Quote of the week: Stephen Schneider jumps the shark

UPDATE: This morning (Monday) brings sad news that Dr. Schneider has died, due to complications of cancer, apparently a heart attack. I was unaware that he was ill. While I strongly disagree with Dr. Schneider’s viewpoints, I am saddened by his passing, and my best wishes and sympathies go to his family. Andrew Revkin at Dot Earth has the story. The interview in Stanford magazine below may be one of his last, if not the last one. Therefore, out of respect for his family, I have decided to close comments at this time. – Anthony

Professor Stephen Schneider in Stanford Magazine.

qotw_cropped

The professor says:

We know that there are probably hundreds of tipping points. We don’t know precisely where they are. Therefore you never know which ones you’re crossing when. All you know is that as you add warming, you cross more and more of them.

It’s a target rich quote environment in the interview that he gave, for example, “blogs may cause civil war”:

Here’s the blog problem: We build up a trust [based] on which blogs just say what we like to hear. At least in the old days when we had a Fourth Estate that did get the other side—yes, they framed it in whether it was more or less likely to be true, the better ones did—at least everybody was hearing more than just their own opinion. What scares me about the blogosphere is if you only read your own folks, you have no way to understand where those bad guys are coming from. How are you going to negotiate with them when you’re in the same society? They’re not 100 percent wrong, you know? There’s something you have to learn from them and they have to learn from you. If you never read each other and you never have a civil discourse, then I get scared.

It’s fractionation into preexisting belief without any chance of negotiation and reconciliation. I don’t want to see a civil war, and I worry about that if the blogosphere is carried to a logical extreme.

Or how about this one, dissing the average American citizen as “incompetent to judge”:

We know we have a rough 10 percent chance that [the effect of global warming] is going to be not much; a rough 10 percent chance of ‘Oh, My God’; and everything else in between. Therefore, what you’re talking about as a scientist is risk: what can happen multiplied times the odds of it happening. That’s an expert judgment. The average person is not really competent to make such a judgment.

Yes but professor, the average American citizen is chosen by government to sit on capital murder cases as jurist as part of our constitutionally protected freedoms and civic duty. Such cases involve weighing hundreds of hours of testimony, forensic science, sometimes DNA evidence, and most certainly to decide if the truth is being told or not.

Yet those same citizens are unable to decide for themselves whether climate science is proved beyond a “reasonable doubt”? They can’t decide the magnitude of risk?

Most certainly, in the same proud California sitcom tradition as the ill fated Happy Days episode, professor Steven Schneider of Stanford has “jumped the shark“.

Read the entire interview at Stanford Magazine.

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133 thoughts on “Quote of the week: Stephen Schneider jumps the shark

  1. The professor says:

    We know that there are probably hundreds of tipping points. We don’t know precisely where they are. Therefore you never know which ones you’re crossing when. All you know is that as you add warming, you cross more and more of them.

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

    Like the tipping point of mass insanity?

    Warm or cold….there will always be the insane.

    Thanks for reinforcing that, professor Schneider.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  2. I have seen this phrase used a lot in the climate sphere, and I looked it up on wikipedia – it was not really helpful, as it does not seem to match this context. Can you explain what the phrase ‘jumps the shark’ means here? (I am not an American, so it might be a culturally thing – I did watch Happy Days, though.)

  3. As one who has had scientific training, been a NOAA certified weather observer,
    and a Professional Pilot (and Flight Instructor) for 28 years, Schieder is so full of himself as an Academic that he looks at us unwashed as ignorant and unteachable. Yet I have far more training and certification than AlGore, Pachauri , on the Warmist side,then Schineder, who says “look at both sides”. Try to make a comment on one of those pro AGW blogs and get cybersmashed-I have. Anthony allows debate, if you are decent, and there is plenty of that here….
    “Jumped the Shark” indeed….

  4. Professor Schneider: “That’s an expert judgment. The average person is not really competent to make such a judgment.”

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

    And the “average person” pays your salary at Stanford….with a mix of money from various sources…including many student loans.

    With those biased statements, will be sure to not listen to you as an expert…

    …not unlike recently when I “listened” to the orthopedic surgeon who, when I horrifically broke my wrist in half,

    *****d up the process by not calling in a hand surgeon.

    And that is why an attorney is getting involved.

    I could care less about your “expert judgement.”

    [snip]

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  5. “probably hundreds of tipping points”.

    What makes me sad, is that I think he honestly believes that argument. The hubris of modern science leaves me shaking my head. They are beguiled by how far they have come in the last 50 years and seem to have no conception of what a smallish fraction that is of the total of what there is to know.

  6. How does an already discredited man get so much air time?
    Who cares what this idiot of an alarmist has to say?

  7. Well, he did say: “Scientists also create some of their own trouble because we’re a very snooty, elitist bunch,…”

    His point about the blogsphere leading people to only read the side they already agree with is interesting. Let’s do an informal test. How many regular WUWT readers also regularly read pro-AGW blogs like Climate Progress or RealClimate?

    REPLY: Well at least one; me. But I no longer bother to comment at either since they censor my comments. For example once at RC they asked for ways to improve the blog. I responded (using my name) with a simple straightforward suggestion that was factual, and science based. Snip, gone. A few minutes later, from the same IP address, from my wife’s email acccount, another factual suggestion was offered. Sailed right through. The difference was my name was not attached. Got screen caps of that one, it’s a gem.

    Of course Gavin and Joe are always welcome to comment here. Gavin commented a few times in the past. Joe never AFAIK. – Anthony

  8. We know that there are probably hundreds of tipping points.

    It seems he has lived past a tipping point for several years. The acorn plonked on the head still has him running.

  9. Reading that elitist buffoonery of Professor Schneider reminds me of why I declined to join the ranks of Mensa — there’s more to being smart than just being smart. So, which “experts” should I listen to?

    Al “Sex poodle” Gore?

    Steven “the earth will become like Venus” Hawking?

    Michael “the trick” Mann?

    It doesn’t take a genius to smell what’s being shoveled.

  10. I can’t believe I read that entire article. This is a Stanford Professor you say? Isn’t Stanford supposed to be one of your better colleges of tertiary education? I must be confused…

    REPLY: No, you have it right. – Anthony

  11. Can you believe that guy?

    We’re smart enough to earn the money that he lives off and to elect his bosses, and to sit in judgment on him when he’s tried for fraud, but we’re not smart enough to make the same judgment outside a court.

    [snip]

  12. I’ll have a lash at explaining “jumping the shark”:

    It means you’ve gone so far past the point of relevancy, and reality, that you call everything that you’ve done or said previously into question. “Jumping the shark” is an action you take, or a statement you make, that causes the rest of the world to suddenly and negatively reassess your entire life’s work. It is a self-caused disaster of literary proportions, along the lines of Icarus flying too close to the sun.

    As it applies to “Happy Days”: how can you re-watch the first episodes knowing how it ends up with Fonzie jumping the shark? The series was canceled shortly after that episode. My guess is that “Happy Days” hasn’t done well in re-run syndication either; what was once a pleasant show that was viewed as a serious, though comical, portrayal of Americana has become a joke. “Mr. Ed” ( a show about a talking horse made in the 1960’s) gets more respect than “Happy Days”.

    An example of Jumping the Shark in the context of this blog would be Al Gore’s predictions that the Arctic had a 75% chance of being ice free by the summer of 2014. One thing the AGW crowd has learned is NOT to make predictions about 1 to 5 year time periods. Too easy to disprove.

  13. The professor says:

    We know that there are probably hundreds of tipping points. We don’t know PRECISELY where they are. Therefore you never know which ones you’re crossing when. All you know is that as you add warming, you cross more and more of them.

    Huuh? I have heard some ridiculous statements from the AGW industry over the years but this one takes a prize and a rosette.
    The statement crosses over into cult belief justification, What are these tipping points and where are they? Its like saying I know angels exist but I have never seen one but they must be all over the place and I might be standing next to one right now.
    The utterly foolish anti scientific nature of filling in huge gaps in actual knowledge by inventing unkown and unproven causes/effects reminds me clearly of the phlogiston saga.
    In reality there are no tipping points, it is a fiction with which to scare stupid and gullible people into being frightened, repent ye sinners or hell fires will consume thee/change your ways or damnation shall devour you via unseen devils.
    I am sorry to say this but Steven Schneider is no scientist, he is a fully fledged and highly qualified cult member of a dangerous anti scientific quasi religious neo political anti democratic cult.
    His ideological hatred of ordinary people mirrors that of the new political class, ordinary people should obey the new rulers because we “average people are not competent to make judgements about the supposed risks of AGW”. The rise of the self appointed expert who would deny the lower orders the right to judge the issues for themselves, they do however have the ‘right’ to finance and pay for and obey these self appointed high priests it seems.
    In setting himself up as a superior better able to judge and decide for the little people he seems unable to grasp the irony of a scientist acting like a dark ages catholic priest.
    Will people like him ban the supposedly unqualified lower orders from reading science literature?
    If our future is to be decided by this kind of person then we are about to enter the land of sorrows.

  14. Hi David Gould at July 18, 2010 at 9:33 pm. Here’s my take on Jumping the shark: to push something to the point of total absurdity. Yes, Fonzie was a way cool, beloved and talented guy, but the Happy Days show had been heading in the wrong direction in viewership that the writers, out of desperation, had Fonzie do a really absurd action: waterski and jump a shark. This to get more viewership. It did not work and was seen for the foolishness that it was.

    The desperate failure of the global warming alarmists to convince the world of the validity of its disaster scenarios has led them to the point of mouthing absurdities — such as with Professor Schneider. The above quotes are presented with a straight face but are clearly evident of emotional and not scientific reasoning. He has jumped the shark into absurdity. I hope this helps.

  15. Mike I have posed polite questions at RC before and suffered the same fate as Anthony… these days I just go to RC occasionally to skim through looking for the green text to see how ridiculous some of the “expert” comments are.

    RC does let skeptic comments through, but only if they are the type that can be readily rebutted. They do not allow embarrassing questions through, like the ones I had about the number of trees in Briffa’s infamous paper. But despite RC’s ridiculous one-sidedness, Schneider here makes them look balanced by comparison.

  16. There are indeed hundreds of tipping points in any big city.
    Stop in, lay your money down, and toss back a few shots of your favorite elixir.
    You’ll need a designated driver, however.
    Hmm….that’s what is missing in the GCMs.

  17. Schneider was probably just being rational, after all, most Americans aren’t competent to build a house, fix a car or fill a tooth, it could only the most irrational (actually lunatic) who could claim they’re all climate experts.

    REPLY: Yes, but most Americans can easily judge the quality of the work done in building a house, fixing a car, or filling a tooth. And that’s what is going on with climate science today. The quality of work in climate science isn’t meeting the specifications. Otherwise, why would only 1 in 10 climate monitoring stations in the USA meet published specs? Why are we measuring the majority of worldwide surface data at airports, when airports have a safety mission that does not include climate monitoring? Why are we using tree ring proxies, that according to Liebigs law, respond to multiple things, not just temperature, for part of the hockey stick, throwing out post 1960 data (because it didn’t agree with the rest of the trend) and substitute instrumental data from those bad stations?

    Sloppiness simply doesn’t sell, no matter whether it is housing, cars, dentistry, and yes, sloppy science presented as proof of needed policy change. At some point people get fed up with sloppy work and reject it. That is what is happening to climate science today. – Anthony

  18. To me, “jumping the shark” means you have become a caricature of yourself. The form of something previously worthwhile remains, but the substance is dead. You can’t “jump the shark” if there had never been something to treasure that is now lost.

  19. Mike Borgelt says:
    July 18, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    Sadly I’ve come to the conclusion that 90% of academics are not worth feeding. Would anyone notice if we stopped their funding?

    The 10% of Academics who are worth feeding would probably notice.

  20. I see I have been post-snipped. [lol] Sorry about that. I didn’t think it was that bad.

    Alright….I confess…my white shark temper gets the best of me.

    Nothing like an arrogant professor [who draws his salary from students who will spend half their life paying it back, as well as the CAGW multi-billion dollar industry] from one of the finest universities in the world…to get your hackles up.

    What he says is just wrong, wrong, wrong. Grrrrr.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  21. Schneider: We know that there are probably hundreds of tipping points. We don’t know precisely where they are.

    Steven, let me help you. When the bottle of tequila in your hand is emptying down your throat, you’ve met the tipping point. And by the sound of your alarmist caterwalling, you really have found hundreds of tipping points.

    You guys are really giving science a bad reputation.

  22. Bulldust says:
    July 18, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    Isn’t Stanford supposed to be one of your better colleges

    CRU is supposed to be one of the better schools in the UK too.

  23. I used to visit RC fairly regularly for a while. My personal best for having a question remain in a thread was about ten minutes before it went *poof* — which made some of the commenters who answered it look a tad delusional, because *their* comments remained intact.

  24. Professor Schneider: “That’s an expert judgment. The average person is not really competent to make such a judgment.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    And that “average person” pays your salary at Stanford… let’s see if we “average persons” can find some legal way to rid you of that salary, Dr. “Expert” Schneider.

    Your on and on in the 1970’s of “the world is about to end from the coming ice age caused by industry” sticks to you like tar. I can’t believe you are still around in “professional” circles. Just shows how phony those “professional” circles really are, lots of wasted public money going down the drain. It is in order for the upcoming new legislatures to really do some serious house cleaning around this country.

    ( Chris, guess I’m a copycat, thanks for a good format! :) )

  25. “”It’s fractionation into preexisting belief without any chance of negotiation and reconciliation. I don’t want to see a civil war, and I worry about that if the blogosphere is carried to a logical extreme.””

    Is he saying the antics over at real climate is going to p*ss off enough people to generate a civil war, or with the realization of what’s been done to them, the general population, upon pulling their heads out of the sand, is going to be that angry with the perps?

    Maybe he just watches too much of the show “Cops”. Most cases of megalomania come as over compensations for deep seated inferiority complexes, and resultant paranoia projected outward, as a defense mechanism.

    Or is he still just projecting a linear trend line from past experiences, “to a logical extreme”?

  26. Schneider was “certain” in the mid 70’s that an ice age was coming, he’s in the same league as Gore in thinking that it’s ok to lie, and he participated in authoring the blacklist.

    Forgive me for considering him as thoroughly ignore-worthy.

  27. We know that there are probably hundreds of tipping points. We don’t know precisely where they are.

    One of the staples of cheap news organizations is things that are really deadly but you can’t see, hear, taste, or smell them coming. A perfect news story would be something like a dark matter object headed straight for Earth that nobody can detect (except by some gravitational method) that would, if it hit, completely destroy the Earth … but it misses.

    Now, it might be nearly impossible to prove that such a thing existed even if it did. All it would take, though, is one impressive sounding scientist making enough people believe it exists to get ad revenues through the roof as people glued themselves to the latest “coverage”.

    The average person is not really competent to make such a judgment.

    Now that is priceless. What he is saying here is “don’t believe your lying eyes because you are not competent to know/believe what you are seeing. You must listen only to me, or those who I validate as competent. Your opinion is invalid.”

    This is a control technique used by abusive people and dictators everywhere. The “shut up, you can’t possibly know what you are talking about” is quite effective against many people because it plays on their personal insecurities. They aren’t quite sure of themselves and so they DO shut up. But it also says “You aren’t capable of understanding even if I tried to explain it to you” so it eliminates that pesky need to even try to explain.

    This is so arrogant, so narcissistic, so absolutely repugnant on so many levels that I am at the same time both surprised and yet not surprised that Stanford would even publish such a thing. I am surprised because of how absolutely stereotypically elitist it is. Then I am not surprised because I then realized that the people who publish this are probably of the same mindset themselves. And even if they themselves don’t understand it, they will nod as if they do lest they portray themselves as one of the riffraff or something.

    This gyration of thought is absolutely precious:

    Scientists get associated with the left not because they’re really in the left. It’s because they have a particular belief system that is more likely embraced by Democrats: people not on the far left—because the far left is just as crazy radical in its deep belief as the far right—but middle-center left.

    What an absolute moron!

  28. More jumping the shark: Giving Mork & Mindy a son, who turns out to be…Jonathan Winters. Letting the Battlestar Galactica reach Earth, where the space children all, it turns out, have super-powers. And so on. I’m certain that behind each of the many JTS examples was a Hollywood guy in a beret, hawaiian shirt, sandals with white sox, and tweed knickers, saying: “It can’t miss, Baby!!” Maybe it was the same guy in every case….

    REPLY: I stopped watching Battlestar Galactica the moment I heard them use “microns” as a unit of time. More unit absurdity here – Anthony

  29. ………… if you have enough evidence kicking you in the face to the contrary, you change your mind. That is blasphemy to certain groups. This is in my view a fairly dangerous value dichotomy because in the end, if you absolutely cling to absolute values, then all you get is subjugation and violence. That’s where we end up with wars and with radical movements that cannot compromise and kill first.

    All this and fear of the Blogsphere, and who is clinging to absolute values?
    I like pulling words from a quote (any quote) e.g. subjugation, violence, kill, UN plot, crazy radical, to see how these words stand by themselves, do they enhance the argument?, if they do not, then drop them as they are merely alarmist and manipulative . Journalists play this emotive game constantly. These are not words that I would use if I were in Prof. Schneiders position giving an interview, these words are the hallmark of desperation.

    It is completely inappropriate, if there’s an announcement of the new cancer drug for pediatric leukemia [with] a panel of three doctors from various hospitals, to then give equal time to the president of the herbalist society, who says that modern medicine is a crock.

    This comment is completely inappropriate.

  30. I used to go to real climate whenever I wanted to get a laugh, but it has actually gotten to the point where its so absurd its passed the point of laughing…its now a question of whether I want to go cry or not. Last time I was there, I was so shocked I thought it was a joke website and I had typed in the wrong address…

    I now go to the luke-warm websites, and they are not quite as funny, but at least its something different from a different angle. Lots of people post there who would never post here for instance.

    As for jumping the shark, I think its when they go past the point of entertainment and into the realm of making you want to cry about how bad it is.

    Just like happy days, It went from nyucknyuck to just /sad in the matter of a couple days (one episode in the case of Happy Days). Not sure when the “tipping” point occurred, but to me it seems it happened much sooner then this particular sad article. Anyone have any thoughts on that?

    I almost think it occurred roughly the same time all the “luke warmers” became big. Here is a group that can have a civil conversation, can take some of the beatings, and comes away with their dignity mostly in-tact. I may myself be rather antagonistic to them as well…but shrug, we all have our faults …. And I may disagree with them, but I am sure most of us here do…

    Or to explain the reference a little better, as the show started to go downhill and become less entertaining, it jumped the shark and became just pitiful. No one wants to cry about how such a good show became pitiful, and I guess the same is true for real climate. For me it was always entertainment and laughter, and I can say that its been past that for a long time.

  31. The assertion by Professor Schneider that “The average person is not really competent to make such a judgment” is particularly irksome. I, for one, do not doubt the ability of the ‘average’ citizen, when called upon to do so, to apply sound reasoning and make good judgements – even when issues are complex. The assumption that the ‘average’ citizen has this faculty, and should be encouraged to apply it, is central to our concept of liberal democracy as well as, of course, our legal institutions.

  32. Amino Acids in Meteorites says: “CRU is supposed to be one of the better schools in the UK too.”

    No, no. CRU is part of UEA (known as University of Easy Access because of the low grades required of its student intake) which is one of the UK’s third rate universities, set up in the 1960s.

  33. I second Cassandra’s point about “tipping points.”

    I see references to “tipping points” more and more, as it becomes obvious that linear extrapolation of trends does not produce a sufficiently scary scenario. E.g. if sea level rises 3 mm a year, well, a 1-foot rise by the year 2100 will probably require higher levees in New Orleans and perhaps other sensitive locations, or other adaptations. No huge “Lucifer’s Hammer” tidal waves drowning coastal cities.

    So these hypothetical tipping points are proposed. E.g., http://www.pnas.org/content/106/13/5041.full.pdf . No evidence that these exist in reality and can be triggered by any reasonable trajectory of CO2 emissions etc. But as long as they can be hypothecated, they can be used as bogeymen. Since they’re not quantified, they’re not falsifiable — one can always say “well, we haven’t seen any tipping points yet, but I’m sure there’s one just around the corner.”

    Dr. Schneider admits that “[w]e don’t know precisely where [the tipping points are.” Yet he can state that there are “probably hundreds” of them. Without evidence.

    One might just as well assert that there’s another Chicxulub-type asteroid/comet on a collision course with Earth. Well, yes, as far as we can see with our telescopes, there are none visible — but one could be just outside the detection range! We’d better invest a few trillion dollars to construct an asteroid deflection system, based on the precautionary principle. After all, what’s a few percent of GDP if it means the safety of your grandchildren?

  34. I have also never been able to get a comment past the censors at Realclimate. Dr. Schneider may have a point about blog readers tending to only read blogs that confirm their own bias. However, if you really want to CONFIRM your bias against AGW, I suggest that one does check out RC and CP and any other pro-AGW blog for a good, long read. You’ll come away realizing just how ridiculously in DENIAL of the evidence at hand the AGW True Believers really are. They employ every logical fallacy and rhetorical sin in a vain attempt to justify the impossible. Plus they completely lack any sense of good humor and fair play.

  35. Stanford seems happy to promote quasi scientific silliness. They still let Paul Ehrlich run around lecturing to Stanford folks about “overpopulation” when all European countries and Russia are far below replacement level in child births. Consequently, they are becoming extensions of various Islamic countries as immigration takes the place of the native population. They will proudly field this guy’s propaganda even when the snow fills Lake Lagunita.

  36. July 18, 2010 at 10:18 pm
    “REPLY: Yes, but most Americans can easily judge the quality of the work done in building a house, fixing a car, or filling a tooth.”

    Only later on when the work in question actually fails. One of the sites I like to visit to see if there’s been a warming trend in recent years is Roy Spencer’s, if I plug in the graphs for recent years there’s a clear warming trend in the “near surface layer (ch04)” but if I look at posts at sites like this one I could be forgiven for thinking that Dr. Spencer must have his graphs all wrong, here I’m told the science is sloppy, that the warming trend is exaggerated.

    Schneider also has a case that too many sites today don’t allow or encourage dissenting views, there are too many echo chambers out there with people not listening or even hearing other perspectives, while he’s largely correct, well done to WUWT for avoiding such censorship.

  37. Steven “Chicken Little” Schneider: Brraaack! The sky is falling, the sky is falling! Brraaack! Tipping points, tipping points! Brraaack! We need a Black List, we need a Black List! Brraaack! Blogs cause civil war, blogs cause civil war! Brraaack! Brraaack! What scares me, what scares me! Brraaack!

    That poor goose. Somebody give him a valium, and a nice warm padded cell.

  38. Andrew W says:
    July 18, 2010 at 10:18 pm
    Schneider was probably just being rational, after all, most Americans aren’t competent to build a house, fix a car or fill a tooth, it could only the most irrational (actually lunatic) who could claim they’re all climate experts.

    But i think know when they are trying to sell me a badly build house, and if i am not sure (wich is rather normal) I will bring an expert that can asess the state of the house and its attached value. And if we compare this to the climate sciences than the housebroker is not going to allow that expert entrance to the house to asses the value of that house. No trust me, there is nothing wrong with this house, these are not the droids you are looking for. The Jedi Mindtrick does not work upon those who do not believe in the “Climate” force.

  39. Did the original guy only jumped over the shark – rather than on the shark? I am disappointed! That’s a completely realistic scene…

    If there were hundreds of tipping points as Schneider likes to say, they would form a quasi-continuum and they wouldn’t really be tipping points. One would have to describe the system using different concepts because a larger number of tipping points would also mean that each of them is less consequential.

    A civil war would become a genuine threat – but it would be a threat not because of the existence of blogosphere but because of the existence of an aggressive political movement whose goal is to cripple basic human freedoms, much like in the case of Nazism and communism. The new movement that threatens the world in this way is called global warming alarmism.

  40. Schneider has been saying the same sort of things for years. The reason they are now coming across as absurd is the shark was jumped some time ago and now most people are wise to it.

    The moment the shark was jumped was when the IPCC published the hockey stick. That lead a lot of people who know something about climate of the past to openly question AGW. It took ten years for the rest of society (climate gate was the tipping point) to get wise to the tricks of the hockey stick, but now it has reached critical mass.

    The manipulators haven’t changed their message. We just now hear it very differently.

  41. Phillip Bratby says:
    July 18, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    No, no. CRU is part of UEA

    just laying in bed now realizing it’s East Anglia not CRU. DOH!

  42. ann r says:
    July 18, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    “overpopulation”

    I did a math quiz for myself one time. If the population of the world was 7 billion, and each person stood in a square 10ft. x 10ft., with the squares laid out like a checkerboard, one square per person, the total size needed to hold all people on the checkerboard is slightly smaller than Lake Victoria. Silly to think the world is overpopulated. Some cities are overcrowded. But the problem doesn’t go any farther than that.

  43. Overpopulation should be judged in terms of carrying capacity, not in in terms of living space.
    I’ve heard that humans are now utilising about 40% of the planets photosynthetic capacity.

  44. It seems to me that the Professor was making a fairly accurate general observation about the internet.

    You have only to visit some of the more extreme websites to find really, really violent language and (often) the depths of perversity.

    Even more innocuous websites are invaded by “trolls” flaming at moderate and reasonable opinion. The corruption of public discourse and the polarization that results should be fairly obvious to all.

  45. I think that the Professor is partly right. The comments here so far seem to average out to its a battle over, Anthony’s followers think skeptics are winning. But, the high ground is still held by the AGW people. Politicians have to take advice, and while NASA, AAAS, UK Royal Society etc etc say one thing, it wouldnt matter if 10,000 bloggers say something else.
    Consider Anthony’s heroic visit to Australia. Welcomed by his friends. But, AFAIK almost no mention in the MSM. Did Anthony meet and seriously talk to anyone senior from the CSIRO? From the Australian Met Bureau? from the Aust AAS? from any of the high scientific bodies advising Aust politicians? That would have added enormous value to his trip.

  46. I have never been able to get a comment past the gate keepers at realclimate, either.

    I sometimes go there to see what the topic of the week is, but it is closed to those that want to provide a different point of view, especially if that point of view includes peer reviewed contrary opinions.

  47. Luboš Motl says:
    July 18, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    here’s what ‘jump the shark’ came to mean, and ‘Fonzie’ talking about that scene:

  48. @Andrew W says: July 18, 2010 at 11:15 pm July 18, 2010 at 10:18 pm
    “One of the sites I like to visit to see if there’s been a warming trend in recent years is Roy Spencer’s, if I plug in the graphs for recent years there’s a clear warming trend in the “near surface layer (ch04)” but if I look at posts at sites like this one I could be forgiven for thinking that Dr. Spencer must have his graphs all wrong, here I’m told the science is sloppy, that the warming trend is exaggerated.”

    I guess you don’t come here very often. Actually both the posts Anthony puts up and the readers’ comments cover a wide base of skeptic opinion from lukewarmist to hard line “denier and proud of it” opinion. In fact there have been a few brave warmist souls (Judith Curry for one) who have risked ostracism or worse by coming on here.

    This is one of the strengths of WUWT.

    In fact there has been a warming trend. Very few commenters on here would deny that.

    How much of a warming trend? After considering all the obviously bad stations, the ‘march of the thermometers’, the tendentious cherry picking-adjusting-homogenisation AND stripping out the UHI effects AND all the obvious hyperbole; it is a very moot point what the warming actually is.

    More than natural variability? Possibly.

    Caused by Man made CO2? A little bit of the little bit of warming just might be although there are more compelling hypotheses.

    Cause for alarm? I suggest you need only to look at half a dozen of the most popular shroudwaving doom predictions to realise that all these are a complete crock.

    Also that the unimaginable amount of resources planned to be completely wasted by going to a “low carbon energy” scenario, using “renewable resources” that actually, measurably, don’t work, would be far better spent on mitigating the effects of anything that MIGHT happen (sea level rising a few millimeters per year?) and in alleviating poverty.

  49. I have to admit that I seldom read alarmist blogs line RC. Not because I’m not interested in the arguments but because I come to WUWT or CA as an antidote to the constant ‘blah, blah, blah’ of the Climate Change mantra epitomised by Shneider’s article.

    I also think that the hatred and extremism required fir civil unrest are absent in those on the rational side of the argument. We don’t see AGW as a big problem so why would we even contemplate taking up arms to enforce our position. It’s people like Shneider who scare me.

    Also, I met The Fonz in Birmingham a few weeks ago. Charming man. We didn’t discuss sharks.

  50. It became obvious to me that overpopulation was no problem for the future when I first considered that NYC with 1 million population was incredibly more overcrowded than NYC with 8 million population.

  51. Amino Acids in Meteorites: July 19, 2010 at 12:04 am
    I did a math quiz for myself one time…the total size needed to hold all people on the checkerboard is slightly smaller than Lake Victoria.

    My high school science teacher (in 1962) approached it a bit differently — he gave everyone in the world a 50’x50′ plot of land on which to build a small hut and grow a garden, then asked us how much land they’d require. We did the math and were a bit surprised to find that everyone would have fit comfortably in Texas, with a couple of counties left over.

  52. These are the rambleings of a demented fool. It is an incoherent conversation with himself in front of the press office.

    I still go to RC occaissionally. All my attempts at comment have been blocked. I must say that it gives me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach as I wonder how the hell Gavin et al can steel themselves to spend time replying to the half-witted questions that do get through. And, have you noticed how many of them have silly 3 word names. paul barton levenson for example.

  53. Perhaps we should commission a new phrase that is more in context with the subject matter, such as “Jumped the Polar Bear.”

  54. @Luboš Motl says: July 18, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    “A civil war would become a genuine threat – but it would be a threat not because of the existence of blogosphere but because of the existence of an aggressive political movement whose goal is to cripple basic human freedoms, much like in the case of Nazism and communism. The new movement that threatens the world in this way is called global warming alarmism.”

    This is absolutely spot on. And it must be said that all the trendy rich-kid leftists in the West, keen to beat up working class cops in Paris in 1968 and careful to say nothing when Czechoslovakia was raped in the same year, are there in the cAGW camp today. Danny Cohn-Bendit for one.

    It is a bit of a laugh when a completely discredited hubristic “scientist” like Schneider starts warning about the blogosphere causing civil war. In fact, if I was in his shoes, I might be worried. Not by the blogosphere but at the prospect of the cheated peasants, pitchfork and flaming torch in hand, massing towards his comfortable ivory tower.

  55. What scares me about the blogosphere is if you only read your own folks, you have no way to understand where those bad guys are coming from. How are you going to negotiate with them when you’re in the same society?

    He’s a scientist isn’t he? what’s he worrying about social issues? We have politicians to handle that fiasco, his whole rave is about social issues, nothing about his flawed science.

  56. You know, I’d wager the opinion of your average American citizen drinking at the bar watching Fox News’ coverage of a murder case is far different than that of the same American citizen when drafted in to a lengthy murder case as a juror. His opinion formed on a snippet of information from a popular media source is not reliable enough to make a call… that is why they have juries and not phone polls or web-polls to decide the fate of the accused.

    The member of the jury has a much greater understanding of the case than your average American citizen. Reading blogs is like watching the TV news… and most people watch a news station that follows their personal politics, so in that regard I think that the Prof is spot on.

  57. There are some very strange dudes in US climatology, and most of them have German names.

  58. Due to political interference, science in general has got itself into a position where a large section of the public no longer have trust in their prognostications. Many many hypotheses and theories trying to explain the world around us are failing to produce acceptable predictions, with CAGW being the leading failure in this respect.

    The problem climate scientists face is that they only have poor quality regional data to guess what historic climate looked like. They only have GCM to try and predict the future, but due to the deterministic chaos inherent in our climate system, these have no predictive power. Therefore, they are left with examining the entrails of current weather conditions to try to support CAGW, but all indications show no statistical global warming for the last 15 years!

    Climate science is between a rock and a hard place. No wonder they try to revive the corpse of this falsified theory by ever more strident and stupid prophecies. Prof. Steven Schneider, along with many other true believers, is in denial.

    The end of the CAGW scam is nigh.

  59. WOW!! People here abuse me about not bringing enough science to the table. Apparently to work at Stanford one does not even have to have a clue.

  60. Remember that Schneider was very worried 30 years ago about a global tipping point: Global cooling. That is one shark that has been successfully avoided

  61. I was doing my usual search for “global warming” news, and something struck me today. Global warming is no longer the news stories … it is something to tag onto the end of another story to help fill the column.

    What I mean is that back in the hay days of global warming hysteria, global warming was the story, how it was going to kill this or that animal, drown this or that area, lead to the end of mankind (and sometimes womenkind). These days its “mankind is really bad .. we are doing all these things, pollutions, global warming, etc.”

    So, I can understand why Schneider is so miffed with the bloggers: as far as they can see they’ve been vindicated by the “inquiries”, yet the press are giving them the cold shoulder, and as all they ever cared about was the PR rather than the science, they know that means they have lost.

    And when they look around, all they can see of the “enemy” is a few bloggers … so in the same leap of nonsense as linked CO2 to global temperature, they conclude: “the bloggers have beaten us”.

    We didn’t win the war … they lost it! Or to be more precise … the public just got bored!

  62. What a self loving bastard! This quote may not be very scientific, but it is heartfelt. That is more than you can say about his statements.

  63. ““The average person is not really competent to make such a judgment”

    The average person probably isn’t qualified to land a man on the moon but we aren’t talking rocket science here. We are talking tree rings and thermometers. We are talking about the real life personal experiences of older people that can tell us what the climate was like in the 1940s. The average person is indeed qualified to make judgement on such matters.

    I would point out that it wasn’t the average person that invented the internal combustion engine and developed it to its present level of usefulness. You could, therefore, readily claim that it is elitist science that has caused these alleged environmental risks and that it has an outrageous cheek to point the finger of blame at the rest of us. But then scientists have “previous”. They diverted attention away from themselves when the science of evolution led directly to the science of eugenics. They did the same over the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan. No doubt when they cause the next environmental disaster they will do the same again. Anyone like to guess what new dangers these elitist scientists might be most likely to expose us to? I’m opting for genetic engineering as the science most likely to kill over a million people in one go.

  64. Friends:

    Comments like those of Schneider can be expected to become more frequent because they are a shroud intended to obscure sight of the corpse of the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) scare.

    The CAGW scare is dead. It continues to run around like a headless chicken, but – like the chicken – it is dead while still moving with an appearance of life. And the movement will be obvious in Mexico later this year.

    The CAGW scare is a bandwagon carrying a variety of researchers, politicians, carbon traders, and etc. in a direction they all want to go. But the scare has been killed by Climategate, the failure of negotiations in Copenhagen, and the failure of global temperature to rise as CAGW said it would over the last decade.

    So, the wheels are falling off the CAGW bandwagon.
    Those with any wit can see they need to get off the bandwagon before it grinds to a complete halt.

    In the meantime, those riding the bandwagon need a screen to cover its wobbly wheels. And the screen only has to be sufficient for it to last until the wheels have fallen off the CAGW bandwagon and its riders have found another bandwagon (ocean acidification?) and have climbed aboard it.

    The screen is the Oxborough, Muir Russell and etc, enquiries together with extreme assertions such as those of Schneider and Hansen. The screen is a shroud to cover the corpse of the CAGW scare, and a shroud does not need to last for long. It will not take long for the screen to be seen through, but it only needs to last until after the IPCC Meeting in Mexico.

    But, the important point is that the CAGW scare is dead: its continuing movement is merely an appearance of it still having life.

    However, like the ‘acid rain’ scare of the 1980s, the smell of the corpse of CAGW will continue to pollute energy and economic policies for decades to come.

    The ‘acid rain’ scare’ is dead, too. Nobody announced its death (and nobody will announce the death of CAGW) but few remember the ‘acid rain’ scare unless reminded of it.

    And the ‘acid rain’ scare should act as a warning because it is very similar to the CAGW scare.

    It was based on dubious ‘science’ that anyone could see was flawed.
    It was denied by empirical evidence.
    It was promoted for political and economic reasons.
    ‘Greens’ adopted it and promoted it as a method to attack industrial civilisation.
    It was the major environmental concern in its day.
    It was quietly forgotten when its political use had been fulfilled.

    But the stench of its corpse pollutes the political scene to this day.

    The Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD) of the European Union (EU) is one good example of the stench from the corpse of the ‘acid rain’ scare. The LCPD was established in response to the ‘acid rain’ scare, and it sets limits to emissions of oxides of sulphur and nitrogen (SOx and NOx) permitted from power stations. The civil servants who were put in place to operate the LCPD need to justify the continuing existence of their jobs, so they keep reducing the emission limits. There are no valid scientific reasons – and no valid reasons of any other kind – for these reductions. But the latest reductions will force closure of all except two of the UK’s coal fired power stations in 2014.

    The power stations could continue to operate if they were fitted with flue gas desulphurisation (FGD). Some have sufficient land available for them to fit FGD but others do not. More importantly, FGD adds about 20% to the capital cost and about 10% to the running cost of a power station.

    A power station has to recover its capital cost over the entire ~30 years of its scheduled life. This recovery of capital cost becomes difficult when the capital cost is increased by ~20% and the power station’s running cost is increased by ~10%. The recovery of capital cost becomes impossible when the FGD is retro-fitted to a power station that is 5-years old so only has about ~25 years of its scheduled life remaining. Hence, closing the power station (with large resulting losses) costs less than fitting FGD to keep it running.

    So, as a result of the ‘acid rain’ scare, in 2014 the UK will be forced to choose between leaving the EU or having its lights go out.

    The CAGW scare is dead but it has yet to lie down and be forgotten.
    There will be a temptation to forget the CAGW scare as it fades away. But – as the effects of the ‘acid rain’ scare demonstrate – this temptation needs to be resisted.

    Richard

  65. A little over the top even by alarmist standards. As someone said earlier “I can’t believe a read the whole article”, but at least these types of comments show the climate sceptics’ arguments are winning – and of course it hurts. It especially hurts arrogant climate ‘scientists’ living comfortable lifestyles courtesy of the US taxpayer, as the gravy train may be about to stop.

    As Winston Churchill once said: “It may not be the beginning of the end, but it certainly is the end of the beginning.”

  66. Steve Schneider’s main claim to fame seems to be having honestly to admit that many climate scientists are intentionally misleading the public to get their message across.

    He apparently sees it as a dilemma to get the right balance between being honest and being effective.

    This is not a dilemma for a scientist , who would not be seeking to “be effective” in this sense. His dilemma and that of many who claim to be climate scientists is that they are trying to play a dual and conflicting role as part-time eco-activist.

    If they stuck to what they are trained and payed to do there would be no dilemma and they would be presenting the true science about climate not distorting it.

    I think that admission from Schneider , an IPCC insider at the time, was probably his greatest contribution to the debate.

    Thanks for a moment of honesty Steve!

  67. I think his comment about blogs having the possibility of becoming an echo chamber is fair but that is why there are plenty of blogs to peruse. I check ‘Climate Debate Daily’ for a balanced look at what pro and skeptical AGW people are thinking/opinionating about.

    Cheers

  68. This is yet another half-wit who thinks the world began 50 years ago. ‘Tipping points’ eh. What happens when world temperature rises? we know, it cools down again. What happens when CO2 concentration rises? We know, it goes down again.

    The only ‘tipping points’ apparent in the geological record are self correcting mechanisms. Sea-levels rise and sea-levels fall. Mountains go up and mountains go down. A reputable scientist is one who understood this and worked to understand why. A quack scientist just pushes the usual alarmism.

    But even if the 10% normal, 10% doomed were other than a top of the head tabloid soundbite this guy as usual with alarmists leaves no room for anything to be better. All change is change for the worse. This is so much understood and assumed by him that I am sure it never crosses his mind that warmer in many circumstances is better.

  69. This appeal to authority from Steven Schneider is unworthy of scientific endeavour.

    What is to be done can only be done with a proper consensus between the people, experts and politicians. The politicians will grab any opportunity for power and far too many ‘experts’ with skin in this game are advocates rather than scientists.

    The public have not been given access to all the information nor have the ‘experts’ bothered to explain things in a straightforward manner. The IPCC itself sets out to distort the science of climate change and the effect man can have on it by cherry picking the science to suit a pre-determined outcome. I bet many experts themselves don’t understand the whole thing either but for the sake of their careers and future funding they keep their scepticism and questioning of the ‘science’ to themselves.

  70. Mike Borgelt says:
    July 18, 2010 at 9:59 pm
    Sadly I’ve come to the conclusion that 90% of academics are not worth feeding. Would anyone notice if we stopped their funding?

    —————–
    Hey Mike you’re right – we just don’t know which 90%!

  71. “”We know that there are probably hundreds of tipping points. We don’t know precisely where they are. Therefore you never know which ones you’re crossing when. All you know is that as you add warming, you cross more and more of them.””

    How do we know there are probably hundreds of tipping points? Which ones have we crossed since 1860 that we’ve noticed? I’ve not noticed anything in my 60 years.

    How do you know you cross more as you add warming? Since once we all vapourise we will cross no more so the number must decrease as we warm. Or maybe the number will peak and then start to decrease.

    It’s Monday morning Stephen, I’m full of energy and I need a bit more scientific & mathematical meat to back your statements.

  72. This guy’s got form as most here are aware.

    “To capture the public imagination, we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have. Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective, and being honest.” – Leading greenhouse advocate, Dr Stephen Schneider (in interview for “Discover” magagzine, Oct 1989) http://www.john-daly.com/schneidr.htm.

    He shows himself to be particularly adept at conflating imaginary catastrophes set in the distant future such as a “flip the Gulf Stream” and the melting of the Greenland ice sheet with probable events which have happened in the past and inevitably will happen in the foreseeable future like “super heat waves” (I assume here by “super”, he means extreme and not pleasant or excellent — although I’m not sure), “hurricanes that will take out parts of Miami and Shanghai” and “fires in the West”.

    If you live in areas prone to these hazards, you prepare for them as the Japanese prepare for earthquakes.

  73. The word righteous come to mind for this man, this is usually for the religious. I am reminded that it was the righteous men that conducted the inquisition. The righteous preachers of Islam are sending out bombers. Righteous is not a good scientific position to argue from, this man is a loon. That anyone in the science community accepts him in their fold, say’s heaps for their character also. What a sad human.

  74. *WAG’s Tipper Reached:

    “… by noon I ended up being the municipal expert and gave several interviews,” MacLellan says.”

    “But really, my role is reaching out to those who have the expertise.”
    …-

    “*Giant hogweed ‘tip of the iceberg’”

    “But when surprising and sometimes dangerous foreign plants and insects come to town, MacLellan finds himself involved.

    “In the case of giant hogweed, at 9 o’clock in the morning on Monday I had never heard of it and by noon I ended up being the municipal expert and gave several interviews,” MacLellan says.

    “But really, my role is reaching out to those who have the expertise.”

    Last week, when not battling giant hogweed, he was dealing with HRM’s response to the Renewable Electricity Act and the city’s greenhouse gas inventory.”

    http://thechronicleherald.ca/Metro/1192637.html

    http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/archives/014453.html

    H/T: WAG* Whither Al Gore? (Formerly AGW)

  75. The “hundreds of tipping points” sounds very much like Al Gore’s answer to the question “And how hot is it down there?” “Oh, millions of degrees…”

    I don’t think Schneider has any understanding of system dynamics.

  76. ” The average person is not really competent to make such a judgment.”
    Given that – “We know that there are probably hundreds of tipping points. We don’t know precisely where they are. Therefore you never know which ones you’re crossing when. All you know is that as you add warming, you cross more and more of them.” –
    then, no one living is competent to make a “judgment”.

    All that is possible in the absence of any dependable data, is a considered opinion. The person who takes the trouble to give matters due consideration is as qualified to form an opinion as is the most highly qualified scientist, albeit that his opinion will have been influenced by a wide range of researchers. At the end of the day, if drastic action based on the advice of those who “don’t know precisely” is to be avoided, we desperately need “the average person” to give matters his earnest consideration, and to give voice to his judgement.

  77. Mattb: July 19, 2010 at 1:05 am
    …His opinion formed on a snippet of information from a popular media source is not reliable enough to make a call… that is why they have juries and not phone polls or web-polls to decide the fate of the accused.
    The member of the jury has a much greater understanding of the case than your average American citizen. Reading blogs is like watching the TV news… and most people watch a news station that follows their personal politics, so in that regard I think that the Prof is spot on.

    Nope. A member of the jury just has more *information* about the case. It still comes down to the ability of the average citizen to decide which of two conflicting sets of information (the prosecution’s and the defense’s) is most-likely correct, and more often than not, they get it right.

    What Professor Schneider is saying is that the average citizen should not be allowed to decide which of the two claims — AGW or natural variation — is most-likely correct, even when provided with the arguments from both sides.

  78. The dispute is not between bonehead bloggers denying the science and harrassed scientists trying to do the science but between a minority of scientists trying to get published and a majority of climate scientists, or rather a representative clique, deciding what papers are worthy of publication.

    Any intelligent adult who makes the effort can follow the arguments over the reality and reliability of the climate data and its implications for planetary habitability. In my judgement, not much of any – and much of that not much is actually likely to prove, on balance, positive for humankind.

  79. Steven Schneider says:-
    “What scares me about the blogosphere is if you only read your own folks, you have no way to understand where those [bad]? guys are coming from. How are you going to negotiate with them when you’re in the same society? They’re not 100 percent wrong, you know? There’s something you have to learn from them and they have to learn from you. If you never read each other and you never have a civil discourse, then I get scared”. [sorry for the edit, of your warmist mindset – KenB]

    Steven Schneider..
    That is exactly what the sceptics have been saying to you!!, but you aren’t listening, you guys live in your ivory towers and feel the need to scare the world into believing your view, you first tried to shout out the sceptics and when that failed you didn’t even have have the basic intelligence or commonsense to step into our shoes and walk the proverbial mile and take another more sceptical look at the poorly modeled “science” you are trying to sell with your overblown estimates and risk scenarios . If you had taken the time to remove your Real Climate Blog tinted glasses, you might have realised how stupid your comments are.

    Yes, you are crossing and creating tipping points, but the most comprehensive risk, is that your much despised taxpayers will become so dismayed with academia they will stop listening to your irrational statements and cut off the funds you so wilfully waste!!

    The sad part is that other genuine and concerned scientists may well suffer needlessly for your stupidity!!

    More power to the Judith Curry’s and the fine scientific minds that contribute and participate in true scientific discussion here, in contrast to your locked and tortured mind.

    Bit of pot and kettle mentality in all of us I’m afraid.

  80. As some of these distinguished scientists approach retirement, I expect we’ll see more of these types of claims. I think he’s correct to say there are many tipping points, but they’re usually to tip our cash into their money pits.

    I’m curious if this is why some pro-AGW people appear to be getting desperate. If some of them have invested in green schemes, they may have become heavily leveraged in anticipation of vast future profits, and a happy retirement. Big example is posibly the WWF and their REDD scheme here:

    http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2010/03/amazongate-part-ii-seeing-redd.html

    with a lot of money already invested. If investors want their money back, advocates like Schneider and the WWF need rent seeking policy implemented. From the WWF’s annual report, their own finances aren’t looking too brilliant with the value of their investments plummenting and individual donations falling.

  81. Our side should counter the use of “tipping points” by using the term “pushback points” — i.e., levels at which negative feedbacks are activated. It is that sort of feedback that dominates the climate system.

  82. The “Average Person” can only go by what information they are bombarded with. It is a matter of trust and if you break it, you’ll never be believed again.
    Speaking of global warming in a snowstorm in an odd month brings up question marks, so hype the propaganda in a heatwave and hope it lasts.

  83. Schneider’s “[right-wing] blogs will cause civil war” is the latest left-speak meme about the conservative right that has recently emerged in liberal media as yet another excuse why the world will be damned if we don’t all jump on the victimhood train of the liberal left. A couple of “right-rage” books are currently making the coffee-table circuit which purport to show that conservative”extremists” (not to be confused with liberal extremists, who are just normal, accepting folk, apparently…).

    This essay has been causing some consternation amongst the liberal fauxtelligentsia: http://spectator.org/archives/2010/07/16/americas-ruling-class-and-the .

    Schneider is correct in his assessment of people listening to themselves – that’s tribalism and its been, and will be, part of our makeup for a good many generations to come . OTH, how much time do sane people want to spend conversing with the babblers? Even the most loving primary school teachers yearn for adult conversation once in a while. Schneider should recognise that such criticism is a really just a mirror of his own climate science reality.

    What is truly disturbing are the number of liberal scientists and politicians with a Messiah complex. While there is truth in the common phrase “opinions are like …, everybody has one”, the emergence of so many “saviors” speaks to a serious pollution of the gene pool. Most of these lesser gods aren’t visionaries, they’re nut cases.

  84. Richard S Courtney says:
    July 19, 2010 at 2:08 am
    “/…So, as a result of the ‘acid rain’ scare, in 2014 the UK will be forced to choose between leaving the EU or having its lights go out…”

    Every cloud has a silver lining :-)

    My expectation is the the EU will have imploded long before 2014. It made sense in some ways as an economic union, but trying to lever it into becoming a political super-state is doomed to failure.

  85. Alexej Buergin says:
    July 19, 2010 at 1:16 am
    “There are some very strange dudes in US climatology, and most of them have German names.”

    I’m a German in Germany and most people i meet here are so brainwashed they stare at me in disbelief when i dare to mention that CO2 is harmless. It just never crossed their minds that there might be a doubt about the evil global warming potential of CO2.

    Critical thinkers they are not.

  86. Andrew W says:
    July 18, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Schneider was probably just being rational, after all, most Americans aren’t competent to build a house, fix a car or fill a tooth, it could only the most irrational (actually lunatic) who could claim they’re all climate experts.

    Hold it right there – I lost a filling and after quite a bit of difficulty managed to get some temporary filling product to stick and reasonably well shaped. On the emergency visit to the dentist, he looked at it, said it could wait a couple days and scheduled enough time to fix it right. I asked him about replacing my temporary filling and he said I did such a good job there wasn’t any need to.

    So there – average people can fill their own teeth!

  87. ” The average person is not really competent to make such a judgment.”
    ===================================================
    He thinks scientists and politicians are not average.
    ====================================================
    “What scares me about the blogosphere is if you only read your own folks, you have no way to understand where those bad guys are coming from”
    =====================================================
    He’s the one that needs to get out more, then he would see just how stupid scientists and politicians can be.

    Perfect example of elitist.

  88. Excuse me Mr. Watts, but is it climate science that has to be proved? I thought that that there is no experimental proof that CO2 causes global warming, there is no proof that there is global warming and global average temperature has no meaning in fact.

  89. We know that there are probably hundreds of tipping points. We don’t know precisely where they are. ( Alarm bells.) Anthony do you by any chance have a Tipping Point Detector amongst your weather instruments? I refuse to rely on the oracular pronouncements of the professor and his crew, I don’t care how many PHDs they possess.

  90. Blogospheres starting a civil war??? How about one that helped start the American Revolution? Thomas Paine, an immigrant (sponsored by Ben) wrote “Common Sense”. But that was not the only little blurb he wrote. He was one of our early American (and in this case foreign born) founders who, in today’s world, would be known as a blogger. Would that Schneider had such common sense.

  91. Tenuc:

    Re: your post at July 19, 2010 at 4:55 am.

    To be clear, my post at July 19, 2010 at 2:08 am was not making any judgement (pro or anti) about the EU. The crux of my post was its conclusion; i.e.

    “The CAGW scare is dead but it has yet to lie down and be forgotten.
    There will be a temptation to forget the CAGW scare as it fades away. But – as the effects of the ‘acid rain’ scare demonstrate – this temptation needs to be resisted.”

    Richard

  92. “Sadly I’ve come to the conclusion that 90% of academics are not worth feeding. Would anyone notice if we stopped their funding?
    Hey Mike you’re right – we just don’t know which 90%!”

    You could stop the funding to all of them. The free-market will fund science where it is needed most, and the rest could be handled by keen amateurs. We really don’t need socialist science.

  93. @Tenuc says: July 19, 2010 at 4:55 am
    Richard S Courtney says:
    July 19, 2010 at 2:08 am
    “/…So, as a result of the ‘acid rain’ scare, in 2014 the UK will be forced to choose between leaving the EU or having its lights go out…”

    “Every cloud has a silver lining :-)

    My expectation is the the EU will have imploded long before 2014. It made sense in some ways as an economic union, but trying to lever it into becoming a political super-state is doomed to failure.”

    Well, amen to that!

    But, on a point of detail, the EU has had to defer the implementation of the Large Combustion Plant Directive until 2020. I don’t think by any means the UK would have been the only EU country to shiver in the dark without that delay!

    In a sense it is a pity. I happen to believe that no matter how conclusive is the proof that the whole cAGW agenda is riddled with dogma, incompetence and malice, those in power have their snouts so deep in the gravy train that they will carry on brushing every objection under the carpet.

    But when the population at large does find themselves shivering in the dark, then look forward to lots of politicians and media guys pointing out how they had always warned that the science isn’t so robust, after all.

    But, on the other hand, ten years isn’t so much if you want new nuclear plants. And there’s no real prospect for them even starting in the next five years.

  94. There are experts that fix hearts or make bridges that don’t fall down, and then there are intellectual elites. Read the book “Intellectuals” by Paul Johnson, especially the conclusion where he says (paraphrased) that asking your average Joe on the street is more likely to result in a reasonable suggestion than asking a panel of intellectuals. The same applies to Schneider and his buddies, I think. Intellectuals who don’t fall in line get ejected from the elite.

  95. Maybe the good professor can tell us just what it is like to have athlete’s foot in the mouth. And people wonder why there is such a distrust of academics today?

  96. With the greatest respect, around half of the American population believes in creation, if polls are to be relied on, young earth creation at that. This doesn’t really give one confidence in the average US citizen’s scientific understanding.

  97. Stephen Schneider is the guy who said :

    “So, we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have.”

    From there, there is no need to listen what he says, he already said he is untrustable.

  98. My grandfather fixed his own false teeth when broken, reshaped hearing aid molds when he got an ear sore, fixed the hearing aid electronics when shorted out, fixed his own watches and clocks, welded things back together (not pretty but durable), and could sing and play the fiddle with the best. And he could also shoot your eye out at 200 yards.

    But we jes dumb folk caint know thu diffr’nce butwixt liers, cheaters, and smart aliky types!

  99. Basically, Schneider repeats the anti-democratic cravings of Lovelock. Next stop Hansen i say.

  100. Yes but professor, the average American citizen is chosen by government to sit on capital murder cases as jurist as part of our constitutionally protected freedoms and civic duty. Such cases involve weighing hundreds of hours of testimony, forensic science, sometimes DNA evidence, and most certainly to decide if the truth is being told or not.

    This is a very astute and rare observation. It exemplifies a misconception which has magnified many (if not most) of the problems humanity has faced over the ages. Humans are born ignorant and it’s only through education and discipline that this condition is reversed. The courtroom example is great in that it demonstrates a situation where a group of people, ignorant of the facts, can be educated enough to make life and death decisions. With the advent of blogs people have a renewed opportunity to do their own research, to promulgate their own education, their own ideas. This is something which bothers many (most?) in academia and in the mainstream media. Education is power, yet self-education is both powerful and liberating.

    I am a free thinker. I’ll make my own mind up, thank you. And who is he (Schneider) to say I don’t listen? I’ll listen to whom I wish, when I wish. I will decide what is truthful and what is honorable. This is my heritage as an American. So long as I live and breathe that heritage is not lost.

  101. The creation thing has to do with giving the right answer that coincides with your faith, not the answer that coincides with scientific knowledge. These questions are loaded with emotional turmoil by those that believe faith is an important part of a civilized society. Faith in something is part of our human existence and may even be part of our genetic drives. That one has faith in a Christian God means that this particular question is not a scientific one for them. It is a faith based question. And is therefore answered from faith’s perspective.

    The fact that a person says “I believe in creation” does not mean that they are scientifically dumb. Please trust me on that one. The question cannot be used to measure scientific understanding.

  102. “At some point people get fed up with sloppy work and reject it. That is what is happening to climate science today.” – Anthony (in reply at 10:18)

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but personally I think they crossed the line from sloppy to just plain deceit some time ago. While people will occasionally put up with sloppy work (you get what you pay for), once someone has been proven to be dishonest most people will figure that he has indeed “jumped the shark”, as all of his previous work will also come under a cloud.

    This is why, Anthony, your work with surface stations is so threatening. You’re revealing not sloppy work, but dishonest work. You might disagree with that assessment and still be giving them the benefit of the doubt, but in my opinion when obvious errors are pointed out yet go uncorrected, more than just sloppy work is afoot.

    I believe this is also the unstated justification for the recent “whitewashes” of Climategate. If all that needed correction was some sloppiness, they would have reported honestly. But the needed corrections involve uncovering lies and distortions, and once the insiders go that route the game is over. Or, in the current vernacular, the entire AGW crowd will have “jumped the shark” together. Given that most of them probably honestly believe that AGW is a real threat, they aren’t willing to sacrifice the perceived good along with the bad; hence the whitewashing. Of course, “whitewash” is just code for covering up, i.e., dishonesty in and of itself, even if what is being whitewashed was just sloppy work.

    Sir Walter Scott’s “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive” pretty well sums up my view of the matter. I don’t know when the first strands were cast, or who cast them, but the web had until recently been growing rapidly with help from many quarters. Then along came Anthony and others with their little brooms; and now with bigger brooms…

  103. Schneider apparently doesn’t know how bad expert judgment can be — look at World War I, for instance.

  104. Nuke says:
    July 19, 2010 at 6:45 am
    Has anyone ever shown any evidence any of these tipping points actually exist?
    ========================================================

    Yes, the computer games say so…………

  105. Schneider is quoted as follows:

    “We know we have a rough 10 percent chance that [the effect of global warming] is going to be not much; a rough 10 percent chance of ‘Oh, My God’; and everything else in between. Therefore, what you’re talking about as a scientist is risk: what can happen multiplied times the odds of it happening. That’s an expert judgment. The average person is not really competent to make such a judgment.”

    Of course, Schneider is talking about “theoretical” risk. That is all he knows. Being a tenured professor, the only risk that he has run since receiving tenure is that his contact at the NSF might be replaced by someone who thinks clearly. Like everyone who lives the life of “theory,” Schneider looks down upon the ordinary business person as someone of very limited talent who is not capable of understanding risk. Of course, the ordinary business person is a genius at managing risk, not “theoretical” risk, and proves it daily by surviving in a competitive environment rife with risk and the associated anxiety. Schneider should get out more or at least read the papers. Some of the people most disturbed by Obama’s “Wall Street Reform” are corn farmers in Iowa who fear that their use of the financial planning instruments known as derivatives will be curtailed. Schneider should publish an essay that reveals the extensive incompetence of these simple folk as they struggle to deal with risk, not “theoretical” risk.

  106. Mike asks:

    “How many regular WUWT readers also regularly read pro-AGW blogs like Climate Progress or RealClimate?”

    I continue to read RealClimate because I suffer from rapture of hubris, but they will not let me post. I post at the Guardian’s Environment blog, but it is dominated by a gang of say twelve AGW zealots who behave like Pit Bulls in their efforts to create noise and change the subject. The Pit Bull phenomenon is something that I have explained to the editors of that forum. There are more examples. In general, the CRU phenomenon of circling the wagons and viciously responding to all queries or criticisms is now universal for pro-AGW bloggers.

  107. UK Friend said:

    With the greatest respect, around half of the American population believes in creation, if polls are to be relied on, young earth creation at that. This doesn’t really give one confidence in the average US citizen’s scientific understanding.

    Creationism isn’t influencing policy decisions to anything like the degree that climate alarmism is. Nor does it provide ample investment opportunities for decision makers.

  108. Richard Hill writes:

    “I think that the Professor is partly right. [snip] Politicians have to take advice, and while NASA, AAAS, UK Royal Society etc etc say one thing, it wouldnt matter if 10,000 bloggers say something else.”

    What an undemocratic thought. Ask Senator Rockefeller from WVA why he introduced a bill that would delay for two years implementation of the EPA’s ruling on CO2. He might not admit it but the answer is 10,000+ emails from bloggers.

  109. From the interview:

    “Even if this reversed in 10,000 years, that’s effectively irreversible on any meaningful civilization time scale. So that’s what we worry about. We call them tipping points.

    What do we know? We know for sure that there are thresholds in nature. The obvious one that everybody knows is 0 degrees Celsius, 32 Fahrenheit: Ice starts to melt. So that’s a tipping point.”

    So Schneider uses “tipping point” in the usual sense of offering scare scenarios, and as irreversible, and in the next sentence he uses it to describe a simple and reversible state change. So he’s contradicting himself in these few sentences and we will never know how he really defines tipping point, let alone how climate science (the AGW kind) defines tipping point. This could explain why he sees hundreds of tipping points; according to his second use of the word, cloud formation is another tipping point etc.

    Humpty-Dumpty comes to mind; tipping point is THEIR word and it means whatever THEY need it to mean.

  110. I thought the seventies were in the past. Not in Prof Schneider’s mind, obviously. The seventies were a time of rollicking insanity from Paul Erlich, Schneider and others, who were lionised by university staff around the world who wanted some of that glory. The seventies have long ago passed into history and the professor should realise that his fifteen minutes of fame were used up decades ago.

  111. Anthony,

    Quite the contrary . . . . no, Professor Steven Schneider did not succeed in jumping the shark(s). He failed to clear the skeptics’s shark pen. He is battling for his intellectual life among those skeptic sharks. : ) I think he is losing the battle.

    Therefore, we have his rather frantic and emotional statements in the Stanford Magazine.

    BTW, another great post and another great group of commenters. You do the blogosphere well. Thanks.

    John

  112. Schneider’s quotes made perfect sense to me. Who would you rather listen to? Christopher Monckton?

  113. Richard Holle says:
    July 18, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Richard, one of the best things I’ve heard.

    And true.

    Once served on a Federal Jury. Random selection of ordinary, productive people from around Denver. Very impressive collection of outlooks and common sense. One of the best experiences of my life. I didn’t agree with one of the decisions the group made, but was persuaded to go along because of logical reasoning of a school teacher.

    Thank you for posting that. I’ve learned something valuable today.

  114. Mike Roddy,

    No contest. Monckton wins hands down. See, Steven Schneider advocates telling lies to the public to advance his agenda. He specifically endorses dishonesty. And the fact that it’s A-OK with you says something, too.

  115. Let me know when Guam reaches a tipping point. Heck, it could tip right over!

    Seriously, I’m in awe that any reasonable person with any sort of science knowledge could believe that Earth’s atmosphere is so delicately balanced that trace amounts of a trace gas could throw it out of whack. It’s self-adjusting. Our planet is like it is BECAUSE it is like it is… or are they throwing out the Gaia theory too?

  116. It’s Stephen Schneider, not “Steven”.

    Oh, and by the way, Andy Revkin is reporting that Schneider died today.

    Have fun senselessly mocking his entirely reasonable comments. Be proud.

  117. This morning brings sad news that Dr. Schneider has died, due to cancer complications, of a heart attack apparently. I was unaware that he was ill. While I strongly disagree with Dr. Schneider’s viewpoints, I am saddened by his passing, and my best wishes and sympathies go to his family. Andrew Revkin at Dot Earth has the story.

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/19/the-passing-of-a-climate-warrior/

    The interview in Stanford magazine below may be one of his last, if not the last one.

    Therefore, out of respect for his family, I have decided to close comments at this time. – Anthony

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