Michael Mann - Unprecedented Attacks on Climate Research

February 26, 2010

For the scientists who study global warming, now is the winter of their despair.

In the news, it has been climate scandal after alleged climate scandal.  First came “ClimateGate,” then “GlacierGate,” “Amazon Gate,” and so on.  In public opinion polls, meanwhile, Americans’ acceptance of the science of global warming appears to be declining.  Even a freak snowstorm now seems to sow added doubt about this rigorous body of research.

In response to growing public skepticism—and a wave of dramatic attacks on individual researchers—the scientific community is now bucking up to more strongly defend its knowledge.  Leading the charge is one of the most frequently attacked researchers of them all—Pennsylvania State University climatologist Michael Mann.

In this interview with host Chris Mooney, Mann pulls no punches.  He defends the fundamental scientific consensus on climate change, and explains why those who attack it consistently miss the target.  He also answers critics of his “hockey stick” study, and explains why the charges that have arisen in “ClimateGate” seem much more smoke than fire.

Dr. Michael E. Mann is a member of the Pennsylvania State University faculty, and director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center.  His research focuses on the application of statistical techniques to understanding climate variability and change, and he was a Lead Author on the “Observed Climate Variability and Change” chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Scientific Assessment Report.  Among many other distinguished scientific activities, editorships, and awards, Mann is author of more than 120 peer-reviewed and edited publications.  That includes, most famously, the 1998 study that introduced the so called “hockey stick,” a graph showing that modern temperatures appear to be much higher than anything seen in at least the last thousand years.  With his colleague Lee Kump, Mann also recently authored the book Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming.  Finally, he is one of the founders and contributors to the prominent global warming blog, RealClimate.org.

Books Mentioned in This Episode:


Links Mentioned in This Episode:

RealClimate.org

Comments from the CFI Forums

If you would like to leave a comment about this episode of Point of Inquiry please visit the related thread on the CFI discussion forums

Excellent show, guys, and actually pretty harrowing to listen to.

And thanks once again for taking some questions from our forumites.

Posted on Feb 26, 2010 at 3:01pm by dougsmith Comment #1

Yet another boring luv in by the Climate religion without even a pretense of analysis or critical.  A long rambling podcast of self pity and vitriolic patronising attacks on those disgusting sceptics who just refuse to kneel down and kiss their scientifically brilliant feet, while whining and whinging endlessly about the cheek of non believers to attack them. It’s no wonder the momentum is now with the sceptics with this kind of incestuous group hug. This whole farce is becoming a laughing stock and Science is suffering one of it’s worst periods in modern history at the hands of this arrogant clique.

Posted on Feb 26, 2010 at 3:28pm by scepticeye Comment #2

  A long rambling podcast of self pity and vitriolic patronising attacks on those disgusting sceptics who just refuse to kneel down and kiss their scientifically brilliant feet, while whining and whinging endlessly about the cheek of non believers to attack them.

I’m not sure if you were listening to the same podcast as I was because I did not hear any “vitriolic patronising attacks” or “whining”, nor did I hear any reference to “disgusting sceptics.”  In fact, what Mann seemed to be making abundantly clear was the fact that science itself, including climate science, is inherently skeptical.  However, he did also suggest that it was basically impossible to doubt the underlying physical reality of the radiative effects of greenhouse gasses. 

Incidentally, the most recent issue of Skeptical Inquirer has four articles pertaining to the AGW “debate”; all of those articles side with the climate scientists.

Posted on Feb 26, 2010 at 4:53pm by Pragmatic Naturalist Comment #3

Everyone I know is more opinionated and sure, one way or the other, about global warming than I am, but I can’t believe they are all better informed. I know enough to know I don’t know enough to evaluate the arguments independently. There are three arguments going on. 1) the climate is or is not warming, 2) it is or is not caused by the actions of civilized man, 3) we can or can not correct it. #3 gets curiously little airing considering that if the answer is CAN NOT, most of the arguments on 1 & 2 are moot. (We seem to assume 2 & 3 are the same question. Maybe activists have an incentive to promote this confusion.) The environmental movement long has been and the skeptical movement is becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of political liberalism. Liberals don’t understand nonliberals and don’t care. Straw men are much more useful. The reason conservatives are so skeptical about warming is not that they are demonically greedy, ignorant and evil. It is that they don’t trust liberals who they see as diabolically evil and power hungry. It is that simple. They can see that whether there is anthropogenic warming or not, the agenda is dead sure to vastly increase centralized control of society and extirpate much liberty. I think, if warming, anthropogenic or otherwise, is real, there isn’t a thing we can do about it. You can reduce carbon dioxide emission about as effectively as you can reduce lust and for many of the same reasons. Sustainable and renewable energy are pipe dreams. I see only three theoretical ways to reduce human damage to the environment: 1) smaller people, 2) fewer people, 3) poorer people. Everything the environmentalists advocate sounds like 3 to me. #2 is the nearest to a practical approach but that is not very near at all and no one faces it. Knowing how much liberals have at stake here, anyone would be crazy not to be skeptical. If warming is real, liberals have their own past to blame for their difficulty in persuading people.

Posted on Feb 27, 2010 at 7:31am by rg21 Comment #4

  A long rambling podcast of self pity and vitriolic patronising attacks on those disgusting sceptics who just refuse to kneel down and kiss their scientifically brilliant feet, while whining and whinging endlessly about the cheek of non believers to attack them.

I’m not sure if you were listening to the same podcast as I was because I did not hear any “vitriolic patronising attacks” or “whining”, nor did I hear any reference to “disgusting sceptics.”  In fact, what Mann seemed to be making abundantly clear was the fact that science itself, including climate science, is inherently skeptical.  However, he did also suggest that it was basically impossible to doubt the underlying physical reality of the radiative effects of greenhouse gasses. 

Incidentally, the most recent issue of Skeptical Inquirer has four articles pertaining to the AGW “debate”; all of those articles side with the climate scientists.

I listened to the whole interminable thing unfortunately and from the first words of the interviewer we got a long steady one sided stream of whining about the poor climate scientists who have been attacked and criticised with no justification and the nasty sceptics have no scientific basis for their attacks and the science is 100% solid. Please. It was so much nonsense. Then we were treated to a tiresome restating of all standard scientific mantras that we get on a constant basis from this group of Climate people, unquestioned and untested as usual. It reminded me of those republican in-house get-togethers where they all stroke each other’s egos and bash the liberals. All very entertaining for the faithful but it will do nothing for the argument or the debate and will only convince sceptics of the merit of their cause. For me as a sceptic and a regular contributor to this valuable ‘sceptics’ forum it is however a deep disappointment to see scepticism abandoned in such a totally anti-sceptic manner.

Posted on Feb 27, 2010 at 8:24am by scepticeye Comment #5

Please. It was so much nonsense.

Are you a climate specialist? Do you have the data available that show it is all ‘nonsense’? Please present them to us. No opinions, please.

GdB

Posted on Feb 27, 2010 at 8:34am by GdB Comment #6

Everyone I know is more opinionated and sure, one way or the other, about global warming than I am, but I can’t believe they are all better informed. I know enough to know I don’t know enough to evaluate the arguments independently. There are three arguments going on. 1) the climate is or is not warming, 2) it is or is not caused by the actions of civilized man, 3) we can or can not correct it. #3 gets curiously little airing considering that if the answer is CAN NOT, most of the arguments on 1 & 2 are moot. (We seem to assume 2 & 3 are the same question. Maybe activists have an incentive to promote this confusion.) The environmental movement long has been and the skeptical movement is becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of political liberalism. Liberals don’t understand nonliberals and don’t care. Straw men are much more useful. The reason conservatives are so skeptical about warming is not that they are demonically greedy, ignorant and evil. It is that they don’t trust liberals who they see as diabolically evil and power hungry. It is that simple. They can see that whether there is anthropogenic warming or not, the agenda is dead sure to vastly increase centralized control of society and extirpate much liberty. I think, if warming, anthropogenic or otherwise, is real, there isn’t a thing we can do about it. You can reduce carbon dioxide emission about as effectively as you can reduce lust and for many of the same reasons. Sustainable and renewable energy are pipe dreams. I see only three theoretical ways to reduce human damage to the environment: 1) smaller people, 2) fewer people, 3) poorer people. Everything the environmentalists advocate sounds like 3 to me. #2 is the nearest to a practical approach but that is not very near at all and no one faces it. Knowing how much liberals have at stake here, anyone would be crazy not to be skeptical. If warming is real, liberals have their own past to blame for their difficulty in persuading people.

A lot of good points rg21. I have no vested interest, business, personal or emotion in the truth of this controversy. As someone who is science trained and who worked in science for several years I follow the evidence and the evidence is a swiss cheese of flaws and holes - and it doesn’t matter how many millions of times the Climate Change people say it isn’t. They have consistently refused to tackle the weaknesses of their theories in an arrogant and patronising manner and have been caught with their pants down in the email fiasco. More and more significant errors in their data are surfacing along with research that rebuffs significant elements of their core findings yet they plough on like the titanic refusing to face reality with their noses in the air. They appear to have adopted the tactics of the bully boy US political system in how they treat their opponents and that is a tragedy.
Of course apart from society itself and the financial costs of this nonsense, it is Science that is the biggest loser. It is Science that is being dragged into the mud by
this neo-religious Climate group and it is it’s reputation for independence and accuracy and integrity that is being smeared in the eyes of the wider public. I fear it will take decades to repair what is being done. We desperately need some organisation or some reputable independent group who can reset the debate from the beginning and start an open and frank debate where the evidence is examined in public view and with the modesty and humility that science deserves. All voices must be listened to. Arrogance must be left at the door and perhaps, just perhaps this whole un-holy mess can be rescued. Unfortunately too many candidate groups have sold their positions on this topic to convenience, political correctness and the financial might of the Green movement.
I won’t be holding my breath.

Posted on Feb 27, 2010 at 8:41am by scepticeye Comment #7

Please. It was so much nonsense.

Are you a climate specialist? Do you have the data available that show it is all ‘nonsense’? Please present them to us. No opinions, please.

GdB

Please spare me your instructions. I have no interest in them. Your arrogance in suggesting that only Climate Specialists deserve to have a voice in this debate is unacceptable to me. Next we will be told that only ministers of the church can contribute to the Religious debates and only doctors can opine on CAM topics.
Read the forums and discuss the data and it’s origin if you are interested in it and if such debate is allowed on this forum, which unfortunately it is not.

Posted on Feb 27, 2010 at 8:45am by scepticeye Comment #8

I listened to the whole interminable thing unfortunately and from the first words of the interviewer we got a long steady one sided stream of whining about the poor climate scientists who have been attacked and criticised with no justification and the nasty sceptics have no scientific basis for their attacks and the science is 100% solid. Please. It was so much nonsense. Then we were treated to a tiresome restating of all standard scientific mantras that we get on a constant basis from this group of Climate people, unquestioned and untested as usual. It reminded me of those republican in-house get-togethers where they all stroke each other’s egos and bash the liberals. All very entertaining for the faithful but it will do nothing for the argument or the debate and will only convince sceptics of the merit of their cause. For me as a sceptic and a regular contributor to this valuable ‘sceptics’ forum it is however a deep disappointment to see scepticism abandoned in such a totally anti-sceptic manner.

If you knew more about the science supporting global warming, you’d have more sympathy for Dr. Mann.

So spend an hour listening to this lecture: http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm09/lectures/lecture_videos/A23A.shtml to get yourself up to speed on the science.

The lecture was presented at the American Geophysical Union 2009 Fall Meeting.  The lecturer is one of the leading earth/climate-scientists; he’s an AGU Fellow and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

In fact, *everyone* here should listen to the lecture—it is a Tour de Force presentation of the science supporting AGW.  Although the lecture was presented by a professional scientist to an audience of professional scientists, laypeople should not have trouble understanding it in a “big picture” way.  The only problem is that the video doesn’t show where the lecturer is pointing his laser pointer, so there are places in the lecture where you have to “guess” a bit as to which part of the displayed viewgraph he’s referring.

Here are some highlights:

There’s a particularly nice debunking of the silly “CO2 lags warming, therefore CO2 cannot cause warming” talking-point, starting about 35 and 1/2 minutes into the video. If you don’t have the time to watch the entire video, at least catch that section. Dr. Alley takes down that talking-point in a very clear and humorous way.

The “cosmic ray” hypothesis (a favorite of AGW “skeptics”) is very nicely taken apart starting about 42 minutes into the video. That section is also a “must watch”.

Starting at about 45:40 is the “money-quote” recap—a quick two-minute-ish summary of why CO2 *must* be the primary driver of the Earth’s temperature.

Also, during the Q&A session (about 49 minutes into the video), Dr. Alley was asked what would happen to the Earth’s climate if we burned up all the economically recoverable fossil fuel reserves. His reply was, “some chance at getting above the Cretaceous level”. For folks not familiar with the Cretaceous period, that means no polar ice caps, a sea-level about 250 feet higher than today’s, and open-ocean sea surface temperatures in the neighborhood of 100 degrees F.
Reply With Quote

Posted on Feb 27, 2010 at 8:46am by caerbannog Comment #9

Please spare me your instructions. I have no interest in them. Your arrogance in suggesting that only Climate Specialists deserve to have a voice in this debate is unacceptable to me. Next we will be told that only ministers of the church can contribute to the Religious debates and only doctors can opine on CAM topics.
Read the forums and discuss the data and it’s origin if you are interested in it and if such debate is allowed on this forum, which unfortunately it is not.

In fact, people who spend their lives studying a phenomenon scientifically are in the position to know the most about it. Within the scientific fields that actually study climate, the facts of anthropogenic global warming are completely established.

This debate is analogous to the earlier debate about the dangers of tobacco smoking, or the present debate about evolution versus creationism. That is, these are “debates” that have little or nothing to do with the science, and everything to do with economic interests and political ideology.

Re. the church, there is no science of religion or theology.

Posted on Feb 27, 2010 at 9:04am by dougsmith Comment #10

To his credit, Chris Mooney stated the objective of the interview at the beginning of the podcast—to offer support to Prof. Mann, as a way of participating in the defense of Climate Science against the attacks of the corporate-funded denialist conspiracy.

That may (or may not) be a laudable goal, and Mr. Mooney’s thumbnail description of the roiled waters may (or may not) be correct and complete.  Opinions vary, even on this thread.

In any case, this was not a good jumping-off point for a compelling podcast.  Like anybody else who has been paying attention, I could anticipate Prof. Mann’s answer to each question posed.  Call-and-response.

In that light, it’s too bad that Mr. Mooney didn’t select the two questions I submitted on the contributions of the Tiljander proxies to the Mann group’s 2008 paleoclimate reconstruction. 

Prof. Mann knows these proxies intimately.  They were the focus of the Response he authored in reply to a Comment published in the peer-reviewed journal PNAS last February.

I couldn’t have predicted Prof. Mann’s answers to those questions, had Mr. Mooney posed them.  But I can guarantee that they would have been interesting, informative, and newsworthy—whatever they turned out to be.

That used to be what journalists aimed for.

If more background would be useful, try Googling ‘Mann Tiljander’, or ‘Mann Tiljander AMac’ if you wish.  It’s a topical and fascinating story.

Posted on Feb 27, 2010 at 10:05am by AMac Comment #11

...No opinions, please.
GdB

In my opinion it was another excellent interview by Chris Mooney, who is drawing on his contacts for terrific guests and his experience to carry a pretty insightful discussion.  Chris is putting a lot of effort into the prep and it shows.

Chris led off with an introduction noting a [ a special symposium organized at the last minute last week in San Diego at the AAAS annual meeting]; the symposium focused on the “feeding frenzy” following Climategate.

And the same day that Chris released the interview [ the Wall Stree Journal had a front page story on the topic with quotes on Michael Mann and the hockey stick plot]

I agree with Pragmatic Naturalist—it was an even handed interview and Michael Mann did an excellent job handling the questions in a mature, knowledgable way. For example at the end mckenzie’s question about skeptics was answered that from Mann’s perspective there isn’t a “one-size fits all”—skepticism is good and some questioners are honestly questioning certain points.  The easy answer would have been to pick up the answer mckenzie suggested (any questions are driven by ideology).  In other sections of the interview Mann was equally poised and really doing an excellent job.

At the beginning of the interview Mann noted that it’s well-established that certain gases do have a greenhouse effect.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_gas for example.
I came across the “curiously strong” absorption of CO2 in the infra-red in the context of trying to understand an industrial manufacturing process—it really is an interesting effect.  I am surprised that this would be questioned.

Chris Mooney is choosing topics which involve both Science and Public Policy—in this interview he seems to focus on the science of global warming and less on the “what are we going to do about it” part.  As far as science goes,  I think the main questions knowledgable skeptics have is how accurate are predictions for the future, and what needs to be done to make predictions more accurate. I’ll have to replay the interview. Mann referred to one example, which is that how clouds interact with global warming is important and complicated. 

I really was not aware that there is a “tobacco-like” conspiracy to frustrate efforts to do something about global warming. Maybe this was what was bugging skepticeye.  I have to agree it comes across as an ad hominem response—- the criticism of global warming ‘alarmists’ needs to be answered directly rather than claiming this is not necessary because “Big Petroleum” has a conspiracy “just like” the tobacco companies.  It is not “just like” tobacco. 

On the other hand I do think that the climate brouhaha has its roots in something involving money or power (or both) and that discussion of the root issue is important. Maybe it’s petroleum companies.  I thought it was that people don’t see a way to change energy consumption abruptly without causing an economic catastrophe.  I really appreciate these interviews and the discussion on the forum because I’m always learning something.

From a public policy perspective I was wondering if the problem will go away by itself because we will run out of fossil fuels and shift to alternate forms of energy because they are cost effective.  I question whether realistically the use of fossil fuels can be regulated worldwide and that it would be more pragmatic to develop cost-effective alternatives which become cost-competitive as soon as possible.

Thanks again to Chris for this interview and for joining Point of Inquiry…

Posted on Feb 27, 2010 at 10:48am by Jackson Comment #12

.
I came across the “curiously strong” absorption of CO2 in the infra-red in the context of trying to understand an industrial manufacturing process—it really is an interesting effect.  I am surprised that this would be questioned.

There are people with more passion than education (or sense) on all sides of this issue.  It’s a curse, common to all controversies, it seems.  One good recent example can be found in the comments following
Climategate: Not Fraud, But ‘Noble Cause Corruption’
That’s an article at a conservative website that is rather unsympathetic to the climate scientists caught in Climategate.  All of the commenters take the author to the woodshed for not being hostile enough!

Not much to say to people who are convinced that CO2 doesn’t act as a greenhouse gas.  Hard to see them playing a constructive role in the debate.

The contentious issues, as Prof. Mann mentioned, are in identifying the important positive and negative feedbacks to CO2’s fairly modest direct effects, and figuring out their relative contributions, thus the likely total warming effect.

I do think that the climate brouhaha has its roots in something involving money or power (or both) and that discussion of the root issue is important.

On that, many people will agree.  There are big winners and losers no matter what is or isn’t done, and “appearance of potential conflict of interest” is an important consideration.  Contra Prof. Mann’s suggestion, this issue doesn’t cut only one way; consider the motives behind Wall Street’s enthusiasm for “cap and trade,” for example.

I question whether realistically the use of fossil fuels can be regulated worldwide and that it would be more pragmatic to develop cost-effective alternatives which become cost-competitive as soon as possible.

Good point.

Posted on Feb 27, 2010 at 11:23am by AMac Comment #13

In fact, people who spend their lives studying a phenomenon scientifically are in the position to know the most about it. Within the scientific fields that actually study climate, the facts of anthropogenic global warming are completely established.

This is simply not the case and as with Mann, repeating it over and over again doesn’t make it so. The science is riddled with holes and inconsistencies and extrapolation. I am lucky to have a high quality Science education and be able to assess the specific science involved. It is a pity that the minds of this anthropogenic movement are so totally closed to discussion. I have given up posting on this topic on this forum because the Forum establishment and the loudest of the contributors are so closed minded and aggressive. But that doesn’t bother me because it only deprives readers on this forum of the chance to engage in this debate. I continue the debate elsewhere where it is most effective and happily most successful.

This debate is analogous to the earlier debate about the dangers of tobacco smoking, or the present debate about evolution versus creationism. That is, these are “debates” that have little or nothing to do with the science, and everything to do with economic interests and political ideology.

This is the kind of arrogant smugness that is dragging the Climate Change debate into the quagmire, with respect, Doug. It is all about the deeply and fatally flawed science, some of it appallingly so, and the financial might of the Green lobby.

Posted on Feb 27, 2010 at 11:50am by scepticeye Comment #14

This is the kind of arrogant smugness that is dragging the Climate Change debate into the quagmire, with respect, Doug. It is all about the deeply and fatally flawed science, some of it appallingly so, and the financial might of the Green lobby.

Excuse me, but the arrogance is all on your side, assuming that someone without the appropriate scientific background can tell the experts what they’ve done wrong.

And the notion that “the Green lobby” has anything like the “financial might” of the oil companies bankrolling this effort at obscuring the truth is, simply put, grotesque. The fact is, as stated before, “With the release of the revised statement by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists in 2007, no remaining scientific body of national or international standing is known to reject the basic findings of human influence on recent climate change.”

This includes, among other organizations:

32 national science academies
National Research Council (US)
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Chemical Society
American Institute of Physics
American Physical Society
American Geophysical Union
European Federation of Geologists
European Geosciences Union
Geological Society of America
American Meteorological Society
Royal Meteorological Society (UK)
World Meteorological Organization
American Quaternary Association (Paleoclimatology)
International Union for Quaternary Research (Paleoclimatology)
American Medical Association
World Health Organization
American Astronomical Society
American Statistical Association

The notion that all of these diverse scientific organizations have somehow been corrupted by “the Green lobby” beggars belief.

It is simply shameful that the public is being systematically mislead about these facts.

Posted on Feb 27, 2010 at 1:16pm by dougsmith Comment #15

Doug,

Here’s a once-popular line of reasoning that nobody believes any more.

1. The police perform an important function for the public.

2. Felons often criticize the police, in order to more readily ply their trade.

3. All criticisms of police actions have the effect of supporting the criminals’ position.

4. Therefore, all critics of the police are either knaves or fools.

It’s now broadly recognized that this sort of reflexive cheerleading is one of the factors that contributes to wrongful actions by the police, including those due to “Noble Cause Corruption.”

Contrast Prof. Mann’s view of the Climategate emails with that of the (UK) Institute of Physics.  Their submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry is *here*.

Posted on Feb 27, 2010 at 1:42pm by AMac Comment #16

Chris led off with an introduction noting a [ a special symposium organized at the last minute last week in San Diego at the AAAS annual meeting]; the symposium focused on the “feeding frenzy” following Climategate.

And the same day that Chris released the interview [ the Wall Street Journal had a front page story on the topic with quotes on Michael Mann and the hockey stick plot]

The front page WSJ article quoting Michael Mann touches a hot-button
[Chris Mooney mentions it in his blog with a link to]
[ ClimateProgress.org where Michael Mann rebuts the WSJ article point by point]

Mann’s discussion of the WSJ article is interesting because the WSJ is quoting another climate scientist as saying that they were suspicious of the hockey stick. In my opinion Mann should have contacted that guy directly to check facts before putting this rebuttal out, and if Christy agreed with Mann they would have the WSJ in a major misquote and error.

Both AAAS link above and WSJ noted the prediction ‘error’ that the Himalyan glaciers would disappear by 2035.  Mann didn’t bring that sloppy work up —something which should have been caught.

Posted on Feb 27, 2010 at 1:47pm by Jackson Comment #17

....Also, during the Q&A session (about 49 minutes into the video), Dr. Alley was asked what would happen to the Earth’s climate if we burned up all the economically recoverable fossil fuel reserves. His reply was, “some chance at getting above the Cretaceous level”. For folks not familiar with the Cretaceous period, that means no polar ice caps, a sea-level about 250 feet higher than today’s, and open-ocean sea surface temperatures in the neighborhood of 100 degrees F.
...

Thanks for this link—this was a question I was wondering about.

[ fossil fuels include petroleum, coal, and natural gas].  The oil reserves are thought to be relatively limited. Wikipedia says current use is 36% oil 27% coal 23% natural gas.


[climateprogres.org page on the same topic]with more detail

Posted on Feb 27, 2010 at 2:08pm by Jackson Comment #18

If more background would be useful, try Googling ‘Mann Tiljander’, or ‘Mann Tiljander AMac’ if you wish.  It’s a topical and fascinating story.

http://amac1.blogspot.com/2009/11/newly-discovered-jarvykortta-proxy.html
This Korttajarvi / Jarvykortta stuff was a little too cute….confusing to folks looking at it from the outside.

Thanks for links.

Posted on Feb 27, 2010 at 2:25pm by Jackson Comment #19

http://amac1.blogspot.com/2009/11/newly-discovered-jarvykortta-proxy.html
why does this refer to Ruritania (I thought it was ficitonal), and where is this Jarvykortta River…

Sorry… Ruritania is fictional. The “Jarvykortta River” is fictional.  The data in that series is identical to the data of the Tiljander Lake Korttajarvi X-Ray Density proxy.  This explanation is near the end of the post.  I will move it to the beginning, for clarity.

The argument being discussed is this:  “A proxy is just a proxy, who cares whether a reconstruction has ‘higher X-Ray Density’ mapping to ‘warmer temperatures’ or to ‘cooler temperatures’ or to both at once?”

Well, it does matter, and it matters a lot.  What if I told you, “I’m going to do a temperature reconstruction, and I think when the river ice breaks up later in the spring, that means the winter was warmer!”  You’d tell me that assignment doesn’t make any sense.  I hope.

Posted on Feb 27, 2010 at 2:38pm by AMac Comment #20

Doug,

Here’s a once-popular line of reasoning that nobody believes any more.

1. The police perform an important function for the public.

2. Felons often criticize the police, in order to more readily ply their trade.

3. All criticisms of police actions have the effect of supporting the criminals’ position.

4. Therefore, all critics of the police are either knaves or fools.

It’s now broadly recognized that this sort of reflexive cheerleading is one of the factors that contributes to wrongful actions by the police, including those due to “Noble Cause Corruption.”

Contrast Prof. Mann’s view of the Climategate emails with that of the (UK) Institute of Physics.  Their submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry is *here*.

This is a non sequitur. The police are a law enforcement agency, not a science organization. There is no a priori sense that the police are in an epistemologically superior position to any other designated third party in a dispute, and indeed they are not viewed as such by the law. This is why suspects are considered “innocent until proven guilty”.

Posted on Feb 27, 2010 at 2:39pm by dougsmith Comment #21

http://amac1.blogspot.com/2009/11/newly-discovered-jarvykortta-proxy.html
why does this refer to Ruritania (I thought it was ficitonal), and where is this Jarvykortta River…

Sorry… Ruritania is fictional. The “Jarvykortta River” is fictional.  The data in that series is identical to the data of the Tiljander Lake Korttajarvi X-Ray Density proxy.  This explanation is near the end of the post.  I will move it to the beginning, for clarity.

The argument being discussed is this:  “A proxy is just a proxy, who cares whether a reconstruction has ‘higher X-Ray Density’ mapping to ‘warmer temperatures’ or to ‘cooler temperatures’ or to both at once?”

Well, it does matter, and it matters a lot.  What if I told you, “I’m going to do a temperature reconstruction, and I think when the river ice breaks up later in the spring, that means the winter was warmer!”  You’d tell me that assignment doesn’t make any sense.  I hope.

thanks for your patience—I did figure it out!....  wow…this was a good catch…

Posted on Feb 27, 2010 at 2:44pm by Jackson Comment #22

Amazing to hear a Penn State guy dis his Harvard and MIT peers and it be accepted as gospel that the Cambridge crowd are fools .


Don’t talk to me “climate science” until you show me the physics .  For an introduction to the essential Stefan-Boltzmann & Kirchhoff relationships , see my http://CoSy.com

Frankly , I think think the understanding of the physics apparent on both sides of the debate is pathetic .

All I’ve seen is a mathematically amateurish one dimensional physically impossible assumption that without an atmosphere the earth would absorb with approximately its 0.7 absorptivity , but emit as a black body with an emissivity of 1.0 . How did this intractable mediocrity become the standard starting point ?  More relevant and tractable is that we are about 8C warmer than a gray body in our orbit .

Beyond that , I’ve never found the equations by which forcings are calculated .  Surely someone could post the essential equations online and not just allude to them being somewhere in some paper textbooks .

And the alarmists claim that their greenhouse effect is essentially unconstrained by the energy being received from the sun . They claim that despite all heat equations flowing from hot to cold , they can make a blanket which makes heat go up hill , offering Venus as an example .

If you’re going to claim that , show us the equation . This is a phenomenon which can supply infinite energy .

But , of course , you can’t show us the equations . Because if you really calculate the effect of even doubling the CO2 available to the biosphere , the change in our spectrum will still cause well less than 1C change in temperature .

So stop with the ad hominems ; show us your quantitative science preferably in a form which we can play with on our PCs .

Posted on Feb 27, 2010 at 3:30pm by Bob Armstrong Comment #23

.
...an epistemologically superior position to any other

We agree.  Police aren’t epistemologically superior.

But then, neither are the people called “scientists”.

Priests are epistemologically superior.  Not scientists.

What distinguishes “science” is the Scientific Method, not the credentials of the people fitting the job description.  Most (not all) PhDs will be better at using that method in dealing with issues related to their specialty.  Some (not none) of the people without a PhD will turn out to be pretty good at it, too.

Richard Feynman’s essay “Cargo cult science” is not about the PhD degree (which he had) or about the Nobel prize (which he won).  It’s about how hard it is to discipline oneself to stay true to the Scientific Method.

1. The police perform an important function for the public.
  Climate scientists perform an important function for the public.

2. Felons often criticize the police, in order to more readily ply their trade.
  Fossil-fuel-company-funded shills often criticize climate scientists, in order to increase fossil fuel sales.

3. All criticisms of police actions have the effect of supporting the criminals’ position.
  All criticisms of climate scientists’ work have the effect of supporting fossil fuel companies’ position.

4. Therefore, all critics of the police are either knaves or fools.
  Therefore, all critics of climate scientists are either knaves or fools.

By this reasoning, no action of the police—no matter how suspect—may be criticized.
By this reasoning, no publication of a climate scientist—no matter how flawed—may be criticized.

So, I don’t think this is a non sequitor.

Posted on Feb 27, 2010 at 8:34pm by AMac Comment #24

Priests are epistemologically superior.  Not scientists.

With the recent proved worldwide sex scandals and cover-up by the higher ups, the priesthood has no claim to epistemological superiority. You will need to use another example!

Posted on Feb 27, 2010 at 8:46pm by asanta Comment #25

I enjoyed the interview very much.

Posted on Feb 27, 2010 at 8:50pm by asanta Comment #26

Police aren’t epistemologically superior.

But then, neither are the people called “scientists”.

Priests are epistemologically superior.  Not scientists.

You got that one backwards, AMac. Priests just make stuff up. They aren’t chosen for their superior knowledge of anything, nor does their job involve careful investigations of anything. They don’t even have epistemological superiority when it comes to the contents of the Bible (professors of the relevant religions, arguably, would). A priest is first and foremost a sociopolitical position.

Scientists are trained in knowledge of the data and theories relative to their own particular field of study. They spend their working lives doing investigations into that field, and writing papers which will be reviewed by their peers for accuracy and objectivity. There is nobody who knows more about a field of study than the scientists who are active in that field.

That said, a scientist in field X need have no particular reliability in field Y. This is, for instance, why CFI’s Credibility Project is so particularly relevant when it comes to issues such as debating climate science. (NB: in that linked brochure, you have to start reading from the second page of the .pdf).

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 at 7:54am by dougsmith Comment #27

...This is a non sequitur. ..... There is no a priori sense that the police are in an epistemologically superior position to any other designated third party in a dispute, and indeed they are not viewed as such by the law….

Doug I think AMac is describing a variation on the fallacy of authority using multiple ideas from the Science of Persuasion
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Cialdini

1. climate scientists are authorities
2. other people believe climate scientists—shouldn’t you?
3. if you criticize the climate scientists, bad things will happen, and if we have only a limited time to act to follow their suggestions or bad things will happen.
4. climate scientists are likeable. People who criticise them are unlikeable shills for petroleum companies with suspicious motives.
5. climate scientists are doing you a favor by trying to understand the fundamentals of climate change. You should reciprocate by not criticizing someone who is trying to do you a favor.

etc etc.

It doesn’t matter if it is a logical fallacy if people believe (act) accordingly—Can you give us some examples of TV commercials which you consider “epistemologically”  correct?

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 at 8:40am by Jackson Comment #28

...This is a non sequitur. ..... There is no a priori sense that the police are in an epistemologically superior position to any other designated third party in a dispute, and indeed they are not viewed as such by the law….

Doug I think AMac is describing a variation on the fallacy of authority using multiple ideas from the Science of Persuasion
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Cialdini

1. climate scientists are authorities
2. other people believe climate scientists—shouldn’t you?
3. if you criticize the climate scientists, bad things will happen, and if we have only a limited time to act to follow their suggestions or bad things will happen.
4. climate scientists are likeable. People who criticise them are unlikeable shills for petroleum companies with suspicious motives.
5. climate scientists are doing you a favor by trying to understand the fundamentals of climate change. You should reciprocate by not criticizing someone who is trying to do you a favor.

Not sure I get the relevance of Cialdini here—I’ve read his book, so know in general his take on persuasion. The point re. the supposed fallacy of appeal to authority I’ve dealt with at some length elsewhere on this forum—that is, it is indeed a logical fallacy, however that does not mean it is a bad argument. Appeal to authority is necessary in virtually every field, since no one person can know all there is to know. The only pertinent question is how to determine the proper authority.

When it comes to scientific issues, however, the proper authority is clear. It is the community of scientists who study that particular subject.

It doesn’t matter if it is a logical fallacy if people believe (act) accordingly—Can you give us some examples of TV commercials which you consider “epistemologically”  correct?

I have no problem with commercials that discuss true properties of the products they sell. There is a role in any society for truthful advertising. My only problem is with ads that mislead.

But again, not quite sure I’m getting your point. Perhaps I’m being dense.

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 at 8:51am by dougsmith Comment #29

Please. It was so much nonsense.

Are you a climate specialist? Do you have the data available that show it is all ‘nonsense’? Please present them to us. No opinions, please.

GdB

Please spare me your instructions. I have no interest in them. Your arrogance in suggesting that only Climate Specialists deserve to have a voice in this debate is unacceptable to me. Next we will be told that only ministers of the church can contribute to the Religious debates and only doctors can opine on CAM topics.
Read the forums and discuss the data and it’s origin if you are interested in it and if such debate is allowed on this forum, which unfortunately it is not.

No, everybody has a voice, but if your not a specialist, your main job is to question, and listen to the answers. In the climate debate there are many models, many (independent) data, and they all point in more or less the same direction. More: 5 degrees Celsius warmer, less 2 degrees. More: 4 meters higher sea level, less 1 meter. Maybe the lower figures are not a big problem, maybe they are. The higher figures are a huge problem. So do we bet with the life of millions or billions of people? But what does it matter, you have your opinion already, and you trust only your own voice.

...No opinions, please.
GdB

In my opinion it was another excellent interview by Chris Mooney, who is drawing on his contacts for terrific guests and his experience to carry a pretty insightful discussion.  Chris is putting a lot of effort into the prep and it shows.

Just for the record…. your citing seems to suggest that I think Mann is giving just opinions. It was just my reaction on cyniceye’s posting I commented on above. I am convinced from the seventies onwards that global warming will happen, based on my astronomical interest. Both Venus and Mars are warmer then should have been if they had earthy atmospheres. However, both atmospheres are mainly carbon dioxide… That does not make science of course, but it is frustrating to see how all indicators add up that it is really happening now and so called ‘sceptic eyes’ don’t take this for granted. In fact scepticeye is highly dogmatic. Sometimes he agrees with science, and then science is great, and sometimes he doesn’t, then science is wrong.

GdB

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 at 10:17am by GdB Comment #30

Priests are epistemologically superior.  Not scientists.

With the recent proved worldwide sex scandals and cover-up by the higher ups, the priesthood has no claim to epistemological superiority. You will need to use another example!

Absolutely correct on that one Asanta !

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 at 11:37am by scepticeye Comment #31

When it comes to scientific issues, however, the proper authority is clear. It is the community of scientists who study that particular subject.

And it is this bald statement that is at the heart of your error.
The debate on the claims of the Global Warming Climate Scientists is not a debate about knowledge of Climate science alone and if you believe this then it is no wonder there is a problem. The debate is about the success or failure of these scientists in proving that their theories are correct - and it is also a debate about how they have used their data.

Neither of these debates requires specialist knowledge of Climate Science. Anyone with a good education and a modicum of scientific knowledge can judge perfectly well if a theory is right or wrong if they have access to a fair summary of the facts. Any scientist of any field of science whatsoever is well capable of coming to a judgement on how the data in this controversy has been used if he has access to a fair statement of the facts. it is no wonder that a growing number of scientists across the world are following the public trend and becoming more and more dissatisfied with the work of these Climate Scientists when they have such huge problems both accessing fair statements of the data and the use of that data and when they see the sources of that data and how it is being manipulated to create unfounded predictions.

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 at 11:47am by scepticeye Comment #32

Upthread, AMac wrote,
“Priests are epistemologically superior.  Not scientists.”

Asanta responded,
“With the recent proved worldwide sex scandals and cover-up by the higher ups, the priesthood has no claim to epistemological superiority. You will need to use another example!”

Asata,

The sex scandals and cover-ups wouldn’t cause me to change my example, at all.  The argument that “X is superior and the public should take X’s word on subject Y” is different from whatever the reality of X’s correctness and authority on subject Y should be.  Regarding priests, such arguments were made prior to the scandals, and they continue to be made.

Anyway, I was thinking of “priests” in the most general sense, not in the Roman Catholic particular.  Sorry I wasn’t clearer.

I will leave further discussion of epistemological superiority to my epistemological superiors.  In everyday language, what we—Chris Mooney, Mike Mann, Doug and others on the thread—are talking about is this proposition:

“The majority of climate science have formed a consensus stance on AGW.  That consensus is that the science is basically settled on the mechinisms of climate change, on the extent of global warming in the past century or so, and on the large degree to which observed warming is due to human-caused rises in greenhouse gasses. The AGW Consensus is also clear that these mechanisms are very likely to cause large increases in mean global temperature over the next 50 to 100 years, as detailed in IPCC reports.  Finally, the Consensus is clear that the correct policy is mitigation of GHG emission, and not adaptation to higher temperatures and their sequelae.”

in my opinion, these claims are only as strong as the science behind them.  The stronger the science behind a particular claim, the stronger the claim.

The science behind some of the important claims of Prof. Mann is not strong.  Is what he says correct, or wrong?  Well, I don’t know.  Any given strong claim based on weak science might be right… or it might not be.  The only way to find out is to go back and do the right work, according to the scientific method.

In the interview, Prof. Mann cited his group’s 2008 paper in Science as an example of strong science that puts the 20th Century’s rising temperatures in the proper—and worrying—historical context, based on a 2,000-year-long proxy reconstruction of paleotemperatures.

From reading that paper and associated materials, I know that it contains glaring errors.  It’s weak science.  The fact that its errors go unacknowledged and uncorrected tells me something important about the paleoclimate science community, of which Prof. Mann is a leader.

The use by Prof. Mann of the “Tiljander proxies” isn’t actually that complicated or hard to understand.  They were uncalibratable, but he calibrated them anyway.  As a result, two of the proxies were used upside down in his reconstructions, such that “warmer” information was given the meaning of “colder”.

Don’t believe me—why should you?  Look it up and walk through the evidence pro and con, if you’re interested.

Does this failure to correct errors in high-impact peer-reviewed journals affect your confidence in the output of this specialty field?  You’d have to answer that for yourself.

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 at 12:26pm by AMac Comment #33

In the interview, Prof. Mann cited his group’s 2008 paper in Science as an example of strong science that puts the 20th Century’s rising temperatures in the proper—and worrying—historical context, based on a 2,000-year-long proxy reconstruction of paleotemperatures.

From reading that paper and associated materials, I know that it contains glaring errors.  It’s weak science.  The fact that its errors go unacknowledged and uncorrected tells me something important about the paleoclimate science community, of which Prof. Mann is a leader.

The use by Prof. Mann of the “Tiljander proxies” isn’t actually that complicated or hard to understand.  They were uncalibratable, but he calibrated them anyway.  As a result, two of the proxies were used upside down in his reconstructions, such that “warmer” information was given the meaning of “colder”.

Don’t believe me—why should you?  Look it up and walk through the evidence pro and con, if you’re interested.

Does this failure to correct errors in high-impact peer-reviewed journals affect your confidence in the output of this specialty field?  You’d have to answer that for yourself.

Excellently put AMac. We are faced with a group of scientists who are so religiously self persuaded that they mock anyone who dares to try to engage them on issues such as this and others such as tree rings. I spent several weeks on this forum trying to engage someone on one of these topics but was faced with this same arrogance and abuse. We can build the most awe inspiring buildings of 100+ floors covered in magnificent facades… but if their base foundations are flawed even such awe inspiring edifices will come crumbling down. We can send a triumph of engineering, a mission to space (was it a mars rover?) but if some of the engineers use imperial and some others us metric, then even the magnificence of the work crumbles into failure.

Sceptics through the years have been faced with accusations of being ‘cranks’. In my view any sceptic worth his or her salt wears that badge with the deepest of pride.

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 at 1:54pm by scepticeye Comment #34

...
Not sure I get the relevance of Cialdini here—I’ve read his book, so know in general his take on persuasion. The point re. the supposed fallacy of appeal to authority I’ve dealt with at some length elsewhere on this forum—that is, it is indeed a logical fallacy, however that does not mean it is a bad argument….
...
But again, not quite sure I’m getting your point. Perhaps I’m being dense.

I’m probably not explaining it well and I may have drifted beyond what AMac was getting at.  I think you follow all the points—the main one being the appeal to authority is a complicated one since as you note there is some basis for it.

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 at 2:01pm by Jackson Comment #35

Upthread, AMac wrote,
“Priests are epistemologically superior.  Not scientists.”
Anyway, I was thinking of “priests” in the most general sense, not in the Roman Catholic particular.  Sorry I wasn’t clearer.

Doesn’t matter, the catholics have not been alone in their scandals.

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 at 3:29pm by asanta Comment #36

Somewhat belatedly - if I may toss in my two cents about the broadcast itself, on the whole I found it disappointing.  The AGW story is ripe for a good, skeptical discussion.  Chris, an excellent science journalist, I thought might be the guy to bring it - but we got a softball interview.

Now those of us who allow a degree of skepticism to creep into our views on the current state of climate science, contrary to the caricature, are not necessarily out-and-out loons.  So before you denounce me as a “denialist” who thus labelled can safely be ignored, allow me to declare that I know carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and the world is warming.

I also know public policy advocacy when I see it, and a lot of what has come from climate scientists on AGW is public policy advocacy plain and simple.

So let’s really  talk about the intersection of science and public policy.  What do we do when scientists are also political actors and advocates?

And let’s talk about how we evaluate expert opinion.  However expert we each may be in our own field, we are all more or less ignorant on most topics.  How do we maintain a vibrant, active democracy, when on every topic to which we turn there are people more expert than ourselves?

And let’s talk about the role of the internet in science and scientific debate.  Prof. Mann in this interview dismissed AGW-skeptical blogs as denailist shills.  It brought to mind the years the recording industry wasted condemning and litigating against music downloads instead of embracing it.  The blogospehere will no more go away than music downloads - and we don’t want it to!  Obviously on the whole the internet is a liberalizing, democratizing force.  But how do we deal with the mass of misinformation and half truths?

Surely the answer to each of these questions is the same:  Critical thinking skills.  We need to popularize critical thinking and science-based reasoning.  AGW and other science / policy debates represent a huge opportunity for the skeptical / pro science / reason based / freethinking community.  But we’re not helping ourselves if we soft-pedal on the climate science debate.  Instead we simply hand the floor to the anti-science camp.

In truth there is much to be concerned about the way at least some of this climate science research has been conducted and in the behaviour of at least some of these climate scientists.  So first and foremost, let’s demonstrate our own critical thinking bona fides with an unsentimental look at what the climate science circus can teach us about doing science well, and doing science well in the glare of politics and public policy debates.

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 at 3:36pm by LetsBeReasonable Comment #37

You got that one backwards, AMac. Priests just make stuff up. They aren’t chosen for their superior knowledge of anything, nor does their job involve careful investigations of anything. They don’t even have epistemological superiority when it comes to the contents of the Bible (professors of the relevant religions, arguably, would). A priest is first and foremost a sociopolitical position.

Even more, they are trained to protect ‘stuff’ others have made up!

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 at 3:46pm by asanta Comment #38

...carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and the world is warming.

[snip]

So let’s really  talk about the intersection of science and public policy.

Yep, CO2 is a greenhouse gas, one has to argue against over a century of physics to contest that.  Yet some people do, what a gift to those with a penchant for keeping the Consensus position simple and moral.  “We’re fighting the good fight against the worst sort of Denialists!”

The instrumental record is clear that the world has been warming since the end of the Little Ice Age in the mid-1800s, too.  People denying that, another gift to lovers of simple stories with clear punch lines.

Climate scientist Judith Curry created quite a stir last week, when she wrote an essay reflecting on Climategate, with some attention paid to the nature of potential conflicts between science qua science and science qua public policy advocacy.  (It would have been interesting to have heard Prof. Mann respond to Prof. Curry).  Curry’s blog post is linked and discussed at *this The Blackboard post*.

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 at 3:58pm by AMac Comment #39

Al Gore had a large opinion piece in the NY Times today (Sunday 2/28)
[ We Can’t Wish Away Climate Change]
His comments basically support those of Michael Mann.

Gore mentions, a little obliquely, the role of petroleum companies and the tobacco analogy that came up in the Mann interview:

Over the years, as the science has become clearer and clearer, some industries and companies whose business plans are dependent on unrestrained pollution of the atmospheric commons have become ever more entrenched. They are ferociously fighting against the mildest regulation — just as tobacco companies blocked constraints on the marketing of cigarettes for four decades after science confirmed the link of cigarettes to diseases of the lung and the heart.

There is a lot more to the piece than this quote—Gore is trying to tie things together in a way which would support policy action.

Now if Chris can interview Gore….

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 at 5:05pm by Jackson Comment #40

First off, I’ve been listening to PoI for several years, and have found it an invaluable podcast. In my mind the interview with Mann was revealing;

Firstly, one can understand the frustration scientists feel with the deniers. Like evolutionary biologists, they are confronted with an organised and politically motivated anti-science movement that seeks to not only undermine the credibility of individual scientists, but the discipline of science itself.

For me, the fact that Mann and his colleagues have published all their data and computer code in the public domain is testament to their desire to be transparent and show all the facts.

This fact should be promoted far more widely, and directly rebuts the skeptics claims of censorship. So called skeptics on this forum should go directly to those sources and have a look.

The denial industry may share the tactics of the tobacco lobby’s campaign but it is more akin to creationism and other anti-science movements. They’ve done a brilliant job of hitching denial to populist right wing/religious movements - the angry swarms of bloggers and forum posters who simply re-post links to WUWT, make claims to conspiracy theories and attack the science may not be directly paid by the denial industry, but have fallen hook-line-and-sinker for it’s claims. One only has to look at the posts in this thread.

Sadly, as the science confirms the truth of AGW the louder the denial industry cranks up it’s campaign to confuse the general public.

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 at 5:21pm by Mike from Oz Comment #41

the angry swarms of bloggers and forum posters who simply re-post links to WUWT, make claims to conspiracy theories and attack the science may not be directly paid by the denial industry, but have fallen hook-line-and-sinker for it’s claims. One only has to look at the posts in this thread.

Mike,

I agree with you that the science is paramount.

As you can see, earlier I posted my opinion that one of Prof. Mann’s studies is clearly an instance of weak science.

I came to this stance for the following reasons.

1.  In his 2008 PNAS paper, Prof. Mann included the four Tiljander proxies in building its > 1,000-year paleotemperature reconstructions. 
2.  His methods required that all proxies be calibrated to the 1850-1995 instrumental temperature record. 
3.  The Tiljander proxies are uncalibratable.  Mann’s group considered the reasons why, dismissed them, miscalibrated the proxies, and used them.
4.  As a result, two of the four proxies were used in an upside-down orientation, such that “warmer” information was added to the reconstructions as “cooler.”
5.  When these mistakes were brought to Mann’s attention, he stonewalled, dismissing them as “bizarre.”
6.  In public, the broader community of climate scientists has either kept quiet, or defended the Mann group’s flawed work.

At your blog, you advise, “Never debate a forum poster”.  You predict that “they” (the Denialists) will claim that CO2 doesn’t effect (sic) the climate, will provide a flood of links to YouTube, and more.  Its pointless engaging these individuals; they will only get nasty if you make the attempt. 

However, you wisely suggest a useful strategy.  That is to post links to the actual science.

I’m curious about what you think of Prof. Mann (and the AGW Consensus community) standing by his use of the Tiljander proxies.  I’d be particularly interested in articles or blog posts that capably defend his position, so I can add them to the list I maintain at my blog.  Heck, mount a capable defense here, and I’ll link to this thread!

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 at 6:04pm by AMac Comment #42

the angry swarms of bloggers and forum posters who simply re-post links to WUWT, make claims to conspiracy theories and attack the science may not be directly paid by the denial industry, but have fallen hook-line-and-sinker for it’s claims. One only has to look at the posts in this thread.

Mike,

I agree with you that the science is paramount.

As you can see, earlier I posted my opinion that one of Prof. Mann’s studies is clearly an instance of weak science.

I came to this stance for the following reasons.

1.  In his 2008 PNAS paper, Prof. Mann included the four Tiljander proxies in building its > 1,000-year paleotemperature reconstructions. 
2.  His methods required that all proxies be calibrated to the 1850-1995 instrumental temperature record. 
3.  The Tiljander proxies are uncalibratable.  Mann’s group considered the reasons why, dismissed them, miscalibrated the proxies, and used them.
4.  As a result, two of the four proxies were used in an upside-down orientation, such that “warmer” information was added to the reconstructions as “cooler.”
5.  When these mistakes were brought to Mann’s attention, he stonewalled, dismissing them as “bizarre.”
6.  In public, the broader community of climate scientists has either kept quiet, or defended the Mann group’s flawed work.

At your blog, you advise, “Never debate a forum poster”.  You predict that “they” (the Denialists) will claim that CO2 doesn’t effect (sic) the climate, will provide a flood of links to YouTube, and more.  Its pointless engaging these individuals; they will only get nasty if you make the attempt. 

However, you wisely suggest a useful strategy.  That is to post links to the actual science.

I’m curious about what you think of Prof. Mann (and the AGW Consensus community) standing by his use of the Tiljander proxies.  I’d be particularly interested in articles or blog posts that capably defend his position, so I can add them to the list I maintain at my blog.  Heck, mount a capable defense here, and I’ll link to this thread!

Hi AMac

Thanks for the reply, I appreciate your comments - and it’s good that we can agree that the best approach is to go direct to the science itself :)

A few things I’d say about the Tiljander proxy date:

1/ Im familiar that this argument has been buzzing around the climate sceptic community for some time
2/ The criticims finds it’s genesis with Steve McIntyre and his work on climateaudit.org.

My response would be: McIntyre is operating outside the peer review system and using his blog to publish “research”. IMHO, that is classic pseudo-science. Mann et.al did put out a paper responding to McIntyre’s claims, which you have alluded too. Mann and the other authors have published their papers in the public domain at the National Academy of Science website, including the computer code here: http://www.pnas.org/content/106/6/E11.full

Far from stonewalling or attempts to hide information. Mann has gone out of his way to be transparent: this is a very high standard of openess, and demonstrates his willingness to stand by his use of data. However I suspect that Mann’s response does not convince you.

If that is the case, I’d also recommend going over to Stout on Science Blogs where there is a long comment thread on the isue:http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2009/10/tiljander.php

Stout makes the following comment:

...one thing that has puzzled some people is how little effect the Tiljander proxies have on the overall reconstruciton: see S8, which I inlined. But look at S9, and you’ll see that the Tiljander proxies are remarkably flat before 1800. This would be consistent, for example, with recent non-climatic artifacts producing more variation than is naturally present. But it also means that the effect of these proxies on the total reconstruction pre-1800 is likely to be extremely slight (which explains fig S8

I agree with Stout: focussing on the Tiljander proxies are a red herring.  Simply put, the sceptics claim the Mann inverted his graph by abusing the Tiljander proxies: the truth is this data has very little impact on the conclusions of Mann’s research.

Frankly, it’s McIntrye is using text book tactics in misrepresenting the science.

Cheers

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 at 7:25pm by Mike from Oz Comment #43

Mike,

> 2/ The criticims finds it’s genesis with Steve McIntyre and his work on climateaudit.org.
> Frankly, it’s McIntrye is using text book tactics in misrepresenting the science.

To me, those are neither here nor there.  I’d rather focus on the science.

> McIntyre is operating outside the peer review system and using his blog to publish “research”. IMHO, that is classic pseudo-science.

The sneer quotes seem unwarranted.  Conferences, symposia, poster sessions, seminars, and blog posts (e.g. at Climate Audit, RealClimate, Stoat, Deltoid, and here) are all communication formats that operate outside the peer review system.  I don’t understand why that qualifies them as pseudoscience.

> Mann et.al did put out a paper responding to McIntyre’s claims, which you have alluded too.

That was a *brief reply* to a brief comment; in my opinion the Editors at PNAS allowed Prof. Mann to evade the issues raised.

> Mann and the other authors have published their papers in the public domain at the NAS website, including the computer code ...

This transparency issue was one of the major points of contention between Mann & company and McIntyre & company.  It’s a huge sign of progress in the field that such disputes are being resolved on the side of openness.  I don’t believe the code is at the PNAS website.  If you have the URL (at Penn State?), I’d like to add it to *this list of references*.

> I’d also recommend going over to Stout on Science Blogs where there is a long comment thread on the isue:http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2009/10/tiljander.php

I agree, that’s a good resource.  Because of Stoat blogger William Connolley’s aggressive moderation policy, I made a more concise digest of the first thread, *Here*.  If warranted, I can do the same for the other two.

> “one thing that has puzzled some people is how little effect the Tiljander proxies have on the overall reconstruciton...”
>  the sceptics claim the Mann inverted his graph by abusing the Tiljander proxies: the truth is this data has very little impact on the conclusions of Mann’s research.

It’s an important point, but one that I see differently.  In my opinion, the striking similarities of the with-Tiljander and without-Tiljander reconstructions suggest something is quite amiss with the reconstruction algorithms themselves.  Explained more fully *Here*

But before moving to consider complex matters, it would make sense to correct the simple mistakes, such as the miscalibration of the four Tiljander proxies and the consequent upside-down use of two of them.

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 at 8:34pm by AMac Comment #44

Mike,

> 2/ The criticims finds it’s genesis with Steve McIntyre and his work on climateaudit.org.
> Frankly, it’s McIntrye is using text book tactics in misrepresenting the science.

To me, those are neither here nor there.  I’d rather focus on the science.

> McIntyre is operating outside the peer review system and using his blog to publish “research”. IMHO, that is classic pseudo-science.

The sneer quotes seem unwarranted.  Conferences, symposia, poster sessions, seminars, and blog posts (e.g. at Climate Audit, RealClimate, Stoat, Deltoid, and here) are all communication formats that operate outside the peer review system.  I don’t understand why that qualifies them as pseudoscience.

Thanks for the response AMac

I’ll happily remove the “sneer quotes”, however I think the point stands.

There is a difference between communicating to the general public - shaping opinion - and the peer review process which is used to filter out good/bad science.

IMHO, McIntyre’s work does not qualify as “good science” because he bypasses a critical filter (the review process) and appeals direct to a mainstream and lay audience. Much like the creationists and other anti-science advocates, this tactic is about influencing public opinion rather than engaging in debate with the scientific community. The reasonL

I think most skeptics are familiar with the tactics employed by creationists, alt-med and conspiracy theorist to understand how they are very good and using new media such as blogs to disseminate their message and circumnavigate experts.

Re the science: I trust that the peer review process and the fact that Mann et.al have published all their original data and code in the public domain, and that their papers went through the peer review process is sufficient to lend greater credibility to them as sources.

If there is good, peer reviewed articles from reputable journals contradicting the conclusions of Mann and the proxy data I’d be curious to see. However, I’m not aware of any.

I will be upfront in admitting I am *not* qualified to seriously debate the science. In fact, if you’ve seen my blog you’ll note I don’t debate the details of the science. As an educated lay person I have a great love for science, and read a great deal of popular texts and original research. I regard myself as informed, but in no position to criticise individual pieces of research in such a complex and specialised area. For the same reason I won’t pick up a scalpel and perform brain surgery, I trust the scientific process (as rough and imperfect as any human institution can be) and that the experts in the field have the knowledge, expertise and skill to make informed judgements.

I will, if you don’t mind disengage from this topic with you as I feel you’re already familiar with the debate and original resources and have arrived at very different conclusion to the science.

Cheers

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 at 9:34pm by Mike from Oz Comment #45

Thanks for the response AMac

Mike,

In turn, I thank you for the thoughtful response, and its measured tone.

I hope you do not place everyone who has questions about the prevailing AGW Consensus in the same bin as creationists, astrologers, and anti-science advocates.  Much of AGW science is not settled; Feynman reminds us that skepticism is one foundation of the Scientific Method.

On that, I think we can agree.

Cheers!

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 at 9:51pm by AMac Comment #46

Thanks for the response AMac

Mike,

In turn, I thank you for the thoughtful response, and its measured tone.

I hope you do not place everyone who has questions about the prevailing AGW Consensus in the same bin as creationists, astrologers, and anti-science advocates.  Much of AGW science is not settled; Feynman reminds us that skepticism is one foundation of the Scientific Method.

On that, I think we can agree.

Cheers!

Indeed, we’re going to disagree on some points and agree on others - however it was a civil conversation. All the best mate, pleasure chatting to you.

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 at 9:56pm by Mike from Oz Comment #47

By the way, speaking of open access to data, shared code, and the way forward, there’s a couple of current threads at Lucia’s Blackboard on Station Drop Out Analysis that are of possible interest, *First* and *Second*.  In the comments, three or four computer-coders and a couple people with expert perspectives are trying different ways to look at a few of the issues that swirl around US and global instrumental data analysis.  The graphs have some interesting stories to tell.

Can you tell who are the Lukewarmers and who are the AGW Consensus adherents?  If I didn’t already know, I wouldn’t be able to!

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 at 10:29pm by AMac Comment #48

The debate is about the success or failure of these scientists in proving that their theories are correct - and it is also a debate about how they have used their data.

Isn’t it part of the job every scientist? Proving that the theories are correct? Or are the laymen those who decide which scientific theory is correct? Do you propose a democratic science, in the sense that we will vote what is true? Or better, those with a good education?

If the proof will be given one day, then it will be too late. So we must decide based on indications, indications that overwhelmingly point in the same direction: the climate is warming up, because of human activities.

GdB

Posted on Mar 01, 2010 at 12:26am by GdB Comment #49

...
I agree with Stout: focussing on the Tiljander proxies are a red herring.  Simply put, the sceptics claim the Mann inverted his graph by abusing the Tiljander proxies: the truth is this data has very little impact on the conclusions of Mann’s research.
...

Thank you for the links.  Does Stout agree there is an error but that it does not affect the conclusions, or does he doubt there is an error as well?

I had originally thought from AMac’s posts that an error had been found in the climate reconstruction (some data—some Tiljander proxies-  were being used upside down) and that this error had been corrected.  I’m surprised that it wasn’t corrected.

I think it’s a mistake to attribute this to anything other than a mistake. Because of politicized atmosphere it might be difficult to admit a small mistake and correct things.

I agree with Mike from Oz that this does not invalidate the conclusions; however, that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. If it doesn’t affect the results I don’t see why they wouldn’t just take that one data set out—

Posted on Mar 01, 2010 at 4:02am by Jackson Comment #50

Does Stout agree there is an error but that it does not affect the conclusions, or does he doubt there is an error as well?

If it doesn’t affect the results I don’t see why they wouldn’t just take that one data set out—

My stance is simple.  The four Tiljander proxies (*) were used in error.  This error stems from a simple problem:  they are uncalibratable.  When the paper and supplementary information are inspected with this in mind, the error is obvious, even to a lay person.  Once discovered, such errors should be acknowledged and corrected.

It is my opinion that this mistake masks deeper problems with the paper. But that’s analogous to a multiplication problem.  There’s no point discussing such issues, without first agreeing on simple number sentences like, “Does 2+2=4”?

In contrast, the defenders of the paper’s methods take a nuanced, complicated approach.  Removing the ad hominems and other extraneous arguments, they seem to be saying the following:  Maybe there are errors.  Maybe there are not.  If there are errors, probably they don’t matter.  Certain complex figures in the supplementary information show that any such hypothetical errors don’t change any outcomes.  Thus—if there are errors—they are trivial, and don’t matter, and need not be corrected.  Thus, they really can’t be considered “errors,” if they exist.  Thus, Prof. Mann is right and the paper’s detractors are wrong.

I think the Stoat threads are useful in deciding between the two; my digest of the first one is *here*.  My reflection on why the errors are the most informative aspect of the paper is *here*.

Your mileage may vary, of course.

(*) Typo corrected after posting.

Posted on Mar 01, 2010 at 4:44am by AMac Comment #51

Chris Mooney, Given your book Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future why would attempts to get scientific data via FOIA requests be characterized as harassment?  Harassment or Illiteracy?  Which is it?  Can we find a more moderate, less polarizing possibility to explain what is happening?

Posted on Mar 01, 2010 at 9:58am by equinox Comment #52

Chris asks: is there climate denial astroturfing online?

Posted on Mar 01, 2010 at 1:47pm by dougsmith Comment #53

Chris asks: is there climate denial astroturfing online?

Thanks, Doug.

In the post that Doug links, Chris Mooney notes that there were 51 comments here (now 54, including this one), and segues into a discussion of astroturfing.

Mann suggested something that has been on a lot of our minds—namely, that although it may appear that online climate deniers are really fired up right now on the web (hence all the comments on everybody’s blog), he suspects some of it is astroturfing…

I tell Mann I too have my suspicions, but at the same time, am skeptical and would want to see some solid proof before I fully buy into this idea.

By my quick count, I (“AMac”) have contributed a baker’s dozen comments, and a further 16 or so include some thoughts on a topic I’d discussed.  Granted, some of these posts are just friendly waves (“In turn, I thank you for the thoughtful response, and its measured tone.”).  But by the numbers, I have something to do with over half of the posts on this Point of Inquiry thread.

I’m a self-described Lukewarmer.  For reasons described on the thread, I think some of Prof. Mann’s published science is weak.

So, I guess Prof. Mann thinks that people like me are Astroturfers.

I guess Chris Mooney is wondering if I am a poster child for Astroturfing, right in his front yard.

So I’m wondering, What would it take for Chris to conclude, Yep, he’s a Denialist Shill for Vested Interests.  Or, Nope, he is what he seems—no deep financial waters, no personal connections to Big Fossil, rightwing think tanks, etc.  Just some person with opinions on AGW that I don’t share.

In this Age of Google, can I keep some of my privacy while asking this question of Chris?  I note that many online advocates of the AGW Consensus use pseudonyms, as do many Skeptics.  Should this “Federalist Papers” tradition be brought to an end?  (In that case: why were we allowed to select screen names for the CFI Forum, in the first place?) 

As folks on all sides of any contentious issue ought to know, there are some, er, excitable people out there.  I think my temperament is fairly well suited to respectful discussion, but not everyone agrees.

By the way, Chris or Doug, you can always say, “Hey AMac, siddown and shaddup, this thread’s getting too long, give somebody else a chance to participate.”  I’ll comply; this forum is your printing press, not mine.

Posted on Mar 01, 2010 at 3:08pm by AMac Comment #54

...
I agree with Stout: focussing on the Tiljander proxies are a red herring.  Simply put, the sceptics claim the Mann inverted his graph by abusing the Tiljander proxies: the truth is this data has very little impact on the conclusions of Mann’s research.
...

Thank you for the links.  Does Stout agree there is an error but that it does not affect the conclusions, or does he doubt there is an error as well?

I had originally thought from AMac’s posts that an error had been found in the climate reconstruction (some data—some Tiljander proxies-  were being used upside down) and that this error had been corrected.  I’m surprised that it wasn’t corrected.

I think it’s a mistake to attribute this to anything other than a mistake. Because of politicized atmosphere it might be difficult to admit a small mistake and correct things.

I agree with Mike from Oz that this does not invalidate the conclusions; however, that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. If it doesn’t affect the results I don’t see why they wouldn’t just take that one data set out—

Happy to provide the links: never trust a forum poster, always go to the original sources is my belief. Heck, don’t rely on my word alone ;)

I agree with some of the comments you make: science is (or strives to be) self-correcting. Errors should be admitted and corrected.

However, as you state the the politicised nature of the issue distorts the debate. I feel for the scientists whose every comma, sentence and datum is poured over by armies of bloggers, wannabe scientists and “sceptics”.

The problem is the asymmetric standards of evidence deniers apply to evaluating evidence: on the one hand they demand the science be perfect, and that any error is a glaring omission, attempt to fabricate evidence or lie committed by scientists. Deniers are then left to freely make up claims of conspiracy theories and use blogs, YouTube videos and non-peer reviewed materials as their primary sources.

Posted on Mar 01, 2010 at 5:30pm by Mike from Oz Comment #55

Chris Mooney, Given your book Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future why would attempts to get scientific data via FOIA requests be characterized as harassment?  Harassment or Illiteracy?  Which is it?  Can we find a more moderate, less polarizing possibility to explain what is happening?

I think the issue pertains to abusing the legal/FOIA process to intimidate and harass scientists.

Mann noted that Prof. Jones received over 40 FOIA requests during one weekend. Imagine that: being served with a deluge of such demands over a 48 period. No doubt many of us have received a court summons for a car crash and found that individual request stressful. Imagine receiving a flood of those in a weekend. Each one screaming “Give me your work, give me your work, give me your work…”

Its an aggressive tactic, designed to intimidate, harass and consume the time of scientists.

The issue is compounded when people ignorant of the science adopt such bullying techniques. A dangerous combination.

Posted on Mar 01, 2010 at 5:35pm by Mike from Oz Comment #56

Chris Mooney, Given your book Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future why would attempts to get scientific data via FOIA requests be characterized as harassment?  Harassment or Illiteracy?  Which is it?  Can we find a more moderate, less polarizing possibility to explain what is happening?

I think the issue pertains to abusing the legal/FOIA process to intimidate and harass scientists.

Mann noted that Prof. Jones received over 40 FOIA requests during one weekend. Imagine that: being served with a deluge of such demands over a 48 period. No doubt many of us have received a court summons for a car crash and found that individual request stressful. Imagine receiving a flood of those in a weekend. Each one screaming “Give me your work, give me your work, give me your work…”

Its an aggressive tactic, designed to intimidate, harass and consume the time of scientists.

The issue is compounded when people ignorant of the science adopt such bullying techniques. A dangerous combination.

Interesting, but abuse does not appear to be the what happened here on the part of the FOI requestees. McIntyre explains pretty well on CA.  Is it possible you are propagating one of these FOI Myths?

Myth 1

Myth 2

Posted on Mar 02, 2010 at 6:41am by equinox Comment #57

Like many of the contributors to this discussion, I was disappointed with the Michael Mann discussion. For some time now I’ve wondered why CFI and Point of Inquiry haven’t taken a greater interest in an analysis of skepticism about climate change. After all, it’s one of the hottest areas of skepticism today, and CFI is regarded by many as a champion of skepticism.

To be clear, I’m generally a believer in the conventional wisdom about climate change. The science seems solid, and the consequences seem grave. But I’m troubled by some (not many, but some) of the objections that have been raised. There are skeptics of climate change who are constructive rather than crazed, considered rather than shrill. And I’ve long wanted to hear their points discussed on a forum like Point of Inquiry.

When Chris Mooney announced that he would be talking with Dr. Mann, I was hoping that CFI was at last addressing this omission. But the interview suffered from a common fault of the Point of Inquiry discussion style: the interviewer’s questions enforce the interviewee’s point of view, rather than challenge it.

For example, the notorious “trick” email exposes a genuine but not insurmountable problem in the East Anglia results. (See http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/01/science/01tier.html for an excellent summary.) The substitution of a different data stream was legitimate, but at the very least it should have been acknowledged in the literature. And without a discussion of why the two data streams contradicted each other, it perhaps calls into question the validity of indirect temperature readings. Mr Mooney should have challenged Dr Mann on this point. The tone of the discussion should be “how can that be true?” instead of “tell me just how true that is”.

I’m excited about the new presenters at Point of Inquiry. I think this is an opportunity to have a more vigorous discussion in these programs, and expand beyond the familiar discussions of seances and religion. I’d like to ask Mr Mooney to consider a more ‘dialectic’ approach to interviewing.

Posted on Mar 02, 2010 at 10:08am by shillion Comment #58

Like many of the contributors to this discussion, I was disappointed…

Good points, constructively made.

Meanwhile, take a look at how the discussion is going in the comments at Chris Mooney’s “The Intersection” blog post about the interview, “Mike Mann on Point of Inquiry: Climate Denial Astroturfing Online?”  I posted #83 a little while back, the count is now at 99, and it doesn’t look to me as if anyone on any side of this issue has learned anything from the exchange (I’m outta there).

I mentioned earlier Steve Mosher’s “Noble Cause Corruption” article last week at Pajamas Media.  The comments there are also instructive—unanimous red-hot anger at (the skeptical) Mosher for not shouting Fraud!! from the rooftops.  Few if any minds changed there, as well.

Posted on Mar 02, 2010 at 10:43am by AMac Comment #59

In many respects, the debate is not a debate but a shouting match. AMac, we may disagree but I hope you’ve been treated with courtesy.

Still, the current status of the debate across the world is tragic, but the best I can suggest to everyone is:

- put aside you cognitive bias and seriously examine the evidence of the other side
- develop standards of evidence and apply those equally to the materials being provided by either side

It’s a back to basics approach, but I believe most people are open to learning.

Greg Craven’s “.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)” is actually a very good book that looks at developing critical thinking abilities about the global warming debate.

Highly recommended for both “warmists” and “deniers” alike.

Personally, I find the crude propaganda attempts by deniers morally repugnant. A recent example, Australian journalist and perhaps the most preeminent denier in the Australian media .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)...

I’m *happy* to talk to sceptics of climate change in a constructive manner - however, that kind of smear campaign debases the entire debate.

Until both sides agree to conduct the debate in a civil manner, things will stay polarized and only get uglier.

Posted on Mar 02, 2010 at 3:22pm by Mike from Oz Comment #60

Greg Craven’s
]http://www.gregcraven.org/]
What the worst that could happen
is actually a very good book that looks at developing critical thinking abilities about the global warming debate.

Highly recommended for both “warmists” and “deniers” alike.

http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewthread/6540/
D.J. Grothe interviewed him in Nov 2009—have not read the book…..

Posted on Mar 02, 2010 at 7:26pm by Jackson Comment #61

I don’t think it matters whether AGW is real. Let me clarify: of course it will have an impact, either way, on both life itself and humanity, if it is or is not. But the truth is, most- if not all- people who are so motivated to tear down this particular attempt at conserving our planet’s health and resources are probably looking for an excuse for two things. 1. They want to use as much fossil and other organic fuels and resources with no accountability and no consequences both human and earthly, and 2. They want an excuse to not have to use self control, an excuse to use all the organic resources they can get their hands on, go out and trash the planet, dump their waste in the oceans, and do as they please with no maturity, no responsibility, and no accountability for their actions. The human problem with that is that we should be an adult species that can pull up its britches and act like grown ups, have self control and also clean up after ourselves. And the universal problem is that our actions have consequences. You can’t dump toxic waste, plastics and garbage into the ocean and pump carbon, radiation, CFC’s and other waste into the atmosphere without consequence; you know, the whole “opposite, equal reaction” bit. Remember that one? I humbly suggest we stop letting the AGW and general climate change controversy distract us and realize that it is moot- that either way, we need to have self-control and accountability, as a species and for the next generation of beings of all types that must inherit the earth as we leave it.

Posted on Mar 03, 2010 at 12:06am by 8137 Productions Comment #62

8137 Productions, but there are a whole group of people who believe that the ‘end times’ are coming, and therefore it doesn’t matter what we do to the earth, Jesus will come back and save the deserving. Another point of view I’ve heard is “who cares, I’ll be dead anyway” There are some that believe hastening the ‘end of the earth’ will bring Jesus faster. There are those who believe ‘god’ gave us this world to do with as we please. AND aside from this, our science education is so atrocious,I’ll bet I could go to the nearest metro area and find someone within an hour who did not know the earth rotated the sun.

Posted on Mar 03, 2010 at 1:23am by asanta Comment #63

8137 Productions, but there are a whole group of people who believe that the ‘end times’ are coming, and therefore it doesn’t matter what we do to the earth, Jesus will come back and save the deserving. Another point of view I’ve heard is “who cares, I’ll be dead anyway” There are some that believe hastening the ‘end of the earth’ will bring Jesus faster. There are those who believe ‘god’ gave us this world to do with as we please. AND aside from this, our science education is so atrocious,I’ll bet I could go to the nearest metro area and find someone within an hour who did not know the earth rotated the sun.

Some good points - made by both.

However, for the non-millernarians who may be sceptics, I think the issue of energy security can be played up.

I mean, most industrial countries are “addicted” to oil and therefore dependent on regimes often hostile to democratic values.

For the end timers… heck, no reasoning.

Posted on Mar 03, 2010 at 3:39pm by Mike from Oz Comment #64

The debate is about the success or failure of these scientists in proving that their theories are correct - and it is also a debate about how they have used their data.

Isn’t it part of the job every scientist? Proving that the theories are correct?

Absolutely.

Or are the laymen those who decide which scientific theory is correct? Do you propose a democratic science, in the sense that we will vote what is true? Or better, those with a good education?

Absolutely not. But when Science crosses over into the public domain; public policy, then ordinary people need to be persuaded that the theories in question are valid and merit the public’s resources if that is the issue at hand, which it is here. Part of this persuasion is what I am commenting on.

If the proof will be given one day, then it will be too late. So we must decide based on indications, indications that overwhelmingly point in the same direction: the climate is warming up, because of human activities.

Perhaps. Perhaps not. I as a science trained and one time science researcher am not nearly convinced at this stage either of the warming, the cause or ... whether it could be reversed if it were true.

Posted on Mar 04, 2010 at 8:34am by scepticeye Comment #65

I’m a self-described Lukewarmer.  For reasons described on the thread, I think some of Prof. Mann’s published science is weak.

So, I guess Prof. Mann thinks that people like me are Astroturfers.

I guess Chris Mooney is wondering if I am a poster child for Astroturfing, right in his front yard.

Unfortunately this latest accusation is yet another in a long line of attempts to smear opponents of AGW. It is another attempt to sidetrack the discussion, avoid discussion of the science and the evidence. The truth can be found across the world in every pole showing that the credibility of the AGW is sinking fast. There is no shortage of people who oppose their theory. I myself have many friends and acquaintances who don’t believe a word of it but who are not web savvy and never get to contribute to the debate. Those who do are a fraction of the people who are sceptical.

You yourself raised specific evidential issues here but immediately they were dismissed as red herrings and the debate ground to a halt. This has happened numerous times when I also tried to discuss the science and the evidence.

Posted on Mar 04, 2010 at 8:45am by scepticeye Comment #66

Interesting, but abuse does not appear to be the what happened here on the part of the FOI requestees. McIntyre explains pretty well on CA.  Is it possible you are propagating one of these FOI Myths?

Myth 1

Myth 2

A fascinating and educational post. The idea that publication of original data is a burden is an appallingly anti science one. And if there was any burden at any one specific time it was because of earlier blocking of requests and refusals to supply data. The most appalling response of all was that their opponents would use the data to find errors !  it beggars belief.

Posted on Mar 04, 2010 at 8:50am by scepticeye Comment #67

Like many of the contributors to this discussion, I was disappointed…

Good points, constructively made.

Meanwhile, take a look at how the discussion is going in the comments at Chris Mooney’s “The Intersection” blog post about the interview, “Mike Mann on Point of Inquiry: Climate Denial Astroturfing Online?”  I posted #83 a little while back, the count is now at 99, and it doesn’t look to me as if anyone on any side of this issue has learned anything from the exchange (I’m outta there).

I myself have no problem with long threads. Why is it a bad thing ? it means discussion is ongoing and people are interested enough to continue to express themselves. If they reduce to abuse or repetition than we might have a problem. But the length alone is not something I believe we should have a problem with.
It is inevitable that people have strong views on either sides. Many have formed them over time and are not likely to give them up easily. However discussion plays it’s part in the further development of all of our ideas and over time we, hopefully, are open to modifying our stances when we find good arguments to do so.

Posted on Mar 04, 2010 at 8:53am by scepticeye Comment #68

I don’t think it matters whether AGW is real. Let me clarify: of course it will have an impact, either way, on both life itself and humanity, if it is or is not. But the truth is, most- if not all- people who are so motivated to tear down this particular attempt at conserving our planet’s health and resources are probably looking for an excuse for two things. 1. They want to use as much fossil and other organic fuels and resources with no accountability and no consequences both human and earthly, and 2. They want an excuse to not have to use self control, an excuse to use all the organic resources they can get their hands on, go out and trash the planet, dump their waste in the oceans, and do as they please with no maturity, no responsibility, and no accountability for their actions.

I am sorry to say this but this is absolute nonsense. The vast majority of people who oppose the AGW theory are fully supportive of all of the current Green policies of conservation, efficiency, clean energy, clean air etc etc. It is a myth to imply otherwise. It is perfectly consistent to believe in these things and yet oppose a theory that is unproven and demands that the global economy sacrifice millions of jobs and billions of dollars based on what they (and I) believe is faulty evidence.

The human problem with that is that we should be an adult species that can pull up its britches and act like grown ups, have self control and also clean up after ourselves. And the universal problem is that our actions have consequences. You can’t dump toxic waste, plastics and garbage into the ocean and pump carbon, radiation, CFC’s and other waste into the atmosphere without consequence; you know, the whole “opposite, equal reaction” bit. Remember that one? I humbly suggest we stop letting the AGW and general climate change controversy distract us and realize that it is moot- that either way, we need to have self-control and accountability, as a species and for the next generation of beings of all types that must inherit the earth as we leave it.

I agree wholeheartedly !

Posted on Mar 04, 2010 at 8:59am by scepticeye Comment #69

I don’t think it matters whether AGW is real. Let me clarify: of course it will have an impact, either way, on both life itself and humanity, if it is or is not. But the truth is, most- if not all- people who are so motivated to tear down this particular attempt at conserving our planet’s health and resources are probably looking for an excuse for two things. 1. They want to use as much fossil and other organic fuels and resources with no accountability and no consequences both human and earthly, and 2. They want an excuse to not have to use self control, an excuse to use all the organic resources they can get their hands on, go out and trash the planet, dump their waste in the oceans, and do as they please with no maturity, no responsibility, and no accountability for their actions.

I am sorry to say this but this is absolute nonsense. The vast majority of people who oppose the AGW theory are fully supportive of all of the current Green policies of conservation, efficiency, clean energy, clean air etc etc. It is a myth to imply otherwise. It is perfectly consistent to believe in these things and yet oppose a theory that is unproven and demands that the global economy sacrifice millions of jobs and billions of dollars based on what they (and I) believe is faulty evidence.

The human problem with that is that we should be an adult species that can pull up its britches and act like grown ups, have self control and also clean up after ourselves. And the universal problem is that our actions have consequences. You can’t dump toxic waste, plastics and garbage into the ocean and pump carbon, radiation, CFC’s and other waste into the atmosphere without consequence; you know, the whole “opposite, equal reaction” bit. Remember that one? I humbly suggest we stop letting the AGW and general climate change controversy distract us and realize that it is moot- that either way, we need to have self-control and accountability, as a species and for the next generation of beings of all types that must inherit the earth as we leave it.

I agree wholeheartedly !

Scepticeye, this is the reason I stopped arguing with you over AGW. Despite our different opinions on the causes of (and apparently even the reality of) global warming, we agree on the necessary actions. As 8137 Productions stated, we need to grow up and clean up after ourselves.

Unfortunately, no one wants to talk about the underlying cause of our problems; overpopulation. We have bred our species well past the carrying capacity of the planet, yet we squabble over symptoms while ignoring the disease. The only way to solve our pollution problems is to first tackle overpopulation. Nothing else we do will make a difference as long as there are six-billion of us using the earth’s resources.

Posted on Mar 04, 2010 at 10:38am by DarronS Comment #70

Scepticeye, this is the reason I stopped arguing with you over AGW. Despite our different opinions on the causes of (and apparently even the reality of) global warming, we agree on the necessary actions. As 8137 Productions stated, we need to grow up and clean up after ourselves.

I am confused ... from what you said above about stopping arguing with me I thought you were objecting to something I said ? posted ? am I missing something ?

Unfortunately, no one wants to talk about the underlying cause of our problems; overpopulation. We have bred our species well past the carrying capacity of the planet, yet we squabble over symptoms while ignoring the disease. The only way to solve our pollution problems is to first tackle overpopulation. Nothing else we do will make a difference as long as there are six-billion of us using the earth’s resources.

You have a point but I guess this is just too big an issue to generate much discussion. No one really has any acceptable constructive suggestions to make about how to tackle it so it doesn’t get discussed much. Maybe.

Posted on Mar 04, 2010 at 10:57am by scepticeye Comment #71

Scepticeye, this is the reason I stopped arguing with you over AGW. Despite our different opinions on the causes of (and apparently even the reality of) global warming, we agree on the necessary actions. As 8137 Productions stated, we need to grow up and clean up after ourselves.

I am confused ... from what you said above about stopping arguing with me I thought you were objecting to something I said ? posted ? am I missing something ?

Your statement a few posts previous.

I as a science trained and one time science researcher am not nearly convinced at this stage either of the warming…

Anyone who does not believe the earth is warming is simply incapable of reading a graph. We can disagree about the causes, but the warming trend is an obvious fact and not open to debate. As the old saying goes, everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts.

But the important thing is we agree on what to do moving forward. We cannot sustain a society that depends upon nonrenewable energy sources, especially when using that energy is destroying our ecosystems. We must build a sustainable society. And as much as everyone wants to avoid talking about it, the overriding issue is we must find a peaceful way to reduce our population immediately. We can do it ourselves, or the ecosystem will do it for us, in which case things will get very ugly about the middle of this century.

Posted on Mar 04, 2010 at 2:30pm by DarronS Comment #72

Mr. Mooney does great damage to his own skeptical credentials by allowing Mann to prattle on about AGW without substantive challenge to his highly dubious ‘hockey stick’ analysis. If Mr. Mooney doesn’t understand the topic well enough, perhaps he should have accessed the abundant resources which describe the problems with Mann’s analysis in depth prior to the interview or had a skeptic of Mann’s ‘science’ on the interview. The fundamental question is why Mann used such an unusual implementation of principal component analysis to select only proxies that supported his hypothesis, when it’s very clear that the vast majority of proxies in the data set he used didn’t support his hypothesis. This is not too esoteric a question for this audience and it would be great to give Mann as much times as he cared to take in explaining himself. Btw, recreations of his model show that feeding randomized data into Mann’s model produces the hockey stick as well - shouldn’t that be alarming to someone who calls himself a skeptic? What I have no interest in hearing is the same old straw man arguments about whether there is a greenhouse effect at all, whether C02 is a greenhouse gas or whether an increase in C02 would lead to warming. The substantive critics of AGW hysteria aren’t arguing any of those points, and certainly this audience doesn’t need these fundamentals explained to them (although the relationship between C02 and warming is more complex than many people think).

Is the CFI a truly skeptical organization? If so, how could an interview with Mann not center around this great controversy? Even if the interviewer doesn’t agree at all with the criticism leveled at Mann, the criticisms are legitimate and reasoned and should be treated with respect. Big fail for Mooney and CFI.  [/size]

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 at 10:52am by glennd1 Comment #73

Mr. Mooney does great damage to his own skeptical credentials by allowing Mann to prattle on about AGW without substantive challenge to his highly dubious ‘hockey stick’ analysis. If Mr. Mooney doesn’t understand the topic well enough, perhaps he should have accessed the abundant resources which describe the problems with Mann’s analysis in depth prior to the interview or had a skeptic of Mann’s ‘science’ on the interview. The fundamental question is why Mann used such an unusual implementation of principal component analysis to select only proxies that supported his hypothesis, when it’s very clear that the vast majority of proxies in the data set he used didn’t support his hypothesis. This is not too esoteric a question for this audience and it would be great to give Mann as much times as he cared to take in explaining himself. Btw, recreations of his model show that feeding randomized data into Mann’s model produces the hockey stick as well - shouldn’t that be alarming to someone who calls himself a skeptic? What I have no interest in hearing is the same old straw man arguments about whether there is a greenhouse effect at all, whether C02 is a greenhouse gas or whether an increase in C02 would lead to warming. The substantive critics of AGW hysteria aren’t arguing any of those points, and certainly this audience doesn’t need these fundamentals explained to them (although the relationship between C02 and warming is more complex than many people think).

Is the CFI a truly skeptical organization? If so, how could an interview with Mann not center around this great controversy? Even if the interviewer doesn’t agree at all with the criticism leveled at Mann, the criticisms are legitimate and reasoned and should be treated with respect. Big fail for Mooney and CFI.  [/size]

Random sample of standard denier claims. Without sources. Or facts. I won’t be engaing this troll - it’s their first post.

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 at 11:59am by Mike from Oz Comment #74

I’m with you Mike. The Hockey Stick denial was rebutted years ago. Most deniers have moved on to something more substantial.

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 at 12:02pm by DarronS Comment #75

Mr. Mooney does great damage to his own skeptical credentials by allowing Mann to prattle on about AGW without substantive challenge to his highly dubious ‘hockey stick’ analysis. If Mr. Mooney doesn’t understand the topic well enough perhaps he should have accessed the abundant resources which describe the problems...

Wrong!
Perhaps you should do some research on your assumptions…...

Myth vs. Fact Regarding the “Hockey Stick”

MYTH #1: Evidence for modern human influence on climate rests entirely upon the “Hockey Stick” Reconstruction of Northern Hemisphere mean temperatures indicating anomalous late 20th century warmth.

MYTH #2: The “Hockey Stick” Reconstruction is based solely on two publications by climate scientist Michael Mann and colleagues (Mann et al, 1998;1999).

MYTH #3: Regional proxy evidence of warm or anomalous (wet or dry) conditions in past centuries contradicts the conclusion that late 20th century hemispheric mean warmth is anomalous in a long-term (multi-century to millennial) context.

MYTH #4: The “Hockey Stick” studies claim that the 20th century on the whole is the warmest period of the past 1000 years.

MYTH #5: Errors in the “Hockey Stick” undermine the conclusion that late 20th century hemispheric warmth is anomalous.

What I have no interest in hearing is the same old straw man arguments about whether there is a greenhouse effect at all, whether C02 is a greenhouse gas or whether an increase in C02 would lead to warming. The substantive critics of AGW hysteria aren’t arguing any of those points, and certainly this audience doesn’t need these fundamentals explained to them

What in the world does this mean?  Straw man arguments about CO2?
Just yesterday I was listen to another Professor Bob Carter (I assume you know who I’m talking about) talk all about poopooing the notion that CO2 is a problem.
Google “CO2 myth” and you find page after page of references to blogs pro-porting to expose the CO2 AGW myth.  And, it seems to me I’ve even heard it bandied about on this forum by some of our inhouse “skeptics.”

(although the relationship between C02 and warming is more complex than many people think).

That should be rephrased: The relationship between CO2’s (unassailable) heat absorption properties and our planet’s heat distribution process is more complex than many people think.

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 at 12:37pm by citizenschallenge Comment #76

Random sample of standard denier claims. Without sources. Or facts. I won’t be engaing this troll - it’s their first post.

Wow, so instead of answering my complaint, you simply attack me as a denier, newbie and troll. Is this what you call reasoned discussion?  Typical, and, btw, this kind of attitude is one of the fundamental reasons there are so many ‘deniers’ - which I am not. I’m not even truly skeptical of AGW in the sense that it seems clear that C02 causes warming and human contributions ipso facto cause warming. The rate and extent of warming we’ll experience, the impact of the warming and the policies we should undertake seem to be legitimate topics for discussion and disagreement, and, as well, I am alarmed by those who want reparations for the lesser developed world or applaud Hugo Chavez at climate summits for claiming capitalism is the culprit behind AGW. I support an aggressive, precautionary stance, as well as much greater public debate and discussion to educate people, otherwise you leave it to Sean Hannity and Al Gore to explain it to people - both of whom aren’t scientists.

That said, I have spent significant effort trying to understand the science of AGW, and it seems to me that there are substantial questions and criticisms that have been leveled against Mann’s work. I think that a skeptical forum is exactly the place to discuss and answer these questions. I, like most on this forum, am not a climate scientist and can’t keep up with every challenge and rebuttal of the science, but in fact rely on intermediaries and proxies to interpret and explain much of the science to me, even though I am numerate and possess a well rounded basic foundation of scientific knowledge. Opportunities to hear Mann speak extemporaneously are pretty rare for me, and I was actually really psyched to hear the interview when I discovered it. I thought that I would hear from Mann directly on the hockey stick,  and also that he would be subjected to rigorous questioning that would help me understand his response to his critics. I’m perfectly ready to accept his answers and would actually love to have heard them.  Instead I was treated to a rehash of basics that I - and any other thoughtful observer of AGW - already know. Also, the dismissive attitude towards skepticism of any sort about AGW seems quite out of character for a skeptical forum. It’s worth saying that I’ve tried to digest the back and forth with McIntyre and work of Zorita, but at a certain point I have a hard time deciding who’s actually making sense. I also think that Mann’s work is crucial, so questions about it deserve special focus and repetition. If Mooney and Mann are tired of doing this - well, what the hell are they doing podcasts for?

So, don’t dismiss me as a troll. I was simply asking for Mooney to deal with the skeptical concerns regarding Mann’s work - even if he don’t agree with them or - heaven forbid, even if it might be that some of us need help understanding them? This isn’t a climate science journal or forum - it’s a skeptical forum. I ask you, where else am I to turn for reasoned and thoughtful treatment of skeptical concerns? Fyi, I’m not interested in your explanation of the science or even your views on AGW skepticism (I’m not an AGW skeptic) - rather my complaint is about the posture taken by Chris Mooney in this interview. So really, get a grip on yourself.

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 at 2:01pm by glennd1 Comment #77

Wow, so instead of answering my complaint, you simply attack me as a denier, newbie and troll. Is this what you call reasoned discussion?  Typical, and, btw, this kind of attitude is one of the fundamental reasons there are so many ‘deniers’ - which I am not.


[Snip]

So, don’t dismiss me as a troll. I was simply asking for Mooney to deal with the skeptical concerns regarding Mann’s work - even if he don’t agree with them or - heaven forbid, even if it might be that some of us need help understanding them? This isn’t a climate science journal or forum - it’s a skeptical forum. I ask you, where else am I to turn for reasoned and thoughtful treatment of skeptical concerns? Fyi, I’m not interested in your explanation of the science or even your views on AGW skepticism (I’m not an AGW skeptic) - rather my complaint is about the posture taken by Chris Mooney in this interview. So really, get a grip on yourself.

I realise you are probably not as sceptical as I am so I don’t want to create a false impression that we agree on that ...
Having said that I see that you have discovered:
a) This is, sadly, not a sceptics forum.  It is a forum for people who are sceptical about some - acceptable - things and believers in other things, including AGW. Scepticism is defined as those who agree with the AGW theory without question. If you don’t then you are a fake sceptic .... of some kind.
b) No amount of dissent is tolerated about AGW. The response will be immediate and they will drown you in outraged posts and ridicule, demanding that YOU prove THEM wrong ...

If you read my post about that podcast you will see that I agree with you. Whether we actually agree about AGW or not I believe it does nothing for the AGW cause. What we have here is one of many groups that essentially preach to themselves and are mutually amazed that they don’t convince the sceptics. Anyone who had any doubts about AGW and any kind of rational thinking capability who listened to this kind of podcast would come away with serious suspicions about why they feel the need to be so dismissive and ridiculing about their opponents. It is this attitude more than ANY other that is fueling the debate and creating the massive growth in sceptics around the world that is blocking the exact action they are looking for.  DAFT if you ask me. Did you read Mooney’s post after the podcast ? quote: “but if I am making climate “skeptics” upset, then yes, I guess I am doing my job properly”  this tell you everything you need to know about where Mooney and CFI stands.

It’s a pity because on the rest of the forum we have quite a good time :) It’s actually very much like discussions with religious friends of mine. We have great discussions about scepticism and science as long as we don’t discuss religion. Same here except it’s a different kind of religion.

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 at 4:39pm by scepticeye Comment #78

Actually, you can believe or disbelief AGW.

I’ve chosen to ignore debating with you because:

A) neither of us are scientists
b) the scientific consensus supports the theory
c) it usually a shouting match

It’s not a conspiracy to silence dissent. It’s polite refusal to engage in a pointless slanging match. Point me to a single forum or blog post that “disproves” the entire body of science of climate change.

Give me peer-reviewed research form actual scientists, then we can talk.

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 at 5:57pm by Mike from Oz Comment #79

Scepticeye

Scepticism is defined as those who agree with the AGW theory without question. If you don’t then you are a fake sceptic .... of some kind.

huh?
That is a totally misleading statement. A sceptic (skeptic) is a person who does in fact question everything. A scientific skeptic is one who questions rigorously, but when presented with sufficient reliable data will accept the scientific concensus about the premise in question.
However (and I believe this was the point you were making), I do believe that most scientific skeptics are now persuaded:
1) AGW is a fact
2) There are several factors that make AGW a threat to human life on earth.
3) Man made pollution contributes to AGW, in an exponential way.
4) By the laws of exponential increase, a 2% steady growth of man made pollution will result in a doubling of the total of all man made pollution in all of previous history in 35 years and a quadrupling in 70 years, etc.
5) Now is time for all persuaded skeptics to come to the aid of pollution control advocates.

False skepticism would be those that still deny the data provided by reliable sources. One can compare them with smokers who have been warned that smoking will kill you, but it may not happen for awhile. Thus the false skeptic believes there is plenty time to quit at a future date. A foolish notion, by all accounts.

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 at 6:01pm by Write4U Comment #80

Apparently you don’t listen, Mike. I don’t claim to be a skeptic per se. I thought this was a skeptical site and when interviewing Mann, one would think that criticisms of his work would be what was an offer from a skeptic. The main reason I’m interested in this is because when I tried to follow the back and forth between Mann and McIntyre (it seems there were substantial problems with some of McIntyre’s work, he’s not a climate scientist so it’s not a real surprise, but apparently some of his contentions went uncontroverted in Mann’s initial responce). It seems there subsequent were publications that Mann claimed supported him, I think one was by Zorita? I was not able to fully understand the resolution of the dispute and I think it actually occurred over several published works spanning several years. Since this is what Mann is most famous for in climate science circles, one would think his commentary on this would a topic a so called representative of skeptics would be sure to cover. That’s what my commentary was all about, not trying to debate climate science - I don’t do that, I’m not qualified to do so.

As for your call for peer-reviewed research, even the AR4 IPCC report only claims 90% certainty in it’s conclusions, so your level of certainty is not really matched with what the consensus is, fyi. Would you fly in a plane that had a 10% probability of crashing on every landing? I’m trying to understand it, but the door is shut approach seems to not fit the state of the actual science.  When there is that level of admitted uncertainty, one would think that a bit of open mindedness is called for, but instead you act like I’m trying to question evolution. It’s really, really obnoxious and very much opposed to a spirit of inquiry that should accompany such a dialog. Let me ask you this. Do you think it would have somehow been beyond the pale to ask Mann to reprise the skeptics critique of his work and his response to it, when the interviewer is claiming to represent a skeptical group?

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 at 6:32pm by glennd1 Comment #81

Would you fly in a plane that had a 10% probability of crashing on every landing?

Do you want to live on a planet that has a 90 percent chance of destroying our society?

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 at 6:34pm by DarronS Comment #82

Would you fly in a plane that had a 10% probability of crashing on every landing?

Do you want to live on a planet that has a 90 percent chance of destroying our society?

Unless there is a limiting factor (of which there is no evidence at this time), exponential growth yields a probability for human disaster of 100%.

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 at 6:41pm by Write4U Comment #83

Would you fly in a plane that had a 10% probability of crashing on every landing?

Do you want to live on a planet that has a 90 percent chance of destroying our society?

Unless there is a limiting factor (of which there is no evidence at this time), exponential growth yields a probability for human disaster of 100%.

With that I agree wholeheartedly, which is the reason I don’t spend a lot of time arguing AGW any longer. None of it matters if we do not bring down our population to sustainable levels.

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 at 7:04pm by DarronS Comment #84

Apparently you don’t listen, Mike. I don’t claim to be a skeptic per se. I thought this was a skeptical site and when interviewing Mann, one would think that criticisms of his work would be what was an offer from a skeptic. The main reason I’m interested in this is because when I tried to follow the back and forth between Mann and McIntyre (it seems there were substantial problems with some of McIntyre’s work, he’s not a climate scientist so it’s not a real surprise, but apparently some of his contentions went uncontroverted in Mann’s initial responce). It seems there subsequent were publications that Mann claimed supported him, I think one was by Zorita? I was not able to fully understand the resolution of the dispute and I think it actually occurred over several published works spanning several years. Since this is what Mann is most famous for in climate science circles, one would think his commentary on this would a topic a so called representative of skeptics would be sure to cover. That’s what my commentary was all about, not trying to debate climate science - I don’t do that, I’m not qualified to do so.

As for your call for peer-reviewed research, even the AR4 IPCC report only claims 90% certainty in it’s conclusions, so your level of certainty is not really matched with what the consensus is, fyi. Would you fly in a plane that had a 10% probability of crashing on every landing? I’m trying to understand it, but the door is shut approach seems to not fit the state of the actual science.  When there is that level of admitted uncertainty, one would think that a bit of open mindedness is called for, but instead you act like I’m trying to question evolution. It’s really, really obnoxious and very much opposed to a spirit of inquiry that should accompany such a dialog. Let me ask you this. Do you think it would have somehow been beyond the pale to ask Mann to reprise the skeptics critique of his work and his response to it, when the interviewer is claiming to represent a skeptical group?

I believe you misunderstand the mission of CFI:

To oppose and supplant the mythological narratives of the past, and the dogmas of the present, the world needs an institution devoted to promoting science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. The Center for Inquiry is that institution.

At the Center for Inquiry, we believe that evidence-based reasoning, in which humans work together to address common concerns, is critical for modern world civilization. Moreover, unlike many other institutions, we maintain that scientific methods and reasoning should be utilized in examining the claims of both pseudoscience and religion. We reject mysticism and blind faith.

It’s not an association of “sceptics”, but an organisation devoted to promoting evidence-based reason and places implicit trust in the scientific method. Scientists are confident to a high degree that AGW is real. Ergo we can say with a high degree of confidence that Mann’s statements on the science - though his personal views - are broadly in line with the majority of his peers. Chris is no under no obligation to make him “answer his critics”.

In fact early in the interview he gave a simple, clear explanation of the greenhouse effect and how CO2 amplifies it.

Which brings me back to my original point: bring me peer reviewed literature that falsifies even part of climate science, not a trial of emails taken out of context. The Manne/McI dispute is a sideshow designed to distract us from the science.

I suggest the following resources to familiarise yourself with genuine research:

AGW Observer
Skeptical Science

From this point I will politely disengage from the conversation until you bring some evidence worth examining.

All the best, I wish you well in gaining a deeper understanding of the science.

Cheers
Mike

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 at 7:26pm by Mike from Oz Comment #85

This is the kind of arrogant smugness that is dragging the Climate Change debate into the quagmire, with respect, Doug. It is all about the deeply and fatally flawed science, some of it appallingly so, and the financial might of the Green lobby.

Excuse me, but the arrogance is all on your side, assuming that someone without the appropriate scientific background can tell the experts what they’ve done wrong.

Hell, he’s never even attempted explaining specifically what he thinks experts have done wrong.
Just a lot of hot air, that in light of some of his other interesting commentary, is quite perplexing.

Posted on Mar 17, 2010 at 9:07am by citizenschallenge Comment #86

Hell, he’s never even attempted explaining specifically what he thinks experts have done wrong.
Just a lot of hot air, that in light of some of his other interesting commentary, is quite perplexing.

It’s difficult to use polite language with you sometimes because you yourself engaged briefly, though insultingly, with me on a thread not so long ago where I raised specific issues with Tree ring data usage for temperatures and also with the use of ice cores for CO2 levels as well as one or two more. You are surely aggressive and overbearing enough in your posts without making false statements to boot.

Posted on Mar 17, 2010 at 9:13am by scepticeye Comment #87

Remind me add the link.

ps. buddy your the last one to talk about an insultingly approach to discussion, you should review some of your own stuff.

Posted on Mar 17, 2010 at 9:50am by citizenschallenge Comment #88

scepticeye
This is the kind of arrogant smugness that is dragging the Climate Change debate into the quagmire, with respect, Doug. It is all about the deeply and fatally flawed science, some of it appallingly so, and the financial might of the Green lobby.

While I agree with you on many issues, I cannot understand your reasoning on this subject.
AGW is a fact and humans are contributing to it. There is abundant evidence. Even if we discard 50 % of all that has been written, we still end up with the same conclusion. To somehow attribute the consensus agreement about these findings to the “power” and “finacial might” of the Green lobby is itself a stretch of the imagination. What power, what might? Who are these powerful lobbyists that can spend unlimited funds buying politicians and the media? Solar panel manufacturers? Green Peace? Al Gore? Did he not receive the Nobel award, something which is not given for deeply and fatally flawed science? Tree huggers? What financial might are you talking about?
If we consider the financial resources available to the Deniers such as Big Oil, Car Industry, Plastics, Chemical Industry, your argument of the “financial might” of the Green lobby is not very persuasive.

Posted on Mar 17, 2010 at 1:48pm by Write4U Comment #89

What bothers me most about AGW deniers is their obvious, even if unintentional, implication that climate scientists are either incompetent or dishonest. I know a few climate scientists and all of them are fed up with physicists who think they are experts on climate science just because they read a few reports.

Posted on Mar 17, 2010 at 1:56pm by DarronS Comment #90

What bothers me most about AGW deniers is their obvious, even if unintentional, implication that climate scientists are either incompetent or dishonest. I know a few climate scientists and all of them are fed up with physicists who think they are experts on climate science just because they read a few reports.

Ding - spot on.

How about climate scientists tackle quantum physics. I mean, who has *actually* seen sub-atomic particles! Huh! It’s a conspiracy so physicists can garner billions in funding to build atom smashers like the LHC that prove nothing. And they can’t even get it to work! Then they make up the data to justify the billions they’ve stolen from the public!

It makes me MAD! Those crooks! I hope Anthony Watts gets onto them soon!

Question authority!

Posted on Mar 17, 2010 at 4:48pm by Mike from Oz Comment #91

yes….science is a con game.  Even the word “consensus” has the word “con” in it. So does “conclusions”.
How could I have missed those obvious warnings before in my “considerations”. :grrr:

Posted on Mar 17, 2010 at 5:12pm by Write4U Comment #92

yes….science is a con game.  Even the word “consensus” has the word “con” in it. So does “conclusions”.
How could I have missed those obvious warnings before in my “considerations”. :grrr:

Sooooo true. I propse we call them s-con-tists!

It’s a con-spiracy, their con-sensus con-cluding AGW is real is a con. There is the real in-con-venient truth!

;)

Posted on Mar 17, 2010 at 5:24pm by Mike from Oz Comment #93

I really was not aware that there is a “tobacco-like” conspiracy to frustrate efforts to do something about global warming. Maybe this was what was bugging skepticeye.  I have to agree it comes across as an ad hominem response—- the criticism of global warming ‘alarmists’ needs to be answered directly rather than claiming this is not necessary because “Big Petroleum” has a conspiracy “just like” the tobacco companies.  It is not “just like” tobacco. 

The thing is the claim has factual basis.  Take the case of Fred Singer an eminent contrarian.
This information comes from SourceWatch.org, but a little internet search reveals a whole bunch more evidence factually linking the two smear campaigns.

Tobacco Industry Contractor

In 1993, Singer collaborated with Tom Hockaday of Apco Associates to draft an article on “junk science” intended for publication. Apco Associates was the PR firm hired to organize and direct The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition for Philip Morris. Hockaday reported on his work with Singer to Ellen Merlo, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Philip Morris.[14]

In 1994, Singer was Chief Reviewer of the report Science, economics, and environmental policy: a critical examination published by the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution (AdTI). This was all part of an attack on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funded by the Tobacco Institute over a risk assessment on environmental tobacco smoke. [15] At that time, Mr. Singer was a Senior Fellow with AdTI.[16]

“The report’s principal reviewer, Dr. Fred Singer, was involved with the International Center for a Scientific Ecology, a group that was considered important in Philip Morris’ plans to create a group in Europe similar to The Advancement for Sound Science Coalition (TASSC), as discussed by Ong and Glantz. He was also on a tobacco industry list of people who could write op-ed pieces on “junk science,” defending the industry’s views.39” [17]

In 1995, as President of the Science and Environmental Policy Project (a think tank based in Fairfax, Virginia) S. Fred Singer was involved in launching a publicity campaign about “The Top Five Environmental Myths of 1995,” a list that included the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s conclusion that secondhand tobacco smoke is a human carcinogen. Shandwick, a public relations agency working for British American Tobacco, pitched the “Top Five Myths” list idea to Singer to minimize the appearance of tobacco industry involvement in orchestrating criticism of the EPA. The “Top Five Environmental Myths” list packaged EPA’s secondhand smoke ruling with other topics like global warming and radon gas, to help minimize the appearance of tobacco industry involvement in the effort. According to a 1996 BAT memo describing the arrangement, Singer agreed to an “aggressive media interview schedule” organized by Shandwick to help publicize his criticism of EPA’s conclusions.[18]

Oil Industry Contractor

In a September 24, 1993, sworn affidavit, Dr. Singer stated that he had two meetings with Robert Balling in Pheonix for which his expenses were re-imbursed. Singer believed the the funding, which he received from Balling, originated from the Western Fuels Association.[19] Singer also admitted to working as a consultant on approximately half a dozen occasions for the Global Climate Coalition and that payments to him came either from the firm of John Shlaes, the coalition’s director or the PR firm, E. Bruce Harrison, which worked for the coalition.[20] He also stated that he had undertaken consulting work on “perhaps a dozen or so” energy companies. This included work on behalf of oil companies, such as Exxon, Texaco, Arco, Shell, Sun, Unocal, the Electric Power Research Institute, Florida Power and the American Gas Association.[21]

Posted on Mar 17, 2010 at 10:36pm by citizenschallenge Comment #94

[14] ↑ Hockaday, T. Opinion Editorials on Indoor Air Quality and Junk Science Memorandum, March 8, 1993. Philip Morris Bates No. 2021178205

[15] ↑ Derek Yach, Stella Aguinaga Bialous, American Journal of Public Health Junking Science to Promote Tobacco November 2001, Vol 91, No. 11 pp.1745-1748

[16] ↑ P. Gerin, J. Mica, House of Congress Briefing on Sound Science and Environmental Policy Letter. 1 pp. 2nd to last paragraph), August 2, 1994. Philip Morris Bates No.2040165575

[17] ↑ Derek Yach, World Health Organization, Stella A. Bialous, University of California San Francisco Junking Science to Promote Tobacco American Journal of Public Health, November 2001, Vol 91, No. 11, Tobacco, Lawyers and Public Health, pp. 1745-1748

[18] ↑ Joe S. Helewicz Note from JS Helewicz regarding Congressional Research Service Memorandum. January 12, 1996. British American Tobacco Bates No. 700588382

[19] ↑ “In the Matter of S. Fred Singer vs Justin Lancaster”, September 24, 2003, page 57.
[20] ↑ “In the Matter of S. Fred Singer vs Justin Lancaster”, September 24, 2003, page 58.
[21] ↑ “In the Matter of S. Fred Singer vs Justin Lancaster”, September 24, 2003, page 59.

[22] ↑ Ronald Collins, “Full Disclosure on Global Warming”, Letter to the Editor, Washington Post, February 6, 2001.

Posted on Mar 17, 2010 at 10:38pm by citizenschallenge Comment #95

Nice work Citizen :)

Posted on Mar 17, 2010 at 10:59pm by Mike from Oz Comment #96

So first and foremost, let’s demonstrate our own critical thinking bona fides with an unsentimental look at what the climate science circus can teach us about doing science well, and doing science well in the glare of politics and public policy debates.

How about an unsentimental eye on the malicious nature of the AGW contrarian side, with its fossil fuels industry money pushing public discourse to its ugliest level yet?

(thanks Mike)

Posted on Mar 17, 2010 at 11:21pm by citizenschallenge Comment #97

Chris Mooney, Given your book Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future why would attempts to get scientific data via FOIA requests be characterized as harassment?  Harassment or Illiteracy?  Which is it?  Can we find a more moderate, less polarizing possibility to explain what is happening?

From the interview: Jones received 40 FOIA requests over one weekend, and for data that he wasn’t at liberty to release ~ since in some European nations their climate data is proprietary, and it was beyond Jones authority to release. 
So why is he being damned for not releasing it?

Also, the contrarian camp has shown itself quite willing to brow beat and harass perceived target mercilessly and I can well imagine him feeling besieged… he was!
Let’s not forget climate scientists are only human too.

Posted on Mar 17, 2010 at 11:33pm by citizenschallenge Comment #98

Mr. Mooney does great damage to his own skeptical credentials by allowing Mann to prattle on about AGW without substantive challenge to his highly dubious ‘hockey stick’ analysis.

Is the CFI a truly skeptical organization? If so, how could an interview with Mann not center around this great controversy? Even if the interviewer doesn’t agree at all with the criticism leveled at Mann, the criticisms are legitimate and reasoned and should be treated with respect. Big fail for Mooney and CFI.  [/size]

They did deal with it some.  Most importantly making the point that even if all of Mann’s work is deleted ~ it does not change the reality or consensus surrounding AGW.  Furthermore, his paper has been studied by a variety of other scientists and has with stood their examination, as pointed out in the interview.

Posted on Mar 17, 2010 at 11:49pm by citizenschallenge Comment #99

glennd1

Is the CFI a truly skeptical organization? If so, how could an interview with Mann not center around this great controversy? Even if the interviewer doesn’t agree at all with the criticism leveled at Mann, the criticisms are legitimate and reasoned and should be treated with respect. Big fail for Mooney and CFI.

I believe that the debate should be moved to exploring solutions to AGW. All the arguments about detail matters raised to try and “disprove” global warming, should instead be used to argue for or against possible solutions, wether they be global or local.
Global warming is real, so let us not try to nitpick it to death, which is fruitless in the face of overwhelming evidence. Use those keen skeptic minds to find solutions.

Posted on Mar 18, 2010 at 12:07am by Write4U Comment #100

Since this is what Mann is most famous for in climate science circles, one would think his commentary on this would a topic a so called representative of skeptics would be sure to cover. That’s what my commentary was all about…

... Do you think it would have somehow been beyond the pale to ask Mann to reprise the skeptics critique of his work and his response to it, when the interviewer is claiming to represent a skeptical group?

For Mann to give even a cursory run down of his study would have eaten up most of that 2/3 hour.
If you want more on the nitty gritty you can read the National Academy of Sciences news release 6-22-06?  The full report is also available.  ClimateProgress has a fair amount of information.  Also at SkepticalScience, UCAR and of course RealClimate.

I guess my point is you are trying to make it sound like this information isn’t out there, but it is, if you look for it.  I think your complaints are unjustified.

22:15 (CM)  demands for data and source codes.
22:25 All of our data was public domain and available, all claiming otherwise are being dishonest.  Source codes are considered intellectual property, and scientists are under no obligation to made those public.  But, those (Mann’s computer codes) have also been placed in the public domain.

I though Mann had every right to go after the contrarian community, plus he did make it clear that

36:00 (CM)  “Do you find that climate denialism is responsive to data and factual arguments or is it ultimately a Faith position…  rather than a genuine skepticism about the data?”
“Good question, but one size does not fit all . . . Skepticism is a good thing. . . ”

Posted on Mar 18, 2010 at 12:45am by citizenschallenge Comment #101

I thought it was a good interview and that most of the criticisms made here are not really justified.  The biggie seems that Mann didn’t defend his work against skeptical claims - but his work has been defended through numerous further studies that are publicly available.

The complaint about Mann bashing contrarians is humorous - why should AGW contrarians be the only ones allowed to swing?  It is time the AGW contrarian community get’s a some dissecting done on it’s dishonest self.

So in ending my little revisit to this entire thread let me share what I thought where Mann’s most meaningful comments during the interview.

34:00 (CM)  Should science get into the fray?
34:25 (Mann)  “... the old line about getting into a fight with a pig.  You’ll get dirty and the pig will enjoy it.”  . . .

35:00 (Mann)  “... there are those (non-scientists) who have reason to want to defend science,... there are many out there who care about science, and are deeply disturbed by the attacks on science and the growth of this (developing anti-science attack industry). 
Those forces need to be better organized and ready to go to war with the forces of anti-science.  The scientists can’t do it.  Scientists are not trained to do it, they don’t have the resources to do it, but other who have a stake in this debate, who do have the resources and are better organized need to step up.”

Posted on Mar 18, 2010 at 12:51am by citizenschallenge Comment #102

Actually, if you want to see just *how* nasty the denial movement is, check out the comments I got from one of them:

http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/a-quick-mesage-to-bird/

Personal, first had experience as to the depths they are willing to plum.

Posted on Mar 18, 2010 at 2:02am by Mike from Oz Comment #103

This is crazy!

I hear a lot of people here talking a lot of nonsense. If this was settled, then the models would have useful predictive qualities. If the models were right 10 years ago when this started getting serious press, then we should have been able to predict with reasonable certainty what the average temperature in 2009 would be.

I challenge you to show me one model from 1999 that both supports the AGW position and accurately predicted the average temperature for 2009.

We know quite clearly that CO2 has an effect on temperature, but only a tiny amount. Even worst case, if we burn all the coal we can find, it’s only 1-2 degrees…that’s not a huge problem.

All of the “worry” comes from these dire predictions of runaway feedback, and “more extreme weather” whatever that means. None of these models give us testable predictions!! I thought that in Science, we build a model and then we feed in data and test it’s predictive ability. When have these models ever been right?

We can’t even predict weather past 5-6 days accurately, why should i believe the models that tell me the weather in 20 years?

I understand that almost all the models have plugged in numbers for water vapor and the effect on temperature of the feedback from small amounts of warming…the very idea that water would enhance the warming effect beggars belief. If this was the case, even a small change in temperature would quickly run out of control…the earth must be in some kind of equilibrium, otherwise we would not see the many 10’s of thousands of species who can live only in small temperature ranges.

Basically, i don’t buy it. If it was settled, then everyone this side of mars would be able to explain in simple terms what the theory is.

Let’s not forget, every time a scientist who is working for one of these organizations, (the IPCC is just one example) Every time they find something that contradicts the warmists, they are fired or silenced. This is not science.

Posted on Mar 22, 2010 at 2:24am by MichaelT Comment #104

Actually, if you want to see just *how* nasty the denial movement is, check out the comments I got from one of them:

http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/a-quick-mesage-to-bird/

Personal, first had experience as to the depths they are willing to plum.

wow.

Gee let’s go over those rules of soft persuasion again—“likeability”, “reciprocity”, “everyone else believes”,  ....  clearly that guy doesn’t watch the same commericials as the rest of us..

keep up the good work.

Posted on Mar 22, 2010 at 2:53am by Jackson Comment #105

MichaelT

If the models were right 10 years ago when this started getting serious press, then we should have been able to predict with reasonable certainty what the average temperature in 2009 would be.
I challenge you to show me one model from 1999 that both supports the AGW position and accurately predicted the average temperature for 2009.

That is a totally unreasonable position. Where does it say we need to predict the weather from year to year with reasonable certainty? Do we need to accurately predict the average population of humpback whales from year to year to be able to predict their eventual extinction?

MT, We know quite clearly that CO2 has an effect on temperature, but only a tiny amount. Even worst case, if we burn all the coal we can find, it’s only 1-2 degrees…that’s not a huge problem.
We can’t even predict weather past 5-6 days accurately, why should i believe the models that tell me the weather in 20 years?

In the absence of true predictability, would it not be prudent to consider the possibility of being off by maybe another 1-2 degrees and the global disaster a 4 degree rise in global temperature would trigger. We burn not only coal, but also oil, wood and then there are those pesky emissions from all kinds of industries. In the end, I would rather be able to say to my great great grandchildren, “its a good thing we caught it in time”, than “oops, sorry, we didn’t see that one coming, we just didn’t have enough accurately predictable data”.

MT, If this was the case, even a small change in temperature would quickly run out of control…the earth must be in some kind of equilibrium, otherwise we would not see the many 10’s of thousands of species who can live only in small temperature ranges.

Exactly, when this equilibrium is disturbed by excess manmade pollutants, even by a few degrees, the consequences may be dire for 10’s of thousands of species who can live only in small temperature ranges. You are arguing for prudence in our assessment of GW and CC, but your emphasis is in the wrong direction.

MT, Let’s not forget, every time a scientist who is working for one of these organizations, (the IPCC is just one example) Every time they find something that contradicts the warmists, they are fired or silenced. This is not science.

You forgot to add that every time we find any kind of data, it is reviewed by many very competent scientists and if such data is deemed to be caused by local conditions or attributable to other temporary influences, then this data may be shelved (for possible future use). Nothing is silenced except by consensus. Firing? Well, I can come up with a dozen or two more compelling reasons for firing a person than the discovery of an anomaly.

Because of the enormity of the influencing factors, there is so much data that it requires the creation of many “what if” models. This in itself is time consuming, but I believe the alternative to denying GW is too immense to contemplate. This is not a 5 day local weather forecast by a meteorologist on a TV station. This effort belongs in the arena of global cooperation of all related sciences in order to find and develop more accurate models as to “when”. But the overwhelming consensus is that GW is a fact and that worries me.

Posted on Mar 22, 2010 at 4:34am by Write4U Comment #106

This is crazy!
I challenge you to show me one model from 1999 that both supports the AGW position and accurately predicted the average temperature for 2009.

  We are talking about Earth systems, expecting climate science to come up with the kinds of accuracies we expect from engineers is unreasonable.
Regarding climate models I’ve found this fascinating in depth discussion at George Mason University’s STATS website

Since its founding in 1994, the non-profit, non-partisan Statistical Assessment Service - STATS - has become a much-valued resource on the use and abuse of science and statistics in the media. Our goals are to correct scientific misinformation in the media and in public policy resulting from bad science, politics, or a simple lack of information or knowledge; and to act as a resource for journalists and policy makers on major scientific issues and controversies.

So what is the public to make of it?
The short answer is that the models are very reliable about some things and not very reliable about others. Here are the things they’re good for: They’ve shown with great certainty that the increase in average global temperature is caused by increased levels of greenhouse gases. They’ve also shown beyond doubt that even if all further greenhouse gas emission were stopped, the world would still continue to warm up for some time, and that greater levels of continued greenhouse gas emissions will lead to great warming.

But that reliability begins to break down when the models are asked to predict just how much warming will occur, and where. As policymakers have come to accept the reality of global warming, they’ve begun to clamor for just such predictions, sometimes pushing the models beyond what they can reliably do. But the good news is that even here, scientists are learning how to squeeze solid information out of uncertain models.

“The models are useful tools,” Stainforth says. “Very useful tools. We shouldn’t just throw them out, but we shouldn’t just believe their results either.”

We know quite clearly that CO2 has an effect on temperature, but only a tiny amount. Even worst case, if we burn all the coal we can find, it’s only 1-2 degrees…that’s not a huge problem.

This claim is way off base.  Do you have any supporting evidence?

All of the “worry” comes from these dire predictions of runaway feedback, and “more extreme weather” whatever that means. None of these models give us testable predictions!! I thought that in Science, we build a model and then we feed in data and test it’s predictive ability. When have these models ever been right?

We only have one earth for this experiment.  As for the “dire” that is only coming into the picture now because President Reagan initiated a long period of Willful Ignorance and inaction.  Also, if you stop to consider the complexities of our modern society, I think you’ll agree our society is dependent on benign weather patterns.  What is “more extreme weather?”  Multi-year droughts ended by record breaking torrential down pours, massive wind storming flattening fields just prior to harvest time, heat wave temperature spikes five, ten degrees warmer than previous experiences, Glaciers drying up and removing that climate (& water supply) driver.  and on and on.

I think if you read some of the sources cited below you’ll find that those models have actually been way more accurate than some in the media portray.

Basically, i don’t buy it. If it was settled, then everyone this side of mars would be able to explain in simple terms what the theory is.

  If you peruse RealClimate, SkepticalScience, AGW Observer you’ll find a wealth of education, to set straight your misconceptions.

Let’s not forget, every time a scientist who is working for one of these organizations, (the IPCC is just one example) Every time they find something that contradicts the warmists, they are fired or silenced. This is not science.

Until you can actually come up with specifics this is just another cheap urban legend.
Don’t suppose you have any specific cases that come to mind?

Posted on Mar 22, 2010 at 8:44am by citizenschallenge Comment #107

I challenge you to show me one model from 1999 that both supports the AGW position and accurately predicted the average temperature for 2009.

Hansen et al 1998

Scroll down and click the Download PDF link. Their predictions have proven accurate.

Posted on Mar 22, 2010 at 8:55am by DarronS Comment #108

I wonder at those who seem to imply, as Chris Mooney did during this podcast, that a strong consensus on the reality of climate disruption and the need for civilization to take decisive action did not develop until very recently.  When questioning Michael Mann, Chris mentioned the date 1998 and commented that “there was probably not nearly so strong a scientific consensus around global warming then as there is now although it certainly was forming”. 

Take a look at the conference statement from the Changing Atmosphere conference held in Toronto in 1988.  http://www.cmos.ca/ChangingAtmosphere1988e.pdf

The first paragraph reads:  “Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequences could be second only to a global nuclear war.  The Earth’s atmosphere is being changed at an unprecedented rate by pollutants resulting from human activities, inefficient and wasteful fossil fuel use and the effects of rapid population growth in many regions.  These changes represent a major threat to international security and are already having harmful consequences over many parts of the globe”

At the time, the leading climatologists were saying that they were more sure about what they were talking about than it seemed, for instance, economists were, and governments routinely took action with very far reaching consequences based on the advice of economists.  They spoke of an unprecedented consensus in their scientific discipline.  The Toronto conference happened around the same week that James Hansen testified in Congress.  People talking about those times often talk as if Hansen was the only one speaking out - there were 400 top flight delegates in Toronto, all on the same wavelength that it was past time to start reading the riot act out about this to heads of state and the general population. 

I wonder also when Michael Mann mentioned the date 2002 as the start of a great disinformation campaign conducted by fossil fuel interests.  I think it can be shown that there was a lot of activity by fossil fuel interests dating back to at least 1988.

Posted on Mar 23, 2010 at 6:10am by David Lewis Comment #109

Take a look at the conference statement from the Changing Atmosphere conference held in Toronto in 1988.  http://www.cmos.ca/ChangingAtmosphere1988e.pdf

The first paragraph reads:  “Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequences could be second only to a global nuclear war.  The Earth’s atmosphere is being changed at an unprecedented rate by pollutants resulting from human activities, inefficient and wasteful fossil fuel use and the effects of rapid population growth in many regions.  These changes represent a major threat to international security and are already having harmful consequences over many parts of the globe”

At the time, the leading climatologists were saying that they were more sure about what they were talking about than it seemed, for instance, economists were, and governments routinely took action with very far reaching consequences based on the advice of economists.  They spoke of an unprecedented consensus in their scientific discipline. 

EXCELLENT POINT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you,
Please do return to CFI with more input and information.

peter

Posted on Mar 26, 2010 at 4:41pm by citizenschallenge Comment #110

I Second CC - great info.

Posted on Mar 26, 2010 at 5:54pm by Mike from Oz Comment #111

I challenge you to show me one model from 1999 that both supports the AGW position and accurately predicted the average temperature for 2009.

Hansen et al 1998

Scroll down and click the Download PDF link. Their predictions have proven accurate.

And deafening silence from Michael when his challenge is met. Funny that, too. It took me all of 45 seconds to find the PDF from Hansen, et al. Climate Change deniers apparently aren’t too keen on doing a bit of research.

Posted on Mar 31, 2010 at 4:53pm by DarronS Comment #112

Everyone I know is more opinionated and sure, one way or the other, about global warming than I am, but I can’t believe they are all better informed. I know enough to know I don’t know enough to evaluate the arguments independently. There are three arguments going on. 1) the climate is or is not warming, 2) it is or is not caused by the actions of civilized man, 3) we can or can not correct it. #3 gets curiously little airing considering that if the answer is CAN NOT, most of the arguments on 1 & 2 are moot. (We seem to assume 2 & 3 are the same question. Maybe activists have an incentive to promote this confusion.) The environmental movement long has been and the skeptical movement is becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of political liberalism. Liberals don’t understand nonliberals and don’t care. Straw men are much more useful. The reason conservatives are so skeptical about warming is not that they are demonically greedy, ignorant and evil. It is that they don’t trust liberals who they see as diabolically evil and power hungry. It is that simple. They can see that whether there is anthropogenic warming or not, the agenda is dead sure to vastly increase centralized control of society and extirpate much liberty. I think, if warming, anthropogenic or otherwise, is real, there isn’t a thing we can do about it. You can reduce carbon dioxide emission about as effectively as you can reduce lust and for many of the same reasons. Sustainable and renewable energy are pipe dreams. I see only three theoretical ways to reduce human damage to the environment: 1) smaller people, 2) fewer people, 3) poorer people. Everything the environmentalists advocate sounds like 3 to me. #2 is the nearest to a practical approach but that is not very near at all and no one faces it. Knowing how much liberals have at stake here, anyone would be crazy not to be skeptical. If warming is real, liberals have their own past to blame for their difficulty in persuading people.

“Knowing how much liberals have at stake here” has got to be the most flagrant case of the pot calling the kettle black that I have ever heard. It is abundantly clear that the energy companies have a strong, self-centered, financial interest in convincing the public that climate change has nothing to do with their activities. They are spending large amounts of money lobbying and mis-informing the public for that reason (they learned from the tobacco companies). On the other hand, there is no evidence that those who have been doing the research about climate change had any such vested interest in the conclusions of their research when they first began. As the evidence began to accumulate that human activity is indeed causing a change in the earth’s climate, and the understanding of what that climate change could mean for the future of life on the planet became increasingly clear, then they certainly did develop a strong interest in the conclusions of their research. This interest, however, was not short-sighted, financial self-interest, but rather a concern for the future of human life on the planet.

With regard to your cynicism about us being able to make any voluntary changes that will stop this process, I certainly agree that it doesn’t seem likely that we will succeed in making such changes. However, I have children, and I would very much like them to be able to live in a world that has not undergone any of the serious climate changes that are possible if our production of greenhouse gases does not decrease drastically.

We’re faced with Pascal’s wager, but this time it’s not about whether God exists. The question is what is the worst that can happen in two different scenarios. If human-produced greenhouse gases are not causing climate change, and we try to decrease producing them anyway, then oil, coal, and gas companies will make less money, more money and resources will go into alternative sources of energy and more efficient use of the energy we produce, and our environment will probably be at least somewhat cleaner. There will certainly be some economic disruption involved, as well, with the shift in focus from fossil fuel production to alternatives. If, on the other hand, human-produced greenhouse gases ARE causing global climate change, and we do nothing about it, there are any number of possible outcomes, all of which are much worse for the human population as a whole than the economic disruption that would occur in the first scenario. Clearly, the outcome would be much worse if we do nothing to counter a real threat than if we attempt to counter a non-existent threat.

Will we ever know for sure whether human activity is causing climate change? Of course not. The determinants of the Earth’s climate are too complex for us to ever be 100% certain of this. Even if the planet continues to warm, the ice caps melt, and sea levels rise as high as has been predicted, we will not be able to be certain that it was human activity that caused that change. It may simply have been a cycle, and we got caught in a bad part of the cycle. However, we will also not know that it was NOT caused by human activity, either. Returning to Pascal, I would much rather do what I can to try to prevent catastrophic changes than just sit by and hope that my kids and grandkids don’t suffer the consequences.

Finally, there is one statement you make that I completely agree with. The underlying problem is the unchecked growth of the human population. Even setting aside climate change, there are any number of serious problems that will arise if that growth continues. Unfortunately, I think that Malthus was probably correct, and that humans will have to run into the resource limits of their environment and start dying in high enough numbers to counter the birth rate, because I don’t think there is any feasible way to decrease population growth otherwise. I hope I’m wrong about that, but I doubt it.

Posted on Apr 02, 2010 at 10:05pm by Stanley Dorst Comment #113

Well, I’m new to PoI and reading this thread has been very interesting.

I think the thread mostly validates what Michael Mann was saying - that the attacks on the science take a minor point and use a spurious argument to sow the seeds of doubt. But that is really only validating a conservative’s a priori viewpoint. The real argument doesn’t really matter for those who are already decided. All the debate, from both sides, is aimed at the wavers; the true skeptics, if you will.
But there is contradiction of Mann’s argument here too, as some of the deniers expressing opinions are clearly home grown, and not tools of the climate denial industry.

Everyone, including the PoI interviewers, are bringing their baggage to the table. Some will see what they bring as balanced and well considered baggage, and others won’t.

At this point I would like to quote Patti Griffin: “Leave the rest of us, Who want to live in peace, To live in peace”. That is, take a person’s incoming position on board, deal with it, and get to the real argument. That is something this thread has manifestly failed to do.

Mann’s fundamental point here is that the underlying science has been settled for decades. Those posters here who argue that researches merely assume it is correct should go back a few decades and argue with those contemporary findings. Everyone else has moved on. And, may I say, those who espouse contrary opinions should quote a few facts as opposed to assertions. As should everyone

Just for the record, those underlying facts have to do with the properties of the simple compound of Carbon Dioxide. It has properties, like all compounds do. The particular relevant properties of CO2 are that is transmits ultraviolet radiation more readily than infrared radiation. Which means the more of it there is in the atmosphere, the more the energy from the sun that warms the land and oceans is not radiated back to the atmosphere and ultimately, to space. This effect is directly analogous to a greenhouse. It is an analogy, not a literal comparison.  This was speculated about around 1824, but was demonstrated and proven in the late 19th century, with Plank’s Law circa 1894, and certainly published by 1901. Argue with that assertion, or the ones that follow. Don’t pick something that now rests on those proven facts and spuriously question their underpinnings.

It should be no surprise that other, more complex, compounds have similar properties, but even more so.

Cheers,
The Captn

Posted on May 27, 2010 at 7:20am by captnbli Comment #114

Will we ever know for sure whether human activity is causing climate change? Of course not. The determinants of the Earth’s climate are too complex for us to ever be 100% certain of this. Even if the planet continues to warm, the ice caps melt, and sea levels rise as high as has been predicted, we will not be able to be certain that it was human activity that caused that change. It may simply have been a cycle, and we got caught in a bad part of the cycle. However, we will also not know that it was NOT caused by human activity, either.

Mostly, I think your statement is fine, but I find this comment rather odd.  It can be extremely easy to determine if human activity causes climate change, not even looking at global warming.  For example, deforestation causes local climate changes.  Now, looking at global warming, it is still not really THAT hard to determine energy in=energy out.  The mechanisms for how the most common greenhouse gasses trap heat are pretty well-understood already, and I fail to see how anyone who has any inkling of how it works (think of your car on a hot, sunny day with the windows up) cannot reasonably draw the conclusion that more effects from more greenhouses gasses added by humans=hotter.

Furthermore, I think that using the phrase “to be 100% certain” is nothing more than a word game in this context.  We don’t care about 100% certainty; we’re perfectly fine with 99.999% certainty, and if we demanded “100% certainty” from everything, civlization would collapse, because people would not be able to communicate at all.

“I just ate an apple.”
“Are you 100% certain that it was an apple, and furthermore, are you 100% certain that your action was actually eating?  Are you sure that it was actually YOU doing the action?”
“ummmm . . .”

That’s foolishness.

Posted on May 27, 2010 at 8:10am by TromboneAndrew Comment #115

write4U,

You wrote: “Where does it say we need to predict the weather from year to year with reasonable certainty?”

With weather data, the computer models are quite good but still need tweaking to predict, with greater probability, accurately for more than a few days.

However, unlike climate data, weather and weather event data has been abundant over a long period.

The “global warming conjecture” involves data input into computer models to, hopefully, be able to predict CLIMATE - not WEATHER - changes.

There has yet to be constructed a computer model that, with the relative paucity of available data thus far collected, even accurately predicts PREVIOUS climate periods.

IOW, the available data simply hasn’t fit ANY model thus far. So predictions based on such defective models should not be considered reliable.

Unfortunately, there has been proposed a “precautionary principle” - which essentially states that if it can go wrong, it will regardless of the evidence.

Eg, that medication you’re using may possibly, perhaps, in some cases, after collection of reponses of millions of patients over many years, just maybe might be harmful!

So take caution.

Posted on May 27, 2010 at 8:46am by Analytic Comment #116

The “global warming conjecture” involves data input into computer models to, hopefully, be able to predict CLIMATE - not WEATHER - changes.

There has yet to be constructed a computer model that, with the relative paucity of available data thus far collected, even accurately predicts PREVIOUS climate periods.

IOW, the available data simply hasn’t fit ANY model thus far. So predictions based on such defective models should not be considered reliable.

This is an argument taken straight from AGW denier disinformation sites. The climate models used in the 1990s accurately predicted today’s climate. The models are not defective. The defects are in your ideology.

Posted on May 27, 2010 at 8:53am by DarronS Comment #117

... and, you forgot to mention that society produced CO2 has a unique chemical signature and it has been shown that this century’s increase in atmospheric CO2 can be attributed to industrial sources.

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/how-do-we-know-that-recent-cosub2sub-increases-are-due-to-human-activities-updated/

Posted on May 27, 2010 at 9:22am by citizenschallenge Comment #118

As a developer of computer models of physiologic processes, I’m familiar with good versus defective models. Fortunatly, I developed a model to which the data obtained from living animals fit my model within strict confidence intervals. I earned my PhD degree with that work.

When the developers of climate models themselves call them inadequate, I rely on their self-evaluations far more than someone who merely reads secondary sources.

“True believers” have accepted the conjecture of Gore et all, and a few climate scientists. They consider themselves “with it”!!

They view a poll of thousands of putatively RELEVANT persons, assumed to be scientists, as the sine qua non of the “scientific method”.

And, so with no clear understanding of the inadequacy of accumulated climate data, they can be led ... like lemmings.

Don’t misunderstand. You have every right to bring your scientific acumen to the subject, but, alas, so do I.
———————————————————
Incidentally, there is an oft cited longshoreman-philosopher, Eric Hoffer, who described the “species”, “True Believer”, in a small tome many years ago.

And we have innumerable examples of the species following the voice of the ‘ubermensch’ and crashing over the cliff similarly to ... lemmings.

Posted on May 27, 2010 at 9:50am by Analytic Comment #119

<sarcasm>Please then, Analytic, bring your considerable expertise in climate science to this forum.</sarcasm>

Your argument is merely argument from authority, and unless your PhD is in climate science we have no reason to take your word on the subject. And, quite frankly, I am sick of going over the same tired arguments every time a new denier comes to these forums and demands debate. I hope you know more about climate science than you know about biology, because you have already demonstrated your ignorance of biology.

Posted on May 27, 2010 at 9:58am by DarronS Comment #120

I challenge you to show me one model from 1999 that both supports the AGW position and accurately predicted the average temperature for 2009.

Hansen et al 1998

Scroll down and click the Download PDF link. Their predictions have proven accurate.

I commend your discovery of a 1988 publication dealing with climate prediction.

The authors themselves wrote this: “Principal uncertainties in the predictions involve the equilibrium sensitivity of the model to climate forcing, the assumptions regarding heat uptake and transport by the ocean, and the omission of other less-certain climate forcings.”

The graph they included in the paper contained ONLY data over a short term ending with the time of their publishing their findings. Beyond that, they included graphings of data obtained by either hypothetical “Scenarios A, B, and C.”

I haven’t looked at their 1998 publication, but I will.

In the meantime, their findings published in 1988 WERE NOT PROVEN ACCURATE.

Posted on May 27, 2010 at 10:05am by Analytic Comment #121

DarronS,

What really frosts me is the use of the term “denier” to describe one who disagrees with another’s self-assumed wisdom.

Posted on May 27, 2010 at 10:09am by Analytic Comment #122

DarronS,

What really frosts me is the use of the term “denier” to describe one who disagrees with another’s self-assumed wisdom.

Yeah, well, when the shoe fits wear it. If you are going to deny obvious facts and accepted science then don’t complain about being called a denier.

Posted on May 27, 2010 at 10:11am by DarronS Comment #123

No, the use of the term “denier” assumes that there is unequivocal PROOF to which someone objects.

It’s a valueless ad hominem slur!

Nothing more.

Posted on May 27, 2010 at 10:22am by Analytic Comment #124

Hansen et al, 2009.

These climate scientists went back as far as the data partially permitted - 1880 - which hardly describes climatic conditions eons ago.

And the data presented can merely predict what has happened since, maybe, 20-30 years.

The conjecture is still in its infantile stage yet it has already convinced so many!

No wonder demagogues of the past could convert people’s normally semi-skeptical beliefs to absolute “True Belief”.

Like it or not, that’s not yours truly. I have substantive doubts about so many claims that I hardly expect to convince those who’ve already been convinced otherwise.

Posted on May 27, 2010 at 10:31am by Analytic Comment #125

..... to sow the seeds of doubt…..

Climate Fears Turn to Doubts Among Britons
from the New York Times 5/24/2010

LONDON—Last month hundreds of environmental activists crammed into an auditorium here to ponder an anguished question: If the scientific consensus on climate change has not changed, why have so many people turned away from the idea that human activity is warming the planet?

Nowhere has this shift in public opinion been more striking than in Britain, where climate change was until this year such a popular priority that in 2008 Parliament enshrined targets for emissions cuts as national law. But since then, the country has evolved into a home base for a thriving group of climate skeptics who have dominated news reports in recent months, apparently convincing many that the threat of warming is vastly exaggerated.

A survey in February by the BBC found that only 26 percent of Britons believed that “climate change is happening and is now established as largely manmade,” down from 41 percent in November 2009. A poll conducted for the German magazine Der Spiegel found that 42 percent of Germans feared global warming, down from 62 percent four years earlier.

http://ow.ly/1Q5je

Posted on May 27, 2010 at 4:34pm by Jackson Comment #126

Incidentally, there is an oft cited longshoreman-philosopher, Eric Hoffer, who described the “species”, “True Believer”, in a small tome many years ago.

And we have innumerable examples of the species following the voice of the ‘ubermensch’ and crashing over the cliff similarly to ... lemmings.

Your simile is apt. To me, though, the real question is exactly what cliff are we crashing over? At this point, we can’t see far enough to know how far below us the bottom is. We could be facing a relatively short fall, which would result in some bruises, or at worst some broken bones, or we could be facing a fall that will be almost certainly fatal.

(I’m quite certain that you are intimately familiar with what I am about to say, so please don’t take umbrage at this. I am not intending to insult you - just trying to make a point.) The two possible errors in this situation are type I and type II. A type I error would be rejecting the hypothesis that human activity is causing global warming when the hypothesis is actually true, while type II would be accepting the hypothesis when it is actually false. In a state of uncertainty (i.e. life), we don’t know which error we are actually at risk of making, because we don’t know whether the hypothesis is actually true or not.

If all that was at stake were whether or not our model is good enough to get our PhD, or to be published in a prestigious journal, we could take the time to continually improve our models. However, the consequences of making a type I error could be catastrophic for life on the planet, and if the hypothesis is true, we have very little time to make a decision. A leisurely academic approach of scholarly debate and working to improve our models, while continuing life as we know it, amounts to rejecting the hypothesis. The consequences of making a type II error, on the other hand, would be some unnecessary economic disruption and short-term suffering. This is certainly not something we would voluntarily choose if we knew that the alternative would simply be not to go through that disruption and suffering. Unfortunately, we don’t know which error we are about to make.

I am a physician. As a family physician, I usually have plenty of time to explore hypotheses, gathering data sequentially, because the situation is not an emergency. Sometimes, though, I face an emergency situation, and then I have to make rapid decisions with insufficient information, because delaying could be fatal. The most difficult cases are those when it’s not clear how urgent the situation actually is, because then I don’t know which decision-making mode I need to use. That’s exactly the situation we are in with the global warming question. If the hypothesis is correct, the situation is urgent, and we have to act immediately. If the hypothesis is incorrect, we have plenty of time to study it further.

I am certainly not a “true believer.” I’m quite aware that the models are imperfect. Unfortunately, what is at stake here is not whether or not the model is good enough to get us our PhD. What is at stake is far larger and more important. If we wait for better models, we may take a fatal fall in the process.

Actually, I think that a better analogy than the lemming one you propose is to think of us as being on a train in the fog. We have just received a signal indicating that the bridge ahead is out, and that if we don’t slam on the brakes, the whole train will fall off into a river, and most of us will die. However, the signal system is prone to errors, so the bridge might actually not be out. If so, slamming on the brake will result in injuries to some of the passengers, and possibly some deaths. What do we do in this situation?

Stan

Posted on May 27, 2010 at 7:19pm by Stanley Dorst Comment #127

Interesting read and I agree with you.

What I have a problem with is this tendency to extract our thinking from the fact we are inexorably linked with the health and resource base our planet has too offer.  Beyond that, ignoring the condition of that planet or the relentless damage we are inflicting upon her, and imaging that our mussings will carry us through.

Posted on May 27, 2010 at 7:36pm by citizenschallenge Comment #128

..... to sow the seeds of doubt…..

Climate Fears Turn to Doubts Among Britons
from the New York Times 5/24/2010

Reaping the fruits of the same advertising campaign strategies that convinced our nation’s people to eat like pigs at the trough of fast food outlets and soda venders, . . .  who cares if it made us fat, sick and lazy.

Posted on May 27, 2010 at 7:43pm by citizenschallenge Comment #129

‘Analytic’ you are confusing Climate and weather. In the 1880s we started keeping weather records, but that doesn’t mean that we have no way of knowing what the climate was like 300 or 400 years ago. Climate is the average or normal state of Earth’s surface conditions. Weather is the actual state of the Earth’s surface at a given time. Paleoclimatology is the study and description of ancient climates. Since direct observations of climate are not available before the 19th century, paleoclimates are determined by evidence such as sediments found in lake beds, ice cores, tree rings and coral.

1816 was called “the year without a summer”, we know about it, not because temperature weathers were kept, but because of written records kept all over the world. We also know it was caused by the 1815 eruption of Mt Tambora in Indonesia. Places with written records give us more information about the aggregate weather of the area. Mt Vesuvius erupted in 79 C.E. destroying Pompeii. We know about it from written records as well as evidence of the ruins of the city.

Posted on May 27, 2010 at 8:31pm by asanta Comment #130

it’s so nice to get a reasoned discourse after my emotional out bursts (not that I take any of it back)
:)

you see this Gulf of Mexico catastrophe has been another potent gut shot.  For a tree huggin, Earth loving character its been like watching a loved one lose battle after battle against cancer ... then hitting that ugly point were reality out weights hope, and one realizes the worst is actually going down, and that it’ll have ramification far beyond anything you can now imagine, except it will be awful.

Posted on May 27, 2010 at 9:16pm by citizenschallenge Comment #131

:)

you see this Gulf of Mexico catastrophe has been another potent gut shot.  For a tree huggin, Earth loving character its been like watching a loved one lose battle after battle against cancer ... then

...you find out the doctor has been giving her homeopathy…...

Posted on May 27, 2010 at 9:44pm by asanta Comment #132

:lol:
ain’t it the truth baby.

so, at least I get to say good night with a smile

Posted on May 27, 2010 at 9:59pm by citizenschallenge Comment #133

Actually, I think that a better analogy than the lemming one you propose is to think of us as being on a train in the fog. We have just received a signal indicating that the bridge ahead is out, and that if we don’t slam on the brakes, the whole train will fall off into a river, and most of us will die. However, the signal system is prone to errors, so the bridge might actually not be out. If so, slamming on the brake will result in injuries to some of the passengers, and possibly some deaths. What do we do in this situation?

Stan

Some great points Stanley, wish I’d written that post myself :)

Posted on May 28, 2010 at 2:09pm by Mike from Oz Comment #134

Hansen et al, 2009.

These climate scientists went back as far as the data partially permitted - 1880 - which hardly describes climatic conditions eons ago.

And the data presented can merely predict what has happened since, maybe, 20-30 years.

The conjecture is still in its infantile stage yet it has already convinced so many!

No wonder demagogues of the past could convert people’s normally semi-skeptical beliefs to absolute “True Belief”.

Like it or not, that’s not yours truly. I have substantive doubts about so many claims that I hardly expect to convince those who’ve already been convinced otherwise.

You also doubt evolution. Strangely, the two scientific theories rejected by religious conservatives are…. evolution and climate changne.

Posted on May 28, 2010 at 2:13pm by Mike from Oz Comment #135

Hansen et al, 2009.

These climate scientists went back as far as the data partially permitted - 1880 - which hardly describes climatic conditions eons ago.

And the data presented can merely predict what has happened since, maybe, 20-30 years.

The conjecture is still in its infantile stage yet it has already convinced so many!

No wonder demagogues of the past could convert people’s normally semi-skeptical beliefs to absolute “True Belief”.

Like it or not, that’s not yours truly. I have substantive doubts about so many claims that I hardly expect to convince those who’ve already been convinced otherwise.

You also doubt evolution. Strangely, the two scientific theories rejected by religious conservatives are…. evolution and climate changne.

...and of course the world is only 6000 years old and my ancestors cavorted with dinosaurs.

Posted on May 28, 2010 at 2:30pm by asanta Comment #136

and my ancestors cavorted with dinosaurs.

Mine did.

http://radiohippie.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/raptor-jesus-battles-the-unicorns-ps-the-unico-17918-1234478698-9.jpg

And they battled unicorns.

Posted on May 28, 2010 at 2:32pm by Dead Monky Comment #137

Those evil, evil unicorns :angry: , except for my beautiful invisible pink one. ;-)

Posted on May 28, 2010 at 6:05pm by asanta Comment #138

Some great points Stanley, wish I’d written that post myself :)

Thanks very much! As a newbie, I’m glad to be able to contribute.

Stan

Posted on May 28, 2010 at 9:44pm by Stanley Dorst Comment #139

What I have a problem with is this tendency to extract our thinking from the fact we are inexorably linked with the health and resource base our planet has too offer.  Beyond that, ignoring the condition of that planet or the relentless damage we are inflicting upon her, and imaging that our mussings will carry us through.

I couldn’t agree with you more.

Stan

Posted on May 28, 2010 at 9:46pm by Stanley Dorst Comment #140

I just had the opportunity to listen to Michael Mann’s POI interview again.  Impressive interview, Mann makes his case quite well.  In light of the year since, and what’s going on in Washington DC, I dare say it’s a good (re)listen for folks still trying to make sense of how to deal with the denial echo-chamber out their.

Not that he has any answers*, but he does put things into stark perspective.  Here’s a highlight:

28:00+
About the siege mentality:
Do the emails show a siege mentality?
Michael Mann:  The idea that scientists under siege should unilaterally disarm, should just give in to the sometimes criminal attacks of the anti-science forces looking to discredit them and to discredit their science.

Does anyone really believe that in that situation that scientists should not stick up for their science?  Should not stick up for their colleagues and fight back against these criminal efforts to misrepresent them and to impugn their integrity and to discredit them and to discredit the science?

I think it would be terribly, terribly misplaced if scientist’s where not to do all they can to fight back against the sort of disinformation campaign that’s being run by the climate change denial industry. . .


*Actually I think he expressly points out that he’s a scientist trained to do science.
It’s the responsibility of other “stakeholder” to help out here.

Posted on Apr 24, 2011 at 3:13pm by citizenschallenge.pm Comment #141

“Knowing how much liberals have at stake here” has got to be the most flagrant case of the pot calling the kettle black that I have ever heard. It is abundantly clear that the energy companies have a strong, self-centered, financial interest in convincing the public that climate change has nothing to do with their activities. They are spending large amounts of money lobbying and mis-informing the public for that reason (they learned from the tobacco companies).

 

As pointed out in Merchants of Doubt the energy companies didn’t just learn from the tobacco companies, they hired the same consultants and endowed the same think tanks.

Finally, there is one statement you make that I completely agree with. The underlying problem is the unchecked growth of the human population.

 

Would the unchecked growth of the human population be possible without the unchecked use of fossil fuels?

Posted on May 15, 2011 at 7:00am by michaelb Comment #142