Losing Sight of the Goal

Like many, I have been astonished by the breaches of good scientific practice uncovered by the Climategate emails.  But to my mind, the end goal here is not to punish those involved but to

  • Enforce good data and code archiving practices.  Our goal should be that no FOIA is necessary to get the information needed to replicate a published study
  • Create an openness to scrutiny and replication which human nature resists, but generally exists in most non-climate sciences.

I worry that over the last few months, with the Virginia FOIA inquiry and the recent investigations of Michael Mann, skeptic’s focus has shifted to trying to take out their frustration with and disdain for Michael Mann in the form of getting him rung up on charges.   I fear the urge to mount Mann’s head in their trophy case is distracting folks from what the real goals here should be.

I know those in academia like to pretend they are not, but professors at state schools or who are doing research with government money are just as much government employees as anyone in the DMV or post office.  And as such, their attempts to evade scrutiny or hide information irritate the hell out of me.  But I would happily give the whole Jones/Mann/Briffa et all Climategate gang a blanket pardon in exchange for some better ground rules in climate science going forward.

Skeptics are rightly frustrated with the politicization of science and the awful personal attacks skeptics get when alarmists try to avoid debate on the science.  But the correct response here is to take the high ground, NOT to up the stakes in the politicization game by bringing academics we think to be incorrect up on charges.  I am warning all of you, this is a bad, bad precedent.

Postscript: I now your response already — there are good and valid legal reasons for charging Mann, here are the statutes he broke, etc.  I don’t disagree.  But here is my point — the precedent we set here will not be remembered as an academic brought down for malfeasance.  It will be remembered as an academic brought down by folks who disagreed with his scientific findings.  You may think that unfair, but that is the way the media works.  The media is not on the skeptic side, and even if it were neutral, it is always biased to the more sensational story line.

  • Your mantra about relying upon peer-reviewed literature…

    It’s not a “mantra”.
    Nor is it a “belief”.
    Nor is it a “faith”.
    Nor is it a “religion”.

    There’s nothing religious at all in relying on peer-reveiwed literature. It’s a very good system.
    Not perfect (as I’ve carefully explained a thousand times before) but it’s the best one we have so far.

    Science is not the same as religion.
    They work differently.

    Climatology has to go through the process of peer-review.
    Biology has to go through the process of peer-review.
    Chemistry has to go through the process of peer-review.

    There has been no cheating.
    There is no double standard.
    Climatology does not get any special exemptions.

    “Climategate” was a sad joke from start to finish and shame on anyone who got suckered into it by not demanding evidence first.

    …you will find Mr. Warren’s argument… restricted to the Internet. Nothing stops Mr Warren from entering the scientific arena. There is no secret handshake or special diploma he must have in order to publish in a science journal. Nobody is holding a gun to his head to stop him from writing up a scientific paper. If Mr Warren has something serious to offer the world of science then his duty is clear; he must enter the scientific arena.

    On this issue, there is a clear consensus on which almost all informed people agree and that is well supported by the peer-reviewed literature.

    I don’t know what you mean by “informed people”.
    Sounds suspiciously maellable. Who gets to judge who’s “informed” and who is not?

    My criteria (as a non-scientist) is to go to the scientists for science.
    A scientist is not some guy that hangs out in a lab or has a Phd and a string of awards.
    Only the work counts.
    If somebody is prepared to get out there and conduct active, original, cutting-edge research and then be prepared to defend such research in the scientific arena…then they get my attention.
    All the wannabees and has-beens can take a hike.

    I listen to NASA.
    Not because NASA is a cult.

    I listen to NASA because they do the work. They are arguably the best at what they do.
    Yet I don’t just listen to NASA.
    Oh no.
    I also am interested in what the Royal Society has to say.
    They do the work too. Excellent work.
    And the British Antarctic Survey and the the AGU and all the other scientific communities. No exceptions.
    They do the work.
    Constantly and repeatedly and actively, they get out there and they do the work the old-fashioned way.

    Informed skeptics, such as Dr. Richard Lindzen, Dr. Roy Spencer, Dr. John Christie, generally accept…

    I don’t know what you mean by “informed skeptics”.
    Once again, it’s a very malleable phrase.
    There are those that will be happy to call Wakefield an “informed skeptic” too.

    I don’t care about a single person’s reputation or honours or books or prestige. I don’t care about their “authority” or “expertise” or how “informed” they are. I don’t judge science that way. Dr Duesberg is simply dripping with honours and degrees and career triumphs but I pity the poor fool that pays attention to his books and media articles on how HIV doesn’t cause AIDS.
    People die that way.

    Only the work counts.
    Dr Duesberg has something to say? Let him enter the scientific arena. Let him defend his theories in front of his peers and publish for the whole world to see.

    The same standards that I demand for Mann are the same that I demand for Wakefield. The same standards that I demand for Crick are the same ones that I demand for Ken Ham. The same standards that I demand for Lindzen are the same that I demand for Prusiner.
    Nobody gets a “get out of jail free” card.

    I read your post carefully.
    I didn’t ignore it.
    Yet your narrative does not fit with what NASA (for example) has to say.

    For you, there is a “controversy”. For you, there is a playground of uncertainty that allows you to just shrug your shoulders and sit on your hands.

    “The controversy arises when”
    (…)
    “In fact, the alarmists contend”
    (…)
    “It is not clear from the peer-reviewed literature, however”
    (…)
    “The fair answer based on the peer-reviewed literature is that no one knows.”
    (…)
    “the net feedback effects of adding CO2 to the atmosphere are not well established to great uncertainty(…)
    “and it is not even established”
    (…)
    “and again their estimates vary widely”
    (…)
    “Informed skeptics question”
    (…)
    “At the end of the day, we simply do not know”
    (…)
    “In short, on the critical questions, there is no consensus.”

    You are peddling doubt, not science.

    It’s supported only by the climate denier websites and books that they produce.
    Step outside those websites and coffee-table books and look at NASA’s position (for example) and you get a much firmer picture.
    No cherry picking or anomoly hunting allowed.

    The anti-vaxxers play the same tune.
    There’s a controversy with the safety of vaccines, donchaknow. Do you what to gamble with the safety of the poor,sweet children and jab them with needles? Heavens no!
    Better to play it safe and wait for safer vaccines.
    Awful.
    That’s how children die in the 21st century from 19th century diseases.

    If there really is a “controversy” then that will show up in the peer-reviewed literature. There will always be disagreements on one aspect of one theory or another but that should not be taken as a green light to ignore the body of research as a whole. Biologists can sometimes fight like cat and dog over aspects of the Theory of Evolution (much to the fevered delight of creationists) yet that does not mean there is any real “controversy”.

  • pauld

    .Cedric:
    You talk about the peer-reviewed literature, but having read this post, it is clear you do not know what it says. You say, “If there really is a “controversy” then that will show up in the peer-reviewed literature.” Cedric, it does. It also shows up clearly in the IPCC.
    As to what I mean by informed skeptics, I gave specific examples to illustrate: Dr. Lindzen, Dr. Spencer and Dr. Christie. All three publish extensively in the peer-reviewed literature. Look them up and read what they have to say, then you will have a clear understanding of what I mean by informed skeptics.

  • You say, “If there really is a “controversy” then that will show up in the peer-reviewed literature.” Cedric, it does. It also shows up clearly in the IPCC.

    Not according to the IPCC and not according to NASA.
    You are only anomoly hunting.
    You are cherry-picking without accepting the overall conclusions.

    Netdr did the same thing before on this thread.
    He will happily link to an isolated graph from NOAA…but he won’t accept the rest of the package complete with the conclusions that NOAA clearly states.
    Same deal with NASA.
    I, however, don’t cherry-pick.

    As to what I mean by informed skeptics, I gave specific examples to illustrate: Dr. Lindzen, Dr. Spencer and Dr. Christie.

    Yes but you have failed to answer what you mean by an “informed skeptic” and WHO gets to decide who’s “informed” and who’s “uninformed”.
    Dr Duesberg could be happily described by his supporters as an “informed skeptic” too.
    Being described as an “informed skeptic” by a supporter is not saying much of anything at all.
    One man’s informed skeptic is another man’s cranky has-been.
    It purely subjective.

    All three publish extensively in the peer-reviewed literature.

    So has Dr Duesberg. He was even supposedly in line for a Nobel Prize once. So?

    Peer-review is NOT a guarantee of quality.
    It’s not a touchdown or home-run.
    It’s just the first, modest hurdle that must be jumped before anybody in science will even be interested in your work.
    The big thing is to have your peer-reviewed work go on to bigger and better things rather that just wither on the vine.

    None of the people you have mentioned have been unfairly treated by the rest of the scientific community.
    Their ideas have been published.
    Their careers remain intact.
    Their family members were not spirited off by the UN black helicopters.
    Yet their alternative theories have failed to convince their peers.

    Look them up and read what they have to say…

    There’s no good reason to focus on isolated scientists and ignore the preponderance of evidence as represented by the rest of the scientific literature.

  • pauld

    Cedric, quoting me then replying says

    “You say, “If there really is a “controversy” then that will show up in the peer-reviewed literature.” Cedric, it does. It also shows up clearly in the IPCC.

    Not according to the IPCC and not according to NASA.
    You are only anomoly hunting.
    You are cherry-picking without accepting the overall conclusions.”

    Cedric: here is a little assignment for you. It will take a few minutes. Go to the most recent IPCC report. Find the range of climate sensitivities for a doubling of CO2 reported. Find the IPCC’s explanation as to why the range is so wide.

  • Pauld

    Cedric:
    you say, “Step outside those websites and coffee-table books and look at NASA’s position (for example) and you get a much firmer picture.”
    Could you give me a citation or a webpage that reflects NASA’s position regarding “what is the sensitivity of the climate to a doubling of CO2?” and “how confident is NASA regarding this estimate?”

  • pauld

    Cedric:
    Here is an interesting tale of how the peer-review process works in the field of climatology. http://rossmckitrick.weebly.com/uploads/4/8/0/8/4808045/gatekeeping_chapter.pdf

  • Go to the most recent IPCC report. Find the range of climate sensitivities for a doubling of CO2 reported. Find the IPCC’s explanation as to why the range is so wide.

    Why?
    Why are you anomoly hunting?

    Why do you focus solely on one subject and yet ignore the overall conclusions? There’s no logic in your methodology.

    Why not focus instead on tree rings? Or the placing of thermometers in Southern China during the late 60’s? Or obsess about a single glacier in Africa that grows rather than shrinks?
    There’s a massive list of PRATT’s out there.
    There’s no need to stop at just one.

    It’s just anomoly hunting. You are looking for an excuse to ignore the overall conclusions. You are a science equivilant of a backseat driver who never bothered to get their licence and is sitting in a car- a parked car.

    Could you give me a citation or a webpage that reflects NASA’s position…

    If you have discovered something that overturns NASA’s conclusions about the reality and dangers of climate change then write a paper and publish.
    Don’t waste your time on the internet.
    Publish. Nobody can stop you.
    There is no conspiracy.
    NASA and all the other scientific communites on the planet are not out to get you.

  • pauld

    Cedric you respond to me saying: “Go to the most recent IPCC report. Find the range of climate sensitivities for a doubling of CO2 reported. Find the IPCC’s explanation as to why the range is so wide.
    Why?
    Why are you anomoly hunting?”

    I don’t know quite to make of this. If one is trying to determine whether CO2 poses a significant danger, the key question is climate sensitivity: How does the climate respond to a doubling of CO2. You think finding out what the range of estimates in the IPCC on climate sensitivity is anomaly hunting?

    “Could you give me a citation or a webpage that reflects NASA’s position…
    If you have discovered something that overturns NASA’s conclusions about the reality and dangers of climate change then write a paper and publish.”

    I just wanted you to help me find NASA’s position on the key uncertainties that I identified in the prior post.

  • I don’t know quite to make of this. If one is trying to determine whether CO2…

    But I am not.
    I don’t study Co2. Nor do I study methane. Nor do I study water vapour. Nor do I study proxy data based on coral samples taken near Micronesia.

    I leave that stuff to the experts. The people who actually do that kind of thing for a living. They have to take their findings and go through the process of peer-review and convince their peers.

    I don’t represent myself in court.
    My liberty is too important.

    I don’t put fillings in my own teeth.
    I value a good smile too much.

    If I’m worried about cancer then I go to a hospital that has a world-class cancer unit and even then I’ll be happy to get a second opinion from the medical community.
    I don’t buy miracle cancer medications on the internet.

    When it comes to important things that can affect my life or the health of my community, I want the best information possible.
    I go to the very best.
    I am not interested in being a backseat driver to science.
    I leave that to the anti-vaxxers and the HIV deniers and the creationists.
    I don’t get my science from some guy on the Internet.

    How does the climate respond to a doubling of CO2.

    How does this reflect on the bottom line?
    The only thing that I’m concerned about are the overall conclusions that have been made by all the scientific communities on the planet.

    You think finding out what the range of estimates in the IPCC on climate sensitivity is anomaly hunting?

    Yes. That’s all it is.
    If you have found something incredible or amazing or serious or dastardly then you need to enter the scientific arena. Otherwise, you are no better than Dr Duesberg.
    PRATT points abound. There’s an endless sea of PRATT’s.
    And they are all old news.

  • pauld

    Cedric:

    you say, “How does the climate respond to a doubling of CO2.

    How does this reflect on the bottom line?
    The only thing that I’m concerned about are the overall conclusions that have been made by all the scientific communities on the planet.”

    The climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 is how the bottom line is expressed by climate scientists. It is the overall conclusion.

    That you don’t know this makes it even more evident that you have no idea what you are talking about.

  • The climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 is how the bottom line is expressed by climate scientists. It is the overall conclusion.

    No, the overall conclusions on the subject of climate change by the scientific community are very clear.
    They all agree with me.

    You are just anomoly hunting.

    That you don’t know this makes it even more evident that you have no idea what you are talking about.

    I don’t study CO2.
    Not my job.
    If I really want to know about CO2 or how important it is then I will rely on the scientific community. I won’t rely upon some guy on the internet to tell me.
    I don’t do factiods.
    I don’t do PRATT’s.

    I don’t worry about Piltdown Man and I don’t worry about the grassy knoll and I don’t worry about flags waving in a vacuum and I don’t worry about the temperature level needed to melt steel at the World Trade Center.

    It’s all just anomoly hunting.

    I, however, am very happy to get my information from NASA.
    (Plus all the other scientific communities on the planet)
    They seem very clear about this climate change business.
    They really seem to know what they are talking about.
    They do the work and I have no reason to suspect that they are part of some dark konspiracy.

    If you disagree then get out there and write up your paper and claim your Nobel Prize.

  • pauld

    Cedric:
    You really don’t have a clue do you. Just curious–when you say that the climate community seems very clear about this climate change business, could you specifically describe the claims that you think are clear? Could you specifically describe some of the information that NASA has provided to you?

  • You really don’t have a clue do you.

    I don’t claim to understand anything about CO2.
    I rely on the scientific community for that kind of thing.

    Just curious–when you say that the climate community seems very clear about this climate change business, could you specifically describe the claims that you think are clear? Could you specifically describe some of the information that NASA has provided to you?

    Happy to help out.
    It’s all there in plain English. NASA rocks.

    NASA didn’t lie to you about the moon landings and they are not lying to you now about climate change.
    There is no spooky konspiracy.

    If you want to get a second opinion from any other scientific community like the AGU or the Royal Society or the AAAS or the NAS or the RMET or the CSIRO or the USGS or the American Chemical Society or the APS then feel free to do so. They are all good.

  • pauld

    For a site that covers the whole issue of climate change in a couple of pages, the NASA isn’t bad. If that is where you are getting your information, however, I hope you realize that it does not contain a summary of the entire body of peer-reviewed literature that you view as so important. NASA spends one page on uncertainties, whereas there are likely thousands of articles on this topic in the literature. Nevertheless, the site does recognize:

    “So aerosol forcing is another substantial uncertainty in predictions of future climate.”

    “Because clouds are such powerful climate actors, even small changes in average cloud amounts, locations, and type could speed warming, slow it, or even reverse it. Current climate models do not represent cloud physics well . . .”

    ” Global ocean data sets only extend back to the early 1990s, so there are large uncertainties in predictions of future ocean changes. ”

    ” For just one example, some models forecast less precipitation in the American southwest, where JPL is, while others foresee more precipitation. This lack of agreement on even the direction of change makes planning very difficult. “

  • Amused

    Wow this Ceddles character is still in such a state of euphoric illusion. Admits no understanding but claims to hold the truth. He is the first one to accuse building a straw man when his posts are riddled with it. Hates all faith but his arguments reek of it . Its all cherry picked and anomaly hunting if you disagree with his repetitive chanting of his version of reality. I am amused because his arrogance and blind imposing of his thoughts upon others proves you do not need a sealed room or black silent helicopters for truth to be withheld … just blind fools that back the “current politically held” truth.

  • If that is where you are getting your information, however, I hope you realize that it does not contain a summary of the entire body of peer-reviewed literature that you view as so important.

    Where has NASA gone wrong in it’s overall conclusions conclusions on the issue of climate change?
    You just seem to be focusing on uncertainties and looking for a shadow of doubt.
    However, what about the bottom line as spelled out by NASA or indeed any other scientific community on the planet? They are very clear on this. You seem intent on ignoring this.
    Are you suggesting that the preponderance of evidence as represented by the vast body of scientific literature is unfairly represented by NASA and all the other science communities?
    If you want to state that NASA has it wrong, then do so but you have to have some very strong evidence for this.

    @ Amused

    Admits no understanding but claims to hold the truth.

    Not at all. I claim that the best way of understanding a science issue is to got the scientific community and not just get your information from some guy on the internet.
    That included myself. I offer no personal opinion on climate change at all. It’s all taken as a whole from all the scientific communities on the planet.

    NASA is an excellent source of information, for example.
    They do a great job.

    He is the first one to accuse building a straw man when his posts are riddled with it.

    Imagine how much more convincing your assertion would be if you could actually demonstrate how “riddled” my posts are with strawmen.

    Hates all faith but his arguments reek of it .

    Imagine how much more convincing your assertion would be if you could back it up with a few examples.
    (shrug)

    Science is not the same as religion.
    They work differently.
    There are no prophets in science. No figures of ultimate authority. All science is tentative. On a scientific issue, the smart play is to get your science information from those that do the work all the time. (No has-beens or wannabees or armchair cowboys.)
    Those people that do the work must publish and submit to the harsh scrutiny of their peers. That’s just the first, modest step that must be taken.
    It’s the very opposite of faith or religion.
    Investigation not revelation.
    And nobody investigates better than NASA.
    NASA is not a cult or temple. Really.

  • pauld

    “Where has NASA gone wrong in it’s overall conclusions conclusions on the issue of climate change?”

    The NASA page cites the range of forecasts from the IPCC. These, by the way, are not NASA’s forecasts. NASA does not mentioned that the forecasts, particularly at the high end, are for temperatures to rise at a rate significantly higher than they have historically, and that the forecasts are based entirely on computer models, that have no history of accurately forecasting climate. The NASA site does not show the poor track record that the climate models actually have when forecasts are compared to observations. The NASA site has no discussion of the some of the key assumptions that are programmed that drive the high-end forecasts, but have little to no empirical data to support them. Although the site devotes one page to uncertainties, which it acknowledges are substantial, the discussion is inadequate. In short, NASA presents the climate forecasts as though they have a substantial scientific basis when, in fact, they are little more than speculation.

  • “Where has NASA gone wrong in it’s overall conclusions on the issue of climate change?”

    “NASA does not mention…”
    (…)
    “The NASA site does not show…”
    (…)
    “The NASA site has no discussion…”

    Wait a minute.
    Why are you looking at what NASA does NOT mention on that one website?
    Very odd.

    Why are you ignoring the overall conclusions of NASA written in plain English for the benefit of the general public that ARE on that one site?
    (Again.)

    Although the site devotes one page to uncertainties, which it acknowledges are substantial, the discussion is inadequate.

    Well, I understand that you are personally unsatisfied with that one website by NASA but why are you ignoring the overall conclusions of NASA on that same website to the exclusion of all else?
    Why are you anomoly hunting?
    That’s a game you can play forever. It’s dishonest.

    I ask you again, where has NASA gone wrong in it’s overall conclusions on the issue of climate change?

    I’m not asking you what the NASA website does or does not “show”, does or does not “mention” or does or does not “discuss”.

    Pay attention.
    Where has NASA gone wrong in it’s overall conclusions on the issue of climate change?

  • pauld

    Cedric: I have followed the climate debate primarily because I am interested in the policy implications (i.e. what, if anything we should do the reduce carbon emissions) To address policy issues, the primary issue is how much will temperatures rise if we do nothing and how confident are we of this forecast.
    The NASA cite discusses historical data and I have no particular problem with that discussion.
    The NASA provides information on the range of climate forecasts from the IPCC. It provides very little information that would assist anyone in evaluating the uncertainties in the forecasts.
    You seem to call evaluating uncertainty as anomoly hunting. I think evaluating uncertainty is central to understanding the policy implications of the climate debate.

  • Where has NASA gone wrong in it’s overall conclusions on the issue of climate change?

    I have followed the climate debate primarily because blah, blah, blah…

    That’s nice.
    I don’t care.
    Where has NASA gone wrong in it’s overall conclusions on the issue of climate change?

    To address policy issues, the primary issue is how much blah, blah, blah…

    That’s nice.
    I don’t care.
    Where has NASA gone wrong in it’s overall conclusions on the issue of climate change?

    The NASA cite discusses historical data and I have no particular problem with that discussion.

    Never mind any “discussion” on “historical data”.
    Where has NASA gone wrong in it’s OVERALL CONCLUSIONS on the issue of climate change?
    It’s right there on the site written out in plain English in short sentences and simple words.

    Do you agree with what they have to say or not?
    Spit it out, man.
    Why is this so agonizingly hard for you?

    The NASA provides information on the range of climate forecasts from the IPCC. It provides very little information blah, blah, blah…

    That’s nice.
    I don’t care.
    Where has NASA gone wrong in it’s overall conclusions on the issue of climate change?

    You seem to call evaluating uncertainty…

    No, that won’t do.
    NASA has already done the work and evaluated the uncertainties. That has not stopped them from reaching firm conclusions on climate change.

    You, however, are dwelling on uncertainties exclusively and dishonestly ignoring the overall conclusions that NASA (and the rest of the scientific communities) have made on climate change.

    Science doesn’t operate that way and neither does the US Navy.

    Pay attention.
    Where has NASA gone wrong in it’s overall conclusions on the issue of climate change?

  • pauld


    Where has NASA gone wrong in it’s overall conclusions on the issue of climate change”

    What do you think is NASA overall conclusion on the issue of climate change?

  • What do you think is NASA overall conclusion on the issue of climate change?

    Pitiful.

    Here is the link again.
    Nice and simple. Short sentences. Easy words.

    Pay attention.
    Where has NASA gone wrong in it’s overall conclusions on the issue of climate change?

    Do you agree with what they have to say or not?
    Spit it out, man.
    Why is this so agonizingly hard for you?

  • pauld

    LOL Cedric.

    If NASA’s position is so obvious, I would like to hear it from you, “what is NASA overall conclusion on the issue of climate change?” Spit it out man.

  • Why are you doing this?
    Why are you intent upon playing games?

    You were quick enough to zero in on the uncertainites as presented by NASA and indeed quote them in detail.

    Why do you ignore the rest of what NASA has to say?
    Is that honest?

    What do you think is…
    (…)
    I would like to hear it from you

    Why the double standard? You didn’t care to ask me about what I think NASA was saying on the uncertainties.
    NASA’s site is written in English and needs no special interpretation from me.

    For a site that covers the whole issue of climate change in a couple of pages, the NASA isn’t bad.

    As you say, it’s only a couple of pages. They keep it brief and simple and you think it isn’t bad.

    Let me make it easy for you.
    Does NASA make any overall conclusions at all on the issue of climate change?
    Does it make any claims that you disagree with?

  • pauld

    Cedric:
    You see the problem is that I have already answered your question.

    “Cedric: I have followed the climate debate primarily because I am interested in the policy implications (i.e. what, if anything we should do the reduce carbon emissions) To address policy issues, the primary issue is how much will temperatures rise if we do nothing and how confident are we of this forecast.
    The NASA cite discusses historical data and I have no particular problem with that discussion.
    The NASA provides information on the range of climate forecasts from the IPCC. It provides very little information that would assist anyone in evaluating the uncertainties in the forecasts.
    You seem to call evaluating uncertainty as anomoly hunting. I think evaluating uncertainty is central to understanding the policy implications of the climate debate.”

  • You see the problem is that I have already answered your question.

    You have not.
    Not even a little bit.
    You’ve told me how you follow the climate debate.
    That does not answer my question. It really doesn’t.

    My question is “Where has NASA gone wrong in it’s overall conclusions on the issue of climate change?”

    You then mention how to address policy issues.
    That too does not answer my question. It’s a different topic entirely.

    My question is “Where has NASA gone wrong in it’s overall conclusions on the issue of climate change?”

    You then say that NASA cites historical data and you give me your opinion on that.
    Again, this does not answer my question.

    My question is “Where has NASA gone wrong in it’s overall conclusions on the issue of climate change?”

    You go on and talk about how NASA provides information climate forecasts and then give your opinion on that by claiming there is too little information.
    This, sadly, does not answer my question. Again.

    My question is “Where has NASA gone wrong in it’s overall conclusions on the issue of climate change?”

    You finish off by starting to talk about me.(?!?!) Yet talking about me and what I am or am not doing has nothing to do with my question.

    My question is “Where has NASA gone wrong in it’s overall conclusions on the issue of climate change?”

    If this question disturbs you or makes you feel uncomfortable for some bizzare reason I am willing to change the question to make things simpler.

    Here’s my alternative question:
    Does NASA make any overall conclusions at all on the issue of climate change?

    This is not a trick question. It’s a simple yes/no.
    Nothing too technical here.
    You even have the NASA website to assist you which you yourself admit is only a couple of pages and is “not bad”.

    If you answer Yes” then the follow-up question is “Does it make any claims that you disagree with?”
    Again, this is not a trick question. Either your agree with the statements made by NASA on that website or you don’t.

    For me, NASA is not the boogey man. I like the work that NASA does on climate change. They have gone to some effort to popularise their science and reach out to the general public. What they say on the NASA website is simple and unambiguious and in accordance with all the other scientific communities on the planet as far as I am aware.
    I accept and agree fully with what they have to say on the issue of climate change.

    You don’t seem to be very keen on it and don’t seem capable of having an honest and frank conversation on it.

    Enough with games and the evasions.
    Either you are capable of talking about NASA like an adult or you are not.

    “Where has NASA gone wrong in it’s overall conclusions on the issue of climate change?”

  • Pauld

    Cedric: You ask: “Does NASA make any overall conclusions at all on the issue of climate change?”

    My answer is no. If you disagree, please describe NASA’s overall conclusions.

  • Cedric: You ask: “Does NASA make any overall conclusions at all on the issue of climate change?”

    My answer is no.

    Extraordinary.

    So, when you look at the NASA website, you don’t read any conclusions there.
    The uncertainties section? Ah ,now that you notice.
    (In fact, you quote them in detail.)
    You also notice a range of forcasts.
    Plus, you see that they have “historical data”.
    You notice that they don’t have stuff there that you think should be there.

    Yet, mysteriously, no actual conclusions.
    Hmm.
    NASA goes to all the trouble of creating a website to popularise it’s science and yet, according to you, they didn’t bother to mention any conclusions?
    Is that really how you see it?

    So, when NASA says on their site that “the evidence for rapid climate change is compelling”, that’s not a conclusion or anything? If it’s not a conclusion, then what on Earth is it in your opinion? What term would you use to describe it?

  • pauld

    Cedric:
    Now that you have clarified which conclusions among many is NASA’s “overall conclusion on the issue of climate change” I can comment.

    As I previously stated, I don’t have any major problems with the historical data cited on the website. I would agree that the evidence for “climate change” is compelling. The subjective description that the climate change has been “rapid” is unsupported by the evidence NASA describes and is generally unsupported by the peer-reviewed literature.

  • Now that you have clarified which conclusions among many is NASA’s …

    Conclusions?
    What conclusions?
    You just said that NASA doesn’t make any conclusions.

    Cedric: You ask: “Does NASA make any overall conclusions at all on the issue of climate change?”

    My answer is no.

    Now, suddenly, we have conclusions.
    Miracle of miracles.

    Why are you playing this stupid game?
    Why do you evade?
    Why are you so unwilling to to talk like an adult about NASA and their conclusions?

  • Pauld

    Cedric: I never said that NASA does not make any conclusions on its website. I said that it does not make any “overall conclusions”. Rather than play a silly guessing game about which of many conclusions was NASA’s “overall conclusion”, I asked you to describe its “overall conclusion”

    Finally, now that you have done that I have commented on what you perceive to be NASA’s “overall conclusion” If you want discuss this “overall conclusion” as adult, please do. The point in dispute is whether the observed “climate change” that I acknowledge is “rapid”?

    A graph of one time-series of the global land/ocean temperature index since 1850 is shown on the NASA website on the tab labeled “key indicators” A graph of one of the two existing satellite indexes since 1980 (when the satellite record begins)that is more up-to-date is shown here http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/04/uah-temperature-update-for-march-2011-cooler-still-0-10-deg-c/. (By the way,Dr. Roy Spencer is responsible for this time-series so his own website is a reliable source) Do you think that either graph shows “rapid” climate changes?
    A couple of quick observations. On the NASA graph, if you put your cursor over any given year, it will show numerically the year and the temperature anomoly. On the NASA graph in 1910 the anomoly was -.33. In 1943 it was +.09. The change over the 33 year period was +.42 degrees. This occurred before any significant changes in CO2 emissions occurred. In other words, it illustrates what is undisputably “natural” climate change. More recently, the temperature anomoly in 1975 was -.05. By 2010, at the peak of a warming El Nino cycle it was +.63, A change of .68 in a 35 year period.
    The Satellite time-series is slightly different. It shows that in 1980, the anomoly (based on a different base period) was about -.25. At the peak of the warming El Nino cycle at the end of 2010 it was about +.4. This is a change of about +.65 in the 30 year period shown. The Satellite time-series, however, is more up-to-date. The end of March, 2011 anomoly is about -.1, or virtually no change over the entire period.

    I would note that just as the end of 2010 anomoly is unusually high because it is the peak of an El Nino warming cycle, the March of 2011 is likely unusually low due to the beginning of a cooling La Nina cycle. It will be interesting to see where temperatures level off once the La Nina ends. In any event, I don’t think either time-series record illustrates “rapid” climate change.
    My final observation is that the NASA time series begins at a time when nearly all climate scientists agree the earth was emerging from a “Little ice-age”. In other words, the warming since 1850 is from what most everyone acknowledges is an unusually cold period.

  • I never said that NASA does not make any conclusions on its website. I said that it does not make any “overall conclusions”.

    Oh dear. It was the “overall” that you decided to get all obtuse and diffident about.
    Fine.
    Lesson learned.

    If you want discuss this “overall conclusion” as adult, please do.

    No, that’s all right. We can play by your rules.
    There are no overall conclusions made by NASA.
    Got it.
    Yet there are (wait for it, wait for it) conclusions made by NASA, right?
    Good.
    We have made progress.

    So…

    Where has NASA gone wrong in it’s conclusions on the issue of climate change?

    The point in dispute is whether the observed “climate change” that I acknowledge is “rapid”?

    Well, so far, it’s only disputed by you.
    You are at odds with NASA.

    Climate change has sadly become “climate change” in your hands.
    Even the descriptive term “rapid” has been casually dismissed by you as “subjective” and unsupported generally by the peer-reviewed literature.

    Yet NASA does say in plain English that “the evidence for rapid climate change is compelling” as opposed to “the evidence for “climate change” is compelling but we cant’s say if it’s rapid or not ’cause it’s a subjective term and such a term would not be generally supported by the peer-reviewed literature”.

    Now this raises a dilemma. Should I accept NASA’s conclusion or should I trust some guy on the internet?
    Hmm.

    A graph of one of the two existing satellite indexes since 1980 (when the satellite record begins)that is more up-to-date is shown here…

    No.
    I don’t do personalities and their blogs.
    I don’t follow authority figures even if they are a real super-duper doctor or something.
    Dr Spencer means no more to me than Dr Mann or Ken Ham or Crick or anybody else.
    I certainly don’t get my science from “some guy on the Internet”.

    Do you think that either graph shows “rapid” climate changes?

    I don’t worry too much about reading graphs.
    Graphs can be deceptivly drawn up by individuals to show one thing rather than another.
    Graphs, graphs and damned statistics.
    Or a graph might not contain correctly adjusted numbers allowing for something else important that might be going on.
    Much, much harder to get away with that sort of thing as an official scientific body with the eyes of the world upon you.
    I leave graphs to the experts. If NASA says that something is moving rapidly and goes to the trouble of putting it up on their website, then I’m happy to go with that.
    I want my science VETTED. Not just by me or some other guy on the internet.
    If it was in genuine dispute, if NASA had made an error, then I’d expect some other scientific community out there to raise the issue and thrash it out in the scientific arena and let the general public know about it via an official press release or an update on the NASA site or the Royal Society site.

    In any event, I don’t think either time-series record illustrates “rapid” climate change.

    Is there a scientific community out there on the planet that agrees with you? (The Royal Society or the AUG, for example?)

  • Pauld

    Cedric: You say regarding Dr. Roy Spencer, “I certainly don’t get my science from “some guy on the Internet”.

    It is funny that you say that Dr. Roy Spencer is just some guy on the internet. Who is he? Dr. Roy W. Spencer is a climatologist and a Principal Research Scientist for the University of Alabama in Huntsville, as well as the U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. In other words, he is a NASA scientist. The irony abounds.

    While much of what Dr. Spencer writes is controversial, his satellite temperature record is not. It is one of the four standard temperature time-series that everyone, including the IPCC, relies upon. I understand that you don’t know this. But that is a reflection upon your ignorance, not his work.

    So here is the difference between you and me. You take vague statements that appear on NASA’s website at face value even though the statement has not published in a “peer-reviewed” journal. I, on the other hand, take a look at the actual evidence that NASA cites and see whether it supports the claim made. I also, unlike you,rely upon what the peer-reviewed literature says.

    Take a look at the peer-reviewed literature that you think is so important. You could start with this peer-reviewed article. Davis, J. C. and Bohling, G. C. (2000), The Search for Patterns in Ice Core Temperature Curves. Environmental Geosciences, 7: 213–214.http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1526-0984.2000.74003-3.x/abstract

    The abstract:

    “Predictions of global climate change are based on large computer-simulation models that are “history-matched” to weather records compiled from the early 19th century onward. Climate change model forecasts would be more convincing if they were based on the natural records of the Holocene (i.e., 10,000 years) and were capable of emulating climate characteristics of this epoch. Temperature records estimated from oxygen isotope measurements on ice cores from the Greenland ice cap and the Antarctic could be used to develop models based on geochronological data rather than historically brief weather records.

    The 20-year average record of oxygen isotope values from the Greenland GISP2 ice core exhibits a long-term trend of declining temperatures over most of the Holocene, except during the last 100 years when temperatures have increased, a change widely blamed on CO2 emissions from fossil fuels. However, the range in temperatures over the last 100 years is typical for the Holocene, and the current rate of increase in temperatures is not unusual. Past periods of consistently increasing (or decreasing) temperatures have not persisted much longer than the current interval, so temperature trends may well reverse in the near future. There are distinct cyclic patterns in temperatures recorded in the GISP2 ice core, including a pronounced saw-toothed, 560-year sequence of relatively abrupt change followed by a gradual reversal; the present trend may be the initial phase of such a pattern. In summary, the present climate does not appear significantly different than the past climate at times prior to industrialization.”
    So Cedric: should you rely upon a vague assertion written by someone at NASA on a website that has not been “peer-reviewed” and that is not supported by the evidence cited? Or should you consider the conclusion set forth in a “peer-reviewed” journal article?

    Or to paraphrase you, Should I accept what some guy on NASA’s website writes or should I trust a peer-reviewed journal article? Hmm.

  • It is funny that you say that Dr. Roy Spencer is just some guy on the internet.

    If only the scientific community laughed with you.
    (sigh)

    If he has something that contradicts NASA’s findings then he should publish and not waste time on his blog.
    There’s no reason just to take his word on anything or just dumbly nod your head at graphs on his blog.

    In other words, he is a NASA scientist.

    So what? Why should I pay attention to him and not some other NASA scientist that disagrees with him and also has a blog?
    There are no prophets in science.

    So here is the difference between you and me. You take vague statements that appear on NASA’s website at face value even though the statement has not published in a “peer-reviewed” journal.

    Several problems here.
    The statements don’t look vague to me.
    They look quite clear and unambiguous and written in plain English.
    I understand that the site is not a peer reviewed journal but I don’t expect it to be.
    It’s designed to popularise the science and explain how NASA sees things.
    It takes basic information out of the vast body of work done by NASA and others that NASA works with and simplifies it to make it easier to understand.
    Nothing wrong with that.
    I have only your word that it’s not backed up by peer reviewed research.
    That’s not good enough.
    There’s no reason why I should just believe you.
    You are a nobody on the internet.
    Whereas NASA…is not.

    I, on the other hand, take a look at the actual evidence that NASA cites and see whether it supports the claim made.

    Yes, but there’s no reason to believe that you know what you are talking about. You may have convinced yourself that you are in the right but you could still well be wrong.
    Dunning Kruger Effect.
    Again, there is no reason to just take your word for anything.

    I also, unlike you,rely upon what the peer-reviewed literature says.

    Two problems here:

    Firstly, I do indeed rely upon what the peer reviewed literature says.
    Exclusively.
    I go on and on about it at great length.
    I just keep on saying peer-review, peer-review and more peer review. It drives science deniers of all stripes crazy. They can’t compete.

    All modern science across all disciplines rely upon peer reviewed literature.
    Every position I have on every scientific issue is firmly grounded in the peer-reviewed literature.
    Evolution, vaccines, cancer cures, tobacco-cancer dangers, and climate change. No exceptions allowed.
    I rely upon it so much that I don’t even need to put scare quotes around the phrase-unlike some people around here.

    The NASA website is not created out of thin air. It’s the scientific work that NASA has done over the last 50 years and the billions of dollars spent on cutting edge technology with super-computers and satellites.
    It’s silly to pretend that it’s not a fair, though necessarilly simplified, representation of the preponderance of peer-reviewed literature on climate change.

    I also, unlike you,rely upon what the peer-reviewed literature says.

    Ah, if only that was true.
    You contradict yourself.

    “I agree that it is important to judge science by scientific standards, but I disagree that “peer-review” is that standard.
    (…)
    Why does one need to rely upon “peer-reviewed” literature to identify misleading graphics that have been clearly documented?”
    (…)
    “Really. I can sort out fairly well what is written by crackpots and loons without relying upon the “peer reviewed” literature. I also can make independent judgments about articles that appear in the “peer reviewed” literature. Relying on peer review as the gate keeping mechanism for “truth” is lazy and not particularly reliable.
    (…)
    There are also many important and insightful articles that have not been published these peer-reviewed journals.”

    You need to make up your mind what you do.
    Either you rely on peer-reviewed literature or you don’t.
    Either you have rigourous scientific standards or you don’t.

    One can choose to simply ignore anything that is not written in peer-reviewed climate science journals. By doing so, I think one is ignoring the contributions that are being made by many highly qualified professionals who have important and relevant things to say.

    You follow personalities. Not peer review.
    You are bedazzled by their baubles and titles.
    “They” say something and it becomes important and relevant and you just know this because they are “highly qualified professionals”.

    Informed skeptics, such as Dr. Richard Lindzen, Dr. Roy Spencer, Dr. John Christie, generally accept…

    Hmm, yes.
    “Informed skeptics” who are “highly qualified professionals” who have “important and relevant things to say”.

    Wakefield, Ken Ham, Dr Duesberg, etc. Hello?
    No.
    There are no prophets in science. Science does not work the same as a religion.

    “One method is to read extensively on both sides of various disputes and apply one’s own judgment to the arguments that are presented. That is what I choose to do. I think my own research and my training and experience in relevant fields outside of climate science allows to me to make reasonable judgments about many of the disputes within the field of climate science.”

    A poster boy for the Dunning Kruger Effect. You have no methodology to protect yourself from it.

    You use climate denier blogs on the internet.
    You fixate on isolated contrarian personalities.
    You even stoop to waving emails about.
    For you, peer review is a disposable option that can be useful if it casts doubt and uncertainty all around.
    That’s bankrupt thinking.

    You could start with this peer-reviewed article.

    HIV deniers and creationists do the same thing.
    They go out and cherry-pick a paper (or a modest collection) from the vast body and fixate on it.
    I don’t do that.
    I accept all of it. It’s the only sensible thing to do.
    If you don’t want to be compared to deniers, then you should not use the methodology of a denier.

    Should I accept what some guy on NASA’s website writes…

    It’s not “some guy”. Nobody hacked into NASA’s computers and put up a website without anybody noticing.
    NASA put up that website.
    Really.
    NASA.
    Let go of your paranoia and stop desperately creating phantoms.

    …or should I trust a peer-reviewed journal article?

    Hell no. Just because a single paper gets past the process of peer-review doesn’t mean you should trust it. Scientific theories don’t hang by a thread.
    One swallow does not a spring make.
    You should look at ALL THE SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE AS A WHOLE.
    I’ve explained this to you many times before. Focus on what I write rather than the voices in your head.

    In any event, I don’t think either time-series record illustrates “rapid” climate change.

    Is there a scientific community out there on the planet that agrees with you? (The Royal Society or the AGU, for example?)
    There’s lots out there. You have the entire planet’s worth of scientific communities to choose from. Do any of them agree with you?

  • Pauld

    Cedric: Enough. It is obvious that you have no idea what you are talking about. You have never read the IPCC. You have never read any peer-reviewed literature. You have no idea what aspects of climate science are well-established and what aspects are controversial. You have no idea how to evaluate any disputes that occur in the peer-reviewed literature or what those disputes might be.
    Although you claim that the entire body of peer-reviewed literature should be considered, you have no idea what that body of work says. Instead, you go to websites that tell you what you should think. Somewhere along the line, one of those websites or perhaps a movie mistakenly suggested to you that the “science is settled” and that there are no legitimate disputes about what is going on with the climate. You bought the line that the world can be neatly divided between what scientists believe and what “deniers” believe. You bought that claim without any serious independent investigation.
    That is pretty much the truth, isn’t it?

  • pauld

    Cedric: To be fair, I think I should explain why it is obvious you do not know what you talking about. First example: You say regarding Dr. Roy Spencer temperature chart that “There’s no reason just to take his word on anything or just dumbly nod your head at graphs on his blog.”

    If you were at all familiar with climate science, you would know that there are four temperature indexes that are relied upon by climate scientists. None of them are published in peer-reviewed journals. All of them have quality control systems. Dr. Spencer is in charge of one of these indexes that is published by the University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH). It is an index based upon on NASA satellite observations. The official UAH index can be found at any number of websites, including Dr. Spencer’s own website, for which I provided a link.

    NASA publishes the GISS index, which is a land-record based index and is likewise published on a variety of websites, including NASA’s website. If you were familiar you would be aware that that Dr. Spencer’s UAH index more or less mirrors the NASA’s GISS index, with minor differences within the margin of error of either index. Both use different methodologies and there are strengths and weaknesses for each of them. Having both available acts as a nice check on the other. The same can be said of the other two indexes.

    Both the UAH index and the GISS index, show an sharp uptick in global temperatures in 2010, consistent with the effect of the El Nino, and a sharp drop off in temperatures in the first three months of 2011, consistent with start of the La Nina. The other two major indexes show the same thing. There are slight difference among all four indexes, but they all paint the same picture.

    So when you suggest that “There’s no reason just to take his word on anything or just dumbly nod your head at graphs on his blog,” you are revealing your ignorance of basic climate metrics. Are you suggesting that Dr. Spencer is misrepresenting on his website the official UAH record? Are you suggesting that the UAH index is less reliable than the other three indexes? Are you suggesting that the UAH index shows something that is not reflexed in the other indexes?

    Now another example. You trust NASA’s proclamation that there is evidence of “rapid” climate change because NASA says so. This is a standard appeal to authority argument that is generally disfavored by scientists. When I present a peer-review article that concludes that “the present climate does not appear significantly different than the past climate at times prior to industrialization” you waive your hands and say just because it is peer reviewed, doesn’t mean its reliable.

    I take a different approach. I look at the evidence cited by the respective sources. The evidence cited by the NASA website uses temperature record from the last 150 years, which does not support a claim of “rapid” climate change. Moreover the NASA website begs the question, “rapid” compare to what? By contrast, the journal article I cite relies upon ice core temperature reconstructions for the past 10,000 years, that have been thoroughly vetted in the peer-reviewed literature. Thus, the journal article puts the current temperatures in the context of temperature changes over the past 10,000 years. The ice core reconstructions relied upon can be found in any number of peer-reviewed articles or can be found at any number of websites.

    At this point, if you think that NASA’s claim is more accurate than the journal claim, please explain.

  • You have never read the IPCC. You have never read any peer-reviewed literature.

    Extraordinary.
    You will be telling me what I had for breakfast next.
    Such mind-reading powers you have.

    You have no idea what aspects of climate science are well-established and what aspects are controversial.

    I know enough not to just blindly believe some guy on the Internet and his personal version of events.
    (shrug)

    Although you claim that the entire body of peer-reviewed literature should be considered, you have no idea what that body of work says.

    Well, if I don’t then you should come up with a definitive way to show me the error of my ways. All I see you doing is repeatedly cherry picking isolated papers and linking to blogs. A very bad way of doing things.

    Instead, you go to websites that tell you what you should think.

    Not just any old websites.
    I go to NASA.
    Say it with me now…”NASA”. It just rolls off the tongue.
    NASA is fantastic. You don’t seem to like them, though.
    (Not that it surprises me)
    In fact, I can say with complete confidence that I am perfectly happy to go to any scientific community on the planet and check out their websites too and be prepared to accept what they have to say on the issue of climate change. No problem at all. They seem to like NASA too.

    Somewhere along the line, one of those websites or perhaps a movie mistakenly suggested to you that the “science is settled” and that there are no legitimate disputes about what is going on with the climate.

    This is a PRATT. Very old.

    You bought the line that the world can be neatly divided between what scientists believe and what “deniers” believe. You bought that claim without any serious independent investigation.
    That is pretty much the truth, isn’t it?

    Not at all. I just looked closely at your methodology and noticed that it’s the same as deniers of other stripes.
    The way you get your science information and the way you justify that way works well for a creationist, a tobacco-cancer denier, an HIV denier or an antivaxxer.
    Just switch the labels around.
    There’s no need to change a thing.
    You have failed completely to demonstrate that you don’t do what other science deniers will happily do.
    Rather, you match up with them.

  • If you were at all familiar with climate science…
    (…)
    If you were familiar you would be aware…
    (…)

    I don’t need to be.
    I’m not familiar with biology or medicine either.
    That’s what the scientists are for.
    I rely upon their work. I freely admit it. We live in a world of specialists.

    …you are revealing your ignorance of basic climate metrics.

    Oh, you overestimate me. I’m ignorant of a lot more than just that.
    Much, much, much more.
    I know nothing at all about basic chemical compounds, either. Nor basic nuclear principles 101. Nor basic TV repair. That’s why, when I have to make a decision on those issues, I always go to those that do the work and are the very best in the business and am always ready to get a second opinion.

    You trust NASA’s proclamation that there is evidence of “rapid” climate change because NASA says so.

    Oh so now we are back to NASA? Not “some guy”. That’s very generous of you. Pity about the “proclamation” bit though. You used to accept it as a conclusion. Now it’s some high and mighty proclamation.
    Pity that.

    You trust NASA’s proclamation that there is evidence of “rapid” climate change because NASA says so. This is a standard appeal to authority argument that is generally disfavored by scientists.

    No.
    Trusting NASA on climate change is no more an appeal to authority than trusting the AMA on the connection between tobacco and lung cancer.

    They do the scientific work.
    They publish in the peer-reviewed literature.
    They are at the cutting edge and even their opposite numbers in countries all around the world sit up and take notice when they have something to say in their field of expertise.

    Scientists favour NASA.
    They really do.

    Ironically, it is you that makes appeals to authority.

    Informed skeptics, such as Dr. Richard Lindzen, Dr. Roy Spencer, Dr. John Christie, generally accept…

    There are no prophets in science.

    When I present a peer-review article that concludes that (…) you waive your hands and say just because it is peer reviewed, doesn’t mean its reliable.

    Do you dispute that?
    Seriously?
    Are you now switching your position on peer review entirely 180 degrees and saying that a peer reviewed article is…reliable?
    Dumb.
    That’s not how the peer review process works.
    Getting a paper peer-reviewed and accepted into a journal is only the first, modest humble step that that must be taken. It is indeed NECESSARY but (wait for it, wait for it) NOT SUFFICIENT.
    Wakefield. Hello? Fred Singer and his tobacco papers. Hello?

    I take a different approach. I look at the evidence cited by the respective sources.

    Yeah, like blogs, emails, isolated papers that tell you what you want to hear and “informed skeptics”. Awful. You believe any old trash that comes your way.

    You’ve already explained and demonstrated your approach.
    It’s flawed.
    It’s exactly the same approach taken by science deniers of all stripes.
    You take no measures to avoid the Dunning Kruger effect.
    None.
    You are not a skeptic, you are a sucker.

    In any event, I don’t think either time-series record illustrates “rapid” climate change.

    Is there a scientific community out there on the planet that agrees with you? (The Royal Society or the AGU, for example?)
    There’s lots out there. You have the entire planet’s worth of scientific communities to choose from. Do any of them agree with you?

  • pauld

    Cedric: I would like to see whether I understand your “overall” points: 1) Unless I misunderstand, I think that you have admitted that you know nothing about climate science and for that reason you accept anything you read on a website that you think is authoritative? 2) Moreover, would it be fair to say that no evidence could convince you to disbelieve anything stated on a website that you think is authoritative because you don’t have the knowledge and/or interest to study and evaluate evidence for yourself? 3) Anyone who takes the time to study and question assertions from sources you view as authoritative is just like the people who think vaccines cause autism, etc . . .

    Have I fairly summarized what you have said?

  • Have I fairly summarized what you have said?

    Yes and no.

    I think that you have admitted that you know nothing about climate science

    Yes, I freely admit this.
    The same goes for a multitude of other science fields too:
    I’m a complete dead loss on oceanography, dendrocronology, astronomy, anatomy, geology, nuclear physics, chemistry, engineering, microbiology, dermatology, glaciology, fluid dynamics, metallurgy, botany, astrophysics, anthropology, paleontology, heptology, psychology and others too numerous to mention. Place me, this very minute, in a first year university undergraduate mid-term exam on any of these subjects and I will most likely fail. In fact I’m sure I would fail.

    …and for that reason you accept anything you read on a website that you think is authoritative?

    No. It’s not the “authority” that is important.
    (Nor any “proclamations” for that matter.)
    That’s why I would not accept a blog written by some individual scientist or other no matter how “respected” or “prominent” or “informed” they may be or even if they worked for NASA at one time. One could argue that they are an authority too. It’s not good enough.
    My standards are much higher than that.

    The website must fairly represent the best. The very best.
    I’ll go to the community of scientists that are the acknowledged leaders in their field by their peers.
    Not by me; their peers.
    The scientific community that does active, cutting edge research with the latest tech available, works closely with other leading scientific communities in the field and makes active, fruitful contributions to the peer-reviewed literature.
    It’s the work that counts.

    So, if I’m arguing with a creationist numbskull about creationism and DNA for example, then I’ll go to the NIH and their partners.

    If I’m locking horns with a YECer then I’ll be happy to use the USGS.

    Antarctica? I’ll probably go to the British Antarctic survey.

    Forensic science issue? I’d go to the AAFS or the Forensic Science Service or perhaps just talk to the FBI.

    The moon landings were a gigantic hoax? I’d go to NASA.

    The link between cancer and smoking is disputed by scientists? Really? Then I’m checking out the NCI, the NIH and the Office of the Surgeon General straight away.

    …would it be fair to say that no evidence could convince you to disbelieve anything stated on a website…

    Oh no. If one group of scientific communities said one thing and another group of scientific communities said another then that would look very much like a controversy to me and I would have to wait and see how things turn out. If the overall body of scientific literature as a whole was roughly split in two then that would be enough to pursuade me that I should not accept either side but wait and see.
    If the tide clearly turns and the preponderance of scientific literature shifts firmly in one new direction, then I will go along with it.
    Everything I accept on scientific issues is completely mainstream. There are no exceptions.

    …you don’t have the knowledge and/or interest to study and evaluate evidence for yourself?

    Studying and evaluating is great. That’s what scientists are for. I firmly stick with the professionals. It’s the main reason why I don’t smoke.

    Anyone who takes the time to study and question assertions from sources you view as authoritative…

    Oh, it’s fine to question and study.
    It’s just that deniers of all stripes all claim to do that.
    Wakefield.
    Dr Duesberg.
    Fred Singer.

    In order not to be considered a denier, you have to demonstrate in an objective, honest manner that your methodology has measures built in that clearly differentiate you from the cranks out there.

    It’s not enough to claim to be a skeptic.
    You must act like one.
    It’s a process; not a position.

    Anyone who takes the time to study and question assertions from sources you view as authoritative…

    Well, one of the specific things that I would be instantly worried about and see as a big, fat, red flag would be the Dunning Kruger Effect. That happens to the best of people and they don’t even know that it’s happening.

    In any event, I don’t think either time-series record illustrates “rapid” climate change.

    Is there a scientific community out there on the planet that agrees with you? (The Royal Society or the AGU, for example?)
    There’s lots out there. You have the entire planet’s worth of scientific communities to choose from. Do any of them agree with you?

  • pauld

    Well, Cedric I think I do understand your position. You are not interested in discussing evidence, arguments or the results reported in peer-reviewed literature. You get your information from websites that you trust. That is fine for you. Since we come from very different perspectives as to how one should evaluate science, I don’t think there is much point in continuing this discussion.

  • Pauld

    Cedric: Just for fun I took a look at the Royal Societies revised statement on climate change issued in September of 2010. http://royalsociety.org/climate-change-summary-of-science/

    I actually thought it was fairly reasonable. On the record of temperature change during the instrumental period, the Society doesn’t make provide any subjective descriptions whether climate change has been “rapid”. It does make some observations consistent with what I pointed out to you. Here is the relevant portion of the statement:

    “Measurements show that averaged over the globe, the surface has warmed by about 0.8oC (with an uncertainty of about ±0.2oC) since 1850. This warming has not been gradual, but has been largely concentrated in two periods, from around 1910 to around
    1940 and from around 1975 to around 2000.”
    The statement has some ambiguity. Read in context, I think that the statement the the change “has not been gradual” is best understood by the modifying phrase that follows it, “but has been largely concentrated in two periods, from around 1910 to around
    1940 and from around 1975 to around 2000.”
    Furthermore, it does not cite any temperature reconstructions that would allow one to compare the current warming to warming that has occurred in the past. Before the “hockey stick” graph was so thoroughly descredited in the peer-reviewed literature, I suspect that they would have mentioned it.

    It is interesting to note that it recognizes that global warming pretty much stopped after 2000. It was, however, written before for the temporary effect of the El Nino spiked temperatures in 2010, which is now being offset by the cooling effect of the La Nina.

    The report helpfully categorizes the findings of climate science into the following categories: “Aspects of Climate Science in Which There is Widespread Agreement”, “Aspects of climate change where there is a wide consensus but continuing debate and discussion” and “Aspects that are not well understood.”
    I would generally agree with how they have characterized uncertainty. I think that the statement does not well describe the full impact of the uncertainty that it identifies or the policy implications of that uncertainty.

  • Well, Cedric I think I do understand your position.

    I wish that was the case but you seem intent upon misrepresenting me at every turn.
    You also seem determined to put your personal spin on everthing that NASA and the Royal Society are telling you.
    There’s no point in asking me if you have fairly summaried what I have said if you are just going to ignore my answer.
    It’s dishonest.

    You are not interested in discussing evidence, arguments or the results reported in peer-reviewed literature.

    No, I’m just not prepared to accept your personal version of events. Nor am I prepared to just go with the isolated papers that happen to catch your eye. You are just some guy on the internet.

    You get your information from websites that you trust. That is fine for you.

    Again, here you willfully misrepresent me. I spend time and effort to carefully explain how I get my science information and you trivialise it.
    I’m not getting my “information from websites”.
    There’s lots of websites out there and not all sources of information are equal.
    Far from it.
    I have a very strict criteria of how I choose to get my science information. Such strict criteria is not fairly and honestly represented by the the phrase “information from websites”.
    You strip away all the context and misrepresent my position in order to create a strawman.
    You need to ask yourself why you do this.

    I don’t get my science information the way you do.
    My methodology is better than yours.

    Just for fun I took a look at the Royal Societies revised statement on climate change(…)I actually thought it was fairly reasonable.

    Yes, but once again you focus on uncertainties, what the summary does not say and are determined to overlay your personal opinions on top of the summary made by the Royal Society.
    Dunning Kruger Effect.

    “…it does not cite any temperature reconstructions…”

    Read in context, I think that the statement…

    What a pity that that the Royal Society communicates so poorly that you must “helpfully” step in and translate for them. If only they had your level of scientific understanding.

    It is interesting to note that it recognizes that global warming pretty much stopped after 2000.

    What a pity that that the Royal Society communicates so poorly that you must “helpfully” step in and translate for them. It says something and you can’t resist spinning it.

    For the record, here’s what the Royal Society actually says in the very next paragraph following the one that you creatively re-interpret.

    When these surface temperatures are averaged over periods of a decade, to remove some of the year-to-year variability, each decade since the 1970s has been clearly
    warmer (given known uncertainties) than the one immediately preceding it. The decade 2000-2009 was, globally, around 0.15oC warmer than the decade 1990-1999.

    I let the Royal Society speak for itself. You should do the same. It’s the honest thing to do.

    “I would generally agree with how they have characterized uncertainty. I think that the statement does not well describe the full impact of the uncertainty that it identifies or the policy implications of that uncertainty.

    Uncertainties abound. An endess sea of uncertainties. In your hands, the actual conclusions of the Royal Society are permanently MIA.

    I, in contrast to you, don’t need to put my own personal spin on anything that NASA or the Royal Society say. I’ll take it exactly as they themselves write it. I accept it as a package deal, in full context in conjunction with all other summaries made by all of the other scientific communities out there on the planet.
    No exceptions.

    Before the “hockey stick” graph was so thoroughly descredited in the peer-reviewed literature, I suspect that they would have mentioned it.

    This is a PRATT. It’s been done to death. It convinces only the ignorant that get their science information predigested for them by climate denier sites. Step outside of that narrow, incestuous, aging world and enter the mainstream.

    Your methodology is the same as other science deniers.
    You have no protocols to protect yourself from the Dunning Kruger Effect.

    In any event, I don’t think either time-series record illustrates “rapid” climate change.

    Is there a scientific community out there on the planet that agrees with you? (The Royal Society or the AGU, for example?)
    There’s lots out there. You have the entire planet’s worth of scientific communities to choose from. Do any of them agree with you?

  • Damn. Got the html code wrong for the bold font.
    🙁

  • pauld

    Cedric:

    I should know better than to keep this conversation going, but one portion of your post peaked my curiosity. You seem pretty supportive of the hockey stick. Yet I did not notice it was discussed on the NASA website. I am wondering which website you go to find out your position on the hockey stick.

  • You seem pretty supportive of the hockey stick.

    No, I am not.
    I have no personal opinion of the hockey stick.
    My support or lack thereof is not the issue.
    I rely on those that do the work. All the time. No exceptions.
    My own private “gut feeling” is irrelevant to me.
    I’m not a scientist.
    I don’t risk doing the Dunning Kruger thingy.
    I have safeguards that are part of my methodology that protect me from that.

    Yet I did not notice it was discussed on the NASA website. I am wondering which website you go to find out your position on the hockey stick.

    Well, (and I’m not being sarcastic here) you should know my methodology well enough by now to figure it out for yourself.

    You know that my information does not rely upon some blog or other. I have taken no anonymous person’s word for anything. That also automatically rules out any climate denier’s blog run by some scientist wannabee. Nor have I relied on some “respected individual” or “great sage” or “informed talking head that has escaped from the nursing home”.
    Nor do I just get my information from websites that “I trust” just because they arbitrarily feel “fine to me”.

    If you were me and some guy on the internet made a claim about the hockey stick one way or the other, what would you do to try and be as scrupulously honest as possible and find out the best information possible.
    Who you gonna call?

    Let me give you a hint:

    So, if I’m arguing with a creationist numbskull about creationism and DNA for example, then I’ll go to the NIH and their partners.

    If I’m locking horns with a YECer then I’ll be happy to use the USGS.

    Antarctica? I’ll probably go to the British Antarctic survey.

    Forensic science issue? I’d go to the AAFS or the Forensic Science Service or perhaps just talk to the FBI.

    The moon landings were a gigantic hoax? I’d go to NASA.

    The link between cancer and smoking is disputed by scientists? Really? Then I’m checking out the NCI, the NIH and the Office of the Surgeon General straight away.

    Sound fair enough?

    If one group of scientific communities said one thing and another group of scientific communities said another then that would look very much like a controversy to me and I would have to wait and see how things turn out. If the overall body of scientific literature as a whole was roughly split in two then that would be enough to pursuade me that I should not accept either side but wait and see.
    If the tide clearly turns and the preponderance of scientific literature shifts firmly in one new direction, then I will go along with it.
    Everything I accept on scientific issues is completely mainstream. There are no exceptions.

    Nor would I make any exceptions for the hockey stick.
    That’s clearly a scientific issue. (Though nowhere as big as climate deniers make it out to be. It’s been old news for a long time now.)
    So…who you gonna call?

    Everything I accept on scientific issues is completely mainstream. There are no exceptions.

    That includes the hockey stick PRATT. Either it is “thoroughly descredited in the peer-reviewed literature” or it is not. It can’t be both.

    If I’m consistant and not a hypocrite and my methodology works the way I say it does, then what would be my next best step?
    Work with me here.
    For once, just for laughs, read what I have written and road-test my criteria.
    It will cost you nothing and take you very, very little time.
    Follow my methodology.
    Please.

  • Pauld

    Cedric:
    I understand your plattitudes. I am interested in how specifically you apply your methodology to the “hockey stick” controversy.
    How do you know whether the “hockey stick” is controversial in the scientific community? How do you know if or how the scientific community is split on this issue? How do you determine the where the weight of scientific opinion is on this particular issue?
    I think you have already acknowledged that you do not sufficient background to read the peer-reviewed literature for yourself and make your own judgments. So how did or do you apply your methodology to this particular issue where there is a split of viewpoints in the peer-reviewed literature? On this issue, which website or book or report do you rely upon? Or are you waiting to see how the issue plays out?

  • I understand your plattitudes.

    Again, you trivialise my position.
    Why do you do this?
    Why label them mere “platitudes”? What’s the point?
    I’ve given you very clear criteria on what I demand from my sources and multiple, real-world examples.

    I am interested in how specifically you apply your methodology to the “hockey stick” controversy.

    I have been very specific. I’ve gone into great detail many times on this thread about how I find out if a scientific claim is real or not. My methodology is consistant. It does not vary from scientific issue to scientific issue. My methodology is applicable across the board.
    It’s not arbitrary.
    I am no hypocrite.

    I ask you to put yourself in my shoes and follow my methodology for yourself.
    It will take you no time at all and will cost you nothing.

    The claim is…”“the hockey stick is thoroughly descredited in the peer-reviewed literature”. That is a claim that can be objectively shown one way or the other via my methodology.

    I think you have already acknowledged that you do not sufficient background to read the peer-reviewed literature for yourself and make your own judgments.

    Yes. Exactly.
    This is a very important point. It must not be ignored at all. It’s vital to remember this. There are a wide variety of scientific issues out there. Nobody can have the specialized training required to understand all scientific fields. It’s just impossible. I am not an exception. The same way that you judge a scientific issue on a topic that you freely admit you know LITTLE about IS THE SAME WAY you should judge a scientific issue that you yourself are 100% convinced that you know a LOT about. Engineers should be extremely wary about commenting on computer code. Software specialists should be very wary about commenting on dentistry. Physicists should reserve judgement on matters biological etc.
    Dunning Kruger Effect.

    How do you know if or how the scientific community is split on this issue?

    Apply my methodology. It really does work. Ask yourself what the scientific community would look like in the real world if it really was split on a scientific issue. Go ahead and use Wakefield as an example. You might not know anything about vaccines but, using my methodology, the only possible conclusion is that Wakefield is and was a complete fraud.

    However, using your methodology, it’s a subjective toss up. Maybe someone following your methodology will decide that Wakefield is bogus. Or maybe that person following your methodology will decide that Wakefield is an “informed skeptic”.
    Your methodology doesn’t work.

    So how did or do you apply your methodology to this particular issue where there is a split of viewpoints in the peer-reviewed literature?

    No. You automatically presume that there was a split in the first place. Just because some blog tells you that there was a split in the peer-reviewed literature does not mean that there really was one.

    Work with me here. I’m serious about this.
    If you are a genuine skeptic as opposed to holding a entrenched position that you will cling to no matter what I say, you will have no problem with trying to follow my methodology.
    You have nothing to lose.

    For once, just for laughs, read what I have written and road-test my criteria.
    It will cost you nothing and take you very, very little time. In fact, it will take less time than it probably took you to write your last reply.

    Follow my methodology.
    Please.

  • Pauld

    I am looking for some specifics as to how you applied your methodology to the “hockey stick” controversy or whether you have.

    Here is the controversy at least in part.

    Michael Mann published a temperature reconstruction that commonly known as the Hockey Stick. Mann, M.E., Bradley, R.S. and Hughes, M.K., 1998. “Global-Scale Temperature Patterns and Climate Forcing Over the Past Six Centuries”, Nature, 392, 779-787.

    They further elaborated it and extended in Mann, M.E., Bradley, R.S. and Hughes, M.K., “Northern Hemisphere Temperatures During the Past Millennium: Inferences, Uncertainties, and Limitations”, Geophysical Research Letters, 26, 759-762, 1999

    Steven McIntrye and Ross McIntrick first identified some data errors in Mann’s work that they published here: McIntyre, Steven and Ross McKitrick, (2003). “Corrections to the Mann et. al. (1998) Proxy Data Base and Northern Hemisphere Average Temperature Series.” Environment and Energy 14(6) pp. 751-771.

    McIntrye and McKintrick then published a full critique of the Hockey Stick here: McIntyre, Stephen and Ross McKitrick (2005a) “The M&M Critique of the MBH98 Northern Hemisphere Climate Index: Update and Implications.” Energy and Environment 16(1) pp. 69-100; (2005b)

    They eloborated on their critique here “Hockey Sticks, Principal Components and Spurious Significance” Geophysical Research Letters Vol. 32, No. 3, L03710 10.1029/2004GL021750 12 February 2005.

    The McIntrye and McKentick articles caused quite a stir in the scientific community. For example, well-known climate scientist Richard Mueller wrote: “” [The findings] hit me like a bombshell, and I suspect it is having the same effect on many others. The poster-child of the global warming community, turns out to be an artifact of poor mathematics.” Muller, Richard, 2004. Global Warming Bombshell. MIT Technology Review

    The debate has gone back and forth in the peer-reviewed literature and quite extensively on blogs from both sides.
    Eventually, Congress appointed an independent panel of experts in statistics to examine the issue. The panel included Edward J. Wegman, George Mason University, David W. Scott, Rice
    University, and Yasmin H. Said, The Johns Hopkins University.

    Their full report to Congress is here: http://climateaudit.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/07142006_wegman_report.pdf

    The document is lengthy and technical, but the bottomline conclusion was:

    “In general, we found MBH98 and MBH99 [Michael Mann’s publications] to be somewhat obscure and incomplete and
    the criticisms of MM03/05a/05b [McIntrye and McKintrick’s critiques] to be valid and compelling.”

    That is an outline of the controversy in the peer-reviewed literature. Have you applied your methodology to this controversy? If so, specifically how.

  • Thank you for at least making a stab at this. I appreciate the effort.

    Let’s go back to the original claim to make sure we know what we are talking about. I’m NOT trying to be pedantic or unfair. I’m not going to play word games with you and I ask you to please not play word games with me. I just want there to be a very clear and honest understanding about what we are talking about. Please take me at my word on this and set aside any resentment you may have towards me.
    Look carefully at the original claim in your own words:

    …the “hockey stick” graph was so thoroughly descredited in the peer-reviewed literature…

    So we have a scientific issue (in this case the “hockey stick”) that was “thoroughly discredited”. Further, it was thoroughly discredited in the peer-reviewed literature.

    That’s the original claim.

    However, you have not followed my methodology.
    Your information does not fairly fit my criteria.
    I would not do what you have done.
    You are clearly using information that I would not and indeed could not use without being exposed as a hypocrite.

    Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the information that you have brought into the discussion does not support the wording or the spirit of your original claim.
    Remember, the claim specifically says “thoroughly discredited”. And “in the peer-reviewed literature”.

    Closely compare your original contention with a very strict eye to the actual information itself and the sources that you yourself are using. Look closely to the descriptive words you use to term what happened to the “hockey stick” in your original claim and then to what you say later in your following description. Be your own devil’s advocate.

    Did you want to revise your original claim and change the wording somewhat? Did you perhaps want to prune away some information sources?

    (Now, I suspect that the reason for the discrepencies is that when you did some digging yourself into the background behind this story you were a bit disappointed by the limited supply of solid material. I won’t hold it against you at all if you wish to revise your original claim somewhat. No harm, no foul.)

    I’m not being sarcastic. I’m not interested in playing word games. I’m not interested in scoring points off you. I promise.
    Please look again at what you originally claimed.