Paper: Circular Reasoning in Climate Change Research

Circular Reasoning in Climate Change Research

Jamal Munshi

Sonoma State University


A literature review shows that the circular reasoning fallacy is common in climate change research. It is facilitated by confirmation bias and by activism such that the prior conviction of researchers is subsumed into the methodology. Example research papers on the impact of fossil fuel emissions on tropical cyclones, on sea level rise, and on the carbon cycle demonstrate that the conclusions drawn by researchers about their anthropogenic cause derive from circular reasoning. The validity of the anthropogenic nature of global warming and climate change and that of the effectiveness of proposed measures for climate action may therefore be questioned solely on this basis.


PDF of the paper here: SSRN-id3130131


319 thoughts on “Paper: Circular Reasoning in Climate Change Research

  1. Another classic example of circular reasoning is that which identifies part of Britain as “Celtic”.

    To put this in context, not a single classical writer even suggests the Celts were in Britain, they were instead firmly located in France by Caesar and no one seriously suggested this until the 18th century. However despite a total lack of evidence, and a lot of clear evidence to the contrary, it has now become an accepted “fact” that the Welsh, Irish and Scots are “Celts”. And the reason for this is because they speak a “Celtic” language, which is defined as being those languages of the “Celts”.

    So surely the arguments go, because the Welsh and Irish speak a “Celtic” language it cannot be denied that they are “Celts”.

    Of course, the identification of Welsh and even more ridiculously Irish as “Celtic” was done in the 18th century and comes very much out the same stable as Arianism.

    However, present the evidence to most British archaeologists – and whilst they cannot provide even on bit of evidence or any logical reason to call the British “Celts”, they will be utterly convinced that they must be Celts.

    • SS – you may enjoy reading

      The History of Britain Revealed: The Shocking Truth About the English Language
      by Michael John Harper (Author)

      Harper’s line is that we all know the Celts were there originally. How do we know it? Because that’s what we were taught. How did our teachers know it? Because that’s what they were taught. etc

      • Anyone who seriously looks at the subject reaches the same conclusion: there’s no evidence the British are Celts and there’s lots of evidence against it. E.g. Britons and Gauls are always identified as two distinct groups even by the Britons (In Calgacus’ speech. And before anyone suggests it “Gael” is a word invented after the idea became fashionable – in other words to try to fabricate evidence to support the myth)

        However, even when the evidence is clear – academics being a spineless bunch who don’t want to upset their colleagues will not come to the obvious conclusion – that;s it’s a total load of cock and bull. Instead those like Simon James “The Atlantic Celts: Ancient people or Modern Invention” leave the answer open.

    • Actually it really depends on what you mean by ‘Celts’.

      There is evidence of a shamanistic druid style culture across the whole of N Europe prior to the rise of Rome, and DNA and linguistic analysis shows that Irish welsh and scots have much in common with SE E European peoples, that the folk tunes of Ireland use similar scales to those in Indian music, and that we all share an Indo European linguistic base with Gaelic, Irish and welsh being similar to regions that were described by Caesar as being inhabited by Celtoi – the Celts.

      Any description of the world is as useful as the simplification it achieves, and as incorrect.

      • That’s right. Recent studies show a massive replacement of the native European population by invaders coming from southern Russia and Ukraine. The invaders seem to have been quite thorough, killed most of the existing population (which seems to have been a mix of Middle Eastern farmers with a small contribution of the original European hunter gatherers). This group eventually reached as far as the Iberian peninsula and Ireland. This explains why people in northern Spain (where my father’s family originated) are very similar genetically to the Irish.

        The story is quite complex, there are isolated groups such as Sardinians, which are identical to the original Middle Eastern farmers (this was nailed by analyzing the DNA of Ossi, the man found frozen in the Alps). There are also signs that hunter gatherers which lived in Europe prior to 10000 BEfore present ranged at least as far as Lake Baikal, and they share DNA with the tribes which made the crossing into the new world. I happen to have a neighbor from Asturias, in northern Spain, who has some sequences which are seldom found in Europeans but are common in North American tribes such as the Sioux.

      • By Celts I mean the people who called themselves Celts who Caesar identifies as one of the three groups in Gaul. In other words the people called Celts before the modern myth was invented.

        And no, Caesar doesn’t identify the Celts with Brittany, a region which is recorded to have been occupied by the army of Maximus from Britain (likely based in Wales).

        And finally, there is a reason why British artefacts are known as “Insular celtic” – that’s because they are very distinct from the other artefacts on the continent, thus proving that far from being the same people, the British were very distinct. What’s more, there are almost no “Celtic” artefacts found from the area where Caesar says the Celts lived. Which given the Celts well known war like nature, probably meant they were a down to earth people who couldn’t be bothered with all the nancy decorative rubbish that is now associated with “Celtic”.

      • There was a well established copper working culture in Ireland 6000 years ago. They invaded Wales and worked inland, establishing a copper working culture there at about that time.

        In other words, the big Island was invaded and occupied by the population of the small island. When the reverse happened in the 1630’s everyone on the little island got upset and remain upset till today.

        The story below about the invasion of Europe from the East happened twice, at least, as told by the DNA sequencing of male inheritable portions of of the genome. We now know the post-Neanderthal ‘original’ inhabitants of S Europe were dark skinned and had blue eyes, like Melanesians of today. Anyone else is a settler. Talk about mass immigration!

        The Celts, defined as a linguistic and genetic group, we’re widespread. If defined culturally in terms of language and religious practice, they were and are widespread. The blonde Finns are outside that grouping. The blue-eyed redheads we maybe consider as originating from the ‘viking’ region were spread East as far as what is currently Western China, viz the mummies of Urumqi, and the ‘original’ people of Kyrgyzstan (6000 BC). The forty tribes (Kyrgyz means 40) united to successfully block the Westward movement of the Han Chinese.

        The story below about the replacement invasion from the NE is contained in the DNA of a Mongolian boy whose ancestors included a third unknown type of human: non-Neanderthal and non-Cromagnon.

        I met a guy in Central Java who attended a meeting with me. He was the spitting image of the ‘Java Man’ skull of antiquity. I couldn’t stop staring. Maybe they didn’t die out after all.

    • My son was born in Ireland and speaks Finnish, and Swedish.
      So say he has a son, and may speak Swedish like his father (my son), which will somehow make him genetically Scandinavian (goes circular reasoning) even if his parents are Finnish, and his grandparents (me and the Mrs) are Irish\Finnish.

      Any Celts that would have made the trip across to Britain.. and I don’t doubt the odd boat did make that trip before Caezar, the Britons would have killed them immediately if they caught them.

      • The “celts” seem to have invaded the whole region. The DNA studies show there was replacement, meaning they killed most of the existing population. The Indoeuropean language family is now identified to be what these invaders spoke. The original tribes seem to have originated in southern Russia, and are known as the Yamnaya. They seem to have had several advantages, fought on horseback, had chariots, were taller and stronger, and evidently could fight well enough so that nobody got in their way for very long. Of course, over the centuries they changed into separate languages and cultures because the territory they conquered was huge.

        This group may have influenced and been influenced by others (in the same way that Norman invaders became French speaking Catholics and then invaded Great Britain). Thus the Indoeuropean language family went as far as northern India. Which means the yamnaya must have taken their time getting there, but they did manage to take it over and replace the language.

        If we look at the DNA of people living in Great Britain it seems that island was hit by wave after wave of different tribes and nationalities. The last major invasion took place when the Saxon tribe came in and wiped out the local chiefs. A later Norman invasion introduced French into the anglosaxon. And now we see the influence of Pakistan and India natives, which happen to be descendants of tribes which were also invaded by the Yamnaya culture. I guess most of us are descendants of a tribe from southern Russia.

      • The Roman hated the Celts – because they were the last group to invade and sack Rome – and if there had been any Celts in Britain, when Agricola defeated the Caledonians in 83/84AD don’t you think Tacitus would have screamed it from the pages how his father in law had defeated the last of the Celts. There is not a word. The only mention even approaching that of “Celt” is the report of the Caledonian Chief’s speech where he mentions Germans and Gauls as in all such texts as being different peoples to the Britons.

        To put that in a modern context, imagine Trump is the president when the last place occupied by ISIS fell. And then imagine that Trump didn’t mention them at all when describing the victory. That would not be possible – yet we are led to believe that England and Scotland were filled with Celts, yet the Roman accounts make no mention of their victory over the hate Celts.

        Caesar mentions the Celts – because Caesar defeated them. They are no referred to in any account of Britain because there simply were not any Celts in Britain.

      • Celts, huh? Gee whiz, when I was in school back in the Dark Ages, we weren’t taught anything about “Celts”. We were taught/told that the Jutes were in the British Isles first and were driven “out” (of inhabited land) by the Picts, who wore blue paint or tattoos, and the Picts were pushed out of the way by the Gauls (who spoke what is now called Galician) brought in by Juliuis Caesar.

        Was my 6th grade history teacher wrong, or has all that been shunted out of the way by modernist ideas? My ancestry is Cornish, Welsh and Scottish. I spend time looking for antique languages that may or may not still be in use, e.g., Cornish is being revived in Cornwall, and found that Galician (the language of the Gauls) is still in scattered use in northwestern France.

        I always had the impression that Caesar referred to anyone NOT Roman as Gallic, because “Gallia in tres partes divisa est.” Gaul is divided into three parts. His designated turf was Europa. Scipio Africanus had the Iberian Peninsula and northern Africa (Carthage and he put HIS name on the continent) and Crassus had the Middle East (where the Parthians finally assassinated his arrogant self).

        So was my 6th grade teacher wrong, or closer to the mark than the modern notion?

    • Check the river names in England – they are still mostly Celtic. Check the place names in roman sources – celtic. Check the names of the natives mentioned in roman sources – they are Celtic.
      Check what is still spoken in Wales – Celtic. Check what was spoken in Cornwall up to the 18th century – Celtic.

      Even Snorri Sturlasson, back in the thirteenth century knew that the place-names in England was quite often not English and that another language had been spoken there before English.

      • You are quite mistaken.

        Celtic is NOT a language. It is a descriptive modern word incorrectly applied to a wide polyglot of things because people are too lazy to even try to understand differences in population groups.

        Wales? Welsh is spoken in Wales. It is NOT Celtic. Neither is Cornish. Cornish and Welsh have the same roots but diverged a long time ago. They are NOT Celtic. Celtic is NOT a language.

      • They’re not. What you are instead relying on is a lot of people who have desperately searched to find welsh origins – indeed I found a classic where someone had said with great certain that it was an ancient Celtic word – and then I found recorded evidence for its origin in English a couple of centuries ago.

        A great example of this “it has to be welsh” meme is the common names: “Avon” which academics will immediately telly you is proof of Welsh. Except if you look at Norse you you find there is a perfectly good candidate for these rivers in Germanic languages where we have “Haven” (rivers are havens from the sea). There is even a second etymology which is Ae (river) fen (mire), or the miry river.

        I’ve done this exercise with numerous place names and I’ve found it is just as easy if not easier to find etymologies languages other than Welsh or Gaelic. indeed, there are a few Gaelic place names of Norse origin! The argument that place name etymologies prove that Welsh or Gaelic was spoken is entirely circular reasoning. Few academics have gone through the process of checking whether better etymologies are available in other candidate languages. So the overwhelming “proof” that people like to cite, is just because academics have assumed a Welsh origin not because Welsh was the origin.

    • Odd. I never thought we Welsh were Celts. I thought we were Gaels. Also, I never thought the English were Celts either. I thought they were Saxons.

      • The truth is there is wide divergence as to what ‘Celt’ means. were the Iceni, Boudiccas tribe, Celts? What about the Wiccia?

        Or the Ordovices?

        What is certainly true is that indigenous EUROPEANS were pushed north and west by the influx of Saxons and other Germanic peoples after the Romans from the Mediterranean, whose language and culture replaced theirs

    • Yea, I have a running debate with a friend of mine whose families came from Ireland during the potato famine. He claims they were Celtic. I tell him to get his DNA checked because he is most probably Viking. He flies off the handle. He also has become a radical environmentalist believing CAGW is going to destroy the earth in his children’s life time. He is paid good money by some left billionaire funded not-for-profit to teach people sustainable living. He gets angry when it is pointed out that his benefactor owns five homes, uses three vehicles when he drives locally, owns two private large yachts and flies on a large private jet all over the world. One person suggested the reason they have him teaching sustainable living is so his benefactor can maintain his lifestyle without guilt.

    • Scottish Sceptic

      Another classic example of circular reasoning is that which identifies part of Britain as “Celtic”.

      Any info re as to when the Rangers tribe arrived in Scotland? Or where they always there?


    • Don’t know. I remember walking through the hills of Piedmont in northern Italy and noticing how many of the houses had little green leprechaun statues in the garden.

  2. What can you expect from an arm of “science” that has insisted a cold nitrogen bath is actually a heater?

  3. The term “climate change” is a redundant tautology. The earth’s climate system is a chaotic dissipative oscillatiry and open heat engine which can’t do anything other than change, any more than an apple separating from its stalk on a tree can do other than fall.

    Change is what climate does, what climate is.

    • The term “climate change” is a redundant tautology.

      Just to be pedantic, it’s a pleonasm.

      And climate science is a redundant tumor on the body of science.

      Or, to be pedantic, a neoplasm.

    • “Climate system” is also redundant. Climate is a system.

      One of my pet peeves is “Earth Systems Science”… All of the components of Earth Science (geology, meteorology, oceanography, etc.) are studies of systems.

      It’s as if they think slapping “system” into the title somehow elevates their dumbing down of basic sciences.

      • They? Who is this they? I suppose they need to be invented so there is an ‘us’. But if there is an us how do they refer to us? Them? All so easy when one thinks in black and white.

      • “They” would be the people who insist on slapping “system” into the titles of science disciplines.

      • “Climate system” is also redundant. Climate is a system.”

        The nervous system is a system and the financial system is a system. Peeved much?

        The fact you think in terms of us and them is the interesting thing. Lets lump in Leo’s academics from below and for good measure; alarmists, the media, socialists, latte sipping urban bureaucrats and foreigners.

        Here, a bit of Pink Floyd to help you.

        Well I mean, they’re not gonna kill ya, so like, if you give ’em a quick sh…short, sharp shock, they don’t do it again. Dig it? I mean he got off light, ’cause I coulda given ‘im a thrashin’ but I only hit him once. It’s only the difference between right and wrong innit? I mean good manners don’t cost nothing do they, eh?

      • “Nervous” isn’t a system.
        “Financial” isn’t a system.
        “Climate” is a system.

        a regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole

        The Köppen Climate Classification System describes the climate based on the temperature, precipitation/moisture, etc.

        The “climate system” as described by the IPCC is basically the components that lead to Köppen Climate Classification categories.

        Not a Pink Floyd fan. The only Floyd song I like is Money.

      • I have never thought of climate as a system, but rather as ACTIONS of a system. Of course, how do we separate actions from that which acts? So, I guess I think of climate as a dynamic between parts of the system or components of the system, where I view the system as the Earth, atmosphere, surrounding space, sun input, clouds, and so forth.

    • It makes predicting future climate easy-It will change. It is what change, when and to what degree that are the difficult details.

  4. A question for the denihilati:

    If the global Earth climate systems change sciences are such a den of inanity and illogic, then <how come the majority of scientists agree with the scientific consensus?

    • Because they are paid to.

      But in fact they dont. The majority of scientists I know do not. They dont have to,. They are retired.

      It is doubtful whether in fact te majority of scientists still working agree either. Only the majority of scientists working in climate related fields agree, to some extent or another, because if they didn’t they wouldn’t be working in related fields would they?

      The real silent consensus in the scientific community is don’t know and dont care, with a majority of those who do care believing AGW is bunk. But they dont talk loudly.

      Its more than the job is worth.

      • Exactly so – more than the job is worth. One senior academic engineer I know (Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, amongst other gongs) admitted to me, behind carefully closed doors – this story (AGW) is being challenged “by some very credible people”. But saying so in public … more than the job is worth.

      • It’s another circular definition.
        All climate scientists agree with the consensus.
        However to earn the title of climate scientist, you first have to agree with the consensus.

      • zazove: ‘ They’ are the public sector employees who work in academia. Or media tarts,

        I am not one of ‘them’ so that’s who ‘we’ are. People who do not take taxpayer money to teach and do ‘research’. Or commercial money to write propaganda.

    • For those who are interested in this sort of thing, “the majority of scientists agree with the scientific consensus” is an excellent example of a tautology, as distinct from a pleonasm.

      • Yes, but that is not the content of the statement, which is how do the majority of scientists subscribe to this “inanity and illogic”. It is worth reflecting on. You can dream up convoluted theories lie they are all in it for the money. Or the simpler explanation that it isn’t inane.

      • Or you can look at what they are specifically agreeing with and how the sample of “scientists” was cobbled together.

      • Nick,

        Actually, I was only making a grammatical point, rather than saying anything about the significance of consensus.

        But now you raise the issue, I think both sides of the debate should reflect upon their position. To the extent that sound scientific procedure is followed, one cannot lightly dismiss the resulting consensus. However, to the extent that non-scientific (i.e. sociological) factors may have also influenced the development of consensus, one cannot entirely trust the result. And even when there are good reasons to trust the legitimacy of consensus, the uncertainties involved suggest that the consensus is likely to be provisional (or at least it should be). I don’t think such concerns are “dreamt up” or “convoluted”. They seem to me to be quite reasonable, and sufficient to justify a certain degree of open-mindedness.


      • Nick, If the consensus is that the Earth has warmed over the last 150 years, and that the CO2 has increased considerably over that period (with most of the increase due to human activity), and that the CO2 is a greenhouse gas, then almost all skeptics actually agree with the consensus. The issue with the skeptics is the positive feedback and claim of major problems with the change. The only change that is certain, is that the CO2 increase resulted in a major greening of the Earth. No data supports any pending major problem due to the change. Further, most of the change follows the little ice age, and no evidence indicates it is not a natural variation.

      • John,

        “Actually, I was only making a grammatical point, rather than saying anything about the significance of consensus.”

        Consensus has no significance in science.

        Anyone who follows these words with the word “but” or is not a scientist.

        Consensus has no significance in science.

        “To the extent that sound scientific procedure is followed, one cannot lightly dismiss the resulting consensus.”

        Yes one can.

        To the extent that sound scientific procedure is followed, nobody mentions the word ‘consensus.’

        Consensus has no significance in science.

      • [Abridged from George Orwell’s proposed preface to Animal Farm]
        “…intellectual cowardice is the worst enemy a writer or journalist has to face… At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question… Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals…”

      • Brad,

        On the contrary, consensus has considerable significance in science. Science is, above all else, a social undertaking and is at its heart consensus seeking. However, that does not mean that consensus can be reliably used as a measure of the current level of scientific understanding . Scientific understanding is increased through the correct application of the scientific method, and nowhere in the scientific method does it say that consensus should be taken into account when evaluating scientific evidence (alarmingly, the IPCC is quite explicit in saying that it shall).

        Whilst an emerging consensus can be expected as ignorance is reduced, it does not logically follow that consensus is a sign of reduced ignorance. Consensus can just as readily emerge following an unwarranted focus upon a particular ideation. That is why climate science sceptics are at pains to point out that science is not a democracy.


      • If you want to be pedantic, if it is a majority opinion, then by definition that is not a consensus. No matter how high the majority, a majority is not a consensus. A consensus is a general agreement of all the participants.

      • To get a consensus all one must do is ask the right question. Do women and men appear different? I am pretty sure we can get a consensus on that. However, to an alien visiting Earth for the first time they might be very much alike when compared to his own species.

      • John,

        (In case it helps clarify the following comments, I’m talking about the epistemology of science, NOT the social and pragmatic questions of how to pay your mortgage, how to win friends and influence people within your faculty, how to get a side job as science consultant on a movie or science correspondent for CNN or Presidential Science Advisor, etc.)

        On the contrary, consensus has considerable significance in science.

        On the counter-contrary, consensus has no significance in science—evidence alone possesses significance, and the number of people who agree with you is NOT a form of evidence.

        Science is, above all else, a social undertaking

        The scientific method works just as well on a desert island.

        and is at its heart consensus seeking.

        No, it’s knowledge-seeking and therefore evidence-seeking. You publish the evidence you discover in order to increase the (admittedly abstract) variable called “human knowledge,” and then you go home and reward yourself with a cold beer because you’ve done your job, whether or not 97% of your colleagues choose to pay any attention to it.

        Scientific understanding is increased through the correct application of the scientific method, and nowhere in the scientific method does it say that consensus should be taken into account when evaluating scientific evidence (alarmingly, the IPCC is quite explicit in saying that it shall).

        Well put. I knew you’d get it eventually ;-)

        It’s not “alarming” that the IPCC is so obviously pseudoscientific, though—it’s reassuring. I thought for a second there that science was telling me I was going to drown. Nope, never mind, it was just the IPCC.

        Remember the mission of the IPCC? From The History of the Climate Debate at Jo Nova’s:

        1988: IPCC created

        The Panel’s function is to periodically provide a big room—ideally in a hotel or resort—where Policy gets a unique chance to tell Science what to tell Policy to do, in a policy-neutral way.

        IPCC estimates of certainty, confidence and risk will be determined subjectively, using NASA’s 1986 wisdom-of-crowds system—the same technology that put our Challenger astronauts in space.

      • Bernard,

        “If you want to be pedantic, if it is a majority opinion, then by definition that is not a consensus.”

        If you want to be pedantic, then what you mean is: “a majority opinion is not a consensus by definition, although it might just happen to be a consensus.”

        After all, there is no definition of a majority opinion that says it can’t be a consensus.

        “No matter how high the majority, a majority is not a consensus.”


        What if it’s 100%? Surely that’s high enough in anyone’s dictionary, even yours?

        “A consensus is a general agreement of all the participants.”

        ALL the participants? ALL?

        If we’re going to say consensus requires unanimity, then the very concept of a 97% consensus is an oxymoron, isn’t it? And John Cook’s career as a consensuologist is logically abortive.

        Argument won before it even begins.

      • No one has proved that the CO2 in the atmosphere causes warming. All that has been proved is that there is more CO2 in the atmosphere than 200 years ago and that mankind has caused the level of CO2 in the atmosphere to go up in the last 200 years because of burning fossil fuels. Therefore the debate should center on the science of whether CO2 causes the atmosphere to get permanently warmer ( by permanently warmer I mean for at least a decade) . I had to add that last qualifier because Trenberth and Battisti have shifted the debate by saying that CO2 only warms temporarily and after that it is because of less albedo of the short wave radiation that causes warming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. I practically choked on my food when I read those studies.

      • Brad,

        It is all very well to point out that the scientific method will work on a dessert island but it is an empirical fact that scientists do not work in isolation. The question you should be asking yourself, therefore, is why scientists publish their results. I put it to you that when scientists publish they seek two objectives: a) to socialise, and b) to thereby establish a consensus focused upon their discovery. Even if consensus building were not to be their objective, it will still be an inevitable result of the reduction of ignorance through the application of the scientific method. Since the earliest days of uncertainty analysis, it has been demonstrated that the reduction of epistemic uncertainty and the convergence of opinion are inextricably linked. So, whether you or I like it or not, consensus plays a role within science. The critical question is not whether consensus has a role but the extent to which consensus gentium applies. This is an interesting question addressed by what is known as the Knowledge Hypothesis. Regarding the Knowledge Hypothesis, I think you and I hold identical views.

        Should you wish to continue this debate, I should warn you now that I have zero tolerance to suggestions that I am slow-witted, no matter how tongue-in-cheek they may be. Nor will I accept simple repetition of the mantra “consensus has no role in science” as a valid argument. What you need to do is either provide a valid, non-sociological, explanation for why scientists publish, or successfully demonstrate that they don’t. Alternatively, you may want to overturn Laplace’s insight into the consensus-generating capacity of epistemic uncertainty reduction.


      • John Ridgway,

        thanks for another challenging and interesting reply.

        I’ve never suggested you’re a slow-wit, by the way, and to read my comments that way would be… well, not slow-witted as such, but misguided. I’ve implied (because I inferred) that you’re not a [natural, i.e. physical] scientist, but so what? That doesn’t entail a lack of intelligence on your part. Why the heck would it?

        Scientists publish to fulfil the social obligation of science, which is to “increase human knowledge.” What this cliche means is that anyone interested should have access to the entire body of evidence gained by our species’ scientific labors. It does NOT mean that 51%+ of people, or even of scientists, should agree on everything science “knows.” Think about the several gigabytes of medical knowledge available to our species. Now ask if it’s realistic to expect any group, even doctors or medical researchers themselves, to have converged on all those gigabytes of knowledge, i.e. to “agree on” or “share” everything “we” know (where we = the human race, abstractly). The fact is, the large majority of the bits (or the bytes) of scientific knowledge available to us are only of interest to, and only known by, a small minority of people. There is no consensus gentium, there isn’t even consensus scientificorum, on most of the “things” “we” “know.” And there never will be, because even if the entire canon was full of uncontroversial “facts,” people simply don’t live long enough to learn them all.

        What your argument establishes, and I myself have been happy to concede this in the past, is that consensus is an epiphenomenon (albeit a loosely-tethered and underdetermined one) of scientific progress.

        What I’m afraid I’m unable to detect in your argument is any reason to agree that consensus plays a role in said progress. At the risk of repeating myself, it doesn’t. But I don’t want to merely repeat myself, because that would be insulting to someone of your intellect and scholarliness. Rather I ask you to contemplate:

        1. what would the consequences be for the scientific process if scientists were to start to use how many scientists agree as a form of evidence? What would stop (say) climate scientists from consenting to “the consensus” [on AGW or whatever] on the grounds that, according to Cook2013, 97% of other scientists consented to it, so hey, it’s probably right—right? (Do you detect an infinite recursion here? I do. It’s majority opinion “all the way down.”)

        2. What happens when you google scientific consensus? If you do it from my IP address, you get a page of results related to one hypothesis, and one hypothesis only, in one field of science, and one field only: AGW. How is this statistically possible if consensus plays a role in [non-pathological, proper, actual] fields of science? Can you explain it?

        All the best and thanks for the education your comments have provided so far


      • John (Ridgway),

        If you respond to my latest comment, and I hope you will, I might miss it because this thread is moribund and I can’t seem to subscribe to notifications of replies to other people’s comments. So you might want to hit Reply on one of my comments, rather than your own. Or we could continue to educate each other by email? My gmail dot com account is my (full) Christian name, then a period, then my surname.

      • John,

        I forgot the other reason scientists have to publish: so that other scientists will have access to the “knowledge” (evidence) they’ve discovered, and vice versa. This is the collegial obligation. Without honoring which, obviously, the whole process would slow to a crawl.

        But their colleagues don’t need to agree with their conclusions in order to benefit from their findings. So “consensus”, even in this very restricted sense, is still absolutely unnecessary.

        The raison d’etre of the publishing process is categorically NOT to convince everyone.

    • Because their all guilty of confirmation bias and circular reasoning!
      Proud to be called a “denihilati”.

    • You mean of the ~4000 scientists polled, where 75 of the 77 actual respondents (ergo 97%) said they agreed ?

      • Ah, but those 77 were chosen, because THEY were the only ones truly qualified by credentials that can only be obtained by following the consensus. They had to be part of the consensus, in order to qualify as legitimate measures of the consensus. Looks pretty circular to me.

        Anywhere else, circles are pretty, but not here.

    • 1. It takes more money and time to challenge consensus. 2. Science runs in fads. 3. “Consensus” is a propaganda term with high emotional impact and no quantifiable meaning. 4. Most sciences fill in gaps of knowledge with cliche thinking. 5. Atmospheric sciences are plagued with inadequate data and a jumbled collection of instruments purporting to record the same things in some way, more or less. For example, when we read about “sea level” this is slang that has no meaning as it pertains to an exact instrument of a calibrated type against which others are cross-correlated. 6. Most “climate change” involves looking for signals in sample noise. This leads to things like “sea level rise acceleration” which no instrument has actually recorded. Sea level itself has not been observed to change in the instrument record era above the level of noise of the instruments. 7. Related to this, “climate change” is being reported from more decimal places accuracy than the instruments provide by taking data estimates over time and dividing their instrument changes by time, yielding results not backed by the significant digits of the actual source data.

      • Donald, your point 7 is not emphasized enough.

        Without this misrepresentation of the measurements, there is simply nothing exciting or alarming to present.

        Regular contributors to this blog, surprisingly, even after correction and illustration, persist in their misbelief that making a large number of measurements of some quantity, improves the accuracy and precision of the result. Were this true, we would not need to put telescopes in space, we could just look longer from the ground and add the images.

        Worse, there is a persistent misbelief that measuring the temperature of the oceans with a larger number of instruments will provide a result somehow both more accurate and more precise. Sampling a larger number of locations will give a more accurate answer, closer to its true average, but it does not reduce the uncertainty of any individual measurement, nor change the formula for the propagation of uncertainty. In all cases the result of calculating an average value increases the uncertainty, above the uncertainty of the individual measurements.

        To provide a global average ocean temperature to ±0.1 C would require the proper sampling of all oceans, using extremely accurate and very precise instruments. That has not yet happened. To know the heat content (which is a far more valuable number) requires knowing the salinity as well.

        I recommend this site as a resource.

        and the links to explanations of how to make the calculations.

      • 4. Most sciences fill in gaps of knowledge with cliche thinking

        Most questionable but popular “activist science” is promoted and advocated in the court of popular opinion. The proponents know that television is the message medium best for influencing popular opinion. They also know that TV interviewers are easily befuddled by statistics and jargon, and very rarely have time (assuming they are adept enough) to ask questions more than one or two levels deep.

        Climate alarmism is soundbite, video clip and headline-driven.

      • Crispen in Waterloo, re your statement: “Regular contributors to this blog, surprisingly, even after correction and illustration, persist in their misbelief that making a large number of measurements of some quantity, improves the accuracy and precision of the result.”

        There are places where ‘making a large number of measurements’ does improve accuracy. This is where the there is a sufficient amount of noise in the signal being measured relative to the rate of change being studied. One example is in RADAR where a certain amount of noise is added to the received signal to improve both target detection and range accuracy. A second is in audio recording (e.g., music) where dithering (i.e., noise of fixed characteristics) is added to the signal before it is digitized to improve the sonic accuracy of the recording.

      • Donald good post and very true. As Crispin points out your number 7 is seldom stressed enough. Crispin makes great points about people believing accuracy and precision can somehow be increased my just taking ever more measurements with the same relatively inaccurate and imprecise instruments. The first week in my Marine Chemistry class years ago we had accuracy, precision, and proper use of instruments “beaten” into our heads. The professor stress that we couldn’t get five digit accuracy from instruments only capable of one digit accuracy.

      • Donald/Crispin,

        If I could scream one thing from a mountain top and have the world hear it…this point (#7) would be it! The mathematical meaningless-ness of the reported precisions, combined with the physical meaningless-ness of “average temperature” renders the results…you guessed it…meaningless!


      • While precision can be improved by averaging large numbers of measurements, accuracy can’t. There is no known mathematical procedure which can improve the accuracy of a set of measurements once they are taken. Even adding noise, such as in anti-aliasing or data whitening, is just used to center the error in order to provide a little improvement in the precision (via averaging). This point about accuracy can’t be repeated often enough.

      • If you ask 10 people on the street what happens if all the ice in the Arctic was to melt 9 of them would say the sea levels would rise and it would be catastrophic. Of course we know that only if Greenland or even worse Antarctica were to melt that would raise the sea levels because the ice is not floating on the sea like it is in the Arctic. Melting of the Arctic ocean would not raise the sea levels one iota. So it is amazing how ignorant most people are about a lot of things and the media isn’t helping them.

      • Big oil should fight back with loads of money with no apologies. Us skeptics cant compete with all the government money that is thrown at the climate “scientists”

    • Are you saying that has never happened before?

      It’s a very common phenomenon across lots of disciplines.

    • Nick Stokes, you exhibit another fallacy, begging the question. Assume the given answer is convoluted and that convoluted is wrong. Voila, the given answer is wrong.

      All without any evidence or argument!

      Now let’s assume convoluted answers are usually right. Voila, the given answer is right!

      Lots of inane ideas become accepted by large groups of people. There are hundreds of examples. To claim hat an idea cannot be inane if lots of people adhere to it flies in the face of facts.

      • Nick stokes is just using crude sophistry to dress up te basic appeal to authority plus assumptive close.

        The ideas is to push the impression that all scientists are AGW supporters. It isn’t true and thee few that are are in it for cash and glory.

        In universities there are first rate minds, second rate minds and third rate minds. First rate minds go to first principles and the data to make up their minds.

        Second rate minds do lots of derivative research, never go to first principles, and love to be thought ‘authorities’

        Third rate minds achieve orgasm by quoting second rate minds.,

        Fourth rate minds didn’t make it to Uni,. resent it and end up like Nick Stokes.

      • Leo Smith,
        Your comment about Nick Stokes is over the top. You should consider withdrawing it, with apology.

    • “Brad Keyes February 27, 2018 at 12:55 am
      A question for the denihilati:
      If the global Earth climate systems change sciences are such a den of inanity and illogic, then <how come the majority of scientists agree with the scientific consensus?"

      Assuming "majority" means 1 more than half, and it can be shown that this consensus exists, I would ask this question:

      Which scientific consensus:

      That the Climate is changing?

      That CO2 is the primary driver of the climate?

      That CO2 added to the atmosphere from human emissions are causing the climate to change?

      That CO2 added to the atmosphere from human emissions are contributing to the climate change?

      That CO2 added to the atmosphere from human emissions may be contributing to the climate change?

      Or some other variation of these?

    • how come the majority of taxpayer-funded scientists agree with the scientific consensus

      Added a couple of words.

      If you are going to be hounded, demoted and dismissed from your job because you disagree with your boss, what do you do?

      • MarkW,

        I hate love to be pedantic about scientific epistemology, but let me FTFY:

        Just because a couple of people rig a poll is not evidence of anything.”

        Now you’re talking.

    • The (il)logic works like this,

      1. How do we know that AGW is a real threat?
      2. Because the experts tell us it is.
      3. How do we know the experts are correct?
      4. Because the majority of experts agree they are correct.

    • Why does the majority of medical doctors agree with the consensus on medicine?

      Well, because medicine is 100% a state controlled activity (gets to say who is a doctor) and the state defines the consensus.

    • Do they? We know that 75 out of 77 in the Doran et al paper agreed, but what did the other 3,400 or so respondents think? If you are saying they do agree then please cite a source.

  5. Let’s assume that CO2 causes global warming. Let’s build that assumption into our climate models. Look our climate model runs show increasing CO2 causes increased global warming. Therefore we have proved that increased CO2 causes global warming and we must do something about it. Now give us more money to continue our research.

  6. Another question for the denihilati:

    If the evidence is wrong, as you assert, then how do you account for the “strengthening [of the] consensus” from just 100% [N. Oreskes 2004] to an overwhelming 97% [J. Cook 2013]?

    • If your idea of strengthening is to go down from 100% to 97% then that alone tells me your grasp of mathematics is tenuous at best.

      If your rely on a historian whose income depends on political journalism, and a person whose sole life is devoted to climate activism and the running of a faux news activist website, then your grasp or reason and logic is even more so.

      The moniker I use here, is one that I used for the very first time on the internet when I published a short monograph about renewable energy. No one knew who I was, and any previous chats had been done (and still is done) under a plethora of pseudonyms and anonymous accounts.

      That did not stop John Cooks Sceptical Science hosting a post in which what I had written was described as as the outpourings of ‘the well know climate denier, Leo Smith whose work had been debunked at least two years ago’ (before I had even written the monograph).

      I understood then that whatever Skepticial Sciences purpose was, it dont not include truth.

      In fact the hysterical blatherskite that presents itself as ‘Skeptical Science’ and as is evinced by Oreskes’ verbal diarrhoea is simply carbon copy out of the 1960s book of communist Agitprop. These people are not scientists, they are political agitators.

      The twin strategies of agitation and propaganda were originally elaborated by the Marxist theorist Georgy Plekhanov, who defined propaganda as the promulgation of a number of ideas to an individual or small group and agitation as the promulgation of a single idea to a large mass of people. Expanding on these notions in his pamphlet What Is to Be Done? (1902), Vladimir Lenin stated that the propagandist, whose primary medium is print, explains the causes of social inequities such as unemployment or hunger, while the agitator, whose primary medium is speech, seizes on the emotional aspects of these issues to arouse his audience to indignation or action. Agitation is thus the use of political slogans and half-truths to exploit the grievances of the public and thereby to mold public opinion and mobilize public support. Propaganda, by contrast, is the reasoned use of historical and scientific arguments to indoctrinate the educated and so-called “enlightened” members of society, such as party members.

    • Brad, that 97% consensus junk has been thoroughly debunked. I don’t have the actual figures in front of me, but it goes something like this: 40% of scientists stated an opinion in abstracts of papers, and of those, 97% asserted that climate change is happening.

      To take this at it’s simplest level, does 97% of 40% equal 97% of scientists?

      • Worse than that,Don.

        It was more like 74 outta 77 that the pollsters deemed to be “true” climate scientists, while ignoring hundreds of folks with degrees in other earth sciences.


    • Even if 97% of the 40% of scientists who stated an opinion in abstracts really did agree with CAGW, we can’t assume that this was a representative sample. There are many potential confounding factors: were those who stated an opinion only the most opinionated or the most biased? Were those who didn’t state an opinion reluctant to do so because of backlash they might face for stating an opinion contrary to the consensus? And so on.

      The 97% consensus is simply confirmation bias that looks for evidence to support the assumption that most scientists agree with CAGW.

      • I believe that you’ll find that the population sampled was climate scientists who had published climate-science papers in peer-reviewed climate-science journals. And the survey results were compiled and interpreted by climate scientists and a cartoonist.

    • Opinion polls only measure the current marketing/coercive influences. Nothing to do with science.

      The Romans analysed debate as: Arguementum ad populum, verecundium and verum.
      Being: headcount, reputation and truth. Science is only concerned with Truth.

      The 97% populum arguementum needs to be given the contempt it deserves.

      • Good point. And ad populum is really just ad verecundiam by another name: they’re both attempts to embarrass you into agreeing by claiming that everyone else agrees, or that everyone who’s anyone (i.e. the experts) agrees.

        Remember, verecundia literally means shame. (Vergüenza, as they say in Spanish.)

    • For all the ad-hominem vitriol, spleen, choler and bile my comment has provoked, nobody has managed to explain what Dr John Cook calls the “strengthening consensus” (which grew from 100% to 97% in less than a decade).

      Quelle surprise, surprise.

      • Brad,

        If you insist that a drop of 3% reflects strengthening then I doubt there is anything that can be said here to convince you that the 97% consensus is nothing but propaganda fodder for the gullible. But, if you want to define for us what “the consensus” actually is and which studies you think confirm that 97% of scientists agree with it then you might get more specific answers. Please, have at it.

      • Brad, I had to laugh as people took your comment as something other than tongue-in-cheek.

        I believe the 97% ‘consensus’ has further strengthened over the last five years to 55%. Charting the rate of change is definitely reminiscent of a hockey stick.

      • “nobody has managed to explain what Dr John Cook calls the “strengthening consensus” (which grew from 100% to 97% in less than a decade).”

        Just a point of order here, but the “scientific consensus” is that going from 100% to 97% is not a “strengthening”.

        If you need help explaining what Dr. Cook says, please consult Lewis Carrol’s “Jabberwocky”.

    • Brad,

      With all due respect, if you don’t want to be falsely accused of calling someone slow-witted, then perhaps you should refrain from quips such as, “I knew you’d get it eventually ;-)”. Anyway, let us not allow any of this to get in the way of our emerging bromance.

      As it happens, I am an honours graduate in physics who went on to pursue a Phd in theoretical nuclear physics. It is precisely because of this background that I was very slow to appreciate how a scientific consensus could be anything other than legitimate (so maybe I am slow-witted after all). I appreciated that scientists operated as a community but I took it for granted that the rigours of the scientific method would keep in check the sociological factors that had the potential for corrupting or biasing the development of consensus. Consequently, I assumed that consensus not only represented the knowledge corpus, it also served as a surface marker locating the underlying truth. Any time that scientists would get too comfortable in their consensus, the brutal reality of an experimental result would shake the tree. Unfortunately, it turns out that not all researchers who call themselves scientists apply the scientific method (at least not as I had come to understand it as a physicist). Unfortunately, once the rigours of the scientific method are relaxed, consensus continues in its role as marker buoy, but under the drift of sociological current, it ends up doing a very bad job. Evidence no longer impresses as it should and science becomes a seedy democracy.

      Nowadays, inspired by the debacle of climate science, I find myself more interested in the sociology of science, rather than physics. That said, if one wants a classic example of what can happen when scientists take their eye off the ball, one need look no further than supersymetric string theory and the concomitant ‘Sting Wars’.

      I believe our difference of opinion is largely illusory and may be due to a failure to define what we mean by expressions such as “role in science”. In this context, when I refer to science I am thinking of the workings of a social group. When you refer to science in this context you may be thinking of something more abstract. This difference in perspective may be all that there is at the root of our debate. However, I still maintain that the ultimate purpose of scientific publication is not just to exchange findings; it is a necessary step towards the development of a collective understanding. You can call this a consensus if you wish.

      Not wishing to offend, but I would prefer not to take up your offer of direct contact. I like the open forum style of debate that WUWT enables, and I am happy to leave it that way. Instead, I am taking your advice and posting in response to one of your own postings. I hope that you pick up on it. I also hope that publishing this response may help us to achieve consensus.


      P.S. I am not scholarly, I am just retired, bitter and disillusioned.

      • It’s not often that I misestimate someone’s profession, but from the rigor of your responses I assumed you were a working scholar of some kind. I’m glad the disillusionment and bitterness of retirement haven’t dulled your intellect.

        You missed the point of “I knew you’d get it eventually smiley-face.” It’s a common, friendly, jocular way of saying what you’ve suggested: that our positions, when phrased with sufficiently care, are not as far apart as they seemed. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

        In case it helps, I understand ‘consensus’ to mean what the English dictionary (pretty much any English dictionary) says it means: majority opinion, esp. that of a large majority. When prefaced by a vocational or other adjective like “scientific,” it just means “…among the group ‘scientists’,” and so on.

        Therefore even if we agree, it is just agreement, not a consensus, since we’re not the majority of any identified set.

        You’ll notice that theoretical physicists never submit to opinion polls, which raises the question: how could anyone possibly know what the ‘consensus’ among them is, and how high a percentage does it represent?

        They don’t submit to opinion polls because they’re proper scientists, not climate scientists. For a working physicist, using how many people agree that X as evidence for X, and therefore as a reason to agree with X herself, would make the whole process grind to a halt. It would be consensus all the way down, with evidence nothing but a distance memory. Physics would become climate science, in a nutshell.

      • John,

        However, I still maintain that the ultimate purpose of scientific publication is not just to exchange findings; it is a necessary step towards the development of a collective understanding. You can call this a consensus if you wish.

        But I don’t wish.

        I don’t wish in the slightest.

        I wish to call a collective understanding “a collective understanding.” Which is an intentionally abstract and non-literal construct. It means, in effect, that anyone in the group who is curious about a question has access to the answer, thanks to the hard work of the scientists who were interested enough to dig up the evidence that solved the question.

        It does NOT mean that more than half of the group shares a given belief about a given question.

        The former (collective understanding) is unquestionably desirable, to the extent it’s possible. Some questions obviously don’t have an answer known to Man. Not yet, and perhaps not ever.

        The latter (consensus) is meaningless and irrelevant, and working scientists go out of their way to pay zero attention to it, because if they ever allowed it to influence them, if they started using it as a reason to believe, they’d become no better than climate scientists.

        You may have noticed a curious aspect about the social role of climate science:

        It doesn’t do the job every other science is expected to do (continually add to human knowledge about the subject matter). I know, because I’ve asked humans, and they can’t seem to tell me anything they’ve learned since AGW.

        And somehow people are OK with that. Not people here, obviously, but the people who pay billions of bucks for zero epistemic bang.

      • John,

        You should blog with us at CliScep. Really. We share your interest in the sociology of clisci (though we include hard science warriors too). But most people with these passions don’t write as well as you.

      • Brad,

        I could persevere in trying to persuade you of the link between consensus and collective understanding, but something in my bones tells me it wouldn’t be the best use of my time. This is because I am not convinced that the numbers game is the central issue. Perhaps, rather than focusing upon collective understanding, we should be speaking of the prevalent view and how such prevalence is achieved. For example, it is telling that the CAGW orthodoxy is carried forward on the backs of a remarkably small but influential cadre of scientists. I will not pretend to understand all of the socio-political aspects of science since it is a large and difficult subject – one only has to glance at the Wiki entry for ‘Sociology of Scientific Knowledge’ to appreciate this. I imagine much of the material on the subject would be seriously unrewarding to read. However, one school of thought that I have investigated is the Scientific Intellectual Movements (SIM) theory of Frickel and Gross. I found SIM theory interesting but I wasn’t intellectually moved by it. Nevertheless, I applaud anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of the subject, above and beyond simply spouting, “follow the money”. I would be interested to hear your own views on SIM theory.

        For the record, I agree with your definition of ‘consensus’ and I appreciate the distinction you make between ‘agreement’ and ‘consensus’.


        P.S. Life is getting in the way of my continuation of this debate. I am happy to let you have the last word on this thread. Perhaps we can resume a well-humoured sparing in the future.

        P.P.S. Actually, a poll was once held in which theoretical physicists were asked which of the competing theories was the most likely to be the correct theory of unification. The results came out heavily in favour of string theory; not surprising since the vast majority of those working in the field were string theorists. So much for consensus.

      • John,

        out of respect for your limited time I’ll be succinct, even simplistic.

        I could persevere in trying to persuade you of the link between consensus and collective understanding, but something in my bones tells me it wouldn’t be the best use of my time.

        I’m sure they’re linked, just not in a law-like, useful, interesting or informative way.

        You will agree, surely, that:

        – a hypothesis can have the evidence in its favor WITHOUT commanding most scientists’ agreement.
        – a hypothesis can command most scientists’ agreement WITHOUT having the evidence in its favor.

        Therefore scientific consensus tells us nothing.

        It’s of interest to sociologists (although God only knows why), and to pseudoscientists like Oreskes and Cook, but NOT to scientists, because it’s not evidence.

        P.P.S. Actually, a poll was once held in which theoretical physicists were asked which of the competing theories was the most likely to be the correct theory of unification.

        I certainly hope nobody tried to pass off this poll as a scientific paper, as Oreskes does with her 2004 Nature dross. It’s market research, corporate psychology or anthropology. It tells us about human beliefs, not the natural world.

        It’s NOT an evidence-gathering exercise. It can’t even tell us what the most promising direction is for funding further investigations.

        That’s probably why I’ve never heard about it.

        Before abandoning this thread, did you get a chance to think about my two questions/challenges (labelled 1. and 2.) a few posts back?

        Best wishes

      • Brad,

        Since you have asked me directly for a response, it would be ungentlemanly of me to disoblige. Firstly, in response to point 1.

        I couldn’t agree more that the use of consensus statistics does not constitute scientific evidence. Oreskes, Cook et al, are playing politics, not science. As I put it in a previous WUWT article:

        I have a background in systems safety engineering, and so I am well acquainted with the idea that confidence in the safety of a system has to be gained by developing a body of supporting evidence (the so-called ‘safety case’). If the quality of evidence was ever such that it was open to interpretation then the case was not made. No one would then be happy to proceed on the basis of a show of hands, and for a very good reason. In climatology, consensus is king. In safety engineering, consensus is a knave; consensus launched the space shuttle Challenger.
        Secondly, in response to point 2.

        I repeated your experiment and noted the preponderance of climate change references. However, I must admit that I became somewhat distracted by the first item on the list: Wiki’s entry on ‘Scientific Consensus’. Predictably, it wasted little time in ‘explaining’ the importance of scientific consensus in climate science. Nevertheless, I think the article did make some relevant points regarding the general role served by consensus. Whether one could say this is a role in science, a role in scientifically-supported policy-making, a role in science advocacy or just a role in quackery, I’ll leave the final judgement with you. If I may again be so crass as to quote myself, I explained my position in the WUWT article, ‘So What Happened to the Science?’:

        Knowledge gained from experiment is an important means by which epistemic uncertainty (that is to say, ignorance) may be reduced, and it is through such a reduced uncertainty that one would wish to achieve a convergence of opinion. But within climatology, consensus emerges principally through inference and disputation, in which logic and objectivity are in competition with rhetoric, ideology, policy and expedience. Significantly, it is through the sociology of science that one can establish certitude without having to reduce uncertainty.

        I hope this response helps to explain my position. If not, I fear I will have to leave it at that for the time being.



      • Brad,

        I was rushing and obviously screwed up the blockquoting. I hope you can still decipher what I am saying. If not, I’ll re-post.


      • John, hope you’re still reading.

        This is a masterstroke of wryness worthy of Ambrose Bierce:

        “Significantly, it is through the sociology of science that one can establish certitude without having to reduce uncertainty.”

        You’re the only other person I know who remembers the lessons of Challenger in these days of hand-waving pseudo-probability. Reading the IPCC’s procedures gave me flashbacks to Feynman and the NASA engineers’ testimony.

        It’s a lucky thing CAGW is make believe, unlike O-rings, or the very fate of the planet would be in the (waving) hands of hapless, history-forgetting schmendricks.

        I repeat: you MUST blog with us at CliScep. Please drop us a comment so we can get in touch.


      • Brad,

        I have no immediate plans to write any new articles. However, when I next get around to writing something, I will seek to post it on the CliScep website.



    • Brad, both Oreske’s article (not paper) and Cook’s paper were themselves examples of terrible, incompetent science.

      Oreskes used flawed methodology (presumptive search terms, among other things), and it has been shown that (a) Cook 2013 did not use the methodology claimed in the paper, and (b) even if it had, it could not have resulted in the claimed conclusions.

      So you’re using bad science to support your claim of consensus, which you are in turn using to support the notion that climate science is sound.

      But consensus is not science anyway. So your question is nothing more than a pile of meaningless word salad.

      • Bad science? If Oreskes is such a bad scientist, why is she so scathing about Cook’s attempts at science? And vice versa, for that matter? I assume you agree with their criticisms of each other. But when they attempt science you don’t like, suddenly you don’t believe them? Will the real Anne Ominous stand up?

        If that really is your name, that is.

        A lot of people round here use fake names because they’re cowards. That’s not why I use a nom de guerre—I do it because me real name is Sue Dominus, but who wants to be a Boy Named Sue? Ever since that song came out my life has been hell. A living hell.

  7. I can see that this will be a useless thread, because the actual post has no supporting content. So people will raise all sorts of things they disagree with and call it circular reasoning. As with Celts, for example.

    But the linked manuscript is nonsense He has three examples; one is sea level. He says:
    “This procedure of detecting anthropogenic forcing of sea level rise contains circular reasoning. The presence of acceleration implies only that SLR is being forced but it does not identify the forcing agent. The interpretation of acceleration as anthropogenic forcing contains the presumption of anthropogenic cause”

    He fails Willis’s advice – quote what you are disagreeing with. People don’t say that the presence of acceleration implies anthropogenic. They are following the ordinary scientific reasoning, which goes:
    1. Hypothesis – CO₂ causes warming and so increase will raise sea levels
    2. Consequence – accelerated rise will follow burning C
    3. Test if consequence is observed
    4. If so, then confidence in hypothesis is increased.

    Scientific tests never identify the cause. Lavoisier thought oxidation of phosphorus added something from air and would increase mass. He tested and it did. That didn’t prove that oxygen was responsible for the mass gain. It just cast doubt on the theory that phlogiston was lost.

    All you can do is form a hypothesis and show that observations are consistent with it. They never by themselves identify the cause.

    • One wonders if Nick Stokes has a newly discovered sense of irony
      or if he is attempting to demonstrate Poe’s Law.

    • Nick

      As a non scientist, my understanding is that the point of research is to disprove ones own hypothesis, not find evidence to support it. Even I can find bits of evidence to support the concept of CO2 causing the planet to warm, but weighed against what we don’t know, any evidence even the most accomplished scientist can muster, must be considered with cosiderable cynicism.

      • You test the consequences. You can frame that as trying to see that observations agree (success supports hypothesis), or testing to find an observation that doesn’t agree (failure supports). The second framing emphasises that you should look for challenging tests.

      • “You test the consequences. You can frame that as trying to see that observations agree (success supports hypothesis), or testing to find an observation that doesn’t agree (failure supports). The second framing emphasises that you should look for challenging tests.”

        Surely both are required for credible science to be, well, credible. Ignoring observations that don’t agree seems to be the order of the day in conventional climate study. e.g. Susan Crockford’s polar bear research has been targeted by alarmist scientists, but shouldn’t it be embraced?

      • “It’s just a framing. You do the same tests either way.”

        Are you saying that Susan Crockford was framed?

      • “Are you saying that Susan Crockford was framed?”

        As someone with no sense of humor, I don’t get it.

        Anyway Nick isn’t espousing the suppression of non-agreeing results. What he seems to be saying is that confirmationism and falsificationism, as accounts of the scientific process, are two sides of the same coin. If your experiment fails to falsify your hypothesis, it’s confirmation (but not proof) that you’re on the right track.

        Also bear in mind that every hypothesis is the negation of another hypothesis. So Popper’s model of science (that it’s about disproving and [thereby] improving, NOT about proving) is a neat mnemonic, but it’s not to be taken too literally, since every time you *disprove* something, you’re *proving* that it’s false.

      • Brad,

        Perhaps you should get a sense of humour.

        And I understand what Nick is saying, without your intervention.

      • Brad:

        “‘If your experiment fails to falsify your hypothesis, it’s confirmation (but not proof) that you’re on the right track.”

        No it is not, it supports nothing at all. An experiment that ONLY fails to falsify a hypothesis shows nothing, supports nothing and falsifies nothing

        Suppose I want to know whether or not the temperature inside my double door refrigerator’s freezer section to test the hypothesis that in the freezer section it is below zero. Therefore I conduct an experiment: I open the door leading to the ‘refrigerated’ portion of my fridge, not the freezer portion, and measure the temperature and find it is 8 degrees.

        The experiment is a success but inconclusive: I have not demonstrated anything about the temperature in the freezer section. This experiment does not falsify the hypothesis yet does not support the idea that the temperature is below zero.

      • Richard Feynman explains it in one minute and two seconds:


        Why the majority of climate scientists, Nick included, don’t get it?

      • Crispin in Waterloo:

        “An experiment that ONLY fails to falsify a hypothesis shows nothing, supports nothing and falsifies nothing”

        I wasn’t specific enough. I meant an experiment that attempts to falsify your hypothesis and is capable of falsifying it, if it’s false.

        A relevant experiment, in other words.

        Your fridge vs freezer example (trivially) wouldn”t work, because if you open the wrong door you’re not even testing the hypothesis in question.

    • “Scientific tests never identify the cause. . . . All you can do is form a hypothesis and show that observations are consistent with it. They never by themselves identify the cause.”

      Can I infer from this statement that you agree that there can be no “scientific” consensus that any amount of the observed warming since the industrial revolution can be attributed to CO2 emissions? After all, science is just a procedure (hence the term “scientific method”) and if these procedures – as you say – are useless in determining causation, then any “consensus” among scientists about causation must of necessity be unscientific, the mere result of their own subjective beliefs and biases, and not to be given any special credence..

      Come to think of it, I think you’ve answered Brad Keye’s question above pretty well.

      • “Can I infer from this statement that you agree that there can be no “scientific” consensus”
        The reasoning that I set out is universal in science. And yet there is plenty of consensus. The point is that hypotheses build up support with more and more tests satisfied. Lavoisier observed that burnt phosphorus products weighed more. Then people found that volume of air diminished. Then they found out more about the properties of oxygen as a component of air. Now there is consensus about combustion. No one observation established the cause. But accumulation of observation led to the whole theory of oxidation as electron transfer, redox etc etc. What we now know as standard chamistry.

        “not to be given any special credence”
        Yes, they should. Science works.

      • In other words, you pretty much do agree, but just don’t want to come out and say it.

        And it seems to me you’re making a logical mistake of assuming that truths become scientifically established by consensus, just because consensus is expressed over things that have otherwise been scientifically proven to be true. If scientific procedures demonstrate that materials combust by combining with oxygen in the air, scientists are naturally going to agree on what’s been demonstrated. But if no scientific experiment can test for causation between any amount of an observed temperature increase and CO2 emissions, then whatever agreement exists among scientists on the issue of causation is just conjecture.

        Consensus is a just fancy synonym for group opinion. Opinion is the antithesis of science, and competent scientists make sure to conduct their experiments in a way that insulates the experiments from their opinions, so that the results are not tainted by confirmation bias.

      • Ptolomy had a hypothesis about planetary motions. Predicted them perfectly.

        Copernicus? Absolutely terrible, even in the days of eyeball astronomy.

        Kepler? Better – but had no explanation at all for Mercury’s antics.

        Anyone who bothered to check Ptolomy’s predictions up until Einstein published had to admit that his hypothesis did a better job than anyone else could manage.

        Utterly and completely wrong about the real world. But, boy, it told us exactly where to look for any of the planets for nearly two millenia (still can, in fact, if you bother to do the calculations). Unfortunately, the AGW hypothesis has no such track record, even over the piffling period of three decades. Utterly and completely wrong about the real world – the “global” temperature, cyclone energy, snowfalls in England, rain in California, anything.

    • @Nick
      Lavoisier experiments results had ~zero chance to happen just by random. Hence the confidence.
      The point “4. If so, then confidence in hypothesis is increased.” only works insofar as the consequence is is improbable. Just doesn’t worlk with Climate change, which has 100% chance to happen, of warming, which has ~50%.

      • The issue is not the certainty of the observation, but the explanation. The increase in mass is sure. But what does it mean? Especially as he didn’t really know what oxygen was. Knowledge about that came from further exploration.

      • The issue is not the certainty of the observation, indeed, who said it was?
        The issue is: do we really need an explanation, if this routinely happens all by itself?
        It couldn’t be just by chance that mercury gained mass while turning red just as air lost volume in the very same relationship: 1 unit of air volume lost, 1 unit of mass gained. Lavoisier just suggested the most simple explanation.
        It wouldn’t have worked if mass gain and volume lost varied wildly with no constant relationship. Which is just what happen regarding CO2 (a nice, smooth, upward pseudosinusoid) and temperature (just a jerk, as it always has been).

      • “It couldn’t be just by chance that mercury gained mass while turning red just as air lost volume in the very same relationship: 1 unit of air volume lost, 1 unit of mass gained.”
        You’re going through a lot that they actually had to find out. Lavoisier started with burning phosphorus. There he noted the mass gain. He probably couldn’t allow for the absorption of water by the oxide. Then he proved mass conservation by oxidising metals in a sealed container, which suggests the mass came from the enclosed air. He didn’t have any way of measuring the density of air or oxygen; that came later. So he couldn’t equate the volume loss to mass gain.

        So in terms of “do we really need an explanation”, well, the Committee of Public Safety said no. But there was a lot to be learnt.

    • Nick Stokes missed a few steps here and used certainty language when none exists:

      They are following the ordinary scientific reasoning, which goes:
      1. Hypothesis – CO₂ Could cause warming and so increase May raise sea levels
      1.5. Are global sea levels rising before addition of CO2?
      2. Consequence – accelerated rise May follow burning C
      3. Test if consequence is observed
      3.5 Is any observed consequence easily discernible from natural SLR?
      4. If so, then confidence in hypothesis is increased.

      • “used certainty language when none exists”
        It’s a hypothesis. The hypothesis is that it is so. You don’t need iffy language.

        Finding that the consequence is observed increases confidence. If there are alternative explanations (eg natural SLR) the increase from that observation is smaller. By doing more tests, you try to eliminate alternatives.

    • I can see that this will be a useless thread, because the actual post has no supporting content.

      It seems as if the majority of the commenters have not, in fact, read the paper.

      It’s well worth the read folks.

      The paper looks like what you would expect from an established scholar. His list of publications is impressive and widely cited. It was a joy to read. By my count it has 105 references. He has, as you would expect for a late career scholar, done his homework. The fact that it is relatively easy to read might lead some of the unsophisticated to the conclusion that it isn’t very deep.

      One of the things that particularly gets up my nose is that some folks will take data that is accurate to +/- 20% at best and insist that the resulting calculations are somehow accurate to +/- 1%.

      A very different picture emerges when uncertainties are included in the balance.


      • “The paper looks like what you would expect from an established scholar. His list of publications is impressive and widely cited.”
        Seriously? I cannot see that any of them, including this one, has appeared in a refereed journal. The Social Science Research Network is a repository; anyone can put anything there. The citations seem to be mostly self-citations.

      • Nick, check out Google Scholar. link

        His most cited paper has 76 cites. Here’s a link to the first page of the citations. I don’t see any self citations there.

        In the circular reasoning paper he has cited nine of his own papers, out of 105 total referred papers. That’s not really out of line.

        It’s not as bad as some folks believe but the social sciences do have a miserable record when it comes to paper citations. In that light, Munshi’s papers seem to have fared rather well.

      • “His most cited paper has 76 cites.”
        That is a technical paper (“A method for constructing Likert scales”) in business research, which seems to have been his speciality.

        His most cited paper on climate, or any kind of physical science, is “Decadal Fossil Fuel Emissions and Decadal Warming: A Note”. It has 10 citations. Every one a self-citation. Here they are.

      • Nick Stokes February 27, 2018 at 9:14 am

        … business research, which seems to have been his speciality.
        His most cited paper on climate, or any kind of physical science …

        The paper we’re considering here, “Circular Reasoning in Climate Change Research”, isn’t a science paper per se. It’s a paper about how science is conducted. It considers some climate science papers in the same context as papers from other fields which exhibit circular reasoning. You can nit pick all you want but it’s actually by a credible scholar who knows what he’s talking about. He’s found examples of circular reasoning. If you think scientists are immune from that, you’ve never worked in science.

    • Sorry nick but you are making unfounded assumptions in your list. Point 2 assumes as fact that rise is already happening from a cause other than CO2. Presence of accelerated rise does not imply that CO2 is the cause at all. To state that you have to rule out an increase due to the original forcing.

      As this cause isn’t known beyond vague hand waving, it’s impossible to rule it out.

      • “Point 2 assumes as fact”
        It says that the hypothesis, if true, would show acceleration. It is really part of the hypothesis.

        “Presence of accelerated rise does not imply that CO2 is the cause at all.”
        Yes. That is my point. It would be a consequence of CO2 rise, and so its observation, being consistent with that, adds confidence to the hypothesis. It doesn’t prove it, though it might rule out alternative hypotheses.

    • No: you form a hypothesis which must have some evidence of indicating it might be true and you try to run experiments proving that the hypothesis is invalid. That is real science. Any other way just introduces bias into your thinking. If you cant prove the hypothesis wrong then it advances to a theory which others will try to attack. If no one can prove the theory wrong it then still remains only a theory. However it will get into textbooks when many debates have been held and almost all the scientific community has agreed that they understand the science behind the theory Ex: the standard model behind quantum theory. Problems arise when you dream up things like Dark Energy and Dark matter to explain other phenomena. Even scientists cannot prove that a pink elephant doesnt exist, but there has to be some science that indicates that it exists or else it is just folly. Dreamers of pink elephants have to prove that they exist or they should be laughed at. The problem with AGW was that there were no debates and the AGW crowd did not carry out real data experiments to try to prove it wrong. They just assumed it was correct and they refused to debate and they never really had a valid physics based explanation as to how it worked. Instead they relied almost exclusively on computer models that were based on a circular set of reasoning. That is why we are in the mess we are in.

  8. All you can do is form a hypothesis and show that observations are consistent with it. They never by themselves identify the cause.

    Indeed,. and when we find that the observed results of temperature and other measurements are inconsistent with them being caused by delta CO2, that cannot prove anything EXCEPT that AGW is thoroughly refuted, like phlogiston…

  9. Another question for the denihilati:

    If peer-reviewed science is wrong, as you insist, then what’s stopping you from publishing 450,000 peer reviewed scientific articles refuting it? Since science works by “weight of evidence” (number of papers, for the nonscientists), that’s all you’d have to do to overturn our current 97:3 ratio of science supporting the evidence versus evidence rejecting the science.

    A Nobel Prize awaits you!

    And at current exchange rates, ~11.5 Swedish kronor = more than $2.00 per paper. Easy money.

    So what’s the matter? Don’t have enough science to discredit science?

    • Brad

      My understanding, as a non scientist is, that numerical superiority within science is meaningless, it’s the quality of study that prevails.

      My understanding of the 97% consensus is that it represents no more than a few hundred scientists. Nor is science achieved by consensus, only high quality research.

      And the best of my knowledge, the only meaningful, observable manifestation of increased atmospheric CO2 on the planet is that it has greener by 14% over the last 30 years or so of satellite observations. That seems to be high quality, peer reviewed research from a credible source i.e. NASA.

    • No, one paper that shows one million papers are wrong is how science works.

      You are clearly a “nonscientist”.

      There are other easily demonstrated problems with your argument as well. THe Climategate emails showed how peer review and publication had been hijacked. Various research has shown how a significant majority of published papers in all disciplines are somewhere between fraud and wrong. It’s obvious that a sceptical climate scientist would struggle to get on a degree course, pass, get funds for research etc.

      Finally, science moves on. What was thought to be true by most or all suddenly is not. That is science. Saying it cannot and will not move on because everyone says it won’t is a bizarre and obviously silly argument.

    • “If peer-reviewed science is wrong, as you insist, then what’s stopping you from publishing 450,000 peer reviewed scientific articles refuting it? ”
      Already done. A single article is enough.
      Now try and find a single article, in this 450 k pal reviewed junk, that contradict this single one.
      You cannot overturn a 1 true: 99 junk ratio of science supporting the evidence that “climate science” is on par with astrology, in its claim to predict the unpredictable.

      As you see, there is obviously no Nobel Prize awaiting us, as Lorenz, for all his breakthrough, didn’t get it.

      Now, if you find a way to prove that, somehow, math is wrong, and you can, indeed, predict some outcome out of a chaotic system, then
      A Nobel Prize awaits YOU!
      So what’s the matter? Don’t have enough science to discredit science?

      • paqyfelyc, the very first sentence of the paper you cite is: >”We illustrate some of the basic properties of chaotic dissipative dynamical systems with a simple model.”

        Did you get that?

        a MODEL
        Too funny.

        How about some real world DATA instead….you know, like what in science is called “observation?”

      • Thanks for that link paqyfelyc.

        Having just read “Chaos” by James Gleick. 1989, when I concluded that climate science was dancing on a pin where prediction and causality is concerned, I am happy to have that confirmed.

        Just wondering now whether Chaos Theory has developed much since 1989.

      • Alasdair, I too read “Chaos” by James Gleick around that time, and found it somewhat depressing, but also enlightening. Like Gödel’s incompleteness theorems, it puts a lid on certain specific human intellectual endeavors.

        Climate scientists seem to have largely ignored most of the implications and just decided to ‘press on’, even when theory says they are guaranteed to fail. They should largely be defunded until they publicly rein-in their ambitions.

      • “Now, if you find a way to prove that, somehow, math is wrong, and you can, indeed, predict some outcome out of a chaotic system”
        Of course you can. Turbulent fluid dynamics is a chaotic system. And there is a whole engineering field of computational fluid dynamics. It’s what is used to design planes, cars, ships. And it is the basis of numerical weather forecasting too. It works.

      • paqyfelyc,

        I never claimed the consensus was underwritten by 450,000 papers–that’s a strawman!

        It’s underwritten by x papers, where

        3x/97 + 450000 = 97x/3

        Skeptics obviously have to write MORE papers than the scientists in order to overturn (invert) the current ratio of scientific to skeptical papers.

        Brad Keyes
        Fighting to rid science of the skourge of scepticism since 2013
        Rave, rave against the lying of the Right!

    • Brad,

      “If peer-reviewed science is wrong” I don’t think anyone is claiming that all peer reviewed science is wrong. It is simply subject to human nature.

      The impact of human nature on science in general, its effect on peer review and the resulting perceived “weight of evidence” and many other things, in my reading, is best exposed in the following article. As an aside, it has nothing to do with climate science. The problems are endemic in in many branches of science.

      Read it at your leisure then let me know if you still believe climate science is exempt from these problems.

    • Albert Einstein: When told of a book that the Nazis had published against Jewish scientists in Germany called “100 Authors Against Einstein”, he said “Why one hundred? If I were wrong, one would have been enough.”

  10. Another question for the denihilati:

    If science is false, as you claim, then how come there always seems to be more and more evidence?

    If it were wrong, there would be less and less evidence. Papers would be disappearing as we speak. Not just every year or so, like when Stephan Lewandowsky has to retract his research due to ethical threats, but all the time.

    Quite the opposite is happening.. My personal stack of Science magazines just keeps getting taller, and heavier, month after month after month (excluding postal delays).

    Which tells me one and only one thing: the science is growing, and it all points to a single overwhelming conclusion: that the evidence is correct.

    • Quality, not quantity I’m afraid old bean. And if you are a scientist, surely it’s your duty to be suspicious of ‘overwhelming’ evidence. As we undoubtedly know less about the planet than we know, your alarmist position is in considerable jeopardy.

    • Are you as stupid as your comment makes you out?

      How would papers that are retracted make your stack of magazines lower? And are you claiming that say the discovery that most stomach ulcers are caused by bacteria hasn’t invalidated all the previous papers on ulcers and their treatment?

      Papers are disappearing – try Retraction Watch for example. You seem to be quite ignorant and not very bright in truth yet for some reason think you are very smart.

      • How would papers that are retracted make your stack of magazines lower?

        They wouldn’t. They’d make it higher, if only they hadn’t been retracted, thus making it lower.

        And are you claiming that say the discovery that most stomach ulcers are caused by bacteria hasn’t invalidated all the previous papers on ulcers and their treatment?

        Science works by weight of evidence. This isn’t just my opinion. Naomi Oreskes and John Cook are both paid large salaries to teach the philosophy of science at Top-10 Universities, and they agree: science points in whichever direction has the highest stack of papers.

        (Are YOU paid a large salary to teach the philosophy of science at a Top-10 University?)

        So to answer your question:

        Yes, a single paper obviously can overturn hundreds of previous papers, but only if it’s extraordinarily thick. How many pages long, exactly, was this study supposedly “discovering that most stomach ulcers are caused by bacteria”?

      • Yes, a single paper obviously can overturn hundreds of previous papers, but only if it’s extraordinarily thick.
        This competes for the prize of the most silly comment.
        Unless you count 9 pages as “thick”
        Not even sure Pasteur even wrote a single paper, when overturning the “spontaneous generation” consensus. If he did, he certainly could in a single page, as his experiment was really simple and straightforward.

      • “Science works by weight of evidence”

        By weight of high quality data. Junk science results from placing high confidence in low quality data – like climate science does.

      • “Science works by weight of evidence”

        Science works for a living. If you pay scientists to build red widgets, how many blue widgets do the produce?

      • Brad is playing the devil’s advocate here, and having some fun with it. But the questions he’s raised are similar to what you will hear from the media or the great uninformed masses. So think about your answers, but don’t be too quick to attack Brad.

    • Throughout history the “consensus” has been overturned, Einstien, Darwin etc. etc. Next Brad will be telling us that the world is less than 4300 years old because the consensus amongst radical Christians makes it so. Consensus is meaningless if it is just plain wrong.

    • “If science is false, as you claim, then how come there always seems to be more and more evidence?”

      If you mean evidence of gullible warming, there’s more and more evidence that it’s wrong.

    • “If science is false, as you claim, then how come there always seems to be more and more evidence?”

      I don’t see anyone stating that science is false.
      As to “seems to be more and more evidence”.
      Evidence for what?

      Seem: v. 1. To give the appearance of being.
      2.To appear to one’s own mind.
      3. To appear to be true or evident.
      4. To appear to exist.

    • @ Brad:
      “Stephan Lewandowsky has to retract his research due to ethical threats” …
      We seem to be separated by a common language,
      “ethical threats” is surely an oxymoron (except, perhaps, in post-science modernism)

    • If science is false, as you claim, then how come there always seems to be more and more evidence?

      It only seems that way because people are busy inventing it.

      • Scientists have to keep “inventing it” because skeptics keep taking it away from them, using FOI and cyber-leaks and so on.

        When will certain people learn that if you don’t like the implications of the data then you’re free to make up your own, like the scientists do.

      • “if you don’t like the implications of the data then you’re free to make up your own”

        That was Namnyef too, wasn’t it? Sounds like something he’d say – he got everything backwards.

  11. “Of course, the identification of Welsh and even more ridiculously Irish as “Celtic” was done in the 18th century and comes very much out the same stable as Arianism.”

    You don’t even know when you are talking bollox.
    “18th century ?”, when WELSH was clearly spoken in most of ancient Britain 1000+ years ago, as far north as Edinburgh.
    Our cousins in Brittany date back as long.

    Learn something.
    There are 2 branches of largely unrelated celtic languages, one being manx-irish-gaelic scottish, and the other being the welsh-breton-cornish branch.
    They are both 2 of the oldest written languages in Europe, and have little to do with the Romans, because they didn’t even dare venture north of the English border as we all know.

    Even the Welsh version of the bible preceded the King James version, because ostensibly the English wanted to prove how superior their language was so the Welsh could compare 2 different versions side by side.

    Unsurprisingly they chose the vastly superior Welsh version, which led to the 18th century revivals and indirectly to the writing of Handel’s Messiah…

    • Brad

      “Three quarters of peer-reviewed studies disagreed with the IPCC, “either explicitly or implicitly.”

      That’s 75% against isn’t it? What happened to the 97% for climate change.

      • Seventy five percent?

        And you still moan that you’re the victims of censorship by gatekeeping, grouthinking Mindguards?

        Can’t you see the corollary that’s right in front of your nose: contrarians are conspiring (yes, I said it: conspiring) to keep the vast majority of scientists (who agree with the IPCC) from being published, not vice versa.

        Condemned by your own data!

      • But you tell us there is a 97% concencus, yet cite an article telling us there’s 75% dissent.

        Make up you mind, which is it?

        Your convoluted logic is way out there man.

      • Hang in there HotScot – remember Brad thinks 97 is greater than 100, so he needs more help than we can give him here.

        Now he thinks that Naomi Oreskes is right when she proclaims a “scientific consensus” and thinks she is right when she proclaims there isn’t a “scientific consensus”.

        Brad, stand in front of a mirror and say hello to a member of the “denihilati”.


    • “If minoritarian science is being censored and suppressed, as you claim, then how come it’s practically everywhere in the literature?”

      Well, you tell us: how come the IPCC and government follow the claims of 1/4 of “scientist” (as they call themselves), who claim to represent the “consensus”, when actually 3/4 of the science says otherwise, according to you?

      Simple answer: “what’s matter in an election is who does the counting, not what’s in the ballot box”

      what is the result you want as official science result? Just unofficially ask several experts, find those who push the narrative you want, then officially ask THOSE (not the others) to write a report on the question. and Voilà. No need to even censor and suppress others.

      • paqfelyc,

        just because so few scientists believe in a consensus, doesn’t make it wrong. It’s a consensus, which means it’s mainstream, which means it’s sound, which means it’s science, even if it’s championed by a lone voice in the wilderness. To quote Naomi Oreskes’ tribute to her hero, Wegener, in The History of the Climate Debate:

        “MY BIGGEST inspiration? I’d have to say Alfred Wegener, the father of the scientific consensus on plate tectonics.

        “Wegener’s faith in mainstream geology was so unwavering that he stood up for our ruling paradigm even when all around him ridiculed it—a lone voice for accepted science in a sea of contrarian rejection. His example teaches us the preciousness of majority science, a flame we must never suffer to be extinguished.

        “Speaking out for the consensus can be lonely work, as Alfred Wegener learned the hard way.”

        Naomi Oreskes
        Harvard Professor of Majority Opinion in the Earth Sciences
        Author, ‘Wegener: How One Man (Eventually) Won the War on Geology Deniers‘

      • Oh, man, you got the history backwards. Before Wegener the consensus hypothesis among Earth scientists was isostasy. Wegener was a denier of the isostasy hypothesis, the consensus theory supported by academia.

        Wegener used the data he collected during his expeditions to Greenland to refute isostasy.

        Oreskes rewrote the history in an Orwellian way. Isostasy is equivalent to todays CAGW.

        Same happened with Heliocentrism, the consensus hypothesis during the middle ages, and Galileo.
        Or spontaneous generation, the consensus hypothesis during most of the XIXth century, and Pasteur.
        Or the cause of stomach ulcers, where the consensus hypothesis 20 years ago was that it was due to stress and/or excessive production of HCl, and helicobacter pilory.

        In all those cases, the theories taught by academia were heliocentrism, spontaneous generation and isostasy. And now the theory taught at universities is CAGW, despite the fact that there is no correlation between CO2 levels and temperature, or mean sea level, or facts like that the Antarctic Sea Ice Record Maximum was set on 2015.

      • @Urederra
        Brad is just having fun with /sarc, don’t believe that Naomi Oreskes ever told what he puts in her mouth

      • paqyfelyc

        “don’t believe that Naomi Oreskes ever told what he puts in her mouth”

        I paraphrased Oreskes, not to distort her meaning but simply because I won’t dignify her offal by reading it. But I do know what its core thesis is, and it’s pretty much what the title (The American Rejection of Plate Tectonics or whatever) implies. To wit:

        Having come face to face with the fact that her hero bucked the consensus, and was right, in a point-blank contradiction of her consensualist ideology, she deals with her cognitive dissonance by flipping the language around: instead of Wegener rejecting what was then the orthodoxy, she portrays him as championing what has since become the orthodoxy, which makes his opponents, not him, guilty of “deni@l” or “rejection” of mainstream science—even when they outnumbered Wegener 999 to 1!

        It’s beyond parody.

        Well, almost.

    • Besides being censored and suppressed by the gatekeepers of funding and peer review, the media only promote the same handful of climate apostles (Mann, Hansen, Nye, Gore, etc). Let them provide equal coverage to skeptics, and the gullible warming industry will fall like a house of cards.

  12. Another question for the denihilati:

    If you hate science so much, as you’d have us believe, then why do the scientists on “your” side seem to adhere so closely to the scientific method when writing climate-science papers—closer than the actual scientists, in most cases?

    Hypocrisy much?

    • Brad, as someone who once believed in CAGW, let me tell you my take on global warming. In short, as Harold Lewis said, it’s the biggest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud in history.

      The “proof” that CO2 is warming our planet consists of temperature and other measurements that show “anomalies” that are within the margin or error, as someone else pointed out. For example, we don’t know the “global temperature” in 1900 to the nearest 0.5C. How many thermometers did we have in 1900?

      Other “proof” consists of pointing to the warming arctic– which has happened before– and the speed of temperature rise, which has also happened before, and so on. Or we point to flooding in Miami Beach, whose flooding areas are built on former mangrove swamps (Hello?) and we fail to consider other land-use issues surrounding Miami Beach (such as an increased extent of impervious areas.) How do we explain that a 1000-year-old forest was found in Alaska that had been covered by a glacier? Is that because it was colder 1000 years ago in Alaska? In fact there’s no solid proof that CO2 is doing anything to our atmosphere– no actual test of this, no experiment. John Christy has shown that models aren’t even close when it comes to measurements of the tropical troposphere. Connolly and Connolly have demonstrated that the lapse rate isn’t distorted as predicted by infrared cooling models. This is hard, measurable, reproducible data, and if you want to talk about a Nobel Prize then someone can repeat the experiment of the Connollys to show that the lapse rate is distorted according to the infrared cooling models that are used in all climate models and that are based on consensus atmospheric physics.

      There are many assumption and conjectures supporting climate science that are simply assumptions and conjectures– and you can’t build an “irrefutable” science on assumptions and conjectures! One of my favorites is that greenhouse gases account for the 33K that the surface temp is above the blackbody temp of earth, yet it seems to me that most, if not all, of this surface temperature can be accounted for by the fact that there are about 19,000 pounds/square yard of atmospheric pressure at the surface, and this tremendous pressure, contrary to what some believe, must necessarily result in a lapse rate that shuttles the bulk of atmospheric heat toward the surface. If some believe that a few “hot” molecules high up in the atmosphere means it’s “hot” up there (or that a GHG-free atmosphere would be “isothermic”) then I invite them to stick their hands in the very “hot” thermosphere.

      • Don132

        thanks for your detailed answer.

        But I think you’re overthinking it. (If you enjoy it, that’s fine—but you’re going to a lot more effort than I would.)

        I never believed in CAGW, but if I had, I would’ve changed my mind as soon as they stooped to the consensus argument. That alone was proof that there’s no evidence for CAGW. It’s the mating call of the evidentially bankrupt. No non-pathological school of science has ever resorted to Oreskeist nonsense, or would ever need to. The game was up at that point.

      • I don’t think it’s a matter of “overthinking.” It’s a matter of simply “seeing,” which brings us back to intuition, which must be primary to logic. If you can’t “see” then it doesn’t matter how much you think about it, you’re not going to get it.

        Interesting, isn’t it? Intuition precedes reason. It’s almost as if we can become conditioned to see things one way and no matter what anyone says, we simply can’t see what they’re saying; we can’t break out of our paradigm, which paradigm may be perfectly (internally) consistent but is somehow missing the bigger picture.

        We all know people who just don’t “get it.” But if we define terms carefully then at least we can see (there’s that word again!) where we went wrong.

        Some say that reason is just tautology and adds nothing to our understanding, but I disagree. Reason asks us to define our terms. For example, if a=b and b=c then a=c. Wonderful! But what if we (unconsciously) define “b” as sometimes b+x and sometimes b-y and sometimes b/d? In other words, what if “b” takes on the character of some (much?) of our language usage and has no clear identity? Then we can argue back and forth about how “a” is or isn’t equal to “c” because we really don’t know for sure what “b” is. We confuse ourselves because we don’t define our terms clearly and distinctly.

        Ultimately we must have enough intuition to be able to see where we went wrong. So in a sense we have to adapt a mode of understanding that is meta-paradigm, that understands paradigms but that knows better than to get blindly caught in the logic of any particular, internally self-consistent paradigm. We can sort things out through careful reasoning that isn’t bound tightly and “irrefutably” (to borrow a word used to describe a popular theory) to any one paradigm.

        See what I mean?

      • @Don123;

        You and others just don’t seem to get that Brad is the sort of person who loves pitching a stink bomb into the cafeteria just to agitate the lunch-goers. He’s putting you all on. Take a deep breath and move on.

      • My reply @ 6:04 was in mind of Brad’s reply of 5:13, in which he made it clear he was goofing on us. He opened the door to my little essay on “what is thinking?” Maybe I really did overthink it!

      • If my agitcomedic schtick-stirring “opened the door” on that profound [epistemo]logical monograph, then it was worth it. Very interesting read. Thanks Don123

  13. Another question for the denihilati:

    If you’re really innocent of receiving tens of billions of dollars a year in “black money” from undisclosed petrochemical and other shadowy vested interests in return for churning out your beliefs, as you claim, then how come there’s zero evidence of anywhere near these amounts of money changing hands? Where’s the paper trail? What are you ashamed to declare?

    You can’t blame the vast majority of credible people for inferring that you must have something to hide.

    It’s only logical.

    • Brad

      If we’re really innocent, there wouldn’t be a paper trail, surely?

      Is it just me or does Brad post entirely self contradictory statements?

    • Why must you preface all your comments with an ad hominem attack? Do you think this makes you look good? Can I recommend that you drop this approach if you want to conduct an adult discussion.

    • Brad,
      Petrochemical Industry is a collection of businesses with share holders and requires huge investments in infrastructure and exploration. Evidently you have never heard of Sarbanes-Oxley and corporate governance. You need to get a better understanding of how business works. Share-holders would not tolerate your “Billions” being passed under the table nor would the governments that tax those companies in particular American corporations.

      In recent decades the unmitigated success of the oil and gas industry has driven down the cost of energy and has changed the USA from an energy importer to an exporter and made the USA the world leader in lowering carbon dioxide emissions through the use of Shale gas. This was not driven by climate change drivel but by energy demand. They are not pouring money into climate science that is just tosh… over a quarter of a million jobs were lost in the industry world-wide in the last decade due to lower pricing. Saudi Arabia’s economy is almost collapsing for the same reasons. Little or no investment has been made in exploration and new developments so now we see oil prices are starting to rise because energy supply is falling. Where is all the wind and solar… what’s happened to the subsidies you have had for 30 years and 10 of which borrowing was free??

      What is true is that leftist have been pouring Billions of Tax Payers money into the renewable industry and so called climate science with no tangible benefits. Corporate governance does not apply to government bribes. Even with oil prices above $100 a barrel the “renewables” could not compete without obscene subsidies. We are following the money and it is all “black” from carbon credits to wind farms to inconvenient truths.

      You don’t hear your so called “denihilati” demanding the gagging and imprisonment of your or shipping to Madagascar of your bunch of thieves and circular thinkers. But perhaps they should be calling you out on crimes against humanity as you stifle development in the third world and diminish living standards in developed nations.

      The only good news I can see from the CAGW movement is that if you get your way we will only have to hear from you during the times between energy “brow-outs”. Unfortunately there will be millions freezing to death in the Northern hemisphere as their heating shuts down. Who will you be blaming then? Non-vegan animal husbandry????

      Please leave lah-lah land and join us here on planet earth

  14. Another question for the denihilati:

    If you’re really not afraid of the free exchange of information and ideas—in other words, if you’re really as opposed to censorhip as you claim—then how come you continually force blogs like SkepticalScience, RealClimate, The Conversation, David Appel’s Quark Soup, Sou’s, And Then There’s Physics and Critical Angle to censor you? It’s like when Mark “Chamption of Free Speech” Steyn forced Distinguished Professor Michael Mann to sue him over his comments.

    Disingenuity, thy name is skepticism.

    • Brad

      This doesnt make sense to me.

      I think sceptics are against censorship. The sites you cite as censoring debate are the villains for doing so, surely?

    • Brad Keyes,

      In the early days of RealClimate, I was a frequent commentator there, as I had some hope that it would be a genuine platform for scientific exchange. After about a year, I observed that about half my comments disappeared in cyberspace, without obvious reason, although always on topic and polite, as I am mostly are. That is was the end of free exchange of scientific ideas for me.
      So don’t accuse others of provoking censoring, these blogs don’t need a trigger, just censor what they don’t like…

      • Ferdinand,

        Just RealClimate? I’ve had that experience at just about every believalist blog I try to participate in. (In fact, they’re MORE allergic to polite contradiction than abuse, because by being nice, you’re disconfirming all their prejudices about climate infidels.)

        Anyway these data were the inspiration for the Keyes-Bradley Hypothesis:

        the interval between the first and last comment one is allowed to post at a believalist blog is inversely proportional to how cogently, lucidly and politely one sodomizes their belief system with a chainsaw.

        At Dan Kahan’s blog (one of the laudable exceptions), I complained that the only rule my censored comments ever broke was the unwritten Comment Policy that states “You are not allowed to win an argument.”

        Joshua was skeptical:

        “I’ve never seen one of these ‘argument-winning’ comments you claim are being censored, Brad.”

        Don’t miss the next episode of Logic With Believalists…

      • Ferdinand,

        you’ve just been censored and mass-deleted at RealClimate? Amateur!

        The Keyes-Bradley Hypothesis tells us:

        the interval between the first and last comment you’re allowed to post at a believalist site is inversely proportional to how lucidly, cogently and politely you roger their organizing paradigm with a cactus.

      • Brad,

        Sorry mate, you are a victim of your own verbose prose. You ramble, you contradict yourself, and you are clearly self obsessed with your interpretation of the English language.

        Seriously, I don’t know if you are an alarmist or a denier. Your logic is entirely backasswards and you can’t answer a simple question without boring you reader to death with political styled ramblings.

        Although, I must say, your comments are even too simplistic for a politician, your ego just won’t recognise it.

        Communication is all about simplifying complicated messages. Not complicating simple subjects.

        Try it, you’ll be fine.

      • HotScot,

        you accuse me of havingg my logic @ss-backwards, revealing a scientific illiteracy that’s sadly all too common in certain parts and times.

        Hint: That’s the direction the human buttocks are SUPPOSED to face.

        Would you prefer I used @ss-forwards logic, like certain folk?

    • Distinguished Professor Michael Mann , now it makes sense , it is a comedy routine you are trying out, have to say still needs some work.

    • Okay Brad just stop it please your sarcasm isnt getting anywhere. You dont believe in AGW and neither do we

      • “stop it please your sarcasm isnt getting anywhere”

        It may be the lowest form of wit, but it keeps going over people’s heads.

        I will never rest, or “stop it,” until I’ve discovered a new, even lower form of wit suitable for a WUWT-reading audience.

        “You dont believe in AGW and neither do we”

        That’s not exactly true. I don’t believe in CAGW, and therefore I don’t care about AGW.

    • I think Brad Keyes is a fifth columnist trying to make the CAGW gullible look stupid.

      I’m reminded of a Mark Twain quote: “Never argue with an idiot. Onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”

      • And in Glasgow, the expression is: sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, and it’s only half wits that use it.

        I hope that didn’t come across as sarcastic.

      • I avoid sarcasm on the internet. Like you, I’ve tried it, and it didn’t go over well. I’ve gotten praised by some whose views I detest, and gotten reviled by others whose views I agree with

    • “if you’re really as opposed to censorship as you claim—then how come you continually force blogs … to censor you?”

      LOL. How come so many women continually force men to rape them?

    • … then how come you continually force blogs like SkepticalScience, RealClimate, The Conversation, David Appel’s Quark Soup, Sou’s, And Then There’s Physics and Critical Angle to censor you?

      My response: (-_-) … (-_^) … (-_-)…zzz

  15. From the work by Jamal Munshi:

    the observed change in atmospheric CO2 is converted into gigatons of carbon equivalent (GTC) and its ratio with total fossil fuel emissions in GTC over the same period is interpreted as the fraction of the increase in atmospheric CO2 that was caused by emissions. This so called “airborne fraction”, taken as evidence of anthropogenic increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, subsumes the relationship that it purports to prove

    If that was the only “proof” of the human contribution, Jamal would have a leg to stand. But every single observation shows the same result: humans are the cause of the CO2 increase. Already 10 times sent to Jamal, without any reaction or correction… See:

    Further about his “proof” that natural variability is large enough to “mask” human emissions. That is completely wrong:

    The largest natural fluxes are seasonal and in countercurrent.
    That means that one can’t add the errors of individual fluxes together, as the resultant change in the atmosphere is the difference between two large fluxes and the resulting measured variability is way smaller than human emissions:

    The accuracy of human emissions is based on national inventories of fossil fuel sales (taxes…) and may be somewhat underestimated due to the human nature to avoid taxes (+1 / -0.5 GtC/year)… CO2 measurements are quite accurate and globally better than 0.5 GtC/year
    Anyway in each year of the past 60 years there were more emissions than increase in the atmosphere.

    How much CO2 is circulating each year is not of the slightest interest, as most of it is seasonal and what is removed in one season is released in another season and reverse. All what counts is the result at the end of a full seasonal cycle and that natural variability is average ony half the human contribution. The difference is what is absorbed by vegetation and (deep) oceans.

      • I pointed out the the problem with chaamjamal’s argument here back in 2016, and yet here we are again questioning whether the rise in co2 is anthropogenic.

        If the natural carbon cycle were a net source of co2 into the atmosphere, then co2 would be rising faster than either the net rate of natural emissions or the rate of anthropogenic emissions. This is the case because the rate of increase in atmospheric co2 is the sum of these two quantities. However we observe this is not the case – atmospheric co2 is rising at about half the rate of anthropogenic emissions. This means the natural carbon cycle is a net carbon sink and is opposing the rise in co2. There you are, nice simple argument with no circularity.

        Of course there are more complex arguments, but that ought to do for anyone capable of understanding a bank balance.

      • dikranmarsupial

        I want to say, who cares, CO2 makes the grass grow, but I don’t understand what you’re talking about.

        SO I guess I shouldn’t butt in.

    • I think it can be simply summed up: The ratio of 13C to 12C is decreasing in the atmosphere, so the carbon is organic. The amount of 14C is decreasing, so the carbon must be old. The only places to get old, organic carbon are the geologic reservoir and the oceans. The oceans are becoming more acidic, so they are taking up more carbon than they are giving off; ergo, the carbon must be coming from the geologic reservoir (fossil fuels).

      • aljo1816,

        Good reasoning, except that the oceans have a higher 13/12C ratio than in the atmosphere, as most of it is inorganic. Thus any extra CO2 from the (deep) oceans would increase the 13C/12C ratio in the atmosphere, while we see a sharp decline. That definitely excludes the oceans as source…

      • Ferdinand we all agree that humans have caused more CO2 to be put into the atmosphere but no one has proved that that causes warming

      • Alan

        Perhaps more to the point, no one has proven warming is bad, indeed history seems to suggest it’s largely good for humanity.

        Nor do I yet understand, as a layman, how a trace gas can have such an overwhelmingly negative effect on humanity when it’s the source of our composition.

  16. The king penguin paper on WUWT is a great example of circular reasoning (begging the question really).

    Build a model that assumes (I) a bunch of changes and (II) that those changes will be bad. Run the model. Announce that you have proven that things will be bad.

    The sad thing is that these researchers seem to actually believe they are producing something real and meaningful.

  17. “The validity of the anthropogenic nature of global warming and climate change and that of the effectiveness of proposed measures for climate action may therefore be questioned solely on this basis.” — This is a false statements like many others. Global warming is only one component of human induced changes in climate and human induced changes in climate are one part of climate change. Proposed measures — main component of climate change is adaptation. This is valid in the past and will be valid in the future.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

    • Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

      Philosophically, mans extinction is inevitable. The sun will consume planet earth.

      Climate alarmists are, in my opinion, self obsessed with their own survival, however futile that quest is.

      Therein lies the root of climate alarmism, irrational personal fear.

      • Climate alarmist are obsessed with saving their soul, not their body. They don’t care that man, as a specie, will eventually disappear.(some even long for that).
        As example, you have this man saying that, speaking before 200 greens, and proposing them some miracle to get rid of pollution and CO2, but without changing humans (so that the would keep over-consuming, traveling in planes, etc), well only 2 agreed to use the miracle.
        You have this activist who shut down a pipeline, and now wonder if he should eat, as this require the death of plant and animals.
        I don’t known is this is because of fear, but I thing lots of our behavior are related to fear, not just climate activism

      • “You have this activist who shut down a pipeline, and now wonder if he should eat, as this require the death of plant and animals.”

        That’s not fear, that’s simple mental instability. He needs treatment.

  18. It’s pleasing to see that Jamal Munshi’s paper “Circular Reasoning in Climate Change Research” focuses on Nerem 2018. Munshi’s figure 5 uses 25 year moving windows. Here are two charts using 30 year moving windows that show similar curves:

    The notion that the rate of sea level rise varies over periods of time longer than the 25 years of satellite data, never seems to be considered by Colorado University’s Sea Level Group.

    Curiously Munshi 2018 doesn’t say anything about the re-writing of historical data.

  19. This paper seems to be saying that because some climate research papers presuppose an anthropogenic origin for recent global warming, it follows that the idea that recent global warming is anthropogenic in nature is invalid.

    Can’t figure out whether this argument itself is the result of circular reasoning or just a plain old non sequitur.

    • The Abstract unfortunately reads that way. Have you read the paper itself?

      Anyway, the “idea that recent global warming is anthropogenic in nature” is either true or false.

      It can’t be valid or invalid. Only arguments (and parking tickets) can be valid or invalid.

      • Unfortunately the paper seems to be pay walled.

        P.S. I took the term ‘valid’ from the paper’s abstract, which questions “[T]he validity of the anthropogenic nature of global warming…”

      • Brad

        “Only arguments (and parking tickets) can be valid or invalid.”

        Surely an argument is only validated by it’s conclusion, which invalidates the argument.

        Parking tickets are frequently invalid, it takes a certain type of person i.e. me, to argue that they are invalid which inevitably leads to the conclusion that the are invalid.

        Therefore the conclusion prevails, not the argument.

  20. Question from a layman… We all know about the “urban heat island” effect on temperatures. Could the cumulative effect worldwide in the 20th century have had any appreciable impact on global temperatures? My guess is no, but I’m not sure.

    • That would depend on the surface temperature station network and its retained (biased) data points in reporting and modeling. That’s why UAH is the recourse for those still engaged in science process.

    • daveandrews723

      Sorry, double post.

      A suggestion from a layman.

      I would imagine that the overblown concept of urban heat islands (other than perhaps surrounding weather stations) is an attractive concept. Our planet is overwhelmongly influenced by the oceans, and the land not concreted over by man.

      Then there’s the natural events, I believe a single hurricaine dwarfs mans nuclear warfare ability in a matter of minutes.

      To my mind, humankind occupies a fairly small space on the planet. Urban heat islands are an inconsequence.

      • HotScot

        Urban heat islands are an inconsequence.

        I wouldn’t go that far. UHIE, where it exists, needs to be taken into account. Otherwise the long term trend is skewed. Same can be said of ‘Time of Observation Bias’, etc… The ‘trick’ (possibly an unfortunate turn of phrase here) is to do it in a fair and balanced way.

        A long term gripe of mine is that folks on this site will call ‘foul’ every time NCDC or NASA adjust a prior temperature record; yet the same folks will also call ‘foul’ because current temperature records *aren’t* adjusted to account for UHIE!

        Seems that adjusting temperature records is okay – but only when it suits.

  21. Not sure whether this entirely circular but certainly IPCC sloppy reasoning.

    The prime circular reasoning example may be found in the IPCC definition of Radiative Forcing (RF) as in AR4 and 5.
    Here an assumption is made that no change of “State” occurs. Next is that the term RF is given a value (approx. 1.6 Watts/sq.m) based on data at pre-industrial levels.
    This, in itself is circular as it requires that the “State” must have previously changed to produce the result calculated and therefore negates the definition.
    The next stage then seeks to answer the question of what happens if the cause of the RF is increased and thus has the implicit assumption that rising CO2 levels are in fact the cause.
    Also the assignment of an energy flux in Watts/sq.m to RF is a fundamental error in that the value given is a result specific to only one situation, NOT a value of RF itself with units which should reflect influence rather than flux, such as a change in mean Emissivity/Albedo or some such.*

    The irony of all this mess is that The IPCC then goes on to use a temperature proxy via a perceived sensitivity coefficient to convert this flux into a form which could then be used in modelling programs.

    Need I say more?

    *: A simple analogy here:
    Take a battery connected to a resistance. Voltage V, Current A and resistance R.
    The IPCC says in its definition; that the resistance remains constant but the current increases and that current is defined as RF.
    So, what happens to the voltage? Does the sun shine brighter as CO2 increases? NO! The definition is nonsense and not only nonsense but does not comply with the first law of thermodynamics.

    What actually happens is that the resistance changes which results in an increase in current. In climate and radiative terms this resistance is in essence the combination of Emissivity and Albedo.

  22. Circular reasoning in climate science…

    Fig. 3.
    Vertical distributions of anthropogenic CO2 concentrations in μmol kg–1 and the supersaturation/undersaturation horizons for aragonite and calcite along north-south transects in the (A) Atlantic, (B) Pacific, and (C) Indian Oceans.

    The dashed lines are the preindustrial supersaturation/undersaturation horizons for aragonite and calcite. It is asserted that the supersaturation/undersaturation horizons have shoaled (become shallower) due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Were the preindustrial supersaturation/undersaturation horizons actually measured or observed? No. They were calculated from the increase in CO2 since the mid-1800’s.

    While CO2 and the carbonate compensation depths are related, Feely et al., used circular reasoning. In some, perhaps most, cases, circular reasoning is the only tool in the climate science toolkit because direct measurements of preindustrial pH, DIC, TA. ΩCalcite and ΩAragonite are few and far between.

    Here’s some more circular reasoning…

    The addition of CO2 therefore acidifies seawater and lowers its pH. Over the past 250 years, the mean pH of the surface global ocean has decreased from ≈8.2 to 8.1…

    How was the average pH of seawater from 250 years ago measured? It wasn’t. It was calculated from CO2 “measurements” in Antarctic ice cores.

    • Here’s how oceanic pH calculated from atmospheric CO2 compares to pH calculated from boron isotopes in coral reefs…

      Reef environments are more complicated than the open ocean and their pH levels appear to more closely correlated with long term fluctuations in the PDO rather than atmospheric CO2.

      • David,

        You can’t say that it is circular reasoning, as what Feely did is direct calculation of what can be expected in the ocean surface if the CO2 level in the atmosphere increases. That is supported by direct measurements over the past decades at a few stations. The 30% CO2 increase in the atmosphere leads to a 3% increase of DIC (total dissolved inorganic carbon) in the ocean surface and to a small drop in pH. With a few known parameters, one can calculate all other parameters in ocean waters.

        See Fig, 7 in:

        Further, one can’t compare the pH within a living reef with the pH of open oceans, as the pH within a reef is much more variable that in open oceans.

      • Ferdinand,

        A “direct calculation of what can be expected in the ocean surface” pH “if the CO2 level in the atmosphere increases” using CO2 to calculate pre-instrumental pH is circular reasoning. This doesn’t make it wrong.

        I agree that reef environments are poor representations of the open ocean. That’s why I wrote “reef environments are more complicated than the open ocean.” However, the vast majority, if not all, observation-based estimates of past pH levels come from reef cores.

        A lot of factors affect pH and carbonate saturation states…

        Atmospheric CO2 is just one factor and it isn’t terribly well correlated with either DIC or TA.

        TA and DIC actually correlate better with salinity.

        When I crossplot DIC vs TA, I get a very poor correlation at a constant salinity and a large drop in pH. When I crossplot the in situ DIC vs TA, get a very strong correlation and a relatively insignificant drop in pH for doubling of preindustrial CO2. The nomogram is designed for a constant salinity of 35, temperature of 15°C and pressure of 1 atm… But those variables do not remain constant in the real world.

      • “Atmospheric CO2 is just one factor and it isn’t terribly well correlated with either DIC or TA.”
        It shouldn’t be correlated with TA. That is basically a measure of charge on reactive species, and CO2 isn’t charged. It does seem to correlate reasonable with TIC.

      • David,
        “They’re both related to CO2 and pH is determined by the DIC/TA ratio.”
        Yes, but look at Eq 4. No sign of CO2. And it doesn’t enter indirectly. If you count up the charges, it is the sum. A neutral molecule like CO2 can react, but can’t change the balance of those charges.

        I wrote an interactive gadget here to allow calculation of concentration at equilibrium of all components, including pH, following a forced change in any of the components.

      • That’s why CO2 moves DIC faster than TA, but it still moves TA… otherwise CO2 could actually cause the oceans to become acidic.

        Thanks for the gadget.

      • David,
        “otherwise CO2 could actually cause the oceans to become acidic”
        I think the simplest way to think of TA is charge balance. But If you want to think of it as alkalinity, as one might, it is defined as the amount of acid (H+) you have to add to get to methyl orange neutral, which is about pH 4.4. At that point, carbonates are converted back to CO2. So if you add CO2, it may react with carbonates, but the TA titration will reverse that, meaning that the previously added CO2 didn’t change the amount of acid needed in the titration.

  23. Thank you! First the paper itself made me laugh (is it just me or do other people find logical fallacies being exposed for what they are quite amusing?) Then Brad Keyes ironic comments (and some of the responses) added to my amusement.

    • Well said!

      I look forward to a head post and comments on circular reasoning where all comments require extensive use of dictionary and ironical reasoning to interpret. ;-)

      If and when it occurs it will be a hoot! Probably be on a Friday.

  24. This is the circular reasoning:

    Weather stats which are constantly changing get recorded
    After awhile (not a scientifically determined amount of time) weather stats get repackaged as ‘climate’.
    Climate (originally weather) then is blamed for changes in the weather.

    So weather changes changed the weather.


    • Record cold does not disprove warming. Because climate is not weather.

      Also: “I believe climate is changing because I believe in thermometers”

  25. The whole vaccines cult is based on circular reasoning:

    Two: Read the introduction. The authors went into the study assuming vaccines cause grave harm. ” The aims of this study were 1) to compare vaccinated and unvaccinated children on a broad range of health outcomes, including acute and chronic conditions, medication and health service utilization, and 2) to determine whether an association found between vaccination and NDDs, if any, remained significant after adjustment for other measured factors.” That is serious bias

    Merely asking the question: can vaccines be linked with “acute and chronic conditions…” is a bias for a vaxxer.

    And that charlatanism passes as serious criticism of “anti vaxxers” in some academic circles!!!

  26. Brad,

    I was informed by Robin(1) of an upcoming seminar that you might find of value as it sounds like you could use some new material and what better way “to become proficient in understanding the neurological underpinnings of reading, math and writing disorders.” than to attend a multi-day event with experts who would love to meet you to evaluate if your prose could be captured to improve the mental health of our youth- re-

    It would be interesting to learn more about the skills needed to “evaluate the relevance of neuroscience research for intervention in decision making”(2)



  27. But circular logic makes the academic publishing mill go round. Think of the children. Think of the economic impact.

    • Should molecular biologists question the theory of evolution every time they describe mutations of the flu virus? Should epidemiologists question the germ theory of disease every time there is an outbreak of Cholera? Where does this silliness end?

  28. While attending the CSASTRO meeting held at the Colorado Springs Space Foundation Discovery Center last night a couple of exhibits caught my eye.

    There is a mockup of an MMU, Manned Maneuvering Unit, used on three missions for free floating space walks. The late Bruce McCandless using the MMU was pictured in several news articles. I understand the MMU was abandoned as too risky, a failure and the astronaut is screwed. Too bad they weren’t as cautious about SRM O-rings and loose foam insulation blocks.

    A nearby descriptive panel highlights some of the major MMU systems including a cooling system. If outer space is cold, why is a cooling system needed? Why not a heating system?

    Close by stands a glass case with a mannequin clothed in long underwear with interwoven coolant tubing. This underwear is the first layer of a lunar excursion outfit. A placard nearby explains this cooling is needed because the airless surface of the moon is 253 F (122.7 C, 395.7 K).

    Typical diurnal range of the Moon’s equatorial surface temperature according to Diviner radiometric data is 390 K to 93 K with an average of 213 K. (

    The ISS has not one, but a redundant pair of ammonia refrigerant cooling, chilling, air conditioning systems. Without thermal controls, the temperature of the orbiting ISS sun lit side would soar to 250 degrees F (121 C). (

    According to Radiative Green House Effect theory the surface of the earth at 288 K is 33 C warmer than the earth without atmosphere at 255 K.

    The physical evidence presented above suggests that, because of the reflective albedo, the earth is 160 C cooler with an atmosphere, 394 K (w/o) – 288 K (w).

    What this discussion presents is actual, real, physical, measured evidence that clearly refutes, falsifies RGHE theory and the man caused climate change, CAGW, Anthropocene house of cards, Jenga blocks, dominoes pseudo-science nonsense stacked upon it.

    • “If outer space is cold, why is a cooling system needed?”

      Because space is spacy, and pretty much empty?

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