April 29, 2017

"Claiming total certainty about the science traduces the spirit of science and creates openings for doubt whenever a climate claim proves wrong."

"Demanding abrupt and expensive changes in public policy raises fair questions about ideological intentions. Censoriously asserting one’s moral superiority and treating skeptics as imbeciles and deplorables wins few converts. None of this is to deny climate change or the possible severity of its consequences. But ordinary citizens also have a right to be skeptical of an overweening scientism.... Perhaps if there had been less certitude and more second-guessing in Clinton’s campaign, she’d be president. Perhaps if there were less certitude about our climate future, more Americans would be interested in having a reasoned conversation about it."

From Bret Stephens's first NYT column, "Climate of Complete Certainty."

The commenters are trashing him for comparing the deficiencies of the Clinton campaign's use of data analytics with the science of climatology and for not seeing why action is sometimes needed even when you don't have absolute certainty about what's going to happen in the future.

But Stephens is trying to get people to understand how to talk with each other. I'm giving this my new "separatism" tag — invented in the previous post after something the film director John Waters said: "You know, I'm not a separatist, I'm friends with some people who voted for Trump, not many."

ADDED: Is "scientism" an annoying word? I noticed MadAsHell in the comments complaining about it — along with "traduces," "censoriously," "overweening," and "certitude." It's funny, where one's tipping point is, when you get that thesaurus-y feeling. I definitely get it at "traduces," but swallow "censoriously," "overweening," and "certitude" easily.

"Scientism," though, is a weird word. Why do we need it in addition to "science"? What's the work of the "-ism"? It makes "science" into an insult, like you're being too science-y, to the point where it's not even science at all, but a religion with the trappings of science. I looked up the word in the OED, and that got me into this George Bernard Shaw opus, "Back to Methuselah (A Metabiological Pentateuch)":
Let the Churches ask themselves why there is no revolt against the dogmas of mathematics though there is one against the dogmas of religion. It is not that the mathematical dogmas are more comprehensible. The law of inverse squares is as incomprehensible to the common man as the Athanasian creed. It is not that science is free from legends, witchcraft, miracles, biographic boostings of quacks as heroes and saints, and of barren scoundrels as explorers and discoverers. On the contrary, the iconography and hagiology of Scientism are as copious as they are mostly squalid. But no student of science has yet been taught that specific gravity consists in the belief that Archimedes jumped out of his bath and ran naked through the streets of Syracuse shouting Eureka, Eureka, or that the law of inverse squares must be discarded if anyone can prove that Newton was never in an orchard in his life. When some unusually conscientious or enterprising bacteriologist reads the pamphlets of Jenner, and discovers that they might have been written by an ignorant but curious and observant nurserymaid, and could not possibly have been written by any person with a scientifically trained mind, he does not feel that the whole edifice of science has collapsed and crumbled, and that there is no such thing as smallpox. It may come to that yet; for hygiene, as it forces its way into our schools, is being taught as falsely as religion is taught there; but in mathematics and physics the faith is still kept pure, and you may take the law and leave the legends without suspicion of heresy. Accordingly, the tower of the mathematician stands unshaken whilst the temple of the priest rocks to its foundation.

230 comments:

1 – 200 of 230   Newer›   Newest»
Sebastian said...

"But Stephens is trying to get people to understand how to talk with each other." That's his mistake right there. Get your priorities straight, man.

madAsHell said...

traduces??
Censoriously??
overweening scientism??
certitude??

Did Mommy show you how to use a thesaurus?

Chuck said...

Bret Stephens doing a column for the Times? Wow. This one caught me by surprise. So is Bret no longer working for the Journal?

A great post from Twitchy on this:

http://twitchy.com/gregp-3534/2017/04/28/go-eat-dog-dcks-bret-stephens-debut-column-for-the-nyt-has-liberals-melting-down/

Big Mike said...

The commenters are trashing him for comparing the deficiencies of the Clinton campaign's use of data analytics with the science of climatology

From where I sit they're actually pretty close to identical -- naive faith in mathematical models that have not been validated, and which when matched against reality turn out to have serious faults.

and for not seeing why action is sometimes needed even when you don't have absolute certainty about what's going to happen in the future.

Along with their naive faith in the models comes an irrational belief that one must act right this very minute lest we reach Michael Mann's tipping point. Except that Mann's hockey stick was debunked almost immediately after it was published. The mathematical illiteracy of climate scientists, other than Judith Curry, is appalling.

AReasonableMan said...

In the column Stephens concedes both that global warming is occurring and that humans have contributed to that warming.

Fernandinande said...

Is he claiming that Clintoon's campaign was caused by humans?

David Begley said...

Just because the CAGW people use numbers and computers doesn't make it science. It is a prediction about events in the far distant future based upon computer models.The models have been horribly wrong in the past. The numbers have been corrupted. The is a strong financial incentive to scare people and come up with these predictions. And, of course, CAGW fulfills the need to virtue signal that we are saving the planet.

AEI had a great piece about all of the wrong predictions made at the first Earth Day. According to their leading lights, we would all be dead by now. The Left today has gotten smarter about making predictions; even Gore. Since all of his past Doomsdays have come and gone, Gore either doesn't give a date or says "the end of the century." How is anyone alive now going to prove him wrong? Gore is enjoying his money right now sans Tipper.

When is SNL and John Waters going to mock Al Gore? Or James Hanson? Paul Ehrlich?

I've written it here before. The Trump presidency is already a success because it has begun to tear down the CAGW scam.

traditionalguy said...

Cut him a break. He is writing a nuanced attempt to present another point of view without favoring that other point of view, because if you did, then the NYT would have to kill your columns off.

But any truth leaking into the minds controlled by the Big Lie is a big deal. The Alarmist have built minds under control by 20 years of Propaganda based of total fake facts, fake theory, and fake morality to save the planet. The World Governmental Interests have spent a trillion dollars on this Mass Hoax. And it is a known fake alarm today.

The analogy to Hillary's campaign is spot on. Clinton World and Global Warming were both built on control over the TV press. And then the internet destroyed both of them with ease.

Ergo: The Global Governance target is now to end that damn free internet speech that stopped them.

David Begley said...

Think about the CAGW scam this way. If the CAGW scam wasn't part of the Dem platform, then no tax credits for electric cars. Then there is little chance that Elon Musk could have raised money for Tesla. No IPO later. No fees to the Street. No fees to the right accountants and law firms. No market cap that makes it more valuable than Ford despite the fact that it only sold only 50,000 cars in 2015.

This is how the CAGW scam works.

Owen said...

Algorithm = an opinion embedded in data.

In the context of the fancy "data-driven" computer models so beloved by political consultants and the gods of Google and the climate change crowd, the key for me is "hidden layers." Those are the sets of connections and weightings within the model that fall between the observable input and output. Those are where the magic happens, and I do mean magic, both in a good way --emergent properties-- and a bad one --BS and knavery.

I think Stephens is right to challenge people. The new computational approaches are not well understood; their behavior is not subject to prediction or audit in the usual (human) way. They do stuff that is fundamentally not check-able.

But we're supposed to let them tell us where to go.

Derek Kite said...

But do you know the answer? Carbon emissions have an effect. Fine. Then what? There is one thing so far that has had an effect. Fracking, which created a huge supply of natural gas allowing coal to be replaced as an electrical generation fuel.

To see how it actually works, we now have graduated electrical pricing as well as an across the board increase. The more power you use the higher the costs.

I installed an efficient system in our home, I'm in that industry so at cost for the equipment. I cut my heating consumption by 1/3 over last winter. My bills were the same.

So essentially I'm poorer. I spent substantial amounts of money with no decrease in my costs. The rational thing to do would be to install a wood burner.

And that is what people are doing. People are returning to burning wood for heat.

So the policy, exquisite and wonderful that it is for saving the world, will have the opposite effect.

So your desire to save the world may very well hasten it's demise.

Big Mike said...

In the column Stephens concedes both that global warming is occurring and that humans have contributed to that warming.

Which is a long way from saying that it's dangerous to the point of catastrophic.

Tommy Duncan said...

Scientific theories are evaluated by testing their ability to accurately predict physical phenomena. Good theories accurately predict cause and effect relationships by predicting observable physical events. So far, the global warming theories have failed miserably at predicting physical events. It is embarrassing that global warming models can't even predict past (historical) climate changes, much less future phenomena.

Oceans cover 71% of the earth's surface. An honest assessment of GW theory would acknowledge that we have far too little useful recorded physical data pertinent to the role of the oceans in GW.

An honest assessment of GW theory would acknowledge that there are many factors that influence our climate, many of which are not fully understood. It is clear to many that we don't know enough at this point to support the dire consequences GW theorists are predicting.

And the consequences of GW are always dire. Why are there no positive benefits from GW? I've read that the world is "greening" with more CO2. Wasn't a greener world one of the left's goals?

rhhardin said...

The climate system is so complicated that there's no science of it.

As a result it's easy to make theories about climate.

The suppression of adult peer review and huge funding lets it all run unchecked.

Owen said...

ARM: "In the column Stephens concedes both that global warming is occurring and that humans have contributed to that warming." You say that as if it were a trump card. Big whoop: at that level of vagueness almost everybody would agree. The real questions, as always, are how much warming, and caused by what. The answers to those questions are, not very much, and we don't know.

If you haven't read Richard Feynman's 1974 piece on "Cargo Cult Science," I think you'd enjoy it, especially where he says "The easiest person to fool is yourself."

AReasonableMan said...

From a review of the book “The Knowledge Illusion”:

"As Sloman and Fernbach demonstrate in some of the most interesting and unsettling parts of the book, individual humans know embarrassingly little about the world, and as history progressed, they came to know less and less. A hunter-gatherer in the Stone Age knew how to produce her own clothes, how to start a fire from scratch, how to hunt rabbits and how to escape lions. We today think we know far more, but as individuals we actually know far less. We rely on the expertise of others for almost all our needs.

... the knowledge illusion has its downside. The world is becoming ever more complex, and people fail to realize just how ignorant they are of what’s going on. Consequently some who know next to nothing about meteorology or biology nevertheless conduct fierce debates about climate change and genetically modified crops, while others hold extremely strong views about what should be done in Iraq or Ukraine without being able to locate them on a map. People rarely appreciate their ignorance, because they lock themselves inside an echo chamber of like-minded friends and self-confirming newsfeeds, where their beliefs are constantly reinforced and seldom challenged."

Bruce Hayden said...

I hadn't thought of it until this article, but I do see the parallels, the similarities. The idea that if the facts disagree with the model, then the facts have to be wrong (and, thus, NOAA recasts their intermediate numbers last year to show warming when there was no change to the raw temperature data).

The thing is that, in politics, models that disagree too much with the real facts have a way of killing off the careers of those make them. Does anyone really expect Mook to be running the Dem Presidential campaign in 3 years? Or even be hired by them? It could be argued that his models, and the Crooked Hillary campaign's reliance on them, was why she lost. Maybe but maybe not. But no serious candidate is going to take that chance with him.

Contrast that with climate modeling. Where is the real world feedback? Do the modelers with the worst predictions with reality lose their funding? For the most part, they don't, because those controlling the funding prefer overestimated predictions than accurate ones, if it means more power and money to the government, and, ultimately, to their own budgets. And, thus, a system pretty well guaranteed to generate inaccurate predictions and results.

Fernandinande said...

Owen said...
"The easiest person to fool is yourself."


I've found that it's easier to fool young children and severely retarded people.

Tommy Duncan said...
Why are there no positive benefits from GW?


A warmer climate only benefits bad organisms, e.g.

A warming climate allowed pine beetles to ravage the West.

They "ravage" but they don't "thrive".

Sebastian said...

Hayek used "scientism" to refer to "slavish imitation of the method and language of Science . . . not an unprejudiced but a very prejudiced approach which, before it has considered its subject, claims to know what is the most appropriate way of investigating it."

The -ism can do other work too, for example to elevate science as the ultimate source of morality and guide to right action, also suspect from a Hayekian point of view.

Bruce Hayden said...

Taking my idea a bit further, one of the things that drives Google, as well as a lot of the successful trading and financial modeling is what I call meta-feedback, where a bunch of different models, and similar models with different parameters, are run against each other, and the ones with the best predictive values wins. Indeed, I see simularities with the simulated annealing that we were doing with circuit packing 15 years ago. It is a strategy that works, and has made a bunch of billionaires over the last decade or so. The problem with climate modeling is that the feedback reward isn't tied to getting the most accurate predictions, but, rather, to getting decently aggressive results that aren't too far out.

Sebastian said...

"In the column Stephens concedes." "concedes": because, as we all know, those crazy deniers just want to stick their heads in the sand, and good on Stephens to resist his hick instincts.

Rae said...

When your models don't conform to reality, your models have to change, otherwise you're not doing science. To date climate scientists have not been able to do a reverse model - take the climate conditions of todya, run the alg in reverse, and get the climate we had in say, 1950. When they can do that, I'll worry.

Until then, I'm with Glenn Reynolds, who said (paraphrasing here)"I'll start worrying about the climate when the people who tell me I should worry about the climate start acting like they worry about the climate."

Gahrie said...

1) The Earth is currently in an ice age called the Quaternary that began 2.5 million years ago.
2) The Earth is also in the middle of an interglacial (a period of global warming during an ice age) called the Holocene that began 12,000 - 10,000 years ago.
3) Modern man first appeared 200,000 years ago. All of our existence has occurred during an ice age.
4) For the first 195,000 or so years of our existence we wandered around in small bands of hunter-gatherers.
5) As the Holocene warmed the Earth, man discovered agriculture around 6,000 years ago. Agriculture led to surplus, surplus led to specialization, specialization led to civilization, civilization led to history. All of human civilization and history has occurred during global warming.
6) The coldest parts of Earth have few or no humans. The warmest parts of Earth have large human populations.
7) The Earth currently has a record high of humans living on it, with record lows in hunger and absolute poverty.

Global warming began long before humans could have possibly effected it, and is in fact good for humanity. There was once a pile of ice a mile high on top of Chicago, and one day there will be again.

mockturtle said...

Priceless Shavian excerpt.

tim in vermont said...

He may have averred that global warming is happening, but he conceded that we don't know. ARM has difficulties with critical thinking.

Original Mike said...

AReasonableMan said..."In the column Stephens concedes both that global warming is occurring and that humans have contributed to that warming."

Virtually all scientists do (that's where the crap "97%" figure comes from). The question is a matter of degree.

Gahrie said...

OK..for the sake of argument..man is causing climate change.

What caused all of the other interglacials in Earth's history?

Unknown said...

Scientism is a pretty great descriptive word in this instance IMO. It captures the religious fervor and certitude of the group.

mockturtle said...

OK..for the sake of argument..man is causing climate change.

What caused all of the other interglacials in Earth's history?


Must have been those pesky extraterrestrials.

Gahrie said...

Science depends on falsibility (the ability to prove something wrong).

What evidence would be acceptable to prove AGW wrong?

The Earth gets hotter...AGW
The Earth gets colder...AGW

It snows or rains more..AGW
It snows or rains less..AGW

We have more storms.....AGW
We have fewer storms....AGW

Volcanos blow their tops...AGW
Earthquakes occur..........AGW

whswhs said...

Scientism is quite different from science, and we need a different word from it. Science is what scientists actually do when they are producing new knowledge of the natural world (and sometimes of the social world, though "social science" has a much poorer track record). Scientism is a political and cultural ideology that justifies its ethical and policy recommendations by appeals, not to the actual critical methods of science, but to the beliefs of scientists, including beliefs that they have adopted for nonscientific reasons.

Compare "science fiction," which is a literary form that presents us with wonders and marvels, sometimes based on specific analysis of scientific principles (for example, the planetary designs of writers like Hal Clement or Poul Anderson, who actually did the math), but more often on rhetorical appeals to the general idea of "science" (including "technology") as a source of amazing things. It's important that we have a different word for the literary form. But it's also important that we have a different word for the political approach that makes similar appeals to science, often with similar lack of justification, as in the eugenics movement of a century ago.

C.S. Lewis wrote about the difference in That Hideous Strength and also in some of his nonfiction pieces.

tcrosse said...

What it all comes down to is that people we don't like have bigger houses and cars, and use more energy than we do. (It's OK for people we like to do so.)

Gahrie said...

The Bering land bridge once connected Asia to North America. Around 11,000 years ago rising sea levels buried it under water. Sea levels began rising long before human civilization began.

AReasonableMan said...

Gahrie said...
What caused all of the other interglacials in Earth's history?


Of the various arguments that are dragged out in these discussions this is the weakest because it is actually an argument for concern about CO2 levels. What the history of changes in global temperatures tells us is that the system maintaining temperatures on earth is poorly buffered, since, as you note, temperature has changed considerably over time. What this implies is that even relatively modest inputs, such as the large rise in CO2 levels may be able to significantly affect the system.

If temperatures had been stable for millennia then not so much of a worry. It is the relative instability of the system that introduces so much uncertainty and legitimate concern.

Owen said...

Science is what Feynman did. Scientism is what Bill Nye does.

Once you put on that lab coat, everything you say is true.

Gahrie said...

Why are no scientists talking about the fact that things are going great for humanity and the Earth's biosphere, and are in fact getting better all of the time.

Polar bear populations are healthy, the whales are coming back, the Earth is getting greener.

Owen said...

ARM: why don't you try reading up on this subject?

Paddy O said...

I only believe in science

Gahrie said...

Of the various arguments that are dragged out in these discussions this is the weakest because it is actually an argument for concern about CO2 levels.

No it isn't. It is an argument that the Earth's climate is, always has been, and always will, change and these changes have absolutely nothing to do with humanity.

What the history of changes in global temperatures tells us is that the system maintaining temperatures on earth is poorly buffered, since, as you note, temperature has changed considerably over time.

No..what it tells us is that there is no system buffering temperature, and that there is no "correct" temperature for the Earth.

What this implies is that even relatively modest inputs, such as the large rise in CO2 levels may be able to significantly affect the system.

No..what it tells us is that the Earth's temperature and climate are going to change no matter what we do.

If temperatures had been stable for millennia then not so much of a worry. It is the relative instability of the system that introduces so much uncertainty and legitimate concern.

If the temperatures had been stable than humans would still be wandering around in small bands of hunter-gatherers living in caves and picking lice off of each other.

Clayton Hennesey said...

Science is what Feynman did. Scientism is what Bill Nye does.

Precisely, and not difficult to understand at all. Scientism is to science what a drag queen is to a woman.

Bruce Hayden said...

One of the reasons that I have questions about the CAGW thesis is that the biggest factor in global temperatures is the amount of solar energy received where on the earth. This varies over time, and is, I suspect, a big part of why this planet has been hotter and been colder over time. Thing is, we really can't predict solar energy factors that well, esp in the short time frames involved with these climate models. As I understand it, we know generally the solar cycles, and the earth isn't going to wobble that much in the short term (nor is its orbit going to change much). But the variations in the solar cycles appear to be far larger than the error terms in the climate models. In short, we can't predict with any degree of certainty the amount of solar energy that will be received where in the next decade or two, because we can't predict that accurately how much solar energy the sun will emit over that period. when a model fails to accurately predict the future, we would seemingly often be unable to tell if the failure were the result of a bad model, or just an inability to accurately predict future solar activity.

Let me add that one of the absurdities of the original 97% survey is that those doing the survey excluded anyone in a field that they didn't accept as climate science, and those excluded included physicists and astrophysicists - the ones who understand the solar energy aspect the best.

Unknown said...

Scientism is a useful word. It doesn't mean science. It refers to a quasi-religion claiming science as its source of authority, whether it's tenets are scientific or not.

Big Mike said...

ARM quotes from a review the "Knowledge Illusion," but fails to see that he's merely looking in the mirror.

Michael K said...

ARM is clearly not a physicist. The "Little Ice Age" occurred between 1300 and about 1850. Since 1850, we have seen warming that is probably related to solar activity. The Maunder Minimum may be part of the Little Ice Age. We are now entering another period of below normal solar activity. Russian astronomers have been predicting a cooling trend for several years.

"Scientism" is similar to "Studies" majors in college. Both appropriate a science or academic term but actually refer to something that is not rigorous or valid. It's fake, just like the "Global Warming" religion. Burning heretics will be next.

John said...

Fernandinand,

How many degrees of warming have happened in the west? More warming or less than the global average? 0.8 degrees over @100 years.

In an area that sees temp swings of 70-80 deg c over the course of a year and 10-20 over the course of a typical day, do you think 0.8 degrees over a century matters much to a pine beetle?

There are other, much stronger reasons to explain the pine beetles.

John Henry

Hagar said...

I am reading some Norwegian history about how in the mid-seventeenth century the Swedes (well actually the German king of Sweden with a German army) marched up from Germany into Jutland and crossed the Belts over to Zealand on the ice. In the early eighteenth century Carl XII wanted to cross over the Sound (Øresund) itself on the ice, but the coldspell broke before he could get ready. However, a couple of years later he did march his army across the Oslofjord when he tried to invade Norway.
Then it warmed up a bit in the later eighteenth and early nineteenth century before turning cold again in the late nineteenth century, though not quite that cold.
And now it is warm again.
All as predicted by the Milankovitch cycles.

Owen said...

Bruce Hayden: just to reinforce your critique of the now-magical "97%," the work by Cook and Lewandowsky has been demolished. Of some 11,000 literature items, only a handful (<100) met the survey criteria. So the "real" number is more like 0.3% but, as with any Big Lie, what matters is brazen and tireless repetition at maximum volume. Google work by Legates that gets into the details.

Michael said...

Global warming hysteria is anti-Capitalism in a lab coat. With the collapse of the Soviet Union it was no longer possible to assert the superiority of socialism as an economic system, but rather than accept that the Left decided: OK, capitalism is better economics but it's destroying the planet. If you tortured your data and your equations sufficiently, you could "prove" that - as long as no one insisted on reproducibility or predictive power. It is indeed mostly "scientism" rather than science, but it gives the fancy people another reason to tell everyone else how to live.

AReasonableMan said...

Big Mike said...
ARM quotes from a review the "Knowledge Illusion," but fails to see


I quote again:
"people fail to realize just how ignorant they are of what’s going on. Consequently some who know next to nothing about meteorology .. nevertheless conduct fierce debates about climate change"


If you had actually understood the quote you would realize that a little bit more humility on the part of people who 'know next to nothing about meteorology', which is everyone on this blog, might be the more prudent approach.

Gahrie said...

I'm not an expert on climate, atmosphere, temperature or chemistry...but I do know history.

Clayton Hennesey said...

Scientism is a useful word. It doesn't mean science. It refers to a quasi-religion claiming science as its source of authority, whether it's tenets are scientific or not.

The hallmark of scientism is its aversion to "denialism", which hit a fascist bas relief in Michael Mann's lawsuit against Mark Steyn - precisely the opposite of Karl Popper's defining principle of falsifiability.

Scientism is the Berkeley campus of empirical thinking.

Owen said...

What I liked about Stephens' column, besides the appeal to intellectual humility and the importance of testing the evidence, were his word choices. You don't often see "traduce" or "hubris" in a paper that features the ranting of a Bruni or a Blow.

"Hubris" comes to mind again as I read this claim by ARM: "If you had actually understood the quote you would realize that a little bit more humility on the part of people who 'know next to nothing about meteorology', which is everyone on this blog, might be the more prudent approach." Please, ARM, get educated on the topic.

AReasonableMan said...

Owen said...
Please, ARM, get educated on the topic.


This is just empty bluster by a know-nothing.

Fernandinande said...

John said...
How many degrees of warming have happened in the west?


I dunno, probably not much. I just used that an example of how, if some animal benefits from the supposed warming, it's bad - because they paint all effects as bad.

Another is "Pika are losing their habitat", not "Nearly all animals except pika are gaining habitat, as are plants."

George Bernard Shaw opus, "Back to Methuselah (A Metabiological Pentateuch)"

Wow, that was a screed - what was his point?

"Many people, however, can read treatises and cannot read Bibles. Darwin could not read Shakespear[sic]."

Darwin was a far better writer than Shaw:

"Up to the age of thirty, or beyond it, poetry of many kinds, such as the works of Milton, Gray, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelley, gave me great pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight in Shakespeare, especially in the historical plays. ... But now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me."

rcocean said...

People need to understand that outside of their particular field of study, a "Scientist's" opinion isn't any more valid than anyone else's.

Someone with a PHD in Physics/Chemistry/Astronomy etc. doesn't know anything more about Climate Science than I do, unless they've made it their field of study.

Even more absurd is when some journalist (with a major in English) poses as anexpert on Science, because they write ABOUT science.

Owen said...

ARM: "...empty bluster by a know-nothing." That is as may be. I am always open to learning. What do you offer besides insults?

readering said...

Scientistism I'd like to see reported on more is antiballistic missile defense spending.

dda6ga dda6ga said...

When you cannot prove a statement or you know nothing about the subject at hand just fall back on the time tested method:

"baffle 'em with bullshit"

Hagar said...

We do know that the Milankovitch cycles exist and certainly are a part of the causes of climate variation and so we know that unless something"unknown" happens the next century or so should show a slight cooling, probably just a little colder than the late nineteenth century if it follows the same pattern that we know has existed for the last 10-12,000 years.
Furthermore, we know that it is cold and ice that causes failed harvests and starvation and misery for man and beast.
If increased CO2 brings warmth and vegetation growth, that should be a good thing.
Of course, unless you are one of those who insist that people are bad for he earth and there are way too many of us.

Owen said...

It might be worth remembering that the entire premise of the Warmunists is badly conceived. The Earth has no temperature. Temperature is an intensive property and a body like the Earth has a scalar field of temperatures. These are then summed in some fashion and divided by the number of samples to create an "average" but tell me what physical meaning that might have? When I tell you that the "average" temperature of Miami and Point Barrow is 65 degrees F, what do you actually know?

What the Earth "really" has is a heat content and a heat flux. But those concepts would not serve the political purpose.

Fernandinande said...

rcocean said...
Someone with a PHD in Physics/Chemistry/Astronomy etc. doesn't know anything more about Climate Science than I do, unless they've made it their field of study.


I disagree. The general population doesn't seem to understand basics like energy/work, power, force, pressure, momentum, temperature vs heat.

Michael K said...


AReasonableMan said...
Owen said...
Please, ARM, get educated on the topic.

This is just empty bluster by a know-nothing.


ARM is about to dazzle us with his graduate degree in meteorology. Come on, ARM. Don't be so modest."


The pine beetle problem is most likely related to the forest service prevention of fires and the political resistance to harvesting timber in national forests. Those forests near Los Angeles are heavily overgrown and have exceeded the water supply. The pines are unable to generate enough sap to prevent the beetles infestations. I think this is the case all over the west.

Original Mike said...

ARM said..."This is just empty bluster by a know-nothing."

The weak scientism principle: Only scientists can have an informed opinion on AGW.
The strong scientism principle: Only climate scientists can hav an informed opinion on AGW.

Original Mike said...

Blogger rcocean said..."People need to understand that outside of their particular field of study, a "Scientist's" opinion isn't any more valid than anyone else's."

Ahh, no.

Big Mike said...

I quote again:
"people fail to realize just how ignorant they are of what’s going on. Consequently some who know next to nothing about meteorology .. nevertheless conduct fierce debates about climate change"


To quote again, ARM, that's YOU, in spades.

Jupiter said...

"It may come to that yet; for hygiene, as it forces its way into our schools, is being taught as falsely as religion is taught there;"

Of course, religion isn't taught in our schools any more, except for Islam. And hygiene hasn't quite the reputation it once did. Now the "science" being taught in American schools is the biology that denies the existence of sex, the climatology that denies geology while embracing bogus astronomy and, of course, the anthropology that denies the existence of race. This is precisely "scientism"; science as magic, to be learned as a rote incantation, in a language spoken only by initiates.

mockturtle said...

Michael K suggests: The pine beetle problem is most likely related to the forest service prevention of fires and the political resistance to harvesting timber in national forests.

Exactly right. And many, if not most, forest service staff will admit as much.

MayBee said...

One thing I've noticed lately is the proliferation of news reports or social media posts that say "Scientists say....". As if Scientists are one body, and speak with one mind. What kind of scientists are we talking about here? Biologists? Chemists? Physicists? Astronomers? Criminologists? Are we imagining they all know about each others' fields of expertise?

Doesn't it make the speaker sound like a rube to talk about science and scientists like that?

Original Mike said...

rcocean said..."Someone with a PHD in Physics/Chemistry/Astronomy etc. doesn't know anything more about Climate Science than I do, unless they've made it their field of study."

I'm a medical imaging physicist who started out in astrophysics. I have not been formally trained in climate science. However, when I read this article and I encounter the concept of the "“characteristic emission level” one optical depth into the atmosphere", which is central to understanding the argument put forth, I immediately understand it because it is directly transferable from my studies of stellar atmospheres, as well as x-ray radiation transfer in matter, which I teach.

Hagar said...

Archaeologists, botanists, zoologists, paleontologists, geologists, etc. and so on are all scientists too, and you need to satisfactorily explain what they have determined to have taken place in the past before you take off into the wild blue yonder of the future based on gee-whizz computer simulations.

Jupiter said...

AReasonableMan said...

"If you had actually understood the quote you would realize that a little bit more humility on the part of people who 'know next to nothing about meteorology', which is everyone on this blog, might be the more prudent approach."

Everyone on this blog? Try everyone on this planet. ARM believes that the acolytes of his chosen superstition have access to information denied the rest of us, by virtue of their political orientation. How very scientific of you, ARM. I suppose you are also privy to Marx's remarkable scientific findings, not that you let your unquestioning belief in that claptrap interfere in the slightest with your comfortable middle-class existence. No, ARM's scientific knowledge exists only to reinforce ARM's effortless certainty of his own innate superiority. Down on your knees, lads! ARM is among us!

Michael K said...

" I immediately understand it because it is directly transferable from my studies of stellar atmospheres,"

I think the reference was to scientists, like Obama's Nobel Prize winning energy secretary, who was adamant about fossil fuels and global warming when his research was about laser trapping atoms. If your field is related, as for example, Freeman Dyson is with his Physics background, your opinion is based on knowledge, not politics as Chu's was.

Jupiter said...

Original Mike said...
"when I read this article and I encounter the concept of the "“characteristic emission level” one optical depth into the atmosphere", which is central to understanding the argument put forth,"

Indeed. But is the argument put forth really likely to have any relevance to the topic under discussion? The central issue is, how can modern civilization be responsible for a phenomenon that has occurred many times in the past, when modern civilization did not exist? That's a conundrum it will take more than a couple emission spectra to resolve.

jaydub said...

ARM: "people fail to realize just how ignorant they are of what’s going on. Consequently some who know next to nothing about meteorology .. nevertheless conduct fierce debates about climate change"

I'm sure you've heard this before, Scooter, but you don't know what you're talking about. Meteorologists are no more competent to discuss climatology than a veterinarian is to dicuss oncology. Meteorology is the study of the weather, climatology is the study of the climate. Meterologists are focused on short term, observable atmospheric data (barametric pressure, humidity, temperature, etc) to forecast probable changes in near term, observable atmospheric conditions; climatologists are focused on the long term trends, generally longer than 30 years, and collect wide ranging data on a broad scale (think continent, ocean, hemisphere, etc) in order to model their theories to predict long term trends, rather than simply observing physical data. While I'm not a meteorologist or a climatologist, I am well versed and proficient in operations research and systems analysis with signicant experience in large scale stochastic models of the type required in climatology. And I can reliably report the principal problem with AGW theory is the models it depends on are trash - none of these models will even reliably predict the past, let alone decades into the future. There are lots of reasons for that, chief among them no one really understands all the variables, let alone how they interact or evolve. When one of these alleged climate scientists who are so convinced of their righteousness can actually make one of their models accurately predict 30 years out (or 200 years in the past,) I'll believe in AGW. Until then, they are just bullshitters like you.

Martha said...

BretStephensNYT:

After 20 months of being harangued by bullying Trump supporters, I'm reminded that the nasty left is no different. Perhaps worse. https://twitter.com

Best column ever by Bret Stephens—much better than his typical WSJ column. In hiring Stephens, the NYTimes got a conservative who really HATES Trump.

traditionalguy said...

Scientism is Propaganda by actors in white lab coats. It rests entirely on the awe the public had for Nuclear Scientists, who ended WWII without another Okinawa slaughter x 10, and the MDs who got the credit for the scientists who found cheap antibiotics during WWII and thus saved billions of infectious deaths among mankind since then.

The Madison Avenue has piggy backed on those events ever since. AGW is only another grade B piggybacked Propaganda Campaign.

Original Mike said...

"The central issue is, how can modern civilization be responsible for a phenomenon that has occurred many times in the past, when modern civilization did not exist?"

Just because warming happened in the past for Reason A doesn't mean that it can't happen for Reason B in the future.

William said...

There's just too much first rate porn on the internet for me to become knowledgeable about climate change. It seems a pretty arcane and difficult subject that would require years to master, and, even then, your knowledge would be speculative...... One can't help but notice how all the pollutants seem to be coming from western countries. The air in China is not fit to breathe but they are praised for their innovative work with solar panels........In much the way that the sweat of fat, hairy Trump voters stinks whilst the perspiration of Leonardo DiCaprio cause supermodels to ovulate, the climatologists put a higher valence on the co2 from western industries than the emissions of third world countries....Over ninety percent of all agronomists agree that collective farms offer economies of scale and scientific know how that is lacking among small, privately owned farms. The science is settled. Let us solve world hunger by mandating private farms.

William said...

Opps. By outlawing private farms.

AReasonableMan said...

Original Mike said...
rcocean said..."Someone with a PHD in Physics/Chemistry/Astronomy etc. doesn't know anything more about Climate Science than I do, unless they've made it their field of study."

I'm a medical imaging physicist


Proving rcocean's point.

Hagar said...

Just because warming happened in the past for Reason A doesn't mean that it can't happen for Reason B in the future.

No, but if it has happened a number of times for Reason A in the past in discernable cycles, it is likely to continue to do so.

However, for Reason B, which is a new thing according to you, you need to come up with some really convincing evidence before you ring the church bells and declare a national - not to mention an international - emergency to exist.

So far, I see nothing but smoke and mirrors.

Original Mike said...

Just for the record Hagar, I'm an AGW skeptic.

AReasonableMan said...

Michael K said...
Freeman Dyson is with his Physics background


I have read Dyson's book on the origin of life. It is one of the stupidest books I have every read, once again proving the truism, albeit almost universally ignored:

"people fail to realize just how ignorant they are of what’s going on. Consequently some who know next to nothing about meteorology .. nevertheless conduct fierce debates about climate change"

Original Mike said...

Having graduated several PhD students, let me assure you that what you teach them is less about the body of knowledge in your specific field, but much more about how to be a scientist. It's pretty common for scientists to change their field, most commonly at the beginning of their career, but not at all unheard of later on. Becoming a scientist is much more about learning how to do science than it is a particular knowledge set.

madAsHell said...

After reflection.......It's like the fat guy that uses a beard to hide a double chin. It looks stupid, and it just confirms the fact that you're fat. The same is true of the writer. He uses a bunch of word salad to hide the fact he has nothing to say.

Unfortunately, the dog in the avatar wanted to go for a walk while I was writing the first comment, and kept me from expressing myself.

I think Laslo writes in a tavern with a beer. I can't even ignore the dog. I don't know how he does it.

Michael K said...

" It is one of the stupidest books I have every read,"

I'm sure your books are far more intelligent. What were the titles again ?

James Pawlak said...

It appears that the followers of the Prophet Al Bore are not committed to the principle that all questions of science are open to ongoing reexamination and questioning AND that only theology contains absolutes.

AReasonableMan said...

Original Mike said...
Having graduated several PhD students, let me assure you that what you teach them is less about the body of knowledge in your specific field, but much more about how to be a scientist. It's pretty common for scientists to change their field, most commonly at the beginning of their career, but not at all unheard of later on. Becoming a scientist is much more about learning how to do science than it is a particular knowledge set.


This is a very good example of arrogant scientism.

Most, more humble, scientists would acknowledge that their expertise is narrowly based.

Original Mike said...

Do you have science training, ARM?

cubanbob said...

ARM thanks for the tip. Just ordered The Knowledge Illusion on Ann's Amazon portal.

Owen said...

ARM: "...arrogant scientism." Redundancy alert.

AReasonableMan said...

Original Mike said...
Do you have science training, ARM?


Isn't the appeal to credentials one of the things that you are arguing against with respect to accepting the scientific reports of climate scientists?

tim in vermont said...

Isn't appeal to credentials your entire argument, ARM?

Original Mike said...

You advanced an opinion on the training of scientists, ARM, so I'm wondering what experience you have in that area. Sounds like none.

tim in vermont said...

Modern science has certain fundamental standards that are universal. These are where climate science so often stumbles. Look at the hockey stick, which is simply deceptive, and founded neither on accepted statistics, or accepted forestry, still it was defended fiercely for years, except in private correspondence of climate scientists, where it was ridiculed.

AReasonableMan said...

Original Mike said...
Sounds like none.


More arrogant scientism. A conclusion based on no evidence. I am comfortable letting my arguments speak for me.

Again, most scientists recognize the limits of their expertise. Some scientists let their expertise in one area go their head and they begin to opine on a wide range of subjects, Nobel prize winners are prone to this failing (e.g. mega doses of vitamin C), but these individuals tend to be exception.

I find some of the climate scientists arrogant but the human failings of a few individuals shouldn't blind anyone to the broad consensus within the field.

Krumhorn said...

I know that our hostess tries to steer away from global warming posts, for obvious reasons, but the Bret Stephens piece offers a different angle that often interests her....the reaction of the left. It has been bitter and nasty. If there were a Twitter equivalent to the antifa or the Black Bloc, it would be this reaction.

Now consider this. Stephens is a devout never-Trumper. Not only does he concede a temperature rise, as ARM pointed out, he concedes his view that humans are, at least, part of the cause. His only point is that there must be a conversation about the subject with an open airing of differing views. He points out that history is replete with examples of science hijacked for political or policy purposes, and that the warmists do not help their cause by their failure to tolerate differing views. And THIS is the kind of blowback Stephens gets:

Adriana Heguy, a genomics scientist and professor of pathology at NYU, urged her colleagues to scrap their subscriptions, as well.

“Composing my letter to the editor today and canceling @nytimes,” she tweeted. “‘Balance’ means a VALID alternative opinion, not pseudoscience. I’m so sad.”


Imagine the pointy-headed arrogance it takes to write that! Not only is she certain of the accuracy her position, she is also certain that there is no VALID other view.

.........and the lefties wonder why Trump won

Sorry, Ann, I know you do not like your blog to become an AGW shouting match, but I have to say something to ARM.

I have read a fair number of published papers of Briffa, Hansen, Schmidt, Sanger, Jones, Curry, McIntyr, Verhoeven, and many others. While I have an undergraduate degree in physics, I claim no particular scientific authority other than a general understanding of how science is done. I am convinced of the following:

- I don't know what the hell is going on in the climate
- neither does anyone else

I have seen enough to be deeply suspicious of the following:

- data manipulation
- cherry picking data
- deeply flawed complicated multi-variate statistical analysis
- suppression of dissenting views
- clear political divide between the warmists and skeptics
- a clear correlation between the scientific "consensus" and leftie policy objectives
- the cult-like belief in the catechism of the Church of the Global Warmists

I don't know if you are, in fact, a reasonable man or not, but any reasonable person should be willing to step back and wonder how there can possibly be 97% certainty about such a complex system as Earth climate with such lousy data, non-existent scientific method, and sharp political lines. This isn't how real science works. This is how leftie politics works.

- Krumhorn

Original Mike said...

"I am comfortable letting my arguments speak for me."

Let's put AGW aside and just talk about science and scientists. Let me assure you, you're arguments definitely speak for themselves.

Steven said...

Hmm? The physics of the greenhouse effect are fairly well-known, demonstrable in a laboratory, and completely consistent with the actually-observed warming in the surface temperature record as the measured concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere increased.

Of course, that all directly contradicts the "models", because both the physics-predicted warming and the observed warming is about one Kelvin per doubling of atmospheric concentration of CO2, while the "models" use a 1.5-to-4.5 Kelvin range that was originally just a guess in 1979 and has been unshakable as a "consensus" ever since.

Global warming is known and measured. Anthropogenic global warming is pretty certain, given the close match between lab-tested theory and empirical observation. Catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is alarmist nonsense inconsistent with both the physics and observation.

tim in vermont said...

I think that ARM might be ignorant of how broad the range of conclusions about AGW is, from mild warming to the end is nigh, that makes the '97%' consensus close to meaningless.

tim in vermont said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amadeus 48 said...

"Consensus within the field" is not science.

"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong."--Richard Feynman

AReasonableMan said...

tim in vermont said...
I think that ARM might be ignorant of how broad the range of conclusions about AGW is


You would be wrong on that.

AReasonableMan said...

Original Mike said...
you're arguments definitely speak for themselves.


As your arrogance does for you.

Original Mike said...

@Krumhorn - Good post.

The feature I find most striking about the current state of this field is the brownshirt-like efforts to shut down further inquiry. This is an immature field. The claims of certainty are totally inappropriate.

Original Mike said...

"As your arrogance does for you."

Arrogance? I've disclosed my experience on the topic so that others can take that into account when forming their opinion. You refuse to disclose yours.

AReasonableMan said...

Krumhorn said...
any reasonable person should be willing to step back and wonder how there can possibly be 97% certainty about such a complex system as Earth climate


If we just speak about the science then I am largely agnostic and if it were the effects of alcohol on sociability that were subject to dispute I would remain so.

But climate change introduces some real world consequences. I would draw a parallel to Pascal's Wager. Betting that humans are contributing to global warming carries very limited risks whereas betting against it has a large downside. It is foolish, in my view, to ignore these real world risks when assessing the science. As noted above, one thing we know for sure is that it is not a robust system and that it has no fixed stable state.

tim in vermont said...

Bullshit! For the same reasons that Pascal's Wager is bullshit. How many people must go without cheap energy and what are the consequences of that worldwide for what easily could turn out to be no good reason?

Amadeus 48 said...

ARM--Pascal's wager was with respect to the existence of God--a question of religious belief.

See the problem with applying it to AGW?

One religion is pretty much like another in terms of belief.

tim in vermont said...

Do we want to revisit the ice ages? What effect would that have? Pascal's Wager is peddled by people pushing religion.

Michael McNeil said...

1) The Earth is currently in an ice age called the Quaternary that began 2.5 million years ago.
2) The Earth is also in the middle of an interglacial (a period of global warming during an ice age) called the Holocene that began 12,000 - 10,000 years ago.
3) Modern man first appeared 200,000 years ago. All of our existence has occurred during an ice age.


That is correct except it fails to notice that there was another “interglacial” period during the span of (H. sap.) Man, long before the “Holocene” interglacial we find ourselves in today: the so-called “Eemian” period — extending from some 130,000 years before the present (BP) to around 115,000 BP — thus ultimately lasting perhaps half-again as long as our own Holocene interglacial has continued thus far, while achieving even warmer temperatures (probably +2–3°C warmer) than at present.

The recent discovery of apparent archaeological detritus of bone butchery far older than any earlier human-caused remains in America — if it proves out — occurred during the Eemian.

Original Mike said...

'I would draw a parallel to Pascal's Wager. Betting that humans are contributing to global warming carries very limited risks whereas betting against it has a large downside."

The risks are not "very limited." All Pascal had to do was go to church, whereas the climate models indicate we must endure very large hardships for a very small decrease in temperature.

tim in vermont said...

Why should I give up my most precious thing, my freedom, because of some hypothetical cooked up by some guy peddling religion?

tim in vermont said...

Humans evolved during ice ages and have thrived during the recent warming, the Holocene.

AReasonableMan said...

Amadeus 48 said...
Pascal's wager was with respect to the existence of God


Actually Pascal's wager is a quite subtle thing. To quote wiki:

"Pascal's Wager was groundbreaking because it charted new territory in probability theory, marked the first formal use of decision theory"

The basic idea is not limited to assessing the risks of atheism.

tim in vermont said...

Not limited to peddling theism, you mean.

cubanbob said...

ARM just for the sake of argument let's assume that the human caused global warming is true. So what? The alarmist claim we may have several centuries from now the East Coast flooded and Alaska and Siberia become great farmland. They advocate that the West reduces itself to near Third World living standards and that the current Third World would have to stay poor for the good of the team. How large a reduction in your personal standard of living are you willing to accept? And why wait for the government to force it upon you when you can voluntarily do it today?

Paddy O said...

I'm still confused about all this. Is there a politician I can pay $400,000 so they'll help me understand better? I realize the goal is to help rich people get richer while--at the same time!--feeling self-righteous about talking about helping poor people, but I'd like some action steps on how to make sure those rich people get the money they need.

Big Mike said...

How large a reduction in your personal standard of living are you willing to accept?

@cubanbob, ARM doesn't expect to see a reduction in his personal standard of living. He hope to be (expects to be?) one of those sucking on the AGW teat.

And why wait for the government to force it upon you when you can voluntarily do it today?

Don't make us laugh.

AReasonableMan said...

cubanbob said...
They advocate that the West reduces itself to near Third World living standards and that the current Third World would have to stay poor for the good of the team.


"They" is a little vague. There is a vast diversity of opinion on what to do. Stephens, while not rejecting the science, believes we should do nothing. Others see this as reckless.

These are political decisions, not scientific decisions. Energy conservation is a general good, reserves of fossil fuels remain finite and have many uses apart from transportation and heating. The politics favor energy conservation in general as they favor renewable energy sources, so these things are advancing. I have no problem with that.

mockturtle said...

I enjoy my third-world solar power. ;-)

Lewis Wetzel said...

Energy conservation is a general good, reserves of fossil fuels remain finite and have many uses apart from transportation and heating. The politics favor energy conservation in general as they favor renewable energy sources, so these things are advancing. I have no problem with that.
By "general good" do you mean always and everywhere a good?
I see in what you've written @2:22 the absolutism that Stephens criticizes.
In 2017, the world is producing more electrical power, and more fossil fuel, than ever before.

cubanbob said...

Big Mike I live in the Miami area on the water. I might be wrong but the sea level is supposedly rising about 3 mm a year. My house is eight feet above the current flood. I figure I'll have to start worrying a AGW flood issue in about two hundred years. In the meantime waterfront property here hasn not gone down in price. Maybe the markets know something.

Gahrie said...

reserves of fossil fuels remain finite

No they don't. Not only are we continuously finding new reservoirs of oil, it is becoming increasingly likely that oil is in fact a renewable resource produced within Earth's crust.

Lewis Wetzel said...

A lot of people around here are off grid.
As for the hardware, it's simpler and more efficient to with a pure 12V system.
The problem is 12V appliances aren't very good and are more expensive than their AC counterparts. They are boat or RV quality unless you spend a lot of money.
If you go with an inverter, you still have problems. It's more complicated. Inverters aren't cheap, and if they break you can't fix them. No power until you replace the inverter.
Also you have issues with inductive loads, like refrigerators and water pumps.
There are reasons our electrical power system evolved the way that it did.
I've got two hundred amp, 2 phase service at my house. I could run an arc welder if I wanted to, at the same time the TV and fridge are on, the lights are on, and the television is on.
I like that.

AReasonableMan said...

Gahrie said...
"reserves of fossil fuels remain finite"

No they don't.


You are torturing the meaning of the word finite.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Did you know that the world is producing more electrical power and more fossil fuel than ever before, ARM?
I find that most people don't.

Krumhorn said...

Global warming is known and measured. Anthropogenic global warming is pretty certain, given the close match between lab-tested theory and empirical observation

Actually, it's not at all clear that either statement is accurate. The written record has been monkeyed with, and the original data has been mysteriously misplaced. Plus, it has not been until recent times that temperature could be accurately measured within 1 degree F of certainty, leave alone the accuracy required to state that temps have risen .85 degrees C. To compound the problem, the written record is relatively recent and has been married to extremely problematic temperature proxies such as bristle cones and river sediment and Yamal tree rings and the like

To the contrary, the satellite troposphere record from 1978 shows almost no net retained solar irradiance compared to IR discharge from the upper altitudes.

Using ice core samples back to the Halocene shows that the centennial variability over the last 8000 years has been less than the average of one standard deviation of .95 degrees C. With that kind of natural variability, how can it NOT be said that the IPCC .85 degree C rise over the last century is just part of the background noise?

That paper was written by a former lead IPCC author who is generally a warmist. He has been reviled by his fellow warmists and exiled from the Church. Scratch a leftie and there is a tyrant screeming to get out.

- Krumhorn

AReasonableMan said...

mockturtle said...
I enjoy my third-world solar power. ;-)


I plan to put solar power in place in our house before I retire to keep energy costs down in retirement but I keep putting it off now because costs keep falling.

Original Mike said...

"You are torturing the meaning of the word finite."

So are you. If they last, say, 500 years then it is arrogant to assume that, given human ingenuity, it will matter.

Jim S. said...

"Scientism" is a philosophical term and it's not particularly new. It refers to the belief that science is the only source of knowledge. It's generally used as more of a slur though, since most philosophers who are accused of scientism would deny it because it's incredibly naive and irrational. For one thing, it's self-referentially incoherent. What's the scientific evidence that supports the claim that science is the only source of knowledge? For another thing, it leads to obvious absurdities, like Quine arguing that scientific evidence could overthrow basic arithmetical claims or the laws of logic. Of course, empiricism is a viable position, but scientism is just a little too naive to take seriously. It's more a knee-jerk reaction than a well-thought-out position.

AReasonableMan said...

Original Mike said...
So are you.


No. The mass of fossil fuels has to be less than the mass of the earth. The mass of the earth is finite.

No torture involved.

cubanbob said...

"These are political decisions, not scientific decisions. Energy conservation is a general good, reserves of fossil fuels remain finite and have many uses apart from transportation and heating. The politics favor energy conservation in general as they favor renewable energy sources, so these things are advancing. I have no problem with that."

ARM these should be market decisions, one based on economics and not politically imposed decisions. As for the politics favor, you too are being rather vague. I don't see a majority consensus of agreeing to self economic diminishment. I do see those who see themselves as the vanguard of the proletariat trying to impose these policies for the general good as they see it even if it means using government force to do so.

Bruce Hayden said...

The problem with ARM's thesis is that the costs of doing what the left is calling on us to do would cost $trillions$ and $trillions$. Which means that people will die as a result. Probably a lot more people than if we do nothing. People freezing to death because they can't afford heat. People starving because they can't afford food. Etc. So, I would contend that doing nothing is the lower risk alternative.

Original Mike said...

"No. The mass of fossil fuels has to be less than the mass of the earth. The mass of the earth is finite."

I didn't argue that. I said in the future we may not need fossil fuels. In fact, when we do run out I believe it's a virtual certainty we will have alternatives.

You have such a pessimistic view of human ingenuity. I think it's because you were never trained as a scientist.

Unknown said...

"Scientism" is commonly, and perhaps incorrectly, used to mean the inappropriate application of science to problems. This may be because the science is inadequate Alternatively, it may be because the issues are not scientific. As an example, the eugenics programs of the early 20th century were based on insufficient knowledge of genetics to accomplish the goal of eugenics advocates. But there also were non-scientific problems, such as what traits were "inferior," and whether the state should use its power to determine who should have children.

Thus, eugenic proposals were scientistic, but not scientific.

walter said...

traditionalguy said...He is writing a nuanced attempt to present another point of view without favoring that other point of view, because if you did, then the NYT would have to kill your columns off.
--
Great Scot!
Yep...much like the researchers knowing the line they have to toe to keep their labs funded.
Even though this is the post mea culpa NYT supposedly trying to see beyond their blinders.

Original Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Original Mike said...

"Yep...much like the researchers knowing the line they have to toe to keep their labs funded."

When you are supporting people, some with families, whose paycheck may end with only 2 months warning, you do what you have to do.

Owen said...

Krumhorn: you are kicking some serious ass on the physics here. Thanks to you and some others, I feel no need to respond to ARM. His appeal to authority (consensus) has gotten nowhere. His citing of Pascal's Wager --or the precautionary principle-- has not done him much good, either. Regarding the latter, I think it is a deceptive argument that works by pretending there are no opportunity costs in not doing certain things. There are *always* opportunity costs, to every branch in a decision tree. These folks just prefer to ignore or minimize them.

Bruce Hayden said...

"Of course, that all directly contradicts the "models", because both the physics-predicted warming and the observed warming is about one Kelvin per doubling of atmospheric concentration of CO2, while the "models" use a 1.5-to-4.5 Kelvin range that was originally just a guess in 1979 and has been unshakable as a "consensus" ever since."

What Steven is talking about here is the difference between the direct affects of CO2 and the possible indirect/feedback effects. It is hypothesized that an increase in heat captured by the increased CO2 in the atmosphere will result in more heating due to how it interacts with atmospheric H2O, a much more potent and plentiful greenhouse gases gas in our atmosphere. And this is where those elaborate models come in. Like CO2, H2O is crucial for life (which is why classifying CO2 as an air pollutant was patently absurd). But making it much more difficult to model on a planetary level, H2O changes state between solid and liquid (and back) and to some extent between liquid and gaseous, within the habitable temperature range for humans. Thus, it is constantly doing so all around the globe, all the time. Esp gas to liquid and back again. Plus, some 70% of the surface of the planet is covered by liquid H2O. There is a massive amount of liquid H2O stored there. Making things worse, we are discovering how little we know about the heat retention capabilities and propensities of that vast reservoir of liquid H2O girdling the planet. Other aspects make it hard to model. The amount of H2O in the atmosphere varies 100x around the globe. Carrying capacity depends on temperature, and liquid H2O in the atmosphere forms clouds, which affect the albedo of the planet, which in turn affects how much solar energy is absorbed and how much is reflected back into space. Except that this all depends on the type of clouds and their elevation. Oh, and one of the interesting factoids I learned from my kid, who is dealing with both gaseous CO2 and H2O in their PhD research, is that H2O has a lot more energy states than CO2 (which, I believe, is a good part of why it is a more potent greenhouse gas), as a result of their different molecular structures.

And, it is trying to grossly simplify this is why, I would suggest, the models so poorly predict reality. It is one thing to guess, or assume, that the feedback will be, say, 1.5x, or even 4.5x. You can then guesstimate that, indeed, doubling of CO2 will result in maybe 1.5C, or even 4.5C, increase in global temperature - but you are still left with wildly guessing the feedback effects of H2O.

fivewheels said...

I've said for a long time that the whole problem with the environmental movement is that it's a movement. A movement requires believers, and it also attracts simple-minded hangers-on who don't understand the details but follow, follow, follow nonetheless.

You notice that there's no "chemistry movement" or "electrical engineering movement." Because chemistry actually is science, not dogma.

eddie willers said...

Science is what Feynman did. Scientism is what Bill Nye does.

Yowza!

Owen said...

Bruce Hayden: in your understated way you are exposing the underbelly of the Warmunists' idea: that the equilibrium sensitivity of temperature to a doubling of CO2 is not high, maybe 1.5 degrees C, maybe 2.0, but in any case nothing like the EEEK ELEVENTY figures of 3.0 and 4.5 degrees C that are bandied about. The only way they can get to those higher figures is by waving their hands and saying (as in the cartoon) "and then a miracle occurs." Here the miracle is runaway positive feedback from water vapor. Yes, that's right: the water vapor that we witness behaving itself in a very predictable and negative-feedback way in the hydrological cycle, for billions of years under all kinds of regimes of temperature and humidity and (yes) extremely high and low concentrations of CO2, is suddenly going to lose its s**t and create a runaway heating disaster.

Serious climate scientists offer this idea, with no empirical justification whatsoever. They can't explain what kind of physics woukd favor or even permit this. It has never been seen before. But, you betcha, it is going to happen.

Unless you write them a very big check right away.

AReasonableMan said...

Krumhorn said...
The written record has been monkeyed with, and the original data has been mysteriously misplaced.


This is all just conspiracy theory stuff. If this is how you want to think about things you may as well just watch an episode of the X-files.

AReasonableMan said...

walter said...
much like the researchers knowing the line they have to toe to keep their labs funded.


More conspiracy nonsense. Why not get out the tinfoil as well?

AReasonableMan said...

fivewheels said...
You notice that there's no "chemistry movement" or "electrical engineering movement." Because chemistry actually is science, not dogma.


Svante Arrhenius, one of the most famous of all chemists, was the first to point out the greenhouse effect of CO2.

Original Mike said...

"More conspiracy nonsense. Why not get out the tinfoil as well?"

Once again, you advance a forceful opinion on something you have no experience with. It's almost as if you didn't read those quotes about ignorance with which you started off the thread.

urbane legend said...

Tommy Duncan said...
An honest assessment of GW theory . . .
Well there's ya problem right there.

William said...
. . . In much the way that the sweat of fat, hairy Trump voters stinks whilst the perspiration of Leonardo DiCaprio cause supermodels to ovulate . . .
We should embrace limiting global warming to solve this problem if nothing else. Stop DiCaprio perspiring! The world has enough supermodels.

AReasonableMan said...

When talking about predictions that failed it is worthwhile pointing out that the warming denialists insisted for years that there was a pause in the warming but there has been no real pause, just normal variation in the data.

AReasonableMan said...

Original Mike said...
opinion on something you have no experience with.


I have a lot of experience with conspiracy theorists.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Wikipedia, ARM? Really?

AReasonableMan said...

Lewis Wetzel said...
Wikipedia, ARM? Really?


Attacking the source rather than the argument? Weak stuff. Come on let's hear your argument.

Owen said...

ARM: youare now on notice that calling somebody a "denialist" is hate speech, straight up, and will trigger some serious litigation.

You're welcome.

Original Mike said...

"I have a lot of experience with conspiracy theorists."

Seriously ARM, your self image is that of a reasonable man. Surely you recognize that you don't have first hand knowledge here.

Gahrie said...

Svante Arrhenius, one of the most famous of all chemists, was the first to point out the greenhouse effect of CO2.

Did he also talk about the much larger greenhouse effect of H2O, and the fact that there is much more H2O than CO2 in the air?

Lewis Wetzel said...


No academic institution will accept Wikipedia as a reference, unless you are writing about Wikipedia. Do you always get your "science" information from Wikipedia?
Perhaps next you will cite the film The Day After Tomorrow?
Having demonstrated that your cite is worthless, please 'carry on.'

fivewheels said...

I don't think I'd trust a Wikipedia entry on Wikipedia.

AReasonableMan said...

Original Mike said...
you recognize that you don't have first hand knowledge here.


The funny thing is that by your own admission you have no useful experience, "I'm a medical imaging physicist". You are just another blowhard on the internet with limited knowledge and no directly relevant professional experience, yet you have managed to convince yourself that you know more than all the people with genuine expertise.

Original Mike said...

ARM, I was referring to the pressure of keeping a science lab funded from federal grants.

And you know it.

Gahrie said...

The written record has been monkeyed with, and the original data has been mysteriously misplaced.

This is all just conspiracy theory stuff. If this is how you want to think about things you may as well just watch an episode of the X-files.


No..this is the current state of climate science. Weren't you paying attention to the East Anglia e-mails?

Every model, hockey stick and alarmist prediction is based on "adjusted" data. When asked for the original data so other scientists could try to replicate the studies, the climate scientists all say the same thing....I can't find it.

One of the reasons climate science isn't real science is because it is all based on proxies and WAGS, instead of observed data.

Gahrie said...

When talking about alarmism that is ridiculous it is worthwhile pointing out that the warming alarmists insist that last year was the warmest year on record but the increase was only .01 degree and the margin of error was .1 degree.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Anybody who cites wikipedia on a controversial scientific topic has no ability to determine who does and who does not have 'legitimate expertise.'
It's like arguing with the wind.

AReasonableMan said...

OK. Let's deal with the lab funding conspiracy theory. No doubt there are fads in climate science, just as there are in all the other sciences. But these fads have a half-life, at some point it will be easier to get money with a counter fad approach than following the fad. This conspiracy theory is like the one I have heard about evolution, that scientists could find evidence to disprove evolution but they couldn't get funded for that work. The exact opposite is true. If you could find evidence to undermine some fundamental tenet of current evolutionary theory you would be a star. Most scientists are inherently skeptics, they like to take down other scientist's dogma. I have yet to see any evidence that climate scientists are fundamentally different to all other scientists.

Lewis Wetzel said...

"Here's my unreliable data. Go ahead! Refute it!"

Lewis Wetzel said...

"OK. Let's deal with the lab funding conspiracy theory."
What lab funding conspiracy? Cite, please? Otherwise you are setting up a strawman argument. That means that you are refuting an argument no one has made, ARM.

EMyrt said...

Great comments about scientism, a term I've found useful for 40+ years. Amusing to see Shaw, Lewis and Hayek in a progression on the subject.

Instead of more words (you lawyers!) the link below is to a beautiful representation of what we know about paleoclimate (which I studied back in my archeology days). This is probably as close to a real scientific consensus as possible. It also provides some historical and geological perspective.

Despite the title, the sidebars show much more than 18000 years. It's worth some time zooming in to examine the details. However, the devastating arguments against CAGW are clearest in the 4 billion year sidebar (nb the error bar ranges!) and the far right temperatures.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/11/29/climate-and-human-civilization-over-the-last-18000-years-2/

tim in vermont said...

No real pause, just variation...

Lol.

AReasonableMan said...

Lewis Wetzel said...
Anybody who cites wikipedia


I can guarantee that the people who wrote that article know more on this particular topic than you. I like wikipedia, in the areas where I am proficient it has proven very reliable. As a multi-author document subject to constant revision it will generally be more error-free than a traditional single author textbook, with only one or two reviewers. I am not claiming to be a climate scientist. I am generally very skeptical of all scientific claims, but I am even more skeptical of conspiracy theorists. Conspiracy theorists are immune to facts.

There is no shortage of citations in the wiki article, why not attack those?

AReasonableMan said...

tim in vermont said...
No real pause, just variation...


Did you actually look at the data or are you just making a fool of yourself on the internet?

AReasonableMan said...

Are we going to question the validity of a site with the dim bulb title "Watts up with that?"?

I mean, just in the interests of consistency, if nothing else.

Lewis Wetzel said...

You know what bugs me?
The bogus speed-trap conspiracy theory.
After all, cops are professional law enforcement officers. They've had training that the people who get the speeding tickets don't get. They know stuff. They swear to uphold the law, unlike most drivers. How many cops get speeding tickets?
Damn few. If any.
Yet people still believe that cops will set up "speed traps" where a sudden change in speed limits will catch drivers off-guard, or where road conditions make the posted limit unreasonably low, or even that the lower speed limit sign is purposely obscured so it will be unlikely to be seen.
Besides, even if their were such a thing as speed traps, DA's and county prosecutors are elected. They would be rewarded by the voters for exposing the fraud.
So there can't be any speed traps, anywhere. No one has ever gotten a speeding ticket they did not deserve to get.

Lewis Wetzel said...

There is no shortage of citations in the wiki article, why not attack those?
Then cite those!
Jeez, I can't believe you think that you know how to pose an argument.
Here's a little academic secret, ARM: if you have a problem finding a cite that supports your argument, your argument is probably no damn good.

Jupiter said...

Unknown said...

"As an example, the eugenics programs of the early 20th century were based on insufficient knowledge of genetics to accomplish the goal of eugenics advocates."

Would you say that the dog-breeding programs of the last 1000 years were based on insufficient knowledge of genetics to produce German shepherds and chihuahuas?

AReasonableMan said...

Lewis Wetzel said...
What lab funding conspiracy?


Do you actually read and follow what other people are saying? Or, are you just refuting everything I say as an involuntary reflex?

Lewis Wetzel said...

Wikis

Please note that the APA Style Guide to Electronic References warns writers that wikis (like Wikipedia, for example) are collaborative projects that cannot guarantee the verifiability or expertise of their entries.

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/

Lewis Wetzel said...

Do you actually read and follow what other people are saying? Or, are you just refuting everything I say as an involuntary reflex?

4/29/17, 5:58 PM


So, no cite.
Didn't think so.
I hope, ARM, you have learned from this experience that you are not nearly as clever as you thought you were.

AReasonableMan said...

Lewis Wetzel said...
I hope, ARM, you have learned from this experience


I have. I have learnt that you are a complete dummy.

Original Mike said...

"OK. Let's deal with the lab funding conspiracy theory.'

There is no conspiracy. Your labeling it as such is an attempt to deny a real phenomenon.

"But these fads have a half-life, at some point it will be easier to get money with a counter fad approach than following the fad.'

At the risk of giving you another opening to heap scorn on me, I have acquired multiple grants and have sat on multiple study sections. You are correct that IF the data becomes such that the AGW hypothesis is no longer tenable, there will be a tipping point. But right now, if you want to make sure your star pupil with the cute newborn keeps his paycheck, you pitch to the orthodoxy.

"Most scientists are inherently skeptics, they like to take down other scientist's dogma."

That takes money. It also takes the facts. Right now, IMO, the facts are not established.

"This conspiracy theory is like the one I have heard about evolution, that scientists could find evidence to disprove evolution but they couldn't get funded for that work."

Thanks for bringing up evolution; it's a good example. After 150+ years, evolution is an established fact. I have no doubt that 150 years from now man's affect on Earth's climate will also be well understood.

AReasonableMan said...

There are multiple issues here that seem to be confused in the minds of some.

1. Whether or not the earth is warming.
- Only conspiracy theorists doubt this.
2. Whether or not human activity contributes to this warming.
- Open for argument, but the data favors this possibility.
3. The ability of the models to make reliable predictions.
- All reasonable people should doubt this.
4. What should we should do about the possibility that human activity drives global warming.
- Not a scientific question but a political one.

AReasonableMan said...

Original Mike said...
At the risk of giving you another opening to heap scorn on me


I apologize if I did this. You attempted to establish authority of the basis of credentials rather than argument leaving me little choice.

Lewis Wetzel said...

AReasonableMan said...
Lewis Wetzel said...
I hope, ARM, you have learned from this experience

I have. I have learnt that you are a complete dummy.

4/29/17, 6:04 PM

And yet, Unlike ARM, I understand that Wikipedia is not a reliable source, and that citing your sources is important.
Huh.

tim in vermont said...

It really hurts being called a fool by a semi-dim witted tool. You haven't shown the first sign of having the intellectual honesty to examine the issues involved in calling something a variation or a pause. All taxonomy is political.

tim in vermont said...

I would like to see the warnings of these variations that were made way back when the science was settled.

AReasonableMan said...

tim in vermont said...
You haven't shown the first sign of having the intellectual honesty to examine the issues involved in calling something a variation or a pause.


Again, did you actually look at the data? It is a very simple data set, it will only take a few minutes. I am providing a link:

link

Original Mike said...

"I apologize if I did this. You attempted to establish authority of the basis of credentials rather than argument leaving me little choice."

With respect, the topic was on the training of scientists and whether those skills are general to science or specific only to the knowledge base of the field in which the training occurs. I've spent 30 years doing this. My credentials are relevant.

Original Mike said...

I agree with all of your 6:12 pm points, ARM. What really needs to happen is for the politics to be put on hold for 30 years while the science is carried out. Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen.

AReasonableMan said...

Original Mike said...
You are correct that IF the data becomes such that the AGW hypothesis is no longer tenable, there will be a tipping point. But right now, if you want to make sure your star pupil with the cute newborn keeps his paycheck, you pitch to the orthodoxy.


Neither you nor I sit on these study sections but the dynamic you propose does not jibe with my experiences of human behavior. Humans are not that great at sucking it up for the common good. The only way your scenario plays out as proposed is if all climate scientists have become so paranoid from constant attacks that they have all developed a siege mentality. This is possible, I guess, but a lot of these guys have tenure, what do they care? There must be some older guys, close to retirement, they can say whatever they want.

Michael K said...

"Or, are you just refuting everything I say as an involuntary reflex? "

Well, it is a fairly reliable instinct.

I have spent the day at my grandchildren's games. I see I didn't miss anything important.

AReasonableMan said...

Original Mike said...
I agree with all of your 6:12 pm points


Fuck. What are going to argue about now? I am going to make dinner.

Lewis Wetzel said...


1. Whether or not the earth is warming.
- Only conspiracy theorists doubt this.

This is silly. What part of the earth is warming? Surface temps? Air temps? Water temps? On what time scale?

Original Mike said...

"Humans are not that great at sucking it up for the common good. The only way your scenario plays out as proposed is if all climate scientists have become so paranoid from constant attacks that they have all developed a siege mentality. This is possible, I guess, but a lot of these guys have tenure, what do they care? There must be some older guys, close to retirement, they can say whatever they want."

You're missing something fundamental. Yeah, some of them have tenure but their grants pay the paychecks of the people in their lab. You need that grant or you are laying off everybody in your lab. And it's very personal. Those people are your friends and dependents. They're like your children. So you play it safe.

The stress of getting refunded led to many, many sleepless nights. It's the only thing I truly hated about my science career.

Original Mike said...

"Neither you nor I sit on these study sections ..."

No, but I sat on others. Why would climate science be different?

walter said...

Pretty difficult to get proper exploration of those points when "the science is settled".
I hope you cook something with a low carbon footprint...for Gore's sake.

Lewis Wetzel said...

The global warming thing reminds me a bit of the search for extraterrestrial life.
We haven't found any.
Not anywhere.
The only life that we know of exists within the the earth's biosphere or originated within the earth's biosphere.
Yet there are people who will swear the universe is teeming with life. They can point to mountains of peer reviewed research written by scientists, and this research says that it is reasonable to assume that there is life elsewhere in the universe. It might be as close as Mars or as far away as planets around other suns.
But wherever it is, it is not anywhere that we have looked, and we have looked wherever we can look.

Original Mike said...

"But wherever it is, it is not anywhere that we have looked, and we have looked wherever we can look."

LOL

eddie willers said...

Keep it up, Lewis.
You're hot tonight!

Loved the speed trap logic.

Michael K said...

It might be as close as Mars or as far away as planets around other suns.
But wherever it is, it is not anywhere that we have looked, and we have looked wherever we can look.


I suspect that too many are looking for little green men.

If we dig 6 feet beneath the Mars surface, I suspect we will find life somewhat like Archaea.

We also call these organisms, "Extremophiles" as they are often found in very hostile environments. Study of their metabolism is very interesting but little green men they are not.

Krumhorn said...

This is all just conspiracy theory stuff. If this is how you want to think about things you may as well just watch an episode of the X-files

Oh my! Where do we start?

First of all, it's indisputable that the surface instrument temperature record has been "adjusted". Over 65% of the raw data has been changed. While a very good scientific argument can be made for making such adjustments...such as a weather terminal that used to be sited in the middle of a Nebraska cornfield for decades is now in the center of an asphalt parking lot of a shopping center that has been built on the cornfield....or a unit that used to be at the edge of an airport is now receiving jet exhaust....or a change of time of day for measurements....or a change of instruments, what cannot happen is "trust me" adjustments that cannot be replicated by auditing scientists. That is NOT science.

The adjustments must be open and transparent, and the East Anglia emails give no comfort that biases of the adjusters play no role. To make matters worse, CRU can no longer provide their raw data so that others can review their methods. They claim to have lost it. Nor will they provide the code they used to make the adjustments.

Now you can dismiss that as conspiracy theory, but when viewed in the totality of leftist behavior, it's impossible to take seriously that we should trust their integrity, particularly when those same folks are on record for "hiding the decline" in the proxy reconstruction. Whether tenured or not, university scientists only can thrive if they receive grants to fund their labs, and it is indisputable that the Deep State has every incentive to fund their fellow travelers so that the paper publishing this dreck can continue the drumbeat of overwhelming consensus.

The other day, many gunshots were fired in Huntsville at the laboratory of Roy Spencer and John Christie. They are very visible scientists who strongly dispute that climate sensitivity to CO2 is high. In fact, they have, through government-funded research, made a clear case for negative sensitivity in the feedback mechanism. If you are unwilling to demand that the warmist data and code be freely available for independent analysis, then you are clearly part of the problem and just another rabid leftie who will stop at nothing to achieve your policy objectives, including the bastardization of science for political purposes.

- Krumhorn

.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Look, this is how stupid the science-denying, AGW alarmists are:




Apr 28
Will Dickeson @WillDickeson
Replying to @Corrie_Mooney and @HotlineJosh
I'm offended that he's trying to create some sort of room or need for doubt when the science is clear. Am I too certain for gravity, too?

Apr 28
Will Dickeson @WillDickeson
Replying to @Corrie_Mooney and @HotlineJosh
If I haven't answered you again, I've floated away you see.

https://mobile.twitter.com/HotlineJosh/status/858058421953855490

This Dickeson person apparently believes that gravity exists because there is a consensus that gravity exists.
I find this loony thinking is common among poorly educated, self-described environmentalists. They literally cannot tell the difference between an experiment that you or I could do to determine the acceleration of gravity, (Galileo did it with ramps), and some "climatologist" telling you that the sea level will be 3mm higher in two decades, but only if certain other things are true. And it's a probability, not a "fact" (the history of the usage of the word "fact" is interesting, btw).

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