Protocol-Breaches in Climate Change Science: Indulging Unproved Hypotheses

Guest essay by Ian McCandless

This article concerns not the science of Climate Change directly; but rather the issue of science-ethics and protocols, which have been severely breached from Square One regarding it.

AGW proponents have given various arguments for why the standard scientific method does not pertain to their alleged scientific claims: from falsely arguing that their Alternative Hypothesis has been scientifically proved, to the false claim that the Null Hypothesis does not apply to this type of argument.

In any event, the main problem has not been simply the unscientific propositions of AGW-proponents; but more importantly, but the manner in which the non-AGW scientific community has likewise unwisely strayed from the scientific method, instead indulging the AGW-theorists by directly countering their arguments, as if they were proved scientifically valid as theory– rather than simply proclaiming them purely hypothetical in failing to first properly establish the hypothesis, before discussion can continue.

Accordingly, these indulgent scientists have “given up their right to remain silent, and thus anything they said has been used against them; i.e. by responding to the unproved hypothesis as anything but unproved hypothesis, they have enabled the entry of unscientific arguments into the scientific mainstream as established theory, and thereby permitted politically-motivated agendas to claim scientific validity. This has derailed the scientific process entirely by failing to maintain the Null Hypothesis as the standard prerequisite for further scientific consideration and discussion; and has therefore taken the debate from science to forensics, where both sides are given equal credence in establishing preponderance.

This in turn opened the floodgates to further improper forensic discussions as well, breaching all protocols of rational discussion and order, and sinking the entire debate to the level of panic-mongering. Meanwhile the Null Hypothesis has now been reduced to “Proving a Negative” against unscientific arguments.

Therefore responsibility must be placed not only on those who failed to adhere to scientific protocols in initially presenting an alternative hypothesis of AGW; but more to those who likewise failed scientific protocols, by failing to stick to the Null Hypothesis as well in refuting it.

This is not a suppression of new or unpopular positions, but simply a preserving of the integrity of the scientific method in maintaining established scientific knowledge by responsible adherence to standard protocols and methodology– without exception, particularly for popular or politically-driven positions, against which scientific objectivity requires absolute indifference to source.


Further reading:

https://explorable.com/null-hypothesis

http://psc.dss.ucdavis.edu/sommerb/sommerdemo/stat_inf/null.htm

 

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156 thoughts on “Protocol-Breaches in Climate Change Science: Indulging Unproved Hypotheses

  1. “This has derailed the scientific process entirely by failing to maintain the Null Hypothesis”
    Generally when you see Null Hypothesis brandished in capitals, gobbledygook will follow.

    The null hypothesis is a specific tool of statistical inference, popularized by Fisher less than a century ago. Science managed before that.

    • Nick Stokes writes “Science managed before that.”

      There’s that anthropomorphism again; treating “Science” like a self willed person making decisions, seeking goals, it “managed” something!

      Science manages nothing. People manage whatever is managed.

      When people manage, it can be called politics, it can be called science, it can be called religion; good luck finding the distinguishing characteristic that makes it one rather than all three at the same time.

      • “Science manages nothing”
        This post claims that, well, I’ll quote it again:
        “This has derailed the scientific process entirely by failing to maintain the Null Hypothesis”

        How was the scientific process working before we had a Null Hypothesis?

        Or’ you could ask, what NH was Dalton disproving, and how did he do it? Or Newton with gravitation? Or Kepler, etc.

      • Nick Stokes==>

        How was the scientific process working before we had a Null Hypothesis?

        I would suggest the the Null Hypothesis has always been implicit in science. One starts with the premise “I think A causes B”. Then devises an experiment designed to answer the question “does A cause B or is it something else?” If the experiment shows A does not cause B then it must be something else. We now just call “something else” the Null Hypothesis.

      • Sorry Nick,

        Just because the null hypothesis is relatively new, doesn’t mean that the failure to engage it in this instance isn’t the cause of the derailment of the scientific process in this case.
        Why do you persist in nitpicking meaningless details and seemingly deliberate misunderstandings rather than dealing with the larger question at hand? It is a strongly recurring trait I detect in your comments. Your excellent knowledge could be much more useful if you engaged the issue rather than the undergrowth.

      • Rick,
        “If the experiment shows A does not cause B then it must be something else. We now just call “something else” the Null Hypothesis.”
        How does the Null Hypothesis help there? Just a name for “something else”? The key is that you did an experiment to test whether A caused B. There is no NH in that.

      • “Why do you persist in nitpicking meaningless details”
        It isn’t a meaningless detail. The basic question is, what is the Null Hypothesis? And who said? These are not details. And you won’t learn anything about it from this post.

      • Nick: The NH is simply that A does not cause B. There is no requirement to prove what does cause B. But the experiment has shown that the theory A causes B is incorrect and can be discarded. That is scientific progress.

    • Nick Stokes asks “How was the scientific process working before we had a Null Hypothesis?”

      A bit erratically it would seem, an example being the invention of the light bulb. I believe the method is (1) observation, (2) hypothesis of causation, (3) testing.

      A null hypothesis seems to be an attempt to formalize step 2 and *disprove* the most likely contrary hypothesis. Otherwise you might be disproving thousands of unlikely candidates; such as blaming global warming on vicunas in the altiplano.

      “The null hypothesis (H 0) is a hypothesis which the researcher tries to disprove, reject or nullify. The ‘null’ often refers to the common view of something, while the alternative hypothesis is what the researcher really thinks is the cause of a phenomenon.”

      The presumption is that only two causes can exist and so you attack the popular belief, and when it falls, presumably your preferred causation is left standing. This is a fairly common strategy in argument where you hope the other person doesn’t notice the thousands of alternatives other than the one you have proposed (false dichotomy, fallacy of the false alternatives).

      It should be obvious that what exactly is to be the null hypothesis depends on one’s point of view. Since the settled science point of view is 97 percent human caused, THAT should become the null hypothesis, the common belief that should be attacked. If it succeeds, remains standing, then it is strengthened and the alternative weakened. But if many alternatives exist then its not very useful; one pin at the bowling alley has been knocked over, many more to go.

      • “It should be obvious that what exactly is to be the null hypothesis depends on one’s point of view. Since the settled science point of view is 97 percent human caused, THAT should become the null hypothesis, the common belief that should be attacked”

        The Gold Star statement.

      • Michael 2 “Since the settled science point of view is 97 percent human caused”
        That’s not only an appeal to popularity– which is not science– it’s incorrect.
        97% only agree that global temperatures are increasing; not that humans are causing any significant degree of it.

      • My understanding of Edison’s search for a workable electric light bulb was to simply try everything until something worked. This is not scientific, it’s just trial and error. And what he invented was a thread dipped in carbon black or the like, which barely worked. But nobody else had anything better, so he made money with it until the tungsten filament in an inert gas version came along. Now that was scientific.

      • BoyfromTottenham
        You should know about Sir Joseph Wilson Swan if you really are from North London.
        His house, Underhill, Low Fell, Gateshead, was the world’s first to have working light bulbs installed.

    • The Null Hypothesis is a form of Ockham’s Razor. Which has been around for as long as science has made any progress.

      It says “Don’t make up more things than are required”. In other words, if the natural variation that caused the warming in the first half of the 20th century can explain the warming in the latter… don’t look for something else.
      Not CO2, aliens or pixies. There is nothing else needed.

      Only three branches of science have abandoned Ockham’s Razor; Climatology, Cryptozoology and Ufology.
      All three take their assumption as true and then try to fit the evidence to it. Instead of looking at the evidence and seeing what is needed to explain the observations.

      Needless to say all three have made no progress in the last thirty years. No Aliens have been met. No Yetis have been caught. And no reduction in the uncertainty around climate sensitivity has been made.

      We have satellites cell phones and vastly improved computers but still no progress is made.
      Because without a null hypothesis to overcome you are left with fantasy.

      • “Only three branches of science have abandoned Ockham’s Razor; Climatology, Cryptozoology and Ufology.

        I’d have to add biomedical science to that list.

      • In terms of not making “up more things that are required” then AGW is the null hypothesis. The only cogent explaination for the current temperature of the earth is the greenhouse effect primarily caused by CO2. Hence the simplest prediction is that further raising of CO2 levels will cause further warming. Claiming that it won’t requires new and as yet undiscovered negative feedbacks. So to predict no human caused global warming you need to introduce new and as yet undiscovered effects. This is not a null hypothesis by any means.

      • @Germonio – I will agree with you that AGW is not the null hypothesis here. The null hypothesis is “CO2 levels, within the observed ranges for its concentration, is not the control for global temperatures.”

        The null hypothesis has long been proven to be correct. CO2 levels may be one of the controlling factors for global temperatures – but it cannot be the only one, or even a highly significant one. The climate has been much warmer than today with higher CO2 levels – and also much colder than today. It has been much warmer with lower CO2 levels – and also much colder.

        The reality of climatology – for the very few people who actually try to follow the scientific process – is that there is a complex of factors involved, leading to a far more complex hypothesis. There is not one factor that is “the” factor. Nor are there factors that can be safely ignored in formulating a hopefully correct alternative hypothesis (sorry, Dr. Svensmark).

      • Germonio, the rate of change in measured average global temperature is the same for the first half of the 20th century as for the second.
        But the concentration of atmospheric CO2 is very different. See the official reports from the IPCC.

        And basic physics (I assume you have heard of Beer Lambert’s Law) says that the effects of CO2 increases diminish exponentially.
        So the null hypothesis should to be that further changes in CO2 emissions will be as significant – and certainly not more worrisome – than what has happened since 1900.

      • Actually Ockam’s Razor is simply an extrapolation of basic probability, whereby “simpler” means “having fewer factors,” and therefore in an otherwise-equal equation will render a higher probability than one with more factors.
        However the Null Hypothesis, simply recognizes the existing body of scientific knowledge as carrying more weight in an argument, than a mere hypothesis which has not been established against it, and thus might as well be concocted out of thin air.
        As I mentioned in the article, the alternative is forensics, which operates from a zero-point on both sides, which attempt to establish preponderance of likelihood. Therefore when arguing against AGW from a forensic standpoint– i.e. “humans aren’t causing global warming–” then as I also stated, the argument runs into fallacy of “proving a negative,” and in dealing with those who disdain the standard scientific method, as well as standard logic or reasoning.
        Simply put for AGW-proponents: the ball’s in their court, they can’t just stand idle and accuse the other side of a “fault” for not returning it when they haven’t even dealt a proper serve… indeed, it’s amusing to watch them attempt such at the Wimbledon of weather; but clearly it’s no laughing matter when the judges agree with them for calling such a ridiculous foul, while accusing the non-serving player of “denial” in claiming “they haven’t served yet.”
        Tennis, anyone?

      • Germonio: AGW is the null hypothesis. The only cogent explaination for the current temperature of the earth is the greenhouse effect primarily caused by CO2.

        That ‘s an alternative hypothesis.

      • Glad to read you here again M Courtney!

        “Ian McCandless January 11, 2018 at 5:48 pm

        “Germonio: AGW is the null hypothesis. The only cogent explaination for the current temperature of the earth is the greenhouse effect primarily caused by CO2.”

        That ‘s an alternative hypothesis.”

        Almost Ian.

        Here, I’ll help the wording:

        That ‘s a very dubious and speculative alternative hypothesis.

      • @Germonio
        You miss the point. An hypothesis is not what you want to prove, it is what you want to disprove. So,
        If you want to prove that UHI effect exist, you don’t says “this is obvious, so now YOU disprove the UHI if you don’t believe it”. You say (if you are a scientist): “we want to prove UHI. The null hypothesis is: cities have no effect on temperature. We have lots of data regarding temperature in cities –old and new — and their surrounding, look at it: this is not compatible with the null hypothesis. Null hypothesis is disproved by facts: cities do have an effect on temperature”
        Then, and only then, you may add “our best estimate of effect of cities on temperature, from data (not from model), is … ”
        And later: “our best estimate of future UHI in the city of X following the planned extent of building, from our model, is …”
        Just the same must be done with CO2. Failed at step 1: falsifying the null hypothesis “this is all natural”

      • “then AGW is the null hypothesis”

        Ridiculous comment, of course it isn’t.

        Natural variation which is known to be responsible for variations in the Earth’s temperature for millions – billions even – of years over a range of at least 10K and probably considerably more is the null hypothesis.

        In order to change that, you will have to PROVE that anthropogenic influences amounting to no more in total than 1K over a matter of a century or two are sufficiently large to overcome effects that have been responsible for the cycling of the Earth into and out of ice ages.

        Good luck with that.

    • Another alarmist who knows that his work can’t stand up to proper analysis, so he generates excuses as to why it shouldn’t have to.

      • MarkW: it’s worse than that; as I wrote in the article, they also claim that it does stand up to proper analysis, in addition to claiming that it shouldn’t have to; I provide a link to each

    • Mr Stokes,

      For a start, here is the video I often quote when we argue about the “Null Hypothesis”
      Richard Feynman may not mention Karl Popper when he describes it to the freshman class but he is indeed setting the foundation for these budding students.

      Here is a graph published by Roy Spencer.

      This is a picture of a discussion of a disproof of the AGW hypothesis. It clearly shows that the predictions, (AKA Climate Change Computer models), and observations, (AKA empirical data), have no significant relationship.
      To quote Feynman, “the law does not match the data and therefore it is WRONG”.

      Even Wikipedia discusses Karl Popper and falsifiability. Here is some further reading.

      I agree whole heartedly with the author of this post! How many billions have been spent and wasted on global warming when the truth is before our eyes?

      Cheers

      Roger

      http://www.thedemiseofchristchurch.com

      • Nick,

        With all due respect, I believe you need to do some unbiased reading on this subject.

        Cheers

        Roger

      • Roger: this is what I meant by “proving a negative,” since when one indulges a hypothesis without first requiring it be proved as a theory against the Null Hypothesis, then one exposes the argument to equally-unscientific excuses– i.e. “the observations are wrong” etc.
        This is why we have the Null Hypothesis, rather than simply giving every argument equal weight in the scientific process; i.e. it would simply reduce everything to the level of mere opinion, and render scientific knowledge impossible.
        As I mentioned in the article, the entire scientific community is therefore guilty for failing to hold AGW to this hurdle before refuting it, and therefore opening the issue up the “Pandora’s Box” of unscientific madness.

      • Ian, Yup. I forgot to say that the “observation” curve in Roy Spencer’s graph represents not only the empirical data but also the Null Hypothesis that climate variation is normal. Whereas the computer model data represents the theory that global warming is increasing consistently with the rise in anthropogenic CO2.
        I’m sure Richard Feynman would also agree that it fits perfectly with his lecture. Pity he is not still around.

        Cheers

        Roger

      • Barbara, I don’t know much about Christiana Figueras except that she is the chief administrator of the UNFCCC, however I have read some Nicholas Stern’s writings and I have to say, I don’t care who he is or what his education is reputed to be nor his aristocratic back ground, but I know from what I have read, that he would have failed Economics 101 at the university I went to.

      • Christiana is no longer with UNFCCC as of 2017, and she has convened a new organisation ‘Mission 2020’.

      • Barbara,

        I am not sure that you are familiar with the bias where the Rockefellers disburse their cash and influence.

        However I suggest you read my blog at

        https://thedemiseofchristchurch.com/2015/08/15/the-rockefellers-who-they-fund-from-their-web-site/

        where I discuss this issue using the Rockefellers Brothers site.

        Of course this is not strictly the Rockefeller Foundation but I am sure the Rockefeller all share the same philosophy.

        The Rockefellers Bros site is convenient because they openly list many, if not all, of their donee’s through a search facility on their front page.

        Suggest you may find many interesting and well known organizations that are or have been recipients of the Rockefeller largess and you may also gain an idea of what the Rockefeller’s have in mind for the future.

        Cheers

        Roger

    • “The null hypothesis is a specific tool of statistical inference, popularized by Fisher less than a century ago. Science managed before that.”

      “Before that” no one could ever have imagined that people like yourself would voluntarily depart from science and rationality in order to promote a cult religion.

      • cephus0 “Before that” no one could ever have imagined that people like yourself would voluntarily depart from science and rationality in order to promote a cult religion.
        Actually they could, that’s why they developed the Null Hypothesis, since otherwise anybody could argue anything as being equally valid to established scientific knowledge.

    • Nick Stokes: You didn’t dispute a single thing I wrote; you just got snarky about it… as the wont of AGW-proponents.

      • And you never said what this Null Hypothesis actually is. Or who proclaimed it.

        The Greenhouse Effect is part of established scientific knowledge. That it would make no difference to temperature evolution is an alternative hypothesis. And an implausible one.

      • Nick Stokes: “And you never said what this Null Hypothesis actually is. Or who proclaimed it.”

        Because that wasn’t the point of the article, but rather than scientists are ignoring the Null Hypothesis in violation of scientific protocol, which ends any scientific discussion while giving proponents the illusion of maintaining it despite simply arguing against a negative.

      • ” that’s why they developed the Null Hypothesis”
        What you also don’t do is to cite any external support for your inflated notion of the role of the Null Hypothesis. Fisher and other statisticians developed the Null Hypothesis for statistical inference, and other scientists use that where appropriate. But scientists just don’t use it in the way you describe. In fact, science is generally the search for the hypothesis that best explains what is observed. They don’t give some “Null Hypothesis” a status that all other hypotheses have to be able to reject the Null, else it prevails.

        Take Lavoisier and his displacement of the phlogiston theory. It prevailed because it explained observations better. No-one demanded that the phlogiston theory should be preferred because it came first.

      • However lets give you a scientist from the CAGW camp Nicks own side, Ethan Siegel is a true believer
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethan_Siegel
        So lets see what he says
        http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2012/01/09/the-null-hypothesis-its-how-i/

        The burden of proof is always on the new hypothesis, the one that postulates a new effect or new phenomenon. This is true in all types of science, from astro- and particle physics to chemistry, biology, psychology and the social sciences.

        Whoops even Nicks own side don’t agree.

      • Arg blockquote fail … the key quote from Ethan

        I’m not saying that the alternative hypothesis, that there might be some inherent differences between men and women, is necessarily wrong, but I am saying that until you can demonstrate that the null hypothesis is invalid, you’ve got nothing.

    • As I was taught Scientific Method was created to avoid scientists, the scientific community from continuing down false paths of inquiry accepting them as absolutes. So science would not lead to scientific hypotheses that become wide-spread beliefs unchallengeable because the hypothesis was put forward by the most powerful, the most politically connected in human society. Testing the null hypothesis was never meant to be solely a specific too of scientific inference. Good, ethical scientists should not allow their egos to stand in the way of good science. A good scientists should demand that their hypotheses be challenged. After all scientific endeavor is the pursuit of the truth not some bizarre political agenda. If science is to be used, as today it often is, to assist in deciding socioeconomic policy affecting millions of people then the science must be the very best possible. With CAGW we do not have that.

      • Edwin: More accurately, it should not make exceptions, as I mentioned in the article; however all this fuss and bother has been caused by the fact that mainstream science did make exceptions for CAGW.
        That was the whole point of my article: i.e. bad science led to more bad science.

    • @Nick
      cite a paper stating something like “Lorenz was right in 1990, but he is no longer is thanks to new observations”, or admit you are wrong, or shut up until you do either if you have any respect for yourself and others.

    • So Nick, just what can’t be explained by climate “science”?
      Hotter, colder, wetter, drier, windier, calmer…..

      To paraphrase Karl Popper (you should read his thesis) “a theory of everything is a theory of nothing…..rather a matter of faith or religion”.

      • Bitter&twisted: just what can’t be explained by climate “science”?
        That’s easy, the reason why a positive claim should be accepted without proof, while heretofore established scientific knowledge should have to be held to the Catch-22 of proving a negative in order to refute it.
        Simply put, junk-scientists simply don’t understand why their science is junk– their elevators simply don’t reach that proverbial “floor…” and thus they make for the most dangerous adversaries in attempting scientific discussion; since as Confucius said, “a fool doesn’t know that he doesn’t know, and therefore he can ask more questions in a minute than a wise man can answer in a year.”
        This is why scientists should not try to rely solely on their own scientific knowledge of a subject in order to debate it against an alternative proponent, rather than adhering to scientific protocols, which were developed for exactly that reason.
        And that’s the entire point I’m making the article. It’s not the agw radicals who are to blame for violating scientific protocols, it’s the mainstream scientists who will allow it.

    • I pretty much disagree
      with everything you post, Strokes,
      but “null hypothesis”
      does not have to be capitalized
      to scare me off.

      Starting in the 1980’s
      when I first heard the phrase,
      I noticed that it almost always led
      to confusion,
      like reading a Strokes comment,
      and ruined communications.

      Considering that I was participating
      in a double-blind experiment,
      run by engineers, I was surprised
      that almost everyone seems to
      have trouble with the phrase.

      I managed to avoid saying or writing
      that phrase until today, and will try
      to avoid it for the rest of my life.

      Not that the concept is wrong, or bad,
      just that the phrase causes confusion
      and debates over what it means, rather
      than more important subjects.

      Without reading any more comments,
      I’m going to guess that there will
      be confusion of what the
      null hypothesis is, and the confusion
      will distract from more important
      subjects … such as logical comments
      about how Mr. Strokes comments
      usually are gobbledygook concerning
      anything but the true mystery
      of climate change — does CO2
      control the average temperature? (it doesn’t),
      because if it did, why have the climate models
      been so wrong for so long?

  2. Kevin Trenberth was the main climate proponent for eliminating the null hypothesis as many have written about. Indeed the null hypothesis guides researchers to determine if recent changes lie outside the bounds of natural climate change before we can attribute a weather event to CO2. By eliminating that constraint, Trenberth and his ilk now hype in the media that every weather event has worsened by rising CO2, with no need to examine the bounds of natural variability. I condemned such a practice in:

    The Kevin Trenberth Effect: Pulling Science Back to the Dark Ages – Part 1 Droughts and Heat waves

    http://landscapesandcycles.net/trenberth-reverses-null-hypothesis-for-droughts.html

    • Jim Steele “Kevin Trenberth was the main climate proponent for eliminating the null hypothesis as many have written about.”

      Please read the article again. Keven Trenberth could not have presented anything but a hypothesis, if the scientific community had followed proper protocols and simply rejected it outright for not passing proper scrutiny– rather than refuting it, which thus validated his hypothesis as one that did.
      In short, scientists “fed the trolls.”

  3. Another trick the Climate Liars use is to mis-state the null hypothesis, erecting a strawman in its place. They then claim that the null hypothesis has been disproven, and now it is their own hypothesis which is the new null.

      • One way to do would be to point out that since temperatures have changed, both up and down, by more than we have seen in recent decades prior to the increases in CO2, you need to show that whatever caused the previous changes are not also causing the current changes.

        No alarmist has ever attempted to do this, they just declare that the current increases MUST be caused by CO2, because they can’t think of anything else.

      • How about this, Nick: Please state the null hypothesis regarding space aliens being a dire threat to humanity that we need to be defending ourselves against immediately, and where it comes from.
        Obviously, the null hypothesis regarding climate change is that the slight warming we’ve experienced since the LIA is natural, and in no way unprecedented. Warming periods and cooling periods have happened many times before, and will continue to do so.

      • Bruce,
        ” Please state the null hypothesis regarding space aliens being a dire threat to humanity”
        You’re the one arguing for the requirement of a null hypothesis, not me.

        “the slight warming we’ve experienced since the LIA is natural, and in no way unprecedented”
        Occam was mentioned about. Building the LIA, or precedent into the NH is against that spirit. Who says there has to be warming following the LIA?

      • Hypothesis: “CO2 injected into the atmosphere by human activity after 1950 causes a rise in the global means surface temperature of 0.1°C to 0.2°C per decade. It also causes more extreme weather events (drought, flood, hurricanes, cyclones, etc.) than would otherwise be the case.”

        Null Hypothesis: “Current temperature rises and weather extremes remain within the boundaries of natural variation.”

      • “CO2 injected into the atmosphere by human activity after 1950 causes a rise in the global means surface temperature of 0.1°C to 0.2°C per decade. “
        Actually the time behaviour hypothesised is more complex than that. CO2 injection has not been uniform, and CO2 itself changes flux. The buildup of heat takes time.

        But in fact the increase in GISS has been 0.141°C/decade since 1950. And by any measure that is out of the range of natural variation, as inferred from the series. 95% CI range 0.129 to 0.154 C/dec. HADCRUT is lower, 0.12±0.016.

      • Who says there has to be warming following the LIA?

        Surely the point is that there has to be change to make a LIA.
        And therefore there has to be the possibility of change to end that LIA.
        And as the cause of the LIA is unknown the sign of that change cannot be predicted.
        Although the magnitude of that change can reasonably be expected to be the same as the start of the LIA – that’s the amount of change we get.

        So why look for anything else?
        It’s a random walk. Why assume it’s driven?

      • Nick,

        I’m just curious. You challenge and nitpick everyone else on every little detail or definition in their comments. How would you define or otherwise specify a null hypothesis with respect to global warming?

      • Nick,

        With respect, I ask only because you challenge everyone else’s definitions/comments. If you would care to clarify your own position, I think it could lead to a more productive discussion if everyone were comparing “apples to apples.”

      • “How would you define or otherwise specify a null hypothesis with respect to global warming?”
        I would only define it if I could think of some use I could make of it. Our understanding of the climate includes the Greenhouse Effect, and so as CO2 is put in the air, the question is, is it warming, and if not, why not. It is warming at about the expected rate, so our understanding seems OK. At some stage (I think that time is long past) we’ll be able to definitely rule out the notion that it has no effect.

      • Nick,

        Thank you for your response. However, I have to disagree with your comment, and it fundamentally gets back to the null hypothesis/natural variation. You state:

        I would only define it if I could think of some use I could make of it. Our understanding of the climate includes the Greenhouse Effect, and so as CO2 is put in the air, the question is, is it warming, and if not, why not.

        The question is first: is the current warming any different from past warming events that have been attributed to natural causes. Or, to rephrase your comment, If CO2 in NOT put in the air, the question is, is it warming, and if so, why? Please address the early 1900s warming (~1910-1940??) and what caused that, if not CO2?

      • @Nick
        cite a paper stating something like “Lorenz was right in 1990, but he is no longer is thanks to new observations”, or admit you are wrong, or shut up until you do either if you have any respect for yourself and others.

      • How would you define or otherwise specify a null hypothesis with respect to global warming?

        That’s pretty simple. The null hypothesis to “there has been global warming” is “there has been no global warming”. If you can demonstrate a valid statistical test that shows there has been significant warming, then you have evidence to reject the null hypothesis.

        If you meant the hypothesis that increasing CO2 will increase temperatures, then they null hypothesis would be “there is no correlation between CO2 levels and temperatures”. If you can show a statistically significant correlation you can reject that null-hypothesis.

        But I get the feeling from this article and previous discussions that there is a lot of confusion between the concepts of “null hypothesis” and falsification in a scientific sense.

      • How about this: The Earth’s average temperature has varied between 12 degrees Celcius and 24 degrees Celcius, and has done so long before human existence. Therefore, barring variation outside of these historical boundaries, we can assume all climate variations to be natural.

      • “And by any measure that is out of the range of natural variation, as inferred from the series”

        Sez you…

        Nick, I have inferred that according to unpublished but incontrovertible research the Earth is in immediate danger of being swallowed whole by a giant intergalactic sky goat, and I demand that you finance me to evaluate the probability of that catastrophic event and to set in motion international programs to prevent that catastrophe.

        And further, I suggest that my theories are of neither more nor less value in the great scheme of things than yours.

        In other words, of no value whatsoever.

      • “But in fact the increase in GISS has been 0.141°C/decade”

        I just love the way you “climate scientists” are so arrogant that you believe you can airily quote the value of what is no more than a statistical artefact based on a collection of highly manipulated numbers derived from utterly incomplete coverage of a very large system using at best questionably mensuration to a precision of no less than three decimal places!

        And then you wonder why those of us with experience of the real world regard you lot and your prognostications with at best amusement and at worst with total derision.

    • Bruce Cobb: but my point is that mainstream scientists allowed panic-mongers to do this, by failing to refute them solely on the basis of not properly disproving the Null Hypothesis.
      By refuting their claims directly, mainstream scientists breached protocol and opened Pandora’s Box.

  4. On the topic of null hypothesis; it seems to relate to induction, which is to say, you have observations and you make guesses as to the causes of the things observed. No obvious limit exists to the number of possible causes.

    So you start ruling out causes until only one is left. Is it proven? Not quite; you may have missed a cause in your list of causes. It merely strengthens the claim.

    Induction will usually never be proof.

    Ruling out causes can be difficult, maybe impossible in some cases, which will always leave a bit of uncertainty in one’s conclusion.

    • The Null hypothesis, “that the slight highly beneficial warming out of the LIA is purely natural” has never been disproven, except by arguments from ignorance, or by statistical mal-science.

      If you want instances of both, go to basically any article on SkS.

      • I believe even the IPCC has stated that warming up to 1.8C is generally beneficial for the Earth.
        A) We haven’t reached that yet.
        B) They do not indicate that warming of 1.9C would somehow become immediately disastrous

        Meaning: Either their concern over present and projected warming is feigned and political, or they don’t know, or they don’t want us (humans) to be warm and happy, or all three!

      • “The Null hypothesis, “that the slight highly beneficial warming out of the LIA is purely natural””
        OK, at least a statement, although it doesn’t sound very Null. Even a little loaded. But the basic question is, who said so?

      • OK Nick, a less loaded null hypothesis:
        Climate has changed in the past with both higher and lower atmospheric temperatures; CO2 levels in the atmosphere have been significantly higher in the past; and changes in atmospheric CO2 levels show no causal relationship with atmospheric temperature. Therefore, the null hypothesis is that: changes in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere have no measurable effect on the temperature of the atmosphere.

      • My null hypothesis is that: “changes in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere have no significant effect on the temperature of the atmosphere relative to the costs of adaptation”.

        CO2 may have an effect (probably less than the effects of land use change, in my opinion). But does it have an effect that routine infrastructure updates would accommodate anyway?
        If it does then the cost and impact is zero.

        This is because I look at the null hypothesis as a tool for determining policy.
        To find confidence in “truth” you have to go back to William of Ockham.

      • “changes in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere have no measurable effect on the temperature of the atmosphere”
        That actually fails, because it isn’t a hypothesis, and can’t be tested. A NH has to be rejectable. That is, it has to say what you expect, with ranges. Then you can test if the result is out of range, and so the NH is rejected. That is, if you really are doing a statistical test, as opposed to just working out stuff.

      • Nick Stokes,

        “changes in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere have no measurable effect on the temperature of the atmosphere”
        That actually fails, because it isn’t a hypothesis, and can’t be tested. A NH has to be rejectable. That is, it has to say what you expect, with ranges. Then you can test if the result is out of range, and so the NH is rejected.

        Please specify a NH that is testable and can be rejected.

      • AGAIN, you LIE Nick.

        Do you dispute that the slight warming out of the LIA has been very beneficial.

        That is what it is all about, isn’t it, a slight warming and its cause.?

        The null hypothesis, since that warming has been NOTHING out of the ordinary whatsoever, is that the warming was PURELY NATURAL.

        Try not to argue from IGNORANCE, as is your meme.

      • @Nick
        again you lie, Nick. The null hypothesis is obviously “current warming can be the result of natural variation, without any need to postulate an effect of extra CO2”.
        Just disprove that, and you prove the opposite, namely, “current warming cannot be the result of natural variation, we need something else”, to begin with. They you can proceed to next step: disproving that the “something else” must be extra CO2.
        But you cannot, you fail at step 1: we just have to go back to 1910-1940 to observe similar rate of increase, and we can go back to MWP to observe barley grown in Greenland, which is still not impossible.

        BTW:
        cite a paper stating something like “Lorenz was right in 1990, but he is no longer is thanks to new observations”, or admit you are wrong, or shut up until you do either if you have any respect for yourself and others.

      • It’s obvious that science is sceptical.
        Skeptical Science includes the word in its name because it knows that there are clear reasons to doubt that it is, itself, sceptical. And therefore it is trying to persuade people that it is indeed science.

        If it was science it wouldn’t need to try so hard.

        By the way, countries that call themselves “Democratic Republics” are never democracies. Democracies don’t need to do that.
        Coincidentally how many are republics?
        Are they actually something more sinister trying to clothe themselves in respectable vestments?

    • Can I unsee?

      There is no place in the Internet more biased than the Skeptical Science. I mean for real. There is no risk of contrarianism there, or even risk of taking IPCC:s word on anything if it says something is all right, not to worry.

      I’m pretty much giving up on all sites that go full Daily Kos. And that is so many sites these days because there are little activists selling diesel cars, windmills, PV and ‘ecological’ chocolate that my brain hurts.

      Yes, significance. Moonlanding hoax study, anyone?

      By the way, I trust the sks server collects all hits to that link and stores ip’s to out some commenters some day, right?

    • Well, I’ll take a chance on the veracity of your claim of excellence appearing in unSkeptical Science.

      Has a good start, written by Dikran Marsupial, a person of unknowable credential (but good posting history). Probably has “PhD in applied mathematics at University College London”

      Surprise, it really does seem like a good explanation.

      He then writes “As the expected rate of warming (about 0.2 degrees C per decade) is relatively small compared to the magnitude of the noise created by sources of internal variability, such as ENSO, we need quite a lot of data for the test to have sufficient power to reliably reject the null hypothesis when it is actually false.”

      This goes both ways of course; one cannot say with mathematically certainty that the pause is not a pause, depending of course on how one defines “pause” since it plainly did pause for 18 years or so while CO2 rise did not pause.

    • Tom Dayton: It’s rather ironic that John Cook would have this on his website, when AGW has circumvented the Null Hypothesis entirely; however it’s even more ironic that I had a rather long acquaintance-history with John Cook, up to the point where he went “AGW” and I teased him for it, including turning his own cartoon-characters against him… but looking back, I guess I should have given him better help. He’s not a scientist, but he plays one on the web.

  5. I think the null hypothesis just means that something is presumed to be random (natural variability) until it is proven to be false via observable measurement. Climate scientist’s certainly haven’t done that, so the burden of proof is on them.

    • “I think the null hypothesis just means that something is presumed to be random (natural variability) “
      But is natural variability random? Who said? I’m constantly being told here of cycles of one sort or another. What is that “null hypothesis”?

      • “But is natural variability random?”

        No, simply because ultimately nothing is random. However, natural variability does appear to be chaotic and random due to our limited ability to discern and understand nature’s complexities. The null hypothesis is simply an honest approach to understanding those complexities. What is that null hypothesis? Andy gives a good answer above – we are in a natural warming trend after the LIA.

      • Nick Stokes,

        “I think the null hypothesis just means that something is presumed to be random (natural variability) “
        But is natural variability random? Who said?

        William Briggs.

        I’m constantly being told here of cycles of one sort or another. What is that “null hypothesis”?

        How ’bout you tell us?

      • Nick stop play ducks and drakes and insulting peoples intelligence. The variability was there according to your own data you want to use long before humans started pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. You have old data pre humans so try to put some realistic numbers around the natural variability historically as your null case, it is what a scientist would do as a standard control procedure.

        If you want to see a hard science example you only need look at Ligo to see what it has to do to filter out local gravity fluctuations to get at the actual data it wants. You could also look at the LHC sensor data which is massive and has to be filtered looking for the few special results.

    • icisil: The Null Hypothesis is the established body of scientific belief, against which an “alternative” challenge must prove itself mathematically beyond a reasonable error-margin.
      So without the Null Hypothesis, E=MC2 would be considered no more valid than my saying “A=M/F” which of course is nonsense.
      And nothing is “proven false,” in science; that runs into the problem of “proving a negative,” which is exactly what mainstream-scientists caused by breaching protocols in indulging AGW as valid theory before it was proved.
      it either is simply proved true beyond a certain error-margin, or it isn’t— which is why it’s so ironic that AGW uses the term “denier” in attacking those who dispute their scientific validity, since use of the term itself proves they don’t even have basic scientific literacy.

  6. The null hypothesis has been a valued tool of scientific inquiry for nearly 100 years. Both the null hypothesis and science in general will continue to succeed without Nick Stokes null hyperbole.

    • “the null hypothesis and science in general will continue to succeed “
      Success in science generally involves rejecting the null hypothesis, where relevant. Can it survive constant rejection?

      • Nick Stokes: you keep proving my point, evading the fact that the Null Hypothesis is standard scientific protocol; since my point is that this is exactly the AGW modus operandi, and mainstream scientists are falling into this pitfall of taking the bait from radicals in order to so breach protocol and give them recognition devoid of scientific merit.
        In other words, they need to stop feeding the trolls.

      • “the fact that the Null Hypothesis is standard scientific protocol”
        If it’s a fact, why can’t you quote some authority for it? Some actual scientist saying so?

      • There are no authorities for science what a stupid statement Nick, do you understand the first thing about science. I would like anyone to quote anything in science using an authority for reference :-)

  7. My personal conception of the null hypothesis in respect of climate science is that all observed variation falls within the realm of natural variability until proven otherwise. It has not been proven otherwise. There is considerable evidence that all observed warming is not unusual over the observed time frame and that similar warming periods of the Medieval and Roman and Minoan Warm periods were comparable while lacking any significant CO2 signal as a trigger.
    The majority of the climate science community has engaged in extremely dishonest and unscientific behaviour for several decades attempting to cover up and contradict any and all evidence against their hypothesis. These actions stand alone in condemning the garbage conclusions of what is a misinformation conspiracy of activists and self promoting liars, headed by Al Gore- the failed divinity student and Michael Mann the imitation scientist and fraudster.
    Have a little courage, Nick. Tell us what you actually think of these individuals and those who collaborate with them.

  8. Climate change . A Hypothesis . Try explaining that to Radio and Television news rooms. I did a few years ago but they dismissed the explanation. My background being ,years ago, in Prehistoric Archaeology where hypotheses were set up and attacked with glee. Most news rooms have a basic view of the past which was current in the 1920s. coloured with political bias.
    see Glyn Daniel “The Idea of Prehistory.”now available on line .
    From the fog of catastropharianism to the Diffusionism. is an interesting period of the nineteenth century.
    Marx being educated in the early nineteenth century was influenced in his thought by the current ideas of the Past in his younger years (my hypothesis) I assume most journalists are vaguely marxist with a small ‘m’ ( I assume)

  9. Don’t say this on climate audit you’ll be snipped.
    I would add that the whole theory also hinges on temperature being a measurement of energy, which it is not. Not even a linear correlation.

  10. I cannot believe the amount of erroneous ideas on this very simple and basic scientific principle. Hypothesis, more co2 causes temperature to rise. Null hypothesis, it does not. Make observations. Based upon those observations, their number and quality, determine statistical significance. If it meets the predetermined significance level one requires, make your choice, hypothesis or null hypothesis. In the case of cagw one must also decide if and or what portion of the co2 one will attribute to man. I have no trouble accepting the null hypothesis in this case. This is not to say temperatures have not risen and declined (for thousands of years before the industrial revolution) nor that co2 has not risen (and declined) during some of that time. Simply that A has not been at all proven to cause B. Too many other variables are involved and no good data to prove what is the main cause of what, if there is indeed a Main cause.

    • JimG1 “I cannot believe”
      That scientists are vulnerable to trickery? Of course they are, they are not trained to spot it, and so they allowed themselves to be baited by radicals into refuting AGW directly, thus falling into the trap of “proving a negative,” rather than following scientific protocol of simply observing established error-margins.

  11. Originally the null hypothesis would be “human produced CO2 is harmless to the climate.” The reasoning is that originally when the EPA required catalytic converters on cars it was to change bad emissions to “water and harmless CO2.” The alternative hypothesis is that human produced CO2 is not harmless and does cause global warming. So they set out to prove that human produced CO2 is not harmless to the climate. The results of that effort are…?

  12. Since my impression has been that use of null hypothesis, while not new, developed along with the ease of computer modeling, I looked in a few older biology texts to see what they said. While not a very good sample, biology was often the only science many college graduates had, at least before “environmental science.”

    The latest surviving text in my library was 2002. They only had 4+ pages of 1200+ on the scientific method, and I did not see the word ‘null.’ A section was “A hypothesis is a testable statement.” Also it did discuss a little about inductive/deductive logic.

    While older books were variable, one (1985) had nothing much at least in the introduction, so it raises the question of how much history or basis of science has been taught. Since ‘scientific’ societies have been getting into politics it might be worth researching this. Old texts, which are not easy to come by, may not be the best source.

    For example, just found this. Sigma Xi is on the precipice. Last issue of American Scientist was good, but in their recent student symposium on climate they had a town hall session and a screening of “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.” Also much talk going on about communication, important, but not the main problem. “Those who are able to communicate the value of their research to a broader audience are at an advantage in terms of building financial and social support for their work.”
    To steal a phrase, Science is too important to be left to scientists.

    https://www.sigmaxi.org/news/article/2018/01/09/top-research-associations-join-forces-to-support-science-and-engineering (Sigma Xi and AAAS)

  13. The title of this article has…….“Indulging Unproved Hypotheses”

    ALL of science indulges in unproven hypothesis. Every single hypothesis in science to this day remains UNPROVEN

    Everyone here seems to forget that you can prove a hypothesis false, but you cannot prove one true. There is not one example of a scientific hypothesis EVERY being proven true.

    • Tom Bjorklund Actually no, you can’t prove a negative– which is why AGW-radicals baited scientists into trying to do just that; however you can prove a hypothesis correct beyond established error-margins, which the radicals avoided doing by their trickery, since one your position is refuted then it becomes the Null Hypothesis– and when that’s a negative, you can’t lose.
      Science is not based on trickery, which is why adherence to protocols is so important to
      avoid it.

    • ” you can prove a hypothesis correct”

      Nope.

      You can test a hypothesis, and it can either pass or fail the test. But passing a test does not PROVE the hypothesis is correct.

      There is not one single scientific hypothesis that has ever been PROVEN correct.

      • Tom Bjorklund: I assume English is your second language, and so you can perhaps be forgiven for snipping my post out of context like that.
        My exact words, were “you can prove a hypothesis correct beyond established error-margins;” and that is the exact role of the Null Hypothesis, to present those error-margins as a test for further discussion of a proposed hypothesis.
        Meanwhile, scientists are breaching that protocol, by going ahead and indulging the AGW alternative-hypothesis to the Null Hypothesis,
        without such proof.
        Once they do that, they’ve left the world of science.

      • “My exact words, were “you can prove a hypothesis correct beyond established error-margins;” and that is the exact role of the Null Hypothesis”
        And they are wrong too. I don’t think you have a clue about the null hypothesis and its role. Statistical inference using the null hypothesis can never prove a hypothesis. All you do is test whether the observation is possible (within margins) under the null hypothesis. If it is, that is a null result. It doesn’t prove the null hypothesis; it doesn’t exclude alternatives. It simply says that you haven’t shown a need for a new one. It doesn’t say that a new one would be wrong.

        If the statistical test succeds, it means you reject the null hypothesis. If it were the explanation, the observation would be improbable. So there is room for a new hypothesis. That is all it says. It doesn’t “prove a hypothesis correct beyond established error-margins”. It doesn’t say anything about whether your idea is better than some other hypothesis, or even if it is any good at all. It just says that the null hypothesis doesn’t explain the result.

  14. Some people seem to believe that increasing the amount of CO2 between the Sun and a thermometer on the ground will make the thermometer hotter.

    This is supposedly the cause of the nonsensical and non-existent figment of the imagination known as “global warming”!

    It’s not surprising that otherwise sane and reasonable people might support such a nonsensical proposition – phlogiston, the luminiferous ether, the indivisibility of the atom, or the rejection of quantum physics on the basis that “God does not play at dice!” – show the sway of ideas subsequently shown to be false.

    Climatology is good for a laugh, but has shown precisely no actual benefit to anyone else apart from its practitioners! Just like astrology. At least astrology prompted the study of astronomy, whereas climatology will lead to the study of nothing at all in all likelihood.

    Cheers.

  15. Nick wrote: “But in fact the increase in GISS has been 0.141°C/decade since 1950. And by any measure that is out of the range of natural variation,”

    You completely ignore the period from 1910 to 1940, which warmed at the same magnitude as the period from 1980 to the present. If 1910 to 1940 is natural variation, then why should we attribute the same amount of warmth from 1980 to the present to CO2? Just because there is more CO2 now than then? I don’t think so. There’s no proof the current warming isn’t natural. There’s your Null Hypothesis.

    Yes, I know you will say that chart only represents to U.S. but the temperature profile of the 1999 Hansen chart resembles the profiles of just about all the available unmodified temperature charts around the world. They do not resemble the Hockey Stick charts you use to make all these claims.

    If you disagree with using the U.S. temperature chart as the global chart, then please explain why CO2 and warming behaves differently in the U.S. as opposed to the rest of the world.

    • “Yes, I know you will say that chart only represents to U.S”
      So why don’t you show the global graph?. It’s readily available. Not the right story?

      The reason that US is different is because of TOBS, not corrected in these graphs.

      • Nick Stokes, once again you bait your trap with unproved negatives, and deceive unwitting skeptics into indulging your unproved hypothesis so that you can claim the negative unproved.
        Science has no place for such radicalism.

      • TOBS = Bastardized

        You see Hansen got it all wrong in 1999. He didn’t know how to create a proper chart in 1999. so we can’t go by that data, we have to adjust it into a Hockey Stick first.

        I read a post on WUWT some time ago where someone did a calculation on one of the older Hadcrut charts, and even though it had been “TOBBED” it still showed the 1910 to 1940 warming period as equal to the 1980 to the Present warming. So TOBS or no TOBS, the warming is equal.

        I haven’t found that particular post. Maybe someone can help me out.

      • There it is, Nick refuses to believe recorded weather data unless it has been thoroughly modified to fit adjustocene beliefs.

        No science needed. Especially not a null hypothesis.

      • “There it is, Nick refuses to believe recorded weather data”,/i>
        TOBS does not dispute the recorded weather data. The issue is calculating a monthly average. You have 31 maxima and 31 minima, for 24 hour periods. But are they the daily max and min? Or are some days counted twice? It depends, in a predictable way, on the time of observation. If you change that, you need to correct.

    • TA: you are ignoring and proving my article at the same time, by refuting the unproved AGW-hypothesis, and thus proving a negative… and failing. You fell right into the radical’s trap, since there’s no such thing as bad publicity; and thus silence is the best weapon against radicalism… which is why the Null Hypothesis is so vital to scientific methodology, i.e. one does not debate unproven hypotheses.
      When one breaches this protocol by indulging radicals, then the Pandora’s Box of radicalism is opened wide– as we see with the entire AGW mess we’re in. Thank you naive scientists!

      • ” the Null Hypothesis is so vital to scientific methodology”
        ..
        The Null hypothesis never was part of scientific methodology. Sir Issac Newton did not use a null hypothesis. Einstein did not use a null hypothesis.

        The null hypothesis is an integral part of statistical inference, an was never a part of the scientific method.

      • Ian, I’m not sure what you are criticizing.

        How can silence be the best weapon against lying and/or misinformed Climate Alarmists? They make outrageous claims and we are just supposed to shut up? Surely that’s not what you are saying.

      • TA: I’m not talking about dead silence, aka acquiesence; I’m simply talking about silence in response to non-scientific claims, and sticking rejecting their hypothesis solely on the scientific bases of explaining how it doesn’t prove their hypothesis sufficiently to reject the Null one.

        The instant they breach this protocol. they breach Mark Twain’s rule to “never argue with an idiot, since nobody watching will be able to tell the difference;” i.e. when scientists refuting the AGW alternative hypothesis directly, rather than by defending the Null Hypothesis, then they validate it, and take up the position of proving a negative that humans aren’t scalding the planet,

        This is similar to Libertarians arguing Austrian economics as superior to Keynesian economics, by claiming that “it’s better for the economy–” rather than simply asserting the ethical fact that it’s not their damned money!
        The similarity is in engaging substantive arguments, and ignoring procedure– which was established to avoid becoming mired in poor substance.

      • @Tom Bjorklund
        “null hypothesis” is just another word for Occam’s razor, when you use statistics. The word was popularized by fisher in the 1930s, So of course neither Newton and Einstein used it, but they DID use Occam’s razor. Is that so important ?

  16. Good topic, Ian.

    Except, that your statements appear to position climate dodgy science, by failing to seriously address the null hypothesis as principle to AGW hooligans playing fast and loose with climate hysteria.

    “This is not a suppression of new or unpopular positions, but simply a preserving of the integrity of the scientific method in maintaining established scientific knowledge by responsible adherence to standard protocols and methodology– without exception, particularly for popular or politically-driven positions, against which scientific objectivity requires absolute indifference to source.”

    Your key statement, “preserving of the integrity of the scientific method” is absolutely accurate, but is not reduced to or singularly focused on the null hypothesis.

    Practically, every significant step of the scientific method gets abused in climate science by the alarmists.
    For example”
    A) Model data is not equivalent to, nor can it replace observations!
    B) Independent replication is ignored.
    C) Data, methods, code, etc. are hidden from reviewers.
    D) Improper selection procedures are applied, and often central to claimed results.
    E) Statistics and mathematics are used as methods to abuse data and results.
    F) Data is “adjusted” until researchers attain results they desire.
    G) Final results are decided before designing research.
    H) etc, etc, etc.

    Establishing the null hypothesis then thoroughly investigating the science that contributes to the null hypothesis is critical, but just one of many critical scientific procedures utterly ignored by alarmists and their groupies.

    Right from the beginning, where alarmists claimed that there could not be any other component/process causing atmospheric warming, therefore it must be CO2; identified alarmists as thoroughly opposed to the honest use of scientific methods, procedures, principles, ethics, etc.

    Climate science, indeed many fields of scientific study are being corrupted into depending upon secrecy, science by press release, publish or perish and getting in bed with advocacy pals and compliant publisher advocates.

    Finding something climate alarmist activists actually perform correctly according to scientific rigor would be easier than listing how climate science abusers advance climate nonsense and set science back.

    • ATheoK: It all comes down to the good ol’ Null Hypothesis’ since all of those points you list, would serve to reject the Alternative Hypothesis against it.

      Conversely, meanwhile, all those points are lost by failing to observe the Null Hypothesis against them. This is the purpose of the Null Hypothesis, being basically the “habeas corpus” of the scientific method: i.e. just like the government cannot hold a person under habeas corpus without showing cause beyond set requirements, so a proponent cannot maintain an alternative hypothesis against the Null Hypothesis without likewise establishing their alternative hypothesis against it beyond clearly-defined error-margins.

      This is why these protocols are so vital to scientific integrity– and why breaching them is so dangerous. Unfortunately, scientific ethics are observed far more liberally than legal ethics, since people– scientists included– are naive to the danger that results from complacency, thinking that nothing bad will happen if scientific protocols are ignored.
      That’s why it’s happening so much, and why so much disaster has followed.

  17. Why are so many of you ‘jumping’ to Nick’s tune?
    He tells lies. He tries to justify his religion on the basis of invented numbers supporting anomalous anomalies instead of real temperatures.
    He makes statements that we know CO2 as a greenhouse gas warms the earth. It doesn’t, there is no scientific analysis that supports this statement.
    All that is happening is that the maximum temperatures are ever so slightly FALLING. The minimum temperatures are ever so slightly increasing a bit more, leading to slight increases in averages.
    Get back to talking about real temperatures, not hypothetical ‘anomalies’ changing from arbitrary trends over an arbitrary 30 year period picked deliberately by the religious zealots.

    • jim “Why are so many of you ‘jumping’ to Nick’s tune?”

      Did you read the article? It’s all about how scientists everywhere are jumping to the tune of the AGW-hypothesists, by taking the bait and sinking to their level rather than just observing the Null Hypothesis. And as Mark Twain said, “never argue with stupid people, they’ll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

      My article tried to say, nicely, that this is exactly what AGW’ers are doing; since their “experience” is with breaching scientific protocols and arguing negatives, i.e. “humans are pressure-cooking the planet, and you can’t prove it’s not so.”

      And the naive sons of sons of science, fall right for it, and jump into the “briar patch” while attacking the tarbaby– i.e. issuing “proof” that humans aren’t to blame… and breaching the basic protocol of science in ignoring the Null Hypothesis– which is unfortunate that they’re so easily trolled in this day and age.

      • Ad hominem attacks are never useful, nor do they encourage civil discourse. This is a terribly complex subject. Reasonable people can have different yet sincerely held opinions. All of the comments that I see Nick, Griff, Mosher and others post are quite reasonable expressions of the dominant scientific community. We may think that community is mistaken for many reasons, but if you drive these people away from WUWT, you have only a monologue, an echo chamber, in which you accomplish nothing but giving yourself a warm feeling.

    • +1
      I guess they jump because they are good faith people, who assume other to be like them, good faith people. Nick is not . He just play word trick, never answering any unconvinient truth but by some sort of diversion and irrelevant questions.
      You won’t find a single useful post from him, only some parroting again of already refuted talks.

  18. I am old. I am not a physicist nor a meteorologist. I am an engineer. I like to break things down to pieces. Here are the pieces of warming as I see them.
    1) Incoming energy from the sun
    2) Outgoing energy intercepted by molecules like water vapor, CO2, methane, etc.
    3) Some is reradiated back down to give extra warming (maybe)
    Basically this would mean the share of reradiation would be dependent on the volume of the molecules in the atmosphere. CO2, being such a small part, would have a small part in warming.

    How do you make CO2 more powerful? Positive feedback! Could someone show a paper that has found or proven experimentally (not modeling) proof of this occurring, the process, and to what level?

    All the papers in the world about rising CO2 and AGW affecting things currently are worthless when it comes to proving that CO2 is causing the problem. Nor do they provide experimental proof of the feedback and how it works. Otherwise, cue the null hypothesis, anything could be causing the GW affecting those things.

    I have argued this successfully with several folks. All the attention on Global Temperature, the hockey stick, polar bears, ice caps, and cold weather do nothing to prove this link from CO2 to CAGW. Don’t be misled by other arguments or the consensus. Go back to the fundamentals of the CAGW hypothesis and how it is supposed to work. I can’t prove it is not CO2 if it really isn’t CO2. This means the CAGW proponents need to be doing the proving that it is. Think of all the wasted money studying things other than how CO2 works to cause CAGW.

  19. Author is absolutely correct. I also think we’re making a general error in that there is always THEORY and null hypothesis. As we denialists always mock Mr. Gore for saying “the science is settled”, there is just a theory that has stood up to all efforts to date to disprove it – which when a disproving set of data will reduce the previously thought incontrovertible theory into yet another null hypothesis. Think of it as a “pass fail” system.

    • Fxk: I had a tall Great Dane who would play with an American Eskimo dog, who would bait her into chasing him into deep snow where he had an advantage, since otherwise obviously he was no match for a Great Dane.
      This is exactly what agw-proponents are doing too real climate scientists by beating them into refuting their ridiculous hypotheses, rather than simply pointing to the null hypothesis and ignoring them. If you don’t believe me, here’s the proof:

  20. Ian McCandless ==> You are fighting a losing battle with Nick Stokes. Mr. Stokes is a “Numbers Man” — a Statistician by religion — he knows no other language or even other intellectual approach — only Numbers and Classical Statistical Theory. He honestly believes that statistical trends predict the future….
    You will not get him to accept the idea of Popperian Falsifiable Null Hypotheses — he won’t even talk about them — he can’t , they are not in his mental universe. Believe me — I have tried. His activity here can seem a lot like trolling….because, like trolls, he has a idée fixe — statistics — and simply keeps banging on, even though everyone else is discussing a different topic altogether.

    Nice Guy though, on any other issue (other than stats, numbers, and CliSci).

    • “You will not get him to accept the idea of Popperian Falsifiable Null Hypotheses”
      The proplem is that people talk importantly of that of which they have little knowledge. Popper did not talk about falsifiable null hypotheses. He emphasised that scientific propositions should be falsifiable, and gained credibility when they survived tests. Statistical testing is entirely different. You do not test the hypothesis. You test an alternative null hypothesis. The reason is that propositions can be falsified, but not proved. So if you can falsify the null hypothesis, it means that there is at least room for the proposition that you are interested. It doesn’t affirm it.

      • Nick ==> You know very well that Popper’s Falsifiable is The Hypothesis — one then designs experiments to test a Null Hypothesis, which itself must also be falsifiable. This is how Science is done — it has very little to do with Statistics. Quite honestly, who cares about statistical testing — just plain experimental testing will fill the bill if the null and the experiment has been properly designed — findings so small as to required extensive statistical testing are just “taxonomy” in that they only return results that are “suggestive” — re-design and re-rest.

        McCandless’ point is that the entire structure of modern CliSci (and by this I mean AGW/CAGW) is built upon an endless series of suggestive efforts to confirm the CO2-driven AGW concept — the these suggestive “confirmations” (“our findings are consistent with the IPCC consensus view”) — and little, if any, effort has been made to really test the Big Hypothesis (AGW/CAGW). The tests set early on — predicted warming rates, atmospheric Hot Spot, warming at both poles, etc have for the most part failed — and these failures have been explained away — with no subsequent efforts to re-state a new hypothesis or seriously adjust the old to match experimental findings.

        McCandless then equates this “success” — CliSci allowing itself to continue on without seriously re-visiting their hypothesis and re-making new predictions that can be tested by the climate system — has spilled over into other fields which have allowed themselves to issue unchangeable Science Edicts where social pressures or political values demand pre-deterimned Science.

        CliSci, in today’s world, has two propaganda modes: 1) It is a proxy for a grab-bag of social/economic/political values and goals — which hold themselves sacred, 2) It is a substitute for Science-writ-large — any questioning of CliSci is “an attack of all of Science” — which is nonsense, of course.

        I can’t quite figure out which of the two above you spend your time fighting for.

      • Kip
        “I can’t quite figure out which of the two above you spend your time fighting for.”
        I maintain my first comment:
        “Generally when you see Null Hypothesis brandished in capitals, gobbledygook will follow.”
        The world does not need more gobbledygook.

        “This is how Science is done — it has very little to do with Statistics. “
        No, it isn’t. I think this article is informed neither by science nor statistics. An example was given in a link upthread which I think is illuminating. It mentioned Mercury’s precession, and how Einstein explained it with general relativity. The framing was that the Newtonian theory was the Null Hypothesis, and Einstein tested his new one using it.

        But it didn’t happen like that at all. The deviation from Newton had been a known puzzle for about fifty years. Einstein didn’t test his theory against the supposed NH. It was already rejected. There was a gap in existing knowledge, and he found an explanation. That is the actual method of scientific progress. And the formalism of statistical inference just doesn’t fit.

        That is why I have been pressing for actual statements of this supposed NH. In Stats, the NH provides a distribution, and you test it by quantified probability. In Science generally, you don’t have that quantification. But you also don’t have preferred Null Hypotheses. You just find the most explanatory hypothesis. Priority doesn’t count.

      • There is no such thing as “statistical testing.” There is only “statistical analysis” which can be useful but should not be mistaken for scientific testing or validation. Statistics are only worthwhile in scientific study for inductive reasoning – for analysis of a set of data, to find patterns that help formulate a hypothesis. Once you have found a pattern that you want to find an explanation for, you should switch to deductive reasoning wherein you actually test the hypothesis drawn from your data analysis. Statistics can’t be used as evidence to support or falsify, because statistics deal with patterns, probabilities, estimates, not facts. It can be used to narrow the scope of study to test whether the pattern seen should be tested for validity, but inductive methods can only go so far, and it’s too easy to fall into the trap of assuming the results of a statistical study are definitive. The results of a statistical analysis is not empirical evidence.

        Enter the null hypothesis, whereby the hypothesis posited by data analysis, if not directly falsifiable by empirical evidence and experimentation, is tested for validity, using either pure deductive reasoning or a mix of inductive and deductive.

        Popper’s teaching of scientific methodology focuses on falsifiability, to differentiate between actual hypotheses and theories and “junk science.” If your hypothesis cannot be falsified, it’s not science. Examples abound, and from the perspective of the Popperian scientific method, it is difficult to conclude that CAGW is anything but junk science. It isn’t falsifiable. It targets “proving” a preconceived notion rather than TESTING the VALIDITY of that preconceived notion. You don’t “prove” a theory or hypothesis. Proof is for mathematics and jurisprudence. Science seeks to support an explanation by trying to disprove it, but failure to disprove is not “proof,” only supporting evidence. However, when the effort lies with adjusting raw data to fit the hypothesis rather than testing the validity of the hypothesis against empirical evidence, then it’s pure junk. When empirical evidence which clearly falsifies the hypothesis is ignored, it’s pure junk.

        It matters not one whit what degree of correlation you might find in curve-fitting statistical analysis of cherry-picked, adjusted data. Statistics are not empirical evidence, and are easily manipulated to support a pre-drawn conclusion.

      • “Statistics are not empirical evidence, and are easily manipulated to support a pre-drawn conclusion.”

        Yes, precisely so.

    • Kip: I believe the word you’re looking for is “numerology…” or as stock forecasters put it, “technical analysis.” You can always tell these speculators by the holes in their shoes, if they are wearing hats… otherwise the holes in their heads will do.
      And I already know enough Proverbs against arguing with fools, idiots, and stupid people to take them on directly; but indeed it is a pity that real climate scientists, apparently lacking this knowledge, end up embellishing their rejections with arguments of why humans are not warming the Earth, and are baited off the path of science.

  21. A scientific theory is not tested merely by looking for confirmations but by conscientiously trying to “break” the theory, by trying to disprove it. The AGW theory is encapsulated in the IPCC assessment reports. The models discussed in these reports have not been tested in this way. These reports include sections on “Verification and Validation” but none on testing. “Verification” means that only data which support the theory are examined and data which do not support it are ignored. Indeed the authors of this section in the IPCC Third Assessment Report specifically dismiss the need for rigorous testing when they state: “our evaluation process is not as clear cut as a simple search for ‘falsification’” (Section 8.2.2 on page 474). Effectively what they are saying is: proper scientific testing is too hard and we are not going to bother doing it.
    From: http://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2009/10/climate-modelling-nonsense/

  22. It was my understanding that the purpose of Null Hypothesis is to make a hypothesis which is inherently difficult if not impossible to falsify by experiment falsifiable. If you can falsify the NH, it supports the hypothesis; at that point, you establish another NH to continue testing the hypothesis.

    Proper science doesn’t just stop testing a hypothesis because politically powerful forces tell everyone to “believe in” the hypothesis, and proper science does not follow the legal “burden of proof” concept of “preponderance of evidence.”

    Proper science especially does not change the observed evidence to fit the hypothesis, and does not reject any evidence just because it doesn’t fit the hypothesis.

    I have noticed that Nick and the other CAGW apologists posting their arguments against the scientific method and the use of Null Hypothesis have not clearly stated what exactly they think the CAGW hypothesis is. I suspect that definition would change based on whatever empirical evidence which clearly does not support the hypothesis might be, to keep the goalposts mobile… or perhaps that empirical evidence would be attacked by proxy, by attacking the messenger.

    I have seen no evidence yet that the claims of CAGW have merit except as a cudgel for the anti-capitalist political movement to use against capitalism. It would seem that the radical environmentalists who believe in CAGW because SCIENCE are simply stooges being used as a weapon for those whose political goals are worldwide redistribution of wealth and power. The CAGW “climate science” has been an utter abomination, rejecting the centuries of advancement of the scientific method that came before it, in favor of false, political “consensus” claims and the promotion of junk science, so it can be used as that political cudgel.

    • I have no problem with Nick and the other CAGW apologists posting their arguments against the scientific method.
      I have a problem only with Nick and the other CAGW apologists posting their arguments against the scientific method, and calling their argument “science,” since then by definition it isn’t.
      Every definition except there’s, at least.
      “Science.” They keep saying this word. I think it does not mean what they think it means.

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