A Major Malaise of Climatology is Pervasive in Science

Guest Opinion; Dr. Tim Ball

Scientists lost the scientific script somewhere in the 20th century. The major loss involved the fact that correlation is not cause and effect. It was lost for several reasons:

  • Failure to know or consistently apply scientific methods;
  • Lack of ethics as the end justifies the means;
  • Methods and process are not taught or emphasized;
  • People are more willing to bypass or ignore everything for funding;
  • Too many are willing to subjugate or exploit research for a political agenda;
  • Achieving results to advance a career is more important;
  • A person gets caught up in Groupthink as they go along to get along;
  • and scientists are unwilling to look to themselves to stop the rot.

All of these reasons were on display in the leaked emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU).

An example of the problem of correlation occurred recently on TV screen when a medical doctor was asked about the research evidence for a claim about the relationship between two phenomena. The interviewer clearly wanted to know about the cause/effect proof. The doctor replied that there was an “association” between them. Did the doctor know that this is just another word for correlation and that it must not be substituted for cause and effect? Who knows? All I know is the news is replete with claims of correlations implying cause and effect. It is undermining the credibility of science.

When teaching climatology, it is imperative to warn of the dangers of correlation and auto-correlation. My favorite example is that doctors cause cancer because almost everyone with cancer visited a doctor. Others like the claim that diet drinks cause obesity because more obese people drink diet drinks than any other group. So much of statistics applied to weather data for climate reconstructions involves basic techniques such as the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient that produce the Pearson’s r value. This r value was central to the debate about the validity of the ‘hockey stick’ as Steve McIntyre explained. It is also imperative to teach that when reconstructing past climates more than two independent proxy sources are required to have any confidence in the results and that a minimum of two station records are necessary to determine relative homogeneity.

The trouble is that in climate science malfeasance and abandonment of proper science is more pervasive. Over the year’s media and others challenged me arguing that by questioning anthropogenic global warming (AGW) I gave comfort to the polluters. Initially it concerned me, then several years ago I shifted my concerns about opposing because I realized that the greater threat was in lying and misleading, especially by scientists. Once the public realizes they are lied to, the polluters have much better ammunition. Aesop (620 – 564 BCE) explained the dangers of ‘crying wolf’. Science, and especially climate science, reached that point several years ago, but it is still not fully revealed.

The media is replete with scientists speculating and reaching cause and effect conclusions when there is only a correlation. But this is only a minor part of the overall malaise in science and nowhere is it more apparent than in climate science. It is seven years since Climategate, but the evidence of wrongdoing existed at least 21 years ago with the “Chapter 8” fiasco in the 1995 IPCC Report. It is 50 years since bad science appeared in climatology and, sadly, it continues, but few know the history.

I was as opposed to the threats of doom associated with global cooling in the 1970s because it was bad science as I am today about warming. Compare the similarities of impending doom in Lowell Ponte’s 1976 book The Cooling with what alarmists are saying today.

“It is cold fact: the global cooling presents humankind with the most important social, political, and adaptive challenge we have had to deal with for ten thousand years. Your stake in the decisions we make concerning it is of ultimate importance; the survival of ourselves, our children, our species.”


Change the seventh-word “cooling” to warming and it is the same hysteria designed to panic people and prevent logic, but 180 degrees removed. One promoter of the book wrote,

“The dramatic importance of climate changes to the worlds future has been dangerously underestimated by many, often because we have been lulled by modern technology into thinking we have conquered nature. But this well-written book points out in clear language that the climatic threat could be as awesome as any we might face, and that massive worldwide actions to hedge against that threat deserve immediate consideration. At a minimum, public awareness of the possibilities must commence, and Lowell Ponte’s provocative work is a good place to start.”

These words of warning exploited the false threat of cooling were written by Stephen Schneider, the person who became the major spokesperson of global warming just a few years later. The IPCC dedicated the Synthesis Report of the Fifth Assessment Report to him. They wrote,

“Steve Schneider, born in New York, trained as a plasma physicist, embraced scholarship in the field of climate science almost 40 years ago and continued his relentless efforts creating new knowledge in the field and informing policymakers and the public at large on the growing problem of climate change and solutions for dealing with it. At all times Steve Schneider remained intrepid and forthright in expressing his views. His convictions were driven by the strength of his outstanding scientific expertise.”

“Lead Author, Coordinating Lead Author and Expert Reviewer for various Assessment Reports and a member of the Core Writing Team for the Synthesis Report of the Fourth Assessment Report (FAR). His life and accomplishments have inspired and motivated members of the Core Writing Team of this Report.”

The IPCC brought him back to help write the deceitful FAR Synthesis Report because of the disasters exposed by Climategate and the collapse of the Kyoto Protocol. He explained why he was the perfect person for the job in a 1989 Discovery magazine article.

“On the one hand we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but, which means that we must include all the doubts, caveats, ifs and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists, but human beings as well. And like most people, we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change. To do that we have to get some broad-based support, to capture the publics imagination. That, of course, entails 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. This double ethical bind which we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”

No, we don’t have to decide. There is no ethical dilemma, there can only be honesty and the truth. As Thomas Jefferson explained,

“It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.”

Of course, it is a struggle as George Washington said,

“Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.”

Look at Schneider’s opening words about truth. He then sets aside the essential basis of science and his conscience, for a political agenda.

The IPCC was never about science. People directly involved in the process say so. They are people that Schneider likely communicated with in preparing the FAR Synthesis Report. As the IPCC dedication states,

“Steve Schneider’s knowledge was a rare synthesis of several disciplines which are an essential part of the diversity inherent in climate science.”

Here is what former United Nations climate official Ottmar Edenhofer, who co-chaired the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change working group on Mitigation of Climate Change from 2008 to 2015 said.

“One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with the environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole,” “We redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy,”

Schneider likely knew, or should have known about Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, who said.

“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,”

There were other comments available from the start. For example, there was Senator Timothy Wirth’s 1993 remark.

“We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing …”

The problem is there is no intellectual or scientific consistency in Schneider’s swing from promoting the threat of global cooling and just a few years later promoting warming. The shift in thinking in the 1970s saw climatology, and statistics as generally applied to society, expand from determining the average to considering simple linear trends. Cooling trend proponents, including Schneider, assumed that the trend would continue. He had to know as founder and editor of Climatic Change that climate varies considerably all the time, and current variations were well within natural variability. In 1997, I submitted a book review at his request. He converted it into an editorial essay that appeared in Volume 35, 361-365. It spoke to the problems and limitations of climate science. As I wrote, but apparently Schneider overlooked,

“Even cursory study of the climate record indicates that dramatic changes are the norm.”

Day by day the public are fed a steady diet of correlations linking an endless series of unsubstantiated events. Many of them trigger policy, political or financial opportunism, and a multitude of regulations giving control of people to politicians and faceless bureaucrats. Consider this example.

“A new study suggests that low-salt diets might actually be dangerous for your health and that high salt intake is only detrimental to those with high blood pressure.”


The media is full of stories like this that contradict previous firmly–held views that influenced medicine, business, government, and people’s daily lives. No wonder people are losing faith in science. Dutch researchers are already examining the possible consequence of iodized salt reduction and the return of goiter.

It is possible governments are cutting funding partly because of growing concern about such corruption and credibility of science. Some scientists are fighting back. One group are campaigning with the slogan

“Science is again threatened with cuts: help us tell the government that science is vital.”

Maybe these scientists are confronted with the challenge posed by Joseph Krutch.

“Though many have tried, no one has ever yet explained away the decisive fact that science, which can do so much, cannot decide what it ought to do.”


In the current situation the decision is obvious – look to yourselves. It is scientists who, for a variety of reasons all of them unacceptable, abandoned the rigors science demands. As Thomas Huxley said,

Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly whatever and to whatever abyss nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.

The enemy, as always, is within, but so is the solution.

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May 29, 2016 11:05 am

..Dr. Ball, the problem is….liberal progressives have no morals or ethics ! To them, the end JUSTIFIES the means, no matter the Human cost ! Just like the Germans and Russians in WW2 …We are better than that !

Jeff L
Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 11:35 am

Don’t fool yourself to think this is only a problem of the left. Reference the last quote – everyone must approach data ( of all sorts ) as a little child with no preconceived ideas or conditions – any rigid ideology on the left or the right is likely to have strong preconceived ideas not easily given up

Reply to  Jeff L
May 29, 2016 11:48 am

…Jeff L, ….people on the left have no morals or ethics….so they have no problem lying to you…I, as an Agnostic, non religious person, have found Christians to be 500% more trustworthy than any liberal atheist I have ever met !

Reply to  Jeff L
May 29, 2016 6:14 pm

While this is undoubtedly true, it’s also a difference that makes no difference.
The fact is that “right wing ideology” has no political power today. The power is ALL on the side of the Left, along with the establishment news organs, 99% of academia, 95% of the entertainment media, and the preponderant majority of corporate boards of directors.
Think what would happen if, say, Donald Trump, who I’m sure someone like you would consider “right wing,” were to be elected President. Every institution mentioned above will be spending every hour of the 24 per day, sleeping in shifts, to “fight the power” through wielding far more of their own than a mere US President no matter how “maverick” will ever have,
The fear of “right-wing demagoguery” and the threat it poses is like being afraid of the naval might of the Grand Duchy of Fenwick.

Reply to  Jeff L
May 29, 2016 6:19 pm

What is a ‘g2-9ed9acc685824c6663c51c5b093476cc’?

Reply to  Jeff L
May 29, 2016 8:29 pm

Then, Marcus, we have not been meeting the same people. I’ve found both untrustworthy people and honorable people doing what they think is right on both sides of the aisle.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Jeff L
May 29, 2016 9:42 pm

John Whitman,
g2…. Is being cute.
It appears to be IEEE 754 quadruple precision float number represented in hex.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Jeff L
May 29, 2016 10:18 pm

An addendum to my above.
The g2 may be C syntax useage for floating pt double-double (quadruple) precision, possibly on a Cray.
With that kind of fp precision, a GCM could tell us if a South American paramecium’s flagella flipped left first, instead or right, the world’s climate would either enter runaway hothouse hell or a snowball iceage, being as skillful as GCMs are of course. /sarcoff

Reply to  Jeff L
May 30, 2016 4:47 pm

Marcus, as a fellow agnostic, I cannot verify your experience with Christians in broad terms. Narrowly, person to person, yes, they are more likely to be kindly, remember a promise, or offer assistance. Broadly speaking, at the “issue” level, not so much – “dogmatic” comes to mind. Among other things nearly every creationist I have ever met was a Christian, and you can toss in the occasional Jew or Muslim. Every single one was utterly sincere, often individually conscientious and kindly – and completely ignorant of what they were talking about, even one with a putative Ph. D.s in “nuclear physics.” Worse, they were happy to take the word of their minister about what evolution “is” despite the fact that he knew no more about it than they did. People of any stripe often have “good intentions” – that is, pavers on the road to wherever you really don’t want to go. Sincerity often interferes with honesty and that is the problem. Sincere liberal or sincere conservative, if their sincerity interferes with their honesty, then it is not a long step to where the end begins to justify the means. That can range from insisting that they really know what evolution is, better than you do, to lying for a grant to fund “critical climate research” on a “vital climate problem.”

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 11:42 am

The end always justifies the means. The problem is when someone rationalizes excessive means to justify the end. The means should be just what is appropriate — no more, no less. Lying can never be justified in science because the essence of science is the search for truth.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
May 29, 2016 12:02 pm

…+ 100 stars…..

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
May 29, 2016 2:17 pm

Excessive to whom? Appropriate to whom? Not you, not me, but the psychopath behind the tree.
I’m afraid man’s world already works that way.

george e. smith
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
May 29, 2016 2:33 pm

“”””””…… Clyde Spencer
May 29, 2016 at 11:42 am
The end always justifies the means. …..”””””
I don’t see ANY wiggle room there Clyde
“”.. To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof. ..””
That is the #18 clause of Article I section 8 of the US Constitution. The first 17 clauses tell the US Congress what they are authorized to do; just 17 things they are authorized to do plus #18.
The key words are ” necessary and proper ” Necessary has a specific definition.
(A) is ” necessary ” for (B) ” if ” and ” only if ” in the absence of (A), (B) is impossible; ” no matter what “.
This makes it clear that Congress can make laws to implement it’s 17 tasks only if there is just one possible way to carry that out.
If there is more than one proper way to implement something, then neither of those solutions is necessary since there is at least one alternative way to do it.
In that case, presumably the several States (all 57 of them) can each do it the way they see as proper for use in their State.
Congress uses the 18 clause of Article I section 8 to write any law they feel like writing.
They never even apply the test of necessity.
So NO; the ends do NOT always justify the means. Maybe if there is no other way, and the ” end ” is necessary.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
May 29, 2016 9:16 pm

i point of fact, the means is inseparable from the end they achieve.
they are absolutely, inextricably part of one package.
the only reason for the desire to separate cause from effect is to trick somebody into accepting a monstrous act as a good deed.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
May 30, 2016 8:13 am

No, the end does NOT always justify the means, if the “end” is something that no one but the perpetrator wants. Do not assume the ends are good for the people or the person. Socialists want power over everybody in everyday, supposedly to produce a “fair and just” world. However, if getting there means a long-term agenda of lying to the people and removing their rights, then socialism should never happen. The Soviets lied to the people when they wrote the USSR Constitution, which reads like a ideal-ending fairy tale.
No, if the only way to get what you want is to lie, then what you want is clearly not meant to be and you cannot have it.

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 1:11 pm

Hey Anthony! … is it your policy to encourage this type of pathetic fringe ranting in your forum?

Reply to  John@EF
May 29, 2016 3:30 pm

Want some cheese to go with your whine ??

Reply to  John@EF
May 29, 2016 7:54 pm

“Want some cheese to go with your whine ??”
No thanks. Just finished a grilled steak and, actually, I’m enjoying a Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA. Ya know, Marcus, I have 26 Canadian cousins and not a one of them acts like a 12 year old holed-up in his mommy’s basement with a laptop while watch Fox News all day long … imagine that.

Reply to  John@EF
May 29, 2016 7:54 pm

Which part do you consider fringe?
Climate team’s immediate assumption that any resemblance of correlation supports their preferred method of correlation?
The corrupt depths climate team nonsense has brought science?
The sheer multitudes of climate loons feeding off the public dole while producing virtually no science worth a dime? Don’t forget, these loons plan to retire on the public dime too; sometime after years of cushy trips inn the world’s best vacation spots.

Reply to  John@EF
May 30, 2016 1:37 pm

Okay, I’ll bite.
What exactly do you mean by “pathetic fringe ranting”?

Reply to  John@EF
May 31, 2016 7:17 am

Fringe ranting is always defined as anything a liberal disagrees with.
The next step is to declare it hate speech so that it can be banned.

george e. smith
Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 1:39 pm

Well I would have a bit of a different take on one of Dr. Ball’s points.
To me the word correlation MEANS a purely mathematically defined statistics computation. That word, to me carries absolutely ZERO inference / implication / suggestion / evidence / for ANY cause and effect relationship or linkage.
But the word ” association ” does convey to me the suggestion of some linkage, that is more than just statistical happenstance that is a result of an algorithm; not of any observation or experiment. But it does fall way short of a cause and effect proof.
PS Of course I would think it prudent to use a significant statistical correlation, to devise an experiment to seek some cause and effect real reason, for the correlation.

Reply to  george e. smith
May 29, 2016 2:23 pm

Hi big G
Perhaps sciences deteriorated with increase in the pace and hustle of life. In days of horse and carte life moved at a more sedate pace, observers and recorders of natural events took far more care, checking and double checking their notes, taking great deal of pride in their work.
Not so in the era of motorcar, everyone is hurrying somewhere, just a quick glance at the instrument and hey, there is something else somewhere else that needs attention, double checking is drudgery for a modern mind.
Result: good association replaced by a meagre correlation. /sarc

Reply to  george e. smith
May 29, 2016 3:34 pm

…Big V..brilliant ,….as always !

Reply to  george e. smith
May 30, 2016 7:37 am

tanks Marcus

Reply to  george e. smith
May 30, 2016 7:42 am

Thanks, the ‘h’ didn’t make it, may need a new keyboard and to read before hitting the ‘ Post comment’

Reply to  george e. smith
May 31, 2016 7:18 am

V, just blame it on the hustle and bustle of modern life. You failed to double check before posting. ;*)

Science or Fiction
Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 2:07 pm

I think it is a problem of inductivism rather than any other ism.

Santa Baby
Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 4:51 pm

Environmentalism and Climate science was taken over and polotizied by an ideology with an Agenda. That ideology is the new Marxism.

Reply to  Marcus
May 30, 2016 6:10 pm

“Mr. Smith goes to Washington” should be required viewing in every school.

george e. smith
Reply to  ferdberple
May 31, 2016 7:44 am

I’ve already been there once. Wouldn’t bother going back again. There’s more crooks in all the marble buildings than there are in the jails.

R. Shearer
May 29, 2016 11:18 am

Ah, but Schneider died in first class.

Reply to  R. Shearer
May 29, 2016 3:53 pm

…BUT…did he have a smile on his face ?

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 8:53 pm

Comin’ into Heathrow in pain,
Double clutched Levine’s for no gain.

May 29, 2016 11:24 am

“No, we don’t have to decide. There is no ethical dilemma, there can only be honesty and the truth.,”
Again…Dr. Ball, you are much too forgiving…As a fellow Canadian, I have seen, heard and felt the wrath of “Progressive Liberals” that disagreed with my point of view ! They do not argue FACTS, they simply imply that I should be minus my head ! If you don’t believe me, simply go to any liberal website and try to state your case using facts !

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 12:13 pm

Does it them follow that one must use lies and hysterics to “win” the debate? If so, what has been done to science? If one must insult and yell “off with their heads”, at least make sure it is clear that this is not science, it’s activism and the truth is irrelevent.

Reply to  Reality check
May 29, 2016 4:16 pm

Ummm, I wasn’t the one using ” lies and hysterics” to demand that my head be chopped off ! Isn’t reality simple ….!

Reply to  Reality check
May 30, 2016 12:47 am

Were it a debate, warmists would seek to convince you. Since instead they seek to silence or destroy you, it isn’t a debate. We engage them only for the benefit of undecided onlookers, and naivety about their goals serves us not at all.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 1:59 pm

As another Canadian, Dr. Ball, I believe your steady and ethical drumbeat provides the perfect counterpoint to the flash/bang of the alarmists. When b.s. is stacked high enough, the inherent inconsistencies cause it to collapse. Witness Magna Carta, the Inquisition, Slavery or Soviet Communism amongst many. Dr. Ball’s point specifically with regard to science is that all false paradigms must fail, as they always have.
Unfortunately, we are all heavily invested in the present situation and near future. Many of us see the Alarmist “plan” as a great threat to mankind’s progress as it is unnecessary, naive and economically disastrous.
To paraphrase Freeman Dyson, without empirical proof, THE SCIENCE IS NOT SETTLED! Importantly, in the context of the debate at present, higher recent global temperatures are not empirical proof. They are barely even evidence. The premise of CO2 caused warming remains an hypothesis with very limited scientific support. It remains unproven for any planetary atmosphere, let alone Earth’s- the most complex we know of. Those who believe they understand our atmosphere are fools or liars and many are self serving in this regard. Those who say that we can make a quick and cost effective transition away from fossil fuels are likewise fools and liars- many with ulterior political motives. Being a fool or a liar does not prevent a person from being a Socialist, evidence the false paradigms mentioned earlier. This Alarmist policy direction is actually very reminiscent of Soviet central planning that inflicted decades of misery, stagnation and bureaucratic political oppression on many millions of people.
Eventually, false paradigms must be maintained by force. People had to guard their flower beds during the tulip craze! This ultimately sows the seeds for their final overthrow, but hopefully society can bring rigorous open discussion to bear to probe the problem in a more systematic way before it comes to that. Dr. Ball’s strict adherence to scientific principles is ……just what the doctor ordered!

Reply to  John Harmsworth
May 29, 2016 3:50 pm

…That is what I meant John, but you say it so much better !! + 1,000 stars….

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 4:52 pm

Oh, so true.

May 29, 2016 11:26 am

Amazing to me…..all the time and money put into medical research..and we still can’t cure the common cold
But yet, glorified weather men know enough about the weather to model it

Jeff L
Reply to  Latitude
May 29, 2016 11:38 am

Dig into certain areas of med research & you will find it is nearly as screwed up as climate research – the financial interests there are big as or bigger than the financial interests in climate science

Reply to  Jeff L
May 29, 2016 4:19 pm

My investigations say that big medicine (big pharma really) is far worse than the climate boondoggle. And, they have already killed far, far more people than the climate boys ever could.

Reply to  Jeff L
May 29, 2016 4:49 pm

…That is why Donald Trump and Anthony Watts are so popular…They don’t put up with B.S., not even from me !

Reply to  Jeff L
May 29, 2016 4:52 pm

Markstoval, agreed, however the medical profession isn’t raising taxes, destroying the economy, advocating we all go back to living in caves – without fire – and putting forward suggestions that government cull the population by 90%.
Both are hugely Nasty and I’ve suffered bad health for many years due to bad advice given by doctors and poisons in our food (certain additives) plus medication in the past that is harmful. The medical profession has indeed killed many many people, and I do hope justice is brought about and that those behind it (still living) are jailed for life. They should be. But the global warming mob aren’t that far behind and they’ve only just begun to tighten the screws and upscale their intended damage.
I sometimes wonder if it’s all linked as it all seems to time in so well together. Bad medical research, bad dietary advice by government and the global warming “catastrophe” all stemming back to 50 or so years ago. Being too weak and ill, we sit in a stupor watching propaganda on TV, believing all we’re told as we succumb to early death.
Then again, I’ll probably be told I’m believing conspiracies or something.

Reply to  Jeff L
May 29, 2016 9:48 pm

There are really two medical industries. The Medical industry, which is good, honest, and trying to save everyone, and the health industry, which is primarily concerned with the tiniest improvement in marginally relevant health indexes.
Unfortunately, the desparately sick that benefit from the medical industry don’t have the money to pay for the expensive research of the Medical industry, and the blockbuster drugs and supplements that pay the bills actually come from the health industry.

Reply to  Jeff L
May 30, 2016 5:03 pm

Dig into certain areas of med research & you will find it is nearly as screwed up as climate research –
More so. And worse, the problems are more immediate. Poor recommendations on diet are a personal problem if you follow them. Bogus cancer data can lead to immense wastes, in work and resources, and has.

george e. smith
Reply to  Latitude
May 29, 2016 6:11 pm

The common cold costs world economies almost countless billons of dollars in economic losses due to work absences. So it certainly justifies the history of extensive research seeking a cure or immunization.
The fact that there has been no success, indicates the tricky nature of the problem. Just the money spent on treating the symptoms, indicates the value such a cure or immunity would bring.
Near as I can tell (I’m an ignoramus on medical things, or bio things in general), medical researchers deal with a host of such diabolical organisms that continuously outsmart their efforts. Which make their successes that much more notable.

Reply to  george e. smith
May 29, 2016 8:14 pm

At the risk of starting an OT thread here: I have personally found that after a year of taking a daily dose of 50 mg of zinc, the frequency and severity of the common cold as well as various strains of influenza has greatly decreased. (Note at 225 mg zinc becomes toxic. Excessive zinc can interfere with the body’s uptake of iron and copper.)

May 29, 2016 11:27 am

The Great Climate Change Bamboozle
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
H. L. Mencken
Earth’s carbon cycle contains 46,713 Gt (E15 gr) +/- 850 GT of stores and reservoirs with a couple hundred fluxes Gt/y +/- ?? ebbing and flowing between those reservoirs. Mankind’s gross contribution over 260 years was 555 Gt or 1.2%. (IPCC AR5 Fig 6.1) Mankind’s net contribution, 240 Gt or 0.53%, (dry labbed by IPCC to make the numbers work) to this bubbling, churning caldron of carbon/carbon dioxide is 4 Gt/y +/- 96%. (IPCC AR5 Table 6.1) Seems relatively trivial to me. IPCC et. al. says natural variations can’t explain the increase in CO2. With these tiny percentages and high levels of uncertainty how would anybody even know?
Mankind’s alleged atmospheric CO2 power flux (watt is power, energy over time) increase between 1750 and 2011, 260 years, was 2 W/m^2 of radiative forcing. (IPCC AR5 Fig SPM.5) Incoming solar RF is 340 W/m^2, albedo RF reflects 100 W/m^2 +/- 30 (can’t be part of the 333), 160 W/m^2 reaches the surface (can’t be part of the 333), latent heat RF from the water cycle’s evaporation is 88 W/m2 +/- 8. Mankind’s 2 W/m^2 contribution is obviously trivial, lost in the natural fluctuations.
One popular GHE theory power flux balance (“Atmospheric Moisture…. Trenberth et. al. 2011 Figure 10) has a spontaneous perpetual loop (333 W/m^2) flowing from cold to hot violating three fundamental thermodynamic laws. (1. Spontaneous energy out of nowhere, 2. perpetual loop w/o work, 3. cold to hot w/o work, 4. doesn’t matter because what’s in the system stays in the system) Physics must be optional for “climate” science. What really counts is the net RF balance at ToA which 7 out of 8 re-analyses considered by the above cited paper concluded the atmosphere was cooling, not warming, +/- 12.3 W/m^2. Of course Trenberth says they are all wrong because their cooling results are not confirmed by his predicted warming, which hasn’t happened for twenty years.
Every year the pause/hiatus/lull/stasis continues (IPCC AR5 Box TS.3) IPCC’s atmospheric and ocean general circulation models diverge further from reality.
As Carl Sagan observed, we have been bamboozled, hustled, conned by those wishing to steal our money and rob us of our liberties. Hardly a new agenda.
BTW I have a BSME same as Bill Nye so I’m as much a scientist as he is.

Reply to  nickreality65
May 29, 2016 5:21 pm

that what nickreality is saying is the sad reality for climate science can be demonstrated with a simple monte carlo procedure. the ipcc states the uncertainties in natural flows either as sigma or as 90%CI but ignores them when carrying out the carbon budget accounting. if we take these uncertainties into account (i converted all of them into sigma equivalents) we find that we do not know natural flows well enough to detect the effect of fossil fuel emissions.

Kurt in Switzerland
May 29, 2016 11:29 am

Keep up the good work, Tim.
History will devastate the climate alarmist movement eventually.
But not for some time. Too many big names are too heavily invested in the concept.

Reply to  Kurt in Switzerland
May 29, 2016 12:25 pm

“History will devastate the climate alarmist movement”… did history devastate the cooling movement? Underpinning every economic-political system is a narrative that people are taught. Ideas, theories and interpretations of events that serve to reinforce that narrative are never ‘devastated’ – no matter how bad or evil. Look at Christopher Colombus and the genocidal slavery he and his fellows imposed on Haiti. Despite all that we know about the death of some 8 million people, Columbus is still the public icon of bringing enlightenment and civilization.
While I wish history did establish truth, in the words of Churchill, there is no need to fear history for “‘we (the victors) shall write it”.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  les
May 29, 2016 2:26 pm

Well Les, I guess we believe that the good guys always win. Maybe not right away but eventually. We also believe that we are the good guys. Even the bad guys think they are the good guys. But they’re wrong aren’t they? Lol! The only explanation is that ideas and actions that are true in the context of human society will provide a path forward and eventually find support to maintain a paradigm that, historically, we deem to be progressive. Columbus, in that sense, was a catastrophic “weather” event within a “climate change” of improving discovery, knowledge and enlightenment. I’m glad he didn’t come to visit me but a similar discovery event was inevitable given the overall ignorance of both cultures at the time. The hypocrisy of believing that only we know the truth and can therefore be the deciders is the poison in the sauce.

Reply to  les
May 29, 2016 5:18 pm

The ignorance of reality from the left never ceases to amaze me,….!! They seem to live in their own little world….

Reply to  les
May 29, 2016 8:00 pm

Thanks John for the reflection….
Your statement “The hypocrisy of believing that only we know the truth and can therefore be the deciders is the poison in the sauce” is all too sadly demonstrated in the following comments on things nuclear\historical on this thread. Original estimates as to invasion casualties were in the order of 50-100,000 that kept getting larger for political reasons. Ask a real historian and they will tell you there was no debate by Japanese military leadership over surrender even during the days after Nagasaki – for fire-bombings had created equal numbers of casualties in each of a dozen other cities. Within a few hours of the news of Russia’s entry into the war, Japanese military leaders met to discuss a process of surrender. The nuclear bombs did not end the war, the Russian offensive did.
But we can’t challenge the narrative that the West won WWII now can we… despite knowing that Russia faced and defeated 200 German divisions while the West faced and defeated 25. It is sad to see that often it is the most educated that are also the most invested in maintaining those myths. It is intriguing to wonder why….

Tom Halla
Reply to  les
May 29, 2016 8:15 pm

You are repeating the standard left-wing spin on WWII. The Germans would have lost, but much more slowly without the Western powers, as most of the Soviet transport was US supplied. Similarly, the West diverted most of the Luftwaffe to homeland defense, not close support. The fantasy that the Soviets were primarily responsible for winning the war is just that.

Reply to  les
May 29, 2016 8:56 pm

Other factors that defeated the Germans on the Eastern Front were:
1) The vastness of the area they invaded.
2) The weather – (rainy, muddy autumn followed by severe cold and snow in Nov. & Dec.)
3) Stupid decisions by Hitler.

Reply to  les
May 29, 2016 9:03 pm

Other significant factors that helped defeat the Germans on the Eastern Front were:
1) The vastness of the area they were invading.
2) The weather – (a rainy, muddy autumn followed by a very cold, snowy winter.)
3) Stupid decisions made by Hitler, against the better advice from his generals.

Reply to  les
May 29, 2016 9:58 pm

Well, let’s be reasonable. The “Soviets did everything” is a deliberate overcompensation for the 60s-80s where we tried to deny they did anything. The Russians did a huge volume of the fighting, and their “we have reserves” tactics caused them to lose unconscionable numbers of people. However, Britain and America had large contributions as well. Without Britain, the Luftwaffe would have overwhelmed the skies above Moscow, and without America, there wouldn’t have been any supplies to give on the Eastern Front. It was only as one that Hitler was crushed and the survivors had anything left to show for it.
As for Japan, on that one, the standard line is actually the most accurate to what was perceived. The view at the time was that Japan would never surrender. The myth of the Japanese super-soldier was well ingrained, even to Americans (several marines said how shocked they were when any actually surrendered). The Japanese consistently inflated battle kills, even internally, so high command had no idea how badly they were losing until the war was truly and completely lost.

Reply to  les
May 30, 2016 2:41 am

It is often forgotten why Hitler invaded Soviet Union, despite pact he had with Stalin. He knew what happened to Napoleon in Russia, and despite it he proceeded. He wasn’t specifically after Moscow or Leningrad (st Petersburg) but it would be usefull if they could be taken. However Hitler forces (and they were not just Germans, they included Croats, Hungarians, Rumanians, Ukrainians, soldiers from Baltic republics etc) got hammered at Stalingrad. So what he was doing down there? His forces were heading for Baku and Azerbaijan’s oil wells, and they nearly got there.
Fact that Stalingrad is on similar latitude as Munich or Paris it doesn’t mean that winter severity is the same. Stalin was Georgian (Hitler Austrian, Napoleon Corsican) and pushing Hitler out and as it turned out conquering East Europe (securing west borders of USSR) was far more important to the burly half drunk Georgian, than few extra millions of dead Russians. It is not Stalin who won on the Eastern front, it was brilliance of the Russian generals, their technical inferiority was greatly supplemented by more numerous forces and severity of the 1942/3 Russian winter. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Stalingrad

Reply to  les
May 30, 2016 7:23 am

The Russians did a huge volume of the fighting

It would be more accurate to say Stalin killed as many as possible by putting peasants from Ukraine (not Russians necessarily) to fight without proper boots, trousers and coats. He saw losses as an opportunity. So “volume of killing”, yes, not so much fighting

Reply to  les
May 30, 2016 9:29 am

les May 29, 2016 at 12:25 pm wrote: ““History will devastate the climate alarmist movement”… did history devastate the cooling movement?”
The thermometer devastated the cooling movement.

george e. smith
Reply to  les
May 30, 2016 6:00 pm

So did Winston Churchill actually say or write (the victors) in his “speech” ??
Or is that some editorializing by some one who was present when he made that speech (if he made it).
Churchill didn’t say or write, half of the famous sayings he is accused of. Well, but then he did say or write, those that have been confirmed as his.
So if he DIDN’T use those words (the victors) , then it is very specious of whoever did append that editorial comment, to presume that Churchill may not have simply been declaring that “we” would get the facts straight, so that history correctly reflected the reality.
The appendation of such an editorial comment, suggests that editor is less trustworthy than Churchill.
It is a disease of “Reporters” that they consider their editorial comment to be more worthy of note than the actual story they purport to be presenting.

george e. smith
Reply to  les
May 30, 2016 6:21 pm

So tell us Les, since you seem to be the most informed of the facts; what was the most notable Russian offensive success in the war in the Pacific (against Japan) ??
Of course I mean prior to the Hiroshima bomb.
Perhaps the Russians kept that secret from the US (their allies), which omission might be held directly responsible for Truman deciding to drop the bomb.
My memory of the dropping of the Hiroshima bomb is as vivid, as is my memory of the attack on Pearl Harbor on the morning of Dec. 8th 1941. I even recall as clearly the rescue of the BEF from the beaches of Dunkirk, which actually was taking place exactly 76 years ago; ending about on June 4 of 1940.
By sheer happenstance, I was sitting on exactly the same wall, talking about it with the same group of kids, when all three of those events were the history of the day.
But I have no recollection of any Russian naval battles in the Pacific war; or any land successes, or even aerial skirmishes.
The European war had already ended, so I can’t imagine what was keeping the Russians occupied.
Well I’m getting old so I guess I can’t remember every battle of the war.

Reply to  les
May 31, 2016 10:07 am

The cooling movement did not last anywhere near as long, nor were there any policy proscriptions taken from it.

Reply to  les
May 31, 2016 10:10 am

les, les, les.
Just because you want something to be true, does not make it true.
The numbers went up as we gained more experience fighting the Japanese.
Additionally Japanese resistance stiffened as we got closer to the home islands.
In Okinawa, civilians jumped to their deaths rather than be captured alive. Including women clutching infants as they jumped.

Reply to  les
May 31, 2016 10:11 am

PS: The fire bombing of Dresden killed more people than Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined, but it wasn’t enough to get Germany to surrender. Nor do modern day Casandras constantly whine about how evil it was.

Reply to  Kurt in Switzerland
May 29, 2016 2:45 pm

Dr Ball is totally correct in his analysis.
Some might say he is on the ball.

Jeff L
May 29, 2016 11:31 am

Very nice summary of the state of science.
Key take way – be skeptical of everything you read & hear because there is no telling the validity of any claim without your own critical evaluation. if you have the time & mind to do it (and especially if you have any sort of science background), you owe it to yourself to look into any claim which you find impactful to your life

Reply to  Jeff L
May 29, 2016 11:42 am

…I continually have an argument with liberals about dropping the “Bomb” on Hiroshima and Nagasaki !..Now, you can have an argument that it was immoral, BUT, you have to recognize that it saved 2 million U.S. troops from being killed landing on Japan AND approx. 10 million civilians… What would YOU choose, If it were up to you ? Think about it !

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 12:16 pm

Ah, yes, “the price of freedom” . . . Don’t know if you had a chance to read it, but Pilger has just written up another well researched and factual piece on the intersection between militarism and politics, albeit as it happens in this particular instance, American politics. But to understand it, you will have to approach it with T. Huxley’s advice in mind. I’ll give you the title and you can just go and read it wherever you can find online as I do not wish to endorse any particular website, although likely as not, it will have turned up on one of “those” left leaning sites:
Silencing the United States as It Prepares for War — John Pilger
I find it interesting that people who by and large are scientifically literate tend to be highly conservative in their political outlook while those who are by and large both politically and economically literate tend to fall toward the left end of the spectrum. I think that speaks less to insightfulness than to the time people invest in researching their fields of interest. It would be nice to see more cross-fertilization between both groups.
The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, by the way, didn’t save people but in fact murdered all too many, as do all wars, fought in the name of lofty ideals but serving precisely the same kinds of ends that, as Dr. Tim Ball demonstrates, now corrupt pretty much everything that goes by the name of ‘science’ these days, eh.
From one fellow Canadian to another, then . . .

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 12:26 pm

The U.S. did everything it could to stay out of WW2…..Pearl Harbor did not attack itself !! There are consequences for attacking the greatest nation ever known to Human kind ! The power of the U.S.A. is the only thing stopping WW3….,.

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 12:29 pm

You need always to check the veracity of the claim.
As an example of claim checking: (otherwise this goes off-topic)
“2 million dead”. All my life the claim has been 1 million casualties. Inflation somewhere?
But anyway, where did the the claim “1 million casualties” come from? Actually, from Col. Leslie Groves, the director of the Manhattan Project, a known staunch advocate of the use of the nukes being developed.
It was also thought that Groves considered the successful use of nukes to be his ticket to a big promotion. (He made Lt. General)
Over the years, I have read numerous convincing arguments on both sides of the question, and I would not presume to add anything here.
Just like ClimateScience!, check the data, also check personal motivations wherever they can be seen.

Barry Sheridan
Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 1:23 pm

Norman, that is a bit of a stretch to suggest an individual’s political inclinations have a link to their grasp of science. It is lot more open than that.
The second corrective here must be your conclusions about the use of atomic bombs. Yes they killed tens of thousands, but what do you think was going to happen if Japan fought on as seems as certain as we can be it would. The death toll would have gone on growing, just more slowly, a roll that would have included an unknown number of US and other allied service men if the experience of Okinawa was anything to go by. The weariness of the prolonged war ensured the ruthless use of firepower, fighting that would almost certainly have killed off more Japanese that the bombs did.

Tim Ball
Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 2:19 pm

All the breast beating and piousness is nauseating.
I talked at length with members of the Winnipeg Rifles kept in Japanese prison camps during the war. Ask the people of South Korea, Singapore, the Philippines or any other occupied area how they feel about their occupation. Read about the medical experimentations carried out on people in China.
I spoke at length with a Japanese citizen who said the Japanese view was that the ignominy of surrender was so great that they did not have to apologize. In his opinion it offset all the war crimes and anything else.
It is reported Japan was working to build a nuclear bomb at the end of WW II.
The reality is they would not have hesitated to use the bomb if they had it.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 2:23 pm

Sayeth: Marcus – May 29, 2016 at 11:42 am

BUT, you have to recognize that it saved 2 million U.S. troops from being killed landing on Japan AND approx. 10 million civilians…

YUP, and you have to recognize the fact that iffen Stalin had had the Atomic Bomb and had dropped a couple of them on Germany when Hitler invaded Poland …… then for sure, 20+ million Russians would not have been killed and another 20+ million wounded and crippled.

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 2:51 pm

See reference for an overview of the requirements for the Japan invasion which was complicated by the expectation that the Japanese would fight to the death (as on the Pacific islands) including use of women and children . In addition the they had a habit of killing all prisoners, including sick and wounded (whom they did not respect for getting captured) during an attack. Under the circumstances, the A-Bomb was a blessing for both sides. War is not a wrestling match but necessary chaotic murder until one or the other gives in. Unfortunately those with millennial ideological attitudes and safe spaces haven’t a clue and wouldn’t last a day in a real survival situation.

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 3:41 pm

..Can you imagine what would have happened if Hitler had the “BOMB” first ?

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 3:57 pm

..TonyL, you have to remember that the Japanese soldiers at that time were fanatical in their defense of their Emperor (God)…

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 4:03 pm

…BFL….Well stated !…If you must go to war, go to win…quickly !

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 4:10 pm

…As Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s said..”I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”…How right he was ! THAT is reality !

Richard Keen
Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 4:32 pm

So those two bombs killed 100,000 people and ended a war in a couple of microsecond flashes. Does that make their use evil? For an opinion, take a trip to Nanking and ask the survivors and descendants of three times as many people that were murdered with bayonets and swords as the innocent Imperial Japanese Army took over that capital of China in 1937, beginning the war that the bomb ended.
Bomb vs. bayonet: as far as I know, no 6-year old girls have ever been raped with atomic bombs.

Robert B
Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 4:35 pm

John Pilger? You’re kidding me? The Michael Mann of History.
The German army lost over 1 million service men in the invasion at the end of WWII. Mostly fighting on the Eastern Front. They pretty much capitulated on the Western Front.
Deaths from conventional bombings on Japan were between 330 000 – 500 000 civilians before any invasion. A Similar death toll was estimated for Germany all up. There is nothing wrong with guessing that the toll would have at least doubled if conventional bombs were used.
Scientists find it much easier to swap to history than a historian can switch history. One of the reasons is that (once upon a time) a scientists is expected to look at the analysis of the data to confirm their assertion, not their peers.

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 5:18 pm

I see that you have all gone and read John Pilger’s piece in a calm and analytical frame of mind, in the spirit of Huxley’s quote bit of advice. You do a wonderful job of dissecting it. And I do note that the impressively nauseated tenor of your ‘reactions’ kind of make my point for me.
Tim Ball kind of surprises, me, however. He readily recognizes corruption among his scientific peers, but is quick to deny it about the ruling classes on all sides who never tire of sacrificing young men and women to their equally venal ambitions. No human is impervious to propaganda. Not you. Not me. Or will you also exert yourself to deny this?
@ Barry Sherridan:
“Norman, that is a bit of a stretch to suggest an individual’s political inclinations have a link to their grasp of science.”
Read what I wrote and not what in your hurry you imagine that I wrote. Because I think that you can read, even if it might be a bit of an effort for you at times, I’ll leave it at that.
And thank you all for your very carefully considered remarks. And may the freedom bombs keep falling on the right side of history. Too bad about the innocent, though. Just saying, eh.

Robert B
Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 5:22 pm

make that …
Scientists find it much easier to swap to history than a historian can switch to science. One of the reasons is that (once upon a time) scientists are expected to look at the analysis of the data to confirm their assertion, not their peers.
although “historian can switch history” was nice Freudian slip.

Robert B
Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 5:30 pm

Norman Pilion – there are many authors writing about the morality of using the nuclear weapons on Japan. I’ve only read views from a few from different sides of the debate and I have very good reasons for not choosing John Pilger to be one of those. That you insist that I need to read one author says more about you than refusing to read it says about me.

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 5:32 pm

,,,Hey Norman, you want the FREEDOM to spout your whining ? Somebody has to fight for it… AND, some people have to die for it…THAT is the cost of FREEDOM ! To all soldiers, past and present, I bow my head in shame for allowing North America to be taken, without a shot fired, by liberal “Socialists”

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 5:37 pm

This is an excellent commentary about the event that lead up to the bombing of Hiroshima, and the revision of history to white wash Japanese atrocities.
Charles Lewis on Hiroshima: ‘The bomb, in all its fury, was a blessing’
The decision to bomb Hiroshima makes sense only in light of the years that led to that horrible day

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 6:33 pm

I find it interesting that people who by and large are scientifically literate tend to be highly conservative in their political outlook while those who are by and large both politically and economically literate tend to fall toward the left end of the spectrum.

I find it interesting that you believe that people who fail fall toward the left are economically literate.

george e. smith
Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 6:36 pm

Well if one’s age is Less than seventy years, one should not write books about WW-II or atomic bomb usage. Ignorance is not a place from which to discus controversial history.
WW-II veterans (in the USA) are still being lost at a rate of 1,000 or say each day.
Six survivors of the Arizona bombing are still alive (well as of last night). No I don’t offer that as a justification for Hiroshima.
By the way, do estimates of the lives and casualties that were “saved” by Hiroshima and Nagasaki include all the lives and casualties lost in the Thermo-nuclear war between the Western Powers and the Soviet Union ??
What do you mean, that never happened ??

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 6:42 pm

Oh, Robert B, I’m not insisting on anything. I just happen to be of the opinion that war, and by implication nuclear bombs, are a manifestation of an incredibly dark and unfortunate aspect of human nature. Truly, I can’t find it in me to believe that murder on an industrial scale by any means and by any side to any conflict can be justified. In this, I’m in good company, even among scientists, like Albert Einstein, for instance.
Now don’t go getting all defensive on me and start accusing me of overbearingly insisting that you should go and read Einstein’s “Why Socialism?” I would do such a thing only because I just happen to think that it is a very good piece that does an exemplary job of analyzing the kind of society in which we live. I think he was a scientist and could do the kind of “switching” to which you alluded.
That essay is easy enough to find if you click on this link:
Now I’m not insisting that you click on that link, but if you do, I think you will find that not only is Einstein of fame a most eloquent writer, but an incredibly astute political thinker. But that’s just me and, of course, Einstein might have been a bit confused about the particular issues he there enters into. Something tells me he would have greatly appreciated John Pilger’s work . . .

Fred of Greenslopes
Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 7:09 pm

I think the figures were more like 500,000 US troops and 3 million civilians. However, I agree with your argument. Frankly, I would rather be at ground zero then have a bayonet spill my guts.

Robert B
Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 7:32 pm

“Truly, I can’t find it in me to believe that murder on an industrial scale by any means and by any side to any conflict can be justified. In this, I’m in good company, even among scientists, like Albert Einstein, for instance. ”
You highlighted your stupidity. The reasons for dropping the bomb are not justifications to the public. They really were justifications for making such a difficult decision, made all the more easier because the decision to bomb civilians with conventional bombs had already been made. Arguments can be made for it being a bad decision (and not convincingly) but not that it was murder. That is was legal killings was all ready settled.
I’ve been in the position of being attacked for fun. I had a black eye and cut needing 9 stitches before I defended myself. I then had to justify putting his head through a wall (plaster board, unfortunately). I’m not a fan of violence but this luvvie rubbish is stupid.

Robert B
Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 8:02 pm

I should add that people who talk like Norman saw it coming and could have warned me to stay clear. The sort of people who would tut-tut at how Trump lets such violence occur at his rallies.

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 8:09 pm

Well, Clipe, please permit to mirror your impeccable logic and retort:
I find it interesting that you believe that people who fall toward the right are economically literate.
Lets see: we live in a capitalist society. The dominant economic paradigm in the mainstream media is what? Oh, that’s right: something about capitalism being the only economic system rationally possible. Most people do not study either politics or economics in depth, and so the likelihood that their ideas will be other than what they are exposed in the media is . . . what? High? Low? Yes, I thought so.
People who specialize in scientific pursuits tend not to spend much time studying political and economic issues in depth, but being human and living in the same society that we live in will tend to be exposed to and willy nilly imbibe our society’s dominant economic opinions and biases. In this respect, their opinions will tend to be mainstream, like those of most everyone else. And those opinions are what? Left leaning? Or right leaning? Yes, I thought so, too.
But among experts, among people who really dig into the issues, will there be unity of opinion or a diversity? Among climate scientists who really know their shit, is there more unanimity or dissention? Yes, I thought so.
Of course, I don’t expect that you will agree with me — on principle, eh. But among the Ph.d.s in economics and politics, compared to the population at large, you will find a greater proportion of left wing thinkers, because people who actually think deeply tend to come to different conclusions about issues of contention, eh.
But I agree, it’s much simpler to reason as you do:
I find it interesting that you believe that people who fall toward the right are economically literate. Because that’s most everyone, even people who have never read a book in their entire lives.

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 8:46 pm

“I should add that people who talk like Norman saw it coming and could have warned me to stay clear.”
I tried to warn you, but you just did not want to hear what I had to say, Robert B. I therefore owe you no apology for having failed in my duty toward you though I would yet apologize.
Sorry, Robert B. Because you know, I’m all flub and such and, oh, so very, very stupid, eh. Blame that on the canuck in me, an odd cultural mixture of odd cultural things, a creature of history, an old cretin of the North. 😉

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 9:36 pm

Nice trolling, Marcus. 28 OT replies so far.

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 9:36 pm

@ Marcus
“Hey Norman, you want the FREEDOM to spout your whining ? […]” I bow my head in shame for allowing North America to be taken, without a shot fired, by liberal “Socialists””
My head isn’t bowed, Marcus. But apparently yours is. Who’s
Did you ever make some time for reading that essay by that versatile, articulate, discipline-switching and fantastically erudite scientist, you know, Einstein? Did you know that he was in good faith a socialist? I don’t mean a liberal-socialist, whatever that is, but a socialist, tout court? How depressing is that, eh.
Cheer up, chum. Nothing lasts forever. Nothing.

Robert B
Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 11:02 pm

You miss the point, Norman. A lot of hubris about being morally superior when commenting from afar. Goes missing when a real conscience is needed.

Reply to  Marcus
May 30, 2016 5:40 am

@ Robert B
“You miss the point, Norman. A lot of hubris about being morally superior when commenting from afar. Goes missing when a real conscience is needed.”
Finally you come around to my viewpoint, and now we agree on at least one thing. I like how you pretend that it was your standpoint from the start.
Did you read Einstein’s piece? I’m not insisting, eh. That’s just a question motivated by simple curiosity.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Marcus
May 30, 2016 9:07 am

So, I’ve looked at the Pilger piece.
It’s just a garden-variety tendentious polemic — taking bits of this and that, and putting them all together to make a story washed with the colors of Pilger’s political bias.
His thesis is that America is the source of global evil. Russia and China are mere put-upons.
Pilger allows no recognition of the pervasive and relentless global aggression China and Russia pursued during the 20th century, or their history of political mass murder. All of that is passed over in silence, as though it provides no context for current events.
Also granted his silence is North Vietnam’s imposition of the very same mass-murdering scheme, and it’s widespread murders of disruption in South Vietnam starting well before any American military involvement.
Pilger goes on to equate American prisons and Russian gulags — a classic standard of banal anti-Americanism. Nor does Pilger allow Russia and China any imperial ambitions of their own. Their projections of force are mere defensive reactions to American threats; so implies Pilger.
It’s all so boring, so historically vacant, and so intellectually dishonest, this passionate mindlessness. Pilger’s got a bad case of it.

Reply to  Marcus
May 30, 2016 10:30 am

@ Pat Frank
“Pilger allows no recognition of the pervasive and relentless global aggression China and Russia pursued during the 20th century, or their history of political mass murder.”
Yes, indeed: we do it because they do it, because they make us do it. Can’t say I ever heard that line of reasoning before.
Yes, as I now recall, because you awaken my memory of it, Russia and China had their militaries and navies prowling over the entire globe, and the put-upon and militarily dominant alliances of the time had no choice but to mount a coordinated defence against both Russia and China, who, in all of history and even then, had never been invaded by anyone.
Thank you for reminded me of that, Pat, contra Pilger’s tendentiously concocted histories.
And when you write, “their history of political mass murder,” is that “their” history of their history or “our” history of their history, because that is a distinction with a difference.
And of course, everybody knows that good old America, starting with the extermination of American Indians, never committed acts of political motivated murder, certainly not mass murder, of which, really, however, there are too many to recall, and it’s a good thing, isn’t it, that we tend to forget.
William Blum, a scrupulous historian, has an interesting website:
Yup, that’s a link to a piece he has entitled: “Overthrowing other people’s governments: The Master List.”
Could you provide us with a comparable list of aggressions committed by either Russia and China over roughly the same time frame to support your thesis of their “pervasive and relentless global aggression?” Or would that be more accurately stated as their “pervasive and relentless determination to fend off Western aggression and subjugation?”
I like how America has military bases literally scattered all over the planet, now even installing ABM sites right on Russia’s border, as only recently in Romania, but it’s the Russians who are “pervasively and relentlessly” expanding their military, political and economic dominance all over the world.
And remind me again of which currency is the world’s reserve currency? And how does that happen? Oh, yeah, that’s right: because the world has so much confidence in the “intrinsic” value of the American dollar, it just can’t help itself even if that means having to give up national riches for absolutely nothing in return. Just don’t think about engaging in international trade without using it, however. Otherwise the bombs aren’t too far away, eh.
Funny, that, how America’s wars are always instigated by others and it’s always self-defence and never about naked dominance, which, of course, it is. Just don’t say it out loud, except sometimes it kind of slips, as Hillary Clinton once put it not all that long ago, ““It’s time for the United States to start thinking of Iraq as a business opportunity . . .” Does the American establishment, not to be confused with ordinary Americans, ever think of anything at all in terms other than as a “business opportunity.” And what to make of Madeleine Albright, Hillary’s mentor:
Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?”
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.”
Yup, in their calculus, killing children is worth the price. But America had absolutely no choice, it had to defend itself against the pervasive and relentless global aggression of Sadam, what with all those weapons of mass destruction and, oh yeah, the fact that he had decided Iraqi oil would now be traded in Euros instead of U.S. dollars.
But the likes of Pilger are making up their version of events because . . .

Paul Courtney
Reply to  Marcus
May 30, 2016 2:58 pm

Norman: So very sorry we humans have not lived up to your standards. War is really dumb and probably seems dumber when you’re in one. Did Einstein support one side in WWII? Wonder why. Seems he was in Germany for awhile, from everything I’ve read/heard he was a very good man and saw enough of Nazi Germany to choose the evil capitalist indian killers. He evidently did not think, like your hero Pilger, that the Western people were shoved into that war by (our) evil overlord indian killers. He favored a socialist system, evidently not national socialism though. Maybe he’s right, in a world you invent. In this one, evil capitalists seem pretty free and prosperous, compared to the others. Not perfect, I know, the indians and all. So what’s your view of CliSci (this site normally goes there)? Are they evil money grubbing Caps, or are they Einstein-like Socs? By the way, the Cliscis, Michael Mann, and you, and Pilger, are precisely as responsible for massacre of indians as I am and the other commentators here. Why does Pilger (and you) get a pass? Anyhow, won’t comment again, you can have last word.

Reply to  Marcus
May 30, 2016 4:02 pm

@Norman Pilon Einstein wrote “The achievement of socialism requires the solution of some extremely difficult socio-political problems: how is it possible, in view of the far-reaching centralization of political and economic power, to prevent bureaucracy from becoming all-powerful and overweening? How can the rights of the individual be protected and therewith a democratic counterweight to the power of bureaucracy be assured?”
Why Socialism? Why an all-powerful and overweening bureaucracy?
Only someone who has the same views can call Einstein astute. His BS does not describe me –
“Unknowingly prisoners of their own egotism, they feel insecure, lonely, and deprived of the naive, simple, and unsophisticated enjoyment of life. Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society.”

Pat Frank
Reply to  Marcus
May 30, 2016 4:46 pm

Norman Pilon, let’s see if I can summarize your argument.
*The 130 million or so political murders in the USSR and Communist China is an invented history.
*Pilger’s anti-Americanism is truth because William Blum’s anti-Americanism.
It is quite clear from a list of proxy wars, that Prof. honest intellectual William Blum could have completed his enumeration of villains with a long list of overthrows and murderous insurgencies sponsored by the USSR and/or Communist China. Apparently his concept of integrity prevented that.
But rather than be content with vague inferences, let’s cut to real-world impacts: death by murder. Here is a list of the 62 million people murdered by the USSR. That’s domestic murders.
Here is a discussion of the 73 million people murdered by Communist China. That’s domestic murders.
Comparatively, the US is responsible for about 583,000 murders during the 20th century, mostly due to wartime bombing.
Domestic government murders? The US rate is 1 per 1.11 million per year since 1900. That totals to about 14,900 domestic murders between 1900 and 2010. For sure, nothing to be proud of there, but about 0.00012 of the USSR rate and 0.00011 of the PRC rate.
But that’s not important to William Blum, is it. Or to you, either, apparently. Or to John Pilger.
These numbers are all from Rudolph Rummel’s Power Kills webite. Rummel was a Prof. of Political Science at U. Hawaii, who made a study of global death from war and political murder.
Children in Iraq died because Saddam Hussein diverted the food for oil money to his own personal use. He built palaces with it.
You evidence a standard rubric of anti-Americans to blame the vile behavior of others on the US, as though no one has any independent foul motives of their own.
No one claims that the US is pure. But to focus on condemning the US while passing over mass murders in silence, as you do, and as John Pilger and William Blum do, is worse than dishonest. It is shameful, blatant, and completely conscious protection of the monstrous by diverting attention to the merely imperfect. You abet future political mass murder to consciously covering over past political mass murder. Be proud.
And it was typhus, small pox and measles that destroyed the indigenous North American populations. Whatever the sins of the 19th century Americans (including Native Americans), and they were many and too often murderous, their magnitude pales before those of the 20th century Chinese and Russians.
And that you must reach back into 19th century America so as to set aside the crimes of 20th Century Communist societies reveals your intentional prejudice.

Reply to  Marcus
May 30, 2016 6:17 pm

The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, by the way, didn’t save people
before everyone start rewriting history, look at how many were killed in the fire-bombing of Germany.

Reply to  Marcus
May 30, 2016 10:03 pm

@ Pat Frank
“. . . the Cliscis, Michael Mann, and you, and Pilger, are precisely as responsible for massacre of indians as I am and the other commentators here.”
Jeez, Pat, I had no idea that you were responsible for the massacre of Indians along with me and Pilger and Michael Mann and “the Cliscis” (whoever de phoque they are (and no, that’s not a cussword, Pat) and all the other commentators here. I mean if you want to take responsibility for that, don’t let me stand in your way. As for myself, I’ll opt to disclaim it, although something tells me that you will impute it to me regardless. But I assure you that I had nothing at all to do with it, nor with the murder of anyone else in this world. Not because I’m better than anyone, and certainly not you, Pat, but because I have never partaken of any such action nor will I ever. And yet, and yet, I think that if one cannot really point the finger at any single individual living today as being, as you put it, “precisely” responsible for that terrible extirpation, one can point to currently existing institutions in America as being, indeed, “precisely” responsible.
As for lumping me in with Michael Mann, really? But maybe you know more about me than even I do, and you can make that attribution, kind of like the way that Mann himself makes “attributions,” eh.
I notice that your extensive list exemplifying the “pervasive and relentless global aggression” of the commies kind of falls outside the ‘time frame’ to which I had hoped you would keep. But no matter. I’ll get to that in a minute.
You write:
“Comparatively, the US is responsible for about 583,000 murders during the 20th century, mostly due to wartime bombing.”
I’m a bit confused. Are we comparing the number of its own citizens each regime killed within its own borders or the number of people presumed to have died as a result of foreign interventions undertaken by each regime? The only bombing of American citizens that I can recall the U.S. being responsible for was in connection with The Battle of Blair Mountain, but 583,000 dead from that particular incident seems a tad inflated. So I’m gonna guess that this particular quote from your comment presumes to claim that adding up all of the deaths attributable to all of the U.S. military adventures abroad would tally to about 583, 000. Are you sure about that? I mean, between 2 and 3 million Indochinese – in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia alone – were killed in the South Asian war of the 60s and 70s. And that’s just for that war. So let’s not belabour the point too much, eh, and just leave it at saying that the 583,000 murders is a bit of a lowball, a misattribution, so to speak. Or perhaps you made a typo. I dunno. But clearly, 583,000 isn’t and can’t be the right figure.
You will recall that in my previous comment, I wrote:
“And when you write, “their history of political mass murder,” is that “their” history of their history or “our” history of their history, because that is a distinction with a difference.”
Now the “scholarship” you base your claims on about the millions upon millions murdered by the commies is not “their” scholarship, that is, it is in fact “our” history of their history. Which source you choose to believe, of course, I cannot oblige, and it might be that an unintentional prejudice will cause you to dismiss out of hand any claim made by – gasp! – a self-proclaimed Marxist, even if of the same honest kind that was dear old Albert Einstein. Well, maybe all Marxists are liars. Maybe not. Einstein was fairly honest, and to my mind, not the only honest Marxist. There were and are others. To proceed further, however, you’ll have to concede to yourself that maybe a self-professed Marxist and scholar to boot can actually tell the truth as well as the difference between a truth told and a lie professed. Very well, then, in the hope that you will go and look, permit me to direct you to a reference:
“Lies Concerning the History of the Soviet Union” — By Mario Sousa, Member of the
Communist Party Marxist-Leninist Revolutionaries, Sweden, KPML(r)
Now read it or not, and fact check it’s claims or not. But this is the version of the so called historical facts from “their” point of view, based upon the actual archives of the Soviet Union, that is to say, based upon access to the only extant raw data that the world has of the era at issue. Make of it what you will, but “their” numbers are not anything like the numbers of “our” (perhaps tendentious) scholarship. Not that Western scholar have ever been caught playing fast and loose with the truth, be it among climatologists, government statisticians, or pro-establishment historians.
You write:
“And that you must reach back into 19th century America so as to set aside the crimes of 20th Century Communist societies reveals your intentional prejudice.”
Well, Pat, either you want me to reach back or you don’t. When Blum yacks about everything since after WWII, you accuse him of not paying attention to Stalin’s crimes, that is, of not reaching back enough; and when Pilger yacks about instances more recent and contemporary, you accuse him of the same indiscretion. And when I remind you of the historical continuity of American militarism from at least the Indian Wars on, when in fact it actually even goes further back than that, you also get jacked. It’s unfortunate, I know, but having to ‘select’ parts of the historical record to talk about is something we all have to do. It’s not a matter of being honest or dishonest. It’s a matter of being partial to this or that hypothesis, of being a slave to this or that interest, of being cursed with a mind that has to piece the world together without ever managing to grasp all of the requisite pieces that would be necessary to complete the picture.
Lastly, I’m quite certain that I am indeed enslaved to all kinds of prejudices. But I’m not so sure they’re “intentional.” I’d have to think about whether or not a person can be “intentionally prejudiced.” For the moment that sounds to me like a phrase that could substitute for the word “mendacious.” I may be prejudiced and I may be wrong, but I don’t think that being mendacious is something of which you can rightly accuse me.
As for Iraq, we all know what went down, and children continue to either die or live in a ruined country to this day so that oil cartels can make profits.

Reply to  Marcus
May 31, 2016 9:28 am

Norman Pilon
When I read your words I think what a waste of time for so little. You enjoy talking so you can hear yourself. Your attitude is so condescending. The word that comes to mind: smarmy.

Reply to  Marcus
May 31, 2016 10:17 am

In my experience, the left claims to be economically literate, but they never are.
They continue to believe in failed policies such as Keynsianism and a belief that government can improve things by taking them over.
Anyone else remember Tom Daschle proclaiming from the well in the Senate, “In order to professionalize, you must federalize”? With the TSA being the end result.

Reply to  Marcus
May 31, 2016 10:20 am

Barry, in my opinion it’s the other way around. Someone’s grasp of science influences their political positions.
Scientists have to have a solid grasp of cause and effect and have learned to examine the data carefully.
These two concepts indicate that the vast majority of liberal nostrums are nonsense.

Reply to  MarkW
May 31, 2016 12:44 pm


Scientists have to have a solid grasp of cause and effect and have learned to examine the data carefully.

“Promote the approved global warming agenda = Get more money, publicity, and publications. Get promoted, get travel. Get computer labs built, get speeches and get press time.”
“Analyze the data, the theories, and the measurements honestly? Get ostracized, ridiculed, and be fired from editorial and management positions.”

Reply to  Marcus
May 31, 2016 10:20 am

@ Glen999
Thank you very much for your comment, Glen999, and for refraining, as so many others have not, from stooping to making a condescending remark — or would that be smarmy?
It’s people like you who keep the dialogue alive and moving forward. A rare quality in these parts, eh.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Marcus
May 31, 2016 10:55 pm

Norman Pilon, your first quote regarding “Cliscis … etc., is Paul Courtney’s, not mine. Please be more careful.
Capitalism, by the way, did not determine treatment of Native Americans. Native Americans treated one another no better than Caucasians treated them, nor than NAs treated Europeans or than Caucasians treated one another.
Just to clarify modern politics for you, though, “Capitalism” is an invention of Socialism, just as “atheism” is an invention of religion.
Ideological believers need enemies, and so they invent a set out of people who contradict their beliefs. What Marxists call “capitalists” are just individualists working to get themselves through life. Likewise “atheists” are just individualists who are moral without recourse to religion.
The proxy war list that includes communist aggressor states and groups runs from 1922 to about the present. All of that is relevant.
You wrote, “So let’s not belabour the point too much, eh, and just leave it at saying that the 583,000 murders is a bit of a lowball, a misattribution, so to speak. Or perhaps you made a typo. I dunno. But clearly, 583,000 isn’t and can’t be the right figure.
First, your personal incredulity is not a refutation of fact.
Second, do you understand the difference between death of non-combatants by bombing and war deaths in general? The 583,000 is deaths of non-combatants. Rummel considered those deaths to be state murder. The 1.7 million dead in the Vietnam War included battlefield deaths including those killed by the North Vietnamese.
I linked Rummel’s site. You could have checked it. I take the trouble to check your citations, Norman. Intellectual integrity in a debate requires you do the same. Your groundless personal dismissals count for nothing.
You wrote, “Now the “scholarship” you base your claims on about the millions upon millions murdered by the commies is not “their” scholarship, that is, it is in fact “our” history of their history.
Tell you what, Norman. Go and interview the people in the mass graves that are scattered across Russia like candy sprinkles on a birthday cake.
Or deny the reports and testimony of the millions of wrecked people who emerged from the gulags after the Soviet Union fell; and here, and here.
But then those people are just telling their history, aren’t they. Marxists have their own history don’t they, fatuous but just as valid to you, and with the lovely addition of air-brushing away all that unpleasantness.
You ask (rhetorically, of course) whether, “a self-professed Marxist and scholar to boot can actually tell the truth … etc.
The 20th century has already provided the answer. Marxists tell the truth when it suits their Marxism. When the truth is inconvenient, they lie to the benefit of their Marxism.
So it is, always has been, and always will be with ideologues and ideologies, Norman. Their accepted myth enforces their conclusions before-hand, and everything is twisted to fit that pre-determination.
Ideologues all, Marxists included, are not worthy of trust and are never worthy of trust. They will always lie opportunistically.
After the 20th century catastrophe, anyone who still calls themselves a Marxist has self-identified with known monsters. Even during the 20th century, Marxists and their allies knew of Marxism’s invariable mass murders, its industrial-scale political prisons, and its state-slavery and aggressively supported them anyway. These people — a global population — comported with monsters and with a clear view did their best to ignite monstrous regimes domestically.
And you now, here, support them.
Regarding the “your history” site, I was able to track down the mentioned article by Rettersporn, Getty and Zemskov. It was uncited in your source but here is the full reference The American Historical Review (1993) 98 (4): 1017-1049. doi: 10.1086/ahr/98.4.1017.
Something interesting turned up. Here’s a comparative enumeration of those in gulags and political exile during Stalin’s heyday. Your source cites RGZ’s “Custodial Population,” which was the gulags, labor camps and political prisoners. However, RGZ also records the “Camp, Colony, and “Kulak” Exile Populations” (GCK Exile) which is a closer fraction of the total in slave-like imprisonment. Here they are:
Year Your source GCK Exile GCKE+“counter-revolutionaries”
1935 965,697 1,900,000 2,035,190
1936 1,296,494 2,300,000 2,418256
1937 1,196,369 2,125,000 2,230,849
1938 1,881,570 2,800,000 2,985,324
1939 2,022,976 2,650,000 3,104,432
1940 1,850,258 2,700,000 3,144,999
Your source includes counter-revolutionaries in his total, so I made a second GCK column with them too.
Your historian systematically low-balls the account.
But that’s OK, isn’t it Norman, because it’s his history. And for you history is as your historian calls it.
After that mistake, there didn’t seem any reason to bother further with your authority.
You wrote, “When Blum yacks about everything since after WWII, you accuse him of not paying attention to Stalin’s crimes, that is, of not reaching back enough; and when Pilger yacks about instances more recent and contemporary, you accuse him of the same indiscretion.
Except that, looking at my posts, here and here I did neither of those things.
But that’s OK, isn’t it Norman, because you’re just constructing your version of things. The facts say I accused both of them of what they obviously did: select out the US for cosmic criticism and pass over in silence the murderous monstrosities of Marxist states. But their factual dishonesty is OK with you, because that’s their version of history.
You speak of intellectual slavery as though it were a common and involuntary condition. Slavery in a free country is a chosen state, Norman. To cleave to an ideology such as Marxism is auto-induced slavery.
As to US oil profits from Iraq, where are they?
You’ve got no case, Norman. And how could you have? You’re wedded to an ideology-inflamed politically opportunistic relativism. Allow in factual truths and all the febrile passion in your life flies out the window. Can’t have that.

Reply to  Jeff L
May 29, 2016 6:19 pm

As a non scientist (therefore no cred) I keep telling people scientists are not gods and are subject to the full spectrum of human frailties. I think in future I might just link to Tims summary, says it all.

Reply to  yarpos
May 29, 2016 11:39 pm

…+ 100 stars…

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  Jeff L
May 29, 2016 7:12 pm

I think many here are not thinking about all of the factors and pressures Truman faced in July-August 1945.
Bear this in mind. An Invasion of Japan would not have taken place until late October or early November of !945. It would have taken place in two stages. The first, the Island of kyushu, to establish air bases and support bases. This was where general Macarthur warned of up to one million American casualties killed and wounded. Early in !946 the second phase was to start on the main island. Another point, after the war it was discovered that the Japanese had a very good idea as to were the landings were to take place and had been preparing accordingly.
Myself I would skip “the price of freedom” by Pilger. For better insight I would recommend Richard B. Frank’s “Downfall”.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Mike the Morlock
May 29, 2016 7:51 pm

One of the most important factors in what was a political decision was certainly the power relationship with the Soviet Union going forward. Otherwise they could have started with a less destructive example. Being on top in the global power ranking was what secured Europe.

george e. smith
Reply to  Mike the Morlock
May 31, 2016 8:11 am

You can’t put a price on freedom. And only an ignorant fool would try to. People write books to sell books; not to rectify the past.
Yes there is a cost to maintain freedom; but not a price.
The many have given their all to preserve it for us.
We dishonor them, when we fritter it away.

Reply to  Mike the Morlock
May 31, 2016 10:30 am

You must remember that the US had only built 3 bombs. One was detonated in Alamagordo, just to be sure they worked.
It would have taken months before the next group of bombs would have been ready.
They had to go for maximum affect with each of the two bombs.

Reply to  Jeff L
May 29, 2016 7:50 pm

I agree Jeff, do you practice it?

Reply to  Jeff L
May 29, 2016 11:36 pm

Wow Norman, I bet you think Einstein ( secular Jew) just loved them German Gas Chambers !

May 29, 2016 11:40 am

FAR is First Assessment Report , not the fourth which is abbreviated AR4.
In view of the dates mentioned it appears that he is indeed referring to FAR and incorrectly expanding the acronym.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Greg
May 29, 2016 12:57 pm

That initially threw me off as well.
The Climatism Scriptural Revisions from the pontifical IPCC should referenced as:
First AR = FAR
Second AR = SAR
Third AR = TAR
Fourth AR = AR4
Fifth AR = AR5.
While the WG1 reports are the gospel for the Climatists and their followers.

May 29, 2016 11:47 am

May a Renaissance await us once we pass through this Dark Age.

Bubba Cow
Reply to  David F Thomas
May 29, 2016 1:06 pm

Is it science (clmastrology)?
Given the politicians and alarmists panicked reactions to a single speech by Trump in North Dakota, it is politics and propaganda. Real clear.

May 29, 2016 11:52 am

Feynman explains the Scientific Method in 61 seconds.

Reply to  Andy
May 29, 2016 12:00 pm

…Simple reality…something “Progressive Liberals” just cannot grasp ! Richard Feynman has been my logical base since I was 15 !

Mickey Reno
Reply to  Andy
May 30, 2016 9:01 am

Excellent beginning. Then listen to more Feynman lectures online in Project Tuva (hosted by Microsoft, requires Silverlight) http://research.microsoft.com/apps/tools/tuva/#data=3%7C%7C%7C

Mickey Reno
Reply to  Mickey Reno
May 30, 2016 3:54 pm

The Feynman Messenger Lecture series is also available on YouTube. I had an old memory of not finding them on YouTube, but they are there.

May 29, 2016 11:54 am

Great post! Small typo/mistake:
“Over the year’s media and”
should maybe be
“Over the years, media and”

Barry Kearns
Reply to  cartoonasaur
May 29, 2016 9:41 pm

Oliver Stone is busy filming a dramatic scene about the trajectory of the comma in that post:
“Back, and to the left…
Back, and to the left…
Back, and to the left.”

Curious George
May 29, 2016 11:55 am

Modern scientists are a product of modern universities.
Occasionally there is an amateur scientist, who then gets sneered at by these “scientists”.

May 29, 2016 11:57 am

Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies Working with the White House’s Environmental Agenda
May 25, 201633 views
[Once upon a time, Congress created independent regulatory agencies for a reason. It gave them five-member commissions, in which the chairman of each commission holds the deciding vote, for a reason—to avoid ill-advised, partisan agendas. In another words, each agency has a significant amount of freedom to make nonpartisan regulations and rulings for the betterment of the US.
So it is with some sorrow that I mention the following Federal Agencies who have directly or indirectly joined together with White House to advance a partisan environmental agenda that has no real democratic support. Steve]:
• Department of Homeland Security
•Consumer Product Safety Commission
•Environmental Protection Agency
•The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
•Federal Communication Commission
•Office of Natural Resources Revenue
•Department of Labor, the Mine Safety and Health Administration
•Bureau of Land Management
•National Park Service
•Department of Interior
•Department of Energy
•Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
•Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
•Department of Transportation,
•Consumer Product Safety Commission
•Department of Defense
•Department of Health and Human Services
•Department of Agriculture
•Army Corps o Engineers
•Department of Commerce
•Internal Revenue Service
•Inspector General
•Surgeon General
•Office of Science and Technology
•Office of Fossil Fuels
There may be a few government agencies I have not listed. Please feel free to add them here:

Reply to  Stephen Heins
May 29, 2016 12:28 pm

…President Trump will make the corrections to the right !

Reply to  Stephen Heins
May 29, 2016 12:47 pm

Very good list, but you miss the Big One:
OSTP – The Office Of Science and Technology Policy, headed by John Holdren, the “Climate Czar”.
OSTP is a bit of a media backwater, never generating much press or attention, and so conducts it’s affairs largely out of the public view. But what does it do?
The OSTP, by executive authority, has the power to direct policy to all the other agencies. All the other agencies are given their marching orders with respect to climate science, with the authority of the president, and that, as they say, is that.

Reply to  TonyL
May 29, 2016 1:20 pm

Exactly right.

Reply to  TonyL
May 29, 2016 4:22 pm

…An Executive Order ends when the executing officer is no longer President !

Reply to  TonyL
May 30, 2016 3:56 am

Except, Marcus, most of the far left bureaucrats in those departments are so entrenched, so numerous, so subversive, and so adept at keeping their heads down when necessary that removing them or reversing their policies is almost impossible for any right of center administration.
These people also function well without central direction. Although Obama may very well have directed Lois Lerner’s IRS to target tea party groups, can anyone think she wouldn’t have done so anyway?
As stated up thread, there is almost nothing to “fear” from a right wing demagogue.
As also stated up thread, this problem has been deliberately created by the universities.
Lastly. Norman. That you consider leftists to be good stewards of the economy is rendered laughable when we sit back and look at what is happening to the west.

Reply to  TonyL
May 31, 2016 12:12 pm

Not so Marcus.
A presidential order stays in affect until it is cancelled by another presidential order.
An incoming president can, and often does cancel many such orders of his predecessor.

Reply to  Stephen Heins
May 29, 2016 2:50 pm

Herein lies the problem – Government is too small.
We need bigger and bigger governments.
“Don’t we Mr Marx?”
“Yes, Mr Lenin.”

Reply to  toorightmate
May 29, 2016 5:56 pm

…Any “government” is never too small !

Reply to  Stephen Heins
May 29, 2016 2:59 pm

Sad to say, but we must include the agency that was my home for nearly 40 years – the US Geological Survey (USGS)
Properly trained and experienced geologists ought to be the most innately skeptical of “Tipping Points” arguments and similar CAGW BS. The evidence for significant past climatic variation is widespread in sedimentology, sea-level change, paleobotany and paleontology, paleoclimatology, geochemical and isotopic proxy records for environmental change, etc., etc. Unfortunately, the lure of fame, reputation, and reward can overwhelm good scientific training, especially when leadership announces “winners” and losers in scientific debate.
The last two Interior Secretarys (lightweight Ken Salazar and goofball Sally Jewell – she of REI fame), coupled with two disastrous “diversity” USGS Directors (Marcia McNutt and Suzette Kimball) have contrived to reduce a formerly premier scientific agency into a propaganda mouthpiece for “catastrophic climate change, habitat destruction, species extinction” and many more flavors of doom-and-gloom
Glad I got out when I did.

Reply to  GeologyJim
May 30, 2016 1:01 am

It is sad that even when scientists are actually honest about data, studies, and the limitations of the two, they are frequently (always?) ignored by the big guys, who tend to be completely ignorant.

Reply to  GeologyJim
May 31, 2016 5:24 pm

Thanks for adding to the growing list of the agencies for the misbegotten.

Janice The American Elder
Reply to  Stephen Heins
May 29, 2016 4:17 pm

Department of Education

Reply to  Stephen Heins
May 29, 2016 5:06 pm

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention: Fighting the adoption of E-cigarettes and resolutely ignoring Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

george e. smith
Reply to  Stephen Heins
May 29, 2016 6:44 pm

Well I don’t see the creation of such agencies nor appointment (political) of their five member panels anywhere in Article I section 8 of the US Constitution.
Congress is authorized to write laws. They are elected by the people. Five member commissions are NOT elected by the people. They shouldn’t be writing laws.

george e. smith
Reply to  george e. smith
May 29, 2016 7:03 pm

By the way, I don’t have any philosophical objection to the Congress appointing five member commissions to write laws.
With one proviso of course. The Congress that appoints such a five member commission, should at the same time, name the five elected members of the Congress to be replaced by those five appointees.
No need for duplication that I can see. Either those Congress(wo)men or the appointed commissioners, are superfluous.
By the way.
The members of Congress are supposed to be running the Country (statutorially that is). They are not supposed to be funneling Federal resources to their favorite States.

Reply to  Stephen Heins
May 30, 2016 6:09 am

…and the political class criminals who have spent a life time safely enshrined in the bowels of Washington DC (RE: career politicians of every stripe) wonder why, “We the People,” are fed up with business as usual.
The number of “U.S. Government Departments and Agencies Working with the White House’s Environmental Agenda”…is nothing more than organized crime.

Tom Halla
May 29, 2016 11:59 am

Some politicians use science as a justification for what they want to do anyway, not as a constraint on what they propose. The only thing I can really state is psychology, criminology, and economics are even worse than climatology, as they are not really “science’ yet. Sometimes, it’s politics, all the way down.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 29, 2016 3:31 pm

Absolutely correct but what makes the present system so perverse is that the self important, self proclaimed scientists who fail to observe the standards and governing principles of good science are published! Our nice little climate car has been remade into a monster truck with no brakes! Where are the brakes? Proxy temps with one or two trees, single location ice cores, ship intake temperatures, obviously bogus UHI readings in the data, gaping holes in the models for water cycle values?
Where in hell is peer review? Where is the mechanism within this dismal corner of science for self recognition and correction?

Reply to  John Harmsworth
May 29, 2016 4:31 pm

…WUWT is the only “peer review” that can still be trusted.. Like Trump, Anthony cannot be bought !

Ron Clutz
May 29, 2016 12:08 pm

At the heart of the problem is the abuse of computer models, central in climatology but a perversion widespread in modern science. Michael Crichton had a focus on this in many of his novels, including State of Fear and Jurassic Park. Dr. Pfleiderer of Stanford has a penetrating essay:

Gary Pearse
May 29, 2016 12:09 pm

Tim, you speak from the vantage point of long experience, having seen the folly and rhetoric of the big cooling through to the folly of the big warming. That CAGW’s main supporters engage in manipulating data to fit the narrative is all the proof a sensible person needs to judge the dangerous climate change movement.
“All I know is the news is replete with claims of correlations implying cause and effect. It is undermining the credibility of science.”
A point I would like to make, however, is we have so hammered the “correlation is NOT causation” subject that I think the non-scientific reader has come to believe that it is virtually a damnation of a theory if elements of correlation can be found to support it. People interested in the subject will have no trouble with the idea that correlation in itself is not proof of causation, BUT it is nonetheless essential that correlation of legitimate elements is necessary to guide us to causation. We skeptics have so over done this caution about the two that we may have squeezed the juice out of the very valuable relationship between correlation and causation. Can we not rephrase it more completely to get the proper message across? The main thing wrong with the alarmist position is the use of incomplete thoughts.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
May 29, 2016 1:57 pm

” The main thing wrong with the alarmist position is the use of incomplete thoughts.”
because their abuse of language means what you call ‘thoughts’ do not correspond 1:1 with reality, which is termed ‘fantasy’ and the proper definition of ‘insanity’
and that’s how it became religion- as dr. Tim says:
“No wonder people are losing faith in science.”
– as if any scientific proposition were something to ‘believe in’ because there be no evidence.
heh- it’s a conspiracy to malnourish the zombies – but first, to bring about the apocalypse that makes everybody equal the only way it cculd ever happen (procrustes)

Reply to  Gary Pearse
May 29, 2016 2:15 pm

“The main thing wrong with the alarmist position is the use of incomplete thoughts.”
by ‘incomplete thoughts’, i suppose you mean ‘fantasies’, i.e., concepts that bear no 1:1 correspondence with reality. if that is what you mean, then it is the definition of ‘insanity’.
That’s how it comes to pass, as dr. Tim says: “No wonder people are losing faith in science.”
as of science were something to ‘believe in’ because there be no evidence – which is the definition of religion.
insanity is self correcting unless there is somebody to subsidize it.
this is how it is sustained and how it proliferates – it could not do so without faith that paying for it is somehow a moral virtue. That, of course, is insane.

Reply to  gnomish
May 29, 2016 3:38 pm

“something to ‘believe in’ because there be no evidence – which is the definition of religion.”
Where’s your evidence for that claim?
Could it be you accepted that “definition” because you like it?

Reply to  gnomish
May 29, 2016 5:08 pm

let me define ‘definition’ for you:
it is distinguishing characteristic(s) which must be met for the concept to be included in the set.
and now you know what distinguishes science from religion.
if you ever acquire the habit of defining your terms, then you can do more than semiotic tribal signaling.
that’s not today, though, is it?
you didn’t even know what a definition was – and you have proclaimed that you won’t use one unless it has emotional appeal for you.
that’s a definition of you, not words, not concepts, not logic, not reason.
and if i measure something in meters rather than feet, will you say my measurements are wrong because you don’t like them?
if you don’t like it, maybe that’s your source of self-loathing.

Reply to  gnomish
May 29, 2016 7:40 pm

I meant the sort of thing that appears in a dictionary, gnomish. Like this;
Simple Definition of religion
: the belief in a god or in a group of gods
: an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods
: an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group
Please note the absence of “something to ‘believe in’ because there be no evidence”, or anything like that . .

Reply to  gnomish
May 29, 2016 8:03 pm

please also note, John, how what you allege is a definition fails to distinguish between belief in what exists and what does not exist.
it excludes scientology, climatism, gaia worship, maoism, vegetarianism – in short, there are piles of ‘belief systems’ that do not involve gods or ceremonies and they nevertheless are religions because they accept premises that have no rational justification.
so be reasonable. if it fails to define, it can’t be a definition can it?
orwell knew all this and you also do if you put in the effort to reason it out.
i would bet that you will admit that if a belief is based solely on evidence it is science.
then, if you apply the little grey cells, you might ineluctably reason it out that a belief system that is not science is, in fact, religion.
i don’t expect you’ll do that. it’s really not easy to explain further without collateral implications you will likely find insulting – and there’s nothing for me to win.
probably best to just accept that everybody doesn’t have your faith – and some of us have no faith at all.

Reply to  gnomish
May 29, 2016 10:06 pm

“please also note, John, how what you allege is a definition fails to distinguish between belief in what exists and what does not exist.”
It’s not an alleged definition, sir. Yours is . .
“so be reasonable. if it fails to define, it can’t be a definition can it?”
It defines quite well, it seems to me . . It just doesn’t acknowledge you (or anyone else) as the supreme arbiter of what does and does not exist, it seems to me.
“i would bet that you will admit that if a belief is based solely on evidence it is science.”
Of course not . . One could believe all sorts of things based on evidence, but that does not make each and every such belief scientific. I believe I am discussing the definition of ‘religion’ with you, for an obvious example, and evidence is staring me (us) in the face, so to speak, but that don’t make it science.
Simple Definition of science
: knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation
: a particular area of scientific study (such as biology, physics, or chemistry) : a particular branch of science
: a subject that is formally studied in a college, university, etc.
(the Webster again)

Reply to  gnomish
May 30, 2016 12:08 am

..Johnknight….What “evidence” do you have, proving the existence of God ? I would really like to know it because my arse is getting sore, sitting on the fence !

Reply to  gnomish
May 30, 2016 2:16 pm

“What “evidence” do you have, proving the existence of God ?”
Well, none proving it in the impersonal/scientific sense, of course. Though my awareness of that sort of stuff kept me from dropping off that fence you now sit on, completely, for many years, it was what happened after I asked a God I did not believe existed, to change that (if it was what He wanted) which convinced me. In Book lingo, He stood at the door and knocked, I heard Him (faintly ; ) and when I invited Him in to sup with me, He did (to my utter amazement).
It wasn’t an all at once thing in my case . . rather a long series of “coincidences” that just kept happening. I could “rationalize” them as just coincidence, individually, the sort of thing we experience once in a blue moon . . but not every day for weeks on end. They involved that Book, which I hadn’t been very familiar with before, and didn’t think of as particularly important to my request when I made it . . There came a point where I realized I was looking forward to the next “interaction”, the next “lesson”, and I realized He had done what I asked.

Reply to  gnomish
May 30, 2016 5:45 pm

ja ja ja! i got out of here just in time before your confession about having conversations with invisibles.
and you think the pathological is loathsome.
Knock, knock, knockin at Heaven’s Gate, there’s your self loathing in one suppurating abscess.

Reply to  gnomish
May 30, 2016 6:10 pm

“ja ja ja! i got out of here just in time before your confession about having conversations with invisibles.”
Obviously not a true statement, gnomish …
“and you think the pathological is loathsome.’
No, I don’t. Many seem to come to understand that they are . . defective, and live out relatively normal lives, substituting learning/reasoning for natural inclinations. Others see normal folks as the defective ones, apparently, and themselves as more “evolved”.
(And, I have one child, who is according to her, devoid of empathy.)
“Knock, knock, knockin at Heaven’s Gate, there’s your self loathing in one suppurating abscess.”
Did you see that in your magical imagination, self-worshiper? ; )

Reply to  gnomish
May 31, 2016 12:16 pm

gnomish, unless you can provide evidence that God doesn’t exist, you really should just shut up.
All you are doing is proving that you are an intolerant bigot who can’t accept that people believe things that you don’t.

Reply to  gnomish
May 31, 2016 7:21 pm

holy crapsnacks, markw – you just flunked logic 101
evidence of nonexistence… lol – that’s so retarded.
what’s it like to be totally safe from zombies?

Reply to  gnomish
May 31, 2016 11:25 pm

While I can agree, gnomish, that evidence for things that don’t exist is not a truly reasonable request, I do wish this notion would taken to heart, so to speak, by many who effectively demand those who believe in a Creator God, come up with evidence of the non-existence of a multiverse, so as to render it a non-solution to the “fine tuned” universe problem, or for the non-existence of super-simple forms of life that could bridge the huge gap between chemical “soups” and such, and the simplest forms of life we can actually observe, which are far more i complex than anything humans can make . . etc.
It is tiring to hear people speak of there being no evidence for a Creator, when hypotheticals that would require evidence for the non-existence of various things to rebut, are used as if scientific explanations for things that defy real scientific explanation. I can understand not believing in a Creator, but speaking as though there is NO evidence that one might very well exist, is not (and never was) a rational proposition to me. I was what we used to call a strong agnostic for decades, but closing that door completely, so to speak, was never a truly reasonable option to my mind.

Mark - Helsinki
May 29, 2016 12:10 pm

Very good read, cheers Dr Ball
This turns my stomach:
“From: “Michael E. Mann”
To: Phil Jones ,???@geo.umass.edu, ???@ltrr.arizona.edu,???@gso.uri.edu,???@duke.edu
Subject: Re: Fwd: Soon & Baliunas
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2003 08:14:49 -0500
Cc: ???@uea.ac.uk,???@u.arizona.edu,???@ldeo.columbia.edu, ???@pages.unibe.ch,???@comcast.net,???@u.arizona.edu, ???@virginia.edu
Thanks Phil,
(Tom: Congrats again!)
The Soon & Baliunas paper couldn’t have cleared a ‘legitimate’ peer review process
anywhere. That leaves only one possibility–that the peer-review process at Climate
Research has been hijacked by a few skeptics on the editorial board. And it isn’t just De
Frietas, unfortunately I think this group also includes a member of my own department…
The skeptics appear to have staged a ‘coup’ at “Climate Research” (it was a mediocre
journal to begin with, but now its a mediocre journal with a definite ‘purpose’).
Folks might want to check out the editors and review editors:
In fact, Mike McCracken first pointed out this article to me, and he and I have discussed
this a bit. I’ve cc’d Mike in on this as well, and I’ve included Peck too. I told Mike that
I believed our only choice was to ignore this paper.
They’ve already achieved what they wanted–the claim of a peer-reviewed paper.
There is nothing we can do about that now, but
the last thing we want to do is bring attention to this paper, which will be ignored by the
community on the whole…
It is pretty clear that thee skeptics here have staged a bit of a coup, even in the
presence of a number of reasonable folks on the editorial board (Whetton, Goodess, …). My
guess is that Von Storch is actually with them (frankly, he’s an odd individual, and I’m
not sure he isn’t himself somewhat of a skeptic himself), and without Von Storch on their
side, they would have a very forceful personality promoting their new vision.
There have been several papers by Pat Michaels, as well as the Soon & Baliunas paper, that
couldn’t get published in a reputable journal.
This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the
“peer-reviewed literature”.
Obviously, they found a solution to that–take over a journal!
So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a
legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate
research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also
need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently
sit on the editorial board…
What do others think?
At 08:49 AM 3/11/2003 +000 ???, Phil Jones wrote:
Dear All,
Apologies for sending this again. I was expecting a stack of emails this morning
in response, but I inadvertently left Mike off (mistake in pasting) and picked up Tom’s
old address. Tom is busy though with another offspring ! I looked briefly at the paper last night and it is appalling – worst word I can think of today without the mood pepper appearing on the email ! I’ll have time to read more at the weekend as I’m coming to the US for the DoE CCPP meeting at Charleston. Added Ed, Peck and Keith A. onto this list as well. I would like to have time to rise to the bait, but I have so
much else on at the moment. As a few of us will be at the EGS/AGU meet in Nice, we should consider what to do there.
The phrasing of the questions at the start of the paper determine the answer they get.
They have no idea what multiproxy averaging does. By their logic, I could argue 1998 wasn’t
the warmest year globally, because it wasn’t the warmest everywhere.
With their LIA being
1300-1900 and their MWP 800-1300, there appears (at my quick first reading) no discussion of
synchroneity of the cool/warm periods.
Even with the instrumental record, the early and
late 20th century warming periods are only significant locally at between 10-20% of grid
Writing this I am becoming more convinced we should do something – even if this is
just to state once and for all what we mean by the LIA and MWP.
I think the skeptics will
use this paper to their own ends and it will set paleo back a number of years if it goes
I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it
until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor.
A CRU person is on the editorial board, but
papers get dealt with by the editor assigned by Hans von Storch.
Cheers Phil
Dear all, Tim Osborn has just come across this. Best to ignore probably, so don’t let it
spoil your day. I’ve not looked at it yet. It results from this journal having a number of
editors. The responsible one for this is a well-known skeptic in NZ. He has let a few papers
through by Michaels and Gray in the past. I’ve had words with Hans von Storch about this, but got
nowhere. Another thing to discuss in Nice !
Cheers Phil
X-Sender: ???@pop.uea.ac.uk
X-Mailer: QUALCOMM Windows Eudora Version 5.1
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2003 14:32:14 +000 ???
To: ???@uea
From: Tim Osborn
Subject: Soon & Baliunas
Dr Timothy J Osborn | phone: +44 ???
Senior Research Associate | fax: +44 ???
Climatic Research Unit | e-mail: ???@uea.ac.uk
School of Environmental Sciences | web-site:
University of East Anglia __________| [2]http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/~timo/
Norwich NR4 7TJ | sunclock:
UK | [3]http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/~timo/sunclock.htm
Prof. Phil Jones
Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 ???
School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 ???
University of East Anglia
Norwich Email ???@uea.ac.uk

So Michael E Mann is a conspiracy theorist, among other things I won’t mention

Bob M
May 29, 2016 12:13 pm

I used to blame the ease of data mining massive sql databases that came with the desktop revolution but it seems a lack of basic ethics must also be part of the reason.

Reply to  Bob M
May 29, 2016 12:39 pm

…Exactly Bob M, liberals have no morals or ethics, so they have no guidance to be better…I, being a non religious person, look for “guidance” from where ever I can trust it! From my friends and family I see Christianity as the best solution to most world wide problems…yet I will not fool myself into believing in an imaginary God !..Go figure ?

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 2:06 pm

it’s really quite impossible for a human being to have no morality or ethics.
on a desert island you need no ethics because that is morality applied to the relationship with other humans – but on a desert island you’d require morality for survival because morality is the science of choice.
so, you don’t know what they words you were using actually mean and therefore can not perform logic with them.
they do, most definitely have morality and ethics.
they just are the morality of death and the ethics of the parasite.
don’t imagine it’s mindless or random – it’s very well thought out and completely systematic.
what you discredit about them is what you, yourself, have become victim of- words that have no definition, ‘thoughts’ that can not be validated by logic.
you have ‘rationalization’ instead of reason- and that, my friend, is the nature of the problem you describe- it’s the same problem you have.

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 3:26 pm

…Wow, that’s some twisted logic.,…What’s scarier is that you could be right !!

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 4:26 pm

…Holy crap Gnomish…..I thought I was mean !! lol

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 4:46 pm

“it’s really quite impossible for a human being to have no morality or ethics.
I think that a naive . . belief. According to what I’ve read, when you show virtually any person an image of a suffering child, there is an immediate detectable physiological response . . but not in all persons. A small percentage are psychopathic, and lack the capacity for what we generally call empathy.
I highly suspect this explains a great deal of the “inhumanity” we can see in the world, past and present.

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 5:15 pm

“I think that a naive . . belief. According to what I’ve read, when you show virtually any person an image of a suffering child, there is an immediate detectable physiological response .”
and so, in your world of foggy, undefined notions, morality can be measured with a polygraph?
and do you suppose it’s instinctive?
and that humans who are not driven by instincts are pathological?
well, sir. you have done a good job of self diagnosis.

Jeff L
Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 5:22 pm

Marcus , that may be your experience but I have seen just as many morally bankrupt conservatives as liberals and I have seen as many moral liberals as conservatives and I have seen liberals with a strong faith in God and conservatives with no faith in God. Don’t confuse politics with faith. Correlation is not causation, right?

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 5:24 pm

heh- Marcus- i’m just not constrained to modify my thoughts lest they trigger somebody into a safe space.
if you think about it, indulging p.c. is mean as it gets. i call the practice ‘garden pathing’ and i only encourage such error in my enemies – for self defense, of course.
no, sir – i’m actually very kind and thoughtful and demonstrate as much by my intransigent devotion to truth.
that’s what’s good for humans to live with.
it’s a commentary on the state of civil discourse when truth is regarded as malice.
it is, of course, cruel (check the dictionary)
and John: the definition of faith is ‘acceptance of a concept as true WITH NO EVIDENCE validating it’
that’s how we can tell science (the pursuit of truth) from religion: faith is the distinguishing characteristic that does it.

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 5:47 pm

oh, boy… once upon a time i read the OED cover to cover – back in those days, dictionaries were prescriptive, i.e., they told how a word was to be used.
now, it seems, they’re all descriptive- trying to describe how a word is commonly used with no regard at all for the root etymology or logical self consistency…
the OED defines ‘cruel’ as
“Willfully causing pain or suffering to others, or feeling no concern about it:”
and the original part “feeling no concern about whether it causes pain or suffering” was the operative definition i was using.
to be sure, though, i’m not going to entertain any argument that words cause pain or suffering or that ideas cause pain and suffering – indeed, anybody who tries to claim pain and suffering because of an idea or a statement i am most likely inclined to regard as a simple pussy. that’s not something worth of the slightest respect. so eff em.

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 8:04 pm

“and so, in your world of foggy, undefined notions, morality can be measured with a polygraph?”
Simple Definition of psychopath
: a person who is mentally ill, who does not care about other people, and who is usually dangerous or violent
“well, sir. you have done a good job of self diagnosis.”

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 8:34 pm

well, i guess you are not ever gonna see what i mean, John.
when you say morality is based on a physiological reaction to an image- well, you are confronting me with an impenetrable wall of stupid. it means that reason can not prevail.
in short, you are declaring war on reason and that makes you an enemy of rationality and that makes you impossible to deal with except by force.
there’s a reason why it is impossible to explain the nature of stupidity to somebody who is stupid but i bet you will never guess what that is because…. schwa… doesn’t matter. it will only shatter your bliss.
and there’s nothing in it for me, little mercenary that i am – whatever i do i expect something good to come out of it or why bother.
have a magical day.

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 8:59 pm

My brother wrote a book report on the dictionary while in high school. His critique noted the wide range of vocabulary, the non-existent character development and the sketchy plot.

Reply to  Marcus
May 29, 2016 9:34 pm

“when you say morality is based on a physiological reaction to an image- well, you are confronting me with an impenetrable wall of stupid.”
I didn’t say that . .
“in short, you are declaring war on reason and that makes you an enemy of rationality and that makes you impossible to deal with except by force.”
Oh . . I seem to have touched a nerve, so to speak . .

Reply to  Marcus
May 30, 2016 9:56 am

JohnKnight May 29, 2016 at 4:46 pm wrote:
““it’s really quite impossible for a human being to have no morality or ethics.”
JohnKnight: ” According to what I’ve read, when you show virtually any person an image of a suffering child, there is an immediate detectable physiological response . . but not in all persons. A small percentage are psychopathic, and lack the capacity for what we generally call empathy.”
The last number I saw was that about 10 percent of any group of humanity you see are psychopathic.
That makes sense. About 10 percent of Muslims are radical, murderous terrorists. If you were a serial killer, the Islamic Terror Army would be perfect for you.
The bad thing about psychopaths is you can’t tell them from normal people many times. You have to wait until they go nuts before you can be sure.

Reply to  Marcus
May 30, 2016 4:08 pm

Well, ten percent being psychopathic coincides with what I’ve read too, but that is higher than the percent of what I will call “true” psychopaths. That, I’ve seen estimated at about two percent at birth, and another two or so due to illness or psychological trauma in infancy. They literally lack empathy for anyone, whereas other folks become what I’ll call functionally psychopathic, which renders them insensitive to the suffering of some other people. I suppose what one might call “radicalized”.
Some in the military can slip into that state apparently, when they have become convinced they are fighting . . monsters, essentially. While many others seem to retain a sense of empathy for those they attack/kill, even as they do so . . and can, according to people I have discussed this with personally, become sort of enraged at their “targets” for forcing them to do harm to them . . and other forms of emotional distress/disorientation at being obliged to kill, against their will, so to speak.

ken h
May 29, 2016 12:36 pm

Middle ages book banning is now in effect now in Oregon where the Portland school board has unanimously banned all books that dare to suggest that there is any doubt that man is the cause of climate change:
“The resolution passed Tuesday evening calls for the school district to get rid of textbooks or other materials that cast doubt on whether climate change is occurring and that the activity of human beings is responsible.”

Jeff L
Reply to  ken h
May 29, 2016 5:17 pm

At yet liberal Oregonians are so proud of their “open minds” -only open if it agrees with their dogma

Reply to  Jeff L
May 29, 2016 11:10 pm

The intolerant liberal left are only tolerant if you agree with them !

Reply to  ken h
June 1, 2016 10:08 am

I expect they’ll soon be sued for 1st ammendment violations. Yhey’ve just cost they’re town plennty of money. It the locals have any sense, they’ll toss the lot of them and repeal the mandate before that happens.

Donald Kasper
May 29, 2016 12:51 pm

Too much lack of understanding is substituted with conspiracy theories. The purpose of science is to build conceptual models that accurately predict our natural world. These constructs do not have to be computer models. If something I observe that is X strongly predicts something Y, I do not care if X causes Y. That is a social value to X. What I care about is that X predicts Y and I can measure X. For correlation coefficient values, the assumption already is y = f(x). X is independent in that we do not know why it varies. Y is dependent on X. Statistics is not designed to correlate independent variables, it is designed to correlate dependent, causative relationships. y = mx + b fit to a line is one form of y = f(x). If the correlation coefficient is over 0.7, then it is an interesting relationship that is strongly linked, where we have already concluded they are related causatively. Notice that the Al Gore Arctic sea ice prediction was based on parabolic curve fit with X = time and Y = ice extent or volume. This is done today at the PIOMASS web site, fit to a line. Al Gore did not know that time does not make ice, neither do the PIOMASS “scientists”, and therefore the linear fit and correlation coefficient has no meaning. Note all climate predictions of doom of our time are based on X = time, which means that they don’t know what is causing Y. if you graph X = CO2 at Mauna Loa, and Hadcrut 4 for temperature, then you have actually tried to fit y = f(x). That correlation coefficient is 0.34, which is random noise. This settles the correlation. Overlaying trends of time series with Powerpoint is done so that two values which are independent, such as CO2 and global temperature, have an illusion of correlation. Then the correlation coefficient is omitted, because it shows the relationship is random. So if we go back to CO2 and Arctic sea ice, the correlation is strong, over 0.7, inversely related. So far so good for predicting death and doom. But alas, the trend stops at 380 ppm and flatlines. This is a stopping point. A stopping point is a point at which injection of a reactant source no longer produces a resulting reaction. Further, to get this correlation, we have to use a parabolic fit, so we see two CO2 values for an ice extent value, so that such a construct is not predictive, and not sufficient for purposes of public policy. Time does not make sea level, does not make ice, does not make hurricanes, does not make rain, and does not make El Ninos.

Reply to  Donald Kasper
May 29, 2016 1:28 pm

Unreadable. Use paragraphs.

Mark - Helsinki
Reply to  MRW
May 29, 2016 1:49 pm

Not it’s not, it’s quite easy to read actually, I’ve read longer. Pay attention lad :p

Reply to  MRW
May 29, 2016 2:37 pm

But paragraphs would improve readability.
In my opinion.
Happy Holidays.

Reply to  MRW
May 29, 2016 2:52 pm

MRW – lucky you’re not in the legal profession.
They write single sentences which cover numerous pages!!!!
And are unintelligible.

Reply to  MRW
May 29, 2016 4:32 pm

You’re right, tooright. But at least legal docs are double-spaced.
Try reading Kasper’s comment on an iPhone or iPad.
What’s wrong with adding paragraphs?
Web usability stats say two (to three) sentences per spaced paragraph increase readability by over 100%, especially if the info is complex or the author is intent that his writing is read. Can’t remember the guy’s name but he was a usability expert at SUN and started publishing his research in 1996. First name started with “J.”
These weren’t wild guesses. They were the result of exhaustive clinical research performed with eye-tracking machines and other whatever. People don’t read screens the same way they read a page in a book.
I have the same problem with kindle ebooks or any ebook, unless you create it yourself from a PDF. The ebook conversion software is still in the dark ages and follows print layout convention, which indents paragraphs and provides no leading between paragraphs.

Reply to  MRW
May 29, 2016 5:00 pm

…What do you call 50 lawyers on the bottom of the Great Lakes…..
A good start !

Reply to  MRW
May 30, 2016 5:52 am

However, whatever, reading through Kaspar’s long paragraph is worth the effort. Pretend that lumping by paragraphs is rocks in the stream of his thought and you can follow the flow, buckle up, though.

Reply to  Donald Kasper
May 29, 2016 1:44 pm

“The purpose of science is to build conceptual models that accurately predict our natural world.”
I beg to differ. The purpose of science is to understand our natural world.
I could not describe the effort in the last couple of centuries alone, dedicated to elucidating the mechanism of a causative action. The compelling need to understand why things do what they do has been one of the great motivating forces in science.
As for the rest of it, spoken like a true statistician. All consideration for correlation, none for causation.
I do not mean to disparage your point of view. Indeed, your approach can be most useful when exploring a new area where causative agents are as yet unknown.

Mark - Helsinki
Reply to  Donald Kasper
May 29, 2016 1:52 pm

Steve and others often point out that some of these people have no idea about statistical analysis.
The correlations are indeed short, obfuscation and omission are the tools of the trade now.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Donald Kasper
May 29, 2016 2:58 pm

Yeah, it kinda reads like a blow to the head but it is coherent. Correlation is useful when it has predictive power- AGW theory doesn’t. Correlation is an observed pattern that is often the starting point for science to pry for the causative “why”. Correlation is not an end or an answer. Psychics base their baloney on correlation and homeopaths hope for it. It should barely raise eyebrows in science.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Donald Kasper
May 29, 2016 3:25 pm

MRW, you miss nothing you don’t already know.
And too, coordinates are misstated as variables –
‘Time does not make sea level, does not make ice, does not make hurricanes, does not make rain, and does not make El Ninos.’

Reply to  Donald Kasper
May 29, 2016 5:39 pm

“Too much lack of understanding is substituted with conspiracy theories.”
Perhaps, but that in no logical sense I can even imagine, makes it rational to believe people can’t, or don’t, conspire. It pains me to see apparently otherwise rational people act like there is some magical force that prevents conspiracy . . I mean, it makes me wonder if the speaker is not hopelessly brainwashed.

May 29, 2016 1:29 pm

Great article.

May 29, 2016 1:39 pm

NASA keeps ruining it’s reputation this time about models of asteroids.
Note the response from NASA at the end of the article. They complain that they don’t know the code so they can’t tell where he’s wrong…Of course they know he’s wrong.
Also it is this last quote that make influential physicists side against NASA

May 29, 2016 1:51 pm

Dr. Ball, this essay was one of your best and one of the best essays ever posted here in my humble opinion. Thanks for the effort.

An example of the problem of correlation occurred recently on TV screen when a medical doctor was asked about the research evidence for a claim about the relationship between two phenomena. The interviewer clearly wanted to know about the cause/effect proof. The doctor replied that there was an “association” between them. Did the doctor know that this is just another word for correlation and that it must not be substituted for cause and effect? Who knows? All I know is the news is replete with claims of correlations implying cause and effect. It is undermining the credibility of science.

You led off with the biggest sin, that of using correlation to sell one’s biased opinion. In grad school, one of my math professors told me that during the high period of inflation the kindergarten teacher’s salaries skyrocketed. During that same period, the price of strong drink, especially fine Bourbon, rose drastically. He asked if we believed the rise in Bourbon price was due to the kindergarten teachers.
I am thinking that no one should be allowed to practice statistics in science or even utter the word “correlation” or “association” unless they have passed an introductory course in statistics designed by William M. Briggs. (or someone he approves of) .
By the way, posters on this very thread have shown amazing ignorance about recent history. By taking only part of the story they weave “proof” that their biased nationalism is justified. Until one reads both the “court historians” and the other historians, one is most likely to be the victim of propaganda rather than one holding the truth. As an aside, I had a close relative who was part of the planning staff for the Vietnam war. I was at times privy to what was really happening over there and compared that to official statements by our government. Anyone wonder why I never believe the state or the lapdog media?
I think getting the facts wrong is the main error we make. Misusing the facts we do have is the second of the main errors. Believing garbage just because a computer spits it out is probably in the top three.
~ Mark

Mark - Helsinki
Reply to  markstoval
May 29, 2016 1:55 pm

The problem is correlations within the same system. The system and all it’s mechanisms must be defined and reproduced.
We know this is not the case. We are missing mechanisms, others are fudged, and the system boundaries are not defined, this is the great failing of models

Mark - Helsinki
Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
May 29, 2016 1:58 pm

When I say system boundaries, I mean the actual system they are attempting to recreate.

Mark - Helsinki
Reply to  markstoval
May 29, 2016 1:56 pm

Try explaining that to modelers, and watch the cognitive dissonance set in

Reply to  markstoval
May 29, 2016 4:41 pm

My own favourite is the well-known correlation between hemlines and economic activity in the twentieth century. Short skirts – booming economy. Long skirts – depression (economic as well as masculine).
But JoNova has discovered that the true cause of global warming is the U.S. Post Office. She has discovered that temperatures rise in lockstep with American postal charges.

Reply to  RoHa
May 29, 2016 5:04 pm

…And white male depression rises in correlation with length of the skirt !

don penman
May 29, 2016 1:56 pm

Science should have precise definitions and predictions are only useful in testing ideas .The various types of surfaces are the earths land surface which remains static , the sea surface which is more mobile and the atmosphere at the earths surface which is very mobile and does not indicate the warming of the surface at the place we are measuring the air temperatures .I would like a precise definition of 3 degrees as being cold, mild or warm it cannot be relative to the time of year or where the reading is measured ,it is not even relative to the readings we have taken in previous years. you cannot teach people when and where 3 degrees centigrade is cold or mild or warm and then use it as an objective measure. The predictions made by models do not serve any scientific purpose they only fuel global warming hysteria.

FJ Shepherd
May 29, 2016 2:00 pm

Dr. Ball, it was a great article. However, you may be too rational and balanced for some. I found your perspective rather refreshing though.

May 29, 2016 2:33 pm

As usual, in his very clear way, Dr. Tim Ball goes straight to the heart of the problem and shows all the manifestations of the Grande Malaise that has invaded all of ‘Science’ over the last 50 years. It is a great read.

Reply to  ntesdorf
May 29, 2016 2:59 pm


Mark - Helsinki
Reply to  ntesdorf
May 29, 2016 3:30 pm

True that.
Unfortunately many see scientists as some pure breed of truth seeking humans and have no idea about science the institution.
When the whole room stood up and cheered at CERN re the HIggs Boson, it made me wonder. NO skepticism whatsoever in that room.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
May 29, 2016 3:41 pm

We’re all getting a good look around the sausage factory now and it’s making me sick! The science community needs to speak out about purpose and practise before this contamination spreads. Politically motivated people are ready and completely willing to subvert any branch of science that does not protect it’s principles.

May 29, 2016 3:13 pm

Lack of ethics. Note the people who ran World Com, Enron, Sunbeam, Scott Paper . The position they held put them into an elite class of highly paid people to begin with. They didn’t have to do anything except run the company well. What was their reasoning? It wasn’t me!! It was the accountant? They think they live in a different universe where laws don’t apply to them. Gravity however, ” is a heartless … ” . ” IF I have to explain it to you, you won’t understand it” is the start of every great con. Trust me.

May 29, 2016 3:46 pm

Tim Ball started his lead post with,
“Scientists lost the scientific script somewhere in the 20th century. The major loss involved the fact that correlation is not cause and effect. It was lost for several reasons: . . .”

I think none of his 8 bulleted reasons are why irrational/subjective philosophies of science became academically established in most major universities starting in the late 19th and grew to dominance by the late 20th century; thus displacing objective philosophies of science in the process.
There is only one reason that happened. It happened due to acceptance of the completely irrational dual reality philosophy of Immanuel Kant. It happened because of Kant’s theory of an epistemology dichotomy between: 1) a pragmatic limited reality arbitrarily revealed to humans that Kant said we might gain an imperfect and limited knowledge of; and 2) a higher truer reality human cannot know by human reasoning and study but which determines the essential nature of reality and determine the basis human existence/life.
That theory establishes that any totally subjective derived unknowable claims of the ‘higher truer reality’ can used to completely justify guiding human scientific process to ‘higher truer real’ solutions versus letting mere observation based knowledge of this world we live in be used for knowledge.
Note: some would maintain that it was David Hume’s ideas that Kant was trying to oppose with his epistemological dichotomy theory, maybe but Hume by himself could not have unseated objective philosophies of science like Kant did. It was Kant.

Reply to  John Whitman
May 29, 2016 4:05 pm

Kant was very rarely stable and a pissant, according to this documentary:

Reply to  PiperPaul
May 29, 2016 5:46 pm

…Well, that was the most useless, unprecedented and intolerable presentation that I have ever witnessed ! sarc off…on ?

May 29, 2016 4:28 pm

I just read and searched on Google the salt “link’, interesting reading, such differences on the “results” of these new studies. Scientific American’s and Hartford Medical’s takes are the complete opposite of each other! Who do we believe in matters like these? Both are respected in research, both are convinced in their “interpretation”, but neither willing to concede that “we just don’t know.”. And this seems to me a lot less complicated than climate. Science should have more “we think” than “we know”.

Reply to  DAS
May 29, 2016 4:32 pm

Harvard Medical, not Hartford, sorry.

Reply to  DAS
May 30, 2016 1:28 am

WaPo actually had a pretty good article about nutritional science studies when the contradictory study was published. It explained the limitations of many of the studies, and threw back the curtain to a degree about how research design affects results. My favorite: the pioneering study that “revealed” how bad fats (especially saturated) are, made a fatal error. The population that was so much healthier, that had such a great diet, limiting all those animal fats? It reported that limited diet because the study was done during LENT. The actual non-Lent diet included plenty of verboten foods eaten by less healthy populations. However, the study became gospel, and contradictory studies often got buried or dismissed.
Gee, where have I seen a similar pattern determining the “settled science”?

Alan Ranger
May 29, 2016 4:30 pm

“Day by day the public are fed a steady diet of correlations linking an endless series of unsubstantiated events. Many of them trigger policy, political or financial opportunism, and a multitude of regulations giving control of people to politicians and faceless bureaucrats.”
Consider also this example, from Australia’s worst prime minister since records began:
“And while you would not put any one event down to climate change … we do know that over time as a result of climate change we are going to see more extreme weather events.”
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/prepare-for-more-scorchers-gillard-warns-20130107-2ccve.html#ixzz4A5fiKNoW

Michael Carter
May 29, 2016 4:40 pm

I lay most of the blame on thesis supervisors. Many are hell-bent on becoming a professor through weight of publications. They milk students work to publish papers originating out of this work
“Publish or perish” is their catch-cry

Reply to  Michael Carter
May 29, 2016 5:08 pm

…Yes, the educational profession has created it’s own monster !

May 29, 2016 4:43 pm

Dr. Tim Ball said…” The enemy, as always, is within, but so is the solution.”…This is absolutely true, but only Conservatives seem to understand that ! Liberals seem to believe that their “view of the world” is the only one that matters..,personally, as an Agnostic fool, I prefer freedom for all !

Robert B
May 29, 2016 5:18 pm

The feminist glaciology paper is a clue to where it all went wrong. There is not much doubt that people have been rewarded for doing some other, off-the-books work with comfortable jobs in the public service and universities. I suspect that this paper, rather than being a joke, was the result of the academics knowing that they didn’t get the job because of their intellectual ability.
As the numbers of such academics swells, then it becomes harder to research for real when everything is highly dependent on appreciation of your point of view from your peers. Science is dead if those peers are there because they toed the line and their conclusions were not dictated to them by the evidence.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
May 29, 2016 5:29 pm

Blind application of statistics is also as bad as that those cited by Tm Bal. In fact I presented a paper on this in 90s. At that time computer softwares are freely available on statistical applications, everybody started presenting their data by subjecting linear correlation without looking at the data in detail or the concentration point of data. In fact this was highlighted by WMO in its 1966 manual on climate change.
Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

May 29, 2016 5:30 pm

you can’t rewind nature and run it under controlled conditions to compute the kind of experimental correlation that implies causation. in nature all you have is field data.
a correlation in field data does not imply causation all by itself but of course it may be used as one of many factors to propose the possibility of a causal relationship. but to do that the correlation must be strong and reliable. the correlation between cumulative emissions and cumulative warming is strong but it is not reliable because correlations between cumulative values are spurious.

Reply to  chaamjamal
May 29, 2016 10:12 pm

Lucia de Berk was wrongly convicted of 7 murders and 3 attempted murders because of autocorrelation and the further abuse of statistics by a law psychologist. *There were no murders and no murder attempts.*

Kaiser Derden
May 29, 2016 5:46 pm

but they don’t even have correlation … CO2 and temperatures do not correlate in the 20th century …

Reply to  Kaiser Derden
May 29, 2016 5:48 pm

CO2 and temperatures do not correlate in the last 200 centuries …

Scott Scarborough
May 29, 2016 7:04 pm

Already a boat load of comments! I just want to say that this is the best I have ever read of Dr. Ball’s writings.

Morley Sutter
May 29, 2016 7:13 pm

The Curse of Correlations
Mythology is filled with what might be called disguised or devilish curses. I suggest that in modern times we too have such a curse: seeking correlations and widely reporting them.
An example of a devilish and disguised curse in Greek mythology involved Cassandra who could foretell the future but no one believed what she described. She was cursed by not being believed. But was it not marvelous that she could see into the future? The curse was disguised by having this super power; the devil was the result of having it.
And then, there is the supposedly Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times. This is a disguised curse in which the word “interesting” is devilishly ambivalent.
A very common disguised and potentially devilish curse in our society is the widespread and repeated reporting in the news media of observations that say: “X is linked to Y”. “Linked” is a euphemism for correlated and is interpreted by many as causation. This mistake leads to a great deal of confusion.
The use of computers and computerized records allows many observational studies to be performed and widely publicized. Such studies are a potential benefit but can provide only clues but no conclusions. More importantly, the intellectual hazard of confusing correlation with causation can transform the communication of these observations into a curse.
Correlation is when two events appear to be related to one another. The question then arises whether the event that occurred first has caused the second. A classical, simple example is when the rooster crows at sun rise. Does the crow of the rooster cause the sun to rise? Our ancestors had a Latin phrase to describe the sequence: “Post hoc, ergo propter hoc” (After this, therefore because of this). When the first event is presumed to cause the second, but does not, this logical error is called “a post-hoc fallacy”.
Every textbook or course on reasoning, philosophy, or statistics emphasizes that: “Correlation does not equal causation” or “Correlation does not prove causation”.
Yet equating correlation with causation permeates our daily life. It bedevils journalism and public debate. The potential consequences are confused thinking, irrational argument and wrong-headed decisions.
Causality cannot be demonstrated by observation alone except in very special circumstances namely, when testing and verifying models. Interventional experiments otherwise are required. If the suspected causal agent is altered and the expected result no longer occurs, this is reasonable evidence that the first event was responsible for the second. On the other hand, if the rooster is killed for the pot and the sun still comes up, this is good evidence that the crow of that rooster did not cause the sun to come up. This sounds absurd but consider when sacrifices of humans or animals were made by the ancients to ensure a good harvest. Would one dare stop the practice to see whether a good harvest still ensued?
We might laugh at our ancestors who believed that the night air was dangerous to breathe, that it caused associated illness. This is the root of our word malaria (bad air), a group of diseases that we now know are caused by a parasite transmitted by night-time mosquitoes. However, consider how many of our problems and illnesses are reported to be “linked” to something else. Current examples are: Brain tumours possibly linked to cell phone usage; Heart attacks linked to stress; Heart attacks linked to fat intake; Childhood obesity linked to watching television; Global warming linked to carbon dioxide and so on. Definitive proof of a causal relationship between any of these paired phenomena is lacking yet all are reported as if they are causally related. We do not know which ones are and which ones are not. This is a modern hidden, devilish curse – the curse of correlation, its widespread reportage, inferring causation and the inevitable ensuing confusion.

May 29, 2016 7:18 pm

Something is true, false, or you do not know. Telling the truth is easy. Determining what is true often is not that easy. It helps if you now what is true to start with. I have encountered many carefully crafted and organized lies.
For example, a person wearing a white lab coat working for the EPA states that x thousand of ‘pregnant women and children’ are at risk for harm from mercury from coal power plants based on a report from the CDC. Having read the CDC report I knew, based on blood and hair samples, that no ‘pregnant women and children’ above the threshold of harm.
Using the word ‘risk’ makes it a carefully crafted lie. Everybody is at risk for everything. However, harm is a result of exposure which can be measured by hair and blood samples.
The evidence that it was an organized lie came from the Washington State Department of Ecology. A warning was issued for ‘pregnant women and children’ not to eat fish from state waters. Since we only have one coal plant, I thought blaming coal was odd. I read the report. The source if two lakes was not from coal and it had been insignificant for years.
If your repeat a lie often, it is true for many people. I am often called a troll because but not provided evidence that I am wrong.
I have a hard time at WUWT finding people that are good at telling the truth. Let me check, who can a catch a lie in my next post.

Reply to  Retired Kit P
May 29, 2016 7:22 pm

You lie?

Reply to  Retired Kit P
May 29, 2016 7:22 pm

Partial list of liars.
Dr. Tim Ball when he opened with “Scientists lost the scientific script somewhere in the 20th century.” Lie. An absurd lie at that. I have known and worked with many scientist. For several years, my job was to fact check what scientist wrote and ensure the were following the scientific method. If the qualifier some ‘some’ scientist had been used I would have agreed.
Marcus writes, “the problem is….liberal progressives have no morals or ethics !” Lie. An absurd lie at that. Clergy in my church are often liberals progressive and they are both very moral and ethical. However, I would not count on them to know first aid.
Jeff L talks about ‘strong preconceived ideas’. I do not know that Jeff is lying because I that is not my field of study. Sounds like BS but Jeff could explain why I am wrong. Are you a strong preconceived ideas expert?
Clyde S writes “The end always justifies the means.” Not true, usually spoken by someone not smart enough to figure how to do it right.
George e lies when he writes, ‘Congress uses the 18 clause of Article I section 8 to write any law they feel like writing.’ This an interesting tactic of liars. Change the subject. We were talking about scientist, now we have included included politicians.
I certainly like congress to passing laws that lead to regulations rather than POTUS doing it by decree.

Reply to  Retired Kit P
May 29, 2016 7:26 pm

You said you would lie in you next post. That was your next post, you lied in it according your own statement. I won’t read it because you said you would lie in it.

Robert B
Reply to  Retired Kit P
May 29, 2016 8:44 pm

The “97% consensus” is a lie. Ball’s little bit of hyperbole, along with the others, are hardly lies when its not going to mislead.

Reply to  Retired Kit P
May 30, 2016 12:54 am

..Well RKP, that was definitely the most useless rant I have ever read at WUWT !! Thanks for wasting my time….

Reply to  Retired Kit P
May 31, 2016 12:25 pm

Like most liberals, he gets upset when you tell the truth about liberals.

Reply to  Retired Kit P
May 29, 2016 8:11 pm

As you have already falsely accused me of lying based on your own assumptions, and accused others of lying as well, I cannot take you seriously. I think you have a hang-up. When you bump into things that annoy you, it would be more polite to ask for clarification rather than toss accusations around. Now you’re accusing most of WUWT’s readership/commenters of not being “good at telling the truth”? WTF?

Reply to  A.D. Everard
May 29, 2016 10:06 pm

The gist of the essay is that all scientist have an agenda that prevents them from telling the truth written by someone with an agenda. Simple put everyone’s a liar but him.
A.D. is upset because I come right to the point and bluntly label some as liars. I am not trying to be polite, I am trying to make the point of contering junk science is accomplish by carefully telling the truth.
A.D. assumption is that I am wrong. I will be glad to evaluate the most truthful post as judged by others. WTFO

Reply to  A.D. Everard
May 29, 2016 10:31 pm

I am not upset in the least. Did you expect me to be?
You said “I have a hard time at WUWT finding people that are good at telling the truth.” It seems to me that you were suggesting that most people here are stupid, another accusation you fling about freely. You presume to know the thoughts and minds of others and then on that basis, you proceed to judge them poorly. The people who come here are very smart, they know lies when they hear them and they can smell BS a mile away. They are very aware of what’s going on around them, more so than most I would say.
We all come here because we don’t like the li