Agreeable disagreement

Josh was inspired by posts from Zeke at Lucia’s and Judith Curry’s websites.

Lucia’s post: Agreeing

Judith’s post: Agreeing(?)

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February 28, 2011 8:03 am

He always had a way with words.

February 28, 2011 8:04 am

Don’t forget the unknown disagreements where we don’t even know we disagree!!!

John Blake
February 28, 2011 8:21 am

So is agreeing to agree on disagreements an agreement or a disagreement? Only your friendly neighborhood Pentagon knows for sure!

James Sexton
February 28, 2011 8:30 am

Yeh, I tried to play that game at Curry’s. It’s an agreement! Alarmists quote statements agreed upon to prove their assertions. Skeptics don’t agree with the certitude of their agreements. I haven’t gone to Lucia’s, but other than confirming the lack of curiosity and one exception of polite disagreement, the exercise was a complete and total waste of time.
Here’s the money quote, as I see it.
“Well, there you have it! Dr. Curry, it a consensus, skeptics don’t think point number 5. has near the certainty as stated and alarmists don’t believe that’s a valid opinion because we don’t have enough letters in front of our names.”
As to the “Epistemic levels”…… I wonder, where does Steve McIntyre fit in. Where would he have fit in before he was ever published? What of the myriad of others that weren’t published but later were. What of the one’s that have been blocked? What of the ones that haven’t, yet?
It’s shocking to me that people still need to assign values to peoples opinions determined by the amount letters in front of their name. Opinions or assertions are either true or false or subjective. The validity is not determined by the amount of letters in front of a name. We, not only haven’t progressed in this issue, but we’ve regressed.
The inclusion of “Epistemic levels” was nothing more than an appeal to authority. The primary one being one that has been published………… If we’ve learned anything, we’ve learned published is not synonymous with valid.

February 28, 2011 8:36 am

Disagreeable disagreements that disagree with what we decided to disagree with, unless we all decided to agree to disagree.

Ed Scott
February 28, 2011 8:44 am

The Known and Unknown
Carbon dioxide tax – the People’s Revolt – I
by Bob Carter
February 24, 2011
It is difficult to decide whether to be more astonished by the scientific ignorance or the political stupidity inherent in today’s announcement by the Prime Minister and her Multi-party Climate Change Committee (MCCC) that a tax on carbon dioxide emissions will be introduced on July 1st, 2012.
Shhsshh … don’t talk about the science
by Bob Carter
February 28, 2011
Carbon dioxide tax – the People’s Revolt – Part II
Last Wednesday, February 23, Prime Minister Gillard announced, on behalf of her Multi-Party Committee on Climate Change, an in-principle commitment to introduce a carbon dioxide tax in Australia on July 1, 2012.

Doug Proctor
February 28, 2011 9:01 am

The trouble with thinking too much about words – agreement, truth etc., is that the closer you look the less you seem to know or understand. The problem is that words are a poor substitute for reality, something that makes many people uncomfortable, especially those who wish to have everything in the world nailed to the floor. Even that word “nail” describes something that could be a pin or a railway spike, made of iron or wood. Our minds grasp betyer in a non-literary way the world is – because the world is far more than a literary confection.
The pragmatists of the 19th century handled this problem of certitude and truth well. We can only approach it, they said, not reach it. All that we think or know is subject to confirmation externally.
Famously, William James said that truth, as far as we can get to it that is, has three attributes: it does not contradict the many other truths we have developed previously, it leads to other knowledge that we would not have found without it, and it has a practical value (in his day they called it “cash value”).
The CAGW theories (not hypotheses, significantly) appear to have none of these three characteristics, unfortunately. The non-contradiction part starts with the “greenhouse” effect, continues with the water-vapour feedback mechanism, and finishes with its in toto impact on the global environment. The “additional knowledge” fails because, well, the ideas of CAGW don’t explain anything about past, present or predictable future events explicable with by other means. And as for practical value – if you discount carbon trading scams and Al Gore’s money making schemes, you are left with increased food prices due to food-to-ethanol and subsidies to wind and solar power to give the illusion of competitiveness.
Linguistics divides and confuses us does as Hansen’s use of statistics. It is a shame that what America gave the world in the 1800’s never stuck in the brains of a few people at the top.

February 28, 2011 9:11 am

All scientists agree.
You do not agree.
Therefore you are not scientific nor a scientist.
Isn’t that about the way it works?

February 28, 2011 9:14 am

anyone have that list handy of all the things the computer games predicted…
….that did the total opposite or didn’t exist

James Sexton
February 28, 2011 9:24 am

HankHenry says:
February 28, 2011 at 9:11 am
All scientists agree.
You do not agree.
Therefore you are not scientific nor a scientist.
Isn’t that about the way it works?
True, but very incomplete……..let me expand……
Also, by virtue of not being a scientist nor scientific, your knowledge, is of no value and invalidated upon the weight of not being scientific. Also, by inference, it means that you are a big oil backed hack that wishes nothing but the worst for humanity and you deny everything. Including, but not limited to……denying climate change, the spherical nature of the earth, and that the holocaust never occurred, that man ever made it to the moon and that the droughts in China are the worst evuh!

James Sexton
February 28, 2011 9:32 am

Oh, sure, now………. no thumb thingy that I can click to make it look like someone agreed with me.

Tom T
February 28, 2011 9:33 am

I think that what he actually said “there are things we know, and things we know we don’t know, and things don’t know we don’t know” is more applicable to climate change than agreements and disagreements are.

February 28, 2011 9:44 am

@Tom T
You’re correct; the unknown unknowns. A very valuable logical construct it is too.

February 28, 2011 9:50 am

Is this the five minute argument ? or the full ten

February 28, 2011 9:59 am

I’m reading Paul Nahin’s lovely biography of Oliver Heaviside. We’re wrong if we think there were no tooth-and-nail battles over sci-tech topics over a hundred years ago. The battlefield is different, but the heat and fury is the same. Human nature?

Bob Diaz
February 28, 2011 10:19 am

HankHenry says:
February 28, 2011 at 9:11 am
All scientists agree.
You do not agree.
Therefore you are not scientific nor a scientist.
Isn’t that about the way it works?
It’s more like:
All scientists WHO agree with my position, agree.
You do not agree. ….

February 28, 2011 10:39 am

Incompetent agreements among the incompetents.

February 28, 2011 10:48 am

Jeff Id has a post up on his blog about Judith’s and Zeke’s articles:
Crystalline Silicon Ball
I tend to agree with him. I’d rather see the numbers if you’re going to give a “scientific” opinion.

February 28, 2011 11:10 am

And are there disagreed agreements, where we’re unwilling to admit we agree?!

Laurence M. Sheehan, PE
February 28, 2011 11:22 am

Since I was well trained in scientific method, it really irks me to see what is no more than speculation being called theory.
First, through observation and measurement, a hypothesis is formulated, which is subject to falsification. Then this hypothesis is tested again and again, by the person(s) who formulated the hypothesis, until that person is satisfied, and then it is “thrown out to the wolves” whereby it is the duty of scientists to attempt to falsify the hypothesis, After a great deal of attempts by other scientists to falsify the hypothesis, with out success, it can be put forth as theory. Theories are always subject to falsification, as scientific knowledge is improved upon.
These “climate scientists” do not follow scientific method in the least way.

February 28, 2011 11:32 am

Donald Rumsfeld was an optimist, unless he was pessimistically optimistic, in which case he often made the headlines while causing higher ups to crawl under rocks.

February 28, 2011 12:30 pm

By the way Zeke would compute it, any feedback would have to be negative.
As for his statement:
What is extremely likely [>95% probability]
1. The greenhouse effect is real, albeit poorly named. While reams of comments have been written on this subject (witness the whole Sky Dragon debacle over at Judy’s blog, or Science of Doom’s heroic efforts to explain every facet of the issue), I’d hope that readers here won’t argue with this one.
( from: )

that has already been shown to be so close to zero, it can basically be called zero. That is it does not exist in a real gravity held atmosphere. That “greenhouse effect” does occur in a bottle in a lab for in a lab the bottle *is* the real greenhouse.
If Zeke would say he only meant “back radiation” was what he was calling the greenhouse effect, then all of his following statements would no longer make sense. No, he meant “trapping energy” in a greenhouse to increase the temperature, that is not in my view of physics and he would have to experimentally prove it to me but probably never will. Well, maybe he could change Titan’s atmosphere and run an experiment there.
I steered clear of that whole post on Dr. Curry’s site. It in itself was a crafty trap.

Al Gored
February 28, 2011 1:19 pm

Rummy’s been out in TVland lately flogging his book. He comes across as likeable, very sharp and witty, as well as evasive and guided by truthiness. Bit like Ravetz in his letters but much funnier.
Romm on the other hand is more like Charlie Sheen. Not funny, and rather sad to watch self-destruct with such arrogance.
All quite the soap opera. As The WarmCold World Turns.

February 28, 2011 1:45 pm

OT: Canada’s public broadcaster misleads on Antarctica based on some report by a journalist without any climate science qualification, Alanna Mitchell.
Notice how the link about “Antarctica is warming up after all” dates from January 2009 and features the Steig et al. 2009 Nature story… For a program titled the Current, one would have expected the host Anne Marie Tremonti, to make an effort and inform herself about the fate of the Steig paper, its methods and how O’Donnell et al. have thoroughly demonstrated the flaws of the Steig study.
Well to no avail.

February 28, 2011 2:08 pm

The. Best. Yet.

Jim Barker
February 28, 2011 3:10 pm

Reminds one of Monty Python and the Argument Sketch.
M: An argument isn’t just contradiction.
A: It can be.
M: No it can’t. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
A: No it isn’t.
M: Yes it is! It’s not just contradiction.
A: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.
M: Yes, but that’s not just saying ‘No it isn’t.’
A: Yes it is!
M: No it isn’t!

Wayne Richards
February 28, 2011 6:00 pm

But Who’s on first and Watt’s on second. Surely that’s a bases for initial agreement?
Or maybe not. I Don’t Know.

JRR Canada
February 28, 2011 7:04 pm

While I did not agree with Zekes list of statements of what we could agree on, I do agree than it is a worthy effort, for what is left of man made global warming (the case for)?For a manmade effect I would expect a change in the natural cycles. Where is it? Does an understanding of the natural cycles exist?What I have lost in my reaction to the authoritarian assault on my life and property is any understanding of, science of value from the consensus crew, is there any?

Brian H
February 28, 2011 7:13 pm

Tom T. & Pointman;
I agree; Rummy took a lot of unfair stick for that rather insightful distinction, presumably from those unwilling to admit they know they don’t know everything, let alone that there might be things they don’t know they don’t know.

February 28, 2011 7:14 pm

I read through Zeke’s contribution on Judith Curry’s blog, plus most of the resulting comments.
I gave up in disgust in the end.
Obviously there were not many trained statisticians in that mob.
Putting probabilities on vague subjective concepts is not scientific.
Glossing over unknowns and unknowables is not scientific.
The whole thing sounds much like the belief (I’ll not grace it with hunch or insight or any of the other precursors towards the development of a tentative hypothesis).
So I’m reminded of that idea which held sway for many centuries, that the universe revolved round the earth.
It was wrong.
There is no scientific evidence that suggests that CO2 is the sole or even a significant controller of the climate
The end.

February 28, 2011 7:18 pm

Let me translate:
“trined statisticans” can be read as “trained statisticians” if you speak English.
Me, I’m an illiterate Au[s]sie, who can’t type or spell for nuts.
(I’m a very poor proof reader as well).
[Fixed that one. Plus a couple others. 8<) Robt]

Brian H
February 28, 2011 7:20 pm

About JC’s thread: it’s a kind of “coming out” party. She accepts a whole busload of very dubious assumptions in trying to keep the discussion firmly on AGW territory, running under its rules.
And the equation of “>95% confidence” with “extremely likely” is risible from the get-go. That doesn’t even qualify as “highly suggestive” in real science. The bar should be set at least 3 sigma higher.

February 28, 2011 8:39 pm

AusieDan says:
February 28, 2011 at 7:18 pm
Let me translate:
“trined statisticans” can be read as “trained statisticians” if you speak English.
I just assumed you were writing that way to reflect the Aussie accent 😉

Paul Vaughan
February 28, 2011 9:35 pm

Unbelievable how many have fallen hook, line, & sinker for academia-based Climate Etc., which generously dishes out narrow, biased pre-fab reframing (e.g. “uncertainty”, chaos, expertise rank, etc.) [“We’ll sort your thinking our way deviants!” (/sarc)]
The illusion of objectivity demands a never ending run of untenable assumptions. Everything must (/sarc) have its abstract box.
Tied up at committee in a wasteland of tangled messages is all you get. (Why volunteer to be worn down soldier?)

March 1, 2011 1:06 am

Spot on Paul.

Paul Vaughan
March 1, 2011 7:02 am

Reminds me of the decade I spent around math & stats departments in academia tallbloke: Tied up at committee in a wasteland of tangled abstract theorems, the fundamental assumptions of which FAIL catastrophically at the FIRST sign of complex natural data.
1000 comment jungles are a convenient way to “recondition” the perception of “subjects” via (suffocating) immersion.
The golden handshake means academics have TIME in their arsenal. In most types of conflict, academics’ preferred strategy is to BUILD IN DELAYS (e.g. by tying you up at committee, torquing the calendar, etc.)
The golden handshake affords academics the extreme luxury of passionately & fiercely defending ILL-conditioned axioms (failed assumptions of randomness, i.i.d., etc.) as a unified collective. This is one of the most fundamental threats faced today by our society & civilization and leadership is not always related to “rank”.
The sensible thing to do is dismiss the reframing initiative (preferably without indulging further delay tactics) as a failed academic exercise, opting to get back to seriously investigating natural variations without paying attention to the restless parade of abstract academic distortions & distractions. There’s no need to engage an incompetent enemy.
Best Regards to All.

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