February 21, 2014

"I’m not a global warming believer. I’m not a global warming denier."

"I’ve long believed that it cannot be good for humanity to be spewing tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. I also believe that those scientists who pretend to know exactly what this will cause in 20, 30 or 50 years are white-coated propagandists."

Says Charles Krauthammer, giving the "settled science" climatologists an easy opening for rebuttal — that word "exactly."

Who pretends to know exactly what will happen in the future?

Krauthammer may have some decent points here, but if you're going to call other people propagandists, you'd better strip your own writing of propaganda. Don't propagandize about propaganda. Or should I say: It takes one to know one.

88 comments:

Pogo is Dead said...

Obama and the world climate change dogmatists forcing socialist rules and regulations do in fact claim to know exactly what will happen if we don't follow their demands.

Gore himself predicted the poles would be free of ice by now. Polar bears will die. NYC will be underwater. Etc.

So yes, they give predictions that are rather precise, based on faked and incomplete data and they claim to know precisely enough to call doom doom doom and we'd better do what they say or else. And he'll they're gonna do it for our own good.

The word 'exactly' is broad enough to cover the intended use here.

JPS said...

I read the "exactly" in another sense.

Many non-alarmist climate scientists (if you can find them - they don't tend to speak up and identify publicly as such) would claim, reasonably, to know broadly what's going to happen a few decades from now.

The more activist scientists get very, very specific in their predictions, even though their recent record of predictions is shaky at best.

Bob R said...

A more accurate accusation is that the white coated propagandists on the IPCC have used numbers to indicate "confidence levels" that were derived in the same way that sports touts make up confidence levels for who is going to win next years supper bowl. (Krauthammer is a physician. No physical scientist wears a white coat.)

Brennan said...

Sorry Ann. Charles is talking about awful propogandists like Michael Mann. They don't accept peer review that contradicts their predictions. They personally attack you.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-e-mann/nate-silver-climate-change_b_1909482.html

Bob Ellison said...

I'm with all of the above commenters. I read Gore's book and watched his movie, and I read James Hansen's comments when they burble up. These people are wacko. Krauthammer is simply pointing that out, if somewhat inexactly.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Obama voters who believe in the global warming scam have no credibility to be judging what "propaganda" is.

Bob Ellison said...

America's President, a brilliant opportunist, has recently been burbling a lot about climate change. It's not to make the world better. It's to accrue power.

Illuninati said...

If Bill Clinton can argue about the meaning of the word "is" Charles Krauthammer is certainly entitled to argue about the meaning of the word "exactly."

chickenlittle said...

Krauthammer sounds more agnostic than a believer or an atheist.

Renee said...

Global Climate Change Or Not, We Should Be good Stewarts To The Earth.

paminwi said...

Climatologists hardly need an opening for "rebuttal". They just call you stupid and for many that's enough. No "science based" rebuttal has ever had merit ofor thoese folks.

I have never heard one of the "believers" say that anyone who has a different viewpoint "based on science" has a valid point. If you don't believe you're and idiot.

Here's a great clip of Krauthammer:

http://www.ff.org/krauthammer-the-idea-that-climate-change-is-a-closed-issue-is-arrogant-and-anti-scientific/

Matthew Sablan said...

Yeah, I was reading it as the people who are telling us that by 2017 the oceans will be so acidic all the fish will die -- they know "exactly" that will happen -- were the ones on the receiving end, not the general "It's gonna get warmer, there may be consequences" types.

Bob Ellison said...

Illuninati, Bill Clinton was actually making a valid and interesting argument over the "meaning" of the word "is" in the context in which he was questioned about it. See here.

The quote sounds a lot worse than the argument. And it's a classic example of lawyerly stretching the truth to the point of falsehood. But damn it, Clinton was correct.

chickenlittle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big Mike said...

Who pretends to know exactly what will happen in the future?

Michael Mann, among others.

The trouble is, the mathematical models from alleged climate "scientists" have not predicted what has really happened in nature. If they were making predictions about some new elementary particle, and CERN found that particle but it weighed a different amount and behaved differently, the physicists would send them back to rework their models and they would understand the need to do so. That Mann and others predicting doom and disaster have not done so says a lot about their lack of scientific acumen.

chickenlittle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I think you missed on this one. Exactly the right word. Precisely.

tds said...

What is wrong with spewing tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere = feeding the plants?

Biology 101 anyone?

Ann Althouse said...

No. No one claims to know "exactly."

That is simply wrong.

You can say Krauthammer didn't really mean to go that far. It doesn't really count against him.

Why not?! He's calling other people propagandists. He must take his own medicine.

I call bullshit.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm not saying the other people are not propagandists.

I'm saying Krauthammer jumped into his own stew in the first paragraph.

Ann Althouse said...

Some of the commenters here are so eager to receive K's criticisms that you are letting him off the hook for his propaganda.

Look at yourselves.

AustinRoth said...

The problem is that Ann expects everyone to parse all their words exactly the way a lawyer would.

Bob Ellison said...

Oh, please, Professor. The climate scientists have created computer models. They try to predict the future. The politicians take those predictions and cynically use them to promote policies that will harm humans.

You're squabbling over a single word.

This is not a math formula. It's a political discussion. If I say "AGW-argument believers are idiots", I'm making an accurate observation in political fashion.

Bob Ellison said...

I make the following prediction: in the future, they will look back on the AGW scam and think "those people back then were really stupid". Computer model forthcoming.

Clyde said...

The warmists make predictions about how many centimeters the oceans will rise by a certain date, as well as how many degrees Celsius the temperature will rise. Some are more specific than others, but few are general.

Pogo is Dead said...

I don't care what Krauthammer says about this. And the climate change fascists don't give a damn about his use of the word 'exactly'.

He disagrees and that's enough to dismiss him. You're not reading a law exam essay, but an opinion piece.

Pedantry is the least of Gore's and Mann's weapons. They'll just call him evil, not over-precise.

damikesc said...

The more activist scientists get very, very specific in their predictions, even though their recent record of predictions is shaky at best.

"Shaky" is awfully generous given that they have been wrong on basically everything.

For 17 years, we have had zero appreciable warming. Virtually no model predicts that. Absolutely none predict no warming for 20 yrs.

Climate "scientists", if they were about science, would be baffled...not doubling down.

chickenlittle said...

Climate "scientists", if they were about science, would be baffled...not doubling down.

You're thinking of the quant old days when science was curiosity driven rather than agenda/grant driven.

Hagar said...

I heard Krauthammer, and he also fails to understand that what is really wrong with the AGW computer models is that the people working it ignore all that is known about climate variation history and known physical causes, such as the Milankovic cycles, and instead rely on their own theories of chemical interactions in the earth's atmosphere, about which they don't know nearly enough to say anything for certain.

And then of course the "adjustments" of their data to fit the theory and other fakery, "religious" hucksterism, political intimidation, and financial flim-flammery,etc., that should be more than enough to warn people that this is the biggest scam of our times.

Illuninati said...

OK if we must get technical, no measurement in science is "exact." The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle establishes that. So perhaps we should strike the word from the English language?

Dad said...

"I call Bullshit."

Now THAT is scholarly argument.

Matthew Sablan said...

"I'm saying Krauthammer jumped into his own stew in the first paragraph."

-- I thought it was understood he was engaging in propaganda, given he's a pundit.

Illuninati said...

Althouse said:
"Krauthammer may have some decent points here, but if you're going to call other people propagandists, you'd better strip your own writing of propaganda. Don't propagandize about propaganda. Or should I say: It takes one to know one."

In my opinion Althouse is comparing apples with oranges. Some of the climate scientists have become very political. Their reputation for politicization is not based on a misunderstanding. Krauthammer who has no history, so far as I know, of being a climate propagandist perhaps misuses a word and Althouse equates him with people who work day and night for the cause?

PB Reader said...

The mere fact that they've moved from global cooling in the 70's to global warming in the 90's to climate change today should be enough to to show that these folks don't know what they're doing in translating scientific research into policy.

Science isn't about consensus.

jacksonjay said...


I thought it was understood he was engaging in propaganda, given he's a pundit.

... and not a scientist!

SGT Ted said...

"I’ve long believed that it cannot be good for humanity to be spewing tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere."

And here is the flawed thinking right there. He starts with a false and assumed premise.

It doesn't matter one bit what anyone "believes", it matters what the science actually it demonstrates and, more importantly, what it *doesn't* demonstrate.

Going with the assumption that what we are doing is *bad* with no evidence is the entire problem with adherence to consensus AGW/Climate Change "science", because it isn't really science at that point and is more like a religious belief.

Drago said...

Renee: "Global Climate Change Or Not, We Should Be good Stewarts To The Earth."

I am so weary of people dragging in the Scots for everything.

Michael said...

Another micro-invasion! A word used wrongly. An insult to our intelligence. As Meade took up the professor's lead of looking of every phrase to determine the true, underlying meaning, of a statement. And so lilly white became the obvious racist allusion to an obscure Texas racist organization as opposed to the common use as descriptive of skin tone. As opposed to "1275–1325; Middle English lylie-whyt"

I call bullshit on calling bullshit on common hyperbole.

SGT Ted said...

Many non-alarmist climate scientists (if you can find them - they don't tend to speak up and identify publicly as such) would claim, reasonably, to know broadly what's going to happen a few decades from now.

The problem with that assertion is that they don't know enough about how the Earths atmosphere actually works to make any sort of valid scientific claim.

All they have is a hypothesis, based on closed, in-lab experiments that has no relationship to the complexity of the Earths systems, that so far has not been proven enough to even become a viable theory. ALL of their predictions have failed to come about.

Which makes even their claims to such knowledge unreasonable and merely an appeal to authority, rather than actual science.

It's like testing heavy artillery performance using BB guns. It means nothing.

Michael said...

Drago. Excellent point! Next they will be using the tartan as a map of their brainwaves.

Peter said...

What's aggravating about Climate Warmists is that they always have an explanation for whatever happens. Warmer, colder, or just-the-same, there's always a "just so" story that explains it.

A theory that is apparently unfalsifiable is not science, it is religion.

I am not agnostic on the matter of such a crappy religion, I am a full-throated denier. Like Scientology and some of those crappy little cults that keep appearing, this is just Bad Religion.

I do see a good deal of evidence that the world has warmed significantly over the past 200 years. But the warming begins before significant increase in CO2, and generally does not correlate well with CO2 levels.

So the question is not whether the world is warming, but how much human activities contribute to that warming. And what the effect of that warming (should it continue) will be on human activities.

That is, overall there will be some benefits (e.g., the ability to farm far-northern areas) as well as costs.

If the Warmists are wrong in asserting that human activities, and carbon-burning in particular, are the primary driver behind warming then the warming will continue long after they ruin the economies of developed nations in order to reduce CO2 generation.

And perhaps that, too, would be a catastrophe. Although I expect Warmists will assert, "It would have been much, much worse if we haven't acted!"

Which is another unfalsifiable claim. For who can disprove a counterfactual assertion (i.e., what would have happened had JFK not been assassinated).

DavidD said...

What in the world is wrong with CO2? Plant a tree if you want, and then go away.

The Crack Emcee said...

"Who pretends to know exactly what will happen in the future?"

As a lawyer, you have a right, but I've always thought picking one word out of colloquial speech is a silly way to argue.

You KNOW what the man is saying, so why waste our time? Does making us double-back, so a lawyer can play cat-and-mouse a while, to go over this useless point (because, in the end, what he actually IS saying will be the point of discussion) is that considered good style, or a winning strategy, or whatever?

It seems more like a way to feed one's ego while avoiding actually drawing any blood,..

SGT Ted said...

It seems more like a way to feed one's ego while avoiding actually drawing any blood,..

Or actually addressing the issue.

Scott said...

In using the word "exactly," Krauthammer was obviously being sarcastic. Did that go over your head, Ann, or is this post another candidate for the "overwrought" tag?

MadisonMan said...

For 17 years, we have had zero appreciable warming.

For some odd definitions of appreciable and warming.

The most constructive way to ponder the warming climate is to consider risk. How does the risk of a catastrophe change your thinking (or, more importantly, India's or China's politicians' thinking). If there is, say, a 5% chance of the Arctic ocean becoming ice-free (and all that entails), or a 2% chance of Greenland's Ice Cap melting (and all that entails), do you think that warrants a change in policy?

2% seems pretty small. But I wouldn't drive a car that crashes every 50th time it's driven (for example).

jacksonjay said...

What in the world is wrong with CO2? Plant a tree if you want, and then go away.

Well, the scientists on the SCOTUS said it was a "pollutant", so who do you think you are?

Scott M said...

No physical scientist wears a white coat.

I have a picture of staff at the NIF wearing white lab coats. Were they goofing for the camera?

jacksonjay said...


In using the word "exactly," Krauthammer was obviously being sarcastic. Did that go over your head, Ann, or is this post another candidate for the "overwrought" tag?

Sarcasm and word play belong to Ann.

Fen said...


... and not a scientist!

That doesn't mean what it use to.

MadisonMan said...

Krauthammer uses a construct that just drives me crazy:

Now we learn from a massive randomized study — 90,000 women followed for 25 years — that mammograms may have no effect on breast cancer deaths.

To which I always add, when I see it, the counter: or they actually may.

smh. If you are using a point to drive home an argument, either go all in or stay home. Apparently this mammogram point is such thin gruel that it can't provide sustenance to his argument. So why waste space? It's like he's paid by the column inch or something.

Mike said...

"No. No one claims to know "exactly."
That is simply wrong. "

I agree with Ann on this one. The subtleties of science get lost once it gets into the slime engine of politics. But if you read the papers and listen to the talks, the climate scientists are all about the uncertainties. AGW projections have a broad range of possible outcomes (which McNider and Christy ignore in their misleading plot) and the current temperature trend is within the uncertainties.

Take the "pause" (which isn't a pause; planetary temperature have risen slightly, more if you account for the poles). There is a fierce discussion among scientists about what precisely is happening. None claim to know. Mann's theory is that a warmer planet is producing more La Nina cycles -- a negative feedback. But others disagree.

No one claims to know "exactly" what will happen. But the broad outlines of a warming planet have not been seriously challenged since they were first laid down 80 years ago.

chickenlittle said...

@MadisonMan: I see your point about risk, but there's also the risk of what happens if we earnestly enforce a carbon tax worldwide, or worse, unilaterally. There's a risk of crashing the global economy or worst, unfairly tilting its control into the wrong hands such as those who'd gleefully love to see gas-guzzling RV's banned, especially if they have chemical toilets. :)

Bob Ellison said...

Where will we be in 10, 50, and 100 years, Mike?

Bob Ellison said...

Here's the way you test a computer model that attempts to predict the future:

1) You make the model.

2) You freeze the model and extract predictions of the future.

3) You wait, and test the predictions against what actually happens.

If the model fails item 3, and especially if you keep dicking with the model in item 2, and you keep choosing different models in item 1 and lying about what you're doing, then you should be mocked and laughed at.

MadisonMan said...

Where will we be in 10, 50, and 100 years, Mike?

I'm not Mike, but I'd say the answer is 2024, 2064 and 2114. With a different climate.

EDH said...

Doesn't the word "exactly" in Dr. K's sentence modify "know" rather than "what this will cause in 20, 30 or 50 years" as Althouse alleges?

Compare:

I also believe that those scientists who pretend to know [...] what this will cause [exactly] in 20, 30 or 50 years are white-coated propagandists.

Dr. K. is saying the warmists claim exact knowledge of what will inevitably happen within a range of years (nonexact), rather than what will exactly happen on set dates 20, 30 and 50 years in the future.

Mr. D said...


-- I thought it was understood he was engaging in propaganda, given he's a pundit.

Thank you.

Michael K said...

" But the broad outlines of a warming planet have not been seriously challenged since they were first laid down 80 years ago."

Most o this discussion ignores the fact that the Little Ice Age ended about 1850. It began about 1300. Of course the earth has been warming since 1850. The question is why and why it stopped. We have either had a pause in warming, or a stop and a new mean, or it will now shift to cooling again.

It seems to depend on the sun spot cycle which may be entering a new dormant period. If so, serious cooling may be in store. That would be far more dangerous for us than modest cooling of about 2 degrees in 100 years.

EMD said...

Sablan FTW.

Phaedrus said...

I was surprised that Ms Althouse used the term bull instead of dog.

I think the AGW promoters do in fact claim exactness in their predictions. They have to because they can't afford to open the door even a little bit to legitimate questions about their conclusions.

I usually defer to Ms Althouse since she is a lot smarter than I am but I think her observation in this case comes from the dog manure café.

Hagar said...

2) You freeze the model and extract predictions of the future.

3) You wait, and test the predictions against what actually happens.


Can't be done in this case. Human lifetimes are too insignificant.
What you must do, is test your model against the historic record and see if it will explain all that happened.
And when competing theories are talking about physical factors that can be calculated and show a reasonable match with the material evidence collected for climate variation over millions of years, air temperatures for the last 100-150 years, will not do - especially if they have been "adjusted" and the record of the original readings thrown away, so that your "adjustments" can't be checked by others.

paminwi said...

Well I call bullshit, on your bullshit. Krauthammer has made numerous comments on this issue and has maintained a Rey consistent approach to his views. One time you find he uses the word "exactly" and you jump all over him.

Read his body of words on this issue and you will have a better understanding of where he is coming from.

I would surmise from your being so specific about the word "exactly" you never used a word when speaking that later you wish you would have used a different word. You must live in a glass house.

Hagar said...

The word "theory" again.
The Milankovic cycles are based on geometry and known velocities; the results are produced by just number crunching; there are no theory theories involved.

However, Milankovic did the original calculations with paper and pencil while interned (not "interred") as a P.O.W. in WWI. HE would have had to make simplifying assumptiona such as neglecting the gravitational effects of the nearest planets, and he did not know about plate tectonics, etc.

JPS said...

Madison Man:

"If there is, say, a 5% chance of the Arctic ocean becoming ice-free (and all that entails), or a 2% chance of Greenland's Ice Cap melting (and all that entails),"

But this isn't a matter of statistical chance. Scientists are either correct or incorrect that a recent declining trend in Arctic sea ice is a result of increased atmospheric CO2 levels. How do you assign a probability to their being correct or incorrect?

Mike:

"AGW projections have a broad range of possible outcomes ... and the current temperature trend is within the uncertainties."

Similar weakness. The "uncertainties" are meaningless because the differences among the spread of models result not from random chance, but from differing assumptions that are either correct or incorrect. (Or rather, they're all incorrect to some degree - that's not a criticism - and the degree differs, we know not how much for each.)

To take the favorite example of the climate modeler I know best, if you look at the spread of model predictions regarding rainfall in North Africa as a result of warming, they range from drought to flood. If you took a weighted average of these models, you'd say that there's probably going to be a net increase.

Question: Given that you are taking an average between X number of models that say less rain, and Y number that say more, and either X or Y must be wrong, what does it mean when reality falls within your "uncertainty"? Does it confirm that your analysis was sound?

Titus said...

I’ve long believed that it cannot be good for humanity to be spewing tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. I also believe that those scientists who pretend to know exactly what this will cause in 20, 30 or 50 years are white-coated propagandists."

That's my thought on the topic. I don't recycle anything except paper at the office.

SteveBrooklineMA said...

I disagree with Ms Althouse. Krauthammer is a political pundit, not a scientist. Political pundits dish out propaganda all the time. Scientists are not supposed to. "Takes one to know one" doesn't make any sense here.

Trashhauler said...

"Some of the commenters here are so eager to receive K's criticisms that you are letting him off the hook for his propaganda."

Krauthammer doesn't claim to be a climate change expert, unlike the people he is referring to. So, if he is a propagandist, he's not trying very hard at it. Pointing out logic flaws does not propaganda make.

Using our host's standard, anyone who expresses any reservation about the omniscience of experts is a prima facie propagandist.

You're trying way too hard, Professor.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Mr. Krauthammer is not wide of the mark. The AGW propagandists base much of their argument on the 'consensus' of Big Percentages of Scientists that It's Getting Hotter.

McSnider and Christy (atmospheric scientists writing in the WSJ) just pointed out that the 'consensus' of 120 separate computer models is wildly greater than the observed terrestrial temperatures, ever since this prediction game began in the 1980s. And Krauthammer can be excused - hell, congratulated - for noting that such exaggeration is an EXACT description of the bias among those participating in the 'consensus'.

James said...

My assumption is that he meant "the 20, 30, and 50 year models aren't precise". The bar for propaganda is apparently getting pretty fucking low...

SGT Ted said...

The bottom line is that because they don't know enough about how the Earths atmosphere and land mass shapes and flora and fauna all combine to regulate the planetary weather system, in conjunction with the sun cycles, they cannot possibly predict what is going to change what.

They can show that putting more CO2 in a glass jar makes it hotter, but that's it.

jr565 said...

Don't parse the word exactly too much. The global war it's are pretty precise as to what will happen as well as how long it will take to do so

Ivy said...

I don't know exactly what you mean, Ann?

Paul said...

Facts are the 'global warming scientist' for many years faked data to show their theories matched reality. The Hockey Stick was, well, hokie.

The reality did not match their computer models so they just fudged the data so it would match (and were caught with their emails down!)

So how can we believe them now? They are asking to destroy the economy and all they have is a reputation for lying!

Krauthammer is right. I am neither a denier or believer cause the only evidence show has been fake. What is more those that say it is warming HAVE NOT CHANGED THEIR WAYS. People like Al Gore all have fancy houses, yachts, gas guzzling cars, etc...

If they really believe catastrophe is coming, why don't they ACT LIKE IT and sell all their not-so-green riches?

It will take 20 years to get HONEST evidence enough to have any idea just which way the world is headed.

Fritz said...

PB Reader said...
The mere fact that they've moved from global cooling in the 70's to global warming in the 90's to climate change today should be enough to to show that these folks don't know what they're doing in translating scientific research into policy.

Science isn't about consensus.


Even more interesting was that the proposed "treatment" in both cases was the deindustrialization of the democratic West. The Russians, and Chinese would never have abided by the restrictions.

Watermelon environmentalists; green on the outside, red in the middle.

I say let's accept anthropogenic catastrophic global warming, and the necessity of restrictions and propose to shut down the government/academic axis of the country (or at least shrink it to a very bare minimum). Do you think they'll agree with that as a solution?

Elliott A said...

Actually DR. Krauthammer IS a scientist. He has done research governed by the scientific method and subject to actual peer review. Physicians are scientists. They are experts in Biology and many areas of Chemistry. A Radiologist could have a PhD. in physics. They know how to read a scientific paper of any sort and scream "Bullshit" at results which haven't been attained by proper scientific method. If you cannot say exactly what will happen, you do not know enough about the process and should go back and study more. To take an artificial construct (computer model) use it to make a projection, treat the projection as a forecast with caveats (error bars) and then say the sky is falling is propaganda. In Medicine, if you diagnose an illness and prescribe a medication which then has no effect, you don't ask "I wonder why this didn't work for Mr. Jones?" you say, "My diagnosis must be wrong so I better look at this again." That is science. Looking for excuses for failed computer models (they fail utterly in hindcasting also)is nothing more than Spew.

Elliott A said...

Also, global temperature anomalies are now OUTSIDE the error bars on all but 5 of 120 models, and it won't be long before those completely fail also. Every one wrong in the same direction. GIGO

Kirk Parker said...

Madman,

That's a very bad example (and very unlike you!)

It's not "2% chance of a bad outcome vs costless accommodations", it's "2% chance of a bad outcome vs destroying the world economy as we know it". Still want to take the bet?


Elliot A,

No, an MD is not a scientist per se, any more than an engineer or builder is.

Paul said...

Krauthammer is both a Physician and a Psychiatrist.

He has written on the subjects and yes there is peer review.

So he is a scientist.

Dan Pangburn said...

The two primary drivers of average global temperatures accurately (R2>0.9) explain the reported up and down measurements since before 1900 and provide credible estimates back to the low temperatures of the Little Ice Age (1610).

CO2 change is NOT one of the drivers.

The drivers are given at

http://agwunveiled.blogspot.com/

Elliott A said...

Kirk= I differ. Many MD'S spend the bulk of their time doing scientific research, not treating patients, or they do both. They have degrees in science, Biology or Chemistry for example, have done enough credit hours of what is called Basic Science to earn a PhD and have done thesis level research. The fact that their profession then takes them to an applied application does not change this. Engineers not scientists? Ask my nephew at Georgia Tech doing his PhD in Aerospace engineering when he is sitting in front of multiple monitors full of equations so that he can design a steerable artillery shell, or the proper shape of a drones wings and moving parts. People in Applied Science must be expert first in the science. If you only follow a recipe you are a technician. I am a dentist and I am a scientist. I have done research, have a degree in Biology and have taken the equivalent of 120 credit hours of graduate level Biology and Chemistry. The physicians and dentists read journal after journal of research papers; no different from every other scientist in a university.
There is no per se about it. I believe few people outside the medical profession have an appreciation for the study and preparation necessary to gain the degree and the certifications. Difficulty wise, college is like kindergarten compared to medical or dental school. Then, the physicians work 12000 hours in 3 years before they can practice, including research.

Kirk Parker said...

Elliot,

Have your own definitions then, if you prefer. All my MD in-laws and acquaintances would differ with you, and so would all my engineer contacts (including myself) but what does that mean?

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

Althouse asks: "Who pretends to know exactly what will happen in the future?"

Answer: Inter alia, those who sponsored "An Inconvenient Truth."

ken in sc said...

The word 'exactly' depends on how many significant digits you wish to specify. For example, Pi to one significant digit is 3, as it says in the Book of Kings in the Bible.


You can not use any more significant digits than you can measure, ask any engineer.


So, how specifically do you want the word 'exactly' to apply.

Bob Ellison said...

Oh, nobody gets to say anything about anything.

Trashhauler said...

Speaking of the word, "exactly," exactly what is the proper average temperature of the earth? What is the correct level of sea water? How much ice coverage is proper? Exactly how many extreme weather events are nominal over the course of a given era? In what era, exactly, were these conditions experienced?

More importantly, what were the criteria used to decide the proper values for the answers to the questions above?

Why aren't these questions ever asked of our experts, let alone answered?

Moneyrunner said...

Althouse spews bullshit. When so-called “climate scientists” project changes in temperature typically measured in tenths of a degree, that’s close enough for government work to mean “exactly.” And speaking of bullshit, that appears to be a legal term at UW – Madison, which (by the way) has a J-school that would love to have the government monitor the news media. The question I have is whether anyone would notice if a government censor actually vetted the output of the MSM. Exactly how much different would the NY Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, NPR look and sound if the administration were actually able to install soviet style control of the news? Thanks to Ann’s fellow professors at UW – Madison, we may be able to find out.

Bruce Hayden said...

I liked the article. Dr. Krauthammer made some good points about how settled the science is. Indeed, what is interesting to me is that it seems like the less people know about science, the more they think that anthrogenic global cooling/warming/climat change is settled science. As an example, the three big climate experts (Gore, Obama, Kerry) most likely don't have enough science classes combined to get into medical school - my guess is that their combined college level scientific training is probably half that combined of the average incoming med student, or PhD student in a hard science. But all these discussions about probabilities, error terms, etc go well over their heads too, since they don't have any more math training than they do scientific training.

Not sure if I can say that most physicians are really scientists, since the bulk of them seem to be too busy to really do much, if any research. But they are trained as such, and what they do have to do to keep current in their specialty is read a lot of scientific papers. Probably more than real scientists. And it takes some training to read such critically (training that Gore, Obama, and Kerry don't have, even combined). A couple of things to look for are the assumptions, limitations, and in the case of these climate models, the data sources. And sometimes what is important is what is not said. That is part of what the peer review publication process enforces. So, to take an example, you may have an article warning about the ice melting in Greenland, something that AlGore has warned about. But the actual article starts with the explicit assumptions that the earth is warming quickly, and uses that assumed heat to melt the ice. Then it dumps the resulting water into the ocean, and sea levels rise, ignoring all sorts of other factors like land rising when the weight of ice is removed from it.

I did find interesting Dr Krauthammer's point about breast cancer screenings. At least in medicine, you apparently can still get published papers that contradict the common wisdom. Which is good, because physicians no longer believe they can cure us by bleeding us of our bad humours. Ultimately, climate science will swing around too - but since there is so much profiteering and crony capitalism involved, it may take awhile. Hopefully before too many more trillions are squandered on what is looking more and more like junk science.