NCSE: When Is purported Science not Science?

Rejected letter to NCSE in response to the awful polemic by David Morrison in NCSE Reports 31(5), along with some preliminary commentary

Guest post by Pat Frank

Most everyone at WUWT knows that the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) has turned their mission into an irony by a big-time entry into AGW-alarmism. They’ve hired Mark McCaffrey as their climate program director. Mark has degrees in education and worked previously at the “Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he was Associate Scientist III,” and where he apparently took a “leadership role in the development of Climate Literacy” Mark’s background makes him not particularly trained in climate science itself, but distinctly trained to promulgate his views about it.

Mark is probably responsible for such scientifically indefensible NCSE statements that,

“Many independent lines of evidence show that human activity is responsible for most of the climate change in recent years, particularly the warming of the atmosphere and ocean in the last 150 years,… that we’re “ seeing … dramatic changes in … climate and … ecosystems, including the distribution of rainfall, storm activity, extinction of plant and animal species, and seasonal change.”

Not to mention responsible for factually indefensible statements such as that,

“climate change deniers [are] people and organizations who deny or doubt the scientific consensus around climate change, [in] order to derail, delay, or degrade public policies on climate [and who] frequently seek to obscure or disparage the scientific consensus around climate change.”

Anyway, Volume 31(5) of the NCSE Reports, NCSE’s house journal, featured an article by Dr. David Morrison, modestly titled, “Science Denialism: Evolution and Climate Change.”

I’ve been a member of NCSE for many years, and that issue of NCSE Reports was my first notice that they had drunk the AGW kool-aid. “Shocked and dismayed” insufficiently conveys my feelings.

David Morrison is Director of the SETI Institute, and is a very reputable astronomer with a distinguished career. Nevertheless, his article is 4.5 pages of sloshing through the scientific shallows concerning climate (such as “today’s warming is taking place far faster than any historical cycles” and “we don’t need numerical [climate] models to tell us that the world is rapidly warming”), followed by another 4.5 pages of ankle-deep polemics equating AGW skeptics with creationists and tobacco lobbyists (such as, “The counterpart of the Marshall Institute … is the Discovery Institute” [a creationist organization – PF] and “strategies used by the opponents of both evolution and global warming are based on sowing misinformation and doubt… often called the “tobacco strategy”.” The article is full of global warming “denialists,” “denialism,” and “denial.” Dr. Morrison tells us that, “The only way [warming denialists] can make their case is to deny the international scientific consensus on the causes of climate change.” I’ll bet no one at WUWT knew that.

After reading so much misinformation, and after exchanging got-nowhere emails with Eugenie Scott (Executive Director of NCSE) and Andrew Petto (Editor of NCSE Reports), I decided to submit a letter to “NCSE Reports” in response to David Morrison’s article.

It went in on 16 January, 2012 and was rejected on 14 March. NCSE editor Dr. Petto wrote that, “Our decision is to: decline the piece as a response to Morrison’s piece, since it does very little to engage or refute Morrison’s main argument in the case which had to do with how those who opposed current climate change models present their information to the public and government officials.”

With extensive quotes to back me up, I pointed out in response that, “Dr. Morrison’s main argument is about climate science, and only secondarily about “denialists” who are then said to misrepresent, ignore, or lie about it. My submission concerns the first part — the main part — of Dr. Morrison’s thesis; which is a valid restriction of focus.”  And that, “if Dr. Morrison’s science is false, his thesis about communication is pointless and irrelevant.”

Dr. Petto was not moved.

That’s the background. Here’s the (rejected) letter, forthwith. Honestly? I think it was rejected on a pretext. You’re invited to decide for yourself whether it “does very little to engage or refute Morrison’s main argument.”

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

When is Purported Science not Science?

by Patrick Frank

In his excellent book, “Galileo,” [1] Stillman Drake points out Galileo’s very modern understanding of science praxis, writing, “In his book on Hydrostatics, Galileo remarked that the authority of Archimedes was worth no more than the authority of Aristotle; Archimedes was right, he said, only because his propositions agreed with experiments.” Galileo, writing this in 1612, conveyed an understanding of science identical to Einstein’s, expressed almost exactly 300 years later: “If the red-shift of spectra lines due to the gravitational potential should not exist, then the general theory of relativity will be untenable.”

Einstein’s statement about theory and observation is recounted by Karl Popper in his autobiographical “Unended Quest,” [2]. Popper goes on to say that Einstein’s critical observation was a revelation, and opened the way to his own career-spanning argument that science is the interplay of falsifiable theory and empirical results (conjectures and refutations). Theory must produce unique and falsifiable predictions by way of analytical deductions. Data, replicable by any and by all, pronounces its verdict. Only those two activities together constitute valid science. Either apart, is not science.

A corollary to this relationship is that the meaning of empirical data is found only within the context of a falsifiable theory. This is true, even if the meaning is that the data contradict the prediction and refute the theory. Only a falsifiable physical theory distinguishes the meaning of lightning away from the hand of god. Only the capacity of falsification produces a unique prediction and provides an unambiguous meaning to the data. [3]

In a recent NCSE Reports, Dr. David Morrison wrote an essay [4] about “Science Denialism,” which was one long effort to equate evolution deniers with AGW skeptics (Anthropogenic Global Warming).  There was very little science in Dr. Morrison’s essay.  Here’s most of it: “Climate models are indeed complex, and they do not always agree on details such as the timing of future warming. However, the evidence for warming is empirical, and its future trends are anchored in basic physics, such as the greenhouse effect and the heat capacity of the oceans.”

Those cognizant of meaning in science will immediately see the weakness of Dr. Morrison’s position: he grants causal meaning to climate warming while admitting the absence of a climate theory. The evidence for warming is certifiably empirical. But the meaning of that warming can come only from a falsifiable theory that makes unique predictions about climate. Is the warming due to the extra atmospheric CO2, or not? No amount of empirical data shuffling can answer that question.

Dr. Morrison claims that the greenhouse effect (a misappropriation of terms but let’s leave that alone) and heat capacity are enough to predict how the climate of Earth will react to rising levels of atmospheric CO2. But “the greenhouse effect” — essentially radiation physics — and heat capacity are not an adequate theory of climate. They predict nothing of how increased energy in the atmosphere will distribute itself into the all the climate modes, such as the ENSO cycles, and especially into the global hydrologic cycle of melting, evaporation, cloud formation, and precipitation.

Dr. Morrison made a remarkable demurral that, “we don’t need numerical models to tell us [that increased CO2 is] a harbinger of much worse climate disruptions to come.” But of course we do indeed need climate models to tell us that. How else are we to know? Climate models represent the physical theory of climate. It is only their predictive power that gives causal meaning to increased atmospheric CO2. This is the bedrock of science, and Dr. Morrison got it wrong.

Let’s take a short look at climate models. They do much less than, “do not always agree on [the] details” of future climate. They do not ever agree with the realities of past climate. For example, Demetris Koutsoyiannis and his group evaluated the advanced general circulation climate models (GCMs) used in the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report issued by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). [5, 6] The IPCC used these GCMs to “retrodict” 100 years of 20th century climate, at all the points on a global grid. The reproduced trend in global average temperature looked great. As it should do because GCM climate models are adjusted to reproduce the known global average temperature. [7]

But the Koutsoyiannis group used the IPCC’s gridded 20th century global climate to reconstruct what these climate models said about the 20th century temperature record of the continental US. The GCM climate models got it very wrong. They also used the GCM retrodiction to reconstruct the 20th century temperature and precipitation records at 58 locations around the world. The reconstructions failed badly on comparison with the real data. This is a basic test of GCM reliability of that no one thought to carry out during 20 years of climate alarm; climate alarm ostensibly made credible by those very GCMs. Climate models cannot reproduce the known climate. Why should anyone believe they can reliably predict an unknown climate?

Dr. Morrison mentioned that climate models do not get clouds right, and then quickly dismissed this problem as irrelevant. But tropical and subtropical clouds strongly affect the amount of energy retained by the atmosphere. [8] Clouds have a net cooling effect on Earth. [9, 10] I evaluated the GCM cloud error as reported by the scientists of the “Coupled Model Intercomparison Project,” and found that the GCM cloud error, averaged over the globe, was at least ±10.1 %. [11]

This cloud error translated into a GCM error of at least ±2.8 Watts/m2 in energy. That ±2.8 Watts/m2 error equals all the extra forcing by all the extra greenhouse gases liberated into the atmosphere during the entire 20th century. That is, GCM cloud error alone equals ±100% of the increased “greenhouse effect.” It doesn’t take a very astute person to realize that when the error is as large as the effect, the effect itself becomes undetectable.

The scientists who use GCM projections to predict future climate do not take cloud error into account. Competent scientists would propagate that error into their predictions. But climate modelers do not. Neither does the IPCC. Propagating the cloud error would show that the growth of error quickly makes climate predictions no better than a random guess. [11]  GCMs can’t predict the global temperature even one year ahead, much less 10 years or 100 years. But Dr. Morrison tells us that’s irrelevant, because rising CO2 is enough all by itself to certify a catastrophically disrupted climate.

Remember the criterion of science? Only falsifiable predictions yield the meaning of observations. Climate models do not give falsifiable predictions, especially not at the resolution of CO2-forcing. Therefore, they can give no causal meaning to increased atmospheric CO2. They cannot explain the warming climate. They can not predict the future climate. The observation of rising atmospheric CO2, alone, is not enough to certify anything except a rising level of atmospheric CO2. Knowing causality and predicting outcomes requires a falsifiable theory. Dr. Morrison hasn’t one, and neither does anyone else. Those who predict torrid climate futures literally do not know what they’re talking about. But that hasn’t stopped them from talking about it anyway. Dr. Morrison’s position on climate is indistinguishable from an intuitive alarm grounded in subjective certainties.

Like the wages of sin among the believers.

A review of the scientific literature reveals plenty of papers testifying to the unreliability of GCMs. But those papers don’t play into alarm. A responsible scientist would study the relevant literature before making declarative public statements. AGW-conclusional studies are mere causation-mongering because there is no falsifiable scientifically valid uniquely predictive theory of climate.

Much more could be written. But the general message should be clear so I’ll stop here. The answer to the question, by the way, is, ‘When it’s tendentious.’ Such is AGW science, and that includes the surface air temperature record, [12, 13] on which Dr. Morrison puts such stock.

References:

1. Drake, S., Galileo: a very short introduction,  Oxford University,  Oxford 2001.

2. Popper, K.R., Unended Quest,  Open Court (pbk),  La Salle 1976.

3. Frank, P. and Ray, T.H., Science is not Philosophy, Free Inquiry, 2004, 24 (6), 40-42.

4. Morrison, D., Science Denialism: Evolution and Climate Change, NCSE Reports, 2011, 31 (5), 10.

5. Anagnostopoulos, G.G., Koutsoyiannis, D., Christofides, A., Efstratiadis, A. and Mamassis, N., A comparison of local and aggregated climate model outputs with observed data, Hydrolog. Sci. J., 2010, 55 (7), 1094–1110; see also http://www.itia.ntua.gr/en/docinfo/978/ Last accessed 13 March 2011.

6. Koutsoyiannis, D., Efstratiadis, A., Mamassis, N. and Christofides, A., On the credibility of climate predictions, Hydrolog. Sci. J., 2008, 53 (4), 671-684; doi: 10.1623/hysj.53.4.671.

7. Kiehl, J.T., Twentieth century climate model response and climate sensitivity, Geophys. Res. Lett., 2007, 34 (22), L22710,1-4; doi:10.1029/2007GL031383.

8. Hartmann, D.L., Tropical Surprises, Science, 2002, 295  811-812.

9. Chen, T., Rossow, W.B. and Zhang, Y., Radiative Effects of Cloud-Type Variations, J. Clim., 2000, 13 (1), 264-286.

10. Hartmann, D.L., Ockert-Bell, M.E. and Michelsen, M.L., The Effect of Cloud Type on Earth’s Energy Balance: Global Analysis, J. Climate, 1992, 5  1281-1304.

11. Frank, P., A Climate of Belief, Skeptic, 2008, 14 (1), 22-30; open access: http://www.skeptic.com/the_magazine/featured_articles/v14n01_climate_of_belief.html.

12. Frank, P., Uncertainty in the Global Average Surface Air Temperature Index: A  Representative Lower Limit, Energy & Environment, 2010, 21 (8), 969-989; open access: http://meteo.lcd.lu/globalwarming/Frank/uncertainty_in%20global_average_temperature_2010.pdf.

13. Frank, P., Imposed and Neglected Uncertainty in the Global Average Surface Air Temperature Index, Energy & Environment, 2011, 22 (4), 407-424; open access: http://multi-science.metapress.com/content/t8x847248t411126/fulltext.pdf (1 MB).

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chris1958

Yet I have heard it said that even Galileo fudged his findings as he dropped objects from the leaning tower of Pisa. is there nothing new under the sun?

Willis Eschenbach

Clear and powerful. Nicely done.
W.

When rebuttals like Pat Frank’s are blocked for specious reasons, then you know that AGW rottenness has reached the very top of the organization.
Apocalyptism is a disease of human-kind and particularly afflicts academia, perverting a noble cause of scientific inquiry into an Inquisition against heretics. Witness Paul Erlich, who has made thousands of apocalyptic predictions of the future that all have turned out to be false, yet is treated as some sort of academic hero.
When the AGW drama is all over, the damage caused to the credibility of science and scientists will be seen to be immense. That is far worse than any argument of left and right, democrat or republican, liberal or conservative.

jonjermey

“Associate Scientist III” sounds rather Shakespearian. Like “Third Murderer”.

Stacey

Strange is it not that they equate their critics with creationists, when a study of evolution would quickly demonstrate that there have been major climate shifts during the history of Earth?

Ben D.

Look, I know this isn’t a conspiracy blog but let’s face it, there are powerful forces at work in the world that intend to use the contrived AGW scenario to make some big changes.
The corruption of science in the context of AGW is systemic and the deck has been well and truly stacked….”It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” -Upton Sinclair.
I personally don’t think that this Beast is stoppable bar an outbreak of war that goes nuclear, but kudos to all those who do their best to unmask it.

Pretty much sums it up.
BTW, I noticed that the definition provided lets me off the hook:

“climate change deniers [are] people and organizations who deny or doubt the scientific consensus around climate change, [in] order to derail, delay, or degrade public policies on climate [and who] frequently seek to obscure or disparage the scientific consensus around climate change.”

I don’t doubt at all the “Scientific Consensus”; I just find it irrelevant and that the science is flawed at best and “doctored” at worst. I find Hansen and friends to be clearly politically driven and with an agenda. I find that non-compelling… As my purpose is only “Find The Technical Truth”, I also get a pass on the motivation score. (I don’t even know how you ‘degrade’ a broken policy…) and as near as I can tell, there’s no way to “obscure” a “scientific consensus”, but since It is entirely irrelevant, I don’t really care about how obscure or notorious it is… And as per “disparage”, well, is thinking something a complete irrelevancy to disparage?
So, as much as I was proud to wear my “Denier” label, it looks like I don’t qualify… So sad…

Many, many good insights. Here are two of the less subtle ones, but of the kind that clearly reveals to all and sundry the degraded state of the lobby for alarm over carbon dioxide:
Re McCaffrey: ‘…not particularly trained in climate science itself, but distinctly trained to promulgate his views about it.’
Re Morrison: ‘…pages of sloshing through the scientific shallows concerning climate (such as “today’s warming is taking place far faster than any historical cycles” and “we don’t need numerical [climate] models to tell us that the world is rapidly warming”), followed by another 4.5 pages of ankle-deep polemics equating AGW skeptics with creationists and tobacco lobbyists…’
The attack by the demented dogmatists against children in the UK has not been adequately defended the adults since the teaching of the Received Dogma is pervasive at all levels. Much hope rests with the children themselves realising that they have been seriously misled year after year after year. As they grow wiser and more able to critically review this experience, there may yet be a dramatic backlash.
In the States, you seem to be in a slightly stronger position, with some centres of resistance by adults to the corruption of the educational system. The jumping on to the wrong side by NCSE, in contradiction to its own stated aims about encouraging good science in schools, is but a sign that the resistance is appreciable and the left don’t like it. For NCSE it would seem, solidarity with the left seems more important than solidarity with the young.

I recommend that you just ask them for the evidence for each of their claims. Something like this:
NCS said—- Many independent lines of evidence show that human activity is responsible for most of the climate change in recent years, particularly the warming of the atmosphere and ocean in the last 150 years
——-Please provide the evidence upon which you based that statement.
NCS said—-we’re “ seeing … dramatic changes in … climate and
——-Please provide the evidence upon which you based that statement.
NCS said—-we’re “ seeing … dramatic changes in… ecosystems,
——-Please provide the evidence upon which you based that statement.
NCS said—-we’re “ seeing … dramatic changes in… the distribution of rainfall,
——-Please provide the evidence upon which you based that statement.
NCS said—-we’re “ seeing … dramatic changes in… storm activity,
——-Please provide the evidence upon which you based that statement.
NCS said—-we’re “ seeing … extinction of plant and animal species,
——-Please provide the evidence upon which you based that statement.
NCS said—-we’re “ seeing … dramatic changes in… seasonal change.”
——-Please provide the evidence upon which you based that statement.
You might be surprised by the rational behind their beliefs
Thanks
JK
SustainableOregon.com

KenB

Refusal to print is to deny. Pretty ironic, when the original article was so lightweight on scientific content and so heavy on misplaced authority. Thanks for sharing. Reform starts when other fair minded scientists demand your right to express a scientific objection. I hope publication here starts that reform.

Latimer Alder

@jim karlock
You make a good point. For too long sceptical voices have been on the back foot. We have successfully argued about the issues on the periphery of the story, but not so much on the substance of the claims. We have been the guerilla warriors as the invading hordes took much of the ground.
But now the climate for the discussion has changed. We no longer need to just carry out occasional raids. We can confidently start to advance into the occupier’s temporary territory. At every point we need to challenge all their claims. They have become so used to being reverently heard that they are unused to actual argument. They are intellectually flabby and out of match practice.
Show me. Prove it. What data? How much data? Show me the experiment…..Where, when, how, who, why, what…are all our friends. It is my experience that 80% of the time there is no substance to the claims when you chase them back down far enough.
A classic example is ‘ocean acidfication’. When pursued it turns out that the only measurements that are even remotely scientific are monthly records for two non-contiguous six-year periods in Hawaii. 114 data points in total. And they might just be tortured enough to show that over twenty years the pH has fallen from 8.18 to 8.11. Or they might not
And, unless somebody has a vast stash of reliable pH measurements that have yet to come to light, those 114 points are the sole evidence for any actual change in the alkalinity of the oceans at all.
A while sub-industry and scare story has grown up without any solid reliable evidence to show that it actually exists at all.
Challenge them, challenge them, challenge them and challenge them again!

Ben D.

As a result of the corruption of science in the context of AGW is systemic, the deck is already well and truly stacked…”It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” -Upton Sinclair.
I personally think this beast is now well and truly unstoppable. but hey, kudos to all of you who are doing their very best to unmask it.

“climate change deniers [are] people and organizations who deny or doubt the scientific consensus around climate change,”
I’d say that statement is correct. There is no scientific consensus in the sense that the overwhelming majority of scientists agree with the IPCC’s CAGW predictions.
Survey’s show less than 50% of scientists agree with the CAGW scenario.
And we have no idea how many IPCC participants agree with the IPCC’s conclusions. To claim the IPCC reached a consensus is simply a lie.

Layne Blanchard

Are there no legitimate scientists remaining to lead these organizations?

Is it only coincidence that the NCSE’s logo is a bunch of dead ends?

Christopher Hanley

“But Dr. Morrison tells us that’s irrelevant, because rising CO2 is enough all by itself to certify a catastrophically disrupted climate…”
===================================================
References to “AGW” (anthropogenic global warming) only compound the deliberately cultivated confusion.
It is the validity of the implied “catastrophic” consequences and the cost/benefit ratio of supposed mitigation to the world population which are the crux of the matter.

Steve C

A clear, thoughtful and relevant response. That explains why it wouldn’t get exposure from an organisation dedicated to spreading senseless alarmism, then – it would show up the drivel they do publish for what it is.
@Jim Karlock – If there were a cool-headed, rational (dare I say, scientific?) discussion going on, then of course something like your list of questions would be exactly the way to go. As things are, though, somehow you just know that every one of those questions would act as no more than a cue for another foaming-at-the-mouth attack on you, based on your opponents’ glib ability to misunderstand and twist any words you utter into nonsense. Sad, but you must admit that ’tis so.

rikstarling

“Dr. Petto,” eh? If you’ve read your Shakespeare, you will know what “Petto” (or “Peto”) means. Here’s a hint: it involves the expulsion of a small quantity of hot air. . . .

alex verlinden

this is a great summary, Dr. Frank … and a very needed reminder of what (real) Science is about …
thank you very much for it …

rikstarling

“Dr. Petto,” eh? If you know your Shakespeare, you will know what “Petto” (or “Peto”) means. Here’s a hint: it involves the expulsion of a small amount of hot air. . . .

Jimbo

“Many independent lines of evidence show that human activity is responsible for most of the climate change in recent years, particularly the warming of the atmosphere and ocean in the last 150 years,…………..

“150 years”!!!!!!!!
Has he passed on this groundbreaking piece of information to the IPCC? They need to know as they are informing policy makers that mans’ warming/disruptive climate influence was from 1960 onwards. If I am mistaken then please accept my advanced apologies.
Is man responsible for the lack of warming over the past 10 years or more?
There are no massive changes, it’s all a figment of his imagination. There have been climate changes as always. The 1921/1922? Arctic ice extent was a massive change but was not caused by man.

Allan MacRae

An excellent letter – thank you Pat Frank.

Dan Lee

“…science is the interplay of falsifiable theory and empirical results (conjectures and refutations). Theory must produce unique and falsifiable predictions by way of analytical deductions. Data, replicable by any and by all, pronounces its verdict. Only those two activities together constitute valid science. Either apart, is not science.”
That statement is the key to the kingdom of knowledge. It is this philosophy that has lifted mankind out of our millenia-long childhood of superstition and confusion, and brought us in to the modern age in a few short centuries.
But there will always be some who want to drag us back into the dark ages for their own purposes. No wonder they rejected this paper.

chuck in st paul

I am a lowly engineer rather than a scientist. One major difference is that engineers have to go with what actually works, not magical stuff. Otherwise people die.
Having said that, all that I can see so far is a lot of data buggering coupled with computer “models”, cherry picking time frames and subsets of data, etc., etc. All this is done to support a claim. Yet, none of this actually supports the historical data and none of the models can reliably predict any real world events/weather. This makes their entire line of BS useless to an engineer, and by implication, the rest of humanity.
Eventually the peasants will take up their pitchforks and torches. I am laying in a supply of popcorn and Valu-rite vodka. It will be fun to watch.

polistra

When the money goes away, the propaganda will go away. Considering how quickly states are cutting back on education funding, I’d say the money available for NCSE dues is already going away.
Organizations like NCSE are decorations, not necessities. The only real necessities for higher education are football and the Diversity Gestapo.

TBear (Sydney, weather seems pretty normal here ... )

We are told in Sydney the Lan Nina is over and unlucky to return for a 3rd year. Question: if global mean temps do not now rise, does that rob the CAGW guys of their last excuse for the lack of warming since 1998? Or will they come up with some new spin/speculation to make their case sound credible?

Peter Miller

Excellent letter.
It’s just another example of the same old story with people who are either not smart enough, or unwiiling, to understand what someone rational and sensible is talking about; their response is always: “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up!”:
Of course, the letter was rejected, it made too much sense and was therefore unacceptable to the climate thought police.

A blogpost inspired by Patrick Frank’s analysis:
Climate Dogma lets FaithTrump Facts at the NCSE
What a mess the National Center of Science Education (NCSE) has gotten into…
http://climatelessons.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/climate-dogma-lets-faithtrump-facts-at.html

Steve C

Rikstarling – Or if you wish to investigate further, look out some info on a French music-hall performer of a century ago called Le Pétomane. He is the perfect riposte to any claim that the French are a uniquely “cultured” nation (and puts the lie to your mention of a “small” amount of hot air)!

Gail Combs

TBear (Sydney, weather seems pretty normal here … ) says: @ March 27, 2012 at 4:57 am
…. does that rob the CAGW guys of their last excuse for the lack of warming since 1998? Or will they come up with some new spin/speculation to make their case sound credible?
_________________________________________
The CAGW guys are the “Keepers of the Data” That is why there has been a knockdown drag out fight to get the data and methods made public. Phil Jones first response was to deny the FOIA and his second response was “The Dog Ate My Homework”
For the newest spin see New and Improved CRUTEM4 Global Land Surface Temperature Data vs IPCC AR4 (CMIP3) Climate Models

Jessie

Neat, thank you Pat Frank.
Well stated, and I am on to my third re-read. And learning more.

Philip Finck

I will have to go against the flow. I agree that the original article was trash. However the unpublished reply …… I also would not have published it. The reason is simple. After reading the first paragraph my thought was .. “OooKaaaaa”. Reading the second paragraph I thought, “What are you rambling about?” At the end of the third paragraph it was, “Boring… this has to get better.”
But it really didn’t. Even if it had been published most people who are not climate change junkies would have tuned out. If you have a message be clear, succinct, hit the high points, destroy a couple of the worst assertions in the original article and move on. People have the attention span of a nit.

Eric Dailey

Pat Franks’ name lends a coincidental irony: “pat” – to strike and flatten, “frank” – direct or unreserved and unrestrained. His response above to NCSE and David Morrison illustrates this irony. The NCSE are showing themselves to be a branch of the AGW priesthood.

I do so enjoy your articles and comments Pat. Well done and thanks 🙂

Gail Combs

Philip Finck says: @ March 27, 2012 at 5:46 am
….If you have a message be clear, succinct, hit the high points, destroy a couple of the worst assertions in the original article and move on. People have the attention span of a nit.
_______________________________
I will have to agree with this. You have Got 3 Seconds to get [their] attention That is why Dr Stephen Schneider, of Stanford University, said:

On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, means getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.

It also seems Dr. Schneider is busy back pedaling and damage control by <a href="http://climatesight.org/2009/04/12/the-schneider-quote/"spinning the story
I have seen enough of this rewriting of history on the web to make me believe the Ministry of Truth is alive and well.

My first response was, “Well-written, and well-argued.”
But I have to agree with Philip Finck (March 27, 2012 at 5:46 am). I love reading a coherent argument based on the philosophy of science. But here that’s beating ’round the bush; these people deserve a good slapping, not a professorial lesson. From your description, Morrison’s piece was just balderdash, poppycock, baloney, BS. It was just factually wrong, rehashing one well-refuted claim after another, without a shred of evidence to back any of it up, and larded with ad hominems and insults. With such tripe, you are best off taking a full frontal approach: “Morrison is wrong, and here’s why,” then daring them to publish it.
But your letter is a great addition to WUWT.
/Mr Lynn

chris1958 said @ March 27, 2012 at 12:17 am

Yet I have heard it said that even Galileo fudged his findings as he dropped objects from the leaning tower of Pisa. is there nothing new under the sun?

Well, you heard wrong! There is absolutely no evidence that Galileo performed the cannonball experiment at Pisa; the height from which the balls were dropped was 300 feet higher than the tower at Pisa. The observations Galileo reported, that initially the wooden ball fell more rapidly only to be overtaken by the iron ball is completely consistent with what one would expect. Galileo’s explanation for the observations was also consistent with what a modern physicist would give.
Galileo’s main faults were writing extremely rude things about people such as Fr Grassi who disagreed with him about his claim that comets were an atmospheric phenomenon, and attempting to claim he was the first to note phenomena that other observers reported such as Christopher Scheiner’s sunspot observations.

I’m with Philip Finck on this one. The history of the philosophy of science is all very interesting, but is probably already known by much of the readership, and isn’t the point of the letter. In short, I think the letter takes too long to get started, and needs some editing.
To assume the only reason a letter isn’t published is an attempt to stifle opposing voices is to make the same mistake Gleick made.
Remember he assumed that the only reason his long letter wasn’t published was editorial bias – he said as much in his letter writings – and probably assumed that some evil conspiracy was behind that bias. You only need to look at Gleick’s letter to see the real reason – he is on the record as saying he thinks it was a “great letter”, but in reality his letter was too long, too verbose, not news, and just boring.
This letter is a lot better than Gleick’s letter, and while you can’t rule out editorial bias, there are other plausible reasons not to publish too, including the points I mentioned in my first paragraph.

Richard Wright

Interesting the analogy between Evolution and Global Warming (i.e., that the tactics of the “deniers” are similar in both). Some of us think that Evolution suffers from the same falsifiability problem as does Global Warming. There is no theory of Evolution that predicts change in any meaningful way that can be verified experimentally or even observationally. (Has anyone formulated it mathematically so that we could predict how one organism would change into another and, thereby, test it?) Rather, bones are dug up and rocks are dated and these are used to form and modify the “theory”. The same is true of Global Warming. Bubble in ice are analyzed and tree rings are measured and these are always made to fit into the model.
Imagine if the theory of gravity were like the “theory” of Global Warming. It would proclaim, “the apple will move from the tree”. We could not predict whether it would go up, down or sideways, or how fast. It would “predict” only that it would move – at some point – and it might move right back to the tree later on. It might be so bold as to say that the apple would trend downwards, but any evidence to the contrary would be dismissed as a temporary aberration and that if we only waited long enough we would eventually see that the apple is really moving down, on average, given the right starting point. And it’s quite consistent with the theory that if the apple fell down far enough, it might might bounce back up higher than where it started (global warming might produce the next ice age).
There may indeed be similar tactics between some “deniars” of global warming and some “deniers” of evolution but the tactics of those who adhere to each are also similar in that they appeal to consensus and ridicule the minority as flat earthers, not because they can point to experimental verification, but precisely because they cannot.
I find it very interesting how science has often been redefined so that interpretation of historical artifacts replaces verification by experimentation. It is one thing to model 1,000 apples falling from trees and quite another to derive a mathematical equation that can be used to send a man to the moon. GIven enough terms, I can perfectly fit a polynomial equation to a completely random set of data but it will have no predictive power whatsoever.
Experimentation is no longer needed in many areas of “science”. It is sufficient simply to model a set of observations. Should any new observations be made which do not fit the model, they will be used to “refine” the model and rarely, if ever, to falsify it. I call it predicting the past.

DBCooper

Too long. No wonder they rejected it. First three paragraphs are useless. Remainder is too difficult for their over-taxed minds.

Coach Springer

NCSE has nothing to do with science and everything to do with controlling how science is taught. And you can’t get any clearer a contrast between the two than by reading this and then watching the Roy Spencer vidoe posted to WUWT about three posts below.

“I personally think this beast is now well and truly unstoppable.”
Oh, it’s stoppable. But the task is now a little bit more well-defined; organizations such as the NCSE that have been compromised will now have to be destroyed completely in order to stop it.
Scientific American, any number of once respected journals and organizations – they must all now be torn down and rebuilt from scratch. (or replaced entirely) The era of scorched earth in this fight has begun.

For those who might be inclined to think the NCSE’s posture on CAGW is a strange anomaly and a sad departure from their usual careful and thoughtful approach to science, this is an opportunity to step back and understand that this *is* the NCSE’s approach. They are primarily a propaganda organization, whose goal is to promote a particular viewpoint and to demonize anyone who might have the temerity to question the “consensus” view they are pushing. Too bad they felt it necessary to wade into CAGW alarmism. Good that their true colors are now showing more clearly.

I subscribe to Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine. Lately they’ve also all shared the CAGW Kool-aid. They’re starting to use green ink on the titles of their “green” articles. -Sheesh!- This last month they printed a letter from a person from Washington DC (go figure). Whose screed implores people to prod their representatives to act on climate change, since it is obviously happening. I sent the Editors of AWST this:
“I see your editors have seen fit to publish a letter from a duly indoctrinated Global Warming zealot, BXX. I also noticed the glaring lack of an opposing viewpoint. BXX is from Washington DC. Only politics there. Personally, I implore my representatives in Washington to tread carefully as this “Carbon-Dioxide-is-bad” hogwash becomes exposed as a hoax.
I ask BXX: where is the tropospheric tropical warm zone that the climate models say must exist? It is not there in real world observations. Therefore the models and thereby the theory of CO2 caused warming is flawed. According to the Scientific Method” this theory MUST be revised. What is this revised theory? I have not heard of it. These “scientists”are not doing science, they’re doing propaganda. Do you at AWST not cover science in whole and in truth? Show me some evidence, from reality, that CO2 causes warming. It has caused all life on Earth. Your readers are not quite as ignorant as you “journalists” might believe. Except perhaps those from DC.
Sincerely, ”
I have received no reply. I’m sure they’d never print it.

It would seem that “equating AGW skeptics with creationists and tobacco lobbyists” has striking implications. If it turns out that the skeptics are right, then it follows that Darwin was wrong, and that tobacco is good for us!

Colin Porter

One would have thought that with the fanfair from the NCSE recently, pronouncing the appointment of a leading climate change expert to the board, that they would have used his considerable skills along with his internationally renowned expertise on the hydrologic impacts of climate change, to have written this article himself.
Oh I forgot! For some reason they decided not to proceed with his appointment. Had he written it though, I think it would have been just a little more of a balanced article, but not a lot.

Gail Combs

Richard Wright says:
March 27, 2012 at 7:09 am
Interesting the analogy between Evolution and Global Warming (i.e., that the tactics of the “deniers” are similar in both). Some of us think that Evolution suffers from the same falsifiability problem as does Global Warming. There is no theory of Evolution that predicts change in any meaningful way that can be verified experimentally or even observationally. …
_______________________________________
ERRRrrrr, I beg to disagree. “Thanks to DNA, scientists are tracking human evolution/migration and determining when/where the changes to our DNA occurred. see The Seven Daughters of Eve

… a family in England with a remarkable genetic defect. Some members of the family have a mutation in a gene known as FOXP2, which helps direct the development of the brain during infancy and childhood. Every family member with the mutation had great difficulty speaking. Paabo had been thinking about how to identify genes that had changed during human evolution to make speech possible, and FOXP2 seemed like a prime candidate. He and his co-workers sequenced the gene—that is, they figured out the order of the DNA bases that make up FOXP2—in six different species. They found that it was one of the most stable genes they had ever studied; from mice to rhesus macaques to chimps, the protein produced by the gene is almost exactly identical, suggesting that the gene itself plays a fundamental role in animal function. But in humans the gene had undergone a slight modification. About 250,000 years ago, according to the scientists’ calculations, two of the molecular units in the 715-unit DNA sequence of the gene abruptly changed. That’s not long before modern humans first appeared in the fossil record. Could the changes in FOXP2 have enabled modern humans to speak? And could articulate speech have given modern humans an edge over the Neanderthals and other archaic humans?…. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/neanderthal.html?c=y&page=3

Neanderthal DNA is 99.7 percent identical to that of people, according to the analysis, which involved dozens of researchers. Something in the remaining 0.3 percent must make us unique….
By lining up the Neanderthal genome with DNA from humans and chimpanzees, Green and colleagues identified small changes that are unique to humans. Some were in genes involved in energy metabolism, skeletal structure and brain development, including four that are thought to contribute to conditions such as autism, Down syndrome and schizophrenia…. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2010/may/07/mystery-solved-humans-did-indeed-mate-neanderthals/

Other Articles: http://www.donsmaps.com/lagar.html
http://johnhawks.net/weblog/reviews/neandertals/neandertal_dna/hla-parham-2011.html
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/328/5979/710.full
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/2010/03/24/the-x-womans-fingerbone/

Gail Combs

Peter Kenny says:
March 27, 2012 at 7:36 am
It would seem that “equating AGW skeptics with creationists and tobacco lobbyists” has striking implications. If it turns out that the skeptics are right, then it follows that Darwin was wrong, and that tobacco is good for us!
_________________________________
If/When the general population finds out that they have been the victim of a giant hoax aided and abetted by “Scientists” it might become dangerous to admit you have a degree in science.
Witness, as an example, a friend who had his business store front trashed after 9/11 because he was an Indian (Hindu) or the more recent uproar against bankers after the bank bailout by both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street.
The fact that the name of science has been dragged through the mud by those with a political agenda is not in dispute only the timing of when the general population wakes up to the fact that they have been HAD.

Richard Wright

Gail Combs says:
March 27, 2012 at 8:15 am

Richard Wright says:
March 27, 2012 at 7:09 am
Interesting the analogy between Evolution and Global Warming (i.e., that the tactics of the “deniers” are similar in both). Some of us think that Evolution suffers from the same falsifiability problem as does Global Warming. There is no theory of Evolution that predicts change in any meaningful way that can be verified experimentally or even observationally. …

_______________________________________
ERRRrrrr, I beg to disagree. “Thanks to DNA, scientists are tracking human evolution/migration and determining when/where the changes to our DNA occurred. see The Seven Daughters of Eve

How was any of this predicted? That’s my point. Let me put it another way: what does the theory of evolution predict will happen in the future to FOXP2 gene? If a theory, be it evolution, global warming or anything else, cannot make meaningful predictions that can be experimentally verified, then it cannot be falsified and is not science.
Global Warming did actually make such a prediction, i.e., the earth would warm according to the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. However, observations did not match the prediction. But instead of throwing out the theory, it was turned into the meaningless “Climate Change” which simply states that the climate will change. It has no predictive power whatsoever.

RobW

Richard Wright said: “Some of us think that Evolution suffers from the same falsifiability problem as does Global Warming. There is no theory of Evolution that predicts change in any meaningful way that can be verified experimentally or even observationally.”
So then the development of multiple drug resistant bacteria, HIV, and other rapid generation time organisms is what? I would call it direct evidence of evolution.