooler up to face the full onslaught of down welling phlogiston at night, under an open sky where there’s the most dark phlogiston radiating down,

    it’ll make that water phlogistonically phreeze – because then, it’s cold or dark phlogiston. That’s so it can’t be seen by any satellites.

    But if you sit that open faced cooler under say, a flat object – like a piece of glass, or plywood,

    then since the dark (phreezing) phlogiston can’t GET to the water in the picnic cooler,

    it will make the water in the cooler more dark-phlogiston (phreezing phlogiston) NEGATIVE ,

    meaning the dark (undetectable) phlogiston, normally being being HotCold so it Phreezes,

    not being able to get to the water in the insulated picnic cooler and Phreeze it Phlogistonically, by making it ColdHot,

    is therefore allowing the water to stay dark phlogiston NEGATIVE:

    hence, if you check it with a thermometer, it will be more warm (not dark phlogiston which radiates down, to phreeze things) or in other words, real phlogistonically POSITIVE.

    This down welling phlogiston that makes things HotterColder, so they Phlogistonically Phreeze, while objects around, on cool nights are NOT
    Dark (Phreezing) Phlogistonic Phield Effect affected,

    is very tricky: and you have to be really pheeling phor an understanding of phlogistonic backerdisms,

    to phathom the backerd HeatingColdingismalisticness, of phlogistonic inverse phorce phield ephects, outside;

    or, as we say, in the Phield.

    In phact there’s no experiment you can do to phind it, except look at satellite grafs showing notches where the (dark) phlogiston is:

    the absence of phorward phlogistonic phorce: implying of course that magically backerdized Phreezing Phlogiston’s phound phairly phrequently. is phullie backerdized so when it’s postive,
    it’s infrared light,
    but no infrared light detector can detect it, except in it’s dark form. By of course showing it’s not there.

    This prevents man from committing Phlogiston Sin like he did with Carbon: which is what prompted the Phlogiston to go dark, in the first place.

    Iph’n yew dont wont to believe, phlogiston caint ruhveel, it’s magical secrits, two yew.

    Man has sinned too much against Gaia, to let the Phlogistonicallistic Phooling arownd, go on innie mor.

    Heavy huh.

    Yeah that’s what NASA and pretty much everybody who understands phlogiston says.
    =====
    Particularly when Stan W comes back,

    I’m going to present him with the case of insulated containers of water out on cool nights, phully exposed to down phalling dark phlogiston – phreezing phlogiston,

    and have HIM explain to us all about how,

    if you put insulated open containers of water out at night, facing the phull phorce of phlogiston, it’s inphrared HotColdness makes water get Phlogistonically Phrozen,

    as opposed to non Phreezing Phlogistonically irradiated, water nearby, which is of course, not being struck by Dark Phlogiston, thus not Phlogistonically Phrozen.

    Wow. Dark Phreezing Phlogiston,
    our infrared sensors can’t see it,
    basically – we’re dephenseless against it.

    We’ll tap Stan W about how to phace the phrequent phinding uph phlogistonological phreezing and phrightening – some would say – alarming phrequency –

    with which our instruments phail to phind phlogiston phlux phields

    even when they’re NOT dark phlogiston, but just regular old infrared.

    Lighting up the night sky, as down welling (dark) phreezing phlogiston.

    Phar out huh.

    Maybe when Stan gets back he can bring some of his Trenberthian/Hansonian Phreezing Phlogistonically phathoming phD phriends and phinally phind the magic phreezing phlogistonic phields’ ephects.

    phor the good of Gaia.

    “jc says:
    May 1, 2013 at 7:48 am

    @ Bill from Nevada

    Enjoyed your posts.

    There is nothing like the clarity that comes with intelligent contempt shown in scathingly humorous mockery whilst still effortlessly dealing with what is supposed to be of substance, and demonstrating it to be empty.

    Not only effective, but realistic in approach to such a person, whose insinuation into discussion is bogus in its claim to sincerity, as shown by the nature of all his comments. An offence to intelligence to pretend otherwise.

    To tell you something you already know, you will get nothing intelligent out of Stan W, both because of inability and disinclination. Furtive snippets then hiding is all this being is capable of.

    I’m still waiting, from a previous thread, for him to state what benefits he gathers to himself, personally, from AGW being implemented as policy, and to give an estimate of how many dollars for each person dead.

    Unlike many who see – rightly – that the presence of a being such as Stan W is calculated purely to confound intelligent discussion, I see it as having real virtues. The existence of such a thing, amongst many otherwise thoughtful and genuinely interested contributions, makes stark the threadbare “position” and low character of such proponents. That “Stan W” will be incapable of seeing this reinforces the point.”

  161. Just Wondering says:

    Would this paradox of consensus also apply to the theory of evolution?

  162. barry says:

    provoter,

    to your assertion that the authors themselves assert “…that scientific conclusions are more suspect if the weight of consensus is stronger[.]”

    What they assert is nothing nearly so simple, and a careful reading of the post isn’t even necessary to see this. As such, the assertion you swat down is merely the strawman you just stood up (unintentionally or not). At the core of the authors’ express argument is that:

    “…as a question becomes more complex and less testable, we would expect an increasing level of disagreement and a lessening of the consensus—think: the existence of god, the best band since the Beatles, or the grand unified theory of physics. On such topics, independent minds can—and should—differ.”

    The quote is odd. The author argues on the premise that there is a considerable consensus on AGW (they make the point that it is this fact that should make us cautious about accepting it). But you seem to be quoting to demonstrate here that they think the consensus on climate change is (like the examples) not so strong. Your argument appears to be at odds with the author’s premise.

  163. barry says:

    Ryan Brumberg,

    The core theory in our paper is an application of Bayes’ theorem. The logical prior of ‘truthfulness’ one must assign to the set of questions with [ low knowability / high consensus ] IS less than the prior one must assign to the set of questions with [ low knowability / low (or medium) consensus.] For certain sets of questions, as consensus increases, the a priori analysis means the prevailing belief is LESS likely to be true. To debate this point is to misunderstand logic. I point you to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayes'_theorem for a good primer.

    There are only two ways to argue against our conclusions. 1) You can dispute anthropomorphic global warming’s knowability (admitted an non-specific term) or 2) the concomitant level of consensus. Anything else is poetry.

    There are two problems I see immediately.

    1) You have not specified what the consensus is about, and there are different degrees depending on the topic. The affects of clouds? Little consensus. The radiative properties of CO2? Strong consensus. For example. Anthropogenic CO2 will warm the Earth to some degree at the rate it is concentrating in the atmosphere? Strong consensus. Climate sensitivity? Less consensus.

    2) As you point out, you have not (cannot) quantify the ‘knowability’ of the issue, so a fundamental component of your thesis is based on supposition. This fatally undermines the analysis. It can only be speculative as a result. Can you conceive of a way in which you could constrain this value?

    I think your supposition is flawed. Scientific theories with strong consensus and little opportunity to test (strong level of unknowability) can still have strong utility (quantum theory). Examples disprove your premise, so you would have to mathematically compute the probability that the premise holds and factor that in. An extraordinarily onerous task, I would think, if possible at all.

    I commend you for submitting your thesis for peer-review. I’d be curious to read the reviewers comments. Post them here if the journal permits.

  164. barry says:

    provoter,

    I agree with anyone else who feels that the authors shoot themselves in their feet, with a shotgun, when they breezily state, “The scope of agreement achieved by the world’s climate scientists is breathtaking. To first approximation, around 97% agree that human activity, particularly carbon dioxide emissions, causes global warming.”

    It doesn’t ruin their basic argument, but it sure does make you question their fundamental understanding of reality vis a vis the climate science debates. (Most people here already know why such a statement is simply goofy, in too many ways to (again!) count.) I for one will listen to you more closely if you demonstrate being in touch with reality, and less so if you do not.

    While the topic is vaguely worded, the authors specifically cite the consensus of climate researchers on anthropogenic influences on global temperature. There have been at least *three polls that corroborate a 90 – 97% consensus of climate researchers for that topic. Can you offer a competing poll based purely on that demographic?

    * http://tigger.uic.edu/%7Epdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf
    * http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/04/1003187107.abstract
    * http://results.visionprize.com/tagged/Human%20influence

    (In the third poll, participants were asked to predict the percentage of views their colleagues would give. They underestimated the consensus on anthropogenically influenced climate change. Half of the respondants were climate researchers)

  165. Konrad says:

    jc says:
    May 1, 2013 at 8:21 am
    ———————————————–
    JC,
    as the collapse of the hoax gathers pace, the pseudo scientists will be hoping to escape in the confusion. I believe that it is critical for future generations that those involved be be exposed and their manipulations laid bare. It is not safe to just “move on”, the full story must be made public, otherwise it will just be repeated.

    To do this the Internet can be used to look below the later layers of fellow travellers. In the science side of the story this means finding those who actively and knowingly conducted the first efforts to erase or sideline previous accepted science and lay the foundation for the hoax. There appear to be three main areas that require attention.

    Anthony’s work has focused on the surface station record issue. The surface station records had to be manipulated to cool the past and warm the present. The warming around 1940 and the 1970s cool period also had to be erased to make the record match the CO2 claims. Finding all those who first started to do this is important. Tom Karls prints are in evidence from 1984.

    Steve McIntyre has focused on the junk science proxy studies. These had to be manipulated to remove inconvenient features such as the LIA and MWP and to exaggerate recent temperatures. Previously understood historical temperature variations had to be removed as they showed the extent of natural variability. Periods warmer than today had to be removed as they showed that “strongly positive water vapour feed back “ was a myth. Dr. Mann is infamous, but who is hiding behind him?

    Perhaps the most important area is the overturning of the previously accepted science of radiative gases in our atmosphere. Radiative gases are critical for tropospheric convective circulation and cooling. How did the idea that radiative gases cause warming take hold? Pierrehumbert is the first I can find proposing that initially radiative gases cause cooling but after a mystical typing point that they cause warming. This type of pseudo science appears to have been adopted so the role of radiative gases in convective circulation can be dismissed and simple two shell models used. Were there others before Pierrehumbert in 1995?

    The surface of the AGW hoax is populated by useful idiots and fellow travellers deluded by groupthink. However those who laid the initial “scientific” foundation of AGW should not escape scrutiny.

  166. jc says:

    @ Bill from Nevada says:
    May 1, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    I don’t know that “Stan W” will be back on this thread. His methodology seems to be throw around brief statements and then when having exposed himself to the degree tolerable, he retreats and then disappears. He will likely re-appear elsewhere and run through the same process.

  167. jc says:

    @ Konrad says:
    May 1, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    I completely agree that it is imperative that those responsible are held fully to account. Not just because of the implications for future scientific, cultural and political practices – societal standards and capacities – but for reasons of justice. There are many who have been killed by this. And it has not been because of sincere intent, undone by misinterpretation or “mistakes”.

    Not to have this fully exposed and those responsible held to account means in effect moral death. Which makes anything else immaterial.

    Most definitely those who laid the “scientific” foundations for this cannot be exempted.

    As you have said, the internet, by record and access to all, is the key. Its great to see people starting to attend to the real basis for this, which is not in any details of science but in the abandonment of science and the parallel exploitation of that by others seeking to impose their agendas.

    It is about standards and their traducing. And that comes down to people. Acting alone or in concert. As such, these are what should be focused on from here on.

    To identify the individuals, in “science” as well as elsewhere, who have come together to make this happen, and the way they have made this happen, requires detailed information of activities across all these areas, and the compilation of patterns of association and development.

    Only them can it be properly understood, justice be done so far as is possible with such irretrievable consequences, and essential societal standards and structures be created.

  168. Bill from Nevada says:

    Roger that, jc

    =====

    jc says:
    May 1, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    @ Bill from Nevada says:
    May 1, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    I don’t know that “Stan W” will be back on this thread. His methodology seems to be throw around brief statements and then when having exposed himself to the degree tolerable, he retreats and then disappears. He will likely re-appear elsewhere and run through the same process.

  169. Barry says:

    1) You have not specified what the consensus is about, and there are different degrees depending on the topic. The affects of clouds? Little consensus. The radiative properties of CO2? Strong consensus. For example. Anthropogenic CO2 will warm the Earth to some degree at the rate it is concentrating in the atmosphere? Strong consensus. Climate sensitivity? Less consensus.

    I think that 80-90% (poll needed) of self-described climatologists would agree that “We Must / Should Act Now.” (E.g., sign the Kyoto Protocol.) That’s the bottom line. If they agree, they’re either implicitly accepting the science as settled and/or the potential threat as gigantic, which implies an acceptance of positive feedbacks.

  170. thallstd says:

    Donna Laframboise has a post about the psychological roots of confidence at NoFrakkignConsensus discussing a “Nobel-winning work about self-delusion and flawed judgment” by psychologist Daniel Kahneman who has spent his life studying human judgment and decision-making and at 79 wrote the 2011 award-winning, best-selling book Thinking, Fast and Slow.

    http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2013/04/26/how-climate-scientists-think/

    Some noteworthy excerpts:

    “Facts that challenge such basic assumptions – and thereby threaten people’s livelihood and self-esteem – are simply not absorbed. The mind does not digest them.”

    “Confidence is a feeling, one determined mostly by the coherence of the story and by the ease with which it comes to mind, even when the evidence for the story is sparse and unreliable.”

    “…overconfident professionals sincerely believe they have expertise, act as experts and look like experts. You will have to struggle to remind yourself that they may be in the grip of an illusion.”

    The book never mentions climate science but Donna nicely applies Kahneman’s observations to it.

  171. Vince Causey says:

    The idea is broadly similar to the contrarian principle in stock market analysis. The near future (few months) direction of the stock market is an unknowable quantity. During deep bear markets, as the bottom (an unknowable quantity except in hindsight) approaches, the consensus approaches 1 – a broad consensus of deep pessimism. At this point, the contrarian goes long on the market.

    You only have to look back to the 2003, 2008 and other stock market bottoms to see how deep, deep pessimism that had a broad consensus pointed to turning points. Of course, you can also get false bottoms, but this does not falsify the hypothesis – a false bottom has consensus of pessimism, but it merely has not reached its maximum strength.

    The point is,there was overwhelming consensus that the stock market should be avoided/sold off, and the consensus was wrong.

  172. barry says:

    I think that 80-90% (poll needed) of self-described climatologists would agree that “We Must / Should Act Now.” (E.g., sign the Kyoto Protocol.) That’s the bottom line. If they agree, they’re either implicitly accepting the science as settled and/or the potential threat as gigantic, which implies an acceptance of positive feedbacks.

    Why not take stock of the surveys that have actually been done?

    Eligibility was determined by the pollsters, not the participants. The poll questions are on the the science, not the policy.

    And the polls’ parameters are a good match with Guest Blogger’s article’s.

  173. mpainter says:

    Konrad says:

    May 1, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    jc says:
    May 1, 2013 at 8:21 am
    ———————————————–
    JC,
    as the collapse of the hoax gathers pace, the pseudo scientists will be hoping to escape in the confusion. I believe that it is critical for future generations that those involved be be exposed and their manipulations laid bare. It is not safe to just “move on”, the full story must be made public, otherwise it will just be repeated.
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I agree wholeheartedly with this. Those who have tried to foist their junk science on mankind should not be allowed to flee into anonymity. They have have taken money and repaid with damage. They should be identified and held accountable. Many of them are motivated by a twisted misanthropism disguised as a doomsday creed. Inscribe their names on a public monument for future generations to remember.

  174. barry:

    re your post at May 2, 2013 at 8:11 am.

    You forgot the sarc tag. This was a severe error because people who do not know about those polls may have taken you seriously.

    Richard

  175. Vince Causey says:

    Jim Ryan says:
    May 1, 2013 at 11:12 am
    “So, as the consensus for CAGW drops from very high down to, say, 50%, its expected veracity will increase. And the more scientists change their minds and reject the theory, the more likely it is true, until about half of the scientific community believes it. Is that correct?”

    Very cute, but no. Although not stated, the hypothesis is only relevant on the way up, as consensus mounts. On the way down, it does not apply because something has destroyed that belief system. Should be obvious really.

  176. Brian H says:

    The article is confusing, as written. Consensus in the absence of testability is a strong indicator of social (including financial) factors dominating the group mind.

  177. Jim Ryan says:

    According to Ryan Brumberg (May 1, 2013 at 10:41 am), the article is an application of Bayes’ Theorem. But it is not obvious that this is so. Also, the thesis entails obviously false propositions, such as:

    A: “As the consensus on a low-knowability proposition drops from very high down to 50%, its expected veracity increases.”

    B: “Even while no new evidence is coming in to support a low-knowability proposition, as the consensus increases from very low to about 50%, the expected veracity of the proposition increases.

    C: “A robustly confirmed, high-knowability proposition has low expected veracity when it has low consensus.”

    Take A, for example. The graph on the right makes it clear that A is entailed by the article. But A is obviously false. Matthew Brumberg’s attempt to address this issue (May 1, 2013 at 11:44 am) do not show that the article does not entail A.

    If Bayes’ Theorem is correct and if the article could be rewritten to show that the theorem entails the article’s thesis, then you’d really have something. A good start would be to mention Bayes’ theorem in the article. Then, you might fill in some of the variables with values such as knowability, consensus and expected veracity, and then plug and chug. If you did that, then the graphs alone would be quite interesting results, as would the article. But we don’t have that here. The third and fourth paragraphs introduce is to the K/C ratio, but there is no argument to support that the notions of the “mispricing of knowledge” or the “perfect ratio” give us anything like the graphs, let alone follow from Bayes’ Theorem. Indeed, the article sounds more like merely a sociological heuristic where it states, “At the upper reaches of consensus, there is less updating of views to account for new information—so much so that supporters of the status quo tend to suppress new facts and hypothesis. Government agencies deny funding to ‘sham’ scientists, tenure boards dissuade young researchers from pursuing ‘the wrong’ track, and the establishment quashes heretical ideas.” This may be true, but it is far from the pure logic Ryan Brumberg portrays the article to be and closer to the “poetry” he says it is not. So, perhaps the article could be rewritten as a more robust thesis in the sociology of science and give up the hope that it is a clear application of Bayes’ Theorem. There, too, you might really have something.

    But the alternative view that consensus has almost no role in the expected veracity of a theory seems more attractive to me. Expected veracity is tightly yoked to evidence, not to consensus. Whether I should believe that p depends only on the evidence for p. The only time consensus should play a role is placing my bet on the truth of p is when I don’t understand the evidence for or against p and I know that the experts who have understood the evidence and decided that p have good track records in getting things right in this domain. At that point I might use their consensus as a fallback and place my bet with the consensus. Also, if a scientist thinks he has robustly confirmed a theory in his work but hears that many of his colleagues are in disagreement, he might take this lack of consensus as an indication that there is other evidence they posses which he needs to consider. But there again the question turns on that other evidence and not the lack of consensus. In evaluating scientific theories, consensus is irrelevant. Only evidence matters, and consensus isn’t evidence.

  178. Jim:

    A) If you know the path of consensus and knowability over time you are adding additional information. The paper’s logic applies in its exact form only when you are applying it to the concepts it addresses in the same exact form. If you change what it is modeling (where you have other information) then you need to change the way it works. It is intuitively obvious how it would work in the case you outline – if at a particular instant consensus was 100% and is, and instant later, now 50%, (so you know the consensus changed recently), then since we know that there is unlikely to have been additional independent verification instantaneously that reduced the ideas consensus, we should not expect veracity to increase.

    B) If you know the true ‘truth’ you do not need a framework to understand what consensus means. As we address in the paper, most people do not independently confirm most phenoma, and even if you did, would you put zero faith in the work of others and 100% faith in your own experiments? It is very unlikely such an endpoint would be optimal.

  179. barry says:

    If you know the path of consensus and knowability

    Still curious as to how you would constrain the value of ‘knowability’. We are far from having a complete understanding of gravity, yet we make use of our flawed understanding of it in engineering applications every day. Much of our medical knowledge is understood by correlative experiment. How well can we say we ‘know’ this field?

    How, exactly, do you test for knowability?

  180. barry says:

    Readers of pop science will be familiar with the term the “butterfly effect,” in which “the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set[s] off a tornado in Texas.” The earth’s climate is one such dynamic, chaotic system and it is within the whirling, turbulent vortex of unpredictability that the modern climate scientists must tread.

    But this is an assessment of weather, not climate predition. Climate is not a chaotic variable, it is the average of weather – or we would expect winter to be hotter than summer at random.

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