I am a Skeptic

Posted by Dee Norris

skep·tic

One who instinctively or habitually doubts, questions, or disagrees with assertions or generally accepted conclusions.

from Greek Skeptikos, from skeptesthai, to examine.

The Thinker
The Thinker

I have been reading a lot of the debates that inevitably follow any MSM story on Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW).  In this story at the NewScientist, one of the comments stood out as a vivid example of the polarization that has developed between the those of us who are skeptical of AGW and those of us who believe in AGW.

By Luke

Fri Sep 12 19:15:22 BST 2008

The difference in response between skeptics and scientists is easily explained as the difference between inductive and deductive reasoning. Skeptics look for evidence to prove their conclusion and ignore any that does not fit what they believe. This makes it possible for them to believe in revealed religion and ignore anything that disputes it. I guess inductive reasoning can best be classified as deliberate ignorance. My condolences to practitioners of inductive thinking for your lack of logical ability. You don’t know what a pleasure it is to be able to think things through.

I was trained as a scientist from childhood.  My parents recognized that I had a proclivity for the sciences from early childhood and encouraged me to explore the natural world.  From this early start, I eventually went on to study Atmospheric Science back when global cooling was considered the big threat (actually the PDO had entered the warm phase several years earlier, but the scientific consensus had not caught up yet).  One thing I learned along the way is that a good scientist is a skeptic.  Good scientists examines things, they observe the world, then they try to explain why things behave as they do.  Sometimes they get it right, somethings they don’t.  Sometimes they get it as close as they can using the best available technologies.

I have been examining the drive to paint skeptics of AGW as non-scientists, as conservatives, as creationists and therefore as ignorant of the real science supporting AGW – ad hominem argument (against the man, rather than against his opinion or idea).  Honestly, I have to admit that some skeptics are conservative, some do believe in creation and some lack the skills to fully appreciate the science behind AGW, then again I know agnostic liberals with a couple of college degrees who fully accept the theory of evolution and because they understand the science are skeptics of AGW.  On the other hand, I have met a lot of AGW adherents who fully accept evolution, but have never read On The Origin of Species.  Many of the outspoken believers in AGW are also dedicated foes of genetically modified organisms such as Golden Rice (which could prevent thousands of deaths due to Vitamin A deficiency in developing countries), yet they are unable to explain the significance of Gregor Mendel and the hybridization of the pea plant,

In his comment, Luke (the name has been changed to protect the innocent) attributes inductive reasoning to skeptics and deductive to scientists.   Unfortunately, he has used inductive reasoning to draw general conclusions about skeptics based on his knowledge of a few individuals (or perhaps even none at all).

Skeptics are a necessary part of scientific discovery.  We challenge the scientific consensus to create change.  We examine the beliefs held by the consensus and express our doubts and questions.  Skepticism prevents science from becoming morbid and frozen.  Here are just a few of the more recent advances in science which initially challenged the consensus:

  • The theory of continental drift was soundly rejected by most geologists until indisputable evidence and an acceptable mechanism was presented after 50 years of rejection.
  • The theory of symbiogenesis was initially rejected by biologists but now generally accepted.
  • the theory of punctuated equilibria is still debated but becoming more accepted in evolutionary theory.
  • The theory of prions – the proteinaceous particles causing transmissible spongiform encephalopathy diseases such as Mad Cow Disease – was rejected because pathogenicity was believed to depend on nucleic acids now widely accepted due to accumulating evidence.
  • The theory of Helicobacter pylori as the cause of stomach ulcers and was widely rejected by the medical community believing that no bacterium could survive for long in the acidic environment of the stomach.

As of today, the Global Warming Petition Project has collected over 31,000 signatures on paper from individuals with science-related college or advanced degrees who are skeptical of AGW.  Someone needs to tell the AGW world that’s thirty-one thousand science-trained individuals who thought things through and became skeptics.

It was Cassandra who foretold the fall of mighty Troy using a gift of prophecy bestowed upon her by Apollo, Greek god of the Sun.  So it would seem fitting that I assume her demeanor for just one brief moment –

  • The theory of anthropogenic carbon dioxide as the cause of the latter 20th century warm period was widely accepted by the scientific consensus until it was falsified by protracted global cooling due to reductions in total solar irradiance and the solar magnetic field.

I am a skeptic and I am damn proud of it.

[The opinions expressed in this post are that of the author, Dee Norris, and not necessarily those of the owner of Watts Up With That?, Anthony Watts, who graciously allows me to pontificate here.]

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kim
September 14, 2008 7:07 am

Me too.
====

Gary
September 14, 2008 7:18 am

Poor dopey “Luke” – so proud of his supposed deductive abilities that he commits the simple error of assuming his premises are correct. Deduce all you want; if you’re building on quicksand, your house is going to fall down.

Mike Bryant
September 14, 2008 7:29 am

“(Skeptics) don’t know what a pleasure it is to be able to think things through.”
Yes, what a warm glow you experience in the bosom of conformity.

brazil84
September 14, 2008 7:37 am

All science relies heavily on inductive reasoning. We make a bunch of specific observations and try to come up with a general rule. That’s inductive reasoning.
Deductive reasoning is the opposite. You take general rules and apply them to specific circumstances.
Inductive and deductive reasoning are both appropriate if done in a reasonable way. Both are subject to the GIGO rule. Garbage in, garbage out.
If you start from shaky premises, deductive reasoning is likely to yield unreliable results. That’s one of the problems with climate modeling. Some of the premises built into computer models are based on issues which are not understood very well. This generates uncertainty in the results. With each iteration of the computer model, the uncertainty feeds on itself and grows. You are left with a result which is wholly questionable.
At the same time, one can observe that in the past, attempts to simulate and predict complex systems have not done very well. As a result one should be skeptical of an untested computer simulation which is advanced as making valid predictions.
Inductive reasoning to be sure, but very solid, IMHO.

J.Hansford.
September 14, 2008 7:39 am

Yep…. No warming for ten years and a Tropical Troposphere that hasn’t warmed in accordance to AGW models.
AGW falsifies itself.
Eventually Luke will be overwhelmed by the cognitive dissonance that surrounds him.
Unlike Luke… I tend to use my eyes, as well as my ears. An open mind is a great thing… But only if your brain doesn’t fall out. 😉

Don B
September 14, 2008 7:42 am

An embarrasingly short time ago I accepted AGW, since I had never done any serious reading about it. But it didn’t take many months of study to become skeptical. However, the true believers will not change their beliefs based on just a decade or two of fasification, and they will claim that CO2 will drive temperatures over centuries, forget the short term.
I am optimistic the ordinary citizen will see the light (and the cooling), and these articles and these blogs will help turn the tide.

Phillip Bratby
September 14, 2008 7:46 am

Dee,
What a wonderful posting; and as a trained scientist I agree with you entirely. I wish I could have put it so succinctly. I am very tired of the New Scientist position of accepting as gospel and without any evidence, all the AGW mantra.
Phillip

September 14, 2008 7:48 am

[…] at Watts Up With That?, Dee Norris states that she is a […]

Jon Jewett
September 14, 2008 7:58 am

Cool Post
I am in awe.
Steamboat Jack

Bibes
September 14, 2008 8:16 am

I was under the naive belief that scientific theories were built on empirical data from which they could be developed and proven.
If a theory is contradicted by further empirical data, then it shows that the theory is wrong.
However, it seems with the AGW believers insist that when contradicting data turns up, they simply say that “we know our theory is correct but the contradicting data show us that we need to tweak our computer models”
Hmmmmm……

dearieme
September 14, 2008 8:17 am

Obviously as a sceptic I am completely unqualified to have a view. I first wrote a program for the mathematical modelling of coupled chemical and physical phenomena more than 40 years ago. I spent my career not only writing mathematical models but also conducting experimental science, including rather a lot of temperature measurement. Hey ho. But “Luke” has at least one merit; he reminded me why I gave up regularly reading New Scientist decades ago.

Dan
September 14, 2008 8:21 am

You realize that this petition, which has gone through various names (see the Oregan Petition Project) was variously funded by the Heartland Institute and the George C. Marshall Institute, both which are themselves companies founded by Exxon.
It’s also circulated with a cover letter from Dr. Fred Seitz (see the site you link to for the Petition Project), who also was a denialism paid for years by the tobacco industry to tell the public that there is no scientific consensus that tobacco increases chances for cancer drastically.
Also attached to the petition was an apparent “research paper” titled: Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide. The paper was made to mimic what a research paper would look like in the National Academy’s prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy journal. The authors of the paper were Robinson, Sallie Baliunas, Willie Soon (both oil-backed scientists) and Robinson’s son Zachary. With the signature of a former NAS president and a research paper that appeared to be published in one of the most prestigious science journals in the world, many scientists were duped into signing a petition based on a false impression.
The petition was so misleading that the National Academy issued a news release stating that: “The petition project was a deliberate attempt to mislead scientists and to rally them in an attempt to undermine support for the Kyoto Protocol. The petition was not based on a review of the science of global climate change, nor were its signers experts in the field of climate science.”
The end result is that the Petition in question is a clever sham. Get a list of names together of scientists (rarely in the correct field to be of value, but that doesn’t matter to most people), put together a mock scientific journal article, and attach other things to give the appearance of credibility.

Clark
September 14, 2008 8:33 am

Ha! I gave a lecture in my University Intro Biology class last week about the dangers of consensus and used many of the same examples you have.
Go skeptics!

Leon Brozyna
September 14, 2008 8:36 am

Excellent posting.
Science is never settled; once it does so it becomes dogma. Based on knowledge we possess, a theory may seem solid today yet be thrown out tomorrow based on the acquisition of new knowledge.

G. Mueller
September 14, 2008 8:41 am

So am I.

Dan
September 14, 2008 8:44 am

By the way, if you wanted further confirmation that Mann et al. are on the money with the hockey stick reconstructions, they have a new paper out: Proxy-based reconstructions of hemispheric and global surface temperature variations over the past two millennia.
More comments on the new paper (published this past week) is in Nature:

A fresh analysis of climate indicators shows that the Northern Hemisphere is warmer now than it has been in at least 1,300 years.
Previous analyses of climatic history by Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University in University Park and his colleagues produced a distinctive ‘hockey stick’ shape; but some of this analysis, and the tree-ring data it used, came under attack.
The latest work by Mann and his co-workers involves various climate proxies, including corals, ice cores, historical records and marine sediments. The authors show that current warming is anomalous even if all tree-ring data are eschewed.

J. Peden
September 14, 2008 8:52 am

The simple fact that the AGW “Climate Scientists” did not check any of the World’s temperature sensors to see if they were up to specs means that these self-annointed “Scientists” are just not doing Science. And that’s only the tip of the ice berg involving what is instead merely a gigantic AGW propaganda op., complete with its intentionally panic-inducing disasterizing.
As a retired practitioner of medical science, and a Classical Liberal, I’m pissed! [But for a mere $10 billion I will assemble a bunch of likewise “Scientists” who will “prove” that Global Warming will induce a virtual Heaven-on-Earth state of affairs for us all!]
There is no proven disease, but instead only an obviously disasterous cure proferred by AGW “believers”. Watch Europe closely to see just what havoc this controllist, Communistic “cure” entails. The EU is boldly projecting ~1% GDP growth for its immediate future, while it would take an immediate increase of 40% in its productivity just to catch up to that of the U.S., which also out performs the EU in decreasing the rate of even [AGW-demonized] CO2 production simply by being more efficient.
Strangely, France seems to be the only beacon of reason within the “Old World”, with its one Nuclear Reactor per one million people compared to the U.S.’s one per three million people – and France uses our technology, while Faux Liberals in the U.S. have prevented us from using this same technology for over 30 years. [I’m pissed!] When in the course of Evolution was it ever a successful strategy to let those who are essentially functional Infants run society? When was it ever “Scientific”?

Richard111
September 14, 2008 8:57 am

Right on, Dee. Wish I could have expressed it so well.

Bruce Cobb
September 14, 2008 8:59 am

Poor, delusional “Luke”. As is so typical of AGW believers, he has it completely backwards. It is AGWers who look for evidence to prove their conclusion and ignore any that does not fit what they believe, making it possible for them to believe in revealed religion and ignore anything that disputes it.
I believed the AGW nonsense until I actually started looking for the proof of it. As a Democrat, and former Gore supporter I had every reason to believe it, and no reason whatever to become a skeptic.

Mike Bryant
September 14, 2008 8:59 am

A little snip from the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary:
“Latin or Greek; Latin scepticus, from Greek skeptikos, from skeptikos thoughtful, from skeptesthai to look…”
Thoughtful and seeking… Two attributes that are necessary for a scientist.

Sylvain
September 14, 2008 9:05 am

The reasoning of Luke is seriously flawed. Since I follow the debate on GW, AGW, is it happening or not. I have notice that true believer of the phenomenon deal particularly badly to anything that contradict their belief.
The best example is Michael Mann’s hockey sticks, which gave the true believer their argument that mankind was causing unprecedented harm to the goddess earth.
The demonization Steve McIntyre for having provided proof that the claim didn’t hold under scrutiny showed that believers mind is already made and that nothing unsupportive of their position can be true.
It also leads some “reputable” journals to make that statement:
“Nature 455, 140 (11 September 2008) | doi:10.1038/455140b; Published online 10 September 2008
Climate change: ‘Hockey stick’ holds up
Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 105, 13252–13257 (2008)
A fresh analysis of climate indicators shows that the Northern Hemisphere is warmer now than it has been in at least 1,300 years.
Previous analyses of climatic history by Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University in University Park and his colleagues produced a distinctive ‘hockey stick’ shape; but some of this analysis, and the tree-ring data it used, came under attack.
The latest work by Mann and his co-workers involves various climate proxies, including corals, ice cores, historical records and marine sediments. The authors show that current warming is anomalous even if all tree-ring data are eschewed.”
Shouldn’t they be scared to make such statement since it didn’t turned out so well the first time.

J. Peden
September 14, 2008 9:10 am

that should read above, “…did not check any of the World’s surface station temperature sensors…”

Mike Bryant
September 14, 2008 9:12 am

The difference between the Greek definition (to examine, to be thoughtful) and the modern day take (to be doubtful, to disagree with generally accepted conclusions) is telling.
Even the meanings of words have become politicized.

ultimate175
September 14, 2008 9:17 am

NOTE: The author broached this first, so I think the comment is relevant.
It’s always ironic that many skeptics of AGW fail to see the same patterns in treatment of those that are skeptics of Darwinism. The mechanisms of materialistic evolutionary change are, in my opinion, completely inadequate to account for much or most of biological sophistication. That’s not a religious position. It derives from what I think has been a fair evaluation of data in which I was not committed to a particular conclusion or inference.
But, Darwinism is orthodoxy. Skeptics are stereotypically and carelessly cast as fundamentalists, and thus the nature of modern skepticism of Darwinism is generally misunderstood. It’s a shame, just as it is in the case of AGW.
Reply – Darwinism was hardly orthodoxy when The Origin of Species was first published. Nor was the Heliocentric model. Nor was Bacterial Disease model… Nor was… Nor was… Nor was… – Dee Norris

Sean Wise
September 14, 2008 9:27 am

Dee,
As a scientist (Ph.D. Chemistry) I really enjoyed your post. A couple of years ago I had a discussion with my father in law about the inevitability of global warming, particularly as he said “all the scientists agree”. My response to him was quick and simple, good scientists are very disagreeable people. (I must admit I am a bit concerned he accepted that disagreeable part so readily.) The concensus argument itself leads me to think “railroad”. Good scientists challenge the status quo.

anna v
September 14, 2008 9:28 am

In my humble opinion a good theory is never destroyed. It can be superseded, it can become dated, but if the theory describes the data , and only thus it can be called a solid theory, it will become a subset of a bigger/different theory.
Newton’s gravity has not become invalidated by general relativity; it has just become a limiting form of it. Even the epicycle theory has not been invalidated by the heliocentric system; it was just shown to be a complicated many parameter way of describing something much simpler with fewer parameters.
AGW fails as a theory because it does not describe the data. It is a virtual reality model.

evanjones
Editor
September 14, 2008 9:28 am

What brazil84 said.
Inductive and deductive reasoning are both essential to science. And to history, I might add.
I can prove conclusively that 0.9-repeating equals 1exactly using either an inductive or deductive method.

Boris
September 14, 2008 9:35 am

The type of skepticism advanced on this site is an insult to the term. Any evidence that AGW might be a problem is dismissed after the most cursory of inspection. Any theory that might challenge AGW is accepted without much thought.

BarryW
September 14, 2008 9:41 am

Any scientist who is not skeptical is not worthy of that title. “Luke” is so ignorant of the concept of skepticism that it’s pitiful. Even in religion a skeptic is one who does not accept dogma at face value. AGW has become nothing more than a secular religion, where any facts that do not support the dogma are ignored and any who question the dogma are vilified. Even those who are “lukewarmers” area considered heretics by the Carbonista’s if they don’t accept Gore’s pronouncements on catastrophic AGW.
The central premise, that may not even be at a conscious level, is that anything man does is harmful, ergo generating carbon dioxide must be harmful. It is just a matter of determining what that harm is. So there you have Dan above flacking another Mann study attempting to prove that his incompetent statistical methods gave the right answer, even though the results fly in the face of historical accounts (and other analyses) of the last 1000 years for the MWP and LIA. Only someone who is determined to believe AGW regardless of factual evidence to the contrary would accept this at face value as “proof”.

September 14, 2008 9:42 am

[…] Too, Am a Skeptic Posted in Hypocrisy by mountainshout on September 14th, 2008 You’re not alone, Dee.  Though I don’t hold one of those fancy science-related college degrees, that whole logic […]

hyonmin
September 14, 2008 9:43 am

Dan
Have you looked at Mann’s data? The raw data doesn’t seem to show a hockey stick but after some math, Stanley cup here we come! Check http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=3601.

evanjones
Editor
September 14, 2008 9:44 am

By the way, if you wanted further confirmation that Mann et al. are on the money with the hockey stick
Yet it is getting hashed on CA. So I would hold on the party for the moment. (The Mann “data screening” is coming under particular scrutiny.)
What stands out most to me is that Mann is simply flying in the face of the historical record.

Terry
September 14, 2008 9:48 am

Why did you change Jim’s name to Luke?
Reply – ‘Luke’ represents a stereotype of one of the mindsets in the current AGW skeptic vs. believer debate and I desired my post today to be about that mindset and not the poster himself. This way each of the subsequent comments that refer to ‘Luke’ are in fact addressing this mindset. – Dee Norris

evanjones
Editor
September 14, 2008 9:56 am

The raw data doesn’t seem to show a hockey stick but after some math, Stanley cup here we come!
Mystery Math residing in the Tomb of the Undisclosed Algorithm.

evanjones
Editor
September 14, 2008 10:06 am

The type of skepticism advanced on this site is an insult to the term. Any evidence that AGW might be a problem is dismissed after the most cursory of inspection. Any theory that might challenge AGW is accepted without much thought.
Do I detect a note of skepticism? (Beware tripping over your own induction.)

Dan
September 14, 2008 10:07 am

Hyonmin,
So what if it gets hashed on Climate Audit, Steve Milloy’s site, or [snip]?

mcates
September 14, 2008 10:08 am

I was just talking with my wife last night about one of our friends who lives an admirably green lifestyle. By admirable, I mean they put their money where their mouth is.
Only one small problem. Our friend was talking just yesterday about the benefits of driving less now that gas prices are so high, “… it reduces the hole in the ozone.”
I cringed at the sentence she spoke. It’s hard to give someone a lecture on the science when they try so hard to make a difference.
The point being… our schools need to emphasize being a sceptic a bit more than they do. So that atleast if you are going to change your lifestyle, the reason you are doing so makes sense.

The engineer
September 14, 2008 10:11 am

Like any good engineer, I am, and will always be
a septic sceptic.
Unfortunately the unholy alliance between rabid enviromentalists,
sycophantic politicians, large politically-correct companies and morally
duplicit media is making the truth a very unfashionable commodity
these days.
Our best hope is an insanely cold winter to finally put the first nails
in the AGWs’ coffin.

evanjones
Editor
September 14, 2008 10:11 am

So what if it gets hashed on Climate Audit, Steve Milloy’s site, or [snip]?
The pedigree of the hash itself is more important than that of the cook. (And that Briffa “Mystery Meat” is getting a little rank.)
Where and by whom it gets hashed is secondary.

Dan
September 14, 2008 10:12 am

Also, why is it that the majority of the crowd refuses to see this sham (the Petition Project) for what it is? Were they skeptical over the link between cigarettes and cancer too? My bet is yes.

Cathy Wilson
September 14, 2008 10:15 am

Brava!
A great read. I enjoyed the links.
And I thoroughly enjoy your pluck.

Dan
September 14, 2008 10:17 am

Evanjones,
What pedigree? You mean Stephen McIntyre’s. Hahahaha. McIntyre, good pedigree of credibility?! Now that’s funny.

evanjones
Editor
September 14, 2008 10:19 am

Also, why is it that the majority of the crowd refuses to see this sham (the Petition Project) for what it is?
It is what it is. Unless the names and/or degrees are faked, how would it be a “sham”?
Were they skeptical over the link between cigarettes and cancer too? My bet is yes.
It is one thing for an interested party to fund research. It is another thing entirely to alter the results, as in the case of the tobacco companies.
I don’t suppose it’s relevant to point out that the (correct) connection between cigarettes and lung cancer was originally arrived at by inductive means?

Dan
September 14, 2008 10:22 am

Evanjones,
It is what it is. Unless the names and/pr degrees are faked, how would it be a “sham”?
Guess you missed my first comment.

evanjones
Editor
September 14, 2008 10:26 am

You mean Stephen McIntyre’s. Hahahaha. McIntyre, good pedigree of credibility?! Now that’s funny.
He doesn’t do the science. He audits the statistics. And unlike Mann, he does it out in the open with full disclosure.
Mann et al. won’t disclose their methods or even all their data. That, by definition, means that whatever they are doing, correct or not, isn’t science.

Dan
September 14, 2008 10:29 am

Mann et al. won’t disclose their methods or even all their data. That, by definition, means that whatever they are doing, correct or not, isn’t science.
[snip] You don’t get published without sharing methodology with the reviewers.
Oh, you mean they don’t share it with the general public? Again, so what?

evanjones
Editor
September 14, 2008 10:31 am

So, whatever is is or is not, by definition it isn’t science. That’s what.
Peer review doesn’t cut it. (Especially regarding any item of controversy and especially these days. Obviously.)
Independent review is a sine qua non.
I am a little surprised that you could say “so what”? The day that the skeptics refuse to disclose is the day I’ll start seriously doubting their honesty.

Dan
September 14, 2008 10:33 am

Evanjones,
Sure, PNAS is a helpless journal promoting pseudoscience, and Stephen McIntyre is a credible “auditor” of science.
LOL
Thanks for the laugh.

Dan
September 14, 2008 10:38 am

Okay, you edited your comment to say:
Peer review doesn’t cut it. (Especially regarding any item of controversy and especially these days. Obviously.) Independent review is a sine qua non.
You know, if it were one isolated study, or one source for proxy-based reconstruction, I’d say you’re absolutely correct. But here we’re talking about data that matches between tree-rings, corals, ice cores, historical records and marine sediments, all independently and corroborating.
So no, you appear to be full of “junk science” B.S.

evanjones
Editor
September 14, 2008 10:40 am

I didn’t say what it was. I said what it wasn’t.
And without independent review, science it ain’t.
Thanks for the laugh.
Always pleased to have been the conveyor of joy to a fellow world citizen.

Dan
September 14, 2008 10:42 am

Yes, without review, it couldn’t be called credible science. Good thing it’s in a peer-reviewed journal then.

Mike Bryant
September 14, 2008 10:44 am

Dan,
Glad to see that you have “migrated” to this blog. Look around and get acquainted with the place. Try to hold your anger and all your views will be read and commented on by many people here. There are many here who are published scientists. These guys enjoy the give and take.
Thanks for stopping by, we’re hoping you hang around.
Mike

evanjones
Editor
September 14, 2008 10:45 am

So are plenty of AGW-skeptical papers.
Peer review doesn’t cut it. Only independent review will do. If full data and methods are undisclosed, independent review is not possible.
It’s really as simple as that.

Dan
September 14, 2008 10:46 am

Okay, here’s a question for you Evanjones:
How do you explain corroboration of the hockey stick independently with tree-rings, corals, ice cores, historical records AND marine sediments?
Coincidence?

Dan
September 14, 2008 10:47 am

Oh, and this:
Peer review doesn’t cut it. Only independent review will do.
Right – those silly climate scientists can’t be trusted to evaluate the credibility of climate science. LOL
Dude, you’re a [snip – Anne the tough moderator].
Reply: Please be courteous. Name calling is a no-no here.
~Smokey the moderator

evanjones
Editor
September 14, 2008 10:49 am

If you say so.
Meanwhile, insofar as it comes to any subject of controversy, be it climate or history, I’m from Missouri.
(BTW I did not do the earlier “snip” and do not know what it originally said.)

CodeTech
September 14, 2008 10:50 am

Am I one of the few who has just read Monckton’s painfully detailed dissection and dismantling of the hockey stick?
I would suggest that any wanting to learn exactly how faulty and … okay, I won’t use the other f word here … let’s say, “Creative” the hockey stick is need to read its complete history.
And Dan, McIntyre was one of the peer reviewers for Ammann and Wahl’s attempt to regain credibility for the hockey stick. There was no methodology sharing, as you so forcefully claim.
Anyway, Monckton: http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/monckton/monckton_what_hockey_stick.pdf

evanjones
Editor
September 14, 2008 10:57 am

Coincidence?
Selectivity. (And in at least one case I know of, extreme alteration.)
Hence the need for full disclosure and open audit. Let data and methods do the talking. What straight-shooter would object to that?
And I think you will find the historical records heavily against you.

September 14, 2008 10:57 am

Anyone who sprinkles their comments with “ha ha ha” and “LOL” comes across as a uneducated teenager, not someone to be taken seriously.

Mike Bryant
September 14, 2008 10:57 am

I might be wrong but wasn’t the original hockey stick graph submitted to a journal with peer review? I believe that it was totally discredited. Peer review by no means guarantees truth.
“I think the time has come to push back, and point out that peer review is not the arbiter of truth. Truth is the arbiter of truth, and peer review is merely a flawed tool we use to help get there.
Peer reviewers don’t check to make sure the results are true. Peer reviewers do not typically replicate the experiment in question. They do not check the math. Most of what they do is check that the arguments are reasonable and that the experiment(s) were well designed. Peer reviewers do not necessarily even have to agree with a paper they accept. They may simply think the data are compelling and the arguments are worth hearing, even if they may be wrong.”-Submitted by coglanglab
Peer review has been oversold.
Also, Dan, Evan is no moron. That type of name-calling does nothing for your case.

hyonmin
September 14, 2008 11:02 am

Dan
Did you look at Mann’s source data? All of your HA HAs are like listening to a kid that hasn’t learned to read or do the math himself. Check the work. Do the math. Make some credible responses. Raising the DB doesn’t make your arguments even interesting.

September 14, 2008 11:05 am

Dan is attempting to argue that any association with oil companies invalidates anything said by a skeptical scientist. That, of course, is a pure ad hominem argument, and therefore it fails.
Rather than attempting to convince scientists by the use of his ad hominem, red herring and appeal to authority arguments – which fail the logic test – Dan needs to start arguing actual science.
There is a very minor effect from CO2. But it is so small that many other forcings completely negate the effect. That’s why the Earth has been cooling for many years. Check it out, Dan: click

Mike Bryant
September 14, 2008 11:09 am

Mann’s new and improved hockey stick is being systematically dismantled at Climate Audit by Steve McIntyre. The problems with this new incarnation are legion. It’s only a matter of time before this hockey stick lies broken, beside the old hockey stick.
http://www.climateaudit.org/
His most recent post, “Will the Real Slim Shady Please Stand Up? Re-Mix.
by Steve McIntyre on September 12th, 2008” reveals that even confirmed AGW proponents, are less than enamored of the poor science in that latest Mann fable.

evanjones
Editor
September 14, 2008 11:10 am

Guess you missed my first comment.
No.
All your first comment did was talk about who funded it and who didn’t like the declaration and what those people thought the ulterior motive of the declaration was.
It was a statement and it was signed. Unless the signers did not read what they were signing or did not agree with it, or the signatures themselves were bogus, it would seem the word “sham”, by definition, does not apply.

(I make the same objection when skeptics refer to AGW as a “scam” or a “fraud”.)

DAV
September 14, 2008 11:12 am

brazil84 (07:37:40) : All science relies heavily on inductive reasoning. We make a bunch of specific observations and try to come up with a general rule. That’s inductive reasoning.
Actually, that’s closer to abductive reasoning although they are similar. Abductive means arriving a probable cause vs. the cause. An hypothesis, if you will. Experimental design is deductive, i.e., given the cause, what are the expected effects. The experiment then sets out to see if it is the case. After many experiments, the hypothesis is then elevated to theory. The process of elevation is closer to induction.
Science is supposed to be doing both abduction and deduction because, oddly, abduction is the equivalent of the logical fallacy affirming the consequent. It can yield invalid causes thus making experiment necessary.
I guess it’s fair to say science is ultimately using induction but that really glosses over the process.
Being a skeptic or non-skeptic has little to do with the type of logic chosen. Author D. North has effectively put forth the proposition (not necessarily her own) that the process of arriving at a conclusion is different for skeptics. That proposition seems to imply that most skeptics are non-scientific in their approach. I think it’s fair to characterize scientific reasoning as skeptical reasoning.
Unfortunately, unscientific reasoning is a characteristic of both sides of the AGW debate. I’m not sure how to term these people. Maybe faithful is the best term. After all, they aren’t really looking at the evidence.
Without going into a lot of detail, I think that down deep, most people use a Bayesian approach — whether they readily admit this or not — because they rely on subjective probabilities. This allows differing abductive conclusions to be reached. The AGW scientists have assigned a low probability to alternate causes. The non-AGW scientists have assigned higher probability to alternate causes. In both AGW and GW camps, the faithful have assigned no probability to the evidence but high probability in the reliability of various sources. Also, whether anyone admits it, there is no absolute “truth” and a belief in a particular conclusion is just that, a belief.
It’s quite possible for two genuine skeptics to agree on a conclusion concerning one subject but to disagree on another. To make an observed association between one’s belief in differing topics is effectively an ad hominem.
To sum it all: SCIENTIST == SKEPTIC and both sides of AGW debate have the FAITHFUL. Looking back over the above posts I’m willing to bet on who is which but I’ll keep that list to myself 😉
Reply – I was wondering when someone would make the leap from deductive reason to abductive reasoning. Abductive is prone to generating false results, more so than either deductive or inductive, but it has its uses for narrowing the field of outcomes. – Dee Norris

September 14, 2008 11:16 am

Dan – please explain this:
http://news.yahoo.com/story//afp/20080905/lf_afp/switzerlandarchaeologyclimatewarming
in light of “warmer now than for 1300 years blather, blather…”
And…
“Right – those silly climate scientists can’t be trusted to evaluate the credibility of climate science. LOL”
….is the first sensible thing you have said. Poor review is broken beyond repair. I wish I knew how to replace it to your obviously scrupulous criteria.

J. Peden
September 14, 2008 11:16 am

“The authors show that current warming is anomalous even if all tree-ring data are eschewed.”
Well, then try telling that to the Bristlecone Pines, which used to grow at an altitude 330 feet higher in the White Mountains of Calif. than they do today, Mr. Nat. Acad. Sci.. I’ll bet that the Bristlecones don’t like to be “eschewed” [shunned or ignored], nor their ancestors thought of as “anomalous” [in the sense of being unnatural freaks].
The fact that some of these AGW people can’t seem to see their own impotent word-game propagandizing, or else think that no one will notice it and their very convenient use of language and alleged facts, is one of the main things which continually amazes me. [I’m sure I’m not alone.]
And, even though the evidence for the MWP is massive – the ipcc even had it featured in its 1995 graph – why is the time span of a mere 1300 years past suddenly the magic period which determines if there was or was not ever a naturally warmer time in the Earth’s more recent history?
For example, Stephen F. Arno states in his book “Timberline – Mountain and Artic Forest Frontiers”, pub. by The Mountaineers, 306 Second Ave., Seattle Washington 98119, etc., 1984, pg. 81:
“Another use of timberlines as a climatic indicator lies in measuring the timing and magnitude of the major warm period [the Hypsithermal] since the last ice age. Remains of large trees above the current alpine timberlines in the Great Basin, the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland, and at numerous locations north of the current polar timberline indicate that the climate was substantially warmer a few thousand years ago [Wardle 1974]. Dates of the Hypsithermal vary by region.”
Arno, pg. 26, quoting Wardle, apparently considers “that ‘timberline is the sharpest temperature-dependent boundary in nature’.”
As to the Great Basin’s reflection of the Hypsithermal, Arno cites current Bristlecone Pine treelines vs “remnants” above current treelines in the White Mountain Range of California’s eastern Sierras [along with the Bristlecone treelines and remnants in the Snake Range of east-central Nevada], pg. 82:
“These remnants indicate that the forest extended at least 330 feet in elevation higher than at present during a warmer climatic period from 4000 to 2000 years ago [LaMarche and Mooney, 1967, 1972].”
So I’m not that down with the Nat. Acad. Sci. in totally “eschewing” tree data, which so far doesn’t really tell these “experts” what they want to hear.

rapcon
September 14, 2008 11:23 am

I too am a skeptic who lives in Alabama. My life’s moto “Trust nothing, Question everything!”. Isn’t that what we all do in reality?

bucko36
September 14, 2008 11:30 am

Dee:
From one “AGW skeptic” to another. Thanks for a job well done! I really enjoyed your article and the comments it has brought forth.

Mike Bryant
September 14, 2008 11:30 am

Wow… What a great post. Thank you Dee.

September 14, 2008 11:32 am

I too claim the new moral high ground of skeptic and try to use both inductive and deductive reasoning. A mind should always be open, but critically so.
I am not a stereotype! I am a free man! (Sorry, watching too many ‘Prisoner’ re-runs)

deadwood
September 14, 2008 11:33 am

Full disclosure – I do not work for an oil company, but do work for a government environmental agency.
I, like many of my colleagues (not a majority, but still sizable), am skeptical of AGW (Alarmist Global Warming) theory.
As a scientist I am very disappointed in the actions of colleagues who follow the herd when it comes to this debate. Science is not about a consensus. Science is about describing what is happening. If science finds a better way of describing things, then that description replaces the old one.
The 31,000 petition is no better than the 2,500 IPCC experts. Both are attempts to infer that a consensus agrees or disagrees with a position on AGW. Both are political statements.
What fuels my skepticism of the AGW position is the lack of transparency of its adherents and the lack of agreement between the data and the models.
Reply – I see the 31,000 strong petition as a clear statement that there is no consensus. If you read the link for the Purpose of the Petition you can see this this was the intent of the project. – Dee Norris

Simon Abingdon
September 14, 2008 11:39 am

Dee, Like you, I am a skeptic and I yearn for AGW to be proved wrong! But Luke´s ignorance of how science works has nothing to do with the issue. I recently experienced an enormous shock when I read the exchanges in Duae Quartunciae´s “The APS and global warming: What were they thinking?” If you haven´t read him, please do. As he says “It´s the physics, stupid!”

DJ
September 14, 2008 11:41 am

Dan,
A Canadian Steve McIntyre has found a lot of Holes in Mann’s Statistical Data!
It took a lot of Requests from Steve to Mann to receive Mann’s Inputs in His Studies! Go to Climate Audit.
http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=3608

September 14, 2008 11:42 am

There are over 31,000 scientists who have co-signed the OISM Petition. One of those scientists is Prof. Freeman Dyson.
I will sit up straight and pay attention to what Freeman Dyson says over what Michael Mann claims. Remember that Mann still refuses to disclose his taxpayer-funded data and methodologies regarding his “Hockey Stick” invention. Doesn’t that tell you something?

Mike Bryant
September 14, 2008 11:43 am

Deadwood,
It’s good to hear that there is skepticism within a government environmental agency. I have a feeling that AGW would have already been beyond question if the proponents had not tried to push the catastrophic angle. For me, this is the part of the whole thing that is so ludicrous.
Of course, without the catastrophism, there would be no reason for drastic actions and increased taxation.
Mike Bryant

evanjones
Editor
September 14, 2008 11:43 am

BTW, Good post, Dee.

Stu
September 14, 2008 11:43 am

I consider myself fairly green, but have in the last couple of years gone from unquestioning belief of AGW to a more interested and open-minded scepticism, mainly born of the mainstream media’s handling of this issue, which even if you’re not looking closely… I mean, it’s just awful! 🙁
…(thought- If you want to turn people off of AGW, then the media simply has to keep going the way it’s going now. All this sensationalist headline grabbing and simple fact dismissing is getting completely out of hand)
It’s obvious to me that a lot of people who spout global warming alarmism aren’t exactly interested in the science. Some people want to change the way other people live, and fear/desire are the two best ways we know- but if we are really seriously interested in helping the environment, it really makes sense to get the science part right, and that means questioning, testing- a healthy dose of skepticism. It’s possible that over the coming years we’ll waste incredible amounts of money, time and resources on expensive ventures which won’t have any actual environmental benefit. Serious environmentalists should naturally be skeptical, and strive to look at both sides of the GW argument. Simple feel good/feel bad ideologies aren’t going to help.
http://icecap.us/images/uploads/ipccchart.jpg

Bill Illis
September 14, 2008 11:49 am

It really comes down to if you:
– “believe” in the computer models; or
– are mostly convinced by the empirical data and the actual physics calculations.
Luke’s comment comes from a “belief” because if he understood that ALL of the serious global warming impacts ONLY come from the results of the computer model simulations (versus actual evidence), he might change his tune.
Even the commentary from Spencer Weart (the official global warming historian) at RealClimate this week said that there is no physics calculations that predict 3.0C of warming per doubling, it ONLY comes out of the global climate simulations.
The basic physics calculations say 1.2C per doubling – an inconsequential figure really. If the computer models kept spitting out 1.2C, the modelers and Hansen would have to say “okay, this is a minor problem we can probably forget about.” It is only when Hansen’s tweaked computer models say 4.5C that they get to scream “global warming disaster – send us money.”
Science is not about belief (especially belief in the results of a significantly manually adjusted computer program) – it is about evidence.
Does the FDA allow new drugs into the market based on
– computer simulations; or do they,
– insist on double-blind, placebo-controlled, replicated well-designed studies that use rigourous statistics to demonstrate/prove the drugs are beneficial and do not cause harm.

Admin
September 14, 2008 11:50 am

There appears to be at least four moderators online at the moment. Kinda funny results ~ charles the moderator

Stu
September 14, 2008 11:50 am

Hmmm.. I accidently posted a link to a temperature graph in my comment above. I was going to relate it to something Amanda Lynch said in the Age a few days ago, about global temps tracking above the IPPC’s projected scenarios. According to that graph, they’re not- which makes me want to ask, why does she say they are?

brazil84
September 14, 2008 11:54 am

Also, why is it that the majority of the crowd refuses to see this sham (the Petition Project) for what it is?
For what it’s worth, I am a skeptic and I think that the 30,000 thing is a bit of a sham, in that the signatories are characterized as “scientists.” I would qualify as a “scientist” under their definition, even though I do not consider myself to be one.
Were they skeptical over the link between cigarettes and cancer too? My bet is yes.
So what if they were? Depending on what evidence is available, it may be perfectly reasonable to be skeptical about something which later turns out to be true. At a certain point, reasonable skepticism turns into unreasonable closed-mindedness. Given what is known today, no reasonable person is skeptical about the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer.
However, we are nowhere near that point with CAGW.

Mike Bryant
September 14, 2008 11:57 am

Dan,
Come back and comment.
Mike

ultimate175
September 14, 2008 12:02 pm

Dee, heliocentrism and bacterial models for disease aside, the mechanisms for material evolutionary change are still inadequate to account for the origin of many biological features. The more we unpack the cell the worse the problem gets. I understand my opinion puts me in the minority, but it’s a quickly growing minority, and one characterized by bright, thoughtful, measured people.
Reply – I am not going to debate the issues you bring up. I am very well aware they exist but I am comfortable saying ‘I just don’t know’ when confronted for an opinion. – Dee Norris

Mike McMillan
September 14, 2008 12:04 pm

Excellent post, Dee, but
. . . the drive to paint skeptics of AGW as non-scientists, as conservatives, as creationists and therefore as ignorant of the real science supporting AGW.
The True Believers are right on that one. I am a skeptic, and I am indeed a non-scientist, a conservative, a creationist (of the big-bang type, not the 7000 yr variety), and I am Totally ignorant of “the real science” supporting AGW. I am also a Christian and I believe God works through mechanisms (e.g. evolution). I trust the moral teaching in the Bible, but for the physical details, I don’t think God would have gotten very far trying to explain General Relativity to Moses.
Luke –
. . .This makes it possible for them to believe in revealed religion and ignore anything that disputes it. I guess inductive reasoning can best be classified as deliberate ignorance.
I am smart enough to know that God is not subject to scientific proof, and I question the intelligence of ‘scientists’ who don’t know it, or who do and try to disprove God anyway. That’s the real LOL.
mcates –
“… it reduces the hole in the ozone.”
I, too, cannot sleep at night for worrying about penguins dying of skin cancer.
Reply – Skeptics come from all walks of life and the AGW debate cannot be simply be framed as Democrats vs Republicans, Agnostics vs Deitists, Blue-Collar vs White-Collar or any of the other polarities used to characterize the major issues under review in the world today. Let move off religion and creationism, lest Jeez [snip] me too! – Dee Norris

Admin
September 14, 2008 12:05 pm

I smell an evolution discussion brewing. That’s a no no.
~ charles the moderator.

Admin
September 14, 2008 12:07 pm

and a religious discussion, also a no no. ~ charles the moderator
no last words, no but…but….but…
please stop now.

CodeTech
September 14, 2008 12:14 pm

I’d also like to chime in with a “Good Job, Dee” !
Since there’s a Nascar race on at the moment, please bear with me a moment while I recount a relevant story from 1997. I was a member of a car-related mailing list. Several hundred of us with the same kind of turbo cars had an active and very useful ongoing discussion about improvements. All was going well until The Topic came up.
Someone brought up the topic of intercooler color. In a turbo car, an intercooler is an air-to-air radiator that cools the pressurized air coming out of the turbo, increasing its density. Increased density and lower charge-air temperature dramatically increases the amount of power a turbo car can make.
So the question came up: what color radiates the heat better? It seems relatively minor, but it became a major argument, with hurt feelings and dozens of long-time list members leaving in disgust, and some being banned for going over the top in their arguments.
Since this is a science-related topic, I’m certain some of you reading know right away whether black or white would radiate better, or whether no paint at all would be better (to eliminate the insulating effect the paint has), but in the end it made NO DIFFERENCE. With upwards of 750 cubic feet per minute of flow through the intercooler, the minuscule difference that the color would make is completely lost. Back to back runs at the track with various colors of otherwise identical intercoolers were inconclusive, since normal variations in each run far overpowered the tiny difference of color.
I see the current CO2 forcing as the exact same issue. I’ve never argued that there is no difference from CO2, only that the amount of CO2 forcing is overpowered by other natural forcings. Also, the planet has a very efficient CO2 regulation system and can easily absorb any amount of CO2 that we mere humans are capable of putting into the atmosphere. And the concept of us reaching a “tipping point” is just plain ridiculous.
My personal skepticism began in 2002. Prior to that, I had unquestioning faith that the big-name scientists knew what they were talking about. I was actually researching AGW for a major web site I was building when I realized that there was, in fact, no credible evidence for AGW. In fact, there appeared to me to be a culture of fabrication in the “evidence” we were being given. It was clear to me from the start that by discounting any research that had any touch from the oil industry, the proponents were shutting down science.
Personally, I am in love with Science. I crave an orderly world, and am more excited watching a Shuttle launch than driving a 1100HP Corvette around a track. But I am dismayed at the pseudo-science I see in virtually everything that seems to be related to “environmentalism”. The AGW theory, as understood by the layman, not only IS bunk, but has been completely debunked as far as I can see. And yet, there are people who will fight and argue for it without really understanding anything about science. There are people who will risk life and limb and jail time to vandalize power plants because they so firmly believe something that I recognize as wrong. And there are “scientists” who will defend them.
Science is taking a major beating, and it is up to us “skeptics” to get it back on track.

ultimate175
September 14, 2008 12:15 pm

Charles, evolution was used in the original post in reference to characterizing skeptics. I realize that’s off topic for the site, but I thought it would OK to comment on it given it’s inclusion in the article. Apologies for going there.
Dee, “I just don’t know” would be a welcome statement from many scientists in contrast to the unsubstantiated just-so stories they proffer. Good to hear you think it’s a reasonable answer…
Reply – Skepticism sometimes means admitting one just does not know. However, it does not mean that one stops trying to know. The issues of complexity in cellular microbiology you bring up may very well have valid scientific explanations. Personally, I suspect they do and historically, that is the pattern – it may take a year or 100 years, but 100% of the historic similar incidents have been resolved. In the meantime, I just don’t know. A little mystery in life is a neat thing and I look forward to being surprised at the outcome. – Dee Norris

ultimate175
September 14, 2008 12:34 pm

I love materialistic IOU’s – there’s no shortage of them. And design is a scientific inference. Just ask SETI.

Frank L/ Denmark
September 14, 2008 12:40 pm

Religous? YES! In Denmark we have a debate where some pro-AGW people directly says : “If the IPCC says the moon is made of green cheese, i believe it”.
First the AGW tries some arguments they have learned. When these quite rapidly fall to the ground they use the argument: “But how can the whole world be wrong about AGW?” and they considder the sceptics for “Conspirathy thinkers”.
These peoble seems extremely indifferent with facts.
So Religion, yes, it more and more looks like a religion.

TerryS
September 14, 2008 12:40 pm

Dan,
the thing about the hockey stick is that, well, its a hockey stick. The temperature graph shows a practically level temperature gradient up until the late 19th early 20th century with no MWP or LIA. Without either of these periods being represented on the shaft of the stick the temperature reconstruction must be invalid.
There is excellent evidence for both of these periods, for example
radiocarbon dating of organic remains exposed by retreating glaciers
in Greenland indicates that there must have been sustained warming over
a long period of time. There are also many written accounts throughout
Europe of the LIA. And of course many of the ice and sediment cores also
show the same MWP and LIA.
The AGW proponents will simply dismiss anything like this as a local phenomenon (lasting several hundred years!) and I might be happy to accept this argument if they could show either a similar effect occuring over the last hundred years somewhere in the world or if their climate models could demonstrate exactly how it could occur.
Of course, they wouldn’t be able to show a similar effect over the last hundred years since if it did occur it would be put down to AGW and not a naturally occurring phenomenon.
BTW are you any relation to Nelson Muntz?

Dodgy Geezer
September 14, 2008 12:43 pm

The Climate Change Creed – appointed to be read in laboratories.
I believe in Global Warming, which will destroy heaven and earth unless we change our ways.
I believe in Al Gore, Who conceived the Internet
and the hockey-stick graph, born of Professor Mann.
It suffered under McIntyre and McKitrick,
was crucified, disproven, and was buried.
It was cast on the reject pile.
On the third day It rose again.
It was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science,
and is displayed in a prominent position in all IPCC literature.
It will apply again as soon as global temperatures start rising.
I believe in the CO2 tipping point,
the IPCC Assessment Reports,
a CO2 sensitivity figure of over 4 C/W,
the accuracy of GCMS,
an anthropic cause for all climate variation after 1970,
and grants everlasting.
AMEN.

Stefan
September 14, 2008 12:47 pm

Skeptics are seen as “irresponsible” because they quibble over details while Rome burns. They interfere with humanity’s collective ability to respond to the environmental crisis.
In the bigger picture, humanity has come from smaller social units, which over thousands of years, gradually built material means and technology to increase lifespan, health, communications, transcend dogma, and integrate as ever larger social units, until a “global world” became a viable idea.
On the global stage, environmentalists often accuse dissenters of being deluded, corrupt, and even criminal. They form sub-groups that fight against business, prosperity, and normal modern aspirations. They pitch themselves against the rest with an “Us vs Them” mentality. These sub-culture wars are divisive. They lead to more fragmentation just at a time when the world needs more integration.
Pitching the environment against energy and business, “the root of the problems”, puts the environmental movement into an unmaintainable and unsustainable position. They will not be able to respond to the world’s problems, because we usually solve socially pertinent problems by advancing integration, not by going the other way; increasing fragmentation. Their inability to respond maturely could be seen as an irresponsibility far greater than a few skeptics could muster. Kinda sad actually.

pkatt
September 14, 2008 12:48 pm

“Many of the outspoken believers in AGW are also dedicated foes of genetically modified organisms such as Golden Rice (which could prevent thousands of deaths due to Vitamin A deficiency in developing countries), yet they are unable to explain the significance of Gregor Mendel and the hybridization of the pea plant,”
I wish you wouldnt lop people together in big globs like that. Im anti AGW yet am still an advocate of labeling and controling genetically altered foods. Why you ask? First off a majority of genetically altered crops carry a dominant gene, meaning if you grow them next to a non genetically altered field they will both produce genetically altered product. I also have issue with any company owning the rights to plants. I fear the ‘greater good’ frankly because I do not trust frankenstein:) What genetic alteration does do is create a batch of clone plants who are all suceptable to the same desease and easily wiped out, diversity is what will keep the world fed.
Reply – As I am sure you realize, clones and GMOs are different things. A clone can be of a perfectly ordinary organism and GMOs can have a lot of intra-speciesdiversity between individual specimens. The danger from a lack of diversity in our food source is equally a risk with using limited non-GM0 food-stocks as with GMOs. In both cases, inter and intra-species diversity can be lost by the exclusion of other variations on a species. However, a case can be made that GMOs can increase intra-species diversity by adding to the gene pool. Clones, however, are a huge risk as inter-specimen diversity can be lost. – Dee Norris

Patrick Henry
September 14, 2008 12:57 pm

I attended a lecture this week by IPCC lead author David Randall. He intentionally and often blurred the line between measured data and theory, at one point presented Mann’s temperature reconstructions as “well established science.”
But the one useful piece of information I took away was his statement that unusually cold periods can not be attributed to CO2. He was insistent that climate change and warming go hand in hand. This is an important point, as activists attempt to morph their arguments to cover up the failure of the models used by the IPCC.

evanjones
Editor
September 14, 2008 12:59 pm

“just-so stories”
The Sing-Song of Old Mann Kangaroo
He was grey and he was woolly, and his pride was inordinate: he danced on an outcrop in the middle of Australia . . .

J. Peden
September 14, 2008 1:03 pm

Imo, anyone who thinks “peer review” insures that a paper or study delivers given truth is deluded – though it might be nice if it were so, just like most Fairy Tales.
Regardless, until McIntyre and McKitrick got hold of the data involved in MBH98 – with great difficulty – apparently the only ipcc reviewers of this document were the authors, MBH!
So much for ipcc peer review, eh?

David S
September 14, 2008 1:08 pm

I agree completely. Its amazing how much venom is heaped on AGW skeptics. But I suppose we have it easy compared to those who were skeptical of the prevailing wisdom in the past. When Galileo said the earth was not the center of the universe he was forced to recant and sentenced to house arrest for the remainder of his life, despite the fact that he proved it. The church didn’t get around to exhonerating him until 3 centuries after his death.
This is one more reason to be thankful we have a constitution that protects us from such things.

Chris H
September 14, 2008 1:11 pm

Dan, if you want to be taken seriously, then please take other people’s replies seriously (rather than laughing at them without giving a proper answer).
Look at graphs of the source data for Mann’s latest analysis (it’s up on Climate Audit for anyone to see). There is NO hockey stick in most of them, they mostly look like random noise!
Regarding your disbelief of the Petition, what has (alleged) Oil backers to do with anything? As long as the people signing it are real & honest, the Petition is exactly what it appears to be – 30,000 (?) scientifically literate people who are skepical of AGW.

Glenn
September 14, 2008 1:26 pm

Moderator, this may be of interest to you and the group:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080910133934.htm
“Contrary to 40 years of conventional wisdom, a new analysis published in the journal Nature suggests that old growth forests are usually “carbon sinks” – they continue to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and mitigate climate change for centuries.”
[…]
“In the 1960s, a study using 10 years worth of data from a single plantation suggested that forests 150 or more years old give off as much carbon as they take up from the atmosphere, and are thus “carbon neutral.”
“That’s the story that we all learned for decades in ecology classes,” Law said. “But it was just based on observations in a single study of one type of forest, and it simply doesn’t apply in all cases. The current data now makes it clear that carbon accumulation can continue in forests that are centuries old.”
Perhaps those that call for criminalization of skeptics should call for those that followed this conventional wisdom be imprisoned.

nigel jones
September 14, 2008 1:33 pm

As I see it, the Mann Hockey stick story runs like this:
Mann took certain datasets argued to be proxies for past temperatures and subjected them to statistical analysis producing the Hockey Stick. This was a potentially important result from the point of view of science and the emerging political momentum regarding AGW. If a piece of scientific investigation produces an important result, it’s necessary that the work should be scrutinised to make sure that it’s reliable knowledge which others can reproduce. It was reviewed, but not closely scrutinised. Unfortunately the Hockey Stick had rapidly become a significant piece of imagery in a political movement.
Steve McIntyre is a statistician who was intrigued by this research and investigated it, meeting with obstruction as to both the data used and the statistical methods employed. He found that the statistical methods used were invalid and his work was endorsed by authorities in the field of statistics. Now, there’s really no reason that the data and methods used should have been withheld from scrutiny, otherwise what’s being asked for is tremendous faith placed in a result which has not been properly tested. This wouldn’t normally happen with a pivotal piece of scientific research.
Scepticism, inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning seductive reasoning….
All I want to see in this is reliable knowledge, in so far as the scientific method is a system of building models each tested and each valididated maybe with its limitations, until a better model is created. This requires critical thinking, testing new findings and doubt as to whether new and remarkable conclusions are valid and safe to proceed on provisionally. You can’t separate the political aspect of this and the huge changes predicated on it, so I’d say, it’s particularly important to be sure that the findings on which this is based are the best knowledge of the subject we are capable of having. The Mann Hockey Stick fails miserably on this count.
All this talk about 1,500 experts have endorsed this and 30,000 experts have questioned that, and the consensus held by whoever, strikes me as argument from authority and not very well considered argument from authority at that.

CodeTech
September 14, 2008 1:52 pm

Nigel Jones and others:
The 31,000 scientists are not “proof” that AGW theory is wrong, and never were intended to be. They are, however, proof that the science is far from “settled”, there is in fact a “debate”, and claims to the contrary are wrong.
A quick skim through the list demonstrates more expertise in related disciplines than the IPCC can claim, even though it should be well known that not ALL scientists the IPCC claims in fact agreed with the IPCC’s conclusions.

Peter
September 14, 2008 2:05 pm

Nigel Jones: “…otherwise what’s being asked for is tremendous faith placed in a result which has not been properly tested.”
Couldn’t agree more.
I write, and review, software for embedded systems, and I know only too well how errors remain overlooked through the most rigorous of review processes, only to become glaringly obvious during testing.

BarryW
September 14, 2008 2:14 pm

Dan, since you appear to be a True Believer facts won’t affect you but I’ll try anyway. Major statisticians have refuted Mann’s methodology, not just Steve McIntyre. Both Wegman and Ian Jolliffe, a noted principal components authority, repudiate Mann’s usage of PCA. It doesn’t matter that Mann has new data, the methodology itself is fatally flawed>/em>.

September 14, 2008 2:15 pm

“How do you explain corroboration of the hockey stick independently with tree-rings, corals, ice cores, historical records AND marine sediments?”
I’ll answer that. It’s because if the statistical algorithms used. If the algorithms produce a hockey stick with random red noise, then it wouldn’t matter what the inputs wer. It could be corroborated by thousands of proxy sources and still be meaningless.

September 14, 2008 2:19 pm

“Dan is attempting to argue that any association with oil companies invalidates anything said by a skeptical scientist. That, of course, is a pure ad hominem argument, and therefore it fails.”
That knife cuts both ways, but few seem to recognise it. If any pro-AGW scientist has any ties to any organisation which would benefit from the advancement of AGW hypotheses, they would be equally tainted (or untainted, as the case may be).
Ties to nuclear, solar, wind, geothermal energy to start. How about carbon trading? What about to any government agency that would gain a larger budget? If scientists with ties to oil (no matter how tenuous) are immediately corrupted by it, why not scientist tied to the other side of the fence?

September 14, 2008 2:27 pm

The AGW theory has nothing to do with real science but is basically a political ploy by one of the most corrupt and inept organizations ever created by humankind and its adherents to control worldwide activities for socialistic purposes that will eventually, if left unchecked, result in the loss of our freedoms. I wonder if we will eventually have another ‘Fahrenheit 451’ where all the skeptics’ books are burned.

Janama
September 14, 2008 2:45 pm

This letter to the editor was worth noting:
David McKnight, of the University of NSW, alleges that ExxonMobil has funded “junk science” with the intent to “deny” climate change (“The climate change smokescreen”, August 2).
ExxonMobil agrees climate change is a serious issue and is taking action to address it. We are an active player in the debate on Australia’s climate policy. We are taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at our operations and have invested in energy-efficient cogeneration technology that has saved more than 10 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
The work of ExxonMobil scientists has produced more than 40 papers in peer-reviewed literature. Our scientists participate in the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and numerous related scientific bodies. We have supported major climate research projects at some of the finest academic and governmental organisations in the world, representing a range of positions on the science of climate change.
McKnight has ignored the fundamental point that ExxonMobil does not try to control the views and messages of those whom we support. A case in point: one of the institutions we have funded for many years is McKnight’s employer.
Trisha Perkins Public affairs manager, ExxonMobil, Australia

Dan Lee
September 14, 2008 2:47 pm

“How do you explain corroboration of the hockey stick independently with tree-rings, corals, ice cores, historical records AND marine sediments?”
Cherry picking.
What Dan (not me, that’s why I use my full name!) was doing was repeating things he’d read on some AGW site, possibly cut and pasted to here, and which he fully believes. He was not prepared to actually discuss anything, and it’s clear he was woefully uniformed about the current state of the discussion.
I like to see knowledgeable AGW defenders on boards like this and on CA, they keep us honest and force us to be careful with our claims. Just as we are doing for them, although I think they believe we’re doing it “to” them. 🙂
But Dan just isn’t one of the knowledgeable ones. I’ve only seen a handful of those, come to think of it. Could it be that once they become aware of the Mann prestidigitation, they’re too embarrassed to try and defend it?
Dan, if you’re still out there, roll some dice 1000 times, write down the results, and run the data through Mann’s algorithm. You’ll get a hockey stick. That’s the problem with it that is being discussed at Climate Audit.

Peter
September 14, 2008 2:51 pm

Adam: “Dan is attempting to argue that any association with oil companies invalidates anything said by a skeptical scientist. ”
What make them think that oil companies are anti-AGW anyway? Both Shell and BP have jumped on the bandwagon. Anything which pushes up the dollar barrel price has to be in their interests.

September 14, 2008 3:07 pm

CodeTech (13:52:05) wrote: “A quick skim through the list demonstrates more expertise in related disciplines than the IPCC can claim, even though it should be well known that not ALL scientists the IPCC claims in fact agreed with the IPCC’s conclusions.”
Has anyone ever seen the IPCC’s list of 2500 scientists? Or is it simply another exergeration, or worse a fabrication?
Jack Koenig, Editor
The Mysterious Climate Project
http://www.climateclinic.com

David S
September 14, 2008 3:19 pm

Dan where is the list of scientists who do support AGW? The last warmer I asked about this finally produced a list of 11 scientists who support AGW theory. This was the best he could do after much arm twisting by me.
So the score was:
Sceintists who are skeptical of AGW 31000
Scientists who support AGW 11
Can you do any better?

Jeff Alberts
September 14, 2008 3:55 pm

If the Latin is derived from the Greek, then “Skeptic” is more correct than “Sceptic”?

Kohl Piersen
September 14, 2008 3:57 pm

A scientist runs a series of experiments and notes the results. In the real world, for real experiments, the results will not be identical for every run. Then it is that the results are compiled and subjected to mathematical analytic procedures – statistical analysis if you will – in order to derive a scientific ‘law’ of some sort. (Settle, settle, this is only intended as a very broad generalisation to serve a limited purpose). Such a ‘law’ is but a generalisation drawn from a number of particular instances – it is scientific induction at work. Surely, ALL such science (i.e. experimental science) is inductive. This can be contrasted with the deductive method which is appropriate to the logical syllogism and, within limits, to most of mathematics. As a personal matter I don’t really buy the characterisation of AGW proponents and AGW skeptics as one or the other. I can only have real confidence in those who pursue the experimental evidence wheresoever it may lead. For me, that includes those who pursue general circulation models. But at each and every step of the way, that process MUST be open to falsifiability. That can only be done if the methods, programs, experimental evidence, statistical analyses etc etc are available for examination and replication by ANY other scientist.
Witholding evidence, statistical methods or results; or refusing to publish certain papers because they arrive at different conclusions – any of these things is anathema to science and the scientific method.
Alas! It seems to me that there is considerable reason to think that this is exactly what has been happening in relation to AGW.

deadwood
September 14, 2008 4:46 pm

nigel jones:
The author of the “Nature” paper is none other than Beverly Law, famous (or infamous) as the co-author and academic advisor of Dan Donato, principle author of the flawed “Science” paper on salvage logging.
The University of Oregon will be living that paper down for years to come. The new one appears to follow the same pattern.

deadwood
September 14, 2008 4:51 pm

Sorry, my reply above should be addressed to Glenn.

James S
September 14, 2008 4:51 pm

I’m a libertarian with a few sciencey letters after my name (MSci, MA) in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University (specialising in Earth Sciences).
I, and most of my friends from uni, do not believe in AGW. We believe in climate change but that man has no measurable effect on it.
I also don’t believe in God, believe in evolution, believe in the right of people of the same sex to marry and adopt / have children, believe that technology will overcome all threats to human existence but that GMO is, in its current state, wrong as there are not enough controls to stop cross-pollination and companies should not be able to hold patents over plants.
So not exactly an ultra-conservative, religious nutcase who doesn’t believe in AGW due to ignorance!

J. Peden
September 14, 2008 5:00 pm

I write, and review, software for embedded systems, and I know only too well how errors remain overlooked through the most rigorous of review processes, only to become glaringly obvious during testing.
Peter
Yes, this is surprisingly common – at least to those unaware of the way things actually work. “Degrees” by themselves actually don’t get you anywhere, nor does “peer review”.

September 14, 2008 5:04 pm

The literal meaning of “heretic” is someone who thinks or chooses for himself… dangerous stuff, that…

September 14, 2008 5:23 pm

Sorry, my keyboard has itches today – so I’m scratching it.
Dan,
Glad to see Mann proved his Hockey Stick with new data. Too bad the same hockey stick appears when the program is fed a telephone book…
(Things that make you go hummmm?)

September 14, 2008 5:40 pm

I am not a scientist, but the very words “Peer Review” worry me because they appear to infer commonality. It sounds a bit like a sect. Then it comes out that the data is not shared outside the peer group (or even inside it?), why not be open and simply call it “rubber-stamp review”

September 14, 2008 5:44 pm

And what of being skeptical of the evidence, data, and theory contributed by “skeptics?”
My biggest problem with the skeptic community is that, in my opinion, they preach a double-standard. While many skeptics take a hard-line, skeptical attitude towards all aspects of it – theory, evidence, and predictions – they take any contrary theory, evidence, or predictions on faith. Follow these examples from this very thread as illustrations of this point:
Yep…. No warming for ten years and a Tropical Troposphere that hasn’t warmed in accordance to AGW models.
A true skeptic would ask, “Why hasn’t there been warming for ten years? Why hasn’t the tropical troposphere validated AGW model predictions?” Then, the astute skeptic would reason that, a) there has been warming for the past ten years, and choosing 1998 and it’s anomalous El Nino is merely a way to obfuscate that fact, and b) the tropical troposphere has indeed followed predictions. This comment was not a skeptical one; it was just plain wrong.
However, it seems with the AGW believers insist that when contradicting data turns up, they simply say that “we know our theory is correct but the contradicting data show us that we need to tweak our computer models”
A true skeptic, when told of this contradicting data, would ask “is this data correct?” This comment takes the accuracy of that data on faith as correct, assuming that the AGW theory is either out of tune with the data or not robust enough to handle it. A skeptic would question the data first – not the theory. I saved my favorite for last:
The simple fact that the AGW “Climate Scientists” did not check any of the World’s temperature sensors to see if they were up to specs means that these self-annointed “Scientists” are just not doing Science.
A true skeptic… wait, this comment is just BS. For those of you out there who do not have training in operational meteorology, be advised that there is an elaborate, extensive system and coding scheme with which we try to observe the global weather. Take it from an insider: we all know that it has huge issues. Mr. Watts’ SurfaceStations project is nothing new – anyone who has spent ten minutes dealing with climate data knows about these issues. While documenting all the issues will help clean up the records, the problem is not that we don’t know about them. The problems are systematic, and as such, are dealt with as efficiently and pragmatically as possible.
But, of course, a true skeptic would know this and would understand it’s a moot point. This commenter is simply uninformed on this issue.

Anyways, does this illustrate my point? A skeptic doesn’t get to pick and choose what to be skeptical about. A skeptic’s attitude is universal. Climate change skeptics seem to take on faith that all evidence contrary to AGW predictions is valid and true; that’s the opposite of skepticism.
Let this be an open invitation from a proponent of AGW – come, be a skeptic. Audit our data. Debate our predictions. Try to pull the rug out from under us. But sane. We’re getting sick of skeptics reserving all their skepticism for us rather than utilizing it on their own evidence.

September 14, 2008 5:45 pm

James S (16:51:17) :
I am quite impressed with your credentials and beliefs but I don’t how they really relate to the debate about skeptics.

Brendan H
September 14, 2008 5:56 pm

“Here are just a few of the more recent advances in science which initially challenged the consensus:
• The theory of continental drift was soundly rejected by most geologists until indisputable evidence and an acceptable mechanism was presented after 50 years of rejection.
• The theory of symbiogenesis was initially rejected by biologists but now generally accepted.
• the theory of punctuated equilibria is still debated but becoming more accepted in evolutionary theory.
• The theory of prions – the proteinaceous particles causing transmissible spongiform encephalopathy diseases such as Mad Cow Disease – was rejected because pathogenicity was believed to depend on nucleic acids now widely accepted due to accumulating evidence.
• The theory of Helicobacter pylori as the cause of stomach ulcers and was widely rejected by the medical community believing that no bacterium could survive for long in the acidic environment of the stomach.”
Then AGW theory should be added to this list. The common factors that unite these examples are that they are theories that offer a new understanding of some phenomenon and have subsequently gained wide acceptance despite initially being rejected. AGW offers an explanation for climate change, which was once believed to be due wholly to natural causes. Currently, AGW is gaining mainstream acceptance against rejection by sceptics, just as in the examples above.
Furthermore, scepticism does not belong in this group because scepticism is not a theory. A theory is a positive claim that x is the case. AGW is a positive claim. Scientific scepticism attempts to find flaws in a theory. Today’s AGW sceptics are in the same position as those rejected theories such as evolution and continental drift.

Joseph Murphy
September 14, 2008 5:56 pm

The commentor should take a lesson on science. All scientific theory is based off of inductive logic. The only way to gather information about the natural world is inductively. Of course, bad information/opinions are more common than good ones on both sides of this issue. I’m not sure why but, debates on AGW are excellent for exposing people for knowing very little about science.

Fernando Mafili (in Brazil)
September 14, 2008 6:00 pm

Dee Norris, I fully agree with you.
I am a SKEPTIC

September 14, 2008 6:05 pm

Dee Norris, I liked your post. It was smart. If you’re at all interested in the philosophical etymology of skepticism, give this a click (moderator permitting, of course):
http://www.the-thinking-man.com/cynic-versus-skeptic.html
I’m asked this question more and more, so I thought I’d do a short article on it.
Induction, far from being inferior to deduction, is the very locus of conceptualization.

Jeff Alberts
September 14, 2008 6:15 pm

I am optimistic the ordinary citizen will see the light (and the cooling), and these articles and these blogs will help turn the tide.

I’m not. So many people still believe in silly things regardless of centuries of falsification of said things. People never seem to need evidence, just someone to yell it to them loudly enough.

September 14, 2008 6:31 pm

Dee your article was great but there is a pervasive problem where the AGW dogmatists do not want to debate the science but tell skeptics that the science is finished along with name calling e.g., traitors. This appears to be a major impediment in making progress in the debate as the news media usually reports in lockstep with the AGW crowd. Unfortunately even a drastic cooling may not provide sufficient evidence of corrupt science but only be categorized as a temporary incremental climate change. The eventual tipping point may not be of scientific origin but from public protests to burdensome regulations with their associated costs.

September 14, 2008 6:51 pm

Brendan H (17:56:14)
“Currently, AGW is gaining mainstream acceptance against rejection by sceptics, just as in the examples above.” Please describe the mainstream besides tabloid journalism, politicians seeking power, and corporation’s financial benefits.

peerreviewer
September 14, 2008 6:58 pm

a reminder that temperature is not easy to measure:
http://www.capgo.com/Resources/Temperature/TempHome/TempMeasurement.html
another reminder that no attempt to determine error in the measurements is made, neither by season or by latitude or by type of station:
http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcrut3/HadCRUT3_accepted.pdf

September 14, 2008 7:14 pm

counters (17:44:05) :
Frankly I am skeptical of any operational meteorologist who can determine average accurate historical global surface temperatures and take a giant leap to make accurate climate change conclusions. Like someone said you might as well take the average of numbers in a telephone book.

J. Peden
September 14, 2008 7:15 pm

Ok, all you mathematicians and economists, let me try this line of reasoning out, because I really do want to know where I have gone wrong – otherwise I can’t advance my understanding of our energy situation:
Exxon-Mobile recently listed its much balleyhooed [pre tax] profits of
$12-13 billion for its quarter, which amounted to a little less than 10% profit over expenses. So, what is 10% of $4.00/gal. gas? A mere 40 cents, right? So how can “Big Oil” be blamed for the high price of gas? Especially in light of the fact that here in Oregon, for example, State and Federal gas taxes amount to about 42 cents per gallon, and this has been the case even before gas went from $1.80 to just below $4.00 per gallon, as it now stands where I live.
Please, tell me where I have gone wrong. I want to know.

evanjones
Editor
September 14, 2008 7:15 pm

My biggest problem with the skeptic community is that, in my opinion, they preach a double-standard. While many skeptics take a hard-line, skeptical attitude towards all aspects of it – theory, evidence, and predictions – they take any contrary theory, evidence, or predictions on faith.
Sure. Almost everyone has a dog in the fight. That’s exactly why open data and methods are so critical.
Scientists (advocates, critics, and the whole damn species) are human beings and have all the attendant fallacies thereof. That is why the scientific method exists.
If we were E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Arisians, we wouldn’t need scientific method. Arisians are without petty egoism. We wouldn’t need to show our hands after a poker hand, either–Arisians are scrupulously honest.
But here we are. With all the fallibilities you indicate. Hence, the need, nay, the absolute requirement, for openness.
One of the main reasons I am a skeptic is that the skeptical scientists fall all over themselves to make their data available, whereas the IPCC and the hockey team refuse to cough up their data absent the prospect of a subpoena.
Sorry. If the gentleman to the left doesn’t show his cards, I shall not permit him to claim the pot. Character references of his “peers” notwithstanding.
Nor will showing me a few cards left in the deck that are not inconsistent with the hand he claims do, either.
So sorry. Cards, please. And the right to check out the deck. Nothing less will do.

DAV
September 14, 2008 7:19 pm

Reply – I was wondering when someone would make the leap from deductive reason to abductive reasoning. Abductive is prone to generating false results, more so than either deductive or inductive, but it has its uses for narrowing the field of outcomes. – Dee Norris
Thanks for the reply. It’s not so much a leap as recognition of reality. BTW, I assume you meant inductive (vs. deductive) reasoning as science normally proceeds from a few known facts to general rule.
Yes, assigning false cause is a possible outcome; that’s why 1) it’s only the starting point and 2) it’s necessary to test hypotheses, preferable through experimentation.
Abduction is the method of choice in medical diagnosis. It’s the first step in forming any hypothesis whether or not it’s done subconsciously. And it is the methodology used when eliminating some hypotheses out-of-hand, especially if the justification is “not a probably cause.”
Inductive inference, i.e., assigning a cause through pure logic (assuming that’s really possible), is extremely rare outside of well understood circumstances. Even something as simple as answering why the ground turned white, perhaps by saying “probably it snowed,” automatically rejects the possibility of other causes (say volcanic ash layering) because of perceived (low) probability of these causes — assuming they would ever occur to most people at all.
I recommend the book “Learning Bayesian Networks” by Richard E. Neapolitan, Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-13-012534-2 for a good description of a computational process for abductive inference. Not the most definitive work but it is the one most easily read.
Note: in logic class something like “Every crow I’ve encountered is black; therefore all crows are black” is trotted out as an example of induction. Well, it is but I focused on causes because I think most scientific endeavors are more akin to asking the question “Why is this bird black?” and getting a list: “Because it’s a crow; because it was swimming in an oil spill; …” The list may be arrived at inductively but, unless one has unlimited resources, any resulting investigation involving the list is going to be pared through abduction (which I maintain makes the whole process abductive).
Reply – That would be ‘Luke’ who got it backwards, not me. It was one of the reasons the comment stood out at me when I first read it. – Dee Norris

evanjones
Editor
September 14, 2008 7:30 pm

Take it from an insider: we all know that it has huge issues. Mr. Watts’ SurfaceStations project is nothing new – anyone who has spent ten minutes dealing with climate data knows about these issues. While documenting all the issues will help clean up the records, the problem is not that we don’t know about them. The problems are systematic, and as such, are dealt with as efficiently and pragmatically as possible.
So why do comparisons between the raw and adjusted data not show the differences that the NOAA/CRN standards indicate?
And if surfacestation issues are so well accounted for, how in holy heck is SHAP a POSITIVE adjustment?
And why is UHI adjustment a measly -0.1 degree Farenheit?
And why doesn’t the USHCN-2 not show in a clean, concise graph the exact amount of each adjustment step? (Could it just maybe be the absolute firestorm that erupted when the this was made available for USHCN-1?)
Enquiring minds want to know.
I think that those of you “on the inside” need to press a little harder on the parameters of the “possible”.

DAV
September 14, 2008 7:37 pm

Reply – That would be ‘Luke’ who got it backwards, not me.
OK, I guess what caused my “BTW..” comment was your: ” was wondering when someone would make the leap from deductive reason to abductive reasoning” as I made no such leap (at least I don’t think I did). I wasn’t implying you got anything essentially wrong.
Interesting discussion.
I think every investigation proceeds using abduction if only to narrow the search. My original point is that regardless of the conclusion (pro vs. con), both sides got there by the same process (abduction) but have assigned different subjective probabilities to the various causes and this alone is the reason for the differing beliefs. Both sides would make more progress IMO if they recognized this.
Reply – I guess my wording was confusing. I was considering on adding a follow up on abductive reasoning (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abductive_reasoning), but was pleased that you beat me to the punch. – Dee Norris

J. Peden
September 14, 2008 8:05 pm

So far, I have no idea what “abductive” reasoning is. Imo, it’s as useless a concept as “inductive” or “deductive” reasoning is: to wit, what you need to do is to keep responsive to changing conditions, which always happen. This presupposes, of course, that you want to do the right thing – which means to me treating everyone as you would treat yourself, at least in my Fairy Tale. The outcome is the main thing. In medicine, you are really only as good as your next case. That keeps it lively.

Graeme Rodaughan
September 14, 2008 8:15 pm

I’m completly sceptical that CO2 induced global warming will cause “global cooling” and associated “Climate Chaos” which seems to be the coming AGW mantra…
BTW – following the same lingusitic logic of the AGW Climate Chaos camp – I’m also willing to be sceptical of the following points (by analogy).
1. That growing older makes you younger…
2. That growing fatter makes you thinner…
3. That earning more makes you poorer…
4. That earning less makes you richer…
5. etc, etc, etc,….
Once you accept the “logic” that CO2 induced Global Warming causes “Climate Chaos!” including Global Cooling – Then any effect can be linked to any cause – even a contradictory one.
I actually put AGW’s constant morphing in the face of contradictory evidence down to Cognitive Dissonance…
The typical AGW believer is so heavily emotionally invested in the idea that AGW is true and correct and that they must save the world (oh the significance of it all…) that contrary evidence must be accomodated (Climate Chaos!), denigrated (ad-hom, etc) or ignored (MSM Silence, Climate Consensus, etc).
At no point does logic or scepticism intrude. Even the use of the most basic logic in an honest way would reveal the internal contradictions of the current AGW Climate Chaos mantra.
At least when the AGW camp only predicted “global warming” they were at least “somewhat falsifiable” – now that the world is refusing to warm while CO2 continues to be pumped into the atmosphere.
So the AGW believers have a choice. Give up on the theory – or change the theory. The main response, as reported, in the MSM seems to be to mod the theory to predict everything – warming, cooling, etc. Of course the AGW theory then becomes pseudoscientific junk as it is no longer falsifiable.

evanjones
Editor
September 14, 2008 8:18 pm

So far, I have no idea what “abductive” reasoning is.
Deductive:
Each time the earth rotates, the sun rises.
The earth rotates once a day.
Therefore the sun will rise tomorrow.
Inductive:
The sun rose yesterday.
The sun rose the day before that.
(Rinse and repeat.)
Therefore the sun will rise tomorrow.
Abductive:
I worship the sun every evening.
The sun rises every morning.
Therefore, the sun rises because I worshiped it the evening before.

But it’s not a useless concept.

Graeme Rodaughan
September 14, 2008 8:28 pm

WRT the comparision of Darwinisim and AGW:
The proponents of Darwinisim are not seeking to increase the cost of energy through CAP and Trade systems, taxes, etc, Nor are they seeking to place intrusive controls on my lifestyle choices.. Nor are Darwinists seeking to subsidise (Taxes again) economically inefficient industries like Bio-Fuels that directly remove food from the world markets driving up prices for the worlds poor…
etc, etc…
I think the impacts are obviously different – looks like Darwinism is not a heavily politicised theory.

hyonmin
September 14, 2008 8:31 pm

We have before us a grand opportunity, skeptic or not. We are presented with potentially a unique circumstance of a solar grand minimum. What are the tests that we would like to be sure are run. How should they be quantified. How do we frame those tests. Certainly temperature. Certainly Polar ice. What else? Even though the temperature and ice are being watched it is in the framing of AGW. In the online realtime world everything is questioned all is documented and the results are reviewed continuously to see if further tests and or ideas can be put to test. There is no winner or loser only data to be reviewed and understood.

J. Peden
September 14, 2008 8:33 pm

evan, that is truely a useless concept. I think you intended it, you abjectively abductive thinker, you. I like Dav’s ideas, but what the hell is he talking about in this case? Not that I really care.
Reply – Abductive reasoning allows us to eliminate what we know is wrong, leaving a set of possible answers which includes the correct answer and one or more incorrect answers. Further testing can eliminate the remaining incorrect answers. – Dee Norris

evanjones
Editor
September 14, 2008 8:35 pm

We correlate temperatures with every solar measurement we can.
And ice. And humidity. And cloud cover. And sea level. And the multidecadal oceanic-atmospheric cycles.
And hope our abductive reasoning heads us in the right direction!

Graeme Rodaughan
September 14, 2008 8:36 pm

WRT to energy companies and AGW – I have not seen one that does not state in advertisements that they are “Protecting the environment” and guess who has their hands out to diversify into tax payer funded windmill farms…
Windmills are great for energy companies.– You have to keep you original baseload power generation operating plus you get a guaranteed profit from the windmills due to tax breaks and subsidisation.
Guess who pays, the tax payer and the end consumer. Any AGW proponent who thinks that big oil and the energy companies are naturally against AGW is a fool.
These companies exist to make a profit, selling oil, gas, coal, electricity is just something they do – and they are not attached to the specific things that they do to make a profit. If the Govt promises subsidies they will line up for the money.
AGW is money for jam for the energy companies.

September 14, 2008 8:44 pm

Very nicely written piece Miss Norris and lovely frock (oh, I’d better not go there).
This has been a fun thread to read because it sheds light on the attitudes of people much more than on science. As a reader of blogs on both side of the debate (that is the debate that St Al of Gore tells us is over, except that it isn’t) it is noticeable that comments follow the same pattern when an “opponent” comes in for a chat.
He pops in from the other side of the fence and says he supports X’s bit of research or Y’s opinion and is beset by dozens telling him (sometimes politely, sometimes not) that he has the mental capacity of a woodlouse and simply does not understand what would be obvious to anyone with the brainpower required to breath.
Our new friend Mr Dan must think us either very rude or very stupid (or both) when we pooh-pooh his assertion that the hockey stick graph has been proved valid after all. I hope we are neither rude nor stupid. I hope we are just approaching the issue of the hockey stick graph from a different perspective than his own.
My inference from his contribution at (08:44:25) is that he is thrilled to see the hockey stick supported. It is hard to see any rational basis on which someone would have a desire for a particular pattern of historical global temperatures to be validated for its own sake, so my further inference is that he is not thrilled by the hockey stick itself as by the conclusions drawn by the IPCC in reliance on the hockey stick – conclusions which would (it seems to me) be necessarily invalid if the hockey stick itself were not valid. Those conclusions could, of course, be valid in themselves for reasons as yet undiscovered but their current validity rests on the validity of the hockey stick.
In other words, I infer that his support for the hockey stick is based on his pleasure at the IPCC’s conclusions. It is, therefore, his desire to see the IPCC’s conclusions being supported that causes him to post a comment of joy about the new hockey stick.
I approach the hockey stick issue from a different perspective. The first hockey stick having been given a bit of a slapping (no pun intended), I look at any further work of its manufacturer with a jaundiced eye. If he got the first one badly wrong, I see no reason why I should trust his second attempt. After all, if I employ someone to do a job and he gets it badly wrong I would be more than a little reluctant to employ him to sort out the mess.
So, when I read Mr Dan’s comment that a new and unimpeachable hockey stick has been created by the man who built the warped and ineffective one I am reluctant to accept the new product. The vital thing in the argument is that neither Mr Dan nor I is able to say with authority that the new hockey stick is or is not valid. Mr Dan says it is because he wants the conclusions that flow from it to be upheld, I say I cannot be satisfied because the manufacturer has a bit of a dodgy record in this field.
(In fact, no doubt like most readers here, I was already aware of the new hockey stick and of the trenchant criticisms that have been made of its method of manufacture, but that is neither here nor there.)

hyonmin
September 14, 2008 8:47 pm

I am weak on the cloud cover documentation. World wide satellite correlation? Day night differentials? Are these hooked to the cosmic particle index. Is that mapped by a global index? There are so many areas of interest, I my experience parceling is required. No one person can hold all the facts. So far it does not seem that NOAA or NASA have anything but AGW in their agenda, so it seems maybe science of the Blogs.

J. Peden
September 14, 2008 8:52 pm

Abductive reasoning allows us to eliminate what we know is wrong, leaving a set of possible answers which includes the correct answer and one or more incorrect answers. Further testing can eliminate the remaining incorrect answers. – Dee Norris
Back in the day, we used to call that “thinking”. What I’m criticizing is the formulaic approach to “thinking” – imo, this tact can’t possibly work, which seems to be well-proven by current “science”. If no one follows the rules, and insistenly so, how can it possibly work, whether it’s deductive, inductive, abductive, or anything else we might try to impose? No, we are in a war with some very inferior hominids. They will not be defeated simply because we formulate some rules or state some words.

Dan Lee
September 14, 2008 8:52 pm

Counters,
If AGW was just another theory, and two sides were arguing it back and forth just as we do many other theories, then there wouldn’t be such a stink about it.
But the scientists behind AGW keep hiding their data and methods, and re-writing history. What exactly is the point of trying to do away with the MWP? Why does it take extraordinary effort to get data out of AGW’s main proponents?
If the scientists pushing AGW were completely above-board and open with their data, their algorithms, and their methodology they wouldn’t be catching flack like this.
If the IPCC was responsive to informed criticism and worked to correct the errors pointed out by many scientists, they might be gaining credibility and respect rather than slowly losing it.
So the scientists behind AGW have only themselves to blame for the increasing skepticism. They’ve spent 20 years giving us terrifying predictions, all while playing hide-and-seek with the methods and data that others could use to replicate their results.
Now add in the fact that the AGW proponents have significant influence over the purse strings for entire economies. So we’re not just batting theories back and forth here, we’re talking about the fiscal livelihood of nations. If global warming is that dire a threat, I want to see a free and open scientific discussion of it.
So I’ll be skeptical until I’m convinced otherwise. I don’t have anything to prove. Rather, its the warmists who need to prove their case to me. And hiding their data and methodology doesn’t leave me feeling very confident in them.

September 14, 2008 8:53 pm

The discussions about the different types of reasoning seems purely academic for a person who has worked over 30 years in design, construction, operation, and maintenance of plants and never discussed what kind of reasoning was going to be used to solve a particular problem but the problems were solved; however, this may be entirely different in the scientific community.
Reply – For most day-to-day problems, a formal analysis of the process used to reach an outcome is unnecessary and a waste of time. But in extremely complex issues, have some understanding of the process will help eliminate errors. – Dee Norris

DAV
September 14, 2008 8:53 pm

J. Peden (20:05:36) : So far, I have no idea what “abductive” reasoning is.
evanjones (20:18:49) : I worship the sun every morning. ..
LOL, evan.
Deductive reasoning is arriving at a conclusion from a know starting point: “all crows are black, X is a crow, therefore X is black”
Inductive reasoning is deriving the antecedant or cause using reverse logic. “All crows I’ve ever observed are black, therefore all crows are black”
Abductive reasoning is essentially the same as inductive reasoning but a probability is assigned to each antecedant and the antecedant (cause, if you will) giving the highest joint probability is sometimes selected although more often a list of possible causes
Note that both inductive and abductive reasoning can lead to erroneous conclusion. This means that testing the conclusion becomes imperative.
Better example of abduction, using medical diagnosis, might be: The patient has the following symptoms {X, Y, Z}. It is known that diseases {A,B,C}. can cause these symptoms with the probabilities Xa, Xb, Xc, Ya, Yb, etc. The most probable cause of the patient showing ALL of the symptoms is disease H, a member of {A,B,C}. IOW: the joint probability of X, Y, Z is at a maximum given H. Note: joint probability or X,Y,Z means the probability of X AND Y AND Z.
It’s possible to proceed with abduction even when the values of the probabilities of effect given cause are only known qualitatively (high, low, REALLY low, etc.). An example: what you are calling an alien UFO was most likely a bird you didn’t see clearly. Of the two possible causes, the bird has a higher probability assigned and alien visitation has an extremely low assigned probability. These probabilities are not only qualitative but subjective as well.

J. Peden
September 14, 2008 9:31 pm

Better example of abduction, using medical diagnosis, might be: The patient has the following symptoms {X, Y, Z}. It is known that diseases {A,B,C}. can cause these symptoms with the probabilities Xa, Xb, Xc, Ya, Yb, etc. The most probable cause of the patient showing ALL of the symptoms is disease H, a member of {A,B,C}. IOW: the joint probability of X, Y, Z is at a maximum given H. Note: joint probability or X,Y,Z means the probability of X AND Y AND Z.
Dav, I like you, but you have no idea about how medicine is actually practiced, at least in the ER, and hopefully elsewhere. All of your logic I would go through in about 1/2 second, tops, abjective or not. The idea is to redress what can be redressed asap, without having endless meetings about it. Believe me, probabilities are ruled out on the spot, by observation, tests, and action. No one does a “probability” calculation about the whole thing. We want to save the patient, which can even make the least likely cause the most likely.
In fact, any practioneer should actually “eschew” your m.o., and get to the actual cause of the problem asap., without calculating “probabilities”. If you have any sense about diseases, you don’t need calculations. All you have to do is to think about why you might not understand what is going on, then go for that possible diagnosis and solution.
Reply – I suspect even in the ER, all three types of reasoning are in use but not on a group basis or even on a conscious level. Our models of reasoning are simply descriptive of how the neural network in the brain when processes data. All humans use these processes, but by knowing how they work, we improve our reasoning abilities. – Dee Norris

evanjones
Editor
September 14, 2008 10:02 pm

Our new friend Mr Dan must think us either very rude or very stupid
I endeavor always to err on the side of stupidity.
I believe in this case it can be said that I have succeeded, Q.E.D.–except that the evidence has since been snipped by Strict Anne. (I, myself, had approved it originally in its uncut form.).
P.S.: FB, you inferential abductor, you!

evanjones
Editor
September 14, 2008 10:12 pm

I am weak on the cloud cover documentation.
So is everyone. the AquaSat has been tracking it for the last few years–and the news is very grim for the AGW advocates, according to Spencer. The NOAA and NASA hem and haw in a most encouraging manner. (I read the paper; it was one big Ralph Kramden “hammana-hammana-hammana” from start to finish.)

September 14, 2008 10:25 pm

Excellent summary. I might add it is informative to look Atlas Shrugged with a focus on Dr. Robert Stadler – who become a sell-out, a scientist who had great promise but squandered it for social approval, to the detriment of the free. He worked for the State Science Institute and thought he lead the project and direction, only to find he was a figure head being manipulated for the politicians.
As AGW begins to fall apart, the politicians will simply note they were mislead by the scientists. The politicians like Al Gore will portray themselves as the victims of poor science. What could they do? They were mislead and misinformed?
Reply – I sort of imagined myself as Dagny from time to time, but I seem to be still looking for John Galt. – Dee Norris

September 14, 2008 10:49 pm

Mr counters said(17:44:05) :
“And what of being skeptical of the evidence, data, and theory contributed by “skeptics?”
My biggest problem with the skeptic community is that, in my opinion, they preach a double-standard. While many skeptics take a hard-line, skeptical attitude towards all aspects of it – theory, evidence, and predictions – they take any contrary theory, evidence, or predictions on faith. ”
… … … … …
Hello again Mr Counters, I would say it’s nice to encounter you again but that would be a very bad pun so I won’t, but it is a pleasure to engage in debate with you again.
If I might say so, I think the part of your comment I have quoted confuses scepticism with impartiality. What you cite as a double standard is not a double standard at all.
Those of us who like life the way it is need to be persuaded that it should change. Someone coming along and saying “I have analysed why it should not change” will be told to go away because we do not need his theory, the truth of life supersedes hypothesis. It is the person who wants to change our lives who bears the burden of proof and it is his ideas which are subject to examination. If he fails in his attempt to persuade us, we carry on as before. There is no double standard in ignoring the person who tells us to carry on and questioning the person who tells us to change.

September 14, 2008 10:54 pm

[…] sheer coincidence, the same story is taken up on Watts Up With That? today; and […]

Bill P
September 14, 2008 11:02 pm

Dee,
As the petition of scientists’ “purpose” page says, the 31,000 signatories do not consider themselves “skeptics”. The following should be a block quote, though I’m not much of a hand with Anthony’s HTML tags:

I sympathize with that view. Being a skeptic implies taking a negative view toward some accredited or accepted belief. As each of these signers is a scientist in his or her own field of interest, and probably questions the orthodoxy of many other unconvincing hypotheses, it is limiting to consider them “skeptics” solely on the basis of their divergence from AGW doctrine. This is something Gore and the other polemic-minded warmers do (to their own discredit) to deride scientists who disagree with them, as though the other side has no one with credentials. I suspect scientists would like to go on being called “scientists”. History might best remember them as “the scientists who disagreed with anthropogenic global warming theories.” It has kind of a ring to it.
I think you’re also giving short shrift to history and other disciplines which have spotted the error in the global warming picture. The Breugel paintings of the frozen LIA river fair, for example, are worth a thousand conjectures from even the scientific sources, and anecdotal records of a warm Medieval, and warm Roman in the literature, though perhaps not easy to find in the literature, are nevertheless there. As with historical ship’s logs (a thread here a month or so ago) one of the best resources for disproving the perverse lie of a serenely-unchanging, “flat” climate of the past, is in the pages of books already written, sitting in dusty libraries (or on dusty servers) waiting to be discovered, and quite accessible to anyone willing to go look for it. (Read, for example, the description of the storm, p. 51, in the following. It’s from the accounts of one of the best observers and diarists of the 13th century, Matthew Paris, a monk.)
http://sul-derivatives.stanford.edu/derivative?CSNID=00001009&mediaType=application/pdf

Reply – I wasn’t so much interested in proving the skeptic’s case, as I was in exploring what it means to be a skeptic. I excluded a number of examples in the interests of keeping the post short and to the point. I was confident that the excluded material would be brought out in the comments area during the subsequent discussion. – Dee Norris

Bill P
September 14, 2008 11:10 pm

Rats. The quote left out from the “petition purpose” is as follows, in simple quotation marks this time:
“It is evident that 31,072 Americans with university degrees in science – including 9,021 PhDs, are not “a few.” Moreover, from the clear and strong petition statement that they have signed, it is evident that these 31,072 American scientists are not “skeptics.””
Reply – As I have implied in my post, the title ‘skeptic’ is being twisted into an ad hominem attack by using the term inter-changeably with ‘denier’. ‘quack’ or some other term that degrades or devalues the opinion & facts held by the person so labeled. In the quote about, I felt that the author’s use of quote symbols indicated he was responding to the AGW spin of ‘skeptic’ rather than the traditional definition. Rather than speculate, perhaps someone can email the project and obtain exactly what they meant in this case. – Dee Norris

Bill P
September 14, 2008 11:25 pm

Dan,
Re: Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
The paper was co-written, but Sallie Baliunas’ name is not among the authors. Perhaps you know something?

September 15, 2008 12:00 am

A great article and thread,
I’m left with the overall impression.
settled science = (political) dogma.
NB – I do hope J. Peden is wrong about Europe, but I think he is right.

Brendan H
September 15, 2008 1:17 am

Edcon: “Brendan H (17:56:14)
“Currently, AGW is gaining mainstream acceptance against rejection by sceptics, just as in the examples above.” Please describe the mainstream besides tabloid journalism, politicians seeking power, and corporation’s financial benefits.”
By mainstream I mean the generally accepted view, but more specifically the view embodied in most climate scientists, science journals, major scientific organisations and professional societies, world leaders, major media. Coming up the rear is the commercial and industrial world, which over the past few years has moved towards the AGW position.
I’m speaking here of a general impression, which cannot be easily quantified, but I think my view is in line with that of many sceptics, who for example claim a general and widespread AGW bias by the likes of scientific journals and the wider media.

Mary Hinge
September 15, 2008 1:37 am

Lets summarise the ‘denier-skeptic-religous right oddball’ argument.
Take scientific evidence, add a particularly large splash of finance from companies that will be affected by neccesary changes to protect the environment, add the conspiratorial goofballs, from the deniers in the anti AGW camp add a huge dollop of jealousy, a tinge of regret. Add to the mix a vat of ignorance and while mixing pick out the actual scientic evidence if it doesn’t quite fit and replace it with innacuracies, hopeing that if said loudly enough some fools that don’t want to pay a little extra on fuel will believe (works on holiday if the locals don’t speak English, why not here where the locals don’t understand science!), add a lot of slander, pseudo-religous comparisons and a pich of twittering from pseudo-intellectuals.
There it is, the whole anti AGW argument served in a pie! Listen…can you hear them….the death throes of your ‘argument’!!
Reply – I am not quite sure what you are trying to say here, but it almost sounds like you are talking about the AGW Believers, not the skeptics. – Dee Norris

Mary Hinge
September 15, 2008 2:18 am

Glad to see you’re up early and on the ball! To summarize I’m saying that any of the theories, such as solar, to describe the recent temperature trends have been shown to be lacking. The theory of AGW is still working, still strong despite, or maybe because of, being tested to extremes. Even the ‘Hockey Stick’ has survived, mainly because the science behind it has been tested. Independant Proxy measurements have shown the science is sound. With something as complex, and with so many branches of science working on it, off course it will be continually updated but, like all strong theories such as evolution, plate tectonics etc. it still holds its own.
If you look at the anti AGW arguments they usually spout out phrases as ‘Religion’, ‘Sect’, ‘Believers’, ‘Dogma’, ‘Demonization’ etc. This language suggests the mind-set of these individuals is more ‘faith’ based than ‘science’ based, and the whole point of faith is it can’t be tested, you either believe it is or it isn’t. AGW projections from 30 years ago are manifesting themselves, the predictions are being verified.
When the anti AGW camp actually come up with theories that explain recent warming trends better than AGW then we will listen, but in the meantime the time scale is too short and, as the vast majority of scientist know, inaction now will have devastating results.
Like most who have studies AGW, we do not want to see the global warming modelled, and if we can do something about it then for future generations sake we better get moving and do it…fast.
Reply – I think that AGW adherents would like the general population to believe that the few skeptics are as you describe them. Certainly yours and Luke’s original comments would make it seem the rank and file AGW believer buys into it.
As a skeptic, I doubt the anthropogenic part of climate change because of the weakness in the science used to support it, specifically the GCMs and the decreasing effect of CO2 on temperature as concentration increases. There are a number of other minor points plus some historical data that further contribute to my skepticism. When the AGW proponents come up with better science supporting humanity’s role in climate change, I will carefully review that data and adjust my opinions accordingly. – Dee Norris

Dan Lee
September 15, 2008 3:23 am

“To summarize I’m saying that any of the theories, such as solar, to describe the recent temperature trends have been shown to be lacking.”
Mary Hinge, does it ever occur to you that we look for alternative hypotheses to explain “the recent temperature trends” because AGW completely failed to predict it?
Do you understand that current temperatures are below even the error bars on the IPCC’s predicted temperature range? That AGW has been falsified by observation?
People clinging to AGW in the face of all the evidence is what brings to our minds words like sect, believers, and dogma.

Mary Hinge
September 15, 2008 3:43 am

“I think that AGW adherents would like the general population to believe that the few skeptics are as you describe them”
The points I made are well illustrated in the posts above, the examples of language I used are all present.
While I can understand that some scientists, such as yourself can indeed be called ‘skeptics’ and are working constructively to find out the causes of the recent unprecedented global warming, I’m afraid the vast majority are not ‘skeptics’ but ‘[snip]’ in that they will ignore any evidence that goes against their beliefs and attempt to destroy supporting evidence for AGW using bad science, slander and pure lies (to say you can get the same results as the Hockey Stick using a phone book is a typical example).
Research and debate is of course a good thing in science and the process that makes theories strong . This particular subject has been thoroughly tested, the science is not, as you call it ‘weak’.
I do not understand what you mean by “When the AGW proponents come up with better science supporting humanity’s role in climate change, I will carefully review that data and adjust my opinions accordingly.” The science involved in a hugely complex and multi-disciplinary arena has been tested and supported by the vast majority of scientists. It is also supported by the UN and by the majority of political leaders, even George W.Bush. This is about as successful as science can get.
You will always get ‘[snip]’ in any branh of science, even good science such as evolution. On this blog I had a discussion with an AGW [snip] about [snip]
If high profile anti AGW proponents get this basic science wrong, how can you trust their judgements on such a complex subject as climate change?
Reply – I guess you have the same concerns about all the mistakes and distorts in An Inconvenient Truth? The only test if science is successful is if it stands up to the rigorous inspection of other scientists and the test of time. Any other definition is just politics. – Dee Norris
More Reply – Anthony banished the word ‘denier’ for the exact reason under discussion. It was created solely as an ad hominem attack by AGW proponents. I have [snipped] it from your post. I have also snipped your rehashing of a discontinued discussion on this blog about evolution vs creationism. If you feel I have overstepped, please discuss the matter with Anthony. – Dee Norris

Stefan
September 15, 2008 4:20 am

Mary,
Even when AGW is the correct theory, we simply don’t know how to change people. Use your intuition, consider that for thousands of years, teachers, sages, preachers, gurus, saints, and politicians, have been trying to change people “for the better”. I think this point is naively overlooked by most environmentalists. Think about how many years people spend in therapy, going to counsellors, attending church, visiting psychologists, going to weightwatchers, and most people, over the course of 10 or 20 years, change very little. Most people simply carry on making the same mistakes that they always made. They keep having inappropriate affairs, or they keep drinking, or they keep being sexist, or they keep overeating. Most people cannot be changed. Even if you got rid of multinationals and corrupt politicians, you still wouldn’t have changed people’s basic values and desires.
It is off topic for this forum but I fear it keeps coming up in the background–the idea that the root cause of people disagreeing with AGW is purely about “selfish motives”. Well, d’uh. The point is Mary, you can’t change those motives, which pushes the environmental movement to impose change… eventually by coercion and force.
The wisdom needed to change the world peacefully for the better, simply doesn’t exist at the moment in anywhere near the number of people required. Most environmentalists simply don’t have it. So if you want to talk about people’s selfish and corrupt motivations, then just notice that, you talking about them doesn’t change anyone.
The more the scientific elite tries to preach to us what we should be doing based on evidence, the more they will be ignored by the public. Environmentalists, through not understanding people, are doing far more damage than you could imagine. You probably don’t see it because you are on the inside, on the “right” side. Good luck with that. The public may be selfish, but they are very savvy about efforts to control them. Just consider things like Iraq, and get a feel for the true nature of your fellow man. Oil companies didn’t make people greedy warmongers, they just are greedy. It’s natural. Some philosophers used to talk about how man is corrupted by a corrupt social system, but that sorta died along with the myth of the noble savage.
Sorry this is so off topic, but these threads are supposed to be about science, and comments like Mary’s just keep dragging it back to “human motivation”, so I try to comment on where that leads..
“add a particularly large splash of finance from companies that will be affected by neccesary changes to protect the environment, add the conspiratorial goofballs, from the deniers in the anti AGW camp add a huge dollop of jealousy, a tinge of regret. Add to the mix a vat of ignorance…” — Mary
An environmentalist once said to me, “we reduce CO2 because that reduces consumption, reducing CO2 reduces greed”.
I see, so you’re going to try to reduce greed… and somehow succeed with this project where all the lineages of Buddhas and all the sages failed?
I used to be satisfied that AGW is 100% correct and I was elated one day when I heard that Kyoto was going ahead. Then I began to notice the direction environmentalists were going with the “solutions”… and I’m sorry Mary but it just isn’t tenable.

Richard S Courtney
September 15, 2008 4:34 am

Mary Hinge:
This blog is about forms of reasoning used by scientists. It is not about excuses used as justifications by politicians and science administrators.
You assert:
“To summarize I’m saying that any of the theories, such as solar, to describe the recent temperature trends have been shown to be lacking. The theory of AGW is still working, still strong despite, or maybe because of, being tested to extremes.”
Sorry, but – in the context of scientific scepticism – you are plain wrong on both counts.
Proving one thing is wrong (e.g. “solar”) says nothing about whether another thing (e.g. AGW) is right or wrong. Your claim that AGW is supported by faults in other theories is an example of the logical error commonly called a “straw man” argument.
And your assertion that “The theory of AGW is still working” is plain wrong according to the normal rules of science. The theory of AGW would be disproved if there were one clear disagreement between the predictions of AGW theory and empirical observation, and all (yes, ALL) predictions of AGW fail the test of comparison with empirical reality; see
http://www.tech-know.eu/uploads/AGW_hypothesis_disproved.pdf
However, your assertion that the “theory of AGW is still working” is demonstrably right in so far as the “theory of AGW” is a method to obtain research funding
(at least $5 billion per year from governments alone at present)
and to excuse political policies
(e.g. the ‘Florenze Report’: ref. EU Document (2008/2001 (INI)) dated 22.1.2008 issued by the ‘Temporary Committee on Climate Change’ of the EU Parliament).
Richard S Courtney

September 15, 2008 5:04 am

Carbon Dioxide causes warming like wet roads cause rain
Inductive?
Deductive?
Abductive?
or what?

September 15, 2008 5:08 am

If there were no such things as computer models, would there still be global warming?
Discuss …

Alan Millar
September 15, 2008 5:29 am

(Mary Hinge)
I think the starting point for most ‘proper’ science should be observation and data, I think you would agree.
Let’s look at just a few facts against the alarmist predictions.
1 (a). We were told years ago that if we didn’t reduce the amount of man made CO2 in the atmosphere that temperatures would rise inexorably at a fairly unprecedented rate for modern times. We were told that just leaving the same amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would still cause temperatures to rise due to the time lag for its effect.
1 (b). Facts… We have actually continued to pump man made CO2 into the atmosphere at an ever increasing rate since these warnings. Result- the climate has been on a cooling trend since 2001!
2 (a). We were told that sea level rise would accelerate at a huge rate in the 21st century producing a total sea level rise of at least 2-6 meters.
2 (b). Facts…. There has been no acceleration in the 21st century indeed the rate of sea level rise has fallen in the last few years.
3. (a) We were told that sea temperatures would rise sharply in this century causing problems for flora and fauna and a further out gassing of CO2.
3. (b). Facts…. Sea temperatures have actually fallen slightly over the last few years.
4. (a) We were told that there would be a huge reduction in global ice levels.
4. (b) No sign of such a thing. AGW proponents tend to only talk about NH events but when you include the SH ( which accounts for 90% of global ice) then there is no reduction in global ice. Indeed Antarctica has been getting cooler for some time now with all that means for global ice volumes, given that the largest part of global ice is based there.
Now just these few facts would, you would think, cause Nasa etc to return to their models and try to adjust them to take account of this data.
There is no sign of them doing so because any proven natural factors would overturn their CO2 theory in an instant. The CO2 theory was based on a ‘Last Man Standing’ concept when all other natural factors were rejected because of their calculated maximum effect.
If natural factors can be shown to have this amount of cooling affect then of course a similar combination of effects could have had that amount of warming affect in the first place making a monkey of the CO2 theory.
It would be interesting to see what their models would produce if they reduced the hypothesised sensitivity of the Earth to increased CO2 and increased the hypothesised sensitivity to Solar factors. After all we have no idea what is the magnitude of feedback mechanisms triggered by changes to the Sun eg cloud cover etc. After all we know that Ice ages are triggered by changes to the amount of TSI received by the Earth but the percentage changes do no seem nearly enough to produce such a violent change. Obviously the Sun is triggering other feedback mechanisms but no one has been able to effectively describe and quantify them. Even Milankovitch knew that the changes due to his identified cycles were not enough on there own to trigger an Ice age.
So what are all these ‘proper’ scientist doing with this new data and observations?
All I here from them is phrases like ‘noise’ and Natural Variability’. Personally I don’t recognise these as scientific expressions. I recognise variability but not in the sense that these people are trying to state it. They are trying to give the impression it’s as if the Earth tosses a coin each year to decide whther it is to be colder or warmer and that the current cooling trend is just some ‘luck of the draw’. The Earths climate is indeed variable but this is only in response to certain factors. It’s as if they are afraid to look seriously at the developing situation and these because they see no advantage vis a vis their stated position and reputation.
Alan

Kohl Piersen
September 15, 2008 5:33 am

“Note that both inductive and abductive reasoning can lead to erroneous conclusion.”
Note also that deductive reasoning can lead to erroneous conclusion – Consider the following argument:
All roses are legumes
This plant is a rose
Therefore this plant is a legume.
The conclusion is wrong, roses are not legumes. Nevertheless the logic is impeccable. What is wrong is that the major premise “All roses are legumes” is wrong.
In more familiar terms – ‘garbage in garbage out’.
Abductive reasoning as explained in this blog seems to be just the (necessary) application of common sense so as to ensure that we don’t attempt to run down every single logical possibility, but concentrate only on those which experience and native ingenuity and wit tell us are the most likely to yield significant results. And yes, many an experimenter has left out something considered unlikely to be significant only to discover that the assumption (for that is what it is) was unjustified. But if the scientific method is pursued with some rigour, and the data, methods and so on are available for independent scrutiny, then even the most subtle of such oversights will eventually be discovered and put right. The systematic methodology by which science is done lies at the heart of the matter. Obfuscate data or methods, and restrict scrutiny and you discard the cloak of scientific respectability to become merely supposition and hearsay.

September 15, 2008 6:41 am

Mary Hinge (02:18:41) wrote: “Glad to see you’re up early and on the ball! To summarize I’m saying that any of the theories, such as solar, to describe the recent temperature trends have been shown to be lacking….” ad nauseam.
For what it’s worth, my experience with Hinge suggests she will forever (if allowed) continue her insane dialogue using some of the most convuluted logic immaginable. If you want to see “illogic in motion,” continue respopnding to her diatribe… it’s a hoot!
Jack Koenig, Editor
The Mysterious Climate Project
http://www.climateclinic.com
[Throwing oil on the flames will only produce more CO2 – lets not have to keep you both in different rooms – Dee Norris]

Mary Hinge
September 15, 2008 6:41 am

” I have also snipped your rehashing of a discontinued discussion on this blog about evolution vs creationism. If you feel I have overstepped, please discuss the matter with Anthony. – Dee Norris”
Was expecting it! When one of your high -profile anti AGW proponents commits such a scientific error, I’m not surprised its been snipped, however I’m sure you will have no objections to a link to the page on this blog where this dicsussion took place http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/09/08/uah-global-temperature-dips-in-august/.
I think to gain any credence the anti AGW camp must first understand one simple fact, that just ’cause you say something, don’t mean it’s true! The models have taken into account a lot of the points made above such as solar cycles, ocean cycles, vulcanism etc. and it’s only once you add the effects of CO2 that they start to make sense and tally with known observations. Allan Millar is a good example of the sort of bad science shown in ‘arguments’.
Point 1 does not take into account the ‘masking effect’ of ocean cycles such as La Nina and PDO, these are known, have been factored in and we will probably stay at a similar level of temperature for a few more years yet, however without the extra CO2 it would probably be much colder;
2-The 21st century has a long way to go! Once the oceans return to other patterns then there could very well be a very fast warming event.
3-Sea temperatures have fallen slightly in the last few years at the top 2km as can be measured. As I’m sure you know the ocean averages about 3.km in depth and there seems to be a lot of relative warmth at these depths, especially the deep sea currents, as shown by an global increase in sea level, probably caused by thermal expansion at these depths;
4-There IS a huge reduction in sea ice in the Northern hemisphere, especially in recent years. There is also probably a huge loss in VOLUME of southern ocean ice, resulting in a noticeable reduction in salinity (which of course results in more freezing due to raising of freezing tmperature. This has been hypothesised to be due to the same warm deep ocean currents discussed in point 3 rising and melting the ice from below, this also explains the loss of ice sheets during the Antarctic winter that happened a few months ago. There is still a lot of work to be done on this but so far results match the predictions. Don’t forgt that the Antarctic is almost a closed system and increases in wind velocities have ben reported from both the interior and the circum-polar winds, the circum polar winds and currents isolate the continent from most of the effects of global warming for now, increased winds and currents could make the interior colder as it becomes a tighter system.
However the biggest howler is this
“After all we know that Ice ages are triggered by changes to the amount of TSI received by the Earth but the percentage changes do no seem nearly enough to produce such a violent change.”
Where do you get this garbage from? We know that ice the recent ice-ages were caused by plate tectonics.
And Richard Courteny, dear oh dear..
“Proving one thing is wrong (e.g. “solar”) says nothing about whether another thing (e.g. AGW) is right or wrong. Your claim that AGW is supported by faults in other theories is an example of the logical error commonly called a “straw man” argument.”
I never said that the solar theory is wrong, only that is doesn’t explain the recent high temperatures. It may well play a part in global temperatures but since 1980 the record has shown no correlation with actual events strng enough to show it plays more than a minor role in short term temperature trends.
“And your assertion that “The theory of AGW is still working” is plain wrong according to the normal rules of science. ”
What rules do you follow? You certainly do not know, or want to know what the rules of science are, thankfully the vast majority of real scientists do.
“However, your assertion that the “theory of AGW is still working” is demonstrably right in so far as the “theory of AGW” is a method to obtain research funding
(at least $5 billion per year from governments alone at present)
and to excuse political policies
(e.g. the ‘Florenze Report’: ref. EU Document (2008/2001 (INI)) dated 22.1.2008 issued by the ‘Temporary Committee on Climate Change’ of the EU Parliament).!
This shows how importantly the ‘powers that be’ take the problem, a remarkable outcome and the cause of great jealousy amongst others, yourself probably included.
[snip – Mary we don’t use those words here, and the phrase is insulting tone it down please – Anthony]

Innocentious
September 15, 2008 7:09 am

I have read a couple comments where people are trying saying that those that visit this site are hypocrites because so long as the evidence is contrary to AGW then it is excepted. Thus we who visit this site are not being skeptics but rather towing the line for Exxon Mobile and the Heartland Institute.
To those people I say nice thoughts but you do not understand what is going on at this site. Most people who come here are skeptical of many things. For instance Many skeptics believe that the sun is the primary cause of tempeture change. However they are often challenging as to the degree of change that this current lull in sunspot activity will cause. Few of the skeptics say that CO2 does not have some warming effect either, they challenge HOW MUCH EFFECT it causes.
As far as the list of scientists and bias in it. Lets face it it is no more biased then the IPCC. I mean think about the bloody name for crying out load the “Internation Panel of Climate Change”. Even the bloody name is biased to believe that climate change is occuring. Which of course it is the climate is in constant flux but then thier mission statment is as follows “The IPCC assesses the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change.”
So please tell me how these people can be anything but biased to a certain agenda. Thier mission is not to assess why the climate is changing. Thier mission is not to examine all evidence of factors. In fact if Humans are not causing climate change then the IPCC are not needed, and that is alot of money that they do not get anymore and have to go and get real jobs that may actually contribute something to the world.
Do the math, I am assuming those who read this and will respond to it can do math. Forget about ‘feedbacks’ as they are hypothetical at best and lies at worst. Just do the math on the CO2 and then decide if it can be a primary factor in REAL Catestrophic Global Warming. Make sure you run a comparison of all the other possible factors ( orbit of earth changing, Solor output, deforestation, reforestation, sulfuric coal usage, Magnetic convergance, solor winds, etc ) Please take into account that we still don’t know how to take the earths temperature correcty ( which is what this site started with btw thanks Anthony ) and guess what you are left with. Not much and anyone who says differently is fooling themselves. So I am skeptical of a political organization with an agenda feeding me data and telling me what I should believe. Seriously Watts up with that?

Mary Hinge
September 15, 2008 7:49 am

Innocentious (07:09:23) :
“For instance Many skeptics believe that the sun is the primary cause of tempeture change. However they are often challenging as to the degree of change that this current lull in sunspot activity will cause.”
Many skeptics believe this but it is just untrue I’m afraid. Look at this graph and you can see that any correlationbetween sunspots/solar irradiance to temperature disappears after 1980. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/7/7b/Temp-sunspot-co2.svg/600px-Temp-sunspot-
” Make sure you run a comparison of all the other possible factors ( orbit of earth changing, Solor output, deforestation, reforestation, sulfuric coal usage, Magnetic convergance, solor winds, etc ) ”
This has been done and again the results to don’t fit unless you add the effects of CO2.
Your point about taking the earths temperature is very valid and something that needs a lot more work, however bear in mind that Anthony’s work on Urban heat islands affecting temperature sensors has already been worked into the models.

Alan Millar
September 15, 2008 7:50 am

(Mary Hinge)
“Where do you get this garbage from? We know that ice the recent ice-ages were caused by plate tectonics.”
Last time I looked out my window I didn’t see a three kilometre thick ice sheet!
Or are you saying that plate tectonics have changed in the last 15K years?
Plate tectonics are just one factor in glaciation periods if they were the overwhelming factor we would still be covered in ice wouldn’t we? Perhaps you ought to think a little for youself rather than parrot other peoples thoughts.
It’s strange how you and others manage to swallow some of the most amazing concepts without question.
Al Gore et al first tried to get us to believe that increased CO2 was the cause of rising temperatures at the end of the last glacial period. When this was disproved by the ice core records you are now asked to accept that what actually happens is this. :-
Some effect or combination of factors starts to cause the Earth to warm. After a lag, CO2 levels start to rise as a feedback effect. However, at some, not very well described point, this cause and effect reverses itself and suddenly increasing CO2 levels become the cause and increasing temperatures the effect. Then amazingly at some other point this cause and effect reverses itself again. Temperatures start to fall and after a lag CO2 levels start to fall, until we enter another glacial period and the cycle repeats.
How do you manage to swallow all this without breaking into laughter?
Of course all this convoluted somersaulting by the Earths climate is only necessary if the CO2 theory is correct. If it is the Sun driving the climate, together with other factors such as plate tectonics then things are far more understandable.
Alan

Mike Bryant
September 15, 2008 7:59 am

The Ministry of Truth is involved with news media, entertainment, the fine arts and educational media. Its purpose is to rewrite history and change the facts to fit party doctrine, for propaganda effect. For example, if the IPCC makes a prediction that turns out to be wrong, the employees of the Ministry of Truth go back and rewrite history so that any prediction the IPCC previously made is accurate. This is the “how” of the Ministry of Truth’s existence. The deeper reason for its existence is to maintain the illusion that the IPCC is absolutely 100% correct. It cannot ever seem to change its mind (if, for instance, they perform one of their constant changes regarding climate) or make a mistake (making a grossly misjudged catastrophic prediction), for that would imply weakness and to maintain power the IPCC must seem eternally right and strong.
Borrowed from wiki and changed at my whim,
Mike Bryant

Alan Millar
September 15, 2008 8:02 am

(Mary Hinge)
“4-There IS a huge reduction in sea ice in the Northern hemisphere, especially in recent years. There is also probably a huge loss in VOLUME of southern ocean ice, resulting in a noticeable reduction in salinity (which of course results in more freezing due to raising of freezing tmperature.”
Of course you have thought this through thoroughly haven’t you Mary?
If what you say is true where has all this water gone?
You have repeated what the alarmists have said, huge ice melt leading to a hugely accelerating sea rise trend and a massive overall rise in sea levels. You say that a huge melt has already taken place. Where are the huge sea level rises then?
Sea level rise has actually been slowing in the last few years. Another example of dogma defeated by data and facts!
Alan

Jeff Alberts
September 15, 2008 8:02 am

Even the bloody name is biased to believe that climate change is occuring.

Umm, Climate Change is ALWAYS occurring…

Jeff Alberts
September 15, 2008 8:07 am

If the scientists pushing AGW were completely above-board and open with their data, their algorithms, and their methodology they wouldn’t be catching flack like this.

They also know there wouldn’t be anything to be alarmed about.

Richard S Courtney
September 15, 2008 8:10 am

Mary Hinge:
I wrote:
“And your assertion that “The theory of AGW is still working” is plain wrong according to the normal rules of science. The theory of AGW would be disproved if there were one clear disagreement between the predictions of AGW theory and empirical observation, and all (yes, ALL) predictions of AGW fail the test of comparison with empirical reality; see
http://www.tech-know.eu/uploads/AGW_hypothesis_disproved.pdf”
Your complete reply was:
What rules do you follow? You certainly do not know, or want to know what the rules of science are, thankfully the vast majority of real scientists do.
If you had read the URL (less than a page) then you would know “the normal rules of science” – as I do – because I stated them there.
Your ad hominem comments do not overcome the empirical evidence. But they do demonstrate that you recognise the paucity of your argument.
Richard

Jeff Alberts
September 15, 2008 8:32 am

Being a skeptic implies taking a negative view toward some accredited or accepted belief.

I disagree completely with this characterization. Skepticism is not automatically a negative view of anything, it’s an objective view, a probing view. Only those with an agenda consider it negative when it is applied towards their beliefs.

Jeff Alberts
September 15, 2008 8:34 am

Reply – As I have implied in my post, the title ’skeptic’ is being twisted into an ad hominem attack by using the term inter-changeably with ‘denier’. ‘quack’ or some other term that degrades or devalues the opinion & facts held by the person so labeled. In the quote about, I felt that the author’s use of quote symbols indicated he was responding to the AGW spin of ’skeptic’ rather than the traditional definition. Rather than speculate, perhaps someone can email the project and obtain exactly what they meant in this case. – Dee Norris

Well said, Dee. Any scientist who is not a skeptic is not a scientist.

Simon Abingdon
September 15, 2008 8:40 am

Dee, Have you been following the continuing exchange between “mugwump” in the skeptic corner and Ray Bradbury in the AGW corner on Real Climate (Spencer Weart topic)? Totally compelling! Wonderfully informative entertainment! Global warming education at its best!

Mike Bryant
September 15, 2008 8:43 am

To anyone responding to Ms. Mary,
[snip]…

September 15, 2008 8:54 am

Richard Courtney – you need to remove the closed quote from your URL to get it to work.
All – As a scientist who also worked along side the IPCC on global warming issues, I believe that AGW definitely is a fact. Albeit with much uncertainty as to the when, the where, and the magnitude. You need only to believe the laws of physics.
1. CO2 and the other greenhouse gases (GHGs) have a demonstrable warming effect on the Earth. This has been accepted for decades. Without this beneficial effect the surface temperature of Earth would be much like Mars. Thank goodness for the greenhouse effect.
2. The quantity of GHGs has been increasing in the Earth’s atmosphere. This is a measureable quantification with undisputed accuracy and well-documented in the Mauna Loa record and elsewhere. Also evident in ice-core data. The tremendous rise in GHG corresponds to the industrial revolution and the use of fossil energy (mostly oil and coal). This makes sense since we are taking carbon previously sequestered underground, burning it, and forming CO2. At the same time we also are removing trees and other carbon “sinks.”
3. If you believe in the physics of the greenhouse effect and the measurements of GHG rise, you have to accept that there is a strong possibility that burning of fossil fuels and other anthropogenic activity may have a part in the equation.

evanjones
Editor
September 15, 2008 9:04 am

Glad to see you’re up early and on the ball! To summarize I’m saying that any of the theories, such as solar, to describe the recent temperature trends have been shown to be lacking
But the Big Six ocean-atmospheric cycles flipped from cool to warm, one by one, from 1976 to 2001. Then last year, PDO flipped to cool phase. This may well explain both the rise and decadal plateau of the last thirty years.
That seems to be a reasonable correlation. The very existence of the multidecadal cycles was not known for ten years after Hansen’s 1988 speech.
The AMO/PDO index has been shown to correlate with temperatures considerably better than CO2.
As for CO2 warming, positive feedback (the crux of the theory) has been called into very serious question by the Aqua Satellite (if not falsified outright).
None of this relies on solar theories, except that a Garnd Minimum may possibly be preparing to pit its foot into the middle of the equation (250 out of the last 1000 years have been under Garnd Minimum conditions–and, FWIW, we’re “due”).
That plus the Yilmaz and McKitrick papers which (dovetailing with the Rev’s surface station observations) indicate serious exaggeration of the historical climate record of the last century. (Confirmed amply by NOAA’s graph of their own adjustment procedures.)
Until this has been refuted, I consider it most inadvisable that we enact emergency measures that will cut world economic growth by up to half. YMMV!
If false, it should be easy to refute: As is ubiquitous among the climate skeptics, ALL the data, methods, and algorithms are on the table.

DAV
September 15, 2008 9:11 am

Kohl Piersen (05:33:10) : Note also that deductive reasoning can lead to erroneous conclusion
When I said inductive and abductive reasoning could lead to erroneous conclusions I actually meant logical conclusions. Point taken though. Initial assumptions should always be verified!

evanjones
Editor
September 15, 2008 9:15 am

Even the ‘Hockey Stick’ has survived, mainly because the science behind it has been tested.
The hockey stick has survived about as well as Harry Potter’s broom when the whomping willow was done with it.
Independant Proxy measurements have shown the science is sound.
There seems to be a considerable problem with that data. As it is not disclosed, it is currently being deconstructed. This is not auspicious for its ultimate vindication.

September 15, 2008 9:16 am

In any arena you can think of, skeptic usually wins. Why? Because has a very special mind.
Mind of questioning, challenging questions, digging deeper in quest for truths.
Doing so- ultimately discovers more to travel either to
“staying a skeptic”
OR to
“new knowledge that may shift her thinking”.

evanjones
Editor
September 15, 2008 9:26 am

AGW projections from 30 years ago are manifesting themselves, the predictions are being verified.
Not as far as I can see. Hansen’s projections have been posted and compared with the record. Result: not so hot. Are you referring to some other prediction?

shevaberakhot
September 15, 2008 9:29 am

I lived in the Netherlands from 2004 to 2008 and as you know much of this part of NW Europe lies at, or below sea-level.
The country is protected from the 1-in-4,000 year storm surge and in some cases, from the 1-in-8,000 year high water mark. In the grand scheme of things this is long term thinking but if Al Gore’s predictions are to be believed, these defences would not take the country much beyond 2050.
What has become clear is the ensuing ‘debate’ is the fact that truth cannot be established scientifically. Science can only speak of probabilities and empirical distributions. It cannot claim to measure all things, even in the visible universe.
You are right to be sceptical.

Dan Lee
September 15, 2008 9:31 am

IIbeck,
Most knowledgeable skeptics understand the .6C/century contribution of CO2.
Its the “positive feedback” b/n C02 and water vapor that seems to be the heart of the debate. As I understand it, more C02 warms the atmosphere just enough for the additional heat to allow more water vapor. Additional heat from water vapor warms the oceans and they emit even more C02. Which warms things up some more, and round and round we go until by the end of the century (according to James Lovelock) our handful of surviving descendants will be found in the Arctic huddled around the last remaining block of ice seeking protection from the oven that our atmosphere is supposed to become.
Which is what they’re teaching my kids in school, thank you very much. Since you worked with the IPCC, perhaps you could give me some words I can use when they wake me up in the middle of the night after having had nightmares about it.
Or do you agree with their science teacher?

Mary Hinge
September 15, 2008 9:33 am

Alan Millar (08:02:23) : A lesson in Archimedes Principle
“-…..There IS a huge reduction in sea ice in the Northern hemisphere, especially in recent years. There is also probably a huge loss in VOLUME of southern ocean ice, ……..”
“Of course you have thought this through thoroughly haven’t you Mary?
If what you say is true where has all this water gone?””
Alan dear, you are doing what so many [snip] do, make the most basic errors, in this case you obviously haven’t heard of the Archimedes’ principle. Notice I said OCEAN ice. Put an ice cube or two into a glass of water and make a note of the water level. Done that? Good. Now wait for the ice to melt, what has happened to the water level? Explain.
As should be clear to you after this little experiment is that melting sea ice or ice on the sea surface has no effect on water level.
To Mike Bryant (08:43:05) :
A [snip] 😉
and to llbeck (08:54:57) :
A little bit of sanity at last!
and finally to evanjones (09:04:06)
Always relied on to provide some basis for his arguments, like Anthony a true skeptic .
The North Atlantic cycle looks to be the most interesting and could explain the MWP and the LIA, these could well be more localised than thought, especially as they have a minor effect on global temperatures, as shown by proxy temperature measurements but a much larger effect on Europe. These cycles do have some effect for sure but again, probably not enough to explain recent warming. This is an area that needs a lot more work and illustrates the complexity of the study of climate and climate change.
Warning: If the ad hominem attacks keep going, eventually whole comments will start disappearing because the effort to keep [snipping] is exceeding the value of the material. – Anne the Moderator.

mickeyklein@mac.com
September 15, 2008 9:33 am

Inductive reasoning is constructing truth from “evidence” while deductive is taking fiat assumptions and making conclusions.
Inductive is science, deductive is religion.
Poor luke…

mickeyklein@mac.com
September 15, 2008 9:34 am

By after 1980 do you mean after the temperature sets were “adjusted”?

Fernando Mafili
September 15, 2008 9:34 am

Climate Change is occurring.
∆F = ∆S -T∆H
The system is not in equilibrium, therefore, ΔF ≠ 0.
continental drift is real…changing the movement (air and ocean) and albedo…
d(∆F)/dt≠0.
Climate Change is ALWAYS occurring.
AGW is magic of Lord Voldemort.

evanjones
Editor
September 15, 2008 9:35 am

For instance Many skeptics believe that the sun is the primary cause of temperature change.
Fie! Fie! Vile sun-worshipers! We, the Sea Witches, shall drown you, as surely as the Feng Shue dictates that water defeats fire!
Confess! Confessssss!

evanjones
Editor
September 15, 2008 9:45 am

After having scanned a couple of comments in the queue. (I think some other moderator beat me to the “delete” button.):
Let’s keep it civil, folks. (Except when righteously drowning the vile sun worshipers, of course.)

evanjones
Editor
September 15, 2008 9:58 am

Inductive?
Deductive?
Abductive?

or what?
Reductive.

Simon Abingdon
September 15, 2008 10:00 am

Dee, If Real Climate is too technical for your taste, may I presume to refer you (again) to Duae Quartunciae´s “The APS and global warming: What were they thinking?” for another battle royale, this time between “Saturn” (in the skeptic corner, just fighting his corner) and DQ (the referee). I´m afraid Saturn got completely rinsed in this one, DQ inflicting a succession of “It´s the physics, stupid” hammer-blows on poor old Saturn. But still a “must see”! Great fun!

Bill P
September 15, 2008 10:01 am

“…continuing exchange between “mugwump” in the skeptic corner and Ray Bradbury in the AGW corner on Real Climate…”
Perhaps you are referring to Ray Bradley?

Stefan
September 15, 2008 10:11 am

When this was disproved by the ice core records you are now asked to accept that what actually happens is this. :-
Some effect or combination of factors starts to cause the Earth to warm. After a lag, CO2 levels start to rise as a feedback effect. However, at some, not very well described point, this cause and effect reverses itself and suddenly increasing CO2 levels become the cause and increasing temperatures the effect. Then amazingly at some other point this cause and effect reverses itself again. Temperatures start to fall and after a lag CO2 levels start to fall, until we enter another glacial period and the cycle repeats.
How do you manage to swallow all this without breaking into laughter?

To me a layman, that’s exactly the stuff that plainly sounds like a post-rationalization. Inventing an “explanation” after the fact is no more convincing than people “discovering” what has been “masking” the warming after the lack of warming.
It is not an “explanation”, it is merely yet another untested hypothesis.

evanjones
Editor
September 15, 2008 10:11 am

If what you say is true where has all this water gone?
If floating ice melts, sea level does not rise.
But, according to NASA, a large percentage of the melt is due to a.) errant wind currents that blow the ice into currents taking it into warm water, and b.) Dirty snow.
Land ice seems rather stable, however, and over the last couple of years, sea level is down (in spite of highly controversial upward adjustments that are giving “Axe” Moerner a stroke).

DAV
September 15, 2008 10:18 am

mickeyklein@mac.com (09:33:46) : Inductive is science, deductive is religion
Or mathematics, which is based solely upon deductive logic. Unfortunately, mathematics and philosophy have little to do with the world at large. Deduction can’t cope with facts that can’t be derived from initial premises thus it only takes one contradiction to bring down an entire philosophy. Science can say “Ooops” and regroup. Nonetheless, deduction also has its uses in science.

evanjones
Editor
September 15, 2008 10:18 am

These cycles do have some effect for sure but again, probably not enough to explain recent warming.
Well, it does seem reasonable to me (prima facie) that six cycles flipping over can account for 0.4°C of warming. (Assuming that this is not exaggerated by bad measurements.)
Remember, the slope of the ’20s – ’30s warming is as great or greater than that of the ’70 – ’90s, and there was much less CO2 increase (so far as we know).
This is an area that needs a lot more work and illustrates the complexity of the study of climate and climate change.
Quite.

Simon Abingdon
September 15, 2008 10:36 am

Sorry – meant to say Ray Ladbury (not Bradbury, not Bradley). Thanks Bill P.

Mary Hinge
September 15, 2008 10:40 am

“Warning: If the ad hominem attacks keep going, eventually whole comments will start disappearing because the effort to keep [snipping] is exceeding the value of the material. – Anne the Moderator.”
And you don’t find the whole comment below to be an Ad hominem (or Ad feminem) attack to 50% of the human race?
“Mike Bryant (08:43:05) :
To anyone responding to Ms. Mary,
[snip]…
Reply:I gotta go with Mary H on this one, Mike B, that was out of line, even if you did not intend offense. ~ charles the moderator
Reply: I just saw that too. It was out of line. – Anne

Alan Millar
September 15, 2008 10:47 am

(Mary Hinge)
So you are saying that AGW is just causing sea ice to melt and not land based ice is that correct?
So you agree that the alarmists who have said that the Greenland ice cap is undergoing a rapid melt are talking through their hats?
If you think they are not talking through their hats I say again where has this water gone?
What amazing phenomenom is causing all this as the oceans have not warmed up at all in the last few years?
Alan

evanjones
Editor
September 15, 2008 10:51 am

llbeck: All – As a scientist who also worked along side the IPCC on global warming issues, I believe that AGW definitely is a fact.
Well, okay, then.
Let us stipulate that there is absolutely no positive feedback in play. How much would you say the warming factor of CO2 is?

John Galt
September 15, 2008 10:53 am

If a skeptic is somebody who ignores facts they dislike, what is the proper term for somebody who believes in unverified computer models instead of actual climate data?

September 15, 2008 10:55 am

evanjones (09:58:09) :
Inductive?
Deductive?
Abductive?
or what?
Reductive.
Might intuitive trump the other ‘ives’?
I enjoy your comments.

Stefan
September 15, 2008 10:59 am

Mary:
3-Sea temperatures have fallen slightly in the last few years at the top 2km as can be measured. As I’m sure you know the ocean averages about 3.km in depth and there seems to be a lot of relative warmth at these depths, especially the deep sea currents, as shown by an global increase in sea level, probably caused by thermal expansion at these depths;

Mary,
Sorry to add more replies, but I have to ask, you say “probably”… but how do you know? Why is the missing heat always in the last place that we haven’t looked? As a former AGW supporter, and now supporter of “W[snip] do we know”, I am curious as my mind can be swung either way as more arguments come in. How do we know that the heat is deep in the ocean?

Alan Millar
September 15, 2008 11:20 am

(Stefan)
“How do we know that the heat is deep in the ocean?”
We can be fairly certain that it isn’t, as it would show up in accelerating sea level rise due to thermal expansion. Perhaps the AGW theorists can explain how physics allow thermal expansion to remain hidden as well!
Alan

September 15, 2008 11:24 am

This may be an aside but do we know the contribution of heat transfer from the earth’s core to climate and is the declining magnetic field of the earth associated with mechanisms operating internally or externally to the earth that could modify the climate?

Derek D
September 15, 2008 11:27 am

“Luke” unknowingly provides evidence as to why his assertions are wrong, his logic is flawed, and that he would not know the scientific method if it hit him in the face.
Of course skeptics cling to evidence that fits their conclusions. The challenge of diligent science is that one contradiction can unravel even the soundest of theories. If I could find one single flaw in the laws of thermodynamics, they would cease to be laws, the many downstream implications would need reviewed, and a massive effort would be required to find a more comprehensive theory that is immune to any similar contradiction. Two space shuttle missions were lost as a result of miscalcuations on an o-ring and a piece of foam. The lives of 15 astronauts were lost proving the point that the most seemingly small details, when overlooked, or underestimated, can undo the most technologically advanced scientific projects.
But because AGW rhetoric flows so effortlessly off the tongues of NBC News anchors, and seems so believeable to the masses of high school educated simpletons, Luke seems to think it is automatically infallible. This is a clear demonstration of the infantile rationale of AGW believers, even those claiming to be well versed in the ways of science. All of NASA had reached “consensus” that the Challenger was a go for launch. History has proven that, sadly, it was not. That 31000+ learned scientists see flaws in a theory should be a glaring red flag that that theory needs some correcting. It should be enough to completely freeze the debate. That is there should not even BE A DEBATE that that theory is flawed and invalid. It should be the clear and unarguable FACT that it is to the real scientists. These are the undeniable truths of science as a whole, not just the very very small area surrounding the AGW debate. So Luke’s smug assurances are comedic, given that he accepts a very flawed doctrine, forsaking all of the established rules of science that the real scientists are following, then quite ignorantly states that the exact opposite is true. In other words, not only is Luke terribly misguided in the ways of science, he is equally as misguided in the ways of reality. Yet sadly “Luke” represents about a billion plus people walking this planet, with a totally false and manufactured feeling of enlightenment and intellectualism, that is nothing more than the fabrication of a well equipped political agenda that they have been duped by. Can you say Irony…
Fitting that the idea of evolution should come up in this same discussion as well. The same people who tend to religiously cling to AGW theory, similarly brandish Evolution against those who argue creation. Regardless of what your thoughts are on that debate, there is no denying the idiocy of believing that evolution occurred (and continues to occur) on a planet where the weather has and is never supposed to change. I hear daily about the catastrophic changes that AGW will cause our earth. And it is undeniable that such changes could lead to the loss of some species, and evolutionary adaptation by other species in order to survive. Yet Luke would have you think that in the 4 billion year history of this planet and throught all the evolution of species that live on it, that climate change was never a factor until we started driving cars.
This debate was never an issue of inductive vs deductive reasoning. It is a simple matter of rational logic versus cognitive dissonance. The kind of cognitive dissonance that leads a guy to read a few websites that agree with him, before claiming intellectual superiority over 31000+ of the worlds best scientists.
What a sad dumb world we live in.

Glenn
September 15, 2008 11:29 am

“All – As a scientist who also worked along side the IPCC on global warming issues, I believe that AGW definitely is a fact. Albeit with much uncertainty as to the when, the where, and the magnitude. You need only to believe the laws of physics.
1. CO2 and the other greenhouse gases (GHGs) have a demonstrable warming effect on the Earth. This has been accepted for decades. Without this beneficial effect the surface temperature of Earth would be much like Mars. Thank goodness for the greenhouse effect.”
So GHGs have a demonstrable affect, yet you are very uncertain as to how much, when and where. Good gracious! But you know all about Mars. So that last sentence should be really convincing to skeptics.

Peter
September 15, 2008 11:31 am

From what I’ve seen, medical practitioners usually use a combination of inductive and abductive reasoning when making a diagnosis:
“Most of the patients I’ve seen presenting your symptoms were suffering from disease X, therefore you probably have disease X.”

Paddy
September 15, 2008 11:36 am

Does anybody know who Dan is? [snip ad hom ]
Dan apparently believes that research funded by corporations like Exxon is inherently corrupt. Where would geology and engineering be without the substantial support the mining and petroleum industries have provided for research? Likewise, where would medicine and pharmacology be without the pharmaceutical industry?
The ability to influence research is dependent upon the character and integrity, or the lack thereof, of the researchers. Government funded research funded is also corruptible. GISS is a prime example.
Dan does not provide anything substantive to the dialog about climate science and the AGW hypothesis. Ignore him and his ilk.
REPLY: He kindly provides an embedded link (click on the name in comments) to his website, where you can read his bio: http://migration.wordpress.com/about/
– Anthony

Mike Bryant
September 15, 2008 12:03 pm

Apologies to all I’ve offended. The list is long. It got longer today.

evanjones
Editor
September 15, 2008 12:12 pm

Inductive?
Deductive?
Abductive?

or what?
Reductive.

Might intuitive trump the other ‘ives’?
I think the ultimate honor has to go to Seductive.

evanjones
Editor
September 15, 2008 12:53 pm

Yikes! Sorry to hear that, Dee!

September 15, 2008 1:00 pm

Can we say that Anthony’s site is seductive in attracting a discussion of inductive, deductive, or abductive reasoning.

September 15, 2008 1:02 pm

Dee Norris (11:59:54), it appears you have forgotten to credit llbeck as the contributor of much of the material you so eloquently commented about. He may miss it. Wouldn’t want that.
Reply – Ha, I maybe on pain meds, but you can’t fool me – re-read the first line of the comment. – Dee Norris

Peter
September 15, 2008 1:06 pm

Mary Hinge: “…add a particularly large splash of finance from companies that will be affected by neccesary changes to protect the environment”
You must be incredibly naive if you think that it’s the companies that pay for those ‘necessary’ changes. Companies exist to make money. Any extra expenses they incur are passed on, ultimately, to the consumer – and the taxpayer, if you’re talking about Govt ltd. That’s you and me that ends up paying for all of that. And, for a great many of us, it’s rapidly becoming a choice between paying for fuel and paying for food.

Richard S Courtney
September 15, 2008 1:11 pm

Ilbeck:
Thankyou for your comment that says to me
“Richard Courtney – you need to remove the closed quote from your URL to get it to work.”
It works for me but – to help – here it is without the closed quote:
http://www.tech-know.eu/uploads/AGW_hypothesis_disproved.pdf
And that URL is very pertinent to each of your assertions that I answer in turn.
You say;
“1. CO2 and the other greenhouse gases (GHGs) have a demonstrable warming effect on the Earth. This has been accepted for decades. …”
I respond.
True, but so what? The AGW-hypothesis states that anthropogenic CO2 added to the atmosphere will induce “dangerous” warming (ref. IPCC 2007). Atmospheric CO2 cocentration has risen with no sign that it has caused such warming (see the URL). Clearly, other factors are having greater effect than the addition of CO2 to the atmosphere. The scientific question is;
“What are those other factors and how do all the factors interact?”
You say;
“2. The quantity of GHGs has been increasing in the Earth’s atmosphere.”
I respond.
Also true, but so what? The same response as I gave to your point 1 applies.
But you continue by asserting:
“This is a measureable quantification with undisputed accuracy and well-documented in the Mauna Loa record and elsewhere. Also evident in ice-core data. The tremendous rise in GHG corresponds to the industrial revolution and the use of fossil energy (mostly oil and coal). This makes sense since we are taking carbon previously sequestered underground, burning it, and forming CO2. At the same time we also are removing trees and other carbon “sinks.”
I respond.
Corelation does not prove causation but coherence can disprove causation.
Coherence indicates that when one thing changes the other also changes (i.e. in this case each time that temperature rises then the atmospheric carbon dioxide increases later, and each time that global temperature falls then the atmospheric carbon dioxide reduces later).
Correlation indicates that there is a statistical relationship between parameters (i.e. in this case a concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide would indicate a global temperature according to the AGW hypothesis).
Global temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration cohere such that atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration follows temperature by months
(seminal work validated by others: ref. Kuo C, Lindberg CR and David J. Thomson DJ, ‘Coherence established between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature’, Nature, 343 (1990))
which indicates
(a) that a change to the temperature induces a change to the carbon dioxide
or
(b) that changes to the temperature and carbon dioxide are both induced by some other (unknown) parameter.
But global temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration do not correlate and, therefore, the level of one is not determinate of the level of the other.
Many things cohere but do not correlate. For example, leaves fall off trees soon after school children end their summer break each year. This is clear coherence. But the number of leaves that fall does not correlate to the number of school children who return to school.
Coherence with absence of correlation is very suggestive of causation by some other (unknown) parameter. In the case of the children and the leaves, the time of year is the causative ‘other parameter’.
You say;
“3. If you believe in the physics of the greenhouse effect and the measurements of GHG rise, you have to accept that there is a strong possibility that burning of fossil fuels and other anthropogenic activity may have a part in the equation.”
I accepted the possibility that “anthropogenic activity may have a part in the equation”, and assessed this possibility against the empirical evidence. It fails the test of comparison to observation of the real world (see the URL) and, therefore, if the “anthropogenic activity” does have a “part in the equation” then it is a small part that is overwhelmed by other ‘parts’: at very least, this true until now according to the available empirical data.
Richard

Wondering Aloud
September 15, 2008 1:30 pm

Dan
No the petition project is not funded directly or indirectly by exxon. I am sure Dr. Robinson wishes it was.
However, even if it was funded by Exxon that would be irrelevent. Much of the pro AGW stuff out there including IPCC is funded and run by people with a powerful financial interest in promoting AGW.
The 31,000 signatories have no financial incentive to sign, and indeed often risk financial loss for signing. One other thing most of us have is graduate degrees in science and years of working as scientists.
Your statements to the contrary show you did not honestly investigate before you posted.
Luke in the original article shows that he doesn’t understand the entire idea of a theory when he says
“Skeptics look for evidence to prove their conclusion and ignore any that does not fit what they believe. ”
A theory is supposed to explain what has been observed and be useful for succesful prediction, if the theory wasn’t in serious trouble there would be no “evidence” for them to point to. Instead the theory has repeatedly failed in it’s predictions and it clearly needs to be revised or discarded. His statement on this and on the religious issue show a clear and profound lack of understanding of both concepts.

September 15, 2008 1:31 pm

Dee,
Sorry to hear about your accident but it didn’t adversely affect the firing of your synapses. Might we call the Polar bear story a type of sympathetic trap for the mindless or impressionable young people who always seem to feel sorry for victims whether real or not.
Reply – Not so much an accident as stupidity on my part. I am breaking a yearling colt who mother was seized for animal neglect about 20 months ago, just before he was born. He is a little high spirited like all children and tossed his head proudly while I was giving him a hug for his good work. The rest is history as they say….
I strongly object to the use of NeuroLinguist Programing tactics on children whose lack of adult cognitive defenses leave them wide open to manipulation. Bad enough it is used on adults, but it is offensive to see it used on children. – Dee Norris

Les Johnson
September 15, 2008 2:55 pm

Dan appears to have left. Pity.
His original post is taken, mostly word for word, from Desmogblog.
I saw no quotation marks, italics or any other attribution. That would be plagiarism.
Dan obviously never confirmed the allegations made in the Desmogblog. The link to the “press release” regarding the Petition by the National Academy, goes to mediamatters. A link on that site, to a supposed press release by the National Academy, goes to a 404.
A google of the supposed NAS statement:
“The petition project was a deliberate attempt to mislead scientists and to rally them in an attempt to undermine support for the Kyoto Protocol. The petition was not based on a review of the science of global climate change, nor were its signers experts in the field of climate science.”
goes only to Desmogblog.
Thus, the above statement appears to be a fabrication of Desmogblog.
To recap; Dan has plagiarized an apparent fabrication. He compounds this, by apparently not researching and confirming the alleged statement by the NAS.

pkatt
September 15, 2008 3:01 pm

Reply – As I am sure you realize, clones and GMOs are different things. A clone can be of a perfectly ordinary organism and GMOs can have a lot of intra-speciesdiversity between individual specimens. The danger from a lack of diversity in our food source is equally a risk with using limited non-GM0 food-stocks as with GMOs. In both cases, inter and intra-species diversity can be lost by the exclusion of other variations on a species. However, a case can be made that GMOs can increase intra-species diversity by adding to the gene pool. Clones, however, are a huge risk as inter-specimen diversity can be lost. – Dee
You’re right I should have used monoculture instead of the word clones. But you missed my point entirely. Different people believe different things. That is the wonderful diversity of mankind. What you did was take two completely different groups of people and glop them into the same category. However I wont get into it with you over my “heretical” views of GMO’s this is not the site for that. But while you are pushing your golden rice will you at least label it for those of us who dont need its awsome benefits?????
Reply – I got your point originally and I certainly did not glob you all together. I what I said was –

Many of the outspoken believers in AGW are also dedicated foes of genetically modified organisms…

Note the use of the word ‘many’ and not the word ‘all’. It is basic set theory like back in high school. Set C (AGW believers who are foes of GMOs) is an intersection of Set A (AGW proponents) and Set B (GMO foes). The above comment does not preclude the existence of an possible yet unmentioned Set D (in which you claim membership) that is an intersection of Set E (AGW skeptics) and Set B. Set F (GMO supporters) completes the picture.
In case you are interested, I describe myself as E ∩ F.
As for labeling, why not just buy products that are certified GMO-free and labeled as such? I am sure that if the members of Set B create a market demand, someone will supply the products. Heck, I would be happy to sell you GMO-free eggs according to the laws of supply and demand. How much is it worth to you to know the eggs you have at breakfast are GMO-free? I have a friend who will do the same for bison and cattle meats. We will even make sure that the feedstocks are not GMOs if you want to pay for it. – Dee Norris

Peter
September 15, 2008 3:18 pm

Alan Millar: “We can be fairly certain that it isn’t, as it would show up in accelerating sea level rise due to thermal expansion”
Besides which, warmer water is less dense – for the same reason – and less dense water doesn’t stay at depth for very long.

evanjones
Editor
September 15, 2008 3:19 pm

If we had had better hybrids at points past, there would have been a heck of a lot less famine and human suffering.

Peter
September 15, 2008 3:34 pm

“Can we say that Anthony’s site is seductive in attracting a discussion of inductive, deductive, or abductive reasoning.”
Not to mention, addictive.

September 15, 2008 3:38 pm

evan jones I suspect that edcon has credited you with my original set of ive questions.
Is the correct answer Corruptive?

DAV
September 15, 2008 3:42 pm

Reply – Not so much an accident as stupidity on my part. I am breaking a yearling colt who mother was seized for animal neglect about 20 months ago, just before he was born
Tough laws in your state if a horse can be arrested for neglect! Or were you marely (*ahem*) joking?
Er, just kidding. I THINK I know what you meant but that IS the way I keep reading it. Causes a doubletake every time 🙂
Reply – Sheesh! Haven’t you ever heard of ‘Animal Police’? The colt is now facing charges for human cruelty! 😉
Seriously, the mare was seized, not arrested. The neglectful owner was arrested and he eventually forfeited the seized horses (13 Arabians) to the Court who then turned them over to the equine rescue with which I work. – Dee Norris

Mary Hinge
September 15, 2008 3:44 pm

Alan Millar (11:20:14)
So, what are your experimental results, have you written them down in your exercice book. Now start your essay “Archimedes’ principle states that……”
Back to the point on sea level rise. It’s obvious you now little on this subject as you spout out the usual garbage that you have probably seen on other blogs and belive to be real. This is what you wrote ….
“……….. as it would show up in accelerating sea level rise due to thermal expansion. Perhaps the AGW theorists can explain how physics allow thermal expansion to remain hidden as well!”
The sea level has been rising at a fairly constant rate over the last hundred years, however it has risen at a 50% greater rate in the last 15 years or so ( about 3.3mm/ year, see this graph http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/images/alt_gmsl_seas_rem.jpg
. This is from CSIRO:
“High quality measurements of (near)-global sea level have been made since late 1992 by satellite altimeters, in particular, TOPEX/Poseidon (launched August, 1992) and Jason-1 (launched December, 2001). This data has shown a more-or-less steady increase in Global Mean Sea Level (GMSL) of around 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/year over that period. This is more than 50% larger than the average value over the 20th century. Whether or not this represent a further increase in the rate of sea level rise is not yet certain.”
This, coupled with a slight decrease in the water temperature of the ocean to 2km, would suggest that the thermal expansion is occuring at the lower 1.5km.
Stefan (10:59:43) :
“Mary,
Sorry to add more replies, but I have to ask, you say “probably”… but how do you know?”
I don’t know for sure, thats why I say probably!
Peter (13:06:32) :
“You must be incredibly naive if you think that it’s the companies that pay for those ‘necessary’ changes. Companies exist to make money. Any extra expenses they incur are passed on, ultimately, to the consumer – and the taxpayer,…..”
I think you are the naive one in this, the one thing companies hate more than spending money is losing money. The reason they sponsor so many sceptics is they can ultimately get the consumer to pay to support their mission of disinformation. If they didn’t do thisthey know they will lose money as demand for their products fall either by a popular concensus or by government policies. So by spending a relatively small sum now, some of which can be recouped, they try to ensure their customer base is still their in the future.

Les Johnson
September 15, 2008 3:48 pm

A correction on my earlier post. Further searching found the source of the quote, that was attributed to the NAS by Desmogblog.
The supposed quote attributed to the NAS, was apparently made by the Union of Concerned Scientists, which the UCS made commenting on the NAS press release denying connection to the Petition Project.
Desmogblog apparently mistook the UCS editorial comments on the NAS release, as being from the NAS.
So, instead of plagiarizing a fabrication, Dan actually plagiarized a false attribution.
Neither Desmogblog nor Dan bothered to research the providence of the quote.

Kohl Piersen
September 15, 2008 4:03 pm

When I was (much) younger I tended to take what people told me at face value. The result was that in relation to a number of things I was conned. Since those salad days I have adopted a keenly skeptical attitude to …well basically everything. When the man rings me up and says he can help with my phone bill -I tell him I doubt it and ask him to put it in writing. When the woman comes to show me the word of god I point out that the printer’s name on the fly leaf does not appear to bear a heavenly address.
A skeptical attitude may well be a pain in the derierre for friends and acquaintances, nevertheless I have found it to be the surest way to get to the truth.
My take on the AGW debate arises from this (habitual) skeptical stance.
We have a great deal of evidence that for (at least) the past several million years, the earth has undergone successive heating and cooling cycles. The earth has been both hotter and colder than it is right now. The carbon dioxide levels have been both higher and lower than they are right now. Ocean levels have risen and fallen beyond their present levels, and vast areas of land have undergone successive inundations. Indeed, the only constant thing in relation to the earth’s climate is precisely that it is always in a state of flux. The evidence is incontrovertible so far as the occurrence goes – what is not completely settled is the precise causation.
But whatever may be the eventual verdict on the causation, we know one thing beyond doubt – in all of his million years (?) on the planet, mankind has had absolutely nothing to do with changes in the climate.
It is against that background that this skeptic considers the claims recently raised to the effect that, notwithstanding these millions of years of cyclic changes, the planet is now in dire straits because man has been adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
As a skeptic, my immediate response is to ask ‘What is different about the present state of the earth’s climate and the atmosphere so as to distinguish the present (dangerous) state from the changes which have been continuous over eons?’.
If a proponent of AGW cannot point to anything which would set the present circumstances apart from the natural history of the planet, then I am entitled to consider that proponent as being merely overexcited.
Notice that my initial stance does not require me to go into the physics of radiative transfer, spectral absorption, carbon dioxide sensitivity and all the rest. Whatever the actual cause of global climate change (in whatever direction) the starting point in any discussion is that any change is natural UNLESS one can point to something which shows the current state of affairs to be extraordinary in the context of the actual history of the planet.
And there is the nub of the matter. If a proponent of AGW cannot produce something akin to the ‘hockey stick’ to show that the extent or rate of rise of temperature is extraordinary; and that this is associated with extraordinary levels of carbon dioxide, then there is no problem to be considered.
There is at least one major problem with what I have so far seen of the ‘hockey stick’. That is that it relies upon a restricted comparison.
It is unnecessary to consider the merits to be able to observe that restricting the comparison to the last 1000 or 2000 years is in itself, suspicious. The cycling of the earth’s climate did not end/begin 2000 years ago – it has been ongoing through all of the planet’s existence.
Recall that the proponent’s task is to show that the present situation is extraordinary. Inevitable, it will be possible to select some period of climate history which would make the present appear different or even extreme by comparison. But that is not what we are about. The comparison must be made with as broad a sweep of the planet’s climate history as possible. Anything else is just misleading.

Les Johnson
September 15, 2008 4:13 pm

Mary: your
The sea level has been rising at a fairly constant rate over the last hundred years, however it has risen at a 50% greater rate in the last 15 years or so ( about 3.3mm/ year, see this graph http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/images/alt_gmsl_seas_rem.jpg
The importance of arbitrary start and stop dates. The following chart shows much the same as yours, about 3.2 mm/year rise since 1992. But it also shows that if you start the trend in 2006, sea levels have fallen in the last 2-3 years.
http://sealevel.colorado.edu/current/sl_noib_global_sm.jpg
Its probably just a coincidence that ALL temperature metrics (UAH, RSS, Hadley and GISS) all show a negative trend since 2002.
And that ARGO shows a sea temperature decline since 2003.

Boris
September 15, 2008 4:13 pm

“The unwary reader will now accept as true that humanity is 100% responsible for increasing the greenhouse effect by the use of fossil energy..”
Why is it a problem that the unwary reader accepted something that has been proven by many methods and is undisputed in science. NLP indeed.
Reply – I am still waiting for your proof of this and the sources. – Dee Norris

evanjones
Editor
September 15, 2008 4:32 pm

Why is it a problem that the unwary reader accepted something that has been proven by many methods and is undisputed in science. NLP indeed.
Undisputed in science? Come again?
Not even the IPCC goes that far. And a bunch of IPCC peer reviewers don’t agree with the IPCC, for that matter.
Besides, for GW to be a worry, the IPCC version of positive feedback has to apply. And so far as we can tell so far, the Aqua Sat data (negative feedback) has utterly falsified it. There seems to be less, not more ambient vapor, so less water-based GHG, and more low-level cloud cover, so greater albedo.
So far that data has not been falsified and has not yet been “disputed by science”.
So I am not sure where you are going here.

September 15, 2008 4:44 pm

Sorry, Dee. Missed it. I even performed a word-find search of “beck” and the blasted computer missed it, too. My computer and I apologize.

peerreviewer
September 15, 2008 4:48 pm

I frankly dont think that anyone knows what the temperature of the earth is. Or whether you can have a temperature of the earth. 1998: either a current a volcano or just noise. What is the monte carlo simulation that says its real?
I just read a bunch of the original hadley documents and they are just a bunch of number theory. The data cant be seen, they make “statisticly nice” adjustments for 19th century data, and never tell you what the experimental design was, how the measuring stations worked, what kind of thermometer was used, who read it, who build a village around the station, how they controlled for humidity, industry, the sun, the pollution in the atmosphere or any thing else. Its just numbers and adjusted numbers.
They even state that the precision of a measurement is .03C.
I almost fell off my chair.
Everybody is arguing about temperature, but no one is really measuring it or looking at the data or wondering whether the data is any good. Its like letting 4 new postdocs run loose in the lab making buffers and doing pcr runs and then just looking at the graphs that come out and changing the world because of the graphs. I have never in my life seen a more poorly constructed, over analyzed, multiply adjusted, untraceable and irreproducible data set in my life

evanjones
Editor
September 15, 2008 4:58 pm

It would seem that the most reliable measure is Lower Troposphere measured by satellite. And even that is a microwave proxy.
And in turn that has to be further translated in order to estimate surface temperature (and the conversion is fiddly and a subject of some controversy).
But at least the gridding is consistent and microsite violations are sidestepped. (And, P.S., I trust those in charge more, but that’s my prejudice.)

Stefan
September 15, 2008 5:20 pm

Mary wrote:
“The sea level has been rising at a fairly constant rate over the last hundred years, however it has risen at a 50% greater rate in the last 15 years or so”

Mary, thanks that’s interesting. I’ve glanced at graphs of global temps from 1880 to present, and at sea level rise since 1880. They both generally go “up”, but other than that they don’t look like they relate to each other very much. Surface temps seem to go up, level, down a bit, up, level, down a bit, and so on. What’s the connection?
I accept that the heat must be down there because there is nowhere else it could be, but only if it has to be somewhere. If it doesn’t have to be somewhere, then we don’t need to assume that it is down there.
Can’t we just measure it and find out?

MattN
September 15, 2008 6:42 pm

I’d like to draw your attention to this: http://www.climate4you.com/images/EQUATOR%202008%2008%20vs%201998-2006.gif
That is August 2008 anomaly based on a 1998-2006 baseline. Data is from UAH.

evanjones
Editor
September 15, 2008 6:59 pm

It might simply be radiated out into space.
The ArgoBots measure pretty deep, but not to the most extreme dephts.

Mike Bryant
September 15, 2008 7:10 pm

I think that it makes alot of sense that all that heat is hiding at the bottom of the Marianas Trench. Everyone knows how hot it gets at depths. Besides, the models have been showing that all that extra heat would be hiding in the ocean depths all along. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

Mike Bryant
September 15, 2008 7:13 pm

If it’s not hiding there it is obviously hiding somewhere else. I’m pretty sure that a large percentage of it is in my attic.

evanjones
Editor
September 15, 2008 7:29 pm

Amiga mia
Hace tan fria . . .

Mike Bryant
September 15, 2008 7:35 pm

Perhaps as Global Warming evolves, it has acquired the ability to disguise itself as Global Cooling. This is obviously the result of a beneficial mutation. This new ability is akin to the camoflage ability of the lowly chameleon. It is so effective that there is no scientific instrument that can locate this missing heat.

Mike Bryant
September 15, 2008 7:53 pm

I am pretty sure that there are countless millions of caves deep within the oceans. If I am correct, these caves would be an excellent hiding place for the newly camoflaged heat. You may think this is all a big joke, however this makes as much of some of the absurdities of AGW.

Mike Bryant
September 15, 2008 7:56 pm

as much sense…

Admin
September 15, 2008 8:03 pm

Mike Bryant–while not in violation of explicit blog rules, I’m afraid you are just being a bit too silly.

Mike Bryant
September 15, 2008 8:06 pm

El calor está ocultando
Debajo del mar,
O debajo de mi cama,
O en mi ático.
Es un camaleón.
No podemos encontrarlo.
El AGW es verdad.
El calor está quizá en una cueva del mar profundo.

Mike Bryant
September 15, 2008 8:07 pm

Sorry Jeez, I thought a little comic relief might be in order.
REPLY: Mike you are really pushing it today, I suggest take a time out for a few hours, you’ve been at the console too long – Anthony

Mike Bryant
September 15, 2008 8:20 pm

Good Night

evanjones
Editor
September 15, 2008 8:38 pm

The frightening thing is that I was actually able to understand that.
Hasty bananas.

anna v
September 15, 2008 9:07 pm

evanjones (15:19:02) :
” If we had had better hybrids at points past, there would have been a heck of a lot less famine and human suffering. ”
This is such a common misconception, in my opinion, that I will reply briefly to it, even though not related to this thread.
Mammals expand to fill the food source available, in absence of predators. Happened to me with cats last year. Humans are mammals. They will adjust to the medicine, GM food, whatever, and multiply to the edges of famine till they reach again starvation and suffering. And by then many more will be suffering in numbers.
It is only education, particularly of women, and a wide spread of contraceptive techniques that will allow the brain ( the only thing extra from other mammals) to control and ration.

Mary Hinge
September 16, 2008 1:49 am

Kohl Piersen (16:03:58) :
“There is at least one major problem with what I have so far seen of the ‘hockey stick’. That is that it relies upon a restricted comparison.
It is unnecessary to consider the merits to be able to observe that restricting the comparison to the last 1000 or 2000 years is in itself, suspicious.”
I think you are getting a bit mixed up here, the ‘hockey stick’ is based on measurement of global temperatures by proxy, such as tree rings etc. The methods used can only give some degree of accuracy back 1,000 years or so due to the methods available. It is not arbitary at all but a reflection of what data can be used. Discussions on this blog and other disinformation suggest that the HS is fundamentally flawed, even a lie, fraud etc. Take a look at these graphs, the top graph shows the original HS, the lower graph shows the added results from more recent data. http://environment.newscientist.com/data/images/ns/cms/mg18925431.400/mg18925431.400-2_752.jpg
What is immediately nticeable is that Mann et al had played it safe and represented past temperatures than warmer than they probably were, judging on the more recent data. Also very noticeable is the lack of MWP and LIA on the graphs. Some will take the obvious ‘D’ worded route out and claim ALL the data must be wrong. More reasonable people will deduce the localised effects of these events, as outlined previously in this post. What the recent data shows is how close to the mark and how durable the original HS actually is.
You will also notice the instrumental data and the unprecedented rise in temperature. It is certainly a lot warmer globally now than during the MWP.
Stefan (17:20:01) :
“…accept that the heat must be down there because there is nowhere else it could be, but only if it has to be somewhere. If it doesn’t have to be somewhere, then we don’t need to assume that it is down there.”
But we know the heat is down there, the rise in sea level indicates that. We also know that this heat is released periodically during El Nino events. We also believe a similar process of upwelling is what is melting the southern ocean ice caps from below.
Mike Bryant (19:13:16) :
“If it’s not hiding there it is obviously hiding somewhere else. I’m pretty sure that a large percentage of it is in my attic.”
I think Anthony is right, you have lost it I’m afraid! I hope you’re in better form today after you have slept it off 😉
Les Johnson (16:13:10) :
“The importance of arbitrary start and stop dates. The following chart shows much the same as yours, about 3.2 mm/year rise since 1992. But it also shows that if you start the trend in 2006, sea levels have fallen in the last 2-3 years.”
I think you should actually try to get a basic grip on this before this sort of disinformational knee-jerk reaction. One, it isn’t arbitrary at all, the project was started in 1992 and the graph shows the data since that point. Second your graph shows the seasonal signal still in. I’m sure you know, or may not know, that the sea level changes cyclically throughout the year. To make the graph relevant this signal needs to be removed. To see the graph with the signal intact click here http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/images/alt_gmsl_seas_not_rem.jpg
You will notice that the sea level minima increases each year on year, including this year. Please don’t take the disinformationalist route of confusing short term trends with long term trends, it makes you seem lacking in depth.

Brendan H
September 16, 2008 3:54 am

Dee: “The end result is that the un-knowledgeable reader is manipulated below the level of conscious awareness into accepting this meme as truth.”
I see no manipulation, merely a series of steps in an argument. The fact that you disagree with some of the steps is not evidence of manipulation, merely disagreement. Compare this:
“Here are just a few of the more recent advances in science which initially challenged the consensus:
• The theory of continental drift was soundly rejected by most geologists until indisputable evidence and an acceptable mechanism was presented after 50 years of rejection.

• The theory of anthropogenic carbon dioxide as the cause of the latter 20th century warm period was widely accepted by the scientific consensus until it was falsified by protracted global cooling due to reductions in total solar irradiance and the solar magnetic field.”
These two claims are presented as if they were similar, when in fact they are entirely dissimilar. So who’s manipulating who?

Dan Lee
September 16, 2008 4:05 am

Creo que Mike Bryant tiene fiebre… 🙂

Mike Bryant
September 16, 2008 4:50 am

Mary,
The sea level graph was very interesting. I noticed that if this trend continues, we will have a sea level rise of almost 13″ by the year 2108.
Mike

Mike Bryant
September 16, 2008 5:02 am

I apologize to all who were offended last night. I wasn’t drinking, just a little tired from hurricane weekend, and a little sick of arguments. I take full responsibility for my crazy sense of (humor?) or whatever that was. If I wasn’t such a responsible person I could blame my antics on AGW, which, of course, causes everything.
I hope at least one or two of you got a chuckle out of my ramblings.
Reply – Personally, I think your ramblings were fine, but they would have been even finer if consolidated to a single post. 😉 Levity is a good thing, IMHO. – Dee Norris

Stefan
September 16, 2008 5:20 am

Mary wrote:
But we know the heat is down there, the rise in sea level indicates that.

Mary, doesn’t calculating how much the sea would rise, require knowing the temperatures all the way down to the deepest parts?

Boris
September 16, 2008 5:38 am

“I am still waiting for your proof of this and the sources.”
I gave you the exact page and quotes from the IPCC AR4 in the previous thread (I suggest also reading the section on C12/C13 isotopes and the cited literature). I would think that, as a skeptic, you would inquire about the matter yourself.
Denying that humans are responsible for the CO2 increase in the atmosphere and ocean also defies common sense. We know that we emit CO2. We know that CO2 has not been at the current level for at least 800,000 years. We know that CO2 concentrations track with the increase in FF burning. Even without isotope evidence the answer is obvious. Where do you think ton after ton of carbon is going?
Reply – When I added up the IPCC’s Carbon contributed by human sources I didn’t get your values.
How about since the IPCC does NO original research, can you provide the source material. Thanks. – Dee Norris

September 16, 2008 5:41 am

Climate ‘realist’ is a better term – being realistic about uncertainty in climate science, and being realistic about the (lack of) prospects for reducing CO2 emissions against a background of increasing emissions from developing countries, that will more than compensate for any reductions by developed countries.

Richard S Courtney
September 16, 2008 5:44 am

Mary Hinge:
You suggest that significant heat is being stored in the oceans saying;
“But we know the heat is down there, the rise in sea level indicates that.”
Sorry, but that is a clear misunderstanding.
I ignore eustatic, tectonic, volcanic and anthropogenic effects that cause local rises and falls in sea levels because they are not pertinent except as difficulties in determination of global values for sea level change.
The global sea level has been rising since the end of the last glacial period because ice sheets on land continue to melt and, thus, to add their contents to the oceans. The rate of global sea level rise has been very variable, but no significant change to the rate has been observed recently.
(refs.
Tanner W.F. 1992. 3000 years of sea level change. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 73: 297-303.
Varekamp, J.C., Thomas, E. and Van de Plassche, O. 1992. Relative sea level rise and climate change over the last 1500 years. Terra Nova 4: 293-304.)
Therefore, the rise in sea level does not indicate recent change oceanic heat content.
Richard

Mary Hinge
September 16, 2008 6:08 am

Stefan (05:20:27) :
“Mary, doesn’t calculating how much the sea would rise, require knowing the temperatures all the way down to the deepest parts?”
I am not sure of your logic here, I haven’t tried calculating how much the sea will rise, I have just presented the evidence for the rise over the last 15 years. You can predict a rise in sea level using current trends as Mike Bryant has done (welcome back Mike and apology accepted), but this has its obvious flaws and his 13″ (lucky man!) doesn’t take into account the increased rate of sea level seen in recent years. As a matter of interest here is the record from Iceland from the last 2,000 years taken from sediment cores in Iceland and last 700 years from Connecticut.
http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_hist_few_hundred.html
They show very clearly the rapid rate increase since the mid 19th century.
The sea levels are now at the highest for 120,000 years
http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_hist_intro.html