When bad astronomers play ‘claimatologists’

Dr. Matt Ridley writes:
My recent WSJ article got a reaction from Slate:
badastronomers
Source:
My response is here:

Evidence, not consensus, is what counts

My latest (and last) Mind and Matter column in the Wall Street Journal:

Last week a friend chided me for not agreeing with the scientific consensus that climate change is likely to be dangerous. I responded that, according to polls, the “consensus” about climate change only extends to the propositions that it has been happening and is partly man-made, both of which I readily agree with. Forecasts show huge uncertainty.

Besides, science does not respect consensus. There was once widespread agreement about phlogiston (a nonexistent element said to be a crucial part of combustion), eugenics, the impossibility of continental drift, the idea that genes were made of protein (not DNA) and stomach ulcers were caused by stress, and so forth—all of which proved false. Science, Richard Feyman once said, is “the belief in the ignorance of experts.

My friend objected that I seemed to follow the herd on matters like the reality of evolution and the safety of genetically modified crops, so why not on climate change? Ah, said I, but I don’t. I agree with the majority view on evolution, not because it is a majority view but because I have looked at evidence. It’s the data that convince me, not the existence of a consensus.

My friend said that I could not possibly have had time to check all the evidence for and against evolution, so I must be taking others’ words for it. No, I said, I take on trust others’ word that their facts are correct, but I judge their interpretations myself, with no thought as to how popular they are. (Much as I admire Charles Darwin, I get fidgety when his fans start implying he is infallible. If I want infallibility, I will join the Catholic Church.)

And that is where the problem lies with climate change.

read more here
==================================================================
Meanwhile on twitter, Dr. Gavin Schmidt has gone silly over the Ridley affair:
About these ads
This entry was posted in Climate News and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

83 Responses to When bad astronomers play ‘claimatologists’

  1. Jimbo says:

    Last week a friend chided me for not agreeing with the scientific consensus that climate change is likely to be dangerous.

    Your friend was absolutely right about “climate change is likely to be dangerous”. It is a danger to humans and the biosphere. Loooooord help us. Below are the effects of dangerous climate change over the Holocene. Man be damned, we must act now.

    Abstract – E. Davis et. al.- September 2006
    An Andean ice-core record of a Middle Holocene mega-drought in North Africa and Asia

    A large dust peak, dated ~4500 years ago, is contemporaneous with a widespread and prolonged drought that apparently extended from North Africa to eastern China, evidence of which occurs in historical, archeological and paleoclimatic records. This event may have been associated with several centuries of weak Asian/Indian/African monsoons, possibly linked with a protracted cooling in the North Atlantic…..
    dx.doi.org/10.3189/172756406781812456
    ——-
    Abstract – Steven L. Forman et. al. – May 2001
    Temporal and spatial patterns of Holocene dune activity on the Great Plains of North America: megadroughts and climate links
    Periods of persistent drought are associated with a La Niña-dominated climate state, with cooling of sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean and later of the tropical Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico that significantly weakens cyclogenesis over central North America.
    dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0921-8181(00)00092-8
    ——
    Abstract – Hamish McGowan et. al. – 28 November 2012
    Evidence of ENSO mega-drought triggered collapse of prehistory Aboriginal society in northwest Australia
    …..Here we show that a mid-Holocene ENSO forced collapse of the Australian summer monsoon and ensuing mega-drought spanning approximately 1500 yrs …..
    doi: 10.1029/2012GL053916
    ——-
    Abstract – B. Van Geel et. al. – 17 January 2007
    Archaeological and palaeoecological indications of an abrupt climate change in The Netherlands, and evidence for climatological teleconnections around 2650 BP
    ….Evidence for a synchronous climatic change elsewhere in Europe and on other continents around 2650 BP is presented…..
    doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1417(199611
    ——-
    Abstract – Martin Jakobsson et. al. – December 2010
    Arctic sea ice cover was strongly reduced during most of the early Holocene and there appear to have been periods of ice free summers in the central Arctic Ocean. This has important consequences for our understanding of the recent trend of declining sea ice…..
    dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.08.016
    ——-
    Abstract – Samuli Helama et. al. – 13 October 2008
    Multicentennial megadrought in northern Europe coincided with a global El Niño–Southern Oscillation drought pattern during the Medieval Climate Anomaly
    doi: 10.1130/G25329A.1
    ———-
    Abstract – Richard B. Alleya et. al. – May 2005
    The 8k event: cause and consequences of a major Holocene abrupt climate change
    dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2004.12.004
    ——-
    Abstract – Scott Stine – 16 June 1994
    Extreme and persistent drought in California and Patagonia during mediaeval time
    California’s Sierra Nevada experienced extremely severe drought conditions for more than two centuries before ad ~ 1112 and for more than 140 years before ad ~ 1350…I also present similar evidence from Patagonia of drought conditions coinciding with at least the first of these dry periods in California….
    doi:10.1038/369546a0
    ——-
    Abstract – Martin Claussen et. al. – 7 December 2012
    Simulation of an abrupt change in Saharan vegetation in the Mid-Holocene

    Climate variability during the present interglacial, the Holocene, has been rather smooth in comparison with the last glacial. Nevertheless, there were some rather abrupt climate changes. One of these changes, the desertification of the Saharan and Arabian region some 4–6 thousand years ago,….
    doi: 10.1029/1999GL900494
    ——-
    Abstract – Brian F. Cumming et. al. – 2 December 2002,
    Persistent millennial-scale shifts in moisture regimes in western Canada during the past six millennia
    …After periods of relative stability, abrupt shifts in diatom assemblages and inferred climatic conditions occur approximately every 1,220 years….
    doi:10.1073/pnas.252603099
    ——-
    Abstract – Connie A. Woodhouse et. al. – December 1998
    2000 Years of Drought Variability in the Central United States
    …..One must turn to the paleoclimatic record to examine the full range of past drought variability, including the range of magnitude and duration, and thus gain the improved understanding needed for society to anticipate and plan for droughts of the future. Historical documents, tree rings, archaeological remains, lake sediment, and geomorphic data make it clear that the droughts of the twentieth century, including those of the 1930s and 1950s, were eclipsed several times by droughts earlier in the last 2000 years, and as recently as the late sixteenth century. In general, some droughts prior to 1600 appear to be characterized by longer duration (i.e., multidecadal) and greater spatial extent than those of the twentieth century……
    dx.doi.org/10.1175/1520-0477(1998)079%3C2693:YODVIT%3E2.0.CO;2
    ——-
    Abstract – T. M. Shanahan – 17 April 2009
    Atlantic Forcing of Persistent Drought in West Africa
    …We find that intervals of severe drought lasting for periods ranging from decades to centuries are characteristic of the monsoon and are linked to natural variations in Atlantic temperatures. Thus the severe drought of recent decades is not anomalous in the context of the past three millennia,…..
    doi: 10.1126/science.1166352
    ——-
    Abstract – Fahu Chen et. al. – December 2001
    Abrupt Holocene changes of the Asian monsoon at millennial- and centennial-scales: Evidence from lake sediment document in Minqin Basin, NW China
    These rapid climatic changes may be representative of a global climatic change pattern during the Holocene.
    doi: 10.1007/BF02901902

    Here are the effects of dangerous CARBON DIOXIDE, a noxious dioxide.

    Randall J. Donohue et. al. – 31 May, 2013
    Abstract
    CO2 fertilisation has increased maximum foliage cover across the globe’s warm, arid environments

    [1] Satellite observations reveal a greening of the globe over recent decades. The role in this greening of the ‘CO2 fertilization’ effect – the enhancement of photosynthesis due to rising CO2 levels – is yet to be established. The direct CO2 effect on vegetation should be most clearly expressed in warm, arid environments where water is the dominant limit to vegetation growth. Using gas exchange theory, we predict that the 14% increase in atmospheric CO2 (1982–2010) led to a 5 to 10% increase in green foliage cover in warm, arid environments. Satellite observations, analysed to remove the effect of variations in rainfall, show that cover across these environments has increased by 11%. Our results confirm that the anticipated CO2 fertilization effect is occurring alongside ongoing anthropogenic perturbations to the carbon cycle and that the fertilisation effect is now a significant land surface process.
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50563/abstract

  2. Bob says:

    I rather liked this post.

  3. greg2213 says:

    I used to enjoy reading the “Bad Astronomer,” then he’d go off on on of his tirades against the deniers of his holy script and, well, it got pretty tiring. Al Gore isn’t God and Plait should stick to Astronomy. Well, I’m sure he gets much more interesting feedback from his climate remarks than he does from his Astronomy posts. Maybe that’s why he does it.

  4. Mind you, as Skeptical Science again points out, in the past most of the increase in temperature did in fact happen after an increase of atmospheric CO2. Some initial trigger caused temperatures to go up a little bit, but then the increased CO2 drove a much larger increase in temperature. Ridley is simply wrong here, and the debunking is quite easy to find online.

    Show me a correlation. Without a correlation the CO2 feedback is just an unsubstantiated claim, and not the certain knowledge the author pretends.

    I’d add, ‘ the debunking is quite easy to find online’ is merely an extension of the consensus argument. ‘Debunking’ an argument against consensus science by invoking a consensus is hardly convincing.

    I didn’t read any further.

  5. geran says:

    We need to get Ridley more into the skeptic camp. He sounds like he is skeptic about being skeptic!

  6. Tsk Tsk says:

    I had precisely this exchange about consensus with a physicist friend of mine. He kept appealing to authority but did admit that he respected my opinion and so thought that the skeptics must not be all “crackpots” like WUWT (nearly a direct quote). I pointed out that he was using the wrong thought process (again) and that science is based on hypotheses and tests (that dreaded falsifiability thing again…) and NOT about the supposed prestige of anyone advocating for a position. We even had almost exactly the same exchange as Mr. Ridley on evolution and medical research. And, yes, he also trotted out the Marcott paper. *sigh* Disappointingly he didn’t want to engage much on the model failures even though they go directly to the heart of the matter.

    I guess I’ve done my infinitesimal part by lending my “credibility” to the skeptical position, but we all know that’s not real science.

  7. Tucci78 says:

    I respect Ridley’s approach to the issue of anthropogenic atmospheric carbon dioxide having had any adverse effect on global climate, but I’ll have to admit that I was a bit ahead of him on the learning curve. He’d had to wait for McIntyre’s analysis of the “hockey stick” graph in order to appreciate the fact that it was a flagrant fraud, whereas I’d known it the moment it hit the ‘Net in 1998.

    I’ve had a lifelong interest in military history, and the effects of weather on warfare are profoundly important. Anything that simply “disappeared” both the Medieval Warm climate optimum and the Little Ice Age.to get that flatline hockey stick “handle” simply could not be accounted a matter of honest mistake.

    And anybody peddling that batpuckey could not be aught other than a goddam liar.

    Further testing was of course necessary to confirm this fact, but I had the diagnosis the instant the patient staggered into the room.

  8. Louis Hooffstetter says:

    Like me, I think many of us began investigating AGW out of real concern that humans might be harming the planet with our conducting an ‘uncontrolled experiment’ of dumping enormous amounts of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. I also think that if reproducible empirical data showed that this ‘uncontrolled experiment’ was having a negative effect, this blog would not exist. I am enormously relieved and happy that real science (reproducible empirical data) shows that not only is our impact small (almost un-measurable) but that the effect may even be beneficial.

  9. Blade says:

    Good post because it emphasizes actual Science and blasts consensus.

    However, at the risk of a threadjacking holy war ( you knew that was coming :-) he probably should have selected a different religion to highlight ‘infallibility’, not the one that is all about human failings and confessionals and penance.

    But good points otherwise.

  10. geran says:

    Philip Bradley says:
    July 8, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Let’s try a little thought experiment, Philip. Imagine the Earth has NO atmosphere—zero, zip, nada. Call that situation “Situation 1″ (S1). Now, imagine Situation 2 (S2) where ONE molecule of CO2 is placed 1 mile (1.6 km) above the Earth, directly in line with the Sun.

    So, is the Earth warmer in S1 or S2?

  11. Brant Ra says:

    I dont even consider Phill Plait to be an astronomer…

  12. John says:

    Once Plait got into his chicken little AGW stance, not only did I stop reading his blog, I deleted the bookmark.

  13. geran says:
    July 8, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    A thought experiment without water in its 3 phases isn’t worth considering.

    Conduct the same thought experiment with a normal atmosphere, but no CO2, then add a CO2 molecule. Is it warmer and by how much?

    The obvious answer is is depends on the feedbacks and what timescale are you talking about.

    Nice attempt at a highjack, but show me the correlation.

  14. geran says:

    Philip Bradley says:
    July 8, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    LOL, I’m afraid I did not phrase my comment well, causing you to misunderstand.

    I appreciated your logic (‘Debunking’ an argument against consensus science by invoking a consensus is hardly convincing). So, I am only seeking to provoke the warmers by adding a little science to your logic.

    No highjack intended.

  15. philjourdan says:

    Blade says:
    July 8, 2013 at 6:10 pm
    Good post because it emphasizes actual Science and blasts consensus.

    Could not have said it better.

  16. chris colose says:

    Gavin’s gone silly?

    C’mon, how about some intellectual integrity? The fact is Ridley is too stupid to understand even most elementary feedback analysis, and is now appealing to this “evidence not consensus” rhetorical tool that I guess is supposed to rile up the crowds.

  17. MattN says:

    “Some initial trigger caused temperatures to go up a little bit, but then the increased CO2 drove a much larger increase in temperature. Ridley is simply wrong here, and the debunking is quite easy to find online.”

    The thought process here is so wrong, I don’t know where to begin….

  18. Streetcred says:

    ^ What’s that about knowing more and more about less and less until eventually you know everything about nothing ? Or more to the point, have you heard of the ‘wherethefkarewee’ bird that flies around the great plains of Africa in ever diminishing circles ?

  19. Streetcred says:

    … that was a response to Colose.

  20. OldWeirdHarold says:

    “The fact is Ridley is too stupid to understand even most elementary feedback analysis…”

    He says to a blog full of electrical engineers…

  21. geran, I thought you wanted to drag in the old ‘is CO2 a GHG’ chestnut.

  22. Tom in Florida says:

    “Last week a friend chided me for not agreeing with the scientific consensus that climate change is likely to be dangerous.”

    Perhaps the danger is to a grant receiver’s bank account.

  23. Scott Scarborough says:

    How do I know that the Hockey stick presents itself even if random data is used instead of real temperature proxies… Just because you guys say so? How do I know that the Tillanjer sediment cores were plotted up-side-down… Just because you guys say so? NO! That’s the great thing about the Climategate emails. You guys aren’t the only ones saying it. The other side says it also, but they won’t say it in public. They did say it in the Climaegate emails… I read it.

  24. chris colose says:

    “He says to a blog full of electrical engineers…”

    A lot of otherwise smart people evidently get taken in by fancy rhetorical tactics and sciency sounding nonsense…

  25. Tom J says:

    I opened the link to the Slate website listed above. Why? I don’t know. I then proceeded to read the article by Phil Plait. Why? I don’t know. I guess to read the same old same old. And there were lots of references to Skeptical Science. Of course.

    But, by no means, was it a waste of my time. Because, at the same Slate website there was also this article:
    ‘The Scrotum Is Nuts’
    (Why are testicles kept in a vulnerable dangling sac? It’s not why you think.)
    By Liam Drew

    Now this got me to thinking that possibly there’s a connection between climate change belief and nutty scrotums. Otherwise, why would a scientific article about why testicles dangle be highlighted right below Phil Plait’s article. And there is, indeed, a temperature connection. But, contrary to popular belief testicles do not necessarily hang low, and dangle to and fro, in order to operate at a temperature lower than body temperature. The consensus is wrong.

    And do you know what the real scientific reason we carry testicles around in a bag for? Well, they don’t know either. I read the whole article to find that out.

    And I’ll bet you thought, when you first began to read this, that it was ludicrous to think there was a connection between roll along the ground testicles and climate change. But it’s all there: the dubious temperature connection, the faulty consensus, and most importantly, the unexplained drop. And if all of that’s not good enough we have the obligatory, “we just don’t know, more research is necessary.” Who knows, perhaps there’s a testicular amplification function that occurs.

    Science information for the public.

  26. Tsk Tsk says:

    chris colose says:
    July 8, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    “He says to a blog full of electrical engineers…”

    A lot of otherwise smart people evidently get taken in by fancy rhetorical tactics and sciency sounding nonsense…

    You mean such things as, “it’s worse than we thought,” or “the heat is in the pipeline,” or “Himalayan glaciers will be gone in 35 years” or “that’s great in practice but it’ll never work in theory (models)?” Sciency sounding nonsense like that?

  27. Anon says:

    I wish more Darwin fans would actually read what he wrote. Confronted with his descriptions of non European races in Voyage of the Beagle, most of the people who drive around with his name in a walking fish on their bumped would feel a bit green around the gills. He was all about racism, as a believer in evolution ought to be.

  28. chris colose says:

    :You mean such things as, “it’s worse than we thought,” or “the heat is in the pipeline,” or “Himalayan glaciers will be gone in 35 years” or “that’s great in practice but it’ll never work in theory (models)?” Sciency sounding nonsense like that?:

    More like the type of rhetoric that makes one think this has any relevance…

  29. Chad Wozniak says:

    @jimbo –
    yes, climate change can be dangerous – and the changes you refer to have absotively, polilutely zilch, nada, rien, nulla, nichrts, inge and whatever other word for “nothing” you can think of, to do with human activity. I challenge anyone to prove how much effect there is of human activity, or even that it can be identified at all. And history proves that at most, it is nugatorier than nugatory.

  30. Louis Hooffstetter says:

    Anon says:
    “I wish more Darwin fans would actually read what he wrote… He was all about racism, as a believer in evolution ought to be.”

    Yep. Racism leads to new species, which is evolution.

  31. Theo Goodwin says:

    chris colose says:
    July 8, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    “The fact is Ridley is too stupid to understand even most elementary feedback analysis, and is now appealing to this “evidence not consensus” rhetorical tool that I guess is supposed to rile up the crowds.”

    I recognize that “evidence not consensus” is a slogan and worthless for that reason. But are you suggesting that you want to defend the thesis that consensus belongs to scientific method? If so, please do explicate and defend the claim. Your work will be graded.

  32. chris colose says:

    //”I recognize that “evidence not consensus” is a slogan and worthless for that reason. But are you suggesting that you want to defend the thesis that consensus belongs to scientific method? If so, please do explicate and defend the claim. Your work will be graded.”//

    The “evidence not consensus” line is an old rhetorical talking point people use, probably as a “rah rah” device when preaching to large groups of people. Without being stated, it usually gives off the odd impression that a) That this is how science is currently being done (not true), and sometimes b) the consensus must, by default, be wrong (or the idea that the rebellious position is automatically right, which is equally as absurd).

    In reality, the inherent irrelevance of agreement is actually tacit knowledge by scientists, and no scientist makes a living by just agreeing with everyone else. There’s a lot of room for debate on many things and that is why science is still alive as a way of inquiry. If everyone in climate (or any field) just agreed with people, that discipline would not produce papers.

    Nonetheless, some ideas are pretty uncontroversial…plate tectonics is real, evolution happens, gravity is real, cells exist, CO2 absorbs infrared radiation and heats planetary atmospheres, etc. The “consensus” on all these things has emerged, often very slowly, after the science has been done… and that is what gets left over in the textbooks after countless disagreements, and refinements to knowledge…they aren’t labelled true because a big crowd of scientists decided to all agree on them after a vote. And actually, for most of those things above, agreement was rarely the response by the broader community when the ideas were initially put forward. For this reason, the development of consensus on a topic is usually taken seriously, particularly by those who have not been initiated into the field….the only difference between climate/evolution and something like the dynamics of black holes is that the former infringes on people’s belief or value systems, fears, or financial interests.

    Of course, most people who shout “evidence not consensus” (often in caps locks) already know this. But when you have no science to argue against the consensus, you then give a philosophy of science seminar on why consensus is irrelevant…I seen someone do that in a lecture on why the prevailing ideas about plate tectonics were wrong. Needless to say, the geologists weren’t convinced.

  33. GlynnMhor says:

    Phillip Bradley says: “Show me a correlation. Without a correlation the CO2 feedback is just an unsubstantiated claim…”

    Even -with- a correlation at some level, causation cannot be established from that alone.

  34. Thanks, Anthony. This article is pay-walled at the WSJ.
    Thanks, Dr. Ridley. Good article, but it is a pity you did not say how much do you think the “climate sensitivity” is.

  35. AndyG55 says:

    Matt, If you throw a banana at a chimpanzee, of course you get a reaction !!

  36. Gail Combs says:

    chris colose says:
    July 8, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    “He says to a blog full of electrical engineers…”

    A lot of otherwise smart people evidently get taken in by fancy rhetorical tactics and sciency sounding nonsense
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    No smart sensible people who can spot a trillion dollar fraud based on reversing feedbacks.

    You are supposedly “…a PhD student in an Atmospheric Science…” So I assume you have heard of a chemical called H2O? And hopefully you are aware it covers over 70% of the earth and that the atmosphere contains ~ 4% H20? With luck you have even had a bit of geology.

    Ever heard of the Cocos and Nazca plates and the Neogene uplift?

    They completely shoot down CO2 as a major factor in the earth’s climate.

  37. mike g says:

    Way too many people like Chris on the public dole cheerleading for “settled” science.

  38. stan stendera says:

    Some time ago WUWT published a blog about spiders. In the comment I talked about a wolf spider who had taken up residence in my studio and was eating the bugs there. I named the spider Schmidt. I apologize to the spider. Of course, I could have done worse. I could have named the spider Chris
    In this comment I am taking advantage of most people’s distaste for spiders. Actually, without spiders we would be knee deep in insects. As an example of many peoples fears about spiders: As a teen I kept many black widows as pet. I have frequently had one walking on my hand. Yes, they are potentially lethal, BUT their jaws are so small they cannot bite through a human’s skin.
    Amazingly, the daddy long legs, which everyone has known and most have probably had in or on their hands is more lethal then the black widow.. It’s safe to pick up a daddy log legs, their jaws are too small also.

  39. stan stendera says:

    log= long. Lord,as Anthony well knows, I can’t type or spell

  40. Venter87 says:

    Chris Colose used to write articles for Skeptical Science, the blog which is the antithesis of truth and is an example for everything that is wrong with climate science and it’s mindless adherents. That alone should explain his rantings.

  41. Venter says:

    Sorry mods, my name came out as Venter87 instead of Venter due to a typo.

  42. Barbee says:

    But does this really matter? Your protestations, wailing and fiercely logical, factual arguments…? They don’t matter because no one cares.
    I met w/ my Broker (Twenty-something, Famous firm, College Grad-ya’ know.) last Friday and we wandered off track. (No, he didn’t vote. Because he has nothing to believe in.)

    Our children: Have nothing to believe in.
    All they care about is what’s in it for them. Truth doesn’t matter. Freedom doesn’t matter. The future doesn’t matter-it’s all B.S. It’s all propaganda. Empty, meaningless B.S. America, Iran, Egypt, Canada-all countries are the same. None any better than the other. (Besides: Bush did exactly the same thing-Apparently since Bush did it too makes it perfectly okay by him.)

    People; we screwed up. We did this. We did this to our kids and we have no one to blame but ourselves. Here, we are all worried about scientific truth, clean air, the sanctity of unborn life, the purity of our drinking water, making sacrifices, recycling…for what? For our children’s future of course!
    Our kids? We THOUGHT we raised them to care about ‘Mother’ earth.
    Reality??? All they want is for us to hurry up and die so they can inherit the house.

    …well… That and the OBVIOUS fact that Obama is the greatest President this country has ever known. (All that ***free*** stuff, ya’ know.) Until we figure out how to straighten out the thinking of our own children-all the thoughtful, factual, in-depth articles matter for squat. No. Less than squat.

    P.S. I tried to talk to this kid, he treated me like a dottering old woman. (maybe I am) Really: I tried …but I ran out of words. OK-That’s not ENTIRELY true. I had enough words left to write this.

  43. GlynnMhor says:
    July 8, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Without a correlation, there is no evidence of causation.

  44. rogerknights says:

    @ Chris Colose:

    I agree that a consensus in a scientific field must ordinarily be given respect. (This point was made strongly in Henry Bauer’s book, Scientific Literacy and the Myth of the Scientific Method. He called it the “knowledge filter.”)

    But climatology is a rogue science. The consensus within climatology exists primarily because it has attracted people who have adopted the ecological POV. They thus have a predisposition to think that man’s disturbance of an ecosystem is going to have bad unanticipated results. Their teachers and textbooks have the same underlying perspective. They also tend to have a pro-regulation bias–they suspect that the result of unregulated human activity is likely to be bad. And some simply resent the spectacle of unregulated humans doing their thing (i.e., they’re control freaks).

    The field scarcely existed before climate alarmism (foundations and grant-giving agencies) began to fund professorships, institutes, departments, and studies. Prior to that infusion of funds, it was objective–professor Lamb was an example. Afterward it became a greenie enclave. Donna’s book, The Delinquent Teenager . . . shows how the IPCC is riddled with greenie activists, who promote and mutually reinforce others of their stripe and ignore voices outside their camp. Solomon’s The Deniers shows how the climate establishment won’t take notice of objective criticism. Climatology’s consensus has not been the result of ordinary scientific give-and-take, but of its members constituting a biased sample–and of their employing power-play techniques that manufacture consent and marginalize dissent.

    Regarding two “97%” surveys that warmists more often cite, here is a summary of most of their flaws, by WUWT-commenter Robin Guenier:

    “The flaws in the Doran paper are well known: (A) it used a hopelessly inadequate sample size (79 respondents) and demographic (nearly all from N America) and (B) in any case, most sceptics would agree with both its propositions: (1) that the world has warmed since the 1700s and (2) that mankind contributed. It made no mention of GHG emissions.

    “Anderegg is more sophisticated than the hopeless Doran. But there’s a basic problem: it’s concerned with whether or not respondents agree that “anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for “most [i.e. more than 50%] of the “unequivocal” warming of the Earth’s average global temperature over the second half of the 20th century”. The only scientists qualified to evaluate that are those engaged in detection and attribution (both difficult and uncertain). Yet the research was not confined to such scientists.

    “And, in any case, the research itself is flawed. First, the total number of “climate researchers” who accepted the above statement was, according to the paper, 903 and the total that did not was 472. In other words, 66% – not the much-claimed 97%. The researchers got their 97% by restricting their findings to researchers “most actively publishing in the field” – in other words, the paper’s findings do not cover all “climate scientists”. Further, it wasn’t an opinion survey at all, but an analysis of scientists who signed pro/anti statements – not the most useful documents. And, again, it was essentially confined to North America and was not concerned with whether or not the warming was dangerous. For these reasons, it’s valueless as a measure of climate scientists’ opinion about the dangers of AGW.”

    This George Mason poll http://stats.org/stories/2008/global_warming_survey_apr23_08.html surveyed 489 randomly selected members of either the American Meteorological Society or the American Geophysical Union. It did not cherry pick the respondants who gave them the answer they wanted, and it asked more sophisticated questions, below. Under its “Major Findings” are these paragraphs:

    “Ninety-seven percent of the climate scientists surveyed believe “global average temperatures have increased” during the past century.
    “Eighty-four percent say they personally believe human-induced warming is occurring, and 74% agree that “currently available scientific evidence” substantiates its occurrence. Only 5% believe that that human activity does not contribute to greenhouse warming; the rest [11%] are unsure.
    “Scientists still debate the dangers. A slight majority (54%) believe the warming measured over the last 100 years is NOT “within the range of natural temperature fluctuation.”
    “A slight majority (56%) see at least a 50-50 chance that global temperatures will rise two degrees Celsius or more during the next 50 to 100 years. (The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change cites this increase as the point beyond which additional warming would produce major environmental disruptions.)
    “Based on current trends, 41% of scientists believe global climate change will pose a very great danger to the earth in the next 50 to 100 years, compared to 13% who see relatively little danger. Another 44% rate climate change as moderately dangerous.”

    IOW, 59% doubt the “catastrophic” potential of AGW. I suspect that number would be higher now, after six more flat years.

  45. chris colose says:
    July 8, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    I’d call that a meta-argument briefly summarized as, if a consensus of scientists say x, there is no need to examine the evidence for x.

    In essence this shifts the argument from the evidence for x, to the evidence for the consensus on x.

    The IPCC initially claimed the consensus on AGW or CAGW, or etc. It’s never really clear what the consensus is on.

    What evidence did they have for the claimed consensus?

    Answer = zero evidence.

    The only hard number we have, is that there were (from memory) 30,000 scientific objections to the content of the first IPCC report.

    I’m afraid you will have to do better than that, Chris.

  46. jai mitchell says:

    Good to see you folks are still stuck on ClimateGate and Michael Mann.

    Climate Gate
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2010/04/14/east-anglia-climate-change.html
    “We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the climatic research unit, and had it been there, we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it,” the panel said.

    “Rather, we found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganized researchers who were ill-prepared for being the focus of public attention. As with many small research groups, their internal procedures were rather informal.”

    Michael Mann
    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v6/n5/abs/ngeo1797.html
    “There were no globally synchronous multi-decadal warm or cold intervals that define a worldwide Medieval Warm Period or Little Ice Age, but all reconstructions show generally cold conditions between ad 1580 and 1880, punctuated in some regions by warm decades during the eighteenth century. The transition to these colder conditions occurred earlier in the Arctic, Europe and Asia than in North America or the Southern Hemisphere regions. Recent warming reversed the long-term cooling; during the period ad 1971–2000, the area-weighted average reconstructed temperature was higher than any other time in nearly 1,400 years.”

    ——————————————

    Meanwhile, the arctic is starting to turn on a dime. please keep your attention on this space: it IS, after all, a WUWT link:

    http://home.comcast.net/~ewerme/wuwt/cryo_compare.jpg

    Right about Friday night and going into next week you will see something you have never seen before. Look at Tennessee and watch what happens over the weekend and into next week on the weather charts. should be interesting.

  47. Nick Stokes says:

    I don’t think Lord Ridley has been keeping up very well. He says that
    “A decade ago, I was persuaded by two pieces of data to drop my skepticism and accept that dangerous climate change was likely. The first, based on the Vostok ice core, was a graph showing carbon dioxide and temperature varying in lock step over the last half million years. The second, the famous “hockey stick” graph, showed recent temperatures shooting up faster and higher than at any time in the past millennium.

    Within a few years, however, I discovered that the first of these graphs told the opposite story from what I had inferred. In the ice cores, it is now clear that temperature drives changes in the level of carbon dioxide, not vice versa.”

    A decade ago .. well, that’s 2003. If he’d read the TPCC AR3 2001, it says:
    “From a detailed study of the last three glacial terminations in the Vostok ice core, Fischer et al. (1999) conclude that CO2 increases started 600 ± 400 years after the Antarctic warming. However, considering the large uncertainty in the ages of the CO2 and ice (1,000 years or more if we consider the ice accumulation rate uncertainty), Petit et al. (1999) felt it premature to ascertain the sign of the phase relationship between CO2 and Antarctic temperature at the initiation of the terminations. In any event, CO2 changes parallel Antarctic temperature changes during deglaciations (Sowers and Bender, 1995; Blunier et al., 1997; Petit et al., 1999). This is consistent with a significant contribution of these greenhouse gases to the glacial-interglacial changes by amplifying the initial orbital forcing (Petit et al., 1999).”

    No-one is saying there that CO2 is leading the temperature rise. But if he had tried a bit of quantitative reasoning, he’d see that none of this is relevant to AGW anyway. At Ice Age end, the temperature rises 6-8°C, and about 200 Gt carbon crosses to the atmosphere, some of which comes from the warming sea. But now we’ve directly injected 370 Gt fossil C into the air, and warming has so far been less than 1°C. This is nothing like what happens at the end of an Ice Age; that carbon isn’t a response to temperature. It’s something new that we have to work out.

  48. Christopher Hanley says:

    “… if he [Matt Ridley] had tried a bit of quantitative reasoning, he’d see that none of this is relevant to AGW anyway …”.
    Maybe if that had been pointed out in his science fiction movie, millions of people would not have been deceived by Al Gore into believing that human economic development is leading to climate catastrophe.

  49. clivebest says:

    Nick writes :

    But now we’ve directly injected 370 Gt fossil C into the air, and warming has so far been less than 1°C. This is nothing like what happens at the end of an Ice Age; that carbon isn’t a response to temperature. It’s something new that we have to work out.

    If you read his article properly I don’t think Matt Ridley is disagreeing with what you write. CO2 response to glaciations does not directly say much about how the climate will respond to anthropogenic increases in CO2. We should instead use recent temperature data to estimate that. Otto et al. find TCR ~1.3 C and ECS ~ 2.5C (possibly less). These figures support the “luke warming” position.

  50. Brian H says:

    I’m sure the AGW speculation will make a correct projection about something. Any day now.

    2.5 C° is high by at least an order of magnitude. If the sign is correct.

  51. Blade says:

    stan stendera [July 8, 2013 at 9:33 pm] says:

    Amazingly, the daddy long legs, which everyone has known and most have probably had in or on their hands is more lethal then the black widow.. It’s safe to pick up a daddy log legs, their jaws are too small also.

    I know that term “Daddy LongLegs” means different things in different places, but up here in the NorthEast USA we have Daddy LongLegs officially called “Harvestman”. But they are not spiders at all ( no venom ) and are easily recognized by apparent single segment bodies.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/75/Harvestman_on_white_01.JPG

    According to Wikipedia they are now classed as Opiliones.

  52. David says:

    Jai M, curious to see you still “defending the indefensible” Mann. (Yes, that is a Cook quote directly relating to Mann’s proxy studies.) Concerning the whitewash, well unorganised scientist do not refuse to release their data, because someone “just wants to find something wrong with it.” And they do not try to “redefine the peer review process”, and a host of many other problems can be outlined, despite the internal whitewash. Now I will be happy to put these and other quotes in detailed context, if you like.

  53. DirkH says:

    chris colose says:
    July 8, 2013 at 8:28 pm
    “Nonetheless, some ideas are pretty uncontroversial…plate tectonics is real, evolution happens, gravity is real, cells exist, CO2 absorbs infrared radiation and heats planetary atmospheres, etc.”

    Are you sure that CO2 heats planetary atmopheres. How do you get rid of Kirchhoff’s Law which states that at local thermal equilibrium absorptivity equals emissivity. Furthermore if CO2 heats the atmosphere why don’t we observe it? It should lead to a tropospheric hotspot. The Troposphere should heat up faster than the surface. UAH and RSS measurements show that the troposophere does not warm at all over the last 17 years. If your theory, that the troposphere must warm up faster than the surface, were correct, this would imply that the surface is rapidly cooling. Which it might actually do.

    So, no , the idea that CO2 heats the atmosphere is not only controversial, it is also a phantasy.

  54. Tim Hammond says:

    Chris Colose misses the point about the consensus argument.

    Consensus does not prove anything. The evidence must precede a consensus, otherwise that consensus is based on nothing and is thus worthless.

    Therefore, if you believe that the consensus is right, you must also believe that you have conclusive evidence. You cannot claim that because there is a consensus there must be conclusive evidence, because it is obviously true that the consensus has been wrong many times. So why not just show us the conclusive evidence that you must believe exists and which has led to the consensus?

    Arguing about whether there is a consensus or that the consensus proves something is a total red herring.

  55. eric1skeptic says:

    chris colose (July 8, 2013 at 8:28 pm) said The “consensus” on all these things has emerged, often very slowly, after the science has been done… and that is what gets left over in the textbooks after countless disagreements, and refinements to knowledge…they aren’t labelled true because a big crowd of scientists decided to all agree on them after a vote. And actually, for most of those things above, agreement was rarely the response by the broader community when the ideas were initially put forward. For this reason, the development of consensus on a topic is usually taken seriously, particularly by those who have not been initiated into the field…

    Let’s assume all of us are initiated to the field. Let’s first toss the idea that disagreement being replaced by agreement has anything to do with science. Science is simply the coherence of evidence with theory irregardless of anyone’s views. The theory, as DirkH, just pointed out, has a tropical hotspot. The evidence does not. Is there a new theory, or is it just 20 years of weather? Or is there actually a tropical hotspot but we skeptics are ignoring some evidence? Please point it out.

    AGW theory has weaker storms, and more poleward storm tracks. The evidence is mixed. In the US the strongest storms that spawn EF-3 and higher tornadoes are decreasing over the long term, so that evidence is coherent. They point to violent tornadoes as evidence of AGW. What is the new theory? That AGW produces cooler drier air (one essential ingredient)? Or is there a new theory of AGW that replaces the old theory? Where is that analysis?

    The alarmists point to storms like Sandy and claim this is evidence of AGW. What is the new theory? That the polar jet is slowed by increased water vapor in the Arctic? IOW “This must inevitably have a more pronounced effect on the polar jet stream as we continue to warm the planet by burning fossil fuels.” http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=2095#96074

    No, that’s not a theory, that’s a notion driven by the propositions that fossil fuel burning is bad, warming the planet is bad, etc. Science is clearly not the highest priority in those types of speculations. It is more simply a well-funded endeavor to blame “bad weather” on AGW using models or more simply in the example above, hand waving.

  56. KNR says:

    jai mitchell two small points , none of the reviews looked at the actual science , as they said themselves. And these reviews are utter rubbish in management and content, Mann’s consisted of asking him if he done anything wrong and then just taking his word for it , despite the fact it was public knowledge he lied to them . Although to be fair there were of the ‘standard ‘ consider acceptable climate ‘science’ , that is PP .

  57. Bruce Cobb says:

    Despite his statement that it is evidence that counts not consensus, It is too bad that Dr. Ridley doesn’t really seem to understand how science works. He still clings to the “it’s possible” clause regarding CO2, as in “the question of whether current CO2 rises can cause dangerous warming, which I no longer think is likely, though it remains possible.”
    I’m sorry, but I have to question the motives of someone who, while stating that it is evidence that counts throws in the completely antii-scientific statement that some fantasy outcome is “possible”. There is no evidence for the existence of a measurable manmade warming, so why would one fantasize about a future “dangerous” warming?

  58. Frank K. says:

    Apparently GISS staff must be on vacation…

    Then again, with awful crap like GISTEMP and MODEL E, they are probably always on vacation…

  59. beng says:

    Blade says:
    July 9, 2013 at 1:48 am

    I know that term “Daddy LongLegs” means different things in different places, but up here in the NorthEast USA we have Daddy LongLegs officially called “Harvestman”. But they are not spiders at all ( no venom ) and are easily recognized by apparent single segment bodies.
    ***

    Right. The spiders are just called cellar spiders, of which I have many.

    And Phil_dot needs to stick to astronomy since he’s seemingly incapable of applying his skepticism to climastrology.

  60. Bill Illis says:

    Whatever CO2 will eventually do, it sure hasn’t done much to date.

    The consensus needs to be rewritten if it is to remain current with actual observations or it will just become “global warming dogma” rather than a consensus. [or has that already happened]

    Thou shalt not take the dogma in vain (or your academic position will be eliminated) or thou shalt never get into the pearly gates (of climate science conferences) and thou shalt ever be condemned to the hell (of being a rational person who uses real evidence on which to base decisions) – Phil Plait, Slate Blogs, Dogma Article#5, July 8, 2013.

  61. rogerknights says:

    jai mitchell says:
    July 8, 2013 at 10:35 pm
    Good to see you folks are still stuck on ClimateGate and Michael Mann.

    Climate Gate

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2010/04/14/east-anglia-climate-change.html
    “We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the climatic research unit, and had it been there, we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it,” the panel said.

    “Deliberate”–that gives them a lot of wiggle room.

  62. Bruce Cobb says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    July 8, 2013 at 10:38 pm
    No-one is saying there that CO2 is leading the temperature rise. But if he had tried a bit of quantitative reasoning, he’d see that none of this is relevant to AGW anyway. At Ice Age end, the temperature rises 6-8°C, and about 200 Gt carbon crosses to the atmosphere, some of which comes from the warming sea. But now we’ve directly injected 370 Gt fossil C into the air, and warming has so far been less than 1°C. This is nothing like what happens at the end of an Ice Age; that carbon isn’t a response to temperature. It’s something new that we have to work out.

    Please, Nick. At the end of the last ice age we had, as you say a temperature jump, and a corresponding rise in CO2. All you have is correlation. You people like to suppose that at some point, the CO2 kicks in, causing further warmth – the famous “feedback loop”. It’s simply conjecture though, with no evidence to support it.
    Then you say that we’ve “injected” (nice Alarmist word there) 370 Gt of C into the air AND (my emphasis) warming has SO FAR (my emphasis again) been less than 1°C, implying a cause-effect relationship with zero evidence in existence for said relationship, and further implying continued warming as a result of said fantasized warming effect.

  63. Phil C says:

    “Climatology’s consensus has not been the result of ordinary scientific give-and-take, ” P’raps it is time to take a cue from the astronomers. “Astrology”= “the stars” + “speaking, discourse” or merely talking about stars. “Astro”=”stars” + “nomy”=”systematized knowledge of or the system of laws governing:” Climatology is talking about climate(the weather as we remember it). Climatonomy would be the systematic knowledge and study of the climate.

    Most of the hard sciences went through their “talk” periods before they settled down to business, without changing from an “-ology” of talking nonsense to an “-onomy”- physics, chemistry, mathematics. Biology went through the same embryonic stages of science but managed to keep the “-ology” while becoming scientific. Ecology is still struggling. Fortunately, computer science never went through a numerlogy stage.

  64. Jeff Alberts says:

    If I want infallibility, I will join the Catholic Church.

    I’m sure you meant the delusion of infallibility.

  65. Russ R. says:

    Here are a few things that we can glean from “the evidence”:

    1. In the ~4 billion years since it’s formation, the earth has not once experienced a climactic “tipping point” that resulted in “runaway warming”. This is true in spite of the fact that temperatures have been at various times much warmer, and much cooler than the present. Additionally, atmospheric CO2 concentrations have been much, much higher in the past than our fossil fuel emissions could possibly achieve. So the evidence is pretty clearly against the “tipping point” or “runaway warming” theory, at least within the range of temperatures and CO2 concentrations relevant to today and the foreseeable future.

    2. For the more “recent” geological past (with the continents approximately in their current arrangement), the planet has oscillated regularly between two stable equilibria, ice-ages and interglacials, undergoing rapid transitions between the two states. This is evidence of overwhelming negative feedbacks over the broad temperature range, with a narrower range of positive ice-albedo feedback in the middle of the range. The strength of ice-albedo feedback diminishes as the leading edge of glaciation retreats to the polar regions.

    3. A resumption of the ice-age cycle would be far more detrimental to humanity than continued incremental warming and a few inches of higher sea levels. http://xkcd.com/1225/

  66. _Jim says:

    Jeff Alberts says July 9, 2013 at 7:58 am

    I’m sure you meant the delusion of infallibility.

    Delusion on what specific points; pls spot me two, or just the one if that is what your claim (or is it belief?) is based on.

    .

  67. Theo Goodwin says:

    chris colose says:
    July 8, 2013 at 8:28 pm
    //”I recognize that “evidence not consensus” is a slogan and worthless for that reason. But are you suggesting that you want to defend the thesis that consensus belongs to scientific method? If so, please do explicate and defend the claim. Your work will be graded.”//

    “Nonetheless, some ideas are pretty uncontroversial…plate tectonics is real, evolution happens, gravity is real, cells exist, CO2 absorbs infrared radiation and heats planetary atmospheres, etc. The “consensus” on all these things has emerged, often very slowly, after the science has been done… and that is what gets left over in the textbooks after countless disagreements, and refinements to knowledge…they aren’t labelled true because a big crowd of scientists decided to all agree on them after a vote.”

    Chris,

    You are just beginning to think about your thesis that consensus has a role in scientific method. Your reference to textbooks shows that you haven’t dug very deep. A textbook is nothing more than a starting point for lecture and lecture often fails to address research. Consensus, as the IPCC would have it, must be a consensus about research. That brings up obvious questions such as “What is the consensus on the influence of cloud behavior on global warming/climate change/climate weirding?” The answer to that question cannot be the next IPCC report because that report is controlled by a small number of people who might or might not reflect broad agreement in the community of cloud researchers/modelers/climate scientists/physicists/scientists. Consensus has to be consensus on hypotheses that have attained some reasonable level of confirmation in recent research. You are most likely going to say that there is no consensus on such matters. You would be right. Consensus has no role to play in scientific research. In textbooks, consensus rules.

  68. Lars P. says:

    Love it:
    ” the “consensus” about climate change only extends to the propositions that it has been happening and is partly man-made,”
    “Besides, science does not respect consensus.”
    “I agree with the majority view on evolution, not because it is a majority view but because I have looked at evidence. It’s the data that convince me, not the existence of a consensus.”
    (And adding here one sentence from Salby: “if it disagrees with observations its wrong”)
    “If I want infallibility, I will join the Catholic Church.)”
    Said very clearly, in a few words. Thank you Matt Ridley!

  69. Spence_UK says:

    Phil Plait is not much of a scientist, his depth of understanding even of physics is pretty poor. Amusingly, I’ve called him out in the past on his physics errors, and he grumbles a bit (never admitting he is wrong, but that he’ll look into it… then never does).

    But when it comes to climate, his political extremism comes out. When I pointed out his physics errors, he allowed my post. When I pointed out errors in his climate analysis – he deleted my comment and blocked me completely from his blog!

    My comment was moderate as well – it wasn’t even a link to a sceptic site, but a link to Roger Pielke Jr’s blog on extreme weather. Absolutely mainstream scientific perspective from an expert in the field, and he deleted it. The reason was simple – the link called out Mike Mann, and Plait idolises Mann, as others have noted. I expect the references to Mann were the reason Matt Ridley’s post did not get through.

    It is astonishing because Mann’s work is of exceptionally low quality – the problem is that Plait’s understanding of science is not good enough to see this. It’s hardly a ringing endorsement of the “skeptic” community that Plait claims to be a member of.

  70. Spence_UK says:

    Another topic – for the warmers here arguing that feedbacks show CAGW is real – you should listen to the electronic engineers.

    I assume you are referring to water vapour feedback analysed using linear systems theory (the simple “climate sensitivity” linear relationship). This fails trivially at the first hurdle – the system is not linear, and the linearised feedback analysis is worthless.

    We know that water vapour is not linearly related to temperature, because if it was, then death valley would be one of the wettest places on earth. Observation: it is one of the driest places on earth. Conclusion: water vapour is not linearly related to temperature, and the feedback analysis must be rejected as the assumptions do not hold.

    The difference between electronic engineers and climate scientists is that it can take nanoseconds of data to show an electronic engineer that a simple model is wrong. Climate scientists have to wait a lifetime to be shown their model is wrong, so they never learn the hard lessons about models that electronic engineers know even at an undergraduate level. It takes a certain level of arrogance and hubris to ignore that.

  71. Tucci78 says:

    At 2:18 PM on 9 July, Spence_UK had commented:

    We know that water vapour is not linearly related to temperature, because if it was, then Death Valley would be one of the wettest places on earth. Observation: it is one of the driest places on earth. Conclusion: water vapour is not linearly related to temperature, and the feedback analysis must be rejected as the assumptions do not hold.

    Honestly, I’m not trying for a threadjacking, but my curiosity is piqued. What would be required to make of Death Valley “one of the wettest places on earth”?

    What climatic conditions would have to prevail in order for significant arguably beneficial changes to occur in such desert places?

  72. Spence_UK says:

    @Tucci78

    Hot areas can certainly be humid – hot places include very dry, arid regions (desert), semi arid (e.g. savanna) or high humidity (e.g. rainforest). I’m more familiar with regions such as the Sahel, which sees regions transition between desert and savanna.

    Although these changes often occur in patterns, it is a mistake to argue that the patterns are causal. The reality is that these changes are part of a complex non-linear interacting system, and beyond a certain timescale, it is simply impossible to meaningfully assign cause and effect. This equally renders it impossible to predict behaviours beyond a certain time scale.

    You can certainly point to patterns and perhaps even contributory factors – geography, land use, biological impacts – but these all interact with one another and cannot fairly be described as single causes.

  73. nutso fasst says:

    “..their [Black Widow spider] jaws are so small they cannot bite through a human’s skin.”
    Though they rarely bite, adult female Black Widows can and do bite through human skin.
    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/first-aid-spider-bites/FA00048

    “…the daddy long legs…is more lethal then[sic] the black widow.”
    Whether referring to harvestman or cellar spider, this is a myth.
    http://spiders.ucr.edu/daddylonglegs.html

    Best to squelch this nonsense ASAP, before Internet repetition makes it the consensus belief.

  74. Tucci78 says:

    In response to my question about what might cause an arguably improving change in the humidity levels prevailing in Death Valley, at 4:15 PM on 9 July we had from Spence_UK:

    Although these changes often occur in patterns, it is a mistake to argue that the patterns are causal. The reality is that these changes are part of a complex non-linear interacting system, and beyond a certain timescale, it is simply impossible to meaningfully assign cause and effect.

    Darn. There goes the water-skiing and skin diving vacation resort idea.

    Buzzkill….

  75. Steve Garcia says:

    @Tucci78 July 8, 2013 at 6:04 pm:

    I respect Ridley’s approach to the issue of anthropogenic atmospheric carbon dioxide having had any adverse effect on global climate, but I’ll have to admit that I was a bit ahead of him on the learning curve. He’d had to wait for McIntyre’s analysis of the “hockey stick” graph in order to appreciate the fact that it was a flagrant fraud, whereas I’d known it the moment it hit the ‘Net in 1998.

    . . .Anything that simply “disappeared” both the Medieval Warm climate optimum and the Little Ice Age.to get that flatline hockey stick “handle” simply could not be accounted a matter of honest mistake.

    Abso-freaking-lutely. I looked at that Hockey Stick and blurted out, “WTF did the idiot do to the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age? Nobody actually BELIEVES that thing, do they?”

    It has actually been fun since then watching as it has lost its luster and has been abandoned by all but the truly delusional.

    And with Climategate it was lovely having that same Michael Mann at Ground Zero of the “Hide the Decline” debacle – the one that caused a crustal shift in the believability of any and all things Mannian. After all, in a court of law, when a witness is shown conclusively to have lied, his testimony isn’t worth squat from then on.

    So, the Hockey Stick will go down in science history as one of those consensus Big Lies – ones like Matt Ridley points out: Phlogiston, eugenics, etc.

    Go, Matt!

  76. wobble says:

    “” OldWeirdHarold says:

    He says to a blog full of electrical engineers… “”

    Heh. Excellent.

  77. Mark T says:

    Phil. was rather tame before his blog merged with Universe Today. Granted, most discussions at BA at the time were generally not as controversial as CAGW. He was arrogant, and I recall a strange inability to understand how waves work (in a liquid, particularly oceans). Oh well…

    However, as noted, he gets his cues regarding statistical analysis from Mann and likely his understanding of feedback/control theory, too. Certainly concepts regarding the latter do not sit at the top of his head like those of us that went through myriad engineering classes based on feedback.

    This alone makes one wonder why he is so confidant in his condemnation of those that disagree with folks like Mann. If he is not proficient enough to offer his own wisdom, how then is he qualified to offer opinions on that offered by others?

    @colose: I bet you think you got a good learnin in control theory, dontcha?

    Mark

  78. Mark T says:

    Uh, confident, not confidant.

    Mark

  79. Gail Combs says:

    Tucci78 says: @ July 9, 2013 at 3:01 pm
    Honestly, I’m not trying for a threadjacking, but my curiosity is piqued. What would be required to make of Death Valley “one of the wettest places on earth”?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Get rid of the mountains.

    …A rain shadow is a patch of land that has been forced to become a desert because mountain ranges blocked all plant-growing, rainy weather. On one side of the mountain, wet weather systems drop rain and snow. On the other side of the mountain—the rain shadow side—all that precipitation is blocked…..
    Death Valley faces a double-whammy of being located in the rain shadow of the Pacific Coast Range AND the Sierra Nevada. This is why Death Valley is one of the hottest, driest places on Earth….

    link

  80. Mickey Reno says:

    Apart from his robotic aping of the CAGW party-line, Phil Plaitt was a happy apologist for the forgery / identity and document thefts perpetrated against the Heartland Institute by Peter Gleick. Until he shows some scientific humility about the uncertainty of CAGW, let alone the need for public policy initiatives, and the hint of a moral compass, I’ll never respect his opinions or analysis about anything.

  81. curly says:

    Tom J, thank you for some hilarious relief after a tough day.
    And Anthony/mods, thank you for WUWT and letting Tom J’s comment through.
    Why anyone bothers to read the trash at Slate is beyond me, but I’m glad that
    someone does the dirty work.

Comments are closed.