Consensus climate science: What would Thomas Huxley say?

Guest Post By Paul MacRae

“The evidence … however properly reached, may always be more or less wrong, the best information being never complete, and the best reasoning being liable to fallacy.”

-Thomas Huxley, Science and Christian Tradition, p. 205

Thomas H. Huxley (1825-1895) was one of the first and most vigorous promoters of modern scientific thinking. He is perhaps best-known as “Darwin’s bulldog”-no one did more to fight for Darwin’s theory of natural selection in the face of theological opposition-but he also almost single-handedly introduced science into the British school curriculum at all levels.thomas-huxley

Huxley was a formidable philosopher of science, anticipating many of the principles of scientific inquiry that Karl Popper would make a mainstay of scientific thinking in the 20th century, including the need for falsifiable hypotheses and non-dogmatic, continuous inquiry.

In short, in the history and philosophy of science, Huxley is someone to be reckoned with.

So what would T.H. Huxley have thought of today’s “consensus” climate scientists, with their claims that the issue of man-made climate change is “settled,” that there is no need for further debate, and that those who challenge the hypothesis of anthropogenic warming in any way are, in effect, heretics?

Three of Huxley’s books-Science and Hebrew Tradition (SHT), Science and Christian Tradition (SCT), and Hume, a biography of Scottish philosopher David Hume (1711-1776)-present Huxley’s philosophy of science very clearly. How well does “consensus” climate science bear up in Huxley’s crucible?

Science is never certain

The pretension to infallibility, by whomsoever made, has done endless mischief; with impartial malignity it has proved a curse, alike to those who have made and it those who have accepted it.

Science and Hebrew Tradition, Preface, p. ix

Just as Huxley fought against religious certainty in his time, so he undoubtedly would have questioned the consensus claim that the evidence for human-driven climate change is “overwhelming” and therefore beyond question.

But, then, orthodoxy always hates criticism, a point Huxley underscored by quoting from David Hume’s “Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.” In “Dialogues,” Hume has the religious Cleanthes, who believes that because nature is harmonious there must be a Supreme Designer, say to the skeptical Philo:

You [Philo] alone, or almost alone, disturb this general harmony. You state abstruse doubts, cavils, and objections. You ask me what is the cause of this cause? I know not: I care not: that concerns me not. I have found a Deity and here I stop my inquiry. (Hume, p. 178)

Against this view, Huxley wrote: “No man, nor any body of men, is good enough, or wise enough, to dispense with the tonic of criticism” (SCT, “Science and Pseudoscience,” p. 93).

But, of course, the consensus climate science orthodoxy, as expressed many times by believers like Al Gore, Goddard Institute director James Hansen, and Canada’s Andrew Weaver and David Suzuki (who once stormed out of a radio interview because the interviewer dared to suggest the global warming issue is “not totally settled”)(1), is that “abstruse doubts, cavils, and objections” that don’t fit within the consensus paradigm should not be aired lest the public’s faith in anthropogenic global warming be weakened.

For example, in refusing to debate skeptical environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg , Gore said: “We have long since passed the time when we should pretend this is a ‘on the one hand, on the other hand’ issue. It’s not a matter of theory or conjecture.”

Canada’s leading climate computer modeler, Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria, in explaining his reluctance to publicly debate the question of global warming on a CBC radio program, has written:

There is no such debate in the atmospheric or climate scientific community, and … making the public believe that such a debate exists is precisely the goal of the denial industry. (Keeping Our Cool, p. 22)

Why not debate with climate skeptics? Why not crush the abstruse doubts, cavils and objections, as Huxley did many times in publicly debating opponents of Darwin?

For example, in 1860, in one of the most famous debates in the history of science, Huxley demolished the arguments of Anglican Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, who was defending religious doctrine against Darwin’s theory of evolution. Huxley’s attitude wasn’t, like Weaver’s and Gore’s, “I’m right, the other side is wrong, and therefore I don’t need to debate them.” Huxley knew the public needed to hear both sides, not just one, to make up its mind.

For his part, Bishop Wilberforce must have felt he shouldn’t have to defend what he considered immutable religious truth against the upstart scientific heretics. Yet, unlike Weaver, Gore, and most others in the climate consensus, Wilberforce had the courage to publicly debate his views.

Why don’t Gore, Weaver, et al., feel the same need to put their “truths” to the public test? Perhaps because they fear that they and the climate orthodoxy would lose the debate, and quite rightly. The few times warming believers have publicly debated skeptics, the believers have lost.(2,3)

The facts must fit the theory

An inductive hypothesis is said to be demonstrated when the facts are shown to be in entire accordance with it [italics added].

Science and the Hebrew Tradition, “Lectures on Evolution III,” p. 132

What would Huxley think of the claim that the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis is based on empirical facts (i.e., is an inductive hypothesis), when the facts no longer support (are no longer in “entire accordance with”) that hypothesis? Probably not much given that, despite increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the planet has not warmed since at least 2001 and perhaps earlier than that.(4)

Theory must account for previous experience

The more a statement of fact conflicts with previous experience, the more complete must be the evidence which is to justify us in believing it.

Hume, p. 158

figure-1

What is the planet’s “previous experience” in terms of carbon dioxide and temperature? The geological evidence of the past 600 million years shows the relationship between carbon dioxide and temperature is tenuous at best (see Figure 1. The black line is carbon dioxide; the blue line is temperature).

Note particularly 450 million years ago, when the earth’s temperature was as cold as today’s-i.e., the earth was in an Ice Age-while carbon dioxide levels were more than 10 times today’s levels. Clearly, high levels of CO2 weren’t keeping the planet warm then.

There are other periods, such as 100 million years ago, when the temperature remained high but carbon dioxide fell. If, as consensus climate science claims, carbon dioxide is the main driver of climate, why didn’t the temperature start to fall until tens of millions of years after CO2 did?

The consensus view, which closely links high carbon dioxide levels and high temperatures, had no validity in “previous experience” (the geological past). Why should we accept that view now?

Science must be able to predict phenomena

.

The true mark of a theory is without doubt its ability to predict phenomena.

– Science and Hebrew Tradition, “On the Method of Zadig,” p. 20

Huxley didn’t pen these words, although he heartily approved of them. They were written in 1822 by Baron Georges Cuvier (1769-1832), one of the founders of biological classification, and have been repeated by philosophers of science every since.(5) To be valid, a scientific hypothesis must be able to predict phenomena. An hypothesis that can’t make valid predictions is guesswork, not science.

So what would Huxley (much less Cuvier) say of the failure of climate computer models to predict the flat-lining of temperatures over the past decade?figure-2

Figure 2 shows the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s predictions for the next two decades in red, orange and yellow. The blue and green lines show the actual temperatures as measured by Britain’s Hadley Institute and the University of Alabama at Huntsville climate monitoring centres.

Figure 3 shows the predictions of climate alarmist James Hansen in 1988. The blue line is Hansen’s scary Scenario A prediction; the orange line is the actual temperature. The only point of contact between the two is 1998, the year of an unusually strong El Nino warming.

Both predictions-indeed, all of the consensus climate model predictions without exception-have been higher than observed temperatures.figure-3

But, then, the IPCC itself said, in its 2001 report: “In climate research and modelling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”(6)

Extreme claims require extreme proof

.

It is a canon of common sense, to say nothing of science, that the more improbable a supposed occurrence, the more cogent ought to be the evidence in its favor.

Science and the Christian Tradition, “An Episcopal Trilogy,” p. 135

Huxley addressed, a century ago, the question of how much credence we should place in extreme claims of the type that Gore, Hansen, Weaver, and others present as scientific fact.

Not much, if we are also to believe astronomer Carl Sagan, who has written, in the same vein: “Apocalyptic predictions require, to be taken seriously, higher standards of evidence than do assertions on other matters where the stakes are not as great”(7). Sagan’s comment often appears online as “extreme claims require extreme proof,” but Huxley said it first.

Among these extreme claims is Andrew Weaver’s ominous prediction of a “sixth extinction” that will wipe out “between 40 per cent and 70 per cent of the world’s species” should the global temperature rise above 3.3 degrees Celsius” (a rise that is, for Weaver, entirely humanity’s fault) (Keeping Our Cool, p. 218). He has also called for a complete ban on fossil-fuel use.(8)

Hansen warns of sea level rises of five metres in the next century, 20 metres over the next 400 years (New Scientist, July 25, 2007). And, of course, we should all be familiar with Gore’s apocalyptic predictions (New York under water soon, no Arctic ice by 2014, etc.) if we fail to follow his draconian political and economic program.

Curiously, at least so far, none-not one-of the environmentalists’ apocalyptic predictions, from Thomas Malthus to Paul Ehrlich (mass starvation in the 1970s) to Suzuki, Weaver and Gore, has come to pass.

Or, as the CBC’s Rex Murphy notes:

So much of what the alarmists promised was supposed to be happening now isn’t happening. So many events are running counter to their near-term projections, they’ve decided to go all Armageddon with their long-term ones, projections for a future that none of us will be around to check.(9)

By any standard, the claims of Gore, Weaver, Hansen, et al., are extreme. Yet we are expected to accept these extreme claims with very little public debate, scrutiny, or criticism (after all, the debate is settled and the climate scientists are the experts), and based on almost no empirical evidence (unless mathematical models are considered the equivalent of empirical evidence).

Instead, climate alarmists abandon scientific principles of evidence, fall back on the precautionary principle (if it could happen we must act as if it will happen)(10), and try to silence anyone asking for proof more convincing than the flawed predictions of computer models.

Science doesn’t operate by consensus

My love of my fellow-countrymen has led me to reflect, with dread, on what will happen to them, if any of the laws of nature ever become so unpopular in their eyes, as to be voted down by the transcendent authority of universal suffrage.

Science and Christian Tradition, p. 252

Huxley was worried that citizens would decide to vote against, for example, the laws of gravity. Undoubtedly, he would be equally concerned if scientists declared that a scientific assertion was true because, after a vote, a majority of them had agreed it was so, i.e., proof by “consensus.”

Just as a vote of citizens doesn’t make a scientific fact true or false, neither does a vote of scientists make a fact true or false. Only empirical evidence does that. And the empirical evidence for anthropogenic warming isn’t there.

Dealing with absurdity

When you cannot prove that people are wrong, but only that they are absurd, the best course is to let them alone.

Science and Hebrew Tradition, “On the Method of Zadig,” p. 13

It would be nice to leave the consensus climate alarmists alone. After all, the hypothesis that anthropogenic gases might cause warming is not unreasonable. It may even be true, although so far the evidence (or lack of it) argues otherwise.

What takes consensus climate science into Huxley’s realm of absurdity is its dogmatic insistent that all other hypotheses are not just wrong, but so wrong that they should not be debated or, better, not even heard by the public or other scientists.

Moreover, the consensus climate science alarmists, and their environmentalist supporters, refuse to leave the rest of us alone. Instead, they wish to impose economy-crippling measures based on a global-warming hypothesis that becomes more and more surreal with each year that warming does not occur.

Conclusion

So, how well does consensus climate science meet Huxley’s conditions for real science?

Huxley: Scientific certainty does not exist. Consensus climate science: The evidence is so overwhelming there’s no need to discuss it any further.

Huxley: A strong theory must be “in entire accordance” with the data. Consensus climate science: Dismiss data (such as the current cooling) that doesn’t fit the theory (the planet should be warming).

Huxley: Data not in accord with previous experience should be regarded with suspicion. Consensus climate science: Ignore previous experience (such as the geological record showing little correlation between carbon dioxide and temperature) if it doesn’t fit the theory.

Huxley: Theories must be able to predict accurately. Consensus climate science: Nothing, so far, predicted accurately.

Huxley: Extreme claims require extreme proof. Consensus climate science: If the proof doesn’t exist, fall back on the precautionary principle.

Huxley: Science doesn’t operate by consensus. Consensus climate science: Yes, it does.

How, we might wonder, would Huxley fare in a public debate with consensus climate believers like Al Gore, James Hansen, or Andrew Weaver, assuming they had the courage to take him on?

As Bishop Wilberforce discovered, they wouldn’t know what hit them.

Notes

1. Barbara Kay, “David Suzuki vs. Michael Crichton.” National Post, Feb. 21, 2007.

2. See, for example, Marc Sheppard’s “No wonder climate extremists refuse to debate” at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/04/no_wonder_climate_alarmists_re.html. For a list of the few debates that have occurred, and their outcomes, see Climate Depot, http://www.climatedepot.com/a/39/Climate-Depotrsquos-Morano-debates-Global-Warming-with-former-Clinton-Admin-Official-Romm.

3. Losing a debate to skeptic Marc Morano prompted Joe Romm to write, in his blog Climate Progress: “While science and logic are powerful systematic tools for understanding the world, they are no match in the public realm for the 25-century-old art of verbal persuasion: rhetoric.” To say that consensus climate scientists like David Suzuki, Andrew Weaver and James Hansen, much less ex-politician Al Gore, don’t have the rhetorical skills to match the skeptics is absurd. What Romm lacks, what consensus science lacks, and what Bishop Wilberforce lacked, is an argument that makes sense.

4. Meteorologist Richard Lindzen argues that the most recent cycle of global warming ended in 1995. See the Watts Up With That website, http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/03/30/lindzen-on-negative-climate-feedback.

5. Georges Cuvier, Recherches sur les Ossemens., Paris: Chez G. Dufour et d’Ocagne, Libraires, 1822, p. 292.

6. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate Change 01, Chapter 14, Advancing Our Understanding, Section 14.2.2.2.

7. Carl Sagan, “Nuclear War and Climatic Catastrophe: Some Policy Implications,” Foreign Affairs, Winter 1983/84, pp. 257-258.

8. Andrew Weaver, “Environmentalists’ are abandoning science.” Vancouver Sun, March 24, 2009.

9. Rex Murphy, “Armageddon theory: Vancouver,” Toronto Globe and Mail, Jan. 10, 2009.

10. For example, environmental writer Jonathan Schell has written: “Now, in a widening sphere of decisions, the costs of error are so exorbitant that we need to act on theory alone. It follows that the reputation of scientific prediction needs to be enhanced” [italics added]. “Our Fragile Earth,” Discover, Oct., 1987, p. 47.

Works Cited

Huxley, T.H., Hume: With Helps to the Study of Berkeley. New York. D. Appleton, 1896.

Huxley, T.H., Science and Christian Tradition. New York, D. Appleton, 1896.

Huxley, T.H., Science and  Hebrew Tradition. New York: D. Appleton, 1896.

Weaver, Andrew, Keeping Our Cool: Canada in a Warming World. Toronto: Viking Canada, 2008.

Paul MacRae is a former editor with the Toronto Globe and Mail and former editorial writer and editor with the Victoria Times Colonist. He teaches professional writing at the University of Victoria and is currently finishing a book on global warming entitled False Alarm: Why Almost Everything We’ve Been Told About Global Warming is Misleading, Exaggerated, or Plain Wrong. His blogsite is: paulmacrae.com.

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163 thoughts on “Consensus climate science: What would Thomas Huxley say?

  1. Chris Colose has posted a paper that says that decadal coolings are not unusual during global warming.

  2. A most fascinating read here.
    A little perspective on all this fuss — in any disagreement between two people, both cannot be right; however, they can both be wrong.

  3. This is the best refutal to global warming i have read. Thank you very much both Paul and Anthony.

  4. A bit O/T here —
    NOAA reports that March 2009 was the tenth warmest March on record.
    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2009/20090416_globalmarchstats.html
    Included in this report was one little detail from that report that the period Jan-March 2009, was the eighth warmest on record, so of course, USA Today ran that as its headline.
    http://www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/2009-04-16-march-temperatures-emissions-reduction-study_N.htm
    Of interest is the chart they ran with the story, showing the Jan-March anomalies since 1880.
    http://asp.usatoday.com/_common/_scripts/big_picture.aspx?width=490&height=148&storyURL=/weather/climate/2009-04-16-march-temperatures-emissions-reduction-study_N.htm&imageURL=http://i.usatoday.net/weather/_photos/2009/04/16/global-tempsx-large.jpg
    I just wonder, how many years will it be before that downturn on those red bars (warmer than ‘normal’) turn into blue bars (cooler than ‘normal’)? Time will tell and not any consensus.

  5. MikeN
    Chris Colose has posted a paper that says that decadal coolings are not unusual during global warming.
    Thats interesting, if AGW has never happened before, and the warming is unprecedented, then how can decadal coolings not be “unusual” if this is the first time it has happened? lol!

  6. Thank you, Paul, for this cool disection of the great global warming plague inflicted upon the world by narrow cash and control interests… and to Anthony for recognising your contribution and providing the vehicle for is dissemination.

  7. I am surprised that the CBC has not yet fired Rex Murphy. I have written and thanked him for his courage. He stands alone at the CBC. Can anyone guess who it is that Andrew Weaver refuses to debate? I find it very telling that NONE of the AGW proponents will take question from the audience after a speaking engagement. My father will sit and discuss for hours after a talk as Mike from Canmore was kind enough to mention in another thread. He has no fear when it comes to clarifying his views for anyone who has questions. It is too late in the evening, but I will try to access my fathers response to Weavers’ letter in the Vancouver Sun. Check out the title of Weaver’s article, I almost (snipped) my pants laughing, …….

  8. MikeN (22:11:53) :
    Chris Colose has posted a paper that says that decadal coolings are not unusual during global warming.

    [1] If not unusual, than why wasn’t it predicted by the models?
    [2] How long must cooling go on – before it’s real cooling and not just a pause in global warming? (a) More than 10 years, (b) more than 20 years, (c) more than 30 years, or (d) Until the grant money dries up?
    [3] What’s overwhelming the CO2 climate forcing to cause the cooling?

  9. G Alston, both Darwin and Einstein ( and every other real scientist) have gone through rigorous falsification (as is done in science) since their theories were published. For the most part, they have stood up to intense scrutiny. Can Hansen, Schmidt, and the rest of the hockey team say this? No, because they WILL NOT release there methodology. EVERY scientists goal is to have their research accepted into the mainstream, so what was your point?

  10. The Darwin wars were fought in the US between Louis Agassiz and Huxley’s equivalent Asa Gray. Agassiz tried to silence Gray by having a board member at Harvard threaten his career- which only seemed to motivate Gray. Agassiz and a few colleagues in a renewed attempt to crush Darwinism struck upon the idea of forming an elitist organization- limited to fifty internally selected members- that would become designated as the federal government’s science advisor. The organization was the National Academies of Science and its mission was to use the power of government prestige and hand selected members to control the scientific debate.
    Some things never change. There is a great book “Reef Madness” by David Dobbs on the politics of the Darwin battle that seem to be simply an earlier incarnation of the AGW debate. The tactics, personal enmity, political intrgue, career threats were all on display a 130 years ago.

  11. OT Turns out the droughts in africa in the 1970’s was not due to pollution from europe like some suggested
    “West’s pollution ‘led to African droughts'”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2042856.stm
    “1970-85 Famine Blamed On Pollution”
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/07/21/home/main515765.shtml
    Its all down to natural cycles.
    “Africa trapped in mega-drought cycle”
    “The infamous 1970s drought of the African Sahel region, which lasted several decades and killed more than 100,000 people, was actually a “minor” event, say researchers who have uncovered evidence that such droughts occur cyclically in the region and can be much more severe.”
    “Several studies have suggested that fluctuations in the surface temperature of the North Atlantic Ocean are partly responsible for shifts in the African monsoon. Shanahan and colleagues found more evidence in support of that when they compared sea temperature records with the patterns in their sediment samples and found a strong correlation.”
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16967-africa-trapped-in-megadrought-cycle.html

  12. The basic assumption that anyhting more complex than coin tossing och dice throwing can be predicted over time, using statistics, is flawed. It’s very hard to find real life phenomenae (other than coin tossing and dice throwing) that are easily studied based on the laws of probability.
    Anyway, to be able to study phenomenae in this way, one first must have an almost complete understanding of the phenomena in detail.
    The earths climate is not completely understood in this way, which is proven by the simple fact that scientists still study and learn more about the earths climate.
    The general assumption made by many people today, that statistics is a scientific discipline is totally wrong.
    Science is only that which can be proven by repeated experiments.
    Statistics and mathematics are in this way non-scientific, neither can be proven.
    You could of course try to prove that 1+1=2 by putting two apples on a table – but how on earth will You prove that there are in fact two apples?

  13. Nice article. The consensus claim and the science is settled claims are nothing more than intimidation so that people don’t look into this and so they don’t speak out. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

  14. Richard Feynman videos on :
    The Key to Science (1 minute) :

    Only can be sure we’re wrong (1 minute) :

    Pseudoscience (2 minutes) :

    Scientific Investigation (9 minutes) :

    Bonus video (just because it’s good ;), 6 minutes) :

  15. “MikeN (22:11:53) : Chris Colose has posted a paper that says that decadal coolings are not unusual during global warming.”
    Sure, everything is ok with global warming. Is it ok that children can’t sleep good after they’ve seen Al Gore’s movie?

  16. “Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.” – Albert Einstein

  17. And????
    Do we need to have a 100% certainty about something to act on it?
    – We’re not 100% sure that quantum mechanics is completely correct, but nevertheless we build hyper-expensive super-accelerators, fission and fusion power plants. We use computers and laser-discs and MP3s and they work.
    – Tens of papers go out every year questioning Einstein’s theory of relativity, anyway the GPS satellites were launched with correcting factors taking relativity into account.
    – We’re not 100% sure how tobacco causes lung cancers, but nevertheless we know it does and action has been take to take care of that.
    – When we take the car, or a bus or a plane, we’re not 100% sure the brakes won’t give in or that birds won’t go through the reactors. Anyway, we take our cars and the planes.
    Science is NEVER 100% sure of something, but we don’t need 100% certainty to take action. We only need a sufficient amount of converging evidences and a sufficiently high degree of confidence. Given that 97% of researchers in climate science are convinced that the present global warming is induced by anthropogenic causes, I think personally this degree of confidence is high enough. What do you think?

  18. Huxley was indeed a formidable figure. But his legendary despatching of Wilberforce is largely that – legendary. See for example Stephen Jay Gould’s piece ‘Knight Takes Bishop?’ published in a couple of places, easily found by googling. Dispassionate and contemporary observers of the debate contradict much of the later Huxley version. Wilberforce did not do badly in the scientific debate. He was not silenced by a dazzling Huxley riposte, and was more effectively responded to by Hooker. The famous story about the bishop nastily asking Huxley if he was descended from an ape on his mother’s or his father’s side is probably a garbled version of a harmless joke, and this incident seems to have had little effect on the outcome of the debate.
    Declaration of interest: I am a protestant but not a creationist. I am a global warming sceptic. I admire Huxley in some ways, but idols can have those feet of clay.

  19. Evolution is not a consensus opinion it’s science fact. The theory of Darwin, however, seems to hold up pretty well as an explanation of how the mechanisim works. That plus modern biological theory, of course.
    Even, Deus ex machina can not alter the geological record.

  20. Flanagan (00:14:30) :
    Hey Flanagan, what’s the weather going to be like next Wednesday? Is it going to be warmer than today? The same? Cooler than today?

  21. Flanagan>> “Given that 97% of researchers in climate science are convinced that the present global warming is induced by anthropogenic causes, I think personally this degree of confidence is high enough. What do you think?”
    You’re talking about 97% consensus. Consensus is not a scientific argument.
    If the methods with which the consensus has been achieved are flawed, then the consensus is totally irrelevant.
    This, my friend, is why most sceptics like to discuss the methods used rather than the percentage of scientists who believe in the results. 🙂

  22. “Given that 97% of researchers in climate science are convinced ”
    Do you have any scientific back up for this figure or did you just make it up?

  23. .
    >>We’re not 100% sure that quantum mechanics is completely correct,
    >>but nevertheless we build hyper-expensive super-accelerators
    But I have never heard anyone argue that the debate over quantum mechanics is ‘over’, or that disagreement with the quantum mechanics consensus is a heresy. The closing down of AGW debate is a political, not a scientific, action.
    .

  24. This is the key passage:-
    The true mark of a theory is without doubt its ability to predict phenomena.
    – Science and Hebrew Tradition, “On the Method of Zadig,” p. 20
    If the really dangerous global warming is meant to be 50-100 years in the future, then the model predicting this warming should be able to replicate the real world exactly over the short term. By exactly I mean just that, every minor variation should be in the model. The reason for this is very simple, predicting the weather accuratly over more than 5 days depends on the starting conditions. Change the starting conditions by a very small amount, leads to a massive difference 5 days out, The “Butterfly Effect”, or more technically the “sensitive dependence on initial conditions”, is the essence of the chaos in the Earth’s weather/climate.
    So, even though climate prediction is not identical to weather prediction the basic principles are the same, a model which will not work over the short term is unlikely to prove reliable in the long term.
    This is a simple fact. No one could dispute that?

  25. I admire Huxley and I’m happy with Darwin. I’m not happy with Darwin’s followers who, IMHO, seem to have put Darwin in a box. I dislike the “either-or” mentality of both creationists and evolutionists today. But who’s to say that DEBATE stirred up by one-sided adherents is not an essential factor in the higher reaches of spiritual EVOLUTION…
    Not to wander too far into that mix of gelignite… but I do see that the idiocy of Al Gore et al is also provoking, at best, excellent quality timely checks and reminders of Scientific Method like this article.

  26. About the 97% figure, my source is
    Doran, Peter T.; Maggie Kendall Zimmerman (January 20, 2009).
    “Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change”. EOS 90 (3): 22-23. http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf.
    An excerpt from the paper:
    “It seems that the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes.”
    Patrik: I agree it’s not a scientific argument, I just said (did you actually read my post?) that the level of certainty is certainly high enough to take actions.
    It would be like saying “OK, only 90% of researchers in the field believe quantum mechanics to be a correct description of the microscopic world. So let’s stop all research and development projects based on it, cause there might be a faint probability that what we predict is not correct”.
    At that rate, we would still be living in caves…

  27. I’ve no idea what Huxley would have made of AGW. However, he was a very good friend of John Tyndall, who made the first measurements of CO2 infrared properties, and noted its contribution to IR opacity of the atmosphere.

  28. Al Gore and Weaver woul not debate Aldous Huxley, arguing that he is an LSD addict and that his brother Julian Huxley is a bastard eugenist, extreme enviro and founder of the WWF.
    The usual character assassination tactic AGWers have always used.

  29. Flanagan (00:14:30) :
    And????
    Do we need to have a 100% certainty about something to act on it?

    [1] So if less than 100% Certain, there is > 0% Doubt. To act in spite of doubt is to act in Faith. So you are asserting that AGW Mitigation activities are acts of Faith? Perhaps acts driven by faith in computer models? Perhaps faith that has been mis-placed?
    [2] If I was asking the modern world to invest $trillions in AGW mitigations – I would want it to be a sure bet. Because if I was wrong – I just misallocated $trillions that could have been left in taxpayer’s pockets. After all it’s the taxpayers sweat that is being spent on AGW mitigation.
    – We’re not 100% sure that quantum mechanics is completely correct, but nevertheless we build hyper-expensive super-accelerators, fission and fusion power plants. We use computers and laser-discs and MP3s and they work.
    [1] A spurious comparison – Quantum mechanics has already matured to the point of informing Engineering. AGW “science” is not mature enough to inform any engineering.
    – Tens of papers go out every year questioning Einstein’s theory of relativity, anyway the GPS satellites were launched with correcting factors taking relativity into account.
    [1] An indication of scientific inquiry – so how is this germain to the point at hand?
    – We’re not 100% sure how tobacco causes lung cancers, but nevertheless we know it does and action has been take to take care of that.
    – When we take the car, or a bus or a plane, we’re not 100% sure the brakes won’t give in or that birds won’t go through the reactors. Anyway, we take our cars and the planes.
    Science is NEVER 100% sure of something, but we don’t need 100% certainty to take action. We only need a sufficient amount of converging evidences and a sufficiently high degree of confidence.

    [1] Just to seperate out the last point.
    Given that 97% of researchers in climate science are convinced that the present global warming is induced by anthropogenic causes, I think personally this degree of confidence is high enough. What do you think?
    [1] How about 97% of Nazis agree that Adolf Hitler was an inspiring Leader…
    [2] You really didn’t get the bit about consensus not meaning that the point is correct, did you?
    [3] How about 97% of researchers in climate science are convinced that their continued employment is dependent on the taxpayers being scared that CO2 emissions will cause catastrophic outcomes?

  30. Graeme Rodaughan (02:10:09) :
    “[1] How about 97% of Nazis agree that Adolf Hitler was an inspiring Leader…”
    Well, Mein Kampf was peer-reviewed by the officers of the SS and there was a consensus.

  31. Flanagan (00:14:30) :
    – When we take the car, or a bus or a plane, we’re not 100% sure the brakes won’t give in or that birds won’t go through the reactors. Anyway, we take our cars and the planes.

    Everyone else is picking on you, so I’ll pile on, too – REACTORS ? Man, if I’d had reactors to fly with I’d have never retired.
    .
    Patrik (23:53:39) :
    . . . Anyway, to be able to study phenomenae in this way, one first must have an almost complete understanding of the phenomena in detail.

    ‘phenomena’ is plural of ‘phenomenon.’ Greek, in this instance, not Latin.
    🙂

  32. To Flanagan,
    Your Doran and Zimmerman (2009) study is misleading.
    The two questions asked:
    1) When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?
    2) Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?
    As a working scientist myself, I would have to answer “risen” and “yes” to the two questions. On the second question, of course I think that human activity can be a contributing factor. For example, in the production of black carbon (soot), recently recognised by NASA to account for 50% of arctic ice melting, by land-use change (many papers by Pielke) and to a small degree by CO2 emissions.
    However, if the question was of the sort:
    Do you think that human’s production of CO2 is likely to lead to dangerous levels of climate change?
    or
    Do you think that we need to invoke huge expenditure to reduce human CO2 emissions?
    Then, my answer would be “No” and I suspect that presently this answer would be a majority consensus with other scientists.
    Just why do you think that they did not ask that crucial question?

  33. A Huxley quote to consider when analyzing climate model results:
    “Mathematics may be compared to a mill of exquisite workmanship, which grinds you stuff of any degree of fineness; but, nevertheless, what you get out depends on what you put in; and as the grandest mill in the world will not extract wheat flour from peascods, so pages of formulæ will not get a definite result out of loose data.”
    ~Thomas Henry Huxley, 1825-1895, Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London 25: 38, 1869.

  34. Well here’s a very interesting bit of research about climatic variation in Florida.
    http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/RS_FloridaUSA.htm
    The highlights are..
    Florida is in a region of the United States that exhibits no substantial long-term warming
    Urban areas exhibit more warming than rural areas
    Florida’s climate is affected by land use changes, but also by the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) (Both inflow into Lake Okeechobee, number of major Atlantic hurricanes & average temperature anomalies [Interestingly, this breaks down between 1900 &1920])
    Increased precipitation
    60-year long cooling of Gulf Coast sea surface, but warming of the Atlantic side since 1970
    No acceleration is rising sea levels since records began (back as far as 1912 in one location)

  35. Re: Flanagan (00:14:30)
    An Interesting list. The difference between all the theories you highlight and AGW is that quantum theory, Einstein’s theory etc where all able to make accurate predictions (both long and short term) based on the accuracy of the theory. With quantum theory many of the particles discovered by the accelerators were predicted to exist before being discovered. Relativity has been used to predict lensing effects of the Sun and of distant objects, differences in atomic clocks on earth and in orbit and all have been found to be true. Every time a theory makes a prediction that is found to be true it reinforces the validity of that theory. In both quantum and relativity theory they publish and make available all the formula, methods and data used (imagine what would have happened if those claiming cold fusion hadn’t).
    On the other hand, predictions made by AGW theory fail to materialize and data and methods are hidden from view and heavily manipulated.
    Finally, neither quantum nor relativity theories have any credible alternative theory.

  36. Flanagan>> Well, You and IPCC, when claiming this certainty (if talking about CO2-driven positive T) is certainly contradicted by for example NASA, since they recently rasied questions around aerosols maybe carrying the blame for most of the warming we see.
    Aerosols that have a lifetime of a few days compared to the dreaded years of lifetime predicted for the CO2.
    If they’re right, then all actios taken to reduce CO2 levels is quite meaningless.
    Have You even read this:
    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/warming_aerosols.html
    ?

  37. Flanagan 01:44:46
    Any comment on the fact that your figure of 97% is a point on a line with a negative slope? Climate scientists, and those with expertise in the climate debate, are becoming more skeptical that CO2=AGW to any significant extent as time goes by.
    Nick Stokes 01:51:12
    Any comment on Monckton’s point that Arrhenius recalculated a much lower Temperature sensitivity to CO2 after using Navier-Stokes. Any chance that you might concede that ongoing acquisition of knowledge can unsettle even the most settled of science? I speak of the presently unknown feedback of water vapor to CO2’s so-called forcing.
    ============================================

  38. Another great article.
    I’m off to my printer again, this site is costing me a fortune in paper!!
    I found this paragraph very fitting with respect to our modern news media.
    “Huxley was worried that citizens would decide to vote against, for example, the laws of gravity. Undoubtedly, he would be equally concerned if scientists declared that a scientific assertion was true because, after a vote, a majority of them had agreed it was so, i.e., proof by “consensus.””
    Scientists agree that ……
    How many times a day are we told that?
    I just shake my head in disbelief. Every time I hear it.
    Interesting the article mentions Scottish philosopher David Hume (1711-1776), this was during the time of the Scottish Enlightenment.
    Also at this time was James Hutton’s (1726 -1797) Theory of the Earth:
    “WHATEVER conclusions, therefore, by means of this science, shall be attained, in just reasoning from natural appearances, this must be held as evidence, where more immediate proof cannot be obtained; and, in a physical subject, where things actual are concerned, and not the imaginations of the human mind, this proof will be considered as amounting to a demonstration.”
    (Hutton had many gifts one was in taking a simple sentence and changing it into a complex chapter.)
    “Not the imaginations of human minds”
    With consensus science and imagination you can “prove” anything.
    “This proof will be considered as amounting to a demonstration” or in Catlin speak demonstational!!

  39. Ok guys, here’s something I don’t see mentioned very often. The question in my mind (thinking about things overnight and trying to unconfuse my confused mind) is whether or not the ends justify the means. The ends being a reduction in dependence on foreign oil (considered a good thing) but the means being a propaganda war based on falsehoods that may well destroy public trust in Science and the Scientific Process for a generation.
    I implore you all, good people, in this blog and elsewhere, to discuss this issue as well as the details (interesting though the detail is of course).

  40. Flanagan 00:14:30
    Your tiresome beating of the Precautionary Horse ought to get you sanctioned. In this day and age and climate, that corpse risks freezing solid. How about applying the Precautionary Principle to the lost opportunity costs of mitigating a global warming that isn’t happening instead of adapting to a global cooling that is happening?
    The Precautionary Principle is a Paean to Ignorance.
    H/t Michael Tobis, the Spelling Marm.
    ========================

  41. Re: Flanagan (00:14:30)
    One more thing.

    – Tens of papers go out every year questioning Einstein’s theory of relativity, anyway the GPS satellites were launched with correcting factors taking relativity into account.

    This demonstrates how open and unafraid physicists are of debating their theories. Contrast that with this comment from a reviewer of a climate paper:

    “the only object I can see for this paper is for the authors to get something in the peer-reviewed literature which the ignorant can cite as supporting lower climate sensitivity than the standard IPCC range”.

  42. It is telling that the alarmists are reduced to the fallacy of argument to authority, and ironic that among their remaining arguments is the pitiful Precautionary Principle. The argument to authority is not fallacious if your authorities are correct, but is illogical if they are wrong, as dropping temperatures are increasingly showing. I love the co-incidence of arguing to mistaken authority and ignorance. Smells like teen politics to me.
    ========================================

  43. “MikeN (22:11:53) :
    Chris Colose has posted a paper that says that decadal coolings are not unusual during global warming.”
    Well, since it is undisputed that the only global warming earth has had prior to the 1990s was cause by natural variables, all Colose can say is that decadal coolings are not unusual during periods of natural warming – which doesn’t help much since the correlation between CO2 and previous global warming is not good.
    Of course, the AGWers believe that there is currently warming caused by unnatural (i.e., manmade) causes, so it is incumbent upon them to show that natural coolings can negate AGW for decade(s) – but then they have to admit that CO2 is not the primary driver of the climate! No matter how you cut it, their models have been shot down.

  44. Flanagan (01:44:46) :
    About the 97% figure, my source is
    Doran, Peter T.; Maggie Kendall Zimmerman (January 20, 2009).
    “Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change”. EOS 90 (3): 22-23. http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf.

    This was a poll.
    Your 97% figure comes from a total sample of 79 individuals.
    Read the details.
    Not much of a consensus even if that’s how science were settled.

  45. Flanagan
    A couple of quick points about that survey you linked.
    1.) 10257 surveys were sent out, with only 3146 responses. Only 79 respondents were considered experts in climate science by the survey (climate scientists, >50% of peer-reviewed publications dealing with climate).
    2.) The actual question which generated the 97% positive response you quoted:
    “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”
    “Human activity” includes factors that have nothing to do with greenhouse gases. In fact, measuring temperatures is an activity that the surface stations project has shown to be a significant contributing factor to changing temperatures. 🙂

  46. “When all men think alike, no one thinks very much”
    “When distant and unfamiliar and complex things are communicated to great masses of people, the truth suffers a considerable and often a radical distortion. The complex is made over into the simple, the hypothetical into the dogmatic, and the relative into an absolute”
    Walter Lippmann

  47. Flanagan, you completely missed the point of what you just read.
    To take just one of your examples, one reason we became sure enough that tobacco causes lung cancer is that vigorous, transparent scientific debate took place on the question — debate which the AGW community is doing its very best to foreclose. (If you recall, in the tobacco debate, the side which tried to foreclose debate and insist that the science was settled in their favor, at first at least, was the tobacco companies. Read some history of science, and you’ll find it’s the side that is running scared that generally tries this tactic.)
    Another reason we became confident of the link between tobacco and cancer is that the empirical data bore out the theory — over and over and over again, in peer-reviewed study after peer-reviewed study. I don’t know if computer models were relied upon at all, but if they were, they certainly weren’t the primary source. With AGW, on the other hand, much if not most of the empirical data vigorously contradicts the theory. See for instance, the geological CO2/temperature relationship detailed on that graph above. Or, for another instance, if the models on which AGWers rely really are based on such a comprehensive understanding of climate, why didn’t they predict the cyclical temperature effects of the PDO, the AMO, sunspot cycles, and such, which are now claimed to be “completely normal” and “masking” ongoing warming? If the models were truly based on sufficient knowledge to be predictive, the current “temporary” drops should have been well-understood and built into the predictions. They just aren’t there.
    Look in the history of science for one example after another of the scientific “consensus” proving to be dead wrong. (An accessible source of science history for non-scientists like me is Bill Bryson’s entertaining and informative “A Short History of Nearly Everything”.)
    Given a choice between data and consensus, I’ll take data every time — especially when everybody is screaming at me, “Don’t look at it! Don’t look at it! If you look at it, or if you think about it, or especially if you try to talk about it, you are a REALLY BAD PERSON!”

  48. Flanagan: – some people insist on missing the point. Some years ago there was certainty and consensus that the Earth was flat – but that did not make it flat. The scientific consensus and certainty now is the Earth is round, but that consensus or certainty does not make it round : demonstrable evidence that it is, does.
    In all the examples Flanagan gives, nobody just “acted” they first experimented to see if what they predicted could be observed. When it could be, and the experiments were found to be reproducible, they accepted as possible something of which they were not 100% certain and did not fully understand it.
    We have no demonstrable, reproducible, observations regarding globalwarmism and the only thing that is certain is the hot air that drives the claim.
    However what we can observe does not support the claim.

  49. Does Flanagan’s case for preventative action include the risks involved in eating?
    There is a risk that you choke to death when eating – so should everone stop eating?
    Preventative action can only be justified if the consequences of preventative action are small in comparison to the risk of doing nothing. However, the cost of the actions proposed by proponents of AGW are huge.
    So far extra CO2 & Global Warming would appear to have done us no harm and may even be beneficial. The IPCC et. al. argument that doubling CO2 will cause a 3C temperature rise, seem to be out of kilter with the fact that we are nearly 40% of the way to doubling CO2 and according to the IPCC graph in AR4 we should have already experienced a 1.5C rise. In fact the rise in temperature is only 0.6C which would equate (on the AR4 graph) to a final temperature (after doubling CO2) of about 1.2C. This is not enough to cause harm.
    The way things are going CO2 will not have doubled until the end of this century. By the end of the century it is likely that the easily extracted oil and gas will have been used up, bringing about natural end to man made CO2.
    Since there is little to fear from a temperature rise of a degree or a degree and a half preventative action is no warranted.

  50. @Mrs Whatsit That’s very interesting re. the tobacco companies.
    For myself as a layman, the moment the AGWs started claiming the debate is over and only shills and cranks disagree, that was the moment I stopped believing them. For all I know those AGW scientists might be right, but once people close their eyes and lose their objectivity and integrity, the only way they can be right is by accident.

  51. “The true mark of a theory is without doubt its ability to predict phenomena.”
    While the reverse is obviously not true, science is not merely method. Luddites among us would make it so setting all ‘scientists’ on equal footing.
    Thank you for this perspicacious return to basics.

  52. Flanagan wrote: We’re not 100% sure how tobacco causes lung cancers, but nevertheless we know it does and action has been take to take care of that.
    No, we don’t know that tobacco ’causes’ lung cancer. We just know, at best, that about 10% (less in some studies, almost none at all in others) of tobacco smokers get lung cancer. We also know that smokers very often have poor diets, and belong to low income groups, and share a variety of other characteristics.
    It were better said that it is widely believed that smoking causes lung cancer. Just as it is widely believed that CO2 causes global warming.

  53. Flanagan –
    Your points are, well….pointless. There is enough empirical evidence to support (as others have said) action taken as if the other theories were true. I don’t know that my cars brakes won’t fail, or that a tiger won’t escape from the zoo and jump on my windshield on my way to work. But empirically, millions of people drive to work every day and home without brake failure or escaped tigers. Millions of people fly all over the world every day without incidence of birds flying into the…um…reactors.
    What AGW is saying is – “hey, a bird is almost certainly going to fly into a large percentage of plane…reactors…and cause all manner of air chaos and millions of deaths. Our only option is to halt all air traffic. Evidence? Well, as you can see there was an unprecedented number of bird collisions in 1998 and we expect that pattern to continue. Why? Because our computer models project it. Our results are robust! What? (he said there haven’t been any bird collisions since the one, sir) Who’s paying you? Delta? British Airways? This man is an airline industry shill! The science is settled! STOP ALL AIR TRAVEL!”

  54. FWIW, Samuel Wilberforce was the son of William Wilberforce who led the abolitionist movement in England and ultimately prevailed in ending slavery in the British Empire.

  55. Kudos to Paul MacRae for an excellent article! The disingenuous tactics of the climate alarmist contingent amount to mere conniving, since they do not have a legitimate argument for spending $trillions on a proven non-problem.
    The fact that the repeatedly falsified AGW/CO2 hypothesis is still defended by a small handful of logic-resistant posters can be easily explained by their cognitive dissonance and a martyr complex.
    “Chris Colose has posted a paper that says that decadal coolings are not unusual during global warming.”
    Translation: Down is up, white is black, evil is good, and global warming causes global cooling.
    The original scare was that increases in CO2 will cause runaway global warming. The planet itself has falsified that baseless claim: click
    If people like Colose and Flanagan would stick to the actual science, instead of constantly quoting polls and [in Flanagan’s case especially] resorting to endless, irrelevant ad hominem arguments, then the greatly exaggerated and over-hyped claims of an approaching doomsday resulting from changes in a minor trace gas would have been put to rest long ago.

  56. Flanagan will not give up, he has been “attacking” other blogs!
    arguments have been going around in circles for quite some time…

  57. Typo: Under “The facts must fit the theory” heading, it says “[italics added]”, but there are no italics.

  58. Smokey,
    Exactly right. Hansen is still selling infantile comparisons between Venus and Earth as part of his sales pitch.
    While, allegedly, 97% of climate scientists think global warming is real, I would like to know how many think that a global catastrophe is on the way?
    The great trick of AGW promoters has been to deliberately confuse the fact of CO2 physics with the false conjecture of apocalyptic results.
    There is no evidence that AGW models accurately describe how CO2 behaves in the climate. There are only models based on models based on conjecture.

  59. “So what would T.H. Huxley have thought of today’s “consensus” climate scientists, with their claims that the issue of man-made climate change is “settled,” that there is no need for further debate,”….
    Probably the same thing he would of thought of evolutionary biologists who say
    “evolution of life on earth as a fact is “settled,” that there is no need for further debate,” on whether it actually happened. It’s time to work out the details”
    Which would probably be along the lines of “well done chaps, you’ve put in a hell of an effort on this one, let’s hope you’ve given us enough time to act. Whatever you do, don’t let those masquerading as modern day Galileos with their ill-informed and carefully affected outrage derail your continued scientific endeavours.”

  60. Mrs Whatsit, my point still stands, not that anybody commented on it. This is less about the actual science, despite what people here may think and more about Government support of the paradigm because it suits their ends (“ends justify means”). Those ends are a reduction in dependence on foreign oil and gas. It doesn’t matter what anyone says about the science, at the end of the day. The whole debate is about utility, not truth. I would have thought most people here recognised that fact a long time ago.
    As to the ends, lets hope that our technocracy (driven as it is by Science and Scientists) will not end up too badly squashed by the irrationality of the catastrophists.

  61. Flanagan (00:14:30) :

    – We’re not 100% sure that quantum mechanics is completely correct, but nevertheless we build hyper-expensive super-accelerators, fission and fusion power plants. We use computers and laser-discs and MP3s and they work.

    ??????
    Could you cite some peer review papers in, say, any Physics journal that would be found by Google Scholar? (Please, no references from the Discovery Institute.) I just hit 1, 240,000 on Quantum Mechanics, but got zip trying to find any challenging the field. Maybe I just didn’t use the correct keywords, and you can help me out.
    However, I think the problem is that your assertion is completely false. There are quite a few things in QM of which we are 100% certain. (E.g. the photoelectric effect, which explains, among other things, how those solar panels work.) QM does, of course, have uncertainties, problems to be solved, a great many things to be discovered, contradictory evidence to be accounted for, etc. But to argue by analogy that “We’re not 100% sure that quantum mechanics is completely correct…” as a defense of AGW is completely misleading. Specifically, the uncertainties in QM are openly discussed and debated, with new hypotheses arising as old ones are discarded. There is absolutely nothing comparable in the behavior of AGW proponents. Comparing their behavior to that of quantum physicists, as you implicitly did, is an insult to the physicists and implies a standard of professional behavior the AGW “scientists” blatantly and deliberately avoid.

  62. Patrik (00:30:58) :
    You’re talking about 97% consensus. Consensus is not a scientific argument.
    If the methods with which the consensus has been achieved are flawed, then the consensus is totally irrelevant.
    This, my friend, is why most sceptics like to discuss the methods used rather than the percentage of scientists who believe in the results. 🙂

    So the skeptic use of fig 1 above is valid. Where are the figures derived from. I’ve seen the source of the graph but never seen the derivations.
    HOW can you compare anysystem further in the past than 65My (when the current land masses were in roughly the right place). During the period of that graph the land mass has been single super continents a couple of times. The poles have been free of land, etc, etc. Go to the source of that graph and play with the time animations – any sensible person would not expect the climate to be comparable with different land configurations. Why to skeptics keep bringing up the idea that 7000ppm of CO2 500My ago did not cause run-away temperatures – the world was DIFFERENT!!!!!!! The graph is simplistic (for simple minds?!)

  63. I think a scientific consensus carries a good deal of weight. However:
    1. If it is not an informed consensus, its weight is lessened. How familiar are members of the consensus with the arguments of its critics–and with the critics’ replies to the consensus’s dismissals thereof? If asked to give a sketch of the critics’ major points and rejoinders, could they do so accurately? If not, that counts against them.
    2. The consensus must not constitute a coterie that excludes the opinions of experts in fields bordering the topic being studied, such as (to quote Ian Plimer) “astronomy, solar physics, geology, geochronology, geochemistry, sedimentology, tectonics, paleontology, paleoecology, glaciology, climatology, meteorology, oceanography, ecology, archaeology, and history.” (And let’s not forget statistics and the sociology of science (e.g., fads).) It should not be limited to 97 atmospheric scientists, because long-range and global climatology is an inter-disciplinary field.

  64. Oops–make that “79 atmospheric scientists.”
    BTW, how about naming and honoring the two heretics in the sample, after AGW is disposed of?

  65. Person of Choler (03:23:17) :
    A Huxley quote to consider when analyzing climate model results:
    “Mathematics may be compared to a mill of exquisite workmanship, which grinds you stuff of any degree of fineness; but, nevertheless, what you get out depends on what you put in; and as the grandest mill in the world will not extract wheat flour from peascods, so pages of formulæ will not get a definite result out of loose data.”
    ~Thomas Henry Huxley, 1825-1895, Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London 25: 38, 1869.

    GIGO! A century before computers!

    Robinson (03:42:24) :
    Ok guys, here’s something I don’t see mentioned very often. The question in my mind (thinking about things overnight and trying to unconfuse my confused mind) is whether or not the ends justify the means. The ends being a reduction in dependence on foreign oil (considered a good thing) but the means being a propaganda war based on falsehoods that may well destroy public trust in Science and the Scientific Process for a generation.
    I implore you all, good people, in this blog and elsewhere, to discuss this issue as well as the details (interesting though the detail is of course).

    When do laudable ends justify draconian, even ruinous means? Did winning WWII justify Dresden and Hiroshima? Could the end have been achieved with less horrific means? Hard to say, even in retrospect.
    The goal of reducing “dependence on foreign oil” can easily be achieved by developing and using more domestic oil and coal (and nuclear power). Instead the faux-environmentalists and alarmists would have us forgo all ‘fossil fuel’, thereby wrecking the economy. This is clearly an imbalance of ends and means.
    This letter to Benny Peiser’s terrific CCNet e-list is illustrative (it’s so striking I’m taking the liberty of quoting the whole thing):

    Dear Benny:
    The fine article “Slashing U. S. Emissions” by Paul Driessen in the April 9, 2009 CCNet, pointed out the folly of trying to reduce future U. S. carbon dioxide levels below certain amounts using 1990 carbon dioxide emissions as a base level. However, the situation is worse than portrayed because the data did not take into account the United States’ increasing population each year due to immigration and births.
    The following Table illustrates the United States population and per capita energy consumption from fossil fuels from 1900 to 2007 and then extrapolates per capita energy consumption from fossil fuels for 2020 and 2050 using government mandated reductions in carbon dioxide output:
    UNITED STATES POPULATION AND PER CAPITA ENERGY CONSUMPTION
    YEAR POPULATION(millions) FOSSIL FUEL ENERGY CONSUMPTION
    (million Btu/year per capita)
    1900 76.2 80(est.)
    1930 123.2 140(est.)
    1950 152.3 207
    1970 206 339
    1980 227.2 307.290
    1990 249.6 290
    2000 282 281
    2007 301.6 286
    2020 336(est.) 215 (1990 CO-2 emission level)
    2020 336(est.) 172 (80% 1990 CO-2 emission)
    2020 336(est.) 129 (60% 1990 CO-2 emission)
    2050 420(est.) 34 (20% 1990 CO-2 emission)
    2050 420(est.) 17 (10% 1990 CO-2 emission)
    Source: U. S. EIA
    The per capita fossil fuel energy use increased from 1950 to 1970 because of greater automobile use and adoption of air conditioning and other creature comforts in the home. By the late 1970s, fossil fuel energy use started to fall because of increased fossil fuel cost and implementation of alternative energies such as nuclear energy.
    These numbers indicate staggering reductions in fossil fuel use to achieve any of the proposed reductions in carbon dioxide use by 2020 and beyond. Just to meet a standard of the same emissions from 1990 for the year 2020 would require per capita reduction of 25 percent fossil fuel consumption. Trying to meet 20 percent 1990 carbon dioxide emissions for 2050 would place fossil fuel energy use around the period of the Civil War. Great sacrifices would be needed by our population. Washers and dryers, air conditioning, and computers use will be limited. Auto travel would be curtailed because the only means of propulsion would probably be limited use of electricity.
    It would be easy for politicians in 2009 to pass laws restricting fossil fuel energy use in 2050 because they would not be alive to witness the horror they inflicting on the United States.
    Regards,
    James H. Rust
    Professor of Nuclear Engineering (retired)

    /Mr Lynn

  66. Note re Prof. Rust’s letter above:
    The table in the original has THREE columns,
    YEAR
    POPULATION (millions)
    FOSSIL FUEL ENERGY CONSUMPTION (MILLION BTU/year per capita)
    The tabs did not carry over here, but you can see a space between the values for each column.
    /Mr Lynn

  67. MikeN (22:11:53) :
    Chris Colose has posted a paper that says that decadal coolings are not unusual during global warming.

    The climate is supposed to change!
    The point is the global temps aren’t rising in accordance to the conventional hypothesis of AGW from greenhouse gas emissions. As presented in this post, if facts don’t support the hypothesis, then the hypothesis is probably incorrect.
    Remember, the climate is supposed to change. Whether it’s warming or cooling is a moot point.

  68. A bovine analogy
    When it comes to true understanding of enormous topics,
    Such as gravity, time, or the atmosphere
    comparing the intelligence of two humans is akin to
    humans comparing the intelligence of two cows.
    Cow A is judged to be twice as intelligent as cow B.
    Yet, we all know they are still, both, completely ignorant!
    The contrast between the cows and the humans is
    Real cows would admit they do not understand.
    Oh, and the cows taste better.
    If you are just a regular person and you are not exactly understanding
    all of this. There is a reason for that! Do not be intimidated!
    Remember the cows! Some of the cow A’s are feeding you full of s@#t and
    making a good living doing it.
    Some of the cow A’s are coming out to the prairie and trying to tell the farmer
    what a commodity is! And when the farmer disagrees they say, he or she does not understand!
    Oh, by the way, they are offering the farmers a large bribe “your money” if they agree.
    They call this bribe to deny common sense a carbon credit.
    Consensus is worth little in science however it is powerful in politics.
    Signed Cow B

  69. Anthony, excuse me anothr time for OT, but perhaps it would be the case that you ‘ll talk about the counts of solar spots between Sidc and NOAA, in particular the Sidc has already counted the spot of last March 26 and always under reporting of Catania could even count that much most ridiculous of April 6th! In Italy we are already talking here (translated by google):
    http://72.14.221.132/translate_c?hl=it&sl=it&tl=en&u=http://daltonsminima.wordpress.com/2009/04/14/giusto-per-concludere-la-telenovela-ecco-qui-la-cronaca-dettagliata-della-macchia-fantasma-del-6-aprile/&prev=hp&usg=ALkJrhjdEI4AB1qyPxABrpC58-oNO78mDg
    Indeed is happening what happened last August!
    The observatory of Catania in Italy is doing some serious damage in counting of spots, but what we criticize here is that the Sidc follows Catania unconditionally, instead of guaranteeing the uniformity of counting sunspots with the past by telescopes 80 mm!
    Simon
    REPLY: I agree, perhaps it is time to mount a letter campaign. – Anthony

  70. Flanagan 01:44:46 <>
    “It would be like saying “OK, only 90% of researchers in the field believe quantum mechanics to be a correct description of the microscopic world. So let’s stop all research and development projects based on it, cause there might be a faint probability that what we predict is not correct”.
    “At that rate, we would still be living in caves…”
    No we’d stil be paying indulgences to the Papal construction of the Sistine Chapel.
    Not unlike our Carbon Indulg..er, offsets today,except Algore adds a new room to his
    home or over hauls an Engine on his G-V.Oh,one other thing another figure from that era,Galileo-was keelhauled for violating-Concencus-by the Papal-“scientists”…

  71. Nothing is a sure bet… every single aspect of science as we know it is up for grabs pending the next breakthrough… in light of this governments would never make any science policy because there is doubt. This is simply not practical is it folks?
    There has never been a mainstream science position that has not been fought for tooth and nail against opposing developing viewpoints… and for every Galileo there have probably been a good few thousand complete loons. But nomatter what the resistance the science ALWAYS WINS in the end. well that is to say that some counter view becomes consensus, and inevitably in a few years it is also shown to be pretty much flawed in some way and improved on.
    I seriously doubt that any AGW scientist would suggest that there is no possibility that it is not CO2… but the current science – despite exagerrated opposition – says it is and that is what policy makers will follow and rightly so… think of every non-mainstream crackpot loon theory you could swear is true by researching on the interwebs? Would you prefer that people only made policy based on those after all eventually one of them WILL be correct???
    Your first step is to ditch the crackpots and only adopt pure science. Every day on blogs of a similar nature to this some random science from some random “scientist” from some un peer reviewd source, or E&E, is lauded as the nail in the coffin of AGW… even though it probably totally contradicts the last nail in the coffin. Opponenets of AGW have som many divergent theories that nearly all of them MUST be wrong… but no one sees that they all get lapped up…
    It is not Watt’s fault that a lot of the skeptics are in fact total fruitcakes, and the same can be said for many warmists, but it does not change the science,, and although consensus is not science… science never becomes policy until it usurps the pretender.. the king is dead! Long live the King!
    *rant over* 🙂

  72. Patrik (23:53:39) : The basic assumption that anything more complex than coin tossing och dice throwing can be predicted over time, using statistics, is flawed. It’s very hard to find real life phenomena (other than coin tossing and dice throwing) that are easily studied based on the laws of probability.
    Yet nearly all of your firsthand understanding about how the world works is statistical in nature.
    Anyway, to be able to study phenomena in this way, one first must have an almost complete understanding of the phenomena in detail.
    Not really. You don’t need deep understanding to suppose the sun will rise tomorrow after setting tonight. Previous civilizations reached this conclusion using faulty understanding to boot. You may argue that is from observation but nearly all models rely upon statistical premises for prediction.
    The general assumption made by many people today, that statistics is a scientific discipline is totally wrong.Science is only that which can be proven by repeated experiments. Statistics and mathematics are in this way non-scientific, neither can be proven. You could of course try to prove that 1+1=2 by putting two apples on a table – but how on earth will You prove that there are in fact two apples?
    Depends on whether they are apples or oranges. 😉 You are mixing math with observation and further implying that mathematics is provable by observation. Placing two apples on a table does not prove the conjecture that 1+1 always equals 2. At best it shows it can happen once. Incidentally, one does not, in fact cannot, prove a definition. “Two” has a definition. There are two apples by definition.
    Science and mathematics arrive at conclusions by effectively opposite means. You’ve got it backwards. It is science which is unprovable simply because you can never be certain that the next observation will not completely contradict all preceding ones. Mathematics, on the other hand, is provable with every proof traceable to the initial assumptions. Statistics is a branch of mathematics (although some mathematicians may argue otherwise).

  73. p.s. guys just read the wikipedia on DDT… you could only conclude that reduction in use has cased massive deaths by totally ignoring science… which I admit is not unusual for many people.. pick the science that backs up your politics and prejudices… I guess everyone does that no matter what side of the fence you sit on though.

  74. farmersteve (06:56:46) :
    “The contrast between the cows and the humans is
    Real cows would admit they do not understand.
    Oh, and the cows taste better.”
    I dont want to know how you know that!

  75. Simon brings up a very good OT point.
    More solar bias it seems.
    This would definately be an excellent topic for investigation, due to the conflict about the August 08 “spot”, the April/March “spots” and likely future conflict because of the strange illusions of things popping up (or at least appearing to be popping up) on the sun during this strange minimum.

  76. jamie wrote: “…This man is an airline industry shill! The science is settled! STOP ALL AIR TRAVEL!”
    This is certainly what Caroline Lucas of the UK Green Party wants.
    Caroline Lucas, the leader of the Green Party, suggested that travellers who regularly jet off to the Costas are threatening the lives of others – and do as much damage as thugs who stab people in the street.
    Ms Lucas, who is also a Member of the European Parliament, made the controversial comment during a televised ITV debate about plans for a proposed third runway at Heathrow. She also hit out ‘binge flying’ and people who have second homes abroad.
    When asked if flying to Spain was as bad as knifing a person in the street, Ms Lucas said: ‘Yes – because they are dying from climate change.’

  77. “When do laudable ends justify draconian, even ruinous means? Did winning WWII justify Dresden and Hiroshima? Could the end have been achieved with less horrific means? Hard to say, even in retrospect.”
    Yes, but I fear you’re falling into the same trap as the warmists, i.e. you are basing predictions of future dire consequences on the status quo as it is today (you remember the old prediction about New York city being waist high in horse manure in the year 2,000 if the growth in the number of people using horses didn’t stop?). For example, consider that given government policy, more investment will go into alternative energy sources (whatever they may be), some of which haven’t even been thought of yet, energy efficiency (home insulation, reduced power consumption of devices, things like that) and other such innovations that are driven by the current Zeitgeist.
    It isn’t hard to see that many of these things are beneficial in themselves and not just in the context or CO2 reduction. You should also imagine the trillion dollar per annum balance of payments transfer reduction you’ll get and factor that into the equation (not to mention the political advantage of not having to suck up to oil rich regimes in places like the middle east).
    Now my standard disclaimer comes in here: I don’t use fossil fuels – that I know of – I use electricity that may or may not have been generated with fossil fuels of course, so I have no dog in this race at all, apart from an interest in Science and the integrity of the Scientific Process. That is my beef with AGW – but I can see the benefits of reducing fossil fuel use. Surely many of you sceptics feel the same way?
    With respect to Draconian measures, they will be easily thwarted by the electorate. People vote on the economy; that is pretty much the single biggest issue for politicians. When the taxes start rising, the voters will start to get angry. The only question is this: will the balance of payments and technological innovation benefits balance out the economic effects of carbon taxation? Who knows.
    Either way, lets not bandy about absurd predictions of the future, from either side, because they make us all look stupid.

  78. Basically…Proponents of AGW are left with one arrow in their quiver…
    Consensus climate science: If the proof doesn’t exist, fall back on the precautionary principle.
    A bit more modern read than Huxley would be Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
    I wonder if the geosciences are somewhat unique in the fact that the philosophy of science pays a very large role in our educations…Steno’s Law of Superposition, Chamberlin’s Method of Multiple Working Hypotheses, The Principle of Non-Uniqueness, Lyell’s and Hutton’s theories and even Occam’s Razor are very philosophical in nature.
    Geologists tend to correlate data and then try to figure out what happened in the past…Rather than fitting the data to the ruling theory. Chamberlin’s Method of Multiple Working Hypotheses is particularly important in the geosciences because of non-uniqueness…
    http://geology.about.com/od/history_of_geology/a/aa_geothinking.htm
    Climate science is probably at least an order of magnitude more prone to non-uniqueness than geology is…Yet the climate science consensus is nothing more than an application of the Method of the Ruling Theory rather than Multiple Working Hypotheses.
    Great article! Thanks the Anthony and WUWT for posting it!

  79. – A survey was conducted in 2003 by Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch. The survey received 530 responses from 27 different countries. It indicates a 72% to 20% endorsement of the IPCC reports as accurate, and a 15% to 80% rejection of the thesis that “there is enough uncertainty about the phenomenon of global warming that there is no need for immediate policy decisions.”
    – In 2007, Harris Interactive surveyed 489 randomly selected members of either the American Meteorological Society or the American Geophysical Union for the Statistical Assessment Service (STATS) . The survey found 84% say they personally believe human-induced warming is occurring, and 74% agree that “currently available scientific evidence” substantiates its occurrence. Only 5% believe that that human activity does not contribute to greenhouse warming.
    So, obviously researchers in the field think there is enough certainty to do something. Why do all these bloggers think they’re actually better informed and have a better vision on the climatologic system than those guys?

  80. hunter says:

    While, allegedly, 97% of climate scientists think global warming is real, I would like to know how many think that a global catastrophe is on the way?

    Well, here is a poll taken last year by a reputable polling organization: http://stats.org/stories/2008/global_warming_survey_apr23_08.html Their method of distinguishing climate scientists (by looking at people listed in the American Men and Women of Science who listed an affiliation in the AMS or AGU) is quite imperfect, and I think that this would probably tend to result in a larger proportion of skeptical views in the poll (since, for example, a larger proportional forecast meteorologists like Anthony tend to be much more skeptical of AGW than climate scientists actively publishing in the field). Here are the results in regards to dangers:
    * 41% of scientists believe global climate change will pose a very great danger to the earth in the next 50 to 100 years
    * Another 44% rate climate change as moderately dangerous
    * Only 13% see relatively little danger.
    It is also interesting to note that 64% see “The Inconvenient Truth” as being a very reliable (26%) or somewhat reliable (38%) source of information on global warming, which is better than any traditional news source and much better than Michael Crichton’s “State of Fear” (which less than 1% consider very reliable; they don’t say what percentage consider it somewhat reliable).

  81. Robinson wrote, “The whole debate is about utility, not truth. I would have thought most people here recognised that fact a long time ago. … As to the ends, lets hope that our technocracy (driven as it is by Science and Scientists) will not end up too badly squashed by the irrationality of the catastrophists.
    I fully agree with you, though I can think of other political ends just as well-served by AGW as reducing US dependence on fossil fuels. And I agree with you that the outcome of this brouhaha could be awful. In the US at least, there is already a widespread loss of confidence in scientific reasoning as a basis for decision-making and a shift toward fear-based emotionalism. Witness the anti-vaccination craze as just one example. I worry about how that shift may accelerate into complete rejection of all confidence in science if and when people realize that the “97%” of scientists who they have been told are foretelling apocalypse are wrong.
    Notice I said “if,” not just “when”. The more I learn about how little even the best-informed of our experts know about how our climate works, the more agnostic I become about anyone’s ability to predict much of anything in that realm.

  82. Richard Heg (07:23:34) : farmersteve (06:56:46) : Oh, and the cows taste better.” I dont want to know how you know that!
    Come, come, now! Did you seriously think killing babies with those “Coal Trains of Death” was just for fun?

  83. Joel 07:51:11
    You might also note that successive polls over the last few years show growing skepticism among the public that CO2 is the threat that is portrayed in ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. Face it, the paradigm of CO2=AGW is collapsing in the face of cooling temperatures and spreading knowledge of climate science. Please, give up the hoax sooner rather than later, and spend your energies on discovering what is the true sensitivity of climate to CO2. It would be useful to know that. It’s not particularly useful to continue to defend a sham and a chimera.
    ===============================================

  84. well, we are now tied with the 10th longest spotless streak since 1849. we have had 40 straight days without an official spot, tying the streak set from November 26, 1901 to January 4, 1902. wow!

  85. The question of whether we should take action on a scientific theory like AGW is only loosely attached to how certain we are the theory is correct. We can assume the theory is 100% correct and still not take action if the cost of the action exceeds the benefits derived therefrom. That’s Bjorn Lomborg’s argument. It costs more than the worth of the benefit derived and the money could be better spent elsewhere. His is not a hard argument to make. To seriously curtail global warming given it is caused by man generated CO2 might require us to return to the individual carbon footprint of a typical human of 1809 (roughly . . . can’t remember where I saw the analysis or exactly how much of a reduction of CO2 that entails). That would certainly cost more lives and hardship and make us worse off than adapting to a hotter climate. On the other hand we might take action on nothing more than a worry if it is a cheap and convenient, e.g. I’m pretty sure I get plenty of vitamins from my diet but I take vitamins anyway.

  86. Robinson 07:31:31
    We can take care of your balance of payments problem, and the geopolitical implications of sourcing energy outside of our borders by using our own bountiful energy resources. Also, so far as the technological benefits of alternate energy go, the best way to bring those about is through a free market, which will eventually price hydrocarbons out of the energy markets. Subsidies and mandates can only bring hardships, inequities, and inefficiencies.
    ======================================

  87. MattB 7:18:59
    Current science is NOT demonstrating the correctness of the CO2=AGW paradigm. Current journalism and politics still support it, but the science, represented most elegantly by the simple thermometer is disconfirming it daily. Please stop using the Argument to Incorrect Authorities. It’s had its day and the sun has set upon it.
    =====================================

  88. Mike McMillan (03:20:14)>>
    Sorry, I’m Swedish. 🙂
    Bad excuse for not knowing greek from latin, but hey. 😉

  89. kim – I’m not… I’m not saying consensus makes warmists like me correct, just that you can;t expect politics to act against the overwhelming consensus. and if you are right based on what you think is the current science, then I give it 5 years MAX until AGW is thrown out of the window by every major scientific body in the world. That is how science works… seriously could you ask for better than that? It is poetry in motion. Science does not suffer fools, and not many scientists will lose much sleep about changing their position when confronted with evidence – it is their life’s focus after all. These guys would not consider pursuing the changing “truth” of science as even forcing them to contradict themselves –

  90. DAV (07:19:00) >>
    Yet nearly all of your firsthand understanding about how the world works is statistical in nature.
    Is it? Much of my a priori knowledge (such as the sun rising every day) is statistic, but all my a posteriori knowledge about how the world works is simply related to the fact that I’ve read/heard about it and accepted it as a fact.
    This doesn’t mean that complex systems can be predicted by statistic methods.
    For example, I suspect most people agree that predicting the outcome of a football game through statistic models or predicting the value of any stock att Wall Street in a year is impossible.
    Yet, some of these people find it acceptable to predict the complex climate system by this method, even though the method has failed so far.
    Not really. You don’t need deep understanding to suppose the sun will rise tomorrow after setting tonight. Previous civilizations reached this conclusion using faulty understanding to boot. You may argue that is from observation but nearly all models rely upon statistical premises for prediction.
    You are contradicting Yourself here.
    The knowledge that the sun rises each day is a priori – achieved through observation and/or experience. The same thing is easily achieved by tossing a coin or throwing a die.
    If You calculate the probability that the sun will rise tomorrow, after observing that it has done so 100% of each observed morning throughout Your life – You have of course deep understanding around the fact that the sun usually rises each day.
    However – if You have lived in a cave all Your life, You have never seen the sun and You really don’t even know that it exists until You one morning exit the cave and see it rise – how would You even begin to calculate the probability then?
    You are mixing math with observation and further implying that mathematics is provable by observation. Placing two apples on a table does not prove the conjecture that 1+1 always equals 2. At best it shows it can happen once. Incidentally, one does not, in fact cannot, prove a definition. “Two” has a definition. There are two apples by definition.
    This reads a bit like You believe that I’m saying that mathematics can be empirically proven. I’m saying quite the opposite. 🙂
    Science and mathematics arrive at conclusions by effectively opposite means. You’ve got it backwards. It is science which is unprovable simply because you can never be certain that the next observation will not completely contradict all preceding ones. Mathematics, on the other hand, is provable with every proof traceable to the initial assumptions. Statistics is a branch of mathematics (although some mathematicians may argue otherwise).
    Well, in a way You’re right. Mathematics is 99.9999% logical in it’s own realm – that is true. However, there is no way to empirically prove mathematics. Empirical proof comes from observation.
    Excuse any bad English. I’m still Swedish. 🙂

  91. With such notable “climate scientists actively publishing in the field” as Mann, Wigley, Hansen, Santer, etc. …Should it be surprising that 64% of the poll respondents view The Inconvenient Truth as being a “very reliable”?
    I wonder if a poll of astronomers in the 15th century would have turned up a 99% consensus for the Ptolemaic Solar System.
    Doran’s “polling” published in EOS is very illustrative of the “Ruling Theory” phenomenon…
    “2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?
    […]
    Results show that overall, … 82% answered yes to question 2. In
    general, as the level of active research and specialization in climate science
    increases, so does agreement with the two primary questions (Figure 1). In our survey, the most specialized and knowledgeable respondents (with regard to climate change) are those who listed climate science as their area of expertise and who also have published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewed papers on the subject of climate change (79 individuals in total).
    […]
    The two areas of expertise in the survey with the smallest percentage of participants answering yes to question 2 were economic geology with 47% (48 of 103) and meteorology with 64% (23 of 36).”

    Geologists, particularly sedimentary geologists, are essentially paleoclimatologists and paleogeographers. Meteorologists have the best understanding of weather processes. So…It shouldn’t be surprising that 53% of geologists and 36% of meteorologists surveyed are skeptical of AGW. Also bear in mind that this survey was largely focused on academics…Most geologists and meteorologists have real jobs…So the survey would have missed them.
    This bit is downright hilarious…
    “It seems that the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes.”
    The “debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among” only “those who” rely on the Method of the Ruling Theory and consensus science.

  92. Flanagan 08:43:16
    [snip – Flanagans comment has been deleted]
    MattB 08:45:41
    A decent point, and one which echoes some of Steve McIntyre’s thoughts. But I think you underestimate the distance science and politics have progressed along the trend line from belief in CO2=AGW to understanding that we truly do not understand what determines climate. The bleatings of skeptical lambs, now becoming the bellowings of doubting bulls, have impacted just enough industrial state Democrats to delay Cap and Trade from this year to the next, and with the current trend to skepticism, it will be even harder next year to force unnecessary price increases in energy on an economically struggling populace.
    You are still trying to make the Argument to Incorrect Authorities. Face it, the models have failed. Time to re-examine the assumptions underlying them.
    ================================

  93. I apologize for the snips, but I don’t want to have this thread turn into a free for all about religion and evolution. Such topics tend to get out of control. While I realize the article touched on such things, let’s focus the comments toward the scientific method that Huxley championed. – Anthony

  94. MikeN (22:11:53) wrote:
    “Chris Colose has posted a paper that says that decadal coolings are not unusual during global warming.”

    Mutatis mutandis:
    Multi-decadal warmings are not unusual during global meandering.
    Multi-millennial warmings are not unusual during global cooling.
    Etc.
    Which trend is your friend?

  95. Apologies, reports of Andrew Huxley’s death are greatly exageratted. Still alive and well and 91

  96. Gary (07:54:13) :
    You are right. Try the following experiment: Take 50 grams of soybean cake, put it in a solution up to one liter water where sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide has been added up to pH=9, heat it about 90°C for an hour, then strain the solution. You will have a solution where the soybean protein has been solved, and decomposed into its “pieces”(aminoacids now reacted with the alkali, as sodium or potassium aminoates).
    Then take this solution and add hydrochloric acid to reach pH=4,5-4,6. You will see the protein being formed again and smell its characteristic odor. Where was the “memory” of soybean protein structure saved?

  97. Did some googling. Andrew Huxley signed the The Heidelberg Appeal.
    Revised in 2005, the Heidelberg Appeal was publicly released at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. By the end of the 1992 summit, 425 scientists and other intellectual leaders had signed the appeal. Since then, word of mouth has prompted hundreds more scientists to lend their support.In spite of this spontaneous and growing support from the world’s scientific community, . Neither a statement of corporate interests nor a denial of environmental problems, and a recognition of scientific progress as the solution to, not the cause of, the health and environmental problems that we face. The Appeal expresses a conviction that modern society is the best equipped in human history to solve the world’s ills, provided that they do not sacrifice science, intellectual honesty, and common sense to political opportunism and irrational fears
    http://www.bloggernews.net/14589

  98. We can take care of your balance of payments problem, and the geopolitical implications of sourcing energy outside of our borders by using our own bountiful energy resources. Also, so far as the technological benefits of alternate energy go, the best way to bring those about is through a free market, which will eventually price hydrocarbons out of the energy markets. Subsidies and mandates can only bring hardships, inequities, and inefficiencies.

    Yes I totally agree, but often the market, driven as it is by short-term profit and outlook, needs a kick up the backside. One can argue the toss over the size and form of that kick however, but the facts are clear that at present the US gives trillions of dollars over to distasteful regimes and they then lend it back (at interest) by buying treasury bonds, effectively holding UST by the balls (the same is true in my country). This mutual dependency is bad for both in my humble opinion.
    But my main point doesn’t change even if I acknowledge the correctness of your outlook: removing our dependency on fossil fuels will be good, but whether doing so at the expense of the integrity of the scientific process, is not clear to me. This is what concerns me and it’s something I don’t hear debated enough.

  99. Joel Shore wrote:
    “It is also interesting to note that 64% see “The Inconvenient Truth” as being a very reliable (26%) or somewhat reliable (38%) source of information on global warming,”
    This indicates that believers are ill-informed about the arguments on the other side (which undermines their credibility), as elucidated for instance in this article by Monckton, “35 Inconvenient Truths: The Errors in Al Gore’s Movie”, here:
    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/monckton/goreerrors.html

  100. Do what ya gotta do, Anthony. I don’t want to talk about religion, either, but sometimes I’m provoked. I used to say that Steve McIntyre is the only editor I’d accept, but I cannot quarrel with you and your magnificent gang of moderators. I certainly know about boards that degenerate into garbage.
    Flicks dog poop off shoulders, and a banana skin from forehead.
    =========================================

  101. Joel Shore says:
    “It is also interesting to note that 64% see “The Inconvenient Truth” as being a very reliable (26%) or somewhat reliable (38%) source of information on global warming?”
    If that is the case then the intellectual rot in the scientific community has gone deeper than I thought. Gore’s film is a propoganda flick designed to promote a political agenda and getting the facts correct was a secondary concern.

  102. Flanagan (07:48:53) :
    – In 2007, Harris Interactive surveyed 489 randomly selected members of either the American Meteorological Society or the American Geophysical Union for the Statistical Assessment Service (STATS) . The survey found 84% say they personally believe human-induced warming is occurring, and 74% agree that “currently available scientific evidence” substantiates its occurrence. Only 5% believe that that human activity does not contribute to greenhouse warming.

    It’s all in how the question is worded. I agree with that question. The cause is deforestation, land use changes, urban heating, etc.
    So, obviously researchers in the field think there is enough certainty to do something. Why do all these bloggers think they’re actually better informed and have a better vision on the climatologic system than those guys?
    My major prof was fond of saying: Tim, it doesn’t matter what you major in, dumb people are dumb, and you’re not.

  103. MattB, if it were merely a matter of scientists arguing with each other, you would probably be right. When this supposed “consensus” drives political policy, resulting in a crushing of our economy, I doubt that there will be all that many scientists who will stand up and say, “I was wrong. I was part of what caused economic disaster. Mea Culpa.
    More than mere argument between scientists is happening.

  104. Matt B
    After a mosquito-abatement program using DDT in Sri Lanka, malaria effectively disappeared with only 17 reported cases in 1963. Its use was discontinued following the Silent Spring scare. Within 5 years the number of cases exceeded half-a-million.
    And please don’t quote Wikipedia as a reliable source on anything to do with Global Warming, Environmentalism or any other subject that it is even vaguely to do with anything Green.
    I’m pleased your latest post is marginally less angry but you still are not putting forward any coherent argument to combat the two incontrovertible facts:
    1. that there has been no global warming for the best part of the last decade and that the current trend is cooling and I agree that that is too short a timescale to draw conclusions EXCEPT THAT
    2. the GCMs say that cannot happen and that as long as CO2 increases temperatures MUST increase along with it.
    It is not happening: therefore the models are wrong: therefore it is possible that the sceptics are right: therefore there IS a debate to be had whether Gore, Hansen, et al like it or night.

  105. Patrik (08:49:56) : DAV (07:19:00) >>”Yet nearly all of your firsthand understanding about how the world works is statistical in nature.” Is it? Much of my a priori knowledge (such as the sun rising every day) is statistic, but all my a posteriori knowledge about how the world works is simply related to the fact that I’ve read/heard about it and accepted it as a fact.
    That is why I said firsthand. What you’ve learned from education is obviously otherwise. Just the same, many of those facts are likey models which use a statistical basis for either prediction or validation or both.
    You are contradicting Yourself here.
    How? I maintain that predicting tomorrow’s sunrise requires no understanding of any underlying principles. All that’s needed is the knowledge that it always has as far as you know. I wouldn’t call that deep knowledge.
    Well, in a way You’re right. Mathematics is 99.9999% logical in it’s own realm – that is true. However, there is no way to empirically prove mathematics. Empirical proof comes from observation
    Correct! In fact it is not even desired. Mathematics proceeds through deduction. That means it is shown from initial principles (effectively the “cause”). Mathematical hypotheses (conjectures) are proven using logic.
    Science, OTOH, proceeds from observation and forms a “best guess” or “most probable” cause given the observations. This guess is always tentative and subject to revision based upon subsequent observation. Because of this, a scientific hypothesis can never be proven but is instead disproven (Popper called it “falsification”). Scientific theories gain strength through statistical consistency but at no time can anyone state that they are “proven.” Note the reliance upon statistics.
    If you are trying to say that mathematics iself has no connection to the world but is useful for embodiment of world models, then you are correct. However make no mistake, it is mathematics which is provable — not science.
    Excuse any bad English. I’m still Swedish. 🙂
    I dunno. It’s infinitely better than my Swedish. 🙂

  106. Paul MacRae, unfortunately was no longer with the Globe and Mail when I sent in an article to the paper a few years ago that was rejected as at odds with a series they were publishing on coming horrors of global warming. Among my geological questions was “What caused over 50 million cubic kilometres of ice to melt at the end of the last ice age when we numbered only a few million people?” Wouldn’t Huxley have wanted one to look for such a cause before striding forth with AGW theories.

  107. Robert Wykoff (22:08:38) :
    “Sorry for OT…Anthony, did you see that you were mentioned by Lord Moncton in his letter to congress??
    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/reprint/markey_barton_letter.html
    REPLY: No I didn’t, but thanks for the heads up. – Anthony”
    Anthony, why don’t you publish the letter?
    It’s a fine piece of work.
    The more it’s published the more pressure is put on the politicians who have it on their desks.

  108. David Ball (23:22:29) : on Rex Murphy
    David, as a fellow Canadian, I share your amazement that Rex has not been axed by the CBC – one factor may be that on-line comments to his realist and skeptic columns show more and more support… – and, the supportive ones distinguish themselves from the ad hominem attacks and slurs by the warmers (this is my un-scientific opinion – no statistical relevance implied…)

  109. DAV (11:01:30)>> Ok, I think I understand and agree with most of what You’re writing there.
    However, I do believe that I disagree with Your sun-analog.
    The deepest knowledge needed to make predictions about sunriseinthemorning=true or sunriseinthemorning=false is that one needs to have experienced or read or heard that it has risen every day since day 1.
    But; the deepest knowledge needed to predict the outcome of a football game, a stock or the climate is extremely more complex.
    Forget for a moment the expression “deep knowledge”, let’s just call it experience.
    The experience needed to predict the sunrise is very simple and straight-forward.
    The same cannot be said about a lot of other real-world stuff, for example the climate.
    Am I wrong? 🙂

  110. “Sorry for OT…Anthony, did you see that you were mentioned by Lord Moncton in his letter to congress??

    It’s a brilliant analysis of the state of play as I’ve read so far I think. It’s definitately worthy of more publicity.

  111. David Ball — EVERY scientists goal is to have their research accepted into the mainstream, so what was your point?
    My point was that the author equates consensus in this case with conspiracy.
    And note flanagan’s post claiming 97% of the scientists who are working in this field all seem to think the same thing. Surely this must represent the mainstream.
    Must be a conspiracy.
    ***
    Being a skeptic, I’m all for skepticism. However, I don’t think it’s wise to simply dismiss the mainstream *because* it’s the mainstream. And I really dislike equating mainstream thought with conspiracy and so on. It gives skepticism a bad image.

  112. See below:
    There are sixty days to comment on the EPA’s proposed ruling. All of the discussion here and on other sites are meaningless unless they are turned into public comments on the EPA’s proposed ruling. As pointed out below we will either have regulation or law.
    By H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press Writer H. Josef Hebert, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 2 mins ago
    WASHINGTON – The EPA on Friday declared that carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases sent off by cars and many industrial plants “endanger public health and welfare,” setting the stage for regulating them under federal clean air laws.
    The action by the Environmental Protection Agency marks the first step toward requiring power plants, cars and trucks to curtail their release of climate-changing pollution, especially carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.
    EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said while the agency is prepared to move forward with regulations under the Clean Air Act, the Obama administration would prefer that Congress addressed the climate issue through “cap-and-trade” legislation limiting pollution that can contribute to global warming.
    Limits on carbon dioxide and the other greenhouse gases would have widespread economic and social impact, from requiring better fuel efficiency for automobiles to limiting emissions from power plants and industrial sources, changing the way the nation produces energy.
    In announcing the proposed finding, Jackson said the EPA analysis “confirms that greenhouse gas pollution is a serious problem now and for future generations” and warrants steps to curtail it.
    While EPA officials said the agency may still be many months from actually issuing such regulation, the threat of dealing with climate change by regulation could spur some hesitant members of Congress to find another way to address the problem.
    “The (EPA) decision is a game changer. It now changes the playing field with respect to legislation,” said Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., whose Energy and Commerce subcommittee is crafting broad limits on greenhouse emissions. “It’s now no longer doing a bill or doing nothing. It is now a choice between regulation and legislation.”
    Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee responsible for climate legislation, said EPA’s action is “a wake-up call for Congress” — deal with it directly through legislation or let the EPA regulate.
    Friday’s action by the EPA triggered a 60-day comment period before the agency issues a final endangerment ruling. That would be followed by a proposal on how to regulate the emissions.

  113. Flanagan
    “Given that 97% of researchers in climate science are convinced that the present global warming is induced by anthropogenic causes, I think personally this degree of confidence is high enough. What do you think?”
    It is a well known fact that 97% of statistics used in arguments are invented.

  114. The survey found 84% say they personally believe human-induced warming is occurring, and 74% agree that “currently available scientific evidence” substantiates its occurrence.
    I agree too. Now the question is: what is the amount caused by humans. .01C, .1C, 1C, 10C, 100C?
    And then what is the primary cause? Land use? CO2? The large increases of water vapor caused by electric power plants and burning hydrocarbons? Methane from cows and other domestic animals?
    And the final question: Is the increase dwarfed by variations in solar output and solar magnetism? Or perhaps the lack of volcanism is causing the change? Volcano eruptions have been unnaturally low for a while.

  115. Patrik (12:03:57) : But; the deepest knowledge needed to predict the outcome of a football game, a stock or the climate is extremely more complex. Forget for a moment the expression “deep knowledge”, let’s just call it experience. The experience needed to predict the sunrise is very simple and straight-forward. The same cannot be said about a lot of other real-world stuff, for example the climate. Am I wrong? 🙂
    Not wrong, per se. My point is that nearly all prediction is based upon prior knowledge either obtained directly or through analogy and that prediction has a statistical nature. It’s quite possible to assign a probability to an unseen complicated event while simultaneously lacking sufficient knowledge. For example, what do you think the probability is of you surviving the transit between your house and work tomorrow (assuming, of course, that you do work and it involves some type of commute)? There’s a complex system. You may not be able to assign a value like 99.6% but you certainly can say whether you believe it to be high, moderate or low. Regardless of the answer what would be the basis for your belief? You may not realize it but you have just made a statistical assessment. You do this every working day and bet your life on the outcome.
    Still think you can’t assign probabilities without complete (or substantial) knowledge?

  116. MattB (07:18:58)
    I seriously doubt that any AGW scientist would suggest that there is no possibility that it is not CO2… but the current science – despite exagerrated opposition – says it is and that is what policy makers will follow and rightly so…
    That is just absurd, Matt. Since their funding, and careers are often dependent on the fraudulent idea of C02-driven climate, it is doubtful any AGW “scientist” would express any doubt whatsoever about their climate- modeled, GIGO-infested claims about manmade C02 and warming. Sorry, but that is the state of your much-vaunted “consensus” and “current science”. It is nothing but a total fraud, driven by (what else) money and politics. The fraudulent science is merely a convenient tool for the MSM (scaremongering sell$) to use, as well as for politicians (look how I’m helping to “Save the Planet”), and various and sundry rent-seeking NGOs. Make no mistake, though, the stakes here are huge. Untold $billions have already been wasted on this boondoggle, with trillions more on the line. It will wreak havoc (and already has) with economies, skewing energy policies towards more expensive, less efficient sources of energy. Poor people will suffer the most, with most assuredly higher mortality rates. Insane plans for geoengineering are already being discussed which if implemented, would not only be costly, but could have disasterous environmental consequences.
    What is being done to science, and to humanity via this CAGW/CC fraud is nothing short of criminal. For you to take the attitude that “Oh well, if we’re wrong, the science will out within 5 years – oopsie, our mistake, no harm no foul” is simply disingenuous beyond belief. The AGW “scientists”, NGOs, politicos, and the MSM have everything to gain by keeping that fraud going for as long as possible. Climate science has been corrupted, and that is what this battle is all about.

  117. For the record, the “theological opposition” to Evolution historically has been greatly exaggerated (true enough, there were some crazies like (leftist) William Jennings Brian). Huxley however seemed to get strange pleasure from attacking religious opponents of evolution. In reality, the stronger opposition came from scientists. Lord Kelvin, based upon the best information available to him (he did not know about radioactivity) simply concluded that the Earth couldn’t be more than a few million years old. But Huxley would hear none of it. True enough, Huxley turned out to be right, but he latched on to evolution not because there was unequivocal evidence for it (there wasn’t, though there is now) but because he was rabidly anti-religious. He definitely said some wise things, but he was not (excuse the irony) God.

  118. “For example, in 1860, in one of the most famous debates in the history of science, Huxley demolished the arguments of Anglican Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, who was defending religious doctrine against Darwin’s theory of evolution”
    And ever since, there have been no creationists. Everyone who had believed wrongly in religious doctrine said they were sorry and they would believe in science from now on, thus showing that no-one can fail to be persuaded by the truth. Right?

  119. DAV (13:01:20) >>
    Possible, definitely possible to predict just about anything and even to get right – but both Your examples are of a true/false nature and they’re of a reoccuring nature.
    Predicting something that can have a myriad of different outcomes is something quite different.
    I could predict that global T will be higher or lower than today in 100 years, and get it right.
    However, I could probably not predict the evolvment of global T all the way to 100 years from now, nor can I predict how much warmer or colder it will be.
    The probability for me to succeed in such a prediction is very low.
    I assume, and I’m pretty sure that most of the scientific society assumes, that the more knowledge the one making the prediction has – the more probable it is that the prediction will be right.
    And: Since a lot of research is still done in the area of climate science, there is a probability (which I suspect is quite high) that the knowledge needed to get acceptable probability of an acceptable prediction is not yet attained. 🙂
    However, one could argue that someone who knows nothing about football is just as likely to get it right as an expert. Same for stock market predictions and of course climate.
    But hey, I’m not the one saying that these predictions are working. I’m a sceptic, especially when it comes to computer modeling representations of the real world. 🙂

  120. It’s quite possible to assign a probability to an unseen complicated event while simultaneously lacking sufficient knowledge.

    It is, but that is usually based on a normal distribution and normal distributions are “typical”, but not exclusively so. You only have to look at the collapse of the banking system to see that this is the case. They have based their models on normal distributions of risk – and these don’t take account of “Black Swan” events, which in themselves can often become more costly than the mitigation of risk allowed by a normal distribution would allow.

  121. [snip – religion -evolution posts not allowed here, sorry]
    Har har – this article mentions both religion and evolution numerous times. Thought my comment was totally on topic.

  122. Gary at 16:11:26
    Well, it was all going quite smoothly until Flanagan introduced the ugly motif and provoked me, which got Anthony’s dander up. I should be getting to be too smart for such trollery.
    ============================================

  123. Bruce Cobb says:

    That is just absurd, Matt. Since their funding, and careers are often dependent on the fraudulent idea of C02-driven climate, it is doubtful any AGW “scientist” would express any doubt whatsoever about their climate- modeled, GIGO-infested claims about manmade C02 and warming. Sorry, but that is the state of your much-vaunted “consensus” and “current science”.

    This is a very weak argument in my opinion. First of all, most scientists are not in it to get rich…They are scientists because they love science and are most interested in scientific truth. Mind you, I am not making the claim that individual scientists are infallible…I.e., it is perfectly reasonable to believe that there are some scientists whose own biases or concern about funding or their own careers might influence their scientific views. However, to propose this sort of mass conspiracy in the entire field is not at all realistic.
    Second of all, by its very nature, the way science is set up makes it such that even if it might be better for funding of the field as a whole that a scientist go along with the prevailing wisdom, it is not likely to be in his own personal best interest if it is clear to him that this prevailing wisdom is scientifically invalid…unless he believes that the forces supporting the prevailing wisdom are so strong that the scientific truth cannot win out. After all, no matter what happens to the climate science field as a whole, the scientist who were to successfully show that most of the prevailing wisdom is wrong is likely to do just fine.
    Third of all, as I believe Gavin Schmidt (or another one of the RealClimate folks) has pointed out, if climate scientists were really trying to maximize their own funding, it might be more advantageous to emphasize the uncertainty more…I.e., to try to argue that we really don’t know enough to know what to do yet, so governments should not be starting down the road to mitigation just yet but instead should be directing more money towards trying to figure out whether such actions (which are likely to be quite a bit more expensive than climate science research is) are justified.

  124. This indicates that believers are ill-informed about the arguments on the other side (which undermines their credibility), as elucidated for instance in this article by Monckton, “35 Inconvenient Truths: The Errors in Al Gore’s Movie”, here:
    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/monckton/goreerrors.html

    Well, considering their background and Monckton’s background, perhaps it is he who is ill-informed. (For the record, if they had surveyed me, I would have rated “Inconvenient Truth” as somewhat reliable.)

  125. Flanagan (01:44:46) :
    “At that rate, we would still will soon be living in caves…”
    There, fixed it for ya! Better enjoy your trollery now. Once your favored AGW mitigation schemes are in place there won’t be an internet for you to troll on…unless you’re one of the elites who will be exempt from reducing your “carbon footprint” to nothing.

  126. Sorry Joel Shore (18:30:24), but Bruce Cobb is exactly right. Here, I’ll explain how it works:
    Assume that people like, say, George Soros, or the David Foundation, or the Heinz Foundation — all extremely partisan pro-AGW interests with a definite Leftist agenda — decide to change the direction of an organization like, for instance, GISS.
    Do they have to corrupt every rank and file scientist to achieve their ends? No. Not at all. They only need one.
    As has been documented many times, James Hansen has taken upwards of a million dollars from those people. That we know of. And he who pays the piper calls the tune, right? Of course.
    Now, suppose you are a lower level scientist working at GISS. You know for certain that GISS is fudging the numbers, which presents a dilemma: you have a family; you want that next promotion and pay raise as much as the next guy. OTOH, you know exactly what the head of GISS wants. It’s no secret that Hansen is on the global warming bandwagon.
    So, do you blab publicly that the numbers are being “adjusted”? Heck, everyone knows that already. Or, do you just keep your head down and don’t make waves? Those are good government jobs at GISS — and there’s no union to protect its scientists.
    So the connivers like Soros and Heinz and David only need to corrupt one individual in any organization. That’s all. And a million bucks is very corrupting. It shows that Hansen is no longer working for the taxpayers; he’s interested in the lavish payola flowing into his pockets from outside interests.
    In addition, Hansen gets his ego stroked like this [click] all the time. For free, and he obviously craves the attention.
    Some folks are bought by money, some by status, some by blackmail, some by honors and promotions, and most by a combination of those things. And all it takes is getting to the top guy in any organization, and learning his weaknesses. Which is very easy.
    You may not believe that, but it’s true. I was president of a 1,200+ member body. When I was first elected, I couldn’t believe the change. Where previously I had to fight tooth and nail for a minor victory, sometimes for literally years, suddenly as president all I had to do was make a mild suggestion, and the entire organization went in that direction in lock step — and woe to the person or group in opposition.
    The scientists at GISS are doing the only thing they can under the circumstances. They are keeping their heads down and their mouths shut. That’s why when they retire, we finally hear their true opinions.
    Only the most naive would believe that scientists hired for at-will employment have the right to publicly speak out in opposition to what the boss wants to hear. Hansen is bought and paid for. Whether he has always believed in AGW, or whether he dances to the outsiders’ tune is irrelevant. They are getting their money’s worth.
    And James Hansen is just one example out of many in similar positions, from the government to the media. That’s why the peer review process is corrupted, and that’s why the newsmagazines, TV networks, newspapers and UN is corrupted. Because all it takes is getting to the one person at the top. That’s all. The rest fall in line.

  127. Joel Shore and Bruce Cobb:
    I do not believe that there is any one dominant reason why “climate scientists” operate in the way they do. Yes, some are in it for the money; I have seen some colleagues with whom I had previsouly associated high levels integrity adjust their grant proposals to take advantage of the AGW hysteria. (To be sure, they are not lying — just exploiting the hysteria.) Others are driven by political and social agendas; Hansen likely fits in here. Others believe that their models must be right, similar to LTCM and other financial models. Others do not dig deep enough — they are not aware of where data comes from or what the issues are with the data. Others do not feel that it is not their role to challenge colleagues. Some are concerned about their career. Some see what they want to see. Some have focused their work on the evidence to their side. I know not to what extent each reason exists — but I am convinced that there is no dominant reason.

  128. Joel Shore and Bruce Cobb:
    I do not believe that there is any one dominant reason why “climate scientists” operate in the way they do. Yes, some are in it for the money; I have seen some colleagues with whom I had previsouly associated high levels integrity adjust their grant proposals to take advantage of the AGW hysteria. (To be sure, they are not lying — just exploiting the hysteria.) Others are driven by political and social agendas; Hansen likely fits in here. Others believe that their models must be right, similar to LTCM and other financial models. Others do not dig deep enough — they are not aware of where data comes from or what the issues are with the data. Others do not feel that it is not their role to challenge colleagues. Some are concerned about their career. Some see what they want to see. Some have focused their work on the evidence to their side. I know not to what extent each reason exists — but I am convinced that there is no dominant reason.
    Forgot to add good post. Can’t wait to seeing your next one!

  129. Bart Nielsen says:

    Once your favored AGW mitigation schemes are in place there won’t be an internet for you to troll on…unless you’re one of the elites who will be exempt from reducing your “carbon footprint” to nothing.

    So, let me ask you: If it is really so dire, what is going to happen when we run out of fossil fuels and thus have to stop using them? Or do you believe that they are an infinite resource?

  130. Smokey says:

    Assume that people like, say, George Soros, or the David Foundation, or the Heinz Foundation — all extremely partisan pro-AGW interests with a definite Leftist agenda — decide to change the direction of an organization like, for instance, GISS.
    Do they have to corrupt every rank and file scientist to achieve their ends? No. Not at all. They only need one.

    Oh…I see. So, the connection of one major mainstream scientist to any one of these groups automatically disqualifies the whole field.
    And, the fact that we find that nearly every single climate scientist on the “skeptic” side seems to have direct connections to extremely partisan anti-environmentalist interests with a Right wing / libertarian agenda doesn’t really have any effect because it might be true that, say, 1 out of every 50 scientists on the “pro-AGW” side has these sorts of connections!?!
    And, of course, this is from the person who complains about ad hominem attacks and says that they are proof of the bankrupcy of the position that those who use them make!

  131. Flanagan (01:44:46) :
    This is all you have–biased polls. They mean nothing. And they only hurt your argument, and your side, not the other side.
    But don’t let me stop you–have at it! 😉

  132. Joel Shore (19:57:57) :
    I’ll say this to you as a friend :
    You’re making arguments that have been made for years now. They haven’t worked until now. They aren’t going to start magically working now.
    The earth isn’t warming. It is cooling. Your hypothesis doesn’t work. You show people graphs, poll numbers, reports, speeches, and it won’t matter.
    The earth is cooling.

  133. Replying to…
    Joel Shore (19:49:23) :
    […]
    So, let me ask you: If it is really so dire, what is going to happen when we run out of fossil fuels and thus have to stop using them? Or do you believe that they are an infinite resource?

    Fossil fuels (and almost all mineral resources) are “effectively” infinite. There are very few mineral resources that we will actually run out of.
    Oil will one day, gradually, become economically uncompetitive with alternatives…Natural gas and coal will eventually go the same way too. As the free market pushes fossil fuels to economic extinction…The very same free market will switch to alternatives.
    If the gov’t arbitrarily makes the most abundant and economical energy sources more expensive in a Quixotic quest to prod the free market to replace fossil fuels…They’ll just make the rich nations poor and the poor nations dead.

  134. Commenting sarcastically on…
    Joel Shore (19:57:57) :
    […]
    Oh…I see. So, the connection of one major mainstream scientist to any one of these groups automatically disqualifies the whole field.
    And, the fact that we find that nearly every single climate scientist on the “skeptic” side seems to have direct connections to extremely partisan anti-environmentalist interests with a Right wing / libertarian agenda doesn’t really have any effect because it might be true that, say, 1 out of every 50 scientists on the “pro-AGW” side has these sorts of connections!?!
    And, of course, this is from the person who complains about ad hominem attacks and says that they are proof of the bankrupcy of the position that those who use them make!

    SOP for the alarmists & Gorebots…
    1) Fail to address any scientific arguments against their position.
    2) Complain vigorously about the impugnment of their motives.
    3) Fall back on “argument to authority”.
    4) Impugn the motives of dissenting scientists.
    5) Declare the issue to be “settled science”.
    This would be funny, if it wasn’t for the fact that most western capitalist democracies weren’t on the cusp of bankrupting their economies “tilting at” carbon “windmills”.
    If I didn’t know better, I would swear that the IPCC were a Douglas Adams creation.

  135. Edit…
    I think I meant “were on the verge”…Must’ve been the allusion to Douglas Adams.

  136. Everybody; TAKE A TIME OUT, Especially you Joel. I’m sick of the this pointless bickering. My tolerance level for this tripe is wearing thin.
    Snipping carte blanche in 3.2.1…

  137. Joel Shore (19:49:23) :

    Bart Nielsen says:
    Once your favored AGW mitigation schemes are in place there won’t be an internet for you to troll on…unless you’re one of the elites who will be exempt from reducing your “carbon footprint” to nothing.

    “So, let me ask you: If it is really so dire, what is going to happen when we run out of fossil fuels and thus have to stop using them? Or do you believe that they are an infinite resource?”

    So far we have used about one trillion barrels of oil. When you include shale, tar sands, etc. there are more than three trillion barrels of oil known to be in the ground, with more being discovered all the time. Meanwhile technology marches on and it is reasonable to assume that in our children’s or grandchildren’s lifetimes new methods of providing energy will emerge which will make oil obsolete as a fuel before it runs out. A perfect analogy for this is the end of the Stone Age. We did not leave the Stone Age because we ran out of stones.

  138. Joel 16:45:33
    Your critical words are ‘put pressure on the market sooner than it would otherwise happen’. It is easily shown that ‘pressure’ in the form of taxes, mandates and subsidies are always corrupting. Why not let the market function?
    And you betray an unfounded fear with ‘before we have done irreparable harm to our environment’. I presume you are talking of the effect of CO2 on climate, which is not proven and its apparent effect seems to be lessening with every passing day that the globe cools while CO2 levels rise. Why not let the science inform?
    Time to re-evaluate your assumptions about the science of climate and to learn to trust the market.
    =============================================

  139. I hadn’t even gotten to ‘prodding the market’. Careful, that beastie bites.
    ============================================

  140. “What the mechanisms of cap-and-trade essentially do is put this pressure on the market sooner than it would otherwise happen so that we actually wean ourselves off of fossil fuels before we have done irreparable harm to our environment rather than before (although it is actually more flexible since it allows for the possibility of continuing to burn fossil fuels if we sequester the CO2). Why this will somehow impoverish us when the running out of fossil fuels will not seems rather mysterious to me.”
    So, it is a way to make the market act as if we are running out of fossil fuels? AND we get to spend more than anyone else by sequestering CO2? Meanwhile, China and India continue to thrive as we die a slow death trying to make our dynamic economy perform on wind and solar power. At the same time we are printing money as fast as we can. Paper that is backed by nothing except China’s willingness to extend our credit. Unfortunately, China already cut us off because they are smart enough to know that we are on a fool’s errand, something that the scientists haven’t figured out yet. Too bad that by the time the physicists figure out what side of the bread has butter on it, China will own all the bread, butter AND our physicists. Good thinking Joel, you better learn to speak Mandarin, cause you will need it.
    HELLOOOO, McFLY!!!!! WAKE UP!!!!
    This is the real world, not one of your computer simulations. Sheeesh….

  141. Well, bummer. Joel’s post seems to have disappeared. He was being quite temperate and quite transparent about his distrust of the free market and his fears of climate Armageddon. And disappearing his post has made it seem like I’m talking to myself. Oh, well; that’s one way to guarantee an intelligent conversation.
    ================================

  142. Furthermore, Joel the Absent, ‘putting pressure’ on the market by artificially raising the price of energy is a regressive tax on poor people and it will be quite deadly if we are cooling long term. Let the market work; then you can’t be blamed for the coming holocaust on the poorest of this earth.
    ==========================================

  143. The poster boy for ‘prodding the market’, Joel the Absent Knight’s unfortunate term, is biofuel, a social and environmental catastrophe. Didn’t they teach you the harmful effects of central authoritarian control of the economy during your stay at the Hecademy?
    ========================================

  144. Yeah, Mike, and it is pretty clear that the Chinese, the Russians and the Indians are perfectly aware that the globe is cooling, that CO2 has been unnecessarily demonized, and that they, as well as the rest of the second and third world, intend to use completely unnecessary energy use guilt, the precious conceit of a Western elite, to force concessions on Europe and the United States that will permanently hamper our productivity. Why the cognoscenti can’t see this train wreck coming, I just don’t understand. Well, yes, I do. The ravings of the madman Hansen and the incredibly evil and greedy Gore have been hypnotic and perfectly designed to appeal to the well meaning conservationists and environmentalists. Oh, how foolish.
    ===========================================

  145. The cooler it becomes, the hotter the rhetoric of the warmers. Catastrophe has gone from 2100 -2050- 2030 and continues to come down along with the temps. Gore has been saying 5-10 years for the past 30 years.
    I remember a man telling how he tried to convince his college kids about AGW with stacks of data, graphs, papers, etc., but only after the weather turned cold and colder did they stop and begin to question. That’s the Achilles Heel of warmers….cooler temps and hence the doom gets worse and closer and closer to happening. I expect Hansen to totally explode and tell us we have only a few months or maybe weeks.
    I’ll start believing when Gore moves to a 3 -Bdroom 1000sq.’ home, run with windmills and solar and rides a bicycle everywhere. /sarc
    I’m still waiting to hear what the ideal temps are for the earth and all it’s different regions and parts and WHY? IF it’s getting TOO warm, surely there’s a baseline.

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