Naomi Oreskes - Merchants of Doubt

June 4, 2010

Host: Chris Mooney

This week’s guest is Naomi Oreskes, co-author with historian Eric Conway of the new book Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming.

Through extensive archival research, Oreskes and Conway have managed to connect the dots between a large number of seemingly separate anti-science campaigns that have unfolded over the years. It all began with Big Tobacco, and the famous internal memo declaring, “Doubt is our Product.”

Then came the attacks on the science of acid rain and ozone depletion, and the flimsy defenses of Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” program. And the same strategies have continued up to the present, with the battle over climate change.

Throughout this saga, several key scientific actors appear repeatedly—leaping across issues, fighting against the facts again and again. Now, Oreskes and Conway have given us a new and unprecedented glimpse behind the anti-science curtain.

Naomi Oreskes (Ph.D., Stanford, 1990) is Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego. Her research focuses on the historical development of scientific knowledge, methods, and practices in the earth and environmental sciences, and on understanding scientific consensus and dissent. She is the author of numerous noted books and papers, including a 2004 essay in Science entitled “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change,” which was widely cited, debated, and referenced in Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Books Mentioned in This Episode:


Related Episodes

Michael Specter - The Menace of Denialism
May 21, 2010

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

Last couple of his podcasts Chris hasn’t been taking questions in advance. I’m sorry that seems to have gone by the wayside.

Posted on Jun 04, 2010 at 12:15pm by dougsmith Comment #1

Doug,
I have been in the middle of a complex move—from Cambridge, MA, to Washington, D.C. via Cambridge, UK—and I booked a few shows without getting the chance to solicit comments from the forums. I regret that but it is not a chance in policy—just a matter of exigency. Things will return to normal once I’m settled in DC in mid June. Sound good?

chris

Posted on Jun 04, 2010 at 3:16pm by CMooney Comment #2

This book is reviewed along with some other climate-related books in Science—see

http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewthread/7864/

Re: Merchants of Doubt Kitcher says:

Because it is so thorough in disclosing how major policy decisions have been delayed or distorted, Merchants of Doubt deserves a wide readership.  It is tempting to require that all those engaged in the business of conveying scientific information to the general public should read it.  And that science journalists should abandon the obfuscating practice of presenting alternatives with inferior justification as if they were on a par with the scientific consensus.

And I recommended it as a good candidate for Chris Mooney….

Posted on Jun 04, 2010 at 5:24pm by Jackson Comment #3

Doug,
I have been in the middle of a complex move—from Cambridge, MA, to Washington, D.C. via Cambridge, UK—and I booked a few shows without getting the chance to solicit comments from the forums. I regret that but it is not a chance in policy—just a matter of exigency. Things will return to normal once I’m settled in DC in mid June. Sound good?

Sounds good to me!

:-)

Hope the move goes well, and thanks.

Posted on Jun 04, 2010 at 5:52pm by dougsmith Comment #4

A fine interview and episode.

But distressing, of course.

Posted on Jun 05, 2010 at 3:58pm by Trail Rider Comment #5

Awesome Naomi Oreskes!
Good job getting her Chris!!
Guess the interview is out - I just got back from a river trip so haven’t had a chance to listen yet but surely will.  But, I have been a fan of PhD. Oreskes’ work since hearing her lecture on video ;-( at Birch Aquarium as part of their “Perspectives on Ocean Science Lectures”

If you haven’t heard it and are interested in the subject you owe it to yourself to check it out:

The American Denial of Global Warming

“Perspectives on Ocean Science Lectures”
First Aired: 12/17/2007
UCTV - 58 minutes

She really has done some great work and its not all climate politic related either check out her WIKI profile

Posted on Jun 06, 2010 at 12:33am by citizenschallenge Comment #6

I’ll be seeing her at a book signing here in the bay area. I can’t wait!

Posted on Jun 06, 2010 at 2:50am by asanta Comment #7

I’ll be seeing her at a book signing here in the bay area. I can’t wait!

Cool.

Perhaps do me a favor, and tell her she’s got a great fan in Colorado and that many appreciate the wonderful insightful work she has been doing.  She has made a difference.  :)

Posted on Jun 06, 2010 at 12:34pm by citizenschallenge Comment #8

Excellent interview.  Chris keeps the conversation going, and does a nice unobtrusive job of filling in various details.  (as opposed to someone like Charlie Rose’s tendency to become over baring due to his need to prove how smart he is at the expense of the interviewee’s narrative.)  Chris’ questions are crisp and following a smooth trajectory.  Ph.D. Oreskes once again does a wonderful of explaining herself.

I think many valuable things where brought up that are worth reviewing, thus I hope you folks don’t mind if I share my rough notes of many of the highlights of this informative interview.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

7:00 Naomi explains why she doesn’t like the term “manufacturing doubt” since doubt is actually an integral part of science…

7:50 Strategy for delaying legislative action & legislation

9:10 Chris: “How do we know historically that these tactics are without precedent…?”
Defending claim that 1953 ushered in an entirely new era in attacking science:

10:10 Interesting phenomena fighting the evidence though you appreciate it is correct.

13:00 The balance between what we know & what we don’t know.
 
Getting to the point were we can say that “This knowledge is secure, this knowledge is robust,
It is based on tremendous amounts of evidence that add up to a consistent picture and that it is rational and appropriate to move forward and take action on the basis of that knowledge.”

14:15 Strategy of undermining people’s small errors

15:00 The challenge is to tell a coherent story and present the evidence.

15:20 George Marshall Institute . . . and strategic defense system (unsaid the military industrial complex)

18:00 Acid Rain, Ozone depletion     19:00 the dress rehearsal

20:30 Keyworth & Reagan White House. . .  manipulating final drafts of reports

21:45 Attacks on Rachel Carlson & DDT

23:00 False on too many levels

24:30 “We do know that DDT was very harmful and we do know that it was not a magic bullet to cure malaria that its advocates are claiming.”

24:45 “The whole story is false from top to bottom.”
25:00 Why would they do that???

25:45 “It’s not about corporate profits, its about a deep seated political ideology”

26:00 There’s no free lunch.
global warming is the bill for our great prosperity.
everything has a price.

27:00 ...  great story, scientists as society’s waiters.

29:50 Reviewing the attacks on Ben Santer
The detection and attribution science. . . IPPC

34:00 Corporate news media ignoring scientists who are trying to defend themselves.

35:00 Creating an unlevel playing field
Mega coverage of the accusation, minimal coverage of the exoneration

35:50 FAILURE OF AMERICA’S FOURTH ESTATE, the f’n traitors. . . my words!
“Media acting as gatekeeper”. . . their words. 

36:15 We The Sad (disappointed) People. . .

36:30 The lesson being scientists cannot rely on journalists anymore and must find new avenues for presenting their knowledge.

The sad truth being if scientist don’t defend their own findings ~ who will?

37:00 SILENCE TO FALSE CHARGES IS THE SAME AS ACQUIESCENCE !

37:15 Scientists need to figure out alternative venues to defend their work!

38:00 Appreciating a different view of science - considering the concept of “certainty.”

39:10 Grappling with the dichotomy
“either their is absolute truth on the one hand or their is absolute collapse into relativism on the other hand. . . “

Posted on Jun 06, 2010 at 2:37pm by citizenschallenge Comment #9

It was so thought provoking that I had to listen to it twice, and then force my son to listen to it. It will be the next book on my list of ‘must reads’. It should be criminal what is being done to Rachel Carson’s work. :mad:

Posted on Jun 06, 2010 at 6:54pm by asanta Comment #10

Really great interview. Chris thanks very much for taking the CFI podcasts on in addition to everything else you have on your plate.

Posted on Jun 07, 2010 at 4:25am by Jackson Comment #11

Really great interview. Chris thanks very much for taking the CFI podcasts on in addition to everything else you have on your plate.

ditto   :coolsmile:

Posted on Jun 07, 2010 at 8:51am by citizenschallenge Comment #12

I am not impressed with this non-scientist writer’s explanations of complex scientific problems.

That she could come up with THAT TITLE for her essay is, to me, opposed to everything I know about scientific publication.

She could NEVER publish in a scientific journal.

Curiously, she reminds me of Paul Ehrlich who made similar speeches re “The Population Bomb” and why his predictions were correct.

They were not. Anything but.

Both seem to project personal angst and paranoid delusions. Is that what PhD means??

Posted on Jun 08, 2010 at 6:50am by Analytic Comment #13

I am not impressed with this non-scientist writer’s explanations of complex scientific problems.

Right… and pray tell what are your qualifications! :coolgrin:

Naomi Oreskes (Ph.D., Stanford, 1990) is Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego. Her research focuses on the historical development of scientific knowledge, methods, and practices in the earth and environmental sciences, and on understanding scientific consensus and dissent.

She has held grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Philosophical Society, and is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in Science and Engineering.

Oreskes is the author of
The Rejection of Continental Drift: Theory and Method in American Earth Science (Oxford University Press, 1999), “Verification, validation, and confirmation of numerical models in the earth sciences” (Science 263: 641-646, 1994),
and “Objectivity or Heroism: On the Invisibility of Women in Science” (Osiris 11: 87-133, 1996),

and editor of Plate Tectonics: An Insider’s History of the Modern Theory of the Earth (with Homer Le Grand, Westview Press, 2001), which was cited by Library Journal as one of the best science and technology books of 2002, and by Choice as an outstanding academic title of 2003.
She is currently completing “Science on a Mission: American Oceanography in the Cold War and Beyond,” to be published by the University of Chicago Press in 2007.

Oreskes’s most recent work deals with the science of climate change. Her 2004 essay “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change” (Science 306: 1686), led to Op-Ed pieces in the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Los Angeles Times, and has been widely cited in the mass media, including National Public Radio (Fresh Air), The New Yorker, USA Today, Parade, as well as in the Royal Society’s publication, “A guide to facts and fictions about climate change,” and, most recently, in Al Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Department of History, 0104
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, California 92093-0104

Both seem to project personal angst and paranoid delusions. Is that what PhD means??

Since she thoroughly documents how she came to her conclusions it appears there may be more delusions in your eyes than in her work.

Posted on Jun 08, 2010 at 7:29am by citizenschallenge Comment #14

Both seem to project personal angst and paranoid delusions. Is that what PhD means??

You tell me, you claim to have one! We have her credentials, as far as we can tell from your posts, yours may well have come out of a cereal box.

Posted on Jun 08, 2010 at 8:41am by asanta Comment #15

Great interview, enlightening while sadly not being surprising. There is an anti-science, anti-intellectual zeitgeist generally in the U.S. right now that prefers beliefs to facts, and the Right seems, if not more severely affected at least more able to actively suppress or twist the truth. As Dr. Oreskes indicated, the danger from this attitude on the right seems greater than that from the similar attitude among the pomos on the left, who generally don’t have much real-world impact outside of academia.

Posted on Jun 08, 2010 at 12:00pm by mckenzievmd Comment #16

Gina Kolata, for years an investigative journalist, writing for SCIENCE (AAAS) was my journalist of choice for educated layman. (She is now with the New York Times).

She had/has great writing skills, but was most thorough in her coverage of scientific information. Almost as if she were going to be taken to task by “peer reviewers”.

I have no doubt whatever she would never title her reviews as this woman does.
——————————————————————————————
Her titles are agitprop for the scientifically illiterate, or those given to the “TRUE BELIEVER” style of reasoning.

Posted on Jun 08, 2010 at 12:41pm by Analytic Comment #17

For those TRULY intrested in the scientific status of “global warming”, go to this site:

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10139&page=22

Read as much as you like of the text, but pay extra attention to pp 22-26.

Posted on Jun 08, 2010 at 1:34pm by Analytic Comment #18

Actually, for those who want to know how conservatives regularly misrepresent that NAS report, see my book, The Republican War on Science.

Posted on Jun 08, 2010 at 4:22pm by CMooney Comment #19

Analytic, several of your recent posts have strayed into virtually content-free inflammatory rhetoric, which is a form of trolling. You have been warned about this in the past. Trolling is against the rules and will lead to banning if it persists. Thanks.

Posted on Jun 08, 2010 at 6:48pm by dougsmith Comment #20

For those TRULY intrested in the scientific status of “global warming”, go to this site:

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10139&page=22

Read as much as you like of the text, but pay extra attention to pp 22-26.

Is the scientific status of “Global Warming” today the same as it was in 2001?

Posted on Jun 08, 2010 at 11:15pm by Fatso the combat wombat Comment #21

Analytic, several of your recent posts have strayed into virtually content-free inflammatory rhetoric, which is a form of trolling. You have been warned about this in the past. Trolling is against the rules and will lead to banning if it persists. Thanks.

I am at a loss to see from my Posts that I am “trolling”. I don’t know what “trolling” is.

In fact, I have tried to offer links to relevant web content.

So that viewers can see for themselves on what bases I make my comments.

Posted on Jun 09, 2010 at 5:21am by Analytic Comment #22

For those TRULY intrested in the scientific status of “global warming”, go to this site:

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10139&page=22

Read as much as you like of the text, but pay extra attention to pp 22-26.

—————————————————————-
Is the scientific status of “Global Warming” today the same as it was in 2001?

—————————————————————-
The gist of the title at the link I referred is mostly a report of the SCIENCE already “known” about “climate change” (global warming).

It is a thoroughly supportive document from the National Academy of Science published in 2001. The NAS is a prestigious institution which reports on the status of particular scientific investigation.

Pages 22-26 are a discussion of what is lacking in the science, alternative explanations, and recommendations for future research.

I hope you will especially note the information that invitations to scientists to respond to a poll - on what they considered the status of the global warming hypothesis - led to most of them declining to participate.

Posted on Jun 09, 2010 at 5:40am by Analytic Comment #23

Analytic, several of your recent posts have strayed into virtually content-free inflammatory rhetoric, which is a form of trolling. You have been warned about this in the past. Trolling is against the rules and will lead to banning if it persists. Thanks.

I am at a loss to see from my Posts that I am “trolling”. I don’t know what “trolling” is.

In fact, I have tried to offer links to relevant web content.

So that viewers can see for themselves on what bases I make my comments.

Posts #13 and the end of #17 in this thread qualify. Thanks.

Posted on Jun 09, 2010 at 6:08am by dougsmith Comment #24

For those TRULY interested in the scientific status of “global warming”, go to this site:
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10139&page=22
Read as much as you like of the text, but pay extra attention to pp 22-26.

OK pretty well read through those pages and failed to see anything radical, earth shattering, or eye opening.  It was an intelligent discussion of intricacies, areas of strength and areas when improvement is warranted, but nothing indicating anything is “wrong”.

Also, shall we please not forget all the real Earth data coming in - it does point in ominous directions!
And, as others have noted this is 2010 and not 2001, a lot has happened in that time - and it sure wasn’t global cooling.

Posted on Jun 09, 2010 at 9:19am by citizenschallenge Comment #25

What a rare intellect!! Willing to see other aspects of an issue including a fair reaction to the concerns of the NAS.

Thank you and congratulations.

Unfortunately, the year 2001 was also the start of Al Gore’s demand that tremendous effort should be exerted to

stop “global warming”.

I will check to see if the NAS - or another equally distinguished body - has published anything more recent.

Posted on Jun 09, 2010 at 10:03am by Analytic Comment #26

CC,

I’m still searching for a more recent report by a reputable scientific source.

In the meantime, here is one of the authors of the NAS report in 2001.

http://opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=95000606

Dr. Richard S.Lindzen is the Alfred P.Sloan Professor of Meteorology in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He was not in the least sanguine about the omissions in that report.

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

Here is another Lindzen article published THIS YEAR in the Wall Street Journal.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704448304575196802317362416.html

He may be leading the defense of scientific integrity.

You would have to pay to read the 2010 WSJ article.
——————————————————————————-
Here is another of Lindzen’s articles. Published last month.

http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/lindzen_heartland_2010.pdf

That should be enough to give you an accurate sampling of the scientific judgment of the status of the “global warming” conjecture.

Posted on Jun 09, 2010 at 10:23am by Analytic Comment #28

For those TRULY intrested in the scientific status of “global warming”, go to this site:

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10139&page=22

Read as much as you like of the text, but pay extra attention to pp 22-26.

—————————————————————-
Is the scientific status of “Global Warming” today the same as it was in 2001?

—————————————————————-
The gist of the title at the link I referred is mostly a report of the SCIENCE already “known” about “climate change” (global warming).

So I see.

But I see that it is also nine years old. Is the scientific status of “Global Warming” today really the same as it was in 2001?
Surely some of the identified research priorities have been advanced a little at least?

It is a thoroughly supportive document from the National Academy of Science published in 2001. The NAS is a prestigious institution which reports on the status of particular scientific investigation.

So I see.

Pages 22-26 are a discussion of what is lacking in the science, alternative explanations, and recommendations for future research.

“Recommendations for future research” is merely a prioritised list of “what is lacking in the science”, and that is certainly there.

But I didn’t notice anything that could be called “alternative explanations”. Can you give some examples of what you mean by that?

I hope you will especially note the information that invitations to scientists to respond to a poll - on what they considered the status of the global warming hypothesis - led to most of them declining to participate.

No I didn’t notice any reference to a poll. What page is that on?

Posted on Jun 09, 2010 at 11:56am by Fatso the combat wombat Comment #29

Here is another Lindzen article published THIS YEAR in the Wall Street Journal.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704448304575196802317362416.html

He may be leading the defense of scientific integrity.

He says in the opening that sticks out this side of the pay-wall “In what has come to be known as “climategate,” one could see unambiguous evidence of the unethical suppression of information and opposing viewpoints, and even data manipulation.”

There have been two independent investigations of the CRU at UEA pursuant to this “climategate”. The press reported that they both cleared the UEA of both suppression of information and data manipulation. Has this been misreported, or is Lindzen mistaken about this?

Here is another of Lindzen’s articles. Published last month.

http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/lindzen_heartland_2010.pdf

That should be enough to give you an accurate sampling of the scientific judgment of the status of the “global warming” conjecture.

Do you think Lindzen’s opinions are “an accurate sampling of the scientific judgement of the status of the “global warming” conjecture”? Most people would say that his opinions are straight counter to scientific judgement of the status of the “global warming”. Certainly the heartland institute is one of the key organisations are doubt merchants for both the tobacco industry, and more recently the fossil fuel industry that Oreskes is discussing.

And note that it is their conference which Lindzen presented this opinion piece. If memory serves me correctly, he would have had little fear of observation by any peers heavily involved in global warming, since this conference was timed to conflict with the talks in Copenhagen late last year.

Posted on Jun 09, 2010 at 12:24pm by Fatso the combat wombat Comment #30

Scientists seek to prove that their version of what they observe can be tested experimentally.

They design experiments based on hypotheses made about the observations.

Simple example: he observes that today is bright and sunny.

Then he forms an hypothesis stating: will it be that way tomorrow?

If tomorrow brings stormy weather, then the hypothesis can be rejected.

Next experiment, how about in a week?

Without observing what the week brings, he looks at the previous year’s weather from weather data resources.

Aha, first day, sunny, rest of the week ... sunny!!

Now what??

He has to gather much more data.
—————————————————————————————-
Simple example, yes. But akin to predicting not just “weather”, but “climate”, and not just “climate” over, say, centuries but over a single hemiphere over centuries. Too many variables.

Computer models have thus far failed for two reasons:

1. The data are too limited to hazard a guess about global “climate”.

2. The computer models available don’t fit the data.

That’s my understanding of the frailty of “GLOBAL warming” predictions.

Lindzen spells this out in detail.
————————————————————————————-
There is NO alternative to an hypothesis until it’s been tested ... thoroughly. One cannot with integrity simply argue the matter and come up with a factual base.

The “poll” of scientists was in my first link, page 23.

Posted on Jun 09, 2010 at 12:33pm by Analytic Comment #31

Then he forms an hypothesis stating: will it be that way tomorrow?

That is not a hypothesis, that’s a question. You are not proposing any explanation for why or how it may be sunny tomorrow.

Posted on Jun 09, 2010 at 12:45pm by George Comment #32

Scientists seek to prove that their version of what they observe can be tested experimentally.

They design experiments based on hypotheses made about the observations.

Simple example: he observes that today is bright and sunny.

Then he forms an hypothesis stating: will it be that way tomorrow?

If tomorrow brings stormy weather, then the hypothesis can be rejected.

Next experiment, how about in a week?

Without observing what the week brings, he looks at the previous year’s weather from weather data resources.

Aha, first day, sunny, rest of the week ... sunny!!

Now what??

He has to gather much more data.

Are you trying to make some relevant point with the above?

—————————————————————————————-
Simple example, yes. But akin to predicting not just “weather”, but “climate”, and not just “climate” over, say, centuries but over a single hemiphere over centuries. Too many variables.

Computer models have thus far failed for two reasons:

What makes you say that computer models have “failed”?

There has been some research into why it is that they are more accurate than the estimates of error suggest that they should be.

(See for example:Why are climate models reproducing the observed global surface warming so well? Reto Knutti GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 35, L18704, 5 PP., 2008)

Based on this alone, I would say that models are a disturbing success.

There is NO alternative to an hypothesis until it’s been tested ... thoroughly.

Are you trying to say that there cannot be competing hypotheses?

I don’t think that that’s the case.

And with respect to this discussion “hypothesis” isn’t really appropriate is it? I mean there is a theory behind global warming. It is caused by the enhanced greenhouse effect due to increased atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.

One cannot with integrity simply argue the matter and come up with a factual base.

Sure. But in the case of climate change the basis is known. It is the greenhouse effect.

The poll of scientists was in my first link, I believe.

That is where I was looking. What page of the NAP report is it on?

———————————-

Also, note that I was trying to get you to clarify a couple of other points prior to my question about the poll :
Is the scientific status of “Global Warming” today really the same as it was in 2001?
Surely some of e identified research priorities have been advanced a little at least?

I didn’t notice anything that could be called “alternative explanations”. Can you give some examples of what you mean by that?

Posted on Jun 09, 2010 at 1:02pm by Fatso the combat wombat Comment #33

Combat Wombat,

You wrote re Lindzen:

“He says in the opening that sticks out this side of the pay-wall “In what has come to be known as “climategate,” one could see unambiguous evidence of the unethical suppression of information and opposing viewpoints, and even data manipulation.”

Then, you wrote:

“There have been two independent investigations of the CRU at UEA pursuant to this “climategate”. The press reported that they both cleared the UEA of both suppression of information and data manipulation. Has this been misreported, or is Lindzen mistaken about this?”

Sorry, but I know of no scientific report refuting the so-called “climategate”: falsification or fabrication of data

Lindzen’s “opinions” are amply demonstrated in his MANY reviews of which what I cited is but one.

THEN, you wrote: “And note that it is their conference which Lindzen presented this opinion piece. If memory serves me correctly, he would have had little fear of observation by any peers heavily involved in global warming, since this conference was timed to conflict with the talks in Copenhagen late last year.”

The 2001 report I cited had Lindzen as a participant. I would guess that it was somewhere between pp. 22-26 in which he raised doubt about the science of “climate change”.

Over the many years I’ve been a scientist - and read widely beyond my special interests - I’ve seen a number of cases of supposedly scientific predictions which were later refuted.

The “Population Bomb” a neo-malthusian conjecture that the planet could not survive 1975 as DIRECT RESULT of overpopulation.

The next I think was the “Ozone Hole” that just wouldn’t stay in place in the atmosphere.

Then, there was the prediction of a “Nuclear Winter” that after a nuclear war, the atmosphere would be so polluted with ash that the world’s population could not survive.

Doomsday scenarios have been too attractive to far too many people who can’t/won’t investigate thoroughly.

In my view, like these earlier doomsday predictions, it is possible that, in time, the “global warming” doomsday scenario will die of its own weight just like the others.

Posted on Jun 09, 2010 at 1:14pm by Analytic Comment #34

Then he forms an hypothesis stating: will it be that way tomorrow?

That is not a hypothesis, that’s a question. You are not proposing any explanation for why or how it may be sunny tomorrow.

To a scientist, an hypothesis is very much a question. That’s why experimentation is done. To determine if there is a reproducible answer.

Posted on Jun 09, 2010 at 1:16pm by Analytic Comment #35

Then he forms an hypothesis stating: will it be that way tomorrow?

That is not a hypothesis, that’s a question. You are not proposing any explanation for why or how it may be sunny tomorrow.

To a scientist, an hypothesis is very much a question. That’s why experimentation is done. To determine if there is a reproducible answer.

I think your hypothesis then should have sounded something like this: if X then it will be sunny tomorrow. To be honest, I am only nitpicking here because I don’t really like you.

Posted on Jun 09, 2010 at 1:26pm by George Comment #36

Combat Wombat,

Just nother comment, this time in response to yours

You wrote: “(See for example:Why are climate models reproducing the observed global surface warming so well? Reto Knutti GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 35, L18704, 5 PP., 2008)”

Here is what Reto Knutti wrote:

“Climate models reproduce the observed surface warming better than one would expect given the uncertainties in radiative forcing, climate sensitivity and ocean heat uptake, suggesting that different models show similar warming for different reasons.

“It is shown that while climate sensitivity and radiative forcing are indeed correlated across the latest ensemble of models, eliminating this correlation would not strongly change the uncertainty range of long-term temperature projections.

“However, since most models do not incorporate the aerosol indirect effects, model agreement with observations may be partly spurious.

“The incorporation of more detailed aerosol effects in future models could lead to inconsistencies between SIMULATED [caps mine] and observed past warming, unless the effects are small or compensated by additional forcings.

“It is argued that parameter correlations across models are neither unexpected nor problematic if the models are interpreted as conditional on observations.”
———————————————————————————————————-
What the man says is that some data fit available models, some does not. But he is unconcerned because “if the models are interpreted as conditional on observations.”

On what else could the models be conditional?

If the data do not fit the model, the model MUST be revised, to be useful, until the data do fit.

If no such model can be constructed, then sooner or later, it will be abandoned.

Posted on Jun 09, 2010 at 1:35pm by Analytic Comment #37

George,

You wrote: “I think your hypothesis then should have sounded something like this: if X then it will be sunny tomorrow. To be honest, I am only nitpicking here because I don’t really like you”.

Substantive explanation for nitpicking!!

My liking or disliking someone on this Forum is totally irrelevant.

Posted on Jun 09, 2010 at 1:41pm by Analytic Comment #38

Well, the explanation for my nitpicking was just a friendly garde. It changes nothing about your incorrect definition of “hypothesis.”

Posted on Jun 09, 2010 at 1:51pm by George Comment #39

Combat Wombat,

You wrote re Lindzen:

“He says in the opening that sticks out this side of the pay-wall “In what has come to be known as “climategate,” one could see unambiguous evidence of the unethical suppression of information and opposing viewpoints, and even data manipulation.”

Then, you wrote:

“There have been two independent investigations of the CRU at UEA pursuant to this “climategate”. The press reported that they both cleared the UEA of both suppression of information and data manipulation. Has this been misreported, or is Lindzen mistaken about this?”

Sorry, but I know of no scientific report refuting the so-called “climategate”: falsification or fabrication of data

The House of Commons’ report is available here.

The conclusions are that on dishonesty, there is no case to answer.

The International Scientific Panel’s report is here.

The conclusion about malpractice is “We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it.”

Lindzen’s “opinions” are amply demonstrated in his MANY reviews of which what I cited is but one.

The opinion about the CRU at UEA is out of line with the findings of the investigations though isn’t it?

THEN, you wrote: “And note that it is their conference which Lindzen presented this opinion piece. If memory serves me correctly, he would have had little fear of observation by any peers heavily involved in global warming, since this conference was timed to conflict with the talks in Copenhagen late last year.”

The 2001 report I cited had Lindzen as a participant. I would guess that it was somewhere between pp. 22-26 in which he raised doubt about the science of “climate change”.

He and his colleagues noted in the first paragraph of the summary: “Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth’s atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise. Temperatures are, in fact, rising. The changes observed over the last several decades are likely mostly due to human activities, but we cannot rule out that some significant part of these changes is also a reflection of natural variability. Human-induced warming and associated sea level rises are expected to continue through the 21st century. Secondary effects are suggested by computer model simulations and basic physical reasoning. These include increases in rainfall rates and increased susceptibility of semi-arid regions to drought. The impacts of these changes will be critically dependent on the magnitude of the warming and the rate with which it occurs.”

That’s not really equivocal.

Over the many years I’ve been a scientist - and read widely beyond my special interests - I’ve seen a number of cases of supposedly scientific predictions which were later refuted.

The “Population Bomb” a neo-malthusian conjecture that the planet could not survive 1975 as DIRECT RESULT of overpopulation.

The next I think was the “Ozone Hole” that just wouldn’t stay in place in the atmosphere.

Then, there was the prediction of a “Nuclear Winter” that after a nuclear war, the atmosphere would be so polluted with ash that the world’s population could not survive.

Doomsday scenarios have been too attractive to far too many people who can’t/won’t investigate thoroughly.

In my view, like these earlier doomsday predictions, it is possible that, in time, the “global warming” doomsday scenario will die of its own weight just like the others.

You argument by analogy doesn’t hold. There isn’t a physical scientific basis to calculations of what population is sustainable like there is for the greenhouse effect. (Although feeding the world with current technologies is unsustainable). The Ozone hole was recognised and the Montreal Protocol was agreed upon and implemented; slowing the depletion of the Ozone hole. Certainly it varies from year to year.

Nuclear winter was only predicted if there is a large nuclear war. It might still happen.

None of that applies to global warming.

———————————————

You link to Linzden opinion pieces as if they represent the scientific understanding on climate.

You do know that he holds a minority opinion, don’t you?

Posted on Jun 09, 2010 at 2:03pm by Fatso the combat wombat Comment #40

Combat Wombat,

Just nother comment, this time in response to yours

You wrote: “(See for example:Why are climate models reproducing the observed global surface warming so well? Reto Knutti GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 35, L18704, 5 PP., 2008)”

Here is what Reto Knutti wrote:

Yes, I’ve read the paper. And, as I mentioned, it addresses an unexpected accuracy.

The question that I put to you was: What makes you say that computer models have “failed”?

So ...  In what way have computer models failed?

If the data do not fit the model, the model MUST be revised, to be useful, until the data do fit.

If no such model can be constructed, then sooner or later, it will be abandoned.

Which is not the case with climate models, is it? The data fit anomalously well.

————

Thanks for making a comment in response to my post, but there were other questions in that post to you:
Are you trying to say that there cannot be competing hypotheses?

Your first link seems to be to the NAS report. Do I have the wrong link, or is the poll you talk about in there somewhere?

Is the scientific status of “Global Warming” today really the same as it was in 2001?
Surely some of the identified research priorities have been advanced a little at least?

I didn’t notice anything that could be called “alternative explanations”. Can you give some examples of what you mean by that?

Cheers!

Posted on Jun 09, 2010 at 2:15pm by Fatso the combat wombat Comment #41

Computer models have thus far failed for two reasons:

BS

How about some detail on how computer models have failed!

How about some detail on what you expect computer models to furnish you!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fatso the combat wombat - besides loving your name,
your comments, questions, explanations have been great.


welcome to CFI

Posted on Jun 10, 2010 at 10:26am by citizenschallenge Comment #42

Sorry, but I will no longer answer questions that I’ve already answered.

Posted on Jun 10, 2010 at 2:49pm by Analytic Comment #43

Well, the explanation for my nitpicking was just a friendly garde. It changes nothing about your incorrect definition of “hypothesis.”

Check Webster’s New Collegiate for synonyms of “hypothesis”.

Posted on Jun 10, 2010 at 2:51pm by Analytic Comment #44

CombatWombat,

I read ALL the links you provided.

They seem to make a strong case that the U of E. Anglia’s climatologists wrote nothing TOO awful in their e-mails.

I hope they respond to questions of just what those hacked e-mails were intended to say.
——————————————————-
But long before the “e-mail saga”, I was holding out for a better explanation of the “global warming conjecture” - and none was forthcoming.

To me, it requires that climate data fit the computer models proposed so far, and they simply haven’t.
——————————————————-
I did my thesis research on mineral transport processes that might be explicable with the simplest “model” I could devise; I had mucho data.

After several failures, I did the Occam Razor’s thing and simplified my model to bare bones that were, however, still consistent with my hpotheses.

I developed such a model and the abundant data fit it like a glove. So the rates of mineral transport were predictable across guinea pig organs.

It required simultaneous solution of 27 differential equations to accurately predict the kinetics of transport. A task the computer did in hours,

but would take many decades to solve by hand.

“Climatologists” have been attempting to model a small amount of actual data and have yet to come up with an Occam’s Razor model.

Yet they have been assuming their speculations are correct regardless. And others have simply jumped on the bandwagon.

Posted on Jun 10, 2010 at 3:13pm by Analytic Comment #45

Well, the explanation for my nitpicking was just a friendly garde. It changes nothing about your incorrect definition of “hypothesis.”

Check Webster’s New Collegiate for synonyms of “hypothesis”.

They offer “theory” and “law.” To ask if it will be sunny tomorrow is neither a theory nor a law.

Posted on Jun 10, 2010 at 3:50pm by George Comment #46

Speaking of Lindzen, he’s a work of art in himself.

Check out the latest on his scientific work at climateprogress.org
Lindzen debunked again:

New scientific study finds his paper downplaying dangers of human-caused warming is “seriously in error”
Trenberth: The flaws in Lindzen-Choi paper “have all the appearance of the authors having contrived to get the answer they got.”
January 11, 2010
Consistently being wrong and consistently producing one-sided analyses that are quickly debunked in the literature should lead scientific journals and the entire scientific community (and possibly the media) to start ignoring your work.

Or Real Climate

Heck, just google “Lindzen’s distorted paper” there’s a bit of a storm going on in that corner of the blogosphere.  It gets pretty complicated, but I know from listening to the guy’s presentation that he’s a cynical con artist, who uses every rhetorical trick to make his arguments - rather than sticking to the science.  You know one minute you think your talking about CO2, next moment it’s about Nazis, or who knows what, then he’s back to: “...and that’s why you should believe me.”

Posted on Jun 10, 2010 at 7:59pm by citizenschallenge Comment #47

Speaking of Lindzen, he’s a work of art in himself.


Or Real Climate

 

Real Climate says

First off, LC09 was not a nonsense paper – that is, it didn’t have completely obvious flaws that should have been caught by peer review (unlike say, McLean et al, 2009 or Douglass et al, 2008). Even if it now turns out that the analysis was not robust, it was not that the analysis was not worth trying, and the work being done to re-examine these questions is a useful contributions to the literature – even if the conclusion is that this approach to the analysis is flawed.

I think Lindzen is what you want—scientists giving careful thought to places where there might by “holes” in the climate analysis, giving it their best thought, and then having the stuff reviewed. I would prefer to see the science take the high road rather than ad hominem attacks on personal agendas.  Lindzen’s ideas were worth review.

The argument that any paper critical of scientific consensus will be misused by non-scientists with partisan motives and therefore there is a cost to publishing has a point, and hence careful peer review is important. But the peer review itself needs to stick to the scientific points.

Posted on Jun 11, 2010 at 2:15am by Jackson Comment #48

I think Lindzen is what you want—scientists giving careful thought to places where there might by “holes” in the climate analysis, giving it their best thought, and then having the stuff reviewed. I would prefer to see the science take the high road rather than ad hominem attacks on personal agendas.  Lindzen’s ideas were worth review.

There’s nearly no science that you don’t want. And questioning assumptions is to be encouraged.

But Lindzen is also doing things that you don’t want. He is actively producing doubt in the public by these opinion pieces in the popular press, espousing views that would never make publication in the scientific literature - misleading the public about the state of the science.

He also makes ad hominem attacks on climate scientist, which leads to the harassment and death threats that climate scientists with less tiny minority interpretations. This too is not what you want.

Furthermore he is one of the scientific pawns that are discussed by Oreskes as giving favourable evidence to the oil industry because they have funded his research. This is good and bad, but overall the results should be taken first to the scientific community, and if they pass muster there, then to the press.

If he can’t do that, he’s not doing science. He’s doing doubt retailing.

Posted on Jun 11, 2010 at 4:41am by Fatso the combat wombat Comment #49

CW,

Anyone not understand that science is a competetive enterprise?

THERE IS NO SCIENCE BY CONCENSUS OR POLL!!

And there is NO science that demands obesisance to an incomplete, dogmatic speculation!!

The rest of your comment deals with improper and/or criminal behavior on the part of other dogmatists - not scientists!!

Posted on Jun 11, 2010 at 7:18am by Analytic Comment #50

Er, all science is by consensus of the experts in that field. If you can’t distinguish between consensus and fringe science, you are literally lost.

Posted on Jun 11, 2010 at 8:03am by dougsmith Comment #51

Son,

You have just stated that anyone with a theory can call it science simply by gaining adherents.

What’s different about that than proselytization to a religion?

Posted on Jun 11, 2010 at 8:16am by Analytic Comment #52

You have just stated that anyone with a theory can call it science simply by gaining adherents.

I have not said any such thing.

What’s different about that than proselytization to a religion?

What makes the difference is who is doing the proselytization (viz., professional scientists rather than bus drivers, lawyers or theologians), based on what kind of evidence (viz., empirical, testable, repeatable, objective evidence rather than faith, authority and revelation).

Posted on Jun 11, 2010 at 8:36am by dougsmith Comment #53

One more stabe I leave you to your own definitions.

Consensus: “You are safe in using consensus alone when it is clear you mean consnsus of opinion, and most writers in fact do so.”

I repeat there is no consensus in science; there may be temporary agreement, but most often not even that.

A legitimate scientist wouldn’t seek agreement by thousands of others and count it as scientific proof.

Read up on definitions of the “scientific method.”

Then, look up “Rules for Authors” in a scientific journal.

Take SCIENCE for example. It DEMANDS OF AN AUTHOR that he not “speculate beyond what the data presented clearly permits”.

Posted on Jun 11, 2010 at 10:38am by Analytic Comment #54

We do have a problem with “the proper role of scientists” but we also have a problem with “how much the average person should understand about science.”

We act like the majority of people are supposed to be scientific dummies who believe whatever the supposed scientific consensus is at the the time.  The scientists don’t need to make themselves understood.

Why weren’t the scientists talking about the planned obsolescence of automobiles for the last 40 years?  Did manufacturing useless variations in crapmobiles contribute to this AGW problem now?  Don’t scientists know that the laws of physics don’t change style from one year to the next?

But now we have this bill to pay for all of that PROSPERITY.  :lol:

psik

Posted on Jun 11, 2010 at 11:24am by psikeyhackr Comment #55

Speaking of Lindzen, he’s a work of art in himself.

Or Real Climate

Real Climate says

First off, LC09 was not a nonsense paper – that is, it didn’t have completely obvious flaws that should have been caught by peer review (unlike say, McLean et al, 2009 or Douglass et al, 2008). Even if it now turns out that the analysis was not robust, it was not that the analysis was not worth trying, and the work being done to re-examine these questions is a useful contributions to the literature – even if the conclusion is that this approach to the analysis is flawed.  but wait theirs more

read on: More generally, this episode underlines the danger in reading too much into single papers. For papers that appear to go against the mainstream (in either direction), the likelihood is that the conclusions will not stand up for long, but sometimes it takes a while for this to be clear. Research at the cutting edge – where you are pushing the limits of the data or the theory – is like that. If the answers were obvious, we wouldn’t need to do research.

 

I think Lindzen is what you want—scientists giving careful thought to places where there might by “holes” in the climate analysis, giving it their best thought, and then having the stuff reviewed. I would prefer to see the science take the high road rather than ad hominem attacks on personal agendas.
Lindzen’s ideas were worth review.

 
I’ve listen to that man lecture & answer questions and if his approach is what you call thoughtful and receptive to all the information out there, than no wonder we’re in such hopeless shape when it comes to learning anything.  Dr. Lindzen is another master of cherry picking, misdirection and theater and his lectures are more performance art than serious examination of the scientific issues at hand. 
On the “alarmist” side we having sterling examples of serious discourse such as the recent: Abraham v. Monckton  If I saw something of that caliber were coming out of the “denialists” I would take heart and mellow out and grasp for hope.  But, instead it’s nonstop trash talk.

Excuse me, I’m especially irritated right now since I’ve just come off a detailed-listening to a talk by one Dr. Martin Hertzberg an explosives expert, turned (knows everything) climate expert, at Café Scientifique in Summit, Colorado, April 27, 2010.  Another appalling piece of science cherry picking, misdirection and obfuscation of the true issues we should be looking at, I nearly feel like pounding my head on a wall.  Worst of all its delivered with such mean derision of anything that should contradict the speakers story line.

It’s truly appalling what this corporate scorched earth denialist campaign has done to our country.

Posted on Jun 11, 2010 at 11:36am by citizenschallenge Comment #56

Er, all science is by consensus of the experts in that field. If you can’t distinguish between consensus and fringe science, you are literally lost.

Son,

You have just stated that anyone with a theory can call it science simply by gaining adherents.

What’s different about that than proselytization to a religion?

What a bunch of nonsense!
In science one doesn’t “gain adherents”
One presents evidence, theory, arguments, more evidence.

It is the Evidence that convinces!

But, the “denialist community” keeps trying to twist it into theater.
Shame on denialist, for the damage they are doing to reasoned thinking!

~~~~~~~~~~
Such as shall we waste all our time bickering about minute variations of models and graphs
or shall we look at the Earth’s truest thermometer, the cryosphere?

Posted on Jun 11, 2010 at 11:58am by citizenschallenge Comment #57

.....were coming out of the “denialists” I would take heart and mellow out and grasp for hope.  But, instead it’s nonstop trash talk…..

so we were talking about a specific paper in peer-reviewed literature.  It’s clear you have a fuller perspective of the characters in this play.

Posted on Jun 11, 2010 at 5:02pm by Jackson Comment #58

Analytic, please address my requests for clarification of your position.

At the moment you are rapidly losing the benefit of any doubt.

I am beginning to suspect that:

1) There is no poll in your first link on this thread.

A good poll of scientific opinion in terms of reducing self-selection bias is Doran and Zimmerman, which shows what I think is the fingerprint of what Oreskes is talking about. Actively researching climate scientists are 97% of the opinion that human activity is a significant factor in changing mean global temperatures. This number reduces more and more as a group that has less and less understanding of climate science is included.

People who don’t understand the science are dealing with misinformation that has mislead them about climate science.

2) There are no alternative explanations in the NAS report.

And neither is it credible that there would be. That CO₂ (and other greenhouse gasses) are increasing due to human activity is known and measured. That increasing the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gasses increases the greenhouse effect is known and unavoidable. Estimates of how much is not an alternative explanation. It is the same explanation with different magnitudes. The climate warms about 3°C per doubling of CO₂.

3) The state of the science is not best described by the opinion pieces in newspapers written by Linzden. His opinion is very much an outlier, and he is irresponsible taking it to the popular press when it . The reasons for this could be well explained by Oreskes. The MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change is generously contributed to by Exxon Mobil.

4) Science is done by consensus. There is no ruling body or monarch in science that decides when we know that F = Ma for non relativistic and non quantum situations. It is known because and only because there is a consensus.

This mantra repeated by science denialists, historically creationists, but increasingly climate change denialists, that “THERE IS NO SCIENCE BY CONSENSUS”, is not correct, if you stop to consider it. You seem to be repeating the mantra because its a mantra, rather than applying any intelligence.

5) Models have not failed. You initial claim was that they don’t fit the data. You then read my link discussing that the models fit the (mean global surface temperature) data better than should be expected. You then claimed that the models don’t fit the data. You’ve missed something.

Sorry to be blunt, but you are avoiding discussion of these points.

—————

You said “I hope they respond to questions of just what those hacked e-mails were intended to say.”

Do you have an example of such a question? My impression impression at the time was pretty much in line with what the house of commons’ report said: there is no case to answer.

As to your hope, I think that the reports are done, and neither is there likely to be a summary of ten years of email exchanges, other than the emails themselves.

Posted on Jun 11, 2010 at 7:01pm by Fatso the combat wombat Comment #59

CW,

This is to what I refered in the NAS paper about the CONSENSUS of climate scientists.:

“The IPCC process demands a significant time commitment by members of the scientific community.

“As a result, MANY climate scientists in the United States and elsewhere choose not to participate at the level of a lead author even after being invited.

“Some take on less time-consuming roles as contributing authors or reviewers.

“OTHERS CHOOSE NOT TO PARTICIPATE.
“This may present a potential problem for the future.

“As the commitment to the assessment process continues to grow, this could create a form of self-selection for the participants.

“In such a case, the community of world climate scientists may develop CADRES WITH PARTICULARLY STRONG FEELINGS about the outcome: some as favorable to the IPCC and its procedures and others negative about the use of the IPCC as a policy instrument.

“Alternative procedures are needed to ensure that participation in the work of the IPCC does not come at the expense of an individual’s SCIENTIFIC CAREER.”
(all caps mine)
———————————————————————————
IOW, scientists being scientists would prefer the scientific method by which subsequent experiments might tend to confirm or refute previous results. They don’t want to tie their careers to a weak argument.

I strongly suggest you take the rest of your questions on yourself and find answers for yourself.

Posted on Jun 12, 2010 at 6:52am by Analytic Comment #60

.....were coming out of the “denialists” I would take heart and mellow out and grasp for hope.  But, instead it’s nonstop trash talk…..

so we were talking about a specific paper in peer-reviewed literature.  It’s clear you have a fuller perspective of the characters in this play.

I’m a little confused here.  Lindzen has done research and published in peer reviewed journals.  This is science, even though his papers tend to be found full of flaws, such as his theory of an Iris Effect that will moderate the climate for us, or him trying to peddle H2O’s thermo properties as a “forcing” - rather than the “feedback” most climatologist see.  But, this is science it learns as much from examining its failures as it does from its successes.

Then, you have Lindzen the public speaker who is a showman interested in only presenting one small fraction of the story and bludgeoning anyone who disagrees with him… that is not science.

My invitation: it is for anyone to show me a public AGW “skeptics” presentation that adheres to the traditional constraints of civil science discourse rather than the political theater focused on a one sided agenda - namely doing nothing to restrain the amount of carbon dioxide society is injecting into our atmosphere.

Posted on Jun 12, 2010 at 4:56pm by citizenschallenge Comment #61

I repeat there is no consensus in science;

and how many times do I have to repeat:

The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus is not formed by scientists !
The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus IS formed by the data being gathered !

there may be temporary agreement, but most often not even that.


yea, tell that to the guys at NASA, or CERN, or computer developers, or medical practitioners or many others
seems to me all these and more are only possible upon a solid foundation of consensus.

The “consensus” trash talk is nothing but a red herring
or do you have a more nuanced explanation?

Posted on Jun 12, 2010 at 5:11pm by citizenschallenge Comment #62

I repeat there is no consensus in science;

and how many times do I have to repeat:

The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus is not formed by scientists !
The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus IS formed by the data being gathered !

Well, yeah it’s formed by the scientists—the vast majority of climatologists and those in related fields. Of course, they formed their consensus opinion because of the data.

But the only people you hear claiming that there is no scientific consensus are basically either cranks or quacks. That is, ignorant people with irons in the fire, knowing that the science is against them.

Posted on Jun 12, 2010 at 5:17pm by dougsmith Comment #63

well ok,
but the scientists do base their opinion on the data
  :red:

Posted on Jun 12, 2010 at 6:45pm by citizenschallenge Comment #64

And I’m keeping it!

The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus is not formed by scientists !
The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus IS formed by the data being gathered !
:coolsmile:

:lol:

Posted on Jun 12, 2010 at 6:47pm by citizenschallenge Comment #65

well ok,
but the scientists do base their opinion on the data
  :red:

Right, exactly. :)

Posted on Jun 13, 2010 at 5:27am by dougsmith Comment #66

CC,

We scientists should read new publications very carefully.

The authors may be reasonably good friends.

Nevertheless, their manuscripts are subjected to the same or even more intense scrutiny when their conclusions have been inadequately demonstrated.

As a reviewer, I have likely rejected ~60-75% of publications publishers have sent me, generally because the data was inappropriately gathered, using a faulty experimental design, or the authors have gone well beyond what the data permit in drawing conclusions.

It is so intense, that some authors - and some editors - have wanted to do without peer review in favor of editors alone deciding what should be published. Some journals have submitted to that less rigorous policy.

Other journals submitted to strong requests by potential authors that certain scientists be rejected as reviewers - and some editors have complied.

I do not follow Lindzen with the same “awe” by which others follow other scientists - or non scientists - in droves.

However, I linked to an NAS committee’s paper primarily to urge readers to check pp. 22-26 for limitations of the research recognized by the authors THEMSELVES - one of which was Lindzen.
—————————————————————
I must say, I am unimpressed by Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”, book or TV version - BTW he was preceded by others as early as the mid 80s - and consider his being awarded the Nobel peace prize, an abomination.

He’s no scientist by any stretch, and prior to the “global warming” speech, he was a TERRIBLE SPEAKER as a politician.

Anyone with internet access can go to PubMed or other databases to see the latest in the “climate change” literature and judge it for yourselves.

Posted on Jun 13, 2010 at 6:40am by Analytic Comment #67

I repeat there is no consensus in science;

and how many times do I have to repeat:

The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus is not formed by scientists !
The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus IS formed by the data being gathered !

Well, yeah it’s formed by the scientists—the vast majority of climatologists and those in related fields. Of course, they formed their consensus opinion because of the data.

But the only people you hear claiming that there is no scientific consensus are basically either cranks or quacks. That is, ignorant people with irons in the fire, knowing that the science is against them.

And then there are those scientifically iliterate folks, without a clue, who will believe ANYTHING appealing to the imagination of a bunch of others.

There is little for me to gain by arguing metaphysical principles with such ... curious, since most such are “true believers” much the same as the religious.

Posted on Jun 13, 2010 at 6:45am by Analytic Comment #68

IOW, scientists being scientists would prefer the scientific method by which subsequent experiments might tend to confirm or refute previous results. They don’t want to tie their careers to a weak argument.

The cost to the career is the time commitment, so it cuts in to the production of one’s own research, which is what progresses one’s career. For this reason you get people who feel very strongly who get involved or certainly heavily involved in the project.

I strongly suggest you take the rest of your questions on yourself and find answers for yourself.

I already have my opinion.

It was where your answers differed that might have been interesting.  What is your motivation for posting your opinions in a forum, given that you’re not interested in discussing them?

Posted on Jun 13, 2010 at 7:01am by Fatso the combat wombat Comment #69

However, I linked to an NAS committee’s paper primarily to urge readers to check pp. 22-26 for limitations of the research recognized by the authors THEMSELVES - one of which was Lindzen.

Not particularly limited then. Some areas where research should continue (and indeed, in the 9 years from then to now it has).

I can’t say that it appears if you have read those 5 pages (two of which are blank) yourself.

You claimed that it includes alternative explanations. It doesn’t.

And you claimed there was some mention of a poll. There isn’t.

Whose word are you taking that people should read this section then?

I must say, I am unimpressed by Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”, book or TV version - BTW he was preceded by others as early as the mid 80s - and consider his being awarded the Nobel peace prize, an abomination.

The peace prize isn’t for scientific research. He brought climate change to the notice of the public.

He’s no scientist by any stretch, and prior to the “global warming” speech, he was a TERRIBLE SPEAKER as a politician.

Anyone with internet access can go to PubMed or other databases to see the latest in the “climate change” literature and judge it for yourselves.

Speaking of people who aren’t scientists by any stretch, how is it that someone who claims to be a reviewer for scientific journals would think that a database of medical research is a good place to search for papers on climate change?

You’ve never actually done a literature search, have you.

Posted on Jun 13, 2010 at 7:22am by Fatso the combat wombat Comment #70

I repeat there is no consensus in science;

and how many times do I have to repeat:

The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus is not formed by scientists !
The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus IS formed by the data being gathered !

Well, yeah it’s formed by the scientists—the vast majority of climatologists and those in related fields. Of course, they formed their consensus opinion because of the data.

But the only people you hear claiming that there is no scientific consensus are basically either cranks or quacks. That is, ignorant people with irons in the fire, knowing that the science is against them.

I found an easily accessible, written in common English by a scientifically-literate non-scientist, that may be helpful in understanding the flaws in “climate change” theory.

I would suggest you read this before simply dismissing skeptics willy-nilly.

http://www.coyoteblog.com/Skeptics_Guide_to_Anthropogenic_Global_Warming_v1.0.pdf

Best wishes (a crank?)

Posted on Jun 13, 2010 at 7:31am by Analytic Comment #71

I found an easily accessible, written in common English by a scientifically-literate non-scientist, that may be helpful in understanding the flaws in “climate change” theory.
A Skeptical Layman’s Guide to
Anthropogenic Global Warming by Warren Meyer
http://www.coyoteblog.com/Skeptics_Guide_to_Anthropogenic_Global_Warming_v1.0.pdf

Well, at 82 pages that will take some time - unfortunately I’ve got a busy week coming up so I won’t have the dozens of hours available that this project will take - at least I don’t have to spend tons of time transcribing stuff like with those lectures.

A cursory skimming shows that it does seem to trot out the usual suspects.

It is a true perversion of the scientific process to find that skepticism is no longer welcome or accepted in
scientific debate.  Which is one reason that AGW is sometimes called a secular religion.  Because it is
religion, not science, that burns skeptics at the stake.

I think what drives “supporters” crazy is that endless repetition of “skeptic” arguments that have been shown to be specious - and that this article repeats.

Incredibly, at these spending rates, skeptics are getting outspent by AGW supporters something like 1000:1
or more.  It is astounding that AGW supporters, with such a huge funding and publication advantage, still
feel threatened by critics.

Interesting claim: does he offer any evidence… no.

If you get beyond the hard core of near religious believers in the massive warming scenarios

Isn’t warming from CO2 a diminishing return, such that each 10 ppm of CO2 has less
warming effect than the last 10 ppm?

Explanation or proofs of that claim are not given.

• Global warming is down to the Sun, not humans

Well, then why are we not cooling since the sun is at its lowest output in a very long time?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
But, you have taken me up on my offer and I will do my best to get a review put together - perhaps we’ll get an interesting debate thread going after all, though it’ll have wait a few days.

Posted on Jun 13, 2010 at 11:06am by citizenschallenge Comment #72

Incredibly, at these spending rates, skeptics are getting outspent by AGW supporters something like 1000:1
or more.  It is astounding that AGW supporters, with such a huge funding and publication advantage, still
feel threatened by critics.

This is an absurd claim. The only way one could make sense of it is to include the amount used to fund satellites that gather climate data in with “AGW supporter” money. If that’s what he’s doing, it’s transparently deceptive.

ExxonMobil alone spent $2.9m to “misinform” and “misrepresent” science to the public (in the words of the Royal Society). If we assume that the total amount of denial funding is ten times that (an absurdly low number, IMO), then the AGW supporter number would have to be $29B in order to justify the claim of a 1000:1 differential.

Hmmmm. Sounds like someone should be double checking their sources.

Posted on Jun 13, 2010 at 11:21am by dougsmith Comment #73

Incredibly, at these spending rates, skeptics are getting outspent by AGW supporters something like 1000:1 or more.  It is astounding that AGW supporters, with such a huge funding and publication advantage, still feel threatened by critics.


This is an absurd claim. The only way one could make sense of it is to include the amount used to fund satellites that gather climate data in with “AGW supporter” money. If that’s what he’s doing, it’s transparently deceptive.

ExxonMobil alone spent $2.9m to “misinform” and “misrepresent” science to the public (in the words of the Royal Society). If we assume that the total amount of denial funding is ten times that (an absurdly low number, IMO), then the AGW supporter number would have to be $29B in order to justify the claim of a 1000:1 differential.

Hmmmm. Sounds like someone should be double checking their sources.

Yup, I had that exact same thought ;-)

Posted on Jun 13, 2010 at 11:53am by citizenschallenge Comment #74

I found an easily accessible, written in common English by a scientifically-literate non-scientist, that may be helpful in understanding the flaws in “climate change” theory.

I would suggest you read this before simply dismissing skeptics willy-nilly.

http://www.coyoteblog.com/Skeptics_Guide_to_Anthropogenic_Global_Warming_v1.0.pdf

Best wishes (a crank?)

You need to understand that there is a lot of misinformation about climate science on the web. (By the mechanisms discussed by Oreskes.)

When you find a write up by a non-scientist that contradicts the informed opinion of 97% of the scientists that are researching the field, then we can be pretty sure that it is a terrible source of information. And the brief skim I gave showed liberal use of the ad-hominem fallacy.

But given the wealth of writings by non-specialists on the web, this is a good rule of thumb: If your opinion can be best supported by writings by non-specialists, and not the peer reviewed scientific literature, you’re probably wrong.

(Skeptics are not dismissed “willy-nilly”. Denialists are dismissed out of hand, but on the good basis that they reject basic physical truths:
Increasing the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gasses increases the greenhouse effect.)

Posted on Jun 13, 2010 at 2:59pm by Fatso the combat wombat Comment #75

Great interview!  I really enjoyed listening.

The part of the interview that most struck me was how thoroughly invalid the attacks on Rachel Carson have been.  I had followed many of the attacks as they were revived a few years ago because of some anniversary (maybe it was Carson’s 100 year anniversary?).  The attacks were vicious (blaming her for the deaths of millions of Africans is absurd), but I had always thought that there was some nugget of truth to them.

For example, my understanding was that Carson had decried the use of DDT in the US, but took no stance on how DDT should or should not be used in Africa.  Now, it seems that the WHO has changed its stance on the use of DDT and recommends that in some very specific cases (only spraying inside the house and only 1-2x per year):

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6083944

I am not trying to defend the people who attacked Rachel Carson, nor am I discounting the positive environmental work that she has done, but I am saying that a fear and lack understanding of DDT may be detrimental to attacking malaria cases.

Does anyone know any more about this?

Posted on Jun 13, 2010 at 3:24pm by werdnagreb Comment #76

I am not trying to defend the people who attacked Rachel Carson, nor am I discounting the positive environmental work that she has done, but I am saying that a fear and lack understanding of DDT may be detrimental to attacking malaria cases.

Does anyone know any more about this?

I think that the reduction in the use of DDT in the world was mostly a function of its dropping effectiveness. The Mosquitoes have a shorter life cycle than their predators, so develop a resistance faster. So Spraying becomes less and less effective.

Certainly the effect of Carson was limited in the rest of the Americas and in Africa. Mexico was certainly using DDT up to 2000, and presumably since. El Salvador famously found that DDT was increasing the incidence of malaria. (And a population of mosquitoes has been found that required small amounts of DDT in order to breed successfully.

I think it was probably understanding of DDT rather than misunderstanding that has lead to reductions in its use. And argument for a worldwide ban has certainly been raised. (Such as by this paper in 2000 or this one taking the other side.)  But malaria control has also been considered important.

And while the WHO are actively supporting DTT, they always passively supported it.

Posted on Jun 13, 2010 at 10:13pm by Fatso the combat wombat Comment #77

And the brief skim I gave showed liberal use of the ad-hominem fallacy. 

But given the wealth of writings by non-specialists on the web, this is a good rule of thumb: If your opinion can be best supported by writings by non-specialists, and not the peer reviewed scientific literature, you’re probably wrong.

good point Mr. Wombat sir.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Skeptical Science.com’s most recent post speak to this subject, check out the full story if you’re into considering intellectual honesty -  Here

Uncertain motives: Theil misrepresents the science

Stefan Theil in Newsweek attempts to create the impression that scientists have been their own worst enemy and that the current and very real crisis of confidence in science by the public is a direct result of their actions. What is rather incredible, however, is that Theil makes his arguments without a single reference to the well funded and documented campaigns that have been launched by special interest against our scientific establishments. 

No mention, for example, that the hacking of the e-mails from the CRU was the result of criminal activity.  No mention of the fact that two independent (actually I count 3 exonerations US, UK, UEA) enquiries have in fact cleared the scientists and the science involved. 

And no mention of the fact that industrial concerns such as Exxon Mobil and Koche Industries have secretly funneled in tens of millions of dollars into funding a disinformation campaign against legitimate science.

Posted on Jun 14, 2010 at 12:18pm by citizenschallenge Comment #78

I found an easily accessible, written in common English by a scientifically-literate non-scientist, that may be helpful in understanding the flaws in “climate change” theory.

There is so much written by peer reviewed, credentialed scientists, why would you post something written by a non-scientist? Post something by a well regarded scientist who specializes in climatology, trust us, we can figure it out.

Posted on Jun 14, 2010 at 1:27pm by asanta Comment #79

Does anyone know any more about this?

WIKI has a surprisingly comprehensive look at the DDT controversy - it may be your best one stop starter resource.

We also have a thread that kicked this around for a while - LINK

Posted on Jun 14, 2010 at 1:27pm by citizenschallenge Comment #80

I found an easily accessible, written in common English by a scientifically-literate non-scientist, that may be helpful in understanding the flaws in “climate change” theory.

I would suggest you read this before simply dismissing skeptics willy-nilly.

http://www.coyoteblog.com/Skeptics_Guide_to_Anthropogenic_Global_Warming_v1.0.pdf

Best wishes (a crank?)

sorry your suggested report just got bumped to the end of the line by a much more interesting report I just discovered, and that I’m sure I’ll learn more from than your “skeptics” guide.  Since it repeats so much I’ve heard before - though it remains on my list.

Crescendo to Climategate Cacophony
Behind the 2006 Wegman Report and Two Decades of Climate Anti-Science
John R. Mashey

Check out the thread here

Posted on Jun 14, 2010 at 2:38pm by citizenschallenge Comment #81

We also have a thread that kicked this around for a while - LINK

Thanks.  That was (mostly) an informative thread (except for the trolls).

Posted on Jun 14, 2010 at 9:20pm by werdnagreb Comment #82

Excellent interview. Chris is doing a great job I think.

I just had one short question: Anyone know why the NYT and WSJ chose not to publish the “letter from concerned scientist” referenced in the interview? The letter that was subsequently “relegated” to Science, that is. Curious as to the reasoning of the NYT and WSJ editors.

Posted on Jun 22, 2010 at 10:03pm by Andreas Comment #83

Nice Review of the book in Sept-Oct American Scientist
http://www.americanscientist.org/bookshelf/pub/manufactured-ignorance

even has another slam at Glenn Beck:

Glenn Beck, “the second most popular television personality in America” according to a 2010 Harris poll, often regales his viewers with gems like this: “I see the issue of global warming as nothing but trying to entangle us and the rest of the world into one world government.”

Whole review is on-line.

———————————————-
On another note, same issue has a review of How the Sky Became Digital, which by coincidence Timothy Ferris reviews today in WSJ.

Posted on Aug 18, 2010 at 7:24pm by Jackson Comment #84

Hey, we interviewed Professor Naomi Oreskes o on The MDM August/Sept issue. Check it out!
http://www.wonderlance.com/mdm_august2010_scientech_globalwarning.html

Thanks

Is the fast melting of the ice cap a product of a mass hallucination?

What other proof do we need in order to accept the possibility that we could very well be accelerating climate change?

We are receiving “global warnings”… it is now down to us, the people, to snap out of our collective inertia and start making decisions and instruct accordingly those who represent us, because that is their job, represent and act upon the best interests of the people.

~ ~  ~
MDM; The data are the data; it cannot be seen differently to what it is. Why is the climate change issue being obscured?
PROFESSOR ORESKES: As we explain in our books, Merchants of Doubt, many people are reluctant to accept the conclusions of science. There are many reasons for this, but the people we track in our book are driven primarily by the ideology of free market fundamentalism. They refuse to accept that industrial capitalism has produced serious problems that the free market seems unable to remedy, at least unable on its own, without government help.

MDM:  Why do you think the general public is so ready to fall into skepticism?
PROFESSOR ORESKES: Global climate disruption is a bad news story. No one likes bad news. So if someone comes along and says, “the jury is still out,” most of us are glad to hear it.



MDM:  What is the correlation, in terms of geophysics, between the melting of the ice cap and the increase in natural disasters that we have come to witness in recent years?


PROFESSOR ORESKES: There’s no direct correlation, but the increased melting of the ice caps and the intensification of extreme weather events are both consistent with the predictions of the climate models.  Warming melts ice, that’s basic physics.  It also puts more energy into the climate system, energy that has to go somewhere, and some of it goes into driving weather systems.  That is basic physics, too.

Posted on Sep 27, 2010 at 6:08am by citizenschallenge.pm Comment #85