Science vs. Assumpsence: The Act of Knowing What You're Quarreling About

Guest essay by Geir Hasnes

From the cartoon Series Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson

From the cartoon Series Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson

Very often, and arguably most often, a disagreement is rooted in a lack of definition of what one agrees upon before starting the argument. Thus the argument soon develops into a quarrel, and while each side thinks he has won the argument in the end, he is also puzzled by why the other side doesn’t give in to the facts, of for instance, as in the case of the climate quarrel, the ‘Science’.

The statistician William M. Briggs, in his recent article Climate Change Alarmists Appear Immunized against Reality (link) asks: “This brings us to the crucial question: how do we reach educators like Johnson? We can’t do it with reality. Temperatures aren’t increasing, storms are down in number and strength, sea levels aren’t chasing folks from beaches, droughts are not increasing, parts of the world are growing greener.

“I don’t have the answer. Do you?”

Most people doesn’t know that ‘science’ is Latin for ‘knowledge’, but they do know that it has become a term for the pursuit of knowledge. The implication of basing your reasoning upon ‘science’ is that you have the facts in hand, and the ‘climate prophets’ will wholeheartedly state that their adopted prophecies, from the IPCC summaries for policymakers, are Established Science. For, you see, they base their reasoning upon the fact that the IPCC reports are ‘science’. They couldn’t be more wrong, but how to convince them about it?

In an argument with the climate prophets and their followers (a collective term for the IPCC prophecy contributors, politicians, activists, journalists and the man in the street, in which I purposedly left out the scientific contributors) one must first state the underlying facts that the IPCC reports and the summaries for policymakers, with their implicated prophecies, are not ‘knowledge’, and consequently not ‘science’.

This is the first step in convincing your opponent.

Then you introduce a new term to your opponent, as you state that the IPCC report, on which most, if not all, climate assumptions are based upon, is not ‘science’, but ‘assumpsence’. It is based upon assumptions, which are not science or facts, but in the realm of philosophy, and maybe even in the realm of religion.

This is the second step of convincing your opponent. The foundation he thought was rock solid for his argument, is crumbling; in fact, it is suddenly found not to be there.

Then you supply the facts about the IPCC report. It is in three parts: the science; what will happen because of this; and proposed mitigations. In addition to this, you have the summary for policymakers which not only sums up, but simply adds its own statements regardless of whether it is included in the IPCC report or not. And, you state; since what should happen (part 2) does not happen, the science (part 1) cannot be correct, and consequently, the mitigation (part 3) is unnecessary. Consequently also, the summary for policymakers (part 4) must be wrong.

This is the third step in convincing your opponent. Your opponent will be slightly bewildered because usually he has only referred to the report as a whole, and having it divided into four pieces requires some actual thought before it can be digested. At this stage, anything you say is mistrusted because there might be some conclusion from it that is perceived to be annoying.

However, your opponent will still believe that you are wrong with regards to the science (part 1), because as it is called science, it can’t be wrong!

Now you introduce the relationship between science and assumpsence again, because your opponent in the meantime has forgotten all about it. You state that collecting the facts of the science in part 1 may be called science, that is, the pursuing of knowledge. But the rest of it is pure assumpsence, assuming relationships between facts, also known as hypotheses, which are not true. And we know they are not true because they do not happen. The assumptions of the science of part 1 has in part 2 turned out not to happen. Even the reconstructions of temperature series within the science part are not science, but assumpsence, simply because you base the reconstructions upon assumptions. The hockey stick curve was not only assumpsence, but can be regarded as fakery, but then again, assumpsence is often based upon a preconceived notion about how things should appear. And it is much better to be able to dismiss the hockey stick curve because it is assumpsence, than to have to call it bad science.

Now bad science is often assumpsence, and the assumptions are often hidden. We should not talk about good and bad science because the discussion will always turn into statements coloured by personal taste. We should rather only accept that as science that is knowledge and the method of pursuing knowledge. Statistics may be a branch of science, but the application of statistics is based so heavily upon assumptions that it can only be assumpsence in practice. Just as the theory about the population explotion and what it would do to mankind and the Earth was mainly assumpsence, so it is with today’s IPCC report with its maps of the Earth where the polar regions are coloured in a fiery red, redder as the decades of the future pass by. There is no need to accuse your activist or politician opponent to be devoid of knowledge or being led astray by religious feelings. The only need you have is to tell your opponent that his reasoning is assumpsence, not science.

This is the fourth step in convincing your opponent. He will be bewildered, but also begin to perceive that there is something here he hasn’t pondered.

Assumpsence is not morally bad, like bad science is. It is simply not science. Accepting this removes the need for faith in science and the scientists. Of course, a lot of people calling themselves scientists will hate being called assumptionists instead. But that is not the case. The case is rather that your opponent will as the last resort invoke the authority of the scientists as opposed to what he perceives as your lack of authority. Being made aware that his scientists are assumptionists and that he himself practices assumpsence when he assumes that he can believe in what declared scientists say, will make him bewildered, because you not only questions his choice of authorities, but leave them invalid as authorities, as well as leaving his belief in them as being unfounded, and he will have to give up.

That is the fifth and last step in convincing your opponent. He will now ask for the real authorities, that is, the actual science, and now you can begin telling about the thriving polar bears, the relatively constant polar caps, the declining number of storms, the constant sea level and so on. But do not forget: He must not forget that he listened to assumpsence, he must understand and remember assumpsence, that what he based his beliefs upon was no foundation for action at all.

And you might even wish to add this at an early stage, but do not say it until you are sure that your opponent has begun to ponder the real science, and be sure to be smiling while you say it: “Remember, assumptions may often make an ASS out of U and ME.”


 

Geir Hasnes graduated in Electrical Engineering at the Norwegian University of Technology in 1982 and after 15 years as a research scientist now works as a principal engineer within dynamic positioning systems.

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130 thoughts on “Science vs. Assumpsence: The Act of Knowing What You're Quarreling About

    • “Geir Hasnes graduated in Electrical Engineering at the Norwegian University of Technology”
      He’s not a native speaker of English. Cut him a little slack.

      • Well said. I am also Norwegian and I guarantee that we always give foreigners a lot of slack when they write to us in Norwegian… 😉

      • I think the other Mark and both of his cats are just trying to help. It was a great essay and I might like to link to it so purging any typos and/or bad grammar is worth doing. No?
        We all make small errors, even the professional writers. I even had occasion to help correct the work of a blogger/reporter who later won the Pulitzer prize. In my own writing I find that my eyes correct the mistakes and I don’t see them. My brain shields me from my own errors and so I need other eyes to help. I think many of us are like that.

      • The other Mark (Stoval; see below) was correct: I and both my cats were trying to help. The warmunists won’t care whether Geir Hasnes is ESL, they pounce upon any irregularity.
        We were hoping the mods would make the correction, then delete the post. I think that should be SOP whenever somebody posts with spelling/grammatical/formatting/etc corrections.
        [Moderating practice is to minimize corrections, to make editing corrections only when needed or when noted by the original author or when the clarity of the post requires it, and always to make the edited corrections within [] brackets without deleting the post. But, life happens. .mod]

      • >>We were hoping the mods would make the correction, then delete the post. I think that should be SOP
        >>whenever somebody posts with spelling/grammatical/formatting/etc corrections.
        >[Moderating practice is to minimize corrections, to make editing corrections only when needed or when >noted by the original author or when the clarity of the post requires it, and always to make the edited >corrections within [] brackets without deleting the post. But, life happens. .mod]
        Mods: just for the sake of clarity, I meant deleting to post that called out the error (my post about the wrong word), not the essay itself. A meta-post, if you will.
        So, I make the editing suggestion, the correction is made (or not), my post then deleted.

    • It’s not Latin for knowledge. “Science” is Old French. The Latin for science is “scientia”.
      Perhaps what was meant was “Most people doesn’t (sic) know that ‘science’ comes from the Latin word for ‘knowledge’…”

    • If the word “most” is considered to be equivalent to “the majority of” his original use of “doesn’t” is defensible. It sounds wrong to us only because we are a bit sloppy in our grammar.

    • I am sorry for any errors in spelling and grammar as I am not a native Englishman. It is especially hard within those categories of grammer where we don’t have what English has, such as verbs that are different in singular and plural forms.

  1. Outstanding! And very timely, as I anticipate taking on the task of deprogramming my daughter and her boyfriend during their upcoming visit. Having a conceptual plan of attack will be most helpful.
    A list of the evidence would sure be handy. I need the Cliff Notes version for intelligent non-scientists. (Do “Cliff Notes still exist?)

    • I have for a long time been thinking about making a list of evidence corresponding to the claims of the summary for policymakers, because arguing against the climate nuttiness is most effective when you refer to some official document from the climate believers’ side. And I usually do this (as written above) in referring to the most iconic claims, as these claims have added to the whole mythology of climate ‘change’. Such a list would start at the poles, then the polar bears, then storms, then the sea level, etc. etc. Himalaya glaciers, desertification and pacific ocean island states drowning come far down at the list because I live in Norway – that is because people are most interested in the alleged phenomena that happen near to them.

  2. Geir,
    In our world of engineering I would agree with the large part of you post.
    I have one criticism.
    Most CAGW advocates are liars who know that they are lying and will do anything to advance socialism by any means. Rational argument is meaningless. In fact, they are relying on rational people..us…to get trapped in our reasonableness.
    So I advocate Alinsky-esque countermeasures, which do not include being, in any way, reasonable.

    • Paul,
      while I do not like the thought that the CAGW people are lying, some of them probably are. However, these are dependent upon the man and woman in the street for support, and my reasoning is for the man and woman in the street. Without people who actually believe in the scare, the liars can’t proceed. Telling people that CAGW is assumpsence and not science is keeping the discussion on a rational level – and it cannot be lied or laughed away.
      The assumpsence argument came from my wish to win the argument with the irrational people in a rational way. And it works. But you need to have a torrent of facts to serve them too.

      • No probably about it. Many of them are lying.
        That is, if we narrowly define lying as when a person says or writes things that are untrue, and they know they are not true, they do not care that they are saying things which are not the case, and when they are caught out in their lies, they do everything possible to avoid admitting it, and instead attack the person who is pointing out that they are wrong.

    • Paul Westhaver commented: “….So I advocate Alinsky-esque countermeasures, which do not include being, in any way, reasonable.”
      Objectionable, but true. “Nice” will get you no where and in fact be seen as a sign of weakness by the alarmists. They have set the rules of the game and we must play by them to win.

      • Actually, there is one none-Alinskyesque countermeasure that is the best of all countermeasure, and that is, in a friendly manner and not implying it, making the person you are arguing with feel stupid. Don’t attack the person, make him or her feel stupid because he or she hasn’t grasped the facts. For instance, when they say that polar bears are drowning and dying because of loss of habitat and loss of ice and whatever Al Gore made them believe, simply state that the number of polar bears has risen between 5 and 10 times since 1970 effectively making them one of the best conserved species in the world, that they are tremendous swimmers, that they thrive on seal which live at the edge of the ice cap so that if ice retreats or advances, the seals follow and the polar bears too, and throw in some facts which you can find at wikipedia about the growth or decline of the various polar bear populations, including the lacking count from a number of Russia- and Siberia-based populations.
        This is effective, because you are effectively making the other person feel stupid by not having checked the facts.
        And if they try to rant about some photo of a dead polar bear at Spitsbergen, which was heavily used in propaganda here some time ago, simply state that the polar bears have to die at some time and question why there isn’t thousands of such pictures if it is so horrible up there for them.
        As I grew up in North Norway, I usually add some stories about how we learnt to fight and kill polar bears as kids, because we had to when we went to school, and if they say that there are no polar bears in North Norway, I add: “Not any longer!” with a smile. But I cannot recommend this to everybody, though I would like to recommend always to keep a calm and smiling appearance, and some jokes about the stupidity of people believing whatever they are served..

    • We aren’t trying to convince the advocates. That would be a waste of breath. With few exceptions, they are either liars, as you said, or have convinced themselves of their correctness to the point that they are immune to new data (Lysenko was one of the latter. He truly believed that aquired traits were hereditary despite never having actual evidence for with plentiful examples to the contrary).
      We are trying to convince the laypeople who just haven’t looked that hard at things. They presume that scientists are looking out for their best interests and it’s just the big bad oil companies going againt it (my cousin actually claimed that it was the skeptics that had the deep pockets and the activists that were grassroots. He didn’t believe the billions the US government had spent on climate change research alone, much less the trillions at stake for all the “green” technologies looking for subsidies.

    • That is the truth! The ideas proffered are very usefull for de brainwashing sheeple! Tell us more about ways to cure Suzuki and gore ??

      • I do not believe that anyone can convince Suzuki or Gore-et-al as they, IMO, are Sociopaths.

    • Paul sentiments aside, how can you possibly make a statement such as “Most CAGW advocates are liars who know that they are lying” I have been trying to understand the reasons behind why these people say what they do. They truly believe what they are saying, that is why it is almost impossible to argue with them. I have a friend who is a genuine rocket scientist (now unemployed) and he cannot understand why I wont believe the scientists and scientific organisations when they produce their data and theories,
      These intelligent and thinking people cannot reconcile that what they are being told by such “respected and authoritive” people and organisations is anything less than the truth and so in repeating the arguments they are in fact telling the truth as they believe it. The bigger question is of course why are these scientists and organisations producing such missleading information (and going out of their way to ensure that the data retrospectively agrees with their statements). The President stands up before the world and reads a speach produced using information provided, if he does not question the content and if he believes what he is being told then is he a liar? the same for the Pope (someone with scientific training and therfore possibly someone who may be expected to question what is being put in front of him).
      CAGW advocates are not liars, they are intelligent people, they are experienced scientists or well educated lay-people, they may be following a meme like sheep but they truley believe what they espouse. Dont fall into the trap calling them liars, we need to find some way of engaging in a two way dialogue and to do that we need to set ground rules and actually define what it is that we are arguing about, It may turn out that we all want the same thing in the end (hopefully beneficial to the whole world) and only by defining the terms of referance can we begin to talk the same language (and ignore grammatical errors) and come to an agreed conclusion. Failing that we can just wait for nature to show the way…

      • +1 but it sure is frustrating waiting for the facts to be recognized and overcome the hype.

      • Hi Stuart,
        As a matter of principle and as a practical measure I assume that most CAGW advocates are willful liars.
        The burden is on them to waste their time and their resources to appeal to me to convince me that their words have meaning other than a perpetuation of their eternal global warming lie.
        They may have to work 100X more to get my attention. The blame is with the liars who hide behind the cloak of science, the liars in the news-media (reporters and publishers), the liars in the public service, the liars in politics, and the liars in our churches.
        For the sake of my own preservation, it is a safe bet to assume they are lying and for me to otherwise prosper. I don’t need any dialogue with any of them for any reason. What could any of these liars possibly do for me or any one of us? I don’t want their false friendship, their socialism, their globalist ideology, their scheming insincerity, etc. Liars are so easily dismissed as such.
        They want to have a rational discussion? Let them separate their wheat from their chaff. That is a job I refuse to do. I have better things to do.

      • If they are truly intelligent, and when you get towards the end of the conversation (or to a point where they have painted themselves into a corner) they say in any form: “… but cutting fossil use would be good for us regardless…” then they are liars. They may be lying to themselves more than you, but they are liars.

      • Most CAGW advocates have accepted a set of statements from a set of authorities. The 97% consensus statement has a tremendous authority in it, and it needs to be met not by the fact that it is a fabricated lie (the definition of a lie includes the intention to deceive) because that is ineffective. I usually laugh it off because it is so irrelevant, and then I ask for how many and which scientists they asked and what the question was, to which they don’t have an answer. Then I point to the absurdity of the statement – and I can go on and on, but the point is, assuming the 97% consensus without knowing what you are talking about is dangerous for your reputation as a thinking person. People usually either become angry (which I try to avoid) or feel like they have been parroting.

    • Are they liars? I don’t think so. There are Marxists and elitist intellectuals behind all of this. But the bulk of the people buying the lie are simply sucked up into a virtue-cult.
      The Marxists have advanced by appealing to the desire of people, generally, to have the special, enlightened knowledge in moral issues, and so be in the “virtuous” camp and not in the “bad guy” camp.
      Pollution, the burgeoning global population, anti-science ignorance, and “greed” are the type of characteristics that are thrown in front of the average person by rhetorical campaigns. No one wants to be party to those negative forces, when portrayed as such.
      So, the issue is sprung upon us, and we learn that we must become part of the virtuous group, or be party to destroying the planet.
      Overall, that is an easy choice. I wold rather be less greedy, less polluting, and so on, then to be destroying the planet. Anyone would. Except for the bogeyman.
      That is the fix. The switcheroo. Do you want to be the strawman they paint, or be virtuous?
      Oh, you must watch out for clever manipulation from the bogeyman. He will take money from Big Oil. He will lie with statistics. He will deny what “scientists” and a fancy political report says.
      You don’t want to be like him, do you?
      The average person is easily sold on what to endorse to sustain a view of himself or herself as basically a decent person.
      This is ENTIRELY a game of moral high ground, even though many of these atheistic scientists/evolutionists will claim “morality” is bad, and we “should” (see the morality creep back in?) base political action on “reason and science.” So people follow the agenda not to be a judgmental moralist, but to be a “modern” thinking man’s thinking man. Ehrlich hits the nail on the head with his book, “The Betrayal of Science and Reason: How Anti-Environmental Rhetoric Threatens Our Future.”
      See the appeal to proper, cool, analytic thinking? See the bogeyman? All of that in one mere book title.

      • what rudeness makes anybody think anyone has to proselytize anybody else? if you had a liplock on the truth, you wouldn’t be casting about in promiscuous mode.
        this is a psychotic fandango to avoid facing the fact that you are paying and you are paying and you are paying and it will never stop until you stop paying for it.
        instead of yearning to lead others, how about leading your own self like a boss?
        lol- see how much difference my comment made? nota bene. it made zero difference. that is my point.

      • @Stuart Jones and @TheLastDemocrat
        There is no moral high ground in science.
        Yes, there is good scientific work and the less stellar performed by the less talented – I have detoured my share of masters and doctoral aspirants whenever they left objective reality for expressions of value (politics, religion, belief, social policy). That is not science.
        If you want to talk Marxism or Obama or the Pope – be clear that you are not talking about science.

      • You are very right in describing the appeal to be in the ‘virtuous’ camp. Many people are angry because they are taught that we are destroying the planet by using fossil fuels and they attack instantly whenever a ‘denier’ rears his ugly head. Those in the background who are in this for the money, that is, the subsidies from the government, the paid jobs as prophets and apostles for the cause, have a very high threshold against the flood of facts from the real world. Those who are not in it for the money are in it because they have been shown again and again (as an example) those stupid cooling towers emitting water vapour, creating in them the image of destruction. It is all about images and authority because it is all about assumpsence.

    • To this English speaker’s ear, “assumpsence” is an awkward, unnatural word, and won’t spread.
      I think your ideas are interesting, and I commend you for trying to find ways to accomplish the near-impossible.
      ————–
      The following is constructive criticism made with the acknowledgment that the author is not a native speaker of English. It is not a value judgement or response to the content.
      This article would be greatly improved by some careful editing. There are dozens of mistakes of spelling and grammar, and many instances of unclear syntax. Your command of written English is absolutely greater than many native speakers. But as a published essay, it should meet commonly accepted standards, which a skilled editor could help attain.
      Your arguments are worth discussion, and mistakes distract from the content.

      • I can only apologize for the mistakes in spelling, syntax and grammar, of which some stem from haste and others from ignorance or from differences between Norwegian and English, and I would be happy if you pointed them out (seriously). However, I tend to like my creation of assumpsence – and I also went searching to see whether it should have been written -scence or -cence instead, which I concluded it shouldn’t.

  3. I was once cornered, at and evening get-together, by a liberal non-science type, who detailed to me all of the horrible things about atomic weapons and atomic warfare. Nuclear Winter, mutations, barren landscapes, uninhabitable cities. I let him go on and on. He finally paused, and I said that I totally agreed with him. He brightened visibly, and was obviously pleased on having converted me. Then I said “After all, look at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Smoking ruins, still uninhabitable to this day.” His smile slowly faded as my words, and reality, sunk in. The good part was, that he refused to talk to me the rest of the evening.
    I really don’t believe people like that can be deprogrammed. They have too much pseudo-scientific and emotional baggage to be able to let go of their fears, whether those fears are of climate or radiation nonsense.

    • It might be worth mentioning in the future that both of those bombs were dropped at the express orders of a Democrat, President Truman.
      (A statement of fact, not an editorial/political comment. Personally, I think that the bomb probably saved several million lives, both Japanese and American.)
      Also, you can mention that it was a Democrat President (FDR) who used this “pen and telephone”
      to issue an executive order to have all of the Japanese rounded up and put into concentration camps.

    • Those were air bursts, want to really make an area really uninhabitable for a considerable length of time, consider dirt digging multi-megaton ground bursts as at silos and other hardened sites. Unfortunately all that radioactive dirt is carried a long way down wind also. Lots of acreage lost.

      • Same problem that faces pumped storage. Too many square miles are set aside for single-purpose use.

    • In August 1971 I stood at ground zero in Nagasaki and read the plaque on the obelisk saying that scientists predicted nothing would grow there for 75 years. I was surrounded by a beautiful park with trees and grass and little children playing with kittens.

    • Janice writes “I really don’t believe people like that can be deprogrammed. They have too much pseudo-scientific and emotional baggage to be able to let go of their fears, whether those fears are of climate or radiation nonsense.”
      Agreed. Its human nature. People like Willis can be wrong and when they admit it (and they do) their credibility increases. People like Grant Foster (ie Tamino) can never be wrong and will twist their argument into something unrecognisable to end up “right”. Grant has virtually no credibility beyond his loyal followers despite considerable capability with maths.

    • @Janice the Elder
      Guilt is a critical adherent of both CAGW and Catholics and it is imperative that you must be responsible or share their Guilt.

  4. This entire article is a great example of assumpsence. Your prediction that your 5 step process will convince anyone is totally without observation. Indeed, your assumption makes an ASS out of you and anyone who believes that making up clever new words is going to convince anyone.

    • I disagree with you. I have run this process with a lot of people here in Norway and it works. So it is observed in practice many times. Assumpsence is in fact a philosophical concept that is opposed to Science and it will stay.

      • Assumpsence is not a word, so your insistence that it is definitely counts against you. Why should I believe that you have successfully run this process by “a lot of people” when you insist on this falsehood? What sorts of numbers are you claiming? What percentage of success versus failure? My experience is that it is VERY difficult to change anyone’s mind on “climate change.”

      • ” With few exceptions, they are either liars, as you said, or have convinced themselves of their correctness to the point that they are immune to new data ”
        Case in point, eh Dan?

      • Sexalicious is not a word either, but my girl always knew what I meant when I told her she was.
        Absofreakinlutely is likewise not a word, but it and many any others are in common usage each and every day.
        Then there are ones like “irregardless”. Not a word.
        This article uses a made up word to make a point, but I like it, irregardless.
        Warmistas have been completely wrong about every single prediction of catastrophe they have ever made, and pretty much all of the more benign ones too in which the world will supposably get really hot. But they believe in their thoroughly debunked meme, irregardless. It’s true…axe any of them.
        For all intensive purposes, they are ninnies.

      • Dan remember Geir Hasnes is from Norway different country also some different concepts. Try this one, realpolitik its German. As a concept it is not easily translated to Americans, we don’t think that way.

      • Test Reply to Geir Hasnes @ July 21, 2015 at 1:06 pm
        I assumpsent this to go to the end of the sub-thread below Menicholas @ July 21, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    • I don’t get the ‘reply’ on your last reply, so I write it here. Assumpsence is a word that I have made myself. It is a great concept, and fully covers the difference between what is based on knowledge and what is based on assumptions. And yes, I have used the word in Norwegian for many years, and it is especially when you talk with people that you convince them, because they never had given it a thought that assumptions played such a large role in what they believed in. I agree with you that it is difficult to change anyone’s mind on climate change, and that is why I dug into the philosophical and conceptual basis.

      • Fortunately authors inventing new words has a long and honorable history in English and presumably in other languages. It would be interesting to count up how many words that were invented by, say Dickens, are still in use.
        Thinking of Dickens my favourite quotation from him still is relevant “They were the best of times, they were the worst of times”. The application can suit any side of the discussion.

      • ” It is a great concept, and fully covers the difference between what is based on knowledge and what is based on assumptions.”
        Perhaps a new word to describe the situation is needed and perhaps this is the one that will work. We do know that vast volumes of what people call “science” is assumption, world-view, paradigm, hunch, guess, theory, and hypothesis. After all, science has been “wrong” for most of history. What one generation believes as a “fact of science” will be later overturned by future generations. We do not need this explained only in regards to climate “science” but in the world of medicines and sick-care also. (we do not practice health care in America, only sick care)
        We need to try to teach people to think for themselves and to look at the evidence.
        Example one would be that there has been no increase in global temperatures for nearly 20 years even as the government run data sets have done their best to fudge the data to make it look like there is warming AND this comes with a huge increase in measured CO2 in the atmosphere. Come on Dudes, don’t that say anything to you?
        Example two would be a little off the normal track here, but still “science”. We have claimed that eating saturated fats would lead to heart attack and at the same time we have claimed that blood pressure lowering drugs should be taken by almost everyone over 55. Any honest inspection of the data says both assumptions are ridiculous — but they are so ingrained in American thought that, no doubt, someone will take the time to call me a nut or a crank.
        I am positive that we need to take the G.D. hallo off of the “scientists” and realize that most are mere lab rats who parrot the party line. We build great assumptions like the “big bang” and then decide that our assumption is somehow “truth”. What a damn mess.

      • “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a 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.”
        As in the US Constitution. Assumpsence is a perfectly good word that means exactly what you want it to mean. Nothing more and nothing less. But maybe not as good as sexalicious.

      • your article was excellent, Geir, as far as it goes.
        because it applies only to dealings with honest individuals whose standard of values is ‘truth’.
        it will also serve the predators well, because your talking simply will not interfere with their feeding.

  5. This is the first step in convincing your opponent

    A heroic effort, but no. Scientia, as it were, in the sense of knowledge is the body of results from Science. There is also the notion that Science is what Scientists do. That Science is a methodolgy. A philosophy. And a quest for Scientia; which necessarily starts from a position of ignorance.
    The truly difficult condition, especially with respect to your first point, is that the body of knowledge is not necessarily knowledge at all. Every theory, law, or model is some statement about what we think the matter is. And knowledge of that theory, law, or model, is still knowledge. The necessary condition that you need to satisfy is that it doesn’t count as knowledge of the real world unless there’s been successful, and replicated, empirical tests performed. That is, unless you can at present successfully engineer things on the basis of those tests, then it isn’t science.
    But because ‘science’ is such an equivocal term in practice, there’s no practical manner in which to get your listener to accept the premise that ‘science’ is and is only ‘the body of replicable, and everyday replicated, empirical knowledge.’ Indeed, accepting such a strict definition requires that science is only engineering. And it most certainly is not.
    Science is a cross-disciplinary practice that straddles the intersection between Philosophers and Engineers. It is neither of them to the exclusion of the other. But science without experiment — without engineering — is simply Philosophy. With all the warts and trust that should adhere to that addled and bloody discipline; warts it has earned of itself.
    But Science without Philosophy is a different problem. Engineering has no requirement of laws, theories, existants, or ruminations about brains in vats, and so on. It only needs a validated model in which putting X in gets Y out; subject to tolerances and variances. But without Philosophy there is no guiding notion to selecting which points of ignorance we move from ignorance to Engineering. Note well here that I’m hardly claiming that Philosophy in a vaccuum is terribly useful, or even less than harmful. It is simply that guidepost that humans crave.
    But no philosophical framework, no matter how addled, is inappropriate to Science — so long as it can be tested. But until it has been tested empirically, and only for what and those ranges that have been tested empirically, can we state that it has moved itself into the Engineering side of things.
    The problem here is that Scientists have moved from busy-bees operating in a matter of fact way to perform experiments and shatter wrong-headed notions to being Rabbis. Clergymen and Prophets of Creation that dispense Wisdom through Revelation. But without the engineering they are simply self-proclaimed prophets the same as any other. Whether they are satisfactory as a prophet or not is contingent on whether they’ve ever made an error. Though, being what we are, we hardly discard every luminary we worship for their various mistakes.
    And with the engineering, it hardly matters if their philosophical framework is correct or not. So long as the consequence of it is that we can successfully engineer the experiments it provoked, then there’s no concern for it at all.
    But your first step is not in delimiting the definition of ‘Science’ to simply the engineering output of this cross-disciplinary field. That betrays what Science is and is in violation of what it does and what purpose it serves. Your first argument is getting people to understand that it is the confluence of Philosophy and Engineering. If they cannot understand that, they will not understand the rest.
    And yet, getting even skeptics and philosophers of science to understand this trivial and central issue is far too high a hurdle for most to jump. That the Faithful would understand and round on their Prophets is far harder.

    • I hope I haven’t given you the wrong impression. While I am an engineer I am fully aware of the important part and foundation of philosophy in science. To choose to use the scientific method is not science, but philosophy. My essay is an exercise in how to make the point to your CAGW believing colleagues or friends that they haven’t really thought through everything themselves and that they have taken for granted things they shouldn’t have taken for granted. Knowledge is also different from the interpretation of it, which is Assumpsence until it is understood that this is the way the world works. But then again, a scientific law is only a series of observations, and it is in belief we go to sleep and expect to wake up tomorrow, just as it is in belief we think there will be a new day tomorrow. So basically I agree with you, while I advocate this method as a great method to use in order to convice your fellow humans that they shouldn’t believe in all the bosh of the selfproclaimed prophets only because they get time in the media.

      • No worries, my point of contention begins and ends with your preferred first argument. It is only satisfactory when your listener has absolutely no clue what science is, and isn’t terribly motivated on the issue. As otherwise, the restriction you’ve placed on the definition of science will be an immediate red flag for them. And precisely as Science is more than the collection of engineering results.
        If all you wished to do in the introduction is get some comprehension of the bridge between Philosophy and Engineering, then you’d be better off simply noting Jeanne Dixon. Who made predictions, and predictions that could be tested, and that were. But no one generally is willing to accept that Psychics are Scientists. (Psientists?) And the difference between the nature of the predictions and the replicability of the outcomes.

      • I love your neologism “assumpsence” – but what if we just use the word “technology” ? I think the real problem is that we (the public) confuse science with technology. Science is knowledge, ascertained by observation, and critically tested. Technology is the practice of any or all of the applied sciences that have practical value. We see the glorious results of technology in our day-to-day existence, believe it is science so, hey presto, whatever theory an “accepted” scientist comes out with must be true (assumpsence).
        Most people do not readily differentiate between a scientist and a technologist. We see the cheering NASA crowd celebrating the success with their Pluto probe – they are all called scientists; but they are really technologists. The public, however, think they are scientists. So as their supposed science has been so successful – eo ipso : any saying uttered by a top scientist must be true.

  6. All the dire PREDICTIONS from climate science is based on a very low knowledge of climate. By calling it science they hope they can be trusted like astronomers, who can predict with extremely confidence and accuracy how the planets move and how spaceships travel. These climateers should not be trusted for any predictions, and not even for their observations of the temperature, which they change all the time.

  7. The Will to Believe is like a powerful force-field, protecting True Believers from actual facts, truth, or logic. Breaking through that force-field is probably near-impossible. Folks like Johnson, certainly, are a lost cause, unless you could lock him in a room and subject him to days of deprogramming. And even then…

    • This may be where my brothers are. They certainly have more background of science principle in their education than do I, and they constantly demand ‘data’ and ‘studies’ to back up my reasoning, but reject anyone who opposes their assumptions. They may ‘will to believe.’ I know neither to be liars, but they are focused solely on the data that upholds their confidence in alarm.
      I appreciate Geir’s ideas, many of which I’ve employed in arguments with them over 2 decades with no observable change in their stance. But the method could prove valuable when confronting others who are much less committed to the ‘Will to Believe!’

  8. There are counter-measures that need to be prepare for.
    1) Objection: “All the world’s scientific institutions agree so it can’t be a conspiracy” (also 97%).
    Answer: Only a few people have set those policies. You know they don’t vote on them.
    Consider this. All the world’s governments (Theocratic Iran, Communist N Korea, Western democracies, authoritarian Asian Tigers, whatever China is these days) they all agree to shove the problem down the road and pay lip service. Are they all controlled by the lizard people – who obviously want a warmer world? No. They all agree that this isn’t a big problem. The science is universally considered “not Scary”. That’s not the end of the world. So relax about it. And don’t accept the science is actually settled on dangerous climate change.
    2) Objection: “This has been known since Arrhenius. It’s settled science”.
    Answer: If even Arrhenius didn’t have the arguments to get it accepted at the time then there must be something else that changed the argument later.
    Then discuss what. You can point at the lack of physical evidence. And then it gets down to politics. Everyone is wary of committing to the idea that physical reality is politically created.
    3) Objection: “This is brainwashing by right-wing Big Oil” or “This is brainwashing by left-wing trades unionists” (the vested interests argument).
    Answer: Everyone’s biased. The only safe approach is to keep an open mind and look into it yourself. After all, if this is the end of the world then it’s worth studying.
    Finally, beware of people thinking that Skeptikal Science is sceptical or scientific. Point to Lewandowsky and their use of phrases like “Hiroshima worth of energy” to demonstrate that they are pseudo-scientists.

    • Easy rebuttals:
      1) 97.8% of Christians believe Jesus was God. “All the world’s Christians agree, so it can’t be a conspiracy.” (Use another religion if speaking to Christians.)
      2a) The divinity of Jesus has been known since Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. (Again, only for non-Christians.)
      2b) Combusting objects lose mass. This has been known since Becher. (Phlogiston theory, natch.)
      2c) CO2 warming can be shown, isolated, in a lab; therefore CO2 causes atmospheric warming. That car tires are round can be shown, isolated, in a lab; therefore a Toyota Prius is shaped like a donut.
      3) Elon Musk received big money to make electric cars, therefore there are no Teslas.
      There are other easy ones.

  9. An educated guess, by any other name is still a guess. With the track record of the “consensus” models, would you bet on them – as “hot” financial tips?

  10. But, but the global average temperature will be an unprecedented 1.7 degrees above preindustral times in the year 2030. /s

    • Is RW a child? If not, this question, brought up in the context of an excellent article, exhibits a very strong ‘Will to Believe” that is difficult to overcome by logic!

      • Perhaps you missed the “/s”, indicating sarcasm.
        The “But, but…” stammer is another hint that he is just funnin’ us all.
        RW is not a child and is a regular commenter here, and is a realist. (I think)

  11. ” For, you see, they base their reasoning upon the fact that the IPCC reports are ‘science’. They couldn’t be more wrong, but how to convince them about it?”
    No. The reports are not science they are a SUMMARY OF THE SCIENCE.
    personally I dont base my reasoning on a summary of the science.
    strawman much?

    • The word “summary actual has a specific definition, and the way the IPCC sorts through the information that their appointees gather would indicate, to me anyways, that they are not “summarizing”, but propagandizing.
      Summary:
      “Definition:
      A shortened version of a text that highlights its key points.
      The primary purpose of a summary is to “give an accurate, objective representation of what the work says.” As a general rule, “you should not include your own ideas or interpretations”
      http://grammar.about.com/od/rs/g/summaryterm.htm

    • No steve ,they are not a summary of the science, the science found no man made climate change, but that did not meet the ipcc agenda so they changed the wording of the policy statement. You should know this fact.

      • Not only that, they publish the summary before the main paper, and then ‘adjust’ the main paper to fit the summary (or sometimes don’t bother / can’t).

    • I may be wrong, BUT
      I thought this was not a science summary rather a
      Summary for Policy Makers = huge diff

    • I fear that is a lie. You have actually read all there is to read, all the actual science on every subject on which you have a reasoned opinion? I simply do not believe you.
      But then of course your comments are designed to look smart, not to actually have substance.

    • One example: First some background material: In Norway there is one technology weekly only, which is both in paper and with a website: http://www.tu.no . This weekly is owned by the union of those with a master’s degree in technology where also those with a master’s degree in natural science and working with technology may apply for membership (this is because historically there was only one place in Norway to become a master in technology); the union is found at http://www.tekna.no . The union is today dominated by people believing in the CAGW, and those opposing to it have made their own organization http://www.klimarealistene.com where many of the Norwegian contributors to WUWT are members.
      Now this weekly is so bent towards CAGW that it presents the most horrible articles. One article a few years ago was an interview with the director of what is today called the Norwegian Environment Agency. The headline was the allegation that 30% of the world’s species were in danger of going extinct because of CAGW. After some detective work I found that this was taken from the summary of policymakers, which presented it as science (and not assumpsence, which is really is). I read the chapter of the IPCC report forwards and backwards and could find nothing there to help such a claim exist, and nobody has been able to come up with a reason for it being presented in the summary of policymakers, except that it was made up for the benefit of the policymakers. The technology weekly didn’t care about setting the record straight either and continues to present brainless articles and interviews.
      Now the thing is that the IPCC reports and summaries are taken as science and as THE scientific foundation for most people. We need to undermine the belief in these reports and summaries as infallible truths.
      I know that you, Steven, don’t base your reasoning on a summary of the science as a principle, but I think we all do with various summaries of various sciences.
      And the lay people believe in the IPCC and their reports and summaries. As even the pope today urges the Caholics and the rest of the world to do. Fighting the belief in CAGW is greatly helped by exposing the assumpsence of the IOPCC reports and summaries and their shallow relationship to truth and science.

  12. “Then you introduce a new term to your opponent, as you state that the IPCC report, on which most, if not all, climate assumptions are based upon, is not ‘science’, but ‘assumpsence’. It is based upon assumptions, which are not science or facts, but in the realm of philosophy, and maybe even in the realm of religion.”
    All science is based on assumptions. For example I assume that physical laws will be the same tommorrow as they are today.
    The IPCC document is pretty clear about what it attempts to do. it attempts to SUMMARIZE the science.
    1. There are assumptions. Yup EVERY claim to knowledge involves assumptions.
    2. It is not philosophy. reading the sections that I reviewed, I find ZERO philosophy.
    3. It is not religion. nope nothing about immaterial realities.
    Its a summary of the science. GOOD readers can spot the holes.

    • Steven Mosher, Your argument is a philosophical one. It comes straight out of a 101 level class. I’m not slamming you, just pointing out that the school of thought you have embraced, means every one of your assumptions are philosophic. Its all based on what is Believed rather then what is Known.
      Others can point out the logical conclusions that come from this vein of thought. Personally I tend not to use it due to these flaws.
      happy days
      michael

    • Mosh:
      I’m saddened by your ignorance of science as illustrated by this statement:
      “I assume that physical laws will be the same tommorrow as they are today.”
      This is not an assumption, but a testable and falsifiable hypothesis.
      Now if you are to speak of axioms. There are a few of those. A very few.
      Cheers!
      JE

      • It is a great concept but, speaking as a native speaker of English, it is a clumsy word not to be welcomed but replaced instead with something more euphonious. Concept good, word bad. What other word could we make up to conflate the two notions “assumption” and “science”? Assence? Scisumption?
        Maybe it’s better in Norwegian.

    • Mosher writes “All science is based on assumptions. For example I assume that physical laws will be the same tommorrow as they are today.”
      Mosher misses the mark by a country mile by giving a totally ridiculous example. How about the assumption that climate data points can be determined from 30 years of weather? Thats a rather larger and much more questionable assumption and yet the time frames the IPCC assumes are relevant are much more crucial to their argument.

    • You miss the obvious. Not all assumptions are created equal. Assuming Earths gravity will not be suspended tomorrow causing people to be hurled into space is not the same as the speculative assumptions made of a chaotic system like climate.
      A summary is not the same as an interpretation or conclusion. The IPCC is a political body not a scientific one, but for the good of science let’s form political bodies to “summarize” all the sciences; astronomy, biology, evolution, etc.

  13. That is why it used to called Natural Philosophy – because people like Newton, Maxwell and Einstein always knew the difference between facts (observations) and theory (causality). Science is like trying to join up the dots in a children’s join-the-dots picture book. The dots are the facts, and as such completely unrelated. To join them up you have to theorise, producing laws. But even when you have a law there is nothing to stop a new observation being made which is nowhere near your picture! So you have to try again. This after all is how modern physics followed on from classical physics.

  14. >>Most people doesn’t know that ‘science’
    >>is Latin for ‘knowledge’.
    And before that it was known as Gnosis, as practiced by the Gnostics.
    R

  15. “Assumptions make an ass out of u and me…”
    That’s an assertion. And assertions make an ass out of the Emergency Response Team….

  16. … assumpsence …
    I think. ‘assumpscience’ would be a better term. An assumptive form of science.
    R

    • I actually wanted to show assumptions to be outside of science while of course necessary for it, and that assumptions that were not well founded could not lead to science, but only to assumpsence. Therefore I assume that assumpsence is the better and that assumpscience does not cover my concept. I however heartily approve everybody who try to put concepts into new words.

  17. The only piece of assumptence that needs to be corrected is that there exists something called a Greenhouse Effect. Show that this is nothing more than 30-40 years of propaganda that any non corrupt or brainwashed physicist rejects and all following scenarios based on this assumption fail.

    • Actually. The absorptive properties of CO2 and water are well known and used in many fields of engineering where heat transfer must be calculated. A nice chap named Hottell did the pioneering work in the 1940s. Others have carried on. The gold standard, so to speak, is by another nice chap named Leckner. You can use engineering methods to derive forcing curves, very similar to those used in climate models, using standard engineering methods. Unlike climate science, engineering is constrained by being required to make things that work. Things that work, like blast furnaces for instance, use the same physics as that which predicts the greenhouse effect. If you doubt this, please provide an explanation for why the surface of the earth is hotter than a pure black body calculation would predict. I’m not going to debate further, but such sky dragon assertions are dangerous and counter productive in fighting this war.

      • Bubba:
        You said: “please provide Gold References”
        Try: Bejan, Adrian; Kraus, Allan D. Heat Transfer Handbook. John Wiley & Sons., 2003 Page 618. You will find there reference to Leckner’s work. The actual paper was written in 1972, so is probably not in electronic format. It follows up on work by Hoyt Hottel at MIT in the 1940s. My reference for Hottel’s work is: Schumann, Reinhardt, Metallurgical Engineering, Volume 1, Addison-Wesley, 1952. If you want to use these techniques to estimate CO2 forcing, you will need an estimate of atmospheric pressure. The US Standard Atmosphere can be found on line. It is a relatively good place to start. Any textbook from an engineering course in heat transfer will also reference either Hottel or Leckner, depending on date of initial publication.
        Cheers
        JE

  18. I do not see how reframing the argument(s) concerning climate ‘change’ or what the movers and shakers do or do not say about climate ‘change’ will end or significantly affect the climate wars.
    The cult of CAGW has become a movement that is removed from science, logic, and reason. Think of a stampede. It just moves in the initial direction it was heading until something significant, a cliff for example, brings the dang thing to an end.
    Reality, extraordinary observations on the ground, is going to change/to end the climate wars.
    Almost all of the warming in the last 30 years was due to solar cycle changes. There has been an interruption to the solar cycle, a once in 8000 to 10,000 year solar event.
    P.S. There is now observational evidence the cooling has started.
    http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2015/anomnight.7.20.2015.gif

  19. Dr. Judith Curry, in her written testimony to the US Senate, compared the science in the most recent IPCC report with the one released in 2007. Her conclusion:
    “Multiple lines of evidence presented in the IPCC AR5 WG1 report suggest that the case for
    anthropogenic warming is weaker than the previous assessment AR4 in 2007.”
    http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/07472bb4-3eeb-42da-a49d-964165860275/11614hearingwitnesstestimonycurry.pdf
    Her reading of the science, and the interpretation of the science by activists, are worlds apart.

    • This is an interesting observation as it does not enter the mind of journalists who are the ones who bring out the IPPC stuff in popular form. I try to make people aware of the differences between AR5 and AR4 by the treatment of the missing heat, which is missing from AR4 and included in AR5. I just say that you cannot have it both ways. If AR5 is correct about the missing heat, then AR4 was wrong in its predictions and there is no reason to believe in it. And reasoning from this, there is no greater reason to believe in the AR5. You cannot choose between them because it is not possible for you to choose, not knowing the contents that well. So the differences between AR4 and AR5 are great for shaking lay people’s belief in the IPCC.

  20. I first wrote this to Rush Limbaugh but I doubt that anybody read it. I took out some political stuff.
    I know this looks a little long but it is packed with good stuff.
    You’re making it too complicated.
    Accept that most people will only change sides if they are offered a more secure high. The more secure high will have a better foundation of truth.
    Righteous outrage makes us as high as some drugs. The process in the brain is the same as what cocaine causes.
    Of course you should check with an expert. You could say a listener emailed saying that you need to talk to a psychiatrist.
    You often say that liberals are always angry. Now you know why, it gets them high.
    You often say that liberals never quit. Now you know why, when we are high job one is to stay high and job two is to get higher. Is it possible to get higher than a rioter and still have your senses and coordination intact? Mob mentality is seeing someone else is high and rushing to join them because we all want to be high.
    Entertainment sells righteous outrage. Some examples are professional wrestling, dramas, soap operas, even comedies and the bad call by a referee.
    Liberals are the righteous outrage drug dealers for any group.
    It is hard to reason with people when they are high especially when what you are saying will end their high. When you try to take away their high they get even higher on righteous outrage.
    Feeling superior for a good or bad reason also gets us high. This also explains the benefit of hobbies. If we feel bad we just need to do our hobby for a while and we feel better or we can talk to somebody who does the same hobby and remind each other of how superior we are.
    Political correctness is, believe a certain thing and you are one of the good and superior people. Don’t believe and you are a bad and inferior person against whom everybody must have righteous outrage or they are not the good and superior people. Fear is an effective motivator.
    How to counter this.
    Accept that most people will only change sides if they are offered a more secure high. The more secure high will have a better foundation of truth.
    Tell them about the high of righteous outrage, feeling superior, mob mentality and that you are trying to transfer their getting high to a more secure source.
    Deep question.
    If the answer to the following question is yes then how will that affect a persons’ life?
    If I am right and you are wrong does that make you a bad person?
    Thank you for reading.
    Marlow Metcalf

    • Thanks for the observation. It makes sense. Some liberals get outright angry and go straight into an attack when you say you don’t believe in the CO2 demonology. I shall use your point on getting high on outrage.

  21. Geir,
    I am an engineer and drive my family and friends crazy with my insistence on logic, facts, the notion of cause & effect and the assessment of risk. People generally accept a logical explanation of something even if it is delivered monotonically, without subjective adjectives and adverbs and without emotionalism. I get berated (by people close to me) for thinking like I do even in social situations and I have to explain that it is a habit honed in my profession because if I don’t think things out properly people may die or lots of human endeavour and money may be wasted. Your method works sometimes, even with people of limited education, but it does not work when someone has a religious or quasi religious belief system. My experience is that facts do not count for these people, let alone a logical argument. The only times those people change their minds are when everyone else does.

    • I didn’t use logic to teach my kids that they couldn’t get what they wanted in the shops. Whenever they asked for something I thought unreasonable or unnecessary, I went down into a sort of cerebral palsy limp which immediately took away the focus from the attractive goods, whether it was candy or clothes. But I love logic with people who can take logical arguments. CAGW is completely logical given the wrong facts and the authoritative premises or axioms, as any religious system. You have to destroy the axioms and the authority. This also helps for believers in any quasireligion, but for many people, the insistence in their belief effectively make them immune to any argument.

  22. Whenever I am involved in debate, I tend towards focusing on presentation of facts and letting them speak for themselves, not convincing the other side of the error of their ways. I will often ask questions like, “What does the data say to you?” I also stay ahead by making sure the facts I have are robust enough to deal with different ways of calculating and analyzing the data. The other important thing I use is to avoid gray areas especially if they are not robust. In debate, it is not a bad technique to say that one does not have sufficient data to say that facts derived from the data are robust. I have used this as the match point successfully several times. It takes the wind out of the sails of the other side quite well and often even bursts their bubble. Bottom line, sometimes, saying to the other side they have cut off their nose to spite their face leads them to double down their position in order to save what is left of their face.

    • Pamela Gray commented: “Whenever I am involved in debate,…”
      There has been no debate about AGW. All your points are valid but muted by the MSM. Grey areas are used as their accepted facts and manipulated both in their content and meaning. Time to fight back.

  23. Good comment.
    But the CAGW pushers made a deliberate choice to not define their terms.
    From the beginning this malicious scheme was orchestrated to evade the scientific method while claiming the authority of the scientific institutions.
    However if your approach works on the followers, those who defer to authority, then more power to you.

  24. Geir,
    A noble effort. But alas, it rests on the assumption that the logical processes upon which engineers and scientists rely can be used successfully in a discussion with the majority of people. I submit to you that they cannot. The majority of people firmly believe that the world runs on magic.
    How many people understand how a TV works? Hardly any. Yet they expect it to. The don’t know how the remote control the keep on the couch turns the TV on either, but they expect it to. I can walk into a cell phone store, and in minutes walk out with a working phone provisioned with my choice of services from call waiting to voicemail to web browsing. These services are all provisioned for me by a teen age kid behind the counter who knows exactly which boxes to click on the screen so that I can walk out the door talking and texting on the phone I just bought. The teen age kid has absolutely no idea how complicated is the infrastructure that makes this possible. S/he just clicks a few boxes and… voila! Magic.
    I had a cousin visit the family homestead a while back. She was born and grew up entirely in a city, the homestead is in a rather remote area. She announced that she was going to make a phone call to her friend in the city to tell her that she was standing in a wheat field. I politely advised her that there was no cell phone service where we were. She stared at her phone in consternation and then said in complete sincerity:
    “How is that even possible?”
    Lest you think she was of diminished intellect, she is an accomplished lawyer. She believes in magic (how cell phones work) and was dumbfounded to learn that the magic ended at the city limits.
    Turn on the tap, there’s clean water. Magic. Turn on the microwave, the food gets hot. Magic. Turn on the air conditioner, cold air comes out. Magic.
    As Arthur C Clarke said, any sufficiently advanced science is indistinguishable from magic.
    That’s the way it is for most people. They don’t understand the underlying technology, they don’t care how it works, as long as it does. They don’t WANT to understand the technology, they just expect that it does, just like magic.
    And there’s your problem. You’re trying to explain the difference between science and magic to people who, for the most part, don’t distinguish between the two and see no need to do so. For them, the same people who bring them the magic of televisions and cell phones and microwaves and internet and synchronized street lights and lights that turn one when you flip a switch…. are telling them that the world is warming up, storms are getting worse, and the seas are rising.
    Its all just magic, and there’s little point arguing with people who believe in magic. Especially when they are surrounded by the stuff and it works every single day.

    • Try telling them it’s a scam. They’ll understand that. If they argue, call them a sucker. They’ll understand that too, but they will disagree because no one wants to be a sucker. When they disagree, ask them whether it’s because they don’t know they’re a sucker or because they can’t bring themselves to admit they’re a sucker. Most people will usually leave you alone after that but, if they need a bit more encouragement to go away just tell them to “follow the money”.
      In case you can’t already tell, I don’t like wasting my breath trying to convince fools of their foolishness. It’s a waste of time as well.

      • “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”
        ― Mark Twain

    • I’ve made the same kind of comment regarding scientific/technological illiteracy often. But I always remind myself:
      No one can know everything. Not even a tiny percentage of everything. We go through our days learning what is necessary and what interests us, and counting on the rest to function. All of us do it. Your “magic” is just different than your cousin’s. Law is definitely something I avoid like the plague. And yet it greases the wheels of our society.
      No one understands “science.” Not a single person. It is too vast an ocean of knowledge for anyone to grasp. Statistically speaking, If I know and understand (a generous estimate) 0.000005% of what falls under the heading “Science,” I’m no more knowledgeable than your cousin who knows 0.000002%.
      Humbling, yes?

    • I have read many of your posts before and have found them very interesting. In this case, I refuse to give up with people, although I am taken aback by angry retorts. I think pointing out the assumpsence as different from the science removes the magic from the assumptions.

  25. Umm, this is Post Normal Science. Thus social order and assumptions are all that matter.

  26. There’s something distinctly Scandinavian in a belief that most of the people can be persuaded by logic and facts, and that what matters is the way you persuade them. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
    Start with your religious neighbor and see where your logic and facts will get you. Or, better yet, don’t start it if you want to be friends with your neighbor. People perceive any criticism of their favorite myths as a form of personal attack. Even if you criticize their beliefs in a most impersonal, generic form, they lash out and insult you personally.

  27. Geir Hasnes asks his readers if they have an answer. I think that I do. This is not about science, it is bout politics. It is about world governance and transfers of wealth — Agenda 21 etc. Here is a quote from Leonard Schapiro that sums up where we are at: “The true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought reveals itself as a jarring dissonance”. (Leonard Schapiro)

  28. “They couldn’t be more wrong, but how to convince them about it?”
    By showing how their global climate models are both upside down and inside out.
    The former evidenced by the temperature differential between Europe and Greenland discussed in this comment thread here:
    http://judithcurry.com/2015/07/17/week-in-review-science-edition-13/#comment-719142
    And the latter by evidence that the natural variability of atmospheric teleconnections such as the North Atlantic and Arctic Oscillations are largely driven by short term non TSI solar variability at down to daily scales. E.g Brian Tinsley’s papers, and my solar based regional weather forecasts and hindcasts for such variability, third comment down:
    http://blog.metoffice.gov.uk/2015/04/13/more-warm-weather-this-week-but-whats-in-store-for-the-summer/#comments

  29. I rarely “debate” climate science online anymore. It’s a pointless exercise as well as an incredible waste of time. The cut and paste wars became too much.

  30. I have only recently become aware of the effect of the change from traditional to electronic measurement. I had assumed quite wrongly that they would use the same criteria in both cases and not allow the far faster response possible with electronic systems to be used.
    In a controlled test with a four degree change for two minutes followed by a return to the original temperature my traditional max min one measured it as a just over one degree change. The electronic one registered the full four degrees after less than 30 seconds.
    If this is also true of the official measurements then no comparisons of before and after the switch to electronic measurement is even remotely valid and all the claimed records are total junk with errors from short duration peaks an order of magnitude greater than claimed global warming.

  31. Where do you find anyone to debate the climate?
    The climate cult believers don’t debate, they character attack.
    The climate cult believers don’t discuss the past climate, only scary predictions of the future climate.
    The climate cult believers usually know next to nothing about the climate — just ask them what caused the ice sheets over Michigan to melt, and they don’t know what to say. Ask if manmade CO2 caused the melting, and stop talking, so you can hear their nonsense reply.

    • The problem is not lack of debate. The problem is how to avoid vast amounts of wealth and resources foolishly committed to an unreality: stopping climate. ‘Debate’ has been viewed as a step in the right direction, having supposed reality was honored.
      I fear we are past the horizon of a black hole of ‘escape from reason.’ But we don’t go without protesting!

    • Many people wish to debate the CAGW, and it is surprising how many lay people maybe even with little education that don’t belive in it. So pointing out some few things for such people is effective. This is because the newspaper content has begun to be too scary and wild to be true, and even the most hardheaded believers see that. Today’s scary story in the news is James Hansen’s 10 feet of sea level rise, and most people don’t believe the AGW to be that scary; they simply refuse to take it in. So as the newspapers have to be more dramatic and the activists wilder, most people will begin refreshing their natural skepticism.

  32. ‘the ‘climate prophets’ will wholeheartedly state that their adopted prophecies, from the IPCC summaries for policymakers, are Established Science.’
    ____
    Geir Hasnes – 1st
    a studie throughout the EU would yield 97 per cent confidence that ‘there’s no such thing as IPCC, never heard of, are you kidding ?’
    2nd, Geir Hasnes – try a new start!
    Regards – Hans

  33. 3 times:
    1 there’s no such thing as IPCC
    2 never heard of
    3 are you kidding ?
    thats the celtics druids wand.

  34. “The IPCC reports and the summaries for policymakers, with their implicated prophecies, are not ‘knowledge’, and consequently not ‘science’” Amen to that!

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