Does This Sound Familiar to Anyone?

Greg Mankiw on scoring the federal stimulus package:

the CEA took a conventional Keynesian-style macroeconomic model and used those set of equations to estimate the effect the stimulus should have had.  Essentially, the model offers an estimate of the policy’s effect, conditional on the model being a correct description of the world.  But notice that this exercise is not really a measurement based on what actually occurred.  Rather, the exercise is premised on the belief that the model is true, so no matter how bad the economy got, the inference is that it would have been even worse without the stimulus.  Why?  Because that is what the model says.  The validity of the model itself is never questioned.

Does this sound like climate science or what?  The same models that are used to predict future temperature increases are used to decide how much of past warming was dues to Co2 and how much was due to natural effects.  Here is the retrospective IPCC chart which assigns more than 100% of post-1950 warming to CO2 (since the blue “natural forcings” is shown to go down, see more here)

Here is the stimulus version, showing flat employment, but positing that the stimulus created jobs because employment “would have gone down without it” (sound familiar?)

This kind of retrospective look at causality has the look of science but in fact is nothing of the sort, and can be not much more than guesses laundered to look like facts.

But this may in fact be worse than guessing.  In both cases, these graphs are drawn by folks who think they know the answer (in the first case that CO2 caused all warming, in the second that the stimulus created millions of jobs).  Since in both cases the lower “without” case (either without CO2 or without stimulus) is horrendously, almost impossible to derive and totally impossible to measure, there is good reason to believe it is merely a plug, fixed in value to get the answer they want.  But if I plugged it just on the back of an envelope, everyone would call me out for it, so I plug it in an arcane model where numerous inputs can be tweaked to get different results, to avoid this kind of unwanted scrutiny.

Readers of climate sites will also recognize this criticism of Obama’s self-serving stimulus analysis

Moreover, the fact that other organizations simulating similar models come to similar conclusions is no evidence about the validity of the model’s simulations.  It only tells you the CEA staff did not commit egregious programming errors when running their computer simulations.

Sounds like the logic behind the hockey stick spaghetti graphs, no?

  • Warren

    Yeah! Because economists make bad forecasts, therefore global warming isn’t happening! The logic is undeniable!!

  • Mesa Econoguy

    These are people who failed both science and economics.

    Note that the proposed non-solution “solutions” to AGW fail all cost-benefit analysis.

  • Waldoguy

    Yup. Another politically motivated analog that has nothing to do with global warming, is a poor comparison to begin with, and is only the thinnest pretext for a political smear campaign.

    This site has increasingly become a joke over the last couple of months. It’s no wonder that Mr. Meyer’s regular posters have all abandoned it – or perhaps the CS tribe, after all their grandstanding, could not stand the heat in the kitchen?

  • netdr

    I have written computer programs professionally for the defense department.

    The blue line which purportedly shows what wouod have happened without CO2 is what we call a “plug”.

    I believe the cooling is attributed to particulate matter which is a safe bet because it is so poorly understood so it can be adjusted up or down to match the missing warming and who can prove that they are wrong?

    So the logic that it hasn’t warmed much but it should have cooled and CO2 saved us is the cover story of the day.

    People that are computer illiterate are fooled but like sausages and laws you don’t want to see computer models made.

    Don’t get me wrong, if the science is settled like in a RC electrical circuit or an operational amplifier the model works very well it is only when the important parts of the model are poorly understood that they are unreliable. I use them frequently in my work and it is far easier to model things to get a first cut at a design.

    The present climate models are like modeling a car without modeling the thermostat the radiator and coolant. The car model is going to overheat.

    The analogy is interesting because the clouds and rain are the thermostat and coolant of the earth and some believe they act to reduce warming. [Negative feedback]

  • W(adlo)MD

    ****”I have written computer programs professionally for the defense department.”

    Suuuuure you have. Perhaps you also gave George Bush advice about WMDs?

  • Alan D McIntire

    Speaking of economics, here’s a link to a study showing how leftists are relatively economically illiterate:

    http://econjwatch.org/articles/economic-enlightenment-in-relation-to-college-going-ideology-and-other-variables-a-zogby-survey-of-americans

    I suspect that has a lot to do with the fact that CAGW is ideologically driven- Leftist are unable to see that the economic costs of FIGHTING any possible warming far outweigh any benefits.

  • McWaldo D

    ***”a study showing how leftists are”

    Gosh. I wonder if this is really a blog about politics?

  • ADiff

    Interesting…. Warren points out, tellingly, that models that substitute speculative data (whether about how bad things “might have gotten” or what temperatures might have been … IF assumptive proxies are valid) for solid observational data don’t ‘prove’ anything except that data adjusted to suit the assumptions of the model will comply with the model…surprise, surprise. The point is the models do nothing more than extend the basic assumptions inherent in the model. The real question is whether or not actual unadjusted observations fit the models or not. In that regard the predictive power of DAGW models has already been demonstrated to not exist. In fact the basic models for AGW in general don’t demonstrate a convincing fit with actual observed data either. DAGW has pretty convincingly been shown, so far, to be wrong, and AGW to have serious flaws and in need of substantial revision. It’s typical that this observation by Warren is answered by DAGW disciples with insubstantial rhetoric, and nothing more. I suspect this is simply due to the fact those adhering to DAGW for whatever emotional, psychological and political reasons don’t have anything else to answer with.

  • Alan D McIntire

    In reply to McWaldo D: If climate “scientists” were actually practicing SCIENCE, they’d be comparing measured trends in temperatures, humidity, precipitation, etc against their models They wouldn’t be making VALUE judgments, telling us all how to run our lives.
    The instant those “scientists” start telling us what kinds of vehicles we should drive, and how much energy we should consume, they become politicians, and deserve all the spite overbearing bureaucrats get- A. McIntire

  • kdk33

    Counterfactuals, is, I think, the operative word. A common ploy.

    Fortunately the jobs-not-lost fallacy, errr metric, is getting the attention it deserves through several media outlets. The not-as-warm-as-it-would-have-been fallacy less so.

    I like this site. Even Waldo. Keep up the good work.

  • Waldo33

    ****”DAGW has pretty convincingly been shown, so far, to be wrong,”

    Nope, your wrong. Only here and places like here, ADiff, is that position accepted. AGW is still a viable science where it counts. And if this blog posits the reasons that DAGW is “wrong,” then your belief system is in trouble.

    ****”It’s typical that this observation by Warren is answered by DAGW disciples with insubstantial rhetoric”

    Are you seriously going to look at the posting at the top of this page and call it ‘substantial rhetoric’? Even an “observation” is an overstatement. How about “poorly done agitprop”? There is almost no ‘substantial rhetoric’ on this blog. Nor is there very much science. What Mr. Meyer generally posts is pathetically one-sided exaggerations from dubious sources for credulous tribal members who all think alike.

    ****”If climate ‘scientists’ were actually practicing SCIENCE, they’d be comparing measured trends in temperatures, humidity, precipitation, etc against their models”

    This is exactly what they are doing. I suspect you know this but do not want to admit it.

    ****”They wouldn’t be making VALUE judgments, telling us all how to run our lives.”

    I was unaware that anyone was telling you how to run your life. This is a typical defense exaggeration of the denialist tribe. Should we go to Hansen’s website and see these “VALUE judgments”? Or perhaps, if scientists advising us on how to solve a problem of science is the imposition of VALUE, we shouldn’t listen to scientists who tell us to stop smoking, eat right, exercise now and again, avoid smog, etc. Or perhaps these people are also making “VALUE judgments”?

    ****”I like this site. Even Waldo. Keep up the good work.”

    Thank you, kdk33, clearly you know what you are posting about, particularly your “factuals” which you no doubt investigated fairly and thoroughly – no bias there.

    I will keep up the good work but I will leave you in peace for a week or so, so you may congratulate each other on your clear thinking and your repeated challenges to science (without actually using any science) from the safety of the blogosphere.

    Cheers.

  • netdr

    I appreciate Waldo also.

    His logic is poor sometimes and he fails to do his homework but preaching to the choir is boring. I find myself checking a fact or two sometimes because Waldo might peer review me.

    That is the problem with CAGW, not enough skeptics to “hold their feet to the fire”. They have gotten away with sloppy reasoning because they knew no skeptic would peer review them, as climategate has proven.

    Cheers

  • Shills

    netdr says: ‘They have gotten away with sloppy reasoning because they knew no skeptic would peer review them, as climategate has proven.’

    Is this even remotely true??

    climate skepticism, sincere or denialist, has existed for ages before climategate.

  • Neo

    … and the last big worldwide “consensus” was that Iraq had stockpiles of WMD

  • JST

    What if a friend of yours with reason to know told you that weapons were found in Iraq and more than just what was reportedly taken to Canada? Would you still believe in AGW? Of course these questions have nothing to do with each other. But stating how models are used in a similar way to drive public policy is a reasonable point to make.

  • Felix
  • Ben

    One real big issue:

    “****”If climate ’scientists’ were actually practicing SCIENCE, they’d be comparing measured trends in temperatures, humidity, precipitation, etc against their models”

    This is exactly what they are doing. I suspect you know this but do not want to admit it. ”

    They do this, HOWEVER, they do not write about it because their models never predict this correctly. It is well-known that their models are very poor predictors of clouds in particular and like-wise humidity, precipitation, etc. This is one of the largest issues with using GCM’s as they are today.

    Now, don’t take this as meaning their models are junk, I think we can learn a lot from the models they are turning out. Just think of the options open to Statistics 101 classes around the country. I mean, in 20 years this will be required reading on what not to do in statistics and data-mining/modeling.

    Shrug, I know, a cheap shot, but what can I say? I am cheap…

  • “They do this, HOWEVER, they do not write about it”

    What an idiot. What an utter fucking contemptible cunt. You have to be a moron of the highest order to say something so easily shown to be wrong.

    Here is one example of a paper comparing models and observations.

    Now how about you fuck off and don’t come back until you’ve learned not to make utterly basic errors of fact.

  • Sharpshooter

    Warren, didn’t you know that the observational data is fudged (ie, fake)? Now fuck off, cunt!

  • Sharpshooter

    By the way; Keynes never offered ONE EMPIRICAL PROOF of his theory; he merely pontificated and the statist types liked what they heard.

    Kid like Mann, et al and their data.