The "expert" fallacy: The stark differences between MD's and PhD's

Guest opinion by Leo Goldstein

One of the most popular alarmist arguments is likening the “consensus climate scientists”  to medical doctors.  For example, this essay on “climate denial” from Andrew Winston at medium.com took part in the bashing of recently hired climate skeptic Brett Stevens at the NYT, saying:

Imagine your doctor tells you that you have dangerously high cholesterol and blocked arteries. She says you may drop dead soon. [Note: Based on comments/questions, I should clarify here. By “doctor”, I mean the entire medical establishment. So imagine you got not just a “second opinion,” but 100 opinions…and 97 say the same thing].You might have four basic reactions based on two dimensions, belief (or doubt) in the basic facts/science, and whether you commit to action or delay.

Refutation of this fallacy is confounded by the fact that there are two distinct problems: miscommunication of science and the intentional corruption of science. The former one has persisted for over 30 years while the latter one became noticeable in the late 90’s and has been growing ever since.

Most climate alarmists’ knowledge of science comes from TV shows like “The Big Bang Theory.”  But the differences between the relationships they have with medical doctors and the ones they have with putative climate scientists can be easily explained even to them.

1. A medical doctor is a highly-qualified professional.  Medical doctors must successfully complete a medical school, spend 3-7 years in residency actually treating patients, and be licensed by a state medical board composed mostly of proven doctors.

In contrast, anybody can call him- or herself a scientist and speak on behalf of science.  There are no licensing or certification requirements.  Enviro-activists and certain media personalities have been abusing this freedom for decades.  Unfortunately, a terminal degree and affiliation with a formerly prestigious university or institution cannot serve as evidence that a person is a scientist.

2. A medical doctor is accountable.  A doctor would lose patients or be fired if his or her advice isn’t sound.  A doctor can also be sued by a dissatisfied patient.  In a number of cases, doctors have been indicted.

A putative climate scientist can hardly even be criticized.  Remember how a mere investigation of the misconduct by Michael Mann caused pandemonium.  News media shouted about infringement of academic freedom (although the Constitution does not provide for any academic privileges, and the Article I, Section 9 might be interpreted to explicitly prohibit grant of such privileges).  Nevertheless, perceived academic immunity is widely abused by con scientists and leftist operatives in universities and research institutions.

3. Patients have direct bidirectional communication with their doctor.  “Direct” means that the patient usually speaks face-to-face with the doctor.  “Bi-directional” means the patient can ask the doctor questions and get answers.  Very few accept TV personalities’ talk as real medical advice.

The so-called “climate science” is usually communicated to the public in third person point of view like “The scientists say that …”, “Majority of peer-reviewed articles conclude …”, and even “Models show that …” These used to be typical introductory clauses before statements about alleged climate dangers.  Recently, climate alarmists dropped those qualifying statements together with any pretense for honesty.  They are actors, media personalities, politicians, and other people who are as far from science as one can be.  Communication with “climate science communicators” is always one-sided.  When faced with non-rehearsed questions they assuredly fail, causing laughs among climate realists.

4. One takes initiative to seek a doctor, rather than the other way around. Any unsolicited email offering a medical procedure or a wonder pill is sent straight to the spam folder.

But climate alarmism promoters always come unsolicited!  That started with James Hansen, who made a front page article in the NY Times in 1981 while the possibility of future harm from carbon dioxide release was being considered by the Carbon Dioxide Assessment Committee.  After that, every time real scientists rejected alarm in scientific proceedings, the environmentalists invited themselves to the media and shouted about impending catastrophe that could only be avoided if we repented and did whatever they told us to do.  Then, they chased out most real scientists from climate-related research and declared that there is scientific consensus in favor of alarmism.

5. Doctors do not demand patients to trust them.  They earn their trust.

Climate alarmists demand trust because they have earned mistrust.

I would like to finish by paraphrasing Edmund Burke:

Alleged science looks for defense from Washington when it fails in the real world.

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PiperPaul

Does an MD take a marker and draw things on your X-rays and then point them out to prove you need surgery?

Duncan

Likewise, does he change your X-rays from twenty years earlier to remove evidence of cancer just to show the current cancer is worse than expected? Then stating the reason for the adjustment was because all the other patients at that time had worst cancer than you, so it needed to be adjusted down to bring it line with other patients?

+10!

benofhouston

Actually, it was a dry erase marker, they were broken bones in my wrist, and yes, he did.

gnomish

absolutely the doctor explains what is seen on the x-ray or the cat scan.
it’s only witchdoctors that demand faith, ffs.

richard

Does a doctor estimate your temperature and then for good measure add on a few tenths of a degree.

john harmsworth

Or tell you your temperature used to be 90 F and at the rate it’s going up it will kill you within a decade! Or that it’s 98.6 but it’s too high when you know it’s been 99.2 in the past without any ill effects! Garbage and anti-science activism!

Jer0me

Or decide that your temperature is 2 degrees higher because someone in a nearby country had a fever?

Hoyt Clagwell

Or does the doctor take the temperature of two other people in the waiting room and just use use averaging and infilling to decide what your temperature is?

Pop Piasa

Perhaps PP should have said “Does an MD predict you could get appendicitis in the future and then point this out to prove you need surgery now?”

Jim Gorman

This is exactly what would happen if MD’s followed the precautionary rule. They would also recommend breast removals, colons, placing stints, and anything you can think of because of future problems that MIGHT happen!

Sheri

There is a current practice followed by some women to have pre-emptive mastectomies if they have a specific gene (BRCA1 and BRCA2). Some research says the chances for getting breast cancer if you have these genes is very high. It’s not exactly the precautionary principle, because there is evidence involved, not just “it might happen”.

Duster

If you look into the annals of unreplicable science and unverifiable results, peer-reviewed medical papers are actually right up there at the top the list, ahead of climate “science.” In fact, the entire “cholesterol is bad for you” campaign is a serious distortion of the actual best practice. Medical advice to avoid sunburn – not entirely a bad thing, in combination with the low-cholesterol movement has lead to an increase in Rickets in the US. You need to take in, or produce cholesterol to manufacture Vitamin D3, and there are only a very limited set of means to do this. Neither high SPF factor sun screen and dense body coverings nor low fat, vegetarian diets are on the list. In fact the two practices mutually reinforce inadequate D3 levels. It’s maybe less serious for adults, but in young children it seriously and adversely effects bone development.
This article:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12494313
discusses this in a somewhat bone headed fashion. The available archaeological evidence indicates that individual skeletal health deteriorated with an increased dependence on agriculture. Population numbers increased at the expense of a high quality diet as carbohydrates (grass seeds mainly) were substituted for a merely adequate diet. The authors waffle and misunderstand “stone tools,” suggesting that evidence of plants in the diet is lost through time and decay but that “stone tools” used to process animals are preserved biasing our view of the past. In fact, plant processing tools tend to the largest, heaviest, most durable of stone tools and they do not disappear. The lack of them in the Paleolithic record, coupled with higher skeletal health, indicates that individual health really has suffered as diets have changed.
So, not even medicine is immune from consensus driven decision making, even when its wrong or even fraudulent. Any science co-opted to “inform” policy decisions can be intensely biased and poor. Some might list studies of the health effects of tobacco, but you need to read the history and decide for your self on that one. Smoking was recognized as a problem in the 19th century. It didn’t become an issue until insurance companies really started to work on how not to pay out. While tobacco was big money policy protected tobacco. When health insurance and healthcare organization began to anticipate the influx of aging baby-boomers, they suddenly became interested health policy. There is nothing unprecedented about the problems we have with climate “science.”

Karim Ghantous

Remember also that medicine is also corrupt (in more than one way) and that MDs often ignore their oath. MDs are great at healing injuries but poor at healing or understanding illness. They operate by the wrong paradigms.

jorgekafkazar

And what oath would that be? That one that no one after Hippocrates ever uttered?

Pop Piasa

Those in today’s climate science media forefront obviously took a hypocritical oath.

Javert Chip

Karim Ghantous
Pretty gratuitous paragraph of ad hominems. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and you didn’t offer any.
Average life expectancy, infant mortality, maternal deaths in childbirth all point the other way. All of these would be even more favorable without the scourge of illegal drugs and other lifestyle choices made by a mostly-free society.

DonS

And yet medical error has been deemed the third leading cause of death in the USA by, among others, a recent Johns Hopkins study.

Mark T

Uh, average life expectancy has mostly increased due to a reduction in infant mortality. They do get credit for that as well, but there are other factors unrelated to the medical profession.

noaaprogrammer

Good life-style choices for diet are much easier now than when my parents were growing up (2nd decade of the 20th century). I can go to a grocery store in the dead of winter and get fresh fruits and vegetables imported from many different countries and climates. Any fruits and vegetables consumed by my parents during winter months were either canned or drying in the cellar.

kim

Treating water and sewage. Infant mortality from infectious diarrhea much diminished. Medical arts have minimally impact the survival curve getting squared out.
=================

>>
Average life expectancy
<<
It’s a rather misleading statistic. If a child dies at the age of 2 and an adult dies at the age of 68, then the average life span is 35. Neither person died at the advanced age of 35. The reason why life expectancy was around 35 years in the past was that child mortality was very high. Generally, if you could survive childhood and weren’t caught up in various wars and plagues, then you might live to a ripe old age–well beyond the 35 year average.
Jim

Dodgy Geezer

…..Average life expectancy, infant mortality, maternal deaths in childbirth all point the other way…..
What have these got to do with doctors? They have a lot more to do with sewage engineers, agriculture and research biochemists…..

Dave_G

Not forgetting that average life expectancy is greater in countries with access to cheap and plentiful energy.

Tim Hammond

Not down to modern medicine but to sanitation, antibiotics and nutrition. Simply having doctors wash their hands between births massively reduced maternal mortality, but doctors resisted doing so for decades.

MarkW

Please explain the increased survival rates for all forms of cancer, if doctor’s aren’t doing any good.

oeman50

DonS says:
“And yet medical error has been deemed the third leading cause of death in the USA by, among others, a recent Johns Hopkins study.”
So if the doctors stopped treating people, it would not be the “third leading cause of death.”
Problem solved!

Doctors hey? Anecdotes: I live in Perth, West Oz, a city with a pop. of 2 million, a friend of mine who had the highest university academic score in 6 years entered medicine then left shocked to discover the lack of science – the degree was a training course, not even education. I have in the last 5 years seen 4 GPs and 5 specialists trying to have any of them follow the State Health Department guidelines for the diagnosis of pulsatile tinnitus without success. only one would even look at the printout and they dismissed it. Trying to explain it’s a vascular issue not hearing issue and even the WHO differentiate between them was met with blank stares. Explaining some of the causes were considered life threatening was dismissed – ‘many people hear noises’.. I have been incorrectly diagnosed in the past – a torn muscle (walk on it daily) turned out two weeks later after being x-rayed to be a fibula with 2 clean breaks that had lacerated the inside of my leg from the walking.. A misdiagnosed UTI saw me go 10 days unable to eat, walk or drink before they finally conceded a test should be run. I have had other misdiagnosis and I have little faith in doctors, but since I cannot medicate myself, seek x-rays or CT scans, I’m forced to spend my money week after week seeing these clowns in the vain hope ONE will apply a degree of science and actually attempt a diagnosis correctly.
And to contrast the anecdotes, a little known fact – the medical profession has the highest rate of convicted serial killers.. fireman syndrome maybe? I mean if you’re a low IQ serial killer you might chase kids or hobos, but a high IQ one – where you going to find the most vulnerable people, the greatest god-like glory and adoration, the most access to drugs and the least oversight when you need to sate your hunger.
Harold Shipman may have killed around 250 patients in England and was convicted of 15 murders
H Niels
Michael Swango may have killed 60 patients
Maria Gruber
Irene Leidolf
Aino Nykopp-Koski was convicted of killing 5 patients
Dr John Bodkin Adams – doctor suspected of killing patients with morphine in order to obtain bequests – Between 1946 and 1956, more than 160 of his patients died in suspicious circumstances
Stefanie Mayer
Stephan Letter known to be responsible for the killings of at least 29 patients
Marrianne NÖlle Police think she killed a total of 17 and attempted 18 other murders, but she was only convicted of seven
Orville Lyn Majors – 130 dead.
Abraão José Bueno – he liked killing children..
Amelia Dyer
Catherine Wilson – nurse who killed patients who favoured her in bequests
Arnfinn_Nesset
Edson Izidoro Guimaraes confessed to five murders of which he was convicted of four, but is suspected of committing up to 131
Daniela Poggiali was special – she killed up to 38 patients because she found them or their families “annoying”
Dr. Virginia Soares de Souza has been charged with 7 counts of murder and may have killed 300 patients in order to, reportedly, “free-up” beds
Megan Haines, we got lucky with her, she was caught allegedly injected unscheduled insulin dosages into a patient (who died)
Charles Cullen, possibly New Jerseys most prolific with an estimated 300 deaths.
Amy Archer-Gilligan murdered at least five people by poison
Roger Dean pleaded guilty to eleven counts of murder over the fire he started at a nursing home in Australia
this is without looking at eugenics and forced sterilizations by doctors for such things as having alcoholic parents There are so many more names in the list I have, reading the cases would make you cry.
Just remember this next time you go near a doctor, that according to the WHO, Australia has the highest number of preventable or medical caused deaths in the Western World
Final note: cholesterol studies found the more cholesterol was lowered,, the greater the risk of death

Sheri

DonS: That looks suspiciously like the global warming statistics—completely fabricated. It’s also based on incorrect diagnosis, etc. which are quite subjective.

Justanelectrician

Doctors may or may not increase my lifespan, but I have no doubt that they, along with pharmaceutical companies and medical device makers, have dramatically improved my quality of life. I would probably be blind and bedridden without modern medicine. Thank God I wasn’t born earlier.

JohnB

Mark W “Please explain the increased survival rates for all forms of cancer, if doctor’s aren’t doing any good.”
Classification in a number of cases. If the patient dies of heart failure due to a side effect of the treatment they are classified as dying from heart failure not cancer, thus increasing the cancer survival rate. It’s no different from governments reclassifying people to change the unemployment figures.

the air force did a study. officers vs enlisted men. the officers received better and more frequent medical care and the enlisted men lived longer. source: 60 minutes years ago.

Please explain the increased survival rates for all forms of cancer
======
early detection due to improved technology. survival rates are going up because we are finding the cancer earlier while we still have a chance to stop it. however, we really haven’t made a dent in treating cancer. the survival rates as a function of how advanced your cancer is remain pretty much as they were 30 years ago.
cancer treatment is still very primitive. we classify cancer for example by the part of the body affected.

Menicholas

In 1982 I was in a car wreck, and would have died within hours if not for immediate and expert surgical intervention. Over the next three weeks, I had to have more surgeries as complications nearly ended my recovery.
Besides for people saved by surgery, there are those who used to die from such things as cuts becoming infected, fever, infectious diseases, and all sorts of other things from which people routinely recover or never even have more than an inconvenience.
The idea that besides for infant mortality, there is little reason to think doctors save and extend lives is patently ludicrous.
Some of the comments here are shamefully ungrateful for the opportunity to live long lives with little reason to expect death could come at anytime from anywhere.
It can, but in insignificant numbers compared to what was the case even 100 years ago in this country, let alone the undeveloped places.
Seriously.
Shameful.

Menicholas says, “Some of the comments here are shamefully ungrateful for the opportunity to live long lives…”
You have a good point. I knew a cosmetic doctor who used to be in general medical practice. He said that people are much happier and more grateful if you make them look better. He said they don’t say anything if you save their lives.

Menicholas

“we classify cancer for example by the part of the body affected.”
Not sure I am getting the point here.
Cancers are named for the cell type and the organ or tissue from which the malignancy arose.
What alternative method of describing cancers would you favor?

craig

Get a grip guys, it’s only thanks to pharma companies that life expectancy is longer than 100 yrs ago. Wasn’t for us, all Drs would be witch craft practitioners, nothing more nothing less.

Actually it was engineers. Reticulation of clean water, removal of waste and the fencing of cities doubled life expectancy. In addition, the use of electricity (coal fired) and gas in London reduced smog, further enhancing life. Your welcome!

kim

Oh, well, you beat me to it.
=======

craig

Old timer, read before you post. I’m talking about Drs and medicine as per the story about Drs expertise and how its applied in medicine, so yes, YOU are welcome. Cheers

john harmsworth

I think you’re on to something there, Craig. Before modern pharma, doctors pretty much looked you over and prescribed fresh air or bed rest-and prayers.

Keith J

Exactly. I had a recent, traumatic experience in ICU w my father. A cardiologist made a rash diagnosis which proved wrong because he failed to account for my father’s acute infection shifting blood chemistry to causing atrial fiberlation. Dad is fine now thanks to the other doctors.

Menicholas

If doctors were like climate scientists, none of them would have contradicted the erroneous conclusion of the first guy.
Bottom line…your father is alive, thanks to doctors.
You would have preferred he take his chances at home, hoping for the best?
No one is perfect, and yet people blame doctors for not always and instantly knowing everything?
Which doctor caused his infection and atrial fibrillation?

Erik N

Unfortunately, medical doctors can give the wrong advice too, even if there are 97% of them also giving the same advice. It seems medical doctors don’t really know that much about nutrition. They are also probably not up to date with the research on cholesterol and its relative risks or non risks.
Doctors will not be accountable if they follow the accepted knowledge, even if it is wrong.
It seems that one can not trust any knowledge that is provided. Probably half of the knowledge is good and the other half is not but there is no way to say which is which.

Mark T

Ancel Keys. 50 years of demonizing red meat and fat and we still promote high carbohydrate diets even after the truth has come out.

gnomish

linus pauling, nobel laureate – vitamin C guru.
how’d that go?
waving merit badges (degrees) is not doing science – it subverts it by an attempt to substitute logical fallacy of authority.

mike

Vitamin C and vitamin D3 have long been two medically underrated vitamins that could have saved a lot more of lives used skillfully in higher amounts. Medical consensus is not science, and a lot of doctors are poor material as researchers.

MRW

Was Ancel Keys the guy whose research was stripped from all medical journals–think it was 2013 or 2014–because he falsified 80% of the data? [Keys died in 2004 at the age of 101.]

Tim Groves

@gnomish: linus pauling, nobel laureate – vitamin C guru.
how’d that go?

Amazingly well, in fact. Linus took his vitamins and minerals as religiously as many people take their flu shots, blood pressure meds and SSRIs, and he was healthy, active and productive well into his 90s. The same is true of Abram Hoffer, “the niacin guru” who by some accounts first put Linus onto investigating what he called “orthomolecular medicine”.
Both of these guys didn’t start on the supplements until well into middle age. Both had way better health in old age than the average guy who has always followed the medical consensus and his GPs advice on what to eat and which drugs to take.

MarkW

Tim, do you know the difference between anecdote and data?
The fact that one person took a lot of a vitamin and lived a long time is not proof of anything. As far as we know, he would have lived just as long if he had never taken any vitamins at all. Some people live a long time, some people die at an early age.

schitzree

George Burns smoked a lot of cigars, and he lived to be 100.
Just sayin’ ^¿^

George Burns smoked
========
it was acting that killed him. he never recovered from a fall on stage that broke his hip.

Tim Groves

Mark: Tim, do you know the difference between anecdote and data?
Let’s see. That’s a toughie. Anecdotes are stories told by and about individuals. I get that. Data, according to the Wikipedia article bearing that name ” is a set of values of qualitative or quantitative variables.” That’s a lot harder for me to wrap my head around. The definition seems to lack clarity and substance, but then again it may just be that I’m thick.
In the very first paragraph of the Wikipedia article on data, it states: “An example of qualitative data would be an anthropologist’s handwritten notes about his or her interviews with people of an Indigenous tribe.” To me, that sounds suspiciously like a bunch of anecdotes (stories told by and about individuals) scribbled down by said anthropologist, which would suggest the existence of the concept of “anecdotal data”, in which case I would have to say that even individual anecdotes can be considered to comprise data in some circumstances. And when we start piling up anecdotes from large numbers of individuals and subjecting them to various formatting procedures we can often get away with calling them statistical data.
What would medical science journals do, if they could no longer publish research involving questionnaires answered by people regarding their diets, habits, diseases and health history on the grounds that anything told to the researchers by people about their personal circumstances was anecdote and therefore not data?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data

Menicholas

Um…Linus Pauling was not a doctor, he was a scientist.
Specifically, he was a chemist and a biochemist.

Menicholas

“Both had way better health in old age than the average guy…”
Half of people have better health than “the average guy”.

Just a minor point of clarification. Over the past few days, several have talked about “half” are lower than the average. This is not quite true (it can be, but is not by definition). Half are lower than the median.

Alan the Brit

“Unfortunately, medical doctors can give the wrong advice too, even if there are 97% of them also giving the same advice.”
Yes based upon limited knowledge at the time, the classic for me is stomach ulcers & how their causes were discovered by a minority of two medical professionals, NOT by some big pharma sponsored mass research by one & all in the profession!

Menicholas

Strange thing is, as early as 1950, peptic ulcers were apparently being successfully treated with antibiotics at at least one well known hospital in New York City.
No one seems to know how this “knowledge” was apparently lost to the medical profession for several decades.
Of course, all the way back in the late 19th century a certain climatologist and his son-in-law knew and had proven, via several lines of independent evidence, that South America and Africa were once joined.
Go figure.
At what point does one or a few people knowing something become “knowledge”?

Jay Turberville

Yeah. While I love modern medicine, I’m cautious about simply trusting it.
Medicine and medical doctors have significant limits and the wise patient is an active investigator and advocate regarding their own health issues. How long did doctors horribly misunderstand the cause of most ulcers? How long have they advocated high fiber diets as preventative for colon cancer? Those are two general cases, but I also know two people personally who saw doctors about their health issues, did lots of personal investigation on their own but when the patient suggested causes to their doctors they were told, “No, I don’t think so.” and received treatments for other ailments. Time passed. The problems did not resolve. Eventually the doctors were shown to have mis-diagnosed while the patients had gotten it right. In both instances, the doctors were highly regarded in the area in question. The two maladies were endometriosis and skin cancer. And yes, these are anecdotes. But these are two people in my relatively small circle of close friends and family.

benofhouston

I trust Medicine overall. The treatment of disease and injury is better than anytime in the past. It’s not perfect, and second opinions and independent research is always good. The final part is that medicine is self-correcting. Even if they are wrong and things get worse they will eventually realize their mistakes. They aren’t perfect and aren’t expected to be.
The Climate industry treats any disagreement like heresy to be stamped out. That’s the problem.
Now the Health industry, I don’t trust with a 10 foot pole. Between contradictory diet advice and vitamins and endless cure-alls, I ignore the whole bunch, and from casual observation, I’m in the majority there.

noaaprogrammer

If you carefully do your research on the internet; and if you’re on the right track for diagnosing what ails you; by the time you go to a doctor to get his confirmation and prescription; you know just as much if not more than he does about your specific condition.

Menicholas

“Medicine and medical doctors have significant limits and the wise patient is an active investigator and advocate regarding their own health issues.”
This comment is true, and begins to get at the full story.
If any expect any random doctor to always be able to discover and successfully treat whatever is wrong with whoever walks into their waiting room…well…

Menicholas

Ben of Houston,
+ a very large number

Menicholas

If you think you know what is wrong with you and your doctor disagrees and refuses to listen to you, the answer is simple and obvious…find another doctor.
You are the only one walking around in your skin, feeling what you feel, connected and enervated to every part of you.
But, at the same time, lots of people are hypochondriacs and badly misinformed about even basic factual information, not to mention what a doctor is able to readily discern and treat.

eat less animal fat and more sugar

schitzree

Or eat more animal fat and less sugar.
I’ve been told both. <¿<

john harmsworth

Feed sugar to animals, then eat them!

Trunkuza

No no no no. John, you feed the animals to the sugar, then eat the worm at the bottom of the tequila bottle. Everyone knows this, c’mon.

Tom Halla

There are some sciences that are well established enough to give useful advice, like physics and chemistry, and others, arguably “science”, like climate modeling past a few days, that do not. It is a history of having a useful understanding of a subject that makes someone an “expert”, not academic degrees. As with a person recently fired by the Trump administration at EPA, who was an Environmental Economist”, which seems very much like someone trained in preaching, excuse me, advocacy.

Chimp

There are no experts in “climate science”. Anyone claiming to be one just displays profound ignorance.
As Feynman so truly said, “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts”.

+10

ZakRabbit

“…displays profound ignorance.”
Not to mention a fat check book, thanks to government grants…

Chimp,
Consensus climate scientists are indeed experts in the beliefs preached by the IPCC and documented by its AR’s which define what the consensus is supposed to believe (an egregious conflict of interest). Of course, this precludes being an expert in how the scientific method guides scientific discovery, thus they are incapable of being an expert in any specific field of science.

Bulldust

Reverse the roles and it is immediately apparent how ridiculous the analogy becomes. Imagine a doctor telling you to trust his diagnosis of your symptoms because 97% of climate scientists believe in climate change and he is just as certain about your condition. I think I’d be finding another doctor.

Malcolm

Fantastic line, Bulldust. Will certainly be using it.

Javert Chip

A recent article I read (can’t find the link) claimed that a 1st doctor’s opinion was unsupported in 80% of 2nd opinions (no, I have no idea what % of patients seek 2nd opinions).
That doesn’t sound like 97% consensus to me.
(Full disclosure: I’m alive due to an artificial heart valve installed 12 years ago, and I have selectively sought 2nd opinions).

Michael S. Kelly

My psychiatrist told me I was crazy. I said I wanted a second opinion. He said “Okay, you’re ugly, too!”

Menicholas

I am just guessing, but it seems reasonable to conclude that when people get second opinions, it is for a specific reason.
And the same for those who do not.
I would not take this statistic, assuming it to be 100% accurate, to mean that doctors are wrong 80% of the time, so it may be misleading to many the way you stated this.
Because many people are not able to discern nuance, or realize what i just pointed out.
They would read it and assume it means doctors ARE wrong 80% of the time.
It does not mean that.

Kalifornia Kook

The second opinion can be worse than the first. I have a dear friend who was diagnosed with brain cancer, and given 15 months to live. The second opinion was from the first doctor’s mentor, and he was sure he could remove the cancer, and she would live her normal lifespan. We were ecstatic.
The cancer was removed, but it turned out to be a glioma (malignant). She still has only 15 months (less now with the passage of time).
We had a diagnosis we liked, and it came from a higher authority. But it won’t change the initial prognosis. Just anecdotal, but I suspect it happens a lot.

Nigel in Santa Barbara

It’s all about ego. This problem of saying “you don’t need to look any further, trust me, I’m a professional” side-steps the principal that one must investigate things for yourself – see things through your own eyes and not through the eyes of another.
You are welcome to trust whoever you want, but don’t forget to understand things for yourself regardless of who you trust.

Chimp

So-called “climate science” feed imaginary “data” into GIGO models, using imaginary constructs such as GASTA and ECS.
It’s a computer game designed to get the sciencey-looking results its book-cooking perpetrators want to please their political masters.

Crispin in Waterloo

Nigel in Santa Barbara
Wise words. Know yourself, and also find a really good doctor. A major portion of many cures is certainty that the doctor is an expert and knows what to do.
The fact that there are greater doctors means there are also the lessers. It’s a fact that GP’s are generalists and again that means there are specialists – those who know more.
I have no problem with trusting skillful doctors. I have met many. I have also experienced malpractice multiple times and taken my own path.
Online diagnostic tools are really good these days. Should we have more faith in them than warm blooded ones? It is possible they are more up to date, but that is not a guarantee of experience, is it.

Menicholas

Many symptoms overlap, and few are unique to one illness or ailment.
And different patients can and do report the same thing in many various ways.
The best doctors will not advice against a second opinion, for a very good reason…the more knowledgeable and experienced one is, the more doubts one is bound to have.
Smart people are full of doubts, but idiots know everything.

Chimp

Medicine has prompt consequences for the practitioner as well as the patient.
There are only positive consequences for the charlatans malpracticing “climate science”. They might not be shown disastrously wrong until after retirement.

Butch

How often have “climate sci.fi. scientist” been sued for malpractice ?

Roy

The judge in the case seems to be trying to ensure that it drags on for years, much to Styen’s annoyance. If a doctor did the same the patient would be dead by the time the doctor had diagnosed the problem.

Chimp

At least Steyn is making sure that Mann has a day in court.

Javert Chip

True, but Mann sued Steyn.

Roger Knights

Then Steyn counter-sued.

Leonard Lane

Engineers have immediate consequences of malpractice or ignorance of the basic or advanced engineering principles.
Civil Engineers need to take a battery of technical examinations and work with a mentor for a number of years then if successful in the examinations and in the mentor judgement the work they do as sound then the individual can become a Registered Professional Engineer (PE). Designs for a building, bridge, flood conveyance channel to hold the 100, yr, 500 yr flood as required by the local authorities,etc, require a PE’s stamp on the plans. If a faulty design causes loss of life or economic consequences the engineer is held liable.
If the Climate Scientists had to be certified (MDs) or registered (Engineers) then when they predicted no snow if a few years and a blizzard hit, they would be liable for any loss of life or property destruction by those who did things or built things according to the climate scientists predictions. Then the climate scientists could be held criminally and civilly responsible for their incompetence and malfeasance of purpose.
Oh! Let’s all hope and pray that scientists would one day be held accountable for their negligent remarks and knowingly false predictions. Would be good for Hansen, Mann, and the other cast of thousands of other phony experts to be held accountable. With huge fines, court assessments of responsibility, corporate and individual lawsuits for death and property damage, we might get less and less nincompoops making wild and irresponsible global warming predictions & their consequences. And, it would cost the taxpayers $trillions less each year.
Yes! Look up to your MD’s and Engineers as doing their best and saving countless lives while risking their own freedom, fortune, and ability to work in your behalf. Accountability brings caution, best practices, and honesty to their professions.
Remember these things next time you hear a PhD in cultural Marxism, an MS in communications, or other dabblers in science without the qualifications, making outlandish claims/predictions.

Javert Chip

It’s silly to consider further “certification” of academic researchers (the PhD is supposed to do exactly that) or legally exposing them to malpractice.
The scientist’s training, personal integrity, an academy that enforced consequences for charlatans, and meaningful peer-review should about take care of it. Plainly, today’s corruption has significantly eroded those processes and attributes.
Einstein’s 2 theories of relativity were initially rejected out of hand (and never did win a Nobel)- they took a couple decades to become generally accepted. In the interim, would you really have proposed turning some scum-bag lawyer loose on Einstein?

>>
If a faulty design causes loss of life or economic consequences the engineer is held liable.
<<
I not sure that happened in the case of the first Tacoma Narrows Bridge (Galloping Gertie). However, one of the insurance agents, Hallett R. French, pocketed the premiums and was charged and tried for grand larceny.
Jim

Jay Turberville

Really? Maybe it is prompt. But the prompt consequence might be as simple as the doctor losing a customer/patient. The system isn’t all that good at publishing a doctor’s track record. In fact, some folks have suggested that many doctors may not be providing the best care because patients often won’t be receptive to the better advice – and it is important to the bottom line that you have high patient approval. As with many markets, perceived value can trump objective value. That’s why fortune tellers are common. :^)

Chris

“Medicine has prompt consequences for the practitioner as well as the patient.”
Wrong,. Doctors often practice poorly for many years before action is taken, and then can often just move to another location. https://projects.seattletimes.com/2017/quantity-of-care/hospital/

Tim Groves

One of those consequences is that one way or another a poor doctor loses their patients.
[Yes, if the patient gets well, he no longer needs the doctor. And stops paying the doctor.
If the patient dies, or goes to a hospital, his insurance pays more doctors. More money. For longer periods of time. .mod]

Tom in Florida

Also, medical doctors become specialists to treat specific conditions that require extra training and experience. But, these specialists refer to other specialists when the condition that needs treatment is outside their specialty. Example, I see a Rheumatologist for rheumatoid arthritis. He wants me to switch from Methotrexate to Humira. But because I have had a positive PPD test in the past, he was required to retest me for TB using a different test. That test came out positive for latent TB. I then was directed to a Pulmonologist who analyzed my situation and nixed the Humira as it could bring on active TB. My Rheumatologist was disappointed because he wanted to better treat the arthritis. So he wanted me treated for the latent TB which would be 6-9 months of INH and then go on the Humira when the TB was gone. But again the Pulmonologist intervened and nixed the INH treatment due to my age and the high risk of severe liver problems including death. He said my risk for severe reaction to the INH was far greater than the risk I have for my latent TB going active. In the end, after getting together WE all decided to lower my dose of Leucovorin in order to allow the Methotrexate to be more effective. (Leucovorin is taken 6 hours after the Methotrexate to counteract it and reduce the side effects.)
This is how real medicine is supposed to be done. Doctors working together within their expertise to do what is best for the patient without regard to their ego or any false hierarchy.

Personally based on internet searces and partly my own experiences I would do some slight additions to any “professional” treatments for rheumatoid arthritis. The first one would be to take a small amount of boron because the soil in Florida seems to be boron deficient based on searces. Small amount means ca 70 mg borax per day. In addition to this I would take several half gram doses (or higher if it feels ok) of vitamin c in combination with a roughly similar amount of lycine to ensure healthy collagen production. Collagen is a critical component in healthy joints. Notice that I am a physicist not a doctor.

Urederra

Pardon me, but he correct spelling is lysine, not lycine.
And yes, I would take Vitamin C and lysine instead of shark collagen as many nutritionists seem to recommend. Any biochemist will tell you that the collagen you ingest cannot be incorporated into your joints. That is not how collagen metabolism works. Collagen is a protein and has to be synthesized de novo from amino acids, like any other protein.
The only difference between collagen and other proteins is that collagen has to be processed by the cells in order to be functional. That includes oxidation of lysines to hydroxylysines and prolines to hydroxyprolines. Vitamin C does the oxidation. The lack of vitamin C will result in scurvy (collagen deficiency in the gums) And the body cannot reduce hydroxylysine and hydrosyproline back to lysine and proline. That is why it makes sense to take vitamin C, lysine and proline.
I am not sure about borax, since I don´t know any enzyme that needs boron to work. Some collagen processing enzymes need zinc, though. I would take zinc supplements as well. Some brands that sell shark collagen add zinc in their formulas. At least they have that right.

ozspeaksup

err 70mg?
did you mean mCg
usual dose for insufficiency is to wet a fingertip n dip in borax
what sticks is plenty
did you ever try Gold injections?
worked very well for my severe RA and side effects are minimal re other effects on the system

Tom in Florida

Thanks for the tips. However, in my case it is the bone deterioration in my wrist that is the problem. I do not have any pain while on the Methotrexate and that has prevented any further symptoms elsewhere which was the main objective all along. As an aside, when first prescribed Methotrexate my Rheumy told me if I was going to look it up on the internet make sure I am reading about the RA dosage not the cancer dosage. The side effects are pretty scary but in RA doses it is well tolerated by most and has been for a long time. The only precaution was that it is a once a week dose not daily. That’s where most people get in trouble with it. For me we tested different dosages and found the amount that works best with little side effects.
The reason why I wrote about this was to demonstrate that patients must take an active role in their healthcare, learning about what they have, asking doctors appropriate questions and making sure you have all the info you need to make decisions about your treatment. That is a far cry from how “climate science experts” act.

MarkW

Unless he’s eating dirt, I don’t see how the presence or absence of boron in the local soil makes much difference. Few people eat much produce that’s grown locally.

Menicholas

I was thinking the same thing, Mark W.

Menicholas

70 milligrams of boron per day is 3.5x the daily safe limit of intake.
A diet high in boron contains about 3 or 4 milligrams per day.
Are you trying to kill someone?

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

The basic difference between climate alarmists [hypothetical] and deniers [talk of science] is the former moves with the money and the later moves with the science. Majority follow the former. This is the human tendency.
When I started my work in climate and climate change since early 70s no body questioned but now it is quite different. They even don’t bothered to read IPCC reports. Money makes many things!!!
Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

Suma

It is a great truth you mentioned! ‘The basic difference between climate alarmists [hypothetical] and deniers [talk of science] is the former moves with the money and the later moves with the science.’
Why there are not more efforts to reverse that?

Griff

Other way round!

>>
Other way round!
<<
As in: ‘The basic difference between den1ers [talk of science] and climate alarmists [hypothetical] is the former moves with the science and the later moves with the money.’
It reads the same either way.
Jim

Trunkuza

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Maybe he meant:
Science the with moves latter the and money the with moves former the is [science of talk] deniers and [hypothetical] alarmists climate between difference basic the?
[Are things more clear in the mirror when read back to front looking at the wrong side of the paper when held upside down? .mod]

PiperPaul

I think “other people’s” should be added in there.

Butch

…Yea but, how often do the doctors “Adjust” your data ??

TA

From the article: “Refutation of this fallacy is confounded by the fact that there are two distinct problems: miscommunication of science and the intentional corruption of science.”
Plus, the 97 percent meme is a lie. There is no 97 percent. It’s more like 2 percent. But it’s so easy to use this meme that the guy just makes up his own example. He claims 97 doctors out of 100 gave the same diagnosis. There is no similar example in climate science, there is just a lie, that has taken on a life of its own.

benofhouston

There is a 97%, TA. It just doesn’t mean what people think it means. 97% (75/77) of self-chosen experts in the field believe the climate has warmed.
The problem is when people use this to mean that 97% of all experts believe that reducing CO2 is an effective and beneficial action for humanity to take.

PiperPaul

We need a post on climate alarmist reductionism.

Chester Draws

And the consensus of doctors is often wrong anyway. Sometimes horribly wrong.
They were horribly wrong and killed people in the early days. In 1817 97% of doctors would have agree that bloodletting was the consensus view.
That we don’t know what we don’t know about medicine now, doesn’t mean that doctors are always right. There’s bound to be some modern treatments that are actually making things worse. Until very recently it was ulcers.

Chimp

But medicine is self-correcting, ultimately. Climate science, not so much.
Historians of medicine have concluded that before 1905, doctors did more harm than good. They still do some harm, but are learning and getting better.

Leo Smith

But medicine is self-correcting, ultimately. Climate science, not so much.

We are bang in the middle of the self-correction of climate science.
20 years of ‘pause’ and almost no deleterious effects from non- climate change when examined dispassionately, plus beneficial effects of CO2 dominating, make it very hard for a serious scientist to place his eggs in that basket.
Of course that leaves room for plenty of unscrupulous charlatans…

“But medicine is self-correcting, ultimately. Climate science, not so much.” Be careful both progress by death. In the first the patient and in the latter the practitioner.

James

It is funny how they talk about Cholesterol level. The link between Cholesterol levels and heart disease is not anywhere near as strong as the drug companies have made it out to be. A good example of this is Dr Lynn Smaha, former President of the American Hearth Association, who died at age 63 of a heart attack. He was a strong proponent. Here are a couple of reviews about this:
http://www.jpands.org/vol20no2/miller.pdf
http://www.jpands.org/vol19no2/marshall.pdf

Shock Treatment (ECT) is making things worse for psychiatric patients and has been ever since it was initiated.

James

How did all those lobotomies work out for the patients. Another example of settled science. How will all this transgenderism work out? Not well for most of them.

Mike McMillan

If 97 doctors told me I had something that no one in 2 million years had ever had before, I’d ask to check their medical diplomas and areas of specialty.comment image

Donating a pint of blood every so often when you are older improves blood test results for iron (lowers them) and reduces rbc and other factors associated with risk of stroke. So, blood letting had some basis in observational medicine in the past. After all, women of childbearing age regularly (monthly) donate blood and women live longer, go figure.

Menicholas

Women do not take dangerous jobs, and routinely and studiously avoid situations and activities that are obviously hazardous and often boneheaded but that men nonetheless do seemingly without thought or regard to the risk.
It is demonstrably true that avoiding things which are risky and dangerous will prevent many life-shortening accidents and mishaps.

Menicholas

I should say, few women are willing to take dangerous jobs.
There are some jobs and occupations in which one will find few if any women in one’s entire lifetime.

Berring Sea Crabbers.

I disagree with point 4, at least There are plenty of quacks out there who peddle their views in junk science articles and many people accept them. I know people who still buy Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s hoax, and we all know what happened to him.
There is good science and bogus science being done in pretty much every field.

ozspeaksup

DID you??
ever actually read OR listen TO wakefield
and not the bloody msm goons paid for BY the pharma ads etc?
ever actually LOOKED at the usa vaccine courts payouts?
ever asked WHY? the vaccine companys got congress to give them immunity from legal actions?
and a “special court” had to be set up?
a recently published report on vaccinated vs unvaccinated kids and its finding re end health and ongoing illnesses was summarily removed BY the journal and offline
within DAYS of it getting web attention.
big pharmas got looong arms and deeper pockets
Vioxx killed many and even then they fought to keep it selling
blackboxed and all
to keep it going n earn money they pushed it onto Vets for animal use
usually kills the aged arthritic pets within a week or two kidney n liver failure.
get passed off as natural causes by the owner or vets who dont want to admit it
no adverse event reports for animals
until a LOT of owners go online and start to talk and question their best mates deaths!
ie the Melamine stunt.

MarkW

Thank you for proving jdgalt’s point.

Don

ozspeaksup, I agree. jdgalt should back up his Alinsky-ish drive-by smear with good data or retract it. Most of what’s “known” about Wakefield and his work is a pack of malicious lies endlessly repeated by bobble-heads too lazy to fact-check or too immersed in the paradigm to recognize their ignorance. I hope jdgalt isn’t one of those. Here Wakefield defends himself:

Menicholas

So, you are pointing out how dangerous vaccines are by pointing to Vioxx and melamine, which are not vaccines and have nothing to do with them?
And how about a link to this “recently published report”?
What report, by who, saying what?
We debunk “reports” every day here.
Comparing a few kids who are unvaccinated, but live amongst a society full of people who are vaccinated, sounds like junk science, if the idea is to show that vaccines are worthless.
What such a comparison does is show what herd immunity is.
Every vaccine, any injection, any procedure, carries some small risk, whether by infection, allergic reaction, careless mistake or mixed up materials.
But compared to the risk from diseases that vaccines have prevented and sometimes eliminated from the population entirely…such risks are vanishingly small.
If you knew that polio would cripple and kill millions of people, and polio vaccine would prevent every one of those but harm a few or a few dozen, and a few might even die, would you say it is worth it?
There was a reason they had to make such vaccines mandatory…any rational individual would like to reduce their risk to ZERO by having everyone else vaccinated, but avoiding the shot for themselves.
Then, they would not get polio, because there is no one to transmit it too them, and they could avoid the miniscule individual risk of the injection.
Weak arguments, innuendo, hearsay…bunch of effin crap!

Ross King

QUOTE:
“So imagine you got not just a “second opinion,” but 100 opinions…and 97 say the same thing.”
Here we go again basing a supposedly logical (ha!) argument on falsified stats.
So much for the intellectual-honesty and integrity of this Quack (Andrew Winston?) And what qualifications does he have to speak to Climate Science … his whole argument is founded on the 97% lie, and nothing else.

Ross King

BTW, who is THE one friend up-front with our Distinguished HockeySchtick Promoter, our one-and-ony “DISTINGUISHED” Prof. Mann … it’s not Bill Nye is it? At least one can see where their hands are in this pic. of togetherness … or are those photo-shopped hands, which, given the propensity of the alarmists to manipulate data, would not be surprising.

Ross King

On a pedantic note, what is a “freind” (sic– look at the photo!))? Is it a crafty abbreviation of ‘free-reined’ …. as in a disposition to broadcast anything, regardless of verity and/or attribution?
OED….. watch this spot.

Typo, fixed now. My error in making the graphic.

Ross King

Poking around on-line “Dr. Andrew Winston” seems to be NOT a medical doctor — as the opening pic. to this article suggests. Here’s what I found:
Andrew Winston, founder of Winston Eco-Strategies, is the author of Green Recovery, a strategic plan for using environmental thinking to survive hard economic times and prepare your company for growth when the downturn ends. He is also the co-author of Green to Gold, the best-selling guide to what works — and what doesn’t — when companies go green.
Andrew is a globally recognized expert on green business, and has appeared in major media, including Wall Street Journal, Time, BusinessWeek, New York Times, and CNBC. Andrew is dedicated to helping companies both large and small use environmental strategy to grow, create enduring value, and build stronger relationships with employees, customers, and other stakeholders. His clients have included Bank of America, Bayer, HP, Pepsi, Boeing, and IKEA.
Andrew bases his work on significant in-company business experience. His earlier career included advising companies on corporate strategy while at Boston Consulting Group and management positions in strategy and marketing at Time Warner and MTV. After these more traditional roles, Andrew pursued his passion to explore the overlap between business and environment. He served as the Director of the Corporate Environmental Strategy Project at Yale’s renowned School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Today, Andrew is a highly respected and dynamic speaker, reaching audiences of thousands of people around the world and acting as a practical evangelist for the benefits of going green. He also writes extensively on green business strategy, including a weekly column for Harvard Business Online, regular pieces on Huffington Post, and a monthly strategy e-letter, Eco-Advantage Strategies. For his efforts, Andrew was recently named a “Planet Defender” by Rock the Earth.
Andrew received his BA in Economics from Princeton, an MBA from Columbia, and a Masters of Environmental Management from Yale. He lives in Riverside, CT with his wife Christine and two young sons.”
Sounds like another Alarmist megaphone to me. Don’t get me going about Snake-Oil Salesmen.
Nota bene the paucity of hard Climate Science studies in his c.v. He’s another promoter & marketeer for the Alarmist Cause and the profits to be made from the gullible.

TA

A Planet Defender!
It takes a LOT of money to defend this planet. You must be prepared to ask for the Moon, or $300 billion annually.

F. Ross

(Not a big) nit: in photo caption…
“i” before “e” except after “c”.

fixed, the error was mine

StephenP

Except for ‘seize’.

MarkW

An exception for every rule. Even rules that are already exceptions.

Cholesterol is a bad example for medical advice. There is doubt about the statistical linkage to other problems. There is doubt about treatment using statins. Better pick something much more explicit. Say Melanoma, or a fracture

tadchem

Whenever I ask my doctor a question, he answers me, clearly and completely. Whenever I question a ‘climate scientist’, he calls me dirty names.

Jeffrey Mitchell

And then bans you from his site.

Jer0me

Doctors also tell you when they are not certain of something. Climate scientists, not so much!

Richmond

The difference is that certain professions have high risk to public safety. Barbers, physicians, and certain engineers are subject to strict regulation because of that fact. It is obvious why this has happened. Barbers and physicians give useful services to the public, but also represent a general hazard if unsafe/unsanitary practices are followed. Certain engineers also give use useful services, but also represent hazards. Just look at useful boiler and the danger they represent if run in an unsafe manner.
In contrast, others do not represent an immediate threat and so do not merit the same regulation. One is free to follow or ignore them at some imagined peril, such as climate change.
It is often forgotten that the first doctors where the doctors of the church. OK, if you didn’t listen to them your soul was in jeopardy of hell.
However, the new religion is that of Anthropomorphic forced Global Warming, and its off shoots Climate Change etc. So, to understand this better consider that: “Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” — Richard Feynman

Chris Hanley

Climate Change™science has more in common with pseudomedicine or so-called alternative medicine.
My diagnosis is that Gaia is currently recovering from severe hypothermia, the condition is currently mild but she is in danger of a relapse and is suffering from undernourishment although that condition is also slowly improving despite the efforts CC™ practitioners.

DonM

Mosher’s doctor told him he had the vapors and that he needed to be bled with leeches.
Mosher looked at the doctor in an odd way, so the doctor chastised him and told me that “I KNOW WHAT I AM DOING; at one time 97% of the medical community believed that the use of leeches was sound science and i still believe it … if you don’t let the leeches suck the blood out of you then you will very likely get worse, much, much worse. You may even become contagious … you need to do this for the good of the community.”
Mosher is a bit deflated and confused. “But that was a long time ago, how do I know this is the correct approach now”, he asks, “are you sure were not taking a big risk and these blood-sucking leeches won’t just make things worse?”
Says the doctor, “I am positive that the risk associated with the vapors is much greater than the risk associated with the blood-sucking leaches … all in all it is very positive trade-off. AND it is for the good of all of us; your questioning of my methods shows that you are a numskull … I won’t discuss it further with you.”
“O.K.” says Mosher as he disrobes, “stick ’em on me.”
The doctor carefully calculates the proper number of leeches for the patients’ weight, places about 30 leeches in various areas of Moshers body … there is suddenly a giant sucking sound and the leeches all shrivel up into desiccated little black balls and plop onto the floor all at once.

Duncan

+10 on the laugh of the day. The ending, unexpected and priceless.

Jeffrey Mitchell

Yup. Totally not expecting the ending. Excellent set up. I would have preferred using Mann, Schmidt or Hansen instead of Mosher though.

DonM

Started out with Patient Mann, but realized there is a big difference between ignorant lying zealot and outright leech.

MarkW

” as he disrobes”
Mind bleach, where’s the mind bleach?

I think this is the closest analogy: you’ve been going to the doctor for years, and there are long records of your height, weight, temperature, blood pressure, etc., from every visit all the way back. One day you go to your appointment and the doctor takes your vitals, looks at your chart, and goes “Hmmmmm…You’ve put on a lot of weight in the last three years.”
You know you’re a bit heavier, but you don’t think it’s a LOT of weight. So you look over his shoulder and see that your weight at the first visit is 30 pounds less than you know it was. You look at the rest of the entries, and all of them are really low, except for the last three years, which show your correct weight. From the record, it looks like you were much lighter in the past than you were, and that suddenly your weight shot up.
The doc tells you it’s because you drink too much beer, even though you only have one after work, and maybe two on Friday and Saturday night. You feel a little guilty because you didn’t always have one after work, but you notice that your weight on his charts shot up before you had that extra occasional beer — how you can you blame that weight gain on extra beer you hadn’t started drinking yet?
So while you’re sitting there wondering why he changed your records to make you look lighter in the past than you were, and then blamed the doubtful weight gain on beer you hadn’t started drinking yet, he tells you that extra two beers a week is going to make you gain 100 lbs within five years and cut 20 years off your life. Then he tells you that 97% of his colleagues had made similar diagnoses in the past year, but that the big beer companies were paying off to keep the facts hidden, and if you didn’t follow his instructions and quit drinking cold turkey you were an anti-medicine beer fat denier.
When he’s finished ranting, he lights up a cigarette and pours himself a whiskey, neat, and sends you out to the receptionist to make your next appointment.
Now, would you go back to that doctor?

Nice

noaaprogrammer

The doctor forgot to add that there would be a significant rise in the sea level from all the beer you would drink.

James

That might be from the diuretic affect of beer. Where does the sewage end up after treatment? The ocean!

MarkW

As someone once told me, you don’t buy beer, you just rent it.

Dr Deanster

I personally am offended that you would put my PhD in same bucket as Climate Science. IMO, there is hard science and soft science. Climate Science is more akin to Sociology, political science, and other sciences where “interpretation” trumps the data. Hard sciences don’t have to wave hands, as they are actually speaking to the data, not some imaginary narrative about the data.

Thank you for your work.

Jeffrey Mitchell

I think climate scientist alarmist types are closer to astrologers, mediums and con artists. I’d like to say lower than a snake’s belly, but don’t want to impugn the reptiles.

I would push the analogy a bit further.
A moral, professional engineer needs to KNOW the WHOLE system, and needs to be able to “make” the whole system “work.” For the lifetime of the project. Safe, on time, under budget, at the needed quality level. For every piece made. Every piece sold.
A climate “scientist” only to needs to make his target (a bureaucrat, a pal-peer reviewer, an editor, his classroom, an unknown reader of a magazine article, a politician, a room of pal-peer-fellow conspiracists (er, scientists and politicians and bureaucrats), the administrator/politicians/bureaucrat FUNDING his next year’s salary and budget request THINK that the solution/proposal/idea/concept/theory “works” ..
It ONLY needs to be a “successful sales job” for the climate scientist to be successful. His/her ideas NEVER need to actually work. And, those for modifying future climate don’t even have to be accurate, only properly “sellable” to be successful. Thus, I can – as a climate “scientist” claim a 20 meter sea level rise, get published, and go to Brazil-Paris-Copenhagen-New York-Times Square-Washington-Kyoto! That a20 meter sea level rise is impossible DOESN’T MATTER.
Now, the engineer MUST make the ENTIRE system work. Each weld has to be the right size. The right filler metal. The right style joint to be economical, to be strong enough under (future unknown) vibration and shock loads that can’t be exactly foretold nor modeled. That avoid copper in the metal, or silicon. Or ADD those metals. Sometimes. Or avoid carbon, or add carbon. Or avoid aluminum, or use aluminum. What percent carbon in the steel? 1/4 of 1%? 3%? 1-1/2%? How much will break the pressure vessel and cause another Bhopal massacre? How much Cobalt will stiffen the steel but then cause a future radiation problem? How much nickel is needed? And how much will make the entire project too expensive to build? How close does the rebar need to be to the corner of the concrete to avoid breaking out and causing rust? How close does it need to be to strengthen the concrete now, when it is poured, and afetr it cures? 20 years from now, will the loads be the same? Will the trucks be the same size with the same space between tires? Will they be the same height?
How many startups can you make in a day before the metal breaks? How many startups do you need to make a day or the project won’t make enough money in 15 years to break even at a construction interest rate of 5%? Of 10%? Of 2%? If a pipeline has to be re-run to allow better access for maintenance crews every 12 months, but will cost an extra two elbows and three pipe supports, what is the price per hour of a two-shifts of repair technicians every 24 months going to save if the outage is 36 hours faster? If it is 72 hours faster? Will the future owner want to make the change? How many hours will your designer need to work to make the change, and what will that cost in time, schedule and material? Can you buy two more elbows at the same price the first 2, 4, 12, 360 were bought at?
I envy doctors.
Their patients can sometimes “Heal themselves.” Despite what the doctor does.
Their patients, unfortunately, sometimes pass away. Sometimes do not heal. For that matter, ALL of their patients pass away. Eventually.
But nothing protects the steel. The copper. The concrete. The people who live below the dam. The people who drive over the bridge. The people who live next to the chemical plant. The people who drink the water.
Except the engineer.

Duncan

I may post this on my ‘wall’ at work just to remind myself in WORDS my daily thought process. Bouncing around the pillars of cost, schedule, quality. My hat off to you, full credit. Fortunately I don’t need to worry about killing someone everyday like some.

noaaprogrammer

Computer programmers who develop life-critical code (-e.g. fly-by-wire, driverless cars, etc.) must also strive for correct execution under all possible circumstances. Actually this is unachievable, but as obscure failures illustrate the need to do it better, the closer we come to minimizing such catastrophes.

Retired_Engineer_Jim

Yes, thank you. As to licensing, it seems to be mainly in the public-works area. I spent 42 years in aerospace, and my employers had a few licensed PEs on staff, out of anywhere from 1500 to 4000 engineers. In many cases, the particular individual had sought the license – she or he wasn’t hired because of it. But it was valuable to have a few PEs on staff when something legal needed signing, or we needed an in-house expert in a lawsuit.
I never sought a license because they weren’t available in the various fields in which I worked – aerodynamics, aeroservoelasticity, flight dynamics, flight simulation and systems engineering. However, my work was guided under the principles of “first, do no harm” and “safety first”.

D. J. Hawkins

It’s not so much “public-works” as it is work the public interacts with. Every building, public or private, has a structural engineer lurking around it somewhere. I do fire alarm design, and it doesn’t matter if it’s an airport or private clinic, the plans have to be signed and sealed.

Decades ago I earned and was awarded a BSME degree (same as Bill Nye) which requires demonstrated competence in chemistry, physics, heat transfer, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, statistics, algebra, calculus, etc. Get the idea?
Fresh out of school I sat for the 8 hour exam for the EIT and years later the 8 hour exam to become a registered professional engineer.
I have applied that knowledge for over 35 years where my work has to actually work. I have followed CAGW since 1989 and have read related materials extensively. Much of my work has been peer reviewed on open climate change blogs, not just a closed system of good old boys. My postings are totally my own, not handed to me on a clipboard in some troll’s minimum wage cube, and as clearly noted several times based on IPCC AR5 and other references.
I’m tired of hearing wet behind the ears millennial sociologist/journalist progressives who know nothing about physics, chemistry, heat transfer, thermodynamics or how the earth heats and cools, who obviously get their science from the MSM propaganda machine and have happily downed the CAGW Kool-Aid, pontificate on global warming, greenhouse gases and the evils of modern mankind.
There is nothing special about “climate” science. They have to follow the same fundamentals as everyone else.

Yirgach

I went through the same path, a BSCE, EIT and finally a PE. At the time I was working for a public agency and had to interact with a lot of other engineers. I was young, had long hair and a beard. Until I got the PE (at the first attempt), I was mostly ignored, after that I was welcomed into the sacred fold. Just for a piece of paper, my thoughts meant nothing. Hypocrites. I will never forget that.

commieBob

Experts are mostly incompetent at predicting things link
The question with experts is whether their performance can be measured. If an expert’s performance can be measured, the expert can correct bad practice and get better. (In the case of predictions, a smart expert will develop humility because accurate prediction is often impossible.) Very often experts find ways to ignore their mistakes. “I was right, the timing was just off by a few centuries” is a typical self-defence mechanism. When experts can avoid acknowledging their mistakes, they are worse than beginners. They have the illusion of understanding.
I can’t find the link but it seems to me that surgeons get better with age because they get immediate feedback. Radiologists, on the other hand, get worse because the feedback isn’t nearly as immediate and compelling. If a patient dies on a surgeon, it is right away and traumatic. If a radiologist messes up, she will not hear about it very soon or very loud. It will be easy to ignore.
The most deluded are the climate scientists who acknowledge that they can’t predict the weather next month but insist that they can predict the climate a hundred years hence.

Jeffrey Mitchell

A famous saying says “Its hard to predict, especially about the future.”
I’d give attribution, but it is murky see http://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/10/20/no-predict/

If I specify, design, calculate a million dollar system incorrectly and it doesn’t perform as advertised my replacement will have to fix it.

KTM

There is a reason they say doctors “practice” medicine.
I worked in a lab that studied Lyme disease, and we worked with live Borrelia and with infected animals. We all knew that if we had a needle stick or an animal bite, we were to proceed immediately to the medical clinic and to take appropriate medical literature about recommended treatment along with us.
We had a previous postdoc who had a bite that didn’t break the skin, but she went to the clinic anyway. After an hour the doctor walked in with an article he printed off Wikipedia. The only way she could get the recommended treatment was to pull up the correct medical reference on her iphone while the doctor waited.

jorgekafkazar

Wankerpedia is a horrible source, the Encyclopedia Twitannica of the Internerd.

Ah, the 97% BS again.
Does a particular medical doctor rule out the opinions of psychiatrists because they don’t jive with his own qualifications, then rule out foot doctors for the same reason, then rule out brain surgeons, etc., etc., until there are only seventy or so doctors with whom he considers himself equally qualified, and then claim that he is in the 97% consensus of agreement about what ails you?

Alan Ranger

I am aghast at the thought of an MD applying climate-style science, and coming anywhere near me!
https://ibb.co/hf4BwQ

Graham

Thanks to the brazen skullduggery of climate “scientists “97%consensus” is now a dirty word.

Graham

Correction. ‘climate “scientists”, “97%consensus” is’

willhaas

Scientists never registered and voted on the AGW conjecture so there is no 97% consensus. Even if there were, science is not a democracy. Scientific theories are not validated by a voting process. The laws of science are not some form of legislation.
AT first the AGW conjecture sounds quite plausable but upon a more detailed evaluation the AGW conjecture is full of holes. For example, CO2 does not trap heat because it has LWIR absorption bands. Good absorbers are also good radiators so CO2 is a much more efficient radiator to space then are the major gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. In the troposphere, heat energy transfer by conduction and convection dominates over LWIR absorption band radiation. CO2 can gain energy by conduction and convection and then radiate that same energy out to space more efficiently then N2, O2, or Argon. So adding CO2 to the atmosphere is more likely to cause cooling rather than warming.
The AGW conjecture depends on the existance of a radiant greenhouse effect caused by trace LWIR absorbing gasses but such a radiant greenhouse effect has not been observed in a real greenhouse, on earth, or anywhere else in the solar sytem. The radiant greenhouse effect is fiction hence the AGW conjecture is fiction.
The AGW conjecture is based on only partial science. For example the initial calculations of the climate sensifvity of CO2 failed to include that a doubling of CO2 will cause a slight decrease in the dry lapse rate in the troposphere which reduces the possible warming effects of CO2 by more than a factor of 20. The AGW conjecture assumes that H2O will act as a positive feedback to increases in CO2 and hence amplify CO2’s warming effect by a factor of roughly 3. But this idea ignore’s the fact that H2O is a major coolant in the Earth’s atmosphere as exemplified by the fact that the wet laspe rate is significantly less than the dry lapse rate. The H2O feedback is really negative as it has to be for the Earth’s climate to have been stable enough for life to evolve.
If CO2 really did affect climate then one would exect that the increase in CO2 over the past 30 years would have caused at least a measureable increase in the dry lapse rate in the troposphere but such has not happened.

mairon62

Both my grandparents received very expensive and invasive surgeries late in their lives from which they never recovered. Hospitals often gain consent from emotionally upset relatives that are not informed about the futility of the procedure or the opportunity cost it represents, in that the family will likely never speak to “Grandma” again. Of course Medicare paid most of the bill. As the young grandson who attempted to object to all of this, I was told by a hospital administrator, “What do you care? You don’t have to pay for it.” It’s the “invisible hand” of corruption where if there is money on offer a plausible narrative will be constructed to take it. Is there a more “noble cause” than “saving lives”? I’d like to believe that most MDs are not corrupt, but the system that many of them serve in is absolutely corrupt.

Hlaford

I had a similar situation in my family. It was my mother-in-law. She left us in agony, and that’s the part I’m not able to justify. The treatment she received was given to her with words “just in case”.

Roger Knights

CatoTheElder|8.1.14 @ 11:19AM|#
The NYT responsibly reported the consensus of scientists: over 97% of doctors engaged in drug research agreed that marihuana posed overwhelming dangers of psychotic violence, miscegenation, addiction, mental illness, and social rot.
The NYT understood that this was settled science, that further debate was unnecessary and counterproductive to society, and government had to forcefully address the dangers posed by marihuana with a strong prohibition. Sure, it might be interpreted as an usurpation of individual rights, but reefer madness was an inconvenient truth.
Ever since the 1920s, experts in the war on drugs almost unanimously oppose legalization. These are the experts with frontline experience with consequences of marihuana addiction in the law enforcement, prison management, and drug treatment industries. It’s settled science!
[from the thread:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/22/how-global-warming-research-is-like-pot-research/ ]

kim

Well, here’s one thing climate scientists and doctors can do, but ducks cannot, they can stick their bills up their asses.
====================

kim

It was previously thought that for a physician to succeed in practice, four personal attributes were necessary; able, affable, affordable, and available. Climate scientists are not affable, nor affordable, nor available, and only half able, shall we make that differently and unsuccessfully abled.
==========================

Betapug

Ancel Keys sucessful demonizing of cholesterol, (by securing patronage from Eisenhower’s Surgeon General) has been a major public health disaster with many parallels to CAGW. From “hiding the decline” in his 21 nation correlation study by simply discarding data from the 18 he found inconvenient, the bonanza for vegetable oil marketers riding the government sponsored bandwagon, to the role of outsiders in finally exposing the fraud the similarity is eerie. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/07/magazine/what-if-it-s-all-been-a-big-fat-lie.html
Unfortunately the facts are irrelevant to a mainly political endeavour. As EU Climate Commisioner Connie Hedegaard said, Greens are right even if they are wrong. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/climatechange/10313261/EU-policy-on-climate-change-is-right-even-if-science-was-wrong-says-commissioner.html

Roger Knights

“Would you ignore the advice of 97% of doctors?”
YES, in the case of the anti-fatty food dogma.
What if those 97% have been 97% wrong?
Create a graphic for this, Josh!
(Graphic shows 100 docs around G. Washington’s bed.)
“This was the cure / 97% were sure.”
http://www.google.com/search?q=george+washington+on+his+deathbed&num=100&client=safari&rls=en&prmd=ivnsb&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=hWJDU9CUC8GbygG2yIGIAg&ved=0CAUQ_AU
In America, “everyone” pretty much knows that the image is of George Washington on his deathbed, and that his death was hastened by the bleeding his doctors prescribed. Doctors then didn’t know much about the human body, although there was a consensus that they did. By analogy . . . .

[Unknown author:]
99% of doctors were into bleeding as a cure. You get consensus because of professional indoctrination, not because of science.
Alex March 28, 2017 at 10:03 pm
The third largest killer of people in the US is doctors. Why would I pay the slightest attention to that crowd?
Sheri:
Lastly, there is the “protect your own” that is seen in doctors and police and other groups hiding the errors and bad behaviors of their members to save face or whatever. It’s simply forbidden to speak out against any colleague or anyone in a similar field. PhD’s are expected to back all PhD’s or else it might make them look bad. After all, they spent a lot of time and money getting the degree. How dare they question anyone else who did the same?
Let’s say 97 doctors tell you that you have cancer, yet 3 say you do not (there will always be detractors). What do you do?

Roger Knights: Nothing, if their proposed cure is to bleed me, and if the pioneering patients whom they have already bled (e.g., Spain, Germany, UK, Ontario and Denmark) are more sickly now.
markstoval January 3, 2016 at 10:13 am
“The biological meaning of cholesterol is just starting to be explored. Everything that doctors know about cholesterol is wrong. New information about cholesterol is clarifying important issues in physiology and pathology” ~ Biochemist Professor Raymond Peat
http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/cholesterol-longevity.shtml
TinyCO2 | January 30, 2015 at 3:29 pm | Reply
One thing that Dan Kahan and his ilk don’t seem to grasp is shades of grey. For them the science is either right or wrong. Likewise the consensus scientists are right or the sceptics are. You vote left or right, Republican or Democrat. Public opinion is not binary. It’s not even analogue, but is in reality multi-dimensional.
Dan wonders “why on most scientific subjects they trust scientists without argument. It’s only a small handful that are politically contested. Why don’t people do the same on black hole physics or the Higgs boson?” The answer is not simple but the major component for his two examples would be importance. You don’t need to question stuff that doesn’t appear to affect you. The amount of scepticism/engagement about key issues is a measure of how significant they are. It’s ironic that doctors are used as an example of those experts we trust, when in truth we don’t trust them very much, despite medicine having a far greater track record of success than climate science. Yes, you might trust your doctor if s/he told you that you had to have an operation but what if instead that person said “you’re fine, it’s psychosomatic”? What if the cost of the operation far outweighed the potential harm of living with a condition? Humans weigh up evidence every single day, so why would climate psychologists expect us to turn that off just because of the fears of an improbable 97% of a self selected set of experts?
Mike says: February 2, 2014 at 7:08 am
“If 99 doctors…” is a very weak analogy and pretty indicative that the person proffering it knows nothing about the topics. Doctors are practitioners not scientists…they are trained (and obligated) to prescribe treatment based on observations, test results, etc. (aka “facts”). And why their education and certification is based on standardized texts and protocols. The goal is that if I see multiple doctors (e.g. an ER doc, my GP, and a specialist) they should agree . . . .
M Courtney says: November 26, 2013 at 12:06 pm
The Doctor Analogy:
A man goes to the Doctors for a routine check-up.
The Doctor says “You are very sick. We have no time for further tests. We must act now,”
“But I feel fine. I have no symptoms…”
“NOW! We must act now! I am an expert, a world renowned highly qualified medical practitioner” Do as I say,”
“OK. What must we do?”
“I’m just going to cut off your left leg, your right arm and your genitals”
“What?”
“Come on, hurry up, leg or whatever first? Oh, don’t worry I’ll do whatever I want”.
“Wait, can I have a second opinion?”
“No time.”
“But there’s no sign I’m sick. How about I get a second opinion as to whether there’s time for a second opinion?”
“NO! They are deniers! The ones who disagree with me… they’re paranoid you know… they believe in conspiracies and they are all paid by big business who want you dead…DENIERS!!!”
The Doctor pauses, and then says in his professional bedside manner, “There is no time. You must just trust and obey.”
“Trust and obey – it’s the new science way…”
ockham57 says: February 2, 2014 at 11:17 am
In the US at least, doctor errors (misdiagnosis, unnecessary drugs and procedures and unintended consequences) are the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer.
http://www.health-care-reform.net/causedeath.htm
http://chriskresser.com/medical-care-is-the-3rd-leading-cause-of-death-in-the-us
I use this simple retort, whenever I am accosted with the doctor analogy.
[Tisdale:]
Imagine you’re running a persistent slight fever. You visit a new clinic. The nurse takes your vitals and enters them into a computer program. A short time after the computer model completes its simulations, the doctor arrives, advises you of the computer-diagnosed ailment, and prescribes controversial high-cost medications and treatment.
You’re not comfortable with the service, diagnosis, prescription or treatment, so you check out online the computer model used by the clinic. It is proclaimed to be wonderful by its programmers. But, the more you research, the more you discover the model’s defects. It can’t simulate circulation, respiration, digestion, and other basic bodily functions. There are numerous research papers exposing the flaws in the model, but they are hard to find because of all of the other papers written by the model programmers extolling its virtues.
Of course, you would not accept the computer-based medical diagnosis from a model that cannot simulate basic bodily functions and processes. But that’s the position we’re faced with climate science.
We need a second opinion for the slight warming the Earth had experienced. Unfortunately, it is not likely to be coming anytime soon, not until there are changes to the political agendas that drive climate science funding.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/02/02/if-99-doctors-said/
Andyj says: January 17, 2014 at 1:35 pm
If 97% of climate scientists said I’m under the weather, would I believe them?
97% of doctors held doubts stomach ulcers could be cured with antibiotics and one of them cut 2/3′s of my dads stomach out. Another 3% were shouted down and reviled for even suggesting bacteria lived in the stomach.
Andrew30 says: January 17, 2014 at 1:09 pm
If 97 doctors told you …
Merck had:
Years of research.
Peer reviewed papers.
Computer models for number and distribution of ill effects.
Medical studies.
Patient testimonials.
Favorable publication in scientific magazines.
Thousands of doctors believing them.
Millions of people believing them on multiple continents.
There was a consensus in the scientific and medical community, there was no denying the benefits of Vioxx.
Then people started to die, too many people. The data on fatalities in the real world did not match the information from the computer models published in the scientific journals.
There was a consensus.
Pachygrapsus says: April 7, 2014 at 6:33 pm
Re: Heidi Cullen…
I love the “medical” analogy. We have one Earth. Medical science is built upon millions of independent trials to demonstrate safe and effective practices, and even those treatments are approved only after extensive tests on analogous systems are completed.
Just a little thought experiment:
I go to a doctor after experiencing a 0.5C increase in body temperature. The physician explains that it’s caused by too much oxygen, a gas that is known to create heat. The prognosis is grim. My body temperature is projected to increase dangerously and this will cause many of my essential systems to fail, so the doctor recommends the removal of one of my lungs.
Am I wrong to be skeptical that such a radical procedure is necessary when I’m presenting such benign symptoms? When I learn that my body temperature has reached this level many times before, should I accept the doctor’s assurance that this time is different because he/she ran a simulation on a computer? If I waited a week and my body temperature remained stable, would I be a “medical denier” if I factored that into my decision not to act?
As far as the 97% consensus, I can’t fit that into a thought experiment because it’s an absurd proposition. With no patients as a reference, no empirical data, and a series of simulations that are inconsistent with my progress so far, it would be impossible to get ANY responsible physician to perform the surgery. The medical analogy fails completely because of that field’s insistence on through research and double-blind trials before any treatment is approved. In fact, climate science has a lot more in common with the marketing of vitamins and supplements being utilized by quasi-medical therapists and nutritionists. (Magnets anyone?)
Dudley Horscroft says: February 2, 2014 at 6:11 am
“No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong”
Albert Einstein
I cannot help feeling that if 99 doctors said you were dead, but you sat up and disagreed with them, this one experiment would have proved them wrong.
wws says: February 2, 2014 at 6:54 am
Yet another counter example: You have a slight fever, you go in for a checkup, and 99 doctors (who all belong to the same club, and whose collective incomes depend upon very expensive treatments) tell you that you MUST have both legs cut off immediately, even though you think you really only need a couple of aspirin.
I submit that at this point, every rational person will realize that the “Doctors” have become more deadly than any disease they’re claiming to be able to treat, and one’s best option is to ignore them all and take your chances on your own.
Dodgy Geezer November 3, 2014 at 3:20 am
You say you would rather trust a specialist like a doctor to tell you what to do.
What would you do if you took your child to the local hospital with a bad cut on one of his fingers? And the doctor there said that cuts can go septic, so it would be best to amputate the whole arm? And you asked for a second opinion, and the doctor’s colleague agreed, and so did all his students?
Then when you got home, you looked at the track record of this doctor, and found that that doctor had a track record of losing 3/4 of his patients, and that the hospital had been a small backwater clinic until this doctor turned up and started prescribing amputations, and that now the hospital was booming with international grants from the World Centre for Amputations.
And that there had been some earlier complaints from the original hospital doctors about unnecessary amputations being prescribed, but that these doctors had been sacked, sued and banned from writing to any medical journals about their concerns….
Jim Clarke says: September 20, 2013 at 7:03 am
“…leaked documents seen by the Associated Press, yesterday revealed deep concerns among politicians about a lack of global warming over the past few years.”
Imagine your doctor expressing ‘deep concern’ when he discovers you are in good health.
“I am sorry, Mr. Smith, but there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with you. You might think that is great news, but it really sucks for me. I love giving people treatments, having control over their lives and making them pay me an inordinate amount of money, while I get to play the hero, even if my treatments are completely ineffective! That is what I love, and your good health is just really screwing it up for me! So I have decided to start giving you treatment for cancer anyway. While this will be extremely painful for you and very expensive, it will make me and the staff here feel better. Besides, what if you really do have cancer and the tests just didn’t show it? I mean…think of your children, Mr. Smith! Don’t you love your children?”
One Funeral at a Time . . .
99 doctors of dreer on the team
99 doctors of dreer
If one of those doctors should blaspheme
98 doctors of dreer

Funny they used the cholesterol example, as the “settled science” on that is proving to be totally wrong. And yet the media and MDs and dieticians are just starting (begrudgingly) to come around.

Kurt

I think the article missed the top distinction between climate scientists and doctors, or the medical practice in general. Doctors/medical practitioners have objective indicia of their expertise. If legions of doctors start prescribing a given drug to ameliorate a medical condition, they can later confirm that patients taking the drug were more or less likely to get better. Doctors can measure cholesterol levels in the blood and differentiate between cholesterol levels of different patients. And ultimately, doctors can be compared against each other to determine who provides better outcomes to their patients. I other words, they have feedback demonstrating their level of expertise. Thus, when a doctor gives a diagnosis (or multiple doctors give the same diagnosis). believing them is not falling victim to the appeal-to-authority fallacy.
This is true for engineers, geologists, weather forecasters, and a whole host of applied science disciplines. But climate science is not really an applied science. Sure, to the extent that scientists agree that CO2 is an infra-red absorber and will block outgoing surface IR that otherwise would escape directly to space, this proposition is testable and sound. But everything else – relating to the amount of warming, the degree of positive and negative feedback, the secondary impacts to climate etc. – is all theoretical. Michael Mann, for example does not have a time machine to send an army of graduate students back throughout the ages, armed with thermometers, to verify the accuracy of his proxy reconstructions. Climate modelers don’t have the benefit of multiple versions of the Earth to establish a statistical baseline of natural variation so as to objectively set probabilities on their attribution analyses.
There’s a vary important point here, The only objective measure of our scientific understanding is the practical applications to which we put that science. How well do we understand electromagnetics? Well enough to send power across hundreds of miles of transmission lines and to design functional microcircuits on small enough scales that electromagnetic effects have to be taken into account. How well do we understand gravity? Well enough to predict the motions of planets and asteroids, and to send ballistic missiles that land where we want them. How well to we understand the interaction between electromagnetic fields and gravity? Not well enough to accurately predict solar flares.
Climate scientists have not ever demonstrated what they claim to know by practically applying it. They don’t gather together in a Nevada desert on star-filled nights and conjure up thunderstorms. They can’t present us with a stack of resumes from alien civilizations testifying to how well they’ve engineered climates throughout the galaxy. The only measure of their expertise is the accuracy of their predictions of what will happen in the future (not some useless hindcast of what you already knew happened), and by that measure they routinely fail. They fail so badly that they have lately taken to denying (gotta love that word) that they ever made predictions in the first place, instead adopting the silly euphemism “scenario.”
But they do write a lot about what they think they know, and talk about their writings, and write about their talks, and once every few years do all that at some exotic location on the taxpayers dime. But what’s lacking is any objective evidence of any expertise.

urederra

I love the part where you say that that they have to ban the use of the word prediction when their predictions fail.
They use the word projection as well as scenario. But you are right, it is all the same. It is model output, or the result of their calculations, and if the result is different from the empirical reality, then the models, calculations, scenarios, theories, hypotheses or whatever they want to call them are wrong.

Hlaford

Although it is nice to hear bashing of climate “science” I read this as a hit piece against science in general. Not everyone may call themselves scientists, no matter how many Big bang theories they consumed.
By now it is obvious that some disciplines, like psychology, with their infamous DSM, can’t possibly be a science for many valid reasons, but the most important one is a failure of a zero hypothesis.
As a counter-argument to the hit-piece above, it is far too often said that medicine is an evidence-based science. Which in fact has nothing to do with scientific method, and can’t possibly pass the zero hypothesis test. Placebo takes care of that. It is about time doctors stop using the word “science” in whatever they do. From the hit-piece above, it seem to me that the evacuation of medicine from the sciences is afoot.

Kurt

It’s not remotely a hit piece on science in general. It’s a discussion on expertise, which is broader than science. More narrowly it’s an attach on a poor analogy between an alleged expertise of climate scientists and a presumed expertise of doctors. Whether or not doctors follow the precise methodology you ascribe as being “science” isn’t relevant.
An expert architect might have talent at designing buildings that are aesthetically pleasing. An expert chess player can kick the crap out of most of the populace in a game of chess. Neither architects nor chess players ply their trade by first calculating a null hypothesis.

Hlaford

Perhaps, but architecture is an art, and medicine boasts a science, which it is not.

RoHa

I wouldn’t trust a doctor who could not show that he had ever cured anything.

Stonyground

“Imagine your doctor tells you that you have dangerously high cholesterol and blocked arteries. She says you may drop dead soon. [Note: Based on comments/questions, I should clarify here. By “doctor”, I mean the entire medical establishment. So imagine you got not just a “second opinion,” but 100 opinions…and 97 say the same thing].”
Leaving aside the usual reference to the mythical 97%, what if my doctor had told me all that 30 years ago? I had then decided to do nothing effective about the alleged problem and, 30 years on, I’m still fine. Maybe, just maybe, I might have reason to believe that he might have been wrong.

Excellent article.
Some remarks:
1. scientific institutes communicate with the public via communications experts lacking scientific knowledge.
2. science is misunderstood: it involves what may be measured/researched/ quaintitized So, some things we know pretty well such as electronics, mechanics,energy but other subjects are part of ongoing research such as bio-medical subjects and, indeed, the climate.
3. real scientists honestly report assumptions and uncertainties, quacks and false prophets sell seeming certainties

A timely and well written article Leo.

Hugh Laurie is a brilliant doctor in the media series House, but like Mann it’s just a preordained script that he follows and no matter how deep you get into the show, it’s still just a show.

Youre telling me that Hugh Laurie is not a real Doctor! Who knew?

MarkW

I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.

urederra

He is not cripple either.

Schrodinger's Cat

University degrees have lost their value, certainly in the UK. Socialist ideology increased university attendance from about 5% to almost 50% during the last fifty years. The excellent students are still excellent but many leave with poor quality degrees in pointless subjects.
Medical science has a mixture of good and bad, like every other discipline. The nature of the 7 year process is very demanding and no doubt deters the weaker students.
Climate science was historically a small, specialist backwater until AGW and massive funding created an explosion in green enthusiasts all keen to save the planet. This is not a good basis for developing high quality, objective thinkers applying the scientific method. These people are being taught by the few who created the AGW bandwagon in the first place. Understanding basic, natural climate variability was abandoned in favour of demonising carbon dioxide. Climate science has set back several decades

powers2be

“University degrees have lost their value, certainly in the UK”
.
Same as the U.S. We now offer up numerous degrees such as Gender Studies, Film Studies, Urban Studies, etc, where often the prerequisite courses are basic math, English and reading because K-12 is failing to teach students in Urban schools to read beyond an 8th grade proficiency. In essence an undergraduate degree is a very expensive form of a high school diploma. But in all cases these degrees thoroughly indoctrinate the student into the certain perils of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. and ALGORE documentaries are mandatory viewing.

miso alkalaj

If a doctor told me that I had high cholesterol, I would first ask him “By which standard?”. Because you all probably know that standards for what is supposed to be “dangerously” high HDL were changed at least 3 times (always lowered) since the now famous faked research allegedly showing correlation between high HDL and cardiovascular disease.
As for averages, this is how a grandfather explains it to his grandsons: “I am 81, you are 8 and 10 years old, therefore on average we are 33 years old and therefore in great sexual condition. But in fact none of us can do it.”
Let him that readeth understand.

A friend of mine has always had lower than average blood pressure. When asked if he wanted to do something about it, he told his doctor that he saw no point in being ‘bracketed’. A good way to put it!

fretslider

When you present to a (UK) doctor, if needed you are then referred on to hospital.
Tests will be carried out, bloods, cultures etc etc and the results will inform the doctor on the next course of action if any is needed.
In short, there is a protocol/method that is followed.
They don’t throw your details into a half-bodged computer model