Its Official: Climate is the First Post-Modern Physical Science

You can find a lot of different definitions of post-modernism.  Here is one from Wikipedia, which seems appropriate because in some sense at its very core Wikipedia adopts a post-modernist approach to truth.  Post-modernism rejects objective truth, or at least man’s ability ever to identify such truth.   As applied to science, post-modernists would say that what we call scientific “truth” in in fact the results of social, cultural, and political forces within and acting on the scientific community.

Some elements of post-modernism actually provide a useful critique of science.  Its focus on biases and resulting observational blindness to certain results that falsify ones pre-conceived notions are useful caveats in a scientific process.  But the belief that a rational scientific process is not just difficult but impossible leads to all kinds of crazy conclusions.  Many in hard core postmodern circles would argue that since objective truth is impossible anyway, scientific findings should be guided by what is most socially useful. As Steven Schneider of Stanford says vis a vis climate:

We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.

And speaking of Steven Schneider, he is coauthor of a recent study appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that has really made it plain to me that climate is becoming the first post-modern physical science.  Just note the incredible approach to his study, and how much it mirrors the precepts of post-modernism:  To decide who is right and wrong in climate science between skeptics and alarmists, the study authors have … wait for it .. counted them and measured their relative influence in academic circles.  Since the authors count more alarmists than skeptics, and judge that the alarmists are more influential in academic circles, then they must be right!  After all, truth is determined by those with the most political and cultural influence, not by silly stuff like testing hypotheses against observational data.

Postscript: I think a lot of the skeptic backlash against this study is overwrought, examples here and here.  To paraphrase another climate publication, this study is “not evil, just silly.”

  • stan

    This study merely demonstrates the extent to which climate science is an academic circle jerk.

  • Chuckles

    I’m still trying to work out where the science is in the paper. It reads like a sophomoric report on some database search results.

    If the skep response seems a bit overwrought, what of those lining up to robustly defend it as excellent scientific work that should be lauded for it’s advancement of human knowledge?

  • “I think a lot of the skeptic backlash against this study is overwrought….”

    I completely agree. When this story broke I just basically said “Ho hum”, and didn’t even post anything about it on my own blog. I suppose it should be somewhat scandalous, but I guess this type of stuff just doesn’t register much of a reaction with me anymore (perhaps I’m a bit punch drunk).

    I’d think that the chronic doom monger Steven Schneider’s reputation would take another blow, but I’m not holding my breath. But, slowly, over time, people hopefully will just stop listening to the pronouncements from people such as he.

  • hunter

    As ever, you balls up even the most simple things. Your ineptness is spectacular to watch. Slapstick is the oldest kind of comedy, and watching someone slip up on a banana skin is still inherently funny. Even funnier when they themselves have laid out a whole trail of banana skins.

    The co-author was not “Steven Schneider” and the paper does not anywhere say anything that can remotely be construed as deciding “who is right and wrong”.

    As so often before you have absolutely no clue what’s going on. As so often before you merely demonstrate that you are intellectually pathetic.

  • Mourn

    Hunter, as a long time reader of this blog and its comments I have to agree with you to a degree: someone here is certainly intellectually pathetic. Unfortunately, it is you as your every post demonstrates. You are an excelent representative of the Alarmist movement, and that speaks volumes for the intellectual power of your movement.

  • Doug

    Lysenko is alive and well in the 21st Century!

  • kuhnkat

    Unfortuantely sillier things have been taken very seriously by people in with authority or power to act. Hope it does turn out to just be silly.

  • Sean2829

    I cringe whenever I hear the term “post-normal science” or post-modern science. What comes to mind is a comment made by Rutherford when asked about using statistics to interpret noisy experimental results. His answer was ““If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” Climate science is in its infancy but some good experiments have been designed and their results are just beginning to be published. As these get recognized and the results incorporated into the debate, climate science will begin to look more like traditional science.

  • hunter (the real one)

    The PNAS paper is seen by rational and reasonable people for what it is:
    A way to list out who the CAGW promoters wish to have excluded from the public square.
    That it is not accurate and misrepresents the work and positions of those it seeks to exclude is just one of its many disgusting attributes. That it pretends that skeptics are now uncivilized ‘deniers’ is just a sad reminder that extremists, when unconstrained by civility or ethics do not bother with accuracy or truth.
    That CAGW true believers pretend it is not a list is just typical from people who have bought into a non-existent crisis.

  • hunter

    What is “CAGW”? What is a “CAGW promoter”?

  • PaulD

    “What is “CAGW”?”

    It stands for “catastrophic anthropogenic global warming” The term is helpful because many reasonable observers believe that good evidence supports anthropogenic global warming. They dispute that a climate crisis exisits or that antrhopogenic global warming will lead to catastrophic outcomes.

  • Counting the number of climate scientists that believe in CAGW us mentally challenged, but attractive to authoritarian personality types.

    When Albert Einstein was

    informed of the publication of a book entitled 100 Authors
    Against Einstein, he is said to have remarked, “If I were wrong,
    then one would have been enough!” (Hawking, 1988); however,
    that one opposing scientist would have needed proof in the form
    of testable results

    The only testable results for CAGW are climate models and they seem to always predict far more warming than actually happens. In other words they fail the test.

    If they were unbiased they would bracketed the real answer but they are all skewed to the high side, with the added benefit that they are hockey stick shaped. Any manager knows the benefits of hockey stick shaped graphs when the bad things happen 40 or 50 years in the future so you can be safely retired. In the interim you aren’t too far wrong when warming fails to happen.

  • hunter

    To show us that you haven’t just built the most immense straw man I’ve seen for a long while, please quote a peer-reviewed journal paper or two which uses the phrase “catastrophic anthropogenic global warming”.

  • hunter (the same one)

    CAGW is the social moevement that has highjacked climate science and energizes trolls like you, scientist/wannabe hunter.
    It is a description of the pile of crap you and the true believers hlod so dear.
    A promoter is someone who promotes something- an opinion leader. Hansen, Gore, Mann, etc. are promoters of CAGW, for example: they fabricate studies, sell them to the public and reap social status and wealth from the effort. they manage the public square so as to suppress competitive ideas and maintain their social power.
    You are just a neverwuzzer- a miserable troll who thinks she is clever but is really just a derivative consumer of CAGW dogma, capable only of regurgitating it and pretending to be what she/he/it is not. And regurgitating it in a fashion that is as close to vomitus as possible in an electronic medium.

  • hunter (the real one)

    ‘ll say it again then:

    To show us that you haven’t just built the most immense straw man I’ve seen for a long while, please quote a peer-reviewed journal paper or two which uses the phrase “catastrophic anthropogenic global warming”.

    Should be easy, no?

  • Hunter
    To show us that you haven’t just built the most immense straw man I’ve seen for a long while, please quote a peer-reviewed journal paper or two which uses the phrase “catastrophic anthropogenic global warming”.


    More sloppy thinking !

    Who cares if I just made up the “CAGW” label?

    What possible difference does it make ?

    If the shoe fits wear it.

    It fits some people’s beliefs like a glove. The “catastrophic” is what separates the loonies from the sane, in my opinion. Mankind might even be guilty of changing the environment, but mostly by land use, CO2 effects are minimal at most.

    My peers [my wife and mother in law] have reviewed this message, so it has been “peer reviewed”.

  • Justa Joe

    “…the paper does not anywhere say anything that can remotely be construed as deciding “who is right and wrong”. not hunter

    You may have something there? The authors appear to just assume that the CAGW climate cranks are correct and that the CAGW skeptics are “deniers”. They actually use the term deniers.

  • chemman

    “Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”

    If there is no such thing as objective truth then there can’t be any such thing as honesty.

  • hunter (the sane one)

    hunter troll,
    You are the one relying, as always, on a pathetic strawman of immense dimensions.
    I never represented that CAGW is a peer reviewed term. I claimed it is one I choose to use.
    Here is Scientific American on the topic:
    And yes, you are still a miserable troll.

  • RG

    This article is a fascinating exercise in deliberately missing the point.

    You know that “silly stuff like testing hypotheses against observational data”? – The NAS study found that 97 of the top 100 people in the world who do that believe climate change is real and human induced.

    This article reeks of desperation.

  • Wally

    RG, I wonder just who decided how to come up with 100 of the top people in the world are? And how they did that, you know, objectively, without coming up with some completely arbitrary set of rules.

    I also wonder how 100 of the top people in the world that test hypotheses against observational data would think about using a poll to determine the correctness of a hypotheses?

    I’d say it you who is a desperate, if you have to rely on a poll to make yourself feel better.

  • Rick Bradford

    The losers who form the CAGW crowd are desperate to tear something down. Because they are incapable of creating anything, their only way to try and feel adequate is to pull someone else down; in this case it is the whole edifice of capitalism they hate and would like to destroy. The added bonus is that they can hug themselves and pretend they are nobly helping to Save The Planet.

    Look in any psychology textbook under victimhood, narcissism, projection, and you’ll see detailed character sketches of the typical Warmist.

  • NokTang

    “It reads like a sophomoric report on some database search results.”

    You were right. The other lead author of this piece of junk science is a certain William R. L. Anderegg, who’s a climate change student at the Stanford University, yes the university of Schneider.

    And Hunter, please do continue to post your silly messages, it further erodes the Church of CAGW.

  • Craig Goodrich

    One of the more interesting things about this study is the reaction of MSM journalists — the New York Times and the Guardian, to name only two, actually take this insane study seriously. This fact alone should demonstrate clearly to anyone with an IQ above that of a toaster that these “science journalists” are completely clueless, both about science and about journalism.

    It is also hilarious that the article’s terms “CE” and “UE” include the word “evidence”, when there has been absolutely no actual evidence adduced for CO2-driven global warming after more than twenty years and $100 billion in research. Pitiful.

  • hunter (the sane one)

    OK, that’s good – I didn’t expect two people independently to say so explicitly that “catastrophic anthropogenic global warming” was just a figment of their imagination. Weird that they would choose to do so, but still, at least we’ve got that confirmed now.

  • hunter (the real one)

    The ultimate dodge of a CAGW true believer- only peer reviewed terms are acceptable.
    Your arguments are as lacking in substance as your name games: completely.
    CAGW is a useful term to summarize the claptrap bullshit you believe in.
    Please do continue your romp to show anyone not yet decided that CAGW true believers are empty of substance and character as well as sad caricatures of intelligence.
    You are a sorry little thief, you know it, and you have no argument or defense- only more trollishness.

  • Justa Joe

    “You know that “silly stuff like testing hypotheses against observational data”? – The NAS study found that 97 of the top 100 people in the world who do that believe climate change is real and human induced.”

    What climate change? The climate cranks have a hypothesis. That’s for sure, but they seem to be a tad lacking with the observational data. The climate cranks strong suit appears to be wild eyed predictions based on compounded suppositions. That never pan out. Get back to us when the 1st actual verifiable problem occurs due to not heeding the warming abatement edicts laid down by Algore & the Klimate Krank Krew. (besides Goldman Sachs not making as much money as they planned)

    “I didn’t expect two people independently to say so explicitly that “catastrophic anthropogenic global warming” was just a figment of their imagination…” – hunter (the lesser)

    What’s a denier within the context of the discussion of climate?

  • DM

    To the authors of “Expert Credibility in Climate Science”,

    I have read your paper. I can only describe it as a strong candidate for a new all-time low for science itself. Since when does the number of adherents to a particular theory or their so-called “credentials” matter in terms of deciding whether a scientific theory is correct or not? Perhaps you need a little refresher course from a “non-scientist.” Scientific theories are tested, and stand or fall, against the evidence. Nature, the universe, reality (whatever you want to call it) is the final arbiter. Does the theory fit with the observations from the natural world? That is the only relevant question. If it does not, throw it out, construct a new theory and test that one against the observations (basic scientific method). Science is not democracy, and the validity or invalidity of a scientific theory does not depend on a head count of adherents and skeptics. Need I remind you that at one time the weight of adherents was behind the flat earth theory and at another time the weight of adherents was behind the geo-centric theory of the universe (the history of science is rife with such examples). It seems you may have been listening too attentively in a typical university philosophy course when the professor blathered on about a socially constructed theory of truth. Science, however, is based on the correspondence theory of truth, i.e. a theory is valid only to the extent it corresponds to observations of the natural world.

    If you wonder why the anthropogenic climate change theory (“global warming”) is losing credibility among the general population, you need not look any further than articles and statements such as your recent paper.

  • Laurent


    Swiss Re (Reinsurance company) published a refutation of skeptics arguments. If anybody’s interested, see

  • Charles Higley

    It’s much too kind to call the study “silly”. It is outright STUPID.

    If their time was funded by a grant for scientific research, they are guilty of fraud, as this is not science. This is sociology and probably not the area of knowledge for which the funds were provided.

  • hunter (the real one)

    Do you have any other links?
    That one does not appear to work.
    I will look as well.

  • Laurent:

    I read some of your link to ” skeptics arguments refuted” [or some such], and as usual they are strawman arguments which distort the real skeptical arguments. The strawman argument is false and is easy to refute.

    Example: All warming is caused by UHI. The real argument is that some warming is not real but caused by uncorrected UHI !

    I haven’t checked all stations in the USA but in the DFW area I know it to be a significant factor.

    In 1977 DFW airport was a cow pasture, but since then a small city has grown up. An international airport with tons of concrete with huge air conditioners blowing hot air, along with jet aircraft. Even if the site of the surface station is 100 ft from concrete [ I cannot locate it exactly so let’s assume that it is.] the surrounding UHI is huge and has grown significantly since 1977. A cow pasture that becomes a city has more change in UHI than a big city that gets bigger.

    Has it been corrected for ? No both the homogenized and non homogenized data shows the same fictitious warming. Their idea of homogenization is to make excellent surface stations worse by mixing them with inferior stations.

    From the early 70’s to 2009 there would seem to be 1.5 ° C warming from the graph.

    A small navel air station 15 miles away which wasn’t in this heat bubble shows no warming during this period.[particularly in the raw data.]

    Since the climate alarmists have convinced themselves UHI is trivial it need not be adjusted for.

    The DFW readings are routinely 3 or 4 ° F higher than in my back yard 20 miles away.

  • hunter (the real one)

    netdr – your DFW graph looks rather flat until about 1995, with some high values seen since then. Your Hensley Field graph stops… in 1996. Over their common period, the two records show almost identical temperature trends. Were you simply too stupid to notice that, or were you being intentionally dishonest?

  • Hunter

    You really are blind. From 1970 to 1996 the average Hensley temperature goes nowhere.[The Hensley field data does stop in 1996. You are correct about that.]

    The DFW goes from about 18 ° C to about 20 from 1970 to 1998.

    I will leave it to anyone interested to look at the graphs for themselves.

    You are not “stupid” just not very skilled at reading graphs

    Using insults instead of logic just weakens your arguments.

  • hunter

    You are, as I suspected, completely innumerate, and very stupid indeed. You obviously don’t have the mathematical training to even begin to understand data quantitatively. You admit that you didn’t realise the Hensley field data stopped in 1996, but you bizarrely cling on to the flawed conclusions that you reached as a result of that major error.

    The simple truth is that the DFW and Hensley data show near identical trends from 1970 to 1996. The trends are +0.09 and -0.02 °C/decade respectively, and these values lie well within each other’s 1σ confidence limits.

    If you’re going to post again, try and include some actual numbers, instead of just waffling.

  • hunter

    The site from Swiss RE is a sales tool.
    A corporate version of Gore’s movie.
    Swiss RE can justify higher premiums on insurance by claiming to be factoring an increase of losses due to CAGW.

    netdr, Perhaps it would be better to either ignore my little shadow or at least to make sure it gets a distinctive name? Which also raises the question: if the troll did not have insults, it would have nothing.

  • hunter

    Blah blah blah blah blah

  • netdr

    OK – you’re right. I chose a bad example. I can’t argue with the numbers – DFW does not show any different behaviour to the nearby rural station.

  • Shills
  • Ted Rado

    I guess I wasted my time getting a degree in chemical engineering many years ago. To determine if heat flow from a high temperature source to a lower temperature sink, instead of studying heat transfer, we should simply have a vote. It would be especially useful to get the votes of those with no technical background whatsoever, such as the idiots in Congress.

    Gee, think of all the extra beer I could have enjoyed during my college days instead of studyng late at night!!

  • netdr-[the real one]

    I did not post the above retraction.

    The graphs show the growth of UHI just like I said they do.

    The impostor is playing games.

    I will go over to DFW with a temperature logging thermometer some evening and do a similar experiment to one I did in Dallas a while ago.

    I did an experiment to determine UHI for Dallas by taking readings from (1)downtown Dallas and (2)at a city park and (3)35 miles out in the country ! I drove as fast as it as legal to drive so the temperatures were taken 1/2 hour apart maximum.

    The result was that there was 7 ° F difference from downtown to the country, which is a lot when we are looking for 7/10 ° C in a century. [the city park was 2 ° F cooler than downtown]

    I’ll bet the DFW airport shows a similar but smaller UHI effect.

    BTW the corrected and uncorrected graphs show no attempt to adjust out the UHI.

  • netdr – the real real one

    I don’t know who the comment above is, but I really did concede the point. I do know that there is an urban heat island effect – as does everyone, so there’s no need, false netdr, to re-discover it – but I do accept that that DFW, at least, doesn’t show that this real and well known effect actually contaminates the temperature record.

  • Rick Bradford

    If urban heat islands significantly biased the temperature record, then you’d expect a global map of temperature change to have red spots where the population is concentrated. You’d expect the most warming to be in Europe, the lower 48 states, Japan, India, and eastern China. You wouldn’t expect the most warming to be in the Arctic, across Siberia, in northern Canada, the Amazon basin, or on the Antarctic peninsula.

    Oh look – here’s a map:

    Hmmmm….. 🙂

  • Rick Bradford

    I’m not sure why I wrote what I just did. It was tragically stupid, like the vast majority of my posts. I have no idea at all about how the climate works, and I’ll keep living in my fantasy world like a retarded fuckwit.

  • netdr-[the real one]

    So the impostor contends that in 1970 there was a very hot cow pasture at DFW ? Do the cows emit UHI ?

    So there has been no UHI because it was always hot. I cannot believe that can you?

    This pattern probably repeats frequently because temperature stations tend to be frequently located at airports.

    The temperature records show no downward adjustment of temperature to negate the UHI. [He doesn’t refute that because it is easily verified.] In fact the later temperatures over most stations are adjusted UP according to NOAA. [About 5 ° F.]

    This however has no effect upon the temperature record.

    Amazing simply Amazing.

    I have read that all temperature readings above a certain latitude comes from one station in an area known as the “garden spot of the arctic”. Also the Russians claim that when the soviet union folded the coldest and most remote stations were shut down.

    When the number of surface stations went from 5000 to 1500 there was a preference for keeping the less remote ones.

    The old temperature record has never been redone using the new set of stations which indicates incompetence.

    So temperatures taken in 2010 do not correspond to ones taken in 1990 or 1980 etc and no one knows how to convert between the two.

    Poor data goes into poor studies to get the wrong answers.

  • Rick Bradford

    “So the impostor contends that in 1970 there was a very hot cow pasture at DFW ? Do the cows emit UHI ?”

    You’ve jumped the shark already there. This makes no sense. You don’t seem to understand that the temperature records are calibrated to correct for urban effects, and the very close match between DFW and a nearby rural station shows that this is accurately done. You seem to have been totally thrown by the Hensley field data stopping in 1996.

    Your graph shows the total effect of all calibrations, not the effect of urban corrections in isolation. Graphs and maps on pages 18 and 19 of this paper show the actual effect of urban corrections in the US.

    Perhaps you know you’re on a hiding to nothing with your urban paranoia, because you then change the subject entirely and take us up to the Arctic. Or perhaps you believe there’s a whole lot of tarmac up there, biasing the record? The rest of your comments are simply rants, with no basis in truth.

  • hunter

    The troll/wackjob is making any conversation at this site impossible.
    Thanks to the troll’s lack of integrity it is not clear who is making many of the comments posted here.
    This is of course the game a lower plays who has no argument- hope to destroy the conversation and shut down communication.
    I wonder if our host will be happy when the troll takes its impersonation game to the logical conclusion?
    Either our host takes the time to do some basic house keeping or his blog will become useless.

  • WaldoSaysHi

    ****”Its focus on biases and resulting observational blindness to certain results that falsify ones pre-conceived notions are useful caveats” just as easily describes the mindset at CS, folks. In fact, Mr. Meyer’s own words describe the ethos here as well as anyone could.

    And it is not clear that “Postmodernism” (which is a term largely applied to the humanities) actually has any relevance to modern science at all. Objective truth or not, it should be apparent that modern science is extremely effective – this blog and the fact that we are all posting from various times and places in the world is a perfect example of how our lives are completely predicated upon science – unless it conflicts with one’s “pre-conceived notions,” of course, at which point someone will blame Al Gore.

    ****”Either our host takes the time to do some basic house keeping or his blog will become useless.”

    What hunter (who is as whacked as any whackjob out there) suggests above is, according to CS, “censorship.” Sorry droogy, Mr. Meyer stays away from the comments probably because, deep down, he knows he’s full of the ol’shinola.

    And this blog is largely useless. Just no one here will admit it.

  • Ted Rado

    Ha ha ha – “become” useless? That’s a good one. If you find any use in this blog that you have very low standards indeed.

    Given that I’ve never seen the author even reply to a comment, let alone show the slightest evidence of having remotely understood one, I think that disrupting the comments can hardly make them any less relevant. You think he gives a shit?

  • hunter

    A site owner, like a home owner, has the right to run their home in an orderly fashion.
    I am not calling for censorship, and you know it. If a meeting becomes filled with babble by people talking over each other and interrupting each other making rules so that conversation can take place is not censorship. But you should know that, if you were half as smart as you keep telling people.
    In fact what the bizaretroll has accomplished is censorship. The bizarretroll is the one making discussion impossible.
    That is fine for your purposes.
    the articles posted here are good. Too bad the host does not seem to care.
    And AGW is still a social mania that will compared to tulipomania and eugenics.