Short Circuiting The Scientific Process – A Serious Problem In The Climate Science Community

Guest post from Roger Pielke Sr., originally posted on Climate Science

There has been a development over the last 10-15 years or so in the scientific peer reviewed literature that is short circuiting the scientific method.

The scientific method involves developing a hypothesis and then seeking to refute it. If all attempts to discredit the hypothesis fails, we start to accept the proposed theory as being an accurate description of how the real world works.

A useful summary of the scientific method is given on the website sciencebuddies.org.where they list six steps

  • Ask a Question
  • Do Background Research
  • Construct a Hypothesis
  • Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
  • Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
  • Communicate Your Results

Unfortunately, in recent years papers have been published in the peer reviewed literature that fail to follow these proper steps of scientific investigation. These papers are short circuiting the scientific method.

Specifically, papers that present predictions of the climate decades into the future have proliferated. Just a two recent examples (and there are many others) are

Hu, A., G. A. Meehl, W. Han, and J. Yin (2009), Transient response of the MOC and climate to potential melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet in the 21st century, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L10707, doi:10.1029/2009GL037998.

Solomon, S. 2009: Irreversible climate change due to carbon dioxide emissions. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Published online before print January 28, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0812721106

Such studies are even reported in the media before the peer reviewed process is completed; e.g. see in the article by Hannad Hoag in the May 27 2009 issue of Nature News Hot times ahead for the Wild West.

These studies are based on models, of which only a portion of which represent basic physics (e.g. the pressure gradient force, advection and the universal gravitational constant), with the remainder of the physics parameterized with tuned engineering code (e.g see).

When I served as Chief Editor of the Monthly Weather Reviews (1981-1985), The Co-Chief Editor of the Journal of Atmospheric Sciences (1996-2000), and as Editor-in-Chief of the US National Science Report to the IUGG  for the American Geophysical Union (1993-1996), such papers would never have been accepted.

What the current publication process has evolved into, at the detriment of proper scientific investigation, are the publication of untested (and often untestable) hypotheses.  The fourth step in the scientific method “Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment” is bypassed.

This is a main reason that the policy community is being significantly misinformed about the actual status of our understanding of the climate system and the role of humans within it.

Advertisements

305 thoughts on “Short Circuiting The Scientific Process – A Serious Problem In The Climate Science Community

  1. Everyone come gather around the campfire; we should listen to Pielke Pere.
    =============================================

  2. When the science is settled and the debate is over, you don’t need process. The experts have decided everything that needs to be decided and anyone who does not agree is simply wrong. And not reputable. Nor an expert.
    Simpler that way.
    Pay your money and shut up.

  3. What to expect when the AGW doctrine is eriged into official science? For instance, I browsed the French IPSL site (direction GIEC’s own Jean Jouzel…) that depends from the CNRS (national center for scientific research) and the CEA (French atomic commission)
    http://www.ipsl.jussieu.fr/liens/Climat.htm
    and was curious as to the links offered. It was hilarious to discover they quoted Real Climate as the site from “Iowa University”, Jean Marc Jancovici, a well known polytechnician, expert consultant linked to the LMD Academician Le Treut, and who was sent packing by Leroux for his crass ignorance in climatology and the website of a well known french green activist Nicolas Hulot, among others in their “SCIENTIFIC files” section!
    And BTW the French BRGM (bureau for geological and mining research) was working for many month on a Climate tax that has been announced yesterday, right after the european elections where O surprise the greens have done well…

  4. Ah, but it’s even worse than that. The scientific method puts the burden of proof, the burden of persuasion, on the proponent of a hypothesis, essentially challenging the proponent to prove, by replicable testing, the conclusion he would have the world reach.
    These scientific poseurs seek to allocate the burden of proof of their hypotheses on those who ask for proof, on the skeptics, and then declare the challenges to their hypotheses unconvincing, meaning that their conclusions must be true.
    Call it inversion of the scientific method, or, equally accurately, a non-scientific method. Either will do.

  5. Cogent comment from Dr Pielke as usual. Many thanks for your insights over the last decade, sir. 🙂

  6. [ “What the current publication process has evolved into, at the detriment of proper scientific investigation, are the publication of untested (and often untestable) hypotheses. The fourth step in the scientific method “Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment” is bypassed.”]
    Well put.

  7. Excellent piece! Bravo!
    and I only take issue with the last paragraph because Mr. Pielke has far too much class and generosity of spirit to point out what’s actually driving this state of events. Mr. Pielke closed with:
    “This is a main reason that the policy community is being significantly misinformed about the actual status of our understanding of the climate system and the role of humans within it.”
    I believe the main reason for this turn of events is that the “policy community” has already predetermined the answers it wants for purely political and revenue raising reasons, and has undertaken a campaign of rewarding those so-called scientists who give it what it wants while demoting and marginalizing those who threaten to slow the gravy train down with a little truth.
    It’s not about the science anymore, if it ever was. But science itself will be badly damaged unless other true scientists stand up with Mr. Pielke and demand a return to real values and honest dealing.

  8. The models don’t make “predictions”; they make “projections”. Problem solved. 🙂
    Seeing Dr. Solomon’s name above reminds me of her dubious exercise in historical climate reconstruction, the book “The Coldest March”.

  9. Any true belief would welcome debate. If the belief is true, then it cannot be proven false and having a debate would only show others how right your belief really is. It is only the false beliefs that suppress debate because they cannot stand up to a test. I’m speaking in generalities because it applies to science, religion, everything.

  10. I think science has been under attack for some time now and too often scientific issues have been taken over by politicians on the extreme left (global warming) and the extreme right (creationism). The result has been that instead of science being the common ground for both liberals and conservatives is has become just another tool to be manipulated by politicians. In addition, all the junk science out there on everything from what foods are good for you eat (at least for today) to what thing is going to kill us next has made lot of people skeptical of all science, or so scared that they just hang on to whatever opinion makes them feel good. To be honest I don’t see this going away any time soon and bogus issues like global warming will hang on for a long time despite the science that increasingly contradicts the whole premise.

  11. Anyone who thinks a prediction based on a computer model is science is an idiot!

  12. I am not even certain climate prediction can be qualified as science; if someone can comment on that it would be much appreciated. As an environmental engineer, I have dealt with numerous models that predict the performances of processes (e.g. pollutants removal by adsorption, BOD removal by activated sludge). Most of them are built with some scientific theory and some empirical correlations. But, at the end of the day, the validity/applicability of any given model is put to test by comparing model predictions to data generated by the process. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t; and we just need to accumulate experiences on when it does and doesn’t work. Is this how climate models getting validated and fine-tuned? I would like to know.

  13. Wade-strictly speaking I would say only the un-confident refuse to debate. It does not necessarily mean they are wrong, but it does put their own belief in their opinions in doubt.
    Now, what does the fact that “experts” who supposedly know a great deal about this stuff refuse to debate imply? Apparently even they are unconvinced by their evidence. Which is troubling in and of itself…

  14. Repost from http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/05/25/global-warming-of-7c-could-kill-billions-this-century/
    How did we get into this mess?
    The fundamental flaw…
    Science as a cultural practice is subject to the same issues as any cultural practice, it can improve, stagnate or devolve.
    The essence of the traditional practice of science, and still current practice for many scientists is the discourse between theory and experiment. Where experiment allows for the destructive testing of theory by empirical observation. Theories that don’t stand up to the destructive testing of experiment fall by the wayside. In this way Science is able to eliminate the false theories.
    Over time (say the last 30 to 40 years) there has been the rise of Advocacy as a practice of science. Where Advocacy differs from the traditional practice of science is in the refusal to use destructive testing by experiment. Advocates instead defend their positions by highlighting “supporting” evidence and ignoring, and attacking contrary evidence. No advocate is “thrilled” by the prospect that their theory might be wrong, and that there might be something new to learn. Advocates substitute other theoretical constructs (i.e. Computer Models) for destructive testing. Theory ends up referencing theory in a closed loop. Advocacy = Bias.
    Exploiting the opportunity…
    With the rise of Advocacy Science, and the concurrent development of scientific blindness to false theory, there have emerged a large number of opportunists who seek to exploit the existing credibility of science to further their own agendas. These opportunists perpetuate the weakness of Advocacy Science to identify false theories, as it allows them to continue to use the credibility of science to further their own agendas.
    Restoring Science…
    As the root cause is the presence of Advocacy Science, the solution would involve the insistence on “destructive testing of theories via experiment with empirical observation”. This could be done by ensuring that government funding could only be accessed for science by insisting that proposals for research funding described in detail “how” the work to be funded would be subject to “destructive testing” and what the failure criteria would be.
    To sum up…
    Climate science as a cultural practice represents a devolution of the traditional and mainstream scientific practices of destructive testing of theory with experiment and empirical observation, and the adoption of a closed loop theory to theory discourse that is not grounded in empirical observation.
    Advocacy has it’s place, in politics, in the law court, in business – just not in Science.
    Note that no conspiracy is required for Advocacy to rise within the practice of Science. Science like any other cultural practice is subject to the vagaries of human nature. Any practice that is subject to Sloth, Hubris, Greed, Venality, Cowardice, etc… will devolve. By the same token, Courage, Hardwork, Intelligence and a real Commitment to restore science can still have an effect.
    *****
    Plus – Given current AGW funding for Advocacy Science, it is not surprising that more and more “science” papers reflect the flawed process described above.
    Personally – I see this down-shift in Scientific Practice as a direct and pernicious assault on one of the core foundations of modern, western civilization, and very dangerous to the future of our societies and the general welfare of humanity.

  15. I wonder to what extent the failure of the scientific method is the very thing that allows conclusions to be promulgated which receive the response from people like me: “I don’t know the science, but I know nonsense when I read it”.

  16. An excellent and essential post. As many have remarked here, human history is replete with examples of cultural/political purposes overriding (or murdering) the scientific process. Wattsupwiththat and many other blogs remain true to science. This is an important — if not the most important — legacy for future generations, our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. I am very grateful. Thanks to Dr. Pielke, Sr., and Mr. Watts and all those committed to truths.

  17. A most excellent point. As a scientist, this is actually one of my largest concerns with the AGW community – ultimately this will not only discredit climate scientists but all scientists & the public will no longer trust anything scientists say. This could have a huge adverse effect on the progress on a technological society such as ours.

  18. “Such studies are even reported in the media before the peer reviewed process is completed”
    I think the old axiom about checks and balances with respect to the different branches of US government (i.e., Executive, Senate, House of Representatives) has often missed a fourth element which is the media (MSM). Even when the three traditional branches fall to one side of the political spectrum, the media has the ability to provide real time checks and balances. We now are part of an experiment in government without checks and balances and it’s scary by my observation/opinion.
    The same logic could also be applied to the science of climate. Basic checks and balances have been set aside in the scientific community and to make matters worse, media has become a willing participant in promoting alarmism over science and common sense. Further, the MSM plays to the cycle of a.) Research as headlines, b.) Headlines as recognition, c.) Recognition as means to capture grants and/or funding for further research.
    Common sense dictates a return to checks and balances…

  19. John A (19:45:09) :
    I predict Roger Pielke Sr will be ignored for decades

    Already been done.

  20. Although many scientists would like to pretend that this:
    Ask a Question
    Do Background Research
    Construct a Hypothesis
    Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
    Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
    Communicate Your Results
    is the Scientific Process, it is my experience [and it certainly has been true for me over several solar cycles] that this not how it works. The hard part is the very first one: knowing which question to ask. If you know that, you are 90% home. In practice, the process goes more like this:
    1) some observation is anomalous and doesn’t fit
    2) the anomaly is often ignored [as most of them are flukes anyway]
    3) at some point there are so many anomalies of this type that they can no longer be ignored
    4) or, somebody decides to take the anomaly at face value and see where it leads [so the data ‘asks the question’]
    5) a working hypothesis is formed and either more observations sought or some active experiment done. And only then does the rest of the Process come into play.
    There are problems, too, at the other end of the process: “communicate the result”. This is also a lot harder than it sounds because the communication will be ignored unless relentlessly repeated and agitatedly propagandized [what the Soviets called ‘agitprop’ – which is basically positive rather than negative]. You have to convince first yourself [in my view the hardest – other people have the opposite opinion on this], then your immediate colleagues, and finally the ‘scientific community’ of which you are a part, e.g. Solar Physics. The last step can take decades and is sometimes only successful when your opponents die off [so plan on living for a while]

  21. There’s a typo in Pielke’s article (delete one of the “of which’s”:
    “of which only a portion of which”
    REPLY: I’ll point it out to him, but I won’t edit his article. – Anthony

  22. Leif, I am reminded of the life course Albert Einstein found himself on as he wrote his first major paper — as a patent clerk. Talk about a weird scientific process. His was all in his head! And he wasn’t even an employed scientist at that time.

  23. The weakly supported speculations of the primary AGW studies is bad enough, but they have been used as a jumping off point for a mountain of other, even more speculative, opuses, that take the general form of “The effect of Global Warming on the exacerbation of hemoplagic ringworm in the flying wombats of southeastern BumF**k Egypt”. These mostly worthless studies have proliferated like the Ebola virus in a petri dish, and the larger the degrees of separation from the primary studies, the less compulsion the authors seem to feel to reveal that a 5C rise in average global temp is not really a rock solid certainty. They have proved to be a gold mine for the journalistic profession, since even if they have slept in due to being overserved the night before, a quick Google search will likely net them any number of hysterical press releases announcing the publication of today’s offerings, which with just a bit of copy and paste will allow them to fulfill their daily quota of bovine excrement. Of course they are all subject to peer review, but the primary review question seems to be “Does the title contain the words global warming or global climate change?” If that condition is met it’s down the pipeline to the printers.

  24. A bit off accountability would go a long way in publicly funded science.
    Not much has changed sins the dark ages, as long as scientists can publish fraudulent papers and the consequences are a position as a Director of a science centre and or the Nobel Price science has a problem.
    My take on science is believe those who are seeking the truth doubt those who found it.

  25. To Jeff L (19:56)
    Re “As a scientist, this is actually one of my largest concerns with the AGW community – ultimately this will not only discredit climate scientists but all scientists & the public will no longer trust anything scientists say. This could have a huge adverse effect on the progress on a technological society such as ours.”
    Jeff, I wonder if the problem our technological society has is that so few kids are well educated in science today? We have a great culture for business, but when you realize that half the startups in Silicon Valley the last 15 years or so were started by immigrants, from places like India, Taiwan, etc., you wonder about the ability of those born in the U.S. to think critically about scientific issues?

  26. Siemens writes this in their financual reports big turbine admits forecast limitations
    Disclaimer “forward looking statements”
    The documents provided on this website contains forward-looking statements and information – that is, statements related to future, not past, events. These statements may be identified by words such as “expects,” “looks forward to,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “seeks,” “estimates,” “will,” “project” or words of similar meaning. Such statements are based on our current expectations and certain assumptions, and are, therefore, subject to certain risks and uncertainties. A variety of factors, many of which are beyond Siemens’ control, affect our operations, performance, business strategy and results and could cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Siemens to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements that may be expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. For us, particular uncertainties arise, among others, from changes in general economic and business conditions (including margin developments in major business areas and recessionary trends); the possibility that customers will delay conversion of booked orders into revenue or that our pricing power will be diminished by continued adverse market developments, to a greater extent than we currently expect; the behavior of financial markets, including fluctuations in interest and exchange rates, commodity and equity prices, debt prices (credit spreads) and financial assets generally; continued volatility and further deterioration of the capital markets; the commercial credit environment and, in particular, additional uncertainties arising out of the subprime, financial market and liquidity crises; future financial performance of major industries that we serve, including, without limitation, the Sectors Industry, Energy and Healthcare; the challenges of integrating major acquisitions and implementing joint ventures and other significant portfolio measures; introduction of competing products or technologies by other companies; lack of acceptance of new products or services by customers targeted by Siemens; changes in business strategy; the outcome of pending investigations and legal proceedings, including corruption investigations to which we are currently subject and actions resulting from the findings of these investigations; the potential impact of such investigations and proceedings on our ongoing business including our relationships with governments and other customers; the potential impact of such matters on our financial statements; as well as various other factors. More detailed information about certain of these factors is contained throughout this report and in our other filings with the SEC, which are available on the Siemens website, http://www.siemens.com, and on the SEC’s website, http://www.sec.gov. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described in the relevant forward-looking statement as expected, anticipated, intended, planned, believed, sought, estimated or projected. Siemens does not intend or assume any obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements in light of developments which differ from those anticipated.
    Adjusted or organic growth rates of revenue and new orders; Return on equity, or ROE; Return on capital employed, or ROCE; Cash conversion rate, or CCR; Free cash flow; Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA (adjusted); and Net debt are or may be non-GAAP financial measures. These supplemental financial measures should not be viewed in isolation as alternatives to measures of our financial condition, results of operations or cash flows as presented in accordance with IFRS in our Consolidated Financial Statements. A definition of these supplemental financial measures, a reconciliation to the most directly comparable IFRS financial measures and information regarding the usefulness and limitations of these supplemental financial measures can be found on our Investor Relations website at http://www.siemens.com/nonGAAP.
    The forecasters couldn’t abide by disclosure laws.

  27. Agree – posted April 19, 2009:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/04/19/quote-of-the-week-4/#comments
    First there is a Scientific Hypothesis. For example, the Hypothesis that increased humanmade atmospheric CO2 causes catastrophic global warming.
    With some substantial evidence, that Hypothesis becomes a Theory, as in the “Theory of Evolution”.
    Then with absolute proof and lack of counter-evidence, that Theory becomes a Law, as in the Law of Gravity.
    Global Warmists have repeatedly stated that “The Science is Settled”. Warmists claim not only that increased atmospheric CO2 causes warming, but that current and future humanmade increases in CO2 will cause catastrophic global warming that threatens the very existence of life on our planet.
    Warmists have thus promoted their alarmist statement past Hypothesis and Theory to the status of Law.
    In fact, Catastrophic Humanmade Global Warming is still a Hypothesis, and a failed one at that.
    There has been no significant net warming since 1940, in spite of an 800% increase in humanmade CO2 emissions. Earth is now entering a natural cooling cycle, after a ~25-year natural warming cycle. It is this recent 25-year natural warming cycle that has been used as evidence for alleged catastrophic global warming. As Earth continues to cool, this falsehood will become increasingly apparent to all, and Al Gore, young Barack and their ilk will become increasingly humiliated after being caught in a BIG LIE.
    The only Theory that seems to have survived this foolish, wasteful debate is the Theory of Warmist BS – that almost everything the Warmists have stated will turn out to be false, alarmist and self-serving.
    Witness that IPCC centerpiece, the Mann Hockey Stick. Eliminating from the historic record both the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age was not problem for these so-called scientists – just sweep it away with the shoddiest of cherry-picked evidence, and hope nobody will notice.
    When someone does point out Warmist falsehoods, just say they are “in the pay of big oil” or try to intimidate them by more direct means, including threats of violence.
    I want everyone to remember who the Warmists are. I will stand by my statements, but you can expect the Warmists to be running for the exits in the coming years.
    Watch as various strident individuals and organizations try to back away from their Warmist statements – it’s already starting, and is rather amusing.

  28. John A (19:45:09) :
    “I predict Roger Pielke Sr will be ignored for decades.”
    No his “flawed thinking”
    will be called out on climate Progress within 24 hours.
    The emotional anti science board. How many people take classes in experimental design?

  29. I’m with Leif in this. The real world is very different from epistemology classes. New science generally means working with noisy, incomplete data, particularly in fields where you don’t really work with experiments but have to really on observations from natural systems (and computer models) .
    The problem is that very rarely you have small enough error bars, or the best complement of data, to allow you to completely exclude a scenario. You tend to chose one (life is short and there’s only a finite amount of time to do your work) that for some reason you think is more plausible (most often you inherit that from your thesis advisor) and if you’re lucky future research will invalidate the other scenarios before yours. It generally works well because even if everyone is on the wrong wagon, eventually the ever increasing accuracy of measures will show that you need to try something else.
    In my view part of the “Climate” problem stems exactly from the fact that people think science follows that set of 6 rules. It doesn’t, it’s more like a random sampling through the large set of possible scenarios, many of which get discarded after some time.

  30. Glance at astrobiology and see how difficult is investigating any possibility on the existence of biosystems outside the Earth following the scientific method. The unique place on where we can observe living beings -until now- is the Earth.

  31. I hate to disagree with my friend Mr Leif, but I have to (or maybe I don’t, it all depends on how one interprets his comment at (20:01:48).
    In order to be able to ask a question it is necessary to have some reason to do so. In some circumstances one might just throw out a question at random and hope it relates to something but in reality every question is reactive rather than proactive – some observation has caused it to be asked. Mr Leif’s points 1)-4) conflate asking the question and doing background research, point 1) raised the question and 2)-4) are part of the background research. That such research gives rise to another, or more accurately, a more closely defined question does not detract from point 1) raising the question in the first place.
    No hypothesis can be formed until the question is formulated with precision, which is why his points 2)-4) are the very definition of “background research”.
    As for communication of one’s conclusions, there can always be difficulties. I well remembering submitting an article to one of the better English law journals many years ago (it was so long ago cheese hadn’t been invented yet). The main thesis was an absolute killer, faultless in both principle and supportive authority; English law was about to move in a new direction. Then I received a reply from the editor, which I paraphrase: “Dear Mr Bigot, I submitted your draft to Professor W, Professor X and Dr Y as well as considering it myself. We have reached the conclusion you are a blithering idiot. Lots of love, Professor Z.”

  32. The problem goes deeper than that.
    I have seen in microcosm a similar sociological process happening in a strictly scientific community of about 60 people. It was then that I realized that 60 people are enough for crowd psychology.
    Let me describe it. In the data some decades ago, a 4 sigma bump was discovered by a junior scientist in the invariant mass of the muon pion system. Great excitement followed when the bump was verifiably there . In a group meeting everybody was enthusiastic for presenting it at the next conference ( the real peer review). Adrenalin was high and everybody was riding an exciting wave, because it was a precursor of new and unexpected theory. It was announced.
    No other experiment saw this bump.
    The thing deflated, and people collectively went the other way ” who is responsible for this nonsense”. For all I know this bump is still there in the stored data of that experiment, a 4 sigma bump.
    Fortunately the media were not involved. The media act as an amplifier of crowd feelings.
    Fortunately at that time grants were given to institutions and not to individuals, so there was no incentive to push these exciting, to the researchers, results to the extreme, in order to feed the kids.
    Fortunately there were other experiments/voices that could show that even a low probability event of 4 sigma could happen statistically given enough data, or luck.
    My three “fortunatelys ” high light where the exciting for them results of climate modelers took a life of their own as social science .
    1) Media, who fish for excitement like sharks,
    2) Funding which has become personality centered instead of institution centered.
    3) When media becomes the peer review, independent researchers have a hard time checking and balancing new information.
    This melee is just what is needed for manipulators of crowds to ride the wave of media hyperbole and guide the ship into the desired tax harbor.
    In my opinion, to assure that this sort of thing does not happen again, funding of science has to go back to institutions and stop being personality centered, somehow.

  33. It is a sad indictment of the AGW lobby that such an article needs to be published at all. A senior secondary school student would know the steps of the scientific method Dr Pielke outlines. Yet greed, tenure, funding grants, and sheer dishonesty gnaw at the very institutions which should be defending intellectual integrity.
    Others have pointed out how this will reduce the standing of science in the eye of the public. Too many non-scientists are now proclaiming their own ‘scientific’ message – from Nicholas Stern in Britain, Al Gore in the US, Ross Garnaut in Australia, etc, etc – and the scientifically illiterate cannot discern the difference. Of course such confusion is eagerly seized upon by the poseurs.
    And equally, politicians too busy or too lazy to do any searches for real science, become the willing spear-carriers for such types. In Australia, we have a ‘Climate Minister’ who sounds like a AGW-mantra chanting robot.
    In the last few days, a senator has, at his own expense, researched both sides of the debate, here and in the US. This has drawn fire from the state-run ABC, with hypocritical questions as to whether he still has an ‘open mind’!
    What an appalling situation – an ‘open mind’ must be a closed mind of the ‘correct’ bias.

  34. Having your favorite theory tested to destruction must seem like very strange behaviour to the non-scientific public. Far safer to gather behind to large group of like minded advocates . Fish swim in large schools to save being eaten don’t they?
    Graeme Rodaughton (19:38:20) said “Advocacy has it’s place, in politics, in the law court, in business – just not in Science “, and he is right ,but there is something that satisfies the human soul in something being universally ‘settled’. Politics,Law,Religion,Corporate business in every society all rely on reaching out and offering some form of comforting equilibrium. Witness the current financial disequilibrium and the enormous effort being applied to restore calm. Science stands out as an outlier in all of this in trying to knock itself down to prove its correctness! This looks like very odd behaviour indeed to the general public and those trained in the non sciences.
    This is where WUWT can help bridge the understanding gap.

  35. Pamela Gray (20:20:43) :
    Leif, I am reminded of the life course Albert Einstein found himself on as he wrote his first major paper — as a patent clerk. Talk about a weird scientific process. His was all in his head!
    Einstein is somewhat of an exception [in many ways!]. He asked a question “what would the world look like if I was riding on a lightbeam?’ and from that the rest followed without being guided by experiments. He didn’t even know about Michelson and Morley’s [it is said].
    Niels Bohr had a singular insight and capitalized on it his whole life. Again their was no hypothesis and further experiments [although lots of other people did to convince themselves]. Bohr said once [I was there] or perhaps even often that when he saw the Balmer formula for the wavelengths of the principal Hydrogen spectral line series, everything was immediately clear to him.
    But such insights and questions are rare, indeed.
    Without placing myself in the same league, a similar singular insight has shaped my own research the past six years. It has been known for 45 years that the solar wind speed, V, and magnetic field, B, together determine geomagnetic activity, A, according to the formula A = B V^2, but until six years ago we did not know how to separate the influence of B and V, so could not determine either back in the time before spacecraft measurements of B and/or of V. It is like knowing that a pair of shoes and a handbag together cost $200, but that knowledge does not have enough information to tell us what the price of the shoes was.
    Then the ‘miracle’ [the insight] happened:
    —–Original Message—–
    From: Leif Svalgaard [mailto:leif@leif.org]
    Sent: Monday, May 19, 2003 12:38 AM
    To: Cliver Edward W Civ AFRL/VSBXS
    Subject: A miracle happened.
    Hi Ed,
    Attached are the figures for our second paper in the series. I was bothered (as you were) by the Cliver & Ling 2002 paper. Especially Figure 5 of that paper. When Bartels constructed the u-index [in the 1920s], he knew what he was doing, so we must understand the behavior of the u-index. The rise is ominous, especially since riser-people don’t plot from zero 🙂
    Lockwood is, of course, already in trouble by the fact that 1901 and 1964 both have equally deep minima in Figure 5, but let that slide for now.
    My recent (attached) analysis explains everything and everybody can now be happy except Lockwood. The miracle that happened was the realization (and proof) that the u-index is not sensitive to the solar wind speed, but only to the IMF magnitude. In fact, u is simply a plot of B: B = 2.72 + 0.388 u. A doubling of u from 5 to 10 means a change in B from 4.7 to 6.6 nT, thus not a doubling. My Figure 8 tells the story. Call me to discuss.”
    I remember plotting Figure 8 starting with the year 1872 [when the u-index started with good accuracy]. Once I plotted the u-index for 1930 [where A = B V^2 was very high [the highest since 1872]], but the u-index was not, the whole thing was crystal-clear and all my work since has just solidified and confirmed that insight.
    I have had precisely five such moments in my entire career so they don’t happen every day. And I have been lucky. To many people they don’t happen.

  36. David Holliday (19:15:47) :
    “Anyone who thinks a prediction based on a computer model is science is an idiot!”
    And anyone who thinks AGW theory relies on computer models is an ignorant fool.
    But of course, since I completely agree with the scientific consense, (which is not all that difficult to understand if you actually give it a go and leave the politics behind), it will be my post that is snipped rather than the highly ridicule-filled rant above which calls into question the integrity of the work of many dedicted, honest people.

  37. @ – Filipe (20:52:26)
    At some point there needs to be direct attempts to “attack” the theory with experimental observation that is repeatable, and capable of independent validation.
    AGW Advocacy Science avoids such tests like the plague.
    Novel theories typically are able to make predictions for new phenomena that have not been observed before. REF: Einsteins General Theory of Relativity posits that light will be bent by the gravitational fields of stars. Armed with this prediction, experimentalists checked it out and found that indeed light was bent as predicted – had the opposite been found, then the theory would have been in deep trouble.
    AGW Advocacy Science predicts a “Troposphere Hot Spot in the Tropics”, and it hasn’t been found, the absence is not seen as refutation of the theory… Hence, no connection between the theory and experimental observation. This is inline with my earlier statements that advocates will ignore or attack contrary data and results.
    Another sad aspect of Advocacy Science is that it kills the opportunity to learn. – It is an extreme form of Hubris.

  38. I get tired of reading about how some plant or animal has changed its nesting, feeding or blooming habits due to “climate change”. God forbid that living things on this planet change! Put it in a paper and claim its due to manmade climate change and you’ve contributed to the “huge” wieght of evidence for man made climate change. Of course the argument for man made climate change is an undeniable truth! It says so right there in those models. It’s not just the lack of verification of models, but the leap of logic by these silly studies based on what the models proclaim.
    One question that I have often pondered: Why hasn’t someone produced a climate model based on Lindzen’s argument that water vapor is a negative feedback?
    Thank you Watts, Pielke, etal for the points of view on this site.

  39. Leif Svalgaard (20:01:48) : “The last step can take decades and is sometimes only successful when your opponents die off [so plan on living for a while].”
    Good point. This was the case with J Harlan Bretz when the recognition of his explanation of the Channeled Scablands of Eastern Washington arrived.
    May you live long and be rewarded.

  40. another typo
    “Just a two recent examples”
    Here in Oregon there are activists who more often than any other warmists bromide play the “peer review” card in marginalizing skeptics.
    Their dependency upon the peer reviewed journals is tremendous.
    So they’ll be ignoring any evidence of peer review wavering right along with Pielke.

  41. Leif Svalgaard (20:01:48) :
    4) or, somebody decides to take the anomaly at face value and see where it leads [so the data ‘asks the question’]
    I like that one, Leif. I really do like it.

  42. OT: fyi: Armstrong and Getty (a couple of Nor. Cal. talk show hosts) talked about the O.C. Register article on the recent surface station report by Anthony Watts and Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. I sent the hosts a link to the article over the weekend and was thrilled to hear that it got on the show. They are one of the top (if not the top) rated morning-drive talk show in Northern California, and many people around the world listen to their podcast.
    If you haven’t read the OCR article, here it is: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/temperature-stations-global-2433763-heat-watts
    WARNING! The other topics of discussion that day include the death of David Carradine under, shall we say, unusual circumstances, which may be rather offensive to some. The discussion of the report starts at 18:30 of Hr 3 and extends to 23:00.
    Here is a link to a podcast of the show (3rd hr on 6/8/09): http://a1135.g.akamai.net/f/1135/18227/1h/cchannel.download.akamai.com/18227/podcast/SANFRANCISCO-CA/KNEW-AM/Armstrong%20and%20Getty%2006-08-09%20H3.mp3?CPROG=PCAST&MARKET=SANFRANCISCO-CA&NG_FORMAT=businessnews&SITE_ID=664&STATION_ID=KNEW-AM&PCAST_AUTHOR=910_KNEW&PCAST_CAT=News_%26_Politics&PCAST_TITLE=Armstrong_and_Getty_-_910_KNEW
    If that link gets messed up, you can find all their podcasts here: http://www.910knew.com/cc-common/podcast/single_podcast.html?podcast=ang.xml
    P.S. Anthony, if you have the time, I think you’d make a great guest for the show.
    REPLY: Thanks, I do radio daily as it is, so no problem, anytime. – Anthony

  43. Matt Bennett (21:39:25) : “And anyone who thinks AGW theory relies on computer models is an ignorant fool.”
    Yes, Matt! Based on the evidence, AGW theory relies every bit as much on argument ad hominem, cherry picking, data tampering, organized suppression of dissent, and alarmist ranting as it does on computer models.

  44. Matt Bennett (21:39:25) :
    David Holliday (19:15:47): “Anyone who thinks a prediction based on a computer model is science is an idiot!”
    And anyone who thinks AGW theory relies on computer models is an ignorant fool.
    But of course, since I completely agree with the scientific consense, (which is not all that difficult to understand if you actually give it a go and leave the politics behind), it will be my post that is snipped rather than the highly ridicule-filled rant above which calls into question the integrity of the work of many dedicted, honest people.

    Matt…
    First, would you be so kind as to provide us with physical evidence taken from nature, not from models, on your assertion that AGW is a theory and it’s really happening nowadays?
    Second, please tell us, is “consensus” included in the theory of truth? i.e. are scientific theories true if they have been constructed on consensuses? Thanks in advance for your prompt answers to my questions.

  45. FatBigot (20:56:37) :
    In order to be able to ask a question it is necessary to have some reason to do so.
    It is rare that a question is asked in the first place. More often than not [I gave some examples in an earlier comment] the solution is ‘immediately obvious’ before the question is asked or even before one knows that there could be a question. Scientists have a tendency [like the great Gauss] to cover their ‘tracks’ and present their discoveries as an orderly progression [following the Scientific Method], but it is fake! An example of such is my own paper describing my ‘insight’: http://www.leif.org/research/Determination%20IMF,%20SW,%20EUV,%201890-2003.pdf

  46. Leif Svalgaard (21:28:03) :
    The “eureka” moment. ( Archimedes getting out of the bathtub)
    I have had precisely five such moments in my entire career so they don’t happen every day. And I have been lucky. To many people they don’t happen.
    Unfortunately though these happen to many people, but most of the time they have found coal and not gold. The sincere scientists of AGW think they have had their eureka moment. It is what draws people to science, that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It is the peer review process that should throw out the coal, but it has broken down in climate science, as Pielke observes above.
    As for me, working in large groups, I have had some eureka moments, buried in group work. One stands out many decades ago, but I did not manage to convince the group to publish such innovative stuff. I was right, but so what?

  47. Leif Svalgaard (22:14:58) : “…More often than not…the solution is ‘immediately obvious’ before the question is asked or even before one knows that there could be a question. Scientists have a tendency…to cover their ‘tracks’ and present their discoveries as an orderly progression…”
    Yes, and that’s probably what I would do, too. At the very least, I’d be tempted…

  48. don’t tarp me bro (20:44:19) :
    ‘Siemens writes this in their financual reports big turbine admits forecast limitations
    Disclaimer “forward looking statements”…’
    I think that’s the same disclaimer the US Congress uses.

  49. it will be my post that is snipped rather than the highly ridicule-filled rant above which calls into question the integrity of the work of many dedicted, honest people.
    Why would you assume your post would be snipped? It happens here, but not very often.
    I would further suggest that there are honest, dedicated people on both sides of the debate. Either (or both) are wrong. Both cannot be right. But being wrong does not mean one lacks integrity. Neither does being dedicated and honest necessarily mean one is right.

  50. Leif Svalgaard (21:28:03)
    crystal-clear insight
    Leif you got lucky five times, your crystal-clear insights have had a home.
    I have had these but, unfortunately they do not have a home!
    No one cares if you have the answers to solve a problem 20 years from now!
    no one is concerned over something that may happen IF.
    And being mentally handicap is no picnic. lol
    I see there is a white faculae count going back to the 1900s in nasa data.
    would this not be a way to side step the warming of the dark spots?
    these white areas are visible and SHOULD remain so during warming of sun spots.
    I have a name of the JPG but no link (faculae1911_14a.JPG)
    I have not seen any thing from you on this, have you any study’s linking f10.7 to faculae and IMF?
    What I am looking for is something tangible to prove a leaving from the same old normal. my bible my sole say so but need hard proof.
    crystal-clear insights may not be our own but a gift, a momentary gift .
    Thanks Leif
    on topic this climatology is not of the scientific sort or it would have been laughed at when a certain et al 2009 had a temperature of .119 when we measure to xx.x
    significant digits http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Significant_figures
    and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accuracy_and_precision
    Tim

  51. OT but what with Einstein and Born in the discussion I was reminded of Feynman’s reminiscences on how he got the idea of the Feynman diagrams, which I was fortunate enough to hear during a workshop in the early 1980s. He was very descriptive.
    He said he had blue jeans on and lying perpendicular to the wall on his bed with his legs up the wall, when he “saw” how the diagrams would work with the integrals and all. He had eidetic memory anyway, seeing the pages of books when wanting to remember formulae.
    This was during some meetings where there were all the wise men ( Schwinger I think was part of them) calculating crossections in the old laborious way that took about a week to get a result for a process. So Feynman would go to the meeting, pick up the current assignment for crossection calculation, go to his room and in a few hours get the result, which he would tell them the next day, without telling them how he got it. They labored along for a week to come out with the same result. Feynman had some fun, before disclosing his method.

  52. I agree with Leif here, it is rare for scientific discovery to follow the orderly path laid down above.
    Very often it is anomalies in experimental measurements that generate new hypotheses.
    Secondly the experimental process often leads to a refinement of the theoretical framework which in turn leads to more refined measurements. This feedback loop is a very critical part of the process that is left out in lay discussions.
    I’d suggest something like this is a more appropriate description
    I’ll note that climate science is mostly an observational one that relies on the underlying physics being understood and modeled well enough to avoid direct empirical measurements. In this case the behavior of the model are “real world” enough that you can’t ab initio predict how the model will behave (even if you wrote every single line of code for the model yourself).

  53. Leif,
    I agree that not all science follows the classic process, and I can see why some research may be reorganized to conform to a classic formula. There is one important step of what may be considered traditional scientific method that I still feel is vital, and that is testing a hypothesis with observation or experimentation. Computer modeling does not seem to be the best substitute for this in current climate science. I have been impressed with what has been accomplished with physical experimentation for systems that might initially appear too big for the laboratory. The aurora experiments to back up the hypothesis of solar wind come to mind. I also recall fluid tank experiments on standing waves to answer questions relating to the red spot on Jupiter. I am also looking forward to the results of the Cloud experiment at CERN.
    O/T Could you point me to the current theory for what is driving solar cycles? I have read a lot of debate on weather these cycles influence climate, but I would like to know what drives these cycles themselves.

  54. As I recall from the ol’college years in physics and engineering, after you formed a Hypothesis, you tested it by attempting to prove it wrong. In engineering, we actively look for ways to make designs or processes fail so that we can improve them.
    Today, this seems totally opposite to the so called “science” of AGW models, where all of there science is dedicated to finding ways to SUPPORT their theory. That’s not science, that’s propaganda.

  55. Fluffy Clouds (Tim L) (22:54:47) :
    I have not seen any thing from you on this, have you any study’s linking f10.7 to faculae and IMF?
    Peter Foukal has studied this:
    http://www.leif.org/research/Foukal-F107-Rz.pdf
    I’m giving a paper on this next week at the Solar Physics Divison of the American Astronomical Society meeting in Boulder, CO.
    Here is an abstract:
    (Leif Svalgaard, Luca Bertello [MWO], Ed Cliver)
    Three independent datasets support the finding that a discontinuous change of ~20% was introduced in the Zurich Sunspot Number, Rz, when Max Waldmeier took over the production of Rz. The range of the diurnal variation of the geomagnetic field (the East-component) is controlled by the EUV-induced conductivity of the dayside ionosphere and indicates a 23% increase of Rz from 1946 on. The Greenwich Sunspot Areas (and the Group Sunspot Number derived from the Greenwich data) indicate a 17.5% increase of Rz. A CaII K-line index derived from recently digitized Mount Wilson Observatory spectroheliograms indicates an 18.5% increase in Rz. Friedli [2005] notes that “The new observer-team in Zurich was thus relatively inexperienced and Waldmeier himself feared that his scale factor could vary”. We suggest that his fear was not unfounded and that the Zurich Sunspot Number be increased by 20% before 1946.
    ——
    I take this in small steps. I already know that the Group Sunspot Number is too low by some 40% before ~1880 based on the geomagnetic data that the above abstract validate. You know, “the magnetic needle”. But we do that in the next paper. First we have to overcome the notion that the sunspot number is sacrosanct.
    So Foukal’s finding that F10.7 has changed it long-term behavior with respect to the sunspot number should really be re-interpreted as the sunspot number being systematically wrong early on.
    At the recent Space Weather Workshop, Ken Tapping, who measures the 10.7 cm radio flux from the Sun, that in the past was an accurate proxy for the sunspot number [actually the other way around], has just presented this paper: Title: The Changing Relationship Between Sunspot Number and F10.7 Abstract: Sunspot Number and the 10.7cm solar radio flux are the most widely-used indices of solar activity. Despite their differing nature and origins at different places in the Sun, these two indices are highly-correlated to the point where one can be used as a proxy for the other. However, during Solar Activity Cycle 23 we started to see a small but definite change in this relationship….
    I have myself studied this [and concur with Tapping]: http://www.leif.org/research/Solar%20Radio%20Flux.pdf
    and you may find this one amusing: http://www.leif.org/research/The%20SWPC%20Solar%20Flux.pdf

  56. Konrad (23:02:33) :
    O/T Could you point me to the current theory for what is driving solar cycles? I have read a lot of debate on weather these cycles influence climate, but I would like to know what drives these cycles themselves.
    Here are some current ideas:
    http://www.leif.org/research/Jiang-Choudhuri-2007.pdf
    http://www.leif.org/research/Percolation%20and%20the%20Solar%20Dynamo.pdf
    http://www.leif.org/EOS/2005GL025221.pdf
    and the grand-daddy of them all:
    http://www.leif.org/EOS/Babcock1961.pdf
    and my own take on this:
    http://www.leif.org/research/Polar%20Fields%20and%20Cycle%2024.pdf

  57. @Allan M R MacRae (20:46:34) :
    “Then with absolute proof and lack of counter-evidence, that Theory becomes a Law, as in the Law of Gravity.”
    I’d like to hear an explanation of how that force of gravity is transferred between two masses. Like the apple and the earth. When I drop an apple, what mechanism is causing the force of gravity to be transferred. In other words, how does the earth “feel” the apple and vice versa.
    Just curious since its a law and all it should be easy to answer….

  58. I have a school teacher friend who informs me questions on “Climate Change”
    figure large in this years Geography exams here in the UK.
    I wonder how these youngsters will regard “science” in the years to come.

  59. That description of science is naive, simplistic, and IMHO silly. It’s the kind of thing teachers would tell school children (look at the link to see where it came from).
    Adults should make a distinction between science and one description of one aspect of science. It’s like democracy; there are many ways to practice it. Science (and democracy) are ways of thinking, not rituals.
    But the point of the article is well taken. There are a number of climatologists etc who are abusing science and its principles. That is the problem. (Go to Climate Audit for details of specific cases).
    And by the way, computer models do have a perfectly valid role in science, but only if they are done right and that has not been shown yet for climate models.

  60. The fourth step in the scientific method “Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment” is bypassed.
    Dear Professor
    The argument will go that the fourth step is not bypassed because the modelling is the experiment. I may well be wrong but if the number of variables were limited then would it not be acceptable to model an experiment?
    Of course I recognise that with Climate modelling the number of variables are immense and the current understanding is not sufficient to prepare predictive models which could be experiment.
    My view is that the experiment has already taken place historically.

  61. The trouble is no matter what methodology of Science you choose to apply, the classical ideal, Kuhnian paradigm shifts, or Leif,s aha moments of inspirational innovation with ex post facto justification, the AGW hypothesis won’t cut the mustard. Its’ development followed somewhat along the lines described by Leif, as anomalies in temperatures and CO2 concentration raised a question about what was occurring in the climate and a hypothesis was suggested, but there the process quickly departed from anything resembling science. A few runs of some dubiously constructed GCMs and presto!, a weak hypothesis miraculously paradigm shifted right past theory, to a cast in concrete, “settled science,” no debate called for or allowed, gosh darn natural law. Now the only the only thing they will accept as contradictory evidence is incontravertable proof of an alternate mechanism, because, after all, what else could it be?

  62. Benjamin P. (23:52:55) :
    @Allan M R MacRae (20:46:34) :
    “Then with absolute proof and lack of counter-evidence, that Theory becomes a Law, as in the Law of Gravity.”
    I’d like to hear an explanation of how that force of gravity is transferred between two masses. Like the apple and the earth. When I drop an apple, what mechanism is causing the force of gravity to be transferred. In other words, how does the earth “feel” the apple and vice versa.
    Just curious since its a law and all it should be easy to answer….

    How is the force of electricity transfered between positive and negative charges?
    answer: by the electromagnetic field
    similar for gravity: by the gravitational field.
    It makes sense because the equations resulting from such a description work predictively. Otherwise we could be talking of leprechauns working hard to keep the force up :).
    A quantum way of looking at it is where Feynman diagrams come in useful: the electrons play ball throwing virtual photons to the ions and vice versa.
    Similarly it is expected that the apple is throwing gravitons at the earth and vice versa, except that gravity has not been quantized yet ( may be with string theories).

  63. IMHO, the present AGW Agenda system is:
    1) Ask: What question will get funding?
    2) Do Background Research: What do my funder and friends believe?
    3) Construct a Hypothetical model: Write code to embody “background” expectations.
    4) Tune Your Code While Running it: Repeat until expectations met.
    5) Analyze Your Printout and Write a Conclusion: Make sure it matches funding and expectations.
    6) Communicate Your Results: Especially in mass media and to funder. Lay groundwork for next grant request. Hype consequences of non-funding…
    IMHO, that is what I see happening. Science as I learned it looks to be dead. I have lost the sense of wonder and admiration for “science” as practiced today. Where I used to consider it the focal point of “keeping a tidy mind” and an ideal tool to reach understanding (and it was, long ago) I now see nothing but agenda driven manipulation from the most politicized of patronage systems you would ever want to run away from… I have advised my kids to avoid any “career” in science.
    Realize I was the Science Geek as a kid. Chemistry set at about 8 years old. Built radios at 10 from scrapped TV set parts -Tubes! Had a biology menagerie in my room and went on specimen collecting trips at 12. Math award in high school. I would read the encyclopedia for fun and imagine being the great discoverer of a new truth like the scientists who’s biographies I read. Loved Geology field trips in College – still have, and cherish, my well worn rock hammer and feel pride remembering when I first learned the “knack” of opening a soda can with the pick end with a clean strike and no spillage 😉 in the days before “pop tops” … I could even make a large and small hole cleanly to the rim. Then discovered computers and Econometrics. Built an Altair Mits from a kit… (one of the first “personal computers ever). I’m about as much a Science Geek as you could ever find. I do chemistry for recreation and learned how to make a nuke because it was an interesting puzzle.
    So you see why it pains me greatly to say that I discouraged my kids from looking to “science” as a career. But it was the right thing to do, given what the current “process” has become. They don’t need to spend their lives in backbiting and groveling for patronage. Maybe someday the system will be returned to it’s former glory. I’ve seen some folks with their honor and integrity intact, trying to push against the Diablo ex machina. I wish them well and hope they succeed, someday…
    And folks wonder why America has so few folks entering Science and Engineering as career paths… Maybe because selling Wind Turbines to government subsidized farmers pays better, you get an expense account and a company car, and you don’t need to learn any of the stuff in ‘the hard classes’… Oh, and folks don’t turn away from you at parties when you say what you do for a living… “Stock Trader” gets far more positive attention than “Unix Programmer”, or worse, “Manager of Information Services” ever did.

  64. Leif Svalgaard (23:36:58) :
    But Leif, what IF the spots have warmed up before? reducing the numbers seen?
    it can only be faculae that remains; the dark “spots” have warm to none exesistance
    this paper is on track http://www.leif.org/research/Foukal-F107-Rz.pdf
    but is not quite there.
    this hard to type out for me lol
    Thank you for your reply

  65. Pamela Gray (20:20:43) : Leif, I am reminded of the life course Albert Einstein found himself on as he wrote his first major paper — as a patent clerk. Talk about a weird scientific process. His was all in his head! And he wasn’t even an employed scientist at that time.
    And that, IMHO, is why sites like this are important. We, collectively, are doing Real Science. No grant groveling. No agenda driven research. Just a community of like minds, going where the data and discussion lead us. I have no doubt what so ever that if one of the folks here turned up unimpeachable proof and repeatable experimental validation that CO2 was causing warming, we’d accept it and move on in short order. I’m just as certain that if a causal mechanism for the Solar Angular Momentum Shiny Thing could be shown and experimentally tested as true, even Leif would be on board (perhaps after a long chunk of exhaustive confirmation 😉
    That is how science ought to be, IMHO. The One Bright Light I see on the horizon for the future of the Science I loved, is public science done by volunteers communicating via the internet. Truth driven, truth seeking Community Science… how I imagine it was for Einstein, admiring his own particular Shiny Thing problem and worrying it until he found an answer worthy of his standards…

  66. kim (18:31:24) :
    Everyone come gather around the campfire

    Put that bloody fire out! There’s a war on co2 dontcha know. 😉
    anna v (00:18:23) :
    Similarly it is expected that the apple is throwing gravitons at the earth and vice versa, except that gravity has not been quantized yet ( may be with string theories).

    Is this partly because no-one has ever detected a graviton yet?
    Leif – moments of epiphany.
    Schweeet!

  67. The process described above is fine once you have a handle on how to approach a problem.
    There is a period before that where TOO MANY things are unknown for a logical process to work effectively.
    Often a scientist’s career is noticing something by chance and seeing a way to use that to use the above process in a scientifically rigorous manner.
    I was working years ago in cancer research. My PhD student was trying to make mice expressing a particular protein in the breast. We noticed, by chance, that we couldn’t generate any males carrying two copies of the gene. It was weird, but it led to a new area of research, which others continued to show that a particular protein was important for the implantation of embryos into the female mother’s uterus. Hardly logical that! But it’s how science sometimes works………
    I met an aerospace engineer once who told me that his academic career, which started in his mid 40s, was predicated on an insight that all the key ‘beliefs’ held in a particular area of aerospace engineering were based on assumptions founded in the limitations of technology available in the 1930s. When he flipped the world upside down by questioning those, he opened up new areas of near-net-shape manufacturing technology. So understanding assumptions and questioning them is key for scientific revolution………
    Finally, free association of ideas may be key. My father’s physics mentor won a Nobel Prize for confirming the existence of a key fundamental particle. His key experimental idea was to use thin photographic films in the upper atmosphere, then collect them and analyse the results. He designed his films by watching his wife doing the ironing, and realising that the way to generate the thin films would be using a similar sweep of an iron-like implement…….so the daily chores can sometimes be the inspiration for Eureka too, you know…….


  68. Leif Svalgaard (20:01:48) : …. so the data ‘asks the question’….

    Spot on – as ever… Thank you…
    My more cynical view of the process comes from studying economics:
    1) Find a data anomaly
    2) Reverse engineer a formula to explain the anomaly
    3) Cherry pick the data
    4) Write a self-promoting article detailing your wonderful discovery
    5) Mushroom manage the publication process i.e. keep in the dark and feed bullshit
    6) Climb up the greasy pole to a position of power while you are “famous for fifteen minutes”
    7) Suppress and subvert other wannabe researchers via the review process
    8) Chase the money via sponsors, writing and media appearances
    9) Consolidate your credentials and power

  69. A problem not discussed is what politicians (or regulators) need from scientists. Quite properly, regulation regarding safely matters, is necessary – hence traffic lights and suchlike. However, on many other issues such as safe levels of exposure, the science is not clear at all. This presents problems because regulation does not admit to maybe’s or could be’s. Therefore, science, in which probability figures large is unacceptable and has been largely sidelined by such things as the “precautionary principle”. Unfortunately, scientists instead of banding together and refusing to suck up to the impossible demands of politicians and regulators (and of course the greens), have simply rolled over and done what they’ve been told to do.

  70. FatBigot (20:56:37) : I hate to disagree with my friend Mr Leif [Svalgaard, 20:01:48], but I have to. Fat Bigot, that is a fascinating story of yours, it would be good to hear it properly.
    But I agree with Leif, I think he has the principles exactly right regarding science in practice. And I’m sure Leif’s understanding of this rises out of his own eureka! moment that he describes so poignantly further on [21:28:03]. Thank you Leif for those enlightened and enlightening posts. My respect for you rises!
    Another excellent story, “The Big Splash”, that clearly exemplifies Leif’s stages, is the discovery by Dr Louis A. Frank of “small comets” that are, apparently, bombarding the Earth’s atmosphere at the rate of around 20 small-house-size water comets every minute. This only amounts to a rise in sea level of one inch every 10,000 years, but over 4.5 billion years, that amounts to all the oceans. Dr Frank is a brilliant scientist and – as he says, and as his whole approach testifies – essentially conservative. He found an anomaly, dark spots on UV photographs from the 1981 Dynamic Explorer satellite. For several years he did all he could to explain it away. When that failed, he started looking at it as a phenomenon in its own right, that needed its own hypothesis. This involved painstaking background study. He found ways of testing the hypothesis. He eventually communicated his results – and even as an esteemed NASA scientist he was harshly repudiated. He worked overtime for years, investigating all the criticisms and challenges – some of which led to a deeper understanding of his hypothesis – but none led to the hypothesis being shown as inadequate. I believe that his theory is slowly coming to be recognized and accepted now. [Is this a possible post for you, some time, Anthony?]

  71. Matt Bennett (21:39:25) :
    David Holliday (19:15:47) :“Anyone who thinks a prediction based on a computer model is science is an idiot!”
    And anyone who thinks AGW theory relies on computer models is

    Well, it does.
    It is just a fact, and reflects nothing on the person who observes it.
    On Models
    Now a person who believes a computer model does anything but automate the speed and complexity of error you can commit (so you can find out where you are wrong) simply does not understand the proper use of research models. Only after extensive testing can even the most simple model be used for prediction (and even then each prediction must be tested).
    At one time in my life I ran a site that used one of the fastest supercomputers in the world to model a single plastic fluid inside a metal mold for fabricating a single part at controlled temperatures and pressures. We had great success, and about 1 in 10 ten runs gave us unexpected failures. Mold marks. Weld lines. Etc. So we had to test each “solution” before cutting the final production die sets and committing to volume.
    A model informs your ignorance, it does not provide truth.
    David Holliday is exactly right. A computer model can never tell you the scientific truth. It can tell you what it predicts so you can compare that with reality and then decide where the model is wrong, incomplete, unstable, or usable-though-limited and thus where to polish your understanding.
    All AGW hypotheses are based on modeled temperature anomalies
    At the very base of AGW theory is the temperature anomaly. That is based on codes, such as GIStemp (that I have shoved my brain through more than I care to consider…). These codes pretend to turn the temperature record into a model of anomalies and trends.
    These codes are the very foundation, the “it is getting warmer” basis, and they are broken. They contain unfounded assertion, bald data manipulation, False Precision is the extreme, and several other flaws. See:
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/category/agw-and-gistemp-issues/
    for several articles detailing these errors. (The latest two are more opinion pieces, so scroll back a bit in time…)
    Now if you would like to assert that the AGW research does not use the temperatures and anomalies from NASA GIStemp and similar computer processing, I’d love to see your proof… Just show me what thermometers they use, accurate AND precise to 1/100th degree, evenly distributed over the surface of the earth and present for the last several thousand years and I’ll be happy to shut up and sit down.
    But since they don’t exist (both spacial and temporal distribution are severely limited; and the accuracy of the data record was only recorded to whole degrees of F.) the “anomaly maps” are created to “fill in the gaps” with computer modeled fantasies… and these are extended out into the 1/100 of a degree where absolutely no history exists.
    So you see, the very statement that a problem exists is based on computer models… You can not say “the earth warmed this year by 0.024 degrees” without accepting a computer model generated FANTASY. There is no record of data in USHCN or GHCN to that precision AND NONE CAN BE CREATED with it being False Precision and playing in the error band of a whole degree F temperature record.
    The Oxymoron of “Scientific Concensus”
    But of course, since I completely agree with the scientific consense, (which is not all that difficult to understand if you actually give it a go and leave the politics behind),
    I don’t know how to break it to you, but “scientific consensus” is an oxymoron. Science proceeds from violation of consensus. Politics are based on consensus. Group think is based on consensus. Science is based on overturning consensus. But despite that, yes, I’ve read the work of “the consensus” and understand it. I also understand just how horridly it is broken. From the “raw” data right on up to the final leap of the cliff of conclusion…
    I come to all of the AGW hypothesis with an open mind and NO political agenda. I frankly wish that it were true ( I’d make more money from carbon offset trading – uninhibited by feelings of fraud… and I would not have to spend a bunch of time and money preparing for the next 20 cold years.) But I must go where evidence clearly shows me truth is to be found. And that is not with the AGW hypothesis. They have explanations that are clear, simple, elegant, and wrong.
    What Works, and What Must Work
    I trade stocks, bonds, and commodities for a living. IFF the AGW thesis gave me a better prediction of wheat harvests, oil consumption, or insurance payouts, I’d jump on it in a heartbeat. I need to know, and need to be right about those things. And it does not matter one whit to me if it is warmer or colder or wetter or dryer or no change; it just needs to be right. AGW is not right. It does not give me correct predictions (or projections or whatever you want to call statements of the form “foo will happen in the future”.) EVERY SINGLE TIME the AGW hypothesis tells me what to expect, it is wrong. That costs me money. No food on the table.
    That is not acceptable to me and it is the most important thing I care about.
    Now consider the alternative: A prediction that it’s going to be cold in Canada and the wheat crop is going to have problems. Oh, and heating oil demand will go up. I could (and did) buy JJG (a grains futures note) and various oil stocks. I have done both and I have made money. Enough to pay my bills this month.
    And that is all that matters. Truth, accuracy, honesty, and a theory that works; reliably and well. And AGW is none of those.
    Read The Code, Luke!
    Now I know I’m an odd duck. It is a pretty small part of the population that would go READ the computer source code for the temperature record / anomaly map creating process to assure that it was right; but that’s the kind of person I am. I can’t change that about me. And what I found was junk.
    I’m not just a guy who dabbles in computer stuff. I’ve been employed professionally as a computer consultant for most of my professional life. I’ve managed teams of computer programmers and I’ve developed software products from first idea all the way to production ship (several times). I also have written code myself for many many years. I’m pretty good at this stuff. I can state, as a professional opinion that would literally stand up in court, that the base data product on which the AGW thesis rests is fundamentally and irretrievably broken; and that product is made via a complex of computer programs that would properly be called a ‘model’.
    (The first half is not, it is a data integration / merge / standardize format step; though it does have an egregious shifting of the past temperatures via a fixed subtraction step that is, In My Professional Opinion, a fabrication of a false temperature bias in the past.
    The second half is an anomaly creation step that makes assumptions about how a limited set of thermometers can be used to create fantom temperatures where there are none, then calculates “anomalies” based on these fantoms. That is a computer model of how temperatures are expected to behave over time and space; and it is wrong. Again, IMPO – In My PROFESSIONAL Opinion.)
    So IS It Wrong to Believe in Building Models in the Sky?
    it will be my post that is snipped
    Haven’t been here long, have you. Here it is the crucible of truth that burns the hottest, not a censor. Unlike the AGW sites…
    rather than the highly ridicule-filled rant above which calls into question the integrity of the work of many dedicted, honest people.
    My my. Full of emotion and hate. Maybe you could learn to be centered, calm, non-judgmental, just look at the facts and not go leaping around in an indignant tizzy…
    I’m sure most of the folks who believe the AGW mantra are all highly dedicated and honest. And also largely basing there work on a broken belief in something that is wrong.
    I strongly believe in the mantra “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”. It is not the fault of the person writing a paper of the form “Assuming AGW is true, this is what it will do to Bolivian Frogs” that AGW is a crock. It is the fault of depending on the premise.
    Very few papers or centers actually look at the base data and theory. I’ve looked at lots of the papers. They mostly start from the AGW conclusion and look at projected results. Many just look at the theory and accept the “anomaly maps” as data. That is an error and does not impugn their honest nor their integrity: Just their thoroughness and competence.
    But not everyone can read old crufty FORTRAN and render a professional opinion of the audit; so even then, I cut those folks some slack. But none of that makes the AGW hypothesis right… nor does it make the papers written based on that base right… nor does it make the papers written on THOSE papers as a base right. Etc. etc. etc. And yes, I worked my way down that stack of papers about papers about papers until I reached the base where the seeds of error were first planted. It took me a couple of years.
    THAT was the moment I concluded AGW was bunk. Not before.
    I suggest that you take that same journey, with an open mind, and see just what quicksand AGW is built upon…
    In Closing
    BTW, I strongly suggest that you NOT buy stocks or futures contracts until you let go of the AGW thesis; it will only lose you money… Insurance weather loses are down, not up. Coastal flooding is down, not up. Hurricane intensity is down, not up. Crop failures are up, not down. Heating oil demand is up, not down. And the U.S. Government is going to try to auction a few hundred $Billion of treasury notes to finance it’s AGW programs and that will drive the dollar down vs other currencies, not up; and bonds denominated in dollars are going to lose value in the next 2 years in a large way, not be safe… And yes, I’m betting substantial sums of money on those evaluations and I’m specifically betting against the AGW hypothesis – because that bet makes me money by being right.
    It already paid the house payment this month 😉

  72. Leif,
    Thank you again for your links. Having read through these (I would not claim to understand it all) I have seen several possible explanations as to the mechanism for sunspots, and their changes in polarity and progression in latitude. However I feel I am still in the dark over the question of why 11 / 22 year cycles.
    The 1902 Agnes M. Clerke quote you include in your own work was of interest –
    “It cannot be said that much progress has been made towards the disclosure of the cause, or causes, of the sun-spot cycle. Most thinkers on this difficult subject provide a quasiexplanation of the periodicity through certain assumed vicissitudes affecting internal processes. In all these theories, however, the course of transition is arbitrarily arranged to suit a period, which imposes itself as a fact peremptorily claiming admittance, while obstinately defying explanation”
    I also noted in the conclusions of the Babcock 1961 paper -“The model described here is a freely running oscillator that lacks stabilization.”
    I have been less than convinced by those proposing changes in angular momentum due to solar oscillation around, well I’ll just call it the SSCM, driving solar cycles. However I wonder if there may be some merit in looking at the more linear changes in acceleration of the solar mass parallel to the 26 Kps motion of the SSCM through the galaxy as a stabilizing or controlling influence on solar cycles.
    Would you have any links for papers related to this question?

  73. Per the “Ah Ha!”
    My belief is that the right brain sees the whole. The problem and the solution as the Ah Ha! moment. Then communicates that to the left brain that spends the next few years “working out the details” 😉
    I’ve had several of these Ah Ha! flashes. Unfortunately, usually about trivial things of not much importance 8-{
    But sporadically I’ve had some good ones. Even more unfortunately, most of them are subject either to corporate trade secret, classification, or my proprietary trade system; so I can’t really share them! Drat.
    But the Ah Ha! is typically visual, all at once, and a complete package in non-linear form: And that is all right brain stuff. While the “scientific method” as presented (and as all “methods” seem to be..) is a linear rule based thing: fundamentally all left brain stuff…
    And that is why the reality of science never does quite match the theory / model of the scientific method … because only the left brain can write the “list of steps” and the right brain doesn’t do steps…
    This is also, IMHO, where the most gifted stand out from the “pedantic” scientists – in the degree to which the right brain and left brain communicate with each other and take turns. And explains why there are some folks who hit all the check boxes and pass all the (linear) tests and exams and get the degree… but just never seem to do anything really great. Because they lack the right brain “flash” to inspire the left brain to focused work. They just toil away in a straight line not quite going to the answer that a flash would light up. (And there are right brain dominant folks who just can’t do the analysis and write up / exposition stages… they see the answer but can not effectively exploit or explain it.) All, IMHO, of course.

  74. The problem the IPCC had, ab initio, was that the fourth step “Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment”, can NEVER be done with current technology. In order to “prove” AGW, they needed to end run this difficulty. They created the idea of radiative forcing, and proceeded to claim that they could give a numerical value to this concept that was the equivalent of experimental data. It is not, and never will be. This is, fundamentally, why AGW can never be considerd to be science.

  75. Leif Svalgaard (20:01:48) :
    […]
    is the Scientific Process, it is my experience [and it certainly has been true for me over several solar cycles] that this not how it works. The hard part is the very first one: knowing which question to ask. If you know that, you are 90% home.
    […]

    Douglas Adams is a must read for scientists. The answer can be easy (42 in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). Figuring out the question is the tricky bit.

  76. Did Matt Bennet just infer that Gavin Schmidt might be an ignorant fool?
    Matt Bennett (21:39:25) : “And anyone who thinks AGW theory relies on computer models is an ignorant fool. “

  77. Graeme Rodaughan (19:35:31)
    Thanks for giving a link to that Michael Crichton speech. I’ve never read a more concise, clear and layman-friendly demolition of “consensus science”. It should be compulsory reading for all students. Mr Crichton will be greatly missed.

  78. These Eureka moments have all happened thanks to people capable of doubting mainstream dogma. If the silencing of doubters were allowed in any other discipline to the extent that it happens in climate science then no progress would be made at all. Not to say that it doesn’t happen everywhere else; just not quite to the the same hysterical and irrational extent as in climate science where dissent is taken to be prima facie evidence of either industry corruption or mild insanity.

  79. Matt Bennett (21:39:25) :
    David Holliday (19:15:47) :
    “Anyone who thinks a prediction based on a computer model is science is an idiot!”
    And anyone who thinks AGW theory relies on computer models is an ignorant fool.

    Ok. I should have left the name calling out of my comment. It was stupid and unprofessional. But I read the briefs for each of the referenced articles and they all follow the same pattern. Basically, whoever the “researcher” was ran a computer model out to a future point and made a claim based on the result. As someone who is expert in software systems development with over 28 years in the field and a large number of systems to my credit including 3D and 6D mathematical models for trajectory and orbital reconstruction I can tell you that is an incredibly flawed way to do science. Even if there is science in the theories used to create the model it doesn’t convey when running the projection.
    Computer models are tools that can help us gain a better understanding of physical systems by allowing us to reconstruct what we observe in the real world. If we gain enough confidence in the models we can use them to project what might happen in a given a set of circumstances. Even then there is always computational and modeling error that accumulates the further we project. It is always a two-way street, we compare what we observe to what we model and what we model to what we observe. In that way we build confidence in the models and in our understanding of the physical systems they represent.
    The climate models that currently exist have and continue to perform inadequately. They did not project the stabilizing and even cooling trend in global climate since 1998. To my knowledge they cannot even model it. They continue to put out projections that do not coincide with real world observations. Unless and until the models can be shown to be reasonable approximations of the real world systems they represent they will be useless. You can call the people who follow them and make life changing decisions based on their results whatever you like. But I would sooner put my life savings in the hands of a Las Vegas professional poker player than on the result of a prediction based on one of those models.

  80. Graeme Rodaughan – thanks for the link to the Crichton speech. I thought it was excellent.

  81. Wrong title “Short Circuiting The Scientific Process – A Serious Problem In The Climate Science Community”.
    This is a “A Serious Problem In The ENTIRE Science Community”. Come on everyone, who are we kidding, AGW is not a specific acute disease it is a part of a chronic pattern that involves abuse in nearly every scientific field these days.
    If the many good scientists do not stand against the subversion of science for religion, politics, and power by the few (already powerful) bad scientists then we are headed towards an era not unlike the Spanish Inquisition. We will live in fear and under the control of those who “know” what is best for us.

  82. Speaking of Meehl’s paper and the meridional overturning circulation (MOC):
    A few years ago we were constantly barraged with warnings that the MOC would stop and plunge the Northern Hemisphere into Chaos. This was going to happen because fresh water influx from ice sheets would basically plug the path for denser, sinking water. There was even the movie “The Day After Tomorrow,” which was exiting and had good effects, but was based on ridiculous science.
    The threats of a failing MOC were promulgated by the creators of “hosing experiments.” Hosing experiments are computer models in which huge volumes of fresh water are artificially injected into the computer-modeled ocean at certain locations. Al Gore implied that Greenland’s ice was poised to provide this fresh water.
    Typically, to come close to shutting down the MOC the hosing experiments would dump one Sverdrup of fresh water into the oceans at the desired location. (One Sverdrup is the same as 1,000,000 million cubic meters of freshwater per second.) This is a preposterous amount of fresh water. See this post to get an idea of just how preposterous this is.
    Best Regards,
    ClimateSanity

  83. In support of Leif Svalgaard my own approach is:
    1. Run experiments in a likely fruitful or interesting area or maybe something you just have the equipment for. Who really knows where ideas come from?
    2. Hypothesize about or analyze the results. The methods used will depend on one’s scientific background.
    3. Run more experiments.
    4. Return to point 2 if necessary.
    5. Check the scientific literature. Lazy I know, but there is a vast literature.
    6. Do the final analysis and publish.
    7. Get bored with the subject and move on to something else. This can take years.
    Different people use different approaches, which is a good thing. There is no way of predicting which is best in a given field. In the end only two things are important: scientific honesty and independent replication. Cheers.

  84. Leif Svalgaard (20:01:48) : “The last step can take decades and is sometimes only successful when your opponents die off [so plan on living for a while].”
    Isn’t this concept what J. Hansen told an English reporter a few months ago about skeptics?

  85. Konrad (03:06:56) :
    I have been less than convinced by those proposing changes in angular momentum due to solar oscillation around, well I’ll just call it the SSCM, driving solar cycles. However I wonder if there may be some merit in looking at the more linear changes in acceleration of the solar mass parallel to the 26 Kps motion of the SSCM through the galaxy as a stabilizing or controlling influence on solar cycles.
    The Sun is in free fall so none of these ‘mechanisms’ work, although you can find gazillions of links on the Internet about them.
    That you don’t understand the solar cycle is OK, none of us scientists do either. Beware of people who say that they do 🙂

  86. Matt Bennett (21:39:25) :
    David Holliday (19:15:47) :
    “Anyone who thinks a prediction based on a computer model is science is an idiot!”
    And anyone who thinks AGW theory relies on computer models is an ignorant fool.
    But of course, since I completely agree with the scientific consense, (which is not all that difficult to understand if you actually give it a go and leave the politics behind), it will be my post that is snipped rather than the highly ridicule-filled rant above which calls into question the integrity of the work of many dedicted, honest people.

    If you believe ‘consensus’ is of any scientific value, then what does that make you, sir? ‘Scientific consensus’ is a meaningless term. ‘Consensus’ deals with opinions, not facts or evidence.
    BTW: I see your posted was not snipped. This site doesn’t censor dissent. Do you want to post an apology?

  87. E.M.Smith (00:19:00) : “IMHO, the present AGW Agenda system is: 1) Ask: What question will get funding?…'”
    In the profession most akin to modern climate-related science, the question that will get the most funding is:
    “Hey, sailor, wanna have some fun?”

  88. David Holliday/Matt Bennet
    Good points about computer modeling but the challenge was (roughly) “AGW theory doesn’t rely on computer models” which is correct. But the idea that it will be anything other than small, benign and perhaps even beneficial does rely totally on computer models, all of which have inbuilt biased assumptions which precludes any non-catastrophic outcome from emerging. Even the famed reducing pH level of the sea is based on a model. Even the many adjustments to the raw data are based on models. As the debate is not about whether warming has occurred, it is about how much is due to man and how hot will it get, which is entirely decided by computer modeling – and flawed computer modeling at that, you’re arguing past each other.
    The famous Hadley demonstration that the 20th century could not be modeled unless the human component was added, depended on them knowing the contribution from natural effects. Since that is largely unknown the whole exercise was bogus and dishonest. Yet that is the whole basis for the existence of the IPCC in the first place.

  89. Lucy Skywalker (02:25:20) :
    Another excellent story, “The Big Splash”, that clearly exemplifies Leif’s stages, is the discovery by Dr Louis A. Frank of “small comets” that are, apparently, bombarding the Earth’s atmosphere at the rate of around 20 small-house-size water comets every minute. This only amounts to a rise in sea level of one inch every 10,000 years, but over 4.5 billion years, that amounts to all the oceans.

    Exciting stuff. So every viable planet in the inhabitable zone of every star gets large doses of water? How come we don’t see lakes on Mars? Not doubting you or Louis Frank Lucy. Just a bit confused by the theory.

  90. @anna v (00:18:23) :
    That’s just speculation Anna. Where is the evidence to support that?
    I find it funny that you say, “It makes sense because the equations resulting from such a description work predictively.”
    Because what you are saying is really, we don’t know how gravity works, but we have models that explain it accurately.
    I think everyone on this site should reject gravity because its just some crummy idea based on models.
    Like when David Holliday (19:15:47): says “Anyone who thinks a prediction based on a computer model is science is an idiot!”
    All our “predictions” on gravity are based on models. David is just seething ignorance with respect to models and science when he makes his bold claim. I use models all the time to predict how trace elements will fractionate in a crystallizing magma chamber. Models are employed in the field of genetics, chemistry, geology, climatology, biology, ad nasuem.
    All you folks have done is stigmatize the word “model” and then use that stigma that you have created as some strawman argument of why climate science is bunk (because they use models!!!)
    Nonsense.

  91. tallbloke (08:42:33) :
    Lucy Skywalker (02:25:20) :
    “Another excellent story, “The Big Splash”, that clearly exemplifies Leif’s stages, is the discovery by Dr Louis A. Frank of “small comets” ”
    Exciting stuff. So every viable planet in the inhabitable zone of every star gets large doses of water? How come we don’t see lakes on Mars? Not doubting you or Louis Frank Lucy. Just a bit confused by the theory.

    Not wanting to start an OT debate, but Lou Frank’s theory didn’t pan out after all. Later spacecraft images with better resolution show nothing of this.

  92. Benjamin P. (09:11:09) :
    All you folks have done is stigmatize the word “model” and then use that stigma that you have created as some strawman argument of why climate science is bunk (because they use models!!!)
    Nonsense.

    I agree completely. Models are necessary, essential, and fundamental, and almost everything we do in modern science is based on models at some place in the chain of evidence. The real issue is over-reliance on [crummy] models, but that is not the fault of the models [or the modelers], but of the media and the generally stupid portion of the populace that is taken in by the propaganda.

  93. Matt Bennett (21:39:25) :
    […]
    And anyone who thinks AGW theory relies on computer models is an ignorant fool.
    But of course, since I completely agree with the scientific consense, (which is not all that difficult to understand if you actually give it a go and leave the politics behind), it will be my post that is snipped rather than the highly ridicule-filled rant above which calls into question the integrity of the work of many dedicted, honest people.

    You are correct. AGW theory is founded on much more than just computer models…
    1) CO2 does have the capability of absorbing certain bandwidths of IR radiation.
    2) Mankind’s industrious activities and respiration adds more CO2 to the atmosphere than would be added if we halted all industrious activities and held our collective breath.
    3) Temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels did sort of track each other for at least half of the 20th Century…Maybe even two-thirds of the time.
    4) Temperatures and CO2 did seem to have had a cyclical relationship in the Upper Pleistocene.
    5) It was really hot in 1998.
    6) Quite a few climate “scientists” say that all other possible explanations for the warming of the late 20th century have been tested and found insufficient to explain the warming. Therefore, ala Sherlock Holmes, “After all, once you have eliminated everything that is impossible, whatever is left, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”
    So…AGW has a few things other than computer models to rely on.
    Unfortunately, every one of the models has failed to predict the last 6 to 10 years of cooling.
    Some more “Inconvenient Truths”…
    There’s no evidence that CO2 has been a significant climate driver over the last 600 million years or so…Even when CO2 levels were 4000ppmv to 7000ppmv.
    In the last 100 years, there have been two periods of cooling (1941-1978 and 2003-now) coupled with CO2 emissions growth that equaled or exceeded the last period of warming (1978-2003).
    The Pleistocene relationship involved temperature changes that were followed by CO2 changes. Post hoc ergo propter hoc may be a logical fallacy; but if A happens before B, A might have caused B. When A happens after B, A could not have caused B.
    It was really hot in 1998.
    Other famous scientific consensuses: The Ptolemaic Solar System, The Geosynclinal Theory of Mountain Building, Whatever Preceded Darwin…
    The AGW version of Sherlock Holmes forgot to eliminate: Clouds, albedo, that big orange ball in the sky and other cosmic & astrophysical phenomena prior the declaring that anthropogenic CO2, “no matter how improbable, must be the” true cause of climate change. Or as Lawrence Solomon wrote in The Deniers…”A climate scientist focusing on CO2 is a bit like a man who lost his keys half a block away but looks under the light post because that is where he can see.”

  94. Benjamin P
    Nobody is stigmatizing the word model. I create computer models for a living and so does D Holliday apparently. The difference is that we are modeling reasonably accurate, achievable things and we trumpet loudly to all and sundry not to believe in them until they are thoroughly validated. Modeling the climate of the world is not achievable therefore we have gross approximations which leave out swathes of known and unknown physics. Nonetheless those who use climate models, far from being mistrustful, treat the results as if it was holy scripture.
    What, for example, is the point for example of using a model to determine drought in a particular region when every climate modeler will readily tell you that regional predictions are wildly inaccurate. Worse still is when they take 20 models, each one provably wrong, note that they give a similar result then claim that result to be robust. Would you do that?
    Then when it comes to validation and every single dataset disagrees with the models except the one they were actually tuned to agree with, our climateers state loudly that we should trust the models rather than the data. They then use models as the basis on which to adjust the raw data and claim that “there is now no discrepency between models and data” (Santer – troposheric trends) that “there is now good agreement between models and data” (Weilicki – outgoing radiation) or that “this is more new evidence” (Thorne – radiosonde). Would you do that?

  95. John Galt (07:33:18) :
    Matt Bennett (21:39:25) :
    David Holliday (19:15:47) :
    “Anyone who thinks a prediction based on a computer model is science is an idiot!”
    And anyone who thinks AGW theory relies on computer models is an ignorant fool.
    But of course, since I completely agree with the scientific consense, (which is not all that difficult to understand if you actually give it a go and leave the politics behind), it will be my post that is snipped rather than the highly ridicule-filled rant above which calls into question the integrity of the work of many dedicted, honest people.
    If you believe ‘consensus’ is of any scientific value, then what does that make you, sir? ‘Scientific consensus’ is a meaningless term. ‘Consensus’ deals with opinions, not facts or evidence.
    BTW: I see your posted was not snipped. This site doesn’t censor dissent. Do you want to post an apology?
    John, I agree with your statement that scientific consensus is a meaningless term from a scientific view, but for the political establishment promoting the Waxman Bill it is pure gold.
    It puts them in a position where they don’t have to discuss the science any more so they can concentrate on the legal process.
    This is where the scientific consensus becomes really dangerous.
    That is why we have to tear the concept of concensus down and force the politicians to change their policies before it is too late.

  96. In lieu of a long philosophical essay on the scientific method in climate studies, I have time only to offer the following:
    1) The magnitude and sign of “anomalies” is determined using an arbitrarily chosen reference period in corrupted temperature records of inadequate length.
    2) The workings of the actual climate system are little known, but much speculated upon.
    3) The in vitro effect upon temperature of doubling CO2 in a parcel of cloudless air is very modest and not directly applicable to a cloudy atmosphere.
    4) The eureka moment arrives when someone spies a formula for feedback that shows mathematical potential for amplified system response.
    5) The computer models are designed to show amplified effects via all sorts of imputed “feedbacks,” which lead to scary results, trumpeted in the media.
    Of course, the critics of this approach to science are accused of being in the pocket of “big oil,” or are likened to flat-earthers and creationists. They are challenged to produce their own models. After all, “what else could it be?”

  97. Benjamin P. (09:11:09) :
    @anna v (00:18:23) :
    That’s just speculation Anna. Where is the evidence to support that?
    I find it funny that you say, “It makes sense because the equations resulting from such a description work predictively.”
    Because what you are saying is really, we don’t know how gravity works, but we have models that explain it accurately.
    I think everyone on this site should reject gravity because its just some crummy idea based on models.
    Like when David Holliday (19:15:47): says “Anyone who thinks a prediction based on a computer model is science is an idiot!”
    All our “predictions” on gravity are based on models. David is just seething ignorance with respect to models and science when he makes his bold claim. I use models all the time to predict how trace elements will fractionate in a crystallizing magma chamber. Models are employed in the field of genetics, chemistry, geology, climatology, biology, ad nasuem.
    All you folks have done is stigmatize the word “model” and then use that stigma that you have created as some strawman argument of why climate science is bunk (because they use models!!!)
    Nonsense.

    Models are great heuristic tools. But one has to be very careful in using models as predictive tools.
    The problem arises when models are used to predict things in nature that are contrary to observations. It’s the old Garbage In / Garbage Out routine.
    I can build a computer model that will show that a geopressured gas-bearing Middle Miocene sandstone at a depth of 15,000 feet should have a seismic Class Three AVO anomaly. If I drill a Class Three AVO anomaly tied to such a sand…I will be drilling a dry hole. Those types of sandstones under those conditions in the Gulf of Mexico will always have Class Two AVO anomalies or no amplitude anomaly at all. Observation and analogy, if available, should always guide the modeling process.
    The AGW modelers are essentially modeling something that the geological record doesn’t really support: CO2-driven climate change. Even the best geological evidence of a CO2/Temperature relationship, Pleistocene ice cores, fails to support CO2-driven temperature changes. If anything, the lag time between the temperature changes and the subsequent CO2 changes supports a system in which climate changes drive atmospheric CO2 changes.

  98. “Former US vice president” Albert Jr has problems.
    …-
    “Gore held back from going to NKorea to negotiate release of two US reporters
    WASHINGTON : Former US vice president Al Gore was “held back” from travelling to North Korea to negotiate for the release of his two employees – journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee.
    That is according to Selig Harrison from the Centre for International Policy, who said Gore sought diplomatic backing from the Obama administration in a private meeting on May 11.
    Ling and Lee have just been sentenced to 12 years in North Korean labour camp.
    Neither Al Gore nor the company he founded, Current TV, have made any public comments, since the two journalists were captured whilst on a reporting assignment in March.”
    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2268078/posts

  99. Funny, maz2. Al Gore is no Ross Perot — who went into ayatollah-ruled Iran and rescued his employees.
    Instead of attempting to help his employees, Al Gore hides behind Mama Obama’s apron strings, clinging to the excuse that he’s being ‘held back.’
    What a guy …NOT.

  100. @Ron de Haan (09:55:58) :
    Absolutely correct. Consensus is a political term, not a scientific one.
    Science is supposed to be determined by the preponderance of the evidence and is never settled.

  101. “”” K-Bob (21:41:16) :
    I get tired of reading about how some plant or animal has changed its nesting, feeding or blooming habits due to “climate change”. God forbid that living things on this planet change! Put it in a paper and claim its due to manmade climate change and you’ve contributed to the “huge” wieght of evidence for man made climate change. Of course the argument for man made climate change is an undeniable truth! It says so right there in those models. It’s not just the lack of verification of models, but the leap of logic by these silly studies based on what the models proclaim.
    One question that I have often pondered: Why hasn’t someone produced a climate model based on Lindzen’s argument that water vapor is a negative feedback? “””
    I’m not familiar with the details of Prof Lindzen’s argument that water vapor is a negative feedback. (I don’t have time to read the entirety of Scientific literature) but I do notice that the word feedback is tossed around in climate circles, and often I doubt that it is correct usage.
    Some solar radiation lands in the ocean and heats some water. A water molecule evaporates from the ocean, into the atmosphere, and that water molecule starts absorbing solar radiation from around 750 nm Wavelength and out into the solar infrared tail; thereby warming the atmosphere (positive feedback ?) but reducing the ground level insolation; a cooling effect, so negative feedback ?
    About 47-48 % of the solar spectrum lies at wavelengths longer than 750 nm, and water vapor absorbs across roughly half of that spectral range in multiple bands, so it is conceivable that water vapor can take out about 20% or so of the incoming solar radiation in the tropical regions where there is plenty of ocean water. So that is potentially a significant negative feedback effect if you want to put it in those terms.
    I seem to vaguely recall some fairly general principle of physical systems that they tend to react to perturbations, in such a way as to act in opposition to the perturbation; whicvh is a pretty generic description; but not necessarily a pedantic definition of negative feedback.
    I believe it is called Le Chattalier’s Principle; and his statement of the principle may have related to chemical reactions. But boiling water is an example in a closed container.
    You heat the water so it boils and fills the sealed volume with steam and the pressure builds up. As a result of the pressure rise, the boiling point of water rises, and eventually further pressure rise stops.
    Lenz’s law is an electromagnetism example of LC’s principle.
    Arguably water vapor/solar radiation negative feedback is nothing more than that.
    But then there is that fact that the water vapor greenhouse effect also warms the atmosphere; which after all is where all those Stevenson screen owl boxes are sitting; so that is clearly positive feedback.
    But if we drop the word vapor, and acknowledge that water exists permanently in the atmosphere in all three phases; vapor, liquid, and solid; and in the two non vapor phases it forms visible clouds that reflect sunlight back into space, and block additional sunlight from reaching the ground; thereby cooling the ground (negative feedback); but also warming the cloud so the moist air rises to a new density equilibrioum altitude depending on how much water/ice heating is taking place in the cloud.
    The ground we know always gets cooler underneath the cloud in the shadow zone; and presumably the lower atmosphere in contact with that ground also cools.
    So I believe the conclusion is inescapable; water in vapor form has both positive and negative feedback properties; but in the other phases where clouds are formed it is always negative feedback; as far as the temperature of the ground and near ground air mass.
    I don’t have any idea how much of this relates in any way to Professor Lindzen’s statements about water vapor negative feedback; but if any of it does, then I agree with him.
    George

  102. Graeme Rodaughan (19:35:31) :
    Michael Crichton also wrote an excellent piece on this topic.
    “Nobody believes a weather prediction twelve hours ahead. Now we’re asked to believe a prediction that goes out 100 years into the future? And make financial investments based on that prediction? Has everybody lost their minds?
    Stepping back, I have to say the arrogance of the model makers is breathtaking. “

  103. The day when someone can model the stockmarket with predictive capability will be the day when I think the climate modellers have a chance.

  104. Matt Bennett (21:39:25) :
    “. . .it will be my post that is snipped . . .”
    Looks like you are as wrong about the snipping of your post as you are about the “scientific consense.”
    Meanwhile, I tend to agree with you that the main AGW issues are “not all that difficult to understand if you actually give it a go and leave the politics behind.” I used to be an ardent AGW pessismist . . . until I took politics out of my spectacles, and I was amazed at the flimsy support there is to GW alarmism.

  105. Everyone thought the “science was settled” on space, time, and gravity, for hundreds of years after Newton. Until Einstein came around and turned basic physics on its head.
    The arrogance of the AGW crowd is astonishing.
    Instead of the scientific community telling the AGW folks “prove you’re right”, the AGW folks just burst on the scene, bypassed the hypothesis stage by intimidating everyone into accepting their claim as a “theory”, and then told the world “prove us wrong”. The media then turned their “theory” into a law on par with the law of gravity.
    Truly sad (and despicable) how the people who claim to have the monopoly on science and reason (while simultaneously pointing the finger at their opponents as being unscientific) are the very ones who have destroyed the public perception of science. Science now is just some poorly reported, poorly conducted “study” that gets published on Google news; the story filtered in such a way as to advance the political ideaology of the reporter and/or news agency.

  106. Leif 20:01:48
    I think the original presentation was the classical example of one cycle of the process. I tend to call it a waltz with one step forward, two steps back and one step to the side. What you describe is really multiple cycles where the real anomaly grows til it’s no longer able to be ignored and creates the basis of the next cycle. Peilke covers one cycle and you cover over one cycle. Science is a series of these cycles and always will be.

  107. Benjamin P. (09:11:09) :
    All you folks have done is stigmatize the word “model” and then use that stigma that you have created as some strawman argument of why climate science is bunk (because they use models!!!)
    Nonsense.

    Gravity is not a model, it is a theory. A model, as used in AGW, is a hodge podge of many theories a la gravity theory according to the modeler’s whim and taste.
    Theories are predictive, that is why they are called accepted theories, because their equations can be used to predict with precision, in the case of gravity, trajectories and statics.
    Models are as good as the data on which they have been fitted, if the theories incorporated are right, to the precision allowed by the complicated use of these theories. They cannot be predictive in long time frames, viz the global mess from the models used in the economy.
    Theories can be communicated to other scientists with a few clear paragraphs and well defined mathematical formulas.
    Models have obscure computer coding and arcane use of theories, and nobody can understand the code unless spending enormous time on them, as E.M Smith has done.
    If you do not know the difference you cannot be taken seriously.

  108. jorgekafkazar (22:14:17) :
    “Matt Bennett (21:39:25) : “And anyone who thinks AGW theory relies on computer models is an ignorant fool.”
    Yes, Matt! Based on the evidence, AGW theory relies every bit as much on argument ad hominem, cherry picking, data tampering, organized suppression of dissent, and alarmist ranting as it does on computer models.”
    Priceless!!! Wished I was as witty to come up with such reply

  109. I have to add my two cents on why AGW cannot be predictive ab initio.
    I did not delve into the code, but tried to understand the logic of gridding the planet and using the fluid transport equations on the grid boundaries etc. etc. I discovered that they incorporate a lot of average values for many of the variables that control, or should control the climate.
    Now using an average value for a variable is like taking the first order term in a perturbative expansion for the variable in question. First order terms are a good approximation of a solution if the solution is well behaved. This is a foolhardy assumption for a system that everybody , including the IPCC, agree is chaotic. The more time steps, the more there will be a divergence from the true solution, because the higher order terms will kick in. Actually this is the reason why weather predictions, that are based on similar models, cannot go much further than ten days, and can be wrong even short term. To make predictions for climate in time frames of ten years is totally irrational.
    So, though I agree with Leif that models can be very useful tools, the way integration is a useful tool, the specific General Circulation Models of AGW are being used way out of their level of possible validation.

  110. Leif Svalgaard (09:25:31) :
    ” Models are necessary, essential, and fundamental, and almost everything we do in modern science is based on models at some place in the chain of evidence. The real issue is over-reliance on [crummy] models, but that is not the fault of the models [or the modelers], but of the media and the generally stupid portion of the populace that is taken in by the propaganda.”
    So it is only the media who are to blame? Have you ever heard a modeler correcting the media? I really think that the climate modellers do over-rely on their models and at the same time are very pleased with the media attention.

  111. Ben p. 9:11:09
    Models like what you’re referring to are not time iterative like a climate model. That is the rules and/or conditions are not changing with time without some overall guiding principles directing those changes to prevent errors from compounding and blowing up in your face. The fact that time and space resolution are insufficient, approximations are being used, and some of the physics is sometimes dead wrong or even missing from the model are other ‘minor’ difficulties that prevent results from being achieved.
    It’s been a long time since the deterministic universe concept bit the dust.

  112. http://jer-skepticscorner.blogspot.com/2009/06/skeptics-from-around-globe_09.html#0
    Alarmism about climate is predicated upon the assertion that contemporary temperature changes are both unprecedented and unnatural. Using the Little Ice Age as a base point for today’s temperatures is a contrivance designed to promote alarmism. The existence and world-wide distribution of the Medieval Warm Period, greatly devalues the credence of any assertion of climate alarmism, which is why paleoclimatology has become a discipline of great policy import over the past decade.
    The science of climate change is multi-faceted and extensive because climate is a dynamic, multi-variate entity. Left to themselves, the various disciplines may eventually have resolved many of the disputes over data and their meaning that have emerged. I say may, because the point is mute. Once the IPCC was formed, the science ceased to exist in an objective, value-free, apolitical vacuum and all climate science became enmeshed in an increasingly polarized and ideological politicization that persists today.
    Is science ever truly objective and non-ideological? That’s a good undergraduate philosophy question. The reality for climate change is that the science has become massively politicized. Until this is explicitly acknowledged within the various disciplines themselves, the overall result will remain as disputed and contested as the politics it mimics.

  113. Chris Schoneveld (12:19:40) :
    So it is only the media who are to blame?
    It is more the unwashed masses that are to blame for lapping up the media stuff. You may counter that they have little choice as where would they otherwise go? If this is so, then how would you ‘correct’ a free press? make it less ‘free’? or argue that we don’t have a free press because it is beholden to advertisers, owners, and interest groups? And how would you correct that? tell owners etc what they should say?

  114. What an excellent and generally well mannered debate. One point I haven’t seen raised is regarding the hardware being used to do the measurement work. There have been problems with satellite drift, sensor fade, leaky diaphragms in Argo buoys. Then of course, all the shortcomings of the surface measurement gear Anthony and his volunteers have discovered with the surface stations project. Weather balloon data consistency, sea surface measurements using canvas buckets, plastic buckets, metal buckets, insulated buckets covered buckets, engine cooling water intake sensors….
    The list goes on and on.
    This has led to claim and counter claim, the dismissal of one scientists results in favour of another by both sides of the AGW argument, and so on.
    Accurate data is fundamental to the scientific method. Without it, all is confusion and controversy. We are at the beginning of a voyage of discovery, yet some say they can already draw accurate charts of what lies in front on the basis of flawed data somehow made good by statistical methods and computer power and their assumptions about initial conditions and parameters.
    They remind me of C16th explorers carrying maps on which are there are marked areas bearing the legend:
    Here be Dragons.

  115. anna v (22:23:34) :
    The “eureka” moment happened when the water got out of the bathtub, not Archimedes. 😉

  116. Leif Svalgaard (12:49:36) :
    Chris Schoneveld (12:19:40) :
    So it is only the media who are to blame?
    It is more the unwashed masses that are to blame for lapping up the media stuff. You may counter that they have little choice as where would they otherwise go?

    They could go and get a life. I recently rang the TV license authority and told them I wouldn’t be answering any of their nasty letters because I no longer require their propaganda service. The TV sold on ebay a few days ago.

  117. Without any comment:
    Tuesday, June 9, 2009
    Taxing Cows
    By Alan Caruba
    Just how crazed is the Environmental Protection Agency? When I say “crazed”, I mean just how far out of touch with reality, with science, with the economy, with common sense, and with the American people is the EPA?
    Ever since the Supreme Court made one of the greatest blunders since the Dred Scott case, declaring carbon dioxide (CO2) a “pollutant” that could be regulated by the EPA, that deranged agency has been pushing a tax on CO2 emissions from cows, pigs, and other farm animals on which we depend for milk and meat at the local supermarket.
    According to Encarta, in 2005 there were an estimated 95,848,000 cows in the United States. Presumably, there are comparable numbers of pigs, goats, and other critters that emit belches and farts sufficient to destroy the Earth with the CO2 they emit. Nor should we overlook the six pounds of CO2 that the 307 million Americans exhale daily.
    Since there is NO global warming and the Earth has been cooling for the past decade, the proposal that these farm animals be taxed constitutes a criminal act, devoid of any justification.
    Since CO2 plays virtually no role whatever in so-called “climate change”, taxing farm animals is a violation of the known science and an assault on the economy in the name of the greatest hoax of the modern age.
    It is not, however, a matter of “saving the Earth” so far as the EPA and the rest of the Obama administration is concerned. It is MONEY. And money is POWER.
    The proposal, floated in late 2008, would impose a per-cow tax on any farm or ranch with more than 25 dairy cows, 50 beef cattle or 200 hogs that would require a payment of about $175 for each dairy cow, $87.50 per head of beef cattle, and $20 for each hog.
    Suffice it to say that dairy farmers across the U.S. are being forced to send many of their herd to the slaughter house because the price of milk has fallen to the point where it is unprofitable to maintain them. Owners of even a modest-sized cattle ranch would face additional costs of $30,000 to $40,000 a year. Add a tax on cows and you end up with a nation that has to import more milk than oil.
    Taxing farm animals is a great way to bankrupt dairy farmers and cattle ranchers, along with all those who raise hogs. After that, it is only a matter of time before Americans would all have to become vegetarians because the cost of meat would put an end to that part of our diet.
    As bizarre as the EPA proposal is, the effort by the Democrat-controlled Congress to impose a Cap-and-Trade bill on the nation in the name of reducing CO2 emissions dwarfs the farm and ranch proposal.
    The Heritage Foundation has crunched the numbers on Cap-and-Trade concluding that job losses would exceed 800,000 annually for several years. Durable-manufacturing employment would decrease by 28 percent. Machinery-manufacturing job losses would exceed 57 percent. The same would hold true for textile-mills, electrical equipment and appliance manufacturers, paper and paper product jobs, and jobs involving plastic and rubber products.
    Cap-and-Trade isn’t just a job-killer, American Solutions estimates that it would increase gasoline prices by 74 percent, electricity rates by 90 percent, natural gas prices by 55 percent, and add $1,600 a year to the cost of living of a typical household.
    The result would be to make the Great Depression look like a day at the park, but minus the hot dogs and ice cream.
    This is what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have planned and they want the bill passed before Congress goes home for its summer recess.
    At that point, the destruction of the U.S. economy would be complete and there would be no reason for Congress to return.
    Does this seem an extreme conclusion to you? No, it is the reality the nation faces.

  118. E.M.Smith (02:58:07) :
    Wow!!!
    Another rant like this and you will be well on your way to becoming my hero!

  119. Anthony,
    Maybe the following paper by Dr. David Evans might be worth a thread?
    http://www.sciencespeak.com/MissingSignature.pdf
    Each cause of global warming heats up the atmosphere in a distinctive pattern—its “signature”. According to IPPC climate theory, the signature of carbon emissions and the signature of warming due to all causes during the recent global warming both include a prominent ?hotspot? at about 10 – 12 km in the air over the tropics. But the observed warming pattern during the recent global warming contains no trace of any such hotspot. Therefore:
    1. IPCC climate theory is fundamentally wrong.
    2. To the extent that IPCC climate theory is correct in predicting a hotspot due to extra carbon dioxide, we know that carbon emissions did not cause the recent global warming.

  120. Another harsh example:
    http://www.rightsidenews.com/200906075057/energy-and-environment/eco-colonialism-degrades-africa.html
    June 7, 2009
    by Willie Soon and Paul Driessen
    Eco-Imperialism.com
    Green, UN, rich nation and African elites impose deadly anti-development colonialism
    Sub-Saharan Africa remains one of Earth’s most impoverished regions. Over 90% of its people still lack electricity, running water, proper sanitation and decent housing. Malaria, malnutrition, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and intestinal diseases kill millions every year. Life expectancy is appalling, and falling.
    And yet UN officials, European politicians, environmentalist groups and even African authorities insist that global warming is the gravest threat facing the continent. They claim there is no longer any debate over human-caused global warming – but ignore thousands of scientists who say human CO2 emissions are not the primary cause of climate changes, there is no evidence that future warming will be catastrophic, and computer models do not provide valid projections or “scenarios” for the future.
    [Global] Warming alarmists use the “specter of climate change” to justify inhumane policies and shift the blame for problems that could be solved with the very technologies they oppose.
    Past colonialism sought to develop mining, forestry and agriculture, and bring better government and healthcare practices to Africa . Eco-colonialism keeps Africans “traditional” and “indigenous,” by insisting that modern technologies are harmful and not “sustainable” in Africa .
    Abundant, reliable, affordable electricity could power homes, offices, factories, schools and hospitals, create jobs, bring clean running water, and generate health and prosperity. But Rainforest Action Network and other pressure groups oppose coal and natural gas electricity generation on the grounds of climate change, and hydroelectric and nuclear power for other ideological reasons. They promote wind turbines and solar panels that provide electricity unreliably and in amounts too small to meet any but the most rudimentary needs.
    Biotechnology could produce bumper crops that overcome droughts, floods, insects, viruses, and even global warming and cooling. But Greenpeace and Sierra Club oppose this precision hybrid-making technology, and instead promote land and labor-intensive subsistence farming.
    DDT and insecticides could slash malaria rates that Al Gore and other climate alarmists falsely claim are rising because of global warming. But Pesticide Action Network and other activists stridently oppose their use, and the European Parliament recently imposed new pesticide restrictions that will further restrict African access to life-saving chemicals.
    Recent incidents dramatize how depraved and deadly global warming politics have become.
    In Gambia , a UN-subsidized “national ministerial dialogue” promoted extremist views on “catastrophic climate change” and “sustainable development.” A Forestry and Environment department representative asserted that it would be “nearly impossible to adapt to … impacts such as the loss of the West Antarctic ice sheet … and [resultant] 5-15 meter sea level rise.”
    There was no mention of the near-zero probability of such an event happening. Average annual temperatures in Antarctica hover around minus 50 Centigrade (-58 F), while average temperatures for the two-month summer in its Western Peninsula are barely four degrees above freezing.
    Scary tales of runaway temperature spikes melting 200,000 cubic miles of peninsular ice might be expected from Al Gore and James Hansen. But when Gambian ministers engage in such unscrupulous propaganda, they further degrade the health and welfare of their people.
    Cameroon hosted a “fact-finding” visit from seven senior British Members of Parliament, who declaimed that climate change is “a jinx that threatens humanity more than HIV/AIDS.” They were joined by Cameroon ‘s Minister of Forestry and Wildlife in urging that forests be managed to increase absorption of planetary carbon dioxide and “reduce global warming.”
    Few climate actions, however, come close to the travesty being played out in nearby Chad . There the government has banned the manufacture, importation and use of charcoal – the sole source of fuel for 99% of Chadians.
    “Cooking is a fundamental necessity for every household,” its Environment Minister pronounced. But “with climate change every citizen must protect his environment.”
    The edict has sent women and children scavenging for dead branches, cow dung, grass and anything else that burns. “People cannot cook,” said human rights activist Merlin Totinon Nguebetan. “Women giving birth cannot even find a bit of charcoal to heat water for washing,” said another.
    The government admitted it had failed to prepare the public for its sudden decree, but announced no change in plans – saying only that scarce propane might be an alternative for some. When citizens protested, they were violently dispersed by police.
    “We will not give up,” a women’s group leader said. “Better to die swiftly than continue dying slowly.”
    So this is where radical climate change alarmism has taken us. When the health of Planet Earth is at stake, human life means little – even if the “disasters” are nothing more than worst-case scenarios conjured up by computer models, headline writers, Hollywood , and professional doomsayers like Gore, Hansen and NOAA alarmist-in-chief Susan Solomon.
    “Every time someone dies as a result of floods in Bangladesh , an airline executive should be dragged out of his office and drowned,” British arch-environmentalist George Monbiot hectored readers of The Guardian, in a typically hysteria-laced column.
    One has to wonder if he would apply the same standard to eco-colonialist executives who continue to perpetuate poverty, disease, malnutrition and death in the name of preventing “global warming disasters” that fewer and fewer respectable scientists still believe are caused by human greenhouse gas emissions.
    As economist Indur Goklany and even the UN climate panel acknowledge, future generations will be far richer than today’s. Poor families today should not be asked to bear the burden for richer families tomorrow, especially to guard against speculative climate and sustainability “disasters” whose “solutions” are worse than the purported problems.
    The United Nations, European Union and United States need to address Africa ‘s real problems and replace lethal eco-colonialism with fact-based science and humane public policies. And African countries need to take command of their future.
    Africa needs to curb corruption. Adopt property rights and free enterprise principles. Promote sustained development. Utilize disease-preventing insecticides and modern agricultural biotechnology.
    Rely less on foreign aid that is shriveling in the global recession and often comes with conditions and prohibitions that keep communities and nations deprived of energy and mired in poverty. Work with companies that want to develop natural resources, to get help building hospitals, schools and large-scale power plants that provide dependable, affordable electricity.
    In short, Africa needs to remember Milton Friedman’s sage advice: “Poor countries should not do what rich countries did once they became rich. They should do what rich countries did to become rich.”
    ______________
    Soon is chief science adviser for the Science and Public Policy Institute and author of numerous papers on climate change. Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Congress of Racial Equality and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power Black Death.

  121. Ron de Haan,
    Scary article. This part bothered me a lot:

    Cameroon hosted a “fact-finding” visit from seven senior British Members of Parliament, who declaimed that climate change is “a jinx that threatens humanity more than HIV/AIDS.” They were joined by Cameroon ’s Minister of Forestry and Wildlife in urging that forests be managed to increase absorption of planetary carbon dioxide and “reduce global warming.”
    Few climate actions, however, come close to the travesty being played out in nearby Chad . There the government has banned the manufacture, importation and use of charcoal – the sole source of fuel for 99% of Chadians.
    “Cooking is a fundamental necessity for every household,” its Environment Minister pronounced. But “with climate change every citizen must protect his environment.”
    The edict has sent women and children scavenging for dead branches, cow dung, grass and anything else that burns. “People cannot cook,” said human rights activist Merlin Totinon Nguebetan. “Women giving birth cannot even find a bit of charcoal to heat water for washing,” said another.

    The Brit MP’s no doubt realize that they are endorsing policies that directly result in the unnecessary deaths of Africans. But like all Leftists in power, they don’t care.
    And there isn’t much difference between the British MP’s, and Hansen, Gore and their acolytes…
    …lookin’ at you —> Joe Romm.

  122. Benjamin P. (09:11:09) :
    That’s just speculation Anna. Where is the evidence to support that?

    Jump up and down a few times. If Anna is wrong, you will find yourself in orbit.

  123. Leif Svalgaard (12:49:36) :

    …It is more the unwashed masses that are to blame for lapping up the media stuff…

    I’m not claiming to have the answers, but I think the problem goes far beyond the ‘unwashed masses’ at this point.
    For one thing, there is the cozy hand-in-glove relationship that has evolved between the government and all levels of education — which has given us mass ignorance. Do government schools even teach civics any more? Or the Constitution? Or any kind of ethical behavior based on Western values? No. The rabble is instructed through sound bites. And morals are so old fashioned.
    And what about the unholy symbiosis of government and the major media outlets? Did you notice recently that President Obama had receptions that only included only *ahem* ‘friendly’ news reporters and talking heads? That’s not a free press any more, that is tantamount to official propaganda.
    I don’t have the answers. But I know when things are going wrong.

  124. Smokey (13:28:47) :
    The Brit MP’s no doubt realize that they are endorsing policies that directly result in the unnecessary deaths of Africans. But like all Leftists in power, they don’t care.
    And there isn’t much difference between the British MP’s, and Hansen, Gore and their acolytes…
    …lookin’ at you —> Joe Romm.
    Smokey,
    As I see it the UN, their followers and servants are purpetrating a crime against humanity in a way that keeps them out of the courts.
    They have learned from the NAZI practices and kill by policy without ever haveing to say “Wir haben es nich gewüsst”.
    Fortunately we know better and we will put these rats aside before they are able to cause any further damage.
    I did not forget the day when Vaslac Claus held his excellent speech before the EU Parliament and the left stood up and walked away.
    They took a severe beating at the last EU elections and a major hift to the right took place.
    The left is taking hits globaly and there will come a moment in time where we can restore (undo) this madness.
    GB will be freed from one of the most prominent architects of the current AGW policies as Mr. Brown will be forced to pack his suitcase and go.
    The current US Administration will be confronted with the same faith.
    We will send them home.
    http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/06/the_collapsing_global_left_1.html
    http://theresilientearth.com/?q=content/new-jelly-pump-rewrites-carbon-cycle

  125. Anthony,
    Still think that the educational angle is worth a thread. It points to an area that needs real attention.
    http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/03/03/7435
    Teacher Under Fire For Showing Gore Film Without Rebuttal
    by Ben Fulton
    “It’s very difficult to find materials on the other side of the debate that are science-based,” Gentry said. “That comment’s going to get me into trouble, but it’s true.
    “Yes, a good teacher would present all the different ways in which we know why the climate changes. At the same time, current data show that our climate has never changed this fast before.”

  126. anna v (11:46:49) :

    Gravity is not a model, it is a theory. A model, as used in AGW, is a hodge podge of many theories a la gravity theory according to the modeler’s whim and taste.
    Theories are predictive, that is why they are called accepted theories, because their equations can be used to predict with precision, in the case of gravity, trajectories and statics.

    anna, you might take Newton’s law of gravitation to be an example of the same type of model. The model says that you can abstract two objects into “masses” separated by a distance, plug that in, and get an attractive acceleration out. Combine it with some more models of the inertial frame (laws of motion) and some machinery complete with esoteric encoding (Newton’s calculus) and you can compute some time integrated momentum changes, for example.
    Granted it’s all quite precise and extremely well-supported by observation, but it does run into problems when you try to do something like GPS, in which case the model needs further refinement. In any case, the distinction seems to be one of (massive) degree, not kind.
    Whether or not it takes a digital computer or just hordes of grad students to iterate shouldn’t matter from a philosophical perspective. (The moral perspective may differ, however!)

  127. Ron de Haan,
    Scary article. This part bothered me a lot:
    Cameroon hosted a “fact-finding” visit from seven senior British Members of Parliament, who declaimed that climate change is “a jinx that threatens humanity more than HIV/AIDS.” They were joined by Cameroon ’s Minister of Forestry and Wildlife in urging that forests be managed to increase absorption of planetary carbon dioxide and “reduce global warming.”
    Few climate actions, however, come close to the travesty being played out in nearby Chad . There the government has banned the manufacture, importation and use of charcoal – the sole source of fuel for 99% of Chadians.
    “Cooking is a fundamental necessity for every household,” its Environment Minister pronounced. But “with climate change every citizen must protect his environment.”
    The edict has sent women and children scavenging for dead branches, cow dung, grass and anything else that burns. “People cannot cook,” said human rights activist Merlin Totinon Nguebetan. “Women giving birth cannot even find a bit of charcoal to heat water for washing,” said another.
    The Brit MP’s no doubt realize that they are endorsing policies that directly result in the unnecessary deaths of Africans. But like all Leftists in power, they don’t care.
    And there isn’t much difference between the British MP’s, and Hansen, Gore and their acolytes…
    …lookin’ at you —> Joe Romm.
    Smokey,
    The UN, it’s followers and servants is purpretrating crimes against humanity at a scale that dwarfs that of the NAZI’s, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and the Spanish flue put together.
    They have learned from the Neurenburg trials and organize their crimes in a manner that keeps them out of court.
    The only way to beat them is the politcal way.
    I remember the left fractions walking away from the excellent speech held by
    Vaclav Claus in front of the EU Parliament.
    The latest EU elections have been devastating for the left and their power base is crumbling as is the AGW doctrine.
    Let’s make it clear to them that this time there is no “Wir haben es nicht gewüsst”.
    http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/06/the_collapsing_global_left_1.html

  128. E.M.Smith (00:19:00) :
    … Oh, and folks don’t turn away from you at parties when you say what you do for a living… “Stock Trader” gets far more positive attention than “Unix Programmer”, or worse, “Manager of Information Services” ever did.

    Whoops – I’m a social pariah!

  129. I would tell you there’s very little practicle difference between Al Gore and Joseph Stalin. They both claimed to have the best of intentions for ‘the people’ at heart.
    Al Gore’s net worth is now in the 100 million U.S. dollar range, or so I am told. He lives a privileged life of mansions and private jets while advocating policies and limits that doom millions and that he himself is unwilling to follow.
    He has accomplices in the ‘scientific’ community that obscure and taint the data, and insists that any evidence that run’s contrary to his ‘true knowledge’ be demonized, and those who produce it be ostracized from the scientific community.
    Just my opinion.

  130. I would adapt the title of this article:
    Short Circuiting The Scientific Process – A Serious Problem In The Climate Science Community, a serious threat to humanity.

  131. Re: Leif Svalgaard (12:49:36) & Chris Schoneveld (12:19:40)
    How about blaming the education system? (…and then tracing back further to investigate what is screwing *it* up?)

  132. Paul Vaughan (14:58:05) :
    How about blaming the education system? (…and then tracing back further to investigate what is screwing *it* up?)
    I’ll not blame the ‘system’. It is the people that screw it up. Kansas and Texas come to mind…

  133. Gilbert (14:19:53) :
    Teacher Under Fire For Showing Gore Film Without Rebuttal
    by Ben Fulton
    “It’s very difficult to find materials on the other side of the debate that are science-based,” Gentry said. “That comment’s going to get me into trouble, but it’s true.
    “Yes, a good teacher would present all the different ways in which we know why the climate changes. At the same time, current data show that our climate has never changed this fast before.”

    In th UK, it is illegal to show the gore catastrophe movie without reading out the Judges findings on the incorrectness of Gore’s commentary from the court case where a brave lorry driver took the Brown govt to the high court for pushing propaganda into his son’s head. Monckton was the plaintiffs advisor.
    http://www.newparty.co.uk/articles/inaccuracies-gore.html

  134. cba (12:45:46) :
    Ben p. 9:11:09
    Models like what you’re referring to are not time iterative like a climate model. That is the rules and/or conditions are not changing with time without some overall guiding principles directing those changes to prevent errors from compounding and blowing up in your face. The fact that time and space resolution are insufficient, approximations are being used, and some of the physics is sometimes dead wrong or even missing from the model are other ‘minor’ difficulties that prevent results from being achieved.
    It’s been a long time since the deterministic universe concept bit the dust.

    on the nail as usual cba

  135. Leif
    I’ll not blame the ’system’. It is the people that screw it up. Kansas and Texas come to mind…

    Hey! I resemble that remark!
    This is not just a problem in the Climate Science Community.
    Physics has the same issues going on right now, it is just not as damaging to our lifestyles. Superstrings is the “greenhouse effect” of physics. Broken peer review processes, mismanagement of grant spending, etc.

  136. I’ve noted engineers here test their designs to destruction.
    I had to program a machine without access to the actual machine, so all my destructive analysis had to be conducted in my head with what ifs.
    I wish that I had charged them on a 5% of savings for 2 years basis. Over the original programming, I saved them £5000/Week +.
    Oh well, one lives & learns

  137. Gilbert (13:09:35) :
    Anthony,
    Maybe the following paper by Dr. David Evans might be worth a thread?
    http://www.sciencespeak.com/MissingSignature.pdf
    Each cause of global warming heats up the atmosphere in a distinctive pattern—its “signature”. According to IPPC climate theory, the signature of carbon emissions and the signature of warming due to all causes during the recent global warming both include a prominent ?hotspot? at about 10 – 12 km in the air over the tropics. But the observed warming pattern during the recent global warming contains no trace of any such hotspot. Therefore:
    1. IPCC climate theory is fundamentally wrong.
    2. To the extent that IPCC climate theory is correct in predicting a hotspot due to extra carbon dioxide, we know that carbon emissions did not cause the recent global warming.

    This goes to what I have said earlier – advocacy science will ignore or attack contrary evidence.

  138. http://www.visandvals.org/Opening_Pandora_s_Box.php
    Opening Pandora’s Box: Classifying CO2 as a “Pollutant”
    By Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson
    June 08, 2009
    A few days before “Earth Day” (which happens to be the same day as Lenin’s Birthday), America’s ideological greens and reds received a present they have been desiring for many moons: The Environmental Protection Agency—egged on by the U.S. Supreme Court—officially designated carbon dioxide (CO2) as a pollutant. That means that either congress or the EPA is expected to produce a plan for regulating this common gas.
    So opens a new chapter in regulatory absurdity, a veritable Pandora’s Box of complications.
    A generation ago, it was considered great progress against pollution when catalytic converters were added to automobile engines to change poisonous carbon monoxide to benign carbon dioxide. Now, CO2 has been demonized.
    The EPA’s characterization of CO2 as a pollutant brings into question the natural order of things. By the EPA’s logic, either God or Mother Nature (whichever creator you believe in) seriously goofed. After all, CO2 is the base of our food chain. CO2 nourishes plants, plants nourish animals and humans, and plants and animals serve a variety of human needs. “Pollutants” are supposed to be harmful to life, not helpful to it, aren’t they?
    Of course, it is true (although greens often ignore it when trying to ban such useful chemicals as pesticides, insecticides, Alar, PCBs, etc.) that “the dose makes the poison.” Too much oxygen, for example, poses danger to human life. So, what is the “right” concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere? There is no right answer to this question. The concentration of CO2 in earth’s atmosphere fluctuated greatly long before humans appeared on earth, and that concentration has fluctuated since then, too.
    The current concentration is approximately 385 parts per million. Some scientists maintain that 1,000 parts per million would provide an ideal atmosphere for plant life, accelerating plant growth and multiplying yields, thereby sustaining far more animal and human life than is currently possible. Whatever standard the EPA selects will be purely arbitrary.
    “Forget about the plants, Hendrickson,” say the greens. “What we’re trying to control is how warm the earth’s atmosphere gets.” To which I reply, “With all due respect, are you kidding me?”
    As with a “right” concentration of CO2, what is the “right” average global temperature? For 7,000 of the last 10,000 years, the earth was cooler than it is now; mankind prospers more in warm climates than cold climates; and the Antarctic icecap was significantly larger during the warmer mid-Holocene period than it is today. Are you sure warmer is bad or wrong?
    And how do you propose to regulate the earth’s temperature when as much as 3/4 of the variability is due to variations in solar activity, with the remaining 1/4 due to changes in the earth’s orbit, axis, and albedo (reflectivity)? This truly is “mission impossible.” Mankind can no more regulate earth’s temperature than the tides.
    Even if the “greenhouse effect” were greater than it actually is, the EPA and Congress would be powerless to alter it for several reasons:
    1. Human activity (according to NASA data) accounts for less than 4 percent of global CO2 emissions.
    2. CO2 itself accounts for only 10 or 20 percent of the greenhouse effect. (This discloses the capricious nature of EPA’s decision to classify CO2 as a pollutant, for if CO2 is a pollutant because it is a greenhouse gas, then the most common greenhouse gas of all—water vapor, which accounts for almost 3/4 of the atmosphere’s greenhouse effect—should be regulated, too. The EPA isn’t going after water vapor, of course, because then everyone would realize how absurd climate-control regulation really is.)
    3. Even if Americans were to eliminate their CO2 emissions completely, total human emissions of CO2 would still increase as billions of people around the world continue to develop economically.
    Clearly, it is beyond the ken of mortals to answer the meta-questions about the right concentration of CO2, or the optimal global average temperature, or to control CO2 levels in the atmosphere. I feel sorry for the professionals at EPA who are now expected to come up with answers for these unanswerable questions.
    However, I do not feel sorry for the political appointees, like climate czar Carol Browner, and the whole Al Gore, left-wing political fraternity, because it looks like they are about to get what they want—the power to increase their power over Americans’ lives and pocketbooks via CO2 emission regulations.
    The big questions facing us regular citizens is whether Congress or the unelected folks at EPA will decide questions like:
    — Who will be forced to drive and fly less often? (If we quit using every gasoline-powered vehicle in the country, we still wouldn’t reduce CO2 emissions as much as Al Gore wants.)
    — How much economic pain should be imposed on Americans for heating and cooling their homes? (Your 75-percent-higher electric bill will fund President Obama’s “green jobs” machine.)
    — Which businesses will need to move offshore to power their operations at a competitive cost? (This is nothing new. EPA regulations started to off-shore oil-refinery jobs decades ago.)
    The impact of CO2 regulations will hurt us far more than CO2 itself ever could. We need a miracle, folks. Let’s hope that someone nails shut the lid on this Pandora’s Box before it swings wide open and infests us with a multitude of plagues.
    Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson is an adjunct faculty member, economist, and contributing scholar with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.

  139. Fred Souder (15:30:05)
    “I’ll not blame the ’system’. It is the people that screw it up. Kansas and Texas come to mind…”
    Hey! I resemble that remark!

    “resemble” ???
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kansas_evolution_hearings
    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2008/02/texas_state_board_of_education.php?utm_source=sbhomepage&utm_medium=link&utm_content=sublink
    these are LOCAL school board decisions, not the big ugly Federal Govmnt. People have what they want.

  140. Ron de Haan (15:49:39) :
    And how do you propose to regulate the earth’s temperature when as much as 3/4 of the variability is due to variations in solar activity, with the remaining 1/4 due to changes in the earth’s orbit, axis, and albedo (reflectivity)?
    If anything it is the other way around.

  141. “”” anna v (12:18:19) :
    I have to add my two cents on why AGW cannot be predictive ab initio.
    I did not delve into the code, but tried to understand the logic of gridding the planet and using the fluid transport equations on the grid boundaries etc. etc. I discovered that they incorporate a lot of average values for many of the variables that control, or should control the climate.
    Now using an average value for a variable is like taking the first order term in a perturbative expansion for the variable in question. First order terms are a good approximation of a solution if the solution is well behaved. This is a foolhardy assumption for a system that everybody , including the IPCC, agree is chaotic. The more time steps, the more there will be a divergence from the true solution, because the higher order terms will kick in. Actually this is the reason why weather predictions, that are based on similar models, cannot go much further than ten days, and can be wrong even short term. To make predictions for climate in time frames of ten years is totally irrational.
    So, though I agree with Leif that models can be very useful tools, the way integration is a useful tool, the specific General Circulation Models of AGW are being used way out of their level of possible validation. “””
    Well there’s a fundamental problem with the “gridding process” that you describe Anna, and which I am sure is pretty much what the computer modellers are doing; or something similar.
    If I construct a model of something real about which I would like to know what happens at certain specific “grid locations” that are part of my model; presumably each of those grid locations has an actual physically real location associated with it on the real world stage.
    So to figure out what values of variables I should assign to each of those model grid locations; I would go to each of the real analogs of those computer grid locations; and I would measure the actual real world values of all of the pertinent variables that I want to go into my model. And of course I would monitor those grid locations over time so I knew how each variable changed in time.
    Then if my modelling was successful, I would expect that it would be able to generate values at each and every grid location, that match the observed values at those places as they actually happened.
    That requirement does not seem to be amenable to simply inserting average static values into a computer analog of the real grid, and expect anything like reality to emergy from such a process.
    When the GCMs can successfully predict the MWP, and the LIA based on their simulations; then I might be prepared to grant them some credibility.
    Up till such a time; they will remain computer video games.
    So it is not surprising that they seem eminently incapable of coming up with any “predictions” or even “projections” which bear any resemblance to what actually has happened in lieu of their prognostications.
    The whole idea of models or theories is to relieve one from having to perform every possible experiment with every possible set of variable values, and catalog all the results for anybody who wants to know what happens if you mix A with B in some proportions.

  142. Leif Svalgaard (12:49:36) : “It is more the unwashed masses that are to blame for lapping up the media stuff. You may counter that they have little choice as where would they otherwise go? If this is so, then how would you ‘correct’ a free press? make it less ‘free’? or argue that we don’t have a free press because it is beholden to advertisers, owners, and interest groups? And how would you correct that? tell owners etc what they should say?”
    Dr. Svalgaard – You are doing on this forum, and elsewhere, exactly what you should be doing – counter-speech. As part of the unwashed masses, I can comprehend only about 10% of what you write here, but [most of the time] I can get the gist. In a former life, far, far away, I represented local TV affiliates in libel lawsuits [I soon stopped watching the local news] and taught First Amendment Rights at the local law school. I appreciate your sentiments on freedom of the press.
    TV reporters have incredibly big egos, but the smart ones know what they don’t know and don’t like to be wrong. Two problems with journalists today: 1) In surveys taken at journalism schools, the majority of would-be journalists [80% to 90% of whom are of a “liberal” or “progressive” bent] don’t enter the “profession” to report the news, they enter it “to change the world” [damn RMN, Woodward, Bernstein and the journalist professors that teach such tripe] – AGW stories fit right into this mindset: 2) The talking heads at large MSM outlets live in an echo chamber, listening to the reverberations of the AGW alarmists – thus they have not, as of yet, been sufficiently challenged.
    In an earlier time I would have despaired. But, with a forum like this and its extremely knowledgable posters/commenters, eventually, if you all persevere, the “truth will out.” Don’t ask me about the state of the US and its economy by the time “truth wills out.” About that I do despair.

  143. @anna v (11:46:49) : Says,
    “Gravity is not a model, it is a theory.” and continues by saying, “If you do not know the difference you cannot be taken seriously.”
    Sorry Anna, but it’s you who don’t know the difference. Sure, the MODEL we use to predict the effects of gravity may be much more simple than a model we use to try and predict climate, but they are both MODELS!
    @ Gilbert (13:34:58) :
    “Jump up and down a few times. If Anna is wrong, you will find yourself in orbit.”
    What I was asking for is EVIDENCE for the existence of gravitons, and evidence for the existence of a mechanism of how one mass feels another.
    What Anna laid down was indeed speculation, but nobody here denies gravity. Nobody here questions gravity, but nobody here knows how gravity works.

  144. “Leif Svalgaard (15:16:13) :
    I’ll not blame the ’system’. It is the people that screw it up. Kansas and Texas come to mind…”
    Leif, buddy, you better take that back. Them’s fighting words.
    Mike Bryant

  145. Re: Leif Svalgaard (15:16:13)
    Ok, so how about blaming a culture that prioritizes convenience over truth?

  146. Leif,
    The reporter you linked to for the Texas school Board is probably a product of the type of education that some here are talking about. Here is a sample of Greg Laden’s writing:
    “…is a knon anti-gay homophone,”
    Huh???

  147. Mike Bryant (16:52:31) :
    “Leif Svalgaard (15:16:13) :
    I’ll not blame the ’system’. It is the people that screw it up. Kansas and Texas come to mind…”
    Leif, buddy, you better take that back. Them’s fighting words.

    But they are the truth. How can one take back the truth? Unless one wants to be dishonest. Now, there’s a thought, you suggest I try that instead?

  148. Paul Vaughan (17:00:27) :
    Re: Leif Svalgaard (15:16:13)
    Ok, so how about blaming a culture that prioritizes convenience over truth?

    I’m sure the good folks in Kansas and Texas [and about 45% of all Americans] are convinced they are pushing the truth. Their truth, and it is not convenience, because it is very hard to push that kind of ‘truth’. Many AGWers feel the same way, I’m sure. They are well-meaning folks, just like the people that come to my door and urge me to repent and save my soul.

  149. Thank you, Leif, for describing one of your eureka moments. They are truly the “miracles” that advance human knowledge and understanding.
    My own special eureka moment came after ten years of measuring forest stands. After compiling my umpteenth tree age distribution, I suddenly realized that no “nature-only” theory could explain it. There had to have been human influences that shaped that stand hundreds of years before.
    Since then I have been devoted (professionally) to understanding historical human influences on our environment. Few realize like I do that wilderness is a myth, and that human beings have resided in and profoundly impacted the vegetation and wildlife populations of the Americas for the entire Holocene.
    Fortunately for me, those who do understand it have studied historical human influences at length, written great books and articles, and taught extensively. I came late to the party, I now realize. Hopefully the rest of society will someday grasp the enormity of anthropogenic fire and anthropogenic predation. If you think modern man affects the climate, you should study the actions of prehistoric man, who routinely set most of the world on fire and generated CO2 in vastly greater quantities than we do today.

  150. Mike Bryant (17:00:42) :
    The reporter you linked to for the Texas school Board is probably a product of the type of education that some here are talking about.
    The reporter is not important, the text books that the school boards mandate are. I had lived in the Great State of Texas for many years and know the issues well. I say again: people get what they want.

  151. Mike D. (17:12:28) :
    Few realize like I do that wilderness is a myth, and that human beings have resided in and profoundly impacted the vegetation and wildlife populations of the Americas for the entire Holocene.
    Reminds me of how people complain about damage to the pure ‘Natural Environment’ in the case of changing the water level of Lake Powell – a man-made lake to begin with…

  152. Leif Svalgaard (15:16:13) :
    Paul Vaughan (14:58:05) :
    I’ll not blame the ’system’. It is the people that screw it up. Kansas and Texas come to mind…

    Whoops!!
    Don’t throw us babies out with the bathwater.

  153. Gilbert (17:24:13) :
    “I’ll not blame the ’system’. It is the people that screw it up. Kansas and Texas come to mind…”
    Whoops!!
    Don’t throw us babies out with the bathwater.

    Tell that to your school boards…

  154. Benjamin P. (16:48:33) :
    Nobody here questions gravity, but nobody here knows how gravity works.”

    Sounds like AGW.

  155. Re: Gilbert (17:24:13)
    This quoting convention is misleading. For the record: Those are not my words.

  156. Leif Svalgaard (17:07:58) :
    I’ll not blame the ’system’. It is the people that screw it up. Kansas and Texas come to mind…”
    Leif, buddy, you better take that back. Them’s fighting words.
    But they are the truth. How can one take back the truth? Unless one wants to be dishonest. Now, there’s a thought, you suggest I try that instead?

    Leif,
    I have a lot of respect for your abilities as a Solar Physicist, but maybe you should stop short of starting a childish rock fight. I’m sure there are a lot of pot shots I could take with respect to every state and every country, but the process is counterproductive and could make you look like an ass.

  157. Leif Svalgaard (15:59:40) :
    Ron de Haan (15:49:39) :
    And how do you propose to regulate the earth’s temperature when as much as 3/4 of the variability is due to variations in solar activity, with the remaining 1/4 due to changes in the earth’s orbit, axis, and albedo (reflectivity)?
    If anything it is the other way around.
    Leif,
    What do you expect? The guy is an economist for goodness sake.

  158. Paul Vaughan (17:48:59) :
    This quoting convention is misleading. For the record: Those are not my words.
    My apologies. Was not intentional. But you have to understand that Kansans aren’t particularly bright.

  159. A question for you Leif. Were your early teachers and textbooks up to your current expectations? You seem to have done quite well with your analytic capabilities in spite of overcoming early learning inadequacies. No matter what we each think, parents are responsible for teaching their children, not the state.

  160. Paul Vaughan (17:48:59) :
    Re: Gilbert (17:24:13)
    This quoting convention is misleading. For the record: Those are not my words.

    Who cares? it is clear from the context what is what.

  161. Leif,
    “But they are the truth. How can one take back the truth? Unless one wants to be dishonest. Now, there’s a thought, you suggest I try that instead?”
    I would assert that Thomas Jefferson was very well educated in spite of the fact that he did not have access to current federal requirements and the advantages of union teachers. I feel certain that his education would not be approved by the current crop of educators.
    I have no doubt that you speak your truth as you believe it, however you are not the fountain of all truth. This is not an insult only a request for a little humility.
    The fact that a great many people believe something is no guarantee of its truth.
    W. Somerset Maugham (1874 – 1965), The Razor’s Edge, 1943
    Thanks,
    Mike

  162. Gilbert (17:51:47) :
    I have a lot of respect for your abilities as a Solar Physicist, but maybe you should stop short of starting a childish rock fight
    Takes two to fight…I’m not starting a fight, you are…
    Mike Bryant (17:58:34) :
    No matter what we each think, parents are responsible for teaching their children, not the state.
    Parents vote for school boards, etc. And my point stands: people get what they want, so don’t blame the system.
    And my “early teachers and textbooks were up to your current expectations”. Richard Feynman recounts how important the Brooklyn schools he went to were for him, so I’m not alone in thinking that things were better a while back.

  163. @Mike Bryant (17:58:34) :
    Parents are woefully disengaged from the education of their children it seems. My step mother taught 3rd grade for 35 years. Same district, same classroom. At the start of her career, parents would ask “What can I do more of?” during parent teacher conferences. At the end of her career, parents would ask, “Why aren’t you doing more?”
    Ben

  164. Leif, I’m sure you’d be amused by the irony of one side pointing out the faith the other side has that certain highly complex biological processes and structures have evolved naturalistically despite the absence of a mechanism for that evolution.
    ================================================

  165. Re: Leif Svalgaard (17:11:45)
    I hear you.
    It is cultural. ‘Convenience’ is subjective – and [most] North Americans prefer aggressive fighting over appropriate restraint & clear thinking.
    Epiphanies can’t easily be FORCED to match the beat of the administrative calendar.
    Necessity is the mother of invention?
    Do ‘good’ folks apply cosmetics so findings pass as epiphanies …& kids eat?
    Others’ are capitalizing on the opportunity to hit the accelerator HARD while North Americans (& perhaps ‘the West’ more generally?) continue with the fatal distractions of narrow infighting.
    Overtaxation?
    Absolutely – and I’m not even talking about money.
    (overtaxed by *incessant* infighting …while (wiser?) others OVERtake…)
    Glass half-full view:
    Back to work…
    [enough of this luxurious indulgence]

  166. Leif Svalgaard (17:58:35) “it is clear from the context what is what.”
    not to those who ‘ski’ (skim & skip)

  167. ” Leif Svalgaard (17:18:00) :
    Mike Bryant (17:00:42) :
    The reporter you linked to for the Texas school Board is probably a product of the type of education that some here are talking about.
    The reporter is not important, the text books that the school boards mandate are. I had lived in the Great State of Texas for many years and know the issues well. I say again: people get what they want.”
    Leif you are completely right. I you want a certain type of people in office to represent then you elect them. They will hopefully follow the will of the majority. If we don’t like what they do then we throw them out. Very simple and if you don’t like the region your in then move if you can’t move then do something to change it. I keep referring to a Monty Python skit were the guy goes into a room to buy an argument.

  168. Leif, I’m sure you’d be amused by the irony of one side pointing out the faith the other side has that certain highly complex biological processes and structures have evolved naturalistically despite the absence of a mechanism for that evolution.
    I can’t speak to mechanism, but I have had a “birdseye view” of evolution by process of natural selection:
    I live in NYC. When I was a kid (before the Clean Air Act), all the buildings were dingy and gray (or became so a few years after construction). After the clean air act became effective, there was a massive sandblasting that went on for a decade. You couldn’t walk down the street without seeing some building getting sandblasted. All sorts of colors emerged from under the grime.
    In the succeeding years, the pigeons have evolved from standard grays (with a few black or heavily spotty whites) to a whole collection of colors, including (but not restricted to) lovely brick-red variety, “brownstone”, and “sandstone” varieties. It’s an ongoing process, but only around half the NYC pigeons nowadays are standard grays and most of those show partial traits from the other strains. They are also a lot healthier, cleaner, and plumper.
    In contrast, I visited Essen a few years back. The pigeons there all identical, with tight gray ringlet markings over their wings, with no variety whatsoever. (Must be a more fixed strain.)

  169. Leif Svalgaard (18:17:59) :
    Gilbert (17:51:47) :
    I have a lot of respect for your abilities as a Solar Physicist, but maybe you should stop short of starting a childish rock fight
    Takes two to fight…I’m not starting a fight, you are…

    It only takes one to start a fight, and that’s exactly what you did when you impugned the integrity of everyone in the states of Kansas and Texas.
    When you dump on me along with everyone else, then you’re dead wrong. Kansas has more than its’ share of rednecks and religious fanatics, but not all Kansans are among them.
    “And my point stands: people get what they want, so don’t blame the system.”
    Only the majority gets what it wants. The minority goes along for the ride.
    Note also that the curriculum in Kansas is set by the State in compliance with federal guidelines. So no, the locals don’t always get what they want.
    Let’s please get back to the issue at hand.
    I grew up and went to school in the state of Kansas and was well versed in the scientific method by junior high school.
    I also learned about the theory of evolution as was commonplace at the time. Apparently, the times have changed.

  170. Gilbert (19:32:01) :
    It only takes one to start a fight, and that’s exactly what you did when you impugned the integrity of everyone in the states of Kansas and Texas.
    Everyone still have their integrity intact, as integrity has nothing to do with misguided or faith-based crippling of the coming generation(s). This is not about integrity [as these folks are sincere – we assume], but about malfeasance towards their (and others who may not share their beliefs) children.

  171. … the pigeons have evolved from standard grays (with a few black or heavily spotty whites) to a whole collection of colors…
    … I also learned about the theory of evolution as was commonplace at the time…
    Sorry, boys, but NYC pigeons have not “evolved”. They are the same species they always were. Evidently the liberal education you received, so pumped to promote evolution, failed to teach you just what that phenomenon actually is. And that’s a big part of the problem: liberal theology masquerading as education.

  172. evanmjones (19:30:41) :
    “In contrast, I visited Essen a few years back. The pigeons there all identical, with tight gray ringlet markings over their wings, with no variety whatsoever. (Must be a more fixed strain.)”
    Quite hard to believe, Evan.

  173. Seems like I’ve started another controversy, this time about the Law of Gravity.
    Did not think that gravity would be contentious.
    I appreciate the fact that it keeps me grounded.
    Cannot help much regarding how gravity works:
    Something about gravity waves or something; which can be overcome by sprinklings of pixey dust.

  174. Allan M R MacRae (22:06:56) :
    Seems like I’ve started another controversy, this time about the Law of Gravity.
    I do not think it is controversy, just a load of sophistry on semantics of what gravity is, a theory or a model.
    from webster:
    Model:
    1 obsolete : a set of plans for a building
    2 dialect British : copy, image
    3: structural design
    4: a usually miniature representation of something ; also : a pattern of something to be made
    5: an example for imitation or emulation
    6: a person or thing that serves as a pattern for an artist ; especially : one who poses for an artist
    7: archetype
    8: an organism whose appearance a mimic imitates
    9: one who is employed to display clothes or other merchandise
    10 a: a type or design of clothing b: a type or design of product (as a car)
    11: a description or analogy used to help visualize something (as an atom) that cannot be directly observed
    12: a system of postulates, data, and inferences presented as a mathematical description of an entity or state of affairs ; also : a computer simulation based on such a system
    13: version 3
    14: animal model
    theory:
    1: the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another
    2: abstract thought : speculation
    3: the general or abstract principles of a body of fact, a science, or an art
    4 a: a belief, policy, or procedure proposed or followed as the basis of action b: an ideal or hypothetical set of facts, principles, or circumstances —often used in the phrase in theory
    5: a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena
    6 a: a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation b: an unproved assumption : conjecture c: a body of theorems presenting a concise systematic view of a subject
    This should settle in which category gravity equations belong.

  175. Benjamin P. (16:48:33) :
    Nobody here questions gravity, but nobody here knows how gravity works.
    Speak for yourself, John.

  176. Re: Mike D. (20:43:45)
    It sounds like what population geneticists call ‘directional selection’. (I say ‘sounds like’ because I am not familiar with this particular population of pigeons.)

  177. One of the great things about WUWT conversations is their multi-disciplinary nature.
    Since gravity has come up as a modeling – or not-modeling (depending on one’s perspective/beliefs/…whatever) – example, this might be as-good-a-time-as-any to ask for opinions on the following articles:
    1.
    Omerbashich, M. (2008). Scale invariablity.
    http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0801/0801.0876.pdf
    [For those with a casual interest, taking a good look at Figure 1 (including the caption) should give you a general sense of a theme in some of the papers of M. Omerbashich.]
    2.
    Omerbashich, M. (2006) Springtide-induced magnification of Earth mantle’s resonance causes tectonics and conceals universality of physics at all scales.
    http://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/0608/0608026.pdf
    Thanks for comments.

  178. anna v (23:14:45) :
    Benjamin P. (16:48:33) :
    Nobody here questions gravity, but nobody here knows how gravity works.
    Speak for yourself, John.

    Of course they do Ben. It’s an action at a distance mediated by an assumed particle no-one has ever detected.

  179. Paul Vaughan (00:52:08) :
    I cannot presume to be able to review these papers with respect to the accepted GR and gravitational theories, i.e. whether they are a new way of inventing the wheel, are taking off on a tangent or are offering something new. This is what peer review is about, and this needs seismologists and GR guys to be able to gauge it.
    Usually when somebody takes a hit at both Newton and Einstein I tend to not take them seriously. Ether to boot. I thought that the Michelson Morley experiment killed ether, but who knows.
    I’ll take superstrings after all.

  180. I looked through some 7th & 8th grade TX science textbooks last year. While I avoided the fraction dedicated to biology, health, and enviro guff, I must say that the physics, astronomy tidbit, and chemistry actually looked pretty good, much better than I was expecting.
    It turns out that the intellectual black hole I was visiting didn’t issue the books to the students but were kept only as in class references to be brought out on rare occaisions. What passed for teaching was something totally different, centered around canned lcd slides that apparently did not meet the state mandated curiculum requirements as they had to spend a great deal of time near the standardized tests to quickly get the students to memorize the actual sort of material that would be on those test. I have suspicions even worse about how bad it is there.
    In short, their textbook – if they used it – would have made an unbelievable difference for the better.

  181. So Anna,
    what’s the office pool odds & winnings size running on the potential discovery of the Higgs (or its unfortunate demise via exclusion limits) happening this summer at the lhc these days?

  182. tallbloke (04:26:14) :
    It’s an action at a distance mediated by an assumed particle no-one has ever detected.
    Let us be clear on this. Classical Newtonian gravity is action at a distance. The same holds for classical electricity and magnetism. No medium is necessary for the equations to work and give accurate predictions for time and space experiments. Nor are any particles necessary to visualize mediation. Knowing how gravity works is knowing how to predict its effects by using the equations.
    It is while studying further electricity and magnetism that gave rise to electromagnetism and the electromagnetic waves that finally the positing of a photon as mediator became necessary in the quantum framework. The graviton is an extension of this to gravity but yes, it has not been observed nor is gravity quantized.
    General relativity is a different story, because it manipulates the very space time, it does not work with “forces” and “particles”. We have to wait and see whether a unified framework can be made, as super strings are trying to make, or something entirely new will appear.

  183. Calling Dr Popper! Calling Dr Karl Popper!
    Ludwig, put down that poker!
    At the risk of opening an old (what, four days ago?) argument, philosphy departments, before they fell into Derrida-da-ism, used to offer a course called Logic and the Scientific Method. In a rigorous liberal arts and sciences curriculum, this would be a required course for the Bachelor’s degree regardless of major.
    I suppose that using as one of the texts Newton’s __Principia__ in Latin would be a little too rigorous.
    But really, instilling in children from K-12 a genuine appreciation for the nature of scientific knowledge and for the method of scientific inquiry is a teaching task even more crucial. Education is about the preservation and passing-on, from one generation to the next, of ‘the best that has been thought and said,’ to quote Matthew Arnold. The perfection of scientific method is as much a part of the cultural patrimony of the West as is the poetry of Dante and Shakespeare or the music of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven.
    On some recent thread, there is a post of mine, off-topic in the context, in which I indulge in reminiscent appreciation of learning a little about meteorology in 7th grade science class (I was already a long-time weather- weenie and storm-lover at the age of twelve). I also suggested to Anthony that a continuing thread on science education in elementary and secondary schools might make for a pleasant and illuminating discussion. Perhaps this is it; it would be appropriate for such a thread to derive from an essay by Roger Pielke, Sr, who, for my money at least, is a paradigm of scientific integrity.

  184. cba (05:39:03) :
    So Anna,
    what’s the office pool odds & winnings size running on the potential discovery of the Higgs (or its unfortunate demise via exclusion limits) happening this summer at the lhc these days?

    50/50 ? The Higgs has been tooted too much, part of the PR. If it is not found at the current energies, a Higgs mechanism will be postulated, not to worry :).
    Lets get the LHC working first, and we shall see.

  185. anna v (23:09:16) :
    Pay close attention to this part of your definition of model…
    “12: a system of postulates, data, and inferences presented as a mathematical description of an entity or state of affairs ; also : a computer simulation based on such a system”
    …especially that part that says ‘…as a mathematical description…’
    “This should settle in which category gravity equations belong.”
    Indeed it should.
    Gravity is a Theory, to make predictions about the way gravity manifests itself we use mathematical models.
    Again though, we still do not have a mechanism to explain how one mass feels another mass.
    So we don’t know how it works, but we can predict exactly how it behaves because of accurate models!

  186. ” Communicate Your Results”
    Communicate them to your peers and communicate them, ultimately, to the public at large.
    This latter obligation, if that is not too strong a word, may be, and usually is, delegated to science writers, e.g. Tom Siegfried, and to reporters and journalists, e.g. Andy Revkin. This is no doubt an oversimplification; in many cases there may be several intermediaries between the researcher and the popularizer. This, of course, increases the possibility of miscommunication of the original message, as in the party-game ‘Telephone’.
    I do not believe it an exaggeration to say that the intelligence, curiosity and good faith of these intermediaries between researchers and the general public have a critical role to play if we continue to value the idea of a democratic polity even in a society where technical expertise, or at least pretentions thereto, has an accelerating impact on public policy and private life.
    Blogs such as this one are thus of vital importance. I, for one, do not wish to be governed by a Sanhedrin of anointed ‘experts’.

  187. “Few realize like I do that wilderness is a myth.”
    Not so much. Well observed and written about in 18th and 19th Cent. Ex: Thoreau and Lewis & Clark, T. Jefferson. Earlier refs by Chaucer, Milton. Also see Romanticists, Ruskin.
    The myth you are referring to is mostly a religious and political construct to justify subjective and hegemonic behaviors.

  188. “The most recent findings by Dr. Svalgaard et al. are based on only the first of three years of data during the current decline of solar cycle 23. At least two more years of data (through the solar minimum) are required to provide a more accurate prediction.”
    The Next Solar Maximum the Smallest in 100 Years? Space Weather News : Research News 10 June, 2009. http://www.spacew.com/news/05Mar2005/index.php

  189. Benjamin P. (08:11:18) :
    anna v (23:09:16) :
    Pay close attention to this part of your definition of model…
    “12: a system of postulates, data, and inferences presented as a mathematical description of an entity or state of affairs ; also : a computer simulation based on such a system”

    No.
    The theory of gravitation is not a computer simulation and a system of inferences. It is an elegant basically simple mathematical formulation . It is not a model. It could be called an algorithm, not a model. It is not a description, it is a generator of descriptions that fits all possible data. It is used in models but is not a model.

  190. ‘… wilderness is a myth.’
    Ah, myth! Magic word to Mr Eye-magination!
    Carl Jung, Mircea Eliade, Joseph Campbell, Northrop Frye! Eliot, Joyce and Yeats, Oh my!
    Etymologically from the same Indo-Euopean root as English ‘mouth’. The primitive meaning of ‘mythos’ is ‘speech’–an easy hop from there to ‘story’.
    A myth is not a lie; a myth is the only way of telling certain truths about the world and our place in it.
    Of course ‘wilderness’ is a myth, a story constructed with the human tongue. No settled land, no towns and cities–in general, no man-affected landscape– that is ‘wilderness’. In other words, the definition of wilderness must be framed in the negative; no humans, no wilderness.
    For most of human history, ‘wilderness’ has had a negative connotation: what was not man-affected was not man-friendly. Only in a technologically developed, prosperous society that has won for itself some small measure of breathing room from the pursuit of the Four Horsemen can an appreciation for the wild develop.

  191. Alas, I am a poor refugee from the post-modernist wreckage of the English Department!

  192. Giles Winterbourne (08:44:05) :
    “The most recent findings by Dr. Svalgaard et al. are based on only the first of three years of data during the current decline of solar cycle 23. At least two more years of data (through the solar minimum) are required to provide a more accurate prediction.”
    Except that today we have precisely the data we need for this [comes from waiting three+ years 🙂 ] and the recent data corroborates the early prediction as the polar fields have hardly changed. If anything the average value over the last three years is a tad smaller that the very early value, so perhaps a better prediction today would be closer to 70, which is not significantly different from the original prediction.

  193. ‘Again though, we still do not have a *mechanism* to explain how one mass feels another mass.’
    If you had a balky ‘M’ key, and it had misfired on each instance of the word ‘mass’, the result would be an intriguing sentence.
    As it is, the use of the verb ‘feel’ seems to ascribe sentience to masses. Suspenders ‘ ‘ would help.
    I think we may have to be satisfied with an operational definition of mass, and forget about an essential definition.
    But getting back to ‘mechanism’– ya see how language can govern thought? ‘Mechanisms’ are, literally, human contrivances, like the mechanism of a clock. There is no problem with using the term analogously of natural processes, as long as one remains aware that this is a figurative and not a literal usage.
    Same deal when we say that the human brain is ‘hard-wired’ for language; the analogy is from manmade, metal-wire circuitry. A very helpful analogy, to be sure, but analogical still. Analogies from computer science (or is it IT now?) are probably closer.
    A third example, not from technics, is the concept of a ‘law’ of physical nature, analogously parallel to the laws of political societies.

  194. Giles Winterbourne
    Sir, you glory in a name out of Henry James. The last name, I mean, and I can’t at the moment remember which novel.

  195. ” I think science has been under attack for some time now and too often scientific issues have been taken over by politicians on the extreme left (global warming) and the extreme right (creationism). ”
    Science cannot be government funded to any significant degree and avoid the necessary consequence of being ‘political’.
    ‘Political’ need not be a dirty word; it is closely related to the word ‘policy’, as in ‘public policy’, and in 21st c. technologically developed societies the input to policy-makers of the best work of scientists making is vey important.

  196. Arthur Glass (07:19:00) “I also suggested to Anthony that a continuing thread on science education in elementary and secondary schools might make for a pleasant and illuminating discussion.”
    I second the motion.
    I would include post-secondary education in the list, but certainly the deeper roots are (generally speaking) more important.
    How is it that members of our society are being conditioned to accept modeling output (such as forecasts) without even thinking to question underlying (potentially UNTENABLE) assumptions?
    I’ve taught, coached, & judged 1000s of introductory-level statistics students. I have no hesitation in asserting that things are going HORRIBLY wrong with our society’s efforts [actually lack thereof] to help students develop reliable & enduring roots.
    There is a lack of careful & patient emphasis on UNDERSTANDING fundamental concepts. Excessive (administrative) valuation of (the appearance of) fast-spinning wheels is systematically trumping (almost without exception) deep focus on educational FUNDAMENTALS.
    Some restraint (of the spinning-system) is in order. Having most-of-the-population confused all-of-the-time serves only LOCAL*SHORT-term (administrative political convenience) goals.
    Other societies are RAPIDLY overtaking us as we INFIGHT. Many of my students have been from societies with ‘superior’ education systems. They STAGGERINGLY outperform locals …& with both ease AND grace. We NEED to take note – & take ACTION — NOW, I would argue. With our eyes OFF-the-ball (and instead seriously & misguidedly focused on silly, partisan politics), we are SITTING DUCKS that will EASILY be picked-off if we do not smarten-up FAST …and notice our surroundings.
    If we decided to, we could move fast —- we could have results within (about, I’d say) 2.5 generations. All we have to do is get dead-serious about survival – and stay calm, of course.
    Eventually there will be a change-of-the-guard. We need to prepare before that moment arrives (…and we don’t know when it will happen so there is not a moment to waste).
    The Cold War kept us on our game. When the iron curtain collapsed, we got sucked into a unipolar void — you can’t pitch a very good tent with only one source of tension.
    Our next rise will be driven by educational need – and I don’t mean ‘theory’ — I mean hard practicereal knowledge – widespread across all members of a whole society. This will be the (long-term) way to survive a (grueling) contest with our emerging competition. As much as it is against our very deep, divisive conditioning, our survival – at this stage – depends on militant cooperation.

    Thank you for your comments Arthur.

  197. Arthur Glass (13:42:35),
    Wasn’t the author Thomas Hardy? I read the Woodlanders many years ago. And I think someone made it into a movie, but I never saw it.

  198. Anna, one last time.
    Gravity is a Theory, to make predictions about the way gravity manifests itself we use mathematical models.
    Or should we keep arguing semantics?
    Ben

  199. Also Anna,
    “The theory of gravitation is not a computer simulation and a system of inferences. It is an elegant basically simple mathematical formulation”
    What are those “computer simulations” based on? Some hamster randomly pushing buttons to generate an output? Or are they MATH EQUATIONS!?
    The only difference is the MODELS we use to predict the effects of gravity are relatively simplistic compared to climate.
    Ben

  200. Ref: Leif Svalgaard (15:56:09) “these are LOCAL school board decisions…”
    Now, not so much: There are local boards that get heavily influenced by special interest groups; and that happens nationwide. However, the Texas State Board of Education has adopted weakened science standards that can allow creationists to pressure textbook publishers to include their pov. Because Texas is a large state, their decisions influence national publishers and every state winds up with materials under that influence. http://www.tfn.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5745 and http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/teks/scienceTEKS.html
    Might especially be interested in the parts of the following that were deleted as they pertain to this thread: ( Page 7-8 http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/teks/science/ch112b_as_approved032709.pdf
    (3) Scientific investigation and reasoning. The student uses critical thinking, scientific reasoning, and
    problem solving to make informed decisions and knows the contributions of relevant scientists.
    The student is expected to:
    (A) in all fields of science, analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations by using
    empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing,
    7
    05/08/09 — As approved by the State Board of Education on March 27, 2009, for second reading and final adoption,
    with technical edits, as authorized by State Board of Education operating rules. Not yet filed; will be subject to
    review for non-substantive, technical edits by Texas Register editors.
    including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so
    as to encourage critical thinking by the student;
    [(A) differentiate among scientific fact, scientific hypothesis, scientific theory, and
    scientific law;]
    Before all the recent stuff, I had to tiptoe around several issues when I was developing and writing 6-8 Environmental and Ecology online curriculum for a publisher developing materials to meet Texas standards.

  201. Benjamin P. (09:11:09) :
    All our “predictions” on gravity are based on models. David is just seething ignorance with respect to models and science when he makes his bold claim. I use models all the time to predict how trace elements will fractionate in a crystallizing magma chamber. Models are employed in the field of genetics, chemistry, geology, climatology, biology, ad nauseam. All you folks have done is stigmatize the word “model” and then use that stigma that you have created as some strawman argument of why climate science is bunk (because they use models!!!)

    Wow! Where to begin with this one? As per my earlier post regarding my background, while “seething ignorance” probably applies to my knowledge of solar dynamics, with regard to my knowledge of computers and computer modeling it is not remotely close to being true. With regard to modeling gravitational effects, I’ve been there done that. With regard to your statement comparing the models you use to climate models, I cannot think of a more disingenuous reply. If the models you use were as inaccurate and unreliable as climate models I doubt you would use them or if you did I doubt you would keep your job very long because your results would suck. With respect to the “stigma that you have created” the stigma is not on models but on the people who use inaccurate and unreliable models to predict future climate. And, finally, with respect to “why climate science is bunk”, climate science is bunk because AGW “scientists” continue to use computer models to try to prove a theory instead of proving the theory and then using models to model it! A computer model cannot prove a theory! Repeat after me, “A computer model cannot prove a theory!” Nonsense is when you try to prove a theory based on models you create yourself. That is what the AGW crowd is attempting to do.

  202. Interesting thread.
    I can’t help but think the whole vexed problem of global warming goes back to C.P.Snow’s “Two Cultures” (1962?) in which he portrayed a divide between people who were educated in the arts and humanities, and people who were educated in the sciences.
    When I was at university in Britain in the 1960s, studying Architecture (when I wasn’t chasing girls) most of the ‘fun’ people studied humanities subjects – English, history, philosophy, etc -. They were the ‘hippies’ and ‘radicals’ who marched and protested. They talked Marxism and politics and literature and art and music. The science students were relatively uninteresting, and generally conservative, and not much bothered with politics and literature. Each had no little contempt for the other.
    Despite studying architecture, I actually got a lot of science education at university, and it was towards science that I gradually began to gravitate. The ‘fun’ people had gradually begun to seem superficial, vain, faddish. I guess I wanted to find something that was more rigorous and rational. I moved slowly from the arts to the sciences. It was possible to do, back then.
    But it’s the arts graduates who are now running Britain. The BBC, for example, is stuffed full with arts and humanities graduates. They’re highly literate, highly eloquent, and very fashionable. They can talk about just about anything. But they know nothing about science. Almost nothing at all. To them it’s boring. It’s mechanical. It’s, well,… beneath them. They think it’s, well, just not very important. Not as important as freedom, equality, truth, society, post-modernism, art, music, literature – all the widest perspectives of human life.
    The result is that they’re very naive. They are as wonderfully innumerate as they are wonderfully literate. They freeze up at the sight of numbers, particularly large ones with decimal points in them. Any scientist or doctor or researcher can come along and tell them something, and they’ll accept it entirely uncritically, because they have no means of investigating science claims. For them, scientists are unquestionable authority figures, whose authority is measured by the number of letters after their names.
    In such circumstances, what better way is there to advance some political or moral cause than to present it as science? What better way to get all these arts and humanities graduates to do what you want than to dress it up with charts and tables and numbers and equations and (best of all) computer simulation models? They won’t be able to question it. They won’t be able to pick it apart. Not like they could if exactly the same political programme was presented to them in plain English with its cultural and historical antecedents laid bare.
    And maybe this is all that we’re now witnessing. The global warmists are using their mathematical and scientific skills to steam-roller an arts and humanities-educated political and media class who simply have no defences against them. Or no more defences than peasants armed with wooden sticks facing an oncoming tank army.
    And in this they’re greatly assisted by the fact that most real scientists aren’t that interested (just like in my student days) in politics, ethics, economics, art, music, and literature. They’re interested in string theory, and galaxies, and DNA, and beetles, and tides. That’s what they spend most of their time thinking about. And they’re usually focused on a very small patch of their own particular discipline. Can anyone tell me what Einstein’s politics were? Or Rutherford’s? Or Bohr’s? Has anyone got a painting by Boltzmann or Euler? Or a poem by James Van Allen?
    So the AGWers are exploiting a fault line running through our whole society: the division between the arts and the sciences. On the one side of it they’re duping the arts guys, who are just incredibly easy to dupe with numbers and graphs, and who have no defences whatsoever against them. And on the other hand they’re relying on real scientists to continue to remain largely indifferent to large-scale political and ethical and economic issues, and keep their noses to the grindstone of the disciplines they work in.
    They’ll only be defeated when all the arts and humanities people suddenly realise that science does matter after all, and that they really should know about it, and it’s a dangerous hole in their education which the AGWers are exploiting. And they’ll also only be defeated when the science guys suddenly realise that all that politics and ethics and economics and art and music and literature does matter, and isn’t quite as trivial and unimportant as it looks, and that they’ve got a dangerous hole in their education too, which can be and is being exploited.
    Now, of course, what I’ve presented here is a little bit of a caricature. In reality, quite a few of the arts guys know quite a lot about science, and quite a few of the science guys know quite a lot about art – Richard Feynman was as proud of being a samba drummer as he was of his Feynman diagrams. It’s not actually as black and white as I’m presenting it. But I think the division between the two cultures is nevertheless very real.
    You really have to hand it to the AGWers. Theirs has been a brilliant coup. They’ve exploited a profound division in Western society. And perhaps in doing so they’ll turn out in the end to have done us all a favour, and forced us to become rather more well-rounded, well-educated people than we were before.
    And then you’ll be able to come here and read Leif Svalgaard expound upon the solar magnetosphere one day,… and upon Salvador Dali the next.

  203. David Holliday, EM Smith,
    Thanks so much for that enlightening expose, but I’m well aware of what computer models are and how they work. What both of you are effectively saying, which I find stunningly arrogant, is that because your careers have involved some dabbling in computer models, you are therefore authorities on the ones built by climate scientists and are somehow able to see faults that they cannot (and that no other scientific authority has seen fit to point out to them, incidently) Pretty brave claims.
    You’re both fooling yourselves and I recommend you read a few reputable books on how we know what we know about climate change. The science is over a hundred years old and the predictions that are proving correct were around before the modern computer was born. The evidence of climate change is all around you and does not rely on computer models for its confirmation. Models will prove useful in predicting a range over which the consequences will be spread and in deciding the most effective ways of dealing with it. The fact that it’s happening is not in question, no matter what your political objections.
    It is slightly scary that even with a nearly record minimum in solar activity and a series of La Nina’s the warming trend is still slightly positive. It appears we are swinging back into El Nino this month though, just as the arctic sea ice extent crosses over and exceeds even 2007’s record June low. You won’t be able to keep the blinkers on for too much longer.

  204. The science is over a hundred years old? Really?.
    No this unsupported speculation is over two hundred years old: and to date there is nothing to suggest it is anything more than supposition.
    Of course you can build computer models to model any fantasy you please. But fantasy is all it is.
    I do not know what you mean by reputable books, no doubt they are ones approved by censors, but I do suggest you go and read some basic textbooks on physics, chemistry, mathematics and statistics.
    Kindest Regards

  205. David Holliday (17:02:26) :

    With regard to modeling gravitational effects, I’ve been there done that. With regard to your statement comparing the models you use to climate models, I cannot think of a more disingenuous reply. If the models you use were as inaccurate and unreliable as climate models I doubt you would use them or if you did I doubt you would keep your job very long because your results would suck.

    In other words, your area of expertise involved scientific models which happen to be well tested and measured. There is little room for gross error. Climate modeling is a bit more exploratory.

    Repeat after me, “A computer model cannot prove a theory!” Nonsense is when you try to prove a theory based on models you create yourself. That is what the AGW crowd is attempting to do</blockquote.
    I don't understand this point. How does one "prove" this type of scientific theory without at some point writing down the equations and then computing them? How does one compute them in this case without a computer? If so, what is wrong with running a computer model?
    Pielke Sr.'s point is that you have to test the computer models against observation, with clear criteria on proof/disproof. That's quite different from disowning models because the theory hasn't been proven a priori.

  206. Matt Bennett (18:21:07) :
    David Holliday, EM Smith,
    Thanks so much for that enlightening expose, but I’m well aware of what computer models are and how they work. What both of you are effectively saying, which I find stunningly arrogant, is that because your careers have involved some dabbling in computer models, you are therefore authorities on the ones built by climate scientists and are somehow able to see faults that they cannot (and that no other scientific authority has seen fit to point out to them, incidently) Pretty brave claims.
    You’re both fooling yourselves and I recommend you read a few reputable books on how we know what we know about climate change. The science is over a hundred years old and the predictions that are proving correct were around before the modern computer was born. The evidence of climate change is all around you and does not rely on computer models for its confirmation. Models will prove useful in predicting a range over which the consequences will be spread and in deciding the most effective ways of dealing with it. The fact that it’s happening is not in question, no matter what your political objections.
    It is slightly scary that even with a nearly record minimum in solar activity and a series of La Nina’s the warming trend is still slightly positive. It appears we are swinging back into El Nino this month though, just as the arctic sea ice extent crosses over and exceeds even 2007’s record June low. You won’t be able to keep the blinkers on for too much longer.

    Matt: This warming trend is from the Little Ice Age (circa 1700s through 1800s) perhaps, and how much higher would it have to go to exceed the Medieval, Roman and Minoan warming periods???
    The key point – before you get scared of “warming”, – is to demonstrate that natural variation of climate is no longer in operation – something that has not yet been done.
    Also, given that the current arctic sea ice is also above the 2005 and 2006 numbers and frankly the yearly records are rather bunched up at the moment – seems to be drawing a conclusion from insignificant evidence.
    REF: http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/AMSRE_Sea_Ice_Extent.png
    Let’s wait for September and assess the minimum for 2009 vs the other years…
    WRT Computer Model validity – REF this http://landshape.org/enm/errors-of-global-warming-effects-modeling/#more-2330

  207. Benjamin P. (16:02:58) :
    Anna, one last time.
    Gravity is a Theory, to make predictions about the way gravity manifests itself we use mathematical models.
    Or should we keep arguing semantics?

    To say “we use mathematical models” in order to describe solving differential equations is like saying that playing music is modeling musical theory.
    It is sophistry to support your confusion of what the difference is between modeling and exact theory outputs.
    Also Anna,
    “The theory of gravitation is not a computer simulation and a system of inferences. It is an elegant basically simple mathematical formulation”
    What are those “computer simulations” based on? Some hamster randomly pushing buttons to generate an output? Or are they MATH EQUATIONS!?
    The only difference is the MODELS we use to predict the effects of gravity are relatively simplistic compared to climate.

    No.
    The difference is that in modeling we use a large number of approximations of possible solutions of differential equations ( as I have stated in my post , anna v (12:18:19) : )i.e. we have already solved the theory, found the solutions, and are imposing boundary conditions.
    There is a basic qualitative difference, not quantitative, in the concept “theory” and “model”.
    That there can be semantic confusion among scientifically trained people between the meaning of theory and solutions from a theory, and modeling, goes partway towards solving for me the puzzle of how there can be scientists who confuse cause and effect. There is general confusion.

  208. idlex (18:04:45) :
    Ditto.
    You really have to hand it to the AGWers. Theirs has been a brilliant coup. They’ve exploited a profound division in Western society. And perhaps in doing so they’ll turn out in the end to have done us all a favour, and forced us to become rather more well-rounded, well-educated people than we were before.
    A favor if the whole western civilizations does not go down the drain with the carbon credit scam, and we have to start from square number one again.

  209. anna v (21:16:32) :

    To say “we use mathematical models” in order to describe solving differential equations is like saying that playing music is modeling musical theory.

    There is a basic qualitative difference, not quantitative, in the concept “theory” and “model”.

    Anna, it might be fair to say that the differential equations ARE the mathematical model. The harmonic oscillator equation is not an exact description of a spring-mass system or a tight string or anything else, just as the Euler equations are not an exact description of fluid flows.
    Solving the differential equations numerically is usually one further step in modeling (approximating the continuous equations with discrete or periodic spectral versions).
    Perhaps it is a semantic argument for many of us (including you) who have experience in this process, but I think it’s important to communicate the distinction clearly in front of a general audience.

  210. oms (21:45:40) :
    You are also demonstrating this semantic confusion.
    it might be fair to say that the differential equations ARE the mathematical model. The harmonic oscillator equation is not an exact description of a spring-mass system or a tight string or anything else, just as the Euler equations are not an exact description of fluid flows.
    The solution of the harmonic oscillation is not a model. It is an exact solution of a theory, it exists in mathematical space whether people that will use it exist or not. One may need a model to fit this solution to actual oscillators, but it is a different action than solving the equation.
    Models need people and the culture we have.
    Let me put it differently:
    Theories and their mathematical solutions, like the music of the spheres, are there whether or not people are there, in a mathematical space.
    Using the word “model” for a theory shows how these video games of climate models have convinced their users that they are doing rigorous science. They have no concept that they are just using a tool of integration, they think it is theory.

  211. idlex (18:04:45) ”They are as wonderfully innumerate as they are wonderfully literate. They freeze up at the sight of numbers […] They won’t be able to question it. They won’t be able to pick it apart.”
    A couple of years ago I was contracted to help develop a course on functional numeracy. You’ve hit many of the key points addressed by the committee.
    Math educators are neither sufficiently empowered nor sufficiently supported by the system to achieve the learning outcomes with which they are taxed.
    This is not a simple issue.
    Although there is growing awareness of the problem, there is not yet the critical mass necessary to solve the problem.
    Amongst the largest remaining [planning stage] problems:
    Division (amongst math educators) on the nature of the optimal solution.

    idlex “[…] using their mathematical and scientific skills to steam-roller an arts and humanities-educated political and media class who simply have no defences against them. Or no more defences than peasants armed with wooden sticks facing an oncoming tank army.”
    Discussions like this one help flag issues needing attention – plus: let’s not assume:
    a) that the true agenda is the ‘apparent’ one.
    b) that common sense is absent.

    You are right about the need for bridging. I’ve switched disciplines a number of times, mainly motivated by the need to gather ideas & methods from other disciplines to pursue answers to interdisciplinary questions. It is an administrative challenge – even a serious burden – for disciplines to support the development of well-rounded hybrids. This – along with attitudes – must change, but it will clearly be most efficient to exercise restrained patience and to prepare to roll with the changing-of-the-guard, rather than to head-on-confront old-school traditionalists who are culturally conditioned to consume inordinate amounts of energy fighting. We (who plan for positive change) can afford them some dignity on their way out while we spend some time sharpening our tools.
    In a more educated society, there would be far-less-agitated concerns about ‘peer-review’; the publication process could be more liberalized since a higher proportion of literate & numerate citizens would empower society to be stimulated by unconventional ideas without feeling threatened by tidal waves of mass-misguidance.

  212. One thing that is becoming very evident in this discussion is that the term ‘model’ is used differently in different disciplines.

  213. anna v (22:17:55) :

    You are also demonstrating this semantic confusion…The solution of the harmonic oscillation is not a model. It is an exact solution of a theory, it exists in mathematical space whether people that will use it exist or not.

    The harmonic oscillator is an idealized mathematical model for a real physical systems. You may choose to forget the origin and simply talk about the solutions for the linear equation, but that is pure mathematics and has no intrinsic meaning from a physics standpoint.
    The physical interpretation comes from the original formulation for the model.

    One may need a model to fit this solution to actual oscillators, but it is a different action than solving the equation.

    Regardless, many people do not appreciate that the differential equation itself is a model for a physical system. It is not a “real” thing, any more than a climate model is a “real” thing. The important thing is understanding the limitations of the model formulation and how far it can (or cannot) be extended.

    Using the word “model” for a theory shows how these video games of climate models have convinced their users that they are doing rigorous science. They have no concept that they are just using a tool of integration, they think it is theory.

    From your point of view, is continuum mechanics a theory or not?

  214. oms (19:28:56) : “I don’t understand this point. How does one “prove” this type of scientific theory without at some point writing down the equations and then computing them?”
    A theory is proved through experimentation or observation. Models executed on a computer are neither experimentation nor observation. They are calculation. They represent what we know (or think we know) in mathematical formulas. You can’t prove a model in an absolute sense but you can ‘validate’ it by comparing its results against known results or observations. In this way you can gain confidence in the validity of the model.
    I have this mental picture of Sir Isaac Newton trying to figure out gravity. He is watching an apple fall out of a tree or dropping objects from a tower. I picture him taking out pen and paper and scratching down formulas to represent what he was seeing and then using the formulas to calculate a result and then duplicating the result through experimentation. That is modeling and science combined in a way that makes sense. The only difference between now and then is that if he was alive now it is highly likely Sir Newton would use a computer to perform his calculations.
    Models, being human constructs, are always limited by our understanding of what we are modeling. If you remember a while back there was a story on this blog about a group that built a model of the sunspot cycle. They apparently thought the model was pretty good and were able to accurately reproduce several previous cycles. But their projection of the current cycle missed significantly. Their model was flawed. It was likely a lack of understanding of the drivers of sunspots but possibly some flaw in the way the model was built. Regardless, I know of no theory that was proven or disproven by the failure of that model. The theory could be represented in the model but it would be proven or disproven only by what happened on the sun.
    After the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster the company I worked for provided support for reconstructing the descent so that NASA could get an understanding of what went wrong. Using sensor data and known flight characteristics the team was able to construct a model that matched what was observed. The model was a significant piece of evidence used in the final findings report. The methodology used to generate that model was to examine the evidence, hypothesize what happened, model the result and compare it to known data. The resulting model, along with the results of several other experiments, led to the final conclusions.
    With regard to your statement of climate models being “a bit more exploratory.” Computers are exploratory only to the extent humans program them to be exploratory. There is not an ounce of creativity in any computer on earth. There are some programs that do a pretty good impression of being intelligent but that is because there are some pretty smart and creative programmers out there. Don’t confuse the genius of the person or persons who created the program with the program itself.
    In summary, a model is a representation of what we know. It can help us validate our understanding of what we are modeling but it can’t provide that understanding in the first place. I don’t think this contradicts what Mr. Pielke said.

  215. oms (22:57:29) :
    From your point of view, is continuum mechanics a theory or not?
    From Wikipedia:
    “Continuum mechanics is a branch of mechanics that deals with the analysis of the kinematics and mechanical behavior of materials modeled as a continuum, e.g., solids and fluids (i.e., liquids and gases). A continuum concept assumes that the substance of the body is distributed throughout — and completely fills — the space it occupies.”
    OK, I can see the semantic overlap in this entry, since extensive use of mathematics is made.
    IMO it is a sloppy use of the term modeling, rather a use before the extensive appearance of models as we know them currently. The write up demonstrates for me the insidious erosion of strict language definitions , and probably the entry is made by a Climate model modeler 🙂 .
    I went through all my college and graduate studies physics books. The word “model” is not in any of the indices, so there is a fuzzy logic on this term that has appeared recently, as it is currently applied .

  216. >> anna v (23:09:16) :
    I do not think it is controversy, just a load of sophistry on semantics of what gravity is, a theory or a model.
    from webster:
    . . . . <<
    What we need are better definitions:
    Model:
    A systematic description of an object or phenomenon that shares important characteristics with the object or phenomenon. Scientific models can be material, visual, mathematical, or computational and are often used in the construction of scientific theories. (See also hypothesis, theory.)
    The American Heritage Science Dictionary.
    Theory:
    In science, an explanation or model that covers a substantial group of occurrences in nature and has been confirmed by a substantial number of experiments and observations. A theory is more general and better verified than a hypothesis. (See Big Bang theory, evolution, and relativity.)
    The American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition.
    Jim

  217. Paul Vaughan (22:34:14) : It is an administrative challenge – even a serious burden – for disciplines to support the development of well-rounded hybrids.
    I don’t think this arts-sciences divide can be fixed by college administrators. It’s not just a problem in the education system. It’s much deeper than that.
    Somebody wrote upthread about how they’d grown up reading about science in their youth, and they’d looked forward to it solving all sorts of problems. I was the same. But for all the people who are optimistic about science, there are plenty who are deeply pessimistic. While you or I might point to all sorts of scientific advances, they would point to weapons technologies and all sorts of downsides to scientific and technological innovation.
    The rise of a romantic sensibility in Western societies over the past few centuries is an expression of this pessimism. Environmentalism entails a rejection of technological progress, and a nostalgia for a simpler, greener, rural society. While lots of people want to go forward, environmentalists want to go back to a world that isn’t a totalitarian dystopia of concrete and motorways.
    This isn’t an education problem. It’s a deep cultural issue. One might even say that the science guys are the people who optimistically look forward, and the arts guys are the people who pessimistically look back.
    I’m someone who has shifted from optimism (when I was reading Isaac Azimov) to pessimism (when I was 60s hippy), and then back to optimism. And I’m not quite sure how I managed it. But it seems to me that if you are, for one reason or other, deeply pessimistic about the future of humanity, then you tend not to have much interest in science, which is essentially optimistic (We can find out! We can understand the universe!), and you inhabit a backward-looking world in which your utopia was something we said goodbye to a few centuries back, if not a few millennia back.
    I think scientists are natural optimists. But they’re surrounded by a sea of pessimists. And they’re now fair set to get drowned by the rising tide of pessimism. I can’t see that this tide of pessimism can be rolled back except by the optimists addressing the fears and worries of the pessimists, and showing them that things don’t have to go the way they fear. But I don’t see that happening. And so the pessimism of the pessimists just deepens.

  218. post-modernism = pre-hunter-gatherer IMHO
    there are various ways to consider the divide and I’m not sure art/science is necessarily a good one to use. da Vinci comes to mind. one I’ve seen used is a masculinism/feminism description which is based upon philosophical concepts rather than on sex.
    Having seen a few examples of what passes for secondary education in the past year, the TX textbooks aren’t even a problem. As stated, they weren’t being used, despite being quite adaquate in the subjects which are not being taught, or at least not being learned. I’m sure though that the kiddies were learning all about how man was destroying the planet and about how the cute little cuddly polar bears were drowning to extinction, marooned on little icebergs. Those books actually did present the scientific method and all sorts of information in the hard sciences. I think most ofthe problem was that the teachers didn’t understand any of it, having been education majors in college. That was obvious because they talked to the kiddies in education language jargon that I needed to translate. My guess is that Koresh cult in Waco had better (real) science education that the public school classes I visitied last year.
    As for computer simulations or video games being called models, there is even more of a problem. It seems that many video games actually do use modeling and achieve some reasonable level of accuracy in the simulations when desired. As much as I prefer to use the term video game to refer to GCMs, it is a bit of an insult to the video game industry and professional video game programmers to lump them together with GCMs.
    Then again, these gcm’s are incomplete as there are details which are not known, theory wise. Perhaps GCIS should be used for the name – General Climate Imitation Simulation, being that it’s not a real simulation and the only thing actually circulating is the reasoning.

  219. “Other societies are RAPIDLY overtaking us as we INFIGHT. Many of my students have been from societies with ’superior’ education systems. They STAGGERINGLY outperform locals …& with both ease AND grace. ”
    I taught English as a Second Language at the college level for two years, and thus had the opportunity to learn from first hand accounts what kids study in other educational systems. I had a Japanese student tell me that what passes for College Algebra in many universities in the States dealt with subject matter that they were familiar with from the equivalent of 8th grade.
    There was a piece on the news yesterday about the ‘problem’ of ‘diversity’ at the UC campus at Irvine, where 40% of the students are Asian-American. Californians, in an uncharacteristic fit of good sense, passed a referendum a few years ago banning race-based admissions, and one outcome of merit-based admissions has been that Asian-Americans now constitute a proportion of all UC students far greater than their percentage of the statewide population.
    It seems to me that if I were teaching physics (God help me!) I would rejoice in seeing, on the first day of class, Chinese faces. I know that is a ‘positive stereotype’, but there it is.
    What do we want, then, from our universities, especially in the natural sciences, ‘diversity’ or excellence?

  220. “Wasn’t the author Thomas Hardy?”
    No, not the author of ‘Daisy Miller’, who was Henry James. Winterbourne is the male lead in that story. He is in love with Daisy, in his own Winterbournish way; as his frigid name suggests, he is not a man aflame with Byronic passions.
    I am sure our Winterbourne is quite otherwise.

  221. ” [Gravity] It is not a description, it is a generator of descriptions that fits all possible data. It is used in models but is not a model.’
    Hmmm, reminds me alot of the theory of grammar in contemporary liguistics, i.e. ‘generative grammar’ a la Chomsky.
    ‘Rule-bound creativity’.
    By the way, Leif Svalgaard may sleep better for knowing that I have decided that the best adjective to attribute to ‘theory’ is not ‘true’ but ‘most adequate’. That theory is most adequate which accounts for the phenomena in question in the simplest way possible (Occam’s razor). Presumably, a geocentric model of the heavens can come up with accurate predictions of the positions of celestial objects (after all, astronomers were able to predict eclipses 4,000 years ago). The problem is that the apparatus of the model is exceedingly complex, with epicycle within epicycle. Kepler and Copernicus ‘saved the phenomena’ with a much simpler model, and Newton’s towering genius saw that the motions of the planets could be accounted for by the same, breathtakingly simple law that governed the fall of apples.

  222. ‘Niels Bohr had a singular insight and capitalized on it his whole life.’
    The ‘Bohr effect’ is often cited to illustrate the divide between theoretical and experimental physics. Supposedly, Bohr was so inept in a laboratory that all he had to do was pass by a lab for something to break down.

  223. This essay, published nearly half a century ago, has become a cult classic:
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc/MathDrama/reading/Wigner.html
    The author, Eugene Wigner, opens with an eloquent quotation from Bertrand Russell (give that devil his due).
    “Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty, a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show. The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than Man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as in poetry.”

  224. David Holliday (23:03:02) :

    A theory is proved through experimentation or observation. Models executed on a computer are neither experimentation nor observation.

    You might take a numerical simulation as the high-ticket version of what used to be called a “thought experiment.”
    Suppose so-and-so happens, we have three gravitational bodies or two twins or maybe one rise in CO2… if we just put that into the machinery, whether it be a variational principle or Lorentz transforms or some huge hodgepodge of parameterizations, what does the amalgamation of theory say will happen?
    And I think we are in agreement that, as far as the “experimental” design is concerned, we ought to try to think up an experiment which confirms/disconfirms some portion of the underlying theory before we get ahead of ourselves.

    They are calculation. They represent what we know (or think we know) in mathematical formulas. You can’t prove a model in an absolute sense but you can ‘validate’ it by comparing its results against known results or observations. In this way you can gain confidence in the validity of the model.

    I think we rarely (if ever) do any physical computation which uses our “full” knowledge. Always there are approximations made, guesses on the boundary conditions, unwanted scales and nonlinear terms tossed out, etc. For example, the Euler equations are already strictly “disproven” for physical fluid flows, since we know that viscosity exists; yet they remain a model which seems valid until… well, until the limits of the model. At that point it helps a great deal if one has not forgotten how the model was constructed in the first place.

    With regard to your statement of climate models being “a bit more exploratory.” Computers are exploratory only to the extent humans program them to be exploratory.

    The exploratory was in reference to their relevance in climate science. Climate models are useful for exploring the parameter space in a way that we (obviously) can’t do.

  225. Arthur Glass (06:32:42) :
    By the way, Leif Svalgaard may sleep better for knowing that I have decided that the best adjective to attribute to ‘theory’ is not ‘true’ but ‘most adequate’. That theory is most adequate which accounts for the phenomena in question in the simplest way possible (Occam’s razor).
    with one modification: the theory must also have predictive power. The simplest theory [‘most adequate’ in your terms] is that Angles push the planets around according to God’s wishes, end of story.

  226. anna v (23:30:33) :

    I went through all my college and graduate studies physics books. The word “model” is not in any of the indices, so there is a fuzzy logic on this term that has appeared recently, as it is currently applied.

    Perhaps the traditional distinction is between “theory” and “observation.” And since most of my college and graduate physics and math textbooks seem to be about “theory,” I guess they wouldn’t spend much time talking about the distinction. 😉
    “Model” with a capital “M” seems to be a most recent buzzword, yes.

  227. Arthur Glass (06:32:42) :
    Presumably, a geocentric model of the heavens can come up with accurate predictions of the positions of celestial objects (after all, astronomers were able to predict eclipses 4,000 years ago). The problem is that the apparatus of the model is exceedingly complex, with epicycle within epicycle.
    Ironically, modern practicing astronomers [and engineers – at JPL] do not care one whit about philosophical issues and have resorted to the epicycle within epicycle within epicycle within epicycle within epicycle … formalism. An abbreviated description of Jupiter’s motion [which is enough for ordinary navigation – the full theory has an order of magnitude more terms] operates with 498 epicycles…

  228. Arthur Glass (06:32:42) :
    reminds me alot of the theory of grammar in contemporary liguistics, i.e. ‘generative grammar’ a la Chomsky.

    Ah, the philosophy of language. a bit like going to a good restaurant…
    And eating the menu.
    😉

  229. Arthur Glass (06:32:42) Newton’s towering genius saw that the motions of the planets could be accounted for by the same, breathtakingly simple law that governed the fall of apples.
    And then along comes Einstein and upsets the apple cart with a fudged up crock of an explaination of the anomalous perihelion of Mercury.

  230. What a thread!
    @ Jim Masterson (00:00:07) :
    “Theory:
    In science, an explanation or model that covers a substantial group of occurrences in nature and has been confirmed by a substantial number of experiments and observations. A theory is more general and better verified than a hypothesis. (See Big Bang theory, evolution, and relativity.)
    The American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition.”
    There is that word model right in the definition of theory!!!
    Whats going on here? So when I use math to predict the effects of a theory its not a model?
    What I do is use math to predict how trace elements will behave in crystallizing magmas. All of the equations I use are based on the variables of those trace elements (size, charge, etc) and the composition of the magma, as well as the composition and modal abundance of the minerals that are crystallizing (woefully simplified description). So is this a model Anna? I would say yes without a doubt!
    So there is a theory that dictates how elements will behave when forming minerals. I use math to model this behavior, but in one sense its just a model and not a theory? Or is it more complex than that? Models are a part of theories? Or is anytime a model is employed, its not a theory? Perhaps we need a new set of language here to say that some models are super duper (F=ma or F = GMm/R²) and some models (that we don’t like, like climate models) should be called something else?
    I guess its my belief that anytime we try to simulate, or predict processes in the natural world we employ Math, and that math is a model!
    Apparently I am wrong?
    I am not trying to say theory and model are interchangeable. I am saying that we use models for the predictive aspects of theories. I am saying that in most cases, the theories we have come to love and know rely heavily on models for us to be able to use them.
    And in reality, my original comments were to point out how silly it was for David Holliday (19:15:47): to say “Anyone who thinks a prediction based on a computer model is science is an idiot!” because computer models permeate almost every single field of science.

  231. @Benjamin P. (10:09:34) :
    Your crystallizing magma models are heavily constrained by known properties of elements, compounds, minerals, the rock cycle and the phase relationships within various different melts (brings back 30-year old phase diagram nightmares from igneous petrology).
    General Circulation Models can’t really be so accurately constrained by known parameters. We don’t have enough observational experience with climate change to know how the models should work. The effects of important factors like clouds and water vapor are poorly understood. GCM’s are fine heuristic tools…But I don’t think they are comparable to the types of models used in petrology.

  232. My POV on this
    1) Let us take a langrangian that describes a theory.
    2) From that Lagrangian we derive the equations of the theory.
    3) Equations are differential ones and have to be integrated.
    4) For specific problems, one has to take the solutions and impose boundary conditions so as to get values that can be compared with experiments.
    Steps 3 and 4 are tools that allow the theory to be projected on the real world and models are used for this purpose extensively after the advent of computers. Since 1977 I have worked with Monte Carlo models. I never confused them with theory. I knew they were integration tools used judiciously to predict/fit experiments to solutions of the theory under consideration.
    GCM include not only integrations (numerical ones) but also boundary conditions. In no way one can confuse them with the theory used.
    BTW a theory can never be proven true. It is always up for falsification though. One contradiction can falsify a complete theory : a yoggi levitating for example.

  233. idlex (02:29:10) “I don’t think this arts-sciences divide can be fixed by college administrators.”
    Agreed …but there will eventually be a change-of-the-guard.
    Also:
    The divide is not just on one axis – the worst divides I’ve seen are between branches of science.
    We are discussing several problems here — one of which is growing cynicism towards science-publication peer-review processes.
    Maybe things look a little different from inside the education system. Students from non-science backgrounds are eager to learn & appreciate. They want to understand math & stats. The negative attitudes are born out of a system that fails them. (Let’s keep in mind that they are paying customers.)
    If universities are only supposed to be ‘centres of excellence’, then our society has a serious problem in achieving its full potential. My experience has been that it is not the ‘excellent’ people who need help in understanding & leading. Resources are being allocated neither strategically nor equitably; while benefits go to very few, the cratering impact of the short-sighted squandering is on not only society, but even more critically on society’s potential, which is seriously reduced by unchecked idealism.
    Brilliant leaders can’t do everything alone – they need armies of level followers who have the background they need to harmoniously & efficiently follow a valid argument. The divide of which you speak is a discord that need not exist; it is born out of the (organizational) nature of our education system.
    As an anecdote:
    I live in a jurisdiction with a carbon tax. It’s not what it seems (i.e. all about GHGs & warming) — it’s actually a deficit-&-traffic-fighting tool that is being wielded like a baseball bat. And trust me: The folks supporting it LOVE TECHNOLOGY, INDUSTRY, & CARS and aren’t terribly concerned with pollution that is not in their own back yard.

  234. Gilbert (13:08:43) :
    E.M.Smith (02:58:07) :
    Wow!!!
    Another rant like this and you will be well on your way to becoming my hero!

    Thanks! (blush!). I just have a necessary and non-negotiable need to be brutally true to myself. The quickest way to lose money trading is to believe your own BS. To fall in love with a beautiful thesis and ignore when it is going wrong.
    While it is impossible to avoid having a thesis, there is a very important market aphorism: “The first loss is the best loss.”
    What this means is if I bet it will be warmer and Canada will have a bumper wheat crop, as soon as the data show it’s not warming and as soon as the prices start going the “wrong” direction: Step Aside. Just Step Aside. Take your loss, early and fast, and don’t think twice about why. AFTER you step aside, then you think about why and how to do the next trade better.
    The longer you fret over how it just can’t be that way and you MUST be right, the more money you will lose. Period.
    So what I see in the AGW crowd is a large and growing degree of self deception (not a judgmental term. EVERYONE is prone to self deception. It’s the hardest thing to iron out of yourself for trading discipline. “I” don’t exist and what “I” want means nothing to me… which makes it all the more funny to me when an AGWist accuses me of having an “agenda”… ) I also see an ever more panicked state as the AGW “trade” is going against them with the present climate / weather roll down into an Oh My God cold few winters to come… and no ability to “Take the first loss”. They are going to ride this puppy down into a horrid crash in a cold bitter end. OK, I did my moral duty to tell them; now I’m going to make money off of them.
    Now I’ve spent close to 40 years developing a set of techniques for spotting trend reversals in highly noisy semi-stochastic data series. This means I’m a bit better than most at “calling a top” or “catching a bottom” (which is why I can make a living doing it against the best computer models money can buy at Goldman Sachs et. al. – it is literally “Me against the world” for a single trader with a lap top and a small stake – i.e. 6 figure, not 7… yet) so I fully expect to be:
    1) Way ahead of the bulk of everyone else to see a turn. I must be to win.
    2) Due to #1 – I will almost always be “outside the consensus”. Makes me just shake my head and chuckle when folks use “consensus” as a reason to believe AGW. I reliably use “consensus” as a warning flag to dump a position…
    3) Due to #2 – Regularly told I’m wrong, an idiot, doing crazy things, stupid, etc. It isn’t a popularity contest and what folks think of my trades does not make me any money…
    4) Due to #2 and #3 – I can’t let myself be driven by social or political motives. They would only “dirty up” my thinking about what will happen not what folks want to have happen. Neither pro “consensus” nor anti.
    5) I’ve noticed the same techniques seem to work with temperature series.
    6) Due to 1 – 5 I need to do much more complete and through analysis than most folks, i.e. work my butt off against negative sentiment, to win.
    Given that: At this point, my belief is that the 30 year warming trend we had, has flipped to cold. It’s going to be cold for the next 30 years. There is an unknown, but possible, risk of a major cold as in little LIA but time to adapt as it evidences itself. The U.S. Government is headed off a cliff, partly based on the AGW nonsense, so you can be run over by that stupidity or you can position to take advantage of it and make some lunch money.
    Easy to see? China, Russia, Eastern Europe (“emerging Europe”) all DISing AGW. They have clue. China and Russia DISing the U.S. Dollar and the overuse of the credit card of bonds. They have clue. Canada and Argentina having crop “problems” and a month early start of ski season in Australia and New Zealand. There’s a clue for you. Oh, and India and Brazil get a free pass on GW mitigation… So the E.U. and U.S.A. will take on $Trillions of debt and costs that Russia, China, Brazil, and India will not, based on a wrong thesis and timed exactly wrong – and done on the credit card.
    I think I can make a trade out of that… (I’ve already had a “double” out of Brazil. It will likely hold flat for a while as India has become hot, then resume the up run in a couple of months. I’m reducing my position (rolling 1/2 into India) but not selling out. [ I have a trade rule: On a double, sell half. Non-negotiable rule. It’s not what I want, it’s what I must do…] And grains are shaping up for a nice rise as the crop failures get confirmed.
    Though the recent election in Great Britain means they seem to be catching a clue… and I might need to look to buying into some LSE stocks. (London Stock Exchange…) We’ll see. It’s still a bit early. But the elections in India and G.B. put them both back on the radar as “Have Clue”…
    So you see, I didn’t see that prior posting as so much a “rant” as being “absolutely and brutally honest to myself” … “To thyne own self be true” has a couple of meaning…

  235. “I don’t think this arts-sciences divide can be fixed by college administrators.”
    From my experience, all college administrators do is go to conferences onon ‘diversity’ and compose long, jargon-clotted, subliterate memos that no one ever reads. They have no more energy or capacity to fix anything than does a sloth hanging from a branch.
    A ‘divide’ can only exist between two items. The rigorous natural sciences are thriving; the liberal arts, on the other hand, have been so eaten away by the termites of ideology (Black Studies, Gender Studues, Queer Studies) and post-modernist incoherence, that there is little left that is living. At many universities, you can get a Bachelor’s in English without having read a word of Chaucer or Shakespeare, Milton or Joyce. You cannot, however, avoid such luminaries as Toni Morrison or Rita Dove. You may be blissfully ignorant of the criticism of Johnson, Coleridge, Matthew Arnold and T.S. Eliot, but you can jabber on like a parrot about Barthes, Derrida and Foucault.

  236. Re: Arthur Glass (05:44:06)
    It’s not about race (beware the hazards of confounding (in the statistical sense)) – it’s about:
    a) culture (including education culture (& system)).
    – and –
    b) easy access to support (such as from well-educated parents (when the system fails)).

  237. “At many universities, you can get a Bachelor’s in English without having read a word of Chaucer or Shakespeare, Milton or Joyce.” Arthur Glass (14:31:00)
    I think I’d like to see examples of that; at this point it seems rather like you’re talking through your hat.

  238. Arthur Glass (05:44:06) “[…] what passes for College Algebra in many universities in the States dealt with subject matter that they were familiar with from the equivalent of 8th grade.”
    This is not a trivial matter.
    Maybe it used to be adaptive (& convenient) for those in power to keep most of the population in the dark, but in light of emerging developments, this strategy is becoming too risky for everyone, including those interested in retaining power. What we need to do is raise the bar for everyone. This will not threaten natural leaders.
    Due to the depth of focus required, it is important – & efficient – to develop technical & mathematical foundations during the sheltered stage of life before one reaches the stage when heavy obligations begin forcing intense prioritization & complex maturity.
    There is a limit to trust, which is not always deserved. With will, we could organize a society (a few generations out) in which the majority of citizens would be capable of reviewing science-publication-submissions. Widespread model-literacy (including the ability to pinpoint untenable assumptions) will be essential to any society considering leaning sensibly (& possibly more heavily) on modeling in matters of broad concern.

  239. A note for those interested in helping bridge disciplines:
    New people need to have good experiences.
    Pace, pace, pace.

  240. E.M.Smith (14:27:51) : Though the recent election in Great Britain means they seem to be catching a clue…
    You wouldn’t think that if you lived here, and had to endure the flood of pro-AGW talk in the media and from the government. I stopped reading newspapers a few years ago to get away from it. Now I’ve stopped watching TV too. All I have now is a radio, but AGW comes leaking out of that too.
    I think that in Britain there’s a deepening disenchantment with the entire political class, and with authority in general, and in particular the authoritarianism of the Labour government, with the flood of petty rules and regulations it has generated. AGW is just one other thing it’s been ramming down people’s throats. And it’s not so much that people are sick of AGW, as sick of having things rammed down their throats. And they’re sick of the hypocrisy that has been highlighted by the MPs’ expenses scandal, and the even worse hypocrisy and scandal MEPs’ expenses.
    The British political class no longer represents the British people. It has its own separate agenda. It wants to buy into the even bigger political club of the EU, while the British people see the EU as just the source of yet another asphyxiating layer of petty rules and regulations. AGW just means more rules and regulations, and that’s what will kill AGW. That, a few more overcast summers and cold winters.
    Arthur Glass: At many universities, you can get a Bachelor’s in English without having read a word of Chaucer or Shakespeare, Milton or Joyce.
    C.P. Snow was writing 40 years ago, and it’s been 40 years since I was an undergraduate, so no doubt things have changed. But the C.P. Snow arts-educated generation, which I knew very well, is now running the country. And it shows.
    I dread to think what it will be like when the post-modernists, and students of Derrida and Foucault climb into the pilot’s seat. Or maybe it’s happening already…

  241. @ Dave Middleton (11:00:03) :
    “Your crystallizing magma models are heavily constrained by known properties of elements, compounds, minerals, the rock cycle and the phase relationships within various different melts (brings back 30-year old phase diagram nightmares from igneous petrology).”
    Not as constrained as you would think. And who doesn’t like eutectics?

  242. oms (08:02:45) :
    “You might take a numerical simulation as the high-ticket version of what used to be called a “thought experiment.”

    Where I come from we call that “drinking your own bathwater.”
    Benjamin P. (10:09:34) :
    “So when I use math to predict the effects of a theory it’s not a model?”

    You mean like if you came up with a theory that increasing levels of manmade CO2 in the atmosphere would cause runaway global warming and then wrote a computer model that showed it to be case when the real world evidence didn’t support the theory? You mean like that kind of model? Yah, you can call that a model. It’s useless but it’s a model.
    In retrospect I realize that I shouldn’t be surprised that a relatively obvious statement of fact should result in so much intense discussion. But those who are in the AGW camp are heavily invested in models since that is really the only “proof” they have of what they say will occur. An “attack” on a climate model is an attack on the theory of AGW. With so much of their argument built on such a weak foundation it’s amazing that the theory has gotten as far as it has.
    But I’m done with this thread. I don’t see any point continuing this. Those who get it, get it. Those who don’t, probably never will. My argument is not an indictment of computer models. My argument is an indictment of the people who would use computer models that cannot even reasonably reconstruct current and past climate as primary evidence of future climate. My argument is an indictment of the notion that computer models can be used as proof of theories when in fact they are just representations of what we know or think we know. Computers only do what we tell them to do. And they do it how we tell them to do it. It would be the equivalent of a self-fulfilling prophecy to write a computer program that proved a theory you thought of.

  243. Benjamin P. (20:33:16) :
    @ Dave Middleton (11:00:03) :
    “Your crystallizing magma models are heavily constrained by known properties of elements, compounds, minerals, the rock cycle and the phase relationships within various different melts (brings back 30-year old phase diagram nightmares from igneous petrology).”
    Not as constrained as you would think. And who doesn’t like eutectics?

    I suppose if it was too constrained, it wouldn’t be any fun…;-))

  244. Benjamin P, are there magma flow models for the Earth’s crust that demonstrate circulation patterns? Just wondering…

  245. About Leif Svalgaard
    I’m new here….could someone tell me who, exactly is he and is he stuck in his own domain. It has been my experience that many very good scientists are stuck in their own world. Am I right?…or….please tell me I’m out of line. Just want to give him a fair shake here!
    JB

  246. @ idlex (05:09:07) : asks,
    “are there magma flow models for the Earth’s crust that demonstrate circulation patterns? Just wondering…”
    Not really? There are some loosely constrained models for individual volcanoes, but really, its a pretty chaotic process, which is typically going to be different from place to place. Depending on the types of rocks containing the magma chamber, the properties of that rock, the properties of the magma’s being produced, and preexisting structures (faults and fractures) that may or may not be there (and a host of other properties).
    But in reality, you can’t think of the earth’s crust as having large scale circulating magma chambers. While there are certainly areas in the crust where we have active magma’s, the bulk of the “Circulation” happens in the mantle. Unless I am not understanding what you are interested in when you say circulation.
    There is certainly evidence that magma chambers are dynamic places. We can see flow alignment of minerals and other textures which suggest inter-chamber magma flow, but its really a difficult thing to constrain numerically.

  247. @David Holliday (22:07:42)
    “My argument is an indictment of the notion that computer models can be used as proof of theories when in fact they are just representations of what we know or think we know.”
    That’s exactly what they are simulations and representations of what we know and think we know. Honestly, and I am sure I will get flamed for this comment, talking with some of my climate friends, I don’t think any of them would say that the “proof” for their ideas of climate are the outputs from their models.
    Models are a powerful way to try and predict what may happen. I think the vast majority of folks understand that the models they use are less then ideal and can always be improved upon.
    I think a lot of folks are disingenuous here when they try to paint the “warmists” as folks who just made something up and then made a model to try and support it. Its really not how it works.

  248. “At many universities, you can get a Bachelor’s in English without having read a word of Chaucer or Shakespeare, Milton or Joyce.” Arthur Glass (14:31:00) ”
    “I think I’d like to see examples of that; at this point it seems rather like you’re talking through your hat.
    A gantlet thrown! How can I refuse? This will take a little research, and still will not be comprehensive enough to be definitive. Buy let’s start with this from my erstwhile employer, Rutgers, The Land-Grab University of New Jersey.
    http://english.rutgers.edu/undergraduate/major/index.html
    No specific mention of the Big Four.
    I’ll be back!

  249. “I dread to think what it will be like when the post-modernists, and students of Derrida and Foucault climb into the pilot’s seat. Or maybe it’s happening already…”
    The post-modernist version of the swine-flu, with its notion that ‘race, gender and class’ are the governing factors in making judgements about law and justice, has long since infected law schools. Witness the legal thinking of the ‘wise Latina’ who is a product of this ‘philosophy’, and who has been nominated to sit on the highest court in the land.
    It is ‘happening already’!

  250. ” Ironically, modern practicing astronomers [and engineers – at JPL] do not care one whit about philosophical issues and have resorted to the epicycle within epicycle within epicycle within epicycle within epicycle … formalism. An abbreviated description of Jupiter’s motion [which is enough for ordinary navigation – the full theory has an order of magnitude more terms] operates with 498 epicycles…”
    The medievalist in me rejoices at this vindication of the great Ptolemey. I also rejoice in the assurance that practicing scientists do not, as such, give a fig about the philosophy of science–it’s really not their ballpark. This does not, however, necessarily mean that philosophy of science is not a legitimate and potentially rigorous discipline.

  251. Whenever I think about C.P. Snow’s ‘two cultures’, I think about Vladimir Nabokov, who did manage to cross that great divide. In addition to producing some of the greatest fiction of the 20th c. in two languages, he made a substantial contribution to mapping out the species of lepidoptera (v. __Nabokov’s Blues__ by Kurt Johnson and Steve Coates).

  252. ” When I was at university in Britain in the 1960s, studying Architecture (when I wasn’t chasing girls) most of the ‘fun’ people studied humanities subjects – English, history, philosophy, etc -. They were the ‘hippies’ and ‘radicals’ who marched and protested. They talked Marxism and politics and literature and art and music. The science students were relatively uninteresting, and generally conservative, and not much bothered with politics and literature. Each had no little contempt for the other.”
    As a literary guy who ‘did the ‘sixties’, with all that implies (no, I was not at Woodstock; I was 5,500 miles away in August of ’69, in the northern foothills of the Alaska Range), I can’t argue with this as a description of liberal arts students in the early ’70’s.
    Unfortunately, these are the ‘tenured radicals’ who have been running the asylum for the past thirty years.

  253. “Richard Feynman recounts how important the Brooklyn schools he went to were for him, so I’m not alone in thinking that things were better a while back.”
    Richard Feynman is one of my intellectual heroes. He was also a fine writer who was concerned with communicating to laymen a sense of his passion for scientific inquiry. I find more enjoyment and illumination in reading and re-reading his __Six Easy Pieces__ than I do in reading much of contemporary fiction, let alone the pretentious, narcissistic noodling of contemporay ‘poetry’.
    He definitely left us too soon.

  254. Arthur Glass (11:16:55),
    I did the sixties in Viet Nam [it was two words back then]. Most of my high school friends went to college and majored in Education in order to get the draft deferment. I think that’s why there are so many older teachers & profs today trying to justify dodging the draft by saying American soldiers were the bad guys.
    But they probably see it differently, I don’t know. That was a long time ago.

  255. Arthur Glass (10:56:02) :
    This does not, however, necessarily mean that philosophy of science is not a legitimate and potentially rigorous discipline.
    I can live with that as long as they stick to their discipline and it has no effect outside of that.

  256. ” The simplest theory [‘most adequate’ in your terms] is that Angles push the planets around according to God’s wishes, end of story.”
    Angles and Saxons and Jutes, O my!
    I hate it when stories end.
    Seriously, I agree whole-heartedly with the addition of ‘predictive power’.

  257. Arthur Glass (11:46:32) :
    ” The simplest theory [‘most adequate’ in your terms] is that Angels push the planets around according to God’s wishes, end of story.”
    Angles and Saxons and Jutes, O my!

    I’m on the wrong side of Snow’s divide 🙂

  258. Quite hard to believe, Evan.
    It’s what I saw, and I was taking an active interest. In Essen there were plenty of pigeons, but they all looked the same. Not even black or white or piebalds, but complete uniformity (they were somewhat smaller than the NYC variety). I did not see a single sport the whole time I was there.

  259. J. C. Squires after Alexander Pope
    Nature and nature’s laws lay hid in night
    ’til God said “Let Newton be” and all was light
    It did not last, the Devil crying “Ho
    Let Einstein be!” restored the status quo.
    And probably by our old friend Anonymous in the 1930’s
    I dislike the family Stein
    There’s Ep and there’s Gert and there’s Ein
    Ep’s statues are junk
    Gert’s novels are bunk
    And nobody understands Ein.
    Kindest Regards

  260. Dr Svalgaard:
    I am hardly the one to be persnickety about typos. I sometimes think that I have dyslexic fingers.
    Typos can provide a primitive sort of amusement, however: Angles pushing around planets does sound like the beginnings of British imperialism.

  261. Arthur Glass (12:30:01) :
    Angles pushing around planets does sound like the beginnings of British imperialism.
    Considering that I’m a Jute I’m not disagreeing….

  262. Benjamin P. its really a difficult thing to constrain numerically.
    Thanks. That’ll do. I’ve been trying to peer inside the Earth to find a central core nuclear reactor that’s driving a ‘weather’ system in the mantle and core. But I’m told that there’s no such reactor. Drat.
    Arthur Glass: Unfortunately, these are the ‘tenured radicals’ who have been running the asylum for the past thirty years.
    It seems that many people’s world views become rigidly fossilized for the rest of their lives into whatever they happened to believe at the age of about 20.

  263. evanmjones (12:09:44) :
    Quite hard to believe, Evan.
    It’s what I saw, and I was taking an active interest. In Essen there were plenty of pigeons, but they all looked the same. Not even black or white or piebalds, but complete uniformity (they were somewhat smaller than the NYC variety). I did not see a single sport the whole time I was there.
    It’s the German way Evan. Everything must be DIN standard 😛
    DaveE.

  264. Benjamin P. (08:10:11) :
    […]
    I think a lot of folks are disingenuous here when they try to paint the “warmists” as folks who just made something up and then made a model to try and support it. Its really not how it works.

    I think a lot of the problems arise when the media and politicians refer to model-derived projections and hypotheses as “new proof” or “confirmation” of anthropogenic global warming. And I think that the IPCC reports also give a false impression that the models are proving something.
    At most, these models are indications of the possible results of altering input parameters…Because the inter-relationships of those input parameters are not well understood and have to be simplified and/or approximated.
    Models are great tools. In my experience in oil and gas exploration, I’ve seen lots of very elegant models that turned out to be wrong…Non-uniqueness has to be at least as big an issue in climate science as it is in geology and geophysics.

  265. >> Benjamin P. (10:09:34) :
    There is that word model right in the definition of theory!!! <<
    So it is.
    >> I am not trying to say theory and model are interchangeable. <<
    I am. A theory is how we (collectively) model reality. It’s supposedly our best estimate of how things work.
    >> I am saying that we use models for the predictive aspects of theories. <<
    We do that too.
    >> I am saying that in most cases, the theories we have come to love and know rely heavily on models for us to be able to use them. <<
    Notice that I consider theories to be models.
    >> And in reality, my original comments were to point out how silly it was for David Holliday (19:15:47): to say “Anyone who thinks a prediction based on a computer model is science is an idiot!” because computer models permeate almost every single field of science. <<
    Mr. Holliday must not consider orbital (formerly celestial) mechanics to be a science. I wouldn’t try to manipulate those equations in real-time (or at any other time) without a computer.
    Jim

  266. Leif Svalgaard (08:17:52) “An abbreviated description of Jupiter’s motion [which is enough for ordinary navigation – the full theory has an order of magnitude more terms] operates with 498 epicycles…”
    What is the number for Earth?

  267. Leif Svalgaard (11:33:19) “I can live with that as long as they stick to their discipline and it has no effect outside of that.”

    Jack Eddy:
    “You are not one of them. They distrust you. Your degree means nothing and your name is not recognized.”
    “[…] many of the most significant discoveries in science will be found not in but between the rigid boundaries of the disciplines: the terra incognita where much remains to be learned. It’s not a place that’s hidebound by practice and ritual. I have always tried to keep moving between fields of study.”
    “[…] avoid the danger of being too comfortable in too narrow a niche.”
    “[…] without fear there is no learning.”
    http://engr-sci.org/history/climate/eddy1.htm

  268. >> anna v (12:40:54) :
    My POV on this <<
    As you wish. I just think you’re unnecessarily backing yourself into a corner with a restrictive view of models.
    >> GCM include not only integrations (numerical ones) but also boundary conditions. In no way one can confuse them with the theory used. <<
    Neither do I confuse a model of a 100 Watt audio amplifier with Ohm’s Law, but both pass the test for model-dom.
    >> BTW a theory can never be proven true. It is always up for falsification though. One contradiction can falsify a complete theory : a yoggi levitating for example. <<
    This is an interesting little tidbit that I agree with (not that I know much about the complete theory of yogi levitation). I’ve noticed that some on this blog talk about “proving” scientific theories as if it’s something that can be done.
    Jim

  269. idlex,
    “That’ll do. I’ve been trying to peer inside the Earth to find a central core nuclear reactor that’s driving a ‘weather’ system in the mantle and core. But I’m told that there’s no such reactor. Drat.”
    No, no such reactor! Just lost’s of well dispersed “mini-reactors” but not some central and localized phenomenon.
    I’ve done lots of reading on mantle dynamics, perhaps I can help you some if you let me know what you mean when you say “weather system in the mantle and core” or at least what you are thinking.
    @ Dave Middleton (14:00:12) :
    Unfortunately for us, the media and politicians tend to be scientifically illiterate
    Also, I would say that climate models only get better and better as we learn more about those variables. Again, I don’t think you would meet a single climate scientist who would try to make the case that the models are perfect and could not be better.

  270. Paul,
    considering epicycles were created to explain planetary orbital paths as viewed from the Earth in an Earth centric universe, I would expect that number to be 0.

  271. Paul Vaughan (15:51:23) :
    What is the number for Earth?
    Strictly speaking for the Sun :-), but it does not matter which one is the origin. There are 195 cosine terms [cycles] in the abbreviated simple theory for the Earth [to arc second accuracy].

  272. “Considering that I’m a Jute I’m not disagreeing….”
    Well, the Danes did have a go at running Britain, or a sizeable chunk of it, for the better part of a century.

  273. Arthur Glass (11:46:32) : ” The simplest theory [‘most adequate’ in your terms] is that Angels push the planets around according to God’s wishes, end of story.”
    Leif’s trenchant refusal to correct his ‘Angles’ to ‘Angels’ may well bespeak rather more than you think. If he refuses to correct it, it might be that it wasn’t a typo of his at all, as you believe. The ‘angelus’ is a ‘corner’.
    There is at least one theodicy I know in which the the moral order, as it ranges from demons to angels, is arranged in an circular fashion, in which the demons are denoted by Zeroes (no rotation), and the angels by Ones (complete rotation), and in which “the extremes meet” pleasingly, since no rotation is identical to complete rotation through 360 degrees (or 2 pi radians). In this system, an ‘angel’ is whoever subtends an angle greater than zero. And the greatest angels are called Angles. See?
    No?
    I thought not.
    But anyway, he’s a Jute rather than an Angle.

  274. Benjamin P.: I’ve done lots of reading on mantle dynamics, perhaps I can help you some if you let me know what you mean when you say “weather system in the mantle and core” or at least what you are thinking.
    Well… , I suppose you know that there are General Circulation [computer] Models (GCMs) of the atmosphere. I’ve been wondering if there might be GCMs that apply to the interior of the Earth, and that just as there is a weather system above us, there might also be a weather system below us, beneath our feet.
    Such models would, in principle, be exactly the same as each other. It is just that the underworld climate would proceed at an excruciatingly slow pace relative to the fast-moving atmosphere above, because it is so dense and viscous. And while the subsurface ‘weather’ might proceed extremely slowly and cyclically, it might be able to explain long term processes like 100,000 year repeat Ice Ages.
    I believe that the central core of the Earth is currently regarded as ‘solid’. But what is meant by ‘solid’ except that it changes very, very slowly? We seem to be living on the surface of a spinning thing whose interior hardly changes at all, but whose unstable and volatile external atmospheric surface is almost entirely chaotic. How strange!

  275. idlex (17:57:44) :
    Leif’s trenchant refusal to correct his ‘Angles’ to ‘Angels’ may well bespeak rather more than you think….
    Nice theory, but fails the observational test. If you actually check my reply was [and pay attention, now]:
    Leif Svalgaard (11:54:34) :
    Arthur Glass (11:46:32) :
    ” The simplest theory [‘most adequate’ in your terms] is that Angels push the planets around according to God’s wishes, end of story.”
    Angles and Saxons and Jutes, O my!
    I’m on the wrong side of Snow’s divide 🙂

  276. idlex (17:57:44) :
    Leif’s trenchant refusal to correct his ‘Angles’ to ‘Angels’ may well bespeak rather more than you think….
    Nice theory, but fails the observational test. If you actually check my reply was [and pay attention, now]:
    Leif Svalgaard (11:54:34) :
    Arthur Glass (11:46:32) :
    ” The simplest theory [‘most adequate’ in your terms] is that Angels push the planets around according to God’s wishes, end of story.”
    Angles and Saxons and Jutes, O my!
    I’m on the wrong side of Snow’s divide 🙂

    2nd try.

  277. idlex (18:28:29) :
    We seem to be living on the surface of a spinning thing whose interior hardly changes at all,
    All a question about perspective. There are convection currents and hot spots that provide changes in the interior [but slowly]. These slow changes over time [and the Earth has had a lot of that] has completely re-modeled the surface features [such as continents] every several hundred million years. Go back in time and the continents were all assembled close to each other, pangea, from whence they drifted apart. This process may have repeated itself some 7 or 8 times in the past, teaching us something about the immensity of geological time.

  278. Leif Svalgaard (17:27:09) “There are 195 cosine terms [cycles] in the abbreviated simple theory for the Earth [to arc second accuracy].”
    Thank you.
    Do you know of a website (or publication) where I could find the list of periods (or frequencies) and amplitudes (for at least the most dominant terms)?

  279. With apologies to Dr. Svalgaard our knowledge of solar physics is very imperfect but it is a beacon of light compared to the Stygian darkness of what we know or understand of the processes deep in the Earth beneath our feet.
    We know that on a planetary scale they are immensely powerful, think of the Deccan plains, and we believe from what little evidence we have they act over very long, geological, time scales. Except for local events, such as the odd volcano.
    So we assume, rightly or wrongly, that in effect the thermal energy from the Earth’s core reaching the surface is more or less constant: and tiny compared to insolation. But we cannot actually measure this to better than about a magnitude since most of it eventuates beneath the oceans.
    So we end up with ab initio arguments as to what is actually happening down there.
    There are odd puzzles such as the abrupt rise in background radiation between 1908 and 1910, ignore what Wiki tells you about this occurring later and being due to atomic tests. It is wrong.
    We have Kaiser Bill’s battleships sitting at the bottom of Scapa Flow and their steel dates the rise to between the above dates. The cast iron from for example the Forth Bridge, 1880, confirms the low background, whereas the structural steels of the 1920s confirm the abrupt rise long before any atomic device.
    We don’t know why. It might have been the Great Siberian Meteorite but that seems unlikely.
    More likely it had something to do with volanic activity but if so we still don’t know what.
    And we did see the the rise in background radiation from atomic tests in odd ways. In the 1950’s X ray fims were often packed between sheafs of yellow paper made, I believe, from esparto grass. In due course an atomic test would show up as faint speckling on the film from the fallout taken up by the esparto grass.
    Kindest Regards

  280. Paul Vaughan (20:43:31) :
    Do you know of a website (or publication) where I could find the list of periods (or frequencies) and amplitudes (for at least the most dominant terms)?
    You can go to here:
    http://adswww.harvard.edu/
    and search for Bretagnon, the select his 1988 paper:
    http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1988A%26A…202..309B
    Title: Planetary theories in rectangular and spherical variables – VSOP 87 solutions
    Authors: Bretagnon, P. & Francou, G.
    Journal: Astronomy and Astrophysics (ISSN 0004-6361), vol. 202, no. 1-2, Aug. 1988, p. 309-315.

  281. Sorry, boys, but NYC pigeons have not “evolved”.
    I did not say they had evolved into a different species. I said they had evolved though natural selection. And so they have. Their coloration has evolved dramatically over fewer than twenty pigeon generations.
    The factors involved are the changing coloration of the buildings, and the incursion of serious competition from crows (the latter of which were very uncommon in the city until years after the clean air act became effective, but are now fairly common).
    The result was a much healthier and variegated pigeon population. New York pigeons are an artificial subspecies in the first place, and are thus less fixed in their genetic makeup.
    They are the same species they always were.
    Well, the New York variety was created in London by deliberate crossbreeding. So “always” becomes somewhat moot. Rock doves have been around a while and any number of subspecies have evolved since they first beat it out of North Africa (probably with the interglacial).
    Evidently the liberal education you received, so pumped to promote evolution, failed to teach you just what that phenomenon actually is. And that’s a big part of the problem: liberal theology masquerading as education.
    As for what they teach in the schools, sometimes what they “pump” is wrong and sometimes it is right.
    Actually, I got quite a conservative religious education (Anglican nuns), and evolution was not mentioned one way or the other even once so far as I recall.
    I’ll start disbelieving in natural selection (the processes of which are not perfectly understood) when I start believing that God put the fossils there to try man’s faith. And maybe I’ll start believing in runaway global warming when the globe actually starts to warm at 0.4C/decade.
    I like the Essen Germanopigeon feldgrau theory, actually.

  282. David Holliday (22:07:42) :

    oms (08:02:45) :
    “You might take a numerical simulation as the high-ticket version of what used to be called a “thought experiment.”
    Where I come from we call that “drinking your own bathwater.”

    *Shrug* Call it what you like.

    My argument is an indictment of the notion that computer models can be used as proof of theories when in fact they are just representations of what we know or think we know.

    And as I thought was made previously clear, you are traditionally expected to use the thought experiment or the model or whatever to come up with some outcomes for the theory which are experimentally testable. That’s quite different from saying that the predictions themselves are not part of science (they are).

  283. Re: Leif Svalgaard (21:34:51)
    Thank you.
    That led me to the various works that cite that paper, the general overview …
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secular_variations_of_the_planetary_orbits
    …, and the directory
    ftp://ftp.imcce.fr/pub/ephem/planets/vsop87/
    .
    Now, let me see if I understand:
    You have STERN reservations about barycentric influences on SOLAR ACTIVITY, but you are not claiming barycentric frequencies do not affect earth orientation parameters?

  284. Paul Vaughan (00:27:21) :
    Now, let me see if I understand:
    You have STERN reservations about barycentric influences on SOLAR ACTIVITY, but you are not claiming barycentric frequencies do not affect earth orientation parameters?

    A barycenter is just the location of the mass-weighted average radius vector from any point you wish to choose to the center of mass of all the [or an arbitrary collection of] bodies in the Universe and does not influence anything. Usually [to get a finite and more manageable and useful number] one chooses to only consider bodies within the solar system [in some sense – because even that is ill-defined], or for another barycenter, the Earth-Moon system, in which case the barycenter becomes the center of mass for the collection of bodies chosen. Again, the barycenter does not influence anything, as it is arbitrary in the sense that one can choose any arbitrary collection one wishes.
    Now, the Sun, planets, Moon, etc have tidal effects on the Earth Orientation Parameters and on similar solar parameters, and those tidal effects can be felt if the measurements are accurate enough. The tidal effects are always in the same direction [slowing down the central body if the revolution of the revolving bodies take longer than the rotation of the central body – which is almost always the case, exceptions are Phobos and sun-grazing comets] and do therefore not lead to cycles of anything, apart from being extremely small in most cases as they decrease with the cube of the distance.

  285. http://english.rutgers.edu/undergraduate/major/historical_periods.html
    350:321 Chaucer
    350:322 Shakespeare: The Elizabethan Plays
    350:323 Shakespeare: The Jacobean Plays
    350:317 American Realism and Naturalism
    Arthur Glass (08:47:47) :
    “At many universities, you can get a Bachelor’s in English without having read a word of Chaucer or Shakespeare, Milton or Joyce.” Arthur Glass (14:31:00) ”
    “I think I’d like to see examples of that; at this point it seems rather like you’re talking through your hat.
    A gantlet thrown! How can I refuse? This will take a little research, and still will not be comprehensive enough to be definitive. Buy let’s start with this from my erstwhile employer, Rutgers, The Land-Grab University of New Jersey.
    http://english.rutgers.edu/undergraduate/major/index.html
    No specific mention of the Big Four.

  286. Re: Leif Svalgaard (07:18:26)
    I understand what a barycentre is – [and what it isn’t].
    If I understand what you are saying, you are NOT suggesting that, for example, Earth nutation is NOT affected by Jupiter & Saturn.

  287. Leif Svalgaard (07:18:26) “The tidal effects are always in the same direction [slowing down the central body if the revolution of the revolving bodies take longer than the rotation of the central body […]”
    If I understand what you are saying here, you are NOT denying variations around the secular trend due to atmospheric, oceanic (non-tidal), mantle, & core excitation – (for example, due to atmospheric angular momentum variations & glacial isostatic adjustment).

  288. Arthur Glass (17:38:31) :
    “Considering that I’m a Jute I’m not disagreeing….”
    Well, the Danes did have a go at running Britain, or a sizeable chunk of it, for the better part of a century.

    Wasn’t one of them called King Canute?

  289. Paul Vaughan (14:24:49) :
    If I understand what you are saying, you are NOT suggesting that, for example, Earth nutation is NOT affected by Jupiter & Saturn.
    NOT denying variations around the secular trend due to atmospheric, oceanic (non-tidal), mantle, & core excitation – (for example, due to atmospheric angular momentum variations & glacial isostatic adjustment).

    I’m not in the denial business, there are extremely small planetary tidal effects on nutation and there are secular trends caused by tidal forces and adjustments. There are also tidal effects on the Sun. The issue is that those are just too small to have any influence on solar activity based on what we know about the Sun. I’ll be all ears if somebody produces a theory based on physics and forces and explains quantitatively how any such process might work.

Comments are closed.