March 23, 2007

"Crisis = opportunity + danger."

= canard.

113 comments:

Mark Daniels said...

I may be mistaken on this. But if memory serves, Nixon made the same claim about the Chinese character for "crisis" in his book 'Six Crises.' It's been thirty-eight years since I read it; so, I could be wrong. Anybody remember?

Mark Daniels

Bruce Hayden said...

So, it looks like the Crisis is the Danger that we figure out that this is Algore's big Opportunity to make a lot of money.

Ok, a bit harsh, but he is getting a lot of fame and making a lot of money trying to scare us with Global Warming, esp. in his latest film. And when confronted with places where he exagerated a bit (like the 20 foot increase in sea level), his retort seems to be that the ends justify the means.

Call me cynical. After all, in Ann's post last night, I already qualify as evil under point #8 (I believe) for still doubting him.

corporate law drudge said...

Crisis = opportunity = danger

An Al-Gore-ithm?

Ron said...

Crisis = Stupidity times Cupidity divided by the cube root of Timidity.

Anthony said...

"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism. . . .unless you disagree with us."

Bruce Hayden said...

RC, I find your method of arguing rather humorous. You throw out something as established fact, then never bother to back it up.

So, how about some hyperlinks to some nice peer reviewed articles that show that if we don't change what we are doing, we can expect a 20 foot higher sea level by the end of the century.

If you don't provide them, I think that we can all assume that you are blowing smoke.

Ann Althouse said...

"And how many times have you yourself used this "trope?""

Never. I've known for a long time that it was bogus. Before that, i thought it was corny... and Nixonian.

BrianOfAtlanta said...

Yes, they say if you melt the Greenland ice sheet you'll get a 20ft rise in sea level. However, short of the Global Warming Fairy waving her magic wand, the likelihood of the entire Greenland ice sheet melting is vanishingly remote. Greenland melting is far, far outside the IPCC consensus for even a worst case scenario.

monkeyboy said...

here is an interesting letter on sea levels from Mark Stein. If the sea level is going to rise 20 ft it better hurry, bacause it apparently hasn't happened yet.

Bruce Hayden said...

The 20 foot claim has been verified time and again as in agreement with the science.

Let me suggest then that you mention this to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which last November apparently downgraded its worst case from 34 to 17 inches in through the end of the century.

I should note that one of the bad habits that attorneys, engineers, and scientists have somewhat in common is a desire to see sources and review them for their strength, etc. And that is why I really do want to see all those reference that make this a clear cut case of the science being settled at at least a 20 foot increase.

Bruce Hayden said...

Gore never said "would rise by". What the peer reviewed science says is "could rise by" and it cites various effects that are being measured.

Well, a big enough meteor could hit the Earth in that time period to kill off all higher life forms. Or, indeed, a big enough one could hit us this year. Or, indeed, aliens could land in that period of time.

A lot of things could happen during the remainder of the century. But the question is what is the liklihood of any of them. Some are likely, like Social Security going belly up. And others are unlikely, like a big enough meteor hitting the Earth this year to kill all of us. So using the word could here is the ultimate cop out.

hdhouse said...

Bruce of the medieval mind...

One of the further worst aspects of human behavior is only taking from an article what one wants to take and disregarding the rest. the 17-34 inches is, initself, catastrophic for the coast line but you drew that out of an article that states without equivication that global warming is real, happening, and to a large extent, man made...SOOOOO in accepting the 17-34 you also accept the premise underlying it.

Thanks for admiting that all your prior posting and posturing is, in effect, a lie.

Bruce Hayden said...

RC

If you are going to post links, try using the HTML anchor elements like everyone else does. If you need directions on how to do it, try my: How to create an HTML link in a blog.

Smilin' Jack said...

If that 20-ft tsunami hits, millions of people will die and the world economy will be devastated. Which means fewer people producing a lot less CO2. So environmentally speaking, global warming is self-correcting. And all environmentalists will tell you that the world has far too many people in it as it is. So what's their problem?

Bruce Hayden said...

hdhouse

No, I was merely refuting RC's claim that 20 feet was established fact.

RogerA said...

For those who really dont have advanced work in research, the document we all need as a starting point is a LITERATURE REVIEW. I simply dont give enough of a damn, and am secure enough in my own ignorance not to want to undertake such a search--but it is possible one such lit review exists out there. Lit reviews do a variety of useful things in terms of exploratory research. Basically, for those who dont know, a LITERATURE REVIEW is a summary all published and peer-reviewed journal articles or books on a given topic. A reputable peer review will NOT include press-releases from corporations or environmental organizations or opinion pieces from the non-scientific media (even the science writer from the NYT).

I see the frequent admonitions about using google to cite references from the scientific literature. Google is much too coarse a screen to use and will most likely not include all the scientific literature.

MadisonMan said...

So using the word could here is the ultimate cop out.

Actually, it's the truth. (Obvious pun avoided). The problem arises when the science and the quote are taken out of context. The meteorologists are giving a range of possibilities, and (I've not read the glacial melting studies) they likely include probabilities. That their results are then cherry picked for sound bites (on both sides of this debate) reflects poorly on the debaters, not the scientists.

Bruce Hayden said...

hdhouse - Let me redo that last post.

RC had said: The 20 foot claim has been verified time and again as in agreement with the science. I was merely offering a counter example to refute his universal claim. I am not offering an opinion whether or not the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is right or wrong, just that they disagree with RC's universalist claim. RC said the science is settled. I am pointing out that the UN scientists disagree. Not that they are right or wrong, just that they disagree.

Bruce Hayden said...

MadisonMan - I agree 100%.

RogerA said...

Madison Man: thanks for reminding folks of that very important piece of information. You had made a point on an earlier thread about "scientific ignorance" which continues to be displayed with much regularity even as we speak.

Bruce Hayden said...

RogerA

Ok, I can accept that we don't need peer reviewed research, but a peer reviewed literature review. That is a much more sensible approach than mine, which presumed far too much.

And while I do read a lot of scientific and technical articles in my line of work, I don't do research and never really have. So, I appologize for my glaring error.

AJD said...

Banality + Repetition = Althouse

RogerA said...

Bruce--I'm sorry--I screwed up on my post about lit reviews--We should rely on peer-reviewed articles for any assertions about science; A lit review necessarily subsumes those peer reviewed articles in a summary document (and lit reviews are normally published in peer reviewed journals as well). For example, there was a great review of the literature on the relationship of self-esteem to academic performance. I am sure you many would assume that positive self esteem correlates positively to academic performance. The review of the literature found approximately half of the studies on that relationship reported a positive correlation and in fact the other half reported no significant correlation. You may draw your own conclusions. Needless to say, as Madison Man pointed out, the results of individual articles were always cherry picked to support one's particular view.

Bruce Hayden said...

The problem with using possibilities with an awfully low probability of happening as a sound bite, is that you open yourself up for being parodied and lampooned because of it.

If the best science is that the upper estimate is 17 inches over the rest of the century, then using the one in a million (or whatever) chance of a 20 foot rise just opens you up to ultimate ridicule when it comes out that it is a 1 in a million (or whatever) chance.

Palladian said...

Jesus, our trolls are so boring. Talk about banality and repetition, honey!

I absolutely love that hdhouse accuses someone else of having a medieval mind. What's more medieval than believing, without actually understanding much, that the earth (God) is angry with mankind (sinners, all) and is going to punish us with apocalypse. And if you dare to try to argue the fine points, well HERESY! Burn the witch!

Bruce Hayden said...

rogera

But don't you need to peer review the literature reviews too - to make sure that the good stuff is in and the bad stuff is out? That the author hasn't done his own cherry picking?

After all, isn't part of the peer review process to check to make sure that the researchers haven't cherry picked their data? That the methodology is valid?

As I indicated, I mostly don't do research, just read a lot of articles sent to me by scientists and engineers who do. And when I do research, my orientation is different - I am looking for something that would indicate that something was not novel.

Fen said...

And peer reviewed can no longer be accepted as a valid evaluation of scientific work - else how did Mann's "hockey stick" make it past such a review? His model has been debunked, even though it was peer reviewed

In 2003, Stephen McIntyre, a Toronto minerals consultant and amateur mathematician, and Ross McKitrick, an economist at Canada's University of Guelph, jointly published a critique of the hockey stick analysis. Their conclusion: Mr. Mann's work was riddled with "collation errors, unjustifiable truncations of extrapolation of source data, obsolete data, geographical location errors, incorrect calculations of principal components, and other quality control defects." Once these were corrected, the Medieval warm period showed up again in the data.

http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110006314

So how did Manns junk make it past peer review?

Ann, did Gore use that chart in his documentary? If so, he was pushing discredited work.

Gahrie said...

AJD said...
Banality + Repetition = Althouse


So go away already!

mcg said...

You know, it's really unfortunate that this thread has devolved to an argument about global warming. The original topic is far more interesting---and bipartisan!

RogerA said...

Bruce--yes, you are right--lit reviews are normally peer reviewed.
Fen: re your point. You are, of course, correct. Peer review is absolutely NO guarantee the work that is published is "correct." The peer-review normally looks at the methodology used, the references used, but makes not judgments about the "truth" of the assertion. Why? Because it is the publication of the theory that is being put out for comment by other reputable scientists. It is the ensuing dialoge about the article (as you are seeing with respect to Mann's thesis) that is the desired outcome to publication.
Peer-review is simply to make sure the author's work meets some basic requirements.

We have other academics on this board--perhaps they can share their experiences--Beth? Madison Man?

Fen said...

Rogera: Peer-review is simply to make sure the author's work meets some basic requirements.

Thank you. The term is used by the Left to imply such work is "fact".

Pogo said...

I have always hated that "Crisis" formula. It combines the worst elements of the Mysterious Oriental and dumb business jingoism.

Crisis as a term is overused, to begin with. And coupling 'opportunity' with it seems rather craven, more like 'opportunism' than 'possibilities'.

Anyway, whenever I hear that crooked calculus espoused, I know I'm about to experience the dull dead heart of managerial mathematics, where

Pablum + Boosterism = Profit.

I think the Underpants Gnomes have a better plan.

RogerA said...

Fen: with respect to peer review, another point (and this point is often conflated with "scientific consensus"). Peer review is normally done by scientists within the discipline; an article on sociology is normally reviewed by sociologists, medical journals by doctors, etc. "Scientific Consensus" is a bit vague; for example a professor of comparative literature may well have an opinion on global warming; but they really arent qualified to make a scientific judgment about it. Similarly, a climatologist or oceanographer may have a judgment on an article appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, but they are manifestly unqualified to comment on it (unless you want said oceanographer diagnosing your considition). It is important to know the academic fields of the body of "scientists" that are included in the "scientific consenus."

Another good example of the role of disciplines is Bjorn Lonstrom's critique of the Mann hockey stick model. He was not criticizing the modelling parameters--he was criticizing the underlying statistical analysis; he is not a climatologist, but he IS a statistician and highly qualified to make such criticism.

Joan said...

I love the title of the linked article: Stop him before he tropes again!

I recommend reading both it and the Victor Mair essay it links to.

The problem is not that Al Gore has (apparently unknowingly) repeated an error that seems to have originated with JFK. The problem is that he does it so frequently and in such a high profile manner.

The post isn't about global warming. It's about the tenacity of snappy yet incorrect phrases, and how difficult it is to correct them once they've been adopted by anyone getting a lot of media coverage -- especially if you can build an entire self-help philosophy around them.

Al Gore didn't start this trope, but his extensive use of it, without ever verifying its accuracy, is questionable. It's a great bit of rhetoric, and most people won't bother to think it through, but Mair really nails it:

A wēijī (the Chinese word for crisis) indicates a perilous situation when one should be especially wary. It is not a juncture when one goes looking for advantages and benefits. In a crisis, one wants above all to save one's skin and neck! Any would-be guru who advocates opportunism in the face of crisis should be run out of town on a rail, for his / her advice will only compound the danger of the crisis.

Fen said...

So how did Mann's hockey stick get past the basic check of its methods, procedures, and calculations?

Bruce Hayden said...

Anyway, we are waiting for your peer reviewed (which was your demand, not mine!) study that says that 20 feet can never happen.

I think that you are deliberately misstating what I said, and, indeed, what you said. I never said it couldn't happen. Rather, I suggested that, just like a big meteor hitting the Earth, it could happen. The question is the liklihood of it happening.

I don't know if you are an idiot or a liar. Everyone knows by now that the IPCC study you cited specifically didn't include the effects of ice sheets melting. And that when you add those effects to their report, you find that 20 feet is within the science and the error bars.

Nice argumentum ad hominem added to an argumentum ad populum.

Not quite sure what you mean by "within the science and the error bars", unless you are suggesting that it is possible, without addressing the probabilities. I am not used to seeing error quantified as "bars", so would be interested in the technical basis for this.

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MadisonMan said...

fen, I find it interesting that you blast the hockey stick for making it past peer review by citing another peer reviewed article.

An article that makes it past peer review is one that contains no glaring factual errors as far as the reviewers know. Reviewers are not all-knowing. That's why the subsequent papers that get published that correct or strengthen basic points in a paper are so important. In the hockey stick example, and the refutation paper, those individual papers aren't important. It's the subsequent papers to which you should pay attention. A seminal paper isn't seminal until after some amount of time has passed. Sometimes that amount of time is very short, if the paper is purely analytical (Read: All Math) and anyone can do the computations within it. Global Climate Change papers generally aren't all analytical, so the time between publication and becoming the seminal paper can be long.

And peer review can be circumvented. An example: Colleague A received a paper that (for example) analyzed pollen dispersion by ocean currents. He finds several glaring factual errors and rejects it out of hand, but suggests ways to improve the paper to make it acceptable. In the parlance, rejected subject to major revisions. Months pass. Colleague B (a mathematician, a related field) receives a paper to review for a different journal. He notes that it's discussing the specialty of Colleague A, so he shows it to him. Same paper, just shopped around to a different journal, in hopes that a less savvy editor would get it. Unfortunately, Colleague B and Colleague A attend the same church. I have no idea how often stuff like this happens, but I do know that I tend to discount results in single papers. Unfortunately, the popular press does not.

Fen said...

All you are doing is repeating the bogus smear that Gore exaggerates. You have no evidence

I have evidence: Gore exaggerates that he purchases offsets, when in fact, his offsets are given to him as a compensation package [perk] from a Carbon Credit company he founded.

All of Al Gore is like that. Really a mistake to bring such a discredited polarizing figure in as your spokesperson. The true enviro movement would be well-served if Gore got off their team.

RogerA said...

Bruce: I suspect I can explain error bars in a bit more civil tone than can RC. So: Most statistical studies have a confidence interval and are stated along these lines: we are 95% certain that our result falls between A (low side) and B (high side). When presented graphically, they number derived, say 46 percent plus or minus 5 percent on either side is represented as a bar of height 46 with a little whisker bar (looks like a capital I where the top bar of the I is five units higher than 46 and the lower bar is 5 units less than 46; ie, 41 to 51.

Fen said...

Madison: An article that makes it past peer review is one that contains no glaring factual errors as far as the reviewers know. Reviewers are not all-knowing.

I don't disagree with you. My point is that GW advocates have used "peer reviewed" as a stamp of proof. Mnay times they have claimed that a study is beyond refute because its been through the peer review process. Thats dishonest, so why would they do it? And what else are they doing?

RogerA said...

a hell of a lot easier to draw than explain verbally!

Joan said...

I see Joan, and ytou extensively verify all phrases that you use in your everyday conversations.

Once again RC misses the point. Who cares what I say? What kind of media coverage am I getting?

Have I fact-checked every expression I've ever used? I doubt it, but since I enjoy language a great deal I do tend to look a lot of things up... especially when my kids ask me what a word or expression means and I find that, although I understand it myself, I can't explain it in terms they would understand.

When I'm speaking in a professional capacity, I'm very careful with what I say. But I've never had to take a public advocacy position and don't have to resort to the type of exhortations we see Gore, and all politicians, using.

john said...

Assuming: Crisis = danger + opportunity

By the addition principle: Crisis - danger = danger - danger + opportunity

Therefore: Crisis - danger = opportunity

(Get your carbon credits here folks.)

Bruce Hayden said...

RogerA

Yes, that is what I was looking for. RC is apparently suggesting that some results are w/i a certain margin of error.

RogerA said...

Bruce: a scientist doesnt put much stock in the r value that results, say, from a regression analysis; it genuinely is the error bars that are critical. Recall the lancet study about iraqi deaths last year? they gave a figure, IIRC of 240,00 or so (I think, but when the confidence interval (error bars) was cited, it turned out that the study said that deaths could be as low as 93K or as high as 600K WITH AN EQUAL LIKIHOOD of being any number in between (and of that, they were onlyl 95% certain). Whenever you see statistics like that quoted, the error bars are essential to understand what the real number COULD be. In general the confidence interval can be reduced (made more precise) by increasing the number of cases one uses (the sample size). The only method to eliminate a margin of error is to use a population (the TOTAL number of cases) rather than a sample.

CB said...

Lisa: Did you know that the Chinese use the same word for 'crisis' as they do for 'opportunity'?

Homer: Yes! Crisitunity!

Bruce Hayden said...

The other thing though about peer reviewed articles is that most often if you look closely at them, you can see what assumptions were made, including what generalizations, limitations, etc. Presumably, making all the relevant limitations, assumptions, etc. known is part of what the peer review process provides.

Of the two cites that RC provided, neither really seemed to be to actual articles. Rather, one was to a website run by AAAS, which despite its name, appears to be primarily an advocacy group (I know I will have some screams for that). And the other was to the abstract of an article in Science Magazine, where the actual text appeared to be locked behind a paid subscription wall.

Nevertheless, I did find two descriptions of methodology on modeling of ice melting, one in Greenland (and the Artic?), and the other in the Antartic. Both were replete with the assumptions made, such as a 1% per year increase in CO2, until it had doubled in a 100 years. Also, one seemed to specifically ignore feedback, as well as albedo effect.

So, the articles used the standard NCAR CCSM2 models at a certain granularity under certain simplifying assumptions to see what happened. And, given those constraints, the scientists published what they found, presumably disclosing all these simplifying assumptions, etc.

I see that sort of article being eminently peer reviewable. But the problem is not what axe was being ground, but rather, what conclusions can be drawn from the studies, above and beyond the obviou one that given certain limitations, inputs, and model, you get a particular output.

It is when the results are generalized that the problem arises. Most often all those carefully documented limitations, etc. are stripped away when someone is using a study for advocacy reasons.

SteveR said...

As Reality ("liar, liar pants on fire") Check might say: There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

If you've ever been involved in risk assesments from data gathering, sampling, assumptions and confounding factors on up, the math doesn't all of a sudden wipe away the flaws.

Even the nice little articles and reports don't reveal the underlying biases unless you happen to be directly involved or extremely knowledgeable about the subject matter and the "experts" involved.

Bruce Hayden said...

Bruce, stop blowing smoke, we're still waiting for your studies.

By this point, I am not sure what studies I am supposed to be finding for you. I have accepted that all the ice could melt and am waiting for you to quantify how likely that is. All I have seen so far from you are pretty useless references to a couple of studies with a lot of simplifying assumptions and limitations of how, given those assumptions and limitations, the ice could melt. And then, how likely that is, within your nice error bars, given all the simplifying assumptions and limitations.

Most of us don't stay up at night worrying that a big meteor could hit the earth while we sleep, killing us all, or that aliens could invade us. Both are possible. Neither is likely.

If you believe that the sea level rising 20 feet is likely enough to worry about, then please give me references (that I don't have to pay to look at) that show me how likely it is.

MadisonMan said...

Most often all those carefully documented limitations, etc. are stripped away when someone is using a study for advocacy reasons.

And to me, nothing is more maddening. A scientist will choose words very carefully, to mean things just so. Then along comes a journalist who thinks it's cold in winter because the Earth is farther from the sun then, and she/he leaves out the vital caveats.

Bruce Hayden said...

And to me, nothing is more maddening. A scientist will choose words very carefully, to mean things just so. Then along comes a journalist who thinks it's cold in winter because the Earth is farther from the sun then, and she/he leaves out the vital caveats.

And maybe the problem here is that Al Gore is a journalist, not a scientist. (At least he apparently worked as a reporter in the Army, and then for the Tennessean. And then he went to Divinity school...)

Simon said...

I'd still like to know how many of our friends here who believe that the apocalypse is imminent live in coastal areas that will (according to their theory) shortly be underwater, and when they're planning on moving inland. The question goes to their belief of just how imminent this crisis really is and how serious a problem it poses: if a man tells you that he is totally convinced that a massive earthquake will imminently push the west coast into the sea, you shouldn't take him too seriously if he lives in San Francisco, for example.

john said...

MM -
Except that it's not. The earth is closer to the sun in the winter, or at least it was when I went to school (there is that worrisome precession thing). It's the angle that counts.

Regarding peer review, many scientific journals, including the one I review/edit for, have a difficult time finding good peer reviewers. More and more, manuscripts go into print with only one decent peer review. The editor often has to really shop around to find adequate reviewers; sometimes that reviewer is a coworker of the primary author, or with the funding agency of the author's work.

I have also found, where I get to referee 2 or 3 reviews of a manuscript (when I can get them), that they are largely superficial. This throws the whole lot back on the editor in chief, who then becomes the prime reviewer who must balance good science and rigor with the pressures of publication.

It's not always a problem, but I notice it growing. Sorry to wander off topic.

Pogo said...

Hell yeah! Simon points out how choice theory operates to expose what people actually do, as compared to what they say they'll do.

If housing prices plummet on the coasts, and cities are slowly abandoned out of fear that the creeping tides will inundate their homes, then I'll believe that they believe this garbage.

Bruce Hayden said...

If you've ever been involved in risk assesments from data gathering, sampling, assumptions and confounding factors on up, the math doesn't all of a sudden wipe away the flaws.

That is what is frustrating here. The studies that I have seen have loads of simplifying assumptions and limitations, many of which are explicitly laid out. And a margin of error (or error bars) are computed. All nice and fine - for what they actually show.

But they have a saying in computer science: GIGO (garbage in, garbage out). How really useful are studies that intentionally use simplifying assumptions known not to be accurate? Or, indeed, if you can't provide a margin of error, etc. for the inputs, then does showing that the margin of error for the output, given specific inputs, is within acceptable ranges make any sense? Or have any real relevance?

Andy said...

Great link about that always-annoying phrase but what does this have to do with Al Gore and the environment again?

RogerA said...

Andy: my take: Given Professor Althouse's penchant for subtle implication, the fact that the chief profit--oops prophet--of environmental crisis appears to be Al Gore via his income management firm. That firm stands to benefit handsomely from the GW thing. The only thing I can't figure out is whether the debunking of of the phrase is a canard refers to the opportunity, the danger, or the crisis--or perhaps Al Gore himself.

This is very Althousian.

Bruce Hayden said...

I'd still like to know how many of our friends here who believe that the apocalypse is imminent live in coastal areas that will (according to their theory) shortly be underwater, and when they're planning on moving inland.

I take the opposite tact - I live a long way from the ocean, and at least a mile, often close to two miles, above it. So, I really don't care all that much if the sea level rises 17 inches or 20 feet. I will still live between one and two miles above it.

I do worry about avalanches and tornados (when I am down out of the mountains). And if I worry about Global Warming, it is primarily that it may be screwing up the snow pack. In the winter, that means worse skiing. And in the summer, that means droughts (extending down the Colorado and out into the Great Plains). Which may come back and affect skiing the next year because manufactured snow requires water rights.

But my backup plan is to move north into Canada should Global Warming become too much of a problem. The mountains there are a lot bigger and more majestic, and, they get a lot more snow. On the other hand, they talk funny up there, and have socialized medicine.

RogerA said...

John: I wondered how difficult it was to find peer reviewers--thanks for confirming my suspicions. Another issue is the increasing complexity of multivariate statistical analsis and iterative nonparametric techniques such as monte carlo simulation and covariance structural modeling--these are fairly recent advances in computer based iterative statistical techniques and not well understood by an older generation of academics. (Bruce Hayden: the use of monte carlo techniques addresses the issue you raise about confidence intervals: as long as a data set has some sort of standardized distribution, it can be modelled iteratively (vastly oversimplifed explanation).

Synova said...

(Were there droughts during previous warm periods? The dust bowl years were before we started warming up, yes?)

The Lancet Iraq study might be a good example to bring up. It took some time for people to explain why they instinctively knew it was bogus and people *still* will insist that it was "science" and used "proven methods" and is the truth and must not be ignored. And it's true that it *always* listed the margin of error and other elements. And maybe some people would look at it and say "interesting test of the sampling method" and take it for what it was worth, but that doesn't stop those people who still, today, will insist that there have been 100,000 excess deaths in Iraq and that it proven by science and only a complete idiot doubts science.

And pointing out common sense issues or data collected by other groups isn't relevant, it's "denial."

And crisis = danger + opportunity, makes sense as danger doesn't need to be placed at a particular point in time while crisis does. We say that it "wasn't an opportune time" or we "didn't have the opportunity" to talk about the timing of things. A crisis is danger happening *now*.

But it is quite funny to use that trope considering that Americans will certainly interpret it as an opportunity for profit.

Mike said...

John said: "The earth is closer to the sun in the winter".

Depends where you live, John. Depends where you live.

Being very familiar with the peer review process (from both sides), I know it is foolish to blindly accept the results of any given paper in a field that I don't know anything about (in this case, the field of global warming). I have the same request here that I asked in the nearby thread (and which, RogerA for one, responded to). Can someone point out 1 or more good review papers dealing with the validation of climate models?

Anthony said...

Slightly OT: I have posted a couple of times about the peer review process and how it may be changing:
Web journals threaten peer-review system

Peer review: A transitory phenomenon?
In recent times, the term “peer reviewed” has come to serve as shorthand for “quality.” To say that an article appeared in a peer-reviewed scientific journal is to claim a kind of professional approbation; to say that a study hasn’t been peer reviewed is tantamount to calling it disreputable. Up to a point, this is reasonable. Reviewers and editors serve as gatekeepers in scientific publishing; they eliminate the most uninteresting or least worthy articles, saving the research community time and money.

But peer review is not simply synonymous with quality. Many landmark scientific papers (like that of Watson and Crick, published just five decades ago) were never subjected to peer review, and as David Shatz has pointed out, “many heavily cited papers, including some describing work which won a Nobel Prize, were originally rejected by peer review.”


And, of course, there are the recent scandals involving faked data which is not usually part of the peer review process (though peer review ought to check certain calculations and make sure the data that are present really do add up).

MadisonMan said...

John -- that was my point. The journalist (or worse, the editor) writing up the science for the MSM knows nothing about even the most rudimentary aspects of things.

Apologies to your southern hemispherans, my bias is showing :) But even there, the tilt is the driver, not the distance.

hdhouse said...

so bruce hayden...that is the issue isn't it. you don't care. if it happens to someone else on someone one else's land and disrupts the ongoing lives of others...well you just don't give a shit.

pathetic.

Peter Palladas said...

The Opportunistic deletion of my carefully crafted post caused by some Crisis of mal-functioning in the Althousian software department is in Danger of making me growl.

I shall not however add to the over-heating of the planet by becoming cross.

Instead I shall meditate on the cute bit of dried grass I now always carry about my person to remind me of the fragility of life.

Green is the new Zen, don't you know?

Pogo said...

heh.
hdhouse's posts are haikus of absurdity and error.

Hazy Dave said...

Having demolished the "crisis" equation, can anyone tell me (with peer-reviewed reliability) whether the pictogram for "trouble" consists of "two women under one roof"?

RogerA said...

HD--count me in with Bruce as one who doesnt care about the potential effects of global warming--at least right now--it isnt worth worrying about.

Lest you jump to any conclusions about my empathy factor--and you must be genuinely exhausted at the end of every day jumpting to so many conclusions, please be advised that I did spend a three week stint as a public health volunteer doing epidemiology in New Orleans pose Katrina. I am betting you werent there, but I could be wrong.

Ann Althouse said...

83 comments! Good lord, what are you people talking about in here? I hope it's Chinese characters.

Joan said...

Ann: I tried.

Pogo said...

Those Chinese characters, so inscrutable.

Notify the cultural gendarmes!
Verbal violation!

SteveR said...

Yes Joan, you did try.

Anthony said...

You need to start a proper forum. Call it The Alt-House.

Revenant said...

If I remember by Kanji correctly, the character for "to argue" is two "woman" characters and the character for "noisy/obnoxious" is three "woman characters. Two women under a roof character is "trouble".

Let's see a politician use *that* bit of received Oriental wisdom in a speech. :)

johnstodder said...

The Chinese and the Japanese just called. They've agreed to change their language so that the characters for 'opportunity' and 'danger' will, henceforth, be used to denote crisis. They are very apologetic for the embarassment this matter has caused the former Vice President and other honored Americans.

Okay, that's settled.

Peter Palladas said...

I really, really have tried to find some ancient, gnarled caligrapher to inscribe in adequate yet truthful Chinese characters the simple phrase - "Well yes really I should have smoked the profered weed at that Kinks' concert so long ago, and had I done so my life would have been so wonderfully enhanced if not utterly changed" - but I have failed as the language has failed.

And they say Latin is a dead language...

"In tempore opportuno - symphonia Anfractiarum - ideo ergo non fumeo herbam datum.... et cetera, et cetera."

Maxine Weiss said...

Dr. Helen needs to curl her ends. Even if they were just flipped under just a little bit. ---A slight bend would make all the difference.

There's nothing worse than split-ends, and a quick going over with a curling iron takes care of the problem.

That, or sleep in sponge rollers.

Peace, Maxine

Internet Ronin said...

I would point out that Revenant's information is incorrect, but he will just accuse me of being a child rapist again just for disagreeing with him.

Simon said...

I'd love to hear some comment from global warming proponents (and opponents) about the argument in the British "swindle" movie that's doing the rounds that while there's a correlation between CO2 and temperature, as Gore claims, the changes in CO2 level lags, not leads temperature changes.

Is the claim just empirically wrong? Or, if it's right, how does the "CO2 drives climate change" thesis survive that evidence?

Revenant said...

I would point out that Revenant's information is incorrect, but he will just accuse me of being a child rapist again just for disagreeing with him.

If the lesson you took away from that exchange is that I was actually accusing you of raping children, Ronin, then you, like all subliterates, have my sympathy. But in any case I would suggest that you grow up.

Revenant said...

Or, if it's right, how does the "CO2 drives climate change" thesis survive that evidence?

Its just that CO2 is *so* pernicious that its evil climate-changing power extends backwards in time.

Internet Ronin said...

Revenant, the speed with which you resort to to personal insults and vile insinuations when challenged about the veracity of your statements reflects you, not me.

Revenant said...

I see my advice that you grow up went unheeded.

Ronin, you saw fit to publicly insult a person I have a lot of respect for, then sneered at the idea that you had any obligation to either be right or to apologize for being wrong.

Now you say that my comments offended you? Boo fuckity hoo.

Internet Ronin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Internet Ronin said...

There you go again!

MadisonMan said...

Simon, I've not spent 75 minutes to watch (and hours to download) the documentary. Are they using the lag to suggest that CO2 is not driving the present increase in global temperature? I suppose that's a plausible argument, but it doesn't override observations of warming temperatures does it? If the lag is true (is it?), then the true cause of warming remains elusive. But warming remains.

Assume that in the past CO2 increases have lagged temperature increases. Now we have a case where they are more or less in synch, an unnatural progression compared to the last 600K years. It's an uncomfortable way to run an experiment to see what will happen, don't you think? CO2 is a radiatively active gas, and increasing its concentrations in the atmosphere will have a warming effect.

Perhaps Ann should simulblog the watching of the documentary as well :)

Simon said...

MadisonMan said...
"Are they using the lag to suggest that CO2 is not driving the present increase in global temperature? I suppose that's a plausible argument, but it doesn't override observations of warming temperatures does it?"

As I understand it, their point is that Algore is absolutely right that there's a close correlation between atmospheric CO2 and mean temperature. The problem, they assert, is that temperature goes up, followed by CO2 concentration, and temperature goes down, followed by CO2 concentration. That's an empirically-verifiable claim. It is true? I have no idea. LOL. If neither of us know if that's empirically true, I guess my question for you is this: if it is true that changes in CO2 level lag rather than lead temperature changes, is there any way that you can conceive of in which the "CO2 drives climate change" thesis can survive that kind of relevation?


"If the lag is true (is it?), then the true cause of warming remains elusive. But warming remains."

Their thesis, as I understand it, is that solar activity accounts for it. But even if you don't buy that, it doesn't really matter - the scientific method does not require that you have a convincing alternative explanation before evidence that the orthodoxy is wrong becomes admissable. Right?

Simon said...

RC, so if I understand that argument correctly, the claim is that in previous warming episodes, although "CO2 did not cause the first 800 years of warming, out of the 5000 year trend[,] [t]he other 4200 years of warming could in fact have been caused by CO2"? If that's so, what does cause the initial phase of warming,and what is the process by which the mechanism that begins the warming event ceases to be the major driving force?

I'm not saying you're wrong, but you're missing a key link in your evidentiary chain. The Channel 4 documentary at least offers a logically consistent explanation: the oceans are a major CO2 sink, and when they're heated they release CO2, and when cooled they absorb CO2. If it's true that CO2 concentration tracks but lags mean surface temperature, they've propounded a theory that fits the facts. What's yours?

FWIW, I'm not a global warming skeptic. I was raised in England, where global warming is orthodoxy and has been for a long time. My vote is open on this.

Simon said...

We should clarify, actually: Reality Check, are you saying that global warming proponents agree that the CO2 level changes track but lag the temperature changes? This isn't something the C4 folks have made up, this is really true?

MadisonMan said...

If the CO2 has lagged the temperature change in the past, and that's not happening now, that suggests to me that what's happening now is unnatural. Or maybe unusual -- with respect to past changes -- is a better word. It also suggest to me that you really need to do some good modeling work to see what's going to happen, as you really can't rely on the past performance to predict future outcomes in the present climate state. Clarity in initial conditions is usually a prerequisite for a good model simulation, and if the present forcing of the climate isn't clear... Not quite GIGO, but you have to be very very careful.

As I stated earlier today, there is ample evidence of recent warming. Consensus is lost when you try to assign a cause. If you're waiting for me to say X isn't causing this, or X is causing it, I can't -- there is no proof one way or the other.

MadisonMan said...

Again, I haven't seen the documentary (just like I've not seen An Inconvenient Truth), but warming on a time scale of several thousand years is consistent with observed variations in the Earth's orbit around the Sun, the so-called Milankovitch Cycles. I will guess that the hypothesis is that the Earth enters a deglaciation period because of orbital parameters (deglaciation occurs when the northern hemisphere winter is extra-cold and the northern hemisphere summer is extra-warm). The warming with this causes a partial de-gassing of oceanic CO2. The 800-year lag is consistent (approximately) with the timescale of oceanic overturning driven by the thermohaline circulation. It is a plausible argument, but I don't know the science behind the observations supporting the theory.

Simon said...

MM - I'm not asking you to say "X isn't causing this, or X is causing it." I'm just confused how, if the figures are accurate (as RC seems to concede), cause follows event. That seems profoundly counterintuitive to me (which isn't to say it's necessarily wrong just because it's counterintuitive). How can it be so that a rise in CO2 causes global warming when it does not occur until hundreds of years later (a fortiori when skeptics can offer a logical model in which a rise in temperature would cause a rise in CO2 concentration as a result of rising ocean temperatures expelling CO2 from that store)?

Ann Althouse said...

Peter Palladas said..."I really, really have tried to find some ancient, gnarled caligrapher to inscribe in adequate yet truthful Chinese characters the simple phrase - "Well yes really I should have smoked the profered weed at that Kinks' concert so long ago, and had I done so my life would have been so wonderfully enhanced if not utterly changed" - but I have failed as the language has failed."

I never said I didn't smoke it. 1973 was back in the days before Nancy Reagan invented the idea "Just Say No," you know.

reality check said...

Consider the right wing echo chamber.

Matt Drudge will crap out some nonsense about Pelosi being the Anti-Christ. Instapundit will link to it. Althouse will link to that. You will find support for it in Vafanculo's writings, and Revenant will have his nurse read your blog to him. Soon Gahrie, Dr. Helen, Dr. Sanity, and Apple Face will all say that they have always known that Pelosi is the anti-Christ and Instapundit will link to Dr. Sanity.

Drudge started it, and then the right wing echo chamber amplified it through positive feedback by sampling Drudge's original "output" signal and then eating their own "outputs." If you know what I mean.

MadisonMan said...

Simon, if the warming now is actually driven by increased CO2 levels (something that isn't known with certainty, of course -- but it is consistent with CO2 behavior in the atmosphere), then observations of CO2 lagging in the past aren't relevant to today, but should cause great concern, for if they're true, then in 800 or so years, CO2 will start outgassing from the ocean and cause even greater warming. This is like the whistle analogy of reality check's just above.

Simon said...

MM - but their point is that CO2 levels consistently lag mean temperature. Surely if this is just a feedback loop, at some point, CO2 levels first converge with and then begin to lead temperatures? That's certainly how audio feedback works. But when you have a sustained situation where CO2 rise consistently and constantly lags the events it's supposed to be causing, that's a class of ice water in the crotch for the "CO causes global warming theory," isn't it? And all of the foregoing elides the most obvious question, which is that even if CO2 only exacerbates global warming, what initiates it?

Simon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reality check said...

No, that's not how audio feedback works.

Ask Breyer or Ginsburg, they can explain it to you. (Vafanculo is not a scientist.)

Simon said...

Reality Check - yes, that is how audio feedback works. The original signal loses it's impact as the feedback increases. Which is precisely why feedback continues after the original signal desists.

MadisonMan said...

their point is that CO2 levels consistently lag mean temperature.

Past behavior, no matter how consistent, does not preclude a different behavior today. It can be a huge mistake to use past events to forecast future behavior.

So their scenario is plausible. But plausibility does not mean the CO2 forcing theory is impossible.

Re: Smoking it.

Between my junior and senior years in College, I lived in NC with a real pot head. He induced me once to smoke hash -- no effect. I've smoked a cigarette, and felt nothing. Cigars make me light headed, however (and they make me stink). Gin is my main vice now. In fact, it's time for a nice nightcap now. Hello Hendricks!

Simon said...

MadisonMan said...
"[If] their point is that CO2 levels consistently lag mean temperature[,] [p]ast behavior, no matter how consistent, does not preclude a different behavior today. It can be a huge mistake to use past events to forecast future behavior."

Sure, but that isn't the issue. Future behavior isn't the claim: the claim is that increased CO2 levels have caused and are causing global warming. Well, the numbers, utterly refute that, if they're right, as reality check admits that they are: at most, they allow, CO2 is one component of global warming. If that's so, you need a bridging argument.

This is the killer argument, so far as I'm concerned, and I say this as someone who wasn't a global warming skeptic four hours ago: if CO2 concentration lags mean temperature rise, even if it correlates, that's the end of the "CO2 concentration causes global warming" theory. Correlation doesn't necessarily equal causation, and can't equal causation if it lags. It's over, the theory is unsustainable. At a maximum, the empirical evidence supports that CO2 is one component among many, but that still leaves proponents looking for a primary cause.

Either the numbers are wrong or the theory is wrong. I don't see a third possibility to it, although I'm open to being proved wrong.

Re pot - I think half of it is psychosomatic. If it wasn't illegal, people wouldn't pretend that it did heaps for them. I'm sure it works just fine for some folks, but others are just faking it our of peer pressure.

reality check said...

Simon,

Historically, these warming cycles were started by some unknown factor and went on for 5000 years. For 800 years the temps would rise, and then the CO2 would also rise and the temps and CO2 would rise higher. The scientists are apparently unsure of the prior initial causes.

This warming cycle is caused by man's (specifically Bruce Hayden's) artificial increase in CO2, an increase occurring since the start of the industrial age. With effects from WWII that can be seen as well to verify.

Lookup the theory of feedback. You add some function of the output to the input to determine the new output. The output drives the input and of course lags the input. Sorry if it makes your head asplode. Try some pot.

Simon said...

RC - So: you admit that (1) there are historically warming cycles and cooling cycles and that (2) scientists don't know what initially causes them. Is that right?

reality check said...

Uh yes, I admit that historically there have been warming and cooling cycles.

WTF?

And yes, I admit that in the link I found the scientists there seem to say they are not sure of what initially caused some of these warming cycles.

WTF? WTF?

You got me Simon. I now have to reveal that this entire global warming scenario was thought up by me just to fool you. I am so busted!

You pwned me!

WTF?

(You're kidding about the never tried pot, right? You're on it right now aren't you?)

johnstodder said...

Consider the right wing echo chamber.

Reaching!

This is all very interesting, especially the part about the Kinks, who I adore to this day but have never seen live.

What I want to know is this: Why do people who believe global warming must be addressed insist on combating evidence that tends to disprove the theory? Especially those of you who aren't actually scientists, but who just think the theory makes sense based on your lay-person's analysis.

Let the scientists debate this!

Instead, focus on solutions. This thread would be a lot less inane if you all were talking about the problem of bringing clean, alternative energy to an energy-dependent global economy. That's something us Joe Sixpacks can discuss -- public policy choices. The weakness in "Inconvenient Truth" is its vague, feel-good "you can do your part" solutions that not even Gore himself pays any attention to. We need to be discussing bigger things.

michael a litscher said...

Bruce Hayden: And maybe the problem here is that Al Gore is a journalist, not a scientist. (At least he apparently worked as a reporter in the Army, and then for the Tennessean. And then he went to Divinity school...)

Gore has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government, and that's it. He flunked out of both of his attempts at earning a graduate degree (divinity and law).

Excerpted from: Gore's Grades Belie Image of Studiousness

"The political champion of the natural world received that sophomore D in Natural Sciences 6 (Man's Place in Nature) and then got a C-plus in Natural Sciences 118 his senior year. The self-proclaimed inventor of the Internet avoided all courses in mathematics and logic throughout college, despite his outstanding score on the math portion of the SAT."

Synova said...

It makes sense that the CO2 concentrations lag temperature *on the way up*. And that once the CO2 gets going it contributes to driving the temperature farther up.

What gets it going down again?

Might the higher CO2 be necessary to buffer the warmer/cooler cycle?

And if we can't use history to predict the future, what can we use? Looking back we at least are looking at something verifiably real.

lee david said...

johnstodder

We are discussing this because there are some who would like to impose some really costly draconian policies on all of us based on these weakly reasoned, unproven, apocalyptic projections. The privations that are being proposed will not move the meter one way or the other in any significant amount by their own estimations but the socialism meter will go off the scale immediately. This is the desired outcome. THE END IS NIGH BUT IF YOU GIVE TO MY CHURCH YOU MAY BE SAVED. The cry is all to framiliar.

Fen said...

Yah, but John's take is that all this chatter is nonsense - we should be focusing on innovation and adaptation instead. He's usually right.

michael a litscher said...

Fen: Yah, but John's take is that all this chatter is nonsense - we should be focusing on innovation and adaptation instead. He's usually right.

In the last 100 years, how many different forms of energy has humanity progressed through?

Off the top of my head: Wood, beasts of burden, whale oil, olive oil, coal, wind, hydro, steam, natural gas, hydro-electric, petrolium, electricity, nuclear, solar... I'm sure I've left a few out.

We won't be using petrolium-based fuels in ten years, let alone 100. Someone will discover a room-temperature super-conducting material, revolutionizing electrical generation, transmission, and storage. Or someone will discover a new material making photovoltaic cells far more cost-efficient. Or someone will discover viable cold fusion.

Or something that I can't even conceive of, such as a matter/anti-matter reactor. Some advance will be made that will render carbon-based fuels obsolete.

Given the ever-increasing rate of progress in science, it would be silly to project out 100 years on the assumption that all advances in energy production come to a complete dead stop.

I am an engineer. When the art history major goes on and on about how carbon dioxide is a pollutant and should be eliminated from the earth, I just have to laugh and think, there, but for the grace of God... Half the population, after all, has an IQ less than 100.

Simon said...

Synova said...
"It makes sense that the CO2 concentrations lag temperature *on the way up*."

Why?

And in any event, I had thought that the Algore thesis was that CO2 was responsible for global warming, not that it was a mere contributor or exacerbator, or that "once the CO2 gets going it contributes to driving the temperature farther up." So either I've misunderstood the thesis, it's been missold, or it's wrong. That pivoting from "drives" to "contributes" begs innumerable questions, the most salient of which is, of course, are still "why doesn't the CO2 bubble ever lead the temperature bubble," and how much of a a contrbution? And the elephant in the room, of course, is this: if CO2 isn't the starter motor, what is? Don't you have to account for that?

Kirk Parker said...

Hazy Dave,

Nope, that's the pictogram for "lots more trouble". The pictogram for just plain "trouble" is merely "woman".

:-)