Mann on mathematics, alcohol, and ‘proof’

‘Proof? We don’t need no steenkin proof’*

*With apologies to Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

Rich Trzupek writes:

In a post over at Peter Guest’s blog, Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann is quoted making one of the most remarkable statements that I’ve ever heard coming out of a supposed scientist’s mouth:

“Proof is for mathematical theorems and alcoholic beverages. It’s not for science.”

He goes on to explain that science is all about “credible theories” and “best explanations” and his gosh-darn critics supposedly don’t offer up any of those.

Now it seems pretty obvious that Mann’s attempt to separate proof from science stems from increasing public awareness that the warming predicted by the high-sensitivity models that Mann and others have championed just hasn’t occurred over the last fifteen years. No matter. You don’t need “proof” when you have “credible theories”.

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257 Responses to Mann on mathematics, alcohol, and ‘proof’

  1. Dyrewulf says:

    These days, when I see ‘Michael Mann says…’ all I can think of are the Martians from Mars Attacks. “Ack ack! ACK ack ack!”

  2. Legend says:

    Well, he may be distinguishing “proof” in the mathematical sense versus “evidence” in the empirical science sense. Science cannot be “proven” like a mathematical theorem, only disproven by observations. That at least might be the defense he would take to this. If he also thinks that “evidence” is not useful, then he truly is misguided…

  3. GlynnMhor says:

    Maybe ‘proof’ isn’t for Science, but ‘disproof’ certainly is.

    As in when the predictions of a hypothesis are not substantiated by the observations, the hypothesis is usually deemed disproven..

  4. @njsnowfan says:

    Mann tweeted the other day,

    https://mobile.twitter.com/MichaelEMann/status/362616608251842560

    OT
    Russian Ice breaker was breaking up the Ice at the north pole yesterday.
    What’s the reason for this, http://www.sailwx.info/shiptrack/shipposition.phtml?call=UGYU

  5. Steven Mosher says:

    Science is not about proof

    Feyman

    “Some years ago I had a conversation with a layman about flying saucers — because I am scientific I know all about flying saucers! I said “I don’t think there are flying saucers’. So my antagonist said, “Is it impossible that there are flying saucers? Can you prove that it’s impossible?” “No”, I said, “I can’t prove it’s impossible. It’s just very unlikely”. At that he said, “You are very unscientific. If you can’t prove it impossible then how can you say that it’s unlikely?” But that is the way that is scientific. It is scientific only to say what is more likely and what less likely, and not to be proving all the time the possible and impossible. To define what I mean, I might have said to him, “Listen, I mean that from my knowledge of the world that I see around me, I think that it is much more likely that the reports of flying saucers are the results of the known irrational characteristics of terrestrial intelligence than of the unknown rational efforts of extra-terrestrial intelligence.” It is just more likely. That is all.”

    math is about proof
    logic is about proof
    science is about more likely and less likely

    one way to understand the difference is to consider this

    A) 2+2 = 4
    B) F=MA

    In the case of A we might argue that there is no possible world in which 2+2 does not equal 4. other rather that it is true in all possible worlds. There is no way, no imaginable way it can be wrong. With F=MA, however, we could imagine worlds in which F does not equal MA.

    there is no proof in science.

  6. Ken Hall says:

    He is right that science does not do proof. It does theories which are supported by the current data, and those theories remain credible until such time as there is new data to disprove them.

    Credible theories require credible data. The problem Mann has, is the CAGW argument has no credible data supporting it anymore. so he has no credible theories either.

  7. Michael Jankowski says:

    Mann disappoints – gavin

  8. Chad Wozniak says:

    More pus from the pustule. Why would we expect anything else from this anti-scientist?

    Of course, what he is saying is “Believe me no matter how proven wrong I am.”

  9. Steven Mosher says:

    ‘GlynnMhor says:
    August 1, 2013 at 9:44 am
    Maybe ‘proof’ isn’t for Science, but ‘disproof’ certainly is.

    As in when the predictions of a hypothesis are not substantiated by the observations, the hypothesis is usually deemed disproven..
    ###########

    Actually, not.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duhem%E2%80%93Quine_thesis

  10. j ferguson says:

    I’m enjoying this opportunity to agree with Mann. Science has a lot (maybe everything) to do with disproof but nothing to do with proof. I prefer my proof in a bottle.

  11. Steve Crook says:

    Reluctantly, I agree with Mann. +1 to Mosher.

  12. milodonharlani says:

    Steven Mosher says:
    August 1, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Now suddenly you like Feynman?

    Science is about falsification (in Mann’s case the common meaning of the term applies). It is not about “credible theories”. In rare instances, a never-shown-false hypothesis can in fact be “proved”, ie demonstrated objectively “true”, as in the fact that the earth goes around the sun, while rotating & wobbling on its axis, as hypothesized by Copernicus.

    The “theory” that the sun & planets go around the earth was credible. The “theory” that phlogiston causes burning & rusting was credible, at least as credible as CACCA is now. Mann, as usual, is dead wrong.

    The hypothesis that 90% of (dubiously) observed warming in recent decades (never precisely dated) is due to man-made GHGs & that this effect will have catastrophic consequences has been repeatedly falsified in all its terms.

    CACCA has corrupted not only scientific practice itself but the philosophy of science.

  13. Anthony Watts says:

    @Mosher if proof isn’t for science, then maybe it is wrong to ask for data, equations, and code to replicate and “prove” assertions. Let’s just take the scientists word for it then. That’s basically what Mann is saying. – Anthony

  14. Keith says:

    He’s right that science only disproves, rather than proves, but he’s basically using weasel words to try to explain why the surface temperature record isn’t playing ball with his favoured theory.

    I’d love to know how Mann’s statements plus the divergence between observed and modelled temperatures can equal “settled science” in anyone’s eyes. The null hypothesis is “A doubling of pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 levels will not cause a dangerous rise in surface temperatures”, and it’s a million miles from being disproved.

    I see he pulls out the old Big Oil and Tobacco Deniers canards again too.

  15. philjourdan says:

    So proof is for the fools. By extension, disproving anything is also irrelevant. That helps explain the statement and the source.

    Now that disproving AGW does not invalidate it, we must accept it – because he said so.

  16. MikeW says:

    That single quote would make an awesome billboard. Along with an identification of the speaker’s IPCC credentials. The more people drove past it again and again, the more likely they’d finally have the thought “WTF?”

  17. FrankK says:

    As K. Popper has stated : You cannot prove a theory correct only disprove it. CAGW has been disproved in so many ways that it can no longer be classed as a theory. A warmers wet dream would be closer to the truth.

  18. brokenyogi says:

    I actually agree with Mann that science isn’t about proving theories (unlike mathematics). As Einstein said, “No amount of evidence can prove my theory, but only one experiment is needed to disprove it.” In short, science is about disproving theories.

    The whole problem with Mann’s approach is that he’s never done any real science, which would mean trying to disprove his hypothesis, rather than trying to support it with endless contortions of the evidence.

    Mann is just waving his hands, trying to distract us from the fact that the GHG hypothesis of high climate sensitivity can’t weather (pun intended) the tests of it’s many claims. He’s invoking the straw man of “proof” to distract us from seeing that he’s made no effort to disprove the hypothesis, or to incorporate the work and the data that helps disprove it. No hypothesis is credible unless it weathers those efforts, and “best explanations” have no power, unless they can withstand that sort of assault.

    At one time, the GHG hypothesis of high climate sensitivity had at least some credibility to it. But the tests of time, data, and analysis of its predictive power has shown otherwise. No amount of hand-waving about the impossibility of “proof” is going to make that go away.

  19. steveta_uk says:

    Nice to see a response by Steven Mosher that isn’t a pithy one liner but a reasoned reply.

    With which I fully agree. I’m afraid that attacking a statement simply on the basis that it came from Michael Mann isn’t very scientific.

  20. Jimmy Haigh. says:

    “Are there, or are there not, flying saucers?” is hardly a scientific theory. It’s just asking someone an opinion.

  21. chris y says:

    Dyrewulf says-
    “These days, when I see ‘Michael Mann says…’ all I can think of are the Martians from Mars Attacks. “Ack ack! ACK ack ack!”

    How about while the Martians are vaporizing people, the Earth-Mars translator one Martian is carrying says- “Don’t run! We are your friends.”

  22. Kaboom says:

    It’s a miracle he didn’t flunk out of kindergarten.

  23. Bruce Cobb says:

    I see he’s still going on about the Jerry Sandusky thing, which is ridiculous. If someone were to say that he is a pimple on the backside of actual science, no one could honestly say he was being compared to either a pimple or a backside. Although, he does act like a horse’s patooty.

  24. geran says:

    This is only one more way Warmists attempt to throw out the TRUTH. Since they cannot PROVE AGW, they attempt to obfuscate to a state of complete confusion, then they can continue with the scare tactics. They cling to the CO2 and models, while claiming the heat is hiding behind the cooling!

  25. Kev-in-Uk says:

    Steven Mosher says:
    August 1, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Of course, your RF example is fine. However, there has to be a contextual element. Science in the FINAL analysis is INDEED about proof. (although it is perhaps better thought of as THE most likely proof in some cases). Relativity wasn’t proven for a good few decades, but proven by observation it was. In the time up to the ‘proof’ it was accepted as the most likely explanation.

    The final analysis is what ultimately defines the conclusion of that particular ‘bit’ of science and that is indeed about proof. (I suppose we could elaborate and try and define it as ‘beyond reasonable doubt proof’, too though?)

    There is no point in harping on about ‘other’ worlds or other imagined ‘possibilities’ without hypotheses and observations to support them. In the context of AGW/CAGW – the observations are not supporting the hypothesis(es) – and from THAT, the underlying hypotheses (or a significant portion of them, e.g. feedback assumptions/ estimates) are most likely to be wrong.
    It appears that Mann is trying to use the ‘inbetween stage’ of not having conclusive findings (or proof if you prefer) as insignificant – which of course, in the context of observational tests of hypotheses – is completely obfuscating the issue!

  26. JimK says:

    E = MC^2. Einstein declared it. Others have “proved” it. Is it Science?

  27. RC Saumarez says:

    I agree that science is based on the idea of testable hypotheses and that testing a hypothesis with an experiment that it does not fail does “prove” that hypothesis is correct.
    However, much science is based on mathematical axioms that are capable of proof and so “proof” underpins hypotheses and their testing.

    Many tests of hypotheses depend on statistics, which if misapplied (as M Mann should know) can be proved to be wrong by mathematical axioms.

  28. vukcevic says:

    “A mathematician is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat which isn’t there.”
    Yours truly experienced it in looking for the climate’s natural variability cause.

  29. milodonharlani says:

    Proving is for mathematical theorems. Disproving predictions is for hypotheses & theories.

    On those rare occasions when you can drag an actual testable prediction kicking & screaming out of a CACCA witch doctor, it’s promptly shown false.

  30. chris y says:

    Dyrewulf-
    “These days, when I see ‘Michael Mann says…’ all I can think of are the Martians from Mars Attacks. “Ack ack! ACK ack ack!”

    Upon reflection, I think a quote from Locutus of Borg applies perfectly to climateers like Mann-
    “Why do you resist? We only wish to raise quality of life for all species.”

  31. Owen in GA says:

    who is that “wottsupwiththatblog” that showed up in Mann’s twitter feed. Is someone attempting to spoof this site’s host?

  32. This is a grossly embarrassing “own goal” for “my side” — i.e., your side.

    I think climate science is mostly pseudoscience, and I’ve been sceptical about global warming for many years. But the empirical evidence for a scientific theory consists of its passing tests. It’s called the hypothetico-deductive method, because an observational consequence is deduced from a hypothesis, and if actual observation is found to confirm what was predicted would be observed, the hypothesis is “corroborated”.

    It’s not at all a matter of “proof” — or at least nothing like proof in mathematics. The main reason why climate modelling should command little confidence is because the predictions of the models fail the “tests”, inasmuch as they are even subjected to them.

    If I were you, I’d take a closer look at whoever is giving you completely misleading accounts of mainstream philosophy of science.

  33. Bart says:

    The “best explanation” at the time for the rumbling of the volcano was that the Volcano God needed the attentions of a comely young female. The “best explanation” at the time for sickness was that there were ill humours in the blood, and they needed to be drained. The “best explanation” for gravity was that the Earth was flat. And, so on.

    This isn’t science. It is old timey, primitive superstition.

  34. Pat Frank says:

    Mann is right in the sense of distinguishing mathematical proofs from scientific demonstration. Theories in science are never proven; they are always provisional and subject to revision in light of new facts. Theorems in math can be definitively proven, never to be unproved.

    The difference stems from that science is non-axiomatic and data-driven. This fully and finally distinguishes science from mathematics and philosophy. Nothing in science is ever taken to be self-evidently true.

    On the other hand, Mann’s comment that, “Science works in evidence through best explanations, most credible theories…” is sloppy and allows his work wiggle-room. Science works on falsifiable theories. “Credible” as Mann used it merely means ‘believable.’ ‘Believable’ is a wholly inadequate criterion for scientific theory. Climate modelers believed the hockey stick because it suited their prejudices. Their credit did not make the hockey stick scientific.

    If Mann had used the proper criterion, ‘falsifiable,’ it would lead immediately to a question very uncomfortable for him: Is the hockey stick falsifiable? The answer is a definite no. And a critical examination shows that the hockey stick is not even science. It’s based on no physical theory at all. So, Mann must equivocate if he’s to preserve his image.

    The statement that I found most egregious was his stunningly self-serving, “One side, us, the scientists, have to be true to our principles, have to be truthful to our audience, have to state our findings with appropriate caveats,…” when we all know he’s done the opposite. He has betrayed science at every turn, obscuring his methods, withholding data, misrepresenting his results (‘I never calculated that r-squared, Senator. It would be a wrong and foolish thing to do.)

    If the Steyn case ever comes to trial, I hope to see Steve McIntyre in the witness box: ‘Mr. McIntyre, could you please describe the contents of the ‘Back to 1400 CENSORED” directory.’

    Mann also repeats the lie that nearly originated with him, “Scientists and those looking to communicate the reality of science are up against this juggernaut, this extremely well-funded, well-organised smear campaign by … the fossil fuel industry.” What a bald-faced lie. And it’s a lie so absent of substance that a reportorial naif could prove it false.

    But it’s repeated over and over, widely and uncritically accepted, and no reporter ever gets to the bottom of it. Maybe that’s because it suits their prejudices. Like the climate modelers’ embrace of the hockey stick because it seemed to “prove” the water vapor feedback they’d built into their climate models, too many reporters accept the lie about fossil-fuel funded smear campaigns because it seems to “prove” the evil capitalist greed they’ve built into their political models.

  35. JimS says:

    What other nonsense can one expect from an alleged scientist, Mann, who rewrote the entire climate history of the Holocene Epoch. Nothing that he says or writes has any credibility in my eyes.
    His rewriting of climate history is equivalent to the work done by the Holocaust Deniers. So who is the true denier?

  36. Steve Oregon says:

    Dyrewulf says: August 1, 2013 at 9:39 am
    These days, when I see ‘Michael Mann says…’ all I can think of are the Martians from Mars Attacks. “Ack ack! ACK ack ack!”

    And “We come in peace” just before they begin slaughtering everyone in sight.

  37. Tim Clark says:

    n nnnnnnnnnntkgrrrrrrrrrr lggggggggggggggg6ky

    Opps, sorry.
    Those are the keys recorded when my face hits the keyboard after falling asleep.
    Happens every time I read a Mannian brain fart.

  38. knr says:

    Makes sense , Mann has never worried about ‘proof ‘ for his work , as self promotion and dogma are all that matters to Mann and hang the ‘facts ‘
    You like to think that such views would cause other in science given their views on such ideas , but sadly they prefer playing the three wise monkeys or getting their noses the AGW funding bucket .to calling out such BS .

  39. Mardler says:

    Semantics, maybe.

    Science does not work on proof so Mann is correct but to prove a hypothesis data etc. is required by those trying to prove/disprove the idea. Methinks that was what Mann meant – proof is not required for his science.

  40. Golden says:

    Steven Mosher says:
    August 1, 2013 at 9:45 am

    A) 2+2 = 4
    B) F=MA

    In the case of A we might argue that there is no possible world in which 2+2 does not equal 4. other rather that it is true in all possible worlds. There is no way, no imaginable way it can be wrong. With F=MA, however, we could imagine worlds in which F does not equal MA.

    **************

    The limit of your imagination and its selective use does not prove A and B are different. What you said proves nothing.

  41. Colin says:

    I think the operative is “credible”. Since he and his data aren’t…then game over.

  42. Nancy C says:

    Stephen Mosher said:

    “With F=MA, however, we could imagine worlds in which F does not equal MA.”

    Ha ha, no, this is wrong. The defined unit of force is kgm/s^2. Can you imagine a world where MA does not equal MA? Of course, in another universe you could define what force means differently, but then again, you could define it differently in our universe, too, if you wanted to do something useless.

    I agree, though, that science isn’t about proof, it’s about laws. Once you show a proposition to ever give wrong results, it is known to not be a law, so it’s now known to not be valid science.

  43. FrankK says:

    Kev-in-Uk says:
    Relativity wasn’t proven for a good few decades, but proven by observation it was. In the time up to the ‘proof’ it was accepted as the most likely explanation.
    ————————————————————————————————
    Well not quite. So far the theory has not been falsified therefore as Feyman has stated it likely that it is true. But there is no reason why, like Newtons theory that is a mere approximation once someone has dug into and explored the quantum aspects of a more complete formulation.

  44. Ryan says:

    He was just pointing out that people who don’t understand science dand proof while scientists demand evidence. Way to be in the wrong, lol.

    REPLY: Ok then next time you complain about some issue here on WUWT, I’ll direct commenters to address your concerns by just providing “best opinions” rather than any proof. Way to shoot yourself in the foot. – Anthony

  45. snotrocket says:

    @Steve Mosher. IIRC, the philosopher Bertrand Russell spent 42 pages of a book ‘proving’ that 2+2=4.
    Then again, we have surely not forgotten that the old English verb ‘to prove’ really means ‘to test’ – but who is Mann going to allow among us mere mortals to test his ‘theory’?

  46. Tom Norkunas says:

    Ahh. Mann-made global warming.

  47. milodonharlani says:

    Steve Crook says:
    August 1, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Reluctantly, I agree with Mann. +1 to Mosher.
    ——————————–

    Mr. Mosher doesn’t like the part of RF’s lecture that comes before the flying saucer bit:

  48. Graham says:

    Well there may not be real scientific ‘proof’ in the absolute sense, but there is in the legal sense, where proving beyond a reasonable doubt requires opposing hypotheses be presented and a jury of 12 independent minds view and full comprehend the supporting and opposing hypotheses and unanimously agree on one. In the court of scientific opinion, where fully independent minds analyzed all the evidence, Mann’s high climate sensitivity hypotheses would fail miserably.

  49. DaveS says:

    Best explanation is a fair description for soft (narrative) sciences lacking provable mathematical theorums. Mann’s problem is he is in denial when it comes to recognizing climate science as a soft science.

  50. Mike M says:

    I think it’s hilarious how Mann can wrap himself in the truth of science being about credible ideas while making a mockery of his own credibility fighting off FOIA requests.

  51. mkantor says:

    Feynman also said “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.”

    That is why efforts at fasification are such a important tool for science.

  52. Genghis says:

    As a surviver of the Crevo wars and the current Climate war, let me throw in my two cents worth.

    All of this is just semantics. Proof can’t exist without agreement on basic assumptions. 2+2 of something can equal 5 for sufficiently large values of 2.

    This is analogous to the Climate war where the assumption that changing temperature at the surface is equal to climate. There is no agreement on that basic assumption, therefore there can be no proof or disproof. 2+2 can equal a large range of values, that is the AGW theory.

  53. Mike M says:

    We’ve all laughed at “The Most Interesting Man in the World” beer commercials and they beg a parallel for Mann, “Most Pompous Mann in the World” .

  54. Rob Crawford says:

    “I’m afraid that attacking a statement simply on the basis that it came from Michael Mann isn’t very scientific.”

    No, but it is logical.

  55. Grant A. Brown says:

    Hmm… If there is no proof in science, how can the science be “settled”?

  56. DaveS says:

    No imaginable way 2+2 does not equal 4?

    You underestimate the imagination of climate modelers, Mosher.

    :-)

  57. ggoodknight says:

    Karl Popper wrote the following in a short piece entitled Science as Falsification in 1963 (I apologize for the length, but it is a summary):

    “[Considerations] led me in the winter of 1919-20 to conclusions which I may now reformulate as follows.

    1. It is easy to obtain confirmations, or verifications, for nearly every theory — if we look for confirmations.

    2. Confirmations should count only if they are the result of risky predictions; that is to say, if, unenlightened by the theory in question, we should have expected an event which was incompatible with the theory — an event which would have refuted the theory.

    3. Every “good” scientific theory is a prohibition: it forbids certain things to happen. The more a theory forbids, the better it is.

    4. A theory which is not refutable by any conceivable event is non-scientific. Irrefutability is not a virtue of a theory (as people often think) but a vice.

    5. Every genuine test of a theory is an attempt to falsify it, or to refute it. Testability is falsifiability; but there are degrees of testability: some theories are more testable, more exposed to refutation, than others; they take, as it were, greater risks.

    6. Confirming evidence should not count except when it is the result of a genuine test of the theory; and this means that it can be presented as a serious but unsuccessful attempt to falsify the theory. (I now speak in such cases of “corroborating evidence.”)

    7, Some genuinely testable theories, when found to be false, are still upheld by their admirers — for example by introducing ad hoc some auxiliary assumption, or by reinterpreting the theory ad hoc in such a way that it escapes refutation. Such a procedure is always possible, but it rescues the theory from refutation only at the price of destroying, or at least lowering, its scientific status.”

    I’d say the Manns of the world have been the admirers of #7, and most of the work of the IPCC has been the looking for confirmations as noted in #1.

  58. gnomish says:

    man… most of you need to learn something about epistemology.
    proof is done using logic. it’s not a mathematical distinction from science. it is the basis of reason.
    popper’s notion of falsification is based on this premise. falsification is disproof.
    your problem is with dropping context. there is no truth without context.
    when you define the context you have a logical proposition which bears the property of truth or not and you use logic to validate that, which is the process of proving.
    you can not be said to properly think if you do not recognize the nature of cognition, logic, reason and proof.
    now go ahead and try to use logic to prove there’s no such thing as proof, you poor maleducated idiotic post normal relativist mystics.
    straighten these lamers out, mr whitman! get your site running.

  59. Kev-in-Uk says:

    FrankK says:
    August 1, 2013 at 10:25 am

    I beg to differ, unless you are being pedantic about the use of the word ‘proof’? the calculated effects of general relativity were pretty rough initially, but sometime in the 60’s I think they were confirmed as accurately reflecting the expected results of general relativity. i.e. the observations confirmed the theory and the theory was thus ‘proven’ to be of sound basis based on decreasing ‘error’ in observations versus theory. I agree that in principal one can really only falsify a scientific theory with observations, but it is not unreasonable to infer the reverse situation when observations are pretty convergent (towards the theory I mean)..
    again, putting that in the context of Mann and CAGW – the observations are showing the theory to be way off – with an apparent increasing divergence (if you prefer) – thus the theory is most likely to be off base! Climate Scientists stating anything else is simply deliberate obfuscation, and using the ”science doesn’t have real ‘proof’! ” argument is a cover up!
    just my view….

  60. Pamela Gray says:

    Mann is playing a game of “gotchya” with scientific and mathematical glossary terms. Silly game to play. Don’t join it.

  61. Londo says:

    What do Einstein, Dirac, Maxwell who arrived at correct physical laws by pure mathematical deduction know about science.Mann must belong to post normal cargo cult science.
    I think this priest of the climatology cult is afraid of mathematics because in it lies his undoing.

  62. hunter says:

    Mann is relying on word games to support his position and to rationalize ignoring those who question him.
    In other words, he is a loser.

  63. EJ says:

    There might never be absolute proof, but there is something called Bayesian Confirmation Theory that can provide a lot of information about whether a hypothesis is correct or not. Couldn’t find whether an analysis of this type has ever been conducted on the global warming/climate disruption/climate change hypotheses.

  64. Tom Davidson says:

    When I was in high school a friend’s father (a man with an strong penchant for sarcasm) had a sign on his wall: “I KNOW WHAT I KNOW. DON’T TRY TO CONFUSE ME WITH FACTS.”

  65. Stuck-Record says:

    How can he misunderstand the basic premise of scientific and logical criticism so completely?

    To falsify a theorem it is only necessary to show it does not accord with observations. I do not need to provide a working theorem of my own. That’s it. There is no more.

    How can he have gone so far with so little knowledge?

  66. Another Gareth says:

    Someone better tell the WWF: Scientific proof: climate change is happening now

    And Skeptical Science: The final piece of evidence is ‘the smoking gun’, the proof that CO2 is causing the increases in temperature. CO2 traps energy at very specific wavelengths, while other greenhouse gases trap different wavelengths.

    Mann also said “Science works in evidence through best explanations, most credible theories …” so he accepts an explanation cannot be ‘best’ and a theory cannot be ‘credible’ without evidence to support it. Science does proof it just isn’t the same proof as maths and alcohol.

  67. Ah Clem says:

    OT

    [SNIP]

    REPLY yes it is OFF TOPIC ….that doesn’t mean I’ll allow it just cuz you say “OT”. Sheesh. Be as upset as you wish.

    And what’s with this BS of changing screen names “crito” “Gorgias” ??? Permanent spam bin for you. – Anthony

  68. greg2213 says:

    “He goes on to explain that science is all about “credible theories” and “best explanations” and his gosh-darn critics supposedly don’t offer up any of those.”

    A shame that Mann hasn’t offered up anything either. Perhaps he should go back to school and learn something about his science and its methods? BEST’s Muller, hardly a skeptic, does’t have kind things to say about Mann’s work. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BQpciw8suk

  69. DavidS says:

    I agree with what Pat Frank said. Mann is technically correct, unfortunately for Mann most if not all of CAGW or AGW ‘theory’ shouldn’t be credited as scientific theory as it is not falsifiable. If it was I’m not sure this website would exist as it does. What is interesting about Mann’s statement is not what he said but why he said it????

  70. OldWeirdHarold says:

    Part of the problem is that “proof” means different things in different contexts. Does mathematical grade proof happen in science? Not very often. But the question that Mann is dealing isn’t a scientific question, it’s a legal/policy question. Is legal grade proof appropriate for science that advises policy possible and necessary? Yes. Does his hockey stick meat that standard? Not even close.

    If the stick don’t fit, you you must acquit.

  71. beesaman says:

    Mann is trying to sell us a truth based upon consensus, with his acolytes being the arbiters of that truth. Sorry, not going to happen

  72. rogerknights says:

    JimK says:
    August 1, 2013 at 10:06 am
    E = MC^2. Einstein declared it. Others have “proved” it. Is it Science?

    I’ve read that there are now exceptional situations where that theory has to be stretched a bit to fit.

    Owen in GA says:
    August 1, 2013 at 10:07 am
    who is that “wottsupwiththatblog” that showed up in Mann’s twitter feed. Is someone attempting to spoof this site’s host?

    Yes.

    Mann also repeats the lie that nearly originated with him, “Scientists and those looking to communicate the reality of science are up against this juggernaut, this extremely well-funded, well-organised smear campaign by … the fossil fuel industry.” What a bald-faced lie. And it’s a lie so absent of substance that a reportorial naif could prove it false.

    See my thread, http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/16/notes-from-skull-island-why-skeptics-arent-well-funded-and-well-organized/

  73. Ed Zuiderwijk says:

    Well, if you ever needed proof that Mann is a pseudo scientist than that statement is it.

    Oh, wait, proof not needed, oops.

  74. James Evans says:

    Mann and Mosher are right. Proof isn’t for science. No theory is ever proven. Theorems are proven, but that’s maths.

  75. Bob Ryan says:

    Popper argued that the type of proof offered by mathematics is impossible in science. One cannot demonstrate certain proof of a scientific theory no matter how many confirming experiments you conduct. This is the problem of the inductive method much favoured by Bacon and Darwin, for example. However, Popper’s idea that a single refuting instance is enough to ‘disprove’ a theory is equally wrong – as Thomas Kuhn, Imre Lakatos and numerous others have pointed out.

    The problems with ‘falsificationism’ are two fold: first, no observation is completely ‘theory free’. Behind every observation lie the theoretical concepts and constructs which make it work. So is a refuting observation down to the theory being tested or down to problems in the underlying theory of measurement and observation? The second problem is that any well formed theory will have embedded within it various conditionalities: ‘other things being equal’ type terms and again any refuting observation could be down to these constraints upon the theory being tested rather than the theory itself.

    In the end, science is both a rational and social process where we attempt to align our observations of the world with our understanding of it. It is an uncertain and provisional process where theories are born, they have their day and then they die to be replaced by ones that better approximate our understanding of the world. There is no ultimate certainty either in proof or in disproof. All we can hope to do is to create more and more convincing narratives about the way the world works. In this discussion Mann is right.

  76. Sam The First says:

    “who is that “wottsupwiththatblog” that showed up in Mann’s twitter feed. Is someone attempting to spoof this site’s host?”

    Not quite. It says on the page that the site has been set up to refute what is published here on WUWT. Good luck with that

  77. DirkH says:

    Steven Mosher says:
    August 1, 2013 at 9:45 am
    “one way to understand the difference is to consider this

    A) 2+2 = 4
    B) F=MA

    In the case of A we might argue that there is no possible world in which 2+2 does not equal 4.”

    That argument would be false.
    2+2=4 is true only under the axioms we choose.

    http://us.metamath.org/mpegif/mmset.html#trivia

  78. Bob says:

    I believe I have to agree with Mann. Hypotheses and theories can be falsified but not proven. A theory that is not consistent with observations nor results in predictions that are consistent with observations (data) is falsified (disproven). Almost all the chemistry I know is a group of theories that seem to work. A goodly number of them have to do with electrons. Anyone ever seen an electron?

  79. RACookPE1978 says:

    In response to:
    Mosher says
    Steve Crook says:
    August 1, 2013 at 9:52 am
    James Evans says:
    August 1, 2013 at 11:33 am
    Bob Ryan says:
    August 1, 2013 at 11:33 am
    (and most specifically)
    Ryan says:
    August 1, 2013 at 10:27 am

    He was just pointing out that people who don’t understand science [demand] proof while scientists demand evidence. Way to be in the wrong, lol.

    OK. Let us restate it then:

    All evidence available to date proves that Mann’s CAGW religion (er, theory) is dead, flat, absolutely wrong.

  80. beesaman says:

    Mann like quite a few folk seems to be confused between scientific theories, laws and hypothesis, but then that’s no surprise.

  81. jezabel says:

    I am always thinking:
    This 1-2-4 then 8 or 1-2-4 then 6?x or + which?
    111111111×111111111=12345678987654321 12345678 9 87654321 beautiful jiji.
    Regards.

  82. Julian in Wales says:

    I think this quote speaks from a mind that is troubled with dissonance. He wants to believe himself to be great like a God, but knows he is falling apart and becoming the object of ridicule and public failure. It is a way of squaring the paradox between and an over inflated ego that knows no humility and impending shame.

    Science is built on a scoffold of objective truth. There are other forms of truth, but you cannot flit between the objective truth required by science and the plastic form of truth that William James observed in nature and our personalities, they do not mingle.

  83. Steven Mosher says:

    ‘Kev-in-Uk says:
    August 1, 2013 at 10:06 am
    Steven Mosher says:
    August 1, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Of course, your RF example is fine. However, there has to be a contextual element. Science in the FINAL analysis is INDEED about proof. (although it is perhaps better thought of as THE most likely proof in some cases). Relativity wasn’t proven for a good few decades, but proven by observation it was. In the time up to the ‘proof’ it was accepted as the most likely explanation.”

    No science is not about proof.

    Lets take a simple example.

    In logic I tell you the following

    1: If A, then B
    2: A
    3; therefore B

    Would you suggest running an experiment to test this?
    Could you imagine ANYTHING that could falsify this?

    No.

    Now I tell you E=Mc^2

    would you suggest running an experiment to test this?
    Can you imagine things that could falsify it?

    yes.

    The reason why we test statements in science is because we cannot prove them by math and logic.

    The whole point that popper and others made about science was that science was different from math and logic and different from metaphysics

    Simply: metaphysics ‘god exists’ is not falsifiable. Logic and math isnt tested by experiment. it is always true, true for all time, true independent of what world we are in.
    Science, science is just the best story we have about the world we happen to find ourselves in. If tommorrow somebody came up with a better theory than relativity we would not say : “well your better theory cant be right because relatively has been proved”
    we would say ” hey your theory is better than relativity, cool!, I guess einstein was wrong”
    But if I come up to you and say ‘Ive proven that 2+2 = 5, you are not going to ask to see my data, you are not going to ask to see my code. you dont have to check my work, because you know that no evidence can change what is proven.

  84. NZ Willy says:

    Physics *tries* to bring “proof” to the table in science (during working hours, that is) and nowadays is quantifying its shortfall. In astronomy it is “dark” this-or-that, in thermodynamics it is “entropy” which is the gap between model and experiment. So call it “X” and try to figure out what it is — science has reached the algebraic level of mathematical proof, where X has not yet been solved.

  85. patrioticduo says:

    Math is a framework that has well defined and thoroughly tested axioms at its foundation and axioms built upon more axioms and more upon those. Thus, math problems are “provable” because of that well established and carefully vetted process of converting theorems into axioms and adding them into the enormous framework that is known as mathematics. Hell, there are even branches of math that identify the types of theorems that are being examined and the place inside of the enormous framework (and where in the problem space) those particular math pursuits ought to be placed. Thus, we have pure math, applied math, theoretical math etc. Then on the other hand, we have climate science, which according to Mr Mann, seems to be a place where “truth” has no need of a complex framework built upon axioms. But where uncertainty can be discounted by simply telling people that we have an opinion based upon a theorem. It’s not scientific method, it’s witch doctoring.

  86. NikFromNYC says:

    To make either a simple or sophisticatedly weighted average of input data that contains both proxies that suddenly kink upwards or downwards or just trend downwards with no jump at the end and then blend in data that does have a sudden hockey stick blade at the end gives a fundamentally meaningless result since the messy input data merely averages out except for the cherry picked ones that spit out the blade. It is an act of merely throwing a lot of random data into the mix in order to prop up local contemporary proxy glitches as being both worldwide and supported by multiple types of proxy, all the while utterly ignoring the dozens of proxies that clearly show hotter Roman and Medieval periods that can be viewed on CO2Science: http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/mwpp.php. If the input data don’t fundamentally relate to each other in basic shape then an average is just “garbage out.”

  87. George says:

    Science is about doubt. Religion is about belief.
    Mann believes.
    Therefore, Mann is doing religion.

    “Know then thyself, presume not God to scan.
    The proper study of mankind is Mann.”

  88. Michael Jankowski says:

    There are no worlds where 2+2=4 does not hold true, Mosh? C’mon…how about base 2 and base 3 in this world, for starters?

  89. Tom J says:

    Here’s a thought experiment and it requires no “proof” only “theory.”

    So, Michael Mann is driving down the road, gets pulled over, and subsequently arrested for drunk driving. Now, since this is fantasy the reader is most certainly invited to substitute a drunk driving arrest with whatever delightful arrest of Michael Mann they may choose to entertain themselves with.

    Anyway, Michael Mann now has his day in court. He pleads before the judge that there’s no proof that he was driving drunk because the officer was too lazy (a trait generally attributed to climate scientists) to conduct a breathalyzer test.

    The judge looks at the officer who explains that he may have done a breathalyzer test without Michael Mann’s knowledge. So Michael Mann may be wrong about this.

    Michael Mann says that if the officer did the test he’s entitled to see the results. The officer says to Mann, “I’ve been doing this as a police officer for over 20 years, I don’t have to show you the results when all you want to do is make me look like I’m wrong.”

    Michael Mann says, “No, I just don’t wanna lose my coal mining job, my AC, my house, my standard of living…” Michael Mann stops, recognizes he’s been babbling and says, “I meant I don’t wanna lose my driver’s license.”

    The officer says, “All research shows, by the overwhelming majority of officers, that anybody on the road at 3:00 on a Saturday morning is driving drunk.”

    Michael Mann pleads, “I wasn’t on the road at 3:00 Saturday morning.”

    The judge says, “So?”

    Mann goes, “I can prove it for chrissake.”

    The judge admonishes Michael Mann saying, “We don’t use proof in court, only theory. And the officer’s theory is the best. Can you come up with a counter theory?”

    Mann’s desperate. He whines, “I’ve got witnesses, for chrissake.”

    Once again the judge admonishes Mann. “Ever since science and politics became intertwined, married, as one, symbiotic (ok, I’ll stop), we no longer use proof as a standard for public policy. Only theory. And, what the heck, so we apply it to the court room too. Proof is irrelevant. Now I say, guilty as charged.”

    Michael Mann gets a restricted worker’s driver’s license for commuting to the Bristlecone pine forest in Nevada but it doesn’t do him any good because he’s never been there.

  90. Gary Pearse says:

    When you pick and choose favorable “data”, reject non-favorable data, and then develop alternative methods of analysis that uniquely give you the answer you prefer, you have already built in its falsification as a credible theory by your credulousness. There is no doubt in my mind that this ejaculation on proof is an unintended revelation of his awareness that he has been caught in the unexpected bright lights that were not shining early on in the touchy-feely, heady, one-sided world of his creations – it’s his lame answer to his critics. The proofs of mathematics even had to be confounded and twisted in his theory (so it always gave a hockey stick). He even had to put a “positive” proxy upside down to make it fit – a thing we may see much more of if we don’t see some (unhidden) sign of warming soon. Am I wrong in observing that he has largely abandoned scholarly research (after the rabbit punch he earned) for popular books, speeches at love-ins and law suits. It is obscene after all this chicanery, to be defining what proof is all about and it is troubling to see so many otherwise thoughtful commenters here be sucked in by it. I think “poof” is acceptable term for the end game of all this stuff.

  91. M Courtney says:

    Mann says. “Science works in evidence through best explanations, most credible theories, and so in a sense we’re at a disadvantage because we have to play by the rules, the other side doesn’t… They’re not offering up credible alternatives or explanations. In most cases they’re trying to pick holes. Not real holes, just things that the public will think are holes, in the science. We are at a disadvantage.”

    But here he fails to explain a few important phrases.

    A) “best explanations, most credible theories” But what is best? For a layman the answer is the one with most evidence to support it. For a scientist the answer is the one with the least evidence to oppose it and no credible evidence to disprove it.
    If Mann was an honest scientist then he would have abandoned his Hockeystick after M&M’s E&E paper and been promoting the failures of the models to explain the pause.

    B) “we have to play by the rules” What rules? How does he think peer review is meant to work – double-blind? We have see he doesn’t mean that form his email. So what rules does he think is binding him?
    Seemingly, from this interview, the rules of sounding sciency rather than making bold statements that sound like a politician But phrasing is not content.

    C) “They’re not offering up credible alternatives or explanations. In most cases they’re trying to pick holes.” If you have an hypothesis you must show that it is more probable than the null hypothesis. – that it would have happened anyway. He claims that the world is warming due to CO2 and the climate has changed in an unprecedented way. He has to prove that. No-one else has to tell him how to build a weather-control machine. He is the guy who claims mankind already has one.
    It is up to him to show there is anything to disprove.

    Science is not about proof.
    Science is about disproof and evidence.
    Mann hasn’t got that far yet. Or perhaps he hasn’t got back there since the breaking of the Hockeystick.

  92. TAG says:

    Steven Mosher Says
    ============
    ‘GlynnMhor says:
    August 1, 2013 at 9:44 am
    Maybe ‘proof’ isn’t for Science, but ‘disproof’ certainly is.

    As in when the predictions of a hypothesis are not substantiated by the observations, the hypothesis is usually deemed disproven..
    ###########

    Actually, not.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duhem%E2%80%93Quine_thesis

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

    Actually not –
    Paull Feyerabend in his book “Against Method” epistemological anarchy” . Feyerabend shows shows through historical case studies that scientists do not use a fixed method to validate or falsify theories and that if they did they would not be able to make scientific progress. Science is a social process with social standards that creates the science that is needed by a society.

    From the Wikipedia article

    ===================================
    Feyerabend divides his argument into an abstract critique followed by a number of historical case studies.[2]
    The abstract critique is a reductio ad absurdum of methodological monism (the belief that a single methodology can produce scientific progress).[3] Feyerabend goes on to identify four features of methodological monism: the principle of falsification,[4] a demand for increased empirical content,[5] the forbidding of ad hoc hypotheses[6] and the consistency condition.[7] He then demonstrates that these features imply that science could not progress, hence an absurdity for proponents of the scientific method.
    The historical case studies also act as a reductio.[8] Feyerabend takes the premise that Galileo’s advancing of a heliocentric cosmology was an example of scientific progress. He then demonstrates that Galileo did not adhere to the conditions of methodological monism. Feyerabend also argues that, if Galileo had adhered to the conditions of methodological monism, then he could not have advanced a heliocentric cosmology. This implies that scientific progress would have been impaired by methodological monism. Again, an absurdity for proponents of the scientific method.[9]
    Feyerabend summarises his reductios with the phrase “anything goes”. This is the only overarching methodology he can offer which does not inhibit the progress of science.[2]
    ===================

  93. Steven Mosher says:

    Pat

    ‘If Mann had used the proper criterion, ‘falsifiable,’ it would lead immediately to a question very uncomfortable for him: Is the hockey stick falsifiable? The answer is a definite no. And a critical examination shows that the hockey stick is not even science. It’s based on no physical theory at all. So, Mann must equivocate if he’s to preserve his image.”

    FALSIFIABLITY refers to a principle and not a practice.

    the concept of falsifibility goes back to the concept of verifiability, Carnap ,Flew, and The veinna circle

    in short, the logical positivists wanted to distinguish between metaphysics and science and math

    lets take a metaphysical statement: absolutes exist, or god exists. The problem they noted with statements like this is that there was no possible empirical evidence that could be brought for or against these statements. They are not falsifiable by emprical evidence IN PRINCIPLE.

    On the other hand we have statements of math 2+2 = 4. these statements are also free from being verified or falsified. they are unfalsifiable, but they are true.

    Science contains statements that are falsifiable IN PRINCIPLE, that is, we cant specify what kind of evidence would count for and against the proposition.

    With the hockey stick. it is falsifiable in principle. In practice, mann resists changing his position. This resistence is possible only because there is no proof in science

  94. Marc77 says:

    It is true that proof is for math and logic. When Mann says that critics have no explanations for the recent warming, that is a logical statement. A combination of urban heat island and natural variability has not been excluded as an explanation of the recent warming. So he is wrong.

    Lately, I have looked at some data where I live, and the warming since 1940 seems to be directly related to urban development. The UHI reduces the difference between the 3rd coldest daily min of the month and the 3rd warmest daily min of the month without changing the distribution of daily max. If I choose a first station in 1930-1949 and a second station in 1990-2009 such that their variability in daily min is similar and their site is less than 50km apart. They have a very similar temperature, day or night.

  95. Steven Mosher says:

    Anthony Watts says:
    August 1, 2013 at 9:57 am
    @Mosher if proof isn’t for science, then maybe it is wrong to ask for data, equations, and code to replicate and “prove” assertions. Let’s just take the scientists word for it then. That’s basically what Mann is saying. – Anthony
    #############################

    If I told you that 2+2 =5, you would not ask to see my code or data because you know that 2+2=4. No evidence could change your mind. If I tell you that C02 causes warming you will want to see my code and data because you know all science “proofs” are open to question, open to challenge, open to different explanations, open to revision, open to refinement, open to being wrong.

    REPLY: this is the same argument that warmists use. i.e. we “know” that C02 is the cause of all the warming, therefore you don’t need to see any data or code.

    – Anthony

  96. Billy says:

    Actually, 2 + 2 = 4 is false in in a base 3 number system.
    F = MA is true in the earth frame of reference. We are not talking about a conceivable undiscovered solar system. We are discussing AGW on earth after all.

    Mann is actually right from his piont of view. In modern feminized academia feelings and daydreams (theories and models) are science. Mathematical proof and empirical testing are just patriarchal tools used to subjugate women. “Nobody really knows what the square root of 16 is”

  97. @ggoodknight:
    3. Every “good” scientific theory is a prohibition: it forbids certain things to happen.
    The more a theory [observationally] forbids, the better it is.

    So long, of course, the data and observations are consistent with the forbidden domains.

    #3 is an elegant statement worth remembering.

  98. RACookPE1978 says:

    Steven Mosher says:

    August 1, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Of course, your RF example is fine. However, there has to be a contextual element. Science in the FINAL analysis is INDEED about proof. (although it is perhaps better thought of as THE most likely proof in some cases). Relativity wasn’t proven for a good few decades, but proven by observation it was. In the time up to the ‘proof’ it was accepted as the most likely explanation.”

    No science is not about proof.

    Lets take a simple example.

    In logic I tell you the following

    1: If A, then B
    2: A
    3; therefore B

    Would you suggest running an experiment to test this?
    Could you imagine ANYTHING that could falsify this?
    No.

    Several years ago, a true scientist actually measured the alpha particles reflected from a very thin metal foil. He recorded all of his data (though, like all real-world scientists – all of “his work” was actually done by his graduate students and funded by others) and revealed ALL of his data and methods to the world: including that data that contradicted absolutely EVERY current theory and ALL previous “evidence” about the atomic theory of molecules, atoms, nuclei and electrons. Those “battleship shells reflecting off of tissue paper” were teh proof that destroyed everybody’s else logic, theory, evidence and the current state of the world. But notice: That one scientist started with NO ACCEPTABLE THEORY of what was causing the rebound of the alpha particles and NO acceptable physical or mathematical justification for the rebounding particles.

    In Mann’s world of so-called “science” and mathematics and logic and computer modeling, those rebounding alpha particles COULD NOT HAVE BEEN EVER BEEN FOUND.

    Lets take a simple example.

    In logic I tell you the following

    1: If A, then B
    2: A
    3; therefore B

    Would you suggest running an experiment to test this?
    Could you imagine ANYTHING that could falsify this?
    No.

    Simple.
    1: If “CO2 increases”, then “The global average temperature increases”
    2: “CO2 has increased substantially”
    3; therefore “The global average temperature has increased” …
    This is the central belief of the Mann-made CAGW religion (er, theory).

    Let us run an experiment, complete with controls:
    CO2 is steady, what did global average temperature actually do?
    CO2 is increased (for 15+ years), what does global average temperature actually do (over that same 15+year period)?

    Well, during a number of periods when there were no substantial volcanoes
    CO2 was steady, global temperature decreased.
    CO2 was steady, global temperature was steady.
    CO2 was steady, global temperature increased.

    CO2 increased, global temperature was decreasing – from 1940 through 1975. (35 years)
    CO2 increased, global temperature increased – from 1975 through 1998. (23 years)
    CO2 increased, global temperature was steady – from 1996 through 2013. (now 17 years)

    My 52 years of instrument data while CO2 is steadily increasing contradicts your 23 years of accidental co-relation of CO2 and temperature.
    My 2500 years of temperature proxies while CO2 was steady contradicts your 23 years while man-made CO2 increases.

  99. FrankK says:

    Graham says:
    August 1, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Well there may not be real scientific ‘proof’ in the absolute sense, but there is in the legal sense, where proving beyond a reasonable doubt requires opposing hypotheses be presented and a jury of 12 independent minds view and full comprehend the supporting and opposing hypotheses and unanimously agree on one.
    —————————————————————————————————
    Well not quite. When new evidence becomes available a case can be reopened as it does in science.

  100. Billy says:

    Sorry, I think this is the right link.

  101. William Astley says:

    Come on man. As observations and analysis do not support the warmists’ extreme AGW theory, Mann tries to change the rules of science. Reality cannot be changed by speeches.

    The scientific question extreme warming vs lukewarm warming is settled. The fat lady has sung.

    It appears the warmists’ next problem will be how to explain global cooling due to the solar cycle 24 change. It is difficult to imagine what will be the public, the media, and the general scientific communities’ reaction to global cooling. The warmists have left absolutely no way out for themselves.

    We have spent trillions of dollars on green scams that do not work to protect against dangerous global warming from a gas that commercial greenhouses inject to increase yield and reduce growing times, and the planet is starting to cool for 100 to 150 years. Billions upon billions of dollars have been spent on climate science to justify the extreme AGW paradigm.

    Do you think there could be a backlash? Election issue?

    There is a plateau of 16 years with no warming. Something is fundamentally incorrect with the general circulation models.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/06/06/climate-modeling-epic-fail-spencer-the-day-of-reckoning-has-arrived/

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/interview-hans-von-storch-on-problems-with-climate-change-models-a-906721.html

  102. Janice Moore says:

    “With the hockey stick. it is falsifiable in principle It has been falsified in fact. In practice, mann resists changing his position. This resistence is possible only because there is no proof in science because he is a L-I-A-R.”

    [Steven Mosher, Keeper-of-the-Climate-Gate E mails at 12:11PM, 8/1/13]

    **********************************************************

    “Vague and imprecise language is no accident.
    It is a conscious attempt to distort and deceive.”

    George Orwell

  103. TAG says:

    Steven Mosher says
    ========================
    A) 2+2 = 4
    B) F=MA

    In the case of A we might argue that there is no possible world in which 2+2 does not equal 4. other rather that it is true in all possible worlds. There is no way, no imaginable way it can be wrong. With F=MA, however, we could imagine worlds in which F does not equal MA.

    there is no proof in science.
    =================

    Take 2 drops of water and combine them with drops of water. What you get is one combined drop of water

    2 + 2 = 1

    In measurements of angles

    2 Pi + 2 Pi = 2Pi

    In measurements of the cardinality of the continuum

    c + 1 = c
    c +2 = c
    c + c = c

    Mathematics is what one makes of it. Like science it is about utility.

    See Imre Lakotos’ book “Proofs and Refutations”. Mathematics progresses informally. Informal concepts needed for an understanding are formalized and subjected to mathematical exploration. Refutations of these formalisms reveal inadequacies in the informal models and so new concepts are added which show a better understanding of the topic. Mathematics progresses not be proof but informally through the process of refutation. mathematics and science are alike in this. lakatos thought that his demonstration of progress through informal work and refutation showed Feyerabend’s assertion of there being no method in science to be inadequate. To me anyway, I just think he showed how Feyerabend’s “no method” science works.

  104. darrylb says:

    From a retired high school teacher–WHY HAS THIS DISCUSSION ADVANCED THIS FAR.
    AND WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE SCIENTIFIC PROCESS — HAS IT CHANGED.
    Of course we have always operated from theories, even are current atomic model,
    It is Michael Mann’s Statement about theories that should be questioned.
    Each and every modeled projection obviously has different (perhaps slightly) input; therefore each its own separate hypothesis. Theories are formed from repeated testing of (hypothesis) models.
    If each and every models’ projection has been incorrect along with other predicted manifestations such as mid latitude warms spots then we have not even gotten to the stage of talking about a proof because the model (theory) is incorrect.
    My simple brain tells me than since models have been hind casted to match previous climate, that either the input is wrong or the mathematics describing the physics is wrong. -and, since there seems to be dogmatic assurance that the physics is totally correct, certain assumptions about past weather/climate events must be wrong. Am I wrong in saying that we are outside the 95% probability of no increase in warming? ( I hate to say ‘pause’ because that implies you just wait, it is going to start again.) Am I wrong to say that we are approaching a length of time of no warming that no model predicted?

    IT WAS TALKED ABOUT AS FACT BEFORE EVEN THE HYPOTHESIS COULD BE VALIDATED.

  105. Reg Nelson says:

    Steven Mosher says:

    math is about proof
    logic is about proof
    science is about more likely and less likely

    one way to understand the difference is to consider this

    A) 2+2 = 4
    B) F=MA

    In the case of A we might argue that there is no possible world in which 2+2 does not equal 4.
    —-
    Actually in a Base 3 numeral system 2 + 2 = 11 and 4 does not exist.

  106. Tom Jones says:

    Now that is truly gobsmacking. I just don’t know what to say,it’s so stunning.

  107. mjenulis says:

    The philosophy of science recognizes the empirical nature of testing but also the rational nature of the analysis.

    The creation of a analysis metanarative is regarded by some as an exercise in postmodern construction.

  108. u.k.(us) says:

    I stole one word from the link:

    http://blog.heartland.org/2013/07/michael-mann-redfines-science/

    “irrelevance”
    That’s gotta hurt.

  109. Man Bearpig says:

    Steven Mosher says:
    August 1, 2013 at 9:50 am

    ‘GlynnMhor says:
    August 1, 2013 at 9:44 am
    Maybe ‘proof’ isn’t for Science, but ‘disproof’ certainly is.

    As in when the predictions of a hypothesis are not substantiated by the observations, the hypothesis is usually deemed disproven..
    ###########

    Actually, not.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duhem%E2%80%93Quine_thesis

    ———————

    So are you in the ‘birds do get thrown off into the sky whenever they let go of a tree branch.’ camp ? Or would you say that the earth is in motion ?

  110. Gary Pearse says:

    RACookPE1978 says:
    August 1, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Steven Mosher says:

    August 1, 2013 at 9:45 am

    RA, As you note, the past century plus has had periods of rising temp and declining temps (we may be in the beginning of such a new declining period over the last several years. If I was looking for a CO2 signal, I would look to see if the declining temp periods were becoming less steep and the warming periods more steep over the instrumental record as CO2 increased. It should be overcoming natural variability. I’ve never seen any discussion of this point even though I have raised it here several times and once on Judith Curry’s site. Of course, we would require that the record be cleansed of biased corrections in order to see this signal. In any case, if natural variation is not being overwhelmed, then CO2 is a much less significant driver. We always here about the irrefutable physics behind it but of course its effect may very well be countered by net negative feedbacks – things once not even whispered too loudly a decade ago even though the the billion year plus unbroken record of life and proxy temps oscillating not more than 10C during this period cries out for this explanation.

  111. DirkH says:

    Steven Mosher says:
    August 1, 2013 at 12:11 pm
    “lets take a metaphysical statement: absolutes exist, or god exists. The problem they noted with statements like this is that there was no possible empirical evidence that could be brought for or against these statements. They are not falsifiable by emprical evidence IN PRINCIPLE.”

    Axiomatic.

    “On the other hand we have statements of math 2+2 = 4. these statements are also free from being verified or falsified. they are unfalsifiable, but they are true.”

    As the link I provided above explains, 2+2=4 is not axiomatic. 1+1=2 is axiomatic. It would help your argument if you knew about that distinction.

  112. Man Bearpig says:

    My point above is that the link provided by Steve is a philosophical argument. Anything goes in philosophy, perhaps Mann should look into this as a potential career change when the bubble bursts on AGW

  113. Glenn Dixon says:

    While in some deep philosophical or esoteric mathematical sense it might be shown (proven?) things cannot be proven, in the working science world we use proofs all the time. They support a multitude of underlying assumptions (most unstated) and save a great deal of time because they mark ground that need not be retrodden. Without them, you just have jabbering about what the meaning of ‘is’ is..

  114. DirkH says:

    Reg Nelson says:
    August 1, 2013 at 12:39 pm
    “Actually in a Base 3 numeral system 2 + 2 = 11 and 4 does not exist.”

    That concerns only the choice of symbols used to represent the set of natural numbers, not the truth value of any expression using those numbers.

  115. Grant A. Brown says:

    Mosher appeals to the Duhem-Quine thesis to argue that a single hypothesis cannot be refuted in isolation. That’s because any disproof of an hypothesis is only as good as the background theory of the experiment; and you can always preserve the hypothesis in the face of contrary observations by adjusting enough of the surrounding background assumptions.

    Mosher then argues in support of Mann when he distinguishes between mathematical proof and scientific support. But this is quite unQuinean. Quine famously disputed any absolute distinction between theorems in math and logic which are supposedly true by virtue of the definition of the terms employed, and scientific propositions which are supposed to be true by virtue of the way the world is. Quine rejected the “analytic / synthetic distinction” in _Two Dogmas of Empiricism._

  116. jeremyp99 says:

    Bob Ward’s statements in the series of Mann initiated tweets linked to above are interesting. More than once, he talks of working “in the public interest”. I guess he believes he knows what that is?

  117. dp says:

    I’m pleased to read that Mann agrees with me that his hockey stick proves nothing, and that the CO2 sensitivity claims cannot be proved, and that climate extremists cannot prove their case, and that yesterday’s heat wave proves nothing and tomorrow’s extreme rain will prove nothing. Meanwhile observed data proves claims by climate hysteria advocates are wrong. That is because something the hysterical are sure of is wrong.

    What this Mannian missive does prove however is that scientists should not drive policy where proof is far more important.

  118. Terry says:

    I also agree with Mann.

    “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong”.

    Albert Einstein

  119. M Courtney says:

    Janice Moore says at August 1, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    “With the hockey stick. it is falsifiable in principle It has been falsified in fact. In practice, Mann resists changing his position. This resistance is possible only because he is a L-I-A-R.”


    No need to say that he tries to justify himself with “there’s no proof in science”.
    The accusation that he is a L-I-A-R is enough.
    He still hasn’t admitted that the Hockeystick is junk… but he must know.

  120. Scipio says:

    This man has absolutely no shame.

  121. Stephen Pruett says:

    Ggoodknight quotes Popper, but does not provide the rest of the story. Popper (of whom I am a big fan) concluded that it is not possible to “prove” anything in science. Hypotheses and theories can be supported by evidence and argument, but it is questionable that they can actually be proved. An example is the classical illustration of swans. Let’s hypothesize that all swans are white. Can we ever really prove it? Can we simultaneously observe all swans on earth? If not, then it is always possible that after we observed a large sampling of white swans, a black swan was born. That single observation would disprove our hypothesis, conclusively. In addition, virtually any hypothesis or theory can be wrong, not because the data were incomplete, but because the fundamental concepts framing the hypothesis were wrong or substantially incomplete. As a scientist, I have always taught my graduate students to avoid using the word “proof” or “prove” in scientific publications, because I have never seen the combination of data and hypothesis that are complete and incontrovertible enough to be considered “proved”. Even something as fundamental as gravity will be viewed very differently than it is now, if an effective unified field theory is ever developed.

    So, very reluctantly, even though I am no supporter of Mann, I have to say that I would not dispute his statement that is the subject of this post.

  122. Peter Crawford says:

    Well, I reckon Mann is the ghastly way he is because he was not much loved as a child. This phase of his life has continued – he is not much loved as an adult either. It’s probably why he wears stiletto heels and fishnet stockings and then gets upset when people don’t take him seriously.

    Just a theory of course, I have no proof but am happy with it as a “best explanation”.

  123. milodonharlani says:

    James Evans says:
    August 1, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Mann and Mosher are right. Proof isn’t for science. No theory is ever proven. Theorems are proven, but that’s maths.
    ———————-

    What do you mean by “proof”?

    In the 16th century, Copernicus hypothesized that, contrary to Aristotle, Ptolemy & the Church, the earth goes around the sun. He argued from observations & math that this was literally true, although his publisher tried to sell the heliocentric proposition as a mere hypothesis & perhaps easier way to predict planetary movements than a geocentric system.

    In the early 17th century, Galileo’s observation of the phases of Venus falsified the Ptolemaic system, but didn’t necessarily “prove” heliocentrism actually, physically “true”. His other telescopic observations & Kepler’s curve-matching demonstration (based upon Tycho’s naked eye data) that planetary orbits are elliptical rather than circular further supported but didn’t “prove” the Copernican hypothesis, but supported it.

    Later in that century, Newton provided a mechanistic physical explanation for Kepler’s math, further promoting modern astronomical model. But “proof” of the Copernican hypothesis had to wait. In this case proof means moving from never being able to show the hypothesis false to demonstrating that it is an objective physical reality, either by direct observation off-world (now made possible by space travel) or by terrestrial observations not explicable in any other way than that the earth moves as predicted, ie is a planet in orbit around the sun, turning & wobbling on its axis.

    In the 18th century, Bradley’s demonstration of the aberration of light provided the first direct evidence confirming the fact that the earth goes around the sun. In the 19th century, Bessel proved that the parallax of star 61 Cygni was greater than zero by actual observational measurement. Finally, Foucault designed an experiment to test the hypothesis that the earth spins on its axis, another part of the Copernican hypothesis. At the same time, Struve & Henderson confirmed Bessell by measuring the parallaxes of other stars.

    By these standards of real science, Mann’s tricky hidden decline shtick & the GIGO models of his partners in corruption fail miserably.

    There is such a thing as “proof” in science if by that term is meant demonstration that a never falsified hypothesis or even theory is objectively true in nature, ie raised to the level of an observation.

  124. u.k.(us) says:

    Steven Mosher says:

    August 1, 2013 at 12:15 pm
    =====
    Is this the same Mosher that not long ago said something like:
    “I don’t want to hear philosophy in response to this comment”, or something to that effect.
    Cuz now I’m confused.

  125. gnomish says:

    “1: If A, then B
    2: A
    3; therefore B

    Would you suggest running an experiment to test this?
    Could you imagine ANYTHING that could falsify this?

    No.”

    TOTAL LOGIC FAIL, Mr Mosher.
    if A then B means :
    if NOT B then NOT A (this is THE BASIS of falsification)

    and it’s so elementary, a 3 yr old child of 2 can manage it.
    oh, the stupid – it flames.

    and this is what somebody tries to pass off as reason?
    it’s hard to imagine anything more mindless.
    you have no stature to mock mann, you kettles and pots.

  126. Gunga Din says:

    Anthony Watts says:
    August 1, 2013 at 9:57 am

    @Mosher if proof isn’t for science, then maybe it is wrong to ask for data, equations, and code to replicate and “prove” assertions. Let’s just take the scientists word for it then. That’s basically what Mann is saying. – Anthony

    =======================================================================
    I would add, what is being reviewed by peer review?

  127. Bill says:

    What you can “prove” with science is that data is consistent with an explanation.

    Or that something is reproducible under a certain set of conditions (assuming you know all the variables). You may find out later later that humidity in the room was a key variable you had
    not tested but when someone tried it at high humidity it gave a different result.

    Some fields the “proof” is more certain but scientists usually use phrases like “is consistent with” or “suggests that”.

    Being able to make predictions and show that they came true is another very strong type of “proof” but it is still different from a mathematical tautology.

  128. JEM says:

    The real point is this:

    Like so many flavors of scientific endeavor, ‘climate science’ is dependent on a whole lot of engineering to collect and process data, and the results of those steps MUST be proven technically and mathematically before you can even begin to claim you have credible data on which to build your theories.

    Climate science can’t get there yet, and for historical data they may not get there in our lifetimes.

    They’re beating the crockery with the cutlery to claim great and horrific harm from fractional changes so minute that they often cannot be distinguished from noise in the data, from flaws in the collection or analysis processes.

    Climate science is still pre-Copernican, they’re watching the planets move back and forth and guessing at the reasons but they haven’t even managed to polish the lenses in their telescopes to an adequate degree of accuracy.

  129. Jonathan Abbott says:

    Leaving aside the philosophy of science, Mann is a serial arsonist warning everyone else to take care with the matches.

  130. Owen in GA says:

    F=ma isn’t even a proper formulation of that particular concept. The more general formulation is F=dp/dt. Not that that means anything really except to make bringing special relativity affects into account easier. In the case of low relative velocities they are interchangeable with ever decreasing errors to the limit of 0 at vrel=0 . F=ma breaks down at relative velocities of object and observer approaching the speed of light. So to say it is invariant in the universe is not correct.

  131. Material scientists aren’t intuitive, (though they like to misuse the word). Their forte is their ability to estimate and use logical deduction and logical speculation, sometimes in very subtle and ingenious ways.

    To separate logic from sciences is utterly false. Scientists must learn classical philosophies and logic to get back on track this anti-science gang. Logic means to admit what science does not know.

    For example: Mosher is correct that many people are delusional and imagine flying saucers. We don’t know if every one is though. To assume they all are not some foreign technology..that is not scientific; it’s not the scientists place to offer his feeling and opinions. Shut up your pie hole if you are a scientist; your job is the facts. I’ll get doubts and fears from anyone, okay?

    The correct way a scientist should think is this: it’s unlikely from what I know. That’s it. If you can’t do that, you ain’t logical and you ain’t no scientist.

    Unlikeliness is different than Doubt. Doubt is emotional.

    Significant warming is not occurring, regardless of hope or doubt.

    Say it Steve. Honest is science, not emotion.

    Global alarmism IS the UFO. And Steve believes.

  132. Purely an English-language, American-public-school-created semantic difference. For a Russian, mathematics is always 100% science — more than that, it’s the foremost of sciences. Semantically, there is no distinction between “proof” and “support by evidence” when it comes to a scientific hypothesis. A little lying rat is just being dodgy.

    “If it can’t be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion.” — R. H. Heinlein

  133. dp says:

    Terry says:
    August 1, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    I also agree with Mann.

    “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong”.

    Albert Einstein

    Mann’s unspoken message is “We can’t prove it so don’t ask, but we all believe it, so act on our policy advice.
    Yours respectfully,
    The Consensus”

    All the while artfully dodging claims his hockey stick and in fact his life’s work is not robust despite abundant evidence to the contrary. In what other of life’s endeavors would this argument be adequate to drive the expenditure of trillions of dollars over several generations?

  134. Steyn and National Review used to be not guilty, until proven innocent.
    But those days are over.
    But now they MUST be guilty, since “scientists” are telling that us proof is not needed anymore.
    No proof needed… in the retarded, self-serving, post-modern mindset. Everybody got that yet?
    What a bunch of dip-stick losers. Mann is talking about his court case.

  135. Mark says:

    Michael Jankowski says:

    There are no worlds where 2+2=4 does not hold true, Mosh? C’mon…how about base 2 and base 3 in this world, for starters?

    Rather base 3: 2+2=11 or base 4: 2+2=10

  136. JJ says:

    Embarrassing post. From the full quote of Mann’s …

    “Proof is for mathematical theorems and alcoholic beverages. It’s not for science,” Mann says. “Science works in evidence through best explanations, most credible theories, and so in a sense we’re at a disadvantage because we have to play by the rules, the other side doesn’t… They’re not offering up credible alternatives or explanations. In most cases they’re trying to pick holes. Not real holes, just things that the public will think are holes, in the science. We are at a disadvantage.”

    … you picked as your subject of complaint the one thing he said that was true. Science is not about proof. Science is about rigorous attempts at disproof.

    On the other hand, science is not about “best explanations” or “credible theories”. Both of those flourish in the state of ignorance. When you don’t know squat, the “best explanation” can be very, very wrong. When you don’t know squat, damn near every theory is “credible”. And when you don’t know squat, the scientific thing to do is to admit that you don’t know squat, not to bluff and bluster with bald assertions that your own personal brand of ignorance is better than the next guy’s.

    It is the last bit of Mann’s above-quoted childish whine that is the most anti-scientific. Science does not work by demanding that other people offer up “alternative explanations.” Any priest, witch doctor, Lysenkoist, or Principia promoter can offer up “alternative explanations”. As Seinfeld said ” See, you know how to take the reservation, you just don’t know how to hold the reservation … and that’s really the most important part of the reservation, the holding. Anybody can just take them.” Similarly, anybody can just offer up an explanation, but it takes a scientist to test that explanation … and that’s really the scientific part of science, the testing.

    Scientists do this by making rigorous and tightly drawn predictions that could falsify their own explanation while differentiating it from alternates. And they also actively seek to subject their explanation to the most rigorous testing possible, by encouraging other people to try to poke holes in it. Scientists got balls.

    Instead, Mann denies this fundamental aspect of his alleged profession by whining like a little girl when people poke holes in his ignorant nonsense … holes through which one could drive a lumber truck laden with Yamal softwood. This is similar to what Mann’s partner in crime Phil Jones did, when he famously said “Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.” Because, you dumbass, that is what scientists do.

    These people are not scientists, and what they are doing is not science. They are anti-science political hacks.

  137. X Anomaly says:

    Mann’s statement is incorrect. While science is rarely about proof, it is a fundamental goal, which is why things are described in a probabilistic sense, because the goal of proof is generally unattainable. Mann seems to suggest that nothing can be proved, which is a little bizarre since he has been proved wrong countless times.

    Proving things to be wrong is science is a piece of cake, and in many cases is the backbone of the scientific method.

  138. Sorry, I meant to say “Innocent until proven guilty” !

  139. ggoodknight says:

    SPruett 1:23pm, I thought it would be obvious that I supported Mann in his observation that you can’t prove a scientific theory true. I don’t support the sloppiness of Mann and friends in their quest to find more supporting evidence rather than honestly deal with their weaknesses which, in my estimation, have already falsified the claims that positive feedbacks dominate the climate.

    I recall a particularly obnoxious climate alarmist with a life sciences PhD who, when faced with one of my favorite papers relating to climate (Shaviv & Veizer’s “Celestial driver of phanerozoic climate?”) challenged me to “graphically prove” that something other than CO2 was responsible for the latter 20th century warming. To their mind, CO2 had already been proven to be the cause and a catastrophic warming was all but inevitable if we didn’t take draconian action yesterday.

    It would be a positive development if more alarmists will join Mann in the belief that scientific theories can’t be proven,

  140. DaveS says:

    @Mosher

    I wonder if Feynman thought he could prove that flying saucers were very unlikely?

    Is there a category of science called ‘stupid semantic tricks’? If not there’s an opportunity for Mosher to be the father of it.

  141. Glenn Dixon says:

    @Pruett 1:23 PM. Please. Popper only said there are SOME things that cannot be proven. If we hypothesize a black swan exists, then find one (as indeed happened), our hypothesis is proven. He did not say, as many think, that things can only be disproven.

  142. Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says:

    So when Al Gore says the science is settled, what he really means is AGW is a “credible theory” or a “best explanation”?

    You can’t have it both ways: claims of scientific findings necessitating the imposition of very large direct and indirect costs need to be backed up by something stronger than a “credible theory”. I’m willing to enact major public policy changes on less than absolute certainty, but the more costly the proposal the stronger the evidence required to justify it. If someone is unwilling or unable to meet that bar, then he shouldn’t tell me we must act now.

    The history of science is littered with the discarded carcases of hundreds of “credible theories” and “best explanations”.

  143. DaveS says:

    Stephen Pruett says:

    August 1, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    “Let’s hypothesize that all swans are white. Can we ever really prove it? ”

    We can prove that all swans not are white. Frame your hypothesis: Do non-white swans exist?

    You can frame a scientific question such that there can be a provable answer. That is in fact what Popper was all on about with falsification i.e. framing a hypothesis that can be proven.

  144. Your proof that my science is garbage
    Is invalidated by the mere gesticulations of my hands in the air!
    My non-proof is proof!
    Your proof is mere non-proof!

    Obey or face a well-funded lawsuit!

    The last thing that Mann wants in court is the data.
    He’s preparing his case. No data allowed in the courtroom.
    Want to bet?
    Watch him block the facts.
    Is this not obvious?

  145. Surprised it has not been said yet. The only thing needed is consensus.

  146. Steven Mosher says:

    Some resources for folks who dont understand why science doesnt do proofs

    http://digipac.ca/chemical/proof/index.htm

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/200811/common-misconceptions-about-science-i-scientific-proof

    “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.”
    ― Albert Einstein

  147. Tom in hot hot hot Florida says:

    ““Proof is for mathematical theorems and alcoholic beverages. It’s not for science.”

    This is probably the reason that solar threads always break down to Leif vs Vuk et al.

    Perhaps M Mann would like to show us there is no proof that inhaling a mixture of chlorine and ammonia will be harmful.

  148. David in Texas says:

    Challenge! If there is no such thing in science as “proof”, explain why the statement “the earth orbits the sun is not provable”. I am not asking you to prove or disprove the statement, but to provide proof that it is not provable.

    I anticipate there will be two approaches to this: rhetorical and observational.

    The rhetorical argument would make some argument like “it depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.

    The observational argument would be that our instruments (telescopes) may not be reliable or that all the observers are lying.

    But, making either argument means that “2 + 2 = 4″ is not provable either. Yes, it follows by definition, but if we wish to play games with definitions than nothing in mathematics is provable. Alternatively, if you make the argument the all observers are possibly lying or that human observational powers cannot be relied on than that applies to mathematics as well. If either is the case, you cannot trust the texts you read.

    “The earth orbits the sun” is just as true as “2 + 2 = 4″, even if we use different methods to arrive at each conclusion.

  149. AndyG55 says:

    idea + some proof = hypothesis

    hypothesis + more proof = theory

    hypothesis + lack of proof = wrong idea

    hypothesis + proof against = YOU WERE WRONG…..go back and think again.

    CAGW is at this final stage.

  150. A.D. Everard says:

    Every time Mann opens his mouth, more people wake up. We should encourage him. It certainly sounded to me as though he was saying the same thing as “we don’t need to show any data because proof is not important.” We all know he’s dodging and weaving.

  151. François GM says:

    Scientific evidence is empirical, meaning that it is based on OBJECTIVE evidence or observations. The interpretation of the scientific evidence, however, may be or may not be objective. The interpretation of the observed (empirical) evidence may belong to the field of logic and reason until empirical evidence of the interpretation can be obtained, if ever.

    It may be empirically demonstrated that the earth has warmed and that CO2 has increased. Assuming that measurements were made according to sound scientific principles and without scientific BIAS, increasing atmospheric CO2 and global temperatures in the last century are empirical scientific evidence. However, according to the prevailing views on this site, the causal relationship between CO2 man-made emissions and temperature has not been empirically demonstrated. Others believe otherwise. It is certainly possible to empirically demonstrate that there is (or is not) a causal relationship between these two parameters but it may take years or decades of scientific observations. Yes, CO2 driven-GW can and probably will be proven or disproven by observations not only of temperature and CO2 but also of a zillion known and yet unknown natural phenomena. In this sense, Mann and Mosher are both wrong.

  152. jim2 says:

    I can see why Mosher skippe4d the part before the flying saucer bit. If they hypothesis doesn’t agree with observation, experience, or experiment – IT’S WRONG!

  153. jim2 says:

    There is also the logical law that if you start with a false premise, anything you conclude is true.

  154. Gcapologist says:

    So fossils are not proof that dinosaurs walked on earth?

  155. u.k.(us) says:

    Steven Mosher says:

    August 1, 2013 at 3:08 pm
    ——————-
    Your links and quote?, along with you saying ” science doesnt do proofs”, shows no error bars.
    Was that your point ?

  156. Smoking Frog says:

    Mann is correct in one way, and the idea that science does require proof is correct in another. I say “idea” rather than “those who demand proof” because I’m not at all confident that many of those who demand proof of AGW are using that idea. They may be using “proof” in the same way that Mann is, else why don’t they make it clear that they’re not?

    The idea that, with “proof” strictly defined, there is no such thing as proof of any statement about the real world, but only in logic and math with no reference to the real world should be familiar to educated people. Philosophers have taught it for centuries, and it has been explained in many books and articles, including popular ones. When people who are familiar with it speak in other contexts of proof of statements about the real world, they are not talking about that first kind of proof. They are talking about things like high probability and proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

    For many years, AGW skeptics have been demanding proof, and warmists have been replying that there is no such thing as proof in science. I really want to believe that the warmists are falsely imputing to the skeptics ignorance of the difference between analytic proof and synthetic proof, but I have a problem with the fact that I’ve only seldom seen any skeptic showing that he knows the difference.

    The warmists’ statement about proof is not the weasel element in their argument on the point. It’s only a lead-in to their claim that science is about “best explanations.” That is not true, since what if the best available explanation has only (say) a 70% chance or even a 40% chance of being correct? Since when is it wise to believe such an explanation simply because all the other explanations have lower probabilities?

  157. Doug C says:

    The problem with “disproving” AGW is that you can’t. No matter what climate does, it can and probably will be given as contributing to the “proof” of the AGW theory by those pushing it.

  158. Theo Goodwin says:

    Tom J says:
    August 1, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Excellent Very Funny.

  159. Nullius in Verba says:

    Disproof and proof are the same thing. Disproof is proof of the contrary.

    What is being referred to is a specific form of proof/disproof – the confirmation or falsification of a model. Strictly speaking, consistent physical models can’t be disproved, either, although they can be shown to be very, very unlikely.

    But there is a lot of science that is subject to proof/disproof. We can prove Mann’s hockeystick data fails an R^2 verification test. We can prove that the maximum likelihood estimate for climate sensitivity given a particular dataset and a particular method is such-and-such. The maths in science is subject to proof – the connection of the mathematics to reality is not.

    Generally speaking, you just have to state your assumptions.

  160. milodonharlani says:

    Gcapologist says:
    August 1, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    So fossils are not proof that dinosaurs walked on earth?
    ——————-

    Another example showing that “proof” in math v. science is a semantic distinction without a difference or even much significant meaning.

    When you have overwhelming evidence with only a single realistic, rational explanation, then why not call that “proof”? It’s not the same as a proof in math or logic, but it still means that the explanation is most likely true.

    Such semantic weaseling by Mann is simply to avoid having to practice the scientific method, ie making testable, falsifiable predictions & altering or abandoning your pet hypothesis or theory when factual reality smacks you upside the head.

    Convening authorities to declare the “consensus science” settled is anti-scientific, a return to Aristotelian, Scholastic practice, not the methods of the Scientific Revolution of the past 500 years or so.

  161. Theo Goodwin says:

    Anthony Watts says:
    August 1, 2013 at 9:57 am
    “@Mosher if proof isn’t for science, then maybe it is wrong to ask for data, equations, and code to replicate and “prove” assertions. Let’s just take the scientists word for it then. That’s basically what Mann is saying. – Anthony”

    When we say that evidence proves a hypothesis what we usually mean is that new evidence has falsified all but one of several competing hypotheses and confirmed that one. The confirmed hypothesis has not been deductively proved but it has been shown to be the hypothesis that will guide further research until, and if, it is disconfirmed by new evidence. We say that it is a reasonably well confirmed hypothesis. The same can be said of theories, which are collections of hypotheses.

    Contrary to Mann, there is proof in science and it is proof from the evidence.

    Mann and most climate scientists seem to have no idea what it would be like to work in an environment where scientists proposed competing hypotheses and sought evidence that supports their own views while falsifying their competitors’ views. Rather, Mann and most climate scientists struggle to embrace a core set of beliefs and then produce research designed not to test those beliefs but to illustrate them. Hence, their emphasis on consensus and models.

  162. 4 eyes says:

    Well no-one can prove the second law of thermodynamics is correct, but it only needs one fact to prove it wrong. As it happens no-one has come forth with such a fact. However, some facts seem to prove the theory of global warming is not correct. Mann is digressing from scientific debate to debate based on belief systems but doesn’t realize it. Or maybe he does…?

  163. Trieste Martin says:

    I urge everyone on Twitter to follow Michael Mann and then block him. If enough people do so his account will be automatically suspended

  164. Bill H says:

    steveta_uk says:
    August 1, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Nice to see a response by Steven Mosher that isn’t a pithy one liner but a reasoned reply.

    With which I fully agree. I’m afraid that attacking a statement simply on the basis that it came from Michael Mann isn’t very scientific.

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

    But Observing Mann and how he has lied and contorted the truth to fit his agenda is a fact.. Once a pattern of facts can be displayed the person presenting them can be shown untrustworthy.. Like Mann…

    Mann also used a half truth as mathematics is the vehicle by which we disprove the theroy.

  165. TimTheToolMan says:

    Mosher writes “Science is not about proof”

    Common use of the word proof doesn’t mean proof in the absolute. I think Mann likes to use whatever interpretation best suits his argument.

  166. Jimbo says:

    “credible theories”.

    AGW is not a theory.
    AGW it’s not a hypothesis.
    AGW is not wild speculation.
    AGW is output from Calamatological computers – which have failed.

  167. Bush bunny says:

    Proof of what? It is a proven fact the sun sets and rises, and clouds create rain, snow, hail and fog, mist etc., but science is only proven when the collection of data (the evidence) supports the theory. Otherwise it is just another hypothesis. Mann’s defensive reaction proves one thing, his data was wrong to start with, and that’s proof that his hypotheses are not worth the paper they are written on and he is a lousy and deceitful scientist. The Noble prize should be removed from the IPCC and Al Gore for stupid politically and financially contrived data to prove their hypotheses. Now the IPCC are admitting they exaggerated the data, so why can’t Mann?

  168. bushbunny says:

    Yes Jimbo, and where is basic common sense too. Any first year university student will tell you the Earth is round (or slightly oval) and clouds most times create rain or shade. That the Arctic and Antarctic are subject to long winters with no sun and the their summer months are often 22 hours of sunlight. That space is very cold, and organisms prefer warmth to thrive. This Mann is a shonk of the highest degree, and has he won any court cases yet? No.

  169. bushbunny says:

    I think we can safely surmise, that we have witnessed some dreadful hypotheses over the years, from people who are trying to prove AGW, and getting paid millions for it. Solar panels and wind turbines are proving ineffective to maintain adequate supply, and have not cut carbon emissions anywhere. Subsequently countries are dropping the subsidies. The IPCC are now admitting they are wrong about their AGW predictions, how about they and Al Gore return their Nobel Prize, eh?

  170. Stephen Pruett says:

    “When we say that evidence proves a hypothesis what we usually mean is that new evidence has falsified all but one of several competing hypotheses and confirmed that one. The confirmed hypothesis has not been deductively proved but it has been shown to be the hypothesis that will guide further research until, and if, it is disconfirmed by new evidence. We say that it is a reasonably well confirmed hypothesis. The same can be said of theories, which are collections of hypotheses.”

    I agree with Theo.

  171. Mann long ago separated “evidence” from science when – like far too many – he put all his faith in the output of his computer model exercises (and misnamed them as “evidence”).

    So a “divorce” from “proof” – not unlike his earlier “divorce” from reality, viz his unwarranted high opinion of himself and his “work” – could not have been too far behind!

  172. barry says:

    “Inductive reasoning [science], also known as induction or informally “bottom-up” logic, is a kind of reasoning that constructs or evaluates general propositions that are derived from specific examples. Inductive reasoning contrasts with deductive reasoning [mathematics], in which specific examples are derived from general propositions.”

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

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

    Both are logical frameworks. Inductive reasoning assigns a probabilty to a given thesis/result (uncertainty interval). Deductive reasoning produces results that are necessarily true (no uncertainty). Demanding ‘proof’ of science theories is to misunderstand science (chemistry, biology, physics, ecology, etc). Instead demand evidence. Or ask politely.

  173. bushbunny says:

    The proof of the pudding is in the eating, eh. Depends whose eating it? Hypotheses are not theories but have to be soundly proven through correctly collected data or experiment of course. There are also variables for example what causes juvenile onset diabetes. I know I had a son who contracted this dreadful disease when he was 2 1/2 years old. Some think it was an early reaction to cows milk? (He went on Soya milk at 6 weeks of age). It created an irritable immune system that eventually when other factors were involved attacked his islets in his pancreas that produced insulin. This could be true, but not in all children depending on what age they contracted this disease. One thing they found out 20 years ago, was little genetic inheritance was Not apparent in Japanese children of Japanese immigrants, but when they moved to Hawaii, these children contracted IDDM. Something in the environment, diet, etc. So no theory could be proven as there are multiple factors involved. Same as climate science there are so many variables involved, Mann’s hypotheses are so fragile to be completely ignorant. We can’t change the weather, and the weather is what kills us, plus earthquakes, asteroids, volcanoes, disease and starvation. I wish he would shut up, the bigger hole he is digging for himself, it is laughable.

  174. brokenyogi says:

    “the philosopher Bertrand Russell spent 42 pages of a book ‘proving’ that 2+2=4.”

    No, it took him 200 pages just to prove that 1+1=2. Trying to prove that 2+2=4 was much too difficult for him, and he was forced to give up.

  175. Janice Moore says:

    “… the bigger hole he is digging for himself… .” [Bush Bunny]

    LOL, according to his hypothesis he is digging his way out of it.

  176. david moon says:

    The base 2/ base 3 argument is bogus. It’s just how we represent the numbers. 2+2=4 in base 10, 10+10=100 in base 2, 02+02=11 in base 3. But the sum is never 5 (base 10).

  177. Theo Goodwin says:

    Stephen Pruett says:
    August 1, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Thanks for expressing your agreement.

  178. Theo Goodwin says:

    I often wonder why climate scientists will not address scientific method. My best guess is that they are ignorant of it or afraid of it. In Mann’s case, it seems to be the former.

  179. Theo Goodwin says:

    Smoking Frog writes:

    “The warmists’ statement about proof is not the weasel element in their argument on the point. It’s only a lead-in to their claim that science is about “best explanations.” That is not true, since what if the best available explanation has only (say) a 70% chance or even a 40% chance of being correct? Since when is it wise to believe such an explanation simply because all the other explanations have lower probabilities?”

    Very well said. The idea of “inference to the best explanation” totally overlooks the empirical evidence. Reminds me of the song “All the girls look better at closing time.”

  180. Mark Bofill says:

    I think Steven Mosher is correct in his observation, as he usually is. However, I wonder if there isn’t some semantic confusion here.

    Proof, according to Merriam Webster:

    1
    a : the cogency of evidence that compels acceptance by the mind of a truth or a fact
    b : the process or an instance of establishing the validity of a statement especially by derivation from other statements in accordance with principles of reasoning

    Simply put, we use the word ‘proof’ in two ways. Proof by supplying empirical evidence, which can never absolutely establish the validity of the thing being proven, and proof by formal rules of math / logic, which can.

    In my view, Steven is correct that the second use of the term isn’t what science is all about. Anthony Watts is correct that the first use of the term is absolutely what science is all about.

    Regrettably, it appears to me that Mann’s statement clears him:

    “Proof is for mathematical theorems and alcoholic beverages. It’s not for science,” Mann says. “Science works in evidence through best explanations, most credible theories…”

    He appears to be making the same distinction I am. Case dismissed, don’t let me see you in this courtroom again buddy.

  181. Steve B says:

    Science is not about proof it is about prediction. If you cannot predict it then it is not science. It is the final stage of the scientific method. For example. Newton came up with the laws of force, mass and acceleration. Now how are these laws verified? Are they not verified because we are able to aim a rocket on the moon and it actually goes to the moon? Are they not verified with gunnery, road vehicles and nearly everything else that is capable of moving. If we only hit the target once every 10 times then those laws of motion would be pretty useless.
    Are not all the biological laws also verified? What would happen if we took a pain killer and nothing happened, ever? What about genetic modification. All verified by prediction .
    Climate science has not yet made any successful predictions therefore it is not science. Evolutionary science has not yet made any predictions therefore it is not science.
    MM is 50% with his statement that science isn’t about proof, however it is also not about what is likely. If you can’t predict anything with it then it is not science.

  182. KuhnKat says:

    Come on y’all, he was talking about the PROOF of the alcohol obviously!!!

    He knows nothing about mathematics proofs.

  183. kuhnkat says:

    Steve B,

    ” Now how are these laws verified? Are they not verified because we are able to aim a rocket on the moon and it actually goes to the moon? ”

    I think if you talked to the rocketeers with NASA you would find that they needed to make a HEAP’O Adjustments to get those rockets to orbit the earth BEFORE they even tried to go to the moon!! Newton’s work did NOT get them there. Just gave a very rough approximation. Over the years the further they went the more adjustments they had to make in the ole tool kit. The Voyager’s have introduced them to yet another adjustment they need to figure out.

    No, it isn’t just the fact that the actual thrust and vector isn’t perfect, it really is that their numbers aren’t quite right in addition to the assumptions of the physics.

  184. dp says:

    Quite a few people here are confused about what Mann and the rest of the 97% are doing. They are not creating new science which would be immune to requirements of proof, they are gathering data including data that exists only in models, manipulating it, torturing it, drawing conclusions from it, accepting those conclusions as if they were fact, and using that to influence policy makers. That is not science – it is statistics, and as such it is not unreasonable to expect them to show their data and math then to get out of the way and allow others to validate/falsify their results. They don’t do this because they know probabilities are not on their side.

    This entire debate could be ended in days if they were honest and eager to destroy all doubt with the compelling power of their reproducible results based on unquestionable data and analysis. It is really that simple. If they are right, if they cannot be falsified, if their data and processes stand the scrutiny of the world’s finest skeptics, they are right and the consensus will fill to 100%. It can’t be made more simple.

    They don’t do any of this because they know what will become of the consensus and more importantly the grant money when the facts are revealed – they’re living in a house of cards.

    So here is another idea – stop funding the current 97% now, pass out grants to an entire new global team with new rules that says all data and processes funded by the people belong to the people of the world. Of course we know that won’t happen either because the granters are in it together with the consensus for the sole purpose of modifying behavior of the the wealthiest nations. We know that because that is what all the proposed solutions point to. That cat is out of the bag. This was never about climate.

  185. Michael Moon says:

    As I mentioned before, Mann defended his thesis in 1996. He did not receive his “Doctorate” until 1998, when he published the original Hockey Stick farce. Mann apparently flunked his defense, but was then recruited to become the poster boy for CAGW. Politics, academics, so trustworthy, where is Ike when we need him most?

  186. jdgalt says:

    Dr. Mann, please don’t ever shut up. You make our case better than we ever could.

  187. rogerknights says:

    You’d hardly know from the comments above that we’re all knuckle-draggers!
    ———

    Inference to the best explanation seems like OK science to me. But “More CO2=CAGW” is only the best explanation within the reality tunnel of radiative physics.

  188. Louis says:

    Mann not only wants science to be determined by consensus, he also wants to control who gets a vote. It would be like allowing the salary of union workers to be determined by a consensus derived from a poll of union workers.

  189. noaaprogrammer says:

    Pat Frank says:
    “…Theorems in math can be definitively proven, never to be unproved.”
    A theorem may be true in one axiomatic system, but false in another axiomatic system.

  190. kuhnkat says:

    Michael Moon,

    Where was Ike when we needed him??? Like most politicians, he was making those wonderful speeches to the public while being a tyrant with cover from the media behind the scenes.

    “McCarthy would thus end his investigative career very much as he began it—up against a stone wall of denial. Truman had issued his secrecy edict of 1948, affecting all the early McCarthy cases, and Ike his even more stringent gag order of 1954 affecting the conflict with the Army. Truman had squirreled away State Department security records in the White House, and Eisenhower would follow suit with the Army phone transcripts. In both cases, McCarthy clamored for disclosure, but his protests availed him little. The wall of selective silence stood impervious against him.

    To all this there was an Orwellian sequel that can’t possibly be omitted. On May 31, 1954, two weeks to the day after issuing his secrecy order gagging federal workers and choking off information to the Congress, Eisenhower spoke to a Columbia University gathering in New York, a symposium on the weighty topic “Man’s Right to Knowledge and the Free Use Thereof.” On this occasion Ike asserted, to great applause, that “whenever man’s right to knowledge and the use thereof is restricted, man’s freedom in the same measure disappears.” It was, the media sages agreed, a clear, long-needed rebuff to Joe McCarthy.

    Evans, M. Stanton (2007-11-06). Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies (Kindle Locations 11498-11506). Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. “

  191. ferdberple says:

    Steven Mosher says:
    August 1, 2013 at 9:45 am
    Science is not about proof…there is no proof in science.
    ==========
    Which means that science can never “be settled”. The phrase “the science is settled” is unscientific, because you never never prove that something unknown today but well known tomorrow will upset all your carefully thought out theories and throw them into the rubbish bin.

    Which is why the insistence on a “mechanism” in science is a complete nonsense. We put labels on the most fundamental forces in nature and call this an “explanation” for how they work, but in reality we don’t know. We get hints all the time that there is something “underneath” at work, but every time we improve our instruments and discover what this is, we find hints that there is still something underneath that. We forget that in an infinite universe, infinity extends in all directions, including scale.

    What we know is that there are relationships between observations. These relationships can be observed and over time we may learn to predict one from the other. Does this mean we understand the mechanism? Or do we simply understand how to predict the relationship?

    When someone tells me they have a plausible explanation, they have nothing. There are an infinite number of plausible explanations for any event. Plausible explanations are the product of Sooth Sayers and Flimflam Artists. When someone can RELIABLY predict events tomorrow, then they have something. They have science.

  192. Steve B says:

    kuhnkat says:
    August 1, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Steve B,

    ” Now how are these laws verified? Are they not verified because we are able to aim a rocket on the moon and it actually goes to the moon? ”

    I think if you talked to the rocketeers with NASA you would find that they needed to make a HEAP’O Adjustments to get those rockets to orbit the earth BEFORE they even tried to go to the moon!! Newton’s work did NOT get them there. Just gave a very rough approximation. Over the years the further they went the more adjustments they had to make in the ole tool kit. The Voyager’s have introduced them to yet another adjustment they need to figure out.
    **************************************************************************************************
    That is not a failure of Newtons laws of motion, they are a failure of understanding ALL the forces involved.

  193. ferdberple says:

    Here are three plausible explanations for why the sky is blue:
    1. that is the way god made it
    2. it had to be some color, it accidentally turned out to be blue.
    3. because that is the color of sun-light reflected by the atmosphere.

    these are all mechansims by which the sky is made blue. here is the challenge: prove which one is the most credible. such a proof cannot be provided unless one operates in a system of “formal beliefs”. Things that are held to be true. these “axioms” can then be manipulated according to the rules of the axioms, to “prove” something in mathematics.

    The axioms however are above proof. they are taken to be self-evident. thus, all “proof” in mathematics rest upon an unproven series of beliefs about the foundation of mathematics. So, to argue that mathematics is “proven” is in fact a nonsense. Mathematics is proven given that the axioms are true. Mathematics is not proven however in any absolute sense.

  194. ferdberple says:

    Steve B says:
    August 1, 2013 at 10:58 pm
    That is not a failure of Newtons laws of motion, they are a failure of understanding ALL the forces involved.
    =========
    and a recognition that even if we know all the forces involved, the solution to the problem as calculated on a computer quickly diverges from the real answer. the “error” or “noise” does not converge to zero the way climate modellers would have us believe.

    Otherwise, there would be no need for mid-course corrections. One could simply aim a rocket at Jupiter and all the small errors plus and minus in the course setting would average out to zero according to the law of large numbers. just the same way the climate modellers tell us the noise will average out in the climate models.

    Only noise does not average out, except in very simple models, with very specific statistical properties. what happens with rockets and climate models is that they “drift” in an unpredictable fashion. Sometimes towards, sometimes away. It is this unpredictable motion in Nature that give rise to all sort of superstitious beliefs, as our minds try and find patterns in the inherently unpredictable.

  195. Michael J says:

    Science is not a single homogeneous thing. There are different kinds of knowledge that are defined in different ways.

    “The maximum temperature at Sydney airport tomorrow will be 25°C.”

    That may be proven/disproven rather easily by turning up and measuring it.

    “The maximum temperature at Sydney airport tomorrow will be 1°C higher than it would have been if CO2 had remained below 350ppm.”

    This is probably impossible to prove/disprove as there are too many uncertainties.

    For very simple systems, we might be able to prove that a model accurately represents the system and thus prove/disprove statements about the real world. Generally, however, non-trivial problems are too complex to make provable models.

    Asserting that something does not exist (or always exists) can usually be disproven by a single counter example — but can seldom be proven. In such a case, the best we can hope for is, after multiple failures to find a counter example we might be able to say that “X is likely”.

  196. dp says:

    ferdberple says:
    August 1, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    Here are three plausible explanations for why the sky is blue:
    1. that is the way god made it
    2. it had to be some color, it accidentally turned out to be blue.
    3. because that is the color of sun-light reflected by the atmosphere.

    4. Color is a perception that exists only within the minds of certain life forms. It cannot be known if all color-aware living entities perceive colors in the same as any other life form even of the same species. By repeated exposure and comparison intelligent life forms not affected by certain genetic combinations can identify and communicate color variations and co-identify colors using names that roughly represent the frequency of that light. This has no scientific significance and is completely dependent upon light intensity. In science the frequency of the light is a repeatable measurable characteristic. How it is perceived is in the eye of the beholder.

    Or as the Moody Blues put it: “Red is gray and yellow white, but we decide which is right. And which is an illusion?”. Queue violins.

  197. Somebody says:

    All real sciences have incorporated some mathematics in them. Including theorems with proofs. All real sciences use logic. With proofs. The closer the science is to fundamentals, the more rigorous it is, the more precise it is, it uses more mathematics. More logic.

    Check physics for example.

    It’s true that in some philosophical sense, a science cannot prove anything. But it can disprove, and hopefully the AGW lunacy will be disproved, eventually.

  198. oakwood says:

    This quote from Mann is not new. In his book, The HS and Climate Wars (March 2012) (p. 23 on my Kindle version), he states:
    “Science can only ever offer weights of evidence, degrees of confidence, and estimated risk. ‘Proof’ is reserved for mathematical theorems and alcoholic beverages.”

    I agree with quite a few comments here (and I can’t believe I’m defending Mann), but his comment is quite reasonable (and interesting to see he has some element of wit). Little is gained by knocking Mann on this comment.

    I am reading Mann’s book in parallel with a re-read of The HS Illusion. Though painful to spend money on a book by Mann, its fascinating to see the two sides. You also see that Mann is a genius when it comes to communication and spin. He could probably make a lot of money using those skills in another context. For example, early on he slips in two examples of how scientists use a ‘trick’ or short-cut to solve a problem, with (so far) no reference to ‘hiding the decline’. He also explains how the term ‘censored’ is “standard statistical terminology” for running sensitivity tests with certain proxy records removed. He manages even to make a jokey comment of how he regretted naming one of his data directories as such.

  199. oakwood says:

    And of course, while few readers here would be fooled by Mann’s ‘genius’, it works well with his main target audience.

  200. Stacey says:

    It is so so easy to discredit Mann’s absurd statement.
    Einstein postulated that light would be bent by gravity his theory at the time was incredible yet was subsequently proven by theory.
    The early is flat at one time was credible? But was subsequently shown to be wrong.
    Pure Water comprise of oxygen and hydrogen. Proof: mix oxygen and hydrogen and voila.
    For the life of me I’m not sure why I am addressing the absurd statement from this purveyor of nonsense.

  201. bushbunny says:

    Stacy, no, we can’t mix two atoms of oxygen with one atom of hydrogen.(bleeding hard to do) We can test water though that is already formed and find out its molecular structure. Mann is just making it up. Scientific theories are only proven by experiment, otherwise as posters have suggested they are only speculative hypotheses. Like all research it benefits over time with a deeper understanding, like Quantum mechanics or physics added a deeper level of understanding of our natural laws and universe. Mann and his cohorts are lousy scientists with downright lies to prove a point that they feel they will personally benefit. It is called at my university (UNE) ‘Corrupting the data to prove the hypothesis’ happens a lot not only in science but also in history. In archaeology and human evolution, there are a lot of gaps in the archaeological record but so far we have a time line to go on, and humans nor the hominins ever walked with dinosaurs as the creationists believe, and the world is older than 6000 years. Time for bed folks, enjoy. Be frosty tonight as there is no cloud cover. A proven fact.

  202. William Astley says:

    Mann is trying to distract the discussion away from the fact that there has been 16 years without warming, a plateau in planetary temperature (a wiggly line that does not increase), not a lack of warming (a wiggly line that increases at a slower rate than predicted). The climate science issue/problem is however more serious than a simple failure of the general circulation models.

    There is a train of logic and consequences concerning climate observations (past and recent) vs what mechanisms change climate vs the planet’s sensitivity to forcing changes and how the planet’s temperature will change in the immediate future.

    A significant solar magnetic cycle change is now underway. That is a fact not a theory. Mann and the climate change activists have not accepted that there is a very strong scientific case which supports the assertion that the planet will now cool. A significant cooling planet is a game changer for the climate ‘change’ war.

    There is an advantage for the so called skeptics to be slightly ahead of the curve when we are sure that the observations support significant cooling.

    I am truly curious how the warmists, the media, the public, the politicians, and the scientific community would react to significant cooling.

    1) Observations and analysis support the assertion that something is fundamental incorrect with the general circulation models (plateau of no warming for 16 years)
    2) Analysis and logic appears to supports the assertion that a majority (at least 75%) of the warming in the last 70 years was due to solar magnetic cycle changes rather the increase in atmospheric CO2 (There are cycles of warming and cooling in the paleo record that correlate with solar magnetic cycle change. The same regions that warmed and cooled in the past when there were solar magnetic cycle changes are the regions that warmed in the last 70 years. There was a physical reason for the past cycles of warming and cooling that correlate with solar magnetic cycle changes. The pattern of warming in the last 70 years is different than the pattern of warming that would occur based on the CO2 forcing mechanism.)
    3) If assertion 2 is correct, the warming in the last 70 years is reversible. As there has been an abrupt slowdown in the solar magnetic cycle, if assertion 2 is correct it is expected the planet will cool. In the past there is a delay of roughly 10 to 12 years from the time the solar magnetic cycle changes to when there is observed cooling. There is now the first observational evidence of the start of cooling in high latitude regions both hemispheres.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/06/06/climate-modeling-epic-fail-spencer-the-day-of-reckoning-has-arrived/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/05/22/kevin-trenberth-struggles-mightily-to-explain-the-lack-of-global-warming/

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/interview-hans-von-storch-on-problems-with-climate-change-models-a-906721.html

  203. Ryan Stephenson says:

    I seem to remember an Austrian guy with “credible theories” of eugenics that went on to exterminate millions of people in the name of those theories.

  204. Smoking Frog says:

    Theo Goodwin August 1, 2013 at 8:12 pm Very well said. The idea of “inference to the best explanation” totally overlooks the empirical evidence. Reminds me of the song “All the girls look better at closing time.”

    Thanks, but your 2nd sentence is not what I meant, and I don’t agree with it; “inference to the best explanation” does take empirical evidence into account. I only meant that the best available explanation is not necessarily good enough.

  205. son of mulder says:

    “Al Gore has warned that there is now clear proof that climate change is directly responsible for the extreme and devastating floods, storms and droughts that displaced millions of people this year.”

    From http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/sep/28/al-gore-proof-climate-change

    Looks Al disagrees with Mike.

  206. oakwood says:

    @ William Astley:
    “I am truly curious how the warmists, the media, the public, the politicians, and the scientific community would react to significant cooling. ”

    They will blame it on ‘anthropogenic global dimming’ (AGD), caused by aerosols emitted by fossil fuels. They will say:

    ‘It was always a balance between AGD and AGW. We always knew that (Didn’t you hear us say that? You must have missed it). As it happens, AGD has won out. In any case, its all due to our selfish self-indulgent use of fossil fuels. And of course, cooling causes as much disruption to the climate as warming, so we’re still responsible for all the bad things.’

  207. Patrick says:

    Proof, in any science is required. A classic is the discovery of electrons (To prove certain observed behaviour). There were plenty of “theories” to support observations, but proof was eventually found.

    With the theory of E=MC^2, that theory was proven by a Polish female Jew in Germany (Before use was made in bombs).

  208. Tom in Florida says:

    Perhaps Mann simply wants to use the no proof in science theory to show that 17 years of no temperature increase does not PROVE the models are wrong. Of course, those models are based on mathematics, so there is proof.

  209. Richie says:

    @milodonharlani et al.: Not to put too fine a point upon it (actually, it’s a very fine point I guess) the earth does not revolve around the sun, nor the sun around the earth. Both revolve around a common epicenter at some slight remove from the center of the sun.

    As for apologizing to the creators of “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” for “we don’t need no stinkeen proof,” weren’t you actually riffing on a line from the Tuco character in “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly?”

  210. Steve Garcia says:

    Re The Royal Society’s credo:

    Robert Hooke was a significant influence in the advancement of science as well as Newton. An established physicist and astronomer, Hooke was with the Royal Society from its inception, and served it tirelessly and loyally for over forty years; it was he who had worded the society’s credo “To improve the knowledge of natural things, and all useful Arts, Manufactures, Mechanic practices, Engines and Inventions by Experiments (not meddling with divinity, Metaphysics, Morals, Politics, Grammar, Rhetoric or Logic).”

    (from http://starryskies.com/articles/spec/hooks.html – The Legacy of Robert Hooke)

    Mann therefore is telling The Royal Society that it is not being scientific by depending on experiments.

    Nice to know where you stand, Mike!

  211. Frans Franken says:

    So these word magicians consider their CAGW hypothesis “credible” while neither offering solid evidence to support it, nor challenging – and even denying the opportunity – to falsify it? Proof or disproof don’t seem to matter. This displays a sheer disconnection from reality, at best. There must be factors of more importance to the magicians than the real world. So far for their “credibility”.

  212. Jia says:

    I think science is all about proofs.

  213. philjourdan says:

    @ DirkH says: August 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Thank you for pointing that out. IN actual fact, what we call 11base10 should be tenty-one (since we do that for all higher numbers like 21). What 11base3 is called, whether it is 4 or eleven, is only based on the referencing system. The value does not change.

  214. Ryan says:

    Ok then next time you complain about some issue here on WUWT, I’ll direct commenters to address your concerns by just providing “best opinions” rather than any proof. Way to shoot yourself in the foot. – Anthony

    I said “evidence”, not “best opinions”. And I could care less what your herds of insect-fart true believers have to say about most of my comments. You know who trumps around the Internet demanding “proof” of mainstream scientific conclusions all the time? Creationists. Such demands say more about the person making them than the field they are at odds with. It says they don’t have a grasp on even the broad strokes of the processes of science.

    REPLY: “And I could care less what your herds of insect-fart true believers have to say about most of my comments.”

    Thanks for saying that. By your position then, there’s certainly no reason for you to leave any further comments here. Now you can just watch. Enjoy. – Anthony

  215. Mickey Reno says:

    Although Mann certainly deserves his share of derision, I think most of the vitriole aimed at Dr. Mann in this comment thread rightly belongs to Peter Guest, the author of the article referred to herein, which merely quotes Mann’s already established canards from his vitriolic book on the political campaigning and pimping of CAGW by Big Climate Science.

    Guest’s article is all that’s new here, and clearly, he’s jumped headfirst into the cesspool of Michael Mann’s dodgy scientific and legal assertions. But to his credit, though, Guest candidly admits that he’s a misanthrope and (in so many words) a leftist, progressive, watermelon, greenie journalist. I don’t think he’s a very GOOD leftist, progressive, watermelon, greenie journalist, though. Because if he were, he wouldn’t repeat himself like that.

  216. William Astley says:

    In reply:

    oakwood says:
    August 2, 2013 at 5:36 am
    @ William Astley:
    “I am truly curious how the warmists, the media, the public, the politicians, and the scientific community would react to significant cooling. ”
    They will blame it on ‘anthropogenic global dimming’ (AGD), caused by aerosols emitted by fossil fuels. They will say:
    ‘It was always a balance between AGD and AGW. We always knew that (Didn’t you hear us say that? You must have missed it). As it happens, AGD has won out. In any case, its all due to our selfish self-indulgent use of fossil fuels. And of course, cooling causes as much disruption to the climate as warming, so we’re still responsible for all the bad things.’
    William:
    Come on man. Global cooling would be a game changer, a logical reason for western governments to abandon green scams which they cannot afford and which do not significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions. There are still independent, honest, hardworking, climate scientists who will work and who will now have funding to answer the question why is the planet cooling.

    The AGW fanatics and the silly uninformed media have been pushing a painless change to a fantasy low carbon emission world which is ludicrous, a lie, a fantasy. There is zero chance any democratic government will be able to get support for a massive reduction in standard of life forever, unless there is end of the world climate warming. There was been 16 years with no warming and then the planet cools at the same time as there is major change in the solar magnetic cycle.

    Western governments have run out of funds to pay for green scams and to pay for entitlements. Western governments will be forced to cut expenditures or face bankruptcy. The climate war is fizzing out due to a lack of funds, engineering reality, and the fact that the developing countries (China, India, Indonesia, African countries, Vietnam, and so on) will not sign on to a tripling of their energy costs for no benefit.

    The EU will face economic collapse if they persist with trying to meet the EU mandated carbon dioxide emission reduction goals they have set using ‘green’ energy. To reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than around 10% to 20% (without using nuclear energy) using green energy (wind and solar) requires energy storage (no viable options and a ball park cost for the increase in the cost of power factor of three to four times) and a super high tax on the estimated carbon emission for all goods and services purchased is required to stop carbon leakage. The super high carbon tax and the super high cost of energy will require and cause a permanent war time like reduction in standard of life and sacrifices for all citizens of the world.
    There is cooling observed in the Southern Hemisphere. Aerosol emission in the Northern Hemisphere cannot explain cooling in the high latitude regions of the Southern hemisphere.

    http://www.nature.com/news/climate-forecasting-a-break-in-the-clouds-1.10593

    In the end, Booth says, the changing output of industrial aerosols explains two-thirds of the long-term swings observed in sea surface temperatures (William: The reduction in aerosols explains two-thirds of the warming) in the North Atlantic. “It’s only in the current generation of models that we can see that relationship physically,” says Booth.

  217. philjourdan says:

    @Richie – The line is a famous one from Treasure of the Sierra Madre – “Badges? We don’t need no steenkeen badges!”.

    But I am curious as to what line you are referring to in The Good, The Bad and the Ugly?

  218. philjourdan says:

    I think Ryan shot himself in both feet, so he has more problems than posting here. LOL

  219. milodonharlani says:

    Richie says:
    August 2, 2013 at 6:17 am

    True, orbits are around barycenters, but that’s a refinement to or development of the heliocentric theory, similar to refinements & developments in universal gravitation, the Big Bang, evolution & other well-established theories. What started the Scientific Revolution was Copernicus’ recognition that earth is a planet, & that it & other planets go around the sun, not the sun & planets around the earth. (Also the work of Vesalius in life science.) Copernicus carried over from Aristotle the conviction that orbits were perfectly circular, but he was right on the big question, ie whether earth lies at the center of the solar system or not (or the universe as then conceived, a series of concentric spheres).

  220. Duster says:

    GlynnMhor says:
    August 1, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Maybe ‘proof’ isn’t for Science, but ‘disproof’ certainly is.

    As in when the predictions of a hypothesis are not substantiated by the observations, the hypothesis is usually deemed disproven..

    Since science is an approach to a controlled epistemology, that is, science is an attempt at a fully accountable chain of argument that always begins with empirical fact, that ought to be true. It isn’t, however, because 1) people do science, 2) people are inherently lazy, and 3) because of 2, will tend to lean on “trusted” authority rather than rework a “reasonable” chain of reasoning by testing the physical assumptions. Ideally science should approach explanatory ideas sceptically, but there is a serious investment in time, labor and learning in the “body” of of scientific knowledge. So, method and appropriately sceptical views and hedges (qualified addenda to arguments) are frequently short cut out of the loop. The entire climate debate can be reduced to a dispute over the issue of what authority to trust.

    Not even experimental arguments are safe here because the experiment itself will be interpreted (experimental results will be “explained”) according to multiple theoretical views, and the choice of explanatory model is to a degree governed by how much Occam’s Razor influences the choice of explanation. Occma’s Razor doesn’t insure “true” explanations, only shorter, more elegant ones, which would be more easily handled mathematically.

  221. I posted a response to Trzupek’s article here:

    http://bbickmore.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/heartland-knows-squat-about-science/

    REPLY: I quit reading after reading this in the first paragraph:

    “Instead, we should be MILITANTLY trying to get our students and the public to understand that science is always tentative, involves creativity, and so on. “

    Militantism and science have no place together. Your article fails right there. – Anthony

  222. Anthony,

    You said, “Militantism and science have no place together. Your article fails right there.”

    When the subject is being militant (figuratively speaking) about telling the unvarnished truth, I have to disagree with you. Relax and keep reading.

    REPLY:
    I knew you’d disagree, rather than choose a more appropriate word. If it turns me off, so it will with others. There’s no loss in making your article more appealing to a broader spectrum of people. – Anthony

  223. Anthony,

    You said, “I knew you’d disagree, rather than choose a more appropriate word. If it turns me off, so it will with others. There’s no loss in making your article more appealing to a broader spectrum of people.”

    If you would care to look up the word “militant” on dictionary.com, you will find that its FIRST definition as an adjective is, “vigorously active and aggressive, especially in support of a cause.” Now, are you really finding fault with me for saying that I think scientists should promote a realistic understanding of the nature of science in a “vigorously active and aggressive” manner? You couldn’t possibly have been interpreting my comments to mean that I think scientists should physically attack people who believe naive accounts of the nature of science, could you?

    Why should I change my post to accommodate people who either 1) don’t understand common English, or 2) willfully misunderstand me so they can take offense? If your threshold for taking offense is that low, I’m sure you would find something else to latch onto in the next paragraph or two.

  224. dbstealey says:

    kuhnkat & michael moon,

    Recently I ran across this interesting article. Ike was no saint.

  225. Brent Seufert says:

    Brings to mind what an an esteemed (/sarc) former Prime Minister of Canada Jean Cretien said – that may be apropos for the CAGW position….

    “A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It’s a proof. A proof is a proof. And when you have a good proof, it’s because it’s proven.”

  226. Mann is using a logical fallacy by blurring the definition of the word ‘proof.’ Prove scientifically that George Washington existed? Legal, historical, scientific and mathematically proofs have always been different. Science used to require repeatable experiments but with the expansion of the social ‘sciences’ assertion followed by volume has become the new modus operandi.

    Mann also faces the logical difficulty that ‘there is no proof in science’ and ‘the science is settled’ cannot both be true.

  227. frankpwhite says:

    From time to time we refer in our comments to Richard Feynman and his postion that no matter how good the theory, if observations show that the real world does not correspond with the theory the theory must go. This is a restatement of Karl Popper’s view that science never proves anything; science merely disproves theories that do not fit the real world.

    I suggest rereading what Michael Mann has said. It looks to me the same as what Popper and Feynman have said.

    Now if Professor Mann would practice what he preaches, we might be more willing to accept the substance of his scientific work. For a start, he should rerun the hockey-stick experiment omitting the dubious data, adopting a valid statistical methodology, and publish both the data and the computer code.

  228. JohnC says:

    I work with research scientists from varied institutions and disciplines in the course of their fieldwork. I cannot say that any of them would accept Dr. Mann’s assertion that a “credible theory” is merely a “best explanation”. To a man they would insist on a testable hypothesis followed by testing it. (The women too, but it scans better using the Germanic ‘man’ for the plural third person. ‘Man ist was man isst’ ) Of course, this is a self-selected sample of experimentalists, so it would be surprising to get any other result.

    Re: Barry Bickmore’s disputatious bickering.

    I presume you also reject the “catch more flies with honey” aphorism, and seek to replicate the old “hellfire & brimstone” revivalist of yore, yes? Elsewise, whyever would one start by calling upon folks to be militant before having properly laid a foundation (rhetorical or evidential) to support the call. Surely any reasonable auditor must, as Anthony did, reject your opening exhortation sans a properly supported argument.

    It does you no good to protest that you will justify it later. Absent a reasoned presentation, your alleged reasoned argument will not be heard. That leaves you preaching to the choir and the rabble.

  229. JohnC,

    The irony here is that I was encouraging people like Al Gore to stop saying things like “the science is settled,” because people tend to interpret that in absolute terms. I said that scientists should “militantly” (as in vigorously and aggressively) insist on telling the truth about science, instead of pretending that it is more cut-and-dried than it really is. That Anthony or anyone else would object to that, I never would have anticipated.

    Consider, for example, that just a couple years ago Anthony approvingly posted the news that a Nobel Laureate in physics, Ivar Giaever, had resigned from the American Physical Society because the society had released a statement that “The evidence is incontrovertible: global warming is occurring.” Giaever further commented, “In the APS it is ok to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/09/14/nobel-laureate-resigns-from-american-physical-society-to-protest-the-organizations-stance-on-global-warming/

    While I regret the mileage climate change contrarians got out of this episode, I have to admit that the APS was asking for it by using such absolutist language. Why? Because I make some attempt at intellectual consistency… unlike some.

  230. El Sledgo says:

    I had mentioned in the tips thread that warmist Phil Plait defended Mann in his blog recently, and is on the record denigrating skeptics as “deniers”. It’s rather sad that a “scientist” who specialises in astronomy can buy into the “CO2 is bad, mkay” mantra.

  231. KuhnKat says:

    Heh, your both wrong and so was I before I looked it up!!!

    The original version of the line appeared in B. Traven’s 1927 novel The Treasure of the Sierra Madre:

    “All right,” Curtin shouted back. “If you are the police, where are your badges? Let’s see them.”

    “Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and chinga tu madre!”

    The line was popularized by the 1948 film adaptation of the novel.[3] In one scene, a Mexican bandit leader named “Gold Hat”[4] (portrayed by Alfonso Bedoya) tries to convince Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart)[2] that he and his company are Federales:
    Dobbs: “If you’re the police where are your badges?”Gold Hat: “Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ badges!”

    In Mel Brooks’ 1974 Western Blazing Saddles, the line was delivered as “Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges.”

    Yup, the Mel Brooks line is closest to what many people remember!!

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

  232. KuhnKat says:

    Thank you. I read AT, but, missed that one.

  233. Ed Snack says:

    Mosher is, unfortunately, ridiculous once again. 2 + 2 = 4 is a correct statement only in base 5 and above mathematics, it is in fact wrong in base 3, thus it’s always correct only in Mosher’s rather limited imagination. The point is, if one plays word games, then definition is all important.

    One cannot prove any truly scientific theory, they can only be falsified, correct; so what’s with the emphasis on the 97% then ?

  234. Bruce Cobb says:

    This whole “proof” thing is just a straw man argument anyway, meant to distract from the real issues, such as Mikey’s pathological inability to tell the truth.

  235. harkin says:

    Mann CLAIMED he was awarded a Nobel Prize. For proof he offered a nice Xerox containing designs similar to a Nobel which said no such thing.

    His detractors CLAIMED he was awarded no such honor, and used statements from the Nobel Committee to support their assertions.

    In response, Mann’s NP claims were quickly scrubbed from websites for himself and his university.

    This wasn’t math so I guess it’s just a consensus that Mann is a fraud.

  236. Eli Rabett says:

    Ed pretty much illustrates the point of no proof in science when he says: Mosher is, unfortunately, ridiculous once again. 2 + 2 = 4 is a correct statement only in base 5 and above mathematics, it is in fact wrong in base 3, thus it’s always correct only in Mosher’s rather limited imagination.

    4 does not exist in bases below 5, it is not that 2 + 2 = 4 is an incorrect statement, 4 simply does not exist in lower bases. Similarly, scientific statements are always incomplete and one has to understand the limits in which the statements are made, therefore you can’t ever “prove” same.

    For example, increasing CO2 atmospheric mixing ratios above 400 ppmV bodes ill for many current biological systems. The rocks pretty much don’t care. . . .(yes there is a trick in there, ever meet a rock that gave a damn). Even equilibrium thermodynamics has limits. Among other things you need equilibrium, which ain’t so easy to reach absolutely. You also need a large enough system observed over a long enough time so that fluctuations are miniscule.

  237. DocMartyn says:

    Really you dumb bunny?

    10+10=100

    In base 2
    1 two and zero ones = 2
    1 four, 0 twos, and 0 ones = 4

    “For example, increasing CO2 atmospheric mixing ratios above 400 ppmV bodes ill for many current biological systems.”

    You know bugger all about biological systems. Go back to pretending the Earth is at ‘equilibrium’ and eat your droppings.

  238. milodonharlani says:

    Eli Rabett says:
    August 3, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    For example, increasing CO2 atmospheric mixing ratios above 400 ppmV bodes ill for many current biological systems.
    ——————-

    Please explain this baseless assertion.

    For the vast majority of the history of biological systems on Earth, the atmosphere has been far richer in CO2 than now. Higher CO2 levels correlate with more abundant life, in general. At multiples of 400 ppmv, some organisms might begin to suffer, but plants & other photosynthesizers would flourish. Optimum for organisms with high oxygen requirements, like humans, might be lower, however. As I’ve commented before, 1000 ppmv is probably a threshold for humans.

  239. Eli Rabett says:

    Current, milodonharlani. You know the biosphere we live in, not the dinos.

  240. Eli Rabett says:

    Dear Doc, the number 10 exists in base 2, the number 2 does not. The number 2 base 10 is equivalent but not the same as to the number 10 base 2. See, simple. That was Ed’s point. You wanna fight with him, go on.

  241. dbstealey says:

    Pay no attention to bunniboi, he is just playing word games.

    Mathematics is truth. Perverting the truth is typical of climate alarmists. But in fact, no matter what the base used, there is only truth, and not-truth.

    The rabbit prefers the not-truth of his word games. But we can handle rabbit intellects here with no problem. Easy-peasy.

  242. Gail Combs says:

    Eli Rabett says:
    August 3, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Current, milodonharlani. You know the biosphere we live in, not the dinos.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Then why do green houses use 1000 ppm CO2 and submarines go even higher?

  243. KuhnKat says:

    Brer Rabbut,

    “Current, milodonharlani. You know the biosphere we live in, not the dinos”

    you leftards are hilarious. First you scream that Christians and others are ignorant losers because we do NOT believe in evolution then you insist that evolution does not matter!!

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  244. KuhnKat,

    The problem is that evolution is thought to be quite slow. That’s why relatively rapid changes (including climate changes) in the past have resulted in mass extinction events–many organisms couldn’t adapt fast enough.

  245. gnomish says:

    ha ha- eli had cecotropes for breakfast again.

  246. Gail Combs says:

    William McClenney who has written about geology and Ice Ages here at WUWT, has an interesting ‘HERESY’ about Hominid evolution.

    THE FIFTH HERESY

    Zooming back to 2 million years ago, we see with the clarity of archaeological conviction that climate change has been very good to us….. Our brain case size has experienced dramatic increases, in fits and starts, of course, to go from about 500 cubic centimeters (cc) to about 2,500cc in the last 2-3 million years. The evidence is sparse…

    The genus homo diverged from the australopithecines about 2-3 million years ago (mya), after a sea level maxima (also called Global Warming) of between 3.2 to 2.8 mya. This period is presumed, by some, to have ended with a meteoric impact (0.5 km across) in the southeast Pacific Ocean at around 2.95 to 2.82 mya with the onset of the late Pliocene glacial event known as the Northern Hemisphere Glaciation (NHG), which it probably precipitated. This period of global cooling caused temperatures to plummet in Africa. The cooler drier air resulted in humid woodlands to die off giving way to wide, dry grasslands…. But we had to smarten up quick and deal with it. Paranthropus boisei made it through this one, and a few more, adapting from soft rain forest fruits and vegetables, to roots and grasses. Although Paranthropus boisei succeeded in transitioning to the savannah grassland environment in the early stages of going into the late Pliocene glacial period, he apparently did not develop tools, or any other diet. He had a braincase size of about 500-550cc and ranged eastern Africa from about 2.6 to 1.2 million years ago…..

    [lots more on human evolution]

    Eventually, via numerous glaciations, and the increased braincase size that these wrenchingly long freezing events spurred, we made it intact to the Nine Times Rule So the question really begs to be asked. Will it take another (let’s call it the next, since its actually time for the next one now) ice age to “smarten us up” some more? And the answer to that really depends upon whether or not you have glommed on to what the real problem is yet.….

    And 50% of the population has an IQ below 100, many of who are in politics….. /sarc

  247. kuhnkat says:

    Barry Bickmore,

    “The problem is that evolution is thought to be quite slow.”

    Exactly my point. Virtually everything on the planet evolved in a much higher CO2 environment. It hasn’t had “time” to “evolve” to a lower CO2 environment.

  248. Austin says:

    Those of you claiming that 2+2=4 is false in different bases confuse use and mention. It is true that “2+2=4″ is false in different bases because the quotation marks indicate that we are referring to the symbols themselves, which denote different numbers in different bases; but when written 2+2=4, the unquoted symbols denote the numbers themselves, whose form is independent of the arbitrary symbols used to represent them.

  249. philjourdan says:

    well, KuhnKat, since Blazing Saddles is one of my favorite movies, I can see my confusion, and I offer nothing but ignorance as an excuse. But I will bookmark your post – so I know in the future!

    Thanks for the leg work.

  250. philjourdan says:

    @ Gail Combs says: August 4, 2013 at 8:15 am

    And 50% of the population has an IQ below 100,

    Gail, no, no, no! With the new maxim that everyone is a winner, no one has an IQ under 100. Anyone who tests under that is given a bonus score.

  251. kuhnkat says:

    @ Gail Combs says: August 4, 2013 at 8:15 am

    And 50% of the population has an IQ below 100,

    Gail, obviously you are racist. (snicker)

  252. kuhnkat says:

    philjourdan,

    not to be too insulting of your memory/intellect but, I thought you were right!!! 8>)

    Blazing Saddles, like the original Airplane and a couple others, are gifts that keep on giving whether we can remember them all or not!!

  253. milodonharlani says:

    Gail Combs says:
    August 4, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Is this the impact cited? If so, its date is later:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jqs.2571/abstract

    IMO the onset of Pleistocene glaciation is pretty well accounted for by the closure of the Isthmus of Panama in late Pliocene time & Milankovitch cycles. But would like to hear an argument for an impact component.

  254. philjourdan says:

    @Kuhnkat – if you thought I was right, then I could not be all wrong. ;-)

  255. Jarrett Jones says:

    Everybody watch the pea.

    Mann speaks, the pea moves.

  256. Toto says:

    Mann, by philosophizing about math and science, is diverting attention away from his own failures in math and science and logic.

  257. “It’s not anti-gravity,” your guy corrected me. Even the transmission rate depends on the frequency that the radio uses.
    He said that he has improved a 100+ kilo mass — compact. These features have made
    a huge influence current trends, and thus definitely here to help keep.
    karen millen black.

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