More from Jerome Ravetz: Response to Willis

Guest Post by Jerome Ravetz

First, let me respond to Willis. I owe him a huge apology. Yes, I was reading his mind, when I had a vivid memory of some strong statements he made about Judith. Checking those, I could see that these were not directed at Judith personally, and that they were made in the context of his respect and admiration for her. That was on the 25th of February, and his comment on the previous day was a model of civility. This is not the first time that I have been misled by a vivid memory, but I do hope that it will be nearly the last. Again, my apologies. Willis is too important a critic of mine to allow these errors to get in the way of a discussion. Of him and of scientistfortruth, I can paraphrase the old Jewish motto and say, with enemies like that, who needs friends?

Second, on the issue of what the alarmists should now do, I would like to introduce another consideration as a justification for non-violence.

The climate issue is not a simple normal-scientific one of verification or refutation of an hypothesis. It has become a ‘total’ issue, involving policy, politics, investments and lifestyle; and it has a history. In that it is something of an ideology, or ‘ism’. In that respect it resembles the belief in centrally-planned economy on the one hand, or an unregulated-markets economy on the other. People become committed to a position, or defect from it, for a great variety of reasons. In one of my essays I distinguished between ‘climate scientists’ who are grappling with the manifold uncertainties of this very young science (of course I agree with Willis here), and the ‘global-warming scientists’, those identified by Mike Hulme as the key insiders for the IPCC. That was useful at the time, but I would say that it is overly simple. Corresponding to the complexity of the issue, there is a complexity of personal positions, each one involved in a personal, private dialogue.

Of course there will be people at the extremes, and they make the most noise. But what is so precious about the blogosphere is that they are brought out into debate (as Gavin now on Judith’s blog), and so those with all sorts of concerns and reservations can witness and assess the arguments. Three things are then in play. First, the ‘demeanour of the witness’ is used as evidence for the quality of their case. Those who bluster and accuse are interpreted as doing so to make up for the lack of good arguments. Then, equally important, those who are perplexed can watch it all, and use the debates as materials for their own reflections. And finally, even those who are deeply committed have a space where they can confront their doubts and reservations, and work their way towards a resolution.

It’s like the old fable about the contest between the wind and the sun, as to who could get the man’s coat off. In more modern terms, when the wagons are circled, all those inside have to conform, but when there is a ceremony of peacemaking, understandings can be created.

There is a question of what to do about those people who are judged to have been really bad in the past. On that I can only offer an example. In Northern Ireland, we have had the astonishing spectacle of a former Protestant bigot and a former Republican terrorist becoming close personal friends. The players were the Rev. Ian Paisley on the one side, and Martin McGuiness on the other. I have no idea what went on inside their minds; but somehow, without any fanfare, they achieved reconciliation.

Now, let’s see where Willis and I still disagree on this issue. (He clearly disapproves strongly of ‘Post-Normal Science’, an issue I do hope to address soon. And there is unfinished business on Truth.) Maybe it’s this. When AGW scientists (as distinct from climate scientists) are perceived by a broader public and by their less-committed colleagues as engaging in grossly inappropriate practices, their credibility will surely go. On this issue there is now a very effective ‘extended peer community’, with strong roots in the blogosphere but now including some mainstream media.

Of course, given that the climate issue is so total, it gets tangled up in other issues and recruited by people with other agendas; I personally am not comfortable at being on the same side as Sarah Palin, though others in the debate might be OK with this. So the issue will be decided, or is being decided, in the messy and highly imperfect way of all politicised issues. For me, the job of those of us who are involved, in one way or another, is to keep our debate as clean as we can, and that is why I consider my task to be promoting non-violence.

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149 thoughts on “More from Jerome Ravetz: Response to Willis

  1. Might want to make it clearer that the entire post is from Jerome. At least I think it is. The author is Anthony, so maybe a note at the top saying “Jerome Ravets writes:” Fixed, thanks. – w.

  2. Hi Anthony,

    This was a very good article until the end. Could you please elaborate on your statement that you are not comfortable at being on the same side Sarah Palin? I think she get a lot of unfair press, and I think you should have kept her out of the article.

    Jeff Wiita

  3. Very good comment, except for this absolutely weird (stoopid?) comment:

    “I personally am not comfortable at being on the same side as Sarah Palin, though others in the debate might be OK with this.”

    WTF??

  4. Agree with Jeff W.

    As to the substantive comments by JR: the problem is more fundamental: the presumption of being wiser than the norms. In this case, the norms of scientific validation. The Wisdom of The Progressives is not a viable substitute. For anything.

  5. the job of those of us who are involved, in one way or another, is to keep our debate as clean as we can

    Kudos! Often I’ve been tempted to unleash a rant, but chose not to. Ranting is rarely the way to change minds, and tarnishes ones credibility with the more astute readers.

  6. Jeff Wiita says:
    February 24, 2011 at 7:14 pm
    “Hi Anthony,

    Could you please elaborate on your statement that you are not comfortable at being on the same side Sarah Palin?”

    Anthony didn’t write this article, Jerome Ravetz did. See: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/21/ravetz-on-lisbon-and-leading-the-way/

    He’s British and as such likely only receives international coverage of Sarah Palin. I am not defending her but based on his comment, the media Jerome is exposed to likely doesn’t paint her in a flattering light.

  7. I’m one of those who is uncomfortably being on the same side as Sarah Palin. That said I’m convinced Sarah Palin does not have any grasp of the subtleties of critical thought on CAGW, soooo I’m comfortable knowing sheees not on the same page as I’m on.

  8. Don’t worry, honey; she never said she could see Russia from her back porch. That was a TV actress.
    ==========

  9. Jerome says:

    First, let me respond to Willis. I owe him a huge apology. Yes, I was reading his mind, when I had a vivid memory of some strong statements he made about Judith. Checking those, I could see that these were not directed at Judith personally, and that they were made in the context of his respect and admiration for her. That was on the 25th of February, and his comment on the previous day was a model of civility. This is not the first time that I have been misled by a vivid memory, but I do hope that it will be nearly the last. Again, my apologies. Willis is too important a critic of mine to allow these errors to get in the way of a discussion. Of him and of scientistfortruth, I can paraphrase the old Jewish motto and say, with enemies like that, who needs friends?

    I have read no further into your comments than this. I want to say that your most gracious apology, perhaps more gracious than I deserve, is unreservedly accepted. Your actions are those of an honest gentleman with the courage to admit when he is wrong.

    I will read and respond to the rest as time permits, but I wanted to get this in early and strong.

    Much appreciated,

    w.

  10. Jeff Wiita says: (February 24, 2011 at 7:14 pm)
    …not comfortable at being on the same side Sarah Palin? I think she get a lot of unfair press, and I think you should have kept her out of the article.

    So do I, Jeff. That single observation destroyed what I was thinking was a nice, balanced, presentation (and apology).

  11. johnb says:
    February 24, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Anthony didn’t write this article, Jerome Ravetz did.

    Thank you for the clarification. I apologize to Anthony. I should have known better.

    Jeff Wiita

  12. I am getting very tired of the cheesy attacks on conservative women. Only the great media could take a hard working woman and deride her and get away with it. If you wish to make a comment like that, at least investigate the issue as hard as you would AGW. I keep an open mind, but I believe in the saying. Believe little of what you hear, and half of what you read.
    I’ll bet he didn’t like cheerleaders….

  13. Post Normal Science
    Rests On Compliance
    Sceptical Ones Morn
    Special Con Mentors
    Ransom Science Plot

    Enough with the violence straw man already. Dragging Northern Ireland into it is well beyond the pale. Nearly as bad as dragging politics into science where it has no place.

  14. In a political sense, whom one is comfortable with is a very normal response.
    Some of the greatest heated debates are produced by those who get along perfectly outside of debate.
    And that is also a dynamic, as a politician whom one is comfortable with today may raise your hackles tomorrow
    … and vice versa.

  15. Blather on as if you have something to say. Is this the English way? Or is that what you mean by post normal science.Talking all arround the facts does not change them. And in the allusions to the IRA are you implying that the IPCC team are terrorists?
    From where I sit in the north, Palin Derangement Sydrome is a clear sign of a weak mind.Or was there some other point for introducing your view of the lady to the above drivel?

  16. “Don’t worry, honey; she never said she could see Russia from her back porch. That was a TV actress.”

    I had a bet with my friend in California if he could accurately describe a single position of Sarah Palin’s. Needless, to say my very “educated” friend could not.

    The actual quote:

    ““They’re our next-door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska — from an island in Alaska.”

  17. I’m still entirely confused about how a debate that occasionally descends into personal insult can in any sense be characterized as “violent”. What does that even mean?

  18. When AGW scientists (as distinct from climate scientists) are perceived by a broader public and by their less-committed colleagues as engaging in grossly inappropriate practices, their credibility will surely go. On this issue there is now a very effective ‘extended peer community’, with strong roots in the blogosphere but now including some mainstream media.

    Well actually no. I can tell you from here in Australia, irregardless of the level and volume of inappropriate practices, the likes of Tim Flannery, David Karoly, David Pittman, Ove Huge-Guldberg et al still dominate the media and the publics ears, especially those who are young. The blogosphere is still largely irrelevant.

    Why is this happening after so many instances of inappropriate practices Dr Ravetz? IT’S BECAUSE PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO SHOULD HAVE SHUT DOWN THE EXTREMISTS REFUSED TO DO SO, NOT A WORD, NOT A LETTER TO AN EDITOR NADA NIL ZILCH.

    You are complicit in the shenanigins by your silence over the years. This PNS of yours is PNS because of the politics involved. The shenanigins IS the politics and you and others like you were SILENT.

    I suspect the reason why Paisley and McGuiness ended up having an ale together is because they realised they had a COMMON GOAL. That goal was the well being of Ireland and the Irish.

    I suggest people like you and Willis have a common goal, science, GOOD science, HONEST science, OPEN science.

    So I ask you Dr Ravetz, are you willing to DENOUNCE the shenanigins of bad climate science practitioners? are you willing to denounce their past, present and future shenanigins widely and often? Not just in the blogs but everywhere you have a voice?

    The Irismen got together because both sides denounced the violence, and put down their weapons. Willis has already, often and loudly denounced not just the language, but the weapons (bad shoddy science) of the perpetuators, the Team if you will.
    Are you willing to do the same? Are you willing to, lets say co-author articles with Willis detailing and denouncing such wonders of science as the Hockey Stick, the Decline and the very many studies purporting the evidence of AGW (see Willises last post)?

    If yes, we have a chance and I like this post of yours.
    If no, we have no chance and this post of yours is just more hot air designed to bide time, keep the sceptics at bay until the politics can be rammed through.

    Once bitten Dr Ravetz

  19. What’s wrong with being on the same side of an issue as Sarah Palin? The truth is the truth. Picking sides rather than seeking the truth is what led to Climategate.

  20. mcates quotes Palin:

    “They’re our next-door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska — from an island in Alaska.”

    There was a skit by actress Tina Fey that made fun of Palin. But IIRC, Russia is visible from Little Diomede island – an Alaskan island.

    Sarah Palin may not be my choice as a candidate, but I am disgusted with the Alinsky-style demonization of anyone who is perceived as a political threat. The attacks against her are dispicable.

  21. Sweet. But I’m not buying this for a second. If the winds were not shifting, this sugar-coated letter would never have been written.

    Post-normal science = Lysenkoism. And Ravetz knows it.

  22. “There is a question of what to do about those people who are judged to have been really bad in the past.”… “achieved reconciliation” …

    Reconciliation with those who have abused the scientific process, the funding, and the data is applying the wrong law to the situation. There needs to be a simple process of legal consequences for the misdeeds, to repay the debt to society. Instead, those who have shown dispassionate axiomatic rigor in science and respect for the law should be recognized for their contributions at this point. Begin with John Christy and Anthony Watts.

  23. Jerome Ravitz:

    I have to agree with Baa Humbug. Either denounce bad science [science which avoids the scientific method], or you’re nothing but a charlatan.

  24. Jerome
    The only “side” that should be the object of debate is truth in science. Is the issue true to science or has it been corrupted by other agenda.
    (1) I am happy to be part of a consensus that agrees that some Climate science and the scientific method have been corrupted for the convenience of those other agenda.

    What to do now if “we” agree on that point.? Do we form a new professional standard within the existing scientific societies ? Or form a new multi disciplined Committee of Science to oversee reconciliation?

    (2) Essential in my view to stand up for science and identify corruption where you see it. Be courageous and not be swayed to ignore or cover up transgressions.

    (3) Give adequate time for the transgressor, to provide an answer or point out things in their favour or in mitigation of their error.. I don’t mean obvious simple readily admitted errors, but errors ignored in circumstances involving willful or serious incompetence .

    (4) Do not accept bland or concocted excuses, examine points raised, discuss errors.

    (5) Reach agreement and move on. Science is too important to be involved in wrangling over pedantic points and opinions.

    (6) Issue a simple media statement

    See how this system works and procedures are accepted – if need be refer to a tribunal that has powers to impose scientific sanctions including power to suspend (and I don’t mean hanging) !!

    Probably too strong for some, but you need to know where you are heading to chose the right path!!

  25. To those complaining about the Palin comment:
    As someone who isn’t keen on many (any?) right wing American figures I’m used to having to live with the fact that I’m in a minority on CAGW skeptical sites. I generally live with it because I think that defeating the CAGW scare is more important than bickering amongst ourselves over other political issues. May I suggest that not seeing eye to eye with everyone on every politicians merits is not the end of the world. We’ll get rid of CAGW all the quicker if we all accept that not everyone is going to agree with us on everything and that doesn’t necessarily mean we can’t work towards a particular common goal.
    It’s all to easy for our opponents to characterize CAGW skepticism as being exclusively a concern of the Right. (and unfortunately Jerome’s comment bears this out) If we aren’t able to show that this is really about Right and Wrong rather than Right and Left then it will take all the longer to overthrow CAGW.

  26. Re Smokey and Baa Hummbug, good call, is post normal science not the perfect language for a charlatan?

  27. Ravetz: “The climate issue is not a simple normal-scientific one of verification or refutation of an hypothesis.”
    Wrong. The hypothesis is: “The climate is warming right now.” You must handle this before you can start talking about any other aspects of warming. And this hypothesis has has never been verified. Satellite temperature measurements show that within the last thirty years there was only one short spurt of global warming which raised global temperature by a third of a degree in four years and then stopped in the year 2002. Its cause: oceanic, not anthropogenic. Arctic warming is real and has been going on for more than a century. But it, too, is not anthropogenic and is caused by warm Atlantic currents flowing into the Arctic. Someone will now say that Hansen announced the arrival of warming in his 1988 testimony to the Senate. So he did, and the warming he spoke of was non-existent, all faked. If you look at the satellite temperature curve of the eighties and nineties you will notice that the temperature oscillates in the eighties and nineties, up and down by half a degree, but does not rise until the super El Nino of 1998 arrives. The oscillations belong to the warm El Nino and cool La Nina periods in the Pacific. There are five El Nino peaks in this period, with cool La Nina valleys in between. But if you look at the temperature graphs from NASA, NOAA, and the Met Office you will notice that this period appears as period of rising temperatures known as the “late twentieth century warming.” How is this possible? You can find out by plotting their curves on a common graph with the satellite data using the same resolution for both. If you do this with HadCRUT3 from the Met Office you will find first that the temperature oscillation seen in the satellite curve is also present in the Met Office curve. They start out together and the first four El Nino peaks in both curves coincide. But what is different is the part of the curve between the peaks, the La Nina valleys. They have all been made shallow in the Met Office curve and this gives it an upward slope. This does not work with the right end of the curve so they simply lift it up and it floats merrily above the satellite curve. NASA curve starts out similarly with a faked warming. But they don’t have the nerve to raise the right end which fits in with that part of the satellite curve. But NOAA graph takes the cake. They stay with the peaks and jettison completely the La Nina valleys between the peaks on the left. And the right end simply gets lifted up and again floats in the air. This is a long-term, coordinared fraud which started in the late seventies. To make it happen the only thing needed was for someone to suggest that peaks are the real temperature and it is right to adjust the variations in between. And chance lineup of peak heights made this very effective until 1990. After that they were already so deeply into it that they had to resort to a much more gross type of fakery. All this and graphs showing how it was done is found in the second edition of “What Warming?” now out on Amazon. Since it started in the late seventies it behooves us to check what happened then. One big thing was that Hansen quit his job as an astronomer on the Pioneer Venus probe and joined GISS. His reason: “The atmosphere of our home planet was changing before our eyes.” His first task at GISS was to devise a new method of measuring global temperature rise. And lo and behold, when the new method was put into action temperatures did begin to rise!

  28. Dr Ravetz; You were doing quite well with bridging the gap and then you stuck your foot in your mouth with that throw away remark about your opinion of Mrs. Palin. I suggest that you personally study the subject before the next time you speak on it. You may be very surprised about the truth over the MSM fiction. pg

  29. “Of course, given that the climate issue is so total, it gets tangled up in other issues and recruited by people with other agendas; I personally am not comfortable at being on the same side as Sarah Palin, though others in the debate might be OK with this.”

    So the opinion of Sarah Palin is a measurable factor in how you think? The opinion of a non-science, but political figure on the other side of the world from you, that you have never met, nor are likely to meet affects the way you think about the two sides of the climate debate???

    “For me, the job of those of us who are involved, in one way or another, is to keep our debate as clean as we can, and that is why I consider my task to be promoting non-violence.”

    You are saying that that your interest is in keeping the politics out of the scientific debate, but in the same paragraph you are politically flavouring your own words. I cannot understand why your saying one thing and doing another.

    would you care to elaborate as to why you are trumpeting civilized rational debate in a politically charged way designed to upset someone? while your at it you could explain what value can be gleaned from answering math problems by mutual agreement. no matter how many people agree that 2*6 = 13, its still wrong.

  30. Those who acted in illegal ways need to be brought to justice. Those who acted in brazen disregard for truth (yet technically within boundaries of the law) need to be marginalized, whether they have “come to see the light” or not. The reasons are that this kind of behavior cannot be tolerated in society, and allowing them to just move on as if they did no wrong will only encourage more the same uncivil behaviors in the future.

  31. You mean there really are idiots out there like mcates that don’t know the story behind the Palin “quote?” Lots of villages searching for lost…

    Mark

  32. artwest says:
    February 24, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    artwest, I think keeping quiet about the kind of characterization that Ravetz is doing with his references to Sarag Palin is the wrong thing to do. The vast majority of complaints about his comment have been along the lines of “What does Sarah Palin have to do with the weight of the arguments?”

    By not speaking out about this innaccuracy, we would be passively giving credence to the ridiculous things being said. If something said about you is not true, it is wrong to say nothing.

  33. As far as I am concerned, and as a dedicated environmentalist , as well as a humanist, all of this reminds me of a song by the red Hot Chili Peppers about deciding one shall not be an addict any more. Because that is what I believe the CO2 AGW hypothesis has become.

    “The more I see, the less I know
    The more I like to let it go
    Hey oh, whoa

    Deep beneath the cover of another perfect wonder
    Where it’s so white as snow
    Privately divided by a world so undecided
    And there’s nowhere to go

    In between the cover of another perfect wonder
    And it’s so white as snow
    Running to the field where all my tracks will be concealed
    And there’s nowhere to go”

    AGW has become an addiction for shallow thinkers who think this is the easy way to preserve the planet. While they profit. Sorry. That will not bring back the cod, the herring, antelope, the prairie dogs, the badgers, or the bats. That will require real science.

  34. I would be VERY interested to see him elaborate on what he considers to be “Post Normal Science” and what role it should play.

  35. Baa Humbug, you are a fellow Aussi whose critical thinking I am able to respect. With regard to the issue under discussion here, ‘Right on the money!’ Where were the voices for honesty in Climate Science concerning “Climategate,”( a term coined by another Aussi critical thinker,) when they should have spoken out? :-)

  36. My biggest problem with post-normal science is that its continued existence requires policy to maintain its beachhead in science. In other words, a return to normal science makes post-normal science extinct. For this reason, post-normal science is motivated to retain policy in the science discussion.

    It is far better for policy and politics to get out of science altogether. Can anyone make a reasonable argument that post-normal science will arrive at a higher understanding than normal science? I don’t think so. In climate science, post-normal science has to blunder through under the duress of a false urgency.

    For post-normal science to really play a meaningful role, someone has to prove that urgent decisions are needed. No one really believes that anymore. Stephen Schwartz of Brookhaven National Lab wrote about his estimate of climate sensitivity (his estimate is at the low end of the IPCC range) and Schwartz said that he was still concerned about global warming but he was now convinced they had time to come up with a solution. This is exactly what post-normal science does not want to hear.

    I value Ravetz’s contributions such as his call for civility and his effort to get the proponents and skeptics of global warming to talk to each other. But I am convinced that the best way forward is to show that urgent decisions are not required and that allows us all to go back to normal science.

  37. The climate issue is not a simple normal-scientific one of verification or refutation of an hypothesis.

    Yes it is! It absolutely is!

    All this talk about non-violence is completely insane. There is no violence going on in the climate debates. It is a very simple hypothesis, the question is whether CO2 emissions are or are not driving Global Warming. The sooner we stop talking all this philosphical and social utter nonsense and get down to the real science, the better. Pieces like this are part of the problem not part of the solution.

    Yes, people are completely hysterical about it, as they have been about lots of eco issues for many years. Yes, they are advocating insane public policy measures. This does not mean we are dealing with a post normal something or other, it just means people are acting like people.

    You might as well argue that we had to introduce non violence into the MMR or the Cholesterol-Heart Disease debates. Its total nonsense. What we need to do is precisely to treat this like any other scientific question and

    GET THE ANSWER.

    And keep all the rest of the irrelevant stupidities out of it.

  38. It is gracious, Dr Ravetz, to write as you did “First, let me respond to Willis. I owe him a huge apology. ”

    If I read the views of regulars on this blog correctly, it is irrelevant, Dr Ravetz, to raise your core issues here. Anthony has been most generous in providing space. Another forum might find theoretical musings and strawmen interesting, but here the focus is on observation, deduction, etc, the elements of the well-established scientific method.

    Likewise, the following quotes, labelled post-normal or abnormal as you wish, are viewed as anomalous excursions from reality by many readers.
    http://www.geoffstuff.com/They%20said.doc

  39. Agree Michel! There is nothing ‘total’ about climate science. It is a plain vanilla emerging new science specialty. If climate science is ‘total’, so is astrophysics, the study of volcanoes and infectious diseases. All can conjure up end-of-the-World scenarios upon which politicians must act. None have been so corrupted as climate science

    Ravetz’ central thesis that there’s something special about climate science – is balls

  40. Dr Ravetz, A gracious public apology well recieved by Willis.
    Cocerning this…
    The climate issue is not a simple normal-scientific one of verification or refutation of an hypothesis. It has become a ‘total’ issue, involving policy, politics, investments and lifestyle; and it has a history. In that it is something of an ideology, or ‘ism’.””
    I wish you to understand that CAGW became this because the policy was premature. It is only good science, done on potentialy important wide sweeping policy issues, done in the complete open according to the normal scientific method, which determisnes if something is truly urgent, and ay all times the science must be kept separte from the ppolicy, If it may be urgent, then more resources must be put into normal science, and it is more important to separate the policy from the science. Is is very possible that in the end we will realize that CO2 is, on balance, a great benefit.

    Concerning your Sarah Palin comment, why are you uncomfortable having the same position as her, and what position is that? To paraphrase, “At that point, non-violence in the climate debate was born. For Mr Ravetz had realised that bad people are not necessarily all bad”.

  41. “and that is why I consider my task to be promoting non-violence.”

    What Violence? – the only hint of violence I can think of is this remark from Gene from Greenpeace India:
    ——————————————-
    “If you’re one of those who have spent their lives undermining progressive climate legislation, bankrolling junk science, fueling spurious debates around false solutions, and cattle-prodding democratically-elected governments into submission, then hear this:

    We know who you are. We know where you live. We know where you work.

    And we be many, but you be few.”
    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100032648/greenpeace-goes-postal/comment-page-10/#comment-100243863
    ——————————————-

    ..and of cause the 10:10 video

  42. I say it was all a setup: I don’t trust Ravetz one bit. I wouldn’t be surprised if he planned the entire thing beforehand, predicting the outcome all along, almost in a self-centered, sick, twisted charade of “I told you so” whilst talking to himself.

    After all, even Mosher has intimated that he and Willis could get some action going on this website “if they wanted to.” (and then their little tiff in the Ravetz thread.)

    Sorry, I call BS on all of it.

  43. “So I ask you Dr Ravetz, are you willing to DENOUNCE the shenanigins of bad climate science practitioners? are you willing to denounce their past, present and future shenanigins widely and often? Not just in the blogs but everywhere you have a voice?”

    Denouncing is something out of religious wars and political wars. What many of you want is a return to normal science. It’s odd then to predicate the return to normal science on an inherently political/religious act. Its as if you believe that the only way to de-politicize science is by taking a political act. And you use the oldest political/religious action to get back to normal science. You demand a recantation and demand that heretics of normal science be burned at the stake.

  44. ron cram

    “But I am convinced that the best way forward is to show that urgent decisions are not required and that allows us all to go back to normal science.”

    how exactly do you propose to show that? Who will “show” this and how will you force them to “show” it. By forcing them to do the science you want? your way? That sounds like bending the science to your political will.

    Here’s the problem. Once science has been politicized you cannot “simply” return to normal science. It takes the use of power to do that. Are you going to force hansen to think differently? defund him? defund all the scientists who believe action is required? Stop all science ( thats way abnormal). Sorry, the return to normal science is not a simple re virgination process. Its inherently political. post normal.

  45. I would never vote for Sarah Palin…. or any other US politician, actually, and nobody’s invited me to do so, since I’m Canadian and should probably mind my business.
    However, I’ve worked in Alaska and can attest to the fact that you can see Russia from there, even from Wasilla!
    The thing is that you have to peer into the past to do it, not across the Alaska Range and the Bering Sea. Alaska used to belong to the Russians and I bet they’d love to have it back. You’d better hope they ask Sarah and not Barak, ‘cos he might just let them have it; just so’s we can all be friends! Sort of Jerome Ravetz style.
    I seriously do not get this whole Chamberlain/Gandhi thing that’s going on.

  46. “The climate issue is not a simple normal-scientific one of verification or refutation of an hypothesis. It has become a ‘total’ issue, involving policy, politics, investments and lifestyle; and it has a history.”

    A “scientists” engaged in “policy, politics, investments and lifestyle” is not a scientist, because fundamentally a scientist is a dispassionate objective interrogator of the evidence, whilst all these other areas are subjective bias advocates for only one point of view.

    That is why the climategate emails were so damaging. It showed that almost everyone involved in the climate was a partisan petty politician pushing their own point of view and moulding the evidence to fit their point of view rather than following the evidence where it naturally led.

  47. I have to say I agree with Dr. Ravetz and his take on Palin. I have always tried to steer away from having politicians speak for the skeptic side – I don’t want to have the perception of spin doctors swaying public opinion; I’d rather have good science win the day. But I can sense Ravetz’s sentiment against Palin and for what I think is her association with Tea Party supporters. I may be lighting my own bonfire at the stake here but I don’t care. If the mention of Palin brings about strong feelings outside the realm of science, then I feel his negative association with her is vital. Tea Party supporters tend to be against “elitist” science and that’s the wrong approach: anti-AGW shouldn’t be about condemning science and ignoring it but rather championing good science. Honestly? I don’t see how anyone who has the capability of understanding the failings of global warming science can hold Palin as a viable candidate/leader of the most advanced nation in the world. There’s a disconnect there. Even a grass-roots movement needs some capacity for deep thinking. Do you really believe someone who bailed on her duties of the governorship of Alaska is capable of multitasking the myriad of global problems we’re faced with today? I’m a life-long Republican but she and her devotees scare the crap out of me!

  48. Dear Dr Ravetz

    Instead of trying to spin your way out of all this (otherwise known as carrying on digging deeper when you are in a hole) may I with all due respect simply suggest that you retire gracefully from the public arena.

    Best regards

  49. David says:
    February 24, 2011 at 10:37 pm
    “If it may be urgent, then more resources must be put into normal science,”

    More resources *were* put into normal science. But because at the time the ‘best science’ (heh!) said it was a problem with the atmosphere the money went to atmospheric science, partly because of the previous ozone hole issue the sudden expansion caused the recruitment of a lot of scientists very excited at the prospect of discovering something ‘very important for the whole of life on Earth’. Their output reflected that. This skewed the view of the summary makers, and is part of the reason the the climate question ‘went postnormal’. The politicians putting in the extra funding wanted answers ASAP and so they got them, predominantly from one branch of science, energised by a ‘big issue’. This of course produced an imbalanced answer.

    michel says:
    February 24, 2011 at 9:57 pm
    The climate issue is not a simple normal-scientific one of verification or refutation of an hypothesis.

    Yes it is! It absolutely is!

    Well, no it isn’t. Not yet anyway. As Ravetz has pointed out on WUWT before, there is no ‘crucial experiment’ which can decide the issue. The core problem is that the error band on measurement of energy balance at the top of the atmosphere is wider than the theoretically determined signal from the enhanced greenhouse effect. So the AGW hypothesis can’t be verified or refuted by the metric which is of primary concern. The question of whether it can be verified or refuted by other means such as the localised measured warming in areas of higher co2 concentration or observations of co2 change lagging temperature changes is why we have a two decade long debate raging.

    Sceptics are correct to say the IPCC, politicians and policy makers had no damned right to present the issue as being ‘95% certain AGW’ but this is beyond the realm of science and is exactly the ‘postnormal ‘ situation correctly identified and explicitly brought out into the open by the career long experience Ravetz has in being part of the science/policy interface and writing about it.

    My personal assessment is that the enhanced greenhouse effect is probably nonzero, but nothing to get too excited about. But that judgment is based on a weighing of evidence that is ultimately more like a legal judgment than a scientific one. That’s why I accept that the climate question is ‘postnormal’ and I’m interested in discovering whether the techniques for assessing uncertainty proposed by PNS practitioners such as Jeroen van der Sluijs have anything to offer or not. Given the strength with which people cling to their judgments once formed, it seems unlikely a non-scientific appraisal is going to be accepted by all parties, but this reflects on all parties, not just PNS.

    PNS has got a bad name for itself with the sceptical side because the pro AGW side used their take on it to bolster their side of the argument. What I wish the sceptical side would realise is that there is much in PNS which supports and bolsters our side of the argument too; validity and importance of the ‘extended peer community’, legitimacy in bringing ‘leaked documents’ to the table etc.

    Jerome Ravetz find himself as the lightning rod in the centre of a highly charged storm because his philosophical output is taken to mean different things by different people, and because the debate is highly charged, it gets personalised. Added to which Jerome Ravetz is not some godlike perfectly objective oracle who we can gleefully knock down for failing to conform to ideals we don’t match ourselves, but an ordinary human being, with all the usual ingrained artifacts of upbringing, developed attitudes and stances, mistakes and learnings from experience that we all have.

    He presents an easy target, but in my opinion the fact that he has long experience of being close to the corridors of power and influence and the people who administrate institutional science policy makes his written work worth examining for much more than the bits which confirm our own prejudices.

  50. Again

    There is a world outside of the USA..
    I am definetly NOT on the same side as Sarah Palin. I’m on my side.
    She means nothing to me, in any context, I live in the UK
    That is just an attempt to label someone as something or some idealogy to dismmiss them (similar tacticts are used ,to link AGW scepticism with creationism, 9/11 denial, moon landing, aids denial, tobacco, althus labbeling them as idiots)
    How does Salin Palin come into it….. it just shows wooly thinking and a mindset that al sceptics are right wing AGW denying, etc,etc

    In the UK, ALL leaders and ALL political parties with represenation in parliamnet are fully signed up to the CAGW consensus. The UK is PUSHING the EU for 30% instead of the proposed 20% reduction..

    Yet next winter even more old people will die because they cannot afford their energy bills, because electricity bills have been forced up, by green technology, and massive subsidies, forced onto customers bills.

    Post-norma ‘something’ mayhave a place as a tool to use in some circumstance..

    But to call it Post Normal SCIENCE’ is in my mind on a par with:

    Aethistic Religion

    Ie meaning less (though, that might describe quiet a few Church of England Bishop, these days (joke)- I have no relgious faith myself)

    Judith Curry finally stood up and tackled ‘Hide the Decline’

    And it prompted this Professor of Physics from Oxford University to state at Bishop Hill:

    Professor Jonathon Jones:

    “People have asked why mainstream scientists are keeping silent on these issues. As a scientist who has largely kept silent, at least in public, I have more sympathy for silence than most people here. It’s not for the obvious reason, that speaking out leads to immediate attacks, not just from Gavin and friends, but also from some of the more excitable commentators here. Far more importantly most scientists are reluctant to speak out on topics which are not their field. We tend to trust our colleagues, perhaps unreasonably so, and are also well aware that most scientific questions are considerably more complex than outsiders think, and that it is entirely possible that we have missed some subtle but critical point.

    However, “hide the decline” is an entirely different matter. This is not a complicated technical matter on which reasonable people can disagree: it is a straightforward and blatant breach of the fundamental principles of honesty and self-criticism that lie at the heart of all true science. The significance of the divergence problem is immediately obvious, and seeking to hide it is quite simply wrong. The recent public statements by supposed leaders of UK science, declaring that hiding the decline is standard scientific practice are on a par with declarations that black is white and up is down. I don’t know who they think they are speaking for, but they certainly aren’t speaking for me.

    I have watched Judy Curry with considerable interest since she first went public on her doubts about some aspects of climate science, an area where she is far more qualified than I am to have an opinion. Her latest post has clearly kicked up a remarkable furore, but she was right to make it. The decision to hide the decline, and the dogged refusal to admit that this was an error, has endangered the credibility of the whole of climate science. If the rot is not stopped then the credibility of the whole of science will eventually come into question.

    Judy’s decision to try to call a halt to this mess before it’s too late is brave and good. So please cut her some slack; she has more than enough problems to deal with at the moment.

    If you’re wondering who I am, then you can find me at the Physics Department at Oxford University.

    Feb 23, 2011 at 10:29 PM | Jonathan Jones”

    http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2011/2/23/the-beddington-challenge.html?currentPage=2#comments

    I wonder what Physics Professors really think about post normal science?

    and yes, Andrew and Judith have confirmed it was the professor.

  51. Here in the UK the perception generally of Palin is that just like George W, she is a right wing loose cannon who is a bit of a thickie and who would be a disaster as a president.

    So you Americans disagree with that perception then???

  52. One major step Dr. Ravetz could take to measurably improve the tone of this discussion would be to stop using the word “violence” to mean debate, discussion, and/or dissension. As has been alluded to above and elsewhere, misuse of language to gain an advantage in debate is a tactic that seems to be universally favored by the Left. That is, of course, why those who disagree with the putative CAGW “consensus” have been called “deniers,” in an attempt to equate them with Holocaust deniers. It’s also why a BBC talking head recently lumped skeptics with pedophiles in on-air commentary.

    There’s a significant risk in this misuse of language. The very meanings of words become blurred, making it more difficult to communicate precise meanings and rendering us all the poorer for it. Lewis Carroll’s Alice remonstrated with Humpty Dumpty about precisely this behavior:

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

    In contrast to the light tone of Alice, George Orwell portrayed this behavior in a much more sinister light in 1984, calling the resulting impoverished language “Newspeak”:

    “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.”

    If we reach the point where “violence” means everything from grumbling at your wife because your breakfast eggs are cold and having a heated discussion on the Internet to mass murder, the word will have lost the ability to communicate any meaning at all.

    So please, Dr. Ravetz, let’s agree that violence is what Hosni Mubarak’s goons inflicted upon the peaceful protesters in Egypt’s Tahrir Square. Violence is what is being visited upon those who oppose Libya’s maniacal dictator, Muammar Gaddafi. No violence is occurring in this space and, as far as I know, none has actually happened in any part of the Climate community (hokey team or otherwise).

    Skeptics long for an honest debate, but should shun those who insist on using Newspeak.

  53. jason says:
    “Here in the UK the perception generally of Palin is that just like George W, she is a right wing loose cannon who is a bit of a thickie and who would be a disaster as a president.”

    Well , that’s the BBC’s perception. In the absence of any other information, that would tend to incline me in the lady’s favour …

  54. Colonial says:
    February 25, 2011 at 12:56 am
    One major step Dr. Ravetz could take to measurably improve the tone of this discussion would be to stop using the word “violence” to mean debate, discussion, and/or dissension.

    The question is why there is so much talking past each other an so little useful discussion and debate. Ravetz thinks toning down the rhetoric thus making it possible to listen to each other will improve the situation, even if we still can’t agree about the science or politics.

    The debate is polarised. The more polarised it gets the more vicious the rhetoric gets. The more vicious the rhetoric gets, the less people are prepared to listen to each other. The less people are prepared to listen to each other, the more polarised the debate gets.

    It’s a vicious circle.

  55. From a UK perspective the throwaway comment on Ms Palin is relevant. Science is not left or right wing and yet Palin is a politician. She is not a climate scientist.
    I happen to agree with her on Global Warming because the balance of physical evidence does not support the Millerite catastophism of the East Anglians. But I believe in left wing ideals like the welfare state, the NHS and an international community of liberal values. I doubt many Americans agree with me.

    It must be embarrassing to a Tea Party republican to be on the same side as myself on climate science. Yet the planet doesn’t care and the world changes according to a physical not a political reality.

    The climate change scare is a political reality. It will not go away so long as opposition is associated with only one side of the political spectrum.

    Sorry, but that’s why the skeptics lose out in the mainstream media.

  56. My Dear Dr. Ravetz,
    before you proceed, remember,
    Sitting on the fence, can, amongst other things, severely damage your hemorrhoids.

  57. tallbloke,

    I’m not the first to observe that for many people the whole of life is a series of spirals; success in finding a point where the spiral can be stopped from turning is an esssence of life.

    Medical examples are common. An accident leads to an operation that leads to pain that leads to analgesics that lead to narcotics that lead to pain when one wakes in the morning, that leads to more narcotics to relieve the pain but these make you more susceptible to adventitious illness that requires drugs that have a nasty side effect and help you to crash your car, so back to (a).

    How to break the cycle? Sometimees it’s cold turkey.

    Is there a cold turkey cure for this incesssant theorising that happens when people should be out measuring? Is it called field work?

  58. I’d just like to point out as someone who lives in Ireland, and who thankfully was never really directly affected by the “Troubles” until I moved to London, that the “violence” was very real. People died, people had their lives routinely disrupted, and were never able to realise their full potential unless they got out of the situation completely.

    The “violence” done in the climate debates is mostly to people’s reputation, an altogether different prospect.

    Another thing that differentiates the two, is that with Northern Ireland, the end goal was peace between the two communities, and no more deaths as a result of people’s beliefs. I’m not seeing a similar concrete end goal in the climate debates. It still seems very nebulous at the moment.

    This was done by getting the extremists on both sides to actually state what it was they wanted to achieve, what would make them stop, and then a compromise was sought over a long period of time between the two positions. I’m talking about the equivalent of Schmidt and Mann on the one side and probably Morano and Inhofe (although there are plenty who are even more extreme than them), on the other.

    It was also done by a voluntary ceasefire by both sides which largely held. The ceasefire in the case of the climate debate is no more new pronouncements on AGW, no more dodgy models desperately looking to blame humans, no more brainwashing of our children, no more new taxes until it can be absolutely ascertained what role humans play in the climate overall, and whether that role is positive or negative.

    The skeptics are not the protagonists in this debate. We are not proposing that people upturn their lives on a hunch based on a guess. We are not proposing that people give up any ambitions of progress in their lives, and we are certainly not the ones who are guilt-tripping our children for breathing out.

    Until that is done, and it is at the political level that it will have to be done, then the “violence” to people’s reputation will continue. Climate “scientists” have placed themselves in the middle of a battle that has always raged between progressive and classic liberals, a place where they were never equipped to be. They need to get out of there and get out of there fast.

  59. “I had a vivid memory” = PNS for “I was wrong”.

    As an observer the only useful thing I see in Ravetz’s contributions is exposing the wordsmithing drivel for what it is. But perhaps I’m just being “vivid”.

  60. More from Jerome Ravetz: Response to Willis
    Posted on February 24, 2011 by Anthony Watts
    Guest Post by Jerome Ravetz

    For me, the job of those of us who are involved, in one way or another, is to keep our debate as clean as we can, and that is why I consider my task to be promoting non-violence.

    How can your participation in the debate be regarded as “promoting non-violence” when it promotes the policies of the IPCC and other governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations engaged in compulsory adoption of AGW political agendas under the threat of force and punishment by states, academic institutions, and compliant corporations?

  61. Let me see
    Sarah Palin or Al Gore?
    Al Gore hoping to make billions off the backs of dirt poor Americans.He’s already made millions from gullible people.
    Sarah Palin..Wants to take away some of the burden the dirt poor carry by cutting Government spending.
    Don’t know if she’s made millions from gullible people,maybe the ones criticising can answer that.
    Couldn’t the joker who wrote this ramble just be on the side of truth?

  62. I commend Anthony for giving Dr Ravetz space on this blog, and I commend Dr Ravetz for continuing to comment here. I was a vocal supporter of Dr Ravetz’ first article on WUWT amidst a flurry of criticism. By the end of his second article I was a critic, and since then, I’ve come to regard Dr Ravetz as a shining example of exactly the intellectual elitism that enabled the total and complete corruption of science in the first place.

    Even my kid, a twenty something with none of Dr Ravetz lofty degrees or vaunted world experience sees right through you Dr Ravetz. Read his comments because he nailed you to the wall with your own words, as did many other commenters. And here come some more.

    I remember reading articles in once pretigious magazines arguing that we should take action on climate not because the science is clear, but because it isn’t. Had I not read your explanation of “Post Normal Science” on this blog, I would have thought it just a very odd leap of logic that coincidently was mirrored in more than one journal. But I’d read your PNS theories, and having done so, recognized those articles for what they were. Nothing more than a justification for a political position with no facts to support it, and the spectre of fear (yes FEAR) of the unknown dressed up as some sort of next generation science. A new kind of science in which the frauds who demand action, having been exposed as frauds, can continue to demand action under a smokescreen of pseudo science called PNS. Nothing but a fraud to cover a fraud.

    It was you, Dr. Ravetz, who urged taking action because the situation was urgent, the stakes high, the facts uncertain. But whose recommended actions did your attempt to convince the public that there was some sort of next generation science upon which to base decisions support? The fraudsters sir. Instead of demanding quality work from them, you provided a cleverly worded argument to instead implement their hysterical ravings as policy because despite their fraud, they might be right. You argued to give legitimacy to the shoddiest science in decades, perhaps centuries, and so advanced the arguments of the alarmists who could now with the pseudo science of PNS behind them, continue to push their case with NO SCIENCE AT ALL to justify their position.

    For shame.

    And now, though I again applaud you for having what it takes to continue to publish in this forum, and I urge you to continue to do so, you have committed what may be an even worse sin. Since your first articles on this blog, much has changed. Your first articles argued that climate action was justified even though the science wasn’t complete. Since then “not complete” has been exposed for nothing more than a seive with giant holes in the screen being held aloft with people screaming that it is a pail, and full of water. Where has the intellectualized, articulate, no need for science, let’s act because we’re frightened of the unknown Post Normal Science flag bearer, Dr. Ravetz, gone with his world view since then?

    Suddenly, he’s preaching non-violence. Reconciliation. Suddenly he is distinguishing between “AGW scientists” and “climate scientists”. You were not long ago urging that the “AGW scientists” be given credence despite the holes in their science, and now you say they are “less-committed colleagues as engaging in grossly inappropriate practices, their credibility will surely go.” Nicely done Dr. Ravetz. Distance yourself from them and throw them under the bus at the same time. I wonder if any of them are reading your quote that with friends like these, who needs enemies, and thinking exactly that?

    And now let’s shine the glare of the spotlight on your argument for reconciliation. You speak of a fable about the sun and the wind arguing which can get a man’s coat off, and then present that as the modern equivelant of the wagons having been circled and all within the circle must conform. Excuse me? That logic follows exactly how? The lesson of the fable is that the wind blows as nastily as it can, and the man holds his coat ever the more tightly about himself as a result. The sun shines beneficently on the man and he takes his coat off. From there we got to the modern equivelant…the defence mechanism used by settlers two centuries ago to fend off attacks by native warriors…and from that imply that the modern equivelant, the science clique defending itself, is somehow to be forgiven for demanding conformism from within their ranks. Again. Excuse me? The settlers were fighting for their lives, if they lost they would ALL be killed, so any settler inside that circle of wagons had only one way to stay alive, even if he had a sudden epiphany and decided the settlement was wrong. He’d either stay alive by helping to win the battle, or die if the battle was lost. In just a few lines, you’ve managed to establish the demand for conformism by a clique of incompetant and/or fraudulent pseudo scientists as somehow being reasonable and understandable. It is neither. The settlers encircled by their wagons were facing actual death. The science clique was not. The settlers had no defectors within their ranks, only an insane man would in the midst of a pitched battle change sides and kill the only people who can save his life. This wasn’t a case of a clique of scientists demanding conformism from within their circle of wagons. This was a clique of scientists who, safe from withing their circle of wagons, sent assassins and snipers out to kill off their detractors. To complete the circle of the analogy you began with, who were those detractors? The ones who said see, the Sun shines benificently upon the man and he takes his coat off, that’s who. Because the people inside the circle of wagons claim that the man took his coat of because he had become too tired to hang onto it anymore and the Sun had nothing to do with it. For shame for sending the assassins, and double shame for trying to justify it.

    And then the worst sin of all. The call for reconciliation with the “Protestant Bigot” and the “Republican Terrorist” not only ceasing their hostilities, but becoming friends held out as the model for what could be if only we could put aside our hate. How much warmer and fuzzier could it get? All hail the reconciliator, the peacemaker, the anti-violence crusader, Dr Ravetz. Having urged as all to act on the recommendations of the conformist clique, Dr. Ravetz now throws the worst of them under the bus, justifies the actions of the rest as some sort of acceptable human flaw, and presents himself as the peace maker working hard to bring both sides together.

    The example is just as much a sieve held aloft and presented as a pail of water as was the science of those who you cleverly distanced yourself from and threw under a bus. The bigot and the terrorist both acted out of their beliefs. Their ACTUAL beliefs. They reconciled because their beliefs changed. They reconciled because they each arrived at a belief system sufficiently compatible with the other’s that there was no longer need for them to be mortal enemies, and even room for them to be friends.

    Do you suppose they would have reconciled if it turned out that the terrorist just liked killing people, he’d never actually believed in the Republican cause? Do you suppose their would have been reconciliation if it turned out the Protestant bigot wasn’t a bigot at all, he just said he was to get a position at a bigger church and agreed to preach bigotry as part of the deal? Neither of them would be seen for anything than criminals guilty of fraud and murder and rightfully convicted and jailed if that had been the case.

    Which brings us back to reconciliation within the science community. Note, I didn’t say within the climate science community, I said the science community. The sins commited in the name of alarmism, the presenting of fraudulent science as undisputed fact, the smokescreen of PNS used to support the alarmism in the face of unsubstantiated and unwarranted claims, is not some sort of unintended consequence of two groups of climate scientists with differing belief systems. It is a sin of fraudulent misrepresentation committed against science as a whole, and nothing more than a deliberate scam to fleece the entire world of their wealth.

    Incompetant science cannot be tolerated. If a bridge should collapse because the engineer was too lazy to calculate all the shear planes correctly, the lives of those who died are on his head. There can be no reconciliation. Fraudulent science cannot be tolerated. If a bridge should collapse because the construction manager saved money by using a fraudulent bill of materials knowing it would result in a collapse, the lives of those who died are on his head. There can be no reconciliation.

    But the most egregious sin of all is when he, who having defended the incompetance and justified the fraud, rises up at the criminal trial and begs the judge to stay proceedings to give reconciliation an opportunity to succeed, and then, to quote another saying Mr Ravitz, the CHUTZPA, to present himself as the conciliator who will bring the aggrieved families together with the criminals and ask them to love one another, for is it not as obvious as the fable of the Sun and the Wind and the man with the coat that they should?

    For every scientist in every field of science who has been appalled at the incompetance, fraud and deceipt of the alarmists and their charlaten enablers, for every hard working tax payer dedicated to building a better place for their family and community who has been taken in by the charlatans and their Post Normal Science enablers, if I had the authority to speak for them, I would say this about reconciliation:

    No.

    And if I had the authority to speak for them, I would say this about he who proposes himself as conciliator:

    No. Stand in the docket with the rest of the accused whom you defended and enabled, you deserve to be judged as much or more as they. A thousand times:

    No.

  63. Ravetz’s obvious speciality shown in this apology is PR.., he’s already moved the goal posts to protect his own interests*, because the only real violence here is that coming from the AGW side, and, as has already been noted, he’s intrinsic part of the problem. He’s attacked by dismissing the very reason for the movement against the pseudo-science of AGW and its use by the political/ideological/business interests against the well-being of the common man.

    This put down is itself therefore violent. Smooth as it is he’s the one violating others here by creating the straw man that this movement anti corrup science/etc., which is at last beginning to make itself heard, is using violence in the debate; he does this by putting the blame on the victims, us.

    Clever if intentional, but if sincerely unaware of what he’s doing he doesn’t take into account the corrupted moral integrity of the science and its backers creating AGW.

    Michel says it best, Feb 24, 9:57 in his answer to you Mr Ravetz – this the club you’re beating us with:

    The climate issue is not a simple normal-scientific one of verification or refutation of an hypothesis.

    Yes it is! It absolutely is!

    The choice is yours Mr Ravetz, stay with those promoting corrupt science to manipulate our lives and personally continue adding to the arsenal of weapons continually being used against us by AGW promoters, see the video 10/10 to understand the true source of violence here in this debate if you don’t already know, or stop.

    *https://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/21/ravetz-on-lisbon-and-leading-the-way/

    This debate has not just been about the science of climate change It also concerns policy, for reducing the emissions of Carbon Dioxide worldwide. This requires a very large, complex and expensive project.

    The hypothesis has been refuted, it didn’t even have legs to begin with. The hypothesis is FALSIFIED.

    There is no problem with Carbon Dioxide that needs any “policy for reducing the emissions of Carbon Dioxide worldwide”, that “requires a very large, complex and expensive project” which “extends into lifestyles and values, as the transition out of a carbon-based economy will require..”

    It’s an illusion.

    The problem isn’t Carbon Dioxide, but is those promoting the Con as you’re doing. You say you are a Quaker –

    “Consensus is commonly understood to require mutual compromise — shaving away at positions until we find a core which objectionable to none. The Quaker approach tries instead to reach toward a higher and greater Truth that speaks to all concerns in ways that could not have been forseen. We discover what God wants for us, as opposed to what we thought we wanted. “Consensus is the product of an intellectual process. Sense of the Meeting is a commitment of faith.” This difference is more than semantic. In resisting the word “consensus” we refuse to allow our Sacrament to become secularized. Preferred terms would be “Unity” or “Sense of the Meeting”. The latter emphasizes the goal for the Gathered Meeting, and the former evokes the core of theological affirmation of God’s will for humanity.”
    http://www.edengrace.org/quakerbusiness.html

    Here we see something in common, between the Scientific community and Quakers, that Truth isn’t arrived at by Consensus.

    The real Scientific community has been marginalised by those promoting the corrupted science of AGW under the lying banner of “Scientific Consensus”. If you really believe that Carbon Dioxide, the food source of all our carbon based life, is a problem, then please recognise that you are as much a victim of this lie as we who already know it isn’t.

    What sets us free from this bondage of manipulation, at times by overwhelming forces, is whatever we call or think our means of access to reason in our common humanity against abusers of it, for the Light of Truth in Science is what this argument from us is all about.

  64. It’s depressing seeing all the pointless political point-scoring going on in these comments. Anyone from Mars who chanced across them could be excused for thinking that Earthling science was in some way dependent on the individual’s personal view of certain other Earthlings – oddly, those with no scientific credibility at all, to boot.

    It brings to mind a comment made on TV by Tony Benn (non-UK readers: now retired, Benn was a stalwart of the leftmost of the UK left) following the resignation from Parliament of David Davis (non-UK readers: a member of the (right-wing) Conservative party) in defence of “British freedoms” in 2008. (The issue was the proposed (then) Labour gov’s extension of the time that “terrorist suspects” could be held without charge or trial.) Asked by the TV interviewer whether it wasn’t a little unusual to find left- and right-wingers taking the same position on a subject, Benn pointed out that, on some major issues such as freedom, the left and right wings “sort of meet round the back”. He recognised, as too few of us seem to, that the axis in politics these days is not between “left” and “right”, but between “authoritarian” and “libertarian” – between those who believe that a stupid populace need to be driven where the prevailing government wants them, and those who believe that a properly educated and aware populace will, by and large, do the right thing anyhow and need no such harassment.

    I have sympathy for both “left-wing” politics – which, let us never forget, arose in response to the appalling treatment of the workforce in the early capitalist system – and the “right-wing” position that people should mostly be left to do whatever they want, with the usual caveat about not screwing things up for others. There is nothing uniquely “left-wing” about the (currently very evident) power play for centralised, authoritarian global government, nor anything especially “right-wing” about recognising a tyrant as a tyrant.

    I admit (as a “soft left-winger”) to feeling uneasy at finding myself on the same “side” as Lord Monckton (hell, the prime minister he advised is still one of my personal demon figures) but, on the matter of climate, he is unequivocally broadly right, and as such merits – and has – my support. Anyone who tries to reduce the complex science involved in trying to fathom out how the world’s climate engine works to an empty “choice” between two political “wings”, each as thoroughly bought-and-paid-for by big corporations and power blocs as the other, is (IMO) simply being deceptive, whether intentionally or not. We really need to stop badmouthing one another and “meet round the back” before the authoritarian, globalist engine crushes us all beneath all those (“left-wing”???) giant corporations and banks which comprise it.

  65. Any views in the UK of Sarah Palin have gone through the BBC filter, which is critical of anything right-wing of socialism.

  66. /Sarc on. I agree 100% with Baa Humbug. But we must realize what an enormous step Dr Ravetz has taken in apologizing to Willis. We cannot expect him to commit the ultimate heresy for a true believer in the Church of the Warmaholics, and say that something that supports CAGW is actually wrong. That is just asking too much. /Sarc off

  67. steven mosher says:
    February 24, 2011 at 11:31 pm
    Denouncing is something out of religious wars and political wars. What many of you want is a return to normal science. It’s odd then to predicate the return to normal science on an inherently political/religious act. Its as if you believe that the only way to de-politicize science is by taking a political act. And you use the oldest political/religious action to get back to normal science. You demand a recantation and demand that heretics of normal science be burned at the stake.

    The remark mischaracterizes the meaning of the phrasing and the nature of science. A scientist is any person who practices science. The practice of science therefore involves the application of a policy to practice science. Politics is the practice of a policy or policies. The policy of practicing science is therefore a political act regarding the practice of a discipline described and defined as science. A person who fails to practice science while representing himself or herself as a scientist engaging in scientific practices can indeed be “denounced” or more diplomatically characterized in whole or at least in part as a non-scientist for failing to meet the political or policy requirements which inherently define the practice of science. To “de-politicize science” would requre observations of and experimentation with the laws of nature, the scientific method, to no longer be employed as the political means and discipline for practicing science. Consequently, to “de-politicize science” amounts to the practice of all policies such as the scientific method and thereby destroy the fundamental basis of science and its inherent political origins in the laws of nature.

    So-called Post-Normal science and its adherents propose to “de-politicize science” by replacing the objective political discipline of the scientific method and its foundation upon the laws of nature with a different political discipline and its foundation upon subjective socialist philosophy.

    Denouncing a person who is throwing other people off the top of a cliff because they have a subjective belief that some or all people can fly safely away with hidden angel’s wings is a political act that is not necessarily a religious act, although it is based upon the philosophy of science.

  68. steven mosher says:
    February 24, 2011 at 11:31 pm
    Denouncing is something out of religious wars and political wars. What many of you want is a return to normal science. It’s odd then to predicate the return to normal science on an inherently political/religious act. Its as if you believe that the only way to de-politicize science is by taking a political act. And you use the oldest political/religious action to get back to normal science. You demand a recantation and demand that heretics of normal science be burned at the stake.

    The remark mischaracterizes the meaning of the phrasing and the nature of science. A scientist is any person who practices science. The practice of science therefore involves the application of a policy to practice science. Politics is the practice of a policy or policies. The policy of practicing science is therefore a political act regarding the practice of a discipline described and defined as science. A person who fails to practice science while representing himself or herself as a scientist engaging in scientific practices can indeed be “denounced” or more diplomatically characterized in whole or at least in part as a non-scientist for failing to meet the political or policy requirements which inherently define the practice of science. To “de-politicize science” would requre observations of and experimentation with the laws of nature, the scientific method, to no longer be employed as the political means and discipline for practicing science. Consequently, to “de-politicize science” amounts to the practice of all policies such as the scientific method to be eliminated and thereby destroy the fundamental basis of science and its inherent political origins in the laws of nature.

    So-called Post-Normal science and its adherents propose to “de-politicize science” by replacing the objective political discipline of the scientific method and its foundation upon the laws of nature with a different political discipline and its foundation upon subjective socialist philosophy.

    Denouncing a person who is throwing other people off the top of a cliff because they have a subjective belief that some or all people can fly safely away with hidden angel’s wings is a political act that is not necessarily a religious act, although it is based upon the philosophy of science.

  69. D. Patterson says:
    February 25, 2011 at 4:23 am
    So-called Post-Normal science and its adherents propose to “de-politicize science” by replacing the objective political discipline of the scientific method and its foundation upon the laws of nature with a different political discipline and its foundation upon subjective socialist philosophy.

    Lol. Back on our favourite hobby horse I see. Got any more classic misquotes of Marx for us Mr Patterson?

  70. Geoff Sherrington says, February 25, 2011 at 2:30 am:
    tallbloke,
    I’m not the first to observe that for many people the whole of life is a series of spirals; success in finding a point where the spiral can be stopped from turning is an esssence of life.
    Medical examples are common. An accident leads to an operation that leads to pain that leads to analgesics that lead to narcotics that lead to pain when one wakes in the morning, that leads to more narcotics to relieve the pain but these make you more susceptible to adventitious illness that requires drugs that have a nasty side effect and help you to crash your car, so back to (a).

    How to break the cycle? Sometimees it’s cold turkey.

    Is there a cold turkey cure for this incesssant theorising that happens when people should be out measuring? Is it called field work?
    (My emphasis)

    Indeed it is!
    Perhaps we should think of some sort of set-up where pro-AGW and sceptic scientists shared their tents, the housekeeping, and all sorts of physical discomfort for prolonged sessions of field work. Helps enormously with getting along afterwards. Ask any field biologist …

    We could even call it P-PNS.

  71. tallbloke says:
    February 25, 2011 at 4:32 am
    D. Patterson says:
    February 25, 2011 at 4:23 am

    Lol. Back on our favourite hobby horse I see. Got any more classic misquotes of Marx for us Mr Patterson?

    Such as, and what does it have to do with the immediate topic?

  72. Jim Cripwell says:
    February 25, 2011 at 3:54 am
    We cannot expect him to commit the ultimate heresy for a true believer in the Church of the Warmaholics, and say that something that supports CAGW is actually wrong.

    Ravetz on WUWT
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/09/climategate-plausibility-and-the-blogosphere-in-the-post-normal-age/

    “And the ‘hockey stick’ picture of the past, so crucial for the strict version of the climate change story, has run into increasingly severe problems. As an example, it relied totally on a small set of deeply uncertain tree-ring data for the Medieval period, to refute the historical evidence of a warming then; but it needed to discard that sort of data for recent decades, as they showed a sudden cooling from the 1960′s onwards! In the publication, the recent data from other sources were skilfully blended in so that the change was not obvious; that was the notorious ‘Nature trick’ of the CRU e-mails.”

  73. He’s uncomfortable being on the same side as Sarah Palin because he knows she is a target for all kinds of baseless attacks and he doesn’t want to get splattered with all the crap that is aimed at her. (or at least that should be the reason)

  74. Here are four examples of inconvenient truths from Australia, all of which demonstrate VIOLENCE.
    These egs may pose questions to the readers. The decades of observation and verification by scientists as to their propositions, selection of instruments, methods of observation, verification and reporting of these human events. All these events occurred in nature and not a laboratory.
    Australia is legislating for a carbon tax because many believe the science is settled.

    I wonder whether Dr Ravetz question is really about shoddy science practice by cabals of individuals rather than positivism and post positivism?

    1. An example of emails (p9 fwd) between social scientists who disagree with the science of two experts researching suicide rates and suicide prevention
    Submission to Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee – Inquiry into Suicide into Australia
    http://www.ic-wish.org/McPhedran%20Baker%20Suicide%20in%20Australia%20Senate%20Submission_Nov%2009.pdf

    source: http://www.ic-wish.org/

    2. Forensic Physics (Seven case studies – Cliff Fall in Sydney)
    http://www.physics.usyd.edu.au/~cross/FORENSIC-PHYSICS/FALLING-FATALITIES.htm

    3. Readers will remember that Matt and Janet’ friend committed suicide.
    http://joannenova.com.au/2010/09/a-waterway-no-fish-will-swim-in/

    4. 2062.0 Census Data Enhancement project
    http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/lookup/2062.0Chapter511Oct+2010

    After thirty (30) years of scientists studying Aborigines and their habitats, many communities still require a permit to visit and thus the academic publications can not be verified by other scientists.

  75. D. Patterson says:
    February 25, 2011 at 4:38 am (Edit)

    tallbloke says:
    February 25, 2011 at 4:32 am
    D. Patterson says:
    February 25, 2011 at 4:23 am

    Lol. Back on our favourite hobby horse I see. Got any more classic misquotes of Marx for us Mr Patterson?

    Such as,

    This one.
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/09/climategate-plausibility-and-the-blogosphere-in-the-post-normal-age/#comment-321548

    and what does it have to do with the immediate topic?

    Not much at all, I was just amused at you taking Mosh to task, saying he “mischaracterizes the meaning of the phrasing and the nature of science” when you yourself are unable to admit to mischaracterising the quotes of political texts you deploy.

  76. For quite a long period of time, I visited elderly, much- loved relatives in various places which were generally depressing as there was only one long-term scenario for those people. I became quite comfortable with the ramblings of the very old who had been wonderful, lively intelligent people but who had, sadly, advanced to the terminal stages of senile dementia.
    Without trying to be unkind, and I fully acknowledge that I am well past the age of retirement myself, Jerome Ravetz’ musings about an unreal and very odd mental construct about science has a very familiar ring to me. His vivid memories of what Willis did NOT say and the utterly irrelevant comment about Sarah Palin are clues.
    It seems to me that the problem is not with actual science but with a number of former scientists who have left the discipline far behind them to become advocates of purely political policy.

  77. Alexander K says:
    February 25, 2011 at 5:01 am

    For quite a long period of time, I visited elderly, much- loved relatives

    1) Ravetz wrote the PNS stuff a long time ago.
    2) Having met and conversed with him, I hope I’m as sprightly and sharp minded if I make it to his age.
    3) He’s a provocative thinker, and not shy of courting controversy. So if he has a bone to pick with someone’s ideology, he’ll come right out with it. This is a lively mind at work, not a senile one.

  78. artwest says:
    February 24, 2011 at 9:01 pm
    “To those complaining about the Palin comment:…”
    “If we aren’t able to show that this is really about Right and Wrong rather than Right and Left then it will take all the longer to overthrow CAGW.”

    I think that is exactly what they are complaining about. Mr Ravitz made it a right/left issue with that comment.
    I’m not sure what Mrs. Palins’ stance is on CAGW or why Mr. Ravits is uncomfortable being on her side. But he brought in the politics.

  79. steven mosher says:
    February 24, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    Denouncing is something out of religious….etc etc)

    Mosh I really didn’t expect you would take out a single word and misrepresent what I said.
    I didn’t have any religious thoughts in my head at the time.
    However I’ll be sure to keep a thesaurus handy next time.

    p.s. my mother tongue is Turkish. ‘Seni kandirmislar’

    tallbloke says:
    February 25, 2011 at 4:39 am

    Ravetz on WUWT

    Thanx for that HoN, I’m glad to read that, I really am, even if it is some years too late. Hope to read more of that sort from Dr Ravetz in a timely fashion.

  80. “I personally am not comfortable at being on the same side as Sarah Palin”

    Well Ravetz, if you weren’t an insignificant nobody beneath Palin’s notice I’m sure the feeling would be mutual.

    Reading your drivel is three minutes of my life I’ll never get back.

  81. David Davidovics, check the archives. Dr. Ravetz has written significantly on his PNS views here in the past.

  82. Sorry, Jerome, but you still don’t get it. Climate scientists have conspired to lie to the public about the results and reliability of their scientific findings. That behavior is unforgivable. It will be punished as soon as Scott Walker is president, which will be shortly. Your PNS does nothing but provide cover for the past, present, and future behavior of climate scientists. Your PNS is a colossal Red Herring. It distracts from the genuine and important questions of scientific method. You might have been raised as a Quaker and you might have studied Ghandi but all of your instincts point to control of everyone by an elite. In my humble opinion, that would be a John Kerry elite or Stalin-Mao-Alinsky elite. I am not sure which is worse.

    If you would really like to engage Willis in conversation, you must learn at least the basics of scientific method. Your writings reveal that you have not a clue about scientific method. That can be overcome. Judith Curry is in the process of learning about scientific method. Her steps are baby steps at this time but she has learned enough to suggest that “hide the decline” might qualify as criminal conspiracy. You need to get to the same place. Quickly.

  83. ” …I personally am not comfortable at being on the same side as Sarah Palin, ”

    “I am not altogether on anybody’s side , because nobody is altogether on my side” Treebeard
    Sums up my position with respect to Sarah Palin. There is much we would disagree about, but not everything.
    Ed

  84. Biography __________Jerome Ravetz

    After World War II, the United States was swept into a period of anti-communist McCarthyism. Ravetz grew up in a left-wing family and although never a member of the American Communist Party he was what was then called a fellow traveler. He went to England on a Fulbright Scholarship, and had returned to complete his studies, marry, and take a job when in 1955 his U.S. passport was withdrawn. It was returned in 1958 after a ruling by the Supreme Court, and he has since visited the U.S.A. many times starting in 1962. He has visited at Harvard University, the Institute for Advanced Study, the University of California, Santa Cruz, the University of Texas at Dallas and Carnegie Mellon University., wiki.

    ________________________________________
    If any foreign minister begins to defend to the death a “peace conference,” you can be sure his government has already placed its orders for new battleships and airplanes.
    Joseph Stalin
    _________________________________________

    MANIAC (“Mathematical Analyzer, Numerical Integrator and Computer”)

    aka

    global circulation models

    or

    Maniac AGW.
    _____________________________________________-

    Post-Normal Science. It is an outdated concept.

    The term currently used is undoubtedly PARANORMAL Climate Science

  85. Baa Humbug says:
    February 25, 2011 at 5:18 am
    Thanx for that HoN, I’m glad to read that, I really am, even if it is some years too late. Hope to read more of that sort from Dr Ravetz in a timely fashion.

    Welcome.

    How about these?

    “The examples of shoddy science exposed by the Climategate convey a troubling impression. From the record, it appears that in this case, criticism and a sense of probity needed to be injected into the system by the extended peer community from the (mainly) external blogosphere.”

    “The total assurance of the mainstream scientists in their own correctness and in the intellectual and moral defects of their critics, is now in retrospect perceived as arrogance. For their spokespersons to continue to make light of the damage to the scientific case, and to ignore the ethical dimension of Climategate, is to risk public outrage at a perceived unreformed arrogance. If there is a continuing stream of ever more detailed revelations, originating in the blogosphere but now being brought to a broader public, then the credibility of the established scientific authorities will continue to erode.”

    “Within a mere two months of the first reports in the mainstream media, the key East Anglia scientists and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were discredited. Even if only a fraction of their scientific claims were eventually refuted, their credibility as trustworthy scientists was lost.”

    “Consideration of those protective plausibilities can help to explain how the illusions could persist for so long until their sudden collapse. The scientists were all reputable, they published in leading peer-reviewed journals, and their case was itself highly plausible and worthy in a general way. Individual criticisms were, for the public and perhaps even for the broader scientific community, kept isolated and hence muffled and lacking in systematic significance. And who could have imagined that at its core so much of the science was unsound? “

  86. tallbloke says:
    February 25, 2011 at 5:15 am
    Alexander K says:
    February 25, 2011 at 5:01 am
    For quite a long period of time, I visited elderly, much- loved relatives

    “1) Ravetz wrote the PNS stuff a long time ago.
    2) Having met and conversed with him, I hope I’m as sprightly and sharp minded if I make it to his age.
    3) He’s a provocative thinker, and not shy of courting controversy. So if he has a bone to pick with someone’s ideology, he’ll come right out with it. This is a lively mind at work, not a senile one.”

    OK, you think Ravetz deserves respect. Would you please choose one of his theses, articulate it, and then defend it here? I would just love to have the opportunity to engage you. Keep in mind that he has been pontificating here in the last few days. You might want to defend one of those statements.

  87. The good Doctor should have stopped after his needed apology to Willis.
    I have yet to see him cite a “violent” act by a sceptic on a CAGW person to then tell us how confrontations should be handled.
    So I ask the good Doctor:
    When Heidi Clum(sp) of the Weather Channel came out and said every weather person who did not believe in GW should have their credentials pulled, was that a violent act to have someone’s livelyhood taken away? And what should have been done?

    When persons like myself, a sceptic, were accused of treason by a proponent of CAGW was that an act of violence and what kind of response should have taken place?

    There are others but you should get my point.

    When actual debates have taken place in public here and in the UK the sceptical side has been the winner. Isn’t this a good way to start to show where the truth lies?

    The good Doctor may have a sharp mind as Tallbloke says, but it does not show through in this matter.

  88. Westcoasttiger says:
    February 25, 2011 at 12:00 am

    “I’m a life-long Republican but she and her devotees scare the crap out of me!”

    What you are is an anonymous coward taking potshots at people who have at least enough courage and integrity to associate their opinions with their real names.

  89. Theo Goodwin says:
    February 25, 2011 at 6:07 am
    OK, you think Ravetz deserves respect. Would you please choose one of his theses, articulate it, and then defend it here? I would just love to have the opportunity to engage you. Keep in mind that he has been pontificating here in the last few days. You might want to defend one of those statements.

    I am proud to count Jerome Ravetz among my friends. I have my own scientific and philosophical position. I am not his spokesman, nor does he need one. If he wants to engage with what you say, he will.

  90. mkelly says:
    February 25, 2011 at 6:14 am
    When actual debates have taken place in public here and in the UK the sceptical side has been the winner. Isn’t this a good way to start to show where the truth lies?
    The good Doctor may have a sharp mind as Tallbloke says, but it does not show through in this matter.

    The fact that we had great difficulty in getting the higher profile people from the pro AGW side to attend Lisbon and defend their science on neutral ground speaks volumes by itself, without the organiser having to compromise his diplomatic neutrality by saying so.

  91. steven mosher says:
    February 24, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    how exactly do you propose to show that? Who will “show” this and how will you force them to “show” it. By forcing them to do the science you want? your way? That sounds like bending the science to your political will.

    Here’s the problem. Once science has been politicized you cannot “simply” return to normal science. It takes the use of power to do that. Are you going to force hansen to think differently? defund him? defund all the scientists who believe action is required? Stop all science ( thats way abnormal). Sorry, the return to normal science is not a simple re virgination process. Its inherently political. post normal.
    —————————————————–

    No bending required Steve. It happens all the time in the private sector. CEOs and Vice Presidents are replaced for doing a poor job. Sometimes they’re replaced simply because “It’s time to make a change”.

    Again, no political bending required. Just replace them with better scientists. Of course, the challenge would be to find good climate scientists who are purely science- and data-driven.

    Whatever, it would certainly “unconstipate” this field and I would like to believe that it’s going to happen now – not necessarily by defunding, but by the normal termination, early retirement mechanisms prevalent out there in the real world.

  92. Mark T,

    “You mean there really are idiots out there like mcates that don’t know the story behind the Palin “quote?” Lots of villages searching for lost…”

    Could you clarify this for me? I have researched the quote well. I’m not sure calling someone an idiot is very productive…

  93. tallbloke says: February 25, 2011 at 6:01 am

    “…..And who could have imagined that at its core so much of the science was unsound? “

    Simple really. Left their profession and communities, were silenced in various ways or silenced themselves or joined the ranks of poor scientific practice.

  94. tallbloke says:
    February 25, 2011 at 6:29 am
    Theo Goodwin says:
    February 25, 2011 at 6:07 am
    OK, you think Ravetz deserves respect. Would you please choose one of his theses, articulate it, and then defend it here? I would just love to have the opportunity to engage you. Keep in mind that he has been pontificating here in the last few days. You might want to defend one of those statements.

    “I am proud to count Jerome Ravetz among my friends. I have my own scientific and philosophical position. I am not his spokesman, nor does he need one. If he wants to engage with what you say, he will.”

    In effect, your statement that I addressed is very much like the statement that your grandmother is a proponent of AGW and you love your grandmother and you are not going to criticize anything said by your grandmother. So, please tell me, why are you allowed to post here? Has WUWT shifted to an empathy standard for posts?

  95. Jerome is not an authority on anything scientific. He hasn’t done anything worthwhile, and, his screeds on post-normal science are part of the problem that leads to the AGW theories taking hold. I’m very concerned that Willis is courting this sort of contact. I know it may seem expedient to bridge the two sides, but, I feel that scientists innocently caught up in the climate-change hysteria can be given an “out” in other ways that don’t involve letting the ringleaders go.

  96. Jerome,

    I, for one of many, appreciate your posting this apology to Willis.

    I like your anecdotes and they took me on my own journey of thought around the difference between a climate scientist and a global-warming scientist. For the GW scientist, it goes to another anecdote, when all you have is a hammer, everything is a nail. That sort of modifies this,

    “It’s like the old fable about the contest between the wind and the sun, as to who could get the man’s coat off. In more modern terms, when the wagons are circled, all those inside have to conform, but when there is a ceremony of peacemaking, understandings can be created.”

    The global warming scientist is fuming because Aesop did not mentioned how CO2 was there egging them on.

    As for the climate scientist, I rate you guys better than economist, but not by a whole lot. As long as models are used as proofs and some folks keep intentionally fitting the data to support the conclusion, well… (but those are the closest and announced global warming scientists).

    My history is that 23 years ago, I quit working on my previous goal of what I wanted to be when I grew up. Then, my goal was to be able to write economic models. The $ of computer programming changed that and there are no regrets. So, just a layman (bolded and italic if I ever posted at other sites, and would start to doubt my own sanity if I did anyway). I have a strong, but dusty background in statistics and modeling. We can get away with a lot with models. But every econometrics guy worth is salt knows that the null hypothesis is more telling than any model we can craft.

    My favorite story of correlation (R2) was from Dr. Kenneth White (IIRC) at UCF, GNP and the average winning speed at the Indy 500 were a great fit. It was way up there, but you have to evaluate why and it just does not make sense. But, if you add post-Tony George data to that list, you get a decline. It so much looks like a Briffa tree model too. But instead of understanding that maybe they had a bad correlation, they just kept the part that they liked without understanding why it changed. Oh, and I know that the decline at Indy was because Tony changed the car formula significantly. But that still does not explain how GNP relates to speed (but I bet we could come up with some dandy model on how CO2 output causes the cars to go faster and ignore tire technology, track surface, engine technology, material science, and design safety were more important).

  97. “The debate is polarised. The more polarised it gets the more vicious the rhetoric gets. The more vicious the rhetoric gets, the less people are prepared to listen to each other. The less people are prepared to listen to each other, the more polarised the debate gets.

    It’s a vicious circle.”

    Sure. But still, that does not mean that there’s some special state of science we can label “Post normal”. What I think we really have is is a case of science having been excessively politicised, i.e. of the boundaries between science and politics having become blurred. For me, that is the thing that has gone wrong, and it doesn’t represent some imaginary realm of PNS where stakes are high, science uncertain, and all the rest.

    No: it represents a complete cluster****, and the way out of it is to extricate science from politics, by re-asserting the primary importance of quite ordinary scientific principles and practices. I believe this can only come from within science itself. If someone wants to try to help science do that, I’m all for it, but that’s not what I think Dr. Ravetz is doing. He seems to be trying to craft a new kind of situation which we can then label and conceive of as valid: the PNS situation.

    I do indeed see this as a kind of Newspeak: a way of persuading people that a phantasm actually exists, bears taking seriously and being acted upon. In that sense, it’s no different from the phantasm that climate alarmism has itself created. PNS as Ravetz seems to perceive it is heavily dependent on an acceptance that there really is an urgent and threatening environmental situation we have to deal with as a matter of urgency.

    If there’s an urgent and threatening situation, it’s the way that society is currently such that we haven’t been able to maintain the integrity of science and some of its practitioners in the face of irrational, impractical, politically-motivated or faux-morality-motivated hysteria. We should have a way of eradicating that and of preventing it happening again. I assert that we won’t be able to to that by recognising, however civilly, that there’s actually any cause to be hysterical.

  98. Colonial says:
    February 25, 2011 at 12:56 am

    One major step Dr. Ravetz could take to measurably improve the tone of this discussion would be to stop using the word “violence” to mean debate, discussion, and/or dissension. As has been alluded to above and elsewhere, misuse of language to gain an advantage in debate is a tactic that seems to be universally favored by the Left.
    ——————————————————————-
    Has anybody told some posters on WUWT that the Cold War is over?

    As long as you keep yelling that anybody who does not share your political views (whatever they might be) is automatically bereft of integrity and intelligence, the widespread public support for reinstating rigorous science (as opposed to spin) which is so badly needed will not be forthcoming.

    I find myself agreeing with people whose political views are generally a long way from mine on this particular issue. It happens on other specific issues as well. There are sleazebags, and good people, right across the political spectrum. Deal with it.

    As for Dr Ravetz, apart from his apology (which he admits is a result of not checking the facts before publicly traducing someone – not the best model for civil discourse) – I read this rambling stream of consciousness twice and still don’t understand it. The weird reference to Sarah Palin – which is couched in terms designed to offend both her supporters and her detractors, is another uncivil grenade lobbed by this advocate of polite and respecful discussion. It is also completely irrelevant, as has been pointed out.

    Characterising climate science as somehow ‘different’ and ‘special’ is precisely how its standards came to fall so far even as its political clout increased. Ravetz and his apologists put the cart before the horse. If the burden of proof had been applied to the claims of CAGW alarmists right from the start in the same way as is expected in ‘normal’ science, the vast majority of the propaganda emanating from the IPCC would never even have been published. Willis’ article on the latest travesty in ‘Nature’ , which involves cycling synthetic data through a series of models, not revealing the code, and then claiming that the product means something, is a good example.

  99. Theo Goodwin says:
    February 25, 2011 at 6:43 am
    In effect, your statement that I addressed is very much like the statement that your grandmother is a proponent of AGW and you love your grandmother and you are not going to criticize anything said by your grandmother.

    No it isn’t. I was replying to Alexander K who expressed a fear that Jerome Ravetz might be going senile. I assured him that having met and conversed with him that this is not the case. The way you have recast this exchange says a lot more about you than it does about me or Jerome Ravetz.

    So, please tell me, why are you allowed to post here? Has WUWT shifted to an empathy standard for posts?

    I’m sorry, but your twisted logic almost defeats my attempts to understand it. Why wouldn’t I be allowed to post here, even if I did want to tell you how much I loved my Grandma?

  100. You know, I personally am not comfortable at being on the same side as as a person who will so willingly express such an absurd opinion, though others in the debate might be OK with this.

    So, if Sarah Palin says “the sun sets in the west”, or she states that one can see Russia from Alaska, Ravetz will not be comfortable agreeing with these statements?

    But we readers are supposed to accept that Ravetz is a reasonable, rational person whose opinions should be respected?

    Judging by some of the other comments in this thread, not so much.

  101. tallbloke says:
    The fact that we had great difficulty in getting the higher profile people from the pro AGW side to attend Lisbon and defend their science on neutral ground speaks volumes by itself, without the organiser having to compromise his diplomatic neutrality by saying so.

    With the good Doctor’s unnecessary swipes at people I believe he has all ready lost his “diplomatic neutrality”. However, given you being closer to the good Doctor, I am willing to withhold full judgement until I meet him.

  102. mkelly says:
    February 25, 2011 at 7:48 am
    With the good Doctor’s unnecessary swipes at people I believe he has all ready lost his “diplomatic neutrality”. However, given you being closer to the good Doctor, I am willing to withhold full judgement until I meet him.

    Heh, I should have added in brackets, “what’s left of it.” ;-)

  103. mcates @ 6:35 AM

    I noted that and almost mentioned something to Mark T. I think he misunderstood your comment, and meant to apply ‘idiot’ to your friends out West. It’s still a little cryptic, though, because there are a lot of people, particularly outside the US who still believe that she was the source of the quote, rather than Saturday Night Live. Some of them aren’t even idiots, they’ve just been propagandized. As I believe Jerome Ravetz has been.
    ===============

  104. tallbloke says:
    February 25, 2011 at 6:32 am

    “The fact that we had great difficulty in getting the higher profile people from the pro AGW side to attend Lisbon and defend their science on neutral ground speaks volumes by itself, without the organiser having to compromise his diplomatic neutrality by saying so.”

    Oh, I see the problem. You continue to believe that there is going to be rational discussion over these matters and that Hansen and Schmidt and others are going to appreciate rational criticisms of “hide the decline.” To me, that is water under the bridge. The only thing to do now is to get funding removed for the whole lot. The Republicans in the House have made a good start.

  105. Kim,

    I thought mabye there was some confusion, too. That’s one reason why it doesn’t help to use words like idiot when referring to others. It’s just a distraction and it’s easy enough to be the one that is mistaken.

    “Some of them aren’t even idiots, they’ve just been propagandized. As I believe Jerome Ravetz has been.”

    My friend is not an idiot at all, but quite intelligent. He doesn’t have an agenda, so in general he beleives those who think like him don’t either. It’s really a time issue for him.

    The only reason to bother discussing something like this on a science/climate blog, is to deal appropriately with those who take information at face value. This behavior tends to permeate their perspective. It is necessary to take that into account.

    As I told my friend, “If you could be so wrong about Sarah Palin, what else could you be so wrong about?”

    And for the record, I am not a Sarah Palin supporter. I believe we should deal with facts in all aspects of our lives.

  106. The notion of Post Normal Science can be exposed for what it is rather easily. Ravetz speaks of a fable, the sun and the wind arguing about which of them can force a man to take off his coat, somehow stretches that into being equivelant to the “modern” analogy of a clique of scientists having circled the wagons and demanding conformism out of self defense. The logic is disingenuous at best, and easily shredded in my earlier comment. But the concept of a simpler story as an analgous explanation has value when it isn’t applied in a such a misleading manner. Here is a brief story from human history that nicely sums up PNS.

    For years the tribe lived in fear of the nearby volcano. They were frightened when it shook and roared, and then it erupted there was hunger in the land for the crops were destroyed and the game fled. A shaman amongst them, who could speak to the spirits within the volcano and was also privy to much other knowledge because he could speak to the spirits bade them to once a year slit the throat of a virgin and throw her into the volcano to appease the angry spirits. The chief had a son, a good hunter who ranged far and wide in search of game to feed the tribe. One day the son, who was by now as respected a leader of the tribe as the chief himself spoke at the tribe council meeting. There was a pass between two mountains, and on the other side was a verdant valley with fresh flowing water, much game and much fertile land, and best of all, no volcano.

    The shaman stood and spoke and said this would make the spirits angry, and worse would befall the tribe if they left. The chief’s son asked how much angrier could the spirits get that they make the volcano erupt, scattering the game and destroying the crops even though we sacrifice the virgins as you say the tell us to. Let the spirits be angry, we will be far from their volcano where they cannot hurt us with it.

    The council agreed to ponder the matter for many days. On the first day there was a thunderstorm with terrible lightning and thunder. See? said the Shaman, we have angered the spirits. We get thunderstorms every year at this time said the Chief’s son, they meant nothing before, why should they now? On the second day a boar was found nearby, drowned in a pool of water from the flash flood of the storm. See? said the Shaman, we have angered the spirits. Every big rain and flash flood traps some animals in pool of water where they drown, this is not new, why suddenly does it mean the spirits are angry?

    And as days went by, and each one there was an event that the Shaman seized upon and claimed it was a sign the spirits were angry. And the Chief’s son protested that they were regular occurances that had meant no more in the past than they did now.

    Amongst them arose great philosopher, a Ravetz, an elder who could make obvious with just a story what others could no understand. He was wise in the ways of the world, though he had never been a hunter, nor a farmer, nor a shaman, nor had accomplished anything of use in his entire life, but he’d dedicated himself to study and so knew many things. And the Ravetz spoke and said if the spirits are as angry as the Shaman says, might they not bring the entire mountain down upon us as we try to leave? The matter is urgent, the stakes high, the facts uncertain. No one but the Shaman can speak to the spirits, best we heed his warnings, stay where we are, and double the number of virgins to be sacrificed. For if we leave and the Shaman is right, we may all be destroyed.

    And it came to pass one day that the tribe was visited by shamans from other nearby tribes who scoffed and said there are no spirits in the volcano, and the signs your shaman says mean the spirits are angry happen all over the place, all the time, they are natural, you’ve been murdering virgins for no reason, and living in a dangerous place when there is a safer and better valley just beyond the pass.

    As it became obvious to the people of the tribe that their Shaman had lied to them, had invented evidence where there was none, correlated meangless events with the discussion and attached significance to them by claiming the evidence of the spirits, which only he could speak to was all a sham to control them. As they packed to leave the valley of the volcano, they wondered if perhaps it would be fitting to not only leave the Shaman behind, but perhaps make him the volcano’s last sacrifice as punishment for having lied to the tribe.

    But the Ravitz stood and spoke to them and said though the Shaman had lied, it was like the Sun and the Wind arguing over a man with a coat, and that this was similar to the two hunters who, just the day before, had both claimed a deer that had been brought down by both their arrows at once coming to blows. But he the Ravetz had asked them to love each other and share the deer, and give him one large haunch for helping them to become friends. And so by analogy said the Ravetz, the Shaman and the tribe and the shamans from other tribes should all do the same, and he the Ravetz would lead the way by helping to conciliate.

    The chief’s son, who had over the years grown in stature and was now the chief, thought long on what the Ravetz had said. And when he had considered all those who had been sacrificed, those who had starved when crops were destroyed and game scarce, he spoke his judgment.

    We’d have left this place long ago if it were not for your words that the stakes were high, the matter urgent, the facts uncertain. You took the lies we knew were lies, and cast doubt in our minds, cast fear in our minds, that perhaps the lies, despite all the evidence that they were lies, were not lies, and so we sacrificed and starved because you made the lies into even bigger lies. Now you throw all the blame on the Shaman, and babble of Sun and Wind and a man with a jacket being like two hunters who agreed to share a deer between them and so bringing some sort of appeasment to the tribe as a whole should fall to you. I have a different idea.

    The shaman shall be banished, and the word spread far and wide that he is a false shaman, and never to be allowed to be a shaman again, ever. And the Ravetz shall come with the tribe and be given a task. Each day he must stand in the midst of the tribe council and speak for 15 minutes on anything he pleases. And when he is done, each counciler, each visiting shaman, each hunter and each farmer shall say to him, loudly so that the young hear what is said:

    When a man who has never been a farmer tells you how to farm, when a man who has never hunted tells you how to hunt, ignore him and make it plain to the young ones that he knows not of what he speaks. But when a man who has never been a farmer, nor a hunter, nor a shaman nor any other profession that provides any value to anyone sows fear amongst you that what you know to be lies might somehow not be, then the wasted lives of thos sacrificed and those who died of starvation are as much upon his head as they are upon the Shaman who lied, and he is brought forth to be made fun of this way to remind the tribe that many suffered for the Shaman’s lies, but more still for the foolishness of the Ravitz who absolves himself of his own sins and then asks that we the victims of his sins, allow him to present himself as peace maker between the tribe and the evil Shaman. The Ravetz practices a magic more wicked than the Shaman. For he gave the Shaman even more power to draw upon, despite knowing no more about the spirits than he does about hunting and farming.

    He is to be shunned, and his babble repeated and repeated until the reality of our own observations make it fade into background noise that cannot even be discerned as a babble.

  107. Steve Mosher,
    You move back to normal science by doing good science and showing there is nothing abnormal or extraordinary about current climate. The Hockey Stick was the main tool to used to convince people, even many climate scientists, that we had entered a period of abnormal heating. Well, the Hockey Stick has been debunked. Every study published to support the Hockey Stick has been debunked. The fact politics once entered the realm of science is meaningless if the science shows the motivation of that intrusion to be ill-founded.

    Post-normal science is less effective than normal science. Can we agree on that?

    The science has not shown any clear and present danger. Can we agree on that?

    Therefore, the best way forward is to return to normal science where we take the time to do the science right. We cooperate with all scientists from all viewpoints who have displayed honesty in their approach, but shun those scientists who have attempted to defend the indefensible such as hiding the decline, lack of transparency, and other violations of the scientific method.

    Doesn’t that make sense to you?

  108. I have the horrid feeling that I have offended a few good people here, such as Tallbloke. But if Ravetz (or anyone else) needs an ideology while discussing or practicing science, that sounds like a very dubious proposition to me – an ideology is essentially socio-political and has nothing to do with the physical world of the ‘hard’ sciences. The essential problem with climate science and the CAGW camp is one of honesty; Dr Ravetz seems to be attempting to find ways to allow dishonest scientists to find an accomodation with and be reconciled to those scientists hewing to accepted scientific method. I still maintain that Ravetz’ attack on Willis on the basis of a faulty memory is nothing short of ludicrous and indicative of a rather odd state of mind.

  109. Carl Chapman says:
    What’s wrong with being on the same side of an issue as Sarah Palin? The truth is the truth. Picking sides rather than seeking the truth is what led to Climategate.

    Spot on.

    I have found myself in the past agreeing with Bush. I have also found myself disagreeing with him. I was not uncomfortable in the least with either position. I’ve even found myself agreeing and disagreeing with Obama, and neither position gave me any heartache. The reason is pretty simple – I THINK FOR MYSELF. Therefore, it is NOT RELEVANT to me WHO agrees or disagrees with my position – I have reached my position based on my own reasoning, and am comfortable in holding them, regardless of who else does or does not.

  110. Alexander K says:
    February 25, 2011 at 11:19 am (Edit)
    I have the horrid feeling that I have offended a few good people here, such as Tallbloke.

    No offence taken here.

    But if Ravetz (or anyone else) needs an ideology while discussing or practicing science, that sounds like a very dubious proposition to me – an ideology is essentially socio-political and has nothing to do with the physical world of the ‘hard’ sciences.

    It’s not a question of need, it’s not even a question of creed. It’s a question of the frame of mind scientists approach their work with. In the context of the sudden expansion of the atmospheric science departments, a mentality of ‘urgency’ and ‘importance’ will have affected the normal, objective-as-possible, sober research. The sudden influx of bright young phd’s with their up to the minute knowledge of atmospheric co2 and radiative flux line broadenings will have wowed the departments and scooped everyone along for the ride. Do you see how this can happen?

    We’re not making excuses for this, Ravetz, Polyani (who wrote ‘Laboratory Life’), Feyerabend, all these philosophers of science understand how this comes about. Polyani particularly because he worked as a scientist in the lab. They are describing the phenomenon, not justifying it.

    The essential problem with climate science and the CAGW camp is one of honesty; Dr Ravetz seems to be attempting to find ways to allow dishonest scientists to find an accomodation with and be reconciled to those scientists hewing to accepted scientific method.

    I think you oversimplify the subtle set of interactions which affect the way research gets conducted in group situations. And anyway, reconciliation doesn’t mean compromise or forgiveness. It means taking account of what is, and seeing what it adds up to.

    I still maintain that Ravetz’ attack on Willis on the basis of a faulty memory is nothing short of ludicrous and indicative of a rather odd state of mind.

    Ok, lets look at a couple of the things WIllis said to Judith Curry on 25 February:

    Willis on Judith Curry Feb 2010:
    “And you wonder why we don’t trust you? Here’s a clue. Because a whole bunch of you are guilty of egregious and repeated scientific malfeasance, and the rest of you are complicit in the crime by your silence. Your response is to stick your fingers in your ears and cover your eyes. And you still don’t seem to get it. You approvingly quote Ralph Cicerone about the importance of transparency … Cicerone?? That’s a sick joke.”…”When you stay silent about blatant censorship like that, Judith, people will not trust you, nor should they. ”

    “The first step out of this is to stop trying to blame Steve and Anthony and me and all the rest of us for your stupidity and your dishonesty and your scientific malfeasance. You will never recover a scrap of trust until you admit that you are the source of your problems, all we did was point them out. You individually, and you as a group, created this mess. The first step to redemption is to take responsibility.”

    Now as it turned out, Willis hammed up the theatre and it worked, Judy Curry finally called Gavin out two days ago, and Judy and Willis get along fine. A case of mock- violent communication doing the job. Willis is a great guy, and it’s a conflict for me that he has a beef with Jerry, because I like them both well. Still, Willis kindly accepted Jerry’s “gracious apology” and even said it might be “perhaps more gracious than I deserve”. So let’s allow bygones to be bygones since the two people involved have.

    The point is, someone trying to get up to speed with the sceptical blogosphere back in February last year, soon after climategate with everything else going on as well, might be forgiven for reading that and thinking Willis really was speaking to Judy as if he loathed and despised her for what she was still defending.

    Willis is prepared to forgive it anyhow, and he was the one slighted by Ravetz’ misapprehension. So let’s deal with the substantive argument, which is about the legitimacy of Ravetz characterisation of the state of the scientists minds when they hyped themselves into thinking co2 was a really big deal, and whether continued postnormality is warranted or not.

    I think not. But that’s me.

  111. I’m going with davidmhoffer on this one, and calling shiester on Ravetz. I find it hard to understand why, given the ‘shenanegans’ of the CAGW camp, there are those wanting to “build bridges” in the first place. A bridge is something you build to get across / over an obstacle in order to arrive at someplace you want to be. Who wants to understand where, or ‘be’, the CAGW camp is coming from. Ravetz has given us a clear glimpse into what happens when we attempt to find common ground: He says,

    “The climate issue is not a simple normal-scientific one of verification or refutation of an hypothesis…” OhhhhhRRRRReeeeaaaaallllly? Where is the common ground here?

    Coming from within the paradigm where the scientific method is adhered to, and practiced as a normal expression of scientific enquiry (i.e. SCIENCE) that is EXACTLY what the climate issue is sir. THAT is why sides are polorized and THAT is why you read the acerbic posts of Gavin at Judith’s Blog (Hide the Decline thread), it’s all the warmists have within their “cricled wagons”. No guns (facts) and no bullets (observational data).

    Of course, outside of the scientific paradigm, in say politicoland or the lalalaland paradigm then the climate issue can become whatever you want, to whomever you want (or will listen). Those that haven’t looked into the issues see just what the MSM wants them to see. Those who have looked want the truth, want it advertised, apparent, inescapable, on billboards and written in the sky.

    Many of us here, throughout our lives have been in “situations” where we were either required by outside influences, or inward influences to stand up and say, “I WAS WRONG, I UNDERSTAND MY MISTAKE, AND I APOLOGIZE” The apology can be left off at this point, but the rest stands. Don’t infer for a second that I refer to anything but the simple fact that they do not know why the planet warmed or how, and that the warming, for the most part, ended after the ’98 El Nino event. When ALL of their predictions have been wrong and they have been shown their mistakes yet they still continue to say that black is white, up is down and hot is cold…sorry, there’s no middle, common, or level ground to meet on. And:

    What Davidmhoffer said…

  112. Gaylon says:
    February 25, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    “The climate issue is not a simple normal-scientific one of verification or refutation of an hypothesis…” OhhhhhRRRRReeeeaaaaallllly? Where is the common ground here?

    Ravetz is correct, as I pointed out at:
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/24/more-from-jerome-ravetz-response-to-willis/#comment-607111

    You may not like it, I don’t like it. But it is still true.
    On the upside, the Null Hypothesis still stands.

  113. tallbloke said:

    And anyway, reconciliation doesn’t mean compromise or forgiveness. It means taking account of what is, and seeing what it adds up to.
    ———————————————————
    From Australia’s pre-eminent lexicon, the Macquarie Dictionary (print edition):

    reconcile (1) to render no longer opposed; bring to acquiescence … (2) to win over to friendliness … (3) to compose or settle (a quarrel, difference etc) … (4) to bring into agreement or harmony; make compatible or consistent.

    My English Collins Dictionary (print edition) says:

    reconcile (vt) to conciliate anew; to restore to friendship after estrangement; to make agree; to become resigned (to); to adjust or compose; to restore, ceremoniously, something for sacred use, after desecration; to make one part of a machine fit accurately into another part.

    Nothing about ‘taking account of what is, and seeing what it adds up to’.

    Perhaps Webster has a divergent meaning?

  114. As usual I am nearly overwhelmed by these replies, and I only wish that I could respond to each of them.

    Let me try to handle some issues that came up repeatedly.

    First, we can find it very useful to look at the correspondence in today’s London Independent newspaper between Steve Connor and the eminent physicist Freeman Dyson (here described as an ‘heretic’), on http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/letters-to-a-heretic-an-email-conversation-with-climate-change-sceptic-professor-freeman-dyson-2224912.html?action=Gallery. Dyson makes a very basic point, that the uncertainties are just too great for any firm policy decision to be made. Connor, by contrast, presents a number of scientific claims, all of which he believes to be solid and factual. Then the argument shifts to more general issues, and Dyson eventually pulls out. Now some people on this blog may believe that Connor is some paid hack or prostitute who is peddling alarmists’ lies; but it is also possible that he really believes what he is saying. For Dyson, it could be (and here I am mind-reading, on the basis of what I would do in similar circumstances) that he saw that short of taking a couple of crucial issues and digging ever deeper into the debates about them, he was on a path of rapidly diminishing returns. That left him looking like someone who didn’t want to argue, and so leaving the field to the expert.

    For me, that is a reminder that before one engages in a debate one needs to be sure of one’s ground. And that requires an investment of personal resources, taking them from other commitments. That is one reason why I do not engage in detailed discussions of scientific issues, but try to do my best with the issues of procedure. Of course, that can seem cowardice to some, but so be it.

    Now there is the fundamental point of the sort of science that ‘climate change’ is. The big policy question is whether there is enough strength of evidence for AGW to justify the huge investments that would be required to do something about it. There are the ‘error-costs’ to be considered, where those of erroneous action or inaction would be very large. The decision is made even more complex by the fact that the remedies for CO2 that have been implemented so far are themselves highly controversial. Therefore, although the issues of: the policies to adopt; the strength of the scientific evidence for AGW; the behaviour of the AGW scientists – are all connected, they are distinct. People can hold a variety of positions on each of these issues, and they may have been changing their views on each of them. This is why I tried to argue that the situation is best not seen as one of goodies and baddies.

    As to Post-Normal Science, I was recently reminded of an example that was very important in setting me on the path. Suppose we have an ‘environmental toxicant’, on which there is anecdotal evidence of harm, leading to a political campaign for its banning. Such evidence is not sufficient, and so scientific studies were undertaken. But these used test animals, over short timespans with high doses. On the basis of those results a dose-response curve was obtained, which in principle should lead regulators to define a ‘safe limit’. But those results were from a temporary acute dose, while the policy problem related to a chronic low dose. And then (and here’s the kicker) it was realised that in extrapolating from the lab situation to the field situation, the method of extrapolation was more important in defining the dose-response relations in the field than was the lab data itself. So Science was producing, not a Fact but an artefact. That for me became a good example for the PNS mantram. For that sort of problem, there was a classic paper about policy for environmental toxicants’, by A.S. Whittemore, published in Risk Analysis in 1983. In any real situation of that sort, there will be plenty of experts on both sides of the value-conflicted policy process, who really believe that their data is conclusive (children with unusual symptoms on the one side, lab rats with LD50 doses on the other). In practice, there is a negotiation, where scientific evidence is introduced and contested as one element of the situation.

    Reflecting on that sort of problem in relation to PNS, I came up with point about science now needing to relate to Quality rather than to Truth. That was rather neat, but also a cause of much trouble, for which I issue another apology. My critics on this issue (notably Willis) have provided me with much food for thought. I don’t resolve these things in a hurry, and there are still others in the pipeline, but here’s how I see it now. In a recent post, Willis gave his definition of truth, which is a very good one relating to scientific practice. But for him (and I agree) it means that a scientific truth is a statement that might actually be false. From a scientific point of view, that’s good common sense; to imagine that any particular scientific statement ranks with 2 + 2 = 4 is the most arrant dogmatism. However, that means that our idea of scientific truth is quite different from the ordinary one, where there is an absolute distinction between ‘true’ and ‘false’.

    One way out of that problem is to believe that scientific truth is indeed absolute. On that there is the classic pronouncement by Galileo: “The conclusions of natural science are true and necessary, and the judgement of man has nothing to do with them.” This is echoed in practice by generations of teachers, who present the facts dogmatically and discourage any questioning. I was one of those who reacted against that authoritarian style of scientific indoctrination. Now, if one is doing routine puzzle-solving research, the issue of truth is not too pressing; one can know that somehow, somewhere, one’s results will be superceded in one way or another; but that’s all over the horizon. But in cases of urgent policy-related research like the toxicant example I mentioned above, to believe that one’s anecdotes or one’s lab-rats give the truth about the danger of the toxicant, is mistaken and inappropriate. For when such conflicting results are negotiated, what comes into play is their quality.

    Having said all that, I now see clearly that Truth cannot be jettisoned so casually. I have two paths to a rescue. One is to make the issue personal; to say ‘this is the truth as I see it’, or ‘to the best of my knowledge it is true’, or ‘I am being truthful’. This allows one to acknowledge a possible error; what counts here is one’s competence and integrity. And of course this has been at the core of the Climategate dispute, arising out of the CRU emails, the question of the correctness of their results is tangled with the morality of their behaviour.

    The other path brings in broader considerations. Our inherited cultural teaching mentions a number of absolutes, including The Good, The True, The Just, The Holy and The Beautiful. These provide the moral compass for our behaviour. Now we know that these are goals and not states of being. Those who believe that they have achieved them are actually in a perilous state, for they are subject to delusion and hypocrisy. Perhaps someone reading this will take offense, for they might be sure that they have achieved perfection in one of these, and (for example) be perfectly good or just. If so I apologise, on a personal basis, for giving offense. For the rest of us, life is a struggle, always imperfect, to achieve those of the goals that define who we want to be. Now, if we say that science is mainly devoted to achieving the goal of truth, and that every real scientist realises that as much as possible in his or her imperfect practice, then we have something that works. All this may be obvious or banal to those who never had this problem; I am inflicting it on you all because I have been exposed to so many scientists who sincerely believed that Galileo’s words settled the issue forever.

    As usual, this is going on and on. Let me deal with my Quaker friend. I never said that I am a Quaker, only that I attended Swarthmore. I have looked up the site for Quaker Business Practice, and find it very inspiring. Although I do not express my beliefs in the same way, I find there an approach that expresses my own commitments. In particular, there are some recommendations about practice, which I shall quote (for brevity, out of context).
    *A Sense of the Meeting is only achieved when those participating respect and care for one another. It requires a humble and loving spirit, imputing purity of motive to all participants and offering our highest selves in return. We seek to create a safe space for sharing.
    *We value process over product, action or outcome. We respect each other’s thoughts, feelings and insights more than expedient action.
    And, just as a reminder of the issues I discussed above,
    *Friends would not claim to have perfected this process, or that we always practice it with complete faithfulness.

    It might seem all too idealistic, to expect such attitudes to survive outside a rather special (and small) group of dedicated people. But I recall that some have seen the life of science as an approximation to just that. In the interwar period there were two distinguished scientists who involved themselves in public affairs, one on the far Left and the other on the Right; they were J.D. Bernal and Michael Polanyi respectively. Their disagreements were urgent and profound. But they both loved science, and saw in it an example, imperfect but still real, of the ideal community of selfless sharing in which they believed. I should say that the motivation for my first book was to see whether, and in what ways, that essential idealism of science could be preserved under the ‘industrialised’ conditions of the postwar period. What happened in that quest, and after, is quite another question; but the commitment is still there.

    And finally. What I said about Sarah Palin was not about her but about me. It is one of the complexities of life that issues are there in a variety of dimensions, not all of our choosing. I have friends in the critical-environmental movement who are really grieved at my defection; and as I have seen all too clearly, there are those in the anti-AGW camp who think very ill of me. So be it.

    Thanks for bearing with me through all this, and thanks for stimulating me to a better understanding.

  115. #
    #
    Smokey says:
    February 24, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Jerome Ravitz:

    I have to agree with Baa Humbug. Either denounce bad science [science which avoids the scientific method], or you’re nothing but a charlatan.

    #########
    well smokey, you need to be clear. Gavin would surely say that he denounces bad science? I suspect you want ravetz to denounce specific examples.

    For example, you were witness to some of the bad science that Goddard pedaled here. Did you denounce it?

    the point is, drawing these types of challenges for people. Denounce X or you are evil and dishonest is not very logical or scientific. Its tribal.

  116. johanna says:
    February 25, 2011 at 2:36 pm
    Nothing about ‘taking account of what is, and seeing what it adds up to’.

    Well I know that is what I was doing anyway. Some of the other participants may have had a different view. Nobody there thought they wanted a compromise.

  117. Steven Mosher,

    I stayed completely out of the Steve Goddard kerfuffle. In fact, to this day I don’t know what ‘bad science’ you’re referring to.

    What I do know is that without the scientific method it’s pseudo-science. There can be no compromise. Reference Prof Richard Feynman on the scientific method. Is that view being “tribal”?

  118. A few words on violent words.

    There is a pathway to violence in this debate.

    it BEGINS with statements that indicate that talking is over.

    the debate is over

    Incompetant [sic] science cannot be tolerated.

    If the debate is over, then what? time for action. And if you disagree? well we will find ways to muzzle you. first we moderate you. then we disemvowel you ( see tim lambert’s policy) then we will make films were we blow you up. Shut up or else.
    THAT is what ‘the debate is over’ means. shut up, or else.

    And we hear in response that certain scientific behavior will not be tolerated. or what? stop doing that kind of science or what?

  119. I’ll say this tallbloke, the girl took her beating from cowboy with a lot less whining than the cowboy took poke in the eye from professor, however undeserved. Hell, I’ve called you a sun nut and nostradamus and you didnt get your panties in a wad, well too much of a wad.

  120. I am late to this debate – which is my favourite territory, but for which I get little time ‘cos I am out there doing policy (and some science). Its all very familiar – I spent some time at Oxford in the ’70s doing some research on the linguistic anthropology of perception..initially how tribal peoples perceived environment, causality and healing (very shamanic), but then with an interest (frowned upon by my superiors) in the way anthropologists as scientists peceived themselves and eventually broadening that to how scientists in general perceived themselves. Their language gives then away.

    They do present an image – Mike Haseler got it perfectly – ‘fundamentally a scientist is a dispassionate objective interrogator of the evidence’…..and many do actually believe their own image. But many don’t. They know it is a cover. Behind the scenes, they carry the older scientific tradition of a more passionate embrace of reality, like the alchemist fathers of the Royal Society, who had learned to hide their passion from the Churches. This is the passion – an inordinate love, of order and measurement, law and prediction that goes way further back than any of the current religions. It is a deeply patriarchal system of thought. Obvious enough, I know – but when you take a look at the climate science, not only do you find the expected levels of deception – but at the highest political levels of the science (like the IPCC and the modelling community) you find a complete lack of appreciation of cycles, periodicity, waves and rhythm, harmonics and the sheer power and unpredictability of Nature, with its chaotics and spirals and lack of repitition (in space and time, nothing actually repeats!).

    Science as we know it (normal or post-normal) is betrayed by the word – from the Latin scindere, to divide (and the secret societies to which many top scientists belong has the dividers as their most sacred symbol!)….to separate, and hence masure and manipulate. That is far removed from Knowledge – gnosis, the Ancient British canawan, to really know something. This is what the ancients knew as Sophia – wisdom, and it was dark not light.

    Hence climate science completely downgraded the ‘dark side’ of the Sun – its magnetics and mood swings, not to mention its almost orgasmic tendency to wind itself to a climax. Unconsiously of course, because very few climate scientists – and very few of any scientists, get to study their own rites and rituals, gender, social conditioning and linguistic heritage and the manners in which these forces condition the making of an hypothesis in the first place, let alone the energy and funding to elevate it to a worthwhile question to answer.

    Dear Al Gore urges everyone, like an old conjuror, to focus on carbon – and resonate like all carbon life-forms with complexity and recycling – like certain death (as well as his carbon taxes!). Be afraid because you have a limited lifespan and whatever you do don’t look at the Sun! Where the frequency is simpler, like hydrogen and plasma and closer to spirit and eternal life. Who so rooted in their essential inner nature – as a fractal of the long-time creative Sun, would be afraid of the climate?

    Every scientist has this gender bias built in, and sadly most women scientists fail to break the conditioning.

    And of course, it is not just a gender bias. There is the pride in all that expensive equipment. There is a sense of command and control in all this prediction. And there is what I once called the lure of the ‘Merlin’ position….the government’s chief advisor. In former centuries it was an alchemist or an astrologer. In Oxford, I reckoned the social anthropologists really desired it most, but from a suitable distance – like a Marx or a Durkheim casting spells of theorem upon the political psyche. But mostly my government appointed chemists, physicists and the like.

    Then, on top of all that bias, there is the bias against consciousness itself. The dividers ruled that the material world and the world of consciousness were separate. If the old shamans and witches had still been around (the latter had been burnt and the former were hiding in the woods) they would have had a right laugh, though perhaps with some foreboding as to what would happen to the Earth. And some of them might have seen that this also was a deception – because behind the scenes, the old alchemists and astrologers, believed nothing of the kind.

    All the great founders of western science – Galileo, Kepler, Newton and the founding fathers of the Royal Society, like Elias Ashmole, were practising astrologers giving advice to Kings and Dictators as well as themselves, and most particularly practising alchemists in the sense of pursuing an inner path to raised consciousness (Astrology being then an exalted science of consciousness and its relation to material reality). By then, of course, they had lost track of their divine feminine companions so essential for the real alchemical marriage in the Hermetic tradition (which goes back through Greece to Ancient Egypt) – but soldiered on in Masonic orders that were very happy to do without women as altogether unworthy of the path.

    Thus divided, the scientific mind had no chance of understanding climate change. The most subtle and powerful energies of planetary change go way beyond atmospheric and even solar physics – into realms where almost nothing is actually perceivable – such as gravity or dark energy. Science has no way yet of connecting gravity with any other physical force – except by invoking about eleven other dimensions! And the sub-quantum world from which particles move in an out of existance, is by definition, highly creative but totally beyond measurment. How to explore these realms? Could at least one of them be a realm of pure consciousness? And causal? Of course NOT, say the camouflaged alchemists, then they shuffle off to their lodges and enter the realms of ritual magic. Ever wonder why Uranium gives birth to Neptunium and then Plutonium during radioactive decay?….its in the naming, an astrological series.

    The old alchemists knew things directly – the process was called gnosis – knowledge through inner perception. The shaman has this- and nowadays is the only real source of public communication…. shamanic vision sees a pulsating shimmering web of the continuum, pregnant with power. And that sight has a fast-forward button that is probably as good as any predictive power drawn from measurement and prediction.

    So – the ones who train in secret inner traditions – and there are many, populate institutions that teach that only the outer reality is a valid source of knowledge. Its a dodgy set-up.

    But there is a convention…that perhaps Prof Ravetz may be challenging – I am not sure – that afflicts BOTH our houses – sceptic and warmista alike, and that is to keep consciousness out of it. That is la-la land. Woo woo stuff. Then we get to do the Punch and Judy show and have a laugh at each others’ expense. But we stay stuck in the Science paradigm. Neither side cares about the billions of people who are really vulnerable to climate change through natural cycles. The UN invests next to nothing on adaptation, whilst intelligent and creative people get locked up in arguments about prediction.

  121. Tallbloke says:
    February 25, 2011 at 4:02 am

    Myrrh says: Michel says it best, in his answer to you Mr Ravetz – this the club you’re beating us with:

    “The climate issue is not a simple normal-scientific one of verification or refutation of an hypothesis.”

    Yes it is! It absolutely is!

    Well, no it isn’t. Not yet anyway. As Ravetz has pointed out on WUWT before, there is no ‘crucial experiment’ which can decide the issue.

    So then neither can the hypothesis that AGW is real be proved. It remains an ideology wrapped up in and ever thickening blanket of corrupt science, that has been proved. Time and time again. Let’s quit the pretence that this has anything to do with real Science, shall we?

    In Real Science work is discredited immediately it is found to be falsified, but if a claimed proof is found to have been deliberately created by tampering with the data not only does the work loses all credibility, so not worth the effort of attempting to falsify, but those committing such scientific fraud lose their standing and respect, proving themselves in this to be not real scientists at all.

    My personal assessment is that the enhanced greenhouse effect is probably nonzero, but nothing to get too excited about. But that judgment is based on a weighing of evidence that is ultimately more like a legal judgment than a scientific one. That’s why I accept that the climate question is ‘postnormal’ and I’m interested in discovering whether the techniques for assesssing uncertainly proposed by PNS practitioners such as Jeroen van de Sluijs have anything to offer or not. Given the strength with which people cling to their judgments once formed, it seems unlikely a non-scientific appraisal is going to be accepted by all parties, but this reflects on all parties, not just PNS.

    So, real Science must been unwillingly drawn into this world and must submit itself for judgment in it? And pre-judged wanting if it doesn’t accept its judgment? Why? Who cares what “Post Modern Science” thinks apart from Post Modern “Scientists”?

    The bottom line is that we are dealing not just with corruption of the science, the claims have already been disproved and each new absurd one made is examined if only for the record for posterity and our present sanity, but with the very real problem created by those backing such scientific fraud on a global scale. Imagining yet another mangling of Science as supporters of AGW have already done to further their own ideological agendas, by misappropriating it for this new idea of Post Modern Science, is counterproductive. Because real Science is destroyed in the process. All that’s left is a belief system to be argued about as a matter of faith or enjoyed in Atum moments or whatever, when ‘science’ can be made to fit whatever ideology is next to be paraded on the fashion cat walk in academialand or offered in proof of some replacement God by sincere and devout followers making lives miserable for others but ‘for their own good’ and teaching nonsense to our children. What do such ideologies have in common? They all need to destroy liberty and knowledge by forcing judgment on others and re-education on new generations in order to survive.

    Post Modern Science is now struggling to promote itself itself into the ranks of Big Thinking Movements, will it make it? Nah, it’s not interesting enough, it doesn’t have mass appeal and has no USP worth bothering with by those with the political clout to promote it. In other words, the masses won’t be interested in promoting it and tyrants don’t need it, although they might use it to keep the thinking plebs in the subject occupied.

    It’s premise is flawed. http://www.jvds.nl/LisbonJvd528Jan2011.pdf Continuing AGW practice it misappropriates the name and takes real Science concepts out of context. Its premise here is that there is Uncertainty in the “Climate Change Debate” and there isn’t. “Uncertainty” in Real Science is leaving room for further knowledge, it can be quite certain of itself and its own judgment when it sees corruption of Scientific Method. And that’s all it’s seen so far in AGWScience; the Null Hypothesis Stands. Disprove it honestly if you can.

    But why would anyone be interested in bringing Postmodernism into Science?

    Postmodernism: The Failure to Understand True Knowledge of Reality

    Post-modernism is arguably the most depressing philosophy ever to spring from the western mind. It is difficult to talk about post-modernism because nobody really understands it. It’s allusive to the point of being impossible to articulate. But what this philosophy basically says is that we’ve reached an endpoint in human history. that the modernist tradition of progress and ceaseless extension of the frontiers of innovation are now dead. Originality is dead. The avant-garde artistic tradition is dead. All religions and utopian visions are dead and resistance to the status quo is impossible because revolution too is now dead. Like it or not, we humans are stuck in a permanent crisis of meaning, a dark room from which we can never escape. (Kalle Lasn & Bruce Grierson, A Malignant Sadness) http://www.spaceandmotion.com/Philosophy-Postmodernism.htm

    There again, perhaps it’s the only place left for Global Warmers to go having lost all touch with reality in science and humanity itself in its overpopulation scares…

    ..they now have their very own philosophy!

  122. Well, I’ve read the article now, and the responses, my thanks to all. First, let me clear something up:

    JDN says:
    February 25, 2011 at 6:47 am

    Jerome is not an authority on anything scientific. He hasn’t done anything worthwhile, and, his screeds on post-normal science are part of the problem that leads to the AGW theories taking hold. I’m very concerned that Willis is courting this sort of contact. I know it may seem expedient to bridge the two sides, but, I feel that scientists innocently caught up in the climate-change hysteria can be given an “out” in other ways that don’t involve letting the ringleaders go.

    I am neither “courting” nor “not courting” this sort of contact. I have responded to Jerome Ravetz’s postings here, as he has to mine. I think that the PNS worldview is a dangerous concept because there are no clearly defined lines … and as world history has repeatedly shown, if there are no lines, people will definitely cross them to our detriment … I also think that communication is generally a good thing. So I communicate with him.

    Next, michel said:

    The climate issue is not a simple normal-scientific one of verification or refutation of an hypothesis.
    Yes it is! It absolutely is!

    To which tallbloke replied

    Well, no it isn’t. Not yet anyway. As Ravetz has pointed out on WUWT before, there is no ‘crucial experiment’ which can decide the issue. The core problem is that the error band on measurement of energy balance at the top of the atmosphere is wider than the theoretically determined signal from the enhanced greenhouse effect. So the AGW hypothesis can’t be verified or refuted by the metric which is of primary concern. The question of whether it can be verified or refuted by other means such as the localised measured warming in areas of higher co2 concentration or observations of co2 change lagging temperature changes is why we have a two decade long debate raging.

    I’m with michel on this one. Tallbloke, nothing that you say is outside of normal science. Yes, we don’t have direct measurements that can settle the question. And yes, AGW proponents are looking for a minuscule signal (0.02°C per year) where the daily swings are three orders of magnitude larger than the signal. But that’s all part of normal science. It just means that someone has proposed a hypothesis that’ll be really, really hard to establish.

    And in normal science, people would say “man, good luck establishing that hypothesis, bad historical data, inaccurate current measurements, no overarching theory, tiny signal, they’ll never be able to show that their beliefs are correct”. Then it would be put on the shelf until they could at least falsify the null hypothesis and show some evidence that their ideas are true.

    But in climate science, instead a host of folks followed the lead of James Hansen and Stephen Schneider (an early adherent of Ravetz’s ideas) and politically and publically hyped a climate theory that couldn’t even falsify the null hypothesis as though it were a clear and present danger.

    This, of course, played right into the PNS mantra that “decisions urgent” was somehow a signal that we should abandon the search for scientific truth, and replace that with a larger idea of “quality”. Hogwash. If decisions are urgent, that’s not a time to start ignoring science, quite the opposite. But once the climate hypesters were up and running with the “action is urgent” mantra, they were able to fool people like … well, like Dr. Ravetz, into thinking that actions really were urgent, and thus we were in a post-normal situation …

    Hansen started banging the “actions are urgently needed or New York will be underwater in twenty years” drum about a quarter century ago … so the claim that the actions were urgent was simply scare tactics. Ravetz was sucked right in, root and branch, he declared that it was a PNS situation, other authors concurred saying that climate science was absolutely a clinical example of PNS … whereas the whole time, there was ABSOLUTELY NO URGENCY AT ALL.

    Now, you’d think a guy like Dr. Ravetz, who built a system around “decisions urgent” and then got totally duped, sucked in and spat out by false urgency might say “Hmmm … perhaps ‘decisions urgent’ might not be the best criterion to have used, I need something with more teeth …”

    But I see no sign of that. I see no sign that Ravetz has recognized that the “facts uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent” criteria didn’t work, and that something must be wrong with the formulation. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in our criteria.

    One problem that I have with the PNS construct is that it is both descriptive and proscriptive. On the descriptive side, Ravetz says:

    Its core is the mantram, ‘facts uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent’. We are not saying that this is a desirable, natural or normal state for science. We place it by means of a diagram, a quadrant-rainbow with two axes. These are ‘systems uncertainties’ and ‘decision stakes’.

    The first question this raises is, how is this different from everyday life? I face that kind of situation occasionally. Many, perhaps most decisions faced by the leader of a country have those attributes. Fat King Henry faced those same things. Having been in and out of that situation for millennia, why does Ravetz say that this situation requires some special treatment or recognition?

    The second question is, decisions are urgent according to whom? When I talk to the used car salesman, he thinks that I should make a decision right now … but then he has a stake in the outcome, doesn’t he. Unfortunately, Dr. Ravetz being a decent guy, it doesn’t seem to occur to him that if the scientist pushing the URGENT! button stands to make money or gain scientific fame by pushing the button, he is much more likely to do so …

    The one aspect of Marxism that Dr. Ravetz seems unable to shake is a curious one. It is an abiding belief in the goodness of man, that Michael Mann and I can forgive and forget like some Irish guys I never heard of, that nothing is impossible for people of goodwill.

    The people who wrote the US Constitution had the diametrically opposite view. They held that humans would do anything to seize power and money and abuse their authority if given the chance, so institutions had to be designed to thwart that and keep them from excess power. That’s why the US Constitution is full to the brim with “checks and balances”, to prevent anyone from getting out of line.

    A perfect example of the problems of an institution based on “men of goodwill” is the appointment of Michael Mann as lead author of an IPCC chapter. This was a position of great power with virtually no checks and balances. He used it to push his fraudulent “Hockeystick” view of climate history … which would come as no surprise to Benjamin Franklin and the other Founding Fathers. He then used the Hockeystic as an excuse to push the URGENT button, and voila! It’s values in dispute, facts uncertain, huge imaginary future stakes, false urgency, PNS at its finest, starring Michael Mann!

    Science is built on checks and balances, with all “truth” subject to revision. PNS and its “mantram”, on the other hand, are wide open to all kinds of abuse, distortion, and chicanery. That’s a huge problem.

    I said at the beginning that PNS was both descriptive and proscriptive. Above I show that the description is so vague and has so few checks and balances that it is an open invitation for abuse. It is also so vague as to encompass much of life.

    On the proscriptive side, Ravetz says (as I understand it, it’s difficult to decipher) that when we are in a PNS situation, that we need to replace the idea of scientific truth with a vague and poorly defined idea of “quality”. This is the dangerous part.

    See, if we had held to the idea of scientific truth, we wouldn’t be in this mess. If the scientists had been honest about the uncertainties of their climate results and forecasts, nobody would have been concerned. But nooooo, Stephen Schneider’s admonitions about making up scary scenarios took full hold, and before long the inmates were in charge of the asylum. Little that was churned out would pass normal scientific criteria (still true today, as the latest two Nature papers show), but that didn’t matter, because the scientists assured us that this was high quality research … and besides, the precautionary principle said if there was the slightest danger on the horizon we should spend billions, or something like that, it wasn’t real clear.

    My explication of the Precautionary Principle (PP) is here. I think it is almost always misunderstood and misused. But Jerome is an enthusiastic supporter. Why? Because using the PP, you can justify a decision which is obviously foolish using any other metric. No one in their right mind would spend hundreds of billions of dollars to possibly cool the planet by three hundredths of a degree twenty years from now … but according to AGW supporters, the PP says do it on the off chance that Chicken Little is right and the sky is actually falling …

    That’s the issue with description/prescription. Sure, under the PNS definition we are in a “Post-Normal” situation … but since there’s every chance that the claimed urgency is 97.6% hype, are we really in a PN situation? And if we can’t even tell if we are in a PN situation, what good is the description? It seems the value of the description is that it allows PNS adherents to argue than in a PN situation, we need to apply PN prescriptions about quality and precaution and the like. I reject that entirely. Even if the the description is correct, it is so vague as to be valueless. But even if it is correct, why should we adopt some weird prescription of “quality” and overblown caution in response? I say that if there are PNS situations, we need to recognize the dangers, double down on the science, and not substitute “quality” and excessive caution for science.

    So that’s the issues I have with PNS. On the plus side, Ravetz has spoken out against bad science, and by all accounts is a good guy (although with social skills of someone unused to rough and tumble). But on the minus side, he has created a system that seems to be specially designed so that it can be “twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,” a system that thinks that caution and quality are a substitute for scientific truth.

    w.

    PS – Dr. Ravetz, as someone who voted against both Bushes, against Reagan, and against McCain/Palin, I’m hardly a conservative of any stripe. My view is that Sarah Palin is a contradiction, a curious mix of the strong Alaskan women I’ve fished with commercially where she and her husband fish (Bristol Bay) who was also a contentious mayor, a governor who quit, and a failed presidential candidate. She doesn’t seem overly burdened with intellect, experience, or introspection, none of which is a bar to US public office.

    However, in some ways she is the “third rail” of American politics. (This is an allusion to the New York underground railway system, which is powered by an exposed “third” rail carrying high-voltage electricity … touch it and you’re dead.) Palin is many things, but one thing she is not is low-voltage … people have strong opinions about her. So mentioning her is very bad tactics. No upside, huge downside, to touch that third rail of politics.

    Beyond that, however, I’m mystified why you’d be embarrassed that you and Sarah Palin disagree on topic X. I can only assume that you are indirectly referring to the general association of skeptic with conservative and AGW supporter with liberal in the US, with “Sarah Palin” as a very poorly chosen token standing for “Very Conservative”. In the best 60’s fashion, it seems you don’t want to be seen as agreeing with the man …

    I don’t care in the slightest what political group might agree or disagree with my views. I am generally socially liberal and strongly fiscally conservative … so what? Either my scientific claims and analyses are valid or they are not, whether I’m a Zoroastrian or a skinhead.

    So in addition to Sarah Palin being a poor choice, the whole issue is nothing but a giant distraction. It has no place in the exposition of your ideas.

    I am embarrassed to be lecturing to the professor, as it were, but next time you write a piece such as this one you might profitably:

    1. Tell people in a single paragraph what you are going to tell them in the essay.
    2. Then tell them what you have to say.
    3. Then tell them what you just told them.

    Take a look at my discussion of the Nature Magazine study Wales flooding here. I tell people what I am going to tell them, as a question and answer (How much river gauge data was analyzed in the study? None.) That’s my whole thesis there, that the entire study has nothing to do with reality. That’s what I’m going to tell them in the essay.

    Then I tell them what I have to say about the study, in all of the gory details.

    Finally, rather than summarizing at the end, because the study involves a complex construction of models, I summarized several times. But the same principle applies.

    That completed the section about their study. I went on to apply the same three steps listed above to the next subject, which was what the data says about the question. Repeat ad lib., as they say.

    Next, restrict yourself to a single idea at a time, for which you are supplying preferably several lines of supporting evidence. Do everything you can do to focus attention on and elucidate and explain and support that one idea. Eliminate everything superfluous to that goal. Generally this explanation will not include the words “Sarah Palin” … or “Willis” for that matter.

    In structuring your exposition, two concepts that have been of use to me are the “matchbook statement” and the “elevator speech”. The “matchbook statement” is when you boil your central idea down so small you could write it on a matchbook cover. For my Nature article that might be “The results are entirely based on a model of a model of a model.” The “elevator speech” is if you get in the elevator and recognize someone important. You have the duration of the elevator ride to convince them of your you-beaut PNS idea, thirty seconds, go …

    Finally, the real art is not in what you write. It is in what you cut out. I chop out words, sentences, paragraphs, and sometimes even whole sections, and even then I know I should cut more.

    Anyhow, you are going to write an exposition of PNS. Given the content of many comments here, you need to streamline and simplify your words. I offer that advice in the spirit of better understanding just what the heck you are trying to say.

    w.

  123. I was surprised to think you a Quaker… Sorted. “Selfless sharing” doesn’t exist in AGWScience…, that is the problem.

    I think, with respect, you’re only amusing yourself, you clearly haven’t taken anything on board to rock your boat from those critical of your presentation here. You glibly continue to justify your ignorance of the science involved when it’s clear the arguments are about the lack of real Science in AGW which has already put them out of the Scientific community. They too have tortured what Willis said to now claim the null hypothesis no longer exists ..

    There is a great deal of incontrovertible truth in Science, it’s what makes your washing machine work, and the bog standard litmus test for a real scientist is that the weremen and women presenting their work share all their information for testing against the rule, Garbage In Garbage Out.

    Neither AGW nor the political puppets supporting it by distracting from the core objection to it, measure up to the rule.

    If there was real committment on your part to offer a solution you would have to begin by understanding the argument, but instead you continue to promote the AGW political solution regardless its premise is already proven baseless, but you don’t hear this. Your avoidance speaks volumes to those practiced in discernment, scientific or otherwise, your solution excludes us.

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/02/a-challenge-from-dr-roy-spencer/

    That’s the simple proof we’re asking for, which can be proved if such exists.

    The climate issue is precisely that it is a simple normal-scientific one of verification or refutation of an hypothesis.

    Do you even hear us? Repeat the above real Science version until you’re able to zone in on the community asking for it. And asking. And asking. And asking…

    If we hear you repeat your version, or variations on the theme, we’ll know you have deliberately chosen to ignore us.

    And you’ll become just another specimen in our collection.

  124. The more articles by Willis that I read, the more convinced I am that Willis is a worthy successor to the late, great John Daly. Like Daly, his articles are clear, concise and very understandable to the average reader. And they are very difficult to refute, as the comments indicate.

    Dr Ravetz’ articles are harder to understand, and they can sometimes be read in more than one way. I would add to the free advice Willis gave him by quoting [from memory, IIRC] a comment by Elmore Leonard: “I take out the parts people don’t want to read.”

    People don’t want to read about fuzzy concepts. Part of the difficulty comes from terms such as “quality,” which seems to have no defined parameters. Once a proper definition is agreed, then we can have a meaningful discussion. But without a substantive definition, Dr Ravetz holds the joker. Maybe he likes it that way.

  125. Jerome Ravetz;
    Thanks for bearing with me through all this, and thanks for stimulating me to a better understanding.>>>

    And thank you Dr Ravetz, for responding, and demonstrating once again for all those who are still following this thread, just who and what you are.

    Your long, well written, articulate and sometimes even poignant response speaks directly to all that is hollow and false about PNS.

    With dozens upon dozens of comments shredding the facts and the logic of your full article until it retains not even a pretense of credibility, your response addresses directly not a single criticism save those regarding Sarah Palin. You defend your comments about her with the excuse that it says more about you yourself and the complexities of life than it does about her. One would have thought that a skilled word smith such as yourself could have easily demonstrated this concept simply by likening it to those instances we’ve all experienced when we agree on an issue with someone with whom we dislike. How easy it would have been for a silver tongued devil such as yourself to make your point even clearer than you did by presenting it in such a manner? Instead you slide a comment about her into your diatribe in such a manner as to ensure that your contempt for her is quite obvious, and then retreat before the storm of protest to the position that you were just trying to explain the complexities of life. Congratulations Dr Ravetz, you’ve managed to explain the complexities of life as well as make clear your contempt for Sarah Palin while apologeticaly withdrawing it, knowing full well that the message it was meant to convey has been delivered loud and clear.

    You continue to present PNS as some logical, ingenious construct designed to deal with the complexities of the world in an effective manner, driven by processes you articulate so well that they seem almost a logical outcome that gives credence to the notion of public policy being set on matters of science by those who are not scientists and based on the opinion of scientists who have no science to actually support their opinion. When pressed to address the gaping hole…nay chasm… in the sheer audacity of your position, you beat a hasty retreat, claiming that you are not a scientist, that you do not have the expertise to judge matters such as these, and point to actual scientists like Connor who do the same for reasons of their own, and thus this justifies you yourself declining to engage the scientific facts yourself.

    May I summarize Dr Ravetz?

    You know nothing about science per your own statements.
    You have no clue what science is fraudulent and what science is sound as a consequence.
    And yet you argue that you, and others like you, have some sort of magical, mythical, refined and carefully thought out construct by which you should be granted some level of influence and authority over the science you do not understand.
    You provide a smoke screen of words, logic fragments, unrelated stories and fables tied together in a meaningless fashion from which conclusions equally divorced from the stories and fables as they are from each other. And you use the influence and authority you have granted yourself, to in turn use that smokescreen to enable the fraudulent science to not only continue, but advocate public policy be implemented in favour of the fraudulent science you admit you don’t understand. Then, with a perfectly straight face, claim the moral high ground, present yourself as a neutral party, a conciliator, who will build a bridge to allow the two warring sides to make peace and shake hands with one another as friends, standing in the centre of the bridge. To you, the victory has everything to do with building the bridge and being the one responsible for the former combatants to cross it and reach their hands out to each other.

    Tell me Dr Ravetz, please. Will you be the first to set foot on the bridge? And as you walk alone to the centre of the bridge, looking down at the deep chasm below, will the thought cross your mind…

    Who built this bridge I am trusting my life to?

    The aggrieved scientists and engineers who demanded that designs, conclusions, construction and policy be based on properly collected data, accurate measurements, proven designs, tested components and solid, practical, real world decisions?

    Or was it built by PNS scientists and engineers who were not constrained by the need for such discipline and accuracy, because your PNS enabled them to build the bridge without the need for proven data or theory.

    Sadder still, you can’t tell which group it was, because you admit you don’t understand any of the science they are arguing about. So you have no idea if the bridge will stand your weight or not, you have no idea if you will plunge to your death because it turns out it was a PNS designed and built bridge and worst of all, you don’t care.

    Because you aren’t setting foot on that bridge, are you Dr Ravetz? You will proudly proclaim that it was your work that enabled the bridge to be built, but you are too humble to take the spotlight and walk the bridge yourself. And when the first few scientsts begin to cross, and the bridge collapses because it is a PNS bridge, what does Dr Ravetz say as he watches them fall to their deaths?

    “Well, there goes THEIR credibility, they did it to themselves, and I’m glad I’m not associated with them”

    Chutzpah, Dr. Ravetz. The man who, having been convicted of mudering his parents and then asking the court for mercy because he is an orphan, will have to step aside a the centuries old example of unmitigated gall that is the definition of Chutzpah.

    We shall replace it with Dr. Ravetz and PNS.

  126. Well, I don’t know JR and I’m sure he did a good thing in apologising but I’m getting very tired of hearing about the ‘violence’ in the argument on agw he repeats here, yet again. The only violence being offered, indeed promised, is by the alarmists and their shrill activist believers – some of whose threats and wish-fulfilment dreams of destruction of their critics has been linked above. Don’t keep trying to get sceptics to shoulder the blame for this situation Mr Ravetz, the plank full of hate and violence has to be removed first from the warmist eye. I suspect you’re atempting to characterise us thus:
    ‘Cet animal est tres mechant. Quand on l’attaque il se defend.’

  127. Steven, Tom
    Apologies. True, I wrote in haste and should, in this case, have addressed my comment to Jerome rather more than those who picked up on his Sarah Palin comment.
    Still, I think it’s generally true that we do our arguments against CAGW no favors if they can be easily, such as in Jerome’s case here, more likely to come from a Right wing perspective rather than the evidence. No one would even think to be uncomfortable about accepting that gravity exists just because Sarah Palin shares that belief. We have to try to make it similarly politically easy for anyone to be skeptical of CAGW.

  128. artwest;
    No one would even think to be uncomfortable about accepting that gravity exists just because Sarah Palin shares that belief.>>>

    Exactly. But let’s slightly reword Dr Ravetz statement and supposed retraction to make it even clearer.

    I, davidmhoffer, have serious doubts about Sarah Palin. It makes me uncomfortable to know that I am on the same side as Jerome Ravitz on this. Of course I say this only to show the complexity of the issue, this says more about me than it does about Jerome Ravitz.

    So….anyone read that and have any doubt as to whom I have a lower opinion of, Palin or Ravitz?

    Dr Ravitz, when I say that says more about me than about you, does that feel like a retraction? An apology? What do you suppose that meant? Do you think it was an accidental slur or a deliberate insult?

    I’d urge you to consider Willis’ and Smokey’s recommendations in regard to the manner in which you write. Probably applies to me too. Except when I take everything superflous out of my writing, there’s still some facts and logic and reasonably drawn conclusions left behind.

    Let’s see you do the same with PNS.
    No fables, no analogies, no circular reasoning, no imagery of matters urgent, stakes high, facts uncertain.

    Just the matters, the stakes, and the facts.

    And I, davidmhoffer, am of the opinion that you will not respond, because without the imagery, the fables, the analogies, there’s nothing left of PNS than the letters P,N,S. The document will be as empty as the concept it purports to make credible.

    Of course, that says more about me than it does about you, right?

  129. Some superb posts here, especially Willis’ and Peter Taylor’s.

    Some of the misunderstandings and disagreements are finally crystallizing out. Now that the invective has been put to one side clarity becomes easier to achieve. This is in fact the principle benefit of non-violent communication. Be scientific, state clearly and openly what your objections to someones thinking are without stirring up passions which muddy the waters.

    To briefly clarify the point Willis raised with me,

    “Tallbloke, nothing that you say is outside of normal science. Yes, we don’t have direct measurements that can settle the question. And yes, AGW proponents are looking for a minuscule signal (0.02°C per year) where the daily swings are three orders of magnitude larger than the signal. But that’s all part of normal science. It just means that someone has proposed a hypothesis that’ll be really, really hard to establish.”

    Indeed, and that is part of the AGW ‘trick’. Put up a damn near unfalsifiable hypothesis, and then sandbag it with ever increasing numbers of half baked ‘converging lines of evidence’. As fast as we chop ’em off, more spring up, hydra-like from the wellspring of bright young well meaning Phd’s.

    But it’s becoming clearer that the ocean heat content is a reflection of the TOA balance, so there is hope that we will be able to nail the central issue once we have more ARGO data (and it’s made freely available), and once we have better understanding or at least a better appreciation of terrestrial amplification of solar variation.

    As Peter Taylor pointed out in part of his deeply insightful comment, there are hidden things going on with gravity (and magnetism). We have seen covariances with temperature and motion, but do not yet understand the mechanisms behind the interactions.

    The differences between Willis and Jerry’s development of thought to some extent reflect the cultural traditions they each hail from. The actual events point the way to the resolution of the problems which have become all too evident. U.S. American style ‘go-getting’ and the cult of personality. British secrecy, whitewash and autocratic-old boy network behaviours.

    These have no place in real science as Myrhh reminds us. But they are there, as Willis and Ravetz remind us. How to get from where we are to where we should be?

    Perhaps Ravetz and his exhortation to personal integrity have as much of a part to play as Willis and his exhortation to proper checks and balances.

    There’s no doubt a lot of people got suckered in through the best of intentions. They now need to stand up and be counted. Judith Curry, Jonathan Jones, Freeman Dyson, and others on ‘the inside’ have stood up. We need to give them the support they need when they get ostracised by ‘the Team’.

    Ravetz started climbing the wall a year ago, but prevaricated when he got to the top, and has been shot from both sides. Such is the fate of philosophers who see both sides of the issue in a more deeply entangled way than most. It can appear as muddled vacillation to many, but I see where he’s coming from, and I’m thrusting out a helping hand to pull him off the wall onto safer ground. If I take some stick for that; so be it.

  130. Thank you Willis a real Shakespeare with the doubtful science,
    And to ‘davidmhoffer,’ you get your story across so well, if you wrote children’s text books our modern day “scientists” would understand that the 100,000,000 disciplines that compose our climate are minus another 10,000,000,000

  131. Late to the party, too busy following El Alamein at Judith Curry’s place.

    I fully echo Tallbloke’s appreciation of some excellent posts here, especially those of Willis and Peter Taylor. Ravetz’ inadequate and (to many here) arrogant statements bring forth something of real calibre, so even if nothing more, Ravetz can be thanked for that.

    I also applaud Ravetz standing and taking the flak. He comes from where many of the malfeasance crowd come from ie deep lack of appreciation of real science. Gerry, if you can stand the course and listen to everyone, and hear the pain of people’s comments against you in your own soul, to the point that it drives you to steep yourself in the Spirit of Science, you can still do good work.

    I say once again, Gerry, please read and absorb my Primer (click my name) because it will help you in this respect, and it complements everything Willis has said. IMHO.

    Few here will appreciate Peter Taylor’s luminous statement. Few here will see in this the dogged scientist who had an excellent book, Chill, published all about the science; who has starved himself to stand up for his passion; who was once a Greenpeacer who climbed Big Ben in protest but left that movement when it abandoned true science. I personally owe Peter a huge debt of gratitude: it was his quiet, measured science, as spoken in a radio interview with Rob Hopkins of Transition Towns, that convinced me there was “something rotten in the state of Denmark” which set me on my own trail and touched my own deep passions which I recognize also in Willis and John Daly.

    Thank you all.

  132. tallbloke says:
    February 26, 2011 at 1:20 am

    “This is in fact the principle benefit of non-violent communication”

    Violent communication would seem, at a minimum, to be wrapping a note around a brick and throwing it through your window. Vitriol in and of itself doesn’t seem to fit the bill except perhaps to call it an incitement to violence. In in the interest of accurate communication I suggest we be more careful in choosing our words.

  133. Well, this post does it for me. J. Ravetz strains mightily to find analogies to the “peace” process he’s trying to initiate here, but fails to convince that his mission is anything more than slowing the flood of contrarian evidence assailing the “climate science” community.

    For just a moment I was wondering where I put those tie-dyed shirts, where the guitar was, and what is the key for “Kumbaya” (apologies to Gullahs everywhere).

    I’m off to find out if Gavin got Ben’s autograph when he appeared on Cash-Cab.

  134. Dave Springer says:
    February 26, 2011 at 10:15 am
    In in the interest of accurate communication I suggest we be more careful in choosing our words.

    Couldn’t agree more.

  135. johanna says:
    February 25, 2011 at 7:21 am
    Colonial says:
    February 25, 2011 at 12:56 am

    Has anybody told some posters on WUWT that the Cold War is over?

    The Cold War was just one chapter of a conflict which has been going on since before 1848 and will continue for many years to come as Communists continue to foment their takeover of the world’s societies. In the former Soviet Union, the conflict against the Western nations is being pursued with different methods and similar means. Science is simply one of the fronts they are targeting in this conflict.

    For some interesting reading, see the interview discussing the KGB defector, Anatoliy Mikhaylovich Golitsyn:

    Dark Predictions of a KGB Defector
    http://frontpagemag.com/2010/10/19/dark-predictions-of-a-kgb-defector/

  136. tallbloke says:
    February 26, 2011 at 1:20 am

    Nice post, Tallbloke. I’ve got a clearer idea of where you are coming from now.

  137. Peter Taylor says:
    February 25, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    You state:

    “Science as we know it (normal or post-normal) is betrayed by the word – from the Latin scindere, to divide (and the secret societies to which many top scientists belong has the dividers as their most sacred symbol!)….to separate, and hence masure and manipulate. That is far removed from Knowledge – gnosis, the Ancient British canawan, to really know something. This is what the ancients knew as Sophia – wisdom, and it was dark not light.”

    “However, a truly ancient source, the Old Testament of the Bible, says this:
    To know the composition of the world, and the operation of the elements; the beginning, end and midst of the times, the alterations of the turning of the sun, and changes of the seasons; the cycles of the years and the positions of stars; the natures of living creatures, and the tempers of wild beasts, the violence of winds and the reasonings of men; the diversities of plants, and the virtues of roots… And should a man desire much experience, she (wisdom) knoweth things of old, and doth portray what is to come; she knoweth the subtleties of speeches and can expound dark sentences; she foreknoweth signs and wonders, and the issue of seasons and times… And if one love righteousness, her labors are virtues; for she teacheth temperance and prudence, justice and fortitude, which are such things as men can have nothing more profitable in their life” (Wis. 7:17-20; 8:8; 8:7).

    It goes on:

    “And all such things as are either secret or manifest, them I know. For wisdom, which is the fashioner of all things, taught me, for she is a noetic spirit, holy, only-begotten, manifold, subtle, agile, clear, undefiled, harmless, loving of the good, penetrating, irresistible, beneficent, kind to man, steadfast, sure, free from care, almighty, overseeing all things, and spreading abroad through all noetic, pure, and most subtle spirits… For she is the effulgence of the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the energy of God, and the image of his goodness. And though being but one, she can do all things; and remaining in herself, she maketh all things new, and in every generation, entering into holy souls, she maketh them friends of God, and prophets. For God loveth none save him that dwelleth with wisdom (Wis. 7:22-23; 26-28)”.

    What we have here is an understanding of Wisdom as being a source of light and openess. So which is it?

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