The Washington Post has discovered a shocking truth: when it comes to climate change, Republicans are less than convinced


Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a freelance journalist and blogger. He considers Bob Dylan and Walter Sobchak to be the two great Jewish thinkers of our time; he thinks Kafka was half-right when he said there was hope, "but not for us"; and he can be reached through the twitter via @eliasisquith or via email. The opinions he expresses on the blog and throughout the interwebs are exclusively his own.

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428 Responses

  1. Avatar Ben says:

    I’m with ya up til the last few paragraphs. There are probably a fair number of people who consider the potential cost and rationally cultivate climate change skepticism.

    But boy howdy is that viewpoint absent from the conservative media.

    In it’s place: trumpeting of junk science, screaming about any finding that can be construed as contradicting climate change, accusations of fraud and bias aimed at climate scientists. It’s everywhere. There’s a fox news memo (from 2007 or thereabouts, I think?) in which an editor directed all mentions of climate change news to be followed up with skepticism or derision about the evidence supporting it. Stuff like that.

    And that’s just arguments on the merits, so to speak. There’s also the way that the ressentiment that conservative media marinates in started coating climate change discussions. Al Gore hatred, “hypocrisies” by people who believe in climate change like flying or owning coastal property, applying the “regulations => telling you how to dress” crap to proposed attempts to deal with climate change, etc. This kind of stuff is more likely to dominate a discussion now than, say, some argument about sunspots, seems like.

    So I’ve got to think that a good number of people (probably more than the rational deniers you talk about, maybe a pluarality, perhaps even a majority?) are stuffed so full of ignorant “science” and cultural signifiers that they can’t tell a changing climate pattern from a hole in the ground.Report

  2. Avatar Matthew Goldey says:

    The adoption of the cause by the left makes it hard for the right to see clearly. Ad hominem attacks do not necessarily negate the accuracy of an argument, and that’s a hard lesson to learn (and there are plenty of crazies out there on the left). I think it comes down to that, natural skepticism, and the capacity of politicians to have personal gain from fear.Report

    • Avatar J Stewart says:

      Never underestimate the ability of the Picnic Party to fill up their furry teddy bear tummies with a few comments about “ivory tower apple pies”, “elitists” and a side helping of “and this fuzzy bunny president is from the Thousand Acre Woods!”

      [Note: Original comment (roughly): Never underestimate the ability of the Retarded Party to rile up their racist, sub-IQ base with a few comments about “ivory tower snobs”, “elitists” and a side helping of “and this nigger Muslim president is from KENYA!”]Report

      • Avatar North says:

        J, see post below to your earlier comment.Report

        • Avatar J Stewart says:

          So you just feel you can rewrite anyone’s comment?

          Fish you, you sneetches with no stars upon thars!
          [Note: Second line changed from “fuck you, you dishonest asshole.”- Big Brother]

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            I don’t think that that’s what he’s saying as much as pointing out that statements that do nothing but communicate group membership have the potential to tar other members of the group and your comments have reached that potential.

            It is usually better to let the folks on the right write comments that result in others nodding and saying “yep, I knew all of those people were like that”.

            For my part, I think you’re doing a great job and am only disappointed that you don’t spend more time talking about the hidden motivations of the people who don’t agree with you.Report

          • Avatar J Stewart says:

            I said “fuck you, you dishonest asshole.”

            Rewriting someone else’s posts is the kind of crap the Retardicans do.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Freddy (the other one) said it best:

              “The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments.”

              This makes me suspect that J Stewart is really one of those conservative types who is doing everything he can to discredit a particular flavor of ultrapartisanship.

              This nagging suspicion makes reading these posts much less fun.

              (Additionally: you ought to be kinder to North. If you are a liberal, he is one of the liberals you should wish for more of and is a person you should not be alienating. If you are conservative, you’re doing a bang-up job except you’re selling it a little too hard. Maybe be funnier?)Report

            • Avatar North says:

              I’m puzzled by this rewriting fooferaw. I haven’t rewritten anything you’ve posted (I don’t have that power) I merely extended some helpful advice with a mild warning. What on earth are you kvetching about?Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

                I am puzzled as well. I certainly didn’t rewrite the comment. Although I do have that power, I would never use it.

                Are we talking about comment 3, at 10:17AM? And did it say “fuck you, you dishonest asshole”?

                If the answers to both are yes, then the proper remedy is deletion, not rewriting.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. says:

                Okay, sorry gang! I was just gonna delete the posts, but when someone comes in yelling and screaming about “fuck you retarded assholes!” it’s sometimes tempting to get funny with them. It’s the Margaret Dumont principle: angry, self-serious people make good targets for pranks. In the future, I’ll just delete the more foul and abusive stuff.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

                Disemvoweling may also be a good choice.Report

              • Avatar J Stewart says:

                Yeah yeah whatever.

                Don’t trust anything on this crapass site, they will just rewrite and alter it.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                See? This has to be deliberate.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

                I knew it, JB’s right, HE’S A CONSERVATIVE!!!!!!!!!MY BROTHER!Report

              • Avatar KenB says:

                Well, I for one enjoyed the rewrites. Gave me some good phrases to use in future arguments. Maybe you just need a bracketed note to say that the original had been improved upon…Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. says:

                Yeah, I thought I’d created the pleasing illusion that he had a sense of humor.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

                My only complaint about the rewrite was that I had not word-smithed it myself.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

                I propose that whenever someone writes a comment that really, truly deserves to get them banned, the first warning should come in the form of a limerick commenting in some way on the original offense.

                Others are free to write as well, in the same form, by way of seconding the motion.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                There once was a commenter named J Stew
                Who was a little bit left of a Che coup
                his posts demanded re-write
                ’cause his intellectual height
                From the top to the ground was: Toupee, shoe

                That’s all I got.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

                Jason, can I volunteer to be among the thought police who’ll police comments…it’s always been a dream of mine (The Lives of Others, comes to mind.) If not I’m going to apply to airport security so I can feel people up!Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I think that, in a shared space, the idea that there be a “you must follow the following rules” is not necessarily indicative of totalitarianism.

                Well, it would depend on the rules, I suppose.

                Rules that say “comments that contain little content other than telling a commenter that s/he is an asshole and should fuck themselves” are in a different space than “you should limit yourself to the following points of view” kind of rules.

                I mean, if there was a paragraph or three of analysis of something dealing with climate change theory then we’d have something else entirely.

                What we *DO* have is a guy who spits vitriol without giving any other content… and, worse than that, his vitriol is mundane. It regresses us to the mean.

                Now, I know. The whole “but libertarians are supposed to have sex with free speech!” counter-argument does have a bit of a point but I’d make the comparison instead to a restaurant and/or bar that says “no smoking”. Any given restaurant/bar has every right to say this… the problem comes when restaurants/bars tell other restaurants/bars that they can’t allow smoking either.

                Given that nothing is being done (or would be done) to prevent J Stewart from vomiting his bile in a restaurant where such would be welcomed, I don’t see the problem with saying “this is a non-puking establishment”.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                Well I’m glad we cleared that up. I didn’t actually notice the rewrite until after I posted my question so I was mightily confused.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                In a League of his own there came J Stew,
                At once both so old and so J-new,
                He thought he was chaste,
                but his words were replaced,
                Because all the could write was just J-doo.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                A comment should have mental heft
                Or at least not be wholly bereft
                Unlike those of Stew
                A commenter who
                I’m ashamed to say’s part of the left.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                The art of persuasion’s a mistress,
                Who’s fickle behavior can mistrust
                intentions so clear
                or are they my dear?
                Ole J Stew, oh why have you left’us?Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

                Jason, can I volunteer to be among the thought police who’ll police comments…it’s always been a dream of mine (The Lives of Others, comes to mind.) If not I’m going to apply to airport security so I can feel people up!

                Aww, Bob! I thought you were with me on the whole “private property” thing. In which League is a private property, and the owners can do as they please.

                Turns out even you are a commie-dem, and you’d rather live in East Germany. Will wonders never cease?Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                There once was a wag named Stew
                whose comments just really blew
                hoist on his own petard, but blamed on a retard
                He got himself banned – who knew?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                There once was a guy so retarded,
                He thought he’d be hugely rewarded
                For acting the clown
                And cutting folks down,
                But all he had’s recently departed.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer says:

                There once was dude with a tude
                He was base, ignorant and rude
                The Right he did diss
                Vinegar and piss
                Is how I would describe his mood

                Limericks consist of five anapaestic lines.
                Lines 1, 2, and 5 of Limericks have seven to ten syllables and rhyme with one another.
                Lines 3 and 4 of Limericks have five to seven syllables and also rhyme with each other.

                There once was a commenter named J Stew
                Who was a little bit left of a Che coup
                his posts demanded re-write
                ’cause his intellectual height
                From the top to the ground was: Toupee, shoeReport

              • Avatar MFarmer says:

                Whoops, I was using an example to go by, sorry I didn’t delete the exampleReport

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Limericks are comprised lines that can’t sever,
                Anapaesitic or whatever.
                In lines 1,2 and 5
                The ends gotta jive,
                But lines 3 and 4 are the meat of the endeavor.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer says:

                Yes, I know, but I like to break the rules and it seemd to fit. It had been a while since I’ve attempted a limerick — they are fun. When I wrote poetry, I wrote free verse because the strict form-style didn’t work with me.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

                Truth is, I stopped commenting at Front Porch Republic essentially because one of the ‘editors’ there started to delete my comments without the courtesy of telling me. These are not the type of people I would prefer to engage in dialogue.
                The League with all it’s libruls, libertarians, and other exascerbating ideologists have, until now, engaged in discussions of politics, philosophy, and religion in an ‘open’ manner. Please don’t fish with the ‘comment’ threads. If you don’t approve of someone, tell them so, and ban them.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. says:

                Bob, seriously, let it go. I pulled a fairly stupid prank that I thought was both obvious and funny. It went over really badly. I’ve said three of four times now that I sure won’t do that again. This isn’t reflective of the site’s stance towards offensive speech.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                “I was just gonna delete the posts, but when someone comes in yelling and screaming about “fuck you retarded assholes!” it’s sometimes tempting to get funny with them.”

                I think that’s one of those temptations you need to resist. If you think that a comment is genuinely not in accordance with MinTruth guidelines, then delete it. “disemvoweling” or editing makes you look like Pee-Wee Herman singsonging “I know you are but what am iiiiiii?”Report

              • Avatar Jeff says:

                I may disagree with you on pretty much everything, but I am 100% certain that you would not rewrite a post. That’s not how this place works.Report

              • Avatar J Stewart says:

                Apparently that IS how this place works. Trust nothing. You never know who changed it.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                In this case we do know. It was Rufus. He’s admitted to changing it and when Jason explained that we don’t do that here, Rufus apologized.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer says:

                You have to admit, J., you are pretty antagonistic. And I thought I was bad.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                You have to admit, J., you are pretty antagonistic.

                Wait, what? WTF?Report

              • Avatar kenB says:

                I think MFarmer was talking to J Stewart, not Jaybird, if that’s the reason for your WTFing.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I am pretty antagonistic. I’m just subtle.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I do want to say this, though. I’ve been thinking about it while out running errands and changing another person’s attributed words without noting that the words were changed by someone other than the person behind the name above the comment is wrong.

                I ought to have remembered that sooner but I was pre-occupied with my thoughts that this guy was either an obvious troll or a not terribly subtle spoofer and thought that his posts were improved by the tampering… but I should have said “hey now, even if the posts are contentless outside of scatological or sexual references, they’re still pseudonymously attached to that guy and it’s black ops to make someone appear to say something that they never said.

                So I’m sorry for not saying something at the time.

                I should have.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer says:

                Yes, I was referring to J StewartReport

              • Avatar Rufus F. says:

                Okay, again, I’m sorry for not making it obvious that I’d changed the comments and for changing the comments in the first place. I mistakenly figured it would be obvious to everyone that I’d changed them since people had already responded to the original comments about the sorts of things they said. But I should have left them alone or responded with a limerick. It won’t happen again.Report

  3. Avatar J Stewart says:

    Part of the problem is that the retardicans and the pee tardier nutjobs are mostly young-earth creationists and gaptoothed, inbred idiots whose response to anyone with a high school diploma is “yer usin funny werdz nerd, we don’t like yur type round deze partz.”

    And that’s who the fox news, rush limbaugh, and current republican party “frontrunner” crowd are pandering to. The type who a few years ago (and again lately in the south) were on the “dem brown people iz takin ur jerbz” kick.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      J, I’m guessing you’re new around here. Welcome. As one of the resident regulars (and a fellow lefty) a word or two of advice. Terms like “retaerdicans” and “pee tardier” lower the discourse and as such are frowned on by the regulars and posters here (on both sides of the left/right divide). As a liberal I feel personally that our own causes and ideologies are cheapened when fellow lefties use such inflammatory and content free slurs.
      In summary, knock it off brutha or at least try and come up with insults that are more clever and more civil (yes that is possible, in fact the two often go together); you’re embarrassing us lefties here!Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      This communicates group membership more than anything else.

      If that’s all you’re going for, mission accomplished.

      Do you want to do more than communicate group membership?Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

        It’s funny, I read this comment before seeing where it was threaded, and I imagined that it was referencing AGW denialists.

        Which it certainly could be.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          When we’re talking about stuff that there really is nothing to be done about, public affirmations of group membership is really all you have.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            Except, people could still agree on the broader facts.

            And if they did, climate change might become one of the things we can do something about.

            So why is there disagreement on the broader facts?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Hey, I live in a one-car family, we keep the house warm in the summer and cool in the winter, we recycle, we use low-flow showerheads, and we have recent appliances that do that whole “energy star” thing.

              My problem with the “broader facts” is that, many times, I am engaged in an argument with people who do not do many of the above things but go on and on and on about how important the environment is.

              Reminds me of Haggard.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Two issues: whether the global is warming, and once that fact is understood what actions a person might take to ameliorate it.

                The second one depends on a recognition of the first. I don’t understand why accusations of hypocrisy by AGW realists are relevant to the issue of whether AGW is real. But it also doesn’t get at why there is no broad consensus on the basic facts. Surely if someone were to tell me that the reason they refused to believe in AGW is because lefty-environazi-AGWers drive two cars and leave the lights on, I’d question their sanity.

                It’s Haggardland, after all.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I made no accusations of hypocrisy.

                What I would do is make accusations of public declarations of group membership.

                If the planet is not important enough for you to simplify your life a little, it’s difficult for me to take your public affirmations of how important the planet is to you as much more than communication.

                I’m not going to tell you to stop, of course. Just telling you why I don’t find the public statements interesting enough for me to change my life. More, I mean.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                If the planet is not important enough for you to simplify your life a little, it’s difficult for me to take your public affirmations of how important the planet is to you as much more than communication.

                Yeah, I get that. Demonstrating the commitment with actions adds weight to the words. No doubt.

                I was wondering about something a little different: why (not for you personally) there isn’t a broader agreement on the general facts in play. Why the AGW realists/denialists fall into two camps with no overlap or agreement whatsoever. Your suggestion was that it reduces to affirmations of group identity in the face of an intractable problem.

                It seems to me that puts the cart before the horse: the problem is intractable because of group identity affirmations based on differing types of justifications for group membership.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Well, let’s look at, say, Nuclear Power.

                This is fairly clean energy (much, much cleaner than clean coal or other fossil fuels) and pebble bed reactors (for example) provide much safer critical failures than other models.

                Nuclear power is not on the table in so-called “serious” discussions of Green Energy.

                This alone tells me that it’s about something else. I’m not particularly interested in participating in that something else.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Ahh. Good. I see what you’re getting at: politics gets in the way of pragmatically justified evidence-based policy. Same thing I was getting at.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                Nuclear power is on the table in serious discussions about green energy.

                It’s not in serious discussions about green energy that are focused on the Left, granted.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. says:

                Also, let’s point out, building a nuclear power plant is very expensive and takes quite a long time. That factors in too.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Rufus, the cost isn’t the main problem. The reality is that we NEED MORE LIGHT (Farscape, obv.). So what’s the solution? Coal? Algae-bio-fuel? Hydro-power?

                I guess I’m saying that by convention our economy and lifestyle needs requires lots of energy to sustain itself. How is that cost prioritized? Current reality suggests that bio-fuels aren’t up to the task. Coal with scrubbers isn’t either (or at least long term).

                Something’s gotta give.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. says:

                I think probably what’s got to give is how much power we use in our homes, right? Maybe we need less light. Have you ever noticed how the discussions they have about the topic seem to start with that already off the table?Report

              • Avatar North says:

                Rufus I’ll allow your point on Nuclear power but we should keep in mind that a significant portion of nuclear plants build times is regulatory rather than practical. As for expense the sad fact remains that in terms of cost per KwH nuclear loses out only to fossil fuels and hydro. Renewable energies and solar remain more costly and less capable of providing baseload energy.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Physicist here. We have about 200 years of nuclear power, at current usage. Quadruple the power consumption, and you get 50 years. WE NEED THOSE YEARS, to solve the dust issue in Arizona, or to develop better batteries, etc. And a fusion reactor (we have the specs! thank the navy!).

                I know some people who work politics on the left, and the Professional Class isn’t the same thing as the Crazy Green Hippies (Obama represents the professional class taking its place at the Democratic table, fwiw). One recognizes that nuclear power is needed. The other says “eww… that’s a bad thing” — for no sane reason, that I can figure.

                No car here, use public transportation (and zipcar). Buy local and organic produce (organic by accident, their strategic sense is better than the other ones, so I get fresher produce).

                But there really isn’t much hypocrisy in saying “I want the incentives to be rigged so that we get cleaner power and stop sending people to hospitals with air pollution” and not spending more yourself. Because most Americans can’t afford to spend more than they already do.

                33% of Americans have $1000 in the bank. For the rest, a car accident, a health care bill, any housing situation, means dipping into the retirement account.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Rufus, buy some LED lightbulbs. we’re talking 5W bulbs. THEY ARE AWESOME! Look for ’em at “reasonable” costs in five years.

                See? people don’t bother to clue you in on the $50 lightbulbs, because they don’t know about them yet.Report

        • Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

          I really like the ‘scientific’ cow-farts theory, now that’s science!Report

  4. Avatar Art Deco says:

    But while it’s true that the GOP has been estranged from Teddy Roosevelt’s spirit of transcendental conservation for very long indeed

    Perhaps because 29% of the land area of the United States is under the management of four federal agencies, there are people who do not feel the need to be ‘spirited’ about ‘conservation’.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      I suppose that’s possible, but barely. Seems to me that those who express opposition to efforts to address environmental concerns in the public policy are motivated by a desire to see a thriving, expanding economy rather than resentment about the extent of Federal landholdings. YMMV.

      By the way, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to see a thriving, expanding economy. I rather like thriving, expanding economies myself.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco says:

        Elias Isquith invoked Theodore Roosevelt and ‘conservation’. Federal controls on industrial effluvia were not characteristic of public policy in 1905. Sequestration of land was.Report

        • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

          If I’m following you correctly, you’re implying that Teddy wouldn’t be down with controlling industrial effluvia and he’d think we had enough land sequestered at this point.

          Is that what you’re saying?Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck says:

            I think that as long as Teddy Roosevelt would be A-OK with industrial effluents as long as there was still plenty of open range to drive his Jeep around on. He certainly didn’t mind building a huge fleet of giant battleships that burned hundreds of tons of coal every day.Report

        • Avatar Dan Miller says:

          Of course, we knew much less about ecology and land management in 1905.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        … failure to support the climatology science causes direct damage to agricultural land valuation, as it becomes impossible to account for expected droughts, and thus causes bankruptcies. Can we say dust bowl, anyone?Report

    • Avatar wardsmith says:

      @Art, There’s a reason folks from the west view federal land “ownership” in a different light than folks from the east. Study this map. I don’t really care what New York says about federal land, they certainly didn’t give up much of their OWN to the common weal.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

        Eh; most of the land that’s federal came late to the union. Stands to reason there would be more of it unoccupied and available.

        I have a hard time taking, “It’s Utah’s land, isn’t it?” seriously.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          I personally don’t mind all that much that large swaths of the west are federal land in comparison to the east (though I think we take it overboard sometimes). It does annoy me somewhat that the PILT payments are treated like Red State Welfare (You may call it Yellowstone National Park, but it looks like pork to me!).Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Linky no work, ward.

        I’m with you on this, however. But, I live in the mountain west, so I see it upclose and personal.Report

        • Avatar wardsmith says:

          I was almost sure I was awake when I typed the link, always possible that I wasn’t tho. Here’s a good graphic.

          @Pat, my point is those voters in the east are rather sanguine about “our” land when they’ve crapped all over “their” land. But as long as Frank can claim the Taunton river in Fall River is a “wild and scenic river”, well only those who’ve actually been there get the joke.Report

          • Avatar Pat Cahalan says:

            > my point is those voters in the east are
            > rather sanguine about “our” land when
            > they’ve crapped all over “their” land.

            That’s a fair point.

            Redistribution of federal land! We’ll open up the West if we can reclaim the East. Eminent domain!Report

  5. My friend’s uncle is making a documentary right now called “A Fierce Green Fire”. which discusses how environmentalism was originally a conservative idea:

    Personally, and I think a lot of libertarians and conservatives share this view, my problem with the climate change discussion and global warming is not a problem with the science – it’s a problem with the dumb, same-old same-old liberal solutions to the problems suggested by the science. This dumb liberal universal solvent here is: corporations running out of control? We need more government to keep them in line! As if corporations and government are the only two entities in the entire human world. And then of course, you set in motion an absurd revolving door of regulatory capture and abuse. It’s almost as if the “more government” people and the corporate people are the same…

    Why don’t we just hold CEOs and shareholders criminally liable for environmental damage and stop the double standard?Report

    • Avatar J Stewart says:

      Wouldn’t that be “more government” to decide what constitutes environmental damage?

      Aside from the fact that THE DAMAGE WOULD ALREADY BE DONE and the CEO’s and asshole retardicans who ordered it would just declare their companies bankrupt and laugh all the way to the bank on a nice ride of stock options and golden parachute clauses. Kinda like they did when the retardicans ruined the economy by deregulating the financial markets, giving us enron, worldcom, the 2007 bush market crash, and the usual giant retardican middle finger to the middle class.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        You’re clearly very proud of your neologism. And it is nice how it allows you to really stick it to the Republicans and the mentally retarded at the same time. People with developmental disabilities really have had it too good for too long.Report

      • That’s kind of my whole point. Citizens should be tried as citizens equally. There should be no way to foist responsibility on a legal entity. Responsibility should always be a function of people.Report

  6. Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

    Why don’t we hold Commissar Barry responsible for pissing away $4.7 Trillion dollars, bankrupting the US, and causing 17% unemployment?Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      I think we should, Bob. It’s his economy now and he is the architect of significant features of the Federal government’s spending habits right now.

      Where you and I depart is that I’m far from convinced that had we had McCain instead of Obama, things would be materially different.Report

      • Avatar Scott says:


        Come on now, we can’t blame Barry as we all know it is Bush’s fault, Congress fault, bad luck or some other yet to be blamed person/group’s fault.Report

        • Avatar Jeff says:

          “we all know it is Bush’s fault”

          How much of the deficit was from the Afghan and Iraqi wars being put on the books? Bush’s fault. How much from the BUSH tax cuts? Bush’s fault.

          And remind me again of the “pushback against ‘Barry'”….Report

      • Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

        Burt, my fellow interlocutor, I didn’t vote for or support the heroic McCain. As a clear thinking Paleocon I voted Constitutional Party.
        With that said I don’t think the confused senator from Az would spend $700 big ones on union thugs, failed faux energy systems, and other re-distribution schemes grounded on political affiliations, do you?Report

    • Avatar J Stewart says:

      You mean starting from the fact that he didn’t “piss away $4.7 trillion dollars”, he was handed a crappy, rigged budget from Chimpy and decided NOT to try to hide the cost of Chimpy’s wars and the Retardican “deregulation” disaster off the books?Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        “decided NOT to try to hide the cost of Chimpy’s wars”

        Yeah, Obama said he was going to role ‘overseas contingency operations’ in the main DOD budget. His Administration isn’tdoing that anymore. (though this is a better way of accounting for things.)

        He also promised that all troops would be out of Iraq by the end of this year. Why his new Defense Secretary negotiating to keep troops there longer?Report

      • Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

        Mr. Stewart, don’t listen to Northie, he’s trying to give liburls a good name. I like your style, dude, keep up it up!
        Listen, I’m kinda with you on the “Bush’s fault’ thing you lefties have goin’ for ya, keep that up too!
        I thought you’d really be upset with my 17% unemployment figure? I’m glad you’re with me, it’s a lot higher than those bootlicking MSM types are saying..maybe you have some friends outta work?
        Hey, welcome aboard, we another commie-dem here at the League.
        (“Chimpy Wars,” loved that one!)Report

  7. Avatar Kyle Cupp says:

    To use an old cliché: it’s the economy, stupid. People, understandably, are going to be rather skeptical of dealing with a problem that has not yet occurred (and may not occur within their lifetime) through means which quite possibly could exacerbate the pain of the catastrophe with us here-and-now.

    I don’t know about this explanation. The present economy has something to do with it, and the economy in general more so, but as right-wing skepticism of anthropogenic climate change can be traced back to before our contemporary financial woes, today’s troubled economy doesn’t fully explain the skepticism.

    My guess: this skepticism of the clear scientific consensus is largely the product of ideological antagonism toward those who promote traditionally left-wing sounding solutions to the crisis, an antagonism that’s fueled by the trusted ideological authorities who depict the idea of climate change as a passageway for fundamental and foundational political, social, and economic change, change that would destroy the country. In sum, it mostly comes down to distrusting scientific authorities on the basis of the say-so of trusted ideological authorities.

    (I say “say-so” because, let’s face it, the vast majority of people with a position on climate change one way or another couldn’t even begin to explain the rationale of their position. We defer to the experts, scientific or ideological.)Report

    • Avatar Art Deco says:

      The ‘clear scientific consensus’ does not include, among others, Richard Lindzen, who may be the country’s most eminent meteorologist. And, yes, some of us noticed the stench emanating from the University of East Anglia. Some of us recall Carl Sagan trafficking in global cooling scenarios in prestigious peer-reviewed publications. Some of us recall the popular writings of Paul Ehrlich. Some of us just might figure that eschatology is a cultural constant and people engaged in promoting the authority of their occupational guild is as well.Report

      • Avatar Ben says:

        Re: Lindzen

        Also, “Carl Sagan global cooling Paul Ehrlich eschatology occupational guild” checks off a few of the things that get mentioned frequently by conservative ideological and media sources. In response to a comment saying “it mostly comes down to distrusting scientific authorities on the basis of the say-so of trusted ideological authorities”, this perhaps says more than you were meaning it to.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

        I suggest you revisit the definition of the word, “consensus”.Report

      • Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

        I believe, Art, that in one short paragraph you have won this argument, yet again.Report

          • Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

            R man, I’d like to watch but the communists that run AT&T won’t repair my landline nor provide me with YfI.Report

            • Avatar Jeff says:

              The Eeeeeeevil gubment (starting with that stinking socialist Ben Franklin) has these things called “libraries” where you can access the Internets! Granted, socially responsible-minded Republicans have succeeded in reducing the oportunity of Commies to access these Paternalistic institutions, but you might find one open for a few hours 3 or 4 days a week.Report

      • Avatar Mike says:

        I’d like to point out that meteorologists are in a rather disreputably seen science, have zero training in actually evaluating trends on the basis of a decade or longer, and generally are wrong more often than right anyways.

        Calling upon the authority of someone who “may be the country’s most eminent meteorologist” is rather akin to asking “the country’s most eminent trash collector” how to solve a societal littering problem. There’s no skillset overlap to acknowledge and so his opinion isn’t worth any more than anyone else’s.

        Moral of the story: beware of Appeals To Authority, consult your Baloney Detection Kit, and go from there.Report

        • Avatar wardsmith says:

          @Mike, Dude, pretending Lindzen is a meteorologist like the toothy blondes on TV is a grave mistake. Long before someone named Mann pretended to be a climatologist, Lindzen had already written the textbooks. You don’t become the Sloan professor of ANYTHING at MIT if you’re just a trash collector. I’m reasonably certain you don’t have the pedigree to even shine his shoes.

          Like any who /dare/ to challenge the status quo, his name has been dragged through the slime and the mud full Alinsky style by the left-leaning smear merchants using AGW to further their own ends, real science be damned.

          But this is group-think. You want to be a lefty, you MUST believe in certain things and AGW is close to the top of the list. The right has to believe the left is wrong, so best to disagree with them across the board too.

          Remember the /theory/ doesn’t just say the earth is warming, it says humans are the primary cause. Unfortunately as Lindzen (and hundreds of other brave souls) have said, the models haven’t been right yet and the theory has a ton of holes in it. Science is not settled by consensus, it is settled by PROOF. There was a “consensus” of 100’s of scientists who said Einstein was all wet. Who was right?Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

            Like any who /dare/ to challenge the status quo, his name has been dragged through the slime and the mud full Alinsky style by the left-leaning smear merchants using AGW to further their own ends, real science be damned.

            You mean, Lindzen is a corporate lackey who’s been paid off by Big Business to put out his Tobacco Institute Denialiasm.

            Your turn.Report

            • Avatar wardsmith says:

              You forgot to mention that he’s a baby killer. No wait, that GAINS points with the left doesn’t it?

              Unfortunately for Lindzen, he keeps producing accurate scientific assessments, keeps getting published in peer reviewed publications (difficult given the “team’s” well-documented censorship methods), and keeps beating the “the emperor (AGW) is wearing no clothes” drum. What can your side do, but use ad hominem attacks against him?

              For instance I could pick on your hero Albert just call me Einstein Gore but that would be shooting fish in a barrel. P.S. unlike others, I gave you the most balanced article on Gore’s BS that I could find, virtually all the others that google’d up were far less generous to your patron saint.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                Lindzen is producing results that challenge the current model. Sure. That’s actually good science, we like that.

                What Lindzen isn’t doing is proposing an alternative model that explains observations (yes, I know, you think all the observations are false, but we already went around that maypole). He’s not offering a competing theory, he’s pointing out that there’s errors in the current one.

                Well, we’d expect there to be errors in the current one, so that’s not exactly a surprise.

                We *know* that the Sun isn’t suddenly sending more heat our way. That’s an easy one to measure. We have no plausible reason to suspect that the core of the Earth is suddenly heating up. And yet we have temperature variations that are trending upwards.

                Yes, again, I grant that you don’t like CRU’s temperature assessments and you think they’re all based on that (which, I still don’t see, but again, okay).

                Does this mean that when other measurements come in (as they will, even with NASA flubbing Glory), you will revisit your belief, Ward?

                When GEOSS goes online in or about 2015, will you accept that as an authoritative measurement?

                Before we go any farther down the rabbit hole on climate science, what’s your standard of proof? What would it take to convince you that you’re wrong?Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                @Pat What Lindzen isn’t doing is proposing an alternative model. Reminds me almost word for word of the discussion in atheism where the atheist is required to offer an alternative theory. That argument was roundly booed as I recall.

                1) Lindzen isn’t required to propose an alternate theory to explain what isn’t happening is he?
                2) You’ve never resolved the issues that were opened by the climategate emails, and have been beaten to death elsewhere including the island heat effect (against siting regulations) where temp stations can be found. Not to mention that once Watts sent out the word that he wanted pictures of temp stations, the IPCC governments responded by REFUSING to divulge where said locations were on the basis of NATIONAL SECURITY! You can of course defend that tactic on purely scientific grounds no?

                Not only is CRU doing questionable “interpolation” of temperature records, but when called on it, they DESTROYED the source records so no one could see what they had done or how. You don’t “see it” because you aren’t being given the opportunity. You’re a math major, remember that part in math where you’re required to show your work? Apparently the “team” is given a pass on that but not of course any dissenter, no they must submit to full rectal exams.

                Given that Lindzen is going against the (literally) party line it is no wonder that peer reviewed articles can suddenly blossom that challenge his methodologies. Also as I proved beyond any shadow of doubt in our previous discussion, when the peer review process is BROKEN and when challengers to the “faith” are required to submit to 100 pages of responses for an 8 page paper – well Mike Schilling thinks that’s perfectly fair of course, unless and until it should happen to anything he actually APPROVES of, then as they say the shoe is on the other foot and I hope to God it pinches him more than a little.

                But prejudice is a funny thing. Once you’ve made up your mind, you aren’t allowed to see the flaws in your logic, there lies cognitive dissonance. Better to keep pretending the king is wearing clothes and scream loudly at any who dare to deny it.

                Does the climate change? Absolutely! In fact AT NO TIME IN THE HISTORY OF THE PLANET HAS IT NOT CHANGED. Can puny humankind effect change on so massive a scale? The honest jury is out on that, but the political jury has already made up its own puny mind. Remember and let’s be perfectly clear on this, the argument isn’t whether the earth’s climate is changing the argument is whether HUMANS are causing it.

                For the billionth time, this isn’t science this is politics.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                Ward, I’ll note that you wrote an awful lot but didn’t answer the most important question I put in the comment to which you were replying.

                Before we go any farther down the rabbit hole on climate science, what’s your standard of proof? What would it take to convince you that you’re wrong?

                > Reminds me almost word for
                > word of the discussion in atheism
                > where the atheist is required to
                > offer an alternative theory.

                There is a reason why that requirement doesn’t mean the same thing in a philosophical debate as it does in other areas, Ward.

                > 2) You’ve never resolved the
                > issues that were opened by
                > the climategate emails, and
                > have been beaten to death
                > elsewhere

                I’m not entirely certain which issues you’re talking about, specifically. There’s been lots of “beating to death” about CRU done elsewhere, granted. There’s also been a lot of *defense* of CRU done elsewhere, too.

                Again, if you have no standard by which to change your mind, I don’t see this being a productive line of inquiry.

                > Not to mention that once Watts
                > sent out the word that he wanted
                > pictures of temp stations, the
                > IPCC governments responded
                > by REFUSING to divulge where
                > said locations were on the basis
                > of NATIONAL SECURITY!

                Ward, this is not particularly compelling evidence of conspiracy. Let’s go back to Occam for a second. What makes more sense: that a large group of governments all want to hide something (again, I’m not really clear on *why* they would want to hide this something – what do governments have to gain by ginning up a fake AGW theory isn’t clear)… or that bureaucrats just want people who bother them to eff off? Have you *ever* filed a FOIA request? How many of these things get any sort of response?

                > You can of course defend that
                > tactic on purely scientific grounds no?

                Of course not. However, it doesn’t seem to me to be a case where a *scientific* defense is necessary. You’re asking why paper pushers don’t act like scientists. Well, that’s not a very interesting question, is it?

                > Not only is CRU doing questionable
                > “interpolation” of temperature
                > records, but when called on it,
                > they DESTROYED the source
                > records so no one could see what
                > they had done or how.

                Okay, we ran around this maypole before, but I’ll do one more lap.

                Correcting a data set by normalizing it is actually good scientific procedure. Yes, it is possible for nefariousness to creep into the process, here, I’ll grant you that. However, it’s also *very, very* common to discard old data when you’re done with it.

                CRU didn’t keep the original data because they had no particular need to do so, as the original source data is still available from the original sources. Yes, you’ve pointed at the fact that the NOAA currently gives the interpreted data set out as its normalized data set. *IF* the data set is reasonable to use, this would be *normal* practice, not evidence of nefariousness.

                CRU’s data set is currently being analyzed by this project. So far, they have testified that their results, using methodologies which are supposed to answer the criticisms you list here, do not significantly vary from the CRU interpreted data set.

                So I ask you again, Ward. What would it take to convince you that you are likely wrong? If the Berkeley Earth project results in a data set that corresponds reasonably to the CRU set, will that satisfy you? If the GEOSS program, when online, verifies global mean temperature is going up, will that satisfy you?

                If it won’t, then will anything satisfy you?

                > Can puny humankind effect change
                > on so massive a scale? The honest
                > jury is out on that

                No, it’s not, this is a silly stance.

                Humankind has reworked most of the land biosphere towards its own use. We’ve eliminated millions of species (most of which are good riddance, by the way) and basically reworked a solid portion of the landmass on three of the continents to support human-beneficial agriculture over a wild ecosystem.

                We’ve terraformed the earth over the last 10,000 years, and there are damn few places left on it that don’t bear the stamp of human progress. Which I’m perfectly fine with, I’m no Gaia-worshipper.

                > but the political jury has already
                > made up its own puny mind.

                Really? Then why is it that there are only two candidates in one of the two major political parties who ascribe to AGW?

                From downthread:

                > Even the simplest experiments
                > are ignored, yet other non-
                > climate scientists have done
                > them including starting with
                > inert gasses and building up
                > the 382 ppm co2 by injecting
                > just that amount into the
                > apparatus. They’ve gone
                > further and accurately
                > measured the IR captured
                > therein. Their results have
                > differed quite a bit from the
                > published models, but of
                > course they cannot get
                > published even though they
                > ARE following the scientific
                > method.

                Publishing a basic chemistry lab in a major journal would be remarkable. There are also readily accessible explanations as to why this isn’t a great method for providing counterfactuals.

                To be fair, I haven’t offered my own criteria for shifting my own acceptance of AGW as a theory. So here, I’ll offer you mine.

                (a) If Berkeley comes up with radically different interpretations than CRU, and Berkeley’s interpretations lead to different models, then I’m on board with revising.

                (b) If global ice sheets get bigger, the trend in Arctic or Antarctic ice presence reverses suddenly, I’m on board with revising.

                (c) If GEOSS, after it comes online, begins to produce wildly unexpected results, I’m on board with revising.

                (d) If competing models that are less conservative inputs than IPCC come up with more conservative results, then I’d be all on board with revisiting.

                Here’s the thing, Ward. When I see an anti-AGW argument, it typically takes me about 20 minutes to track down an explanation from what (ought to be) a reliable source that explains why the anti-AGW argument has holes in it. I have never, not ever, not once, had anyone back down from the presented counter-argument. Nobody who is an anti-AGW person ever says, “Gee, okay, that pokes a hole in what I thought.”

                Instead, they bring up another point. And then I go off and search and pretty easily find a counter-argument to *that* point. And instead of saying, “Hm, that’s two of my points that have been incorrect, maybe I ought to revisit the source of these points as being reliable”, they bring up a third point.

                And then, three months later, they bring the first two points back up again in another conversation, as if they’ve forgotten that we’ve already covered that ground.

                Yes, it’s theoretically possible that there is actually a global scientific conspiracy to sell me this pony. That does not jibe, at all, with my experience with scientists, who are generally an irascible lot and like to beat each other up, metaphorically. I simply do not see what the benefit is of such a conspiracy, except some very fuzzy Gaia-worship and I don’t know very many Gaia-worshipping type scientists. Certainly not enough to explain the prevalence of opinion.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                Applying corrections to a data set to deal with noise and erroneous results is fine.

                Telling people that you won’t show them the original data is not.

                Telling people that you can’t show them the original data because you lost it makes you look like an idiot.

                Telling people that you can’t show them the data because you lost it but that the corrected data is fine anyway because you totally did the corrections right and anyone who wants to check your math is either an idiot or an oil-industry shill is…questionable.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                > Telling people that you won’t
                > show them the original data
                > is not.

                The original data is available. This is what the Berkeley project is actually using to reconstruct the CRU dataset.

                Indeed, you can get this directly from CRU now.

                I imagine compiling this was a giant headache.

                > Telling people that you can’t
                > show them the original data
                > because you lost it makes
                > you look like an idiot.

                Do you know *how badly* I wish people around here would throw away old data *more* often, not less?Report

              • Avatar dexter says:

                Mr. Cahalan, very well done.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                @Pat, my standard of proof hasn’t moved. Has yours? This is trivial, setup an experiment and have anyone who wants to replicate said experiment. Now do I HAVE to kick your ass and show you that the “climate” scientists have REFUSED to share their code AGAIN? You’re being purposely obtuse on this and I respect your intelligence. Look around lose the rose colored glasses and see what is being hidden. You’re not refuting anything, the NEW climate industrial complex which has its own agenda is playing you for a patsy and you’re suckered right into it. This is an IQ test and you’re not doing as well as you should.

                I’ve shown you scientists hiding then destroying data, I’ve shown you scientists circumventing the peer review process, I’ve shown that those same scientists have a monetary reward for continuing the status quo ala Kirk below who has done an excellent job of identifying all the suspicious behavior in the same post. You want to close your eyes to that because you work at a research college collecting said grants go ahead. While you’re at it, close your eyes to all the rest the left is doing, upping the ante on gitmo and the rest, its all good, you’re a lefty and therefore they can do no wrong. Keep it up, right up until they slide the handcuffs on you. Me? I’m digging in my heels and saying enough is enough.

                We just had a warming spell in the US. We also had cities like Seattle with record cold at the same time. What is the AVERAGE of that? Do the math properly across the whole WORLD and the average says the temp did not MOVE. Do the math wrong and you have the AGW mess all over again. Yes, there are valid reasons to play with the source numbers, but the invalid reasons are to play with the numbers to support YOUR case and not the facts. You keep ignoring this. I’m not going to carry your water for you on this you haven’t shown me jack diddly that changes the reality here. You can’t address Climategate, you can’t address Realclimate censoring responses and throwing all of Hug’s analysis away because it is “an inconvenient truth” against their story. Nope there is something fishy in Denmark and only holding your nose gets you past it. But you’re welcome to do that by all means, a rose is a rose after all.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                > My standard of proof hasn’t moved.

                That’s great. You still haven’t told me what it is.

                Tell me, Ward. What event/events/publications/research/instrumentation will change your mind? Anything?

                Put up or we’re done on this topic; I’ll gladly engage you elsewhere but this is fruitless otherwise. Call your shot and tell me when you will say, “Oh, Jesus H., I was wrong.” Because right now you’ve drawn no line. Which leaves you free to change your mind on what’s “good enough for proof” when the next piece of evidence comes out. And the next. And the next. It’s infinite regress, turtles all the way. Xeno can’t prove anything, because each time something comes out, you just pick up your bag and move halfway the distance to the goal, and there’s no Planck’s length on this field to break your strategy.

                > Now do I HAVE to kick your
                > ass and show you that the
                > “climate” scientists have
                > REFUSED to share their
                > code AGAIN?

                Violence solves nothing, dude. But sure, give me a link. An actual link… to a report, making a claim. Don’t worry about it getting caught in moderation. And when I find something that refutes the claims made in your link, and I give you *that* link, will you then agree that your link’s claim is flawed? Because if you won’t, then again, we’re not going anywhere. You don’t get to say, “Oh, *that* scientist is in on the gag. But mine isn’t.” You have to either come up with a consistent yardstick or we can’t even duke it out on the evidence… because yours will always count, and mine never will.

                You have something you regard as evidence. If I find something that contests it, you can’t ignore it. You wanna hammer out ground rules for what qualifies as credible links beforehand, we can do that too.

                > The NEW climate industrial
                > complex which has its own
                > agenda is playing you for a
                > patsy and you’re suckered
                > right into it.

                You’re going to have to lay this out for me in detail, Ward. What is this new climate industrial complex? Who are the players? Where do they spend their money? What do they hope to gain? No more mysterious “they”, Ward. Give me company names. Tie me links to congresscritters.

                And then explain to me how this conspiracy flourishes in a world where ExxonMobile, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, China National Petroleum, BP, Sinopec, State Grid, Total, and Conoco Phillips are all in the top 25 biggest companies in the world – all dependent on natural gas, oil, or coal. As are Toyota, General Motors, Daimler, and Volkswagen… which all are tied directly to petroleum. As are Wal-Mart and Japan Post Holdings, for cheap shipping. Shoot, dude, on Fortune’s 2011 top companies list we’ve got three five in the top 20 that don’t depend upon industrialized petroleum directly: AXA (insurance, #14), Fannie Mae (hah!, #15), ING (#17), Glencore International (#18), and Berkshire Hathaway (#19).

                And Berkshire & Glencore both have a lot of dependencies on existing commodities or industry, so they almost count, too.

                These companies are very large, and very invested (in most cases, critically so) in the existing power generation capabilities of the human species, and they have lots of really smart business guys working there.

                So how is it that they’re so fishing stupid that they’re losing out to this new climate-industrial-complex? Who are these shadowy uber-conspiracists and why did they bother tackling all these companies by investing in a nefarious 30+ year conspiracy?

                If they’re that goddamn brilliant, *they would just have taken over the boards at all these companies in the last thirty years*.

                This is exactly the line of reasoning I get from anti-vaxxers who point at how much money Glaxo makes off of a vaccine and say, “See! That’s a ton of money! That’s why they’re doing this!” And then I point out the fact that the unregulated, non-medical, largely woo vitamin and supplement market is ten times bigger, and that they could easily just make homeopathic remedies without government interference or oversight and make a shitpile more money. And then the antivaxxer just says, “You can’t see the evidence in front of your face,” which goggles my goddamn mind.

                > You want to close your eyes to
                > that because you work at a
                > research college collecting said
                > grants go ahead.

                You’ve got to make up your mind, Ward. Am I smart enough to avoid this trap, or not? Am I self-interested enough to let this affect my judgment, or not? Make the call, dude. Don’t insinuate. Call me a chump or drop this line of subtle accusation – is it possible that I assess this issue on good faith, or not?

                And for the record, my current position relies (almost) not one whit on research grant money, and the research grant money that does flow into my department has nothing whatsoever to do with climate research, so if you’re going to accuse me of being a stooge or a dipstick, at least accuse me of being a dipstick about computer science research.

                > While you’re at it, close your
                > eyes to all the rest the left is
                > doing, upping the ante on gitmo
                > and the rest, its all good, you’re
                > a lefty and therefore they can
                > do no wrong.

                You’re either not reading this blog regularly, or you really don’t understand my political leanings in the slightest… or you’ve decided that I *must* be a liberal in hiding because there’s just no other way I could fall for this scheme otherwise.

                Not sure which.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                That is, if Lindzen weren’t being published, it would be because of censorship; if he is being published, it’s in spite of censorship.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            Science is not settled by consensus, it is settled by PROOF.

            This is just a mistake. Empirical questions are settled by a preponderance of evidence supporting conclusion X over Y or any other alternative. A preponderance of evidence isn’t either ‘a proof’, or ‘proof’ in any senses of those words.

            Insofar as a theory is supported by the evidence at the explanatory/predictive level, it gains support by concensus within the scientific community itself.

            The central problem I see in the denialist’s argument is that no one in the scientific community believes that complex systems like climate and weather patterns can be explained with the same degree of certainty that (for example) gravity is explained by the warping of space-time, or biological evolution is explained by genetics. The standard the denialist holds the scientific community to isn’t one that scientists – as a community – accept.Report

            • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

              More here and here.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                The hypothesis states that “AGW, caused principally by human CO2 emissions, has been the primary cause of past warming and that it represents a serious potential threat” has yet to be validated by empirical data. It has yet to successfully withstand falsification attempts. Therefore, Patrick, it is still an “uncorroborated hypothesis”, with a considerable amount of “uncertainty” in its supporting science.

                We may as well be discussing string theory. A neat idea, but until we can construct a meaningful experimental construct to validate (or invalidate) it, we are left with a neat idea, nothing else.

                Now I’ve seen Physicists who built experimental apparati to investigate components of the AGW theory. You won’t see them published in the climate journals for exactly the reasons I showed before in the climategate emails. The “team” won’t allow it, will threaten (again) to boycott the magazines etc. The only difference today is they are considerably smarter about deleting old emails, just like companies post Enron do a better job of deleting incriminating records now. Doesn’t mean they aren’t committing fraud etc. just getting better about not getting caught.

                I’ve proven the “team” has an agenda, I’ve proven the “team” has lied, I’ve proven the “team” has manipulated the data and they refuse to follow basic tenets of scientific practice including documentation of ALL work and sharing of data and methods so OTHER scientists can replicate same. But they refuse, because they don’t want “denialists” to have access and poke holes in their pet theories.

                What will it take to convince me these guys are on the up and up? Remediation of all of the above would be a great start, but we haven’t seen any of that have we?

                I’m more than happy to drop the entire discussion however, this isn’t really interesting to me anymore, and if I wanted to blog about it, there are substantially superior mediums (excepting of course Realclimate where intelligent opposing posts are quickly deleted and where published authors whose work is being criticized aren’t allowed to respond either).

                If they have nothing to hide, why continuously engage in this behavior? You can’t answer that, or won’t.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

                I wasn’t aware climate scientists are schemers on the level of Lex Luthor, Gordon Gekko, and Bernie Madoff combined.

                But of course, since climate change deniers don’t have any facts on their side, you attack the messenger. Can’t change the facts, so you attack the character of the person presenting them.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                Gee, let me guess Jess. You’ve never read a SINGLE climategate email have you? I could post them here, but then you’d have cognitive dissonance and have to drink your headache away. Best to stay with your coolaid, no hangover.
                Here’s another site you won’t click on, but it has PLENTY that you can’t refute with snarky lines.

                Your post at the bottom neatly shows your TRUE colors, which has nothing whatsoever to do with science and everything to do with points 2 and 8 of this postReport

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

                ClimateGate was and is an overblown story hyped up by climate change denialists because it’s one thing they can hold on to up against the mountain of evidence and say, “look! Some scientists did thing x, y, and l I don’t actually understand, but Fox News and the American Petroleum Institute helpfully told me it’s proof climate change isn’t happening!”

                As for your link, get back to me when that site’s web design has evolved past 1997.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                …Enron’s entire scheme was unraveled by a bunch of college students.
                …The lead paint thingy was unraveled by one physicist who by gum knew what lead oxide looks like.
                If you are alleging that corporations are failing to disclose their business model to investors, you will find that this would make you a lot of money in court.

                Which is why your comment is false, naturally. Because neither you nor anyone else is suing corporations.

                Corporations continue to post statements for investors (read Walmarts, it documents the demise of the middle class, as part of the explanation as to why it’s not making as much money as it used to).Report

            • Avatar Ben says:

              This has nothing to do with AGW, but any philosophy of science discussion isn’t complete without a reference to this:

            • Avatar wardsmith says:

              Look, when your lead cheerleader is a non-scientist AND a politician AND a member of a political party that leans hard to the left it doesn’t take rocket “science” to realize that the opposing political party will disagree. That’s what the OP here says, and it makes perfect sense. All the rest is window dressing.

              @Pat below in his own blogs readily admits that the scientists he knows are largely left-leaning so they will have that bias, just like in electronics. If you don’t understand bias in circuits, look it up.

              Pat also mentions that mathematics isn’t science, and goes on to say, Compare this to Science, where instead you have a theory, which you attempt to prove or disprove by running experiments, gathering data, and analyzing the data in the context of what is considered to be the body of knowledge in your particular field. Science is the iterative process of trying to explain observable data using propositions that enable you to expand your capabilities to predict the outcomes of future events.

              But notice what he DOESN’T say when he’s talking about “climate” science: In science, you observe reality, make notes, and draw conclusions. I repeat that here for emphasis, observe reality, make notes, draw conclusions. What is missing? The definition is correct above for SCIENCE as the recognized “scientific method”. What Pat subconsciously did talking about “climate” science was identify what THEY are doing, which is NOT the scientific method. The methodology is flawed. Even the simplest experiments are ignored, yet other non-climate scientists have done them including starting with inert gasses and building up the 382 ppm co2 by injecting just that amount into the apparatus. They’ve gone further and accurately measured the IR captured therein. Their results have differed quite a bit from the published models, but of course they cannot get published even though they ARE following the scientific method.

              The climate scientists ignore this and only use computer models, models by the way which have continually FAILED at producing propositions that “enable you to expand your capabilities to predict the outcomes of future events”. They even use those same models (which have NEVER BEEN RIGHT) to “debunk” people like Lindzen, a kind of circular logic that would be laughable if it were applied to say, your medical care. Of course the “Patient’ they’d like to operate on is the entire planet and the entire world economy.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck says:

              “Empirical questions are settled by a preponderance of evidence supporting conclusion X over Y or any other alternative.”

              Yeah, like the preponderance of evidence that F = ma. Or the preponderance of evidence that the universal gravitational constant is both universal and constant. Or the preponderance of evidence that radioactive decay is inherent to the atom and is not moderated by any outside influences.

              “The central problem I see in the denialist’s argument is that no one in the scientific community believes that complex systems like climate and weather patterns can be explained with the same degree of certainty that (for example) gravity is explained by the warping of space-time, or biological evolution is explained by genetics.”

              I think if you’re going to make claims about the philosophical underpinnings of science then you should have more than a Discover magazine-level understanding of the debates over the nature of gravity or the chemical-level processes of evolution. Both of these are far from settled (gravity in particular has some serious arguments about it; see the whole “dark matter” imbroglio, for starters.)

              PS these kinds of discussions are so predictable. “The science conclusively proves that AGW is real!” “Actually it doesn’t, here’s some reasons why.” “Well, the scientific method never claims to conclusively prove things…” It would be funny, at least if people weren’t saying that we needed to tax ourselves into nonexistence over it.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

                DensityDuck said, with sarcasm:

                “Empirical questions are settled by a preponderance of evidence supporting conclusion X over Y or any other alternative.”

                Yeah, like the preponderance of evidence that F = ma. Or the preponderance of evidence that the universal gravitational constant is both universal and constant. Or the preponderance of evidence that radioactive decay is inherent to the atom and is not moderated by any outside influences.

                Oddly, every single one of these has been — and is being — tested and retested to ever more exacting standards, because the greater weight of evidence in their favor is never enough to rule out all possible previously unknown exceptions — things like gravity waves, variations in the fine structure constant, or other exotic physical phenomena. That’s how science works, even for supposedly untouchable physical laws.

                What I find remarkable about this entire thread so far is that nothing — not one thing — has been said to demolish the original claim, namely that there exists a scientific consensus in favor of AGW:

                –One dissenting scientist, however qualified or talented, does not mean lack of consensus. Even a few wouldn’t be enough. Consensus is the opinion of a substantial majority, and that’s exactly what AGW has.

                –Some various things not well explained by current climate models does not mean lack of consensus, either. They’re red herrings, and irrelevant to the proposition at hand.

                –My own (or anyone else’s) relative lack of scientific knowledge doesn’t mean anything at all about scientific consensus. Nor does my opinion mean anything in either direction, because it’s not the opinion of a scientist.

                And that’s about all I’ve seen so far from the naysayers. Not very impressive, and I’m glad I’m not with you, because you folks are really not doing well here.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. says:

                Has anyone pointed out that Al Gore is fat? Or that there was an ice age 20,000 years ago that ended?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I have been told in the past that my talking about my personal achievements when it comes to being Green is an oblique “Al Gore is fat” argument given the excesses of some of the Green folks’ homes, lifestyles, etc.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

                Yes, Al Gore lives in a large home. Yes, Michael Moore makes money off his movies. They’re still right for the most part. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Bob Tilton has a large home.Report

              • Dear God…he IS fat!

                I’ve been living paying lip-service from time to time to a lie!Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. says:

                I’ll be honest- I’m old enough that Al and Tipper Gore still are, to me, that “Let’s have a Senate hearing about music lyrics” couple. His ludicrously self-aggrandizing movie didn’t make me think of him any less as a self-aggrandizing, busy body jackass. Finally, I know an ex secret service agent who worked in the White House and said Gore was “the biggest asshole I’ve ever met”. So, if we’re going to argue about whether or not we like Al Gore, I am totally on the disliking him side.

                But it’s also pretty irrelevant.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Rufus, unless that was tipper, your friend is sorely biased or misled. Tipper was the one who wouldn’t give out halloween candy to college students. “aren’t you a little old for this?”Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. says:

                Well, I don’t think he much cared for Tipper either. He really liked Bill Clinton who was really friendly most of the time, but he said he wouldn’t speak to them if Hillary was in the room! Admittedly, I don’t know his political views. He just told me what it was like to work for them.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                @ Rufus

                > I’ll be honest- I’m old enough
                > that Al and Tipper Gore still
                > are, to me, that “Let’s have a
                > Senate hearing about music
                > lyrics” couple.

                “So now I’m
                … startin’ up a posse…
                … a posse…”Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                “DensityDuck said, with sarcasm: ”

                Oh, whip me, spank me, ‘coz I’m sarcastic.

                The “consensus” discussion invariably goes like this:

                “There’s an overwhelming consensus!”

                “No, here’s a bunch of people who disagree.”

                “Well they’re not really scientists! There’s an overwhelming consensus among scientists!

                “Here’s a bunch of scientists who disagree.”

                “Well they aren’t the right kind of scientists! There’s an overwhelming consensus among climate scientists!”

                “Here’s some climatologists who disagree.”

                “They’re just oil-industry stooges! There’s an overwhelming consensus among true Scotsmen–I mean, university-based climate scientists! And nobody has shown that there isn’t.


                >>>”Empirical questions are settled by a preponderance of evidence supporting conclusion X over Y or any other alternative.”

                >>”Yeah, like the preponderance of evidence that F = ma. Or the preponderance of evidence that the universal gravitational constant is both universal and constant. Or the preponderance of evidence that radioactive decay is inherent to the atom and is not moderated by any outside influences.”

                >”Oddly, every single one of these has been — and is being — tested and retested to ever more exacting standards, because the greater weight of evidence in their favor…”

                There’s a reason I chose those three examples of “overwhelming scientific consensus” that turned out not to be the case. Newtonian mechanics have been quite famously disproven, and recent evidence suggests that the rate of radioactive decay is influenced by solar neutrino flux (whereas up until a few years ago everyone would have told you it was an immutable constant.)

                “Some various things not well explained by current climate models does not mean lack of consensus, either. They’re red herrings, and irrelevant to the proposition at hand.”

                I want your life, for just one day, where I can ignore things that are wrong with my plan because they’re just red herrings irrelevant to the proposition at hand. That’ll work real well when I go into the bank and try to withdraw four hundred thousand dollars in cash. After all, there’s an overwhelming consensus that I’ve got that much money, and nobody can show evidence that can prove me wrong, and anyone who tries is probably just working for the bank (which has a vested interest in maintaining the fiction that I’ve only got twelve dollars and forty-two cents in my checking account.)

                “My own (or anyone else’s) relative lack of scientific knowledge doesn’t mean anything at all about scientific consensus.”

                So let me get this straight. If I follow the advice of financial professionals, and educated (and experienced) economists, then I’m an idiot.

                But if I follow the advice of climate professionals, and educated (and experienced) climatologists, then I’m doing the right thing.

                I guess the deciding factor is What Jason Kuznicki Knows Stuff About.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                in short: yes. because if your economists and “finance professionals” could prove their case in a court of law, they would make a bundle of money. The fact that they are not in the court of law, right now, suing Wall Street, is profound evidence that they are spouting nonsense.

                Also, the fact that Wall Street doesn’t like getting sued — and yet is on the side of AGW, even though they can afford to hire the best of the best, is yet more evidence that AGW does exist.

                AGW models are falsifiable. In fact, many of them have proved to be too conservative, vis a vis the changes we have seen in actual data.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                Exactly what data is this? Keep in mind that “the weather isn’t the climate” cuts both ways.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                … check out dailykos, they post on this stuff regularly (and have scientists who regularly post there). not gonna do your homework for you.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

                Yes! I do find it both more important and more plausible that ordinary folk should have a firm grasp of personal finance, in preference to refuting whatever alternate science DensityDuck wants to browbeat them about.

                If you follow the advice of financial professionals, you are still unlikely to beat the market. Any honest financial professional will tell you this. And if you can’t balance your checking account every month, you’re still going to be screwed, no matter which financial advisor you have.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

                The advantage to being a Paleocon is that we all bought gold in ’72.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                That should make you rich as Croesus by this time, Bob.

                *That’s* why you’re here. You’re sitting on a pile of gold, chuckling about all the suckers in the modern economy, and this is idle amusement, right?Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

                Well Pat, you’ll notice I didn’t say how deeply I got into gold, or how long I stayed in. That would have ruined the moment.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                i know finance professionals who routinely beat the market. it isn’t THAT hard. except when traders start gunning for your investments (quite illegally, I might add)Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                > i know finance professionals
                > who routinely beat the market.
                > it isn’t THAT hard.

                Hrm; I seem to recall seeing some sort of analysis wherein random samplings of finance professionals beat the market… not at all, over time. In fact, they did basically about as well as dumping all your dough in the S&P 500 index and calling it a day.

                It’s certainly possible that any one individual could do better, especially in the short run. I’m not so certain that any given financial planner can do equally well at all states of the market, though.

                Taken over a lifetime of working the market, it’s demonstrably difficult for anybody to be outside the norm. There’s not that many Warren Buffets out there. It only takes a couple of missteps to wipe out a decade of steady growth.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                not only do I know someone significantly more intelligent/well-read than your average financial professional, he also likes to play with shorting, and other weird esoteric shit.
                Not saying he doesn’t take losses, just that a few big plays fix a whole lotta losses.
                Sides, if you’re still in the small investing game, you’re probably winning [da fools went broke trusting the republicans.]Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                There’s a reason I chose those three examples of “overwhelming scientific consensus” that turned out not to be the case. Newtonian mechanics have been quite famously disproven…

                But look, when Newtonian mechanics was replaced with Relativity, gravity wasn’t discarded as a left-leaning myth! The evidence by which the theory is tested remained the same for both theories.

                You’re confusing the evidence justifying a theory with the correct explanatory account of the evidence.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Newtonian mechanics have been quite famously disproven.

                You should read a physics textbook. Newtonian mechanics haven’t been disproven (proof, by the way, is for mathematicians and logicians). They’ve been shown to be special cases of Einstonian mechanics that operate at speeds not approaching c (roughly). In other words, your example kind of undermines your point.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                Nah, it doesn’t undermine his point, really.

                There’s “proof” and then there’s “proof”… and what the common man means by proof isn’t either of those things, really.

                It’s shorthand.

                And while your reframing is actually accurate and correct, I think it’s fair to say that Newton wasn’t writing up his book based upon the idea that it was a special case of anything: he was writing up his stuff on the idea that it was the *general* case. In that sense, you can definitely say that Newtonian mechanics has been disproven as the general mechanism which explains motion and the interaction of objects in the universe.

                But I quibble. Ignore me.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                What does undermine his point, tho, is that on his view, disproving a theory entails somehow rejecting the evidence upon which the old theory was based.

                That’s just a mistake. The evidence is what it is, and as more comes in, theories evolve, get refined, and often replaced. But the one constant is the evidence: whether it be directly observable or statistically correlated.

                I really don’t understand what DD is talking about when he uses the analogy of of Newton/Einstein as an example demonstrating that ‘the evidence’ is subject to dispute.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Or more precisely, why he thinks that Scientific Revolutions demonstrate a lack of consensus in the scientific community, especially as it pertains to evidence.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                > What does undermine his point,
                > tho, is that on his view,
                > disproving a theory entails
                > somehow rejecting the evidence
                > upon which the old theory was
                > based.

                Ah, yes.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Patrick, what I think undermines his point is that Newtonian mechanics are still true, they’re just true in a limited way, and have been subsumed under a larger theory. If we apply his analogy, then, what we get is that AGW is true, but under a larger theory of climate change. Which, you know, is sort of what we have.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                Newtonian mechanics are as “true” as trapezoidal integration. i.e. they’re not, but we still use them, because the results are inexact but generally close enough to be useful (and it’s a lot easier than doing it the theoretically-correct way.)

                My point–which everyone seems to intentionally avoid discussing–is that up until the beginning of the 20th century, Newtonian mechanics wasn’t just a useful approximation; it was the law. Force equalled mass times acceleration, and all of those three values were constant, and you could determine a particle’s position and velocity to arbitrary degrees of precision. These were settled matters, with hundreds of years of experimental evidence backing them up. Anyone who suggested different was a crazy idiot.

                So I’d think you’d forgive someone who says “hey, the error bars on your curve are larger than the reported change, maybe we should take another look at this before we all kill ourselves to save the world.”Report

              • The earthquake that just forced me to evacuate my building is definitive proof that global warming exists and that Al Gore isn’t fat. QED, DD. QED.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Read brin’s argument about keeping us a Category M planet. We could do worse than turning the thermostat down a few notches, faygeleh.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Kim, I don’t think you mean to use that particular Yiddish word in this context. And, the LOOG’s demographics being what they are, in any context.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

                I’d suffer being called a faggot long before I would being called illiterate, Tom.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                tvd, but he squawks so sweetly! Gobble gobble, like the turkey on my front lawn. Wish he would be such a give-away bird, though?Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Density, your point, which we’ve all discussed, is silly. Yeah, Newtonian mechanics were taken to be a theory of everything, and now they’re known to be simply a part of a more general theory of everything (Newtonian mechanics are true, just not for everything). Your basic point seems to be that scientists can be wrong. Duh! Now, what does that have to do with the data?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                >i>My point–which everyone seems to intentionally avoid discussing–is that up until the beginning of the 20th century, Newtonian mechanics wasn’t just a useful approximation; it was the law.

                Everyone gets your point. It’s an epistemic one about how to best explain the evidence. But here’s the problem, which Patrick outlined very clearly earlier in the thread: insofar as you grant the evidence but dispute the theory which accounts for it, you have to provide a better explanatory account of the existing evidence.

                Insofar as you reject the evidence, then you’ve moved the discussion away from the realm of science to politics, ideological agendas and conspiracy theories.

                But you can’t have it both ways.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                “[I]nsofar as you grant the evidence but dispute the theory which accounts for it, you have to provide a better explanatory account of the existing evidence. ”


                Why is “you’re making a positive claim and you haven’t provided sufficient evidence or valid reasoning to support it” not a complete criticism of an argument?Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                Science is not philosophy.

                If you accept that the current instrumentation and measurement approaches are legitimate (and yes, I get that you might not, but we’re not talking about that right now), then we have an observed temperature increase.

                There are potential theories that can account for a temperature increase. One, we’re getting more solar input from big daddy Sol (this has been discounted). Two, the core of the Earth is exotherming more from some sort of internal reaction (this has been discounted). Three, the makeup of the atmosphere is changing the heat retention capabilities of the Earth.

                I’m open to a fourth, if you’ve got one.

                If you don’t, then you’re stuck. Your new observation that doesn’t seem to fit the theory may in fact have some cause that can be incorporated into the theory. Maybe CO2 rising causes more cloud formation that increases the albedo of the earth and more sunlight is reflected. Hm, is that plausible? Can we incorporate it in the theory? (Yes, actually, they’ve done that).

                But if you can’t say, “Something else is causing this”, then you’re stuck with the theory we have, or modifying the theory we have, or “God did it.”

                You don’t get to pull the God card in science.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                because you have made statements accepting the evidence. The LONG TRAIN of evidence spanning a thousand years, and showing a significant uptick over the past 300 or so.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                In point of fact there’ve been many criticisms of the “evidence”. People have found things to question regarding the interpretation, the analysis, the modeling, and even the collection itself.

                I mean, when your error bars are big enough to reverse the change entirely, then you’d better be ready for some hard questions about your numbers. And when your answer is “fuck you I’m a climate scientist”, it doesn’t inspire confidence.Report

    • Avatar trizzlor says:

      My guess: this skepticism of the clear scientific consensus is largely the product of ideological antagonism toward those who promote traditionally left-wing sounding solutions to the crisis

      But cap & trade, the solution actually promoted by Democrats, is a fundamentally conservative, market-based solution: we have a scarce resource (in this case, emissions) so we put a cap on it; create a level playing field for exchanging the resource along with strong, protected contracts; and let the market converge to equilibrium. That’s why Gingrich and Pawlenty were for it before they were against it. So it’s not that the proposed solutions to global-warming are hated because they are traditionally left-wing, they are hated simply because the left-wing supports them.

      My opinion is if you want to see the effect of moneyed interests in politics look no further than global warming. PNAS puts out some great science, but they don’t have anywhere near the marketing of ExxonMobil.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        It’s cute how you think that calling something a “market-based solution” means that people will automatically like it.

        The Soviet Union had markets, and its government was obsessed with economics.Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          … tried and TESTED was the CONSERVATIVE WAY of doign things. George HW Bush did these “market based solutions” and lookee here… NO MORE ACID RAIN.

          … gee, you’d think it was a GOOD IDEA THAT WORKED, wouldn’t cha?

          Unless you were republican.Report

        • Avatar trizzlor says:

          @DensityDuck, that’s a pretty un-charitable read of what I said. My point was not about weather people “automatically” like the policy, but weather their support/condemnation is grounded in consistency.

          I think it’s quite clear that after a decade of calling for a market-based solution to the problem of emissions, mainstream conservatives immediately did a 180 once such a solution had a chance of being passed; Pawlenty being a particularly embarrassing example of this kind of pandering. What changed, if it was neither the proposed solution nor the scientific consensus? Democrats got behind it.Report

          • Avatar Jeff says:

            See also: stimulus, health care reform, etc.Report

          • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

            In fairness, it was a stupid idea when they thought of it in the first place.

            But it was a new enough idea that the shine hadn’t come off yet.

            I’m pretty sure that it is a reasonable position to take that somebody who comes up with a new idea might also discover, in their attempts to make it non-squishy and formal and turn it into policy… that it just won’t work to solve the problem.

            I think this is giving a lot of credit to politicos in general that they probably don’t deserve, granted. But it’s a reasonable position to take.Report

  8. Avatar Scott says:


    “The piece goes on to do an admirable job acknowledging the places where the theory of climate change is just that (theory); and how the scientific community has, as of late, often hurt its own cause with unfortunate lapses of tact or wanderings into hyperbole. ”

    Sorry but your attempt to excuse some of the out right lies, distortions of fact and academic intimidation by some folks in the scientific community is pathetic. If the lefties insist that we have to re-order our society to combat global warning I don think it is too much to ask that folks get their facts straight first. If Al Bore can’t fact check his own propaganda piece why should anyone listen to him?Report

    • Avatar J Stewart says:

      The facts ARE straight. It’s just hard to convince some racist 60-IQ religious nitwit who thinks that the earth is flat and only a few thousand years old because “mah bible sez so prayze Jebus” that it’s actually happening, when the leaders of his cult and the noise machine emanating from Fake News and hate radio (courtesy of the local radio station that also runs cult indoctrination on Sunday mornings) are telling him otherwise.Report

  9. Avatar Peter H. says:

    Independent, just bought a car that gets 19mpg highway. Its BS, global warming then climate change. Gore is a hypocrite, the science is all half assed and its garbage. If you for one minute think that “oh how can you say that, what about future generations”. Well I think I have seen the Socialist agenda when it comes to the Economy, spending us into oblivion and screwing our future generation… Thanks Lib’s and Socialist…Report

  10. Avatar Jennifer Nguyen says:

    I believe that most of the GOP rejects the idea of global warming for a majority of reasons. Obviously, some people just reject the idea all together because it’s easier for them to believe that it isn’t true. However, I also feel that some reject the idea because they feel they should. Republicans are notoriously known for being skeptical against the whole global warming issue since it has arisen. Some may just continue to stick to the idea than to admit they’re wrong. However, I understand why they may not completely accept/agree with the idea. A theory is still a theory. Even with evidence, a theory could always be proven wrong. Although, this does not completely excuse those who completely turn down the idea without even looking at the evidence.Report

  11. Avatar Kirk says:

    Reasons to be skeptical of AGW.

    1) It offers cheap heroism to the media’s prime demographic, young people with money. These people aren’t going to join the military, but everyone wants to feel that they’re “making a difference,” so the media will always side with AGW believers just to please that demo.

    2) It offers cheap heroism to the left, who like the above would never join the military (they would never lift a finger to defend “Amerika”) but they do get off on “saving the planet.” So, the media will pander to that group just to please them.

    3) It gives the media something cheap, easy, and safe to cover.

    4) It lends the field of climatology (if there is such a thing) a certain immediacy and importance. No AGW, then your science is just interesting, not important–and not worthy of grant money.

    5) Some “climatologists” (sorry to use the quote marks, but until someone proves these people are scientists I’m not willing to lend them that level of respect) have been caught “lying for a good cause.” When a few get caught, it suggests others are lying as well but not getting caught.

    6) Everything is proof of AGW, and nothing is a disproof of it. Four hurricanes in one year in FL proves AGW exists, lack of any since is proof of nothing. Thinner ice at the edges of Greenland proves AGW, thicker ice at the center is not a disproof. Thinner ice on the eastern half of Antarctica is proof of AGW, thicker ice in the western half is not a disproof.

    7) Natural warming and cooling in the past have far outstripped anything suggested by AGW theories. NYC was covered in a half-mile thick sheet of ice. The Sahara used to be a jungle. The Earth’s oceans were once an anoxic stew almost incapable of supporting life. Volcanoes once produced so much CO2 that reduced the human race was reduced down to about 40 breeding females. Yet an infinitesimal change now in CO2 levels–a fraction of a thousandth of one percent– is not only detectable, and not due to natural processes like volcanoes, but proof of AGW.

    8) There’s money to be made in AGW. And unlike oil and coal, which will always make money regardless, industries profiting from AGW depend on it 100%. No AGW, then all those wind-turbine and solar panel companies go out of business. Period.

    9) When someone gets attacked merely for being skeptical about AGW, it should be setting off everyone’s b.s. detectors. But it’s not. It suggests that the entire orthodoxy, and its believers, are so shaky in their convictions and proof that it’s all being held together by sheer willpower

    Now, maybe AGW is happening. But the above are some of my reasons for being skeptical about the whole thing.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      AGW is the best kind of religion: one that can point to actual, real-world evidence proving that the Devil exists.

      Well, that is, with sufficient interpretation it proves that the Devil exists. You have to have faith and think about things in the proper non-Evil way to see how the proof works. But it’s there. Believe me. After all, I’m a scientist.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        5) Some “climatologists” (sorry to use the quote marks, but until someone proves these people are scientists I’m not willing to lend them that level of respect) have been caught “lying for a good cause.” When a few get caught, it suggests others are lying as well but not getting caught.

        Who? Where?

        Also, I note that none of your reasons are about the science.

        And Density, seriously? You’re using pithy remarks to argue against a wealth of data? Sure, science is about interpreting data, but you know how you test interpretations? By whether they work. And unfortunately, ACW works better than any other interpretation. Does that mean it could turn out to be wrong? Sure, though the warming itself is a fact, not an interpretation (future warming is an extrapolation, which is a sort of interpretation). Does that mean that we shouldn’t do anything about it? Obviously not.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck says:

          “You’re using pithy remarks to argue against a wealth of data? ”

          There was a wealth of data that the Sun revolved around the Earth. Then that crazy radical Copernicus went and punked the whole scientific institution.

          “Sure, science is about interpreting data, but you know how you test interpretations? By whether they work. And unfortunately, ACW works better than any other interpretation.”

          AGW is a theory constructed to fit the facts. It’s a curve fit. And the thing about curve fits is that they work great as long as you’re inside them. Past the end they get wonky. (You may remember, for example, how everyone in 1998 predicted that the stock market was going to keep going up forever.)Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            Thank you! Yes, of course it is a curve fit. and yes, extrapolation is always more of a chancy thing than interpolation.

            Now let’s cut the chaff, and start smoking some beans. Unless you can give compelling evidence why the AGW models have a systematic error to them, you must perforce admit that they Might Be too conservative (and that we will see MORE warming than they expect). There are websites out there (by reputable scientists) that explore this case.

            However, let me give you one more thing: What harm does it do, to switch to green energy now, not later? We’re past peak oil, anywhichway, we gotta get green sooner or later, here. And America’s always been best at science. Why not do a dash of Keynes where it will help?

            … or do you really want to go the geoengineering route, and see if we can get just the right number of nuclear explosions to cool off the atmosphere without going into nuclear winter.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck says:

              I thought I was in your killfile.

              “Unless you can give compelling evidence why the AGW models have a systematic error to them…”

              You say this as though there haven’t been people doing exactly that for the entire century thus far. I guess you might not have heard of Stephen McIntyre and all the rest. (eagerly awaits the No True Scot argument.)

              “What harm does it do, to switch to green energy now, not later? ”

              The same harm it does to suggest that everyone in America stop eating until the average American weight goes down forty pounds. Are there overweight people? Sure! Is the problem shared by everyone to the same degree? No. And is a starvation diet imposed by the government on the entire country really the appropriate solution?Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                [my killfile is something I regularly review.]
                I await your response to the relatively conservative argument that cap and trade worked with Acid Rain.

                DensityDuck, when I smell a rat, I smell a rat. And every single one of those folks was/is paid for by Exxon. I call ’em cheerleaders. Trust me, if it was a reputable theory, someone out there would not be accepting Exxon’s money.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                I don’t have a problem with the notion of “cap and trade”. I also don’t think that because a tool worked in one situation it’s automatically the best way to fix everything. A hammer works great for driving nails, but that doesn’t mean you can use it to spread paint or prune a rosebush.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                … and this is the relatively sane answer. The acid test for whether someone’s a troll is that they’ll recognize truth for what it is.
                Cap and Trade, as it stood with the Democrats, would just be “special-interest” cutouts, for about 80% of it.
                Which isn’t the point of a market-based solution at all.

                What would you like to do, if you’ll grant the assumption that global warming is indeed occuring, and that we NEED TO DO SOMETHING to keep Earth within acceptable tolerances for livability?Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                If we NEED to DO SOMETHING, then I’d say we should be encouraging uptake of nuclear power, particularly by developing economies like China, India, and various countries in the Middle East.

                Actually, we should be doing this anyway, whether we NEED to DO SOMETHING or not.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                what continues to puzzle me is why nuclear power? It’s inherently dangerous, as regulated in the united states, or apparently as regulated in Japan (where their regs were substantially more solid).

                I’d think a conservative would recognize economies of scale, and why a nascent technology like solar/hydro might benefit from some early investment.

                But hell, I put my money where my mouth is.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                > What continues to puzzle me
                > is why nuclear power?

                You need base power generation. Solar and wind are too variable. Conceivably you could provide this with tidal, but that’s a long way off.

                > It’s inherently dangerous, as
                > regulated in the united states,
                > or apparently as regulated in
                > Japan (where their regs
                > were substantially more solid).

                We can argue about the regulatory environment, sure.

                Yes, it’s stupid that we allow nuclear power plants to keep spent fuel rods on campus. Well, that’s what Yucca Mountain was supposed to be for. And (IMO) it was shut down for completely spurious reasons. Well, except for the “it helps keep Harry Reid in his seat” reasons, which aren’t spurious but they aren’t compelling.

                We have the capability to make nuclear reactors that are significantly safer than existing models. We just haven’t built any here in the U.S. for quite some time.

                Japan’s nuclear energy company has been yelled at for years for breaking the rules, FWIW. If anything, Japan’s nuclear regulatory agency is a poster child for really bad regulatory capture (worse than the MMS).

                Now, you could argue that this is going to be an insoluable problem, and that any attempt to improve nuclear regulations would be subject to capture and thus any new nuclear plant strategy is doomed to failure.

                But that would be something that might challenge one’s belief in regulatory oversight, more generally.Report

              • Good, good stuff, Patrick.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                FWIW, Elias, I’m very sympathetic to the nuclear regulatory capture argument. It’s a more credible long term safety problem than the engineering.

                There are several new reactor designs that literally fail safe. They break themselves (permanently), granted, which is a huge economic problem for ROI. Which worries me when you have to have a watchdog agency.

                When your choices are “knowingly break a multibillion dollar installation” or “maybe have a meltdown/blowout/rig explosion”, people make bad safety decisions.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                The alternative to base power generation is one HELL of a lot of batteries. Which We Are Working On. We’ll get it licked (and Volt and company are doing a damn good job of financing…)Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                Batteries are hard.

                I’m not convinced that chemical batteries aren’t going to shift the problem into another problem domain.

                Although, genetically engineered tree batteries could make me revisit batteries as a solution.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                @Kim, You’re not up to speed. Exxon is in FAVOR of cap and trade. They stand to make additional $Billions from it as do the rest of the climate/industrial complex. Add Duke Energy, GE and others to the mix, I don’t have the time nor inclination to create an exhaustive list here. That was the CIC that I was referring to in the post to Patrick.

                Al Gore has made over $200M so far, he’s screaming BS at Aspen because his net worth has recently halved as his investors realize he isn’t the horse they can ride to additional billions.

                Last time I should have to say this, with Stew gone you’re all intelligent people. THIS IS ALL ABOUT POLITICS AND NOT ABOUT SCIENCE.

                Had there never been POLITICIAN Al Gore, this could have remained science and could have been hammered out. Instead, the magnifying glass PREMATURELY was focused on something that was still “getting worked out”. Then we had the worst kinds of “curve fitting” as the “team” scrambled to make the data match their models (it doesn’t). So instead we have satellite data that completely disagreed, so they “adjusted” the satellite and blamed it on orbit decay. Unfortunately if you study their corrections, that satellite should have burned up already, ie they had to overstate the “orbit decay” to make up for the temperature “correction”.

                Then there are the ice core “corrections”, the tree ring “corrections”, the missing temperature data “corrections”, the interpolation “corrections”, the statistical “corrections” (from CRU who don’t have a SINGLE statistician on staff), refusal to divulge source code and source data, etc.

                Now I ask all you cheerleaders if the DATA is wrong, how are we to fit a THEORY to it?

                Einstein came up with E=MC^2 because he was studying the work of Michelson-Morley. Realize, until those experiments, the CONSENSUS believed there was something called the aether! Michelson, like any TRUE scientist setup an EXPERIMENT (several in fact) and followed the DATA, instead of following the “climate science” method of FORCING the data to follow the theory.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                … see, the Michelson-Morely and Einstein argument is actually relevant, as opposed to the Newtonian mechanics argument.

                … that said, You Can’t Find systematic twisting of science, on a large scale in any scientific field. You can find a scientist whose errorbars are way way too small for his equipment (electronic charge expt). You can find people who failed to look backwards (atom expt.). And you can find people who screwed up an equation, and bollixed up an entire field for a while (that’s quantum physics. some grad student wrote a utility and mixed up a negative sign).

                You appear to be alleging both the last one, and some variant of “they’re trying to mislead us!!!”

                By the time OzoneMan decided to do a movie, the science was well established. The models are constantly changing, and are getting better. This does not mean that they are OFF THAT MUCH. Maybe in the 80’s when he ran for president, there was something else.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                @Kim, er, I didn’t make the Newtonian argument.

                “You Can’t Find”. er, yest I can. The IPCC reports have been shown to be ultimately controlled by no more than 30 people. They can be called, “the team”. The “team” HAS an agenda and like YOU Kim believes in doing dishonest things to further that agenda.

                Now, how dare I accuse YOU of dishonesty? Simple, down below here YOU tell Jaybird to register Republican to DISHONESTLY vote for the candidate you hate the most in the primary (then of course switch sides in the main election supposedly). This is honest on what planet? I don’t care if Rush says to do it on the other side Rush is WRONG too! Wrong is wrong, you can rationalize all you want but the ethics here is completely clear, to anyone with any semblance of honesty.

                Your point about OzoneMan is lost on me. Could you let me in on who that is?

                My personal opinion on Ozone (and something I researched at the time in college) was that the CFC “scare” was suspiciously coincident with the expiration of DuPont’s patents on the production of freon. Not to worry, Dow and DuPont have excellent intellectual property positions in the (much more expensive) replacements. The ozone industrial complex did very well for itself already. Don’t imagine for a second that the air conditioning and appliance industries weren’t on board with this agenda.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                I find no dishonesty in finding the closest thing to an honest election, and voting for the candidate in that election that you would like to hold office.

                Rush was suggesting the opposite — vote for someone you hate, because then the guy you like would be more likely to win.

                If I participate in an election, and vote for the person I want to win the general, I am still playing fairly. Besides, I continue to believe that party identification is for chumps.

                Wardsmith, you are undoubtedly unfamiliar with the concept of a metaanalysis. There are far more than 30 climatologists in America — and some of them even have degrees! Fancy that, eh?

                OzoneMan == Gore. You’re not familiar with him running for president in the 80’s?

                … you seem smarter than the avg. troll, so I’ll throw you a softball. Who killed JFK?

                [the fact that Exxon is fleeing the gas distro business is common knowledge, and does nothing to undermine research conducted circa 2004 or so.]Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                @Kim, now you’re going to pretend you didn’t write this I’m guessing the usual places you troll have a substantially lower collective IQ to try and get away with crap like this.

                The 2007 IPCC summary report listed 52 authors and I can show you that many of them were of the same group. I previously did this elsewhere for Patrick rather conclusively via a different method (showing research papers that were cross-linked (ie referred to each other) and/or were written by the same authors). In math this is called cross tabulating.

                Then there is climate researcher Cliff Mass who not only critiques the climategate emails but also points to his own personal experience. And he’s a SUPPORTER of AGW, albeit not with sufficient intensity.

                Just like all Lefty’s if you’re not lefty you get eaten by the rest.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                wardsmith, I am actively defending the idea I propounded above. I shall continue to do so.
                But allow me to digress a little — is your native dialect AAVE, or others where a double negative merely intensifies into more negative? Because I hasten to assure you that voting against the person you like the least is a perfectly valid way of assigning priorities within an elective framework. The fact that I am advocating choosing the most competitive election, is merely asking you to find the place where your vote will count the most.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                nb, ward, i wasn’t actually trolling,b ut asking seriously if you knew who killed JFK. The answer is surprisingly obvious.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                @Kim, I made an error when I said “for” the candidate you hate most. Obviously that wouldn’t work, I’d started to type in a different direction, changed windows to ACTUALLY GET SOME WORK DONE (Dang it) and continued on without proofing (again). My logic is consistent when you substitute “hate” for “like the least” given the change. You seemed to have understood my drift regardless of my mistake since your reply understood your ethical dilemma. You’re now going to try and tell me that EVEN THOUGH YOU SWITCHED PARTIES only for the primary, you are to quote yourself REALLY “voting for the candidate in that election that you would like to hold office.” That means you are REALLY a Republican after all? To quote Al Gore “BULLSHIT”!

                No that wasn’t what you were suggesting and Rush wasn’t suggesting what I’d accidentally written. The method being used UNETHICALLY by BOTH sides is to go into the primary and SCREW UP the chances of the candidate that OTHERWISE should have a chance of winning to go onto the general election. Pretending anything else is just that, a pretense.

                Meantime, because there is no reply option below our posts anymore and hitting the reply above the response is getting too tricky I’m going to wait until another OP to continue this, or we move it below.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                ward, I’d vote for the person who I consider sanest, with the best ideas, and the best backers. This is a good policy in any election.

                Anything else is strawmanning.

                If I choose to participate in a choice between A and B, and I choose B because it tastes best, that does not compel me to choose B in the general election. If I use the same criterion as above, and wind up choosing C, I am not being twofaced. I am applying a consistent metric to improve the chances that a good candidate that I like will get elected.

                In short, I’d rather see B run against C, than have a vote between C and D, because B is so much of a better alternative than A.

                Am I saying that I’d vote for someone just to screw up their party’s chance of getting elected? HELL NO.

                I reserve the right to vote against Saudi Arabia, on general principle. If you think that me voting in a primary in order to register my dissent with foreign countries trying to take over our elected officials… I’m not Paul O’Neil, I won’t call you a traitor. But boy does it make me wonder…Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                Ward, I agree with you this is largely a political football (see my comment 329 below, et. al.)

                I believe that the Left is waving this flag around without intending to tackle the problem, much in the same way that Right candidates talk about ending abortion while knowing full well they’re never going to actually take the steps needed to solve the problem.

                I agree with Jaybird; as a cultural phenomena it’s much more about signaling than anything else.

                I agree with Mike, if he ever jumps in and says it on this thread (which he hasn’t, and that’s surprising, because this is a thread where it is appropriate): the native statism of the Left is going to stink up the conversation on this topic.

                That doesn’t mean the science is wrong. Again, here in this last comment, you made a few assertions (with no reference).

                “So instead we have satellite data that completely disagreed, so they “adjusted” the satellite and blamed it on orbit decay.”

                “Then there are the ice core “corrections”, the tree ring “corrections”, the missing temperature data “corrections”, the interpolation “corrections”, the statistical “corrections””

                Corrections, if done correctly, are correct. Throwing scare tags about them isn’t making them incorrect. You and Tom are both offering lots of unsubstantiated, very thinly (or, not thinly at all) veiled accusations.

                But you’re still not answering my questions: what does it take to change your mind, and how does your conspiracy theory have legs?

                “Had there never been POLITICIAN Al Gore, this could have remained science and could have been hammered out.”

                Al Gore, for all his faults, did not invent global warming as a scientific theory. Al Gore choosing to make this a poster child for his post-political career is Al Gore’s decision.

                The Left accepting it as political flag waving might be a reason to criticize the Left for being silly, just like it might be a reason to criticize the Right for trumping all their Family Values stuff when that has nothing to do with their ability to govern. Even if they actually held to it.

                But you’ve gone into serious transference mode on this issue.

                As has the entire GOP. If they actually pulled out the numbers I mention below, and talked about funding science research rather than trying to put a band-aid on the problem with cap and trade (or just flat-out denying that the problem exists), we would be much further along to possibly finding a solution.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                I’m a lefti, with occasional statist tendencies (mostly re: education). But — I like IDEAS! And yours seem like they deserve a shot.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                Hey, thanks!

                Since I don’t regularly attribute myself to either side, it’s always nice to see someone from either branch nod their head when I start talking.

                Because usually they’re all yelling at me for a bunch of other reasons.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                That was supposed to say, if you’re not lefty ENOUGH, but I bracketed it instead and the browser must have thought it was a meta tag.

                Here’s one link on the diurnal adjustment. It would take me a few more minutes to find the others but I can only make two links without getting stuck in moderation.

                Re conspiracy theory, plz see links to Kim above. Those links also have links. Likewise you ALREADY agreed with me in our ‘changing minds’ discussion that there were a suspicious number of co-referenced papers, which I proved in one database search as I recall. Certain names pop up with astonishing regularity, Hansen, Mann, Jones, Trenberth, in fact the usual suspects from the Climategate emails. You don’t see a pattern? How’d you pass math?

                Now i KNOW you are logical, and I know you’re intelligent or I wouldn’t waste my time talking with you. Your points down below about global trillions spent are spot on. You understand the scale of the problem and you understand the futility of the “solution” proffered and yet you continue to buy the basic premise, even though it is on shaky ground and getting shakier by the minute.

                The reason $300B won’t begin to fix this is because the administration is going to give it to their “aligned” friends who don’t understand thermodynamics. Look how much has already been spent (and wasted) on biofuels. Were you aware the net return on a dollar invested in biofuels is -.99? You’d be better off buying lottery tickets. And Obama just doubled down with another $20B two weeks ago.

                Even Star Trek warp drives need dilithium crystals.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                I believe you calculate the dollars a bit differently if you look at using spent veggie oil instead of corn. And I sincerely doubt you’ve managed to get statistics out of Brazil — do you even speak Portugese?
                You give a dollar, you get back a penny sounds significantly worse than the lottery. Something that bad would be out of business.

                Even without a book, I can smell a skunk.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                > Here’s one link on the diurnal
                > adjustment.

                Okay, so there’s a published paper in a reputable science journal. And your point is that it’s fake?

                You’re going to have to back that up.

                > Re conspiracy theory, plz see
                > links to Kim above. Those
                > links also have links.

                That’s a rabbit hole, Ward. I don’t want to investigate your climate conspiracy belief. I don’t want to start dredging up every possible page on those links of links and hold it up to the light and say, “This one? This one? What about this one?” That’s exhausting. I want *you* to make *your* case as to this conspiracy (again, taking into account the conditions on the ground, and explain to me how this model convinces you.

                Yes, I know you’re convinced. But unless/until you tell me what it is, exactly, that has convinced you and what it will take, exactly, to convince you to believe otherwise (which, ahem, you still haven’t done), I don’t see us going anywhere constructive. Although I’m liable to get very pissed off.

                > Certain names pop up with
                > astonishing regularity, Hansen,
                > Mann, Jones, Trenberth, in
                > fact the usual suspects from
                > the Climategate emails. You
                > don’t see a pattern?

                If you go looking for a pattern, you can probably find one. Jesus, that Einstein guy was cited by a lot of people! He single-handedly faked out the entire physics establishment!

                Or maybe he was just correct, so people cited him.

                I haven’t done a full-bore lit review of climate science. I really doubt that you have, either. I don’t know that anyone’s frequency in citations is unusual, relative to any other field.

                > Your points down below about
                > global trillions spent are spot on.

                Thank you.

                > You understand the scale of
                > the problem and you
                > understand the futility of the
                > “solution” proffered

                I’d like to think so.

                > and yet you continue to buy
                > the basic premise, even though
                > it is on shaky ground and
                > getting shakier by the minute.

                See, Ward, you’ve lost me again.

                Because I don’t work backwards. The fact that someone looks at some theory and comes up with a bad solution seems (to you) to provide some sort of confirmatory factors that make you think the theory is bad.

                Whereas I just say, “Gee, I didn’t get there from here. I don’t think you’re thinking this through,” to the people with the bad solution.

                Again, please to be explaining, how is it that I’m clever enough to have figured out the major structural flaws of the proposed solution on the one hand, but I’m so fishing stupid I’m falling for a giant con on the other? Also, given that I’m hardly a genius, explain everybody else that has fallen for this giant con… which includes oodles and oodles of geniuses.

                I’ve noticed now that on some of those pages you’ve linked to Richard Muller is now referred to as a “Warmist”.

                This is the same Richard Muller that lefty blogs have been calling an apologist for the Koch brothers for a while.

                And he’s still verifying CRU’s work. But, he’s an industry shill! Or is he?

                Hey, maybe the “Al Gore is fat and the Koch Brothers want to destroy the world” crowd are both burying their heads in partisan bullshit?

                > The reason $300B won’t begin
                > to fix this is because the
                > administration is going to give
                > it to their “aligned” friends
                > who don’t understand
                > thermodynamics.

                This is flatly not how the NSF works.

                This is one case where I do know something about which I speak. NSF grant writing is a pain in the butt, and it is inefficient, and bureaucratic, and in many ways a legacy of our science publishing methodology and the way our academic institutions work. And there’s plenty to criticize in there, granted.

                But it’s not a “give blank checks out to people who agree with the current administration” program. Not even close.

                Now, you can argue that if we just did a giveaway program they might throw money at biofuel (which, by the way, I think is a stupid solution). I’m skeptical that the entire $300 billion would go to waste.

                Sure, probably $30-$50 of it would go to scientific bridges to nowhere. That’s fairly common – if you dump money in a pot and then empty the pot, a bunch of it is going to spill on the floor. That happened with the Manhattan and Apollo Projects, for crying out loud.

                But we might get something out of the other end. We’re certainly not going to get anything out the other end with cap and trade.

                And even that $30-$50 blown billion might produce interesting offshoot technologies.

                You can never know what people will find useful, or what they’ll use it for, until it’s out there for people to use.Report

            • Avatar MFarmer says:

              Writing styles are somewhat like fingerprints.Report

          • Avatar Chris says:

            More pith, no substance. Your point seems to be science is sometimes wrong, so when it disagrees with my ideology, I shouldn’t accept it. That’s just stupid.

            And I understand curve fitting. I do it a lot. I’m the first to complain when someone goes beyond the data. However, when the models converge, even when they come from different data sources, and when the data continues to fit the predictions as it comes in, it’s time to start accepting that, without a better interpretation (better in that it predicts the data better), what we have is a pretty damn strong case. And that’s what we have in climate change.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck says:

              “[W]hen the data continues to fit the predictions as it comes in…”

              Except when it doesn’t, as the past few years of below-average cold temperatures show. Unless you’re arguing that one temperature station for all of Sibera outweighs the several dozen across the continental United States.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

                Climate change is about extremes in both directions. Warmers summers and colder winters in the short-term as the new climate is in flux.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                except we’re seeing warmer winters in the northeast, as the models predict. Blizzards in February is anomalous warm weather, not anomalous cold weather.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                1970-1980: “Global cooling is a reality. It’s already causing severe ecological damage and represents a direct threat to humanity in our lifetime. Fortunately we can stop it if we institute huge fees penalizing emissions by American and European countries.”

                1990-2000: “Global warming is a reality. It’s already causing severe ecological damage and represents a direct threat to humanity in our lifetime. Fortunately we can stop it if we institute huge fees penalizing emissions by American and European countries.”

                2000-2011: “Global climate change is a reality. It’s already causing severe ecological damage and represents a direct threat to humanity in our lifetime. Fortunately we can stop it if we institute huge fees penalizing emissions by American and European countries.”Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                1970-1980, as per journals and not alarmists: Humph. Soot in the atmosphere makes cold. If we quadruple what we’re producing now, we might see global cooling. Hey Policy Makers: Don’t Do That!
                [yes, this was seriously what the literature said.]
                2000-2011: or you could just let Pakistan and India go to nuclear war… along with Israel and Iran. And hope we don’t get the numbers wrong. Ain’t geoengineering fun?Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                Except that people did claim that global cooling was happening, and was going to continue happening. They pointed to charts of temperatures and highlighted the bit at the end where the line curved sharply downward.

                I could point you to some sources, but then you’d just start crying about how no true Scot would make a claim like that.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                People claim that the Universe is a time cube, too, D.D.

                That’s not what consensus means, either.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                People have an awfully convenient definition of “consensus”, in that sometimes it has to be everyone in the entire world and sometimes it just has to be six or seven guys who all work in the same building.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                False dichotomy.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Hmph. From where I stand, America’s winters have been getting substantially warmer, and every other continent has been having substantially warmer years over the past few. I argue not that one temp station in Siberia outweighs several dozen in the United States, but that the stations in Africa, Europe and Asia combined outweigh the local anomaly present in the United States, which is mainly present during the summer.


                Oh, right, it’s sea ice that’s ahead of schedule, and causing substantial revisions in models.

                Remember, more blizzards in february is a sign of global warming.

                The falsifiable-ness of current models is that stable climate is Certainly Not global warming. As is evidence that the world is cooling (the spread of cold weather species further south would be a strong indication of this. As stated before, animals are fleeing the tropics, as the tropics get hotter year by year. And yea, that’s one hell of a huge meta-analysis.)Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Except that you made that up (or rather, the people who are duping you made that up).Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Ten miles a year. That’s how far the average animal is moving away from the tropics, and towards the poles. And it’s not enough.
        … what? you haven’t read that metaanalysis?Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. says:

      I don’t have a problem with skepticism, but it’s probably good to have better reasons for it than “I don’t like liberals, rich kids, wind turbine manufacturers, and climatologists, so I’m sure not agreeing with them.”Report

      • Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

        R-man, how about “I don’t like libruls, they’re ruining the country?”Report

        • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

          how about “I don’t like libruls, they’re ruining the country?”

          I’d say that it’s boring partisan grenade-toss, RC, except you’re so outnumbered by the other side that it passes for “balance.”Report

          • Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

            tvd, I’m cuttin’ wood for winter and stopping here every once-in-a-while to take a break, chum some water, and have a coffee…it’s all for fun. btw, I’m enjoying a couple of our new interlocutors!Report

            • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

              RC, it just gives the other fellows the “everybody’s doing it” excuse. And you know where that leads, brother. It’s nauseating enough @ norm without any further encouragement or perceived license.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      … I’d like you to talk with Markos about the left not being willing to join the military. Hell, I’ve worked for the military, for goodness sakes! (and did more for the military working in a college than I would on the front lines, where I’m not allowed to go, anyhow.)Report

      • Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

        Where’s Blaise P. when you need him? These young whippersnappers!Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        “I’ve worked for the military, for goodness sakes! ”

        And I’ll bet that some of your best friends are black.Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          … we showed Muppets videos to College students (among other things — that in particular was a memory experiment). Jesus, it’s published research, you can look it up. The military, for its part, probably saw the creation of robotic soldiers as the endgoal. You Know DARPA, always gotta give them the big picture…

          …best friends? Dear, that implies that I have friends. You don’t qualify.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck says:

            So you’re saying you don’t have friends?

            I don’t think you thought your clever plan all the way through, there.Report

            • Avatar Kim says:

              Coyote laughs at himself, as much as others.
              There is a certain subset of conservatives who do not understand humor as I (or most comedians) do. Instead, they consider “jokes” to be herding devices, used to constrain behavior — the archetypical example is “can’t you take a joke?” [said after the herding behavior, of course].
              … and this is why conservative comedians aren’t funny.Report

  12. Avatar Kim says:

    At times like this, I like to look at what the free market has to say! Like, say, Wall Street. Which is buying a suspicious amount of property in Cleveland, of all places… You’d think they were expecting New York to be submerged or something…

    Or, look at Insurance Companies, who are no longer insuring against hurricanes in large portions of the gulf coast.

    If it was economically viable, they’d still be insuring…Report

  13. Avatar Kim says:

    The test of whether DensityDuck has his head firmly wedged up his ass or not, is whether he will actually acknowledge that Cap and Trade worked for HW Bush.
    It’s fine to make arguments that “This is Not That Situation”, but to deny facts on the ground? That’s turning trollward.Report

    • Avatar Scott says:


      Cap and trade may have worked for Bush but that doesn’t mean it would work for carbon, unless you are naive enough to believe that other countries wouldn’t cheat.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Incentives distort, as a famous science fiction writer once said. If we rig incentives, we can create a regulatory climate where cheating is non-optimal. And if there’s something that corporations are good at, it’s optimizing profit.
        As to other countries cheating? The ones with the most incentive to “cheat” are the developing/dying Southern nations — which are the ones with the least amount of strictures being put on them.
        I believe that grabbing Europe/US/Japan is about half of the total emissions profile. If we halve that emissions, we done did some good, at least!
        And, I believe, with a bit more angel-investing out of the gov’t, we can create fusion reactors, and other green energy that will reduce the world’s dependence on dirty energy. When it becomes cheaper (seen as costing less in terms of lives, as well as power-cost directly), the South will switch over to green energy.

        But, that implies that we get green energy working at all. I see no reason that we shouldn’t restrict dirty energy consumption in precisely the places that have the easiest time designing/building green energy solutions (most machinery works best in England/NE US.)Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck says:

          “I believe, with a bit more angel-investing out of the gov’t, we can create fusion reactors…”

          Because, as we all know, fusion power is only about twenty years away (and has been for the last fifty years.)Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            we have the specs, you can thank the navy for that. Do you sincerely think it takes 20 years to build a prototype? Hell it didn’t take that long to get fission running, once we dumped a shit-ton of money towards it.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck says:

              We’ve got fusion reactors running. They don’t generate more power than it takes to run them, and nobody’s really sure how to change that. People have ideas for things that might work, the same way that people have ideas for a flying car that might work and a heavy-lift rocket that might work and various cures for cancer that might work.

              We were right on the brink of practical fusion power in the seventies. And in the eighties, and the nineties, and the early 2000s.Report

        • Avatar Scott says:


          “I believe that grabbing Europe/US/Japan is about half of the total emissions profile. If we halve that emissions, we done did some good, at least!”

          Clearly you aren’t aware that China overtook the US in being the largest emitter of CO2 in 06/07 but still they get off without being asked to do anything to fix the problem.Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

            Warning : Bad Analogy Time.

            If I have fifty pounds overweight and lose half, that’s still a good thing, even if my neighbor is gaining weight.Report

            • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

              er, “If I’m fifty”Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Sure. But if Hitler said “I will come in here and kill everyone on the block if the combined weight of everyone is X pounds”, you’d best start telling your neighbor to get all South Beachy… if you care about your children.Report

            • Avatar Scott says:


              Call me when you can get the majority of Americans to sacrifice their standard of living while not asking the biggest emitter to do anyhting.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Yo. You’re already seeing Americans sacrificing their standard of living. Look at Wallmart’s prospectus if you don’t believe me. They’re losing money at the ends of months because people are running out of money and can’t afford Wallmart anymore.

                They ain’t sacrificing gas or cars YET, but that’s because they’re sticky. Da smart ones don’t buy cars, ya dig?Report

  14. Avatar Kim says:

    Climate observations and predictions:

    In rough numbers, I’d consider the global warming hypothesis falsified if the American Southwest and much of the Middle East had record rainfall and bumper crops for the next ten years, alongside cooling in the Arctic and in the oceans in general.
    If you talked to any AGW-proponent in the sciences, I’d figure they would say the same — and most of them would get rather sparkly eyed with “here’s what I’d change about my model — this parameter would need tweaking, etc.”Report

  15. Avatar Kim says:

    Pity the republicans.They can’t listen to the free market. They can’t listen to the military (the biggest issue for national security this century will be Global Warming — and that’s not just Clarke, the military has a whole agency for looking at weather-related security issues, and they’re about as worried as the secret service folks are about Obama).Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      I think the military is probably more worried about those maneuverable terminally-guided reentry vehicles the Chinese are working on.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        … wars are fought fundamentally for economic reasons (because nothing else justifies the ridiculous expense and loss of lives). Global Warming, with the attendant devastation that comes along for the ride, will cause mass emigration. That may not be something that the country accepting immigrants is happy with.

        Seriously. If the sealevel rises 50 feet, we lose florida. And Billions of homes, and places where people live.Report

  16. Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

    The academy has so politicized AGW, to the point of attacking its enemies and cheating the data, that it’s difficult if not impossible to sort out the question.

    I’m not biting on the whitewash of the Warmist crimes against science and dissident scientists. No, I’m not going to ignore all that and look behind door #2 instead. As of yet. Penn State and East Anglia and Al Gore must first pay for their crimes against truth.

    And I’m not qualified to evaluate the remaining evidence, I’m a civilian. Any “civilian” who’s thoroughly convinced either way is doing so on faith and ideology. And that’s the fact, Jack. I’ve seen how the dissidents are attacked and delegitimized.

    I certainly oppose ruining an already wrecked economy with fixes that are speculative at best. There are a few things like the

    that weren’t economy-wrecking, and although the CFC/ozone layer link wasn’t absolute, doing something was well worth a try. I’m not an absolutist on these things, but to use an elephant gun on what may be a mosquito is something I’m not ready for at this economic moment. Caring for the environment is something we do when we have some spare cash. Even China, now that they’re off the economic mat, is getting greener.

    Neither do I—nor any libertarian worth his salt—support creating an artificial economy of trading theoretical green credits, nor distorting the market to make renewables cost-effective by jacking up the price of other energy sources and subsidizing the inefficient ones. We could invest trillions in renewables technology infrastructure [and have invested billions] that may be a joke in 5-10-20 years, along the lines of outfitting the nation with Commodore 64s in 1982.

    [And this isn’t even getting into the “green jobs” debacle that even the NYT admits.]

    The problem, as are most of our political problems, one of epistemology. Until the Warmers play it straight [and I don’t deny they may be right], they have only themselves to blame for skepticism for their claims and alarms. And especially their prescriptions.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      The academy has so politicized AGW, to the point of attacking its enemies and cheating the data, that it’s difficult if not impossible to sort out the question.

      Can you point to the examples of politicization by the academy and cheating the data? Attacking the enemies I’d like to see also, assuming you don’t mean on blogs.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

        No thx, Chris. I had my say and it’s quite clear. The Warmists have themselves to blame for not convincing people of their case with their cheating and attacking. The political problem is epistemological; I personally have expressed only an agnosticism on the science, and prudential arguments against pissing away trillions and creating an artificial “cap” economy at this point.Report

        • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

          I have a hard time believing that “the Warmists have themselves to blame for not convincing people.” Particularly when they’ve convinced virtually everyone except for Republican politicians and party loyalists.

          Look at libertarians, just for example. Ron Bailey? Pat Michaels? Bjorn Lomborg? All have been convinced, if not of the political solutions on offer, then at least of the scientific reality of AGW.

          To say that AGW proponents have more work to do raises an important question: Is it even conceivable that the work could be done? I sort of doubt it. Republican politicians and party loyalists are the very same people still pushing creationism, too.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            Bjorn Lomborg is fine for the purposes of my comment, Jason. As for creationism and the rest, it’s a bit more complicated.

            And yes, the Warmists have cheated the argument numerous times. Perhaps they didn’t need to cheat or be so bloodthirsty toward their skeptics, but there you have it. I’m speaking of the epistemological problem, and as they have the burden of proof, they undermined their own cause.Report

            • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

              The epistemological problem has been solved, even for the vast majority of skeptics who did not also happen to be Republican politicians or their partisans in the United States.

              I can’t logically rule out that the Republicans know something the climate scientists have missed, but if so, they are the ones with a problem convincing people. As in, anyone else at all.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Acknowledged infra, Jason: mosquito/elephant gun is the core question. I’m not fronting. Neither am I interested in defending any absolute POV.

                But a mere one degree C is closer to “no global warming” than the fifty-foot rise in sea level that one leftish commenter asserted here today. People are silly all the way ’round.

                And the Warmists did cheat, and do bear the burden of proof, esp after the “global cooling” riff last century. They have much to make up for in the eyes of a rightfully skeptical public.

                For me, they’re going to have to do a lot better before I’m in favor of wrecking the economy even more. And creating an artificial market—an artificial economy—for green credits seems unsound to me.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                > And the Warmists did cheat, and
                > do bear the burden of proof, esp
                > after the “global cooling” riff
                > last century.

                Tom, global cooling was not a dominant scientific theory. There were a couple of papers that got print that never drew any further support, because no other new studies had supporting conclusions.

                The fact that the media went crazy about a couple of papers says more about scientific publications in the context of the media than anything else.

                There simply was no common support for a “global cooling” theory.

                This is something you can verify for yourself with about 20 minutes and a web browser, if you accept science blogging as authoritative source. If you don’t, you can verify it yourself again by logging into a good research library and searching for papers that mention “global cooling”.

                If you can’t or won’t do either of those two things, you’ll have to explain to me what it is you’ll accept as evidence rebutting this idea that there ever *was* a commonly accepted global cooling theory.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Sounds kosher to me, Pat. I’m speaking only of public perceptions and skepticism of Chicken Littles.

                If you want to vouch for Al Gore’s movie, go ahead.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                Define “vouch” for Al Gore’s movie.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Patrick, in this case, by “vouch for Al Gore’s movie,” Tom means, “I, Tom, have nothing else to stand on, so I’m going to start lobbing political grenades.”Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                may I? yes, I know someone who regularly works for republicans doing political research. He submitted work to Al Gore’s “movie.” He’s a reliable modeler, who among other things has modeled the effects of three moons on tidal response — he’s also done a lot of pathfinding, and has worked for Wall Street, in designing models that squeeze more money out of the stock market.

                Al Gore didn’t write the whole damn thing himself. He asked reputable people to contribute.Report

            • Avatar Chris says:

              Even a link or two would suffice, by the way. I already know that the links are going to be to right wing sites, because when you get mired in these discussions, that’s where you look, but I’ll take anything: show me evidence of cheating. I’d be particularly impressed by evidence that the scientists are the ones doing the cheating.Report

        • Avatar Chris says:

          Tom, if you’re going to accuse someone or some group of cheating, you should probably be ready to back it up with facts.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            Chris, if you’re unaware of what I’m referring to, you further my point about faith and ideology. If you’re feigning ignorance, well, either way, good day, sir.Report

            • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

              I think he was asking in good faith.

              If you don’t agree, then I hope you will consider this a good-faith request, from me. Please show your sources, Tom. I’d like to see them. Very much.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Jason, are you really telling me you’re unaware of all this stuff done to death in countless other fora? Are you saying you give Penn State, East Anglia and Al Gore a clean bill of health?

                Let’s start there before I play fly to the spider, OK? Good faith and all that.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

                I am saying I would like you to explain to me what you found convincing. I know that a wide variety of different charges have been made against climate scientists. Much of this strikes me as throwing spaghetti on the wall and seeing what sticks. I’d like to know what you think actually stuck, and we can go from there.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Mexican standoff then. You commit first, Jason, good faith and all that. I’ve seen this done to death all over the internet and recreating it here serves no purpose.

                The thrust of my post isn’t about that anyway. You and Chris can play with each other. Should either of you address the actual thrust of my comment, I’ll be happy to engage.

                [And after my history with each of you, where I have not returned fire when fired upon, playing the “good faith” card here isn’t really warranted, gentlemen. I’m not in the mood to play Charlie Brown and the football again; my good faith has not been requited. I hope you understand.]Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Well Tom, I see you’re not going to give me even one example. I’ll be charitable and assume that this really is because you’re in a huff about our intellectual dishonesty or complete partisan blindness (strange, since Jason is a libertarian and I’m, well, something different entirely), and not because you don’t have any examples to give.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

                I don’t understand why you are being coy here. If you are convinced of something, you should be happy to share it. The attitude you display here is not one I associate with firm conviction.

                If you are making an allegation, then the burden of proof falls with you. Please tell me what you find convincing, because I am uncertain of it. The worst you can do is leave me unconvinced, which I am right now. And your coyness only makes you look ridiculous to any fence-sitters out there.

                What is it that convinces you that the world’s climate scientists are overwhelmingly dishonest? I’m sure the fence-sitters at least would like to know. Even if you have given up all hope of convincing me, or Chris.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Well, Chris, if neither you nor Jason will vouch for Al Gore’s movie, you’ve allowed my point.

                As for the rest of my content, there’s plenty there to discuss, Commodore 64, the green jobs debacle, an artificial market for theoretical credits, whathaveyou, that’s a lot more relevant than rehearsing this well-worn internet script.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Tom, your reply to my asking you whether you can provide examples of cheating is, “Can you account for Al Gore?” Seriously? I thought you had at least some self-respect.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                You ended up playing dirty as usual, Chris. This time I skipped the part where I waste my time and good faith on you. Well done, you never fail to disappoint.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Tom, I was responding in kind. By the way, did you see the news about the Penn State case today? I think you may have missed the results of inquiries into the East Anglia cases as well.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                Jeeze, I’ll bite.
                How’s this?

                Of course Patrick has all the respect in the world for those pillars of society, no not lawyers but Scientists!. Too bad they’re less honest than… LAWYERS!! Journalists didn’t do so well in the same study, sorry EC

                I’d do another couple of dozen links but don’t want to end up in moderator purgatory again.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                > How’s this?

                Well, according to this, this is a case of a news institution re-reporting an unsubstantiated blog report instead of actually interviewing the source in question, who apparently disagrees that he ever said any such thing.

                Certainly, the glacier bit should not have been in there. I’ve read consolidated financial statements that include things that shouldn’t be in there, that doesn’t mean the company didn’t make any money.

                The IPCC standards for including science in the report are at that link. We can argue about those if you like.

                Regarding the tax thing, I imagine there’s a major correlation between “I didn’t (honestly) know that this was considered taxable income” and some percentage of that tax under-reporting. Jeeze, dude, have you ever met these guys? Some of them literally can’t remember what they had for breakfast.

                This doesn’t excuse mis-reporting their income, but it says very little about their underlying honesty as a whole, less about their underlying honesty as people in general, and nothing whatsoever about their integrity in their field.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                I’ll note that the next category of tax “cheats” in line includes cops and firemen. Indeed, the top ten includes… ah… most jobs that aren’t lawyers, accountants, or CEOs.

                I’d kind of expect those three brackets to have better tax reporting. It’s kinda a integral part of their job.Report

            • Avatar Chris says:

              Tom, my first thought was that you were referring to the leaked emails, but I don’t recall any actual evidence of cheating there. I recall some denialists screaming that “hiding the decline” meant cheating, but it didn’t. So, as Jason says, I am asking in good faith.Report

      • Avatar Scott says:


        Do you really live with your head in the sand or are you purposely oblivious to the lies, falsehoods and academic thuggery done in the name of AGW?Report

        • Avatar Chris says:

          Scott, I asked Tom, so I’ll ask you too: what are some examples of lies, falsehoods, and academic thuggery? Those are pretty harsh accusations, so I will assume you can back them up with examples.Report

          • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

            “The examples are out there (points at the horizon).

            Along with the truth. The Truth Is Out There. Go walkabout and you’ll find it, like I did. It’s not about the sights and the smells and what you see, it’s about the journey.”Report

          • Avatar Scott says:


            Here are two examples for you and Jason. I’m sure you will both find some way or reason to claim this isn’t valid but I’ll post it anyway.



            • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

              The PatC-Scott epistemological war illustrates why I declined one with JasonK and Chris. It’s a waste of fishing time.

              My point was simply that the Warmists have blown their chance with the public with their conduct, demeanor, and tactics—and Al Gore’s gross exaggerations didn’t help matters. Skeptic Pat Michaels of Cato:


              Scientific American has run a poll of its readers on climate change. Remember that SciAm has been shilling for the climate apocalypse for years, publishing a particularly vicious series of attacks on Denmark’s Bjorn Lomborg’s Skeptical Environmentalist. The magazine also featured NASA’s James Hansen and his outlandish claims on sea-level rise. Hansen has stated, under oath in a deposition, that a twenty foot rise is quite possible within the next 89 years; oddly, he has failed to note that in 1988 he predicted that the West Side Highway in Manhattan would go permanently under water in twenty years.

              SciAm probably expected a lot of people would agree with the key statement in their poll that the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is “an effective group of government representatives and other experts.”

              Hardly. As of this morning, only 16% of the 6655 respondents agreed. 84%—that is not a typo—described the IPCC as “a corrupt organization, prone to groupthink, with a political agenda.”

              The poll also asks “What should we do about climate change?” 69% say “nothing, we are powerless to stop it.” When asked about policy options, an astonishingly low 7% support cap-and-trade, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in June, 2009, and cost approximately two dozen congressmen their seats.

              The real killer is question “What is causing climate change?” For this one, multiple answers are allowed. 26% said greenhouse gases from human activity, 32% solar variation, and 78% “natural processes.” (In reality all three are causes of climate change.)

              And finally, “How much would you be willing to pay to forestall the risk of catastrophic climate change?” 80% of the respondents said “nothing.”

              Remember that this comes from what is hardly a random sample. Scientific American is a reliably statist publication and therefore appeals to a readership that is skewed to the left of the political center. This poll demonstrates that virtually everyone now acknowledges that the UN has corrupted climate science, that climate change is impossible to stop, and that futile attempts like cap-and-trade do nothing but waste money and burn political capital, things that Cato’s scholars have been saying for years.

              [Bold face mine. If you’ve lost SciAm readers, you’ve lost. And yes, the poll is self-selecting. More epistemology war. So it goes.]Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                Thank you for an actual link, T-bone.

                I’ll go look.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                Scientific American has some issues with that piece.

                From the editor’s blog, presumably from someone with access to the site’s back end:

                For that 80 percent figure, I’m guessing Gilder relied on a poll that we created for an October 2010 article on Judith Curry. Question number 3 in particular asked visitors, “What is causing climate change?” The poll results show that 77.8 percent responded “natural processes”; only 26.4 percent picked “greenhouse gases from human activity.”

                Ignore for the moment that this poll was not scientific (nor was it meant to be) and that it was open to all who have access to the Internet, not just to our subscribers, as Gilder implied. (emphasis Pat’s)

                Rather, the big problem was that the poll was skewed by visitors who clicked over from the well-known climate denier site, Watts Up With That? Run by Anthony Watts, the site created a web page urging users to take the poll.

                It sure worked. Our traffic statistics from October 25, when the poll went live, to November 1 (the latest for which we have data on referrals) indicate that 30.5 percent of page views (about 4,000) of the poll came from Watts Up. The next highest referrer at 16 percent was a Canadian blog site; it consists of an eclectic mix of posts and comments, and if I had to guess, I would say its users leaned toward the climate denier side based on a few comments I saw. Meanwhile, on the other side of the climate debate, Joe Romm?’s Climate Progress drove just 2.9 percent and was the third highest referrer.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

                Yes, it is self-selecting. If you think climate change is a massive conspiracy of scientists, Al Gore, and Goldman Sachs to steal money, then of course you’re going to reply to a mail-in survey. On the other hand, people who shrug and go, “yeah, it’s happening” and then move on with their life? They might send in the survey when they get the time.

                It’s as much a scientific poll as those pop-ups telling me I might win a 500 dollar gift card if I give my opinion of Sarah Palin.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                So, the poll wasn’t (surprise!) self-selecting, it wasn’t scientific, and it didn’t had very little to do with the actual SciAm readership, since it was online.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                So it goes, Pat. Mr. Kuznicki can take it up with Pat Michaels over at Cato. I’ve read so many of these battles on the internet that it’s an epistemological black hole. Pass.

                Show me something reasonable like the


                and I’m cool. Otherwise, the issue as framed here is more culture war than anything, and there are better hills to die on.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                That I’ll grant you, Tom.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

                You realize that Pat Michaels isn’t a “skeptic” about AGW, right? He believes it’s happening, just not to the degree that Al Gore does, and not to the degree that would warrant most of the policy initiatives offered to counter it.

                But I guess I’m not worthy to discuss with you, because I dared to ask you for sources. (Seriously who argues this way? “Show me a source, please, I’d like to review it.” “No, you’re too mean, and you hurt my feelings!”)

                You argue like a girl, Tom. And I’m well aware, alas, that I’m insulting girls when I say that.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

                Oh Jebus, I thought it was least a survey of actual subscribers. An Internet poll? Just making up numbers in more scientific than that.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                To be fair to Tom, he’s linking to what ought to be a somewhat reputable source. His source is using bad (very, very bad) methodology, and misrepresenting it using shorthand to make it seem like it is a normal study.

                This is overwhelmingly what I find when I follow the anti-AGW links down the rabbit hole.

                That’s why I ask for links.Report

            • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

              Re: the first point.

              As I pointed out up at #293, the IPCC standards for including stuff in their report are here. If you don’t think those standards are reasonable, then take issue with the standards.

              From your first link: The IPCC report states that “up to 40 percent of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation”

              But it has now been revealed that the claim was based on a WWF study…

              I’m not certain what’s wrong with the WWF study. The Fox news report mentions “up to 40 percent of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation” as a problematic statement.

              Why is it problematic? If the WWF study does indeed talk about precipitation levels and deforestation, the fact that it also talks about fires (or even that it was written primarily about fires) isn’t exactly a problem, is it?

              Or is it? Why? You’ll forgive me, it’s 60+ pages and I’m not going to read the whole thing and try to figure out why it may be considered a bad reference. Maybe it is, but it should be spelled out why.

              On the second, I’m not sure that putting a single bad reference (intentionally or no) in a grant application is quite the smoking gun you might think it is. It’s a grant application – note, they don’t talk about the entire application here, but one line in an abstract. It’s not an actual study. Most people are far more sloppy about their grant applications than they are about their research. Without seeing the entire grant application, and what was said in the whole thing, we don’t even know how much of this claim is relevant to the actual application.

              Grant abstracts are like resumes. They get you past HR and possibly to an interview. People put lots of stuff in their resume to get past HR that they downplay in the interview.

              Now, again, you can argue that this ought to be changed for all sorts of reasons, but this is only very tangentially related to the topic at hand.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                I’m not certain what’s wrong with the WWF study.

                Do you really think Hulk Hogan is an expert on climate science?Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                He certainly knows something about hot air… (rimshot)Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                @Pat, you don’t need to read 60 pages, someone has already put together all the references here

                Now we all know the WWF is real (wrestling I mean) and this other WWF has no intention to make money off of this. Pat McMahon is anxiously looking over his shoulder at the behemoth doing the gravy train mumbo jumbo with the IPCC and wondering how a semi-honest guy could possibly keep up.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:


                Please clarify this standard, Ward. Who is a disinterested party?

                (You still haven’t explained why these people would gin up fake science to support their gravy train when there are dozens of other bigger gravy trains around. But I digress).

                By this standard, would we indeed discard anything the WWF has to say as possibly tainted?

                Also… hm. Well, everybody other than… who, Ward?

                Who funds Who pays for Pielke’s site?

                If non-scientific institutions have no place in contributing to the discussion, then we’re back to journal literature?

                If not, where?

                Who are your experts, Ward? What is your criteria?Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                “Please clarify this standard, Ward. Who is a disinterested party?”

                Why should it be our side that defines “disinterested party” when it’s your side that went there in the first place?Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                I have now lost all my mind. The thread has succeeded in defeating me.

                Dude, if we cannot agree on a standard of evidence, we’re done here.

                If we cannot agree on a standard of evaluating expert testimony, we’re done here.

                If we cannot agree on a standard of evaluating bias, we’re done here.

                You realize that I’ve already linked twice to the IPCC published standard for including information in their report, and solicited feedback on that standard, as to whether or not it is to be considered appropriate or not?

                That’s what *their* standard was.

                I don’t *fucking know* what your standard is. You’re trying to compete in an argument without following the rules or even proposing your own. Cut it out.

                I’m now (415 comments into this thread) tired of asking. I don’t know what your complaint is, regarding this particular bit of data, except, “these people might be biased”.

                Well, sure. I readily admit anybody might be fucking biased on any topic. Duh. Without some sort of standard, this reductos down to the toilet. We might as well start arguing about whether or not induction is a valid method of inquiry.

                Without you proposing how we judge bias, I have no idea how to apply “these people might be biased” to any. Single. Piece. Of evidence. On. Either. Side.

                Which leaves anyone on either side of the argument to willy-nilly discard any bit of evidence, for either side, just because we haven’t agreed on a standard. My evidence counts. Yours doesn’t. Because of fluffy shit I’m pulling out of my ass at random… which in my experience of dealing with this particular issue highly correlates to “This guy agrees with me, so he’s okay. That ones don’t, so they’re biased!”

                This is a very tired game. If you disagree with the IPCC standard, tell me what is fucking wrong with it. I might even agree.


                If you actually stake out a goddamn position on bias, I expect you to stand and die on it. That means if you’re going to pull this card, I get to pull it too. And I submit, to the general public, that your entire basis for rejection of AGW comes down to testimony or evidence that you believe is credible, but that cannot stand up to any actual quantification of your own standard of bias or expertise.

                In other words, I’m pretty sure you can’t throw out any credible basis for measuring expertise or evidence that is going to exclude the arguments for AGW and include the people that Ward keeps linking to in support of anti-AGW.

                Whereas there already are existing, commonly held standards for evaluating expertise and evidence that *include* the arguments for AGW and *exclude* the arguments against.

                Hell, maybe they’re wrong. But that’s what we’ve been using for a while now to measure expertise and evidence in science. If you’ve got something better, put it on the table.

                If this is not where you want to go, fine. Now we’re not in science land. We’re in faith territory. You can believe it on faith, you’re entitled.

                I’m not interested in going there. Take it up with somebody else.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                The pro-AGW side claims that bias and funding source doesn’t matter? That’s a first.

                “Which leaves anyone on either side of the argument to willy-nilly discard any bit of evidence, for either side, just because we haven’t agreed on a standard. ”

                No it doesn’t. What it means is that we have to consider the evidence and the methods on their own merits, rather than just saying “you should listen to him, he’s a scientist!”

                But if you honestly consider Argument From Authority persuasive and valid, then I guess there’s not much more I can say.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                Let me mention this last. Then I’m even done trying to get the last word in edgewise. You can go on with your bad self and call yourself the winner.

                An “Argument from Authority” is a fallacy when the Authority is in fact not an Authority.

                Otherwise, it’s not a fishing fallacy, aiight?

                I swear. Don’t trust me and my knowledge of logic. Look it up.

                > What it means is that we
                > have to consider the evidence
                > and the methods on their
                > own merits, rather than
                > just saying “you should listen
                > to him, he’s a scientist!”

                Another false dichotomy. You’re getting better at these around this week. The situation simply does not reduce to those two options, DD.

                It’s not about blind trust, and it’s not about everybody being an expert. The first is stupid, and the second is hilariously naive.

                There is an audit process, in place, to validate science. It has flaws. It still works pretty well, despite the flaws. Kinda like democracy: it’s ain’t perfect, but nobody has come up with a better model yet.

                I submit that it is very unlikely that you are capable of evaluating the evidence and methods in a field like climatology. I’m marginally capable of looking at the math. Not much else, myself.

                Hell, maybe you are. Point me at something that shows that you are a credible expert. Point me at something that *you wrote* that shows you understand this topic better than I do. If I can’t grok it, I can punt it to someone who can.

                Without it, I reject your claim that you have any grounds whatsoever to evaluate this evidence on your own.

                Put John Preskill and Steven Hawking in a room and let them duke it out. 99.999%+ of the other people on the planet will have no idea what the two guys are talking about.


                Most people in today’s science sphere are simply not competent to judge what methods of investigation are appropriate in other fields. You know why? Because they’re not in the field.

                There is a reason you need years of additional education and research training to get a Ph.D. If you don’t understand the instrumentation, and the methodology, and the existing frameworks in the field, you are very likely unable to meaningfully contribute to the field.

                There are exceptions to this rule. There are exceptions to peer-review. There are problems with peer-review.

                All granted.

                Nothing that the anti-AGW crowd has said leads me to believe that they are any part of these exceptions. They make arguments. Their arguments are show to be limited. They don’t ever come back and say, “Hm, you’re right, that’s a hole in my methodology”. They don’t offer refined models of their own.

                People who support anti-AGW complain about bias. And then they point me at someone who has characteristics that correlate more highly with bias than the original thing they’re complaining about.

                This makes no sense.

                I’m a good enough practitioner of security and audit to pick that out, at least.

                People who support anti-AGW point me at things that are supposed to be the killer thing that refutes the whole discipline of climate science. Look at this, it shows how effed up and wrong they are! And then I go out and find, reasonably quickly, yet another case of a scientist explaining, patiently, why this bit of anti-AGW lore is just flat wrong.

                And when I come back, nobody says, “Hm, my experts are wrong.” Nobody says, “Hm, I guess I’m not qualified to evaluate this, after all”.

                Instead, they start screaming about a global conspiracy and how I’m just an idiot.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      I can’t speak for anyone else who believes the science of AGW, but for myself I can say honestly that it turns out that the planet is not warming, that the warming is not do to anthropogenic causes, that the trend will not continue (or even reverse), or any other empirical reality that contradicts my current beliefs on the subject, I will be perfectly willing to accept them. In fact, if it turns out that the planet is not warming, I’ll be quite happy. I think American conservatives have, by and large, shown quite clearly that no amount of data is going to sway them. I wonder who, then, has politicized the issue.Report

  17. Avatar Jaybird says:

    What’s “Mexican” in Yiddish?

    Anyway, I’m narcissistic enough to throw my take on the whole AGW thing out there.

    There is a scientific consensus on AGW.
    This scientific consensus has been internalized by a large segment of the population to a degree that other scientific consensuses have not been internalized (see, for example, genetically modified foods or pebble bed reactors).
    AGW has, so far, resulted in a handful of good things and a handful of bad things. Longer growing seasons, for example. (Nothing the planet hasn’t seen before.)
    If AGW continues at the rate it has been growing in the last, oh, 40 years, we’re going to move from “mixed bag territory” into “pretty much only bad” territory.
    There are a number of lifestyle changes associated with reversing AGW. Some of them are easy to do. Some of them are difficult.

    Now, I don’t know that AGW will continue at the rate it has been growing for the last 40 years. I’ve heard arguments for why it will and arguments for why it won’t. I’ve heard arguments for how we’re at the tail end of a warm period in between Ice Ages (and, indeed, was raised to believe that Global Cooling was what I had to look forward to as an adult). Folks seemed just as certain about the future back then.

    I wonder about stuff… not limited to the following list but it covers the big ones:
    I wonder at the extent that the scientific consensus has been internalized by the left on this topic. There’s room for principled disagreement on other stuff where there is consensus… why not on this?
    Many of the folks who argue loudest on behalf of doing something about AGW have not personally adopted some of the lifestyle changes associated with reversing AGW. This seems to be irrelevant to many of the folks who have internalized the scientific consensus.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      What sends me up the wall is that the things we’re supposed to do to stop Global Climate Change are the same things we were supposed to do to stop Global Warming, which were the same things we were supposed to do to stop Global Cooling. And somehow it’s only America and Western Europe that have to do these things, never anywhere else. China is already producing more carbon emissions than anywhere else on the planet, and they’ve got nowhere to go but up, and yet somehow it’s America’s responsibility to tax the shit out of everything. The 21st-century White Man’s Burden.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        The new definition of leadership : “We’ll do the right thing as soon as every other country does!”

        Because guess what, even if global climate change is a conspiracy cooked up by scientists, Al Gore, and George Soros, it’s still a good thing in the long-term to stop using so much carbon and use more renewable.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          I have noticed a weird dynamic with this, though.

          I have a litany of things that my wife and I do to be Green. I explain that it seems odd that (person) or (other person) has not similarly simplified. I get accused of the “Al Gore Is Fat” argument and it’s pointed out how the Earth is Important and how this is bigger than the little things that hipsters do to recycle Mexican Coke bottles or whatever.

          Which is fair enough.

          On a worldwide level, we start talking about developing countries and China’s emissions or India’s or Russia’s pollution issues, whatever. It gets pointed out to me that it’s important that we do what we can do and we don’t have the right to impose on others (but we should do everything we can to inspire China/India/Etc).

          This seems odd to me.

          Like it’s not about what the conversation purports to be about.Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

            Because we can’t control China’s or India’s domestic policy when it comes to pollution control. We can control ours as a nation. It’s the same reason why say, a conservative can ask for the US to drop it’s tax levels without waiting for Sweden to drop theirs first. 🙂

            Yes, it is a global problem, but until there’s one-world government or there is a worldwide treaty on climate change, each nation will have to control climate change in it’s own way.

            I don’t think that’s too complicated of an idea.Report

            • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

              > Yes, it is a global problem, but until there’s
              > one-world government or there is a
              > worldwide treaty on climate change, each
              > nation will have to control climate
              > change in it’s own way.

              This is why, barring a major technological revolution in power generation, nothing is going to get done on this score.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                we’re working on it! Give us some damn money to build that nuclear fusion reactor! The navy already did the specs, all we need is the blasted prototype! And we’re working on the batteries (thanks GM!).

                But all the science is bleeding out of America… because nobody wants to get shot in church.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                Are you honestly suggesting that religious fundamentalism is the reason that the unobtanium needed to build a practical fusion reactor doesn’t exist?Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                … no, I am suggesting that the reason that scientists are fleeing Tennessee, including Oak Ridge, is because of persecution by fundamentalists, up to and including violent massacres in churches.

                These are people I’m not likely to see again, so don’t let the door hit you on the way out.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                If they were fleeing we’d be able to find them.

                The scientists are being eaten.

                By Al Gore.

                This is why he is fat.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                … *headdesk* we can find them. In France, or New Zealand, or Australia, or Germany.
                Hells bells, did you think that they’d stop doing research?Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                Hm, maybe that’s why Al Gore invented the Internet. He knew that all the scientists would want to use it–and that’s how he tracks them down.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Which brings me back to my own litany of Green choices.

              I’ll give an example. I was arguing with someone about lifestyles and he was explaining to me that I was part of the problem because of my beliefs and I was telling him about the car situation at my house (good mileage, one car household, intend to drive the car into the ground) and I asked him about his situation.

              He explained to me that maybe his girlfriend did drive an SUV but given the winters in Michigan, he felt it pretty immoral on my part to question his girlfriend’s safety on the icy roads.

              This is something that seems to come up again and again. It’s not about what I do, but about what I believe. When it comes to others, it’s not about what they do, but what they believe. When it comes to Al Gore, it doesn’t matter what he does (he’s fat, after all) but how he’s pointing the rest of us in the right direction.

              And when it comes to China or India, we don’t have the right to tell them what to do.

              I’d wager it doesn’t matter what they would do… so long as they’d communicate belief.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

                Actually, belief is sort of important. If you life a “green” life, but then turn around and vote for people who will make it harder to enact climate change legislation, whether it be cap ‘n’ trade, a carbon tax, or whatever, then yes, your small change you make in your personal life is a grain of sand compared to the damage the people you’re voting into office can create.

                However, unless I’m confusing people on this site, you tend to vote for libertarians and other no-hopers, so you’re only on the hook as much as any non-voter. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                If belief does not result in action, it does create this weird tension, doesn’t it?

                The herculean efforts it takes to vote for people every two or four years does sort of dwarf the effectively “widow’s mites” of changing the way one lives but… hey.

                So long as the right beliefs are communicated, you’ll still maintain group membership… which, from here, seems to be the real point.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                psht. Smart people volunteer, and develop good business models. Giving back can mean earning money, if you’re smart about it. The guys who came up with Zipcar are helping the environment, even if they drive 2 SUVs themselves, by keeping cars off the road, and by incentivizing more fuel efficient cars on the road.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Don’t tell me! Tell them.

                We’re all in this together.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. says:

                “So long as the right beliefs are communicated, you’ll still maintain group membership… which, from here, seems to be the real point.”

                I get what you’re saying here, Jay. Really I do. But that’s still a pretty uncharitable reading. I suppose I’m in roughly the same situation of living very green but not being part of the environmentalist movement. (My wife’s a bit of a hippie, so who knows if she is- it’s probably why we light the house with candles and that stuff.)

                However, if I say Al Gore’s a fat hypocrite but the belief is the important thing, I’m sure as heck not saying it’s important to me that he has group membership or signals it, or anything like that. What I’m saying is basically, “screw Al Gore. I thought the question was whether Statement X is correct or not; not the personal virtues of whoever made the statement. So, please, can we answer that question first.”

                To give a different example, if I’m trying to figure out whether or not smoking is bad for my health since so many people claim it is, at some point, the fact that Hitler was anti-smoking (which he was) doesn’t help me to answer the question.

                Better yet, to go back to your example, I don’t think it’s a valid argument to say, “Well, people say that it’s a bad thing to cheat on your wife, but that can’t be true because Ted Haggard said that and he did cheat on his wife.” At any rate, I don’t think that’s a great way to answer the question. So, I guess, yes, I care about the belief and not the behavior of Ted Haggard, but it’s not because I care that Haggard has group membership.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Is the truth of the statement sufficient to get you to change your life?

                If it is insufficient, then I’d say that communication of the truth of the statement becomes the obvious point of public affirmation of the truth of the statement.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                what you have there is someone not literate enough to argue his choices, I’m thinking. Ask him if he eats meat every meal, and if he’d be willing to change that to help out the environment.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I imagine he’d take umbrage at the suggestion that he wasn’t particularly literate.

                I’d give 50/50 odds that he’d explain that he’s just one person and so his meat consumption doesn’t have an impact on the environment. (Were he here, I’d probably make fun of him by questioning the morality of anyone who wants to take food out of his mouth.)Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                meh. we can’t all be literate on everything. (well, except for Some People I know, who don’t have 40 hour work weeks).Report

          • Avatar trizzlor says:

            Jaybird: “Many of the folks who argue loudest on behalf of doing something about AGW have not personally adopted some of the lifestyle changes associated with reversing AGW.

            I think this line of thinking is very close to the argument that progressives who believe in higher marginal tax-rates should just send more money to the government. Making environmentally-friendly changes in your life is a good thing as far as it goes, anyone who tells you otherwise is just being an asshole. But the kind of changes that would actually have real effects on AGW would involve building nuclear power plants and re-thinking the way we use trucks to transport goods, stuff that just cannot be done on an individual level.

            I don’t see any contradiction in saying (number made up) my potential impact on AGW is (1e-20)%, the potential impact of the US is 2%, and the potential impact of the US and China is 6% and weighing those accordingly.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Sure, and married men who are secretly gay and who use gay prostitutes in their secret hidden lives can best give the most insightful sermons on the wickedness of homosexuality and how much it damages the fabric of society.

              Guess how much weight I give those particular sermons?Report

              • Avatar trizzlor says:

                Well that’s an interesting parallel. One is criticizing personal actions and then engaging in them; the other is criticizing state actions and engaging in a different class of personal behavior. What’s your point?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                How about pushing for the re-instatement of certain laws and for “Protecting Traditional Marriage” on a state level?

                How much of a carbon footprint am I supposed to ignore before I’m allowed to be bothered?Report

              • Avatar trizzlor says:

                If you actually want to turn this into a debate over weather a person who desires a specific policy is a hypocrite for not preemptively and individually following that policy we can do that.

                But an environmentalist who proposes building nuclear power plants even though they don’t recycle is not a hypocrite in the way a proponent of anti-sodomy laws who has a secret gay lover would be. When an aggregate of little green acts can stop global warming, then you’re allowed to be bothered about people not doing them and claiming to be concerned.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                It’s more that it seems to me that if it’s not important enough for them to change, what they are doing is not trying to get me to change but to get me to agree.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Ahh, so I was wrong upthread about what you were angling at.

                But look, I thought the criticism that people are justified in advocating policies only when they act consistently with that policy was settled long ago as specious.

                Eg., you might advocate for less regulatory capture, but are you doing about it? When we talk about it, are you merely trying to get me to agree?Report

              • Avatar trizzlor says:

                It’s more that it seems to me that if it’s not important enough for them to change, what they are doing is not trying to get me to change but to get me to agree.

                I think there’s an interesting thread here about personal responsibility that’s been coming up in a lot of seemingly disparate topics – private schools, progressive taxation, environmentalism – that I’d like to think out loud about, and I apologize in advance if I’m hijacking your argument to do so.

                In short, I think that lot of policy has a kind of thresholding effect, where the whole is more significant than the sum of its parts, and, in fact, implementing only some of the parts doesn’t make sense at all. As an extreme example, if I wanted to implement a county-wide recycling service, then putting all of my glass & plastic into a blue basket and bringing it out to the curb wouldn’t bring me closer to that goal; even though it is necessary at some stage. Likewise, when Warren Buffett says he wants progressive tax hikes, what he actually wants is a significant revenue increase to implement or pay off certain programs that he values. Since individually sending a check to the government wouldn’t achieve this, he’s not being a hypocrite by spending the money as he sees fit while continuing to call for the larger changes. Having the money for 10% of a literacy program is not 1/10th as good as having a literacy program, etc. The same can be said for your environmentalist friend: he believes that AGW will not be significantly stalled unless the entire US population switches over to better light-bulbs or composting, and he supports such an end goal in spirit or in vote; but since individually refitting/composting wouldn’t achieve it he’s free to decide how best to use his time or money for other means. With this kind of thresholded policy, it is not self-evident that personal responsibility and advocacy is the best way to achieve the desired end goal; and oftentimes it clearly is not. Obviously you’re free to argue that the policy is not thresholded and this is just a lazy way to excuse inaction, but that’s a finer point.

                In any case, my view – and that of some other environmentalists – is that no amount of composting and fancy light-bulbs is going to get us out of the AGW hole; and so passing on small-scale green changes is not at all at odds with supporting large-scale environmental policy.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:


                But understand how it looks like to me:

                I’m living in a one-car family that recycles, pays the extra $4/kWh for “clean energy” from the power station, keeps the house warm in the summer and cool in the winter… and environmentalists are living in households with a 1:1 car:person ratio, where they fly all the time, and where it doesn’t seem like they’re making a damn bit of effort to reduce their carbon footprint.

                I live in Colorado Springs, guys.

                You think I don’t recognize Focus on the Family when I see it?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                You think I don’t recognize Focus on the Family when I see it?

                You’re actually making the ‘lefty-ideology is just as faith based and irrational as Christian fundamentalism’ argument. That’s amusing.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I’m making the argument that it seems to be about communicating “faith” as requirement to group membership while “works” seems to be something that can be waved away from those who have communicated sufficient “faith”.

                I bought a house within walking distance of Maribou’s job so that we could live without a second car.

                I am part of the problem. Why? Not because of stuff that I do… not even because I am preaching *AGAINST* living Green.

                It’s because I have not engaged in the public pronouncements that would signal my group membership.

                I’m familiar with the “works” vs. “faith” argument. It’s wearying.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I am part of the problem. Why? Not because of stuff that I do… not even because I am preaching *AGAINST* living Green.

                It’s because I have not engaged in the public pronouncements that would signal my group membership.

                This comment is bereft of any content other than even tho I might hold views supporting policy X or Y, I will refrain from making those views public because I don’t want to be associated with any particular team.

                That’s one of the thinnest views of politics I’ve ever heard. Or ever heard an adult articulate.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Imagine how devestating that statement would be to people who see public declarations as the measure of people.

                Imagine how much it must look like communication to someone who sees such statements as public declarations of group membership.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                So, you admit the statement was accurate, then.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                That is, accurate but not devastating.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                The accuracy of the statement was not addressed. Indeed, it’s irrelevant.

                I was just asking you to imagine different takes on the argument coming from different positions… and why folks from this tradition see it as an indictment while folks from that one see it as an affirmation of the phenomenon being discussed.

                Pull back a step and look at it. Understand the other viewpoint.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                The accuracy of the statement was not addressed. Indeed, it’s irrelevant.

                But see, that confirms my point. For you the accuracy of the statement is irrelevant because you view these issues thru a meta-filter that renders accuracy irrelevant. Even, presumably, your meta-statement.

                For me the accuracy of the statements – about environmentalism generally, or your meta-statements about the role of group-affirmation – are all that really matters. Hence, while I’m arguing that your meta-description is incorrect, your response is to say that the accuracy of my description of your meta-statement is irrelevant

                That’s pure rhetoric. It’s pure bullshit.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                So if we agree that rhetoric is unimportant, we’re left with actions, then?


                I live in a green house where we keep the temperature temperate rather than ideal, we pay for green energy, we live with only one car, we recycle, we xeriscape, and use low-flow showerheads.

                What’s the problem again?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:


              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Rhetoric as in sophistry. Specious argumentation.

                Insofar as your saying that people make arguments to reaffirm group identity, you’ve admitted doing just that wrt promoting the views from ‘this tradition’.

                Insofar as you’re criticizing people for merely trying getting people to agree with them, you admitted doing just that when you said you want to get me to think about how ‘the other side’ views things.

                Haggard Lives!

                But my point goes a bit deeper. Is your claim that all political advocacy reduces to identity group affirmations descriptively accurate?

                To you that’s an irrelevant issue. And my criticism is that one can only hold this view for trivial ideological reasons and only at the expense of actual real evidence.

                People advocate for all sorts of things, and most of the time it isn’t to reaffirm group identity, and it isn’t to get the person their discussing things with to merely agree with them.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                “Is your claim that all political advocacy reduces to identity group affirmations descriptively accurate?”

                This is not my claim.

                My claim is that people who are engaging in political advocacy for a particular end without changing their lives appreciably in the vector that successful political advocacy would point them are engaging in identity group affirmation.

                The folks who have changed their lives may be doing the same… but their arguments have more weight behind them (I think you’d agree that they’d have more weight behind them).

                (There is also the dynamic that appears when you see that the argument that So-and-so’s excesses aren’t particularly relevant to the argument over a particular policy maps dangerously close to 1:1 to the arguments over faith vs. works in the religious community.)Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                My claim is that people who are engaging in political advocacy for a particular end without changing their lives appreciably in the vector that successful political advocacy would point them are engaging in identity group affirmation.

                And as I said upthread, this is a specious argument. Eg, you advocate for ending regulatory capture, but what are you doing about it? How have you changed your life to embrace those policies, beyond words and advocacy? You advocate gay marriage: what concrete actions have you taken consistent with that policy goal to further it, beyond words and advocacy?

                So your either engaging in specious argument here by tearing down a straw-man to make a rhetorical point that everyone concedes (because it’s obvious), or you’re being hypocritical by holding others to a different standard, one that cannot in principle be met.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Eg, you advocate for ending regulatory capture, but what are you doing about it? How have you changed your life to embrace those policies, beyond words and advocacy? You advocate gay marriage: what concrete actions have you taken consistent with that policy goal to further it, beyond words and advocacy?

                We’ve moved to a local Credit Union from a bank/institution that got a piece of the bailout.

                My support for gay marriage has little to do with “gay” but with “marriage” and my support for lifetime monogamous commitment. I do what I can to give my support for lifetime monogamous commitment by not dying yet, not fooling around, and sticking around. I think more people should. I give advice when asked.

                I also know that how you swing your fists is infinitely less my business than how I swing mine (assuming no noses are involved, of course) and, as such, my business is very much my business.

                When you claim that your business is my business, that’s when it becomes very interesting to me that you’re found in a motel room with a prostitute from whom you’ve purchased meth. (Not *YOU* you. Proverbial you.)Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            we should do small scale things to help. I invested in Zipcar, you can too! You can use your car to go grocery shopping once a month, as I do.

            Jaybird, the most compelling idea is that, if we give a big enough market to the green energy folks, that we will outcompete the dirty energy (if you add in all the costs of dirty energy, like dead people, loss of tourism, etc…). And once the green energy is cheaper, everyone will switch.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              I am doing my part.

              I am not pointing out that I don’t have to do my part because it’s so miniscule while feeling all warm about the vote I cast.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                I am hoping you are registered Republican, if you live in Colorado Springs! Please, just vote for someone Sane! (herein defined as someone who supports science).

                I will take a longer post about the valuation of individual versus collective effort down at teh bottom of the thread, as this one’s getting hairy.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Registered Democrat (an artifact from turning 18 that I have never seen the point of changing).

                I caucused for Gravel. That was fun.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                I’ll paraphrase Brin — the point is that most general elections are rigged. The real election happens in the primary. Ergo, you find the most competitive race, and switch parties to vote in its primary — and you vote against the person you would like to win the least.
                If I thought the Presidential would be competitive, I’d be switching to Republican right now.Report

        • Avatar Scott says:


          No there is a big difference in that with AGW the US is supposed to cut its own economic throat while developing countries get to do nothing and while demanding that the west shower them with money as they play the race/colonialism card.Report

          • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

            And this is another reason why probably nothing is going to get done until it’s too late.

            Well, unless some brilliant dude or hundred comes up with a technological solution to our power generation problems.Report

            • Avatar Murali says:

              No-one is going to want to come up with Green Tech unless we all walk the talk and like Jaybird, individually live green lives. Once, we do that, people will see that i profitable to make greener technology. Once the tech is available, it can spread to other poorer nations. We can save the Earth as long as we all do our part. Be the change you want to see.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                No, you don’t understand.

                This isn’t like buying free trade coffee to encourage free trade coffee producers over the alternative.

                You’re talking about a technology upon which almost every single thing depends. It’s the base technology. Without it, the entire house of cards comes tumbling down.

                My preference is of null value. Your preference is of null value. Campaigning for clean coal won’t do it. Buying *only* green energy won’t do it. Taking Jaybird one step farther and putting solar cells on my house and only using power that *I* generate won’t do it.

                That cannot scale to solve this problem.

                I cannot directly affect the power that goes into making inorganic fertilizer. I cannot directly affect the power that goes into shipping. I cannot directly affect the power that falls by the wayside from transmission loss. Well, unless I become a Luddite and an eco-terrorist. I’ll state with fair confidence that I’ll still make a statistical blip of a difference.

                In 2008, power consumption had increased to 18.6 TWh. And it’s growing, almost every year.

                Something on the order of 60-65% of that is generated by fossil fuels. And growing – more coal fired plants are coming online than anything else.

                A trillion of anything is unimaginably large. Twenty trillions of it is ever-so-much-moreso. And almost all of that isn’t in end-user consumption.

                Now remember all of the oil pumps, mines, pipelines, derricks, trucks, distribution plants, refining plants, processing plants, railways, primary power plants, waste product plants. How many hundreds of billions of dollars is that? BP oil has 160 billion dollars in fixed assets on their financial statement this year. Multiply that by every other oil company, go figure out how much it is for every power generation company.

                Keep in mind that all the distribution facilities, like your local gas station, would have to go.

                You’re talking about probably tens of trillions of dollars of investment – I’m just going to wave my hands at that one and leave it as an exercise for the reader if you want more accuracy.

                Almost all of that is sunk cost. Changing our power consumption, production, generation: you’re talking about blowing gobs and gobs and gobs of cash. It’ll make our current deficit look like chump change. It makes the U.S. involvement in WWII look like a small line item.

                In order for this to happen, someone has to invent a fucking world-changer power generation capability. A solar cell that is 90% efficient and a genetically engineered tree that can operate as a battery and grows at a rate of 2″ a year. Something that has a cost-to-benefit ratio that can make all of that tens of trillions of dollars actually look like it’s just burnt money.

                We’re technologicalizing our way out of this one, or we’re fucked. Not terminally. The U.S. is in a lot better shape than a bunch of other countries when it comes to conservative global warming projections.

                But a lot of people are going to die, everywhere.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Bill of Sale: One Submarine Engine
                Product Produced: Specs for a Nuclear Fusion Reactor.

                … now we just need the prototype.

                [and thanks for giving a great argument for 3-4), as I detailed below.]Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                I’m not sure I agree with the framing of the list down below.

                This isn’t like any other problem the human species has ever had to tackle. We’re talking about completely remaking the foundation upon which our civilization has been built since before the general introduction of the steam engine.

                Almost every other technology we’ve invented since then has depended either directly upon coal, oil, or gas… or it has a Kevin Bacon number of less than 3 to coal, oil, or gas.

                Just imagine what it would be like in the summer heat wave or the winter blizzard season if we cut our end-user power production in half. Imagine what it would do to our agricultural output if we stopped using inorganic fertilizer. Imagine what would happen if we incorporated a real carbon tax. International shipping would die. Other nations would claim we’re engaging in economic warfare.

                Seriously, wars have started over much smaller stuff than this.

                It’s not Small Changes, and it’s not Big Changes. It’s rebooting the entire basis for civilization. It’s a bigger change than anything, ever.

                I’m hugely unconvinced that you can make this happen without a technological advancement that looks like magic compared to what we have today. But hey, humans are freaking creative and smart. We might get there.

                It would make way more sense to dump three hundred billion dollars into science research than it would to try and cap carbon emissions.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                well, I’d certainly love that. And if the Republican Plan was that, I might even vote for them.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                If the GOP adopted that stance and said, “On principle, we think smarting our way out of this problem makes way more sense than blowing up our economy which won’t do anything to stop the problem since China and India aren’t going to stop”… hey, I’d vote for them, too.

                I think that’s a plan that might actually work. I don’t think the Left approach will.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                To be honest, I was kind of expecting something like that from President Obama. But I guess health care reform was more important. (And maybe someday we’ll even have it.)Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                dd, We got bob dole’s plan for health care reform. It’s a start (at diverting GDP away from stupid health care tricks. 15% of the GDP? nowaynohow). And it’s one that won’t get repealed.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

                This reminds me of ’68, and me walking down the street sayin’, “I’m into the Sun man,” while the first copy of Mother Earth News was rolled up and stuffed into the back pocket of my torn and faded jeans, man!Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            Cut it’s own throat?
            CREATE NEW JOBS!
            … and prevent new zealand from stealing all our scientists.

            … because you think I can’t recognize a new rural electrification project when I see one!
            I was NOT born yesterday, sir!

            I know what the research says on how Clinton’s economy got roaring (through investing in infrastructure).

            Green energy is the next frontier — and America’s great at frontiers. Japan will ALWAYS outperform us at mundane engineering. America is strongest in science… and as America’s scientists leave, our civilization crumbles.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      The problem is a 300 year trend, starting from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. There is plenty of principled disagreement (starting with what I cited upthread, which was a scientist’s exploration of “the worst case”). The thing is? Scientists by their nature tend to report conservatively. They don’t exaggerate, and they tend to minimize the policy prescriptives as much as possible. [e.g. you haven’t seen anyone proclaiming that you shouldn’t prescribe anti-depressives, even though it’s an open secret that they are actively detrimental to intelligent thought. We don’t have the science yet to prove that.]

      This isn’t like “what is the best way to solve depression?” — where the Freudians and the Behavioral Therapists do about equally well, and Exercise Regimen consistently outperforms all therapy.

      Principled arguments about global warming are about the different sinks, how much increasing the carbon dioxide in the air will poison the sinks, how much of the carbon dioxide is being trapped in the soil, versus how much is being sunk into plants that will be recycled into the atmosphere. See? I don’t even know the science well, but I can see where you can argue.
      Every single model is a different guy’s theory of “what’s going on.”Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Stuff like nuclear power gets brought up, however, and for every Green person who screams “YES! BRING IT ON!!!”, there are 10 who say “well, okay, but not in my back yard” and for every NIMBY, there are 10 who say “no way, no how, no where… look at Japan!” or similar.Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          more concerned about estrogen pollution than radiation pollution here. but I go to free lunches where they talk about Environmental Oncology.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            My main concerns involve geomagnetic storms or, god help us all, solar superstorms.Report

            • Avatar Kim says:

              the sheer number of ways the world could end is mindboggling. 10 steps away from Monsanto ending the world. Nuclear War in the Indian Subcontinent is 5 minutes away (that’s the amount of warning one side gets before they Must Launch Missiles. — America/Soviets had 30, which turned out to be plenty of time to call and ask “did you just launch everything you’ve got”… multiple times. Geese on the radar look pretty frightening…).
              Hell, there was a 5% chance of the capping of the gulf oil spill completely destroying the world. And a different chance of it destroying all life on the East Coast. (know someone who ran risk management models on that).Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I was more thinking about EMP screwing up all of the cool stuff rather than something special effecty.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Yeah, I don’t worry about that so much. I mean, I know about the one from the 1850s, and the havoc it wreaked with some telegraph systems, and I imagine it will send some nasty surges, but I’m sure we’ll be OK.

                On the other hand, Nick Cage may destroy the world simply with the blank-stare that defines his acting in pretty much every dramatic situation.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                Nick Cage must be destroyed. So that the world may live.Report

  18. Avatar Kim says:

    We have a fundamental division here:
    1) Small Scale Stuff Can Fix Everything [the Libertarian Defense when it comes to removing welfare — people will give through charity]
    2) Small Scale Stuff Helps, Big Scale Stuff Also Helps [the Jewish Principle, judging empirically by who gives most charity, and who gets behind liberal principles.]
    3) Small Scale Stuff is Irrelevant, Big Scale Stuff will fix everything [some Liberals take this position, particularly on things that they Care Less about. You’ll see them throwing money at Their Cause, but others? it’s mostly this.]
    4) Small Scale stuff is actively detrimental, Big Scale Stuff (which will fix everything) won’t happen if we do the small stuff first. [The Reagan Principle. This is an extremist position.]

    Jaybird, obviously you’re making a strawman if the person you’re talking to actually believes 4) — because they have a logical and principled argument not to be doing small scale stuff. It’s a partial strawman with regards to 3), because their argument is far more utilitarian and less Kantian. The person taking position 1) and 2) ought to be willing to listen to suggestions as to how to improve their position vis a vis the issue of the moment.

    I for one believe that most liberals/Leftists are doing something to help the environment — where you live may be biasing your sample set. If nothing else, living in a city generates economies of scale with regards to recycling (and power generation, and mailtrucks). And most liberals live in cities.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Most of the folks I argue with don’t make those distinctions (not publically, anyway… not to me). I’d be interested to see who here would sign on to 4… it seems that some above have signed on to 3 (you’d need to hear it from them rather than from me to totally confirm that, though).Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        3’s and 4’s seem more common when you get into the national debt issue (not private debt held by individuals! that’s a different issue!). I can certainly see MANY people, on all sides of the debt issue, saying “You Sent Money of your own free will, To pay off the National Debt????” [Brin does. posted the addy once on his blog.]

        I think you might see some 3’s and 4’s with education as well.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        for the environment, are you a 1) or a 2)? (cynical 2’s who think that the Democrats Ruin Everything still count as 2’s, just ones who want to off the gov’t).Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          I’m a “I do what Maribou asks me to do”.

          She is happier when we do these things. It is exceptionally important to me that she be happy.Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            … if you fail to have any Kantian bounds to that statement, I find that exceptionally disturbing.
            Does she particularly care who you vote for?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              She tells me how to vote on some stuff. I vote on the rest of it. (She’s more pro-choice than I am inclined to be, for example. She tells me how to vote on those issues that arise. She’s also more green than I am inclined to be. She tells me to vote for the clean energy stuff despite my reservations. I get to vote for my wacky candidates, however.)Report

  19. Avatar wardsmith says:

    @Kim re: here

    As I’ve said before, man is not a rational being, man is a rationalizing being. Your “hell no” notwithstanding the net effect of you crossing party lines to vote is exactly what I outlined, nothing more nothing less. We saw this last election cycle. States have had to change their registration procedures to deal with it.

    As for foreign ownership of candidates, how does that square with you supporting Obama? P.S. George Soros counts as foreign too and he’s dismantling his fund so he won’t have to report “donations” anymore. Since Obama’s handlers knew not to let donations get above $200, he had a statistically questionable number of donations from “ABCDEFG” for $200 or $199 that added into the multi millions. But no, I’m not going to call YOU a traitor, not just now anyway. Instead I’ll just say you’re a bit squishy on ethics like many of your brethren. Good thing there’s no God or you might be in trouble for that one day… 😉Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      … Soros, foreign? Only if you’re a KnowNothing!
      But it is only schlemiels like you who spit on Emma Lazarus for being black.
      [I’m referencing a book in that last statement: “when jews were black”]Report

      • Avatar wardsmith says:

        Actually I’m a little surprised it took you THIS long for you jump to the racist card!

        Soros is Hungarian, and has stated himself he is a citizen “of the world”. He shorted the dollar and yet claims we should pursue a policy of social service that is economically untenable. Only makes sense if his REAL goal is to make sure his dollar short pays off, in gold. Oh yeah, he’s already buying all the gold he can get his hands on.Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          … exactly when was he shorting the dollar? Jeebus, I shorted the fucking dollar in 2007. IT WAS OBVIOUS that the economy was going to crash.

          It’s funny how Germany, which pursues this “economically untenable” policy is doing fucking better than America, in terms of economy. If you were talking about something economically untenable, I think the American FIRE economy is a much better argument. And, see? I’ve got proof: Iceland.

          George Soros Is an American Citizen. Simply because you disagree with his ideas does not mean that he is actively colluding with Hungarians (??!???) to destroy America.

          It’s you who brought up racism, not me, though if I had my way, I would apply the rule of thumb of your forebearers to your buttocks. [see? this is the nice me. the not so nice me references other aspects of your Borderlander heritage.]

          Soros tries, in his way, to pursue justice. You may find using the phrase “citizen of the world” to be frightening, but it’s merely a liberal catchphrase that references our group identity to be bigger than a nation.

          …Soros bought gold? And you really expect me to believe that he’s not just doing the carry trade thing? Jeebus, either you’re an idiot, or you think I am!Report

  20. Avatar wardsmith says:

    @Pat I answered you here

    Now you don’t like my proofs, maybe because I don’t read them to you line by line, but this site handicaps me for links. I already showed you the emails that blatantly said they were going to hide the data and destroy it rather than let the other side get their hands on it. You can call this scientists behaving badly but I call it BAD SCIENCE.

    My standard of proof? GOOD SCIENCE. Don’t be obtuse, I can’t state it any clearer than that.

    Here’s some quotes from the link you didn’t want to click:
    “We’re not scientifically there yet. Despite what you may have heard in the media, there is nothing like a consensus of scientific opinion that this is a problem. Because there is natural variability in the weather, you cannot statistically know for another 150 years.” — UN IPCC‘s Tom Tripp, a member of the UN IPCC since 2004 and listed as one of the lead authors and serves as the Director of Technical Services & Development for U.S. Magnesium.

    “Any reasonable scientific analysis must conclude the basic theory wrong!!” — NASA Scientist Dr. Leonard Weinstein who worked 35 years at the NASA Langley Research Center and finished his career there as a Senior Research Scientist. Weinstein is presently a Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute of Aerospace.

    “Please remain calm: The Earth will heal itself — Climate is beyond our power to control…Earth doesn’t care about governments or their legislation. You can’t find much actual global warming in present-day weather observations. Climate change is a matter of geologic time, something that the earth routinely does on its own without asking anyone’s permission or explaining itself.? — Nobel Prize-Winning Stanford University Physicist Dr. Robert B. Laughlin, who won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1998, and was formerly a research scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

    “In essence, the jig is up. The whole thing is a fraud. And even the fraudsters that fudged data are admitting to temperature history that they used to say didn’t happen…Perhaps what has doomed the Climategate fraudsters the most was their brazenness in fudging the data” — Dr. Christopher J. Kobus, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Oakland University, specializes in alternative energy, thermal transport phenomena, two-phase flow and fluid and thermal energy systems and has published peer-reviewed papers.

    “I am ashamed of what climate science has become today.” The science “community is relying on an inadequate model to blame CO2 and innocent citizens for global warming in order to generate funding and to gain attention. If this is what “science? has become today, I, as a scientist, am ashamed.” — Research Chemist William C. Gilbert published a study in August 2010 in the journal Energy & Environment titled ?The thermodynamic relationship between surface temperature and water vapor concentration in the troposphere? and he published a paper in August 2009 titled ?Atmospheric Temperature Distribution in a Gravitational Field.? [Updated December 9, 2010]

    “The dysfunctional nature of the climate sciences is nothing short of a scandal. Science is too important for our society to be misused in the way it has been done within the Climate Science Community.” The global warming establishment “has actively suppressed research results presented by researchers that do not comply with the dogma of the IPCC.” — Swedish Climatologist Dr. Hans Jelbring of the Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics Unit at Stockholm University.

    “Those who call themselves „Green planet advocates? should be arguing for a CO2- fertilized atmosphere, not a CO2-starved atmosphere…Diversity increases when the planet was warm AND had high CO2 atmospheric content…Al Gore’s personal behavior supports a green planet – his enormous energy use with his 4 homes and his bizjet, does indeed help make the planet greener. Kudos, Al for doing your part to save the planet.” — Renowned engineer and aviation/space pioneer Burt Rutan, who was named “100 most influential people in the world, 2004” by Time Magazine and Newsweek called him “the man responsible for more innovations in modern aviation than any living engineer.”

    “Global warming is the central tenet of this new belief system in much the same way that the Resurrection is the central tenet of Christianity. Al Gore has taken a role corresponding to that of St Paul in proselytizing the new faith…My skepticism about AGW arises from the fact that as a physicist who has worked in closely related areas, I know how poor the underlying science is. In effect the scientific method has been abandoned in this field.” — Atmospheric Physicist Dr. John Reid, who worked with Australia‘s CSIRO‘s (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) Division of Oceanography

    I know, I know, no true Scots in the bunch. Nothing to see here, move along.

    I can’t convince you that your head is in the sand and you think I’m a fool because my eye is on the horizon. Good luck with the sand there me bucko. 🙂Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

      Asking a physicist or mechanical engineer about climate change is like asking your local optometrist to deliver a baby that’s three months premature and has it’s umbilical cord wrapped around their necks. Sure, they might know the basics, but beyond that, they’re relying on _their_ own ideology.

      I mean, sure, ask Burt Rutan if you want to build a rocket. But, he probably knows as much about the intricacies of climate change as you or I do.Report

      • Avatar wardsmith says:

        @Jess, “asking a PHYSICIST”? Really? Genius like you ought to know that PHYSICS underpins 100% of what passes for science in climate science. Stefan Boltzmann means nothing to you I know, but count on it being very important to IPCC wags. The issue under argument isn’t whether the PHYSICISTS Stefan and Boltzmann are correct but whether the imagined additional radiative forcing caused by CO2 is anywhere near what the models have been programmed to make it. You’re not in Patrick’s class, I won’t try and teach you until you graduate to it (if ever).Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          … not really. There’s tons of biological research that supports global warming.
          The physicists to watch are the ones who can actually write assembly code, because they write the models.
          The anti-AGW people have a nasty tendency to quote things out of context, so I’d rather see the direct links to where people stated things (AND WHEN!).Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

      > I know, I know, no true Scots in the bunch.

      What’s a “Scot”, in this case, Ward?

      I’m getting a PhD in IS. I have a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. I’m not a climate scientist, to be sure.

      However, if a chemical engineer or a physicist or a research medical doctor starting saying obviously hairbrained things about how complex computer systems operate in human organizations, or talking to me about the proper design of user interfaces or the software stack or security, I’d probably take their input with as much of a grain of salt as I’d take a normal user. Which ain’t much.

      So let’s look at your list.

      Tom Tripp is a metallurgist working with U.S. Magnesium, who was solicited to contribute to the IPCC report because he knows about the chemistry of magnesium production. I’m not certain how this even guarantees that he knows anything about climate.

      Leonard Weinstein is a spacecraft engineer.

      Robert Laughlin is a particle physicist, not a climatologist.

      Christopher J. Kobus has published a number of articles on engineering. None on climatology.

      The only W Gilbert I see in ISI Web of Science has published a couple of papers on anesthesiology.

      I’m not really compelled to keep going.

      If you’re going to give me a list of people and say this is representative of dissent on a theory, people on your list should have some expertise that is at least be somewhat related to the topic on hand.

      If your list of “thousands” or “hundreds” can’t even produce a few actual climate scientists – or if they’re buried farther down the list – then I submit that your list is of less value than…

      … say, this list.

      If credentials mean *even one small thing* to you – and they MUST, or you wouldn’t trot out any list of your own to begin with – you have to explain why your list has more meaning than mine. All those organizations aren’t full of climate scientists either. But there’s more people (eminence aside) on my list than yours, and if climate science isn’t the differentiation measure for who is or isn’t a Scotsman, then my list is a lot fishing longer than yours.

      In the battle of lists-that-might-not-be-really-related-to-this-topic-but-okay-we’re-fighting-this-fight, I submit that I win. Actually, I submit that I win by overwhelming majority.

      Again, this gets back to standards of evidence.

      Mine is, “Those who actually study this shit are probably more credible than those who don’t.” And in that measure, the overwhelming majority is even more overwhelming.

      So if you like my definition of a True Scotsman, I win. And if you’d rather go with “scientists” as the definition of a True Scotsman, well shoot I still win.

      About the only way I don’t win, in this epic Battle of the Increasingly Marginally Relevant Lists, is if there’s some other standard for measuring Scotsmanship. If your standard is something other than “those who support what I believe are credible, and those who don’t aren’t”… then put it out there.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        If they weren’t qualified to comment on the climate then what were they doing on the IPCC? Why were they involved with it at all?

        “Mine is, “Those who actually study this shit are probably more credible than those who don’t.” And in that measure, the overwhelming majority is even more overwhelming.”

        Ah-heh. A small unanimous group is not the same thing as “an overwhelming majority”. And the original claim was “overwhelming majority”, aka “everyone thinks this way so why don’t you?Report

  21. Avatar wardsmith says:

    @Pat, took me literally 1 second to find this version you could read online Took me a bit longer to find the peer reviewed publication Earth and Environment, listed right above for you to peruse.

    Of course you can’t recall (or choose not to) the previous discussion wherein I showed you the ORIGINAL email sent out by a member of the “team” that said, “Forget the screening, forget asking
    them about their last publication (most will ignore you.) Get those

    So let’s see, now we know how that “Consensus” got started. A spam email that went out to everyone with a pulse so that ANYONE who answered could be counted a “scientist” of the cause. Then we have the apologia at ASP here Between 2007 and 2010 thousands threatened to quit and hundreds DID quit because they disagreed with the “council” running ramshod over their opinions and coming to a “conclusion” without bothering to get their input. And of course the “council” refused to give the “dissidents” access to the entire list of members to ask them how they felt. But gee, here’s another organization of like-minded sheeple you tell me. Do I have to go through your whole list and show you that there is no such THING as consensus? Why bother?

    Instead of going down that rabbit hole, why not STAY ON TOPIC. I wasn’t even arguing consensus, I was arguing SCIENCE and SCIENTIFIC METHOD. While you were diligently seeking anyone who might not “belong” just like Jess, you conveniently ignored the statements from actual climate scientists. I could have culled my original list and made sure only those who had the “right” credentials were quoted, but my intent was to show what the quotes SAID! They were universally appalled at the condition of the SCIENCE! That was my point!

    Flawed models that produce flawed results based on flawed data and flawed methodology. When reality doesn’t match up, massage the data.
    Satellites don’t give the numbers you want? Make the data match the theory, don’t modify the theory to match the data. You could have googled this yourself. Christy and Spencer have made charts that don’t keep “adjusting” the data to match the theory. That’s so-called missing signature, the one Trenberth was so worried about, the “travesty that we can’t find it”.

    As for IS, you above all others should know the meaning of this: GIGOReport

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

      Regarding W. Gilbert, I offer you this link, which points out some problems with his paper.

      The mathematics section I can follow, and it appears that Dr(?) Gilbert has indeed made a critical error. From the conclusion section of that post:

      The “theory section” of the paper is not a theory section. It has a few equations which are incorrect, followed by some hand-waving arguments that might be interesting if they were turned into equations that could be examined.

      It is elementary to prove the errors in the few equations stated in the paper. If we use the author’s equations we derive a final result which contradicts known fundamental thermodynamics.

      The empirical results consist of 3 radiosonde profiles with many claims that can’t be tested because the method by which these claims were calculated is not explained.

      If it turned out that – all other conditions remaining the same – higher specific humidity at the surface translated into a drier upper troposphere, this would be really interesting stuff.

      But 3 radiosonde profiles in support of this claim is not sufficient evidence.

      > Of course you can’t recall (or choose not to)
      > the previous discussion wherein I showed
      > you the ORIGINAL email sent out by a
      > member of the “team” that said…

      No, I haven’t forgotten. I will reply again with what I’ve said numerous times before: if you grabbed my entire email archive (right now, 99% of the email correspondence I’ve written or read since 2000 is in a giant ball), and picked through it with a fine-toothed comb, you could find a couple of emails that would vault me to the top of the terrorist watch list.

      This does not mean I’m a terrorist.

      It doesn’t mean I’m not, either. If I was accused of such, I’d expect to have a fair and equitable trial, at which point I’m pretty sure I’d be found not guilty.

      CRU and Mann have been investigated by multiple different bodies, and those results have come back empty. Here’s Penn’s statement. Here’s Uof EA’s. Here’s the NSF clearing Mann again.

      In order for these multiple investigations to make sense, either there is indeed no real systemic evidence of anything other than kvetching, or all of those organizations are in on the gag.

      And this brings me back to this earlier comment, specifically:

      Why is this a credible position to take, in light of the forces that would be arrayed against such a global pervasive conspiracy?

      Seriously, dude, why?Report

      • Avatar wardsmith says:

        I quite literally have a fire to attend to (I live in the woods and a house a mile away is on fire).

        I’ve glanced only at the paper and the response, looks interesting and will look into it further. I’m not afraid of the maths.

        Your response to the email is incorrect in substance. This isn’t an example of questionable behavior, this is THE EXAMPLE of how the ENTIRE CONSENSUS MEME CAME INTO EXISTENCE. Your bad metaphor notwithstanding, if you had sent an email to thousands of people recommending THEY forward it to thousands of people suggesting they kill infidels, you WOULD be a terrorist by definition as soon as infidels started dying. In London they’ve gone to jail for suggesting mobs “meet” at certain locations to go “shopping”.

        We’ve already discussed whitewashed investigations. You haven’t told me why you think it would have been a great idea for BP to investigate BP on the Macando oilspill.

        Gotta go.Report

        • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

          That email comes across to me like a marketing email.

          It’s not a great way to do science. They’re not talking about science. They’re talking about presenting science to the media.

          (edited to add) I agree this is not a great way to present science to the media. However, making bad marketing decisions to drum up popular support for your position doesn’t mean that your position is wrong. It just means you’re a shitty marketer. (/edited)

          In any event, this still seems to be a more plausible alternative to the “consensus meme”.

          I don’t think it would be a great idea for BP to be the only investigator of BP, no.

          I expect BP to investigate itself, though. Jezzus, if I was in charge I’d be cutting peoples’ heads off, myself.

          That gives credence to “Penn and East Anglia should be considered the first foray into investigation, not the last”.

          But they aren’t the last, Ward.

          Good luck with the fire.Report

          • Avatar wardsmith says:

            I sure wish /I/ could edit the way you get to. Pays to be part of the ‘team’ doesn’t it? See how advantageous it is to be a member of the “team”? Addicting even.

            The original “consensus” was manufactured, exactly as I demonstrated above and in previous discussion. That consensus drove other scientists to “get on board” because they (wrongly) assumed it was already “settled”. So you see how /marketing and politics/ replaced the scientific method. In my own personal experience a PhD in chemical engineering who happens to work for me was in agreement with what he /thought/ was the consensus until I got him to dig deeper into the subject. Once he did, he personally saw how buggered up the “science” was, did a number of his own calculations and analyses and went to the site you don’t believe in and added his name to the 35,000 or so that are already there disagreeing with the “consensus”.

            I won’t waste my two links sending you places to examine the problems with the “whitewash investigations”. You could google the term and find out more than enough if you had the slightest open mind on the subject. Members of the investigating team having direct involvement with the organization being investigated and so on. Burt would have an issue with that if it were a case he was handling, but fortunately for his orthodoxy it isn’t so he (in this case) won’t. I’m cut from sterner cloth and won’t give it a pass (in this case) because wrong is still wrong.

            This is my last post on this subject here so I’ll close with my two links that don’t need moderation. Here we have an interesting article from one of Kain’s co-writers at Forbes who does a credible job of examining the issues with the computer models. If you’re seriously an IS person you should be interested on that basis alone.

            And finally (and purposely as your “consensus” link proves) people are herded into a “group” based on incomplete understanding of the “group”. The Scientific American “group” was flawed and so was yours. Polls aren’t the answer here, nor is consensus. But it IS important to agree on terms (and the reason for the lengthy rathole debates on the pseudo-science sites like scienceofdoom). Under rigorously defined terms the /real/ AGW theory falls apart. But you’re not even clear on what that is, so I invite you to watch this video from the same author at Forbes linked above.

            He makes an excellent point about debates (because after all he is compelled to present the AGW side for them – in over a 2 years they haven’t taken him up on his offer to have them present their own side). The AGW climate community REFUSES to engage in this debate. They hide behind the “science is settled” meme. But in WHAT OTHER SCIENCE is that the case? You work IIRC at CalTech. I guarantee that I could walk down those hallowed halls and find /numerous/ debates going on day and night. Scientists LOVE to debate, so the universal herd circling mentality of AGW climate scientists is extremely telling. They refuse to even DISCUSS issues unless it is on sites like Realclimate that they control, so when THEY eviscerate a paper they needn’t even worry about the author speaking up for himself, they just delete his comments as if he’d never existed. I’m certain Burt would love to hold court where he controls the judge and bailiff, but that isn’t RIGHT that is WRONG.

            BTW the fire entailed several engines and two planes and a helicopter. I went to my friend’s farm that was nearby and we brought a tractor with earth moving attachments over there. First they told us to stay away. Then they rather sheepishly came over (when the water drops weren’t working) and asked for help with the fire break we were going to do with or without them. You live in the country you understand what needs to be done, their fancy uniforms and firetrucks didn’t help them understand the fundamental problem. They couldn’t possibly bring enough water to bear on the fire, which is why my friend and I were there, to fight fire with dirt instead. We contained it better than they did and saved the house and only lost a couple of acres (would have been less if we’d been allowed onsite earlier). There’s a life lesson in all of this, if only I could see it…Report

            • Avatar Kim says:

              … have you heard of the contemporary debate over gravity? Thought not.
              Try reading a bit of the science before you conclude anything.
              I’ve yet to hear about a pentium bug, or about a capacitor failure related to AGW. And your source likewise fails to point that out. In fact, I am rather disappointed at the lack of computer science in the article.Report

            • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:


              I will look at the modeling critique. I can probably grok his math (he said, hopefully).

              I note, in his opening paragraphs, that he says:

              “Plenty of the issues that swirl around the climate debate can be proven without resorting to computer modelling, often from direct observation. We know the climate is changing all the time through history, and we know temperatures rise and fall (and have mostly risen over the last century). We also know that human emitted CO2, all things being equal, can warm the Earth as its atmospheric concentrations rise…

              …This relationship between Earth’s temperature and CO2 concentrations is called climate sensitivity, and based on this sensitivity of 1.2 we might expect only a degree of warming over the next century.

              … Climate scientists must assume large numbers of amplifying effects to multiply this sensitivity three to five times or more to get the scary forecasts that we are used to seeing.

              The evidence for these amplifying or “feedback” effects is at best equivocal. In part, this is because isolating and measuring these effects in the real, horrendously complex and chaotic climate is very hard.”

              Can you clarify: do you agree with these statements?

              What I’m asking is: do you agree on substance with what the guy is saying up to the part about the amplifying effects?

              If the amplifying effects are correct, then you’ll agree that it follows that there is a problem? You just disagree with the assessment of the amplifying effects?

              If so, then we finally have a point upon which we can make some progress, I’d say. We have a bone upon which to pick.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                @Kim, do you have a point? I /am/ a computer scientist, I’ve designed chips and built supercomputers back when it was cool. I’ve written mountains of code and led teams building mountains more, and I guarantee my chips are still running and there is a 95% chance at least the licensed core of my designs is in whatever computer device you are using. Don’t play games with me.

                @Pat, the models are flawed, and even though there are multiple models they are similarly flawed. They require a forcing factor that doesn’t show up in the empirical evidence. I know about models, I wrote some of the first computational fluid dynamics code back when I was still in college. I am still a fervent believer in GIGO.

                Now watch the video in the second link I gave you so I’ll know you’re actually up to speed with the discussion and won’t have to imagine the gaps in your knowledge base. Yes it is long, but we’re talking about 3+ decades of publications so it is a highly condensed report format to highlight the non-debate (non because one side refuses to get embarrassed and that side is the AGW ‘team’)Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                I am alleging that the most likely source of “groupthink” in scientific realms is that of “pesky bugs” that cause systematic error, not in the design of models.

                Did you hear the one about squirrels destroying our fiberoptic network? Similar to that one.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Can you drop me a cite or two on your research?Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                Before I go watch that video, Ward, I’d appreciate it if you’d answer my question.

                I fear, my friend, that in order for me to meet each of your successive challenges I’ll have to digest enough of the literature to call myself a climate scientist. While I like the field, I have my own to study. And a job. And a house that needs a lot of work. Plus occasionally I like to fart around with brain-relaxation time, of which I have almost zero.

                So you can understand if I’m somewhat reluctant to move forward without some sort of end-goal other than “becoming a climate researcher myself”.

                I asked you a pretty straightforward question and I’ll note you didn’t answer it.

                I said: “If the amplifying effects are correct, then you’ll agree that it follows that there is a problem? You just disagree with the assessment of the amplifying effects?”

                You responded:

                “Pat, the models are flawed, and even though there are multiple models they are similarly flawed. They require a forcing factor that doesn’t show up in the empirical evidence.”

                See, that’s not precisely an answer.

                Okay, I understand what you are saying when you say that you believe the models are flawed.

                What I want to know is, if I go out there and find references that explain (a) where these forcing factors come from and (b) why they are what they are in the different models and (c) why this is considered to be legitimate, are you going to change your mind or not? That’s a simple yes or no question.

                When you’re modeling a closed system, you’re right… forcing factors are usually a big no-no. The system is closed. I’m not certain from the way you describe your experience with models, but if you only ever worked in closed systems that might be part of the disconnect, they offend your sensibilities.

                In open, complex systems, you have to account for the fact that the system is open. A fluid dynamics model of the open ocean is fundamentally different from a fluid dynamics model of a closed pipe circulation system between a reservoir and a municipal water supply (even though the reservoir is in fact “open”, to a degree, it’s fairly trivial to account for or ignore evaporation or precipitation in your model). An animal population model must take into account unexpected predation, etc.

                In other words, I understand *why*, conceptually, there are forcing factors in these models.

                Now, if your objection is that those forcing factors are *wrong*, that’s fundamentally a different objection than if your objection is that they are there in the first place.

                If you don’t agree that forcing factors are reasonable in higher modeling, then you fundamentally disagree that complex systems can ever be modeled with any degree of certainty (note: we’re not talking about proof of certainty, here).

                Okay, that’s fine. If that’s your position, I disagree with you… but there is no way we’re ever going to get anywhere on this topic because you don’t believe the tool will work, ever, and I believe it is possible to have the tool work with enough degrees of probability that it is useful. We can stop now.

                There can be a perfectly reasonable and correct explanation for the existence of the forcing factors. Indeed, the difference in the forcing factors between the models (and yet the models producing essentially similar results) can mean pretty much one of four things.

                One: the forcing factor was chosen specifically to align the models with each other. This appears to be what you believe, and I agree, that would be pretty fishing bad. In this case, we’re in trouble because the climate science community is in fact full of bad actors and this is a bunch of hooey.

                Two: the forcing factors were chosen for reasonable, correct, and justifiable reasons, and the fact that they are different is because they correct for differences in the model(s) construction(s) and externalized input(s), and the fact that the models align is actually confirmatory that everything has been done properly and holy shit we’re in trouble, because they’re very likely correct. Multiple models all coming up with similar outputs is bad news, because they all provide a certain degree of probability that they are correct, so overlapping the models and coming up with comparative results further reduces the likelihood that there is systemic error, and increases confidence in each of the individual models.

                Three: the forcing factors were chosen for reasonable, justifiable, but incorrect reasons and the models align with bad inputs because Murphy has a very ugly sense of humor. All of the models are wrong, for different reasons, and the fact that the results are comparable is just plain stupid dumb luck. In this case, we’re not in trouble from global warming, and the climate science community has likely made a long run of very silly errors. I personally find this to be implausible (I’ve seen it happen on the scale of say, one person’s research project and I’ve heard of it happening on a small group level, but once you get multiple groups working on the same stuff it’s very unlikely to have a confluence of errors like this).

                Four, the forcing factors were chosen for unreasonable or unjustifiable but correct reasons. They picked ’em based on bad assumptions, but it turns out they’re correct anyway for reasons unknown to the researchers. Again, pretty implausible.

                I submit that for the purposes of our discussion, we go ahead and table options 3 & 4.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                @Pat, There are two “forcing factors” at play here. One is the dominant AGW theory factor that says that even though CO2 is a very minor player in atmospheric warming it gets amplified by water vapor immediately and methane increases later (as the tundra melts). This forcing factor is modeled at a factor of 3-10 X. The theory further stipulates that this positive feedback becomes the straw that breaks the camel’s back through a cascading runaway effect.

                The other forcing factor is present in the models trying to explain away why they don’t jibe with the past known temperatures and know CO2 levels. The “plugin” forcing factor they are all using is the aerosol effect, which magically disappears as they attempt to predict the future. They literally have used this aerosol effect to match the past trends.

                If you’ll spend the time to watch the video (or simply download the powerpoint and read the speaker notes, but you’ll miss the animations) you will not become a ‘climate researcher’ but you’ll be caught up on both sides of the controversy and will have the requisite terms in hand to understand the arguments. Consensus is a red-herring rathole, the theory is falsifiable on its own merits (or lack thereof).

                Therefore in answer to your question it is your #1 above. Using a forcing factor isn’t inherently wrong if there is a valid reason as you’ve said, but if it is used to fudge the results to bring them in line with measurements… BTW so- called “denialists” have tried to get to the bottom of this by asking to review the models. They are universally refused.

                My first CFD modeling was on magnetohydrodynamics. I’m well aware of the effects of gaming the system by playing with the boundary conditions and have done thousands of simulations since both open and closed. The ultimate test of every model/simulation is to compare the results with experimental data. Period. My model was so good that DOE still has it although MHD funding has effectively dried up. We began evaluating toroidal designs and a modification of that design holds the record for MHD efficiency.

                @Kim, no. My anonymity is very important to me on the Internet as apparently is yours viz your nom de guerre. I left a slew of broken hearted professors in university who all wanted me to proceed to their chosen field for advanced studies. I purposely chose a generalized path because of a talk I heard from my personal hero Buckminster Fuller. He bemoaned the specialization that characterized education then (and now only worse). That’s why I’m intellectually drawn to Patrick, he’s cut from a similar cloth. Perhaps he doesn’t want to be as much of a polymath as I’d like, but there’s hope yet. 😉

                P.S. I never had a good place for this link but it is the perfect counterpoint to this OP discussion IMHO.Report

  22. Avatar wardsmith says:

    @Pat, haven’t finished reading the entire blog on scienceofdoom, but it has been interesting so far. Have double checked the math and it is more a matter of disagreement. Dr. Gilbert is a physical scientist and scienceofdoom appears to be a math major but not a scientist, at least from my reading. That is fine as far as it goes, but his criticism is off the mark and also a bit of nit picking. To be fair you need to read Gilbert’s response to quote:

    There is nothing controversial in this entire section – it is just basic physics. It has been reviewed by several physicists both before and after publication and the only criticism I received was that it was too basic to be included in a scientific paper. But I felt it was necessary to keep it in since it would probably be read by some “Climate Scientists” and they would need all the help they could get. It seems that I was right. (Note: there is a misstatement on pg. 266 where I said for adiabatic processes dU = 0. I tried to correct it before publication but was too late. But it does not affect the validity of the rest of the discussion).
    I will not try to address all your points – they are a jumbled mess – but I will address a few key items to help you get back on track…

    Did you actually read the paper? Just in case, here is a very brief synopsis. If the system (parcel) does work on the surroundings, the parcel expands (- PdV). This energy has to come from somewhere and since the process is assumed to be adiabatic, the energy will come from CvdT and the temperature will decrease. But the parcel is now more buoyant and it will rise; and gdz will increase, offsetting the loss in CvdT. Thus, according to the first law dU = 0. But you don’t “believe” in “gdz” so it is pointless to spend more time on this. Once you get things figured out, and know the difference between dQ and dU, I can spend some time going into “free energy” and maybe you will understand better.

    Scienceofdoom rebuts but we barely get to hear from Gilbert again. I suspect some malfeasance (deleted/altered posts) as I’ve seen previously with other blogs although I’m preferring to keep an open mind about scienceofdoom’s website. I’ve had similar discussions to the one we find here on the physorg website. They too now have ‘gatekeepers’ to keep the orthodoxy alive who will not allow certain posts or even topics anymore. Note that in this second link scienceofdoom is very cordial to Gilbert and finds nothing to question in his maths. Not to mention, but as Gilbert himself says above, he is just quoting from basic physics books (that SOD has obviously not read). There are literally hundreds of comments in the Paradigm link that meander all over the place. There is a massive disconnect between parties about the meaning of simple thermodynamics definitions. The most abusive commentators are the most incorrect in their assumption and this includes SOD. Spurious and meaningless examples are given, someone even boils an egg lightyears from earth with a 12km parabolic mirror to prove a point (they were wrong BTW because they neglected some terms), once corrected DeWitt (I thought this name was a pun BTW) pretends he had already considered it and adds a number of other new parameters to save his bacon, er I mean egg.

    Bottom line, Gilbert is a member of the AGW heterodoxy along with others, but he is no pushover. His final post:
    As for my paper being “savaged” by SOD, I just feel sorry for him because he showed his complete lack of understanding of basic physics and thermodynamics outside of radiation heat transfer. I suggest you both take a course or two in “combined heat and mass transfer” at a good engineering school.

    Now LoOG is not the best place to have scientific discussions but I’m more than willing and capable to meet you elsewhere to engage in such. I am no pushover either. 🙂Report

  23. Avatar Christopher Carr says:

    It’s November, and a climatologist, a physical scientist, and a mathematician are on a train from London to Edinburgh that’s just crossing the border into Scotland. The climatologist looks out of the window, sees it’s unseasonably warm, and remarks, “How odd. The earth is warming up.” “No, no, no!” says the physical scientist. “Only Scotland is warming up. Other countries are in fact getting colder!” The mathematician can’t believe what he’s hearing and says, “In Scotland, there is at least one day, at least one moment of which appears to be unseasonably warm from here.”Report