Study: Climate Skeptics Arguments are Demonstrably False

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

A lecturer in critical thinking has demonstrated his technique for defeating climate skepticism.

How to use critical thinking to spot false climate claims

February 7, 2018 3.46pm AEDT

Peter Ellerton
Lecturer in Critical Thinking, Director of the UQ Critical Thinking Project, The University of Queensland

Much of the public discussion about climate science consists of a stream of assertions. The climate is changing or it isn’t; carbon dioxide causes global warming or it doesn’t; humans are partly responsible or they are not; scientists have a rigorous process of peer review or they don’t, and so on.

Despite scientists’ best efforts at communicating with the public, not everyone knows enough about the underlying science to make a call one way or the other. Not only is climate science very complex, but it has also been targeted by deliberate obfuscation campaigns.

If we lack the expertise to evaluate the detail behind a claim, we typically substitute judgment about something complex (like climate science) with judgment about something simple (the character of people who speak about climate science).

But there are ways to analyse the strength of an argument without needing specialist knowledge. My colleagues, Dave Kinkead from the University of Queensland Critical Thinking Project and John Cook from George Mason University in the US, and I published a paper yesterday in Environmental Research Letters on a critical thinking approach to climate change denial.

Six steps to evaluate contrarian climate claims

Identify the claim: First, identify as simply as possible what the actual claim is. In this case, the argument is:

The climate is currently changing as a result of natural processes.

Construct the supporting argument: An argument requires premises (those things we take to be true for the purposes of the argument) and a conclusion (effectively the claim being made). The premises together give us reason to accept the conclusion. The argument structure is something like this:

  • Premise one: The climate has changed in the past through natural processes
  • Premise two: The climate is currently changing
  • Conclusion: The climate is currently changing through natural processes.

Check for ambiguity: The argument mentions climate change in its premises and conclusion. But the climate can change in many ways, and the phrase itself can have a variety of meanings. The problem with this argument is that the phrase is used to describe two different kinds of change.

Current climate change is much more rapid than previous climate change – they are not the same phenomenon. The syntax conveys the impression that the argument is valid, but it is not. To clear up the ambiguity, the argument can be presented more accurately by changing the second premise:

  • Premise one: The climate has changed in the past through natural processes
  • Premise two: The climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be explained by natural processes
  • Conclusion: The climate is currently changing through natural processes.

This correction for ambiguity has resulted in a conclusion that clearly does not follow from the premises. The argument has become invalid once again.

We can restore validity by considering what conclusion would follow from the premises. This leads us to the conclusion:

  • Conclusion: Human (non-natural) activity is necessary to explain current climate change.

Read more: https://theconversation.com/how-to-use-critical-thinking-to-spot-false-climate-claims-91314

By adding unequivocal acceptance of the alarmist claim that recent global temperature changes are occurring more rapidly than can be explained by natural processes, you can overturn skeptic claims that recent temperature variations were mostly natural.

If you want to examine this technique in detail, Professor Ellerton’s study is available here.

What can I say – if your child attends University of Queensland, make sure they sign up to a class in critical thinking delivered by Professor Peter Ellerton.

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266 thoughts on “Study: Climate Skeptics Arguments are Demonstrably False

    • It is a faulty argument. First they don’t understand the real definition of “Climate Change” as defined by IPCC [AR3] and UNFCCC article 1. Human induced change: this has two broad components, namely greenhouse effect & non-greenhouse effect. Even if greenhouse effect [global warming is a part] is insignificant, in the observed data [as per the network distribution] the non-greenhouse effect is still significant — in satellite data it may be other way. That simply human impact: yes or no has no meaning. Natural variability: yes or no can be easily addressed by techniques suggested in 1966 WMO manual.

      Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

      • In that example, he simply replaced one reasonable Claim with an unfounded Claim. That’s a good strategy as long as the skeptic is not armed with any facts, which deflate it completely.

        He also pretends that climate science is too complex for non climate scientists to understand. However, we have the ability to read graphs as well as understand the science—it is only complex when you try to make a climate model that works (as yet not accomplished) and/or a model that ignores all the main climate factors, the latter has to be judged too complicated because its premises cannot be defended..

      • His “conclusion” is false because it has no predecessor to support it. He has simply thrown it into the mix. That isn’t “critical thinking”. It’s fabrication.

        Trofim Lysenko is grinning and rubbing his dead hands together with glee.

      • Dr S

        You got that right on the first round. Without a definition of ‘climate change’ the steps are meaningless. What he means is ‘global warming’ and his statements are so poorly constructed I am not even going to analyse them – waste of time.

        A better analysis is:

        1. Climate alarmism is based on an irrational fear that rising global temperatures threatens the life of humankind in numerous ways, the promotion of which has become an industry that manufactures no useful product.
        2. This fear is irrational because the globe has warmed at a similar rate or faster, and no such consequences were observed.
        3. There is nothing about our current temperature range which has not been seen before and there were no catastrophic consequences seen from the ‘upside’ temperatures in those times – quite the opposite.
        4. Irrational fears are poor bases for guiding expensive financial decisions.
        5. Until such time as it can be demonstrated that adaptation is worse and more expensive than imaginary ‘mitigation’ of natural events, no major expense should be made, save in continuing to monitor the planet.
        6. Efforts should rather be made to address the causes and mitigation of real pollution and damage to the environment – consequences of industry and agriculture and housing development – which are easily observed and which can be traced to human causes. What we mess, we should clean.

      • Crispin in aterloo — in support of points 5 & 6:

        I presented methodologies for adaptation in agriculture and water resources. This I carried out for several countries in 70s & 80s. The summary of these studies are included in my first book published in 1993 — also published in 1983-84 in international journals.

        Regarding the pollution [air, water, soil and food], at Paris meet in 2015, the multinational companies lobbied not to include the pollution aspects in the final draft of agreement. CO2 is not a pollution. This issue I discussed in my later books and scientific articles.

    • You mean the question of “WTF would a professor of critical thinking ( the greatest oxymoron of the 20th century) know about the science and maths that pertain to climate change?”

      • “Begging the question” is often taken, especially in journalism, to mean “making a statement that would strongly lead one to ask this further question”, for example: “That begs the question, what would a professor of such and such know about such and such?”
        However, in classical logical analysis “begging the question” has a different and more precise meaning, being one of the basic logical fallacies or fundamental errors that one can make in framing an argument. to “beg the question” in this formal sense means to adopt as one of the premises upon which you are constructing an argument that something must be true, a statement that assumes it is true without needing to demonstrated by the argument. In this case “Premise two: The climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be explained by natural processes” would appear to “beg the question” in the formal sense. Not what you’d expect from a professor of critical thinking!

      • Beggars the question
        Begging the question is a fallacy in which the premise of an argument presupposes the truth of its conclusion; in other words, the argument takes for granted what it’s supposed to prove.

    • Premise two: The climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be explained by natural processes

      Assumption of fact not in evidence.

      • – And, “DINGDINGDINGDINGDING! We have a winner!”

        Critical thinking from false premises is not only void-by-definition, it’s also a massive waste of time; it all comes back, once again, to “I’m right BECAUSE I SAY I am!”

        Thanks, Prof Ellerton, the cheque’s in the mail…

      • So critical indoctrination is the post-modern version of critical thought.
        Ellerton obviously believes he is more intelligent than everyone he is trying to propagandize. Having constructive dialogue with this sort a word-twisting, egocentric twit was nearly impossible during my years of education support.

      • Yes, this is one of the saddest arguments made out in the open, in recent history. I can think of worse ones, but then I’d be triggering Godwin’s law arguments, and I don’t want that. This sophistry should make real scientists weep. And tellingly, it’s offered up by the man who dresses up in an SS costume and thinks it’s funny. Why would anyone ever be persuaded by this clown? Poor Queensland.

      • “Assumption of fact not in evidence.”

        Acceptance of a lie as evidence.

        The statement was so silly as to make one wonder if he even understands he is talking to sentient beings. “Faster than natural” includes having to exceed the Younger-Dryas and the rapid warming in the late 1700’s. Good luck finding that in the modern record.

      • Exactly! The appropriate response is “How do we know it’s changing faster than any time in the past?”

      • icisil,
        Yes, the temporal resolution of events is inversely proportional to the time in the past. That is, the distant past is painted with a very broad brush. While the claim may be true, it can’t be stated with certainty and to make the claim at all indicates either that the person is unacquainted with the problem of temporal resolution or that they are purposely making a false statement.

      • “And tellingly, it’s offered up by the man who dresses up in an SS costume and thinks it’s funny.”

        I’ve read that the image we’ve seen was created in Photoshop by his buddies as a joke (probably to visually suggest that he’s a storm trooper for the environment, or an “ecowarrior”).

    • It is an example of thinking non-critically- and with unexamined facts. This guy gets paid for this drivel?
      “His statement,” the climate is changing faster than can be explained by natural processes”,is by no means proven.This is the entire basis of his conclusion.
      He couldn’t think his way out of a wet paper classroom.
      Where does he live? I have some Florida “well watered” land to sell him.

    • Trigger you beat me to it.
      I’ve often looked for ways to explain the fallacy of “begging the question” and John Cook comes up with the perfect example. He even labels the very thing he is trying to establish the “premise”.
      Can’t get much more circular than that!
      How does someone supposedly an expert in “critical thinking” accept such an absurdity from a co-author?!?

      • Mental illness. They are apparently prone to hallucinations. That is, they are imagining things that didn’t happen and things said that skeptics didn’t say. They need treatment. Good meds to stabilize them.

      • It’d be the equivalent argument that AGW theory says that the earth will experience runaway warming and end up like Venus. Fringe Alarmists like James Hansen might believe that but that’s not the widely held belief. Hence dismissing AGW on that premise would be a faulty argument. Cook is a propaganda merchant, nothing more.

      • No runaway in mainstream theory?

        Mainstream theory says that there is a positive feedback. How do you avoid runaway behavior?

    • A classic logical fallacy used in a paper from a “critical thinking” professor. The state-of-science, it’s worse than we thought.

      • It was in a better way when it was a hobby of the independently wealthy and a side project of military officers. Persons with established livelihoods/careers outside the academic circle, who never needed fear losing research grants over what findings they published.

    • Their real problem is that they won’t openly debate (and in fact reject) the opposition which makes them look like scam artists. They don’t do this because they would appear embarrassingly like Cathy Newman in the Jordan Peterson interview (don’t Cathy Newman me trending).

  1. The assertion that climate change is occurring more rapidly (warming, meltings, storming) in the current epoch is unsubstantiated driving a flawed syllogism. Bad bad bad.

  2. “Not only is climate science very complex, but it has also been targeted by deliberate obfuscation campaigns.”

    So where is the evidence of deliberate obfuscation? That kind of implies that a “sceptic” knows the actual truth (as seem by the alarmists) but tells deliberate lies and knowingly spreads a corrupted picture to the public. The claim of deliberate obfuscation by sceptics is a smear aimed at diverting the public from some rather inconvenient truths.

    • The deliberate obfuscation campaigns are real. They derive from the cabal (2.3 MB pdf) of consensus climate so-called scientists, and their host of irregulars.

      See also Tom Nelson’s compilation of damning climategate emails at WUWT here

    • Individuals on BOTH sides of the political debate like to cut off graphs at a certain date when the data waters down the point they are trying to make. For example, some skeptics started cutting off at 2013 when the El Niño started to kick in, and now that La Niña is starting the warmists are cutting off monthly plots, or use data through 2016. In some cases universities which make available data plots are not updating the data if it’s contrarian to official dogma. This can be quite annoying and its fruitless.

      • No its not MarkW. Global warming is by definition an average of the weather. If you remove some of the weather you dont like then you’re changing the result to something else. ENSO will almost certainly change its frequency/timing and/or strengths in response to warming so it should be included.If you assume ENSO will be unchanged (by removing its effects) then you’re masking the true trajectory of the climate.

        Also…again the El Nino appears to have caused a step change in the earths average temperature. That’s an important point to understand and attempting to mask it reduces understanding.

    • Another fine example of their accusations against others pointing directly at what they themselves are doing.

    • Whether or not there has been obfuscation is irrelevant to any scientific conclusions, so why would he make that statement?
      Thinking critically about that leads me to the possibility and likelihood that he includes it as an unscientific appeal to his own credibility. This is, in fact, an obfuscation with regard to actual critical thinking about the issue at hand. Ergo, he is a disengenuous activist as well as a hack at his stated profession.

    • RobR “So where is the evidence of deliberate obfuscation?”

      Obfuscation: Inconvenient attention drawn to failed predictions.

  3. John Cook from George Mason University in the US

    So, this is the same John Cook, cartoonist and erstwhile “science communicator” from UQ? The same bloke who was involved with Lewindowski in their phony paper about the psychology of skeptics?
    The same John Cook who set up a “Skeptical Science” blog within which skeptical views were trashed?

    I wonder why he ran away from Oz.

    • Let’s at least get his name right. It’s Stephan Lewandowsky. To remember this, simply rearrange the letters in “what Lysenko spawned.”

      • That would make a cool animation on video as the same letters from “what Lysenko spawned.” are juggled into Stephen Lewandowski. If only the general public were informed enough to understand the historical frame of reference.

  4. Hmmm… my first question is always show me the Lorentz transformation that shows the relative line broadening in the troposphere and stratosphere today compared to the 1950s when line accurate spectrums were first taken in the IR bands by the USAF. The follow up is usually, explain the magnitude of the line broadening and the resulting increased statistical probability of a photon of IR radiation in the appropriate absorption bands being absorbed. Thats good for a start.

    • ” Human (non-natural) activity is necessary to explain current climate change.”

      Indeed. Better instrumentation that can actually detect short term change, better communications that can ensure that the message that modern climate change is unprecedented, better control of science by taking it out of the hands of educated gentlemen of independent means, and putting it in the hands of public sector employees, or those employed by large multinationals, better siting of weather stations in ears that can become urbanised and show the correct response to that urbanisation as a rising temperature…

      How can anyone doubt that ‘climate change’ owes everything to human activity?

      It’s just the real averaged global temperatures that haven’t really changed….

    • Pretty clear why this guy didn’t choose a science field. He couldn’t do it because he doesn’t think critically.

      • Pretend philosophers are not better skilled than pretend climate scientists. Karl Popper taught for nothing, apparently. This guy should not attempt to debate at the Oxford Club.

  5. Premise two: The climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be explained by natural processes.

    Wrong.

    And wrong again.

    And yet again

    Peter Ellerton: not thinking critically about climate.

    • That’s what the IPCC says. I’m content with that. Not very very rapid, but still can’t be explained without CO2.

      Cook still misrepresents skeptics to refute all but alarmism.

      • The climate has changed in this way before, therefore CO2 is not necessary.

        Where is the change that is unique?

      • Look at the graph that I posted up post on Historic Sea Level rise, which requires warming to happen and then tell if the rate then is not higher than the the rate now.

    • We don’t even have to go that far back in time to find a comparable rate of warming to today’s. (Pat, i’m pro lazy… ☺) The warming a century ago will suffice. Not only that, it’s a much easier argument to shove down a warmist’s throat. One can even quote Phil Jones…

      • “One can even quote Phil Jones”

        That’s right. Phil Jones said the warming from 1910 to 1940 was of the same magnitude as the warming from 1975 to the present day. If the warming from 1910 to 1940 is attributed to natural causes, then why should we attribute the same magnitude of warming to anything other than natural causes? Just because there is more CO2 in the atmosphere now than then?

        The Earth’s climate is governed by natural variation until proven otherwise. More CO2 in the atmosphere is not that proof.

  6. “Critical” Thinking.
    False premises from the beginning.
    I find the “Pronoun Debate” very similar to the climate debate lately.
    There was an amazing piece in BBC 4 where one Cathy Newman was interviewing Prof Jordan Peterson (a must see interview!) and constantly mis-presenting his views. Even sometime putting it to be exactly the opposite of what he actually says.
    Also – are there no nuances in a debate? everything is either black or white?

    • I’ve read through several expert analyes of that interview and have come to believe the following is the best explanation of what we see happening in that now infamous Chan4 interview.

      Essentially what happened to Cathy Newman during her interogation of Dr Peterson were at least 12 distinct instances of cognitive dissonance. When she suffered each episode of acute cognitive dissonance, her inability to reconcile what he said led her to hallicinate (falsly imagine) that Dr Peterson said something that he did not. Those hallucinations were her brain attempting to alliviate her discomfort at not being able to maintain or confirm her bias.

      • What I saw was poor Cathy being outed as a dolt repeatedly, and every time immediately shift gears and return to hammering another lie. There was only one honest, brief moment on her part in the entire interview where her brain was trying to reconcile her reality with the truth, and the cognitive dissonance paralyzed her.
        She then returned to her normal mode.
        A sobering thing to watch. I plan on buying Peterson’s book.

      • The Green brain can also see white where there is only black and call it a jelly donut.
        It’s mental illness all the way down the Green rabbithole.

    • Not BBC4 but Channel 4 which is a separate although still state funded UK TV station. Prof. Peterson has said that within a minute he realised what was in store and moved into Clinical Psychologist mode. Hence perhaps his ability to sustain 30 minutes of complete BS with a smile which is perhaps the most admirable aspect of the whole circus.

      “Tell us about the lobster!”

    • You see, the Masters of Nuance are the leftists, what with their constant changing and invention of definitions of words and terms. All the better so that you have to constantly adjust to their latest kookery. Shut up and obey!

      ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

      ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

      ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

  7. What happened to the science that says he who makes the claim has to show evidence for it?
    The climate alarm industry has NEVER shown evidence that serious global warming is caused by man’s CO2.

    • Some warming is caused by CO2. It has been shown, but accuracy of this statement (1.5..4.5C/doubling) has not increased in 40 years. That’s a scientific failure.

      • https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/01/30/what-are-in-fact-the-grounds-for-concern-about-global-warming/comment-page-1/#comment-2730402

        Thank you Javier and Andy – a very good article. I agree with almost all of it, and have written similar points.

        [excerpts]

        You wrote:
        “… after expending billions on the question of climate sensitivity to CO2, we have not been able to reduce the range of possible values, 1.5°C to 4.5° C[3], a factor of 3, in the 39 years …”

        The maximum sensitivity of climate to increasing atmospheric CO2 (TCS) is about +1C/(2xCO2), which is NOT dangerous. This was proved by Christy and McNider (1994 and 2017), in which (to prove their point) they attributed ALL the global warming since 1979 to increasing atmospheric CO2.

        Using the same assumptions for the global cooling period from ~1940 to ~1977, I calculated a TCS of approx. MINUS 1C/(2xCO2), again not dangerous.

        [end of excerpts]

        Note that these are full-Earth-scale analyses measured over almost 40 years of data, first of global cooling and then of global warming, with none of the scale-up errors typical of other analyses done at molecular scale. These calculations bound TCS at +/-1C/(2xCO2). The actual range of TCS is probably much less, about +/-0.2C/(2xCO2). Either way, there is no real global warming crisis.

      • Wrong Hugs. Some warming may be caused by increased CO2, but the warming effect (if it exists) diminishes as CO2 levels rise. Furthermore, the warming effect has been shown in the lab, but not in the wild. There are too many variables, and likely, negative feedbacks. The bottom line is that whatever warming effect the increased CO2 has had, or is having, is too small to suss out, and thus, doesn’t matter. It is inconsequential.

      • Arrhenius came up with those numbers over 100 years ago. The latter was his first estimation, finally settling on the former.

      • Hugs, shown in the lab. But you seem not to be aware that other systems, not in the lab react against changes in the earth system. Example: a pot placed in the tropical hot noon sun will raise its temperature to fairly hot to touch (you can fry an egg on the sidewalk) . On the open sea the surface can’t be heated higher than 30-31C because of 1)evaporation, 2) rising warm air replaced by sinking cool air and cold rainfall. 3) initiating winds 4) initiating currents that move the warm water out….. Herein lies the big problem with climate science – doing an experiment to study climate phenomenon. It’s also what plagues coral research and hosts of other earth matters. You can easily kill fish in a tank that are just fine in the sea which cant be replicated. Ive been wanting to tell you these things for quite a while. Its what is meant by the complexity of the problems of climate.

      • Lab experiments are closed systems. The Earth as we live on it is about as far from a closed system as you can get.

        In the words of an alternate universe Lex Luthor: “Why don’t you put the whole world in a bottle, Superman?”

  8. yup.
    the dropped context, the hidden premise, the reframing, the counterassertion – but it’s simply to convey one simple semiotic meaning- that of a snarl = disapproval.
    you just gotta ask yourself do you care?

  9. John Cook, fellow Australian and the Forrest Gump of science communication.

    Guardian article

    “I’m a Christian and find myself strongly challenged by passages in the Bible like Amos 5 and Matthew 25”, he wrote. “… I care about the same things that the God I believe in cares about – the plight of the poor and vulnerable.”

    • Oh [removed expletive]! All that immoral us against them, building strawmen on people, persecuting them, explained now by need to morally pose.

      ‘Writing about climate change can be dispiriting, to say the least. Even George Monbiot admits to occasional bouts of despair: “There is no point in denying it: we’re losing …” he opined in a Guardian article at the end of last year.’

      Good!

      • Yup. He’s not trying to save the world. He’s trying to get into Heaven. I wonder if he’ll get a lesson in critical thinking when St. Peter tells him he didn’t make the cut.

    • Strange, then, how the Green platform he rides on seems to do nothing but increase the plight of the poor and vulnerable.

      Here’s another Scriptural passage [paraphrased] he should be strongly challenged by: Not everyone who sayeth unto me “Lord, Lord!” shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven, but only they who do the will of my Father who is in Heaven. Many will say unto me on the Last Day, “Lord, Lord, did I not do great deeds, and perform miracles, and cast out demons in thy name?” And I will say unto them, “Depart from me, ye that worked inequity. I never knew you.”

      • “So you’re saying if I hallucinate it, I can become whatever I wish?”

        Indeed this is so; that’s the nature of hallucinations (ideas or belief to which nothing real corresponds). My personal favourite is believing I can play the guitar!

      • Sure, just click your heels 3 times, and say whatever comes to mind. And “poof”…! you’re a UQ critical thinker. Works for Ellerton apparently. Fanciful imagination and all.

      • “6.5 million views so far in 3 weeks but still some way to go to beat their most popular clip of a weather forcaster saying “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch” correctly”

        How can you be sure he pronounced it correctly? Has anyone ever heard it pronounced properly before this occasion? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • “So you’re saying natural processes will wipe out humanity?”

      Almost certainly Charles. While humans are smart, Nature has been deleting species for a very long time and is consequently very good at it. :-)

      Even if we somehow manage to avoid extinction, will we still be the same species?

    • Almost certainly. What, after all is not natural?

      And where are Neanderthal man, homo habilis, homo erectus, homo Australis today?

      Not to mention the pterosaurs

      Natural processes have wiped out far far more species than mankind ever has.

      99% of all species known became extinct before man appeared.

      • The fun fact is, 100% of species where literally invented by humans. The famous T. Rex was given his name millions of year after the last one died. Without humans giving them a generic name, animals and plant would never be member of a “specie”. They would just be a branch in the bizarre genealogical tree of life.
        Species don’t live, and cannot be extinct. They exist only in the virtual world of names, where they pop in and out at humans will, and for human use.

  10. Talk about lacking critical thinking skills:
    “Current climate change is much more rapid than previous climate change – they are not the same phenomenon. ”

    An assertion that is in fact been proven wrong by actual scientists. That is that there is nothing “unprecedented” about the magnitude late 20th century GMST rise.

    Furthermore we have to assume that by climate change he is referring to GMST anomaly record. But which record?

    Simply making unproven assertions does not prove your argument, unless you are a hallucinating Lunatic Leftist.

    The guy (Peter Ellerton) is a carnival barker. Nothing more. And he is apparently prone to hallucinations.

  11. I think the best way for them to stop the skeptics is to have better, less nuanced, science. Debating tactics, esoteric statistics, personal attacks, consensus claims and advocating expensive and ineffectual solutions are not indicative of strong science .

    If it is all about “The Science” then the science needs to be much more convincing. Using debating tactics may win arguments but they never convince. Do better science!

  12. As soon as you read the name “John Cook”, your brain involuntarily shuts down and closes up for fear of further damage like an internet Virus attack on your computer.

    • Cook is a mental midget. Visions of self-gradiosity obviously dance in his head… along with many other self-delusions and hallucinations about what others have said.

      To fear Cook, is akin to fearing the cockroaches you might see if you turn on the lights, so you don’t turn them on because if you don’t see them, they aren’t there. Nothing to be afraid, only just something to squish.

      • ‘Cook is a mental midget. Visions of self-gradiosity obviously dance in his head… along with many other self-delusions and hallucinations about what others have said.’ so a perfect fit for working in climate ‘sceince’ then.

  13. unequivocal acceptance is fine, if illogical, in religion or politics but in science there is a reason why it’s ‘critical review’ and not measures of belief which are employed.
    And of course it is always ‘useful’ , if lazy and dishonest, to mislabel the arguments of your opponents has a means to counter them. With no need for any thinking , critical or otherwise, in this case.

  14. Whaat? I mean, I don’t need (or have) a college degree to spot the hilarious absurdity of changing the premise arbitrarily to make your argument, AND then claim it invalidates criticism. Is this on?

    • Yep. Good analysis.
      There are also other severely incorrect assertions there about what is climate change. Actually writing that rubbish paper and then calling oneself a critical thinker is in itself quite illuminating to the workings of mental illness.

  15. •Premise one: The climate has changed in the past through natural processes (To the best of our knowledge, climate has been constantly changing due to various factors)
    •Premise two: The climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be explained by natural processes (If we perceive that the climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be explained by natural processes does not necessarily mean that ‘non-natural’ factors are the cause. It could also mean that our understanding of past changes is incomplete, or that some previously undetected natural process has come into play)

    Conclusion: Human (non-natural) activity is necessary to explain current climate change. (This is like saying that if the ball is not red, it must be blue.

    Unfortunately, including critical thinking and university in the same sentence does not have the ring of truth it may have had a decade or two ago.

    • These guys are also of the same mindset that professes that one can merely look out their window and see climate change happening, right now. Pure hallucination.

      • We have virtually no understanding of our climate and no understanding of what drives the various cycles we observe. The record of climate even going back a few decades is pretty sketchy (and apparently “wrong”). Yet we know that a single small part of a massively complex and little understood system caused 50% of a temperature rise?

        Just not remotely credible. Possible yes, but proven? Not remotely.

      • Phoenix44 February 9, 2018 at 2:14 am
        Real Climate Scientists have quite a good working knowledge of how the Climate works and practically all of that Science disproves CO2 as being anything other than a very bit part player, if any kind of player at all.

      • Hugs
        February 9, 2018 at 12:05 am

        Could you tell me the sign of the cloud contribution? No one else can.

        And after that a magnitude would be good.

    • “This is like saying that if the ball is not red, it must be blue.”

      That style of thinking is a load of balls

      (if the ball was green it would have a red center) (:-))

  16. The most complex, mind numbing obtuse theory in order for it to be scientific must make a falsifyable prediction. Most people no matter how challenged can read the prediction and check reality against the prediction. “There will be no ice.”” The sea level is rising four inches “” the temperature will rise” and so on. ” there will be more…less…the same. If the prediction has no skill it doesn’t matter how complex and difficult to understand if it is unable to successfully predict then about any one can discern a problem and no one should use it.

    • Yeah that is why mainstream climate science is no longer science. Science (as a method discovering physical truths) left the building so to speak, when those claiming every observable phenomenon was evidence supporting their theory.
      Climate science went down the rabbithole of pseudoscience.

      • That is actually what bothers me most about this subject. Whatever the AGW crowd of clowns does will not effect the climate one iota. It will burn up great gobs of money without any benefit to anyone, especially the poor of the world. But it is a vastly corrupted science, and science is a thing I hold dearly for its ability to change the world for the better by seeking truths. They are doing science great damage.

  17. The assertion we cannot study climate data for ourselves and cannot comprehend statistics is false. We are not studying climate physics. We are studying the climate record data. This is not physics. This is statistics. We can also test the validity of predictions, and if all are false, we can conclude that those making the predictions don’t have a credible claim on climate to make and apparently don’t understand what is going on.

  18. Climate is a large population of different things (data), and so the claim that it is one ting that is changing is gibberish. So the assertion is false. It could be changing by dozens of metrics at dozens of rates, and still his assertion would be false because he presumes it is one thing with one rate of change.

  19. Alllrighty then. Guess that’s it. I was blind to the ambiguity. My thinking was incorrect. OK.

    I hope this ‘study’ gets massive publicity. It is bound to work as well for their cause as Hillary’s ‘basket of deplorables’ did for her.

  20. Did anyone need to read past ‘John Cook from George Mason University’ before determining that the study was a load of hogwash?

    Because “If we lack the expertise to evaluate the detail behind a claim, we typically substitute judgment about something complex (like climate science) with judgment about something simple (the character of people who speak about climate science).”

    QED.

  21. If true, the rules must apply to all claims, including AGW, but it makes it worse for him.

    Premise one: The climate has changed in the past through natural processes
    Premise two: The climate is currently changing
    Conclusion: The climate is currently changing through CO2

    Definitely faulty logic, conclusion: A Straw Man

  22. There is evidence of rapid climate change in proxies that was greater than recent times. I can’t find the exact quote but Tom Karl once stated less than twenty years ago that the greatest warming rate was 100 years ago, since gone with changes to global temperature anomalies. We had a hiatus when the amount of emissions was an order of magnitude more than 100 years before and then a dubious adjustment by a team led by Karl. What little evidence of recent warming being unprecedented is extremely dubious and its now a logical fallacy to contradict it? You can get away with anything if you argue like that.

    • Here’s a quote from Phil Jones. This may be what you are thinking about.

      It is only since 1950 that anthropogenic forcing (human GHG emissions) has really taken off. Professor Phil Jones, former director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, admitted in an interview on the BBC in 2010 [12], that “for the two periods 1910-40 and 1975-1998 the warming rates are not statistically significantly different.”

      end excerpt

      Even the Climate Change Charlatans have to admit that our current weather is NOT unprecedented; that it warmed just as much in the past without the help of CO2.

      • I found one from 1989, although I think that there is more recent comment from him. Tom Karl said in an interview that all the
        global warming was up to 1919 and cooling from 1921 to 1979.
        https://www newspapers com
        Similar issue – unprecedented is based on differences in rates smaller than adjustments.

    • “TA
      “the past”
      is the first half of the 20th century,
      with a warming period very similar
      to the warming period in the second half
      of the SAME century !”

      And then the next century hardly warmed at all.

      So the sequence of events is: The temps warm from 1910 to 1940, then it cools from 1940 to 1975, and then it warms from 1975 to 1998 (at the same magnitude as the 1910-1940 warming), and then it practically flatlines from 1998 to the present.

  23. This reminds me of the Monty Python segment in “The Holy Grail” where they “logically” deduce a woman is a witch because she weighs less than a duck. But even there they actually make a measurement to confirm their conclusion!!!

  24. Clearly climate change is caused by God.

    In the world we can see that at least some things are changing. Whatever is changing is being changed by something else. If that by which it is changing is itself changed, then it too is being changed by something else. But this chain cannot be infinitely long, so there must be something that causes change without itself changing. This everyone understands to be God. link

    Logic is wonderful.

    • Is it a 50/50 Split? Un-abated Industrial Black Carbon emissions, Coal fired power plants, Open air Petroleum Coke piles blowing in the wind, the dominance of Bunker C used to power Ships Vs forest wildfires, Volcanic eruptions, Heat rise from Clear-Cut forests:
      DRAX-IT!!!

  25. Curious how long it took to produce this argument and have it published.

    It sees arguments supporting the probability of a soft landing with CO2 increase as being wrong.
    Such arguments include an examination of the key planks of the CO2 hypothesis,the existence of a tropospheric hot spot, so small it cannot be measured,an increase in the rate of acceleration of sea level,something the Mayor of Sydney says will lead to sea levels 10 to 20 metres higher by the end of the century. This despite the stubborn refusal of the Port Jackson tidal gauge, right next to the Opera House, to show this.
    The failure of a jump in the minimum temperatures seen, say in the Antarctic.
    Now this latter has been seriously been muddied by the exercise of our BOM to put up thermometers that refuse to read below 10C.
    Not a good look in alpine or Antarctic regions.
    An audit, externally made, is overdue.
    It is shameful that such thermometers also read instantaneously, so high temperatures are assured.

    The reason all this is curious is that a certain Professor is taking a case at law in Australia that reflects on the alleged problem of clearer thinking as well as the scientific problem of reproducability,
    The medical case has been made.
    In Veterinary Science its happening right now.
    Last century digoxin was the go to treatment for congestive heart disease in dogs.
    It was found to be fairly useless.
    A trial in Europe showed that ‘after load reducers’, ace inhibitors, took the load off the heart and extended a
    dog’s active life.
    Despite the use of ace inhibitors for decades, two more trials have failed to corroborate the first.
    At the moment a cross over trial is on comparing ace inhibitors, pimobendan, diuretics and varying combinations of these.
    It is not published.
    The science is never settled, at best it evolves.
    Its easy to put up straw men and knock them over.
    Will these authors and their paper be called by the defence in the forthcoming damages action?
    If so, the authors must be prepared for a critical deconstruction, eclipsing peer review.

  26. In paragraph 4.3 of the paper, they correctly quote the ‘hypothetico-deductive method’ syllogism:

    P1: If my theory is correct, then I will observe this phenomenon.
    P2: I did not observe this phenomenon.
    C: My theory is not correct.

    I wonder why they do not take the logical step of applying this to the theory of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming!

    • Agree. My immediate reaction to this article was that the person attempting to apply “critical thinking” and a “structured argument” is actually going through hypothesis development. Once the hypothesis is developed, there are the additional steps associated with proof, which this “critical thinker” completely misses.

  27. Professor Phil Jones Director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) – BBC interview on current vs past rates of change.

    “Do you agree that according to the global temperature record used by the IPCC, the rates of global warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and 1975-1998 were identical?

    An initial point to make is that in the responses to these questions I’ve assumed that when you talk about the global temperature record, you mean the record that combines the estimates from land regions with those from the marine regions of the world. CRU produces the land component, with the Met Office Hadley Centre producing the marine component.

    Temperature data for the period 1860-1880 are more uncertain, because of sparser coverage, than for later periods in the 20th Century. The 1860-1880 period is also only 21 years in length. As for the two periods 1910-40 and 1975-1998 the warming rates are not statistically significantly different (see numbers below).

    I have also included the trend over the period 1975 to 2009, which has a very similar trend to the period 1975-1998.

    So, in answer to the question, the warming rates for all 4 periods are similar and not statistically significantly different from each other”.

  28. “The climate has changed in the past through natural processes.”

    This is a proven fact.

    “The climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be explained by natural processes.”

    In other words, “climate” never changed in the past as rapidly is it changes “currently”? Really?
    To be a “premise” of any kind, this must be proven, and it hasn’t been proven.

    Which proves that Peter Ellerton is a professor of sour grapes, nothing else.

    • It is sophistry. The climate has changed in the past in the same way as now. But we can’t explain that either!

    • Here’s a link to a PNAS article:
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC34297/

      “As the world slid into and out of the last ice age, the general cooling and warming trends were punctuated by abrupt changes. Climate shifts up to half as large as the entire difference between ice age and modern conditions occurred over hemispheric or broader regions in mere years to decades….”

      • Sure but if you think critically enough about that ( squint and furrow your little brows), it becomes obvious that there’s no grant money in that.

  29. Applying critical thinking to their correction of Premise two: “The climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be explained by natural processes”

    This is patent nonsense. Taking measurements from proxies which represent tens of thousands of years, the short term changes of century time frames become averaged out creating a “smudged” record which is suggestive of slower rates of climate change. With more sophisticated analytical techniques, the facts change to reveal a history which includes times of rapid changes, often exceeding the rate of change we currently are witnessing.

    Critical thinking destroys the arguments used to manufacture the more extreme of the climate alarmism.

  30. “Despite scientists’ best efforts at communicating with the public, not everyone knows enough about the underlying science to make a call one way or the other. Not only is climate science very complex, but it has also been targeted by deliberate obfuscation campaigns.”

    Pot, meet kettle, kettle meet pot.

    • There is almost no science.

      Simple lab experiments suggest
      a doubling of CO2 will warm the planet
      about + 1 degree in 200 years.

      End of REAL science.

      There are scientists making wild guesses..

      There is lots of speculation.

      There is a bizarre water vapor positive feedback theory.

      But the only REAL science is the simple closed system
      lab experiments.

      In addition, there is nothing UNUSUAL about
      the temperature measurements since 1940
      that even suggests natural climate change has ended,
      and something else has been “controlling the climate”.

      “Climate change” is 99% politics and 1% science.

      The runaway warming fairy tale is the biggest fraud
      in the history of the planet.

  31. I guess the scientists who study “climate change” need first to understand the most fundamental aspects of the subject in order to properly advise the public. This problem is probably the main reason for there being such a large number of sceptics within the scientific community: physicists, Chemists and geologists in particular who are unable to follow the details of the climate scientists (mostly geographers) analysis.

    For instance observing the graphs published by NAS and HADCRU (UEA) which show unequivocally what the chief scientist (Prof Phil Jones) at CRU recently stated was a “pause” when there has been, as he stated, “no statistically significant warming since 1998” – twenty years. While the increase in carbon dioxide is undoubtedly responsible for serious global warming, it behaves inconsistently in that the nineteen years from 1979 to 1997 showed exertional warming from the increases in CO2, the even stronger increase in greenhouse gases over the past two decades has left us with the “Hiatus” – as described by NASA and CRU. All of this makes it very difficult, even though it remains necessary, to try to convince the classical “skeptic” of the need to reduce CO2 output.

    The biggest problem of course in all this, is that NASA and CRU persist in publishing the forecasts of the 120 or so CIM5 models (AOGCMs) which contribute to the IPCC analysis of climate change, showing that the measured temperature of the globe is now far below even the lowest forecast values.

    Recently I wrote to most of the scientists in Australia such as those at UNSW CRC Climate Research centre funded by the ARC, David Karoly (a well known meteorologist) Will Stefan (Head of the Australian Climate Change Commuinity

    • Another problem with the CO2/temperature relationship is that any temperature changes should be proportional to the LOGARITHM of the change in CO2- graphs invariably show temperature vs CO2, which should NOT have a linear relationship

  32. Not only is climate science very complex….

    Actually climate is very complex; climate science as we know it is very reductionist.

  33. I’d say there is a little problem with
    Premise two: The climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be explained by natural processes

    It should be:
    Premise two: The climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be explained by natural processes using current knowledge.

    Because, sports fans, we can never be sure that our knowledge of natural processes is complete.

    • The average temperature
      has barely changed in 137 years.

      The current climate is wonderful and getting better
      since the late 1600’s cold Maunder Minimum.

      From what we know from climate proxy studies,
      the past 137 years had an unusually stable climate
      and average temperature.

      The + 1 degree C. warming claimed most
      likely overstates actual warming
      because 1800’s starting point thermometers
      tend to read low.

      In addition, there were very few
      Southern Hemisphere measurements
      before 1940… and even today, a majority
      of surface grids have only wild guess numbers
      (no thermometers)
      from people who want to see more warming, because
      they’ve been predicting lots of warming for decades.

      They want their predictions to be accurate,
      and they “own” the historical temperature actuals,
      so they can “adjust” the numbers whenever they want to.

      And “adjust” they do = a huge conflict of interest.

      Climate blog:
      http://www.elOnionBloggle.Blogspot.com

  34. The ability to engage in critical thinking evades most proponents of the AGW theory.

    Most seem to believe anything that’s said, as long as whoever is saying it “sounds” plausible.

    Here is an IPCC Contributing Author recently claiming (in a national radio interview) that the C02 exhaled in human breath is causing “climate change”

    http://www.newstalk.com/podcasts/The_Pat_Kenny_Show/Highlights_from_The_Pat_Kenny_Show/171314/The_global_cost_of_rising_Arctic_temperatures

  35. James Lett summarized the elements of critical thinking in a 1990 article for the Skeptical Inquirer. https://www.csicop.org/si/show/field_guide_to_critical_thinking
    Ellerton’s hobgoblin is this statement: “The climate is currently changing as a result of natural processes.” The implication is that climate change is SOLELY a result of natural processes, a position no rational ‘skeptic’ would take or try to defend, knowing the demonstrated effects on local microclimates of human changes to land use. Given that Ellerton’s diatribe is thus a simple assault on a straw man, he could profit greatly from a study of Lett’s paper.

    • I’ve given up on the “Skeptical Inquirer”- they’ve gone CAGW nuts. In a recent article they had Michael Mann, of all people, post a rebuttal to a CAGW skeptic, arguing that the recent INCREASE in extreme weather events is a datum in support of CAGW.

      In fact, the rate of extreme weather events has trended DOWNWARD an insignificant amount since 1910.

      • Here’s something I posted in Tips & Notes on Feb 8:

        An organ of the Randi-type Skeptics movement, the Center for Scientific Inquiry (CSI, formerly CSICOP), has selected Michael Mann as one of six new Fellows. See its newsletter #99, here: http://www.centerforinquiry.net/news/cause_effect_99/ Its profile of Mann (probably written by himself) is this:

        Michael E. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and director of the Earth Systems Sciences Center at the Pennsylvania State University. He is likely best known for introducing the visual conceptualization of the progress of climate change with the famous “hockey stick” chart, for which he has become a prime target of science deniers. He is the author of more than 200 peer-reviewed and edited publications, as well as author of three books: The Madhouse Effect (2016, with cartoonist Tom Toles), The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars (2012), and Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming (2008). He has been a contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments of climate science. He is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

        Congratulations and welcome to our new fellows! The full list of CSI fellows can be found on the inside cover of each issue of Skeptical Inquirer and on the CSI website.

    • I’m actually pretty sure he would gain absolutely nothing from it. There is none so blind…

  36. “Much of the public discussion about climate science consists of a stream of assertions. The climate is changing or it isn’t; carbon dioxide causes global warming or it doesn’t; humans are partly responsible or they are not; scientists have a rigorous process of peer review or they don’t, and so on.”

    The straw man here is the assertion that the arguments are cut and dry, one or the other. He misses the truth that each of these assertions is a combination of each side and the discussion is really about how much each side contributes to the assertion and how much danger that really causes.

  37. Seriously embarrassing as this is my alma mater. I have degrees in Maths and Economics from UQ but that was in the days when all students had to think (clue here i am over 60) as opposed to a faculty of critical thinking where it is clear there is no logical thinking involved. Should I send my testamurs back out of embarrassment?

  38. I have been handily demolishing the arguments of CAGW proponents in debates as of late. I even included a whole CAGW “critique” section in my university class last term (4 sections, 204 students), which focused on debunking the past claims made by these fools. The amount of predicted warming is not happening; not even close…the catastrophic, bad things that were predicted are not happening…agricultural productivity, worldwide, is at an all time high.

  39. Yes the climate science has been subject to obfuscation. The warmists changed the problem from global warming to climate change, from a fact that could be proven ( it either warms or not) to one that can’t be proven ( the climate changes and always has). Whilst it is theoretically clear ( although less clear in reality) how man may increase temperature the climate change theory has no practical science to support it.

  40. Here is the short version. The way to defeat the arguments of climate skeptics is to attribute to them straw men arguments and then expose the logical fallacies within the straw men arguments you made up. I personally don’t think this strategy is effective in convincing the unconvinced, but what do I know. I don’t have a PhD in psychology.

  41. Wow. Apparently you can flunk Logic 101, and yet be an “expert” in critical thinking.
    Who knew?

    • I’m starting to seriously consider the possibility that logic swirls in the opposite direction in Australia just like water in their drains does. This is IDIOCY in full parade regalia marching confidently towards a cliff. John Cook is one of climate skeptics greatest weapons! Long may he publish.

  42. If this had been about critical thinking regarding anything else than climate *science’, it would’ve made a text book example of how NOT to. But with Cooks name involved as well, there is no doubt they actually mean it . (Monty Pythons Argument clinic was hilarious, this is scaring).

  43. There’s a lot of climate change on my front steps, about six inches of it and more expected. While I’m shoveling all that climate change and clearing out the feeding station so that the birds can stuff themselves at my expense, I will consider just how long it will (theoretically) take before real Lysenkoism starts popping up in some science classes.
    It seems to me that anyone with a modest grasp of reality could easily refute this Ellison person’s conclusion. Critical thinking, my Fat Aunt Harriet! His argument that non-science people aren’t smart enough to figure things out for themselves isn’t just an attempt at a face slap. It’s also a clear indicator that he’s supporting fabrication of evidence to get what he wants. Sounds an awful lot like a disgraced Chicago cop named Burge, whose “convictions” are now being hammered flat by real evidence, costing the city of Chicago LOTS of money in lawsuits, which makes me happy. Glad I don’t live there any more.

  44. It’s becoming clear that Aussies didn’t just drink the kool aid on global warming alarmism and activist messaging, they built the kool aid factory and have gained from major exports of kool aid to other markets.

  45. Humans, he is one of you and a Professor of Logic – a particularly illogical construct. He emotionally left out the word “IF”. He should be informed as such as well as told that logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end.
    Mr. Spock

  46. “Much of the public discussion about climate science consists of a stream of assertions. The climate is changing or it isn’t; carbon dioxide causes global warming or it doesn’t; humans are partly responsible or they are not; ”
    The unbelievably stupid major blunder committed by this committed warmist is his idiotic notion that “climate skeptics” believe that humans are having no effect on climate. I don’t know of a single scientist who has been labelled a skeptic who believes what Ellerton claims they believe. Ellerton has created an imaginary straw man to knock down. Unfortunately, the straw man doesn’t exist.
    Ellerton – a major moron from down under.

  47. I knew I could stop reading and save me some time when I read the words

    “..a critical thinking approach to climate change denial”.

    I never seen anyone who uses the term “climate change denial” pejoratively actually go on to carefully define what it is they think is being denied. Never. Not once. Nor have I ever seen a person who explicitly claims that climate doesn’t change. Not one.

    And what is it with Australia that they have such a rich supply of these people who seem unable to use simple logic and the English language at the same time, yet are employed by universities. Or have they been out in the hot Australian sun too long, and turned troppo?

  48. Bunk from the first question.

    Seeks to simplify arguments made, cutting away all of the “humans have some effect, we don’t know how much” nuance.

    How is this crap not exactly the same as strawman arguing?

    How does this shite get published


  49. Premise one: The climate has changed in the past through natural processes
    Premise two: The climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be explained by natural processes
    Conclusion: The climate is currently changing through natural processes.

    This is unbelievable!

    Premise two is patently false, it is not even remotely established whatsoever that change is “more rapid” compared to other warming periods.

    Conclusion is patently false
    The nuance of debate is erased intentionally to end up at one absolute scenario that makes little sense to anyone who has debated on this topic. There is 0 accuracy in these scenarios.

  50. The author or authors of this paper perfectly demonstrate the difference between highly educated and highly intelligent.

    Clearly he\she or they are the former and not the latter

  51. “But there are ways to analyse the strength of an argument without needing specialist knowledge.” Yes there are! They are called PREDICTIONS and are the heart and soul of the scientific method. Of the 2 camps (CO2 and Cyclical) the cyclical folks have been much more accurate.

    For anyone who still touts the 97% etc please point out to me where the phrase “and then consensus was reached” is in the scientific method. You can’t because it doesn’t exist. To prove that claim I leave you with a 1 minute explanation by one of the 20th century greats.

  52. As soon as I saw John Cook’s name I knew exactly where it was heading. Both he and Lewandowsky are certifiable and have no business diagnosing or looking critically at anyone’s cognitive ability.

  53. “….Premise two: The climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be explained by natural processes…..”

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/06/19/the-intriguing-problem-of-the-younger-dryaswhat-does-it-mean-and-what-caused-it/

    “…….Isotope data from the GISP2 Greenland ice core suggests that Greenland was more than~10°C colder during the Younger Dryas and that the sudden warming of 10° ±4°C that ended the Younger Dryas occurred in only about 40 to 50. years……”.

    If it sounds like a duck, and waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck…..

  54. Identify the claim:
    The IPCC over-estimates the climate sensitivity by at least a factor of 3 such that the maximum possible is less than the lower limit claimed.
    Supporting argument:
    The scientific method based on applying COE and the SB Law results in a predicted sensitivity of 1/(4eoT^3), where o is the SB constant, T is the surface temperature, and e is the effective emissivity given as the ratio between the emissions of the planet and the BB emissions of a surface emissions at T.
    Check for ambiguity:
    The laws of physics are definitely not ambiguous and the data relating the surface temperature to the planets emissions concurs within a few percent of the prediction.
    Conclusion:
    To the extent that the laws of physics are correct, the claim is correct.

    Going the other way:

    Identify the claim:
    CO2 emissions drive the surface temperature.
    Supporting argument:
    The consensus says so.
    Check for ambiguity:
    CO2 was less than 300 ppm during the last interglacial when the temperatures were 2-3C warmer.
    There are no supporting laws of physics for this claim and the known physics can only contradict it.
    The IPCC metric of forcing is ambiguous by considering an instantaneous increase in atmospheric absorption of surface emissions to be the same as an instantaneous increase in solar input.
    The ice cores are contraindicative where changes in CO2 follow changes in temperature bu centuries.
    Science is determined by the scientific method and not by ‘consensus’.
    The IPCC is the arbiter of what is and what is not climate science yet requires a significant contribution by man to justify its existence (conflict of interest).
    For 1 W/m^2 of forcing to increase the surface temperature by 0.8C and its corresponding emissions by 4.3 W/m^2 (as claimed by the IPCC), there must be 3.3 W/m^2 of ‘feedback’ in addition to the forcing and which has no identifiable origin.
    The rate of measured climate change in short term averages is well within the rates of change in longer term averages as reconstructed from the ice cores.
    Conclusion:
    The claim and the self serving consensus fabricated by the IPCC could not be more wrong.

  55. Hypocritical thinking. It is a demonstration of the utter shallowness of these ‘thinkers’ and the state of “higher edu”. Critical thinking would not accept out of hand the pronouncement by the promoters re the rate of change relative to historical and the conclusion to be drawn, even if the thinker had no expertise in climate science (an expertise mostly in smoke and mirrors ). The intention of these devious characters is clear. The very example they give about natural change is indeed the the big bugbear that they have to deal with and the layman correctly would zero in on this confounding factor.

    Let’s see what we can do with it. First how much do the experts say the warming has progressed? What? 0.6C from 1850 to 1950 and it actually changed significantly more between 1850 and 1935 (0.9 C or >1C/degrees/century)- mostly natural climbing out of the LIA. So natural variation can certainly be at least as much as 1C/ century. Moreover, The warming over which so much fuss and expenditure was incurred only took place between 1980 and 2000 and this began after a 40 year cooling which sparked fears of slipping into a long frigid earth period. So this warming itself has a large component of natural variation without any doubt whatsoever. It is a trivial observation to make.

    After 2000 the Dreaded Pause ensued, relieved by a super el nino in 2015-2016, which is now decaying and showing high potential to revert back to The Pause and we are over 1/6th into the 21st century with no warming and only halfway through the cooling part of a natural cycle that is certainly having its way with global warming!

    Their is one more thing wrong with their post normal critical thinking. Argumentum ad Ignorantiam. If, after accounting for estimates of natural variation, there is excess warming, it must be AGW because of human activity emissions of CO2 (the ‘what else could it be’ argument).

    Kudos, though for highlighting two truths: 1 Sceptics did indeed alert the science to natural variation, and 2. The ‘Critical Thinkers’ recognized NV as the number one confounding factor for their CO2 warming theory, relegating it to at most a minor effect.

  56. What complete trash! The headline tells you it is highly biased, but this argument is so poor and so flawed as to be laughable. And yes I studied logic at university- this guy gets an F.

  57. Yes, the easiest way to prove a skeptic wrong is to debunk a poorly constructed straw man argument.
    That has always been the case.

  58. The Conversation is supported by the same green US charities that undermine Canadian oil industry… What do you expect to read in that rag?

  59. I think the biggest problem with the statement that the climate is changing much faster than it has in the past would be better worded as – we are able to measure and record changes much faster than proxy records are able to record or identify changes in the past. Therefore, our problem isn’t that climate is changing faster then we can remember, our data is changing faster prior records could record it.
    One of my favorite demonstrations of this was the the 3 millimeter sediment sample which showed over 300,000 years of “climate stability”.

  60. I find it hilarious that a university would feel the need to create a “Critical Thinking Project” in the first place. What’s next – a “Correct Spelling Project” at the National Library? A “Multiplication Table Project” at the Mathematical Sciences Institute?

  61. John Cook? Isn’t he the brilliant logical thinker who concluded that every paper mentioning the term “climate change” represents a climate scientist endorsing the fact (sic!) of man made climate change?

  62. How Do You Know Climate Alarmists Are Lying? Their Lips Are Moving
    Let me begin by thanking the bipartisan group of U.S. governors who convened this meeting. Few challenges facing America – and the world – are more urgent than combating climate change. The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear. Sea levels are rising. Coastlines are shrinking. We’ve seen record drought, spreading famine, and … Continue reading
    https://co2islife.wordpress.com/2018/01/13/how-do-you-know-a-climate-alarmist-is-lying-their-lips-are-moving/

  63. I said it before – “Critical Thinking” is the new buzz phrase of those who think Skeptics are Deplorables.

  64. Wow. So now we have to CORRECTLY apply critical thinking to the thinking of “experts” on critical thinking? Who’d a thunk?

    Once again, Climate Alarmism is a religion, so do not expect any correct logic to be applied by the believers.

  65. I think a warmer greener Earth is a better place than a colder greyer one.

    What is all the fuss about?

  66. They substitute a false premise: that the climate is changing faster than it ever has to invoke human causation and reject the skeptic view. They also mischaracterize the skeptic view. It is shady “logic”.

  67. Even if Climate Skeptics/Heretics arguments are wrong does not mean that what the are arguing about is wrong.
    Simple example.
    Fermat’s Last Theorem.
    Before it was finally proved in the 1990’s, there had been hundreds, if not thousands of false proofs submitted for publication. However, the fact that these proofs were all wrong in no way changed the later proved fact that Fermat’s last Theorem was in fact true.

  68. Even a properly constructed formal Aristotelian syllogism is only as valid as its premises. “Premise two: The climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be explained by natural processes” must first be validated before his formal logic has any bearing whatsoever. I’ve seen no convincing validation of such – we’ve seen evidence to the contrary in fact.

  69. Peter Ellerton’s article discusses the structure of an argument. A sound argument is based on two important aspects: validity and truth. Ellerton is discussing the argument in question primarily in terms of validity.

    Ellerton is critiquing this argument: ‘The climate is currently changing as a result of natural processes.’ He does this by teasing out the premises and conclusion of the argument:

    • Premise one: The climate has changed in the past through natural processes
    • Premise two: The climate is currently changing
    • Conclusion: The climate is currently changing through natural processes.

    For an argument to be valid, one of the conditions is that the terms be consistent. Ellerton points out that the term ‘climate change’ when applied to the past does not have the same meaning as the term ‘climate change’ when applied to the present.

    This is surely correct. The commonly understood meaning of the term ‘climate change’ when applied to the present is ‘man-made climate change’ or similar. This is the case regardless of any disputes over the mechanics of climate.

    This inconsistency is sufficient to invalidate the original argument that current climate change is the same as in the past.

    • “For an argument to be valid, one of the conditions is that the terms be consistent. Ellerton points out that the term ‘climate change’ when applied to the past does not have the same meaning as the term ‘climate change’ when applied to the present.”

      Right. So the problem is the change of meaning from 1 to 2 without changing any words.

      Language is supposed to convey different meaning through the use of different words.

      If someone is going to change meanings without changing any words, I submit that person is trying to hide something.

      Andrew

      • Bad Andrew: ‘Language is supposed to convey different meaning through the use of different words.’

        Apply that to the word ‘table’ and see how it works.

      • “So the problem is the change of meaning from 1 to 2 without changing any words.”

        The technical word for that is “equivocation.”

    • How did Ellison “tease out” these premises? Strict Aristotelian (deductive) logic only applies if the premises are established as truths. When there is ambiguity, inductive logic prevails. So here is an example of the inductive argument (not made of strictly A. E, I and O category premises):

      1) It is well established that there has been significant continuous climate change since a time well before humans existed. (OK, this could be “some climate change is natural”.

      2) Physics would suggest that increases in CO2 concentration should result in an increase in overall temperature of the Earth’s suface and/ or atmosphere. (Not sure how to make this a formal categorical sentence).

      3) Humans have not sufficiently developed the calculus (in the general sense) to make accurate predictions of by what extent the climate would change as a result of increased CO2 — the climate dynamic system is just way, way more complex than current methods can handle . This might actually be made into a formal categorical: “All calculated predictions for the effects on climate of increased CO2 concentrations are questionable.”

      4) Wow, I’m coming full circle — this actually can be made into a formal syllogism: Next premise: All Predictions of looming CO2 driven catastrophic doom are calculated predictions of the effects on climate of increased CO2 concentrations.

      So the formal argument becomes:

      1) All calculated predictions for the effects on climate of increased CO2 concentrations are questionable.
      2) All Predictions of looming CO2 driven catastrophic doom are calculated predictions of the effects on climate of increased CO2 concentrations

      Conclusion: All Predictions of CO2 driven looming catastrophic doom are questionable.

      It’s been nearly 40 years since I studied formal logic, but I’m pretty sure this would be considered a valid deductive syllogism. Unless, of course, you do not believe one of these two premises. Which would be fine for you to do that – that’s what science is.

      • Don S: How did Ellison “tease out” these premises?

        The video shows how Ellerton arrives at his premises. The woman mentions a report on climate change and the man counters by saying he’d heard that climate changed naturally in the past and so must be changing naturally now.

        Ellerton then lays out the argument in a more ordered form.

        ‘Strict Aristotelian (deductive) logic only applies if the premises are established as truths.’

        I’m talking about the way modern arguments work. The distinction between validity and truth is well established, and for good reason: it helps clarity of thought by distinguishing between matters of fact and the structure of arguments.

        As for your own argument, you’re basically saying that predictions are difficult, which is fine, but beside the point. The Ellerton argument is simply that just because something happened in a certain way in the past, the same doesn’t necessarily hold for today. That’s not controversial, but bears repeating.

  70. From the Cook et. al. 2018 paper:
    http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aaa49f

    There is an overwhelming scientific consensus that humans are causing global warming (Cook et al 2016), with a number of studies converging on 97% agreement among publishing climate scientists or relevant climate papers (Doran and Zimmerman 2009, Anderegg et al 2010, Cook et al 2013, Carlton et al 2015). However, there is little awareness of the scientific consensus among the general public with only 12% of Americans aware that the consensus is above 90% (Leiserowitz et al 2017).

    Technically true – there are a number of studies (3) that converge on the %97. And of course, as we are practitioners of critical thinking and scientific integrity we will also acknowledge the divergence of findings and the critical literature on the %97.

    Sorry, wrong authors!

    The poll about the ” awareness of the scientific consensus among the general public” gets circular in it’s reasoning.
    http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/climate-change-american-mind-october-2017/3/

    1.4. Only about one in seven Americans understand that almost all climate scientists (more than 90%) have concluded human-caused global warming is happening.

    A recent review study by John Cook and colleagues found that six, independent, peer-reviewed studies about the extent of the scientific consensus about global warming have reached similar conclusions: between 90% and 100% of climate scientists are convinced that human-caused climate change is happening. The most rigorous of these studies found that 97% of climate scientists are convinced that human-caused climate change is happening.

    Only about one in seven Americans (15%) understand that nearly all climate scientists (more than 90%) are convinced that human-caused global warming is happening. While a majority of the public (52%) believes that more than half of climate scientists think human-caused global warming is happening, the most common response – given by one in four Americans (24%) – is that they “don’t know.”

    Probably %90 of the readers here believe that human-caused climate change is “happening” in some sense. Most would likely quickly point out some common conclusions that are not supported by that statement.

    Given the varying definitions of “climate change” and ways in which climate change may be “happening” it’s not surprising that about 1/4 of the respondents (%24) said “I don’t know”.

    That climate change is happening is a good ways away from the well known IPCC consensus statement that attributes “most” climate change to human causes. Given how often various “consensus” are conflated, one suspects intentionally, the %24 “don’t know” rate is unsurprising.

    The poll results show that of the respondents expressing an opinion, %55 said that over %70 of “climate scientists think that human-caused global warming is happening”.
    ————————————————–

    Cook et. al. quickly moves from the idea of “misinformation” to “misleading denialist claims” without a) defining “denialist” and b) without considering misleading claims from non-denialists.

    I agree with Cook et. al. that “misinformation about climate change has confused the public and stalled support for mitigation policies”. As a theory it makes sens. But on the face of it the evidence suggests that Cook and friends are themselves one of the sources of misinformation and confusion. Such evidence begins with the failure of the Cook et. al. to consider anything other than the bad guy’s “misleading denialist claims”.

    Cook says “When people lack the expertise and skill to evaluate the science behind a claim, they typically rely on heuristics” The “blind spot” evidenced by Cook et. al. is one such heuristic.

    To paraphrase Reiner Grundmann’s review of Oreskes & Conways “Merchants of Doubt”: The paper does not aim to offer a balanced account of the issues it deals with. It is disappointing to see academics reduce the complexity to a black and white affair where it goes without saying what the preferred colour is.
    https://www.academia.edu/4754580/Debunking_skeptical_propaganda_Book_review_of_Oreskes_Conway_Merchants_of_Doubt

    • An appeal to authority is considered a fallacy in Aristotelian logic. “97% consensus” — even if we were to pretend it’s true — has no bearing on establishing the validity of the argument. It’s possible to have 100% consensus and for them all to be wrong. This isn’t just a hypothetical — consensus in the scientific community has a very poor track record over the ages. The appeal to authority may have strong appeal in a semantic argument, but has no bearing whatsoever in a logical one.

    • Brendan H: “the man counters by saying he’d heard that climate changed naturally in the past and so must be changing naturally now” is not an argument typically presented by informed skeptics. It’s easy enough for anyone with any point of view to find a stupid person with a contradictory view, and tear apart that particular person’s logic. This does not demonstrate that this particular stupid person’s reasoning is typical of people of his/her viewpoint. Classic straw man. So it would seem that the title conclusion should be ” One particular Climate Skeptic’s Argument is Demonstrably False.” Or perhaps even as much as “Some Climate Skeptics’ Arguments are Demonstrably False”. The title implies a universal.

      Yes, this goes both ways, I know. Passionate people with points of view are eager to point out stupid people who disagree – there are plenty of stupid people to go around. The valid method is to have rational conversations with the intelligent people who disagree.

      • A variant that is often heard is, ‘the climate is always changing’, plus accusations that there was a name change from ‘global warming’ to ‘climate change’ as a way of manipulating the masses.

        Both are based on the notion that the same effect must have the same cause. Importantly, the article above is based on an everyman’s understanding of climate, and that is probably most people.

        Yes, rational conversations are the way to go. If only people could agree on what constitute rational conversations.

  71. Reworded, but says the same thing.

    Premise one: The climate has changed in the past through natural processes

    Premise two: The climate is currently changing … through unnatural processes … people aren’t natural.

    Conclusion: Premise #1 is means nothing at this point in history; See Premise #2 and pay your penance.

  72. I still love the description of human activity as ‘non-natural.’

    I don’t know. Warmists may be non-natural – planted by aliens, maybe.
    But I’M a living miracle of evolution.

  73. “…humans are partly responsible or they are not;” I detect a movement in the goalposts… suddenly humans are partly responsible… sort of what the IPCC and skeptics have been saying all along.

  74. This is unbelievable. I would expect better critical thinking ability from a primary school student. To use the authors format here are some premise 1, premise 2 conclusion triplets

    premise 1 every time a new global temperature record is released earlier temperatures are found to be further reduced so as to increase the apparent warming rate
    premise 2 when historical data is repeatedly adjusted so as to better support a current hypothesis it virtually always means at a minimum bias and at a maximum fraud
    conclusion there are grounds to suspect the historical global temperature is biased or fabricated and if this is necessary to support the hypothesis then the hypothesis is probably wrong.

    premise 1 the claim of dangerous anthropogenic global warming relies on a claim of massive positive feedback in the climate system
    premise 2 positive feedback let alone massive positive feedback in natural (stable) systems is almost unheard of. Negative feedback vastly outweighs positive feedback
    conclusion there are grounds to view the claims of massive positive feedback (and thus CAGW) with scepticism

    premise 1 it is claimed warming will lead to more water evaporating (higher absolute humidity plus stronger convection) and that this will lead to less low cloud (cooling) and more high cloud (warming)
    premise 2 but more water evaporating must mean more rainfall and rain only comes from low dense clouds (cooling clouds)
    conclusion there is a clear contradiction between premise 1 and premise 2 suggesting that the original argument is wrong

    I could go on for a long time but I think the above gives the idea.

    • Agree completely. It’s also pretty clear that Ellison is weak on the concept of the null hypothesis. It should be on the shoulders of those who are postulating that (most of?) the current variation is unnatural to back their position with solid evidence, not for the rest of us to disprove it.

  75. Another very current triplet

    premise 1 climate alarmists claim their simulations which show CAGW is happening also clearly predict islands such as Tuvalu will shrink and disappear
    premise 2 Antony’s latest post provides evidence that Tuvalu is growing not shrinking
    conclusion the alarmist models prediction is falsified by reality and that reduces the confidence in their core claims justifying scepticism

  76. “Conclusion: Human (non-natural) activity is necessary to explain current climate change”

    The world is made up of micro climates – has man effected the micro climates from changes of land use- absolutely.

    The WMO flag up that micro-climates may have changed but not the climate in general though i would have thought change enough micro-climates and the climate at large would change.

    Surely with the planet and deserts greening across the world the climate must have changed to reflect this.

  77. Lets get real. The phrase “climate change” is an illegitimate substitute for “global warming” which was their original phrase. “Climate change” can be applied to warming or cooling alike. and I cannot imagine them clamoring against global cooling to justify more emission controls. Their current argument for AGW (anthropogenic global warming) requires the existence of greenhouse warming caused by by atmospheric carbon dioxide that we, the people, put there. When they speak climate change AGW is really what they mean with that code. Their green cure is to stop using fossil fuels. Hansen in his sinecure at Columbia just keeps demanding it periodically. His track record at GISS includes a woefully inaccurate 31 year global temperature prediction . from year 1988 to 2019, He and his ilk claim that the alleged warming today is caused by increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide in the air. It can be demonstrated that global temperature has never followed atmospheric carbon dioxide at any time since 1850 when the measurements started, Just take a look at HadCRUT3 showing global temperature and CO2 in parallel. The CO2 curve is smooth with a sliight upward curvature. At the same time, global temperature goes up and down but never parallel to the carbon dioxide curve. It follows that mo observed global temperature changes can be attributed to greenhouse warming by carbon dioxide.

  78. Anyone can make a comment, but when when someone makes a comment on the basis of their relevant qualifications and experience then one has a reasonable expectation that such a comment will be well thought out, of substance (non trivial) and free of obvious flaws (defendable). If the comment then turns out to be none of these, then the implications extend to the “claimed expertise” of the person making the comment. To me, this is one of the tragedies of the CAGW religion, when the dust settles the damage that is being done to individual reputations and science in general will be very hard to undo.

  79. yet another

    premise 1 In looking at cause and effect, correlation does not justify claims of causation but causation does need at least some degree of correlation
    premise 2 The recent (since the time man could be influencing CO2 levels) temperature and CO2 record shows almost no correlation between the two (temperatures have risen fallen and remained static while CO2 has risen)
    conclusion the claim of rising CO2 causing dangerous global warming should be viewed with scepticism

    and again another

    premise 1 when scientists start to select data that supports their hypothesis while rejecting data that does not is is usually a sign of bias and a poorly (at best) supported hypothesis
    premise 2 there are thousands of historical measurements of CO2 from the 19th and early 20th century carried out and reported in detail by extremely reputable scientists of the day. These do not support the claims that CO2 levels were stable before man emissions became significant and that CO2 levels are strongly linked to global temperature. These measurements are dismissed out of hand by CAGW advocates accepting instead a range of proxy measurements.
    conclusion the CAGW advocates are selecting data that supports their hypothesis while rejecting data that does not which suggests bias and a poorly supported hypothesis.

  80. Some of you have made some excellent rebuttals with quotes and citations. I’d encourage you to go over to The Conversation and make the same comments. If they go unchallenged, the liberal reading audience will assume the statements are correct.

  81. The term “climate change” is totally ambiguous. It is 2 nouns together which is meaningless or can mean anything you want it to without a qualifying pronoun. You can put anything in to it- warming, cooling, natural, man-made, catastrophic, normal….anything.

    “Acting” on “climate change” is insane- just throwing lots of money (a trillion a year) at the scammers. The noose needs to be attached to all those that spruik the line with the hands out or in your pocket. It is clearly an extortion racket based on a semantic manipulation.Then, the spruikers need to believe the noose will save them.

  82. By leaving out the most common hypothesis, i.e. that global warming is caused by both natural and man-made causes, the professor destroys his rather simple shortcut to certainty. Aristotle would have seen through this as sophistry.

  83. I am amazed some of the more intelligent students don’t rip their lecturer to sheds on stuff like this. In my day (At Uni in 70’s) there would always be one or 2 students who were way ahead of the rest of the class and would not infrequently directly challenge our professors (who encouraged it BTW).

  84. Curiously whenever a CAGW proponent debates with a climate sceptic the CAGW person loses.
    So much so that CAGW people now flee rather than face the graphs and data that sceptics cite.
    Maybe that means the underlying science is not supportive of the CAGW people?

  85. Commenting first; will read other comments later. My apologies for a$$ backwards this time.

    “Check for ambiguity: The argument mentions climate change in its premises and conclusion. But the climate can change in many ways, and the phrase itself can have a variety of meanings. The problem with this argument is that the phrase is used to describe two different kinds of change.

    Current climate change is much more rapid than previous climate change – they are not the same phenomenon. The syntax conveys the impression that the argument is valid, but it is not. To clear up the ambiguity, the argument can be presented more accurately by changing the second premise:
    •Premise one: The climate has changed in the past through natural processes
    •Premise two: The climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be explained by natural processes
    •Conclusion: The climate is currently changing through natural processes.

    This correction for ambiguity has resulted in a conclusion that clearly does not follow from the premises. The argument has become invalid once again.”

    Once again, john cook and his ilk twist reality into falsehoods.

    What jc and ellerton are doing is called a “straw man” argument, a common logical fallacy; no matter how these fools pretend to frame it.

    What is puzzling and quite suspicious is the cooperation of ellerton, Kincaid of Queenstown with a bad import jc, formerly of Australia; across such a wide ocean.

    A problem for many visitors and immigrants is how to pay for trips back home. Especially very long expensive trips

    By allegedly cooperative research, it appears jc can visit good old Australia regularly; or ellerton and Kincaid to visit USA.

    Given George Mason’s previous failure to properly oversee grants and awards, it appears they’ve allowed another boondoggle waste of research funds.

    GMU throws worse money after bad money.

  86. I would like to add to my incomplete last paragraph above that:
    , the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO, both of which bodies are responsible for supplying supporting material to the IPCC for Australian temperatures (BOM) and Atmospheric Modelling (CSIRO). I asked if they could tell me which of the temperature definitions T (average) of the IOCC’s T(Effective Emission) were used to provide the monthly or annual “anomalies” which tell us whether the globe has cooled, or more like ” reached an unprecedented record high temperature”.. Nome except Karoly was able to answer the question but blotted his copy book by saying that the “models also used the linear, temperature average which cannot be so since the forcing is defined in terms of average radiation, not directly as a temperature.

    All of them – except Karoly said I would have to ask NASA or CRU. Can you possibly imagine it?? People who claim to be right up there advocating the veracity of the greenhouse effect and climate change, can’t even tell you the answer to what is probably THE most basic question in all of the discussion “How is this temperature they are talking about defined”

    Will Stefan also reminded me that the basis for the theory of the Global Warming, which claims that the underlying Green House Effect, (before we start discussing the Enhanced Green House Effect (arising from INCREASES in CO2,) is “demonstrated” by the difference in temperatures between that of an airless black, substance free, shell, and that of the solid earth with oceans and land. It is trivial to show that the temperature of the real earth, 288 K ( 15 C) is what it is because of the RETENTION of heat byt hese oceans and soils. Sorry Will!

  87. The queensland cattle will have nothing left to eat with UofQ using up all the straw to create giant straw men

  88. The argument is based on the false assumption that humans and fossils fuels are not natural.

    • Either humans are out (of “nature”, which means “nature before humans”) and organic agriculture is not natural.

      Or humans are in (part of “nature”), than what they do is also by definition, and gasoline, Roundup, biotech and fission are natural.

  89. The argument structure is something like this:

    Premise one: The climate has changed in the past through natural processes
    Premise two: The climate is currently changing
    Conclusion: The climate is currently changing through natural processes.

    The syntax conveys the impression that the argument is valid, but it is not.

    If this is taught in a university course on critical thinking, UQ is in big trouble.

    Nit pick: The “syntax” is simply whether it follows the rules of English sentence construction, and can convey nothing beyond the fact that the writer can write English sentences. Nitty picky, yes, but a lecturer in critical thinking should get it right because it matters in that very discipline.

    Serious point 1: Let’s replace “syntax” with something that makes some sense of the passage, say, “argument form”. Well, no. It does not convey any impression of validity to anyone with a competent knowledge of logic. Consider:

    Traffic lights have changed in the past from red to green.
    That traffic light is changing.
    Therefore it is changing from red to green.

    Serious point 2: Climate skeptics do not make this argument anyway, they say it is up to the alarmists to provide evidence that the null hypothesis is false. The entire presentation slyly assumes that it is the job of the skeptic to disprove an unfounded claim.

    Serious point 3: Straw man. This is not even one of the serious arguments advanced by skeptics. Amongst the main ones are:

    A. If the theory were correct there would be a “hotspot”; there isn’t; therefore the theory is false.

    B. If the theory were correct there would be more water in the troposphere; there isn’t; therefore the theory is false.

    C. If the theory were correct there would be less radiation escaping to space; but there is actually more; therefore the theory is false.

    Serious point 4: factual error: The climate has both warmed and cooled faster in the past than it is now.

    All in all typical of what I have sadly come to expect from my (embarrassment!) alma mater.

  90. There are things children should not do. Accept candies and follow a stranger. Take scientific advice from an academic, or medical advice from a medical doctor in good standing with the board, or an ethical or constitutional advice from a lawyer approved by the American Bar Association.

  91. Current climate change is much more rapid than previous climate change – they are not the same phenomenon.

    The phrase, “climate change” describes a category of change, where the category described does NOT change. The category is the category, like a cat is a cat, whether it was a cat that lived a thousand years ago or a cat that was just born after I put the period at the end of this sentence.

    Qualifying climate change as “current” or “previous” is a secondary operation that delineates a different feature than the base categorical description. Speaking of “current climate change” and then asserting that this QUALIFIED category is “much more rapid” is itself an unproven statement begging the question (as someone above said), which the author is trying to use to substitute for the base category label, “climate change”.

    In effect, the author is trying to use an unproven claim to qualify a base category label and then use this unproven, qualified category label as a replacement label for the original category label. In other words, the author is trying to replace “climate change” with “current climate change more rapid than previous climate change”. The latter is unproven, thus, he is trying to replace a general label with an unproven claim.
    I, thus, call bullshit sophistry on this “strategy”. [Note the crescendo of scholarly elegance in my final sentence.]

  92. Professor Cook co-writer, what can go wrong ?.

    Climate change has had a dramatic effect on that un-employed cartoonists life in a decade, LWIR gold.

  93. Ellerton’s representation makes a claim which arises repeatedly in the alarmist claims, namely that “the climate” is changing “faster” than it ever has in the past. What is glaringly absent from such claims is what is used to define “climate” and with that any meaningful measure of past rates of “change”. By “climate” does he mean windspeed, mean global precipitation, duration of growing seasons, or that most abused and foggy of metrics, “mean global temperature”? Since thermometers have existed only since the late 17th century, and contiguous monitoring of the temperatures at earth’s extremes such as the polar regions has only occurred since the international geophysical year in 1957, I am hard pressed to imagine how one would determine the rate of change that occurred in even one (very dubious) metric between say, for instance the height of the Roman warm period and the cooling that occurred prior to the rewarming known as the mediaeval warm period. The measurement tools necessary to obtain the degree of resolution required to make meaningful comparisons simply didn’t exist until the very recent past.

    • Well, David F., I think that you have hit on something — namely that it is the vague use of the word, “climate”, that enables people to manipulate the definition of “climate CHANGE” any number of ways to suit their particular preferences/agendas.

      Ellerton and friends show well how this is done — by trying to condition people’s minds to change the meaning of “climate change” in general to their specific meaning, “current climate change more unusual than at any time in the past” — which contains an unproven, or at best contested, claim.

  94. Just looked through their ‘paper’; they are the ones spreading misinformation, not skeptics.

    It’s clear to me these people are so very good and clever at manipulation while being so misguided.

    • I don’t think that they are TRYING to be manipulative. I just think that they are very creative in crafting language to uphold the point of view that they have grown settled and comfortable with.

      I believe that a lot of what we think is built on the equivalent of pure reflexes of the mind, and these “reflexes” latch onto any method available to sustain themselves. Reflexes are tough to retrain, as we all know.

  95. *Premise 2: we’re smarter than the average bear so there’s no sense considering non-human causes of miniscule warming.*

  96. “Current climate change is much more rapid than previous climate change.”

    An opinion unencumbered by any actual knowledge of geological history, or even written human history.

    How do academics like this one survive their orals?

  97. John Cook is the tip of the spear in the ongoing war on truth and science. His success is remarkable, given that his key arguments collapse completely and immediately under even mild scrutiny, as has been ably point out in comments here.

    Cook et al 2013 misleadingly reported they sought to measure the scientific consensus on dominant AGW, but careful reading reveals that, instead, they included those who merely said, or even just implied, that AGW was more than zero, with no limit to how small. This shameless trickery established the complete lack of credibility of Cook, his co-authors, and the “journal” Environmental Reasearch Letters. It also demonstrated the fallibility of peer-review. It is sad, although no longer surprising, that someone entrusted to teach critical thinking would choose to join Cook as a comrade in arms in the war against truth and science.

  98. “Premise one: The climate has changed in the past through natural processes
    Premise two: The climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be explained by natural processes
    Conclusion: The climate is currently changing through natural processes.

    This correction for ambiguity has resulted in a conclusion that clearly does not follow from the premises. The argument has become invalid once again.

    We can restore validity by considering what conclusion would follow from the premises. This leads us to the conclusion:

    Conclusion: Human (non-natural) activity is necessary to explain current climate change.

    Or perhaps we should add one word to the premise. Premise two: The climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be currently explained by natural processes Check up on Lord Kelvin and his estimate of the age of the earth (20-400 million year age)

    http://apps.usd.edu/esci/creation/age/content/failed_scientific_clocks/kelvin_cooling.html

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