What Lousy Philosophy Tells Us About Belief In Global Warming

Another take on the ignorance of N. Ángel Pinillos’s NYT article.   From WM Briggs

One reason people doubt global-warming-of-doom is because of lousy philosophers like N. Ángel Pinillos (note the New York Times-sophisticated inclusion of the accent). He wrote a piece entitled (in some places) “What philosophy tells us about climate change skeptics.

Let’s read this essay and see how awful thinking can be and still make it into the “paper of record.”

It starts well, but ends badly.

No matter how smart or educated you are, what you don’t know far surpasses anything you may know. Socrates taught us the virtue of recognizing our limitations. Wisdom, he said, requires possessing a type of humility manifested in an awareness of one’s own ignorance.

A limitation of Á Pinillos’s is ignorance of climate science.

According to NASA, at least 97 percent of actively publishing climate scientists think that “climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely caused by human activities.” Americans overwhelmingly agree that the federal government needs to take significant action. In a recent poll [of citizen’s who can’t say why the sky is blue, let alone delineate the intricacies of climatology]…

Now you’d think Á P. before he gave a lecture of knowledge about global warming would take the trouble to look simple things up. But no. Instead he obviously relied on the media (yes, really), and on the opinion of people who haven’t a clue about, say, parcel theory.

The canard about “97 percent” is particularly stupid. First, 100% of scientists agree that man influences the climate. How could we not? But that in itself, as Á does not understand, does not call for any specific action. And 97%? Did Á even read “Climate Consensus and ‘Misinformation’: A Rejoinder to Agnotology, Scientific Consensus, and the Teaching and Learning of Climate Change“, which shows that the consensus over doom is more like 1%? No, sir, he did not.

Did Á even know to look for this paper? No, sir, he did not. He knows so little about the subject, he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.

He knows less about probability. Which is even more embarrassing, because nobody was expecting him to discuss the limitations of high-altitude cloud parameterizations. But we did think a professional philosopher would know the difference between decisions, knowledge, and probability. He doesn’t.

Suppose you observe a shopper at the convenience store buying a lottery ticket. You are aware that the probability that he will lose the lottery is astronomically high, typically above 99.99 percent, but it’s hard to get yourself to sincerely say you know this person will lose the lottery.

Look here, Á, if the shopper knew he would lose, he wouldn’t buy the damn ticket. We don’t know the shopper is going to lose. We only know it’s likely. Which means we also know he might win.

We can only know what is true. But we can believe anything. Right, Á?

If I had to bet whether the shopper would win, I’d have to think about the consequences about what would happen if I win or lose the bet, and the probability I calculate the shopper has the winning numbers. Probability is thus not decision. And my bet the shopper would lose is not knowledge he would. It’s a guess: a prediction.

Á does not grasp these distinctions, which are basic. He makes the same blunders in an example about his grading homework. I leave casting light on these as my own homework exercise for you, dear reader.

According to social psychology, climate change deniers tend to espouse conservative views, which suggests that party ideology is partly responsible for these attitudes. I think that we should also think about the philosophical nature of skeptical reactions, an apolitical phenomenon.

The standard response by climate skeptics is a lot like our reaction to skeptical pressure cases. Climate skeptics understand that 97 percent of scientists disagree with them, but they focus on the very tiny fraction of holdouts. As in the lottery case, this focus might be enough to sustain their skepticism.

Only a nincompoop uses the term “climate change denier”. Nobody denies the climate changes (I except lunatics). Knowing man influences the climate does not indicate any particular action, nor does it even imply that any such change is necessarily bad. Plus, climate skeptics (many of them) do not understand that 97% nonsense.

Read the full post here


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Tom Halla
December 2, 2018 10:14 am

Pinillos seems to accept the Precautionary Principle as reasonable, as well as being either ignorant or deceptive about the “97%” theme. Either puts Angel Pinillos as a contestant with Alexandria Ocasio Cortez for the airhead award.

Phil R
Reply to  Tom Halla
December 2, 2018 5:58 pm

Or (G*d forbid, I’m even writing this), it elevates her to the level of “philosopher.” If she’s a philosopher on the level of Angel Pinillos, that doesn’t speak well of him, and G*d help Arizona State University.

John Bell
December 2, 2018 10:16 am

The climate faithful think that if they just yell at skeptics then the faithful are not obliged to stop using fossil fuels, that the yelling takes the attention away from the faithful.

R Shearer
December 2, 2018 10:23 am

And I suppose it’s possible that Neil DeGrasse Tyson was only looking for Pluto on her solar system tattoo. As he represents the usual liars, I don’t believe him. In philosophy, everything is possible.

Dave Fair
Reply to  R Shearer
December 2, 2018 10:42 am

Philosophy – Mental Masturbation

Joseph murphy
Reply to  Dave Fair
December 2, 2018 10:57 am

Just because some students of philosophy can’t think themselves out of the way of on coming traffic doesn’t mean philosophy has no value. A good philosophy education will teach one how to think. Not what to think.

Reply to  Joseph murphy
December 2, 2018 11:12 am

It used to teach thought, anyway. I considered it mental masturbaton too at times but it also taught one logic and debate skills. Unfortunately, it also teaches how to market anything via spin and emotion, often espoused relativism and ignoring of reality, and one never actually reached a firm conclusion. As a path to an idea or conclusion, it was helpful. It is not a path to an actual result, however.

Phil R
Reply to  Sheri
December 2, 2018 6:01 pm

Very philosophical! 🙂

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Sheri
December 3, 2018 6:33 am

It’s why you don’t sell the steak, you sell the sizzle.

Reply to  Joseph murphy
December 2, 2018 11:23 am

“A good philosophy education will teach one how to think. Not what to think.”
A good philosophy education will also teach one to be skeptical of claims and to look closely at causality, which seems to be poorly understood by some/many consensus climate scientists and not understood at all by 97% of journalists.

But, a philosophy degree is no guarantee against groupthink, bias, prejudice, or just plain stupidity.

And no, in philosophy not everything is possible. Rules of logic exist for a reason, and that is to help us think clearly and without contradiction: in essence, to clarify our terms so that we understand each other and avoid confusion as much as possible. It’s because too many people don’t pay attention to words, meanings, and contradictions that some are able to bedazzle us with pseudoscience. They don’t pay attention because they’re more concerned with the narrative than with the thought process and it’s origins.

I would argue that if we paid much more attention to causality– a major concern of classical philosophy– then much of this global warming nonsense would be seen for what it really is, a misappropriation of causes in order to prop up a theory based on speculation: a pseudoscience.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Joseph murphy
December 2, 2018 11:37 am

The different schools of philosophy have given me things to think about, not how to think. Intelligence and intellectual honesty do not come from education.

One’s intelligence may assist in producing false philosophical statements/arguments.

Fernando L.
Reply to  Joseph murphy
December 2, 2018 12:54 pm

I never studied philosophy.

Reply to  Joseph murphy
December 2, 2018 2:11 pm

Thank you for saying that. We philosophy majors resent the tendency to casually disregard our acumen, knowledge, and intelligence. We are highly educated and have spent a ton of quatloos to get that way.

Now, do you want fries with that?

Reply to  jörgekafkazár
December 3, 2018 6:30 am

Ha ha ha!

Reply to  Dave Fair
December 2, 2018 12:59 pm

Dave Fair,
what you need is to read
a real philosopher,
not those usual blowhards:
My favorite philosopher:
is Lawrence “Yogi” Berra,
best known for saying:
“I really didn’t say
everything I said.”

Reply to  Richard Greene
December 2, 2018 1:15 pm

His quote which may best encapsulate the warmistas was this one:
“The towels at that hotel are great.
I could barely close my suitcase”.

Phil R
Reply to  Menicholas
December 2, 2018 6:13 pm

Apocryphal quote often attributed to him, but I like it anyway. Says a lot about climate science and CS modeling:

In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, while in practice there is.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Richard Greene
December 2, 2018 10:35 pm

The two greatest philosophers: Yogi & Murphy

Although I have it on good authority that Murphy’s Law was written by another man with the name of Murphy.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Dave Fair
December 3, 2018 2:00 pm

But neither could match Dr Johnson, who wrote the most philosophical law known:

Johnson’s Law:
Everything takes twice as long as you think, even after factoring in Johnson’s Law.

Reply to  R Shearer
December 2, 2018 10:49 am

“In philosophy, everything is possible.”

That’s unkind unjust.

Philosophy is still a signator—in name at least—to the Law of Non-Contradiction, the Excluded Middle Act and the rest of the international treaties that have held the Coma of Reason at bay since before you and I were born.

Please don’t mistake this cacoangelic poseur for a philosopher. Whatever he writes on his tax return, what he writes in the NYTimes is the work of a Doctor Misosophiae.

Phil R
Reply to  Brad Keyes
December 2, 2018 6:24 pm

D*mn, I just want to watch Sunday Night football and you’ve already made me look up some new words! Ok, I’m going with a “fake chocolate angel” that “hates Sophia” (though I don’t know why).

I got the misosophy yesterday. Maybe I’ll just stick with that. 🙂

December 2, 2018 10:38 am

God but the NYT is insufferably snotty and arrogant. And that 97% meme just won’t die!

December 2, 2018 10:40 am

“According to social psychology, climate change deniers tend to espouse conservative views, which suggests that party ideology is partly responsible for these attitudes.”

Yes, it *is* rather a safe bet that party ideology is partly responsible for… conservative views. Clap profound clap.

That’s probably not what N.Á. means, but that’s what his sentence means (if it means anything). The space separating the two is a yawning, vacuous monument to the competence of NYTimes’ opinion editor, in what is just the latest of umpteen confirmations that climate stultifies everything it touches.

I wonder if it ever occurred to this bungling, scientifically-illiterate misosopher that you can’t actually tell squat about the probability of a scientific hypothesis from the number of scientists who prefer to feed it to their cats… and that if such numeromancy actually worked, scientists would probably have come up with the idea oh, about 400 years ago, rather than waiting for Naomi Oreskes to rear her [snip—ad feminam] head.

Still, well done, Naomez. Props for excavating the putrefying cadaver of Consensus Science from beneath the permafrost of Good Fecking Riddance, performing unspeakable acts of succubation on it and summoning the Bubonic Lord to the Earthly plane for a little chat about your career prospects.

No, no, don’t mention it, Naomi—it’s our pleasure to let you and your dysÁngelic epigones infantilize the way we speak about science if that’s what it takes to get a half-baked geologian with no discernible talents a Professorial chair at Oxford. I mean, look at you: it’s not as if you could have schlepped your way to the top. You’re no spring chicken.

Please, we insist, take Western epistemology with you while you’re at it, do what thou wilt, go with Gud. It was 3000 years old anyway; we’ve been looking for an excuse to get a new one.

Reply to  Brad Keyes
December 2, 2018 11:37 am

Brad Keyes

Nice rant. 🙂

Reply to  HotScot
December 3, 2018 3:01 pm

It is not my rant. I rant for every of us. I rant for them whose rants the muckety-mucks and media moguls refuse to heed. I rant for also you, HotScot, also you.

It is a Volksrant.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Brad Keyes
December 3, 2018 6:08 pm

According to social psychology, climate change deniers tend to espouse conservative views, which suggests that party ideology is partly responsible for these attitudes.

Not only your rant, Brad, but Á doesn’t consider the reverse, namely that, ‘… which suggests that thinkers who take a conservative view are more likely to see through the scientific crock that is consensus climatology.

Á’s essay throughout is axiomatically implicit that AGW rests on good science.

He’s wrong. It doesn’t.

Á’s essay proceeds to a mistake-informed logic-supported mistake; an ever-present hazard in philosophy, which does not vet its conclusions in experiment.

Hence, perhaps, why Á did not test his 97% supposition against the facts. He’s likely professionally unused to checking the verity of his beautiful theories.

Phil R
Reply to  Brad Keyes
December 2, 2018 6:26 pm


Ancient Wrench
Reply to  Brad Keyes
December 2, 2018 8:58 pm

The quote also reflects the leftist assumption that Party elites shape proletarian attitudes. Among conservatives, it is the attitudes of the people that shape the party’s ideology. Skepticism of government-appointed “experts” and of hugely expensive big-government solutions to ill-defined problems long predates Climate Alarmism.

Reply to  Brad Keyes
December 3, 2018 4:10 am

Thank you.
Well said.
Naomi and this mullet are the sort of people who justified Marie Antoinette saying, “Let them eat cake.”
And their clients currently running the EU are doing a fair impression of the late Queen.

December 2, 2018 10:45 am

The “Gray Lady” has definitely hit bottom…

Rhoda R
Reply to  Marcus
December 2, 2018 12:55 pm

Oh I’m sure she can reach even further depths without even batting a false eyelash.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Rhoda R
December 3, 2018 2:02 pm

It’s Gray Lady all the way down.

Reply to  Marcus
December 2, 2018 3:07 pm

“Old grey lady” is an anagram of ‘really dodgy.’

December 2, 2018 10:52 am

I am frustrated by the inappropriate application of the precautionary principle. It used in the form “The risks are so great, even if we are wrong we need to do something”. It should be applied as follows: “If we really don’t understand something, we should do nothing. We risk making the situation worse and wasting valuable resources as we do so”.

Reply to  Ian Rayner
December 2, 2018 11:18 am

As the late Ronald Reagan was fond of telling his aides “don’t just do something, stand there”

December 2, 2018 11:01 am

Preaching to the choir.

Robert of Texas
December 2, 2018 11:04 am

I am 97% sure that I believe this N. Ángel Pinillos is 99.9% wrong in their analysis of 100% of the survey results or whatever survey they are using.

By the way…did you know 89.4% of all statistics is made up?

Its kind of amazing that someone trained in philosophy never even considered they could be on the wrong side of an debate. They don’t bother to actually validate the very things they use to construct their argument. They use terms like “Climate Denier” which demonstrates they don’t even understand what the argument is about. This shows an elite sort of arrogance…my opinion trumps facts.

I suggest learned people study risk-analysis before they write such articles. In risk analysis, one would consider the cost of an incident versus the chance of it happening. One could also include any side-benefits to be used for cases where there are no over-riding risks. I the case of a person buying a lottery ticket, if they can trade, say the purchase of a candy bar for a lottery ticket, I would say go for it, even though the risk of winning is tiny. The side benefit is not eating some extra calories. It it were a choice of milk for my child versus a lottery ticket, then the side-benefits are negative and push the decision the other way.

In the case of AGW, the risk is not even known… But lets just use the upper worse case of an increase of 6C in 100 years. The cost mitigation is fairly easy to compute, build bigger sea-walls and stop building next to the coasts. The cost of prevention is impossible to compute, because we do not even know the degree to which additional CO2 affects climate – so prevention is a canard – it might or might not have any effect. It is also extremely expensive, so a risk statement would read something like spend $$$ over 100 years to mitigate or spend $$$$$$$ over 30 years to possible prevent with the cost of mitigation $$$ set aside for just-in-case.

The choice is easy to make – mitigation is the only workable calculation.

Reply to  Robert of Texas
December 3, 2018 12:20 am

+ 100!

Reply to  Robert of Texas
December 3, 2018 5:06 am

Great beginning! But you left out the “Do Nothing” case. And the 4th assessment report just told us that at worst that would cost us 4% of GDP by the year 2100. The actual $ value has been calculated any number of places, based on assumptions of 1%-4% annual growth, which turns into a cost well less than one-tenth of one percent of the cost of completely eliminating all fossil fuel use from the World, which besides being hugely expensive is impractical anyway. I’ll make the popcorn, we can sit over here doing nothing (which I do quite well, OSIHBT) and watch.

J Mac
December 2, 2018 11:12 am

After reading his written diarrhetic effusion, I note his initials (NA) are commonly attributed to ‘Not Applicable’. ‘Nuff said.

December 2, 2018 11:25 am

99.7%+ 0.5% is 100.2% ?

Bruce Cobb
December 2, 2018 11:25 am

I don’t know that N. Ángel Pinillos is an idiot, but the likelihood that he is one is high.

John F. Hultquist
December 2, 2018 11:28 am

When I got to: “According to NASA, at least 97 percent of actively publishing climate scientists” —

I knew this writer was uneducated about the issue. (Did I say that nicely enough?)
I did read the entire post because I always enjoy what WM Briggs writes.

Roger Knights
Reply to  John F. Hultquist
December 2, 2018 3:31 pm

That “actively publishing” comes from the first, least defensible survey, IIRC. So I doubt it was the one NASAcited, if any. Mr. likely it cited the Cook survey.

December 2, 2018 11:35 am

just a point of order:
he says that NASA originated the “97% consensus” but I am fairly sure that I have learnt from this and other sites that it originated with Cook and Lewandowsky at some Australian University of no great renown.
Have I misunderstood all this while ?

Reply to  mikewaite
December 2, 2018 12:57 pm

You’re mostly right.

First, there were TWO 97% papers. One by Cook and one by Zimmerman. Extensive discussion of both on WUWT in earlier threads. Short version:

They are both easily debunked. Zimmerman’s paper was based on two questions, neither one of which has anything to do with endangerment (I for example would have said yes to both despite being a raging skeptic) and the other was pure misrepresentation of data.

But I have never seen any suggestion or reference to NASA having been involved in either. Cook works out of a university in Australia for example.

Reply to  davidmhoffer
December 3, 2018 12:22 am

+ 100!

December 2, 2018 11:38 am

Now, let us apply the much-vaunted “Precautionary Principle” the proper way.

There is a 100% GUARANTEE that restricting energy use every year between now and 2100 to try to reduce CO2 to try to reduce future ;potential global warming WILL MAKE make all fossil fuels harder to get, more expensive to pay for, less reliable and less efficient WILL harm 100% of the people on the planet in EVERY NATION, in EVERY WAY (health, comfort, food, clothing, shelter, light, quality-of-life, economic freedom and political freedom.)

Now, against this certainty,
Demanding the artificial increase in fossil fuel price and availability,
“might” restrict fossil fuel use each year between now and 2100,
which “might” reduce human-released CO2 in the atmosphere each year between now and 2100,
which “might” reduce total CO2 in the atmosphere slightly each year between now and 2100,
which “might” reduce atmospheric temperatures slightly each year between now and 2100,
which “might” reduce ice cap melt slightly each year between now and 2100,
which “might” reduce global sea rise slightly each year between now and 2100,
which “might” help a few people avoid 1-10 inches of sea level rise by the year 2100,
which “might” help a few people avoid slowly increasing but unknown problems by the year 2100,
and which “might” help a few plants and animals avoid slowly increasing but unknown problems by the year 2100.

So, what does the Precautionary Principle says we “MUST DO” right now?

Reply to  RACookPE1978
December 3, 2018 12:27 am

Plus +10,000!

Reply to  RACookPE1978
December 3, 2018 4:33 am

Your rational progressive approach is lost on the ideologues and bigots pushing the climate consensus.

December 2, 2018 11:41 am

Actually it would be easy to convince skeptics that global warming is real. All you need to do is present clear convincing honest evidence of it. Evidence would end the debate.

I’m not talking about computer models. Or horror stories about the polar bears and the unicorns going extinct. Or that in Lower Slobvovia the three toed Grizzled Ding-a-ling has migrated this spring into the higher elevations. I mean honest carefully vetted hard temperature data that can show an honest man made rise in the global temperature that is outside the bounds of natural variation and that is outside the margin of error and that can be directly correlated with atmospheric carbon dioxide. An honest study where all the data is transparent and unadjusted and where the temperature measurements are global and accurate.

Considering all the money that has been thrown at the issue and with all the research that has done you would think someone somewhere would have already come out with clear convincing evidence. That should be easy to do. No one has done that.

Reply to  Marty
December 2, 2018 12:21 pm

The theory of CO2 (global warming theory) is over 100 years old….

…still can’t prove it

Reply to  Latitude
December 3, 2018 2:14 am

I understood it was still a hypothesis and not yet a theory.

Reply to  Oldseadog
December 3, 2018 5:12 am

From what I can find it’s still a few bricks shy of a well-formed hypothesis.

Andrew Jenkinson
Reply to  Marty
December 2, 2018 12:47 pm

I suggest that scientists cannot measure to the required accuracy especially when actual depth at any location depends on the time of year, the time to within a microsecond, the location of the Moon, the wind, water temperature, cloud cover, volcanic activity, earthquakes, volume from nearby rivers, rain and a myriad other factors. Whenever you measure it again you are almost bound to get a different result. So physical measurement is not possible.
What about estimating a global increase based on the “known” volume of ice and the rate of melt? Here again we have a problem. The “volume” of the oceans is not a constant. Volcanoes build mountains in the sea reducing the volume. Continental drift either increases or decreases the volume. River silt reduces the volume. Coastal erosion reduces the volume. Earthquakes can do either. People reduce (by building into the sea) or increase (by dredging) the volume. So even this is subject to numerous factors.

Gregory Barton
Reply to  Andrew Jenkinson
December 4, 2018 12:09 am

Not to mention that 70% of the earth’s surface is water and in the 19th century, when Hadcrut4 begins its dataset, measurements could be taken randomly at best. How they can claim accuracy to 0.1 degree Celcius beggars belief.

Reply to  Marty
December 2, 2018 1:09 pm

Marty sez:
” … in Lower Slobvovia the three toed Grizzled Ding-a-ling
has migrated this spring into the higher elevations.”
This would be a more accurate indicator
than any of the computer game climate “models” !
By the way, it’s spelled “Lower Slobbovia” —
how can we possibly trust ANYTHING you write,
when you spell “Lower Slobbovia” wrong ?
And “three toed Grizzled Ding-a-lings” are extinct.
Good comment Marty
– informative and funny
= that’s not easy to do.

Reply to  Richard Greene
December 2, 2018 3:03 pm

The b-v substitution is quite common in European languages, although it’s normally a complete consonant phoneme that’s affected, not half of the spelling of one. But as it’s a joke, and this is nerdsville central, we can choose to forgive this little linguistic wobble, or not, as our humour dictates.

Reply to  Marty
December 2, 2018 1:45 pm


Barely a wild Haggis to be found anywhere in Scotland nowadays.

On the flip side, Haggis farming, like Salmon farming, is a booming industry.

Eventually we might be able to release both back into the wild to flourish in a warmer climate.

Reply to  HotScot
December 2, 2018 8:12 pm

Free the Haggis!

Let it run wild!

Let it roam freely in the Highlands once again!

No True Scot would ever turn down any tax that would achieve that goal.

Reply to  HotScot
December 3, 2018 3:41 am

Whenever I spot a flying Haggis, it’s Duck!

December 2, 2018 11:52 am

One thing that’s indisputable is that 97% of climate models perform poorly vis-a-vis observations (31/32=0.96875).

December 2, 2018 12:02 pm

How many climate scientists are there on the planet?

No idea, never counted them.

How many were personally polled in Cook’s 97%?

Errrrrrr……None…..A few abstracts from scientific studies were searched by a computer to come up with those conforming to some ‘climate’ statements, 1,100 (or was it 11,000, I can’t remember now).

How many were sifted through the filter of the CCC (Cook Climate Change, even worse than Catastrophic Anthropological Climate Change) algorithm?

It appears less than the 97% number itself.

Have any scientists actually been polled on the subject?

Well, yes. The Oregon petition received 30,000 responses from scientists including 9,000 Phd’s who all rejected the proposition that man was responsible for climate change. I believe that excludes the malicious Micky Mouse and Donald Duck responses submitted by mischievous greens following the database clean up.

So, in the face of the Oregon empirical data collection N. Ángel Pinillos is either unaware of, or deliberately ignores, he accepts, unquestioningly, a desktop computer study that dares not set foot in the ‘field’ of academic reality, that of empirical study.

What really concerns me is that this man is teaching ‘wisdom’ to paying students who believe wisdom can be taught.

“I have a Phd in Philosophy, I am wise, I am weasel!”

comment image

Reply to  HotScot
December 2, 2018 12:09 pm

Awwwww Fork! Image posting incompetence once again!

Reply to  HotScot
December 2, 2018 12:22 pm

LOL…I clicked on it

Reply to  Latitude
December 2, 2018 1:11 pm


Top man, as ever.


Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  HotScot
December 2, 2018 12:51 pm

weaseling out of things is important to learn. It is what separates us from the animals — except for the weasel.

Homer Simpson

December 2, 2018 12:05 pm

Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming, Climate Change, whatever is politically congruent at the moment.

The philosophy of science is a near-frame philosophy, and warns us against predictions and myths (e.g. uncorroborated, circumstantial). Science requires observable, reproducible, and deductive reasoning. The scientific philosophy implies — self-evident — that accuracy is inversely proportional to the product of time and space offsets from an established frame of reference.

December 2, 2018 12:13 pm

C.S. Lewis coined the term “Bulverism” to describe the process in play here: refuse to actually argue your case, beg the question, then skip to questioning the motives of your opponents. “Why are they so wrong?”

Reply to  damp
December 2, 2018 12:26 pm


Brilliant, I’ll try to remember that. It pretty well describes most attempts at demolition of a sceptical view on climate change.

Every day’s a schoolday at WUWT. 🙂

(Subscribe your children folks, they’ll get a rounder education here than they will in school).

Peta of Newark
December 2, 2018 12:36 pm

Here’s a thing that landed in my email this morning…(I follow ‘food’ some crazy reason)


You probably *will* be asked for a name and email address in order to see the video but, sigh, its worth it.
You can dodge round it, I think.

You will meet ‘Ocean’, looks and talks like a chipmunk and also, what had *got* to be one of The Most Awful Women Ever to draw breath.
Name of Colleen – a perfect match for N. Ángel Pinillos and any [pruned] deserves a medal, some new spectacles and an extended stay in a mental hospital

She’ll be talking about food, not Climate Science, BUT, you wouldn’t know it.
She is The Perfect Warmist, because:
She knows best about everything
She wants/needs her ego stroking
Everyone must say/do/eat what she says/does/eats.
She has separate parties, on the same day, one for ‘friends’ and another for ‘neighbours’ (????)
Then goes away on vacation
*Everything* in her life (and yours of course) *must* be, and is, perfectly planned and executed
I *must* pretend to be nice and understanding (IOW she practises fake on her ‘friends’ and neighbours)
Everyone else is full of cognitive dissonance, they lie to themselves and everyone else (and she thinks she doesn’t, you couldn’t make it up)
She cares, Oh Ghod does she *care*
She thinks her pet cats get essential (plant derived) nutrition from eating the stomachs of the critters they have killed (What!!!!!)

And that’s just for starters, She Has Got The Lot – it is *such* an education to see her in action.
A perfect example of almost *everything* that is wrong with Everything and she is so thick she doesn’t know it.

And she thinks Polenta** is Good Stuff, not only to eat but to force upon your friends and neighbours at your fake parties.
(Makes sense:- a fake woman with fake hair & fake teeth living a fake life with fake ideas about everything & everybody who hosts fake parties – Fake Food is the perfect thing to serve at them. Exactly describes Climate Science)

** In my experience (just once only evah!) Polenta is THE most tasteless, nutrient free & vomit inducing mush I have ever ever *EVER* come upon. Just like The Lovely Colleen, Please say there are no more like her.
(I can only stand her in 5 minute segments – see how long you last)

Reply to  Peta of Newark
December 2, 2018 1:13 pm


Top man, as ever.


Reply to  HotScot
December 2, 2018 1:48 pm

No clue how this ended up here……..🤔

Reply to  HotScot
December 2, 2018 2:48 pm

Quantum tunneling

Reply to  Peta of Newark
December 2, 2018 1:39 pm


As I trust your judgement implicitly, I think I’ll pass.

Polenta is a coarse cornmeal, which was for centuries the staple wintertime food of the poor in some countries in southern Europe (notably Spain and Italy), the southern states of the USA, India, Egypt and other parts of Africa.

But of course, like most liberal western cultures, the food of the poor (oysters, lobsters, polenta etc.) have become the food of fashion, cos they’re so down wid da peasants! Never mind the poor* can’t afford them now because the wealthy have consumed everything in sight.

*My peasant grandparents wouldn’t eat shellfish because they considered them scavengers of the seabed. Salmon roe was baked on a shovel and used as bait, for more salmon. Perhaps ironic considering the delicacy shellfish and caviare represent to the wealthy nowadays.

Zig Zag Wanderer
December 2, 2018 12:43 pm

According to NASA, at least 97 percent of actively publishing climate scientists think that “climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely caused by human activities.”

He got that wrong anyway. NASA said nothing of the sort. Some Lewny Cooked the books to get that figure of 97%.

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 2, 2018 1:50 pm

Zig Zag Wanderer

I clocked that as well.

What a maroon. 🙂

Steven Hill (from Ky)
December 2, 2018 1:26 pm

I hope Bernie gets elected, Dems take control of the Senate and get this over with…….destroy the economy, get rid of the military and send me a check……print some money, what’s the delay anyway?

December 2, 2018 1:30 pm

Blah, blah, blah, horse poop.
Believers like the reactionary intellectual this article effectively deconstructs are nearly always simply hiding their cowardice behind sanctimonious verbal diarrhea.
If wannabes like him wanted to know what we think and why they could simply ask.
I stead they lie to themselves about us and seek to silence us.
Eff him and the little unicorn he wishes he was riding.

John F. Hultquist
December 2, 2018 1:30 pm

Zig Zag, . . . about 97%

Check the page here:


The book shown, upper left, lists 4 papers, and explains why they are useless.

December 2, 2018 1:34 pm

N. Ángel Pinillos’ shear density of philosophical idiocy will actively reduce the IQ of all New York Times readers.

Hokey Schtick
December 2, 2018 1:35 pm

People are stupid and the smarter, the stupider.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Hokey Schtick
December 2, 2018 6:58 pm

No fool like a wise fool.™

Nick Schroeder
December 2, 2018 1:41 pm

“First, 100% of scientists agree that man influences the climate. How could we not?”

Oh, really? In general? Or CO2 specific?

As a degreed and registered professional mechanical engineer with decades of actual experience I consider myself an applied scientist.

For RGHE to function as advertised the surface of the earth must radiate 396 W/m^2 as a BB. Because of the contiguous participating media, i.e. atmospheric molecules, transferring energy through non-radiative processes such BB radiation is not possible. The upwelling LWIR is a “what if” calculation without a physical existence.

No upwelling means no GHG energy loop and no greenhouse effect, no CO2 warming and no man-caused climate change.

Besides, the atmosphere does not warm the earth by 33 C, but by reflecting 30% of the ISR reduces the incoming energy from 6.28 E17 kJ/h to 4.40 E17 kJ/h and cooling the earth.

While mankind can influence weather/climate by seeding clouds, cities creating UHI, geo-engineering, can mess with the oceans and nuclear winter, his CO2 and GHGs do nothing.

I’ve explained why RGHE does not work. You defend why it does. That’s called science. Ad hominem and appeals to authority don’t count.

Experiments in the classical style:

No 33 C and K-T

Reply to  Nick Schroeder
December 3, 2018 12:48 am

My new “Hero of the night!” commenter.

“Nick Schroeder December 2, 2018 at 1:41 pm
“First, 100% of scientists agree that man influences the climate. How could we not?”

Oh, really? In general? Or CO2 specific?

For RGHE to function as advertised the surface of the earth must radiate 396 W/m^2 as a BB. Because of the contiguous participating media, i.e. atmospheric molecules, transferring energy through non-radiative processes such BB radiation is not possible. The upwelling LWIR is a “what if” calculation without a physical existence.

Yes, with all of the pretend calculations, convenient estimates and false consensus claims, 97%, 99.7%, 100%, etc. to build baseless straw men in order to stuff imaginary rectal derived philosophy arguments where the original mass media authors are apparently paid by the word on their roads to CAGW perdition.

Anthony Banton
Reply to  Nick Schroeder
December 3, 2018 8:13 am

“For the same reasons as the absurd topics listed above, references to the “Slaying the Sky Dragon” Book and subsequent group “Principia Scientific” which have the misguided idea that the greenhouse effect doesn’t exist, and have elevated that idea into active zealotry, WUWT is a “Slayer Free Zone”. There are other blogs which will discuss this topic, take that commentary there.”


December 2, 2018 2:01 pm

I have always thought that a degree in Philosophy is not worth the paper that it is writtton on. I recall that a a Greek way back said something on the lines of

“I think, therefore I am”


Smoking Frog
Reply to  Michael
December 2, 2018 6:08 pm

Really? A Greek said it before Descartes? Amazing.

Michael Ozanne
Reply to  Smoking Frog
December 3, 2018 1:50 am

Well if we look at the full expansion of the argument as for example that of Krauth :

“That cannot doubt which does not think, and that cannot think which does not exist. I doubt, I think, I exist.”

Similar cocepts can be found in :
The Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle
De Civitate Dei and Enchiridion of Augustine of Hippo

Reply to  Michael
December 3, 2018 2:58 am

Decartes was the great faker – as a wag pointed out , to think is to think of something, such as diner. “I think of diner, therefore I am”. Awesome.
Now for some real philosophy :
To think is to act, as in actually do something. Which is why the faker never discovered kinetic energy, and pulled 7 rules out of a hat for billiard ball motion, all absurd.

Reply to  bonbon
December 3, 2018 3:16 am

More concisely – to exist is to act.

Michael Carter
December 2, 2018 2:57 pm

If I were to claim “sharks cause climate change” what percentage of readers would understand the probable truth behind this statement?

December 2, 2018 3:02 pm

I am not interested in how climate skeptics behave psychologically. I am interested in why we have a large social population triggered by fear of death, and industries such as environment and climate that use fear of death as a trigger for attention and fund raising. Climate doom prophecy is simply the pagan equivalent of the End Days, Armageddon, Rapture, Coming of Christ, repackaged, which tells us that religions addresss our deepest fears and anguish. In particular the anguish that we cannot live forever causes many to delude themselves and project to others the belief we are Gods, run the universe, control the earth and all it does, and with that, shall have eternal life. Recent trends by environmentalists have jumped from climate to man controlling volcanoes and earthquakes. This has not taken hold, but they keep cycling through it, to find a moment in time that it socially sticks. Man is bad, man causes bad climate, volcanoes, earthquakes, droughts, floods, anything bad. With man in charge, all we have to do is strip naked, paint our bodies red, and run into the streets screaming how we love mother earth, and we shalt be saved and have eternal life.

Reply to  Donald Kasper
December 2, 2018 11:09 pm

It is amazing how climate extremists are afraid to actually ask climate skeptics what they believe and to actually quote what skeptics say.

Dave Fair
Reply to  hunter
December 3, 2018 9:40 am

Pick your subgroup of skeptics and you can prove anything you want.

Roger Knights
December 2, 2018 3:48 pm

“Only a nincompoop uses the term “climate change denier”. Nobody denies the climate changes (I except lunatics).”

A statement like this appears weekly on WUWT. But it is uncharitable, and thus a philosophical no-no, because that phrase is obviously meant as shorthand.

OTOH, what it is shorthand for is “catastrophic climate change denier.” Since warmists are shy about being explicit about their position by labeling it clearly, they shrink from seeing their equation written out.

I guess our riposte should be, “No, I’m a CATASTROPHIC climate change denier.” This is better than my previous response, “The argument isn’t about AGW, but CAGW,” which isn’t as snappy as my new version.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Roger Knights
December 2, 2018 5:27 pm

PS: AGW is alarmists’ “motte”; CAGW is their “bailey.”

Piper Paul said:
instead of defending a weak position (the “bailey”), the arguer retreats to a strong position (the “motte”), while acting as though the positions are equivalent. When the motte has been accepted (or found impenetrable) by an opponent, the arguer continues to believe (and perhaps promote) the bailey.
Note that the MAB works only if the motte and the bailey are sufficiently similar (at least superficially) that one can switch between them while pretending that they are equivalent.

Reply to  Roger Knights
December 2, 2018 11:12 pm

The defenders of the consensus claim it is unfair to use the word “catastrophe” in regards to what they believe. No matter that they rely on catastrophic outcomes to push their own side’s policies.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
December 2, 2018 4:12 pm

The basic problem with the warmists is that they use climate change is de-facto global warming. This is wrong;

In the case of human influence, the non-greenhouse effect part of human influence, namely land use and land cover changes of which urban-heat-island and rural-cold-island effects are part. Nobody is denying this fact.

There is natural variability part in climate change. This includes precipitation and temperature. Even the IPCC & UNFCCC definition accepted this.

In the case of greenhouse effect, nobody is denying the fact that temperature change with Sun existing;

The issue that is in question is: Is there unlimited energy from the Sun to influence the temperature with the increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The answer is negative. The energy is fixed. Thus, even if greenhouse gases levels increase in the atmosphere, the change in temperature is insiginificant over the maximum energy limit. So, anthropogenic greenhouse gases [part of greenhouse gases] increase after industrialization has no impact. Because of this, warmists/modelers unable to fix the climate sensitivity factor. As a result each one predicts something, something??? wasting computer use and thus energy that was produced producing greenhouse gases.

Warmists are the Skeptics, hypocrites!!!

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

December 2, 2018 5:41 pm

Until I can go for a swim in Lake Michigan on February 1st…. The climate has not changed, period.

It is December 2nd. It is cold as every year. There has been snow as every year. The leaves have all fallen as every year. NOTHING HAS CHANGED. A degree or two average up or down does not make for a change in climate.

You guys have your heads up your rear ends. My god I would love it to get warmer… but it’s not. I just got done cleaning up my yard because of 6″ of heart attack snow that thinned out my front tree.

The climate has not changed.

Reply to  Ryan
December 2, 2018 10:45 pm


December 2, 2018 7:00 pm

“And that 97% meme just won’t die!”

It would be fun to track the real number over time.

Ronald Ginzler
December 2, 2018 7:04 pm

The insidious argument this “philosopher” proposes is that we should stop thinking in terms of knowledge and start thinking in terms of probabilities. A probability is based on a large body of data, but the quality of the data and its relevance to the question at hand is always suspect. Data can be assembled and massaged to to confirm any pre-existing bias. Witness the Hockey Stick. This reduces to the thesis that a group opinion must be right because it is the majority, and the (false 97%) can’t be wrong. Which was probably where philosophy started, when the first philosopher slunk off after being driven out of the group by sticks and stones, and started thinking by himself.

Reply to  Ronald Ginzler
December 3, 2018 3:31 am

Philosophy began in a cave where 7 captives were chained, discussing shadows on the wall, calculating probabilities, betting on outcomes.
1 was yanked out and saw what was going on, a fire with statues and all kinds of activity casting shadows. He rushes back to the comrades in the murky dark exclaiming he knows that light is the cause, half blinded!
Reaction from former friends : look you cannot even see the shadows anymore, you know less than before! They stoned him out of the cave.
Who ever said it was easy?

Reply to  bonbon
December 3, 2018 4:03 am

By the way the prisoners were all reading the NYT, in the murky dark, the original version in stone.

Gerald Machnee
December 2, 2018 7:33 pm

Not much can be worse that what the |CBC in Canada just put out:


michael hart
December 2, 2018 8:50 pm

“The standard response by climate skeptics is a lot like our reaction to skeptical pressure cases…..”

Those words lay bare the root of his problem. He thinks he knows what “the standard response by climate skeptics” is, when he does not know it at all. If he had taken the trouble to speak to a few such people he might start to realize how wrong he is. I suspect he has never actually spoken, and listened to, even a single skeptic to find out what they think, never mind survey enough of them to find a standard response.

If he ran a corporation it would already be bankrupt, because he never did any market research to find out why the company didn’t have customers willing to buy his product. It is no less depressing to see a university academic doing no research into a topic they were writing about in an official capacity.

December 3, 2018 1:06 am

And what confirmation bias tells us about global warming alarmism and eco wackoism.


December 3, 2018 1:14 am

“According to NASA, at least 97 percent of actively publishing climate scientists think that “climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely caused by human activities.” Americans overwhelmingly agree that the federal government needs to take significant action. In a recent poll [of citizen’s who can’t say why the sky is blue, let alone delineate the intricacies of climatology]”

1) A false straw man.
2) Late night television fake documentaries.
3) All content are based on rumors, activist claims and gross assumptions.

That the author, one N. Ángel Pinillos believes it can construct convincing opinions based upon such unrigorous sources while itself is constructing nonsense precepts using colorful empty “pearls of wisdom” and formulaic consensus precautionary logic, is classic philosophy as taught by obviously overfunded universities with talentless staffing.

“The canard about “97 percent” is particularly stupid. First, 100% of scientists agree that man influences the climate. How could we not?”

Say what!?

As soon as anyone claims “100% of scientists”, you know they are blowing smoke from all orifices!

Before any small group of people attain 100% agreement the overlying conditions, context and topic must be so generalized as to be meaningless, or failure to agree is imminent death.

I doubt you can get any group to reach 100% agreement that climate changes, until the meaning of climate and change are stretched into empty words.

That “N. Ángel Pinillos believes” such nonsense and is willing to waste any published space, indicates that N. Á is oblivious to the relatively accurate though very generic polls that “shows that the consensus over doom is more like 1%?”
“No, sir, he did not.” is accurate!

December 3, 2018 6:01 am

The great thing about climate political science is it self-identifies problems in a great many fields of study simultaneously and across institutions. It is also driving a monumental wedge between real science and publicly funded science policy crusades. If the enforcers of the ether theory had only had advocacy groups and the media, there would be no alternatives allowed no matter what real science came along to contradict it. The same goes for continental drift, fusion physics, and black holes.

Gary Pearse
December 3, 2018 6:14 am

Beavers affect the climate, termites affect the climate, lightning-lit forest fires affect the climate, bees, birds,… What all these diatribes on human caused climate change have in common is the overriding presumption that humans are bad, so its enough to simply say its caused by humans. Hey that’s gotta be bad. Hey, its got to be so bad that we have to control this destructive agent’s every move. Ebola is caused by a malignant virus. We can assume that this is bad for humans and maybe other primates. Just mention Ebola. Just mention human climate change.

Wiliam Haas
December 3, 2018 3:59 pm

Based on the paleoclimate record and the work done with models, one can conclude that the climate change we are experiencing today is caused by the sun and the oceans over which mankind has no control. Despite the hype, there is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate and plenty of scientific rationale to support the idea that the climate sensitivity of CO2 is zero.

The AGW conjecture is based on only partial science and cannot be defended. For example, the AGW conjecture depends upon the existence of a radiant greenhouse effect caused by trace gases in the Earth’s atmosphere with LWIR absorption bands. No such radiant greenhouse effect has ever been observed, in a real greenhouse, in the Earth’s atmosphere, or any where else in the solar system for that mater. The radiant greenhouse effect is science fiction so hence the AGW conjecture is nothing but science fiction.

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