What happened to the traditional role of skepticism in climate science?

Guest essay by Forrest M. Mims III

Traditional science required a skeptical view of one’s own findings until they could be replicated, especially by others. Unfortunately, skepticism has been deleted from the latest edition of “On Being a Scientist,” a widely-read booklet published by the National Academies of Science. When I asked the NAS about this unfortunate deletion, they explained there was insufficient space to include this fundamental aspect of doing science. Yet I counted nearly 10 pages of white space in the new edition.

Despite the NAS change, I’ll continue to view science, including mine, through a veil of skepticism. That’s why I am concerned about what has become of the global warming/climate change movement, which is rapidly assuming the status of a paradigm that is automatically assumed correct by many of those unfamiliar with the science.

Some of those who criticize skeptics like me seem unaware of the scandals and the political and religious-like motivations behind the climate change movement. They need to become familiar with the content of the Climategate emails and the use of non-peer-reviewed data and erroneous information about Himalayan glaciers in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. (Disclosure: I was an expert reviewer of the IPCC ‘s AR-5 Report.)

The IPCC scandals occurred under the leadership of former IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri, who acknowledged in his resignation letter that his “fight” against global warming is his “religion” and “dharma” (https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/ar5/150224_pachauri_letter.pdf). Pachauri had to resign after charges of sexual harassment of some of his staff.

Those who doubt political motivations are behind the global warming/climate change movement, including the Paris Agreement, should simply read what major political leaders have stated. Beginning at the top is Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and the subject of this United Nations media release (http://www.unric.org/en/latest-un-buzz/29623-figueres-first-time-the-world-economy-is-transformed-intentionally):

“Figueres: First time the world economy is transformed intentionally“

Tuesday, 03 February 2015 18:34

“Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, warns that the fight against climate change is a process and that the necessary transformation of the world economy will not be decided at one conference or in one agreement.

“This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history”, Ms Figueres stated at a press conference in Brussels.

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

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June 22, 2017 1:13 pm

Warmist are only skeptical when is suits their world view!

Reply to  TG
June 22, 2017 1:28 pm

Maybe some of them. The rest of them are simply closed minded which is very different from being sceptical.

Bryan A
Reply to  goldminor
June 22, 2017 2:15 pm

They appear to be so adverse to skepticism that they (the National Academy of Science – NAS) will go so far as to even Scrub the WORD from their official literature and deny it’s necessity in the function of basic science in general and climate science in particular

Reply to  goldminor
June 22, 2017 3:40 pm

Think about what this means for the rest of science.

Pat Frank
Reply to  goldminor
June 22, 2017 6:54 pm

Let’s not forget that Marcia McNutt is now president of the NAS. Marcia is a fervent AGW believer.
This means she either does not understand science or has abandoned it.
Either possibility is a valid explanation for the jettisoning of skepticism as a principle of science at the US NAS.

Michael darby
Reply to  goldminor
June 22, 2017 7:13 pm

Frank, just because someone rejects what you believe in, doesn’t mean they don’t understand science.

Michael darby
Reply to  goldminor
June 22, 2017 7:15 pm

PS Frank, collectively, the NAS has more scientific experience that you have as an individual.

Reply to  goldminor
June 22, 2017 8:24 pm

If the NAS does not think skepticism is vital to science then the NAS collectively knows less about science than a dead parrot.

J Mac
Reply to  goldminor
June 22, 2017 10:43 pm

Michael darby
June 22, 2017 at 7:15 pm
RE: ..collectively, the NAS has more ….”
Are you a socialist believer in ‘the collective’ or just appealing to popular opinion?

Reply to  goldminor
June 23, 2017 6:27 am

If you don’t believe in skepticism, you aren’t a scientist.

Reply to  goldminor
June 23, 2017 6:28 am

Who gives a flying flip how much the membership of NAS knows about any subject.
The membership hasn’t been consulted regarding these decisions. They were made by the politicians who run the organization.

Reply to  goldminor
June 23, 2017 8:32 am

“Frank, just because someone rejects what you believe in, doesn’t mean they don’t understand science.”
Skepticism isn’t what one believes in, it is a state of mind. Skepticism equals questioning. How can one do science without questioning? The first step in science is to have a question about something.

Stephen Hawking
Reply to  goldminor
June 24, 2017 1:31 am

Skeptical means providing science to refute other science. Anyone that has science to prove global warming caused by humans should call the scientists at NASA and the Royal Society and tell them they are wrong. There should be a nobel prize and 1 million dollars if you can prove them wrong. Waiting for the attacks … but of cause no science proving the greenhouse effect …. the cause of global warming … is wrong and, if anyone can tell me why 90% of glaciers disappearing at such an alarming rate that has only occurred over the last 30 years
[It isn’t necessary to provide alternative explanations to be skeptical. You seem confused about how scientific enquiry works . . . mod]

Reply to  Stephen Hawking
June 24, 2017 6:50 am

There should be a nobel prize and 1 million dollars if you can prove them wrong.

They are wrong.

Reply to  Stephen Hawking
June 24, 2017 6:50 am

There should be a nobel prize and 1 million dollars if you can prove them wrong.

They are wrong.

Reply to  goldminor
June 24, 2017 10:21 am

Pat Frank wrote: “Let’s not forget that Marcia McNutt is now president of the NAS. Marcia is a fervent AGW believer. This means she either does not understand science or has abandoned it. Either possibility is a valid explanation for the jettisoning of skepticism as a principle of science at the US NAS.”
TA replied: ““Frank, just because someone rejects what you believe in, doesn’t mean they don’t understand science.” Skepticism isn’t what one believes in, it is a state of mind. Skepticism equals questioning. How can one do science without questioning? The first step in science is to have a question about something.”
McNutt is both a “policy advocate” and a scientist. Like all citizens, especially well-informed citizens, she has a right to express her opinion. However, when she acts like a fervent AGW believer in public, she no longer has the right to say she is speaking as a scientist. As Schneider taught us, ethical scientists are expected to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but, with all of the ifs ands buts and caveats. When she gets in front of the public and behaves like the slimiest politician or ambulence-chasing attorney, she damages the credibility of all other scientists. And the head of the NAS has absolutely no business doing that.
The problem is that money is power in Washington and funding for liberal academics is controlled by influential Democrats. The President of the AAAS is a retired Democratic Congressman.

Dr. Strangelove
Reply to  goldminor
June 24, 2017 8:35 pm

A troll calling himself “Stephen Hawking” That’s identity theft! You look like him minus his intellect and disability

Reply to  goldminor
June 24, 2017 8:40 pm

Stephen Hawking June 24, 2017 at 1:31 am
You could not possibly be more wrong.
The scientific method requires that a hypothesis make testable predictions capable of being shown false. To advance science, all that has to be done is show the hypothesis false or to confirm it tentatively.
For instance, Galileo’s observations of the phases of Venus conclusively showed the Ptolemaic system false. It did not however “prove” the Copernican system correct. Tycho’s system was still an alternative not falsified by Galileo’s observations of Venus.
Showing Ptolemy’s model false was of overarching importance in the history of science, without any alternative model being preferred.

Reply to  TG
June 22, 2017 2:30 pm

I think the UN should be dismantled and the staff encouraged to find real employment.
In my view, the United Nations is a corrupt political organization run by a bureaucracy that has its own agenda.
This agenda which is not to the advantage of most world citizens.
For instance check this document.
Especially page 8. The highlights are mine.
This is only one of millions of examples to be found in the UN literature.

Reply to  rogerthesurf
June 22, 2017 4:40 pm

I checked your document One of the goals of the UN is to….
facilitate the rapid and continuous improvement in the quality of life of all people, beginning with the
satisfaction of the basic needs of food, shelter, clean water, employment, health, education, training, social security without any discrimination as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, ideology, national or social origin or other cause, in a frame of freedom, dignity and social justice.
Yeah that sounds real evil to me.

Reply to  rogerthesurf
June 22, 2017 8:47 pm

They’re using the oldest trick in the book which is to disguise evil as benevolence. You need to look past the claimed benevolence to see the evil of what they’re doing.
The first evil is their agenda of redistributing wealth from the developed world to the developing world under the guise of climate reparations. 1) This puts the brakes on growth and innovation seriously slowing down the developed world’s economies which means less wealth, fewer jobs and more poverty, 2) the idea that climate reparations are even needed is based on seriously flawed science which overestimates the climate sensitivity factor by about a factor of 4, 3) none of the so called remedies presented so far will do a damn thing to slow down climate change, even if you accept the horribly overestimated sensitivity claimed by the IPCC and 4) even the so called scientists can’t defend their bogus claims where their main defense is to insult anyone who dares question what they claim.
The deeper evil is that the IPCC requires CAGW to justify their existence yet has become the arbiter of what is and what is not climate science by what they choose to publish in their reports leading to the fabrication of a self serving consensus built around those reports. If this result was the purposeful intent, its the most evil of all.

Reply to  rogerthesurf
June 22, 2017 9:04 pm

Snarky,The evil lies in their definition of basic needs and their desire to limit your intake to what is necessary to fulfil them.

Reply to  rogerthesurf
June 22, 2017 11:55 pm

Thankyou for checking my document. Im just wondering what was your opinion on the highlighted paragraph on page 8?

Reply to  rogerthesurf
June 23, 2017 6:30 am

snarky, do you honestly believe that anything the UN has been doing in recent decades is actually advancing any of the goals you have listed?
Like most leftists, your thinking stops at what people tell you to believe.

Nighthawk 81
Reply to  rogerthesurf
June 25, 2017 4:21 am

UN: Politics before peace. In many cases, politics before sanity.
I won’t say it’s ALWAYS been that way, but certainly for most of its existence.
I have learned, over my sixty-one years on this big blue marble, that if the UN says that the sun rises in the east, that I should take my compass outside at dawn and double-check … just in case.

Reply to  TG
June 22, 2017 4:45 pm

None of you “skeptics” seem to realize how much stuff on this site is made up. Nobody bothers to check because it suits your agenda. You are the scientific joke

Reply to  snarky
June 22, 2017 8:58 pm

Examples please.

G. Karst
Reply to  snarky
June 22, 2017 9:20 pm

All I can hear is crickets. I wonder why. GK

Reply to  snarky
June 23, 2017 12:03 am

You should listen and understand this short video and then learn how to apply the principles to CAGW.

This is the very basis of real science which is conspicuously missing from UN sponsored scientists and their friends.

Reply to  snarky
June 23, 2017 1:48 am

….Hit and run troll ??

Reply to  snarky
June 23, 2017 2:00 am

Please list one example of this site making stuff up…….

Reply to  snarky
June 23, 2017 6:31 am

I agree that most of what passes for climate science is completely made up.

Reply to  snarky
June 23, 2017 6:43 am

“…..None of you “skeptics” seem to realize how much stuff on this site is made up. Nobody bothers to check because it suits your agenda. You are the scientific joke….”
An ancient proverb describes people in four types:
1. He who knows not and knows not that he knows not, is a fool…. Avoid him!
2. He who knows not and knows that he knows not, can be taught…. Teach him!
3. He who knows and knows not that he knows, is asleep… Wake him!
4. He who knows and knows that he knows, is a prophet… Follow him!
Suggest you graduate from group One and move up to group Two.
Good luck

Stephen Hawking
Reply to  snarky
June 24, 2017 1:40 am

one of the lies that keeps being regurgitated on this site is that earth has not warmed in the past 30 years. I know because I often point out the records temperatures we have had tear after year. All you get back is the earth hasn’t warmed. That’s it …. no evidence … just conspiracy theories. For these lies to be true means thousands of scientists around the world from different countries are all making stuff up …. really … you all believe that? If so I suggest a tin foil helmet!
[You did read the recent Santer paper? . . . mod]

Reply to  snarky
June 24, 2017 10:29 am

You are such a dim light bulb that you have no idea the claim of a coming runaway global warming that will destroy all life on earth is a complete fabrication with absolutely no scientific proof or logic to support it.
And even if every scientist in the world believed in that horrible future (most don’t), it would still be a complete fabrication.
We have been hearing that prediction of doom for 30 years. and the climate keeps getting better and better.
There had been other predictions of doom:
a coming global cooling catastrophe, a coming acid rain catastrophe, a coming hole in the ozone layer catastrophe, and others … all now forgotten because they didn’t scare enough people.
We skeptics have examined climate history, and thought about why CO2 levels in the past higher than today — up to 10 or 20 times higher at the peak — never caused runaway warming.
Our conclusions come AFTER we examine predictions of doom, and determine whether they make sense (so far they never do) … while parrots like you just repeat what you are told by government bureaucrats …. who want to expand the government to fight their imaginary coming climate catastrophe … and to expand government powers they need the backing of a flock of mindless believers … just like you.

Bryan A
Reply to  snarky
June 24, 2017 10:17 pm

Careful Richard, if you hold back so much, Snarky might start thinking you like him

Nighthawk 81
Reply to  snarky
June 25, 2017 4:30 am

@Snarky … verify, please. What is “made up?”
Also, re: your comment about the avowed goals of the UN … just because someone SAYS they support a certain viewpoint, agenda, et cetera ad nauseam, does not mean that they actually DO. Adolph Hitler told Neville Chamberlain he had peaceful intentions in Europe. We all know how well THAT went over.
Food for thought ….

Reply to  snarky
June 25, 2017 5:15 pm

As a result of my skeptic education here, elsewhere and in books, I can see right through censored, politicised, and propagandised climate news and reporting in the mainstream liberal media.
For example, I know most journalists don’t read the papers upon which the science they publish is based. They only read the press release, written by a publicity officer. snarky should worry more about the rampant misreporting of science in press releases which, paraphrased by journalists, influences millions of people. He has his priorities back-to-front. WUWT is just a small discussion site.

Rick C PE
Reply to  TG
June 23, 2017 8:30 am

“If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.” — Rene Descartes

Stephen Hawking
Reply to  TG
June 24, 2017 10:29 pm

Wow! I was just told by the moderator, “It isn’t necessary to provide alternative explanations to be skeptical. (yes it does) You seem confused about how scientific enquiry works . . .” Really, if you don’t provide alternative explanations that can be opened up to critical enquiry or scientific examination then is just an opinion about somebody else’s work. Wow! Scientific enquiry is how science works, countering a position based on science is being truly sceptical. Sounds like the moderator left his/her ten year old in charge.
[right, claims of acting like a 10 year old when you are using the name of Steven Hawking when your name is actually something else -mod]

Reply to  Stephen Hawking
June 25, 2017 5:29 pm

The mod is right. Unfortunately most people are not skeptical enough. To convince most people you do need to feed them an alternative explanation or belief. So you are, sort of, right from the point of pragmatism. From the other point of view of absolute truth the skeptic is technically right. No need for an alternative explanation. A peer reviewer does not need to write an alternative paper to explain why the paper they’re reviewing is wrong. They only need to point out the errors, flaws, inadequacies. etc. In fact if climate science had a proper culture of peer review, WUWT would hardly be needed.
PS: absolute truth <- I adore that phrase, it's so anti-post-modern.

Science or Fiction
June 22, 2017 1:17 pm

Strange, but it is hard to come about a proper set of principles for science.
I had to make it myself: The principles of science (v7.5)
If anyone can point me to another set of principles I would be delighted.

Science or Fiction
Reply to  Science or Fiction
June 22, 2017 1:41 pm

Argh – Should have been “come by”, I really miss that edit button.

Reply to  Science or Fiction
June 22, 2017 2:32 pm

There are several WordPress plugins for editing comments.
Seven examples.
Someone with WUWT dashboard access should add one.

Science or Fiction
Reply to  Roy Denio
June 22, 2017 2:56 pm

I guess It would create a lot of controversies if fools like me were allowed to edit comments.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Science or Fiction
June 22, 2017 3:33 pm

No problem! I just assumed that you were British. 🙂

Timo, not that one
Reply to  Science or Fiction
June 22, 2017 2:29 pm

“Those are my principals, and if you don’t like them… well I have others.” -Groucho Marx

Science or Fiction
Reply to  mib8
June 23, 2017 10:35 am

comment image
That is the method used by IPCC isn´t it?

Ben of Houston
Reply to  mib8
June 23, 2017 12:05 pm

Well, the accusation is that they start with 6 and then only do 2 and 5 to find what supports their conclusion, ignoring everything that contradicts their pre-arrived at conclusion.
Given that several of these accusations have come from people who have resigned from the IPCC, most notably Judith Curry, I am tempted to believe them.

Reply to  Science or Fiction
June 22, 2017 9:09 pm

Good work. Of course, skepticism has to be in there. If not, it is not science.

Science or Fiction
Reply to  TheLastDemocrat
June 22, 2017 10:02 pm

Thanks, and I agree. In addition to the technical requirements that make a scientific work independently verifiable, each individual scientist need to have a, «a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty – a kind of leaning over backwards» as Richard Feynman famously talked about in his famous cargo cult science speach..

Reply to  Science or Fiction
June 22, 2017 11:22 pm

Read Karl popper – the leading philosopher of science of the 20th century. Central to the definition of science is the principle of falsifiability – any theory, to be scientific, should in principle be falsifiable.

Science or Fiction
Reply to  rjwooll
June 23, 2017 3:52 am

I have read Popper. His principle for demarcation is excellent. About the rest i am not so sure. He thougth proper definitions were not that important and his “degree of corroboration” is at best problematic. His methodological rules are not clearly identified and not well defined.

Reply to  Science or Fiction
June 23, 2017 4:24 am

Interesting document. The only thing I would dispute is your use of the concept of verifiability. Popper argued that in order to be scientific, a proposition should be, in priinciple, falsifiable. You can never 100% verify anything (e.g. ‘all swans are white”), but you can seek to falsify it – which is where a sceptical approach comes in. So instead od counting white swans, look for a black one.

Science or Fiction
Reply to  rwoollaston
June 23, 2017 4:32 am

Imagine all the things that are both verified and true that makes it possible for you to write that comment and for me to respond to it.

Reply to  rwoollaston
June 23, 2017 6:55 am

Imagine how you are avoiding the issue and how we are laughing at you for it.

Science or Fiction
Reply to  rwoollaston
June 23, 2017 8:08 am

@ hunter, I will explain in a proper way. But I am on a mobile phone now, so it is a bit difficult. I’ll be back in a few hours.

Science or Fiction
Reply to  rwoollaston
June 23, 2017 10:14 am

@ Hunter
Simply stated: It is true that we can never know if the theory at hand is a perfect representation of nature that can never be improved.
My claim is that by proper definitions it is possible to demonstrate that it is true that a well-defined concept has a well-defined capability of prediction for a well-defined context. The device that you hold in your hands is full of features that have been tested and demonstrated to be true. That is why it works.
Exactly what are you laughing about if I may ask?

Reply to  rwoollaston
June 24, 2017 10:39 pm

Science or Fiction June 23, 2017 at 10:14 am
You would fail my philosophy of science class with an F-.
You totally fail to get the scientific method at all. The smartest grasp it intuitively, without my explication at all. The densest never get it.
I’ll try to explain, as I would to the slowest of students.
In the scientific method, the scientist makes a guess, but to be scientific, this guess must be capable of being tested and, so tested, shown false. If it is shown false, then that’s the end of it, unless some plausible excuse be suggested, which itself must then be subject to similar test.
If test by experiment or observation of nature confirms the hypothesis (guess), then it must be tested further. If repeatedly confirmed and never shown false, then the guess might be elevated tentatively to the level of theory. But the hypothesis can never be “proved” in the mathematical test, until or unless it is finally actually observed, as in the case of the earth going around the sun.
That’s why science is (almost) never “settled”, and so-called “climate science” is as unsettled as can be.

Science or Fiction
Reply to  rwoollaston
June 25, 2017 12:02 am

@ Gabro.
My full reply does not seem to come through. If this reply comes through, my principle §7 together with explanations in: “Regarding §7 …” seem to be in accordance with your perspective. That makes me wonder what you disagree with me about?

Reply to  Science or Fiction
June 24, 2017 10:45 am

Your scientific principles are okay.
But modern climate “science” is not real science — it is actually a secular religion.
Wild guess predictions of a coming runaway global warming are not based on any science, any similar examples in climate history, any logic, or any sense.
The proof of a coming runaway global warming catastrophe is the following words, from a small subset of people with science degrees who are government bureaucrats and play computer games for a living:
Current scientific “proof” of coming runaway global warming: “BECAUSE WE SAY SO”
Though history most scientists have been wrong most of the time — their errors range from minor to being completely wrong.
Almost all progress in science takes place when one man, or a small team, proposes a new theory,
… which is attacked and rejected by the consensus,
… but is later proven true,
… and eventually other scientists realize they have to accept the new theory if they want to make progress in their field
… and at that point they start claiming they had always agreed with the new theory,
… and in fact they were actually writing a paper on the new theory when their dog ate the paper … and that delay allowed some other lesser scientist to publish the new theory first !
After 20 years of reading about what passes for “science” concerning the future climate, I now rank scientists as being no more trustworthy than used car salesmen — governments and corporations can get whatever “science” they are willing to pay for.
A coming global warming catastrophe — bought and paid for non-science.
Cigarettes are not dangerous — bought and paid for non-science

Science or Fiction
Reply to  Richard Greene
June 24, 2017 12:12 pm

That reminds me about a comparison I once made. I rewrote slightly the court findings in the case against the tobacco industry so that it fitted United Nations climate alarmism. To my surprise, the actions by United Nations fitted quite well the actions of the Tobacco industry (Warning – this is a piece of fiction):
Here are the Final findings of the court in the racketeering lawsuit against the major cigarette manufacturers: The U.S. Government’s racketeering case against Big Tobacco
This is my version adapted to United Nations climate alarmism:
– United Nations knew for fifty years or more that CO2 is primarily a plant fertilizer, but repeatedly stated that CO2 caused adverse climate change. United Nations publicly distorted and maximized the hazards of CO2 for decades.
– United Nations concealed and suppressed research data and other evidence showing CO2 has little effect on climate, and withheld information from the public and governments.
– United Nations acted this way to maintain revenue by keeping people alarmed and attracting new supporters, to avoid liability, and prevent reformation of the United Nations.
– United Nations falsely denied that they can and do control the information intended to create and sustain climate change alarmism.
– United Nations falsely marketed and promoted CO2 emission as harmful, to keep governments alarmed to sustain and increase the revenue to United Nations for administration of the climate funds and arbitrary projects financed by these funds.
– From the 1980s to the present, United Nations, using different methods, have intentionally marketed CO2 as harmful to young people under the age of 21 in order to recruit “replacement alarmists” who would ensure the future economic viability of the United Nations.
– United Nations publicly denied, while internally acknowledging, that energy poverty is hazardous to the poor.
– At various times, United Nations attempted to, and did suppress and conceal scientific research relevant to their public.

June 22, 2017 1:17 pm

It got airbrushed out by power brokers.

Bryan A
Reply to  Resourceguy
June 22, 2017 2:17 pm

I thought it’s practicality was Denied for being a Skeptical necessity

June 22, 2017 1:20 pm

In light of the replication crisis plaguing all disciplines of science, reproducibility should be the only thing with which the NAS should concern itself.

Reply to  Brad
June 22, 2017 1:30 pm

In real science, results must be repeatable, but in CACA they not only aren’t, but there are no actual results in the first place.

Tim Hammond
Reply to  Gabro
June 22, 2017 2:03 pm

Exactly. Except perhaps with the proxy papers producing reconstructions of historical temperatures, there is basically just statistical analysis of models.
The proxy papers are so much junk – they can be reproduced, but only if you cherry-pick, use the data upside down, assume temperature is the only variable etc. So reproducibility there is meaningless.
The models are tweaked to give the result wanted, and then the paper claims that the models show prove the result. Utterly circular.

Reply to  Gabro
June 22, 2017 2:08 pm

CACA World paleo proxy reconstructions are also fabrications, crafted to give the desired “results”, as opposed to previous proxy research papers, which did try actually to find out about past climatic conditions.

Reply to  Gabro
June 23, 2017 1:37 am

Not necessarily. The problem a lot of people have here is they appear to think that science covers theory and test but science actually covers the whole range of highly theoretical (essentially mathematics) all the way to applied science with heavy amounts of measurement. The scientific method allows for assumptions to be part of the argument provided the argument is coherent and sticks to these assumptions through the conclusions. You do not necessarily have to test everything.
Science, for what most consider, is the body of work dealing with the ideas. It does not produce anything immediately useful.
The problem we have with CAGW is that advocacy mixed with cultural Marxist ideology has meant turning a blind eye to accountability and sense, where the speculative nature of climate science is treated as hard actionable fact. It fits a narrative.
Try telling someone about real temperature measurements, characterisation of testing methods, calibration and the fact that your results are only as good as the tools and you are met with some guff about Central Limit Theorem. Or Ceteres Parebus.
This is the language of the Theorist not the Accountable. Politicians and scientists have let themselves get carried away with ideas because they are frankly too stupid and inexperienced or mature to admit as such. And everyone has to suffer.
I fully support guys like Michael Mann writing hockey stick papers. But treating the conclusions as any more than an amusing exercise is unethical.
We don’t take experimental drugs as being safe. We don’t drive experimental cars fully expecting them to be great for family trips. But show them a hypothetical graph called Temperature Anomalies and “we are all going to die” then those of a particular fetish run with it like Forrest Gump.
It’s all so tragic.

Science or Fiction
June 22, 2017 1:26 pm

The IPCC document Guidance Note for Lead Authors of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report on Consistent Treatment of Uncertainty shows how science has been perverted by IPCC, it shows how subjectivism has been introduced and endorsed by IPCC. The guidance note is the document behind the laughable subjective confidence terminology used by IPCC. Summarized in the following figure.comment image

Ron Clutz
Reply to  Science or Fiction
June 22, 2017 1:48 pm

Thanks for the great matrix showing how IPCC constructs social proof rather than science proof.

Ron Clutz
Reply to  Ron Clutz
June 22, 2017 1:52 pm

Oh, and by the way, social proof is running amok in people signing up for the “We are still in” movement keeping the faith with Paris accord.

Science or Fiction
Reply to  Ron Clutz
June 22, 2017 2:15 pm

I recommend all to skim through the Guidance note linked to above and make up their own mind about how IPCC govern the expression of uncertainty. One thing is certain, large parts of their assessments and are not objective.

Curious George
Reply to  Ron Clutz
June 22, 2017 3:31 pm

Oh no. It only shows that Agreement counts at least as much as Evidence. In this matrix you still need some Evidence. I doubt it shows how IPCC really works.

Ron Clutz
Reply to  Curious George
June 22, 2017 7:34 pm

Yeah but you can use the evidence that fits, just enough to be sciency.

Reply to  Science or Fiction
June 22, 2017 1:58 pm

and only a 3 x 3 matrix.
a 5 x 5 matrix would have allowed for a level of communication that was 2.78 times greater.
just imagine how well they could have communicated their info if they put a 7x matrix.

Bryan A
Reply to  DonM
June 22, 2017 2:22 pm

They had an original grid of 9×9 but then numerous grid cells had no relavent data so they infilled using data from adjacent cells

Reply to  DonM
June 22, 2017 3:18 pm

Plus many. Very funny.

Reply to  ferdberple
June 22, 2017 7:02 pm

A new subbasement in Hell may have to be dug for the corrupt “scientists”, historians and philosophers of science who have so perverted the scientific method to promote their assault on humanity.

J Mac
Reply to  ferdberple
June 22, 2017 10:53 pm


Reply to  ferdberple
June 24, 2017 10:55 am

I never realized from your prior posts that you can be quite a jokester.
The Nye Quadrant is a classic.
Since modern climate “science” is a joke, why not make jokes about it?
The real scientific problem, now that Obama failed to stop the seas from rising,
is when the flooding starts, and we all have to head for the hills, just how much
above sea level will we have to live for our safety?

Reply to  Science or Fiction
June 22, 2017 9:13 pm

That matrix is not science;
it is a decision guide for guesstimating how much trust to out in policy-relevant evidence.
It is a suggestion regarding how policies should ideally be decided.

Wim Röst
Reply to  Science or Fiction
June 22, 2017 10:24 pm

An important graph, Science of Fiction June 22, 2017 at 1:26 pm. The high subjectivity / low ‘science’ level is best expressed by the upper left and the lower right square. They both score an ‘average confidence’. The inclusion of those parts was meant to ‘create a reality’. Not to ‘represent science’.
‘Low agreement’ and ‘Robust evidence’ does not have much to do with science. The more for ‘High agreement’ ‘Limited evidence’. Does ‘science’ ever has ‘high agreement’ when there is ‘limited evidence’?
Both squares score an ‘average confidence’. This represents the IPCC’s scientific level.
My opinion: IPCC is only meant to create a mass movement without science. The whole IPCC construction breathes manipulation.

Reply to  Wim Röst
June 24, 2017 10:57 am

They missed one:
97% agreement — no evidence

Reply to  Science or Fiction
June 25, 2017 8:22 am

People definately need to see this. I have always found it appalling that a so-called science group used such loose terminology. However, since the IPCC is in reality a political group founded to promote climate change alarmism, it’s not surprising.

Science or Fiction
Reply to  Sheri
June 25, 2017 8:48 am

Please join our efforts to tell about it.
You may also find the Principles governing IPCC work appalling. The principles are more or less free from sound scientific principles – no mentioning of scrutiny or application of a sound scientific method there. Rather than imposing what I regard to be sound scientific principles on IPCC, United Nations allowed IPCC to be governed by:
– the unscientific principle to: “concentrate its activities on the tasks allotted to it by the relevant WMO Executive Council and UNEP Governing Council resolutions and decisions as well as on actions in support of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change process” (§1)
– the unscientific principle to: “In taking decisions, and approving, adopting and accepting reports, the Panel, its Working Groups and any Task Forces shall use all best endeavours to reach consensus.“(§10)
– an approval process and organization principle which must, by its nature, diminish dissenting views.:”differing views shall be explained and, upon request, recorded.” (§10) “Conclusions drawn by IPCC Working Groups and any Task Forces are not official IPCC views until they have been accepted by the Panel in a plenary meeting.” (§11)

June 22, 2017 1:37 pm

And let us not forget Maurice Strong’s statement at the 92 Rio conference, with words to the effect that it was their job to bring down industrialized nations.

June 22, 2017 1:44 pm

Basically money…..start with a bunch of glorifed weathermen….

Alastair Brickell
Reply to  Latitude
June 22, 2017 1:56 pm

…with a dodgy railway engineer at their head and movie stars and failed politicians as their ambassadors.

Bruce Cobb
June 22, 2017 1:50 pm

The roolz specifically state that as long as you have a 97% “concensus”, there’s no need for skepticism.

June 22, 2017 2:14 pm

So, NAS doesn’t have room for skepticism in science.
Why then would science have room for NAS?

June 22, 2017 2:18 pm

The denizens of WUWT are familiar with the Dunning-Kruger effect.

In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias, wherein persons of low ability suffer from illusory superiority when they mistakenly assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is.

The effect doesn’t just affect incompetents. Something like it affects actual experts.
Experts are likely to think and claim they have knowledge that they don’t have.

Now, new research by Stav Atir and her colleagues suggests knowledge can be a dangerous thing, as those most confident about a topic are most likely to fall prey to this error. link

It’s a serious problem,

More serious instances involve making claims or recommendations on more important issues, such as finance or health, areas where people often seek the advice of experts. Unfortunately, experts have a particular vulnerability that puts them at risk of overclaiming. This research shows this isn’t simply a question of losing face: it can be difficult for experts to recognise when they are out of their depth.

The climate science community, as a whole, is way out of their depth. The arrogant ‘tards don’t know how far out of their depth they are.

Bryan A
Reply to  commieBob
June 22, 2017 2:27 pm

Could be how the effect affects their incompetents incontinence

Reply to  commieBob
June 22, 2017 5:14 pm

they are not concerned with BEING right. truth is irrelevant.
their concerns are almost exclusively about being BELIEVED. the narrative is all.

J Mac
Reply to  gnomish
June 22, 2017 10:58 pm

“The ends justify the means….”
The core motto of socialism and all despots.

Reply to  gnomish
June 25, 2017 8:27 am

I believe you’ve hit upon much of the answer. The other reasons are they want to be relevent and noticed. People don’t care about statistical error, the null hypothesis, falsifiability, etc. They just want to know what the latest Dr. Oz miracle fat burner is. So, science creates answers that speak to what people want to be true and just ignores the rest. Considering society seems to have the attention span of a gnat, I’m not really sure how to overcome this. Repeating the truth over and over seems the only possibility.

Reply to  commieBob
June 22, 2017 5:58 pm

D-K Effect, perhaps better understood as being on Mount Stupid:comment image

Wim Röst
June 22, 2017 2:27 pm

Figueres: ““This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution.”
WR: No, the communists were first. And we know the result. Collapse.

Reply to  Wim Röst
June 23, 2017 6:36 am

And for some reason, that’s a lesson that some insist on learning over and over again.

Reply to  MarkW
June 25, 2017 8:28 am

That’s what humans do. It’s who we are.

Jose Melkander
June 22, 2017 2:37 pm

What happened to the role of skepticisim in climate science is that everyone involved in climate media is some kind of alternative energy wacko who believes a frigid light blocking bath of thermally conductive fluids is a magic sky heater,
and that if the laws of thermodynamics think their story is wrong, they should have gone into professional media.

Reply to  Jose Melkander
June 22, 2017 3:02 pm

Agreed. Great comment.

Reply to  Jose Melkander
June 23, 2017 6:37 am

Speaking of professional media, I saw an article this morning that in it’s latest round of downsizing, the New York Times is going to fire some of it’s reporters.
I didn’t know they had any of those left?

Reply to  MarkW
June 24, 2017 11:00 am

NYT will fire some reporters, who will then work independently as anonymous sources, selling fake news to the NY Times, and similar quality newspapers, such as the National Enquirer.

June 22, 2017 2:38 pm

Read George Abel’s book “Exploration of the Universe”. In the first chapter his position on “What Science is and is not”.” Science is not absolute truth!”

The Reverend Badger
June 22, 2017 2:40 pm

Skepticism is only allowed to be practiced up to 95% of that of your immediate line manager or 90% of the CEO. In Climate Scientist circles this means to an almost unmeasurable degree (0.2 Skeps/Century). Limits also apply in non career contexts, I seem to remember somebody mentioned jet fuel and steel beams here on WUWT recently. Tch,tch !
If you are old enough to be retired and have enough of a “Don’t give a ****” attitude then the limits are very much higher and generally determined by how much attention you get from the TLAs and whether the subject is important enough for the ultimate solution.
If you are young the limits to your skepticism are related to the number of friends (?) you have on Faceblock (sic). Say the wrong thing there and you will be unfriended faster than a celebrity pedo.
Interestingly it will probably be those with the DON’T GIVE A **** writ in letters large and illuminated who make the scientific breakthroughs of the next 20-50y and get 1 or 2 of the Nobel prizes. These people are in a tiny minority but they have a HUGE advantage over the sheeple. I try to encourage them when I find those with the right tendencies. Some are now working as “skeptics-under-cover” in a couple of Red Brick universities in the UK with which I am associated.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  The Reverend Badger
June 23, 2017 6:25 am

@ The Reverend Badger
I like the way you think and write.
My opinion, ….. you have assessed the situation quite correctly …… and you did it without naming names or citing, quoting or mimicking the thoughts and ideas of some of the well-known and/or published “psychobabblers” of the 19th and 20th Century.
There are three (3) types of “decision” making processes that humans employ:
1) subconscious reactions that are either inherited or nurtured as a result of survival necessity or environmental trauma.
2) subconscious logical decisions based on “what is generally/specifically best” for all those involved.
3) subconscious emotional decisions based on “what is personally best” for themselves
Knowledge or expertise in the subject matter in question ….. only plays a per se “secondary” role in said decision making.

The Reverend Badger
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
June 23, 2017 2:53 pm

When I was a young kid I just wanted to know How and Why about EVERYTHING. Poke the ant hill with a stick, dismantle the clock, break all the coal lumps up to see if there was another fossil. It’s still there ! Started something new recently, baking. (I like eating cake). I want to know the WHY and HOW of the little air pockets in the sponge cake. Can any of the accomplished bakers I know tell me? Nope, haven’t got a clue, but “If you do X, then Y then Z, it’s fine”. I NEED to know. Where has it gone, the young people don’t have this anymore (generally), I think the “education” system has knocked it out of them. The only consuming interest is learning what to do/say to keep in with the chosen “club” or get on in your career.
Of course my search for knowledge is easier now. We have wikipedia.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
June 24, 2017 8:46 am

The Reverend Badger June 23, 2017 at 2:53 pm

When I was a young kid I just wanted to know How and Why about EVERYTHING.

And thus the nurturing of a great brain/mind had begun with “gusto” as your desire for more and more environmentally sensed info/data was being uploaded via your sense organs and stored in the DNA of your brain’s neurons ….. and then synaptically linked or connected to thousands of other neurons that contain similar, associated or related data/info (but never duplicate).
Everything “new” that you learn/learned today (environmentally nurtured) ….. is/was highly dependent upon what you learned yesterday, …….. and every yesterday before that, ….. back until the day that your mother birthed you. And “emotional” reactions that are triggered by environmental stimuli are also stored in the DNA of the brain’s neurons.

I NEED to know. Where has it gone, the young people don’t have this anymore (generally), I think the “education” system has knocked it out of them. The only consuming interest is learning what to do/say to keep in with the chosen “club” or get on in your career.

“HA”, and you asked, ….. “Where has it gone?
And the simple answer is, …… it hasn’t gone anywhere, …… it has simply been lost. And that which has been lost is called “curiosity”.
And “Yes”, the present day K-12 Education System stifles student’s “curiosity”, ….. the present day parent(s)/guardian(s) stifles children‘s “curiosity” ……. and present day politicians via direction of lawyers and “bleeding heart” liberals stifles the “curiosity” of most children between the ages of 2 and 26+.
Ever since I was a young kid of 3 or 4 years old ….. I have been a per se “student of the natural world” with very little to no “stifling of my curiosity”. And the more I learned about the natural world around me, the more I wanted to learn. And then my primary “curiosity” became fixated on …. “what is this learning/nurturing thingy, anyway”? And during the past 40 or so years I have made considerable progress at answering my own question.
And iiffen you are curious about the aforesaid “progress”, then read this commentary which I am the author of.
Surely there are several things included in that commentary that are of an actual, factual scientific nature ….. that you probably never realized about yourself.

Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
June 25, 2017 8:46 am

The Reverend Badger: It’s the beating of the eggs. It traps air inside the eggs and the air expands upon baking. If you overbeat or underbeat, it changes the texture of the sponge cake. Angel food cakes work the same way, but since they only use the whites, they are often lighter in texture.
Keep baking! It’s fun and tasty. Mistakes are a chance for learning—I’ve come up with some odd combinations of ingredients by accident and my hubby loved the results.
No one should lose that wonder and curiosity of their youth! (Except when you’re a grown up, you have to pay to replace the clock that would not reassemble! I just budget for that!)

Mickey Reno
June 22, 2017 2:44 pm

It’s amazing that ANY civilized person, especially in nations formed out of the bloody hell that we call Western Civilization, will go along with agreement ratios normally associated with dictators, autocrats, thugs and politics run via totalitarian brutality needed to reach such unnatural numbers. No one blinked when Saddam Hussein was elected by votes of over 95%, but no one ever believed that number was truly representative.
But today, we routinely see large numbers of college graduates completely credulous, agreeing with claims of 97% agreement. It’s enough to make you cry.
I blame the educratic leftist Utopians running our public education system.

Brian R
June 22, 2017 2:46 pm

Skepticism doesn’t get you grant money. Simple as that.

Reply to  Brian R
June 22, 2017 3:19 pm

Indeed climate ‘science’ has long learned that the ‘right result ‘ is much better than the ‘correct result ‘ when it comes to making or breaking careers.

Reply to  Brian R
June 22, 2017 7:08 pm

“Skepticism doesn’t get you grant money”
Not being a thief never gets me free stuff that is not mine, either.
There are people who have integrity, ethics and honestly.
And there are people who do not have those things.

Bell Phillips
June 22, 2017 2:55 pm

Mr. Mims, if you’re reading these comments, I just want to tell you what an influence you’ve had on my life. I slept with a copy of “The Engineer’s Notebook” under my pillow as a kid. I still have it, but the covers have completely worn off. Steven King’s got nothing on you.

Reply to  Bell Phillips
June 22, 2017 4:00 pm

Thanks, Bell. Much appreciated. Forrest

June 22, 2017 3:04 pm

I have said a number of times before, as have many other more august commentators than me (by a very long way) that the climate scare is not about science, it’s about a new world order.
It is the left wing, those that brought us Communism and Fascism, conspiring to find a new way of taking control.
And it is so effective, even left wing leaders of nations don’t recognise the reach of this insidious disease.
Semper Vigilo – Always Vigilant.

June 22, 2017 3:10 pm

O/T but I just read a CBS article about the London Grenfell tower fire and it said “a noxious gas 10-times more lethal than carbon dioxide may have been released by the burning insulation underneath the cladding.” and I wondered if this was an honest mistake and they meant carbon monoxide or if they really think carbon dioxide is a lethal gas.

Curious George
June 22, 2017 3:12 pm

Forrest, thank you, a great find. Insufficient space to include skepticism as a fundamental aspect of doing science – with 9 blank pages in the booklet. I conclude you don’t work for NAS.

June 22, 2017 3:16 pm

The first quote attributed to Christiana Figueres (…the fight against climate change is a process…) is missing the closing quotation marks. Perhaps that is a good thing because it is not an accurate quote. It is somebody’s description of her comments. If the third and last quote was continued, it would show where the first paraphrase probably came from. Here is the full quote:

This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution. That will not happen overnight and it will not happen at a single conference on climate change, be it COP 15, 21, 40 – you choose the number. It just does not occur like that. It is a process, because of the depth of the transformation.

The quote in the article may be wrong, but the meaning appears to be accurate. Figueres appears to be saying that climate change is part of a process intended to change the economic development model of the past 150 years, which has to be a reference to free-market capitalism. It is the means to an end. But if you’re going to change an economic system, why would you want to change it to one that has already been tried and has failed miserably, or to one that has never been tried? What kind of ego do you need to have to think your pet economic theory requires no testing before implementation? Or is it that they simply don’t care if it is successful. As long as they can rid the world of free markets and replace them with closed markets that they can control, it serves their purpose? If elites like them can control the economy, they can ban fossil fuels, cars, air conditioning, and other things they don’t like. And if that destroys the economy, even better. They can then accomplish their main goal of reducing the population. It is clear that these people do not have the best interests of humanity at heart. It is also clear that humanity should not trust these people with any kind of power.

Reply to  Louis
June 22, 2017 4:12 pm

Louis, the quotes are straight from the UN media release. Forrest

Reply to  fmims
June 22, 2017 4:54 pm

Sorry, I thought you were quoting Christiana Figueres. The media release summarizes what Figueres said before it quotes her. If you google it, you will find many websites that attribute the first part of the UN statement as a direct quote from Figueres. It is only a paraphrase of what she said. I just wanted to clarify that so others don’t propagate it as a direct quote from her. That happens a lot on the internet.

June 22, 2017 3:17 pm

The avoidance of critical reviews within climate ‘science’ is down to one simply thing , most of simply cannot stand up to this process . Look at its leaders people like Mann would have a hard job getting work teaching at a third rate high school such is the ‘quality’ of his work , and yet within climate ‘science’ he is a hero and shinning example. And he is far from the only one , lets reverse the null hypotheses because our claims are so weak , lets just make data up , or ignore empirical evidenced from relate and use ‘models ‘ instead has they always give the result we ‘need ‘
Let us face it when the first rule of climate ‘science’ is , when the models and reality differ in value it is reality which is wrong ‘ you know what short of full on rubbish your dealing with.
By their own words and behavior and chose of ‘leaders ‘ they show exactly what scientific ‘value ‘ they have .

June 22, 2017 3:25 pm

I’m not a scientist and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn last night. But I did work on Wall Street for 30 years and I learned one very important thing: FOLLOW THE MONEY.

Reply to  AARGH63
June 24, 2017 11:09 am

AARGH63: Don’t you mean “Grab a small percentage of the money as often as you can”?
Following the money doesn’t help much.
For example, almost every stock bought by someone who is bullish, had been sold to him by someone else who is bearish.
Which money would you follow?
I’d say “follow the money of corporate insiders” when they buy large amounts of stocks of their own companies (if you want to follow money, that seems like smart money to me).

June 22, 2017 3:28 pm

In case you don’t know a lot about Forrest Mims, check here: https://www.osa-opn.org/home/articles/volume_20/issue_9/features/led_sun_photometry/ As an “amateur” scientist, he’s pretty well respected in the “scientific community”.

Curious George
Reply to  Max Hugoson
June 22, 2017 3:41 pm

I enjoy this great essay by Forrest Mims, but we don’t need to quote Forrest Mims to support Forrest Mims.

June 22, 2017 4:14 pm

Skepticism is quite alive in climate science, it’s just that scientists are skeptical of different things than you are. What you are skeptical of, scientists were skeptical back in the 50s and and 60s.
You just need to catch up a little.

Reply to  ReallySkeptical
June 22, 2017 5:51 pm

scientists are skeptical of different things than you are.
scientists are 97% human. they are most skeptical of anything that threatens their paycheck.

Reply to  ReallySkeptical
June 23, 2017 6:57 am

They are skeptical of how to make certain no one asks them uncomfortable questions or seeks to prove them wrong.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  ReallySkeptical
June 23, 2017 7:36 am

“Scientists” are skeptical of anything that doesn’t uphold their Warmist ideology.

Reply to  ReallySkeptical
June 25, 2017 8:50 am

“You need to catch up a little” means you need to follow the political consensus here. Why are you still looking at the science and the methods? We’re past that.

June 22, 2017 4:19 pm

I won’t post the video again, but studying Richard Feynman will educate those who don’t realize what science, or the key to science is. Here is a text of a short quote, find the clip easily on YouTube:
“In general, we look for a new law by the following process: First we guess it; then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what would be implied if this law that we guessed is right; then we compare the result of the computation to nature, with experiment or experience, compare it directly with observation, to see if it works.
If it disagrees with experiment, it is wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science.
It does not make any difference how beautiful your guess is, it does not make any difference how smart you are, who made the guess, or what his name is — if it disagrees with experiment, it is wrong.”
Richard Feynman

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
June 22, 2017 5:09 pm

“If it disagrees with experiment, it is wrong.”
That’s true, unless there are flaws in the experiment, or the observations are not made or recorded properly. That, too, can happen in science. We need to have a healthy skepticism of all parts of the scientific process, at least until the experiment can be repeatably and consistently replicated.

Reply to  Louis
June 22, 2017 6:31 pm

Sometimes creating an experiment to provide “proof” of a concept results in an experiment with confirmation bias where unexpected results are discarded as faulty; when in fact the “faulty” results are correct. Just look at how blind tests on medications show that research results were biased by expectations. Reproducibility often fails. Even if we repeat an experiment exactly and get fully reproducible results, it may be that we are proving the results of the experiment NOT the concept. With all variables reduced to constants in the experiments (all done at STP – just kidding) it may be that we fail to see the holes in the concept.

Curious George
Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
June 22, 2017 5:36 pm

Climatology is a “science” carefully avoiding experiments. It is based on the notion of “sensitivity” – please outline how to measure it. Also on an Effective Radiation Level – how to measure it? Many years ago I talked to a budding climatologist and proposed to build a big greenhouse, split in two parts, one filled with air, and one with pure CO2. Measure temperatures, then switch the gases, measure again. Answer: That would not prove anything. How the warming works is the change in ERL. I doubt that climatologists know how the greenhouses would work, but they don’t have to – they have the ERL card in their sleeve.

The Reverend Badger
Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
June 23, 2017 3:06 pm

This Feynman clip / quote is the one I often use in my online Climate D*nialist Propoganda talks . Glad to see someone else uses it too. I suspect we are working for the same Big Oil Corporation – see you at the Xmas party!
Seriously though Feynman stuff is a veritable goldmine of ideas for assisting your arguments.Thoroughly recommend a bit of browsing through some of his stuff on YouTube for ideas in this context.

June 22, 2017 4:40 pm

“What happened to the traditional role of skepticism in climate science?”
“Unfortunately, skepticism has been deleted from the latest edition of “On Being a Scientist,” a widely-read booklet published by the National Academies of Science.”
I (nobody special) have been trying to get what to me seem to be otherwise intelligent and well educated people around here to wonder about this shifting toward “absolutism” for some time now. I believe the shift got going in earnest with Evolution theory (I mean in the grand origins story sense) being promoted to “settled science” . . (to the point of people being forced to pay to have public school children indoctrinated with it as scientific fact that’s beyond any rational skepticism.)
Once that bridge was crossed, it seems to me that the sort of *If you don’t agree with the leading experts, you’re anti-science* sort of “crisis” Siants (sounds like science ; ) power grab, as I see it, became virtually inevitable. (Regardless of the ultimate truth of the matter).

Reply to  JohnKnight
June 23, 2017 11:24 am

I agree. Evolution has long been regarded as “settled science,” and I suspect that many climate skeptics might agree. But this does not explain why textbooks still include popular evolutionary myths, the discredited peppered moth story being a classic example. Nor has evolutionary theory explained the origin of single-molecule walking motors that transport organelles and starch along nanotracks within cells. I don’t want to change the discussion away from the traditional role of skepticism in science, especially since I’m on deadline for a new book and have so little free time. I merely want to point out that established paradigms can indoctrinate entire generations and even result in ridicule and the loss of opportunities and jobs for those who merely ask questions. For example, look at what happened to me at Scientific American magazine after the editor learned I reject Darwinian evolution and abortion, topics the magazine was not assigning me to write about: http://www.forrestmims.org/scientificamerican.html . While losing “The Amateur Scientist” assignment was depressing at the time, my columns they published and those they didn’t led directly to a Rolex Award, finding an error in NASA’s ozone satellite and my first publication in Nature. My science career was begun by that event. Unfortunately, not everyone benefits from failing to accept scientific paradigms, as WUWT readers and contributors know so well. My concern is that the treatment of climate change in environmental science textbooks will become as fixed as the treatment of evolutionary science. Myths will be taught as facts, and well-informed students who answer test questions correctly may risk failing tests.

The Reverend Badger
Reply to  fmims
June 23, 2017 3:14 pm

The vast majority will “bite their tongue” as they seek to progress through their careers but I am truly baffled by the very low numbers who whistle blow when they have nothing to lose e.g. after retirement or on a change of career. Surely we should expect to see more of them? Anyone got a theory on this?

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  fmims
June 25, 2017 4:48 am

I am truly baffled by the very low numbers who whistle blow when they have nothing to lose e.g. after retirement or on a change of career.

Those very low numbers you speak of are simply because each individual has to ask themselves …… “what have I got to gain by being a whistleblower?
Or conversely, …… “what have I got to lose by being a whistleblower?
If they are retired, it will likely discred them for not speaking up during their tenure when they knew something was amiss.
If they have made a change of career, then speaking up “negatively” about their previous employer could instill “mistrust” of themselves within the thoughts of their new employer and/or fellow employees.

June 22, 2017 4:52 pm

It’s the money. Skeptics aren’t “team” players. Ask what happens to skeptics who rock the boss’ boats? Ask what happens to an engineer who says, “I told you so.” e.g. Challenger.

Mike Maguire
June 22, 2017 5:18 pm

“What you are skeptical of, scientists were skeptical back in the 50s and and 60s.”
Actually, they couldn’t have been skeptical of catastrophic man made global warming during those years because the planet was having global cooling……..and not from the increasing CO2 during those decades.
However, there were many scientists that were skeptics of the theory that the global cooling would lead to another Ice Age………….and the skeptics were right.
In retrospect, it seems silly that some scientists were so concerned about global cooling in the 50’s-60’s-70’s but actually, an objective scientist knows that the main temperature threat to life on this planet is cold.
Current CO2 levels are still just barely half of what life considers optimal and most life does better with temperatures a bit warmer than this vs colder.
However, climate science assumes that the ideal temperature and CO2 level of the planet was the level measured when humans began to burn fossil fuels.
We will never get to an atmospheric level of CO2 that is anything but (more) beneficial to life. However, greenhouse gas warming that results is likely to have some negative consequences(more flooding/high end rain events for instance).
An objective scientist does not look only at the worst case scenario of the potentially harmful effects……….they view the entire picture. Being skeptical allows a scientist to see this.
Following a belief system that defines colder and less CO2 as better for life and the biosphere should send up red flags!
Maybe better for some creatures and some humans but life?
There are loads of environmental problems and pollution caused by humans. The wasting/excessive use of natural resources, especially water needs to be addressed. Instead, the world focuses on fighting the increase of a beneficial gas.
Any scientist or environmentalist with a minimal amount of objectivity and skepticism should be able to see this.

June 22, 2017 5:46 pm

Science is a lot more difficult if a bunch of smart alec’s actually take the time to check your work for errors. You are supposed to trust the scientists got it right. after all they are scientists, which is pretty much the same as gods. here is what the NAS opens with:
“The scientific enterprise is built on a foundation of trust. Society
trusts that scientific research results are an honest and accurate
reflection of a researcher’s work”
Science has no room for skepticism, it is now all about trust. Trust us, the check is in the mail.

Reply to  ferdberple
June 22, 2017 6:38 pm

You have a piece of the problem, but I think you also miss a point.
Back when I was in graduate school, doing analytical chemistry (real empirical measurement stuff), I came to an understanding. It did not matter if you had a lab filled with the best and most modern equipment and greatest spectrometers. If people did not believe your results, your results are worthless.People would believe your results only if they had confidence that you did *not* “adjust” results, fabricate data, and all the rest. In other words, they would trust you to call them like you see them and tell it like it is.
Then you would be trusted, and your data would be held as reliable.
{Whatever did happen to “call them like you see them and tell it like it is” in science?}

The Reverend Badger
Reply to  TonyL
June 23, 2017 3:22 pm

Believing experimental results?
Ah Ha. I just remembered, Anthony is going to experience a total eclipse.

jim heath
June 22, 2017 5:48 pm

Once a scientist stops asking questions they are no longer a scientist.

Chris Hanley
June 22, 2017 5:51 pm

An argument made occasionally by Climate Change™ enthusiasts goes like this: “… if the IPCC hypothesis (actually guesswork) is not correct, what is the CAGW sceptics’ theory?
Not ‘better theory’ because Kuhn’s idea doesn’t assume that the new paradigm is any closer to the truth than the old one which has outlived its usefulness.
There is apparently no room for CC™ agnosticism, everyone must conform to the current paradigm.
In order to counter agnosticism a version of Pascal’s wager is usually employed — the ‘insurance argument’ — which relies on a false analogy (no-one takes out ‘insurance’ to stop something happening — that’s extortion), assumes that CC™ must be unequivocally harmful and that the proposed premiums are affordable.

Reply to  Chris Hanley
June 22, 2017 6:46 pm

It’s arguing that you need to go re-invent the wheel before you can claim that their wheel isn’t rolling.

June 22, 2017 6:18 pm

“However, there were many scientists that were skeptics of the theory that the global cooling would lead to another Ice Age………….and the skeptics were right.”
Not really. Without extra CO2, we were headed into an ice age in many many 1000s of years; that is what should be happening. The only reason that some were skeptical in those days is because of the increase in CO2; they realized that we would not follow the natural course. And they were correct, the unnatural increase in CO2 is changing the natural course of the temperature of the earth.

Reply to  ReallySkeptical
June 22, 2017 7:02 pm

To whatever extent that may be the case, it’s for the better. More warmth is always preferable to less. More plant growth is always preferable to less. Your trace gas bogeyman isn’t the world-ending terror you wanted it to be.
And humanity and its activities are not “unnatural”. We’re not the only creatures in this world who make changes to our environment to suit ourselves. Birds weave nests, spiders spin webs, ants construct intricate networks of underground tunnels and chambers, bees and their hives, beavers, etc. In this regard we are just the same but more.

Reply to  ReallySkeptical
June 22, 2017 7:05 pm

There is zero evidence that the additional one molecule of CO2, ie four instead of three 100 years ago, has had any effect at all upon average global temperature, which of course isn’t even measurable.
So far, more CO2 has been a huge boon to the planet in general and humanity in particular. More would be better.

Reply to  Gabro
June 22, 2017 7:06 pm

Per 10,000 dry air molecules. Skipped that part. Sorry.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Gabro
June 24, 2017 10:03 am

Keep in mind that I’m sympathetic to the position of skeptics. However, I’m compelled to ask, “If one extra molecule of CO2 can’t impact the average global temperature, how can it be ‘a huge boon to the planet…’?”

Reply to  ReallySkeptical
June 23, 2017 8:28 am

If CO2 causes so much warming, why do we always re-glaciate when it is at its highest levels?

Reply to  ReallySkeptical
June 25, 2017 8:56 am

How can humans change the natural course of the temperature of the Earth when they are part of the natural course of the Earth? We are not aliens, are we?

June 22, 2017 6:49 pm

Again we are questiioning the science, the scientific method and repeatability, all for the correct reasons.
Following a carreer in guiding corporate restructure, one gets a sense of productivity.
Atmospheric science despite the large annual global cost, seems to be acheiving very little. It is an industry with extremely low productivity,and real meaningful results. There appears to be very little real progress being made. If it was selling its output for revenue, it would be bankrupt. Certainly data is being gathered, but the industries ability to interpret that data into intelligent results is poor.
The CAGW debate is so narrow (CO2 is the culprit) it will go now where. At present the POTUS has the influence.
What is required is a paradigm shift to remove the need to debate, Not the existing debate on the accuracy of a calculation on CO2 sensitivity. There is so much more out there that is unknown, and Scientists are not making headway, such as sea ice etc.
Then there is the problem of a non scientist breaking new ground. How many of the existing elites, identities and leaders would support it, embrace it, make it their own and champion it, especially it it conflicts with their own beliefs. Those entrenched beliefs run deep and can become real barriers.
So it appears its up to us, and sometimes you do get lucky. All it takes is an open mind, and thinking outside the square, because there’s not much coming from inside the square
Regards to all

June 22, 2017 9:21 pm

Flat Earth philosophy, not limited to science. Inference rather than deductive reasoning. Progressive assumptions/assertions with compounded divergence. Liberal departures from a limited frame of reference (i.e. scientific logical domain) in time and space. Circular chain of evidence and reasoning (e.g. models and hypotheses).

June 22, 2017 9:48 pm

Skepticism taken out of science. What do ya know.
Well, in Medicine, they already removed Hippocrates’ insistence on sanctity of life…
The American Medical Association used to be against abortion. This is a matter of historical record.
Nobody batted an eye that the Hippocratic Oath included the statement to provide no aide to ending a pregnancy.
“I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never with a view to injury and wrong-doing. Neither will I administer a poison to anybody when asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a course. Similarly I will not give to a woman a pessary to cause abortion.”
Politics got involved. The AMA, and most of the Medical Establishment, shifted to be pro-choice. This was largely in the 1960s.
When no one was looking, they also decided there was not enough room in the Hippocratic Oath to retain the anti-abortion statement. It got “modernized.”
“I won’t assist in killing, unless there is a pretty good reason.” Wow, what a commitment to sanctity of life.

June 22, 2017 10:25 pm

“Those who doubt political motivations are behind the global warming/climate change movement, including the Paris Agreement, should simply read what major political leaders have stated. Beginning at the top is” Margaret Thatcher, who promoted the idea as a political weapon against the coal miners’ unions in the UK.

J Mac
June 22, 2017 10:29 pm

RE: “What happened to the traditional role of skepticism in climate science?”
It was sacrificed on the alter of socialism, the face of which is inscribe “The ends justify the means!”

Ian Macdonald
June 23, 2017 2:02 am

It has long been the case in science that once you’ve been caught cheating, that’s you out of the scientific community. No second chance. On that basis, Climategate should have been enough to nail this nonsense. The mere language used in those emails suggested that data tampering was commonplace and accepted. Which, should have been enough to meet the criterion for expulsion form the scientific community for those responsible.
I’d emphasize that whether the offender is right or wrong about his results is immaterial; the fact that he’s been fabricating data is enough grounds for expulsion. It may seem draconic but it has to be that way. Few people understand niche scientific disciplines; in some cases there might be less than ten people in the whole world who are qualified to review a publication. Therefore without stringent requirements for honesty the specialists in those disciplines would be free to make any false claims they liked.

June 23, 2017 4:33 am

I can answer that question in one symbol: $

June 23, 2017 6:42 am

Traditional science required a skeptical view of one’s own findings until they could be replicated, especially by others.

I think part of what is going on is that the fact that Co2 is a radiatively active gas in the IR spectrum is all the experimental proof they need, ie it is an experimentally proven fact.
That is all the more depth any of these people think about, and it probably makes sense to assume it just adds to the existing radiatively active gases, and you have experimentally proven warming.
It’s just the assumption it add is wrong. There’s no evidence it adds, and there’s evidence it is nonlinear, in fact it tries to stop the temp from falling once it nears dew point. That’s why measured temps are not matching the models, and never will.
It isn’t warming globally, it’s just cooling a different amount of tropical air over land vs water than it did 30 years ago.

K. Kilty
June 23, 2017 7:52 am

My opinion is that skepticism is responsible for not only for the success of science but also stamping out superstition and prejudice, and increasing human liberty. With its decline superstition advances once again. I am disappointed that the NAS couldn’t find room for it in their booklet, but I am not surprised. Feynman himself would not join NAS when he was nominated, saying something to the effect that he didn’t want to join an organization the principal role of which was only to figure out who was august enough to be a member.

Joel Snider
June 23, 2017 8:44 am

Skepticism was inconvenient for Progressive messaging. No deeper issue than that.
The Fourth Reich does not allow dissent.

Michael Carter
June 23, 2017 10:10 am

There is another aspect to science that is commonly overlooked here: To observe, describe, measure and report. There need not be any conclusions that require experimentation to validate – only peer reviews that check that the recording process was robust. Its not all about self importance and fame

Reply to  Michael Carter
June 23, 2017 10:33 am

To observe, describe, measure and report. There need not be any conclusions that require experimentation to validate – only peer reviews that check that the recording process was robust.

This was one of my goals, provide reports on surface data that represent what was recorded over various land areas, station id’s,etc.
No one asks me about it, so I suspect anyone who downloads it, don’t do it. The documentation is very light, and was expecting to get questions. I then posted some graphs, with descriptions, but just data, when it doesn’t look like they expect, it goes in the I don’t know pile.
So, now I go right to, water vapor has an almost exact negative feedback to any changes to daily ghg (other than water) forcing that night, and erases most if not all excess.

June 23, 2017 10:31 am

Liberals. Liberals claiming words mean whatever they like because they’re too ignorant to understand that change isn’t an improvement.

June 23, 2017 10:34 am

For the same reason they don’t talk about the Tienanmen Square massacre in China

June 23, 2017 10:49 am

“Pandora’s Lab” Paul Offit
Fast, fun, fascinating read.
“Climate” science is to real science what lobotomies and trepanning are to medical science.
“Climate” science is as fraudulent as the “science” behind banning DDT.

Reply to  Nicholas Schroeder
June 23, 2017 10:54 pm

Trepanning is still a legitimate medical procedure to alleviate cranial pressure from meningitis and other forms of brain inflammation, that’s still practiced in “Third World” situations when the equipment for more advanced brain operations isn’t available.

June 23, 2017 2:01 pm

Answer: It got run over by ten thousand Brinks money trucks driven by advocacy groups and cheered on by politicos seeing a carbon tax revenue pot of gold plus the power that comes with it. It could literally fuel the Democratic Party for the next hundred years.

June 24, 2017 12:26 am

Where do they stand on coal fired power stations for the poor?

June 24, 2017 9:45 am

Skepticism! Science! This is now a monumental Movement to free yo’all from your current shackles to journey to the Promised Land-

June 25, 2017 4:29 pm

I was recently banned from Environment & Energy Skepti-Forum (facebook) for complaining they were publishing renewable energy propaganda. Many people there were basically spamming the group with RE fanfare and not even bothering to comment on the pseudo news they posted. No skeptics there at all. Just enviro-stalinists now with their “ban don’t discuss” tactics for dealing with people they disagree with. I must admit I was a tad rude. Coincidentally, their best forum moderator quit on the same day because she was few up of moderating a forum that no longer discussed anything.

June 25, 2017 4:46 pm

Ejecting skepticism from science will have inevitable negative consequences for science. Without people to correct (or even look for) mistakes, the mistakes will be believed and taken as scientific fact. So the inevitable result of supporting mainstream, non-skeptical, climate science is to trash science itself. There’s a limit to how far one can push this until the deformed obscene growth of pseudo-science has to be removed. It still has some way to go because the faithful still think they are “saving the planet“.

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